Friday, 27 February 2009

Life of Husain 4


[Full Text]



Research and Analysis

By: Allamah Baqir Sharif al-Qarashi [IRAN 2007]


(page 474)

# Yazid’s Rule

After the death of his father, Yazid took the reins of Islamic leadership in his hands while he was of young age and had not gained any experience by time. According to the unanimity of historians he was fond of comfort, wine, luxury, women and hunting dogs and he was more inclined to committing all sorts of wanton and shameless deeds.

At the time of his father’s death, he was not present in Damascus. He was in an area called Hawarin at-Thaniya busy in hunting.[1] Zahak bin Qais wrote a letter to him condoling him for the death of Muawiyah and congratulated him for having become the caliph. He also asked him to come to Damascus immediately and take over the reins of government.

When Yazid read the letter he immediately set out with his entourage towards the seat of his power. He had thick hair and the dust of the journey settled on his face. He neither wore a turban nor had a sword tied to his waist.

People came forward, saluted him and gave condolence to him while they ridiculed him for his appearance. They remarked: “Is it the same one wearing the cloak that Muawiyah had imposed on the people? The Almighty Allah shall interrogate Muawiyah regarding him.”[2]

Yazid hurried to the grave of his father, wept and recited the following:

“The courier brought such a letter that it punctured my heart.

We said: Woe be to you, what is there in your letter. He replied: The caliph is in the throes of death.”[3]

After that he set out in an official caravan surrounded by the debased characters of Syria, his maternal relatives and other people towards the Green Palace.

First Royal Address

Yazid went to the podium to announce his policies and explain the agenda of his regime.

When he sat in the speaker’s seat he began to tremble and could not say anything. So Zahak bin Qais stood up before him and Yazid cried to him, “What do you want?”

[1] Al-Futuh 4/265
[2] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 4/168 (Hadith of 6th year)
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 9/45
[4] Tarikh Khulafa, written by anonymous writer published by Akadami Ittehad Shura


Zahak told him, “Speak to the people and take allegiance from them.” Yazid told him to be seated[4] and himself began to speak, “Praise be to God that He does what He wants and He refrains from whatever He wants. He debases whomsoever He likes and exalts whomsoever He likes. Know that, Amirul Momineen (Muawiyah) was a rope from the ropes of God. As long as He liked, God maintained the connection and whenever He desired, He cut it off. He was lesser than his predecessors and he was better than his successors. I shall not complain to God why he died. Thus if He forgives him, it shall be through His mercy. If He punishes him it would be as a result of his sins. After him I have become entitled to caliphate. Thus I neither seek excuse for my ignorance and nor desire to become knowledgeable. You continue on your way. If God doesn’t like something, He would destroy it and if He likes something, He shall keep it in force…”[1]

In this speech, Yazid did not say anything about his policies and did not mention anything so that the community may always be needful of him in the social and political fields. It was absolutely nothing about which he had thought and planned. Rather he indicated his arrogance, cruelty and his disrespect with regard to the Ummah that neither he regretted ignorance nor committing evils. Rather the people were obliged to submit to his forceful behavior.

Yazid speaks to Syrians

Yazid delivered a speech to people of Syria and inter alia said that he intended to wage a destructive war against the people of Iraq. The speech was as follows:

“O people of Syria! know that! Well-being was continuously in your share. There shall be a terrible battle between me and the people of Iraq. I have seen in a dream that there was flowing a river of blood between me and them. In the dream I tried to cross the river and was not able to do so till Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad came before me and he crossed it as I looked on.”

Syrians voiced their support and encouraged him saying, “O chief of believers, take us wherever you want. And pose us before anyone you like. We are in your service and the people of Iraq have come to know the ferocity of our swords in the battle of Siffeen.”

Yazid accorded thanks to them and praised their sincerity and loyalty towards him.[2] While in gatherings of Syria it had been confirmed that Yazid was preparing to wage a war against Iraq due to their unwillingness to pay allegiance to Yazid and due to the similarity of their views with Imam Husain.

With the Opponents in Medina

Whenever Yazid saw that an opposition group arose against him he did not rest till he had made concrete plans to have it subdued; that is why the ground was prepared for him, people were made submissive to him and he gained control over all the government machinery. Then what was it that could have restrained him from wreaking havoc on his opponents?

The most important thing that made Yazid worried about his opposition was the existence of His Eminence, Imam Husain because His Eminence possessed an encompassing influence and a lofty status in the view of Muslims. He was the grandson of the bearer of prophethood and the chief of the youths of Paradise. As for the son of Zubair, he did not have as much importance in the view of Yazid.

[1] Al-Iqdul Farid 4/374-375
[2] Al-Futuh 5/6


Emphatic orders to Walid

Yazid issued emphatic orders to his governor in Medina, Walid so that he may compel the opponents to give oath of allegiance for him. He dispatched two letters to Walid. The first letter is reported in two versions:

1. Khwarizmi has quoted it as follows: “So to say: Muawiyah was one of the servants of God. Whom God exalted and purified for Himself. And He bestowed him power. After that He summoned him to the place of His comfort and the garden of His mercy. He lived according to his destiny and died when his death was destined. He made a will to me and warned me about the family of Abu Turab due to their daring to commit bloodsheds. You, O Walid, know that the Almighty Lord shall take the revenge of the innocent blood of Uthman through the progeny of Abu Sufyan because they are supporters of truth and seekers of justice. Thus when you receive this letter take allegiance from the people of Medina.”[1]

The above letter contained the following salient features:

A. Informing Walid about Muawiyah’s death.

B. Yazid’s fear of family of Prophethood because his father had made a bequest to him to be wary of them and this matter disproves that which is claimed about Muawiyah because therein emphasis is made to respect the position of Imam Husain.

C. Urgency in taking the allegiance of people of Medina

2. Balazari has quoted the letter of Yazid to have the following text: “So to say: Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan was a servant of God whom He had accorded honor, made him the caliph, made him powerful and arranged means for him. He died as per destiny and died when his death was fixed. God’s mercy be upon him. Because he lived in righteousness and passed away in piety and goodness. Was Salaam!”[2]

The dominant view is that this narration is correct because he has remained content only with reporting the death of Muawiyah. Instead of making any indication to take allegiance from Imam Husain and other opposition groups. However on the basis of the first report the conversation from the below letter that Yazid sent to Walid to force Husain to allegiance would become meaningless.

[1] Khwarizmi, Maqtal 1/180
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 5/313

Secondly: It is a short letter, like the ear of a mouse and three versions are reported:

1. Tabari and Balazari have reported it. The text of this letter was as follows: “So to say: Husain, Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Zubair must be dealt with force and they should not be allowed anything till they give allegiance. Was Salaam!”[1]

2. Yaqubi has quoted it as follows: “When this letter reaches you, summon Husain bin Ali and Abdullah bin Zubair and take allegiance from them. If they refuse, strike off their heads and send them to me and take allegiance from the people. Thus if anyone refuses apply the same order to him as applied to Husain bin Ali and Abdullah bin Zubair.”[2]

In the second narration there is no mention of Abdullah bin Umar and it is very much likely that his name was added to the names of Husain bin Ali and Abdullah bin Zubair so that he may be shown to be from opposition group and make him dissociated from open support to Yazid’s allegiance.

3. Hafiz Ibn Asakir has narrated it in the following manner: “Summon the people and take allegiance from them and begin with the senior persons of Quraish and the first one you begin with is Husain bin Ali because the chief of believers (Muawiyah) had willed me to be kind to him and obtain his view.”[3]

In this report there is no mention of the son of Zubair and son of Umar because in the view of Yazid they had no importance except that we have doubt regarding the matter at the end of this letter from the fact that Muawiyah made a bequest to Yazid to deal kindly with Husain because Muawiyah himself had utmost enmity to all members of Ahle Bayt and he had a cruel attitude towards them. He employed all kinds of merciless steps with them as we have already explained in the previous section. Most probably this sentence was added to it in order to free Muawiyah from the responsibility of the evil deeds of his son against the purified progeny.

Here are a matter remains that historians have spoken about this letter on the basis of it being brief and short as the mouse’s ear. Probably the reason it was sent so brief was that Yazid thought that Walid would carry out his commands, that is killing of Husain and Abdullah bin Zubair. It is natural that such a step was going to cause displeasure of the people and he wanted this crime to be attributed to Walid and thus he did not spell out the command of killing them in this letter. If he had to issue an open command he would have written a detailed letter to the effect.

Zareeq, Muawiyah’s slave, took both the letters and moved with speed without any halts till he reached Yathrib.[4] He was accompanied by Abdullah bin Sa’ad bin Abi Sarah. He was wearing a mask so that only his eyes were visible. On the way he was met by Abdullah bin Zubair who held his hand and asked him about

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/338, Ansaab al-Ashraaf 5/313
[2] Yaqubi, Tarikh, 2/241
[3] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh, 14/170 (Events of year 60)
[4] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 4/170, Tarikh Khalifa Khayyat, Pg. 238. And in Tarikh, Ibne Asakir 14/206 it is mentioned that: Yazid wrote this letter in addition to Abdullah bin Umar to Ibne Idris Aamir and Aamir bin Luwi also.


Muawiyah. however he did not give any reply. Then he said: Has Muawiyah died? But he didn’t accord any response. Abdullah understood that Muawiyah had died and he hurried on and conveyed this information to Imam Husain.[1] His Eminence, Imam Husain told him: “I understood that Muawiyah must have died because last night I saw in dream that Muawiyah’s pulpit was ruined and his house was in flames. I interpreted it to myself to indicate his death.”[2]

Zaraaq came to Walid’s house and told the sentry to let him enter. But he was told that Walid had retired into the inner portion and it was not possible to meet him at that time. Zaraaq screamed to him that he had brought a royal command for him. The guard went and informed Walid about the matter and Walid permitted him to enter. Walid was seated on the throne when he read Yazid’s letter about the death of Muawiyah. He became extremely perturbed and distressed. He used to stand up and then throw himself upon his bed.[3]

Walid’s Consternation

Walid became perturbed by the orders of Yazid to suppress the opponents and compel them for allegiance because he was sure that taking allegiance from them wasn’t an easy thing except that they would have to be dealt with an iron hand. And in the way Yazid had ordered him to strike off their head it was something that even Muawiyah in spite of his political power could not accomplish in his lifetime. Then how could Walid do what even Muawiyah was unable to do for obtaining allegiance for Yazid?

Consulting Marwan

Walid became confused and worried in this matter and he realized that he was needful Marwan’s advice, the senior member of Umayyad clan. He summoned him and Marwan arrived dressed in white embroidered garments.[4] Walid told him about Muawiyah’s death and he was shocked. After that Walid told him about Yazid’s order to compel the opponents to give allegiance and to kill them if they refused. He asked Marwan to study this matter and give his advice.

Marwan’s Advice

Marwan expressed his views and told Walid: “Send a messenger to them right now and call them to give allegiance of Yazid and his obedience. If they do it, accept from them and if they refuse, kill them before they receive the news of Muawiyah’s death. Because if they receive this information, each of them would rise up and express their opposition and call people to their obedience. In that case I fear that which shall reach you, and that which you are incapable to bear. Except for Abdullah bin Umar who has no dispute with anyone in this matter…While I know that Husain bin Ali would not agree to give oath of allegiance for Yazid and

[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 20/115-116
[2] Al-Futuh 5/14
[3] Tarikh Khalifa Khayyat 1/232
[4] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 4/170 (Events of year 60)


he shall not agree to obey Yazid in any matter. By Allah, if I had been in your place, I would not exchange a single word with him but would have slashed his neck, no matter what had happened.”

This problem seemed very complex for Walid who was the most cruel and most cunning man of the Umayyad clan. He told Marwan: “Alas, if only Walid had not come into the world and had not been worthy of mention.”

Marwan made fun of him and considered him base. He said, “Do not become perplexed at what I have told you. The Progeny of Abu Talib was, since before, enemies and they are same. They are those who killed the Caliph Uthman bin Affan. After that they went to the chief of the believers (Muawiyah) and waged battle against him.”

Walid screamed at him, “Woe be on you, O Marwan for saying these things. Say better things about the children of Fatima as they are the reminders of Prophethood.”[1]

They agreed to call the two persons and to inform them of the matter and that they may come to know about their agreement with the power of judgment.

Explanation of Marwan’s attitude

Marwan incited Walid to suppress and punish the opponents and especially Imam Husain’s name was emphasized in the matter. Marwan insisted on Walid that in case His Eminence refuses to give oath of allegiance he should be killed. I think the following factors prepared Marwan for this:

1. Marwan was hostile towards Walid and there was a deep-rooted enmity between the two. He was certain that Walid was a comfort-seeking person and he would not carry out the orders issued to him regarding Imam Husain. So he made good use of the opportunity and pressurized him to take serious steps against Imam Husain so that his attitude may become known to the tyrant of Shaam and that he may not continue to repose any more trust in Walid and dismiss him from the governorship of Medina. This, in fact happened. When Yazid learnt about Walid’s attitude towards Imam Husain, he was infuriated at him and he removed him from his post.

2. Marwan was displeased with Muawiyah as he had given the caliphate to his son and deserted Marwan who was a leader of the Umayyad clan and the senior-most member of his family. He wanted Yazid get involved in the killing of the Imam so that as a result of it he would have to wash his hands off the kingdom.

3. Marwan had deep animosity to Imam Husain because His Eminence was the grandson of the Messenger of Allah, who had beheaded the polytheists of Bani Umayyah, exiled Hakam, his father and cursed his progeny. Marwan’s hatred to the family of prophethood reached to such a level that he prevented the burial of Imam Hasan next to the grave of the Holy Prophet.

[1] Al-Futuh 5/11-13


Historians say: He was not fond of Abu Huraira because he used to narrate whatever the Messenger of Allah had said regarding his two beloved grandsons. One day it so happened that Marwan went to visit Abu Huraira while the latter was indisposed. Marwan said, “I have no grudge against you except your fondness for Hasan and Husain.”

Abu Huraira replied, “I testify that I went out with the Messenger of Allah and His Eminence heard Hasan and Husain crying. He asked what was wrong with his sons and Fatima replied saying that they were thirsty. O Marwan! How can I not be fond of them when I saw from the Messenger of Allah what I saw?”[1]

Marwan instigated Walid to kill Imam Husain so that may be he would agree with him and satisfy his soul that was thirsty to see the Purified Progeny persecuted and killed.

4. Marwan indeed knew that he would become the caliph because Imam Amirul Momineen, the gate of Prophet’s knowledge had informed him when His Eminence, Hasan and Husain had interceded for him after the battle of Siffin. His Eminence had said: There is a kingdom for him like a dog licks his nose. Marwan had accepted it; therefore he incited Walid to kill Imam Husain so that it would become a cause for downfall of the kingdom of the family of Abu Sufyan and the turning of the caliphate to Marwan.

These were some of the factors on the basis of which Marwan was motivated to suggest to Walid to kill Imam Husain and in this matter there was no sincerity on his part towards Yazid.

Summons for Imam Husain

In the middle of the night[2] Walid sent Abdullah bin Amr bin Uthman, a young slave to His Eminence, Husain and son of Zubair and the reason for choosing this hour was that probably His Eminence, Husain’s support for allegiance for Yazid may be obtained even though it be secretly. He knew that if His Eminence accepts this matter from him he would not break his covenant and not go back on his word.

That young man went to Imam Husain and Zubair’s son to summon them to Walid. He found them in the Prophet’s mosque and conveyed the message. They agreed to do so and told him to go back.

Zubair’s son became worried and he asked the Imam, “Do you know why he has called us at an hour he generally does not meet us?”

“I think that the tyrant, Muawiyah has died and he has summoned us to take oath of allegiance from us before the news spreads among the people.”

“I also think that there is no other explanation. What do you want to do?”

[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh, 4/208
[2] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah: 8/147


“I shall gather my young men, go to him and post them at the doorstep.”

“I am worried about you if you choose to do this.”

“I shall go to him alone only if I have the power to refuse.”[1]

The chief of the nobles went to his residence, performed the ritual bath, prayed and supplicated the Lord.[2] After that he ordered the members of his family to take up their weapons and come with him. They obliged at once and accompanied His Eminence. His Eminence ordered them to sit at the doorstep and said: I am going inside. If I call you or you hear me shouting all of you enter immediately.”

Imam came to Walid and found Marwan with him though a rift had appeared between them. Thus Imam advised them to make peace and leave off hostilities. Making peace was in the very nature of His Eminence even among foes and opponents. So His Eminence told them, “Maintaining amity is better than discord and peace is better than mischief. Now is the time for you to remain united, may the Almighty Allah make peace between you.”[3]

They accorded no reply to His Eminence and a fearful silence descended on them. At that moment the Imam glanced at Walid and asked, “Have you received some news about Muawiyah. Because he was ill and his illness had prolonged. What is his condition now?”

Walid called out in a sorrowful and anxious tone, “May the Almighty Allah reward you for your patience in Muawiyah’s death. He was for you a sincere uncle and now he has tasted death. This is the letter of the chief of believers, Yazid…”

His Eminence, Husain recited the word of Istirjaah[4] and told him, “Why have you called me here?”

“I have called you to pay the oath allegiance.”[5]

Imam said: “A person like me does not give allegiance in a secret manner and my allegiance in a secret manner shall not be accepted. When you go out to people to take allegiance, call me also along with them and it shall be the same for all.”

Imam requested that the matter should be postponed to the morning next so that a gathering of prominent people is arranged and then the Imam may announce his view condemning the allegiance of Yazid. And that he may call the people to rebel and destroy Yazid’s regime.

According to what historians say Walid was peace-loving and he did not like discord. So he thanked the Imam for what he said and permitted him to return home.

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/14-15
[2] Ad-Darun Nazeem, Pg. 171
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/15
[4] Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihe rajioon
[5] Al-Futuh 5/17


Here the debased and evil Marwan bin Hakam became infuriated and he screamed at Walid, “If this opportunity goes away from you and he does not give you allegiance you will never get a second chance and there shall be greater bloodshed between you. Restrain him and make him give allegiance and if he doesn’t, kill him now!”

The chief of nobles stood up towards the greatest coward, son of a coward and told him, “O son of the blue-eyed woman! Would you kill me or he would? By Allah! You have lied and you have lost courage.”[1]

After that he glanced at Walid and informed him about his determination and decision at not accepting the allegiance of Yazid and said: “O chief, we are Ahle Bayt of Prophethood and the mine of messengership. We are the place of coming and going of angels and the place of descent of divine mercy. The Almighty Allah has initiated the creation with us and He shall conclude it with us. Yazid is a transgressor, a drunkard, killer of innocent people and an open sinner. A person like me can never give allegiance to persons like him. However we and you shall see in the morning which of the two of us is more qualified for caliphate.”[2]

This was the first announcement that His Eminence had openly made after the death of Muawiyah regarding the rejection of Yazid’s allegiance that he issued in the palace of the governor without having any fear of reprisal.

Open expression of His Eminence rejecting Yazid’s allegiance shows the determination of His Eminence to prepare himself for a sacrifice that was the beginning of his greatness, superiority and faith. Because His Eminence from the aspect of spiritual heritage and his family background had all human perfections so how he could have accepted Yazid’s allegiance, who was one of the pillars of transgression and sins. If His Eminence had accepted him as a leader of Muslims, he would have taken the life of Islam towards destruction and annihilation, and subjected the religious beliefs to deviation which would have become involved with deep ignorance.

The forceful statement and the truth that the chief of nobles expressed displeased Marwan. Therefore he turned to Walid in anger and denounced him for letting His Eminence go. He said, “You did not listen to me. By God, you will never get such opportunity over him ever.”

Walid had become influenced with the logical discourse of the Imam and it awakened his conscience. Therefore to refute Marwan he said, “Woe be to you. You had suggested to me something which would have involved the destruction of my own faith. By God, I would not want all the worldly wealth and dominion on which the sun rises and sets, (if it involved) killing Husain. Glory be to God, should I kill Husain because he said: “I will not swear allegiance? By God, I do not think on the Judgment Day a man who is responsible for the blood of Husain (will weigh) little in the scales of God.”

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/15
[2] Al-Futuh 5/18-19


Marwan ridiculed him saying, “If this is your opinion, then you have acted correctly in what you did.”[1]

His Eminence, Husain decided to leave Medina and go to Mecca to take refuge in the sanctuary of the House of Allah and remain safe from the mischief and oppression of the Umayyads.

Imam Husain and Marwan

His Eminence, Husain met Marwan on the way the next morning after he had refused allegiance to Yazid. Without any preliminaries Marwan said to His Eminence: “I am your well-wisher, listen to what I say, so that you remain safe.”

“What is that, O Marwan?”

“I suggest you pay allegiance for the chief of believers, Yazid, as there is in it good for your religion and the world.”

Imam was much disconcerted and he recited the word of Istirjah (Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihe Raajeoon) and he replied to Marwan’s statement in a most logical manner: “If the community is involved with a ruler like Yazid, farewell to Islam. Woe be on you, O Marwan. Are you advising me to pledge allegiance to Yazid who is a transgressor?

What you say is absolutely inappropriate…I shall not denounce you for what you said because you are such an accursed person that the Messenger of Allah had cursed you when you are in the loins of your father, Hakam bin Aas.”

Imam added further, “O enemy of Allah! Get away from me! As we are the Ahle Bayt of the Messenger of Allah. The truth is between us and our tongues speak the truth. I have heard the Messenger of Allah say: The caliphate is unlawful for the family of Abu Sufyan, the freed prisoners and sons of freed prisoners. And he said: Whenever you see Muawiyah on my pulpit, slit his belly. By Allah, people of Medina saw him on the pulpit of our grandfather and they did not do what they had been commanded...”

The filthy and debased Marwan became angry and he screamed, “By Allah, do not separate from me till you pledge allegiance of Yazid in a submissive way because you, the family of Abu Turab has become full of enmity towards the family of Abu Sufyan. You bear malice to them and they also have the right to consider you as foes.”

The Imam also cried at him, “O filthy man get away from me as I am from the purified Ahle Bayt regarding whom the Almighty Allah has revealed the following verse to His Prophet:

“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! And to purify you a (thorough) purifying.”[2]

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/340
[2] Surah Ahzab 33:33


Marwan was unable to bear this and fell into the fire of pain and grief. Then Imam told him: “O son of the foreign lady! Glad tidings to you for everything that the Holy Prophet did not like. One day you shall meet your Lord and my grandfather shall interrogate you about my right and right of Yazid.”

Marwan hurried to Walid and informed him about what Imam Husain had said.[1]

Walid contacts Damascus

Walid informed Yazid about the position of governor in Medina and told him about Imam Husain's refusal to pledge allegiance to Yazid. He said that His Eminence believed that he could not accord any obedience to Yazid. When Yazid understood this matter he was terribly infuriated.

Strict orders from Damascus

Yazid issued fresh orders to severely compel the people of Medina to pledge allegiance for him and also commanded to Walid that Imam Husain be put to death and his severed need be dispatched to him. He wrote as follows: “From the servant of God, Yazid, the chief of believers to Walid bin Uqbah. So to say: When this letter of mine reaches you, once again insist on the people of Medina to pledge allegiance. Leave alone Abdullah bin Zubair, for as long as he lives he cannot escape us. The severed head of Husain bin Ali should accompany your reply. If you do that, reins of horses shall be arranged for you and you shall become eligible for exceeding rewards from me. Was Salaam…”

Non-acceptance of Walid

Walid officially rejected the order of Yazid regarding the killing of His Eminence, Husain and he said: “No by God! The Almighty Allah shall not see me as the killer of Husain bin Ali…I shall not kill the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah even if he (Yazid) gives me all the world.”[2]

Yazid’s lettered arrived when Imam Husain had already departed for Mecca.

Farewell to the Prophet’s Tomb

On the second night, Imam Husain hurried to the side of the grave of his grandfather in a sorrowful and aggrieved demeanor to complain to His Eminence about the atrocities of the oppressors. Imam stood by the side of the grave and performed two units of Prayers. He became extremely affected by sentiments and he complained to His Eminence about the hardships and calamities that had befallen him.

“O Allah! This is the grave of your Prophet, Muhammad and I am the son of the daughter of Muhammad and what has befallen us is well known to you. O Allah, I like the good and am disgusted of evil. O one with glory and greatness, by the right

[1] Al-Futuh 5/23-25
[2] Al-Futuh 5/26


of this grave and by the one who is in it, I ask You to select for me that which shall be the cause of Your pleasure and satisfaction of Your Prophet.”

Imam Husain sees his Grandfather in his Dream

Imam Husain continued to gaze at the grave of his grandfather while he had become sure that he shall not see it again ever. At that moment he began to weep.

It was not yet dawn when His Eminence fell asleep and he saw his grandfather in dream that he has arrived with an entourage of angels. His Eminence took Imam Husain in his arms and kissed him on the forehead, saying: “O my son! As if I can see you in the near future, you shall be killed in Kerbala among a crowd of my community and your head shall be cut off while you shall be thirsty and water shall not be given to you. You will be thirsty but your thirst would not be quenched. Inspite of committing such deed they shall be hopeful of our intercession on the Day of Judgment. For them there shall be no benefit with Allah.

My dear Husain, your father, mother and brother have come to me. They are eager for you. Indeed, for you there are grades in Paradise that except for being martyred you cannot achieve them…”

Imam Husain looked at his grandfather for a long time and remembered his kindness and sentiments with regard to him. This made me more eager for him and he picturized the hardships and afflictions caused to him by the Umayyad regime. Because he was offered only two options: to pledge allegiance to the tyrant of Bani Umayyah or be killed. At that moment he created an attachment with his grandfather and told him lamenting: “O my grandfather, I do not wish to remain in the world anymore. Take me with you and keep me in your house.”

The Prophet was moved by this and he told him: “You must go back to the world so that you are given martyrdom and the Almighty Allah has appointed a great reward for you. You, your father and your uncle and the uncle of your father shall be raised up together so that you may enter Paradise.”[1]

His Eminence, Husain awoke worried and anxious while waves of grief and sorrow had surrounded him. He was now certain that he shall indeed be granted martyrdom. Then he gathered all his family members and related his dream. On that day, there was no one in the East or West of the world more aggrieved than the members of Ahle Bayt of the Messenger of Allah and no man or woman wept more than them.[2]

Imam Husain’s farewell to the Graves of his mother and brother

In the darkness of the night His Eminence, Husain went to the grave of his mother, who was the memory of the Holy Prophet and a part of His Eminence. He stood besides the grave for sometime while he looked at the grave with the last glance of farewell and he recalled her deep attachment and love towards him. He

[1] Al-Futuh 5/27-29
[2] Al-Awalim, 17/177-178


wished the earth would split and take him to his mother below the dust. Then he wept and bid farewell to the grave. After that he moved to the blessed grave of his brother, His Eminence, Hasan and watered the grave with his tears. And he was in that same condition when pain and sorrow had surrounded him. Then he returned home with a heavy sorrowful heart.[1]

Fear of Bani Hashim Ladies

When the Imam decided to leave Medina and take refuge in Mecca the ladies of the family of Abdul Muttalib were terrified because they had heard of numerous traditional reports about the imminent tragedy from the Messenger of Allah and thus they all gathered in an atmosphere of sorrow and trepidation.

They began to wail and the sounds of their weeping arose in the surroundings. It was a scene of fear and shock. Imam Husain turned to them with a firm determination and said: “By Allah, do not commit an act which is in disobedience of Allah and the Prophet.”

Their hearts became filled with pain and they said: “Why shouldn’t we weep and wail. This day is like the day of the passing away of the Prophet, Ali, Fatima and Hasan… May the Almighty Allah make us sacrificed on you, O beloved of the righteous!”

One of the paternal aunts of His Eminence came towards him while her face was a picture of fear. When she got respite from weeping she used to say: “I have heard a caller saying:

O the one that shall be slain on the land of Taff from the family of Hashim, you have made the necks of Quraish bow down in humility and you have degraded them.”

Imam comforted her and advised her patience as he had done with other ladies of Abdul Muttalib’s clan.[2]

With his brother, Ibn Hanafiyah

Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyah hastened to His Eminence, Husain in a worried state, while his steps moved very fast and due to the intensity of sorrow and grief he could not even see the way properly. When he reached him, he faced His Eminence, Husain and said haltingly with sincere words interspersed with weeping:

“O my brother! May I be sacrificed on you. You are the most beloved person to me. By Allah! I don’t advise anything to anyone and no one is more deserving of it than you. You are like my soul and my life. You are the senior-most person of my family. You are one whom I trust and whose obedience is obligatory on me. Because the Almighty Allah has bestowed nobility on you and made you one of the chiefs of the people of Paradise. I wish to offer a goodly advice to you Please accept it from me…”

[1] Al-Futuh 5/29
[2] Muqarram, Maqtal Hazrat Husain 137-138


Through these statements filled with concern and kindness, Muhammad expressed his love and respect towards his brother. Imam looked at him and Muhammad said, “I advise you that as much as possible keep away from the allegiance of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah and places of mischief and discord. After that send messengers to the people. If they give allegiance to you, thank Allah for it. If they begin to support someone else, the Almighty Allah would neither make your faith defective nor your intelligence. There would be no decrease in your respect or merits. I dread that you may reach some town where people create discord. And that one group may support you and another may oppose you. At that time they may fight among themselves and you become the first target of spears. In that case the best of the people with regard to personal merits and nobility of ancestry shall be humiliated…”

Imam Husain asked him, “Where should I go?”

“Stay in Mecca and if you get peace there, continue to reside there. If not, turn to deserts and mountains and go from town to town and see where the destiny of the people reaches. In this manner your intention would be best and your job shall be done in a foreseeing way. So much so that the future events and beginning of your mission would not be so difficult that you have to abandon it.”[1]

Imam spoke up in such a way that he was absolutely fearless of dangers and with a firm determination informed his rejection of Yazid’s allegiance. “My brother, even if there is no refuge in this world for us, I shall never give allegiance to Yazid Ibn Muawiyah.”

Ibn Hanafiyah began to weep because he had become sure a terrible calamity and tragedies were to strike his brother. The Holy Imam comforted him and thanked him for his sincere concern. He told him, “My brother, may Allah reward you for your concern for us and for guiding us to the right way. I have decided to move to Mecca. I and brothers and nephews and our Shias all are in the same position and we all have similar views. But there is no problem if you stay put in Medina and keep an eye on what goes on and keep me informed about it.”[2]

Imam Husain’s bequest to Ibn Hanafiyah

Imam Husain wrote a will for his brother, Ibn Hanafiyah in which he mentioned the reasons of his great revolution against Yazid’s rule. After the name of God, the will says:

“This is the will of Husain bin Ali to his brother, Muhammad bin Hanafiyah. Husain testifies that except for the One Allah there is no other god and He has no partner. And Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger who has come from Him with truth. And Paradise is truth and fire (Hell) is truth and the Day of Judgment shall indeed come to pass. And the Almighty Allah shall raise all those who are in the graves. I have not taken up arms in order to make merry, or be

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/341-342
[2] Al-Futuh, Pg. 32


ecstatic over what I possess. I am not making mischief, nor exercising oppression. But I am ready to fight for the sole goal of seeking reform of the Ummah of my grandfather, the Apostle of Allah. I want to enjoin good and forbid evil and guide the affairs of the people as my grandfather and father, Ali Ibn Abi Talib were doing. One who accepts me with truth, the Almighty Allah is more deserving for truth and one who objects against me, I shall be patient on it. So that the Almighty Allah may judge between me and these people. He is the best of those who judge. This is my bequest for you, O my brother! I have no Tawfeeq except from Allah, that I rely on Him and that I shall return to Him only.”[1]

It was due to these lofty aims that the Imam began his everlasting revolution, because His Eminence did not take up arms to make merry or to be ecstatic over what he had. There was no personal gain in it for him or his family. Rather he had risen to oppose the tyrannical and oppressive regime. He wanted to establish the lofty foundations of justice among the people. And what a great statement His eminence has issued:

“Thus one who accepts me with truth, the Almighty Allah is by truth more deserving. And one who opposes me, I shall be patient upon it till the time Allah judges between me and those people as He is the best of those who judge.”

In this way the Holy Imam described and explained the philosophy of his uprising. That it was for the establishment of truth and to destroy falsehood. His Eminence called the community by truth that they should gather around him to support their rights and regain their honor and respect that were being trampled upon and destroyed by the Umayyads. If the people do not heed his call he was prepared to be patient and determined to continue his mission single-handed till the time the Almighty Allah would dispense justice between him and the people. And in this way he was prepared to act on the examples of his grandfather and father and not on the method of any other Caliph.

This document mentions the most important factors and causes underlying the mission of Imam Husain and we shall refer to these in our discussion in the coming pages.

After making out and sending his will to his brother, Muhammad, His Eminence started his journey to Mecca in order to meet the pilgrims to the House of Allah and make them aware of the conditions of that time in the country and to warn them of the calamities and dangers that had beset the community during the tyrannical regime of Yazid.

Before leaving Medina for Mecca, Imam came to the tomb of his grandfather in the Prophet’s mosque so that he may bid it farewell for the last time. He entered the Prophet’s mosque and glanced at the Mihrab and the pulpit of his grandfather. He recalled the care and love of his grandfather that he had showered upon him in his childhood. Because he had not forgotten the kind emotions that he had

[1] Al-Futuh: 33-34, Khwarizmi, Maqtal 1/188-189


experienced during his early years. Especially the saying of the Messenger of Allah that: “Husain is from me and I am from Husain. May Allah love all those who love Husain. Husain is a grandson of mine…”[1]

Imam reminisced how the Messenger of Allah had presented and inculcated into him the lofty values and fine humanistic qualities that he himself possessed. Imam Husain was aware that this concern was not only because he was the grandson of the Prophet. It was aimed at something else and the Messenger of Allah was knowing of some future events that would necessitate that Imam Husain take up the mission to save the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet and the principles he had established. Imam had made a firm determination that he would have to present that great sacrifice in order to save Islam from those destructive hands…

Historians say: His Eminence came to the mosque with his family members while he took support of two persons. He was reciting the composition of Mufragh:

“Neither I harass the birds at the time of daybreak nor should Yazid call me when I launch my attack.

On the day when I see that I am forced to humiliation and when death is waiting for me.”[2]

Abu Saeed says, “When I heard these two lines I realized that His Eminence was not quoting that couplet as an example except for the firm intention that he had made. Thus not much time passed when I learnt that His Eminence had left for Mecca.”[3]

Imam had decided to indeed sacrifice his life in order to change the flow of life and to exalt the word of God and goodly opinion in the earth.

However when the people of Medina, the cradle of the Prophet’s mission, learnt about the departure of His Eminence, Husain they were filled with shock and grief because they were now certain that they would suffer a terrible loss as the ray of the light of prophethood that used to illuminate their life was going away from them. The respectable companions of the Messenger of Allah who at the time resided in Medina were aggrieved because in Imam Husain they had always viewed the continuity of the image of the Holy Prophet. Which had released them from their life of roaming the deserts.

[1] Tirmidhi, Sunan: 5/658 Tr. No. 3775, Ibne Majah, Sunan 1/51, Tr. 144, Al-Awalim 17/33-34, Chapter 1/ TR. No. 1-4
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/17
[3] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/204, Tabari, Tarikh 5/342

# Imam Husain’s Revolution:
Activities and programs
Part 1

Imam Husain, just as he has himself mentioned, did not initiate his great revolution for something useless or to project his own image. He neither undertook it for creating mischief and oppression. Rather, His Eminence moved out to reform the condition of the country so that he may establish social justice among the people and destroy factors of terrible humiliation the people were subjected to under the yoke of the Umayyad regime. That he may release them from tethers of degradation that the tyrant rulers had tied them in.

Imam initiated his mission against the ruling tyrant so that he may restore to the people their capabilities and nature that they had lost. And to get back the respectable nature to its original position so that through it may be established a rule of justice and equity under the leadership of the Imam and every type of social discrimination is destroyed. Also that life may be established on the foundation of love and brotherhood as that is the rule of God, the Creator and giver of all existence and not the regime of Muawiyah which was based on killings, murders and trampling of human values and suppression of social activities and humanity.

Imam began his great revolution so that through it he may open the Book of Allah and make his uprising a lesson for people of reason. Thus he illuminated the path and fixed the aim and bestowed enlightenment to the thinking ones. And through that revolution he demolished the obstacles that the Umayyads had installed to prevent the progress of Islam and its followers. Hence after that revolution, no negative effect or dangerous plots of the Umayyad regime remained in the world of Islam. Because, after the slaying of the Imam, the people rose up like valiant lions and they did not give any importance to their life and safety. They all arose with a firm determination to take up arms against the tyrannical regime of Umayyads and one after other, revolts rocked the Umayyad rule till finally the unjust regime was uprooted from Islam and their ego was annihilated.

Imam did not initiate his revolution till the time all options had been exhausted for him and no hope remained for the reform of the community and there was no other way for him. He had become certain that nothing could reform the condition of the community except the sacrifice of his life. This was the only way to transform the life of the nation and to install the standard of truth on the earth.

I believe that the most important thing for the readers is to learn about the causes of Imam’s revolution and the program of his mission. And this is what we shall discuss in detail in the coming pages.

Causes of the Revolution

Some religious responsibilities and social duties etc. had surrounded the Imam and persuaded him for the revolution. They prepared him for sacrifice and staking his life. Some of these responsibilities were as follows:


1. Religious responsibility

Islam has fixed the responsibility of all the disasters and calamities that befall the people of Islamic lands and all those things that are not beneficial for them upon all Muslims. No one is absolved of this answerability and Islam has not accepted such a thing. Muslims cannot be aloof and careless about whatever happens in the Islamic world. While the Holy Prophet has announced this responsibility and said: “Each of you is responsible and each of you is caretaker of all who are under you.” Thus Muslims are responsible to God, that they must have concern for the society, defend the advantages of the country and remain aware of their community.

It was due to this great responsibility that the Imams confronted the atrocities of the Umayyads and destroyed their plans of enslaving the community, humiliating the people and usurping their property. His Eminence has spoken in his address to Hurr and his companions about that which was made incumbent on him by Islam and on the basis of which he performed jihad against the tyrant regime of Yazid.

His Eminence said:

“O people! The Messenger of Allah has said: ‘One who sees a tyrant ruler considering the unlawful things lawful, ignoring the command of God, opposing the practice of the Messenger of Allah and deals with people in a sinful and oppressive way, but by word or action he does not object to it, the Almighty Allah has the right to convey him to his place.’”

Religious duty made it incumbent on the Imam to rise up against the Umayyad regime. A regime which considered the unlawful things lawful, trampled His laws, and opposed the practice of the Messenger of Allah and a group of Muslim scholars have stated clearly that it was obligatory for the Imam to start a Jihad in defense of Islam. Some of the scholars who mention this are as follows:

A – Imam Muhammad Abduh: Under the discussion of just and unjust rule according to Islam, Imam Muhammad Abduh has alluded to the uprising of the Imam against Yazid’s regime and has considered the Imam’s uprising as a religious duty. And he says: “If a just rulership is established in the world that applies the law of Shariah and at the same time there is another regime that does not apply the laws of Shariah, it is incumbent upon all Muslims to support the former and abandon the latter…and in this way was the uprising of Imam Husain the Prophet’s grandson against the leaders of injustice and oppression. Who had forcibly usurped the affairs of Muslims under the kingship of Yazid Ibn Muawiyah, may Allah degrade him and his supporters also, that is the Caramatees and Nawasib.”[1]

B – Muhammad Abdul Baqi: Ustad Muhammad Abdul Baqi Sarwar says regarding religious and social duty that it became obligatory for the Imam to take a stand against Yazid’s regime. He says: “If Husain had given allegiance to Yazid, the

[1] Tafsir al-Manar 12/183


transgressor and profligate, who made wine and fornication lawful, degraded the status of caliphate by sitting with singers and women, arranged drinking parties in official places, decorated dogs and monkeys with gold ornaments while hundreds of thousands of Muslims remained starving and deprived, it would have implied the legalization of all these things.

If Husain had pledged allegiance to Yazid while he was a successor of the Messenger of Allah, this verdict would have decreed all those things lawful in the view of people and Husain’s silence would also have implied his approval of these sinful activities. His silence against these things would have amounted to sin and crime according to Islamic law… The status that Husain was having during the time of Yazid not only in the Arabian Peninsula, but in all the Islamic lands, his position among the Muslims and his proximity to the Prophet of the Lord of the worlds and on the basis of this after the passing away of the greatest personality of Muslims, from the aspect of knowledge, piety, ancestry and circumstances he was the foremost person of the nation. Because he was having the responsibility of defending the Islamic heritage. On the basis of this he considered it his duty when he was called to help in order to stop the evils. Especially that he stops
the evils because they were committed and encouraged by those who were occupying the seat of vicegerency of the Prophet.

Secondly: His Eminence had received allegiance for caliphate in the Arabian Peninsula and thirty thousand letters of support were received by him from Iraq from the people of Kufa and Basra. And they promised the Imam that they would support him in his fight against Yazid bin Muawiyah. Repeated entreaties insisted that the Imam must rise up against the tyrant regime. So much so, that a leader of these petitioners, Abdullah bin Haseen wrote: “O Husain! We shall complain against you to Allah on the Day of Judgment.” How was it possible for Husain, who had religious modesty and Islamic shame to have continued to witness these terrible things without taking any action? How is it possible for him not to reply to their calls for help? On the basis of this, he answered their call positively just as Islamic Shariah has stated and he moved to Iraq.”[1]

This view is the final argument as it is with Islamic proofs that makes it incumbent for the Imam to perform Jihad against the tyrant regime of his time.

C – Abdul Hafeez Abu Saud: Ustad Abdul Hafiz Abu Saud says: “Imam Husain after that – that is the death of Muawiyah – realized that it was his minimum duty to announce his denial to Yazid’s allegiance and to take the allegiance of Muslims for himself for the defense of Islam, for removing oppression and Yazid’s destruction.[2]

D – Dr. Ahmad Mahmood Sabhi: Among those who expressed their views on this subject is Dr. Ahmad Mahmood Sabhi. He says: “In the rising of Husain the

[1] At-Thair al-Awwal fil Islam, Pg. 79
[2] Sibtar Rasool, Pg 133


acceptance of Yazid’s allegiance would have been a deviation from the principles of religion because he considered the transformation of religions successorship into dynastic rule as nothing but a Herculean innovation which had entered Islam. And from that aspect the appointment of Yazid, even though he had such vile habits and was addicted to wine and indulged in playing with monkeys, to the post of successorship of the Prophet was the greatest crime in religion of Islam. Such that whoever were party to that crime or pleased at that, would be responsible for that crime. And that also that a person doing this be the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah! In such circumstances the rising of Husain was a matter that more than propagation and belief he should be concerned with politics and war first.”[1]

E – Alaili: Alaili says: Responsibilities are there upon the caliph, such that if he does not fulfill them, it would be incumbent on the people to depose him. The community is obliged to take up arms against him and it is unanimous verdict of all Muslims that making effort in this regard is obligatory. On the contrary if the ruler is not such, it would be wrong to protest against him and the consequences of opposition in this case would be very bad. Moreover one who legislates is more obliged to respect the law, than any other person in every way. His responsibility in this regard is more. And whenever the ruler becomes a transgressor, openly commits evils and ignores God, His Messenger and believers, respect to such a person would tantamount to be respect of a transgressor and evil man and trusting him would be nothing except trusting ego and open transgression. It is the same thing that is mentioned in the solution-giving statement of His Eminence:
“Yazid is a corrupt man, who imbibes wine, puts to death the soul which Allah forbids to be harmed and declares his debauchery in public.”[2]

These were some views that reject the allegation of those who say that the Imam had no right to take up arms against the tyranny and oppression that Yazid had wrought.

2. Social Responsibility

Imam had a great responsibility on the basis of his social position with regard to the community against the oppression and injustice that the Umayyads had wrought upon it. Who could have been more deserving to defend the nation and to remove calamities from them? He was the grandson and the beloved one of the Messenger of Allah. The religion (of Islam) was the religion of his grandfather. The community (Muslims) was the community of his grandfather. He was having the first preference for the responsibility of leading the Ummah.

Imam Husain was certain that he had a responsibility with regard to this community and the selection of remaining silent and lack of uprising against the Umayyad regime which was unjust and tyrannical, was in no way effective in

[1] Nazaria Imamate Nazd Shia Ithna Ashari, Pg. 334
[2] Imam Husain, Pg. 94


changing the society. Therefore His Eminence took up this great responsibility on his shoulders and fulfilled his duty with trustworthiness and sincerity and sacrificed his life and that of the members of his family and his friends so that he may turn the Islamic justice and Quranic law to the sphere of life.

3. Completion of Argument for Imam Husain.

The argument was completed for the Imam to declare Jihad and confrontation against the powers of injustice and apostasy because he continuously received letters and representations from the important Islamic center of the city of Kufa. The people’s letters cast the divine responsibility on His Eminence. If the Imam had not replied positively to the petitions of the people to save them from oppression he would have been indeed answerable to God and its responsibility and completion of argument would have remained on him forever.

4. Defense of Islam

The most important factor that motivated the Prophet’s grandson to undertake an uprising was to defend Islam from the dangers of the Umayyad rule. The regime that wanted to destroy Islam, uproot it completely and annihilate its values. Because when Yazid sat on the seat of caliphate he announced his disbelief and apostasy in the following words:

“The Hashemites played a game to get rulership. Neither came any news nor any revelation.”

The above couplet clearly exposes the infidelity of period of ignorance which Yazid followed. Because Yazid had no faith in revelation, book, Paradise and Hell. And the grandson of the Prophet realized that if he did not take up arms in defense of religion, the grandson of Abu Sufyan would launch an attack on him and Islam would have remained only in name. On the basis of this, His Eminence initiated his great revolution and sacrificed his blood for the religion of Allah. His blood which was imbued with the fragrance of prophethood, became a balm for this religion. It is definite that if His Eminence had not sacrificed his life, neither the name of Islam had survived nor its customs. The religion would have become the disbelief of the period of Ignorance, sensualities and transgression and all the efforts and hardships of the Holy Prophet for the well-being and guidance of the community would have been in vain. Thus the Messenger of Allah had learnt from
the unseen knowledge the future turmoils of his nation and its afflictions at the hands of Quraish. He also knew how Husain would rise up in defense of faith and lay down his life for it. That is why he said in his most sublime saying: Husain is from me and I am from Husain. Indeed it is a fact that the Prophet was from Husain because his sacrifice was in defense of Quran and his pure blood would continue to water the tree of Islam for ages and eons.


5. Protecting Islam

The most important factor for which Imam Husain undertook a revolution was to clean up the Islamic caliphate from Umayyad filths that they had usurped unjustly…because the caliphate of that time was not a medium of establishment of injustice and removal of backwardness and mischief from the world in a way Islam desired.

Islam considers the institution of caliphate as an important agency for spreading truth and justice among the people. Therefore if the caliphate is righteous all the nation shall also be righteous and if caliphate deviated from its responsibility the community shall fall into terrible turmoil and calamities. That is why Islam has issued detailed instruction about the matter of caliphate and decreed that it should necessarily be headed by a person having a good nature and morals and one who possesses good qualities of justice, trustworthiness and knowledge of the needs of the community in the fields of economics, organization and politics. And one who lacks these qualities is prohibited to claim caliphate…Imam mentioned these qualities in his first letter to the people of Kufa and stated that one who claims the caliphate of Muslims must necessarily have these traits in a sufficient measure. His Eminence said, “I swear by my religion, he is not an Imam
that does not act in accordance with Quran, treads the path of equity, believes in truth and guards his self for the sake of God.”[1]

So only one who is imbued with these traits has the right to present himself for the leadership of community and their caliphate and one who is not having these qualities has no right to take up this post which is an important position delegated by the Prophet…

Islamic caliphate is not only dominance over the nation. It is the vicegerency of the Prophet and a continuation of his illuminated personal rulership. Imam Husain (a.s) realized that the position of his grandfather had fallen into the hands of a drunkard who did not recognize anything apart from his sexual desires and selfish desires. On the basis of this His Eminence rose up so that he may restore to it an illuminated existence and brilliant future of the Islamic Caliphate.

6. Freeing the Aspirations of the Nation

During the time of Muawiyah and Yazid the Islamic community did not have its intentions and any kind of freedom. It was like a lifeless body absolutely bereft of any sensation or capability because it was tied up in chains of slavery and suppression. Their thinking and foresight was curbed completely and between them and their intention was the wall of the Umayyad regime.

The tyrannical regime of the Umayyads had succeeded in destroying and paralyzing the feelings of the people and made them absolutely powerless to do anything against the rule. Though they were supportive of Imam Husain in

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/353


their mind they were not capable of following their conscience because the Umayyad regime of that time had taken full control of their destinies. They were like lifeless idols without any feeling and movement. They had no determination or intention to take any step. They were dressed up in raiment of humiliation and suppressed by the lashes of the Umayyads. They were downtrodden and rendered completely valueless.

Imam stepped in the field of Jihad and sacrifice so that he may bestow the spirit of respect and honor to the community. The martyrdom of His Eminence was the changing point in the history of Muslims and their life. Suddenly there was a complete change in them and they became armed with determination and resolve and all those obstacles that had restrained them were removed and they were released. The clouds of fear and submissions that had enveloped them changed into a revolution and confrontation. They undertook many uprisings one after the other whose slogan was: “O blood of Husain! we shall take the revenge of Husain!” These slogans struck like lightning the thrones of the Umayyad regime and destroyed their power.

7. Freeing the National Economy

Economy of the nation, the lifeblood of social and individual life had been completely destroyed. Because the Umayyads in a blatant manner had taken over the full control of Public Treasury and kept all the funds, war booty and other incomes at their own disposal. They had got hold of a great treasure and accumulated such wealth in their houses that they could not think up of enough channels to spend it. Muawiyah declared to the Muslims that the wealth belonged to God and not to the Muslims and that he was more deserving of it. Saeed bin Aas said: “The towns and habitations are the gardens of Quraish.”

The Umayyads employed public funds to further their political aims which were in no way related to the well being of the community. Their significant expenditures were in the following instances:

A) Purchasing consciences and faiths as we have explained many such instances in our discussion on the economic policy of Muawiyah.

B) The Umayyads also utilized a great part of public funds in forming committees for fabricating traditions of the Prophet that would exalt the position of Umayyads and decrease the status of Ahle Bayt as we have already explained in detail in the previous chapters.

C) They made huge grants, gifts and rewards to nobles in order to prevent them from objecting against the unlawful activities of the regime to curb the rights of the people.

D) The Umayyads spent without any kind of restraint on vices of wine, dance and songs. That is why their houses had become full of instruments of vice and sensuality and professionals of these activities.

These were some of the ways in which public funds were spent in a free and open


manner while the general populace was suffering poverty and hunger. Destitution had increased and the shadow of deprivation was seen in all lands of Islam except for Syria where all the luxuries and riches were obvious. For Syria was the strong fort that the Umayyads were defending with their injustice and atrocities.

Imam Husain rose up to support the economy of the nation and to restore to people a life of balanced livelihood.

His Eminence confiscated the land tax that was being transported to Muawiyah. He also took over various funds that were on way to Damascus Treasury during Yazid’s rule and distributed all these funds among the poor and needful people. More than anything else what pained him most was that he saw that poverty was prevalent in people while nothing was being spent on them from the Public Treasury.

8. Social Injustice

Social injustice had spread in all the nooks and corners of the Muslim dominions. There was no place that escaped the atrocities of the Umayyads. Following are some examples of their excesses:

A. Absence of peace: Peace had disappeared from all over the country and fear and terror surrounded all the people. Because the Umayyads were in the forefront to unleash their oppressions in such a way that the innocent were punished instead of the offenders and the non-sinners were penalized instead of the sinners. They used to cast into dungeons people who had not committed any crime simply on the basis of doubt or allegations. A large number of people were also put to death. People used to say in the time of Ziyad: “Leave Saad as Saeed has died.” None could be found except that he was terrorized of oppression regarding his life and property. On the basis of this, Imam undertook an uprising in order to save the people from this terrible oppression.

B. Considering the people lowly: The political line of action of the Umayyads was to humiliate the community and to consider the Muslims lowly. One of their signs of their subjugation of people was that they used to brand the necks of Muslims like cattle are branded and which indicated slavery. They also used to brand the palms of Muslims with a sign so that they may be considered slaves, as the slaves of Rome and blacks were considered.[1] Imam hastened to the field of Jihad so that he may bestow the Muslims honor and respect and release them from the darkness of oppression that had afflicted them.

9. Terrible Atrocities on Shias

Imam was aggrieved at the atrocities unleashed on the Shias during Muawiyah’s rule because Muawiyah left no stone unturned to oppress and torture them and to have them killed in the worst possible manner. So much so that he told Imam Husain, “O Aba Abdillah! You know that I kill the Shias of your father and give them funeral bath, wrap them in shrouds, recite funeral prayer and

[1] Tarikh Tamaddun Islami


consign them to the grave.”[1]

Muawiyah tried his best to annihilate the Shias as we have already discussed in the chapter on Muawiyah’s rule:

A. Executing their important personalities like Hujr bin Adi, Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai, Saifi bin Faseel and others.

B. Crucifying them on date palms.

C. Burying them alive.

D. Demolishing their houses.

E. Not accepting their witnesses.

F. Depriving them from the fixed stipend from Baitul Maal.

G. Terrorizing their ladies and intimidating them.

H. Spreading murder and terror in their areas.

These and other atrocities that the Shias were involved in, pained Imam Husain to such an extent that he was compelled to write to Muawiyah complaining about his acts of oppression against the Shias as we have already explained in the chapter on Muawiyah’s rule.

The cruel steps that the Umayyad regime took against the Shias were among the factors that motivated Imam Husain to undertake an uprising against Yazid so that he may emancipate the Shias from these terrible circumstances and to defend them from injustice and oppression.

10. Destroying the name of Ahle Bayt

The foremost cause of the uprising of the Imam was that the Umayyad regime was trying its utmost to destroy the remembrance of Ahle Bayt and to remove their merits and virtues from the minds of the people. In this regard Muawiyah was worst and he resorted to the most dirty means to achieve this, some are as follows:

A. Fabrication of traditions for reducing the value of Ahle Bayt.

B. Employing government machinery and educational institutions to train and bring up their children inculcating them with enmity towards Ahle Bayt.

C. Punishing those in the most terrible manner who mention the excellences of Ahle Bayt.

D. Imprecating them from the pulpits, minarets and in their Friday Prayer sermons.

Imam Husain arranged a great political gathering in the Holy Mecca and informed the people about the dangerous program Muawiyah had designed to remove the Ahle Bayt from the sphere of Islam…His Eminence stepped out for Jihad immediately and he preferred an early death instead of being compelled to hear the name of his father abused from pulpits and minarets.

[1] Yaqubi, Tarikh 2/231


11. Destruction of Islamic Values

The Umayyads dared to destroy the Islamic values in such a manner so that no sign of it remains in the life of Muslims. Some of their steps were as follows:

A. Unity of Muslims

The Umayyads spread discord and conflict among the Muslims and enlivened tribal prejudices and fights among clans and Arab tribes so that no unity is created among the Muslims.

Yazid encouraged Akhtal to denounce the Ansars, who had given refuge to the Prophet and in the days of trouble and hard times of Islam they supported the religion of Islam.

The poetry of the Umayyad period was mainly concerned with shameless insults to some people. Some poets devoted their artistic capabilities only to degrade their rival tribes and clans. The Umayyad poetry was devoid of any sort of social or humanistic aim and it was only concerned with abusing and flaying their competitors. In this way it opposed the formation of unity that Islam desired for its followers.

B. Equality:

Umayyads destroyed justice and equity that Islam had announced because they gave preference to Arabs over non-Arabs and promoted an atmosphere of fear full of convulsions and political groupism among the Muslims, the consequences of which was that non-Arabs began to write books against the Arabs and the Arabs wrote books pointing out the defects of non-Arabs. The person who was foremost in inciting such tendencies was Ziyad bin Abih. He was such that he harbored a great malice towards the Arabs and he ordered writers to denounce their opponents in their writings.

This evil policy was opposed to the spirit of Islam which has appointed all the rights and duties among the Muslims without any tribal discrimination and established equitability.

C. Freedom:

Throughout the Umayyad regime there was no sign of freedom in the sphere of people’s life. Because they were dealt with very severely if they tried to do anything according to their will but it was not in accordance with the ruler’s wish so that no one could demand his or her right or to say anything for general good. So much so that the regime of guillotine and sword was established.[1]

The chief of noble men rose up so that humans, Muslims and other people may be liberated from social injustice and the rights of people that were usurped during Muawiyah’s rule may be restored.

[1] Leather mat on which beheading is done


12. Trampling of the society

During the Umayyad period the society had sunk into decadence and all Islamic values had disappeared. The most important causes of decadence that appeared were as follows:

1. The society was deprived of spiritual training regarding which no other caliph other than Ali paid any attention. His Eminence had paid special attention to it but the terrible incidents obstructed his way when he wanted to reform the society and better their morals.

2. The Umayyad regime tried to destroy the fabric of the society and to deviate it. They instead forced upon the society everything that was far from the reality of Islam and Islamic guidance. These two factors according to our view were responsible for taking the society towards decadence…The signs of that decay and decadence were as follows:

A. Oath breaking: Most people of the society did not consider it sinful to break oaths and promises because such a thing was considered usual in the society of that time. Arab kings encouraged them in this regard. That is why they announced in their statement of Nakhila: “Every oath we had made to Hasan, we shall not fulfill.” And they intentionally broke all pledges they had made to Imam Hasan. It was one of the most prominent characteristics of the Kufians. That is why the greatest pledge they had made to help and assist Imam Husain was subsequently broken by them. Thus they broke the pledge they had made to the Almighty. They failed to help him. Nay they even became instrumental in his martyrdom.

B. Not refraining from lies: The maladies that afflicted the society included not refraining from lying. Especially the Kufians were more involved in it. That is why when they had surrounded Imam Husain to slay him, His Eminence posed a question to the commanders of the army who had previously written to him inviting him to Kufa:”

“O Shabth bin Rabi’! O Hijaar bin Abjar! O Qais bin Ashath! Did you not write that the fruits were ready and the orchards had become green and you shall find an army at your disposal?”

Those filthy people were absolutely unashamed to lie. They all responded. “We never did that!”

The Imam was astounded. He said, “Glory be to Allah! You indeed did so!”

While the fact was that the crimes they had committed were responsible for the society being involved in calamities and disasters. Their leaders used such people as instruments of injustice and oppression on the Muslims.

C. Selling of consciences: The worst condition towards which the society was headed is best seen in the readiness of the people to sell their consciences to the rulers. We have explained this in detail in the chapter on the reign of Muawiyah.


D. Attracting people to vices: The society was fully attracted to vices and vain pastimes. The Umayyads directly promoted a life of waywardness and they openly tried to deviate the beliefs of the people so that they become absolutely against the balance life advised and commanded by Islam.

These were some of the maladies that the society was involved in and decay and waywardness was widespread in the people. Imam Husain took up the uprising to destroy that decadence into which the Muslim society of that time was sinking.

13. Defending his own rights

Imam Husain rose up to define his own rights that the Umayyads had usurped from him. The most important of these were as follows:

A. Caliphate: Like his father, Imam Husain also had faith that the Progeny of Prophet was more deserving of his successorship than others. Because they were the Ahle Bayt of Prophethood, mine of messengership and the place of the coming and going of Angels. The Almighty Allah began creation with them and ended it on them. On the basis of the statement of His Eminence he was brought up since childhood with this very belief. That is why he rushed to Umar and shouted, “Get down from my father’s pulpit and go on the pulpit of your father.”

Such a feeling was not unique to only Imam Husain. It was found in all the Imams of Ahle Bayt because they all believed that Caliphate was one of their rights, because they were the closest people to the Holy Prophet and ones most aware of the aims of His Eminence…

Another point worth mention is that according to the terms of the treaty Imam Husain should have been accepted as the de facto caliph as he was according to Shariah. Because Muawiyah had agreed not to transfer the caliphate to anyone else after himself. After Muawiyah, the caliphate should have returned to Imam Hasan and if anything happened to him it would go to Imam Husain.[1]

On the basis of this, the allegiance of Yazid was not lawful and Imam Husain did not revolt against a lawful Caliph of Islam as the Umayyads believe and allege. Rather he had risen up against a tyrant who had usurped his right of caliphate.

B. Khums: Khums is the obligatory right for Ahle Bayt as clearly explained in Quran and too many traditions have been recorded about it but the previous regime had usurped it and did not pay anything from it so that the Alawites may not muster the power to revolt. Imam Husain told this to Abu Huraira when he refrained him from rising up against Bani Umayyah: “Woe be unto you, O Abu Huraira. Bani Umayyah usurped our property and we remained patient on it.”

Most probably the Imam meant to denote Khums by this. In the panegyric that Dibil Khuzai recited for Imam Reza in Khorasan, he has mentioned this point:

“I see that their right has been distributed among others and their hand has become empty of their rights.”

[1] Life of Imam Hasan 2/298, Al-Isabah 1/333


Imam Reza was moved by these lines and spreading his palms said: “By Allah, they are empty.”

Denying the Khums funds to the Alawites became the most important cause of their economic difficulties. Probably through his uprising, Imam Husain wanted to restore this right to Ahle Bayt.

14. Enjoining Good

The strongest motive for Imam Husain in his uprising was the establishment of enjoining good which was one of the primary principles of religion and the Imam was the person having greatest responsibility towards it.

Imam in his bequest to his brother, Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyah, has explained the aim of his uprising against Yazid. His Eminence said: “…I am not taking up arms in order to make merry, or be ecstatic over what I possess. I am not making mischief, nor exercising oppression. But I am ready to fight for the sole goal of seeking reform of the Ummah of my grandfather, the Apostle of Allah. I want to enjoin good and forbid evil…”

Imam rushed to the fields of Jihad so that he may lay the foundation on which Islamic respectable life may be built up. Pillars of foundation that had been demolished during the period of Umayyad regime. Because in their time the good had become evil and the evil had become good. Imam objected against them on many occasions. The most well-known of these instances is the speech His Eminence delivered before the Ansar and Muhajireen denouncing their attitude of supporting the tyrants, obstructing the truth and preferring a life of comfort and luxury as we have already mentioned in the first part of this book.

Regarding the matter, His Eminence said the following to his companions on the day of Ashura, “Do you not see that truth is not acted upon and falsehood is not being removed so that a believer creates in himself the love of proximity of his Lord?”

His Eminence preferred death to life because he witnessed that the truth was being destroyed and falsehood was becoming stronger.

15. Uprooting Innovations

Umayyad regime dared to spread innovations among the Muslims and its aim was not but the destruction and defeat of Islam. Imam indicated this in his letters to people saying, “The Sunnah is gone and innovation has become alive.”[1]

Imam rose up so that the innovations that Umayyads had spread may be destroyed and to enliven the Sunnah of his grandfather that they had destroyed. On the basis of this the ever living aim of His Eminence was uprooting ignorance and hoisting the flag of Islam.

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/357


16. Order of the Prophet

The Holy Prophet had been informed through the Unseen about dangers that Islam would face at the hands of Umayyads in future. He also knew that the reformation of message and restoring eternality to its principles was not possible except through the sacrifice of his grandson, Imam Husain. Therefore it was incumbent on His Eminence to don the coat of mail and take up arms for the defense of faith. That is why His Eminence had ordered sacrifice. Therefore His Eminence, Husain stated this reply to the sincere advisor refraining him from going to Iraq. Imam Husain told him as follows: “I have been commanded and I am going to fulfill the command…”

Historians have said, “The Messenger of Allah prophesied to the people the martyrdom of His Eminence, Husain and also informed them about the great calamities that would befall him and he always expressed sorrow at his killing and cursed his killers.”

In the same way Imam Amirul Momineen has also spoken about the impending martyrdom of Imam Husain as we have discussed in the previous volume and quoted the widely narrations in this regard…

Imam Husain had perfect knowledge of what was to befall him because he had heard it all from his grandfather and father and he had become certain of his martyrdom. He had no more hope for living and went on the way of sacrifice and fulfillment of the command of his grandfather; he moved towards death with full determination.

17. Respect and honor

Of the most important factors for which the chief of the nobles undertook an uprising were ‘respect and honor’. Because the Umayyads wanted to force him to humiliation and degradation. But His Eminence did not accept it. He continued to live in honor under the shade of swords and spears. His Eminence has himself explained this matter on the day of Ashura: “Know that this man of evil ancestry has given two options. To pull the sword or face humiliation. Never could we accept humiliation. Allah, His Prophet and noble and valiant ones would never accept it for us. That we prefer the obedience of lowly ones to sacrifice in spite of the testimony of these great people…”

His Eminence then said: “I don’t see death except success and I don’t see life with oppressors except as deceit.”

His Eminence happily laid himself in the lap of death to bestow respect and honor to humanity and sacrificed everything for his independence and honor.

18. Deceit and tyranny of Umayyads

Imam Husain was certain that the Umayyads would never leave him alone and would leave no stone unturned to conspire against him and make his life difficult till he gives them the pledge of allegiance.

Imam was the most prominent personality of the Islamic world and Muslims had


much regard and devotion to him because His Eminence was the grandson of their Prophet and Chief of the Youths of Paradise. And it is natural that such a thing was unbearable for the Umayyads that someone should, with all his dominance and lofty status be present in all the lands because such a thing posed a great danger to their kingdom.

The Umayyads were sworn enemies of the Prophet because in the Battle of Badr he had eliminated their elders and humiliated them absolutely. Yazid was waiting for an opportunity to take revenge from Ahle Bayt for the Battle of Badr. Narrators say that he said:

“I am not from Khandaf if I do not take revenge from the descendants of Ahmad.”

When he had taken his revenge and satiated his malice by shedding blood he began to cry and said:

“We have killed their elders of elders and taken revenge for Badr; thus our account is leveled.”

Umayyads were well known for their deceit and oath- breaking. Because Imam Hasan made a peace treaty with Muawiyah and surrendered the Caliphate seat to him. In spite of this Muawiyah betrayed his trust and had him poisoned. And they had also given guarantee of security to Muslim Ibn Aqil but again they betrayed the trust…We have mentioned many examples of those whom Muawiyah had put to death because he feared danger from them.

Imam Husain declared that the Bani Umayyah would not leave him. His Eminence told his brother, Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyah: “Even if I enter into the holes of reptiles they would take me out and kill me.” Also His Eminence told Ja’far Ibn Sulaiman Zai-ee: “By Allah, they would not leave me till they do not take out my heart from inside me.”

Imam stood up against them and declared war and died an honorable death that was to shake up the throne of their tyranny and destroy their injustice and rebellion.

These were the factors that compelled the chief of the nobles to revolt against Yazid’s regime.

Valueless Opinion

A group of bigoted supporters of Bani Umayyah have considered the Imam’s uprising to be aimed at obtaining rulership and wealth of the country. This view is a sign of their malice towards Imam. And it is because of the victory that His Eminence achieved with regard to his blessed aim. It was a victory no other reformer of the world had ever achieved.

Probably some of them may be excused for being ignorant of the facts of the mission of Imam Husain because the Imam was certain that his revolution would be defeated in the martial field as his enemy was having the support of a


huge army and had a lot of power while the Imam had no army to obtain rulership. If it was as they claimed that his aim was rulership, when he got the news of the martyrdom of Aqil and the about turn of the people of Kufa, he could have gone back to Hijaz and again started gathering forces to achieve his aim.

Imam knew that the circumstances were in every way favorable for the Umayyads and nothing was in his favor or benefit.

Ibn Khaldun says: “Husain’s defeat was a foregone conclusion because Husain had nothing with which he could have defeated the Umayyads because the Mudhir tribe was bigoted to the Quraish and the Quraish was malicious to the clan of Abde Manaf and the family of Abde Manaf was hateful to the Umayyads. And the Quraish was aware of this and other people also know it.”[1]

Imam’s revolution was aimed at the restoring of their honor and respect that they had lost and which they had never expected. Therefore the Imam’s uprising against Yazid’s regime was on the basis of Islamic values that had been plundered by the Umayyads and which they were cutting up into pieces and destroying them…

One of the contemporary writers says: “We have the right to ask what was the aim of Husain and why he rose up? If this aim was to eliminate Yazid so that he may take up the Caliphate for himself that he had eyes on we have not seen the insistence in His Eminence himself that he try to go to Kufa in spite of the fact that the people had distanced from him and submitted to Ibn Ziyad and they had aimed themselves to confront the Imam. Even those not having a wide view knew that whatever His Eminence was doing was not in any way improper. If Husain had lacked perception he would have turned back to Mecca so that he may once again muster up means to achieve the Caliphate. If he had aimed to obtain the seat of caliphate since the beginning and when the news of killing of his cousin reached him he would have marched forward along with his family members to take revenge for it as some historians have claimed. And if their aim had been such, while he had hardly
ninety people of them and if he had gone to take revenge they would all have been killed and thus he would have sacrificed his life for an aim which was less in value and based on revenge.

Apart from this, his duty in revenge would have been such that he would have turned back and gone to gather relatives and supporters so that a group of revenge-seeking persons would have come into being.

On the basis of this, the matter was not connected with revenge and he had no personal motive in it. Rather, the matter was concerned with the Ummah and the problem was related to truth. The movement was the movement of sacrifice, such that he desired to establish an example of sacrifice. That Imam Husain did not try to enter Kufa when he learnt that people had turned away from him and his giving up the plan of armed opposition was that he may hoist a flag through his sacrifice for the few people who had some regard for faith and who were in search

[1] Muqaddimah Pg. 171, Qaidah 30


for a leader who moved to struggle against them and make efforts in this regard. And also that the movement of their human consciousness and their despair from being able to obtain their rights had become obvious.”

This discussion contains the illuminated reality present behind the mission of Imam Husain because His Eminence had no personal motive in mind. Rather his aim was to reform the Ummah and to keep them safe from the hands of Umayyads.

Charting out the Course of Revolution

Imam Husain studied deeply the aspects of revolution and his methods were based on complete knowledge and faith and he charted out the program in accordance with it. He decided to employ all his powers in confrontation and to sacrifice everything to save the Ummah, which was involved in hardships at the hands of the political rulership. And he wanted to achieve the liberation of their aspirations.

The German Orientalist, Morbin has studied the planning of Imam Husain for his revolution and he believes that the Imam began to expect victory in the first stage itself and he was sure that he would indeed succeed in his aim. Because the movement of Imam against Yazid was as he has said: “A firm determination such that it was difficult for him to surrender himself to the demands of Yazid. And immediate victory was also very difficult for him. On the basis of this he marched forward with his family members and companions so that future victory would be achieved in it after he had passed away. By these means he enlivened a matter that had been suppressed and apart from this he had no hope of life for himself.”

The chief of the nobles was certain that the reality of Islam was not possible that it would succeed but with the sacrifice that he presents with greatness. That is why he became determined and with faith decided to present great sacrifices, some of which were as follows:

1. Sacrificing his own life

Imam declared his determination to give up his life and he made this clear in Mecca among the Muslims that the parts of his body would be strewn between Nawawis and Kerbala and he also spoke of his martyrdom during the journey to Iraq. He dwelt on the similarity between himself and his brother, Yahya bin Zakaria. That is, his severed head shall be presented to the tyrant of that time from the Umayyads just as the severed head of Yahya was presented to the tyrant of Bani Israel.

His Eminence was determined to be martyred and he considered life valueless so that the standard of Islam is hoisted and the word of God is exalted on the earth and in the same way he remained firm on his resolve. And when the multitude of soldiers had surrounded him, he was in no way worried while those mercenaries had mercilessly slaughtered his supporters. Such was the horror of the tragedy that


human consciousness is shocked by the magnitude of the disaster. However, His Eminence was the most steadfast and valiant among the people in that terrible calamity. None was seen to have had more determination and resolve neither before that or afterwards. History is not able to find a greater example of such determination and powerful resolve in any period that influenced the life of people with such a sacrifice that it seemed a bolt of lightning had struck the oppressors and its echo is still heard among the unjust people.

2. Sacrificing his family Members

The chief of the nobles initiated his movement with such conviction that no other social reformer had taken such a step in the whole world. It was that he inculcated the sacrifice-giving belief in order to establish justice and spread truth and righteousness among the people.

For this sacrifice, His Eminence charted out a program and he considered it an important duty of his. When he was in Medina and when Umme Salma, the Prophet’s wife rushed to stop him from leaving Medina, he mentioned this and informed her about his martyrdom and the martyrdom of his children…

Armed with this faith His Eminence rushed forward to the field of Jihad and saw his chosen companions competing with each other to give up their lives in his service. They were such that humanity has well recognized their loyalty to truth. He was seeing the stars of Ahle Bayt and his sons that how in the prime of youth their bodies were being cut up by swords and spears and His Eminence was advising them patience and steadfastness and saying: “Be patient O’ my nephews. Have patience O’ my Ahle Bayt! After this you shall never face humiliation and degradation.”[1]

The whole world was shocked by this great sacrifice which has shown nobility of faith, loftiness of aim and greatness of principles for which His Eminence took up confrontation. Without any doubt, this movement will remain for centuries and generations in the same way so that it can illuminate the way for the people and which may offer to them the best of lessons in loyalty and sacrifice.

3. Sacrificing his property

The chief of the nobles sacrificed all his property and whatever he possessed in the path of Quran and the way of religion. For the Umayyad beasts moved to the camps of His Eminence after his martyrdom and plundered whatever they could find over there. So much so that even sheets and head coverings were not left for the ladies. The plunderers took away these also. In this way they exhibited a decadent behavior and their conscience which had been completely transmogrified.

4. Taking the ladies of his family with him

One of the important aspects of his planning for the great revolution was that he took along the ladies of the family of prophethood to Kerbala while he knew that

[1] Biharul Anwar 45/36


they would have to suffer untold hardships. When Ibn Abbas restrained him from this step he told him: “Indeed Allah has desired to see them in captivity…”[1]

Through this His Eminence wanted to fulfill his everlasting message in liberating the Ummah from the slavery of the Umayyads…Those exalted ladies had a very significant role in the overall goal of the chief of the martyrs. They awakened the people from a sleep that had overpowered them and destroyed the awe of the Umayyad rule. The door of opposition to that regime was opened by them. If it hadn’t been so none would have dared to utter a single word against the tyrants and transgressors. Whoever studied the aim of the Holy Imam deeply has understood this meaning. Some scholars and writers have pointed out this matter and some of them are as follows:

A. Imam Kashiful Ghita: Imam Shaykh Muhammad Husain Aale Kashiful Ghita (q.s.) in many of his writings has emphasized that the coming out of Imam Husain with his family members towards Kerbala was to perfect the aim and to reach his objective of destroying the Umayyad rule and he says: “Have you any doubt that if only Husain and his sons had been martyred and those noble ladies had not stepped forward in these circumstances to confront those tyrants the killing of His Eminence would have indeed been forgotten and no one would have arisen to take the revenge of his blood. His blood would have been wasted. Husain knew that there was no other option for him. No one, other than those great ladies, was capable of the tasks they accomplished. Hence it became incumbent for His Eminence to take them along and it was not only to have them made captives in oppression. It was actually because of a political point of view and deep thought, that is the completion
of aim and achievement of objective of destroying Yazid’s rule and that he rushed to finish them off before the people may apostatize to their former infidelity of the period of Ignorance and that they destroy Islam…”[2]

B. Ahmad Fahmi: Ustad Sayyid Ahmad Fahmi says, “Husain realized that he would be martyred because he was aware of the evil, debauchery and tyranny of Yazid. After the killing of Husain, Yazid would have got a free hand to torture the progeny of the Prophet, kill the innocent children, defile the honor of ladies and take them and remaining children from wilderness to wilderness and from town to town seeing which the people would be shocked that no greater revenge can be taken from women and children after killing their men and youths.

Under such circumstances His Eminence wanted to take revenge from Yazid in his caliphate and to destroy him while he was in full power and position. And in fact it happened in the way His Eminence had desired. What Yazid and his group did had a profound effect on the conscience of the community because he had behaved in such a horrible manner with the progeny of prophethood, put to such disrespect, ladies who had not seen anything but chastity, purity and honor. These actions of

[1] Biharul Anwar 44/364 (With a little difference)
[2] Imam Kashiful Ghita has discussed this in detail in his book, As-Siyasatul Husainiyah


theirs motivated the poets to versify the defects and evils of the Umayyads. The majority of Muslims began to despise the Umayyad Caliphate and the hearts of believers were enraged. On the basis of this, Husain killed more severely than his own slaying.”[1]

C. Ahmad Mahmud Sobhi: Dr. Ahmad Mahmud Sobhi says: “At the time he (His Eminence, Husain) did not accept but that he took his family members along with himself. So that people may see how evil his enemy was such that he neither did anything acceptable to religion nor anything permitted by humanity. Therefore whatever is done to them along with the spilling of his blood in the desert would not go in vain and that severe allegations are made against him when there was no impartial witness upon everything that passed between them and their enemies.”

Khanam Dr. Binte Ash-Shati says: “Zainab, Husain’s sister, destroyed the victory of Ibn Ziyad and Bani Umayyah and she put drops of fatal poison in the goblets of the victors. And all political events that occurred after that like the revolt of Mukhtar, revolt of Ibn Zubair, downfall of Umayyad regime, establishment of Abbaside rule and after that the strengthening of Shia school of thought. The founder and originator of all these was Zainab al-Kubra.[2]

We wish to ask what would have been the circumstances if Husain had been killed with his men without any witnesses from his side. The enemy would have shown the incident according to their routine and thus the martyrdom of Husain in the desert would have been in vain…”[3]

These were some of the views in support of our own opinion. That is the aim of Imam Husain in taking his ladies and children along with him to Kerbala was only to enlighten the general views and to explain the lofty aims for which he had undertaken an uprising. The chief of these aims being the elimination of the Umayyad rule whose danger was always perceived on Islamic belief.

Another view is also prevalent that Late Allamah Shaykh Abdul Wahid Muzaffar has explained. It is that His Eminence, Husain took his family with him for the fear that the Umayyads would arrest them and put them into their prisons. He says, “If His Eminence, Husain had left the ladies in Medina, the government would have taken them under their control; rather they would have been arrested openly and cast into dark dungeons. In such circumstances, His Eminence would have had to choose one of the two options each of which was alone sufficient to destroy his objective:

One that he surrenders to the enemies and obeys them so that they may release his honored women and children while it was against the reform expected from the Imam that he had considered so necessary that he bore all hardships.

[1] Raihaanatur Rasool, Pg. 167
[2] Batla Kerbala, 176-180
[3] Nazaria Imamat Nazd Shia Ithna Ashari, Pg. 343


Or that he should continue to propagate his message and leave his family ladies at the mercy of the enemies while the ladies were such that they had always been secure in the veil of revelation, greatness and majesty. This was something that the modest spirit of Husain could never accept and no sort of shame and modesty hindered the Bani Umayyah and no one in the Islamic world was capable of stopping them.

Bani Umayyah had no qualms in committing any kind of evil deed but their efforts were concentrated only for achieving their aims. They tried all means to reach their objectives even if the means were against religion and reason.

Have you not heard that the Umayyads cast into prison the wife of Amr bin Hamaq Khuzai, wife of Ubaidullah bin Hurr Johfi and wife of Kumayt Asadi also?[1]

Anyway, Imam by his going out with the ladies destroyed the political program of Umayyads and shattered all signs of oppression that Muawiyah had established because the ladies of the family of revelation took upon themselves the active role to enlighten the society and create awareness in the people. They made them cognizant about the true face of the Umayyads and tore away the disguise of religion that the Umayyads had donned. If these ladies hadn’t been there the effects of Imam Husain’s revolution would have been lost.

The greatest factor which made the revolution of Imam Husain eternal is this very decision of taking along with himself the ladies of the Prophet’s household. This resulted in the spread of social reformation throughout the periods of history which had a prominent role in creating general awareness. They took up the standard of faith that the Imam had hoisted and they propagated the principles for which the Imam had given up his life. That is why the granddaughter of the Prophet and sister of Husain, Zainab binte Amirul Momineen, stepped forward to the field of Jihad. While they were demolishing the forts of oppressors and through his sacrifice her brother was destroying their victories and giving them defeat and humiliation in their fate and was filling up their houses with grief and sadness.

Leader of Husain’s caravan, lady of the family of prophethood, Her Eminence Zainab rushed to the battlefield while she drove away the mercenaries from her brother, the great Imam. She came forward till she came and stood over the mortal remains of her brother. The eyes of the army were fixed on her. All the ears were attentive to hear what Her Eminence had to say regarding the terrible calamities that had befallen her one after another.

Her Eminence, with absolute calmness, without being worried and shaken by the mountains of calamities looked up at the heavens and with the fervor of faith and warmth of belief said:

“O Allah, please accept this sacrifice from us.”

By this statement she threw the first spark of revolution against the Umayyad

[1] Tauzeeh al-Ghaamiz min Asraarus Sunan wal Faraidh, Pg. 297-298


regime after the passing away of her brother. That army wished it had sunk into the earth. Because they realized what infamy they had committed and how they had destroyed the principles of Islam and centers of knowledge and faith.

When the prisoners of Ahle Bayt neared Kufa a huge crowd of Kufians came out to see the captives. The chief lady of the Prophet’s family delivered sermons to them that had them shocked and bewildered. People were astonished and neither could they pay attention nor understand how their houses fell into mourning. They were grieving their terrible destiny because of the sin they had committed. When Her Eminence reached the palace of that rebellious tyrant, the big Satan faced her gloating over his success. He tauntingly asked, “How do you consider God has treated your brother?”

The lady of Bani Hashim glared at him and with great daring replied, “Nothing but good! They were a people for whom God had decreed death 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 opponents before Him. At that time you shall see who is successful. May your mother mourn for you, O son of Marjana.”

These statements exposed Ibn Marjana and disgraced him in a way that was worse than a wound caused by spears.

When they reached Syria, through her effective sermon she shook up the throne of Umayyads. In this way she obtained a victory that not even well-armed armies could have achieved.

The decision of Imam Husain to bring along with himself his household was based on a deep knowledge and foresight through which he was able to achieve a stupendous victory.

Here we conclude our discussion on the factors and causes responsible for the rising of Imam Husain.

In Mecca

After His Eminence, Imam Husain announced his absolute denial to give allegiance to Yazid. He set out, with his family and children to Mecca which was the sanctuary of God and His Messenger and he took refuge in the sacred house of Allah because the Almighty Allah has granted security and peace to His servants in it.

Imam turned to the city of peace so that he may remain safe and secure from the mischief and oppressions of the Umayyads.

Historians say that His Eminence set out on the night of Sunday, 28th Rajab[1] while consternation had fallen on the people of Medina because they were seeing that the

[1] Maqrizi, Khatat 2/286 Printed by Ahya al-Uloom-Lebanon. Ibne Jauzi, Munatzim, 5/324 Al Ifada min Tarikhul Aimmatus Saadah. And in Al Futuh 5/34 it has come that: His Eminence departed after three nights of the month of Shaban had passed.


Prophet’s clan was leaving their town, never to return again.

The caravan left Medina moving swiftly while the Imam was reciting the words of God, “My Lord, deliver me from the unjust people.”[1]

The Holy Imam has compared his mission to that of His Eminence, Musa against Firon. The mission of His Eminence against the tyrant of his time, the Firon of this Ummah was same so that he may establish truth and raise the lofty edifice of justice.

Imam selected the route frequented most by travelers and he did not diverge much from it. Some of his friends suggested to His Eminence, like Ibn Zubair that he should leave the general route lest the Umayyad agents may pursue and arrest him. However, the Imam replied with perfect calmness and unabashedly, “No, by Allah! I would never leave this route till we decry the houses of Mecca or that Allah brings the command of that which He likes.”

Imam was satisfied with all the commands that God had destined and he never weakened in this resolve. And those terrible disasters that no man could have borne, failed to weaken his determination. During his mission he used to quote the couplets of the poet, Yazid bin Mufragh:

“Neither do I harass the birds in the morning, nor may Yazid summon me.

That day I shall be disgraced with fear of death while it is behind me so that I may run away from it.”[2]

His Eminence was sure while he was firm on his great resolve that death was in his pursuit to allow him to live without disrespect and disgrace and that he does not surrender before Yazid…Some narrators say that His Eminence was reciting the following couplets:

“If a person does not support his wives and children he shall be terribly disgraced.

Tomorrow, before Yazid may reach his aim, we would have accepted death in the east and west.

We shall rush forward like blazing fire such that even if a lion sees it, he would not dare to confront.”

These couplets inform us about the determination of His Eminence to accept death and his firm resolve never to accept the allegiance of Yazid.

With Abdullah bin Muti’

On the way, Abdullah bin Muti’ Adawi hastened forward to welcome His Eminence and he said, “O Aba Abdillah, may I be sacrificed for you, where do you head?”

[1] Surah Qasas 28:21
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 5/342


“I am going to Mecca. When I reach there I shall seek the advice of Allah what I do after that.”

“O son of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah destine good for what you have intended. I am making a suggestion to you, please accept it.”

“What is that?”

“When you go to Mecca, beware so that Kufians may not deceive you because your father was martyred there and your brother was attacked and injured in such a way that he almost died. So maintain the honor of the sacred sanctuary as you are the chief of the Arabs in your time. Thus if you are eliminated, your Ahle Bayt shall also be finished.”

Imam thanked him and prayed for his well-being.[1]

The Imam’s caravan Imam moved forward and continued fast without worrying for anything till they reached Mecca. When His Eminence decried the mountains of Mecca he recited the verse of Quran:

“And when he turned his face towards Madayan, he said: Maybe my Lord will guide me in the right path.”([2])([3])

The Hijrat of His Eminence to Mecca was like the Hijrat of Musa to Madayan; because both of them had fled from the Firons of their time and migrated to confront tyranny and rebellion.

Imam Husain in Mecca

Imam Husain reached Mecca on Friday, the third Shaban[4] and stayed in the

[1] Ibne Jauzi, Muntazim, Part 5, Pg. 327. Al-Futuh 5/34-35. And in Tarikh Ibne Asakir 14/182 it is mentioned: His Eminence, Husain passed by Ibne Muti’ when they were busy at the well. So he asked His Eminence, “Where are you going, may my parents be sacrificed on you?” His Eminence replied, “I am going to Mecca.” And His Eminence showed him one of the letters he had received from the people of Kufa. Ibne Muti’ told him not to go there. But the Imam did not accept his suggestion. After that Ibne Muti told him that their work at the well was complete and that they had already struck water. He requested the Imam to pray that the water be potable. Imam told him to get some water from it which was immediately presented to him. He tasted some of it and directed that the remaining be returned to the well. The water of the well became potable. And in Waseelatul Maal fee idda manaqibul Aal, Pg. 185 it is quoted from Safiuddin that: Abdullah came to
His Eminence, Husain and said, “May I be sacrificed on you, where are you going?” His Eminence replied, “Right now I am going to Mecca and after that I shall seek divine counsel and do as Allah wills.” He said, “May Allah keep you all in good health and make us be sacrificed on you. You be the caretaker of the Sanctuary as you are the leader of Arabs and the people of Hijaz do not consider anyone your equal. People shall come to from all over. Do not leave the vicinity of the Sanctuary, may my paternal and maternal uncles be sacrificed on you.”
[2] Al-Futuh 5/37
[3] Surah Qasas 28:22
[4] Ibne Jauzi, Muntazim, Al-Ifada min Tarikhul Aaimmatus Saada


house of Abbas Ibn Muttalib.[1] The people of Mecca welcomed him according to his honor and they met him day and night and inquired from him about religious laws and traditions of the Prophet.

Ibn Kathir says, “In Mecca people met him, sat around him and heard his talks and took benefit from whatever they heard from him and whatever they heard him narrate, they used to note it down.”[2]

Through spiritual magnetism, His Eminence attracted the hearts of the people towards him. People used to make a circle around him so that they may satiate their souls with the continued light of his grandfather that spread knowledge and effulgence in the earth.

Attention of Hajj Pilgrims and Umrah visitors towards His Eminence, Husain

All those people who came from various provinces for the Hajj and Umrah of the House of Allah, also began to make it a point to pay visits to His Eminence[3] and they also called others to the Holy Imam. They used to sit besides him. One of them used to ask him about knowledge and traditions and other asked him beneficial things and obtained complete information from him so that through those lights they may be guided in the darkness of their life.[4] Imam did not waste a single second of his time without spending it to spread his view and social awareness. His Eminence used to advise the people to remain awakened and warned them of the Umayyad policy as its aim was to enslave the Muslims and humiliate them.

Consternation of Ibn Zubair

Ibn Zubair had fled from the allegiance of Yazid and taken refuge in Mecca and the frequenting of people in Imam’s company and their devotion and respect to the Imam was very distasteful to him, because he himself was devoid of a pleasing nature and kindness.

Zaid bin Ali Juzani says, “He had such qualities that with them he was unfit for caliphate because he was miserly and inhospitable. He had bad habits and was jealous of others. He expelled Muhammad bin Hanafiyah and exiled Abdullah bin Abbas to Taif.”[5]

Among his personal traits were lowliness and miserliness. A poet has said thus about him:

“By your Lord I have seen Ibn Zubair trying to obtain caliphate at the cost of a date fruit.”[6]

[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/207 and in Akhbarud Daul, Pg. 229 it is mentioned: His Eminence arrived at Sha’b Ali
[2] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah: 8/151
[3] Ibne Sabbagh, Al-Fusul al-Muhimma, 183, Waseelatul Maal fi ad Manaqibul Aal, 185
[4] Nahzatul Husain, Pg. 57
[5] Fawaatul Wafayaat 2/173
[6] Ibne Qutaybah, Al-Ma’rif, Pg. 225


During his brief rule the people were troubled with hunger and deprivations. They were involved in different types of problems. Their poets have versified their despair and hopelessness in the following way:

“Slaves complain to the caliph and bemoan anger and starvation.

What was our fault and what had distressed us that which king had become dominant on other around us.”[1]

Ibn Zubair used to hunt the simple people, deceive the less intelligent ones and made a show of piety and abstemiousness just as Imam Amirul Momineen has described him: “He uses the trap of religion to hunt for the world.”[2]

It is confirmed that he revolted against the Umayyad regime not for the sake of Allah. Actually he wanted to obtain kingdom and power. Abdullah bin Umar had expressed this reality when his wife insisted on him to pledge allegiance and she reminded him of his obedience and piety. So he said, “Have you not seen those donkeys of Muawiyah on whom he traveled for Hajj and they were grey? Ibn Zubair does not want anything except that.”[3]

Anyway, nothing was more unbearable for Ibn Zubair except the matter of His Eminence, Imam Husain. Because he knew that in the presence of Imam Husain no one would pledge allegiance to him. Since His Eminence was the grandson of the Messenger of Allah and there was no one equal to him on the face of the earth as Ibn Kathir has said.[4]

Oakley has also emphasized this matter and he says: Ibn Zubair perfectly knew that as long as His Eminence, Husain remained, all his efforts shall be in vain. But were he to get some harm the way of caliphate would become easy for him.”

Ibn Zubair suggested to Imam Husain to go to Iraq so that he may get relief. He used to ask him, “What hinders you from going to your Shias and Shias of your father? By Allah, if I had such supporters, I would never have left them.”[5]

Ibn Zubair was not really sincere to the Holy Imam and he was not having any true concern towards the Holy Imam. He only wished that His Eminence may go away and he be relieved of worry regarding his presence in Mecca. However, the Imam was not ignorant of his true intentions. His Eminence told his companions, “This one”, pointing to Ibn Zubair, “Nothing in the world is better for him except that I leave Hijaz. He knows that people do not consider me equal to him. He

[1] Muruj az-Zahab 7/48
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 7/48
[3] Al-Mukhtar, Pg. 95
[4] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah: 8/151. And in Waseelatul Maal, Pg. 185 it is mentioned: The presence of Husain was unbearable for the son of Zubair, because as long as Husain was in that area the people would not give allegiance to him and he would not be able to gain from them what he wanted.
[5] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 4/170, (First events of year 60)


wishes I go away from here so that he may get a free hand.”[1]

The Umayyad regime also did not pay much attention to Ibn Zubair. It focused all its efforts on Imam Husain.

Ghazzali’s view

Shaykh Muhammad Ghazzali thinks it was unlikely that Ibn Zubair suggested Imam Husain to go to Iraq so that he (Ibn Zubair) may get a free hand. He says: “Abdullah Ibn Zubair was most God-fearing and there was no one more rooted in Islam than him that he could have stooped to such a lowly act.”[2]

This view is absolutely against reality. Ibn Zubair had no sort of religiosity because it was he who had flamed the fire of Battle of Jamal and who instigated his father to take part in it. He was that same who sacrificed everything to obtain wealth and power. He was the most malicious foe of the Purified Progeny. For someone like this, is it possible that he could be pious and rooted in Islam?

Cheap view

Among the cheap opinions is that of Anees Zakaria who is well-known for his loyalties towards Bani Umayyah. He says: “One of the most important factors that led to the uprising of Imam Husain was the instigation of Ibn Zubair to His Eminence to move to Iraq to organize a revolt which had a deep effect on the Imam’s thinking.”[3]

This statement is absolutely baseless because Imam Husain did not pay attention to the suggestion of Ibn Zubair and he was not deceived by it. Rather there were other factors that motivated the Imam to head towards Iraq, that we have explained in detail in the previous chapter.

Anxiety of the local regime

The local regime of Mecca fell into anxiety by the coming of the Imam and it feared that the Imam may make it the centre of his politics for his call and make it the locale of announcement against the Damascus regime. Therefore, Amr bin Saeed Ashdaq, the governor of Mecca hastened to Imam Husain and asked, “What has brought you here?”

“I have come for Allah and the refuge of this House…”[4]

Imam took refuge in the sacred House of Allah which guaranteed security and protection from all oppressions for all those who entered it.

Ashdaq did not pay any heed to the Imam’s reply. Instead he wrote a letter to Yazid informing him about the arrival of Holy Imam in Mecca and also about the constant stream of visitors who met the Imam, their crowding around him and their

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/38. Tabari, Tarikh 5/383
[2] Min Ma’alimul Haqq, Pg. 139
[3] Ad-Daulatul Amawiya fish Shaam, Pg. 54
[4] Tadkiratul Khawaas, Pg. 237


congregations in honor of Imam Husain. He also mentioned that this could create a great danger for the Umayyad regime.

Yazid’s Anxiety

When Yazid learnt of Husain’s denial to his allegiance and along with it that he has fled to Mecca, made it a center of his mission and that people of Iraq were sending letters and delegations to Imam for his allegiance, he (Yazid) was filled with anxiety. He penned a letter to Abdullah Ibn Abbas, the text of which was as follows:

“So to say: Your cousin and the enemy of Allah and Ibn Zubair have refused to pledge my allegiance and gone to Mecca. And they intend to spread mischief and they have put themselves in mortal danger. But Ibn Zubair shall be killed by sword and finished but as for Husain, I wish to make excuse for your Ahle Bait regarding him. I have heard that some Shias of Iraq write to him and he corresponds with them. They are promising him the caliphate and he is promising leadership. You know what relationship exists between you and us. And for what reasons has Husain has cut off these relations and sanctities? You are the leader of your Ahle Bayt and chief of your nation. So you meet and speak to him and restrain him from this mischief. If you are able to stop him, he shall be accorded security and honor from us. I will issue for him that which my father had issued with regard to his brother. If he wants more I guarantee whatever he wants. I guarantee whatever he
demands and I shall fulfill your guarantee and I shall give him a position and give him strong pledges and oaths till he agrees to my proposals and he shall trust all the points. Hasten in replying to my letter and stating your demands. And peace be on you.”

He concluded his letter with the following couplets:

“O rider who rides the mount with speed and moves fast.

Move to Quraish in spite of the distance, there is God between me and Husain and relationship.

Whatever I pledge Him standing near the Ka’ba, tomorrow he shall fulfill it.

You have considered your people important due to the pride in your mother. A mother, by my life, the palace of chastity and greatness.

She was such that none could be her equal, daughter of the Prophet and the best of men and all know this.

I know or I think in the way I think it is. Such that even my expectation shall prove true.

That for which you call him for, shall kill you or the consequences shall befall him.

O my people, do not light the fire of war that has been extinguished and hold tight the rope of peace-treaty.


Those who preceded you tried to resort to fighting and communities were destroyed in it.

So be just for your people and do not pull them to mischief because sometimes the feet of mischief-making people slip.”

This letter proves the foolishness of Yazid because he thought that the Imam had organized the uprising to obtain wealth and riches and he was not aware that the Imam had taken a stand against him for the sake of the Almighty Allah and that he aimed only for the reward of the Hereafter.

Response of Ibn Abbas

Ibn Abbas replied to him as follows: “So to say: I received your letter in which you have continuously mentioned about the flight of Husain and Ibn Zubair to Mecca. As for Ibn Zubair, he is a man cut off from us and who is involved in his selfish desires. Apart from this he conceals malice for us like the flint stone conceals fire. He has saved the malice so that Allah may not release his prisoner so you may have your view about him…And for Husain, when he entered Mecca leaving behind the sanctuary of his grandfather and the house of his father, I asked him about his mission and he told me that your officials have ill-treated him in Medina and spoke ill to him. Hence he came to me and took refuge in the sanctuary of Allah. I shall meet him regarding what you have written and I shall not refrain from dispensing good counsel so that Allah may bring about unity and the fire of mischief of war and conflict will be put out. And may Allah keep the blood of
the community safe. Thus, have fear of God, secretly and openly and you must not ever be such that displease the Muslims or that you sit in ambush to oppress them. Or that you dig a pit for them because those who dig a pit for others fall into it themselves. And many are the hopeful ones who do not fulfill their desires. So for yourself choose the recitation of Quran and spreading of Sunnah. You should be fasting and praying such that the vain pastimes of the world and sinful activities may not hinder you from them. As whatever keeps you occupied from Allah shall harm you and shall be destroyed and whatever keeps you occupied in the matters of the Hereafter, shall profit you and it shall be lasting. And peace be upon you…”[1]

This letter contains the following points:

1. Bani Hashim had no connection with Ibn Zubair and they were not responsible for his revolt. Because he was inimical to them and was waiting for an opportunity to take revenge and he had a negative opinion about them.

2. Imam Husain came to Mecca from Medina not to create mischief. But it was due to the ill-behavior of the officials of Yazid to him. He came to Mecca to take refuge in the sanctuary of Allah’s house.

[1] Tadkiratul Khawaas, Pg. 237-239, Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/207

# Imam Husain’s Revolution:
Activities and programs
Part 2

Deposition of Governor of Medina

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

His Eminence, Husain with Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[1] Majmauz Zawaid 5/240


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Bequest of Imam Husain to Ibn Abbas

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

Letters of Imam Husain to Leaders of Basra

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Reply of Ahnaf bin Qais

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

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

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/375


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

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

Evil Deeds of Mundhir bin Jarud

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

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

Positive Reply of Yazid bin Masud

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Yazid bin Masud’s Reply to Imam

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

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

This letter is brimming with respect and good manners towards the Holy Imam.

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

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

Positive Reply of Yazid Basri

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

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


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

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

Opposition of Iraq to Umayyads

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


from the Umayyad rule.

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

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

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

Announcement of Disobedience in Iraq

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

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

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

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

Public Conference

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

Sulaiman’s Speech

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

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


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

“We shall battle his foes…”

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

1 – Refraining from Yazid’s allegiance

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

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

Delegation of Kufa

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Muslim Delegated for Iraq

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

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

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

[1] Ma’al Husain fi Nahza, Pg. 157


Allah. And peace…”[1]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A – Following the Book of Allah

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


B – Observing justice and equality

C – Truthfulness

D – Having spiritual connection to the Almighty

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

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

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

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

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

Muslim’s Letter to the Holy Imam

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

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

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


Reply of His Eminence, Husain

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

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

Explanation of the Matter

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

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

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

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

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

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


In the House of Mukhtar

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

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

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

Celebrations in Kufa

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

Taking Allegiance for Imam Husain

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

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

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


Speech of Abbas Shakiri

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

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

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

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

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

Number of Pledge-makers

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

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

1 – 40000 persons[2]

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

3 – 28000 persons[4]

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

5 – 12000 persons[6]

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


Letter of Muslim to Imam Husain

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

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

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

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

Reaction of Noman bin Bashir

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

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

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


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

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

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

Noman’s Speech

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

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

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

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

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

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


Anger of Umayyad Party

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

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

Contact of Umayyad Party with Damascus

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

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

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

Yazid’s Worry

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

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


Yazid takes Sarjun’s Counsel

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

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

“Yes,” replied Yazid.

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

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

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

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

Ibn Ziyad’s Rule in Kufa

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Ibn Ziyad’s Speech in Basra

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

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

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

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


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

The Tyrant goes to Kufa

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

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

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

At the Governor’s Palace

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

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


was much angered when he saw that people were celebrating the arrival of Husain.

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

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

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

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

Ibn Ziyad’s Speech in Kufa

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

[1] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 100


The speech of Ibn Ziyad had the following highlights:

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

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

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

Spread of Terror and Fear

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

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

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

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

Muslim Shifts to Hani’s House

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Muslim Refrained from Killing Ibn Ziyad

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Explanation of this Event

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Horrible Plot

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

Spying upon Muslim

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

With the Organs of the Revolution

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

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

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

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


for long hours was indeed a cause of suspicion.

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

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

Bribing the leaders and elders

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

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

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

Refraining from Attacking Hani’s House

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

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


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

Messengers of Deceit

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

Hisaan bin Asmaa bin Khatija, leader of Fuzara tribe.

Muhammad bin Ashath, leader of Kindi tribe

Amr bin Hajjaj

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

Hani’s Detention

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

“An illness has stopped me,” he answered.

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

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

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


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

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

Then he said to Shurayh who was near him:

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

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

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

“What is that, governor?” asked Hani.

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

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

“Oh yes (you have),” was the answer.

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

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

“Yes,” he replied.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Revolt of Madhij Tribe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Muslim’s Uprising

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

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


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

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

Abdullah bin Aziz Kindi was entrusted with Kinda quarter.

Muslim bin Ausaja was given the command of Madhij quarter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

# Imam Husain’s Revolution:
Activities and programs
Part 3

War of Nerves

The tyrant ordered a group of Kufian leaders to spread fear and terror among the people and these people began to implement these instructions. They were as follows:

1. Kathir bin Shahab Harithi

2. Fa’qa’ bin Shuhur Dhahabi

3. Hijar bin Abjar

4. Shimr bin Ziljaushan[1]

These men set out towards the rows of the army of Muslim and began to spread terror and propagate fear among them. They frightened them of the Syrian army. Among the statements of Kathir bin Shahab were:

“O people, stay with your families. Do not hurry into evil actions. Do not expose yourselves to death. These are the soldiers of the Commander of the faithful, Yazid, who are approaching. The governor has given God a promise that if you persist in fighting him and do not go away by nightfall, he will deprive your children of their (right to a) state allotment of money and he will scatter your soldiers in Syrian campaigns. He will make the healthy among you responsible for the sick and those present responsible for those who are absent until none of those rebellious people will remain who has not tasted the evil consequences of what their hands have earned.”[2]

This warning fell like lightning on the heads of Kufians because it contained different cruelties and terror. The following warnings were present in these statements:

A warning to them about the coming of the Syrians who had supposedly set out towards them. So that if they continued disobedience and rebellion they shall be captured, tortured and killed.

They would be deprived of stipends and allowance although the whole province was administered and all received their income from the public treasury.

Gathering them in the battlefields of Syrians and sending them in the battlefields.

If they remain stubborn on their rebellion Ibn Ziyad would announce his military regime and deal with them with the policy of his father among them. And that policy had the signs of death and desolation. In this way Ibn Ziyad would employ all the tactics with those people.

The other nobles spoke in similar vein and helped in spread of terror and fear among the people. Among the slogans that spread among the people were:

“O people of Kufa! Fear Allah! Do not create discord and mischief in this Ummah! And do not make the horsemen of Syria come to you as you have tested them and tested their strength.”

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh Pg. 31
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 5/370-371


Epidemic of Terror and Fear

Epidemic of terror and fear spread in the hearts of Kufians and their nerves shattered, as if death was hovering upon them, and they were telling each other, “We are hastening towards mischief. What to do? Tomorrow the Syrians would attack us? We should go back and stay in our houses and leave these people so that Allah may cause reform among them.”[1]

Women also came out to their sons, brothers and husbands while their faces had paled due to fear and they said, “Go, the people will be (enough) without you.”[2]

Men were going to their sons and brothers and filling their hearts with fear.

Ibn Ziyad gained absolute control over the situation while the Kufians took off the dress of opposition of Bani Umayyah and donned the raiment of degradation of slavery, which was caused by cruelty and terror spread by the regime. As if blood was flowing between the turbans and the beards.

Defeat of the army

Muslim’s army suffered such a humiliating defeat that its equal is not found in all the ages of history because misleading rumors pulled them towards defeat without the use of any military power. Historians say: “From whichever lane Muslim’s army passed a group of his companions used to separate from him, in such a condition that they used to say, “Why should we interfere with the rulers?”[3]

Not much time when most of them fled Muslim’s army and Muslim prayed the Isha prayer in the great mosque. They were fleeing during the prayer itself. When Ibn Aqil concluded the prayer all the generals of his army had disappeared and none remained even to show him the way. He became worried and he could not find his way[4] while according to historians he was also having multiple injuries.[5] He was absolutely helpless. He neither had any refuge nor anyone to help him in any way.

As a Guest of Tawa

That great commander, the grandson of Hashim and the pride of the clan of Adnan roamed the streets and lanes of Kufa. Full of apprehension and worry he set out for the Kinda locality[6] with the hope of finding a house where he could spend the remaining part of the night, while the streets were completely deserted and a fearful atmosphere reigned. This was so because all the soldiers and companions of Muslim had gone back to their houses and shut themselves inside lest the spies of Ibn Ziyad recognize them as supporters of Muslim and put them into arrest.

[1] Al-Futuh 5/87
[2] Abul Fida, Tarikh 1/189-190, Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/31
[3] Ad-Darul Maslook fi Ahwaalil Anbiya wal Awsiya 1/108
[4] Jurairi, Maqamat 1/192
[5] Al-Futuh 5/87
[6] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 239


Muslim was caught in a whirlpool, surrounded by griefs and pain and a great sorrow had filled his heart so much that it was about to burst, because the people’s betrayal had put him into apprehension and he realized that there was not a single noble man in that city, to give him refuge for the right, help him and show him the way, while he was not cognizant of the town layout and ways.

He wandered amid the lanes of Kufa without knowing where he was going until he came to the houses of Banu Jabala of Kinda. He went on until he came to a door (at which was) a woman called Tawa. She was a lady possessing the best morals and manners among all the people of the town. She had been a slave-wife (umm walad) of Ashath b. Qais and he had freed her. She had, then, married Usayd al-Hadhrami and had borne him (a son called) Bilal,[1] Bilal had gone out with the people and his mother was standing at the door waiting for him concerned with the terrible events that were unfolding in her town.

When Muslim saw her, he approached her and greeted her. She returned the greeting and asked him, “What do you want?”

“Please give me water to drink.”

She went inside and brought water for him. Muslim drank the water and sat down. She became suspicious of him and she asked, “Haven’t you had your drink?”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“Then go to your people,” She said, “as your sitting here is not right.”[2]

But he was silent. She repeated it but he was still silent. A third time she said, “Glory be to God, servant of God, get up-may God give you health – (and go) to your people. For it is not permitted for you to do it.”

When that lady made it unlawful for Muslim to sit there he was compelled to get up and there was no other way except to leave that place. So he spoke up in a sorrowful tone, “Servant of God, I have neither house nor family in this town. Would you (show) me some generosity and kindness? Perhaps I will be able to repay it later on.”

The lady understood that he was a man of noble descent and possessed good manners and he could repay her kindness. She asked him, “What is it, servant of God?”

Muslim said with tearful eyes, “I am Muslim bin Aqil, these people have lied to me, incited me (to action) and then abandoned me.”

The lady asked with respect and humility, “You are Muslim?”

“Yes,” he answered.[3]

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/31. And in Al-Futuh 5/88 it is mentioned: Previously she was the wife of Qais Kandi and after that she married a man from Hadramaut named Asad bin Bateen and she bore a son who was called Asad.
[2] Dhahabi, Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 1/151
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/31


“Come in”, she said and he was taken into a room in her house but not the room she used. She was pleased to have the honor of hosting a descendent of Hashim and the ambassador of the son of the Messenger of Allah. She spread out a carpet for him and offered him supper but he could not eat because sorrow and grief had destroyed his appetite. He had now become certain of the future calamities and the terrible disaster that was to occur. He was apprehensive because of the letter he had written to His Eminence to come to Kufa.

Soon her son returned. He saw her going frequently to and fro between the rooms and exclaimed, “By God, the number of times which you have gone into and come out of that room this evening, makes me suspect that you have something important (there).”

“My little son, forget about this,” she answered.

“By God, tell me,” he replied.

“Get on with your own business and don’t ask me about anything,” she retorted. However he persisted until she said, “My little son, don’t tell any of the people anything about what I am going to tell you.”

“Indeed,” he answered and she made him take an oath. When he swore (not to do) that, she told him. He went to bed without saying anything.

But the evil-minded man did not go to sleep. He remained awake so that he may sneak out and inform the regime that Muslim was hiding in his house. This was very much against Arab manners, which considered hospitality and helping guests compulsory...These manners were practiced even during the regimes of tyrannical rulers...We shall study this in the social conditions of that time and show that the words and manners of people of that time had reached a decadent and a low level.

Anyway Muslim passed the night in sorrow and grief. He was worried and full of apprehension. On the basis of historians he spent half the night in worship reciting Quran and prayers. He slept for a brief period and saw his Uncle, Amirul Momineen in dream who prophesied to him that he would meet him soon. Muslim became certain of his death in the near future.

The Tyrant becomes certain of the Failure of the Uprising

After the people had deserted Muslim bin Aqil, a long time passed for Ibn Ziyad without him hearing the voices of the supporters of Ibn Aqil as he had heard them before. He told his followers to look down at that and see whether they could see any of them. They looked down and did not see anyone. Then he told them to see whether they were in the shadows lying in ambush for them. They removed the (bamboo) roof covers of the mosque and began to lower the torches of fire in their hands, and to look. Sometimes the torches gave light for them and sometimes they did not give (as much) light for them as they would have wished. They let down the torches and sticks of cane tied with rope on which was fire. They were let down


until they reached the ground. They did this in (places in which was) the deepest darkness, (as well as) those parts which were closer and those which were in between. They (also) did that in the darkness around the pulpit. When they saw that there was nothing, they informed Ibn Ziyad that the people had dispersed.

And the tyrant became sure that the uprising has failed and was quelled.[1]

Announcement of Emergency

Early next morning, the tyrant announced the imposition of emergency in all the areas of the city and he ordered his police chief to implement the following:

All houses must be searched for Muslim.

All roads and highways going out of the city must be blocked to prevent Muslim’s escape.

Detention or prevention of all the supporters of rebellion.

The police arrested the following people:

1. Abdul Aala bin Yazid bin Kalabi

2. Ammarah bin Salkhab Azadi

3. Abdullah bin Naufal bin Harith

4. Mukhtar Thaqafi

5. Asbag bin Nubatah

6. Harith Aawar Hamadani[2]

Standard of security

The tyrant ordered Muhammad bin Ashath to wave the flag of security and declare to the people that whoever came under it would be guaranteed safety. The reasons for this course of action are the following:

To recognize the supporters of Muslim so that they may be controlled.

Announcement of their victory and informing about the failure of the uprising.

Paralyzing the movement and telling the people that the power of the regime was in force in all the areas of the country.

The standard of security was waved and the Kufians who had previously been with Muslim hastened forward to come under it in order to remove allegations and to assure the regime of their loyalty to it.

A Doubt

Ibn Qutaybah[3] and Hurr Amili[4] have mentioned a strange matter that Muslim was in Mukhtar’s house. After that he came out to fight Ibn Ziyad. After the failure of the revolt he took refuge in Hani’s house. Hani gave him refuge and told him that Ibn Ziyad would enter his house and Muslim must strike off his neck when he did

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/372
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 5/314
[3] Al-Imamah was Siyasah 4/2
[4] Ad-Darul Mamlook 1/108


do. However Muslim refused to kill him by trickery. Ibn Ziyad had Hani arrested and sent his policemen to capture Muslim. Muslim fought with them but he could not confront them successfully. Finally he was taken as a prisoner.

But this matter these two writers have mentioned is not written by any other historian and the details of the events are same as we have described. Anything else regarding this matter is a result of weak research.

Ibn Ziyad Speaks

When that oppressor was sure of the failure of Muslim’s uprising and dispersal of his armed forced he ordered his men to gather people in the Mosque.

A group of people arrived in a terrified manner as if danger was hovering over them. The tyrant came forward warning and chastising them. He began to speak:

“Ibn Aqil, stupid and ignorant (man as he is) has attempted the opposition and rebellion which you have seen. There will be no security from God for a man in whose house we find him. Whoever brings him, will have the reward for his blood. Fear God, you servants of God, and keep to obedience and your pledge of allegiance. Do not do (anything which will be) against yourselves.

Whoever brings Muslim to us would be rewarded ten thousand Dirhams. He shall get a high position near Yazid bin Muawiyah and everyday one of his wishes would be fulfilled.”[1]

This address which was filled with harshness and cruelty had the following salient points:

A. Warning of punishment to anyone who gave refuge to Muslim in any place that person had in the province.

B. Blood money of Muslim shall be for one who brought him to Ibn Ziyad.

C. The regime shall reward with 10000 Dirhams anyone who surrendered Muslim to the regime.

D. Whoever brought him would get a high position and earn the trust of Yazid bin Muawiyah.

E. The regime shall reward anyone who brought Muslim, in such a way that everyday one of his wishes shall be fulfilled.

Most people wanted to find Muslim, claim the prize from Ibn Marjana and become proximate ones of Yazid.

Information Regarding Muslim’s whereabouts

Bilal, son of lady Tawa who had accorded refuge to Muslim, spent the long night because he was impatiently waiting for the morning so that he may inform the regime about the whereabouts of Muslim who was taking refuge in his house. He could not sleep that night because of the excitement and because he was thinking of all his aspirations and dreams that were about to be fulfilled.

[1] Al-Futuh 5/90


When morning came he hastened to the palace in an apprehensive state which was very much visible on him. He went to Abdur Rahman bin Muhammad bin Ashath a relative of his and who had no kind of nobility or courage. He told him that Muslim was put up in his house. Abdur Rahman told him to be quiet lest someone hears it and informs Ibn Ziyad about it to claim the reward first. Abdul Rahman hastened to his father Muhammad Ibn Ashath and told him about it. Ibn Ziyad accorded importance to this topic and he asked Ibn Ashath, “What has Abdul Rahman told you?”

“May Allah give health to the governor. It is great news!”

“What is that good news?”

“This son of mine has informed me that Muslim bin Aqil is in Tawa’s house.”

Ibn Ziyad was elated and he could not conceal his joy. He promised Ibn Ashath of rewards and money and said, “Get up and bring him to me. You shall get any recompense and position you want.”

Ibn Marjana was able to arrest the grandson of Hashim to make his sacrifice a revenge for Umayyads. This was so because Ibn Ziyad and his father were absolutely devoid of any sort of human values and they committed every misdeed that religion had prohibited. They considered all such evil deeds lawful for themselves.

Muslim Attacked

The tyrant dispatched his police chief, Amr bin Hareeth Makhzoomi and Muhammad bin Ashath to fight Muslim. Additionally 300-armed horsemen accompanied them. Those wild beast set out to fight that great leader who had come to release them from humiliation and oppression.

They went to the house where Muslim bin Aqil was lodged. When the latter heard the beating of horses’ hooves and the voices of men, he knew that it was him they had come for. He dressed up and took the sword. Then he faced the lady of the house first thanking her for her hospitality and refuge. Then he told her that these people have come because her lowly son had passed the information.[1]

Then he went out against them with his sword (drawn) as they rushed blindly towards the house. He fell upon them and struck them with his sword so that he drove them away from the house. They repeated the attack, and Muslim counter- attacked in the same way. He striked off their heads. He displayed such valor and rare courage that it has no equal in history in all actions of battle. He fought them reciting the following song of war:

“This is death, woe be to you. Do whatever you like the cup of death shall reach you.

So be patient with the command of God because God’s command is in force

[1] Al-Futuh 5/92-93


among the people.”[1]

Hashim’s grandson displayed such valor and strength in his fight that it astonished the intellects. He killed 41 men apart from those he injured.[2] Such incomparable was his strength that he used to get hold of a man and throw him on the housetop.[3] Such physical prowess was not seen anywhere in the history of humanity. However it was not surprising because he was the nephew of Ali Ibn Abi Tali who was the bravest and the most powerful warrior of all times.

The Kufians cowards fought him with extraordinary and unusual tricks. They climbed up the roofs of surrounding houses and began to hurl stones and lighted sticks on Muslim.[4] If this battle had been fought in an open field Muslim would have indeed emerged victorious but here the confrontation was enacted on streets and lanes.

Soldiers Defeated

The soldiers of Kufa were defeated and they failed to subdue the valiant fighter. A large number of their men were killed and a terrible loss was inflicted on them. Such that the coward betrayer, Muhammad Ashath fled to Ibn Marjana and implored him to send more horsemen and infantry for their help as they had become helpless in subduing Muslim.

The tyrant scolded him saying, “Glory be to God. We sent you to bring one man to us. He has killed a large number of your companions.”[5]

This ridicule was too much for Ibn Ashath. He spoke in praise of Ibn Aqil, “Do you think you sent me to a grocer of Kufa or to Juramiqa Hira?[6] While you sent me to a formidable lion and a sharp sword in the hand of a brave warrior[7] from the famous clan of the best of the people.”[8]

Ibn Ziyad sent a huge battalion to replenish his forces. Those men conducted a furious battle with Muslim, while he was reciting following lines:

“I swear I will only be killed as a free man, although I see death as something horrible,

Or it makes the cold a bitter heat and deflects the rays of the sun (forever).

Every man one day will meet an evil, I fear that I will be cheated and deluded.”[9]

O son of Aqil, you were the leader of noble men. That is why you waved the flag

[1] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/93
[2] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/93
[3] Ad-Darun Nazeed, Pg. 164. translation of Nafasul Mahmoom, Pg. 52
[4] Baihaqi, Al-Mahasin wal Masawi 1/60
[5] Al-Futuh 5/93
[6] Muqarram, Maqtal Husain, Pg. 159
[7] Juramiqa is a non-Arab tribe that lived in Mosul
[8] Al-Futuh 5/93-94
[9] Tabari, Tarikh 5/374


of respect and nobility and raised the slogan of independence and lofty human values and your foes are degraded because they are slaves as they have accepted humility and lowliness.

Dr. Yusuf Khalif has explained this war song as follows: From the aspect of flow the Rajaz was absolutely correct and it has expressed the flow of the thought of the composer. It was so because he had fallen into such difficult circumstances because more than everything else he had decided to retain his freedom even if it caused him to be killed. He clearly and truthfully announced that death was an undesirable thing because even those who exaggerate do not claim that death is lovely. Rather they are frank about their views about death. That it is something abhorrent. But he is not running away from it while he wants to protect his freedom. Then he tries to quell his worries and control this horrifying thought instead of entrusting his heart to fear and cowardice. So he speaks to himself that the world is always changing and all are helpless to face things that they may abhor. Through these lines he displays his art as well as expresses deep thoughts.”

He further adds, “He desires to live but is also needful of freedom but he has refuted himself because he was fearful lest his enemies may accuse him of lying, deceive him or kill him without allowing him to fulfill his oath and that he dies in the path of his freedom or they may capture him and take away his freedom which he considered more precious than his life.

We see how his difficult situation is presented in these eloquent lines.

Don’t you see how he is describing his straitened circumstances in a poetic manner, in a true manner and without any show off and without any intention of misleading others. Another thing is that it is exceedingly prominent and attractive? It is this very secret that the effect these couplets have put in our hearts and make us understand his grief. It enables us to confront the enemies internally and except for confronting them externally and nothing can equal it.[1]

Ashath Guarantees Security

When Muhammad bin Ashath heard the Rajaz of Muslim that he has sworn to die a death of freeman and it should not be that he is deceived he went to him and said, “You will not be cheated, deluded or deceived.” These people (i.e. Bani Umayyah) are your cousins and they will not fight you or strike you.”[2]

Muslim paid no heed to him and continued fighting in the same ferocious manner. They began to flee from him and climbed the roofs of their houses and from there began to throw stones upon him. Muslim objected to them about it and told them, “Woe be to you that you are stoning me like infidels throw stones? While I am from Ahle Bayt of the righteous ones. Woe be to you, do you not have any regard to the right of the Messenger of Allah and his progeny…?”

[1] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa, Pg. 371-372
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/33


They fell weak from fighting him face to face and they were frightened to battle with him directly. Ibn Ashath was also extremely apprehensive. He cried at the soldiers, “Leave him, so that I can talk to him.” He came near Muslim and said, “Do not kill yourself. You can have my guarantee of security and we are responsible for your safety.”

Muslim did not pay attention to him because he knew that there was no example of nobility or loyalty in the history of Ashath and his family. Therefore he said to him, “O Ibn Ashath, as long as I have the strength to fight, I will not surrender myself to anyone. By Allah, it would never be so.”

Muslim attacked Ibn Ashath and he fled screaming like dogs. Muslim was extremely thirty and he was feeling very weak. He began to speak up and said, “O Allah, I am terribly thirsty.”

Soldiers outnumbered him but all of them were fearful and apprehensive. Ibn Ashath cried to them, “This is the same disgrace and helplessness that you cannot subdue a single man. Attack him all together.”[1]

They attacked him in unison and Bakeer bin Humran Ahmari hit him a terrible strike and slashed his upper lip and it went upto his lower lip. But Muslim requited him with such a strike that he fell down at that same spot.

Muslim taken Prisoner

After Muslim had been hurt by stones and fighting he was arrested by these filthy people. They were competing with each other to be the first to convey this ‘good news’ to Ibn Ziyad so that they may receive the rewards of taking as prisoner one who had come to free them from degradation and oppression. That tyrant was also highly pleased because he had won the contest and it became clear to him that the revolution was destroyed…As for the arrest of Muslim there are differences among historians. Following are some varying opinions:

1. Ibn Asim Kufi says: Muslim sat hurt and terribly wounded and he was attacked by a Kufian coward from the back. This hit felled him to the ground and he was taken a prisoner.[2]

2. Shaykh Mufeed says: He (Muslim) had been hurt by stones and weakened by the fighting. He was out of breath and he was propping his back up against the wall of that house. Ibn al-Ashath told him, “You shall get security.”

Muslim said, “Am I granted security?”

“Yes,” he replied and he said to the people who were with him, “Would he have security from me?”

“Yes,” replied the people, except (Amr) b-Ubaidullah, b. al-Abbas al-Sulami.

“I say neither yes or no,” and he turned aside.

[1] Al-Futuh 5/94-95
[2] Al-Futuh 95-96


“If you had not granted me security”, declared Muslim, “I would not have put my hand in yours.”

A mule was brought and he was put on it. They gathered around him and pulled his sword away. At that he was in despair for his life and his eyes were filled with tears.

“This is the first betrayal”, he cried.[1]

3. Abu Mikhnaf says: “They dug up a pit for him and covered it with dust. Then they ran away from him. Muslim attacked them and they pushed him back till he reached the edge of the pit and stumbled backwards into it. They surrounded him and put him into captivity.”[2] But except for Abu Mikhnaf no one has mentioned this.

With Ubaidullah Sulami

At that time Muslim was not worried as to what his fate would be at the hands of the tyrant, Ibn Marjana. Whether he would be killed or tortured etc. he was more concerned with the letter he had written to Imam Husain inviting him to Kufa. He was certain that if the Imam were to arrive in Kufa he would also fall into the same fate as he had fallen. Therefore he began to weep in apprehension. Ubaidullah bin Abbas Sulami thought that he was weeping due to his defeat and arrest. He criticized him saying, “One who has sought for the like of what you have sought for, should not weep when there befalls him what has befallen you…”

Muslim removed his misconception and said, “By Allah, I do not weep for myself, nor do I grieve for my own death, even though I have not the slightest desire for destruction. But I am weeping for my family who are coming to me, I am weeping for Husain and the family of Husain”[3]

The streets and lanes were filled with people eager to see what would be the consequences of Muslim, the great leader, and what treatment he receives at the hands of the Umayyads. Not one of them dared to say anything against the oppressive regime.

With Bahili

They brought Muslim as a prisoner in such a way that guards were surrounding him with naked swords. When they took him to the governor’s palace he saw a jug of water there. Since he was extremely thirsty he told the people around him, “Please give me some water.”

The degraded and filthy man, Muslim bin Amr Bahili glanced at him and asked, “Don’t you see how cool the water is? By God, you shall not have a drop of it till you taste boiling water in Hell fire.”

[1] Al-Irshad, 2/58-59. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/33
[2] Abi Mikhnaf, Maqtal Pg. 54
[3] Al-Irshad, 2/59


There is no limit to the oppression of man and there is no end to his tyranny and beastly actions. What problem those oppressors had if they had given water to Muslim, while he was their prisoner and had no choice of his own. This was the limit of backwardness and decadence of those degraded people, which was the distinguishing quality of the killers of reformers.

Muslim wanted to know who this transmogrified man was, who was very distant from the simplest human values so he glanced at him and asked, “Who are you?”

The man, proud of his post as an officer in Umayyad regime said, “I am the one who recognized the truth when you denied it; who was sincere to his Imam when you deceived him; who was obedient to him when you opposed him. I am Muslim b. Amr al-Bahili.”

What truth has this Bahili realized? And which loyalty has this decadent oppressor acted upon with regard to the well-being of the Ummah? He, that was sunk in falsehood and drowned in misguidance, has the greatest pride that he was in service of Ibn Marjana, while it was a matter of great shame in all the history of humanity.

Muslim responded with logic, “May your mother mourn for you. How coarse you are, how tough, how hard your heart is, Man of Bahila, you are more appropriate for the boiling water of Hell and to remain there forever, than I am.”

Ammarah bin Uqbah[1] felt ashamed at the cruelty and hard-heartedness. He called for cold water and poured it in a utensil. Muslim took it but whenever he tried to drink it, it used to become filled with blood. He repeated this thrice. When his heart was melting with thirst he said, “If a portion of it had been destined for me, I would have drunk it.”[2]

In other words Muslim remained deprived from water and passed away from this world thirsty. In the same way as his cousin, the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah achieved martyrdom.

In the Presence of Ibn Ziyad

The greatest difficulty that befell Muslim was that he was taken as a prisoner to Ibn Ziyad while he would have preferred to have sunk in the ground rather than to stand facing Ibn Ziyad. However, history wished that he undergo this difficulty. He was brought to Ibn Ziyad surrounded by guards but that stalwart did not pay any heed to Ibn Ziyad. Then he saluted him but he did not reciprocate. A guard who was of the most degraded person of Kufa, objected to him and asked, “Why don’t you salute the governor?”

[1] In Al-Irshad, 2/60 it is mentioned: Amr bin Hareeth sent his slave and he brought a cup that had a kerchief and a vessel covering it. He poured water in it and told him: Drink!
[2] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/34.


Muslim considered him and his governor worthless and he cried at him, “Shut up! May your mother die! Who are you to say this? By Allah, he is not my Amir, that I should salute him.”

How can Ibn Marjana become the Amir of Muslim, the leader of noble men and a martyr on the path of perfection and humanity? He was that transmogrified man who did not have anything except shamelessness. Could be become the Amir of Muslim?

That tyrant was infuriated due to the indifference and carelessness of Muslim towards him. He cried, “No problem whether you salute or not, you shall be killed.”

That tyrant had no thought except to shed prohibited blood. He thought that this matter would frighten Muslim or it may cause him to become despaired and defeated. That he would humble himself before him. However, that stalwart from the clan of Adnan, along with self respect and reliance said, “If you kill me, he is worse than you who killed one who was better than me.”

This solid fact vanquished his pride because by these words Muslim had him joined with killers and murders of reformers.

Therefore that oppressor cried at Muslim, “Oh mischief- maker! O evil-doer! You have attacked the Imam of your time, destroyed the unity of Muslims and incited the flame of mischief.”

What Imam was it against whom Muslim had come out, what Muslim unity had he destroyed and what flame of mischief had he ignited? He had only risen up against one who cultivated the company of dogs and monkeys in order to save the community from his dark regime and hardships.

Muslim replied to him. “By Allah! Muawiyah did not become caliph by consensus of the Ummah. He obtained caliphate by deceit and fraud and usurped the seat of Prophet’s successorship. And his son Yazid is also like him…but you and your father, Ziyad from the ignoble infidel family have ignited the flames of mischief.

I am desirous that the Almighty Allah bestow martyrdom to me at the hands of the worst people. By Allah, neither have I rebelled nor disbelieved or wrought any changes. I am only obeying the leader of believers, Husain Ibn Ali. We are more rightful for caliphate than Muawiyah, his son and the progeny of Ziyad.”

These words were more distasteful for Ibn Ziyad than death since Muslim had exposed his reality before his officials and servants and had showed him to be bereft of morals and human nature. In this way he had described him as the lowliest creature of the earth. That filthy man had no way to take refuge. Except that he should take the help of concocted facts and allegations. This was the old trick played by his father. Therefore he alleged Muslim to have committed an act he was blameless of and said, “O you sinner! Did you not imbibe wine in Medina?”


Muslim cried at him, “By Allah, it is you who are more correctly described as drinking wine than me, (you) who lap the blood of Muslims and kill the life whose killing God has forbidden and (you are one) who sheds sacred blood on behalf of usurpation, enmity and evil opinion while he (Yazid) enjoys himself and plays as if he had done nothing.”

That tyrant changed his opinion and learnt that the lie had not availed him anything. So he said to Muslim, “You great sinner, your own soul made you desire what God prevented you from having (i.e. authority) (because) God did not regard you as worthy of it.”

Muslim ridiculed him and asked, “Who is worthy of it, if we are not worthy of it?”

“The commander of the faithful, Yazid Ibn Muawiyah.”

“Praise be to God,” called out Muslim. ”We will accept God’s judgment between us and you in every circumstance.”

“Do you think you have a share of this rule?”

“No by God we are sure of our rightfulness.”

“May God kill me, if I do not kill you.”

“You will never abandon evil murder, wicked punishment, shameful practice, and avaricious domination to anyone (else). By Allah! If I had ten reliable people and had water to drink you would have seen me in this palace for a long time. But if you have decided to kill me send me a man of Quraish so that I can make my bequest to him.”[1]

That tyrant allowed him to make the bequest.

Muslim’s Bequest

Muslim glanced at the assembly and decried Umar bin Saad and expressed his desire to make a bequest to him. So he told him, “There is no one except you from Quraish here.[2] I am also having a secret wish from you...”[3]

Ibn Ziyad because infuriated because Muslim had not considered him from Quraish and considered it untrue that he was from Bani Umayyah thus refusing to acknowledge his lineage of Bani Umayyah, which was proved by the testimony of Abu Maryam, the wine-seller. Ibn Ziyad could not say anything.

Ibn Saad refused to accept the request of Muslim so that he may please his master, Ibn Marjana and remain in his good books. Ibn Ziyad noticed his hesitation to accept Muslim’s request but he concealed it. And he saw that he preferred to lead an army against the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah.

Ibn Ziyad ordered Umar Ibn Saad to heed Muslim’s request and listen to his

[1] Al-Futuh 97-99
[2] Jawahirul Matalib dar Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib Pg. 2/268
[3] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/34. Al-Irshad, 2/61


bequest. Ibn Saad arose and approached Muslim. Muslim made the following bequest to him:

1. He owed 700 dirhams in Kufa so he were to sell his sword and coat of mail and pay his debt[1] as it was a matter accorded much importance and emphasis in religion. And if any amount remained from that, it was to be handed over to lady Tawa.

2. Take his corpse from Ibn Ziyad so that it may be buried in a proper way[2] because Muslim was aware that they would not refrain from cutting it up into pieces.

3. Write a letter to His Eminence, Husain regarding his condition[3] as he was very much apprehensive about him because he had written to the Imam and invited him to Kufa.

Ibn Saad, acting like a coward turned to Ibn Ziyad and said, “O Amir! You know what he told me? He said such and such…”[4]

Ibn Ziyad objected to him why he was exposing his secret and he said, “The faithful would not betray you, but the traitor was confided in. As for what you have, it is yours, and we will not prevent you from doing with it what you like. As for Husain, he does not intend (harm) to us, we will not intend (harm) to him. As for his dead body you shall not get intercession in it.”[5]

That oppressor did not accept the intercession of Ibn Saad regarding the corpse of Muslim because he had decided to cut it up into pieces. Thus extracting his revenge and also terrifying the people.

Muslim and the Oppressor

Ibn Marjana screamed at Muslim and said, “Why did come to this city? Ibn Aqil, you came to the people while they were all (united) and you scattered them and divided their opinions so that some of them attacked others.”

Pride of Bani Hashim said with self respect and determination, “I did not come for that but (because) the people of the town claimed that your father had killed their best men, shed their blood and appointed governors among them like the governors of Choesroe and Caesar. We came to enjoin good and forbid evil and urge them to rule by the Book and Sunnah, as we are more deserving to do so. Amirul Momineen Ali Ibn Abi Talib was martyred, the caliphate was ours and that caliphate also needs people like us as we have undergone hardships regarding it…You were the first to rebel against the Imam of guidance and created disunity

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/34 and in Tabari 5/376 it is mentioned: I owe 700 dirhams and in Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 241 it is said: I owe 1000 dirhams.
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 5/376
[3] Al-Irshad, 2/61
[4] Tabari, Tarikh 5/377
[5] And in Al-Irshad, 2/61 it is mentioned: “As for his dead body, after we have killed him, it is not important for that what we do with it.”


among the Muslims, taken away caliphate and dealt with cruelty with those who were deserving of it...”[1]

Muslim, in this statement has spoken about the factors associated with the uprising of Imam Husain against the regime as he had himself announced. That oppressor was stunned at the discourse of Muslim and he became confused and being intoxicated in his apparent victory he could not find a way to satisfy his anger except that he began by cursing Ali, Hasan and Husain. Muslim stood up before him and said, “You and your father are more appropriate for cursing, order whatever you like, we are the Ahle Bayt and hardships are destined for us.”[2]

Till his last moments Muslim retained his courage and faced perils in a valiant manner and no one else could be compared to Muslim as far as his self-defense and logical arguments with Ibn Ziyad are concerned.

Towards God

The moment arrived when this great leader, after having loyally fulfilled the duties of his mission departed for the other world while being bestowed with martyrdom at the hands of the most evil person of the world at that time, i.e. Ibn Marjana.

Ibn Ziyad ordered Bakeer bin Humran to strike his head as Muslim had struck him. He told him, “Climb up, and you be the one who cuts his head off. So that you may extract your revenge.”

Muslim glanced at Ibn Ashath who had guaranteed security to him and said, “O Ibn Ashath! By Allah! If you had not guaranteed security to me, I would not have surrendered. Get up and defend me with your sword.”

Ibn Ashath paid no heed to him.[3]

Muslim welcomed death with a smile. They took him to the top of the palace while he was at complete ease, having firm faith in Allah and satisfied by his fate. He was reciting glorifications of Allah and seeking His forgiveness and praying for blessings on the Apostle, saying: “O God, judge between us and a people who have enticed us, lied against us and deserted us.”[4]

The executioner took him to a part, which overlooked where the shoemakers are today. He striked off his head and threw his head and body down.[5] In this way came to end the life of the stalwart who was in the manners of his uncle, Amirul Momineen and the hope of his cousin, His Eminence, Husain (as.) and he was martyred in the path of defending religion and the rights of the oppressed and deprived people.

[1] Al-Futuh 5/101
[2] Al-Futuh 2/102-103. And in Tarikh Ibne Athir 4/35 and Irshad 2/63 it is mentioned that Muslim did not speak to Ibne Ziyad after he had resorted to foul language.
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 5/378
[4] Al-Futuh 5/103
[5] Muruj az-Zahab 3/59


When the evil-doers came down, Ibn Ziyad went to welcome them. He asked, “What did he say when you took him to the top?”

“He praised God and sought His forgiveness. When I wanted to kill him, I said to him, ‘Thanks be to Allah that He gave me power over you to take revenge from you.’ Then I hit him a strike but nothing happened and he said to me, ‘Do you see a defect in me that due to it you blame me instead of your blood, O slave?’”

Ibn Ziyad was astonished and he expressed surprise and he considered him great. He said, “Did he have pride even at the time of death?”[1]

By the martyrdom of Muslim the bright page of the most prominent pages of faith and Jihad in Islam was closed. He was killed in the way of social justice and for emancipating the people from oppression and injustice. He was the first martyr from the family of the Prophet who was openly murdered in presence of Muslims who failed to defend him.

Plundering Muslim

Offspring of betrayal, Muhammad bin Ashath,[2] began to plunder Muslim and he took away his sword and coat of mail. He didn’t care for disgrace and shame while he was denounced about this in all the gatherings of Kufa. Thus a poet has composed some couplets in this regard:

“You abandoned your cousin (to be killed) and in a shameless way you did not defend him. While if you hadn’t been there he would not have been caught.

You killed the ambassador of the Progeny of Muhammad and plundered the swords and armors.”[3]

Some ignoble persons of Kufa indulged in looting the cloak and clothes of Muslim.

Hani is sentenced to Death

The tyrant ordered that the great leader, Hani bin Urwah be arrested so that by humiliating a leader of Kufa and by spreading terror among people he may subdue all possibilities of rebellion against his regime.

Being scared of Hani’s clan, Muhammad bin Ashath stood up to intercede on his behalf, and he said, “May the Lord give health to the governor, do you know of the position of Hani in the town and of his House in the clan?[4] His people know that I and Asmaa bin Kharija brought him to you. I adjure before God, hand him over to

[1] Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/35-36
[2] Ashath bin Qais was named such because of his baldness. His real name was Sa’ad bin Karb. He was killed 40 days after the martyrdom of Amirul Momineen. He was 63 at that time. This is mentioned on Pg. 35 of Tarikh as-Sahaba. But Muhammad bin Ashath’s mother, Umme Farwa was the sister of Abu Bakr from her father’s side. This is mentioned in Ar-Riyadhul Mustab, Pg. 8
[3] Muruj az-Zahab 3/59
[4] And it is mentioned in a report: “Do you know his position in his town?”


me for I would not like (to face) the enmity of the town and his family…”[1]

Ibn Ziyad paid him no attention and instead scolded and screamed at him. That man fell silent.

They took the brave warrior, Hani to the area where sheep were sold so that he may be insulted further, when he realized that he was going to be killed, he called out for help from his clan and he began to shout, “O Madhij! Is there no one from Madhij for me today? O my relatives!”[2]

If Madhij had any nobility and principles remaining it would have taken action for release of its leader. However they, like the other tribes of Kufa, had divorced goodness…

When he realized that no one was going to help him, he pulled his hand and wrenched it free of the chain. So that he may catch hold of a weapon to defend himself. When they saw this they jumped upon him and tied the chains (more) tightly. He was told, “Stretch out your neck.”

With firm determination and right faith he answered, “No, by Allah! I will not help you to take my life.” At that moment a Turkish retainer (mawla) of Ubaidullah called Rashid[3] struck him with a sword but it did not do anything. “To God is the return, O God to Your mercy and Your Paradise. O Allah! Make this blood as an atonement of my sins, because I have supported the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah...”

Then the oppressor struck him with another blow and he fell down bleeding. He passed away after a short time.[4] He was aged 99 years on the day of his martyrdom.[5]

He achieved martyrdom on the path of his faith and the noble men and reformers were shocked and aggrieved at his murder. Abu Aswad Duali has versified as follows:

“That praiseworthy battle that neither was won against the oppressors nor does it lose our sincere admiration.”[6]

Akhtal bin Ziad also says in his elegy:

“Neither the son of Urwah disappeared in the day nor the son of Aqil vanished in the night.

[1] Al-Futuh 5/104
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/340. Al-Futuh 5/105
[3] Abdur Rahman bin Haseen stood up to revenge the killing of Hani and killed Rashid. And he says about this: I killed Rashid Turki and I attacked him with a white sword and through this I have pleased the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). This matter is mentioned in Ansaab al-Ashraf, Vol. 2/340
[4] Al-Futuh 5/105
[5] Miraat az-Zamaan, Pg. 85
[6] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/341. Diwan Bu Aswad, Pg. 102


That praiseworthy battle was neither won from the oppressors nor did it reduce the heaviness of the heart.”[1]

Dragging the corpses of Muslim and Hani through the streets

The tyrant ordered his slaves and officers to drag the corpses of Muslim and Hani through the streets and market places. They tied up their legs with ropes and dragged their corpses through the roads in order to terrorize the common people and put awe into their hearts. That it should serve as a lesson for anyone who may be thinking of staging a rebellion against the Umayyad regime.

Hani was killed in the very presence of his clansmen and community. If they had the least nobility and zeal they would have rushed to get release of the corpse of their leader from these ignoble rascals who were trying to humiliate it.

Hanging the Corpses at City Gate

After the tyrant had fulfilled his desire of dragging the bodies of Muslim and Hani through the streets he ordered that now the corpses must be suspended at the city gates. The two bodies were hung upside down[2] at Muzbala[3] on the gate. And on the basis of what historians say, Muslim was the first martyr of Bani Hashim whose corpse was hung at the City Gate.[4]

Muslims were severely considering this dangerous incident as significant because this terrible punishment was prescribed for anyone who fought with Allah and His Prophet and spread mischief in the earth, while Muslim and Hani were those who wanted truth and desired reform in the earth.

Anyway, by the killings of Muslim and Hani, Ibn Ziyad the tyrant, managed to subdue Iraq that had dared to rebel and other provinces also without any additional effort.

Severed heads taken to Damascus

Ibn Marjana dispatched the severed heads of Muslim, Hani and Ammarah Bin Salkhab Azadi[5] to his master, Yazid, in Damascus so that he may obtain reward for it and also achieve the affections of the ruling family. Along with the severed heads he sent the following letter:

“Praise be to God, Who exacted the dues of the Commander of the faithful and has given him sufficient provisions against his enemy. I (am writing) to inform the Commander of the faithful that Muslim bin Aqil took refuge in the house of Hani bin Urwah al-Muradi. I set look-outs and spies on them, concealed men against them, I tricked them until I brought them out. God gave me power over them. Thus I came upon them and had them executed. I have sent their heads to you with Hani

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/341. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 1/215
[2] Ibne Shahr Aashob, Manaqib 4/94
[3] Al-Manaqib wal Mathalib, Pg. 172
[4] Muruj az-Zahab 3/60
[5] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 2/342


Bin Abi Hayya and al-Zubayr bin Arwah al-Tamimi. They are both people who are attentive and in obedience to you, and of sincerity. Let the Commander of the faithful ask them about whatever of the affair he may wish; for they have knowledge and truth

Farewell. Greetings.”[1]

This letter mentioned the actions that the oppressor took to quell the revolt. Most important of them were as follows:

Using scouts and spies to understand the factors of uprising and to learn its secrets. These duties were carried out by his slave, Maqil.

He sent prominent persons to get Hani to him because Hani was an important part of the uprising. In the same way he was able to have Muslim in his control. He also instructed well-known people of Kufa to spread terror and fear among the people. This also helped in dispersing the forces of Muslim.

Yazid’s reply

When the severed heads reached Damascus, Yazid was extremely elated and he wrote a reply to Ibn Marjana and thanked him profusely. The text of that letter was as follows:

“You have not gone beyond what I wanted. You have acted with the decisive action I wanted. You have launched into the attack with the violence of man who has control of his emotion. You have satisfied me, been sufficient for (the task) and corroborated my view of you and my opinion of you. I have summoned your two messengers and questioned them, and talked to them. I found them in their views and merit as you have mentioned. Receive them both with kindness on my recommendation. I have been informed that Husain has set out for Iraq. Therefore set look-outs and watches, be vigilant and detain suspicious (characters). Put to death (any who are) accused and write to me about any news which occurs. God the Exalted, wishing.”[2]

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/380
[2] Al-Futuh 5/109. Ansaab al-Ashraaf, Part I, Vol. 1, Al-Futuh 5/109. Ansaab al-Ashraf, Part 1, Vol. 1. But historians have no indication where these severed heads were finally placed. Were they buried in Damascus or some other place and they have found this problem unsolved. Except that in Miratuz Zaman, Pg. 59 it has come regarding the severed head of Hani: This year (that is 302 AH) information has reached Baghdad that a huge room has been discovered in a castle in Khorasan in which a thousand severed heads are kept in a tower. Each of these have a silk thread pierced to the ear with a paper tied to it, containing the name of the owner of that head. Among them is the severed head of Hani Ibne Urwah, Hatim bin Hanna, Talaq bin Maaz and others. The year these were kept in that room is 7 AH.
Zarkali in his Hashiya Alaam 9/51-52 quotes from Tarikh Tabari 11/59-60 in the events of the year 304 AH that it is mentioned: A letter arrived from Khorasan to Baghdad saying that in the city of Khandhar are towers and in an adjoining tower they found 5000 severed heads of which 29 are labeled and the severed head of Hani is among them. And it is said: They are as they were originally except that the skin has dried but the hairs remain without any change.


This letter has acknowledged the talent of Ibn Ziyad and described him as a “man who has control of his emotions.” Who has corroborated the view of Yazid about him and that he had been sufficient for the task. Yazid informed him about the decision of Imam Husain to move towards Iraq and he ordered Ibn Ziyad to do as follows:

Set up lookouts and watches on all highways and roads.

Be vigilant and detain suspicious (characters), subdue the people through terror and cruelty.

Write to Yazid about any news which occurs in the provinces.

Ibn Marjana compiled with all instruction and undertook following actions:

Declaring Martial Law

After the tyrant quelled Muslim’s uprising, he took hold of Iraq in an iron grip. He declared military rule in all the Iraqi provinces. In order to achieve his plans he employed cruel acts and spread such oppression and injustice as defies description. In such a way that the mere mention of his name used to induce terror into the hearts of Iraqi people, just as previously his father’s name had.

The Damascus regime accorded wide ranging powers to Ibn Ziyad and ordered him to arrest people merely on suspicion and execute anyone who harbored enmity to the Umayyad rule or associated with any power that dared to oppose it. By these dreadful means they assured that all the people of Iraq would be compelled to fight against Imam Husain. For if anyone restrained from it he shall be sentenced to death by the regime.[1]

Sealing Borders of Iraq

Ibn Ziyad stationed troops on all the borders of Iraq and sealed the frontiers so that neither could anyone enter nor leave the boundaries of Iraq without the special permission of police.

Whenever they found anyone entering or leaving the borders they used to conduct a through investigation and if found innocent they were released and if any suspicion remained they used to deport them to Kufa so that the central government may conduct further inquiry. They exercised extreme precaution and vigilance in the matter so that no Shia of Imam Husain should be able to enter Iraq or leave it.

Historians say: Ibn Ziyad stationed his spies and informers on all highways and behind roof-tops in the same way as he placed sentries and garrisons in the desert to keep all movements under surveillance. He also sent his police chief, Haseen bin Numair to Quddisiya and from there to Khifan and then to Qutqutaniya and Koh-e-la’la' and in all these areas he stationed a group of riders to prohibit anyone from entering or leaving the limits. This was to assure that these areas do not take part in

[1] Ad-Daulatul Amawiya fish Shaam, Pg. 56


any action against the regime. Moreover he kept the letters and correspondence between Kufa and Syria under surveillance, so that the officials are able to arrest the messenger of Imam Husain and hand him over to Ibn Ziyad in Kufa. We shall describe these events below.

Widespread Arrests

Ibn Ziyad ordered widespread arrests of Shias in order to avoid any confrontation from them and to ensure that their power does not spill out to other areas. A large number of people were put under arrest. According to historians 12000 people were arrested[1] and among those detained were Sulaiman bin Surd Khuzai and Mukhtar bin Yusuf Thaqafi and 4000 other prominent persons.[2]

These steps not only caused terror and fear in Kufa but also in all the areas of Iraq. Kufians distanced themselves from every political interference and they did not dare to put up any opposition. They had become certain that they were incapable of any confrontation with the Umayyad regime and thus they continued to live under the yoke of the cruel rule.

[1] Al-Mukhtar, Miraatul Asrul Amawi, Pg. 74-75
[2] Ad-Darul Maslook fi Ahwaalil Anbiya wal Awsiya 1/109

# Failure of the Uprising

Many people have questioned the factors that led to the failure of Muslim’s uprising inspite of the fact that he enjoyed military power while his opponent had no sort of power to defend himself. Leave alone getting such strength to attack or make war. Some of them think that the cause lay in Muslim’s lack of knowledge about political matters and his weakness in dominating the affairs. They think that he opened the way for the enemy to prevail over him…Obviously this is a superficial view and has no sign of research or contemplation for it is not based on a thorough understanding of the circumstances and events of that time. Most important thing is to undertake a thorough study of the social conditions of Kufa of that time and the similarity of its people in individual and social behavior. Also the political program of Ibn Ziyad that he used to subdue them. More than that the discretions allowed for Muslim by the Imam, because complete information
about this matter explains to us the causes of the failure of the uprising which shall be studied in the coming pages.

Kufian Society

It is necessary for us to speak in more detail about the nature of society in Kufa. Because it is the mirror that reflects the terrible events that have left their imprints on the history of political Islam. And it is a must for us to describe the local elements in Kufa and the types of social relationships among them and the economic life that ruled over them so that this discussion illuminates the causes of the failure of revolution. It would also clarify the condition of indifference and deviated thinking regarding the sufferings of that society which resulted in the most evil disaster in the history of humanity; that is their stepping forward to slay the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah. The following are the main points that we explain to our readers:

Social Phenomena

The following social phenomena were present in the Kufian society of that time, which were exclusive to it among all communities:

Contradictory Behavior

A strange phenomenon in Kufa society was that, that society was in contradiction with its real life. Because they said one thing and did just the opposite. They believed in one thing and committed the opposite of it. While it is necessary for the actions of man to conform to his beliefs. These contradictions were mentioned by Farazdaq when Imam Husain asked him about the conditions of Kufa. He said to the Imam, “The hearts of the people are with you but their swords are against you.”

Although it was necessary that their swords should have supported what they had faith in and confronted in the path that they believed in, and such a phenomenon is not seen in the history of any community.


Among the strange things about these contradictions was that the Kufa society in a positive way involved itself in the political field and they actively participated in those events and raised the slogan of overthrowing the Umayyad rule. People wrote letters to Imam Husain imploring him to save them from the oppressions and injustice of the Umayyads. They sent delegations and messengers with thousands of letters to the Holy Imam in order to invite him to their land. And when His Eminence sent his emissary, Muslim bin Aqil to them they welcomed him with great enthusiasm and assured him of their full support, so much so that he wrote to Imam Husain to come over there at the soonest. However when Ibn Marjana arrived in Kufa and unleashed terror and fear among them, they became aloof from Muslim shutting their doors upon him and said, “Who are we to interfere in the affairs of rulers?”

Their practical life was not in consonance to their beliefs and in what they had faith in. Because they gave promises to their leaders that they would stand beside them and then in a delicate moment they become aloof from them.

Among examples of their contradictions was that after they had compelled Imam Hasan to make peace with Muawiyah and His Eminence left their lands they lamented upon their own shortcomings regarding him. And when they had slain Imam Husain and the prisoners of Ahle Bayt arrived in their city, they raised their voices in lamenting for them. Such that Imam Ali Ibn Husain considered this action of theirs astounding and he said, “They are lamenting for us and wailing, then who has killed us?”

Absence of balance in the life of that society for the people there brought calamities and problems and involved them in a great mischief.

Disloyalty and Deceit

Another phenomenon present in Kufa society was deceit and betrayal and they became so famous for this quality that idioms began to be coined regarding this specialty. So much so that it is said: “More deceitful than a Kufian.”[1]

And also about disloyalty an idiom says: “Al-Koofi Laa Yoofi (A Kufian cannot be loyal).”[2]

Amirul Momineen has described them as follows: “Deceitful loins and crafty foxes…”

And it is said regarding them, “They are people whose bodies are together but whose views are conflicting. Anyone who has them with him just derived meager advantage. And they have become such that there should be no hope in their loyalty and their statements cannot be verified.”[3]

Practical aspects in their life were turnabout, hypocrisy and lack of co-operation.

[1] Abdul Qahir Baghdadi, Al-Farq Bainal Farq, Pg. 26
[2] Zakaria Qazwini, Aathaarul Bilaad, Pg. 251
[3] Al Imamah was Siyasah 1/129-130


They deceived that great revolutionary, Zaid bin Ali and told him, “A hundred thousand men of Kufa are with you, who shall fight on your side.”[1] And 50000 people gave allegiance to help him.[2] Later when he declared his uprising their number went down to 218.[3] Such that Dawood bin Ali advised Zaid that he should not be fooled by the deception of Kufians and he said,

“Cousin, these people are fooling you. Before you, did they not deceive one who was more respected among them, that is your grandfather, Ali? And after him they pledged allegiance to Hasan but later arose against him and snatched his cloak, plundered his tent and injured him. Did they not call out your grandfather, Husain and made strongest oaths to him and later deserted him and did not submit? They did not rest content with this, they even went so far as to slay him.”[4]

They broke allegiance after allegiance.

Aashi Hamdan, who was the poet of uprising of Muhammad bin Ashath against Hajjaj, has ridiculed the Kufians in the following lines:

“Allah did not accept but that His light be perfected and that the light of the transgressors is extinguished and that light was extinguished.

And on Iraq and its people He sent humiliation due to their breaking of pledge.

And they created such inappropriate things that are not eligible to be taken up to God. (Be of any benefit).

That is they broke one pledge after another. Such that if they pledged an oath one day, they betrayed it the next.”[5]

They are well-known to all scholars for this quality of theirs. Falhauzen believes that they were absolutely ignorant of rebellion, retraction, deception and disobedience. And political and military loyalty was absolutely unknown to them. The scholar, Waztarshuneen has also emphasized this matter and he says, “Their most prominent characteristic was deception, retraction and betraying trust.”[6]

This deception in their life was not confined to their commoners, it was also seen in their thinkers and litterateurs. Because, the famous poet, Surraqa stood against Mukhtar and fought against him in the battle of Jabanah as-Sabi. However when Mukhtar came out victorious Surraqa was brought as a prisoner to him and he threw him into the prison. Surraq began to present his excuses to Mukhtar and composed poems and panegyrics in his praise. Therein he recalled the principles of his uprising. He resorted to hyperbole in his glorification. Among his compositions are the following couplets:

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 6/166
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 6/171
[3] Tabari, Tarikh 6/167-168
[4] Tabari, Tarikh 6/167-168
[5] Tabari, Tarikh 6/376
[6] As-Siyaadatul Arabiyya, Pg. 74


“You emerge victorious on your enemies everyday and with every battalion mourn the martyrdom of Husain.

Like the victory of Muhammad in the battle of Badr and on the day of the splitting of the mountains which was seen in the battle of Hunain.

Thus, now that you are victorious, be kind to forgive though if we were to be victorious we would have committed oppression and injustice in the kingdom.

Accept my repentance, such that even if you repay me afterwards I shall be grateful to you.”

When Mukhtar forgave him, he left Kufa and not much time elapsed that he again started badmouthing Mukhtar and instigated people against him saying:

“Tell Abu Ishaq that we have seen a large and strong number of piebald horses.

I shall show with my eyes those things that are not seen. We know even that which is hidden.

If they say that I have lied to them and if they come out I shall put on the armors to fight them.”[1]

He has sung about his uprising against Mukhtar and ridiculed him and his supporters with the same fervor as he showed in his previous panegyric. It is natural that such continued contradiction in their life caused perplexity and lack of equitability in their behavior.

The most surprising aspect of their contradictory behavior was that some of them exercised utmost precaution in the most ordinary religious problems but did not flinch from committing the most heinous of deeds. For example, a Kufian came to Abdullah Ibn Umar and asked whether the blood of mosquito on his clothes be considered ritually pure or impure.

“To which area do you belong?” asked Ibn Umar.

“I am an Iraqi.” replied the man.

Ibn Umar was surprised. He said, “Look at him, he is asking me about mosquito blood! While they have killed the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah! I have heard His Eminence say about him and his brother: These two (Hasan and Husain) are for me two flowers in the world.”[2]

Some people have explained the cause of this confusion of theirs to be the tough political conditions that befell them. Because the Umayyad regime dealt with them in the harshest and most cruel manner. They appointed over them the most merciless and ferocious persons as governors, like Mughairah bin Shoba and Ziyad bin Sumaiyyah, who made public life suffocating and difficult. These conditions created contradictory behavior in them.

[1] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 6/401. Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 303
[2] Al-Adabul Mufrad, Pg. 14. Hilyatul Awliya 5/71


Rebellion against Governors

A special characteristic prominently seen in Kufa society was its rebellion against governors and their complains regarding them. There was no governor whom they did not denounce. For example, Saad bin Abi Waqqas who was the founder of their city. They criticized him and said: He does not know the prayer well.[1] Umar dismissed him and appointed in his place, the most respectable companion, Ammar bin Yasir. Not much time passed but they complained about him also to Umar. Umar dismissed him also and appointed Abu Musa Ashari in that post. Again not many days passed in his governorship that they began to raise objections against him and said, “We have no need of Abu Musa.”[2]

Umar was fed up with them and he expressed his displeasure. Thus when Mughairah asked him what was troubling him, “O Chief of believers! You are like this only when facing a serious problem. Have you encountered a problem?”

Umar complained to him about the pain caused by the people of Kufa and he said, “What trouble is greater than these hundred thousand people who are neither satisfied with any governor nor any governor is satisfied with them…?”[3]

Umar has said about them as follows: “Among my problems from the people of Kufa is that if I appoint a strong man upon them, they describe him as a transgressor and if I appoint a weak one, they consider him lowly…”[4]

They had made rebellion a habit and were not able to sit peacefully without making any movement.[5]

Dimo Mobin believes that Kufians resorted to this habit during the time when they were ruled by Persians and they always kept on changing the governors.

Flutton is of the view that the Bedouins inhabiting Kufa possessed characteristics like enmity, malice, revengefulness, plunder and crying for blood. Therefore they were always rebellious and disobedient to the government.[6]


Another astounding quality of Kufian society for which it is famous, is the cowardice of those people and their lack of determination in the face of difficulties and disasters. Because whenever they were in hardships they used to retract and flee. For example they initially paid allegiance to Muslim in large numbers and promised him their support. But when he declared uprising against Ibn Marjana, they went away from him. So much so that not even a single person remained to show him the way.

[1] Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 277
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 4/165. And it is mentioned therein that he was a grocer.
[3] Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 278
[4] Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 278
[5] An-Nazmul Islamiya, Pg. 26
[6] As-Siyaadatul Arabiyya, Pg. 11


Zaid bin Ali was also the recipient of this same treatment. Because they deserted him and left him alone to confront the Syrian army, while he remarked, “Just as they did with Husain.”[1]

Also, they pledged allegiance to Abdullah bin Muawiyah and told him, “Call the people towards you, because Bani Hashim are more deserving of caliphate than Bani Marwan.” They urged him out of his residence and to come to the palace where they pledged oath of allegiance to him. However when he marched forward to fight Abdullah bin Umar, the Umayyad governor, they began to flee. Abdullah bin Muawiyah looked and saw the field devoid of his supporters because the commanders of his forces had betrayed his trust when they aligned with the Umayyad governor. So he fled from the side of Abdullah bin Muawiyah and the battalions also followed him.[2]

Isa bin Zaid has said regarding them, “I don’t know anyone worthy of trust, who would fulfill his pledge of allegiance and remain steadfast fast when facing the enemy.”[3]

Bad Manners

Most Kufians possessed bad morals and manners. Thus Abdullah bin Hasan says regarding them, “Apparently they seem to be proud but inwardly they are lazy, in replying they were nasty and in facing the enemy, impatient. Their tongues are in their forefront but their hearts do not follow them.”

Imam Amirul Momineen has described them as follows: “If you are left alone you are cowardly, if you engage in battle you are lazy. If people get an Imam you criticize him and if you fall into hardships you turn on your heels.”[4]

Mukhtar has also described them to Ibn Zubair when he inquired from him about them and said, “Apparently they seem to be loyal to their rulers but actually they are inimical to them.”

Ibn Zubair added the following to the statement of Mukhtar, “This is the characteristic of bad slaves. That whenever they are in the presence of their masters, they serve and obey him. But whenever they (masters) are away, they abuse them.”

Aashi Hamadan has also denounced them as follows:

“A fear that Allah has put in their hearts that without being chastised they do not go near people.

Neither is there truthfulness in their statements nor do they have any patience. But pride, vanity and greed is widespread among them.”[5]

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 4/183-184
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 7/302-303
[3] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 353
[4] Tabari, Tarikh 7/169
[5] Tabari, Tarikh 6/376


And Abul Sarya says regarding them:

“I have traveled to various lands but I haven’t seen people like you.

You are contradictory, foolish, lacking determination, lazy and weak in hardships and prosperity.

The curse that fell on you before and which shall remain on you till Doomsday is that no one is pleased with you and you are not pleased with anyone.[1]

I have made my home, in discontent, far away from your lands. Thus if I have become distanced from you, so you taste the enmity.”[2]

Dr. Yusuf Khalifa has explained these couplets as follows: In these lines, Abul Sarya has repeated the ancient view regarding the people of Kufa that were a people having evil, hypocrisy and bad morals. They are described to be disunited, contradictory, ignorant and having lack of determination, weakness and helplessness. The poet believes that these qualities shall remain in them always whether it is war or peace. Among their qualities was that no leader or guide has ever passed that was satisfied with them or they were satisfied with him. They were unique among all the communities with regard to their being affected by these traits and the poet says that nowhere has he come across people like them. In the end the poet declares his enmity to them and his decision to go far away from them. He also warns them of dire consequences and evil fate that was to befall them.”[3]

Abu Bakr Hazali has also described their condition as, “The people of Kufa broke off relations. They wrote to Husain bin Ali that, ‘We, a hundred thousand men are with you,’ till he came out to join them. But when he arrived, they attacked him. They killed the young and old of his family. After that they came out to take revenge for his blood. Has anyone ever heard of such a thing?”[4]

Greed and Jealousy

Another prominent defect of Kufian people was their greed for material wealth. They were so much greedy for worldly things that they did not refrain from resorting to the most shameless methods to achieve them. They had no fear of insult or exposure. This was one of the most important factors that led to the failure of Muslim’s uprising. Because Ibn Ziyad generously bestowed money to the nobles and leaders of Kufa and they hastened to him and betrayed Muslim. They broke the oath of allegiance they had given him and Ibn Ziyad was able to purchase their loyalties through his wealth and he was able to send them to fight the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah while they had pledged to help and support His Eminence.

[1] He is alluding to Imam Husain's curse on the people of Kufa on the day of Ashura that: “May your rulers never be satisfied with you.”
[2] Maqatilut Talibiyyin, Pg. 444
[3] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa, Pg. 445
[4] Mukhtasar al-Buldan, Pg. 173


Influenced by Rumors

Another major defect of Kufa society was that the people were proved to believe in rumors very soon without investigating the reality behind it. Umayyads took advantage of this in the days of Maskan[1] and spread rumor in Iraqi army that Imam Hasan has made peace with Muawiyah. When the soldiers heard this rumor they were shocked and there developed conflict among them. They rushed upon Imam and plundered all his belongings. They even attacked him and slashed his thigh with a sword.

When Ibn Ziyad’s agents spread rumor among them that the Syrian army was fast approaching them to take revenge from them, they were absolutely devastated. Their fighting spirit died down and they began to flee from the army. They left Muslim Ibn Aqil alone and not a single person remained with him who could have pointed him the way.

These were some prominent aspects of the Kufian society that tell us about their decadence and their failures in face of disasters because neither they possessed a firm determination nor view of social principles. Due to this they brought misfortune upon themselves and destroyed their future. They did not respect their own rights and instead opened up the way for the cruel son of Marjana to rule upon them and shower upon them the most terrible punishments.

Economic Life

The economic life in Kufa was in a disbalanced condition. A noble class existed which was drowned in extreme wealth due to the fact that the Umayyad regime during the reigns of Uthman and Muawiyah had accorded special treatment and made generous grants to persons of this special class, by depriving the poor and destitute they had become wealthy and some of them are as follows:

1. Ashath bin Qais: During the reign of Uthman he purchased large tracts of land in Iraq and he became the foremost feudal lord of that time. He was the one who compelled the Imam to accept arbitration because the Imam’s government criticized special benefits and privileges given to him by the previous regimes.

2. Amr bin Hareeth: He was the most affluent man of Kufa[2] and he played an important role in quelling Muslim’s uprising and paralyzing his movement.

3. Shabth bin Rabi: He was from a prominent noble class of Kufa.[3] He was one of those who restrained people from supporting Muslim. In the same way he commanded a battalion in battle against His Eminence, Husain.

These were some wealthy people of that time who strengthened the hands of Ibn Marjana and provided him with their support so that the uprising of Muslim may be suppressed because they possessed wide power in Kufa and had the capability

[1] It is a locality of Kufa (Tr.)
[2] It is mentioned in Tabari: Amr bin Hareeth was the richest man of Kufa.
[3] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa, Pg. 168


to announce their opposition to Mukhtar even though the majority of people on his side included slaves and retainers. They were also those who overthrew his rule.

However the majority of the people of society in Kufa were having connections with the government and they obtained their livelihood from it as it was originally an army cantonment and the regime had guaranteed its expenses as many people of this area were deprived and in a poor condition.

Asadi, the poet, has described its unsuitable economic life in his panegyric that he composed in praise of a leader in order to obtain his favors and kindness. In that panegyric he says:

“O the generous Aba Talha! Bestow me something from what is given to you.

Enliven me, may my life be sacrificed on you as I am helpless and deprived and you’re aware of it.

Or give me barley flour as it is a great rewarding deed.

You know what Allah has said about feeding the orphans, so do not ignore me, sir.

Except for a cup and leather utensil and a discolored book-like fresh saplings, I do not possess anything else.

And the covering sheet patched with leather that I am selling for a loaf of bread.

And the firm saddle that I have been lent is sufficient for every respected guest.”[1]

You can see how poverty and deprivation has impelled him to beg in these lines. This was the same face of destitution that had squeezed his neck. Shauqi Zaef has opined about these couplets that: “If it is from here that the call for money arose in the Umayyad panegyric. It surrounds their various aspects and it became a basis of life of people. It is natural that it should also form the basis of their art and poetry. Is it not from the important pillars of life? Then how it could not be the important pillar of art? Because in the palm is hidden the sea of life and in the depth of poetry, because only poetry reflects life.”[2]

Economic life has a deep and active impact in the existence of society and it plays an important role in leading the society on the path of good or evil. And it is proved that the crimes and evils they committed was as a result of extreme poverty and deprivation. Or it was due to their greed in obtaining material things. Most of the soldiers who had gone out to fight Imam Husain had done so only when Ibn Marjana promised a raise in their stipends.

Anyway, bad economic conditions in Kufa played an active role in failure of Muslim’s uprising and dispersing people from around him. At that time Ibn Ziyad generously bestowed riches to leaders and prominent people and they began to oppose Muslim and finally deserted him.

[1] Haajiz, Al-Haiwan 5/297
[2] Al-Tatur wat Tajaddud fil Sha’arul Amawi, Pg. 34


Social Factors

The city of Kufa was a city of many communities and people speaking various languages inhabited it. They differed from each other in habits and mannerisms because they included Arabs, Persians, Nabateans who lived with slaves and other people. It was not considered a pure Arab town like Mecca and Medina. Rather it was a town of homogeneous population. As Yaqubi says, these people migrated to this town as it was considered to be the original Islamic army cantonment. And Muslim soldiers used to be sent for expeditions from this town. War booties were sent to this town continuously as Allah has prescribed, so much so that every participating soldier’s share from the booty of Madayan came to 12000 units of currency,[1] thus that which became a cause to impel the people to move to Kufa was the desire to obtain wealth. Some of these communities were as follows:


When Kufa was founded at the hands of the conqueror of Iraq, Saad bin Abi Waqqas, Arabs were attracted to it. They began to compete with each other to relocate to Kufa. In the very beginning, seventy Badr veterans and 300 companions of Shajarah arrived to settle here.[2] Ibn Saad in his Tabaqaat has mentioned about 150 companions who were settled in Kufa.[3] Saffah says about them that, “It (Kufa) is the best residence of companions and noble men.”[4]

As for the Arab tribes that settled over there, they were as follows:

Yemeni Tribes

Yemeni tribes competed with each other to settle in Kufa. They numbered according to the statements of historians to be 12000 people[5] comprised of following clans:

1. Qaza – a, 2. Ghasaan, 3. Bajeela, 4. Khas-a’m, 5. Kinda, 6. Hadhramaut, 7. Azd, 8. Madhij, 9. Himyar, 10. Hamadan, 11. Nakha.

These were clans that originally belonged to Yemen but who had made Kufa their home. The settled on the west side of the Masjid. And Falhauzen believes that famous tribes of Yemen like Madhij, Hamadan and Kinda became dominant in Kufa and acquired leadership. When Abdul Malik bin Marwan arrived in Kufa and when people of Madhij and Hamadan approached him he said to them, “Except for them I do not see anything for anyone.” (That is they are prominent everywhere).

Adnani Tribes

Adnani tribes that settled in Kufa comprised of 8000 persons. They formed two major groups: 1. Tameem, and 2. Bani Asr.

[1] Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 6/4. Mukhtasar al-Buldan, Pg. 166
[2] Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 6
[3] Ibne Saad, Tabaqat 6
[4] Mukhtasar al-Buldan, Pg. 73
[5] Mojam Qabail al-Arab 1/15 etc. Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 276. Mojam al-Buldan 5/492


Bani Bakr Tribes

A number of Bani Bakr clans arrived and settled in Kufa. They were as follows: 1. Bani Asad, 2. Ghitfaan, 3. Muharib, 4. Nameer.

Also other Arab tribes had settled in Kufa which were as follows: Kanariah, Jadeela, Zabee-a’, Abdul Qais, Taghlab, Iyyad, Tai, Thaqeef, Aamir and Mazeena.[1]

Masniyun believes that along with the Quraish tribe there were in Kufa people who were Bedouins at the heart that lived in tents and were camel herders from Bani Daram Tamimi and the neighbors of ancient Yemeni, the Tayy and people of lower middle class from the Rabia and Asad. Also from west and north-west. There was Bakr from east and south-east. There were also elements among the city dwellers from the original southern Arab tribes who had relocated from Hadhramaut. They were of two types: Either they were semi-urbans from Kinda and Bajila and fully urban people from other Yemeni cities and villages, that is the Madhij, Himyar and Hamadan.[2]

Arab people who came and settled in Kufa at the time of its establishment were a mixture of Yemenis, Nizaris and others, however the Yemenis were more in number. In the same way their influence on social life of Kufa was much more than that of the others.

Tribal Spirit

Tribal spirit reigned over the social tribes of Arabs in Kufa who lived in their particular quarters and people of other tribes had no share in their quarters. And Masniyun believes that the burial grounds in Kufa were also having demarcated areas based on tribal divisions.[3] In the same way roads and streets were also named after the tribes that resided in those areas.[4] The city became a perfect image of tribal life, so much so that tribal feeling and spirit was at the foremost and tribal bigotry was at the highest. And the tribes resorted to competition for achieving success among themselves just as was seen in the battle of Jamal. This led to a situation when ignorance reigned supreme in the life of Kufa.[5]

Ibn Abil Hadid has described to us in the following way the tribal spirit that was dominant in Kufa. “In the last period of Hazrat Ali the people of Kufa were divided into tribes that whenever a person from a tribe came out and passed through the area of another tribe he used to call out the name of his tribe: O Nakha! O Kinda! Thus young men of that tribe used to gather around him and shout: O Tamimi! O Rabia! And they used to rush to the one who was shouting and they used to beat him up. He used to go towards his tribesmen and call them. They pulled out their swords and fights erupted.”

[1] Al-Hayatul Ijtimaiyyah was Iqtisaadiyaa fil Kufa, Pg. 42
[2] Naqshe Hai Kufa, Pg. 12-13
[3] Khatat al-Kufa, Pg. 18
[4] Khatat al-Kufa, Pg. 18
[5] Al-Tatur wat Tajaddud fil Sha’arul Amawi, Pg. 80-81


Tribal spirit was the most important element of social life of Kufa which was effectively utilized by Ibn Sumaiyyah to capture Hujr and to quell his uprising. And he used one group of people to defeat another group. In the same way his son took advantage of this phenomenon in order to put down the movement of Muslim, Hani and Abdullah bin Afif Azdi.[1]


Along with the Arabs, there resided in Kufa, people of Persian race also, were given the title of al-Humra,[2] the red-faced. They inquired about the most powerful of the Arabian tribes. It was said to them that they were the Tameem. And so they signed a peace treaty with them.[3] The greatest wave of Persians that came to Kufa and settled there at the time of its establishment comprised of surviving soldiers of the Sasanids who joined the Arab army and fought at their side. They came to be known in history as Humra Dailam. Their number according to historians was four thousand fighters. Their commander was a person, Dailam, with whom they had fought under the command of Rustam at Quddisiya and when the Persians were defeated and Rustam was killed they made peace with Saad bin Abi Waqqas with the condition that they would settle down wherever they liked and they would have treaties with anyone they liked. And that he would appoint a share for them from
the Public Treasury.

They entered into a treaty with Zahra bin Juba Tamimi, a victorious general. Saad appointed for them a million as their share in Public Treasury. They became Muslims and participated in the conquest of Madayan just as they also had share in the conquest of Jeloola. After that they shifted their residence and settled down in Kufa.[4]

These were some of the people who had settled down in Kufa in large numbers. Falhauzen says they were more than half the total population of Kufa and their population increased so much so that Arab ratio decreased and in the time of Mamun they had become a majority. During that period Persian became the chief language.[5]

Jahiz says: “The Persian language has great influence on the language of Kufa.”[6]

Anyway, the Persians played an important role in Kufa and a big group of migrants came into being there in such a way that people of Kufa said: “I have come from Humra of Dailam.”[7]

[1] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 13/167-168
[2] Al-Ahkbaar at-Tiwaal, Pg. 288 & 293
[3] Tabari, Tarikh
[4] Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 279. Khatat al-Kufa, Pg. 11
[5] Fikrul Arabiyya, Pg. 83-84
[6] Al-Bayan wat-Tibbiyin 1/26
[7] Itiihaajaatush Sha’arul Arabi fil Qarith Thaaniul Hijri, Pg. 55


Balazari says, “Ziyad sent some of them to Syria and a group of them to Basra.[1] This group took part in numerous Islamic conquests and they were instrumental in the defeat of the Umayyad regime.


Anbat was one of the tribes that resided in Kufa. They had influenced the social and intellectual life. Historians say: “Anbat did not denote a distinct people. Rather they were Arabs and used the Darami language in their writings. They were natives of rocky parts in the Arab lands but from there they relocated to Iraq and started agriculture. They spoke in their own Darami language.”[3]

They had much influence on the life of Kufa. Abu Amr bin Alaa said to the people of Kufa: “You have the pretensions and cheekiness of the Anbat and we have the personality of the Persians and their foresight.”[4]

Tabari narrates: “A man from Bani Abas took a man from Nihawand, called Dinar as a prisoner. He used to frequent Abasi and gave him gifts. In the rule of Muawiyah he came to Kufa and stood among the people. He told them: ‘O people of Kufa! You are of the first who superceded us and were the best of people and took up your responsibility during the time of Umar and Uthman and after that you changed it and four qualities were acquired by you: Miserliness, deceit, betrayal of trust and poverty as none of them existed in you. I became with you and saw that they existed in your posterity and after that realized from where you have come.’”[5]

De Bond believes that the society and morals of Kufa underwent a great transformation in the past during the period of Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan[6] and it is natural that Anbat caused a great part of this change.


The fourth element that took part in the creation of Kufa was the Syrians. They had spread in Iraq before Islamic conquest and an exceeding number of them settled at Tigris and some of them at Hira and Kufa. They developed relations with the Kufaites and were influenced by their habits and behavior because social life, as the scholars of social sciences say, is a life of giving and accepting influence. Every human accepts influence and to those are around him he leaves his effect.

These were some of the elements that contributed to the formation of society in Kufa. These people were not pure Arabs. Rather they were mixed races and the majority among them was Arab as they were dominant majority of the province. The religious customs and social habits were formed under the Arab influence in the same way the Arabs had the last word in that province…

[1] Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 279
[2] Sami people from north Arabian Peninsula. People who were originally Darham and Qati. (Al-Mojam al-Wasit).
[3] Al-Hizaaratul Islamiyya Pg. 97
[4] Al-Bayan wat-Tibbiyin 2/106
[5] Tabari, Tarikh 4/135-136
[6] Tarikh Falsafa dar Islam, Pg. 15-18


Religious Groups

The Kufan society was not made of people following one and the same religion. Rather people of every religious denomination resided in Kufa and each followed its particular religious customs. Some of the major religious groups were as follows:

1. Islam

Islam was the religion of the majority of Arabs who had settled in Kufa and the cause of the establishment of this town was that it was a garrison of soldiers who fought for Islam under the control of the regimes. They were actually expected to fight Jihad for the Islamic faith but most of them lacked this sincerity and they had joined the army due to greed and to earn booties from war prescribed by Allah for religious fighters. Social scientists have emphasized that social change, alone, developed after generation and generations and the society in the same way protected their habits and practices that they had received from their ancestors. Dua to this the Kufian society was involved in intellectual movements that were opposed to Islam and few dangerous groups existed among their ranks as we shall explain in the following pages:

A - Khawarij: The reciters of Quran and those who had blackened their foreheads in prostrations had acquired this faith. When in Siffeen, Qurans were raised aloft on the spears they compelled the Imam to accept arbitration after Muawiyah was defeated and almost routed. Imam accepted this against his will and warned them of deceit and humiliation. But he could not influence them and they remained obstinate upon their belief and when they realized that they have been misguided, they came to the Imam and said: “We had become disbelievers and have repented. You also express your regret and confess to your disbelief, so that we may accompany you!”

Imam refused to do this. They separated from His Eminence and selected for themselves the slogan of, “There is no command except of Allah’s!” They fell into falsehood and went astray. The Imam fought against and killed a large number of them. However some of them survived and they continued actively to spread their views and played an important role in fighting against Imam Hasan who was finally compelled to sign the peace treaty with Muawiyah. In the same way most soldiers sent by Ibn Ziyad for battle against Imam Husain were from the Khawarij, who harbored enmity against Imam Amirul Momineen. They displayed this enmity before his pure son in the battle of Kerbala and took revenge from him.

B – Umayyad Party: These persons were the representatives of the nobles of Kufa and their leaders. Like Qais bin Ashath, Amr bin Hajjaj Zubaidi, Yazid bin Harth, Shabt bin Rabi’, Amr bin Hareeth and Umar bin Saad. They were having loyalty to Bani Umayyah and believed that they were superior to Ahle Bayt in the matter of Caliphate and leadership of the community. They played an important role in quelling the uprising of Muslim and they instigated people to participate in war against Imam Husain.


C – Shias: They had faith in the loyalty to Ahle Bayt and considered them a religious necessity. Shias of Kufa displayed sincerity in their love and loyalty to Ahle Bayt and the signs of their devotion were as follows:

1 – They used to deliver sermons to the people regarding the events related to Ahle Bayt in which they praised and described the merits and greatness of Ahle Bayt and they told the people about the examples of justice and truthfulness that they had witnessed during the rule of Imam Amirul Momineen.

2 – They wept profusely remembering the calamities and tortures that they bore during the reign of Muawiyah and the insults they had to suffer. However they did not show exemplary sacrifice in the path of their faith. Their friendship was merely a sort of human kindness and it was not based on firm religious belief. They separated from Muslim and abandoned him to become a morsel in the hands of the oppressive Ibn Marjana. Balazari has narrated that in Kerbala when they saw that swords and spears were hacking at the blessed body of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah they wept and prayed to God: “O God! Send Your help to the son of the daughter of Your Messenger!” One of them glanced at the suppliant and said in ridicule, “Why don’t you rush to help him instead of just praying?” Imam Husain differentiated them from True Shias and shouted at them: “O Shias of the progeny of Abi Sufyan!”

The fact is that except for a small group, the majority were not true Shias. The small group of real Shias joined Imam Husain and was martyred with His Eminence. In the same way a large number of them were lying in the dark dungeons.

Anyway, the Muslims of Kufa were not following a single faith. They were having some dangerous groups among them.

2 – Christians

Among the people that settled down in Kufa were the Christians who had arrived in Kufa after the downfall of the glory of Hira. They settled down in Kufa and constructed some churches for themselves. They had a church at the back of the great mosque of Kufa.[1] They were having two bishops, one following the Nestorian church and the other, Jacobite.[2] There were two major tribes among them:

A – Taghlib Christians: They had settled there since the time Saad laid the plans of Kufa. This tribe commanded respect and earned glory.[3] People of this tribe refused to pay the Jizya tax and Umar was helpless and instead allowed them to pay Sadaqah like other Muslim subjects.[4]

B – Christians of Najran: They settled down on the outskirts of Kufa during the

[1] Futuh al-Buldan Pg. 284
[2] Khatat al-Kufa, Pg. 35
[3] Tabari, Tarikh
[4] Tabari, Tarikh


caliphate of Umar and their locality came to be known as “Najraniyyah”.[1]

Christians were employed in many government posts. Such that Abu Musa Ashari had Christian scribes[2] and Walid bin Uqbah, the governor of Uthman appointed a Christian in charge of the office of caretaker of mosques near Kufa.[3]

Christians mostly followed the occupation of money-changer in Kufa and they established markets for this purpose.[4]

These special banks during difficult times in the province loaned funds to the local government and the government used to distribute these funds among people with potential of staging uprisings so that such rebellions may be avoided. Ibn Ziyad also borrowed from them to pay the nobles in order to quell the uprising of Muslim.

Anyway, the population of Kufa was a mixture of Muslims and Christians and relations between the two groups were extremely strong.

3 – Jews

Jews came and settled down in Kufa since the 20th year of the Hijrah[5] and the majority of them arrived from Hijaz after they had been expelled from there by Umar bin Khattab.[6] They lived in a separate area in Kufa which was associated with their name and they also had a synagogue there. The traveler Binyamin writes: “Seven thousand Jews lived in Kufa. There was a grave over there that they considered sacred and circumambulated around it. They had built a synagogue over this tomb.”[7]

They mostly followed occupations like that of goldsmith etc. and other professions that the Arabs disliked…The Jews harbored deep animosity to the Holy Prophet because he had destroyed a large number of them and humiliated and defeated them in every confrontation. According to some researchers they played a prominent role in the massacre of Kerbala so that by killing the grandsons and progeny of the Prophet they may extract their revenge…

Here we conclude our discussion regarding the various religious groups that dominated the population of Kufa and which played important roles in movements of Jihad and military actions of that area.

[1] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa, Pg. 144
[2] Uyun al-Akhbaar 1/43
[3] Al-Aghani 4/184
[4] Tarikh Kufa, Pg. 148. The money changers and bankers’ begin from the Masjid Sohail to the Great Mosque as some of the sources have mentioned.
[5] Yusuf Rizqullaah Ghaneema, Nuzhatul Mushtaq fi Tarikh Yahood wal Iraq, Pg. 103
[6] Al-Hayatul Ijtimaiyyah was Iqtisaadiyaa fil Kufa, Pg. 105
[7] Safarnama Binyamin, Translation of Azar Haddad, Pg. 146


Military Organization

The city of Kufa had been initially established as a military cantonment to house the soldiers of the Islamic army. The army was organized on the basis of tribal divisions. It was divided into platoons and divisions according to the clans and tribes they belonged to. The divisions of the army were as follows:

Seven-division System

The army was divided into seven major divisions based on tribal differences inspite of the fact that all of them were supposed to be fighting for Islam and Allah. And tribal feeling dominated them to a great extent and it had not decreased a bit. The organization was as follows:

First Division: This division consisted of Kinanah and those who had peace treaties with them from the Abyssinians and the Jadilah who were, since the days of Saad, obedient to the governors of Quraish and they acted loyally to the Bani Umayyah and their governors.

Second Division: Qazaa-a, Ghassaan, Bajeelah, Khath-a’m, Kinda, Hadhramaut and Azd.

Third Division: Madhij, Himyar, Hamadan and their confederates who were distinguished for their enmity to Bani Umayyah and their support for His Eminence, Ali and his children.

Fourth Division: Tameem and other Arab tribes and their confederates.

Fifth Division: Asad, Ghitfaan, Muharib, Zabi-a’, Taghlib and Nameer.

Sixth Division: Iyyad, A’k, Abdul Qais, Ahle Hijr and Humra.

Seventh Division: Tayy.[1]

These seven groups were present in the tribal battalions of the army. This system was followed so that general soldiers may participate in the battles that may occur in that period and that they may share in the war booty that is distributed after returning from the battles. Kufa was divided in this manner till the year 50 A. H. However Ziyad bin Abih, the governor of Iraq changed it and converted it into a four-division army as follows:

1 – People of Medina, Amr bin Hareeth was appointed over them.

2 – Tameem and Hamadan, Khalid bin Arafta was their commander.

3 – Rabi-a, Bakr and Kinda, Qais bin Walid bin Abde Shams controlled them.

4 – Madhij and Asad,[2] Abu Burdah bin Abu Musa was their commander-in-chief.

The reason why Ziyad took this step was that he wanted to make whole of Kufa his military regime. Thus he chose only those persons as commanders who were known for their loyalty to the government. Ibn Ziyad solicited their assistance in

[1] Hayatush Sha’ar fil Kufa, Pg. 29-30
[2] Khatat al-Kufa, Pg. 15-16


suppressing the uprising of Muslim. In the same way some of them were appointed as commanders of the battalions that the tyrant had dispatched to fight Imam Husain. Thus Amr bin Hareeth and Khalid bin Arafta were commanders of that army.

Military commanders are chosen from those who hold a social position and are well known for harshness, courage and experience in war.[1] The commanders of all the four divisions were under the control of the government and the connection of the government with the people was also maintained through them, that in view of their great importance in the province, Imam Husain wrote to them and requested them to help and support him.[2]

Experts of Tribal Affairs

The government relied upon the U'rafa.[3] They solved the problems of the tribes and distributed allowances among them, and also helped in maintaining public registers that recorded the names of men, women and children. In the same way they recorded births in order to secure from the government stipends for the newborns. Names of people who died used to be deleted from those registers by these officers.[4]

In the same way they also bore the responsibility of maintaining law and order and during hostilities they used to mobilize people for joining the army and used to encourage them in this regard. They used to report to the government about those who refused to join the armed forces.[5] If the U'rafa fell short in their duties or went beyond their power they used to be punished very severely by the government.[6]

One of the important causes of the people leaving Muslim was the activity of these U'rafa because they discouraged the people from joining the movement and spread fear and rumors among them.[7] In the same way they played an active role in instigating people to join forces against Imam Husain.

With this we conclude our discussion on the salient features of social life in Kufa as their understanding is necessary from the aspect of their effect on the failure of the uprising.

[1] Tabari, Tarikh 5/268
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf
[3] Urfa is the plural of Arifeen. It is that man who recognizes his friends. It is mentioned in traditions: “Turn back to your Urfa, so that they may tell us about you.” Arif’s duty was to administer the affairs of the tribe and its members. Through him the governor used to know of tribal matters and problems of members.
[4] Al-Hayatul Ijtimaiyyah was Iqtisaadiyaa fil Kufa, Pg. 53
[5] Tabari, Tarikh 7/226
[6] Al-Aghani
[7] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah Pg. 154-155


The Tyrant Ibn Marjana

To understand fully the failure of Muslim’s revolt, it is necessary to know about the tyrant, Ibn Marjana’s coup d’etat and to learn about his life, characteristics and the plan he resorted to, to quell the uprising. Therefore we present the following points for our readers:

Birth of Ibn Marjana

This tyrant was born in the year, 39 A. H.[1] He created disasters and difficulties on the earth. Thus he was 21 when he put to the sword the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah. Sources available to us do not specify the place of his birth.


His father was Ziyad, the son of Sumaiyyah. He was among the elements of mischief and corruption on the earth. Such that, he blinded people and had them crucified on trunks of palm trees, and merely on the basis of suspicion or allegations he punished innocent people. Thus he put the area of Iraq into untold misery and sorrow.

Ibn Ziyad’s mother was Marjana, a Magian woman[2] well-known for her wantonness. Ubaidullah Tamimi mentioned her in the presence of Ibn Marjana and said, “Umar bin Khattab has said: O God! I seek Your refuge from fornicating women and from children of fornicating women.” Ibn Ziyad was disturbed by these words and he replied, “Umar said: No child remains for nine months in its mother’s womb but that it comes out as a fool.”[3]

Ziyad left Marjana and Shiruyah married her.[4]

Upbringing of Ibn Marjana

That tyrant was brought up in the house of crime. He spent his early childhood in the house of his stepfather, Shiruyah, who was not even a Muslim. When he grew up he was taken up by his father, Ziyad and trained to cause bloodshed and oppress the people. He was brought up to practice deceit and employ intrigue. In other words he inherited all the evil traits of his father, like cruelty and getting pleasure by doing bad to people. He was not less cruel than his father. That tyrant has himself mentioned in one of his speeches:

“I am Ibn Ziyad, I am most resembling the one who walks the desert. And I am having no resemblance to the paternal or maternal uncle.”[5]

Like his father he was harsh and firm on committing evil and he very much distant from truth.

[1] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah Pg. 283
[2] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah Pg. 283
[3] Al-Bayan wat-Tibiyyin 2/242
[4] Al-Bayan wat-Tibiyyin 1/72
[5] Tabari, Tarikh


Characteristics of Ibn Marjana

Of his prominent psychological characteristics were cruelty and obtaining pleasure through bloodshed. He arrested a Khawarij woman, cut off her limbs and ordered that she be exhibited in the market place.[1]

Hasan Basri has described him as a senseless young man who shed a lot of blood.[2] Muslim bin Aqil said about him: “He laps the blood of Muslims and kills the life of those whose killing Allah has forbidden and he sheds blood on the basis of anger, enmity and suspicion, while he is busy in vain pastimes, in such a way as if he has not done anything.”

He was arrogant and he did not heed the advice of anyone. For example Aaez bin Amr Sahabi came to him and said: “My son! I have heard the Messenger of Allah say: The worst ruler is one who is cruel and who oppresses the people. So take care that you don’t become such.”

These words hit him sharply and he screamed, “Sit down! You are the rubbish of the companions of the Messenger of Allah.”

Aaez objected against him and said, “Is there rubbish among them? Rubbish is after them and among those other than them.”[3]

During his governorship of Basra he became well known as a deceitful man and a trickster with regard to the people. Motal bin Yasar advised him to leave such acts, saying, “I have heard the Messenger of Allah say: There is none that is appointed as ruler who acts deceitfully with the people except that Allah deprives him from Paradise.”[4]

These were his personal and psychological characteristics. As for his physical traits, they were as follows:

Bad Accent

The tyrant was brought up in the house of his mother, Marjana, who was not Arab. He learnt her accent and was not able to understand Arabic. For example he often used to say: “Open up your swords!” While he meant to say: “Pull out your swords!” Yazid bin Mufrag in his poem had alluded to Ibn Ziyad’s faulty Arabic:

“On the day when you opened your sword from far away, you destroyed it, as all your actions were destructive.”

During a conversation with Suwaid, Ibn Ziyad said, “Sit on the buttocks of the floor!!”

Suwaid ridiculed him saying, “I didn’t know the floor had buttocks!”[5]

[1] Qisasul Arab 1/212
[2] Seer A’laamun Nubla 3/545
[3] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/285
[4] Muslim, Sahih 1/124, Tr. 142
[5] Al-Bayan wat-Tibiyyin 1/73


He pronounced the ‘h’a’ of Arabic as ‘ha’. Thus asked Hani: “Are you Haroori today?” While he meant to ask him if he had joined the Khawarij (H’aroori). He also used to pronounce the Arabic alphabet of ‘A’ain’ as ordinary ‘a’ and the Arabic ‘q’ as ‘k’. One day he said, “Man kaatalna kaatalna!” Actually he meant to say: “Man Qaatalna Qaatalna!” which means that we shall fight those who want to fight us.[1]

Gluttony and Debauchery

Historians say: He was a glutton and he had a voracious appetite. He ate five times a day and his last meal of the day used to be a donkey leg. His meal was concluded only after eating this. If a full lamb or a kid was brought to him, he used to finish it off alone.[2] In the same way he was a sex maniac. On the night he entered Kufa he slept with a woman named, Umme Nafe, the daughter of Ammarah bin Uqbah bin Abi Muit.[3]

These were his salient physical characteristics.

Ibn Ziyad’s Rule in Basra

Muawiyah gave him the governorship of Basra and entrusted him with authority upon the affairs of Muslims at a time when he was in the prime of his youth and given to arrogance and pride. He ruled Basra in the same way as his father had. Because he also killed on the basis of mere suspicion and allegation. And he considered the innocent as criminals and the sinners as innocent ones. Muawiyah trusted him and was pleased with his manners. Therefore he also proclaimed for him the governorship of Kufa. But Muawiyah died before dispatch of this appointment letter.

Yazid’s Dislike for Ibn Marjana

Yazid hated Ibn Marjana very much. This was due to some matters, most important of whom was that his father, Ziyad had objected to his father, Muawiyah when he wanted to appoint Yazid as the next caliph because Yazid was a profligate and always involved in evil vices.

Yazid wanted to dismiss Ubaidullah from the governorship of Basra and take away all his powers but when Imam Husain announced his uprising and he sent Muslim as his emissary to Kufa to take the allegiance of the people for him, Sarjun suggested to Yazid that he allow Ibn Ziyad continue as the governor of Basra and at the same time appoint him as the governor of Kufa also and order him to quell the uprising. Yazid accepted this suggestion and the whole of Iraq came under the control of Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad took over the province in an iron fist and strived by all his might to suppress the uprising so that through it he may be able to get into the good books of Yazid and to gain the affections of the Umayyad clan.

[1] Al-Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/284
[2] Nihayatul Arab 3/343
[3] Miraat az-Zamaan, Pg. 285


Plan for Coup d’etat

In spite of his young age Ibn Ziyad was an expert politician and he had mastered the art of conducting coups and knew well how to turn unfavorable circumstances to his advantage. He succeeded through deceit and intrigue to get the control of the garrisons of Kufa and quell the revolt. The main points of his master plan were as follows:

1 – Spying on Muslim in order to gain intelligence about his matters.

2 – He spread such fear and rumors that it created an atmosphere of terror in Kufa and the people became concerned with their own selves. In this way he was able to prevent them from interference in any way, in the political events of that time.

3 – He bribed the nobles and upper class people so that they would always be at his beck and call and he could use them in any way whenever he liked. These people created disunity among the tribes and defeated Muslim’s forces.

4 – He worked out a cunning plot regarding Hani and had him arrested as he was a prominent man of the province. Through this he was able to remove a very important factor of the uprising.

These were some of the dangerous points of the plan of the tyrant, Ibn Ziyad, by which he was able to dominate the circumstances and to destroy the revolt and finally to mobilize forces to slay the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah.

Muslim bin Aqil

As for Muslim bin Aqil, he was an emblem of piety in Islam and extremely precautious and careful and in his behavior he did not deviate in any way and never resorted to any kind of deceit and fraud even if political victory depended on it. In this regard he acted on the manner of his uncle, Amirul Momineen. Moreover, he was not sent to Kufa as an absolute ruler that he could have acted in any way he liked. His responsibility was only to take allegiance on behalf of the Imam and to find out the true position of the Kufians. So that if he found it favorable he would ask Imam Husain to proceed to Kufa. Apart from this he did not have any other responsibility as we have already explained in the previous discussions.

Thus we end our discussion about the failed uprising of Muslim, which was the beginning of the tragedy of Kerbala and the initial point of the deep pains. Along with this we conclude the second volume of this book.

# Selection of Migration to Iraq

Imam Husain chose to migrate to Iraq and not to any other place in the Islamic lands, while he knew what conditions and atmosphere surrounded the people and what difficulties the Iraqis lived in. Probably, the selection of Iraq and not any other place was made the Holy Imam due to the following factors:

First: Iraq, in those days, was the center of Islamic Kingdom and the place of wealth and manpower, such that Kufa was established there as a garrison town and it had a definite role to play in Islamic victories and had participated in the conquests of Ram Hormuz, Shoosh, Shustar and Nihanand as Umar bin Khattab had sought help from them in these campaigns.

Umar wrote to his governor, Saad bin Abi Waqqas: “Send a large contingent with Noman bin Maqran to Ahwaz. In numerous reports concerning Islamic conquests it has been recorded that Umar sought the help of Kufians. Umar has also praised them extensively, “May Allah give the people of Kufa a goodly reward as they are content with their area and they also help people of other areas.”

A Syrian has said regarding them, “You are the treasure of Islam. When the people of Basra seek your help, you help them. And if the Syrians seek your help, you help them.”[1]

Apart from this Iraq was the capital of the government and it had been in ancient times a land of power and wealth. “It was the centre of the kingdom and it held a huge treasure in addition to the prosperity that the Almighty Allah had given to the Kufians: Such as: Manufacture of colored garments and silk and other things like fruits and dates etc.”[2]

Umayyads considered it as an important source that contributed to the treasury of Damascus.[3] Muawiyah received around 50 million Dirhams from taxes of Kufa and its surrounding areas.[4]

While taxes collected from Batha[5] were only in the range of 5 million Dirhams.[6]

Iraq was the center of the illuminated world of Islam which surpassed all the provinces in fields of politics, economics and social spheres, such that all the revolutionaries were attracted by it and moved towards it[7] so that they may make it the place of launching their political movement….And Kufa alone was that city in the Islamic lands that understood the value of the events and aims of political

[1] At-Tabaqat al-Kubra, 6/124
[2] Hamadani, Mukhtasar Kitab al-Buldan, Pg. 52
[3] Futuh al-Buldan, Pg. 293
[4] Yaqubi, 2/218
[5] ‘Batah’, a large part of land between Waast and Basra consisting of villages in close proximity (Mojam al-Buldan 1/666)
[6] Qudamah bin Ja’far, Al-Khiraj wa Suna’tul Kitabah, Pg. 169
[7] Al-Iraq fee Zillul Hukmul Amawi, Pg. 9


movements because social awareness was dominant there to a great extent and Kufians used to impose their desires on rulers and when they did not fulfill them they used to draw swords against them and stand up to confront them.

Anyway, Imam chose to migrate to Kufa, from the aspect that the city of Kufa was the center of power in the Islamic world. Abdul Muta-aal Saeedi says: “Imam Husain did not make a wrong choice. He decided to move to Iraq at that time because Iraq was a suitable place to lay the foundation of the movement of uniting the aims of Muslims. And therefore he selected it so that afterwards this Kingdom may be established for the Iraqis and later on the Abbaside Kingdom developed there, which ruled on Muslims for 500 years.”[1]

Secondly: Kufa was the cradle of Shiaism and a native place of the Alawites which displayed exceptional devotion to Ahle Bayt on numerous occasions. Groups of revolutionaries, under the leadership of Malik Ashtar Nakhai, a prominent Shia personality, moved to Medina and laid siege to Uthman and they attacked him and nominated the Imam for caliphate. This was the seed of Shiaism that was sown in Kufa during the caliphate of Umar. Because among the governors of Kufa were Ammar bin Yasir and Abdullah Ibn Masud, who publicized the greatness and merits of the Imam in gatherings of Kufa; that had been recorded from the Holy Prophet in his regard. They spoke all this so much that finally the people became devoted to the Imam and began to have respect and regard for him. In such a way that Kufians participated on the side of the Holy Imam in the battles of Jamal and Siffeen and they used to say to His Eminence, “O Amiral Momineen! Take us wherever you like as
we are your soldiers and companions. We are inimical to all those who are inimical to you and we shall be with anyone who returns to you and obeys you.”[2]

Imam Amirul Momineen has praised their goodness because he believed that they were sincere friends towards him and he told them, “O people of Kufa! You are my brothers, companions and supporter for truth and those who respond for Jihad against those who make the unlawful as lawful. By your support I shall defeat all those who confront us and I am hopeful of your complete obedience.”[3]

He also said, “Kufa is the mine of faith, the treasury of Islam and swords and spears of God that He appoints wherever He likes.”[4]

Iraq participated in the more severe battles and the deadliest confrontations for the sake of Ahle Bayt and they took revenge from the killers of Ahle Bayt under the leadership of the great revolutionary Mukhtar Ibn Abi Ubaidah Thaqafi who rose up to take revenge for their blood. On the basis of this the Imam selected Iraq for migration because the people of the Iraqi cities had a deep loyalty and devotion to Ahle Bayt.

[1] Journal ‘Ghurra’, Year 9, No. 11-14, Pg. 108
[2] Al Imamah was Siyasah 1/125
[3] Al Imamah was Siyasah 1/124
[4] Ibne Faqih, Mukhtasar al-Buldan, Pg. 163


Thirdly: Kufa was the original center of the opposition to Umayyad Kingdom. Because throughout the Umayyad rule, the Kufians had never restrained from confronting the Umayyads and they always aspired to bring about its downfall. According to Falhauzen the cause of Kufian animosity towards the Umayyads was that the caliphate had been relocated from Kufa to Damascus and that previously, they themselves had been at the helm of the government. And that their city was reduced to the position of only a territory of the new kingdom. And their lands were taxed and funds dispatched to the lands they themselves had conquered. Now the position was such that they had to remain content at the leftovers of the Umayyad rule. Therefore it was nothing strange that Kufians displayed remarkable fury in confronting the Syrian Kingdom and they considered their authority as a yoke of slavery upon them and tried their best to overthrow their domination.

Among the factors that lent severity to the anger of Kufians against the Umayyads was that Muawiyah had appointed incapable persons like Mughairah bin Shoba and Ziyad bin Abih as governors of Iraqi provinces. And these two wreaked injustice and oppression among them and took away their comfort and peace. They also tried to bring about their economic deprivation and took steps to make effective the politics of hunger and deprivation…Kufa became the center of revolt against the Umayyad regime and the arrests, murders and oppression of the governors did not restrain them from it.

Thus, the selection of Kufa by the Imam for migration and his decision to chose it as the center of his mission was that it was the only city inimical to the Umayyads and that the clamor of opposition to the Umayyads had reached to its peak after the death of Muawiyah.

Fourthly: Imam Husain selected Iraq to migrate because of the continuous flow of letters from the people who wrote to him and begged him to join them. The majority people sent the Imam letters persuading him to come for their help. These petitions were dispatched to the Holy Imam even during the lifetime of Muawiyah. Thus Imam had to relent when letter after letter arrived and they encouraged the Imam to move to Iraq. If the Imam had refrained from giving them a positive reply he would have been answerable to the Almighty Allah. Especially after his emissary Muslim Ibn Aqil wrote him informing him about the unanimity of the people on Imam’s allegiance and their anticipation of Imam’s arrival. Muslim also urged him to come immediately. Thus His Eminence had no choice but to accept it.

Dr. Muhammad Halami says: “Imam Husain did not set out to Iraq immediately after receiving representations from Iraqi people so that he may lead them in revolt against the caliphate of Yazid. But he first dispatched his emissary, Muslim bin Aqil bin Abi Talib so that he may test the claims of the people of Kufa and find out if they were really having true sympathies with the Holy Imam. Muslim succeeded in taking allegiance of 12000 persons to help in the determined


uprising of Imam Husain and managed to keep them away from the allegiance to Yazid. Muslim reported these developments to Imam Husain and he decided to personally travel to Iraq and lead the uprising. Therefore Imam Husain cannot be said to have resorted to haste in initiating the uprising because letters addressed to him had arrived. His Eminence wanted to find the level of their sincerity. And his active representative was able to gauge this in a short period of time and had taken allegiance of thousands of people.”[1]

Fifthly: If Imam Husain had moved to any other province, Umayyad mercenaries would have pursued him and definitely martyred him against his will. While he would have been criticized why he did not move to Iraq? While it was a land of his companions and Shias and people of Iraq had sent him letters in thousands and encouraged him to join them? In that case what reply His Eminence had given if he had moved to some other land and the Umayyad army had pursued him?

These were some of the factors that caused the Imam to select Kufa in order to make it the launch pad of his uprising.

Abandoning Hijaz

Here a matter remains that why the Imam did not remain in Hijaz to make it the center of his movement? Probably the following factors caused him to take this step:

(a) The Hijaz province had very few economic sources because Muawiyah had spread poverty and deprivation there. And it is natural that a revolution required greater monetary support and with the lack of wealth and money how could the Imam organize his revolt in Hijaz?

(b) There was lack of political awareness in Hijaz, because the majority of the people there were aloof from politics while Iraq held the torch of political know how in the Arab lands.

(c) Hijaz was not suitable to become the center of revolution because it had been continuously made the target of attacks by the Umayyad forces. That is why Yazid had sent a huge army to fight Ibn Zubair under the commandership of his brother, Amr bin Zubair.

(d) Hijaz did not have a garrison town or center so that the Imam may have taken refuge there to obtain protection and support.

(e) The majority of people in Hijaz was inimical to Ahle Bayt and more inclined to Umayyads.

Abu Ja’far Iskafi says: “As for the Meccans they were all hostile to Ali and the whole of Quraish was opposed to him. And the majority of the people supported Bani Umayyah.”[2]

[1] Al-Khilfah wad daulah fil Asr al-Amawi, Pg. 115-116
[2] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/103


Imam Ali Ibn Husain has said, “There were not even 20 individuals in Mecca and Medina who supported us.”[1] Thus despite it being a known fact that Hijaz was hostile to Ahle Bayt how could the Imam make it the center of his uprising?

Imam left Hijaz seen and heard by its populace but none rushed out to accompany him and except for his Ahle Bayt no one followed him to help and defend him.

Avoiding Egypt

Imam avoided Egypt and he did not correspond with anyone there because the people of that area had during the regime of the Umayyad caliphs, been used to comfort and peace and they remained aloof from political happenings. Also not a single letter from them was sent to the Imam, inviting him to join them. Then how could the Imam have migrated there? In addition to this, the Uthmani view was predominant over there. And the governor of Egypt was Amr bin al-Aas who propagated enmity towards Ahle Bayt and cultivated among the people devotion and loyalty to Umayyads. Thus how it be possible for the Imam to decide on Egypt?

Avoiding Yemen

Ibn Hanafiyah and others suggested to the Imam to move to Yemen because Shias of the Imam and his Holy father resided there. But the Imam did not accept this view. In our opinion the Imam avoided Yemen for the following reasons:

(1) Garrison area was not present in Yemen that could have helped and defended the Imam from attack of Bani Umayyads because the Yemenis neither have weapons nor military provisions or contingents. They had no military capability at all.

(2) The rabble of Yemen, when Muawiyah’s soldiers attacked them under the command of Busr Ibn Abi Artat, the oppressor, did not step forward to defend their land. So much so that oppressors slew a lot of their men and captured their women and sold them in the markets. The stronger of them brought a good price due to their physical well-being. But the Yemeni people did not stand up to defend their territories and property and they submitted their blood and property to the Umayyad foes. In such a case how the Imam could had moved to Yemen?

(3) Yemen was involved in poverty and deprivation, the economic life was paralyzed and people had no power to provide funds and weapons necessary for revolution and a large number of Yemenis had migrated to Kufa in search of livelihood and prosperity.

(4) If Imam had gone to Yemen, Yazid would not have left him alone. He would have sent his mercenaries to fight him and in this way lives would have been lost and Imam would have been blamed for creating mischief and discord and thus the justice established by His Eminence on the basis of the statement of Dr. Ahmad

[1] Ibid, Pg. 104


Mahmud Sabihi, would have been destroyed.[1]

From what we have stated is apparent the weakness of the view of Dr. Ali Husain Kharbutali who has criticized the Imam ‘Why he did not head to Yemen after leaving Hijaz because these two places were having his true friends and sincere Shias of his father. Apart from this the plus point of Yemen was that it was far from the center of caliphate, his strong castle and his vast valley.’[2] This view is not having an iota of reality because the Imam did not have any true friends in Hijaz and if he really had them when he declared his move to Iraq they would have come forward to accompany him and they would not have left him alone a prey in the hands of Ibn Marjana. We have also mentioned that Yemen, from the strategic view point was not suitable that the Imam could have chosen it for his revolution.

Avoiding Iran

The Holy Imam avoided going to Iran also because he did not have any support there and the invitation towards Ahle Bayt had yet not crystallized there. It was only after a short time that it became the center of the Alawite propagation. That is when a great society of Shias, most of whom had been exiled there, took shape in this land and they began to spread Shiaism there and the claimants of Bani Abbas bore the fruits that the Shias had produced in Iran. They designated Iran for themselves and it was from here that they launched their opposition to Bani Umayyah and destroyed their kingdom.

Avoiding Basra

Imam avoided Basra also because it had a garrison loyal to Uthman and many of the people there were followers of Talha and Zubair.

Abu Ja’far Iskafi says, “The people of Basra were generally inimical to Ali.”[3] And it was because of the Battle of Jamal that most of the heads of the people of Basra had reaped and made their hearts filled with animosity towards the Imam and his children. Although there did reside a group of Shias in Basra to whom the Imam wrote at the time of his departure towards Kufa.

Anyway, Kufa was the most suitable center for announcing the revolution against the Umayyads. Because this revolutionary town had led the opposition to Bani Umayyah and after the death of Muawiyah it had become absolutely ready to invite the Imam. In such a way that it was considered the real native town of the Shias of His Eminence. The hearts of the people of Kufa were rich with love and devotion to His Eminence.

The selection of Kufa as the destination was chosen by the Imam with exception to all other places because of a deep study of the existing conditions in all Islamic provinces and their surrounding areas. His Eminence had encompassing knowledge

[1] Nazaria Imamat Nazd Shia Ithna Ashari, Pg. 243
[2] Tarikh Iraq Dar Zer-e-Sulte Umayyan, Pg. 121. Sooli has also expressed the same view in his book Ad-Daulatul Amawiya fish Shaam, Pg. 53
[3] Sharh Nahjul Balagha 4/103


of the attitude of the people of every place, be it in the political sphere or in the field of belief which was the standard of their economic and military power. Because the Holy Imam was aware of all these matters and knowledge and he could not find any other place having the strategic advantage of Kufa for support of his revolution and guarantee of his victory. And he had realized the strengths of his supporters and opposition to the Umayyad regime. On the basis of this, movement towards Kufa was the need of the hour as there was no alternative to it.

Sympathizers and critics

When the decision of His Eminence, Husain and his determination to leave Hijaz for Kufa became public, a group of members of Ahle Bayt and his Shias sympathized with him and some of the politically greedy persons made a show of sympathy like Abdullah Ibn Zubair and feigned sincerity to him or like Ashdaq, due to trepidation that the Umayyad regime will be destroyed, became worried and he expressed sympathy for the uprising of the Imam. They all warned the Holy Imam and frightened him of the about turn of the people of Kufa and their betrayal of trust towards him, just as before this they had betrayed trust of his brother. They all suggested to the Imam that he must not go to this province and that he must not join them.

In the same way some government agents and their followers, due to the fear of the downfall of Umayyad regime and their routing criticized the Imam for organizing the uprising. Some opponents of Ahle Bayt in numerous areas also spoke up against the Imam’s uprising. The views of these two groups are presented below:


Sympathizers from the Shias of Imam Husain and his Ahle Bayt were such that their hearts were filled with sorrow, and grief for Imam’s departure from Hijaz overcame them. They spoke with a kind tongue and warned the Imam of things he was not fearful of. They suggested to the Imam that he give up confrontation with the regime and give allegiance to Yazid so that he remains safe from his mischief and oppression. However His Eminence saw that the religion of his grandfather had become a toy in the hands of Abu Sufyan’s grandson and it was necessary for him to rise up in defense of its honor and to sacrifice everything in its support and it was that same aim that none was capable of restraining the Imam from it…these are some of the statements of sympathizers and those who restrained him:

1. Masoor bin Mukhrama

When Masoor bin Mukhrama[1] came to know of the decision of the Imam about leaving Hijaz for Iraq he became extremely perturbed and he wrote the following letter to His Eminence: “You must not join with the letters of the people of Iraq

[1] Masoor bin Mukhrama bin Naufal Qarashi Zuhri was born two years after the Hijrah and he has narrated from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.). He was a man of religion and excellence. He was with Ibne Zubair and when the siege of Mecca took place he was injured by a stone thrown by the catapult and he passed away, Al-Isabah 3/400


and to what Ibn Zubair has told you, you must not believe that they would give you support. You will be deceived. You must not go away from the Holy Sanctuary as they, that is the Iraqis, if they are needful of you, they would mount the camels and hasten to join you. In that case you may go out to them with power and military equipment.”

When the Imam read his letter he thanked him for his sympathy and sent a message to him: “I shall beseech the Almighty for goodness in this matter.”[1]

2. Abdullah bin Ja’far

Abdullah bin Ja’far also became fearful about his cousin when he learnt about the decision of His Eminence to march towards Iraq. Waves of depression surrounded him. He sent his sons, Aun and Muhammad to His Eminence with the following letter: “So to say: I implore you by the name of God, that the moment you read this letter, you change your decision because I am afraid regarding you as you are risking your life for this and your Ahle Bayt shall be uprooted and destroyed if something happens to you today. The effulgence of the earth shall be extinguished. You are the standard bearer of guidance and the chief of the believers. So do not make haste in moving out as I am coming behind my letter. And peace be upon you.”

While the son of Ja’far had exhausted his strength and he had become worried and perplexed he hastened to Amr bin Saeed the governor of Mecca and took from him a letter guaranteeing security to His Eminence, Husain and then went quickly to His Eminence while Yahya bin Saeed bin Aas was with him. Then he suggested the Imam to stay in Mecca and give up the intention of going to Iraq but the Imam did not accept his advice. He began to petition the Imam and implored him to change his decision.

Imam said, “I saw Allah’s Messenger in the dream and he commanded me to hasten towards him…”

Ja’far’s son asked him about the dream but the Imam refused to speak about it. He said, “I have not related it to anyone and I shall not relate it to anyone till I meet Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.”[2]

Abdullah Ibn Ja’far was filled with sorrow and grief and he went away with the certainty that a terrible catastrophe would befall. He ordered his two sons to remain in the service of their maternal uncle, His Eminence, Husain.

3. Abdullah bin Abbas

Abdullah bin Abbas hurried to the Imam in a disturbed state of mind and asked him, “Useless people have spread the rumor that you have decided to move to Iraq. Have you indeed made such a decision?”

[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/208-209
[2] Tabari, Tarikh 5/387, Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/163 & 167, Seer A’laamun Nubla 2/297


“Yes, I have decided to set out to Kufa on one of these two days. I want to, if Allah wills, join my cousin, Muslim, there.”[1]

Ibn Abbas became distressed and he told the Imam, “I beseech the Almighty’s refuge for you, tell me, are you going towards the community that has murdered its chief (Amir) and that has taken over its province? If they have done so, you may go to them. But if they have invited you while their governor is upon them, ruling over them and his officials are collecting taxes from them, they have in fact invited you for war and I am not in peace regarding you because they are deceiving you, they have lied to you. They shall desert you and betray you and they shall be the worst of the people against you.”

These perceptive points were not concealed from the Imam, because His Eminence was perfectly aware of his circumstances, therefore he told Ibn Abbas, “I shall seek goodness (Istikhara) from the Almighty Allah and see what happens.”

Ibn Abbas was worried and agitated and he could not rest in peace. Thus he turned to the Imam and said, “I tried to remain patient but was unable to do so. I am fearful of your death and destruction because of this decision of yours…the people of Iraq are disloyal and betrayers of trust, do not go to them. Stay in this town as you are the leader of the people of Hijaz. Thus if the people of Iraq are desirous of you as they are claiming to be, write to them to extern their governor and enemy and then you may go and join them. Then if you like you may go out and move to Yemen as there are castles and valleys over there and it is a vast and huge land. And your father had Shias over there and you shall be far away from the people. Then you may write to the people and send letters to them, send your emissaries all over the country and I am hopeful that you shall able to achieve what you like peacefully…”

Imam informed him about his determination and steadfastness to undertake the journey. Ibn Abbas told him, “If you have decided to move, do not take your ladies and children as I am afraid you shall be slain in the same way as Uthman was killed, while his ladies and children witnessed the carnage….By setting out from Hijaz you have pleased the son of Zubair, today while you are present here; no one pays attention to him.

At that time, Ibn Abbas lost control of his emotions and in a bewildered state, as the historians have described he said, “By the One except Whom there is no deity, if I had known, I would have held your hair and forehead, so that people gather over us and you had listened to what I say and remained here, I shall do it.”

Whatever Ibn Abbas had said was not concealed upon the Holy Imam and His Eminence was determined on his aim which was the victory of Islam.

[1] Waseelatul Maal fee idda manaqibul Aal, Pg. 187, from the facsimile in Amirul Momineen Public Library, and it is also mentioned in As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 285, by Sayyid Mahmud Shaikhani Qadri, from facsimile copy at Imam Amirul Momineen Library.


Ibn Abbas, while his feet were moving with difficulty and his heart was bursting with grief, went to Ibn Zubair and told him, “O Ibn Zubair! Your eyes have lighted up!” Then he recited the following couplets:

“O lark! Now you are left alone and your surroundings have become empty. So lay your egg and chirp aloud.

And as much you like peck at the ground

For Husain who is going to Iraq and leaving you at Hijaz…”[1]

If the Imam had been desirous for rulership and kingdom he would have accepted the suggestion of Ibn Abbas. However, His Eminence wanted reform and he wanted to turn back Islam to the illuminated reality and he was certain that this could not be accomplished except through blood sacrifice. It was the only thing that would enable him to achieve his aim.

4. Abu Bakr Makhzumi

Abu Bakr bin Abdur Rahman Makhzumi[2] hastened to the Imam and said to His Eminence: “My relationship has persuaded me to sympathize with you and I don’t know how I should advise you? Your father was the bravest person and people were more hopeful of him, more obedient to him and were more prepared for him. He marched against Muawiyah while except for the people of Syria all were supporting him and he was more respected than Muawiyah. But they deserted him and in greed of material wealth left him alone. And they made him taste gulps of anger and they opposed him till he reached where he reached from the honor and satisfaction of God…after that they did with your brother what they did and you also witnessed all that and saw it with your own eyes. Now you are going towards those who had oppressed your father and brother so that you may fight against the people of Syria and the people of Iraq. You are going out to fight one who is more prepared and
stronger than you and people are more afraid of him and are more hopeful of him. If the news of your departure reaches them, they will lure the people through greed of wealth so that they may become slaves of the world. At that time, those who have promised you support would be prepared to fight you. And they shall desert you. You are more liked by those you help. So remember Allah in your heart…”

Imam thanked him for his advice and sympathy and informed him that he was determined on what he had decided.

Abu Bakr despaired and said, “O Aba Abdillah! I entrust you to the security of God!”

Then Abu Bakr went to the governor of Mecca saying:

[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 4/39, Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/374
[2] Abu Bakr bin Abdur Raman bin Harith Makhzumi Qarashi was one of the jurists who was born during the caliphate of Umar and due to his excessive prayers he was called the monk of Quraish. He was blind and an elder of Quraish and he passed away in 95 A.H. (Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 30/12)


“Many of those who are advised do not pay any attention to it, however if they are blamed secretly they accept the advice.”

“What happened, O Abu Bakr?”

He informed him about his conversation with His Eminence, Husain. He told him, “By the Lord of the Ka’ba! You have indeed given a sincere advice to him.”[1]

5. Abdullah bin Judah

Abdullah bin Judah bin Hubairah was very much concerned about the Imam. Thus he sent his son, Aun to the Holy Imam with a letter in which he requested the Imam to turn back and also stated his apprehension regarding the march of His Eminence to Iraq. However this matter was not liked by the Imam.[2]

6. Jabir bin Abdullah

Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari also rushed to the Imam and demanded him not to leave but the Imam did not agree to it.[3]

7. Abdullah bin Muti

Imam met Abdullah bin Muti’ on way to Iraq and Abdullah, knowing the decision of the Imam said, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! I remind you about the sanctity of Allah that it may not be defiled. And the respect of Quraish and the pledge of Arabs. I beseech you in the name of God. By Allah! If you seek what is in the hands of Bani Umayyah, they shall kill you and if they kill you, after you they shall not care for anyone…By Allah! This is the sanctity of Islam, the sanctity of Quraish and the sanctity of Arab. So for the sake of Allah! For the sake of Allah! Do not do this and do not go to Kufa and do not put yourself in opposition to Bani Umayyah.”[4]

8. Amr bin Saeed

Amr bin Saeed Ashdaq sent a letter to the Imam offering security and assured that His Eminence will not have to face any difficulty.

It was mentioned therein: “I pray to the Almighty that He may inspire you to resort to peace. And I want to tell you about what they (enemies) intend to do with you.

[1] Muruj az-Zahab 3/56, Tabari, Tarikh 5/382
[2] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/377
[3] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/8
[4] Waseelatul Maal fee idda manaqibul Aal, Pg. 189. And in Tarikh Ibne Asakir 14/207 it has come that: Abdullah bin Muti’ said to His Eminence, Husain: May my parents be sacrificed on you, benefit us by your presence and do not go to Iraq as by Allah, if these people kill you they would make us slaves and bondsmen. And in Al Iqdul Farid 4/376 it is mentioned that he met the Imam and said to His Eminence: O Aba Abdillah, after you, the Almighty Allah will not give us drinking water, where are you going? His Eminence said: Muawiyah is dead and I have received more than a camel load of letters. Abdullah said: Do not do this, as by Allah, they did not accord security to your father while he was better than you, thus how will they give you security? By Allah, if you are killed, after you no sanctity will remain but they defile it.


I have heard that you have decided to go to Iraq. I pray Allah to give you refuge from mischief. Thus if you are afraid, come to me as you shall have security and rewards with me.”

How was it possible for the chief of the nobles to humble himself before Ashdaq and ask for his protection? Ashdaq wanted to control the Imam so that he may no more exercise his will. This matter was not unknown to the Imam. He replied to Ashdaq as follows:

“If your intention by writing to me was really to reward me, the Almighty Allah shall give you a goodly reward in the world and the Hereafter…and the one who invites to Allah and performs good deeds and says that I am a Muslim, he is creating mischief. And the best of the security is the protection of Almighty Allah and by Allah! One who does not fear Allah in the world is not having faith in Him. And we beseech Allah to make us fearful of Him in the world so that we may be eligible for His protection in the Hereafter.”[1]

9. Muhammad bin Hanafiyah

Muhammad bin Hanafiyah was in Medina and when he learnt about the decision of his brother to march towards Iraq, he set out for Mecca[2] and he reached there a night prior to the scheduled departure of Imam to Iraq. He met His Eminence immediately and said, “My brother! The people of Kufa! You are aware of their betrayal of trust with your father and your brother. I am afraid that you shall also have to bear the same treatment. Thus if you decided to stay on in the Holy Sanctuary, you would be the most beloved and secure person in the here.”

Imam thanked him for his concern and advice and told him, “I am afraid that Yazid Ibn Muawiyah would have me killed and at that time I shall be the one to have defiled the sanctity of this House.”

Muhammad said, “If you are afraid of this, you may go to Yemen or some desert area as there, you would be in a better position to defend yourself and no one would be able to overpower you.”

His Eminence, Husain said, “I shall reflect upon what you have said.”[3]

When it was dawn and he was performing ablution (Wuzu), he was informed that the Imam has set out for Iraq. He began to weep so much that the sound of his tears falling into the pail was audible.[4]

Muhammad rushed to his brother and caught the rein of his camel and said to His Eminence, “O my brother! Did you not promise me about what I had requested you?”

[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/209-210
[2] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 9/5
[3] Ad-Darul Maslook 1/109 and close to this conversation there was agreement between the Imam and his brother when he was in Medina.
[4] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/377 and in As Sawaiq al-Mohreqa Pg. 196 it is mentioned that he cried till the pail was filled with his tears.


“Yes, but after you departed, Allah’s Messenger came to me and told me: O Husain! Set out! As the Almighty Allah wants to see you slaughtered.”

Muhammad was terribly distressed and he began to tremble from the head to toes and tears began to flow on his cheeks while he was saying, “Then why are you taking these ladies and children when you are going out in such circumstances?”

Imam replied to him with determination and calmness, “The Almighty Allah desires to see them as hostages.”[1]

10. Her Eminence, Umme Salma

When Umme Salma, the Mother of believers became aware of the Imam’s determination to move to Iraq, she was extremely disturbed. It was the time when His Eminence was in Medina and had not yet gone to Mecca. So she hurried to the Imam and in a voice filled with sorrow and shock, she said:

“O my son! Do you distress me by going out to Iraq as I heard your grandfather, Allah’s Messenger say: ‘My son, Husain shall be killed in Iraq at a place called Kerbala, and I have the soil of your grave in a bottle that the Prophet had entrusted to me.”

Imam replied to her with firm determination, “O mother! I also know that I shall be killed unjustly and oppressively and Allah, the Mighty and Sublime desires to see my family and Ahle Bayt rendered homeless and my children killed and taken hostages in chains in such a way that they would be calling out for help but shall not be helped…”

Umme Salma was extremely distressed and she exclaimed loudly, “Wonder! Then why are you going while you know that you shall be killed?!!”

Imam, while he considered death a joke and life an object of ridicule replied to her, “O mother! If I do not go today, I will have to go tomorrow. And if I don’t go tomorrow, I have to go the day after. And there is no escape from death. And I know the day I shall be killed and the hour I shall be slain and the ditch I shall be buried in, just as I recognize you and I am watching it just as I am looking at you.”[2]

11. Abdullah bin Zubair

When the Imam decided to leave Mecca, Abdullah Ibn Zubair hastened to meet him from the Bab-e-Mujamela.

Balazari has stated: By this Ibn Zubair desired that the Imam should not blame him and that he should be excused from the aspect of speaking.[3] So he expressed sympathy and concern for His Eminence and said, “Where are you going? To the community that killed your father and slashed your brother?”

[1] Ad-Darul Maslook 1/109
[2] Muqarram, Maqtal 136 and Khwarizmi has said: This conversation was between His Eminence, Husain and Ibne Umar in Mecca, when he invited His Eminence to come with him to Medina.
[3] Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/375


Imam replied, “If I am killed at such and such place it is preferable to me than this place; that is Mecca should be defiled because of me.”[1]

Imam remained firm in his resolve and the forbidding of forbidders and the sympathies of the sympathizers did not make him change his decision. Because he had become absolutely certain that the affairs of Islam shall not be successful and the word of Allah cannot be exalted on the earth except by laying down his life and giving sacrifice.

Ustad Khalid Muhammad Khalid says: The matter that made the valiant one wave his flag was not a personal one that it be related to his right to caliphate…or due to his personal rivalry with Yazid. In the same way that was not an imaginative high flying matter that falls down on its author. And that it may force him to a bewildered state where there may be profit or loss. This matter was greater, higher and loftier. It was the matter of Islam and its future and for Muslims and the future generations.

When all Muslims were silent against this falsehood while some were criticizing it and the rest hated it inwardly, the meaning of this was that Islam has been prevented from training those people.

It implied that Muslims had lost their eligibility of the greatness of this great religion…and also its meaning is that the future of Islam and Muslims both had been surrendered to power of invaders. Whoever is dominant, he mounts it and apart from this no power remained for Islam and reality…it was this matter in the view of Husain and it was this logic that persuaded him to rise up in revolt.[2]

Sympathizers of His Eminence urged him not to harken to the callers of Kufa and that he should keep sitting at home and make peace with Yazid. But the chief of the nobles was thinking of something all those people were unaware of. His Eminence saw that Islamic life had fallen into severe weakness and this matter was reaching a situation when it would be completely destroyed. What it was required that he should infuse it with his own blood so that the active life of Muslims may return and its youth may be restored through his blood which was the blood of the Holy Prophet.


Also a group stood up to criticize the uprising of the Imam and denounced the declaration of Jihad by the Imam because this was going to be a cause of the weakening of the Umayyad regime by whom they had received rewards and largesses. Some of those who followed them have also issued statements of writer who flayed the Imam’s revolution against Yazid’s regime while their statements had no value in Islamic Shariah. They have quoted the following characters:

[1] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/203
[2] Farzandaane-e-Payambar dar Kerbala, Pg. 123-124


1. Abdullah Ibn Umar

Abdullah Ibn Umar criticized the Imam’s uprising and found fault with his entering into political confrontation and he said, “Husain succeeded by his uprising against us and by my life he derived lesson from his father and brother, he saw how the people left them and did not help them. And it was not suitable for him to initiate any moment as long as he was alive and for the sake of the well-being that people have seen it was necessary for him to realize that this congregation is better!”[1]

2. Saeed bin Musayyab

Saeed bin Musayyab denounced the uprising of the Holy Imam and said, “If Husain had not undertaken the uprising, it would have been better for him.”[2]

3. Abu Waqid Laithi

Abu Waqid Laithi was a partisan of Bani Umayyads. He came to the Imam and implored him in the name of Allah that he must not rise up against Yazid. He did not do this because of his attachment to the Imam. It was so because he was worried about the Umayyad regime. Imam, on the other had, paid no attention to him. He just ignored him.[3]

4. Abu Salma

Among those who condemned Imam’s revolt against Yazid was Abu Salam bin Abdur Rahman[4] who said, “Husain must have recognized the people of Iraq and he would not have moved towards them, but Ibn Zubair encouraged him!”[5]

[1] Tahzib al-Kamal, 6/416. Tarikhul Islam 5/8. Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/208. It is mentioned in Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 1/155 that Shobi said: “Ibne Umar had come to Medina when he got the news that Husain has departed for Mecca. Thus he journeyed for two days to reach him. He dissuaded him and said: It is their rule and the Almighty Allah put the choice of the world and the hereafter for His Prophet and the Prophet chose the hereafter and you are also a part of his body, none of you will give your hand to him. He has not taken it away from you but for something better.” Imam refused and that time Ibne Umar embraced him and said: “And seeing that you shall be surely killed I entrust you to Allah.” It is mentioned in Ad-Darul Maslook of Hurre Amili 1/106: Abdullah bin Umar suggested to His Eminence that he should pledge allegiance to the deviated people and he warned him of being killed and fought. His Eminence, Husain said to him: “O Aba Abdur
Rahman! How valueless it is before Allah that the head of Yahya bin Zakaria was gifted to a tyrant of Bani Israel? Have you not seen that the Bani Israel killed seventy prophets from the dawn to sunrise and after that sat conducting their usual business as if they have not done anything? The Almighty Allah was not hasty on them, rather gave respite to them and after that He seized them; a terrible seizing. O Aba Abdur Rahman! Fear Allah and do not give up my support.”
[2] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/208, Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/8
[3] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/208, Ibne Kathir, Tarikh 8/162, Tarikh Islam 5/8
[4] Abu Salma bin Abdur Rahman bin Auf Zuhri Madani is considered as belonging to the second category of Medinans. He died in 104 A.H., Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 12/116
[5] Ibne Kathir, Tarikh 8/162


5. Abu Saeed

Abu Saeed also criticized the Imam’s revolution and said, “Husain invited me to join the uprising, but I told him, ‘Fear Allah, stay in your house and do not rise up against your leader!’”[1]

6. Ammarah binte Abdur Rahman

Ammarah binte Abdur Rahman[2] was a staunch ally of Bani Umayyad and she was much concerned about the well-being of Umayyad regime. She wrote a letter to the Imam pointing out that the Imam’s revolt was a dangerous matter and she urged him to co-operate and obey the congregation (majority). She warned him against rising up in revolt because it was inciting him to his death. She wrote in her letter that she heard Ayesha narrating the Prophet that His Eminence said, “My son, Husain shall be killed.”

When Imam read the letter and saw the Prophet’s saying about his martyrdom he said, “In that case there is no solution other than my being killed.”[3]

These were some of the critics of the Imam who condemned his stand and they did not view the uprising of His Eminence from the Islamic point of view. They viewed it from a materialistic angle because the Umayyad regime had given a lot of wealth to them and thus they were worried of the downfall of the regime.

Modern Critics

A group of modern writers have also condemned Imam Husain’s uprising against Yazid and they considered it an uprising against the will of the community. Below we present some examples:

1. Shaykh Muhammad Hadhari

Shaykh Muhammad Hadhari, Shaykhul Azhar, in his historical discussions about Islam, has not displayed any regard to Ahle Bayt, while the Almighty Allah had commanded love and devotion towards them, and he says with regard to Imam Husain: “By undertaking the uprising, he committed a great mistake. This action of his created such discord and mischief in the community and shook the foundation of communal amity that its effects last to this day.”[4]

Imam definitely did the correct thing and staged his uprising for the benefit of the community and he is having superiority to every Muslim, because if his sacrifice hadn’t been there neither would have Islam survived in name nor in ritual. His Eminence destroyed the plot of the Umayyads whose aim was to eradicate Islam and annihilate all its treasures. His Eminence, Husain, by his sacrifice made himself the sacrifice of the religion of Islam and the belief of Monotheism.

[1] Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/8
[2] Ammarah the daughter of Abdur Rahman bin Saad Ansari Madani, was brought up under the care of Ayesha and she has narrated from her. She was most knowledgeable about the traditions of Ayesha and she passed away in 103 A.H. (Tahdhib at-Tahdhib 12/438)
[3] Ibne Asakir, Tarikh 14/209
[4] Tarikh Al Imamatul Islamiya 1/517


2. Muhammad Najjar

Muhammad Najjar says, “As for the rightfulness of Husain in the position of caliphate, it is a matter regarding which the majority of the people agree. But what is the value of these opinions if they are not supported by military power? In such circumstances the uprising was not necessary because the leadership of the inferior in presence of the superior is lawful, just as Ali Ibn Abi Talib considered himself as the rightful recipient of caliphate post but he did not organize uprising against anyone.”[1]

Najjar believes that the caliphate of Yazid was legal according to the Shariah! And it is the weakest type of Imamate that is lawful in their view…However, it has been proved by many logical arguments that the Imamate of the weaker in presence of the better one is invalid and Shia scholastic theologians have proved its absolute invalidity and said that it is a revolt against logic and an attack on Islamic guidance to say that Islamic law allows in practical life and general welfare of the community that the superior could follow the inferior. Because it is a matter that would destroy merit and it would be a revolt against the well-being of the community and the Holy Quran has said that it is improper to consider the two of them equal, as the Almighty Allah says:

“Are those who know and those who do not know alike?”[2]

And as the Usulis have said: If we accept this rule, it still does not justify the caliphate of Yazid because he, according to the consensus of Muslims, had no merit, rather he was a transmogrified man who committed evil deeds and was sunk in sinful acts and revolt against him was a religious duty.

3. Muhammad Ghazzali

Shaykh Muhammad Ghazzali has also condemned the revolution of Imam Husain and he considers it extremism devoid of diplomacy![3] And according to Ghazzali it was necessary for Husain to have paid allegiance to Yazid and accepted the leadership of this wanton sinner, who was in no way qualified for the leadership of the community. And it was something that His Eminence, Husain and his lofty principles could never accept, because His Eminence was the foremost in having the responsibility of saving Islam and defending its sanctities and values.

4. Ahmad Shibli

Ahmed Shibli is another one who has frantically defended Yazid and criticized the Imam for having organized uprising against the son of Muawiyah. He says: We come towards Husain and regretfully state that his steps in some of the aspects of this matter were unacceptable, because he did not accept the advice of the advisors and especially Ibn Abbas and he remained adamant in his attitude! Secondly: He forgot the behavior of the people of Kufa and the way they dealt with his father

[1] Ad Daulatul Amawiyah fil Sharq, Pg. 102-103
[2] Surah Zumar 39:9
[3] Min Maalimul Haq, Pg. 131


and brother or that he ignored those things. Thirdly: He took along his ladies and children as if he were going to a special outing or to visit relatives and that during the journey he received the news of the betrayal and disloyalty of people of Kufa but in spite of this he continued his journey towards them or that he followed the opinion of Aqil’s family and he took a group of children, women and some men in order to take the revenge of Muslim’s murder. It is, by Allah, possible that the incumbency of Yazid was a practical mistake, but was it the right way to confront a mistake?”[1]

Shibli has not studied with insight the reality of Islamic life during the period of Yazid. He has merely followed his inclination to bigotry and considered him sentimentally, that is why he has written such absolutely deviated things.

Islam, during the time of Yazid was in a mortal danger of being wiped out and the uprising of the Imam was aimed at restoring life to the arteries of the Islamic community and His Eminence declared that: “…I am not taking up arms in order to make merry, or be ecstatic over what I possess. I am not making mischief nor exercising oppression. But I am ready to fight for the sole goal of seeking reform of the Ummah of my grandfather the Apostle of Allah. I want to enjoin good and forbid evil and guide the affairs of the people as my grandfather and father were doing…” We have explained the aims of the revolution of Imam Husain in the second volume of this book and also clarified the doubts regarding it.

Here we conclude our discussion about those who criticized the uprising of the Imam against Yazid’s regime.

[1] At Tarikhul Islam wal Ikhtisarul Islamiya 2/201

[ Part 5 continues below...]


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