Prisoners From Ahle Bayt (‘a) in Kufa

Kufa welcomed the prisoners from Ahle Bayt (‘a) with anxiety and distress and humiliation and helplessness was covering them. Because the mouths were shut and the tongues had become dumb. No one was able to describe the severe grief that they harbored in their hearts due to the fear of the tyrannical regime that considered the life and honor of people worthless.

The bugles of the army began to blow and their flags began to wave while they were holding the severed heads of the Purified Progeny on their spear points and they had along with them prisoners, that is, the ladies of prophethood and noble sanctified women of revelation tied to their horses.

Muslim Jassas[1] has described that heart rending scene when he says: Ibn Ziyad summoned me to Kufa to renovate the Governor’s Palace. When I was working on the plaster of doorways, suddenly the lamentations of all the people of Kufa arose. I glanced at one of the laborers and asked, “Why is Kufa lamenting like women?”

“They have brought the heads of Khawarij who rebelled against Yazid!”

“Who is that Khariji?”

“Husain bin Ali!”

Muslim says: I permitted the laborer to leave. Then I began to strike at my face till I feared I would lose my eyesight. I washed the plaster off my hand and left the palace and walked till I reached the locality of Kanaas. I stood there and people were waiting for the arrival of the hostages and severed heads. Forty camels came forward carrying ladies and children. Suddenly I decried Ali bin al-Husain (‘a) on a saddle-less camel, his neck bleeding and he was wailing and reciting the following:

“O evil nation! Rain shall not fall on your land. O people who did not have regard for our grandfather with respect to us.

If the Messenger of Allah gathers us on the Day of Resurrection, what justification would you offer?

You carry us on saddle-less camels, as if we did not bring any religion among you.”[2]

Jazlam bin Bashir says: I reached Kufa in 61 A.H. at the time of the arrival of Ali bin al-Husain from Kerbala accompanied with the ladies; and soldiers were surrounding them and people had come out to watch the spectacle. They were astride camels without seats. Women of Kufa were wailing and lamenting. I saw Ali bin al-Husain (‘a) that illness had made him emaciated. There was an iron collar and chain around his neck and his hands were tied to his neck. He was  

[1] Jassas = Mason
[2] Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim 17/372-373

crying in a feeble voice: “They are wailing and lamenting for us, then who has killed us?”[1]

A Kufan lady stepped forward and asked the hostages: “What prisoners are you?”

“We are prisoners from Ahle Bayt (‘a).”

When the lady heard this, she screamed and women also began to cry with her. Their wails echoed in Kufa. One of the women collected whatever head scarves and coverings that she could find in her house and presented them to the Alawite ladies that they may cover themselves in presence of males.[2]

Another lady brought food and date fruits and gave it all to the young children who were suffering from extreme hunger.

Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum called out from the rear of the caravan: “Sadaqah (alms) is not lawful for us, Ahle Bayt.”

When the children heard the call of that lady each of them threw away whatever he or she held in the hand or in the mouth and told their neighbor, “Our aunt says: Sadaqah is unlawful for us, Ahle Bayt.”

Sermon of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a)

When Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a), granddaughter of His Eminence, the Holy Prophet (s) and sister of the Holy Imam saw the huge crowd that had filled up the roads and lanes of Kufa she began to address them in order to inform them about the reality behind their circumstances and tell them about the great tragedy that had befallen on Ahle Bayt, and to put the responsibility of this evil deed on the Kufians who had broken the pledge, disregarded the covenant and killed the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s). Now that after the martyrdom of His Eminence they were lamenting and wailing as if they had not committed this heinous deed. The text of Her Eminence’s sermon is as follows:

“Praise be to Allah and divine blessings be on my father Muhammad and his good and exemplary descendants. O people of Kufa, O you who are deceitful and treacherous:[3] Do you shed tears? May your tears never dry up and your loud lamentations never cease.[4] You are like the woman that unravels to bits the thread which she has firmly spun. Your faith is nothing but deceit and betrayal. Are there any among you but the immodest, disgraced, proud, spiteful, adulator, enemy and reviler? There are among you those who are as guileful as a beautiful plant growing in filth, or the silver on a grave. Certainly evil is that which your souls have sent before for you. Allah is displeased with you and in punishment shall you abide.

[1] Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim 17/371
[2] Abdullah bin Nurullah, Awalim 17/377, H. 2
[3] In a version it says: “Breaking of Pledge”
[4] In a version it says: “Your tears will not cease and your lamentations will not fall quiet.”

Are you crying and wailing? Indeed, by Allah. Do cry endlessly and laugh but little, for your deed was so horrendously disgraceful that you will never be able to atone for it. How can you wash away the crime of murdering the scion of the Seal of the Prophets, the essence of the message, the lord of the youth of Paradise, the refuge of your nobles, the refuge for whom you resorted during affliction, the bright divine proof of yours, your master who defended the Prophet’s tradition.

What an awful sin you did commit! Away with you, there will be no forgiveness for you. Certainly your efforts failed, your hands suffered loss and your bargain is brought to naught. You have made yourselves deserving of the wrath of Allah. Abasement and humiliation have been brought down upon you.

Woe to you! Do you know how you tore the liver of the Apostle of Allah? Whom of his womenfolk you exposed? What blood of his you shed? What honor of his you defamed?

Your deed is most certainly so dangerously ugly and foul, that it filled the earth and sky with its putridness. Are you surprised that it rained blood? Certainly the punishment of the Hereafter is infinitely more abasing, and you shall not be helped. Don’t make light of the delay of punishment in that it is not hastened by the fear of missing the taking of revenge. Most surely Allah is watching.”[1]

The brave lady of Kerbala, by the logic of truth and the call of rightfulness thrashed them and guided the filthy souls. She was not deceived by their false tears and their frauds and lies were not concealed from her. She reminded them of their most terrible crime that it was the worst thing ever committed on the earth.

She described them to be having the worst qualities and compared them to the most degraded people; because she described their deception and breaking of pledge as these two things are the source of decadence and evil of man.

Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) opined about their lamentations and said: They deserve to weep much and laugh less, due to the great sin that they have committed; because they killed the Chief of the youths of Paradise, son of the seal of prophethood and their savior and freedom fighter. They murdered the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah (s), destroyed his sanctity and took his women and children as hostages, thus which crime is worse and more tragic than this?

Reaction to the Sermon of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a)

People were shocked by the sermon of the daughter of prophethood and they became certain that they have destroyed themselves. Kharima Asadi has described the level of effect created by the sermon of that lady and says: By Allah, I have not seen any lady more eloquent than her, she spoke like Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a). After her sermon people fell into bewilderment. They held their hands to their mouths. I saw an old man approach her, weeping so profusely that his beard was wet with his tears. He said: May my parents be sacrificed on you! Your elders are  

[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 310-312

the best of elders and your youths are the best of youths and your progeny shall never be humiliated and degraded.[1] But Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) interrupted the discourse of his aunt saying: “Aunt dear, please be silent. By the grace of Allah, you are a natural intellectual and untaught scholar…”[2]

So, the brave lady of Kerbala stopped her speech leaving the gathering immersed in sorrow and grief.

Speech of Her Eminence, Fatima, daughter of Imam Husain (‘a)

Fatima, daughter of Imam Husain (‘a), who was yet a young girl, began to speak and deliver an outstanding and appealing speech. People were stunned by her eloquence and clarity. She astounded the minds and left the people perplexed and grief overtook them in a powerful way. She said:

“Praise for Allah as many times as there are grains of sand and as weighty as the weight of all that is from earth and sky. I praise Him and I believe in Him and I trust Him and I give witness that there is none worthy of worship except Him and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger and that his progeny was slaughtered by the bank of river Euphrates though they were neither vindictive nor did they claim or demand any land.

O Allah! I seek Your refuge from the sin of saying any untruth about You and anything other than what You have said regarding the last will (legation) of Ali bin Abi Talib; that they have snatched his right and have killed him without any fault in such a manner that his son was martyred yesterday and the martyrdom of Ali was enacted in one of the Houses (Mosques) of Allah in the presence of a number of Muslims (only in name). May their heads be destroyed, those who did not drive away oppression from him all through his life and death until You took him up to You. He who is the possessor of a praiseworthy character and whose talent is famous and whose guidance was well known. O Lord! No reproach of any taunter ever deterred him from his goal or the blame of any ridiculer. My Lord! You guided him in his childhood to Islam, You praised his character when he grew up. He was a constant well-wisher and sympathizer of Your religion and of Your Messenger (s) until you took his soul, the soul of the one who was a devout abstinent in the world, who paid no heed to the world but was always inclined towards the Hereafter and was a struggler in Your path. He was Ali from whom You loved and selected and guided to the right path.

Now, O Kufians! O the deceivers and disloyal and proud folk! Indeed we are the members of Ahle Bayt. God involved us in you and you in us and fixed our test well. He granted us His knowledge and wisdom. Hence we are the containers of His knowledge and wisdom and metaphysics and are His Hujjat (argument) on earth for His servants. He has honored us with His generosity and He has granted grace to His Messenger, Muhammad (s) over many of His slaves in a manifest manner.

[1] Ad Durrun Nadheem, Pg. 560
[2] Tabarsi, Al-Ihtijaaj 2/109-114

Then you rose up to deny and refute us and considered it correct to fight us, thought it was all right to destroy our property as if we were children of Turks or Afghans. Yesterday you killed my grandfather. The blood of the youth of Ahle Bayt is dripping from your daggers. All this is due to your age-old rancor, because, after committing all these felonious crimes your eyes have brightened and your hearts are overjoyed. Strange indeed is your slander against Allah and the conspired planning, which you planned, and Allah is the best of planners.

Lest you rejoice your deeds of shedding our blood and plundering our property because whatever calamities have fallen on us were in the Book (destiny) even before we confronted them. This is easy for Allah so that you may grieve over what you lost and become joyous on account of what you gained, and Allah does not like the proud and the boasters.

Be you destroyed. Await curse and chastisement, which is to visit you. Calamities will rain continuously from the sky and Allah’s wrath will surround you. Some of you shall be treated harshly by some others and you will remain in a permanent chastisement as a result of the atrocities inflicted on us by you. Beware that the curse of Allah is on the oppressors.

Woe unto you: Do you know how your hands pierced spears into our bodies or how your hearts inclined to fight against us or with which legs you rushed on us seeking war with us? By Allah, your hearts had become stony and your livers hard and your soul, ears and eyes were sealed. Satan made these crimes beautiful for you and threw dark curtain on your eyes. So you will never be guarded rightly.

Be destroyed O Kufians! Which inheritance of the Holy Prophet (s) was before you or on the basis of which vengeance did you exhibit so much enmity towards his brother Ali bin Abi Talib (‘a), my grandfather and his two sons (Hasan and Husain) the noble progeny of the Prophet (‘a) that the boaster from you said so proudly:

‘We killed Ali and his sons with Indian swords and with spear and we imprisoned their women like the Turkish prisoners. What a war we fought with them!’

O speaker! Dust in your mouth. By killing the group which has been purified by Allah and from whom impurity has been removed. How do you take pride in this? Take care of yourself and sit on your droppings like a dog, as was your father. Verily for everyone is whatever he has earned and sent ahead.

Woe unto you! Do you envy what Allah has granted us?

What is our fault if the ocean of our grace is roaring while your rivulet has no waves!

This is the excellence, which is granted to whomsoever He wishes, and Allah is the Lord of the greatest grace. The one whom Allah does not grant light, for him there will be no light.”[1]

[1] Ibne Tawus, Lohoof, Pg. 194-197. Ibne Numa, Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 87. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husain Awalim 17/379-380

The offspring of prophethood and Imamate spoke about numerous important matters in her great sermon which were as follows:

  1. She mentioned the suffering of her grandfather, Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a), the leader of truth and justice on the earth; sufferings and hardships that he bore till he was martyred in one of the houses of God, while the society of Kufa did not defend him and did not stand up in his support. Rather they left him isolated to confront hardships till the Almighty Allah called him towards Himself. He possessed such uncountable merits, good qualities and a righteous nature that the Almighty chose him and bestowed him with exclusive virtues and gifts.

  2. Similarly she spoke of the hardships of Ahle Bayt in that society. Because being the spiritual leaders of community they (peace be on them) were responsible for its defense but the community opposed the truth, shed their blood and defiled their sanctities and how great is their difficulty and how severe their tribulations.

  3. She condemned the open persecutions upon Ahle Bayt and she described the persecutors to be having the most evil qualities and pleaded to the Almighty to take revenge from them and punish them in the most painful way.

Reaction to the speech of Her Eminence, Fatima (‘a)

This sermon had a deep effect on the hearts of the people present in the gathering, because they became very much distressed by it and they began to weep and say: “O daughter of the pure ones, enough! Because you have scorched our hearts, burnt our necks and scalded our consciences.[1]

She discontinued her discourse leaving that huge gathering suffering and remorseful. They began to sigh and regret and lamented for their worthless destiny that what a great sin they had committed.

Sermon of Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum

Another daughter of the Prophet (s) Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum began to speak and firstly motioned the people to keep quiet. When silence fell, she began with praise and glorification of the Almighty and continued as follows:

“O Kufians! Woe unto your condition. What happened to you due to which you washed your hands off helping Husain (‘a) and killed him and destroyed and snatched his properties and imprisoned his women and heaped calamities on them? Be you destroyed.

Woe unto you. How many atrocities you carried out, how much sin you took on your shoulders, how much blood you shed, how many respected women you insulted (arrested), how many apparels did you plunder and how much property did you destroy? You killed the best of people after the Holy Prophet (s). Kindness has left your hearts. Yet, the party of Allah is victorious and the party of Satan is in loss.”

[1] Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husain, Pg. 313-315

The whole conglomeration was astounded by her speech. Women with hair askew striked their faces and such lamentation ensued as never had been witnessed before.[1]

Sermon of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) initiated his speech and after due praise and glorification of the Almighty said: “O people! The one who knew me has known. As for the one who did not recognize me I am introducing myself to them. I am Ali, son of Husain, son of Ali, son of Abi Talib (‘a). I am the son of the one who has been slaughtered by river Euphrates though he never asked for blood or inheritance from the killers. I am the son of those honorable ladies of the harem who have been disrespected, whose wealth and bounty has been plundered, and whose children have been arrested. I am the son of the one who was caught and killed and this is enough for me to be proud of.

O people! I administer you oath of Allah. Do you know that you wrote a letter to my father and then tricked him? You gave your word to him and extended allegiance to him. Then you left him and prepared yourselves to kill him! Be you destroyed because of what you sent forth. Woe unto your mentality. With which eyes will you look at the Messenger of Allah when he says: You killed my household and you insulted my harem? You are not in my community.”

The narrator says: Voices rose from all sides while they were telling one another: You got destroyed yet did not know?

The Imam said: May Allah have mercy on him who accepts my admonitions and remembers my advice regarding the command of Allah and His Prophet and his household as he is the good pattern for us.

All responded: O son of the Holy Prophet! All of us have listened to you and obeyed you and we are guardians of your responsibility (we are prepared to carry out your commands). We will not turn our face from you. Please order us. May Allah’s mercy be on you. We are at war with your enemy and we are with you in whatever you plan. We will arrest Yazid and we declare our disconnection from your enemy and our enemy.

The Imam said: Alas, alas. O disloyal conspirers! Is there any excuse, which is not between you and your passions? Do you want to do to me what you did to my father earlier? No, by Allah, no, because these wounds have not yet healed. It was only yesterday when my father, along with his household (‘a), was martyred. I am unable to forget the calamity of missing the Holy Prophet (s) and the calamity of losing my father and his children. His pain is in my mouth and its bitterness is choking me. His wrath is tightening my chest.[2]

[1] Ibne Tawus, Lohoof, Pg. 198, Sayyid Muqarram Pg. 316. Others believe that Her Eminence, Umme Kulthum was none but same as Her Eminence, Zainab (s.a.).
[2] Ibne Numa, Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 89, Al-Lohoof, Pg. 199-200

At that moment, the Imam halted in his discourse and turned away from those pledge breaking transgressors who had blackened the face of history by their hypocritical actions, because they killed the Imam and now they were weeping upon him.

In the Assembly of Ibn Ziyad

They brought the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (s) as hostages in a humiliating manner to Ibn Marjana, that son of decadence and betrayal in the governor’s palace, while that palace was full of sinful blood-sucking mercenaries so that they may report to Ibn Ziyad their victory and tell him about their supposed bravery on the day of Ashura. He (Ibn Ziyad) was shaking his legs in joyful mood while the decapitated head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) was placed in front of him. That tyrant considered it a plaything and tapped it with a small cane in his hand, shamelessly remarking, “I have never seen such a face!”

He had yet not completed his sentence when Anas bin Malik, companion of the Prophet (s) shot back in a very logical way saying: “He was a look-alike of the Prophet.”[1]

That tyrant became speechless.

In that assembly was present a man from Bakr bin Wail, named Jabir. He stood up saying, “By Allah, if I could find ten Muslim men, I would revolt against you and along with them rebel against you.”[2]

The Tyrant Ibn Ziyad with the Respected Lady of revelation

When Ibn Ziyad was satiated by taking out spite with the severed head of Imam, he glanced towards the ladies and children of His Eminence, Husain (‘a). He noticed a lady standing in a corner wearing an extremely worn-out dress, while she seemed to be commanding an awe and respected position. Ibn Ziyad wanted to know who she was, so he asked, “Who is that woman who has gone to the side and has sat in a corner with her women?”

Zainab did not answer. Ibn Ziyad repeated the question about her a second time but she considered him worthless and lowly and accorded him no reply. “This is Zainab, daughter of Fatima, the daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and grant him peace,” one of her women told him.

That tyrant and decadent man irked by her insult expressed his malice and said: “Praise be to God, Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims,” as he came towards her.

“Praise be to God Who has favored us with His Prophet, Muhammad, may God bless him and his family,” answered Zainab, “And He has purified us completely from sin. He only disgraces the great sinners and reveals the false nature of the  

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/417
[2] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayan, Pg. 98

profligate. Such men are not among us, O Ibn Marjana!”[1]

She spoke such severe words though she was among the ladies held as hostages and the powers of victors was threatening them and their swords were wielded over them…She brought down the tyrant from his throne and tossed him into the grave and destroyed his vanity. She exposed and insulted him in the presence of his employees. Ibn Marjana vented his ire saying, “How do you consider God has treated your House?”

The honorable lady of Bani Hashim replied to him with courage and steadfast with words of victory and success for herself and her family, “I have not seen but good, God decreed death for them and they went forward (bravely) to their resting-places. God will gather you and us together. You will plead your excuses to Him and we will be your adversaries before Him. May your mother mourn for you O Ibn Marjana!”

Ibn Ziyad became enraged and burnt with anger. He could not control himself and decided to punish Zainab.

“Governor”, intervened Amr bin Hareeth, “She is only a woman and women are not responsible for anything they say. Do not blame her mistakes.”

“God has healed my soul from your tyranny and the rebellion of your House,” Ibn Ziyad said to her.

Zainab, peace be on her, became weak and wept.

“By my life, she cried out to him, “you have killed the mature ones (of my family); you have pierced my family; you have cut down my young branches; and you have pulled out my root. If this heals you, then you have been healed.”

“By my life,” declared Ibn Ziyad, “this is a woman who makes poetry. Your father was a poet.”

“What has a woman to do with poetry?” she answered. “Indeed I have (things) to distract me from poetry but my heart causes me say what I am saying.”[2]

How painful and worthless this life is that the daughter of revelation is brought as a hostage to Ibn Marjana, who is trying to insult and ridicule her. O time! If you have more hardships for these great people you bring that also, but you don’t have anything more with which they can be troubled. 

The Tyrant’s Encounter with Zainul Abideen (‘a)

The tyrant, Ibn Ziyad looked over other members of Ahle Bayt (‘a) and saw Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) emaciated and weakened by his illness.

“Who are you?” he asked.

“I am Ali bin al-Husain” he answered.

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/457
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 5/457. Al-Lohoof, Pg. 200-201

“Didn’t God kill Ali bin al-Husain?”

“I have a brother who is also called Ali,” answered Ali, peace be on him, “the people killed him.”[1]

“Rather God killed him,” affirmed Ibn Ziyad.

“God receives the souls at the time of their death.”[2]

“How dare you answer me like that!” shouted Ibn Ziyad angrily, “and that will be the last of you because of (your) answer to me. Take him away and cut his head off!”

Zainab, his aunt, clung on to him, pleading: “O Ibn Ziyad, haven’t you had enough of our blood?”

Then she clung on to him and said: “By God, I will not leave him. If you kill him, kill me with him.”

Ibn Ziyad looked at her and at him, and said, “How wonderful is family relationship! I think she wants me to kill her with him. Leave him, for I see him (now) for what he is.”[3]

If Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) had not taken that step, the only surviving son of His Eminence, Husain (‘a) and the source of goodness and excellence on the earth would have perished.

Jahiz has narrated that Ibn Marjana had said to his followers regarding Ali bin al-Husain (‘a): “Leave him to me, I shall kill him, because he is the only surviving male of this progeny so that I may uproot that family, destroy this disease and cut off that source.”[4]

However they did not share his view as they were sure that the serious illness he was involved in would definitely end his life soon. But the Almighty Allah saved him from their clutches in an amazing manner!

Ibn Afif Revolts

The majority of the people of Kufa were living under terrible pressure and awe of the tyrannical regime. So much so, that the general conditions were absolutely turned upside down. In the same way, Kufa was not like before a field of political happenings and centre of opposition group; because they had chosen for themselves the robe of humiliation and epidemic of fear was having them in its clutches.

Who could dare to say anything in such an atmosphere of trepidation? While the leader of the community’s severed head was hoisted on points of spears and the noble ladies of the family of Prophet were held as prisoners in this land. No one  

[1] Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/124
[2] Surah Zumar 39:42
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/82
[4] Jahiz, Rasail

else had the daring to utter a single word because their mouths had been sealed, their tongues had become dumb. The prisons were full of great and famous personalities and all had submitted to the rule of Ibn Marjana. When that arrogant tyrant came into the public gathering, attended by, in addition to the general public, by the armed forces and men of any importance he went up to the pulpit and expressed his extreme joy at his false victory and how terrible was his statement when he said:

“Praise be to God Who has revealed the truth and the followers of the truth, and has given victory to the Commander of the faithful, Yazid, and his party, and has killed the liar who is the son of a liar and his Shia.”

He uttered such a statement in a society that knew about the justice and truthfulness of Ali and was aware of the manners and morals of his son, Imam Hasan and had found him to be having regard for truth and rightfulness. If he had said such a thing in Syria or some other country he might have received an audience but they were spoken in Kufa, the seat of the government of Ahle Bayt. That tyrant had yet not completed his sentence that the revolutionary stalwart, Abdullah bin Afif Azadi Ghamidi stood up. He had become visually handicapped as one of his eyes was lost in the battle of Jamal and another in the battle of Siffeen fighting on the side of Amirul Momineen (‘a) and he was always busy in worship in the mosque. He shouted at Ibn Ziyad,

“O son of Marjana! You are the liar and your father too. O Ibn Marjana, you kill the sons of Prophets and take the place of men of truth on the pulpit?”[1]

The tyrant was absolutely shocked and infuriated because these words fell upon him like a thunderbolt. So he called out like a wounded dog, “Who is speaking like this?”

“O enemy of Allah! I am addressing you. Are you killing the Purified Progeny of the Holy Prophet and thinking that you are following the religion of Islam? Where are the helpers? Where are the sons of Emigrants and Helpers?[2] Come up and take revenge from this cursed son of the cursed father who have been described like this by the Prophet.” The pride of that oppressor was shattered. Shouts arose from all sides and people came forward from all the sides of the Mosque to look at the one who had spoken in such a daring way expressing the true feelings of all of them; because it was the first publicly announced opposition to the killers of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s).

Ibn Ziyad was extremely enraged and he screamed, “Bring him to me.”

The executioners and guards rushed from all sides to capture him, but Ibn Afif gave the battle cry of Azadi tribe, “Ya Mabroor!”

Seven hundred men from his clan were present in their gathering. They came

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/413
[2] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 204. Biharul Anwar 45/119

forward and took him away from the soldiers and escorted him to his house.[1] Abdur Rahman bin Mikhnaf Azadi chastised him saying, “Woe be on others than you. You have destroyed yourself and your clan!”[2]

Ibn Ziyad was extremely angry and full of anxiety because Abdullah had opened the door of opposition against his regime and destroyed his glory. In a state of fury he came down from the pulpit and entered the palace. His officers and retainers competed with each other to be present in his service. He said, “Did you see what he has done?”


At that time he ordered the people of Yemen and their confederates to apprehend Ibn Afif. Amr bin Hajjaj suggested to him that every Azadi in the mosque be put into prison as they have all cooperated in the escape of Ibn Afif. As a result of this a severe fight broke out between the Yemenis and Azd tribe. Ibn Ziyad told one of his officers, “Go and see what passes between them.” He hastened to do as directed and saw that fighting was going on among them; told him, “Tell the governor that he has not sent us to people of unremarkable linage like the Algerians or the shoemakers of Mosul. He rather sent us to the Azadis; that is he sent us to the den of the lions. They are not eggs that can be broken or little rue seeds that can be trampled upon...”

Among the Azadis were killed Abdullah bin Hawzah Walbi and Muhammad bin Habib and in addition to this there were numerous casualties on both the sides. However the Yemenis got the upper hand and after defeating their adversaries went to a fort behind the house of Ibn Afif. They broke upon the door and attacked him when he was alone except for his daughter. She handed his sword to him (because he was blind) and he began to defend himself[3] reciting the following Rajaz couplets:

“I am the son of the one having the purified virtuous excellence, the great Afif and my mother is Umme Aamir.

How many of the armored and non-armored fighters have I defeated!”[4]

His daughter too said continuously: Alas, had I been a man to fight with you against this destructive community who killed the honorable members of the Holy family!

The enemy surrounded Abdullah from every side and he continued to defend himself single-handed. Nobody was able to dominate him. The daughter was telling her blind father from which side he was being attacked, until finally he was encircled closely.

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/413-414
[2] Riyadh al-Ahzaan, Pg. 57
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414
[4] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 205. Biharul Anwar 45/120

His daughter said: May Allah avoid disgrace. My father has been surrounded and there is none to help him.

Wielding his sword Abdullah said: By Allah, had I been able to see, even my arrival and departure would have exhausted you.

The narrator says: The surrounded Abdullah was, at last, arrested and taken to Ibn Ziyad.

Seeing him Ibn Ziyad said: Praise be to Allah Who disgraced you.

Abdullah bin Afif: O enemy of Allah! How did He disgrace me? Had I been able to see with my eyes, I would have undoubtedly put you to trouble.

Ibn Ziyad: What is your opinion about Uthman bin Affan?

Abdullah: O slave of Bani Allaj! O son of Marjana! You uttered an improper thing. What have you to do with Uthman? He did either good or bad, did improvement or spread corruption. Allah is the guard over His servants. He will decide justly between people and Uthman. But He will question you and your father and Yazid and his father.

Ibn Ziyad: No, by Allah. I will not ask you anything till you taste death little by little.

Abdullah bin Afif: All praise to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. Even before your mother delivered you I had asked for martyrdom from Allah and requested Him that my martyrdom be carried out by the hand of the worst and the most evil fellow among His creation. After becoming blind, I had lost my hope for martyrdom. But now, praise be to Allah, after disappointment I have achieved this good luck and my prayer has been answered.[1]

Ibn Ziyad, the dirty fellow said: Decapitate him and hang him publicly in Kufa.[2]

He was hanged at Sabakha.

In this manner came to an end the life of that great warrior who devoted his life to the Almighty, confronted falsehood, fought injustice and spoke truth in the darkest and hardest circumstances.

Amnesty for Ibn Mauqal

Ibn Mauqal was one of those who had participated in the uprising of Ibn Afif. He was apprehended and brought in the custody of Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad gave him amnesty saying: “I am condoning you for the sake of your cousin, Sufyan bin Auf, who is better than you.”[3]

[1] Al-Lohoof, Pg. 205-206. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/53-55
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414

Arrest of Jundab

Ibn Ziyad issued orders for the arrest of Jundab bin Abdullah Azadi. He was from the clan of Abdullah bin Afif, a righteous Shia man and a companion of Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a). Police officers arrested him and brought him in custody to the governor. When he arrived Ibn Ziyad screamed at him, “Did you not accompany Abu Turab in the battle of Siffeen?”

The brave warrior did not flinch at his awe and retorted at once, “Yes, I love him and I pride upon him and I hate you and your father. Especially when you have killed the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s), his companions and his family members and you do not have fear of the revenge and power of Allah, the Mighty and the Sublime...”

Ibn Marjana was infuriated and he said, “You are more shameless than that blind one (Ibn Afif) and I can’t think of anything except to gain divine proximity by having you executed.”

“In that case the Almighty shall not grant you proximity.”

The tyrant was afraid of his clan, so he released him saying, “He is an old man who has lost his wits.”[1]

Ibn Ziyad with Qais

Qais bin Ibad was present in the assembly of the tyrant Ibn Ziyad when he asked him in front of his employees, “What is your opinion about Husain and me?”

“Please excuse me from this…”

“You have to reply.”

“On the Day of Resurrection his father shall come and intercede for him and your father will come and intercede for you.”

Ibn Ziyad became angry at this and screamed, “I know your fraud and infamy! If you go away from me for a day, I shall bury your head in the ground.”[2]

Then he put him under surveillance and banned him from leaving Kufa.

Hacking up the Blessed head of Imam Husain (‘a)

That offspring of betrayal and pledge-breaking, Ibn Marjana ordered that the head of Imam (‘a) be cut up from all sides but no one volunteered to commit such an atrocity except Tariq bin Malik[3] who took the blessed head and hacked it causing some portions to become detached. Amr bin Hareeth arose and said to Ibn Ziyad,  

[1] Matheer al-Ahzaan, Pg. 94. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/55. Muqarram, Maqtal, Pg. 329
[2] Ibne Qutaybah, Uyun al-Akhbar 2/215. And in Wafayatul Ayan 6/353 it says: Ubaidullah Ibne Ziyad said to Haartha bin Badr Adawani: What do you think will happen on the Day of Resurrection as a result of that which occurred between Husain and me? He replied: His father and grandfather will intercede for him and your father and grandfather will also intercede for you. So you can guess what would happen.
[3] Tariq bin Malik was the grandfather of Abu Ali, secretary to Abdullah bin Khaqan, minister of Mutawakkil.

“You got what you wanted from this head, so give me what has detached from it.”

“What will you do with it?”

“I shall bury it.”

Ibn Ziyad allowed him to do that. He gathered up the detached portions and wrapped them in a cloth, brought it to his house, known as the house of Amr bin Hareeth and buried them there.[1]

Imam Husain’s Head taken around the Town

Ibn Marjana ordered that the Imam’s head be taken through all the main roads and lanes of Kufa[2] while an announcer shouted, “The liar, son of liar is killed!”[3]

By this procedure he intended to announce his victory and humiliate the Shias but he could not achieve his aim; it paved the way for spreading the call of the Imam and the completion of his message, because the Imam’s head inspired the people that the word of truth must be exalted no matter what and the message of Islam must be defended no matter what it requires or entails.

Anyway, the head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) was taken around under the view of those who claimed to profess Islam but they did not rise up to take revenge for his martyrdom.

Dibil Khuzai, the famous poet versifies this as follows:

“They hold aloft the spear points the head of the son of the daughter of the Prophet and his legatee.

While Muslims see and hear. Neither anyone is infuriated by it nor aggrieved.”[4]

The Muslims were stupefied in a frightening way; because they had been deprived of their human nature and become devoid of all awareness and feelings.

Imprisonment of the Ladies of Revelation

The tyrant Ibn Marjana ordered that the great ladies of the Prophet’s family be lodged in the jail. When they were being taken to the prison, the main roads were crowded with men and women in a way described by Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) that: Women thrashed their own faces and wept in frenzy.

Daughters of the Messenger of Allah (s) were taken to the prison and dealt with untold cruelty. The granddaughter of the Prophet (s) was not permitted to be visited by any free woman and she says: “Except for slave maids or slave girls none was allowed to meet us; because they were also prisoners like us. A stone was hurled at the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (s) with a letter attached to it. It said: “Regarding you a messenger has departed for Yazid. So whenever you hear the call of ‘God is Great’ you must become certain that you’d be killed. And  

[1] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 97. Miraatul Jinaan 1/135
[2] Ad Durrun Nadheem, Pg. 561. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husain 17/386
[3] At-Tarikh Siyasi Dawlatul Arabia 2/76
[4] Dibil, Diwan, Pg. 225

if you do not hear that call it shall denote your safety.” They fixed a time for receiving the reply. The ladies were extremely anxious and worried. Two days before the arrival of the courier another stone was thrown to them with a letter that said: “Compose your wills and make your last wishes as the time of the courier’s arrival is near.”

Thus after a time, Yazid’s orders came for transfer of the prisoners to Damascus.[1] Some sources have mentioned that Yazid intended to fully eradicate all the descendants of Amirul Momineen (‘a) but afterwards changed his mind and gave them amnesty.[2]

Abduction of His Eminence, Ali bin al-Husain (‘a)

A Kufian abducted Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) and concealed him in his house. Then he busied in serving him and granting him much respect and reverence. Whenever he came to the Holy Imam he wept excessively and Imam began to have a good opinion about him. But not much time passed that a proclaimer of Ibn Ziyad announced that whosoever finds and brings Ali bin al-Husain will be rewarded 300 Dirhams. When the Kufian heard this announcement he hastened towards the Holy Imam and threw a rope around the neck of His Eminence and tied up his hands and feet. He carried the Imam to rulers and collected the prize money.[3] This shocking behavior is a picture of the self-forgetfulness of that society in the way of materialism and sacrificing themselves for obtaining material wealth in every possible way.

Ibn Saad’s Regret

The filthy wicked man, Umar bin Saad became extremely regretful of his role in that terrible iniquity, because one of his close associates inquired about his condition upon his return from Kerbala and he replied: “No man has returned home with a thing worse than what I have returned with. I accepted the order of the transgressor and oppressor, Ibn Ziyad and disobeyed Allah, the Just Ruler; then cut off the noble relationship and committed a heinous deed.”[4]

But what use was that regret after he had shed the blood of the Purified Progeny and cut off the ties of relationship with the one whose love Allah has made incumbent.

Ibn Ziyad asks Ibn Saad for the Letter

Ibn Ziyad faced waves of condemnation in all the gatherings hence he decided to throw the blame of that deed on Ibn Saad so that he may be held responsible for this crime. So he summoned him and said: “Give me the letter.”

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/84
[2] Al Wafi 3/298
[3] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 98. Al Muntazim, 5/345
[4] Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 260. Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/303. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/414-415

“I had gone to carry out your orders and the letter is lost.”

“You must get it for me.”

“I have sent it to be read out to the old woman of Quraish so that I may apologize to her. By Allah! Regarding Husain, I have acted with you in such a sincere manner that if I had done thus with my father I would have fulfilled his rights.”

Uthman bin Ziyad was present in that meeting and he said to his brother, Ibn Ziyad: “He is right. By Allah! I would have liked that no son of Ibn Ziyad had been except that in his nose was a rein till the Day of Resurrection but Husain shouldn’t have been killed.”

The tyrant fell silent and did not say anything in reply.[1]

A letter that Ibn Saad had sent to Medina was to prevent from himself the shower of curses and that the blame may be laid against his governor, Ibn Marjana. The letter was as follows:

“From Ubaidullah bin Ziyad to Umar bin Saad. So to say:

I did not send you to al-Husain for you to restrain yourself from fighting him, nor to idle the time away with him, nor to promise him peace and preservation of his life, nor to make excuses for him, nor to be an intercessor on his behalf with me. Therefore see that if al-Husain and his followers submit to my authority and surrender, you send them to me in peace. If they refuse, then march against them to fight them and to punish them; for they deserve that. If al-Husain is killed, make the horses trample on his body, both front and back; for he is a disobedient rebel, and I do not consider that this will be in any way wrong after death. But it is my view that you should do this to him if you kill him. If you carry out your command concerning him, we will give you the reward due to one who is attentive and obedient. If you refuse, then we withdraw the command of our province and army from you and leave the army to Shimr bin Zil Jaushan. We have given him our authority. Greetings.”[2]

Ibn Ziyad condemned

Near and distant relatives and friends condemned Ibn Ziyad for the killing of the beloved son of the Messenger of Allah (s). Some of them were as follows:

1. Marjana

Marjana was very much angry at his sinful oppressive son, for having committed such a sin and she told him: “O degraded one! You killed the son of the Messenger of Allah! By Allah you shall never see Paradise.”[3]

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/467
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 5/415
[3] Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 98. Tadhib at-Tahdhib 1/156. Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/357

2. Uthman bin Ziyad

Uthman bin Ziyad, the brother of that wicked man, denounced him and said, “By Allah! I would have liked that no son of Ibn Ziyad had been except that in his nose was a rein till the Day of Resurrection; but Husain shouldn’t have been killed.”[1]

3. Mauqil bin Yasar

Of those who had condemned Ibn Marjana, was Mauqil bin Yasar. He criticized him sharply, denounced him and dissociated himself from him.

The Imam’s martyrdom was such a gigantic crime that the world of Islam was trembling due to its horror. They considered this tragedy great because the sanctity of the Messenger of Allah (s) – which is more than anything else deserving of regard – was defiled in this incident.

Objection on Ibn Saad

People objected to Ibn Saad due to this evil misdeed and considered him an enemy. He was isolated in such a way that people cursed him near whichever group he passed and whenever he entered the Masjid, he was evicted from there.[2]

Widespread Discontent

Imam’s martyrdom created widespread discontent in all the congregations. Haseen bin Abdur Rahman Salmi says: “When the news of the killing of Husain (‘a) reached us, for three days we remained as if our faces were smeared with dust.”[3]

Hubaira bin Khuzaima says: “I informed Rabi bin Khatheem about the killing of Husain. He became bewildered and recited the words of Almighty Allah,

“Originator of the heavens and the earth, Knower of the unseen and the seen…”[4]

After that he said: “They killed a brave young man from whom whenever the Messenger of Allah (s) saw them he used to display his love for them, and feed them with his own hands seating them on his knees.”[5]

Hasan Basri was conveyed the news of Imam Husain’s killing. He began to weep till both his sides shook. “What an insult it is for the Ummah that the son of its wicked one (that is Ibn Marjana) has killed the son of its Prophet.[6] By Allah, his grandfather and father will take his revenge from Ibn Marjana.”

Amr bin Ba’ja has also said, “The first degradation that befell the Arabs was the killing of Husain and the laying of claim by Ziyad.”[7]

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/467
[2] Miraat az-Zamaan Pg. 68
[3] Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 2/382
[4] Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 6/190
[5] As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94
[6] Taisar al-Matalib fee Amali Abi Talib, Pg. 89
[7] Majma az-Zawaid 9/196. Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/132

Muslims fell into a terrible grief and pain due to the martyrdom of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s) and wept excessively.

Imam Shafei is said to have wept intensely and recited the following couplets:

“My grief has returned and heart is sorrowful. The eyes are sleepless and sleep became odd for me.

From that, which has snatched away my sleep and greyed my hair, are the accidents of time having hardships.

The world is trembling for the Progeny of Muhammad; it was almost as if the solid mountains would turn to water.

Who will convey my message to Husain, even though the soul and the heart may not like it.

That sinless martyr! As if they have dyed his dress in purple dye. You invoke blessings on the chosen Prophet from the family of Bani Hashim but you have distanced his son, it is a strange matter!

If my sin is loving the Progeny of Muhammad, it is a sin that I shall never repent for.

They shall be my intercessors on the Day of Resurrection and my helpers; and the crime of Shafei would be that he loved them.”[1]

The poet, Ibn Habaria passed through Kerbala and began to weep for Husain and his family members. He also composed the following couplets regarding them:

“O Husain, by you grandfather who was sent for guidance, the Almighty Allah shall interrogate me regarding this covenant.

If I had been present on the day of Kerbala I would have tried much to reduce your sorrow.

I would have quenched the lips of the sword with the blood of your enemies and also the points of the spears.

Except for my misfortune of delay in reaching you. But my griefs shall be between Lovi and Babel.

I take that I have been deprived of fighting with your enemies but is my grief a lesser grief while my tears are flowing?”

Historians say: He went to sleep where he was and saw the Messenger of Allah (s) in the dream telling him: “May Allah give you a good reward on my behalf. Good news to you that the Almighty Allah has included you among those who performed Jihad in the service of Husain.”[2]

[1] As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94
[2] As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94

Regret of People of Kufa

The people of Kufa were deeply regretful for the terrible crime they had committed; because they had been such that by sending delegations and letters to the Holy Imam they urged him to join them and when he did arrive to join them they abandoned him and then later killed him. Some of those who expressed their deep remorse were as follows:

1. Baraa bin Azib

Baraa bin Azib regretted that he had retracted his support from the Imam because Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a) had told him: “Would Husain be killed while you are alive and you wouldn’t help him?”

“O Amiral Momineen, it shall never be so.”

When Imam was martyred Baraa recalled the words of the Imam while he was extremely remorseful and he said: “What a great regret that I was not present with him and did not die in his defense.”[1]

2. Musayyab bin Najba

Musayyab bin Najba was the most remorseful person for not having achieved martyrdom in the service of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s). He announced his regret in his sermons that he delivered among the penitents; as he used to say in those speeches:

“We had been deceived by our purity, Almighty Allah found us false in all our promises to the son of His Prophet (s). Previously he sent letters and messengers to us and offered excuses to us and sought our help in the beginning and in the end and clearly, but we were miserly to our selves regarding him till he was killed in front of us. Neither we helped him with our hands, nor defended him by our tongues, or strengthened him with our wealth or called our confederates’ help for him. Thus what is our excuse before our Lord and at the time we meet our Prophet? Except that we put to death those who killed him and those who acted against him or that we may be killed in this endeavor. Perhaps in that case our Lord will be pleased with us. After meeting him I shall not be secure from His reprisal.”[2]

These words show the level of his internal remorse for having lost the opportunity of sacrificing his life in the company of the Holy Imam. 

3. Sulaiman bin Surd

One of those who were left in deep sorrow for not having helped the Imam was Sulaiman bin Surd. He spoke in the company of his penitent companions about the pain that haunted his soul and inter alia said, “We stretched our neck for the arrival of the Ahle Bayt of our Prophet, Muhammad (s), promised them our support and  

[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 10/14-15
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/159

urged them to join us. But when they arrived we fell weak, became feeble, flattering and continued to wait till the son of our Prophet, his offspring and descendant and a part of his flesh and blood was killed right before us. At that time he called for help and wanted justice but he did not get it, the transgressors made him a target for their arrows and a victim of their spears till they killed him, rushed upon him and plundered his belongings.”[1]

4. Ubaidullah bin Hurr

One of the most regretful persons and the most grief-stricken and sorrow ones was Ubaidullah bin Hurr Jofi whom the Imam had approached and asked for help but he was not generous with his self and he declined the request. His conscience was badly shaken due to his rejection of the Imam’s plea for support and he fell into a deep gloom, composing the following lines of poetry:

“O remorse till the time I live! As long as I am breathing.

The day he said to me in the palace: Will you abandon me and intend to go away?

Husain asked me for help against the enemies and creators of dissension.

If the grief of the heart could get a free hand, today my heart will decide to burst.

And if one day I had sacrificed my life for him I would have achieved the honor of the day of meeting God.

He said farewell to the son of Muhammad – may my life be sacrificed for him – and moved out fast.

Those who helped Husain were successful and others who were hypocrites, failed.”[2]

In his couplets the son of Hurr has sketched the picture of the intense pain that had afflicted his soul; because as long as he lived he shall regret having lost the honor of martyrdom in the service of the son of the Prophet of Allah (s) and he was extremely sad at this, for if he had rendered his help he would have obtained Paradise.

He envies the companions of Husain who sacrificed their lives on the Holy Imam (‘a); because they had earned excessive reward and a respectable position near the Almighty Allah.

These were some of those who regretted not providing assistance to Imam (‘a) and lost the chance of achieving salvation through martyrdom in the service of His Eminence who when they got an opportunity they joined the penitents in Kufa and rose up in revolt.

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/160
[2] Khwarizmi, Maqtal al-Husain 1/228