Journey from Kufa


After the people took steps to kill the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.), some righteous persons and pious men did not like to continue staying in Kufa. Of them was Abdur Rahman Quzai who left Kufa and settled down in Basra. He said: “I shall not stay in the city where the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) was killed.” The carnage of Karbala created a roaring wave of anxiety and frenzy in all the gatherings of Kufa and the people realized the immensity of the crime that had been committed.

(al-Ma’rif, p. 426 (Old Edition)) Here comes to an end our discussion regarding the arrival of the prisoners from Ahlul Bayt to Kufa and the events of that period. Prisoners from the Family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Damascus Ladies of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)’s family and the honorable women of the revelation recipients bore hardships and calamities during the dark days they spent in Kufa; because they had to taste the bitterness of their imprisonment, taunts of enemies and the humiliation of being held hostages in a town that was the native place of their Shias and the center of their mission. They because so much aggrieved that its intensity burns the hearts… Let us now study the sad events that occurred during their dispatch to Damascus and the hardships that they had to experience en route.

Departure of the Heads

Ibn Marjana ordered that the heads of the Purified Progeny be dispatched to Damascus that they may be displayed to the people of Syria like they had been exhibited to the people of Kufa so that the hearts of people become full of the fear of Bani Umayyah and may serve as a lesson to anyone contemplating to undertake an uprising. The heads were sent with Zajar bin Qais Jofi, Abu Burdah bin Auf Azadi and Tariq bin Zibyan Azadi.

Departure of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a)’s Family

The family of the Progeny of Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was sent under the charge of Mahfar bin Salaba a relative of Quraish and Shimr bin Zil Jaushan in such a way that the prisoners were tied with ropes and mounted on humps of camel as a result of which their bodies were trembling. Abdul Basit Fakhuri says: “Then Ubaidullah readied to send the head, Ali bin al-Husayn (a.s.) and the family with him, in such a way that its memory makes them shiver at its cruelty.”

(Tohfatul Imam Fee Mukhtasar Tarikhul Islam, p. 77)

People of Kufa see off the Prisoners

People of all classes of Kufa came out to see off the caravan of Ahlul Bayt, crying and lamenting aloud. Roads of Kufa city were crowded with people who had wept all night long. Due to the crowding it was not possible for the caravan to move forward. Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) was astonished at them and he said, “They have killed us and crying on us!” (Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayan, p. 99) Ladies of the Hamadan tribe began to weep and wail and the sound of their lamentations arose in the atmosphere. (Hadaiq al-Wardiya, vol. 1, p. 125) Shimr bin Zil Jaushan ordered that Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) be hauled by chain with the iron collar and this was done. After him they moved the prisoners forward till they joined with the caravan carrying the heads. Throughout the journey, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) did not speak a word to those wicked people and did not ask them for anything. (Al-Irshad, vol. 2, p. 119) In this way the caravan continued on its route without being distracted by anything else till it approached Damascus and the city became visible. They saw that the city had been decorated with signs of pride and joyfulness.

Celebrations of Syria

The Damascus regime issued orders that all the government and non-government and all the public and private buildings be decorated to celebrate the victories they had achieved in killing the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and taking the Progeny of His Eminence as hostages.One of the historians has described the festivities as follows: When they (that is hostages from Ahlul Bayt), came four farsang distance from Damascus, the people of Syria, while distributing coins and sugar plums, welcomed them joyfully to reach them near Damascus. They kept them under observation for three days after their arrival. They were confined to that place so that the decorations of Syria are complete. They decked it with gold, ornaments, silk, brocade, silver and gemstones in such a way that none had seen such resplendent preparation either before or after it. After that men and women, young and old, ministers and officers, Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and other communities came out to watch the spectacle while drums and other musical instruments played. They had put kohl to their eyes and applied henna to their palms, attired in the best clothes and embellished themselves in the best way…Greater festivities and celebrations were not seen. So much so that it seemed as if all the people residing in Damascus had come out to celebrate.” That community which was raised on the enmity of Ahlul Bayt expressed in various ways its joy at the killing and captivity of the family of the Prophets (s.a.w.a.). The honorable head was brought in the circles of people chanting the slogans of “God is Great” and “There is no god, except Allah” for the victory that the grandson of Abu Sufyan had achieved. Khalid bin Safwan or Ghufran who was present in Damascus when the head of the Imam was brought expressed his grief and lamentation and sought refuge from the people lest the spies of Bani Umayyah may apprehend him, while he recited: “Your head O son of the daughter of Muhammad, they brought smeared in its own blood. As if by killing you O son of the daughter of Muhammad they have openly and intentionally killed prophethood. They killed you while you were thirsty and in killing you they did not have any regard for the meaning and interpretation of Quran. Now that you are killed they chant, God is the Greatest while in killing you they have destroyed the slogans of ‘God is Great’ and ‘There is no god, except Allah.’”

(Jawahirul Matalib, vol. 2, p. 305) Sahl bin Saad says: I was on the way to Baitul Maqdas when I reached the capital of Syria and found it to be a city of flowing rivers and numerous trees with curtains and silks hanging from them. And people were in a festive mood, women played drums and tambourine etc. So I said to myself: The people of Syria must be having some festival of which we were ignorant. I saw some people talking among themselves. I asked them: “Do you have a festival in Syria about which we have no knowledge?”
“Yes respected sir! You seem to be a foreigner.”
“I am Sahl bin Saad and I have seen the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.).” “O Sahl! Is it not strange for you that blood doesn’t rain from the sky and the earth does not swallow its inhabitants?” “What happened?” “It is the head of Imam Husayn (a.s.) which has arrived from Iraq as a gift!” “Really? Husayn’s head is being sent as a gift and people are celebrating it? From which gate is it going to arrive?” They pointed towards the Sa’at Gate. Sahl hurried towards it and while he stood he saw flags coming one after another and saw a rider holding a standard which was a spear point with the head of one most closely resembling the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.); that is the head of his beloved grandson, Imam Husayn (a.s.). Behind this followed the hostages on backs of camels without a saddles. Sahl rushed to one of the women and asked, “Who are you?” “I am Sakina, daughter of Husayn.” “Do you want anything? I am Sahl, a companion of your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.).” “Tell the carrier of this head to ride in front of us so that people are occupied in looking at the head and they do not glance at the womenfolk of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). Sahl went to the head carrier, paid him 400 Dirhams and made him ride in the front away from the womenfolk.

(Abdullah Nurullah, Maqtal al-Husayn Awalim, vol. 17, pp. 427-428)

The Syrian with Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.)

There came an old man who approached the womenfolk and household of Husayn (a.s.) when they all were in the same place. Then he said: Praise be to Allah Who killed and destroyed you and relieved the city from the existence of your men and imposed the order of Amirul Momineen on you! Ali bin Husayn (a.s.) told him: O old man! Have you read Quran? He replied: Yes. Ali bin Husayn (a.s.): Did you understand this verse. Say: I do not seek from you anything as wages except friendship with relatives?

He said: We are ‘Zilqurba’ (the relatives of the Prophet). O old man! Have you read in Surah Bani Israel this verse: Observe the rights of Zilqurba? (Surah Bani Israel 17:26)

He replied: I have read it. He (a.s.) said: We are the ‘Qurba’ O Shaykh! Have you read this verse: And let it be known that whatever booty you may get from everything, then truly one- fifth of it is for Allah and Prophet and Zilqurba?

(Surah Anfal 8:41) He replied: Yes.

He said: We are the ‘qurba’ O Shaykh! Have your read this verse: Indeed Allah intended to remove impurity from you O Ahlul Bayt and to purify you in the best purification? (Surah Ahzab 33:33) He replied: I have read it. He said: O Shaykh! We are the Ahlul Bayt whom Allah Almighty has identified through this verse. The narrator says: The old man kept quiet. He was feeling ashamed for what he had said. Then he asked: Tell me, by Allah, are you the same? Imam Sajjad (a.s.): By Allah. We are the same. I swear by the right of our grandfather and say that without any doubt we are the same. The narrator says: The old man wept, threw his turban on the ground then raised his head towards sky and said: O Allah! I am fed up of the enemies of Aale Muhammad be they from jinn or from human beings. Then he submitted: Is there any scope of repentance for me? He replied: Yes. If you repent, Allah will accept your Taubah and you will be with us. He said: I repent.

Yazid’s Delight

Yazid experienced immense joy and pleasure. When he received the news of the Imam’s martyrdom, he was in his garden of the Green Palace.1 He shouted  “God is the Greatest.”2 When the captives arrived he was looking down from the heights of Jeeroon. He saw the hostages and also noticed the heads held on the tips of spears and this made him so elated that he began to sing: “When that caravan became visible and those heads appeared on the heights of Jeeroon. The crow called out, then I said: Say or not, I have got whatever I wanted from the Prophet.”

(Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 348)

The grandson of Abu Sufyan had quenched his revenge and got his vengeance from the son of the conqueror of Mecca and the breaker of the idols of Quraish, because he had killed the Purified Progeny and made their children hostages in order to take revenge from the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). The Imam’s head in the Presence of Yazid Mahfir bin Salab and Shimr bin Zil Jaushan brought the Imam’s head as a gift for the transgressor, Yazid bin Muawiyah, when they reached the Umayyad court. Mahfir raised his voice so that Yazid would hear it and said: “I have brought the head of the most foolish and degraded man.” Yazid objected to him and replied, “The child that Mahfir’s mother gave birth to is more foolish and degraded but he was definitely an oppressive man.”3 Yazid gave open court to the people in order to make them aware that he has defeated the family of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). People crowded the palace and expressed their exceeding joy and congratulated Yazid for this false victory. The head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) was placed before the offspring of betrayal and sinfulness and he hit at the lips of His Khwarizmi, Maqtal, vol. 2, pp. 60-61 It is mentioned in Ibn Aseer, Tarikh, vol. 4, p. 84 and Al Bidayah wan Nihayah, vol. 8, p. 194 that it is said that: It is Mahqar not Mahfar. And in Al-Irshad, vol. 2, p. 119 it is mentioned that it was Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) who replied to him. Eminence with a cane that he was holding, where the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had often kissed. Then he said in a revengeful and ridiculing manner, “O Husayn! Did you see the result of your oppression?” Then he glanced at his companions and said, “I did not think that Aba Abdillah would be so aged that his hair and beard require dye.”2 After that he looked closely at the Imam’s face while the awe of His Eminence had seized him. He said, “I have never seen a more elegant face.”

(Tarikh Quzai, p. 330) Then he continued to hit at the mouth of the Holy Imam (a.s.) while singing the following poem of Haseen bin Hamam: “My people did not want that I should be given justice; so the blood-thirsty swords we held brought justice to us. We will split the skull of proud men who come against us; they were very disobedient and oppressive.” He had not ended his sentence when Abu Barza Aslami objected and said to him: “Do you whip the mouth of Imam Husayn (a.s.)? You are whipping the mouth I have seen the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) kiss. But you, O Yazid! You shall come on the Day of Resurrection and Ibn Ziyad will be your intercessor and he (Husayn) will come and Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) shall be his intercessor.” Then he arose and went away from there.3 Yahya bin Hakam was deeply moved and he began to recite: “On the bank (of the river) a great army met him who is closer in kinship (to Yazid) than Ibn Ziyad (is), the man with a false lineage. The offspring of Sumaiyyah has acquired status, while the offspring of the daughter of the Apostle of God is (given) none.”

(Zahabi, Tarikhul Islam, vol. 5, p. 18; al Bidayah wan Nihayah, vol. 8, p. 192; Al-Irshad, vol. 2, pp. 119-120)

Yazid struck his hand against the chest of Yahya bin Hakam and shouted, “Be quiet!” Had your mother not given birth to you!”

(Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir, vol. 3, p. 124; Tabari, Tarikh, vol. 5, pp. 460-461; Al Bidayah wan Nihayah, vol. 8, p. 192)

Every sensible being was affected by the painful calamities that the tyrant had caused to Ahlul Bayt.

Imam’s head taken to the Mosque

After the tyrant had finished his wicked occupation with the head of the Chief of the youths of Paradise he sent it to be placed in the Mosque where the head of Prophet Yahya bin Zakaria was placed.4 It was hung there for three days.

(Tahzeeb at-Tahzeeb, vol. 1, p. 157)

Imam’s head in the Presence of Yazid’s

womenfolk The tyrant Yazid sent the head of the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) to his womenfolk in order to impress his awe and pride upon them. Atika took it and applied perfume to it. Yazid took exception to it and asked, “What are you doing?” “You sent my uncle’s head smeared with dust,” she replied, “I gathered it and applied perfume to it.” (Ansaab al-Ashraaf, vol. 3, p. 416)

Hostages in Yazid’s Court

Yazid, the oppressor was extremely overjoyed upon seeing the prisoners from Ahlul Bayt and in order to humiliate them as much as possible he had them lodged in the Mosque at the place where prisoners  were held.1 His guards tied up the womenfolk and children of the Holy Prophets’ (s.a.w.a.) family with ropes like goats are tethered. A rope stretched from the neck of his aunt, Zainab (s.a.) and other daughters of Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.). According to historians when they wanted to stop them on the way they used to whip them. They were brought in a manner that mountains could shatter by its horror. They brought them chanting the words of ‘God is the greatest’ and ‘There is no god except Allah’ and they were displayed before Yazid. Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) glanced at Yazid and said, “What do you think will be the reaction of our grandfather, Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.a.) if he sees us in this condition?” Yazid was moved and none in the assembly remained but wept.2 The tyrant was affected by what he saw and he said, “May God detest Ibn Marjana. 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 he ordered that the ropes be removed and  looking at Ali Ibn al-Husayn (a.s.) he said: “Son of al- Husayn (a.s.), your father cut (the bond of) kinship with me and showed ignorance of my rights, tried to deprive me of my position of authority. Now God has treated him in the way you have seen.” The lion child of Husayn (a.s.) recited the words of God with absolute confidence and tranquility: No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah: So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster. (Surah Hadid 57: 22-23) The tyrant got infuriated by this and his joy was destroyed. At that moment he recited the following verse of Quran: And whatever affliction befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought, and (yet) He pardons most (of your faults). (Surah Shura 42:30)

“It is about those who have committed oppression,” the Imam (a.s.) said, “and not regarding those who are oppressed.” (Al Fusulul Muhimma, p. 195) After that the Imam turned away his face from him and did not speak to him3 in order to consider him worthless and lowly.