Along with Imam Husain (AS), from Medina to Karbala (5)

Along with Imam Husain (AS), from Medina to Karbala (5)

Imam Husain (AS) continuing his journey towards Iraq halted at a place called Shiraf, and asked his companions to store more water than is normally needed for the rest of the journey. Suddenly one of his companions said “Allahu Akbar,” at what appeared to him palm trees in the far distance.

The people around him said it is impossible for palm trees to be in such a waterless tract. When they looked carefully, they saw spears and horses. The Imam set up camp at a place called Dhu-Hasm where there was shelter from any attack. At noon, Horr ar-Riyahi, with 1,000 soldiers, appeared in front of the Imam, carrying a message from Yazid’s governor of Kufa, Obaidollah Ibn Ziyad, ordering him to prevent the Imam from returning to Medina or capture him and bring him to Kufa. When the Imam saw that the army of Horr was thirsty, he asked his followers to give water to them and their horses. They gave water to all of them and all of their horses. When all the army and their animals were finished drinking, the Imam stood and said, “I did not come here until all of your letters came to me, and the letters say that you do not have any leader and that you need me to help teach you guidance. If that is still your demand, give me something that shows that you are truthful in your promises, and if you do not like me, I will return to where I came from.”

The soldiers were silent. No one spoke a word. Then, Hajjaj Ibn Masraq made the call to prayer for the Zohr or Noon- Prayer. The Imam said to Horr, “You are the chief of your army. You go and pray with your own people.” Horr replied, “No. We pray behind you”, and Horr, with all of his troops, prayed behind the Imam. When the Imam finished the prayer, he stood and said, “O people! Fear God and find the truth and follow it. We are the members of the House of the Prophet. We deserve trust more than those who do injustice. If you do not like us or you ignore our rights or you have changed your minds from whatever you have written to us before, then I will leave you.”

The Imam then showed Horr the sack of letters written by the people of Kufa inviting him to Iraq. Horr said that his task was to bring the Imam to Ibn Ziyad in Kufa. The Imam said, “Death is before that.” He turned and told his followers to get ready to ride their horses, but Horr stopped them from going. Then, the Imam said, “May your mother sit in mourning for you, what do you want from us?” Horr replied, “If anyone beside you had said those words to me, l would have replied in the same manner to him, but I cannot do that to you, because you are the Prophet’s grandson, and your mother is Hazrat Fatema Zahra (SA). However, take a route that does not reach Kufa nor goes to Medina, until I write to Ibn Ziyad and see what his orders are. May God relieve me from this catastrophe.”

The Imam’s caravan continued with Horr’s army following behind. At a place called Bayzah, the Imam gave a sermon to the army of Horr: “O people! The Messenger of God said, ‘Whoever sees an unjust governor who changes the forbidden to allowed and who breaks his promise, who is against the tradition of the Prophets, who acts unjustly and does not do anything against it in action or in words, God will enter him where the unjust person enters.’ Indeed, these people follow Satan and have left the obedience of God. They spread mischief, they abandon all rules, they misuse wealth, and they make the illegal legal and the legal illegal. I deserve this leadership more than anyone else. Your letters came to me and your deputies came to me offering allegiance to me, saying that you will not betray me and that if I lead you, you will succeed. I am Husain, son of Ali and Fatemah, the daughter of the Messenger of God. My soul is with your soul, my family is with your family, and I am one of you. If you do not do so and change your promise and your allegiance to me, that would not be a surprise to me. You have done so before to my father, my brother, and my cousin (Muslim Ibn Aqil). If you do that, you have missed your chance and you have lost your share and whoever breaks his promise he breaks it against himself. Peace be upon you.”

The next stop was Ninevah, where Horr received a message from Ibn Ziyad asking him not to let the Imam camp anywhere, but in the desert where there is no water and no fortification. The Imam said, “Then, let us go to Nineveh or Ghazariyyah. Zuhayr said, “There is a village here on the Euphrates and has a fort and the Euphrates crosses it. Let us go there. It’s called Aqr. The Imam said, “I seek refuge with God from Aqr.” Then, the Imam asked Horr to let him go a little bit further. Horr agreed and the Imam’s caravan went with Horr’s troops following behind until they reached Karbala. At this place the horses of the Imam’s group stopped, and the Imam asked Zuhayr, “What is the name of this place” Zuhayr said, “It is also called Karbala. The Imam’s eyes watered and he said, “O, God! I seek refuge with God from Karb (that is grief) and Bala (that is tribulation). Here is the place in which we will set our camp; here is the place where our blood will be shed. Here is the place where our graves will be. This is what my grandfather has told me.”

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