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The forerunners of martyrdom

After Muslim ibn ‘Aqil came to Kufah, and before the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (as), a number of people were martyred because of paying allegiance or sending messages to Imam al-Husayn. Others were martyred because they wanted to escape and help Imam al-Husayn but were discovered before they could succeed. We will now mention some of them:

1. ‘Ammarah ibn Salkhab Azdi

He was one of the Shi‘ahs who had paid allegiance to Muslim ibn ‘Aqil in Kufah. When Muslim was captured, Ibn Ziyad also captured ‘Ammarah ibn Salkhab Azdi and asked, “What tribe are you from?” He answered, “I come from the tribe of Azd ibn Ziyad.” ‘Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad gave orders to his agents to take ‘Ammarah to his tribesmen and separate (cut) his head from his neck.

Abu Ja‘far recounts, “They cut his head off in the presence of his tribesmen.”

2. ‘Abd al-A‘la ibn Yazid al-Kalbi

‘Abd al-A‘la ibn Yazid al-Kalbi was an astute horseman and a very brave Shi‘ah of Kufah. He was a supporter of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil. After Muslim ibn ‘Aqil was deserted by the people, Kathir ibn Shahab arrested ‘Abd al-A‘la and handed him over to ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad.

Abu Mukhnaf recounts, “After the martyrdom of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad called for ‘Abd al-A‘la. He asked him how he was feeling. ‘Abd al-A‘la answered, ‘I came out in order to be a spectator at the battlefield.

I did not have any intention of fighting against you.’ ‘Ubayd Allah asked him to swear upon Allah that he was telling the truth. ‘Abd al-A‘la refused to swear. Therefore, they took him to a place infested with wild and vicious animals and he was martyred there.”11

Notes:

11. See previous footnote.

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"