The River is Blockaded
On the seventh of Muharram, Omar Ibn Saad received a letter from Ibn Ziyad. The letter stated:
“Block Hussain and his companions from having access to the water. They cannot taste a drop of water.“
Omar immediately dispatched 500 men under the command of Amr Ibn Hajjaj to stand between Imam Hussain and the river Euphrates. Their duty was to hinder the use of water by the Imam and his companions.
Abbas, The Water-bearer of Karbala
Later that night, a group of Imam Hussain’s companions attempted to reach the river.
Upon seeing them, Amr Ibn Hajjaj shouted, “Who are you?!” They responded saying, “We are the companions of Hussain.“
Then one of the companions of Imam Hussain by the name of Hilal Ibn Nafe’ al-Bajali said, “We have come here to drink water.“
Amr told him, “Only you may drink.“
“You tell me to drink water while Hussain, the son of Ali, and those with him are dying from thirst!”
Then, under the leadership of Abal Fadhl al-Abbas, they managed to fight those men who were guarding the river. They got access to the river and managed to fill a few buckets with water. The women and children were grateful that al-Abbas could bring them water. But this was the last time that Imam Hussain and his companions would receive any water.
Thirst Begins To Settle
How could a few buckets of water satiate a caravan of around a hundred persons? In the heat of the desert, the little water procured during last night’s fight ran out quickly. The weather was scorching and dry, while the water was scarce. A state of thirst had started to afflict the family and companions of Imam Hussain.
Imam Hussain’s Last Call to Ibn Saad
Following these events, On 8th Muharram, Imam Hussain sent a message to Omar Ibn Saad requesting to meet him at night. When the night set, Ibn Saad came forward with twenty horsemen, and Imam Hussain came with twenty of his men. When they met, Iman Hussain asked his men to stand aside and leave the meeting except for his brother, Abbas, and son, Ali Akbar – they stood by his side. Omar Ibn Saad also asked his men to step aside except his son, Hafs, and his servant, Laheq.
Imam Hussain said to him,
“Woe upon you, do you not fear God whom you shall return to? Do you want to fight me even when you know whose son I am? Leave your group and join me, for this will bring you close to God.“
Omar Ibn Saad replied, “I fear that my house will be demolished.” The Imam said, “I’ll have one built for you.“
He continued his excuses saying, “I am afraid my ranch will be taken.” The Imam said to him, “I will compensate you with a better one in Hijaz from my money.“
Omar Ibn Saad said, “I fear for my family.” The Imam said to him, “I will guarantee you their safety.“
Ibn Saad kept quiet. Then he said, “I have been promised to be the ruler of Ray.”
At that point, Imam Hussain said,
“May Allah have you slaughtered in your bed soon, and may He not forgive you on the Day of Judgment.“