Karbala and Beyond 7

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AL-MUKHTAR JAILED

When Muslim marched out, al-Mukhtar was at a village called
Khatwaniyya. He came accompanied by his supporters raising a green
standard while Abdullah ibn al-Harith was raising a red one. Having
planted his standard at the door of Amr ibn Hareeth’s house, he said, “I
want to stop Amr.” It became obvious to them that both Muslim and
Hani had been killed, and it was suggested to them that they would feel
more secure in the company of Amr ibn Hareeth, and so they did. Ibn
Hareeth testified that they had both avoided Muslim ibn Aqeel… Ibn
Ziyad ordered them jailed after having reviled al-Mukhtar and hit his
face with a lance, gouging one of his eyes. They remained in prison till
Imam al-Husain, peace be with him, was martyred.
Ibn Ziyad ordered Muhammed ibn al-Ash’ath, Shabth ibn Rab’i, al￾Qaqa ibn Shawr al-Thuhli, Hijar ibn Abjar, Shimr Thul-Jawshan, and
Amr ibn Hareeth to surrender and to discourage people from rebelling.
A number of men who were controlled by fear responded positively to
his call in addition to others who coveted rich rewards and were thus
deceived, whereas those whose conscience was pure went underground,
waiting for an opportunity to launch an attack on the camp of
falsehood.

MUSLIM AT THE HOUSE OF TAW’A

Ibn Aqeel’s feet took him to the quarters of Banu Jiblah who belonged
to the tribe of Kindah. He stood at the door of a house of a freed
bondmaid named Tawa who had a number of sons. She used to be the
bondmaid of al-Ash’ath ibn Qays who freed her. Aseed al-Hadrami
married her, and she gave birth to his son Bilal who was in the crowd
when his mother was standing at the door waiting for him. Muslim
requested her to give him some water, which she did. He then requested
her to host him, telling her that he was a stranger in that land without a
family or a tribe, and that he belonged to a family capable of
intercession on the Day of Judgment, and that his name was Muslim
ibn Aqeel. She took him to a room which was not the same one where
her son used to sleep, and she served him some food. Her son was
surprised to see her entering that room quite often, so he asked her
about it. She refused to answer his question except after obtaining an
oath from him to keep the matter to himself.
But in the morning he informed Ibn Ziyad of where Muslim had been
hiding. Ibn Ziyad dispatched al-Ash’ath accompanied by seventy men
who belonged to the Qays tribe in order to arrest him. Upon hearing the
horses’ hoofs ploughing the ground, Muslim realized that he was being
pursued, so he hurried to finish a supplication which he was reciting
following the morning prayers. Then he put on his battle gear and said
to his hostess Tawa: “You have carried out your share of righteousness,
and you have secured your share of the intercession of the Messenger
of Allah. Yesterday, I saw my uncle the Commander of the Faithful in a
vision telling me that I was going to join him the next day.”
He came out to face them raising his unsheathed sword as they
assaulted the house, succeeding in repelling their attack. They repeated
their attack, and again he repelled them, killing as many as forty-one of
their men, and he was so strong that he would take hold of one man
then hurl him on the rooftop.
Ibn al-Ash’ath sent a messenger to Ibn Ziyad requesting additional
enforcements. The messenger came back to him carrying the latter’s
blame of his incompetence. He, therefore, sent him this message: “Do
you think that you sent me to one of Kufa’s shopkeepers, or to a
Nabatean from Heera?! Rather, you sent me to one of the swords of
[Prophet] Muhammed ibn Abdullah !” Ibn Ziyad then assisted him with
additional soldiers.
Fighting intensified. Muslim and Bakeer ibn Hamran al-Ahmari
exchanged blows. Bakeer struck Muslim on the mouth, cutting his
upper lip, wounding the lower and breaking two of his lower teeth.
Muslim fiercely struck him with one blow on his head and another on
his shoulder muscle, almost splitting his stomach, killing him instantly.
Then they attacked him from the house’s rooftop, hurling rocks at him.
They kept burning reed bales then throwing them at him. He attacked
them in the alley. His wounds were numerous; he bled extensively, so
he supported his body on the side of the house. It was then that they
assaulted him with arrows and stones. “Why do you hurl stones at me,”
he asked them, “as non-believers are stoned, the member of the
household of the pure Prophet that I am? Do you not have any respect
for the Messenger of Allah with regard to one of his own descendants?”
Ibn al-Ash’ath said to him, “Please do not get yourself killed while you
are in my custody.” Muslim asked him, “Shall I then be captured so
long as I have some strength in me? No, by Allah! This shall never be.”
Then he attacked Ibn al-Ash’ath who fled away before him. They
attacked him from all directions. Thirst had taken its toll on him. A man
stabbed him from the back, so he fell on the ground and was arrested.
Another account says that they dug a hole for him which they covered
then fled before him, thus luring him to fall into it, then they arrested
him. When they took his sword away from him, he wept. Amr ibn
Ubaydullah al-Salami was surprised to see him weep. A man without
his weapon is helpless, defenseless and vulnerable.

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