During the month of Ramadan, Hazrat Ali was in the Duabit of eigenting the homes of his children. His appetite was greatly reduced and he used to take only a few morsel of food. When asked about it, he said
“I wish when my death comes, I should be on an empty stomach.”
On the night of the 19th of Ramadan, the Imam (a.s.) went to his daughter Umme Kulsum’s house. She offered him two breads of barley and a bowl of milk and some salt. When he saw the food he said, “In the footsteps of the Prophet (a.s.) I have never had more than one type of food on my spread. O daughter there is accountability for the legitimate and retributation for the illegitimate. Do you want your father to stay longer at the station of accountability on the Day of Judgment? Remove one of the two things from the spread!
Umme-Kulsum took away the bowl of milk and AmirulMumineen (a.s.) ate a few morsel of bread with salt. After the meal, according to his practice, he stood upon the mat to offer his prayer looked up repeatedly at the twinkling stars and said, “By Allah! I am not lying nor making any wrong
statement! This is the night about which the promise has been made.”
When Ali set out for the Mosque, a flock of domestic birds raised a loud outcry as he passed through the yard. One of the attendants threw a stick at them but was at once stopped by Ali “Leave them, be alone, for their cries are only lamentations foreboding my death.” Umme-Kusum said, “Father! God forbid! Pray, do you not say such things.’ ”
He said, “That is the truth which has come out of my mouth.” Then Imam (a.s.) told Umme- Kulsum, “My daughter! These birds cannot speak! Take care of feeding them. If you cannot do it then free them so that they can find their food by going around the world.” Umme- Kulsum bid adieu to her father with tears in her eyes. When he reached the mosque it was still dark. He went to place from where azan echoed and called people to prayer. This was the last time that his voice resounded calling the people to pray, and was heard in every household of Kufa.
After the awakening call, the Imam (a.s.) stood in the arch for the prayer. When the Imam bent for prostration, Ibn Muljim hit his poisoned sword on the Imam’s (a.s.) head so hard that his skull cracked. The Imam (a.s.) proclaimed, “In the name of Allah, and in the religion of Allah’s Messenger, I have really succeeded.”
Shortly afterwards people started coming, for the dawn prayer in the Mosque. They found him lying wounded in a pool of blood on his prayer mat.
Loud lamentations and cries were raised that the cousin of the Prophet had been killed. People started coming to the mosque in hordes, Imam al-Hasan and Imam al-Hussain ran towards the mosque in panic where people were crying
inconsolably and were shouting, “Amir al Mumineen has been martyred!” The sons of the Prophet went forward and saw the arch of the mosque was drenched in the blood and the Imam was writhing in pain on the floor.
Seeing the head and face of Amir-Mumineen covered in blood Imam al-Hasan asked in a choked voice “Father! Who has shed your blood?” The Imam lifted his head, looked at Hasan and said “My son! First offer your prayers!” Therefore, Imam al- Hasan (a.s.) led the congregation and Ali (a.s.) sat in prayer. After the prayer Imam (a.s.) was brought to the courtyard of the Mosque. People had already gathered in large numbers outside and inside the Mosque.
On the ill-omened night of 19 Ramadan, Zainab was sitting at home and was unaware of the calamity which had taken place in the mosque. Shortly after the Muazzin had finished his Azana heart breaking cry calling out for assistance was heard coming from the mosque. An unknown fear withered her heart but she tried to compose herself. After that, in a state of distress and anxiety she heard the noise coming closer towards her house and it was not long before, the lamentation came from very close to her house. Zainab immediately understood that these distressing and mournful cries were indicative of her father’s assassination. Zainab, for the second time, gathered all her faculties which threatened to shatter her any moment. She composed herself and prepared to welcome her father.
Hazrat Ali, due to the poison stained blow of the sword, had to be brought on the shoulders of the people.
Zainab fell down before her father and started washing all his wounds crying all the time. On the other side, Umme Kulsum was standing and addressed her father’s assassin,
“O enemy of God! My father will not be harmed by your blow and you will be disgraced.” It was obvious that Zainab had heard the affair of Ibne Muljim from the people who were coming to inquire about his health. Yes, she had heard that Ibne Muljim was one of the three Kharjites who were attempting to murder Hazrat Ali, Ameer Moavia and Umroo binal, so that he could avenge the death of his brothers who were killed in Neherwan.
Ibne Muljim had come to Kufa from Mecca. He went to meet a person from amongst his friends who belonged to tribe of, “Tumur rubab.” There, he saw Quttam binte Akhzar who was amongst the most beautiful women of her time. Her father and brothers had been killed in the battle of Neherwan. As soon as he saw her, he was enamoured of her and wanted to tie the knot with her.
Quttam inquired, “What will be my dower?” Ibne Muljim replied, “Whatever your desire” Quttam said, “My dower will be three thousand dinar, one slave, one maid and the murder of Ali Ibne Abi Talib.”
Ibne Muljim pretended to be deep in thought for some time because he wanted to keep his mission a secret and said, “Whatever you desire I will give thee but the murder of Ali is not possible for me.” Quttam in order to allure him towards her said, “If you will murder Ali, my heart will be soothed and I will be accessible to you.” Ibne Muljim looked at her attentively and said.
“By God, I have undertaken this journey only for the sake of murdering Ali and not for any other purpose. ”
Quttam brought two other persons to help him. And on the appointed night, she put swords in a sling around their neck and sent them towards the mosque.
This affair was settled in such a way that a poet has described, “No one has seen the type of dower like that of Quttam.”
“Three thousand dirham, one slave, one maid and the murder of Hazrat Ali, the Amirul Momineen.”
“However, enormous dower could be, it could never surpass the priceless murder of Hazrat Ali.”
“Any unexpected murder could not match the sudden murder of Hazrat Ali by Ibne Muljim.”
When Hazrat Ali was carried to his house from the mosque, troops after troops gathered at the entrance of his gate. When they were denied entry they understood that the injury was deep and there was danger of death. One of the persons asked the door keeper to convey this prayer to the Commander of the believers, “May God shower blessings on you in your life and in your death. You have limitless knowledge and magnificence of God is in your heart.”
In the mean time, physicians from Kufa had assembled. Amongst them were the famous surgeon and physician, Athir ibn’Amr al Sakuni. After inspecting the wound, he said it was mortal and there was no chance of survival. The poisoned sword had penetrated the brain and the venom had spread. Hearing this, hearts of people started sinking and tears started flowing from their eyes.
The physician said, “O commander of the believers, please make a will.” Therefore, Imam called both his sons to write his will. After that moment, Zainab and Umme Kulsum did not leave the side of their father, as they wanted to receive the bounty of affection from their glorious father,
The commander of the Faithful breathed his last on the 21″ night of Ramzan, 40 Hijri. He left behind his two sons to confront the clever enemy Ameer Moavia. He left behind Aqeela Zainab and Umme Kulsum so that they could observe with their own eyes the Ahl-Bait being hemmed in the flames of perfidy and sedition, which had been ignited to avenge of Hazrat Usman’s murder.