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10th Muharram (Part-1): Before The Battle & The First Attack

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 Dawn Arrives

The tenth of Muharram came after a long night spent in supplication and worship. Imam Hussain fell asleep for a few moments before dawn, and he saw Prophet Muhammad and a group of his companions in his dream. The Prophet told him, “My son, you are the Martyr of Aal-e-Muhammad! Make haste, for we are waiting for you!

At dawn, Ali Akbar gave Adhan (the call to prayers). Imam Hussain led his companions in the Fajr prayer. After the prayer, he said, “Allah has given us permission to be killed, so you must be patient.

Remembering Allah at Every Step

Sounds of horses galloping were coming from the battlefield; upon hearing them, Imam Hussain supplicated to Allah and said:

O Allah, you are my trust in every affliction and hope in every difficulty. And how, many a time, have you helped me during difficulties! All praise is due to you.

Shimr Igniting The War

A horseman approached the camp of Imam Hussain. He saw the fires burning from the trench that Imam Hussain’s companions had dug around the tents and said, “O Hussain, have you hastened to the fire of Hell?” Imam Hussain asked his companions, “It seems this is Shimr?” They answered positively. The Imam said, “You are a disgraceful person, and you are the one who is deserving of Hell.

Muslim Ibn Awsaja asked the Imam to grant him permission to strike an arrow at Shimr and kill him. The Imam refused and said, “I do not want to be the one to start the battle.

Burair Admonishes The Enemy

One of the companions of Imam Hussain by the name of Burair Ibn Hudhayr walked towards the enemies and gave a speech rebuking them for fighting Imam Hussain and condemned them for denying water to him and his family. They started to strike arrows at him, so he left them and returned to his camp.

Hurr Realizes His Mistake

Hurr Ibn Yazid al-Riyahi realized that Omar Ibn Saad is determined to fight Hussain. He asked him, “Are you really going to kill him?” He said: “Yes, and you’ll see limbs and heads flying on the battlefield.” Hurr did not want to kill Imam Hussain. He started to shake. He repented and defected to Imam Hussain’s camp.

He asked Imam for forgiveness, and the Imam forgave him. He has also requested the Imam to allow him to be the first to fight when the battle starts. The Imam permitted him.

Imam’s Speech on the Day of Ashura

Then Imam Hussain mounted a camel and proceeded towards the enemies. He then gave a speech in a thunderous voice.

“O, people of Iraq! Listen to me and do not make haste to kill me so that I may tell you what I must, and appraise you of the reason for my coming to Iraq. If you accept my excuse, believe in what I say, and behave towards me fairly, you will level for yourselves the path of prosperity, and then you will have no reason to kill me. And even if you do not accept my excuse and deviate from the path of justice, you must ponder over the pros and cons of the matter before you kill me and should not undertake such a task without deliberation.

Then he said, “The Almighty Allah is my guardian and supporter, who revealed the book and takes care of the righteous ones.”

When his sisters heard him, they started wailing. Imam Hussain sent his brother Abbas and told him: “Console them, and ask them to stop crying, for their crying will be prolonged after me.

“Humiliation is Far From Us” – Hayhat Minna Zillah

The Imam continued his speech, reminding them who he is. He asked them:

Aren’t I the grandson of your Prophet? Aren’t my brother and I the masters of the youth of paradise? Aren’t I the son of the Prophet’s successor and cousin and the Commander of the faithful? If you doubt me, ask Jaber Ibn Abdullah al-Ansari, or Abu Sa’id al-Khodry, Sahl Ibn Saad al-Sa’idi, or Zayn Ibn Arqam or Anas Ibn Malek, and they’ll all attest to what I am telling you. What have I done? Why do you fight me? What crime have I committed?

He continued: “At least leave me and let me go back to where I came from.”

They replied negatively: “We must take you to Ibn Ziyad or Yazid”.

Then the Imam said,

Never, I will not submit in humiliation nor will I flee like a fugitive! That evil and corrupt man (Ibn Ziyad) has given us only two choices: a life of humiliation or death by sword, and we shall never submit to humiliation!”

The First Arrow is Shot

Later in the day, Omar Ibn Saad came forward and shot an arrow saying, “Bear witness to the Emir that I was the first to strike an arrow!” The battle officially started, and many others shot arrows at the camp of Imam Hussain.

Imam Hussain said to his companions: “Rise to death, may Allah have mercy on you, for these are the messengers of the enemies to you.

Some of Imam Hussain’s companions fell as martyrs during this first round of the battle.

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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