Birth of Our Master Imām Husain (a.s.), the Oppressed

Extracted from: Nafasul Mahmoom

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There is a difference of opinion among the Shi’āh and Sunni Scholars, traditionists and historians regarding the day, month and year of the birth of Imām Husain (a.s.). Some opine that he was born on the third of the month of Sha’bān or fifth of the same month, or on the fifth of the month of Jamādi’ ul Ulā forth year after Migration (Hijrāh), while some say that it was in the end of the month of Rabi’ ul Ulā third year after Migration.

Thus, Shaikh Toosi in his Tahzeeb, Shaikh Shaheed al-Awwal in his Duroos, and Shaikh Bahāi in his Tawzeehal Maqāsid unanimously agree and accept the tradition of Siqatul Islām (the Trustworthy Authority of Islām) Shaikh Kulaini (May Allāh sanctify his grave), that Imām Ja’far as Sādiq (a.s.) said that,

“The  distance  between  (the  birth  of)  Imām Hasan  (a.s.)  and  (the  conception  of)  Imām Husain (a.s.) was a Tuhr (a period of cleanliness between   two   consequtive   menses),   while between their birth six months and ten days.”

What is meant here  is the minimum period of cleanliness, which is of ten days. Imām Hasan (a.s.) was born on the fifteenth of the month of Ramazān in the year of the battle of Badr i.e. second year of Migration (Hijrāh).

Besides, it is related that the distance between (the birth of) Imām Hasan (a.s.) and (the conception of) Imām Husain (a.s.) was not a period of a Tuhr (cleanliness), and Imām Husain (a.s.) remained in his mother’s womb for six months.

It is written in the Manāqib of Ibne Shahr Āshob from Kitāb aal-Anwār,that Allāh, the Exalted, sent felicitations to His Prophet Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) regarding the conception and birth of Imām Husain (a.s.) while condoling him for his martyrdom. When Hazrat Fātemah az Zahrā (a.s.) was informed about it, she was grieved, then the following verse was revealed,

“With trouble did his mother bear him and with trouble did she bring him forth, and the bearing and the weaning of him was thirty months”.

Normally a woman’s period of pregnancy is of nine months, and no child born in six months can survive, except Prophet Isā (a.s.) and Imām Husain (a.s.).

Shaikh Sadooq, through his chain of transmitters, quotes from Safiyyah binte Abdul Muttalib, that she said:  When  Imām  Husain  (a.s.)  was  born,  I  was Surāh al-Ahqāf:

  • The author says that we strongly perceive that in reality the above verse refers to Imām Husain (a.s.) and Prophet Yahyā (a.s.) (and not Prophet Isā) for their lives were quite identical to one another while the period of their mother’s pregnancy was the It is related that Prophet Yahyā (a.s.) remained in his mother’s womb for six months as Imām Husain (a.s.), whereas in the case of Prophet Isā (a.s.), it is found in numerous traditions that his mother bore him for a very short period viz. nine hours, each hour equal to a month, and this seems quite acceptable. It is related that Ummul Fazl, the wife of Abbās bin Abdul Muttalib (the uncle of the Prophet) who nurtured Imām Husain (a.s.), recited some couplets eulogizing him attending to his mother. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) came to me and said,“O Aunt! Bring my son to me.”

    I replied that I had not yet purified him. He replied,

    “Will you purify him? Rather Allāh, the Exalted, has cleansed and purified him.”

    In another tradition, it is related that Safiyyah says that she then gave the child to the Prophet who placed his tongue in his mouth, and Imām Husain (a.s.) started licking it. Safiyyah says that I strongly perceive that the Prophet did not give him anything else except milk and honey. She says that when the child urinated and the Prophet planted a kiss in the centre of his eyes and wept, then handing him over to me said,

    “O my dear son! May Allāh curse the people who will kill you”,

    and he repeated it thrice. I asked, “May my parents be your ransom! Who will kill him?” and he replied, “The oppressive group to emerge from among the Bani Umayyāh.”

    It is related that the Prophet recited the Azān in his right ear and Iqāmah in the left one. Imām Ali Zainul Ābedeen (a.s.) relates that the Holy Prophet himself recited the Azaan in the ears of Imām Husain (a.s.) the day he was born. Besides it is related that on the seventh day the Aqiqā was performed and two white charming sheep were sacrificed, one thigh of which alongwith a gold Ashrafi (a gold coin) was given to the mid-wife. The hair of the child was shaven off and silver equal to it’s weight was given as charity, then scent was applied on the child’s head.

    The Trustworthy Authority of Islām Shaikh Kulaini relates that Imām Husain (a.s.) did not drink milk from his mother Hazrat Fātemah (a.s.) nor any other woman. He was always brought to the presence of the Holy Prophet who gave him his thumb to suck. Imām Husain (a.s.) sucked his thumb and then would remain satiated for two or three days. Thus Imām Husain (a.s.)’s flesh and blood was formed from the flesh and blood of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).

    Shaikh Sadooq (May Allāh sanctify his grave) quotes Imām Ja’far as Sādiq (a.s.) as saying that when Imām Husain (a.s.) was born, Allāh commanded Jibra’eel to descend upon the earth with a thousand Angels and congratulate the Prophet on His behalf and himself. Jibra’eel descended and on the way he passed by an island where an Angel named Fitrus, who was a bearer of the empyrean, lay there banished. Allāh had once assigned a job to Fitrus who delayed it due to laziness; hence Allāh took away his wings and expelled him to the island. Fitrus worshipped Allāh there for seven hundred years until the time Imām Husain (a.s.) was born. When Fitrus saw Jibra’eel he inquired of him as to where was he going. Jibra’eel answered that, “Allāh, the Exalted, has bestowed His Blessings (Imām Husain) upon Mohammad (s.a.w.a.), thus Allāh has commanded me to go and congratulate him on His behalf and myself.” Fitrus said, “Then O Jibra’eel! Take me too alongwith you to the presence of the Prophet, perhaps he might pray for me.” Jibra’eel lifted him up and brought him to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). When he reached there he offered condolence to him on behalf of Allāh and himself, then he presented the matter of Fitrus. The Prophet commanded Fitrus to touch himself with the body of Imām Husain (a.s) and arise. Fitrus did so and ascended upwards saying, “O Prophet of Allāh! This son of your’s will be mercilessly killed by your nation. Therefore it is incumbent upon me in exchange of this favour that I recompense. Hence there is no person who visits his grave except that I receive him, Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: “God will not accept any deed that is without recognition, and will not accept any recognition unless it is accompanied by action. If you have cognition, it will help guide your actions. If you do not act, you do not have any recognition of it. Indeed some belief in one brings about the other.” and there is no Muslim who offers salutations to him or who prays for him except that I take it to his presence and carry his message.” Saying this Fitrus flew away. In another narrative it is related that Fitrus flew away saying, “Who is similar to me? For I am a freed one of Husain (s.a.s), the son of Ali (a.s.) and Fātemah (a.s.), whose Grandfather is Ahmed (s.a.w.a.).” 

    Shaikh Toosi relates in misbāh that Qāsim bin Abul Alā’a Hamadāni (the agent of Imām Ali an Naqi) received a written pronouncement from Imām al- Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) which read as follows: Our Master Imām Husain bin Ali (a.s.) was born on Thursday, the third of the month of Sha’bān, therefore fast on that day and recite this supplication: “O Allāh! I ask you in the name of the one who is born this day…………(till the end)” Furthermore the following words are quoted: “Fitrus took shelter under his cradle, and we seek shelter after him under his grave.”

    Sayyed ibne Tāwoos says in Malhoof that there was no Angel in the Heavens who did not turn up to congratulate the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the birth of Imām Husain (a.s.) and condole him for his martyrdom, and revealed the reward reserved for the Imām. They showed him the grave of Imām Husain (a.s.), and the Prophet prayed,

    “O Allāh! Forsake him who forsakes Husain, and slay him who slays Husain, and do not bestow abundance to the one who wishes to derive advantage from his death.”

    Ibne Shahr Āshob writes in Manāqib that one-day Jibra’eel descended and saw Hazrat Fātemah (a.s.) sleeping while Imām Husain (a.s.) was feeling restless and weeping. Jibra’eel sat down and consoled and played with the child until Hazrat Fātemah (a.s.) awoke, and the Prophet apprised her of this. Sayyed Hāshim Husain Bahrāni quotes in his Madinatul Ma’ājiz from Sharhabeel bin Abi Awf, that when Imām Husain (a.s.) was born, an Angel from among the Angels of the High Paradise descended and went to the Great Sea and called out between the Heavens and the earth, “O servants of Allah! Wear the dress of grief and sorrow, and mourn, for the son of Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) lies beheaded, oppressed and subdued.”