12th Muharram: Burying the Martyrs of Karbala

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.

Women of Bani Asad Instigate Their Men

After the departure of Omar Ibn Saad and his army, a group of women from the Bani Asad tribe, living close to Karbala, passed by the battleground. They were in utter shock to see the mutilated bodies lying on the ground. They went back to their men and informed them what they saw. Then they commanded the men to go to Karbala and bury the bodies. At first, their men hesitated for fear of reprisal from Ibn Ziyad, but then their conscience and courage took over.

Banu Asad Attempts To Bury

They went to Karbala the next day. Upon seeing the bodies of the martyrs, they broke into tears. They attempted to bury them, but they could not identify the bodies. They said, “How can we bury them when we don’t know who they are.

As they were thinking of a strategy to bury the blessed bodies, they noticed a horse rider with his face covered appear on the distant horizon. They quickly retreated from the bodies of the martyrs, fearing that the rider might be one of Ibn Ziyad’s spies. From a safe distance, they observed what the rider would do.

They saw that the rider went to one of the bodies; he dismounted the horse and threw himself on one of those bodies. He sniffed the body, kissed the body, and cried excessively. Then he looked towards the men of Banu Asad and said, “Why are you standing by these bodies?” They said, “We are just observing them.” He told them, “No, that’s not why you are here.” They said, “Oh Arab man, we’ll tell you why we came here. We came to bury the body of Hussain.

The Mysterious Rider assists Banu Asad

He marked the ground and told them to dig a big grave there and bury 17 bodies in it. Then another grave next to it for the remaining bodies. He told them, “The first grave is for my family members, and the second one is for my companions.

This man, then went to the body of Imam Hussain. Men of Banu Asad came to help him, but he declined, saying he would bury himself. Then, while crying excessively, he put his hands under Imam Hussain’s body and said,

“In the name of Allah, by the name of Allah, for the path of Allah, and on the way of the Messenger of Allah. Allah and His Messenger had promised this. Allah and His Messenger are truthful. There is no might or power except by Allah.”

Then he said, “O Banu Asad, bring me a straw-mat.” They asked him the reason for it. He said, “To put the severed organs on it.” He put the body parts of Imam Hussain on the mat. Then he took the body of Imam Hussain by himself into the grave, not allowing anyone to help him. He also placed the small body of Ali Asghar next to the body of Imam Hussain. Then Banu Asad saw him put his cheek on the neck of Imam Hussain and said,

“Blessed is the earth that contains your body. As for the world, it is dark after you. And as for the hereafter, it is radiating with your light. As for sorrow, it is eternal until Allah chooses the place you are now for your family. I send you my Salam O son of the Messenger of Allah.”

He then sealed the grave and with his fingers, he engraved the following words on the grave’s soil: This is the grave of Hussain, son of Ali who was killed thirsty.

Then he looked at the men of Banu Asad and asked, “Is there any other body that remains out there?” They said, “Yes, there is a body of a warrior lying by the river.” He went to the river, and standing next to the body, he said, “The world is worthless without you, my dear uncle!” Then he buried him in a separate grave.

The Rider Reveals His Identity

Once all the bodies were buried, the rider mounted his horse and prepared to leave. Banu Asad inquired who he is; he said, “I am Ali, the son of Hussain, son of Ali!” They rushed to embrace him, kiss him, and offer him their condolences. Then he left and vanished by the horizon just as strangely as he had arrived.

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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