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Imam Al Husayn: from Birth to Death

The article focuses on the biography of al-Hussein ibn `Ali, his merits, story of hs death and many important things about him.
The article focuses on the biography of al-Husayn ibn `Ali, his merits, story of hs death and many important things about him.

Writer: Dr. Khalid Al-Hulaibi

Translation: The editorial team

At the beginning of each Hijri year, Muslims recall some significant historical events, topped by the Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Al-Madinah which changed the course of history, as well as the anniversary of the triumph of Moses (peace be upon him) over Pharaoh. Muslims are ordered to fast the tenth day of Muharram thanks to God, as well as fasting the ninth or the eleventh day of it to differ from the Jews who fast only the tenth day.

However, Muharram and `Ashuraa’ reminds us with a serious incident that occupies a great status in the hearts of Muslims, namely the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn ibn `Ali (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) in Karbala. It is a very sorrowful incident for all Muslims indeed.

Let’s discuss the biography of Imam Al-Husayn, son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), his merits, the story of his martyrdom and many important things about him in the following lines.

His Name and lineage:

His name is al-Hussein ibn `Ali ibn Abu Talib ibn al-Muttalib al-Hashimi al-Qurashi, the grandson and most beloved one of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). He resembled the Prophet in his full countenance and body. His father is the Commander of the Believers, `Ali ibn Abu Talib, and his mother is Fatima Az-Zahra’, daughter of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). His nickname is Abu `Abdullah and his title is the martyr. He is one of the two leaders of the youth of Paradise along with his brother al-Hasan.

His birth:

Al-Husayn was born in al-Madinah in Sha`ban in the fourth year after the Prophet’s migration to al-Madinah. The Messenger of Allah made `Aqiqah on behalf of him and his brother Al-Hasan and said regarding them, “They are my two sweet basils in this life.” (Al-Bukhari)

It was narrated that Jabir said when he saw al-Husayn entering the mosque, “Whoever likes to look at the leader of the youth of Paradise, let him look at this man.” He added, I heard this from the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).” (Narrated by Al-Haythami)

The Prophet (peace be upon him) loved al-Husayn so much and he would play with him and say, “Husayn is from me, and I am from Husayn. Allah loves whoever loves Husayn. Husayn is a Sibt among the Asbat.” [Asbat, plural of Sibt: A great tribe. Meaning, Al-Husayn would have many offspring, such that they would become a great tribe.” (Narrated by Ibn Majah and Ahmad, At-Tirmidhi)

His life:

Al Husayn was born and grown up in city of Al-Madinah in the house of Prophethood along with his father’s house. He was educated in the circles of knowledge in the Prophet’s Mosque where he learnt morality and noble customs. It is narrated that he performed Hajj to Makkah 25 times going on foot. In 35 AH, he witnessed Bay`ah (pledge of allegiance) to his father, Imam `Ali, and went out with him to Kufa. Also, he attended the battle of Al-Jamal and Suffin and fought against the Kharijites. He remained with his father until his father passed away in 40 AH.

Then, he settled with his brother al-Hassan in Kufa until al-Hassan abdicated Caliphate for Mu`awiyah ibn Abu Sufian, as prophesized by the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in the following hadith:

Abu Bakrah narrated “Once the Prophet (peace be upon him) brought out Al-Hasan and took him up the pulpit along with him and said, “This son of mine is a Sayyid (i.e. chief) and I hope that Allah will help him bring about reconciliation between two Muslim groups.” (Al-Bukhari)

However, al-Husayn did not like the action from al-Hasan (i.e. abdicating Caliphate) and he preferred that he should have engaged in fight for Caliphate, as al-Husayn viewed that al-Hasan was more entitled with Caliphate. However, he finally obeyed his brother al-Hassan, who shared the same view of al-Husayn regarding his right of Caliphate but he preferred to abdicate to prevent bloodshed of Muslims. Al-Husayn swore allegiance to Mu`awiyah and returned with brother to Al-Madinah and remained there until the death of Mu`wiyah in 60 AH.

His martyrdom:

When Yazid ibn Mu`awiyyah came into power, he sent to Al-Walid ibn `Utbah, the governor of al-Madinah, to take the pledge of allegiance form its people to Yazid. Yet, al-Husayn refused to pay the pledge of allegiance to Yazid and went out to Makkah and lived there. The people of Kufa sent messages to al-Husayn swearing allegiance of Caliphate to him and calling him to come out for them. Thus, he sent to them his cousin Muslim ibn `Aqil ibn Abu Talib to take the pledge of allegiance from them. However, Muslim was missed out and no news came about him for a long time. Al-Husayn marched out with a number of his supporters to Iraq, although some of his relatives and companions advised him to stay in Makkah. Among those who denied his marching to Iraq were `Abdullah ibn `Abbas, `Abdullah ibn `Umar, `Abdullah ibn Ja`afar and Jabir ibn `Abdullah. Also, a woman called `Umrah sent him that she heard from `A’ishah (wife of the Prophet) that the Prophet said, “Al-Husayn will be killed in the lands of Babil (in Iraq).” When he read her book, he said: “It must be the place of my death.” He went with his companions heading to Iraq. In his way, Al-Harr ib Yazid At-Tamimi met him and said to him, “Go back for I did not leave any good behind for you.”

Al-Harr also told al-Husayn that `Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Basra and Kufa, killed Muslim ibn `Uqail. Thus, al-Husayn intended to return back with the brothers of Muslim but they said, “By Allah, we will not be back until we revenge or be killed.” He continued his way until he reached the district of At-Taff near Karbala, with 45 knights and 100 men, in addition to his family. The people of Kufa disappointed and did not fulfill their promises to support him. He fought with those with him against the army of `Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad which included 4000 knights and was led by `Umar ibn Sa`d ibn Abu Waqqas. They held negotiations between them but they agreed to nothing. The army of `Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad attacked al-Husayn and his men who fought bravely until most of them fell martyrs. 17 persons from the family of al-Husayn were  killed with him including his 4 brothers, may Allah confer mercy upon them all. They found in his body 33 tabs, and his death was on the Day of `Ashura’ 61 AH.

It is narrated that his killer is Sinan ibn Sinan An-Nakh`i and the one who finished him off and the one who cut off his head was Khawli ibn Yazid Al-Asbahi.

Situation of Yazid regarding al-Husayn’s death:

It is narrated that when the news about the death of al-Husayn and some of his family, the majority of them were women, Yazid said, “I would have accepted your obedience without killing of al-Husayn.” Sakina, daughter of al-Husayn, said, “O Yazid, would you take the daughters of the Messegner of Allah as captives?” He replied, “O daughter of my brother, it is more arduous for me more than for you.” Then, he cursed `Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad. Yunus ibn Habib narrated that Yazid would say, “What would have happened to me if I bore the harm and received al-Husayn with me, and made him a ruler over what he likes. Despite this might have involved some harms to me but it would be better for preserving the rights of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). May Allah curse the daughter of Murganah (referring to `Ubaidullah ibn Ziyad) for he embraced and compelled al-Husayn to fight! He asked to be released to return back, come to me and agree with me, or to move to any of the borderline places of the Muslim country. Yet, Ibn Ziyad rejected all of this and killed al-Husayn and made Muslims hate me for his death and instilled enmity in the hearts of Muslims against me.” He added, “May Allah confer mercy upon al-Husayn. I hoped that he was brought to me peacefully.”

Then, Yazid commanded that the women to be hosted with his women and gave orders that the family of Abu Sufyan make obsequies for three days for the death of al-Hussein. Then, he ordered that the women of the Prophet’s family to be supplied with the required things and be sent back to Al-Madinah with full prestige.

The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) knew that his grandson and beloved one al-Husayein would be killed at the hands of Muslims, as Abu Imamah narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said to his women, “Do not shed tears on this (intending al-Husayn).” This was during the day of Umm Salamah. Jibril (the angel Gabriel) descended down to the Prophet, and thus the Prophet said to Umm Salamah, “Do not let anyone enters.” Then, al-Husayn came and cried. She let him enters and then he entered and sat down in the lap of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). Jibril said, “Your nation will kill him.” The Prophet said, “Would they do so will they are believers?” Jibril replied in the affirmative and made the Prophet see al-Husayn’s place of death.” (the hadith was classified as having a good chain of transmitters, according to Adh-Dhahabi)

This sorrowful memory remained in the hearts of the companions of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and did not forget it the people of Iraq who have attended the death of Husayn without defending him. Al-Bukhari narrated from Ibn Abu Nu`m who said, “Once I was with Ibn `Umar when a man asked him about the blood of mosquitoes. Ibn `Umar asked, “Where are you from?” He said the he from Iraq. Ibn `Umar said, “Look at this, asking me about the blood of mosquitoes while they killed the son of the Prophet (peace be upon him). I heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) saying, “They are my two sweet basils in this life.” (Al-Bukhari)

O Allah, we love al-Hassan and al-Husayn, their mother and their father, and their relatives because we love their grandfather Muhammad (peace be upon him). We ask you to bring us with them on the day of Judgment because we love them.

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Source: The article is translated from an Arabic article on Al-Alukah.com

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