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The Day of the Tenth of Muharram

Imam Baqir says that on this day, the followers of Imam Husayn should offer condolences saying, "May Almighty God reward you on the massacre of Imam Husayn and make us all demanding his way with the Mahdi."

Imam Kadhim never smiled during these ten days.

At dawn on this day; the tenth of Muharram, Imam Husayn prayed the Fajr -Dawn- Prayer, then gave a sermon and said, "God has permitted us to fight on this day. We have to be brave and fight."

Then, he divided his small camp of eighty-two people, on horses and on foot. He made Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn in charge of the right flank and Habib Ibn Muzahir in charge of the left flank, while he and his family faced the front, and 'Abbas carried the flag.

'Umar Ibn Sa'd came with 30,000 troops, divided by quarters, they surrounded the camp. When Shimr saw the fire in the trench, he yelled, "O, Husayn! You hurried to the fire before the Day of Judgment!"

The Imam did not recognize him, and asked, "Who is this? It might be Shimr Ibn dhil-Jawshan."
His followers told him that it was Shimr, and the Imam said, "You are the one who deserves the fire."
Ibn 'Awsajah wanted to shoot Shimr with an arrow, but the Imam stopped him and said, "I do not want to start the fight."

Then, the Imam raised his hand to the sky and said "O God, You are my trust in all difficulties, my hope in all distress, You make every weakness into strength, when there is no friend and when enemies are many. You are the Protector and the Only Hope."

Then, he asked for his horse, got on it, and yelled very loud so everyone could hear him, "O people! Listen to me. Do not hurry to fight until I tell you my situation. If you accept it and become just in your decision, it would be better for you. If you reject it and do not accept and do not want to be just, then do what you want, I do not want you to be in doubt, and God is the Protector."

When the women heard him, they started crying and yelling. The Imam asked his brother 'Abbas and his son 'Ali al-Sajjad to comfort them. Then, he said:

"Praises to God and the Messenger of God, and all His angels. O, people! Fear God and be afraid of this world. No one would live in this world forever. If there were someone who could live forever, the Prophets would deserve that more than anyone. But all of them died. Everything of this world goes in vain. Be fearful of God in order to be successful.

O people! God has created this world so that it may be destroyed. The deceived person is the one who is deceived by this world. You are gathered here for a matter, which is not right. If you do what you do, you will bring the anger of God upon you. You believed in God and the Messenger of God, then you try to kill the children of His Messenger.

O, people! Tell me who I am, then look at yourselves and see. Is it allowed for you to kill me and dishonor my family? Am I not the son of the daughter of your Prophet? Am I not the son of his cousin, the first believer in God? Is Hamzah, leader of the martyrs, not the uncle of my father? Is Ja'far al-Tayyar not my uncle? Have you not heard the saying of the Messenger of God, when he said to my brother and me, 'These two are the masters of the youth of heaven?' If you say it is, which is true, and I have not lied since I realized that God does not like the liars. If you say you have not heard, if you think I am a liar, then ask those who are among you who have heard it."

He named a few of them by name and said, "Is that not enough for you to stop you from killing me?"

The Imam's words affected the soldiers. Shimr noticed this and saw that the soldiers wanted to hear more of the truth, so he addressed his own people and said, "This man does not know what he is saying."

Habib Ibn Muzahir said, "Indeed, by God, he knows what he is saying and he is truthful."

The Imam said, "Are you in doubt about what I am saying that I am the son of the daughter of your Prophet? Indeed, by God, there is no one in the East or the West who is the son of the daughter of your Prophet but me. Alas, do you want to kill me because I have killed any of your people? Have I killed anyone from you? Have I confiscated any of your wealth or killed any of your people?"

The soldiers did not reply.

The Imam then named Shibth, Hajjaj, Qays, and Zayd Ibn Harith and said, "Did you not write to me saying: Come to our land, all of the land is green and all the people are waiting for you?"

They answered, "No. We did not."

The Imam said, "Indeed, by God, you did."

He turned to the rest of the troops and said, "O, people! If you do not like me, then let me leave to some other place."

Qays Ibn al-'Ash'ath said, "Why do you not obey the rule of your cousins (the Umayyads)' Indeed, they do not show you but what you wish for and they will not harm you."

The Imam replied, "You are their brother. Indeed, by God, I am not going to give my hand to you in humiliation and I am not going to submit to you like a slave. O people! I made my point clear to you and God is the Witness."

Then, a group of them advanced suddenly towards the Imam's camp. Ibn Hawzah said three times,

"Who is Husayn"

The followers of the Imam said, "Here is Husayn. What do you want from him?"

Ibn Hawzah said, "You will go to hell, Husayn!''

The Imam said, "You are a liar. I will arrive to a Forgiving Lord. And who are you?"

They told him it was Ibn Hawzah. Then, the Imam raised his hand and said, "O God! Please send him to the fire."

Ibn Hawzah became very angry. Suddenly, as his horse charged, he fell and was trampled into pieces by his own horse. When this happened, some of the soldiers realized that they were fighting on the wrong side.

Next, Zuhayr Ibn al-Qayn went forward alone and gave a speech: "O people of Kufah! We are all from the same religion and the same city. We did not start the fighting and when the fight starts it will never end until death. I am calling you to help the grandson of the Prophet and abandon Yazid and his followers. You are not going to see anything good from Yazid and his followers. You have seen what he has done to good people such as Hijr Ibn 'Edi, Hani Ibn Urwah and others. O, people! The People of the House of the Prophet deserve loyalty more than anyone else. I warn you of killing the best of the people around you!"

Suddenly, Shimr shot him with an arrow and said, "Silence! You talk too much!"

Zuhayr answered, "I was not talking to you. You are an animal. You do not even know one word of the Holy Qur'an. You deserve humiliation on the Day of Judgment." Shimr said, "God is going to kill you and your friends within the hour."

Zuhayr responded, "Death for His cause is the best."

The Imam sent someone to bring Zuhayr back. Then, Burayr Ibn Khuthayr asked permission from the Imam to go next and warn the army of the evils of killing those who do not deserve it. He was a very old man. He went near the army and said, "O people! God has sent Muhammad as a warner and a bringer of good news and a caller to God. Here is the water of the Euphrates. Pigs and dogs drink from it but the People of the House of the Prophet are not allowed to?"

The troops answered, "Do not talk too much. Husayn has to die of thirst and he is not going to get any water."

Burayr replied, "The People of the House of the Prophet are here with you! What are you trying to do?"

They said, "We want to take them to the governor Ibn Ziyad and he will decide to do whatever he wants."

Burayr said, "If you forgot your letters and your promises, then let him go back wherever he wants."
Some of them said, "We do not know what you are talking about." When they tried to shoot arrows at him, he came back to Imam Husayn.

The Imam went out to them a second time, carrying a Qur'an, and said, "O, people! Between you and me are this Qur'an and the tradition of my grandfather."

He asked them again, "What do you want from me?"

They said, "We want you to obey Ibn Ziyad, the governor."

The Imam expressed his anger, and then answered, "Woe unto you! You asked us to come to help you and we came. When we came to you, you turned your swords against us. Now, you are calling us to go and obey those who are against the Holy Qur'an; those who change the truth; those who are instruments of Satan; those who are trying to extinguish the tradition of the Prophet.

Woe unto you! How could you turn against us and help them? Indeed, by God, this is betrayal and one of your old characteristics. You are the worst fruits. Indeed, the son of the bastard has given me two choices: fighting or humiliation. Humiliation is not possible for God and his Messengers nor would the believers allow that to happen, so I have no choice but to fight with this family, few in number, and with no helpers. But, you have to remember you will not remain honorable after this."

Then, the Imam turned his hands to heaven and said, "O God! Prevent the rain from these people and put them under the sovereignty of someone from Thaqif who would show them what kind of humiliation they have brought to us."

Then he said to 'Umar, "You think you are going to get the governorship of Ray. I tell you are not going to get that, but your head will be a foot ball for the children of Kufah."
When Hurr al-Riyahi heard the Imam's speech, he went to 'Umar Ibn Sa'd and asked, "Are you serious in fighting this man?"

'Umar answered, "Yes. I am going to fight until their heads and hands are cut off."

Hurr said "What is wrong with what he proposes to you?"

'Umar said, "If it was up to me, I would have accepted, but your governor refuses any compromise."
Then, Hurr left him alone and went back to his position in the army. Qurrah was next to Hurr. Hurr turned his face to Qurrah and asked him, "Did you water your horse today?"
He replied, "No."

Hurr asked him, "Would you like to water him today?" And left him. Qurrah thought that he was going to water his horse.

When Hurr came closer to the camp of the Imam, another soldier asked, "Are you trying to fight against Imam Husayn?"

Hurr kept silent. Muhajir said, "I am puzzled. I thought you were the bravest person of Kufah. Now I see you hesitating. What is this hesitation for?"

Hurr answered, "I see myself between heaven and hell. I have to choose one over the other. Indeed, by God, I am not going to choose anything but heaven, even if I am set on fire!" And he immediately rushed towards Imam Husayn. He reversed his spear and his shield and lowered his head riding towards the Imam. As he came closer, he slowed down and when he reached the Imam, he said, "O God! I repent to you for what I have brought: misery to the hearts of the children of your Prophet. O, Aba Abdullah (Imam Husayn)! I am repenting. Is it accepted?"

Imam Husayn said, "Indeed, God accepts repentance." Then, he said to the Imam, "When I left Kufah, I heard someone saying: Hurr, you are going to heaven. And I did not know what he meant. Now I know."

He joined the Imam with a Turkish slave, then asked the Imam's permission to go and talk to the army of 'Umar. The Imam agreed.

Hurr went and yelled to them and said, "O, people of Kufah! You have called the Imam invited him to join you, then why have you gathered against him from every place? Why do you prevent him from leaving in the land of God and prevent him from drinking the water of the Euphrates, which every nation; Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians drink from? Even pigs and dogs drink from it freely, but you prevent the House of the Prophet from drinking the water?"

Then, the army shot at him with arrows and he came back to the camp of the Imam.

Adapted from the book: "Karbala & Ashura" by: "Ali Hussain Jalali"

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