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‘Abdullah Ibn Ja’far

Ibn Jarir [al-Tabari] has said that when the news of al-Husayn's martyrdom was announced, ‘Abdullah Ibn Ja’far held a mourning majlis, so people came to him to offer their condolences. His slave, Abul-Lislas,61 said to him, “This is what we got from al-Husayn!” He hurled his sandal at him as he said, “O son of the stinking woman!

How dare you say something like that about al-Husayn (‘a)?! By Allah! Had I been with him, I would not have liked to part with him before being killed defending him. By Allah! What consoles me is that both my sons were martyred in his defense together with my brother as well as my cousin who all stood firmly on his side.”

Then he turned to those in his presence and said, “Praise to Allah! It surely is very heavy on my heart to see al-Husayn (‘a) get killed, and that I could not defend him with my life, but both my sons have.”62 It is truly amazing to read in the books of history how al-Balathiri63 and al-Muhsin al-Tanukhi64 claim that ‘Abdullah Ibn Ja’far went to meet Yazid, and that the latter was generous to him more than his father Mu’awiya had been!
 
Anyone who studies the psychology of Ja’far's son will find it evident that this incident, which is taken for granted by al-Mada'ini and upon which al-Balathiri and al-Tanukhi depend, is simply a lie. Anyone who sees how those men lost their loved ones cannot help concluding that their fires were full of nothing but grief over such a loss as they waited for the opportunity to seek revenge.

This is proven by the statement made to the Prophet (S) by ‘Abdullah Ibn Ubayy Ibn Salul. When Ubayy did something because of which the Qur’anic verse saying, “Should we return to Medina, the mighty ones shall get the weak out of it” (Qur’an, Al-Munafiqun [The Hypocrites]:63), ‘Abdullah came to the Prophet of Islam (S) and said, “You have heard this statement made by Ubayy, have you not?”

The Prophet (S) said, “I have.” The man then said, “You know very well that there is nobody more kind than me to his father, yet if you want him killed, then order me to do it, for I am afraid you will order someone else to do it, and I hate to look at the face of my father's killer then attack and kill him and get myself thrown into the fire [of hell]...”65

This incident gives us a glorious idea about the human nature, about how the relatives of someone killed feel, and how they wait for the opportunity to seek revenge, even when such killing throws them into the pitfalls of shirk.

Such is the nature of all people. ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab used to say to Sa’id Ibn al-’As, with whom he met one night in the company of ‘Uthman, ‘Ali (‘a), and Ibn ‘Abbas, “Why do you thus turn away from me as if I killed your father?! I did not kill him; al-Hasan's father [Imam ‘Ali, as] did.”

The Commander of the Faithful (‘a) said, “O Allah! I seek Your forgiveness! Shirk and everything else therein is by now gone, and Islam obliterated whatever was before it; so, why do you, O ‘Umar, thus stir old hostilities?” It was then that Sa’id said, “The man who killed him was apt to it, a man of nobility, and it is dearer to me that he killed him than anyone else who did not descend from ‘Abd Manaf.”66
 
It was not easy for Sa’id to remember how his father had been killed even though the latter was an apostate whom the sword of Muhammad's Call killed, and even though the killer [‘Ali] is a man of honour whose feats are numerous, and even though the latter did not kill him except in obedience to the Order of the Lord, the Mighty One, as the wahi was brought from the heavens by the “messenger of the heavens” [Gabriel].

But his fear of the sword of justice obligated him to pretend to be satisfied, although the fire was burning inside him as he kept waiting for an opportunity to seek revenge. Such fire of animosity manifested itself by his son, ‘Amr Ibn Sa’id al-Ashdaq, on the same day when he was appointed by Yazid as Governor of Medina.

He looked in the direction of the Prophet's grave and, with such a big mouth, loudly said, “This day do we seek revenge for the Battle of Badr, O Messenger of Allah!” And when he heard the wailing of the women of Banu Hashim mourning the Master of the Youths of Paradise, he said, “Mourners mourning: thus did we mourn ‘Uthman.”67
 
The heart of ‘Abdullah Ibn Ja’far was burning against Maysoon's son, and he very much hoped for an opportunity to annihilate him, to finish him, as well as his family and kinsfolk. No matter how forgetful he may have been, he could not have forgotten that he killed the “Father of the Oppressed” and the stars on earth belonging to ‘Abd al-Muttalib as well as the peerless from among his companions.

He hit with his rod the lips of the fragrant flower of the Messenger of Allah (S)! Could Ja’far's son, since the case was as such, look at Yazid in the eyes as his sword was dripping with their own blood, and as he was deafened by hearing one who felt rejoiced at the calamity that befell the Prophet of Islam? Yazid had said this line:
The cream of their crop have we killed
Then did we turn and set the record for Badr straight.
He denied the Islamic Message altogether saying:
Banu Hashim with authority played,
No message came, nor any revelation revealed.

Could the son of Ja’far possibly forget how the ladies who descended from the Prophet (S) stood with their faces unveiled, exposed to the looks of those who were near as well as those who were distant, knowing that they were the source of all honour, the fortress of the creed?

What makes things more tolerable is the fact that the person who accepts this tradition is none other than al-Mada'ini who is well known for his loyalty to the Umayyads, and his book is full of “traditions” raising the status of Banu Umayyah and lowering that of the ‘Alawides. Anybody who is familiar with the biographies of notable men and with the personalities of the narrators pays no attention to such “traditions”.

Notes:

61. His name as stated on p. 194 of al-Irbili's book Kashf al-Ghummah was “Abul-Salasil,” the man of chains.

62. al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 218.

63. Ansab al-Ashraf, Vol. 4, p. 3.

64. Al-Mustajad min Fi’lat al-Ajwad, p. 22.

65. Usd al-Ghabah, Vol. 3, p. 97.

66. Ibn Abul-Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Vol. 3, p. 335 (first Egyptian edition). Tahthib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, in the biography of Sa’id Ibn al-’As.

67. Refer to the chapter in this book titled “‘Amr al-Ashdaq.”

Adapted from: "Maqtal al-Husayn; Martyrdom Epic of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram"