Karbala and Beyond 8

Muslim ibn Aqeel was brought to Ibn Ziyad. At the entrance of the
mansion he saw an urn containing cooled water. He asked to drink of it.
Muslim ibn Amr al-Bahili said to him, “You shall not taste one drop of
it till you taste of the hameem in the fire of hell.” Muslim asked him,
“Who are you?” He said, “I am one who knew the truth which you
rejected, and who remained faithful to his imam as you betrayed him.”
Muslim ibn Aqeel said to him, “May your mother lose you! How hardhearted and rude you are! You, son of Bahilah, are more worthy of
tasting of the hameem.” Having said so, he sat down, supporting his
back on the mansion’s wall.
Imarah ibn Uqbah ibn Abu [son of] Mueet sent a slave named Qays to
give him water. Whenever Muslim was about to drink of it, the cup
became full of his blood. In his third attempt to drink, the cup became
full of his blood and both his front teeth fell in it, so he abandoned it
saying, “Had it been prescribed in destiny for me to drink it, I would

have drunk it.”
Ibn Ziyad’s guard came out to escort Muslim. Having entered Ibn
Ziyad’s room, Muslim did not greet him. The guard asked Muslim,
“Why did you not greet the ameer?” “Shut your mouth,” said Muslim,
“he is not my ameer.” It is also said that he said to Ibn Ziyad, “Peace be
upon whoever followed the right guidance, feared the consequences in
the hereafter, and obeyed the Exalted King,” so Ibn Ziyad laughed and
said, “Whether you greet or not, you shall be killed.” Muslim said, “If
you kill me, someone worse than you had already killed someone much
better than me. Besides, you shall never abandon committing murders,
setting a bad example, thinking ill of others, or being mean; having the
upper hand will be the doing of anyone else but you.”
Ibn Ziyad said, “You disobeyed your imam, divided the Muslims, and
sowed the seeds of dissension.” Muslim said, “You have uttered
falsehood. Rather, those who divided the Muslims are Mu’awiyah and
his son Yazid. The seeds of dissension were sown by your father, and I
wish Allah will grant me to be martyred at the hand of the worst of His
Then Muslim asked permission to convey his will to some of his
people. He was granted permission, so he looked at those present there
and saw Omer ibn Sa’d. “There is kinship between me and you,” said he
to him, “and I need a favour of you which you should oblige, and it is a
secret between us.” But he refused to listen to it, whereupon Ibn Ziyad
said to him, “Do not hesitate to tend to your cousin’s need.” Omer
stood with Muslim in a way that enabled Ibn Ziyad to see them both.
Muslim conveyed his desire to him to sell his sword and shield and pay
a debt in the amount of six hundred dirhams which he had borrowed
since entering Kufa, to ask Ibn Ziyad to give him his corpse to bury it,
and to write al-Husain to tell him what had happened to him. Omer ibn
Sa’d stood up and walked to Ibn Ziyad to reveal the secret with which
he had just been entrusted by Muslim! Ibn Ziyad said to Muslim, “A
trustworthy person never betrays you, but you have placed your trust in
a treacherous person.”
Then Ibn Ziyad turned again to Muslim and said, “O son of Aqeel! You
came to a united people and disunited them.” Muslim said, “No, indeed,
I did not come to do that, but the people of this country claimed that
your father killed their best men, shed their blood, and did what Kisra
and Caesar do, so we came to them in order to enjoin justice, and to
invite all to accept the judgment of the Book [of Allah].” Ibn Ziyad
said, “What do you have to do with all of that? Have we not been
dealing with them with equity?” Muslim said, “Allah knows that you
are not telling the truth. You, in fact, kill when angry, out of enmity,
and for mere suspicion.” Ibn Ziyad then verbally abused him and
abused Ali, Aqeel, and al-Husain, whereupon Muslim said, “You and
your father are more worthy of being thus abused; so, issue whatever
decree you wish, you enemy of Allah!”
It was then that Ibn Ziyad ordered a Syrian to go to the top of the
mansion and to behead Muslim and throw both the head and the body
to the ground. The Syrian took Muslim to the flat rooftop of the
mansion as the latter kept repeating, “Subhan-Allah! La ilaha illa￾Allah! Allahu Akbar!” He also kept repeating, “O Allah! Judge
between us and the people who decevied, betrayed and lied to us,” then
he faced Medina and saluted Imam al-Husain (ع).
The Syrian struck Muslim’s neck with his sword and threw his head
and body to the ground and hurried down; he was very, very much
startled. Ibn Ziyad asked him what was wrong with him. “The moment
I killed him,” said he, “I saw a black man with an extremely ugly face
standing beside me biting his finger, so I was frightened.” “Perhaps you
lost your mind for a moment,” said Ibn Ziyad.
Hani was taken to an area of the market place where sheep are sold; his
arms were tied. He kept saying, “O Mathhaj! Any man from Mathhaj to
help me this day?! O Mathhaj! Where has Mathhaj gone away from
me?!” Having seen that there was none to respond to him, he somehow
managed to get one of his arms out of the ropes and said, “Is there
anyone who would hand me a stick, a knife, a rock, or even a bone so
that a man may be able to defend himself?” Guards attacked him and
tied him again. He was ordered to stretch his neck so that they might
strike it with their swords. “I am not going to give it away to you so
generously. I shall not assist you at the cost of my own life.” A Turkish
slave named Rasheed owned by Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad struck him with
his sword, but he missed. Hani said, “To Allah is my return! O Allah!
To Your Mercy do I come and to Your Pleasure!” Rasheed hit him
again and killed him. This same slave was killed by Abdul-Rahman ibn
al-Haseen al-Muradi after having seen him at the Khazar (Caspian Sea,
also the Basque Sea, Tabaristan Sea, and Baku Sea, bahr baku in
Arabic, an area where Islam reached in the early 9th century A.D.) in
the company of Ubaydullah.
Ibn Ziyad ordered the corpses of both Muslim and Hani to be tied with
ropes from their feet and dragged in the market places. Then he
crucified them upside-down at the garbage collection site then sent
their severed heads to Yazid who displayed them at one of the streets of
He, Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad, wrote Yazid saying,
“Praise to Allah Who affected justice on behalf of the commander of
the faithful and sufficed him for having to deal with his foes. I would
like to inform the commander of the faithful, may Allah bless him, that
Muslim ibn Aqeel had sought refuge at the house of Hani ibn Urwah al￾Muradi, that I assigned spies for them and let men infiltrate their
assemblies and plotted against them till I forced them out. Allah gave
me the upper hand over them, so I killed them and sent you both of
their heads with Hani ibn Abu Hayya al-Wadii al-Hamadani and az￾Zubair ibn al-Arwah al-Tameemi who both are from among those who
listen to and obey us; so, let the commander of the faithful ask them
whatever he pleases, for there is knowledge with them, and there is
truth, understanding, and piety. And peace be with you.”
Yazid wrote Ibn Ziyad saying,
“You do not cease to be the source of my delight. You have behaved
with strictness and assaulted with courage, maintaining your
composure. You have done very well and testified to the correctness of
my good impression of you. I invited your messengers and asked them
and confided in them, and I found their views and merits just as you
indicated; so, take good care of them. It has also come to my
knowledge that al-Husain ibn Ali has marched towards Iraq. You
should, therefore, set up observation posts, prepare with arms, be
cautious for mere suspicion. Kill anyone whom you suspect (of
dissent). Your tenure is put to the test by this al-Husain rather than by
anyone else, so is your country and your own self as governor. The
outcome will determine whether you will be freed or whether you will
return to slavery; so, you have to either fight him or arrest and transport
him to me.”
Let us now leave Kufa and its Kufian men of treachery and to al￾Husain in Mecca where he was performing the rites of the pilgrimage.
As he was thus engaged, Yazid dispatched thirty men disguised as
pilgrims with strict instructions to assassinate him. Commenting on this
attempt to assassinate him, al-Husain said, “Even if I were to bury
myself in some hideout, they are sure to hunt me out and to try to force
me to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid. And if I refused, they
would kill me and would not spare me without inflicting upon me the
same torture as the Jews had done to Jesus.” There were unsuccessful
attempts to prevent him from leaving Mecca.
Imam al-Husain (ع) did not mask his intentions and determination to
fight the Umayyad regime of corruption. The speeches he delivered at
Mecca were consistent with those he made elsewhere. So does his will
which he wrote and entrusted to his brother Muhammed ibn al￾Hanafiyya who stayed in Medina when al-Husain (ع) left it first for
Mecca then for Kerbala’, Iraq. This said will was, in fact, a formal
declaration of his holy revolution. He, peace be with him and upon his
Ahl al-Bayt, wrote saying, “I am not campaigning because I am
unwilling to accept righteousness, nor do I intend to do mischief or
suppress people. Indeed, I have decided to seek to reform my
grandfather’s nation. I want to enjoin what is right and to forbid what is
wrong. If people accept my call for righteousness, Allah is the Master
of the righteous people. Those who reject my call, I shall remain
steadfast till Allah passes His judgment; surely Allah is the best of
Imam al-Husain’s statements were aiming directly at stripping the
“religious” mask behind which the Umayyads were hiding as they ruled
the Muslim masses. He was introducing himself to people and
explaining his message to the nation. In fact, the very personality of
Imam al-Husain (ع) and his religious devotion and impeccable
character were all beyond question or doubt. No wonder, then, that he
shouldered such a tremendous task, one which many distinguished
personalities were not able to shoulder or even to raise a finger and
point at the oppressors.
Let us now follow the Imam on his journey to martyrdom and eternal
Imam al-Husain (ع) left Mecca on Thul-Hijja 8, 60 A.H./September 12,
680 A.D. accompanied by his family members, slaves and Shi’as from
among the people of Hijaz, Basra, and Kufa who joined him when he
was in Mecca. According to p. 91 of Nafas al-Mahmum by Shaikh
Abbas al-Qummi, he gave each one of them ten dinars and a camel to
carry his luggage.
The places (including water places and caravans’ temporary tent
lodges), cities and towns by which Imam al-Husain (ع) passed on his
way to Taff area, where the famous Taff Battle took place, were: alSifah, That Irq, al-Hajir, al-Khuzaymiyya, Zarood, al-Thalabiyya, alShuqooq, Zubala, al-Aqaba, Sharif, al-Bayda, al-Ruhayma, alQadisiyya, al-Uthayb, and Qasr Muqatil. At al-Sifah, Imam al-Husain (
ع) met the famous poet al-Farazdaq ibn Ghalib and asked him about the
people whom he had left behind, since al-Farazdaq had come from the
opposite direction and had been in Kufa. Al-Farazdaq, as we are told on
p. 218, Vol. 6, of at-Tabari’s Tarikh, said, “Their hearts are with you;
the swords are with Banu Umayyah, and Destiny descends from the


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