The life of Imām

The life of Imām


Zayn al ‘Abidin




Bāqir Sharif al-Qarashi






Jāsim al-Rasheed

Setting the Tents to Fire

The rude and roguish Umayyads set fire to the tents of Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, paying no attention to the Prophet’s womenfolk and children who were in them. They carried firebrands in their hands and cried out: “Set fire to the houses of the oppressors!”

These people thought that the tents of al-Husayn were the houses of oppression while the houses of the Umayyads and of their agents were the houses of justice. They forgot that the Umayyads had drowned the Muslim countries in oppression and tyranny.

When they set the tents to fire, the women of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, escaped to the desert while the fire was following them. As for the orphans, they cried and ran away towards the desert asking the people for help, but nobody helped or aided them. That was the most tragic sight which Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin saw. He did not forget it throughout his lifetime. After the martyrdom of his father, he always said: “By Allah, when I look at my aunts and my sisters, tears choke me because I remember the day of al-Taff when they escaped from tent to tent and the caller of the people was calling: ‘Set fire to the houses of the oppressors!

Ibid., p. 3.


The Captives of the Household taken to Kūfa

The wise ladies of Revelation and the Message were taken prisoners to Kūfa, so the Umayyad army blew its trumpets and raised its banners to show its victory over the plant of the sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and lord of the youths of the heaven. Muslim al-Jassās described that sight, saying: “Ibn Ziyād summoned me to repair the House of the Governor in Kūfa. While I was plastering the doors, I heard cries coming from everywhere in Kūfa, so I went to the servant of the palace and asked him: “Why is Kūfa noisy?”

“This hour, they will bring the head of a rebel (khārijite) who revolted against Yazid,” answered the servant.

“Who is this rebel?” I asked.

“Al-Husayn b. ‘Ali,” was the answer.

He (Muslim al-Jassās) said: “So I left the servant, struck at my face to the extent that I feared that I would become blind, washed my hands from plaster, left the palace, and went to al-Kanās. While I was with the people waiting for the arrival of the captives and the heads, forty camels came carrying women and children, and ‘Ali b. al-Husayn came riding a camel without saddle. Both sides of his neck were bleeding. He was weeping and repeating these verses:

O community of evil, may your region be not


[1] Hayāt al-Imām al-Husayn, vol. 3, pp. 324 – 325.

O community that never respected in our regard

our grandfather,

on bare camels of burden have you transported

us as if we never put up a creed for you ![1]

Jadhlam b. Bashir said: “When I came to Kūfa in the year 61 A. H., ‘Ali b. al-Husayn along with the womenfolk came from Karbalā’ to Kūfa surrounded by soldiers. The were (riding) bare camels. The people came out to look at them, so the women of Kūfa wept and lamented over them. I saw that ‘Ali b. al-Husayn was sapped by illness, chains were placed on his neck and he was handcuffed.[2] He was saying with a weak voice: ‘They are weeping and lamenting over us! So who has killed us?’[3]”

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin delivers a Speech

The Kufāns surrounded Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, so he thought that he had to address them to make them know the sin of what they committed against themselves and the community. He, peace be on him, lauded and praised Allah, and then he said: “O men, whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not, let me tell him that I am ‘Ali b. al-Husayn b. ‘Ali b. Abi Tālib. I am the son of the man whose sanctity has been violated, whose wealth has been plundered, whose children have been seized. I am the son of the one who has been slaughtered by the Euphrates neither on blood revenge nor on account of inheritance. I am the son of the one killed in the worst manner. This suffices me to be proud.

“O men, I plead to you in the Name of Allah: Do
you not know that you wrote my father then deceived him?
Did you not grant him your covenant, your promise, and your
allegiance, then you fought him? May you be ruined for what
you have committed against your own souls, and out of
your corrupt views! Through what eyes will you

[1]Ibid., p. 333.
[2] Shaykh al-Mufeed, al-Amāli, p. 143.
[3] ‘Abd Allah, Maqqtal al-Husayn.

look at the Messenger of Allah when he says to you: ‘You killed my progeny, violated my sanctity, so you do not belong to my community’?”

Those slaves who blackened the face of history wept loudly and lamented, and they said to each other: “You have perished, yet you are not aware of it.”

The Imām continued his speech, saying: “May Allah have mercy on anyone who acts upon my advice, who safeguards my legacy with regard to Allah, His Apostle, and his Household, for we have in the Apostle of Allah a good example of conduct to emulate.”

So they all said with one tongue: “We, son of the Apostle of Allah, listen and obey, and we shall safeguard your trust. We shall not turn away from you, nor shall we disobey you; so, order us, may Allah have mercy on you, for we shall fight when you fight, and we shall make peace when you do so; we dissociate ourselves from whoever oppressed you and dealt unjustly with you.”

In response to this false obedience, the Imām said: “Far, far away it is from you to do so, people of treachery and conniving! You are separated from what you desire. Do you want to come to me as you did to my father? No, by the Lord of those (angels) that ascend and descend, the wound is yet to heal. My father was killed only yesterday, and so were his Household, and the loss inflicted upon the Apostle of Allah, upon my father, and upon my family is yet to be forgotten. Its pain, by Allah, is between both of these (sides) and its bitterness is between my throat and palate. Its choke is resting in my very chest.[1]” Then the Imām refrained from speech, turning away from those treacherous conniving people who were the mark of disgrace against mankind. It was they who killed the plant of the sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, (I. e., al-Husayn), who came to free them and to save them from the oppression and tyranny of the Umayyads. After that, they repented and wept over him.

[1] Ibn Namā, Muthir al-Ahzān.

The Tyrant with Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin

The captives of the Household of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, were caused to enter the palace of the Governor of Kūfa, b. Marjāna (i. e., ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād). When the tyrant, b. Marjāna, saw Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, who was sapped by illness, he asked him: “Who are you?”

“I am ‘Ali b. al-Husayn,” answered the Imām.

“Did not Allah kill ‘Ali b. al-Husayn?” Ibn Ziyād asked the Imām.

The Imām carefully replied: “I used to have an older brother also named ‘Ali whom you killed. He will request you on the Day of Judgment.”

Ibn Ziyād burst with anger and shouted at the Imām: “Allah killed him!”

The Imām answered him with bravery and steadfastness: “Allah takes the souls away at the time of their death; none dies except with Allah’s permission.”

Ibn Marjāna was perplexed, not knowing what to answer this young captive who defeated him through giving proofs and quotations from the Qur’ān, so he shouted at him, saying: “How dare you answer me like that!”

The wicked sinner, b. Marjāna, ordered one of his swordsmen, saying: “Take this lad and behead him!”

The wise lady Zaynab, granddaughter of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, put her hands around the Imām and bravely said to b. Marjāna: “O Ibn Ziyād, it suffices you what you have shed of our blood! Have you really spared anyone other than this? If you want to kill him, kill me with him as well!”

The tyrant admired her and said to the swordsman with astonishment: “Leave him for her! Amazing is their tie of kinship; she wishes to be killed with him!”

Were it not for this heroic attitude of the wise lady Zaynab,

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin would have been killed and the rest of the progeny of Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, who was the source of good and honor in the earth, would have been destroyed. In his book ‘al-Rasā’il’, al-Jāhiz reported that b. Marjāna said to his companions concerning ‘Ali b. al-Husayn: “Let me kill him, for he is the rest of this progeny (i. e., the progeny of al-Husayn), so through him I will sever this horn, deaden this disease, and cut off this material.”

However, they advised him to refrain from killing him, for they thought that the Imām would be destroyed by his illness.[1]”

A Kufān Kidnaps the Imām

A Kufān Kidnapped the Imām, hid him in his house, entertained and treated him kindly. When he saw the Imām, he burst into tears. The Imām thought that the Kufān was trustworthy. A short time later, the caller of b. Ziyād announced: “Whoever finds ‘Ali b. al-Husayn and brings him will have three hundred dirhams.” When the Kufān heard the caller, he put a rope around the Imām’s neck, tied his hands with the robe, and took the dirhams.[2] This initiative, if correct, gives a picture of the Kufāns who spared no effort to get money.

The Captives of the Household taken to Damascus

The womenfolk and the children of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, were taken as prisoners to Damascus. They were in a condition the sight of which would cause anyone’s soul to melt. All the Kufāns went out to see the captives of their Prophet off. The men and the women wept for them. Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, wondered at their attitude and said: “They killed us and are weeping over us![3]”

[1] Hayāt al-Imām al-Yusayn, vol. 3, pp. 345 – 347.
[2] Mir’āt al-Zamān fi Tawārikh al-A’yān, p. 98. Ibn al-Jawzi, vol. 5. Ibn Sa’d, Tabaqāt.
[3] Mir’āt al-Zamān fi Tawārikh al-A’yān, p. 99.

The wicked sinner, Shimr b. Dhi al-Jawshan, ordered a rope to be put around Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin’s neck.[1] The historians said: “Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin did not say even a word to the rude people who accompanied him, nor did he ask them for a thing throughout the journey, for he knew that they were wicked and ignoble, and that they would not respond to any of his requests.

The caravan of the captives arrived at a place near Damascus and stopped there because the Umayyads wanted to decorate the city to show their rejoicing and the victory which the grandson of Abi Sufyān gained over the grandson of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family.

When Damascus was fully decorated, the captives of the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, were caused to enter it.

A Syrian with Zayn al-‘Ābidin

An elderly Syrian, who was misled by the false rumors, came near Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, and said to him: “Praise belongs to Allah Who annihilated you and Who granted the governor the upper hand over you.”

The Imām looked at the elderly Syrian. He understood that the elderly Syrian misunderstood the truth and was deceived by the false Umayyad mass media, so he asked him: “Shaykh, have you read the Qur’ān?”

“Yes,” answered the man.

“Have you read,” continued the Imām, “the verse saying: ‘ Say: I do not ask you for a reward for it except that you treat my kinsfolk with kindness,’ the verse saying: ‘ and give the (Prophet’s) kinsfolk their due rights,’ and the verse saying: ‘and be informed that whatever you earn by way of booty, for Allah belongs the fifth thereof and for the Messenger (of Allah) and for the (Prophet’s) kinsfolk’? ”

[1] Ansāb al-Ashrāf, Q1/vol. 1.

The elderly Syrian admired the Imām and said to him with a faint voice: “Yes, I have read all of them.”

The Imām said to him: “We, by Allah, are the kinsfolk referred to in all these verses.” Then the Imām asked him: “Shaykh, have you read these words of Him, the exalted: ‘Allah only desires to take away uncleanness from you, O Household (of the Prophet) and purify thoroughly’? ”

“Yes,” was the answer.

“We are the Household (of the Prophet) whom Allah singled out with the Verse of Purification.”

The elderly Syrian shook all over. He wished that the earth had swallowed him up before saying his words. Then he asked the Imām: “I ask you in the Name of Allah, are you really them?”

“By our grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, we are, without any doubt,” replied the Imām.

It was then that the elderly Syrian fell on Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin’s hands kissing them. His tears flowed down his cheeks, and he said: “I dissociate myself before Allah from those who killed you!”

The elderly Syrian sought repentance from the Imām from whatever rude remarks he had made earlier. So he, peace be on him, forgave him.[1]”

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin in the Assembly of Yazid

The police men of Yazid tied with ropes the wise women of Revelation and the children of Imām al-Husayn, as sheep are tied. The beginning of the rope was around the neck of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, then around the neck of his aunt Zaynab, up to all the daughters of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Whenever they relaxed in their walking, they (the police men of Yazid) whipped

[1] Hayāt al-Imām al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 371.

them. They brought them in this condition whose terror cracked the mountains and made them stop before Yazid. So Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin turned to him and asked him: “What do you think the reaction of our grandfather, Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, might have been had he seen us looking like this?” The tyrant, Yazid, collapsed. All those who were in his assembly wept. Yazid felt pain of that tragic sight, so he said: “May Allah detest b. Marjāna the ugly. If there had been (any bond of) kinship between him and you, he would not have done this to you; he would not have sent you in this state.” Then the tyrannical one, Yazid, ordered the ropes to be cut off, turned to Zayn al-‘Ābidin and said him: “How did you, ‘Ali, see what Allah did to your father al-Husayn?”

Al-Husayn’s brave son (Zayn al-‘Ābidin) answered with calmness and tranquillity: “Whatever misfortune befalls the earth or your own selves is already in a Book even before we cause it to happen; this is easy for Allah, so that you may not grieve about what you missed nor feel elated on account of what you receive. And Allah does not love those who are haughty and proud.”

The tyrant, Yazid, burst in anger, his elation went away, and recited these words of Him, the Exalted: “Whatever misfortune befalls you is due to what your hands commit.” The Imām answered him, saying: “This (verse) concerns those who do wrong, not those who are wronged.” Then he turned his face away from him to disdain him and his position.[1]

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin delivers a Sermon

Yazid permitted all the people to come to his palace, so the hall of his palace became full of people who came and congratulated him on the false victory. He was pleased and happy, because the world yielded to him, and the kingdom belonged to him only. So he ordered the orator to ascend the pulpit and to defame al-Husayn and his father, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. The

[1] Ibid., p. 376.

orator ascended the pulpit and went too far in slandering the pure family (of the Prophet), and then he lauded in a false way Yazid and his father Mu‘āwiya. Thus, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, interrupted him, saying: “Woe unto you, orator! You have traded the pleasure of the creature for the wrath of the Creator, so take your place in the fire (of Hell).”

Then the Imām turned to Yazid and asked him, saying: “Do you permit me to ascend this pulpit to deliver a speech that will please Allah, the Almighty, and that will bring good rewards for these folks?”

The attendants were astonished at this sick lad, who interrupted the orator and the governor while he was a captive. Yazid refused, but the people begged him. He said to them: “If he ascends the pulpit, he will not descends (from it) till he expose me and the family of Abi Sufyān.”

The people asked him: “What will this sick lad do?”

The people did not know the Imām. They thought that he was like the other people, but the tyrant, Yazid, knew him, so he said to them: “These are people who have been spoon-fed with knowledge.”

They kept pressuring him till he agreed. So the Imām ascended the pulpit and delivered the most wonderful speech in history in eloquence. He made the people weep. The folks were confused because the Imām’s speech controlled their hearts and feelings. The following is some of what he said: “O people, we were granted six things and favored with seven: We were granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. We were favored by the fact that from among us came the chosen Prophet, Mohammed, may Allah bless him and his family, al-siddiq (the very truthful one), al-Tayyār (the one who flies in the heaven), the Lion of Allah and of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, the mistress of the women of the world Fātima the chaste, and both lords of the youths of Heaven from among this nation”

Having introduced his family, the Imām continued his speech

explaining their outstanding merits, saying: “Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize, let me tell him who I am and to what family I belong: I am the son of Mecca and Mina; I am the son of Zamzam and al-Safā; I am the son of the one who carried Zakāt in the ends of the mantle; I am the son of the best man who ever put on a loincloth and clothes; I am the son of the best man who ever put on sandals and walked barefooted; I am the son of the best man who ever made tawāf (the procession round the Kaaba) and Sa‘i (ceremony of running seven times between Safā and Marwā); I am the son of the best man who ever offered the hajj and pronounced talbiya (Here I am at your service); I am the son of the one who was transported on the burāq in the air; I am the son of the one who was made to travel from the Sacred Mosque to the Remote Mosque, so glory belongs to Him Who made (His Servant) travel; I am the son of the one who was taken by Gabriel to sidrat al-muntahā ; I am the son of the one who drew near (his Lord) and suspended, so he was the measure of two bows or closer still; I am the son of the one who led the angels of the heavens in prayer; I am the son of the one to whom the Almighty revealed what He revealed; I am the son of Mohammed al-Mustafā ; I am the son of ‘Ali al-Murtadā ; I am the son of the one who fought against the creatures till they said: There is no god but Allah. I am the son of the one who struck (the enemies) with two swords before Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and stabbed (them) with two spears, emigrated twice, pledged allegiance twice (to the Prophet), prayed in the two qiblas, and fought (against the unbelievers) at Badr and Hunayn and never disbelieved in Allah not even as much as the twinkling of an eye. I am the son of the best of the believers, the heir of the prophets, the destroyer of the unbelievers, the Commander of the Muslims, the light of the mujāhidin, the ornament of the worshippers, the crown of the weepers, the most patient of the patient, and the best of the steadfast from among the family of Yāsin, and the Messenger of the Lord of the world’s inhabitants. I am the son of the one who was backed by Gabriel, supported by Mikāel. I
am the son of the one who defended the Muslims, killed
the oath breakers of allegiance and the unjust and
the renegades, struggled against his tiring enemies, the most excellent one of those who walked (to war) from among Quraysh, the first to respond to Allah from among the believers, the prior to all the previous ones, the breaker of the aggressors, the destroyer of the atheists, an arrow from among the shooting-places of Allah against the hypocrites, the tongue of the wisdom of worshippers, the supporter of the religion of Allah, the protector of the affair of Allah, the garden of the wisdom of Allah, the container of the knowledge of Allah, tolerant, generous, benevolent, pure, Abtahi, satisfied, easily satisfied, intrepid, gallant, patient, fasting, refined, steadfast, courageous, honored, the severer of the backbones, the scatterer of the allies, the calmest of them, the best of them in giving free rein (to his horse), the boldest of them in tongue, the firmest of them in determination, the most powerful of them, a lion, brave, pouring rain, the one who destroyed them at the battles and dispersed them in the wind, the lion of al-Hijāz, the possessor of the miracle, the ram of Iraq, the Imām through the text and worthiness, Makki, Madani, Abtahi, Tuhāmi, Khay‘ani, ‘Uqbi, Badri, Uhdi, Shajari, Muhājiri, the Lord of the Arabs, the Lion of war, the inheritor of al-Mash‘arayn, the father of the two grandsons (of the Prophet) al-Hasan and al-Husayn, the one who manifested miracles, the one who scattered the phalanxes, the piercing meteor, the following light, the victorious Lion of Allah, the request of every seeker, the victorious over every victorious, such is my grandfather, ‘Ali b. Abi Tālib. I am the son of Fātima, the chaste. I am the son of the mistress of women. I am the son of the purified, virgin (lady). I am the son of the part of the Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family.[1] I am the son of the one who was covered with blood. I am the son of the one who was slaughtered at Karbalā’. I am the son of the one for whom the Jinns wept in the dark and for whom the birds in the air cried.[2]”

The Imām continued saying ‘I am….’ until the people wailed.

[1] Ibid., p. 387.
[2] Nafs al-Mahmūm, p. 242.

Yazid thought that a discord would occur, for the Imām made a cultural revolt through his speech when he introduced himself to the Syrians and made them know what they did not know, so Yazid ordered the muadhdhin to say the adhān and he said: “Allāhu Akbar!”

The Imām turned to him and said: “You have made great the Great One who cannot be measured and cannot be perceived by senses, there is nothing greater than Allah.”

The muadhdhin said: “Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allāh!”

‘Ali b. al-Husayn said: “My hair, my skin, my flesh, my blood, my brain, and my bones bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”

The muadhdhin said: “Ashhadu anna Mohammedan rasool Allah!”

The Imām turned to Yazid and asked him: “Yazid, is Mohammed your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, then you are a liar, and if you say that he is mine, then why did you kill his family?[1]”

Yazid became silent and was unable to answer, for the great Prophet was Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin’s grandfather. As for Yazid’s grandfather, he was Abū Sufyān, who was the mortal enemy of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The Syrians understood that they were drowning in sin, and that the Umayyad government spared no effort to delude and mislead them.

The Imām confined his speech to introducing the Prophet’s Household to the Syrians. He indicated to them that the Prophet’s Household had a great position with Allah, that they waged jihad against the enemies of Islam, and that they suffered persecutions. The Imām mentioned nothing other than these matters. I (the author) think that this confinement to these matters is among the most wonderful considerations and among the most exact type of eloquence. This is because the Syrians knew nothing about the Prophet’s Household except what the pseudo clergy men fabricated against them; the

[1] Al-Khawārizmi, Maqqtal al-Husayn, vol. 2, p. 242.

authority and its mercenaries fed the Syrians on enmity toward the Prophet’s Household and on obedience to the Umayyads.

Anyhow, the Imām’s speech had a great effect on the Syrians, who secretly told each other about the Umayyad false mass media, and about the disappointment and loss at which they reached, so their attitudes toward Yazid changed[1] and they looked at him with disdain.

The Imām with al-Minhāl

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, met al-Minhāl b. ‘Amr and he asked him: “How have you received the evening, O son of the Apostle of Allah?”

The Imām looked at him and said to him: “We received the evening like the Israelites among the people of Pharaoh: they kill their sons and take their women captive. The Arabs brag before the non-Arabs saying that Mohammed was one of them, while Quraysh boasts before the rest of the Arabs of Mohammed belonging to it. We, his Household, are now homeless; so, to Allah we belong and to Him is our return.[2]”

The greatest Prophet was the original source for the honor of the Arab community. It was he who planned the honorable life for it and established for it the strongest state in the world, but Quraysh, who boasted before the rest of the Arabs of Mohammed belonging to it, killed his children and took his womenfolk as captives.

The Tyrannical apologizes to the Imām

When the Syrians became indignant with Yazid because of his killing the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, he (Yazid) summoned Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, apologized to him, and regarded b. Marjāna (‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād) responsible for killing al-Husayn, saying: “May Allah curse b. Marjāna! By Allah, if I had been with him (al-Husayn), he would never have asked me for a

[1] Jawhart al-Kalām fi Maddh al-Sāda al-‘Alām, p. 128.
[2] Hayāt al-Imām al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 291.
favor without me granting him it; I would have protected him from death with all my power even through destroying some of my sons. But Allah has decreed what you have seen. My little son, write to me and everything that you need is yours.[1] Affairs will occur among your people, so do not take part in them.[2]”

However, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin turned away from him and said nothing to him, for he knew that the reason for his apology was an escape from the crime he committed.

A Scholar asks about the Imām

A Jewish scholar was in the assembly of Yazid. He admired Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, so he asked Yazid: “Who is that lad?”

“‘Ali b. al-Husayn,” replied Yazid.

“Who is al-Husayn?” asked the Jewish scholar.

“Son of ‘Ali b. Abi Tālib,” answered Yazid.

“Who is his mother?” asked the Jewish scholar.

“Mohammed’s daughter,” replied Yazid.

“Glory belongs to Allah,” explained the Jewish scholar, “this is the son of the daughter of your Prophet, (why did) you kill him? You opposed him by doing evil to his blood relations. By Allah, if our Prophet, Mūsā b. ‘Umrān, had left a grandson among us, we would have worshipped him instead of Allah. Your Prophet left you yesterday; nevertheless you revolted against his grandson and killed him. How bad a community you are!”

The tyrannical one, Yazid, became angry and ordered the Jewish scholar to be hit on the mouth, still the Jewish scholar said: “Kill me if you want to. I have found in the Torah that whoever kills the progeny of a prophet will be cursed as long as he remains (living). When he dies, Allah will cause him to enter the fire of Hell.[3]”

[1] Ibn al-Athir, Tārikh, vol. 3, p. 300.
[2] Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 1, p. 157.
[3] Al-Hadā’iq al-Wardiya, vol. 1, p. 131. Al-Futūh, vol. 5, p. 246.

The Imām with Yazid

The tyrannical one, Yazid, met Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin and asked him to ask his needs, so the Imām, peace be on him, said: “I want you to show me my father’s face, and bring back to the women what had been taken from them, for among it is the inheritances of fathers and mothers. If you want to kill me, send with the family someone to guide them to Medina.”

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, asked Yazid to show him his father’s head to bid the final farewell to it or to bury it with the holy corpse, but the tyrannical one (Yazid) refused to give him the head because he intended to show it around the country to spread fear among the people and to be a lesson for those who might revolt against him.

He also asked him to bring back what was taken from the women on Muharram 10th. With this the Imām did not mean the ornaments, rather he meant the dear things he inherited from his grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, such as his turban, his breastplate, and his sword.

Yazid, the tyrannical, bowed his head. He thought about the Imām’s requests. Then he raised his head and said: “As for the face of your father, you will never see it. As for what was taken from you, it will be brought back to you. As for the women, no one will repatriate them except you. As for you, I will not kill you.[1]”

The Journey to Medina

Yazid ordered al-Nu‘mān b. Bashir to escort the womenfolk of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and to send them back to Medina.[2] He ordered him to take them out at night because he feared dissension and repercussions.[3] The caravan walked and began

[1] Hayāt al-Imām al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 414.
[2] Jawhart al-Kalām fi Maddh al-Sāda al-‘Alām, p. 128.
[3] Tafsir al-Matālib fi Amāli Abi Tālib, p. 93. Al-Hadā’iq al-Wardiya, vol. 1, p.
covering the desert. The Alid women asked al-Nu‘mān b. Bashir to take them to Karbalā’ to renew their covenant with the grave of the Lord of martyrs, peace be on him. Having reached Karbalā’, the Alid women hurried to the grave of Imām Abi ‘Abd Allah, peace be on him, weeping and wailing. They stayed there mourning al-Husayn for three days to the extent that their voices became hoarse and their hearts became broken. Some sources mentioned that Jābir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansāri, a great companion of the Prophet, visited the grave of al-Husayn, Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, met him and told him about the tragedies which the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, faced, and then they left Karbalā’ and headed for Medina.

Bishr announced the Death of Imām al-Husayn

When Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, came close to Medina, he alighted, set up a tent where he lodged his aunts and his sisters, turned to Bishr b. Hadhlam and said to him: “O Bishr, may Allah have mercy on your father, who was a poet! Can you compose any of it at all?” “Yes, O son of Allah’s Apostle,” replied Bishr. So the Imām ordered him to enter Medina and to announce the death of Imām al-Husayn among its people. Hence, Bishr set off towards Medina. When he came near the Mosque of the Prophet, he cried loudly and recited these verses:

O people of Yathrib! May you never stay


Al-Husayn was killed, so my tears now rain,

His body is in Karbalā’ covered with blood

While his head is on spear displayed.

The people went in a hurry to the Mosque of the Prophet

weeping loudly for the Imām, peace be on him. They gathered around Bishr, who was weeping, asking him for more information of al-Husayn, so he said to them: “Here is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn accompanied by his aunts and sisters; they have all returned to you. I am his messenger to you to inform you of his place.[1]”

The people went out to receive Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin all weeping and wailing. The historians said that that day was like the day when Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, passed away.[2] They surrounded the Imām to offer him their condolences.

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin delivers a Speech

The Imām, peace be on him, thought that he had to tell the people about the tragedies which they were subjected to. The Imām was unable to stand up to deliver a speech, for he was sapped by illness and overcome by grief, so a chair was brought for him. He sat in the chair and said: “Praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, the King of the Day of Judgment, Creator of all creation, Who is the Exalted in the high heavens, Who is so near, He hears even the silent speech. We praise Him on the grave events, on time’s tragedies, on the pain inflicted by such tragedies, on the crushing of calamities, on the greatness of our catastrophe, on our great, monstrous, magnanimous and afflicting hardships.

“O People, Allah, the Most Exalted One, praise belong to Him, has tried us with great trials and tribulations, with a tremendous loss suffered by the religion of Islam. Abū ‘Abd Allah, al-Husayn, and his family have been killed, and his womenfolk and children taken captives. They displayed his head in every land from the top of a spear. Such is the catastrophe similar to which there is none at all.

“O people, which men among you are happy after him, or which

[1] Hayāt al-Imām al-Husayn, vol. 3, p. 423.
[2] Al-Luhūf, p. 116.
heart is not grieved on his account? Which eye among you withholds its tears and is too miser with its tears? The seven great heavens wept over his killing; the seas wept with their waves, and so did the heavens with their corners and the earth with its expanse; so did the trees with their branches and the fish in the depths of the seas. So did the angels who are close to their Lord. So did all those in the heavens.

“O People, which heart is not grieved with his killing? Which heart does not yearn for him? Which hearing hears such a calamity that has befallen Islam without becoming deaf.

“O people, we have become homeless, exiles, outcasts, shunned, distanced from all countries as though we were the offspring of the Turks or of Kabul without having committed a crime, nor an abomination, nor afflicted a calamity on Islam! Never did we ever hear such a thing from our fathers of old. This is something new. By Allah, had the Prophet required them to fight us just as he had required them to be good to us, they would not have done to us any more than what they already have. So we belong to Allah and to Him is our return from this calamity, and what a great, painful, hard, cruel, and catastrophic calamity it is! To Allah do we complain from what has happened to us, from the sufferings we have endured, for He is the Omnipotent, the Vengeful.”

Sa‘sa‘a, an invalid who could barely walk on his feet, stood up and apologized to the Imām for not rushing to help his family due to his handicap. Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, responded to him by accepting his excuse, telling him that he thought well of him, thanked him and asked Allah to have mercy on his father. Then the Imām walked accompanied by his aunts and sisters. The people surrounded him weeping and wailing until they reached the Mosque of the Prophet. There Zaynab, the wise lady of the family of Abi Tālib, took both knobs of the door of the mosque and cried out and addressed her grandfather, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying: “O my grandfather, I mourn to you my brother al-Husayn![1]”

[1] Al-Muqrim, Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 472.

The wise ladies who were born and grew up in the lap of the Prophet held a mourning ceremony for the Lord of the martyrs. They put on the most coarse clothes and shrouded themselves in black and continued weeping and wailing.

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin’s Grief

Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, kept weeping day and night over his father and the members of his Household. Imām al-Sādiq, peace be on him, said: “My grandfather, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, wept over his father for twenty years. When food was put before him, he wept.[1]” One of his retainers blamed him, saying: “I fear for you lest you should perish.”

So the Imām kindly said to him: “I only convey my complaints and my grief to Allah, and I know from Allah what you all do not know. Ya‘qūb (Jacob) was a prophet from whom Allah caused one of his sons to be separated. He had twelve sons, and he knew that his son (Joseph) was still alive, he wept over him till he lost his eye sight. I looked at my father, my brothers, my uncles, and my companions (and saw them) slain all around me, so how can my grief end? Whenever I remember how Fātima’s children were slaughtered, tears choke me. Whenever I look at my aunts and sisters, I remember how they were fleeing from one tent to another.[2]”

When the Imām looked at water, his weeping increased, and his pain doubled. This is because water reminded him of the thirst of his father and the members of his Household. The narrators said: “When he took some water to drink, he wept. So he was asked about that, and he answered: ‘How do I not weep (while) my father was prevented from drinking the water which was free for beasts and wild animals?’t”>[3]”

[1] Ahmed Fahmi, al-Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, p. 31.
[2] Al-Muqrim, Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 47. A narration similar to this has been reported in Hulyat al-Awliyā’, vol. 3, p. 138.
[3] Al-Majjlisi, Bihār al-Anwār, vol. 46, p. 108.

The Imām always wept over his father, and it was said to him: “You always weep, even if you kill yourself, you will increase (nothing) with this.” So he said: “I have killed my soul, and over it I weep.[1]”

A group of his retainers and the members of his Household felt pity for him because of his abundant weeping, so one of them asked him: “Has n’t your grief end yet?”

The Imām answered him, saying: “Woe unto you! Ya‘qūb (Jacob) was a prophet from whom Allah caused one of his sons to be separated. He had twelve sons, and he knew that his son (Joseph) was still alive in the world, he wept over him till he lost his eye sight. I looked at my father, my brother, my uncle, and seventeen (persons) from the members of my Household (and saw them) slain all around me, so how can my grief end?[2]”

His heart melt with pity for his father, his Household, and his friends whose heads the swords of aggression severed in a cruel manner.

His Paying the Debts which his Father owed

Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, was indebted to a group of people for more than seventy thousand dinars, so Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, took great care of paying them to the extent that he prevented himself from having food and water. When he prepared this sum (of money), he hurried to pay every debt to the person to whom it was owed, and thus he could free his father from such an obligation.[3]

[1] Ibid, p. 109.
[2] Ibid, p. 108.
[3] Sir al-Silsila al-‘Alawiya, p. 32.





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