Islam's Gifts To The World - Light of Islam


Islam stands for harmony and perfectibility with an
unmatched depth and breadth of scope that comprises all
aspects of spirit and life. It knows all the roads that
lead to blessing and happiness. It has the cure for human
ills, individual and social, and makes them as plain as
the wit of man can devise or comprehend. It sets out to
develop all sides of each person:
and therefore perforce includes every reality which
impacts human existence. It has not given way, in its
doctrine of man, to modern errors or corrupt
institutions. It does not set man in God's place. To do
so is to leave man with only himself to rely on in all
his pride and egotism: or else to reduce him to the
slavery of being a beast of burden for his fellows,
powerless, will-less, helpless before nature's and
matter's tyrannies. This is precisely what modern
heresies do with man. But Islam vindicates man's unique
nature vis-a-vis all other living creatures, affirming
that he is a special creation with a lofty calling all
his own.

Islam holds that a man's personality does not cease to
exist with death, but is continuous and eternal.
"Worldly" and "other-worldly" are an
indivisible unity. Body and soul can therefore not be
dissolved into disparate elements. Islam, on these
grounds, presents both worlds in shining terms. It both
trains a man for eternity and also finds the guiding
principles for its public institutions on earth in the
sublime destiny inherent in man's creation.

Eternity dictates universal principles, unchanging and
unchangeable. These Islam proclaims as tenets,
convictions, commandments, statutes, in its school of
contentment, in its thrust for progress. It offers man
the perfection of freedom for thought, for concern, and
for exegesis of the divine law on matters of social
necessity. It reverts to first principles which provide
the sure and unshifting basis of rock-bottom truth in all
the chances and changes of this mortal life.

Islam holds that man has certain characteristics which
are his link with the material world and certain others
which connect him with realities that are non-material
and which motivate desires and aims of a more sublime
nature. Body, mind and spirit each has its proper
propensities. Each must be duly weighed, so that what one
of these indivisible elements desires does not conflict
with the desire of another. Islam takes all the elements
and facets of human nature into account and caters for
the compound essence of man's combined material and
spiritual propensities. It draws him upward towards the
highest without cutting his roots in the material. It
demands absolute purity and chastity without denying the
flesh and its needs. Its current flows from pole to pole
over a network of live wires - convictions and
regulations which preserve the integrity of all the
innate human instincts while rejecting the Freudian
doctrine of total freedom which treats man as nothing but

Islam is not a mere set of ideas in the world of
metaphysical speculation : nor did it come into being
simply to order man's social living. It is a way of life
so comprehensively meaningful that it shapes education,
society and culture to heights none other ever aimed at.
It forms a supreme court of appeal and rallying-point for
East and West alike, and offers them an ideology which
can answer their divisive materialisms. It can replace
their inequities and contradictions with a more
universal, more perfect and more powerful idea.

Islam does not concede priority of any kind to
material affluence or to hedonistic comfort as basic for
happiness. It finds its principles in an analysis of
man's true nature. With these principles it constructs a
plan for individual , social and international living,
framed by fixed and all embracing moral standards, aimed
at a goal for humanity far loftier than the modern world'
s limited materialist aims.

Islam does not imprison man in the narrow confines of
the material and the financial. It sets him in a spacious
and expansive air. There morality, principle and the
spirit reign. Its statutes are those which spring from
the nature of man himself. They encourage mutual help and
team-work. They pursue values outside the straitened
boundaries imposed on individual and on community by the
petty pusillanimous pedestrian patterns of materialist
purposes. Instead it yokes man's strength and striving to
the change, advance, progress and perfecting inherent in
his creation.

Islamic training sets out to refine and enhance human
qualities and to harness them to right and reasonable
objectives which direct and dictate every forward step to
the desired end. It focuses a man's motives, which arise
from his natural desires and basic needs, in such a
concentrated and streamlined beam that each talent is
called in to exercise its function in due succession and
order. Impetuous uncoordinated impulses are thus
controlled so that no single instinct overrule
commonsense nor momentary urge replace reason. Instead
man is made master of his fate and captain of his soul.
Excess is obviated and every person is accorded his or
her legitimate share in the common triumph of all. In
this employment every need of body, mind and soul is met
and satisfied.

Whenever in history individuals have united in
harmonious pursuit of such aims, persons and communities
have found themselves. "What is right" has
ruled thoughts, conduct and character; human living has
been orderly and secure. Reason dictates this training,
and calls to a religion with convictions
superstition-free, canons practical, statutes feasible
and excellencies virtuous. The God-given human
intelligence intuitively and logically perceives their

No man is asked to perform a task above that which he
is able. But his powers are put at full stretch. Every
possibility within him is expressed to the full. And each
is, at doomsday, judged; then the fire itself shall prove
each man's work of what sort it is.

and Political Theory

Modern political theory exalts "the general
will" Democratic government attempts to put that
general will into practice by making law out of the
policy voted for by «'the majority" (which need
only be 51%) leaving null and void the will of the
minority (which may be that of as many as 49% of the
voters). The minority is thus not "free" at
all, even though in some cases its will may be sensible,
and in the circumstances right. But '«Government by the
Will of the People" will never voluntarily strip off
the sanctity and splendour with which it has endowed
"the general will", giving that concept
precedence over all other material and spiritual values.

Islam, on the other hand, gives precedence to the Will
of the Lord of this world, rather than to the
uncontrolled inclinations and sentiments of a majority of
humans. Islam refuses to strip the Godhead of control of
the legislative and jurisdictional power Islam's
conception of Godhead and of divine government is wide
enough to comprise everything that goes to make up human
life everywhere on this planet. This makes Islam man's
unrivalled guardian. It demands total obedience to its
statutes on the ground that these are God-given and that
therefore no human being has a right to allow his own
desires to dictate any action in breach of these statutes
and rules of life.

How can God be proclaimed worthy of total commitment
by people who arrange their lives on precepts deriving
from other sources than God Himself? No person dare claim
divine authority for a partner for God, nor substitute
another lawgiver for Him. Islam's aim is to champion
truth and right in everything in human society, since
truth does not specialise exclusively in social,
political and financial matters but also clothes the
stature of man himself in its most beautiful vestments.

The human physique is fearfully and wonderfully made.
So are the rules and rights that govern human living.
No-one can claim a complete knowledge of all the
mysteries of man's make-up, or of the complicated social
structure it generates. For this structure comprises the
specialised areas of the body and the spirit of all its
individuals as well as of all their relationships with
each other Nor dare anyone claim to be innocent of sin,
of a shortcoming, a fault or an error. No-one is aware of
all the elements which go to make up human happiness and

Despite all the devoted efforts of scientists to
penetrate the mysteries of human being, the area they
have succeeded in covering is still extremely limited. To
quote Dr. Alexis Carrel again ("'Man, the
Unknown" p.4): "'Mankind has made a gigantic
effort to know itself. Although we possess the treasure
of the observations accumulated by the scientists, the
philosophers, the poets, and the great mystics of all
times, we have grasped only certain aspects of ourselves.
We do not apprehend man as a whole. We know him as
composed of distinct parts. And even these parts are
created by our methods. Each one of us is made up of a
procession of phantoms, in the midst of which strides an
unknowable reality."

Without insight into the human make-up man cannot
frame laws 100% suited to the human condition, nor justly
cure the troubles that arise : witness the bewilderment
of legislators, their constant alteration of their own
statutes in face of today's new problems and unexpected
blind alleys. Motives of personal advantage,
self-interest, profit, ambition, power, and even of
environmental predilections, intrude to distort the
legislators' outlook consciously or unconsciously.
Montesquieu said of legislation that "none is ever
wholly objective and impartial, for the personal ideas
and sentiments of the legislator influence his
drafting". Thus Aristotle, because he was jealous of
Plato, influenced Alexander to denigrate his great

Modern slogans of "Liberty and Equality" and
"the Public Will" are empty words used by
politicians to win support for their laws, laws which in
fact represent the interests not of the masses but of the
landowners and capitalists.

Henry Ford wrote of England, which boasts itself
"the Mother of Democracy". "We cannot
forget the 1926 general strike or the way the government
tried to break it with every means in its power.
Parliament, tool of the capitalists, proclaimed the
strike unconstitutional and illegal, and turned police
and army out against the strikers with bullets and tanks.
Meantime the media of radio and press declared the
government to be the servant of the workers, a plain
subterfuge contradicted by the fines imposed on the trade
unions and by the imprisonment of their leaders as soon
as the opportunity offered."

Khrushchev declared in the 22nd Supreme Soviet
Congress: "In the era of the personality-cult (i.e.
under Stalin) corruption infiltrated our Party's
leadership, government and finances; produced decrees
which trod the masses' rights underfoot; lowered
industrial output; filled men with fear in their work;
and encouraged sycophants, informers and

Thus both Eastern and Western systems of government
falsely appear in the guise of the public will,
Parliamentary rule, representation of the masses: while
capitalism and communism alike frame inequitable laws
because they neglect the heavenly decrees which establish
fast what is best for man.

and Legislation

Jean Jacques Rousseau wrote ("Social
Contract" Book II: Chapter 6: "The

"To discover the rules of society that are best
suited to nations, there would need to exist a superior
intelligence who could understand the passions- of men
without feeling any of them, who had no affinity with our
nature but knew it to the roots, whose happiness was
independent of ours but who would nevertheless make our
happiness his concern, . . . in fact a divine lawgiver is

By these standards the most competent legislator is
the Creator of man Himself, He knows all the mysteries of
man's being, makes no profit out of any human society,
and needs no man. Hence the principles which can shape
equitable social regulations must be learnt from a person
who receives direct guidance from the Creator, whose
teachings are the inspired revelations of that unique
Source, and who is wholly reliant on that Infinite

Human laws aim only at the ordering of human society.
They do not stray outside those limits, nor touch
non-social matters like personal conditions, attitudes of
mind, spiritual excellence. They do not try to cure
internal pollutions within the personality. It is only
when personality problems issue in social disorder in
action that they enter the scope of legal measures. A
person may be filthy in thought and spirit and still good
in the eyes of Western law, which looks only upon outward
acts and not upon the heart. Islam with its wide outlook
aims not just at redressing what has been done wrong but
primarily at putting individual and society right from
inside, regarding the ethical personality as the basic
unit, and its perfecting as the priority. Islam aims at
an orderly society composed of sound morals, sane
thinking, sensible action, serene psyches. It therefore
legislates for the inner life of the individual in as
much detail as for the outer life of society. It brings
order and congruence between large and small in creation,
the natural laws and the spiritual, the material and the
metaphysical, the individual and the social, creeds and
philosophies. It helps man not to come into collision
with the natural laws which underlie the orderliness of
the universe; disobedience to which collapses and
confounds all human affairs.

Man-made institutions pursue performance of the law.
but in Islam the trustee for the law's performance is a
deep-rooted faith; and a Muslim duly performs his
obligations by the force of morality and faith, even in
matters where he is seen by no one save by God alone.
Armed force is only needed to control the tiny minority
of criminal-minded hypocrites. Islam thus pays due regard
both to inner purity of heart and to outward purity of
action. It calls those deeds good, laudable and
meritorious which spring from sincerity and faith.

USA's Attorney General, in his introduction to his
book on Islamic Law , wrote: "American law has only
a tenuous connection with moral duty. An American may be
accounted a law-abiding citizen even though his inner
life is foul and corrupt. But Islam sees the fount of law
in the Will of God as revealed to and proclaimed through
His Apostle Muhammad. This Law: this Divine Will, treats
the entire body of believers as a single society,
including all the multifarious races and nationalities
which go to make it up in a far-scattered community. This
gives religion its true sound force and makes it the
cohesive element of society. No bounds of nationality or
geography divide, for the government itself is obedient
to the one supreme authority of the Qur'an. This leaves
no place for any other legislator,. so that no
competition or rivalry or rift can arise. The believer
regards this world as a vale of soul-making, the
ante-room to the next : and the Qur'an makes perfectly
plain what are the conditions and laws which govern
believers' behaviour to each other and towards society;
and thus makes the changeover from this world to the next
a sure and sound and safe transition."

Despite Westerners' small acquaintance with Islam, and
their often mistaken ideas, far removed from reality, a
comparatively large number of their thinkers grasp some
of the depth and profundity of Islamic teaching and do
not conceal their admiration for its clear exegesis and
estimable doctrines.

A Muslim scientist's respect for Islam's laws and
ordinances is no surprise. But if a non-Muslim savant,
despite his slavery to his own religious bigotry, yet
recognises Islam's grandeur and greatness and its lofty
leading, that is a real tribute, especially when it is
based on a recognition of the progressive nature of
Islam's legal systems and their legacy to mankind. This
is why this book quotes foreign verdicts on Islam. We do
so, not because we need their support, but because they
can help to open the road for seekers and enquirers so
that who reads may run its way.

Dr. Laura Vacciea Vaglieri, Naples University
professor, wrote: "In the Qur'an we come across
jewels and treasures of knowledge and insight which are
superior to the products of our most brilliant geniuses,
profound philosophers and powerful politicians. How can
such a book be the product of the brain of a single man -
and that of a man whose life was spent in commercial, not
particularly religious, circles - far removed from all
schools of learning? He himself always insisted that he
was in himself an ordinary simple man like other men,
unable, without the help of the Almighty to produce the
miracle of such work. None other than He whose knowledge
compasses all that is in heaven and earth could produce
the Qur'an."

Bernard Shaw in his "Muhammad, Apostle of
Allah" said: "I have always held the religion
of Muhammad in the highest esteem simply from the marvel
of its living vigour. To my mind it is the sole religion
capable of success in mastering the multifarious
vicissitudes of life and the differences of culture. I
foresee (it is manifest even today) that, man by man,
Europeans will come to adopt the Islamic faith. Mediaeval
theologians for reasons of ignorance or bigotry pictured
Muhammad's religion as full of darkness, and considered
that he had cast down a challenge to Christ in a spirit
of hatred and fanaticism. After much study of the man, I
have concluded that Muhammad was not only not against
Christ, but that he saw in Him despairing mankind's
saviour I am convinced that if a man like him would
undertake leadership in tile new world, he would succeed
in solving its problems, and secure that peace and
prosperity which all men want."

Voltaire, who at the beginning was one of Islam's most
obdurate opponents and poured scorn on the Prophet, after
his 40 years of study of religion, philosophy and history
frankly said: "Muhammad's religion was
unquestionably superior to that of Jesus. He never
descended to the wild blasphemies of Christians, nor said
that one God was three or three Gods were one. The single
pillar of his faith is the One God. Islam owes its being
to its founder's decrees and manliness; whereas
Christians used the sword to force their religion on
others. Oh Lord! if only all nations of Europe would make
the Muslims their models."

One of Voltaire's heroes was Martin Luther. Yet he
wrote that "Luther was not worthy to unloose the
latchets of Muhammad's shoes. Muhammad was a great man
and a trainer of great men by his example of virtue and
perfection. A wise lawgiver, a just ruler, an ascetic
prophet, he raised the greatest revolution earth has

Tolstoi wrote: "Muhammad needs no other claim to
fame than that he raised a barbarous bloodthirsty people
out of their diabolical customs to untold advances. His
Canon Law with its intelligence and wisdom will come to
be the world's authority."

and Ideologies

Our world is split into two blocs. They hold
contradictory ideologies, each backed by its own
scientists and savants who, in a spate of pamphlets and
books, prove it right and its opponents wrong. Each
claims to be the sole sure road to happiness, and says
its adversary is the sole cause of confusion and

Both cannot be right. Both may be wrong! Each may be
missing a vital point. Yet both have made large
contributions to human progress through the brilliance of
some of their scientists and technologists. Progress in
one field is no proof of equal progress in every field of
human life, any more than an individual's possession of
one set of talents indicates a competence in all
occupations. An outstanding physician is not ipso facto a
brilliant musician! Nor does technological advance ipso
facto imply equal advance in thought, wisdom, religion,
government, morality .

Dr. Alexis Carrel writes ("Man, the Unknown"
p. 27 and 28) : "The applications of scientific
discoveries have transformed the material and mental
worlds. These transformations exert on us a profound
influence. Their unfortunate effect comes from the fact
that they have been made without consideration for our
nature. Our ignorance of ourselves has given to
mechanics, physics and chemistry the power to modify at
random the ancestral forms of life. Man should be the
measure of all. On the contrary, he is a stranger in the
world that he has created. He has been incapable of
organising this world for himself, because he did not
possess a practical knowledge of his own nature. Thus,
the enormous advance gained by the sciences of inanimate
matter over those of living things is one of the greatest
catastrophes ever suffered by humanity The environment
born of our intelligence and our inventions is adjusted
neither to our stature nor to our shape. We are unhappy.
We degenerate morally and mentally. The groups and the
nations in which industrial civilisation has attained its
highest development are precisely those which are
becoming weaker, and whose return to barbarism is the
most rapid."

The perfection and subliminating of man in a whole
series of different areas requires a body of sound and
universal teachings based on realities of human life and
free of all faults and errors. Such is only to be found
in the teachings of the prophets of God to whom
revelation was granted concerning the origins of the
world's being.

Morality, to rely on sanctions higher than the natural
and to be inspired by what is beyond the material, must
build solely on fundamental and basic instructions.

From the moment that man was set upon the globe and
laid the groundwork of civilisation, a cry rose to heaven
from his inward depths.

This cry we call religion. Its truth is indissolubly
connected with a moral order.

Inhumanity, faction, inequity, tyranny, war, all
testify to the truth that governments and their laws have
never sufficed to control the sentiments and beliefs and
feelings of man nor to establish an order of justice,
happiness, peace and quietude in society. Science and
knowledge can never solve the problems of human life nor
prevent its derailment except in alliance with religion.

Will Durant, American sociologist and philosopher,
writes in his "Pleasures of Philosophy"
(pp.326/7): '"Has a government such power in
economic and ethical matters to preserve all the heritage
of knowledge and morals and art stored up over
generations and woven into the warp and woof of a
nation's culture? Can it increase that heritage and hand
it on to posterity? Can a government, with all the modern
machinery at its disposal, bring the treasures of science
to those depressed classes who still think of scientific
utterances as blasphemy and witchcraft? Why is it that
such small men govern America's biggest cities? Why is
our administration conducted in such a way as to make one
weep over the lack of noble policies and true patriotism?
Why do corruption and deception enter into our elections
and make havoc of public property? Why has government's
basic task dwindled today to an attempt merely to prevent
crime? Why do governments not seek to understand the
causes of war and the conditions of peace? Churches and
families ought to undertake the imposition of
civilisation on such governments."

Western society can only continue to tolerate moral
confusion and its ways of destruction because of its
limited powers to take reform into its own hands. But the
continuation of this state of affairs already tolls a
warning bell. Peril lies close at hand, for civilisation
stays stable only so long as there is a balance between
ends and means, between authority and aspiration. When
this equilibrium breaks down, such violence ensues that
no goodness can stop it. It rushes headlong to an
inevitable disruption. You will find no nation throughout
human history which survived the corruption of indulgence
and permissiveness.

Rome perished. The glory of Greece collapsed. France,
because of the indulgent lives of its citizens, turned
soft and gave way to the first Nazi assault. One of their
most famous generals himself wrote that the reason for
their weakness was the inner erosion of character.

Spengler foresaw the downfall of Western civilisation
and said that other lands would in the future see great
cultures arise. Perhaps the East will be one of the first
to return to its ancient heritage. This will not come by
worshipping at the false shrine of misguided
civilisations. But the decline of one civilisation can
awaken men to the divine plan and inspire them to follow
it; and so, by means of this sublime truth, to found an
entirely new social life on sound foundations.

and Nationhood

Today, alas, the symptoms of an inferiority-complex
over Western industrial prowess and its deadly
consequences mark everything in Eastern nations' life.
Many a Muslim is so impregnated with Western ideas that
he wishes to see everything through Western spectacles,
in the belief that progress demands manners and morals,
laws and legislation, which copy Western styles. This
total surrender welds the ring of slavery in our ears. We
spread the red carpet of our self-respect, our material
and moral wealth, our religious and national heritage of
good-breeding, before their feet. This is what saps
Muslim nations' strength, both physical and spiritual.
Muslims they may be: but they have lost the art of
thinking on Islamic lines, cast aside their Muslim
outlook on world events, alienated themselves from
Islam's creed and culture, and want to Westernise all
Muslim ways. Mankind's greatest problems are not those
which can be solved in the laboratory.

Shall a foreign force prevent our taking our place in
civilisation's caravan? Suppose we follow neither the
capitalist nor the communist trail. Suppose perfect
social justice rules the interior of our land, and wins
us an international regard, restoring our ancient
prestige amongst the assembly of national governments.
Might this not save us and mankind from further horrors
of wars?

Why do we not let our religion's laws and statutes
solve our internal problems? If it can prevent us
occupying the seat of a beggar at the table of humanity,
and instead install us as masters in that house to the
benefit of all, is this a small thing? Can a rich and
generous giver turn beggar? Can a man born to command
turn submissive, cringe and crawl as an inferior, and
give up his right to choose the road he knows is proper?

Our inherited treasures have blessed humanity in the
past. Neither West nor East dare disregard that fact, and
despise us as backward and helpless, however much they
strive to turn our confidence into confusion and our hope
into hopelessness, so that we fall easy prey. Our long
experience over three thousand years of history has left
us tired. We have culled habits, thought, laws, manners
from here and there over centuries, and donned them in
indiscriminate combination, so that we make ourselves
more like figures in a ridiculous carnival procession
than the dignified personalities that we should be,
wearing our own national garb with distinction and
consuming our national dishes with conscious nobility.

Take our present constitution. We first copied French
models : then those of other European nations were added
; and later, on each occasion when new legislation was
called for, sought our mould in some other place again,
so that there is an endless conflict between the spirit
of the laws which we have borrowed from outside, and the
national spirit for which the laws are made. As a result,
a transgressor of the law gains national renown,
hero-worship, and help unstinted in every way. Why?
Through ignorance in the community? Not so! For the
educated do not respond to the laws. No! It is the
inconsistency between the national spirit and the
borrowed laws, unrelated to social needs, historical
antecedents, national consciousness, personal convictions
that emerged from an environment entirely alien to the
spirit of our people. Each borrowed law came from a
community with its own history, religion, needs and
peculiar realities. Yet none of them can even give a
wholly positive answer to its own people, as continuous
insurrectionary conditions show.

Professor Hocking of Harvard in "The Spirit of
World Politics" writes: "Islamic lands will not
progress by merely imitating Western arrangements and
values. Can Islam produce fresh thinking, independent
laws and relevant statutes to fit the new needs raised by
modern society? Yes! - and more! Islam offers humanity
greater possibilities for advance than others can. Its
lack is not ability - but the will to use it. In reality
the Shar'iya contains all the ingredients needed."

Iran's national daily "Keyhan" on 14th Dey,
1345 reported: "Yesterday, anniversary of the
martyrdom of the Imam Ali, all Tehran practised Islam's
laws 100%. Result: - no crimes; forensic offices
unemployed; no murders; no violence; no ripple on the
calm surface; borough officers and police untroubled by
any calls; even family quarrels within the homes were
quickly hushed in reverence for the martyred Leader of
the Faithful."

The Persian "Reader's Digest" (No. 35, Year
25) corroborated this, saying. "The average number
of corpses in Tehran mortuaries on any one day of last
year was 6 - fewer of course on religious holy days and
more on some other days. Last week's anniversary (Dey
13th) of Ali's martyrdom was total peace - a proof of the
persistent strength of religious conviction, and of the
calm and sanity society attains on days when sale of
alcohol is banned and amusement houses are closed."
Such is the result of Muslims practising their religion's
laws for 24 hours. Could a single Western city report, if
not 24 hours, even 60 minutes, without an accident, a
theft or a murder? When will mankind attain the adult
maturity to learn the simple lesson from which so easily
comes the peace, the quiet, the unity that all want? It
is plain serendipity for us for, in the poet's words,

"I round the globe in search of Heaven did

Returned, and found my Heaven was here at home."

and Economics (1)

Man has always had to wrestle with the task of
exploiting nature's resources to extract his livelihood
therefrom. In the primitive centuries, as Aristotle said,
life organised itself socially "to make it possible
to live: and continued, to make it possible to live
well." In the last four centuries a "science of
economics" has been deduced from the statutes
regulating human relations and the exchange of goods
which developed through this social organisation. Faced
with the vast expansion of a technology and affluence,
this "science" has broken into two opposing

On the one side "Capitalism" or "free
enterprise" believes that nature should take its
course in economics, so that an enlightened self-interest
causes the genius of some finally to level out to the
benefit of all. This is the doctrine for which the
Western bloc stands.

On the other side "Communism" holds that the
means of production must be controlled by a proletariat
state, so that a just and equal sharing of all the
benefits of human endeavour is imposed on society.

The rivalry for absolute power between these two
ideologies hangs over the modern world with a menace like
the sword of Damocles.

We must ask Marxists whether their "classless
society" can be ensured by the single measure of
making the means of production joint property and
abolishing a moneyed class, when in fact a diversity of
classes exists arising from other than economic causes.
While in Soviet Socialist Republics no bourgeois
propertied class exists, other classes distinguished by
occupational and environmental differences do exist: e.g.

factory-workers, agriculturalists, civil servants,
clerks, party officials and numberless others. Do
physician and nurse receive equal pay? Or navy and

There are yet other differences amongst people which
exist in reality- Lenin's "reality in which we have
to orient ourselves." People differ in age, sex,
inclinations, tastes, physical strength, appearance,
reasoning powers, ideas and outlooks.

A Soviet economist recently wrote
("Economics" Vol. 2, p.216): "It is
impracticable to impose absolute equality right across
the board. If we were to pay professors, thinkers,
politicians and inventors exactly the same as manual
workers, the only end-result would be the abolition of
all incentives to brainwork of any kind."

Capitalism claims that only by private enterprise and
personal property can an economy be achieved such that
the standard of living of all classes constantly rises
and the difference between rich and poor constantly
diminishes. Against this claim must be set the report of
an enquiry arranged by Walter Reuther, President of the
U.S.A. United Auto Workers Union, in his capacity as
chairman of the "American Society to Combat
Hunger." This committee affirms that ten million
Americans suffer from undernourishment; and asks the
president of the republic to declare a state of emergency
in 256 cities, situated in 20 of the states, where the
danger is most grave. As causes of this undernourishment,
the committee cited the aftermath of World War II coupled
with a number of defects in America's internal economy
The Secretary of Agriculture took extreme measures to
purchase from abroad and commandeer from within all
foodstuffs he could lay hands on to fill the gap (UP).

We are bound to ask, therefore, how far any regime,
whatever its claims, has succeeded in equalising the
classes, eliminating differences and building a sound and
just society?

Both Socialist and Capitalist regimes base their
systems on theories which are reverenced without any
regard to moral and spiritual values. The aim of each is
to increase affluence, and nothing more.

Islam's philosophy reverences the whole man in his
world setting. It orders society's material behaviour and
benefits, while at the same time legislating for moral
virtues, spiritual perfections, and a higher standard of
living. By this it means, not simply the material, but
the mental, the spiritual, the moral, the altruistic, the
philanthropic standards which enable all men to live each
for all and all for each.

Western law supports property-rights and gives
preference to those of capitalists over those of workers.
Soviet law, in their own words, exists to strip the
individual of all property rights and to extirpate
capital as a personal possession, giving preference to
the workers' group throughout. Both systems are grounded
in human reasoning and judgment.

But Islam's law is grounded in Divine Revelation. Its
legislation is not a human expedient. It does not set
class against class; but helps each group to respect the
excellence of other groups. Dictated by the Lord of all
creatures for the general good and for the good of all,
it permits no class to lord it over others nor allows
injustice to break in. A ruler is in it only an ordinary
person with a particular set of duties, himself under
law, wielding power solely to ensure that the Divine
commandments are obeyed in society. Since confidence
reigns that God's Law is sovereign, peace and quiet

Islam on the one hand opposes Capitalism's doctrine
that the rights of property-ownership lie outside the
limits of state control, and its permitting "free
enterprise" to exercise aggression and tyranny of
the stronger over the weaker in an exaltation of the
rights of the individual to the detriment of the rights
of society as a whole: and, on the other hand, does
regard the sanctity of property as a fundamental.

Prosperity is the stone on which independence and
freedom are built within a social order. The common good
must be the regulating principle governing personal
ownership of property. Islam therefore equally opposes
the Communist total rejection of private enterprise and
property, which entrusts the key of bounty to the state,
reducing the individual to so subordinate a position that
he is left with no intrinsic value in himself as a
person, being regarded as a state tool - a stomach for
the state to fill and thereafter exploit, as a farmer
does his horses and cattle.

Communists hold that private property is not natural
to man. They aver, without advancing evidence to support
the thesis, that the first communities of primitive man
held all things in common in cooperation, love and
brotherhood, neither did any man say that aught that he
had was his own. The human "community" started
as communist with everything in common and parted to each
as his need required. The claim to personal ownership of
anything, they contend, only developed by slow degrees
until it reached the terrifying excesses it manifests in
today's world.

Their utopian "Golden Age" is, alas, a
pipe-dream : for the facts show that personal ownership
is not a result of the development of acquisitive
tendencies in a particular environment. Property is
coeval with the appearance of man on earth: it is as
germane to human nature as all the other innate urges,
and no more to be denied than they are. Modern economists
say that the universal sense of ownership of property,
which is found in every tribe on earth and in every
epoch, can only be explained if it is a primal instinct.
Man wants to be the sole master of the goods that
minister to his needs, in order to feel truly free and
independent. Further, a man feels that goods which owe
their existence to the hard work of his hands are in a
way an extension of himself, deserving of the same
respect as he demands for the integrity of his
personality. Finally, he feels the inner urge to build up
a store to ensure his future and that of his family,
developing thereby a thrift and economy which make him
lay up a provision against a rainy day: This store he
thereafter guards jealously as "his own". The
community's wealth grows with the increase in private
property and productivity, for a social unit subsists by
the industry of its individual members. The incentive to
hard work lies in its rewards in personal ownership and
in increased ease of living. Wherefore society must
concede to the individual the right to own what his toil
has created, since society's own welfare is itself a
product of that toil.

Islam, with its practical and realistic approach to
man as he is, recognises the importance of the urge to
own as a creative factor for all social progress; and
therefore legislates to secure a man possession of all
that his hand has won for him by proper and lawful means,
regarding his productivity as the guarantee of his right
to ownership.

Islam rejects the contention that oppression,
exploitation and violence are inevitable concomitants of
private ownership; for they only appear where the
legislative power is held by the richest class, and by
them, as in Western lands, directed solely to the
protection of their own interests. Since Islamic Law
derives solely from the supreme overarching Authority of
God, it is wholly impartial : so no law can be devised by
it with the aim of protecting the rich or injuring the
poor. From its inception, Islam has recognised private
property, but always only under such conditions that
violence and oppression are ruled out of court. Islam
holds that it is wrong to wrest factories out of the
hands of those who founded them and who, by patient
endurance of hardship and toil, built them up to give
labour to many, goods to society, and, of course, also
profit to themselves. For Islam holds that such resort to
violence in removing the means of production from the
hands of men of initiative is injurious to social
security and to respect for the rights of the individual.
It discourages the spirit of invention and initiative and
enterprise. Nonetheless the government can and should so
control the administration of great industries and the
establishment of factories that social justice, equity in
profit, public benefits and the government's own finances
are properly cared for.

In sum, Islamic economics gives joint primacy to both
individual and community. It equably balances the
interests and rights of these two elements by
guaranteeing a free economy while safeguarding the
freedom of the individual member and the benefit of the
whole community simultaneously by certain reasonable and
necessary regulations on private ownership. The urge for
such ownership it recognises as innate, and therefore
germane to human nature, so that the only limits which
may be imposed upon it are those dictated by the general
interests of the whole society, which of course contains
the best interests of each single member. Islam regards
the instinct to possess as an incentive divinely
implanted to inspire men to hard work for the improvement
of the means of livelihood and of their increased
production: yet regulates the expression of this
incentive with conditions that obviate violence,
oppression, exploitation, extortion and other forms of
misuse of freedom. These conditions safeguard the
interests of society and are limits on individual
independence in no way injurious to liberty, since both
communal living and individual freedom must impose those
limits on behaviour which will guarantee the survival of
both individual and community. and must therefore outlaw
profiteering, embezzlement, malversation, hoarding,
miserliness, avarice, usury, forcible seizure of other
people's property and all similar criminal and
anti-social methods of amassing capital.

and Economics (2)

Economic historians tell us that at its inception the
capitalist system was simple and beneficent : but that
the habit of granting loans at interest step by step grew
to its present harmful excess. With this came the
bankrupting of small concerns and their amalgamation into
huge complex companies and financial structures. Islam
labels such usury '"sin", as it does also the
crises of boom and slump inseparable from the system.

Islam has legislated for a payment of
"Zakat" (the Poor Rate) of 20% on capital gains
by the rich for the support of the indigent. This helps
to level out differences, to draw economic extremes
closer together and to curb excessive piling up of
wealth. Another Islamic regulation with the same aim and
same results is the government's right to tax wealth for
national finances, since Islam holds that God has put His
good gifts into this world for the benefit of all, as may
be seen by the forests, reedbeds, pastures, desert lands,
mountain ranges, mines.*

Estates, too, become public either through the
intestacy of a deceased owner or because they are paid as
fines in restitution; so that they are as much the
property of all as God meant all things to be. Islam's
testamentary laws also curb undue accumulation of
property in the hands of one family from generation to

The conditions, therefore, by which Islam limits its
respect for the rights of private ownership, are those
which are dictated by the need to assure that the
individual's privileges never menace the wellbeing of the
Islamic community. Therefore, in emergency or disorder,
the just Islamic government can employ the legal powers
put at its disposal both to avert dangers which threaten
the future and also so to administer society as to meet
the needs of the Muslim masses, any time it sees fit.

A country's land may not fall into the possession of a
small handful of proprietors. Indigence and malnutrition
of the masses may not be ignored. These points are fixed
principles, frankly and firmly, faithfully and
forcefully, propounded by Islam. The Faith condemns the
injurious intrusion of modem capitalist practices into
the Muslim world and bans the greed and avarice which
lead to enslavement, war and imperialism.

In the Qur'an it is written (Sura
59-"Al-Heshr"-"The Gathering of
Troops" verse 7 in part): "The dispositions we
have revealed for the distribution of property . are
ordained that capital may not merely circulate round the
group of capitalists amongst you."

In addition to the legal enactments which ensure the
correct use of finances and resources by punishing
transgressions, Islam also brings entirely new motives to
bear, as our Qur'anic quotation hints, by directing men's
aspirations towards God. It therefore streamlines their
conduct within the confines of the road that leads to
Him. This road has moral fences on either side over which
the aspirant desires not to stray. The road is paved with
philanthropy, affection, and sentiments of charity and
self-sacrifice, which mean that no Muslim will
voluntarily be a party to courses of action which lead to
injustice to others. Thus the individual's conscience
refuses to pile up excessive capital, and the employer
refuses to use tyranny or oppression to compel his
workers to produce.

This lofty spiritual challenge, directed towards
helping the individual come to a knowledge of God and so
to love of his neighbour, is deeply planted within the
conscience, so that a man finds his pleasures and his
treasures in pleasing his Creator; and these excel all
other values for him.

In truth it is the decline of faith today, and the
diminution of belief in doomsday and judgment, which led
to the greed and cupidity and maleficence and the forms
of injustice and oppression which we see around us.
Unless men's relationships are right with God, their
relationships will not be right with one another. A
revolution of conscience produces a revolution in the
soul, in society, and in the world. Such is the lesson of
history in practice, as well as the doctrine of religion.

The same considerations apply to the ideology of
Communism, and it will be readily seen that Islamic lore
is superior to both the Western and Eastern materialist

Modern philosophers like William James, Harold Laski,
John Strachey, Walter Lippmann, criticise Communists'
total abrogation of personal and social affairs in favour
of the state authority, saying that the individual's
personality and initiative are suffocated in such an
ambience. While on the other hand capitalist democracy
over-emphasises individual freedom to the detriment of
social progress. This creates an oligarchy of the rich,
making them masters of the means of production and
turning all men into slaves of economics. From opposing
angles they come to a common conclusion that individuals
must impose an inner discipline on themselves if they are
to enjoy true freedom, contradictory as that may seem,
and that the welfare of society depends upon the
responsible exercise by its members of that
self-disciplined freedom. What is their conclusion other
than a restatement of the doctrine which Islam has been
preaching for 14 centuries? It is time that the lessons
of history, the conclusions of the philosophers and the
doctrines of religion were made the guidelines for the
conduct of men and communities everywhere.

In AD 1951 the Paris College of Law devoted a week to
the study of. the Islamic "Feqh" (Canon Law).
They called in experts from Islamic lands round the world
for elucidation of particular points, e.g.:

1. Islamic Canon Law on property;

2. Conditions for filing deeds of exchange on property to
preserve the welfare of society and the public;

3. Criminal responsibility;

4. The reciprocal influence of Islamic faith and Canon
Law on each other.

The head of the Parisian Lawyers' Society chaired the
conference and summed up at the end thus: "Whatever
our earlier ideas about Islamic law and its rigidity or
incompetence in documenting transactions, we have been
compelled to revise them in this conference. Let me sum
up the new insights - new I think to most of us - the
conference has given us, in this week devoted
particularly to the Feqh, Islamic Canon Law. We saw in it
a depth of rock-bottom principle and of particularised
care which embraces mankind in its universality and is
thus able to give an answer to all the emergencies and
events of this age. In our final communique we say.
'Islam's Canon Law should be made one of the formative
elements of all new international legislation to meet
present-day conditions, since it possesses a legal
treasure of stable universal value which fits its Feqh,
amongst the modern welter of religious views and
pronouncements, to cope with the exigencies imposed by
the new forms of living arising in the modern


* The arid sunbaked expanses of the Islamic belt
of territory which stretches from the Mauritanian
Atlantic coast nearly 6,000 miles through the Soviet
Muslim Republics of the Western Gobi, can support only a
scant human population, while the paucity of vegetation
forces a nomad migratory way of life upon
livestock-owners, if they are to find pasturage. Hence
our author's list of the publicly owned benefits of God's
gifts : while his omission of sunlight and rain. which
are natural in the thought of Westerners as free for all,
are not mentioned because that belt has always too much
sunshine and too little rainfall (Translator's note)

and Intellectual Advance

Most Westerners are ignorant of the debt their
civilisation owes to Islam, even for modern industrial
transformation, scientific advance and philosophical

Islam came into the world in the bosom of one of the
most backward of peoples. In a very short time it had
raised those tribes to pre-eminence in every field.

Its greatest miracle was its appearance as a fullgrown
adult of the spirit in so degraded and poverty -stricken
an environment.

Its second miracle was the raising of that
environment, by sheer force of inspiration, without any
extraneous aids, to an unmatched destiny.

Its third was to create a cultural focus from which
strong waves radiated, stimulating renascence in other
peoples of every background throughout the world.

The changes it wrought compose history's greatest
revolution so far, a revolution in sense and sensibility,
in thought and intellect, in relations of individuals and
communities, and indeed in every department of human

By the end of its first millennium Islam stretched
from the Atlantic coast of Africa in the west to the
Great Wall of China in the east, from the Mediterranean
to the Sahara in Africa. In Spain its troops took first
Andalusia, then all Spain up to the Pyrenees, and even
penetrated the south of France as far north as Tours. All
the "Jezirat-ul' Arab" was of course Muslim.
From Muslim Iran and Afghanistan other troops took Sind,
the Punjab and the Gobi - and this within a few short

In all its dominions the principles worked out in the
Arab homeland were applied to the new societies under its
sway. In particular its justice, equality and
brotherhood, humane fruits of its meticulous care for the
individual and his place in society, which are the
distinguishing marks of Islam, set their stamp on the
communities over this entire vast area.

The first task was the overthrow of tyrannies : the
second was the establishment of sound Islamic rule and
respect for human rights : the third was the illumination
of intellect, research and thought: the fourth was the
propagating of the faith by its calm appeal to reason and
logic and by its profundity and breadth of vision: the
fifth - and perhaps the most glorious because the most
anonymous-was the infection of other nations, of all
creeds and none, with its own superior moral, mental and
spiritual outlook.

This last achievement not merely raised the general
level of peoples of every religion throughout the world,
but also drew many proselytes to itself from the
idolaters of Arabia, the animists of Africa, the Magians
and Zoroastrians of Iran, and the Christians of Egypt and

Pre-Muslim Arabia had no trace of culture, no science,
no erudition, no economics; for geographical reasons
Arabs lived in penury and squalor, the prey of
superstitions, isolated from world currents. Islam
changed all that, and went on to open the hearts and
brains of men everywhere to new possibilities.

In far-off Andalusia a school of scholars, writers,
mathematicians, scientific researchers and philosophers
arose, inspired by Islam to revive the level of thought
reached by the Greeks 1500 years earlier, and to move on
up from there to heights never before touched by man.

Modern scholars in every country,. even those whose
prejudices would make them prefer to maintain a critical
and hostile attitude to Islam, more and more draw
attention to the speed of the spread of the Muslim faith,
to its beneficent results for mankind's prowess in
thought and study, and the progressiveness of the ideas
which it brought to other stagnant civilisations.

It should be noted by all our "progressives"
everywhere, that this brilliant advance for all humanity
was the concomitant of a moral self-discipline, of an
eschewing of the dissipation which follows upon loosing
the reins of passion, and of a deliberate control of the
creative instincts, which channelled them into works of
artistic, intellectual, and social creativity worthy of
mature human beings. This inner discipline, which man
needs, promotes the inner freedom he desires; and it is
one cause of Islam' s wide dominion over the minds of men
of the early Middle Ages. For it offered not merely
sounder outward forms of living but reassurance to the
inner core of the spirit. It abolished the wild
persecutions brought about by purblind bigotry and by
narrow-minded fanaticism.

It was for this reason that the Sultan Kemal-ul-Mulk,
nephew of Saladdin, talked as man to man, and as scion of
the same spirit, to Francis of Assisi when the Saint
crossed the lines from the camp of the Crusaders under
King Louis, whom the Muslims had halted before Damietta.
It was the same universal humanity which caused the vast
contrast between Omar's merciful treatment of the
Christians in Jerusalem when he conquered it, and the
barbarous massacre of Jerusalem's Muslim inhabitants by
the European Crusaders who took it back for a brief
period 300 years later. Islam replaced such savagery with
a constitutional rule, a humanely regulated society, an
overarching philosophy embracing all mankind.

In Europe's Dark Ages, while the Church established
its power over the different nationalities, and fettered
them in restraining bonds in a status quo, Islam was
building up a many-sided culture which laid the basis for
that flowering of science, knowledge, and artistic and
technological creativity which is called the
"Renaissance". This was while the Church was
condemning Galileo for confirming Copernicus' theory of
the orbiting of the earth round the sun, and forcing him
to his famous recantation: "I, Galileo Galilei, in
the 70th year of my age (1633 AD), on my knees before
your Reverences (the Pope and Bishops) with the Holy
Scriptures before my eyes, take them in my hands and kiss
them while repenting and denying the foolish claim that
the earth moves, and regard that claim as a hateful
heresy," even while he muttered rebelliously sotto
"Eppure si muove".

Yet 500 years previously our own great astronomer and
mathematician Omar Khayyam of Nishapur (floruit 2nd half
of 11th century AD, when William the Bastard was
conquering England) had provided Iran with the Jalali
Calendar which to this day enables us to start our new
year not merely on the day, but on the exact hour,
minute, and second that the earth terminates one orbit
and starts another round the sun at the vernal equinox!
How few Westerners know this! They think of him as a
poet, though he was an indifferent one, but do not
realise that if they had picked up his wisdom they might
have avoided all their Gregorian alterations of the
Julian calendar, and the loss of their "11

Roger Bacon (1214-1292 AD) the Franciscans'
"Doctor mirabilis", was in the reign of Edward
I of England compelled to give up the experimental
research into science to which his lectures in Paris on
Aristotle's works and in particular on the " Liber
de Causis" had led him', and was driven out from
Oxford back to Paris to be kept under the Church's eye-an
eye too narrow and bigoted to see the wealth of the
scientific treasures he was offering them. He was
arraigned as a dabbler in devilish and satanic alchemy:
and the mob was incited to yell for this sorcerer's hand
to be cut off and this Muslim' (!) to be exiled."

Nowadays European and American historians and scholars
all recognise and relate the fundamental contributions
made by Islam to all modern advances in science,
mathematics, technology, philosophy, in many ways of
which this brief chapter has only been able to touch the


No better evidence of the passion of Islam for the
spread of erudition, from its very inception, can be
given than the words of the Prophet himself who said,
after the battle of Badr and the Muslims' victory, to the
huge crowds whom they had taken prisoner, that any of
them who wished to buy their freedom but had no cash for
a ransom could employ their literacy as their resources;
and any polytheist who trained ten Muslims to read and
write should win freedom. His pronouncement was put into
practice; and it was thus that a large number of his
original adherents were started on the road of education.

His nephew and successor, the Imam Ali, on whom be
blessing, declared that the spreading of science and
knowledge and culture and intellectual ability was one of
the merits to be coveted and achieved by every Muslim
government. In the record of his words it is reported
that he said: "O people! I have rights over you and
you have rights over me. Your right over me is to insist
that I shall always give you guidance and counsel. and
seek your welfare, and improve the public funds and all
your livelihoods, and help raise you from ignorance and
illiteracy to heights of knowledge, learning, culture,
social manners and good conduct."

215 years after the Hejra the Abbasid Caliph Ma'amoun
founded a "House of Wisdom" in Baghdad to be a
centre of science, and furnished it with an astronomical
observatory and a public library for which he set aside
200,000 dinars (the equivalent of some 7 million
dollars). He gathered together a large number of learned
men who were acquainted with foreign languages and
different disciplines, like Honain and Bakht-eeshoo' and
Ibn Tariq and lbn Muqafa' and Hajaj bin Matar and Sirgis
Ra'asi, and others too numerous to mention, and set aside
a large sum for them, dispatching many of them to all the
different countries of the world to collect books on
science, medicine, philosophy, mathematics, and fine
literature, in Hindi, Pahlevi, Chaldean, Syriac, Greek,
Latin and Farsi. It is said that the vast collections
they sent to Baghdad exceeded 100 camel loads!

Europe had not one university or cultural centre to
show for itself in those centuries when Islamic lands had
large numbers staffed by experts and specialists in all
branches of knowledge. These Islamic centres were
beginning to radiate waves of brilliant new thinking to
the world at the very moment when the Crusades were
launched. In fact it might be said that it was the new
learning fostered by Islam which itself furnished the
Europeans with some of their new thinking that made
possible whatever prowess they achieved in those
disastrous wars and fired the passion of jealousy and
cupidity which made the West wish to seize for itself the
treasures which they saw Islam bringing to the nations
under its sway.

Dr. Gustave Le Bon writes on page 329 of volume III of
his "History of Islamic and Arab Civilisation".
"In those days when books and libraries meant
nothing to Europeans, many Islamic lands had books and
libraries in plenty. Indeed, in Baghdad's 'House of
Wisdom' there were four million volumes ; and in Cairo's
Sultanic Library one million; and in the library of
Syrian Tripoli three million volumes; while in Spain
alone under Muslim rule there was an annual publication
of between 70 and 80 thousand volumes."

G. l'Estrange in his "Legacy of Islam" page
230 writes: "The Mustansariyya University was
furnished with equipment and built in a huge campus with
college edifices of such splendour that its peer exists
neither in the Muslim world nor elsewhere. Its four
law-colleges, each with 75 students and a professor who
taught the pupils gratis, paid its professor a monthly
salary, while each of the 300 students was given a gold
dinar a month. A college kitchen provided the daily
meals. Ibn-el-Farat says that the library contained
priceless and unique volumes, on many branches of
science, for any student to borrow. Pens and paper were
provided for the notes anyone might wish to take. The
university had hammams (baths) and infirmaries. Its
doctors conducted a daily inspection of the colleges, and
wrote prescriptions for any who were ill. The college
stores were able to dispense drugs prescribed,
immediately. All this at the beginning of the 13th
century AD!"

Dr. Max Meyerhof writes: "In Istambul the mosques
possess between them more than 80 libraries, with tens of
thousands of books and ancient manuscripts. In Cairo,
Damascus, Mosul, Baghdad, and in cities of Iran and of
India there are other great libraries full of treasures.
A proper catalogue of the precious volumes in all these
has not yet been published complete in print. Moreover
the Escorial library in the Iberian Peninsula contains a
huge section filled with books and manuscripts produced
by the Islamic scholars of the West, which also awaits
completion of its cataloguing."

Dr. Gustave Le Bon writes on pages 55778 of his
"Islamic and Arab Civilisation". "The
Muslims pursued the sciences with profound application.
In any town they took, their first act was to build a
mosque and thereafter a college. This led to the
production of majestic institutions of learning in a vast
number of cities. Benjamin Toole (ob. 1173 AD) said that
in Alexandria he found more than 20 colleges at work.
Baghdad, Cairo, Cordova, and other places all had great
universities with laboratories, observatories, huge
libraries and all the other requirements for tackling
intellectual problems. In Andalusia alone there were 70
public libraries. The library of Al-Hakem II in Cordova
contained 600,000 volumes and it took 44 volumes to
catalogue the library' s contents. When Charles the Just,
four centuries later, founded the Bibliotheque Nationale
of Paris he was only able to assemble a total of 900
volumes, and that after great labours, while one-third of
that 900 were books on religion."

The same author on page 562 adds: "The Muslims
launched science on the road of exactitude, experiment
and forward-looking discovery by hypothesis, with a
particular enthusiasm, while producing books and
treatises and high schools that spread their intellectual
prowess to all corners of the world. They thereby opened
for Europe the road to its renaissance. So it is with
justification that the title of "Europe's Professor'
is given to the newly-arisen Islamic power, since it was
through them that the treasures of ancient Greek and
Roman science were rediscovered and enhanced and given
back to Europe as she began to emerge from the Dark

Josef Marc Kapp writes, concerning the first centuries
of Islam's progress in culture, in his book '"Muslim
Splendour in Spain" (p.170). "Even the lowest
classes in society were athirst to learn to read; and
humble workers limited their expenditure on food and
clothing and spent their last sou on buying books. One
worker collected such a library that men of learning
flocked to him. Freed slaves and the children of slaves
entered the ranks of the learned; and men like V
afyat-ul- A'iyan lbn Khalkan laid the foundations for
great progress".

Nehru wrote concerning the benefits conferred on
social progress and the cultural revolution of the
Muslims in Andalusia in his book "A Glimpse at World
History" (p.413): "Cordova had over a million
inhabitants, a magnificent public park of about 20
kilometres and suburbs stretching40 kilometres, with
6,000 palaces, mansions and great houses, 200,000 smaller
houses of beauty, 70,000 stores and small shops, 300
mosques, 700 hammams with hot and cold baths for public
use. There were innumerable libraries of which the most
comprehensive and important was the Royal Library, which
contained 400,000 volumes. Cordova University was famous
throughout Europe and in western Asia. At the same time
education was provided for the poor. Indeed one of their
contemporary historians writes that nearly everyone in
Spain in those days could read and write, while in the
rest of Christian Europe, apart from the monks and
clearly persons who were educated through religious
houses, no one, including the highest members of the
nobility, thought it worth his while even to attempt to
master basic arts of reading." To illustrate these
claims I append eight extremely brief chapters, each on a
different branch of science or culture; my debt I gladly
acknowledge to Arnold and Guillaume's ."Legacy of
Islam" (publ. O U.P. 1931) to which I refer any
reader who wishes to extend his information.


Dr. Meyerhof writes in "The Legacy of Islam"
(p.132). "Muslim doctors laughed at the Crusaders'
medical attendants for their clumsy and elementary
efforts. The Europeans had not the advantage of the books
of Avicenna, Jaber, Hassan bin Haytham, Rhazes. However
they finally had them translated into Latin. These
translations exist still, without the translators' names.
In the 16th century the books of Averroes (Ibn Rushd) and
Avicenna (Ibn Sina) were put out in Latin translation in
Italy and used as the basis of instruction in the Italian
and French universities."

On page 116 of the same work he writes that after
Rhazes' death the works of Avicenna (AD 980-1037) were
taken up. His influence on thought and philosophy and
general science was profound, and his medical works
(based on the works of Galen which he had found in the
Samarqand library in Arabic translation) had a
sensational outreach. Other scientists followed -
Abu'l-Qais of Andalusia; lbn-Zahr of Andalusia; Abbas the
Irani ; Ali ibn-Rezvan of Egypt; Ibn Butlan of
Baghdad-Abu Mansur Muwaffaq of Herat. Ibn Wafeed of
Spain; Masooya of Baghdad; Ali Ibn-Esau of Baghdad; Ammar
of Mosul; Ibn-Rushd (Averroes) of Andalusia. whose works
translated to Latin were used in European universities.
Europe knew nothing of the cholera bacterium when Islam
entered Spain, and the people there regarded the disease
as a punishment sent from heaven to exact the penalty of
sins : but Muslim physicians had already proved that even
the bubonic plague was a contagious disease and nothing

Dr. Meyerhof writes of Avicenna's book "The
Canon" that it is a masterpiece of medical science
which proved its worth by being printed in a series of 16
editions in the closing years of the 15th century AD, 15
Latin and one Arabic. In the 16th century more than a
score of further editions were published, because of its
value as a scientific work. Its use continued throughout
the 17th and 18th centuries, so that it became the most
widely known. of all medical treatises. It is still
consulted in medical schools.

Will Durant writes that Mohammad ibn Zachariah Razi
(Rhazes) was one of Islam's most progressive physicians,
author of 200 treatises and books well worth studying
today. in particular his

1. "Smallpox and Measles" (published in
Latin and other European tongues in 40 editions between
1497 and 1866), and 2. "The Great Encyclopedia"
20 volumes mostly unobtainable nowadays: five volumes
were devoted to optics; translated into Latin AD 1279.
printed in five editions in 1542 alone; known as the most
authoritative work on the eye and its ailments and
treatment for centuries; one of the nine basic works on
which Paris University composed its medical course in
1394 AD.

Surgery made similar progress in the hands of Islamic
practitioners, who even used anaesthetics, though these
are assumed to be of modern origin. They employed a
henbane base.

Among Rhazes' innovations was the use of cold water to
treat persistent fever, of dry-cupping for apoplexy, of
mercury ointment and animal gut for wound sutures, and
many others. Further information on Islamic medicine can
be sought from the many books on the subject. The
diagnosis of tuberculosis from the fingernails, the cure
of jaundice, the use of cold water to prevent hemorrhage,
the crushing of stones in bladder and kidney to
facilitate their removal, and surgery for hernia are
among advances too numerous to mention in detail. The
greatest of Islamic surgeons was Abu'l-Qasem of
Andalusia, affectionately called Abu'l-Qays, and
sometimes Abu'l-Qasees, floruit 11th century AD inventor
of very many surgical instruments and author of books to
describe them and their uses - books translated and
printed in innumerable editions in Latin and used all
over Europe, the last such edition being in 1816.


Gustave le Bon writes : "Besides the use of cold
water to treat typhoid cases - a treatment later
abandoned, though Europe is taking this Muslim invention
up again in modern times after a lapse of
centuries-Muslims invented the art of mixing chemical
medicaments in pills and solutions, many of which are in
use to this day, though some of them are claimed as
wholly new inventions of our present century by chemists
unaware of their distinguished history. Islam had
dispensaries which filled prescriptions for patients
gratis, and in parts of countries where no hospitals were
reachable, physicians paid regular visits with all the
tools of their trade to look after public health."

Georgi Zeidan writes: "Modern European
pharmacologists who have studied the history of their
profession find that Muslim doctors launched many of the
modern beneficial specifics centuries ago, made a science
of pharmacology and compound cures, and set up the first
pharmacies on the modern model. So that Baghdad alone had
60 chemists' shops dispensing prescriptions regularly at
the charges of the Caliph. Evidence of these facts can be
seen in the names given in Europe to quite a number of
medicines and herbs which betray their Arabic, Indian or
Persian origin." Such are "alcohol, alkali,
alkaner, apricot, arsenic," to quote some 'a's


Georgi Zeidan continues: "Within two centuries of
the death of the Prophet, Mecca, Medina and the other
great Muslim cities all had hospitals, while the Abbasid
governors and their ministers competed each for his own
region to have the best such institution for the care of
the sick. Baghdad alone had four important hospitals. By
three centuries after the Hejra the governor
Adhud-ud-Dowleh Deylamy had founded the Adhudi Hospital
with 24 specialists, each master of his own particular
field, a hospital which soon earned the reputation of
excelling all hospitals throughout Islam, though in the
course of time it too was surpassed.

The order and arrangement of Islamic hospitals was
such that no distinctions of race, religion or occupation
were recognised, but cure was administered with
meticulous care to any patient. Separate wards were
allotted for patients of specific diseases. These were
teaching hospitals where the students learned theory and
observed practice. In addition, there were travelling
hospitals which carried doctors and their gear by camel
or mule to every district. Sultan Mahmoud the Seljuk
travelled with a hospital which required 40 camels for
its transport."

Dr. Gustave le Bon writes: "Muslim hospitals went
in for preventive medicine and the preservation of health
as much as if not more than for the cure of the already
diseased. They were well-aired and had plenty of running
water. Muhammad bin Zachariah Razi (Rhazes) was ordered
by the Sultan to seek out the healthiest place in the
Baghdad neighbourhood for the construction of a new
hospital. He visited every section of the town and its
environs, and hung up a piece of meat which he left while
he looked into infectious diseases in the neighbourhood
and studied climatic conditions, particularly the state
of the water. He balanced all these various experimental
tests and finally found them all to indicate that the
place where the portion of meat was the last to putrefy
and develop infectious bacteria was the spot on which to
build. These hospitals had large common wards and also
private wards for individuals. Pupils were trained in
diagnosis and brought observation and experience to the
perfecting of their studies. There were also special
mental hospitals, and pharmacies which dispensed
prescriptions gratis."

Marc Kapp writes: "Cairo had a huge hospital with
playing fountains and flower-decked gardens and 40 large
courtyards. Every unfortunate patient was kindly
received, and after his cure sent home with five gold
coins. While Cordova, besides its 600 mosques and 900
public hammams, had 50 hospitals."


Jaber ibn Haiyan, disciple of the sixth Imam
Ja'afar-i-Sadeq, became known world-wide as "the
Father of Chemistry" and of Arab alchemy. His
influence on Western chemistry and alchemy was profound
and long lasting. Some hundred of his works survive. Of
him the late Sayyid Hebbat-ud-Din Shahristani of
Kadhemain, once Iraq's Minister of Education, writes:
"I have seen some 50 ancient MSS of works of Jaber
all dedicated to his master the Imam Ja'afar. More than
500 of his works have been put into print and are for the
most part to be found among the treasures of the National
Libraries of Paris and Berlin, while the savants of
Europe nickname him affectionately 'Wisdom's Professor'
and attribute to him the discovery of 19 of the elements
with their specific weights, etc. Jaber says all can be
traced back to a simple basic particle composed of a
charge of lightning (electricity) and fire, the atom, or
smallest indivisible unit of matter, very close to modern
atomic science."

The blending of colouring matters, dyeing, extraction
of minerals and metals, steelmaking, tanning, were
amongst industrial techniques of which the Muslims were
early masters. They produced Nitric Acid, Sulphuric Acid,
Nitro-glycerine Hydrochloric Acid, Potassium, Aqua ,
Nitrate, Sulphuric Chloride, Potassium Ammonia, Sal
Ammoniac, Silver Nitrate, Alcohol, Alkali (both still
known by their Arabic names), Orpiment (yellow
tri-sulphide of arsenic: arsenic is derived from the
Persian zar = gold, adjective zarnee = golden, Arabised
with article "al" to "al-zernee"
pronounced "azzernee" and so taken into Greek
where it was turned to the recognisable word
"arsenikon" which means "masculine"
since the gold colour was supposed to link it with the
sun, a masculine diety!): and finally - though this does
not close the list we might cite-Borax, also an Arabic
word booraq. Further, the arts of distilling,
evaporation, sublimation, and the use of Sodium, Carbon,
Potassium Carbonate, Chloride, and Ammonium were common
under the Abbasid Caliphate.


The Abbasid Caliph Haroun-al-Rasheed sent Charlemagne
in Aix from Baghdad a present of a clock made by his
horologists which struck a bell on the hour every hour,
to the great wonder and delight of the whole court of the
newly'crowned Holy Roman Emperor.

The massacre and expulsion of the Muslims of Andalusia
by the Christians carried with it the closure of many of
the great factories that had existed under Islamic rule,
and the standstill of progress that had been made in
science, crafts, arts, agriculture, and other products of
civilisation. Towns began to fall into ruin because of
the lack of skilled masons. Madrid dropped from 400,000
to 200,000 inhabitants; Seville, which had possessed
1,600 factories under the Muslims, lost all but 300, and
the 130,000 workers formerly employed had no more jobs,
while the census of Philip IV showed a fall of 75% in
population figures.

It was the Muslims also who brought about the
substitution of cotton-wove paper for the old parchments;
and it was this invention which formed the basis for
Europe's later invention of printing, using an old
Chinese technique, and so for the vast uprush of learning
which came with the Renaissance. More, since monks were
starved for parchment on which to write their religious
works, they were tending more and more to scrape off
priceless ancient scientific texts from old parchments
and to use them again as palimpsests. The introduction of
paper put a stop to this disastrous practice in time to
save quite a number of texts which would have otherwise
been lost for ever, as, alas, too many were.

A paper manuscript of the year AD 1009 was found in
the Escorial library, and claims to be the oldest
hand-written book on paper still in existence. Silk-wove
paper, of course, was a Chinese invention, since silk was
native to China though rare in Europe; and the Musulman
genius lay in seeing the possibility of substituting
cotton for silk, and so giving Europe a plentiful supply
of a practicable material for the reproduction of books
by the monkish scribes.

Philip Hitti writes in his '«History of the
Arabs" that the art of roadmaking was so well
developed in Islamic lands that Cordova had miles of
paved road lit from the houses on each side at night so
that people walked in safety. while in London or Paris
anyone who ventured out on a rainy night sank up to his
ankles in mud - and did so for seven centuries after
Cordova was paved! Oxford men then held that bathing was
an idolatrous practice; while Cordovan students revelled
in luxurious public hammams!


Baron Carra de Vaux, author of the chapter on
"Astronomy and Mathematics" in "The Legacy
of Islam" (OUP 1931 pp. 376-398), points out that
the word "algebra" is a Latinisation of the
Arabic term Al-jabr ( = "the reduction". i.e.
of complicated numbers to a simpler language of symbols),
thereby revealing the debt the world owes to the Arabs
for this invention. Furthermore the numerals that are
used are "Arabic numerals'." not merely in name
but also in fact. Above all the Arabs' realisation of the
value of the Hindu symbol for zero laid the foundation of
all our modern computerised technology. The word
"zero", like its cousin "cipher" are
both attempts at transliterating the Arabic
"sefr", in order to convey into Europe the
reality and the meaning of that word in Arabic.

De Vaux writes: "By using ciphers the Arabs
became the founders of the arithmetic of everyday life;
they made algebra an exact science and developed it
considerably. they laid the foundations of analytical
geometry; they were indisputably the founders of plane
and spherical trigonometry The astrolabe (safeeha) was
invented by the Arab Al-Zarqali (Arzachel) who lived in
Spain AD 1029-1087. The word "algorism" is a
latinisation of the name of its inventor, the native of
Khiva called by the name of his home province
Al-Khwarizmi. The Arabs kept alive the higher
intellectual life and the study of science in a period
when the Christian West was fighting desperately with

This is not the place to go further into Muslim
achievements in mathematics and astronomy. Suffice it to
refer once again to the Jalali calendar of Omar Khayyam,
with its formulae for exact calculation of the timing of.
the earth's orbits round the sun, to which reference has
been made earlier.


The Arabian Nights' tales of Sinbad the Sailor, and of
his voyages to China, Japan, and the Spice Islands of
Indonesia, give quite enough evidence of the brilliance
of Arabic commercial shipping and the knowledge of
meteorology and geography which was at their disposal.
Small wonder that the Faith spread through them from
Morocco to Mindanao.

But, besides the SE Asian seas, Arabic sailors
penetrated far down the East coast of Africa, and also up
the rivers which are channels from the Black Sea into the
distant interior of Russia. The Safarname (Travel
journal) of Suleiman, a sea-captain of Seraf the port on
the Persian Gulf recently excavated by Dr. David Stronach
of the British Institute of Persian Stulies, was
published at the end of the 9th century AD with accounts
of his voyages to India and China. It was translated into
Latin, as giving some of the earliest first-hand
knowledge of China which ever reached Europe.

The geographer Ibn Hauqal (floruit circa AD 975) wrote
in his preface: "I have written the latitude and
longitude of the places of this earth, of all its
countries, with their boundaries, and the dominions of
Islam, with a careful map of each section on which I have
marked numerous places, e.g. the cities, the kasbahs, the
rivers, the lakes, the crops, the types of agriculture,
the roads, the distances between place and place, the
goods for commerce and everything else in the science of
geography which can be useful to sovereigns and their
ministers and interesting to all people in general."

Abu-Reihan al-Biruni, Ibn Batuta and Abu'l-Haussan are
amongst other names in the history of the science of
geography whose worldwide travels were accompanied by
meticulous observation and painstaking notes, which are
amongst the proudest achievements of science in our world
to this day.


Cordova Mosque is one of the finest monuments of
Muslim art in Europe. Its architect and masons were local
talent, who introduced a number of novelties. The Muslims
excelled at mosaic, inlay, fretwork and applique work of
all types. Marvellous doors, pulpits, and ceilings are
decorated in many of the ancient mosques all over the
Muslim world with a lacelike design of mosaic, carved
ivory and wood and plaster, and fitted pieces of carved
wood interlocking with each other with consummate
artistry. Chased and engraved wood and ivory are
everywhere. Thus the Altar of the Church of Saint Isidore
Hispalensis (archbishop of Seville in the first years of
the 7th century AD) the carved ivory jewel-case made for
Queen Isabella in the 11th century and the carved ivory
box now in the Church at Bayeux of the 12th century
(obviously some Crusader's loot from the East) inlaid
with silver in chased gold, are examples of that art
which was the glory of Eastern lands. All this delicate
and minute handiwork was carried out with the crudest and
roughest of tools, itself a further tribute to the skill
and artistry of the makers.

Jewel-studded boxes and cases and caskets are to be
seen in many places, though the best are on view in the
museums of Damascus and Cairo. Well said Sa'adi: "An
Eastern artist may take 40 years to make one porcelain
vase: the West turns out 100 a day, all alike : the
comparative worth of the two products can be easily

The Muslims were also past masters of the art of
carved and coloured plaster work, in a style which still
subsists though modern technologies are, alas, rendering
the skill rarer all the time. Tenth century examples,
some with enamelled work also, are to be found in
Andalusia. The Alhambra has 13th century masterpieces of
this work. They glitter like the later Italian Majolica.
The famous Alhambra flower-vase, 1½ metres high, is
unique in this line.


In this part of our book we have given the briefest of
sketches of some of the treasures of mind and spirit
which mankind owes to the rise of Islam.

They are not stated in braggadocio but as an
assessment of facts of human history. For too long they
have been neglected and forgotten not merely by those who
benefited from them indirectly but even also by the very
descendants of their authors themselves.

Yet if mankind is to attain the power to live as one
united family which is our calling and destiny, it will
happen on a basis of appreciation of each other.

This adult assessment is growing. Modern scholars are
now showing gratitude that the Arab General
Tareq-bin-Ziyyad in AD 711 landed his troops by the
mountain since called Jebel-al-Tareq (Gibraltar) after
him. His Moors were unwelcome invaders at the time. It
was a moment when Europe had lost most of the benefit of
Roman unification and cultural advance and sunk back into
the Dark Ages under the barbarian hordes overwhelming it
from the North. With the Moors came in the fresh stimulus
of lively minds, bringing in Arabic the best thinking of
ancient Greeks and Romans, the impetus of scholarship and
learning, the desire for scientific and philosophic
speculation, the aesthetic delight of artistic creation

Islamic universities as far apart as Baghdad and
Andalusia welcomed Christian and Jewish students, many of
whom profited by the instructions to be obtained nowhere
else in those days. They were received with generous
subventions and assistance by their Muslim hosts, who
treated them as honoured guests. Dynamics, Statistics,
Chemistry, Physics, were among the lessons.

In his "Making of Humanity" Brilioth writes:
"Modern European education in all branches stems
from the Muslims' curiosity and pertinacity in
investigating the secrets of nature."

If our brief summary opens the road for Westerners to
the exploration of Eastern discoveries we are content;
and can so proceed to Part 3 and an examination of
Islam's treatment of some of the social problems which
afflict every human community.


The Tragedy of Kerbala II

In The Name Of Allah,

The Most Compassionate, The Merciful

* * * * * * * * * *

Tragedy of Kerbala: Imam Hussain's Martyrdom




O Allah! Send your blessings to the head of
your Messengers and the

Last of your Prophets Muhammad (saw), and his pure and cleansed

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


- The Journey, Martrydom and other events(in 12 parts)

- References

The Journey, the Martrydom and other events

Part I.

Al Husayn, the blessings of God be on him, set out from Mecca
to Iraq on the day of Muslim's (attempted) rising in Kufa, that is the day of Tarwiya, after staying in
Mecca for the rest of Shaban, the month of Ramadhan, Shawwal and
Dhu al Qada and eight days of Dhu- al-Hijja in the year 60 A.H.
(680). During his stay in Mecca, peace be on him, a number of
Hijazis and Basrans had gathered around him, joining themselves
to his household and his retainers (mawali).

When he determined on journeying to Iraq, he made the
circumbulation of the (sacred) House and the ritual running
between al-Safa and al-Marwa. Then he left the state of
consecration (for the pilgrimage) (after) he had performed the
lesser pilgrimage (umra) because he was not able to
perform the greater pilgrimage (hajj). Through fear of
being apprehended in Mecca, and being taken to Yazid b. Muawiya,
he, peace be on him, had set out early with his House, his sons
and those of his Shia who had joined him.

[As it has been reported to us:]

News of Muslim's (capture and death) had not yet reached him

(it had only happened) on the day he set out.

[It is reported that al-Farazdaq, the poet, said:]

I made the pilgrimage with my mother in the year 60 A.H.
(680). I was driving her camel when I entered the sanctuary.
(There) I met al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be on them, leaving Mecca
accompanied by (some men carrying) swords and shields.

"Whose caravan is this?" I asked.

"Al-Husayn b. Ali's, peace be on them," was the
reply. So I went up

and greeted him.

"May God grant you your request and (fulfil) your hope in
what you want, by my father and mother, son of the Apostle of
God," I said to him. "But what is making you hurry away
from the pilgrimage?"

"If I did not hurry away, I would be apprehended,"
he replied. Then he asked me: "Who are you?"

"An Arab," I answered and he did not question me
(about myself) any further.

"Tell me about the people you have left behind you,"
he asked.

"You have asked a good (question)," I answered.
"The hearts of the people are with you but their swords are
against you. The decision comes from Heaven and God does what he

"You have spoken truly of the affair belonging to
God," he replied.

"Every day He (is involved) in (every) matter" (LV,
29) If fate sends down what we like and are pleased with, we
praise God for His blessings. He is the One from Whom help should
be sought in order to give thanks to Him. However, although fate
may frustrate (our) hopes, yet He does not destroy (the souls of)
those whose intention is the truth and whose hearts are

"True, God brings you what you wish for (ultimately) and
guards you against what you are threatened by," I said. Then
I asked him about matters concerning vows and pilgrimage rites.
He told me about them and then moved his mount off, saying
farewell, and so we parted.

When al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be on them, left Mecca, Yahya b.
Said b. al-'As met him with a group (of men). They had been sent
to him by 'Amr b. Said.

"Come back from where you are going," they ordered.
But he refused (to obey) them and continued. The two groups came
to blows and hit at each other with whips. However al-Husayn and
his followers resisted fiercely. Al-Husayn continued until he got
to al- Tanim. There he met a camel-train which had come from
Yemen. He hired from its people (additional) camels for himself
and his followers to ride.

Then he said to the owners (of the camels): "Whoever (of
you) wants to come with us to Iraq, we will pay his hire and
enjoy his company and whoever wants to leave some way along the
road we will pay his hire for the distance he has

Some of the people went with him but others refused. Abd Allah
b. Jafar sent his sons, Awn and Muhammad, after him, and he wrote
a letter to him which he gave to them. In it, he said:

I ask you before God (to return) if you have set out when
you see my letter. For I am very concerned because the
direction in which you are heading will have within it your
destruction, and the extirpation of your House. If you are
destroyed today, the light of the land will be extinguished;
for you are the (standard) of those who are rightly-guided
and the hope of the believers.

Do not hurry on your journey as I am following this letter.


Abd Allah, then went to 'Amr b. Sad and asked him to write to
al-Husayn (offering him) a guarantee of security, and (promising)
to favour him, so that he would return from where he was going.
Amr b. Said wrote a letter in which he offered him favour and a
guarantee of security for himself. He dispatched it with his
brother Yahya b. Said. Yahya b. Said went after him (as did) Abd
Allah after dispatching his sons. The two handed ('Amr's) letter
to him and strove (to persuade) him to return.

"I have seen the Apostle of God, may God bless him and
his family, in my sleep," answered (al-Husayn), "and he
ordered me (to do) what I am carrying out."

"What was that vision?" they both asked.

"I have not told anyone of it," he answered,
"and I am not going to tell anyone until I meet my Lord, the
Mighty and Exalted."

When 'Abd Allah b. Ja'far despaired of (persuading) him, he
told his sons, Awn and Muhammad, to stay with him, to go with him
and to struggle on behalf of him. He returned with Yahya b. Sa'id
to Mecca.

Al Husayn, peace be on him, pressed on swiftly and directly
towards Iraq until he reached Dhat' Irq.

When Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad had learnt of the journey of al-
Husayn, peace be on him, from Mecca to Kufa, he had sent al-
Husayn b. Numayr, the commander of the bodyguard (shurta), to
station himself at al-Qadisiyya and to set up a (protective) link
of cavalry between the area of al-Qadisiyya to Khaffan and the
area of al-Qadisiyya to al-Qutqutaniyya. He informed the men that
al- Husayn was heading for Iraq.

When al-Husayn, peace be on him, reached al-Hajiz (a hill
above) Batn al-Rumma, he sent Qays b. Mushir al Saydawi -
some say it was his brother-in-nurture, Abd Allah b. Yuqtur
to Kufa. For he, peace be upon him, had not yet learnt the
news of (the fate of) Ibn 'Aqil. He sent a letter with him:

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate From
al-Husayn b. Ali To his brother believers and Muslims,
Greetings to you, I praise God before you, other than Whom
there is no deity. Muslim b. Aqil's letter came to me,
informing me of your sound judgement and the agreement of
your leaders to support us, and to seek our rights. I have
asked God to make your actions good and reward you with the
greatest reward. I set out to you from Mecca on 8th of Dhu
al-Hijja, the Day of Tarwiya. When my messenger reaches you,
be urgent and purposeful in your affiars, for I am coming to
you within the (next few) days.

Greeting and the mercy and blessings of God.

Muslim had written to al-Husayn seventeen days before he was
killed and the Kufans had written to him: "Here you have a
hundred thousand swords. Do not delay."

Qays b. Mushir went towards Kufa with the letter. However,
when he reached al-Qadisiyya, al-Husayn b. Numayr apprehended him
and sent him to Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.

"Go up on the pulpit," Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad ordered
him, "and curse the liar, al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be on

Qays went up on the pulpit and praised and glorified God. Then
he said:

People, this man, al-Husayn b. 'Ali the best of God's
creatures, the son of Fatima, the daughter of the Apostle, may
God bless him and his family and grant them peace, (is nearby). I
am his messenger to you. Answer him. Then he cursed Ubayd Allah
b. Ziyad and his father and prayed for forgiveness for Ali b. Abi
Talib and blessed him. 'Ubayd Allah ordered him to be thrown from
the top of the palace. They threw him and he was smashed to

[It is (also) reported:]

He fell on the ground in chains and his bones were crushed and
there only remained to him his last breath. A man called 'Abd al-
Malik b. 'Umayr al-Lakhmi came to him and cut his throat. When he
was told that that had been a shameful (thing to do) and he was
blamed for it, he said: "I wanted to relieve him (of his

Part II

(While this had been going on) al-Husayn, peace be on him, had
left Hajiz in the direction of Kufa until he came to one of the
watering (places) of the Arabs. There there was 'Abd Allah b.
Muti al-'Adawli, who was staying there. When he saw al-Husayn,
peace be on him, he got up and said to him: "(May I ransom)
my father and mother for you, son of the Apostle of God, what has
brought you (here)?" He brought him (forward) and helped him
to dismount.

"It is a result of the death of Muawiya as you would
know," replied al Husayn, peace be on him. "The Iraqis
have written to me urging me to (come to) them"

"I remind you, son of the Apostle of God, (of God) and
the sacredness of Islam, lest it be violated. I adjure you before
God (to think) about the sacredness of Quraysh. I adjure you
before God (to think) about the sacredness of the Arabs. By God,
if you seek that which is in the hands of Banu Umayya, they will
kill you. If they kill you, they will never fear anyone after
you. Then it will be the sacredness of Islam which is violated,
and the sacredness of Quraysh and the sacredness of the Arabs.
Don't do it! Don't go to Kufa! Don't expose yourself to Banu

Al-Husayn, peace be on him, insisted on continuing his
journey. (In the meantime) 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad had ordered (the
area) which was between Waqisa and the roads to Syria and Basra
to be occupied (so that) they should not let anyone enter, nor
anyone leave (Kufa).

However, al-Husayn, peace be on him, went on without knowing
anything (of that) until he met some Arabs. He asked them (about
the situation) and they told him: "No, by God, we don't know
(anything about it) except that we cannot get into or out of

He continued on his journey.

[A group of Fazara and Bajila reported (the following
account). They said:]

We were with Zuhayr b. al-Qayn al-Bajah when we came from
Mecca. (Although) we were travelling alongside al Husayn, peace
be on him, there was nothing more hateful to us than that we
should stop with him at a halting place. (Yet) when al-Husayn,
peace be on him, travelled and halted, we could not avoid halting
with him. Al-Husayn halted at the side (of the road) and we
halted at the (other) side (of the road). While we were sitting,
eating our food, a messenger of al- Husayn, peace be on him,
approached, greeted us and entered (our camp).

"Zuhayr b. al-Qayn," he said, "Abu 'Abd Allah
al-Husayn, peace be on him, has sent me to you (to ask) you to
come to him."

Each man of us threw away what was in his hands (i.e. threw up
his hands in horror); it was (as surprising) as if birds had
alighted on our heads.

"Glory be to God," (Zuhayr's) wife said to him,
"did the son of the Messenger of God send for you? Then
aren't you going to him? If you went to him, you would hear what
he had to say. Then you could leave him (if you wanted to)."

Zuhayr b. al-Qayn went (across) to him. It was not long before
he returned to announce that he was heading east. He ordered his
tent (to be struck) and (called for) his luggage, mounts and
equipment. His tent was pulled down and taken to al-Husayn, peace
be on him, then he said to his wife: "You are divorced, go
back to your family, for I do not want anything to befall you
except good."

Then he said to his companions:

Whoever wants to follow me (may do so), otherwise he is at
the end of his covenant with me (i.e. released from obedience
to follow Zuhayr as the leader of his tribal group). I will
tell you a story (of something which happened to me once): we
were raiding a rich land. God granted us victory and we won
(a lot of) booty. Salman al-Farsi, the mercy of God be on
him, said to us: 'Are you happy with the victory which God
has granted you and the booty you have won?'

We said: 'Yes.' Then he said: 'Therefore when you meet the
lord of the young men of the family of Muhammad be happier to
fight with them than you are with the booty which you have
obtained today.' As for me. I pray that God may be with

He remained among the people with al-Husayn until he was

[Abd Allah b. Sulayman and al-Mundhir b. Mushamill both from
Asad, reported:]

When we had finished the pilgrimage, there was no concern more
important to us than to join al-Husayn, peace be on him, on the
road, so that we might see what happened in his affair. We went
along trotting our two camels speedily until we joined him at
Zarud. As we approached, there we (saw) a man from Kufa who had
changed his route when he had seen al-Husayn, peace be on him.
Al-Husayn, peace be on him, had stopped as if he wanted (to speak
to) him, but (the man) ignored him and went on. We went on
towards the man. One of us said to the other: "Come with us
to ask this man if he has news of Kufa."'

We came up to him and greeted him. He returned out greeting.

"From which (tribe) do you come, fellow?" we asked.

"(I am) an Asadi," he answered.

"We also are Asadis," we said. "Who are

"I am Bakr b. so and so," he answered and we told
him our lineage.

"Tell us of the people (you have left) behind you?"
we asked.

"Yes," he replied, "I only left Kufa after
Muslim b. 'Aqil and Hani' b. 'Urwa had been killed. I saw them
being dragged by their legs into the market-place."

We went on to join al-Husayn, peace be on him, and we were
travelling close to him until he stopped at al-Thalabiyya in the
evening. We caught up with him when he stopped and we greeted
him. He returned our greeting.

"May God have mercy on you," we said, "we have
news. If you wish, we will tell it to you publicly or if you
wish, secretly."

He looked at us and at his followers.

"There is no veil for these men," he answered.

"Did you see the rider whom you were near, yesterday

"Yes," he answered, "I had wanted to question

"We have got the news from him and spared you (the
trouble of) questioning him," we said. "He was a man
from our (tribe), of sound judgment, honesty and intelligence. He
told us that he had only left Kufa after Muslim and Hani' had
been killed, and he had seen them being dragged by their legs
into the market-place."

"We belong to God and to Him we shall return; may God
have mercy on them both," said al-Husayn, and he repeated
that several times.

"We adjure you before God," we exhorted him,
"for your own life and for your House that you do not go
from this place, for you have no one to support you in Kufa and
no Shia. Indeed we fear that such men (will be the very ones who)
will be against you."

"What is your opinion," he asked, looking towards
the sons of 'Aqil, "now that Muslim has been killed?"

"By God," they declared, "we will not go back
until we have taken our vengeance or have tasted (the death)
which he tasted."

Al-Husayn, peace be on him, came near us and said: "There
is nothing good (left) in life for these men."

Then we knew that his decision had been taken to continue the

"May God be good to you," we said.

"May God have mercy on you both," he answered.

Then his followers said to him: "By God, you are not the
same as Muslim b. Aqil. If you go to Kufa, the people will rush
to (support) you."

He was silent and waited until daybreak. Then he ordered his
boys and servants to get a lot of water, to give (the people) to
drink and more for the journey. They set out (once more) and went
on to Zubala. News of Abd Allah b. Yuqtur reached him. He took
out a written statement to the people and read it to them:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate, News
of the dreadful murder of Muslim b. Aqil Hani' b. Urwa, and
Abd Allah b. Yuqtur has reached us. Our Shia have deserted us
. Those of you who would prefer to leave us, may leave freely
without guilt.

The people began to disperse from him to right and left until
there were only left with him those followers who had come with
him from Medina, and a small group of those who had joined him.
Al-Husayn had done that because he realised that the Arabs who
had followed him had only followed him because they thought that
he was going to a land where the inhabitants' obedience to him
had already been established.

And he did not want them to accompany him without being
(fully) aware of what they were going to.

At dawn, he ordered his followers to provide themselves with
water and with extra (supplies of it). Then they set out until
they passed Batn al Aqaba. He stopped there and was met by a
shaykh of the Banu Ikrima called Amr b. Lawdhan.

"Where are you headings." he asked.

"Kufa," replied al-Husayn, peace be on him.

"I implore you before God," exhorted the shaykh,
"why are you going there? You won't come to anything there
except the points of spears and the edges of swords. If those who
sent for you were enough to support you in battle and had
prepared the ground for you, and you came to them, that would be
a wise decision. However, in the light of the situation as it has
been described I don't think that you ought to do it."

Servant of God," he answered, "wise decisions
are not hidden from me. yet the commands of God, the Exalted,
cannot be resisted. By God, (my enemies) will not leave me
till they have torn the very heart from the depths of my
guts. If they do that, God will cause them to be dominated
and humiliated until they become the most humiliated of the
factions among nations.

Part III

He, peace be on him, went on from Batn al Aqaba until he
stopped at Sharaf (for the night). At dawn he ordered his boys to
get water and more (for the journeys When he continued from there
until midday. While he was journeying, one of his followers

"God is greater (Allahu akbar)!"

"God is greater (AllAhu akbar)!" responded
al-Husayn, peace be on him.

Then he asked: "Why did you say Allahu akbar?"

"I saw palm-trees," answered the man.

"This is a place in which we never see a palm-tree,"
a group of his followers asserted.

"What do you think it is then?" asked al-Husayn,
peace be on him.

"We think it is the ears of horses," they answered.

"By God, I think so too," he declared. Then he said:
"(So that) we can face them in one direction (i.e. so that
we are not surrounded), we should put at our rear whatever place
of refuge (we can find)."

"Yes," said to him, "there is Dhu Husam over on
your left. If you reach it before them, it will be (in) just (the
position) you want." So he veered left towards it and we
went in that direction with him. Even before we had had time to
change direction the vanguard of the cavalry appeared in front of
us and we could see them clearly. We left the road and when they
saw that we had moved off the road, they (also) moved off the
road towards us. Their spears looked like palm branches stripped
of their leaves and their standards were like birds' wings.

Al-Husayn ordered his tents (to be put up) and they were
erected. The people came up; (there were) about one thousand
horsemen under the command of al-Hurr b. Yazid al-Tamimi. (It
was) during the heat of midday (that) he and his cavalry stood
(thus) facing al-Husayn, peace be on him. Al-Husayn, peace be on
him, and his followers were all wearing their turbans and their
swords (ready to fight).

"Provide (our) people with water and let them quench
their thirst and give their horses water to drink little by
little," al Husayn ordered his boys. They did that and they
began filling their bowls and cups and took them to the horses.
When a horse had drunk three or four or five draughts, the water
was taken away and given to another horse-until they had all been

[ Ali b. al Taan al Muharibi reported: ]

I was with al-Hurr on that day, I was among the last of his
followers to arrive. When al-Husayn, peace be on him, saw how
thirsty both I and my horse were, he said: "Make your beast
(rawiya) kneel." I thought rawiya meant water-skin so he
said: "Cousin, make your camel (jamal) kneel." I did
so. Then he said: "Drink." I did so, but when I drank,
water flowed from my water-skin.

"Bend your water-skin," said al-Husayn. I did not
know how to do that. He came up (to me) and bent it (into the
proper position for drinking). Then I drank and gave my horse to

Al-Hurr b. Yazid had come from al-Qadisiyya. Ubayd Allah b.
Ziyad had sent al-Husayn b. Numayr and ordered him to take up
(his) position at al-Qadisiyya. Then al-Hurr had been sent in
advance with one thousand horsemen to meet al-Husayn.

Al-Hurr remained positioned opposite to al-Husayn, peace be on
him, until the time for the midday prayer drew near. Al-Husayn,
peace be on him, ordered al-Hajjaj b. Masruq to give the call to
prayer. When the second call to prayer immediately preceding the
prayer (iqama) was about (to be made) al-Husayn came out (before
the people) dressed in a waist-cloth czar) and cloak (rida') and
wearing a pair of sandals. He praised and glorified God, then he

People, I did not come to you until your letters came to
me, and they were brought by your messengers (saying), 'Come
to us for we have no Imam. Through you may God unite us under
guidance and truth.' Since this was your view, I have come to
you. Therefore give me what you guaranteed in your covenants
and (sworn) testimonies. If you will not and (if you) are
(now) averse to my coming, I will leave you (and go back) to
the place from which I came.

They were silent before him. Not one of them said a word.

"Recite the iqama," he said to the caller for prayer
(mu'adhdhin) and he recited the iqama.

"Do you want to lead your followers in prayer?" he
asked al-Hurr b. Yazid.

"No," he replied, "but you pray and we will
pray (following the lead of) your prayer."

Al-Husayn, peace be on him, prayed before them. Then he
returned (to his tent) and his followers gathered around him.
Al-Hurr went back to the place where he had positioned (his men)
and entered a tent which had been put up for him. A group of his
followers gathered around him while the rest returned to their
ranks, which they had been in and which now they went back to.
Each of them held the reins of his mount and sat in the shade (of
its body).

At the time for the afternoon (asr) prayer, al-Husayn, peace
be on him, ordered his followers to prepare for departure. Then
he ordered the call to be made, and the call for the easr prayer
was made, and the iqama. Al-Husayn, peace be on him, came
forward, stood and prayed.

Then he said the final greeting (of the prayer) and turned his
face towards them (al-Hurr's men). He praised and glorified God
and said:

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

"By God," declared al-Hurr, "I know nothing of
these letters and messengers which you mention."

"Uqba b. Siman," al-Husayn, peace be on him, called
to one of his followers, "bring out the two saddle-bags in
which the letters to me are kept."

He brought out two saddle-bags which were full of documents,
and they were put before him.

"We are not among those who wrote these letters to
you," said al-Hurr, "and we have been ordered that when
we meet you we should not leave you until we have brought you to
Kufa to 'Ubayd Allah."

"Death will come to you before that (happens),"
al-Husayn, peace be on him, told him. Then he ordered his
followers, "Get up and get mounted."

They got mounted and (then) waited until their women had been

"Depart," he ordered his followers.

When they set out to leave, the men (with al-Hurr) got in
between them and the direction they were going in.

"May God deprive your mother of you," said
al-Husayn, peace be on him, to al-Hurr, "what do you

"If any of the Arabs other than you were to say that to
me," retorted al-Hurr, "even though he were in the same
situation as you, I would not leave him without mentioning his
mother being deprived (of him), whoever he might be. But by God
there is no way for me to mention your mother except by (saying)
the best things possible."

"What do you want?" al-Husayn, peace be on him,

"I want to go with you to the governor, Ubayd
Allah," he replied.

"Then by God I will not follow you."

"Then by God I will not let you (go anywhere else)."

These statements were repeated three times, and when their
conversation was getting more (heated) al-Hurr said: "I have
not been ordered to fight you. I have only been ordered not to
leave you until I come with you to Kufa. If you refuse (to do
that), then take any road which will not bring you into Kufa nor
take you back to Medina, and let that be a compromise between us
while I write to the governor, 'Ubayd Allah. Perhaps God will
cause something to happen which will relieve me from having to do
anything against you. Therefore take this (road) here and bear to
the left of the road (to) al Udhayb and al-Qadisiyya."

Al-Husayn, peace be on him, departed and al-Hurr with his
followers (also) set out travelling close by him, while al Hurr
was saying to him:

Al-Husayn, I remind you (before) God to (think of) your
life; for I testify that you will be killed if you fight.

"Do you think that you can frighten me with death?"
said al- Husayn, peace be on him. "Could a worse disaster
happen to you than killing me? I can only speak (to you) as the
brother of al-Aws said to his cousin when he wanted to help the
Apostle of God, may God bless him and grant him and his family
peace. His cousin feared for him and said: 'Where are you going,
for you will be killed?' but he replied:

I will depart for there is no shame in death for a young
man, whenever he intends (to do what is) right and he strives
like a Muslim, (Who) has soothed righteous men through (the
sacrifice of) his life, who has scattered the cursed and
opposed the criminal.

If I live, I will not regret (what I have done) and if I die,
I will not suffer. Let it be enough for you to live in
humiliation and be reviled.

When al-Hurr heard that he drew away from him. He and his
followers travelled on one side (of the road) while al-Husayn,
peace be on him, travelled on the other, until they reached
Udhayb al- Hijanat. Al-Husayn, peace be on him, went on to Qasr
Bani Muqatil. He stopped there and there a large tent had
(already) been erected.

"Whose is that?" he asked.

"That belongs to Ubayd Allah b. al-Hurr al-Jufi," he
was told.

"Ask him to come to me," he said.

The messenger went to him and said: "This is al-Husayn b.
Ali, peace be on them, and he asks you to come to him."

"We belong to God and to Him we shall return," said
'Ubayd Allah. "By God, I only left Kufa out of dread that
al-Husayn, peace be on him, would enter Kufa while I was there.
By God, I do not want to see him, nor him to see me."

The messenger returned to him (al-Husayn). Al-Husayn, peace be
on him, rose and went over to him. He greeted him and sat down.
Then he asked him to go with him. Ubayd Allah b. al Hurr repeated
what he had said before and sought to excuse himself from what he
was asking him (to do).

"If you are not going to help us," al-Husayn, peace
be on him, said to him, "then be sure that you are not one
of those who fight against us.

For, by God, no one will hear our cry and not help us without
being destroyed."

"As for that (fighting against you)," he replied,
"it will never happen, if God, the Exalted, wishes."

Then al-Husayn, peace be on him, left him and continued to his
camp. Towards the end of the night, he ordered his boys to get
provisions of water. Then he ordered the journey (to continue).
He set out from Qasr Bani Muqatil.

Part IV

['Uqba b. Sim'an reported:]

We set out at once with him and he became drowsy while he was
on his horse's back. He woke up, saying: "We belong to God
and to Him we will return. Praise be to God, Lord of the

He did that twice or three times, then his son, 'Ali b.
al-Husayn approached him and asked: "Why are you praising
God and repeating the verse of returning to Him?"

"My son," he answered, "I nodded off and a
horseman appeared to me, riding a horse and he said: 'Men are
travelling and the fates travel towards them.' Then I knew it was
our own souls announcing our deaths to us."

"Father," asked (the youth), "does God regard
you as evil? Are we not in the right?"

"Indeed (we are)," he answered, "by Him to Whom
all His servants must return."

"Father," said (the youth), "then we need have
no concern, if we are going to die righteously."

"May God give you the best reward a son can get for (his
behaviour towards) his father," answered al-Husayn, peace be
on him.

In the morning, he stopped and prayed the morning prayer. Then
he hurried to remount and to continue the journey with his
followers, veering to the left with the intention of separating
from (al-Hurr's men). However al-Hurr b. Yazid came towards him
and stopped him and his followers (from going in that direction)
and he began to (exert pressure to) turn them towards Kufa, but
they resisted him. So they stopped (doing that) but they still
accompanied them in the same way until they reached Ninawa,
(which was) the place where al-Husayn, peace be on him, stopped.
Suddenly there appeared a rider on a fast mount, bearing weapons
and carrying a bow on his shoulder, coming from Kufa. They all
stopped and watched him. When he reached them, he greeted al-Hurr
and his followers and did not greet al-Husayn and his followers.
He handed a letter from Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad to al-Hurr. In it
(was the following):

When this letter reaches you and my messenger comes to
you, make al-Husayn come to a halt. But only let him stop in
an open place without vegetation. I have ordered my messenger
to stay with you and not to leave you until he brings me
(news of) your carrying out my instructions.


When al-Hurr had read the letter, he told them: "This is
a letter from the governor Ubayd Allah. He has ordered me to
bring you to a halt at a place which his letter suggests. This is
his messenger and he has ordered him not to leave me until I
carry out the order with regard to you."

Yazid (b. Ziyad) b. al-Muhajir al-Kindi who was with
al-Husayn, peace be on him, looked at the messenger of Ibn Ziyad
and he recognized him.

"May your mother be deprived of you," he exclaimed,
"what a business you have come to!"

"I have obeyed my Imam and remained faithful to my pledge
of allegiance," (the other man) answered.

You have been disobedient to your Lord and have obeyed
your Imam in bringing about the destruction of your
soul," responded Ibn al-Muhajir. "You have acquired
(eternal) shame (for yourself) and (the punishment of)
Hell-fire. What a wicked Imam your Imam is! Indeed God has
said: we have made them Imams who summon (people) to Hellfire
and on the Day of Resurrection they will not be helped.
(XXVIII, 41) Your Imam is one of those.

Al-Hurr b. Yazid began to make the people stop in a place that
was without water and where there was no village.

"Shame upon you, let us stop at this village or that
one," said al-Husayn, peace be on him. He meant by this,
Ninawa and al-Ghadiriyya, and by that, Shufayya."

"By God, I cannot do that," replied (al-Hurr),
"for this man has been sent to me as a spy."

"Son of the Apostle of God," said Zuhayr b. al-Qayn,
"I can only think that after what you have seen, the
situation will get worse than what you have seen. Fighting these
people, now, will be easier for us than fighting those who will
come against us after them. For by my life, after them will come
against us such (a number) as we will not have the power (to
fight) against."

"I will not begin to fight against them," answered

That was Thursday, 2nd of (the month of) Muharram in the year
61 A.H.(680). On the next day, Umar b. Sad b. Abi Waqqas, set out
from Kufa with four thousand horsemen. He stopped at Ninawa and
sent for 'Urwa b. Qays al-Ahmasi and told him: "Go to him
(al-Husayn) and ask him: What brought you, and what do you

Urwa was one of those who had written to al-Husayn, peace be
on him, and he was ashamed to do that. The same was the case with
all the leaders who had written to him, and all of them refused
and were unwilling to do that. Kathir b. Abd Allah al-Shabi stood
up - he was a brave knight who never turned his face away from
anything - and said: "I will go to him. By God, if you wish,
I will rush on him."

"I don't want you to attack him," said 'Umar,
"but go to him and ask him what has brought him."

As Kathir was approaching him, Abu Thumama al-Saidi saw him
and said to al-Husayn, "May God benefit you, Abu Abd Allah,
the wickedest man in the land, the one who has shed the most
blood and the boldest of them all in attack, is coming towards

Then (Abu Thumama) stood facing him and said: "Put down
your sword."

"No, by God," he replied, "I am only a
messenger. If you will listen to me, I will tell you (the
message) which I have been sent to bring to you. If you refuse, I
will go away."

"I will take the hilt of your sword," answered (Abu

"and you can say what you need to."

"No, by God, you will not touch it," he retorted.

"Then tell me what you have brought and I will inform him
for you. But I will not let you go near him, for you are a

They both (stood there and) cursed each other. Then (Kathlr)
went back to Umar b. Sad and told him the news (of what had
happened). Umar summoned Qurra b. Qays al-Hanzali and said to
him: "Shame upon you Qurra, go and meet al-Husayn and ask
him what brought him and what he wants."

Qurra began to approach him. When al-Husayn, peace be on him,
saw him approaching, he asked: "Do you know that man?"

"Yes," replied Habib b. Muzahir, "he is from
the Hanzala clan of Tamim. He is the son of our sister. I used to
know him as a man of sound judgement. I would not have thought
that he would be present at this scene."

He came and greeted al-Husayn, peace be on him. Then he
informed him of 'Umar b. Sa'd's message.

"The people of this town of yours wrote to me that I
should come," answered al Husayn, peace be on him.
"However, if now you have come to dislike me, then I will
leave you."

"Shame upon you, Qurra," Habib b. Muzahir said to
him, "will you return to those unjust men? Help this man
through whose fathers God will grant you (great) favour."

"I will (first) return to my leader with the answer to
his message," replied Qurra, "and then I will reflect
on my views."

He went back to 'Umar b. Sa'd and gave him his report.

"I hope that God will spare me from making war on him and
fighting against him," said 'Umar and then he wrote to
'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad:

In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate. I am
(writing this from) where I have positioned myself, near al
Husayn, and I have asked him what brought him and what he
wants. He answered: 'The people of this land wrote to me and
their messengers came to me asking me to come and I have done
so. However if (now) they have some to dislike me and (the
position) now appears different to them from what their
messengers brought to me, I will go away from them.

[Hassan b. Qa'id al-'Absi reported:]

I was with 'Ubayd Allah when this letter came to him, he read
it and then he recited:

Now when our claws cling to him, he hopes for escape but
he will be prevented (now) from (getting) any refuge.

He wrote to 'Umar b. Sa'd:

Your letter has reached me and I have understood what you
mentioned. Offer al-Husayn (the opportunity) of him and all
his followers pledging allegiance to Yazid. If he does that,
we will then see what our judgement will be.

When the answer reached Umar b. Sa'd, he said: "I fear
that 'Ubayd Allah will not accept that I should be spared
(fighting al-Husayn)."

(Almost immediately) after it, there came (another) letter
from Ibn Ziyad (in which he said):

Prevent al-Husayn and his followers from (getting) water.

Do not let them taste a drop of it just as was done with
'Uthman b. Affan.

At once Umar b. Said sent Amr b al-Hajjaj with five hundred
horsemen to occupy the path to the water and prevent al-Husayn
and his followers from (getting) water in order that they should
(not) drink a drop of it. That was three days before the battle
against al-Husayn, peace be on him.

Abd Allah b. al-Husayn al-Azdi, who was numbered among Bajila,
called out at the top of his voice: "Husayn, don't you see
that the water is as if in the middle of heaven. By God, you will
not taste a drop of it until you die of thirst."

"O God, make him die of thirst and never forgive
him", cried al-Husayn, peace be on him.

Part V.

[Humayd b Muslim reported:]

By God, later I visited him when he was ill. By God, other
than Whom there is no deity, I saw him drinking water without
being able to quench his thirst, and then vomiting. He would
cry out, "The thirst, the thirst!" Again he would
drink water without being able to quench his thirst, again he
would vomit. He would then burn with thirst. This went on
until he died, may God curse him.

When al-Husayn saw the extent of the number of troops encamped
with 'Umar b. Sa'd, may God curse him, at Ninawa in order to do
battle against him, he sent to 'Umar b. Sa'd that he wanted to
meet him. The two men met at night and talked together for a long
time. (When) 'Umar b. Sa'd went back to his camp, he wrote to
Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, may he be cursed.

God has put out the fire of hatred, united (the people) in
one opinion (lit. word), and set right the affairs of the
community. This man, al-Husayn, has given me a promise that
he will return to the place which he came from, or he will go
to one of the border outposts - he will become like any
(other) of the Muslims, with the same rights and duties as
them; or he will go to Yazid, the Commander of the faithful,
and offer him his hand and see (if the difference) between
them (can be reconciled). In this (offer) you have the
consent (to what you have demanded) and the community gains

When Ubayd Allah read the letter, he said: "This is the
letter about a sincere man who is anxious for his people."

"Are you going to accept this from him," demanded
Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan, jumping up,

When he has encamped on your land nearby? By God if he was
a man from your land and he would not put his hand in yours,
whether he was in a position of power and strength (or)
whether he was in a position of weakness and impotence you
would not give this concession, for it would be (a mark) of
weakness. Rather let him and his followers submit to your
authority. Then if you punish them, (it will be because) you
are the (person) most appropriate to punish, and if you
forgive them, you have the right (to do so)."

"What you have suggested is good," replied Ibn
Ziyad. "Your view is the correct view. Take this message to
'Umar b. Sad and let him offer al-Husayn and his followers (the
opportunity of) submitting to my authority. If they do that, let
him send them to me in peace. If they refuse, he should fight
them. If he ('Umar b. Sa'd) acts (according to) my instructions,
then listen to him and obey him. However if he refuses to fight
them then you are the commander of the army (lit. people), attack
him, cut his head off and send it to me."

Then he wrote to Umar b. Sa'd:

I did not send you to al-Husayn for you to restrain
yourself from (fighting) him, nor to idle the time away with
him, nor to promise him peace and preservation (of his life),
nor to make excuses for him, nor to be an intercessor on his
behalf with me. Therefore see that if al-Husayn and his
followers submit to my authority and surrender, you send them
to me in peace. If they refuse, then march against them to
fight them and to punish them; for they deserve that. If
al-Husayn is killed, make the horses trample on his body,
both front and back; for he is a disobedient rebel, and I do
not consider that this will be in any way wrong after death.
But it is my view that you should do this to him if you kill
him. If you carry out your command concerning him, we will
give you the reward due to one who is attentive and obedient.
If you refuse, then we withdraw (the command of) our province
and army from you and leave the army to Shamir b. Dhl
al-Jawshan. We have given him our authority.


Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan brought the letter to 'Umar b. Sad.
After he had brought it and read it, 'Umar said to him:

Shame upon you, what is this to you? May God never show
favour to your house. May God make abominable what you have
brought to me! By God, I did not think that you would cause
him to refuse what I had written to him, and ruin for us a
matter which we had hoped to set right. Al Husayn will not
surrender, for there is a spirit like (his) father's in his

"Tell me what you are going to do," demanded Shamir.
"Are you going to carry out the governor's command and fight
his enemy or are you going to leave the command of the army to

"No, (there is going to be) no advantage to you. I will
carry that out instead of you. you take command of the

'Umar b. Sa'd prepared to (do battle with) al-Husayn, peace be
on him, on the night of Thursday, 9th of the month of Muharram.
(In the meantime) Shamir went out and stood in front of the
followers of al-Husayn, peace be on him.

"Where are my sister's sons?" he demanded. Al Abbas,
Jafar, Abd Allah and Uthman, sons of Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be
on him, came forward.

"What do you want?" they asked.

"Sons of my sister, you are guaranteed security," he

"God curse you and curse the security which you offer
without offering it to the son of the Apostle of God," the
young men replied.

"Cavalry of God, mount and announce the news of Heaven
(i.e. death)," Umar b. Sa'd called out and the people
mounted and he approached (the supporters of al-Husayn) after the
afternoon (asr) prayer.

Meanwhile, al-Husayn, peace be on him, was sitting in front of
his tent dozing with his head on his knees. His sister heard the
clamour (from the enemy's ranks). She came up to him and said,
"My brother, don't you hear the sounds which are getting

I have just seen the Apostle of God, may God bless him and
grant him peace, in my sleep," said al-Husayn, peace be
on him, as he raised his head. "He said to me: 'You are
coming to us.'

His sister struck at her face and cried out in grief.

"You have no (reason) to lament, sister," al-Husayn,
peace be on him, told her. "Be quiet, may God have mercy on

Then he turned to al-Abbas b. Ali "Brother, the enemy
have come, so get ready; but first, al-Abbas, you, yourself, ride
out to meet them, to talk to them about what they have (in mind)
and what appears (appropriate) to them and to ask about what has
brought them (against us)."

Al-Abbas went towards them with about twenty horsemen, among
whom was Zuhayr b. al-Qayn.

"How do you see (the situation)?" he asked.
"What do you want?'

"The command of the governor has arrived that we should
offer you (the opportunity of) submitting to his authority,
otherwise we (must) attack you," they answered.

"Do not hurry (to do anything) until I have gone back to
Abu Abd Allah (al-Husayn) and told him what you have said, 'Abbas

They stopped (where they were) and told him: "Go to him
and inform him, and tell us what he says to you."

Al 'Abbas went galloping back to al Husayn, peace be on him,
to give him the information. While his companions remained
exchanging words with the enemy, trying to test them and dissuade
them from fighting against al-Husayn, peace be on him,
(al-'Abbas) told him what the enemy had said.

Go back to them," he, peace be on him, said, "if
you can, delay them until the morning and (persuade) them to
keep from us during the evening. Then, perhaps, we may be
able to pray to our Lord during the night to call upon Him
and seek His forgiveness. He knows that I have always loved
His formal prayer, the recitation of His Book and (making)
many invocations to Him, seeking His forgiveness.

Al Abbas went back to the people, and returned (after) being
with them, accompanied by a messenger on behalf of Umar b. Saed,
who had said: "We will grant you a day until tomorrow. Then
if you surrender, we will send you to our governor, Ubayd Allah
b. Ziyad but if you refuse we will not leave you (any

(After) he departed, towards the evening al-Husayn gathered
his followers around him.

Part VI

[ Ali b. al Husayn, Zayn al Abidin, reported: ]

I went near to hear what he would say to them (even
though) at that time I was sick. I heard my father say to his
followers: I glorify God with the most perfect glorification
and I praise Him in happiness and misfortune. O God, I praise
You for blessing us with prophethood, teaching us the Qur'an
and making us understand the religion.

You have given us hearing, sight and hearts, and have made us
among those who give thanks (to You). I know of no followers more
loyal and more virtuous than my followers, nor of any House more
pious and more close-knit than my House. May God reward you well
on my behalf. Indeed, I do not think that there will be (any
further) days (left) to us by these men. I permit you to leave
me. All (of you) go away with the absolution of your oath (to
follow me), for there will be no (further) obligation on you from
me. This is a night (whose darkness) will give cover to you. Use
it as a camel (i.e. ride away in it).

His brothers and sons, the sons of his sisters and the sons of
'Abd Allah b. Ja'far said:

We will not leave you to make ourselves continue living after
your (death). God will never see us (do) such a thing.

Al Abbas b. Ali, peace be on them, was the first of them to
make this declaration. Then the (whole) group followed him, (all)
declaring the same thing.

"Sons of 'Aqil" said al-Husayn, "enough of your
(family) has been killed. So go away as I have permitted

"Glory be to God," they replied, "what would
the people say?

They would say that we deserted our shaykh, our lord, the
sons of our uncle, who was the best of uncles; that we had
not shot arrows alongside them, we had not thrust spears
alongside them, we had not struck swords alongside them. (At
such an accusation) we do not know what we would do. No, by
God, we will not do (such a thing). Rather we will ransom you
with our lives, property and families. We will fight for you
until we reach your destination. May God make life abominable
(for us) after your (death)."

Then Muslim b. Awsaja arose and spoke:

Could we leave you alone? How should we excuse ourselves
before God concerning the performance of our duty to your By
God, I will stab them with my spear (until it breaks), I will
strike them with my sword as long as the hilt is in my hand.
If I have no weapon (left) to fight them with, I will throw
stones (at them). By God we will never leave you until God
knows that we have preserved through you (the company of His
Apostle) in his absence. By God, if I knew what I would die
and then be revived and then burnt and then revived, and then
scattered, and that would be done to me seventy times, I
would never leave you until I met my death (fighting) on your
behalf. So how could I do it when there can only be one
death, which is a great blessing which can never be rejected.

Zuhayr b. al-Qayn, may God have mercy on him, spoke:

By God, I would prefer to be killed and then recalled to
life; and then be killed a thousand times in this manner; and
that in this way God, the Mighty and Exalted, should protect
your life and the lives of these young men of your House.

All his followers spoke in similar vein, one after the other.
Al-Husayn, peace be on him, called (on God to) reward them well
and then went back to his tent.

[ Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, Zayn al Abidin reported:

I was sitting on that evening (before the morning of the day)
in which my father was killed. With me was my aunt, Zaynab, who
was nursing me when my father left to go to his tent. With him
was Juwayn, the retainer (mawla) of Abu Dharr al-Ghiffari, who
was preparing his sword and putting it right My father recited:

Time, shame on you as a friend! At the day's dawning and
the sun's setting,

How many a companion or seeker will be a corpse! Time will not
be satisfied with any substitute.

The matter will rest with the Mighty One, and every living
creature will have to journey along my path.

He repeated it twice or three times. I understood it and
realised what he meant. Tears choked me and I pushed them back. I
kept silent and knew that tribulation had come upon us. As for my
aunt, she heard what I heard - but she is a woman and weakness
and grief are part of the qualities of women; she could not
control herself, she jumped up, tearing at her clothes and
sighing, and went to him.

"Then I will lose (a brother)," Zaynab said to him.
"Would that death deprived me of life today, (for) my
mother, Fatima, is dead, and my father, 'Ah, and my brother,
al-Hasan, peace be on them (all)."

"O sister,' al-Husayn said to her as he looked at her
with his eyes full of tears, " don't let Satan take away
your forbearance. (Remember:) If the sandgrouse are left (alone)
at night, they will sleep (i.e. let nature take its

"O my grief, your life will be violently wrenched from
you and that is more wounding to my heart and harsher to my
soul," she lamented, and then she struck at her face. she
bent down to (the hem of) her garment and (began to) tear it.
Then she fell down in a faint.

Al-Husayn, peace be on him, got up and bathed her face with
water Then he said to her:

Sister, fear God and take comfort in the consolation of
God. Know that the people on the earth will die and the
inhabitants of heaven will not continue to exist (for ever).
For everything will be destroyed except the face of God Who
created creation by His power (qudra); He sends forth
creatures and He causes them to return; He is unique and
alone. My grandfather was better than me, my father was
better than me and my mother was better than me. I and every
Muslim have an ideal model in the Apostle of God, may God
bless him and his family.

By This and the like he tried to console her and he said:

Sister, I swear to you - and I (always) keep my oaths - that
you must not tear your clothes, nor scratch your face, nor cry
out with grief and loss when I am destroyed.

Then he brought her and made her sit with me. He went out to
his followers and ordered them to bring their tents (much) closer
together so that the tent-pegs came within the area of each
other's tents, and so that if they remained among their tents,
the enemy could only approach (them), from one side (for there
would be) tents behind them, and to their right and left. Thus
(the tents completely) surrounded them except for the one way
which the enemy could come against them.

(After that) he, peace be on him, returned to his place and
spent the whole night in performing the prayer, in calling on
God's forgiveness and in making invocations. In the same way, his
followers performed the prayer, made invocations and sought God's

[ Al Dahhak b. Abd Allah reported: ]

(A contingent of) Umar b. Sa'd's (continually) passed us
keeping watch over us while al-Husayn, himself, recited:

Let not those who disbelieve think that our giving them a
delay is better for their souls. We give them a delay only
that they might increase their wickedness. They shall have a
disgraceful punishment. God does not leave the believers in
the situation you are in until He has made the evil distinct
from the good. [ Quran III, 117/8 ]

A man called 'Abd Allah b. Samir, (who was) among those
horsemen heard that. He was given to much laughter, and was a
brave fighter, a treacherous knight and a noble. He cried out:
"By the Lord of the Ka'ba, we are the good, we have been
distinguished from you."

"O terrible sinner," cried Burayr b. Hudayr,
"has God made you one of the good?" 

"A curse on you, whoever you are?" he shouted back.

"I am Burayr b. Hudayr," he replied. And they both
cursed each other.

Part VII

In the morning al Husayn, peace be on him, mobilised his
followers after the morning prayer. He had with him thirty two
horsemen and forty foot-soldiers. He put Zuhayr b. al-Qayn in
charge of his right wing and Habib b. Muzahir in charge of his
left wing, and he gave his standard to his brother, al-Abbas.
They positioned themselves with the tents at the rear. He ordered
(the) firewood and cane which was behind the tents to be left in
a ditch which had been dug there and to be set on fire, fearing
that they would attack them from the rear.

Umar b. Sad began the morning of that day - it was Friday, or
Saturday as some say - by mobilising his followers. He went out
with the men with him towards al-Husayn, peace be on him. 'Amr b.
al-Hajjaj was in command of his right wing, Shamir b. Dhi
al-Jawshan of the left wing, Urwa b. Qays was in command of the
cavalry, Shabath b. Ribi of the foot-soldiers. He gave his
standard to Durayd, his retainer (mawla).

[ Ali b. al Husayn, Zayn al Abidin, peace be upon them,
reported: ]

When the cavalry began to approach al-Husayn, he raised his
hands and said:

O God, it is You in Whom I trust amid all grief. You are
my hope amid all violence. You are my trust and provision in
everything that happens to me, (no matter) how much the heart
may seem to weaken in it, trickery may seem to diminish (my
hope) in it, the friend may seem to desert (me) in it, and
the enemy may seem to rejoice in it. It comes upon me through
You and when I complain to You of it, it is because of my
desire for You, You alone. You have comforted me in
(everything) and have revealed its (significance to me). You
are the Master of all grace, the Possessor of all goodness
and the Ultimate Resort of all desire.

When the enemy began to move around the tent of al-Husayn,
peace be on him, they saw the ditch behind and the fire burning
the firewood and cane which had been thrown in it. (At this)
Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan called out at the top of his voice:

Al-Husayn, are you hurrying towards the fire (of Hell)
before the Day of Resurrection?

"Who is that?" asked al-Husayn, peace be on him.
"(It sounds) like Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan?"

"Yes, (it is)," they told him.

"Son of a goat-herdess, you are more worthy to be burnt
by that," he retorted.

Muslim b. Awsaja wanted to shoot an arrow at him, but
al-Husayn, peace be on him, stopped him from (doing) that.

"Let me shoot at him" he asked, "for he is a
wicked sinner, one of the enemies of God, and the great tyrants.
(Now) God has made it possible (to kill) him."

"Do not shoot at him," ordered al-Husayn, peace be
on him, "for I am unwilling to begin (the fighting) against

Then al-Husayn called for his mount and mounted it. He called
out at the top of his voice:

O people of Iraq, and most of them (began to) listen to

People, listen to my words and do not hurry (to attack me)
so that I may remind you of the duties you have towards me
and so that (by telling you the true circumstances) I may
free myself from any blame in (your attacking me). If you
give me justice, you will become happier through that. If you
do not give me justice of your own accord (as individuals),
then agree upon your affairs (and your associates); let not
your affair be in darkness to you. Then carry (it) our
against me and do not reflect (any further) [X : 71]. Indeed
my guardian is God, Who created the Book, He takes care of
the righteous [VII: 196]

Then he praised and glorified God, and mentioned what God is
entitled to. He called for blessings on the Prophet, may God
bless him and his family, and on the angels and (other) prophets.
No speaker has ever been heard before or after him more eloquent
in his speech than he was. He continued:

Trace back my lineage and consider who I am. Then look
back at yourselves and remonstrate with yourselves. Consider
whether it is right for you to kill me and to violate the
honour of my womenfolk. Am I not the son of the daughter of
your Prophet, of his testamentary trustee (wall) and his
cousin, the first of the believers in God and the man who
(first) believed in what His Apostle, may God bless him and
his family, brought from his Lord? Was not Hamza, the lord of
the martyrs, my uncle? Was not Ja'far, the one who flies in
Heaven, my uncle? Have you not heard the words of the Apostle
of God, may God bless him and his family, concerning myself
and my brother: 'These are the two lords of the youths of the
inhabitants of heaven'? Whether you believe what I am saying
and it is the truth, for by God I have never told a lie since
I learnt that God hated people (who told) them - or whether
you regard me as a liar, there are among you those who, if
you asked them, would tell you: Ask Jabir b. Abd Allah
al-Ansari, Abu Said al-Khudri, Sahl b. Sad al-Saidi, Zayd b.
Arqam and Anas b. Malik to tell you that they heard these
words from the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, concerning myself and my brother. Is there not
(sufficient) in this to prevent you shedding my blood?

"If I understand what you are saying," interrupted
Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan, "then I only worship God (very
shakily) on the edge."

"I think that you worship God (very shakily) on seventy
edges," said Habib b. Muzahir. "For I testify that you
are right. You do not understand what he is saying. For God has
impressed (ignorance) upon your heart."

If you are in any doubt about this, al-Husayn, peace be on
him, told them,

You are in doubt that I am the son of the daughter of your
Prophet. By God there is no son of a prophet other than me among
you and among the peoples from East to West. Shame on you, are
you seeking retribution from me for one of your dead whom I have
killed, or for property of yours which I expropriated, or for a
wound which I have inflicted?

They did not say anything to him. They he called:
"Shabath b. Ribi, Hajjar b. Abjar, Qays b. al-Ashath, Yazid
b. al-Harith, didn't you write: 'The fruit has ripened; the dates
have grown green; come to an army which has been gathered for

"We don't know what you are talking about," said
Qays b. al-Ashath. "Submit to the authority of your kinsmen
(the Umayyads). They have never treated you with anything but
what you liked."

"By God, I will never give you my hand like a man who has
been humiliated; nor will I flee like a slave," said
al-Husayn, peace be on him. Then he called out,

O Servants of God, I take refuge in my Lord and your Lord
from your stoning. [ XLIV: 20 ] I take refuge in my Lord and
your Lord from every haughty man who does not believe in the
Day of Reckoning. [ XL: 27 ]

He made his mount kneel and ordered 'Uqba b. Sim'an to tie its
reins. They (the Kufans) began to advance towards him
(al-Husayn). When al-Hurr b. Yazid perceived that the people were
determined to fight al-Husayn, peace be on him, he said to 'Umar:
"Are you going to fight this man?"

"Yes," he replied, "it will be a terrible
battle, the least part of which will be heads falling and severed
hands flying (through the air)."

"Haven't you any other way of getting what you

"If the matter rested with me," answered Umar,
"I would do (anything else), but your governor has refused
(any alternative)."

Al-Hurr went and stood apart from the people. With him was a
man from his tribe called Qurra b. Qays.

"Qurra, have you watered your horse, today?" he


"Do you want to water it?"


[Qurra reported (later):]

I thought that he (al-Hurr) was going to leave the battle, and
did not want to be present at it but was unwilling to be seen
when he (left).

So I said: "I have not watered it and I was going to
water it." Then I left him where he was. By God,if he had
told me what he was intending to do, I would have gone with him
to al-Husayn, peace be on him.

He (al-Hurr) began gradually to draw closer to al-Husayn.

"What do you want, Ibn Yazid?'' asked Muhajir b. Aws, but he
did not answer. (Instead) a great shudder came over him.

"Your behaviour is suspicious," said Muhajir.
"By God, I have never seen you act like this before. If I
was asked who was the bravest of the Kufans, I would not
(normally) neglect (to mention) you. What is this I see in you,

"By God, I am giving my soul the choice between Heaven
and the fire (of Hell)," answered al-Hurr. "By God, I
will not choose anything before Heaven, even though I am cut to
pieces and burnt."

(With that) he whipped his horse and (galloped over) and joined
al-Husayn, peace be on him.

May I be your ransom, son of the Apostle of God?, he said,
I was your companion who stopped you from returning. I
accompanied you along the road and made you stop in this
place. But I did not think that the people would refuse to
respond to what you have offered them and that they would
ever come to this position I (which they have now come to)
with regard to you. By God, if I had I known that they would
finish up (by doing) what I am seeing (them do) to you, I
would not have committed what I have committed against you. I
repent to God for what I have done. Will you accept my

"Yes," replied al-Husayn, peace be on him, "God
will forgive you.

So get down."

"You will have (no) horseman better than me, (nor), while
I am on foot, any foot-soldier," he said. "I will
continue fighting on foot to the (bitter) end."

"Do so," replied al-Husayn, peace be on him.
"May God grant you mercy (though) what He has revealed to

He advanced, in front of al-Husayn, peace be on him, and
called out:

People of Kufa, your mother(s) will be deprived of their
sons and tears will come to their eyes. Have you summoned
this righteous man (to come to you),then, when he has come to
you, have you handed him over (to his enemies)? Did you claim
that you would fight with your own lives for him, and then
have you begun to attack him in order to kill him? You have
laid hold of his life; you have seized his throat; you have
encircled him on every side in order to prevent him returning
to God's broad land (i.e. the Hijaz). He has come into your
hands like a prisoner who no longer has the power to use his
own life and cannot defend it against harm. You have
prevented him, his womenfolk, his children and his people
from (getting) the water of the Euphrates which Jews,
Christians and Majians may drink, and which the pigs and dogs
of Sawad drink. They (al-Husayn's family) are likely to die
of thirst. How wickedly you have treated the offspring left
by Muhammad. May God not give you water to drink on the Day
of Thirst.

Some of the foot-soldiers attacked him by shooting arrows at
him. He went and stood in front of al-Husayn, peace be on him.

"Durayd," 'Umar b. Sad called out, "bring
forward your standard (for us)."

He brought it forward. ('Umar) put an arrow in his bow and let
it fly. He said, "(All of you) be witnesses of who was the
first to shoot."

The people began to shoot at each other and to come forward
(for single combat). Yasar, retainer (mawla) of Ziyad b. Abi
Sufyan, came forward (from Umar's army). 'Abd Allah b. Umayr
(al-Kalbi) came forward (from al-Husayn's ranks) to meet him.

"Who are you?" Yasar asked him, and (Ibn al-Kalbi)
gave him his lineage.

"I do not know you," (Yasar) answered. "Let
Zuhayr b. al-Qayn or Habib b. Muzahir come out against me."

"Son of a prostitute, you wanted to do single combat with
one of the people," retorted Abd Allah b. Umayr (al-Kalbi).

With that (Ibn al-Kalbi) struck him with his sword until he
had quietened him. While he was occupied with striking against
him, Salim, retainer (mawla) of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, attacked
him (Ibn al-Kalbi). Al-Husayn's followers cried out (in warning):
"The (other) servant is closing in on you!" (Ibn
al-Kalbi) did not notice (Salim) until the latter was upon him.
With his left arm he warded off Salim's blow but the fingers of
his hand were cut off. Then he turned on (Salim) and struck him
and killed him. After (thus) killing them both, (Ibn al-Kalbl)
came forward and recited:

If you do not know me, I am Ibn al-Kalbl: I am a man of

bitterness and anger, I am not a weakling in the face of

Amr b. al-Hajjaj, with the Kufans under his command, launched
an attack on the right wing of the supporters of al-Husayn, peace
be on him. When they drew near, the followers of al-Husayn, peace
be on him, knelt down and pointed their spears at them. The
(attackers) horses would not come forward against the spears and
they swung round to retreat. The followers of al-Husayn, peace be
on him, began to shoot arrows at (the enemy), killing some of
them and wounding others.

Abd Allah b. Hawza, one of the Banu Tamim, approached
al-Husayn's camp and the people called out to him, "Where
are you going, may your mother be deprived of you?"

"I am (in the right) advancing to a merciful Lord and an
intercessor who is listened to (i.e. the Prophet)," he

"Who is that ?" al-Husayn, peace be on him, asked
his followers.

"Ibn Hawza al-Tamimi" he was told.

"O God, drive him into the fire!" (al-Husayn)
exclaimed. With that his horse upset him in its stride and fell.
His left leg was stuck in the stirrups and his right leg was
free. Muslim b. Awsaja attacked him and struck his right leg and
cut it off. The horse galloped off (dragging) him (along) and his
head struck every stone and clod of earth until he died. God
hurried his soul to (Hell) fire. (More) fighting then broke out
and more men were killed.

Al-Hurr b. Yazid attacked the followers of 'Umar b. Sa'd and
(as he did so), he recited the words of 'Antara:

With my charger's neck and breast thrust forward

I will launch myself at them again and again until (the
beast) is clothed in blood.

Yazid b. Sufyan, from Banu al-Harith (of Tamim), came forward
to meet him. Soon al-Hurr killed him.

(In the meantime) Nafi' b. Hilal came forward, declaring:

I am the son of Hilal. I believe in the religion of Ali.

Muzahim b. Hurayth came against him, crying, "I follow
the religion of Uthman."

"Rather you follow the religion of Satan," Nafi
replied and attacked and killed him.

"You stupid fellows," Amr b. al-Hajjaj cried out to
(his) men, "don't you realise whom you are fighting? (These)
knights of the town are people who are seeking death. Don't let
any of you go forward to fight them in single combat. They are
only few and their time is running out. If you only threw stones
at them, you would kill them (eventually)."

"True, you've come to the right conclusion," 'Umar
b. Sad said to him. Then he sent (the message) to the commanders
that none of their men should fight in single combat.

Amr b. al-Hajaj and his men launched an attack against
al-Husayn, peace be on him, from the direction of the Euphrates.
They fought together fiercely for a time. Muslim b. Awsaja was
struck down, may God have mercy on him, (but) Amr and his men
withdrew. When the dust settled, (al-Husayn's followers) found
Muslim stretched out dying. Al-Husayn, peace be on him, walked
towards him and he was on the point of death.

Muslim, may God have mercy on you, said (al-Husayn), of
them (the believers) is he who has accomplished his vow, and
of them is he who waits; they have not changed at all [
XXXIII : 23 ]

Habib b. Muzahir approached and said, "Muslim, your death
is hard for me to bear but I bring you good news of Heaven (where
you are going)."

"May God bring you good news too," replied Muslim in
a weak voice.

"Even if I knew that I would follow you at this very
moment, I would still like you to appoint me to carry out
everything which concerns you."

Then the people came again against al-Husayn, peace be on him.
Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan attacked with his left wing (and thrust
at) (al-Husayn's) left wing, but they stood firm against him and
forced him away (with their spears). Al-Husayn, peace be on him,
and his followers were attacked on every side but the followers
of al-Husayn fought fiercely. Then their cavalry began to attack
and even though they were only thirty-two horsemen, they did not
attack any side of the Kufan cavalry without putting it to

When Urwa b. Qays saw that - he was in command of the Kufan
cavalry - he sent word to 'Umar b. Sad: "Don't you see what
my calvary is receiving today from this small number (of men)?
Send the foot-soldiers and archers against them."

He sent the archers against them. Al-Hurr b. Yazid's horse was
lamed. He dismounted and began to shout:

You have lamed my (horse) but I am the son of freedom and
braver than a manned lion.

He struck out against them with his sword but a great number
came against him. Ayyub b. Musarrih and another of the Kufan
horsemen shared in killing him.

The followers of al-Husayn, peace be on him, continued to
fight fiercely against the enemy until it was midday. When
al-Husayn b. Numayr - he was in command of the archers -
perceived the steadfastness of the followers of al-Husayn, peace
be on him, he advanced against his supporters with five hundred
archers so that they showered the followers of al-Husayn, peace
be on him, with arrows. They continued shooting at them until
they had lamed (most of) their horses and wounded some of their
men. Then they moved against them and a fierce battle was fought
between them for some time. Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan (also)
attacked them with his followers but Zuhayr b. al-Qayn with ten
of the followers of al- Husayn (counter) attacked and drove them
away from the tents.

Part IX

Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan turned back against them but (some)
of his men were killed and the rest retreated to their positions.
(The number) of killed was apparent among the followers of
al-Husayn, peace be on him, because of the fewness of their
number while it was not so apparent among the followers of 'Umar
b. Sa'd because of their great number. The battle (continued to
be) fought fiercely and desperately. The number killed and
wounded among the followers of Abu 'Abd Allah al-Husayn, peace be
on him, continued to grow until the sun began to decline.
Al-Husayn and his companions prayed the prayer according to the
rite of the prayer of fear.

Hanzala b. Sa'd al-Shibami advanced in front of al-Husayn,
peace be on him, and called out:

People of Kufa, O people fear for you the same (that happened)
on the Day of Parties. If earforyou on the Day of Summoning [ XL
: 30,32 ]. O people, do not kill al-Husayn, for God will destroy
you with punishment. He who forges a lie will be disappointed. [
XX, 61 ]

He advanced and fought until he was killed, may God have mercy
on him. After that, Shawdhab, retainer (mawla) of Shakir, went
forward, (after saying): "Greetings, Abu 'Abd Allah and may
God store his mercy and blessings for you."

He fought until he was killed, may God have mercy on him. Then
came Abis b. Shabib al-Shakiri. He greated al-Husayn, peace be on
him, and fought until he was killed. Each man of (al-Husayn's)
followers continued to go forward and be killed until there only
remained with al-Husayn, peace be on him, the members of his own

His son, Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, whose mother was
Layla daughter of Abu Murra b. Urwa b. Masud al-Thaqafi, was (the
next) to advance. He was one of the most handsome men of the
time. On that day he was nineteen years of age. He attacked the
enemy declaring:

I am Ali b. al-Husayn b. Ali. By the House of God, we are
those rightly (endowed) with the Prophet.

By God, the son of a spurious son will not judge us. I will
strike with my sword in defence of my father.

I will strike with the blow of a Hashimi, a Qurayshi.

He did that several times, and the Kufans were afraid to kill
him. Then Murra b. Munqidh al-Abdi saw him. He said: "May
the felonies of the Arabs come on me, if he gets past me doing
the same as he has been doing, (and) if I do not deprive his
mother of him."

('Ali b. al-Husayn) continued to attack the enemy as he had
been doing but then Murra b. Munqidh came against him and stabbed
him. He was struck down and the enemy fell upon him, cutting him
with their swords. Al-Husayn, peace be on him, went out until he
stood over him and said:

May God kill (the) people who killed you, my son. How fool
hardy they are against the Merciful and in violating the
sacredness of the family of the Apostle, may God bless him
and his family.

His eyes filled with tears and he said: "There will
(only) be dust on the world after you."

Zaynab, the sister of al-Husayn, peace be on him, came
hurrying out, crying: "My brother, my nephew!"

She came up and threw herself on (her dead nephew). Al-Husayn
raised her head and then led her back to the tent. He told his
young (sons): "Carry your brother back."

They carried him and put him before the tent which they had
been fighting in front of. (Then) one of 'Umar b. Sad's men
called 'Amr b. Subayh shot an arrow at 'Abd Allah b. Muslim b.
Aqil. Abd Allah put his hand to guard his brow. The arrow struck
his hand and penetrated through his brow, and riveted the hand to
it. He was not able to move it when another man came down on him
with a spear, thrust it into his heart, and killed him.

Abd Allah b. Qutba al-Ta'i attacked Awn b. 'Abd Allah b.
Ja'far b. Abi Talib and killed him.

Amir b. Nashhal al-Tamimi attacked Muhammad b. Abd Allah b.
Ja'far b. Abi Talib and killed him.

Uthman b. Khalid al-Hamdam launched himself against 'Abd
al-Rahman b. 'Aqil b. Abi Talib, and killed him.

[Humayd b. Muslim reported:]

It was like that among us (i.e. many of al-Husayn's supporters
had been killed by 'Umar b. Sa'd's army) when a young lad came
out against us. His face was young like the first splinter of the
new moon and he carried a sword. He was wearing a shirt and a
waistcloth (izar), and a pair of sandals, one of whose straps was
broken. 'Umar b. Sa'd b. Nufayl al-Azdi said to me: "et me
attack him." I said:

Praise be to God, what do you want to do that for? Leave him.
While even one of the family of al-Husayn remains, that will be
enough to take vengeance on you for his (death).

But he insisted: "By God, let me attack him."

So he rushed against him and did not turn back until he had
struck his head with his sword and split it in two. The young lad
fell face downwards and he called out: "O uncle!"

At this, al-Husayn, peace be on him, showed himself just like
the hawk shows itself. He launched into attack like a raging lion
and struck Umar b. Sad b. Nufayl with his sword. That man tried
to fend off the blow with his arm but his arm was cut off from
the elbow, and he gave a great shriek (of pain) which was (even)
heard by the people in the camp. As al-Husayn, peace be on him,
turned away from him, the cavalry of Kufa attacked in order to
save him but they (only succeeded) in trampling him to death
beneath the horses' hooves, and the dust rose.

I saw al-Husayn, peace be on him, standing by the head of the
young lad, looking at his feet and al-Husayn, peace be on him was

May the people who have caused your death perish. For the
one who will oppose them on the Day of Resurrection on your
behalf will be your grandfather (Ali, or great grandfather,
i.e. the Prophet).

Then he continued:

By God, it is hard on your uncle that you called him and
he did not answer you, or rather he answered but your cry was
(too late) to help you. For by God, those who kill his
relatives are many but those who help him are few.

Then he carried him in his arms. It is just as if (even now) I
am looking at the two legs of the boy making marks (as they
trail) on the ground. He took him and put him with his son, 'Ali
b. al-Husayn, peace be on them both, and the other members of the
household who had been slain. I asked about the boy and was told
that he was al-Qasim b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abl Talib, peace be on

Then al-Husayn, peace be on him, sat in front of the tent. He
brought his son, 'Abd Allah b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, who
was (just) a baby and sat him on his knee. But one of the Banu
Asad shot an arrow which slaughtered the child. Al-Husayn, peace
be on him, caught the child's blood in the palm of his hand. When
his palm was full, he poured (the blood) on to the ground and

O Lord, if it be so that You have kept the help of Heaven
from us, then let it be because (Your purpose) is better than
(immediate help). Take vengeance on these people who are
(such) oppressors.

Then he carried the child and laid him with the (other)
members of his household who had been slain.

(Just then) Abd Allah b. Uqba al-Ghanawi shot an arrow at Abu
Bakr b. al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them, and killed him. When
al-Abbas b. Ali saw the number of his family who had been killed,
he said to his brothers on his mother's side, Abd Allah, Ja'far
and Uthman:

My brothers through my mother, go forward so that I may
see that you have remained true to God and His Apostle. For
you have no children (to defend).

Abd Allah, may God have mercy on him, advanced and fought
fiercely. He exchanged blows with Hani' b. Shabib al-Hadrami and
Hani' killed him. After him Ja'far went forward and Hani' also
killed him. Khawali b. Yazid al-Asbahi, may God curse him, went
against Uthman who had taken the place of his brother. He fired
an arrow at him and brought him down. One of the Banu Darim
attacked him (while he was down) and cut off his head.

Part X

The group then launched an attack against al-Husayn, peace be
on him, and cut off his access to his camp. His thirst became
severe, and he set off towards the dam, trying to reach the
Euphrates. In front of him was his brother, al-'Abbas. However,
the calvary of Ibn Sa'd, may God curse him, blocked his route.
Among these was a man from the Banu Darim; he said to (the

Woe upon you! Prevent him from reaching the Euphrates,
don't let him get water.

Then al-Husayn, peace be on him, cried out: "O God, I am
thirsty." The Dariml became angry and shot an arrow at him
which lodged in his throat. Al-Husayn, peace be on him, pulled
out the arrow and held his hand below his throat. Both his palms
were filled with blood which he shook away, then he said:

O God, I complain to You about what is being done to the
son of the daughter of Your Prophet.

Then he returned to his position, while his thirst had become
(even more) severe.

Meanwhile the people had surrounded al-Abbas and cut him off
from (al-Husayn). Single-handed he began to attack them until he
was killed, may God have mercy on him. The two who took part in
killing him were Zayd b. Warqa al-Hanafi and Hahm b. al-Tufail
al-Shabsi, after he had been covered with wounds and could not

[ The account of al Abbas death is missing from Tabari ]

When al-Husayn, peace be on him, came back from the dam to his
tents, Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan advanced towards him with a group
of his followers and surrounded him. The fastest of them was a
man called Malik b. al-Nusayr al-Kindi. He cursed al-Husayn,
peace be on him, and struck him on the head with his sword.
(Al-Husayn) was wearing a cap. (The sword) went through it right
into his head and made it bleed. The cap was filled with blood.

Al-Husayn, peace be on him, said to him:

May you never eat or drink with your right hand! May God
gather you (on the Day of Judgement) with those people who
are wrong-doers.

Then he threw away the cap and called for a cloth which he
tied around his head. Then he called for another cap, put it on
and bound it (in place).

[ The above portion is missing from the account of Tabari ]

Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan and those who were with him had
withdrawn from him to their (earlier) positions. After a short
delay they came again against him and surrounded him. 'Abd Allah
b. al-Hasan b. Alieace be on them, came out against them, he was
only a boy, not yet mature enough to leave the women. He rushed
forward until he stood beside his uncle, al-Husayn, peace be on
him. Then Zaynab, the daughter of Ali, peace be on him, came
after him to stop him, and al Husayn, peace be on him, told her
to stop him. However he refused (to take any notice of her) and
determinedly prevented her (from taking him away). He said:
"By God, I will not leave my uncle."

(At this) Abjar b. Ka'b rushed towards al-Husayn, peace be on
him. With sword (in hand), the young lad said to him: "Woe
upon you, you son of an impure woman, are you trying to kill my
uncle?" Abjar struck at him with his sword. The boy tried to
fend off (the blow) with his arm. The sword cut through (his arm)
to the skin (on the other side). There was the arm hanging (by
the skin). The boy cried out: "O my mother!" Al-Husayn
took hold of him and embraced him. He said to him:

My nephew, try to bear what has come to you and be comforted
with the news that God will unite you with your righteous

Then al-Husayn, peace be on him, raised his hand and said:

O God, even as You have made life pleasant for them for a
time, divide them into factions and make them follow the ways
of factions and let their rulers never be pleased with them.
They summoned us so that they might support us and then they
became hostile to us and killed us.

[ Abjar is mentioned as Bahr in Tabari ]

The foot-soldiers launched an attack from right and left
against those who were left with al-Husayn, peace be on him,
until only a group of three or four remained with him. When
al-Husayn, peace be on him saw that, he called for a pair of
dazzling Yemen trousers (sarawil). He tore them and put them on.
He tore them so that he should not have them plundered after he
had been killed. When al-Husayn, peace be on him, was killed,
Abjar b. Kab set on him, plundered him of the trousers and left
him naked. After that the two hands of Abjar b. Ka'b, may God
curse him, became so dry in the summer that they were like sticks
and then soaking wet in the winter so that they sprinkled drops
of water and puss, until God destroyed him.

When nobody except a group of three members of his family was
left with al-Husayn, peace be on him, he moved against the
people, while the three protected him until (all) three were
killed. Al-Husayn, was left alone. Despite being weighed down by
wounds in his head and body, he began to strike against them with
his sword and they scattered, to right and left, away from him.

Then Humayd b. Muslim said:

By God, I have never seen such persistence. His sons have
been killed, and the members of his household and his
followers, yet he is still as brave as ever and he has not
allowed his spirit to leave him. When the soldiers attack
him, he fights back with his sword and scatters them to right
and left of him like goats when a wolf comes upon them.

When Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan realised (the position), he
called for the cavalry and they came up at the rear of the
foot-soldiers. He ordered the archers to shoot at (al-Husayn) and
they showered him with arrows until he became (quilted with
arrows) like a hedgehog (iZ with spikes).

He drew back from them and they stood facing him. His sister
Zaynab, came to the door of the tent and called out to 'Umar b.
Sad b. Abi Waqqas: "Woe upon you, Umar. Is Abu Abd Allah
being killed while you (stand by and) watch?" But Umar did
not answer. Then she called out: "Woe upon you (all), is
there not a Muslim among you?" But no-one answered.

Then Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan shouted at the foot soldiers and
the Calvary: "Why are you waiting for the man? May your
mothers be deprived of you!" So they attacked him from every

Zura b. Sharik struck him on the left shoulder-blade and cut
into it. Another of them struck him on the shoulder. He fell
prostrate on his face. Sinan b. Anas al-Nakhai stabbed him with a
spear and killed him. Khawali b. Yazid al-Asbahi hurried to him
and bent down to cut off his head but he trembled (too much).
Shamir said to him: "May God crush your arm why are you
trembling?" Then Shamir bent down and decapitated him. He
lifted the head (and handed it) to Khawati saying: "Take it
to the commander 'Umar b. Sa'd." Then they began to plunder
(the body of) al-Husayn, peace be on him. Ishaq b. al-Hayat
al-Hadrami, may God curse him, took his shirt. Abjar b. Ka'b, may
God curse him, took his trousers. Akhnas b. Marthad, may God
curse him, took his turban. One of the Banu Darim took his sword.
They plundered his saddle and his camel and they looted his

[ The name of the plunderers and the plundered objects are
different in Tabari ]

[Humayd b. Muslim reported:]

By God, I did not see one of his women or daughters or the
women of his family who did not have her clothes ripped from her
back, taken away and removed from her forcibly. Then we came to
Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them both. He was stretched out on
a bed and he was very ill. Shamir had a group of foot-soldiers
with him and they asked him, "Shall we kill this sick
one?" I said: "Praise be to God, will boys be killed
(too)? This is only a youth even though he is what he is."
And I went on (arguing) until I had moved them away from him.

Then 'Umar b. Sa'd arrived and the women cried out and wept in
his face. He ordered his followers: "None of you should
enter the tents of these women nor disturb this sick boy."
The women asked him to return what had been taken from them so
that they could clothe themselves again. So he commanded that
whoever had taken any of their belongings should return them to
them. But by God, none of them returned anything. He then
entrusted charge of the main tent and the tents of the women to a
group (of men) who were; with him. He said: "Guard (the
women) so that none of them may leave and do not harm them."

After this, he returned to his tent and called out to his

"Who will volunteer (to go) to al-Husayn and make his
horse trample on (al-Husayn's body)?" Ten volunteered. Of
these, Ishaq b. Hayyat and Akhnas b. Marthad trampled on (the
body of) al-Husayn with their horses until they had broken and
bruised his back. Umar b. Sad despatched on that day-it was the
day of 'Ashura', - the head of al-Husayn, peace be on him, with
Khawali b. Yazid al-Asbahi and Humayd b. Muslim al-Azdi, to Ubayd
Allah b. Ziyad. Then he ordered the heads of the remainder of his
followers and members of his House (who had been slain) to be cut
off. There were seventy-two heads. He sent Shamir b. Dhi
al-Jawshan, Qays b. Ash'ath and Amr b. al-Hajjaj with these. They
journeyed until they brought them to Ibn Ziyad. He ('Umar b. Sad)
remained there for the rest of that day and the next day until
just after midday. Then he summoned the people for the journey,
and set out towards Kufa. He took with him the daughters and
sisters of al-Husayn, peace be on him, together with 'Ali b.
al-Husayn, peace be on him. The latter was still sick with a
dysentery and was almost on the point of death.

When Ibn Sad departed, some of Banu Asad, who had been staying
at al-Ghadiriyya went to al-Husayn, peace be on him, and his
followers. They performed the funeral prayer over them. Then they
buried al-Husayn at the place where his tomb still is, and they
buried his son 'Ali b. al-Husayn al-Asghar (the younger) at the
foot of the body. They dug around the area next to the two feet
of al-Husayn, peace be on him, for the martyrs from his House and
his followers.

They gathered them together and buried them all together.
However, they buried al-Abbas b. 'Ali, peace be on them both, in
the place where he was killed, on the road to al-Ghadiriyya,
where his tomb still is.

[ These details are not given by Tabari ]

Part XI

When the head of al Husayn, peace be on him, arrived and after
Ibn Sad arrived on the next day (bringing) with him the daughters
and household of al-Husayn, peace be on him, Ibn Ziyad sat before
the people in the governor's palace. He had given the people a
general summons and had ordered them to be present (to see) the
head. He put it in front of him, and he began to look at it with
a smile. In his hand he had a cane and he began to poke at the
teeth with it.

When Zayd b. Arqam, a Companion of the
Prophet who was (then) an old man, saw him poking at the teeth
with the cane, he said

Take your cane away from those two lips. For, by God,
other than Whom there is no deity, I have seen the lips of
the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, touch
those two lips countless times.

(With that) he began to weep.

"Does God make your eyes weep?" asked Ibn Ziyad.
"Or are you weeping because of God's victory? If it was not
for the fact that you are an old man who has become silly and
your mind has left you, I would cut off your head."

Zayd b. Arqam stood up in front of him and went to his house.

(Meanwhile) the family of al-Husayn, peace be on him, was
brought before Ibn Ziyad. Zaynab, the sister of al-Husayn, peace
be on him, came in the middle of the group, pretending not to be
herself; she was wearing her dirtiest clothes. She went and sat
in a corner of the palace and her maids crowded around her.

"Who is that woman who has gone to the side and has sat
in a corner with her women?" Ibn Ziyad demanded but Zaynab
did not answer. He repeated the question about her a second time.

This is Zaynab, daughter of Fatima, the daugher of the
Apostle of God, may God bless him and grant him peace,

one of her women told him.

"Praise be to God Who has disgraced you, killed you and
revealed the false nature of your claims," said Ibn Ziyad as
he came towards her.

Praise be to God Who has favoured us with His Prophet,
Muhammad, may God bless him and his family, answered Zaynab,
and He has purified us completely from sin. He only disgraces
the great sinner and reveals the false nature of the
profligate. Such men are not among us, praise be to God.

"How do you consider God has treated your House?"
asked Ibn Ziyad,

God decreed death for them and they went forward (bravely)
to their resting-places, Zaynab replied, God will gather you
and us together. You will plead your excuses to Him and we
will be your adversaries before Him.

Ibn Ziyad became enraged and burnt with anger.

"Governor," intervened 'Amr b. Hurayth, "She is
only a woman and women are not responsible for anything that they
say. Do not blame her mistakes."

"God has healed my soul from your tyranny and the
rebellion of your House," he said to her.

Zaynab, peace be on her, became weak and wept.

By my life, she cried out to him, You have killed the
mature ones (of my family); you have pierced my family; you
have cut down my young branches; and you have pulled out my
root. If this heals you, then you have been healed.

"By my life," declared Ibn Ziyad, "this is a
woman who makes poetry. Your father was a poet."

What has a woman to do with poetry?, she answered. Indeed
I have (things) to distract me from poetry but my heart
causes me say what I am saying.

Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, was presented to him.

"Who are you?" he asked.

"I am Ali b. al-Husayn" he answered.

"Didn't God kill 'Ali b. al-Husayn?"

"I have a brother who is also called Ali," answered
'Ali, peace be on him, "the people killed him."

"Rather God killed him," affirmed Ibn Ziyad.

"God receives the souls at the time of their death [
XXXIX : 42]."

"How dare you answer me like that!" shouted Ibn
Ziyad angrily, "and that will be the last of you because of
(your) answer to me. Take him away and cut his head off!"

Zaynab, his aunt, clung on to him, pleading: "O Ibn
Ziyad, haven't you had enough of our blood?"

Then she clung on to him and said: "By God, I will not
leave him. If you kill him, kill me with him."

Ibn Ziyad looked at her and at him, and said, "How
wonderful is family relationship! I think she wants me to kill
her with him. Leave him, for I see him (now) for what he

He rose from his assembly to leave the palace and go to the
mosque. He went up on the pulpit. He praised and glorified God,
then he said:

Praise be to God Who has revealed the truth and the
followers of the truth, and has given victory to the
Commander of the faithful, Yazid, and his party, and has
killed the liar who is the son of a liar and his Shia.

At this 'Abd Allah b. Afif al-Azdi, who had been one of the
Shiaa of the Commander of the faithful (Ali b. Abi Talib) stood
in front of him and shouted:

O enemy of God, you are the liar and your father and (the
man) who appointed you and his father. O Ibn Murjana, you
kill the sons of Prophets and take the place of men of truth
on the pulpit.

"Get him for me," ordered Ibn Ziyad.

The soldiers seized him but he gave the battle cry of al-Azd.
Seven hundred of them (quickly) gathered and took him away from
the soldiers.

At night Ibn Ziyad sent someone to get him out of his house.
He was executed and crucified in al-Sabkha, may God have mercy on

The (next) morning Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad sent the head of
al-Husayn, peace be on him, (to Yazid) after it had been taken
through all the streets and tribes of Kufa.

[It is reported from Zayd b. Arqam:]

It was brought past; it was stuck on a spear and I was in
a room in my (house). As it was opposite me I heard it
recite: "Or do you think that the Companions of the Cave
and the inscription were among Our wonderful signs. [ XVIII,
9 ]."

My flesh shuddered and I called out,

O son of the Apostle of God, your head is miraculous,

[ This account is not in Tabari ]

When they had finished taking it around Kufa and had brought
it back to the palace door, Ibn Ziyad gave it to Zahar b. Qays
and he (also) gave him the heads of his companions. He dispatched
him to Yazid b. Muawiya and he sent with him Abu Burda b. 'Awf
al-Azdi, and Tariq b. Abi Zubyan al-Azdi together with a group of
Kufans, to take them to Yazid b. Mu'awiya in Damascus.

[ Abd Allah b. Rabiaa al-Himyari reported: ]

I was with Yazid b. Muawiya in Damascus when Zahar b. Qays
brought the head to him.

"Woe upon you! What is behind you? What have you
got?" demanded Yazid. O Commander of the faithful, he
replied, I bring good news of God's victory and support.
Al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be on them, came against us with
eighteen men of his House and sixty of his Shi'a. We went out
to meet them and we asked them to surrender and submit to the
authority of the governor, 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, or to
fight. They chose to fight rather than to surrender.

We attacked them as the sun rose and surrounded them on every
side. Eventually (our) swords took their toll of the heads of
the people and they began to flee without having any refuge
(to go to). They (tried to) take refuge from us on the (open)
hills and in the hollows, like the doves seek refuge from a

By God, Commander of the faithful, it was nothing but the
slaughtering of animals for slaughter. (It was only the time
taken by) the sleep of a man taking his siesta (before) we had
come upon the last of them. There were their naked bodies, their
blood-stained clothes, their faces thrown in the dust. The sun
burst down on them; the wind scattered (dust) over them; their
visitors were (scavenging) eagles and vultures.

Yazid looked down for a time, then he raised his head and

I would have been satisfied with your obedience (to my
orders) without this killing of al-Husayn, peace be on him.
If it had been me who had accompanied him, I would have let
him off (such a fate).

Part XII

After Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad had dispatched the head of
al-Husayn, he ordered the women and the young boys to be made
ready for travelling. He ordered Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on
them, to be chained with a chain around his neck. Then he
dispatched them, to follow the heads, with Muhaffir b. Thalaba al
Aidhi and Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan. They set out with them until
they caught up with the people with the head. Ali b. al-Husayn
did not speak a word to any of the people who had the head on
that journey. Eventually they reached (their destination). When
they reached the door of Yazid's (palace), Muhaffir b. Tha'laba
raised his voice and shouted: "Here is Muhaffir b. Thalaba
who has brought the Commander of the faithful these vile

Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on him, answered him:

What did the mother of Muhaffir give birth to more evil
and more grievous (than him)?

When the heads were put in front of Yazid and among them was
the head of al-Husayn, peace be on him, Yazid recited:

We will split the skull of proud men (who come) against

they were very disobedient and oppressive.

Yahya b. al-Hakam, the brother of Marwan b. al-Hakam recited:

On the bank (of the river) a great army met him who is

closer in kinship (to Yazid) than Ibn Ziyad (is), the man
with a false lineage.

The offspring of Sumayya has acquired status, while the
offspring of the daughter of the Apostle of God is (given) none.

Yazid struck his hand against the chest of Yahya b. al-Hakam
and shouted, "Be quiet!"

Then he said to Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them

Son of al Husayn, your father cut (the bond of) kinship
with me and showed ignorance of my rights, trying to deprive
me of my position of authority. (Now) God has treated him in
the way you have seen.

No misfortune strikes the earth nor yourselves unless it has
been written in a book before we bring it into existence; that is
easy for God [ LVII : 22 ]

replied Ali b. al-Husayn.

"Answer him," Yazid urged his son, Khalid. However
Khalid did not know what to say in reply. So Yazid answered:

Say rather: Whatever misfortune has struck you is because of
what your hands have earned. And (God) forgives much [XLII: 30 ]

He summoned the women and the children and they were made to
sit in front of him. What he saw was dreadful.

"May God detest Ibn Murjana," he said: "If
there had been (any bond of) kinship between him and you, he
would not have done this to you; he would not have sent you in
this state."

[Fatima, daughter of al-Husayn, peace be on him, reported:]


When we sat before Yazid, he showed pity on us. An Ahmar of
the Syrians stood up and said to Yazid: "Commander of the
faithful, give me this one."

He meant me. (Then) I was a pretty young girl. I shuddered for
I thought that that would be allowed to them. I caught hold of
the skirt of my aunt Zaynab and she told (me) that that would not
happen. She said to the Syrian:



  • By God, you are a liar. By God, you are (too)
    lowly born! Such a thing is not for you nor for
    him (to decide).



    "You are a liar," Yazid cried out angrily.
    "That is for me (to decide). If I wish to do anything, I can
    do it."



  • No, by God, she replied, God would only let you
    do that if you left our faith and professed
    belief in another (religion).



    "It is me," screamed Yazid, distraught with anger,
    "whom you are treating in this (way). It is your father who
    has left the religion, and your brother



  • I am led by the religion of God, the religion of
    my father and the religion of my brother, she
    answered, and (it is what) you are led by, and
    your grandfather and your father, if you are a



    "Enemy of God, you lie," he shouted.



  • You are a Commander of the faithful, (yet) you
    vilify unjustly and you have become oppressive
    with your authority, she answered.



    (At this) he was ashamed and became silent. "Give me that
    girl," repeated the Syrian. "Be a bachelor," Yazid
    said to him, "May God strike you dead!"

    Then he ordered the women to be lodged in a house on (the)
    banks (of the river). With them (also he sent) their brother,
    'Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. (Later) a house was set
    aside for them, which was attached to Yazid's own house. They
    resided (there) for several days, (After a short time) he
    summoned al-Nu'man b. Bashir and told him to make preparations to
    take these women back to Medina. When he was about to dispatch
    them, he summoned Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them. He took him

    "God curse Ibn Murjana," he said. "If I had
    been with your father, he would never have asked me for a favour
    without me granting him it; I would have protected him from death
    with all my power. But God has decreed what you have seen. Write
    to me from Medina and everything that you need will be

    He presented clothes to him and to his family. He sent with
    them in the group (of men under the command) of Numan b. Bashir,
    a messenger, who brought him (al-Numan) the order to set out with
    them in the night; and that they should go in front of him but
    they should never be out of his sight. When they stopped, he
    should go aside from them and he and his followers should
    separate around them like a group of guards over them. He should
    (only) keep away from them when any person of their group wanted
    to wash or perform a need, so he (or she) would not be ashamed.


    (The messenger) set off with them amid the group of al-Numan.

    (Al-Nu'man) continued to stay close to them along the road but

    was kind to them as Yazid had instructed him and he looked

    them until they entered Medina.

    After Ibn Ziyad had dispatched the head of al-Husayn, peace be
    on him, to Yazid, he went to Abd al-Malik b Abi al-Harith
    al-Sulami and told him,



  • Go to 'Amr b. Sad b. al-As in Medina and give him
    the good news of the killing of al-Husayn (peace
    be on him).



    [ Abd al-Malik reported: ]

    I rode my mount and went towards Medina. (On the way) one of
    Quraysh met me.

    "What is the news?" he asked.

    "The news is for the governor, (then) you will hear
    it," I answered.

    "We belong to God and to Him we will return," he said.
    "By God, al-Husayn, peace be on him, has been killed."

    When I went to Amr b. Said, he asked: "What is your

    "What will please the governor," I answered,
    "Al-Husayn, peace be on him, has been killed."

    "Go out and announce his being killed," he told me.

    I announced (it). I have never heard such wailing as the
    wailing of the Banu Hashim in their houses for al-Husayn b. Ali,
    peace be on him, when they heard the announcement of his death. I
    went back (in) to 'Amr b. Said. When he saw me, he smiled at me
    and laughed. Then he quoted a verse of Amr b. Madikarib:



  • Then women of Banu Ziyad raised a great lament
    like the lamentation of our women mourning (after
    the battle) of al-Arnab.



    "This lamentation is in return for the lamentation for

    'Amr exclaimed. Then he went up on the pulpit and informed the
    people about the killing of al-Husayn b. Ali, and he summoned
    (them to obey) Yazid b. Muawiya. (After that) he went down.

    One of the retainers (mawali) of Abd Allah b. Jafar b. Abi
    Talib, peace be on him, went to him and announced the news of the
    killing of his two sons and he said that we (all return) to God.

    "This is what we have through al-Husayn b. Ali, peace be
    on them," said Abu Salasil, the retainer (mawl:) of Abd



  • O son of an obscene (woman)," exclaimed Abd
    Allah b. Jafar, taking off his shoe (to strike
    him). "Are you saying this of al- ,Husayn,
    peace be on him? If I had been present with him,
    I would have preferred not to leave him and to be
    killed with him. By God, I would not have
    withheld those two from him and I take
    consolation from what befell them in that these
    two were struck down with my brother and cousin,
    consoling him and enduring with him.



    He went forward to those who were sitting with him and said:



  • Praise be to God, Who has (made life hard for me)
    through the death of al-Husayn. For I did not
    console al-Husayn with my own hands, my two sons
    consoled him.



    Umm Luqman, the daughter of Aqil b. Abi Talib, may God have
    mercy on them, came out crying when she heard the news of the
    death of al-Husayn, peace be on him. With her were her sisters
    Umm Hani', Ramla and Zaynab, daughters of Aqil b. Abi Talib, may
    God have mercy on them. She wept for her (relatives) slain on the
    bank and she recited:



  • What would you say if the Prophet asked you: What
    have you, the last of the (religious)
    communities, done

    With my offspring and my
    family after my departure from them? They are
    prisoners and slain and have been stained with
    their own blood.

    What sort of reward is this for my advice to
    you, that you should oppose me by doing evil to
    my blood relations?




    On the night of the day upon which Amr b. Said had given the
    public notice of the killing of al Husayn b. Ali, peace be upon
    them, in Mecona, in the middle of the night the Medians heard a
    voice calling out. They listened to the voice but they did not
    see any person.

    The voice called out:



  • O men who ignorantly killed al Husayn; hear the
    news of punishment and chastisement

    All the people of heaven, prophets, angels and
    slain, prosecute you.

    You have been cursed by the tongue of the son of
    David, and (that) of Moses and (that) of the
    master of the Gospels.