Karbala Simplified

As it’s the month of Muharram, this blog will go through the events leading to and up to the martyrdom of Imam Husayn and many others. The below list has been adapted from Shaykh Jalal al-Deen Amjadi’s Madinah to Karbala.

  1. Imam al-Husayn (Allah is pleased with him) is the Grandson of our Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) and Sayyida Khadija, son of Sayyiduna Ali and Sayyida Fatima, brother of Imam al-Hasan.
  1. Karbala is a place in Iraq where Sayyiduna Imam al-Husayn & his blessed family and companions were killed and martyred on 10th Muharram.
  1. Why? A wretched person called Yazeed came into power. He was an open sinner and did many things against Islam. Yazeed wanted Imam al-Husayn to accept him as his leader. Imam Husayn completely refused as Yazeed did many acts against the teachings of his Blessed Grandfather, our Prophet Muhammad.
  1. Despite desperate acts of peruasion, Imam Husayn then left Madinah unrelenting in his stance with his family and went to Makkah. How hard must it have been to leave the city in which he grew up with his grandfather we cannot even imagine!
  1. In Makkah, Imam al-Husayn received letters from people in Kufa (another city in Iraq). They invited Imam Husayn to their city & said they would fully support him and reject Yazeed.
  1. Imam al-Husayn sent his cousin, Muslim ibn Aqeel to Kufa to assess the situation there. If the situation was good, Imam Husayn would travel to Kufa quickly.
  1. Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel arrived at Kufa with his two sons. The people of Kufa welcomed him and thousands of them promised, through him, that they would support Imam al-Husayn and have the noble Imam as their leader.
  1. Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel saw the conditions were good and wrote a letter to Imam al-Husayn notifying of the welcoming crowds and gracious hosts and recommended that he should come to Kufa as soon as possible.
  1. A traitor wrote a letter to Yazeed saying Muslim ibn Aqeel has come and thousands are going against him and supporting Imam al-Husayn which made Yazeed angry!
  1. Yazeed made Ibn Ziyaad, a strict individual & hater of Progeny of the Messenger, the governor of Kufa and told him to go to Kufa immediately and kill Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel and when Imam al-Husayn arrives, to force him to accept Yazeed as the leader and if he refuses, ordered him to kill the blessed Imam.
  1. Ibn Ziyaad reached Kufa. He spread fear among the people of Kufa threatening to kill them and their families if they went against Yazeed. This scared them & people of Kufa rapidly began to change.
  1. Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel moved to a discrete location however ibn Ziyaad appointed a spy to find his whereabouts. Haani is the individual whose house Sayyiduna Muslim was staying.
  1. Ibn Ziyaad invited Haani to a meeting. Ibn Ziyaad spoke with anger and told Haani to bring Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel to him. Haani refused. Haani was consequently injured and imprisoned.
  1. Upon hearing this, Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel came out with 40,000 people with him ready to attack Ibn Ziyyad and his people however Sayyiduna Muslim didn’t want bloodshed and waited to see if they can come to some agreement.
  1. The enemies took advantage of this waiting period and intimidated the leader of the tribes of Kufa to force them to leave Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel’s army otherwise they and their families would be robbed & killed.
  1. This persuaded the people of Kufa to leave the army of Muslim ibn Aqeel and betray him. At Maghrib, Muslim ibn Aqeel had 500 people following him, by the time the Salah was complete, not even one was there.
  1. Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel had become stranded alone due to the cowards of Kufa. Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel was eventually captured by Ibn Ziyaad. Ibn Ziyaad ordered that he be taken to the roof and his head chopped off.
  1. Sayyiduna Muslim’s last words were, “O Lord, these people are accountable in Your Court and Justice is in Your Power. They deceived us, they lied to us and they disgraced us”, with these words he returned to His Lord!
  1. Silence had covered the entire city. The people of Kufa were scared for their lives. They betrayed Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel and Imam Al-Husayn and accepted Yazeed as their leader out of fear. The two sons of Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel were also killed.
  1. Meanwhile, Imam al-Husayn in Makkah unaware of all these hideous incidents, received the letter of Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel saying everything was alright and that he should come. Imam al-Husayn along with his family and companions started their journey towards Kufa.
  1. Shortly after, Imam al-Husayn became aware of the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Muslim ibn Aqeel and how the people of Kufa had betrayed them.
  1. This saddened Imam al-Husayn and despite advice to return back, Imam al-Husayn continued till they reached a land not far from the Euphrates river.
  1. Imam al-Husayn asked, “What is this place called?” The reply came, “Karbala!” As soon as Imam al-Husayn heard this, he dismounted from his horse and said, “This is Karbala – the place of Karb (Anguish) and Bala (Torment) This is the place our rides shall sit, where our luggage will be placed and where our men shall be killed.”
  1. Ibn Ziyaad was informed of Imam al-Husayn’s whereabouts and sent an army of 20,000 to compete with Imam al-Husayn, 82 of his family members and companions of which included women and children.
  1.  Attacks began. One by one, Imam al-Husayn’s brave family members and companions went out to the battlefield killing many enemies before they achieved the noble status of Martyrdom and passed away.
  1. Including Sayyiduna Abbas, Sayyiduna Ali Akbar – son of Imam al-Husayn and Sayyiduna Ali Asghar who was just a child, amongst many others.
  1. Imam Zayn al-Abidin, the eldest son of Imam al-Husayn was ill & was not able to help his father despite showing willingness to help however Imam al-Husayn refused & didn’t allow him and it is through him the noble lineage continued of the family of RasulAllah.
  1. It was now time for the King of Karbala to go into the battlefield. Imam al-Husayn bravely entered the battlefield.
  1. Imam al-Husayn entered the battlefield after praising Allah and His Messenger said,

“O’ People, the Messenger you claim to follow has stated that the one who holds enmity with Hasan & Husayn has held enmity with him. Whoever holds enmity towards Allah’s Messenger has held enmity towards Allah, the Almighty.

O’ Followers of Yazeed! Fear Allah and refrain from holding enmity with me. If you believe in Allah & His Messenger, then think about the day you have to answer in His court in regard to your actions. Indeed, Allah sees everything as he is Al-Seeing and He witnesses everything as he is Al-Witnessing. How shall you face the Messenger of Allah?

You treacherous people! You wrote many letters to me inviting me to Kufa and when I arrived, you treated me in such an awful manner that you exceeded all limits of oppression. You put my children, my nephews and my brothers in great agitation by shedding their blood. You cut the fragrant flowers of Al-Zahra’s garden one by one. You killed all my companions and now you are thirsty for my blood.

O’ you who wish to ruin the household of your own Messenger! If you believe in the day of judgment, consider the result of your actions and analyse your afterlife. Contemplate in regards to who I am and whose grandson I am. Who are my parents? Whose daughter is my mother?

I am the son of that Fatimah Al-Zahra in regards to whom it shall be announced on the day of judgment when she is crossing the bridge of As-Siraat, ‘O’ people of Mahshar! Bow your heads and close your eyes as this blessed woman of Jannah is about to pass in the company of 70,000 heavenly virgins.’ O’ shameless nation! Have shame. You still have a chance to avoid staining your hands with my blood.”

  1.  Some cried. Others began their attacks. Imam al-Husayn bravely fought, killing many in self-defence till an arrow was shot at the blessed forehead where Messenger of Allah used to kiss them. Imam al-Husayn fell on the floor, enemies zealously thrust their spears till the Imam received 72 wounds and the Noble Imam reunited with his Lord in a state of prostration at the age of 56 years, 5 months and 5 days on Friday 10th Muharram 61AH.

We remember this day many centuries later reminding ourselves of the exemplary resolve of Imam Husayn and his companions, find within ourselves hope and courage to fight whichever adversities plague our ill hearts and light a beacon of determination to continue upon the path which started with Sayyiduna Adam. Our routes are not the same yet aiming for the same destination. We pray Allah makes us have the strength and conviction of Imam Husayn and his people, the grace and humility of Imam Zayn al-Abidin, the nobility of the Mother of all believer’s Lady Fatimah al-Zahrah. Ameen.

"Seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave."

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)