As he saw the children and harem cry out of thirst, al-Abbas declared his readiness to fetch water by force. He therefore took thirty horsemen and twenty warriors and attacked the bank of the river. Amr ibn al-Hajjaj who was in charge of guarding the river from the companions of the Imam faced Nafii ibn Hilal to tell him that it is impossible to let him take water to Imam al-Hussein. But al-Abbas and the other heroes did not pay attention to the criminal’s words; therefore, they encountered a battalion of the Umayyad army. However, the two parties did not encounter any casualty. The result was that al-Abbas and his companions reached the river and filled up the twenty skins they had with water and came back.

Since that day, or maybe before, al-Abbas was given the honorable name of ‘as-Saqqaa -the provider of water.’ (Ansab ul-Ashraf; 3/181).

GRANT OF REPRIEVE FOR AL-ABBAS

In addition to their numerous mean and inhuman means to weaken the party of Imam al-Hussein, Shemr ibn Thi’l-Jawshan obtained a grant of reprieve to al-Abbas and his full brothers from Ubaidullah son of Marjana. This callous trial was intended to take al-Abbas and his full brothers away from the battle and make them forsake their brother.

Hence, Shemr stopped before the army of the Imam and shouted: “Where are sons of our sister? Where are al-Abbas and his full brothers?”

Al-Abbas and his brothers kept silent to avoid answering him, but the Imam asked them to answer and see what for he had come. Only then they stood before Shemr and said, “What do you want, son of Thi’l-Jawshan?” He said, “I have taken for you a grant of reprieve.”

As they heard his shameless words they shouted in his face, “Curse you and curse your grant of reprieve. How dare you say such words while son of God’s Messenger is not saved from danger?”

These words were enough to express their real situation; they were ready to protect the Imam until he is saved or they lose their lives.

It was afternoon on Thursday when the vanguards of the Umayyad army forwarded for fighting against the Ahl-ul-Bayt. Imam al-Hussein was sitting near his tent with the sword in his hand when Abu’l-Fadhl al-Abbas turned his face and said: “They have come to you.” The Imam then asked his brother to identify their intents. He said to him:

“May I sacrifice myself for you, brother! Ride on and meet them to ask about their intentions.”

With twenty horsemen, al-Abbas hurried towards that army and asked what they wanted. “The Emir has ordered us to call you to submit to his orders, otherwise, we will fight you,” (al-Bidaya wan-Nihaya; 8/177) answered they. As al-Abbas turned back to tell his brother about their intention, Habib ibn Muzhahir delivered a sermon to that army in which he admonished and warned them against the divine punishment they would face if they fight against the family of the Prophet. However, some of them answered him impudently.

When he heard the words of his brother, Imam al-Hussein said to him: “Go back to them and try your best to delay them until tomorrow morning so that we, this night, will pray to our Lord Who knows that I love praying for Him, reciting His Book, and supplicating to Him.”

Al-Abbas conveyed these words to the Umayyad army. Omar ibn Saad, because he feared that others would bear his situation to the Emir, offered the suggestion to Shemr who was his only competitor. The other however did not say anything, but Amr ibn al-Hajjaj intruded, “How strange this is! Even if they are from the non-Arabs we will respond to their demand!!”

As others supported Amr’s opinion, Omar ibn Saad accepted to postpone waging war against the camp of the Imam.

Thus, the fighting was postponed for a night and Omar ibn Saad’s army waited whether the Imam would respond to them or fight. On that night, Imam al-Hussein gathered his companions and household and foretold them of the fate that they would face tomorrow. He also permitted them to leave him since the other party wanted him, not anyone else.

As soon as the Imam finished his words, Abu’l-Fadhl al-Abbas, representing the Ahl-ul-Bayt, said to his brother:

“Why should we do so? Is it for that we will live after you? No! We supplicate to the Lord to forbid it.”

The same situation was shown from the sons of Aqil, and the other companions who showed their readiness to sacrifice their souls for their Imam.

Hence, the all spent that night with worship and acts of obedience to Allah. They were waiting for the dawn of that day on which they would obtain their highest goal in this life; martyrdom.

DAY OF ASHURA

Day of Ashura; the tenth of Muharram, was unique in its tragedies, misfortunes, and disasters. On that day, the Ahl-ul-Bayt had to suffer the ever most horrible adversity of this world. Hence, it is certainly the day of griefs.

From early morning, the Imam left his tent and saw in front of him innumerable warriors and horses fill up the desert and unsheathe their swords for shedding his blood. Thus, the Imam asked for a copy of the holy Quran to put it on the head and raise his hands upward for supplicating to his Lord for seeking His refuge.

He then decided to deliver a speech before those troops so that they would be full acquainted with the reality of the situation. Hence, he rode on, went towards them, and raised his voice with the finest words of wisdom so that most of them, at least, would hear him.
As his harem could hear some of his words, they wept and cried, but the Imam asked his brother al-Abbas and his son Ali to go to them and order them to stop it. He then continued with such bright words that should have led every deviant to the right path. However, the Umayyad army could not understand the Imam’s words because they were too ignorant to understand anything other than criminality. In addition, they could not say a single word as an answer.

The Imam then addressed to some of them and reminded them of the missives they had sent to him, but those individuals denied the whole matter!
Qays ibn al-Ashaath then asked the Imam to submit to the Umayyads, but the Imam refused declaring his unchangeable situation: “No, by Allah. I will never submit to them like the humble and will not flee like slaves.”

The Imam’s companions, then, spoke similar words before the Umayyad army, but uselessly.( at-Tabari’s at-Tareekh; 6/43).

Finally, the Imam decided to advise them again so that none of them would excuse he had not known the matter clearly. He opened a copy of the holy Quran on the head, wore the turban of Prophet Mohammed (s), proceeded towards them, and said:

“So then, fie and grief be on you, O group. When you appealed for our help grievously and we hurried for your help exhaustingly, you unsheathed against us a sword that had been in our right hands and ignited against us the fire that we had struck against your and our enemy. You therefore formed groups surrounding your allies and became the support of your enemies although they did not spread justice among you and you lost any hope in them. In addition, you noticed no heresy or new opinion that came out of us. Why did you -woe to you!- not leave us when swords were sheathed, malice was hidden, and the decision was not taken. But you hurried to the sedition like locusts and fell on it like the falling of butterflies (in fire). Damn and away with the idols of the umma, irregulars of the parties, deserters of the Book, expectorants of the Shaitan, distorters of the meanings, extinguishers of the traditions, avowers of the bastards, and the mockers who divided the Quran believing in some parts and rejecting others. By God I swear, your disloyalty is expected because it is entwined with your arteries and it recurred in your origins. You therefore are the bitterest fruit that causes its caretaker to choke and gives good taste for its usurper. God curse the disloyal ones who disregard their firm oaths after they have already appointed God as their Guarantor.

The bastard, son of the bastard, has forced me to choose one of two things – either fighting or ignominy. Ignominy is impossible for us. Allah, His Apostle, the (faithful) believers, chaste laps, jealous noses (individuals), and noble souls (personalities) refuse for us to prefer obedience to the mean to the death of the honorable. I am advancing to them with this family despite the alliance of the enemies, their great numbers, and the betrayal of the supporters. They will soon ride their horses, war will flare up, and the necks will be lapped. My father (peace be upon him) foretold me about so. So, plan against me without delay. I trust God who is my Lord as well as yours. It is God who controls the destiny of all living creatures. It is my Lord who knows the right path.

O Allah, prevent them from the drops of the heavens and impose upon them years of draught like these which you imposed on the people in the time of Prophet Joseph, and set up upon them the man of Thaqif as absolute master so that he will treat them unjustly and make them drink from bitter water, for they have belied and disappointed us. You are certainly our Lord. On You we rely, in You we trust, and to You everything returns.”

At these moments, the conscience of al-Hurr ibn Yazid woke up. He began to think of his destiny if he would fight against Imam al-Hussein who represented the right party and the true religion of God. Finally, he decided to join the Imam. He went to Omar ibn Saad and said:

“Do you really want to fight against this man?”

“Yes I do,” answered Omar, “I want to fight against him as intensely as possible.”

“Why do you not respond to his calls and accept one of the options he had offered?” asked al-Hurr.

“I would do if it is my right to choose. But the matter is not mine. It is your Emir’s,” answered Omar.

Only then al-Hurr realized that Omar ibn Saad was fully ready to fight Imam al-Hussein (a); therefore, he directed towards the Imam and proceeded as he felt sorry for his past deeds against the Imam.

When the Imam conferred upon him with pardon, al-Hurr turned the face towards the troops of Omar ibn Saad and went on addressing to them words of reproach and blame for disappointing the Imam. Anyhow, al-Hurr’s words did not find any place in the hearts of those troops. (al-Kamil; 2/288)

THE WAR

As Omar ibn Saad anticipated that other commanders would copy al-Hurr, he hurried towards the Imam’s camp and threw an arrow towards him shouting, “Be the witnesses. I am the first to throw al-Hussein!”

This was the opening to hundreds of arrows which were threw towards the Imam. Seeing the situation, the Imam turned to his companions and said, “Stand up, generous people. These arrows are your enemies’ messengers to you.”

Hence, thirty-two horsemen and forty warriors had to encounter tens of thousands. However, this little party could stop against those huge well-equipped numbers and show unprecedented scenes of courage and bravery. Then Omar ibn Saad gave the orders of waging a wide campaign during which all the detachments of the Umayyad army fought against the Imam’s companions. Although half of the Imam’s companions were killed during that campaign, they combated extremely courageously and could cause great losses to the Umayyad army. (Hayat ul-Imam il-Hussein; 3/203).

After this general campaign, the other companions of Imam al-Hussein began to wage individual campaigns against the other party. In fact, their unparalleled heroism frightened the whole camp of the Umayyad army and caused it great losses; therefore, Amr ibn al-Hajjaj cried at them, “Do you know against whom you are fighting? You are fighting against the most courageous horsemen of this country. They will keep killing anyone of you who intends to face them. By God I swear, if you only throw at them stones, you will kill them.” (Ansab ul-Ashraf; 3/192).

Omar ibn Saad agreed on Amr’s opinion and ordered his forces to leave facing those heroes. He then gave the orders of waging a general attack against the companions of Imam al-Hussein. Nevertheless, the companions caused great losses to the attacking forces to the degree that Urwa ibn Qays asked the general commander of the army to supply him with more men and weapons. Omar ibn Saad then had to call al-Hussayn ibn Numair and supply him with five hundred bowmen who could wound the riding animals of the Imam’s companions. Thus, all the companions, including al-Hurr ibn Yazid, had to fight against their enemies on feet. This fighting, which was described by historians as the fieriest all over history, continued to midday. (Ibn ul-Atheer’s at-Tareekh; 3/291).

In the midst of that horrible scene of fighting, Abu-Thumama as-Saidi; one of Imam al-Hussein’s companions, raised his head to the sky then turned his face towards the Imam and told about the time of the Dhuhr prayer. As a result, the Imam asked his companions to demand with cease fighting so as they would offer the prayer. They responded to this demand, but as soon as the Imam and his companions stood erect for the prayer, the Umayyad army began throwing at them darts. Saeed al-Hanafi made his body as the armor that protected the Imam, while he was praying, from these darts. When the Imam finished his prayer, Saeed was heavily wounded that he fell dead. (al-Muqarram’s Maqtal ul-Hussein; 297).

The other companions continued fighting for sake of their Imam courageously until they all were killed.

It is worth mentioning that al-Abbas ibn Ali participated in the campaigns and fought bravely and was given the missions of saving the companions when they were encircled by the Umayyad army. After the companions came the turn of the youth of the Prophet’s household. The first one to advance was the young man who was the most similar to Prophet Mohammed (s) in creation, morals, and personality. That young was Ali al-Akbar son of Imam al-Hussein.

The Imam felt greatly sad when he knew for certain that his son would proceed for fighting. He therefore raised his beard towards the heavens and complained to the Lord against the gang who fought against him and would be ready to kill his dearest one. The Imam as well as the harem of the Prophet’s household saw off Ali al-Akbar with tears, cries, and moaning.

The young proceeded declaring the principles for which he was fighting and his tremendous determination to protect the religion of God even if this would cost him his life. He then encountered the enemies and showed indescribable courage and heroism to the degree that historians have described his fighting by saying, “Ali’s fighting reminded the enemies of the attacks of his grandfather Amir ul-Muminin.” (al-Khawarzmi’s Maqtal ul-Hussein; 2/30).

In the midst of the fighting, Ali was seriously thirsty because the enemies deprived them of water. He therefore had to return to his father and ask for some water. But the father had nothing to do. He had no single drop of water to give to his son. Painfully he apologized for his son and promised that the Prophet would very soon give him a drink of water that would save him from thirst forever.

The young then went to the battlefield and fought courageously despite the many wounds that he had in the body.

The whole camp of the Umayyad army complained about the great losses that the young son of Imam al-Hussein caused to them; therefore, Murra ibn Munqith decided to kill him. So, he stabbed him with the spear from the back and struck him with his sword so heavily on the head. Ali held fast on his horse’s neck since he thought that the horse would take him towards his father’s camp. Unfortunately, the horse took him towards the enemies’ camp who encircled him and cut his body into pieces. The air carried the son’s cries to his father who hurried to him and found him in the last sparks of life. He put his cheek on his son’s body which was cut into pieces and shed tears for him.

In this horrible situation, al-Abbas was with his brother and felt the same painful feelings for the great catastrophe that inflicted their camp by the martyrdom of Ali. Zaynab, the mistress of the Prophet’s harem, moaned for the martyrdom of her nephew and the Imam was touched by that painful situation. After that, the young descendants of Aqil ibn Abi-Talib rushed for jihad so as to sacrifice their souls for their leader. Like their forefathers, they fought courageously and caused great losses to the Umayyad army. However, they were all martyred. They were nine young men.(Hayat ul-Imam il-Hussein; 3/249).

Then came the turn of the descendants of Imam al-Hasan. They also pushed themselves for protecting their uncle and defending their religion. Among them was al-Qasim whom is described as the moon in brightness. Before he fought against the enemies, he had declared, “My uncle al-Hussein will not be killed while I am alive.”

The Imam however did not permit al-Qasim to fight, but the young insisted importunately and went on kissing his uncle’s hands and feet and begged him to let him fight. Hence, the Imam had to permit him with weeping eyes and burning heart. Like the other heroes of the Hashemites, al-Qasim fought bravely and killed numbers of the Umayyad army. In the midst of the fighting, his sandal thong was cut. As he nodded down for repairing it out of his disdain, one of the criminals of the Umayyad army seized that opportunity and struck al-Qasim on the head. He fell down and cried at his uncle who hurried towards him and killed that criminal.

The Imam then carried the dead body of his nephew and threw it beside the dead bodies of his son and the other martyrs.

Then sons of Zaynab, daughter of Imam Ali went for fighting. They also were killed. Then none remained except the brothers of Imam al-Hussein.

Al-Abbas was watching all these crises and misfortunes patiently and was waiting for the proper opportunity to begin fighting against the enemies and take revenge upon them.

After the martyrdom of the youth of the Prophet’s household, al-Abbas directed towards his full brothers and said to them: “Brothers, proceed for fighting so that I will be sure that you have done sincerely for sake of Allah and His Messenger and I will surely avenge your blood. You have no children.”( Sheikh al-Mufid’s Kitab ul-Irshad; 269).

He then turned his face towards his full brother Abdullah and said: “Proceed for fighting until I will see your martyrdom and offer you as sacrifice for Allah.”( Maqaatil ut-Talibiyyin; p.82). All his brethren welcomed his call and went for fighting against the enemies courageously. One by one, they all were killed before their elder brother al-Abbas who stood near their dead bodies and shed tears for these bright faces.

MARTYRDOM OF AL-ABBAS

When al-Abbas noticed the loneliness of his brother and the martyrdom of his companions and household, he advanced towards his brother and asked the permission to fight. The Imam did not permit him as he said with sad tone, “You are the holder of my standard…” Imam al-Hussein, in fact, felt of power and protection so long as al-Abbas was with him. But al-Abbas insisted on the permission and said, “I can no longer stand it. I want to take avenge upon those hypocrites.”

As the Imam had nothing to do other than permitting his brother to fight against the enemies, he asked him first to try to get water for the harem and children who were gravely thirsty. Hence, al-Abbas directed towards the Umayyad army by words of admonition and warning against God’s torture. He directed his speech to their commander: “Omar ibn Saad, this is al-Hussein son of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger. You have killed his companions and household. These now are his children and harem. They are thirsty and I ask you to give them water. Nevertheless, he is still calling you to let him go to Rome or India and leave Hijaz and Iraq for you…”

None from the Umayyad army could answer al-Abbas except Shemr who said to him, “Son of Abu-Turab,if the whole surface of this earth is water controlled by us, we will not give you a single drop of it before you submit to the leadership of Yazid.”

Hence, al-Abbas had to report this situation to his brother. Meanwhile, he heard the cries of the children because of thirst and saw the changes of their faces and the dryness of their lips. Therefore, he decided to fetch them water. He rode his horse, took a skin with him, and pushed himself towards the River Euphrates. The Umayyad troops flew away and he alone could occupy the bank of the river. His heart was as hot as fire because of thirst, but when he extended his hand to the water and tried to drink, he remembered the thirst that his brother, as well as his children and harem, felt in these moments; hence, he threw the water from his hand and said:

My soul, you must be preceded by al-Hussein
And you must not continue to exist after him
Al-Hussein is about to drink from cups of death
While you want to drink from this cold water
No, by Allah! This is not my religion!

After this tremendous situation of altruism that exceeded all dimensions of time and space, al-Abbas filled the skin he had with him with water and took the way back to his brother’s camp. For the meantime, the enemies surrounded him from every side and tried to prevent him from taking that water to his brother’s camp. Al-Abbas spared no efforts in fighting against them and causing them big losses.

Chased by terror and fear, the enemies were fleeing away from al-Abbas who copied the courageous situations of his father. However, one of the filthy hypocrites of Kufa waylaid him behind a date palm tree, struck him from the back on his right hand, and cut it. Nevertheless, al-Abbas the hero did not care for so when he held the standard in his left hand and went on saying: By Allah, if you cut my right hand I will keep on defending my religion And that true-tongued Imam Who is the son of the pure Prophet A few moments later, another man hid behind a tree, struck al-Abbas with a sword on his left hand, and cut it. Although he was bleeding and suffering these wounds besides thirst, al-Abbas held the skin of water with his teeth and ran trying to take the water to his brother’s children and harem. Meanwhile, a spear hit that skin and caused that water to drop on the ground. Seeing this scene, al-Abbas stood in sadness and perplexity. He did not know what to do. A few moments later, another man attacked him with an iron post and struck on the head. Al-Abbas fell to the ground and shouted: “Peace be upon you, Abu-Abdullah!” As the Imam heard these words of farewell, he hurried toward the River al-Alqami where al-Abbas fell. He pushed himself among the troops of the enemies and threw himself on the body of his brother. Expressing the grave misfortune that he suffered by the martyrdom of his brother, Imam al-Hussein shouted: “My spine is now broken and I have lost everything and my enemies are rejoicing at my misfortune.”

No one can describe the real feelings that Imam al-Hussein felt after the martyrdom of al-Abbas. However, historians have mentioned that he, as he was leaving the dead body of his brother, could hardly move his feet. He directed towards the camp while he was wiping off his tears. His daughter Sukaina received him with the question, “Where is my uncle al-Abbas?”

Here the Imam wept and told her about her uncle’s martyrdom. The daughter had nothing to do other than moaning aloud. The situation was more difficult for Zaynab who put her hand on her heart and shouted aloud: “O, brother al-Abbas. We have certainly lost everything as we lost you.”

It was surely grave misfortune for Imam al-Hussein and the Prophet’s harem who filled that place with cries and moaning for their guardian and protector. The Imam also participated them in weeping as he shouted:

“We have surely lost everything as we lost you, Abu’l-Fadhl al-Abbas.”

source: alhassanain.com


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