10th Muharram (Part-3): Bani Hashim On The Battleground

The following blog is created by building upon the extensive groundwork by Sayed Muhammad Baqer Qazwini for #WithHussainInKarbala, the first-ever Twitter-based Maqtal. You can view the original campaign on this link.

The Look-alike of Prophet on the Battlefield

The first from among the family of Imam Hussain to head out to the battlefield was his son Ali Akbar. He asked his father to grant him permission, and he was permitted. As Ali Akbar headed to the battlefield, Imam Hussain cried and raised his hands in prayer:

Oh Allah, bear witness that a young man has come to them, who resembles your Prophet the most in physical features, his manners, and his speech. And whenever we’d miss your Prophet, we would look at him. Oh Allah, withdraw your mercy from these evil people.

When Ali Akbar entered the battlefield, he said,

I am Ali, son of Hussain, the son of Ali. By the Lord of the Kaaba, we are the closest to the Prophet. I strike you with my sword defending my father—the strike of a Hashemi Alawi man! By Allah, the evil Ibn Ziyad shall not rule us!

He fought them and killed many of them. Then the thirst became unbearable for him; he returned to his father and said, “Father, thirst is killing me, and the heaviness of the iron is exhausting me. Do you have some water?” Imam Hussain told him to be patient, for soon, the Messenger of Allah would grant him a cup to drink. He said farewell to his mother and father for the last time and went back to the battlefield. He courageously fought the enemies until Morra ibn Monqedh al-Abdi fatally struck him. He collapsed on the head of his horse, and the enemies surrounded him from all directions and began stabbing him. He cried, “Father, I send my Salam to you. This is my grandfather giving me from that cup to drink!” They dismembered his body into many pieces.

Imam Hussain rushed to him, heartbroken, but Ali Akbar had been martyred. Imam Hussain asked the youth of Bani Hashem to help him carry his body back to the tents. When Lady Zaynab saw the body, she collapsed on him crying.

After him, several Hashemi youth emerged from the camp of Imam Hussain. They courageously fought on the battlefield and attained martyrdom.

A Letter by Imam Hasan Delights Qasim

Then Qasim, son of Imam Hassan, came forward to ask Imam Hussain for permission to fight. The Imam refused, “How can I let you go when you remind me of my brother Hasan?” Qasim was impatiently waiting to fight the enemies. He remembered a letter his father Imam Hasan had given him before he was martyred. He had told him to read the note at a time of difficulty.

Qasim pulled out the letter from his armband. The letter was commanding him to support Imam Hussain. Qasim was overjoyed. He showed the letter to Imam Hussain. When Imam saw the letter, he agreed to permit Qasem to go to the battlefield. They hugged each other and cried until they both fainted.

Qasim put on Imam Hasan’s turban and stepped onto the battlefield. He said,

If you do not know me, then I am Qasim, son of Hassan. I am the grandson of the trustworthy Prophet. This is Hussain like a captive, among a group of evil people.

He fought very bravely until the strap of his shoe broke. He bent down to fix his shoe when Amr Ibn Saad ibn Nufayl struck him fatally. As he fell to his martyrdom, he cried, “Peace be upon you, O my uncle!” Imam Hussain came like an eagle and struck the killer of Qasem, Amr. Amr fell on the ground and got trampled by the horses, and died. Imam Hussain put his chest on the chest of Qasem and said,

“It is heavy upon my heart for you to call out to me, and yet I could not save you!”

Then he took his body back to the tents and put his body next to the body of Ali Akbar.

Then the brothers of Imam Hussain headed to the battlefield, fighting bravely and embracing martyrdom one by one. At last, the only fighter left was Abbas. He was the carrier of Imam Hussain’s standard and banner. He walked to Hussain and asked to grant him permission to fight.

Imam Hussain told him,

“My brother, you are the carrier of my banner. You are the last defender. If you go, I will have no army.”

Abbas said, “I must go; I cannot stand these enemies!

The Imam said, “If you insist, then go to the river and try to get some water for these children.

The Descent of Banu Hashim’s Moon

Abbas farewelled the Imam and headed to the river. With his courage, he dispersed the hundreds who were guarding the river. He managed to step into the river. He felt the coolness of the water. He was about to drink, but he remembered the thirst of Hussain, so he refused to drink. He filled the water jug and headed back to the tents.

The enemies cast many arrows at him, but he fought them valiantly, saying,

I do not fear death when it comes to me! I strike you with my sword! I give my life to Hussain, and I have no fear for the Day of Judgment.”

But then Zayd ibn Warqa’ al-Johani hid behind a palm tree and made a surprise attack, cutting Abbas’s right arm. Abbas yelled, “Even if you cut my right arm, I will continue to defend my religion and my Imam!

He kept advancing towards the tents. This time Hukaym ibn Al-Tofayl attacked him from behind a palm tree and amputated his left arm.

Abbas still hoped he’d take the water jug to the children, but the arrows came raining down on him. One arrow struck his eye–another on his chest. Yet another struck the water jug piercing it, and the water spilt. Abbas stopped. There was no point in going back to the tents. Then suddenly, a man struck him on his head with an iron rod. With no arms to support him, he fell to the ground and cried, “My brother, I send you my Salam!

Imam Hussain rushed to Abbas, only to see an arrow in his eye and his arms amputated. He said,

“Brother, it is now that my back has been broken!”

Imam Hussain left Abbas there and did not take him back to the tents. When the women realized that Abbas is martyred, they wailed and screamed, “O Abbas, O Abbas!” Imam Hussain cried with them.

The text for this series is prepared from the following reference books:

  • Behar al-Anwar by Allama Baqer Majlisi
  • Tarikh al-Tabari by al-Tabari
  • Maqtal al-Hussain by Abu Mekhnaf
  • Mawsou’at kalimat al-Imam al-Hussain by Scholars of Baqer al-Uloom Research Institute
  • Laylat Ashura fil Hadithi wal Adab by Sheikh Abdullah Hasan
  • Probe Into History of Ashura by Dr Ibrahim Ayati
  • Luhoof by Sayyid Ibn Tawoos
  • Nafasul Mahmoom by Sheikh Abbas Qummi

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