The Martyrdom of Ali al-Akbar (a.s.)
Since none of the companions who fought with Hussain was spared, members of his immediate family got ready to make the ultimate sacrifice in a manner that was characteristic of the pedigree of the Prophet - sheer determination, unrivalled bravery, and scant regard to personal safety. They bade farewell to each other, The first to come forward was Abul Hassan Ali al-Akbar who was twenty seven years old. He took permission from his father, Hussain and mounted his horse and met in combat with the Kufans. A man from amongst the crowd shouted, "O Ali! You relate to Yazid - for his mother Layla was daughter of Maymoona daughter of Abi Sufyan - and we want to respect this relationship. We may grant you an amnesty and a refuge if you wish". He said "The kinship of the Apostle of God should be second to none." He pressed on proclaiming who he was.
Imam Hussain could not hold back his tears and shouted at Omar bin Sa'ad, "What has become of you? May Allah bereave you of your kindred as you have made me bereft of mine, and did not respect my relationship of the Prophet. May Allah set on you an adversary who will slay you in your bed." He then raised his hands to the sky and said, "0 Lord! Bear witness on those people for he who emerged to them is bearing a strong likeness to Your Prophet in all departments - resemblance of disposition, complexion, and logic. Hence we look at him when we crave to see Your Apostle. 0 Lord! Deprive them of the riches of the land, divide them, rend them asunder and turn them into smithereens. Never make the rulers be happy with them, for they sent for us so that they may support us but transgressed against us and killed us." He then recited Allah's words, "Surely, Allah chose Adam and Nuh and the descendants of Ibrahim and the descendants of Imran above the nations, offspring, one of the other, and Allah is Hearing Knowing".
Ali al-Akbar continued fighting. He killed all those who had the guts to meet him in duel. He killed scores of combatants.
Since thirst greatly contributed to his overstraining, he returned to his father to rest and complain of what thirst had done to him. Hussain cried, appealed for help and said, "You will soon meet your grandfather who will water you from his tumbler that you will never be thirsty again". He sucked his tongue to alleviate his predicament and gave him his ring to put in his mouth.
Ali returned to the battlefield happy to be told by his father that be would meet his grandfather, the Prophet. He delved into their ranks dispersing them. It seemed as though it were his grandfather, Imam Ali roaring in the battle ground fighting them. He killed more Kufans.
When the death toll mounted, Murra bin Munqidh al-Abdi made a pledge saying, "I shall bear all the sins of the Arabs, if I do not bereave his father." He ran his lance into his back and dealt him a blow on his head causing it to split. He embraced his horse which took him to the enemy camp where he was encircled by the troops who cut him into pieces.
On the brink of dying, he could muster a shout, "0 Aba Abdillah! Farewell. Here is my grandfather; from whose cup I have drunk. Never again I will be thirsty. He says that there will be a cup waiting for you". Hussain hurried to him bending on him, putting his cheek over Ali's and murmuring, "Life is no longer worth living after your departure. How dare they encroach on Allah and violate the sanctity of the Prophet. Alas! It is hard on your grandfather and your father that you call on them for help which they cannot provide".
He then scooped a handful of his pure blood and throw it to the sky; not a single drop fell to the ground! That is why in the visitation ceremony we used to address him, "May my parents be sacrificed for you as you were wrongfully slain; for your blood which ascended to the heavens, for your sacrifice before your father in anticipation of God's reward. Yet he parted with you in extreme heart rending situation when he threw your blood to the sky as an offering and none of it fell to the ground.."
Hussain ordered his youth to carry his body to the tent, where the free females of the household of the Apostle of God gathered around him crying, wailing beating their breasts, and plucking their hair. Zainab al-Kubra (Senior), the pick of Bani Hashim threw herself on his body cuddling it for she saw in his demise her waning strength, the departure of the protector of her privacy and honour, and the crumbling of the buttress of her house.
Adapted from the book: "Tale of Hussain's Martyrdom" translated by: "Najim al-Khafaji"
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