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The Qualities of the Companions of Imam al-Hussain

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We can extract a set of traits of guardianship, which we ought to strive to embody, through studying the life narratives of some of the great believers and allies. These noble individuals followed the path of the Prophets and the Imams (peace be upon them). At the forefront of these individuals are the companions of Imam al-Hussain (peace be upon him). These companions were distinguished by many qualities and advantages, among them are the absolute allegiance to the Imam of their time, and their certainty and total submission.

1. Awareness:

The positions taken at Karbala, on the eve and the day of the tenth, were not merely born out of fervent emotions. Rather, they were rooted in unequivocal, certain knowledge. They believed that obedience to the rightful leader, even if it involved the sacrifice of lives, was the only way to preserve religion and Islam. Hence, the companions of Imam al-Hussain rejected any safe haven that would guarantee their survival, and they repelled any fear that would prevent them from reaching their goal. Their emotions transformed into awareness and understanding at the level of the message and the cause.

Take Abbas bin Ali (peace be upon them), who was insightful, and rejected the safety offered by Shimr, saying: “May Allah curse you and your safety! Are you offering us safety while the son of the Prophet has none?!” And in another narration, Abbas bin Amir Al-Mu’minin (peace be upon them) replied: “May your hands be ruined, and cursed be the safety you offer us, O enemy of Allah. Are you ordering us to abandon our brother and our leader, Hussain bin Fatima, and submit to the cursed ones and the sons of the cursed ones?!”

And here is Zuhayr bin al-Qayn, who, when threatened by Shimr, said: “Are you trying to frighten me with death?! By Allah, death is more desirable to me than eternal life with you.”

2. Sincerity:

One of the most significant traits that the companions in Karbala embodied is sincerity in its highest sense. As the battle intensified and they faced death, they remained steadfast and sincere. Here is Abis bin Abi Shabeeb Al-Shakiri, who addressed the Imam (peace be upon him), saying: “I will not inform you about the people, nor do I know what is in their hearts, or what they might hide from you. By Allah, I will inform you about what I have determined for myself. By Allah, I will answer your call, fight your enemy alongside you, and I will wield my sword for you until I meet Allah. I seek nothing by doing so but what Allah offers.”

His phrase, “I seek nothing but what God offers,” is a testament to the companions’ intentions and the depth of their sincerity. Abis’s statement is but a reflection of every single one of Imam Hussain’s companions’ state of mind. Habib bin Mazahir expressed this when he said, “May Allah have mercy on you! You have fulfilled what was in your heart with your concise words,” then he said, “By the One Allah, I am upon the same as this.”

Yes, this is the sincerity of Allah the Almighty, which only occurs with the satisfaction of His chosen leader, peace be upon him. This is the sincerity that trades the world and its wreckage for eternal bliss in the everlasting gardens with the saints.

3. Dedication:

There were many instances of dedication in Karbala, and each individual expressed it in their unique way and speech. They used repetition and numbers to express the ineffable emotions stirring within them. They expressed their feelings with phrases like “seventy times, a thousand times,” etc.

4- Firm Resolve and Determination:

A clear testament and demonstration of this characteristic is what transpired on the night of the tenth of Muharram, with Habib bin Madhahir and the rest of the companions in front of the camp of the Hashemite matron, Lady Zainab, peace be upon her. Habib called his companions when he learned from Nafi bin Hilal that Lady Zainab and the other women were terrified and frightened. He said: “O men of fervor, lions of the fight, Nafi bin Hilal informs me of such and such, tell me your intentions.” They brandished their swords, discarded their turbans, and said: “By Allah, O son of Madhahir, if the enemy approaches us, we will cut off their heads, and chase them with our spears. We will protect the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, in his progeny and offspring.”

Habib replied: “With me, with me.”

He marched forward, hitting the ground with their swords while they followed him. He stopped between the tent ropes and called out: “Peace be upon you, our masters. Peace be upon you, O assembly of the sanctuary of the Messenger of Allah, and peace be upon him and his family. These are the swords of your young men, they pledged not to sheathe them except in the necks of those who seek harm to you. These are the lances of your young boys, they pledged not to thrust them except in the chests of those who seek to divide your assembly.”

And a sufficient testament to this characteristic is what Imam al-Hussain, peace be upon him, said to his sister, the free Zainab, peace be upon her, who asked him: “O son of my aunt, did you inquire about the intentions of your companions? For I fear that they might surrender you when swords clash and spears thrust.” Hussain cried and said: “By Allah, I have tested them. I saw nothing in them but firm determination, embracing death for me as a child embraces his mother’s milk.”

5- Practical Embodiment of Stances:

There are many situations that have remained within the realm of words and theorizing, without being practically applied in history. The companions of Imam al-Hussain, peace be upon him, in Karbala, proved their sincerity through their blood and lives which were given for their Imam. They passed the divine test on that pure land. Their voices, cries, and stances were embraced by their bodies lying on the sands of Karbala, bearing witness to the ground soaked with their blood and the breeze perfumed with the scent of that blood.

This is just a glimpse of the qualities and characteristics that shone on the tenth of Muharram, chronicling the greatest act of loyalty in human history.

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