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Slaughtering of the Grandson of the Prophet Imam al-Hussain

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Finally, the day of Ashura dawned upon the soil of Karbala. It was the day when Jihad would be in full bloom, blood would be shed, 72 innocent lives would be sacrificed, and a decisive battle would be won to save Islam and the Ummah.

It had been a few days since the enemy cut off the water supply. Children were crying for water. The women were desperate for water. Zainul-Abideen, the son of Imam al-Hussain (a.s.), was sick with fever. The suffering from the thirst was too painful to bear. And despite this, not a single person in the camp made any complaints or even questioned the mission of Imam al-Hussain. Each member supported the Imam wholeheartedly and enthusiastically.

The next morning, Imam al-Hussain (a.s.) went out of the camp and saw Umar ibn Sa’ad mobilizing his troops to start the hostility. He stared at the intimidating army, and as large as it was, Imam al-Hussain showed no signs of compromise.

Imam al-Hussain’s Prayer

Imam al-Hussain raised his hands in prayer:

“O Allah! It is Thee in whom I trust amid all grief. You are my hope amid all violence. Thou are my refuge and provision in everything that happens to me. How many grievances weaken the heart, leaving me with no means to handle them, during which friend deserts me, and enemy rejoices in it. I lay it before Thee and complain of it to Thee, because of my desire in Thee, Thee alone. You relieve me of it and remove it from me. Thou are the Master of all Grace, the Essence of Goodness, and the Ultimate Resort of all Desire.”

Before the actual engagement was to take place, Hurr, the previous commander of the enemy force, felt his conscience violently stirring. He was in turmoil. Upon realizing the gravity of the situation, he suddenly broke away from Umar Ibn Sa’ad’s camp (along with two others). They rushed toward Imam al-Hussain (a.s.) to join his camp.

Hurr’s heart was jumping with joy. His mind was relieved of an agonizing tension. Hurr’s defection worried Umar Ibn Sa’ad very much, lest others do the same and defect. So Umar Ibn Sa’ad threw an arrow in the air to indicate the start of the battle. This was the outset of a catastrophe and a tragic event that Mu’awiya had once conceived to happen.

The Battle

Imam al-Hussain’s supporters insisted on being the first to fight. Therefore, they took the brunt of the enemy attack. The battle was ferocious. Within a short time, the Imam’s supporters slew a large number of the enemy fighters; they were on the offensive and the enemy on the defensive. This caused apprehension and confusion in the enemy military, the 72 of al-Hussain’s against the 5,000 of the enemy (some say 30,000) being on the defensive.

So worried and nervous, the enemy commander-in-chief ordered his army not only to set fire to the Imam’s tents (which were occupied mostly by frightened females and children) but at the same time reinforced his fighters with more troops.

The heroes began to fall, they were men of valor welcoming martyrdom, and they fell one after another, for the enemy was overwhelming in number. By noon, the Imam stopped the fight to perform the Salat (prayer). By this time, those left were mainly his family and a few supporters. They performed the Salat together. Two supporters were guarding the performers of Salat. The enemy was standing still, watching!! When Salat was finished, one of the guards fell dead; there were 17 arrows in his back.

‘Ali Akbar, al-Hussain’s son, obtained permission to fight and dashed toward the enemy. He engaged them in fierce fighting, falling on them like thunder, slaying numerous fighters. ‘Ali Akbar continued to move forward, deep inside the enemy. The enemy was overpowering in number, it overwhelmed him cutting him with swords and spears, and his body became nothing but wounds gushing blood until he died.

Imam al-Hussain (a.s.) rushed to the area, picked up the wounded limp body, and brought it to the appalled camp. His sister and others in the camp were horrified and shocked at the scene.

Abbas and five other brothers of Imam al-Hussain went to fight. They also engaged the enemy in fierce fighting, almost doing the impossible. Abbas went toward the river to bring some water for the thirsty children. While returning on his horse with the water, he was attacked by a large horde of the enemy, overwhelming and severely wounding him. As much as he tried, Abbas could not save the water. He fell from his horse to breathe his last.

Next, the sons of Imam al-Hassan and Zainab and their cousins (about 17 of them) went to the battlefield. They were all in their teens, but each stood bravely, believing in the mission, facing a formidable enemy, and showed no less enthusiasm in their quest to embrace martyrdom.

Al-Hussain and His Baby

By the afternoon, 70 brave persons had sacrificed their lives in Karbala to save Islam. All had fought under nerve-racking conditions, severe thirst, dehydration, exhaustion, and agonizing feeling of what would happen to the family of the Prophet (s) afterward. Al-Hussain endured all that and more, for he saw all his beloved ones brutally cut to pieces, including children. Remaining the only one, Imam al-Hussain was to face the enemy head-on.

Precisely at that moment, Imam al-Hussain heard his baby crying incessantly, agonizing because of thirst. Imam al-Hussain’s love for his family was unbound, especially for a suffering baby. He held the six months old baby, his youngest son (‘Ali Asghar), in his arms and appealed to the enemy fighters for some water for the baby.

Imam wanted to awaken their conscience and stir their human feelings, but the stone-hearted enemy, instead of giving water, zoomed an arrow toward the agonizing baby and killed him instantly. Imam al-Hussain was shocked. He felt an unbearable wave of pain. The sight of the limp baby in his arms was agonizingly painful. He filled his palm with the blood of the baby and threw it upwards toward the sky, complaining to Allah (SWT),

“O’ Allah, O’ my Lord! My consolation is the fact that Thou in Thine Majesty are witnessing what I am going through.”

Al-Hussain by Himself

Imam al-Hussain (a.s.) was alone, one man against thousands. He took them on, fighting them bravely, and kept fighting, receiving many wounds. Thousands of enemy fighters surrounded him, but none dared to move toward him.

The silence was broken when Shimr screamed for an attack and then screamed again threatening, and in response, they attacked collectively, and one sword fell on Imam al-Hussain’s left wrist and deeply cut his left hand. The blood gushed like a fountain.

Another sword was soon to follow, and it hit his upper back. Imam al-Hussain (a.s.) felt numb as he fell to the ground, bleeding profusely. He was near the point of shock. Even though staggering, he tried to stand by leaning on his sword. Then he received the fatal blow.

At this point, Shimr, whose mother was a disbeliever, came forward and severed Imam al-Hussain’s noble head from the body, the noble head often kissed by the Prophet (S)! Shimr and others dared to carry it on the tip of a spear to Yazid, 600 miles away!

Umar Ibn Sa’ad ordered the horsemen to trample upon the supine bodies of Imam al-Hussain and all others killed, to disfigure them even further, as if the wounds, the bloodied bodies, and the headless forms were not enough.

For three days, the exposed bodies of the martyrs were left lying in the desert of Karbala. Afterward, the people of the tribe of Bani-Asad, who were not far from the battlefield, helped bury them.

Umar Ibn Sa’ad and his forces (representing Bani Umayya) took the women and children as prisoners in shackles, put them on camels, and proceeded in a caravan from Karbala to Kufa. At the forefront of the procession were the heads of Imam al-Hussain (a.s.) and his followers on the tip of spears. The scene was both grotesque and pathetic. This was the leftover of the beloved family of Prophet Muhammad (S), in such a deplorable unimaginable condition, all caused by people who called themselves Muslims!

By Ramazan Sabir

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