Imam Husain’s Revolution: Activities and Programs Part 2

Deposition of Governor of Medina

Walid bin Utbah bin Abu Sufyan became the governor of Medina after the deposition of Marwan. On the basis of what historians say: He was a cunning and sharp man. He was peace-loving and he did not like mischief. When Imam Husain (‘a) refused to give allegiance for Yazid, he did not force His Eminence or dealt with him severely and he did not compel His Eminence to something against his will. Rather he created a favorable condition for His Eminence to go to Mecca, without putting any hindrance in this regard with the holy Imam even though Marwan had urged him to be tough with Husain (‘a). However he did not agree to this.

The Umayyads informed Yazid about his stance and soft approach to His Eminence. He was enraged and he deposed him from the governorship.[1] And he transferred the position to the harshest of the Umayyads, Amr Ibn Saeed Ashdaq,[2] who was well known for his cruelty and tyranny. After getting the appointment in the month of Ramadan he went there and lead the congregation prayer of Isha (Night Prayer). In the morning he came out to the people wearing a red dress and a scarlet turban. The people regarded him with critical eyes. He mounted the pulpit and said:

“O people of Medina! What’s wrong with you that you stare at me like that? As if you shall slay me with your swords. Have you forgotten what you have done? If revenge had been taken from you in the first instance you would not have repeated it. You have been deceived that you have killed Uthman, you got him as a patient and forbearing Imam from whom anger had gone away and his ego had been destroyed. So take care of yourselves, as an Imam has got authority over you who is in the prime of his youth. He is having long hopes, a firm base and powerful bones. Who has the eye on the present circumstances and he has faced all of them. And if he chews, he swallows and if he kicks, he shatters into pieces. Neither is he afraid of any desert nor any stick creates sound for him.”

And in his discourse he mentioned about Ibn Zubair and said, “By God! We shall pursue him and if he enters the Kaaba we shall rain fire on it even if the people don’t like it.”[3]

The tyrant’s nose began to bleed on the pulpit. A man threw a turban to him and he cleaned he blood with it. A man spoke up in malice, “By the Lord of the Kaaba! Blood in a turban on the pulpit is an evil which shall become widespread and known to all.”[4]  

[1] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah: 8/148
[2] “Ashdaq” had got this title due to his boastful way of speaking (that is he did not accord respect to anyone). It is said that he was given this title because his chin was crooked. This matter is mentioned in Al-Bayan wat Tibbiyyin 1/315. And it is said that due to his excess badmouthing about His Eminence, Ali he was affected with crookedness of the throat. This point is mentioned in Mojam ash-Shoara, Pg. 231
[3] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 4/268
[4] Simtun Nujoomul Awaali 3/57

It has been narrated from the Messenger of Allah (s) that he said, “A tyrant from the tyrants of Bani Umayyah shall get nosebleed while on the pulpit.”[1]

Ashdaq decided to quell opposition with an iron hand because his predecessor, Walid had been deposed only because of his soft approach to His Eminence, Husain (‘a). Maybe one of the reason why Imam Husain (‘a) left Mecca was that he was concerned about the tyranny of this tyrant and it was feared that he may kill Imam (‘a) while he were in the sanctuary of God.

His Eminence, Husain (‘a) with Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas

When his Eminence, Imam Husain (‘a) arrived in Mecca, Abdullah Ibn Abbas and Abdullah Ibn Umar were settled over there. Both of them hastened to welcome the Holy Imam (‘a) and pay their respects to him. Though actually they wanted him to go away from Mecca. So Ibn Umar said to His Eminence:

“O Aba Abdillah! May God have mercy on you. Fear Allah as your return is to Him. You are aware of the enmity of the people of this clan (Bani Umayyah) towards you. A person from them – Yazid bin Muawiyah – has become the ruler. I think that people would be lured by wealth and riches and they may kill you. And a large number of people would be killed because of you because I have heard the Messenger of Allah (s) say: “Husain shall be killed and if they kill him or desert him or do not help him, the Almighty Allah shall degrade and humiliate them till the day of Qiyamat. I suggest that you make a peace treaty so people may join it and remain patient as you had maintained patience with Muawiyah. Perhaps the Almighty Allah would judge between you and the unjust people…”

The chief of the nobles asked him, “I should pledge allegiance to Yazid and make peace with him? While the Prophet (s) has said what he said regarding him and his father?”

Ibn Abbas began to speak and said to His Eminence: “O Aba Abdillah! You are right. The Prophet said during his lifetime: What I have to do with Yazid? May Allah not bless Yazid. He would kill Husain, my (grand)son and the son of my daughter, and by the One in Whose hand is my life, my son would be killed among a people and they shall not help him, such that Allah would create a contradiction between their word and deed.”

Ibn Abbas and His Eminence, Husain (‘a) began to weep. Then His Eminence looked at Ibn Abbas and said, “O Ibn Abbas! Do you know that I am the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s)?”

“Yes, by Allah!...I know that except for you there is no one in the world who is the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s) and that it is obligatory for this Ummah to help you just as Prayer and Zakat is obligatory. Such that each of them would not be accepted without the other…”

His Eminence, Husain told him, “O Ibn Abbas! What do you say regarding the  

[1] Majmauz Zawaid 5/240

people who drove out the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s) from his home and abode, from the tomb and sanctuary of His Prophet and the neighborhood of his grave and the place of his Hijrat? And they terrified and harassed him such that neither could he get peace at any place nor could he take refuge in a locality. They are determined to kill him and shed his blood even though he has neither associated anyone with Allah nor sought the help of anyone other than Him. And neither has he deviated from the principles followed by the Messenger of Allah (s)…”

Ibn Abbas agreed to what he had said and in support of His Eminence said, “I have nothing to say about them except that they have disbelieved in God and His Prophet and they do not go to pray except that they be tired and bored by it. They show-off their religiosity and except for a few none remembers Allah. They roam about among these and those whom Allah misguides cannot find a path towards Him. By way of example of these is that a great punishment shall befall. As for you, O son of the Messenger of Allah (s), you are the head of the pride of the Messenger of Allah (s), so do not think of son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s) that the Almighty Allah is unaware of what the oppressors commit. I testify that one who avoids your company or those who wage war against you and your Prophet, he shall never gain anything…”

Imam Husain (‘a) agreed to what he said and remarked, “Yes, by Allah!” At that time Ibn Abbas told him about his decision to help the Imam and he said, “O son of the Messenger of Allah (s), may my life be sacrificed on you. As if you want me. And want me to help you. By the God, except Whom there us no deity. If I fight with this sword for you to the extent that both my hands are separated from my shoulders I would not have fulfilled even one part of the right. Even then I am at your service and waiting for your order.”

Ibn Umar interrupted the statement of Ibn Abbas, turned to His Eminence and said, “Give up your decision, return to Medina right now and become a part of peace of this community. And do not go away from your native place and the sanctuary of your maternal grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s). Do not take any responsibility for these people when there is no benefit in it for them. If you like, do not pay allegiance, you are free to follow your view because Yazid bin Muawiyah may not live for long and the Almighty Allah shall issue His command for you.”

Imam disagreed with him and rejected what he suggested, “It is a pity forever. As long as the sky and the earth remain, I ask you O Abdullah, am I guilty according to your opinion? Thus if I am on the wrong, turn me back. I shall accept it and agree to what you say.”

Ibn Umar said, “By Allah, No! Allah does not blames the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s) and no one like Yazid Ibn Muawiyah is equal to you in purity and proximity to the Messenger of Allah (s). However, I fear that they shall smite this illuminated face of yours (killing you). And you shall see in this

community that none shall support you. So come back to Medina with us. If you like you may withhold the oath of allegiance and remain in your house.”

Imam (‘a) addressed him and informed him about the evil and bad intentions of Bani Umayyah towards His Eminence, saying, “Alas, O Ibn Umar, these people would never leave me. As long as I am present and they could not get hold of me they will try all means to compel me to give allegiance or put me to death. Do you know, O Abdullah! How worthless is the world for Allah. That an oppressor of Bani Israel brought the severed head of Yahya bin Zakaria while that head was speaking to them to perfect the argument. Do you not know, O Abu Abdur Rahman! The Bani Israel used to kill seventy prophets from dawn to sunrise and after that sit in the market conducting their business as usual, as if they had not done anything? The Almighty Allah did not requite them immediately; but later He caught hold of them with a strong grip!”[1]

This conversation shows that His Eminence had made a firm determination to rise up against Yazid, because he was not likely to leave the Imam to his condition. So there were only two options. Either he pledge allegiance humiliating his Islam and defiling its sanctity or lay down his life with honor and respect. His Eminence gave preference to death for the sake of the honor of his community and its sanctities.

Bequest of Imam Husain (‘a) to Ibn Abbas

Imam Husain (‘a) turned his attention to Ibn Abbas and made the following bequest to him and said, “You, O Ibn Abbas, are the cousin of my father. I know you since the time you have continued to enjoin good in this same way. You were with my father and you made suggestions that were good and beneficial. My father used to take you in his consultations and sought your opinion. You also responded with sincere advices. So go to Medina in the safety of Allah and do not conceal any of your news from me. Till I see those people giving me a positive reply and agree to help me I shall make this place as my residence. When they leave me, I shall select another place. And by the words by which Ibrahim sought refuge at the time of being thrown into the fire, I shall also take refuge from these words. Allah is sufficient for me and the best of the helpers. And the fire became cool and safety for him…”[2]

Letters of Imam Husain (‘a) to Leaders of Basra

Imam (‘a) wrote to five chiefs of Basra and he requested them for help and taking of his right by uprising. And he wrote letters to the province leaders. Some of them were as follows:

  1. Malik Ibn Musamma Bakri, 2. Ahnaf bin Qais, 3. Mundhir bin Amr, 4. Masud bin Amr, 5. Qais bin Mitham,  and 6. Umar Ibn Abdullah bin Muammar[3]  

[1] Al-Futuh 5/38-43
[2] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 1/193
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/23

“So to say: Know that the Almighty Allah chose Muhammad (s) among His creatures and bestowed him with the honor of His prophethood and selected him for His messengership. After that He called him to Himself in a condition that he may dispense sincere advices to His creatures and deliver the message he was sent with. My family members were saints, successors and his legatees and the most eligible for his position but the people considered themselves more superior to us and we did not object and we did not like conflicts while we know that we were more rightful for that which they had taken for themselves. I am sending my messenger to you with this letter and I call you by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger because the Sunnah has been destroyed and innovation has come into being. So if you listen to what I say, I shall guide you to the right path…”[1]

This letter has clearly explained that caliphate is the right of Ahle Bayt (‘a) because they are the most proximate to Prophet and the most well-versed in knowledge with regard to the aims of His Eminence. However those people had taken the caliphate to themselves and the Purified Progeny could not but remain patient on it. Because they did not like mischief and they desired unity of Muslims. In the same way this letter contains the call for truth and all its profundities and meanings. Because it has invited them to help in the revival of the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of the Prophet as the Umayyad regime had purposely distanced them from public life.

Some writers have expressed opinions about the letter of Imam Husain (‘a) to the people of Basra and stated:

“This letter of Imam Husain (‘a) to the people of Basra shows how aware he was regarding his responsibility and he was moving forward with it. That is why the people of Basra had not written to His Eminence and they had not invited him to their city like the people of Kufa had done. On the basis of this His Eminence wrote to them and informed them about the facts. Because when His Eminence decided to rise up for religion and his community, his determination was from the depths of the spirit and conscience and not because of the invitation of the people of Kufa.”

Anyway, Imam (‘a) sent his letters with his slave named Sulaiman to Basra. His patronymic was Abu Razeen. He traversed the distance very soon and conveyed the letters to the addressees.

Reply of Ahnaf bin Qais

Ahnaf bin Qais, the Iraqi leader, replied the Imam in the following words without adding anything else:

“Therefore be patient; surely the promise of Allah is true and let not those who  

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/375

have no certainty hold you in light estimation.”([1])([2])

He wanted to suggest that the Holy Imam (‘a) should remain patient and that he should not be influenced by those who have no faith in Allah and those who have no worth in the view of Allah.

Evil Deeds of Mundhir bin Jarud

 Mundhir bin Jarud was of the worst and evil-minded person of the Arabs. He arrested the Imam’s messenger and sent him to Ibn Ziyad who was his son-in-law so that he may prove his sincerity and loyalty to Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Marjana had him executed the night he (Ibn Marjana) set out for Kufa.[3]

Some historians have justified the actions of Mundhir and they say that he was helpless because he feared that the messenger might have been sent by Ibn Marjana to test him. That is why he had him sent to Ibn Ziyad. This justification is unacceptable because first he should have investigated the matter to find the truth.

Positive Reply of Yazid bin Masud

The great leader, Yazid bin Masud Nahshali, gave a positive reply to the call of truth and on the basis of his faith and spirit of belief he rose up to help the Holy Imam (‘a). He organized a public meeting and invited the neighboring tribes including:

  1. Bani Tamim, 2. Bani Hanzalah, and 3. Bani Sa’ad.

When these tribes arrived he stood up to address them. First he turned to Bani Tamim and asked, “How do you consider my position among you and my ancestry?”

Bani Tamim raised its voice and they guaranteed him absolute loyalty and acknowledged their respect to him. They said in one voice, “Hear! Hear! By Allah, you are the support of the poor and the center of pride and you are central to respectability. You have superiority over all…”

He was pleased with their support and he continued his discourse, “I have gathered you for a purpose so that I may consult you and seek help regarding it.”

They all expressed their loyalty and help to him in unison. They said, “By Allah, we say to you in all sincerity and we shall try to do our best. So tell us about it.”

At that time necks were stretched and people looked on with bated breaths this great leader. He continued, “Muawiyah had died and may he be degraded. By Allah he has been destroyed and eliminated but left the door of injustice and sin open. And the pillars of oppression are shaken. He organized an allegiance and thought that he had performed a stable action. Alas! He failed in his aim. He took counsel but could not reach any conclusion. Yazid is a drunkard and well-known  

[1] Surah Rum 30:60
[2] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/298
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 5/357-358

for transgression and sinful acts. He stood up and claimed the caliphate of Muslims. And he exercised his command on them without their permission. He had not an iota of knowledge and has no forbearance as well. By Allah! To fight Jihad against him in religion is superior to making war against the polytheists.

This is Husain Ibn Ali (‘a), the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s), possessing true nobility and having correct views. A superiority that cannot be described and a knowledge that is unbounded. He is more deserving for this matter. Due to his seniority and proximity and his kindness to the old and the young he has been accorded the position of Imamate and final authority that we must accept and honor. It should not be that you close your eyes to truth and move to falsehood. On the day of Jamal, Sakhar bin Qais was humiliated. So move to the help of the son of the Prophet and wash away that blemish. One who refrains from this shall be cursed by Allah by decrease in progeny and humiliation among relatives. Thus I have worn the dress of war and coat of mail. Those who do not die fighting shall die in any case and those who try to flee shall never be able to escape. So give a proper reply, may Allah have mercy on you.”

This discourse contains many important points. The chief of them are as follows:

First: It considered the death of Muawiyah as insignificant and that he left the door of oppression.

Secondly: It has vehemently denounced the allegiance that Muawiyah organized for Yazid.

Thirdly: The evil traits that were present in Yazid. Like he was always drunk and devoid of forbearance and knowledge about the truth.

Fourthly: It invited the people to gather in support of His Eminence Imam Husain (‘a) because he possessed fine qualities of originality of view, was well-versed in knowledge, having seniority of age, kindness to young and old and other good manners that qualified His Eminence for the position of Imamate.

Fifthly: He informed the people that he was himself determined to help, support and defend the Imam (‘a).

When the great leader concluded his discourse the elders of Bani Hanzalah began to speak and expressed their full backing for him. They said: “O Aba Khalid! We are the arrows of your bow (we shall do as directed). If you take our help, you shall gain victory and you shall never find us wanting. By Allah you should not have any worry for we shall always be with you and you won’t have to face any problem. Except that we shall also face it with you. We shall help you with our swords and whenever you want, we shall defend you with our bodies.”

This logic of pride expressed their feelings and loyalties towards him. After that Bani Aamir stood up and spoke of their deep loyalty and said, “O Aba Khalid! We are sons of your father and your equals. If you become angry we cannot remain happy. If you move we cannot remain still. It is upto you. You can count on our support whenever you need…”

However Bani Saad expressed negative opinion and refused any sort of assistance. They said, “O Aba Khalid, the worst thing in our view is opposition to you and leaving your view. Sakhar bin Qais humiliated us. He called us on the Day of Jamal to abandon fighting and our respect remained intact. Give us some time so that we may seek counsel and then we shall inform you of our decision…”

He was displeased with their negative reply and he denounced them saying, “If you do it, by Allah, the sword shall never be lifted from you and your sword shall be used among you in the same way…”

Yazid bin Masud’s Reply to Imam (‘a)

Yazid bin Masud wrote a letter to Imam (‘a) which proves his nobility and high status and that he accepted the invitation of the Holy Imam (‘a). The text of the letter is as follows:

“So to say: Your letter was received and I was informed about your call to me to benefit from your obedience and a part of my righteousness which is due to my devotion to you. The Almighty Allah never leaves the earth devoid of a person who acts on good and who guides to righteousness. You are the proof of Allah on the creatures and their security on earth. You are the branch of the Ahmadi olive and he was its root and you are the stem. So rise up as success is for you. I have turned the loyalty of Bani Tamim to you and made them as obedient as camels that are given water after three days. And by persuading the Bani Saad for your obedience, I have washed their hearts with rain water. As if lighting shone on them and they became illuminated…”

This letter is brimming with respect and good manners towards the Holy Imam (‘a).

Some historians say that the Imam (‘a) received this letter on the 10th of Mohurrum after his companions and relatives had been martyred. And His Eminence was alone and helpless and the rebellious armies had surrounded him. When His Eminence read the letter he said, “What would happen to you? May Allah keep you safe from fear and may he satiate you on the day of the great thirst.”

When Ibn Masud was about to set out for rendering help to Imam (‘a) he received the terrible news of the Imam’s martyrdom. He was so much struck with grief and remorse that he passed away in it.[1]

Positive Reply of Yazid Basri

Yazid bin Masud Basri gave a positive reply to the call of truth. According to the statements of historians he used to visit the residence of Maria bin Saad or Manqadh as it was the place where Shias used to gather. The people were informed about the merits of Ahle Bayt (‘a) at the place and their greatness and virtues used to be publicized from there. When Imam (‘a) invited the people of Basra to help him, Yazid bin Nabit gave a positive reply to it and of his ten sons, Abdullah and  

[1] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 16-19

Ubaidullah joined him but their friends feared that the police appointed by Ibn Ziyad would arrest them. He said to them, “When the hooves of my beast fall on smooth desert ground, all those who are with me shall be safe.[1]

Then he mounted his horse and his slave, Aamir, Saif bin Malik and Adham bin Umayyah departed with him and joined the Imam at Mecca till they were in the service of Imam (‘a) in Iraq and they were martyred in Kerbala along with the Imam (‘a).[2]

Opposition of Iraq to Umayyads

The majority of Iraqis were displeased with the Umayyad regime and they did not like their dominance and control. This was due to some reasons and in our view they were as follows:

1 – During Muawiyah’s time Iraq was governed by an iron hand and the governor did not follow any sort of system. There was mostly military rule which did not follow any fixed law. Especially during the period of Ziyad bin Sumaiyyah who used to hold the innocent as guilty and the offenders as innocent. He used to kill people on suspicion and allegations. This caused spread of hatred towards the Umayyads.

2 – Kufa, during the time of Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) was the seat of Islamic government and during the time of Muawiyah Damascus became the seat of government and capital. Iraq became a province like other provinces and the Central Treasury was transferred from there. After the transfer of caliphate and treasury from there, the Kufians began to regret their ill fortune and the Imam’s name signified for them a sign of lost prosperity. Their hopes became reposed in the sons of the Holy Imam (‘a) and they were the brave and capable leaders who would annex Damascus and gain power again. This was so because the Iraqis did not like to submit to the Syrians like the Syrians were unwilling to submit to the people of Iraq. A Syrian poet has mentioned this matter as follows:

“I see that Syria does not like the kingdom of Iraq and the people of Iraq dislike us.

They say: Ali is our Imam and we say: we are happy with the son of Hind.”

The poet of Iraq had also written about the Iraqi view of rulership in this way:

“Ali has come to you with people of Iraq and Hijaz. Then what shall you do?

If your people do not like the rulership of Iraq, before that we are happy on what you were displeased with.”[3]

Continuous revolts of the Iraqis did not signify anything except their dissatisfaction with people of Syria and they were only aimed at gaining freedom  

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/354
[2] Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 144 quoted from Dhakeeeratud Daarain, Pg. 224
[3] Al-Akhbar at-Tiwal, Pg. 161

from the Umayyad rule.

3 – The oppressive policies that Muawiyah employed with Shia leaders, who were in the forefront of solving their problems of the future and of all the people of the Islamic community by killing and torturing them shook the feelings of the Kufians. And their hearts were filled with hatred to Umayyads. For example the abusing of His Eminence, Imam Ali (‘a) from the pulpits of Damascus intensified their hatred and the flame of opposition flared up in their hearts.

4 – The Umayyads looked upon the people of Kufa as opponents of their governments and source of danger for them who were confronting their rule. On the basis of this they dealt with them with absolute severity and mercilessness. This was the reason why the Kufians were always prepared to oppose the Umayyads.

These were the factors responsible for deep-rooted opposition of Iraqi people towards the Umayyad regime and their enmity to them.

Announcement of Disobedience in Iraq

After the death of Muawiyah, the Iraqis had become certain of the downfall of the Umayyad regime and they saw that the control of rule and caliphate had been given to Yazid and it was the series of that same Umayyad rule which tried to suppress and humiliate them.

Gowler Tashir says: “Shias in Kufa became unanimous to attack Yazid and rise up in opposition to his rule. And they believed that their confrontation against Yazid was a religious Jihad.”[1]

And Kramer believes that the good and righteous of the Shias looked upon Yazid as the heir of enemies of Islam and successor of Abu Sufyan.

Anyway, the Shias of Kufa did not accept the authority of Yazid and leaving it aside they became unanimous in agreeing to pledge allegiance to the Imam and took the following steps:

Public Conference

After the death of Muawiyah, the Shias held a public conference in the house of their greatest leader, Sulaiman Ibn Surd Khuzai. They delivered speeches highlighting the evils and crimes of the Umayyad regime and in the same way they exalted the name of Imam Husain (‘a) and called for his allegiance.

Sulaiman’s Speech

Sulaiman took the speaker’s seat and addressed the gathering in his first speech as follows: Muawiyah is dead. Imam Husain (‘a) had gone out to Mecca after taking allegiance of the people for himself. You are his Shias and Shias of his father. If you know that you can help him and confront his enemies you write to him. If you are fearful of defeat and sloth, do not deceive this gentleman…”

[1] Aqida was Shariyat dar Islam, Pg. 69

The voices of people arose in clamor and they were saying, “We shall give our life in his support…”[1]

“We shall battle his foes…”

They expressed their deep devotion and complete support for the Holy Imam and took the following decisions:

1 – Refraining from Yazid’s allegiance

2- Appointing of a delegation that would meet the Imam and invite him to join them in Iraq.

3 – Sending letters by people of various classes to Imam (‘a) expressing their aspirations to have the Imam’s rulership.

Delegation of Kufa

Kufa sent a delegation to the Imam so that it may invite the Imam to join them in Iraq. The delegation consisted of many persons; one of them was Abdullah Jadali.[2] When the delegation met the Holy Imam (‘a) it spoke of the unanimity of people of Kufa to support His Eminence and their determination in restoring their rights. They also reiterated that they did not consider anyone as their Imam except His Eminence. They motivated him to join them in Kufa.


After their conference, the people of Kufa wrote letters to the Imam that spoke of their loyalty and sincerity towards him and they motivated him to come to them and take over the leadership of the community. Some of those letters mentioned as follows:

1 – From Sulaiman bin Surd, Musayyab bin Najiha, Rafa-a bin Shaddad, Habib Ibn Mazahir, Shias of His Eminence and Muslims of Kufa.

So to say: Thanks be to Allah that your worst cruel enemy (Muawiyah) has died, who had usurped power, snatched the control of this community, plundered their wealth and became their ruler without their agreement. After that he killed the righteous people of the community and left off the evil doers. He gave the wealth of God to oppressors and opulent people. Then he went away like the Thamud were turned back…There is no Imam on us. Please come to us, perhaps the Almighty may keep us on the right path through you. Noman bin Bashir resides in the governor’s palace. Neither we pray behind him on Fridays nor Eids. If we come to know that you are coming to us we shall expel him so that he may go to Syria if Allah wills. And peace of Allah be upon you and His mercy and bounties…”[3]

This letter was composed in the final days of Shaban month and it was sent with Abdullah Hamadani and Abdullah bin Wael. They were instructed to speed with it  

[1] Al-Irshad, Pg. 2/36
[2] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 99
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/369. Al-Imamah was Siyasah 4/2. Tabari, Tarikh 5/352

while at the same time being careful of the enemies. They set out with speed and did not let their attention be distracted, till the first ten days of Ramadan were over and they reached Mecca.[1] They delivered the letter to the Holy Imam (‘a) and informed him about the yearnings of the people to have him with them.

This letter spoke of the defects of the Umayyad regime and considered Muawiyah to be the worst of oppressors who through force and tyranny had taken over the rulership of the community and had ruled over the community without their consent. How he had killed their good persons and handed over national wealth to selected rich people and nobles while he deprived others from it.

In the same way this letter explained their estimation of Noman bin Bashir and his worth in the eyes of the Kufians. After that it promised the Imam that if he agreed to join them they would expel Noman and drive him to Syria and pay allegiance the Holy Imam (‘a).

2 – The Second letter was sent by some people of Kufa and its text was as follows:

To Husain bin Ali from his Shias and from Muslims. “So to say: Come to us and make haste in it as people are waiting for you and they do not want anyone else.[2] So please hurry up. Hurry up. And peace be on you.”[3]

This letter was couriered by Qais bin Mus-har Saidawi from Bani Asad, Abdur Rahman bin Abdullah Ar-habi and Ammarah bin Abdullah Sulooli. And around fifty more letters were couriered by one, two, three or four persons[4] to motivate the Imam to move towards them and they implored him for it, at the same time assuring him of their full support.

3 – These letters were sent by opportunists who had no faith in God. They were Shabth bin Rabai Yarbui, Muhammad bin Umar Tamimi, Hijaar bin Abjar Ajali, Yazid bin Harith Shabani, Azra bin Qais Ahmasi and Amr bin Hajjaj Zubaidi. The letter was as follows:

“So to say: The atmosphere is favorable, the fruits are ready and springs have erupted and are full of water. So come and take the leadership of the army that is ready for you. And peace be upon you…”[5]

This letter shows the high hopes of the people and worldly prosperity and the consent of the provincial army to accept the Imam’s command. It also instigated him to confront his enemy. This letter was signed by those who were appointed in the forefront of the army dispatched by Ibn Marjana to fight and kill the Holy Imam (‘a). And it is certain that they had no faith in the rightfulness of Imam (‘a). They were only pursuing the matter for their personal gain and to obtain worldly  

[1] Al-Futuh 5/44. Mufeed, Irshad 2/37
[2] It is mentioned in Tarikh Yaqubi that: “And they don’t have any Imam except you.”
[3] Irshad, Pg. 2/38
[4] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/370
[5] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/370. Matalibus Su-ool fi Manaqib Aaali Rasool 2/31-32

wealth and power in dealing with the Umayyads, as Imam (‘a) has explained this matter clearly to his companions.

4 – Among those letters was the following: “We have dedicated ourselves for you and we do not participate in the congregation prayer led by the rulers. Come to us as we are having 100000 men for you and oppression has become widespread among us. And among us action against the Book of Allah and Sunnah of the Prophet is being done. We are hopeful that Allah would keep us on the right path through you. And through you He may keep injustice away from us as you are more qualified for this position than Yazid or his father. He has usurped power of the nation, imbibed wine and cultivated vain pastimes like music and playing with monkeys. And they have made religion a plaything.”[1]

5 – A group of Kufians wrote the following letter and put their signatures on it. The text of that letter was as follows: “To Husain Ibn Ali, Amirul Momineen from the followers of his father. So to say: People are waiting for you. They are not having anyone else in view. O son of the Messenger of Allah (s), please hurry up. Perhaps the Almighty Allah may gather us on truth through you and help Islam and Muslims through you…exceeding and perfect peace on you and the peace of Allah and His mercy…”[2]

6 – Another group wrote this brief letter to His Eminence: “We are with you and 100000 hands with swords are with us.”[3]

7 – The last letter that reached His Eminence was as follows: “O son of the Messenger of Allah (s), make haste in coming here as 100000 armed men are ready to support you in Kufa. So do not delay.”[4]

Letters reached the Imam continuously. So much so that two saddle bags were filled with it. Historians say that more that 12000 letters collected with the Holy Imam (‘a).[5] In this way 1,40,000 names were collected who assured him of full support if he arrived to them in Kufa.[6] On a single day 600 letters were received by His Eminence.[7]

Anyway, a large number of letters were received from Kufians by His Eminence and they were signed by prominent personalities of Kufa assuring that they would provide complete support if the Imam joined them. They implored him to come and save them from the atrocities of the Umayyad regime. But it was a pity that the  

[1] Tadkiratul Khawaas, Pg. 237. Sayyid Mahmud Qadani, As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi from facsimile copy at Imam Amirul Momineen Library and Masudi has narrated it in gist in Muruj az-Zahab 3/54
[2] Waseelatul Maal, Pg. 185. Ibne Sabbagh, Al-Fusul al-Muhimma, 184
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Part I, Vol. 1
[4] Biharul Anwar 44/337
[5] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 15
[6] Al-Wafi fil Masaalatush Sharqiya 1/43
[7] Ad-Darul Maslook fi Ahwaalil Anbiya wal Awsiya 1/107, from written manuscripts at Imam Hakim Library

page of hope turned upside down. Suddenly Kufa became such that the people of Kufa were waiting to quench their swords with Imam’s blood and feed their arrows with the flesh of Imam…They wanted to take up the body of Imam Husain (‘a) and cut it up into pieces by their swords, pierce it with their spears and trample him below the hooves of their horses.

Kufa was waiting for Husain like a lion eager to pounce upon him and sink its claws into his blessed body.

Kufa was waiting for Husain not to defend his family but to make them their prisoners and instead of giving refuge to his children to harass and torment them.[1]

The condition was such and the command of Allah does not change. That those people broke the allegiance of the Imam and they became unanimous to fight His Eminence.

Historians say that after receiving those letters Imam (‘a) decided to give a positive reply to the requests of Kufians. He decided to first send his cousin, Muslim Ibn Aqil to them.

Muslim Delegated for Iraq

A flood of letters arrived from Kufa to Imam Husain (‘a) that implored him to move to the people there and save them from the injustice and oppression of the Umayyads. Some of those letters said that if the Imam (‘a) would delay in harkening to their call he shall be responsible before the Almighty Allah and to the Ummah.

Imam decided to first and foremost select an emissary who would go and meet them in order to gauge their sincerity and determination. So that if they were found to be really sincere about their claims and promises to support the Imam the emissary may take allegiance from them for the Holy Imam (‘a). After that the Imam would move towards Kufa. With this view Imam Husain (‘a) selected from among his group a man who possessed all excellences and one who was most qualified for this important mission. It was Muslim Ibn Aqil who was presented this proposal and who accepted it readily. Imam Husain (‘a) immediately wrote a letter to send along with him. The text of the letter is narrated in various formats as follows:

Firstly: Abu Hanifah Dinawari has quoted it in the following way: “From Husain Ibn Ali to all his supporters and Shias in Kufa who receive this letter. Peace be upon you. So to say: I have received your letters and was informed about your desire to join you all. I am sending to you my brother, the son of my uncle and a reliable person of my family – that is Muslim Ibn Aqil so that he may convey to me your real position. If he finds that your views agree with his opinions he would write to me about it. Thus if it is found that your position is the same as you wrote in your letters and as your delegations to me stated, I shall hasten to join you, Insha  

[1] Ma’al Husain fi Nahza, Pg. 157

Allah. And peace…”[1]

Second: Saifuddin says that after the name of God, the Imam wrote as follows: “So to say: I received your letters and was informed about what you intended to convey. I am sending a reliable person, Muslim bin Aqil to you and very soon I shall also join you, Insha Allah…”[2]

This is a rare narration because it does not state the purpose of Muslim’s appointment as emissary and his mission of taking allegiance from them.

Third: Tabari has narrated that after the name of Allah it was mentioned: From Husain bin Ali to all Muslims and believers. “So to say: Hani and Saeed[3] have arrived to me with your letters. They are your last messengers who have come to me. I have heard what all they said and reminded as most of that was what you all have conveyed. You said that you do not have an Imam. ‘So come (to us), perhaps the Almighty Allah would give us guidance and truth through you.’ I have sent my brother, the son of my uncle and a reliable member of my Ahle Bayt to you and instructed him to write to me about your circumstances and views about me. Thus if he writes that the views of your elders and the intelligentsia are same as what your messengers have conveyed, and what I have read in your letters, Insha Allah, I shall set out to meet you at the earliest. By Allah no one is an Imam except one who acts on the Book of Allah, who practices justice, who follows the truth and who has connected his self to the command of God. And peace…”[4]

The above letter quoted by Tabari contains the following important points:

1 – It introduces Muslim as a trustworthy person and his lofty status due to the trust His Eminence, Husain (‘a) reposed in him.

2 – It specifies the powers allowed to Muslim to find out the present circumstances and study the political events as also the level of their sincerity which they had claimed to the Imam. It is natural that the knowledge of these sensitive matters should be left to a person who is sufficiently cognizant of the affairs of the society and conditions of the people.

3 – His Eminence has stated that his coming to them was dependant upon the feedback of Muslim regarding the unanimity of their claims and the view of their leaders about allegiance of His Eminence. And it implied that His Eminence would not set out towards them unless and until his emissary wrote to him positively about these matters.

4 – His Eminence has clarified about the qualities necessary for an Imam and leader of the movement of the community. They are as follows:

A – Following the Book of Allah

[1] Al-Akhbar at-Tiwal, Pg. 230
[2] Waseelatul Maal, Pg. 186 from written manuscripts at Imam Hakim Library
[3] The two were Hani bin Hani Sabi-I and Saeed bin Abdullah Hanafi
[4] Tabari, Tarikh 5/353

B – Observing justice and equality

C – Truthfulness

D – Having spiritual connection to the Almighty

Except for His Eminence, these lofty qualities which indicated the views and qualities of the Prophet, were not to be found in anyone else.

Muslim carried this letter of the Holy Imam (‘a) while the Imam (‘a) reminded him to observe piety and seek refuge in Allah and repose hope in Him so that he may help in fulfillment of this mission.[1]

Muslim set out from Mecca on the eve of the 15th Ramadan.[2] On his way he stopped in Medina, prayed at the Prophet’s mosque and circumambulated his sarcophagus. After that he bid farewell to his family and friends.[3] It was his last farewell to them. He then set out for Iraq accompanied by Qais bin Mus-har Saidawi, Ammarah bin Abdullah Salooli and Abdur Rahman bin Abdullah Azadi. From Medina they hired two guides from the tribe of Qais to show them the way.[4]

Muslim’s caravan began to move with speed and they did not let themselves be distracted by anything else. The two guides moved ahead leading the caravan and making haste in case they may be followed by someone from the enemy side. But they lost their way and no matter how much they tried they could not find the road again. Thirst and tiredness overpowered them.

Historians say: They informed Muslim about the signs and directions of the route and passed away immediately.[5] Muslim set out with his companions will they found the way and also got water, but the guides could not be saved and they died of thirst.

Muslim’s Letter to the Holy Imam (‘a)

Historians say: Muslim became fearful of his mission and after he fell into hardships and his two guides expired, he began to consider it a bad omen. Therefore he wrote a letter to the Imam and implored him to excuse him from this embassy. The letter was as follows:

“So to say: I set out from Medina with two guides and they missed the way and got lost. Both were overcome by thirst and soon died. But we kept going until we came to water. We were only saved at the last moment of our lives. That water is in a place called al-Madiq in a low valley. I have taken this as a bad omen for my mission. If you consider it so, you could relieve me and send another person in my place. And peace…”

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/21
[2] Muruj az-Zahab 2/54
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 5/354
[4] Al-Akhbar at-Tiwal, Pg. 230. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/21
[5] Al-Irshad, Pg. 2/39-40

Reply of His Eminence, Husain (‘a)

Imam Husain (‘a) wrote back to Muslim refusing his proposal and said that it was the result of cowardice. The letter was as follows:

“So to say: I am afraid that your urging me in the letter to relieve you from the task which I sent you on is only cowardice. Therefore go on with your task which I gave you. And peace…”[1]

Explanation of the Matter

 Most probably the letter and reply quoted above are fabricated and they lack authenticity for the following reasons:

1 – On the basis of what Hamuyi has written: Mudiq al-Khabt, the place that Muslim has mentioned in his letter to the Imam is situated between Mecca and Medina[2] while we have seen in the preceding narration that Muslim hired the two guides from Medina and set out for Iraq and lost their way and finally the two guides died of thirst and exhaustion. It is natural that this incident must have occurred between Medina and Iraq and it did not happen between Mecca and Medina.

2 – If there had been a place by the same name between Medina and Iraq and Hamuyi has not mentioned it, the journey from this point to Mecca needed at least 10 days’ travel while according to the historians Muslim left Mecca on the 15th of Ramadan and arrived in Kufa on the 5th of Shawwal. That is his journey was completed in 20 days which is the minimum time required to travel from Mecca to Kufa because there is a distance of 1600 kilometers between the two places. If during this period the messenger of Muslim went to Mecca and returned he would have taken ten days for it. So does it imply that Muslim covered the distance in only ten days? Which is an impossible task!

3 – Imam (‘a) is supposed to have blamed Muslim for cowardice. This contradicts the previous statements of the Holy Imam (‘a) when he remarked that Muslim was the most reliable and superior person of his Ahle Bayt. Thus how could the Imam now accuse Muslim of cowardice?

4 – Accusation of cowardice on Muslim is in contradiction to his character because he was the most courageous person and he exhibited such valor that left people astonished. Because when a group of people of Kufa attacked him, he confronted them single-handed without caring if anyone helped him or not. He killed many of the militants such that their hearts were filled with terror. And when they arrested him and took him to Ibn Ziyad he did not betray any humility or acceptance of defeat. Balazari has said regarding him: He was the bravest and the most valiant person from the family of Aqil.[3] Rather he was the most courageous of the Hashemites after the Imams of Ahle Bayt (‘a), as history has recognized. These narrations were fabricated to decrease the status of that great emissary who was the pride of the Arab community and Islam.

[1] Al-Irshad, Pg. 2/40, Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/114
[2] Mojam al-Buldan 2/343
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/334

In the House of Mukhtar

Muslim traversed the desert and reached Kufa. He stayed in the house of Mukhtar Thaqafi[1] who was the most prominent elder of the Shia community and the most valiant of them. He was the most loyal devotee and sincere lover of them with regard to Imam Husain (‘a).

Muslim arrived at Mukhtar’s residence and not at the house of any other Shia leader because of his trust in Mukhtar’s sincerity to Imam Husain (‘a) and his readiness to sacrifice himself on the Holy Imam (‘a). Though there was another factor that was of significance and it was that Mukhtar’s wife was Ammarah the daughter of Noman bin Bashir the governor of Kufa. Therefore if Muslim stayed in Mukhtar’s house, Noman would not try to arrest him. This shows that Muslim was well aware of the social circumstances prevalent at that time.

Mukhtar welcomed Muslim in his house and accorded him respect and honor. He invited the Shias to come and visit him. People from all directions came to meet Muslim and reiterate their loyalty and obedience to him.

Celebrations in Kufa

Joy engulfed all the gatherings of Shia in Kufa. Muslim saw their warm welcome and their excessive support. He read out the letter of Imam Husain (‘a) to them and they began to weep and they expressed their longing to have the Imam with them. They stated their loyalty and willingness to give sacrifices for the Imam so that he may establish again a rule of justice and equity in their city like his holy father, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) had established on the earth. Muslim advised them to continue to have the fear of Allah and he also warned them to keep their activities secret till Imam Husain (‘a) arrives.

Taking Allegiance for Imam Husain (‘a)

Shias inclined towards Muslim so that they may give him allegiance on behalf of Imam Husain (‘a). The formula of the allegiance consisted of oath of invitation by the Book of Allah and Sunnah of His Prophet, Jihad with oppressors and defense of the deprived people, restoring of the right of the deprived, equitable distribution of booties among the Muslims, returning the rights of the rightful, supporting the Ahle Bayt (‘a), peace with all those who are at peace with them and war with all those who are at war with them.

Sayyid Muqarram has compared this oath of allegiance to the pledge of Aws and Khazraj to the Messenger of Allah (s).[2] Habib bin Mazahir Asadi took their oaths of allegiance on behalf of Imam Husain (‘a).[3]

[1] Al-Irshad, Pg. 226. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/22 and it is said that Muslim arrived at the house of Muslim Ibne Ausaja or Hani Ibne Urwah. This is mentioned in Al-Isabah 1/332 and Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/349
[2] Ash-Shahid Muslim bin Aqil, Pg. 103
[3] Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/125 from written manuscripts at Imam Kashiful Ghita Public Library

Speech of Abbas Shakiri

The prominent believer, Abbas bin Shabib Shakiri stood up to speak and informed Muslim about his personal loyalty and his readiness to lay down his life in the path of propagation. However he did not accept the pledge from any person of his town. He said:

“So to say: I do not warn you about the people and I do not inform you what they have in their hearts and I don’t deceive you by them. By Allah! Whatever you call out I shall respond and I shall fight your enemies with you and shall strike my sword in your defense till I rush to meet God and I don’t desire anything other than what is with Allah…”

Abbas fulfilled his pledge to the Almighty and he did not betray the trust of his conscience. He sacrificed his life for the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) and was martyred in Kerbala…

Habib bin Mazahir turned to him and said: “May Allah have mercy on you for expressing your view in brief. By Allah, there is no deity except Him, I also have the same views as you.”

Saeed Hanafi also spoke up and supported the statements of his two friends.[1] He was the most prominent fighter whom history has recognized for sincerity and loyalty because they generously gave up their lives for Imam Husain (‘a) and they attained martyrdom in Kerbala in the service of His Eminence.

Number of Pledge-makers

Crowds of people of Kufa descended upon Muslim bin Aqil to pledge allegiance for His Eminence, Husain and competed with each other in this.

Historians have differed as regards the number of people who pledged allegiance. Some of the estimations are as follows:

1 – 40000 persons[2]

2 – 30000 including Noman bin Bashir, the governor of Kufa[3]

3 – 28000 persons[4]

4 – 18000 persons. This was on the basis of the letter that Muslim sent to Imam Husain (‘a) when he said: “18000 people have given oath of allegiance to me, so make haste in coming here.”[5]

5 – 12000 persons[6]

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/355
[2] Abi Faraas, Sharh Shaafiya 1/90 from written manuscripts at Imam Hakim Library. Ibne Numa, Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 26
[3] Wajidi, Dairatul Ma’arif 3/444. Haqaiq al-Akhbar an Daul al-Bihar, Rauzatul Ayaan Akhbar Mashaheeruz Zamaan, Pg. 67. By Muhammad bin Abi Bakr (d. 730 A.H.) from written manuscripts at Imam Hakim Library. In Manaqib Imam Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s.), Pg. 13 it is mentioned that Noman said: “O people of Kufa, the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah is better for you than the son of the daughter of Bajdal.”
[4] Abul Fida, Tarikh 1/189
[5] Tabari, Tarikh 5/375
[6] Muruj az-Zahab 3/54. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 86 from facsimile copy at Imam Hakim Library. Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/349. Al-Isabah 1/333. Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/117. Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/306

Letter of Muslim to Imam Husain (‘a)

When Muslim found that a large number of people of Kufa had pledged allegiance to him and he also saw their devotions and faith in favor of his call he wrote a letter to Imam (‘a) and urged him to come to Kufa. He penned this letter twenty and some days before his martyrdom.[1] The letter was as follows:

“So to say: The vanguards of the caravan do not lie to their own people. 18000 people of Kufa have given oath of allegiance to me.[2] When you receive my letter, make haste as all the people are in your support and they have no positive view and relation with the family of Muawiyah.”[3]

Muslim wrote this letter because he did not encounter or foresee any opposition to his mission. Rather he found people unanimous and united on the allegiance to Imam and their eagerness to meet the Holy Imam (‘a).

The letter was carried by a group of Kufians at the head of which was the great stalwart, Abbas Shakiri. This delegation reached Mecca and delivered the letter to the Holy Imam (‘a). They urged His Eminence to move towards Kufa. They also repeated to him about the unanimity of the people on allegiance of Imam and their great reverence that Muslim had witnessed. It was then that the Imam decided to move to Kufa.

Reaction of Noman bin Bashir

Noman bin Bashir’s reaction[4] to the revolution was gentle and soft. The Umayyad party blamed him for laxity and leniency in defending the interests of the regime and his not giving importance to its safety. In reply he said: “It is better for me to be lenient on Allah’s obedience than to be strict in His disobedience. I shall not tear away the covering that Allah has provided.”[5]

This position of Noman imparted power to the Shias and it openly encouraged  

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/378
[2] And in the narration of Balazari: “All the people of Kufa are with you.”
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 5/375
[4] Muawiyah appointed Noman bin Bashir Ansari Khazraji as the governor of Kufa after Abdur Rahman bin Hakam. He was a friend of Uthman and harbored malice towards Ali and spoke ill of him. He fought against His Eminence in the battle of Jamal and Siffeen and he sincerely endeavored to strengthen Muawiyah’s regime. He was one to lead ferocious plunder attacks on various provinces of Iraq. Scholars say: He was opposed to Yazid and would have liked to see his kingdom destroyed upon the condition that the caliphate returns to the family of Ali. It is surprising that when Yazid oppressed the people of Medina and for three days made it lawful for his mercenaries, this man, that is Noman, did not help them with his countrymen and community. In Al-Isabah 3/559 it is mentioned: When Yazid died, Noman called people to Ibne Zubair and later towards himself so that Marwan fought with him and he died in the year 65 AH. He was an expert poet and his Collected Works have been published lately.
[5] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/306

them to act against the government. This was probably for two reasons:

1 – Muslim bin Aqil was the guest of Mukhtar and Mukhtar was the son-in-law, husband of his daughter, Ammarah. So being respectful to Mukhtar he did not object to the revolutionaries.

2 – Noman was opposed to Yazid. The reason was Yazid’s enmity to the Ansar. Yazid had persuaded the Christian poet, Akhtal to denounce the Ansar and Noman stood up for their support. We have indicated this matter in the previous discussions. Probably this and other factors were responsible for Noman not taking any step against the revolution.

Noman’s Speech

Noman allowed the Shias a power for the systematic and organized revolution and he gave them opportunity to establish a firm base. This attitude of Noman became a cause for displeasure of the Umayyad party. They objected against him and urged him to punish and penalize the Shias.

Noman came out and ascended the pulpit and announced his policy with a soft approach. After praise and glorification of God, he said:

“So to say: O servants of God! Fear God and do not move towards mischief and discord as people lose their lives in it and blood is shed and properties are plundered. I do not make war on those who do not make war on me. I do not rise up against those who do not rise up against me. Neither I shall abuse you nor make excuses to you. Neither shall I make allegations against anyone nor would I be suspicious about anyone. However, if you stand up to confront me and break my pledge and oppose your leaders, by the God, except Whom there is no deity, I shall strike you with my sword as long as I retain power, even though I may not have any helper. And I hope that those of you who recognize the truth are more than those who intend to establish falsehood.”[1]

No type of fear, severity and harshness is seen in this speech. Rather it is warning against mischief-making and it advocates the preference to peaceful means. And it is that he shall not oppose those who do not oppose the regime and would not falsely accuse or be suspicious about the people like Ziyad bin Abih had done in Iraq. Anas Zakaria has presented an opinion regarding Noman’s speech and said:

“Noman’s speech in Kufa is another proof that he was aware of the present mischief that would surely flare up. He did not attack those who were instrumental in creating this discord, before they attacked him. On the basis of this he became responsible for allowing the revolutionaries the power and opportunity for their mission.”[2]

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/22
[2] Ad-Daulatul Amawiya fish Shaam, Pg. 41

Anger of Umayyad Party

Noman’s policy enraged the officials of the Umayyad regime and Abdullah bin Muslim Hadhramai, an ardent Umayyads supporter rushed to him and criticized his program saying, “What you are thinking is not possible except through oppression. The position you have taken regarding your enemies and you is fraught with weakness.”[1]

Noman defended his stance and said, “I shall not employ any method that distances us from God and I shall not step towards any path that takes me away from religion.” In this way it was proved to the Umayyads that Noman could not effectively deal with the revolutionaries.

Contact of Umayyad Party with Damascus

The Umayyad party became worried due to the general support mobilized for Muslim’s revolution, while the local government was ignoring it. They blamed the local government for weakness and connivance with the revolutionaries and they immediately contacted the Damascus government in this regard imploring it to take immediate action before the revolution spreads its wings and Iraq develops stability and becomes independent from Damascus. Among the letters that reached Yazid was included the letter of Abdullah Hadhrami which said as follows:

“So to say: Muslim bin Aqil has come to Kufa. Shias have pledged allegiance to him for Husain bin Ali. So if you want to retain Kufa, send a strong man to it who can impose your command and who deals with the enemy like you would. Noman bin Bashir is a weak man or that he has made himself weak.”[2]

This letter has petitioned the deposition of Noman bin Bashir and the appointment of one who is more strict than him so that he may suppress the revolt because Noman was not capable of suppressing it. Ammarah bin Walid bin Uqbah and Umar bin Saad wrote to Yazid about this matter.

Yazid’s Worry

When Yazid received letter after letter from his officials in Kufa regarding the people’s allegiance to Imam Husain (‘a) he became perturbed. He could not sleep the whole night only thinking about what could be done about it because he knew that Iraq was the center of power in the Islamic world and the people of Iraq hated him and were inimical to his father because Iraq was wounded by the oppression that was considered lawful for them. The enmity of Iraqis to Yazid was less than their animosity to his father. In the same way he was certain that the majority of people in Islamic world were yearning for Imam Husain’s rulership because he was the representative of the law of his ancestors, and people were not prepared to have anyone else taking his position.

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/297
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/22

Yazid takes Sarjun’s Counsel

Yazid was extremely worried by these developments and he saw a mortal danger facing his regime. Therefore he summoned Sarjun the Roman, who was a confidant of his father and his closest associate. Yazid informed him about the matter saying, “What is your view? Husain is going towards Kufa and Muslim bin Aqil has taken allegiance for Husain in Kufa. I have been reported about the weakness and inappropriate behavior of Noman. Who in your view, should I appoint as the governor of Kufa?”[1]

Sarjun pondered on this for sometime and asked, “Do you think you’d have accepted the opinion of Muawiyah if he were alive?”

“Yes,” replied Yazid.

Sarjun took out the proclamation of Muawiyah appointing Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad as the governor of Kufa and said, “This is the view of Muawiyah who is dead but he proclaimed it through this document.”[2]

However the opinion of Sarjun in supporting the candidature of Ibn Ziyad for governorship of Kufa was based on two factors:

1 – He was aware of the harshness and ruthlessness of Ibn Ziyad and he knew that no one else was capable of subduing Iraq. And only he was competent enough to quell the disturbance with an iron hand.

2 – Communal bigotry – It was communal prejudice that motivated him to nominate Ibn Ziyad because Ibn Ziyad was also a Roman like Sarjun.

Ibn Ziyad’s Rule in Kufa

Yazid was extremely displeased with Ibn Ziyad and wanted to dismiss him from the governorship of Basra[3] because he had opposed his allegiance when his father was taking it. But he accepted the advice of Sarjun because he saw in it protection of interests of his regime. That is why he issued a proclamation appointing Ibn Ziyad as governor of Basra and Kufa. In this way the whole of Iraq came under the governorship of Ibn Ziyad.

Yazid wrote the following for Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad: “So to say: Our followers from the people of Kufa have written to us that Ibn Aqil was gathering people in Kufa to create disunity among the populace. So when you get this letter, leave for Kufa immediately and summon Ibn Aqil like you search for a bead, so that you may get him. Then you decide either to imprison him or put him to death.[4]

This letter shows the worry of the ruler in Damascus about Muslim Ibn Aqil and it emphasizes to Ibn Ziyad that he must make haste in undertaking the journey to  

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/356
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/23
[3] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/152
[4] Tabari, Tarikh 5/357

Kufa. Some sources state: Yazid wrote to Ibn Ziyad that if he has a pair of wings he must use them to fly to Kufa.[1] This indicates the fear that Yazid had about the revolution of Iraq.

Muslim bin Amr Bahili carried this letter of Yazid along with the proclamation to Ibn Ziyad.

Historians say that Bahili was a spy of the Umayyads in Kufa and among one their important officials. He was one of the most evil people of the Arabs. He was the one who refused a gulp of water to Muslim bin Aqil when he was brought as a prisoner to Ibn Ziyad.

Ibn Ziyad received the official proclamation through Bahili; he was greatly pleased at it because while previously he was being threatened with dismissal from the governorship of Basra now he had become the de facto ruler of Iraq. The Damascus regime had accorded him complete authority over Iraq and also gave him a free hand to deal with ferocity and harshness against all those who showed opposition to the allegiance of Yazid. Ibn Ziyad was very much elated by these changed circumstances. This was so because it conformed to his harsh nature and his inclination to employ such cruelty with the people. Because he experienced immense pleasure in torturing others and was fond of cruelty and bloodshed.

Ibn Ziyad’s Speech in Basra

Ibn Ziyad readied to leave Basra and move to Kufa. Before departure he addressed the people in a severe tone in which he said, “Chief of the believers, Yazid has appointed me as the governor of Kufa. I shall leave for Kufa tomorrow. By Allah, I shall not refrain from using force and no evil shall stop me. Whoever becomes inimical to me shall be destroyed by me. Because I am a poison to everyone who makes war on me. He has done justice that shot arrows at Qarra.[2]

O people of Basra, I appoint Uthman bin Ziyad bin Abu Sufyan as my representative on you. Never disobey and disregard his commands. By the One except Whom there is no deity if I am reported about opposition of anyone towards him I shall eliminate his men and supporters. I consider the one closest to sin as the farthest one so that you may listen to me. It should not be that one of you may become my opponent or rival…I am Ibn Ziyad, I am most resembling the one who walks the desert. And I am having no resemblance to the paternal or maternal uncle.”[3]

How easy is barbarity and ferocity in the view of the governors of Bani Umayyah. That tyrant spoke with his most evil nature that was immersed in cruelty. Because  

[1] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/299
[2] It is an Arabian proverb: “He has done justice that shot arrows at Qarra”. “Qarra” was a well-known Arab tribe. In the battle between Quraish and Bakr bin Abd Manat bin Kinana, Qarra, a group of archers, sided with the Quraish. When the battle started a group began to shoot arrows at them. At that time a man said, “He has done justice that shot arrows at Qarra”. (Kitabul Amthal, Pg. 137, (Tr.)
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 5/358

he used to punish the innocent instead of the offenders and leave the offenders unpunished. He used to order killings and murder on the basis of allegations and suspicion like his father, Ziyad, had done. He made manslaughter a common phenomenon in Iraq.

The Tyrant goes to Kufa

The vilest and most degraded man of Basra set out for Kufa to wreak tyranny and commit evils. So much so that he did not leave off a single crime that he did not commit while 500 Basrans accompanied him. Abdullah bin Harith bin Naufal and Shareek bin Aawar Harithi,[1] who was actually a sincere follower of the Holy Imam (‘a) joined the entourage of Ibn Ziyad to keep informed of the developments and plans of Ibn Ziyad. These people Ibn Ziyad had taken with him in order to spread terror and fear among the people and that they may help him in quelling the revolution by using their contacts among the Kufian leaders.

Anyway Ibn Ziyad covered the journey very fast without being distracted by anything else. He made haste so that he may reach Kufa before the arrival of Imam Husain (‘a). His men were exhausted and tired and it was difficult for them to keep moving. Some of them fell own exhausted and Abdullah bin Harith was one of them. But Ibn Ziyad did not pay any heed to this. When they reached Qadissiyyah, his slave Mehran fell down. Ibn Ziyad told him, “If you continue to move in this condition till we reach the fort, I shall give you 100,000.”

Mehran said, “No, by Allah, I cannot go on.” At that time the tyrant dismounted and wore a Yemeni dress and a black turban and a veil to cover his face so that people may think that he is His Eminence, Husain (‘a). And he moved on alone and entered Kufa from the direction of Najaf[2] while he was fearful and shaking like a wing of a bird. If he had the least scruples and courage he would not have disguised himself in order to deceive people into thinking that he was Husain (‘a)…that coward resorted to this trick in order to keep himself safe. Some sources say that he avoided speaking out lest people may recognize him and slay him with their weapons.

At the Governor’s Palace

The tyrant hurried to the governor’s palace[3] while he was greatly perturbed and he  

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/359
[2] Muqarram, Maqtal Husain (a.s.) Pg. 165
[3] The Governor’s palace (castle of the ruler): It was the first building to be constructed in Islam and Saad bin Abi Waqqas has got it constructed but its signs were completely obliterated like the signs of all the buildings of Kufa except the Jame Mosque. The department of archeology in Iraq tried to locate the foundation of this edifice and they have excavated it. Their research has shown that the palace was surrounded by an outer boundary and it includes the four walls. Its length was approximately 170 meters and it was four meters high. Every portion has six semi-circular towers that guarded it except for the northern portion which had two towers. The distance between each tower was 24.60 meters. The height of this boundary with the towers was around 20 meters. The castle was having very solid constructions and it had been constructed in such a way that it offered absolute security and defense against external attacks. This matter is mentioned in the book, Sketch of Kufa City, by Dr. Kazim Janabi, Pg. 135-155. I have seen it many times and studied many of its relics. Some of its original gates are having canopies for the palace guards, which are now ruined and only some of its relics have survived. There are some rooms on one side that at that time served as prison cells and they are constructed in a strange fashion. On the other side were kitchens that Ustad Janabi has not indicated. The engineers had made this edifice impregnable so that it may easily repel attacks and withstand sieges.

was much angered when he saw that people were celebrating the arrival of Husain (‘a).

When he reached the palace he found the doors closed. Noman, still thinking that he was Husain (‘a), went up to the balcony and called down, “I invoke God before you, unless you withdraw (from me), by God, I will not hand over my office to you but I have no wish to fight you.”

Ibn Marjana sensed weakness and backwardness in the statement of Noman. Therefore in words full of anger, he cried, “Open! You have not opened yet and you have already had a long night (in which you have slept instead of governing).”

A man behind him heard this and withdrew to the people from Kufa who had followed (Ibn Ziyad) believing him to be Husain (‘a). He said, “O people, it is Ibn Marjana, by Him other than Whom there is no deity!” It was astonishing that they could not distinguish between Ibn Marjana and Imam Husain (‘a) inspite of the fact that many of them had lived with him in the same town. Probably it was so because Ibn Ziyad had disguised himself and had donned a black turban.

Anyway when people recognized that he was Ibn Ziyad, they were shocked and they ran away to their houses in such a condition that they recalled the oppression of the time of his father. Ubaidullah also sensed that mischief was brewing…that very night Ibn Ziyad took the treasury and armory under his control. He spent the night in wakefulness while the officials of the Umayyad regime were around him discussing about the uprising. They were introducing him to prominent personalities. Along with it they were planning to quell the revolt.

Ibn Ziyad’s Speech in Kufa

In the morning the call was given among the people: “As-Salaat jaami’a (the prayer is a general prayer which all should gather for).” The people gathered and he went out to them. He praised and glorified God and said: “The Commander of the faithful (Yazid) has appointed me in charge of your town, your frontier-station and the distribution of your booty. He has ordered me to give justice to the oppressed among you, to be generous to those of you who are deprived, and to treat the obedient among you with generosity like a good father, but to use the whip and the sword against those who abandon my commands and oppose my appointment. Let each man protect himself. True belief should declare itself on your behalf, not the threat of punishment…”[1]  

[1] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 100

The speech of Ibn Ziyad had the following highlights:

1 – It announced the governorship of Kufa for Ibn Ziyad and dismissal of Noman bin Bashir from that post.

2 – It stated that the Damascus regime had accorded him this post and commanded him to deal nicely with people who obey the government and are not rebels and also instructed him to deal with the opponents and rebels with an iron hand.

In his speech Ibn Marjana made no mention of Imam Husain (‘a) and his emissary, Muslim bin Aqil lest people might raise a clamor as he had not yet established his position firmly.

Spread of Terror and Fear

Ibn Ziyad began to spread tyranny, fear and terror. A historian says: As soon as Ibn Ziyad reached Kufa, the very next morning he began to start his mission of quelling the revolution. He immediately got the rebel leaders arrested and had them executed.[1] He initiated these step in order to crush the rebellion and kill the uprising.

On the second day he issued a command to gather the people in the Mosque and he came out dressed in new clothes. He began to address the people in a severe tone warning them. First he praised and glorified Allah and then said, “This matter cannot be corrected without using force and absolute harshness. And it is that I arrest the innocent with the offenders, the present with those who are absent and the friend with the friend.”

Thus a Kufian named Asad bin Abdullah Mari spoke up, “O Chief, the Almighty Allah has said: And a burdened soul cannot bear the burden of another and if one weighed down by burden should cry for (another to carry) its burden, nor aught of it shall be carried…Know that! Man is related to his efforts, the swords and horses are ready. You just say what you want but do not bring evil before the good…”

This silenced Ibn Ziyad. He came down from the pulpit and went home.[2]

Muslim Shifts to Hani’s House

Muslim was compelled to change his lodging and to conceal his political activities with diligence because the arrival of that tyrant in Kufa posed a serious danger to the revolution. He was aware of the deviation and misguidance of that filthy tyrant as he had no regard for the Almighty Allah and had no qualms about committing any sinful act.

Muslim decided to leave Mukhtar’s house because he did not have anyone capable enough to protect him and he was not connected to any center of power. Therefore he sought refuge in the house of Hani bin Urwah as he was the leader of his area and chief of Murad tribe. He was capable enough to support the revolution and  

[1] Al-Fusul al-Muhimma, 185, Waseelatul Maal, Pg. 186
[2] Al-Futuh 5/67

dominate the events because on the basis of what historians say: When he rode he used to be accompanied by 4000 horsemen in armor and 8000 infantry men. And if their supporters from Kinda and other tribes joined them, 30000 men would wear armors for him.[1] Also he had previous good connections with his clansmen.

Muslim moved to the house of this great leader who welcomed him and accepted him with all formalities. Some of the sources[2] say: It was difficult and dangerous for Hani to give refuge to Muslim because his residence would become the center of rebellion and opposition to the government because he, due to this, was putting himself as target of revenge and punishment. However he unwillingly gave a positive reply to Muslim as it was Arab custom not turn away anyone who came seeking protection even though it may prove to be difficult and dangerous…

But what we believe is that it was not so. Because if Muslim had sensed his unwillingness and hesitation he would not have taken refuge in that place. He would have definitely restrained from entering that house because Muslim was well-trained in Islamic etiquette. He was an honorable person and a valiant man and he would have kept away from every action of his that may be responsible for harming others or putting them to inconvenience or hardships. Apart from this if Muslim had not been aware of the perfect faith and absolute submission of Hani with regard to his mission which had not been an established fact he would not have taken refuge in the dangerous circumstances he was in.

It is certain that Hani did not support Muslim due to shame and etiquette. Rather it was as a result of absolute faith and religious belief. Therefore he agreed to host Muslim.

Anyway, Muslim began to stay in Hani’s house and made it a place for organizing his revolt while Hani was assisting him and he summoned the tribes for his call. 18000 persons paid allegiance to Muslim in Hani’s place.[3] Muslim informed Hani about the problems of the uprising and introduced to him the leaders and prominent persons connected with it.

Muslim Refrained from Killing Ibn Ziyad

Most historians agree that Shareek bin Aawar became seriously ill in Hani’s house or his own residence.[4] The news of his illness reached Ibn Ziyad. He sent a messenger that he was coming to pay him a visit. Shareek considered it a good opportunity and he told Muslim, “The aim of your Shias and you is to kill this oppressor. Allah has given you an upper hand over him. He is coming to visit me. So get up! And hide in the closet. When he sits with me relaxed, come out and slay  

[1] Murujuz Zahab 3/59
[2] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 233
[3] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 233
[4] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/153. It is famous among the historians that Shareek was in the house of Hani and not in his own house, because he lived in Basra and he had come to Kufa with Ibne Ziyad.

him. Then go to his palace of command and occupy the seat. Because no one would oppose you in this and if Allah restores my health I shall go to Basra and take control over there on your behalf. The people there would pay allegiance to you.[1]

Hani did not favor the slaying of Ibn Ziyad in his house as Arab custom did not allow the killing of a guest.[2] Therefore he said, “I don’t like that he should be killed in my house.”

Shareek asked him, “Why? By Allah, his slaying will be a cause of divine proximity (a good deed)!”

Shareek did not pay attention. He turned to Muslim and urged him to kill Ibn Ziyad and he said, “Do not fall short in this matter.” As they spoke they heard clamor at the door of the house because Ibn Ziyad had arrived with his entourage. Muslim arose and hid in the closet. Ibn Ziyad entered and inquired about Shareek’s illness. Shareek informed him of his condition. When Shareek saw that Muslim delayed in coming out he recited the following lines of poetry:

“For whom do you await that you don’t welcome Salmi. Welcome him and whosoever welcomes him, give the goblet of death.”[3]

At that time his voice arose so that Muslim may hear him. He said:

“May Allah give your father a good reward. Give him the drink even if my life is lost in it.”[4]

Ibn Ziyad did not realize what he intended; he thought that he was talking in delirium. So he asked Hani, “Is he talking in delirium?”

 “Yes, may Allah do good to the Amir, he is like that since morning.”[5]

Mehran, Ibn Ziyad’s slave was a cunning fellow. He sensed some mischief and  

[1] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 234. Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 101. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/26. Some historians have opined that one who invited Muslim to kill Ibne Ziyad was Hani Ibne Urwah as mentioned in Al-Imamah was Siyasah 2/4.
[2] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 101. It is mentioned that Hani did not like that Ibne Ziyad should be killed in his house.
[3] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 101. Maqtal Abi Mikhnaf Pg. 43 it has come that he recited the following couplets: “What are you waiting for that you did not welcome Salmi. Say welcome to him and to all those who say welcome to him. It is not worth drinking that which comes to me when I am thirsty. And I die and my death is in it. If you fear to cast a glance at Salmi you shall never be able to remain safe from his intrigue.” And in Futuh 5/72 and Al-Akhbar at-Tiwal, Pg. 236 it has come that he recited the following couplet: “Regarding Salmi in his opportune time what are you waiting for? Because he is such that his friendship has weakened and his separation has been decided.
[4] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 101
[5] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 3/26 and Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 102

winked to Ibn Ziyad. He got up in haste. Shareek told him, ”O Amir, I wish to make some bequests to you.” Ibn Ziyad said, “I shall visit you again.”

Mehran was worried. He addressed Ibn Ziyad and said, ”He wanted to kill you.”

Ibn Ziyad was shocked. He asked, ”How is it possible? After the respect I have for him? In the house of Hani, with father’s liking for him?”

When the tyrant went away Muslim emerged from the closest and found that Shareek was in remorse. He asked, “What prevented you from killing him?”[1]

Muslim replied, “Two things restrained me from this. Firstly: Hani did not like him killed in his house. Secondly: The saying of the Messenger of Allah (s) that Islam has prohibited that a believer never kills by deceit.”

Shareek told him, “By Allah, if you had killed him your mission would have gained stability and your power would have become established.”[2]

Shareek did not remain alive for more than three days after this. Ibn Ziyad recited his funeral prayer and had him buried in Thaya. When he learnt of the plot that Shareek had devised he said, “By Allah I shall not recite the funeral prayer for any Iraqi. If the grave of Ziyad had not been in their town I would have dug up Shareek’s grave.”[3]

Explanation of this Event

Many people have questioned the attitude of Muslim and they criticize him and hold him responsible for the events that followed. They say that if he had killed the tyrant, the Muslims would have been relieved of the terrible hardships in which they had fallen…”

However, this censure is baseless and in no way is it having any balance and truth. Because it is not in accordance with Muslim’s character and his true circumstances. As he was an incomparable example of piety and religiosity among the people. He was the one who had been brought up in the house of his uncle, Amirul Momineen Ali (‘a) and he had imbibed the character and views of his exalted uncle. He has considered his illuminated manner to mould his own behavior and the way of his life. He had molded his life on absolute truth without any sort of deviation. Ali (‘a) had also shown a life devoid of everything that could be construed to be against the religion of Islam. It was only he who had said, “An intelligent man is aware of deceitful ways but piety prevents him from them.”

This is the ray of the sun of that character in which Ibn Aqil developed his views,  

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/26
[2] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 235 and in Tarikh Ibne Athir 4/27 it is mentioned: Hani told Muslim: If you had killed him you would have killed a transgressor, a sinner and an infidel who betrayed trust. Ibne Numa says that Hani’s wife implored Muslim in the name of God that he must not kill Ibne Ziyad in her house. When Hani came to know about it, he said, “She has killed herself and me and she is standing for that which has fled her.”
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 5/363-364. Al-Aghani 6/59

which became clear in his actions and it is of the manners of the Alawites.

Dr. Muhammad Tahir Darush says, “Hashemites have a way of living and they spend their life in it. Apart from that they do not know of any other way. That is why such things became their distinguishing characteristics, like faith, frankness, chastity, nobility, merits, lofty point of view, exemplary habits, religious nature and prophetic manners were a part of their character.”[1]

Muslim did not act to assassinate his deceitful foe because religion has prohibited killing anyone through trickery and a believer never resorts to this type of act. Habtut Deen opines: “This statement is having a lofty aim and broad vision because Ali’s progeny along with being absolute followers of truth and rightfulness never resorted to deceit and trickery even if the circumstances demanded it. And they preferred a delayed success in a rightful manner to an immediate victory achieved through trickery. This was a habit seen in their predecessors also and received by their descendants in inheritance. As if they were created to establish the rule of justice and virtue in the hearts of the selected ones or those who have divine recognition. And history has treasured their status for them in the hearts.”[2]

Shaykh Ahmad Fahmi also says, “This is Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad the same cunning man regarding whom Muslim had an excellent opportunity and he was within his easy reach. He could have killed him easily. If he had done so, he would have deprived Yazid from a cruel and powerful ally. However Muslim took lesson from the guidance of his cousin,[3] avoided this course of action and saved himself from resorting to deceit and fraud.”

The duty entrusted to Muslim was to take the allegiance of the people and to keep an eye on the current events. Apart from this he had no other immediate function. If he had assassinated the tyrant be would have gone out of the limits of his responsibility…While the government as the representative of which he had arrived was a religious government and it was such that before initiating anything it took care to follow the fundamentals of religion. It strictly followed and established the practice and laws of Islam while assassination has no place in Islam.

Ahle Bayt (‘a) absolutely avoided following crooked ways and they used to object against the inappropriate actions of Bani Umayyah with regard to religious laws. His Eminence, Husain did not go out on his great mission except that he may reform the conditions of that time and to show the Islamic way to the people….If Muslim had committed that act which was unacceptable to religion, how it could have been justified for the righteous and pious people?

Anyway, Muslim restrained his hands on the basis of religious virtue and nobility  

[1] Khutabah dar Sadr-e-Islam 2/13
[2] Nahzatul Husain, Pg. 71-72
[3] Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 178

and he did not kill Ibn Ziyad by trick even though he was within his easy reach. The most useless and absurd remark is that which accuses Muslim of weakness and sloth. It can never be justified and accepted. Because he was such a valiant man that he exhibited it when people betrayed him in Kufa. He displayed such valor that its equal is not found anywhere in history. When he remained determined in front of a large number of militants and no kind of weakness and sloth was seen in him. He beheaded the multitudes and dispersed their ranks. When the carnage reached a high level the Kufians began to scream in terror. Then how is it possible to accuse the valiant stalwart, the pride of the family of Adnan of sloth and weakness?

Horrible Plot

The oppressive tyrant, Ibn Ziyad devised a horrible plot to gain political dominance and control of the situation in Kufa even though before it, Muslim was in absolute control. This charge occurred very suddenly and he succeeded on turning the tables on Muslim and having him put to death. The salient feature of Ibn Ziyad’s plan were as follows:

Spying upon Muslim

The first step that Ibn Ziyad took was that he selected his loyal slave, Maqil to spy on Muslim and find out his political activities and learn about his strengths and weaknesses. Maqil was brought up by Ibn Ziyad, trained in all kinds of trickery and deceit so that he developed into a vile trickster with a cunning mind who was also dependable and sincere. Ibn Ziyad gave him 3000 dirhams and instructed him to develop contacts with Shias and claim that he was a Syrian and a slave of Kala Himyari. In those days the Syrian slaves were generally in support of Ahle Bayt (‘a) therefore he was told to pose as a slave so that no one may have doubt or suspicion about him. And he told him that whenever he met Shia people he should tell them that he was a devotee of Ahle Bayt (‘a) whom Allah has bestowed with the love of the household of the Messenger of Allah (s). He should say that he has learnt that a person has come who was mobilizing the people towards Imam Husain (‘a), and that Maqil was having some funds that he wanted to contribute for their fight against their enemies. Maqil set out to fulfill his duty and entered the Masjid.

He came (to a place where) he sat near Muslim bin Ausaja as-Asadi in the great mosque. The latter was praying, and he (Maqil) heard some people saying that this (was one of those who) had pledged allegiance to Imam Husain (‘a). He went up and sat right next to him until he had finished praying.

“O servant of God,” he said, “I am a Syrian whom God has blessed with love for the House and love for those who love them.”

He pretended to weep (in front of) him. Then he continued: “I have three thousand dirhams with which I want to meet a man from them (the House) whom I have learnt has come to Kufa to receive pledges of allegiance on behalf of the son of the

daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s), may God bless him and his family. I have been wanting to meet him but I have not found anyone who will direct me to him and I don’t know the place (where he is staying).While I am sitting (here), I heard a group of the faithful saying that this is a man (i.e. Muslim bin Ausaja) who is acquainted with this House. Therefore I have come to you so that you may take this money from me and introduce me to your leader; for I am one of your brethren and someone you can trust. If you wish, you may receive my pledge of allegiance to him before my meeting him.”

“I thank God for you meeting me,” replied (Muslim) bin Ausaja, “and it gives me great joy to get (you) what you desire, and that God should help the House of His Prophet, peace be on them, through you. Yet the people’s knowledge of my (connection) with this affair before it is finished troubles me, because of (my) fear of this tyrant and his severity.”

“It would be better (if) you took the pledge of allegiance from me (now),” Maqil told him. So he took his pledge of allegiance and testaments heavily supported by oaths that he would be sincere and keep the matter concealed. He (Maqil) gave him whatever would make him content in that way.[1]

“Come to visit me at my house for (a few) days,” said (Muslim bin Ausaja), “for I will seek permission for you (to visit) your master.”

He began to visit him frequently with his people (i.e. the other members of the Shia) and sought permission for him (to visit). Permission was given and Muslim b. Aqil received (Maqil’s) pledge of allegiance. He told Abu Thamama as-Saidi to take the money from them and what could be used to help each other, and he used to buy their arms. He was a perceptive man and one of the knights of the Arabs and one of the notables of the Shia.

That man (i.e. Maqil) began to visit them regularly. He was the first to enter and the last to leave, in order to become acquainted with (everything of) their affairs which Ibn Ziyad wanted. He used to keep him informed about that at regular intervals.[2]

With the Organs of the Revolution

First: Maqil was a Syrian inimical to Ahle Bayt (‘a) and loyal to Bani Umayyah, well known for his sacrifices in their love. What was the worth of his trustworthiness for Muslim?

Second: When Maqil gave the money to Muslim bin Ausaja, he began to weep. What was the meaning of his weeping or pretence of weeping? It should have created doubt in his sincerity?

Third: When he developed contacts. He was the first to enter the gatherings of Shias and the last to leave. His regularity in attending their meetings and staying  

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/25-26
[2] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 236

for long hours was indeed a cause of suspicion.

It would have better if they had been careful in this matter and found the reality behind this man. Though it is true that he was an expert spy and well informed of the details of his mission.

Anyway Ibn Ziyad, on the basis of espionage, gained a lot of intelligence and he learnt all about the strengths and weakness of the revolution. This in turn helped him to dominate the circumstances.

Bribing the leaders and elders

Ibn Ziyad became cognizant of the nerve of Kufa and learnt how he could gain control over the people. Therefore he began to bribe the leaders and elders and generously bestowed cash gifts on them, thus obtaining their loyalty and friendship so much so that they began to speak in his praise and glorification and Ibn Ziyad succeeded in making the powerful supporters of Muslim abandon him and dispersed the people from around him.

Ibn Marjana enslaved all those on whom he gifted money and they became his sincere supporters and loyal men. They broke the oath and pledges they had made to Muslim. Therefore a man of Kufa informed the Holy Imam about this when he met him on way to Kufa. He told the Imam, “As for the elders, their bribes have increased and their lives have prospered, their supports are obtained and their loyalties are being purchased. As for the other people, their hearts are with you but tomorrow their swords would be upon you.”[1]

Kufians forgot the letters they had dispatched to Imam (‘a) and the pledge of allegiance they had made to the emissary of His Eminence because of the monies bestowed on them by the governor’s regime. A writer says: A group motivated by criticism of Bani Umayyah, those who had written letters to His Eminence, Husain emphasizing their sincerity and shed their most precious tears in the presence of Muslim; these were the same people whose loyalties were purchased by Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad. After that Musab bin Umair purchased their loyalties and separated from Mukhtar leaving him alone to be killed. After that the Umayyah Caliph Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan purchased them and they became aloof from Musab who met his end at the hands of Abdul Malik bin Marwan.[2]

Refraining from Attacking Hani’s House

Ibn Ziyad, the tyrant knew that Hani was a prominent element of the revolution because his dangerous spy, Maqil had informed him of the active role Hani played in support and organization of the revolution. He was also told that Hani’s house was the center of common Shias and the real place of refuge of Muslim, the ambassador of His Eminence, Husain… Thus why Ibn Ziyad did not raid Hani’s house or attack it and lay siege to it with his army in order to quell the revolt?

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 6/233
[2] Mukhtar Thaqafi Aaina Asr Amawi, Pg. 69-70

It was so because Ziyad was militarily weak and he did not possess enough strength to undertake an armed struggle. Because Hani’s house and its surroundings were encircled with 4000 armed men who had paid allegiance to Muslim. Apart from this was the following that Hani had among the people and his important position in the province. Therefore Ibn Ziyad did not dare attack him, as he feared dire consequences.

Messengers of Deceit

Ibn Ziyad used to remain awake at night and pondered and discussed with his associates the matter of Hani, because Hani was the most popular man of the province and the most powerful personality who could support the revolution and not leave Muslim to be captured by the enemy. Thus if Hani is eliminated the revolt shall be uprooted. However he refrained from putting Hani under arrest or laying siege to his house because it was not possible. They unanimously decided to send a delegation to Hani and trick him to surrender himself. The delegation was supposed to convey to him that Ibn Ziyad wished to meet him. Once Hani comes under their control it would not be difficult to find his followers and all the problems would be solved. Thus a group of people were selected for this job. They were as follows:

Hisaan bin Asmaa bin Khatija, leader of Fuzara tribe.

Muhammad bin Ashath, leader of Kindi tribe

Amr bin Hajjaj

Hisaan bin Asmaa was unaware of the trickery with Hani but Muhammad bin Ashath and Amr bin Hajjaj knew it well. Ibn Ziyad instructed them to convey to Hani his (Ibn Ziyad’s) eagerness to meet him and that they must try their best to satisfy Hani of their sincerity and quell all his doubts and fears.

Hani’s Detention

The delegation hastened to Hani’s residence in the night and found him seated there. They saluted him and asked, “What is stopping you from seeing the governor? For he has mentioned you and said that if he had been told you were ill, he would have paid you a visit.”

“An illness has stopped me,” he answered.

They rejected the excuse and said, “He has been informed that you sit at the door of your house every evening. He finds you tardy and tardiness and churlish behavior he will not tolerate. We adjure you to side with us.”

They continued to urge him to come to Ibn Ziyad till he unwillingly assented. He called for his clothes and got dressed. Then he called for a mule and rode (with them).

When he got near the palace, he began to feel some apprehension and decided to turn back. He said to Hisaan bin Asmaa, “Nephew, my God, I fear this man. What do you think?” Hisaan replied, “Uncle, by God, I do not fear anything for you.

Why do you invent a reason (for blame) against yourself?”

They urged him to move on till they brought him to Ibn Marjana who welcomed him with anger and said (to himself): “The legs of the swindler have brought him to you.”

Then he said to Shurayh who was near him:

“I want his life[1] but he wants my death.

The one who makes excuses to you is one of your own bosom friends from the tribe of Murad.”

He was referring to his earlier kindness and gentleness to him (Hani).

“What is that, governor?” asked Hani.

“Yes, Hani, what are these matters which you have been plotting in your house against the Commander of the faithful and the general community of the Muslims?” asked Ibn Ziyad. “You have brought Muslim bin Aqil and taken him into your house. You have gathered arms and men for him in houses around you. You thought that was hidden from me.”

“I have not done that and Muslim is not with me,” he replied.

“Oh yes (you have),” was the answer.

After the argument between them had gone on for some time and Hani persisted in contradicting and denying (the accusations), Ibn Ziyad summoned that spy, Maqil. He came and stood before him.

“Do you know this man?” (Ibn Ziyad) asked him.

“Yes,” he replied.

At that (moment) Hani realized that he had been a spy against them and had brought (Ibn Ziyad) all their information. For a moment he was bewildered, and then his spirit returned to him.

“Listen to me,” he said, “and believe what I say. I swear by God that I do not lie. By God, I did not summon him to my house. I did not know anything about his business until he came to me asking to stay with me. I was too ashamed to refuse him. As a result of that, the duty of giving (him) protection fell upon me. Therefore I gave him lodging and refuge. Then his affair developed as you have been informed. If you wish, I will give you strongly sworn testaments that I will not do you any harm and danger, and I will come to you and put my hand in your hand.[2] If you wish, I will give you a guarantee which will be in your hand until I return to you. Then I will go to him and order him to leave my house for wherever in the land he wants to go. Then he will leave his right of protection.”[3]

[1] “Hayaa”, it is narrated that it also denotes the stipulated allowance from the Public Treasury.
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/27-29
[3] Muruj az-Zahab 3/57, Simtun Nujoomul Waali 3/61. Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 4/170 & 304 and 301 has related his statement in another way also which is different from the version generally quoted by famous historians.

“You will never leave me unless you bring him,” answered Ibn Ziyad.

“No, by God, I will not bring him to you,” (the other) declared.

After the argument between them had gone on for some time, Muslim bin Amr al-Bahili rose (to speak). There was no other Syrian or Basran in Kufa except him.

“May God make you prosper, governor,” he interjected, “(please) leave me with him (for a time) so that I can speak to him.” He arose and took him (Hani) aside from Ibn Ziyad. They were (standing) where he could see them and when they raised their voices, he could hear what they were saying.

“I adjure you before God, Hani,” said Muslim, “you are killing yourself and bringing tribulation on your clan. By God, I hold you too precious to be killed. This man is the cousin of (your) tribe so they will not fight against him, nor harm him. Therefore give him (i.e. Muslim bin Aqil) to them (the authorities). There will be no shame and failure for you by that for you would only be handing him over to the authorities.”

“By God, indeed there would be shame and disgrace for me,” answered Hani, “were I to hand over one who has come under my protection and is my guest, while I am still alive and sound. I can hear; I see well; I have a strong arm and many helpers. By God, if I was the only one without any helper, I would not hand him over until I had died on his behalf.”[1]

He began to shout at him saying: “By God, I will never hand him over to him.”

Ibn Ziyad heard that. “Bring him to me,” he said. They brought him. “Either bring him to me or I will have your head cut off,” demanded Ibn Ziyad.

“Then there will be much flashing (of swords) around your house,” replied Hani, thinking that his clan would prevent him (from being killed).

“Come near me,” demanded (Ibn Ziyad). He came nearer and Ibn Ziyad struck his face with his cane and went on beating at his nose, forehead and cheeks so that he broke his nose and the blood flowed from it on to his face and beard and the flesh of his forehead and cheeks was sprinkled over his beard. Eventually the cane broke. Hani stretched out his hand towards the hilt of the sword of one of the armed attendants but the man pulled it away and prevented him.

“You have been behaving like one of the Haruri (i.e. Kharijites) all day long!” yelled Ibn Ziyad, “so your blood is permitted to us. Take him away!”

They took him and threw him into one of the rooms in the building. They locked the doors on him. He had told them to put guards on him and that (also) was done.[2] However Hissaan bin Asmaa arose and said: “Are (we) messengers of treachery now? For you told us to bring the man to you. Yet when we brought him to you,  

[1] Al-Futuh 5/83
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/28-29

you smashed his nose and face, and his blood flowed on his beard. Then you claimed that you would kill him.”

“You will be for it here (and now),” cried Ubaidullah and he ordered him to be struck, shaken, and pushed aside.

“We are satisfied with the governor’s attitude on our behalf and against (those of) us (who are wrong); the governor is only punishing (those who are wrong),” declared Muhammad bin Ashath.[1]

It was nothing serious for Ibn Ashath that what oppression the tyrant may resort to.

Revolt of Madhij Tribe

However when it was reported to Amr bin al-Hajjaj and he learnt that Hani had been killed, he advanced with Madhij and surrounded the palace. He had a great crowd with him.

“I am Amr bin al-Hajjaj,” he called out, “and these are the knights of Madhij, and their leading men. We have not broken away from obedience, nor have we separated from the community.”

It had been reported to them that their colleague had been killed, and they regarded that as a great crime. Ubaidullah was told that Madhij were at the gate. He told Qadi Shurayh: “Go in to their colleague, look at him and then go out and inform them that he is still alive and has not been killed.”

Shurayh went in and looked at him. When Hani saw Shurayh, he said, with blood flowing down his beard: “Oh what a God! Oh what Muslims! Has my clan been destroyed? Where are the people of religion? Where are the people of the town? Are they avoiding me because of their enemies?”[2]

When he heard the tumult at the door of the palace he said: “O Shurayh![3] I think those are the voices of Madhij and my group of the Muslims. If ten of them got in, they would be able to rescue me.”[4]

After Shurayh had listened to what he had to say, he went out to them and told them: “When the governor learnt about your attitude and your statements concerning your colleague, he ordered me to go and see him. I went and I saw him. Then he ordered me to meet you and inform you that he is still alive and that the report that he had been killed was false.”

“Praise be to God since he has not been killed,” answered Amr bin al-Hajjaj and his colleagues.[5]

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh, Pg. 29
[2] And in the narration of Tabari Vol. 5/267 it is mentioned: “Are they leaving me to their enemies?”
[3] Shuraih Qadhi was related to a poet of Kinda. This is mentioned in Kamil Mubarad, Pg. 21.
[4] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/30. In Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/351 it is mentioned: Hani told Shuraih: “O Shuraih, fear for Allah, he would kill me.”
[5] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/30

At that time they went away fast as if they had been released from a prison. They went, taking along with themselves humiliation and disgrace and became examples of betraying of trust.

In my view, the going away of Madhij so soon without being fully assured about Hani’s safety was as a result of a deep secret relationship that Ibn Ziyad had developed with their prominent members to eliminate Hani. If it had not been so, the Madhij tribe would not have allowed Hani’s execution, in an open manner by hanging him in the market place of shoe-makers.

Anyway the Madhij earned disgrace and allowed themselves to be humiliated. An anonymous poet who kept his name concealed for fear of reprisal from that tribe, composed elegy in the sorrow of Hani in which he denounced Hani’s clansmen and through this tried to rekindle in them anger so that they may revenge the killing of their tribe member. He says:

“If you do not know what death is, then look at Hani in the market-place and Ibn Aqil.

(Look at) a hero whose face has been covered with wounds and another who fell dead from a high place.[1]

The command of the governor struck them (down) and they became legends for those who travel on every road.

You see a corpse whose color death has changed and a spattering of blood which has flowed abundantly;

A young man who was (even) more bashful than a shy young woman, was more decisive than the polished blade of two-edged sword.

Is Asma riding in safety a mount which moves at walking pace while Madhij urged him to seek vengeance

And Murad wander around him? Are all of them in fear of the questioner and the questioned?

If you do not avenge your two brothers, then be harlots satisfied with little.”[2]

Dr. Yusuf Khalif has expressed his opinion regarding the above couplets and he says: “Here is an effective voice and it goes from urging to openly instigating till it reaches the position of blatant daring although the poet was living under the rule of the Umayyads. Because he was able to conceal his name. So much so that there  

[1] In Muruj az-Zahab 2/60 it is mentioned: These couplets are by an anonymous poet. In Aghani 13/35 and in Jumharatul Ansaab, Pg. 228 they are considered to be of Akhtal. In Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 110 they are considered to be written by Abdullah bin Zubair Asadi. And in Tabari 5/379-380 by Farazdaq and in Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 242 by Abdur Rahman bin Zubair Asadi and in Lisanul Arab 4/502 by Sulaym bin Salam Hanafi.
[2] Timaar is the name of a room on the top of the royal palace, and Muslim was killed in that place and from there his body was thrown down. Thus what Ibne Abil Hadid has written in Sharh Nahjul Balagha 5/237 that it was a wall, is incorrect.

was difference of opinion between narrators regarding his identity. While for other narrators he was completely unknown. In this call neither has he spoken of Husain nor about politics. Rather he only wished to kindle the spirit of conscience of Yemenis so that they may take revenge of the killing of their man. On the basis of this suspicion he did not intentionally mention the name of Muhammad Ibn Ashath Yemeni. He only named Asmaa bin Kharija Fuzari, whom he blamed for the murder of Hani. He did not mention anyone else. Inspite of the fact that both of them were sent by Ibn Ziyad. However, the poet has as a precaution not mentioned the name of Ibn Ashath so that there may not be discord or mischief among the Yemenis. This was so because he wanted the people to be united in taking revenge. In his elegy the poet has given a graphic description of the two persons who were put to death and the description is really terrifying; the poet was sure that the story of two corpses, one of which had the face crushed and the other which was thrown from the top of the palace, would definitely spread among the people.”

In this picture the poet has emphatically presented two horrifying scenes so that he may cause to rise in them sentiments and emotions of sorrow which would lead them to become angry and take revenge: The scene of the two corpses whose color death had changed and the blood that was dripping from them, they bled from every side. After that the description of Asma who mounted his horse and in absolute comfort and security was riding to Kufa. He rode on in pride and arrogance. And he asks, “How long would this man remain safe while the tribesmen around him would seek revenge?” At that time nothing greater shall be seen except that nobility would ridicule them. Therefore the poet tells them: “If you do not take revenge you would be like prostitutes who sell their honor at a paltry price.”[1]

Thus Faal Hauzen writes: Madhij ignored their leadership and they did not fulfill its right. They captured their leader and delivered him into the hands of Ibn Marjana, lest he may create disturbance. Although this tribe was having leadership and dominance in Kufa.

Anyway, the passing of away of Hani induced a great effect in spreading terror and fear in the hearts of Kufians and it finally became the cause of people abandoning their support for Muslim and thus finally causing the failure of the uprising.

Muslim’s Uprising

When Muslim learnt of what passed on Hani he hastened the uprising against Ibn Ziyad because knew that the same fate awaited him, so he ordered Abdullah bin Hazim to summon the people he had hidden in the houses. 4000[2] or 40000[3] people gathered near him while the Muslims were chanting the slogan of the Battle of  

[1] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa ilaa Nihayatul Qarnuth Thani lil Hijrah, Pg. 463-464
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/30. Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/92
[3] Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/351. Dhahabi, Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 1/150 from facsimile copy at Amirul Momineen Library

Badr: “O ones helped by the Ummah,[1] O victorious ones, sacrifice your lives!”

Muslim perfected the arrangement of his forces and entrusted the general command of the army to those who were known to him for their loyalty and sincerity to Ahle Bayt (‘a) They were as follows:

Abdullah bin Aziz Kindi was entrusted with Kinda quarter.

Muslim bin Ausaja was given the command of Madhij quarter.

Ibn Thamame Saidi was given the leadership of the tribes of Bani Tamim and Hamadan.

Baath bin Jude Jadali was made the commander of Medina quarter.

When Muslim moved to the governor’s palace with his army in order to lay siege to it[2] Ibn Ziyad had gone out to speak to the people after the passing away of Hani. He went to the great mosque and mounted the pulpit. Then he glanced at his companions and they stood to his right and left with their maces and swords pulled out to defend him. Seeing this his worries faded and he addressed the people of Kufa as follows:

“So to say: O people of Kufa! Cling to the obedience of Allah, His Messenger and that of your leaders. And do not create discord and become disunited or you shall be destroyed. You shall be defrauded, regretful and defeated. No one would be able to find a conclusive way. He who warns is excused.”

The tyrant had hardly concluded his address when a shout was heard and people began to yell. He asked about it and was told, “Beware it is Muslim bin Aqil who has come with those who have pledged allegiance to him.”

Ibn Ziyad was filled with apprehension and his limbs began to shudder in fright. The coward hastened to his palace in such a terrified condition that his tongue hung out of his mouth. He went into the palace and bolted all the doors from inside.[3]

The mosque and the market place became full of Muslim’s companions and the world became narrow for Ibn Ziyad and he became sure that he would be killed because he did not have any power to defend himself except for thirty bodyguards and his twenty officials.[4] While the soldiers of Muslim were increasing in number till according to some historians their numbers reached 18000. They were waving their flags and flashing their swords and raising slogans denouncing Ibn Ziyad and announcing their enmity to him. Some historians have written that there was a severe confrontation between Muslim’s soldiers and Ibn Ziyad’s men.

Ibn Ziyad began to ponder upon the quickest means that could release his regime from the clutches of the revolution and he concluded that except for a psychological war no other option was there for him, and he began to put this into effect.

[1] This slogan used to motivate the fighters in battle to fight with greater fervor and also contains the glad-tidings of victory.
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/30
[3] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/154. Al-Futuh 5/85-86
[4] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/30