The Journey of Imam Hussein (2)
(While this had been going on) al-Hussein, peace be upon him, had left Hajiz in the direction of Kufa until he came to one of the watering (places) of the Arabs. There was "Abd Allah b. Muti al-"Adawli, who was staying there. When he saw al-Hussein, peace be upon him, he got up and said to him: "(May I ransom) my father and mother for you, son of the Apostle of God, what has brought you (here)?" He brought him (forward) and helped him to dismount.
"It is a result of the death of Muawiya as you would know," replied al Hussein, peace be upon him. "The Iraqis have written to me urging me to (come to) them"
"I remind you, son of the Apostle of God, (of God) and the sacredness of Islam, lest it be violated. I adjure you before God (to think) about the sacredness of Quraysh. I adjure you before God (to think) about the sacredness of the Arabs. By God, if you seek that which is in the hands of Banu Umayya, they will kill you. If they kill you, they will never fear anyone after you. Then it will be the sacredness of Islam which is violated, and the sacredness of Quraysh and the sacredness of the Arabs. Don"t do it! Don"t go to Kufa! Don"t expose yourself to Banu Umayya!"
Al-Hussein, peace be upon him, insisted on continuing his journey. (In the meantime) "Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad had ordered (the area) which was between "Waqisa" and the roads to Syria and Basra to be occupied (so that) they should not let anyone enter, nor anyone leave (Kufa).
However, al-Hussein, peace be upon him, went on without knowing anything (of that) until he met some Arabs. He asked them (about the situation) and they told him: "No, by God, we don"t know (anything about it) except that we cannot get into or out of (Kufa)."
He continued on his journey.
[A group of Fazara and Bajila reported (the following account). They said:
We were with Zuhayr b. al-Qayn al-Bajah when we came from Mecca. (Although) we were traveling alongside al Husayn, peace be upon him, there was nothing more hateful to us than that we should stop with him at a halting place. (Yet) when al-Hussein, peace be upon him, traveled and halted, we could not avoid halting with him. Al-Husayn halted at the side (of the road) and we halted at the (other) side (of the road). While we were sitting, eating our food, a messenger of al- Husayn, peace be on him, approached, greeted us and entered (our camp).
"Zuhayr b. al-Qayn," he said, "Abu "Abd Allah al-Hussein, peace be upon him, has sent me to you (to ask) you to come to him."
Each man of us threw away what was in his hands (i.e. threw up his hands in horror); it was (as surprising) as if birds had alighted on our heads.
"Glory be to God," (Zuhayr"s) wife said to him, "did the son of the Messenger of God send for you? Then aren"t you going to him? If you went to him, you would hear what he had to say. Then you could leave him (if you wanted to)."
Zuhayr b. al-Qayn went (across) to him. It was not long before he returned to announce that he was heading east. He ordered his tent (to be struck) and (called for) his luggage, mounts and equipment. His tent was pulled down and taken to al-Husayn, peace be on him, then he said to his wife: "You are divorced, go back to your family, for I do not want anything to befall you except good."
Then he said to his companions:
Whoever wants to follow me (may do so), otherwise he is at the end of his covenant with me (i.e. released from obedience to follow Zuhayr as the leader of his tribal group). I will tell you a story (of something which happened to me once): we were raiding a rich land. God granted us victory and we won (a lot of) booty. Salman al-Farsl, the mercy of God be on him, said to us: "Are you happy with the victory which God has granted you and the booty you have won?"
We said: "Yes." Then he said: "Therefore when you meet the lord of the young men of the family of Muhammad, be happier to fight with them than you are with the booty which you have obtained today." As for me. I pray that God may be with you."
He remained among the people with al-Husayn until he was killed.
[Abd Allah b. Sulayman and al-Mundhir b. Mushamill both from Asad, reported:]
When we had finished the pilgrimage, there was no concern more important to us than to join al-Hussein, peace be upon him, on the road, so that we might see what happened in his affair. We went along trotting our two camels speedily until we joined him at Zarud. As we approached, there we (saw) a man from Kufa who had changed his route when he had seen al-Hussein, peace be upon him. Al-Hussein, peace be upon him, had stopped as if he wanted (to speak to) him, but (the man) ignored him and went on. We went on towards the man. One of us said to the other: "Come with us to ask this man if he has news of Kufa."
We came up to him and greeted him. He returned out greeting.
"From which (tribe) do you come, fellow?" we asked.
"(I am) an Asadi," he answered.
"We also are Asadis," we said. "Who are you?"
"I am Bakr b. so and so," he answered and we told him our lineage.
"Tell us of the people (you have left) behind you?" we asked.
"Yes," he replied, "I only left Kufa after Muslim b. "Aqil and Hani" b. "Urwa had been killed. I saw them being dragged by their legs into the market-place."
We went on to join al-Hussein, peace be upon him, and we were traveling close to him until he stopped at al-Thalabiyya in the evening. We caught up with him when he stopped and we greeted him. He returned our greeting.
"May God have mercy on you," we said, "we have news. If you wish, we will tell it to you publicly or if you wish, secretly."
He looked at us and at his followers.
"There is no veil for these men," he answered.
"Did you see the rider whom you were near, yesterday evening?"
"Yes," he answered, "I had wanted to question him."
"We have got the news from him and spared you (the trouble of) questioning him," we said. "He was a man from our (tribe), of sound judgment, honesty and intelligence. He told us that he had only left Kufa after Muslim and Hani" had been killed, and he had seen them being dragged by their legs into the market-place."
"We belong to God and to Him we shall return; may God have mercy on them both," said al-Husayn, and he repeated that several times.
"We adjure you before God," we exhorted him, "for your own life and for your House that you do not go from this place, for you have no one to support you in Kufa and no Shia. Indeed we fear that such men (will be the very ones who) will be against you."
"What is your opinion," he asked, looking towards the sons of "Aqil, "now that Muslim has been killed?"
"By God," they declared, "we will not go back until we have taken our vengeance or have tasted (the death) which he tasted."
Al-Hussein, peace be upon him, came near us and said: "There is nothing good (left) in life for these men."
Then we knew that his decision had been taken to continue the journey.
"May God be good to you," we said.
"May God have mercy on you both," he answered.
Then his followers said to him: "By God, you are not the same as Muslim b. Aqil. If you go to Kufa, the people will rush to (support) you."
He was silent and waited until daybreak. Then he ordered his boys and servants to get a lot of water, to give (the people) to drink and more for the journey. They set out (once more) and went on to Zubala. News of Abd Allah b. Yuqtur reached him. He took out a written statement to the people and read it to them:
In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, news of the dreadful murder of Muslim b. Aqil Hani" b.Urwa, and Abd Allah b. Yuqtur has reached us. Our Shia have deserted us . Those of you who would prefer to leave us, may leave freely without guilt.
The people began to disperse from him to right and left until there were only left with him those followers who had come with him from Medina, and a small group of those who had joined him. Al-Hussein had done that because he realized that the Arabs who had followed him had only followed him because they thought that he was going to a land where the inhabitants" obedience to him had already been established. And he did not want them to accompany him without being (fully) aware of what they were going to.
At dawn, he ordered his followers to provide themselves with water and with extra (supplies of it). Then they set out until they passed Batn al Aqaba. He stopped there and was met by a shaykh of the Banu Ikrima called Amr b. Lawdhan.
"Where are you headings." he asked.
"Kufa," replied al-Hussein, peace be upon him.
"I implore you before God," exhorted the shaykh, "why are you going there? You won"t come to anything there except the points of spears and the edges of swords. If those who sent for you were enough to support you in battle and had prepared the ground for you, and you came to them, that would be a wise decision. However, in the light of the situation as it has been described I don"t think that you ought to do it."
Servant of God," he answered, "wise decisions are not hidden from me. yet the commands of God, the Exalted, cannot be resisted. By God, (my enemies) will not leave me till they have torn the very heart from the depths of my guts. If they do that, God will cause them to be dominated and humiliated until they become the most humiliated of the factions among nations.