The Journey of Imam Hussein
Imam Hussein (as) sets out on his Journey
Al Hussein, the blessings of God be on him, set out from Mecca to Iraq on the day of Muslim’s (attempted) rising in Kufa, that is the day of Tarwiya, after staying in Mecca for the rest of Shaban, the month of Rmadhan, Shawwal and Dhu al Qada and eight days of Dhu- al-Hijja in the year 60 A.H. (680). During his stay in Mecca a number of Hijazis and Basrans had gathered around him, joining themselves to his household and his retainers (mawali).
When he determined on journeying to Iraq, he made the circumambulation of the (sacred) House and the ritual running between al-Safa and al-Marwa. Then he left the state of consecration (for the pilgrimage) (after) he had performed the lesser pilgrimage (umra) because he was not able to perform the greater pilgrimage (hajj). Through fear of being apprehended in Mecca, and being taken to Yazid b. Muiawiya, he, peace be on him, had set out early with his House, his sons and those of his Shia who had joined him.
[As it has been reported to us:]
News of Muslim’s (capture and death) had not yet reached him because (it had only happened) on the day he set out.
[It is reported that al-Farazdaq, the poet, said:]
I made the pilgrimage with my mother in the year 60 A.H. (680). I was driving her camel when I entered the sanctuary. (There) I met al- Hussein b. Ali, peace be on them, leaving Mecca accompanied by (some men carrying) swords and shields.
"Whose caravan is this?" I asked.
"Al-Hussein b. Ali"s, peace be upon them," was the reply. So I went up and greeted him.
"May God grant you your request and (fulfill) your hope in what you want, by my father and mother, son of the Apostle of God," I said to him. "But what is making you hurry away from the pilgrimage?"
"If I did not hurry away, I would be apprehended," he replied. Then he asked me: "Who are you?"
"An Arab," I answered and he did not question me (about myself) any further.
"Tell me about the people you have left behind you," he asked.
"You have asked a good (question)," I answered. "The hearts of the people are with you but their swords are against you. The decision comes from Heaven and God does what he wishes."
"You have spoken truly of the affair belonging to God," he replied.
"Every day He (is involved) in (every) matter" (LV, 29) If fate sends down what we like and are pleased with, we praise God for His blessings. He is the One from Whom help should be sought in order to give thanks to Him. However, although fate may frustrate (our) hopes, yet He does not destroy (the souls of) those whose intention is the truth and whose hearts are pious."
"True, God brings you what you wish for (ultimately) and guards you against what you are threatened by," I said. Then I asked him about matters concerning vows and pilgrimage rites. He told me about them and then moved his mount off, saying farewell, and so we parted.
When al-Hussein b. Ali, peace be on them, left Mecca, Yahya b. Said b. al-"As met him with a group (of men). They had been sent to him by "Amr b. Said.
"Come back from where you are going," they ordered. But he refused (to obey) them and continued. The two groups came to blows and hit at each other with whips. However al-Hussein and his followers resisted fiercely. Al-Hussein continued until he got to al- Tanim. There he met a camel-train which had come from Yemen. He hired from its people (additional) camels for himself and his followers to ride.
Then he said to the owners (of the camels): "Whoever (of you) wants to come with us to Iraq, we will pay his hire and enjoy his company and whoever wants to leave some way along the road we will pay his hire for the distance he has traveled."
Some of the people went with him but others refused. Abd Allah b. Jafar sent his sons, Awn and Muhammad, after him, and he wrote a letter to him which he gave to them. In it, he said:
I ask you before God (to return) if you have set out when you see my letter. For I am very concerned because the direction in which you are heading will have within it your destruction, and the extirpation of your House. If you are destroyed today, the light of the land will be extinguished; for you are the (standard) of those who are rightly-guided and the hope of the believers. Do not hurry on your journey as I am following this letter. Greetings. Abd Allah, then went to "Amr b. Sad and asked him to write to al-Hussein (offering him) a guarantee of security, and (promising) to favor him, so that he would return from where he was going. Amr b. Said wrote a letter in which he offered him favor and a guarantee of security for himself. He dispatched it with his brother Yahya b. Said. Yahya b. Said went after him (as did) Abd Allah after dispatching his sons. The two handed ("Amr’s) letter to him and strove (to persuade) him to return.
"I have seen the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, in my sleep," answered (al-Hussein), "and he ordered me (to do) what I am carrying out."
"What was that vision?" they both asked.
"I have not told anyone of it," he answered, "and I am not going to tell anyone until I meet my Lord, the Mighty and Exalted."
When "Abd Allah b. Ja"far despaired of (persuading) him, he told his sons, Awn and Muhammad, to stay with him, to go with him and to struggle on behalf of him. He returned with Yahya b. Sa’id to Mecca.
Al Hussein, peace be upon him, pressed on swiftly and directly towards Iraq until he reached Dhat’ Irq.
When Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad had learnt of the journey of al- Hussein, peace be on him, from Mecca to Kufa, he had sent al- Hussein b. Numayr, the commander of the bodyguard (shurta), to station himself at al-Qadisiyya and to set up a (protective) link of cavalry between the area of al-Qadisiyya to Khaffan and the area of al-Qadisiyya to al-Qutqutaniyya. He informed the men that al- Hussein was heading for Iraq.
When al-Hussein, peace be upon him, reached al-Hajiz (a hill above) Batn al-Rumma, he sent Qays b. Mushir al Saydawi - some say it was his brother-in-nurture, Abd Allah b. Yuqtur to Kufa. For he, peace be upon him, had not yet learnt the news of (the fate of) Ibn ‘Aqil. He sent a letter with him:
In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate
From al-Hussein b. Ali
To his brother believers and Muslims,
Greetings to you, I praise God before you, other than Whom there is no deity. Muslim b. Aqil’s letter came to me, informing me of your sound judgment and the agreement of your leaders to support us, and to seek our rights. I have asked God to make
your actions good and reward you with the greatest reward. I set out to you from Mecca on 8th of Dhu al-Hijja, the Day of Tarwiya. When my messenger reaches you, be urgent and purposeful in your affairs, for I am coming to you within the(next few) days. Greeting and the mercy and blessings of God.
Muslim had written to al-Hussein seventeen days before he was killed and the Kufans had written to him: "Here you have a hundred thousand swords. Do not delay."
Qays b. Mushir went towards Kufa with the letter. However, when he reached al-Qadisiyya, al-Hussein b. Numayr apprehended him and sent him to Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.
"Go up on the pulpit," Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad ordered him, "and curse the liar, al-Hussen b. Ali, peace be on him"
Qays went up on the pulpit and praised and glorified God. Then he said:
People, this man, al-Hussein b. Ali, the best God"s creatures, the son of Fatima, the daughter of the Apostle, may God bless him and his family and grant them peace, (is nearby). I am his messenger to you. Answer him.
Then he cursed Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and his father and prayed for forgiveness for Ali b. Abi Talib and blessed him. "Ubayd Allah ordered him to be thrown from the top of the palace. They threw him and he was smashed to pieces.
[It is (also) reported:]
He fell on the ground in chains and his bones were crushed and there only remained to him his last breath. A man called "Abd al- Malik b. "Umayr al-Lakhmi came to him and cut his throat. When he was told that that had been a shameful (thing to do) and he was blamed for it, he said: "I wanted to relieve him (of his suffering)."