While Imam Hussain(a.s) was proceeding towards Kufa, several hundred people joined him at various places. Among them was a young man named Wahab Ibn Abdullah Kalbi. Kalb was a very large tribe and many of them had stayed Christians, such as Wahab and his family. He lived with his middle-aged mother and the bride of a few days, in a tent out of the city. When they met Imam Hussain(a.s) on his way toward Karbala, they were very impressed by Imam’s personality, honesty, piety and knowledge. Being enamoured of Imam Hussain (a.s ), they embraced Islam and continued with his caravan until they arrived in Karbala. The situation in Karbala was quite different. Everybody had understood that staying with Imam Hussain(a.s) meant definite death, so many of those who had came for their advantages, left him and just a few faithful companions remained to defend Imam(a.s). Although wahab and his family had converted to Islam recently, they perceived Imam’s truthfulness and stayed with him.
On the day of Ashura, according to her mother advice, Wahab approached Imam Hussain(a.s) and asked his permission to go and fight for him and give his life for Truth and Justice. When her newly bride, Hanieh, understood that Wahab was going to the battlefield, she went to Imam Hussain(a.s) and asked him: ‘if Wahab dies in this way, will he go to the Paradise?’ Imam said: ‘Yes, he would.’ Then she said:’Can you promise me that you would not let Wahab enter Paradise without me ?’ Imam said:’ Yes, I promise you, you and Wahab will enter Paradise together.’ Wahab then ran into the battlefield with his sword in hand reciting war-poetry. He fought furiously and killed several enemy soldiers, returned to his mother and asked:’ Mother ! are you pleased ?’ The mother said:’May Allah be pleased with you. But I would really be pleased when I see you dying in action protecting the grandson of the prophet.’ Wahab returned to the battlefield with a new determination and started fighting even more intensely. The mother stood by her tent and kept encouraging and exhorting him to fight. Finally, Wahab was wounded and surrounded by enemies from all sides and was soon killed by the Yazidi soldiers.
When Hanieh saw this, she ran to Wahab’s side, sat down and wept with her face on her husband’s body. Shamr was watching this. He ordered his slave to go and kill the young woman. Shamr’s slave came and hit her with his mace on the head. The bride died by her bridegroom’s side and thus Iman Hussain’s(a.s) promise to her was fulfilled. Umar bin S’ad, the commander of Yazid army, ordered his soldiers to cut Wahab’s head off and throw it to his mother. The soldiers did that. Wahab’s mother came forward. Picked up his severed head. Wiped the dust off his forehead, kissed it and threw it back saying: ‘This is something given away in Allah’s way. I won’t take it back.’
Such were the followers and companions of Imam Hussain(a.s) at Karbala. They were fewer in number but had mountain-like determination and were overfilled with spirituality.
Early life and conversion to Islam
Abu Wahab was a Christian by birth and converted to Islam. He was a known businessperson of Kufa. Abu Wahab discussed with his mother and wife before converting toIslam and later joining Al Husayn ibn Ali(as) in the battle against Yazid’s forces. Abu Wahab was returning from Kufa after getting married. He was still seventeen years and his wife was just twelve years old. When Abu Wahab was passing from Karbala he saw Husayn ibn Ali (as)surrounded by the enemies and was along with his family and very few friends.
Abu Wahab was aroused by Al Husayn’s spiritual charisma in such a manner that he was reluctant to leave him despite of being aware about the consequences of staying withHusayn ibn Ali (as) . Abu Wahab was a tall and masculine man with broad shoulders, who was held with very high esteem among his people, and was known of his courage and soldierly experience.
On the preceding night of Ashura the following conversion was held between Abu Wahab and his mother:
Abu Wahab asked her: ‘Mother! What should I do in this situation?’ The mother asked Wahab: ‘How do you feel yourself, my son?’ Wahab said: ‘In my opinion Husayn(as) is on the just path and it would be cowardly and against all traditions of Arab chivalry and gallantry to leave the side of a man so isolated and surrounded by blood-thirsty enemies.’ The mother said: ‘But that means definite death.’ Wahab replied: ‘Yes I know, but my heart tells me that this is the right thing to do, in these circumstances.’ The mother then said: ‘If that is how you feel then we will stay with Husayn(as).’
Abu Wahab’s mother then pleaded on his behalf and said:
“O grandson of the prophet of Islam ! It will be an honor for me if my son fights for you and gives his life protecting you.” Husayn(as) was still reluctant to accept Wahab as one of his soldiers and advised him not to risk his life that too in a matter which concerns Muslims. When Abu Wahab saw this, he said:
‘O grandson of the prophet of Islam! If that is the case then, from this moment on, I am a Muslim.’ Abu Wahab testified (Kalimah) that: “There is none worth worshiping besidesAllah and Mohammad is His messenger”
Abu Wahab participated in the retaliatory attack when Al Shimr attacked Al Husayn’s right wing. Wahab in that engagement killed 31 of them, of which 19 were Horsemen and 12 were Footmen. His right hand was severed by Hani ibn thabit al Hadrami and left hand by Bakr ibn Hayy having left without arms he was taken captive and killed on that spot. Abu Wahab was then beheaded and his head was thrown towards Husayn ibn Ali’s camp,
It has come to down us, from more than one source, that Wahb-e-Kalbi’s severed head was thrown at his Mother as a taunt.
The Lady kissed it, and threw it back towards the l’aanatees, saying that “WE DO NOT TAKE BACK ANYTHING THAT WE HAVE GIVEN IN THEY WAY OF ALLAH”