An account of the Tawwabeen (Penitents)
Source: Nafasul Mahmum by Ayatullah Shaykh Abbas Qummi
When Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred and (Ubaydullah) Ibn Ziyad returned from Nukhaylah to Kufa, the Shi’ah disputed with one another in reproach and repentance. They realized their great sin that they invited Imam Husayn (a.s.) and later withdrew their hands from assisting and complying him, while he was killed in their very neighborhood. They realized that until and unless they either killed his murderers or were themselves killed, the sin and disgrace could not be washed off.
They gathered around the five noblemen of Shi’ah in Kufa viz. Sulayman bin Surad Khuza’ee, who was from among the companions of the Prophet (S); Musayyab bin Najabah Fazari, from among the companions of Imam Ali (a.s.); Abdullah bin Sa’ad bin Nufayl Azdi; Abdullah bin Waal Tamimi, from the clan of Taym Bakr bin Wael; and Rufa’ah bin Shaddad Bajali, who was from among the best companions of Imam Ali (a.s.).
They gathered at the house of Sulayman bin Surad Khuza’ee and Musayyab bin Najabah started the speech. After praising Allah he said, “Now then! Allah tried us by means of a lengthy age and delivered us from exposure to various mischiefs. We wish from our Lord that tomorrow in Qiyamah we might not fall prey to chastisement when it will said to us: “Did not We keep you alive long enough for him who reflected to reflect therein? (Surah al-Fatir, 35:37).”
The faithful Imam Ali (a.s.) has said: “The age until which Allah accepts apologies from the children of Adam (a.s.) is sixty years.”
While all of us have reached the age of sixty years and are self-praising and Allah found us to be treacherous with regards to the circumstances relating to the grandson of the Prophet of Allah (S). His letters and messengers reached us earlier and he ended his proof upon us and requested us to assist him from the beginning until the end. We remained away from self-sacrifice until he was martyred very close to us.
Neither did we assist him through our hands nor did we side with him by means of our tongues. Neither did we strengthen him with our wealth nor did we solicit help from our families for him. What excuse do we have in the presence of our Lord, and what explanation shall we offer to the Prophet (S) that his beloved son and his progeny were killed. No, by Allah! We have no excuse except that either we kill his murderers or we die in his way. And we desire that Allah might be pleased with us due to this self-sacrifice of ours’, and we should remain safe from His chastisement. O people! One of you should take lead and it is necessary that there should be a commander with whom you may take refuge, as also a standard under which you may gather”.
Then Rufa’ah bin Shaddad Bajali arose and said, “Now then! Allah has placed a best speech in your mouth, while you began your speech with a sane task of fighting against the lewd men and in repentance of a great sin. Your speech is justifiable and acceptable, while whatever you have said regarding the requirement of a commander under whom one would take refuge and a standard under which one would unite is true, and we all too opine likewise.
Then if you accept this task you are likeable, a well-wisher and beloved among the group. And if you opine, as also our group, we shall agree that the noblemen among the Shi’ah and a companion of the Prophet of Allah (S), a senior man like Sulayman bin Surad Khuza’ee should be handed over the charge of this task, whose valor and religiosity is commendable and whose foresight is reliable”.
Abdullah bin Sa’ad confirmed his speech, and Musayyab said, “You have said the truth, appoint Sulayman bin Surad as your commander”. Then Sulayman arose and after praising Allah, said, “Now then! I fear that we shall not reach a better day than this age of short livelihood and the great sin that has enveloped the distinguished chiefs of Shi’ah. All of us desired that the Progeny of the Prophet (S) should come to us and we promised to assist him. Then when they came to us, we displayed lethargy and indigence and became negligent. We waited for one another until the son of our Prophet (S), his progeny, his offspring and the pieces of his body were martyred. He desired justice, but was denied, the lewd men made him the target of arrows and focus of spears, and they galloped towards him and put aside justice. Beware! Now arise, for your Lord is furious with you and shut your eyes from your wives and children so that Allah may be pleased with you. By Allah! I do not presume that He will ever be pleased with you until you fight those who killed him. Do not fear death, for everyone who fears death is humiliated. Then be like the followers of Bani Israel when their Prophets told them: You oppressed your own self when you worshipped the calf, then return back to your Creator and kill your own ego. They refused and knelt down, then rebelled. But then they realized that there was no other way for deliverance from this great sin, except being killed. Then if you are invited towards that which they were invited, then what shall you do? Then sharpen your swords and fix points upon your spears ‘And prepare ye against them whatever (force) you can, and steeds of war at the garrison.’ (Surah al-Anfal, 8:60).”
Khalid bin Nufayl said, “By Allah! If I know that my salvation from my sin and the pleasure of my Lord lies in my being killed, I shall certainly kill myself. All those present bear witness that whatever I have with me, except my arms with which I fight my enemies, I sacrifice it for the Muslims so that they may acquire power in fighting against the lewd men”. Abu Ma’eemar bin Habas bin Rabi’ah Kinani supported his view.
Then Sulayman said, “Enough of speech. Whoever desires donating anything for this task should hand it over to Abdullah bin Waal Taymi. Then when an adequate budget gathers with him, we shall mobilize the Shi’ah destitutes with it”.
Sulayman bin Surad wrote a letter to Sa’ad bin Huzayfah (bin al Yaman) and informed him of their decision and invited him for assistance. Sa’ad read the letter for the Shi’ah of Madaen, who consented to it, and in contents of a letter addressed to Sulayman bin Surad agreed to assist him in this expedition. Sulayman wrote another letter with similar contents to Musanna bin Makhrabah Abadi at Basra. Musanna replied back saying, “We, the group of Shi’ah, praise Allah for this decision of yours’. And we promise that we shall unite with you at the appointed time”. And at the end of the letter he had written some couplets.
They started their activities in the year 61 A.H. after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.). They started gathering requirements for the battle and invited people to seek revenge of Husayn (a.s.), one after the other people started joining them and they continued their task until Yazid died in 64 A.H. Hearing this the companions of Sulayman rallied around him and informed him that, “Yazid has died and the state of the kingdom had turned sluggish. Then if you permit, we should revolt against ‘Amr bin Hurays, the assistant of Ibn Ziyad, and declare our intention of revenging the blood of Husayn (a.s.) as also pursue his murderers while inviting towards the sovereignty of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), who have been denied their rights”.
Sulayman replied, “Do not make haste. I have pondered upon your proposal and have concluded that all the murderers of Husayn (a.s.) are the noblemen of Kufa and among the valorous Arabs. Then if you try to seek revenge from them and they become aware of your intentions, all of them shall pounce upon you with more severity than anyone else. Then I have measured that if the group among your obedient ones revolt, you shall not be able to seek your revenge, and you shall not heal your hearts but shall fall prey to your enemies. Thus you may dispatch your missionaries and invite people towards our assistance”.
They did as advised and a large number of men rallied around them after the death of Yazid. The Kufans too expelled ‘Amr bin Hurays from Kufa and pledged allegiance for Abdullah bin Zubayr, while Sulayman and his companions remained busy in their missionary activities.
Mukhtar bin Abi Ubaydah entered Kufa in the middle of the month of Ramazan, six months after the death of Yazid. Abdullah bin Yazid Ansari was the governor of Kufa deputed by Ibn Zubayr, while Ibraheem bin Muhammad bin Talha assisted him and was appointed to collect taxes. Mukhtar arose to invite people towards seeking revenge for Husayn (a.s.) and his slogan for this invitation was that, “I have been assigned as a trustworthy deputy on behalf of the Mahdi Muhammad bin Hanafiyah”, while a group of Shi’ah rallied around him. He (Mukhtar) said, “Sulayman desires to revolt and lay his life, as well as those of his companions, while he has no insight with regards to battle”.
Abdullah bin Yazid was informed that daily in Kufa people revolted against him. It was said to him, “Imprison Mukhtar, and if you leave him free, you shall not see fairness”. Abdullah replied, “If they fight us, we too shall fight them, but if they do not disturb us, we do not have anything against them. They seek revenge for the blood of Husayn (a.s.), and may Allah’s mercy be upon them, they are in peace, they may revolt in open against those who killed Husayn (a.s.), who is coming towards them (he meant Ubaydullah bin Ziyad), while I too support them (against him).
This Ibn Ziyad, who is the murderer of Husayn (a.s.) and that of the virtuous and your colleagues, is coming towards you. The messengers from the place of the Manbaj Bridge have brought this news, it is better that you prepare unitedly for combat against him and not fight amongst yourselves and kill one another, until you find your enemies to be helpless and reach your goals.
This Ibn Ziyad is the worst among the creatures of Allah, he, as well as his father, ruled upon you for seven years, and did not refrain their hands from killing the virtuous and respectable people. He humiliated you and is the one who kills anyone whom he desires.
He is now coming towards him; therefore face him with power, your arms and your glory. Spend thoroughly against him and not upon your own selves, while I desire your well-being. While Marwan had dispatched Ibn Ziyad to (Northwest) Mesopotamia and ordered him that when he would free himself from conquering it, he should attack Iraq.
When Abdullah bin Yazid concluded his speech, Ibraheem bin Muhammad bin Talha said, “O people! Do not be tempted by the deceitful speech of this charlatan. By Allah! Whoever revolts against us, we shall kill him. And if we receive news that a group of men intends revolting against us, we shall reprimand a father for his son, an infant for his father, relative for a relative, a headman for his subservient, until they accept the truth and submit to us”. Hearing this Musayyab bin Najabah sprang from his place and cut short his speech saying, “O son of destitutes! You terrify us by means of your sword and power? By Allah! You are more base than him. We do not reprimand you for your enmity with us; we have killed your father and grandfather. But O Commander! You have said fairly”.
Ibraheem said, “By Allah! We shall slaughter, while this Abdullah bin Yazid shows frailty”. Then Abdullah bin Waal said, “Why do you interfere between us and our commander. You are not our commander, but are deputed to look after the finances. Go and gather finances, but if you desire spoiling the affair of this nation, (it is nothing new) for your father and grandfather had done similarly and then they faced evil”. Ibraheem and his accomplices started abusing them and they spoke badly with one another. Then the commander (Abdullah bin Yazid) alighted from the pulpit and Ibraheem threatened him that he would complain to Ibn Zubayr. Abdullah went to his house and asked pardon and he yielded, while Sulayman and his companions came out and started buying ammunitions and prepared for a combat.
Entry of Mukhtar into Kufa
When the time of Imam Husayn (a.s.) came and he dispatched Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) to Kufa, Mukhtar hosted him and admitted him in his house, which is now that of Muslim bin Musayyab (in the days of Hisham bin Muhammad Kalbi). He swore fealty at his hands and invited people to obey him. When Muslim revolted, Mukhtar had been to his village of Lafgha. He was informed regarding the untimely uprising of Muslim at the time of Zuhr and he returned back to Kufa along with his associates.
He reached Baab al Feel of the Mosque of Kufa after Maghrib, where Ubaydullah (bin Ziyad) had appointed ‘Amr bin Hurays to pitch his standard therein, while at that time people had already deserted Muslim. Mukhtar wandered around and was in abeyance, and when ‘Amr was informed of it, he invited him after offering shelter and he remained with him. When it dawned, Ammarah, the son of Walid bin Utbah, informed Ubaydullah regarding it. He summoned him (Mukhtar) with a group of other men and said, “You have brought a group for assisting the son of Aqeel?” Mukhtar replied, “Well, now I am under the protection of ‘Amr”, to which ‘Amr bore witness. Ubaydullah struck at the face of Mukhtar with his staff until his eyelid overturned, then he said, “If ‘Amr would not have borne witness, I would have killed you”.
Then he sent him to the prison until Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred. Mukhtar sent someone to Abdullah bin Umar, who was the husband of his sister Safiyyah, who in turn wrote to Yazid and mediated for him. Yazid ordered Ibn Ziyad to release him with a stipulation that he would not remain in Kufa for more than three days.
Mukhtar went to Hijaz and when Ibnul Arq met him after the episode of Waqisah, he saluted him and inquired about his eye. Mukhtar replied, “The illegitimate one struck at it with his stick and that happened what you now see”. Then he continued, “May Allah kill me if I do not shred his fingers along with the other parts of his body”. Mukhtar then inquired regarding Ibn Zubayr from him, and he replied, “He has taken shelter under the Ka’bah and accepts allegiance in secret, and if he gains power, he shall revolt”.
Mukhtar replied, “The sole man among Arabs today is he, and if he relies upon my opinion, I would mend the people’s affairs for him. The tempest of mischief is in the lightening and thunder and is revolving behind it. Then until you hear that I have revolted at a place along with a group of men and seek revenge for the blood of Husayn bin Ali (a.s.), the oppressed Martyr, the Master of Muslims and the Grandson of the Master of Prophets (S) killed at Karbala. By your Lord! I shall kill them equal to the number of the murderers of (Prophet) Yahya bin Zakariyyah (a.s.)”. Saying this Mukhtar left, while Ibnul Arq started wondering at his words.
Ibnul Arq says, that by Allah, I saw with my own eyes whatever he had said and I also related it to Hajjaj bin Yusuf, who laughed and said, “Praise be to his Lord! What a virtuous man, combatant and crusher of enemies was he”.
Mukhtar went to Ibn Zubayr but he did not confide in him and concealed his secret from him, then Mukhtar parted away from him and did not meet him for a year. Ibn Zubayr inquired regarding him and was informed that, “He is in Taif and is convinced of the anger of Allah and the elimination of the oppressors”. Ibn Zubayr replied, “May Allah kill him! He has rallied behind the liars and the soothsayers. Then if Allah desires eliminating the oppressors, Mukhtar himself is the first oppressor”.
While they were speaking thus, Mukhtar entered the Mosque and started circumambulating (the Ka’bah) and recited two units of Prayers. Then he sat down while his associates sat around him and started speaking to him.
Ibn Zubayr did not come to meet him and instead sent Abbas bin Sahl bin Sa’ar to spy upon him. He went to Mukhtar and asked, “You remained away from the group of the noblemen of Quraysh and the companions of the Saqeef ? There is no tribe whose chiefs did not come to him and offer allegiance at his hands”. Mukhtar replied, “I visited him last year but he did not confide in me. Perhaps he is in no need of me while I too am independent of him”. Abbas said, “Tonight come along with me to visit him”. He agreed and after the Prayers of Isha came to the presence of Ibn Zubayr and said, “I shall swear fealty at your hands upon three conditions:
(1) You shall not do anything which is not in consent to me,
(2) You shall consider me as the leading one in your kingdom, and
(3) When you revolt, you shall present me with the best of your tasks”.
Ibn Zubayr said, “You shall have to pledge allegiance in matter of the orders of Qur’an and Sunnah”. Mukhtar replied, “Then you may take pledge from the most degraded of my slaves. By Allah! I shall not pledge allegiance at your hands except upon these conditions”. Ibn Zubayr yielded and Mukhtar pledged allegiance at his hands and remained with him.
He fought along with Ibn Zubayr against Haseen bin Nameer and passed the best test and fought manly and was most severe upon the Syrians than all others. Then when Yazid died and the people of Iraq submitted to Ibn Zubayr, Mukhtar remained with him for five months but Ibn Zubayr did not present him any vital tasks. Then whenever any Kufan would come to Makkah, Mukhtar would inquire from him about the Kufans.
Hani bin Habbuh Wada’ee told him that, “The Kufans have mutually submitted to the command of Ibn Zubayr, but there exists a group of men from among the Kufans, that if someone commands them and gathers them upon their desires, he shall succeed to conquer Iraq for a considerable time due to them”.
Mukhtar replied, “I am Abu Ishaq! I am the one who shall prepare them upon the truth and shall throw the faulty upon the ground at their hands and kill every oppressive mine”. Saying this he immediately mounted his camel and reached Kufa. He entered the town of Heerah and on Friday performed bath and wore a dress and passed by the Mosque of Sakoon and the ground of Kindah. And from whichever group he passed by, he saluted them and said, “Have glad-tidings of victory and success. The one whom you desired has arrived”. Then he met Ubaydah bin ‘Amr Badee in Bani Bada’, who was from the clan of Bani Kindah, and saluted him, and said, “I give you glad-tidings of victory and salvation. You are Abu ‘Amr and are of a best belief. May Allah forgive your sins due to this belief of yours’ and conceal your evils”.
Ubaydah was more valorous and knowledgeable among men and (one of) the most staunch adherents of Imam Ali (a.s.), but could not refrain himself from consuming wine. He replied, “May Allah give you glad-tidings of fairness! Then would you interpret regarding this glad tidings for me?” Mukhtar replied, “Yes, meet me tonight”. Then Mukhtar proceeded further and met Isma’eel bin Kaseer in Bani Hind and said, “Come to me tonight along with your brother, I have good news for you”.
Then he went to the people of Bani Hamadan and said, “I have brought for you that which would delight you”. Then he entered the mosque and people became conscious of him. He sat down for Prayers under a pillar until the Prayers started. He recited the Friday Prayers along with the men and remained engrossed in Prayers until the Prayer of Asr. He returned back to his house and the Shi’ah started visiting him, and Isma’eel bin Kaseer, accompanied by his brother and Ubaydah bin ‘Amr visited him. He inquired of them and they informed him about the movement of Sulayman bin Surad and said, “He is one of the men of the pulpit”.
Mukhtar, after praising Allah, said, “Mahdi, the son of the Successor (of Prophet) (referring to Muhammad bin Hanafiyah), has sent me to you so as to be (his) trustworthy (authority), deputy, master and commander. He has ordered me to kill the renegades and seek revenge for the blood of Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and aid the weak. You are the first ones among the creatures of Allah to yield”.
They offered their hands to him and pledged allegiance. A similar proposal was sent to the Shi’ah who were with Sulayman bin Surad and informed them that, “Sulayman has no expertise with regards to battle and is inexperienced. He desires to induce you to rebel and forwards you towards death along with himself. While I shall undertake with schemes and shall act according to the order of light (guidance) which has been bestowed upon me. I shall help the friends and kill the enemies thereby pleasing your hearts. Then listen to my words, take heed and scatter”.
He assembled a group of Shi’ah around him through such propaganda and they started visiting him. They accepted him as a notable, while the noblemen among the Shi’ah rallied around Sulayman and they would consider none equal to him, while he was more of a burden for Mukhtar than anyone else and he awaited the conclusion of Sulayman’s mission.
When Sulayman left for (northwest) Mesopotamia, Umar bin Sa’ad, Shabas bin Rab’ee and Zaid bin Hars bin Ruwaym came to Abdullah bin Yazid Hatami, the governor of Kufa, and his associate Ibraheem bin Muhammad bin Talha, and said, “Mukhtar is more dangerous for you than Sulayman, he (Sulayman) has left to fight your enemies but Mukhtar desires to fight you in this very town. You may therefore arrest him and imprison him until the affairs of men are set right”. They came to him unawares and surrounded him. When Mukhtar saw them, he asked, “What do you desire? By Allah! You shall never face victory”.
Ibraheem bin Talha bin Ubaydullah told Abdullah (bin Yazid), “Bound his shoulders tightly and arrest him bare feet”. Abdullah replied, “I shall not do so to a person who has not yet disclosed his animosity towards us. While we have arrested him due to suspicion only”. Then Ibraheem turned towards Mukhtar and said, “There is no nest for you here so that you may spread your wings and feathers. O son of Abu Ubayd! What news has reached me regarding you?” Mukhtar replied, “You have been informed falsely. I seek refuge from Allah from deceit similar to the deceit committed by your father and grandfather”.
Then he was taken to the prison without chains, while some say that he was bound in chains. Mukhtar said in the prison, “By the Lord of the seas ! By the palm-trees, trees, deserts, wilderness, the virtuous Angels, the righteous chosen ones! I shall kill every obstinate with my sharp edged sword along with a group of friends that would not be similar to the Razalan, the deceivers and ill natured, until I strengthen the pillar of the Religion and end the differences of the Muslims and please the hearts of the believers and seek revenge for the blood of the Prophets. The decline of this world is not hard upon me nor do I safeguard against death”.
It has also been related regarding the revolt of Mukhtar in Kufa and it’s causes, apart from the one quoted above, that Mukhtar told Abdullah bin Zubayr that, “I know a group of men, that if there exists a man who is intelligent, prudent, experienced and shrewd, who would control them suitably and gather an army from among them for you, so that you may combat the Syrians along with them”.
Ibn Zubayr asked as to who they were and Mukhtar replied, “The Shi’ah of Ali in Kufa”. Ibn Zubayr said, “Then the concerned person should be yourself”. Saying this he dispatched him to Kufa and he took residence in a street and wept upon Imam Husayn (a.s.) and remembered his sorrows until people gradually started gathering around him. They took him to their base in Kufa and a large group rallied around him and when he gained momentum, he attacked Ibn Muti’.
The departure of the Tawwabeen and their Martyrdom
In the year 65 A.H. when Sulayman bin Surad Khuza’i intended revolting, he called for the chiefs among his associates and they rallied around him. When the moon of the month of Rabi’ul Ula was sighted, and as per their promise to revolt, they gathered at Nukhaylah. Sulayman arrived and when he paraded among them he found them to be quite less in numbers. He dispatched Hakeem bin Munqiz Kindi and Waleed bin Usayr Kinani to Kufa and they called out, “O seekers of revenge for the blood of Husayn”, while he was the first one to have raised this slogan.
When it dawned, only those men remained with him, who were with him since earlier, and when Sulayman saw the record, he found that sixteen thousand men had pledged their allegiance to him. He said, “Glory be to Allah! Out of sixteen thousand men only four thousand have remained loyal to us”. Someone told him, “Mukhtar has hindered them in between, while two thousand men have joined him”. Sulayman replied, “That leaves another ten thousand, then do not they possess faith? Do not they remember Allah? Nor do they consider the pledge and covenant?”
They halted at Nukhaylah for three days and then dispatched someone to those who had disputed with them, and a thousand other men joined them. Musayyab bin Najabah arose and said, “May Allah’s Mercy be upon you! Lazy men are useless for you, and shall not fight alongside you, then we should arise with those who possess faith. Then do not await anyone and assume your task”. Sulayman replied, “Verily yes! You have advised wisely”, saying this Sulayman stood amidst his men and said, “Those who have come while their aim in (serving) Allah’s way and the hereafter, is from us, and we too are from him.
And Allah’s mercy be upon him whether they be alive or dead. And those who have come to us with the intention of this world should know, that we shall not lay our hands upon the spoils nor shall we obtain taxes, except the pleasure of Allah. We do not possess gold, silver or other goods, except swords and ammunitions. Then those who desire this world should not accompany us”.
His associates called out from all sides, “We are not of those who crave for this world, nor have we come to you in it’s pursue. We have joined you so as to repent and revenge the blood of the grandson of the Prophet of Allah (S)”. When they resolved to arise, Abdullah bin Sa’ad bin Nufayl arose and said, “I have a suggestion, if it is fair, consider it as a grace from Allah, and if not, then deem it to be from me. We have come here to avenge the blood of Imam Husayn (a.s.), while all of his murderers viz. Umar bin Sa’ad and the chiefs of the four districts of Kufa and of the tribes, are very much in Kufa. We are leaving their blood unshed here and are heading where?”
Hearing this all his associates agreed to his view, but Sulayman said, “I do not share this view. For the one who in fact killed him and gathered an army for him while saying: I shall not give you refuge until you submit to my command, the lewd and son of a lewd is none other than Ubaydullah bin Ziyad. Then proceed towards him with Allah’s affluence, then if Allah bestows victory upon us, we believe that defeating others would be all the more easy. And we believe that all the Kufans will side with us, and will put to sword all those who are included in the blood of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and shall not commit deceit. And if you are killed, you will have fought those men whose blood was considered lawful for you to shed, while goodness is reserved for the virtuous near Allah. And it will not please me that you strive except against those whose blood is lawful for you to shed. Then if you fight against the men of your own city, all of you shall be entangled in (shedding the blood of) men among your brothers or fathers or relatives or desirous of killing them. Then desire goodness from Allah and proceed further”.
News reached Abdullah bin Yazid and Ibraheem bin Muhammad bin Talha that Ibn Surad has revolted, they came to him along with a group of the notables of Kufa, while those who had accompanied in shedding the blood of Imam Husayn (a.s.) did not join him, rather they hid themselves in fear.
While during those days Umar bin Sa’ad had taken shelter in the Royal Palace. Abdullah bin Yazid told him, “Muslims are brothers of one another, and should not commit treason and deceit with each other. You are our brothers and inhabitants of the same city, while you are more endeared to us than all the other citizens. Then do not aggrieve us due to you nor lessen our quantity. You may therefore pause until we too prepare ourselves, and when our enemy comes to us, we should face him hand in hand”. He also offered them the taxes of the village of Jawkhee (a Village in Wasit). Ibraheem bin Muhammad too agreed to his proposal. Sulayman replied, “You have fulfilled your right of counseling and have opined best what you desired. But we have offered ourselves to Allah and we desire from Allah that He should bring forth fairness for us. Now we should proceed”.
Abdullah said, “Then wait until we gather a huge army for you and you should face your enemy with an enormous contingent”. They had received news that Ubaydullah was coming from Syria with a huge contingent of army. But Sulayman refused to delay any further and arose on Friday, the fifth of the month of Rabi’us Saani 65 A.H. They reached Deere A’awar and a large group among his companions remained behind and he said, “I do not befriend that they stayed behind, but if they had accompanied us, they would have acted miserly. Allah despised their motives and kept them away from assisting us. And Allah chose you for this merit”.
They proceeded until they reached the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.) and all of them lamented in a loud voice and wept bitterly. They requested Allah to bestow His blessings upon him and repented for remaining aloof from assisting him and fighting alongside him. They remained there for one night and day and mourned him, while sending Allah’s blessings upon him and his companions.
While their words near his grave were: “O Lord! Bestow Your blessings upon Husayn, the Martyr and son of the Martyr! The guided one and the son of the guided one! The Truthful one and son of the Truthful one! O Lord! Bear witness that we are steadfast upon their Religion and their customs, and we bear enmity with their murderers and are friendly towards their friends. O Lord! We abandoned the grandson of our Prophet, thus forgive our past sins, and accept our repentance. And bestow Your blessings upon Husayn (a.s.) and his companions, who are the Martyrs and Truthful Ones. And we hold You as a witness that we are steadfast upon their Religion and upon that belief for which they were martyred. And if You do not overlook our sins and do not bestow your blessings upon us, we shall be of those who are in loss”.
They looked at his grave and their rage increased. Then they bade farewell to his grave and left and they (had) gathered around it (his grave) similar to (the people that gather around) the Hajar al Aswad, then they left until they reached Anbar.
When they reached Anbar, they received message from Abdullah bin Yazid, the governor of Kufa, with the following contents: “O our people! Do not renounce your friends and do not comply with the orders of your enemies. You all are the virtuous ones among your city, and when the enemies lay their hands upon you, remember that you are the notables of the city and do not fall prey to greed. O our people! Then if they lay their hands upon you, they shall either stone you to death or try to revert you back to their faith, and you shall not find salvation (if you do so). O our people! Your hands and our hands are one and the same, while also our enemies. Then if we unite against our enemies, we shall face victory, and if we are entangled in differences, our pride would be diminished. O people! Do not consider my advice to be a result of covetousness and do not go against my decision, then when my letter is read to you, return back. And salutations”.
Then Sulayman and his companions said, “This was offered to us even when we were in our own city, and now when we have dedicated our hearts towards the struggle, and have neared the battlefield of the enemies, this opinion is not dear to us”.
Then Sulayman wrote a reply to him, he thanked and praised him and wrote, “These sagacious men have sold themselves to their Lord and have repented upon their great sin. They have turned their face towards Allah and rely upon Him alone, and they agree to what Allah has destined for them”. When this answer reached Abdullah, he said, “This group has dedicated itself to death. The first news that shall reach you will be none other than the news of their death. By Allah! They shall offer their lives with greatness and piety”.
Then they proceeded until they reached Qarqisiyah well prepared, while Zafar bin Qays Kalabi had bolted the doors (of the city) and did not come to meet them. Musayyab bin Najabah was sent to him to request him that he should sell them foodstuffs and provisions. Musayyab reached the doors of Qarqisiyah and revealed his identity and then desired permission to meet Zafar. Hazeel, the son of Zafar, came to his father and said, “A man possessing a pleasing countenance revealing his name to be Musayyab bin Najabah seeks permission to meet you”. Zafar replied, “O my son! Do you not know who this man is? He is the sole horseman of the entire tribe of Muzar Hamra’.
And if ten notables among them are counted, then he is one of them. He is virtuous, abstentious and a devout man”, then he gave him permission to enter therein. When Musayyab came to him, he offered a seat near him and inquired from him. Musayyab revealed to him the circumstances and their intentions.
Zafar replied, “We closed the doors upon you for we did not know as to why you came to us, whether for ourselves or something else. We are neither helpless nor do we befriend fighting you. We have received news that you are peace loving and well-behaved men”. Then he commanded his son to organize a market for them in the city and gifted Musayyab with a thousand Dirham and horses. Musayyab returned the amount but accepted the horses saying, “I believe that my horse has turned feeble upon his feet and therefore I am in need of another”.
Zafar sent large quantity of bread, fodder and flour for them, thus they did not have the need to buy anything more. Only some of them bought whips and clothes and then they received orders to proceed the next day. Zafar himself came out to bid farewell to them and gave the news to Sulayman that, “Five commanders viz. Haseen bin Nameer, Sharhabeel bin Zil Kila’, Adham bin Muhriz, Jabalah bin Abdullah Khas’ami and Ubaydullah bin Ziyad are entering Iraq from Riqqah. While they have a large contingent of army similar to the thorns and trees of the desert. Then if you desire, you may remain in our city and we shall side with you, and when the enemy reaches us we shall face them together”. Sulayman replied, “The people of our city too desired similarly but we refused”.
Zafar said, “Then hasten towards Aynul Wardah before them, where there is a stream. Then turn your back towards the city and spend from the villages, water and foodstuffs and remain composed from our side. By Allah! I have not seen a group more dearer than you and desire that you may reach there before them. Then if you have to fight along with them, do not fight them in an extensive place, for it will result that they will shoot their arrows & lances at you and vise versa, for they are more in numbers than you, and I fear lest their surround you. Do not stand facing them, for they shall throw you upon the ground, nor form ranks facing them, for you do not have foot soldiers, while they have both foot-soldiers as well as cavalry who would assist one another. Then you should divide yourselves into groups and sections, and then you should together lay siege upon their right and left wings and one group should have another group accompanying them. Then if one of the groups gets surrounded, the other should assist them and grant relief. Then both of these groups should help one another and go up and come down. But if you face them standing in ranks, the foot-soldiers shall attack you and when you try to help your ranks, it will break up and result in your defeat”.
Then they bade farewell, prayed for one another and praised him and proceeded further until they reached Aynul Wardah. They encamped at its western side and rested there for five days. And when the Syrian army reached just one station away from Aynul Warda, Sulayman arose and enjoined his companions regarding the Hereafter and encouraged them in similar words and said, “Now then! The enemy whom you pursued day and night has ultimately reached you. You should fight them fairly when you encounter them and remain steadfast, for Allah sides those who forbear. None of you should flee from the battlefield except in conformity with the schedules of the battle or to return to one’s headquarters. Do not kill those who flee, nor behead the wounded ones, and do not put to sword the captured Muslims except when they fight you even after detention. The attitude of Imam Ali (a.s.) was similar to those who revolted against Islam”.
Then he continued, “If I am killed, Musayyab bin Najabah shall be your commander, and if he too is killed, Abdullah bin Sa’ad bin Nufayl shall command you. He shall be succeeded by Abdullah bin Waal, and if he too is killed, Rufa’ah bin Shaddad shall be your commander. May Allah bestow His Mercy upon the one who remains steadfast upon his pledge with Allah”.
Then he dispatched Musayyab with four hundred horsemen and commanded him to instantaneously attack the forefront of the Syrian army, then if they succeed in their intentions, he should repeat the attack, or else they should return back. He said, “You should neither leave behind any of your companions nor dispatch anyone forward, except when there is no other way”.
Musayyab traveled one night and day until it dawned, thereafter he dispatched a group of patrolmen around to bring someone to him. They brought a nomad to him and he inquired from him regarding the near-most group of the enemy’s army. He replied, “The nearest to you is the army of Sharhabeel bin Zil Kila’, at a distance of one mile away from you. But he differs with Haseen (bin Nameer), who considers himself to be the commander while Sharhabeel does not accept him, and both of them await the orders of Ibn Ziyad”.
Musayyab hastened with his companions until he caught the Syrian army unawares and assaulted them. They scattered around while Musayyab and his companions killed some and wounded numerous while seizing their mounts. The Syrian army evacuated their camps and scattered around, while the companions of Musayyab gathered whatever spoils they could lay their hands upon and returned to Sulayman with a large booty.
When Ibn Ziyad was informed about this, he dispatched Haseen bin Nameer with an army of twelve thousand men to face Sulayman. The companions of Sulayman faced them, when four days of the month of Rabi’ ul Ula were left. Abdullah bin Sa’ad commanded the right wing, Musayyab bin Najabah the left wing, while Sulayman positioned himself in the center of the army. Haseen deputed Jumalah bin Abdullah to command the right wing and Rabi’ bin Makhariq Ghanawee upon the left wing.
Then when they neared one another, the Syrians invited them to submit to Abdul Malik bin Marwan. The companions of Sulayman replied that they should depose Abdul Malik and hand over Ubaydullah bin Ziyad to them, and in exchange they would expel the companions of Ibn Zubayr from Iraq, and also that they should hand over the Caliphate to the Progeny of Prophet Muhammad (S).
They refused to concede to each other’s proposals while the right wing of Sulayman’s army attacked the left wing of Haseen and their left wing attacked the right wing of Haseen’s army. Sulayman himself started a general attack from the center of the army, while the Syrians scattered away from their camps until night, while victory was at the hands of the companions of Sulayman.
Both the armies retired for the night and when it dawned, (Sharhabeel) the son of Zil Kila’ was dispatched by Ibn Ziyad to assist the Syrians with an army of eight thousand vigorous men. The companions of Sulayman faced them valorously, the similitude of which was never seen before, and when the night came they lifted their hands off each other.
The wounded ones were numerous in both camps, while Sulayman appointed preachers to exhort his companions to repeat the attack (the next day). When it dawned, Adham bin Mahraz Bahili was dispatched by Ibn Ziyad to assist the Syrians with an army of ten thousand vigorous men. They fought fiercely until Zuhr on Friday, while the Syrians exceeded them and surrounded them from all sides.
When Sulayman perceived the plight of his companions, he prepared for martyrdom. He dismounted from his horse and called out, “O slaves of Allah! Whoever desires meeting his Lord shortly and desires that his sins should be forgiven, should come to me”. He broke his sheath, while his companions imitated him and broke their sheaths too and fought with them on foot until they had killed and wounded numerous ones from among them.
When Haseen observed their forbearance and valor, he commanded the foot soldiers to advance towards them and shoot arrows at them. The cavalry, along with the foot soldiers, surrounded them and Sulayman was martyred (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him). Yazid bin Haseen shot an arrow at him and he fell down, then he leapt from his place and again fell down.
Then when Sulayman was martyred, Musayyab bin Najabah lifted the standard and sent blessings (of Allah) upon Sulayman. He proceeded further and fought awhile then returned back. He repeated his attack until he too was martyred, while having put to sword numerous others (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
Thereafter, Abdullah bin Sa’ad bin Nufayl lifted the standard while sending blessings upon them both and recited the following verse of the Qur’an: “Of the believers are the men who are true to what they covenanted with Allah, of them is he who fulfilled his vow and of them is he who awaits (its fulfillment), and they have changed not in the least” (Surah al Ahzab, 33:23).
His friends from the clan of Azd surrounded him (to shield him) and in the heat of the battle three riders arrived with glad-tidings that Sa’ad bin Huzayfah was arriving to assist them with one hundred and seventy men from Madaen, while Musanna bin Makhraba Abadi too was arriving with three hundred men from Basra. Abdullah bin Sa’ad said, “I wish they reach us until we are alive”. And when the sight of the messengers of Madaen fell upon the corpses of their brothers, they were dejected and then retrieved and fought alongside them until Abdullah bin Sa’ad bin Nufayl fell a martyr (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him).
He was killed by the nephew of Rabi’ah bin Makhariq. His brother Khalid bin Sa’ad attacked the killer of his brother and entered his sword into him and he fell in embrace of Khalid. His companions rescued him while attacking Khalid and killing him.
The standard now lay without any bearer, while people called for Abdullah bin Waal, who was engrossed in fighting fiercely with a group surrounded by the Syrians. Seeing this, Rufa’ah bin Shaddad lay siege and scattered the Syrians and rescued him from their midst while handing him the standard. Abdullah fought for a while and then told his companions, “Whoever desires a life after which there is no death, and whoever wishes for repose following which there is no grief, and desires bliss succeeding which there is no sorrow, should strive for proximity to Allah by fighting against them, who have made lawful the prohibitions of Allah. At night you shall be in Paradise”.
It was the time of Asr when he was fighting fiercely with his companions and he put to sword numerous Syrians and forced them back. Then the Syrians came to them from all sides and pushed them back to their barracks where they could not attack them except from one side. At night Adham bin Mahraz Bahili was appointed to fight them, and he attacked along with the cavalry and foot-soldiers until he reached Ibn Waal, who was reciting the following verse, “Think not of those who were slain in the cause of Allah as dead. Nay, they are alive, finding their sustenance with their Lord (Surah ale-Imran, 3:169)”.
Hearing this Adham was enraged and attacked him while severing his arm from his body. Then he retreated back and said, “I presume you might wish you had remained at home”. Ibn Waal replied, “You have given way to suspicion in your heart. In fact I do not cherish that your hand should have been severed instead of mine. Rather I befriend that the reward would be given to me for the hand severed in the way of Allah, and that your sin may multiply as also my reward”.
He was again enraged by this answer and attacked him and killed him with his lance while he was facing the enemy and was not moving an inch behind (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon him). While Abdullah bin Waal was a Virtuous Jurist (Faqih).
And when Abdullah was martyred, the standard was handed over to Rufa’ah bin Shaddad, and he said, “We should retreat back, perhaps Allah may gather us on a worst day for our enemies to be entangled into”.
Abdullah Ahmar said, “But if we return back we shall all be killed, while the enemies will be upon our shoulders and we shall not reach a distance of one Farsakh, except that each one of us shall be killed. And even if anyone is saved, the nomads will get hold of him and will hand him over to the enemy to again proximity, then we shall be killed with bounded hands. The sun is just about to set, we shall resist them and in the darkness of the night we shall gallop our horses and leave before morning and obtain respite. Then each one should ride along with his companion and the wounded ones and we should know where we are going”.
Rufa’ah replied, “You have advised fairly”, saying this he lifted up the standard and fought fiercely. The Syrians had assumed that they would get rid of them until the night, but could not do so for they fought bravely and in a valorous manner.
Abdullah bin Aziz Kinani proceeded further and fought with the Syrians, then he called for the (people of the) Syrian tribe of Bani Kinanah to himself. He handed over his child Muhammad to them so that they could reach him safely to Kufa. They offered him protection but he refused, and returned back and fought until he fell a martyr. Thereafter Kurb bin Yazid Humayri fought fiercely with the Syrians at evening along with a hundred of his companions and Zil Kila Humayri took him and his companions in his protection while offering them immunity.
He replied, “We were at peace in this world, rather we came out for immunity of the hereafter”, saying this they fought with them until they were martyred. Thereafter Sakhr bin Hilal Mazani, accompanied by thirty men of the clan of Bani Mazinah, proceeded forward and fought until they too were martyred. (May Allah’s Mercy and Blessings be upon all of them). At night the Syrians returned back to their camps and Rufa’ah assessed his companions that their horses had either been killed or were wounded, he handed them over to their relatives and collected provisions at night and fled away.
When it dawned Haseen followed them but found none nor did he dispatch anyone in their pursuit. They proceeded until they reached Qarqisiyah where Zafar (bin Qays) requested that they should halt there. He kept them as his guests for three days and gave them provisions for the journey and they left for Kufa.
Sa’ad bin Huzayfah reached Hayyat with a group of people of Madaen, where he received the news and therefore returned back. He reached Sandoodah where he met Musanna bin Makhrabah Abadi and informed him too, they remained there until Rufa’ah reached them. They received him and wept and halted there for a day and night, thereafter each group left for their cities.
When Rufa’ah reached Kufa, Mukhtar was in the prison from where he sent him a message saying, “Now then! Bravo to the returning men who have been offered a great reward by Allah! And Allah cherished their tasks that they were martyred. By the Lord of the Ka’bah! For every pace that you have taken and every hillock that you have stepped upon, its reward is greater than this world. Sulayman fulfilled his pledge and Allah received his spirit and offered a status among the Spirits of the Prophets, the Truthful Ones and the Martyrs, but he was not a leader in your victory. Verily I am the appointed commander and the reliable trustee, the killer of the tyrants, the one to seek vengeance from the enemies of the Religion and the seeker of revenge of blood. Therefore prepare yourselves and gather arms and ammunitions and receive glad tidings upon the book of Allah and the Customs (Sunnah) of His Prophet (S) and revenge for (the blood of) Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) to defend the feeble and strive against the ones who have considered the prohibitions of Allah to be lawful. And greetings”.
The martyrdom of Sulayman and his companions occurred in the month of Rabi’ul Ula. When Abdul Malik bin Marwan received news of the martyrdom of Sulayman and the plight of his companions, he ascended the pulpit and praised and glorified Allah and said, “Sulayman bin Surad, one of the chiefs of Iraq, the creator of revolt and the leader of misguidance has been killed, and the swords rolled the head of Musayyab upon the ground like a ball. While their two chiefs of astray and deception, Abdullah bin Sa’ad Azdi and Abdullah bin Waal Bakari, too have been killed, and after them none remains among the transgressors”. But the accuracy of this narration is doubtful for during that period his father Marwan was yet alive (therefore he could not have succeeded his father).