Pages of history bear witness to the fortitude, courage and determination of scores of warriors and fighters who have left indelible marks on the canvas of bravery. Alexander the great, Genghis khan, Ashoka and many others are remembered for their unprecedented gallantry, exhibited in the battle fields. But, one man stands so tall in the queue of the valiants that others appear quite elves before him. Yes, I am talking about Syedna Imam Hussain (AS) who did accept death to dishonour, preferred being slaughtered than to pay homage to Yazid, endured pain than to beg before tyranny - The prince of paradise led his handful of followers in such a way that the world will fail to produce such valour till the day of resurrection. He (AS) inscribed a similitude of extraordinary patience and intrepidity to uphold the sanctity of great human values and ethos.
Red sand of Karbala is testimony to the cruelties and atrocities inflicted upon Syedna Imam Hussain (AS) and his entourage of 72 companions. On the 7th of Muharamul Haraam, Ibni Zyad despatched a letter to Umro bin sa'ad, asking him to deny water to the hapless guests of Karbala. Umro bin sa'ad posted five hundred cavalry men on the banks of river Euphrates to cease any possible access of Hussaini caravan to water. Water was stopped for three consecutive days till the fateful day of 10th Muharamul Haraam. Sizzling Karbala, scorching sand, resolute but helpless Ahli Baiti Rasool (SAW) refused to bow before the despotism of Yazid . Their tongues came out of their mouths but no one asked Imam Hussain (AS) for a drop of water, no one complained about thirst, hunger and pain. Patience of the highest standards was displayed by the companions of Imam Hussain (AS) who were camped in the blazing sand of Karbala. When Yazidi camp saw the parched toddlers craving for some drops of water, they began to pass sarcastic comments towards Imam Hussain (AS). An accursed fellow - Abdullah Ibni abi Haseen Azdi remarked sardonically, “O Hussain, see, how this sky-blue water sends mesmerizing vibes through the clear but hot surroundings of Karbalaus. But, you and your companions won't get a solitary drop from it. The water is but for not you." Hussain (AS) lifted his hands and prayed for more patience and steadfastness.
Though the decisive battle between truth and falsehood had become inevitable, but Imam Hussain Ibni Ali (AS) made a last attempt to persuade his enemies to make truce. He didn't want to be blamed for bloodshed and tribulation. So, he sent a messenger - Umro bin karzah to Ibni Sa'ad for a meeting. Ibni Sa'ad accepted the offer and attended the camp of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) along with twenty cavalry men. The two had a prolonged private conversation but failed to reach to any logical conclusion. Yet, Ibni Sa'ad wrote a letter to Ibni Zyad - the then Governor of Koofa, and informed him about the peacemaking efforts initiated by Syedna Imam Hussain (AS). Ibni Zyad received the letter and remarked, “This letter is from a man who is the truest well-wisher of caliph and his subjects. So, I must go his ways." Cursed Shumr stood up and poisoned Ibni Zyad's ears against Syedna Imam Hussain (AS), and succeeded in changing his verdict. Ibni Zyad ordered ibni sa'ad either to kill Imam Hussain (AS) and his small caravan or leave the chair of general for Shumr Zil-Joshan. The communique from his governor stunned Ibni sa'ad but couldn't do anything albeit assailing the Hussaini entourage camped in canvas tents, near river Euphrates because Ibni sa'ad was hungry for power.
When Abas (AS) informed Imam Hussain (AS) about the blitz of Yazidi army led by Ibni sa'ad, Imam Aali Maqaam asked for a deferment of a night so that they can pray and beg for divinely forgiveness during the night. Ibni sa'ad went back with his troops but threatened them of dire consequences if they would not accept Yazid as their caliph. During the gloomy night, Imam Hussain (AS) delivered an emotional sermon to his family and companions. He told his friends and relatives that their martyrdom is sure to occur after the dawn of the morning. He asked his relatives and friends to flee from the spot because Yazid was thirsty of his blood alone. But, the loyal companions who were carrying the longings of Shahadah in their hearts, exhibited iron-willed determination to fight tooth and nail against Yazidi army.
The handful of people began their preparation for the battle. Finally, at the dawn of 10th Muharamul Haraam, the Hussaini followers prostrated their heads for the last Fajr Namaz of their lives. Hungry and thirsty for last three days, the caravan registered an unprecedented similitude of patience, perseverance and bravery. No one had swallowed a drop of water or a morsel of food for the last three days, but still everyone was contented and calm. Yazidi army led by Ibni sa'ad was ready to pounce upon the innocent and hapless entourage of Imam Hussain (AS). Imam Aali Maqaam entered into the battlefield but with a last intent to persuade his enemies to let him go. But, the Yazidi commanders were deaf enough to negate his pleadings. The pitiful and heart-rending speech couldn't move anyone from the rival camp except Hurr (AS) whose heart melted with the light of eeman.
Hurr (AS) approached Ibni sa'ad to make peace but the power hungry sa'ad refused his proposal of peace. Now, the war had become inexorable. Hurr realized the fact that the sand of Karbala is all set to turn red with the blood of innocent Ahli Bait. It sent shivers down his spine, his face paled. Someone asked Hurr about the unusual change, he replied, “I am not afraid of death, but I am worried about Imam Hussain (AS) and his dear ones. If I am set ablaze or my body is tore into pieces, yet I won't leave my association with Hussain (AS). With this, he mounted his horse and reached in the tent of Imam Hussain (AS) and exclaimed pleadingly, “O grandson of Mohammad (SAW), I am guilty before God and man, I have aggrieved you a lot. I am ashamed of my behaviour, I beg your pardon for my follies." With this, he whipped his horse and ran towards the Yazidi camp. He made a daring speech in front of Yazidi army stations. Then he rode back to his own camp.
Ibni sa'ad ordered his troops to march ahead towards the rival camp. He shoot the first arrow at the Hussaini camp himself. Hurr, Abdullah bin Umair Kalbi, Abdullah bin Muslim bin Aqeel, Qasim bin Hassan, Abbas, Ali Akbar exhibited the valour and heroism of highest standard. They fought like lions before tasting martyrdom. Nineteen year old Qasim - The nephew of Imam Hussain (AS) was so pretty and charming that one of the rival soldier called him the " The fragment of the moon ". Before attaining martyrdom, Qasim despatched some infamous warriors from the enemy camp to the hellfire. Another apple of Imam Hussain's (AS) eyes, was his alluring and youthful son - eighteen year old Ali Akbar. When he saw his father approaching towards the battle field, he ran and embraced his father, and said, " Aba Jaan, go back and take care of toddler Ali Asgar, ailing Zainulabideen and our mothers and sisters, I will go to prove my valiance and courage. " Imam Aali Maqaam broke down, tears rolled down his face, hugged his son tightly, and with heavy heart bade farewell to him.
Every companion fought valiantly and caused immense damage to the enemies. Finally, Imam Aali Maqaam - The pampered Grandson of Rasooli Arabi (SAW), the darling of Syeda Fatima (RA) and Hazrat Ali (RA), the prince of youth in the paradise, the epitome of patience and courage came out of his tent like the lion. Ibni sa'ad had reserved his best fighters for Imam Hussain ( AS ). Tameem bin Qahatba, Badr bin Suhail and his four sons, and other well-known swordsmen from Syria and Iraq fell prey to the exemplary equstrian skills, swordsmanship and valour of Imam Hussain (AS). When Ibni sa'ad lost every hope to overcome imam Hussain (AS), he ordered his troops to shower arrows on imam Hussain from all sides. A poisoned arrow hit his (AS ) forehead, imam Aali Maqaam fell down, and damned Sanaan hit him with a spear and Syedna Imam Hussain (AS) closed his eyes to leave for the eternal journey to meet his Naana Jan ( Grandfather Mohammad Rasoolullah SAW ).
(Author is a Teacher and Rising Kashmir Columnist. He can be reached at email@example.com)