Rafed English

The Imam Husayn's (a.s.) Brother, 'Abbas

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

When 'Abbas saw the situation, he gathered his brothers; 'Abdullah, 'Uthman, and Ja'far, and all of them decided to fight before him. Then, when 'Abbas came and asked permission to fight, the Imam said, "Instead of fighting, go and bring some water for the children."
'Abbas went towards the troops and spoke, "O, 'Umar Ibn Sa'd! This is Husayn, grandson of the Messenger of God. You have killed all of his followers and relatives. His children and his women are thirsty. Let them have water. He is asking to leave this land for you and go to Rome or India."
His speech affected the soldiers and some of them cried. Shimr replied, "If the earth is all filled with water, we would not let you drink one drop of it, unless you come to the allegiance of Yazid."
When 'Abbas went back to tell his brother the Imam, he heard the children's cries for water. Then, he took his horse and a water skin and headed towards the river. Four thousand soldiers surrounded him and shot arrows at him, but he did not care. He went straight to the river, carrying the Liwa al-Hamd, the flag of the Prophet Muhammad during wars, which Imam Husayn inherited.
When he reached the river, because he was so thirsty, he took a handful to drink, but then he remembered that the Imam and his children were still thirsty, he let the water drop back into the river and said:
"I do not want life after Imam Husayn.
Imam Husayn and the women and children are thirsty,
And I cannot drink while they are thirsty.
This is not the order of my religion to do so!"
He filled the water skin and headed back to the camp. When the enemy blocked him, he killed many of them saying:
"I do not care about death.
My life is to protect the life of the Imam!"
Zayd Ibn Ruqad was hiding behind a palm tree, and suddenly came out, swinging his sword and cutting off 'Abbas's right hand.
'Abbas said:
"If you cut my right hand
I am going to continue protecting my religion
And a true Imam,
The descendant of the Prophet!"
He did not care about his hand because he wanted to get the water back for the children. Another soldier, Hakim Ibn Tufayl, was also hiding, and he came out and cut 'Abbas's left hand. Then, they surrounded him, and the arrows reached the water skin and the water began to leak out. When 'Abbas noticed this, his heart sank and he could not bear to return back to the camp without any water.
One arrow pierced his chest, and a soldier hit his head with a tent pole. 'Abbas fell down and said, "To you, from me, Peace! O, Imam!"
The Imam immediately rushed to him and said, "Now my back is broken and I have no choice!"
The Imam did not take the body with the others. He left it there and left alone, crying, wiping his tears with his sleeve, and saying, "Is there not anyone to help us? Is there not anyone to give us shelter? Is there not anyone who fears the Fire of God?"
Sukaynah, his daughter, came to him and asked about her uncle 'Abbas. Zaynab came to take her away, and they all started crying heavily. The only one remaining was Imam Husayn. The Imam looked around and saw no one left.
He looked at his family and his children and said, "Is there anyone to take care of the family of the Prophet? Is there anyone who fears God? Is there anyone to help us?"
The children and women cried, weeping and wailing loudly. 'Ali al-Sajjad was very sick, but he got up and took his sword to fight. The Imam said to Umm Kulthum, "Do not let him participate. If he dies, no one will carry the message."
Then he gathered all of his children and family and said, "You must be quiet."
He changed his clothes to the old clothes of the Prophet, changed his sword to the sword of the Prophet, and said, "I am going to be killed, and I do not want anybody to take these old clothes from me." Then, he asked for his infant child. Zaynab brought him with his mother Rabab. He kept the child on his lap, kissed him, and said, "Woe to the army!"
He took the child with him to the army, held up the child so everyone could see, and said, "If you want to fight with me, this child has no sin for you to fight against him. Take him and give him water."
The army people were talking, some saying yes, some saying no. 'Umar turned to his slave, Harmalah, and said, "Finish this matter! Now!"
Harmalah shot a three-pointed arrow at the heart of the baby, and it died while it was in the Imam's hands. The Imam caught some of the baby's blood in his cupped hand and threw it into the sky, saying, "O, God! You are witness to what they have done!"
Then, the Imam came off his horse and dug a grave with his sword on the spot and buried the baby.
Then, the Imam climbed back onto his horse, rode towards the enemy, and said, "I am Husayn, son of 'Ali. Anyone who wants to fight me, come on!"
Ibn Yaghuth said, "I could not believe that someone with so many of his followers and relatives killed could still be so firm in his decision."
When the Imam started to charge towards them, the army ran away from him, so 'Umar said, "This is a brave man of the Arabs. You cannot fight him one by one. Surround him on all sides!"
Four thousand arrows were shot at the Imam. He stopped and said, "O, followers of Abi Sufyan! If you do not believe in any religion, and you do not fear the Judgment, then be free in this world. [At least think for yourselves] Go and examine yourselves, if you are Arabs as you claim."
Shimr said, "What are you saying, O, son of Fatimah?"
The Imam said, "I am the one who fights with you, the women have done nothing wrong. Do not let your army attack the women."
Shimr agreed, and they started to attack him. The Imam fought the four hundred that were guarding the river, and he entered the river. His horse wanted to drink from the river, and the Imam said to his horse, "I am thirsty and you are thirsty, but I will not drink until you drink."
The horse looked up at the Imam, showing that he understood. The Imam went to scoop some water, and somebody said, "You drink water while your women are taken slaves?"
The Imam dropped the water and rode back to the tents. He gathered everyone together for one last time and said, "You must be patient, and be prepared for the difficulties of the future. Know that God will protect you and rescue you from your enemies. You should not give up hope. Your enemy will be punished with a severe punishment. Do not complain and do not say things that make you look weak. Be prepared for difficulties."
When the Imam wanted to ride away on his horse, everyone came and clung to him saying something, and he and Zaynab tried to comfort everyone. He looked at little Sukaynah and said, "You have much crying to come... do not cry for me now."
While the Imam was saying goodbye to his family, 'Umar said to his army, "Take advantage of his being busy with his family and attack him. If he leaves them, you cannot overcome him!"
Suddenly, arrows began to fly and the children and women ran to take cover. The Imam clenched his fingers around his sword and went after the troops, killing everyone that came in his way and repeating the phrase "There is no help but from God!"
Shimr said, "You are not going to drink water until you enter hell."
The Imam said, "O, God! Make him die of thirst."
Abu al-Hutuf shot an arrow that hit the Imam in his forehead. The Imam removed it from his head and threw it aside, saying, "O God! Do not leave any of them on this earth and never forgive them." And he said in a very loud voice, "This is the worst treatment you are giving the People of Muhammad! I will be killed by you, but God is going to take revenge on you!"
One of them asked, "What kind of revenge do you think God will take?" The Imam said, "Some of you will kill others and the punishment of God will come pouring down on you."
The Imam continued chasing after them and they ran away until someone catapulted a large stone at him. The rock hit his forehead and blood dripped into his eyes. He wiped the blood, and someone shot a three-pointed arrow that pierced his chest, near his heart.
The Imam said, "In the name of God, and by God, and by the religion of the Messenger of God!" And he pulled the arrow out from his back, which was pouring with blood. He was so weak that he could not walk. Malik Ibn Nasr came and cursed the Imam and hit him on the head with a sword. The Imam said, "May you never eat by your hand until you join the unjust people."
The Imam fell down on the ground and was not able to get back up. Suddenly, they saw a child (Muhammad Ibn Abi Sa'id Ibn 'Aqil Ibn Abi Talib) run towards the Imam and drop himself on the Imam to protect him. The Imam told him, "You have to be patient. Go join the women. Do not stay here."
Before he could get away, an arrow killed the child.
It became easy to kill the Imam. He had no one to help him, and he himself lost so much blood; therefore, he was too weak to stand. But, no one wanted to start the murder of the grandson of the Prophet of God. They surrounded him and just stood there, looking at him, and the Imam just lay there, looking back at them. Shimr yelled, "Why are you looking at him? What do you expect him to do? If he were able to fight you, he would have. Finish him now that he is wounded!"
Zur'a hit the Imam's left shoulder with his sword. Hosayn ibn Numayr shot an arrow into his throat, another soldier hit him on his chest, and Sinan speared him on his collarbone, then another in his chest, then another in his throat. Salih Ibn Wahab hit the Imam on his side.
The Imam lay on the ground bleeding and looking up at the soldiers. They stood, looking. The Imam asked for water and they refused to give him any. One of them said, "You will not get any water until you get to hell!"
The Imam asked, "Am I going to hell while my grandfather is the Prophet of God, and I am going to tell him what you have done to me?" He raised his hands to the sky and said, "O God! I am in need of you and ask help from you, and rely only on you. O God! Judge between us and these people who invited us then turned against us and killed us. O God! I am patient on whatever is written for me."
Ever since the Imam fell off his horse, the horse did not leave the scene, and kept circling around the body of the Imam.
'Umar said, "This horse is one of the best Arabian horses. You have to fight with the horse!"
The horse, by itself, killed forty men and ten horses. Then 'Umar said, "Do not kill him! Let us see what he is going to do."
So, they left him alone, and he went back to the Imam, sniffed his body, whinnied very loudly, and went back to the tents. When the women and children saw the horse they realized that the Imam was dying. Umm Kulthum and Zaynab and others yelled, "We wish if the heaven and earth were not there!"
'Umar sent a group of his army, and the Imam was still struggling.
Zaynab called 'Umar and said, "The Imam is killed and you are watching?" And he cried. She said, "Is there any Muslim among you?" But nobody replied to her.
'Umar called his army and said, "Go down there and finish him. Shimr went to the Imam, kicked his leg, sat on his chest, took hold of his beard, and stabbed him with his sword twelve times. Then, he cut off the Imam's head.
After that, the soldiers came forward to loot the Imam's belongings from his body. Ibn Hayway took his shirt. Ibn Marthad took his turban. Ibn Khalid took his shoes. Ibn Khal took his sword. Bajad wanted his ring, but he could not get it off, so he cut off the Imam's finger just to get the ring. Qays took his velvet Qatifa. Ja'wunah took his old clothes. Rahil took his bow. Then, they left the headless bodies to rot in the desert.

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