Chapter 38: Martyrs of Ale Abi Talib in Karbala
In the year 61 A.H. Imam Husayn went from Madina to Makkah and from there he reached near Kufa. At all these places he invited the people to assist him and to defend truth and reality, and delivered various speeches. This campaign lasted for more than six months but as it is well-known he did not find more than seventy two sincere supporters. Out of them seventeen belonged to his own family. Two of them were his own sons namely Ali Akbar and Ali Asghar -the suckling child of the Imam. There were the sons of his brother Imam Hasan viz. Qasim, Abdullah and Abu Bakr.
There were also five brothers of the Imam namely Abbas, Abdullah, Ja'far and Uthman, sons of Ummul Baneen, and Muhammad bin Ali. There were also two sons of Abdullah bin Ja'far named Awn and Muhammad. Besides them there were five descendants of Aqil viz. Ja'far bin Aqil, Abdur Rahman bin Aqil, Abdullah and Muhammad sons of Muslim bin Aqil and Muhammad bin Abi Sa'id bin Aqil. The names of these seventeen persons have been mentioned in Ziyarat-i Nahiya.
As regards others not more than fifty five accompanied the Imam. Even if some more persons have accompanied him in the beginning they deserted him when they became aware of the political conditions in Kufa and Iraq. However, if the supporters of the Imam in these days are counted they will be found to be innumerable. The question, therefore, arises: Were the people in those days very bad and do those belonging to the present age excel them in the matter of recognition of the Imam and self-sacrifice? No. That is not so. During those days also until the people were put to test and Muslim and Hani were hanged, there were innumerable devotees of Imam Husayn and he was greeted vociferously from all sides.
In fact it may be said that it was a very good time because by means of his eloquence, personality and the antecedents peculiar to him, Imam Husayn was able to find, during the period of his six month's journey from Madina to Makkah and then to Iraq, seventy two enlightened and sincere supporters and he did not really need any more. He had not gone with the object of conquest so that he might have needed a larger army.
For the purpose of achievement of the object which the Imam had in view these seventy two great and honorable men and children were sufficient. Besides them were the brave and magnanimous ladies who said in all conditions what they had to say. They informed the people about the true facts and the great services rendered by their self-sacrificing men. They related the events of Ashura in every town where they were taken, and told the people about the enemy stopping the supply of water, making the horses trample the bodies of the martyrs and killing the suckling child.
They performed a great duty in Syria when they changed the ideas of the people of Damascus and its suburbs who had been misled by anti-Ahlul Bayt propaganda for a period of forty two years. In the bazaar of Damascus they told the people that the Verse of Purification had been revealed about them and also explained the rights of the relatives of the Holy Prophet. Notwithstanding the fact that they were bereaved and mournful they eventually returned to Madina with a relieved mind.
It is possible that some followers of the Ahlul Bayt may not relish our saying that they returned to Madina with a disburdened and relieved mind. However, if we deliberate upon what has been said so far and take into account the definite successes which the Ahlul Bayt achieved during this journey, we shall have to admit that their sentiments cannot be interpreted in any other way. We have before us the same interpretation of the daughter of Imam Ali and we have only followed that great lady about whose bravery and magnanimity we have definite proof with us.
As narrated by Ibn Tawus, when Ibn Ziyad said to lady Zaynab: "Have you seen what Allah has done to your family?", she replied: "I have not seen anything bad. They were destined to be martyred and, therefore, went to Paradise. Soon Allah will bring you and them together. Then the matter will be settled and we shall see in whose favor the decision is taken. O Ibn Marjana! May your mother weep for you".
Enormous blessings be upon you, O great lady, who were made prisoner and that too by one who had inherited grudge for the Ahlul Bayt from his father, but in spite of that you spoke so explicitly and frankly. In our opinion this example of the courage and bravery of the daughter of Imam Ali is more explicit and valuable than even the speeches which she delivered in Kufa and Syria.
Can there be found in the history of mankind any other woman, whose six or seven brothers were martyred, whose son was martyred, whose ten nephews and cousins were martyred and who was made prisoner also along with her sisters and the children of her brothers, and even in the state of captivity who defended herself and her martyrs and that too in a city which was her father's capital at one time and where she had stayed for about four years during the time of her father's caliphate?
However, in this condition and in the presence of all causes of worry and dejection she should not complain about what she had to suffer but should say with perfect frankness: "We have not experienced anything contrary to our liking and inclination. If our men have met martyrdom they had come for this very purpose. If this had not happened it would have been a matter of worry and uneasiness. Now that they have performed this Divine duty decently and acquired the honor of martyrdom it is only appropriate that we should thank Allah for this success".