The Night before the Tenth of Muharram
- :Ali Hussain Jalali
This was the worst night for the People of the House of the Prophet. Women and children cried, the children screamed for water, and everyone was getting ready for the morning.
Suddenly, Burayr said a joke to Ibn 'Abdul Rahman al-Ansari. 'Abdul Rahman said, "This is not the time for joking around."
Burayr stopped laughing and said, "God knows I am not a joker, but I am happy that we are going to prove our faith tomorrow, and the time has come."
Habib Ibn Muzahir started laughing and Ibn al-Hamdani said, "This is not the right time for laughing."
Habib laughed and said, "This is the best time for laughing! We are so close to entering Heaven!"
They all started to devote themselves to prayer. The Imam was repeatedly reading, "And let not those who disbelieve think that whatever we increase for them is the best for them. Indeed, we increase it for them so they increase in sin. And they have a humiliating punishment." 1
One of the guards heard the Imam and said, "We are the best."
Burayr replied, "O outlaw! If you were the best, you would be with the grandson of the Prophet of God. Repent from your sins and join us."
The man mocked him and said, "No, I am just a witness."
It is reported that on this night, thirty-two people joined the Imam's camp when they saw that the Imam and his followers were reading the Holy Qur'an and praying and devoting themselves to God.
The Imam recited a poem:
"O life! How many friends you have in the morning,
That you leave in the evening.
Some are dead, some are alone, and no one is replaced.
Everything is up to God.
Only He remains forever."
When the Imam's son 'Ali al-Sajjad heard his father reciting this poem twice, he realized that there was no hope for peace with the army.
When Zaynab heard the poem, she cried and said, "Today my mother and my father and brother died."
The Imam immediately faced her and tried to comfort her, saying, "O sister! Be patient. You know that everyone dies. People on the earth die, people in the heavens die, no mortal remains forever."
Then, he said to his sister and his daughters and the women of the camp, "When I die, do not tear your clothes, do not harm your faces, or speak any nonsense." And he told them to follow 'Ali al-Sajjad as their leader.
Then, he ordered all of his followers to attach their tents to each other, so they can face the enemy in only one direction. He also said to dig a trench behind the tents and ordered to make a fire in it when the attack starts, so the horses of the enemy cannot attack from behind.
Later in the night the Imam went to scout the area. Nafi' followed him. The Imam asked him, "Why did you come after me?"
He said, "I was worried that they might attack you in the darkness."
The Imam said, "I came to make sure there are no hidden assassins around here."
Then he took Nafi's hand and said, "Nafi', there is only one soul and one life. We are going to die tomorrow. Look, there is nobody between these two hills here, why do you not run away?"
Nafi' fell down to the feet of the Imam and asked, "Why do you not want me to stay with you at this moment? By God! I am not going to leave you until I die here with you!"
Then, the Imam went to the tent of Zaynab. Nafi' followed him and overheard the conversation between them. Zaynab asked him, "Have you talked to your followers? Are you sure they are going to remain loyal to you?"
Imam Husayn said, "I have tested them, I found no one among them but the bravest of their tribes. Each of them wants to die for this cause like an infant who wants milk from his mother. When Nafi' heard that, he cried and went and told Habib what he heard.
Habib said, "Indeed, by God, we do not want to do anything without his permission. If we did not need his permission I would have been the first to die!"
Nafi' said, "I see all of the women are in one voice with him."
Habib called all of the men together and told them what Nafi' told him. All replied in the same way, that each of them wants to be first to be killed, but they do not want to act without the Imam's permission, and they assured Habib that they would not do anything contrary to the Imam's decision. Habib suggested that they all go to the women and express their attitude. When all went to the tent and expressed themselves, all of the women started to wail and cry.
Just before dawn, the Imam started to get sleepy. When he woke up, he said, "I saw my grandfather in my dream and he said: You are the martyr of this nation and tomorrow you will be with me."
Adapted from the book: "Karbala & Ashura" by: "Ali Hussain Jalali"
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