23rd Ramadhan, 1423.
The Murder Of The Martyrs’
By Shaykh Ali Abu-Talib Son Of
Husayn buried his
baby boy and sat outside the tents all alone.
On the other side, a thousand men, armed and full grown;
Waited for him to step up and reap what his defiant courage had
Husayn was in great physical, and emotional pain.
All of the males in his entourage had been slain.
He was thirsty, hungry, and sore;
And he was reaching the limit that a human can emotionally endure;
But one thing was for sure;
Husayn still walked with God. He was never really alone.
His prostration was sincere and he was near to God’s Throne.
And with the craven murder of his six month old son,
It was growing close to the time when God’s will would be done.
The sun would soon set on this long dark day of grief;
With the anti climactic Murder of the Martyrs’ Great chief.
The army of Yazeed was puffed up with pride from core to skin.
Though they suffered many losses on their side from Husayn’s close
They thought they had won just because they survived.
Husayn’s dead would be honoured, since they died while they
Against the unholy government a tyrant contrived.
Yazeed’s men were so glad they were able to return with their
That all they could think about was going home to their wives.
So they beat on their drums, yelled war cries, and made a din
That was intended to hurry on who ever was left to defend
The Imam and his children and women.
But all the warriors in his band were gone home to rest.
And Husayn was left with no human hand to assist in this test.
His son Ali, Zaynal Abideen, was unconscious with a fever so high,
It was feared that the next Imam was so sick he might die.
Husayn listened to the revelry of his enemies, with bitter disdain.
He recalled all his friends, and his kin who were brutally slain.
And how his few killed so many, they could barely sustain the upper
And yet, they dared to boast! He was eager to go meet them and
make his last stand.
But at the same time he knew what they would do to the helpless few
Women and children who would be left at the mercy of this cowardly
So before he charged into death as his last bloody sign of righteous
He had to meet with the ladies, whom he would soon leave behind, in
weak self reliance.
Husayn rose from his musings, battered, and bloody, but dignity
his presence like a manifestation of God’s Unchangeable Will.
He gathered the widows of his friends and the women of his domicile,
To hear his last words of appreciation, and salutations; his last
testament and will.
Zaynab, his sister was besides herself with grief until
Her saintly brother calmed her down, with tenderness and skill.
He told her that it was God’s Will that she stay patient and
Her part in the mission, even though these brutes would put her
through the mill.
Zaynab tearfully asked him to pray that she follow him quickly, he
“Zaynab! Who will there be to fulfil the mission if so soon
you are dead?
“Who will accomplish the task which your brother is leaving?
“Who will care for our women in their trials and their grieving?
“The widows and orphans, I entrust to your care.
“You must lead and console them for I will not be there.
“Keep them from harm, and see to each need.
“Stand between them and the tyrants’ meanness and greed.
“I am also entrusting you with my poor ailing son.
“And my darling Sakina our group’s youngest one.
“We have never been parted for as long as a day.
“So console her young spirit in your own special way.
“Have you noticed that since her uncle Abbas was cut down
“Sakina has not uttered a single sound?
“I do not know if this is from grief, or from thirst.
‘But when you finally get water give it to her first.
“My dear sister, Zaynab! Vow to do as I ask.
“Stay strong and be patient. Perform well each task.
“Promise your brother, you will give it your best,
“And at the end of this day, in peace I will rest.”
The brave sister replied to her soon to me martyred brother.
“My Imam! I swear by Our God, and for sure there is no
“That I will do exactly as you’ve asked, as an extension of your
“I will take on these responsibilities after you have been killed.
“I will show to the world that I am your blood; that I am your
“That I’m the daughter, and grand child of folks God freed from
“So pray that God keeps me steadfast and strong,
“And up to the task of commanding to right and forbidding the
“Pray that I’m not found wanting in my hour of trial.
“That I act boldly, and fearless in Hashimite style.”
Husayn’s heart swelled with love and with pride.
How great it is to have women and men like these on your side.
He addressed the rest of the women, including Fizza his old nurse.
She tried to stay strong but she took it the worse.
She was Lady Fatimah’s servant and very best friend.
She was no slave or employee, she was more like his kin.
She said, ”Salam, my dear son. May Allah be with you.
“This is your supreme trial. There’s no doubt you’ll be
She shuddered and let out a long pain filled yell
And the old woman then fainted, and crumpled, and fell.
The loss was too much for her grief stricken heart.
Old Fizza was strong, but she could not bear to part
With this most perfect of human beings, who she nursed as a boy.
That bundle of brilliance who had brought her such joy
That she chose to stay on as a slave rather than return with her
The strain was too much, knowing that this was the end.
After addressing the ladies, he had one last stop to make.
He had to rouse his last living son, who was not yet awake.
Zainal Abideen, was suffering with the fever still.
He was very, very weak, and dangerously ill.
But as soon as his father woke him up, the strong willed young man
Tried to rise from his bed to make his last stand.
When he saw the condition of his father, wounded and bleeding,
He knew the condition of the mission, and he was not needing,
Any explanation. He knew that everyone was gone from the
He knew that they had sacrificed all for Allah’s perfect deyn.
And he knew that his Daddy, had come to say his final farewell.
And that his great holy father Husayn, would soon answer the bell.
Zaynal Abideen was determined that his father would not be slain
As long as he was alive to protect Imam Husayn.
The Imam put his hand lightly on The Future Imam’s shoulder and
“My dear son! I command you as your abu and Imam; remain in
“I know that persecution is worse than death, but you must stay
“You have to be with your aunts, and the others. It’s God’s
will you survive.
“Your task is harder than mine. Public humiliation.
Never ending grief.
“All clouds. No sunshine. No hope of relief.
“You may live on for years with sad memories and tears
“While the tyrants are gloating, with song, dance, and cheers.
“But your mission is vital. You must play your role.
“Be strong and forbearing. Let this be your goal.
“You must be the model, for all time to come,
“Of the real holy warfare. So never succumb
“To despair in any trying situation.
“Rather step up and become an incarnation
“Of faith, and good deeds in front of God, and the nation.
“This is more difficult than martyrdom, a glorious demonstration.
“And this my dear son is your fate and your station.”
“Face it with grace, and grim determination.”
Husayn embraced his son gently. And the lad fainted away.
It was difficult to face the depths of the words and the stress of
It was just too much for his fever racked body to bear.
It was for the best. Because Husayn had so little time to
That hoard of cut throats was clamouring for him to come out.
If he was not going to come out, they would come in, and without a
Husayn would not let them invade his women’s privacy while he
So he left his son on his sick bed,
And strode off to fight those oppressive lackey’s until he was
Once outside he found Thul Jannah, his old faithful steed
Waiting impatiently to charge back into action,
Against this cold blooded mercenary faction of The Tyrant Yazeed.
Husayn’s sister held the reins because all his assistants had been
Pain ripped through Husayn as he mounted Thul Jannah, with visible
But God maintained his calm, So Husayn could obtain what God did
This situation was insane. How could the former enemies of
preparing to murder Muhammad’s Husayn?
How could Muhammad’s old enemies hold the reins of the Islamic
that there was no Muslim amongst them who would even complain?
With gritted teeth and the remembrance of God in his heart,
Husayn spurred on his stallion to speedily depart.
But Thul Jannah stood affixed to the spot.
Was it that the old steed was too thirsty and hot?
Husayn bent over and spoke softly into his animal’s ear:
“Oh Pony from my childhood! Oh steed without peer,
“I know that you are old and weary,
“And you may even be a little leery
“Seeing the horrors that you have witnessed this day.
“But this will be the last time you and I will charge into the
“I need you to take me to the place of my destiny.
“Believe me old Pony, this end is the best for me.”
The speech was touching, but Thul Jannah was ready to ride into hell
Husayn had pointed him in that direction.
This was not an equine defection.
Thul Jannah showed the reason for his rejection
Of his master’s command by bowing his neck towards the ground.
Husayn swung around, and looked down,
And saw his little daughter Sakina with a tearful frown
Clinging to the horses leg.
She was so weak he could barely hear his little girl pitifully beg
The horse, not to take her daddy out there to die.
Husayn forgot his wounds and jumped down to pacify
His little girl. He picked her up and they held each other
How unfair this was. This was the exact opposite of right.
This touching scene being played out in the plain sight
Of all these Muslims. The Great Grand Daughter and The
Muhammad, The City of Light,
Crying together, after being placed in a hopeless plight
By a party of men who were outright, enemies of Prophet’s Clan.
But there wasn’t a Muslim man that day who was willing to stand.
So the great grand daughter of Prophet was about to become an
And she was trying as hard as an innocent father’s daughter can
To keep what befell her uncles and cousins from happening to her abu.
Husayn was touched, but he knew that this was a thing he had to do.
With tears streaming down his face,
He held his daughter in a tender baby-love embrace,
And spoke ever so softly to his grief stricken little girl.
He said, “My darling Sakina, you know I love you more than the
“You are so young. How can I explain why I must go out and
“Even though that I know that I do not have the military might
“Living safely with one’s dear friends and beloved kin
“And dying in bed after a long life comes to a peaceful end,
“Is what I would love to do. But, darling, this thing
“Personal desire. Each of us has an ultimate test, that depends
“Solely on God’s will. God has made it clear that I am to
“On the side of Truth and Righteousness to the cruel, bitter end.
“I cannot hide from my duty, baby. I must go forth and defend.
“I will love you forever, Sakina, forever and ever without end.
“Everything in this world, for sure will soon end.
“But the things of the soul, will surely transcend.
“Things like faith, taqwa, and love will live on and ascend
“With the souls of the righteous when God takes back what he did
“Listen, I will die here today, to make a place for you in heaven.
“And someday, you will follow me, and we’ll be together again.
“So please understand, that it is God’s will that I fight and
“His deyn from these evil jinn who pretend to be The Muslims’
“Please give me your blessing, a smile and a kiss, and try to
“This end that Allah, Our Almighty Lover and Friend, Did Wisely
The little girl may not have understood everything her father said;
But she knew that he’d live on in Heaven afterwards when he was
So she said, “Father, you said that someday I will follow, and be
with you again.
“Please ask Allah to hurry, and cause my life to end.
“Promise you will ask Him to make the time go fast
“For without you, my dear papa, I don't want this life to last.
“And promise you will visit, in dreams by God’s own grace.
“Then I’ll have the night to long for, the night and death’s
“Promise, me these things Abu, and I will let you go.
“Though it breaks my heart to loose you, I can bear it if I know
“That this cruel separation wont linger on and on.
“And I can hug, and kiss, and hold you in my dreams until the
The Imam was touched to the quick.
The depth and sweet sincerity of Sakina’s rhetoric,
Swelled his heart with pride and simultaneously made it heartsick.
Both wept bitterly, and held on to one another even tighter than
The beatings of the Yazeed’s war drums, and the taunting of his
Into the father and the daughter’s consciousness. Time was
Though they loved each other dearly, Husayn would not abort
It was time to let go, and make the metamorphic transition
From father, to fighter. It was time to go to war.
He said, “My beloved baby girl. I promise to give you what
you asked for.
“But please promise me that you will remain strong, and patient
“And please, my dearest, try not to cry too much, so that you can
“Your poor aunt Zaynab from being over burdened by your sorrow.
“She will be alone, with full responsibilities tomorrow.”
Sakina answered in a child’s voice weakened by thirst.
She said, “Abu, I will promise to stand up to their worse.
“My dear father, I shall do just as you asked from the last to the
“But please, Abu, every night I have fallen asleep on your broad
“This will not happen again. So please let me use your chest
for my mattress
“Just one last time, before you go to meet your Lord, and rest?”
He silently laid down in the hot desert sand, on his sore wounded
And she climbed on his blood stained chest, and wept softly, as
Henchmen called for her father to come and meet his demise.
He patiently waited for her to rise.
Then he kissed her, and said his final farewell.
He mounted Thul Jannah, and headed towards the same fate that befell
His seventy-two close friends and kin, who had gone on before.
He took one loving look back at his little girl standing by the
And then he aimed his horse straight at the waiting hoard.
He pranced with pride and swagger, towards the will of his Dear Lord
As soon as Husayn got within ear shot, he once again gave them a
Between heaven and hell. Addressing them in a strong, loud
He said, “Oh soldiers of Yazeed! Who amongst you does not
“I am not some animal to be hunted for a bounty or a trophy.
“I am The Grandson of Prophet Muhammad, whom you claim to revere
your mom, and abu.
“Is there any one of you who believes that this is not true?
“The woman who was the leader of all the women of earth
“Was the Prophet’s own daughter, the womb of my birth.
“You know well my father; his words, and his sword.
“They brought you your deyn from The Almighty Lord.
“Many of you have seen The Prophet lavish affection on my brother
“You’ve seen him laugh with me and cry with me in prophetically
“Haven’t you heard, or heard of Your Prophet commenting that he
“And didn’t he command you to do right by me, and the rest of
“Now, God’s Holy Prophet has gone home to rest.
“But I stand here before you, called to this place at your
“And look what you have done.
“You butchered an infant, Muhammad’s Great Grandson.
“You’ve killed my friends, brothers, and sons one after one.
“You’ve deprived children of water in this hot desert sun.
“In God’s Name, where is your conscience? What have we
“That we deserved to be treated worse than wild beasts who are
hunted for fun?
Answer me. Answer me. What crime have I done?”
Silence! Not a drum beat! Not a war cry! Not one
cute, clever pun!
Not one poignant political reply. Only the sound of weighty silence
was heard by everyone.
And that silence made General Umar tense as, he felt the reins slip
Husayn was making too much sense, and Umar felt that if this battle
did not soon begin,
Husayn would soon change the hearts of Yazeed’s own men.
So he “side stepped” the question,
And muddied the waters to cloud the suggestion
That these soldiers were guilty of the worse kind of oppression.
He said, “Husayn, Husayn! It was a waste of time to say what
We won’t relent. And if you do not comply, very soon
you’ll be dead.
“We gave you a choice, accept Yazeed as your spiritual and
temporal master and lord,
“Or die by the arrow, or the sharp unsheathed sword.
“Abu Suffiyyan's Grand Son succeeded Prophet, and he now rules
“To gain life and safety for your household, you must bow to our
“There is no other choice.
“So you may as well save your voice.”
Husayn trotted in a little closer. Looked Umar in the eye, and
“Umar! Your father was a companion who stayed by The
“You witnessed what I mentioned. You know that I’ve not
“Do you think for just one minute that I’d accept Yazeed as The
“An incompetent foolish sinner, who is fickle, vain, and mean?
“Do you think that I will co-sign, the warped deviations he wants
“To The Religion in the name of it’s Prophet and founder?
Have you ever
seen me morally flounder, or do such a thing?
“Do you actually think that I would capitulate to his bogus
“To spare my women and children hardships and to postpone the date
“When I will return to Allah, from where we all came, and to where
return to receive our fate?
“Let me dispel any doubts, and make this point plain.
“I will never compromise my principles for measly worldly gain.
“Given the choice between dishonour, and death, you know I’d
“Than accept your offer of life, and bow to a liar in support of
“So I am rejecting your proposal right here and now.
“And I am asking you, in God’s Name, tell me how
“I have ever done anything that merits that I be slaughtered like
“Of what capital crime do I stand accused?
“Oh You who claim to be Muslim. You will be eternally abused
“If you stain your hands with the blood of Prophet’s closest
“For on The Day when The Bill is due, you will face my family
“The Prophet, and his daughter, and his cousin and best friend.
“And what will you say when they ask you, how Husayn’s life came
“There you will stand with my blood on your hands, knowing that I
“Oh soldiers of Kufa and Damascus, I encourage you to repent.
“Even though what you have done to me already is enough to kill me
you now do relent,
“If you sincerely turn away and repent, from enacting this
“You can save yourself from the curse that you seem hell bent
“On bringing upon yourself, and your future long after this
“For it is the tradition of Our Household, to pray for forgiveness
“On the souls of the penitent who formally inflicted us with
“Through sincere contrition and our intercession, it is still not
too late to
escape eternal punishment.”
General Umar looked around at his men, and smiled.
Husayn’s speech was most eloquent and his speaking style
Had to have reminded everyone who was old enough to remember
Of his super naturally eloquent father when he held Kufa’s membar.
But Umar saw by the look in their eye
That they were thinking of now, not pies in the sky.
They were thinking of gaining rewards from their king.
For slaying this rebel, who now was a bow, without any string.
For the first time all day, Umar’s confidence soared.
Husayn’s words fell on ears that were stone deaf, or bored.
There was no fear of Husayn, and no fear of Hell.
So shortsighted advantage made his sick ego swell.
He said, “Enough! You have not said what we wished to hear.
“All you had to say is that you accept Yazeed as your Imam and
“Since you have refused, you’ll be beheaded, say whatever you
“Your words cant defeat us, and no one has the skill
“To single handedly overcome these odds even in single combat.
“So that is that. You’re just stalling for time like an
“And look at you. You’re a pitiful sight.,
“As hurt as you are, in your present plight,
“My worst, weakest, warrior, would wax you in a fight.
“And I have a whole army at my left, back, and right.”
Husayn had been in diplomacy mode, but now he was on the war path.
That insulting tone of voice. Had Umar forgotten the legendary
That was displayed by the believing Hashimites not so long ago?
Husayn’s blood was aroused, and he was now eager to show
These expendable pawns of the tyrant, that not only was he ready to
go toe to toe,
He was ready, willing, and able to introduce quite a few of them to
Before their overwhelming odds brought about his last earthly
He whipped out his sword, and his horse reared up and neighed.
There it was, Al-Zulfiqar! Ali’s legendary two edged fork blade.
This was not the card that Umar thought would be played.
Husayn roared, “Umar ibn Sa'd! I accept the challenge you just
“I offer single combat to your bravest. Come and taste my
“Nay! Not single combat, send as many as you like who are
“And who believe that I am only a diplomat capable of a wordy
The Shaytan that had pumped them up with pride, left.
Not one of them had the courage to risk making their wives bereft.
The generals huddled quickly, to figure out their next move.
While they were thinking, Husayn decided to prove
That he meant what he said.
Before they could regroup, quite a few of them were dead.
Husayn had charged into the heart of their ranks.
He charged right, and then cut left, sowing fear in both their
Fear gave way to confusion, then to panic stricken retreat.
Zulfiqar was like a sickle and those soldiers were like wheat.
Horse and rider moved like one thing, and where it moved somebody
It cut in and out so quickly, that the solders did collide
And that confusion, fear, and quickness helped Imam’s tyrannicide.
The prowess of the old Imam, was breath taking.
Who could not help but admire this old man, making
All these fantastic moves on horseback
While steadily keeping up a relentless attack.
And keep in mind, he was also being cut, on his sides front and
And he was already badly wounded before this duel began
And he had no food and no water for a long three day span.
Yet, this lone, wounded old man, had forced the whole battalion to
You could almost hear their mercenary courage, bend, crack, then
Scattering was the only thing they could do. So they hastily
Ashamed they were not. For them, cowardice was not new.
Husayn stopped his charge. He did not pursue.
At close quarters they were no match, but from experience Husayn
What they were going to do next.
Nothing bold or complex.
Volleys of arrows were shot from a long scattered line.
When they stopped, Husayn looked like a large porcupine.
The battle was over. They could do with him as they willed.
The Imam did not want his family to see him killed
So with difficulty, he remained on Thul Jannah’s back,
And rode to a place where his people could no see this last act.
But Zaynab, who was watching the whole scene
Ran to a small hill, where her brother’s fate could be seen.
Husayn dismounted with great difficulty
Even though Thul Jannah spread his front legs to make it easy.
He slumped to the ground with arrows protruding from front and back.
He wanted to do his asr prayers. But in an attempt to perform
Of prostration, he was blocked by the arrows that were stuck in his
So in order to touch his head to the sand, he pushed the arrows
With the weight of his body and with guts, strength and will.
And as he finished his prayers, they rode up for the kill.
Zaynab ran from the hill to reach that spot
In order to try to say or do something to improve her brother’s
She pleaded and begged them to at least give him some water first.
Even a slaughtered animal is offered water so he wont die with a
But they acted as if she wasn’t even there.
As hurt and near death as Husayn was, he wanted to spare
His sister the emotional trauma of witnessing his decapitation.
He said, “My sister! Return to the camp without hesitation.
“It would grieve me too much if you see this gruesome situation.
“By The Love That You Have For Me, spare me this humiliation.”
Zaynab ran back to the camp, and Shimir did the deed.
He cut off Husayn’s head, the fruit of Prophet’s seed.
Oh Allah Bless Muhammad’s Soul,
And Rain Down Peace On His Household.
Oh Allah Bless Muhammad’s Soul,
And Rain Down Peace On His Household.
Oh Allah Bless Muhammad’s Soul,
And Rain Down Peace On His Household.