The Repentant Martyrs of Karbala

The incident of Karbala is the most painful saga of the world which inspires tears and sorrow from billions of people around the world. This expression of pain and sorrow is the instinctive reaction of human beings. This mourning, weeping and self-flagellation are the effect of the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). This should not be mistaken as the aim or benefit of martyrdom because it would be a pure misconception.  

The noble ancestry of Imam Husain (a.s.) expects something else from us. And that is in a very inimitable and individual way of character-building, personality development and self-improvement, as taught by Imam Husain (a.s.). Nevertheless, the effect of martyrdom that is mourning for him is very helpful in achieving the aforementioned purpose. After listening to the heart-rending incidents of injustice and inhuman oppression, the conscience of man is so shaken that he can never think of perpetrating any such act. It is for this reason that the community which mourns for Imam Husain (a.s.) has an unblemished reputation of not inflicting any inhu­man, torturous or cruel act on mankind. And Inshallah, they will continue enjoying the same reputation. This is the unrivalled benefit of mourn­ing which has been miraculously maintained by Allah, the Almighty, and will remain so until the day of Qiyamat.   Since Allah is remembered during the times of pain and sorrow and man the ungrateful, forgets Him during the times of happiness and bliss, therefore, the mourning of Imam Husain (a.s.) is a divine reminder so that through its pain, one may remember Allah and mould his character on the lines of God-fearing men who despite the severity of thirst and hunger, pain and sorrow and amidst trials and tribulations wor­shipped God in such a way that its parallel cannot be found anywhere in the world. Mir Anees the famous Urdu poet has portrayed their worship in these words :  

“The drums were beaten that side while the call of prayers was given here  The Imam of both the worlds came to pray He was that worshipper whose words were traditions and Quranic verses. That reciter who was the core of the tree of faith He was so pious that he was chosen from the privi­leged ones And he was such a worshipper that he prostrated in the shadow of swords”.  

If pain and sorrow inspire sympathy, then mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) exhorts us to sympathize with the wronged ones and abhor the wrongdoer. Thus the two opposite sentiments of love and hate help us in the perfection of character. Thus, we can mould ourselves in the frame of the martyrs of Karbala who in the most delicate moments of their lives displayed their love for the oppressed and hate for the oppressors in the barren deserts.  

If religion is the name of obliterating sins, then the mourning for Imam Husain (a.s.) wipes off every sin. Imam Husain (a.s.) sacrificed his entire household and his friends so that sins, inhumanity, oppression, tyranny and injustice should be eliminated forever. The one who, despite being associated with the mo urning for Imam Husain (a.s.), persists in com­mitting sins and misdeeds, then he has not under­stood the importance and true worth of his (Imam’s) sacrifices.  

Normally when it is said that one should follow in the footsteps of Imam Husain (a.s.), then it is countered by saying that how can we follow his example? After all he was an infallible Imam and possessed supernatural faculties. This is nothing but self-deception. Imam Husain (a.s.) was reared up in the house of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and initially was brought up by him. The Holy Quran says about him, “That certainly in the Messenger of Allah you have an  excellent exemplar”. If the life of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) could be exemplary for us, then why Imam Husain (a.s.) could not be a role model  forus ? If following them would have been impossible then Allah would not have commanded us to perform this task. Also the martyrs of Karbala were not infallible but they obeyedImam to the best of their human limitations and thus became immor­tal. In f actit is evident that if we cannot emulate the lives of infallible Imams (a.s.), then at least we must try to follow the martyrs of Karbala who were not infallible. Men like Habib Ibne Mazahir, Muslim Ibn Ausaja, Zuhair bin Qain are worth following. Also there is a group of repentants who joined the band of Imam Husain’s (a.s.) followers. From the sixth of Moharram, they joined Imam Husain (a.s.)  ome
times singly and sometimes in pairs. They struggled and Allah helped them.  hey repented and achieved martyrdom. Their repentance was a sign of clear victory for the stand of Imam Husain (a.s.). It is obligatory for us to follow their example and turn away from the life of sins. Let us glance briefly at the lives and times of these worthy men:

  Six men  from the tribe of Tamim dissociated themselves from the army of Yazid and joined the camp of Imam Hussain (a.s.) viz.

(1) Jabir bin Al-Hajjaj, the slave of Aamir bin Nahsal-e-Tamimi.

Jabir was an expert warrior and was known for his courage. He was a freed slave of Aamir Nahsal-e-Tamimi who was from the tribe of Taimullah bin Salabah. He arrived in Karbala with the contingent of Umar Ibne Sa’ad. The author of Hadaaeqe Dardiya has written that he was martyred in the skir­mish that ensued after the attack of Umar Ibne Sa’ad on the camp of Imam Husain (a.s.) before midday.  

(2 & 3) Masud bin al-Hajjaj Taimi and his son Abdur Rehman bin Masud bin Al-Hujjaj

They joined Imam Husain (a.s.)’s camp before the ninth of Moharram and were killed in the very first skirmish.  

(4) Bakrbin Haiy bin Taimullah bin Salabah Al-Taimi.

Historians agree unanimously about him that he had come from Kufa with the army of Umar Ibne Sa’ad, but later joined Husain (a.s.) and was killed in the first attack.  

(5) Joain bin Malik bin Qais bin Salabah Al-Tamimi.

He too belonged to the army of Umar Ibne Sa’ad. After a heated debate between Imam Husain (a.s.) and Umar Ibne Sa’ad, battle between the two armies became inevitable. Then Joain along with his tribesmen, left the contingent of Umar Ibne Sa’ad and joined Imam Husain (a.s.)’s camp on the eve of Aashoora and was killed with his kith and kin in the first skirmish before mid-day.  

(6) Umar bin Sabeeah bin Qais bin SAkbah As-Sabiee Al-Taimi.

(7) Qasim bin Habib bin Bushrazi.

(8) Zuhair bin Sulaim Azdi

They were among the brave warriors from the army of Umar Ibne Sa’ad but joined Imam Husain (a.s.) on the night of Aashoora and laid down their lives in the first assault on Aashoora.

  (9)Hilaas bin Amr Azdi 

He was from the companions of Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and was among the top rung police officers in his regime. Unfortunately he arrived in Karbala with the contingent of Umar Ibne Sa’ad. But responded to the call of conscience and when the truce talks failed, he left the army of Umar Ibne Sa’ad at the fall of the night and achieved martyrdom on the day of Aashoora.

  (10) Noman bin Umar Azdi Rasibi

He was the real brother of Hilas. Since Rasib was an offshoot of Azdi tribe hence he was called Raasebi. He too was a citizen of Kufa and a companion of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). Like oth­ers, he too reached Karbala with Umar Ibne Sa’ad but later joined Imam (a.s.) and was killed in the first skirmish.

  (11) Haris bin Imra-Al-Qais bin Aabis Al-Kindi

He was a devout worshipper and fearless fighter of his time. His exploits during various Islamic battles were well-known. When the fortress was besieged and the apostates were being dragged out and were put to death, he took an active part in it. He even killed his uncle, who tried to save himself by reminding him of their relationship. But Haris rebuked him. However, he repented and embraced death in the company of Imam (a.s.).  

(12) Zarghatn bin Malik Salibi

He pledged allegiance to Janabe Muslim bin Aqeel but went into hiding when Muslim was arrested. He came to Karbala with Umar Ibne Sa’ad but died with the followers of Imam Husain (a.s.)

  (13&14) Sa’ad bin Al-Hars Al-Ansari wal Ajlani and his brother Abul-Hutoof bin Al-Hars wal Ajlani.

They both were from Kufa and were employed in the government. It is written in Hadaaeq-e-Dardiyah that when all the companions and followers in the Imam (a.s.)’s camp were killed and he was left all alone, he raised a call for help, “Is there anybody who can help me?” At this the women folk of Imam (a.s.) came out of the tent and started weeping and wailing.

  Sa’ad and his brother could not bear this sight and attacked their own men and killed many of them. Finally they both were killed defending Imam (a.s.).

(15) Abdullah bin Bishr al-Hath’ami

The famous son of his equally known father, Bishr bin Rabiah. A brave warrior as he was, an area of Kufa ‘Jubana bin Bishr’ was named after him. His participation in the battle of Qaadisiyah was well-known. Though he came to Karbala with the army of Umar Ibne Sa’ad, he died with the army of Imam Husain (a.s.).  

(16, 17 & 18) Saif bin Haris bin Sarie, Malik bin Abd bin Sarie’, and their slave Shabeeb. Saif,

who was a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), and Malik, were cousin brothers. When efforts for a truce were set at naught, the two brothers with their slave Shabeeb joined Imam Husain (a.s.). On the day of Aashoora,  hen the followers raced to death, both the brothers out of their zeal for martyrdom came to Imam (a.s.) and started weeping. Imam (a.s.) consoled them and assured them that soon shall they be surrounded with happiness. They replied, “We are not weeping for ourselves, but our heart goes out to you. You are besieged by the enemies and both of us are incapable of defending you.” Imam (a.s.) replied. “O sons of my brother! May Allah give you best of rewards for your concern which you have for me.” After the martyrdom of Hamza bin Asad, both of them bade farewell to Imam (a.s.) and were martyred fighting. 

(19) Zuhair bin Qain bin Qais Bajalli

He was among the elite Arabs, and had a reputation for fierce fighting. After the battles of Jamal and Siffeen, Muslims were divided into Usmani and Alavi groups. Those who supported Muawiya were called ‘Usmani’ and those who remained with Hazrat Ali (a.s.) were known as “Alavi’. Before the incident of Karbala, Zuhair was a die-hard ‘Usmani’ because he did not have any connections with the Ahle Bait (a.s.). In 60 A.H., Zuhair performed Hajj and while returning joined the caravan of Imam Husain (a.s.), unintentionally. Though he belonged to the rival faction, he was well aware that if at all Imam Husain (a.s.) will seek help from him, then he will not be able to refuse. Hence he maintained a distance from Imam’s (a.s.) caravan. But Imam Husain (a.s.) had the knowledge of turmoil in Zuhair’s inner self. One day he summoned Zuhair, after which Zuhair’s wife too became instrumental towards a change in him. Soon he too became one of the flag-bearers of Imam’s (a.s.) caravan.  

(20) Hurr bin Yazid ar-Riyahi

He opposed Imam Husain (a.s.) to the extreme extent. But finally he gave in and was blessed with the scarf of Hazrat Fatema (s.a.).

  Even today the world is rife with murky deviations and wrongs and the call of distress of Imam Husain (a.s.) is still in the air. Besieged with the Yazids of the day, Imam Husain (a.s.) still seeks help. We can respond to his call and reach for his help.

  Imam Husain (a.s.) did not fight with Yazid, the person. Rather, he fought against the  ideology and principles which we can refer to as Yazidism. He is still fighting against the same. Unless the Yazids of sins, Yazids of injustice and tyranny and Yazids of rebellion are not uprooted from the world, his call – Is there somebody to help me! – will continue to reverberate.

The biggest help of Imam Husain (a.s.) is avoiding the sins and to establish a frontier against it. Helping Imam Husain (a.s.) by character, deeds and words is much better than merely verbally claiming to help him.

  Let us pledge that to the best of our abilities, we will display an exemplary charac­ter. We will repent for our sins and mould ourselves according to the persona of repentants of Karbala . And through ‘ Azadari’ we will try our best to fulfill the aim of martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.). Insha-Allah.