Martyrdom of the Great Imam (‘a)

Calamities and hardships descended upon the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) one after another continuously in such a way that one crushing tragedy had yet not completed when more terrible and greater hardships befell His Eminence.

However in those fearsome moments, he was compelled to bear the pain of such hardships as no reformer had seen. Of them were:

Firstly: His Eminence looked at the great ladies and noble women from the family of prophethood and revelation while they where in such a condition of anxiety that except for the Almighty Allah none was cognizant of it, because in every moment they received a relative from the heroes of the Purified Progeny bathed in blood in the throes of death and passing their last moments of life before his very eyes.

What increased their distress was the fact that those oppressor’s whose hearts were absolutely devoid of mercy, had surrounded them from all sides and they did not know what would befall them after their defenders are no more. The Imam looked at the fear and terror that reigned over them and the heart of His Eminence burst with grief and remorse. He ordered them to observe patience and forbearance and informed them that the Almighty Allah would protect and save them from the mischief of the enemies.

Secondly: Wails of young children due to the intensity of the killing thirst rose up. His Eminence could not find a way to help them and his noble heart full of concern and mercy for children and ladies of the family, was scorched. They were pained by a thing they were not capable of bearing.

Thirdly: Aggression of those sinful killers after they had killed the companions and Ahle Bayt in murdering innocent children, nephews and cousins.

Fourthly: Having to bear the discomfort of a terrible thirst. Regarding the intensity of the thirst of His Eminence it is reported that he did not see the sky but as a thing like cloud and the liver of His Eminence had split due to the severity of the thirst.

Shaykh Shustari says: “The thirst of His Eminence, Husain affected four organs: His lips had withered due to the heat of the thirst, the liver had split due to the absence of water in such a way that His Eminence himself became despaired of life and (that army also) knew that he would not be alive after that. He told them: “Give me a drop of water as my liver is shattered and the tongue has become wounded due to the severity of chewing it. Such that it has come in traditions that: “And the eyes had become sightless due to thirst.”[1]

Fifthly: He looked at his tents after his relatives from Ahle Bayt and his companions were slain and found them empty. This made him further aggrieved and sorrowful and he lamented for them with the most touching words.


[1] Khasais al-Husain (a.s.), Pg. 62

Hearts melt by the calamities that passed over the son of the Messenger of Allah (s).

Safiuddin says: “His Eminence, Husain bore hardships and calamities that no Muslim hears about them but that his heart burns with shock.”[1]

The Imam Calls for Help

Helpless Imam looked at the Ahle Bayt and companions with a glance of remorse and pain and saw them as slaughtered sheep, lying headless on the sands of Kerbala with the burning sun scorching their bodies and members of Family (ladies and children) wailing. Therefore His Eminence began to call out for help. He sought helpers and supporters for defending the sanctity of the Messenger of Allah (s):

“Is there no defender who could save the sanctity of the Messenger of Allah (s)? Is there no monotheist who fears the Almighty with regard to us? Is there no helper who for the sake of Allah may fulfill our need?”[2]

This call for help had no effect on the hearts that had became rusted by falsehood and were immersed in sins…when His Eminence, Zainul Abideen (‘a) heard the call of his father, he arose from his bed and leaned on his walking stick due to the intensity of his illness. His Eminence, Husain (‘a) saw him and shouted out to his sister, Umme Kulthum: “Take care of him lest the earth becomes devoid of the Progeny of Muhammad (s).” Her Eminence rushed towards him and returned him to his bed.[3]

Martyrdom of the suckling infant

Patience of Aba Abdullah (‘a), what a patience it was? How was he able to bear these tragedies…,it was such a patience that universe remains helpless before it and mountains shake due to its fear. Of the most tragic and difficult calamity of His Eminence was to be pained regarding his infant son, Abdullah, who was as beautiful as the full moon. His Eminence picked him up and kissed him many times and said farewell to him for the last time. He found him unconscious and his eyes were sunk and his lips had withered due to the intensity of the thirst.

His Eminence picked him and carried him to those people in order to arouse their sentiments. Perhaps they would allow some water for him. He brought him before them shading him from the sun with his cloak. He asked them to give a little water to him but the hearts of those mutated people were not moved and the decadent oppressor, Hurmula bin Kahil aimed an arrow at him; the villain smiled and boasted to his colleagues and said: “Take this arrow and quench his thirst.”

That arrow – O my God – split open the neck of the infant. When he felt the pain of the arrow he took out his hands from his wrapping and began to thrash his limbs  


[1] Waseelatul Maal fee idda manaqibul Aal
[2] Abul Fath bin Sadqa, Durarul Afkaar fee Wasaful Sifwatul Akhyaar, Pg. 38
[3] Majlisi, Biharul Anwar 45/46

on his father’s chest like a slaughtered bird. That infant looked up to the sky and submitted his life on the hands of his father…it was a scene that bursts hearts and seals tongues by its fearsomeness…Imam (‘a) raised his hands full of that pure blood and threw it to the sky in such a way that according to Imam Baqir (‘a) not a drop fell to the ground. Then he spoke confidentially to the Lord and beseeched Him greatly, saying:

“Whatever befalls me, makes it easier for me to be in Your presence.

O Allah! In Your view this child should not be less important than the She-Camel of Prophet Salih. My Lord! If it be so that You have kept the help of Heaven from us, then let it be because Your purpose is better than immediate help. Take vengeance on these people who are such oppressors. And make it a treasure for us in the Hereafter that which has befallen us in this world. O Allah! You are the witness of the people who have killed the one most resembling Your Prophet, Muhammad (s).”

Then Imam (‘a) dismounted and with the scabbard, dug a grave for his child and buried the body which was bathed with blood. And it is also said that he kept him alongside the other martyrs.[1]

O Aba Abdillah! May Allah help to bear the hardships that none of the prophets had to bear and those calamities that no reformer had to suffer.

Steadfastness of the Holy Imam (‘a)

Imam (‘a) stood alone in the field facing his enemies while those terrible tragedies had increased the faith and certainty of His Eminence. With a fresh face and satisfied with the position of perpetual Garden to which he will soon depart.

Imam (‘a) stood with a deep rooted determination neither weakened by the martyrdom of his sons and companions nor pained by the thirst and loss of his blood. This is the steadfastness of the Ulul Azm Prophets (the five greatest prophets), those whom Allah had exalted over His other creatures. Hazrat Ali Ibnul Husain, Zainul Abideen (‘a) has narrated an example of astounding patience and steadfastness of his father and said: “As much the circumstances worsened, his face brightened and his being used to become tranquil.” So much so that some of them said: See, how he is heedless of death.[2]

Abdullah bin Ammar has also said: “I saw Husain, when they gathered against him, he attacked those who were on his right and terrified them completely.[3] By Allah! I have not seen such a person who has lost his sons and companions to death to be more steadfast and determined. And by Allah! I have not seen anyone like him before or after him.” Then he quotes Ibn Khattab Fahri:

“O my cousins! Fear in oppressing us as calamities have surrounded us.


[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 273
[2] Shustari, Khasais al-Husain, Pg. 40
[3] Ibne Kathir, Tarikh 8/188

It is for those like you, that use the swords and those who do not respect our origin and lineage.

Whenever I speak about my family and lineage, by my respectful status, I speak truly of that group.

Bright faced men who wore the Kohl of blood in their eyes on the day of the battle.”[1]

At that moment he attacked the enemies and conducted a ferocious battle that people had ever seen, while huge multitudes were crowding on the right wing. He recited the following lines of Rajaz poem:

“Death is better than a life of degradation and degradation is better than Hell-fire.”

After that he attacked the left wing intoning the following:

“I am Husain bin Ali and I swear I shall not turn back.

I shall defend the family of my father and I shall follow the religion of the Prophet.”[2]

Yes, you are Husain who filled the world with nobility and greatness. You are alone that one who did not turn back from determination and intention. Neither you humiliated yourself, nor became heedless; rather you moved forward in the way of confrontation and destroyed the ambushes of oppressors and sinners.

You followed the religion of your grandfather, His Eminence, the Prophet (s) and you are the one who promoted and reformed it. If you hadn’t been there, an aspect would have remained concealed and life would not have had its real form.

Ibn Hajar has narrated that the Imam was fighting and at the same time reciting the following couplets:

“I am the son of Ali, a noble of the family of Bani Hashim and sufficient for me to pride when I pride over it.

And my grandfather is the Messenger of Allah, the most honorable one of those who walked the earth and we are the lamp of God lighted among the people.

And Fatima the daughter of Ahmad is my mother and my uncle is Ja’far, who is called by the title of ‘one with a pair of wings’.

The Book of Allah descended among us with truth and it is regarding us that guidance and revelation reminds about.”[3]


[1] Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 64 and it is mentioned therein: The extraordinary thing is that whosoever quoted these couplets as examples, reached martyrdom. His Eminence, Husain (a.s.) quoted them on the day of Ashura, Zaid bin Ali on the day of Sabakha, Yahya bin Zaid on the day of Zauzjan and when Ibrahim bin Abdullah bin Hasan, in his uprising against Mansur his companions considered it a bad omen and not much time passed but that a cruel arrow came to him and killed him.
[2] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/110
[3] As Sawaiq al-Mohreqa Pg. 197. Jauharatul Kalaam Fi Madhis Saadaatil A’laam, Pg. 119

Attitude of those who were forced

Some foolish people who had joined Ibn Saad’s army under compulsion, began to pray for Imam’s success and help over his enemies.

Saad bin Ubaidah says, “Old men from us, the people of Kufa stood on a mound and were tearfully saying: O Allah! Send Your help to Husain.”

Saad objected to them and said, “O enemies of Allah! Why don’t you come down to help him?”[1]

Ibn Saad’s Fear

Ibn Saad was distressed by the losses his troops had to suffer. That impure decadent man employed the method of hatred and he persuaded his soldiers to fight the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) saying, “This is the son of Ali, he is the son of the killer of Arabs. Attack him from all sides.”

Ibn Saad employed the enmity of ignorance against the Holy Imam. He reminded them of Arabs who had been killed at the hands of Amirul Momineen (‘a) and urged them to take vengeance for their blood. This is a logic having no relation to Islam, because Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) did not slay the Arabs. Rather, His Eminence had destroyed the powers that had deviated from religion.

Ibn Saad told the archers to target the Imam. On the basis of what historians says, four thousand arrows were shot towards the Holy Imam (‘a). The blessed body of His Eminence became a target of the arrows of those wicked people.[2] After that His Eminence became involved in battle with them which was so ferocious that it’s like hasn’t been seen anywhere in the history of humanity.

Imam (‘a) Reaches Water

Thirst had become intense upon the Imam and caused him untold discomfort. So he attacked the Euphrates. While according to some historians 4000 men were guarding it. However they fled from before the Holy Imam and he was able to reach to the water. He took some water in his hand to quench his killing thirst but a decadent man from those people shouted at him, “You want to enjoy the water while your family is being attacked?”

With a mighty courage, Imam threw back the water and rushed back to save the honor of his women and children, but he found them safe and sound and realized that it was nothing but a ruse to lure him away from the river.[3]

Ibn Hajar says, “If they had not employed this ruse and not prevented him from getting water they would not have been able to have an upper hand over him because he was such a stalwart who neither fled nor surrendered.”[4]


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/424
[2] Biharul Anwar 45/50
[3] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/58
[4] As Sawaiq al-Mohreqa Pg. 197

Attack on the camp of Imam Husain (‘a)

The noble-minded Imam fell among the armies of the enemy. He fought them with great valor and ferocity while those people had launched an attack on his camp to plunder the ladies and children. So he shouted on them:

“O followers of Abu Sufyan’s family! Even if you have no religion and do not fear the Hereafter, at least be noble in your lives and return to your origin and lineage if you are Arabs, as you claim to be…”[1]

By these words, the Imam removed them from the circle of Islam and considered the family of Abu Sufyan to be inimical to Islam whose descendants led the powers of oppression. The tragedy of Kerbala was nothing but a continuation of their malice and hatred to the Prophet of Islam (s)…

Imam (‘a) urged them to at least follow the Arab customs followed in the pre-Islamic period of Ignorance in Arabia, which included not persecuting the ladies and children and restraining from every type of wickedness and oppression. At that time, the decadent wicked man, Shimr bin Zil Jaushan spoke, “What are you saying, O son of Fatima?”

That wicked man thought that by addressing the Imam with regard to his relation with mother he was being disrespectful to him and he didn’t know that he had related him to the pure source and prophethood. For His Eminence, Husain it was sufficient matter of pride that the chief of the ladies of the worlds was his mother as the Holy Prophet (s) has said.[2]

Imam (‘a) told him, “I am fighting you. The women are blameless. So ask your mercenaries to keep away from my family as long as I am alive.”

Shimr agreed to this. At that time those criminals surrounded His Eminence from all sides and began to hit with swords and spear in such a way that His Eminence was terribly wounded and bleeding.

The Last Sermon of Imam Husain (‘a)

Imam (‘a) in spite of the circumstances and condition he was in, delivered a sermon to his enemies and in it he warned them against deception and mischief of this world. Historians say: His Eminence did not remain alive for much time after that and was soon martyred. The sermon was as follows:

“O slaves of Allah! Fear Allah and beware of the world. That if the world had  


[1] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 54. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/76. Tabari, Tarikh 5/450. In Al Abkaar fee Wasaful Sifwatul Akhbar, Pg. 38
[2] Hafiz Suyuti, Ath Thaghurul Baasima fee Manaqibus Sayyadatun Fatima, Pg. 44. From the facsimile at Imam Amirul Momineen (a.s.) Library. And it is mentioned in it that: Imran bin Haseen has narrated that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) went to visit Fatima when she was indisposed and asked her: “How are you?” She replied: “I am unwell and the pain is distressing me, I don’t have a morsel to eat. He said: “My daughter! Do you not like being the leader of the women of the world?” “Then what was Maryam?” she asked. “She was the leader of women of her world and you are the leader of the women of your world.”

lasted for anyone and if anyone had survived in it forever, the prophets were more deserving of remaining in it and more eligible for satisfaction and good destiny. However the Almighty Allah has created its inmates for death. Thus soon it would be destroyed; its bounties will end and its joys will turn to sorrows. Residence with contentment and lodging on hire. So take the provision and the best provision is piety and fear of Almighty Allah! Perhaps you may be guided.”[1]

Imam (‘a) asks for worn-out clothes

Imam (‘a) asked his Ahle Bayt to get him his old dress so that no one be impelled to steal it after he is martyred. He wore it below his dress so that it may not be plundered. After that they brought a small dress for him but he did not like it. He said: It is the dress of one who is humiliated. Then he took the dress and tore it from places and wore it below his dress, but that was also plundered after he was martyred.[2]

Imam Husain’s (‘a) Farewell to his family

Imam (‘a) turned towards his family to bid farewell to them for the last time while his wounds were bleeding. He requested the honorable ladies of the family of prophethood and abode of revelation to put on their coverings and be ready for tests and tribulations. He ordered them to be patient and submissive before the divine destiny and said:

“Be prepared for trials and know that Allah Almighty will guard and protect you and save you from the mischief of enemies and your end shall be with goodness. The enemy shall involve you in different kinds of hardships and as recompense for these troubles you shall be rewarded with different bounties and honors. So do not complain and do not utter any such thing that would decrease your value.”[3]

Kingdoms shall perish and countries shall be destroyed, civilizations will disappear but this faith which has no bounds, is more deserving for permanence and more eligible for immortality than every existing thing in this life. Which heart has the capacity to bear such tragedies and welcome them with firm determination and submission to the command of God? He is none but Husain (‘a), the hope of the Holy Prophet (s) and the beloved grandson of His Eminence and the one who expressed the perfect picture of His Eminence.

When the daughters of the Prophet (s) saw the Imam in this condition they fell into gloom and sorrow. They clung to him and with distressed hearts bid farewell to him. Their faces had paled due to fear. When the Imam saw them his feet began to tremble furiously.

Imam Kashiful Ghita says: “Who can picture His Eminence, Husain (‘a) while waves of calamities were raging around him and hardships surrounded him from


[1] Zahratul Aadaab 1/162. Kifayatut Talib, Pg. 429
[2] Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/125
[3] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 276

all sides? In that condition he decided to bid farewell to his survivors and remaining ladies and children. Thus he came to the tent that housed the noble ladies of the house of prophethood and the daughters of Zahra (‘a). Those noble ladies came out terrified like a flock of partridges, and encircled one who was bathed in his blood. Can you imagine that terrible scene, the condition of Husain (‘a) and the fearsome circumstances without your heart getting scorched, your intellect confounded and your tears flowing?”[1]

The hardship of the Imam in bidding farewell was the most difficult that His Eminence had to bear. Because the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (s) were striking their faces and their laments and wails arose as they remembered their grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s). They threw themselves on the Imam so that they may bid farewell to him. This tragic scene affected the Imam so deeply that none but Allah could gauge its intensity.

The dirty wicked man, Umar Ibn Saad screamed at his armed troops and urged them to attack the Imam and he said, “As long as he is busy with his family, you all attack him now. If he gets a chance he shall, by Allah merge your left wing with the right.”

Those degraded fellows attacked the Imam and shot arrows upon him. The arrows fell among the ropes of the tents and some of them pierced the tents of the ladies and they became agitated and went back inside. At that time Imam Husain (‘a) rushed towards those mutated beasts like a ferocious lion and began to strike off the necks of those filthy men while arrows were shot from his left and right and His Eminence was facing them with his chest and neck.[2] Arrows that caused the most injuries and pain to the Imam were as follows:

  1. Arrow that hit his pure mouth and he began to bleed. His Eminence kept his cupped hand below it. When it was filled with blood he threw it towards the sky and addressing the Almighty said: “O Allah! This is little in Your way.”[3]

  2. Arrow that hit upon his blessed forehead illuminated by the effulgence of prophethood. It was shot by Abu Hatoof Jofi. He began to bleed. His Eminence raised his hands to invoke curse on those killers and said: “O Allah! You can see the condition I am in due to Your disobedient servants. O Allah, account them and with Your power send them to destruction, that none of them should remain on the earth and You must not forgive them at all.”

At that time he shouted at that army: “O sinful people! How did you behave with his progeny after the passing away of Muhammad? You will, after me, not kill anyone but that you consider his killing important. But that act, after my killing will become easier. By Allah, I hope the Almighty shall bestow honor to me with martyrdom and after that He shall take vengeance for me from you in such a way


[1] Jannatul Maawa, Pg. 115
[2] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 277-278
[3] Ad Durrun Nadheem, Pg. 551

that you will not realize it…”[1]

They requited the Prophet (s), who had saved them from poverty and deprivation by persecuting his children and shedding the blood of his relatives. They acted with them in such a way that it makes one shiver due to the horror and faces are ashamed. Allah accepted the prayer of the Holy Imam and took vengeance for him from the oppressive enemies. Because not much time passed but mischiefs and turmoils fell upon them and Imam’s revenge seekers, like Mukhtar, organized a great revolution and pursued each of them such that they were compelled to run in the deserts and Mukhtar’s officers were chasing them till most of them were put to death.

Zuhri says: “None remained from the killers of Husain but that he met his end either by execution, by becoming blind, by having face blackened or being exiled from the country.”[2]

  1. The most important thing that injured the Imam was as mentioned by historians: Imam, after he had been weakened due to loss of blood, stood for sometime to rest when a wicked man threw a stone upon him which hit the Imam’s blessed forehead. He began to bleed. Imam picked up the hem of his garment to wipe the blood from his eyes. Another wicked one shot a three pronged arrow to His Eminence that sunk into the blessed chest of the Holy Imam. A chest that contained the heart which was earnest and kind for all. At that time His Eminence became certain of his death. He looked towards the sky and said:

“In the name of Allah, by Allah and for the religion of the Messenger of Allah (s)…O Allah! You know that these people have killed such a one except whom there is no son of the daughter of the Prophet.”

Then he pulled out the arrow from his back and blood was flowing like water from a drain pipe. His Eminence cupped his hand before it and whenever it was full he used to toss it at the sky saying: “Whatever befalls me makes it easier for me to meet the Lord.”

Imam (‘a) took a quantity of his blood and smeared it over his face and beard and with awe like that of the Prophet said, “I will be like this till I meet the Almighty and my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s) while I am smeared in my blood…”[3]

  1. Haseen bin Numair shot an arrow at His Eminence on his blessed mouth and injured it. It began to bleed and His Eminence collected his blood in his cupped hand and threw it to the sky invoking curse on those sinful criminals: “O Allah! Take their accounts and destroy them with Your power and not leave anyone of  

[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 278
[2] Ibne Qutaybah, Uyun al-Akhbar 1/300-301
[3] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/34

them on the face of the earth.”[1]

Arrows continuously hit His Eminence till the respected body of the Imam became a part of them while the loss of blood and intensity of thirst was causing him a great pain. Thus he sat down and was shaking his neck due to the severity of the pain. He was in this position when the dirty wicked one, Malik bin Nasr attacked him and abused His Eminence. He slashed him with the sword. The cap that the Imam had worn was full of blood. Imam (‘a) glanced at him and cursed him, “May you never eat with your right hand nor drink by it. May Allah gather you with the oppressors on Judgment Day.”

Then he threw away the cap and called for a cloth which he tied around his head. Then he called for another cap, put it on and bound it in place.[2] That unjust fellow moved to the cap the Imam had thrown and picked it up, but his hands were paralyzed.[3]

Imam (‘a) with Ibn Rubah

Muslim bin Rubah was the last person from the companions of the Imam who had survived along with the Imam so far. An arrow hit the face of the Imam and the Imam sat down on the ground and pulled it out, the wound started bleeding. Imam did not have further strength. He told Ibn Rubah, “Fill both your hands with this blood.”

Ibn Rubah cupped his hands below the wound and when they were full the Imam said, “Pour it into my hands.”

He poured it into the Imam’s hands and His Eminence raised them towards the sky and addressed the Almighty, “O Allah! Take vengeance for the blood of the son of the daughter of Your Prophet.”

At that moment he threw that blessed blood towards the sky and according to Ibn Rubah not a drop from it fell back to the ground.[4]

Imam’s Confidential Supplication

In those last moments, the Imam turned towards Allah and with an attentive heart spoke to Him with confidentiality and humility and complained to Him about the tragedies and calamities that had descended upon him:

“I am patient on Your decree as there is no deity except You. O one who listens to those who call Him for help! There is no lord for me except You and there is no deity except You. I am patient on Your command, O One Who conveys help to one who has no helper! O the Eternal one Who has no end! O the One Who enlivens the dead! O One Who has power over everything! Dispense justice between me  


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/407
[2] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/35
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/408
[4] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/223. Kifayatut Talib fee Manaqib Ali Ibne Abi Talib, Pg. 431-432

and them as You are the best Judge.”[1]

This was the faith that had merged with his whole existence and had become the most important element of his being…He remained attached to God and observed patience on Divine decree. He left upon the Almighty the tragedies and calamities that had befallen him and the pain he had received due to them. This deep faith enabled His Eminence to disregard all that was befalling him.

Dr. Shaykh Ahmad Waili, in a remarkable elegy says:

“O the master of the day of Ashura, while the sand of Kerbala has become a green and fresh pasture.

Chosen companions, brother, suckling child clinging to the neck and valiant youngsters.

And those dignified youths whom you had lost and those with elegant faces and attractive appearances.

You went forward to see the sacrifices when pure blood was flowing from them.

A secret prayer was flowing from your lips that thanked the Almighty and glorified Him.

O Allah! You must be pleased with it if he is trying to please You as it is less than Your pleasure.”

Attack on Imam Husain (‘a)

O Allah! That group of sinners consisting of the most wicked and decadent fellows of the earth attacked His Eminence from all sides and striked with swords and hit him with spears. Zara bin Shareek Tamimi hit the palm of the left hand and another fellow hacked at his shoulder. And the most inimical one to His Eminence was Sinan bin Anas who sometimes attacked with sword and sometimes with the spear and later he used to boast about this act. He used to describe to Hajjaj whatever he had done with His Eminence and say, “I hit him with the spear and cut him into pieces with the sword!”

Inspite of being stone-hearted Hajjaj became sad and he shouted, “But you two will not gather at the same place!”[2]

Enemies of Allah surrounded the Imam from all sides and his pure blood was dripping from their swords. Some historians say that no one in Islam had been as much wounded by swords as His Eminence, Husain (‘a) because he received at least 120 injuries from swords, spears and arrows.[3]

Imam (‘a) remained on the ground for sometime. All of them were awed by him and were afraid to kill him, therefore they receded behind each other. Sayyid Haider says:


[1] Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 283
[2] Majma az-Zawaid 9/194
[3] Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/123

“No battle became as prominent because he was lying on the ground but the stalwarts were afraid of him.”

His awe was dominating their hearts. So much so that some of the enemies have said: “The elegance of his face and the luminosity of his countenance dissuaded me from putting him to death.”

No one moved towards him but with the disinclination to kill him. And he used to turn back.[1]

Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) comes out

Granddaughter of the Prophet (s), Her Eminence, Zainab, came out from her tent in distress and anxiety while she was lamenting for her brother and other members of her family and mournfully saying, “If only the sky had fallen on the earth!”

Ibn Saad came before her and she screamed at him, “O Umar! Would you allow Aba Abdillah to be killed while you stand and watch?”

That wicked fellow turned away his face while tears were flowing from his eyes.[2]

The noble lady had no more strength that she could bear to see her brother in a condition that shakes up patience. So she returned to her tent to console the agitated women and children.

Horrible Tragedy

Imam (‘a) remained alive for a long part of the day while wounds and loss of blood compelled him to lie motionless. At that time he screamed at those oppressors, “Have you gathered to kill me? By Allah! After me you shall not kill any man. By Allah! I am hopeful that the Almighty Allah will bestow me honor with your humiliation. And after that He shall take vengeance from you in a way you would not perceive…”

The malicious sinner, Sinan bin Anas had pulled out his sword and did not allow anyone to go near the Imam lest he may gain precedence over him in beheading His Eminence and he may be deprived from the rewards of Ibn Marjana.

Umar bin Saad, the filthy man, addressed Shabth bin Rabi and said, “Go ahead and bring his head to me.”

Shabth objected to him and said, “I pledged allegiance to him, then betrayed his trust. Now should I go out and get his severed head? By Allah, I shall not do it.”

Ibn Saad was infuriated and he warned him, “I shall complain about you to Ibn Ziyad.”

“Do it!” replied Shabth.[3]

Shimr screamed at the foot soldiers and the cavalry, “Why are you waiting for the  


[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 282
[2] Jawahirul Matalib 2/289
[3] Ad Durrun Nadheem fee Manaqibul Aaimma, Pg. 551

man? May your mothers be deprived of you!”

Khooli bin Yazid hurried to His Eminence and bent down to cut off his head but he fell weak and began to tremble because the Imam’s awe had affected him. Sinan bin Anas scolded him and said,[1] “May God crush your arm! Why are you trembling?” After that, according to some historians, Sinan attacked like a dog and cut off the Imam’s head as we shall explain afterwards, while the Imam was smiling for the everlasting success he had achieved.

Imam (‘a) gave up his life as a ransom for the glorious Quran, as a price for nobility, respect and magnanimity that enables humanity to achieve an exalted status…,the price that he presented was precious and great, because he was killed as an oppressed and persecuted one after having borne the grief of the death of his children, Ahle Bayt and companions and also along with it he was extremely thirsty. He was beheaded right under the eyes of his women and children. Thus what price can be greater than that which the Imam (‘a) presented as a sacrifice to Allah?”

Imam (‘a) with a great devotion and loyalty began to praise and thank the Almighty as his transaction had been a profitable deal as the Almighty Allah says:

“Surely Allah has bought of the believers their persons and their property for this, that they shall have the garden; they fight in Allah's way, so they slay and are slain; a promise which is binding on Him in the Taurat and the Injeel and the Quran; and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice therefore in the pledge which you have made; and that is the mighty achievement.” [2]

Verily, the Imam in his thankfulness and glorification obtained such a profit and pride that apart from him no one has obtained it because there is none in the family of martyrs for truth who achieved the honor, nobility and immortality as the Imam had. This world exalts his remembrance and the sacred sanctuary of His Eminence is the most popular and important shrine on the earth.

The great Imam raised high the standard of Islam to wave it while smeared with his own blood and that of the martyrs of his Ahle Bayt and companions. And in this vast world he spread effulgence for the communities and opened the way for freedom and honor of nations of the earth.

Imam (‘a) reached martyrdom so that the rule of truth is established in the earth and the society is relieved from the Umayyad regime. Who were such that they had denied the rights of people and converted the country into a killing field so that they may get whatever they want.


[1] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/36
[2] Surah Taubah 9:110

The wicked killer

Historians have difference of opinion as to the killer of the Holy Imam. Some of the opinions are as follows:

1. Sinan bin Anas

Many historians are unanimous that it was the wicked transgressor, Sinan bin Anas who beheaded the Holy Imam (‘a).[1] Regarding him the poet has said:

“Which calamity is equal to the hardships of Husain? The day he was killed at the hands of Sinan.”[2]

2. Shimr bin Zil Jaushan

Some sources say that Shimr bin Zil Jaushan, the leper, was the killer of the Holy Imam[3] because this wicked man was among the most inimical to the Imam.

Reinhart Dozy, the orientalist says, “Shimr did not hesitate for a moment in killing the grandson of the Prophet (s) while other fellows restrained from committing this heinous crime, though all of them were infidels like him.”[4]

3. Umar bin Saad

Maqrizi and others say, “It was Umar bin Saad who killed the Imam after other murderers refused to put the Holy Imam to death.”[5]

4. Khooli bin Yazid Asbahi

Some sources have mentioned: Khooli bin Yazid Asbahi killed the Imam and severed his head.[6]

5. Shabl bin Yazid Asbahi

Some historians have written that Khooli bin Yazid Asbahi dismounted from his horse to behead the Imam but his hands began to tremble furiously. His brother Shabl came to him and severed the Imam’s head and handed it over to his brother.[7] 

6. Haseen bin Numair

Some historians have written that he was the killer of Imam Husain (‘a).[8]


[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/78. Maqatilut Talibeen Pg. 118. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/188. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/409. Tarikhul Quzai 330
[2] Al-Istiab 1/395
[3] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/36. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 284
[4] Spanish
[5] Maqrizi, Khatat 2/285. Daar Ahya al-Uloom
[6] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/111. Durarul Abkaar fee Wasaful Sifwatul Akhyaar, Pg. 38. And it is mentioned therein that Umar bin Saad said to his men: Come down and cut off his head. So Nasr bin Harsha Zubabi came and hit at the neck of Husain. Ibne Saad became angry and said to the man on his right: Woe be on you! Go to Husain and put him to rest. Thus Khooli went to him and decapitated him.
[7] Tarikh al-Khamis 2/298. Mausisa Shaban
[8] Al Ifada min Tarikhul Aimmatus Saadah

7. A man from Madhij

Ibn Hajar has mentioned this[1] and it is him alone who has mentioned thus.

8. Muhajir bin Aws

Sibte Ibn Jauzi has written this matter[2] and except for him no one has quoted it.

These were some different opinions regarding the identity of the Imam’s killer. What we however believe is that it was Shimr bin Zil Jaushan who was of those who took upon themselves the responsibility of killing the Imam and along with Sinan he was instrumental in beheading the Imam as some historians have agreed.[3]

Anyway, woe be on the one who stepped forward to commit this heinous crime because what he had done is the worst sin ever committed on the earth in the past or will ever be committed in the future.

It is narrated from His Eminence, the Holy Prophet (s): When he described the painful chastisement that the killer of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) would suffer as he had seen in the Hereafter: “Husain’s killer is in a casket of fire and half the punishment of all Hell shall be upon him. While his hands and legs shall be chained in chains of fire and the head is drooping so that he may fall into the fire of Hell. He shall be having such a terrible stink that the inmates of Hell will seek Allah’s refuge from it and he shall continue to bear that horrible chastisement. Whenever his skin is burnt he would be given another skin so that he may taste the painful chastisement and it shall not be reduced a bit for him. He shall be forced to drink boiling water. Woe be on those from the punishment of Allah, the Mighty and the Honored!”[4]

He shall meet the Messenger of Allah (s) in a condition that he had caused His Eminence to mourn for his grandson. Mansur Namri says:

“Woe be on you, O killer of Husain, you have carried such a load that it shall be very difficult for you.

What a good thing you have conveyed to the Prophet in his grave by aggrieving him thus?

With what face will you meet the Prophet while you have been one of his killers?”[5]

Imam’s age at Martyrdom and the year of his martyrdom

Opinions of the historians vary slightly about the Imam’s age at the time of martyrdom. They are as follows:


[1] Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/353
[2] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan
[3] Al Ifada min Tarikhul Aimmatus Saadah
[4] Ibne Maghazali, Manaqib, 66, Hadith no. 95
[5] Zahratul Aadaab 3/669. Al Aghani 12/21. Al Istiab 1/395

  1. 58 years – most historians believe this to be correct.[1]

  2. 56 years – Yaqubi believes this to be correct and he says: …as His Eminence was born in the 4th year of the Hijrah.[2]

  3. 57 years[3]

  4. 65 years[4]

However the year of the martyrdom of His Eminence was the 61st year of the Hijrah as mentioned by most historians,[5] that corresponds to 10th October 680 A.D.[6] And what Hujjatul Islam, Shaykh Muhammad Raza Aale Kashiful Ghita (may Allah have mercy on him) has quoted, that it was on the 10th of July,[7] is not correct…”

Historians say: There was a period of 50 years between the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s) and the day His Eminence, Husain (‘a) was killed.[8] When Muslims disregarded that His Eminence was the beloved one of the Prophet and his grandson, that the Prophet had left among his community in his place.

Reddening of the sky

The earth began to shake and the horizon became dark and black[9] and a fearsome redness spread in the sky.[10] This was the sign from Allah for the sinful murderers who had defiled all the divine sanctities. Regarding this flaming horizon in redness and fieriness, Abul Alaa Mauri says:

“On the horizon is the testimony of redness for two martyrs, Ali and his son.

Because they were two dawns at the end of night and in its beginning were two rays.

There is an inscription in its dress so that it may come to the Beneficent Lord on the Day of Judgment and complain.”

Even the sun which was on the verge of setting conveyed that it also shared the sorrow of Imam Husain (‘a) along with all the helpless creatures of the world.


[1] Al Istiab 1/397. Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/356. Irshad Mufid 2/133. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/198. Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/111, H. 281. Majma az-Zawaid 9/197-198
[2] Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/246
[3] Al Istiab 1/397
[4] Miraatul Jinaan 1/131
[5] Usud al-Ghaba 2/20. Al-Isabah 1/335. Al Istiab 1/393. Majma az-Zawaid 9/197. Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/245
[6] Tarikh Dawlatul Arabiya Pg. 144, Jadool Pewaste be Fajril Islam, Pg. 305. It conforms to Jadool Pewaste be Tarikh Dawl Ibne Abari with which Yaqubi has fixed the month.
[7] Mujallatul Arab, Year 1, No. 23&24
[8] Tarikhul Khamis 2/299
[9] Miraatul Jinaan 1/134. Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/354
[10] Majma az-Zawaid 9/197. Al-Ittiaf be Hubbil Ashraaf, Pg. 42 has mentioned the same.

Imam Husain's Horse

The horse of Imam Husain (‘a) smeared its head with the blood of the martyred Imam and in an agitated condition galloped towards the camp of His Eminence in order to inform the family of the Imam about his martyrdom.[1] When they saw the horse they learnt of the Imam’s martyrdom. It is mentioned in Ziarat-e-Nahiya that when the ladies saw the exhausted horse with the saddle sagging down, they came out of the tents in a distressed way, spreading their hair over their faces. They began to wail and lament and being humiliated after being honored they began to head towards the place of the Imam’s martyrdom.

The great lady of revelation cried, “Oh Muhammad! O my dear father! O Ali dear! Oh Ja’far! Oh Hamzah! This is Husain in the wilderness who is lying on the sands of Kerbala. If only the sky had crashed to the earth. If only the mountains had dispersed in the desert.”[2]

Mercenaries of Ibn Saad were terrified and would have liked the earth to swallow them up. They began to weep due to the intensity of the calamity that had befallen the daughters of prophethood.

Burning of the Tents

Those wicked people went towards the camp of the Holy Imam and without caring that daughters of prophethood and respected ladies of revelation were housed therein, while they were carrying burning torches[3] and a caller among them was calling out. “Burn down the houses of oppressors.”

Oh Allah! The Imam’s house they claimed was the house of oppression, and the house of Ibn Marjana is the house of justice! While he and his father wreaked injustice and oppression on people in Iraq.

When the fire began to rage on the tents, the daughters of prophethood and honorable ladies of revelation ran from one tent to another while fire was chasing them. Orphans were screaming and some of them held the skirt of the garment of their aunt to escape the fire and keep themselves away from the injustice of the oppressors. Some of them headed towards the wilderness and some also requested those wicked people to spare them. That scene was so terrible that mountains split by its grief. Such a horrible sight that Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) could never forget it as long as he lived. He used to remember it always with deep grief and remark:

“By Allah! Whenever I look at my aunts and sisters I am seized by fury and I recall the way they fled from one tent to another and one camp to another while the caller from those people was screaming: Burn down the houses of oppressors.”


[1] Muzaffari, Tarikh Pg. 208
[2] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 284
[3] Muzaffari, Tarikh Pg. 284

Plundering the Imam’s body

Ibn Saad’s troops committed the worst kind of infamy and the most terrible of crimes. With absolute wickedness they hastened towards the body of the great Imam and began to plunder his armaments and garments. A man from Bani Nahshal took away the Imam’s sword,[1] which originally belonged to the Holy Prophet (s) and was called Zulfiqar.[2] Qais bin Ashath, one of the commanders, stole the Imam’s fur towel. He was condemned much for it and even received the nickname of Qais al-Qatifa due to this act of his.

Ishaq bin Hawiya also took the shirt of His Eminence. Akhnas bin Murshid plundered his turban[3] and Bahir took the trousers and put them on, but he fell down paralyzed.[4] Nothing remained on the body of the Imam except for another pair of trousers that the Imam had torn up so that they may leave it alone.

At that time, the most decadent man and the filthiest person Bajdal arrived and searched for something he may plunder from the Imam but he could find anything. He searched more and his eyes fell on the finger ring of the Imam which was smeared in blood. So he cut off the finger of His Eminence and took the ring.[5] At last those oppressors abandoned the unclothed body of the Holy Imam to burn in the sun.

Plundering the Noble Ladies of Prophethood

The decadent fellows of Kufa and the slaves of Ibn Marjana set upon plundering the noble ladies of prophethood and honorable ladies of messengership and looted all the ornaments and jewellery they had…A wicked one of them went to Umme Kulthum and snatched away her earnings.[6] Another evil fellow rushed to Her Eminence, Fatima, daughter of Imam Husain (‘a) and pulled away her anklets while he began to cry vehemently. The daughter of Imam Husain (‘a) was shocked by this and she asked him, “Why are you crying?”

“Why shouldn’t I weep, when I am robbing the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s).”

When she saw his sympathy she said, “Spare me.”

That degraded man exposed his lowliness and said, “I am afraid that someone else would take it.”[7]


[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/409
[2] Tarikh Siyasi Dawl Arabi: 2/75. It is mentioned in the marginal notes that this sword was taken by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) as booty in the battle of Badr (Ibne Hazeel, Hilyatul Farsan wa Shajaan, Pg. 15). And it was named Zulfiqar; because it resembled the backbone. (Kunuz al-Fatimeen, Pg. 54). This sword came into the possession of the Abbasids and after that the Fatimids (Al-Majalis, Manuscipt). Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/409
[3] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 284
[4] Muzaffari, Tarikh, Pg. 208
[5] Abi Faraas, Sharh Shaafiya 2/2
[6] Muzaffari, Tarikh, Pg. 208
[7] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/303

They rushed out to loot the camps and tents. Shimr pounced upon the belongings of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) to plunder them. He found a little quantity of gold and he plundered it. He gave some of it to his daughter that she may get some ornament made from it. When she took that gold to the goldsmith and just as he put it into fire it turned to smoke and disappeared.[1]

In the same way a woman from the clan of Bakr bin Wail saw the plunder and persecution of the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (s) and she was highly consternated by it. She began to urge her people to save the descendants of the Prophet from those wicked people. She said, “O clan of Bakr bin Wail, should the daughters of the Messenger of Allah be looted? Except for Allah the rule belongs to none. You must take revenge for the Prophet.”

Her husband hastened to her and made her return to her tent.[2]

Those troops had abandoned every human quality and become devoid of every sympathy and kindness, because its elements thrashed the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (s) with the sticks of their spears in such a way that they were terrified and sought refuge in each other. Fatima, the daughter of Imam Husain (‘a) was hit so hard that she fell down unconscious. When she regained consciousness she saw her aunt, Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum besides her, weeping.[3]

The tragedy of the family of prophethood makes the stone weep and arouses the sentiments of rocks.

Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) Attacked

The unjust oppressors attacked His Eminence, Zainul Abideen (‘a) who was seriously ill and his illness had weakened him much and sorrow had made his heart burst. The leprous wicked one, Shimr bin Zil Jaushan wanted to kill His Eminence but Hamid bin Muslim shouted at him, “Glory be to Allah! Will boys be killed too? He is sick!”[4]

That decadent man paid no attention to him but his aunt, Her Eminence, Zainab ran and clung to him saying: “He shall not be killed except that I am too killed!”[5] The wicked people released him and in this astonishing manner was saved the life of Imam Ali Ibn Husain (‘a).

Then Umar bin Saad arrived and the women cried out and wept before him, so he ordered his followers to leave them alone.[6]


[1] As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 90
[2] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 180, Muqarram, Maqtal Pg. 301
[3] Muqarram, Maqtal Pg. 300-301
[4] Tabari, Tarikh 5/454
[5] Qirmani, Tarikh, Pg. 108. And in Ad Durrun Nadheem, Vol. 5, Pg. 341 it is mentioned that Ibne Saad issued orders for killing Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) but Her Eminence, Zainab threw herself upon him and said: “He shall not be killed till I am alive.” Then she persuaded him to spare him.
[6] Ibne Kathir, Tarikh 8/188-189

Horses Trample on the body of the Great Imam (‘a)

The wickedness of those oppressors increased and they did not leave a single sanctity without defiling it and they did not leave out any transgression, because Ibn Saad wanted to carry out all the commands of his lord and master, Ibn Marjana. So he shouted, “Who will volunteer to trample the chest and back of Husain with horses?”[1]

Waqidi says, “Shimr came forward and trampled that holy body under the hooves of his horse.[2] Ten persons from the sons of unchaste women came out and volunteered. They were: Ishaq bin Yahya Hadhrami, Hani bin Shabth Hadhrami, Adlam bin Naim, Asad bin Malik, Hakim bin Tufail Tai, Akhnas bin Murshid, Amr bin Sabih Madhiji, Rajaa bin Munqidh Abadi, Salih bin Wahab Yazani and Salim bin Khaithama Jofi.[3] They trampled the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) below their horses.[4] The filthy criminal, Asad bin Malik boasted in front of Ibn Saad and said:

“We trampled the chest after the back with our strong and powerful horses.”[5]

This evil cutting up into pieces took place under the very eyes of Ibn Saad and other forces of those troops.[6] In my view such a thing was not done to any other member of Ahle Bayt of Imam or his companions. It is supported by the orders that were sent from Ibn Ziyad for Ibn Saad and they included trampling the Imam’s body and not the body of anyone else.

Anyway, by this wicked deed, they announced the intensity of their malice towards the Imam and their aloofness from all human feelings.

They trampled the body of an Imam brought up under the care of Prophet (‘a) and whose flesh was grown from the flesh of Ali and Fatima and the Holy Prophet (s) had said about him:

“Husain is from me and I am from Husain. O Allah, love one who loves Husain.”

They trampled the body of one who had stood up to confront the oppressors and transgressors and who wanted to eradicate injustice and to establish justice on the earth as Allah has commanded.

Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) at the corpse of Imam Husain (‘a)

Granddaughter of the Prophet (s), daughter of Amirul Momineen (‘a), Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) stood besides the corpse of her respected brother that was shred into pieces by swords and looked at it for a long time. Then she raised her


[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/454-455
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/419
[3] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/111
[4] Ibne Kathir, Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/189
[5] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/39
[6] Tarikh Dawlul Islam 1/57 and it is mentioned therein: The army men took the Imam’s body to Ibne Saad and that filthy man ordered that it be mutilated by trampling it under the hooves of horses.

glance to the heavens and with a heavy heart prayed, “O Allah! Please accept this sacrifice.”[1]

Humanity pays tribute to this faith which is the secret of immortality of the sacrifice of Husain.

The brave one of Kerbala bore the burden of those terrible hardships and drunk the cup of those calamities and became eligible for divine rewards, while she humbled before the Almighty and beseeches Him to accept the sacrifice. What patient one could be like this?

The strength of personality became obvious in the granddaughter of the Prophet and the meaning of heritage of Prophet became clear forever. Along with it she defended the aims of the Holy Imam and she revealed the reality of his sacrifice, she opened up the channels to expose the secrets of his martyrdom.

Sinan Demands the Reward

Those transgressors gathered around the killer, Sinan bin Anas[2] and gave him good news of having achieved his aim and told him, “You have killed Husain, the son of Ali and Fatima…you have killed the most important personality of Arabs. He wanted to overthrow this regime. So go to your ruler and ask him to reward you for your accomplishment, even if they give you their whole treasury it would be less than what you deserve.”

This aroused his greed. He came forward and stood near the tent of Ibn Saad and called out:

“Fill up my stirrups with gold or silver as I have killed the great leader.

He was the best of men in lineage and one who had the noblest ancestors.”

When Ibn Saad heard this, he screamed and hit him with a whip saying: “Woe be on you. If Ibn Ziyad hears you saying this he would strike off your neck.”[3]

That decadent oppressor has described his aim in these lines of his that his sole aim in killing the best of men with regard to lineage, was only to obtain material wealth.

Apart from this, no other poem is recorded from those people either during or after the battle. It is the sole representative of the views of the majority of the troopers and it exposed their debased values.

Dr. Yusuf Khalif has explained the above lines as follows: “Regretfully the sentiments expressed in these lines are feelings of joy and pride, because the killer is indicating that the heinous crime he committed was for the regime. He went to  


[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 307
[2] Sinan bin Anas is the grandfather of Shareek Qadi who is notorious for impropriety. This is mentioned in Al-Istiab 1/393.
[3] Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/189 and it is mentioned in Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/126 that Anas recited these two couplets to Ibne Ziyad and the same thing is mentioned in Al-Istiab 1/393.

the governor thinking that minimum reward he would get is that he would fill his stirrups with gold and silver. That is why he has lauded the one he has killed thinking that anyone else in his place would said the same thing. It made him think that he had become eligible for the governor’s reward. He spoke up in a commanding tone, not ready to accept rejection. That is why he did not initiate his demand with the poem. He began by asking for the recompense first, as if the most important thing for him was material wealth.”[1]

Tribes divided the severed heads among themselves

The different tribes divided among themselves the beheading of the martyrs who had laid down their lives for social justice and emancipation of men from injustice and persecution.

Islam, in all its battles, had refrained from maiming of corpses but the Umayyad army considered it a permissible thing, because it was a practice initiated by Muawiyah who considered it lawful as he had ordered the severed head of Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai to be taken through the provinces. Ibn Marjana followed his footsteps and had the severed heads of Muslim and Hani sent to Yazid and after that he ordered Ibn Saad to severe the heads of the martyrs of Kerbala so that they may be sent to Yazid. That group of persecutors distributed among themselves the heads of martyrs in order to carry them as gifts to Ibn Marjana. Tribes divided the severed heads as follows:

  1. Kinda: They got 13 severed heads in their share and were under the leadership of Qais bin Ashath.

  2. Hawazin: They took up 20 severed heads and these people were under the command of Shimr bin Zil Jaushan.

  3. Madhij: Seven heads

  4. Bani Qais: Nine

  5. Bani Tamim: Seventeen

  6. Bani Asad: Sixteen[2]

  7. Other clans: Seven[3]

The headless corpses of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) and the martyrs remained in the desert of Kerbala and their heads were hoisted on points of spears so that they may remain as torches of guidance to show the path of truth, nobility and faith for all the nations of the world.

Return of the Tyrant, Ibn Ziyad, to Kufa

The tyrant Ibn Ziyad was camping at Nukhaila and he received reports every moment because he was in constant touch with Ibn Saad. When he received the  


[1] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa, Pg. 373-374
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/412. Al Muntazim 5/341
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/91-92

news of killing of His Eminence, Husain he set out for Kufa immediately in order to retain full control over the situation, and that he may put into effect all the necessary steps and precautions. He ordered the security staff of the town numbering 10,000 to assure that no one in Kufa may take up arms. This was announced publicly in the whole town.[1] In the same way he sent delegations to different town to announce their victory and spread fear among the people.[2]

Night of the 11th Mohurrum

Hardships experienced by the ladies of prophethood on the eleventh night of Mohurrum were such that no matter what you say you cannot imagine them and you cannot visualize them perfectly. No calamity from the calamities of the world and no tragedy from the tragedies of time remained but that it befell them. They were facing such wicked enemies who had not an iota of nobility or humanity. While on the other hand their defenders from the family of the Prophet were lying cut up into pieces before them unburied. The tents were burnt to ashes and all their belongings were plundered. All their ornaments and pieces of jewellery were also snatched away. Dr. Shaykh Ahmad Waili has described that grief-stricken scene in his outstanding elegy:

“Night fell after the men had been killed and the noble ladies were distressed.

Orphans fled to the wilderness and perished. And the ladies were wailing and lamenting in grief.

The remaining part of the burnt tents and the sick one screaming due to the chains that tied him.

And the pain of the cruel lashes falling on them and the bodies that had been cut up into pieces in a merciless manner.”[3]

However, the granddaughter of the Prophet and sister of Husain (‘a), Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) did not fall weak in front of those fearsome hardships and she did not accept defeat. She searched for the runaway children in the deserts and wilderness. She was gathering the members of the household in that terrible wilderness and she consoled them in those calamities. She remained awake that night, guarding the people of her family, while she was herself surrounded by waves of such grief and pain that except for Allah no one could estimate it. It was in these conditions she performed her Midnight Prayer. But due to the extreme physical weakness she had to pray in the sitting position.

Number of Martyrs of Ahle Bayt (‘a)

There are varying opinions regarding the number of people martyred from Ahle Bayt (‘a). Some of them are as fellows:

  1. “17 persons.” This is mentioned by Imam Sadiq (‘a) in his dialogue with an  

[1] Ma’-al Husain Fee Nahzatih, Pg. 285
[2] Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husain
[3] Al Balagh Magazine, Issue no. 9, Year 4, Pg. 13

elderly person when he was speaking about the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husain (‘a). His Eminence told him, “It is the blood that the Almighty Allah will avenge for with the hardships of the sons of Fatima. Like the hardship of Husain who was martyred with 17 persons of his family. Such a terrible scene shall never be seen. He performed this good deed for Allah and observed patience in His way. May Allah reward them with best rewards of the patient ones.”[1]

Muhammad bin Hanafiyah says: Along with him (that is His Eminence, Husain), seventeen persons from the progeny of Fatima were martyred.”[2] And she is Fatima binte Asad, the mother of Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a).[3]

  1. “16 persons”: Hasan Basri says: “Along with Husain bin Ali, sixteen persons were killed, such that there is no one like them on the earth.”[4]

Surraqa Barqi says:

“O eyes, weep in sorrow and lamentation and observe mourning if you want to mourn for the family of the Prophet. There were nine of them from the progeny of Ali and seven from the progeny of Aqil who were martyred.”[5]

  1. “15 persons” – Mughairah bin Naufal in his couplets has mentioned this and said:

“Time has made me laugh and made me weep. Days having different conditions and colors.

What a sorrow I feel that my being cannot forgo the sorrow and grief for the men who were killed, nine of them in Kerbala that some are in the shrouds and six people, the like of whom I cannot see, sons of Aqil, who were the best of the knights.”[6]

  1. 19 persons from Ahle Bayt (‘a).[7]

  2. 20 persons, seven from the sons of His Eminence, Ali (‘a), two from the sons of His Eminence, Hasan (‘a), two sons of Abdullah bin Ja’far, three from the sons of His Eminence, Husain and from the descendants of Aqil, six persons other than the sons of His Eminence, Muslim.[8]

  3. Twenty three people from the descendants of His Eminence, Husain and his  


[1] Abdullah bin Nurullah, Maqtal al-Husain Awalim Imam al-Husain 17/342-343. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/47
[2] Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/127. Maqrizi, Khatat 2/286
[3] Abdullah bin Nurullah, Maqtal al-Husain 17/342
[4] Miraatul Jinaan 1/133. Dhahabi, Tarikhul Islam 5/14. Zakhair al-Uqba Pg. 146. Tarikh Khalifa bin Khayyat Pg. 235. Al-Istiab 1/396
[5] Ibne Qutaybah, Al-Ma’rif, Pg. 204
[6] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/421
[7] As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 87
[8] Miraatul Jinaan Pg. 59

brothers and Ahle Bayt.[1]

  1. Twenty-seven persons were martyred from the descendant of Fatima,[2] that is Fatima binte Asad.

  2. Seventy-eight persons: This figure is mentioned by Sayyid Abu Muhammad Hasan Husaini,[3] the genealogy specialist, but it is mistaken, perhaps what he meant to denote was the number of persons martyred with His Eminence, Husain (‘a).

  3. Thirty persons: This figure was mentioned by Imam Sadiq (‘a) in his conversation with Abdullah bin Sinan in which he directed him to fast on the day of Ashura and advised him to break it after the Asr time. He said: “Because it was at that time (that is Asr) that fighting ended for the family of the Messenger of Allah (s), while thirty persons from them along with their companions had fallen, whose martyrdom was very hard upon the Messenger of Allah (s). And if he had been alive in this world he would have received condolence regarding them.”[4]

  4. “Thirteen persons.” Only Masudi has mentioned this figure[5] and other than him none has stated thus.

  5. “Fourteen people”: Khwarizmi has quoted this number in his writings.[6]

These were some different views that are recorded. The Ziarat of Nahiya has mentioned 17 names. Shaykh Mufeed has also quoted the same.[7] Perhaps this is the most likely figure and Allah is the best of the knowers.

The injured among the companions of Imam Husain (‘a)

Some companions of the Imam fell injured on the battlefield and troops of Ibn Saad did not kill them. They were as follows:

1. Suwaar bin Humair Jabiri

He was carried out from the battlefield wounded and he passed away six months later due to his injuries.[8]

2. Amr bin Abdullah

He fell down wounded in the battlefield and he was carried out. He died a year later due to his wounds.[9]

3. Hasan bin Hasan


[1] Dhariatut Tahira, Pg. 133-134
[2] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/112
[3] Bahrul Ansaab, Part II, Pg. 180
[4] Safinatul Bihar 2/196, Ayanush Shia 1/586
[5] Muruj az-Zahab 3/62
[6] Khwarizmi, Maqtal Husain 2/47
[7] Al-Irshad, 2/125
[8] Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/122
[9] Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/122

Hasan, son of Imam Hasan fought like a valiant stalwart and fell down wounded on the ground. When those wicked men of Kufa came to cut off the heads of the martyrs, he was on the verge of death. His maternal uncle, Asmaa bin Kharja Fuzari interceded for him and his intercession was accepted. He took him to Kufa with himself, nursed his injuries and restored his health after which he was sent to Medina.[1]

Those who were saved from death

Of the companions of the Imam and his Ahle Bayt, the following persons escaped being killed:

1. Uqbah bin Samaan

Uqbah bin Samaan was the slave of Rabab, daughter of Imrul Qais, wife of Imam Husain (‘a). He was taken as a prisoner to Ibn Saad who asked him:

“Who are you?”

“I am a slave.”

He freed him and he was not caused any harm.[2]

2. Muraqqa bin Qumama

Muraqqah bin Qumama was a companion of the Holy Imam (‘a), his clansmen arrived and requested that he should not be killed. He was taken under custody to Ibn Marjana and Ibn Saad informed him about what had passed regarding him. Ibn Ziyad got him exiled to Zareh in Bahrain and he remained over there.[3]

3. Muslim bin Rubah

He was accompanying the Imam and he used to nurse His Eminence. When His Eminence was martyred he fled and managed to escape safely. He has narrated some of the events and incidents of Kerbala.[4]

4. His Eminence, Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

His Eminence was ill and emaciated. He was saved from those killers in an interesting manner. He was taken as a hostage, first to Ibn Marjana and after that to Yazid bin Muawiyah. 

5. Hasan bin Hasan

As we mentioned previously, he fell down injured in the battlefield and was later cured of his wounds.

6. Umar bin Hasan

Umar bin Hasan escaped being killed. We don’t know whether he participated in the battle or was too young in age.


[1] Life of Imam Hasan (a.s.) 2/471
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/410-411
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/411. Tabari, Tarikh 5/454
[4] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 377. Maqatilut Talibeen, Pg. 119

7. Qasim bin Abdullah

He was the son of Abdullah bin Ja’far.

8. Muhammad bin Aqil

9. Zain bin Hasan[1]

These people escaped being killed and were freed from the hands of those sinful killers thirsty for the blood of Ahle Bayt.

Losses suffered by troops of Ibn Saad

Ibn Saad’s troops suffered heavy losses because the companions of the Imam, despite their few numbers had destroyed all the battalions of that army and spread sorrow and mourning in the whole province of Kufa.

A historian says: They did not leave a single house in Kufa but that they put it into mourning.

What support this matter are the reported statements of some commanders regarding the terrible losses they had suffered that we have mentioned in our precious discussions.

Among the most bitter losses according to some historians was the large number of these killed from the army of Ibn Marjana; estimated to be 8000.[2] I think this figure is exaggerated and the number of those killed in the army of Ibn Saad was lesser.

Ibn Athir has said that the number of those killed was 8080 in addition to those who were wounded.[3] But this is absolutely incorrect and the aim of reporting such figures is to lower the importance of the camp of Imam Husain (‘a); because it is well-known that they inflicted the troops of Ibn Saad with defeats and put them to great losses so much so that their commanders began to bemoan the excess of their dead and it is natural that this matter is not possible with such a small number.

Dream of Ibn Abbas

When the Holy Imam set out from Hijaz to Iraq, Ibn Abbas remained disturbed and involved in grief and anxiety as he feared the betrayal of the people of Kufa with regard to his nephew. On the 10th of Mohurrum when he went to sleep, he awoke agitated and distressed saying, “By Allah! Husain is killed!”

His companions objected to him and told him, “Never, O Ibn Abbas!”

He replied to them, tears flowing on his face and said, “I saw the Messenger of Allah (s) in dream holding a bottle and he was saying to me: Do you know what my Ummah has done after me? They have killed my son, Husain and this is his and his companion’s blood that I am taking up to Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.”

His companions noted the day and time of that dialogue till they received the news  


[1] Maqatilut Talibeen, Pg. 119, Al Wafi bil Wafayat 12/428
[2] Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husain
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/80

of the martyrdom of Imam (‘a) which had taken place at the same hour.[1]

Dream of Umme Salma

Mother of believers, Her Eminence, Umme Salma had been shocked and distressed at the time of the Imam’s departure to Iraq, because the Messenger of Allah (s) had informed her about the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) in the land of Kerbala and had also entrusted her with a bottle containing the soil of that place telling her that when the soil in the bottle turns to blood she must know that his grandson has been killed.[2] She used to glance at that bottle everyday and remark: “The day you turn to blood, would be a terrible day indeed.”[3]

On the 10th day of Mohurrum, Umme Salma fell asleep and saw the Messenger of Allah (s) in dream smeared in dust. She asked, “O Allah’s Messenger! What happened to you?”

“I have just witnessed the killing of Husain.”

Umme Salma awoke perturbed and worried and cried, “Husain is killed, O Allah, fill up their houses and graves with fire.”[4]

Ibn Abbas heard the cries rising from the residence of Umme Salma. When he went to her he found her house teeming with ladies and gents. He asked, “O mother of believers, why are you shouting and lamenting?” She did not give any reply; she glanced at the ladies of the Hashemite clan and said, “O daughters of Abdul Muttalib! Start mourning with me and weep upon Husain as by Allah, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah and His beloved one, Husain, has been killed.”

She was asked, “From where did you learn about this?”

She told them about the dream in which she had seen the Holy Prophet (s).[5] The women began to lament, till Medina fell into mourning and no day was seen to be as full of grief and sorrow as that day.[6]

From that day Umme Salma used to hold condolence meetings (Majalis) in remembrance of Imam Husain (‘a) and they used to be attended by Muslims who came and gave condolence to her for the terrible tragedies. One of those who arrived to give condolence was Shahr bin Haushab who began to narrate what he had heard from the Messenger of Allah (s) in praise of Ahle Bayt. He said: The Messenger of Allah (s) entered my bedroom. Fatima brought a thing for him and kept it on the ground. His Eminence told her, “Call Hasan and Husain and your  


[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/237. Miraatul Jinaan 1/134. Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/17. Tarikh Baghdad 1/142. Maqrizi, Khatat 2/285-286. Muntazim, 5/346
[2] Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/114 &122. Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/17. Muzaffari, Tarikh Pg. 210. And it is mentioned therein that the first person to mourn Imam Husain (a.s.) in Medina was Umme Salma.
[3] Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/114
[4] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/238
[5] Shaykh Tusi, Amali 314 H. 639
[6] Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/246

cousin Ali to me.” When they all come to His Eminence he said, “O Allah! These are my special folks and my Ahle Bayt, thus kept filth away from them and purify them a thorough purification.”[1]

At that time Umme Salma cursed the people of Kufa and said, “They killed him, may Allah kill them. They deceived him and insulted him, may Allah curse them.”[2]

She fainted due to intensity of her grief and she lived only for a short period after which she passed away in the sorrow and shock regarding His Eminence, Husain (‘a).[3]

Khooli Carries the severed Head of Imam Husain (‘a)

Ibn Saad had no qualms in trampling the body of Imam (‘a) and shredding it into pieces although Islam has prohibited such a thing as Ibn Marjana had ordered him for it. Without any delay he arranged for the severed head of Imam (‘a) to be carried by Khooli bin Yazid Asbahi and Hamid bin Muslim Azadi as a gift for Ibn Marjana just as the severed head of His Eminence, Yahya bin Zakaria was taken to the tyrant ruler of Bani Israel.

The two of them set out with full speed without being distracted by anything else till they reached Kufa in the last part of the night to find the palace locked.

Khooli picked up the Imam’s severed head and hastened to his house so that he may convey its good news to his wife. He hurried to his house fast and due to exhaustion and joy he was panting. His wife, Nuwaar, daughter of Malik Hadhrami, who followed the Alawite faith, came out to him and asked impatiently, “What is the news?”

“I have brought the wealth of the times. This is the head of Husain which shall be with you in the house.”

That lady could not restrain herself and she cried at him, “Woe be on you! People have brought gold and silver and you bring the head of the son of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger? By Allah, nothing will keep us together.”[4]

In this way her husband became the most disliked person to her.

Early next morning Khooli took the Imam’s head to Ibn Ziyad who expressed his pleasure and joy because he thought that all his aspirations and dreams were realized.


[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/141
[2] Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/114-115
[3] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/383
[4] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/411. And it is mentioned in Jawahirul Matalib 2/290 that he told him: By Allah, my bed shall never get you. And in Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/190 it is mentioned: She got up from her bed and looked at the pail and saw a light that arose from the pail to the sky and she witnessed the widespread brilliance that rose from around it.

The Tyrant and Killer of the Imam (‘a)

Ibn Ziyad glanced at the executioners in his employ who had participated in the battle and asked, “Which of you killed him?”

A person arose happily thinking that perhaps he would be rewarded, he said, “I killed him.”

“What did he tell you?”

“When I raised the weapon I said: May you soon enter Hell fire. He said: If Allah wills, I shall be bestowed by Allah’s Mercy and intercession of His Prophet.”[1]

Ibn Marjana hung down his head in shame while he felt degradation and expected a terrible destiny.

Ibn Ziyad takes revenge from the Severed Head of the Imam

When the severed head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) was placed in front of the wicked one, son of the wicked one, he began to poke at the teeth with a cane. By this he obtained singular pleasure and his malice and revengefulness was apparent on his facial expression. Then he began to hit with his cane at the teeth and lips of the Imam, the lips that the Messenger of Allah (s) often kissed.[2]

Qayyim bin Muhammad says, “I have not witnessed a more horrible scene than the placing of Husain’s severed head in front of Ibn Ziyad and his poking at the teeth with a cane that he held.”

In the gathering of Ibn Ziyad was present, Zaid bin Arqam, a companion of the Holy Prophet (s). when he witnessed this act he lost control and screamed at Ibn Ziyad, “Take your cane away from those two lips. For, by God, other than Whom there is no deity, I have seen the lips of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, touch those two lips countless times.”

Zaid began to weep and Ibn Ziyad made fun of that companion and said, “May God make your eyes weep. If it was not for the fact that you are an old man who has become silly and your mind has left you, I would have cut off your head.”

That companion began to speak and remarked, “Don’t you want me to narrate a tradition for you that his harder than this? I saw the Messenger of Allah (s) place Hasan on his right thigh and Husain on his left and keeping his hand on their heads he was saying: O Allah, I am leaving these two as a trust with You and the righteous believers. Then how is the trust of Allah’s Messenger with you, O Ibn Ziyad?”

Zaid stood up in front of him and addressing the people of Kufa said, “O Arabs! After this day you shall be enslaved. You have killed the son of Fatima and given rulership to the son of Marjana. He shall kill the righteous ones of you and take the  


[1] Tarikh al-Khamis 2/300
[2] Shaykh Tusi, Amali Pg. 252 H. 449

bad ones of you in slavery, woe be to you, one who is happy with disgrace and humiliation.”[1]

When Ibn Ziyad finished playing with the severed head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s), he glanced at the non-Muslim soothsayer and said, “Get up and put your…on the head of your enemy. And that soothsayer did as he was told…[2] Ibn Ziyad acted with Ahle Bayt (‘a) in a way that no infidel in the world has ever acted; because he defiled each and every sanctity and considered the acts prohibited by Allah to be lawful.

Return of the Armed Forces

The armed forced remained in Kerbala on the 11th of Mohurrum and buried with all respect and arrangements their dead; and opened for them a pit of Hell whose heat goes on increasing and its fire is never extinguished. And the fire shall scorch their faces while they shall be thrown headlong into it.

As for the corpse of the great Imam, and the bodies of his purified Ahle Bayt and companions, they were purposely left strewn in the plains of Kerbala so that winds may blow on them. Neither were they given the funeral bath nor wrapped in shrouds.

Ibn Saad ordered Hamid bin Bakr Ahmari to give the call among the troops for departure to Kufa.[3] Ibn Saad’s forces set out from Kerbala after the noon prayer time, while their standards consisted of the severed heads of the Purified Progeny held aloft the points of spears, who had stood up for restoring truth and establishment of justice. They took along with them the ladies and sisters of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) and the ladies of the companions, who apart from the children, numbered twenty.[4] They mounted them on camels without saddles like the prisoners of Turk and Dailam are carried so that they may be harassed more. Then they were made to pass besides the corpses of Ahle Bayt while even the Bedouins of the pre-Islamic Arabia did not resort to such a procedure. But the troops of Ibn Saad did not follow any code of ethics and possessed no human feeling.

When the ladies of prophethood glanced at the corpses of the martyrs of Ahle Bayt they lamented loudly. Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) cried in a heart-rending voice, “Oh Muhammad! This is Husain, who lies in wilderness washed in his blood and his body is shred into pieces and these are your daughters as hostages and your progeny has been killed.”[5]


[1] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 87. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/412-413. Al Manaqib wal Mathalib.
[2] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/411
[4] Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 305
[5] Maqrizi, Khatat 2/289. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/193

Those people became perplexed and wordless and their eyes filled with tears; and the enemies and friends both wept.[1]

Distress of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

When Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) saw the corpses of his father and his Ahle Bayt and companions lying in the desert, and that no one had come forward to bury them, he became very much disturbed. His aunt noticed this and she tried to console him saying:

“Why do I see you throwing yourself dangerously, O surviving heir of my grandfather and brother? By Allah, it a pledge Allah made to your grandfather and father. The Almighty Allah has made a people take a pledge, whom the majority of the people of the earth do not recognize while they are well-known to the folks of heavens. They shall gather up the severed limbs and bodies washed in blood and consign them to dust. They shall hoist a flag for your father in the land of Taff; such that its effects will never become old and its symbols will not disappear by the passage of time. Leaders of disbelief and followers of misguidance will try to destroy and erase it but it would have no effect except that it would only cause them to be more exalted.”[2]

Granddaughter of the Prophet (s) removed the deep grief of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) due to the fact that his father was lying unburied. It was so because she had heard from her father and brother that a group of believers shall bury these bodies and a flag shall be installed for them, such that its effects shall never disappear; they would remain forever, till the time the Almighty Allah inherits the earth and whatever is upon it…Umayyad and Abbasid rulers tried eradicate its traces and went to great lengths in this but did not succeed even though they utilized all their capabilities. Thus the tomb of the Imam remains in its original glory and still fills the vastness of the earth with effulgence, pride and honor in the best way; such that humanity in all its periods has gained respect through it.

Burial of the Purified Corpses

The body of the respected Imam and the corpses of the honorable martyrs from his Ahle Bayt and followers lay in the desert burning under the hot sun and in the path of the fast blowing winds. While a group of believers who hadn’t been besmeared with fighting against the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) hastened to bury these dead ones. Historians are not unanimous about the day the burial took place. The following are the varying opinions:

  1. 11th of Mohurrum[3]

  2. 12th of Mohurrum[4]


[1] Jawahirul Matalib fee Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib (a.s.), 2/291
[2] Kamil az-Ziarat, Pg. 261, Chap. 88, H. 1
[3] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/189. Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/112
[4] Bihar, 45/107

  1. 13th of Mohurrum[1]

But the people who succeeded in burying those dead bodies were the people of Bani Asad who resided near the battle site; and after the soldiers of Ibn Saad went away from there they hastened out and saw the pure bodies strewn in the desert. They knew that they were corpses of the Holy Ahle Bayt and the bodies of the companions; they began to wail and lament and their women cried out aloud in grief, and in the silence of the night when they became safe from the fear of enemies they dug up a grave for the Chief of the martyrs and another for the rest of the martyrs and this was done in moonlight at the time of dawn such that a scene like this had never been seen by them in all their life.

Shaykh Mufeed says:

“When Ibn Saad departed, some of Banu Asad, who had been staying at al-Ghadiriyya went to al-Husain, and his followers. They performed the funeral prayer over them. Then they buried al-Husain at the place where his tomb still is, and they buried his son Ali bin al-Husain al-Asghar (the younger) at the foot of the body. They dug around the area next to the feet of al-Husain for the martyrs from his House and his followers. They gathered them together and buried them all together. However, they buried al-Abbas bin Ali, in the place where he was killed, on the road to al-Ghadiriyya, where his tomb still is.”[2]

Some Shia sources have explained that the Bani Asad people were confused about those purified corpses and they could not find a way to identify them because their heads were severed. While they were in that condition Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) appeared all of a sudden and identified for them the martyrs of Ahle Bayt and companions. He rushed to carry the body of his father and put him in his place of repose, while tears were flowing on his face. He said:

“Fortunate is the land that provided space for the burial of your purified body. The world is dark after you and the Hereafter is illuminated by your effulgence. We shall remain awake the whole night and always be aggrieved for you till the Almighty chooses your abode for your Ahle Bayt. My salutations upon you and the mercy of Allah and His bounties, O son of Allah’s Messenger.”

At that time he inscribed the following on the grave of His Eminence: “This is the grave of Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib (‘a) who was killed thirsty in a foreign land.” They buried at the foot of the Imam, his son, Ali Akbar and the other respected martyrs of the Bani Hashim family and their followers were interred in another mass grave. Then Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) accompanied the Bani Asad people to the Al-Qama river and buried the Moon of the Hashemites, Abbas bin Amirul Momineen (‘a) The Imam wept intensely and said: “O Moon of the Hashemites! May the world be destroyed after you. My salutations upon you, O the  


[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 319
[2] Al-Irshad, 2/114

martyr who had regard for the Almighty. May Allah’s mercy and bounties be upon you.”[1]

Those two became the symbols of human perfection and sign of every just sacrifice.

Aqqad says: “They are one of the Ziarat places that Muslims, partisans as well as non-partisans, circle them and it is deserving that every man must circumambulate around it; because it is the sign of steadfastness for the most Holy thing that a living man gets honor by it among the other living things, the dome of sky had never shaded a tomb of a martyr except that the meaning of martyrdom and the events of the martyrdom connected to it are contained in it, and it is more honorable than it.[2]

Yusuf Rajeeb says: “No tomb from the tombs of the righteous saints of God, except the grave of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) is the focus of the world and the prayer direction of the people because the Almighty Allah bestowed them the honor of performing Jihad against their enemies, who had planned to destroy the pure religion, make the religious law defunct and considered caliphate as a thing found lying around, so that by it they may make every unlawful thing lawful and whatever the Almighty has prohibited and His Book considers unlawful, they get enjoyment by doing all these things.”[3]

That blessed mausoleum is the symbol of magnanimity and it has honor and religion.

It became the most holy and prominent center of worship in Islam, because all the time Muslims are busy circumambulating it. They seek blessings from it and gain proximity to the Almighty. In the same way it became the place of circumambulation of the proximate angels of Allah; as Fazl bin Yasar has narrated from Imam Sadiq (‘a) that he asked His Eminence regarding the most important of the grave of martyrs and the Imam replied, “Is Husain bin Ali not the best of the martyrs? By the One in Whose hand is my life, around his grave are forty thousand angels, with disheveled hair and smeared in dust who shall continue to weep upon him till the Day of Resurrection.”[4]

Imam Reza (‘a) says, “Around the tomb of Imam Husain (‘a) are seventy thousand angels, with disheveled hair and smeared in dust who shall weep and lament for His Eminence till the Judgment Day.”[5]

The great tomb of His Eminence is bestowed the gift of fulfillment of prayers uttered in it; because for every grief-stricken and needy person who turns towards it Allah Almighty bestows relief from whatever is troubling him.

Jawahiri says:


[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 319-320
[2] Abul Shohada
[3] Journal ‘Ghurra’, Year 2, No. 20, Pg. 22
[4] Ibne Maghazali, Manaqib, Pg. 397, Hadith no. 450
[5] Zakhair al-Uqba Pg. 151

“You have gained such a lofty status that what a refuge you became for the needful ones. And may your tomb be blessed, that what a refuge it is.

The period of time takes refuge in it and bows and prostrates to both its sides.”[1]

Historians say: When Imam Hadi (‘a) was ill, he ordered Abu Hashim Ja’fari to send a person to the Mausoleum of Husain to pray for his cure. When His Eminence (‘a) was asked about it he said, “The Almighty Allah likes that He be supplicated at this place.”[2]

The leader of the martyrs obtained an exalted station with the Almighty Allah in the same way as he has attracted the hearts of the Muslims and obtained their sincere devotions. Because they travel to his tomb from far off places in the world so that his right is fulfilled and that they may confess to his merits and obtain great rewards that Almighty Allah has fixed for his visitors.

Nicholson says, “Within a period of few years after the martyrdom of Husain, his place of repose became a site for pilgrimage towards which people travel.”[3]

Excellence of the Ziarat of Imam Husain (‘a)

Widely narrated and excessive traditions are recorded from the Imams of Ahle Bayt (‘a) extolling the excellence of the Ziarat of the Chief of the martyrs (‘a) and some religious jurisprudents consider it to be an obligatory duty. Muhammad bin Ali Alawi has written a two volume book titled: Excellence of Ziarat of al-Husain (‘a). We shall quote some of its narrators:

  1. Abu Hamzah Thumali says: I asked Ali bin al-Husain (‘a) regarding the Ziarat of Husain (‘a). His Eminence said: “Perform his Ziarat everyday. If you cannot, do it every Friday and if you are unable to do this also, perform it once a month, as one who does not perform his Ziarat has considered unimportant the right of the Messenger of Allah (s).”[4]

  2. Abul Jarud says: Imam Baqir (‘a) told me: How far is the tomb of Husain (‘a) from the place of your residence? I said: For the mounted, one day’s journey and for the one on foot, twenty four hours.

He said: “If we had been located as you are, we would have migrated to it.”[5]

  1. Muhammad bin Muslim has narrated from Imam Baqir (‘a) that he said, “Command our Shias to perform the Ziarat of the tomb of His Eminence, Husain (‘a), as it increases livelihood and life-span and removes unpleasant things. It is obligatory for every believer to go there who believes him to be an Imam appointed by Allah.”[6]

[1] Jawahiri, Diwan 1/194
[2] Kamil az-Ziarat, Pg. 273-274, Chap. 90, H. 3
[3] Tarikh Adab al-Arabi
[4] Fadl Ziarat al-Husain (a.s.) Pg. 42 & 43
[5] Fadl Ziarat al-Husain (a.s.) Pg. 44
[6] Wasailush Shia 10/321

There are numerous reports on this subject which are positively received from the Imams of Ahle Bayt (‘a).

Supplication of Imam Sadiq for visitors of Imam Husain (‘a)

By this blessed supplication, Imam Sadiq (‘a) has prayed for the visitors of the tomb of his grandfather, His Eminence, Husain (‘a). It is narrated by Muawiyah bin Wahab and its text is as follows:

I asked permission to meet Imam Sadiq (‘a) and was permitted to enter. I entered to find His Eminence in his place of prayers. So I sat down to allow him to complete his devotions. I heard that he was invocating the Almighty in the following words:

“O One Who has chosen us for honor and nobility and by legateship bestowed an excellence for us and promised intercession for us. Gifted us the knowledge of the past and future and made the hearts of the people inclined towards us. Forgive me, my brothers and the visitors to the grave of my father, Husain (‘a). Who spend their money and toil with their bodies to reach to our good and well-being and with the hope in our mediation with You. And for pleasing Your Prophet and obeying our orders and for displeasing the enemies. And by this deed they desire to achieve Your pleasure. So, for our sake bestow them with happiness and protect them day and night and grant goodness and nobility to their women and children whom they have left behind. Make them reach goodness and righteousness and bestow them that lofty thing which they desire from their native place. And those who have preferred us over his children, relatives and family members.

O Allah! Our enemies persecuted them because they set out for Ziarat but this could not stop them from coming to us. And it is this opposition of those who have opposed us.

Thus have mercy on the faces that are affected by the heat of the sun. Be kind to the cheeks that are kept on the grave of Abi Abdullah (‘a). Be nice to the eyes that shed tears for us. Be merciful to the hearts that are in anxiety and burning for us. And deal with kindness the petitioners who petition regarding us.

O Allah! I am entrusting those souls and bodies to You so that You may convey them to the Pool side on the day of the thirst.”

His Eminence continued to supplicate thus while he was in prostration. When he concluded, I said, “May I be sacrificed on you, if what I have heard had been for one who is not cognizant of Allah, I think the fire of hell wouldn’t have touched him at all. By Allah, I wish I had performed its Ziarat and not gone for Hajj.”

“How near you are to that place!” said His Eminence, “Then what has stopped you from going for his Ziarat? Why did you omit this deed?”

“I didn’t know that it was such an important matter.”

“O Muawiyah! Those from the heavens who pray for the visitors are more than those who pray for them from the earth. O Muawiyah! Do not omit this deed as

whosoever omits it, will see with such remorse that he would wish that his grave was near it (Kerbala).”

Would you not like Allah to make you of those for whom the Messenger of Allah (s), Ali, Fatima and the Imams pray? Would you not like to be such that tomorrow angels shake hands with you? Would you not like to be one that shall come out without a single sin upon him that shall stop him? Would you not like to be of those who tomorrow shall shake hands with the Messenger of Allah (s)?[1]

Here comes to a close our discussion on the martyrdom of the Great Imam. Let us now move to Kufa to welcome the prisoners from Ahle Bayt who are arriving from Kerbala…


[1] Wasailush Shia 10/320-321