Karbala and Beyond 6


When the matter became clear to Ibn Ziyad, who by now knew that
Muslim was hiding at the house of Hani ibn Urwah, he had Asma’ ibn
Kharijah, Muhammed ibn al-Ash’ath and Amr ibn al-Hajjaj brought to
him. He asked them why Hani had not been coming lately to visit him
at his governor’s mansion. They told him that it was due to his
sickness, but he was not convinced especially since his informers had
already told him that Hani used to sit at the door of his house every
evening. These same men rode to Hani and asked him to meet the
sultan, for “He cannot stand you staying away from him,” they said,
pressuring him till he yielded. Hani, therefore, rode his mule and went.
As soon as Ibn Ziyad saw him, he said, “His feet, the feet of the
treacherous one, have brought him to you.” Then he turned to his judge
Shurayh and cited verses about judges who rush to please their
tyrannical rulers who appoint them in their positions rather than
implement Islam’s legislative system, the Sharaa. Ibn Ziyad turned to
Hani and said, “You brought Aqeel’s son to your house and gathered
weapons for him, did you not?” Hani denied, and when their argument
intensified, Ibn Ziyad ordered Maqil to be brought to him. Hani, hence,
understood that that man was actually Ibn Ziyad’s spy, so he said to Ibn
Ziyad, “Your father had done me great favors, and I now wish to
reward him. Why do you not listen to my good advice and safely depart
for Syria with your family and wealth? Someone who is more worthy
than you and your friend [meaning Yazid] of taking charge has come
here.” Ibn Ziyad said, “And under the foam is the pure sour cream.”
Ibn Ziyad then said to him, “By Allah! You will not stay out of my
sight before you bring him to me.” Hani said, “By Allah! Had he been
under my foot, I would not have lifted it!” Ibn Ziyad then spoke rudely
to him and even threatened to kill him. Hani, therefore, said, “In that
case, there will be plenty of swords around you,” thinking that the
tribesmen of Murad would protect him from Ibn Ziyad who then pulled
Hani’s braids, hitting his face with his sword, breaking his nose and
scattering the flesh from his cheeks and forehead on his beard. He then
jailed him at his mansion.
Amr ibn al-Hajjaj heard that Hani had been killed. Hani’s wife Raw’a,
who is well known as the mother of Yahya son of Hani, was the sister
of Amr ibn al-Hajjaj. The latter, therefore, rode with a multitude from
the tribe of Mathhaj, and they all surrounded the mansion. When Ibn
Ziyad came to know about it, he ordered Shurayh, the judge, to see
Hani and then to tell those horsemen that Hani was still alive. Shurayh
narrates saying, “When Hani saw me, he said in a loud voice, O
Muslims! Should ten persons enter here, you must come to my rescue!’
Had Hameed ibn Abu Bakr al-Ahmari, the policeman, not been with
me, I would have conveyed his message, but I had to simply say instead
that Hani was still alive. Amr ibn al-Hajjaj then praised Allah and went
back accompanied by the other men.”

When Muslim came to know about what had happened to Hani, he
feared being assassinated; therefore, he rushed to rise before the time
he had set with the people. He ordered Abdullah ibn Hazim to call upon
his men, who had then filled the houses surrounding him, to gather
together. Four thousand men assembled. They were shouting Badr’s
call which was: “O Supported One! Annihilate them!”
Ubaydullah ibn Amr ibn Aziz al-Kindi was placed in command of the
Kindah and Rabi’ah quarters. “March ahead of me,” said Muslim, “in
command of the cavalry.” Muslim ibn Awsajah al-Asadi was placed in
command of Mathhaj and Banu Asad. “Take charge of the infantry,”
Muslim ordered him. Abu Thumamah al-Saidi was placed in charge of
Tameem and Hamadan, whereas al-Abbas ibn Jadah al-Jadli was given
the command of the Medina troops.
They marched towards the governor’s mansion. Ibn Ziyad fortified
himself inside it, locking all its gates. He could not resist because there
were only thirty policemen with him and twenty of his close men and
slaves. But the substance from which the people of Kufa were made
was treachery; so, their standards kept disappearing till no more than
three hundred men remained out of the original four thousand. Al￾Ahnaf ibn Qays described them as a whore who demanded a different
man every day.
When those inside the mansion called upon the people of Kufa saying,
“O Kufians! Fear Allah and do not expose yourselves to Syrian
cavaliers whose might you have already tasted and whom you have
already tested on the battlefield,” the remaining three hundred
dispersed, so much so that a man would come to his son, brother, or
cousin and tell him to go home, and a wife would cling to her husband
till he returned home.
Muslim offered the evening prayers at the [grand Kufa] mosque
accompanied by only thirty men. Then, when he went to Kindah’s
quarters, only three men accompanied him. He hardly proceeded for a
short while before finding himself without anyone at all to show him
the way. He alighted from his horse and cautiously traversed Kufa’s
alleys not knowing where to go.
When people abandoned Muslim, their noise died down, and Ibn Ziyad
could not hear the voice of any of their men. Ibn Ziyad ordered his
bodyguards to inspect the mosque’s courtyard to see whether there
were any men lying in ambush. They, therefore, kept lowering their
lanterns down its walls and lighting reeds then lowering them down
with ropes till they reached the mosque’s courtyard. They could not see
anyone, so they informed Ibn Ziyad who ordered his caller to call
people to assemble at the mosque. When they filled the mosque, he
ascended the pulpit and said, “Aqeel’s son has caused the dissension
and disunity with which you all are familiar; so, there is no security
henceforth to any man in whose house we find him. Anyone who
captures him and brings him to us will be paid his blood money. O
servants of Allah! Fear Allah and safeguard your obedience and oath of
allegiance, and do not expose yourselves to peril.”
Then he ordered al-Haseen ibn Tameem, chief of his police force, to
search homes and highways, warning him that he would kill Muslim
should he succeed in escaping from Kufa.
Al-Haseen stationed his guards at highway crossroads and pursued the
dignitaries who had supported Muslim, arresting Abdul-Ala ibn Yazid
al-Kalbi and Imarah ibn Salkhab al-Azdi. He threw them in jail then
killed them. Then he jailed a group of prominent leaders as a
safeguarding measure against what they might do. Among them were
al-Asbagh ibn Nubatah and al-Harith al-A’war al-Hamadani.

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