The World Finally Speaks At Karbala Tribunals
- :Dr. Hatem Abu Shahba
The World Finally Speaks At Karbala Tribunals
Dr. Hatem Abu Shahba
“Surely, the killing of Al-Husayn left a burning heat in the hearts of the true believers that will NEVER EVER cool down!”
Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad As-Sadiq
In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to Allah (SWT)1 whom none is praised but Him, and no one asks reward on a calamity except from Him. May Allah (SWT) reward us for our calamity regarding the grandson of the Holy Prophet, Al-Husayn bin ‘Ali! May peace and blessings be upon the Holy Prophet Muhammad (S)2 and on his purified progeny and those who take him as guardian!
I have been thinking for a long time about the idea of establishing an international tribunal to try the killers of Imam Husayn (as)3 and the perpetrators of the massacre of Karbala.
The idea is to place them under trial with the charge of committing war crimes, mass murder, and crimes against humanity, based on the modern-day laws and understanding, and away from any religious accusation or anything related to religion.
A real and practical trial which the whole world participates in… one that is represented by a group of chosen judges who come from all parts of the world, and a jury who represents all the different nationalities and religions of the globe.
A trial that gives the defendants the right to defend themselves through lawyers and a defense team; it would have a prosecution team as well. The defendants would be called by their names only (since they died long time ago) to face the world and all of humanity. They will be tried for their crimes and massacres which they have committed in Karbala. The witnesses will be called from the historical texts, and the well-known Islamic books written by famous Muslim historians.
Let this be a just and fair trial by international modern standards under the supervision of the international community. Let the court trial take its time and follow all the legal procedures which are typically followed in most of the democratic countries that respect human rights.
Thereafter, a fair verdict will be issued regarding the criminals and let all of humanity make its judgment against them and then sentence them! Let the horrendousness and insanity that happened in Karbala be exposed to the whole world as it does not only belong to the supporters of Al-Husayn (as) alone, but to ALL of humanity! What happened in Karbala greatly exceeds crimes committed against humanity and the war crimes. It will shock the whole world and I am very confident of that!
Accomplishing this is not impossible and praise is to God, the supporters of Al-Husayn have sufficient monetary and social ability to sponsor such a trial, especially in the western countries. We could accomplish this mission with determination and this will surely be a great achievement in front of the whole world. Let the truth be revealed and let all of humanity sympathize with the tragedy of Imam Al-Husayn (as)!
We hope and pray to Allah (SWT) that this dream becomes true one day, and our Muslim nation and the world wakes up after following this trial which should be broadcasted live in all parts of the world, especially our Islamic nation which has been affected by ignorance and blindness. As a result, it lost the ability to recognize truth from falsehood, and friend from foe.
Till this dream is accomplished and Allah (SWT) sends he who is capable of turning this dream into reality…one who is chosen from the lovers and devotees of Imam Husayn (as), and they are many thanks to Allah (SWT)…till that happens, I will attempt in the following pages to present my conception of how that could be accomplished. How do I visualize it to take place and in what way?
I will try to imagine every detail of the court trial from the judges, the defendants, the indictment, the witnesses, prosecution and defense teams, the court sessions, the jurors, and the announcement of the final verdict as well as its consequences.
Perhaps these details would serve as a model and a useful tool for the actual trial if it hopefully becomes a reality one day by the hands of a person(s) who would adopt this idea, execute it, and win the great reward from Allah (SWT) as well as the blessed intercession of Imam Husayn, his holy grandfather, father, mother, and brother (peace be upon them all).
Without further ado, let us depart together to the world of imagination and let us ride the train of time to the future so that we live this beautiful dream in the following pages. The dream of achieving at least a small portion of justice for Imam Husayn (as) and his family and companions, until Allah (SWT) wills the reappearance of Imam Al Mahdi (AFS)4 from the progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S) who will fill the earth with justice and equity after it was filled with oppression and transgression.
The first justice he will seek will surely be to attain vengeance for Imam Husayn (as). Let us start together in this journey…the journey of seeking human justice. I hope it will be exciting, beneficial, sad, and filled with information and facts about the events which took place in Karbala.
Hopefully, everyone can benefit from this, and then knowledge can be propagated in a novel way of presentation that suits the modern life and time change. From Allah (SWT) we seek help and on Allah (SWT) we depend!
We seek His reward and we desire the intercession of His Holy Prophet (S), ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib, Lady Fatima, and her sons Hasan and Husayn, may peace and blessings be upon them all!
1. (SWT) “Subhana wa Ta’ala: Glory be to Him 2. (S) = May the divine benedictions fall upon him and his purified progeny 3. (as) = Peace and prayers be upon him/them 4. (AFS) = may Allah hasten his reappearance.
Is there anyone to help me? Is there anyone to support me? Is there any defender to defend the Household of the Messenger of Allah?
That was the call of Husayn ibn ‘Ali, the grandson of the Holy Prophet (S) on the day of Ashura, year 61 A.H. (which coincides with October 9th, 680 A.D.) after all his family members and close companions were killed on the plains of Karbala.
Did Imam Husayn (as) get any response? Did anyone answer his call? Did anyone even bother to quench the thirst of his infant baby?
Sadly there was no answer, no response, no support, and no water! The only reaction he got was a shower of arrows, spears, and stab wounds!
The departed souls of his close companions and family members could only watch sorrowfully from the heavens as they wished to return back in human form once again to sacrifice themselves in his defense!
Their utmost pleasure was not in Paradise, but in giving their blood and body parts out of love to their divinely appointed Leader. And the souls that were not yet created regretted not being alive on this day to offer a helping hand or a cup of water, or at least bury his trampled, naked, and headless body.
Imam Husayn (as) was left alone on the day of Ashura without anyone to help him and he met his fate with full submission and surrender to His Lord.
This everlasting call of Husayn in Karbala is not specific to the day of Ashura in 61 A.H. but it is a call resonating everyday till the end of time. This plea is not only directed to those present in the battlefield in Karbala; it is aimed for all of us today as well as future generations to come. The universal message of Imam Husayn (as) is echoing beyond the plains of Karbala…so long as there is oppression and injustice in this world, his mission to fight injustice and oppression will eternally live. It was Imam Husayn (as) and his family who sacrificed all they had for the sake of upholding the truth!
• Among the questions which beg itself to each one of us today are:
• What exactly are we doing to answer that universal call of Imam Husayn (as)?
• How are we offering him support, helping him, and shielding his family from harm?
• Are our hearts with Husayn, yet our swords against him (by action)? Or are we playing deaf to Husayn’s appeal while we claim to be his followers?
• We recite in our Ziyarah to Imam Husayn (as),
We wish we were with you and so we would have won the greatest victory!
Yet, what are we doing to prove that we really wish to be with him?
• What is our strategy in enjoining the good and forbidding the evil and how are we supporting the truth and fighting oppression?
• Last but not least, what steps are we taking to pave the road for the reappearance of the Imam of our Time (may Allah hasten his reappearance)? Or will we shamefully be among those who disbelieve and deny him when he reappears, God-willing?
When identifying the master criminals of the tragedy of Karbala, authenticated history points its fingers to five main cursed culprits who carefully conspired behind the scenes, designed, and planned the murder of Husayn, the son of Fatima who is the Master Lady of all Worlds according to the Last Messenger (S).
They perpetrated and committed multitude of heinous crimes in this catastrophe which has no like in the history of mankind, whether in the past or the future. In the order of their criminal offense starting with the chief delinquent, their names are: Yazid ibn Muawiya, Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad, Umar ibn Sa’d, Shimr Ibn Dhil Jawshan, and Hurmala ibn Kahel (may Allah deprive them of His Mercy).
They are the wicked villains who tainted their hands with the purified blood of the most righteous one on earth during their time, the grandson of the Holy Prophet (S), Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)!
The crimes they committed are not like any other crimes. And the victims in this case are not like any other victims. Hence, their status as criminals and offenders is certainly not like any other criminal and offender!
They surely deserve to be condemned, convicted, and sentenced at the very least like any other criminal and much more!
Quite surprisingly and unfortunately, we still find in the Muslim world today those who give regards and respect to the killers of Imam Husayn (as). We find those who defend them with the pretext that they are among the ‘companions’. We find those who refuse to condemn their actions and instead blame the victims. We find those who equate the perpetrators of the tragedy of Ashura with any wrong-doer who simply made a ‘mistake’ and have ‘repented’.
We find those who intentionally try to hide the facts of history and drive the spotlight away from the truth. We find those who belittle what happened in Karbala to protect certain political figures, perhaps out of fear for their own personal interests and material gain.
There is an inclination among some people to mix the good and bad forces in the same pot hoping for a chemical reaction to yield a good product. What they don’t realize is the mathematical law which dictates that positive multiplied by negative equals nothing but negative! One cannot equate Husayn (as) with Yazid (LA)1 or ‘Ali (as) with Muawiya (LA)!
As stated in the Holy Quran:
“Say, the evil and the good are not equal…” (5:100)
Hence, we cannot claim to bear love of Husayn and ‘Ali in the same heart which bears love or leniency towards Yazid and Muawiya! The result is clear hypocrisy which leads to none other than absolute darkness and misguidance.
The Satanic forces that were present on the day of Ashura are also here with us today as they aim to cover up the truth and present it in a sugar-coated form. The Yazidi supporters of Kufa are living among us on this earth disguised in the dress of Islam. The Kufans whose hearts were with Husayn yet their swords were against him…are also existing today! Their hearts may be with Husayn today but these same hearts are already tainted with the love of the enemies of Husayn, or if not, they lack hatred and condemnation of these enemies!
Perhaps the opportunity is not there today for them to unsheathe their swords against Husayn. But if history was to repeat itself, they will be the first to rush to Yazid’s support and may even be worse than their predecessors whom they blindly follow. In fact, the reality of today tells us that they are indeed unsheathing their swords to support the Yazid-of-today against the upholders of truth and justice.
Brothers and Sisters in humanity, our proposal today is to place these five cold-blooded killers under trial for the multitude of war crimes and mass murder committed in the massacre of Karbala. In this historical trial, we can scrutinize the overwhelming evidence that is cited in many of the well-known books and references authenticated by the majority of the Muslims.
Even though these criminals are not alive today, we can still attempt to establish an iota of justice for the victims of Karbala by placing these villains on trial for the crimes they committed hundreds of years ago. Our idea is to create an International Tribunal where a court composed of judges and jurors from all over the world listen to the heart-aching story of Karbala and make the judgment themselves to decide whether these defendants are guilty or not.
This final decision would be purely based on the humanitarian aspect (without need to delve deep into the religious aspect) as the case of Imam Husayn (as) is filled with many atrocious crimes that go against the basic principles of humanity and civilization.
What does the Geneva Convention say about the rights of prisoners of war, the wounded, the sick fighters, and the treatment of civilians during the time of war? In fact, the Third and Fourth Geneva Convention considers war crimes to be ‘grave breaches’ when it involves willful killing, torture, inhuman treatment, compelling one to serve in the forces of a hostile power, taking of hostages, extensive destruction and appropriation of property not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, as well as unlawful deportation, transfer, or confinement.
Let us analyze the actions of these criminals in light of the Nuremberg Principles which set the guidelines for determining what constitutes a war crime. Why not present this tragic case of Imam Husayn (as) to key organizations which claim to work for and support human rights such as the United Nations, International Human Rights group, Amnesty International, and World Organization for Human rights, etc.?!
Let the whole world judge based on the evidence and facts whether these defendants violated any or all of these laws during and after the massacre of Karbala. Let mankind use its own intellect and logic to establish justice and defend humanitarian rights!
We envision that the judges in this international court tribunal would be carefully selected to represent all different cultures and religions across the globe. The evidence which incriminates these five defendants is available in the approved references of the common school of thought of Islam which will act as ‘witnesses’ in this case. After hearing out the details of the litigation, the jurors will issue a final verdict to be stamped in history till the end of time.
If these defendants are found to be “guilty” and convicted based on a unanimous verdict, they will then be sentenced and placed in the garbage and trash of history, just like world-dictators such as Hitler and his cronies, Milosevic, and Saddam Husayn. Thereafter, no one can dare to ever give them respect or regards and they will be cursed till eternity!
We cannot bring back the lives of the victims nor can we compensate their families. And the fire of love and grief in the hearts of
Husayn’s devotees will NEVER EVER cool down! However, the least that we can do as an intellectual society is bring an iota of human justice for the victims in the case of Imam Husayn’s cold-blooded murder, even if it is much later in time and even if the perpetrators have departed this world long time ago. Hence, we recite in Ziyarat Ashura,
I ask Allah to provide me the opportunity to fight for justice and seek your vengeance under the leadership of the rightly-guided leader in your progeny who will surely come and speak the truth….
We know that divine justice will ultimately be established by the Absolute Justice and the Almighty Creator on the Day of Judgment. But in the meanwhile, it is our responsibility as human beings to set the stage for establishing justice in this life to the best of our ability till the reappearance of the awaited Mahdi (may Allah hasten his reappearance) who will fill the earth with justice and equity after it has been filled with tyranny and oppression.
Without justice and punishment of the oppressors this world will surely turn into a jungle of beasts and predators and there will be no difference between animals and human beings!
Dear fellow humans, to every person in the world who possesses a sound intellect and judgment regardless of your religion, education, race, or culture…Let us go ahead and accomplish our goal of establishing human justice in the murder case of Imam Husayn (as)! It is up to us to find the means and resources to appeal to the whole world about this most peculiar and extraordinary anti-humanitarian case which spews tears of blood from rocks and breaks the heart of even the wildest beast out there!
Dear brothers and sisters in humanity; let us take the steps today to pave the path for this dream to come true…the dream of establishing an “International Court Tribunal against the Killers of Husayn ibn ‘Ali”!
The mock trial presented in the following pages is the way that our simple minds imagine or fantasize for it to take place in the modern-day world. It is up to us to turn these pages into reality instead of a mere thought locked up in the mind or words jotted on paper! Let the merciless criminals earn their punishment in this world before they earn it in the next!
Let their conviction be pronounced in front of all creation in this life before the Day of Judgment!
Let us put an end to all words of praise and/or defense on these inhumane beasts! Let these five heartless criminals be placed in the filthiest garbage and trash of history …until the awaited Mahdi and chosen Imam of our Time (may Allah hasten his reappearance) resonates his call:
“Revenge on [the killers of] Al-Husayn!”
Whether we are Muslim or non-Muslim, black or white, rich or poor…
Let us ALTOGETHER answer to the universal call of Imam Husayn (as) on Ashura with words that are complemented by actions!
Let us call out in our loudest of voices which transcends time and space, “Yes my Master Husayn, we are here with you and we jump to your support which is driven by our utmost love and devotion to you!”
Let us say to our beloved leader from the bottom of our grieving hearts, “Oh Husayn, you didn’t have any helper on the day of Ashura and we wish that we were there with you on that dreadful day…but here we are today revisiting the plains of Karbala with our swords unsheathed against your enemies!”
1. (LA) = May that person be deprived of God’s Mercy
First Tragic Scene: “The Beginning”
Today the world witnesses a great and extremely important and serious international event which marks an outstanding beginning in history. Today, a court tribunal will commence in the city of Vienna, Austria, and this is truly one of the most extraordinary and bizarre tribunals to ever take place. Or let us say it is the trial of the age or the mother of all trails!! It is the trial of the killers of Imam Al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) and those who are responsible of the massacre which took place on the plains of Karbala, on the 10th day of Muharram, in the year 61 A.H.
The reason for the peculiarity and astonishment is because for the very first time in history, a court tribunal is set to try individuals for a crime that has been committed hundreds of years ago. Its perpetrators and victims have passed away long time ago. The world has not yet witnessed a scenario like that in the past, and this will, without a doubt, be a great event that will stand as an example and model in the future.
Verily, justice knows no place or time, and it will surely prevail even after a long delay or time lag. Who called for the setting of this tribunal and sponsored it is an association called “Justice for the Martyrs of Karbala.”
This association, in addition to the Human Rights Organization and the United Nations, has collectively taken charge of coordinating and setting this tribunal without interfering in its procedures or decisions. As its organizers say, the goal of this tribunal is to educate the whole world of the heinous crimes, tragedies, atrocities and calamities which took place in Karbala.
The aim is also to expose the perpetrators of these crimes, and to submit the clear-cut proofs and evidences against them which lead to their convection. The whole world is then left to judge them, and judge their crimes which they had committed in Karbala since more than 14 centuries ago.
It was initially decided that the court sessions will be held in the holy city of Karbala which witnessed the tragic and bloody events. However, due to security concerns and religious sensitivities and for the sake of having a more universal, unbiased, and transparent court trial, the organizers decided to hold the court proceedings in the Austrian city of Vienna. Vienna is centrally located in Europe and enjoys a high level of freedom, security, beauty, and the resources to organize such an event, as well as an advanced level of telecommunications that makes it feasible to have live broadcast of all the proceedings directly to all parts of the world simultaneously.
This way the greatest number of people across the globe can follow the events of this unique court tribunal. Furthermore, a new satellite channel has been especially set up for this purpose at a high cost which the devotees of Imam Al-Husayn (as) have donated from all over the world. This of course is in addition to other local and satellite channels everywhere.
Twelve judges representing the six continents of the world were chosen for this trial two judges representing each continent. These judges were carefully selected by the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. They are well known for their competence, proficiency, and neutrality, as well as high level of technical expertise in their field globally. It has been decided that the court will follow the jury system as it is currently applied in the US, England, and Australia, with one difference. The judges will also have the right to vote alongside the jurors in reaching a final verdict of “guilty” or not “guilty”.
The panel of jurors has also been carefully selected and their total number is 100; 75 men and 25 women who represent all people and ethnic groups across the globe. This number of jurors is exceptionally high and unprecedented in any other court case.
Their selection took place after a long and tough search which the judges, prosecution, and defense teams all participated in. Among the criteria for their selection is the lack of prior knowledge of the tragedy of Al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (as) nor of what has happened in Karbala. The panel of jurors was selected from different age groups, educational, social, and religious backgrounds.
As for the defense team, it is composed of a group of Muslim radicals who believe in the purity of the early Muslims (Salaf Al Saleh) and their followers (Tabe’een). They believe in their cleanness as well as the innocence of those defendants accused of the crimes of Karbala who, according to them, are among Al Salaf Al Saleh.
For that reason, they took the initiative to defend the perpetrators since they believe that these defendants are sacred religious figures who should not be tried. And even if they did sin, it is not permissible to hold them accountable for their sins or accuse them because of their good intentions. Thus, according to the perspective of the defense team, those perpetrators are innocent in any case and God alone is the one who will hold them accountable, not the humans.
As for the prosecution, it is composed of a group of lawyers and former judges from different ethnic backgrounds and religions. What they all have in common is their love and admiration to the personality and the cause of Imam Al-Husayn (as), and the great impact and effect upon them to what has happened to him and his family in Karbala. They were determined to present the case to all mankind and to attain a universal verdict convicting the perpetrators of the inhumane crimes of Karbala.
Perhaps this could be the beginning that will set the stage for other court cases of historical events and incidents in which crimes against humanity has been committed and left behind many victims, while the perpetrators of these heinous crimes walked free and escaped justice in this life and the time has finally come to serve some justice for the victims and the oppressed ones of these crimes.
Second Tragic Scene: “The Indictment”
Since early morning, a big crowd gathered around the huge courthouse which is located at the downtown of the Austrian capital, Vienna. The security arrangements are strict, but without creating troubles or traffic problems. Everything is well-organized, the city is beautiful, the sun is shining, and the weather is a bit cool.
The time has been set for the First court hearing of this historical trial to take place at 10AM sharp. The doors are to be opened at 9 AM and the attendees can begin to enter and be seated. There are big numbers of media correspondents and journalists (representing local and international press and TV channels) carrying their cameras and equipment. There are many TV live broadcast trucks.
At 9AM sharp, the doors opened and attendees started entering the courtroom in a very organized manner. The media representatives have their reserved seats, as well as the audience and spectators who are directed to their seats by certain ushers. There is no disruption or commotion despite the great number of attendees, and the security procedures are proceeding smoothly and easily. Silence and organization are the main elements of the courtroom as if the whole event is under the direct supervision of angels, not humans.
Back doors were reserved for the entrance of judges, court officials, both prosecution and defense teams, jurors, and international spectators. Huge TV screens were set up in the public squares surrounding the courthouse so that viewers can follow the court events directly. The court proceedings would also be broadcasted live in different languages including Arabic, German, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Urdu, Farsi, Chinese, Japanese, in addition to many other languages so that people all over the globe can follow closely this great and important event live, minute by minute, regardless of their location or language.
Displaying of anything which may influence the judges or jurors has been prohibited, things such as slogans, pictures, banners, extra-ordinary clothes, etc.
A defendant cage has been placed between the seats of the attendees and the bench of the judges. This cage contained five seats inside it. One seat was located at the front, followed by two seats behind it which is also followed by other two seats. A dummy which is completely covered by a white cloth was placed on each of these seats.
A huge banner was posted over the head of each dummy. The banner carried a name that was clearly printed in several languages. Each dummy is representing one of the defendants in this court case.
The seat located at the front of the cage had a covered dummy which carried a banner above it with the name “Yazid ibn Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan” in several languages. Behind it on the right was a covered dummy with a banner above it which read “Obaidullah ibn Ziyad” in several languages. To its left was a covered dummy which was named “Umar ibn Sa’d” also in several languages.
Behind it to the right was a seat with a covered dummy which carry the name “Shimr ibn Dhil Jawshan” in several languages. And to its left was a covered dummy which had the name “Hurmala bin Kahel” also in several languages. Court guards stood at each corner of the defendants’ cage with serious expressions while they wore their official uniforms.
Ten minutes before 10AM, an announcement was made in different languages via speakers that everyone should be seated so that the historical court trial would begin its first court session in ten minutes. The guests were asked to wear their headphones to listen in the language of their choice and all were requested to maintain silence and abide by the court rules which were clearly displayed on a big screen behind the audience.
The defense team started entering and took their allotted seats. They were nine in number from different ethnic backgrounds and all of them had long beards and signs of prostration on their foreheads. After that, the prosecution team entered and they were composed of five members, one of them was a lady wearing Niqab (complete veil). They also took their seats allotted for them.
At 10AM sharp, the sound of a hammer knocking came from speakers and the bailiff entered in his official uniform and he announced that the court is in session. He requested that everyone stand up out of respect to the judges. Everyone stood up and the twelve judges began to enter, clad in their black gowns. They seemed from different ethnic backgrounds and were headed by the Australian Chief Justice who was selected to head and supervise the trial. He looked in his late 60’s and he had white hair and white beard.
His complexion was pinkish and he wore eyeglasses and looked kind-hearted and laid-back, but he seemed to have a sense of determination and strict. The judges took their seats on the bench and seated in the middle was the Chief Justice, the Australian judge who signaled for all to sit down. Then he announced in a calm voice the commencement of the first court session and ordered that the panel of jurors enter and take their seats. Then he said:
Chief Justice: Today we commence the First court session of this historical and unique trial which I think will not be the last one. Many centuries have passed since the crime that is being looked upon took place, and the defendants in this case are being tried in their absence as they have passed away from this world many centuries ago.
The whole world is watching us with excitement and interest. I hope that this trial will be professional, subjective, and unbiased so that we reach the truth through the facts and incidents which truly took place, not what is said as rumors. I must mention here the well-known rule which states that the defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond reasonable doubt. So, it is the duty of the prosecution to prove to us that the defendants are guilty and at fault beyond reasonable doubt.
The burden falls on the prosecution team to prove that, and the defense team has all the right in discussing, challenging, and refuting all the evidences and witnesses that the prosecution presents. In the end, the final word is for the jurors along with the judges to decide the guilty verdict or not. I request that everyone abide by the rules and regulations of this trial which are posted on the screen behind you and have been unanimously approved.
I also ask that you maintain complete silence and discipline regardless of the emotions or reactions that may come to surface with the events of this trial. Let’s start it, I request that the Secretary of the court recite the indictment in a clear and loud voice…you may go ahead. (He turns his head towards the Court Secretary)
Court Secretary: (recites the indictment)
Your honor, respected judges and jurors…
First: On Friday, the 10th day of Muharram, year 61 A.H. according to the Islamic lunar calendar which coincides with October 9th, 680 A.D., the following defendants had committed war crimes, mass murder and crimes against humanity:
1. Yazid ibn Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan
2. Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad ibn Abeeh
3. Umar ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas
4. Shimr ibn Dhil Jawshan Al Dababi
5. Hurmala ibn Kahel Al Asadi
First and foremost, the above defendants planned, coordinated, and participated actively and collectively in the:
A. Encircling and arresting of a civilian caravan in the area of Karbala in Iraq, and preventing the travelers in this caravan from reaching the water despite their knowledge that in this caravan there were women, children, elderly, and unarmed civilians.
B. Rejecting all attempts of peaceful resolutions of the conflict, and the insistence on using military and armed forces.
C. Attacking the small civilian caravan by a strong, well-armed, and well-equipped army that is big in number, despite the lack of equality in strength, using excessive force which led to this heinous and horrific human massacre.
D. Issuing orders to kill children and infants using arrows and carrying out that without any compassion or mercy.
E. Beheading the victims, mutilating their bodies and looting them, and refrained from burying the dead bodies. All that took place in front of the families of the victims and their children.
F. Setting on fire and burning tents and shelter of the women, children, and the sick and injured, after stealing and looting their belongings.
G. Taking the women, the children, and the sick people in captivity. Mistreating them by hitting, looting, and torturing which led and caused the death of some.
H. Terrifying and terrorizing the children in captivity which led to death of one of them.
I. Parading and displaying the captives and the severed heads of the victims in a festive march and rally throughout the cities and villages until they reached Damascus in Syria.
Second: Each of the five aforementioned defendants individually and personally committed mass murder, crimes against humanity and war crimes on the specified date as follows:
1) YAZID IBN MUAWIYA, the Umayyad ruler over the Islamic state. He is charged with:
A. Issuing orders to chase and kill Imam Al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib (as) which forced Imam Al-Husayn to leave his homeland city against his own will to seek refuge at a safe haven along with his family and children.
B. Issuing orders to his governor in Iraq, the Second defendant, to fight the civilian caravan that carries Imam Al-Husayn (as) and his family, and to do so without neglect or leniency.
C. Issuing orders to behead the bodies of the dead victims and carry them to Damascus.
D. Issuing orders to take the women and children in captivity and bring them to Damascus.
E. Issuing orders to organize ceremonial and festive celebrations to demean, disgrace, and maltreat the captives
F. Directly ordering the terrorizing of a female child in captivity which caused her immediate death.
2) UBAIDULLAH IBN ZIYAD, Governor of Al-Kufa and Al-Basra. He is charged with:
A. Preparing a big army to face the small civilian caravan with prior knowledge that it contains women, children, and elderly and that it is an unequal match.
B. Rejecting all attempts to make peace and reconciliation. Insisting to attack a civilian caravan and using excessive force.
C. Issuing orders to arrest the civilian caravan and prevent them from reaching the water, knowing well that it includes women, children, and sick people.
D.Threatening and killing all those in his army who refuse to obey his inhumane orders or hesitate to carry out the war crimes, and forcing the soldiers to do so.
E. Issuing orders to behead the dead victims and to mutilate their bodies and bring their heads to him.
F. Issuing orders to take the women, the children, and the sick people as captives, and to mistreat them.
G. Directly and intentionally causing the death of two children among the captives.
H. Issuing orders to march the captives in the worst of conditions in ceremonial parades from Al-Kufa in Iraq to Damascus in Syria, which caused great harm to the women, the children, and the sick.
I. Issuing orders to carry the heads of the victims on raised spears from Al-Kufa to Damascus, in front of their families in such an inhumane and horrendous manner.
3) UMAR IBN SA’D IBN ABI WAQQAS, Field Commander of the Army. He is charged with:
A. Directly commanding the army who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, with a pre-determined intention.
B. Issuing orders to directly attack the civilian caravan, and personally starting the first strike.
C. Urging his army to use excessive force against the civilian caravan.
D. Preventing water from reaching the women, children, and the sick and elderly.
E. Issuing orders to kill the wounded in the battlefield.
F. Issuing orders to kill two children in the battlefield.
G. Issuing orders to behead the dead victims and mutilate their bodies in front of their families.
H. Issuing orders to set on fire and burn the tents and shelter of women, children, and the sick.
I. Taking women, children, and sick as captives and mistreating them.
J. Refraining from burial of the victims’ bodies and abandoning them in the desert.
4) SHIMR IBN DHIL JAWSHAN AL-DABABI, Deputy Commander of the army. He is charged with:
A. Directly urging and causing the armed attack on the civilian caravan.
B. Actively seeking to hinder and fail all peace talks and trials for resolving the conflict in a peaceful manner.
C. Urging the attack on women, children, and the sick.
D. Urging the arrest of the civilians and preventing water from reaching them.
E. Promoting and urging the soldiers to commit war crimes and crimes against humanity.
F. Issuing direct orders to execute the injured and the captives.
G. Beheading the victims and mutilating their bodies in front of their families.
H. Urging and participating in setting on fire and burning the tents and shelter of women and children, and attempting to kill the sick.
I. Mistreating and causing physical harm to women and children in captivity, and terrorizing the children.
J. Raising the heads of the dead victims on spears and displaying them in festive parades and celebrations for the purposes of gloating and rejoicing.
5) HURMALA IBN KAHEL AL ASADI, Commander of the arrow shooters and the chief sniper. He is charged with:
A. Directly participating in committing war crimes and crimes against humanity.
B. Intentional murder of two children with arrows in the battlefield.
C. Killing the injured and the wounded in the battlefield.
Thank you your Honor.
(The court secretary sits down after reciting the indictment. Looks of disgust are noted on the faces of many of the jurors after listening to the indictment. Many of them were attentively listening to the announcement of these charges).
Third Tragic Scene: “Guilty or Not Guilty?”
(After concluding the recitation of the indictment, the Chief Justice said):
Chief Justice: Thank you Court secretary. I’d like to remind everyone once again that what you just listened to are simply allegations and does not mean that any of the defendants are guilty of anything. A defendant is innocent until proven otherwise. Because the defendants are being tried in their absence, a white cloth has been placed on each dummy to represent their innocence until their final conviction. I request that everyone take this into consideration especially the respected jurors. The burden lays on the prosecution to prove that those defendants are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt.
And now, due to the fact that these five defendants are being tried in their absence, each of them will have a lawyer to represent him. Each lawyer will represent his client in responding to all the charges in the indictment by stating “guilty” or “not guilty”. Let us begin with the First defendant…
The First defendant Yazid ibn Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan…are you guilty or not guilty of the charges that were directed against you?
Lawyer of Yazid: (stands up and says)
Not guilty in all of the abovementioned charges. (then he sits down)
The Second defendant Ubaidullah bin Ziyad…are you guilty or not guilty of the charges that were directed against you?
Lawyer of Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad:
Not guilty in all the charges directed to him. (then he sits down)
The Third defendant Umar ibn Sa’d…are you guilty or not guilty of the charges that were directed against you?
Lawyer of Umar ibn Sa’d: (stands up and says)
Absolutely not guilty! (then he sits down)
The Fourth defendant Shimr ibn Dhil Jawshan…are you guilty or not guilty of the charges that were directed against you?
Personal lawyer of Shimr: (stands up and says)
Not guilty of anything. (then he sits down)
Court Secretary: (stands up and says)
The Fifth defendant Hurmala ibn Kahel…are you guilty or not guilty of the charges that were directed against you?
Personal lawyer of Hurmala: (stands up and says)
Not guilty. (Then he sits down)
Then the Court Secretary sits down after completing the legal procedure.
Fourth Tragic Scene: “Opening Statements”
Chief Justice: Now, the prosecution may begin their opening statement…Mr. Prosecutor…you may begin. (The Prosecutor stands up. He is a young gentleman in his mid-thirties. He looked smart, neat, and humble with dignity and determination. It’s hard to identify to his ethnic origin. He stands and begins to speak in a clear soft and deep voice which seems to bewilder the minds).
Prosecutor: Your Honor, dear respected judges, and respected members of the jury...thank you for participating in this unique and universal trial…
Since the beginning of man’s life on this planet, history has witnessed many killings, massacres, and mass murders which cannot be accounted for or encompassed. Unfortunately in most of these crimes, the accused perpetrators and those responsible have escaped a fair trial; hence to be judged as guilty or innocent. As a result, the human justice system has become imbalanced and did not serve or bring justice to the victims of these terrible crimes.
Today, as humanity has reached a high level of development and civilization, the time has come to open the doors of justice for the martyrs and victims of the past, so that their suspected killers and oppressors should stand a fair trial and be judged if they are guilty or not based on pure facts of history. Justice would then be served. After all, justice cannot be limited by time and cannot be folded or forgotten. It is alive even if it has been concealed, abandoned, manipulated, or avoided. Justice must wake up one day to reappear, prevail, and fill the earth with equity and fairness, after it has been filled with injustice and oppression!
The case put forth in front of you today is among the most worst and heinous of crimes and massacres committed against humanity which its perpetrators have escaped human justice! This case will indeed be the beginning and will not be the last so that every tyrant and oppressor will come to know that he must ,one day, stand trial and justice prevails and the oppressed and victims get their rights.
What has happened on the plains of Karbala in Iraq on the 10th of Muharram in the year 61 A.H., which coincides with October 9th, 680 AD, is a clear violation to human rights and a horrible crime against humanity.
Indeed; human beings are all one and cannot be separated. If one person’s life or rights are violated, it is like everyone else has been violated. This is a principle which all divine and religious doctrines has agreed upon as well as all secular laws and human traditions.
These five defendants, represented by these dummies, who are being tried in their absence, collectively and individually committed these crimes which were mentioned in the indictment. The prosecution will present irrefutable evidence which will clearly indicate without any doubt that they have committed all these premeditated crimes in cold-blood and that they are guilty of all the charges against them.
We simply ask you to exercise patience and give us your time and undivided attention with an open heart and mind so that we present our historical evidence and witnesses to prove our case and convict these defendants for what they have committed.
Yes, both the victims and the defendants in this case have passed away from this world since long time ago, but the souls of the victims, especially the innocent children haunt us here in this courtroom and call upon you to bring them justice against their oppressors who killed them while they were thirsty and helpless. If we are able to achieve justice today for those oppressed in the past, we would be doing great service to ourselves and our societies. Only then will the principle of justice be ingrained in our conscience and the society will be then in good standing. You never know…perhaps one day we ourselves will be the victims and then need to achieve human justice
for ourselves from those who oppressed, killed, and tortured us. At that moment our souls too will haunt courtrooms calling and seeking justice.
Your Honor, respected judges and jurors, thank you for listening and please accept my regards.
(That awe-inspiring prosecutor who was able in a few words to move the hearts and awaken the minds and conscience and attract the attention of the listeners everywhere, then sat down).
Chief Justice: Thank you Mr. Prosecutor, and now the Lawyer representing the defense team may start his opening statement.
Defense: (one of the nine lawyers with black thick beard, plump face, and tough features with a clearly visible mark of prostration on the forehead and an obese body stands up. He then spoke in a loud sharp resonating voice).
Dear respected judges, your Honor, respected jurors, Asalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
Many centuries has passed since the events of this case in front of you have taken place. Therefore, it is very difficult and rather impossible to find the truth! All we have are simply narrations coming from the far past which are surrounded by doubts and uncertainty.
The defendants in this case are important figures who did not act except within the limits of their religion and its regulations and teachings. So, it is hard to place them on trial without taking into account this religion and its recommendations. Perhaps they made a mistake unintentionally, and in Islam there is a rule which dictates that, “Whoever engages in ijtihad / diligent effort to make a fair judgment and tries to reach an Islamic verdict and was correct in his verdict, he will get double the reward. And if he made a mistake in judgment, still he gets one reward.” They were known for being righteous, pi-
ous, and having good behavior. There may have been mistakes made by the field commanders, or there may have been limits which were exceeded due to lack of good communication during that time! There may have been individual incidents or actions that were carried out by the soldiers on the battlefield, but it was never done intentionally nor was it planned by those five defendants such that they deserve to be on trial.
It is true that killing a human being is considered to be a crime if it was done intentionally and was premeditated. But if it happened by mistake, then it is not a crime. What is worse than killing is to accuse an innocent person with this killing, because in such case we would be correcting injustice with more injustice. Human justice would not be served, rather human injustice!
So, let us leave Allah (God) [SWT] to judge them by His Justice, for only He (SWT) knows the whole truth. These defendants are now under his mercy and justice. So why do we concern ourselves in matters which are not our business? I am confident that your efforts will reach the same conclusion at the end.
Respected judges and jurors, they are wasting your time and our time in something that has no benefit. It will soon become clear to you that the prosecution will completely fail in proving anything or convicting any of the five defendants. Thank you your Honor, Wasalamu alaykum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.
(The lawyer who seemed to have stirred confusion in the courtroom by his words then sat down).
Fifth Tragic Scene: “Requests from the Defense”
Chief Justice: Thank you, Mr. Lawyer. I believe there are two motions submitted by the defense. Is that correct? (he looks at the defense team)
Defense: Yes, your Honor. The motions have been handed over to the court secretary and it is available in front of you. Our first motion is that this court is not qualified to look into a case like this. In our second motion, we request permission to take some Islamic laws in consideration when discussing some of the events in this case. We know that the court rules dictate avoiding discussion of religious matters. But due to the special nature of this case, the defense finds it inevitable to discuss some Islamic laws in our argument. This would be very restricted and within the range of defending our clients only. We also have another motion, your Honor, which is in the process of being submitted to the court secretary.
Chief Justice: What is this motion?
Defense: We request that jurors be totally sequestered from the media so that they are not subjected to influence by the media coverage. This is due to the nature of this case. We do not want their verdict to be affected by emotions.
Chief Justice: We will look into your motions if they are complete and ready, and I shall make a decision about them in the next court session. Do you have any other motions?
Defense: No, your Honor.
Chief Justice: Mr. Prosecutor, do you have any remarks regarding the motions presented by the defense team?
Prosecutor: Yes, your Honor. We totally object on the First motion, but we have no problem with the Second and Third requests, if they met the court stipulations.
Chief Justice: Please submit your remarks in a written statement today to the court secretary clarifying your position regarding these three motions so I can review it before making a decision regarding them. Now the court is dismissed for today and will resume tomorrow morning at 10AM. The prosecution should be ready to start presenting his evidences and witnesses in the case. Thank you all. Court is dismissed!
(Judges and jurors begin leaving the courtroom followed by the defense and the prosecution teams. After that, the attendees start exiting quietly in an organized manner as they entered. But they are now more excited and eager to follow the events of the next court session of this unique and thrilling trial which stirred commotion in all parts of the world).
First Tragic Scene: “List of Witnesses”
The court session resumed at 10AM sharp and after greeting remarks, the Chief Justice said:
Chief Justice: Thank you everyone, I’d like to stress once again the importance of abiding by the rules and regulations of the court and completely refraining from voicing any comments or reactions during the court proceedings. Otherwise, I will have to remove the violators from the courtroom. Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.
As for the defense motions which were presented yesterday, all of the judges have unanimously rejected the First motion, but accepted the Second motion with the condition that it would be within strict limits to both the defense and prosecution teams, and has accepted the Third motion. So, from now on, the jurors will be sequestered from the media (The Supreme Justice looks towards the jurors). We apologize for that and we ask that you fully cooperate with us by avoiding reading the daily newspapers and viewing media coverage which provides daily news and comments about this case. Of course this also includes internet access and receiving phone calls which are directly related to the case. Thank you.
Now, since the parties in this case have departed this world long time ago, both the prosecution and defense agreed upon depending on historical text references to provide events, evidences, and witnesses in this case. It is the right of the defense to discuss and refute every evidence or witness the prosecution presents. In the end, the verdict will be for the judges and jurors.
The prosecution has submitted a list of historical books and references which they will depend on in their presentation. This list will be recited out loud to you shortly, along with the names of their authors. The defense will have the right to object any of them if they feel that it is biased or not trustworthy for them.
In such case, the judges and jurors many only use these rejected references for the purpose of reassurance, but not to solely depend on them in deciding the truthfulness of the data. In other words, if a testimony was presented from one of the approved references (by both the prosecution and defense), then another testimony supporting that same testimony was presented from a controversial source, the jurors and judges may rely on them only for reassurance of the information that was presented in the approved source.
It is the right of the defense to respond or comment on any point presented. It is also the right of the prosecution to rebut in order to clarify any point to the jurors and judges, not just for the sake of argument. Re-rebuttal will also be allowed for the defense.
It has been decided that the judges have the right to question the prosecution and defense teams in any point raised or information presented. It will also be the right of the jurors to pose any question to both teams for clarification after they start deliberations and before reaching their verdict.
The court secretary will now begin to recite the list of historical books and references which the prosecution presented. The defense must respond to each of these references by either saying, “accepted” or “not accepted”.
There is a projector screen located on the witness stand which displays the name of all these books. During court proceedings, the names of each of the sources and references will be displayed on that screen, along with the page number and a screenshot of the original copy of the page. This will be made visible to the judges and jurors via their laptops available in front of them. Now, the court secretary may go ahead and recite out loud the list of the history books and references.
Court Secretary: (stands up and holds a paper from which she recites)
Thank you your Honor. Here is a list of references and history books which the prosecution has submitted. I request the defense to answer “accepted” or “not accepted” after the name of each book is recited.
1) Maqtal Al-Husayn Lil Khwarizmi (The Killing of Al-Husayn by Khwarizmi)
Defense: (representative stands up) Accepted
Court Secretary: 2) Tarikh Al Tabari (History by Tabari)
Court Secretary: 3) Tarikh (Al Kamel) / Ibn Al Atheer (History by son of Atheer)
Court Secretary: 4) Murooj Al Dhahab Lil Mas’oodi (Block of Gold of Mas’oodi)
Court Secretary: 5) Tarikh Al Ya’qoobi (History by Ya’qoobi)
Court Secretary: 6) Al ‘Aqd Al Fareed Li Ibn ‘Abd Rabbo & Sharh Al Nahj Li Ibn Abi Al Hadeed
Court Secretary: 7) Al Bedaya Wal Nehaya Li ibn Katheer (The
Beginning and the End by Ibn Katheer)
Court Secretary: 8) Mizan Al E’tedaal Lil Dhahabi (The Scale of Balance by Dhahabi)
Court Secretary: 9) Irshad Al Sheikh Al Mufid (The Guidance of Sheikh Al Mufid)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 10) Maqatel Al Talibiyeen Li Abi Al Faraj Al Esfahani (The Massacres of Talibiyeen by Abi Al Faraj Al Asfahani) Defense: Accepted
Court Secretary: 11) Tarikh ibn ‘Asaker (History of Ibn ‘Asaker)
Court Secretary: 12) A’laam Al Wara Lil Tabarsi (Events of the Past by Al Tabarsi)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 13) Maqtal Al ‘Awalem Ibn Nama (The Killing of the Famous Personalities by Ibn Nama)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 14) Al Khasa’es Lil Soyouti (The Characteristics by Soyouti)
Court Secretary: 15) Tarikh Al Kholafaa Lil Soyouti (History of the Caliphs by Soyouti)
Court Secretary: 16) Al ‘Isaba Li Ibn Hajar (The Target by Ibn Hajar)
Court Secretary: 17) Manaqib ibn Shahr Ashoob (Virtues by Ibn Shahr Ashoob)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 18) Motheer Al Ahzaan Li Ibn Nama (Instigator of Grief by Ibn Nama)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 19) Seyar A’laam Al Nobala Al Dhahabi (Autobiographies of the Nobles)
Court Secretary: 20) Al Lohoof Li Ibn Tawoos
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 21) Al Sawa’eq Al Mohreqa Li Ibn Hajar (The Burning Lightening by Ibn Hajar)
Court Secretary: 22) Al Muntadhem Li Ibn Al Joozi (The Organized by Ibn Al Joozi)
Court Secretary: 23) Al Jara-eh Wal Khara-ej Lil Qutb Al Rawandi (The Cause and Effects)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: 24) Riyadh Al Ahzaan (Garden of Sorrows)
Defense: Not accepted
Court Secretary: Thank you your Honor. (sits down)
Chief Justice: Thank you Court Secretary. Dear respected judges and jurors, all the list of references that were accepted or rejected by the defense are displayed in front of you. So the total number of historical references presented were 24; 16 were approved by the defense and 8 were rejected. So these rejected references may only be used to support a piece of information which is cited in one of the 16 approved references. Please keep that in mind!
Second Tragic Scene: “The Prosecution Begins”
Chief Justice: Now, let us start our journey for searching the truth. I call the prosecution to start presenting his case and evidence to prove that the five defendants are guilty beyond any reasonable doubt of all the charges against them. You may begin, Mr. Prosecutor.
(That distinguished prosecutor stood up with his glorious and prestigious look with a relaxed and beautiful shining face that calms the nerves. He speaks with his melodious and sad voice which takes the minds and hearts away…it is as if there is an invisible strength which mesmerizes your ears…he stood up and said):
Prosecutor: Thank you your Honor, dear respected judges and respected jurors. Our case and our story…or rather our tragedy started on a Sunday morning in one of the days of the month of Rajab, the Islamic lunar month, in the year 60 A.H., which coincides with the Gregorian month April in the year 680 A.D.
It is the day when the ruler of the Muslims (Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan) died in his capital in Damascus after he took the pledge of allegiance for his son Yazid, the First defendant, to become the next ruler of the Islamic state after him. He took that pledge of allegiance for his son from the people by threatening, bribing, and terrorizing because the majority did not see Yazid to be qualified for this position as he lacked the knowledge, morality, and behavioral criteria required to be present in this position, according to Islamic law (Shari’a). It should be noted that the Islamic nation during that time extended from what is today Iran in the east till Egypt in the west. There were a good number of key religious figures in the Islamic society who did not give their alle-
giance to Yazid to take over after his father because of the reasons just mentioned. This fact cannot be denied by the defense team as it is mentioned in all historical references in front of you.
Anyways, after Muawiya’s death on that day, his son Yazid the First defendant automatically became the new ruler as it was planned and arranged before, despite the objection of the opponents.
It is well-known that the Islamic religion, upon which the laws of this new state were built at that time, does not condone forcing people to give their allegiance, against their own free will, to a new ruler. It prohibits the use of threat or persecution if a person does not voluntarily give his allegiance, let alone killing him. It was not either the practice of the rulers before the First defendant and it was not heard of.
This is clearly shown in the references present before you, and Yazid has been preceded by five rulers before him including his own father. Before Yazid, whoever wanted to give his pledge of allegiance to a new ruler can do so, and whoever doesn’t is free to exercise their free will. In both cases, this does not affect the individual civil rights in the Islamic state. No one, at least according to the majority of Muslims historians, was ever forced, persecuted, or kicked out or killed because of his refu
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