Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 3rd of the Islamic month of Moharam in 61 AH, the Omayyad commander, Omar ibn Sa’d arrived in Karbala with a force of 4,000 armed men to surround the small band of Imam Husain (AS). Omar was sent by the oppressive governor of Kufa, Obaidullah ibn Ziyad, to demand oath of allegiance from the Prophet’s grandson for the ungodly rule of Yazid, or bring him to his court. The Imam refused to yield to oppression and injustice, and for the next few days thousands of more forces converged on Karbala. Finally, on the 10th of Moharram, Imam Husain (AS), bravely courted martyrdom in a unequal battle that has made his stand and cause immortal, inspiring people in every age against oppression.
On 7th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 61 AH, Omar ibn Sa’d, the Omayyad commander besieging Imam Husain (AS) and his group in Karbala, stationed a force of 500 soldiers led by Amr bin Hajjaj on the banks of the River Euphrates, to deprive the Prophet’s Household of water, on the orders of the tyrannical governor of Kufa, Obaidollah ibn Ziyad. The plan was to force the Imam to surrender and give allegiance to the Godless rule of Yazid, but the Prophet’s grandson refused to yield to injustice, despite the fact that he and companions, including women and small children were deprived of water. On the 10th of Moharram, the Imam bravely drank the elixir of martyrdom along with his devoted followers in an epic combat.
On 9th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 61 AH, with the arrival of the Godless Shemr Ziljowshan in Karbala with a letter from Yazid’s tyrannical governor of Kufa, Obaidollah bin Ziyad, to tighten the siege around Imam Husain (AS) and attack him, the ungodly Omayyad hordes led by their commander, Omar bin Sa’d, advanced on the small encampment of the Prophet’s grandson. The Imam sent his brother, Hazrat Abbas (AS) to tell them to delay the attack until the next morning so that he and his followers would pray and supplicate to God on the eve of their eventual martyrdom, since it was out of question to yield to the enemies’ demand. That night the Imam extinguished the lamp and told his followers to avail of the darkness of night and leave him, since it is his life the heartless enemies want and not theirs. The seventy-odd pious and steadfast men refused to leave him, vowing that death in his company was better than a life of humiliation. When Shemr tried to offer a letter of amnesty to Hazrat Abbas (AS) and his brothers on condition of deserting Imam Husain (AS), this valiant standard-bearer spurned the offer and swore never to leave the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). That night was spent in prayers and supplications by the Imam and his followers, as they prepared themselves for glorious martyrdom, rather than yielding to the Godless enemy or endorsing the illegitimate rule of the tyrant, Yazid.
On 10th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 61 AH, the world’s most heartrending tragedy occurred with the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, Iraq, along with 72-odd steadfast companions including sons, brothers, nephews, kinsmen, and friends, who refused to endorse the illegitimate rule of the Godless tyrant, Yazid bin Mu’awiyah. The epic of Ashura as the Day is known saved Islam and all humanitarian values. On the morning of this fateful day, the Imam rode his mount and calling on the cowardly hypocrites asked them as to why they wanted his innocent blood, knowing fully well that he was the Prophet’s successor and their well-wisher in both the life of this mortal world and the Hereafter. At this, Omar ibn Sa’d, the commander of the Omayyad forces, who had been promised the governorship of Rayy in northern Iran if he killed the grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), shot the first arrow, which was followed by a volley from the enemies. The Imam and his followers refused to yield and fighting bravely the 30,000 troops against all odds, courted martyrdom in combat. Among the martyrs were the Imam’s valiant brother and standard bearer of the group, Hazrat Abbas (AS), who lost both his hands while trying to bring water to the thirsty camp from the besieged River Euphrates. The Imam also saw the tragic martyrdom before his eyes, of not only his 18-year son, Ali Akbar, who bore a striking resemblance to the Prophet, but also his six-month infant son, Ali Asghar, whose throat was savage targeted by an arrow when the Imam took the child and asked the stone-hearted enemies to at least provide water for the innocent baby. After the cruelly martyring Imam Husain and beheading him while alive, the cowardly enemies looted the camp and took as prisoners, the womenfolk and children of their own Prophet. The martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) thus unmasked hypocrisy and became a rallying point for justice and freedom. It serves till this day as a catalyst for reforms and revolutions, and steadfastness against oppression and colonialist designs, as demonstrated by Islamic Resistance movements all over the world.
On 11th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 61 AH, a day after Ashura, the survivors of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, mostly women and children of the noble household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), including Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the son and successor of Imam Husain (AS), were chained and fettered as ordinary captives by the Godless hordes of Omar ibn Sa’d and taken to Kufa to the court of the tyrant Yazid’s ungodly governor, Obeidollah ibn Ziyad, who tried to mock at them. The Prophet’s granddaughter, Hazrat Zainab (SA) delivered a memorable sermon unmasking the hypocrisy of the Omayyads and their bloodthirsty nature. The people of Kufa, who had deserted the cause of the Ahl al-Bayt, wept and felt remorse, which alarmed Ibn Ziyad and made him quickly dispatch the caravan of captives to Damascus in Syria, but through unfrequented routes so as to avoid the anger and indignation of the people of the towns that lay in the way.
On 12th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 61 AH, the survivors of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, mostly women and children of the noble household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), including Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the son and successor of Imam Husain (AS), entered the city of Kufa as captives, along with the severed heads of the martyrs, gruesomely mounted on lances. They were taken to the court of the ungodly governor, Obeidollah ibn Ziyad, whose attempt to ridicule the Prophet’s family and to kill Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), were thwarted by the bold remarks of Hazrat Zainab (SA), who praised God Almighty for enabling the Ahl al-Bayt to successfully pass the tests of martyrdom and sufferings. When the tyrant thought of disgracing the noble captives by parading them in the city, again Hazrat Zainab (SA) jolted the conscience of the masses through her eloquent sermons that drew tears from the people of Kufa and made them regret their lethargy in failing to assist the Prophet’s grandson against the regime. Ibn Ziyad, fearing a public revolt quickly ordered dispatch of the caravan of captives to the Omayyad capital Damascus in Syria, but through unfrequented routes so as to avoid the anger and indignation of the people of the towns that lay in the way.
On 12th of the Islamic month of Moharram in 95 AH, according to an account, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the Survivor of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, and the 4th Infallible Successor of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), attained martyrdom through poisoning at the age of 57, exactly 34 years after the tragic martyrdom of his father, Imam Husain (AS). He was the victim of the hatred of the Prophet’s family by Walid Ibn Abdul-Malik, the 6th self-styled caliph of the usurper Omayyad regime. Born in Medina in 38 AH, his mother was the Iranian princess, Shahrbano. It was his ill-health as a youth of 23 years in Karbala that prevented him from joining the jihad in which almost all male members of the Prophet’s family were martyred. His jihad was of a different kind, but not with the sword. Through his sermons in the court of the Godless Yazid, he made the message of his father triumphant, thereby unmasking the hypocrisy of the Omayyad regime. Following release from captivity, for the next three decades, he enlightened the Ummah through prayers, supplications and definition of individual and social rights, including the rights of our own bodily parts upon us. He groomed a large number of scholars and scientists who spread the teachings of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt in different lands.