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2nd Muharram: Imam Hussain Arrives in Karbala

The Horse of Imam Hussain Stops

On Thursday, the second of Muharram, Imam’s caravan entered the region of Naynavah. Here at dry and dreary land, the horse of Imam Hussain stopped on its own. The weather of that area is reported to be rough and unwelcoming, with little greenery and scorching heat. The only source of drinking water was a narrow branch of the Euphrates river by the name of Alqami.

On the sudden resistance of Imam’s horse  to move further, Imam Hussain asked his companions, “What is the name of this land?

Someone replied, “the Land of Taff“. He asked, “Does it have another name?

They said, “Ghadhiriyat.” He asked, “Does it have any other name?

Someone said, “Naynawa.” It seemed Imam was looking for another name—one he had heard from his beloved grandfather. “Does it have another different name?

Someone finally said, “Karbala.” As soon as he heard the name Karbala the Imam took a deep breath, cried, and said,
O Allah, I seek refuge in you from Karb (difficultly) and Bala’ (tribulations).

Setting Camps by the Euphrates

The Imam then addressed his companions,

My companions, we shall settle here. Here our men shall be killed. Here our children will be slaughtered. Here our women will be taken as captives. Our graves shall be visited here. My grandfather has informed me of this.

Then he commanded his companions to erect the camps and settle there by the stream of Euphrates River. Soon after, Lady Zainab heard him reciting lines of poetry related to death while his sword was in his hand, out of its sheath. She said to him, “My dear brother, these are the words of one who is certain of death!”

The Imam replied, “Yes, my dear sister.”

Hearing this, she said, “What a tragedy it is! What a tragedy it is that Hussain is eulogizing his death!” 

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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