The Event of Taff, The Earliest Historical Account of the Tragedy of Karbala’
The Household Of Al-Husayn (as) In Madinah
When they intended to return, Yazid bin Mu’awiyah said: “O Nu’man bin Bashir! Prepare for them whatever they need and send a righteous and trustworthy person from among the people of Sham with them. [Also] send some horsemen and helpers with him to guide them towards Madinah.
[Nu’man] thus went with them. He used to advance with them at night. [During the journey], the [family of al-Husayn (as)] moved ahead of him so that they should never be out of his sight. When they stopped, he would go aside from them, and he and his followers would separate around them like a group of guards over them. They would keep away from them such that if any person from the [group] wanted to wash or perform a need, he would not be ashamed. He continued to stop [the caravan] on the way in this manner, being kind to them and looking after them until they entered Madinah.[^1]
The Arrival in Madinah
When the news of the death of al-Husayn (as) reached the people of Madinah, Umm Luqman[^2], the daughter of ‘Aqil bin Abi Talib, came out together with the [other] women -while her head was unveiled and she was covering herself with her garment. She recited:
What would you say if the Prophet asked you: What have you done while you are the last of the nations.
With my offspring and my family after my departure? Some of them have become prisoners, and some other stained with blood.[^3]
When ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far bin Abi Talib[^4] heard about the death of his two sons [Muhammad and ‘Aun] along with al-Husayn (as), people [began] coming up to him to condole him. He turned to those sitting around him and said: “All praise is due to Allah -the Almighty and the Majestic- for [every misfortune, even for the] martyrdom of al-Husayn (as). If my two hands could not assist al-Husayn (as), then my two sons have [at least] helped him. By Allah, had I been with him, I would have loved not to part from him until I am killed with him. By Allah, what makes me too glad to give up [both of] them and makes easy for me to bear their loss, is [the fact] that they were killed together with my brother and cousin, while they supported him and persevered with him.”[^5],[^6]
[^1]: Al-Tabari (5:461): “[Abu Mikhnaf relates this] from Fatimah on the authority of Harith bin Ka’b...” See also Maqatil al-Talibiyyin (pg.80) and al-Tadhkirah (pg.264).
[^2]: Shaikh al-Mufid says in al-Irshad (pg.248): “Umm Luqman, the daughter of ‘Aqil bin Abi Talib, may Allah have mercy on them, came out crying when she heard the news of the death of al-Husayn (as). Her head was uncovered as she came out with her sisters: Umm Hani, Asma’, Ramlah and Zainab, daughters of ‘Aqil bin Abi Talib, may Allah have mercy on them. She wept for her [relatives] slain on the bank [of the Euphrates], saying…” Sibt bin al-Jawzi has also related this in al-Tadhkirah (pg.267) from Zainab bint ‘Ali on the authority of al-Waqidi.
[^3]: Tabari has related these verses from Imam al-Baqir (as) on the authority of ‘Ammar al-Duhani. [Al-Baqir says:] “He prepared them [for the journey] and took them to Madinah. When they entered [Madinah], a woman from the Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib came out with dishevelled hair and with the sleeve [of her garment] on her head. She approached them wailing and saying: What will you answer if the Prophet asked you, what have you done, while you were the last of the nations. To my progeny and household after my death? from them are captives and others are covered with their blood. This was not the recompense to which I directed you, that after me you deal with my kin with such evil.
[^4]: Al-Tabari: He is the one who narrated the incident of Halimah al-Sa’diyyah (2:158). In the year 8 H, when the soldiers returned from the battle of Mu’tah [and his father, Ja’far, had been martyred], the Messenger of Allah [s] asked [the family of ‘Abdullah to bring him. So they brought him to the Prophet and] he took him in his hands (3:42). ‘Abdullah was the one who suggested to ‘Ali (as) to dismiss Qais bin Sa’d from the governorship of Egypt and to appoint over it his half brother from his mother’s side, Muhammad bin ‘Abi Bakr. The Imam (as) accepted his suggestion (4:36). ‘Abdullah was with ‘Ali (as) in Siffin (5:61). He, together with al-Hasan and al-Husayn, undertook the arrangement for the burial of Imam ‘Ali (as). Then he returned with them to Madinah (5:165). We have given his biography when we mentioned his letter to al-Husayn from Makkah through his [two] sons, Muhammad and ‘Aun.
[^5]: Al-Tabari (5:466): “[Abu Mikhnaf says that I narrate this] from ‘Abd al-Rahman bin ‘Ubaid Abu al-Kanud, on the authority of Sulaiman bin Abi Rashid…”
[^6]: Hisham reports: “‘Awanah bin al-Hakam has related to me saying: ‘When ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyad killed Husayn bin ‘Ali, he summoned ‘Abd al-Malik bin Abi Harith al-Salami and said: ‘Go to Madinah and meet ‘Amru bin Sa’id bin al-‘Ass -who was then the governor of Madinah- and give him the news of the death of al-Husayn. None other than you should inform him of the news. Do not fall ill. If your mount happened to tire, buy another one.’ He [also] gave him some money (dananir). ‘Abd al-Malik says: ‘So I came to Madinah and went to see ‘Amru bin Sa’id. He said: ‘What is the news?’ I said: ‘That which would please the governor! Al-Husayn bin ‘Ali has been killed!’ He said: ‘Then announce his death!’ So I announced it. I had never heard before the like of the wails of the women of the Hashimite from their houses, mourning al-Husayn. ‘Amru bin Sa’id laughed [at this] and said: The women of the Banu Ziyad raised a great lament like the lamentation of our women, mourning [after the battle] of al-Arnab.’* ‘Amru then ascended the pulpit and informed the people about his death.” See also al-Irshad (pg.247; Najaf edition). [In another report] Hisham says: “‘Awanah related to me that: ‘Ubaidullah bin Ziyad said to ‘Umar bin Sa’d: ‘O ‘Umar! Where is the letter that I wrote to you [instructing] you to kill al-Husayn?’ He said: ‘I carried out your order, [but] the letter is lost.’ ‘You must bring it!’ insisted Ibn Ziyad. ‘It is lost’, ‘Umar replied. ‘By Allah, you must bring it to me,’ he repeated. ‘Umar said, ‘By Allah, it has been left in Madinah to be read for the olden women of Quraish, as an apology to them! By Allah, I have been sincere [enough] with you with regard to the issue of al-Husayn, such that if I had acted with such loyalty to my own father, Sa’d bin Abi Waqqas, I would have discharged my duty towards him.’ [Here] ‘Uthman bin Ziyad, the brother of ‘Ubaidullah, says: ‘By Allah, he has said the truth. I wish I would have seen the mark of slavery on every man of the Banu Ziyad till the Day of Resurrection, but that al-Husayn should not have been killed!” Hisham says: “‘Amru bin Haizum al-Kalbi narrated to me from his father that he heard a voice calling out: O men who ignorantly killed al-Husayn, hear the news of punishment and chastisement. All the people of heaven, prophets, angels and their likes, are cursing you. You have been cursed by the tongue of the son of Dawud, and [that] of Musa and [that] of the bearer of the Injil. See also al-Irshad (pg.248) and al-Tadhkirah (pg.270; Najaf edition). * The verse is of ‘Umar bin Mu’id Yakrub al-Zubaidi. They had waged a battle against the Banu Ziyad in retaliation to the battle fought by the latter against the Banu Zubaid. Sibt bin al-Jawzi has briefly narrated this report in al-Tadhkirah (pg.266). He also narrates from al-Sha’bi that: “Marwan bin al-Hakam was in Madinah. So [Abd al-Malik] took the head [of al-Husayn] and placed it before [Marwan]. He touched the tip of his nose and said: ‘How excellent is [the touch of] your coldness for the hands, and [the sight] of redness on [your] cheeks!’ He then said: “By Allah! It is as if I am looking at the days of ‘Uthman!’ Ibn Abi al-Hadid writes in his Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah (4:72): “The correct version is that: Ubaidullah bin Ziyad wrote to ‘Amru bin Sa’id bin al-‘Ass, giving him the good news of al-Husayn’s death. ‘Amru read his letter from the pulpit and recited the verses [mentioned above]. He pointed towards the grave of the Prophet and said: ‘Today for the day of Badr.’ So a group of Ansar reproached him for [saying] that.” This has also been mentioned by Abu ‘Ubaidah in al-Mathalib.