Who is Husain (RA)?
His Name, Lineage, and Merits:
His name was Husain and his patronymic name was Abu Abdullah. His lineage is Abu Abdullah Al-Husain bin Ali bin Abi Talib bin Abdul Muttalib bin Hashim the grandson of the beloved Prophet (PBUH). The Prophet (PBUH) loved him much and he was the son of his beloved daughter, Fatimah (RA), who was the Raihan (sweet-smelling basil) of this world. Husain was born in 4th year of the Hijrah.
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) invoked for him to be blessed with wisdom and experience and rubbed his blessed saliva in his mouth while supplicating for him. It was the Prophet (PBUH) who named him Husain.
He embraced martyrdom on 61 Hijrah, 10th Muharam in Karbala (Iraq), aged fifty-four years and six and a half months.
His Merits: Husain Is the Leader of the Youth of Paradise
Those who die young, Al-Hasan and Al-Husain would be their leaders in Paradise, and the people who die at mature age, their leader would be Abu Bakr (R.a) and Umar (R.a) as explained in the authentic Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH):
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Al-Hasan and Al-Husain are the chiefs of the youths of Paradise.” (At-Tirmidhi: 3768)
Prophet (PBUH) Loved Him Dearly
Al-Hasan and Al-Husain were very dear to the Prophet (PBUH), they were part of his blood, so his love for them was natural, and loving the beloved’s loved ones is also natural.
Usamah bin Zaid reported that I came to the Prophet (PBUH) one night concerning some need, so the Prophet (PBUH) came out while he was covering up something, and I did not know what it was. Once I had tended to my need, I said: ‘What is this that you are covering up?’ So he uncovered it, and I found it was Hasan and Husain (RA) upon his hips. So the Prophet (PBUH) said:
“These two are my sons, and the sons of my daughter. O Allah! Indeed, I love them, so love them, and love those who love them.” (At-Tirmidhi: 3769)
And he (PBUH) said:
“Whoever loves Hasan and Husain, loves me; and whoever hates them, hates me.” (Ibn Majah: 143)
This narration points out that, Hasan and Husain were the beloved grandchildren of the Prophet of Allah (PBUH). Love for the Prophet (PBUH), therefore, demands that we love all those whom the Prophet (PBUH) loved. Moreover, love for the Prophet’s family and companions are not a matter of mere lip service. The essence of love for them in fact lies in following their life examples.
Husain Was the Sweet Basil of the Prophet (PBUH)
Flowers are the symbol of beauty and delight. They provide pleasure and comfort to the senses; similarly, a child also incites the sentiments of love and tenderness. Al-Hasan and Al-Husain were like tender sweet-smelling flowers. The Prophet (PBUH) said concerning them:
“Indeed Al-Hasan and Al-Husain are my two sweet basils in the world.” (Al-Bukhari: 3753)
Husain Is a Tribe among Tribes
The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Husain is part of me and I am part of him. May Allah love those who love Husain. Husain is a tribe among tribes.” (Ibn Majah: 144)
The Incident of Karbala
When Muawiyah died in the 60th year and allegiance was pledged to Yazid, Ibn Abbas and Ibn Umar (RA) offered their pledges and therefore resolved to dispute al-Husain and Ibn az-Zubair (RA), who had left al-Madinah and went to reside in Makkah.
During that time there was nobody on the face of the earth who was superior to al-Husain, or who could even be considered equal to him, the entire ‘Yazidite’ state opposed him. In contrast, letters and messages came frequently from Iraq inviting al-Husain to go to them.
As letters began to accumulate and the messengers continued to arrive, the people of Iraq increasingly urged al-Husain to go to them so that they could pledge their allegiance to him in place of Yazid, since they had not yet pledged allegiance to anyone. Finally, Husain decided to send his paternal cousin, Muslim bin Aqeel bin Abi Talib to them, in order to determine the nature of the matter and its credibility. Muslim bin Aqeel took two witnesses with him, one was lost and fled and the other died from the harsh condition of the desert. Muslims arrived in Kufah and stayed with Muslim bin Awsajah al-Asadi.
People were informed about the coming of Muslim bin Aqeel, they gathered in the house of Hani bin Urwah and pledged allegiance to al-Husain on the hand of Muslims. Accordingly, Muslims wrote to Husain affirming that he should come, assuring him of the validity of their allegiance and that he would make the necessary arrangements for his arrival in the meantime. Immediately, Husain embarked on the journey from Makkah to Kufah. When such news reached Yazid, he sent Ubaidullah bin Ziyad, the ruler of Basrah to resolve this issue and prevent the people of Kufah from transgressing against him. Yazid did not order Ubaidullah to martyr Husain (RA). So, Ubaidullah arrived in Kufah, inquired about the issue, and found that people are in the house of Hani and they pledged allegiance to Muslims in his house.
Ubaidullah invade the house in which was Muslim bin Aqeel with his four thousand supporters in lunch time. Ubaidullah addressed them and frightened them of the army of Sham. So, Muslim supporters stepped back, and only thirty people left with him. By sunset, Muslims became alone without supporters. Ubaidullah take custody of him and ordered his killing. Muslim requested him to write a letter to Husain and he was granted. The letter clearly stated that:
“Take your family and go back to your home, people of Kufah should not deceive you, because the people of Kufah are liars, they betrayed me and you and the liars have no certain words and promise.”
The ruler of Kufah, Ubaidullah bin Ziyad ordered the killing of Muslim bin Aqeel on the day of Arafah. As a result of the letter, Husain immediately embarked on his journey to Kufah. The eminent companions of the Prophet (PBUH) advised him and tried to convince him not to go to Kufah. Among them were, Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umer, Ibn Az-Zubair, Ibn Umr, and even his brother Muhammad bin Al-Hanafiah.
Ibn Az-Zubair said to him:“Where do you want to go, to a nation who murdered your father and defamed your brother?”
Ibn Abbas said to him: “Verily, the people of Iraq are a treacherous nation, therefore do not be deceived by them.”
The news of the martyrdom of Muslims reached Husain while he was on his journey, Husain set out to Sham in order to meet Yazid but the army under the command of Umr bin Saad, Shamir bin Dhul-Jawshan and Husain bin Tamim invade him in Karbala. At that point, Husain proposed three options for them:
- Let him go to Yazid to pledge allegiance to him (because he knew that Yazid will never kill him).
- Let him go back to al-Madinah from where he came.
- Or to let him join the army of Muslims and fight in the Way of Allah with the enemy of Allah.
But Ubaidullah bin Ziyad refused all options and started fighting him. The battle was not of the numbers or the power it was of the truth. So, Husain and his supporter fought till the end and all his people martyred defending him. Husain fought bravely like a loin and remained alone for a whole day with no one approaching him as no one did not want to be charged with his murder until a man named Shamir bin Dhul-Jawshan stabbed Husain with a spare and caused him to fall to the ground and martyred him. It is said that it was he or Sinan bin Anas who dismounted Husain’s horse, slit his throat, and pierced him through the head.
The servant of Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan is reported to have said:
“When Yazid came with Husain’s head and placed it in his hand, I saw Yazid crying and he said: ‘If there had been any relationship between Ibn Ziyad and al-Husain then he would not have done this (referring to Ibn Ziyad)’”