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History

The Night Before the 10th of Muharram

THE NIGHT FOLLOWING the ninth day of Muharram presented a unique spectacle which has no parallel in the history of the world. A detailed description of the scene of that night in Karbala, requires at least a separate chapter. However, only a few important events of the dreadful night are briefly related here.

Since his arrival at Karbala on the znd Muharram, the Holy-Imam used to gather all those who had accompanied him from Mecca, and address them after every night prayer, advising them to leave him to his own fate and to return to their homes, giving them every assurance that the consequences of his journey would be quite a different one from what had been imagined by them to be. It is reported that hearing the Holy Imam announcing the ultimate end of his journey, the people began deserting him in groups.

The Final Shifting

HUSAIN HAD TO offer the sacrifice which had been termed by God Himself as Vibhe-Azeem' the Great Sacrifice (37:104-108). The purity of his body and the divinity of his own soul was unquestionable, but those whom he had to offer along with himself in the way of the Lord, had to be of some purity worthy to be blessed with the martyrdom. There were the good and the bad ones, mixed up, in his camp but what he needed was only a pure and clean stuff to be presented to God along with himself. Many who had accompanied him with selfish intentions, had deserted him, and of those still left, the Holy Imam wanted to effect a final shifting so that only those who desired nothing but the pleasure of the Lord, might remain to accompany him in his resignation to the Divine will, to resist against the onslaught of the falsehood of the Devil. At last on the 9th Muharram, soon after the enemy's consent to wait till the following morning, the Holy Imam, after the 'him' or the night prayers summoned the remaining people and addressed them thus:

"Brothers! You are sadly mistaken if you have hoped that tomorrow's battle will bear any fruit for you to fulfil any of your worldly ambitions. I tell you now openly that I will be mercilessly butchered. My Brother Abbas will lose both his hands and die on the banks of the river. My eighteen-year-old son Ali-e-Akbar will die by the lance pierced through his breast. Qasim, no, nephew, will be killed and be trampled under the hooves of the enemy's cavalry. And similarly, every one of my companions who will remain with me here, be he a relative or a friend of mine, will be rolling in his own blood and ultimately be slain. I tell you, not even my baby son Ali-e-Azgher will he spared; he will receive an arrow on his tiny neck in my own arms and pass away. Only my son Ali who is sick, will survive to suffer the worst of tortures along with the people of my family. Friends! you need not worry yourself about the 'Bait' or the allegiance you have paid me. I release you from the oath. You leave me to my fate and save yourselves. They are only after my life. The night is dark and you can easily escape."

At the end of his speech, the Holy Imam asked his brother Abbas to put out the lamp in the tent so that people may walk away in the darkness without being ashamed of being seen by him.

It is reported that as soon as the lamp was put out, all those who had accompanied the Holy Imam from Mecca in their vain hopes of making their own fortune, began to desert the Holy Imam in batches and when the lamp was again lit after a while, there were left only a few here and there, and those who remained constituted the goldly band of the Holy Seventy-two who stood fast by the Holy Imam in the battle for Truth to save the human race against its falling into the abyss of falsehood.

This small band of godly souls, pure in their spirit and sincere in their desire to fight and fall in the way of the Lord, spent the night in prayers reciting audibly the Holy Qur'an and rejoicing in the hope to drink the fast-approaching cup of martyrdom the following morning. Everyone anxiously waited for the break of dawn, to lay down his life in the way of the Lord in supporting the cause of Truth. The ladies were preparing their young children to be sacrificed along with the Holy Imam in upholding the cause of the Lord. The noble mothers of the family of the Holy Prophet were busy advising their young sons to be steadfast in facing the might of the Devil in defence of the right, and to lay down their lives cheerfully and thus to drink the cup of martyrdom in the cause of the correct guidance of the Human Race.

Abbas the Brave, Guards the Camp of the Holy Imam

THE CAMP OF the Holy Imam contained the ladies and the children of the House of the Holy Prophet. Apprehending a surprise attack from the enemy's forces which consisted of people who had turned treacherous to the Holy Imam and his family, a ditch was dug around the camp and fire was lighted the whole night and Abbas the Brave, guarded the camp in a vigil the whole night walking around it with his sword in his hand mindful of the safety of the Holy Imam and the inmates of the camp, with a vigilant eye on the ranks of the enemy.

Adapted from the book: "Husain; The Saviour of Islam" by: "S.V. Mir Ahmed Ali"