Will you give information about the Karbala incident?

The Details of the Question
Will you give information about the Karbala incident?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

When Hazrat Husayn was in Makkah, people came to visit him and asked him how he was. They were the people from places around Makkah that had come for umrah. Ibn Zubayr, who performed prayers and circumambulated the Kaaba all day was also there and visited him. 

Ibn Zubayr was the most important person for Hazrat Husayn then because when Husayn was in Makkah, people of Hejaz would not give an oath of allegiance to Ibn Zubayr.  

On the other hand, when it was heard in Kufa that after the death of Muawiyah, people began to give allegiance to Yazid, people of Kufa began to talk against Yazid. Shiites gathered in the house of Sulayman b. Surad, one of the notables of Shiites, and evaluated the situation. In the meeting there, they decided to write letters to Hazrat Husayn to invite him to come to Kufa for their allegiance to him. They sent about one hundred and fifty letters. When Hazrat Husayn received the letters, he wrote the following answer to the people of Kufe: 

«I see what you want to do. I am sending my brother, my uncle’s son, Muslim b. Aqil, one of my relatives that I trust to you now. I told him to write me a letter after arriving there about your situation and your thoughts. If all of the people and the notables agree on the thoughts that you have written to me, I will go there soon. I swear that the Caliph cannot be a person other than someone who acts in accordance with the Quran, who never abandons justice and who practices the true religion.»

Then, Husayn sent for Muslim b. Aqil and told him to go to Kufa. He told Muslim not to deviate from the way of Allah and to keep the issue secret. He told Muslim to inform him about the situation as soon as possible if the people of Kufa agreed on it. Muslim set off for Kufa. Numan b. Bashir was the governor of Kufa then. When Muslim arrived in Kufa, Shiites started to come and see him. When Numan was informed about it, he made a short speech on the pulpit in the mosque. Numan, who was actually a mild and kind person, spoke as follows: 

«O Muslims! Do not compete with one another for mischief and separation because they will cause the elimination of people, shedding blood and plundering goods. Know it very well that I will fight those who fight against me and attack those that attack me. I will not awake those who sleep. I will not punish anyone without any evidence. However, if you express your situation openly and cancel your allegiance and rebel your Caliph, I swear that I will cut your head with my sword. No one can save you from me. I hope those who can see the truth are more than those with wrong ideas among you. »

When Numan made that speech, one of the Umayyad followers stood up and said, «Only a brave person can prevent this chaos. Only weak people put forward ideas like yours. » Numan said to the man, «It is better for me to be a weak man in the way of Allah than a strong man who opposes Allah. » and walked down the pulpit.

Then, that man wrote a letter to Yazid informing him that Muslim b. Aqil had come there and that people started to give allegiance to him. He added the following:

«If you are not prepared to sacrifice Kufa, send Kufa a strong man who will fulfill your commands and who can take measures that you take against your enemies. Numan is a weak person. »

Thereupon, Yazid unseated Numan and appointed Ubaydullah b. Ziyad, who was the governor of Basra instead of him. Ubaydullah, who came to Kufa with order of Yazid to catch Muslim and execute or banish him, addressed the people of Kufa as follows: 

«The Caliph appointed me as the governor of your city and to collect the taxes. He ordered me to treat the oppressed ones well, to feed the poor, to treat those who obey the state well and to treat those who rebel and cause chaos harshly. I will carry out his orders and fulfill his requests here. I will act like a compassionate father for those who are good and like a brother for those who obey. I will use my sword and whip against those who do not accept my orders and who oppose me. Now you can do as you wish. » While walking down the pulpit, the governor threatened them saying, «You must write down the names of the strangers, Shiites, Kharijites, mischievous people and separatists and inform me about them. Those who give me the list of them will be safe. Those who do not must guarantee me that there will be no opposition or rebellion from among the people in their families. I am not responsible for the people who do not fulfill one of those two alternatives. It means their immunity of property and lives will be canceled. If a dissident of the Caliph is caught in the house of any of you, the owner of that house will be executed at the gate of his house. »

When Muslim heard about the speech Ibn Ziyad made, he took shelter in the house of Hani b. Urwa. The landlord and Muslim did it unwillingly. Shiites began to go to the house of Hani. When Ibn Ziyad found out that Muslim stayed there, he summoned Hani and recited the following poem when Hani arrived: «I want him to stay alive, but he wants to kill me. Whoever was let from murad can forgive you only. » Hani asked him, «What is the matter? » Ibn Ziyad said, «O Hani! What is planned in your house for the Caliph and Muslims? You admit Muslim into your house and collect arms and soldiers for him. Do you think it will remain as a secret? » Hani could not object to his words. Thereupon, Ibn Ziyad wanted him to surrender Muslim to him. However, Hani did not accept it because he was afraid that people would blame him. Having been arrested by the men of Ibn Ziyad, Hani was imprisoned in the palace of the governor. Having been informed about Hani, Muslim shouted, «Fa Mansur!», which was a password among them,  to his men.

The number of people who gave allegiance to Muslim until then was eighteen thousand; four thousand of them were around the house where Muslim stayed, keeping watch. People gathered around Muslim. After making a speech that provoked people, Muslim headed for the palace of the governor. The mosques and the streets were full of people. At that time, there were only thirty guards and about twenty people from the notables of Kufa and their slaves with the governor. He consulted the notables and called Kathir b. Shihab. He told Kathir to take action and drive people away from around Muslim. He told Muhammad b. Ash'as to go out with the man subject to him and declare people that those who joined them would be safe. He asked the same things from some other notables. He kept a few people with him. The notables fulfilled what the governor wanted. Those who stayed in the palace addressed the people and told them that those who were loyal to the state would be protected. They threatened the rebels. Thereupon, people began to disperse. They dispersed so fast that only thirty people remained in the mosque with Muslim. Muslim was appalled; he ran away and hid somewhere. However, the governor found out where he had hidden. He sent Muhammed b. Ash'as and fetched Muslim. When Muslim was caught, he said to Muhammad,

«I see that you cannot protect me now. However, can you send a messenger to Husayn and tell him on my behalf to return and not to trust the people of Kufa because he knew what they did to his father? »

Muhammad fulfilled the request of Muslim. Muslim, who was brought to the presence of the governor, was killed there. Then, Hani was killed, too.

On the other hand, Husayn, who was in Makkah, had decided to go to Kufa. Amr b. Abdurrahman b. Harith came to him and said,

«I hear that you are going to Iraq. I find it risky for you to go to a city where the governor, officials and treasures of the Caliph are. Today, people worship money. I fear that those who promise to help you will kill you. »

Husayn only thanked Amr. Then Ibn Abbas came. He said, «People say you are going to Iraq. Will you explain me what you are doing? » Husayn said, «I will set off in one or two days. » Ibn Abbas said, «May Allah not let you do such a thing. Tell me, are you going to a nation that killed their governor that owned their state and that discarded their enemies? If you think that they did not do something like that, then go. However, if they call you to a war, I fear that they will deceive you, they will give up and oppose you, that they will leave you alone and that they will rebel you and do the worst thing to you. »

Hazrat Husayn said, «I will think about it and see what will happen. » Ibn Abbas came again the next day and said,  

«O my uncle’s son! I force myself to show patience but I cannot be patient. If you do what you are thinking about, I fear that you will suffer a misfortune. Iraqi people are fickle people. Never approach them. Stay here. You are the master of Hejaz people. If Iraqis really want you as they wrote to you, write to them and tell them to discard their governor and your enemies, and then you can go. If you definitely want to go, go to Yemen. There are different groups in Yemen. Yemen is a large country. There are the followers of your father, there. You can settle somewhere there, write letters, send them to people, send your messengers and propagators. Then, the atmosphere that you want may appear. »

Hazrat Husayn did not agree with what Ibn Abbas said. Ibn Abbas added, «If you do not give up the thought of going there, I fear that you will be martyred in front of your women and children. The cautionary words of Ibn Abbas did not affect Husayn at all.

Then, he set off with his women and children. He met Farazdaq, the poet, on the way. He asked Farazdaq about the situation of the people in the place where he was coming from. Farazdaq said, «People’s hearts are with you but their swords support Umayyad. The destiny comes from the sky. Allah is doing what He wishes. »

In addition, on the way, he received a letter from Abdullah b. Jafar, who swore in the name of Allah and asked him to return; he also received a letter from Amr b. Said, the governor of Madinah, who asked him to return and declared that he would protect them. Having rejected the requests in both letters, Husayn continued to go. On the way, he met Abdullah b. Muti'. Abdullah reminded him the risky situation, swearing by Allah and said, «If you want to acquire the Caliphate that Umayyad have now, they will kill you and then there will be left no one that they will fear. Please, do not go there for the sake of Islam, Quraysh and Arabs. Do not go to Kufa; do not meet Umayyad! »

However, Hazrat Husayn did not agree on any idea except continuing. When they reached Sa'labiya, they heard that Muslim b. Aqil had been killed. Some people around him said, «Return now for the sake of Allah. You have no helpers and followers in Kufa. We even fear that they will be against you. » Muslim’s children leapt forward and said, «We will take our father’s revenge or will be martyred like our father. We shall never return. »

They continued until they reached Aqaba. There, an Arab that they met said, «Return for the sake of Allah. You are going toward the swords and spears. If those that called you had prevented the war and arranged the things before you arrived, I would not have said anything to you. However, now, there is only one thing to do: to return. »

As soon as Hazrat Husayn and those with him left Shiraf, they met a troop of about one thousand cavalrymen led by Hurr b. Yazid. Husayn said to them,

«O people! Allah knows and you also know that I came here because of the letters and messengers you sent to me. You wrote to me that you did not have a Caliph and that your situation would be improved with my coming. If you intend to keep your promise, I will enter your city. Otherwise, if you do not keep your promise and feel disturbed by my coming, I will return to the place where I have come from. »

When nobody answered, Hurr spoke, «we were ordered to catch you as soon as we met you and take you to Ubaydullah b. Ziyad in Kufa.» Hazrat Husayn murmured, «Death is better than this situation» and told his men to mount and that they would return. However, Hurr did not let them go. When Husayn shouted to Hurr, «May your mother lose you! What do you want? », Hurr answered, «If anyone other than you had said it, I would have answered him back in the same way. However, I cannot mention your mother’s name using bad words. I can mention her name only in the best way. »

Then, he started to follow Husayn in order to prevent him from returning to Madinah. Husayn headed toward the north and reached Ninawa. There, he met another troop led by Umar b. Sa’d b. Abi Waqqas that Ibn Ziyad had sent to fight him. Umar sent a messenger to Husayn and asked him why he had come there. Husayn said, «Your citizens sent me letters to go to them. That is why I came. If they do not want me now, I will return. » When Ziyad received a letter from Umar informing him about the situation, Ibn Ziyad recited the following poem, «Does he want to be saved from us now, when we have reached out our claws? It is not the time for being saved now. » He sent Umar a letter and ordered him to take allegiance from Husayn for Yazid. He wrote, «If Husayn accepts this offer, the issue is over. Otherwise, surround them and cut their connection with the only water source there, leaving them without water. » Hazrat Husayn said that he would return to the place where he had come from if they let them. The narrations that he accepted to swear allegiance to Yazid are not true. Although Hazrat Husayn told them that he wanted to return to Madinah, they did not accept it and asked him to consent to the judgment that Ibn Ziyad would give about them. It was something that Husayn could not accept under any conditions. There was nothing left but to fight.  

On Muharram 10 of the Hegirah year 61 (10 October 680) they started to fight. The Iraqi army, in which there was not even one Syrian, fought against a small group that consisted of at most eighty people. Soon, Husayn and his men were martyred. Seventy people died from Husayn’s men. Eighty people died from Umar’s army.   

They took the head of Husayn, his daughters, siblings and little son Ali, who was ill, to Ibn Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad sent them to Yazid. When they arrived in Damascus and Yazid was informed about what had happened, he started to cry and said,

«I asked you to make Husayn swear allegiance to me without killing him. May Allah damn Ibn Sumayya (Ziyad). If I had met Husayn, I would have forgiven him. Do you know why these things happened? Husayn said, 'My father is superior to his father; my mother is superior to his mother, my grandfather is superior to his grandfather. I am superior to him. I deserve Caliphate more than him.' Allah knows whose father is superior. Both of them went to the presence of Allah. Besides, people know whom the arbitrators regarded superior. 

Doubtlessly, his mother Fatima, the daughter of the Messenger of Allah, is superior to my mother. His grandfather is superior to my grandfather. A person who has belief in Allah cannot think that there is anyone similar to him. However, Husayn uttered the last word based on his own ijtihad. He did not read this verse:  'Say: "O Allah! Lord of Power (and Rule) Thou givest Power to whom Thou pleasest and Thou strippest off power from whom Thou pleasest”'(Aal-i-Imran, 26). »

Then, he ordered the women of Husayn to be taken to his home. All women from Yazid’s family came one by one to pay their condolences to them. They paid the equivalents of the property and jewels that were lost to them.  Yazid called Ali b. Husayn and arranged the necessary things for them to go to Madinah and told him to write to him if they needed anything in Madinah. Thus, that deplorable event ended leaving scars that could not be covered.

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