Martyrdom Of Hazrat Imam Hussain Essay About Myself

For people with similar names, see Hussein bin Ali (disambiguation).

Husayn ibn Ali
Imam of Muslims

Shrine of Imam Husayn ibn Ali.

Native nameالحسين ابن علي
Born(625-10-10)10 October 625
(3 Sha'abanAH 4)[1]
Medinah, Hijaz
Died10 October 680(680-10-10) (aged 55)
(10 Muharram AH 61)
Karbala, Umayyad section of Mesopotamia
Cause of deathBeheaded at the Battle of Karbala
Resting placeHis shrine at Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq
32°36′59″N44°1′56.29″E / 32.61639°N 44.0323028°E / 32.61639; 44.0323028
ResidenceMedinah, Hejaz
Known forbeing a grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad, the Battle of Karbala, Shi‘iteImam


  • Sayyid al-Shohada
    (Arabic for Master of martyrs)[2]
  • ash-Shahīd[3]
    (Arabic for The Martyr)
  • as-Sibt[3]
    (Arabic for The Grandson)
  • Sayyidu Shabābi Ahlil Jannah[3][4]
    (Arabic for Leader of the Youth of Paradise)
  • ar-Rashīd[3]
    (Arabic for The Rightly Guided)
  • at-Tābi li Mardhātillāh[3]
    (Arabic for The Follower of God's Will)
  • al-Mubārak[3]
    (Arabic for The Blessed)
  • at-Tayyib[3]
    (Arabic for The Pure)
  • Sayyidush Shuhadā[5][6]
    (Arabic for Master of the Martyrs)
  • al-Wafī[3]
    (Arabic for The Loyal)
  • Üçüncü Ali
    (Turkish for Third Ali)
TermAC 670–680
Predecessor(As Shi'ite Imam) Hasan ibn Ali
Successor(As Shi'ite Imam) Ali Zayn al-Abidin
Opponent(s)Yazid ibn Muawiyah
Spouse(s)Shahr Banu bint Yazdegerd III (last Sassanid Emperor of Persia)
Umme Rubāb
Umme Laylā

Family tree of Husayn ibn Ali

Al-Ḥusayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib (Arabic: الحسين ابن علي ابن أبي طالب‎‎; 10 October 625 – 10 October 680) (3 Sha'abanAH 4 (in the ancient (intercalated) Arabic calendar) – 10 Muharram AH 61) (his name is also transliterated as Husayn ibn ‘Alī, Husain, Hussain and Hussein), was a grandson of the Islamic Nabi (Arabic: نَـبِي‎, Prophet) Muhammad, and son of AliibnAbi Talib (the first ShiaImam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam), and Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah. He is an important figure in Islam as he was a member of the Bayṫ (Arabic: بَـيـت‎, Household) of Muhammad, and Ahl al-Kisā’ (Arabic: أَهـل الـكِـسَـاء‎, People of the Cloak), as well as being the third Shia Imam.

Husayn ibn Ali became the Imam of Shia after the death of his older brother, Hasan, in AD 670 (AH 50). His father's supporters (Arabic: شِـيـعَـة عَـلِي‎, Shī‘aṫ ‘Alī) in Kufah gave their allegiance to him. However, he told them he was still bound to the peace treaty between Hasan and Muawiyah I and they should wait until Muawiyah's death. Later, Husayn did not accept the request of Muawiyah for the succession of his son, Yazid I, and considered this action a breach of the Hasan–Muawiya treaty.[8]

When Muawiyah died in 680 AD, Husayn refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, who had just been appointed as Umayyadcaliph by Muawiyah. He insisted on his legitimacy based on his own special position as a direct descendant of Muhammad and his legitimate legatees. As a consequence, he left Medina, his hometown, to take refuge in Mecca in AH 60.[8][9] There, the people of Kufah sent letters to him, asking his help and pledging their allegiance to him. So he traveled towards Kufah,[8] but, at a place near it known as Karbala, his caravan was intercepted by Yazid's army. He was killed and beheaded in the Battle of Karbala’ on 10 October 680 (10th of Muḥarram (Arabic: مُـحَـرَّم‎), 61 AH) by Shimr Ibn Thil-Jawshan, along with most of his family and companions, including Husayn's six month old son, Ali al-Asghar, with the women and children taken as prisoners.[8][10] Anger at Husayn's death was turned into a rallying cry that helped undermine the Umayyad caliphate's legitimacy, and ultimately overthrow it by the Abbasid Revolution.[11][12]

Husayn is highly regarded by Shi'ite Muslims for refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazid,[13] the Umayyadcaliph, because he considered the rule of the Umayyads unjust.[13] The annual memorial for him and his children, family and his companions is the first month in the Islamic calendar, that is Muharram, and the day he was martyred is the Ashura (tenth day of Muharram, a day of mourning for Shi'i Muslims). His action at Karbala fueled the later Shi'ite movements.[12]


Main articles: Family tree of Husayn ibn Ali and Daughters of Husayn ibn Ali

Husayn's maternal grandmother was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, and his paternal grandparents were Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad. Husayn and Hasan were regarded by Muhammad as his own sons due to his love for them and as they were the sons of his daughter Fatima and he regarded her children and descendants as his own children and descendants. He said "Every mothers children are associated with their father except for the children of Fatimah for I am their father and lineage" Thus descendants of Fatimah are descendants of Muhammad, and part of his Bayt.[15]


Birth and early life[edit]

Further information: The verse of purification and The verse of Mawadda

Husayn was born on 10 October CE 625 (3 Sha'aban AH 4).[1] However, Shia Hadith state that He was born AH 3.[16] Husayn and his brother Hasan were the last descendants of Muhammad living during his lifetime and remaining after his death. There are many accounts of his love for them which refer to them together.[8] Muhammad is reported to have said that "He who loves me and loves these two, their father and their mother, will be with me at my place on the Day of Resurrection."[17] and that "Hussain is of me and I am of him. Allah loves those who love Hussain. Hussain is a grandson among grandsons."[17] A narration declares them the "Masters of the Youth of Paradise"; this has been particularly important for the Shia who have used it in support of the right of Muhammad's descendants to succeed him. The Shi'a maintain that the infallibility of the Imam is a basic rule in the Imamate. "The theologians have defined the Imamate, saying: "Surely the Imamate is a grace from Allah, Who grants it to the most perfect and best of His servants to Him"[18] Other traditions record Muhammad with his grandsons on his knees, on his shoulders, and even on his back during prayer at the moment of prostrating himself, when they were young.[19]

According to Wilferd Madelung, Muhammad loved them and declared them as people of his Bayt very frequently.[20] He has also said: "Every mother's children are associated with their father except for the children of Fatima for I am their father and lineage." Thus, the descendants of Fatimah were descendants of Muhammad, and part of his Bayt.[15] According to popular Sunni belief, it refers to the household of Muhammad. Shia popular view is the members of Muhammad's family that were present at the incident of Mubahalah. According to Muhammad Baqir Majlisi who compiled Bihar al-Anwar, a collection of ahadith (Arabic: أحـاديـث‎, 'accounts', 'narrations' or 'reports'), Chapter 46 Verse 15 (Al-Ahqaf) and Chapter 89 Verses 27-30 (Al-Fajr) of the Qur'an are regarding Al-Husayn.[citation needed]

The incident of the Mubahalah[edit]

Main article: Event of Mubahala

In the year AH 10 (AD 631/32) a Christian envoy from Najran (now in southern Saudi Arabia) came to Muhammad to argue which of the two parties erred in its doctrine concerning ‘Īsā (Arabic: عِـيـسَى‎, Jesus). After likening Jesus' miraculous birth to Adam's (Adem) creation,[a]—who was born to neither a mother nor a father — and when the Christians did not accept the Islamic doctrine about Jesus, Muhammad was instructed to call them to Mubahalah where each party should ask God to destroy the false party and their families.[21][22] "If anyone dispute with you in this matter [concerning Jesus] after the knowledge which has come to you, say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us swear an oath and place the curse of God on those who lie."[b][21][23] Sunni historians, except Tabari who do not name the participants, mention Muhammad, Fatimah, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn as the participants, and some agree with the Shi‘ite tradition that ‘Ali was among them. Accordingly, in the verse of Mubahalah, in the Shi‘ite perspective, the phrase "our sons" would refer to Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, "our women" would refer to Fatimah, and "ourselves" would refer "‘Ali".[21][23]

Life under the first five Caliphs[edit]

Mu'awiyah, who was the governor of Ash-Shām (Arabic: اَلـشَّـام‎)[24][25] under Uthman ibn Affan, had refused Ali's demands for allegiance, and had long been in conflict with him.[26] After Ali was assassinated and people gave allegiance to Hasan, Mu'awiyah prepared to fight with him. The battle led to inconclusive skirmishes between the armies of Hasan and Mu'awiyah. To avoid the agonies of the civil war, Hasan signed a treaty with Mu'awiyah, according to which Mu'awiyah would not name a successor during his reign, and let the Islamic Ummah (Arabic: أُمَّـة‎, Community) choose his successor.[27]

Husayn and the Umayyad Caliphate[edit]

Reign of Muawiyah[edit]

See also: Muawiyah I and Umayyad

According to the Shi'ah, Husayn was the third Imam for a period of ten years after the death of his brother Hasan in CE 669, all of this time but the last six months coinciding with the caliphate of Mu'awiyah.[28] After the peace treaty with Hasan, Mu'awiyah set out with his troops to Kufa, where at a public surrender ceremony Hasan rose and reminded the people that he and Husayn were the only grandsons of Muhammad, and that he had surrendered the reign to Mu‘awiyah in the best interest of the community: "O people, surely it was God who led you by the first of us and Who has spared you bloodshed by the last of us. I have made peace with Mu'awiyah, and I know not whether haply this be not for your trial, and that ye may enjoy yourselves for a time."[c][29] declared Hasan.[27]

In the nine-year period between Hasan's abdication in 41/660 and his death in 49/669, Hasan and Husayn retired in Medina trying to keep aloof from political involvement for or against Muawiyah.[27][30]

Shi'ite feelings, however, though not visible above the surface, occasionally emerged in the form of small groups, mostly from Kufa, visiting Hasan and Husayn asking them to be their leaders - a request to which they declined to respond.[21] Even ten years later, after the death of Hasan, when Iraqis turned to his younger brother, Husayn, concerning an uprising, Husayn instructed them to wait as long as Muawiyah was alive due to Hasan's peace treaty with him.[27] Later on, however, and before his death, Muawiyah named his son Yazid as his successor.[8]

Reign of Yazid[edit]

One of the important points of the treaty made between Al-Hasan and Mu‘awiyah was that the latter should not designate anyone as his successor after his death. But after the death of Al-Hasan, Mu‘awiyah, thinking that no one would be courageous enough to object to his decision as the caliph, designated his son Yazid as his successor in AD 680, breaking the treaty.[31]Robert Payne quotes Mu‘awiyah in History of Islam as telling his son Yazid to defeat Al-Husayn – because Mu‘awiyah thought he was surely preparing an army against him – but to deal with him gently thereafter as Al-Husayn was a descendant of Muhammad, but to deal with ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubair swiftly, as Mu‘awiyah feared him the most.[32]

In April AD 680, Yazid succeeded his father as caliph. He immediately instructed the governor of Al-Medinah to compel Al-Husayn and few other prominent figures to give their Bay'ah (Arabic: بَـيـعَـة‎, Pledge of allegiance).[8] Al-Husain, however, refrained from it, believing that Yazid was openly going against the teachings of Islam in public, and changing the sunnah (Arabic: سـنـة‎, deeds, sayings, etc.) of Muhammad.[33][34] In his view the integrity and survival of the Islamic community depended on the re-establishment of the correct guidance.[35] He, therefore, accompanied by his household, his sons, brothers, and the sons of Al-Hasan, left Al-Medinah to seek asylum in Mecca.[8]

While in Mecca, ibn al-Zubayr, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas advised Al-Husayn to make Mecca his base, and fight against Yazid from there.[36] On the other hand, the people in Al-Kufah who were informed about Mu‘awiyah's death sent letters urging Husayn to join them and pledge to support him against the Umayyads. Al-Husayn wrote back to them saying that he would send his cousin Muslim ibn Aqeel to report to him on the situation. If he found them united as their letters indicated he would speedily join them, because the Imam should act in accordance with the Qur’an, uphold justice, proclaim the truth, and dedicate himself to the cause of God.[8] The mission of Muslim was initially successful, and, according to reports, 18,000 men pledged their allegiance. But the situation changed radically when Yazid appointed ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad as the new governor of Al-Kufah, ordering him to deal severely with ibn ‘Aqil. Before news of the adverse turn of events arrived in Mecca, Al-Husayn set out for Al-Kufah.[8]

On the way, Al-Husayn found that Muslim was killed in Al-Kufah. He broke the news to his supporters and informed them that people had deserted him. Then, he encouraged anyone who so wished, to leave freely without guilt. Most of those who had joined him at various stages on the way from Mecca now left him.[8]

Martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala[edit]

Main article: Battle of Karbala

See also: Maqtal al-Husayn

On his path towards Kufah, Al-Husayn encountered the army of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad. Husayn addressed the Kufans' army, reminding them that they had invited him to come because they were without an Imam. He told them that he intended to proceed to Kufah with their support, but if they were now opposed to his coming, he would return to where he had come from. However, the army urged him to choose another way. Thus, he turned to left and reached Karbala, where the army forced him not to go further, and stop at a location that was without water.[8]

Umar ibn Sa'ad, the head of Kufan army, sent a messenger to Husayn to inquire about the purpose of his coming to Iraq. Husayn answered again that he had responded to the invitation of the people of Kufa but was ready to leave if they now disliked his presence. When Umar ibn Sa'ad, the head of Kufan army reported it back to ibn Ziyad, the governor instructed him to offer Ḥusayn and his supporters the opportunity to swear allegiance to Yazid. He also ordered Umar to cut off Husayn and his followers from access to the water of the Euphrates.[8] On the next morning, as ʿOmar b. Saʿd arranged the Kufan army in battle order, Al-Hurr ibn Yazid al Tamimi challenged him and went over to Al-Ḥusayn. He addressed the Kufans in vain, rebuking them for their treachery to the grandson of Muhammad, and was killed in the battle.[8]

The Battle of Karbala lasted from morning till sunset of 10 October 680 (Muharram 10, AH 61). All of Al-Husayn's small army of companions fought with a large army under the command of Umar ibn Sa'ad, and were killed near the river (Euphrates) from which they were not allowed to get any water. In total, around 72 men, and a few ladies and children, had been on the side of Al-Husayn.[38][39][40] The renowned historian Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī stated "… then fire was set to their camp and the bodies were trampled by the hoofs of the horses; nobody in the history of the human kind has seen such atrocities."[41]


Once the Umayyad troops had massacred Al-Husayn and his male soldiers, they looted the tents, stripped the women of their jewellery, and took the skin upon which Ali Zainal-Abidin was prostrate. Ali had been unable to fight in the battle, due to an illness.[38][39][40] It is said that Shimr was about to kill him, but Husayn's sister Zaynab was able to convince his commander, Umar, to let him live. Zaynul-Abidin and other relatives of Husayn were taken hostage. They were taken to meet Yazid in Damascus, and eventually, they were allowed to return to Al-Medinah.[42][43]

After learning of the martyrdom of Husayn, ibn al-Zubayr collected the people of Mecca and made the following speech:

"O people! No other people are worse than Iraqis and among the Iraqis, the people of Kufa are the worst. They repeatedly wrote letters and called Imam Husayn to them and took bay'at (allegiance) for his caliphate. But when ibn Ziyad arrived in Kufa, they rallied around him and killed Imam Husayn who was pious, observed the fast, read the Quran and deserved the caliphate in all respects" [44]

After his speech, the people of Mecca joined him to take on Yazid. When he heard about this, Yazid had a silver chain made and sent to Mecca with the intention of having Walid ibn Utbah arrest Ibn al-Zubair with it[44] Eventually ibn al-Zubayr consolidated his power by sending a governor to Kufah. Soon, he established his power in Iraq, southern Arabia, the greater part of Al-Sham, and parts of Egypt. Yazid tried to end his rebellion by invading the Hijaz, and took Medina after the bloody Battle of al-Harrah followed by the siege of Mecca but his sudden death ended the campaign and threw the Umayyads into disarray with civil war eventually breaking out. This essentially split the Islamic empire into two spheres with two different caliphs, but soon the Umayyad civil war was ended, and he lost Egypt and whatever he had of Al-Sham to Marwan. This coupled with the Kharijite rebellions in Iraq reduced his domain to only the Hijaz. In Mecca and Medinah, Husayn's family had a strong support base and the people were willing to stand up for them. However, Husayn's remaining family moved back to Al-Medinah. Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr was the grandson of Abu Bakr and the cousin of Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr. Both Abdullah and Qasim were Aisha's nephews. Qasim was also the grandfather of ImamJafar al-Sadiq. Ibn al-Zubayr was finally defeated and killed by Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who was sent by Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, on the battlefield in AD 692. He beheaded him and crucified his body, reestablishing Umayyad control over the Empire.

Yazid reportedly died in Rabi‘al-Awwal, 64 AH (November, AD 683), less than 4 years after coming to power.[8][45] As for other opponents of Al-Husayn, such as ibn Ziyad and Shimr, they were killed in a rebellion led by a vengeful contemporary of Husayn known as "Mukhtar al-Thaqafi."[46][47][48][49]

Years later, the people of Kufah called upon Zayd ibn Ali ibn Al-Husayn to come over. Zaydis believe that on the last hour of Zayd, Zayd was also betrayed by the people in Kufah who said to him: "May God have mercy on you! What do you have to say on the matter of Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab?" Zayd said, "I have not heard anyone in my family renouncing them both nor saying anything but good about them...when they were entrusted with government they behaved justly with the people and acted according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah."[50][51][52][53]


Husayn's body is buried in Karbala, the site of his death. His head is said to have been returned from Damascus and interred with his body.[54]Fatimid and some Shia believe that Husayn's head was first buried in the courtyard of Yazid (in what is now the Umayyad Mosque), then transferred from Damascus to Ashkelon to Cairo.[citation needed]

Return of his head to the body[edit]

Several Shi'ite and Sunni sources confirm the return of Husayn's head to his body in Karbala. According to Shaykh Saduq, Husayn's son Ali took it back from Ash-Sham,[24][25] and returned it to Karbala.[55] Fetal Neyshabouri and Majlesi have confirmed this in their books, Rouzato-Waisin and Bihar al-Anwar respectively.[56][57]Sharif al-Murtaza also mentions this in his book Rasaael.[58]Ibn shahrashub verifies Sharif al-Murtaza stating the same thing about the head of Husayn. He also narrates Shaykh Tusi that this event, i.e. returning the head to the body, happened forty days after Ashura and it is for this reason, there are specific rituals for this day.[59] This day is recognised by Shias and is known as Arba'een. Similar statements are documented by Shia scholars e.g. Ahmad ibn Tawoos[60] and Muhaqeq Helli.[61]Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī in his book The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries has stated that Husayn's head was returned to his body and was buried altogether on 20th of the lunar month of Safar (Arba'een).[62] There is no certainty about what Islamic sect Biruni believed in. Similar statement is mentioned by Sunni scholar Zakariya al-Qazwini, in his book ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt.[63]Qurtobi narrates from Shias on the return of the head to the body on Arba'een.[64]

Transfer of his head in Fatimid belief[edit]

This section may lend undue weight to certain ideas, incidents, or controversies. Please help to create a more balanced presentation. Discuss and resolve this issue before removing this message. (October 2015)

[65] On the second day after the battle of Karbala, the forces of Yazid I raised the head of Husayn on a lance. They took it to Kufa to present it to Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, leaving behind the mutilated body of Husayn. According to a popular belief, the headless body was thus buried there by the tribe of Bani Assad, who were living in the vicinity of Karbala. However, according to the Shia belief that the body of an Imam is only buried by an Imam,[66][67][68] Husayn ibn Ali's body was buried by his son, Ali Ibn Husayn.[69] After the exhibition and display of the head of Husayn, ibn Ziyad dispatched it to Damascus to be presented to Yazid as a trophy.

Yazid celebrated the occasion with great pomp and show by displaying the head of Husayn in his crowded and decorated court. The head was then buried in a niche of one of the internal walls of Jame-Masjid, Damascus, Syria. Afterwards, the head of Husayn remained confiscated and confined in Damascus by the order of the Umayyad monarch, Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik (d.86/705), in this condition for about two hundred and twenty years.

When the Abbasids took power from the Umayyads, in the garb of taking revenge of Ahl al-Bayt, they also confiscated the head of Husayn and proved to be worse enemies than the Umayyads. It was the Abbasid emperor Al-Muqtadir (d. 295/908), an enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt. He attempted many times to stop the pilgrimage to the head but in vain. He thus tried to completely eliminate the sign of the sacred place of Ziyarat; he transferred the head of Husayn to Ashkelon (located 10 km (6.2 mi) from the Gaza Strip and 58 km (36 mi) south of Tel Aviv, Israel) in secrecy, so that the pilgrims could not find the place.

The following part of a text is a translation of the Arabic inscriptions, which is still preserved on the Fatimid minbar:

".. among the miracles, a major glory with the wishes of Allah, is the recovery of the Head .. Imam.. Husain .. which was at the place of Ashkelon, .. hidden by the tyrants... .. Allah has promised to reveal.. wishes to hide it from the show it to Awliya ... to relieve the heart of ‘Devotees’ of Imam Husain, as Allah knew their pure heartedness in Walayat and Deen.

... May Allah keep for long our Moula .. Al Mustansir’billah.. .The .. Commander of the forces.. the Helper of Imam.. the leader of Do’at .. Badr al Mustansari has discovered Raas al Imam al Husain in Imam Mustansir’s period and has taken it out from its hidden place. He specially built a Minbar for the Mashhad, at the place where this sacred Head lay buried. ..

He (..Badrul’jamali) constructed this building ..the revenue from which is to be spent only on this Mashhad ... ."[70]

The shrine was described as the most magnificent building in Ashkelon.[71] In the British Mandate period it was a "large maqam on top of a hill" with no tomb but a fragment of a pillar showing the place where the head had been buried.[72]

In Taiyabi Ismaili belief, after the 21st Fatimid Imam At-Tayyib Abi l-Qasim went into seclusion, his uncle, Abd al Majid occupied the throne of the Fatimid Empire. Fearing disrespect and the atrocities of the traitors and enemies, the Majidi-monarch, Al-Zafir, ordered the transfer of the head to Qahera. The W’ali of the city of Ashkelon, Al Amir Sayf al Mamlaka Tamim along with the custodian of the Mashhad, Qazi Mohammad bin Miskin, took out the buried casket of Raas al Imam al Husayn from the Mashhad, and with due respect and great reverence, on Sunday 8 Jumada al-Thani, 548 (30 August 1153) carried the head from the city of Ashkelon to Qahera, Egypt. Syedi Hasan bin Asad (Hir’az, Yemen) discussed this event in his Risalah manuscript as follows: "When the Raas (head) al Imam al Husain was taken out of the casket, in Ashkelon, drops of the fresh blood were visible on the Raas al Imam al Husain and the fragrance of Musk spread all over."[citation needed]

Historians, Al-Maqrizi, Ahmad al-Qalqashandi, and Ibn Muyassar (d. 1278) have mentioned that the casket reached Qahera on Tuesday 10 Jumada al-Thani (1 September 1153). Ust’ad Maknun accompanied it in one of the service boats which landed at the Kafuri (Garden). It was buried there in the place known as "Qubbat al Daylam" or "Turbat al Zafr’an" (currently known as "Al Mashhad al Husain", wherein lie buried underground thirteen Fatimid Imams from 9th Muhammad at-Taqi (not the Twelver Imam) to 20th Al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah). This place is also known as "B’ab Makhallif’at al Rasul" and located in Al-Hussein Mosque.

During the golden era of the Fatimid caliphate, on the day of Ashurah, every year the people of Egypt from far and near used to gather and offer sacrifices of camels, cows, goats in the name of Allah, recite Marsiyah-elegies on the Ahl al Bait and the Ans’ar of Husayn and pronounced la‘naṫ (Arabic: لَـعـنَـة‎, curse) loudly on Yazid, Shimr Ibn Thil-Jawshan, ibn Ziyad and other murderers of Husayn. During the tenure of Saladin, all Marasim al Az’a, or mourning commemorations for Husayn, were officially banned as they were considered Bid‘ah (Arabic: بِـدعَـة‎, 'Innovation').

The Mamluk historian of Egypt, Mohiyuddin Abd al Zahir (d. 1292) wrote:

"When Salahuddin came to power he seized all the Palaces of the Aimmat Fatemiyeen and looted their properties and treasures. He destroyed the valuable and rare collection of the hundred thousand books, available in libraries, in the river Nile. When he learnt through his intelligence.. that one of the.. custodians of Raas al Imam al Husain.. was highly respected by the people of ..Qahera, he surmised that perhaps he .. be aware of ..treasures of the Aimmat Fatemiyeen. Salahuddin issued orders to present him in his court. He inquired of him ..of the Fatemi..treasures. The nobleman flatly denied ..about the treasures. Salahuddin was angered and ordered his intelligence .. to ask him through ‘third-degree-torture’, but the nobleman bore ..torture and repeated ..statement. .. Salahuddin ordered his soldiers to put a cap containing Centipedes on the head of the nobleman. ..such type of punishment was so severe and unbearable..none could survive even for a few minutes. Prior to putting the Cap of Centipedes on the head, his hair was shaved, to make it easy for the Centipedes to suck blood, which in turn made holes in the skull. But! In spite of that punishment the noble custodian of Husain’s Head..felt no pain at all. Salahuddin ordered for more Centipedes to be put on .. but it could not kill or pain him. Finally, Salahuddin Ayyubi ordered a tight cap full of Centipedes .. to accomplish the result. Even this method could not torture or kill him. The Ayyubid brutes were greatly astounded further when they saw, on removing the cap, the Centipedes were dead. Salahuddin asked the nobleman to reveal the secret of this miracle. The nobleman revealed follow: “When Raas al Imam al Husain was brought to Qasar, Al Moizziyat al Qahera, he had carried the casket on his head. ‘O Salahuddin! This is the secret of my safety."

The burial place is now also known as Raous (head)-us-Husain, A silver Zarih (Maqsurah) is made on the place by Dawoodi Bohra Dai, and the place is visited regularly by all Shia. The presentation of the Maqsurah is also unique in the history of loyalty and faithfulness. The Maqsurah of Raas al Imam al Husain was originally constructed for the Al Abbas Mosque at Karbala, Iraq. When this Maqsurah reached the mosque of Al-Abbas ibn Ali it would not fit in the place. The size of the Maqsurah and the site of the fitting place differed at the time of fitting, although all technical aspects and measurements of the site were taken into account very precisely. The engineers were astonished, at what had happened, although every minute detail was handled very professionally. The loyalty of Al-Abbas ibn Ali was also witnessed on that day too, as it had been witnessed on the day of 'Ashura'. There a divine guidance came to the effect by way of intuition that a sincere, faithful, loyal and devoted brother could not tolerate, that the head of Muhammad's grandson, Husayn, buried in Al Qahera, Egypt, should be without a Maqsurah, thus how could he accept this gift for himself. Hence even after Shahadat, Al-Abbas ibn Ali paid his tribute to Husayn and presented his own Maqsurah for Raas (head) al Imam al Husain. When this above-mentioned Maqsurah was brought from Karbala, Iraq to Al Moizziyat al Qahera, Egypt, it fitted upon the original position of the grave known as Mashhad of Raas al Imam al Husain in such a manner, as if it had been fabricated for Raas al Imam al Husain itself.

Arab traveler Ibne Batuta also wrote in his safarname (rihla) that, after the incident of Karbala the head of Husain was in the Umayyad Mosque of Damascus. From there it was taken and buried in Ashkelon. During the crusade, the Fatimid ruler of Egypt exhumed the head and brought it to Egypt. Thereafter the head of Husain was buried again in the al Qarrafa graveyard in Cairo. The site of the graveyard became the mausoleum called Raasul Husain (inside Al-Hussein Mosque).[73]

During the period of Saladin, and by his order, the minbar made by Dai Badr-ul Jamali was transferred from Ashkelon to the Masjid Khalil al Rahman (Cave of the Patriarchs), Hebron in the West Bank, Palestinian territories. Saladin did not know that this minbar contained an inscription showing the history of Husayn. The 51st al Dai al Fatemi/Dawoodi Bohra, Taher Saifuddin (d.1385/1965) got the honour to visit Masjid Khalil al Rahman, and he discovered the Fatamid minbar, one thousand years after the seclusion of the Fatamid Imams.

The Masjid of the Ashkelon known as "Masjid Al Mashhad al Husain" was blown up deliberately as part of a broader operation of defence force in 1950 at the instructions of Moshe Dayan, but the devotees of Ahl al Bait did not forget it.[74]

In 2000, the 52nd Fatamid/Ismaili/Mustali/Dawoodi Bohra Dai Mohammed Burhanuddin, built a marble platform, as per traditional Fatimid architectural design, at the site, on the Barzilai Hospital grounds, Ashkelon and since then thousands of devotees have come from across the world, year-round to pay tribute to Husayn.[75]


Main articles: Mourning of Muharram and day of Ashura

See also: Arba'een and Hussainia

The Day of Ashura is commemorated by the Shia society as a day of mourning for the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala. The commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a national holiday and different ethnic and religious communities participate in it.

Al-Husayn's grave became the most visited place of Ziyarat for Shias. Some said that a pilgrimage to Karbala and Husayn's shrine therein has the merit of a thousand pilgrimages to Mecca, of a thousand martyrdoms, and of a thousand days fasting.[76] Shi‘ites have an important book about Al-Husayn which is called Ziyarat Ashura. Most of them believe that it is a Hadith-e-Qudsi (the "word of Allah").[77][dubious– discuss] The Imam Husayn Shrine was later built over his grave. In 850 Abbasid caliph, al-Mutawakkil, destroyed his shrine in order to stop Shia pilgrimages. However, pilgrimages continued.[78]

Shia Mourn during Moharram to pay respect to Husayn whose sacrifices kept true Islam alive loving true Imamate. Lots of Christian and Sunni also join them. [79]

Views on Husayn[edit]

See also: Karbala § Ahadith

The effect of the events in Karbala on Muslims has been deep and is beyond passion in Shiʿism. While the intent of the major players in the act has often been debated, it is clear that Husayn cannot be viewed as simply a rebel risking his and his family’s lives for his personal ambition. He continued to abide by the treaty with Muawiyah I despite his disapproval of Muawiyah's conduct. He did not pledge allegiance to Yazid, who had been chosen as successor by Muawiyah in violation of the treaty with Hasan ibn Ali. Yet he also did not actively seek martyrdom and offered to leave Iraq once it became clear that he no longer had any support in Kufa. His initial determination to follow the invitation of the Kufans in spite of the numerous warnings he received depicts a religious conviction of a mission that left him no choice, whatever the outcome. He is known to have said:

...Dying with honor is better than living with dishonor[80]

In culture[edit]

Historian Edward Gibbon was touched by the story of Al-Husayn, describing the events at Karbala as "a tragedy".[81][82] According to historian Syed Akbar Hyder, Mahatma Gandhi attributed the historical progress of Islam, to the "sacrifices of Muslim saints like Husayn" rather than military force.[83]

The traditional narration "Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala!" is used by the Shia as a mantra to live their lives as Husayn did on Ashura, i.e. with complete sacrifice for God and for others. The saying is also intended to signify that what happened on Ashura in Karbala must always be remembered as part of suffering everywhere.

Inspiring modern movements[edit]

See also: Battle of Karbala § Impacts on culture and politics

The story of martyrdom of Husayn has been a strong source of inspiration for Shia revolutionary movements. For Shias, Husayn's willing martyrdom justifies their own resistance against unjust authority. In the course of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran

A copy of the Quran reportedly written by Imam Husain ibn Ali, from over 1300 years ago

People visiting the Mosques of Husayn and Abbas in Karbala, Iraq, in the 21st century

This is believed by the Fatimids to be the burial place of Husayn's head in Ashkelon, Israel

An Inscription on the Mimbar of the Ibrahimi Mosque at Hebron, Palestine

Khema-gah, Memorial at Imam Husain Camp location, Karbala

Second son of Fatima (SA) and Ali (AS), Hussain (AS) was born on 3rd Shabaan, 4th year of Hijri (626 AD). When he was born the Holy Prophet (SAW) was given the news of the birth of his 2nd grand son. He arrived at the house of his daughter, took the little baby in his arms, and said the Azan and Iqamah in his ears. People around the Prophet saw tears in his eyes. Fatima asked what the reason was for this, he told her that this boy of hers will achieve martyrdom, but consoled her by adding that God will create a nation who will mourn Hussain till the Day of Judgment. Another famous saying of the Prophet at the same time became synonymous with the name of his grand son Hussain. "Hussian-o-Minni wa Ana Minul Hussain". Hussain is from me and I am from Hussain. One can explain this Hadith that Hussain, being the grand son of the Prophet was from him biologically? How a grandfather was from his grand son needs to be explained. Prophets of God speak spiritually rather than materially. He was talking about Islam the Deen he was assigned by God to propagate God's religion. He was for Islam and his whole life was for Islam and its establishment on earth. Any break in this mission would subvert this mission which was the purpose of his creation. The message of the Holy Prophet in this saying was that Hussain will, in some near future save this mission from destruction; hence the very purpose of his being will be saved by the sacrifice of his grandson. He was giving the news of a future occurrence. The story of Karbala unfolds.


Hussain is the king, indeed he is the king of kings
Hussain is Deen and also the protector of Deen
He gave his head but not his hand of allegiance in the hand of Yazid
Indeed he was the founder (Like his grandfather) of the concept of One God

This quartet of Shah Moinuddin Chishty Ajmeri is the exact meaning of the Hadith of "Hussain-o-Minni" as mentioned above. Imam Hussain (AS) has saved Islam from oblivion by offering his timely sacrifice to draw the line of demarcation between Truth and Falsehood, between good and evil, between Right and Wrong, that after this event in Karbala in 61 Hijri, no one inside or outside Islam dare to challenge the truth of the Holy Qur'an or try to subvert its meanings.

The story of Karbala begins with the birth of Hussain (AS). The Holy Prophet (SAW) had shown affection and love for his grandson as any grandfather should show, but there was something more positive and profound in this love. Several times when Hussain entered the mosque as a small child the Holy Prophet will put him in his lap and tell his companions that this is Hussain, look at him and remember him. The Prophet's insistence to remember Hussain shows that those who will forget this event will cause trouble in Islam.

It was just seven years of his life with his grandfather that the Holy Prophet died and soon after, Hussain's mother Hazrat Fatima (SA) also died. The next 25 years of his life in Madina was with his father Ali, his brother Hasan and many other brothers and sisters in the family. He grew up to be loved by the companions of the Holy Prophet. During the period of 2nd Khilafat-e-Rasheda, Omar Ibne Khattab had always shown his love and respect for Hussain. Whenever Hussain entered the mosque, the Caliph would let him sit beside him and tell the companions to listen to what this young man says. They all valued his advice even at that young age. His main activity in Madina was to see that the people there know true Islam. He also managed the Trust set up by his father, to help the poor of the city by giving them food and many necessities of life. This was the true Islamic Welfare State in progress where every hungry mouth must have food; every naked person must have clothes and a shelter over his head.

Apart from administering the Trust set up by his father Ali (AS), Hussain's (AS) main occupation during these 25 years in Madina was to teach the newly converted Muslims real Islam through the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Prophet. He has performed Hajj 24 times during this period. He has also traveled to Yemen and most of the southern part of Hejaz and Najd. It is clear that he did not take any part in any of the expeditions by the Muslim forces under the directions of the three Kholafa.

After the death of the 3rd Caliph Osman, Hussain's father Ali (AS) was compelled by the people of Madina overwhelmingly to take the reigns of power. Ali (AS) was reluctant and waited for three days before accepting the mantle of worldly power along with the authority of Imamah. Circumstances changed rapidly and within the first 6 month of Ali's Khilafat he had to leave Madina for Basra and the battle of Jamal took place. We see that Hussain (AS), who took no part in any battles before, was a commander of Ali's forces in this first battle under his father's leadership. Fighting began and ended in just one day, the battle was over; Ali (AS) performed funeral prayers on dead of both sides and buried them. Victors and vanquished were treated the same way. Hazrat Ayesha was returned to Madina under the escort of her brother Muhammad Ibne Abibakr and 40 other women dressed as men. She repented her participation in the battle all her life and never forgave Talha and Zubair who deceived her into this battle against Ali (AS). She also realized that the true instigator of this battle was Muawiya under whose directions both Talha and Zubair started this whole adventure against the legitimately elected Caliph of Islam. It was to destabilize the power base of Islam which was the Khilafat of Ali (AS). When he did not succeed in this he began other tactics to do the same. His bands of soldiers raided many parts of Iraq to burn and loot villages and destroy communities. Ali (AS) had no choice but to prepare for battle with Muawiya. The battle of Siffin took place in the 2nd year of Ali (AS) Khilafat and Hussain (AS) took full part. He was the commander of a garrison of 10,000 men along with his elder brother Hasan (AS) and Muhammad (Hanafiya). It was Ali's practice to put his other son Muhammad-e-Hanafiya in the forefront and save the lives of these two grandsons of the Prophet. Nevertheless they took full part in these battles and fought with great bravery.

The 3rd battle during the Khilafat of Ali (AS) was the battle of Nehrwan fought against the Khawarij. This was also over in just one day with total defeat of Khawarij. Ali (AS) returned to Kufa and the main administration of the Islamic Welfare State began. Both brothers were the chief administrators of this Welfare State where they would seek out those poor a destitute within the state and provide them with the necessities of life. While living with his father in Kufa, Hussain (AS) visited various northern part of the Islamic State. One story goes to say that he visited Azerbaijan and part of Iran of that time.

Four years and 10 months of his father's Khilafat were over quickly and his life with his elder brother Hasan (AS) began in Madina. They still have the Trust state which was established by his father and both brothers administered it jointly. Hussain (AS) visited Makka and performed Hajj 9 times during the life time of his brother. After the martyrdom his brother Hasan (AS), Hussain (AS) took the mantle of Imamat and spiritual guidance of the Ummah. It is during this period that during one of his journeys to Makka for pilgrimage, his famous Duas (Supplication) of Arafah became famous. This is a Dua which at the place of Arafat during the Hajj ritual that Imam recited and many pilgrims heard it and instantly memorized it as was the practice of the people of that time. Qur'an was also memorized in the same manner and many Sermons of Imam Ali (AS) were also memorized by people. This Dua of Arafa became famous because of its deep insight into the realms of spirituality of Islam and its total dependence upon Allah's Will and Power. This also gives insight into the reasons why Imam Hussain (AS) left Makka for Karbala. The following extract shows this feeling of the Imam towards reform of the Umma of his grandfather,

"O' God: you know that our struggle, moves, protests, and campaigns have not been, and are not, for the sake of rivalry and for obtaining power, neither are they for the sake of personal ambition nor for worldly ends, nor for the purpose of accumulating wealth and acquiring worldly advantages. " Then what is their purpose? Imam states the purpose in these words.

"To establish the landmarks of Your Deen, to make reforms manifest in Your lands, so that the oppressed among Your servants may have security, and Your laws, which have been suspended and cast into neglect, may be reinstated."

Further on in this same Dua the Imam calls upon his creator to show his total dependence upon Him.

O' He, upon whom I called when I was sick and He healed me, when naked, He clothed me, when hungry He fed me, when thirsty He gave me drink, when abased He exalted me, when ignorant, He gave me knowledge, when alone He provided companion, when away from home He returned me home, when empty handed He enriched me, when in need of help He helped me, when rich He took not from me". This kind of complete dependence upon God which is the Hallmark of Islamic teachings, was taught by the Imam to the people of Madina and Makka, and the whole of Hejaz he visited.

Once a baduin asked Imam what is the best thing to do. Imam replied, "Belief in God". He asked again, what is the best means of deliverance from destruction, Imam said, "Trust in God". The man asked, what is man's ornament, Imam replied," knowledge associated with intelligence". The man insisted, if this be not available, what then, Imam replied," Wealth accompanied with generosity". What if this is out of reach, Imam said, "Poverty allied with patience". What if this be not practicable? Imam smiled and said, let the lightening consume the man to ashes. He then gave whatever money he had with him to fulfill his needs.

It was in the month of Rajab 60 Hijri that Moawiya died and his son Yazid succeeded his father on the throne of the Arab Empire with Damascus as its capital. Moawiya in his cleverness had told Yazid that" whatever you do when you become ruler after my death, do not ask Hussain Ibne Ali for the oath of allegiance. Leave him where he is and you will have no problems." But Yazid in his arrogance of power did not bother to remember the wishes of his father. The very first thing he did was to write a letter to his Governor in Madina informing him of his succession to the throne of his father and ordering him to take the Oath of Allegiance from Hussain Ibne Ali (AS). Yazid realized that although he had full temporal power and is the virtual ruler of the Arab Empire, but he has no spiritual strength unless the grandson of the Prophet accepts him as such. People in Makka and Madina would still regard Hussain (AS) as their leader if only spiritually. Walid Ibne Ataba the Governor of Madina receives this letter on 26th of Rajab 60 Hijri. It was dusk and people were getting ready for Maghrib prayers. Walid immediately sent a messenger to Imam's house and called him to the palace. Imam realized the seriousness of the situation and took his brothers and sons with him. When they arrived at the gate of the palace Imam asked to stay outside and wait and only enter the gates when they hear Imam speak loudly. After these instructions Imam entered the palace. There was Walid sitting in his high chair with Merwan Ibnul Hakam by his side. Imam asked, "What is the matter that I was called at this hour". Walid mentioned Moawiya's death, Yazid's accession to the throne and the demand for Imam's oath of allegiance. Imam replied that this is not the matter which can be done in the solitude of the palace; let this matter be brought before the people of Madina next day in the mosque of the Prophet. Imam stood up to leave while Merwan who was listening to this conversation did not like it and warned Walid that if he lets Hussain go he will loose him. Take the oath now or cut his head off as Yazid suggested in his letter. Imam after hearing this remark from Merwan told Walid loudly, "A person like me would not give the oath of allegiance to a person like Yazid who had violated all tenets of Islam". As Imam said these words loudly, his brothers and sons entered the palace and they all left safely.

Imam realized after consulting his friends and relatives that the life of peace for them in Madina was over.

A question is asked sometimes, that why Imam Hussain (AS) had not chosen to come to terms with Yazid as his elder brother, Imam Hasan(AS) had done earlier while dealing with Moawiya. The question does not take into account the difference in the situations of the two brothers. Ali (AS) as the Imam left his elder son the mantle of Imamat which he at the time of his death passed it on to his brother Imam Hussain (AS). Imam Hasan (AS) had also been installed as the Caliph. Finding that Moawiya had succeeded in, secretly, sowing the seeds of discord and dissent among the Muslims, and had induced the feeling of great insecurity by undermining the machinery for the maintenance of peace, law and order, Imam Hasan (AS) had deemed it expedient to enter into a treaty with him under which the Imam abdicated in favor of his adversary only the adjuncts of worldly power. He did not dissociate himself from the spiritual primacy at all and continued to be the spiritual leader and the Imam of the Ummah.

Second point which is equally important is that when Yazid enforced his oath of allegiance over the Muslims, he insisted the people must swear allegiance to him which was totally different from the oath of allegiance of Kholafa-e-Rashidoon. Previously they swore the oath of allegiance that the Khalifa should rule according to the verdict of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. But Yazid's impertinence and arrogance made it an abject acknowledgement by the swearer that he was the slave (Abd) of Yazid who would dispose off his life, property and offspring in any manner deemed fit. One of the companions of the Prophet in Madina named Ibn Rabia Al Aswad was prepared to swear allegiance to Yazid in accordance with the old practice but refused to swear allegiance in the form proposed. He was summarily executed. This happened inside the city of Madina.

Where then was there any point in Imam Hussain (AS) trying to make up to Yazid. This is where Imam Hussain (AS) found himself placed in circumstances which were markedly different from those which confronted his elder brother who had abdicated only his temporal power in favor of Moawiya for the restoration of peace and order on the domain of Islam. This kind of oath was entirely out of question for Imam Hussain (AS) to accept. This would have totally degraded Islam as ordained in the Qur'an and as it was practiced by the Prophet of Islam. When settlement with Yazid being wholly out of question, the only alternative course open to Imam Hussain (AS) was to oppose Yazid to save and protect the values of Islam from further degradation and to protect the faith itself from destructive inroads of pre-Islamic revivalism. He could, however, have entertained no illusions about the kind of support he could hope to enlist for himself in any conflict with Yazid. The exceedingly unhappy position in which his elder brother had found himself through the treacherous withdrawal of the support given to him in his confrontation with Moawiya, Imam Hussain (AS) therefore thought of entirely new strategy of war with Yazid, for in any case war it had to be. He made no attempt to meet Yazid's military might with his own martial strength. He builds no hopes on numerical strength for the success of his cause which was entirely the cause of Islam and saving Islamic values. Imam decided to battle with Yazid on the spiritual plane, to oppose Yazid's might with his nobility of character, confront power with powerlessness, meet multitudes with want of material support and defy oppression with suffering and martyrdom.

The proof of this line of thought became so clear in Imam Hussain's sermons and letters to his brother Muhammad-e-Hanafiya when the Imam was leaving Makka for Iraq.

Imam, after leaving Madina in the month of Rajab, stayed in Makka for about 5 months. It was in the month of Zilhijja 60 Hijri when he noticed that there were Yazid's soldiers in Makka in the garb of Ahram to kill the Imam inside the Masjidul Haram. Imam changed the rituals of Hajj into Umra and decided to leave Makka. The date was 8th of Zilhijja 60 Hijri. When people saw the Imam leaving before completing the Hajj they began to ask questions as to why he was leaving in such a hurry. Some doubted his motives, saying that he might be leaving Makka for Iraq to confront Yazid and take power into his hands. To quell these doubts he left a letter with his brother Muhammad-e-Hanafiya which clearly states his purpose of leaving Makka. He wrote in the letter, "I have not come out to stir emotions, to play with discontentment, to provoke dissension or to spread oppression. I wish to bring the Umma back to the path of Amr-bil-Ma'arouf and Nahyi Unil Munker. I wish to bring them back to the path of my grandfather the Messenger of Allah and of my father Ali Ibne Abi Talib".

The momentous journey of Imam Hussain (AS) begins from Makka towards an unknown destination which eventually ended at Karbala.

The journey which began from Makka on the 8th of Zilhijja 60 Hijri ended in Karbala on 2nd of Muharram 61 Hijiri and took about 22 days in all. Imam stopped at 14 places on his way to Karbala. He met various people and delivered various sermons. What the Imam talked about to these people he met and said in his sermons at various places reflects the true motives he had in his mind. The names of these places Imam passed were mentioned in history books but their exact locations were not traceable in modern geographical maps. After searching in the archives of the British Museum Library a map of 9th Century Hijri was found in which all these names were clearly shown.

There were 14 places in all where the Imam was known to have passed during this journey.

The first place was called Saffah. Here the Imam stayed for the night. The next morning when he was preparing to leave for his next Manzil that he met the famous poet Farazdaq who was coming from Iraq and was going to Makka for pilgrimage. When he learnt that Imam was proceeding for Iraq he tried to persuade him not to go there. Imam asked Farazdaq about the conditions in Kufa and the poet replied," Peoples hearts are with you but their swords are against you." Imam told him, "Allah does what he wishes, I leave it to Him who proposes the just cause". Farazdaq left the place for Makka and Imam's caravan proceeded towards its next Manzil. The 2nd Manzil was Dhatul - Irq. Here the Imam stayed the night. Here he met Abdullah Ibn Jaafar who was Imam's cousin and husband of his sister Hazrat Zainab. Abdullah brought his two sons Aun and Muhammad to accompany the Imam. Abdullah also tried to persuade the Imam to postpone his journey and return to Madina. But Imam replied," my destiny is in the hands of Allah" These words which mention his destiny were repeated at many places during this journey and clearly indicate that he had a mission in his mind and he was proceeding towards that mission without fail.

The 3rd stage in the Imam's journey was the small town called Batn-ur-Rumma. From here the Imam sent a letter to one of his friends in Kufa asking about the situation there. Qais Ibn Mushahir took the letter for the Imam. He also met Abdullah Ibn Mutee who was also coming from the troubled land of Iraq. He also tried to persuade the Imam not to proceed any further. He said that Kufans were not faithful to anyone -" Al Kufi La Yufi "- they could not be trusted. But Imam continued with his fateful journey with the same words that his destiny is in the hands of Allah.

The 4th Stage of Imam's journey took him to Zurud. This was a small town just over the hills of Hejaz separating from the province of Najd. From here the mountains change into arid desert. At this place Imam met Zohair Ibne Qain. Zohair, until that time, was not the follower of Ahlul-bayt. He was undecided and considered himself as a person in middle not able to decide which side was the right one. Imam saw Zohair's tent pitched in the distant and sent his emissary with a note. Zohair read the note, realized for the first time in his life that time for decision to choose the right path has arrived. Something happened to him inside that has changed his entire life. What was written in the note is not clear, but Zohair told his friends to take his wife and children back to his tribal lands, and he himself set out to join the Imam and his caravan.

Here it is important to mention that when the Imam was leaving Makka he was trying to persuade the hoards of people who wanted to come out with him, to go back to their homes. Imam was telling them that there is no reward of worldly goods at the end of the journey. But at the same time he wrote letters to some people inviting them to accompany him to the end of his journey. One of them was Zohair as mentioned above. Imam wrote another letter to his childhood friend Habib Ibn Mazahir al-Asadi in Kufa inviting to join him in his journey of destiny. Habib was an old companion of the Prophet. Some historians mention Habib's age as 82 years.

Another important point worth mentioning here is that these additional people invited by the Imam were each from different tribes of Arabia. Out of total number of 72 male warriors with the Imam, 18 were from his own family, all descendents of Abu Talib. But rest of the martyrs was from all places and all creeds, almost from all Islamic lands of that time. There were men from Sham (Syria), from Jaba el Amul (Lebanon), from Armenia, from Azerbaijan, from Yemen, Abysiniya and Egypt. It appears that Imam was taking special care that whoever is martyred with him on the Day of Ashura comes from different tribes and different lands, different culture and creed so that the message reaches all corners of the Islamic lands through their relatives and friends.

The 5th stage of Imam's journey was a small town called Zabala. Here the Imam learnt from two tribesmen coming from Kufa, about the death of Hazrat Muslim Ibn Aqeel. Imam uttered the words, "InnLillahe wa Inna Ilaihe Rajeoon", loudly that all around him hear these words and know that something momentous has happened. When all his companions gathered around him he said, "Indallah Nahtasib Unfosana", which means that "before God we all are accountable to our actions and deeds". Asadi Tribesmen tried to dissuade the Imam from proceeding any further, but to no avail. He told his companions of the death of his cousin Hazrat Muslim. In a very touching way he told Hazrat Muslim's 4 year daughter of the death of his father. He called her, put her on his lap and gave her a pair of ear rings to put on. She asked why? Then she replied herself, it looks like that her father has died and that she is an orphan now. Imam hugged her, consoled her and told her that he will look after her in place of her father. There was a commotion inside the ladies camp as they all realized that Kufa cannot be their destiny any longer. They also learnt that with Hazrat Muslim, his two small children and his friend Hani were also killed along with many friends of Ahlulbayt. Hoards of tribesmen who were still with the Imam's party left him as they all realized for sure that there was not going to be a war for victory over Yazid but the purpose was something else. By this 5th stage only about 50 people were left with the Imam and many of them were women and children.

Imam left Zabala and arrived at Batn-e-Aqiq at his 6th Manzil. Here the Imam met a man from the Tribe of Akrama who told him that Kufa was not a friendly town, that Yazid's army has surrounded this garrison town, no one was allowed to leave or enter the town. But Imam carried on toward his destiny.

The 7th Manzil was Sorat. Imam stayed the night here and in the morning after Fajr prayer he asked his companions to store as much as water as possible in all possible containers and sheep skins they had. The Wells were underground, and the Imam's companions filled all possible containers, jars, sheepskins with water. The next day they arrived at a place called Sharaf. While the Imam was passing from this valley that one of his companions called out that he could see the approach of any army through the dust storm. Imam asked for a safe place, preferably a hill at their back. A guide took them near a hill where Imam asked everyone to dismount while kept the hill at their back. The name of the place was Zuhasm. It was here that Imam met Hur's army of 1000 men. They were coming from Kufa and appeared to be without water for sometime. Imam asked his companions to give them water in spite of the fact that they were hostile to Imam's party. Everyone drank to their fill, even horses and camels drank. One soldier was so thirsty that he was unable to drink the water himself and the Imam went to him and poured water in his mouth. Hur who was the leader of that brigade from Kufa came to the Imam and wanted to get hold of the reins of his horse to which Imam replied not to be impertinent. Hur then refrained from doing that, but told the Imam he will take him to Kufa under escort to which Imam did not agree. While they were discussing these matters that the time for the Zohr arrived and all of them, friends and enemy alike stood behind the Imam to complete their prayers. After the prayers Imam told Hur and his soldiers that he had received many letters from Kufa inviting him to go there as an Imam and guide in all matters religious or secular. The actual words of Imam's Khutba as mentioned by Tabari are as follows.

"O' people of Kufa, you sent me delegations and wrote me letters that you had no Imam and that I should come to unite you and lead you in the way of God. You replied that we Ahlulbayt are more qualified to govern your affairs than those who claim things to which they had no rights and act unjustly., But if you have changed your mind, have become ignorant of our Rights and have forgotten your promises, than I shall turn back".

But the Imam and his companions were denied by Hur's soldiers to turn back. Imam did not wish to go to Kufa now, and Hur's army did not want them to return to Madina. So a compromise was reached by both parties to bye-pass Kufa and turn towards north. Imam and his party was leading and the Hur's army was behind them. In two days journey they arrived at a place called Baiza.

Baiza was the 10th Manzil. At Baiza Imam delivered his most memorable sermon. History recorded this sermon fully. The words of this sermon clearly indicate the very purpose of the Imam for leaving Makka and his reasons of opposing the oath of allegiance to Yazid. He said,

O' People, The Prophet of Islam has said that if a believer sees a tyrannical ruler transgressing against Allah and his Messenger and oppressing people, but does nothing by word or action to change the situation, then it will be just for God to place him where he deservingly belongs. Do you not see to what low level the affairs have come to, do you not observe that truth has not adhered and falsehood has no limits. And as for me, I look upon death but a means of attaining martyrdom. I consider life among the transgressors an agony and an affliction".

This Khutba of the Imam at Baiza is a landmark in history. This was 60 Hijri, about 681 AD. Twelve hundred years later in Gettysburg Abraham Lincoln delivered a speech in which he said, "To suffer in silence while they should protest makes cowards of men". These words of Lincoln reflect exactly what Imam said some over 1200 years ago that oppressors and transgressors from the true path of justice will emerge all the time. If there remains no one on earth to object over their transgressions that they will go unchecked. One should always point out to these tyrants of the Right path of justice. This is the lesson we should all learn from Imam Hussain (AS).

The next Manzil was Uzaibul Hajanat. Here Imam stayed away from the escorting army of Hur. He met Trimmah bin Adi. After having known about the Kufan abandonment of his envoy Hazrat Muslim, it became clear that Imam had no hope of support or even survival in Kufa. Nevertheless, he refused an offer of safety extended to him by Trimmah bin Adi. Ibn Adi was the leader of a powerful Tribe of Adi in the area. He pleaded the Imam to accept his offer of 20,000 armed soldiers from his Tribe to help him if he wishes to go to Kufa to fight with the army of Yazid. Adi even offered the Imam and his small entourage to a hideout in the Tribal hills away from Kufa. But Imam rejected all such offers of safety and indulgence in war. Imam replied to Ibn Adi, "Allah will bless you and your people for your good intentions. I cannot go from my word. Things are destined". It is clear from this reply that the Imam was fully aware of the impending dangers he and his family and friends would face if he continues with his journey without any help from outside forces. He had a certain strategy and plan in his mind to bring about a revolution in the conscience of the Muslim Ummah. He did not mobilize military support which he could easily have mustered in Hejaz, nor did he try to exploit whatever physical strength was available to him. On the other hand he was discouraging any such suggestions of an army to fight physically.

Imam's twelfth Manzil was Qasre-Bani Maqatil. It was evident here that Kufa was no more his destination. As Hur did not want him to leave for anywhere else, a compromise was reached and they bye passed Kufa and took a new route. Resting in the heat of the afternoon, Imam uttered a sentence which is said in circumstances when someone hears of death. His elder son Ali Akber came forward and enquired about this sentence. Imam replied that while he was half a sleep he saw in his dream that some one was shouting loudly that this caravan was destined towards death. Ali Akber asked, are we not on the Right Path. An unusual question so it seems. But when the Imam replied that they were indeed on the Right Path, his son's reply was again typical of this family of the Prophet. Father, when we are on the Right Path," we have no worries whether death takes us or we fall upon death". The young son of the Imam was satisfied as long as their Paths were Right. Death meant to them for they were fully aware that death of this kind transforms into the glory of martyrdom.

Their Thirteenth Manzil was Nainawah. At this place a messenger from Ibn Ziad the Governor of Kufa came to meet the army of Hur and told them not to leave the Imam and his party under any circumstances. The battered Caravan passed through Ghaziriyah and arrived at a place by the river Banks of the Euphrates. Imam asked the name of this place and he was told the name "KARBALA". Imam replied, this is the place of Karb-wo-bala, i.e. the place of torture and pain. Let us stop here, Imam ordered to dismount. We have reached our destination. Tents were pitched near the River Bank. The date was 2nd of Muharram 61 Hijiri (3rd October 681 AD).

Hur's soldiers surrounded the Imam's camp. But no one knew what was going to happen until two days later on the 4th of Muharram that another contingent of 4000 men arrived from Kufa. The next day Shimr arrived with another 10,000 men to fight an army of about 40 people, among them were men of over 80 and children of 13 and 11 and even a 6 month old baby, the youngest son of the Imam who was only a month old when Imam left Madina in the Month of Rajab 5 months ago. Shimr ordered the Imam and his entourage to leave the River Bank and pitch their tents away from it. Imam's brother Abbas and others refused, but Imam told them to move the tents. The tents were moved about 200 yards away from the River Bank and the river was immediately occupied by the soldiers of Yazid newly arrived from Kufa.

Next day 7th, all water supplies were stopped for the Imam's party and soon the cry of thirst heard from the children in the camp. Whatever water they would have stored was finished within a day and by the 8th there was no water left in the camp. In the scorching heat of the desert even a few hours without water was impossible yet for three days these people were without water. On the afternoon of the 9th, Yazid's army moved forward in a formation of attack. Imam was informed and he sent Abbas and Ali Akber to enquire about this. The reply was that orders were from Kufa to commence fighting and finish off with the family of the Prophet. Imam asked them to give them a stay of one night for they all wished to spend their last night in meditation and prayers to God. The night was dark and horrible, flickering lights from the Camp of the Imam was showing few people busy in prayers. The sound of their prayers in unison was coming out of the camp as if Honey bees were busy to build their nest. Whereas on the enemy side music and dancing had gone on all night. Many soldiers from Yazid's army saw this difference and realized in awe who was on the path of God and who was not. Some soldiers slipped away from Yazid's camp towards the Imam's camp knowing fully well that if fighting started the next morning they would surely perish. About 30 such people moved to Imam's camp. Imam held a meeting of his battered and thirsty companions and told them that the enemy wanted only his life. They have no animosity with any one else. When no one moved Imam asked that the candles should be put off, in case some of them were ashamed to show themselves running away from the Imam. The Imam also said that he was taking away the burden of the Oath of allegiance from them and made them free to go. "Take few of my relations with them" But when the candles were lit again, all were there, no one moved. One of the older companions named Muslim Ibn Awsajah came forward and declared that they were all one solid rock to fight for the Imam. If they were killed 70 times and then were made alive again they would still prefer to achieve martyrdom with the Imam rather than live with the oppressive rulers like Yazid.

Morning appeared and before Sunrise Ali Akber gave the Azan and all of them completed their morning prayers behind their Imam.

Imam made his brother Abbas as the flag bearer of the tiny army of 70 persons in all when all of a sudden two more soldiers defected from Yazid's army. One was Hur who was the leader of the contingent who brought the Imam's party to Karbala and also his son. Both of them arrived with their hands tied to apologize to the Imam for what they had done and asked his permission to fight for them and become first martyrs. Imam did not give orders to commence fighting until arrows came from the enemy camp. Then Hur went out to fight. Overwhelmed by the numbers on the other side, he soon died. His son went and he also died. Then one by one each companion of the Imam went and died until Zohr time when Saeed Ibn Abullah al Bijilly came forward and informed the Imam that it was prayer time for Zohr. Battle was raging, arrows were coming towards the Imam's camp, how could they have formed lines for prayers. But they stood in single foil to perform their last prayers while two companions of the Imam Saeed and Zohair stood in front of this line to hold back all the arrows that were coming towards them. Once the Imam finished the last words of the prayers these two soldiers died of exhaustion. The Last of the companions of the Imam died and only the relatives remained. First to go was Imam's son Ali Akber who fought bravely but thirst for three days was the most important factor in the fall of these martyrs. He was also killed and then Imam's nephew Qasim went and was killed. Then four of his brothers, Osman, Jafar, Abullah and Abbas were killed. Imam then brought his 6 month old son Ali Asgher. He brought him in his arms under the shade of his cloak. He told the audience, "This baby has not done any harm to you. He is thirsty, give him some water." The Commander of Yazid's army ordered Hurmula who was the best marksman to kill the baby. Hurmulah pulled the bow and the arrow killed the baby instantly. Imam brought the baby near the camp, informed his mother of the martyrdom of the baby. He then buried the baby in the sand. Afterwards Imam himself went for battle. But before that he introduced himself again that he was the grand son of the Prophet in case anyone had any doubts about him and that his guilt was only to refuse to accept the Oath of allegiance of the Tyrannical ruler Yazid. The enemy was thirsty for the blood of the Imam, they were blind in their eagerness to kill the last of the family of the Prophet. They fell upon his injured and tired body like blood hounds and soon the Imam was also killed. The battle ended in one day.

The evening of the 10th was the darkest for the women and children of the family of the Prophet. Camps were set alight and burnt, their possessions were looted. It was late at night while they were huddled together waiting for further tortures from the enemy side, that they saw the wife of Hur coming towards them with food and water. They were hungry and thirsty but none of them was keen to take anything, not even the youngest of the children. Imam Hussain's youngest daughter Sakina took the tumbler of water and ran towards the open field. Her aunt Zainab asked where was she running to and she replied, her little brother Ali Asgher was thirsty, she was taking some water for him, not knowing that little Ali Asgher was already dead, being the victim of Hurmula's arrow.

Night passed and the morning came with more pain and grief when they saw that the bodies of the enemy were buried but the grand son of the Prophet with all his sons and brothers and companions lie unburied on the desert sand. The Women and children were taken prisoners with the ailing son of Imam, the 22 year old Ali, leading this battered caravan towards Kufa as the Imam of the family. He was now the 4th Imam.

The Bodies of these Martyrs were buried on 3rd day by tribesmen of Bani Asad, guided by the fourth Imam who was with them miraculously while in prison in Kufa.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *