Karbala in eyes of The Lion Hearted Lady Syedah Zainab SalamUllahAlaiha..

Immediate and urgent preparations for war were ordered and even before the evening had set on the 9th of Moharrum, an attack was led against Husain without any prior notice, Omar Ibne Saad ordered his soldiers to attack before sunset. At that time Husain was sitting at the entrance of his tent and was leaning against his sword. Distress, fatigue and weariness had enveloped him and he momentarily became drowsy. Zainab stood guard on him. As the rage and uproar of the army drew nearer to the tents, Zainab now fully alarmed and perturbed, hastily awakened her brother and apprised him about the impending arrival of the army. Husain lifted his head and murmured, “I saw the Messenger of God PBUH in my dream and he told me that I am soon to be reunited with him.”

This added greatly to Zainab’s woes.

Zainab beat her face in agony and raised a cry of lamentation and moaning. Husain said, “Sister, I pray don’t agonize yourself. May Allah the almighty grant you patience; He is the Lord of everything. May God have mercy on you.

He ordered Abbas to approach the soldiers and inquire about their intentions. When informed that they aimed to begin battle soon, Abbas was sent back again to ask for a night’s respite so that they may spend the night in offering namaz and begging forgiveness from God. The next morning would bear witness to whether there would be a war or their terms would be accepted.

Omar Ibne Sad consulted his companions and one of them said, “Praise be to God! By God even if an infidel of Turk or Dailum had asked for a respite it would been imperative to accept it.” Cessation of war agreed upon till next morning.

Early in the evening, Husain assembled his friends and companions and after praise of God he said, “One should be grateful to Him, be it in prosperity as well as in adversity. Let it be known that I am not aware of the companions of anybody who have been more loyal or better than my comrades nor do I reckon the relatives of anyone else to have been more virtuous and dutiful than the members of my family. May God reward you for my sake. Take heed! A battle will be most certainly fought tomorrow. As of this moment, I set you all free from the oath of loyalty to me, and I give you full permission out of my own free will, to betake yourselves away wherever you may like. Utilize the cover of night and go. For my sake, every one of you may also hold each of my relatives by their hand and take them also. For, it is clear that the enemies are thirsty for my blood and my blood only. And once they have killed me, , they would not hound anyone else.”

The first person who stood up after hearing this speech was Husain’s brother Abul Fazlil Abbas. He said, “Why should we do so? In order to live after you are dead? No, by any manner of means! Would be to God that we may not live

to see such a black day.” Husain’s other kinsmen also spoke in the same strain.

Husain’s comrades also stood up and said, “God forbid that we turn our backs on you, forsaking you. Why, if we depart, what reply will we give to our people? Will we tell them that we have deserted our leader? The Sons of leaders, our revered guide? Shall we leave so that you may become the target of arrows of such ferocious human beasts? And be railed that we love our life so well, we preferred to run away? Never such thing can never happen. We are alive with you and we will die with you”

Soon another companion said, “If we are separated from you then what excuse we will offer before God? By God! I will not leave you until I pierce their chests with my lance and as long as I have my sword in my hand, I will murder them and if I don’t have any weapon in my hand and am still alive then I will shower stones on them.”

Imam was so touched by their sincerity and love that he wept. The companion also wept. Syeda Zainab and the other revered heartbroken ladies of the family too broke down and wept bitterly. Husain blessed his companions.

After that they retired to their respective tents. A deep silence slowly shrouded them and in its mantle enveloped the fervor and steely resolve to sacrifice their all in the name of Allah. Not much time had elapsed that sounds of wailing emanating from Hussain’s tent filled the air. Taking note of the wailing, Imam Husain looked somber and melancholy.

These heart tearing sounds originated from the deep recesses of a heartbroken lady. She was none other than Zainab, Aqeela Bani Hashim. She wailed, “O how I wish death would embrace me today! O my brother, O my leader,the last remembrance of my family! How are you so willing to fling yourself into the jaws of death leaving us hapless and guardianless?

Today my grandfather, Messenger of God PBUH, my mother Fatima Zehra and my father Ali Murtaza and my brother, Hasan are no more. You are the only Panjetan left. Is there no hope of assistance or help coming your way? Is there kindness relief?” Now we relate the eye witness account of event through the verbal description of Ali Ibnil Husain, Hazrat Zainul Abedin. no or

He says

That night on the morning of which my father was martyred, I was sitting and my aunt was attending to me. My exalted father having taken leave of his companions had departed to his tent. The slave of Abu Zar Ghafari (John) was shining his sword. My father recited some verses expressing sadness and disappointment which condemned the world and mentioned the fickle nature of the world.

He recited these verses two or three times, I could comprehend the purpose and I started crying, but I controlled myself. But when my aunt heard these verses she was inconsolable, she rushed out without her head gear, dragging her veil behind her and on reaching my father, wailed and said, “It may so happen that I may die today.” Husain looked at her with great affection and said

“O sister, have patience and don’t let go off fortitude, courage and strength of character.”

Zainab said, “O Aba Abdullah may I, my parents be sacrificed to save you.”

Husain could not control his voice; his eyes were filled with tears and said in a soft voice-Those verses were these

If there had been a legitimate reason for saving my life, then indeed I would not have been intent upon giving up my life.

Zainab again gave a cry of anguish and said, “Will these people forcibly martyr you? Oh! How distressing for my soul, surely my heart will shatter.” In a frenzy of despair, she slapped her cheeks and tore her garment and fainted.

Husain got up and said all denizen of this world will die one day. The inhabitants of sky will also not remain. Except the Glorious Luminous God, everything will be annihilated. My father, my mother, and my brother were better than me. We must always follow the path of the Messenger of God PBUH, the most worthy the most exalted leader. The night looked longer than before. Imam Husain and his companions spent their time in reciting the Holy Quran and performing Namaz.

Zainab used to glance at the darkness which had cloaked the wilderness. When it was not humanly possible to console herself, she circumambulated her sons, brothers, and nephews’

beds, as she wanted some moments which would be a source of consolation in the period of long separation, soon to come.

a It seemed to her that the morning had dawned too soon. Both the armies took position facing each other. Oh what a battle! On one side was Umar bin Saad, Commander of Kufa had strength.

On the other side was Husain with thirty-two horsemen and forty footmen. And behind them were children and ladies. Husain surveyed this huge army which would soon confront his seventy faithful companions. When they reached the vicinity, he ordered his camel to stop, and put the holy Quran before him. He approached the ranks of the hostile army and called out loudly. O gathering of men, listen to me! Let me discharge my sacred duty of giving you the guidance, I owe you, and let me put before you the real facts behind my coming to you. If you believe my words and act fairly towards me, it would indeed be fortunate for you. You will comprehend that you have no reason to oppose me. If, however, you do not trust what I say, and do not deal justly by me, you are welcome to rally your forces and spare no effort to put an end to my life. By all means, use all your might, and give me not a moment’s respite. My Creator is sufficient for me. As soon as the ladies in Husain’s camp heard these words, loud lamentations could be heard. Husain despatched Abbas and Ali Akbar to calm their feelings and compose them and bid

them to have patience. He said, “May God Almighty give them strength. They undoubtedly have much to weep and cry for.”

It would not be strange to think that he remembered his cousin Abdullah Ibne Abbas and in his imagination his voice may be echoing in his ears who had insisted that Husain should abstain from going to Kufa from Hejaz and if he does feel compelled to, he should not take ladies and children along with him. “I am exceedingly apprehensive that you will be murdered and like the ladies and children of Usman your children and ladies with witness you being murdered.

When the veiled ladies had slowly calmed down, he addressed the army of Kufa. After praising and eulogizing the glorious God, he said, “Give close attention to what I say and think about the exalted family to which I belong, and then condemn your souls. Think whether shedding my blood and disgracing me is lawful for you. Am I not the son of Fatima, daughter of the Messenger of God PBUH, and Ali, his cousin and true executor of his will? Ali was first to accept and vouch for Islam. Was Hamza, the prince of martyrs, not my father’s uncle, and Jafar Tayyar not my uncle? Have you not heard the Prophet’s oft repeated saying, that my brother Hasan and I were the leaders of young men of paradise?

Our presence is soothing and cooling for the eyes of true believers. Do these facts not prohibit you from murdering me? Is it not unlawful and forbidden?”

When they did not respond he proclaimed, “If you have any doubts about the facts just stated then I swear by God that there is no one else other than me who is the son of the beloved daughter of the Messenger of God PBUH, neither in the east nor in the west.” He then inquired, “Have I murderedany relative of yours? Have I usurped any of your material wealth? Have I perchance injured any of you for which you want to take retribution from me.” They again did not reply. Then Imam Husain addressed the leaders of the army by name and said, “Did you not write to me that our agriculture is green. Our fruits are ripe and our ponds are full with water. You are welcome whenever, you deem right, towards an army of loyal soldiers which is waiting for you and is eager to help you.”

None of the persons in the army except Hur Bin Yazeed did listen to his talk attentively. He was touched and he went to meet Umar Ibne Sad and inquired, “Will you fight with him?”

Umar replied. “Yes! By God! Such a battle will ensue in which heads and hands will be severed.”

Hur said, “Is it not possible that you may accept his willingness to give up his stay in Iraq? If deemed necessary, he may even leave Arabia and retire to some other place?”

Umar Sad said, “By God! If it had been in my authority then I would have accepted but your commander (Ibne Ziyad) is adamant. He would not accept it at any cost.”

After that Hur kept his own counsel. He was shivering and shaking with the dawning awareness of the hereafter. So, he slowly started making his way towards the army of Husain. One of his companions uttered in amazement, “By God! I have become doubtful about you. If someone had inquired from me who is the bravest person in Arab, I would have taken only your name. What has happened to you?”

Hur replied, “By God, I find myself in such a situation where I have been given the choice of selecting between aheaven and hell. If people toss me into a fiery conflagration or cut my body into pieces even then I would not accept hell in place of paradise.” Then he spurred his horse to race towards Imam Husain and addressed him, “O son of the Messenger of God! May I sacrifice my life for you. I am the very same person who had blocked your path and did prohibit you from going back to Mecca. I had indeed considered it unbelievable that a battle with the son of the Prophet PBUH would really assume a practical shape and the sad state of affairs will reach this far and these people will fail to accept your conditions. I am ashamed… By God, if I had known these facts, I would never have intercepted you. I am ashamed and I want to sacrifice my life for you.”

He went towards the army of Kufa and addressed them

“O the residents of Kufa! May your mother weep in your grief. You people had invited this exalted personality so that you could pay your allegiance to him. You had promised that you will sacrifice your life to help him. Now when Hussain does arrive, what do you do? You people turn hostile surround him and are intent on killing him. You even do not allow him to go away to some other place. You have stopped supply of water on them, the same water from which Christian, Jews and magicians quench their thirst. In the same water swine and dogs tumble and toss. You have stopped this same water to satisfy the thirst of Imam Husain, his friends and children. So much so that they are dying of thirst. How horribly you have treated the family of Mohammed PBUH! If you don’t repent, then on the day when everyone will be thirsty, God the Gracious will not quench your thirst on the Day of Judgement

The only answer that came from the side of Kufians was in the form of showering of arrows. Hur came back to meet

Husain and after taking permission he again went back to the battle field, faught very valiantly until he was martyred.

The atmosphere of the battle heated up. On one side, there were thousands of them, on the other side there were seventy. The companions of Imam Husain went to fight one after the other only to be martyred and in this way, war was fought fiercely up to the afternoon.

In the afternoon Imam Husain offered Namaze-e-Zuhar (Namaz Khauf) along with his remaining friends. After the Namaz they again got engulfed in the battle. When the companions felt that they will not be able to save their Imam they started taking precedence over others in getting killed and in the end all of them were martyred in front of the Imam. Except for his family members no one remained. Then the family members readied to go to the battle field.

When all the friends had paid with their lives for their devotion to Hussain, Ali Akbar was the first of Imam Hussain’s relatives to have requested him for permission to participate in the jehad. Husain did not hesitate in giving him leave. He was very deeply moved. Raising his hands towards the sky and invoking the Almighty he said, “God be my witness of the oppression of these persons… towards whom, now goes that handsome youth who most of all resembled thy Prophet in looks and deportment. When we longed to see thy Prophet, We used to look at his face.”

He left for the battle field reciting verses, signifying, “I am Ali Bin Husain bin Ali. By God of Kaba, we have righteous claim to succeed His Prophet. By God, the progeny of one born in adultery cannot decide matters for us.”

Ali Akbar attacked the army several times. “Look at the might and valour of young men of Ali and Husain’s army.

After fighting valiantly for a long time, he returned to his father, and said, “Baba, I am the extremely thirsty.”

a Husain said, “My beloved son, be patient. Before setting of the night, Messenger of God PBUH will quench your thirst, with a goblet of milk.” The young man resumed the attack on the enemy’s army and fought magnificently with a sword but an enemy got his opportunity and struck Ali Akbar with a lance in the chest so forcibly that it pierced his body and the victim fell down on the ground and was surrounded on all sides by enemies, who cut his body to pieces.

“Ali Akbar’s death was undoubtedly a great calamity,” Husain exclaimed.

May God grant death to those who martyred you. What is it, which has made these men so disobidient towards God and his phet PBUH. O Ali Akbar, after your martyrdom this world is meaningless to me. It is as worthless as dust. Then he called the youngmen among the Hashemite to lift the body of their brother. Ali Akbar

It is mentioned that he had not yet completed his statement that a lady whose face was illuminated like the sun, came out of the tent wailing aloud, “My darling, son of my brother!”

People inquired, “Who is she?” They said, “She is Zainab, daughter of Fatima, daughter of Messenger of God PBUH. Zainab fell down on the corpse of her nephew. Husain came, held her by her hand and took her back to the tent. Then he came back to his martyred son, addressed the young men of his family, “Come lift the body of your brother. They brought the dead body to the tents. The Kufian encircled Husain. Abdullah Bin Hasan who was but a child а came running towards his uncle. Zainab wanted to restrain . him, but the child freed his hand and ran to Hussain. He reached his uncle at a time when one assailant was about to attack Husain with a sword. Abdullah put his hand infront of the sword and said

“O son of a wicked woman! Do you want to martyr my uncle?” The price of this statement was that first his hand was cut by the sword so that it hung by its skin and was later brutally attacked. He cried for help and called for his mother. Zainab ran towards him. She found Imam Husain cradling the head of the child and was saying, “By God, it is tormenting for me that you cried for help and I could not help you. Even though I did try, it was of no avail. I could not be of any use to you.” He lifted the child in the presence of Zainab and laid him by the side of his martyred son Ali Akbar.

Zainab was continuously in charge of laying down the dead bodies of persons who were martyred or those who were gasping for breath. Even as one martyr was placed on the ground, other dead bodies would soon be brought in and laid near the ones already there. All those who were martyred were placed in her charge. Their names are as follows:

Her sons Aun, Mohammad and Abdullah; her brothers Abbas, Jafar, Abdullah, Usman, Mohammed and Abubakar; her brother Imam Hasan’s sons Abubakar and Qasim; her uncle Ageel’s sons Jafar, Abdur Rehman, Abdullah and many more.

It appeared that the grind stone of death was cruelly and relentlessly moving. It appeared that it would continue to revolve until the entire family of Abu Talib was wiped out from the face of the earth. Hussain was now alone. His sons,

7 Qasim Bin Hasan: The other son of Imam Hasan fought the enemies in the battle field, where he was martyred. When he fell down from the horse, for assistance he called his uncle. But as the Imam had to disperse the army to reach him, he was delayed and his Qasim’s body was trampled. At that time Imam had uttered these sentences in despair.

brothers, relatives, companions had been martyred. In spite of this calamity, he was calm and composed. His valour and courage was indomitable.

a When the battle was nearing its end, ten soldiers from son of Ziyad’s army attempted to reach the tents of Imam Husain, and loot whatever material assets were possessed by the ladies. The Imam challenged them and said, “Woe to you! If you are not concerned with religion, at least live in the world like a decent man. After an hour when you are done with me, you can rob them.”

After listening to Imam Husain they went back and after an hour they returned.

Husain went to his tent to take his last leave and tore a Yemeny sheet at several places and put it on below his other garments next to his body. This he did possibly to ensure that his tattered covering might be left on his body when it was deprived of other garments after his death. He then left for the battle field.

Broken hearted and thirsty as Husain was, history bears witness that when all by himself, sword in hand, he charged at the opposing forces like a lion. The feats of all earlier war heroes were soon forgotten. The exploits of Ali, Hamza and Jafar were exhibited before those who had not seen them. At Karbala, Husain also remained the true representative of his grandfather. Now he had been left completely friendless, Husain displayed his valour and bravery which harked back to his grandfather’s bravery in battle. a

This vastly unequal combat quickly drew to its predestined conclusion. For how long could single man sustain a fight with thousands of enemies? But his valour drew awe. Husain inspired fear in the hearts of his foes and deprived every one

of them of the courage to meet him in combat. One witness said.

a “By God! I saw that Husain fighting with extreme fortitude that formidable army. All of a sudden, Zainab daughter of Fatima appeared and I still remember that her earings were dangling between her ears and neck and she was saying.

“I wish heaven would have fallen’ when Umar bin Sad reached Imam Husain. The grief stricken Zainab said, “O son of Sa’d! Your men are martyring Abu Abdullah and you are a spectator. .”8 The narrator says, “I still remember the tears of Umar Sad falling silently on his beard but he did nothing to prevent Husain from being martyred. Later, he shifted his gaze away from the slain Imam Hussain.

The narrator says that as yet no one as valiant and intrepid as him had ever been seen. A multitude of army had encircled him. Husain was now alone. His sons, brothers, relatives and companions had been martyred. In spite of this, he was calm and composed. His bravery and courage was indomitable.

Zainab came and stood close to him until he was grievously injured and it was very nigh possible that he would fall on ground. Zainab diverted her gaze from him and closed her eyes. She was very attentively trying to listen to his voice which . was audible inspite of the noise and clamor of thousands of men. It was the last protestation of Husain. (Yes, among all the ladies who were in Karbala, it was only Zainab who did not leave her brother up to the last moment). Remember that God will be exceedingly displeased if you put me to death. I swear that God would confer honour upon me if you put me to disgrace, and I shall be avenged in a manner which you

* The appearance of Hazrat Zainab outside the tent and calling Umar bin Sad is of the time when Imam Husain fell down on from the horse and came on earth.

cannot even imagine. By God, if you murder me, God, the Avenger will inflict punishment on you, by your very hands, so that you will let your own blood flow. God will not be contented until He doubles up your piteous torment.”

Husain survived fairly long moments after he had fallen down from the horse. His body was shattered, bleeding profusely and there was ostensibly nothing between him and death, but everybody tried to avoid partaking in the supremely wicked crime of putting him to death. It appeared as if the ground under the feet of the army was trembling. Husain remained in this position for a while. If someone had wanted

a

to martyr him, they could do it. They went near him one by one but when they tried to martyr him they were seized with shivering and trembling.

After a period of time, God’s order was completed. What had been pre decided by fate and destiny was accomplished. Yes, Husain was martyred. His head was severed from his body. And the head of the pious martyr who fought in the path of God, the martyr of truth was raised on a spear head.

It was on the sad day of the tenth of Moharrum 61 Hijri a Friday that this unfortunate event in human history took place.

After all his supporters, kith and kin and now Husain himself had been martyred. However, the outrageously shocking oppressions against him did not ease: his dead body was robbed of the garments worn last. Yazeed’s army then pillaged the tents occupied by the exalted ladies of Husain’s family and deprived them of all their belongings, snatching even the sheets covering their heads. The tents were set ablaze and Omar Bin Sa’d called out to his soldiers to trample Hussain’s

dead body under the hoofs of the horses.

The unholy grind stone of death which had been moving relentlessly insanely, with extreme intensity, when it could find no more of the family of the Prophet to grind, it stopped its

hideous revolution.

At a little distance from them the soldier of Ibne Ziyad were busy trying to out do each other in story telling and revelling while drinking wine. In the light of the torch they were

busy counting the heads and distributing the meagre looted

booty. Amidst all this revelry, a voice was heard addressing

the person

reward.

who had severed the head of Imam Husain. “You have murdered Husain bin Ali, son of Fatima. daughter of Messenger of God PBUH, the most venerated elder. You go to your commander and ask for

your Even if he empties his treasure for wages for this work, even then it will not suffice.” That man went to the entrance of Omar Bin Sa’d’s tent and said, “O commander! Fill my boat with gold and silver, because I have killed a king of kings. I have killed such a venerated personality, whose mother and father were the most admired and respected and his lineage was exalted and lofty.”

The fight came to an end. The fight of seventy-two persons who fought approximately forty thousand people until every one of them who set foot on this bloody field was killed.’

The sun of the 10th Moharrum of 61 Hijri set on such a tragic scene. The ground of Karbala was soaked in blood and the mercilessly mutilated bodies of the children of the Prophet of God PBUH were scattered on the field.

The moon slipped out of the clouds and spread its dim light sadly on the earth. In the moonlight, Zainab was seen

° (1) Ibne Khaldun. Aasim Koofi. (2) Habibal Yasar sarash Shahadatain- Tarikhe Khomais Abul Fida darling brother

.amidst petrified children and wailing ladies. Their guardians and loved ones had all been killed and they were all alone. These parda nasheen ladies were sitting near the dead bodies of their beloved child or the shoulder of their benevolent husband or the feet of their loved ones.

Now Zainab had taken charge of this grief-stricken group

of women and children. Zainab never weakened in the face of

this heart scratching calamity even for a moment. This is the Zainab whose name will always be remembered in history as She is the same lady who had first heard the noise and clamour of the approaching army when she was standing beside her brother and had woken him up.


from his brief slumber. She was the same lady who nursed Hazrat Abid during his illness and consoled the crusaders in their last breaths. She the person who shed tears on the martyrs. This was the lady who protected the orphaned children of the Ahle Bait from the tyrants.

She is the one who from the very beginning of the battle to the last moments of the battle, did not leave Imam Husain ever alone.

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