Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)

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Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)

Author: Abu Talib Al-Tabrizi

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Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)

Al-Abbas (Hazrat Abul Fazl)


Al-Abbas in The Battle of Siffen

Some historians have slackened the reins when they ascribed exaggerate situations of fighting to al-Abbas ibn Ali. As a matter of fact, it is not strange for a hero like al-Abbas to record astonishing situations of fighting from his early youth, because he was the son of that hero and the descendant of the heroes of the Arabs, and, originally, he was prepared for showing supreme heroism and courage. Besides, history has recorded for the Hashemites such unparalleled situations of heroism from early stages of their lives. For instance, Mohammed ibn al-Hanafiyya, son of Imam Ali, showed great heroism in the battles led by his father while he was twenty year old or maybe less.116

Some historians have mentioned that al-Abbas supported his brother Imam al-Hussein who led the division that defeated Muawiya's troops and occupied the two banks of the River Euphrates during the battle of Siffeen.117 Historians, also, have referred to the following narration:

During the battle of Siffeen, a sublime, courageous young man of about seventeen year old putting a veil on the face advanced for fighting. Muawiya, seeing that people feared that warrior, asked Abu'sh-Shaathaa to fight with him. Abu'sh-Shaathaa refused claiming that he was too courageous to fight with such a young warrior. He suggested he would send one of his seven sons to fight. That young warrior could kill all the sons of Abu'sh-Shaathaa who became angry and decided to fight with that warrior himself. The warrior could kill Abu'sh-Shaathaa and return to the camp. Showing their admiration of the heroism and courage of that young warrior whom nobody knew, the companions of Imam Ali recognized that he must have been one of the Hashemites. When Imam Ali removed that veil from the warrior's face, he was al-Abbas.118

Al-Khawarzmi, in his book titled Manaqib ut-Talibiyyin; 147, records the following incident:

Kuraib the strong soldier in Muawiya's army advanced and could kill three of the horsemen of Imam Ali's army. He then challenged Imam Ali. Saddened by this challenge, Imam Ali called his son al-Abbas who was mature and ordered him to ride off his horse and take off his clothes. The father put on his son's clothes, rode on his horse, and asked his son to dress his clothes and take his horse so that Kuraib will not shrink in fear and withdraw fighting…

These two incidents emphasize that al-Abbas ibn Ali participated in the battle of Siffeen with his father and brothers. Some historians, however, have denied the participation of al-Abbas ibn Ali in that battle, claiming that it was al-Abbas ibn al-Harith, not al-Abbas ibn Ali, who attended that battle. This is in fact not accurate, because there are other narrations, recorded in books of history such as al-Khawarzmi's Maqatil ut-Talibiyyin; 105, referring to the roles of al-Abbas ibn al-Harith in that battle.


After the farce of the arbitration, Imam Ali had to encounter other ordeals created by Muawiya who used the hypocrites and the ignorant as means for achieving his vile purposes. Those classes of people criticized Imam Ali for accepting the opinion of the arbitration after they had obliged him to do so. After the cessation of the battle of Siffin, those groups left the army of Imam Ali and adopted a new course in thought and practice. They were called Khawarij 'the mutineers'. The Imam sent some messengers to convince them to change their opinions, but they did not respond. They went on shedding the blood of innocent people and spreading horror among Muslims. As a second attempt, Imam Ali decided to visit them hoping he would take them back to the right path. Although he proved their being wrong through undisputable proofs, the Khawarij insisted on mutiny. As Imam Ali noticed that they formed a great danger against the Islamic society, he had to wage war against them. In a place called an-Nahrawan, a horrible fighting occurred between the Khawarij and Imam Ali's army. In that war, the Khawarij were killed completely and none was saved except nine persons.

By the way, al-Abbas ibn Ali, probably, did not participate in this battle, because historians have not referred to any situation for him in this battle. At any rate, some historians believe that Imam Ali prevented some of his sons, including al-Abbas, from fighting in the battles of Siffin and an-Nahrawan because he wanted to save them from death.

After the ordeal of the Khawarij, Muawiya went on enhancing his power through the many raids that he made against some territories of Kufa; the capital of the Islamic State. He also occupied Egypt to take it out from the control of Imam Ali. Those ordeals that inflicted the Islamic world saddened Imam Ali very much since he felt the coming ordeals, which would be more horrible. The Khawarij held a conference in Mecca and decided to get rid of Imam Ali, Muawiya, and Amr ibn al-Aas because, as they thought, those three persons were the reasons beyond people's disorder. The ruling authority of Mecca knew about that meeting and, probably, supplied one of the conferee with money to facilitate his mission of killing Imam Ali.

The man, Abdur-Rahman ibn Muljim, came to Kufa and went on preparing for doing his mission with the help of the hypocrites of that city. At the nineteenth night of the holy month of Ramadan, Imam Ali went to the mosque for leading the collective Fajr prayer. When he raised the head after the prostration, the infidel struck him on the head with his sword. As soon as the Imam felt the stroke, he smiled and declared: "By the Lord of Kaaba, I have won."

He was carried to his house where his sons, daughters, and harem gathered around him. The Imam distributed his sights among his sons as he predicted each one's role in the future. The Imam looked at his son al-Abbas with sights of affection and emotion when he remembered the divine prediction regarding this courageous son and the role that he would play in supporting the religion of God. He then instructed his sons on the high moral standards, commitment to the right, and perseverance on principles. As the poison of the sword that struck the Imam spread to his entire body, death crept to him in sure steps. The Imam then departed life. His elder son, Imam al-Hasan, along with his brothers, prepared the funeral rituals of his body. They washed his body, put it in the coffin, and carried it to the burial place in Najaf.

From the conduct of his father, along with the problems and ordeals that happened during his reign, al-Abbas learnt how to stand everything for sake of keeping the principles and achieving justice on this earth. He did believe in the brilliant goals to which his father called and for the application of which he sacrificed everything including his holy soul. These lessons contributed greatly in creating that high spirit enjoyed by al-Abbas ibn Ali.


After his father, Imam al-Hasan held the position of the leadership of the Islamic State. All the political and social circumstances were not stable. The great majority of the military commanders, including the general commander, showed loyalty to Muawiya who seduced them by means of precious bribes. The false idea of the Khawarij, too, worked as a destructive factor that ruined the building of the Imam's wing. As a result, many attempts of assassination, though unsuccessful, were made against the Imam. Finally, some hypocrites accused him of infidelity.

All these ordeals encouraged Muawiya to declare war against the Imam. Thus, Muawiya gathered his powerful army and directed towards Iraq. Accompanied by a few divisions of his army, Imam al-Hasan directed towards al-Madaain where he resided. Peace treaty with Muawiya was the only solution that would save the Imam's soul and save Muslims from disunity and apostasy. Thus, Imam al-Hasan had to sign a peace treaty with Muawiya.

After that peace treaty, Imam al-Hasan, along with his household and brothers including al-Abbas, left Kufa to Medina. He resided there and began spreading his knowledges among seekers of studies and conferring upon the needy and the poor with his abundant generosity. By the presence of Imam al-Hasan, Medina regained its leading position as the spiritual capital of the Islamic world. The bitter trials that Imam al-Hasan encountered opened the eyes of al-Abbas on new facts regarding the nature of both the society and the ruling authorities.


After the peace treaty with Imam al-Hasan, Muawiya ibn Abi-Suffian; the mortal enemy and the son of the mortal enemies of Islam, could hold the position of the leadership of the Islamic State after he had eradicated the government of Ali and his descendants-the one and only government, after the Prophet's, that was characterized by ideal justice.

With the collapse of Imam Ali's government, all the values of humanity and morality were replaced by values of paganism, altogether with all of its disadvantages, which Muawiya exerted all efforts for confirming them as an alternate for the principles of Islam. Under the shades of the Umayyad reign, vice, immorality, despotism, and corruption spread all over the Islamic provinces. Muslims had to encounter insufferable ordeals that tested their perseverance on their principles and the scope of their faith and steadfastness against misfortunes.119 Muawiya, first of all, directed towards the policy of eliminating the Islamic attentive personalities, such as Hijr ibn Edi, Amr ibn al-Hamq, Rushaid al-Hujari, Saad ibn Abi-Waqqas, Abd-ur-Rahman ibn Khalid, Abd-ur-Rahman ibn Abi-Bakr, and, finally, Imam al-Hasan.

He then dedicated all his possibilities to antagonizing the Ahl-ul-Bayt because they acted as oppositionists, represented the genuine and true trend of Islam, and belonged to that great Prophet who smashed the glories of the other Koreishite clans, especially Muawiya and his father who had stood against him openly as possible as they could until he conquered their city, captured them, and, then, set them free. He established a faction of fabricators whose missions were to invent words, ascribed falsely to the Prophet, praising the other companions (of the Prophet) so as to be a front against the Ahl-ul-Bayt, invent other words dispraising the Ahl-ul-Bayt, and invent a third collection of words praising the Umayyads. Unfortunately, the influence of these inventions have still been effective and many Muslims have been still deluded by such fabrications that were aimed at deceiving the Islamic nation by taking it away from the actual leadership that God, His Prophet Mohammed, and intellect have selected.

Muawiya, also, issued a formal decision ordering the officials of his government to revile at Imam Ali openly from the mimbars of Masjids all over the Islamic State.

Furthermore, Muawiya used the teaching institutions for achieving his blind goals of eradicating the Ahl-ul-Bayt. Hence, the new generations were brought up on malice against the Ahl-ul-Bayt. All the same, the policies of Muawiya have failed and he was terribly disappointed. Amir ul-Mu'minin Ali ibn Abi-Talib has been the world's song of human perfection and freedom, while the Umayyads have become nothing but a corruptive germ detested by everybody. All these policies of persecution and grievous forms of discrimination that the Ahl-ul-Bayt had to suffer during the reign of the Umayyads increased in the mentality of al-Abbas the necessity of the struggle against oppression. He also believed in the obligation of revolting against the Umayyads for sake of fulfilling the religious duty and saving the Muslim community against the deviations and wrong policies of those illegitimate rulers. The gravest danger that Muawiya brought to the Islamic nation was his naming Yazid; his lascivious son as the next ruler of the Islamic State. Historians have unanimously mentioned that Yazid ibn Muawiya was empty of any humanitarian value. He was sunken in sins and crimes. He declared openly that he had not believed in God or His Prophet and that he had had one and only mission-to eradicate the Prophet's progeny so as to revenge himself against the Prophet and his family who killed many of his fathers and humiliated the others.

Finding his faithless son as the best one to achieve the evil aims of his fathers and him, Muawiya appointed Yazid as the coming leader and instructed him to do some matters that achieve the continuity of the Umayyad dynasty as absolute rulers of this nation.

Even during the funeral ceremonies of Imam al-Hassan, the Umayyads aroused a seditious matter when they prevented the holy body of the Imam to be buried beside the holy body of the Prophet. They exploited the malice that Aisha bore against the Ahl-ul-Bayt for achieving their wicked purposes. Moreover, they threw the coffin of the Imam with darts. As he could no longer stand the situation, al-Abbas tried to attack the Umayyads and tear them into pieces with his sword, but Imam al-Hussein stopped him and asked him to comply with the will of the dear deceased who ordered them not to shed a single drop of blood because of a matter concerning him.

Thus, the funeral ceremonies were ended peacefully and the holy body of Imam al-Hasan was buried in al-Baqee. When Muawiya surpassed the limits and adopted policies in violation of the interests of Muslims, Imam al-Hussein, in Medina, denied and exerted all efforts for exposing Muawiya's policies and called Muslims to revolt against such an illegitimate authority. The secret agents in Medina reported all these activities to Muawiya who was frightened; therefore, he forwarded a message to the Imam threatening him with severe procedures if he would not stop. The Imam answered with a strongly-worded message in which he renounced Muawiya's policies by mentioning his horrible political events and declared an opposite situation against that government.120

During the season of the hajj, Imam al-Hussein held a political conference by the participation of a good number of Muhajirs,121 Ansar,122 and their followers. He delivered a sermon in which he referred to the harsh ordeals that the Prophet's household, as well as all Muslims, had had to encounter during the reign of Muawiya. The Imam also asked the attendants to convey his message to everybody they trust so that Muslims would not be deluded by the mean policies of Muawiya and his agents.123


Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas attended all the chapters of the great revolution of his brother-the giant revolution that changed the course of history, shook the whole world, freed the Muslim individuals, and provoked the Muslim publics to stand against the wrong authorities and antagonize every item of despotism and oppression. Indeed, it has been one of the most important revolutions of humanity.

Al-Abbas contributed in this revolution so positively and effectively as he understood all the goals and believed in the necessity of applying them to humanity in general and the Muslim society in particular. He was one of the most important characters of the march of that revolution. He supported his brother, believed in his movements, and trusted his standards. Since the Imam left Medina, al-Abbas did not leave him for even a single moment. Hence, you can find the ghost of al-Abbas attending every item of Imam al-Hussein's march until he lost his life for the sake of that great uprising.

Let us now refer to some chapters of Imam al-Hussein's revolution.


In the dusk, al-Waleed ibn Aqaba, the ruler of Medina, summoned Imam al-Hussein. As he realized the reason beyond such a summon, the Imam asked his brother al-Abbas, as well as the other men of his household, to protect him. He ordered them to sit out of the ruler's hall until they would hear his loud voice as a sign to come in and save him.

The ruler welcomed the Imam warmly before he informed him about he death of Muawiya and Yazid's decision of taking the acknowledgement of allegiance to him as the new leader of the Islamic nation from people of Medina in general and the Imam in particular. The Imam asked al-Waleed to give him a respite until next morning. By this respite, the Imam intended to gather people the next morning to declare his rejection of Yazid's leadership and his call to mutiny against him.

Marwan ibn al-Hakam who attended that situation burst forth to agitate the fire of sedition. He addressed to al-Waleed: "If he departs you without taking the homage from him, you will never be able to take it any time else before numerous victims from both parties will fall. Detain him so as to take his acknowledgement of allegiance to the new caliph. If he does not give it, you should then behead him." Looking at Mawran with contempt, Imam al-Hussein said to him: "Is it you or he who will kill me? By God I swear, you, the mean one, have lied." He then turned to al-Waleed and said:

"Emir, we are the household of prophecy, the core of the divine mission, the object of the visiting angels, and the center of the (divine) mercy. Allah commenced (the creation) with us and will seal with us. Yazid is a faithless man. He drinks wines, kills the respectful soul, and declares lechery openly. My example does not acknowledge allegiance to his. But, let both of us wait until morning and see which one is more meritorious of the caliphate -the religious and political leadership of the Islamic nation- and of being acknowledged for homage…"124 By these words, Imam al-Hussein, indifferent to the ruling authorities and their threats, rejected paying homage to Yazid and declared the reason beyond such rejection.


Imam al-Hussein, then, decided to leave Medina to Mecca so that he would betake it as his new center. Before he left, he directed to the tomb of his grandfather Prophet Mohammed (s) to complain to him about the ordeals that gathered around him. He also directed towards the tomb of his mother Fatima the Veracious (a) to say farewell. Finally he visited the tomb of his brother Imam al-Hasan (a). He then led his household and harem to Mecca. Along his march, his standard was flapping in dignity and courage in the hand of his brother al-Abbas who held the mission of supervising the affairs of his harem. Some personalities asked Imam al-Hussein to change the way that he took to Mecca so that the authorities would not catch him. But the Imam declared courageously:

"No, by Allah. I will not leave this way before I reach Mecca until Allah does what He wills." On the third of Shaban, the Imam's caravan arrived in Mecca and resided in the house of al-Abbas ibn Abd-ul-Muttalib. The Meccans received the Imam so warmly and frequented him severally. The Imam was also frequented by the hajjis and visitors of the Holy House of God. During all his moments, the Imam was broadcasting the political and religious knowledge among his visitors and calling people to revolt against the illegitimate leadership of the Umayyad dynasty.

Meanwhile the ruling authorities in Mecca feared very much after they had noticed the Muslims' frequentation to Imam al-Hussein and their reporting that the Imam is worthier of the leadership of the Islamic nation than the descendants of Abu-Suffian who waged wars against Islam. The governor of Mecca, Amr ibn Saeed al-Ashdaq, hurried to the Imam and said with wrath: "What has brought you to the Holy House of God?"

With a tone of confidence and quietness, the Imam answered: "I have come to seek the refuge of Allah and this House." As this procedure threatened the Umayyad government, the governor of Mecca sent a message to Yazid telling him about all details. As he read the message, Yazid sent a note to Abdullah ibn Abbas in which he threatened Imam al-Hussein (a) for such movement and asked him to interfere for preventing the Imam from revolting against his government. Abdullah ibn Abbas answered Yazid's note by advising him not to oppose the Imam since he left Medina because the ruling authorities there did not respect his standing and personality. Hence, the Imam resided in Mecca for some time during which all his movements and activities were reported to Damascus; the capital of the Umayyad State.


As soon as people of Kufa heard the news of Muawiya's death, they exulted openly and held a popular conference at the house of their chief, Sulaiman ibn Sard al-Khuzaai, and delivered enthusiastic speeches in which they referred to the various sorts of persecution and torture that they suffered during the reign of Muawiya, and agreed on paying homage to Imam al-Hussein (a) and rejecting Yazid's power. In the same time, they sent a delegation to Mecca to urge the Imam to come to them for forming a government and declaring their city as the capital of the Islamic State as it was during the reign of Imam Ali (a).

Furthermore, people of Kufa sent thousands of messages in which they expressed their serious determination to support the Imam and sacrifice their souls and fortunes for him. They also charged him with the responsibility of what they had suffered if he would reject. In the sight of Imam al-Hussein (a), all these matters impose on him the legal responsibility of responding to the calls of the persecuted people. Hence, he decided to send his cousin Muslim ibn Aqil to Kufa for inspecting the real situation there. After the report of Muslim, the Imam would see whether it is obligatory upon him to lead that revolt or not.

As he arrived in Kufa, Muslim resided in the house of al-Mukhtar ibn abi-Ubaida ath-Thaqafi. As the Shia knew about this matter, they hurried to al-Mukhtar's house, received Muslim warmly, gathered around him, and appealed to him to accept their declarations of allegiance to Imam al-Hussein (a). Responding to their request, Muslim opened a register in which he recorded the names of signers whose number reached eighteen thousand on the first few days. Day by day, the number was increasing.

It is worth mentioning that the ruling authorities of Kufa, though they knew everything about these procedures of revolution, kept silent because their head, an-Numan ibn Bashir al-Ansari, did not show loyalty to Yazid who opposed Ansar and because an-Numan's daughter was the wife of al-Mukhtar whose house was the center of Muslim.

Naturally, the pro-Umayyad hypocrites did not like this situation; therefore, they contacted with the capital and informed Yazid about everything. They also demanded him with dismissing an-Numan and appointing a new governor who would be able to eradicate the revolution and subjugate people of Kufa to his government. These news terrified Yazid who summoned Sirjawn, his personal consultant, and asked for an advice. The skillful consultant advised Yazid to appoint Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad, the terrorist, for holding the position of governorship of Kufa. Like his father, Ubaidullah, who was the governor of Basra, was empty of any human tendency. He was ready to commit the ugliest crimes against humanity. Yazid, hence, wrote the decree of naming Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad as the governor of Kufa besides Basra. Ubaidullah was also ordered to direct towards Kufa for eradicating the revolution there and killing the envoy of Imam al-Hussein; Muslim ibn Aqil.

Ubaidullah in Kufa

As soon as he received the decree of naming him as the new governor of Kufa besides Basra, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad ran to there so that Imam al-Hussein would not precede him. As he reached the borders of the city, he disguised himself with black clothes so that people would think of him as Imam al-Hussein (a). Thus, people welcomed him warmly. This situation made Ubaidullah resent deeply. He therefore hurried to the Palace of Governorship -Qasr ul-Imara- so that no one would realize the reality. As he reached there, he knocked the door. From the balcony, an-Numan who also thought of him as Imam al-Hussein shouted: "Son of God's Messenger, I will not fulfill my pledge to you and I do not want to fight you…"

"Open the door," shouted Ubaidullah, "You will suffer long nighttime!"

As some of the public who walked behind him knew his reality, they shouted: "This is indeed son of Marjana." Thus, they ran away with their hearts filled in with terror. Ubaidullah the tyrant went towards the palace, seized the weapons and fortune, and was gathered around by the agents of the Umayyad dynasty, such as Omar ibn Saad, Shemr ibn Thi'l-Jawshan, Mohammed ibn al-Ashaath, and other famous names among the hypocrites of Kufa. They began discussing the matters of the expected revolution of Kufa and its chiefs, and went on plotting for eradicating it.

Next morning, Ubaidullah gathered the people in the Grand Masjid of Kufa to tell them about the new decision of appointing him as the new governor. He promised the obedient and threatened the disobedient and the mutineers with harsh punishment. He then showed items of horror by putting to death some individuals before he had interrogated them. He also filled the prisons with innocent people. All these means were taken for controlling the country completely.

As Muslim knew about Ubaidullah's coming to Kufa, he changed his residential place. He moved to the house of Hanii ibn Urwa-one of the most celebrated personalities of Kufa, who welcomed his hospitably and received his partisans to plan for the revolution.

The success that Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad achieved in the political fields is ascribed to the series of plans that he made. The introductory step that he betook was spying on the movements of Muslim to circulate his political activities and realize his points of power and weakness. Ubaidullah chose his servant, Miiqal for this mission. He gave him some money and ordered him to contact with the significant members of the revolution by claiming that he shows loyalty to the Ahl-ul-Bayt and that he had come to Kufa as he heard the call of Imam al-Hussein (a).

Miiqal could first reach Muslim ibn Awsaja-one of the celebrated personalities of the Shia and show him false loyalty. Unfortunately, Muslim ibn Awsaja was deceived when he showed Miiqal the residential place of Muslim ibn Aqil. Thus, Miiqal frequented about the place and could comprehend everything about the expected revolt and report to his master; son of Marjana. The second and most dangerous process that Ubaidullah did was arresting Hanii ibn Urwa who was the chief of the tribes of Mithhaj-the great majority of the inhabitants of Kufa. This procedure spread a big wave of horror among people of Kufa and sent a destructive strike to the expected revolution.

Before Ubaidullah the tyrant, Hanii denied the accusation that he had Muslim ibn Aqil in his house. Hence, the ruling authorities summoned Miiqal the spy to testify of the truth. However, Hanii refused to give up his guest to the authorities. But the tyrant ordered his servants to draw Hanii near him and went on beating him on the face with a bar he had in the hand. He then ordered Hanii to be detained in one of the rooms of the palace. This procedure shook the feelings of the tribes of Mithhaj who, under the leadership of the traitor Amr ibn al-Hajjaj, pushed themselves towards the palace. Amr shouted so as to make Ubaidullah hear him: "I am Amr ibn al-Hajjaj, and these are the celebrities and chiefs of Mithhaj. Yet, we are not denouncing our loyalty to you nor are we mutinying against you." Furthermore, Amr said words of surrender and humility for which Ubaidullah did not care. He then asked Shuraih the judge to see Hanii and then tell his tribe about his state. The judge entered the cell of Hanii who shouted: "How strange this is! Have my people all died? If only ten persons from my tribe come to me they will certainly save me." When Shuraih left him, he said to people of Mithhaj, "I have seen your chief. He is alive. He has ordered you to go home." Amr ibn al-Hajjaj shouted: "Well, he has not been killed. Thanks to God."

As if they have been granted the one and only opportunity to escape a lightless jail, people of Mithhaj turned their faces back and ran away. It seems that there had been a secret agreement between the chiefs of Mithhaj and Ubaidullah on killing Hanii, otherwise they would have attacked the palace and saved their chief.

Muslim ibn Aqil knew about the situation of Hanii who was an important member of the expected revolution; therefore, he declared openly the revolution against Ubaidullah. Thus, about four thousand warriors joined him. Ubaidullah was delivering a speech when he heard the noise of the revolters whose numbers were increasing and were directing towards the Palace of Governorship. Like a dirty dog, Ubaidullah hurried towards the palace. He had only thirty policemen; so, he used the meanest means that would save him-war of nerves. As he knew the mentalities of people of Kufa very well, he ordered the traitorous chiefs of Kufa to slip among the troops of Muslim ibn Aqil and spread the rumors that the armies of Syria would soon punish those who joined Muslim's army, the government would deprive those who joined Muslim of their salaries and economic resources, and that martial laws would be applied to them. These rumors acted as bombs on the heads of people of Kufa most of whom declared, "We should not engage ourselves in questions of policy!"

Before long, most of them left Muslim who led the rest to the Masjid for prayer. Even during the prayer, the others left and Muslim, as he finished the prayer, found himself alone! That night, he could not find a house to settle in. He therefore had to wander alone in the ways of Kufa. Only a noble lady called Tawaa had the courage to let Muslim in. As she served him food, Muslim refused to eat or drink because he was thinking of the fate that Imam al-Hussein (a) who was in his way to Kufa after he had received a message from Muslim telling him that the way was paved for his revolution, would face after the betrayal of people of Kufa. Son of Tawaa, however, knew the whole story of his mother and with the first sparks of that morning he hurried to inform the ruling authorities about the matter.

Three hundred horsemen, led by Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath, attacked the house of Tawaa, but Muslim faced them with such an unprecedented courage that he inherited from his fathers. He alone could defeat those horsemen and kill a great number of them. The mean ones however began to throw stones and fireballs on Muslim who too overcame them.

When Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath returned to Ubaidullah and asked him for more troops and weapons, the latter said with astonishment, "I have sent you to capture one man! But he did this to your troops!" Ibn al-Ashaath answered, "Do you think you have sent me to bring an ordinary man from Kufa or Hira? You have sent me to capture a courageous lion and a hero from the family of the best men in whose hands cutting swords are lying."

Ubaidullah supplied Muhammad ibn al-Ashaath with more troops and weapons, but Muslim the hero kept on fighting against them so bravely. This facing took a long time during which Muslim suffered thirst and the troops of the ruling authorities were increasing around him, though they were too terrified to attack him. Finally, they stabbed him with their lances until they could capture him. People of Kufa who betrayed him crowded to see how he was taken to the Palace of Governorship. Near the palace, Muslim felt thirsty and asked for water. Somebody served him water, but Muslim could not drink because the cup was filled with blood.

Before Ubaidullah the tyrant, Muslim ibn Aqil was very courageous when he refused submitting to the tyrant who ordered Bukair ibn Hamran to take him to the surface of the palace and behead him. He also ordered Hanii to be killed before the individuals of his tribe who showed subjugation. The dead bodies of Muslim and Hanii were trailed on the ground in the streets of Kufa as a sign of terrorism and scorning the adherents of Muslim; the representative of Imam al-Hussein (a).


Imam al-Hussein (a) understood that Yazid ordered some individuals to assassinate him even if he would adhere to the curtains of the Kaaba. He therefore left Mecca so that his blood would not be shed in the Holy House of God in the Sacred Month. Besides, he received a missive from his envoy Muslim ibn Aqil telling him to hurry to Kufa since its people would be ready to sacrifice their fortunes and souls for him and would help him form an independent government there.

Encircled by those bright-faced youths of the Prophet's household, headed by the epitome of determination and disdain Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas, Imam al-Hussein (a) led his harem towards the land of martyrdom; Karbala. During this march, al-Abbas was holding fast on the standard, which was flapping on the heads of his brother and his harem to fill their hearts with tranquility and peace, and was undertaking all the affairs of the women and children in that caravan.

During that march, scathing thoughts repeatedly intruded on the mind of Imam al-Hussein. He believed that he, as well as his household, would be killed at the hands of the evil, faithless gang who sent him tens of missives asking him to lead them against the regime. In his way, the Imam met the famous poet, al-Farazdaq, who revealed the actual state of people of Kufa. He said: "People's hearts are with you, but their swords are with the Umayyads. Act of God descends from the heavens, and He does only what He wills. Every day, God has a definite act." The Imam assented to al-Farazdaq's opinion and told him about his determination to continue his march of jihad for sake of protecting the sanctity of Islam and that the result would be either victory or martyrdom.

As the caravan reached a place called Zuroud, a man came from the direction of Kufa. He informed two of the Imam's companions that he witnessed the martyrdom of Muslim ibn Aqil and Hanii ibn Urwa. This news broke the hearts of the Imam and his household and companions. As the harem knew about it, they wept heavily as everybody realized that people of Kufa breached their pledges to the Imam and they would face the same fate that Muslim had faced.

The Imam turned his face to the sons of Aqil ibn Abi-Talib and said: "After the killing of Muslim, what do you see?" They answered: "No, by God. We will never return unless we take our revenge or face the same fate that Muslim faced." The Imam supported their opinion and repeated their words.

The caravan continued and received another grievous news-the martyrdom of Abdullah ibn Yaqtur whom Imam al-Hussein (a) sent to Kufa to meet Muslim ibn Aqil and know what happened to him. The policemen of Kufa arrested Abdullah and brought him before their master Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad who ordered him to ascend the mimbar and curse Imam al-Hussein. The man observed the order, ascended the mimbar, and shouted with loud voice: "People, I am the messenger of al-Hussein son of Fatima (the Prophet's daughter). He asks you to support him against this bastard and son of bastard- son of Marjana… etc."

Expressing his extreme anger, Ubaidullah ordered his police to throw Abdullah ibn Yaqtur from the surface of the palace to the ground. Imam al-Hussein, after he had received this grievous news, gathered his companions and said: "Our adherents -in Kufa- have disappointed us. Hence, I permit all of you to leave me and I free you from the pledge that you took with me." The greedy ones who followed the Imam for gaining spoils or mundane affairs left him, and none remained except the choice ones who followed him since they had believed he was the right.

Thus, the caravan marched with a few individuals of excellent companions, prime household, harem, and children. As they reached a place called 'Shuraf' the Imam gave the orders of fetching as much water as possible from the springs there. A few steps after these springs, one of the companions saw something like date-palm trees and shouted to make the others notice so. Some of those who had full knowledge of that area realized that it was nothing but arrowheads and ears of horses. Imam al-Hussein, too, realized that these were the vanguards of the Umayyad army. He therefore asked his companions whether they knew a near place to hide in. some referred to the Mount Thu-Husam to the left.

As the Imam's caravan directed towards that location, the massive troops -of about more than one thousand horsemen as some historians have confirmed- under the commandment of al-Hurr ibn Yazid ar-Riyahi whom Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad commissioned to wander through the desert until he would meet and capture the caravan of Imam al-Hussein, caught them. It was midday when al-Hurr's troops were too thirsty to continue their march. Seeing this situation, the Imam felt pity for them and ordered his companions to give them from the water they had with them. Even the horses of that army were given water.

After that, the Imam delivered an articulate sermon to the troops of that army. He said:

"People: This is only an argument intended to release me from the responsibility that lies on me with regard to Allah and you. I came to you only after I had received your missives and your messengers who asked me to come to you since you had no leader and since you desired to be guided to the right guidance through my leadership to you. If you are still bearing this very tendency, then here I am. Show me pledges and covenants due to which I will be sure of your intentions. But if you dislike my coming to you, I will leave you and return to the place from which I came." Because most of the individuals of that army were among those who sent missives and asked the Imam to come to them and paid homage to him via his representative Muslim ibn Aqil, they could not answer him.

As time of the Dhuhr Prayer fell, the Imam ordered the muezzin to declare it. He then turned his face to al-Hurr and asked whether he would lead the collective prayer for his companions. "We will follow you in prayer," answered al-Hurr politely. When they performed the Asr Prayer, the Imam delivered another sermon: "People: if you fear Allah and recognize the people of the right, this will surely please Him more than anything else. We-the Ahl-ul-Bayt are worthier of holding the position of leadership than those who claimed it falsely and governed you by means of wrong and oppression. If you will dislike us and ignore our right and change your minds that you had expressed in your missives you sent to me, I will surely leave you…" As he knew nothing about these missives, al-Hurr asked the Imam, "What are these missives you are mentioning?"

The Imam ordered one of his companions to fetch them and show to al-Hurr who, as soon as he saw them, was shocked. He then said to the Imam, "We are not among those who wrote these missives."

Afterwards, the Imam wanted to leave that place and return home, but al-Hurr prevented him and said, "I will not leave you until I lead you to Kufa to be present before Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad."

"Death is nearer to you than doing so," the Imam answered and ordered his companions to ride and direct towards Medina. But al-Hurr prevented them. The Imam said to him, "What do you want from us?" "I want to lead you to Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad," answered al-Hurr. "I will not follow you," said the Imam.

"And I will not leave you," answered al-Hurr. War was about to break out, but al-Hurr could save the situation by saying, "I was not ordered to fight you. I was only ordered not to leave you before I lead you to Kufa. If you refuse, you may take a way that takes you neither to Kufa nor Medina so that I will write a report to Ubaidullah and hope God will save me from fighting you."

Hence, the Imam's caravan took another way southward and al-Hurr's army watched them. In a place called 'al-Baidha', the Imam delivered a sermon. He said:

"People: the Messenger of Allah said, 'For anyone who knows an unjust ruler that is violating Allah's sanctities, breaking the pledge of Allah, going against the Sunna of the Prophet, and treating the servants of Allah with means of sin and oppression and avoids denying so by a deed or a word, it will be incumbent upon Allah to take him to the place he deserves (i.e. Hell).'

Those individuals -the Umayyad rulers- have adhered to the obedience to the Shaitan, deserted the obedience to the All-beneficent (Lord), made public sinfulness, defied the doctrinal provisions, dedicated the treasuries to themselves, deemed lawful the things that Allah has decided unlawful, and deemed unlawful the things that Allah has decided lawful. I am the worthiest of bearing the mission of denying their acts. I have received your missives and your messengers who reported to me that you paid homage to me and that you would neither let me down nor disappoint me.

If you keep your homage, you will certainly do the right thing. I am al-Hussein son of Ali and Fatima; daughter of the Messenger of Allah. My soul will be with yours and my harem will be with yours. (i.e. they will face the same fate that you will face.) I however am the example that should be followed. But if you break your homage and pledge, this is in fact not strange from you. You have already done it with my father, brother, and cousin (Muslim ibn Aqil). He who believes you is surely deceived. Anyhow, you have only missed your opportunity of success and neglected your chance of safety. He who breaches is only doing ill to himself. Allah will surely find me a substitution."

After this sermon, al-Hurr said to the Imam, "I only want to advise you. I am sure that you will be killed if you fight. I swear it." The Imam answered, "Do you threaten me with death? Will misfortunes depart you if you kill me? I really do not know what to say to you. But I will copy the saying of that man from the (tribe of) Aws whom his cousin threatened with death while he was going to defend the Prophet (s). He said:

I will go on, and death is not shameful for the hero

Who intends good and fight for his Islam

And sacrifices his soul for the righteous men

And defies the perished ones and departs the wrong ones

If I live I will not regret, and if I die I will not be blamed

It is certainly sufficient humility to live in humbleness

As he heard these words from the Imam, al-Hurr left him and realized that he decided to sacrifice his soul for sake of saving Muslims from the oppression and wrong of the Umayyad rulers.

The caravan went on and the troops of al-Hurr were preventing it from directing towards the desert and trying to push it towards Kufa. Meanwhile, a rider came out. It was a man carrying a message from Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad to al-Hurr: "As soon as you receive this message, lead al-Hussein to a derelict place in the desert where there is no shelter or water. I have also ordered the man who carried this message to you to haunt you until you carry out this order."

As Imam al-Hussein (a) wanted to reside in a place near a spring or a shelter, al-Hurr prevented him and recited Ubaidullah's message. As the situation attained its climax, Zuhair ibn al-Qain; one of the sincere companions of the Imam, suggested that they would fight against al-Hurr and his troops, but the Imam rejected and said: "I will never begin fighting."

Al-Hurr then obliged the Imam to reside in a place, and the Imam had to respond.

"What is this place called," asked the Imam.

"This is Karbala," answered one of the companions.

"Allah: I seek Your protection against agony and ordeal," supplicated the Imam (a) He then turned towards his companions and said:

"This is the place of agony and ordeal. This is the place where we, as well as our riding animals, will reside and our blood will be shed." Al-Abbas, accompanied by the heroes of the Prophet's household and the Imam's companions, hurried to pitch tents for the harem whom were reigned by horror as they imagined the coming events on this land.

The Imam then raised his hands upward for supplicating to God. He said:

"Allah: We, the household of Your Prophet Mohammed, have been banished away from the sanctum of our grandfather and have been aggressed by the Umayyads. Allah: Take vengeance upon those who oppressed us and support us against the wrongdoers." He then turned his face towards his household and companions and said:

"People are certainly the slaves of this world. The religion is only a slaver on their tongues. They turn it wherever their livelihood demands. If they are examined by misfortunes, the religious will be very little. This world has changed, snubbed, and its good has turned tail. Nothing has remained from it except a thing that is as scanty as the leftover of a cup and a mean life that is like a noxious grazing. Have you not noticed that the right is ignored and the evil is not forbidden? This is sufficient for making the believers desire for meeting Allah rightfully. I consider death as happiness and life with the wrongdoers as boredom."

By these words the Imam informed his household and companions about the coming ordeals that they would face and declared his readiness to fight against the wrong party to the last spark of his life. As they heard his words, those unmatched individuals who paved the way of freedom to humankind through their unparalleled situations spoke before their leader to show him their readiness to participate with him and continue the way whatever the sacrifices would be. The first companion to speak was Zuhair ibn al-Qain:

"Son of God's Messenger: We have understood your words. We may stop supporting you if we understand that this world will perpetuate for us for good… etc."

Another hero, namely Burair ibn Khudhair, said similar words. Then came the turns of the other heroes who declared their situations of perseverance on their principles and their readiness to sacrifice their souls for their leader, Imam al-Hussein, who represented the genuine trend of Islam. Anyhow, the other companions said similar words before the Imam who thanked them for their feelings and blessed them.

In Kufa, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad felt happy when he was informed that the vanguards of his army seized Imam al-Hussein. He therefore began to plan for the next step; whom should he choose for the commandment of the army who would kill the Prophet's dearest one? As he reviewed the names of the candidates, he could not realize any individual meaner and more vicious than Omar ibn Saad. At first, Omar refused to fight against the Imam, but Ubaidullah who selected him for this mission threatened he would dismiss him from the governorship of Ray -currently Tehran-. Thus, he accepted and began his campaign towards Karbala with four thousand horsemen. As his troops arrived in Karbala, they joined the army of al-Hurr ibn Yazid there.

In Kufa again, Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad gathered people and spoke: "People: As you tried the descendants of Abu-Suffian, you have found them as exactly as you like. You have also known your leader Yazid as good and praiseworthy man. He treats his subjects kindly, gives everybody his deserved share of the public treasury, and honors people out of his wealth. He has ordered me to give each of you one hundred dirhams monthly as an addition to your fixed shares of the public treasury. He has also ordered me to call you to participate in the campaign against his enemy al-Hussein. Hence, you should listen to and obey him…"126

Unfortunately, most of them carried out this orders and composed a huge army against Imam al-Hussein's. Afterwards, they traveled to Karbala and occupied the two banks of the River Euphrates.

Some historians, however, have mentioned that three days before the encounter, Imam al-Hussein was prevented from water.127 This in fact was the most horrible misfortune that he faced. The strange thing is that the band of the Umayyad army took pride in this criminal act that challenged all humanitarian values. One of them, for instance, shouted at Imam al-Hussein, "Hussein: you can see water flow like reptiles. You will not taste it before you die…"128

Expressing his joy at this situation, Amr ibn al-Hajjaj addressed to the Imam, "Hussein, this is the Euphrates. Dogs, donkeys, and pegs are licking its water. But we shall prevent you from having a single drop from it…"129


As he saw the children and harem cry out of thirst, al-Abbas declared his readiness to fetch water by force. He therefore took thirty horsemen and twenty warriors and attacked the bank of the river. Amr ibn al-Hajjaj who was in charge of guarding the river from the companions of the Imam faced Nafii ibn Hilal to tell him that it is impossible to let him take water to Imam al-Hussein. But al-Abbas and the other heroes did not pay attention to the criminal's words; therefore, they encountered a battalion of the Umayyad army. However, the two parties did not encounter any casualty. The result was that al-Abbas and his companions reached the river and filled up the twenty skins they had with water and came back.

Since that day, or maybe before, al-Abbas was given the honorable name of 'as-Saqqaa -the provider of water.'130


In addition to their numerous mean and inhuman means to weaken the party of Imam al-Hussein, Shemr ibn Thi'l-Jawshan obtained a grant of reprieve to al-Abbas and his full brothers from Ubaidullah son of Marjana. This callous trial was intended to take al-Abbas and his full brothers away from the battle and make them forsake their brother.

Hence, Shemr stopped before the army of the Imam and shouted: "Where are sons of our sister? Where are al-Abbas and his full brothers?" Al-Abbas and his brothers kept silent to avoid answering him, but the Imam asked them to answer and see what for he had come. Only then they stood before Shemr and said, "What do you want, son of Thi'l-Jawshan?" He said, "I have taken for you a grant of reprieve." As they heard his shameless words they shouted in his face, "Curse you and curse your grant of reprieve. How dare you say such words while son of God's Messenger is not saved from danger?"131

These words were enough to express their real situation; they were ready to protect the Imam until he is saved or they lose their lives. It was afternoon on Thursday when the vanguards of the Umayyad army forwarded for fighting against the Ahl-ul-Bayt. Imam al-Hussein was sitting near his tent with the sword in his hand when Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas turned his face and said: "They have come to you." The Imam then asked his brother to identify their intents. He said to him:

"May I sacrifice myself for you, brother! Ride on and meet them to ask about their intentions."

With twenty horsemen, al-Abbas hurried towards that army and asked what they wanted. "The Emir has ordered us to call you to submit to his orders, otherwise, we will fight you,"132 answered they. As al-Abbas turned back to tell his brother about their intention, Habib ibn Muzhahir delivered a sermon to that army in which he admonished and warned them against the divine punishment they would face if they fight against the family of the Prophet. However, some of them answered him impudently.

When he heard the words of his brother, Imam al-Hussein said to him: "Go back to them and try your best to delay them until tomorrow morning so that we, this night, will pray to our Lord Who knows that I love praying for Him, reciting His Book, and supplicating to Him."

Al-Abbas conveyed these words to the Umayyad army. Omar ibn Saad, because he feared that others would bear his situation to the Emir, offered the suggestion to Shemr who was his only competitor. The other however did not say anything, but Amr ibn al-Hajjaj intruded, "How strange this is! Even if they are from the non-Arabs we will respond to their demand!!"

As others supported Amr's opinion, Omar ibn Saad accepted to postpone waging war against the camp of the Imam. Thus, the fighting was postponed for a night and Omar ibn Saad's army waited whether the Imam would respond to them or fight. On that night, Imam al-Hussein gathered his companions and household and foretold them of the fate that they would face tomorrow. He also permitted them to leave him since the other party wanted him, not anyone else.

As soon as the Imam finished his words, Abu'l-Fadhl al-Abbas, representing the Ahl-ul-Bayt, said to his brother: "Why should we do so? Is it for that we will live after you? No! We supplicate to the Lord to forbid it." The same situation was shown from the sons of Aqil, and the other companions who showed their readiness to sacrifice their souls for their Imam. Hence, the all spent that night with worship and acts of obedience to Allah. They were waiting for the dawn of that day on which they would obtain their highest goal in this life; martyrdom.