THE CARAVAN SENT TO DAMASCUS.



After a fter that, the captives along with the heads of Husain and seventy-one martyred relatives and friends were sent to Damascus. Ladies and children were made to ride unsaddled camels, under the command of a stern and tyrant care taker, lacking a grain of compassion, kindness or politeness.

The road from Kufa to Syria was arduous and difficult. Many children fell down from the camels and were buried by the side of the road. The army of Yazeed was keen that Ahle Baith should be speedily sent to Syria. Therefore, the camels were made to run very fast. The journey was exhausting and severe. Food and water was scarce. The distance from kufa to Damascus is 600 k.m. and half of it is dreary and desolate desert. In this vast stretch there is no trace of water.

Damascus was the capital of Ommayad since the time of Muawiya. Now it was capital of Yazeed, the present ruler. There is a historical perspective of intense enmity to Ahal Baith. There was huge propaganda against Imam Ali since the time of Maavia, to the extent that highly offensive words were used against Hazrat Ali and he was cursed from the



pulpit. People were led to believe (God forbid) that he was a Kafir.

After enduring countless hardships, Hussain’s survivors entered Damascus at day break. The bazaars of the town had been specially trimmed and decorated for the day, and the multitude of spectators was so thick that it was not earlier than the afternoon that the caravan of the Prophet’s family, weary and exhausted, reached Yazeed’s durbar. The court had been specially decorated for the day. The members of the Prophtet’s

family were pre sented before Yazeed like Abyssinian slaves and slave girls from Turkey and Dailem. Yazeed had seated along with his Chiefs and Commanders of Syria and had ordered the head of Imam Husain be placed in front of him.

Seven Adversities and Hardships of Syria as narrated by Imam Zainul Abedin (A.S.).

Someone asked Imam Sajjad (A.S.): During the travel of Karbala, where did the most grievous hardships fell on you?

Imam Sajjad replied while tears falling on his checks: Syria! Syria! Syria! I seek safety from Syria. I was made to face seven such hardships which I never faced from starting of captivity to the end.

(1) We were surrounded by the oppressors with unsheathed swords and they were attacking us. It was a very crowded place, where oppressors were playing musical instruments.

(2) Decapitated heads of martyrs on the spears were kept near the howdah of women, head of my father and head of my uncle Abbas (S.A.) were kept infront of my aunty Zainab (S.A.) and Umme Kulsoom (S.A.), the head of my brother Ali Akbar (A.S.) and my cousin were brought in front of
my sister Sakina (S.A.) and Fatima (S.A.) and oppressors were playing with heads of marty’s, sometimes it so happened that heads used to fall from the spears and were trampled by the feet of the camels.

(3) Women of Syria were throwing hot water and burning charcoals from their balconies and galleries upon us. The fire fell on my aunt while her hands were tied behind her neck and she was unable to save herself from burning. Likewise other ladies were also burning. Even my head was burning due to falling of burning charcoal.

a (4) From sunrise to sunset we were taken to the market lanes and crossroads of Syria, while music was being played around us and men and women were glancing and a caller was shouting aloud, “O people humiliate them! As they have no respect and value in Islam.”

(5) We were tied in a single rope and were made to pass by the houses of the Chritians and Jews, and it was being told to them that, “These are the very people who have killed your fathers and brothers (in the battle of Khyber and Khandak) and they have ruined your houses. Now you can take revenge from them.”

(6) We were taken to markets when we were unveiled and slave-buyers were looking at us so as to purchase any of us as their slaves or slavegirls, but Allah (SWT) did not destine this opportunity for them.

(7) We were residing in a house which was without a roof, day long heat and sunshine and foggy nights were keeping us at great discomfort and due to thirst, hunger and fear we were dying every moment, while my head was down due to disrespect and humilition.

May Allah send salutation and blessings upon you O Sayaddus Sajideen!

Reference Tazkira-e-Shuhuda by Mulla Habib Kashani

Yazeed addressed his companions and said, “Would that my elders of Badar had been alive today and witnessed how the supporters of Mohammed’s faith were thrown into confusion by deadly blows dealt with spears! They would then have happily greeted me with profound blessings and would have said, “May Yazeed never get tired!” The Bani Hashim played a trick to wrest power. In truth, no intimation came to them from God nor was a relevation ever made.” Then he ordered that captives be brought to the court. The people in the assembly were busy looking at the parda nasheen honourable ladies of Bani Hashim. These ladies who were high in rank and gloriously majestic till only a few days back. People who remembered their eminence closed their eyes in shame.

Then he addressed the people, “Do you know why this calamity befell Hussain,” and went onto supply the answer himself, “just because Hussain thought that his father, mother and grandfather were superior to my father, mother and grandfather. Now these questions are set to rest by the fact that when his father fought against my father the world knows in whose favour the verdict went. It is, however, by my life true that his mother was better than my mother and I also swear that, who has faith in hereafter, may never consider himself equal to his grandfather, The Messenger of God. They, however, lost sight of the verse of the Quran which . means:”God is the owner of sovereignty and gives sovereignty to whom He wills and withdraws sovereignty from whom He wills: exaults whom He wills. He is able to do all things.”

The QURAN SURAH ALE IMRAN AYAT 26

Hearing this, Zainab stood up and commenced an impassioned speech exposing the hollowness of the foundation of Yazeed’s high rank, “How true is the statement of my God.

“The evil doers at length come to falsifying and ridiculing divine symbols.”

Para 21, Sura Rum Ayat 10 the Quran

a “Do you imgine that since you have barred all exists for us, in the sky and on the earth, we are in such a condition that now we have been brought before you like prisoners, that we are in the eye of God also contemptible and you are honorable and this apparent success has been given to you due to your being near to God? Happy in this thought, you glance at your shoulders since at the moment you only see the world subject to your command. Have you forgetten God’s warning?

Let not the unbelievers take it that the respite we give them would do them any good. We allow them time only in order that they might indulge in sin to their heart’s content, for in the end, humiliating punishment has been kept ready for them.”

The Quran Para 4 Sura Ale Imran Ayat 178 Hazrat Zainab has given a hint to that event.

The people in the assembly were busy looking at the parda nasheen honourable ladies of the family of Hashim. One Syrian who was fat and plump stood up and gestured towards Fatima binte Husain and said

“O Commander of believers, will you bestow me this girl?”

Fatima choking with fear clutched her aunt’s garment. Zainab took her in her embrace and addressed the Syrian. 10

“By God, your temerity knows no bounds! You are wicked! What is your entity? Even Yazeed cannot grant you this wish.”

a Yazeed replied in anger, “By God, you are telling a lie! If I want to do it, I can do it.”

Zainab said, “Never! But yes, if you refuse to acknowledge the verbal acceptance of Islam. If you leave our religion and accept some other religion.”

Yazeed got enraged and said, “How can you speak like this? Your father and your brother had left Islam.”

Zainab persisted, O Yazeed, you, your father, your grandfather received guidance in the true religion of God and religion of my grandfather, by my father and my brother.1 11

Yazeed shouted, “O enemy of God you are telling a lie!”

Zainab gave him a glance of contempt, shook her head and said, “You are the ruler and commander and on strength of your might you abuse and coerce people.”

and Then Yazeed did not reply. There was deep silence in the congregation. After some time Syrian again stood up said

“O Commander of faithful, grant me this girl.” Yazeed scolded him and said

“Get away! May God grant you death and your dispute may be solved.”

After this, a terrible scene unfolded.

Yazeed removed the cover from the heads of the martyrs with the stick in his hand. He was touching the teeth of Imam Husain and said

“I wish my ancestors who were martyred in the battle of Badr were here to see that in the battle of Uhad, how the helpers of Medina, screamed in agony when they were pierced with the lances of the Quraish.” 9

The ladies of Bani Hashim upon hearing the agonising and tormenting words started wailing and crying except Zainab, who sternly reprimanded the tyrant ruler, addressed him and said

“O Yazeed the word of God is true.”

“The end of those who committed evil to their limit was that they began to belie the signs of Allah and to mock at them.” (Para 21, Sura Rum Ayat 10 the Quran)

a “You are recalling the murdered people of Badar and disrespectfully touching the teeth of Abu Abdullah with a stick and do not think it to be a major sin? Why should you not feel happy? You have shed the pious blood of family of Abdul Muttalib’s earthly stars. You have wounded our hearts afresh. You have pulled out the very roots of piety and virtue. Very soon, you will be called to an audience with God for questioning as a heinous criminal. At that time, you would wish that you were blind and dumb. Against your wishes you will find that Prophet PBUH, his sons and relatives will be resting close to each other.”

will Do not take leave of your senses, for very shortly, you long, that your hands had been deprived of motion and your tongue of speech; that you had left undone what you did and left unsaid what you said. What can be worse for you that on the day of judgement, God will be the arbiter of your case and the Messenger of God PBUH, the complainant and Gabriel his witness. And those who have helped and abetted you in your misdeeds and supported you in winning power over Muslims, will learn how terrible is the revenge taken from tyrants and oppressors!”

O Yazeed, you have not by God, harmed any one although you have torn your skin and cut off you flesh.

“And those who have been slained in the way, God never think of them as dead, but they are alive and get their substance from God” (Para- 4 Sure Ale Imran Ayat 169 the Quran)

“In this world you have taken possession of us without much effort. On the Day of Judgment, we will demand retribution from God. That day you will call son of marjana (Ubaidullah Ibne Ziyad) for your help, he will call you for support. In the scale of your action, best provision for eternal

journey which you will find in your bosom will be murder of family of Mohammad.”

a “Although the exigencies of time have reduced me to the undesirable position of having to address such as you; wholly despicable are you in my eyes. I consider it a piece of great misfortune even to reproach or reprimand you. But what can I do? Our eyes are shedding tears, our hearts are burning and our martyrs cannot come to life by reprimanding you, but I am unable to control myself. My heart is full of misery and a fire is raging in it. What a great pity that those who worship God should meet their death at the hands of a devil’s mob.”

“But what can be expected from those descended from such ancestors whose mouths chewed the liver of the purified ones and whose flesh grows out of the blood of martyrs? Such hands are dripping with our blood, such mouths are feeding on our flesh, while those sacred and pure corpses are offered as food to the wild beasts of the desert. Now what can be expected from one who looks at us with hatred, with grudge, with animosity, with malice? Would they not hate us the Ahle Bait?”

“How dare you hit the lips of Abu Abdullah (A.S.) the master of youth of Paradise? But why should you not do so, since all mercy is removed from your heart, having shed the blood of the offsprings of Mohammed PBUH and his progeny, the stars of the earth from among the family of Abdul Muttalib.”

“If you have gained something by shedding our blood, you will be certainly a loser on the Day of Judgement. On that day nothing but your deeds will count. On that day, you will curse Ibne Marjana and he will curse you. On that day, you a

and your followers will quarrel with each other by the side of Divine Scale of Justice.”

9 “On that day, you will see that the best provision which your father made for you was that he enabled you to kill the children of the Prophet of Allah.”

“By God, I am not frightened of anyone except God. I do not complain to anyone except Him. How will you remove the blemish of shamelessness and immodesty which you have put on your character by our murder? You can never wash it off. O! God Seek revenge against those whose hands oppressed us, and let your wrath descends upon those whoever shed our blood and killed our proctectors.

never And your lord treats His servants unjustly'(41-46) the Quran

“So scheme, whatever you wish to scheme, and carry out your plots and intensify your efforts, for, by Allah, you will never be able to obliterate our mention, nor will you ever be able to kill the revelation (that was revealed to us). Nor will you be ever be able to lessen our exalted position, nor will your shame ever be washed away. Your views shall prove to be futile. Your days limited in numbers. Beware when on judgment day the caller calls out.

“The curse of Allah be upon the oppressors” (11:18) the Quran.

Fatima’s daughter ended her speech thus. “All praise is due to Allah! Lord of the worlds, who sealed the life of our early ones with happiness and forgiveness and that of our last ones with martyrdom and mercy. We plead to Allah to complete his rewards for them, grant them increase in recompence pleasingly. He is the most merciful and most compassionate. Allah suffices for us and he is the best Guardian.”

After saying this Zainab became silent.

Yazeed and his courtiers lowered their heads in shame, in a way as if some birds were sitting on their heads.

was It is said that when Hind, daughter of Abdullah Ibne Amir , wife of Yazeed was informed about the affairs which unfolding at her husband’s court, she covered her head with a scarf, came to the court and questioned Yazeed. “O Commander, is it the head of Husain, son of Fatima daughter of Messenger of God?”

The succession of declarations pushed back the screen of falsehood from the eyes of people and also produced in them the courage to speak out.

One of the companions of messenger of God (perhaps Zaid bin Arqam or Abu Barza Asalma) on seeing that Yazeed was touching the pious teeth of Husain with a stick and showing disrespect, checked him and said, “You are touching the teeth of Imam Husain and showing lack of regard. The place where you are putting the stick, is the place, where I have seen several times the Messenger of God Kissing! O Yazeed, you will be present on the last day and Ibne Ziyad will be your patron and Husain will also be present and his intercessor will be the Messenger of God.”

After listening to Zainab’s brilliant sermon, Yazeed felt humiliated in his own congregation and ordered that she along with other ladies of the entourage (parda nasheen) be taken speedily away from the court And Ali Ibne Husain whose yoke was heavy be brought to the fore.

Ali Ibne Hussain said, “If Messenger of God had seen me wearing this yoke, he would have removed this heavy weight from my neck.”


Yazeed in whose ears the lecture of Zainab was echoing, said, “You say the truth,” and order the heavy yoke be removed from his neck. Like a person who was apologetic about his actions said, called him near and said.

“O Ali Ibne Husain, you have seen that your father did not show any compassion to me and refused to acknowledge my rights, fought a war with me for the government. So whatever was decided by God for him you have seen.”

In reply Ali recited this Ayat from the Quran Para – 27 Suratul Hadeed Ayat 22-23

“No calamity reaches either on the earth or in your person, but it is in a Book, before we create it. Undoubtedly, it is easy for Allah so that you may not grieve over what is lost to you, nor rejoice over what is given to you and Allah does not love any exultant, boastful.”

Yazeed wanted to recite this Ayat

Al Shura Ayat 30 Para – 25 the Quran

“And whatever affliction reaches you is due to what your hands have earned, and He pardons much.”

This order is for the sinners. Prophets and messenger of God, Imams and Masooms are exempted from this and the hardships which fall on the children of the pious are the cause of their elevation and cause of nearness to God. Even if Yazeed had recited this Ayat, it would not have anything to do with the family of the Messenger of God.

But the heart breaking wailing and shrieking which was audible from a distance kept him quiet. a

By now, not only the ladies of Bani Hashim but also the women of Bani Ummayya were crying and weeping over the
fate of Imam Husain. Not a single woman from the family of Moavia hesitated in welcoming the family of the messenger of God, and joined in their bereavement.

a Even then, the survivors of Hussain were not sent immediately to Medina. The helpless and friendless Ahl Bait remained for a long time in captivity under great deprivation. When signs of restiveness and anger became pronounced amongst the public, and the simmering anger threatened to boil over in no uncertain fashion, the Omayyad’s realized the political influence of Zainab’s fearless speeches that had spread through the word of mouth. The Ummah had come to know of the events of Karbala and its tragedy. Their hearts were stirred, they questioned and they sympathized.

One morning after a year, Yazeed sent for Imam Zainul Abedini. When he came, Yazeed treated him with utmost respect and informed him about their imminent release and asked if he wished for anything. The Imam replied that he would have to consult his aunt Zainab.

Arrangements were made to bring Zainab to Yazeed. She arrived properly veiled. Yazeed wanted to send Ahl Baith peacefully to Medina. On being informed about the release, she said, “O Yazeed, since the day Imam Hussain was martyred, we have not had any opportunity to mourn him.”

A large house was provided to them in the residential sector of Damascus. Here Zainab held her first gathering of mourning for remembrance of Imam Hussain, (first Majlise Aza). The women of Qurarish came in black for the mourning. This Majlise Aza was the proclamation of Hussain’s victory. Zainab decided not to leave Damascus without declaring the truth. She forced Yazeed to acknowledge his defeat and he accepted the request of Hazrat Zainab to hold the Majlise
Aza in Damascus. It was not an emotional appeal. It was the political acumen of Hazrat Zainab. She realized that if she had proceeded towards Medina, without mourning her martyred brother, it was not beyond Yazeed’s devilish nature to use some ruse to hide his defeat.

Now Hazrat Zainab was not a fugitive, but a lady of the most respectable clan. Now she was not the sister of a rebel but sister of Husain Ibne Ali, Crusader of truth. We are in awe of her greatness of soul. We salute her. She humiliated the great monarch of the time on his own turf. God, the Supreme, must too be proud of the reverential Lady, the fighter of justice and truth.

Imam Zainul Abedin sat on the carpet end then Zainab told the women of Demascus some details of atrocities dealt in Karbala, and some of its aftermath. This stirred their emotions, they shed tears and mourned. When these women went home they told their men folk the truth of of the events of Karbala. Thus, the illusion of Yazeed’s victory was exposed.

It was a unique revolution, indeed. Zainab was offered condolences by the same ladies who had laughed at her when she was paraded in streets without hijab. It was a revolution brought about without any swords raised or splashing of blood. This was a revolution brought by the weapons of rectitude and swords of patience and virtue. Zainab was offered condolence for Imam Hussain in Damascus and accepted sympathises for the children of Ali. The very same Damascus which used to be the centre of animosity and hostility for Hazrat Ali, the same place where to take the name of Ali was considered a severe crime.

For three days continuously meetings of lamentation and mourning were held. After that Yazeed ordered that travelling

requisites be put in order and trust worthy watchmen, and helpers were arranged to accompany the caravan heading towards Medina. It is said Yazeed called Ali Ibne Husain in order to say farewell to him and said

“Curse of Allah may be upon Ibne Marjana (.e.. Ibne Ziyad). By God, if I had met your father face to face then I would have given him whatever he wanted. I would have done whatever was in my power to keep death away from him, even if in the event any of my children would have died. But it was the will of God.” Then he said that if you have any need please write to me. Then he sat down at his place. Zainab’s voice with severity and gentleness was echoing everywhere and made him restless and remorseful. (.e. the turmoil) which was caused by the speech of Hazrat Zainab which had made Yazeed lose his senses. He could not understand what to do next.

When Zainab readied herself to proceed towards Medina, Yazeed called Nu’man-ibne Bashir13 and ordered him to make suitable arrangements for their return journey. Horsemen, foot soldiers and enough provisions were made available. Zainab ordered that all “Amarees” should be covered in black so that the people would know that they were in mourning.

When the citizens of Damascus came to know that Ahle Bait-e-Nabi were leaving, the women came forward to bid them farewell. Many people accompanied the Caravan for part of the journey and then returned to their homes with a heavy heart. Nu’man bin Bashir showed the travellers every consideration they deserved. Often on the way, Janabe

– The Lion Heart Lady of Karbala

Zainab addressed the women and men of various tribes and class and told them the story of Karbala and their captivity.

The caretaker was very considerate towards the children and honourable ladies of the house of Husain. He took care to travel in the cool nights and used to look after them in every way. Where the caravan used to halt, he along with the watchman would make themselves scarce so that ladies could go about their daily routine unhindered. Off and on he would inquire if any service is needed.

Zainab said that she wanted to go to Medina via Karbala, The Guard answered in a melancholy voice that he will take them to Karbala. 14

At that time thirty days had passed to the martyrdom of Imam Hussain.

There, they met Jabir Ibne Abdullah Ibne Ansari, a companion of the Prophet who had come for the pilgrimage of the grave of Imam Hussian.

For three days, the environs of Karbala were engulfed in weeping, wailing and crying. Zainab wanted to stay near her brother’s grave till the day of her death. But Imam Zainul Abedin pleaded with her not leave the caravan, so she agreed to return to Medina. Wherever the caravan stopped on

This narration does not appear to be correct, because a journey from Karbala to Kufa and from Kufa to Syria on camel in forty days was not possible. It has also to be kept in mind that the caravan had to stay in Kufa for sometime. Ibne Ziyad housed the family of Messenger of God in a house in the vicinity of Grand Mosque until the time he received the reply to his letter from the capital Damascus. Even otherwise it has been established from reliable narratives that Yazeed’s army halted twenty nine times on the way to Damascus. Even in Damascus, the Prophet’s family was imprisoned for an extended period of time. After their release a week was spent in mourning and weeping. It is presumed that the caravan after the release from Damascus on the way to Medina reached Karbala next year on 20th Safar. Even now the ground of Karbala was red with the blood of children of messenger of God.

its way, a Majlise Aza was held. Zainab recounted to them details of Yazeed’s tyranny and the hardships they suffered in captivity.

When the caravan reached the outskirts of the city of Medina , Fatima asked her sister Zainab, “Sister, this man has treated us in this journey in a very courteous and pleasing manner. Do you have anything in your person which we could 9 gift him?”

Aqeela Zainab replied, “Dear sister, due to poverty and adversity I don’t have anything substantial to offer, except thankfulness and a heartfelt prayers for his kindness.” Two amulets were sent to him with an apology that the meagre gift was because of poverty. But he returned the gift and said, “If whatever I have done was for this world then this gift would have been proper. But whatever little service I have performed is for the pleasure of God and due to your close relationship with messenger of God.”

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