Yazid becomes Khalifah
In the preceding pages we discussed the life of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu when he was residing in Madinah Munawwarah.
During the Caliphate of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu mostly stayed in Madinah Munawwarah.
Towards the end of Sayyidina Muawiyah’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu life, he was concerned about who will succeed him. He therefore, began consulting the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and Tabi’in. Some Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and Tabi’in were of the opinion that his son, Yazid, should be made his successor while other senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum like ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair, Hussain and ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhum, on the other hand, were against appointing Yazid as his successor.
What was the political need of the time?
At that time there was a need for someone who would be able to keep the Ummah united; who would be able to keep the dignity of the Arabs intact, as far as the political field was concerned; who would not fall into the deception of other nations; and whom the Muslim army would obey wholeheartedly. In such a situation, to appoint someone based merely on piety or knowledge would not fulfill the need of the time. This gave rise to two conflicting viewpoints. Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu preferred the former viewpoint. However, Sayyidina Hussain and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhum were opposed to this view.
Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not commit any injustice or oppression on those who opposed his view. He did not try to suppress them, nor imprison or kill any of them, nor punish them in any other way.
Even the early Shia historian, Ya’qubi, who was heavily opposed to Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, has written in his Tarikh Ya’qubi (2/229)
و حج معاوية تلك السنة اي ٤٩ ه فتالف القوم و لم يكرههم على البيعة
Muawiyah performed Hajj that year (49 A.H.). He treated the people with love and kindness and did not force anyone to pledge allegiance to Yazid.
Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhum were initially opposed to the view of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, but they later on conformed.
However three persons, Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair, Sayyidina ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr and Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhum remained opposed to the view that Yazid should be appointed as successor.
و كان الحسين مع من امتنع من مبايعته هو وابن الزبير و عبد الرحمن بن ابي بكر و ابن عمرو ابن عباس ثم مات ابن ابي بكر و هو مصمم على ذلك فلما مات معاوية سنة ستين بويع ليزيد بايع ابن عمر و ابن عباس و صمم على المخالفة الحسين و ابن الزبير
Hussain was among those who desisted from pledging allegiance to him coupled with Ibn al Zubair, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr, Ibn ‘Umar, and Ibn ‘Abbas. Ibn Abi Bakr passed away with this determination. When Muawiyah passed away in the year 60 A.H., Yazid was given bay’ah. Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas pledged allegiance to him. However, Hussain and Ibn al Zubair were determined to oppose him.
With regards to ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr the ‘Ulama’ have written:
و الصحيح ان عبد الرحمن كان قد توفي قبل موت معاوية بسنتين
The correct view is that ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Abi Bakr passed away (in 58 A.H.) two years before Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away.
He however remained opposed to the view of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu right until his demise.
The historians have recorded that just before passing away, Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu called his son Yazid, and gave him some advice.
قالوا لما احتضر معاوية دعا يزيد فاوصاه و قال انظر حسينا فانه احب الناس الى الناس فصل رحمه و ارفق به الخ
They say: When Muawiyah was on his deathbed, he called Yazid and advised him saying, “Be considerate to Hussain for indeed he is very beloved to the people. Maintain good ties with him and be soft and kind to him…”
NB: We have already mentioned the details in our book Sirat Hadrat Amir Muawiyah . Here we have sufficed on mentioning the references from the books of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah and the Shia. Anyone wanting more details may refers to that book of ours.
After Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away, and Yazid took up the position of Khalifah, he tried to get the senior personalities of Makkah Mukarramah and Madinah Munawwarah to pledge allegiance to him. Walid ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abi Sufyan was the governor of Madinah Munawwarah at that time. Yazid sent a note with ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn Uways ‘Amir to Madinah Munawwarah, instructing the governor to invite the people to pledge allegiance. He also told him to begin with the senior personalities there, and he clearly instructed him to deal kindly and softly with Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. When the letter reached Walid ibn ‘Utbah, he immediately summoned Sayyidina Hussain and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. He informed them of the demise of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and he also apprised of the command of Yazid that the pledge of allegiance should be taken from them.
These two personalities requested him time till the morning to ponder over the matter and also to see what the stance of the others will be. Saying this they stood up and left.
فكتب الى والي المدينة الوليد بن عتبة بن ابي سفيان ان ادع الناس و بايعهم و ابدأ بالوجوه و ارفق بالحسين فبعث الى الحسين و ابن الزبير في الليل و دعاهما الى بيعة يزيد فقالا نصبح و ننظر فيما يعمل الناس و وثبا فخرجا
He wrote to me and to Madinah, Walid ibn ‘Utbah ibn Abi Sufyan, “Call the people and take bay’ah from them. Begin with the distinguished personalities. Be soft and gentle with Hussain.”
Accordingly, he summoned Hussain and Ibn al Zubair at night and invited them to pledge allegiance to Yazid. They said, “We will wait for morning and see what the people do. Saying this, they got up and left.”
Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu departed that very night for Makkah Mukarramah. On reaching Makkah Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu stayed at the house of ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul Muttalib while Ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu stayed near al Hijr.
The governor of Makkah Mukarramah from the side of Yazid at that time was ‘Amr ibn Sa’id ibn ‘As al Umawi, commonly known as Ashdaq. The governor before him was Yahya ibn Hakim ibn Umayyah, who was replaced with ‘Amr ibn Sa’id.
Invitation from the people of Kufah
After the demise of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, the people of Kufah began writing letters to Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, inviting him to become their leader:
فاتاه رسل اهل الكوفة انا قد حبسنا انفسنا عليك و لسنا نحضر الجمعة مع الوالي فاقدم علينا قال و كان النعمان بن بشير الانصاري على الكوفة
Messengers from the people of Kufah came to him and said, “We have restrained ourselves in anticipation of your arrival. We do not attend the Jumu’ah with the governor. So come over to us.”
Nu’man ibn Bashir al Ansari was the governor of Kufah at the time.
Ibn Kathir has written:
و بعث اهل العراق الى الحسين الرسل والكتب يدعونه اليهم
The people of Iraq sent many messengers and a number of letters inviting Hussain to Kufah.
While in Makkah Mukarramah, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu discussed the issue of going to Iraq with his companions and associates.
The journey to Iraq
One of the well-wishers of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhuma. It was his opinion that Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu should not go to Iraq. He explained to him that the people of Iraq are not committed and stable. They are not people of lofty traits and character. They were the ones who killed his father and injured his brother.
Hafiz al Dhahabi quoted the advice of ibn ‘Umar from the chain of al Sha’bi:
قال ان اهل العراق قوم مناكير قتلوا اباك وضربوا اخاك و فعلوا و فعلوا
The people of Iraq are a nation filled with evil. They killed your father, injured your brother, and committed other types of crimes.
At this juncture, Sayyidina Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhuma also tried to prevent Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu from going to Iraq, and he also reminded him of their evil character.
Ibn Abi Shaybah and Ya’qub Basawi have recorded from Ibn Ta’us from his father:
قال ابن عباس جاءني حسين يستشيرني في الخروج الى ما ههنا يعني العراق فقلت لولا ان يزروا بي و بك لشبئت يدي في شعرك، الى اين تخرج الى قوم قتلوا اباك و طعنوا اخاك
Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates: “Hussain came to me to consult me with regards to his departure to Iraq. I told him: ‘If it was not against our dignity, I would have caught you by your hair and held you back. Where do you intend going? To those same people who murdered your father and stabbed your brother?’”
Some have added the reply of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
لان اقتل بمكان كذا و كذا احب الي من ان استحل حرمتها يعني مكة الخ
For me to be killed in any other place, is better than violating its sanctity i.e. Makkah.
Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah, the brother of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, was also amongst those who prevented him from going to Iraq. In fact, he was so much against him going to Iraq that he even prevented his children from joining Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Hafiz Ibn Kathir writes:
و تبعهم محمد ابن الحنفية فادرك حسينا بمكة فاعلمه ان الخروج ليس له براي يومه هذا فابى الحسين ان يقبل فحبس محمد ابن الحننفية ولده فلم يبعث احدا منهم حتى وجد الحسين في نفسه على محمد
Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah followed suite. He met Hussain in Makkah and informed him that leaving was not a good option at the time. However, Hussain refused to accept his advice. So Muhammad ibn al Hanafiyyah restrained his children and did not send any of them with him which caused the latter to become upset with him.
NB: Here we note that the senior Sahabah had prevented Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu from travelling to Iraq. They explained to him that the people of Kufah and Iraq cannot be trusted. Instead of being loyal, they will act treacherously. They exposed this trait and nature of the people of Iraq. We will reproduce some of their statements below:
- Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu while speaking to Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, mentioned:
ان اهل العراق قوم غدر فلا تغترن بهم
The people of Iraq are disloyal and treacherous. Don’t be fooled by them.
- A person by the name of Abu Bakr ibn ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Harith also advised Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, saying:
قال قد رايت ما صنع اهل العراق بابيك و اخيك و انت تريد ان تسير اليهم و هم عبيد الدنيا فيقاتلك من قد وعدك ان ينصرك و يخذلك من انت احب اليه ممن ينصره
You have seen how the people of Iraq treated your father and brother and you still intend travelling to them. They are slaves of the world. Those who promised to assist you will kill you and those you wish to help you will be the very ones to desert you.
- ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu once addressed the people of Iraq, expounding on their nature:
يا اهل العراق تاتون بالمعضلات
O people of Iraq! You are the ones who cause problems. i.e., instead of sorting out the problems, you make it worse.
In short, this was the nature of the people of Kufah and Iraq. To be disloyal, treacherous, and cause mischief and dissent. They could not be trusted in any way.
A Misconception and its Clarification
At this juncture, the question could crop up in the mind that when such senior persons like Sayyidina Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah etc., dissuaded Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu from going to Kufah and even explained to him the nature of the people of Iraq, then why did Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu not heed their advice and desist from travelling to Iraq?
It should be borne in mind, that just like how these Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were mujtahids (those who had the qualifications of applying their mind and reaching conclusions), and based upon that they regarded their ijtihad (reasoning) as correct, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was also a mujtahid and he regarded his ijtihad as correct. That is why he regarded his stance of opposing Yazid as being correct. He felt that the Khalifah was not worthy of this post, since there were many others who were more deserving. There must have been other factors which took place, based upon which Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not pledge allegiance to Yazid. The most we can say is that history is silent about the details of those other factors and causes.
Also, it was the people of Iraq who were prepared to regard Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu as their leader, and for this purpose they had invited him to Kufah. Based on their invitation he decided to travel to Iraq, thinking that they will assist him and keep to their word. However, it was the people of Kufah who went against their word and did not fulfill their promises. They even refused to consider the opinion of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu. In fact, they joined forces with the opposition and assisted them in fighting against him and eventually killing him. Due to all these factors, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu did not succeed and did not achieve what he intended.
In short, this was an ijtihadi matter, (a matter in which there is scope for varying views) and regarding such matters the general rule is
المجتهد قد يخطئ و يصيب
The mujtahid could be correct or he could err.
And the real underlying reason is that Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala had pre-ordained for Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu the lofty status of becoming a martyr. Once the decision of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala is there, all means and causes fall into place accordingly. This can never then be averted. Tadbir (our planning) surrenders before taqdir (the decree of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala).
This is precisely what happened here also. This whole journey went against the apparent means. Senior people were all saying it is not the correct decision, but
وَكَانَ أَمْرُ اللَّهِ قَدَرًا مَّقْدُوْرًا
And ever is the command of Allah a destiny decreed.
The decree of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala came to place and those who had promised to assist they were the ones who turned against him, and eventually Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu drank from the goblet of martyrdom
Muslim ibn ‘Aqil travels to Iraq
When several messengers and countless letters began reaching Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu inviting him to Kufah, he sent his cousin (who was also his brother in law) to Iraq to ascertain the situation and inform him accordingly. If conditions were favourable, he would go himself to Kufah.
فبعث الحسين بن علي اليهم مسلم بن عقيل فقال سر الى اهل الكوفة فاكتبوا الي فان كان حقا قدمت اليه
Hussain ibn ‘Ali sent Muslim ibn ‘Aqil to them saying, “Travel to the people of Kufah and write to me. If it is true, I will come over.”
When Muslim ibn ‘Aqil reached Kufah, people thronged around him and approximately 12 000 pledged allegiance to him. Other narrations mention even a greater number. Seeing this, Muslim ibn ‘Aqil wrote to Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu informing him that the situation seems favourable.
Sayyidina Nu’man ibn Bashir radiya Llahu ‘anhu was the governor of Kufah at that time. He had been the governor from the time of Sayyidina Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu. The supporters of Yazid’s rule approached him and explained to him what was transpiring in Kufah and that it had to be sorted out as quickly as possible. Sayyidina Nu’man radiya Llahu ‘anhu took a rather lenient approach and did not confront Muslim ibn ‘Aqil. These supporters of Yazid then informed Yazid about the latest developments in Kufah.
Ibn Ziyad is appointed governor of Kufah
When Yazid was informed, he immediately dismissed Sayyidina Nu’man ibn Bashir radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and appointed ‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad, who was his governor over Basrah, as the governor of Kufah as well. ‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad without delay moved to Kufah and took up residence in the governor’s quarters. Yazid had instructed Ibn Ziyad to arrest Muslim ibn ‘Aqil instantly, and if he resists, then he should be killed. Ibn Ziyad straightaway started investigating as to whom had pledged allegiance to Muslim ibn ‘Aqil, and also where Muslim ibn ‘Aqil is residing.
When Ibn Ziyad came to Kufah, Muslim ibn ‘Aqil left the house he was staying in, and moved to Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah Muradi’s home. When Ibn Ziyad came to know that Muslim ibn ‘Aqil was at Hani’s home, he summoned the latter and questioned him regarding Muslim ibn ‘Aqil. Hani’ initially tried to avoid the subject, but was eventually forced to confess: “O Amir! I did not invite Muslim ibn ‘Aqil to stay by me. He had come on his own to my home.”
Ibn Ziyad now started being stern with those who were supporting Muslim ibn ‘Aqil, and he was extremely severe with those who tried to resist or oppose him.
Muslim ibn ‘Aqil gets killed
Due to the situation and circumstances, the supporters of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil began backing off and breaking away gradually from supporting him. Eventually, Ibn Ziyad arrested Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah and got them killed.
Ibn Sa’d briefly describes what transpired:
و مسلم بن عقيل و هو الذي بعثه الحسين بن علي بن ابي طالب من مكة يبايع له الناس فنزل بالكوفة على هانئ بن عروة المرادي فاخذ عبيد الله بن زياد مسلم بن عقيل و هانئ بن عروة فقتلهما جميعا و صلبهما
Muslim ibn ‘Aqil: Hussain ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib had sent him from Makkah for people to take bay’ah at his hands. He settled in Kufah at the residence of Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah al Muradi. ‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad captured both Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah, and subsequently killed them and crucified them.
Hussain departs from Makkah Mukarramah
On the other side in Makkah Mukarramah, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu had received the initial message from Muslim ibn ‘Aqil stating that conditions in Kufah are favourable and that he should proceed.
In 60 A.H., one day before the Hajj, trusting the invitation of the people of Iraq, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu departed for Kufah. He had no idea what had transpired in Kufah, and that Muslim ibn ‘Aqil had been martyred. When Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu reached near a place called Qadisiyyah, Hurr ibn Yazid al Tamimi arrived, met him, and related to him all that had transpired in Kufah; how the Kufis had backed off and gave up supporting Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and how Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and others were martyred. He also advised Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu that he should return, since there was no good in continuing ahead.
Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu began considering the advice of Hurr. However, Muslim ibn ‘Aqil’s brother, who was with Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, remarked: “We will never return. We will avenge the blood of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil or we ourselves will be killed.” Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, on hearing this, also decided that they should proceed. Returning at this point would be against the spirit of expressing the haqq. Accordingly, the entire group continued towards Kufah.
When Ibn Ziyad came to find out that Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu had departed from Makkah Mukarramah and will soon reach Kufah, he prepared an army to stop them from entering Kufah. This army came face to face with Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his group at a place called Karbala’, which was also called Tuff.
The Tragedy of Karbala’
The happenings of Karbala’ are concisely given in al Isabah (1/333)
فوافوه بكربلاء فنزلها و معه خمسة و اربعون نفسا من الفرسان و نحو مائة راجل فلقيه الحسين و اميرهم عمر بن سعد بن ابي و قاص و كان عبيد الله ولاه الري و كتب له بعهده عليها اذا رجع من حرب الحسين فلما التقيا قال له الحسين اختر مني احدى ثلاث اما ان الحق بثغر من الثغور و اما ان ارجع الى المدينة و اما ان اضع يدي في يد يزيد بن معاوية فقبل ذلك عمر منه و كتب به الى عبيد الله فكتب اليه لا اقبل منه حتى يضع يده في يدي فا متنع الحسين فقاتلوه فقتل معه اصحابه و فيهم سبعة عشر شابا من اهل بيته ثم كان اخر ذلك ان قتل و اتي براسه الى عبيد الله فارسله و من بقي من اهل بيته الى يزيد و منهم علي بن الحسين و كان مريضا و منهم عمه زينب فلما قدموا على يزيد ادخلهم على عياله ثم جهزهم الى المدينة
Both groups met at Karbala’. Hussain’s group consisted of 45 cavalry and 100 infantry. The leader of the opposite army was ‘Umar ibn Sa’d. Ibn Ziyad had promised to make him the governor of Ray after he returns from fighting Hussain.
(On seeing that those who had invited him to Kufah, had all backed off), Hussain put before ‘Umar ibn Sa’d the following proposal:
“Allow me to do one of the following three things:
- I go to one of the borders of the Muslim lands (where I will pass my life protecting the Muslim land)
- Or let me return to Madinah
- Or allow me to place my hand in the hand of Yazid ibn Muawiyah (by giving me this opportunity, I could speak directly to Yazid and come to some agreement)
Umar ibn Sa’d accepted this proposal of Hussain and wrote to Ibn Ziyad informing him of it. Ibn Ziyad replied that he will only accept one thing from Hussain, that he pledges allegiance to Ibn Ziyad. Hussain did not accept this proposal of Ibn Ziyad, and as a result fighting broke out. Seventeen youngsters of his family were all martyred, together with many others. Eventually, Hussain was also martyred. His blessed head was severed from his body and sent to ‘Ubaidullah who sent it together with his remaining family members to Yazid (in Damascus).
‘Ali ibn Hussain (Zayn al ‘Abidin)―who was ill during the battle―and his aunt Zainab were amongst them. When they reached Yazid, he hosted them with his family, and after a few days, sent them back to Madinah.
Books written on the Martyrdom of Hussain
Above, the incident of Karbala’ has been given in brief as given by Hafiz ibn Hajar in al Isabah.
After mentioning this incident, ibn Hajar writes:
و قد صنف جماعة من القدماء في مقتل الحسين تصانيف فيها اللغث و السمين و الصحيح و السقيم و في هذه القصة التي سقتها غنى
Many of the early scholars have written books describing the martyrdom of Hussain. These works contain all types of narrations, some of which are authentic, while others are weak or baseless. The incident, as we have mentioned is sufficient.
Collecting and writing the details of exactly what happened at Karbala’ is no easy task
The truth of the matter is that many people have gathered many narrations regarding the happenings of Karbala’, but most of them are baseless and cannot be relied upon. Therefore, to gather all the authentic information and details, and put them on paper, is a mammoth task. In fact, if it is considered as something almost impossible, it would not be an exaggeration.
Many of the narrations contradict each other, many of them are full of exaggerations, and others are pure lies. It seems as if the narrators were bent on making the whole incident one full of sorrow, sadness, and grief. Such a story of great oppression is painted, that the listeners’ hearts are filled with grief, and they are overcome with dejection, and are reduced to wailing and crying.
It seems as if this is the actual object of those narrating the incidents of Karbala’. If the authentic and correct versions, without all these exaggerations, are mentioned, then the object for which these gathering take place would not be achieved.
Acknowledging the truth of the matter
No doubt, the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions is indeed a sad and sorrowful tragedy. Especially considering the fact that Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu put forward his proposal, which was rejected. This was an act of gross injustice and great oppression. All those killed in Karbala’ were definitely martyrs and those who killed them were undoubtedly oppressors and blood shedders. This we absolutely understand and acknowledge. However, we do not agree with all the exaggerations that go with this incident.
Beneficial Discussions relating to the Incident of Karbala’
The actual incident of Karbala’ has been mentioned. Below we will mention some other aspects relating to it.
Paying off Debts
Ibn Abi Shaybah records:
عن ابي موسى بن عمير عن ابيه قال امر الحسين مناديا فنادى فقال لا تقتلن رجل معي عليه دين فقال رجل ضمنت امراتي ديني فقال امراة ما ضمان امراة
From Abu Musa ibn ‘Umair from his father:
Hussain (after realising that now there is going to be confrontation and fighting with the opposition) told a person to announce that any person who has an outstanding debt should not join us in the fight.
One person said: “My wife has given the guarantee that she will pay off my debts.”
Hussain remarked: “What guarantee is the guarantee of a woman?”
(This person did not then participate in the fighting.)
This announcement of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was in conformity with the saying of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. It is mentioned in a hadith that all the sins of a martyr are forgiven except debts.
Another ahadith states:
القتل في سبيل الله يكفر كل شيء الا الدين
Martyrdom in the path of Allah expiates all sins except debt.
Another similar incident
A similar incident occurred at the Battle of Jamal, which took place in 36 A.H.
Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu relates: “My father, Zubair ibn ‘Awwam radiya Llahu ‘anhu called me to his side and said: ‘O son! Today those who are killed will either be oppressors or oppressed. I have a feeling that I am going to be oppressively killed today. The debts I owe is something very serious. Do you think what I possess is enough to pay off all my debts? Sell my land and pay off my debts.’” Zubair radiya Llahu ‘anhu then made some bequests from one third of the remaining.
Coming back to the announcement of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu at Karbala’… This was done at a very critical juncture when he needed all the support he could get.
At the same time, this shows the importance of clearing and paying off ones debts, and on the other hand it shows how these great personalities strictly adhered to the commands of the Shari’ah, that at such a time also they paid attention to mu’amalat (monetary dealings).
The question about rebelling against the Khalifah of the time and its clarification
The Nawasib (those who are opposed to Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu) raise the objection that Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu rebelled against the Khalifah of the time, therefore it was correct to kill him in light of the hadith:
من اتاكم و امركم على رجل واحد يريد ان يفرق جماعتكم فاضربوا عنقه بالسيف كائنا من كان
If all the people have accepted someone as their leader, and thereafter another person comes along trying to cause disunity amongst the ranks of the Muslims, then chop off his head, no matter who he may be. 
The research of Sheikh Harrani and Hafiz al Dhahabi
These two ‘Ulama’ have presented the stance of the Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah on this issue and have replied to the objections raised. They have mentioned:
و اهل السنة و الجماعة يردون غلو هؤلاء و هؤلاء و يقولون ان الحسين قتل مظلوما شهيدا و الذين قتلوه كانوا ظالمين معتدين و احاديث النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم يامر فيها بقتل المفارق للجماعة لم يتناوله فانه لم يفارق الجماعة و لم يقتل الا و هو طالب الرجوع الى بلده او الى الثغر او الى يزيد داخلا في الجماعة معرضا عن التفريق بين الامة و لو كان طالب ذلك اقل الناس لوجب اطاعته الى ذلك فكيف لا تجب اجابته للحسين الى ذلك و لو كان الطالب لهذه الامور من هو دون الحسين لم يجز حبسه و لا امساكه فضلا عن اسره و قتله
The Ahlus Sunnah wa al Jama’ah reject the extremism of both groups (the Shia and the Nawasib) and declare that Hussain was oppressively killed as a martyr, and those who killed him were oppressors and had overstepped the limits. The ahadith which mention killing the one who rebels against the Khalifah, does not apply to Hussain, since he had not broken away from the mainstream group of Muslims. Rather he was prepared to either return to Madinah or to go to one of the Muslim borders or to go to Yazid. By doing this he may not be regarded as having departed from the mainstream group of Muslims, or as having caused a split amongst the Muslims. (The opposition however, did not accept his propositions and oppressively killed him.)
These were proposals sent by a personality like Hussain. If someone of a lower status than him had put forward these proposals, it would have been necessary to accept them. In such an instance, it would not have been permissible to hold him back or keep him, let alone taking him prisoner and killing him.
Hafiz al Dhahabi mentioned a similar answer in al Muntaqa:
الناصبة الذين يزعمون ان الحسين من الخوارج الذين شقوا العصا و انه يجوز قتله لقوله عليه السلام من اتاكم و امركم على رجل واحد يريد ان يفرق جماعتكم فاضربوا عنقه كائنا من كان اخرجه مسلم و اهل السنة و الجماعة يقولون قتل مظلوما شهيدا و قاتلوه ظلمة معتدون و احاديث قتل الخارج لم تتناوله فانه لم يفرق الجماعة و لم يقتل الا و هو طالب الرجوع او المضي الى يزيد داخلا فيما دخل فيه سائر الناس معرضا عن تفريق الكلمة
The Nawasib suppose that Hussain was from the rebels who disunited the Muslim ummah and that it was permissible to kill him due to Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam statement, “If all the people have accepted someone as their leader, and thereafter another person comes along trying to cause disunity amongst the ranks of the Muslims, then chop off his head, no matter who he may be.” Reported by Muslim.
The Ahlus Sunnah assert that he was killed oppressively as a martyr and those who killed him were oppressors and transgressors. The ahadith of killing the rebel does not apply to him since he did not disunite the Muslims and was not killed except intending to return, or to continue to Yazid to enter into the mainstream of the Muslims, and turning away from discord.
Hussain had no intention of fighting
Sheikh Harrani wrote Minhaj al Sunnah as a rebuttal of the book Minhaj al Karamah written by Ibn Mutahhar al Hilli Shia. He writes at another place:
و الحسين ما خرج مقاتلا و لكن ظن ان الناس يطيعونه فلما راى انصرافهم عنه طلب الرجوع الى وطنه او الذهاب الى الثغر او اتيان يزيد فلم يمكنه اولائك الظلمة لا من هذا و لا من هذا ولا من هذا و طلبوا ان ياخذوه اسيرا الى يزيد فامتنع من ذلك و قاتل حتى قتل مظلوما شهيدا لم يكن قصده ابتداء ان يقاتل
Hussain did not depart with the intention of fighting. He thought that those who had invited him from Kufah will obey him (and assist him). However, when he saw that they had turned away from him, he put forward the proposal of accepting any of three things; that he be allowed to return to Madinah, or be allowed to move to one of the Islamic borders, or to be allowed to proceed to Yazid. The opposition however did not accept his proposals, and insisted on taking him as a prisoner to Yazid. He refused to accept this, which lead to fighting breaking out, and eventually he was oppressively martyred. From the beginning, he did not have any intention of fighting. (Rather, he was, due to the circumstances, ready to reconsider his stance.)
The research of Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun replied to the objection raised above, based upon the ahadith which prevents rebelling against the Khalifah of the time.
This applies to a just upright ruler. This does not apply if the leader is not just and upright, especially if the pledge of allegiance is still being taken from the people. Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was a mujtahid in his own right. Based upon his ijtihad, he was correct. He is a martyr and will be rewarded. He cannot be classified as a rebel. Those who maintain that it was permissible to kill Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu are totally incorrect. They have deduced this from those ahadith which talk about rebelling against the Khalifah, but they have erred, since these ahadith are conditional. They apply only when the Khalifah is just and upright. Who could be more just and upright than Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu in his time?
In support of the above
Ibn Kathir has also written in al Bidayah wa al Nihayah that there was no one equal to Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu at that time and Yazid was not looked up to by the general people, neither could he equal him in status:
بل الناس ميلهم الى الحسين لانه السيد الكبير و ابن بنت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فليس على وجه الارض يومئذ احد يساميه و لا يساويه و لكن الدولة اليزيدية كانت كلها تناوئه
The people at that time were more inclined to Hussain, since he was a senior Sayed and the grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. There was none who could equal him in status at that time. However, the Yazidi government were his enemies.
Ibn Hajar ‘Asqalani’s research
Ibn Hajar has quoted in a hadith from Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
و قد اخرج الطبري بسند صحيح عن عبد الله بن الحارث عن رجل من بني مضر عن علي و قد ذكر الخوارج فقال ان خالفوا امام عدلا فقاتلوهم و ان خالفوا اماما جائرا فلا تقاتلوهم فان لهم مقالا قلت و على ذلك يحمل ما وقع للحسين بن علي ثم لاهل المدينة في الحرة
Al Tabari documents with a sahih sanad from ‘Abdullah ibn al Harith from a man from the Banu Mudar from ‘Ali:
After speaking about the Khawarij he stated, “If someone stands up against an upright and just leader, then fight him, but if he opposes an oppressive and sinful leader, then do not fight against him, since he has a justifiable reason for what he is doing.”
My comment: Hussain ibn ‘Ali’s incident and what took place in Harrah could be said to fit under this hadith.
Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu opposed an unjust ruler and did not obey him. He, in this matter, is accused, and he had some reason as to why he did it. Therefore, it was not permissible to fight against Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and kill him.
Substantiations for Hussain’s proposals
Below we will reproduce a few more references which mention the three proposals put forward by Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Ibn ‘Asakir has written:
و بعث عبيد الله بن زياد عمر بن سعد فقاتلهم فقال الحسين يا عمر اختر مني ثلاث خصال ام ان تتركني ارجع كما جئت فان ابيت هذه فسيرني الى يزيد فاضع يدي في يده فيحكم ما يرى فان ابيت هذه فسيرني الى الترك فاقاتلهم حتى اموت
‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad despatched ‘Umar ibn Sa’d to fight them. Hussain suggested, “O ‘Umar, accept from me one of three proposals, either allow me to return from where I came. If you refuse this, then send me to Yazid and I will place my hand in his and he will decide what he feels. If you refuse this, then send me to the Turks who I will fight till I die.
Hafiz al Dhahabi has written:
قال الحسين حين نزلوا كربلا ما اسم هذه الارض؟ قالوا كربلا قال كرب و بلاء و بعث عبيد الله لحربه عمر بن سعد فقال يا عمر اختر مني احدى ثلاث اما تتركني ارجع اوفسيرني الى يزيد فاضع يدي في يده فان ابيت فسيرني الى الترك فاجاهد حتى اموت فبعث بذلك الى عبيد الله فهم ان يسيره الى يزيد فقال له شمر بن ذي الجوشن لا الا ان ينزل على حكمك فارسل اليه بذلك فقال الحسين و الله لا افعل و ابطا عمر عن قتاله فبعث اليه عبيد الله شمر بن ذي الجوشن فقال ان قاتل و الا فاقتتله و كن مكانه
Hussain asked when he alighted at Karbala’, “What is the name of this land?”
They said, “Karbala’.”
He exclaimed, “Karb (difficulty) and bala’ (trouble).”
‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad despatched ‘Umar ibn Sa’d to fight him. Hussain suggested, “O ‘Umar, except from me one of three. Either allow me to return or let me proceed to Yazid and place my hand in his. If you refuse, then send me to the Turks so that I may wage jihad until I die.”
‘Umar send these proposals to ‘Ubaidullah who thought of sending him to Yazid. However, Shamr ibn Dhi al Jawshan said to him, “Never, except that he accepts your orders.”
This message was delivered to Hussain who responded, “By Allah, I will not do so.”
‘Umar drew back from fighting him so ‘Ubaidullah send Shamr ibn Dhi al Jawshan with the instruction, “If he (i.e. ‘Umar) fights, then well and good. Otherwise, you fight against Hussain and take ‘Umar’s place.”
Mention of these three proposals are found in Tarikh al Tabari in two places.
Quotations from the Shia
Now we will quote from the books of the senior Shia scholars passages mentioning these three proposals put forward by Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
Abdul Farj Isfahani (d. 356 A.H.) has written in Muqatil al Talibiyin:
قال فوجه الى عمر بن سعد فقال ماذا تريدون مني اني مخيركم ثلاثا ان تتركوني الحق بيزيد او ارجع من حيث جئت او امضي الى بعض ثغور المسلمين
He turned to ‘Umar ibn Sa’d and said, “What do you want from me? I will give you three choices. If you leave me, I will join Yazid or return from whence I came or continue to one of the borders of the Muslims.
Sheikh Mufid (d. 413 A.H.) has written:
ان يرجع الى المكان الذي هو منه اتى او يسير الى ثغر من الثغور فيكون رجلا من المسلمين له مالهم و عليه ما عليهم او ياتي امير المؤمنين يزيد فيضع يده في يده فيرى فيما بينه و بينه الخ
Either he returns to the place he came from, or he journeys to one of the borders and becomes one of the Muslims, accruing their benefits and fulfilling their responsibilities, or he proceeds to Amir al Mu’minin Yazid and pledges allegiance to him and he may decide between them.
In Talkhis al Shafi it is written:
و قد روي انه قال لعمر بن سعد الى ان قال او ان اضع يدي على يد يزيد فهو ابن عمي يرى في رايه
It is reported that he said to ‘Umar ibn Sa’d, “Or I pledge allegiance to Yazid, for he is my cousin and will decide my matter.”
Mullah Baqir Majlisi has written:
فيضع يده في يده فيرى فيما بينه و بينه رايه
He will pledge allegiance to him and Yazid will decide his fate.
Sheikh ‘Abbas al Qummi has expressed similar sentiments:
يا آنكه برود در نزدامير يزيد دست خود را در دست او نهد او برجهخواهد بكند الخ
Other Shia books have also mentioned this, like I’lam al Wara bi A’lam al Huda and ‘Umdat al Matalib.
The crux of what is contained in the above mentioned narrations is that:
- Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, due to the situation, was prepared to review his stance. Therefore, it could not be said that he was mufariq li al jama’ah (broke away from the group of mainstream Muslims) or a rebel.
- The warnings sounded in the ahadith regarding the one who rebels against the Khalifah of the time does not apply to Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
- Those who killed Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions were oppressors and blood shedders. They had oppressively killed Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions.
- Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and his companions were thus honoured as being martyrs, while their killers achieved nothing except being hated by the Muslims.
The blessed head of Hussain is presented before Yazid
Initially, when the blessed head of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was presented before Yazid, he expressed happiness, but very soon thereafter, he regretted what had happened and cursed Ibn Marjanah (‘Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad):
لعن االه ابن مرجانة فانه اخرجه و اضطره و قد كان ساله ان يخلي سبيله او ياتيني او يكون بثغر من ثغور المسلمين حتى يتوفاه الله فلم يفعل بل ابى عليه و قتله فبغضني بقتله الى المسلمين و زرع لي في قلوبهم العداوة فابغضني البر و الفاجر بما استعظم الناس من قتلي حسينا مالي و لابن مرجانة قبحه الله و غضب عليه
May Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala curse Ibn Marjanah. He forced Hussain to face the army, whereas the latter had requested from him to either let him go freely (return to Madinah) or to allow him to come to me (where we could discuss this issue) or to allow him to go to one the Islamic borders and spend the remaining part of his life there. But Ibn Ziyad refused to accept any of these proposals, and chose to kill him.
By killing Hussain, Ibn Ziyad has sown hatred for me in the hearts of the Muslims. Now both the pious and transgressor harbour enmity for me for they regard my killing of Hussain a catastrophe. I have no connection to Ibn Marjanah. May Allah disfigure him and send His wrath on him.
NB: From the above incident we understand that the three proposals put forward by Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu is a reality, which has been quoted by the senior ‘Ulama’ and great authors. Even Yazid himself mentioned it. The senior Shia scholars have also mentioned it clearly and explicitly in their books.
The actions of those who invited Hussain to Kufah
Those people who invited Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu to Kufah accepted him as their leader and promised to assist and support him. However when the governor started his investigations and displayed sternness, they stepped back and desisted from helping him. Subsequently, they joined the leaders of the time, fought against Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, and eventually killed him.
This is the reality and not some concocted story or the product of our imagination. In the following pages we will reproduce from both Sunni and Shia sources some quotations proving the same.
1. The statement of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil regarding the treachery and disloyalty of the Kufis. This statement came after his supporters began gradually breaking away from him, until eventually Ibn Ziyad arrested him and he was about to be executed.
Ibn Hibban has recorded the last words of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil:
اللهم احكم بيننا وبين قوم غرونا و كذبونا ثم خذلونا حتى دفعنا الى ما رفعنا اليه
O Allah! You pass judgement between us and those who deceived us and lied to us, then deserted us, as a result of which we are where we are now (about to be executed). 
Thereafter Muslim ibn ‘Aqil was killed.
2. The statements of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
Before the incident of Karbala’, when Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu was informed of the killing of Muslim ibn ‘Aqil, Hani’ ibn ‘Urwah, ‘Abdullah ibn Yaqtur and others, he gathered his companions and addressed them thus:
و قد خذلنا شيعتنا فمن احب منكم الانصراف فلينصرف في غير حرج ليس معه ذمام
Our Shia (partisans) have deserted us. So whoever among you desires to return should return without any objection or rebuke.
This has been mentioned in the famous book of the Shia scholar Sheikh Mufid, al Irshad.
Another Shia scholar, Mulla Baqir Majlisi, has recorded it with slightly more details in his Persian book Jala al ‘Uyun.
3. Hafiz Ibn Kathir and Hafiz ibn Hajar have quoted the following incident and statement of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu:
فقتل اصحاب الحسين كلهم و فيهم بضعة عشر شابا من اهل بيته و جاءه سهم فاصاب ابنا له في حجره فجعل يمسح الدم و يقول اللهم احكم بيننا و بين قوم دعونا لينصرونا فقتلونا
After all his companions, including more than 10 youngsters from his own family were martyred, Hussain was sitting with one of his small sons in his lap, when an arrow came and struck the child. Hussain, while wiping off the blood from his child, said: “O Allah! You pass judgement between us and those people who invited us in order to assist us, but turned around and killed us.”
This is also recorded in the book, Muruj al Dhahab, of the Shia scholar al Mas’udi.
4. The statement of Sayyidina Hussain’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu son, Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah.
He made this statement after the incident of Karbala’ was over, when they were close to Kufah. At that time the men and women came out of their homes crying and wailing
يندبن مشققات الجيوب و الرجال معهم يبكون فقال زين العابدين بصوت ضئيل قد نهكته العلة ان هؤلاء يبكون فمن قتلنا غيرهم
The women came out tearing their collars and wailing. Together with them the men were also crying.
On seeing this, Zayn al ‘Abidin, who was very weak on account of his illness, said with a weak voice:
These people are crying and wailing over us. Who else, besides them, have killed us?
In other words, these are the same ones who killed us, and the same ones who are mourning our death.
Zayn al ‘Abidin rahimahu Llah then addressed the people of Kufah as follows: (Here we are quoting it from al Ihtijaj of the Shia scholar, al Tabari)
ايها الناس ناشدتكم بالله هل تعلمون انكم كتبتم الى ابي و خدعتموه و اعطيتموه انفسكم العهد والميثاق و البيعة قاتلتموه و خذلتموه فتبا لكم ما قدمتم لانفسكم و سووة لرايكم الى ان قال فقال علي بن الحسين هيهات هيهات ايها الغدرة المكرة الخ
O people! I ask you in the name of Allah. Don’t you know that you were the ones who wrote letters to my father (Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu) inviting him, and you are the ones who deceived him, whereas you had given him your word and promise and pledged allegiance to him. Then you fought against him and forsook him. May you be destroyed! What have you earned for yourselves and how evil was your view.
He mentioned furtheron: What a pity, what a pity, O treacherous and deceitful people!
Similarly, the daughter of Sayyidina ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu, Zainab rahimahu Llah, addressed the Kufis after praising Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala and sending salutations upon Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam:
يا اهل الكوفة يا اهل الختل و الغدر و الخذل الخ
O people of Kufah! O deceitful, treacherous, deserters!
From the above quotations it is clear that these Iraqis and Kufis who invited Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu and expressed their love for him, were the very ones who deceived him and deserted him at the most critical point. Subsequently, they joined forces with the government and eventually killed him.
Support of the above from Shia sources
The senior Shia mujtahidin have also noted their observation regarding the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu.
The Shia scholar, al Mas’udi, has written in Muruj al Dhahab:
و كان جميع من حضر مقتل حسين من العساكر و حاربه و تولى قتله من اهل الكوفة خاصة لم يحضرهم شامي
All those who were present at the killing of Hussain, those who fought against him, and those who killed him, were from Kufah. Not a single person from Sham was present.
Mulla Baqir Majlisi has expressed similar sentiments.
The people of Kufah invited Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu as their leader, promising to assist and support him. However, these very people went against their word and forsook their leader. Then they supported and joined the Shamis and eventually killed him.
Statements of the Senior Sahabah
Let us reproduce the statements of some of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of that time regarding the people of Kufah.
Once a person approached Sayyidina ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu and asked him the ruling of killing a mosquito in the state of ihram and what is its atonement. The following dialogue took place:
فقال ممن انت قال من اهل العراق قال انظروا الى هذا يسالني عن البعوض و قد قتلوا ابن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم و قد سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يقول هما ريحانتي من الدنيا
Ibn ‘Umar: “From where are you?”
The questioner: “From Iraq.”
Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu commented: “Look at this man! He is asking me about the killing of a mosquito whereas they had killed the grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. I have heard Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam saying that these two (Hassan and Hussain) are my perfume in the world. 
When Umm al Mu’minin Umm Salamah radiya Llahu ‘anha was informed of the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu, she cursed the Iraqis and said:
لعنت اهل العراق و قالت قتلوه قتلهم الله غروه و ذلوه لعنهم الله الخ
I curse the people of Iraq. They killed him, may Allah destroy them. They deceived him and disgraced him. May Allah curse them.
From the above, the view of the senior Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum of that time is realised. They regarded those Kufis responsible for the killing of Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu who took him as their leader and invited him to Kufah, promising to help and assist him, but then forsook and deserted him, and became the means of his martyrdom. According to these lofty personalities, these Kufis are the ones responsible for what happened. These are the very ones who assisted the supporters of the Sham government and helped them achieve their objective.
Importance of Salah
Even at such a trying time as Karbala’, Sayyidina Hussain radiya Llahu ‘anhu punctually carried out his ‘ibadah and tried his best not to allow any salah to be missed. The historians have given some accounts of the different stages of the incident of Karbala’.
و بات الحسين و اصحابه طول ليلهم يصلون و يستغفرون و يدعون و يتضرعون و خيول حرس عدوهم تدور من ورائهم الخ
Hussain and his companions passed the night at Karbala’ engrossed in performing salah, istighfar (seeking forgiveness), supplicating, and displaying humility before Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala while the horses of the opposition were encircling them.
The historians have recorded another incident which took place at another stage in Karbala’. This was the day the fight took place.
و صلى الحسين ايضا باصحابه و هم اثنان و ثلاثون فارسا و اربعون راجلا الخ
Hussain led his companions in salah (on the battlefield). They were 32 cavalry and 40 infantry. 
Another incident concerning Sayyidina Hussain’s radiya Llahu ‘anhu concern for salah is recorded as follows:
دخل عليهم وقت الظهر فقال الحسين مروهم فليكفوا عن القتال حتى نصلي الخ
The opposition came forward to engage in battle when the time for Zuhr salah had set in. Hussain said: “Instruct them to hold back until we perform our salah.”
By fulfilling these commandments of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala at such critical and difficult moments, these great personalities have shown a practical example of how important salah is in Islam, and that under no circumstances will it be waived. Muslims should take a lesson from them.
 There are other opinions about the year. The year mentioned by Ya’qubi could be regarded as one opinion.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/151.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/115.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/162, 115; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/198; Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/137; Bihar al Anwar, 10/238; Jala’ al ‘Uyun, pg. 388.
 Sirat Hadrat Amir Muawiyah, 1/566-570.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/198; Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/137, 138; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/162.
 Al Isabah, 1/332.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/165.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/197; Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir 4/326.
 Al Musannaf, 15/96; Kitab al Ma’rifah wa al Tarikh, 1/541.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/196; Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 4/326; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/159.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/165.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/160.
 Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/140.
 Surah al Ahzab: 38.
 Muslim ibn ‘Aqil was married to Ruqayyah bint ‘Ali (almajr pg. 56).
 Al Isabah, 1/332.
 Al Isabah, 1/332.
 Tabaqat ibn Sa’d, 4/29.
 Musannaf Ibn Abi Shaybah, 11/104.
 Sahih Muslim, 2/135.
 Sahih al Bukhari, 1/441.
 Sahih Muslim.
 Minhaj al Sunnah, 2/256.
 Al Muntaqa, pg. 296.
 Tarikh ibn Khaldun, 1/384.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/151.
 Fath al Bari, 12/353-354.
 Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/147.
 Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, pg. 209 – 210; al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/170.
 Tarikh al Tabari, 6/220 and 7/19.
 Al Irshad pg. 212.
 Talkhis al Shafi, 4/186.
 Bihar al Anwar, 10/211.
 Muntaha al Amal, 1/335.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/232; Siyar A’lam al Nubala’, 3/214.
 Kitab al Thiqat, 2/308.
 Al Irshad, pg. 205.
 Jala al ‘Uyun, pg. 421.
 Al Bidayah wan Nihayah, 8/197; Tahdhib al Tahdhib , 3/353.
 Muruj al Dhahab, 3/70.
 Al Ihtijaj, pg. 156; Tarikh Ya’qubi, 2/245.
 Al Ihtijaj, pg. 157.
 Al Ihtijaj, pg. 156.
 Muruj al Dhahab, 3/71.
 Bihar al Anwar, 10/231.
 Mishkat, pg. 569; al Adab al Mufrad, pg. 16; Musannaf ‘Abdul Razzaq, 4/413; Fada’il al Sahabah, 2/782; Mukhtasar Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 7/118; Tahdhib Tarikh Ibn ‘Asakir, 4/314.
 Fada’il al Sahabah, 2/782; Musnad Ahmed, 6/298.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/177.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/178.
 Al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 8/183.