The Tragedy of Kerbala II : Imam Hussain's Martyrdom
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The Tragedy of Kerbala II : Imam Hussain's Martyrdom
In The Name Of Allah,The Most Compassionate, The Merciful
O Allah! Send your blessings to the head of your Messengers and theLast of your Prophets Muhammad (saw),and his pure and cleansed progeny.
The Commemoration of Imam Hussains ( as ) has been observed by the followers of Ahl al Bayt ( members of the House of the Prophet ( saw ) ) for centuries; yet many Muslims resent it, thinking that this would divide or increase the division of the Muslims. To my understanding this argument is unsound for the following reasons :-
- Imam Hussain and his opponent Yazeed are on the opposite ends of the Heavenly Scale. There is no Muslim School that doubts the purity and qualification of the Imam. Righteous Muslims also know that Imam Hussain is a dear grandson of the Prophet Muhammad ( saw ), and that he is a leader of the youth of the paradise. On the other hand, Yazeed is unacceptable to any Muslim, and every Mulsim condemns him, and will continue to do so, for his transgression and for the crimes he committed against the Ahl al Bayt. With such a clear distinction there should be no confusion among the Muslims on account of the commemoration of this great Imam. No Muslim party should be angered by hearing the truth about the great Imam and his opponent Yazeed!
- Imam Hussain and the rest of the Ahl al Bayt did not receive in their lives the fairness and respect due to them on the part of the Muslims, while the rest of the Companions of the Prophet ( saw ) received of that as much as they deserved ( or more ). The members of the House of the Messenger were denied even the right to live or feel safe. The Muslims, should therefore try to correct the mistake of history by uncovering the virtues of these distinguished people.
- To keep the names of these people alive is in the interest of the Muslims. The Messenger of God, Mohammad ( saw ), said when he was returning from his valedictory pilgrimage, while at Ghadir Khum:-
I am about to be called ( by the Lord to depart from this World ) and respond ( to His call ). I am leaving for You the Two Valuables ( one of them is bigger than the other ):The Book of God and the members of my House. Beware how you shall treat the two after me, because they will not part with each other until they join me on the Day of Judgement!
- Mustadrak of al Hakim, vol. 3 p 109Arabic Printed in Hyderabad 1334- Sahih of Tirmizi, vol. 2 p 307Arabic Printed in Cairo 1350-1352- Musnad of Ahmed Hanbal, vol. 3 p 14, 217 Arabic Printed in Cairo 1313- Khasais of al Nasai, p 30Arabic Printed in Najaf 1369- Sahih of Muslim, vol. 4 p 1286 hadith 5920English Printed in Lahore (Pakistan) 1992- ... and many many more
Thus honoring their memories and informing people about them would be in accord with the advice of the Messenger ( saw ), and would provide the Muslims with what they need of Guidance.
- The History of this great Martyr is a school for the seekers of the truth. Every Muslim can learn a great deal from the supreme sacrifice and the courage of the Imam. The Muslims are still living under similar conditions now as before. Corruption is still prevalent in our society, and tyrants, like Yazeed, are no rarity in Muslims and non - Muslim countries, but we don't have men like the Imam Hussain. Fortunately, this commemoration is providing the Muslim World with some of his excellent students.
On the death of Muawiya, when Imam Hussain (as) refused to pledge his allegiance to Yazeed, he went to the tomb of his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (saw, pbuh&hf). He worshipped there for the most of the night, and also slept there for a while, in his dream he saw the Messenger of Allah, May Allah bless him and his cleansed progeny, surrounded by angels. The Prophet (saw, pbuh&hf) embraced him and said:
My beloved Hussain, I foresee you when you will be, in the very near future, covered with your blood, slain at the land of Karballa, while thirsty, being deprived of water. This will be done to you by people who claim that they are from my followers.
Imam Hussain (as) in his dream looked at his grandfather and said:
My grandfather, I ask you to admit me into your grave. I do not desire to go back to the earthly world.
The Messenger of Allah (saw, pbuh&hf) answered him:
My beloved Hussain, there are degrees which you will not acquire except through martyrdom.
Before he departed to Iraq, he uttered the following words:
I am as eager to join my ancestors as Jacob was eager to join Yousef. I visualize my body being dismembered by the wolves of the desert which shall fill from my flesh their empty abdomens and hungry stomachs. The pleasure of God is our pleasure. We are patient at His trial and he gives us the reward of the patient. (Men from) the flesh of the Messenger of God will never part with him. They will join him on the Day of Judgement, and he will be very pleased by the reunion.
According to Hisham b. Muhammad (al Kalbi) - Abu Mikhnaf: Yazid succeeded at the beginning of the month of Rajab in the year 60 (April 8, 680). Al Walid b. Utbah b. Abi Sufyan was governor of Medina, al Numan b. Bashir al Ansari of al Kufah, Ubaydallah b. Ziyad of al Basrah, and Amr b. Said b. al as of Mecca. Yazid's only concern, when he assumed power, was to receive the oath of allegiance from the individuals who had refused to agree with Muawiyah's demand for this oath of allegiance from Yazid. Muawiyah had summoned the people to give an oath of allegiance to him that Yazid would be his heir. Yazid's concern was to bring their attitude to an end.
When he wrote to al Walid, he wrote to him on a patchment as small as a rat's ear:
Seize Husayn, Abdallah b. Umar, and Abdallah b. al Zubayr to give the oath of allegiance. Act so fiercely that they have no chance to do anything before giving the oath of allegiance. Peace be with you.
Therefore, al Walid sent in the night for al Husayn, peace be on him, and summoned him (to attend). Al Husayn, peace be upon him, was aware of what he wanted and so he called a group of his retainers and ordered them to carry arms.
Imam Hussain, peace be upon him, said:
Al Walid has summoned me (to come to him) at this time (of night). I cannot be sure that he might not burden me with a matter I may be unwilling to respond, he is unpredictable man, so remain with me. When I go to him, sit at the door. If you hear my voice raised, come in to prevent him from (doing anything to) me.
Al Husayn, peace be upon him, went to al Walid, and Marwan b. al Hakam was with him. Al Walid gave him news of the death of Muawiya and al Husayn replied with the formula:
We belong to God and to Him we will return.
Then al Walid read out Yazid's letter and his order to get the pledge of allegiance from him. Then al Husayn said to al Walid:
I do not see that my pledge of allegiance to Yazid in private would be sufficient. Wouldn't you prefer me to give it in public so that people are aware?
Indeed, said al Walid
So see what you think about that in the morning, suggested al Husayn, peace be on him.
Go, then, in the name of God but come to us when the people gather, said al Walid.
By God, interrupted Marwan, if al Husayn leaves you now without giving the pledge of allegiance, you will never have the same power over him until there is a great number of slain men between you and him. Imprison the man and don't let him leave you until he has paid homage (to Yazid), or you have executed him.
At that al Husayn jumped up and said:
O son of a foreign woman, would you or he kill me? By God you are a liar.
With that he went out and walked away accompanied by his retainers until he reached his house.
You disobeyed me, Marwan told al Walid, No by God he will never give you the same opportunity over his life. Then blame someone other than yourself, said Marwan Replied al Walid: Indeed, you had chosen for me something which would have involved the destruction of my own faith. By God, I would not want all the worldly wealth and dominion which the sun rises and sets over, (if it involved) killing al Husayn. Glory be to God, should I kill al Husayn because he said 'I will not swear allegiance" By God, I do not think that on the Day of Resurrection a man who is (responsible) for the blood of al Husayn (will weigh) little in the scale of God."
Al Husayn, peace be upon him, spent that night at his house. It was the night of Saturday when there were three days left on the month of Rajab in the year 680. Al Walid b. Utba was occupied with sending to Ibn al Zubayr about the pledge of allegiance to Yazid, and with his refusal to come to them. Ibn al Zubayr left Medina at night heading for Mecca. In the morning al Walid sent men after him, he sent a party of eighty horse men under the command of a retainer of the Banu Umayya. They pursued him but did not catch up with him, so they returned.
Towards the end of Saturday he sent men to al Husayn, peace be upon him, to bring him to pledge allegiance to al Walid on behalf of Yazid b. Muawiya. Al Husayn peace be upon him, said to them:
Come in the morning. Then you will have time to consider the situation and so shall we.
They left him that night without insisting upon him. He, peace be upon him, left under the cover of the night, it was the night of Saturday night with two days left in the month of Rajab, and he headed towards Mecca accompanied by his sons, his brother's (al Hasan's) sons and his brothers. There was most of the House except for Muhammad b. al Hanafiyya, may God have mercy on him.
When the latter had heard of his decision to leave Medina, he did not know where he was intending to go. He said:
My brother, you are the most loveable of people to me and the most dearest of them to me. I could not give advice to any creature except to you while you are more entitled to it.
Avoid giving your pledge of allegiance to Yazid b. Muawiyah and avoid the towns while you can. Then send your messengers to the people and summon them to (follow) you. If the people pledge allegiance to you, God will not make your religion nor your reason deficient in that account, nor will He remove your manliness and outstanding merit because of it. Yet I am afraid that you will enter one of these towns and the people will differ with each other: a group will be for you and another against you. Then, the best of all this community, in person, in father and in mother, would be the one in it, whose blood was terribly exposed and whose family was most humiliated.
Where should I go, asked al Husayn, peace be upon him.
Go and stay at Mecca, he answered, if that base is secure for you, it will be means for gaining power. However, if it becomes dangerous for you, then you can take to the deserts and the mountain peaks, and move from place to place so that you may see how the people's attitude to the affair develops. Your best judgement will be made when you are facing matters directly.
Brother, replied, al Husayn, peace be upon him, you have given advice and shown concern. I hope that your judgement is correct and lucky.
Al Husayn, peace be upon him, left for Mecca reciting:
Then he left it out of fear while he kept on the lookout. He said: My Lord, save me from the unjust people. [XXVIII 21 ]
He kept to the high road and the members of the house suggested:
If you had avoided the high road like Ibn al Zubayr did, the search party could not follow you.No by God, he replied, I will not leave until God judges what He will judge.
When al Husyan, peace be upon him, entered Mecca, his entry occurred on the night of Friday (i.e Thursday), 3rd of the month of Shaban. As he entered, he recited:
And when he set out towards Madyan, he said: Perhaps my Lord will guide me in the right path. [ XXVIII 22 ]
Then he stayed there and its inhabitants began to visit him frequently, as did those who had some to make the lesser pilgrimage and other people from far and wide. Ibn al Zubayr had settled himself there, near the Ka'ba, where he used to stand in prayer and perform the circumbulation. He came to visit al Husayn, peace be upon him, with the others who came to visit him. He used to come to him at intervals of two consecutive days, and sometimes between the two day interval. He was the most troublesome of God's creatures to Ibn al Zubayr, who realized that the people of Hijaz would not pledge allegiance to him as long as al Husayn, peace be upon him, was in the land. He was more capable of commanding the people's obedience than him, and was more respected.
In response to the messages that Imam Hussain received from the people of Iraq, asking him to come to them and pledging their full support and promise to die in his defense, that goes as follows
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate To al Husayn b. Ali, peace be upon them From Sulayman b. Surad, al Musayyib b. Najaba Rifa'a b. Shaddad al bajali, Habib b. Muzahir and the believers and Muslims of his Shia among the Kufans.
Greetings, we praise God before you, other than Whom there is no deity. Praise be to God Who has broken your enemy, the obstinate tyrant who had leapt upon this community, stripped it of its authority , plundered its fay and seized control of it without its consent.
Then he had killed the choice members of it and had preserved the wicked members of it. He made the property of God a state (divided) among its tyrants and wealthy. He was destroyed as Thamud were destroyed. (Now) there is no Imam over us. Therefore come; through you, may your God unite us under truth. Al Numan b. Bashir is in the governors palace and we do not gather with him for the Friday (service).
Nor do we accompany him (out of the mosque) for the Festival service. If we learn that you will come to us, we will drive him away until we pursue him to Syria, if God the Exalted, wills.
Imam Hussain's (as) reply was as follows
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate From al Husayn b. Ali, To the leaders of the believers and the Muslims Hani and Said have brought me your letters; they are the last two of your messengers who have come to me. I have understood everything which you have described and mentioned. The (main) statement of your great men is: "There is no Imam over us.
Therefore come; through you, may God unite us under truth and Guidance." I am sending you my brother, Muslim b. Aqil, who is my cousin and my trustworthy (representative) from my House.
If he writes to me that the opinions of your leaders and the men of wisdom and merit among you is united in the same way as the messengers who have come to me have described and as I have read in your letters, I will come to you speedily, God willing. For by my life, what is the Imam except who judges by the Book, one who upholds justice, one who professes the religion of truth, and one who dedicates himself to the essence of God.
Al Husayn, peace be upon him, summoned Muslim b. Aqil and dispatched him with Qays b. Mushir al Saydawi and Umara b. Abd Allah al Saluli, and Abd Allah and Abd al Rahman, sons of Shaddad al Arhabi. He enjoined him to be pious before God and to conceal his affair, and to act in a kindly way. If he saw that the people were united and had committed themselves to an agreement, he should speedily inform him of that.
Muslim, the mercy of God be on him, departed until he came to Medina. There he prayed in the mosque of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, and said farewell to the dearest members of his family. Then he hired two guides. These two set out with him, but they missed the way and got lost. Both were struck by severe thirst and were unable to continue their journey. They indicated the path to him after it again appeared clear to them. Muslim carried on along the path and the two guides died of thrist. Muslim b. Aqil, the mercy of God be with them both, wrote a letter from the place known as al Madiq and sent it with Qays b. Mushir:
I set out from Medina with two guides and they missed the way and got lost. Both were overcome by thirst and soon died. But we kept going until we came to water. We were only saved at the last moment of our lives. That water is in a place called al-Madiq in a low valley. I have taken this as a bad omen for my mission. If you consider it so, you could relieve me and send another in my place.
Al-Husayn, peace be upon him, wrote (back):
I am afraid that your urging me in the letter to relieve you from the task which I sent you on is only cowardice. Therefore go on with your task which I gave you.
Muslim read the letter, he said: "It is not for myself that I am afraid." So he continued (once more) until he came to a well belonging to (the tribe of) Tayyi'. He stayed there (the night) then as he rode off (he saw) a man hunting. He saw him shoot a fawn as it came into his sight, and kill it. Muslim said: "(Thus), will we kill our enemies, God willing."
He went on until he entered Kufa. There he stayed in the house of al-Mukhtar b. Abi Ubayda, which is called today the house of Muslim b. al-Musayyib. The Shia began to come regularly to (see) him. Whenever a group of them gathered together with him, he would read the letter of al-Husayn, peace be upon him, and they would weep. The people pledged allegiance to him (on behalf of al-Husayn) to the extent that eighteen thousand men made such a pledge to him. Therefore Muslim wrote to al-Husayn, peace be upon him, informing him of the pledge of allegiance to him of the eighteen thousand and urging him to come.
The Shia began to visit Muslim b. Aqil so frequently that his place (of residence) became well-known. Al-Numan b. Bashlr, who had been Muawiya's governor of Kufa and had been confirmed in office by Yazid, knew of his where abouts. He went up on the pulpit and after praising God said: "Servants of God, fear God and do not rush into rebellion and discord. For in that men will be destroyed, blood will be shed, and property will be plundered. I do not combat anyone who does not combat me, nor do I disturb those of you who remain quiet. I do not oppose you, nor do I apprehend (you merely) on grounds of suspicion, accusation or hearsay. However, if you turn your faces away from me, violate your pledge of allegiance and oppose your Imam, by God, other than Whom there is no deity, I will strike you with my sword as long as its hilt remains in my hand, even though I do not have any of you to help me. Yet I hope that those among you who know the truth are more numerous than those whom falsehood will destroy."
Abd Allah b. Muslim b. Rabi'al al-Hadrami, an ally of the Banu Umayya stood before him and said: "O governor, what you see can only be adequately dealt with by violence; for the view which you hold about what (should be done) between you and your enemy is that of the weak."
"I would prefer to be one of the weak (while remaining) in obedience to God than to be one of the mighty (while at the same time being) in rebellion against God," answered al-Nu'man. Then he went down (from the pulpit).
Abd Allah b. Muslim went out and wrote the (following) letter to Yazid b. Mu'awiya:
Muslim b. Aqil has come to Kufa and Shia have pledged allegiance to him on behalf of al-Husayn b. Abi Talib, peace be on them. If you have any need for Kufa, then send it a strong man, who will carry out your orders and act in the same way as you would against your enemy. Al-Nu'man b. Bashir is a weak man, or he is acting like a weak man.
Umara b. Uqba wrote to him in a similar vein, as did Umar b. Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas. When the letters reached Yazid, he summoned Sarjun, a retainer (mawla) of Muawiya and asked (him): "What is your view (of the fact) that Husayn has sent Muslim b. Aqil to Kufa to receive pledges of homage on his behalf? I have (also) learnt that Numan is weak, and had other bad reports of him. Who do you think that I should appoint as governor of Kufa?"
Now Yazid was angry with 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad so Sarjun answered him, "Do you think, if Muawiya was alive and advising you, that you would take his advice?"
"Yes," he answered.
Sarjun produced a (letter of) appointment for 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad (as governor) of Kufa, and said: "This is the advice of Mu'awiya, which he ordered before he died. So join the two cities of Basra and Kufa (under the authority) of Ubayd Allah."
"I'll do that," replied Yazid. "I'll send the letter of authority (which my father wrote) for 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad to him."
After this he summoned Muslim b. 'Amr al-Bahili and he sent him to 'Ubayd Allah with the following (letter):
My Shia among the people of Kufa have informed me that Ibn 'Aqil is there gathering units in order to spread rebellion among the Muslims. Therefore, when you read this letter of mine, go to Kufa and search for Ibn Aqil as if you were looking for a bead until you find him. Then bind him (in chains), kill him or expel him.
In this way he gave him authority over Kufa. Muslim b. 'Amr went to Ubayd Allah at Basra and brought him the authorization and the letter. 'Ubayd Allah ordered that preparations should be made immediately and that the departure for Kufa would take place on the next day. He himself left Basra after he had made his brother, 'Uthman, his deputy. He took with him Muslim b. Amr, Sharik b. al- A'war al-Harithi, together with his entourage and household.
When he reached Kufa, he was wearing a black turban and he was veiled. News of al Husayn's departure had reached the people and they were expecting his arrival. When they saw Ubayd Allah, they thought that he was al-Husayn. He (i.e. Ubayd Allah) did not pass a group of people without them greeting him. They were saying: "Welcome, son of the Apostle of God, your arrival is a happy (event)."
He saw in their welcoming of al Husayn something which (greatly) troubled him. Muslim b. Amr said, when their number had become so great (that) they were delaying them: "This is the governor 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad."
He went on so that he was approaching the (governor's) palace at night. With him was (still) a great crowd who had gathered round him and who did not doubt that he was al-Husayn. Al-Numan b. Bashir had (the palace) bolted against him and against his entourage. One of those with him called on him to open the door to them. But al-Numan, still thinking that he was al-Husayn, went up to the balcony and called down: "I invoke God before you, unless you withdraw (from me), by God, I will not hand over my of fice (amana) to you but I have no wish to fight you."
(Ibn Ziyad) did not answer him. But he went closer while al- Nu'man was hanging over the balcony of the palace. Then he began to say to him: "Open, you have not opened yet and you have already had a long night (in which you have slept instead of governing).
A man behind him heard this and withdrew to the people from Kufa who had followed (Ibn Ziyad) (believing) him to be al-Husayn. He said: "O people, it is Ibn Murjana, by Him other than Whom there is no deity." Al-Numan opened the door for him and he entered. They slammed the door in the faces of the people and they dispersed.
In the morning the call was made among the people: "Al Salat jamia (the prayer is a general prayer which all should gather for)." The people gathered and he went out to them. He praised and glorified God and said: "The Commander of the faithful (Yazid) has appointed me to be in charge of your town and your frontier-station and the distribution of your booty (fay). He has ordered me to give justice to the oppressed among you, to be generous to those of you who are deprived, and to treat the obedient among you with generosity like a good father, but to use the whip and the sword against those who abandon my commanus and oppose my appointment. Let each man protect himself. True belief (sidq) should declare itself on your behalf, not the threat of punishment (wadis)."
Then he went down, he took the group leaders (arifs) and (some of) the people forcibly and he said: "Write to me about the strangers, those among you who supported the Commander of the faithful (i.e. 'Ali b. Abi Talib), those among you who support the Haruriyya (i.e. Kharijites), and the trouble-makers whose concern is discord and turmoil. Whosoever of you makes these lists for us will be free from harm. But those of you who do not write anyone, will have to guarantee that there is no opponent in his group (irifa) who will oppose us, and no wrongdoer who will try to wrong us. Anyone who does not do so, will be denied protection and his blood and his property will be permitted to us. Any group leader (arif) in whose group is found anyone with partisanship for the Commander of the faithful, who has not been reported to us, will be crucified at the door of his house, and I will abolish the pay (atal) of that group (irafa)"
When Muslim b. Aqil heard of the coming of Ubayd Allah to Kufa, of the speech he had made and his treatment of the arifs and (other) people, he left the house of al-Mukhtar and went to the house of Hani' b. Urwa and went in (to stay) there. The Shia began to visit Hani's house secretly to keep it hidden from Ubayd Allah and they enjoined that it should be kept secret.
Ibn Ziyad summoned a retainer (mawla) of his called Maqil. "Take three thousand dirhams," he told him, "and look for Muslim b. 'Aqil and search out his followers. If you get hold of one or a group of them, give them these three thousand dirhams. Tell them to use it to help in the war against your enemy. Let them know that you are one of them. For if you give them it, they will be sure of you and have confidence in you, and they will not keep any of their information from you. So go (looking) for them and continue until you find where Muslim b. 'Aqll is staying and you have met him."
He did that. He came (to a place where) he sat near Muslim b. Awsaja al-Asad; in the great mosque. The latter was praying, and he (Maeqil) heard some people saying that this (was one of those who) had pledged allegiance to al-Husayn. He went up and sat right next to him until he had finished praying.
"O servant of God," he said, "I am a Syrian whom God has blessed with love for the House and love for those who love them."
He pretended to weep (in front of) him. Then he continued: "I have three thousand dirhams with which I want to meet a man from them (the House) whom I have learnt has come to Kufa to receive pledges of allegiance on behalf of the son of the daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. I have been wanting to meet him but I have not found anyone who will direct me to him and I don't know the place (where he is staying). While I was sitting (here), I heard a group of the faithful saying that this is a man (i.e. Muslim b. Awsaja) who is acquainted with this House. Therefore I have come to you so that you may take this money from me and introduce me to your leader (sahib); for I am one of your brethren and someone you can trust. If you wish, you may receive my pledge of allegiance to him before my meeting him."
"I thank God for you meeting me," replied (Muslim) b. 'Awsaja, "and it gives me great joy to get (you) what you desire, and that God should help the House of His Prophet, peace be on them, through you. Yet the people's knowledge of my (connection) with this affair before it is finished troubles me, because of (my) fear of this tyrant and his severity."
"It would be better (if) you took the pledge of allegiance from me (now)," Maqil told him. So he took his pledge of allegiance and testaments heavily supported by oaths that he would be sincere and keep the matter concealed. He (Maqil) gave him whatever would make him content in that way.
"(Some to visit me at my house for (a few) days," said (Muslim b. 'Awsaja), "for I will seek permission for you (to visit) your master."
He began to go to visit him frequently with the people (i.e. the other members of the Shia) and sought permission for him (to visit). Permission was given and Muslim b. Aqil received (Maqils) pledge of allegiance. He told Abu Thumama al Saidi to take the money from him. The latter was the one who collected money from them and what could be used to help each other, and he used to buy their arms. He was a perceptive man and one of the knights (faris) of the Arabs and one of the notables of the Shi'a.
That man (i.e. Ma'qil) began to visit them regularly. He was the first to enter and the last to leave, in order to become acquainted with (everything of ) their affairs which Ibn Ziyad wanted. He used to keep him informed about that at regular intervals.
Hani' b. Urwa began to fear for himself and he stopped attending Ibn Ziyad's assembly (majlis). He pretended to be sick. Ibn Ziyad asked those who did attend, "Why is it I don't see Hani'?"
"He is sick." they replied.
"If I had been informed of his illness, I would have paid him a sick visit," said Ibn Ziyad. Then he summoned Muhammad b. al-Ashath, Asma' b. Kharija and 'Amr b. al-Hajjaj al Zubaydi. Ruwayha, daughter of 'Amr was married to Hani' b. Urwa, she was the mother of Yahya b. Hani'.
"What prevents Hani' from coming to visit us?" he asked them.
"We don't know," they replied, "but it is said that he is sick."
"I have learnt," replied (Ibn Ziyad), "that he is better and that he sits at the door of his house. Go and tell him that he should not abandon his duty towards us. For I do not like one of the Arab nobles like him to ill-treat me."
They went until they stood before his (house) in the evening. He was sitting at his door.
"What is stopping you from seeing the governor?" they asked.
"For he has mentioned you and said that if he had been told you were ill, he would have paid you a sick-visit."
"An illness has stopped me," he answered.
"He has been informed," they said, "that you sit at the door of your house every evening. He finds you tardy and tardiness and churlish behaviour are things which the authorities will not tolerate. We adjure you to ride with us."
He called for his clothes and got dressed. Then he called for a mule and rode (with them). When he got near the palace, he began to feel some apprehension. He said to Hassan b. Asma' b. Kharija,
"Nephew, by God, I fear this man. What do you think?"
"Uncle, by God, I do not fear anything for you. why do you invent a reason (for blame) against yourself?" he answered, for Hassan did not know why Ubayd Allah had sent for him. (So) Hani' went on until he came to 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. With him was a group (of people).
When he looked up, 'Ubayd Allah said (to himself): "The fool's legs have brought him to you." Then, when Hani' had drawn near Ibn Ziyad who had the qadi Shurayh, with him, Ibn Ziyad turned towards him and recited:
I want his friendship but he wants my death.
The one who makes excuses to you is one of your own bosom friends from the tribe of Murad.
He was referring to his earlier kindness and gentleness to him (Hani').
"What is that, governor?" asked Hani'.
"Yes, Hani', what are these matters which you have been plotting in your house against the Commander of the faithful and the general community of the Muslims?" asked Ibn Ziyad. "You have brought Muslim b. Aqil and taken him into your house. You have gathered arms and men for him in houses around you. You thought that was hidden from me."
"I have not done that and Muslim is not with me," he replied.
"Oh yes (you have)," was the answer.
After the argument between them had gone on for some time and Hani' persisted in contradicting and denying (the accusations), Ibn Ziyad summoned that spy, Maqil. He came and stood before him.
"Do you know this man?" (Ibn Ziyad) asked him.
"Yes," he replied.
At that (moment) Hani' realised that he had been a spy against them and had brought (Ibn Ziyad) all their information. For a moment he was bewildered, and then his spirit returned to him.
"Listen to me," he said, "and believe what I say. I swear by God that I do not lie. By God, I did not summon him to my house. I did not knowanything about his business until he came to me asking to stay with me. I was too ashamed to refuse him. As a result of that, the duty of giving (him) protection fell upon me. Therefore I gave him lodging and refuge. Then his affair developed as you have been informed. If you wish, I will give you strongly sworn testaments that I will not do you any harm and danger, and I will come to you and put my hand in your hand. If you wish, I will give you a guarantee which will be in your hand until I return to you. Then I will go to him and order him to leave my house for wherever in the land he wants to go. Then he will leave his right of protection."
"You will never leave me unless you bring him," answered Ibn Ziyad.
"No, by God, I will not bring him to you," (the other) declared.
After the argument between them had gone on for some time, Muslim b. 'Amr al-Bahih rose (to speak). There was no other Syrian or Basran in Kufa except him.
"May God make you prosper, governor," he interjected, "(please) leave me with him (for a time) so that I can speak to him." He arose and took him (Hani') aside from Ibn Ziyad. They were (standing) where he could see them and when they raised their voices, he could hear what they were saying.
"I adjure you before God, Hani'," said Muslim, "you are killing yourself and bringing tribulation on your clan. By God, I hold you too precious to be killed. This man is the cousin of (your) tribe so they will not fight against him, nor harm him. Therefore give him (i.e. Muslim b. Aqil) to them (the authorities). There will be no shame and failure for you by that for you would only be handing him over to the authorities."
"By God, indeed there would be shame and disgrace for me," answered Hani', "were I to hand over one who has come under my protection and is my guest, while I am still alive and sound. I can hear; I see well; I have a strong arm and many helpers. By God, if I was the only one without any helper, I would not hand him over until I had died on his behalf."
He began to shout at him saying: "By God, I will never hand him over to him."
Ibn Ziyad heard that. "Bring him to me," he said. They brought him. "Either bring him to me or I will have your head cut off," demanded Ibn Ziyad.
"Then there will be much flashing (of swords) around your house," replied Hani, thinking that his clan would prevent him (from being killed).
"Come near me," demanded (Ibn Ziyad). He came nearer and Ibn Ziyad struck his face with his cane and went on beating at his nose, forehead and cheeks so that he broke his nose and the blood flowed from it on to his face anal heard and the flesh of his forehead and cheeks was sprinkled over his beard. Eventually the cane broke. Hani' stretched out his hand towards the hilt of the sword of one of the armed attendants but the man pulled it away and prevented him.
"You have been behaving like one of the, Haruri (i.e. Kharijites) all day long!" yelled Ibn Ziyad, "so your blood is permitted to us. Take him away!"
They took him and threw him into one of the rooms in the building. They locked the doors on him. He had told them to put guards on him and that (also) was done. However Hassan b. Asma' arose and said: "Are (we) messengers of treachery now? For you told us to bring the man to you. yet when we brought him to you, you smashed his nose and face, and his blood flowed on his beard. Then you claimed that you would kill him."
"You will be for it here (and now)," cried 'Ubayd Allah and he ordered him to be struck, shaken, and pushed aside.
"We are satisfied with the governor's attitude on our behalf and against (those of ) us (who are wrong); the governor is only punishing (those who are wrong)," declared Muhammad b. al Ashath.
However when it was reported to Amr b. al-Hajjaj and he learnt that Hani' had been killed, he advanced with Madhhij and surrounded the palace. He had a great crowd with him.
"I am 'Amr b. al-Hajjaj," he called out, "and these are the knights of Madhhij, and their leading men. We have not broken away from obedience, nor have we separated from the community."
It had been reported to them that their colleague had been killed, and they regarded that as a great crime. Ubayd Allah was told that Madhhij were at the gate. He told the qadi Shurayh: "Go in to their colleague, look at him and then go out and inform them that he is still alive and has not been killed."
Shurayh went in and looked at him. When Hani' saw Shurayh, he said, with blood flowing down his beard: "Oh what a God! Oh what Muslims! Has my clan been destroyed? Where are the people of religion? Where are the people of the town?" When he heard the tumult at the door of the palace he said: "I think those are
"I have a debt in Kufa," said Muslim. 'I borrowed seven hundred dirhams when I came to Kufa. Sell my sword and armour and pay the debt for me. When I have been killed, ask Ibn Ziyad to give you my corpse and bury it. Send to al-Husayn, peace be on him, someone to send him back. For I have written to him telling him that the people are with him and now I can only think that he is coming."
"Do you know what he said to me, governor?" Umar said to Ibn Ziyad. "He mentioned these things."
"The faithful would not betray you," said Ibn Ziyad to (Muslim),
"But the traitor was confided in. As for what you have, it is yours, and we will not prevent you from doing with it what you like. As for the body when we have killed it, we do not care what is done with it. As for al-Husayn, if he does not intend (harm) to us, we will not intend (harm) to him.
Then Ibn Ziyad said: "Ibn Aqil, you came to the people while they were all (united) and you scattered them and divided their opinions so that some of them attacked others."
"No," replied Ibn 'Aqil, "I did not come for that but (because) the people of the town claimed that your father had killed their best men, shed their blood and appointed governors among them like the governors of Choesroe and Caesar. We came to enjoin justice and to urge rule by the Book."
"What are you (to do) with that, you great sinner" cried Ibn Ziyad. "Why did you not do that among the people when you were drinking wine in Medina?"
"Me, drink wine! By God, God knows you are not speaking the truth, and have spoken without any knowledge, for I am not like you have said. It is you who are more correctly described as drinking wine than me, (you) who lap the blood of Muslims and kill the life whose killing God has forbidden and (you are one) who sheds sacred blood on behalf of usurpation, enmity and evil opinion while he (Yazid) enjoys himself and plays as if he had done nothing."
"You great sinner (fasiq)," shouted Ibn Ziyad, "your own soul made you desire what God prevented you from having (i.e. authority) (because) God did not regard you as worthy of it."
"Who is worthy of it, if we are not worthy of it?' asked Muslim.
"The Commander of the faithful, Yazid,'' answered Ibn Ziyad.
"Praise be to God," called out Muslim. "We will accept God's judgement between us and you in every circumstance."
"May God kill me, if I do not kill you in such a way as no one in Islam has (ever) been killed before," retorted Ibn Ziyad.
"You are the person with the most right to commit crimes of innovation in Islam which have not been committed before," Muslim replied, "for you will never abandon evil murder, wicked punishment, shameful practice, and avaricious domination to anyone (else)."
Ibn Ziyad began to curse him, and to curse al-Husayn, Ali and 'Aqil, peace be on them, while Muslim did not speak to him.
"Take him up to the top of the palace," ordered Ibn Ziyad, "and cut off his head, (throw it to the ground) and make (his body) follow it (to the ground)."
"By God," said Muslim, "if there was any (real) kinship between you and me, you would not kill me."
"Where is the man whose head Ibn Aqil struck with (his) sword?" asked Ibn Ziyad. Then Bakr b. Humran al Ahmari was summoned and he told him:"Climb up, and you be the one who cuts his head off."
He went up with him. He (Muslim) said: "God is greater (Allahu Akbar)"He sought forgiveness from God and prayed for blessings on the Apostle, saying:
O God, judge between us and a people who have enticed us, lied against us and deserted us.
They (took) him to a part which overlooked where the shoemakers are today. His head was cut off (and thrown down) and his body was made to follow his head. Muhammad b. al-Ash'ash, then approached 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and spoke to him of Hani' b. 'Urwa. He said: "You know of the position of Hani' in the town and of his House in the clan. His people know that I and my colleague brought him to you. I adjure you before God, hand him over to me for I would not like (to face) the enmity of the town and his family."
He promised to do that but then afterwards something occurred to him and he ordered Hani' (to be) taken (immediately) to the market- place and (his head) cut off.
Hani' was taken in chains until he was brought to a place where sheep were sold. He began to shout: "O Madhhij! There is no one from Madhhij for me today! O Madhh,ij, where is Madhhij?"
When he realised that no one was going to help him, he pulled his hand and wrenched it free of the chain, crying: "What is there, stick, knife, stone or bone, with which a man can defend his life?"
(At this) they jumped upon him and tied the chains (more) tightly. He was told to stretch out his neck but he answered: "I am not so liberal with my life and I will not help you (to take) my life."
A Turkish retainer (mawla) of Ubayd Allah called Rashid struck him with a sword but it did not do anything.
"To God is the return, O God to Your mercy and Your paradise," called out Hani'. Then (Rashld) struck him with another blow and killed him.
Concerning Muslim b. 'Aqil and Hani' b. Urwa, may God have mercy upon them, Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr al-Asadi said:
If you do not know what death is, then look at Hani' in the market-place and Ibn Aqil:
(Look at) a hero whose face has been covered with wounds and another who fell dead from a high place.
The command of the governor struck them (down) and they became legends for those who travel on every road.You see a corpse whose colour death has changed and a spattering of blood which has flowed abundantly;A young man who was (even) more bashful than a shy young woman, was more decisive than the polished blade of a two-edged sword.
Is Asma' riding in safety a mount which moves at walking pace while Madhhij urged him to seek vengeance And Murad wander around him? Are all of them in fear of the questioner and the questioned?If you do not avenge your two brothers, then be harlots satisfied with little.
When Muslim and Hani' were killed, the mercy of God be on them, Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad sent their heads with Hani' b. Abi Hayya al- Wadi'i and al-Zubayr b. al-Arwah al-Tamimi to Yazid b. Muawiya He ordered his secretary (katib) to write to Yazid about what had happened to Muslim and Hani'. The secretary who was 'Amr b. Nafi' - wrote but he was very wordy (in his style). He was the first to be wordy in writing letters. When Ubayd Allah saw the letter, he disliked it.
"What is this prolixity and this excessr' he asked.
Praise be to God, Who exacted the dues of the Commander of the faithful and has given him sufficient provisions against his enemy. I (am writing to) inform the Commander of the faithful that Muslim b. 'Aqil took refuge in the house of Hani' b. 'Urwa al-Muradi. I set look-outs and spies on them, concealed men against them, I tricked them until I brought them out. God gave me power over them. Thus I came upon them and had them executed. I have sent their heads to you with Hani' b. Abi Hayya and al-Zubayr b. Arwah al-Tamimi. They are both people who are attentive and in obedience to you, and of sincerity. Let the Commander of the faithful ask them about whatever of the affair he may wish; for they have knowledge and truth.
Yazid b. Muawiya wrote (back):
You have not gone beyond what I wanted. You have acted with the decisive action I wanted. You have launched into the attack with the violence of man who has control of his emotion. You have satisfied me, been sufficient for (the task) and corroborated my view of you and my opinion of you. I have summoned your two messengers and questioned them, and talked to them. I found them in their views and merit as you had mentioned. Receive them both with kindness on my recommendation. I have been informed that al-Husayn has set out for Iraq. Therefore set look-outs and watches, be vigilant and detain suspicious (characters). Put to death (any who are) accused and write to me about any news which occurs. God, the Exalted, wishing.
Muslim b. 'Aqil's (attempted) rising in Kufa was on Tuesday, 8th of Dhu al-Hijja in the year 60 A.H. (680). He, may God have mercy on him, was killed on Wednesday, 9th of Dhu al-Hijja, the Day of Arafa.
The History of al TabariVolume XIX The Caliphate of Yazid b. MuawiyahTranslated by I.K.A HowardPaper back - ISBN 0-7914-0041-7
Kitab al IrshadShaykh al MufidTranslated by I.K.A HowardTahrike Tarsile QuranPaper back - ISBN 0-940368-11-0
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