One night Sakeena started to cry in her sleep. When her mother Rabab asked her about the matter she replied that she saw her father in her dream telling her that he could not bear to see her in that grieving state any more. Hearing that. all women started to cry so loudly that the noise reached Yazid in the palace. He asked the guards what all the noise was about. When they told him what it was, Yazid ordered that Al-Husain’s head be taken to Sakeena in order to keep her quiet. When Sakeena saw the head she ran to it and hugged it. Sakeena complained to her father how the horrible men snatched her earrings, how they took away the women’s veils and burned their tents. The loving daughter of Imam Husain suddenly stopped complaining, became limp, and stopped breathing. She passed away in captivity in the dark inhospitable prison. Everyone was shocked, but not surprised.
Zainab then held the body of Sakeena in her arms as Imam Zainul Abideen dug a grave for his sister. Sakeena’s clothes were burned in Karbala, and due to injuries, had stuck with her flesh. Therefore, she was buried in the same burned, ripped clothes right there in the prison. See note 3.
As the grave was being filled up after the burial, Sakeena’s mother Rabab let out a scream. All the ladies huddled around her, all crying, “Oh Sakeena, Oh Madhloomah!”
Note 3: Sakeena’s body was removed from its original burial place, the dungeon of Syria, some centuries later, when a pious man of Damascus was informed in his dream that water was pouring into the grave of Sakeena. Upon confirmation that ground water was actually entering the grave, Sakeena’s body was buried in a new shrine called Rowdha Sayyedah Ruqayya in Damascus. Her body was in the condition that if she had been buried the same day.
Karbala Survivors Release From Prison:
Through Zainab’s fearless speeches and from the word that spread as a result of their journey, the Ummah came to know of the events of Karbala and its tragedy. Their hearts were stirred, they questioned and sympathized, and they were mad. The continued captivity and humiliation of the family of the Prophet of Allah was bringing their cause to the attention of an ever increasing number of people. The media now is word of mouth of the very good cause.
This led some advisers to inform Yazid that there was dangerous unrest in Damascus. Yazid, though tyrant, got terrified. Even some of his own family started to stay away from him. He became worried and very restless, even sleepless. When it seemed to him that the family of the Holy Prophet had been so humiliated, and due to urgings of certain people about the public’s growing dissension, he shifted the blame of Karbala massacre to Ibn Ziyad, the Governor of Kufa, and decided to release the captives.
Surprisingly Yazid sent for Imam Zainul Abideen, and when he came Yazid treated him politely and respectfully, and informed him of his impending release and asked if he wished for anything. The Imam said he would have to consult his aunt Zainab.
Arrangements were made to bring Zainab to Yazid. She arrived properly veiled. She asked, “O Yazid, since the day our leader Al-Husain was butchered, we have not had any opportunity to mourn for him.” A large house was therefore provided for them in the residential sector of Damascus. Zainab held her first gathering for the mourning and remembrance (Majlis Azaa) of Imam Husain. The women of the Quraish and Banu Hashim arrived clad in black for the mourning.
Imam Zainul Abideen sat on the carpet and then Zainab told the women of Syria some details of the atrocities dealt in Karbala, and some of its aftermath. This stirred their emotions, raised their sympathy, and they shed tears and mourned. They had not known about the events of Karbala and Kufa, but now when they went home they told their men folk, all about the frightful events and the unparalleled unfairness. Thus the illusions of Yazid’s victory gave way and his cover up was exposed and dispelled. The truth of Karbala became known to so many.
Ahlul Bayt Returning To Medina:
Yazid gave Zainab the choice of remaining in Damascus or returning to Medina. When Zainab decided to return to Medina he called Nu’man ibn Bashir, who had been a companion of the Prophet (pbuh), and ordered him to make suitable arrangements for their journey. Horsemen, foot-soldiers, and adequate provisions were made available. Gaily decorated litters with velvet seats were provided, but Zainab ordered that these should be covered in black so that people would know the travelers were in mourning.
Someone asked Imam Zainul Abideen, after they were released from Syria, as to what was the hardest calamity in that whole period of captivity. He replied that the hardest part was the time when the Ahlul Bayt caravan was made to stop outside Damascus for four days. They were treated very poorly, with their hands tied; and little food or water. And the hardest moment was when Sakeena died and buried in the dungeon. See note 3.
Before the caravan departed for Karbala, Rabab went to the grave of her daughter Sakeena, placing her cheek on Sakeena’s grave and cried out, “Speak to me Sakeena. Only a word, my child, speak to me”.
When the citizens of Damascus came to know that the members of the Holy Prophet’s family were leaving, the women went to the house they were staying in for a last farewell. Many people accompanied the caravan for part of the journey and then returned to their homes with heavy hearts.
During the journey Nu’man ibn Bashir showed the travelers every consideration and respect they deserved. Whenever they stopped, the tents of the men were pitched a mile away from those of the women so that the women could move unhindered and unobserved by strangers. Gatherings of mourners were held wherever they stopped and many people came, listened, and learned the truth about Karbala and their captivity. When the caravan reached Karbala on Safar 20, Hijrah 62, they found that Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansaari and some of the chiefs of Banu Hashim were already there for they had come to pay homage at the grave of Imam Al-Husain. It is speculated that upon arrival in Karbala, the severed head of the chief of martyrs that the caravan brought from Damascus was rejoined with its body by his son Imam Zainul Abideen. Heads of other martyrs were also respectfully rejoined. A Majlis to observe the martyrs first arbaeen was held before they resumed their journey to Medina. When the time came to leave Karbala, Zainab wanted to remain near her brother’s grave till the day of her death. But Imam Zainul Abideen pleaded with her to not leave the caravan, so she reluctantly agreed to return to Medina with the caravan.
Wherever the caravan stopped on its way, a Majlis Azaa was held. When the city of Medina was in sight, Zainab bade the women alight from their camels and to hold black flags in their hands. On learning of their arrival the people of Medina came out in large numbers to meet them, and again Zainab recounted to them some details of the events at Karbala, Yazid’s tyranny, Ibn Ziyad’s tyranny, and the hardships they suffered in captivity.
After a while Imam Zainul Abideen asked the women to ready themselves for entering Medina. Then they entered the city on foot, with black flags raised aloft. The caravan went straight to the grave of the Prophet (pbuh) where Zainab prayed complaining to him about the massacre of his beloved grandson. Banu Hashim held Majlis every day to commemorate Imam Al-Husain and his companions’ sacrifices in Karbala. The mourning and commemoration lasted for many many days in Medina.
The return journey had made Zainab gaunt and fully exhausted, her hair turned white, and her back bent. Although she had been reunited with her husband, she did not live long after the torturous trials she had to bear. The exact date and place of her death is not clear (see Note 4) but it is probable that she died in the year Hijrah 62, some six months after her return.
It was Zainab’s destiny to proclaim to the world that the sacrifices made by Imam Al-Husain and the companions were for the cause of Islam. She exposed the evil deeds of Yazid and Ibn Ziyad with courage and fearlessness. She endured physical pain and mental agony with fortitude and was the hero and the leader, and she was the source of strength to all women and children around her. Never did she rebel against the destiny decreed by Allah. The strength of her submission was divine. The spirit of Zainab bint Ali will live forever. Her courage, forbearance, and submission will continue to inspire those who hear her life story of suffering and leadership for all time to come. Had it not been for her, the sacrifices of Karbala might have faded into oblivion; and the ignorant Ummah not knowing the truth, would have gone completely astray. In Karbala’s aftermath, she proved through her superb oratory, that “the word is mightier than the sword.” People of Medina hailed Imam Al-Husain as the savior of Islam, and Zainab as the savior of the Muslim Ummah.
Note 4: Zainab’s actual date of death is uncertain, as is the location of her burial. She is most popularly thought to be buried in Damascus, but by some information also was buried in Medina or Cairo. There are two explanations given as to how she came to be buried in Damascus: one being that some time after their return, Yazid once again sent his forces to attack them, this time at Medina, and she and other members of her family were taken as prisoners of war to Damascus where she died; another being that because of a famine that swept through Medina, her husband temporarily moved his family to a village near Damascus, and it was there while praying in a garden Zainab was accidentally but fatally struck by a gardener’s spade, or fell victim to a serious illness from which she never recovered. The anniversary of her death is observed on the following dates: 11th or 21st of Jamad al-Thani, the 24th of Safar, or the 16th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, Hijrah 62. She was 57 years old.
Rampage of Medina and Mecca:
The events of Karbala and the survivors’ captivity were tragic and they stirred hearts of the people especially of Medina. The numerous Majlis held by Zainab along with her sister Umm Kulthoom in Medina during the first year after Karbala, had deeply influenced the people. People were inflamed and felt aggrieved and aggravated by Yazid’s rule. They wanted to avenge Yazid’s shameful and disgraceful actions, and punish Karbala’s perpetrators.
Different Muslim groups requested Imam Zainul Abideen to join them in their move to punish these enemies of Islam. Zainul Abideen kept himself aloof of them, and he deemed their uprising as untimely. He preferred to preoccupy himself in worship, preaching, and educating; setting an example of forbearance and endurance. However, some devotees were so overwhelmed with the dreadful events of Karbala that they went to Damascus to protest Yazid’s horrendous deeds. Yazid got infuriated by this action.
Riots spread widely all over Medina. Marwan ibn Hakam, a relative and supporter of Yazid (and an enemy of Ahlul Bayt), got frightened about the fate of his family due to a possible attack by the people of Medina. He approached many notables in Medina to give protection to his family at large. All refused. Desperate, he went to Imam Zainul Abideen and requested him for the protection. He knew that Yazid’s army had instructions not to harm Imam Zainul Abideen. Zainul Abideen obliged him without hesitation, and was the host to 400 members of that family for several weeks.
In Hijrah 63, he directed the Syrian army to attack Medina. There was a bloody battle that occurred just north of the city whereby the sophisticated Syrian army prevailed. About 80 Sahaaba were killed, some from Benu Talib. After the battle, Medina was made free for looting to the Syrian army. As a result, thousands of innocent Muslims lost their lives as casualty. Those who took shelter in the Holy Prophet’s mosque were also attacked and killed. The sanctity of the area was trashed with drinking, rape, and killing. For three days, the soldiers engaged themselves in destruction of property, looting the residents, and harassing Muslim women. When the Syrian army departed, the city of Medina and its residents were left in shambles.
After ransacking Medina, the Syrian army proceeded to Mecca and laid a siege to the city for sixty-four days causing substantial damage to the Haram and the Holy Ka’ba. While the siege was continuing, news came that Yazid, who had gone for hunting, had died. The Syrian army lifted the siege and immediately left for Damascus. It is claimed that Yazid was 33 years old when he died, but others claim he was well in his forties.
Zainul Abideen Guides the Ummah through Supplications:
Imam Ali ibn Al-Husain, popularly known as Zainul Abideen lived an arduous life, prevalent with grief, and political turmoil caused by the struggle for power to rule. Soon after his birth, his mother Shahr Banu died (see Note 5). When he was two years old he saw the first death in the holy family; Imam Ali was martyred. When he was 12 years old, his uncle, Imam Al-Hasan died of poisoning. Imam Al-Husain personally brought him up and provided the needed training so he could take up the burden of Imamah when the time demanded of him. Imam Zainul Abideen married his first cousin, Fatima, daughter of his beloved uncle Imam Al-Hasan. In Karbala, Imam Zainul Abideen was 23 years of age and was accompanied by wife Fatima and young son Muhammad Al-Baaqir.
The events of Karbala left an indelible picture on his mind, and it haunted him for the rest of his life. During its captivity, despite his illness and crushing distress, Zainul Abideen maintained his self discipline, composure, and spiritual dignity as the Imam of the time. The Imam suffered an immeasurable humiliation when the women of Ahlul Bayt were paraded without their hijab in the bazaars of Damascus. Sakeena’s death in the Syrian prison took a heavy toll on him. It was a jihad at its extreme that the Imam and his aunt, Zainab, undertook so fearlessly, to broadcast Karbala, and focus on Al-Husain’s message. It was a jihad not only to awaken the confused Muslim Ummah and to educate them but also to rescue them from the tight grips of tyranny of Yazid and his ilk. After returning to Medina, like his grandfather, Zainul Abideen cultivated land and palm groves.
The best qualities and attributes of man were collectively present in his personality. He was the best example of tolerance, forgiveness and self-sacrifice, measures that went far above any known standards. During Salats he becomes so absorbed that he paid no attention at all except for God. He traveled to Mecca on foot for Haj twenty times, and he continuously guided people through the Quranic verses and other teachings. He was the author of numerous Du’aas, so much so that his writings were called the Psalms of Aali Muhammad! It is said that 160 Islamic scholars attended his discourses during his life time.
He looked after many houses of the poor and hunger-stricken families. He provided food to the hungry, dresses to the needy, and paid debts of the destitute. At night Imam Zainul Abideen would cover his face and carry sacks of food on his shoulder to distribute to the needy, covering his face so no one can recognize him. None of these families knew that it was Imam Zainul Abideen who managed and run their lives, until after he died and the gifts stopped.
There was not a single day in the life of the Imam that there were no tears in his eyes. He used to pray to Allah with such intensity and devotion that the Ummah gave him titles of Al-Sajjad, Al-Aabid, and Zainul Abideen. With little means of the media at the time, the Imam took it upon himself the broadcasting of the tragedy of Karbala. By narrating the events of Karbala with tears in his eyes, he encouraged gathering of people to mourn the sacrifices of the martyrs. He managed to pass on the message and practices of Islam through a unique medium of prayers and supplications. The supplications gained so much popularity that a collection of his supplications was printed in a book known as “Al-Saheefa Al-Sajjadiya”. It is considered to be the third holiest book after Holy Quran, and Nahjul Balaaghah.
Note 5: Shahr Banu’s real name was Shah-Zenan, and she was the daughter of emperor Yazdajird. She was one of the two Persian princesses captured in battle of Qadisiya after the emperor was killed.
Mukhtar’s Release from Prison:
When the tragedy of Karbala occurred, Mukhtar Abu Ubaida Mas’ood Al-Thaqafi, a well wisher of Ahlul Bayt, was 62 years old and in prison in Kufa. His mother’s name was Husna. He had two sisters; one sister, named Safiyya, was married to Abdullah ibn Omar, the son of second Khalifa. Another sister was married to Omar ibn Sa’d, the commander in chief of Yazid’s army in Karbala. Obaidullah ibn Ziyad, then Governor of Kufa, had put Mukhtar into prison for killing his soldiers and having contacts with Muslim bin Aqeel, who was murdered by Obaidullah ibn Ziyad. When the captives and the martyrs’ heads arrived in the court of Obaidullah ibn Ziyad in Kufa, most of the prisoners were brought to the court to witness them. The scene was so sickening that Mukhtar vowed to God and himself to do everything in his power to punish the perpetrators, once out of prison.
In the prison, Mukhtar met Maytham Tammar, a close companion of Imam Ali, who taught him the knowledge of dream interpretation and predicting some future events. Maytham Tammar predicted to Mukhtar that his release from the prison would come soon, and his wish to avenge the killers of Imam Al-Husain will be fulfilled. When Mukhtar’s friend Kumayl Hamadani informed Mukhtar’s sister Safia about Mukhtar being in prison in Kufa, she pleaded with her husband Abdullah ibn Omer to use his influence for Mukhtar’s release.
Abdullah ibn Omar, who was then Governor of Medina, wrote a letter to Yazid asking to order Obaidullah ibn Ziyad for Mukhtar’s freedom. Kumayl Hamadani took the letter and went to Damascus to deliver the letter to Yazid. Yazid acted promptly and ordered Obaidullah ibn Ziyad to free Mukhtar. Upon receiving Yazid’s orders, Obaidullah ibn Ziyad ordered for Mukhtar to be released immediately. That was late in Hijrah year 61. Once released Mukhtar and Kumayl Hamadani left Kufa for Medina. In Medina Mukhtar met his sister Safia and described Yazid and Ubaydullah’s Tyranny and brutality. After listening to Mukhtar, Safia fainted, and because she was unable to regain consciousness, she died.
After performing his sister’s burial, Mukhtar schemed a plan to avenge the perpetrators of Karbala. He saw Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya (son of Imam Ali) with whom he was in good terms. He asked Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya to accompany him to seek his nephew, Imam Zainul Abideen’s permission and blessings for the mission. Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya agreed and they both went to Imam Zainul Abideen whereby Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya explained the details of the mission of Mukhtar. The Imam’s reply was that the works of avenging Imam Al-Husain’s killers is a right that belongs to everyone. He followed that: I cannot do it myself because of the complex political situation present and it is in the overriding interest of spreading Islam that I do not take on the task myself. Imam said to Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya, I leave the matter in your hands and you have my full blessings. After both Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya and Mukhtar understood the implicit permission of Imam Zainul Abideen, Mukhtar proceeded with the mission.
Mukhtar as the Governor of Kufa:
After Yazid died, he was at first succeeded by his elder son Mu’awiya II. Mu’awiya II did not receive the Khilaafah favorably, so he denounced the office and abdicated within a few months. Soon he was murdered. Even his mother criticized him calling him “You are worse than a rag of a menstruating woman.” As a result, a deep split and a crisis developed, there was a vacuum, it was the succession to the Khilaafah.
Two factions developed within Syria: the Confederation of Qays, who supported Ibn Zubair, and the Qudha’a, who supported Marwan ibn Hakam. Obaidullah ibn Ziyad pressed Marwan ibn Hakam to take the office and appointed him the Commander in Chief of the army. Marwan agreed. The partisans of Marwan triumphed at a battle at Marj Rahit, near Damascus, and Marwan ibn Hakam became the Khalifa shortly thereafter.
Upon hearing the news, Mukhtar arrived in Kufa and began looking for a strong, courageous, and brave Shi’a with a dedicated desire to avenge the Karbala perpetrators. He contacted Ibrahim ibn Malik Ashtar, the son of Malik Ashtar, who was a devotee Shi’a and a firm supporter of Imam Ali. After listening to the mission, Ibrahim accepted to team up with Mukhtar. Mukhtar showed Ibrahim the authorization that Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya provided on behalf of Imam Zainul Abideen. Mukhtar and Ibrahim developed a plan to take over the palace of Kufa occupied by Governor Abdullah Muti. Both gathered their supporters and worked very hard to achieve the objective. They succeeded in capturing the Governor’s palace. Abdullah Muti managed to escape Kufa. Mukhtar thus became Governor of Kufa in Rabi al-Awwal, Hijrah 66. Ibrahim followed Abdul Muti who went to Basra where Musab ibn Zubair, the governor of Basra, provided him an army unit to fight with Ibrahim. A battle then took place between Ibrahim and Abdul Muti. Abdul Muti was killed.
After becoming Governor of Kufa, Mukhtar’s immediate actions were humane and altruistic. He immediately released prisoners, helped the poor and needy to acquire better housing, and ensured that the Banu Hashim families living in Kufa were treated nicely and respectfully after years of persecution. Ibrahim advised Mukhtar that before embarking on the mission they better focus first on their stability by bringing under their influence and control the surrounding areas, like Mosul, to consolidate their government. Mukhtar agreed and replaced Mohammad Ashanath, the Governor of Mosul, and installed Abdul Rahman in his place. Mukhtar and Ibrahim thus became confident that if Obaidullah ibn Ziyad came to attack Kufa, he will have to come through Mosul.
Mukhtar Avenges the Perpetrators:
After providing adequate stability in Kufa, Mukhtar asked Ibrahim to proceed with the mission, and he enforced an utterly tight blockade of Kufa so no perpetrator could escape. The Karbala perpetrators were taken by complete surprise since Mukhtar and Ibrahim were busy chasing Obaidullah ibn Ziyad. Mukhtar started to round up the perpetrators one by one, and asked them to relate exactly what they did in Karbala, so no innocent person was unduly punished. The first two criminals caught were Abdullah Asaad and Malik Bashir. Abdullah Asaad was amongst those who set on fire to the tents and robbed Imam Al-Husain of his turban after his death. Mukhtar ordered Abdullah’s hands and legs to be cut off so that his body would suffer to death from pain and agony. Malik Bashir was the one who robbed Imam Al-Husain of his sword. Mukhtar ordered Bashir to be killed by a sword.
Next, Naffee Malik was caught. He was one of Omar ibn Sa’ad’s commanders who was in charge at the banks of Euphrates river to ensure that no drop of water got to Imam Al-Husain’s tents. It was on his order that an arrow was aimed at the water bag carried by Al-Abbas. Mukhtar ordered Nafee be executed.
Over the next few days, a number of perpetrators were caught, tried, and the guilty ones were executed by the orders of Mukhtar.
Ibrahim then focused on catching the major criminals like, Khooli, Sinan, Harmala, Shimr, and Omar ibn Sa’d. Khooli was caught from the attic of his house where he was hiding. Khooli admitted committing several crimes including snatching away Sakeena’s hijab, and pulling her earrings off her lobes, beating Imam Zainul Abideen with a stick while he was unconscious, and stripping Zainab’s hijab and earrings. Mukhtar ordered Khooli’s hands and legs be cut off and then his body to be thrown alive into the fire to burn to death.
Next, the ten leaders who trampled Imam Al-Husain’s body were caught and pinned to the ground and trampled with horses until they died.
Many other perpetrators who had committed crimes in Karbala were brought before Mukhtar, and after interrogation, those who were guilty were executed. Mukhtar’s soldiers succeeded in arresting Hakim Tufayl, a killer of Al-Abbas, from the house of a powerful person, Adi Tai. When Adi Tai learned about the arrest, he went to Mukhtar and demanded the release of Hakim Tufayl. Mukhtar showing him the head of Hakim, informed him that when people of Kufa heard of Al-Abbas’ killer being arrested, they could not control their anger and immediately killed him. Adi Tai left with disappointment.
Finding Adi Tai’s intervention to be ineffective, the remaining major criminals like Shimr, Sinan, Harmala, Omar ibn Sa’d worried about their lives and went into hiding. Sinan managed to escape from Kufa to a town of Zihad where the local people arrested him and handed over to Mukhtar. Sinan confessed, amongst other crimes, that he had tried to steal a belt from Imam Al-Husain when he fell from his horse during the last few moments of his life; the belt was sewn by Fatima. Sinan also admitted cutting off Imam’s hands in order to get to the belt. Mukhtar ordered Sinan’s fingers be cut one by one at a time, then his elbow be cut, then his arms, his legs, and finally thrown into fire until burned to death.
Shimr, while trying to escape from Kufa, was caught and immediately executed. Harmala was also caught and brought to the court of Mukhtar. Harmala confessed, amongst many crimes, piercing the water bag that Al-Abbas was carrying with an arrow, firing the fatal arrow at Ali Asghar which killed him instantly, and firing an arrow at Imam Al-Husain’s forehead in his last moments causing Imam to fall on the ground. Mukhtar ordered Hurmala’s hands and feet be dismembered and that he be showered with his arrows to death.
Learning Harmala’s fate, Omar ibn Sa’d got very much afraid and nervous. He took protection of Abdullah Hubayra, an influential person, in Kufa who agreed to ask Mukhtar to pardon Omar ibn Sa’d.
Mukhtar developed a plan in his mind and reluctantly agreed to pardon him on the condition that Omar ibn Sa’d will not try to escape Kufa. Mukhtar later leaked out the news that he had instructed Abdullah Kamil to arrest a perpetrator of Karbala who fitted Omar ibn Sa’d’s description, but did not mention his name. When Omar ibn Sa’d heard this, he immediately tried to escape from Kufa. Omar ibn Sa’d was caught at the border and was advised to return to his protector since running away would be a breach of the condition of his pardon. Omar ibn Sa’d returned to his protector Abdullah Hubayra. Hubayra refused to extend his protection since he broke his promise not to leave Kufa. Mukhtar, after receiving reports about Omar ibn Sa’d’s attempt to leave Kufa, contacted Abdullah Hubayra stating that Omar ibn Sa’d had committed a breach of the condition that had been kept by trying to leave Kufa, and thus had to be arrested.
Omar ibn Sa’d launched another tactic to avoid his arrest. He asked one of his wives, who was Mukhtar’s sister, to intervene for him. Mukhtar’s sister came to Mukhtar. He told her she should be ashamed to remain married to Omar ibn Sa’d and advised her not to return to her husband. After the arrest of Omar ibn Sa’d, Mukhtar ordered his nails be pulled and immersed in boiling oil, taken out, immersed again, and then taken out and immersed again. Mukhtar heard Omar ibn Sa’d’s screams louder and louder. Mukhtar then called for lancers to probe Omar ibn Sa’d violently to death.
After having punished Omar ibn Sa’d, Mukhtar decided to go after the tyrant gang leader Obaidullah ibn Ziyad and his two deputies, Haseen Nameer and Mohammed Ashath, all of whom acted as architects of the massacre at Karbala. At that time Obaidullah ibn Ziyad had captured Mosul and was strengthening his army to attack Kufa. Mukhtar asked Ibrahim to prepare an army and proceed to Mosul to catch Obaidullah ibn Ziyad. The people of Kufa became united and supported Mukhtar’s policies. They gave a good send off to Ibrahim and prayed for his success. When Ibrahim reached the outskirts of Mosul, he met Nasiben, a supporter of Ahlul Bayt, who guided Ibrahim to a place where Obaidullah ibn Ziyad’s family, including his three wives and many children, had taken shelter. Ibrahim arrested all of them and ordered to execute the oldest son, who was about twenty years old, to avenge the death of Imam Al-Husain’s sons.
Nasiben then took Ibrahim secretly to Obaidullah ibn Ziyad’s tent where he could be easily killed without fighting a battle. When they got inside the tent Ibrahim made no attempt to strike. He explained to Nasiben that due to the security guards outside, any attempt could be suicidal. Ibrahim returned to his camp and prepared for the battle the next day.
The battle started and a fierce fighting continued for three days killing, amongst others, Haseen ibn Nameer who had fatally injured Ali Akbar in Karbala. The fourth day of battle was on 10th Muharram, Hijrah 67, on the bank of Tigris River near Mosul. Obaidullah started to attempt an escape when he realized he was losing the battle. Ibrahim followed him, captured, and beheaded him. There was a wide spread jubilation in Mosul. Ibrahim sent the head of Obaidullah ibn Ziyad to Mukhtar in Kufa. Mukhtar treated the head same way as Obaidullah ibn Ziyad treated Imam Al-Husain head. Mukhtar mounted the head on a javelin and paraded it through the town, and then mounted it on the same door in the courtyard for three days so all public could see it.
Mukhtar sent Obaidullah ibn Ziyad’s head to Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya in Mecca where incidentally, Imam Zainul Abidin was also there. Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya sent the head to Imam Zainul Abideen, on 9th Rabi-ul-Awwal, Hijrah 67. Imam looked at the head and appeared to be relieved of a big burden he was carrying.
Mukhtar also wanted to capture Muhammad ibn Al-Ashath who was under the protection of Mus’ab ibn Zubair in Basra. Mukhtar sent a letter to Mus’ab ibn Zubair asking for the extradition of Ashath. Mus’ab ibn Zubair refused and requested that his brother Abdullah ibn Zubair, the Governor of Mecca, send reinforcement to Basra so he could repel Mukhtar in case he attacked him. Ibrahim, who was in Mosul, informed Mukhtar that Mus’ab ibn Zubair was preparing for a confrontation. Mukhtar asked Ibrahim to come and join him but Ibrahim was unable to do so because Marwan has surrounded Mosul. Ibrahim advised Mukhtar not to leave Kufa and consider sending a deputy to lead the army against Mus’ab ibn Zubair; that way Kufa, would be contained by Mukhtar, and Mosul by Ibrahim. Accordingly, Mukhtar appointed two commanders and sent them to Basra to fight and capture Ashath.
Mus’ab ibn Zubair defeated the commanders of Mukhtar forces and advanced toward Kufa. A forceful battle began between Mus’ab and Mukhtar. Mukhtar succeeded in killing Ashath but lost many army men and retreated to Kufa. Mus’ab followed Mukhtar, put a blockade on the city of Kufa, and cut off all food supplies to the city. People of Kufa became restless and would not answer Mukhtar’s call to fight. Mus’ab entered the city and surrounded Mukhtar’s palace. Mus’ab entered the palace but Mukhtar continued to fight until he was martyred. Mukhtar was buried behind martyr Muslim ibn Aqeel in Kufa in the adjoining mosque on 15 Ramadhan, Hijrah 67.
Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) Poisoned:
It is said that for forty years, whenever food or water was placed before Imam Zainul Abideen, he would weep. One day, a servant said to him, “O son of Allah’s Messenger! Is it not time for your sorrow to come to an end?” He replied,
“Woe upon you! Jacob the prophet had twelve sons, and God made one of them disappear. His eyes turned white from constant weeping, his head turned grey out of sorrow, and his back became bent in gloom, though his son was still alive in this world. But I watched while my father, my brothers, my uncles, and seventeen members of my family were slaughtered all around me. How should my sorrow come to an end?”
The very existence of the Imam and his increasing popularity among the Ummah was taken as a threat by the power-hungry rulers of the time. Hisham ibn Abdul Malik, a cross-eyed grand son of Marwan ibn Hakam whose women folk were once protected by Imam Zainul Abideen, is said to have poisoned the Imam. At that time Imam Zainul Abideen was 57 years of age, just as the same age when Al-Husain and Zainab when they died.
During washing of his body, his son noticed markings of the shackles during captivity in the Karbala’s aftermath. He also noticed scarring on the upper part of his back due to carrying the sacs of flour every night to distribute to the poor over the years. Imam Muhammad Al-Baaqir performed the burial, laying him in the graveyard of Jannat al-Baqi’i, in Medina, on 25th Muharram, Hijrah 95.
|Son of Marwan. Known as king of Khalifas since his 4 sons became successively Khalifas.
|Among those who burned the tents and robbed Imam Al-Husain of his turban after his martyrdom.
|Abdullah ibn Muti
|Governor of Kufa whom Mukhtar defeated, and was subsequently killed by Ibrahim ibn Ashtar
|Abdullah ibn Ja’far Al-Tayyar
|Nephew of Imam Ali, and his son in-law, married to Zainab bint Ali.
|The grand father of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
|Abdullah ibn Omar
|Son of Omar, the second Khalifa. He was married to Mukhtar’s sister Safiya.
|Abu Obeida Thaqafi
|Mukhtar’s father, died as a commander in a battle with Iran, Hijrah 13.
|A dignitary in Kufa who had provided a temporary protection to Hakim Tufayl.
|Ahlul Bayt (as)
|The family of the Holy Prophet (pbu) including Imam Ali, Fatima Al-Zahra, Al-Hasan and Al-Husain, including the progeny of Al-Husain (the 12 commissioned Imams).
|One of the entitlements proffered over Imam Zainul Abideen.
|Son of Imam Ali and Umm Al-Baneen, Flag bearer during Karbala, was martyred while attempting to bring water for Sakeena and the family of Al-Husain.
|Al-Abbas had four brothers, Abu Bakr (nickname), Omar, Uthman, and Ali, all were martyred in Karbala before Al-Abbas was himself martyred
|The 5th Imam of the Shi’a branch of Islam, son of Zainul Abideen, and Fatima bint Al-Hasan.
|Son of Imam Al-Husain, and Umm Laila, was martyred in Karbala.
|Baby of Imam Al-Husain and Umm Rabab, martyred in Karbala when 6 months old.
|Ali ibn Abi Talib
|The first Imam of Shi’a branch of Islam, son in-law of the Holy Prophet and his cousin.
|Ali ibn Al Husain
|The 4th Imam, Zainul Abideen, son of Imam Al-Husain and Shahr Banu daughter of Yazdajird.
|The arbaeen or 40 days after the events of Ashuraa.or Chelum, Shi’a commemorate yearly
|It is the 10th day of Muharram when Shi’a Muslims commemorate the tragedy of Karbala.
|Battle of Badr in the early days of Islam between the Holy Prophet and opponents among Quraish clan.
|A town in Syria
|Clan of Quraish to which the Holy Prophet belonged, it is named after his great grand father Hashim.
|A clan known to be power hungry, greedy, and materialistic, to which Mu’awiya.belonged.
|A capital of Basra province in Iraq.
|The capital city of Syria.
|A court in session with a Khalifa presiding.
|It is a room or cell in which prisoners are held, especially underground.
|Orchards of fruit trees gifted by Holy Prophet (pbuh) to his daughter Fatima Al-Zahra
|Fatima bint Al Hasan
|Daughter of Imam Al Hasan, was married to Imam Zainul Abideen, mother of Imam Al-Baaqir.
|Daughter of Imam Al-Husain.
|Daughter of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), was married to Imam Ali.
|Killer of Hadhrat Al-Abbas in Karbala.
|The Holy site in Islam.
|A killer of 6 months old Ali Asghar in Karbala by an arrow and the one who pierced the water bag that Al-Abbas was carrying for the thirsty family of Al-Husain.
|Hasan ibn Ali (as)
|The 2nd Imam, son of Imam Ali and Fatima Al-Zahra, died of poison given by his wife Ju’da.
|He was the Chief of Police in Kufa responsible for tracking down Muslim ibn Aqeel, he was also responsible for blocking Imam Husain’s caravan from entering Kufa.
|The holiest place in Islam, a large cubical building inside the al-Masjid al-Haram mosque in Mecca.
|A city in western Syria located north of Damascus.
|Husain ibn Ali
|The 3rd Imam, son of Imam Ali and Fatima A;-Zahra. He was martyred in Karbala, Hijrah 61.
|Mother of Mukhtar ibn Abu Obeida Thaqafi.
|A Khariji, the killer of Imam Ali while Ali was performing Salat Al-Subh.
|See Obaidullah ibn Ziyad.
|Ibrahim ibn Malik Al-Ashtar
|A devoted Muslim and supporter of Ahlul Bayt, who killed Ibn Ziyad in a battle near Mosul.
|The 12 Divinely Commissioned leaders of the Ummah after the Prophet (pbuh).
|It is a Shi’a doctrine of religious, spiritual, and political leadership of the Ummah provided by 12 Divinely Commissioned Imams.
|Imam Ali (as)
|The first Divinely Commissioned Imam, and father of Imam Hasan and Husain.
|Imam Al-Hasan (as)
|The second Divinely Commissioned Imam, and the brother of Imam Al-Husain.
|Jabir ibn Abdullah Ansaari
|A tribal leader of Banu Hashim. A revered Sahaabi of the Prophet (pbuh)
|A famous cemetery in Medina, where Fatima Zahra and bodies of four Imams are laid to rest.
|Also spelled Jibreel, Gabriel, is the angel, God used to carry divine revelations to the Prophet (pbuh).
|The site of the worst atrocities committed against Al-Husain, his family, and devotees.
|Caliph, Head of State in the first system of Government created after passing away of the Holy Prophet
|One who belongs to rebel group who denounced both Ali and Othman and fought Ali in Nahrawan
|Caliphate, refers to the first system of Government established in Islam.
|A perpetrator who participated in killing of Ahlul Bayt in Karbala.
|A city in Iraq where Imam Ali mad his capital and moved his Khilaafah from Medina to it
|A staunch supporter of Ahlul Bayt, he helped Mukhtar getting out of prison.
|A criminal in Karbala, who robbed Imam Al-Husain of his sword.
|Marwan ibn Hakam
|A supporter of Yazid, became Khalifa after Yazid’s son Mu’awiya II abdicated. He was killed shortly afterwards by his wife either by chocking or by poison given to him.
|A companion of Imam Ali, and whom Imam Ali taught how to interpret dreams.
|Son of Yazid, who became Khalifa after Yazid’s death, and abdicated within a few months.
|Muhammad ibn Al-Ashath
|Brother of Imam Al-Hasan’s wife Ju’da bint Al-Ashath
|Muhammad ibn Al-Hanafiya
|Son of Imam Ali, uncle of Imam Zainul Abideen.
|Son of Abu Ubaida Masood Al-Thaqafi and Husna, was a devotee and loyalist of Ahlul Bayt (as).
|Musab ibn Zubair
|Governor of Basra who provided an army to a fugitive Abdul Muti to fight with Ibrahim who was a staunch supporter of Mukhtar.
|Omar ibn Sa’d appointed Naffee to control Euphrates River to prevent water from Husain’s camp.
|The famous collection of sermons, letters, and sayings of Imam Ali, also known as “Peak of Eloquence”.
|A supporter of Ahlul Bayt, who guided Ibrahim to where Obaidullah ibn Ziad and his family were hiding.
|Nu’man ibn Bashir
|A companion of Holy Prophet (pbuh).
|Obaidullah ibn Ziyad
|Also known as ibn Ziyad, The Governor over Kufa responsible for all atrocities of Karbala.
|Omar ibn Sa’d
|Leader of military forces against Imam Al-Husain in Karbala.
|Wife of Imam Al-Husain, mother of Sakeena and Ali Asghar.
|Mukhtar’s sister, married to Abdullah ibn Omer, son of second Khalifa.
|Daughter of Imam Al-Husain (as) and Umm Rabab. Died in Damascus from unbearable suffering
|An entitlement of Imam Zainul Abideen.
|Shah Zenan Yazdajird:
|Princess of Persia, converted to Islam, changed name to Shahr Banu, and married to Imam Al-Husain
|The first evening after the day of sorrow; it refers to the first evening of the bereft survivors in Karbala.
|A book of Imam Zainul Abideen’s supplications.
|Killer of Imam Husain in Karbala, who separated his head from his body, his name will remain infamy.
|A battle imposed by Mu’awiya on Imam Ali after he became Khalifa.
|He tried to steal Imam Husain’s belt when the Imam fell from the horse during his last few moments before martyrdom.
|The second wife of Imam Ali, mother of Al-Abbas and other brothers, all killed in Karbala.
|A sister of Mu’awiya, daughter of Abu Sufyan, and wife of the Holy Prophet (pbuh).
|Umm Kulthoom Bint Ali
|Daughter of Imam Ali and Fatima Al-Zahra , she was also one of the survivors of Karbala and taken captive by Omar ibn Sa’d.
|In Islam it refers to a nation of Muslims.
|Yazid son of Mu’awiya
|Son of Mu’awiya ibn Abi Sufyan, the infamous despicable ruler, the cause of Karbala.
|Sister of Imam Al-Husain, daughter of Imam Ali (as) and Fatima Zahra (as), was married to her cousin, she proved to be a magnificent leader, and the savior of Ummah in Karbala’s aftermath.
|Zainul Abideen (as)
|The 4th Divinely Commissioned Imam, son of Imam Al-Husain and Shahr Banu daughter of Persian emperor Yazdajird.