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Ashura - Martyrdom of Imam Husayn

Added March 02, 2004 (10th Muharram - Ashura)

"When nobody except a group of three members of his family was left with al-Husayn, he moved against the people (the soldiers), while the three (moved with) him until (all) three were killed. Al-Husayn was left alone. Despite being weighed down by wounds in his head and body, he began to strike against them (the enemy) with his sword and they scattered, to right and left, away from him.

Humayd b. Muslim said: "By God, I have never seen such persistence. His sons have been killed, and the members of his household and his followers, yet he is still as brave as ever and he has not allowed his spirit to leave him...."

When Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan realised (the position), he called for the cavalry and they came up at the rear of the foot-soldiers. He ordered the archers to shoot at (al-Husayn) and they showered him with arrows until his (armour) became (quilted with arrows)....

Then Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan shouted at the foot soldiers and the calvary: "Why are you waiting for the man? May your mothers be deprived of you!" So they attacked him from every side.

Zur'a b. Sharik struck him on the left shoulder-blade and cut into it. Another of them struck him on the shoulder. He fell prostrate on his face. Sinan b. Anas al-Nakha'i stabbed him with a spear and killed him. Khawali b. Yazid al-Asbahi) hurried to him and bent down to cut off his head but he trembled (too much). Shamir said to him: "May God crush your arm why are you trembling?" Then Shamir bent down and decapitated him. He lifted the head (and handed it) to Khawali saying: "Take it to the commander 'Umar b. Sa'd."

Then they began to plunder (the body of) al-Husayn. Ishaq b. al-Hayat al-Hadrami, may God curse him, took his shirt. Abjar b. Ka'b, may God curse him, took his trousers. Akhnas b. Marthad, may God curse him, took his turban. One of the Banu Darim took his sword. They plundered his saddle and his camel and they looted his womenfolk.

Humayd b. Muslim reported: By God, I did not see one of his women or daughters or the women of his family who did not have her clothes ripped from her back, taken away and removed from her forcibly. Then we came to 'Ali b. al-Husayn. He was stretched out on a bed and he was very ill. Shamir had a group of foot-soldiers with him and they asked him, "Shall we kill this sick one?" I said: "Praise be to God, will boys be killed (too)? This is only a youth even though he is what he is." And I went on (arguing) until I had moved them away from him.

Then Umar b. Sa'd arrived and.the women cried out and wept in his face. He ordered his followers: "None of you should enter the tents of these women nor disturb this sick boy." The women asked him to return what had been taken from them so that they could clothe themselves again. So he commanded that whoever had taken any of their belongings should return them to them. But by God, none of them returned anything. He then entrusted charge of the main tent and the tents of the women to a group (of men) who were with him. He said: "Guard (the women) so that none of them may leave and do not harm them."

After this, he returned to his tent and called out to his followers:

"Who will volunteer (to go) to al-Husayn and make his horse trample on (al-Husayn's body)?" Ten volunteered. Of these, Ishaq b. Hayyat and Akhnas b. Marthad trampled on (the body of) al-Husayn with their horses until they had broken, and bruised his back.

Umar b. Sa'd despatched on that day - it was, the day of Ashura, - the head of al-Husayn, with Khawali b. Yazid al-Asbahi and Humayd b. Muslim al-Azdi, to Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. Then he ordered the heads of the remainder of his followers and members of his House (who had been slain) to be cut off. There were seventy-two heads. He sent Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan, Qays b. Ash'ath and Amr b. al-Hajjaj with these. They journeyed until they brought them to Ibn Ziyad. He took with him the daughters and sisters of al-Husayn, together with Ali b. al Husayn. The latter was sick with a dysentry and was almost on the point of death.

When Ibn Sa'd departed, some of Banu Asad, who had been staying at al-Ghadiriyya went to al-Husayn, and his followers. They performed the funeral prayer over them. Then they buried al-Husayn at the place where his tomb still is, and they buried his son Ali b. al-Husayn al-Asghar (the younger) at the foot of the body. They dug around the area next to the two feet of al-Husayn, for the martyrs from his House and his followers. They gathered them together and buried them all together. However, they buried al-Abbas b. Ali, in the place where he was killed, on the road to al-Ghadiriyya, where his tomb still is.

After Ibn Ziyad had despatched the head of al-Husayn to Yazid, he went to Abd al-Malik b. Abi al-Harith al-Sulami and told him, "Go to Amr b. Sa'id b. al-As in Medina and give him the good news of the killing of al-Husayn"

Abd al-Malik reported:

When I went to Amr b. Sa'id, he asked: "What is your purpose?"

"What will please the governor," I answered, "Al-Husayn has been killed."

"Go out and announce his being killed," he told me.

I announced (it). I have never heard such wailing as the wailing of
the Banu Hashim in their houses for al-Husayn b. Ali, when they heard the announcement of his death. I went back (in) to Amr b. Sa'id. When he saw me, he smiled at me and laughed. Then he quoted a verse of Amr b. Ma'dikarib:

'Then women of Banu Ziyad raised a great lament like the lamentation of our women mourning (after the battle) of alĀ­-Arnab.'

....Umm Luqman, the daughter of Aqil b. Abu Talib, came out crying when she heard the news of the death of al-Husayn. With her were her sisters Umm Hani, Ramla and Zaynab, daughters of Aqil b. Abu Talib, may God have mercy on them. She wept for her (relatives) slain on the bank and she recited:

"What would you say if the Prophet asked you: What have you, the last of the (religious) communities, done

With my offspring and my family after my departure from them? They are prisoners and slain and have been stained with their own blood.

What sort of reward is this for my advice to you - that you should now oppose me by doing evil to my household (to my near ones)."

(excerpted from Kitab-al-Irshad of Shayk al-Mufid)


"Say (to the people, O Prophet): I do not ask of you any reward...but love for my near relatives; and whoever earns good, We give him more of good therein; surely Allah is Forgiving, Grateful." (Qur'an 42:23)

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