SHAFAQNA- Who was Ali al-Akbar?
He was the son of Imam Hussain and Umm Layla bint Maymoona ibn Abu Sufyan
He was raised by his aunty Zainab bint Ali, and had two brothers named Ali Asghar ibn Hussain and Ali Zayn al-Abidin (our fourth Imam)
In early childhood, Ali Akbar was taught by his uncle Abbas (AS) the art of fencing and archery.
Ali al-Akbar so much resembled Muhammad that Hussain ibn Ali often said ‘whenever I remember my maternal grandfather I look at Akbar’.
On the morning of 10th Muharram
He had a loud and beautiful voice, on the morning of the day of Ashura, Hussain ibn Ali asked Ali Akbar to recite the adhaan. Hussain ibn Ali, and many women in their tents, began to weep when Ali Akbar began reciting the Adhaan, knowing that it maybe the last time they are hearing Ali Akbars adhaan
Ali Akbar stood in front of Hussain ibn Ali after Zuhr prayers and said,
“Father I request for permission to go and fight the enemies of Islam.”
His father gave him permission and said, “May Allah be with you! But Akbar, you know how much your mother, sisters, and aunts love you. Go and say farewell to them.”
Ali Akbar went into the tent of his mother. Every time he wanted to come out of the tent his mother, aunts, and sisters would pull his cloak and say,
“O Akbar, How will we live without you?” Hussain ibn Ali had to plead with all to let Ali Akbar go
Hussain ibn Ali helped his son mount his horse. As Akbar began to ride towards the battlefield he heard footsteps behind him. He looked back and saw his father. He said, “Father, we have said good-bye.
Why are you walking behind me?” Hussain ibn Ali replied,
“My son, if you had a son like yourself then you would have surely understood!”
Ali Akbar in the Battlefield
A man from amongst the crowd shouted, “O Ali! You relate to Yazid – for his mother Layla was daughter of Maymoona daughter of Abi Sufyan – and we want to respect this relationship.
We may grant you an amnesty and a refuge if you wish”.
He said “The kinship of the Apostle of God should be second to none.” He pressed on proclaiming who he was.
Imam Hussain could not hold back his tears and shouted at Omar bin Sa’ad, “What has become of you? May Allah bereave you of your kindred as you have made me bereft of mine, and did not respect my relationship of the Prophet. May Allah set on you an adversary who will slay you in your bed.” He then raised his hands to the sky and said,
“0 Lord! Bear witness on those people for he who emerged to them is bearing a strong likeness to Your Prophet in all departments – resemblance of disposition, complexion, and logic. Hence we look at him when we crave to see Your Apostle.”
Ali al-Akbar continued fighting. He killed all those who had the guts to meet him in duel. He killed scores of combatants.
He killed many well-known warriors. No one dared to come close to him in a single combat. Umar Sa’ad ordered his soldiers to kill him, saying, “When he dies, Hussain will not want to live! Ali Akbar is the life of Hussain.”
Since thirst greatly contributed to his overstraining, he returned to his father to rest and state of what thirst had done to him. Hussain cried, appealed for help and said, “You will soon meet your grandfather who will water you from his tumbler that you will never be thirsty again”.
Ali Akbar returned to the battlefield happy to be told by his father that be would meet his grandfather, the Prophet. He delved into their ranks dispersing them. It seemed as though it were his grandfather, Imam Ali roaring in the battle ground fighting them. He killed more Kufans.
When the death toll mounted, Murra bin Munqidh al-Abdi made a pledge saying, “I shall bear all the sins of the Arabs, if I do not bereave his father.” He ran his lance into his back and dealt him a blow on his head causing it to split.
As Ali Akbar fell from his horse, he said, “O Father, my last salaams to you! Here is my grandfather, the Messenger of Allah, giving me my water. He says yours is here waiting for you”.
When Hussain ibn Ali went to Akbar, Akbar placed his right hand on his wounded chest and his left arm over the shoulder of his father. Hussain ibn Ali asked, “Akbar, why do you embrace me with only one arm?”
Akbar did not reply. Hussain ibn Ali tried to move Akbar’s right hand, but Akbar resisted. Hussain ibn Ali forcefully moved the hand. Then he saw the blade of the spear. Hussain ibn Ali laid Ali Akbar on the ground and sat on his knees, he placed both of his hands on the blade of the spear. He looked at Najaf, and said,
“Father, I too have come to my Khaybar!” He pulled out the blade. Ali Akbar sighed and died.
While lifting the spear from the chest of Ali Akbar, Hussain faced towards the direction of Najaf, where his father Ali ibn Abi Talib’s grave was, and shouted out:
“O father, you lifted the gates of Khaybar, yet you never had to lift a spear from the chest of your own son. Come to Karbala and see me lifting the spear from the chest of my son, Ali Akbar.”