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11th Muharram: Granddaughters of Prophet Taken Captives

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 Spoils of War

Omar Ibn Saad had ordered his men to sever the head of all of Imam Hussain’s companions. Except for Hurr Ibn Yazid al-Riyahi, all martyrs were beheaded. His tribe stopped Omar Ibn Saad from this heinous act, and they buried his body several kilometres away from Karbala. The various tribes within Ibn Saad’s army divided the heads among themselves to receive a reward from Ibn Ziyad. Omar Ibn Saad gave the head of Imam Hussain to Khuwalla Ibn Yazid al-Asbahi. He left for Kufa to present it to Ibn Ziyad.

Enemy Tactics to Humiliate the Family of Prophet

Before noon, Omar Ibn Saad told the family of Imam Hussain to prepare themselves to go to Kufa. He brought them bare camels without any saddle so to make the journey difficult for them. It was a way to humiliate the family of Imam Hussain.

His men brought the camels and signalled the women to ride them, and offered to help them ride. Lady Zaynab yelled at Ibn Saad,

May Allah darken your face in this world and the hereafter! You ordered these men to help us ride the camels when we are the trusts of Prophet Muhammad! Tell them to leave us, and we will help each other ride the camels.” He ordered his men to back off.

Who Will Help Zaynab to Mount?

Lady Zaynab called on the women and children and helped them mount the camels one by one. When everyone had mounted, she looked to the right and left and saw no one except Imam Sajjad. He was very ill. She told him, “Get up, my dear nephew and let me help you mount the camel.” He said to her, “I will manage it with the help of these men, but how will you mount the camel?”

She then scanned her surroundings and saw the bodies on the ground and the heads on the spears. She cried, “O my brother! O, Hussain!” Then she remembered her guardian and protector Abbas. She looked to the river where his body lay and said, “Abbas, you are the one who brought me here, and you are the one who would help me mount the saddle of my camel. Get up now and help me!

Imam Sajjad could not stand seeing her like this. He got up, dragging himself and leaning on his cane. His body was shaking from the illness. He came to her and bent his knees, and helped her mount the camel. 

Saying Farewell to The Bloodstained Bodies

Once they all had mounted on the camels, the enemies deliberately rode by the bodies of martyrs to further traumatize the women and children. When the women saw the disfigured bodies, the bloodstained bodies, with the spears and arrows still lodged in them, they started to wail and cry. When Zaynab’s eyes fell on Imam Hussain’s body, with a heartbreaking voice, she uttered,

O Muhammad! This is your Hussain on the ground! Your women have been taken as captives!” Everyone cried upon hearing her.

Lady Zaynab wanted to throw herself from the camel to tend to the body of her brother Hussain. However, Imam Sajjad asked her to be patient and not to dismount the camel. She said, “My dear nephew, I want to farewell him!” He told her, “Say farewell while sitting on the camel.” She cried,

I farewell you, my brother, and I leave you with Allah. I swear by Allah, if they were to give me the choice of staying by your side, I would stay, even if the wild desert animals would eat my flesh!

Enemies Recite Funeral Prayer For Their Own

Moments before departing, Omar Ibn Saad gathered his men, and they prayed on the bodies of their dead ones, then buried them. But they left the bodies of Imam Hussain and his companions lying there on the plains of Karbala.

A Tormenting Journey

Whenever the women and children would cry, the enemies would beat them with the back of their spears. They were especially ruthless to the young daughter of Imam Hussain, Lady Ruqayyah (Sakeena).

And so the caravan began to move, with the granddaughters of the Prophet riding on bare backs of camels — young children riding on saddle-less camels. The sun had set, the harrowing journey from Karbala to Kufa had begun.

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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