Heroic uprising of the "Tawwabin" (Penitents) in Iraq
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 1st of the Islamic month of Rabi al-Awal in 65 AH, the "Tawwabin" (Penitents) launched their heroic uprising in Iraq to avenge the innocent blood of Imam Husain (AS), who was cruelly martyred in Karbala in 61 AH by the bloodthirsty hordes of the Omayyad usurper, Yazid. The Tawwabin were mostly the inhabitants of Kufa and its surroundings who had invited the Prophet's (SAWA) grandson to Iraq to free them from tyranny, but when Yazid sent the brutal Obaidullah ibn Ziyad as governor, these people, despite numbering several thousand, lost the courage to support the Imam, and left him alone to be martyred along with 72 steadfast companions including his 6-month infant, Ali Asghar (AS).
When the children and womenfolk of the Prophet's household along with the heads of the martyrs mounted on lances, were paraded in Kufa, these people were shocked, and soon on the death of Yazid they rose up to drive away Ibn Ziyad. Finally on this day in 65, after visiting the grave of the martyred Imam and beseeching God for forgiveness, these penitents, clad in white shrouds and numbering about 4,000 men led by the Prophet's aged 93-year companion, Sulayman bin Surad al-Khuzaie (one of the conquerors of Transoxiana), formally launched their heroic uprising, swearing either to wreak vengeance upon the killers or achieve martyrdom in the process.
They created awe and fear among the better armed Omayyad forces sent from Syria, and after initially routing the enemy ranks, most of them achieved martyrdom. The remnants joined the uprising of Mokhtar ibn Abi Obayda Saqafi for the same purpose and succeeded in bringing to justice most of the killers of the Prophet's grandson, including Ibn Ziyad, Omar ibn Sa'd, Shemr Ziljowshan, Harmala bin Kahel, Khouli, etc.