After the morning prayers on the Day of ‘Ashura, the Imam and his men organized their ranks for the battle. All in all there were thirty-two men on horse and forty men on foot. Zuhayr ibn Qayn was given command of the right wing of the army while Habib ibn Muzahir was in charge of the left. The standard was given to ‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali. The Imam and the Hashimites took up their positions in the centre of the army.

In the case of the enemy, ‘Umar ibn Sa’d had placed ‘Amr ibn Hajjaj in charge of the right wing and Shimr ibn Dhi Jawshan in charge of the left. ‘Urwah ibn Qays was in command of the cavalry while Shabath ibn Rib’i commanded the foot soldiers. The standard was given Durayd, a servant of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d.

A group of the enemy drew up their horses near the camp of the Imam. They saw the ditch behind and the fire burning the firewood and cane thrown into it. At this Shimr ibn Dhi Jawshan cried out, “O Husayn! Are you hurrying towards the fire before the Day of Judgement?” The Imam retorted, “Son of a goat-girl! You are most worthy of being burnt by the fire of Hell.”

At that moment Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah was aiming an arrow at Shimr but the Imam stopped him from shooting. Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah asked, “Allow me to shoot him. He is a corrupt tyrant and Allah has made the spilling of his blood lawful for us.” The Imam replied, “I detest that we should initiate the battle.

Then the Imam mounted his camel and rode towards the enemy and addressed them. This was his first sermon on the Day of ‘Ashura’. After praising Allah, he introduced himself, “Have you not heard that the Messenger of Allah has said that al-Hasan and al-Husayn are the leaders of the youth of Paradise? If you are in doubt, then ask the likes of Jabir ibn ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari, Abu Sa’id Khudri, Sahl ibn Sa’d, Zayd ibn Arqam and Anas ibn Malik, the companions of the Prophet as to the truth of this statement. Will this not prevent you from spilling my blood?”

Shimr cried out, “He worships Allah on the edge (i.e. hypocritically).”  Habib ibn Muzahir called out to Shimr, “Rather it is you who worship Allah on seventy edges (i.e. totally hypocritically). I bear witness that you do not comprehend a word of what is being said and that your heart has been sealed from the truth.”

After a further brief exchange of words, the enemy decided to mount an attack. When Hurr ibn Yazid Riyahi realized that the battle was about to commence, he was so shocked at what was going to happen that he removed himself from the ranks of the enemy and joined Imam al-Husayn.

‘Umar ibn Sa’d called for Durayd to bring forward his standard. Then he placed an arrow in his bow and shot it towards the ranks of the Imam saying, “Bear witness that I was the first to shoot an arrow towards al-Husayn.” A shower of arrows followed and the battle commenced. Soldiers on both sides were killed in this first attack. In the following attacks it was decided that the companions of the Imam would attack in groups of two, three and four until their numbers diminished when they fought individually.
Kitab al-Irshad).


Before the commencement of the battle at dawn on the Day of ‘Ashura’, Hurr approached ‘Umar ibn Sa’d and asked, “Have you resolved to fight al-Husayn?” ‘Umar ibn Sa’d replied “Indeed it will be a war in which heads will fly and hands will be severed.” At this Hurr heard the disturbing plea of the Imam as he called out; “Is there no one who will come to our aid? Is there no one who will defend the Household of the Prophet?” Hurr trembled at the cry of the Imam and went apart from the people. With him was Qurrah ibn Qays, a person belonging to his tribe. Hurr asked Qurrah if he had given water to his horse. Qurrah replied that he had not. Hurr suggested, “Then why don’t you take it to water?”

Qurrah reported: At that moment I thought to myself that Hurr wished to flee from the battle and did not want me to witness it. I went to water my horse and saw Hurr slowly advancing towards al-Husayn. Muhajir, an officer of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d’s army, called out to him, “Hurr! Do you intend to attack al-Husayn?” Hurr did not respond, his colour went pale and he began to shake. Muhajir called out, “I have never seen you so fearful. By Allah! If I were to be asked who was the bravest warrior of Kufah, I would say it is you!” Hurr responded, “By Allah! I find myself between Heaven and Hell, and I will not prefer anything to Heaven even if I am cut into pieces and then burnt!” Then Hurr raced his horse towards al-Husayn and joined the small army of the Imam.’

When Hurr reached the Imam, he tearfully pleaded, “May my life be sacrificed for yours, O son of the Messenger of Allah! I am the one who prevented you from returning to your destination. I am the one who retained you in this wilderness. I could not believe that these godless people would refuse to concede to your proposal and would consider killing you. O Husayn! I come ashamed, regretful, repentant and begging for forgiveness. Is there any means for my forgiveness?” The Imam replied, “Yes. Allah has accepted your repentance. O Hurr! Get down from your horse and come to me.” Hurr said, “It is better that I remain mounted and fight with the enemy on horse back.”  Then Hurr came to the battlefield and stood facing the enemy, rebuking them and saying, “May Allah not quench your thirst on the Day of Reckoning because of the way you have behaved to the family of the Prophet.” The enemy shot some arrows at Hurr but he returned to the Imam and awaited instructions from him.
Kitab al-Irshad).

It is reported that after Hurr had asked for forgiveness from the Imam, he sought permission from the Imam to go to the tents of the women in order to apologise to them. The Imam granted him permission. So Hurr, with a broken heart and eyes filled with tears, went on his steed outside the tents of the womenfolk. He called out, “Peace be with you, O lineage of the Prophet! I am the person who intercepted your path. I am the one who has caused you grief and brought you to this dreadful state. I have come as penitent, seeking refuge with al-Husayn. I am hopeful that you will not complain of me to Lady Fatimah.”

Such was the impact of Hurr’s apology that cries and wailing of the women were heard from the tents. It is reported that Hurr was so moved by this that he got down from his horse and wept aloud striking his face with his hand in grief. He lamented, “If only my hands and feet had been paralysed so that I would not have done what I did! If only my tongue had been cut off so that I would not have said what I said! If only I had not prevented you from returning to your homes!” At this some of the women consoled Hurr and prayed for him. This gave him some comfort.
Masa’ib al-Abrar).


It is generally accepted that the martyrs of Karbala’ were seventy-two in number. However, there are reports that before the Imam’s death, he looked at the place were the bodies of the martyrs were gathered and found that his non-Hashimite companions were seventy-two while the Hashimites were eighteen in number.
Ma’ali al-Sibtayn).

The late Mustawfi writes: After inspecting the accounts of ‘Ashura’, I am convinced that the number of the companions of the Imam was more than seventy-two. The number seventy-two may have gained fame due to seventy-two people leaving Medina with the Imam.
Nasikh al-Tawarikh).

Seventy-nine names have been mentioned in al-Ziyarah al-Nahiyyah, reported by Sayyid Ibn Tawus on the authority of the twelfth Imam.

Muhadith Mahalati has counted two hundred and twenty-two martyrs. Of these one by the name of Sulayman ibn Abi Zarin was killed in Basrah and twelve in Kufah. Those killed in Kufah were:
Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and his two sons
Muhammad ibn Kathir and his son
Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah
‘Abd al-A’la ibn Yazid
‘Abbas ibn Ja’dah
‘Abd Allah ibn Harith
‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Afif
‘Abd Allah ibn Yuqtur
Qays ibn Mushir
The remaining two hundred and seventeen were martyred at Karbala’. (
Fursan al-Hayjan).

Sayyid Muhsin Amin has counted one hundred and thirty-nine martyrs. These were:
Ten of the sons of the Commander of the Faithful
Four of the sons of al-Hasan ibn ‘Ali
Three of the sons of al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali
Three of the sons of ‘Abd Allah ibn Ja’far
Nine of the sons of ‘Aqil ibn Abi Talib
Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Hashimi, whose lineage within the Hashimites is unclear.
According to this the Hashimites were thirty in number.

The non-Hashimites that were killed in Karbala’ were a hundred and six men while three were killed in Kufah: Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah, ‘Abd Allah ibn Yuqtur and Qays ibn Mushir.
A’yan al-Shi’ah).


After Hurr joined Imam al-Husayn, he was followed by his son ‘Ali and brother Mushab. Mushab had abandoned the enemy and joined the Imam after hearing Hurr’s address to the enemy. Hurr took both his son and his brother to the Imam. Both repented at the hands of the Imam and went into battle and were killed.
Nawasikh al-Tawarikh).

According to another report, Hurr had another son called Bukayr. He had also followed Hurr and joined Imam al-Husayn. Before going into battle, Bukayr went to the Imam and kissed his hands and feet. Then he bade him farewell. As Bukayr drew near the ranks of the enemy, Hurr called out to him, “My son! Aid the one who has purged us from the wicked tyrants (meaning al-Husayn).” Bukayr fought the enemy fiercely. After killing many of them, he returned to his father saying, “O father! Is there any way for me to have a drink of water?” Hurr replied, “O my son! Return to the battle and persevere for a while longer.” Bukayr returned to the battle and was killed. When Hurr arrived at the torn body of his son, he prayed, “Praise be to Allah Who has bestowed martyrdom upon you in the presence of the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah.”

Among the things that Hurr said to the Imam was the following, “O son of the Messenger! I was the first person to intercept you on your journey. Now I want to be the first to go into battle against your enemies so that I may receive the intercession of the Prophet on the Day of Judgement.” The Imam permitted Hurr to do that. As Hurr advanced into battle, he recited the following verses:
I am Hurr, whose house is a sanctuary for visitors
and renowned for its hospitality.
These (i.e. al-Husayn and his family) are the dearest guests of Allah among those in Mecca and Mina.
I will not restrain my sword from anyone in defending these beloved creatures of Allah.
I am Hurr, who has grown up in the Household of freedom (
hurr) and have inherited bravery and freedom from my ancestors.

Hurr attacked forcefully and killed many of the enemy until his horse was lamed. He dismounted and continued to fight on foot. After killing about forty men, he was attacked by a great number of the enemy. Hurr fell to the ground. The companions of the Imam carried Hurr’s body to the Imam while there still remained a trace of life in him. The Imam cleaned the blood from Hurr’s face and said, “You are Hurr (free man) as your mother has named you. You are a free man in this world and the Hereafter.”
Nawasikh al-Tawarikh).

According to another report the Imam uttered these words as he rushed into the battlefield to Hurr’s body when he fell.
Al-Amali by al-Shaykh al-Saduq).

Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn reported that a companion of the Imam lamented Hurr’s death by reciting:

The best Hurr (free man) is Hurr from the tribe of Riyah, steadfast in the midst of the striking spears.
He is the best Hurr (free man) as he gave his life for al-Husayn, and succeeded with guidance and salvation.
He is the best of Hurr (free men) in answering the call of
al-Husayn, and sacrificing his life in the battlefield.
O Lord! Receive him in the folds of your Paradise and marry him to the pretty brides of your Heaven.

It is also reported that the Imam tied his handkerchief over Hurr’s forehead to stop the bleeding from the mortal wound he had received in the battle. Hurr was later buried with this handkerchief tied over his forehead.
Ma’ali al-Sibtayn).


On 13th Muharram Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn miraculously appeared in the battlefield to bury the bodies of the martyrs with the help of the Banu Asad. He took a group of the Banu Asad to Hurr’s body. As he looked at it, he said,” As for you, indeed Allah has accepted your repentance and has increased your happiness through your sacrifice for the sake of the son of the Messenger of Allah.” Then, with the help of Banu Asad he buried his body.
Maqtal al-Husayn).

It is also reported that the members of his clan removed Hurr’s body from the battlefield in order to prevent it from being mutilated by the hooves of the horses.

Hurr had a servant named Qurrah. After the martyrdom of Hurr, Qurrah came to the Imam and repented. Then fought against the Imam’s enemies until he was killed.
Nawasikh al-Tawarikh).


‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali was to be killed late on the day of ‘Ashura’ and this will be described later. Earlier in the day he was patrolling the tents in order to prevent the enemy from attacking them. At this time Zuhayr ibn Qayn approached ‘Abbas and said, “I have come to you at this moment in order to remind you of your father’s bequest to you.” ‘Abbas who feared an imminent threat of attack from the enemy did not descend from his mount. He said, “This is no time for talk. But since you have uttered the name of my father, I cannot refuse. Speak and I will listen whilst on my horse.” Zuhayr replied, “When your father intended to marry your mother, he told his brother  ‘Aqil to find him a brave woman from a brave family to give him a gallant son who would defend al-Husayn. O ‘Abbas! Your father sought you for such a day as this. Do not fall short in your defence of al-Husayn.”

The sense of honour of ‘Abbas was outraged at this. He thrust his feet into the stirrups breaking them and replied angrily, “O Zuhayr! Do you wish to incite me by this talk? By Allah! I will never abandon my brother or fall short in defending the family of the Messenger. I will show you some thing you have never seen before.”

Then he mounted an attack against the enemy killing a great number of them. Among the enemy who fought with him in single combat was a renowned swordsman named Marid ibn Sudayf Taghlabi. ‘Abbas pulled the spear out of the hands of Marid. As he was about to attack Marid, he exclaimed, “O Marid! I am convinced that I will drive you to the pits of Hell with your own spear.”

Then ‘Abbas thrust the spear into the horse causing it to fall. Marid jumped to the ground. In the meantime a group of the enemy rushed to rescue him. Even as they were attacking ‘Abbas,  ‘Abbas managed to thrust the spear at Marid’s neck cutting off his head from the ears while at the same time warding of the attacks of Marid’s companions.
Kibrit al-Ahmar)


Before going into the battle, each of the companions of the Imam would come to the Imam and bid him farewell. Each would say, “Peace be with you O son of the Messenger of Allah!” The Imam would reply, “Peace be with you too! Indeed we are soon to follow you.” He would also recite the following verse, “Among the believers are men who have been true to the promise they made with Allah. Among them are those who have given their lives and there are those who await [death], and none have forsaken their promises.” (Ahzab: 23). The Imam would also recite this verse over the bodies of companions as they called out to him before their final departure.

Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah was the same age as the Imam and was from the tribe of the Banu Asad, the tribe of Habib ibn Muzahir. He had secretly escaped from Kufah with Habib ibn Muzahir and had joined the Imam.

Now Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah went to the Imam, bade him farewell and went to battle. After a gallant struggle Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah was struck down by a group of the enemy. As he fell to the ground, he called out to the Imam. The Imam together with Habib ibn Muzahir rushed to him. While there was still some life left in Muslim, the Imam sat next to him and said, “May Allah have mercy on you, O Muslim!” Then he recited: “Among them are those who have given their lives and there are those who await [death], and none have forsaken their promises.”

Habib sat next to the blood soaked body of Muslim and said, “It unbearable for me to see your blood soaked body. Receive the glad tidings of Paradise.” In a weak voice, Muslim replied,  “May Allah bless you with Paradise.” Habib sorrowfully said to Muslim, “Were I not aware that soon I am to follow you, I would have wished to hear your final will and testament.” Pointing his finger at the Imam, Muslim replied, “I make my bequest that you protect this man.” Habib said, “By the Lord of Ka’bah! I will do so.” At that moment Muslim breathed his last. He had a maid who lamented his death crying out, “O Muslim! O Master! O Son of ‘Awsajah!”

The companions of ‘Amr ibn Hajjaj jubilantly claimed that they had killed Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah. Shabath ibn Rib’i, an officer of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d’s army, rebuked them saying, “You rejoice at killing such a man! How great a man he was! I saw him in Azerbaijan before the Muslim armies arrived. He had killed six men of the polytheists.”
Al-Tarikh by Tabari).


On the day of ‘Ashura’ as the battle was being fiercely fought between the thirsty handful of supporters of al-Husayn and the mighty army of Ibn Sa’d, Abu Thumamah ‘Amr ibn ‘Abd Allah Saydawi, a loyal supporter of the Imam, realized that it was the time for the noon prayer. He came to the Imam and said, “Even though I know that the enemy will not allow us respite to offer the prayers and though I swear by Allah that I will not allow you to be killed before me yet I desire to meet with Allah having offered this prayer with you.” The blessed Imam looked up at the sky and said, “May Allah raise you with those who have established the prayers! Ask the enemy to allow us time to offer the prayer.”

Habib ibn Muzahir conveyed the Imam’s request to the enemy. Whereupon Husayn ibn Numayr, one of the commanders of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d’s army, cried out, “O al-Husayn! Pray as many prayers as you want. They will not be accepted!” Habib retorted, “O most wretched of creatures! Will your prayers be accepted if the prayers of the son of the Messenger are not?”  Husayn ibn Numayr incensed at Habib’s comment mounted an attack against him forcing him to engage in battle. Habib ibn Muzahir fought a fierce battle and was killed. According to this, Habib attained martyrdom before offering the noon prayers.
Fursan al-Hayjan).

According to another report, before his final departure, Habib ibn Muzahir came to the Imam and said, “O Master, I swear by Allah I prefer to offer my prayers in Heaven and to convey your salutations to your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, to your father ‘Ali and your brother al-Hasan.” Then Habib went into the battle reciting the following verses:

I swear had we been equal to you in number or half of you, you would have turned your backs to us in flight.
O most wicked of creatures in lineage and in deeds, you have behaved oppressively!

Habib fought a gallant battle killing sixty-two men until one of the soldiers surrounding him struck Habib’s head with his sword while another embedded his spear into Habib’s chest. Habib ibn Muzahir, unable to stay on his mount fell to the ground. As he tried to stand, Husayn ibn Numayr once again struck his head with his sword. With this the life-long companion of Imam al-Husayn parted from him.

The death of Habib caused such grief, sorrow and distress on the face of the beloved Imam as had not been seen before on that day. The Imam went to Habib’s torn body and rested Habib’s head in his lap. Tearfully he said, “How excellent a man you were, O Habib! Indeed you would recite the whole of the Qur’an in a single night.”
(Maqtal al-Husayn by Abu Mikhnaf).

THE FINAL PRAYER OF THE IMAM (peace be with him)

According to another report at noon of the day of ‘Ashura’, Abu Thumamah Saydawi, realising that the sun had moved past its zenith. He went to the Imam and said, “Before giving my life for you I wish to offer the afternoon prayers with you.”

The Imam raised his head and glanced into the sky and said, “May Allah raise you with those who (have kept up) established prayers for reminding me. Go to the enemy and ask them to allow us a respite for prayers.”
When the enemy was asked to cease fighting in order for the Imam to offer his noon prayers Husayn ibn Numayr shouted, “Pray as much as you want, they will not be accepted!”
To this Habib ibn Muzahir retorted, “O drunkard, will they be accepted from you and not from the son of the Messenger?”
The Imam with a group of his most faithful companions offered the prayer for those in fear (salat al-khawf) while Zuhayr ibn Qayn and Sa’id ibn ‘Abd Allah stood in front of him, using their chests for shields, to block the arrows intended for the Imam.
The number of arrows that struck Sa’id caused him to fall to the ground. He turned to the Imam and said, “Have I been loyal to my commitment to you?”
The Imam replied,
“Yes, you will precede me into Paradise.”
Sa’id breathed his last and left for the eternal gardens. There were thirteen arrows in his body.
(Maqtal al-Husayn Al-Muqarram)


From the time that he joined the Imam, Zuhayr’s loyalty and commitment to the Imam has been mentioned on several occasions. It has already been mentioned that on the eve of ‘Ashura’ when asked of his commitment, Zuhayr had replied with such words as, “O master! If I were to be killed and torn apart a thousand times and then brought to life again, I would not abandon you.”

Now, on the Day of ‘Ashura’ itself, Zuhayr came to the Imam, placed his hand on the Imam’s shoulder and sought permission to go into battle. After the Imam granted him permission, Zuhayr entered the battle like a raging lion. He announced himself with the following verses:

I am Zuhayr and I am the son of Qayn.
I will drive you away from the family of al-Husayn with my sword

He killed a hundred and twenty men in all from the enemy. Two people of the enemy attacked him at the same time and killed him. When he fell to the ground, the Imam rushed to him. He looked down on him and said, “O Zuhayr! May Allah reserve a place for you close to Him and may He curse your killers.”
Al-Tarikh by Tabari)

As mentioned earlier, one of the people from his tribe that Habib ibn Muzahir urged to join Imam al-Husayn was Anas ibn Harith Kahili. Anas ibn Harith was one of the companions of the Prophet and had taken part in the battles of Badr and Hunayn. In Karbala’ he was so old that his eyebrows had turned white and were dropping onto his eyes.

Anas came to the Imam on the Day of ‘Ashura’ and sought permission to fight against his enemies. Anas then tied his turban around his waist to straighten it and tied a handkerchief around his forehead to raise his eyebrows. As Anas prepared himself for the battle, he recited poetry of love and devotion to the Imam. When the Imam heard Anas and saw his enthusiasm, he was so moved that he began to weep. The Imam prayed with tears rolling down his cheeks, “May Allah accept your efforts, O aged man!”

Anas fought bravely and despite his old age managed to kill eighteen of the enemy. Finally due to countless wounds, weakness, old age and thirst, Anas was overpowered by the enemy and killed.


Junadah ibn Harith Ansari was an inhabitant of Medina. He had accompanied the Imam from the Hijaz. After receiving permission from the Imam, he entered into battle reciting:

I am Junadah and I am the son of Harith. I am not one of those who are afraid or those who break their oath of allegiance.

He fought against the enemy until he was killed.

Junadah had come to Karbala’ with his son ‘Umar who was twenty-one years of age and with his wife, the mother of his son ‘Umar. After the martyrdom of Junadah, his wife sent their son ‘Umar into battle. When the Imam saw ‘Umar entering into battle, he called out to him to retreat fearing lest his mother be deprived of a guardian. ‘Umar pleaded with the Imam and explained that it was his mother who had sent him to fight and told him to defend the house of the Prophet. Then ‘Umar entered into the battle field chanting:

My master is al-Husayn and the best of masters is he, the joy of my heart, the giver of glad tidings and a warner.
‘Ali and Fatimah are his parents. Do you know of anyone who is his equal?

‘Umar fought until he was killed. The enemy severed his head from his body and flung it towards the army of the Imam. ‘Umar’s mother took hold of her son’s head and lamented, “Well done, my son! O joy of my heart! O apple of my eye!” Then she threw her son’s head back to the enemy and then arming herself a tent-pole she ran toward the enemy shouting:

I am a woman advanced in age, weak and devastated, worn out and fragile.
I will deal you a severe blow in the way of Fatimah, the noble.

She killed two people before the Imam made her return to the tents.
Maqtal al-Husayn).


As mentioned earlier Wahb his mother Qamar and wife Haniyah were three people who lived in the desert of Tha’labiyyah. They joined the Imam at Karbala’ and accepted Islam in his presence. On the Day of ‘Ashura’ Qamar went to Wahb and said, “O son! Rise and give your life for the son of the daughter of the Prophet. You will not gain my blessings nor the intercession of the Prophet without sacrificing your life for al-Husayn.” Wahb replied, “O mother! Indeed I will do so and I will not fail the Imam.” At this Qamar shed tears of joy eagerly spurring her son to battle as if releasing a caged bird to its freedom.

Due to the fear of destitution and also because of her recent marriage to Wahb, Haniyah did not agree with his resolve to do battle with the enemies of the Imam. On the other hand, Qamar insisted that he rode to the battle without delay. Finally Haniyah asked Wahb to take her to the Imam.

Haniyah was brought before the Imam. She said to the Imam, “I have two requests to ask of you. The first is that when Wahb gets killed and I will be left without a guardian and I ask you to keep me with the members of your own family. The second is that when Wahb is killed and raised with the brides of the Heavens, he should not forget me.” Haniyah’s words so moved the Imam that tears flowed from his eyes. He comforted her and gave her his word that her wishes would be granted.

Wahb fearlessly entered into battle reciting the war poetry. He fought gallantly and after killing a number of the enemy, he returned to his mother. He asked her, “O mother! Are you pleased with me?” She replied, “O child! I will not be pleased until you are killed in the way of al-Husayn.” He once again returned to the battle and killed nineteen horsemen and twenty foot soldiers. Then Wahb was attacked from all sides. Both his hands were severely wounded so that they were almost cut off. As Wahb fell from his mount, Haniyah, with a tent-pole in her hand, rushed to the side of her husband. She cried out, “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you! Fight with the enemy!” Wahb tried to grab Haniyah’s garment and send her back to the tents. The Imam saw this and said to Haniyah, “May Allah grant you the best of rewards on our behalf of us! Return to the tents!” Haniyah returned to the tents Wahb once again resumed the battle. He was captured by the enemy and brought to ‘Umar ibn Sa’d. Wahb, with his hands cut from his body, stood in front of ‘Umar. ‘Umar praised his firmness in battle. Then he ordered his men to behead Wahb and throw his head towards the army of Imam al-Husayn.  Wahb’s mother Qamar took his severed head in her lap and cleaned away the blood from it as she said, “Praise be to Allah who has bestowed honour upon me by your martyrdom.” Then she grabbed the head and flung it towards the enemy as if to say that whatever is given in the way of al-Husayn is not taken back. She took a tent-pole in her hand and attacked the enemy killing two of the soldiers. The Imam saw this called onto her, “O mother of Wahb! Return to the tent. Your son is now with the Prophet!” Hearing this Qamar retreated to the tents.

Meanwhile Haniyah, seeing the headless blood soaked body of Wahb, ran to it. She held it in her arms and said, “Receive the glad tidings of Paradise.” As Haniyah wailed in lamentation over the body of Wahb, Shimr Dhi Jawshan, one of the most heartless commanders of the enemy, ordered his servant named Rustam to kill Haniyah. Rustam struck Haniyah on the head with a spear killing her.

Haniyah was the first and only woman to be martyred defending the Imam on the Day of ‘Ashura’. At his martyrdom Wahb had been a Muslim for ten days and was twenty-five years of age. Seventy wounds were inflicted on the mutilated body of Wahb by swords, spears and arrows.
Ma’ali al-Sibtayn)


Juwayn was a freed slave of Abu Dharr who remained as steadfast as Abu Dharr in his service to the Household of the Prophet. He served Imam ‘Ali, then Imam al-Hasan and then Imam al-Husayn. Juwayn came to Karbala’ with the Imam and stayed there with him.

On the Day of ‘Ashura’ he came to the Imam and sought permission to go and fight against his enemies. The Imam said to him, “You are a free man. Save your life and go wherever you desire.” Juwayn’s eyes filled with tears as he fell at the Imam’s feet. He pleaded, “Master! Will I be your companion in your time of ease and abandon you in hardship?” Then he continued, “Is it my colour or my smell or is it that my descent is not Arab? No, by Allah! I will not leave you until my blood mixes with yours.”

Al-Husayn tearfully let him go into battle. As he entered the battlefield, he removed his coat of mail and then tore his upper garments to the amazement of the enemy. They called out to him, “O man! Have you lost your sanity?” He replied, “By Allah! The passion for al-Husayn has made me oblivious to everything else.” Then he called to them to come and take him with their swords.
Juwayn fought like a champion swordsman and killed twenty-five of

the enemy before being martyred. The Imam rushed to the torn body of his devotee and prayed, “O Allah! Whiten his face. Make his odour fragrant. Raise him with the best of your creatures and acquaint him with the descendents of Muhammad.” The supplication of the Imam was granted immediately and a sweet fragrance began to emanate from Juwayn’s blood-soaked body.
Maqtal al-‘Awalim).

Imam Baqir reports from his father Imam Sajjad: Except for Juwayn’s, the bodies of all the martyrs were buried by Banu Asad. That was found ten days after the burial of the rest and had the sweetest of fragrances emanating from it. May Allah’s pleasure be with him!
Bihar al-Anwar).


Hajjaj ibn Masruq was the
mu’adhdhin of the Imam (i.e. the one who made the call for prayers). He went into battle after Unays. After fighting for a while, he returned to the Imam and recited:

Today will I meet your grandfather the Prophet, then your father the magnanimous,
The one that we recognise as the successor to the Prophet.

Hajjaj resumed the battle and fought until he was killed.


Hafhaf ibn Muhammad was among the renowned warriors and staunch members of the Shi’ah of Basrah. He was a loyal companion of Imam ‘Ali and had taken part in the battles fought in the time of the first Imam. In the battle of Siffin the Imam had made Hafhaf the standard bearer of Azd, a tribe that lived in Basrah. He had served the first Imam, then Imam al-Hasan and after the latter’s martyrdom, he joined Imam al-Husayn.

Hafhaf lived in Basrah. When he heard of the Imam departure from Mecca to Kufah, he set off for Kufah. However, he did not reach Karbala’ until the day after ‘Ashura’ when the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn had already taken place. He went to the army of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d and asked, “Where is al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali?” They asked him, “Who are you?” He replied, “I am Hafhaf Basri. I have come to help al-Husayn. I have heard that he was compelled to come to Karbala’ alone and a stranger.” They told him, “We have killed al-Husayn and all who were with him. No one remains from them except the women, children and al-Husayn’s ailing son. Can you not see his looted tents?”

When Hafhaf learned of the killing of al-Husayn and the plundering of his tents, he took hold of his sword and attacked the enemy. The army scattered in all directions. Whoever came close to him was either killed or wounded. Hafhaf fought like a raging lion until, on the orders of ‘Umar ibn Sa’d, he was surrounded.

Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn reported: On that day the Kufans had not seen such a gallant swordsman as Hafhaf except for the Household of the Prophet. Fifteen renowned warriors among the enemy surrounded him and killed him. May Allah’s mercy be with him!
Ma’ali al-Sibtayn).


Suwayd was an old man who fought for the Imam on the Day of ‘Ashura’. However, due to the excessive wounds he had received from the blows of the swords and spears, he fell from his mount unconscious. The enemy presumed him dead and thus did not strike him after he fell to the ground. He regained consciousness and understood that the Imam had been killed. He charged at the enemy with a knife in his hand and fought them until he was killed. According to this he was the final martyr of Karbala’.
(Maqtal al-Husayn).

With this end the brief accounts of the martyrdoms of some of the non-Hashimite companions of the Imam on the day of ‘Ashura’






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