Some Sayings of the Holy Prophet during his lifetime with reference to Imam Husayn:
1. Hasan and
Husayn are the Leaders of the Youths of Paradise.
2. Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn, Allah befriends those who befriend Husayn and He is the enemy of those who bear enmity to him.
3. Whosoever wishes to see such a person who lives on earth but whose dignity is honored by the Heaven-dwellers, should see my grandson Husayn.
4. O my son! thy flesh is my flesh and thy blood is my blood; thou art a leader, the son of a leader and the brother of a leader; thou art a spiritual guide, the son of a spiritual guide and the brother of a spiritual guide; thou art an Apostolical Imam, the son of an Apostolical Imam and the brother of an Apostolical Imam; thou art the father of nine Imams, the ninth of whom would be the Qaim (the last infallible spiritual guide).
5. The punishment inflicted on the murderer of Husayn in Hell would be equal to half of the total punishment to be imposed on the entire sinners of the world.
6. When the Holy Prophet informed Hadrat Fatimah of the martyrdom in store for his grandson, she burst into tears and asked, "O my father! when would my son be martyred?" "In such a critical moment," replied the Holy Prophet, "When neither I nor you, nor 'Ali would be alive." This accentuated her grief and she inquired again, "Who then, O my father, would commerate Husayn's martyrdom?" The Holy Prophet said, "The men and the women of a particular sect of my followers, who will befriend my Ahlu'l-bayt, will mourn for Husayn and commemorate his martyrdom each year in every century."
narrates from ash-Shabi:
while on his way to Siffin, passed through the desert of
Karbala', there he stopped and wept very bitterly. When
interrogated regarding the cause of his weeping, he commented
that one day he visited the Holy Prophet and found him weeping.
When he asked the Apostle of Allah as to what was the reason
which made him weep, he replied, "O 'Ali, Gabriel has just
been with me and informed me that my son Husayn would be martyred
in Karbala', a place near the bank of the River Euphrates. This
moved me so much that I could not help weeping."
One day the
Holy Prophet ascended the pulpit to deliver a sermon to his
associates while Imam Husayn and Imam Hasan were sitting before
him. When his address was over, he put his left hand on Imam
Husayn and raising his head towards Heaven, said: "O my
Lord! I am Muhammad Thy slave and Thy Prophet, and these two are
the distinguished and pious members of my family who would
fortify my cause after me. O my Lord! Gabriel has informed me
that my son Husayn would be killed. O my Lord! bless my cause in
recompense for Husayn's martyrdom, make him the leader of the
martyrs, be Thou his helper and guardian and do not bless his
Muhammad Iqbal says:
uprooted despotism forever till the Day of Resurrection. He
watered the dry garden of freedom with the surging wave of his
blood, and indeed he awakened the sleeping Muslim nation.
Husayn had aimed at acquiring a worldly empire, he would not have
traveled the way he did (from Medina to Karbala'). Husayn
weltered in blood and dust for the sake of truth. Verily he,
therefore, became the bed-rock (foundation) of the Muslim creed;
la ilaha illa Allah (There is no god but Allah).
Muinu'd-Din Chishti says:
He gave his
head, but did not put his hand into the hands of Yazid. Verily,
Husayn is the foundation of la ilaha illa Allah. Husayn is lord
and the lord of lords.
himself is Islam and the shield of Islam. Though he gave his head
(for Islam) but never pledged Yazid. Truly Husayn is the founder
of "There is no Deity except Allah."
Brown in his `A Literary History of Persia' writes:
reminder, the blood-stained field of Karbala' where the grandson
of the Apostle of God fell at length, tortured by thirst and
surrounded by the bodies of his murdered kinsmen, has been at any
time since then sufficient to evoke, even in the most lukewarm
and heedless, the deepest emotion, the most frantic grief and the
exaltation of spirit before which pain, danger, and death shrink
to unconsidered trifles. Yearly, on the tenth day of Muharram,
the tragedy is rehearsed in Persia, in India, in Turkey, in
Egypt, wherever a Shiite community or colony exists; ... As I
write it all comes back; the wailing chant, the sobbing
multitudes, the white raiment red with blood from self-inflicted
wounds, the intoxication of grief and sympathy.
(Sayyiud'sh-Shuhada', "the lord among martyrs"), the
second child of 'Ali and Fatimah, was born in the year 4 A.H.,
and after the martyrdom of his brother, Imam Hasan Mujtaba,
became Imam through Divine Command and his brother's will. Imam
Husayn was Imam for a period of ten years, all but the last six
months coinciding with the caliphate of Muawiyah. Imam Husayn
lived under the most difficult outward conditions of suppression
and persecution. This was due to the fact that, first of all,
religious laws and regulations had lost much of their weight and
credit, and the edicts of the Ummayad government had gained
complete authority and power. Secondly, Muawiyah and his aides
made use of every possible means to put aside and move out of the
way the Household of the Prophet and the Shiah, and thus
obliterate the name of 'Ali and his family. And above all,
Muawiyah wanted to strengthen the basis of the caliphate of his
son, Yazid, who because of his lack of principles an scruples was
opposed by a large group of Muslims. Therefore, in order to quell
all opposition, Muawiyah had undertaken newer and more severe
measures. By force and necessity Imam Husayn had to endure these
days and to tolerate every kind of mental and spiritual agony and
affliction from Muawiyah and his aides - until in the middle of
the year 60 A.H., Muawiyah died and his son Yazid took his place.
allegiance (bayah) was an old Arab practice which was carried out
in important matters such as that of kingship and governorship.
Those who were ruled, and especially the well-known among them,
would give their hand in allegiance, agreement and obedience to
their king or prince and in this way would show their support for
his actions. Disagreement after allegiance was considered as
disgrace and dishonor for a people and, like breaking an
agreement after having signed it officially, it was considered as
a definite crime. Following the example of the Holy Prophet,
people believed that allegiance, when given by free will and not
through force, carried authority and weight.
asked the well-known among the people to give their allegiance to
Yazid, but had not imposed this request upon Imam Husayn. He had
especially told Yazid in his last will that if Husayn refused to
pay allegiance he should pass over it in silence and overlook the
matter, for he had understood correctly the disastrous
consequences which would follow if the issue were to be pressed.
But because of his egoism and recklessness, Yazid neglected his
father's advice and immediately after the death of his father
ordered the governor of Medina either to force a pledge of
allegiance from Imam Husayn or send his head to Damascus.
governor of Median informed Imam Husayn of this demand, the Imam,
in order to think over the question, asked for a delay and
overnight started with his family toward Mecca. He sought refuge
in the sanctuary of God which in Islam is the official place of
refuge and security. This event occurred toward the end of the
month of Rajab and the beginning of Shaban of 60 A.H.
four months Imam Husayn stayed in Mecca in refuge. This news
spread throughout the Islamic world. On the one hand many people
who were tired of the iniquities of Muawiyah's rule and were even
more dissatisfied when Yazid became caliph, corresponded with
Imam Husayn and expressed their sympathy for him. On the other
hand, a flood of letters began to flow, especially from Iraq and
particularly the city of Kufah, inviting the Imam to go to Iraq
and accept the leadership of the populace there with the aim of
beginning an uprising to overcome injustice and iniquity.
Naturally, such a situation was dangerous for Yazid.
The stay of
Imam Husayn in Mecca continued until the season for pilgrimage
when Muslims from all over the world poured in groups into Mecca
in order to perform the rites of the hajj. The Imam discovered
that some of the followers of Yazid had entered Mecca as pilgrims
(hajjis) with the mission to kill the Imam during the rites of
hajj with the arms they carried under their special pilgrimage
shortened the pilgrimage rites and decided to leave. Amidst the
vast crowd of people he stood up in a short speech announced that
he was setting out for Iraq. In this short speech he also
declared that he would be martyred and asked Muslims to help him
in attaining the goal he had in view and to offer their lives in
the path of God. On the next day he set out with his family and a
group of his companions for Iraq.
was determined not to give his allegiance to Yazid and knew full
well that he would be killed. He was aware that his death was
inevitable in the face of the awesome military power of the
Umayyads, supported as it was by corruption in certain sectors,
spiritual decline, and lack of will power among the people,
especially in Iraq.
Some of the
outstanding people of Mecca stood in the way of Imam Husayn and
warned him of the danger of the move he was making. But he
answered that he refused to pay allegiance and give his approval
to a government of injustice and tyranny. He added that he knew
that wherever he turned or went he would be killed. He would
leave Mecca in order to preserve the respect for the House of God
and not allow this respect to be destroyed by having his blood
While on the
way to Kufah and still a few days journey away from the city, he
received news that the agent of Yazid in Kufah had put to death
the representative of the Imam in that city and also one of the
Imam's determined supporters who was a well-known man in Kufah.
Their feet had been tied and they had been dragged through the
streets. The city and its surroundings were placed under strict
observation and countless soldiers of the enemy were awaiting
him. There was no way open to him but to march ahead and to face
death. It was here that the Imam expressed his definitive
determination to go ahead and be martyred; and so he continued on
seventy kilometers from Kufah in a desert named Karbala', the
Imam and his entourage were surrounded by the army of Yazid. For
eight days they stayed in this spot during which the circle
narrowed and the number of the enemy's army increased. Finally
the Imam, with his Household and a small number of companions
were encircled by an army of thirty thousand soldiers. During
these days the Imam fortified his position and made a final
selection of his companions. At night he called his companions
and during a short speech stated that there was nothing ahead but
death and martyrdom. He added that since the enemy was concerned
only with his person he would free them from all obligations so
that anyone who wished could escape in the darkness of the night
and save his life. Then he ordered the lights to be turned out
and most of his companions, who had joined him for their own
advantage, dispersed. Only a handful of those who loved the truth
about forty of his close aides and some of the Bani Hashim
the Imam assembled those who were left and put them to a test. He
addressed his companions and Hashimite relatives, saying again
that the enemy was concerned only with his person. Each could
benefit from the darkness of the night and escape the danger. But
this time the faithful companions of the Imam answered each in
his own way that they would not deviate for a moment from the
path of truth of which the Imam was the leader and would never
leave him alone. They said they would defend his Household to the
last drop of their blood and as long as they could carry a sword.
On the ninth
day of the month the last challenge to choose between
"allegiance or war" was made by the enemy to the Imam.
The Imam asked for a delay in order to worship overnight and
became determined to enter battle on the next day.
On the tenth
day of Muharram of the year 61 (680) the Imam lined up before the
enemy with his small band of followers, less than ninety persons
consisting of forty of his companions, thirty some members of the
army of the enemy that joined him during the night and day of
war, and his Hashimite family of children, brothers, nephews,
nieces and cousins. That day they fought from morning until their
final breath, and the Imam, the young Hashimites and the
companions were all martyred. Among those killed were two
children of Imam Hasan, who were only thirteen and eleven years
old; and a five-year-old child and a suckling baby of Imam
The army of
the enemy, after ending the war, plundered the haram of the Imam
and burned his tents. They decapitated the bodies of the martyrs,
denuded them and threw them to the ground without burial. Then
they moved the members of the haram, all of whom were helpless
women and girls, along with the heads of the martyrs, to Kufah.
Among the prisoners there were three male members: a twenty-two
years old son of Imam Husayn who was very ill and unable to move,
namely, 'Ali ibn al-Husayn, the fourth Imam; his four years old
son, Muhammad ibn 'Ali, who became the fifth Imam; and finally
Hasan al-Muthanna, the son of the second Imam who was also the
son-in-law of Imam Husayn and who having been wounded during the
war, lay among the dead. They found him near death and through
the intercession of one of the generals did not cut off his head.
Rather, they took him with the prisoners to Kufah and from there
to Damascus before Yazid.
The event of
Karbala', the capture of the women and children of the Household
of the Prophet, their being taken as prisoners from town to town
and the speeches made by the daughter of 'Ali, Zaynab, and the
fourth Imam who were among the prisoners, disgraced the Umayyads.
Such abuse of the Household of the Prophet annulled the
propaganda which Muawiyah had carried out for years. The matter
reached such proportions that Yazid in public disowned and
condemned the actions of his agents. The event of Karbala' was a
major factor in the overthrow of Umayyad's rule although its
effect was delayed. It also strengthened the roots of Shiism.
Among its immediate results were the revolts and rebellions
combined with bloody wars which continued for twelve years. Among
those who were instrumental in the death of the Imam not one was
able to escape revenge and punishment.
studies closely the history of the life of Imam Husayn and Yazid
and the conditions that prevailed at that time, and analyzes this
chapter of Islamic history, will have no doubt that in those
circumstances there was no choice before Imam Husayn but to be
killed. Swearing allegiance to Yazid would have meant publicly
showing contempt for Islam, something which was not possible for
the Imam, for Yazid not only showed no respect for Islam and its
injunction but also made a public demonstration of impudently
treading under foot its basis and its laws. Those before him,
even if they opposed religious injunctions, always did so in the
guise of religion, and at least formally respected religion. They
took pride in being companions of the Holy Prophet and the other
religious figures in whom people believed. From this it can be
concluded that the claim of some interpreters of these events is
false when they say that the two brothers, Hasan and Husayn, had
two different tastes and that one chose the way of peace and the
other the way of war, so that one brother made peace with
Muawiyah although he had an army of forty thousand while the
other went to war against Yazid with an army of forty. For we see
that this same Imam Husayn, who refused to pay allegiance to
Yazid for one day, lived for ten years under the rule of
Muawiyah, in the same manner as his brother who also had endured
for ten years under Muawiyah, without opposing him.
It must be
said in truth that if Imam Hasan or Imam Husayn had fought
Muawiyah they would have been killed without there being the
least benefit for Islam. Their deaths would have had no effect
before the righteous appearing policy of Muawiyah, a competent
politician who emphasized his being a companion of the Holy
Prophet, the "scribe of the revelation," and
"uncle of the faithful" and who used every stratagem
possible to preserve a religious guise for his rule. Moreover,
with his ability to set the stage to accomplish his desires he
could have had them killed by their own people and them assumed a
state of mourning and sought to revenge their blood, just as he
sought to give the impression that he was avenging the killing of
the third caliph. (Shiite Islam).
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.