MUHARRAM SERIES – Martyrdom of Muslim ibn Aqil

SHAFAQNA – After thousands flocked to offer their support to the cause of Imam Hussain against Yazid, Muslim ibn Aqil found himself alone and distressed in the streets of Kufa – abandoned even by the most distinguished of parties: Sulayman ibn Surd, Musayyab ibn Najba and Rafa ibn Shaddad.

Fear had gripped Kufa … fear and oppression had claimed the city and none could master the courage to stand by Muslim in his hour of need.

Tabari recalled the event as follow: “Muslim ibn Aqil came out of the gate of the Masjid and suddenly found himself alone. There could be seen not even one person, who might show him the way or guide him to a place or defend him if he faced an enemy. He, therefore wandered in the streets of Kufa without knowing where to go”.

For centuries now Muslims have reproached Kufa its treachery and cowardice, but in truth Kufa acted as it did for a lack of discernment. Kufa could not see beyond its needs for safety and peace. Kufa could not see that by abandoning Muslim it is Imam Hussain and the holy household of the prophet they were in fact abandoning to the blade of a tyrant.

Should they have known what awaited Imam Hussain maybe Kufa would have kept to truth and justice. It is often our inability to discern truth from falsehood which leads us towards perdition, and discernment only comes from piety.

Allah says: “Have We not given him two eyes, a tongue and two lips. Have We not shown him the ways of good and evil?” (Surah al-Balad, 90: 8 -10)

Kufa reacted the way most of us would have reacted … as sad and disheartening as it may sound courage does not come naturally. One look at the state of the Islamic world today should tell you just how easy betrayal is when one safety stands in the balance.

It is the courage of those who stayed which is extraordinary, not Kufa’s cowardice.

One should in fact wonder at those, who, despite everything remained steadfast in all circumstances, and in spite of all hardships, supported truth and laid down their lives for it. So much so that even when their bodies were torn to pieces and they fell down to the ground, it is duty which worried their heart.

Qarza ibn Ka’b Khazraji was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet. He participated in the Battle of Uhud and later battles after that. During the Caliphate of Umar ibn Khattab he came to Kufa and imparted instruction in jurisprudence to the people. His son Amr ibn Qarzi Ansari was one of the devoted companions of Imam Hussain. As stated by Ibn Tawus in Luhuf so long as Amr did not collapse on the Day of Ashura owing to excessive wounds, the Holy Imam did not sustain any injury.

Amr received arrows in his hands and the blows of the swords on his body, and when eventually he fell to the ground and looked upon his Imam’s face he said: “O son of the Prophet of Allah! Have I acquitted myself of my duty? To which the Imam replied: “Yes, you have, and you will enter Paradise I earlier than me. Convey my greetings to the Holy Prophet and tell him that his Hussain is also arriving soon”.

Not all people have such a heart. Not all people can say to be righteous no matter the circumstances.

In the case of Muslim, Kufa abandoned and turned away so that its peace would not be disturbed.

One woman took pity on Muslim as he wandered the streets of the city. One woman offered this righteous man shelter before Yazid’s blade would claim his life … one last mercy befire he was recalled by his Lord.

When Muslim was taken prisoner he made a request to Muhammad ibn Asha’th that he might send someone to inform Imam Hussain of his death and last message: “May my parents be your ransom! Return from this journey along with the members of your family lest the Kufians should deceive you.

They are the companions of your father, who wished to get rid of them by means of death or martyrdom. The people of Kufa lied to you as well as to me, and nothing can be achieved by means of falsehood”. In the court of Ibn Ziyad also he made two requests to Umar ibn Sad; firstly, that he should sell his coat of mail and sword and repay his debt amounting to seven hundred dirhams; secondly that he should obtain his dead body from Ibn Ziyad and bury it”.

Muslim and Hani were martyred on the same day and their heads were cut off and sent to Yazid in Damascus.

By Catherine Shakdam for Shafaqna

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