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As the first Islamic Month is about to begin in a few days and already holds a significant position in our religion for many reasons. One of the reasons, the Month of Muharram is considered a sacred month is the Karbala Tragedy that happened during this month. And we as Muslim Lifestyle App consider our duty to tell our users about the history, the requirement of Sacrifice and a thorough event narration for a better understanding of the biggest Muslim Event in our History that happens to be the best example of bravery, truthfulness, family bonding and standing up against injustice; today in the twenty-first century as well! So, we need you to be patient and require a few minutes out of your busy schedule, stay tuned!

Before we begin telling you the horrible massacre of the household of Prophet Muhammad (Saww), we would like to bring to your attention the source of narration. The information, unless otherwise specified, are from the History of al-Tabari.

Story of Karbala: The Martyrdom Foretold!

On the death of Muawiya, when Imam Hussain (RA) refused to pledge his allegiance to Yazid, he went to the tomb of his grandfather Hazrat Muhammad (Saww), he prayed there for the whole night and slept. In his dream, he saw Holy Prophet Muhammad (Saww) and his cleansed progeny, surrounded by angels.

The Holy Prophet (Saww) Said to Imam Hussain (RA): My beloved Hussain, I foresee you when you will be, in the very near future, covered with your blood, slain at the land of Karballa, while thirsty, being deprived of water. This will be done to you by people who claim that they are from my followers.

Imam Hussain (RA) in his dream looked up to his grandfather and said: My grandfather, I ask you to admit me into your grave. I do not desire to go back to the earthly world.

The Messenger of Allah (saw, S) answered him:

My beloved Hussain, there are degrees which you will not acquire except through martyrdom.

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Yazid’s Efforts for Allegiance

The year is 60 (April 8, 680) and the month is Rajab when Yazid unlawfully succeeded his father. The governors at that time were Walid b. Utbah b. Abi Sufyan of Medina, al Numan b. Bashir al Ansari of Kufah, Ubaydallah b. Ziyad of Basrah, and Amr b. Said b. Al-As of Mecca.

So, when Yazid came to power, his only concern was to receive the oath of allegiance from people who refused to agree with Muawiya for his demand for Yazid as his successor, to comply that he wrote to Walid bin Utbah: Seize Husayn, Abdallah b. Umar, and Abdallah b. al Zubayr to give the oath of allegiance. Act so fiercely that they have no chance to do anything before giving the oath of allegiance. Peace be with you.

From there, the conquest of receiving allegiance from Imam Hussain (RA) started. In order to not let Yazid go with what he wants through the use of force, Imam Hussain (RA) went to Madina along with his sons, brothers and brother’s sons.

Letter from the People of Kufah!

When he was in Mecca, he came to know about the invitation from the people of Kufah as:

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

To al Husayn b. ‘Ali, peace be upon them

From Sulayman b. Surad, al Musayyib b. Najaba

Rifa’a b. Shaddad al bajali, Habib b. Muzahir and the believers and Muslims of his Shi’a among the Kufans.

Greetings, we praise God before you, other than Whom there is no deity. Praise be to God Who has broken your enemy, the obstinate tyrant who had leapt upon this community, stripped it of its authority, plundered its fay and seized control of it without its consent.

Then he had killed the choice members of it and had preserved the wicked members of it. He made the property of God a state (divided) among its tyrants and wealthy. He was destroyed as Thamud were destroyed. (Now) there is no Imam over us. Therefore come; through you, may your God unite us under truth. Al Numan b. Bashir is in the governor’s palace and we do not gather with him for the Friday (service).

Nor do we accompany him (out of the mosque) for the Festival service. If we learn that you will come to us, we will drive him away until we pursue him to Syria, if God the Exalted, wills.”

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Muslim Bin Aqil Sent to Kufa

Imam Hussain (RA) replied to the invitation as:

“In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

From al Husayn b. ‘Ali,

To the leaders of the believers and the Muslims

Hani and Said have brought me your letters; they are the last two of your messengers who have come to me. I have understood everything which you have described and mentioned. The (main) statement of your great men is: “There is no Imam over us.

Therefore come; through you, may God unite us under truth and Guidance.”I am sending you my brother, Muslim b. Aqil, who is a cousin and my trustworthy (representative) from my House. If he writes to me that the opinions of your leaders and the men of wisdom and merit among you are united in the same way as the messengers who have come to me have described and as I have read in your letters, I will come to you speedily, God willing. For by my life, what is the Imam except who judges by the Book, one who upholds justice, one who professes the religion of truth, and one who dedicates himself to the essence of God.


So, as a result, Muslim Bin Aqil was sent to Kufah, accompanied by the sons of Shaddad al Arhabi; Qays b. Mushir al Saydawi and Umara b. Abd Allah al Saluli, and Abd Allah and Abd al Rahman.

Events that Transpired with Muslim Bin Aqil

Muslim Bin Aqil after having a hard journey, reached Kufah where he stayed in the house of Al-Mukhtar b. Abi Ubayda. The Shia began to come to him regularly. Whenever people would gather with Muslim, he would read the letter of Imam Hussain (RA) and they would weep. Around eighteen thousand men pledged allegiance to Imam Hussain (RA) on behalf of Muslim Bin Aqil. So, he sent a letter to Imam, telling him of the allegiance and asking him to come to the city.

As many people came to know of Muslim, the place where he was residing became well-known which as a result led the enemies to know about the whereabouts of Muslim. It was Abd Allah b.Muslim b. Rabi’al al-Hadrami, an ally of Banu Umayya who write to Yazid: Muslim b. Aqil has come to Kufa and Shi’a have pledged allegiance to him on behalf of al-Husayn b. Abi Talib, peace be on them. If you have any need for Kufa, then send it a strong man, who will carry out your orders and act in the same way as you would against your enemy. Al-Nu’man b. Bashir is a weak man, or he is acting like a weak man.

Yazid received letters of similar vein from Umara b.Uqba and Umar b.Sa’ad abi Waqqas, upon which he summoned his advisors and decided to send Ubayd Allah b.Ziyad as a governor of Kufa and Basra with instructions:

My Shi’a among the people of Kufa has informed me that Ibn ‘Aqil is there gathering units in order to spread rebellion among the Muslims. Therefore, when you read this letter of mine, go to Kufa and search for Ibn Aqil as if you were looking for a bead until you find him. Then bind him (in chains), kill him or expel him.


Soon after coming to the Kufah, the vicious governor started his planning of getting to know about the whereabouts of Muslim Bin Aqil. There were series of events that erupted as a result, the city was divided between the believers who were ready to lay down their lives to protect the household of Prophet (Saww) and then there were cowards and greedy people who could not see the wisdom of their wrong decisions.

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Martyrdom of Muslim Bin Aqil!

One by one, Muslim Bin Aqil started to lose his companions and people start deserting him to save their lives from the tyranny of Yazid and his blind followers. It was when Muslim bin Aqil got refuge in the house of a woman called, Tawa. She had been a slave-wife of al-Ashath b.Qays. The refuge was for a short time when the son of the woman gave the news to the governor who in turn sent men to capture Muslim Bin Aqil. Ibn Ziyad sent Muhammad b. al-Ashath to the house. He sent Amr b. Ubayd Allah b. Abbas al-Sulam, with him, together with seventy men from the tribal group of Qays. They went to the house where Muslim b. Aqil was. Muhammad b.al Ashath guaranteed security to Muslim if he stopped fighting but when they took him to Palace, Ibn Ziyad dismissed his security and after heated arguments with Muslim, he ordered the murder of Muslim Bin Aqil. These are the words of Muslim Bin Aqil when al-Ashath came with the men to capture him:

I would not weep for myself,”he said, “nor would I grieve for my own death, even though I have not the slightest desire for destruction. But I am weeping for my family who are coming to me, I am weeping for al-Husayn and the family of al-Husayn, peace be on them.

The Journey, The Martyrdom and Other Events!

News of Muslim’s capture and death had not reached Imam Hussain (RA) yet because it only happened on the day he set out.

When Imam Hussain (RA) reached al-Hajiz (a hill above) Batn al-Rumma, he sent Qays b. Mushir al Saydawi to Kufa. He sent a letter to him:

“In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

From al-Husayn 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 judgement 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 Imam Hussain (RA) 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-Husayn b. Numayr apprehended him and sent him to Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. Who asked him to curse the Imam but Qays did not curse the household of Prophet (Saww) rather cursed the ones who stood in opposition to him, which angered him and Ziyad ordered the murder of Qays.

Imam Hussain (RA) came to know of the murder of his companions and betrayals of Kufians on his way. Many who accompanied him just for the fact that he has established obedience in the land to where he was headed, now deserted him on the way after knowing the facts.

Imam Hussain (RA) was left with just few members of his family and close friends who were ready to stand with him no matter what happens with them!

Hussain and his supporters had been stopped in the desert land of Karbala (in Iraq), where they had been denied access to water for 3 days. These are the words of Imam Hussain (RA) to Hurr and his men:

People, if you fear God and recognise the rights of those who have rights, God will be more satisfied with you. We are the House of Muhammad and as such are more entitled to the authority (wilaya) of this affair (i.e. the rule of the community) over you than these pretenders who claim what does not belong to them. They have brought tyranny and aggression among you. If you refuse (us) because you dislike (us) or do not know our rights, and your view has now changed from what came to us in your letters and what your messengers brought, then I will leave you.

At dawn on the Day of Ashura, Hussain and his men made their prayers, knowing that what was ahead of them was certain defeat yet they all remained steadfast and loyal to their principles.

The battle of Karbala commenced at noon, small bands of men dispatched Hussain’s camp to go and fight valiantly against the army of Yazid. One after the other Hussain’s supporters fought and died until eventually, Hussain had no one left to support his resistance.

Hussain was fatigued, thirsty and heavily wounded having fought bravely against the enemy until eventually, he fell. The enemy forces attacked him from all sides with swords, spears and arrows until a man by the name of Shimr ruthlessly beheaded Hussain on the burning plains of Karbala.

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The Legacy of Ashura

Whilst Hussain died in the battle, he was victorious through his legacy. His actions and the stand he made at Karbala triggered a series of small uprisings against the tyrannical regime of Yazid which led to his eventual demise. Yazid’s army took the women and children from Hussain’s camp as war prisoners and marched from Iraq to Syria where they were held captive.

Imam Hussain’s sister Zainab and his son Zain Al-Abideen, defied Yazid in his own courtyard in famous sermons which unnerved even his closest allies. Thereon, the remaining members of Hussain’s family spread the word to the people about the massacre which took place and the crimes that were committed on The Day of Ashura.

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Author Rana Kamran

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