Title: Sayyidu 'Sh-Shuhada'.
Agnomen: Abu 'Abdillah.
Father's name: 'Ali Amir al-Muminin.
Mother's name: Fatimah (daughter of the Holy Prophet).
Birth: In Medina on Thursday, 3rd Shaban 4 A.H.
Death: Martyred in Karbala' (Iraq) at the age of 57, on Friday, 10th Muharram 61 A.H. and buried there.
In the house of the Holy
Prophet, which presented the best image of both the
worlds - the heaven and the earth - a child who benefited
humanity as if he was a Divine Impression reflecting the
earth, was born on one of the nights of the month of
Shaban. His father was Imam 'Ali, the best model of
kindness towards his friends and the bravest against the
enemies of Islam, and his mother was Hadrat Fatimah, the
only daughter and child of the Holy Prophet, who had as
universally acknowledged, inherited the qualities of her
Imam Husayn, is the third
Apostolic Imam. When the good news of his birth reached
the Holy Prophet, he came to his daughter's house, took
the newly-born child in his arms, recited adhan and
iqamah in his right and left ears respectively, and on
the 7th day of his birth, after performing the rites of
'aqiqah, named him al-Husayn, in compliance with Allah's
'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas relates;
"On the very day when Imam Husayn was born, Allah
ordered angel Gabriel to descend and congratulate the
Holy Prophet on His Behalf and on his own. While
descending, Gabriel passed over an island where the angel
Futrus had been banished due to his delay in executing a
commission assigned by Allah. He was deprived of his
wings and expelled to the island where he remained for
several years praying and worshipping Allah and asking
for His forgiveness.
"When the angel Futrus saw
Gabriel, he called out, 'Where are you going, O Gabriel?'
To this he replied, 'Husayn, the grandson of Muhammad is
born, and for this very reason Allah has commanded me to
convey His congratulations to His Apostle.' Thereupon,
the angel said, 'Can you carry me also along with you?
May Muhammad recommend my case to Allah.' Gabriel took
the angel along with him, came to the Holy Prophet,
offered congratulations to him on behalf of Allah and
himself and referred the case of the angel to him. The
Holy Prophet said to Gabriel , 'Ask the angel to touch
the body of the newly-born child and return to his place
in Heaven.' On doing this, the angel re-obtained his
wings instantly and praising he Holy Prophet and his
newly-born grandson, ascended towards the Heaven."
Hasan and Husayn, the two sons
of the Holy Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib and Hadrat Fatimah,
our Lady of Light, were respected and revered as the
'Leaders of the Youths of Paradise' as stated by the Holy
The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace
be on him and his progeny, had openly prophesied that the
faith of Islam would be rescued by his second grandson
Husayn, when Yazid, son of Muawiyah, would endeavor to
Yazid was known for his devilish
character and brutish conduct. He was known as the most
licentious of men. The people having known and understood
the character of Yazid, formed a covenant by which
Muawiyah could not appoint Yazdi as his successor. This
undertaking was given by Muawiyah to Imam Hasan from whom
Muawiyah had snatched power. Muawiyah violated this
undertaking and nominated Yazid who succeeded his father.
Immediately as he came to power,
Yazid began acting in full accordance with his known
character. He started interfering in the fundamentals of
the faith and practiced every vice and wickedness freely
with the highest degree of impunity and yet held himself
out as the successor of the Holy Prophet, demanding
allegiance to himself as the leading guide of the faith.
Paying allegiance to Yazid was nothing short of
acknowledging the devil as God. If a divine personality
like the Holy Imam Husayn had agreed to his authority, it
would be actually recommending the devil to humanity in
place of God. Yazid demanded allegiance from the Holy
Imam Husayn, who could have never agreed to it at any
cost. The people fearing death and destruction at the
hands of the tyrant had yielded to him out of fear. Imam
Husayn said that come whatever may, he would never yield
to the devil in place of God and undo what his
grandfather, the Holy Prophet had established.
The refusal of the Holy Imam to
pay allegiance to this fiend, marked the start of the
persecution of the Holy Imam. As a result he had retired
to Medina where he led a secluded life. Even here he was
not allowed to live in peace and was forced to seek
refuge in Mecca - where also he was badly harassed, and
Yazid plotted to murder him in the very precincts of the
great sanctuary of Kabah.
In order to safeguard the great
sanctuary, Imam Husayn decided to leave Mecca for Kufah
just a day before the hajj pilgrimage. When asked the
reason for the mysterious departure from Mecca foregoing
the pilgrimage which was only the next day, Imam Husayn
said that he would perform this year's pilgrimage at
Karbala', offering the sacrifice not of any animals, but
of his kith and kin and some faithful friends. He
enumerated the names of his kith and kin who would lay
down their lives with him in the great sacrifice at
The people of Kufah getting
tired of the tyrannic and satanic rule of Yazid, had
written inumerable letters and sent emissaries to Imam
Husayn to come over and give them guidance in faith.
Although Imam Husayn knew the ultimate end of the
invitations, he as the divinely chosen Imam could not
refuse to give the guidance sought for. When the Holy
Imam with his entourage had reached Karbala', his horse
mysteriously stopped and would not move any further. Upon
this the Holy Imam declared: "This is the land, the
land of sufferings and tortures." He alighted from
his horse, and ordered his followers to encamp there
saying: "Here shall we be martyred and our children
be killed. Here shall our tents be burned and our family
arrested. This is the land about which my grandfather the
Holy Prophet had foretold, and his prophecy will
certainly be fulfilled."
On the 7th of Muharram water
supply to the Imam's camp was cut and the torture of
thirst and hunger started. The Holy Imam's camp consisted
of ladies, innocent children including babies and some
male members of the Holy Prophet's family; along with a
small band of some faithful friends of Imam Husayn who
had chosen to die with the Holy Imam, fighting against
the devil for the cause of Allah.
The Day of 'Ashura
(10th of Muharram)
At dawn the Imam glanced over
the army of Yazid and saw 'Umar ibn Sad ordering his
forces to march towards him. He gathered his followers
and addressed them thus: 'Allah has, this day, permitted
us to be engaged in a Holy War and He shall reward us for
our martyrdom. So prepare yourself to fight against the
enemies of Islam with patience and resistance. O sons of
the noble and self-respecting persons, be patient! Death
is nothing but a bridge which you must cross after facing
trials and tribulations so as to reach Heaven and its
joys. Which of you do not like to go from this prison
(world) to the lofty palaces (Paradise)?"
Having heard the Imam's address,
all his companions were overwhelmed and cried out,
"O our Master! We are all ready to defend you and
your Ahlu'l-bayt, and to sacrifice our lives for the
cause of Islam."
Imam Husayn sent out from his
camp one after another to fight and sacrifice their lives
in the way of the Lord. Lastly, when all his men and
children had laid down their lives, Imam Husayn brought
his six-month old baby son 'Ali al-Asghar, and offering
him on his own hands, demanded some water for the baby,
dying of thirst. The thirst of the baby was quenched by a
deadly poisoned arrow from the brute's forces, which
pinned the baby's neck to the arm of the helpless father.
At last when the six-month old baby also was killed, Imam
Husayn addressed Allah: "O Lord! Thy Husayn has
offered in Thy way whatever Thou hath blessed him with.
Bless Thy Husayn, O Lord! with the acceptance of this
sacrifice. Everything Husayn could do till now was
through Thy help and by Thy Grace." Lastly, Imam
Husayn came into the field and was killed, the details of
which merciless slaughter are heart rending. The forces
of Yazid having killed Imam Husayn, cut and severed his
head from his body and raised it on a lance. The severed
head of the Holy Imam began glorifying Allah from the
point of the lance saying, 'Allahu Akbar'. "All
glory be to Allah Who is the Greatest!"
After the wholesale, merciless
and most brutal slaughter of the Holy Imam with his
faithful band, the helpless ladies and children along
with the ailing son of Imam Husayn, Imam 'Ali
Zaynu'l-'Abidin, were taken captives.
We beseech the Most High and Almighty to make our effort of enduring benefit and to help us in disseminating benevolence and guidance.
He is the Hearing and Answering.