Does the number 40 have any significance?

It is very much possible that the visitation of Jabir on the 20th of Safar was “by chance” or a “coincidence” and that the 40th has/had no significance and because he reached there on the 20th of Safar that we now too mark this day – or it could be that this day actually does have some mystical and spiritual importance?

In fact, there is spiritual significance to some numbers and this is seen in the Qur’an and the traditions such that the number 40 is repeated in many places of the Qur’an:

﴿وَإِذْ وَاعَدْنَا مُوسَى أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً ثُمَّ اتَّخَذْتُمُ الْعِجْلَ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ وَأَنْتُمْ ظَالِمُونَ﴾

“And when We appointed a time of forty nights with Musa, then you took the calf (for a god) after him and you were unjust.” (Suratul Baqarah, 2: 51)

﴿قَالَ فَإِنَّهَا مُحَرَّمَةٌ عَلَيْهِمْ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً يَتِيهُونَ فِي الْأَرْضِ فَلَا تَأْسَ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ الْفَاسِقِينَ﴾

“He said: So it shall surely be forbidden to them for forty years, they shall wander about in the land, therefore do not grieve for the nation of transgressors.” (Suratul Maidah, 5:26)

﴿وَوَاعَدْنَا مُوسَى ثَلَاثِينَ لَيْلَةً وَأَتْمَمْنَاهَا بِعَشْرٍ فَتَمَّ مِيقَاتُ رَبِّهِ أَرْبَعِينَ لَيْلَةً وَقَالَ مُوسَى لِأَخِيهِ هَارُونَ اخْلُفْنِي فِي قَوْمِي وَأَصْلِحْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ سَبِيلَ الْمُفْسِدِينَ﴾

“And We appointed with Musa a time of thirty nights and completed them with ten (more), so the appointed time of his Lord was complete forty nights, and Musa said to his brother Haroun: Take my place among my people, and act well and do not follow the way of the mischief-makers.” (Suratul A’raaf, 7:142)

﴿وَوَصَّيْنَا الْإِنْسَانَ بِوَالِدَيْهِ إِحْسَانًا حَمَلَتْهُ أُمُّهُ كُرْهًا وَوَضَعَتْهُ كُرْهًا وَحَمْلُهُ وَفِصَالُهُ ثَلَاثُونَ شَهْرًا حَتَّى إِذَا بَلَغَ أَشُدَّهُ وَبَلَغَ أَرْبَعِينَ سَنَةً قَالَ رَبِّ أَوْزِعْنِي أَنْ أَشْكُرَ نِعْمَتَكَ الَّتِي أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيَّ وَعَلَى وَالِدَيَّ وَأَنْ أَعْمَلَ صَالِحًا تَرْضَاهُ وَأَصْلِحْ لِي فِي ذُرِّيَّتِي إِنِّي تُبْتُ إِلَيْكَ وَإِنِّي مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ﴾

“And We have enjoined on man doing of good to his parents; with trouble did his mother bear him and with trouble did she bring him forth; and the bearing of him and the weaning of him was thirty months; until when he attains his maturity and reaches forty years, he says: My Lord! grant me that I may give thanks for Thy favor which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents, and that I may do good which pleases Thee and do good to me in respect of my offspring; surely I turn to Thee, and surely I am of those who submit.” (Suratul Ahqaf, 46:15)

In addition, there are numerous traditions which mention the number “40” such as the following:

عن رسول الله (صلى الله عليه و آله و سلام): إنّ الأرض لتبكي على المؤمن أربعين صباحاً.

The Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, has said: “Indeed the Earth laments over the death of a true believer for the period of 40 days.”

عن الإمام محمد الباقر (عليه السلام) أنّه قال: إنّ السّماء بكت على الحسين أربعين صباحاً.

Imam Muhammad al-Baqir, peace be upon him, has said: “Indeed the sky lamented over the death of al-Husayn for a period of 40 days.”

عن الإمام الصّادق(عليه السلام) أنّه قال: إنّ السّماء بكت على الحسين أربعين صباحاً بالدّم، والأرض بكت عليه أربعين صباحاً بالسّواد، والشّمس بكت عليه أربعين صباحاً بالكسوف والحمرة، والملائكة بكت عليه أربعين صباحاً، وما اختضبت امرأة منّا ولا ادّهنت ولا اكتحلت ولا رجّلت حتّى أتانا رأس عبيد الله بن زياد وما زلنا في عبرة من بعده.

Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, said: “The heavens cried for forty days with blood (weeping) over Imam Husayn; the earth cried for forty days by being covered with darkness; the sun cried for forty days by being in eclipse and turning red; the mountains were torn apart and dispersed; the seas gushed out and the angles cried for forty days over him. After Imam Husayn’s martyrdom, all of our women stopped colouring their hair, using kohl, applying oil, and styling their hair until the head of Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad was sent to us; and even after that we (all) continued to weep over him.”

In summary, this all points to the reality that there is “something” contained in the visitation to Karbala 40 days after the tragic massacre of Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him and his family, as the “40th” is not marked for any other Imam nor is it marked for any other Prophet – and perhaps if we are given the Divine Providence (tawfeeq) to be in Karbala on the 20th of Safar to pay our respects and condolences to the Prophet and the noble family on the supreme sacrifice offered on the 10th of Muharram 61 ah, then we may be able to benefit from the spiritual bounties contained in this spiritual journey to reach our Beloved.

Arbaeen of Imam Husayn

What follows in this piece is a brief look at the “Arba‘een” [the commemoration of 40 days after the tragic events of Karbala] of Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him. The article concludes with the Arabic text of Ziyarat Arba‘een with full English translation and a brief exposition on certain passages of this powerful and moving visitation. Insha-Allah, a more comprehensive understanding of this ziyarat will be presented in the future.


There are very few mass gatherings in the world today which are entire peaceful and which do not result in the loss of life, and in fact, according to Wikipedia – “the Free Encyclopedia” – of the five gatherings globally seeing over 10 million people, four were in Karbala:

1. An estimated 21 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een on 14 January 2012.

2. An estimated 15 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een in 2011.

3. An estimated 15 million people attended the funeral of C. N. Annadurai in Tamil Nadu, India in 1969.

4. An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een in 2010.

5. An estimated 10 to 14 million people visited the shrine of Imam Hussein in Karbala, Iraq during Arba’een in 2009

Why is there such a fervent desire for millions to flock to what would have been an otherwise unknown land and for millions to journey there by foot from all parts of the world? This brief article will touch upon the spiritual significance of Arba‘een as seen in the Noble Qur’an and Islamic narratives as well as a short commentary on the Ziyarat of Arba‘een.

The sayings of the Infallibles, peace be upon them all, have emphatically guided the believers to be present in Karbala to mark the 40th day after the tragedy of Karbala and in fact, the 11th successor to the Noble Prophet of Islam, Imam Hasan al-Askari, peace be upon him, has actually considered this act as being one of the clear and apparent signs of a true believer when he said:

علامات المؤمن خمس: صلاة إحدى وخمسين، وزيارة الأربعين، والتّختّم باليمين، وتعفير الجبين و جهر ببسم الله الرحمن الرحيم.

The signs of a true believer are five:

1. 51 rak’at of Salat (per day – 17 of which are the obligatory prayers and 34 which are the recommended daily prayers)

2. Ziyarat Arba‘een;

3. Wearing a ring on the right hand (an Aqeeq ring);

4. Placing the head on the earth (during sajad in the Salat);

5. Openly pronouncing “بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم” (Bismillahir Rahmaanir Raheem) when reciting the two surahs in the Salat.

The Ziyarat Arba‘een which we recite in Karbala (and indeed from our homes if we are not fortunate enough to be in Karbala on the 20th of Safar) has been narrated from a companion named Safwan al-Jammaal from Imam Ja’far ibn Muhammad as-Sadiq, peace be upon him, in which the Imam told him to visit Imam Husayn and to recite a specific visitation formula on the afternoon of the Arba‘een.

Although there are differences of opinion concerning the date of the Arba‘een-e-Husyani – was it in the year 61 AH after the massacre in Karbala, or was it the following year? Whatever the opinion is, the fact remains that the visitation of the blessed grave of Imam Husayn, peace be upon him, and his noble family and friends on the day of Arba‘een is extremely important and is something which each and every true believer will try and perform during his lifetime.

The first such visitation took form when Jabir ibn Abdullah al-Ansari paid his respects to Imam Husayn, peace be upon him. Jabir was a well-known companion of the Prophet whom all Muslims love and respect; and he had witnessed may wars and battles alongside the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, and he has narrated many ahadith and in fact, he was so loved by the Messenger that the Prophet would often go and visit him personally!

On one such meeting, Jabir asked his wife that when the Prophet comes that she should not ask him any questions. She narrates that when the Prophet came to their house, she did as she was asked and when Jabir met him, he said: “O Messenger of Allah! Prayers from myself and my wife are upon you!” The Prophet replied, “Prayers of Allah be upon you and your wife!”

Indeed Jabir had heard numerous sayings from the Prophet in relation to the status of Imam al-Husayn, peace be upon him and he indeed fully understood the lofty status of both grandsons of the Prophet – namely Imam al-Hasan and al-Husayn as carried by the blessed heart of al-Mustafa, and therefore it is of no amazement that he was the first companion, despite his old age, who made the journey to Karbala after he heard of what had happened to the beloved grandson of the Prophet, peace be upon him and his family.

Al-A’mash narrates from ‘Atiyyah al-‘Awfi, who said: “I left with Jabir ibn ‘Abdillah al-Ansari, may Allah have mercy on him, to visit the grave of al-Husayn bin ‘Ali bin Abi Talib peace be upon him; and when we entered Karbala, Jabir came near the bank of River Euphrates, performed the major ablution (ghusl) and wore his clothes; then he opened his purse which contained su’d [a plant with sweet fragrance]. He spread the perfume over his body; thereafter he did not take a step save in the remembrance of Allah, until he neared the grave [of al-Husayn, peace be upon him].”

[Then] he said to me: “Make me touch the grave, and I made him do so. Thereupon he fell over the grave unconscious.”

I sprinkled some water on him, and he gained consciousness.

Then he cried three times:

يا حُسين، يا حُسين، يا حُسين….

Ya Husayn … Ya Husayn … Ya Husayn

Addressing al-Husayn, peace be upon him, he said: “Why is the beloved not responding to the call of the lover? But how can you respond, while your veins have been severed, and your body has been separated from your head?

I bear witness that you are the offspring of the Prophets, and the son of the master of believers, and the offspring of the companion of piety, and the offspring of guidance, and the fifth member of the people of the cloak, and the son of the master of the chiefs, and the son of Fatimah, the mistress of the women; how can you not be so, while the hand of the Leader of the Apostles, peace be upon him and his family, fed you, and you were breast-fed from the breast of belief, and trained in the bosoms of pious people, your weaning accompanied the state of utter submission.

Hence you enjoyed a pleasant state both during your life time and after your death; however, the hearts of the believers are sorrowful due to your separation, and do not doubt about your great position. So upon you be Allah’s Peace and Approval. And I bear witness that you faced what your brother [Prophet] Yahya, peace be upon him, had faced.”

Thereafter Jabir felt the presence around the grave and said: “Peace be upon you and the spirits that have descended in the neighbourhood of al-Husayn, peace be upon him … I bear witness that you were steadfast in your prayers and gave the zakat and you commanded the good and prohibited the forbidden and struggled against the deniers of religion and you worshipped Allah until conviction came to you. I swear by the One Who sent Muhammad as a Prophet with truth; surely we participated with you in what you encountered.”

‘Atiyyah (not understanding this powerful statement made by Jabir) says: I asked Jabir: “How can that be possible, while we did not descend on any valley, nor did we climb any mountainous area, nor did we fight with the sword, whereas the heads of the group of al-Husayn, peace be upon him, have been separated from their bodies, their children were made orphans and their women were made widows?”

Jabir said: “O ‘Atiyyah, I heard from my beloved, the Apostle of Allah, peace be upon him and his family, say: ‘Whosoever loves a nation, will be resurrected with them, and whosoever loves the deed of a nation, will be considered one who has participated in that deed (with them). I swear by the One Who Sent Muhammad as a Prophet in truth, surely my intention and the intention of my companions is according to the intention of al-Husayn and his companions.”

[Then Jabir said to ‘Atiyyah]: “Take me towards the houses of Kufa.”

‘Atiyyah says: “When we reached a certain point on the way, Jabir said to me: ‘O ‘Atiyyah, may I advise you, for I do not think that I will meet you after this short journey? Love the lover of Aale Muhammad as long as that person loves them, and have aversion for one who has aversion for Aale Muhammad as long as that person has aversion for them; for if a person was to fast and stand in prayer frequently and befriend the lover of Aale Muhammad, then surely if one of their feet was to slip due to excess of sin, the other foot would be firm due to love of Aale Muhammad, for verily the lover of Aale Muhammad would return to Paradise and the one who has aversion for them will return to the Hell Fire.’”

Millions of Muslims marching to Karbala for Arba’een

arbaeen16web3Millions of Muslims have been marching toward the shrine of the Third Shia Imam, Imam Hossein (PBUH), in the holy Iraqi city of Karbala, to mark the 40th day to follow the anniversary of his martyrdom back in the seventh century.

The faithful continued their procession on Tuesday with hearts brimming with his love.

The passion has made them resolute in the face of potential terrorism on their path to attend the ritual, which is set to be commemorated in the city on Sunday.

On Monday, the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh targeted the pilgrims in Karbala and security forces in Fallujah, another central city, killing at least six people in each attack.

“We are walking all these long distances, we are not afraid of terrorists, we are not afraid of Daesh,” said 56-year-old pilgrim Sattar Hussein. “We are not afraid of anyone who defames Islam. And especially those who are targeting the Arba’een.”

Muslims worldwide hold mourning rituals during the month of Muharram on the lunar calendar in remembrance of the sufferings imposed on Imam Hossein (PBUH), his family and his companions, by the tyrant of the time, Yazid I, an Umayyad caliph, in early Islamic history.

The events peak on the 10th day, traditionally known as Ashura — 30 days prior to Arba’een — when the Imam and 72 of his companions were martyred at the hands of the despot’s forces, to whom they had refused to pledge allegiance.

Majlis 12: Shaam al-Ghariba

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!

Karbala’! Karbala’! Karbala’!

In one day 72 men dead! Companions of Husayn lay dead!

‘Aun – Muhammad are dead. Qasim is dead. ‘Abbas is dead.

‘Ali Akbar is dead. ‘Ali Asghar is dead. Husayn is dead.

Lying on the sands of Karbala’ are 72 dead men. Their heads severed from their bodies. No ghusl! No kafan! No burial!

Lying on the sands of Karbala’ are 72 dead men! Their bodies trampled by Yazid’s horses.

The sun was setting in the horizon. River Furaat flowed turbulently breaking its bank.

Another night fell on the land of Karbala’. The night of Shaam Al-Ghariba. What a lonely night? What a tragic and sad night? No fire! No light! Night of darkness!

The air was filled with sounds of ladies and children crying.

Widows crying for their husbands. Sisters crying for their brothers. Mothers crying for their children. Little orphans crying for their fathers.

Bibi Zainab is not crying. No tears were flowing from her eyes.

Husayn is not there to comfort the mothers and orphans but Bibi Zainab is there. She is comforting the mothers and the little orphans.

‘Abbas or ‘Ali Akbar are not there to guard the tents but Bibi Zainab is there. She is guarding the tents.

Enough! Surely Yazid’s beastly men would leave the ladies and children to mourn their dead ones in peace.

But no, they did not…….

They came to the tents. They looted all the belongings of the Holy ladies. They even snatched away the ladies’ hijab. Fatimah’s daughters were left bare-headed.

Shimr, the most evil of Yazid’s men, came too. Sakina was crying for her father. Instead of comforting words, Shimr slapped Sakina’s face and pulled off earrings from her ears. Blood poured from little Sakina’s ears.

Surely they would stop now. But they did not.

One-by-one they set fire to the tents. The helpless ladies and children ran from one tent to another

Little Sakina ran from one tent to another. Her dress was on fire, Her ears were bleeding. All Sakina wanted was her dear father.

She ran to the battlefield screaming:

“Father, where are you? Father, father……., speak to me father.”

The seventh tent, which was the last was set on fire. Our 4th Imam, Imam Zainul Abideen was lying unconscious in the bed. Zainab got worried. She had to save the Imam of the time, our 4th Imam. So she rushed to the tent and rescued Imam Zainul Abideen to safety.

All the tents were burned down. The Holy ladies and children were left homeless.

Tonight is the night of Shaam Al-Ghariba. The night of the homeless.

The children were frightened so they ran away to escape the fire, the restless horses and the beatings.

Bibi Zainab and Umm Kulthoom went in search of the children. They found some dead, trampled by the horses or burnt by the fire.

Zainab and Umm Kulthoom gathered the ladies and children together in a small space, where our 4th Imam was lying.

Sakina could not be found. Umm Kulthoom stood guard, while Zainab rushed to the battlefield screaming:

“Sakina! Darling Sakina! Where are you? Sakina! Sakina!”

Whilst searching, Bibi Zainab reached the area where Husayn’s body was lying.

There with her head buried in Husayn’s chest, lay Sakina deep in sleep! Bibi Zainab gently picked up Sakina and took her back to her mother.

Bibi Zainab settled all the ladies and children. She then stood on guard with a broken spear in her hand.

Bibi Rubab kept waking up. Zainab said to her:

“Rubab! Do not worry. Rest peacefully as the daughter of ‘Ali is on guard. You have nothing to fear, Rubab!”

“Zainab, I am not worried but I keep hearing my baby crying. I hear my dearest ‘Ali Asghar crying.”

Poor Rubab. Poor mother. She was spending the first night without ‘Ali Asghar, her baby. How can she sleep comfortably when ‘Ali Asghar, her baby was lying alone under the sands of Karbala’? Bibi Rubab did not stop crying for her baby.

Late that night, Zainab had a vision. She saw a man on a horse, riding towards her. She cried out:

“O man on the horse! Please do not come any nearer! I have just managed to get the children to sleep. We have nothing left. Please go away!”

The rider continued riding towards her. Zainab got very angry. She lifted the broken spear and warned the rider:

“Stop! Stop, just there! Do not come any nearer! I am the daughter of ‘Ali! I am warning you to stop just there!”

The man on the horse continued to ride towards her. He spoke to Zainab:

“Daughter Zainab! Do you not recognise your father, ‘Ali?”

Zainab rushed to her father. She threw herself to her father’s feet and said:

“Baba! I am glad you have come. But you are very late.”

She continued:

“Baba! Where were you when ‘Ali Akbar was being killed?

Baba! Where were you when ‘Abbas was being killed?

Baba! Where were you when Husayn was being killed?

Baba! Where were you when our tents were burned down?

Baba! Baba! Where were you when our hijab was taken?

Baba! Where were you? Where were you? Baba!”

“Zainab, my daughter Zainab, you are very tired! I have come to guard your tents. My daughter, Zainab, you have a lot to do tomorrow. Zainab, you will have many sleepless nights. Tonight, my daughter Zainab you rest. I will guard the tents. Go to sleep my daughter, Zainab.”

Ya Husayn! Ya Husayn! Ya Husayn!

Majlis 11: Imam Husayn

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Today is ‘Ashura’ dayl Today is the day of the 10th of Muharram.

‘Ashura’ day is the most tragic day for all Muslims, in particular Shi’as.

The Day of ‘Ashura’…

The day, when 72 brave and faithful men were martyred… The day of great sacrifice… The day Islam was saved from destruction.

The Day of ‘Ashura’…

The day the Holy Prophet leaves Heaven to join us in mourning, the day Mawla ‘Ali leaves Heaven……..The day Bibi Fatimah leaves Heaven, to cry with us, for the 72 martyrs.

The Day of ‘Ashura’……..A very sad day…….A day full of tragedy.

What shall we recite today? Which tragedy shall we remember today? So much suffering! So many dead! So much sacrifice! So much patience!

Who shall we cry for today? Who shall we do matam for today?

So much to cry for. So much to do matam for.

My friends, if we do not cry today, when else would we cry?

If we do not do matam today, when else would we do matam?

Traditionally, we recite the Shahadat of Imam Husayn today. My fellow Husayni! I have neither the courage nor the heart to recite in detail the Shahadat of Imam Husayn.

Bibi Fatimah is with us. She would like us to recite the last farewell of Husayn from Sakina, Zainab, Kulthoom and the other ladies.

‘Ashura’ came to the land of Karbala’.

‘Ali Akbar gave the Adhan. Everyone prayed Fajr Salat (Prayer).

Yazid’s men blew the trumpets to start the battle.

The battle began.

One-by-one, Husayn’s friends and companions went to the battlefield and gave their lives for Islam.

By Zuhr time, all the friends and companions were martyred.

‘Aun – Muhammad, Bibi Zainab’s young sons, went to the baftlefield and were martyred.

Qasim, Bibi Farwah’s only son, went to the battlefield and was martyred and trampled by the horses.

‘Abbas could not bear the sad cries of “Al-Atash! Al-Atash! Al-Atash!”, from his beloved niece, Sakina. He went to get water and did not return. His arms were severed.

‘Ali Akbar, the 18 year old youth, went to the battlefield and was martyred with a dreadful wound in his chest.

Since dawn, Imam Husayn had carried 72 bodies to the camp.

Husayn was thirsty, tired, heartbroken…….but he kept on!

Patience was his prayer. And sacrifice to save Islam was his goal.

All Husayn was worried about was saving Islam.

By Asr time, Husayn was left with his baby ‘Ali Asghar and his son, Sayyid al-Sajjad – Imam Zainul Abideen who was ill.

‘Ali Asghar was very thirsty. Husayn took his baby son to get some water.

‘Ali Asghar, the young soldier, did not get any water. Instead he got an arrow in his neck.

Imam Husayn and Bibi Rubab dug a grave themselves and buried ‘Ali Asghar.

Our poor Imam inflicted with so much suffering in just one day!

So many dead in one day!

Husayn is all alone, thirsty, tired and heartbroken. he stood in the centre of the camp and cried out:

“My salaam to you, O Zainab, O Umm Kulthoom! My salaam to you O Ruqayya! O Kubra! O Sakina! My salaam to you O Rubab! O Laila! O Umm Farwah! O Amma Fizza!…… Fi aman Allah! Fi aman Allah!”

All the ladies gathered around Husayn. They all cried and cried as they said their last farewell to Husayn.

“Zainab . . . . Take me to my son, Zainul Abideen. Zainab, let me say Fi aman Allah to my son, Sayyid al-Sajjad.”

Husayn and Zainab went to Imam Zainul Abideen’s tent.

Sayyid al-Sajjad was lying unconscious on his bed. Bibi Zainab shook his shoulder and said:

“Son, Sajjad! Your father has come to see you.

Sayyid al-Sajjad opened his eyes. He saw his father, who was wearing white clothes, marked with blood spots everywhere. “My son Sajjad! I have come to say Fi aman Allah. I am going to the battlefield.”

“Why you Baba? Where is Habib Ibn Mazaahir?”

“Qutil, my son! Habib has been killed, my son.”

“Baba! Baba! ainna aaina, ‘Abbas? Baba, where is uncle ‘Abbas?”

“Qutil, my son, qutil. ‘Abbas has been killed, my son.”

“Baba…., ainna ainna ‘Ali Akbar? Where is ‘Ali Akbar?”

“Qad qutil ‘Ali Akbar has been killed, son Sajjad.”

Tears poured from Husayn’s and Zainab’s eyes, as Sayyid al-Sajjad enquired about ‘Ali Akbar.

“Son Sajjad! Don’t ask me about anyone else! My son, everyone is dead, except for you and me”

Sayyid al-Sajjad tried to get up from his bed. He said:

“Auntie! Auntie Zainab! Give me my sword. I will go to the battlefield. I will save my father’s life.”

“No, son Sajjad, no! You are too sick for Jihad. Son Sajjad, your Jihad is still to come.”

Imam Husayn continued…….

“Son Sajjad, you will have a lot of work to do after my death. You will face lots of hardship and suffering, my son. Sajjad! Stay on the true path. Son Sajjad, do not be afraid to fight for truth and justice. Sajjad……Just be patient! Son Sajjad, maintain your patience at all times. Son, Allah is with people who remain patient. Patience, my son, patience.”

Imam Husayn continued:

“My son Sajjad, convey my salaam to all my friends, my Shi’as, when you reach Medina. Son Sajjad, do tell them Husayn died for truth and justice. Lastly, my son, tell my Shi’as to remember me whenever they drink water, Fi aman Allah, my son, Fi aman Allah.”

Imam Husayn and Bibi Zainab left the tent.

“Sister Zainabl My last will to you. Zainab, I am leaving you in charge of this caravan. Sister Zainab, take care of Sayyid al-Sajjad. My sister, Zainab, I am leaving Imamat under your protection. Zainab……, O my sister Zainab! Look after my little Sakina. She will cry a lot after my death.”

Tears flowed from Husayn’s eyes as he spoke about Sakina.

“Sister Zainab, be patient. Patience, my sister, patience. My sister Zainab! Fi aman Allah!”

Imam Husayn walked to his horse. Husayn had helped everyone to mount their horses, but now……Husayn is alone. There is no-one to help him mount his horse.

Bibi Zainab saw her brother struggling to get on the horse.

“Brother Husayn, bring your horse nearer my tent. My brother, let me help you.”

Bibi Zainab held the reins as Husayn mounted his horse, Zuljiana.

Zuljana moved a few steps and stopped. Husayn gently stroked the horse’s neck and said:

“My faithful horse, I know you are thirsty. I know you are tired.

You have been helping me carry the bodies from the battlefield since dawn.

My faithful horse, for the last time, take me to the battlefield. I will not bother you after that. Please Zuljana, let us go.

With tears in his eyes, the horse turned his neck and looked down at his legs.

What did Husayn see?

My friends, you will not be able to stop the tears flowing from your eyes.

Husayn saw his beloved daughter Sakina clinging to the horse’s legs. Sakina – only four years old. Sakina – the answer to Husayn’s prayers for a daughter – Sakina who loved Husayn like Bibi Fatimah loved Husayn.

Sakina, the delight of Husayn’s heart.

Little Sakina was crying and saying:

“O horse! Do not take my father away. No, horse, no. You will not bring my father back. Since dawn, everyone who has gone to the battlefield has not come back. Please, horse, do not take my father away. I will not be able to live without my father. Please, horse, please.”

What a tragic scene. This is when Bibi Fatimah cries most. She knows how Husayn felt. Husayn loved Sakina very much.

Husayn got off his horse.

“My darling Sakina. Do not cry my love! Did you not give me permission to go? Sakina…….go, my darling, go. Go and recite duas with your auntie and mother. Your grandmother is waiting for me.

“Father, I am so used to sleeping on your chest every night. Tell me, father, how will I go to sleep without you. Father, one last request! Please let me lie down one more time on your chest, father.”

Husayn laid down on the sands of Karbala’. Little Sakina put her head on her fathers chest.

After a few seconds, Sakina got up and said:

“Go, father, go. Fi aman Allah, father.”

Husayn mounted his horse and headed for the battlefield. Thirsty, tired, wounded and heartbroken………

Husayn was not a coward. He was brave and strong. Husayn was the son of ‘Ali.

Husayn fought the battle with his greatest might.

One-by-one, Husayn killed the best warriors of Yazid.

The enemy were pushed back by the mighty Husayn.

Our great Imam fought like a lion. He was the best.

No-one dared come near our Imam.

Imam Husayn reached the banks of River Furaat. He saw ‘Abbas lying there.

“‘Abbas! My brother, ‘Abbas! Did you see me fight? ‘Abbas, did you see my Jihad? My brother, ‘Abbas, I wish you were with me. We would have fought the battle together, ‘Abbas.”

At that moment, Angel Jibrael appeared in the sky and said:

“O Husayn! Allah is very pleased with your bravery. Husayn! The time has come to put your sword down. Enough, Husayn, enough. Come to us, Husayn, we are waiting for you.”

Husayn heard Allah’s command. He put his sword down.

The enemies saw Husayn put his sword down. They attacked our Imam from all sides.

Arrows were shot at Husayn. Husayn was attacked with swords.

People who did not have arrows or swords, threw stones at Husayn.

Allahu Akbar! Our poor Imam……..With a thousand wounds…Bleeding…Blood gushing out of the wounds.

Husayn could not stay on his horse. He fell from his horse.

My fellow Husayni! Our Imam is covered with arrows.

Imagine his fall on the land of Karbala’!

He falls but his body does not touch the ground.

Husayn’s body rests on the arrow blades.

Enough! Enough! Enough!

A black slave from Yazid’s camp comes to Husayn.

He has a dagger in his hand. He wants to cut off Imam Husayn’s head from his Holy body. Imam Husayn looked at the slave and said:

“My friend, you look so much like Bilal, the Holy Prophet’s companion. Have you prayed the Dhuhr Salat (Prayer)?”

The black slave threw away the dagger and ran off screaming:

“What am I doing? How can I cut off this man’s head? Such a pious man He is dying but still remembers to remind me of Salat (Prayer).

Shimr, the most evil of Yazid’s men, walked to Imam Husayn. He had a big dagger in his hand. Imam made a request to him.’ “O Shimr, I know your intention. I beg of you to give me a little time to do two sajdah.”

Husayn did the first sajdah on the musallah of arrows:

“O Allah! All Praise is to You and You Alone!”

Husayn lifted his head and went down to perform his second sajdah.

Shimr did not let Imam Husayn lift his head from this last sajdah.

The earth trembled. The sky turned black.

Jibrael cried out:

“Husayn has been killed in Karbala’! Husayn has been killed in Karbala’!”

Bibi Zainab saw her brother’s head on a lance, She cried out:

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

Ya Husayn! Ya Husayn! Ya Husayn!

Majlis 10: Hazrat ‘Ali Asghar

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Tonight is the 10th night of Muharram. Tonight is the eve of ‘Ashura’. A very tragic night. A very sad night. The last night for the 72 martyrs of Karbala’.

The last night for brothers to be with their sisters. The last night for sisters to be with their brothers. The last night for fathers to be with their children. The last night for mothers to be with their children. The last night for little Sakina to be with her beloved uncle ‘Abbas and dearest father Husayn.

Indeed, a night never to be forgotten.

A night to shed more tears. A night to do more matam.

The Night of ‘Ashura’ on the Land of Karbala’

Mothers are sitting with their children. Umm Laila is with ‘Ali Akbar, Umm Farwah is with Qasim, Bibi Zainab is with ‘Aun- Muhammad.

What are these mothers of Karbala’ telling their beloved children?

They are preparing them for Jihad. They are preparing them to sacrifice their lives. Preparing them to die!

Why? Because they know Husayn is on the right path. The right path to save Islam!

Let us send our salaams to those mothers of Karbala’ for sacrificing their most precious for Islam.

‘Abbas the Alamdar! Like every night, ‘Abbas was guarding the camp.

Where was Husayn?

Husayn had gathered all his friends and companions in his tent.

“My friends, my companions, tonight is the last night. Tomorrow is the day of ‘Ashura’. Tomorrow is the day of Shahadat – martyrdom! None of us will be spared by Yazid’s soldiers.”

Imam Husayn continued:

“My friends, my companions, you have suffered enough. There is still time to save your lives. Escape in the darkness of the night. I will have no objections. I will forgive you. Go, my friends! Go, my companions!”

Imam Husayn blew the candles off. There was total darkness.

Anyone could have escaped without being seen or embarrassed.

After a while, Husayn lit the candles.

How many ran away? One? Two? Five? Ten?

No one! Why did they not run away to save their lives?

Because, my fellow Husayni, they had recognised the truth.

Because they knew Husayn was right.

Because they knew Husayn was on the true path.

Because they knew their sacrifice would save Islam.

Husayn was lucky to be blessed with true friends and best companions, – faithful, truthful and pious!

Our greetings to those 72 martyrs of Karbala’ for their great sacrifice for Islam.

Imam Husayn made the biggest sacrifice.

In one day, he sacrificed his brothers, nephews and children on the land of Karbala’.

He remained patient after seeing so many dead in one day.

Did Husayn complain?

No, never!

On the contrary, after sacrificing his 18 year old son ‘Ali Akbar he looked up at the sky and said:

“Ya Allah, give me more patience. Ya Allah, is there anything else I can give for Your sake?”

Allah’s will was Husayn’s command. Husayn was prepared and willing to sacrifice his family. He never prayed to Allah to save his family.

Instead he prayed for Patience! Patience! And more Patience!

Allah! What a big Heart Husayn had in Karbala’!

‘Aun – Muhammad had been killed. Qasim was trodden to pieces. ‘Abbas was lying on the bank of River Furaat. ‘Ali Akbar’s chest was torn open with a spear.

Is there anymore to sacrifice?

Tonight is the night of ‘Ali Asghar. The little Mujaheed – the little soldier and the youngest Shaheed.

‘Ashura’ came to the land of Karbala’.

One-by-one, Husayn’s friends and companions were martyred.

‘Aun – Muhammad, Qasim, ‘Abbas and ‘Ali Akbar went to the battlefield and were martyred.

By Asr time Husayn was left alone.

The time had come for Husayn to go to the battlefield. Husayn said Fi aman Allah to everyone.

Husayn, with his sword Zulfikar on his waist, mounted Zuljiana, his horse.

Husayn rode his horse to a small mount, he then called out loudly:

“Is there anyone to help me? Is there anyone to help the grandson of the Holy Prophet?”

With this call, the grandson of the Holy Prophet, was giving one last chance to Yazid’s men, the men who called themselves Muslims – the followers of the Holy Prophet.

Hypocrites! That’s what Yazid’s men were.

No one answered Husayn’s last call. But Husayn heard the sound of crying coming from his camp.

Husayn turned around and returned to his tents.

“Zainab, your brother is still alive. Why are you crying?”

“My brother Husayn, when you called out, “Is there anyone to help me?”, ‘Ali Asghar fell from his cradle.”

Husayn knew what ‘Ali Asghar was trying to say.

Husayn went to Umm Rubab. ‘Ali Asghar was on her lap.

He was crying and Umm Rubab was trying to comfort him.

Husayn picked up baby ‘Ali Asghar and whispered in his ear. ‘Ali Asghar stopped crying. He looked up at his father and smiled.

“Umm Rubab, I am taking ‘Ali Asghar to the battlefield with me so that I can get some water for him.”

What did Husayn whisper in ‘Ali Asghar’s ear? What made ‘Ali Asghar stop crying, and to smile? Husayn had whispered:

“My son, ‘Ali Asghar, do you want to come to the battlefield with me? Asghar, do you want to show your strength on the battlefield? Come, let us go, my little Mujaheed, my little soldier, Asghar.”

Umm Rubab changed ‘Ali Asghar’s clothes.

Imam Husayn carried ‘Ali Asghar to the battlefield. It was very hot. ‘Ali Asghar was thirsty. Husayn covered baby ‘Ali Asghar with his abaa, to protect him from the scorching sun.

Yazid’s men saw Husayn approaching with something in his hand.

“Look, Husayn is coming with the Quran. He has no one left to help him. With the help of the Quran he is hoping to win.”

Husayn walked to Yazid’s soldiers. By moving his abaa he uncovered ‘Ali Asghar.

He held ‘Ali Asghar high with both his hands and said:

“O soldiers of Yazid, you feel I have offended you, but what has this little child done to you? His mother’s milk has dried up. He has not had a drop of water for three days. He is dying of thirst. I beg you to give water to this innocent little child.”

Not one of Yazid’s soldiers brought any water for ‘Ali Asghar.

Once more Imam Husayn begged:

Maybe you think that when you bring water for this child, I will drink it too. I will put this little child on the ground. You can come and give him water yourself.”

Husayn placed ‘Ali Asghar on the burning sand of Karbala’.

‘Ali Asghar lay quietly on the hot sand of Karbala’. His turned his head and stared at Yazid’s men.

No water came for ‘Ali Asghar.

Husayn picked up ‘Ali Asghar and said:

“My son ‘Ali Asghar, my darling, you are too young to fight with a sword or a spear. My little Mujaheed, my little soldier, you are a grandson of ‘Ali. ‘Ali Asghar, fight your Jihad with your tongue.”

Little Asghar stuck his dry tongue out and moved it over his dry lips looking towards Yazid’s men. He fought Jihad with his tongue.

The little soldier shot a strange arrow – his dry tongue.

It hit the hearts of Yazid’s soldiers who had children of their own. They became restless. Some started crying.

They spoke amongst themselves:

“Husayn is saying the truth. What has this child done to us? Why is he punished like this? Let us give him some water.”

Umar Saad got worried that his soldiers will turn against him.

The little soldier’s fight was very effective. Little ‘Ali Asghar was fighting Jihad his way.

Umar Saad ordered his best archer:

“Hurmullah! What are you waiting for? Silence the little child! Don’t you know he is a grandson of ‘Ali? Hurry, shoot your arrow, before it is too late.”

Hurmullah aimed an arrow at ‘Ali Asghar. A small arrow for a little child? No! An arrow not with one head, not with two heads, but with three sharp heads.

Why? Why an arrow with three heads for such a small child?

My fellow Husayni! You will not be able to stop crying when you hear what happened next.

An arrow with three sharp heads flew across the desert of Karbala’. It was heading for ‘Ali Asghar. Husayn saw the arrow coming. He covered ‘Ali Asghar with his arms.

The arrow reached Husayn.

The arrow went through Husayn’s arm and lodged in the tiny neck of ‘Ali Asghar.

‘Ali Asghar died instantly.

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

Poor Husayn, the poor father, who came to get water for his little child.

Instead of water, ‘Ali Asghar got an arrow in his neck.

What shall Husayn do now? What shall Husayn do now?

Husayn gently pulled the arrow from ‘Ali Asghar’s tiny neck.

My fellow Husayni, put your hand on your heart and imagine the scene – a father removing an arrow from his child’s neck. What a tragic scene!

Blood gushed out from ‘Ali Asghar’s neck.

A voice came from the ground:

“No, Husayn, do not let ‘Ali Asghar’s blood fall to the ground, otherwise no crops will ever grow from this earth.” Husayn looked up at the sky.

A voice came from the sky:

“No Husayn, do not let the blood gush towards the sky, otherwise, no drop of rain will ever fall from this sky.”

What shall Husayn do now? What shall Husayn do now?

The sky is refusing, the earth is not happy to accept Asghar’s blood.

Poor Husayn wiped ‘Ali Asghar’s blood on his face.

Husayn started walking towards his tents.

He saw ‘Ali Asghar’s mother – Umm Rubab – standing by his tent. A mother anxiously waiting for her baby.

Husayn thought:

“How can I face Umm Rubab? What shall I tell her? How can I tell her that her baby has been martyred without water? How? How?”

Seven times, Husayn went forward and then turned back,


Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

He finally reached the tent where Umm Rubab was standing. “Rubab, come and take your ‘Ali Asghar. Rubab, your little soldier has died for the sake of Allah.”

Umm Rubab took her little child, ‘Ali Asghar. She hugged him and cried her heart out.

“Come with me Rubab. Enough, Rubab, enough. Let us bury our baby Asghar”

Husayn and Umm Rubab walked to the back of the tents.

Husayn dug a small grave with his sword, the Zulfikar.

Umm Rubab placed ‘Ali Asghar in the small grave.

My fellow Husayni why should we not cry tonight? Why should we not do matam tonight?

Have we ever heard of any other father and mother digging a grave and burying their own child?

Where can Husayn get water to sprinkle on ‘Ali Asghar’s grave? There is no water to sprinkle on ‘Ali Asghar’s grave.

Husayn sat by the grave crying.

Tears poured on the grave. ‘Ali Asghar’s grave was sprinkled with Husayn’s tears.

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

Majlis 9: Hazrat ‘Ali Akbar

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Tonight is the night of 9th Muharram.

It is the second night without water.

It is very hot in Karbala’. Children cannot sleep.

How can they? They are very thirsty and hungry.

The sound of “Al-Atash! Al-Atash! Al-Atash!” breaks Husayn’s heart.

What can Husayn do? He is patient.

For the sake of Allah, he is bearing it all.

More is to come. Husayn’s patience and sacrifice will be tested further.

On ‘Ashura’ day…….Husayn sacrificed all his faithful friends but remained patient.

‘Aun – Muhammad were killled. Yet Husayn remained patient.

Qasim was torn to pieces. Yet Husayn remained patient.

‘Abbas’ arms were severed. Yet Husayn remained patient.

How much can Husayn bear? How much more can he sacrifice?

My fellow Husayni for the sake of Islam, Husayn, our Imam, sacrificed the most precious thing in his life – His teenage son, his 18 year-old son – ‘Ali Akbar!

Tonight, my fellow Husayni, we will cry more and we will do more matam.

Bibi Fatimah will cry with us. Mawla ‘Ali will join us. Husayn will pray with us. Husayn and Zainab will cry with us.

Tonight, is the night of the teenage son of Husayn, the life of Husayn, the darling of Zainab and Umm Laila, the image of the Holy Prophet – Tonight is the night of ‘Ali Akbar!

The day of ‘Ashura’ unfolded on the land of Karbala’. It was Fajr time. Husayn called his son, ‘Ali Akbar.

“My son, ‘Ali Akbar, go and give the Adhan. ‘Ali Akbar I want to hear the voice of my grandfather. ‘Ali Akbar, you sound so much like your great grandfather, the Holy Prophet.”

“Allahu-Akbar, Allahu-Akbar..…..”

‘Ali Akbar’s Adhan echoed through the land of Karbala’.

‘Ali Akbar’s last Adhan…….It was no ordinary Adhan……..

It was filled with emotion…

Husayn began to cry. He remembered his grandfather.

All the ladies in the tents began to cry. Zainab burst into tears.

Everyone prayed Fajr Salat (Prayer).

Soon after, the battle of Karbala’ began.

One-by-one, Husayn’s companions went to the battlefield and were martyred.

‘Aun – Muhammad went. They were martyred too.

Qasim went. He was torn to pieces.

‘Ali Akbar and ‘Abbas helped Husayn, carry the bodies to the tent.

Sakina was thirsty. ‘Abbas went to get water. ‘Abbas did not come back.

Husayn is alone with ‘Ali Akbar.

Heartbroken. Full of grief! So many dead in one day.

How much can Husayn take? Enough – enough – enough.

No, my fellow Husayni more is to come. The greatest sacrifice in history, is to come……..

‘Ali Akbar – the life of Husayn – the teenage son of Husayn – the darling of Husayn – came to his father and said:

“Father, may I now have permission to go for Jihad?”

Allahu Akbar! My fellow Husayni, imagine the scene! Put your hand on your heart and think of what is happening?

A teenage son has come to his old father for permission to DIE! How does a father allow his teenage son – 18 years old – to die?

Poor Husayn! What does he do now? How does he allow his teenage darling son to die?

Husayn is helpless. His promise to Allah had to be honoured.

“My son, ‘Ali Akbar, go, you have my permission, but Akbar, my darling, go and ask permission from your mother. Go and ask permission from Zainab, your auntie who has brought you up. Go, son, go.”

‘Ali Akbar took permission from his mother, Umm Laila.

‘Ali Akbar then went to his auntie, Zainab.

“Auntie Zainab, tell me one thing. Whose life is more important? Your ‘Ali Akbar’s, or Bibi Fatimah’s son, Husayn’s?”

“My son, ‘Ali Akbar, I would sacrifice a thousand lives to save Bibi Fatimah’s son – Husayn’s life.

Then auntie, do not stop me. Grant me permission. No one is left to save Husayn. Let me go, auntie, let me go.”

“Bismillah, my son. Go my ‘Ali Akbar, go.”

‘Ali Akbar mounted his horse.

Husayn was crying. Umm Laila was crying. Bibi Kulthoom was crying. Zainab was crying.

“Fi aman Allah, mother. Fi aman Allah, father. Fi aman Allah, auntie Kulthoom. Fi aman Allah, auntie Zainab.”

‘Ali Akbar rode to the battlefield.

He heard footsteps following him. He stopped and looked back. What did he see?

His father Husayn, was following him.

With his hands on his back, Husayn was running behind ‘Ali Akbar.

“Father, where are you going? Please father, go back to the tent.”

“My son ‘Ali Akbar, I want to see you as long as I can. I will stop here, my son, but promise me, you will keep on looking back after every few steps. Akbar, my darling, your old father wants to see you as long as he can.”

‘Ali Akbar continued……He looked back every few seconds. Husayn was there watching him.

He reached the battlefield.

‘Ali Akbar fought bravely. He killed many well-known warriors.

‘Ali Akbar came back to his father.

“Father, did you see me fight? I wish uncle ‘Abbas was here to see me. Father, a few drops of water……., father, I am very thirsty. If I could just have a little water, I would send the entire army of Yazid to Hell.”

“My son. come near me. Touch my tongue. See if you can get some comfort from me.”

‘Ali Akbar touched Husayn’s tongue.

“Father, your mouth is much drier than mine. Father, you must be more thirsty than myself.”

‘Ali Akbar returned to the battlefield.

Umar Saad ordered his soldiers to kill ‘Ali Akbar.

While a few soldiers together attacked ‘Ali Akbar, one crept up to him and thrust a spear into ‘Ali Akbar’s chest.

Allahu Akbar! The spear penetrated Akbar’s chest. The handle broke. A sharp blade stuck into Akbar’s heart. He felt faint.

‘Ali Akbar fell off his horse. He cried out:

“O Father, accept my last salaam to you.”

‘Ali Akbar did not call his father to come to see him.

Husayn was alone and ‘Ali Akbar did not want to bother his old father.

Husayn rushed to the battlefield.

“My son, my darling, my ‘Ali Akbar, where are you? Speak to your father, my son. Akbar….. Akbar…. My darling… Where are you?”

Husayn saw his son, ‘Ali Akbar. His son was lying on the sands of Karbala’ with both his hands on his chest.

‘Ali Akbar was taking his last breaths.

Poor Husayn! What shall Husayn do now? A father facing his teenage son, dying!

He placed ‘Ali Akbar’s head on his lap.

“My son, ‘Ali Akbar, my darling, ‘Ali Akbar, why are you covering your chest? My son, is your chest hurting? Let me look at it, my son.”

“No, father, no! Don’t remove my hands from my chest. You will not be able to bear it, father.”

Husayn gently moved ‘Ali Akbar’s hands.

Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar! What did Husayn see?

What did a father see?

The blade of the spear stuck deep into ‘Ali Akbar’s chest. ‘Ali Akbar was in a lot of pain.

What shall Husayn do now? What shall Husayn do now?

Husayn put both his hands on the blade and looked towards Najaf. He cried out loudly:

“Baba, Ya Mushkil Khusha! Help Me!… Baba! It was easy for you to pull out the gates of Khyber… Baba! It is difficult for me to pull out the blade from my son’s chest…… Baba! Help me, Baba!”

With a cry of “Ya ‘Ali”, Husayn pulled the blade out.

Blood gushed out of ‘Ali Akbar’s chest. Husayn was covered with his son, ‘Ali Akbar’s blood.

‘Ali Akbar took his last breath.

What does Husayn do now?

“‘Aun – Muhammad, help me carry your brother’s body. Qasim, help me. ‘Abbas, I need your help. Where are you, ‘Abbas?”

Husayn was alone. How does he carry ‘Ali Akbar’s body?

Husayn alone could not carry ‘Ali Akbar’s body.

He put ‘Ali Akbar’s hands around his neck…..

Husayn carried his 18 year old son’s body with great difficulty.

‘Ali Akbar’s feet dangled, touching the sand of Karbala’.

Poor Husayn! So much patience! So much sacrifice!

As he reached the tent……..he cried out:

“Z-A – I – N – A – B……..Help me, Zainab. Take our ‘Ali Akbar.”

“U-M-M-E – L-A-I-L-A…….Help me. Take your darling….

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

Matam al-Husayn!

Majlis 8: Hazrat ‘Abbas

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Tonight is the night of 8th of Muharram.

Surely tonight, we will shed more tears. We will do more matam.

Tonight is a very tragic night, it is the night of Hazrat ‘Abbas.

‘Abbas! Who was ‘Abbas?

‘Abbas, the Captain; ‘Abbas, the Commander; ‘Abbas, the brave and strong warrior; ‘Abbas, the Alamder – flag bearer; ‘Abbas, the faithful brother; ‘Abbas, the guardian of Umm Kulthoom and Bibi Zainab; ‘Abbas, Sakina’s dearest uncle; ‘Abbas, son of Ummul Baneen; ‘Abbas, the lion son of ‘Ali.

‘Abbas was like his father, ‘Ali. He had all the qualities of his great father. ‘Abbas was brave, strong, wise, loving, obedient and faithful.

His father, ‘Ali, on his dying bed, gave ‘Abbas’ hand to Husayn said:

My son ‘Abbas, Husayn is the son of Bibi Fatimah. ‘Abbas, you are my son. ‘Abbas, Husayn is your master. You are Husayn’s slave. ‘Abbas, take care of Husayn.”

Since that day, ‘Abbas had fulfilled Husayn’s every wish like a faithful slave.

‘Abbas treated Husayn like his master.

He always treated Bibi Kulthoom and Bibi Zainab with great respect.

He followed Husayn like a shadow.

‘Abbas was with Husayn in Karbala’.

Husayn knew ‘Abbas was like their father, ‘Ali, a brave and strong warrior.

He would tell ‘Abbas:

“My brother ‘Abbas keep your sword in its place. Don’t take your sword out to fight. We have come to save Islam. ‘Abbas, we have come to teach true Islam. We will teach Islam – not with our swords but with our character. Patience ‘Abbas, patience”

When Yazid’s men pulled out Husayn’s tents from the river bank, ‘Abbas became very angry. He pulled out his sword and wanted to fight there and then. Husayn said:

“No ‘Abbas, no! Be patient. We have not come here to fight, ‘Abbas.

Imagine a warrior like ‘Abbas, asked not to pull his sword out, after being treated so badly. That needs great patience.

‘Ashura’ came. ‘Ali Akbar gave his last Adhan. Everyone in Husayn’s camp prayed Fajr Salat (Prayer).

The battle of Karbala’ began. One-by-one, Husayn’s companions went to the battlefield and were martyred.

Everytime a body was brought to the tent, ‘Abbas went to Husayn and said:

Master, now allow me to go to the battlefield. Enough, Master, enough. Let me go and fight those beastly men, Master.”

Every time, Husayn calmed ‘Abbas down by saying:

“No ‘Abbas, no! How can I let you go? You are the captain of my army. You are my right hand man, ‘Abbas. You are mu support, ‘Abbas. Where would I be without you, ‘Abbas? No ‘Abbas, no.”

‘Abbas’ three brothers went to the battlefield and were martyred.

‘Aun – Muhammad went to the battlefield and were martyred.

Qasim went. His body was trampled and torn to pieces,

‘Abbas became very restless and could not take it anymore. Somehow, he must get permission.

‘Abbas walked to Umm Kulthoom and Zainab’s tent and then turned back.

He knew they won’t let him go.

‘Abbas walked to Husayn’s tent several times and back again. How could he persuade Husayn to let him go?

‘Abbas is restless. ‘Abbas wants permission to fight.

Just then, little Sakina, with her mashk, came to ‘Abbas. “Uncle ‘Abbas, look at my mashk. It is very dry. Al-Atash, uncle. Sakina is very thirsty, uncle ‘Abbas.”

‘Abbas thought of a way to get permission from Husayn.

He picked up little Sakina and went to Husayn’s tent.

‘Abbas sat in front of Husayn, with Sakina on his lap.

‘Abbas didn’t have to say anything.

Husayn looked at ‘Abbas and then at Sakina and her mashk.

Husayn understood ‘Abbas’ expression.

“‘Abbas, how can I say no, now? You have brought Sakina with you. Go ‘Abbas, go. Go and fill Sakina’s mashk with water.

One request, ‘Abbas, leave your sword with me!

Remember, ‘Abbas, you are not going to the fight. You are just going to get water for Sakina.”

‘Abbas gave his sword to Husayn. He kissed Sakina and put her down. He said:

“Sakina, pray for me, pray that I get water for you.”

‘Abbas then went to Zainab.

“Sister Zainab, give me permission to go to the battlefield.”

“Brother ‘Abbas, I used to hear that my hijab would be looted. ‘Abbas, I used to say, how dare could anyone snatch my hijab when I have eighteen brothers. Now ‘Abbas, that you are going, I believe that my hijab will really be looted.”

‘Abbas went to the battlefield.

In one hand ‘Abbas carried the Alam of Husayn’s army and in the other he held a spear and Sakina’s mashk. He had no sword to fight but had a spear for protection. He headed for River Furaat.

Yazid’s soldiers saw ‘Abbas coming. They had seen ‘Abbas fight and knew he was like his father, ‘Ali. They were scared,

The few who dared to attack ‘Abbas were killed by his spear.

‘Abbas reached the river and filled Sakina’s mashk.

He then asked his faithful horse to drink water. The horse looked towards Husayn’s camp and seemed to say:

“Master, are you sure that the water will reach Sakina? Master, how can I drink when Sakina and ‘Ali Asghar are thirsty? Let us first give them water, and then I will drink some.”

‘Abbas, with his Alam in one hand and his spear and Sakina’s water-filled mashk in the other, rode back.

Umar Saad, Yazid’s commander, ordered his men to stop ‘Abbas taking water to Husayn’s tents.

The enemies surrounded ‘Abbas. They fired arrows from all directions.

‘Abbas was hit with many arrows. He was bleeding.

Just then, a soldier came from behind and struck his sword on ‘Abbas’ shoulder. ‘Abbas gripped the mashk with his teeth, as his arm and spear fell to the ground.

Another soldier came and struck his sword into ‘Abbas’ other shoulder. The Alam and the other arm fell to the ground.

Imagine, ‘Abbas on his horse – No arms – holding Sakina’s mashk between his teeth.

Water must reach Sakina. ‘Abbas, still had the strength to go on.

Sakina’s mashk is still filled with water.

An arrow was shot. It hit Sakina’s mashk. The water began to pour out.

Poor ‘Abbas lost all his strength as the water poured out from Sakina’s mashk. He fell from his horse and cried out:

“Master, come to me. Master let me see you for the last time.”

Husayn heard ‘Abbas. He was heartbroken. With his hands on his back he cried out:

“Son, ‘Ali Akbar, my back is gone. My support is gone. My Alamdar is gone.”

Husayn and ‘Ali Akbar rushed to the battlefield.

Husayn saw his brother lying on the ground.

Imagine how Husayn felt when he saw his brother lying on the ground – covered with blood, both arms severed.

He placed ‘Abbas’ head on his lap.

My brother, ‘Abbas? You are leaving me too. ‘Abbas, what will I do without you? My support, ‘Abbas, I am finished without you. My brother ‘Abbas, can I do anything for you?”

“Yes, Master. When I came to this world, I saw your face first. Now, as I am going from this world, Master, I would like to see your face for the last time.”

‘‘Abbas, why can’t you see me?”

“Master, my eyes are covered with blood.”

Imam Husayn cleaned ‘Abbas’ eyes. ‘Abbas gazed at Husayn.

“‘Abbas, I have a wish too. All your life you have called me Master. Once, brother ‘Abbas, just once, call me brother.”

‘Abbas said:

“Husayn, my brother, do not take my body to the tents. I am ashamed of myself. I don’t want Sakina to see me. I don’t want my sisters Kulthoom and Zainab to see me like this. I don’t want Kulthoom and Zainab to cry.”

‘Abbas took his last breath and died on Husayn’s lap.

Poor Husayn? What should he do now?

Husayn picked up the Alam and tied Sakina’s mashk to it.

Sakina saw the Alam coming. She shouted:

“Children, come children. My uncle ‘Abbas is coming with water. I will give all of you water. Come children, come.”

Husayn reached the tent. He cried out:

“Z-A-I-N-A-B…….Help me, Zainab…….The Alam has come……But the Alamdar has not…”

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

Matam al-Husayn!

Majlis 7: Hazrat Qasim

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Tonight is the night of 7th Muharram. Our Muharram majaalis continues. We shall shed more tears for Karbala’. We will continue our matam. We will give money in the name of Hazrat Qasim. Volunteers will serve the mourners of Karbala’.

Tears! Matam! Donations! Volunteers!

Bibi Fatimah is watching all of us. Everyone will be rewarded on the Day of Judgement.

Our tears, our matam, our donations, and our volunteer work for Husayn will not be wasted. Husayn will reward us. Bibi Fatimah will protect us. Allah will be pleased with us.

Husayn, his companions and his family are in Karbala’.

The 7th of Muharram is a very tragic day in the event of Karbala’.

On this day, water was stopped from reaching Husayn’s camp. It was very hot in Karbala’. As the days went by, the children became very thirsty.

The cry of, “Al-Atash! Al-Atash! Al-Atash!” became more frequent.

Tonight is the night of Shah Qasim, the 13 year old son of Imam Hassan and Umm Farwah.

‘Ashura’ came to the land of Karbala’.

‘Ali Akbar gave the Fajr Adhan. Everyone prayed the Fajr Salat (Prayer).

One-by-one Husayn’s companions went to the battlefield and gave their life for Islam. They all became Martyrs! Shaheed! Shaheed Al- Karbala’!

By Zuhr time, Imam Husayn was left with only his family, ‘Aun-Muhammad. Qasim, ‘Ali Akbar and ‘Abbas.

The companions of Imam Husayn whilst they were alive did not let Imam Husayn’s family go to the battlefield.

No one was left now.

‘Aun – Muhammad were keen to help their uncle save Islam. They went to the battlefield and never returned.

Qasim took permission from his mother, Umm Farwah, to fight.

Then he went to his uncle, Husayn to ask for his permission to fight.

How can Husayn give permission to his brother’s son to die? How can he allow a young child to die?

“Qasim, you are young. You are the only child of your mother. Qasim, you are my brother’s son. I have promised my brother to look after you. My darling Qasim, you are the image of my brother. You remind me of Hassan. No, Qasim, no. I cannot allow you to die.”

Qasim was very disappointed. He went to his mother for help. His mother reminded him of the taveez his father had tied to his arm.

Qasim opened the taveez, and placed inside found a letter for Husayn. Qasim was pleased to see the letter. He took the letter to his uncle, Husayn.

Husayn read the letter from his brother, Hassan:

“Brother Husayn, a day will come when Islam will need to be saved by sacrifice. Husayn, I will not be alive on that day, however my son, Qasim will be there. It is my wish that Qasim should represent me on that day.”

“My dearest Qasim how can I stop you now. Go, Qasim, go.” He took Qasim to Bibi Zainab.

“Zainab, bring me Hassan’s abaa and his turban.” Husayn dressed Qasim with Hassan’s abaa (cloak) and turban.

“Zainab! Look at Qasim, doesn’t he look handsome? He looks just like our brother Hassan.”

Tears flowed from Husayn’s and Zainab’s eyes as they remembered their brother.

Husayn then dressed Qasim with the battlefield uniform and gave him the weapons.

A young child with adult weapons! Qasim was so young that his sword touched the ground as he walked.

He could not mount his horse on his own. ‘Abbas, his uncle helped him mount the horse.

The young fighter Qasim rode to the battlefield. A rider whose feet did not reach the stirrups, the foot straps on the horse, but he was keen to save Islam.

He was the young son of Hasan, the grandson of ‘Ali and he was trained by ‘Abbas.

Qasim fought gallantly, he fought a battle history will never forget. The enemy could not overpower him. One of Yazid’s cowardly soldiers came from behind and hit Qasim on the head with a sword.

Qasim was covered in blood.

The young Qasim, thirsty for three days, could not take it anymore. He fell from his horse. As he fell he cried out;

“O, Uncle! Come Quickly!Help me, Uncle!”

Husayn and ‘Abbas rushed to the battlefield.

Dreadful events then took place. The enemies of Islam thought that Husayn and ‘Abbas were coming to attack them. They got scared. There was confusion.

Horses ran from one side to another, from here to there! From there to here!

The horses ran over Qasim, who was lying wounded on the ground. He got trampled on.

Husayn and ‘Abbas were searching for Qasim.

My darling Qasim, where are you? Qasim! speak to your uncle. Qasim! Qasim! Where are you my son?”

Qasim could not reply. Qasim had stopped breathing.

When the enemies withdraw, what did Husayn see?

Qasim was not in one piece. The horses had trodden on him and torn him to pieces.

Imagine Husayn’s feelings! His brother, Hasan’s son lying trampled into pieces.

Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar!

What shall Husayn do now? What shall Husayn do now’?

Qasim torn into pieces! His arms and legs scattered on the sand of Karbala’.

Husayn took off his abaya and spread it on the ground. He gathered the pieces of Qasim’s body and placed them on his abaya.

He then tied the abaya into a bundle.

‘Abbas helped Husayn carry Qasim’s trampled body.

When Husayn reached the camp, he cried out:

“Z-A-I-N-A-B! Help m Zainab. My heart is broken, Zainab. I have no strength left to carry Qasim’s body to the tent. Zainab, ask Amma Fizza to help you take Qasim to the tent.”

The ladies cried and did matam for Qasim.

“Ya Qasima! Ya Qasima! Ya Qasima!”

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

Matam al-Husayn!

Majlis 6: ‘Aun & Muhammad

Surah al-Fatiha
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Today is the 6th night of Muharram.

Our majaalis continue. Insha’Allah, our eyes will shed more tears for the martyrs of Karbala’.

We will do more Matam al-Husayn.

“Husayn! Karbala’! Matam! Majaalis!”

When these words echo from the walls of our mosque, a lady in black hijab joins us. She is Bibi Fatimah. She watches us. She cries with us. She collects our tears.

Cry! Cry for Husayn! Inshallah, our tears will not be wasted. Our tears for Husayn will become our weapons against the hardships in our grave and on the Day of Judgement.

Husayn is in Karbala’. He hardly has 72 men with him. They are not all grown up adults. Some of Husayn’s men are children. ‘Aun and Muhammad, Bibi Zainab’s young sons are there. ‘Aun is only 13 years old. Muhammad is only 11 years old.

Tonight is the night of these two children, ‘Aun – Muhammad.

First, let us send our greetings to those mothers of Karbala’ who sacrificed their children for Islam. Lucky are those mothers of Karbala’ whose children willingly and happily sacrificed their young lives for Islam.

Tonight, let us first comfort those mothers of Karbala’ who were proud to sacrifice their children for Islam.

Mothers of Karbala’! Mother of ‘Aun – Muhammad, Bibi Zainab; mother of Qasim, Umm Farwah; mother of ‘Ali Akbar, Umm Laila; mother of Al Asghar, Umm Rubab.

Mothers of Karbala’ were proud of their children. They loved their children. Of course, like any mother they had the heart of a mother. A mother loves her children the most.

“Why then, did the Mothers of Karbala’ let their children die in Karbala’?’

They knew Husayn was on the Right Path. They knew their sacrifices would help save Islam and us from the Fire of Hell.

Mothers of Karbala’ squashed their motherly love and sacrificed their children for Husayn – for Islam!

How can we, the Husayni, ever forget those Mothers of Karbala’?

Why shouldn’t we cry and do matam for the Mothers of Karbala’ and their children ‘Aun – Muhammad, Qasim, ‘Ali Akbar and ‘Ali Asghar.

Majaalis al-Karbala’ will never die. Matam al-Karbala’ will never die. Yazids of yesterday have failed to stop it.

Yazids of today will not be able to stop it. Yazids of tommorrow may try thousands of times to crush it, but Majaalis al-Husayn, Matam al-Karbala’, will not die. Allah Himself has promised to keep the name of Husayn alive till the Day of Judgement.

Let us now focus our minds on Karbala’.

Days and nights of Muharram unfolded on the land of Karbala’.

The night of the 9th of Muharram came. ‘Ashura’ night, a very tragic night and the last night of the martyrs of Karbala’.

No-one in Husayn’s camp slept on ‘Ashura’ night.

Men spent the whole night praying, reciting duas and the Holy Quran.

Mothers of Karbala’ were preparing their children.

The next day was ‘Ashura’ day. The day of the battle of Karbala’.

What were the mothers telling their children? To be careful? To hide and save their lives?

No! They were telling their children to sacrifice their lives.

They were telling them to die! Didn’t they love their children? Or course they did! They had the heart of a mother. They were proud of their children. They loved their children very much. Then why were they telling their children to sacrifice their lives? To die?



Because, Allah would be pleased with them!

Now, let us listen to what the mothers of Karbala’ were telling their children on the right of ‘Ashura’.

Umm Laila is with her son, ‘Ali Akbar.

“My darling son, ‘Ali Akbar, tomorrow is the day of the battle. My son, ‘Ali Akbar, remember your life is not more important than the life of your father. Your father’s life will be in danger tomorrow. My darling, don’t hesitate to give your life to protect your father’s life.”

Umm Rubab is with her baby, ‘Ali Asghar.

“My baby Asghar, I wish you were a young man. I would have sacrificed your life to save your father’s life.”

Umm Farwah is with her son, Qasim.

“Qasim! My son, my darling. If your father was alive today, he would have sacrificed his life first. My daring, don’t embarrass me in front of your father on the Day of Judgement. Qasim, my son, do not hesitate to sacrifice your life to protect your uncle’s life.

Umm Kulthoom, Imam Husayn’s sister, was sitting alone, weeping.

‘Abbas, her brother, heard her crying. He came to her tent.

“My sister, Kulthoom, why are you crying? What’s the matter?”

“‘Abbas! Tomorrow is the day of sacrifice. I have no children to sacrifice.”

“My sister, Kulthoom! Don’t cry. ‘Abbas is still alive. Tomorrow I will sacrifice my life as a gift on your behalf. I will be your sacrifice,”

Bibi Zainab is with her two sons, ‘Aun – Muhammad.

“My sons, ‘Aun – Muhammad, tomorrow is the day of battle. Your uncle, Husayn’s life will be in danger. My darlings, if anything happens to Uncle Husayn, while you are still alive, I will be filled with shame. My ‘Aun – Muhammad, I will not be able to face your grandmother, Bibi Fatimah, on the Day of Judgement. Please, my dearest sons, don’t let me down. Be the first ones to sacrifice your lives.”

‘Ashura’ came.

‘Ali Akbar gave the Adhan. Imam Husayn led the Fajr prayers.

The day was already very hot. The battle began.

Imam Husayn’s army of 72 thirsty and hungry men, against 20,000 of Yazid’s men.

Hurr went to the battlefield and was martyred by Yazid’s beasts.

One-by-one, Husayn’s companions went to the battlefield and were killed.

Since dawn, Bibi Zainab was watching the bodies being brought to the tent – one-by-one.

She called her sons, ‘Aun – Muhammad.

“My sons, what are you waiting for? Why have you not been to the battlefield yet? Go and fight the enemies of Islam.”

“Mother, since dawn, we have been to Uncle Husayn many times for permission to fight. He keeps refusing us. Mother, you help us. Ask Uncle Husayn to give us permission to fight Jihad.”

Bibi Zainab called her brother, Husayn, to her tent.

“Brother Husayn! I have been like a mother to you, haven’t I? Husayn, your mother is begging you to let ‘Aun – Muhammad go to the battlefield.”

“Zainab, my sister, Jihad is not wajib on children. How can I let my sister’s sons be killed while I am still alive? No, Zainab, no!”

“Husayn, my brother! If ‘Ali Akbar dies before ‘Aun- Muhammad, how will I be able to face our mother on the Day of Judgement. My brother, I will be filled with shame. Please, brother! Let them go.”

Husayn saw the disappointment on Zainab’s face. Her eyes were filled with tears.

Husayn put his arms around ‘Aun – Muhammad and led them to their horses. He kissed them and helped them mount their horses.

“Go, go and show those beastly men that you have the blood of Ja’far and ‘Ali in your veins.”

‘Aun – Muhammad looked at their mother and said:

“ Fi aman Allah, mother! Fi aman Allah, mother!”

“Fi aman Allah, my sons.”

‘Aun – Muhammad rode out on to the battlefield. They fought bravely together. They were the grandsons of Ja’far and ‘Ali. They pushed the enemies back. Hundreds of Yazid’s men were killed.

‘Abbas and Husayn watched the two brothers fight so fiercely despite being thirsty for three days. ‘Abbas, who had trained ‘Aun – Muhammad in the art of sword fighting, was filled with pride.

Umar Saad, Yazid’s commander, got worried. He ordered his soldiers to separate the two brothers and then attack them from all sides.

‘Aun – Muhammad were separated. Each one was then surrounded by Yazid’s soldiers.

The two brothers were attacked by horsemen running from one side to another. ‘Aun – Muhammad were attacked with arrows, swords, spears and daggers from all sides.

How much can two young children, thirsty and hungry for three days take? As they fell, they called out for their uncle.

‘Uncle! Came quickly! Uncle, come and help us.”

Husayn and ‘Abbas rushed to the battlefield.

The children were severely wounded. They were taking their last breaths.

“Uncle, give our salaam to our mother. Uncle, please tell our mother that just as she had told us, we did not go towards the river”.

Imam Husayn and ‘Abbas carried the two young bodies to the tent.

‘Ali Akbar cried out:

My brothers, ‘Aun – Muhammad, have been killed.”

Zainab heard the cry from her tent. She did not cry. She laid her muslah and performed a sajdah.

Ya, Allah I thank you for accepting my sacrifice. Ya, Allah! I am proud of my two sons who have given their lives for Islam!”

‘Aun – Muhammad’s bodies were laid on the floor. The ladies gathered around. They cried and did matam.

“ Ya ‘Aunna, ya Muhammada! Ya ‘Aunna, ya Muhammada!”

Zainab did not cry. She did not do matam for ‘Aun- Muhammad.

Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilaih Raja’oon!
We are from Allah and to Him we will return!

Matam al-Husayn!