WHO WAS MU'AWIYA?
Mu'awiya was son of Abu Sufyan,أبو
ســفـيـان a leader of
Benu Umayya clan بنـو أمـيه
which was one of the clans of Quraish tribe قـريــش
. Mu'awiya grew up in a family known to be cunning, worldly, materialistic, and power hungry.
Mu'awiya became Muslim only when Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) triumphed over Mecca. Those who became Muslim in this manner were called
(a term scornfully used for the disbelievers who became Muslims to save their lives). Mu'awiya, his father Abu
Sufyan, his mother Hind هــنـد
, and his brother Yazid son of Abu Sufyan were all Tulaqaa'; Mu'awiya never forgot this stigma for the rest of his life;
he could never shake it from his mind, thus a feeling of malice and vengeance always existed in his heart. Mu'awiya's character and aspirations were entirely
opposite to that of his sister, Umm Habiba, who was one of the wives of
the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Unlike Mu'awiya, Umm Habiba أُم حبـيــبه
was a sincere believer and a pious person.
, the second Khalifa, appointed Mu'awiya's brother,
Yazid son of Abu Sufyan, as the Governor of
Syria when the Muslims captured that territory from the
. Within a few years, Yazid the son of Abu Sufyan died of a disease, and Omar appointed Mu'awiya in
his brother's place as the Governor. Upon coming to power, Mu'awiya took advantage of the rich public treasury of Syria using it for personal use and to buy
favors and influence people. Thus he built a large base of support among some tribes, almost to the fanatic level. He used this to his advantage in later years
to form a network of informants (spies)عـيون
against Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and their devotees.
When Imam Ali (a.s.) became
Khalifa, he decided to remove Mu'awiya immediately, notwithstanding Mu'awiya's strong base of support. At that
time, Mu'awiya had been the governor of Syria, Palestine, and Jordan for 17 years. Mu'awiya became defiant, he refused to obey Ali's orders. Brazen and
unabashed, he even declined to recognize Ali or give allegiance of loyalty to him. Also in defiance, Mu'awiya established a parallel government in Greater Syria,
and started a campaign of treacherous accusations and malicious rumors against Imam Ali. He falsely blamed Imam Ali for the killing of Uthman, the third Khalifa, and urged people to take up arms against the Imam. He spread these
notorious accusations constantly to incite an uprising against Ali (a.s.).
At the same time
عائشـه , the Prophet's widow, became highly vocal
against Imam Ali. She called for taking revenge for the blood of Uthman. As a result, a party of 3,000 insurgents supported by Sahaaba (Companions) such as
along with A'isha headed toward Basrah. The insurgents upon reaching Basrah clashed with the local authorities and finally occupied a portion of Basrah. Soon
after the occupation these insurgents spread a reign of terror among the people, killing no less than 600 local Muslims, pilfering the treasury and stealing the
arms supplies of the armory.
As a Khalifa in charge, Imam Ali could not ignore the situation, he had to act and
restore peace and order. He ordered his forces to proceed to Basrah. As the Imam's forces reached near Basrah, Imam Ali (a.s.) tried to persuade the insurgents
led by A'isha, Zubair and Talha to change their minds and avoid confrontation, but he did not succeed. A battle broke out though Zubair elected not to fight.
Talha was wounded then bled to death. Thousands of people lost their lives. A'isha fell down from the camel after it was disabled; but luckily she was not
hurt. Imam Ali asked Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr, (A'isha's brother)
محمـد بن أبي بكـر
, to take A'isha to Basrah for a few days, and
from there to escort her to Medina with full honor and dignity. Upon leaving Basrah Al-Hasan and
Al-Husain accompanied the Prophet's widow for some distance before bidding her farewell. Imam Ali stayed in Basrah for a few weeks to restore law and order.
He compensated for the dead, and decided to forgive and absolve all who fought against him, exactly as the Prophet (pbuh) had done when he triumphed over Mecca 40
Upon returning to Kufa, Imam Ali (a.s.) immediately prepared for the anticipated clash with Mu'awiya. The defying Mu'awiya continued to violate the Islamic
principles by personally using the public treasury for espionage and buying peoples' loyalty. The people of Syria fully believed him and in the false picture he
presented. Ultimately this resulted in a confrontation called Battle of
Siffin when the troops of the two sides met at Siffin. The battle
saw ferocious fighting for nine days, and by the 9th day Mu'awiya's forces were near collapse. His troops were fleeing and in disarray, and their
retreat was in massive disorder, running helter skelter. Mu'awiya, alarmed now, tense, and frightened, and preparing to run away, when he learned of a clever
trick. The trick was so crude and offensive that it was eye catching. The trick was to exploit the Holy Quran itself and utilize it as a utensil to his
advantage. Mu'awiya seized on this immediately and commanded his fighters to raise 500 Holy Qurans on tips of spears, in order to stun the troops of Imam Ali.
As jolting as it was, this maneuver did break the onslaught and the momentum of Ali's fighters, for they were very pious men. But Imam Ali was quick to recognize
this deceit, he knew how deceitful Mu'awiya was, and now that being near collapse, Mu'awiya wanted to save his neck at the expense of the Quran itself.
With that in mind, Ali urged his generals not to halt, but to keep fighting since victory was almost at hand. Alas, Ali's generals and fighters were in shock,
for the sight of the Holy Quran high on spear heads was startling to say the least. They could not take it. Not willing to fight, they wanted to accept
Mu'awiya's offer to halt the fighting and negotiate instead. The termination of the battle in this manner and the consequences thereof proved to be disastrous to
say the least, especially for Ahlul Bayt and Islam.
It is said that there was a conspiracy between Amr Ibnil Aas
عمرو بن العــاص
of Mu'awiya's side, and Ash'ath Ibn
(a General in Imam Ali's camp), who was working as a spy against Ali, secretly working as an agent for Mu'awiya. In this
battle it is claimed that 45,000 men lost their lives in Mu'awiya's camp, and about 25,000 in Ali's camp. Many men of high caliber from both sides died,
especially Ammar Ibn Yasir,
عمـــار بن ياســــر the great Companion of the Prophet (pbuh), who was 90
years old and fought on Imam Ali's side against Mu'awiya.
Imam Ali's generals, who stopped the battle to negotiate with Mu'awiya, did not pick the right person for
the negotiation. They unyieldingly refused to accept Imam Ali's choice, instead they picked Kufa's Governor,
Abu-Musa Ash'ari, أبو موسى
an incompetent Governor who had been previously
dismissed from office by Imam Ali. Mu'awiya appointed Amr Ibnil Aas, a shrewd and cunning man, to be his representative in the negotiation. Negotiation
between the two sides did not take place for about one year.
When the two negotiators came face to face, it was clear that Ash'ari's capability was no match for his
opponent Ibnil Aas. In the negotiations, Ash'ari proposed that, both Mu'awiya and Imam Ali (a.s.) were to abdicate and to let the people hold election for the
Khilaafah. Amir Ibnil Aas, a deceptive man at best, quickly agreed to Ash'ari's proposal and asked Ash'ari to first announce the agreement. Ash'ari stood up and
announced, “O people, we have agreed not to consider Ali or Mu'awiya for Khilaafah. You may choose or elect whomever you think is fit.” The cunning Amr Ibnil
Aas stood up next to say, “O people! I won't consider Ali for the Khilaafah. But Mu'awiya, in my opinion, is the person for that office!” Upon hearing this (and
feeling deceived), the people screamed, disapprovingly so, an uproar was the result. Imam Ali's camp was in shock, they were double-crossed, deceived, cheated,
and lied to, and as a result they felt deeply cut. Amr's double crossing and deception was simply beyond their imagination. They left the place bewildered and
utterly disappointed. Because of this a large group of Imam Ali's supporters defected to form a separate group called
meaning the Outsiders.
The Khariji became fanatically opposed to Imam Ali and Mu'awiya. Some of their members met secretly in Mecca and drew a plan to assassinate Ali in Kufa,
Mu'awiya in Syria, and Amr Ibnil Aas in Egypt. Three fanatics took the responsibility; they were to attack their victims in the morning, the same day, as the
would-be victims were going to the mosque to lead the morning ٍٍSalat.
إبن مـلجم attacked and fatally wounded Imam Ali, whereas Mu'awiya escaped with
a light wound of his buttock. Amr Ibnil Aas was ill that day and his replacement was killed by the Khariji. Imam Ali, in wounded condition, conferred the Imamah
and the reign of the Islamic nation to his 37 years old son Al-Hasan.
PEACE AGREEMENT BETWEEN IMAM
AL-HASAN AND MU'AWIYA:
Imam Al-Hasan faced extremely difficult conditions from the start. He observed that fear, anxiety and much distress were ever present in Kufa, Basrah,
Medina and other towns. The anxiety, uncertainty and insecurity were caused by Mu'awiya's ill dealing of sincere Muslims. Mu'awiya had spread secret agents all
over to defame Ahlul Bayt. Imam Al-Hasan knew that his father Imam Ali had stood like a lion in all difficulties and fought battles against Mu'awiya, but these
confrontations had resulted in heavy casualties on both sides. Family devastation on massive scale was visible everywhere. Considering all circumstances, Imam
Al-Hasan discussed the matter with his brother Al-Husain and other relatives. He revealed to them that in order to end the bloodshed and to provide a reasonable
safety and security to the Ummah, he would make a peace agreement with Mu'awiya, to abdicate until after Mu'awiya's death. After a few days of careful
consideration, Imam Al-Hasan accepted an agreement as per the terms dictated by the Imam himself and agreed to by Mu'awiya. Four noteworthy terms of this
1. People of Syria, Iraq, Hijaz,
and other places shall enjoy amnesty against persecution,
Friends and companions of Imam Ali (a.s.) and all their women and children shall be protected from all dangers,
Mu'awiya is to immediately stop the use of abusive language with reference to Ahlul Bayt (cursing Imam
Ali) after Salat of Jumu'ah), لـَعـْـنُ عَلِي ٍ على المـنابـر
Mu'awiya shall not appoint anyone as his successor.
Once the treaty was signed, Imam Al-Hasan and brother Al-Husain moved out of Kufa and settled in Medina. Over in Medina both Imams lost no time in holding
nightly meetings for Islamic discussions. The nightly meetings proved very successful and gained tremendous popularity. More people started to attend, to hear
the Imams give of their fountain of knowledge on Islam and humanity. The reputation of these meetings began to fly to far away places. People from as far away
as Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, and other distant areas traveled to Medina to learn about the Islamic values. As years passed, the knowledge thus given started to bear
fruits. The number of Islamic scholars multiplied and increased considerably.
In the meantime Mu'awiya sneakily and unabashedly broke his promises one by one deliberately yet sneakily, and he disregarded most of the terms of his
treaty with Imam Al-Hasan step by step. Instead Mu'awiya did the following:
He sent secret agents to terrorize, kidnap, or even kill innocent people specially those who were loyal to Ahlul Bayt.
Instead of helping the needy with their public treasury, Mu'awiya's governors and their surrogates used the public treasury for their own personal
use, freely and excessively, just as they wished.
Freedom suddenly died, and dictatorship took its place.
Mu'awiya gathered a very large number of collaborators who unabashedly would do any thing for money such as coming forth with fabricated
MU'AWIYA'S PLOT TO POISON IMAM HASAN (a.s.):
It was Mu'awiya's ardent desire to impose his son Yazid (who had been named after his uncle) upon the Muslims by making him the succeeding Khalifa,
despite the fact that Yazid was the playboy of the time, with many evil habits including gambling, heavy drinking, and indulgence in the pleasures of the flesh.
But the peace agreement would not permit Mu'awiya to appoint Yazid as his successor, (According to the agreement Imam Hasan would immediately become Khalifa upon
Mu'awiya's death). Therefore, it was obvious to Mu'awiya that, if Al-Hasan did not outlive him, Mu'awiya could do as he pleased. Thus Mu'awiya planned to
kill Imam Al-Hasan in order to pave the way for his son Yazid to be his successor.
Mu'awiya sent one of his agents to contact Imam Al-Hasan's wife Jo’da جـعـده
who was the daughter of Al-Ash'ath (once a secret agent for Mu'awiya against Imam Ali in the Battle of Siffin).
Jo’da was asked a small favor, i.e., to put a little poison in Al-Hasan's food,
and in return Mu'awiya would give her a large sum of money and also make her wife of his son Yazid. She found the offer too attractive to ignore, and foolishly
agreed to accept it. A few days later, she mixed poison in honey and gave it to the Imam. As soon as the Imam took the poisoned honey he became seriously ill.
Sensing that his death was imminent, the Imam designated his brother Al-Husain (a.s.) to be the third Imam. Although Imam Al-Hasan knew he was poisoned, he did
not reveal that fact to anyone but to his brother Al-Husain.
One thing Al-Hasan had wished for was to have his burial by the side of his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). Imam Husain made all the arrangements to
fulfill that wish but Mu'awiya's governor over Medina did not let that happen and used military force to stop it. Imam Al-Hasan was 47 year old when he died of
Medina was never the same without Imam Al-Hasan. Everyone missed him dearly. People at first did not believe Mu'awiya poisoned Imam Al-Hasan, but soon
found out the truth.
When Al-Husain was designated as the 3rd Imam he was 46 years old. Imam
Al-Husain carried on with his mission of teaching Islam as before. A large number
of people kept coming to see him and to learn from him. This process continued for several years when people began to hear an ugly rumor that Mu'awiya wanted his
son, Yazid, to succeed him.
MU'AWIYA DESIGNATES YAZID AS SUCCESSOR:
Mu'awiya began a campaign to introduce Monarchy into the structure of Islam. To have Monarchy, by force or otherwise is alien to Islam, monarchy is an
innovation in religion, simply not acceptable. Everyone knew that, for Islam does not subscribe to any form of Royalty through inheritance or Monarchy. In Islam
it is supposed to be Shoora.
Nevertheless, Mu'awiya sent his agents to the prominent members of the communities to obtain allegiance of loyalty to his son Yazid. But
Yazid was evil, of the drinking type, incompetent, contemptible, and a pleasure-seeking person. People knew that. So the people protested
vigorously. There was anger everywhere. Emotions went sky high. To calm people down, at least temporarily, Mu'awiya decided to send his son Yazid to Mecca for
the pilgrimage. This proved to be a mockery. Yes, Yazid did go to Mecca but only, and only after taking his supply of liquor with him and a chorus of loose
women for his pleasure.
Mu'awiya was getting older day by day. At the age of 75, he became seriously ill. He was nearing death. He lay weak and lifeless as if something was
choking and strangling him. He felt tortured and tormented, and continuously cried for mercy. He was in terrible pain. He wanted to die but death would not
come close to him. His conscience tormented him for the calamities that he brought upon the Islamic Ummah specially Ahlul Bayt. Mu'awiya suffered in agony for
many many days. His suffering continued until he breathed his last. At the time of his death, the 30 year old Yazid was nowhere near him, he had gone for fun on
a hunting trip.
(Please note that Mu'awiya's brother was by the name of Yazid, and Mu'awiya had named his son Yazid in honor of his brother.)
YAZID BECOMES THE RULER:
Upon Mu'awiya's death, Yazid, 30 years old, managed to impose himself on the people and become the Khalifa. At first people refused to accept him as a
representative of the Prophet (pbuh) and Islamic Ummah, but Yazid approached people in mosques for their favors. Like his father Mu'awiya, Yazid used all
possible means like bribery, coercion, pressure, threats, and force to receive the people's acceptance of him as the legitimate ruler. Many people were worried,
threats to their lives and livelihood was too menacing, and so they grudgingly and reluctantly gave in and endorsed him. But, Imam Al-Husain and his family (who
practiced Islam in its true sense), did not give in. As the true representative of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Al-Husain flatly refused accepting Yazid either as a
Khalifa or a leader of Islam. Despite Yazid's intimidating military power the Imam stood firm in his resolve and chose to challenge Benu Umayya's authorities.
Yazid commissioned Waleed Ibn Ut'ba, his Governor over Medina, to
ask for Imam Husain's allegiance of loyalty or else upon refusal, his head. Waleed invited Al-Husain to a meeting for the purpose. Imam Husain did not
give his word at the meeting and decided to leave Medina along with his family to proceed to Mecca. When Al-Husain reached Mecca he received 12,000 letters from
Kufa urging him to go to Kufa to be their leader, and be the Khalifa. Imam Al-Husain sent an emissary, his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel,
مسـلم بن عـقـيــل to Kufa to ascertain first-hand
information about the situation in Iraq. In the mean time Yazid spread a network of informants and secret agents in Mecca to assassinate the Imam during
pilgrimage. Imam learned about the spies, and carefully evaluated the situation in Mecca. Imam Husain knew that Yazid son of Mu'awiya had no regard for Islamic
values and teachings, that he would do anything to enforce his hated rule. Imam Husain also knew that giving allegiance of loyalty to an imposter like Yazid
would certainly place Islam at great jeopardy. Therefore Al-Husain decided to leave Mecca for Kufa to prepare for a confrontation with Yazid and his forces.
friends and relatives urged Imam Husain not to go to Kufa, but he insisted on going. Imam Husain, along with family, friends, and companions began the journey
toward Kufa (1,100 miles) in a long caravan in the blistering heat of summer.
ON THE WAY TO KARBALA:
During the early phase of the journey the caravan met Al-Farazdaq
ألفـــرزدق (a famous poet) at a place
called al-Sifah. Al-Farazdaq advised the Imam not to go to Kufa because though people's hearts were with the Imam; their swords would be against him. But the
Imam continued with the journey, and he received the first letter from his emissary Muslim Ibn Aqeel with good news. The letter indicated that the people were
more than ready to welcome the Imam in Kufa and were looking forward to his leadership. Imam Husain decided to send another emissary to Kufa with a message. The
caravan kept proceeding toward Kufa. Then, many days passed but the Imam did not receive any more responses from Muslim Ibn Aqeel.
In the meantime, in Kufa Muslim Bin Aqeel with the help of
and Hani Ibn Urwah هاني بن عــروه
continued to hold secret meetings with the supporters of the Imam. Within a short time the gatherings started to gain
momentum. Yazid through his spies and informants learned about Muslim's successes in Kufa. He appointed the tyrant Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad
عـبـــيد الله بن زياد
replace al-Nu'man Ibn al-Basheer as Governor of Kufa.
Meanwhile, as Al-Husain's caravan got closer to its destination (Kufa), coming to a place called Zubalah, Imam Husain unexpectedly received startling news.
The shocking news was about Muslim Ibn Aqeel and the person who provided him shelter, Hani's Ibn Urwah, both of whom were arrested and beheaded by the Governor
Ibn Ziyad. Mukhtar was also arrested and imprisoned and tortured by Ibn Ziyad.
Imam Husain gathered his companions and disclosed to them about the horrifying news, and said, “Our Shi'a have deserted us, those of you who prefer to leave
us may do so freely and without guilt”. Becoming scared, some companions did leave. Imam Husain continued with the journey along with close companions and
family members until he was face to face with 1,000 horsemen led by Hur al-Riyahi ألحـــر
ألريـاحي representing the enemy. The enemy army blocked the camps of Imam Husain from advancing.
Tension started to rise between the two. The Imam addressed the enemy explaining to them his motives for going to Kufa, that it was in response to the invitation
of the people. He even showed them a bagful of letters he received from Kufa. Hur said that he and his men were not the writers of those letters. Imam told
them that if they did not like him to advance with the journey, he was prepared to return to Hijaz. Hur replied, “We are commissioned to follow you until we take
you to Governor Ibn Ziyad, and suggested to the Imam to go towards a station which is neither Kufa nor
Medina”. Imam Husain found the proposal fair and turned the caravan away from Kufa. Hur and his army marched parallel to
the Imam. The two sides reached a village called Nainawa where Ibn Ziyad's
messenger (Yazid's governor over Kufa) delivered a message to Hur. The message read, “ ...force Husain to a halt. But let him stop in an open space, without
vegetation or water.” Hur conveyed the contents of the letter to Imam Husain. The Imam, his family and companions defiantly resumed their journey and reached a
place where another enemy force blocked their move and forced them to stop. When Imam Husain learned that the place was called
Karbala, he felt he reached the destination and ordered his camp to
be setup. That day was 2nd of Muharram, Hijri 61.
Upon learning that his army had succeeded to lay a siege around the Imam's camp, Governor Ibn Ziyad sent additional military units to Karbala and appointed
Omar Ibn Sa'ad
عمر بن ســـعـد
in charge. Imam Husain (a.s.) opened a dialogue with Omar Ibn Sa'ad and convinced him to lift the siege so that the Imam
with his family and companions could leave Iraq. Omar Ibn Sa'ad liked the Imam's proposal and sent a message to Governor Ibn Ziyad notifying him about the
results of the talks with Imam Husain (a.s.). Ibn Ziyad also found the Imam's proposal acceptable. However before agreeing to it officially, Shimr Bin Dhil-Jawshan, شـــمـر
opposed it strongly. As a result Ziyad wrote a letter to Omar Ibn Sa'ad commanding him to either go
to war with Imam Husain or be relieved of his duties as commander of the army and Shimr would not only replace him but dispatch his [Ibn Sa'ad's] head to Kufa.
Omar Ibn bin Sa'ad got the letter. After pondering over the consequences he decided to fight Imam Husain (a.s.). On the 7th day of Muharram he moved his
troops closer to the camp and began to surround the Husaini camp. Ibn Sa'ad laid a blockade around the camp to cut it off from access to the river Euphrates, to
deprive it of water in a move to force them to surrender.
Two days later, (on the 9th of Muharram), the enemy's military forces closed in on the camp of Imam Husain (a.s.). Imam asked his brother, Abbas
ألعـبــاس , to talk to Ibn Sa'ad and request a delay of the aggression by one night. Omar Ibn
Sa'ad agreed to the demand. He ordered his troops to delay the aggression till next morning. Imam Husain and his pious companions spent that night in prayers.
During the night the Imam told the companions, “ ....the enemy is interested in none but me, me alone. I'll be most delighted to permit each and every one of you
to go back, and I urge you to do so....” All companions screamed in response, “By Allah, never, never! We will either live with you or die together with you”.
Finally, the day of Ashuraa dawned upon the soil of Karbala. It was the day when Jihad would be in full bloom, blood would be shed, 72 innocent lives would
be sacrificed, and a decisive battle would be won to save Islam and the Ummah.
had been a few days since the water supply was cut off by the enemy. Children were crying for water, the women were desperate for water, Zainul-Abideen
زين العـابـــديـن , the son of Imam Husain (a.s.) was sick with fever. The suffering from the thirst was too painful to
bear, they were dehydrated and in anguish. And despite this, not a single person in the camp made any complaints or even questioned the mission of Imam Husain.
Each member supported the Imam wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.
Next morning Imam Al-Husain went out of the camp and saw Omar Ibn Sa'ad mobilizing his troops to start the hostility. Imam Husain stared at the
intimidating army, and as large as it was he showed no signs of compromise. Imam Husain raised his hands in prayer:
Allah! It is Thee in whom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence.
Thou are my refuge and provision in everything that happens to me. How many grievances weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to handle them, during which
friend deserts me, and enemy rejoices in it. I lay it before Thee and complain of it to Thee, because of my desire in Thee, Thee alone. You relieve me of it and
remove it from me. Thou are the Master of all Grace, the Essence of Goodness, and the Ultimate Resort of all Desire."
Before the actual engagement was to take place, Hur, the previous commander of the enemy force, had a conscience stirring so violently, he was in turmoil.
Upon realizing the gravity of the situation, he suddenly broke away from Omar Ibn Sa'ad's camp (along with two others). They rushed toward Imam Husain (a.s.) to
join his camp. Hur's heart was jumping with joy by now, his mind relieved of an agonizing tension. Hur's defection worried Omar Ibn Sa'ad very much, lest others
do the same and defect. So Omar Ibn Sa'ad threw an arrow in the air to indicate the start of the battle. This was the outset of a catastrophe and a tragic event
that Mu'awiya had once conceived to happen.
Imam Husain's supporters insisted on being the first to fight. Therefore, they took the brunt of the enemy attack. The battle was ferocious. Within a
short time the Imam's supporters slay a large number of Yazid’s fighters, they were on the offensive and Yazid’s army on the defensive. This caused apprehension
and confusion in the enemy military, the 72 of Husain's against the 5,000 of the enemy (some say 30,000) being on the defensive. So worried and nervous the enemy
commander-in-chief ordered his army not only to set fire to the Imam's tents (which were occupied mostly by frightened females and children), but at the same time
reinforced his fighters with more troops.
The heroes of Al-Husain’s camp began to fall, they were men of valor, they welcomed martyrdom; they fell one after another, for the enemy was overwhelming
in number. By noon time the Imam stopped the fight to perform the Salat. By this time those left were mainly his family and a few supporters. They performed
the Salat together. Two supporters were guarding the performers of Salat. The enemy was standing still, watching!! When Salat was finished one of Husain’s
guards fell dead; there were 17 arrows in his back.
Ali Akbar علي ألأكــــبر , Husain's son
obtained permission to fight and dashed toward the enemy. He engaged them in a fierce fighting, falling on them mightily, slaying numerous enemy fighters. He
continued to move forward, deep inside the enemy. The enemy was overpowering in number though, it overwhelmed him, cutting him with swords and spears, and his
body became nothing but wounds gushing blood, until he died. Imam Husain (a.s.) rushed to the area and picked up the wounded limp body and brought it to the
appalled camp. Husain’s sister Zainab and others in the camp were most horrified and shocked at the scene.
Abbas and five other brothers of Imam Husain went to fight. They also engaged the enemy in a fierce fighting, almost
doing the impossible. Abbas went toward the river to bring some water for the thirsty children. While he was returning on his horse with the water, he was
attacked by a large horde of the enemy, overwhelming him and severely wounding him. As much as he tried Abbas could not save the water, he fell from his horse to
breath his last.
Next to the battle field went the sons of Imam Al-Hasan and
the two sons of Zainab and their cousins (about 17 of
them). They were all in their teens but each stood bravely, believing in the mission, facing a huge force, and they showed no less enthusiasm to defend Islam in
their quest to embrace the martyrdom.
AL-HUSAIN AND HIS BABY:
By the afternoon 70 brave persons had sacrificed their lives in Karbala to save Islam. All had fought under nerve racking conditions, severe thirst,
dehydration, exhaustion, and agonizing feeling of what would happen to the family of the Prophet (pbuh) afterwards. Husain endured all that and more, for he saw
all his beloved ones brutally cut to pieces, including children. Remaining the only one, Imam Husain was to face the enemy head on. Precisely at that moment
Imam Husain heard his baby crying incessantly, agonizing because of the thirst. Imam Husain's love for his family was unbound, especially for a suffering baby.
He held the six months old baby, his youngest son (Ali Asghar) علي ألأصــــغـر
in his arms, and appealed to the enemy for some water for the baby. Imam wanted to awaken their conscience and stir their human feelings but the
stone-hearted enemy, instead of giving water, zoomed an arrow toward the crying baby and killed him instantly. Imam Husain was shocked. He felt an unbearable
wave of pain. The sight of the limp baby in his arms was agonizingly painful. He filled his palm with the blood of the baby, and threw it upwards toward the
sky, complaining to Allah (swt),
“O' Allah, O'
consolation is the fact that Thou in Thy Majesty
witnessing what I am going through”.
AL-HUSAIN BY HIMSELF:
Imam Husain (a.s.) was alone, one man against thousands. He took them on, fighting them bravely, and kept fighting, receiving many wounds in the process.
Thousands of enemy fighters were surrounding him but none dared to move toward him. The silence was broken when Shimr screamed for an attack, then screamed
again, threatening, and in response they attacked collectively, and one sword fell on Imam Husain's left wrist and deeply cut his left hand. The blood gushed
like a fountain. Another sword was soon to follow and it hit his upper back. Imam Husain (a.s.) felt numb as he fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. He was
near the point of shock, even though staggering he tried to stand by leaning on his sword. Then he received the fatal blow.
It was at this point, that Shimr whose mother was a disbeliever, came
forward and severed Imam Husain's noble head from the body, the noble head that used to be kissed so often by the Prophet! Shimr and others had the audacity to
carry it on the tip of a spear to Yazid, 600 miles away!
Omar Ibn Sa'ad ordered the horsemen to trample upon the supine bodies of Imam Husain and all others killed, to disfigure them even further, as if the
wounds, the bloodied bodies, and the headless forms were not enough.
For three days the exposed bodies of the martyrs were left lying in the desert of Karbala. Afterwards, the people of the tribe of
Benu Asad بنو أســـد who were not far away from the battle field, helped bury
Omar Ibn Sa'ad and his forces (representing Benu Umayya) took the women and children as prisoners (in shackles), put them on camels, and proceeded in a
caravan from Karbala to Kufa. Mind you, this was the Prophet’s Family, no less!! At the forefront of the procession were the heads of Imam Husain (a.s.) and his
followers on the tip of spears. The scene was both grotesque and gruesome. This was the leftover of the beloved family of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in such a
deplorable unimaginable condition, all caused by people who called themselves Muslims!
LESSONS FROM THE TRAGEDY Of KARBALA:
Karbala is the cruelest tragedy humanity has ever seen. Yet, the startling (though appalling) events in Karbala proved like a powerful volcano that shook
the very foundation of Muslims, it stirred their consciousness, ignorant or learned alike. For sincere Muslims, Karbala turned into a triumph. The tragic event
became the very beacon of light to always remind Muslims to practice Islam honestly and sincerely, to do what is right irrespective of consequences, and fear no
one except Allah (swt).
On the other hand, Yazid never achieved what he and his father had planned to achieve, for within three years, Allah's wrath fell upon Yazid, causing him to
die at the age of 33 years. And within a few decades the rule of Benu Umayya crumbled and came to an end. The tragedy of Karbala taught humanity a lesson:
that standing for the truth and fighting unto death for it is more honorable and valuable than submitting to the wrongful, especially when the survival of Islam
is at stake.