When the news of his birth reached to the Prophet, he came to his daughter’s house, and took the child in his arms affectionately, and named him Hussain. He spent his early life in the lap of the Prophet, who loved him too much.
Prophet (s) said: "I owe my being to Hussain, and Hussain owes his being to me." (Ibn Majah, 1:33).
It is further related that once, while addressing in the mosque, the Prophet was interrupted all of a sudden by the cry of a boy, whose voice resembled that of Hussain. He asked to a person to enquire whether Hussain was weeping. The Prophet was soon reported that the weeping boy was a student, whose teacher had punished him due to negligence to his lesson. The Prophet sent for the teacher and said, "Please do not punish this boy so much that causes him to weep, as his voice resembles that of my child Hussain."
Imam Hussain was 6 years old during the demise of the Prophet and his mother.
He was married to Shahr Banu, the daughter of Yazdigard, the last Sassanid king of Iran.
After the abdication of Hasan, Muawiya became an absolute ruler of the Islamic state, which he diplomatically acquired on the ground of “Revenge of Uthman’s blood.” It must be pointed out that when he became absolute ruler, neither he investigated the assassin of Uthman, nor he did care for this issue. It was mere a pretext to establish the Umayyad rule in Syria.
Muawiya died in 60/680 and with his death, his son Yazid issued orders to his governor of Medina, Walid bin Utba, to exact homage from Imam Hussain and Abdullah bin Zubayr. Walid bin Utba summoned them in his palace. Abdullah bin Zubayr did not go and fled to Mecca. Imam Hussain went to the palace alone. Walid read to him Yazid’s letter and asked for the recognition of the new caliph. Imam Hussain replied uncommittedly that the oath, in order to be valid, must be made in public and that the governor should arrange a public gathering in the mosque where he would also be present. With this reply, the Imam rose to leave the palace. Walid bin Utba paid for his lenient attitude towards the Imam, and was shortly dismissed from his post.
In Kufa, as soon as the people received a word of Muawiya’s death, they held a series of meetings, expressing their loyalty for Imam Hussain. They sent out numerous letters, urging the Imam to come in Kufa to guide them and release from the tyranny and oppression of the Umayyad. The first letter Imam Hussain received on 10th Ramzan, 60/June 15, 680; it was signed by Suleman bin Surad al-Khuzai, Al-Musayyab bin Najaba, Rifa bin Shaddad, Habib bin al- Muzahir, and Muslim bin Awsaja on behalf of the Kufans.
He never attempted to depute his emissaries to stir up any rebellion in provinces such as Yamen and Iran, which were sympathetic to the house of Ali. Imam Hussain never mustered even a small force against the Umayyad, which was an easy for him.
In spite of hundreds of letters sent by the Kufans, Imam Hussain did not take a hasty decision, but sent his cousin, Muslim bin Aqil, to Kufa with instructions to ascertain the truth of these representations and report back of his survey. Very soon, Muslim bin Aqil quickly gathered thousand of pledges of support. Confident of Kufan support, Muslim bin Aqil consequently wrote to Imam Hussain to come to Kufa and assume spiritual leadership of the people. Having been assured of the extent of Kufan enthusiasm, Imam Hussain decided to go to Kufa.
Yazid replaced Noman bin Bashir with Ibn Ziyad to take charge of Kufa. Ibn Ziyad delivered a terrifying speech in Kufa, declaring death and unprecedented punishment for the sympathisers of Imam Hussain, while making tempting promises for those who would prove their loyalty to Yazid. The Kufans were stricken by awe and fear, completely lost hearts, and ultimately abandoned Muslim bin Aqil. He was captured and beheaded together with Hani bin Urwa, in whose house he had stayed.
Ibn Ziyad also blockaded all the roads leading from Mecca to Kufa and gave strict orders forbidding anyone from entering or leaving the territory of Kufa. The Imam knew all these measures, but continued his journey undeterred.
Imam Hussain reached Taneem, a few miles from Mecca. He thence started and made a junction at a place called Sifah, where according to Tabari (2:242) he met poet Farazdaq and inquired about the conditions in Kufa. Farazdaq replied, "Their hearts are with you, but their swords are with your enemies."
Umayyad commander at Qadisiya sent a detachment of one thousand troops under the command of Hur bin Yazid at-Tamimi to intercept him.
Tabari (2: 298) - Imam said: "O people of Kufa! you sent to me your delegations and wrote me letters saying that you had no Imam and that I should come to unite you and lead you in the way of God.....But if you have changed your minds, have become ignorant of our rights, and have forgotten your delegations and repeated appeals to me to come for the sake of your religion, I shall turn back."
Then Imam Hussain showed Hur two sacks full of letters of the Kufans, but Hur said that he knew nothing, and that he had come with the orders of Ibn Ziyad to arrest him and his party. Imam refused to submit, but still Hur did not use force. It was however agreed that Imam Hussain should keep on travelling along the Euphrates in the opposite direction from Kufa until fresh orders arrived from the governor and that Hur would follow closely.
When they reached the district of Ninawa, a horseman arrived from Kufa, and gave a letter to Hur from Ibn Ziyad, ordering him not to allow Imam to make halt except in a desert place without fortifications of water. Imam, therefore, advanced a bit turning to the left when Hur’s contingent stopped him from moving further and asked him to alight, adding that the Euphrates was not far from there. Imam said, "This is the stage of distress (karb) and trial (bala)" and got down from his horse (Tabari, 2:232), thus this place became known as Karbala, about 25 miles north-west of Kufa; where Imam pitched his tents when it was 2nd Muharram, 61/October 2, 680.
On the 3rd Muharram, the situation deteriorated as Umar bin Sa’d arrived with the fresh Umayyad force and assumed overall command on the field. Ibn Sa’d learned that the Imam now intended to return to Medina, but Ibn Ziyad sent orders that all the "rebels" should render homage to Yazid. On 7th Muharram, an embargo was placed on the water supply to the Imam’s camp, and for that Ibn Sa’d stationed army on the road to the river. Imam and his party suffered terribly from thirst.
Ibn Sa’d was still trying to persuade Ibn Ziyad to find some peaceful solutions to avoid shedding the blood of the grandson of the Prophet, but all in vain. Ibn Ziyad sent his final orders to Ibn Sa’d through Shimar bin Dhul Jawshan, either to attack or hand over the field command to Shimar.
Soon after receiving these orders on the evening of 9th Muharram, Ibn Sa’d advanced with his forces towards the Imam’s camp, who sent Abbas for a respite of one night, which was granted. Imam Hussain assembled his relatives and followers and induced them to abandon the field to his fate.
The relatives and followers of the Imam refused to leave or survive after him, and demonstrated an unshakable devotion to the Imam, and said, "By God, we will never leave you alone until all of us are killed and our bodies are torn to pieces. By this we will have fulfilled our duties to you" (Tabari, 2:322).
Thus, the whole night was spent in prayer, recitation of Koran and worship. The borrowed night ended, and the fateful morning of 10th Muharram brought with it the summons of the tragic result of the family of Ali bin Abu Talib and its handful supporters. Imam drew up in front of the tents his small band of 72 men: 32 horsemen and 40 foot soldiers of varying ages ranging from 70 years old Muslim bin Awsaja to the 14 years old Kassim bin Hasan bin Ali. Zuhayr bin Qayn was given command of the right wing, Habib bin Mazahir al-Asadi of the left, and Abbas bin Ali was entrusted with the standard of the Hashimite house.
Shortly before the fateful battle began, Hur bin Yazid, the Umayyad commander, the first who confronted Imam and forced him to halt at Karbala, was now confronted and agitated by his own conscience and feelings. He suddenly spurred his horse and threw himself at Imam’s feet.
Hence, a skirmish ensued, but the men of Imam kept within their camp, where they could only be reached by the archers. From time to time there were single combats in defiance. It began in the morning and ended shortly after noon as both parties desisted from the fight at the hour of noontide prayer. It was in the afternoon that the battle became fiercer, and Imam Hussain’s handful supporters one after the other fell fighting in front of him.
On 12th Muharram/October 12, however, when the Umayyad forces left Karbala, the people of Banu Asad from the nearby village of Ghadiriya came down and buried the bodies of Imam Hussain and his companions on the spot where the massacre had taken place.
(C) Copyrights 2016-2018 The Bohras. All rights reserved.