The Great Warrior

Ali Akbar was now facing the enemy hordes. He was addressing the forces of Omar Ibn Saad with an eloquence which he had inherited from his Grandfather the Holy Prophet of Islam (S.A.W.). He was telling them that Hussain, his father, had done them no harm and had devoted his life to the cause of Islam. He was explaining to them that by shedding the blood of Hussain and his kinsmen. They would be incurring the wrath of God and displeasure of the Prophet who had loved Hussain more than any other person.

He was exhorting them not to smear their hands with the blood of a person so holy, so God-fearing and so righteous. His words cast a spell on the army of the opponents. The older ones from amongst them were blinking their eyes in amazement and wondering whether the Holy Prophet(S.A.W.) had descended from the Heavens to warn them against the shedding of Hussain's blood. What a resemblance there was with the Prophet, in face, features and even mannerism! Even the voice was of Muhammad(S.A.W.)! But on second thoughts, they realized that this was Ali Akbar, the 18 year old son of Hussain, about whose close resemblance with the Prophet people were talking so much.

Seeing the effect which Ali Akbar's address had produced on his soldiers, Amr Saad exhorted them to challenge him to single combat. A few of them, coveting the honour and rewards they would get if they overpowered and killed this brave son of Hussain, emaciated by three days of hunger and thirst, came forward to challenge him. One by one he met them in battle, gave them a taste of his skill and prowess in fighting and flung them from their horseback to meet the doom they so much deserved. Now it was his turn to challenge the warriors of Yazid to come forward. Seeing that in spite of his handicaps, he was capable of displaying valour and battle craft for which his grandfather Ali had acquired name and fame and which had struck terror into the hearts of enemies of Islam none dared to come forward.

Ali Akbar had received several gaping wounds in the course of his victorious single combats. He was fast losing blood and the effect of his thirst was getting accentuated with every second that was passing. He realized that the treacherous enemies would attack him en masse. He had left his mother in a dazed condition. An irresistible urge to see his dear ones for the last time seized him and he turned his horse towards his camp.

He found his father standing at the doorstep of the tent and his mother and aunt standing inside the tent. Hussain had been watching the battles of this thirsty youth and the two ladies were watching his face: they knew that if any calamity befell Ali Akbar, Hussain's expression would indicate it. Whilst watching Hussain's face, they were both praying offering silent prayers:

O Allah, Who brought back Ismail to Hajra; O Allah, Who granted the prayers of the mother Musa and restored her son to her; O Allah, Who reunited Yakoob with his son Yusuf in response to the aged father's supplications, grant us our one wish to see Ali Akbar for once.

Was it the effect of these prayers that brought back Ali Akbar to the camp?

Ali Akbar was now facing his aged father and his loving mother and Zainab. With an exclamation of joy and relief they clung to him. Hussain lovingly embraced his son saying:

Bravo, my son. The gallantry you how displayed today reminded me of the battles of my revered father, Ali. The only difference was that, during his fights, my father Ali had not to battle against hunger and thirst as you had to.

Ali Akbar with his head bent replied:

Father, thirst is killing me because my wounds have added to its effect. It is usual to ask for rewards from parents for celebrating victories in single combats and I would have asked for a cup of refreshing water from you. But alas! I know that you have not even a drop of water with which you can quench the thirst of the young children. Father, knowing this, I shall not embarrass you by asking for water. I have come only to see you and my dear ones for the last time.