CHAPTER 6 THE MARTYRDOM OF THE MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF IMAM AL-HUSAYN
THE MARTYRDOM OF THE
MEMBERS OF THE FAMILY OF
IMAM AL-HUSAYN THE HASHIMITES PREPARE FOR BATTLE
After the non-Hashimites had been killed, the Hashimites prepared to fight the murderous hordes in single combat. These Hashimites were the Imam’s sons, brothers, nephews and cousins. One after another, they bade him farewell and proceeded to their final destiny, alone. They fought until their last breath, defending their master and the love of their hearts, the son of the Messenger and the lord of the inhabitants of Paradise.
The Offspring of the Imam
According to al-Shaykh al-Mufid the Imam had six children. They were:
‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, Imam Zayn al-’Abidin, whose mother was Shahzanan, a Persian princess,
‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, ‘Ali al-Akbar, whose mother was Layla,
Ja’far who had died before the events of Karbala’,
‘Abd Allah, the infant who was killed by an arrow in the arms of the Imam on the Day of ‘Ashura’, who is also known as ‘Ali Asghar whose mother was Rabab,
Sakinah, whose mother was also Rabab, Fatimah, whose mother was Umm Ishaq.
One of the above two daughters of the Imam is also referred to as Ruqayyah. According to the compiler of this book, it is Fatimah bint al-Husayn that is popularly known as Ruqayyah.
There are some disagreements among the scholars with regard to the number of Imam al-Husayn’s children, their names and which of Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-’Abidin and ‘Ali al-Akbar is the elder. Some state that the Imam had four daughters and that one of them was named Zaynab. May Allah shower His blessings upon all of them, whatever be their names or what they number.
The Sons of Imam al-Hasan who fought at Karbala’
It appears from the texts that at the time of his martyrdom in 49 A.H., Imam al-Hasan had twenty sons. Of these seven accompanied their uncle Imam al-Husayn to Karbala’ and six were killed on the Day of ‘Ashura’ defending him. The sons of Imam al-Hasan with Imam al-Husayn at Karbala’ were:
Ahmad ibn al-Hasan,
Abu Bakr ibn al-Hasan,
Qasim ibn al-Hasan,
‘Abd Allah Akbar,
‘Abd Allah Asghar,
Bashshar ibn al-Hasan.
Of these Hasan Muthanna was taken wounded from the battlefield and was the only one who survived. This event will be discussed in detail in the coming pages.
According Shaykh Mufid, only three sons of Imam al-Hasan were martyred at Karbala’. They were: Qasim, Abu Bakr and ‘Abd Allah.
According to Shaykh Qummi there was a fourth son of the Imam called ‘Ubayd Allah who was also martyred in Karbala’.
Sayyid Muhsin Amin has counted four sons of Imam al-Hasan as martyrs at Karbala’: Qasim, ‘Abd Allah, Abu Bakr and Bashshar ibn al-Hasan.
‘Allamah Majlisi reports another son called Yahya.
Sayyid Ibn Tawus gives the names of Zayd and ‘Umar as sons of Imam al-Hasan who were as taken captives by the army of Kufah. (Al-Luhuf)
Shaykh Jalil ibn Nima Hilli also mentions a son of the Imam called ‘Amr ibn al-Hasan who was eleven years of age and taken as a captive to Syria. He gives the following account: When Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn Zayn al-’Abidin was summoned by Yazid while in Syria, ‘Amr ibn al-Hasan went with him. Yazid looked at ‘Amr ibn al-Hasan and asked if he would wrestle with his son. ‘Amr ibn al-Hasan replied that he would prefer that both of them were given a knife and then allowed to fight. To this Yazid replied, “The family of the Messenger young or old will not stop hating us.” Then he recited the following proverb, “This is a custom that I have learned from Akhzam. Does a snake give birth to other than a snake?” In this case the meaning is that a brave Household produces brave sons.
THE MARTYDOM OF ‘ALI IBN AL-HUSAYN, ‘ALI AKBAR
‘Ali Akbar was the first from among the Hashimites to go into battle. This was when the non-Hashimites had been killed and it had decided that the Hashimites would fight individually in single combat. ‘Ali Akbar has been described as being between the age of eighteen and twenty-seven at the time of his martyrdom.
‘Ali Akbar went to his father, the Imam, to receive his permission for battle. The Imam tearfully looked up at the sky and pointing to it with two of his fingers, he said, “O Allah! Be a witness against these people, for now I send against them that son of mine who bears the most resemblance to your Messenger in features, character and speech. O Allah! He is the one at whom we look whenever we desire the sight of your Messenger.”
‘Ali Akbar advanced towards the enemy breaking their ranks and single-handedly he fought against them. However, they began to surround him breaking the tradition of single combat. As ‘Ali Akbar fought fiercely, he recited:
I am ‘Ali the son of al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali, We, by the House of Allah, are closest to the Prophet.
By Allah! A man born of fornication (Ibn Ziyad) will not rule over us. I will strike you down with my sword defending my father,
The blows of a Hashimi, an ‘Alawi.
‘Ali Akbar struck violently against the enemy killing a hundred and twenty horsemen. However, due to great thirst, he returned to the Imam saying, “O father! Thirst is killing me and the weight of this coat of mail is exhausting me.” Unable to grant ‘Ali Akbar’s request, for a drop of water, the Imam began to cry as he said, “Have patience, O love of my heart! Soon the Messenger will give you a drink from the heavenly fountain.” Then the Imam took ‘Ali Akbar’s tongue into his mouth and placed his ring into ‘Ali Akbar’s mouth to ease the thirst Casting aside his coat of mail, ‘Ali Akbar, now without hope of life in this world and desirous of meeting Allah returned to the battle. As he entered within lines of the enemy, he became surrounded and was attacked from every side. Amidst the raging swords and spears that were being driven into his blessed body, an arrow was shot that ripped apart his throat. As ‘Ali Akbar fell to the ground drowning in the blood pouring from his throat, he cried out to his old father, “O father! Accept the final salutations from your dying son. Here is my grandfather the Messenger of Allah, greeting you with peace and awaiting your arrival. He has quenched my thirst with his chalice. After that I will never feel thirst again.”
(Maqtal al-Husayn al-Muqarram)
It is also reported: As ‘Ali Akbar fought with the enemies who surrounded him, Murrah ibn Munqidh ‘Abdi, a soldier in the army of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d, vowed to a friend, “I will strike such a blow to the chest of this youth as will cause his father’s heart to bleed even if the sins of the Arabs fall upon me.” After saying that Murrah hid himself behind a tree. ‘Ali Akbar continued to ward off the blows of the enemy that had gathered around him. When ‘Ali Akbar came near the tree busy in fighting, Murrah plunged his spear into his chest. ‘Ali Akbar, unable to stay on his horse, fell to the ground where the enemies surrounding him hacked him to pieces with their swords.
There is also another report that Murrah struck the head of ‘Ali Akbar with his sword.
In another account it is reported: ‘Ali Akbar, unable to keep himself properly on his mount, placed his head on the mane of the horse and wrapped his arms around its neck. The horse struck with fear ran into the enemy who cut ‘Ali Akbar into pieces. ‘Ali Akbar fell to the ground. As his blessed soul reached its point of final departure, he called out, “O father! Here is my grandfather the Messenger of Allah. He has given me a drink from the heavenly spring.”
The Imam, struggling with anguish, came to where ‘Ali Akbar lay. Looking down at the state of his son who was the light of his eyes, he desperately pleaded, “May Allah destroy the people who have killed you! How insolent they have been to the command of Allah in violating the sanctity of the Messenger.” The tears poured from his eyes and covered his blessed cheeks and beard as he cried, “O son! The world has lost its appeal without you.”
Lady Zaynab ran out of the tents lamenting, “O brother! O ‘Ali Akbar!” She ran to ‘Ali Akbar’s body and threw herself on to it. The Imam pulled Lady Zaynab away from the blood soaked body that she was clinging to and took her back to the tents.
According to another report, the Imam cupped the blood oozing from the torn limbs of ‘Ali Akbar and threw it towards the sky as he wept “O son! It is difficult for your grandfather and your old father to bear the fact that you called upon them and they could not help.” Then the Imam put his face against the blood covered face of ‘Ali Akbar and cried aloud uncontrollably in a way he had not done before that day.
The Imam then took the torn body of ‘Ali Akbar in his arms and he said, “O child! You have acquired rest from the grief and the miseries of this world and left your father alone an without any helpers.”
(Maqtal al-Husayn by Abu Mikhnaf)
He then turned to the youths of his family and said, “Come and carry away your brother.” The youths of Banu Hashim carried the body of ‘Ali Akbar and placed it in front of the tents where the battle was being was being fought.
Humayd ibn Muslim reported: A woman ran out of the tents shouting, “Woe! My son! Woe for the sorrow of loss! Woe for the lack of helpers!” Al-Husayn quickly came to her and took her inside the tents. I asked, “Who was this woman?” I was told, “She was Zaynab the daughter of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib.” She wept aloud and al-Husayn cried with her as he recited, “Indeed we belong to Allah and unto Him do we return.”
(Al-Tarikh by Tabari)
Some have reported that Lady Layla the mother of ‘Ali Akbar came to the Imam and said, ” O Master! I want my child. What has happened to my son?” The Imam took her back to the tents and asked her to pray.
Some have also reported that after the martyrdom of ‘Ali Akbar, his sister Lady Sakinah came running to her father and asked, “O father! Why are you so grieved? What has happened to my brother?” The Imam replied, “The enemies have killed him.” She cried out, “O my brother! O the love of my heart!” The Imam said to her tearfully, “O Sakinah! For the sake of Allah, bear it with patience and perseverance.” She said, “O father! How should one whose brother has been killed and whose father has been made bereft of him bear it with patience?” The Imam recited, “Indeed we belong to Allah and unto Him we return.”
According to another report, the women came to the blood soaked body of ‘Ali Akbar led by Lady Zaynab. She fell on the body and took it into her arms. With intense emotion and sorrow, she cried out, “My son! My ‘Ali!”
(Maqtal al-Husayn al-Muqarram)
Abu al-Hasan recited the following verses depicting the Imam’s sorrow at the death of ‘Ali Akbar: O star! How short was the duration of your life! Such are the lives of the stars that appear at dawn!
The eclipse hurried to him before his time. Thus it covered him before he became a full moon.
When I speak, then you are the first of my words. And when I remain silent, then you are forever in my thoughts.
THE MARTYRDOM OF ‘ABD ALLAH IBN MUSLIM IBN ‘AQIL
The son of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil named ‘Abd Allah was one the supporters of the Imam on the Day of ‘Ashura’. He went to the Imam to seek his permission to go into battle. The Imam looked at ‘Abd Allah and said, “O son! The grief of Muslim’s death is sufficient for your family.” ‘Abd Allah replied, “O uncle! How will I present myself to your grandfather (the Prophet) on the Day of Judgement if I allow myself to live while you are slain? Never will I allow this. I will fight with your enemies until I meet my Lord.” ‘Abd Allah went into battle reciting the following verses:
We are the sons of Hashim;
Never will we desert
The son of the Prophet’s daughter,
The lion from the blood of ‘Ali.
I will crush you with my weapons
For on the Day of Reckoning
I desire deliverance by my Lord
‘Abd Allah fought gallantly and killed many of the enemy until finally an arrow pierced his throat. As ‘Abd Allah fell to the ground his final words were, “O father! My back is broken.” The Imam swiftly came to the torn, blood soaked body of ‘Abd Allah. He recited, “Indeed do we belong to Allah and unto Him will we return.” Then he prayed, “O Allah! Kill the people who have killed the offspring of ‘Aqil.”
(Maqtal al-Husayn by Abu Mikhnaf)
It is also reported: ‘Abd Allah was the person after ‘Ali Akbar ibn al-Husayn’s martyrdom to go into the battlefield. He went reciting the following verses:
Today I will meet Muslim my father
And the people who gave their lives for the religion of the Prophet.
‘Abd Allah mounted three attacks against the enemy killing a great number of them until Zayd ibn Ruqad shot an arrow at him. ‘Abd Allah raised his hand to his face in order to shield the arrow. The arrow pierced through his hand and penetrated his forehead sticking the hand to it. ‘Abd Allah was unable to separate his hand from his forehead. In anguish he cried out, “O Lord! Do to our foes as they do to us!” Another of the enemy rode in front of him and embedded his spear in chest. In this manner ‘Abd Allah met with his Creator (Maqtal al-Husayn al-Muqarram)
THE MARTYRDOM OF ‘AWN AND MUHAMMAD, THE SONS OF LADY ZAYNAB
Lady Zaynab was the oldest sister of Imam al-Husayn. She was born in Medina on 5th Jumada Ula in 5, 6 or 7 AH. She died at the age of sixty-two or four either in Egypt, Syria or Medina. She married ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja’far, her cousin, on the understanding that whenever her brother Imam al-Husayn wished to travel and she wished to go with him, ‘Abd Allah would not stop her.
It is reported that Lady Zaynab had five children, four sons named ‘Ali, ‘Awn Akbar, Muhammad and ‘Abbas and a daughter named Umm Kulthum.
At the time the Imam left for Mecca with his companions on way to Iraq, Lady Zaynab accompanied him. ‘Abd Allah, due to old age and sickness, was unable go with them. In his place he sent his two sons, ‘Awn and Muhammad, instructing Lady Zaynab to send them into battle if the enemies waged war against the Imam. Some reported that ‘Abd Allah gave ‘Awn and Muhammad to Lady Zaynab when the Imam decided to leave for Iraq.
As for ‘Awn, it is agreed by most authorities that he was the son of Lady Zaynab. However, Tabari claims that his mother was Jumanah, daughter of Musayyib. According to some sources, Khawsa, daughter of Khasafah, was the mother of Muhammad. However, the book Kamil Baha’i maintains that both were the sons of Lady Zaynab. They were martyred in Karbala’ on ‘Ashura’ defending their uncle the Imam.
On the Day of ‘Ashura’ Lady Zaynab cleansed ‘Awn and Muhammad, applied collyrium to their eyes and dressed them in new garments. Then she handed them their swords and presented them to her brother the Imam for permission to go into battle. The Imam refused her saying, “‘Abd Allah, your husband, may not agree to this.” Zaynab replied, “But he is the one who instructed me that in the case of war I should give his sons before yours.” Lady Zaynab insisted until the Imam reluctantly gave permission.
When ‘Umar ibn Sa’d saw the two children riding into battle, he exclaimed in astonishment, “What love Zaynab must have for her brother to have sent the lights of her eyes to the battlefield!” The two children fought until Muhammad was struck down. ‘Awn came to his dying brother. Taking him into his lap, he said, “O brother! Do not grieve. I too will soon follow.” ‘Awn continued to fight until he too was struck down and departed to the Eternal Abode. Weeping and overcome by grief, the Imam went to the two children. He carried them away with their bodies in his arms. Their feet dragging on the
When the bodies of the martyrs were brought to the tents, the women preceded by Lady Zaynab would come out of the tents to lament the dead. However, this time when the bodies of her own children were being brought, she was not to be seen. The reason for this may have been that she did not wish to cry for her sons and weaken the resolve of her brother the Imam in fighting with the enemy. Alternatively she may have thought that her weeping for her sons might cause the Imam the embarrassment of thinking that he was the reason for their deaths. Such was the lofty character of the daughter of Lady Fatimah.
The News of the Martyrdom of ‘Awn and Muhammad Reaching ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja’far
When the news of the martyrdoms of ‘Awn and Muhammad reached Medina, Abu Salasil a freed slave of ‘Abd Allah, ripped his shirt in anguish at the news of their deaths. With great grief, he informed ‘Abd Allah of their deaths and lamented, “O ‘Awn! O Muhammad! The two apples of my eyes! The tranquillity of my heart! Who was better than you? This tragedy has befallen us because of al-Husayn. If you had not gone with him this would not have happened.”
On receiving the news of their martyrdom in this fashion, ‘Abd Allah uttered the verse, ” Indeed we belong to Allah and unto Him we will return.” Then he angrily rebuked Abu Salasil saying, “How dare you utter such words and show such disrespect for al-Husayn! Praise be to Allah Who allowed my sons to attain the rank of martyrdom alongside al-Husayn! If only I had been with them and been killed before them! By Allah! I told them to die for al-Husayn. Now I am left mourning them and our master Imam al-Husayn.”
THE MARTYDOM OF QASIM IBN AL-HASAN (peace be with them)
Qasim ibn al-Hasan had not reached the age puberty at time of his martyrdom at Karbala’. On the eve of ‘Ashura’ when the Imam informed his faithful followers of their imminent deaths, Qasim ibn al-Hasan, who was also in the gathering, went to the Imam and asked him, ” O uncle! Will I also be killed?” The Imam embraced him and said, “O child! How do you find death?” He replied, “Sweeter than honey!” The Imam told him, “You will be killed after a great calamity and so will ‘Abd Allah, the infant (‘Ali Asghar).”
Qasim ibn al-Hasan readied himself for battle on the Day of ‘Ashura’. Then he went to the Imam for his final farewell. The Imam took Qasim to his bosom and both wept for a while. Qasim asked
permission from the Imam to go into battle. However, the Imam was hesitant. Qasim repeatedly asked until the Imam reluctantly allowed him. Qasim, distressed and with tears rolling down his cheeks, advanced into battle reciting:
I am the son of al-Hasan if you are unaware, the grandson of the Messenger, the chosen, the trusted.
This is Husayn like a captive held in ransom for people whose thirst may not be quenched by the falling rain.
Qasim mounted an attack on the enemy killing three of them.
Humayd ibn Muslim reported this incident in the following way: A young boy came out of the tents of al-Husayn and approached the battlefield. His face was like the first splinter of the new moon. He had a sword in his hand and was wearing a long shirt. As he entered within the battlefield and engaged in fighting, ‘Amr ibn Sa’d Azdi, who stood next to me, said, “By God! Let me attack this child!” I replied, “What cause do you have with him? He is only a child. Let those who surround him finish him off. By God! I would not lift a finger against him even if he was to strike me down with his sword.” He repeated, “By God! Let me attack him and make life a misery for him.” As Qasim ibn al-Hasan was fighting with the soldiers that surrounded him, ‘Amr sneaked behind him and struck him on the head with a sword. Qasim’s head split open as he fell from his mount onto his blessed face and he cried out. ” O uncle! Come to my aid.”
The Imam was standing watching his nephew Qasim. No sooner had Qasim cried out to him than the Imam, descending like an eagle upon its prey, launched an attack tearing through the ranks of the enemy until he reached ‘Amr Azdi. The Imam struck at him with his sword. ‘Amr raised his arm to shield himself from the blow and his arm was cut from the elbow. ‘Amr called out to save him from the Imam. Their horses collided with and ‘Amr fell. The horses galloped over his body and he was trampled to death by their hooves. When they finally managed to carry it away. As the cloud of dust and sand raised by the galloping horses settled, the Imam was seen, standing by Qasim. He rubbed his heels on the ground as his soul departed from the mutilated body. The Imam put his cheek on the torn chest of Qasim crying and lamenting, “O child! It is unbearable that you called out to your old uncle and I could not come to your help. And when I did, it was to no avail.”
The Imam took Qasim’s body into his arms and carried him with Qasim’s feet dragging on the ground to where the bodies of his sons, brothers and companions were placed. He placed Qasim’s body next to his son ‘Ali Akbar and he said to them, “O my nephews! Persevere. O my children! Have patience. By Allah! You will not see any grief after this day.”
According to another report, the Imam placed Qasim next to ‘Ali Ak
bar. Then he sat between the two of them. He removed his turban and scattered dust on his head. Then he placed his right hand on the chest of ‘Ali Akbar and his left hand on the chest of Qasim. With his eyes filled with tears, he looked up at the sky and cried out, “O Lord of the worlds! Al-Husayn has been deprived of his sons.”
According to some reports, when the Imam sent Qasim of to the battle, he tore Qasim’s turban into two pieces. He placed one half on his shoulders and chest like the top piece of a shroud while he tied the other half to his head with a strap falling across his face and ending around his neck on his back. It was for this reason that Qasim’s face was described as the first splinter of the new moon.
THE WOUNDING OF HASAN MUTHANNA
Hasan Muthanna, the son of Imam al-Hasan, was present with his uncle Imam al-Husayn at Karbala’. He had asked the Imam for the hand of one of his daughters, Fatimah or Sakinah, in marriage. The Imam had chosen that he should marry his daughter Fatimah due to her resemblance his own mother, the Queen of the women of Paradise, Lady Fatimah. May Allah shower His blessing upon the souls of Muhammad and his immaculate progeny! The marriage had taken place either at the time of their departure from Medina or on the way to Iraq.
On the Day of ‘Ashura’ Hasan Muthanna killed seventeen of the enemy before falling unconscious due to the excessive wounds that he had received in the fighting. Hasan Muthanna remained unconscious until 11th Muharram. Presuming him to be dead, the enemy did not touch him until the next day. On that day, 11th Muharram, the day after ‘Ashura’, ‘Umar ibn Sa’d ordered the soldiers to behead the martyred companions of Imam al-Husayn, the Hashimites and the non-Hashimites alike. It was at this moment that the soldiers realised that Hasan Muthanna still had a ray of life in him. This news reached Asma’ ibn Kharijah, a commander in ‘Umar ibn Sa’d's army and a relative of Khawlah, the mother of Hasan Muthanna. He insisted that ‘Umar ibn Sa’d spare the life of Hasan Muthanna. His request was granted.
Asma’ took Hasan Muthanna who was still unconscious to Kufah for medication. On the way Hasan Muthanna gained consciousness. He was dismayed at the scene and asked about his uncle Imam al-Husayn. On hearing the fate of the Imam and his faithful companions, Hasan Muthanna was greatly grieved and saddened. Asma’ took him to Kufah and ensured he was given medical attention.
After Hasan Muthanna had regained strength, Asma’ sent him back to Medina. Hasan Muthanna stayed in Medina until the age of thirty-five when he was poisoned to death on the instructions of ‘Abd al-Malik, the fifth Caliph of Umayyad dynasty. Hasan Muthanna was buried in the cemetery of Baqi’ in Medina. Hasan Muthanna bore the title Tabataba, and he is the one from whom the Sadat of the Tabataba’i lineage are descended.
THE MARTYDOMS OF ‘ABD ALLAH, JA’FAR AND ‘UTHMAN, THE BROTHERS OF ‘ABBAS IBN ‘ALI (peace be with them)
‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali, whose martyrdom will be described shortly, had three brothers from the same parents, Imam ‘Ali and Umm Banin. These were ‘Abd Allah, who was twenty-five years of age, ‘Uthman, who was twenty-one, and Ja’far, who was nineteen. ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali was thirty-four years of age and the oldest among the children of Umm al-Banin. On the Day of ‘Ashura’ in the midst of battle he turned to these three brothers and said, “O sons of my mother! Advance! Let me witness your sincerity and devotion to Allah and the Messenger.”
Each one in turn advanced towards the enemy and battled until he was killed.
THE MARTYRDOM OF ‘ABBAS IBN ‘ALI
The Birth and Noble Status of ‘Abbas Ibn ‘Ali
‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali, whose mother was Umm Banin, was born in Medina on 4th Sha’ban in the year 26 AH. He was fourteen at the time of the martyrdom of his father ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib. At Karbala’ he was the standard bearer of the Imam and the strongest among the army. At his martyrdom ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali was thirty-four years of age.
Umm Banin’s real name was Fatimah. She was the second wife of Imam ‘Ali. After the death of Lady Fatimah, Imam ‘Ali approached his brother ‘Aqil, who an expert at genealogy. He said to him, “Look for a woman born to the most excellent and perfect woman among the Arabs so that I may marry her and she may bear a princely warrior for me.” ‘Aqil replied, “Take the hand of Fatimah Kalbiyyah in marriage. There is not household braver than hers among the Arabs.”
When she gave birth to her first child ‘Abbas, he was taken to the Imam. The Imam took him in his hands and looking at ‘Abbas’s arms began to weep. When asked about the reason for his grief, the Imam replied, “These arms of ‘Abbas will be cut from his body on the Day of ‘Ashura’ in protecting my son al-Husayn.”
Umm Banin, which means ‘mother of sons’ because she gave birth to four sons also gave birth to two daughters. The sons of Umm Banin and Imam ‘Ali were ‘Abbas, ‘Abd Allah, Ja’far and ‘Uthman. These four were all killed at Karbala’ defending the Imam. Her daughters were Umm Hani’ and Jumanah ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali was married to Lubabah, daughter of ‘Ubayd Allah ibn ‘Abbas, the cousin of Imam ‘Ali. He had two sons from her named ‘Ubayd Allah and Fadl. According to some reports, he had two more sons named Muhammad and Qasim, who were killed at Karbala’ with their father ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali.
‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali resembled his father Imam ‘Ali in his virtues and bravery. It is reported that the face of the killer of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali, who was from the tribe of Banu Darim turned black. Upon being asked of the reason for this, he replied that he had killed a person who bore the mark of prostration on his forehead and was known as ‘Abbas.
It is reported that ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali was a tall and a handsome man. When he mounted his horse, his feet could touch the ground. He was given the title of Qamar Banu Hashim (moon of the Hashimites) and was the standard bearer of the army of Imam al-Husayn.
The historians have described him in the following words: “He was a lofty mountain with a momentous heart because he was a gallant knight and a fearless lion, daring in the face of attacks and the striking of swords of the non-believers and in the field.”
The meaning of the word ‘abbas is ‘firmness’. It expresses ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali’s firmness and steadfastness in the face of enemies.
‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali’s wonderful attributes and fearless nature were a result of what he had inherited from his parents.
The Titles Of ‘Abbas Ibn ‘Ali
‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali has several titles. Each one of these expresses an aspect of his life, character and personality. The titles are:
1. Abu al-Fadl, the father of Fadl, his oldest son, or ‘the father of virtue’, which is the literal meaning of fadl;
2. Abu al-Qirbah, literally ‘the father of the waterskin’ since he brought water from the Euphrates to quench the thirst of those with the Imam;
3. Qamar Banu Hashim, ‘the moon of the Hashimites’ – a title given to him by his father Imam ‘Ali as he unveiled ‘Abbas’s face to the enemy at the battle of Siffin;
4. Al-’Abd al-Salih, which means ‘the righteous servant of Allah’;
5. Al-Muwasi, which means ‘one who gives consolation’;
6. Al-Fadi, which means ‘one who sacrifices himself’;
7. Al-Hami, which means ‘the defender’;
8. Al-Waqi, which means ‘the protector’;
9. Al-Sa’i, which means ‘the one who strives’;
10. Bab al-Hawa’ij, which means ‘the doorway for the needs [of people]‘
11. Hamil al-Liwa, which means ‘the standard-bearer’, because he carried the standard on the Day of ‘Ashura’.
In the early period of Islamic history the standard bearers enjoyed a very important status, almost as important as the Commander-in-Chief. A lot rested on the shoulders of the standard bearers as regards the war strategy, lifting the morale of the army and directing them to victory in the face of apparent defeat. It was therefore imperative to have the best of the army as the bearers of the standard. ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali kept the standard of Imam al-Husayn held high until the final moment. ‘Abbas even managed to secure the standard as his arms were being severed from his elbows. He finally embraced the standard to his chest as he once again advanced towards the adversaries who had surrounded him from all directions. He persisted in keeping the standard from falling to the ground. This continued until his blessed head was struck with a metal pole that split it open and made him fall to the ground. Yet still he embraced the standard.
‘Abbas Ibn ‘Ali’s Death When He Went To The Euphrates To Try To Get Water
When all of the non-Hashimite companions of the Imam had been killed, ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali turned to the Imam and implored him, “O brother! Permit me to advance into the battle.” The Imam wept at this request from ‘Abbas. ‘Abbas continued to implore him, “My heart has become constricted and I have grown tired of life. Allow me to avenge the blood of the martyrs?” Finally the Imam tearfully said, “Go and fetch some water for these thirsty children.”
‘Abbas went towards the enemy and admonished them warning them of the evil consequences of their actions. But they turned a deaf ear to his words. ‘Abbas returned to the Imam and heard the cries thirty children begging for water. It is reported that the Imam had designated a tent for water where the water-skins were kept. ‘Abbas entered into the tent and saw the thirsty children putting the empty water-skins to their bellies in order to alleviate their thirst with the dampness of the skins. ‘Abbas could not endure this scene and said, “O lights of my eyes! I will go and fetch water for you.”
He took a water-skin in one hand and his spear in the other and mounted his horse to set off for the Euphrates.
According to another report, as ‘Abbas bade farewell to the Imam, he looked up at the sky and pleaded, “O Allah! I wish to fulfil my oath of bringing water for these thirsty children.” Then he kissed the forehead of the Imam and went towards the Euphrates.
There were up to ten thousand soldiers guarding the banks of the Euphrates. The enemy mounted six attacks against ‘Abbas to prevent him from reaching to the water. ‘Abbas warded them off and killed eighty of them. He managed to get to the Euphrates and rode his horse into the river. ‘Abbas dismounted and cupped some water into his hand and raised it to his mouth. As he was about to drink it, he remembered the thirst of his brother the Imam and threw it away.
As he threw away the water, ‘Abbas – may our souls be ransomed for his - recited:
O soul! You are of little worth after al-Husayn.
It does not befit you to live after him.
This is al-Husayn surrounded by death
While you wish to partake from the cold sweet water.
By Allah! This is not the deed of my religion.
According to another report he said, ” By Allah! I will not taste water while my master al-Husayn is thirsty.”
According to some on the night of Imam ‘Ali’s martyrdom, 21 Ramadan, he drew ‘Abbas to his chest and said, “O child! Through you I will be honoured on the day of Resurrection. O my son! When the day of ‘Ashura’ comes and you get to the river, do not drink of the water while your brother al-Husayn is thirsty.”
‘Abbas filled the water-skin and hung it on his right shoulder and started his return to the tents. The soldiers surrounded him from all directions. He single-handedly tried to fight with them off as he surged towards the tents. ‘Abbas continued to fight until either Nawfal ibn Azraq or Zayd ibn Warqa who was hiding behind a tree struck at ‘Abbas’s right arm severing it from the elbow. ‘Abbas quickly moved the water-skin to his left shoulder as he recited:
By Allah! Even if you cut off my right arm,
I will forever defend my religion
And the Imam that is truly
From the lineage of the Messenger, the pure the trustworthy.
He continued fighting and killed many of the renowned swordsmen of the enemy. Some have reckoned that eight hundred and fifty-five soldiers were killed by ‘Abbas on this occasion. ‘Abbas continued to fight his way to the tents. As he was fighting, Hakim ibn Tufayl, who had also hidden himself behind a tree, struck at ‘Abbas’s left arm and cut it off from the elbow. At this ‘Abbas recited the following:
O soul! Do not fear the disbelievers.
Take the glad tidings of the Almighty
To the Messenger, the chosen lord.
Through their transgression they have cut my left hand.
O Lord! Drive them into the heat of the fire ‘Abbas struggled as he grabbed the water-skin with his teeth in a final attempt to get the water to the thirsty children. In the shower of arrows, spears and stones, an arrow pierced the water-skin causing it to burst open. Another struck his blessed chest causing him to fall from his horse.
Abu Mikhnaf writes: Despite the fact that ‘Abbas’s arms were so badly cut that they were hanging and dripping blood, he once again rode into the enemy ranks. Finally he was struck on the head with an iron mace that split it open and he fell to the ground. As he trembled in his blood, ‘Abbas cried out, “O my brother! O Husayn! Accept my final salutations!”
According to popular narrations, he cried out, “O brother! Come to the aid of your brother!” The Imam rushed out to his body and found ‘Abbas drowned in blood, covered in arrows, with his arms cut from his body and his eye pierced by an arrow. The Imam desolately stood over his body hopelessly. Defeat appeared on the face of al-Husayn. He wept bitterly as he called out, “O brother! O ‘Abbas! O soul of my heart! O for destruction after you! O ‘Abbas! Now my back has been broken; my means of release have been devastated; and my hopes have been cut short.”
The Final Words Between ‘Abbas And The Imam
It is reported: The Imam placed ‘Abbas’s wounded head into his lap and as he cleansed the blood from his eye, he saw that ‘Abbas was crying. The Imam asked, “O brother! Why do you cry?” ‘Abbas replied, “O brother! O light of my eyes! How could I not cry when I see you holding my head in your lap and I know that in a while there will be no one to lift your head from the ground, place it in his lap and clean the dust from your face?” The Imam sat next to ‘Abbas until a hollow sound came from ‘Abbas’s throat as he submitted his life to the Almighty.
Fadil Darbandi writes in Asrar al-Shahadah: The Imam had resolved to carry back ‘Abbas’s body immersed in his blood. However, just before ‘Abbas died, he opened his eye and asked, “O brother! What do you intend to do?” The Imam replied, “I wish to take you back to the tents.” ‘Abbas said, “Leave me here.” The Imam asked, “Why?” ‘Abbas whispered, “I feel shy of your daughter Sakinah. I promised to bring back water and I did not manage to.” The Imam prayed, “May Allah reward you on behalf of your brother for you have helped me whilst alive and now after your death.” The Imam left ‘Abbas at the river and returned to the tents.
The Imam’s Desolate Return From The Euphrates
The Imam left ‘Abbas at the banks of the ‘Alqamah and set off back to the tents wiping away the tears rolling down his cheeks with his sleeves. As he neared the tents, Sakinah rushed out to him and grabbed the bridle of his horse. She anxiously asked, “O father! Do you have any news of my uncle ‘Abbas?” The Imam wept as he replied, “O child! Your uncle ‘Abbas has been killed and has left for Heaven.” On hearing this, Lady Zaynab cried out and she and the rest of the women lamented, “O brother! O ‘Abbas! Who will come to our aid after you?”
The Cries And Lamentation Of Lady Zaynab At ‘Abbas’s Death
In another account, when the Imam reached the tents, Zaynab rushed to him after learning of ‘Abbas’s death. She asked the Imam, “Why did you not bring my brother back to me?” The Imam wept and said, “O Zaynab! Your brother’s limbs were torn to such an extent that I could not move them.” On hearing this Zaynab lamented, “O brother! O ‘Abbas! O lack of helpers! O the destruction after you!” The Imam cried out, “Ah the loss of a brother and the breaking of my back!” Then he recited these verses of lamentation:
My brother! The light of my eye! My brother from my parents!
You were for me a secure pillar
O luminous moon! You were an aid to me
In every misfortune, in straitened circumstances>
Life for us holds no meaning after you.
We will gather tomorrow in the presence of God
Truly for Allah is my complaint and perseverance in
My thirst and calamity
Another Description Of ‘Abbas’s Martyrdom
The following is a summary of Mulla Habib Allah Kashani’s account of the martyrdom of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali: As al-Husayn heard the sorrowful cry of ‘Abbas, he mounted his horse Dhu Janah and rushed to the river. He encountered the enemy on his way. He attacked them and as they fled he called out, “Where do you run to? You have killed my brother and broken my back.” The Imam killed eight hundred of the enemy but all the time he was calling out to ‘Abbas, “O ‘Abbas! Where are you?”
Dhu Janah suddenly stopped and refused to move forward. The Imam glanced at the ground and saw the severed arms of ‘Abbas. He dismounted, took the arms of ‘Abbas and tearfully wiped them on his face as he said, “Ah for the grief of the death of my brother!” He mounted Dhu Janah and once again the horse paused. This time when he looked to the ground he saw the torn water-skin. The Imam wept aloud and continued to the river. There he saw the torn body of his brother. Involuntarily he let out a sorrowful cry that shook the Heavens and the earth as he said, “Now has my back broken; my means have been devastated.” The Imam took ‘Abbas’s head and drew it to his chest and uncontrollably cried aloud. Such was his grief that the enemy who witnessed it began to cry at the scene. The Imam said to ‘Abbas, “O my brother! May Allah grant you the best of rewards! Indeed you have striven steadfastly in the way of Allah.”
Some Of The Later Expression Of Grief And Admiration For ‘Abbas Ibn ‘Ali
Umm Banin his mother on receiving the news of ‘Abbas’s martyrdom addressed him in the following verse:
Had your sword been in you hands,
No one would have dared come near you.
There is a report that when the spoils of war that had been taken from the family of the Messenger were presented to Yazid in Syria, among them was a large standard. Yazid and those surrounding him in the court observed that every inch of the standard had been scarred except for the place where it had been held. Yazid asked about the bearer of the standard and was told that it belonged to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali. Yazid, in awe at the sight of the standard, repeatedly stood up and sat down. Then he said, “Look at this standard. No part of it has been spared from the cuts of spears and swords except the part where it was held.”
He continued, “O ‘Abbas! You rejected scorn. This is how the loyalty of a brother for his brother is demonstrated.”
(Din wa Tammudun)
When the Fourth Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn once saw ‘Ubayd Allah, the son of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali, in Medina, he remembered his father and wept uncontrollably. He said, “No tragedy had befallen the Messenger of Allah greater than the death of Hamza the lion of Allah in the battle of Uhud until a greater calamity came upon him with the death of Ja’far al-Tayyar in the battle of Mu’tah. But the greatest tragedy was the day of the martyrdom of al-Husayn. He was surrounded by thirty thousand men thinking they belonged to the Ummah of Islam.” Then he said, “Indeed ‘Abbas enjoys such a lofty status with Allah that all the martyrs will aspire to achieve it on the Day of Resurrection.” He added, “May Allah have mercy upon my uncle ‘Abbas who sacrificed his life for al-Husayn in such a way that the enemy cut off both his arms. Allah has replaced his arms with two wings as he did for Ja’far ibn Abi Talib. You should know that ‘Abbas passes through the ranks of Paradise with the angels.”
The Salutations Of The Twelfth Imam To ‘Abbas Ibn ‘Ali
Peace be with Abu al-Fadl ‘Abbas, the son of the Commander of the faithful!
Peace be with the one who gave his life for the sake of his brother!
[Peace be with the one] who made the world a means for the Hereafter,
[The one] who sacrificed himself for his brother
[The one] who protected and strove to get water for his brother!
May Allah curse the killers of ‘Abbas, Yazid ibn Ruqad and Hakim ibn Tufayl.
Further Reasons And Explanations For The Great Grief For ‘Abbas Ibn ‘Ali
In order to further appreciate the full extent of the grief of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali’s death we cite the following:
1. As Luqman the wise returned from a lengthy journey, he met his servant and asked, “Where is my father?” The servant replied “He has died.” Luqman said, “I will now be the master of my affairs. What has happened to my wife?” The servant answered, “She has died.” Luqman said, “I will marry again. What has happened to my sister?” The servant said, “She has died.” Luqman said, “My dignity is safeguarded. What has happened to my brother?” The servant answered, “He has died.” Luqman declared, “Now my back is broken.”
This demonstrates that the devastation suffered by the Imam at the death of ‘Abbas was such that he said, “Now my back has broken.”
2. In the time of ‘Allamah Bahr al-’Ulum part of the holy grave of ‘Abbas had become damaged. Bahr al-’Ulum was to visit the grave with a builder and oversee the restoration of the grave. They entered within the Sardab and the builder took a look at the size of the grave. Seeing that it was smaller than what he had expected, he enquired, “I have heard that ‘Abbas was so tall that his feet could touch the ground as he sat on his horse. According to that, his grave has to be much bigger than what it is. Have we been hearing false accounts of his stature or is there another reason for the small grave?” Instead of answering him, the ‘Allamah placed his head against the wall and began to cry aloud. He cried so much that the builder became concerned and asked, “Why are you crying like this? Have I said something wrong?” The ‘Allamah replied, “What you have heard is true. ‘Abbas was very tall but your question has reminded me of his heartbreaking tragedy. He was struck so many times with swords, spears and arrows that his body was torn and reduced into pieces.”
3. Every warrior who is shot by an arrow removes it or can remove it from his body with his hands. ‘Abbas faced four thousand bowmen who had made him the only target for their arrows while his hands lay cut on the ground.
4. Every rider, on dismounting from his horse, places one hand on the saddle and the other on the bridle. How could a person without any hands dismount from his horse? 5. Every warrior, falling from his mount, stretches his arms to the ground to prevent his head and body crashing onto the ground. How painfully ‘Abbas must have descended from his mount!
6. ‘Abbas was covered with arrows as he fell from his horse. At his fall the arrows further penetrated into his blessed body.
7. Sayyid ‘Abd al-Razzaq the author of Maqtal al-Husayn al-Muqarram writes: The great scholar Shaykh Kazim Sibti said to me, “One of our important trustworthy scholars came to me and said, ‘I have been sent to you by ‘Abbas. I saw him in a dream and he asked me why Shaykh Kazim Sibti does not narrate my tragedy? I replied that he always narrates your tragedy. He said tell Shaykh Kazim to narrate: Every one who falls to the ground uses his hands to help him. How would one who had no arms and who was covered with arrows land on the ground as he fell from his horse?”
(Maqtal al-Husayn al-Muqarram)
8. Fadil Darbandi writes in Asrar al-Shahadah: A group of trustworthy people have narrated to me that a believer would make a daily pilgrimage to the shrine of Imam al-Husayn but would only visit the shrine of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali only once in a week. He saw the Lady of light, Lady Fatimah, in his dreams, he greeted her with salutations but the Lady turned her face away from him. Frightened and dismayed, he asked, “O Lady! May my father and mother be ransomed for you! Why do you turn your face away? What wrong have I done?” She replied, “Because you have turned your face away from the pilgrimage of my son.” came the reply. He pleaded, “But I always visit the grave of your son al-Husayn.” To this Lady Fatimah said, “You visit my son al-Husayn but you only visit my son ‘Abbas a little.”
THE TRAGIC DEATHS OF ‘ABD ALLAH ABD IBN AL-HUSAYN AND ‘ALI ASGHAR IBN AL-HUSAYN, THE TWO BABES
According to the author Muhammad Ishtihadi, two suckling babies of the Imam were killed on the day of ‘Ashura’. One was ‘Abd Allah the new born and the other ‘Ali Asghar.
The Killing Of ‘Abd Allah Ibn Al-Husayn
As for the death of ‘Abd Allah, the author cites the al-Ziyarah al-Nahiyah of the twelfth Imam:
Peace with ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Husayn!
[He is] the suckling child shot and killed by an arrow, clothed in blood.
[He is] the one whose blood ascended to the Heavens.
[He is] the one slaughtered in the lap of his father
May the curse of Allah fall on his killer Harmalah ibn Kahil Asadi!
When most of the Imam’s companions and family members had given their lives, the Imam called out “Is there a helper who will defend the family of the Messenger? Is there anyone who for the sake of Allah will come to our aid?” The Imam called for help as the crying and wails of lamenting women rose from the tents.
The Imam came to Lady Zaynab and asked for his child to bid him farewell. The Imam held the child and as he drew him to his lips to kiss him. Harmalah shot an arrow at the young child’s neck slaughtering the child before the father could raise him to his lips. The Imam handed over the child to Zaynab. As he removed his hand from beneath the child’s neck, it had already filled with the child’s blood. The Imam threw the blood towards the sky saying, “The tragedy is bearable only because Allah witnesses it.” It is reported in al-Ihtijaj that the Imam went to the side of the tents where he dug a grave with the sheath of his sword and buried his baby son.
The Grand Tragic Death Of ‘Ali Asghar Ibn Husayn
It is popularly narrated that ‘Ali Asghar was six months old at his martyrdom. His mother was Rabab the daughter of Imru’ al-Qays. She was also the mother of Sakinah the daughter of the Imam.
Before his final combat with the enemy, the Imam came to his sister Umm Kulthum and said, “O sister! Take great care of my suckling child ‘Ali Asghar. He is only six months old.” To this Umm Kulthum replied, “O brother! Your child has not tasted water for three days. Go to the people and ask for some water for him.”
The Imam took ‘Ali Asghar to his bosom and advanced towards the enemy. He stood in front of the enemy exposing ‘Ali Asghar to them and said, “O people! What has this child done to you? If you have any enmity, then it is with me. You have killed my sons, my brothers, and my companions. This child cannot fight you. Come quench his thirst. Do you not see how he burns with thirst and is about to give his life?” The Imam had not even finished speaking when, on the orders of ‘Umar ibn Sa’ad, Harmalah made the thirsty throat of ‘Ali Asghar a target of his three headed arrow. Thus the neck of the child was torn from one ear to another.
The Grief Of The Imam At The Death Of ‘Ali Asghar
The grief suffered by the Imam at the death of ‘Ali Asghar was such that he wept in anguish for the child in his trembling hands. He said in supplication, “O Allah! You be the judge between these people and me. They invited us and promised to help us. Now they are killing us.” As the Imam wept intensely for his child, he heard a cry
from the heavens, “O Husayn! Let go of him. He has a mother waiting for him inside the tent.” This voice consoled the Imam and enabled to bear the pain of the death of ‘Ali Asghar.
Sakinah Encountering The Blood Drenched Body Of ‘Ali Asghar
According to a report, as ‘Ali Asghar finally fluttered from life to death, held in the hands of the Imam, Husayn ibn Tamim fired an arrow at the Imam. The arrow struck the blessed lips of the Imam; and a fountain of blood gushed forth dripping on the body of ‘Ali Asghar. The Imam tearfully complained to Allah, “O Allah! I complain to you for what these people have done to me, my brothers, sons and family.”
According to Abu Mikhnaf, the Imam Carried ‘Ali Asghar back to the tents as the blood oozed from ‘Ali Asghar’s neck on to his chest. Sakinah rushed to him to receive her brother. She asked, “O father! Have you fed water to my brother?” The Imam cried as he said, “O child! Take your brother who has been slaughtered by the arrow of the enemy.”
After the martyrdom of the Imam, Sakinah ran distraught from the burning looted tents to his beheaded body. She cried and fell unconscious on to his chest. The Imam appeared to her in her dreams and dictated to her certain verses for her to transmit to those who loved him that depicted the severity of the calamity that had befallen him. The following are two verses describing the brutal murder of ‘Ali Asghar:
If only on the day of ‘Ashura’ you had all seen
How I begged water for my child but they refused to show mercy to me.
Instead they quenched his thirst with a treacherous arrow in place of cold water.
Woe for the grave loss and calamity! They have destroyed the foundations of the mountains of Mecca.
THE HEART-RENDING DEATH OF A CHILD BESIDE THE TENTS
It is reported: When the Imam had advanced against the enemy and was already fighting, a child, the son of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil’s brother, ran out of the tents with the women chasing after him. The boy was wearing an earring on one of his ears that was moving from side to side and turning his head as if in search of someone. In the midst of this, one of the enemies named Hani’ ibn Thabit Hadrami rode to the child and struck him with his sword. The child died immediately. The scene was one of utmost tragedy as the women gathered around his little body, which by this time was soaked in blood. His mother Shar Banuwayah, as a result of the shock and the intense grief of witnessing her son, fell unconscious by his body.
Hani’ ibn Thabit was also one of the ten men who rode over the beheaded body of the Imam after his martyrdom.
THE BRAVERY OF THE COMPANIONS OF THE IMAM AS DESCRIBED BY THE ENEMY
A soldier in the army of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d and who had taken part in the killing of the companions of the Imam on the Day of ‘Ashura’ was rebuked by the people. He was cursed, “May sorrow be your lot! How did you consent to being party to the killing of the sons of the Messenger?” To this he replied, “Silence! We faced a people who were like unbridled camels. They were attacking us and cutting us apart from every direction. With open arms they were advancing towards death. Either they drank from the chalice of death or were willing to tear death itself apart. To kill them was the only way to save ourselves. If any of you had been there, you too would have done the same.”
(Sharh Nahj al-Balaghah by Ibn Abi al-Hadid).
THE TRAGEDY OF ‘ABD ALLAH ASGHAR IBN AL-HASAN
‘Abd Allah Asghar the son of Imam al-Hasan was eleven years of age when he was at Karbala’ with his uncle Imam al-Husayn. The Imam had instructed the women folk to guard ‘Abd Allah from the enemy. At the time when the Imam had gone forward for his final battle left alone and without any helpers, ‘Abd Allah, despite his helplessness, rushed out of the tent towards the Imam. Lady Zaynab ran after him to stop him from going to the battlefield. The Imam saw ‘Abd Allah running towards him and cried out, “O Zaynab! Grab him!” ‘Abd Allah clung to the Imam and pleaded, “By my Lord! I will not leave my uncle. I will not return to the tents.” ‘Abd Allah was in the arms of his uncle pleading to remain when a soldier rode towards them raising his sword intent on striking the Imam. ‘Abd Allah thrust out his arm to intercept the cutting steel! His severed arm swung by a shred of skin as he cried out, “O uncle! O father! They have cut my arm.” The Imam embraced the child saying, “O child! Persevere! Very soon you will meet your grandfather, your father and your uncle…” The Imam had not finished consoling the child when Harmalah shot an arrow at the tender throat of ‘Abd Allah. The child shuddered. Then, trembling in the arms of his old uncle, he parted from this world.
When Lady Zaynab saw this, she wept uncontrollably and sobbingly lamented, “O son of my brother! O light of my eye! If only death would have taken me away!”
According to another report, when ‘Abd Allah’s arm was cut, he called out to his mother, “O mother! They have cut my arm!” She came running out screaming, “O my child! O the apple of my eye!”
CONTINUE CHAPTER 7
THE GREAT TRAGEDY OF
THE LORD OF THE MARTYRS
IMAM AL-HUSAYN IBN ‘ALI