Karbala and Beyond 4


When Yazid came to know that al-Walid had allowed Imam al-Husain (
ع) and Abdullah ibn az-Zubair to leave Medina for Mecca without
taking their oath of allegiance to him, he became very angry and
immediately deposed al-Walid from his post and appointed Amr ibn
Sa’d in his place. Amr, in turn, appointed Omer ibn az-Zubair as his
chief executive officer. Omer began to harass and intimidate the
supporters of Abdullah ibn az-Zubair. The Imam (ع) understood that
those were scaring tactics meant to convey the message that he would
be next to harass and intimidate; therefore, he felt that it was not safe
for him to stay even in Mecca. There, Imam al-Husain (ع) received
thousands of letters, mostly from the people of Kufa, pleading to him to
rescue them from the Umayyads’ tyranny. According to the renown
writer al-Balathiri, Imam al-Husain (ع) received as many as six
hundred letters in one day and a total of twelve thousands, all
requesting the same. Among those who wrote him were these renown
Kufians some of whom betrayed him then fought him: Shabth ibn
Rab’i, Hijar ibn Abjar, Yazid ibn al-Harith, Izrah ibn Qays, Amr ibn al￾Hajjaj, and Muhammed ibn Omayr ibn Utarid. First, Imam al-Husain (
ع) did not respond to any of these letters, then he wrote one letter which
he entrusted to Hani ibn Hani al-Subayi and Sa’d ibn Abdullah al￾Hanafi wherein he said,
“In the Name of Allah, the Most Benevolent, the Most Merciful
Hani and Sa’d brought me your letters, and they are the last to deliver
such letters to me. I understand what you narrate, and the gist of most
of your letters is: “We have no Imam; so, come to us, perhaps Allah
will gather us with you on the path of guidance and righteousness.” I
have sent you my brother and cousin and the confidant of my Ahl alBayt and ordered him to write me with regard to your conditions, views
and intentions. So, if he writes me saying that your view is united with
that of those of distinction and wisdom from among you and in
agreement with what your messengers and letters state, I shall, by the
Will of Allah, come to you very soon. By my life, an Imam is one who
acts upon the Book [of Allah] and implements justice and follows the
path of righteousness; he dedicates himself to follow Allah’s
Commandments, and peace be with you.”
He handed his letter to his cousin Muslim ibn Aqeel saying, “I am
dispatching you to the people of Kufa, and Allah shall deal with you as
He pleases. I wish that I and you should be in the company of the
martyrs; so, proceed with Allah’s blessing and help. Once you get
there, stay with the most trustworthy of its people.”
Muslim left Mecca on the fifteenth of the month of Ramadan,
corresponding to June 22, 680 A.D., via the Mecca-Medina highway.
He reached Medina and went to the Mosque of the Prophet (ص), then
he bade his family farewell after having hired two road guides from the
tribe of Qays. One night the road guides were lost, and they became
extremely thirsty, and it was very hot. They said to Muslim (ع) once
they recognized some road marks, “Take yonder road and follow it,
perhaps you will be saved.” He, therefore, left them, following their
advice. Both road guides died of thirst. He could not carry them
because they were about to pass away. What those road guides had
actually seen was not the road itself but some landmarks leading
thereto. The distance between them and water was not known, and they
were unable to ride on their own, nor could they ride with someone
else. Had Muslim (ع) stayed with them, he, too, would have perished.
The most urgent matter was to preserve precious lives and to continue
the march till water could be reached, hence his decision to abandon
them where they were. Muslim and those serving him barely survived
till they reached the highway and the water source where they rested
for a short while.
Muslim sent a letter to Imam al-Husain (ع) with a messenger whom he
hired from those who settled near that water source. He told him about
the death of the road guides, about the hardship he underwent, and that
he was staying at a narrow passage at Batn al-Khabt awaiting his
instructions. The messenger met Imam al-Husain (ع) at Mecca and
delivered the letter to him. Al-Imam al-Husain (ع) wrote him back
ordering him to continue his march to Kufa without any delay. Having
read the letter, Muslim immediately resumed his trip and passed by a
watering place belonging to the tribe of Tay. He Alighted there then
departed. He saw a man shooting and killing a deer, so he took it as a
sign of good omen: the killing of his foe.
On the twenty-fifth of Shawwal, 60 A.H./July 27, 680 A.D., Muslim
ibn Aqeel entered Kufa and stayed with al-Mukhtar ibn Abu Ubayd alThaqafi who was highly respected among his people, a generous man, a
man of ambition and daring, one well experienced and determined, and
a formidable opponent of the enemies of Ahl al-Bayt, peace be with
them. He was a man of great discretion especially with regard to the
rules of the battle and the means of subduing the foe. He kept company
with the Progeny of the most holy Prophet (ص), so he benefitted from
their ethics and virtuous morals, and he sought their advice publicly
and privately.

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