The Third Imam, Hussain Ibn Ali (as)

Second son of Fatima (as) and Ali (as) Hussainn (as) was born on 3rd Shabaan, 4th year of Hijri (10.1.626 AD) When he was born the Holy Prophet was given the news of the birth of his 2nd grandson. He arrived at the house of his daughter, took the little baby in his arms, said the Azan and Iqamah in his ears.

People around the Prophet saw tears in his eyes. Fatimah asked what was the reason for this, he told her that this boy of hers will achieve martyrdom, but consoled her by adding that God will create a nation who will mourn Husayn till the Day of Judgement. Another famous saying of the Prophet at the same time became synonymous with the name of his grandson Husayn.

”Hussian-o-Minni wa Ana Minul Husayn ”. Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. One can explain this Hadith that Husayn, being the grand son of the Prophet was from him biologically. How a grandfather was from his grand son needs to be explained. Prophets of God speak spiritually rather than materially.

He was talking about Islam the Deen he was assigned by God to propagate Gods religion.. He was for Islam and his whole life was for Islam and its establishment on earth. Any break in this mission would subvert this mission which was the purpose of his creation.

The message of the Holy Prophet in this saying was that Husayn will, in some near future save this mission from destruction, hence the very purpose of his being will be saved by the sacrifice of his grandson. He was giving the news of a future occurrence. The story of Karbala unfolds.

Shah Usto Husayno Badshah Usto Husayn

Deen Uato Husayno Deen Panah Usto Husayn

Surdad, Nadad Dust Dur Dueste Yazid

Haqqa Ke Benate La Ilah Husto Husayn

Husayn is the king , indeed he is the king of kings,

Husayn is Deen and also the protector of Deen,

He gave his head but not his hand of allegiance in the hand of Yazid.

Indeed he was the founder (Like his grandfather) of the concept of One God.

This quartet of Shah Moinuddin Chishty Ajmeri is the exact meaning of the Hadith of ”Husayno Minni ” as mentioned above.Imam Husayn (as) has saved Islam from oblivion by offering his timely sacrifice to draw the line of demarcation between Truth and Falsehood, between good and evil, between Right and Wrong, that after this event in Karbala in 61 Hijri, no one inside or outside Islam dare to challenge the truth of the Holy Quran or try to subvert its meanings.

The story of Karbala begins with the birth of Husayn. The Holy Prophet had shown affection and love for his grandson as any grandfather should show,but there was something more positive and profound in this love.

Several times when Husayn entered the mosque as a small child the Holy Prophet will put him in his lap and tell his companions that this is Husayn, look at him and remember him. The Prophets insistence to remember Husayn shows that those who will forget this event will cause trouble in Islam.

It was just seven years of his life with his grandfather that the Holy Prophet died and soon after,Husayns mother Hazrat Fatima (sa) also died.. The next 25 years of his life in Madinah was with his father Ali,his brother Hasan and many other brothers and sisters in the family. He grew up to be loved by the companions of the Holy Prophet.

During the period of 2nd Khilafat-e-Rasheda, Omar Ibne Khattab had always shown his love and respect for Husayn. Whenever Husayn entered the mosque, the Caliph would let him sit beside him and tell the companions to listen to what this young man says. They all valued his advice even at that young age.

His main activity in Madinah was to see that the people there know true Islam. He also managed the Trust set up by his father, to help the poor of the city by giving them food and many necessities of life. This was the true Islamic Welfare State in progress where every hungry mouth must have food, every naked person must have clothes and a shelter over his head.

Apart from administering the Trust set up by his father Ali (as) , Husayns (as) main occupation during these 25 years in Madina was to teach the newly converted Muslims real Islam through the Quran and Sunnah of the Prophet.

He has performed Hajj 24 times during this period. He has also travelled to Yemen and most of the southern part of Hejaz and Najd. It is clear that he did not take any part in any of the expeditions by the Muslim forces under the directions of the three Kholafa.

After the death of the 3rd Caliph Osman, Husains father Ali (as) was compelled by the people of Madinah overwhelmingly to take the reigns of power. Ali (as) was reluctant and waited for three days before accepting the mantle of worldly power along with the authority of Imamah. (see life of Imam Ali ) (as) .

Circumstances changed rapidly and within the first 6 month of Alis Khilafat he had to leave Madinah for Basra and the battle of Jamal took place. We see that Husayn (as) who took no part in any battles before was a commander of Alis forces in this first battle under his fathers leadership. Fighting began and ended in just one day, the battle was over, Ali (as) performed funeral prayers on dead of both sides and buried them. Victors and vanquished were treated the same way.

Hazrat Ayesha was returned to Madina under the escort of her brother Muhammad Ibne Abibakr and 40 other men. She repented her participation in the battle all her life and never forgave Talha and Zubair who deceived her into this battle against Ali (as).

She also realized that the true instigator of this battle was Muawiya under whose directions both Talha and Zubair started this whole adventure against the legitimately elected Caliph of Islam.

It was to destabilize the power base of Islam which was the Khilafat of Ali (as) . When he did not succeed in this he began other tactics to do thsame. His bands of soldiers raided many parts of Iraq to burn and loot villages and destroy communities. Ali (as) had no choice but to prepare for battle with Muawiya.

The battle of Siffin took place in the 2nd year of Ali (as) Khilafat and Husayn (as) took full part. He was the commander of a garrison of 10,000 men along with his elder brother Hasan (as) and Muhammad (Hanafiya). It was Alis practice to put his other son Muhammad-e-Hanafiya in the forefront and save the lives of these two grandsons of the Prophet. Nevertheless they took full part in these battles and fought with great bravery.

The 3rd battle during the Khilafat of Ali (as) was the battle of Nehrwan fought against the Khawarij. This was also over in just one day with total defeat of Khawarij. Ali (as) returned to Kufa and the main administration of the Islamic Welfare State began. Both brothers were the chief administrators of this Welfare State where they would seek out those poor adestitute within the state and provide them with the necessities of life.

While living with his father in Kufa, Husayn (as) visited various northern part of the Islamic State. One story goes to say that he visited Azerbaijan and part of Iran of that time.

Four years and 10 months of his fathers Khilafat were over quickly and his life with his elder brother Hasan (as) began in Madina. They still have the Trust state which was established by his father and both brothers administered it jointly.

Husayn (as) visited Makka and performed Hajj 9 times during the life time of his brother. After the martyrdom his brother Hasan (as) Husayn (as) took the mantle of Imamate and spiritual guidance of the Ummah. It is during this period that during one of his journeys to Makka for pilgrimage, his famous Duas (Supplication) of Arafah became famous.

This is a Dua which at the place of Arafat during the Hajj ritual that Imam recited and many pilgrims heard it and instantly memorised it as was the practice of the people of that time. Quran was also memorised in the same manner and many Sermons of Imam Ali (as) were also memorised by people.

This Dua of Arafa became famous because of its deep insight into the realms of spirituality of Islam and its total dependence upon Allahs Will and Power. This also gives insight into the reasons why Imam Husayn (as) left Makka for Karbala. The following extract shows this feeling of the Imam towards reform of the Umma of his grandfather,

”OGod: you know that our struggle, moves, protests, and campaigns have not been, and are not, for the sake of rivalry and for obtaining power, neither are they for the sake of personal ambition nor for worldly ends, nor for the purpose of accumulating wealth and acquiring worldly advantages. ” Then what is their purpose? Imam states the purpose in these words.

”To establish the landmarks of Your Deen, to make reforms manifest in Your lands, so that the oppressed among Your servants may have security, and Your laws, which have been suspended and cast into neglect, may be reinstated. ”

Further on in this same Dua the Imam calls upon his creator to show his total dependence upon Him.

OHe, upon whom I called when I was sick and He healed me, when naked, He clothed me, when hungry He fed me, when thirsty He gave me drink, when abased He exalted me, when ignorant, He gave me knowledge, when alone He provided companion, when away from home He returned me home, when empty handed He enriched me, when in need of help He helped me, when rich He took not from me ”.

This kind of complete dependence upon God which is the Hallmark of Islamic teachings, was taught by the Imam to the people of Madinah and Makka, and the whole of Hejaz he visited..

Once a Bedouin asked Imam what is the best thing to do. Imam replied, ” Belief in God ”. He asked again, what is the best means of deliverance from destruction, Imam said, ”Trust in God ”. The man asked, what mans ornament is, Imam replied, ” knowledge associated with intelligence ”.

The man insisted, if this be not available, what then, Imam replied, ” Wealth accompanied with generosity ”. What if this is out of reach, Imam said, ”Poverty allied with patience ”. What if this be not practicable?, Imam smiled and said, let the lightening consume the man to ashes. He then gave whatever money he had with him to fulfill his needs.

It was in the month of Rajab 60 Hijri that Moawiya died and his son Yazid succeeded his father on the throne of the Arab Empire with Damascus as its capital. Moawiya in his cleverness had told Yazid that ” whatever you do when you become ruler after my death, do not ask Husayn Ibne Ali for the oath of allegiance. Leave him where he is and you will have no problems. ”

But Yazid in his arrogance of power did not bother to remember the wishes of his father. The very first thing he did was to write a letter to his Governor in Madinah informing him of his succession to the throne of his father and ordering him to take the Oath of Allegiance from Husayn Ibne Ali (as).

Yazid realized that although he had full temporal power and is the virtual ruler of the Arab Empire, but he has no spiritual strength unless the grandson of the Prophet accepts him as such. People in Makka and Madinah would still regard Husayn (as) as their leader if only spiritually. Walid Ibne Ataba the Governor of Madinah receives this letter on 26th of Rajab 60 Hijri.

It was dusk and people were getting ready for Maghrib prayers. Walid immediately sent a messenger to Imams house and called him to the palace. Imam realized the seriousness of the situation and took his brothers and sons with him.

When they arrived at the gate of the palace Imam asked to stay outside and wait and only enter the gates when they hear Imam speak loudly. After these instructions Imam entered the palace. There was Walid sitting in his high chair with Marwan Ibnul Hakam by his side. Imam asked, ”What is the matter that I was called at this hour ”.

Walid mentioned Moawiyas death, Yazids accession to the throne and the demand for Imams oath of allegiance. Imam replied that this is not the matter which can be done in the solitude of the palace, let this matter be brought before the people of Madinah next day in the mosque of the Prophet.

Imam stood up to leave while Marwan who was listening to this conversation did not like it and warned Walid that if he lets Husayn go he will loose him. Take the oath now or cut his head off as Yazid suggested in his letter. Imam after hearing this remark from Marwan told Walid loudly, ”A person like me would not give the oath of allegiance to a person like Yazid who had violated all tenets of Islam ”. As Imam said these words loudly, his brothers and sons entered the palace and they all left safely.

Imam realized after consulting his friends and relatives that the life of peace for them in Madinah was over.

A question is asked sometimes, that why Imam Husayn (as) had not chosen to come to terms with Yazid as his elder brother, Imam Hasan (as) had done earlier while dealing with Moawiya. The question does not take into account the difference in the situations of the two brothers. Ali (as) as the Imam left his elder son the mantle of Imamate which he at the time of his death passed it on to his brother Imam Husayn (as).

Imam Hasan (as) had also been installed as the Caliph. Finding that Moawiya had succeeded in,secrertly, sowing the seeds of discord and dissent among the Muslims, and had induced the feeling of great insecurity by undermining the machinery for the maintenance of peace, law and order, Imam Hasan (as) had deemed it expedient to enter into a treaty with him under which the Imam abdicated in favor of his adversary only the adjuncts of worldly power.

He did not dissociate himself from the spiritual primacy at all and continued to be the spiritual leader and the Imam of the Ummah.

Second point which is equally important is that when Yazid enforced his oath of allegiance over the Muslims, he insisted the people must swear allegiance to him which was totally different from the oath of allegiance of Kholafae Rashidoon. Previously they swore the oath of allegiance that the Khalifa should rule according to the verdict the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet.

But Yazids impertinence and arrogance made it an abject acknowledgement by the swearer that he was the slave (ABD) of Yazid who would dispose off his life, property and offspring in any manner deemed fit. One of the companions of the Prophet in Madinah named Ibn Rabia Al Aswad was prepared to swear allegiance to Yazid in accordance with the old practice but refused to swear allegiance in the form proposed. He was summarily executed. This happened inside the city of Madinah.

Where then was there any point in Imam Husayn (as) trying to make up to Yazid. This is where Imam Husayn (as) found himself placed in circumstances which were markedly different from those which confronted his elder brother who had abdicated only his temporal power in favor of Moawiya for the restoration of peace and order on the domain of Islam.

This kind of oath was entirely out of question for Imam Husayn (as) to accept. This would have totally degraded Islam as ordained in the Quran and as it was practiced by the Prophet of Islam. When settlement with Yazid being wholly out of question, the only alternative course open to Imam Husayn (as) was to oppose Yazid to save and protect the values of Islam from further degradation and to protect the faith itself from destructive inroads of pre-Islamic revivalism.

He could, however, have entertained no illusions about the kind of support he could hope to enlist for himself in any conflict with Yazid. The exceedingly unhappy position in which his elder brother had found himself through the treacherous withdrawal of the support given to him in his confrontation with Moawiya, Imam Husayn (as) therefore thought of entirely new strategy of war with Yazid, for in any case war it had to be.

He made no attempt to meet Yazids military might with his own martial strength. He built no hopes on numerical strength for the success of his cause which was entirely the cause of Islam and saving Islamic values. Imam decided to battle with Yazid on the spiritual plane, to oppose Yazids might with his nobility of character, confront power with powerlessness, meet multitudes with want of material support and defy oppression with suffering and martyrdom.

The proof of this line of thought became so clear in Imam Husayns sermons and letters to his brother Muhammad-e-Hanafiya when the Imam was leaving Makka for Iraq.

Imam, after leaving Madinah in the month of Rajab, stayed in Makka for about 5 months. It was in the month of Zilhijja 60 Hijri when he noticed that there were Yazids soldiers in Makka in the garb of Ahram to kill the Imam inside the Masjidul Haram. Imam changed the rituals of Hajj into Umra and decided to leave Makka. The date was 8th of Zilhijja 60 Hijri.

When people saw the Imam leaving before completing the Hajj they began to ask questions as to why he was leaving in such a hurry. Some doubted his motives, saying that he might be leaving Makka for Iraq to confront Yazid and take power into his hands. To quell these doubts he left a letter with his brother Muhammad-e-Hanafiya which clearly states his purpose of leaving Makka.

He wrote in the letter, ”I have not come out to stir emotions, to play with discontentment, to provoke dissension or to spread oppression. I wish to bring the Umma back to the path of Amr-bil-Maarouf and Nahyi Unil Munker. I wish to bring them back to the path of my grandfather the Messenger of Allah and of my father Ali Ibne Abi Talib ”.

The momentous journey of Imam Husayn (as) begins from Makka towards an unknown destination which eventually ended at Karbala.

The Map on the next page showing the Route of Imam Husayn (as) from Makka to Karbala was prepared by the writer of this book in 1984 and was presented at the Imam Husayn Seminar organized by the Muhammadi Trust. This map has been regarded as a pioneering effort and a land mark in Islamic history.

The journey which began from Makka on the 8th of Zilhijja 60 Hijri ended in Karbala on 2nd of Muharram 61 Hijiri and took about 22 days in all. Imam stopped at 14 places on his way to Karbala. He met various people and delivered various sermons. What the Imam talked about to these people he met and said in his sermons at various places reflects the true motives he had in his mind.

The names of these places Imam passed were mentioned in history books but their exact locations were not traceable in modern geographical maps. After searching in the archives of the British Museum Library a map of 9th Century Hijri was found in which all these names were clearly shown.

The reader will see in the following pages the exact map of Hejaz and Iraq of that time and the exact route the Imam and his Caravan took in 60 Hijiri.

Map of Hejaz and Iraq showing the Route of Imam Husayn from Makka to Karbala.

There were 14 places in all where the Imam was known to have passed during this journey.

The first place was called Saffah. Here the Imam stayed for the night. The next morning when he was preparing to leave for his next Manzil that he met the famous poet Farazdaq who was coming from Iraq and was going to Makka for pilgrimage.

When he learnt that Imam was proceeding for Iraq he tried to persuade him not to go there. Imam asked Farazdaq about the conditions in Kufa and the poet replied, ” Peoples hearts are with you but their swords are against you. ” Imam told him, ”Allah does what he wishes, I leave it to Him who proposes the just cause ”. Farazdaq left the place for Makka and Imams caravan proceeded towards its next Manzil. The

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