Rafed English

The General Rites of Remembrance which Occurred Spontaneously in Kufa

When the column of prisoners with the heads of the martyrs arrived in Kufa they were met by what could now be termed 'a popular reception'.

Throughout the weeks of tribulation Kufa had been living on its nerves. The beginning had been represented by Muslim ibn' Aqil with his extraordinary success and then his dreadful end. It had watched the army being despatched to Karbala'. It had suffered the pains and oppression of the martial law which dominated it during the weeks of tribulation. Now it had to come to see the result of the treachery by its leaders, the desertion by its inhabitants and the tyranny of its rulers.

Kufa met the women of the Prophet's family who expressed their bitterness and their misfortune in speeches which they addressed to the groups of people who had come to meet them. Imam Zayn al-'Abidin 'Ali ibn al-Husayn spoke to them in a similar way.

The historians have described the effect which these speeches had on the people. They have mentioned the effect of the speech of Imam 'Ali ibn al-Husayn: '... The voices of the people were raised in weeping from every side. Some were saying to others "You have been destroyed while you did not understand."'

As for the effect of the speech of Zaynab, they have reported: 'Someone who heard it said: "By God, I have never seen a diffident lady speak more eloquently than her. It was as if she had borrowed the tongue of the Commander of the faithful, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib. By God, she had not finished speaking before the people were in a turmoil of weeping. They became utterly distracted with grief and dropped whatever they were holding at the horror of this black tribulation."'

The historians report about the effect of Umm Kulthum's speech with the words: 'The people were in a turmoil of weeping and lamentation. The women loosened their hair and covered their faces with dust. They scratched their faces and struck their cheeks. They prayed for woe and destruction. The men wept. I have never seen more men and women weeping than I saw on that day.'

Of the effect of the speech of the young Fatima, they said, '... A little before the end of her speech, the Kufans raised their voices in weeping and lamentation. They said: "Enough, O Daughter of the best of men. Our hearts have become enflamed and our bodies have been set on fire." So she fell silent.'

Adapted from the book: "The Revolution of al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din"

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