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The Burial of al-Husayn (a.s.) - Part 1

Historians record that the Master of Martyrs (‘a) set up a tent on the battlefield,1 ordering those killed from among his companions and Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) to be carried to it.

Whenever a fresh martyr was brought, he (‘a), would say, “You have been killed just as the prophets and the families of prophets are killed.”2 He did so to everyone with the exception of his brother Abul-Fadl al-’Abbas (‘a), whom he left where he fell near the riverbank of the Euphrates.3
When ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d accompanied those whom he arrested of the custodians of the Message and left for Kufa, he left behind those who were described by the Commander of the Faithful (‘a) as the masters of martyrs in the life of this world and in the hereafter, an honour to which nobody ever preceded nor will anyone succeed them,4 lying on the sands incinerated by the sun and sought by the wild beasts of the desert.
Stabbing changed every sense of theirs
Except virtues, from all they are secure.

Among them was the Master of the Youths of Paradise who was in a condition that would split the hardest of the stones, yet divine lights were emanating from his corpse, and sweet scents were surrounding him from all directions.
A wounded one whose beauty the swords could not change,
Nor did they make of him something new
He was a moon and now he is the morning sun,
Since the hand of blood outfitted him with its garment.
His rays protect the eyes so
Whenever they try a path, I fancy it blocked,
And trees of lances give him shade,
So the heat refused to send him missive.

A man belonging to Banu Asad has narrated the following:
“Once the army had left, I came to the battlefield and saw light emanating from those corpses that were covered with blood yet smelled sweet scents.

I saw a terrifying lion walking between the amputated parts till he reached the Embodiment of Sanctity and the Sacrifice of Guidance. He rubbed himself on his blood and rubbed his body on his as he kept muttering and letting out a very strange sound. I was amazed. Never have I ever seen such a fierce lion abandon what would be for his likes nothing but a meal.

I hid among the marshes and kept watching to see what else he would do. I was more amazed when midnight came. It was then that I saw candles and heard voices that filled the earth with painful cries and wailing.”5
On the thirteenth day of Muharram, Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a) came to bury his martyred father (‘a), since only an Imam buries another Imam.6

This brings to memory a dialogue that once took place between Imam [‘Ali son of Musa] al-Riďa (‘a) and ‘Ali Ibn Abu Hamzah. The Imam [by way of testing the veracity of the man] (‘a) was asked, “Tell me: Was al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (‘a) an Imam?”

He (‘a) answered in the affirmative. The Imam (‘a) was again asked, “If so, then who took care of burying him?” ‘Ali (‘a) said, “‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn al-Sajjad (‘a) did.” Imam al-Riďa (‘a) in turn asked him, “But where was ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn at the time?”

‘Ali Ibn Abu Hamzah said, “He was jailed at Kufa inside Ibn Ziyad's prison, but he came out without their knowledge in order to bury his father then returned to the prison once he was through”

Imam al-Riďa (‘a) said, “Then the One Who enabled ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (‘a) to go to Karbala’ in order to take care of his [slain] father then return is the same One Who will enable the person entrusted with a similar task [meaning himself] to go to Baghdad [from Khurasan, northeast Iran] in order to take care of his father, and he is neither jailed nor confined.”
When al-Sajjad (‘a) came to the place, he saw Banu Asad assembled around the slain not knowing what to do. They could not identify the corpses especially since their killers had separated the heads from the bodies. Had it been otherwise, they could have inquired about them with the families and the tribes of those slain.

But he (‘a), informed them that it was his task to bury those pure bodies. He informed them of the names of the slain, identifying those who belonged to Banu Hashim from the rest. Crying and wailing rose, and tears filled the eyes of everyone present there and then. The ladies of Banu Asad loosened their hair in grief and beat their cheeks.
1. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 256. Ibn al-Athir, Al-Kamil, Vol. 4, p. 30. al-Mufid, Al-Irshad.
2. This is narrated on p. 211, Vol. 10, and p. 125, Vol. 13, of al-Majlisi's Bihar al-Anwar where al-Nu’mani's book Al-Ghayba is cited.
3. This is what a group of historians have recorded. Refer to p. 115 of my book Qamar Bani Hashim (Hayderi Press edition, Najaf).
4. Ibn Qawlawayh, Kamil al-Ziyarat, p. 219.
5. Sayyid Hashim al-Bahrani, Madinat al-Ma’ajiz, p. 263, chapter 127.
6. al-Mas’udi, Ithbat al-Wasiyya, p. 173. On p. 402 of my book Zayn al-’Abidin, I quoted the traditions proving that an Imam is not buried except by another Imam. Traditions do not reveal such a safeguarded mystery. Perhaps it is to be understood that the corpse of an infallible person, when journeying to the Supreme One, at the termination of his earthly life, is granted certain privileges such as nobody can come close to it unless he is one of his status. A case in point is how one particular person came close to the Seat of Divinity two bow's throw or even closer, arriving at a station from which even the Trusted One (Gabriel) kept his distance, leaving the Prophet (S) alone in the oceans of the divine domain. A claim put forth with regard to our Imams is not out of the ordinary, especially since, in all reality, they were created of the same substance [noor] from which Muhammad (S) was created.
They shared all the merits of their grandfather with the exception of Prophethood and consorts. Such is stated on p. 22 of Sulayman al-Hilli's book Al-Muhtadir (Najafi edition). Such mysteries cannot be realized by a human mind, and there is no way to deny them just because we cannot fully comprehend them unless they reach the limit of impossibility. Authentic traditions have stated that there are many unusual situations which surround the Imams (‘a), situations which other humans cannot emulate, such as bringing the dead back to life in the latter's original physical forms, their ability to see one another [despite the distance that separates them or the time], their bodies ascending to heavens, and their listening to the greetings of those who visit their gravesites.
All of this is endorsed by our mentor, al-Mufid, as stated on p. 84 of Al-Maqalat (Tehran edition), by al-Karakji in his book Kanz al-Fawa’id, by al-Majlisi on p. 373, Vol. 1, of his book Mir’at al-’Uqul, by Kashif al-Ghiťa’ on p. 51 of his book Manhaj al-Rashad, and by al-Nawari on p. 289, Vol. 1, of his book Dar al-Salam.
Adapted from: "Maqtal al-Husayn; Martyrdom Epic of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram"

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