Shedding the Blood of the Innocents
They hurried by night
They hid by day
From the great Furat they drank
In one place they did not stay
Taking shelter in the date palms
In the fierce hot desert
Their small forms were drawn and wearied
By the world and its tribulations
With courage burning in their hearts
And with only one determination
To carry the message to the Imam
A promise fulfilled would be their elation
Called from above by their father
The boys awoke with a sob
They were not intended to stay in this world
One told the other to have patience
Captured by a brute
The older child said:
“O man! Kill me first for my promise to fulfil
For my Mother left my brother in my care”
With their last prayers performed by the great Furat
Martyred were the sons of Muslim
Their small bodies floated away together
They were the Tiflan-e-Muslim
Young Ibrahim and Mohammad accompanied their father, Muslim b. ‘Aqil b. Abi Talib (peace be upon them all) to the city of Kufa in 60 AH where Muslim was to act as a representative of Imam al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Talib (a).
To the people of Kufa al-Hussayn (a) had said:
“I am sending you my brother, Muslim b. ‘Aqil, who is my cousin and my trustworthy (representative) from my House.”
Staying in the house of Mukhtar b. Abi ‘Ubayda, the two sons of Muslim witnessed over eighteen thousand (18,000) Kufans pay allegiance to their father on behalf of al-Hussayn (a) before the governorship of Kufa was replaced with a violent Ibne Ziyad forcing the small family to secretly move into the residence of Hani b. Urwa.
Muslim b. ‘Aqil (a) had written a letter of reassurance to the Imam (a) concerning the earnestness of the Kufans, however as the events of a single afternoon turned every last soul against the family of the Prophet (s), Muslim’s only desire was to send an urgent message to the Imam to warn him against coming to Kufa.
With Muslim and his sons no longer safe in the unfamiliar hostile city, in the last desperate attempts of Muslim to send his message to the Imam (a), he sent his two young sons, one 8 years and the other 10 years, into the desert to somehow reach the Imam’s (a) caravan.
Filled with the bravery so characteristic of the family of the Prophet’s (s) household, the two innocent sons of Muslim set out on their mission and tried at each exit point to leave Kufa. Before they were able to reach the outskirts of the city the two boys were captured and imprisoned. The guard took pity on the youngsters who spent their time in prayer, and upon learning whom the children were the guard decided to let them escape into the concealment of night.
At the renewed chance to be able to deliver their father’s message to the Imam (a), Ibrahim and Mohammad scurried out toward the desert, carefully avoiding Ibne Ziyad's soldiers at every turn.
The boys travelled through the freezing desert by night and spent the hot days in concealment in date palms. They lost their way in the desert and found themselves on the banks of the river Euphrates. With wearied and hungry bodies, the boys eagerly drank from the great river and as they were leaving the banks to hide once again, a lady came down to fetch water and saw the two boys. As Ibrahim did not want to identify who they were he said, “We are two orphans, could you please leave us alone and not tell anyone that you have seen us?”
Upon seeing the pitiful state of the two innocents, the lady asked them to accompany her to the home of her mistress who was a good lady and would surely shelter them. The good lady was the wife of Harith and upon receiving the children and identifying them, she gave them food and then said,
“You can spend the day here and I will try to help you. Unfortunately my husband Harith is working for Ibne Ziyad. He is out at the moment. You can rest in the spare room but make no noise otherwise when he comes back, he will find out you are here.”
The children said their prayers and went to sleep. Later on Harith returned to the house weary and agitated, complaining to his wife that he had been searching all day for the sons of Muslim but could not find them. The good lady asked him,
“What will you gain after shedding the blood of the innocents of the House of the Holy Prophet?”
Harith replied, “What thou askest me, knowest thou I will get the rich reward from the Amir?”
The lady said nothing and Harith went to bed until he was woken by the sounds of children sobbing from within his house.
Mohammad had woken up crying and upon Ibrahim’s inquiry Mohammad said,
“I saw our father in a dream. He was calling out for us.” Ibrahim told his brother to be patient as he also had seen their father in a dream saying,
“Worry not my dear ones! Very soon you will meet me!”
Upon hearing the sobs of the children, Harith rushed into the room to find the innocents he had been searching for to be in his very house. Elated at the prospect of riches, the brute dragged the children from their beds and tied them to a post where they remained till daybreak. Harith’s wife pleaded with her husband to let the children go but he beat her and pushed her aside.
At dawn Harith dragged the boys to the banks of the Euphrates with his wife still pleading for the children. Ibrahim boldly said,
“Harith, are you going to kill us?”
Harith replied, “Yes!” Ibrahim went on,
“In that case give us time to finish our morning prayers.”
The two boys said their prayers and then Ibrahim once again spoke in the powerful way so characteristic to the family of the Prophet (s).
“O man! Listen to me, behead not my younger bother before me for my mother when we parted from her last, handed him over to me. Oblige me thou by beheading me first.”
Before the sword came down on the first innocent, the boys were heard to cry out,
“Inna Lillahi wa inna Ilayhi Rajiun! O Allah we are coming to you. Give our Mother courage when she hears of our death and judge between us and our killers.”
In one stroke Harith’s sword came down to sever the protesting hands of his wife before it fell on Ibrahim’s neck beheading the older child. Ibrahim’s body was thrown into the waves and torrents of the river. The younger brother called out to it,
“O brother dear! Tarry thou a little, I also come with thee.”
The sword fell again, beheading the younger child before his body was also thrown into the river. It is said that the body of Ibrahim floated stationary in the waves until the body of Mohammad joined it and both floated away together.
Today there stands a mausoleum in memory of the two sons of Muslim b. ‘Aqil (peace be upon them) in Moosayab on the way to Kadhmayn about 10 miles from Karbala, Iraq.
This mausoleum bears two domes and contains the rawzas of the Tiflan-e-Muslim.
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