The Night of the Tenth Muharram
That night, the sky was red like blood. It was the hardest night for the family of the Prophet. In the emptiness of the desert, they faced the darkness and loneliness of night.
Also oh this night, Hazrat Umm Salamah r.a had a dream in which she saw the Prophet s.a.w . He was upset and dust was on his head. When Hazrat Umm Salamah r.a asked him why he was so dusty, the Prophet replied, “My son was killed and I was digging a grave for him.”
THE TENTS WERE ROBBED
After Imam Husain was martyred, the enemy took all of his belongings, and captured his injured horse. They went towards his tents on their camels and entered the tents of Imam Husain’s wife and the rest of the women and started to take whatever they could find. They even took the blankets, which were on Imam Husain’s wife, sister and daughters. Shimar bin Zil Jawshan saw that Ali bin Husain, the son of Imam Husain, who was sick at the time, was in the tent . He looked much younger in appearance than he actually was. When Shimar saw him he said, “Kill him also.” Humaid bin Muslim stopped him and said “Are you trying to kill little children as well?” When he heard this he stopped himself from killing Ali. This is the same Ali who is well known as Zain-ul- ‘Abidin. Zain-ul- ‘Abidin and all the women were taken into custody.
Imam Husain’s wife, Rubab, her servants Uqba bin Saman and Murkah bin Samama Asdi were still alive. Zain-ul- ‘Abidin, Imam Husain’s sister and his daughter were also alive, as servants were not killed at the time of war . Shimar got Imam Husain’s head and called Khowla bin Yazid and Humaid bin Muslim Asdee and said, “Take this head and go to Kufa and inform Ibn Ziyad that we have cut off Imam Husain’s head as he had wished.” Night had already fallen when these reached Kufa, the house of the governor was locked.
Khowla took Imam Husain’s head to his house for the night. When he reached his house he told his wife that he had brought the head of Imam Husain. His wife said, “People bring back bags of money when they go away, and you have brought into our house the head of the grandson of our Prophet (sallal la ho alihi wasallam)? For this reason I am not going to speak to you” He then went into another part of the house and went to sleep. His wife reported that in the morning she saw a light (noor) flickering towards the sky from the tub where Imam Husain’s head had been placed, and fluttering white birds were surrounding it. In the morning Khowla took the head of Imam Husain to Governor Ibn Ziyad and presented it to him on a platter. The governor had a small stick in his hand and he tapped it on the teeth of Imam Husain. Zaid bin al-‘Arqam, a companion of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), was present at the governor’s house. He said to Ibn Ziyad, “Do not tap your stick on those teeth. I have seen those teeth being kissed by our Prophet (sallalaho alihi wasallam) many times. Today you are hitting your stick on those same teeth” Ibn Ziyad said, “May Allah Most High curse you. If you were not an old man I would have your head cut off as well.” Zaid bin Al’Arqam stood up and said “How evil you are, you have martyred the grandson of Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).” Then he turned to the crowd and said “What kind of governor have you appointed that he is killing righteous people, curse on you all and on you Ibn Ziyad that you have made such a big mistake and you are not even ashamed of it.”
Then, the army of ‘Umar bin saad marched towards the women and children and looted whatever was in the tents. When they were done, they set the remaining tents on fire.
They captured ′Ali al‑Sajjad, son of Imam Husayn, while he was lying in bed unable to move. Some of them said, “Kill him. Do not leave anyone of them alive.”
Others said, “No, wait until we hear our orders from ‘Umar.”
Shimr took his sword and moved to kill him.
Hamid Ibn Muslim said to him, “Shame on you! Killing a young boy!”
Shimr said, “Ibn Ziyad has ordered to kill all of the children of Husayn.”
Hamid sent a messenger to ask ‘Umar if it was true, and ‘Umar denied. Zaynab put her body on ′Ali and said, “You cannot kill him without killing me!”
The army wanted to hurt them but he refused. He ordered them to restrain themselves, and assigned a group to guard them.
He called and asked his army, “Who would be willing to come forward and run his horses on the chest of Husayn?’’
Ten of them replied, and they trampled over the bodies of the Imam and his followers.
‘Umar ordered the heads to be cut off, and all of them were cut off. He distributed them among the chiefs of the various tribes.
The tribe of Hurr saved his head from being cut, and took his body away from the battlefield before the army rode their horses over the bodies.
Then ‘Umar sent the head of Imam Husayn with Khuwali Ibn Yazid and Hamid Ibn Muslim; and the rest of the heads were sent with Shimr. Khuwali took the head and hid it in Kufah away from his wife because he knew that she was a Follower.
‘Umar remained in Karbāla’ with the rest of his army and the women until noon of the eleventh day. He gathered all of his dead, buried them, and prayed on them. He left the Imam’s body and his followers without burial.
After noon he left towards Kufah carrying all of the women and children. They were twenty women all together.
′Ali al‑Sajjad was twenty‑three years old. He was on a camel without saddle. His son, Imam Mohammad Baqir, was two years old. The women begged for the army to let them see the dead bodies on their way. The army agreed and took them. When they saw the scene they fell on the bodies, each one kissing and crying on the bodies.
When the captured prisoners went into Kufah on their way to Ibn Ziyad’s castle, people were gathering to look and see whom the prisoners were. A lady came and asked, “Which war are you prisoners of?”
They said, “We are the prisoners from the House of Prophet Muhammad.” They paraded them in the streets to show the people that the army was victorious.
The next day Shimar, who had captured all the women and Zain-ul- ‘Abidin and the two slaves, started to move them towards Kufa to bring them in front of Ibn Ziyad. When the women came out of their tents they could see in the distance that in the battlefield all the bodies were covered in blood and some were badly mutilated. They all screamed together and Sayyiduna Zaineb shouted “Ya Muhammad Ya Muhammad (O Muhammad O Muhammad), they have mutilated Imam Husain and he is lying there covered in blood.” She repeated the same words again and said, “Your daughters are shackled and prisoned. Your children have been martyred and their bodies are covered in dust.” When Sayyiduna Zaineb said this, even the enemy had tears in their eyes.
They were taken to the governor’s house in Kufa. Ibn Ziyad pointed towards Sayyiduna Zaineb and asked, “Who is she?” as he did not know who Sayyiduna Zaineb was. He asked two or three times. Someone answered and said, “This is Zaineb, Sayyiduna Fatimah’s daughter, the granddaughter of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).” Ibn Ziyad said to Zaineb “I thank Allah Most High that your brother, who was a liar, has been punished.” Zaineb said “I thank Allah Most High for giving us birth in the house of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), and for revealing the Holy Qur’an in our house. This world is only for a few days and you are wrong to think that we should be ashamed or embarrassed because in the Hereafter we will be the respected ones, and Allah Most High will punish those who are evil.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Did you not see how I killed all your relatives, and how I mutilated their bodies.” Zainab could not hold back the tears as she had witnessed these events before her own eyes and she began to weep.
The Prisoners Meet Ibn Ziyad
Ibn Ziyad sat on his throne and the head of the Imam was between his hands. He had a stick and he hit the lips of the Imam with it.
Zayd Ibn Arqam was standing nearby and suddenly said, “O, governor! Take away your stick from those lips! Indeed, I have seen the Prophet kissing those lips!” And he cried.
Ibn Ziyad said, “Indeed, you are a hallucinating old man. You have no mind. If you were not senile, I would have killed you!”
Zayd left the meeting saying, “O, people of Arabs! You are slaves after today! You are slaves of the son of Marjanah (Ibn Ziyad)! He is going to kill the best of you, and he is going to humiliate you, and that is the worst possible life!”
The people started talking about what happened, and Ibn Ziyad became afraid. He ordered the chief of the guards to imprison Imam Husayn’s family in a special house near the castle, and people gathered to see them.
Ibn Ziyad then looked at Zain-ul- ‘Abidin and and asked him who he was. He replied, “My name is Ali bin Husain.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Has not Allah Most High had Ali bin Husain killed yet?” When no reply came he said, “Why don’t you answer me, I heard that Ali bin Husain had been killed.” Zain-ul- ‘Abidin said “I had a brother called Ali Akbar and the people at Karbala martyred him.” Ibn Ziyad started to laugh and said, “Yes Allah Most High had him killed.” No one responded to this, so Ibn Ziyad said again, “Why don’t you speak?” Zain-ul- ‘Abidin said, “Allah Most High has said everyone must die no matter who they are.” Ibn Ziyad replied, “Are you from amongst them too?” Then he turned to one of his men and said, “He has grown up now so why don’t you kill him.” Zain-ul- ‘Abidin said, “If you kill me, look at all these women, who are they going to go to Madina with? They have no Mehram other than me who will go with them.” Sayyiduna Zainab could not hold her self back and started to cry again and hugged Zain-ul-Abidin and said, “Have your desires not been fulfilled yet? Why do you want to kill my last nephew as well? Do you not want to see any man alive? If you want to kill him then you have to kill me first. If you have any shame then do not kill him as he will go with us as a guardian to Madina.” Ibn Ziyad said, “I feel sorry for you but if I had really wanted to kill Zain-ul’Ahbedeen, I would kill both of you.”
MARTYR OF ABDULLAH BIN AFEEF
After this Ibn Ziyad ordered that all the people should be gathered together. One person stood up and called all the people and they gathered in the Mosque. Ibn Ziyad stood on the pulpit and gave a speech. In the speech he abused Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, and abused Imam Husain. Abdullah bin Afeef Azdee Waleabee was one of the companions of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He was a person who spent much of his time in the Mosque. When he heard this speech and the abuse that Ibn Ziyad was directing towards Sayyiduna Ali, he could not take it and said, ” O liar, your father was a liar too, how can you say such evil lies about Sayyiduna Ali, may Allah Most High be pleased with him. May Allah Most High send His wrath upon you. You have martyred the grandson of the Prophet, and you are talking like you have done a good deed.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Bring him to me.” Some of his men tried to bring him to Ibn Ziyad and there was a struggle. He ordered more of his men to arrest Abdullah. In the end Ziyad crucified Abdullah in the Mosque and he was also martyred.
The Journey to Damascus
Ibn Ziyad sent a messenger to Yazid telling him of the events and waiting for his orders. Then he wrote a letter, tied it to a rock, and threw it into the place where the people of the House of the Prophet were imprisoned. It said, “A messenger has been sent to Yazid and he will be back on such and such a day.
When he comes back and you hear ‘Allahu Akbar, write your will. If you do not hear it, you have your life.” The messenger came back with Yazid’s reply that Ibn Ziyad should immediately send the prisoners and the heads to Damascus.
Ibn Ziyad sent the heads with some of his troops, ordering them to put the heads on spears and parade them in front of the caravan, and he ordered them to pass through the cities on the way, and humiliate the family of the Prophet in every city they pass through. On their way they saw some writing painted on a wall, saying, “Is it possible for a nation that killed Husayn to have the intercession of his grandfather on the Day of Judgment?”
On their way, they stopped and a drop of blood fell from the head of the Imam onto a rock and that place is known as Mashhad al‑Nuqtah (Place of the drop of blood) near Hamah.
Arrival in Damascus
They arrived in Damascus on the first day of the month of Safar. The prisoners were kept in Bab al‑Sa′at and people went to see them, dancing and using the drums.
Somebody asked Sukaynah, “What prisoners are you?” She answered, “We are prisoners of the family of Muhammad.”
Yazid was sitting on his throne in his castle at Jiran when he saw the heads on spears and the prisoners. He recited a poem.Because of this poem and other displays of hatred to the Prophet, some Sunni scholars believe that Yazid was kafir (unbeliever) and deserves to be cursed.
Sahl Ibn Sa′id came to Sukaynah, daughter of Imam Husayn, and asked, “Is there anything I can do for you?”
She asked him, “Can you tell the one who carries the head to go farther from the women, so people do not look at the women?”Sahl honored his word and granted her request.
An old man came to Imam Sajjad and said, “Praise God that He perished you and made the leader overcome you!”
Sajjad replied, “Have you ever read the Quran, O, old man?”
The old man answered, “Yes.”
Sajjad asked, “Have you read the verse:
Say: I do not ask you any reward but love for the near in kin?”3
He said, “Yes.”
Imam Sajjad asked, “Have you read the verse:
So, give the near in kin their rights?”4
He said, “Yes, of course.”
Sajjad asked, “Have you read the verse:
And know that whatever you gain, a fifth of it is for God, and for the Messenger, the near of kin,orphans, the poor, and wayfarers?”5
The old man answered, “Yes, I have read all of these.”
Sajjad said, “Indeed, by God, we are them.” Then he asked, “Have you read the verse: Indeed, God wants to take away pollution from you, O, People of the House?”6
Sajjad said to him, “We are the People of the House whom God has purified.”
The old man’s eyes opened wide as he asked, “Are you them?”
Sajjad said, “Yes, (I swear it) by our grandfather Prophet Muhammad. We are them without any doubt.”
The man fell to the ground, kissed Sajjad’s feet, and said, “I repent to God and reject those who killed you.”
When Yazid found out about this, he ordered the man to be killed.
The prisoners were ordered to go to Yazid’s main hall, and they were all tied together with one long rope. When Imam Sajjad start Khutaba people in palace start crying.Yazid began to fear that the situation would escalate, so he ordered the Muažžin7 to recite the Ažan8 even though it was not prayer time.Then, he asked for the head of Imam Husayn to be brought to him in a golden washbasin.He took his stick, hit the lips of Imam Husayn, and said, “Now I am getting even for the battle of Badr!”One of his people yelled that ‘‘Al al-Mustafa’ (the family of Heavenly Selected—Prophet Muhammad)
are cut into pieces. Yazid hit him in his chest, told him to shut up, and cursed him, saying, “You have no mother!”
3. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of ash-Shūrā 42:23
4. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of ar-Rūm 30:38
5. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Hashr 59:7
6. The Holy Qur’an; Sura of al-Ahzāb 33:33
7. Muažžin is caller for prayer.
8. Ažan is the call to prayer.
Yazid changed the governor of Madina from Waleed bin Utbah, to Uthman bin Muhammad. When Uthman bin Muhammad reached Madina, he asked a small number of respected people to go to meet Yazid in Syria. Amongst the people were Abdullah bin Hanzalah, Abdullah bin Abee Amar, Munzeer bin Zubear. When they reached syria, Yazid respected them as a guest is supposed to be respected. He gave Abdullah bin Hanzalah a gift of 100,000 Dirhams, and gave the rest of them 10,000 Dirhams. When this caravan came back to Madina, the people of Madina asked Abdullah bin Hanzalah about the character of Yazid. He replied, “We come from a person who does not practice religion. He drinks alcohol and listens to music.” If there were any pious people there, they would gather the people and overthrow him. The people said, “We have heard that Yazid respected you and has rewarded you for your alleginace to him.” Abdullah said, “Yes he has, and I have taken the money so that I can buy weapons to fight against him.”
Because of this news, the people of Madina removed Uthman bin Muhammad from his post and his officials were prisoned. Abdullah bin Muti was appointed as the new governor. Uthman bin Muhammad wrote a letter to Yazid explaining everything. Upon reading the letter, Yazid prepared an army of 12,000 people and said to them “The people of Madina have broken their allegiance to me and have chosen a new governor, Abdullah bin Muti’. I want you to go there and bring Madina under my kingdom again.” He tried to make Umar bin Sa’id, the commander of these 12,000 men but he refused to be in charge. Then he asked UbayduLlah bin Ziyad he also refused.
He then turned to Muslim bin ‘Uqbah Murri and said, “Do you want to become a leader of the army?” He agreed and said that he would, and if need be, fight with the people of Madina. They prepared to leave for Madina. Yazid went with them for a while giving guidance on what to do. Burning with rage, Yazid said, “When you reach Madina, tell the people that you will give them three days to re-instate the governor of Madina Make sure you obtain allegiance from them. And remember do not harm Ali bin Husain (who is known as Zain-ul ‘Abdin), because he has not taken any step against our government.”
ALL THE ROADS INTO MADINA WERE BLOCKED
When Muslim bin Uqbah reached Madina, he blocked all the entrances into the city and camped outside, so that noone could come to help the people of Madina. He then sent a messenger to Abdullah bin Muti’ and the people of Madina telling them that if within three days they had not agreeed to the terms of the maloon yazid, he was prepared to go to war with them, and he would take all their possessions.
WAR BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF MADINA AND THE SYRIAN ARMY
When Abdullah bin Muti’ and the people of Madina received the message they replied that they were prepared to go to war. Upon hearing the response of the people of Madina, Muslim bin ‘Uqbah attacked Madina with his army and martyred many people. He killed Abdullah bin Muti”s seven sons in front of him and then killed Abdullah bin Muti’. Many people fled the town and went into the hills and others hid in their houses. He ordered his men to take all the possessions the people of Madina. They raped over a 1000 women. A group of the companions of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) were also martyred. They tied their horses in the Mosque (Masjid Nabawi) and allowed them to urinate and defecate inside it. For three days there was no call for prayers and congregational prayers were not said inside the mosque.(1)
(1) Imam Darmi writes that Sa’id bin Musaib, who was a great student of the companions, reported that when he was in the mosque he did not know about the time of the prayers until from the grave of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) he heard the call for the prayer. Darmi chapter Fasaeilun-Nabi (Allah bless him and give him peace) Hafiz Ibn Taymiah writes that like Sa’id bin Musaib heard the call for prayer there are other people who heard the answer of their sallams from the grave of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). Kitab Iqtida us Siratal Mustaqeem page 373 by Hafiz Ibn Taimiya
Muslim bin ‘Uqbah Murri made everyone pledge allegiance to Yazid. If anyone declined he would have them killed. This tragic event took place during 63 Hijra. (1)
(1) Hafiz Ibn Katheer writes that our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) has said that the person who fights with the people of Madina will melt like salt does in water, and the person who scares the people of Madina, Allah Most High will make them scared. And Allah Most High and his angels and the people’s curse be upon him. As in this Hadith it mention any one who causes a war with the people of Madina. Some scholars agree that it is permissible to send curse on Yazid. Imam Ibnul Jozee has written a whole book on this and has explained that to send the curse is permissible. Tareek Ibn Katheer chapter on Karbala. This Hadith of Hafiz Ibn Katheer is in Bukahri, and Muslim in the chapter of Hajj.
After the ravage of the popel of, Muslim bin ‘Uqbah advanced towards Makkah, as guided by Yazid.
WAR BETWEEN THE PEOPLE OF MAKKAH AND THE SYRIAN ARMY
Muslim bin ‘Uqbah gathered his army and ordered them to go to Makkah with him Uqbah died before reaching Makkah. But before his death he had nominated Husain bin Numair as the new leader of the army. Meanwhile when the pious people of Madina found out that the Syrians had gone to Makkah to make war with them, they also left in order to help the people of Makkah. Similarly, people from cities surrounding Makkah also came to help them. Husain bin Numaer reached Makkah and he decided to camp on the outskirts of the city.
Abdullah bin Zubair gathered the people of Makkah and came outside the city, so that he could fight the Syrians. The war started and a lot of people from both sides died. The Syrians attacked ferociously and the Makkans started to disperse, running from the enemy. Abdullah bin Zubear’s mule slipped and fell. When the enemy saw this, Musab bin Abdur Rahman bin A’uf and some other people attacked Abdullah bin Zubear. But he was very brave and fought with them for a long time and killed many of them until in the end they ran away from him.
For the next three months the war carried on (Muharram and Saffer) and in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the Syrians started to throw fire balls into Makkah aiming at the Ka’bah so that the people of Makkah who were with Abdullah bin Zubear may be killed. Some of the fireballs hit the Ka’bah, burning the cloth covering it and damaging the walls and roof. The fighting was still continuing in the month of Rabi-ul- Awwal when the news came that Yazid had died. Abdullah bin Zubair was the first to find this out. He asked the Syrians, “Who are you fighting for? Yazid has died.” They did not believe him but when they eventually found out that he had died, they left Makkah and went back to Syria, and so the war ended.
TAWWABIN (THOSE WHO MAKE REPENTENCE)
Sulayman bin Surad, may Allah Most High be pleased with him, was a companion of our Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). He lived in Kufa in the 65th Hijra. He was one of the people who gathered others at his home so they could discuss how to invite Imam Husain to Kufa from Makkah. But when Imam Husain came to Kufa these were the people who then left him.
Five years had passed after the sad event of Karbala, and Marwan was now the King. During his rule, Sulayman bin Surad started a movement called Tawwabin. He started to gather the people and told them that they should repent because they invited Imam Husain to Kufa but then left him to be martyred. He urged people that they should seek revenge against the people who had martyred Imam Husain, his family and his friends. When he started this cause, slowly the numbers grew and people started to join his movement. In no time there were over 17,000 people with him.
He gathered these people together and had a meeting, telling them that UbayduLlah bin Ziyad was personally responsible for the martyrdom of Imam Husain, his family and friends. He proposed that a group of people should leave to kill him immediately.
One member of the group spoke up and said, “Why are we going all that way to kill him when there are a lot of other peopleliving in Kufa who particpated in the battle and martyred Imam Husain and his family. Sulaiman bin Surad said that the main culprit was UbayduLlah bin Ziyad who sent the army in the first place, so that is why he should be killed first. After a few more meetings, Sulaiman bin Surad started to make plans for the journey. He originally had over 20, 000 men supporting him but by the time he left there were only 4,000 men with him. On 5th of Rabi-ul-Awwal 65 Hijra, before they left Kufa, Sulaiman bin Surad delivered a speech, full of sorrow and very impassioned, “Do not come with me thinking that there will be something to gain. Our main reason for going is to fight and kill UbayduLlah bin Ziyad and seek revenge for Imam Husain. It might be that they are stronger than us and we may not be able to defeat them. So when you leave Kufa, do so with the intention that you might be martyred.” He also said that when they started this movement the people of Basra and the people of Madina had pleged their support but as yet none had come to their aid.
On the way to Syria, they visited Imam Husain’s tomb and spent a day and a night in lamentation and prayers. They repented for the great sin that they had committed by inviting Imam Husain to Kufa and then leaving him at the mercy of the cruel enemies. They even wished they had died with him at Karbala. After a few days they left and carried on with their journey and reached a place called Ayn al-Warda. They camped there, as they knew that Ubaydullah bin Ziyad had to pass this place.
The army which UbayduLlah bin Ziyad had with him used to send a group of scouts ahead of them. When this group reached Aiy-nul-Warda, Sulaiman bin Surad’s men attacked them and killed some of them that theest of the army desertedthe battlefield. When UbayduLlah bin Ziyad heard this he became very angry and decided to attack Sulaiman bin Surad and his men with the 12,000 soldiers which he had with him at that time.
On 22nd of Jamadi-us-Sani, there was a very fierce battle between the two parties. It went on for three days and a lot of people were killed. In the end Sulaiman bin Surad and a number of his men were martyred and the rest of the group ran away and made their way back to Kufa. While on their way, they met with some people who were coming from Madina to support them. Sulaiman bin Surad’s men told them that they were very late since they had lost the battle. They prayed for the martyr and the people of Madina went back to their town and the people of Kufa started to go back towards Kufa.
The historian al‑Bayruni says:
“These actions taken against the Imam were not done to any nation in the world. Using all cheap means possible, such as killing by sword, spearing, catapults, and running the horses on the bodies of the victims.”After the massacre at Karbāla’, ‘Umar Ibn Sa’d, the leader of the army, asked the governor, Ibn Ziyad, for the written promise to make him governor of the city of Ray. Ibn Ziyad said he lost it. One year after the death of Yazid, Mukhtar revolted against Ibn Ziyad and killed all those who participated in killing Imam Husayn, such as Harmalah ibn Kahil, Shimr ibn dhil‑Jawshan, and eighteen
thousand others who participated in the massacre at Karbāla’. Mukhtar ordered then to be killed by cruel and unusual methods of painful torture and death.