The Journey Of Imam Hussein (AS) Part 5

(continued from Part 4)

[Humayd b. Muslim reported:]

By God, later I visited him when he was ill. By God, other
than Whom there is no deity, I saw him drinking water without
being able to quench his thirst, and then vomiting. He would
cry out, "The thirst, the thirst!" Again he would drink water
without being able to quench his thirst, again he would vomit.
He would then burn with thirst. This went on until he died,
may God curse him.

When al-Husayn saw the extent of the number of troops encamped with 'Umar b. Sa'd, may God curse him, at Ninawa in order to do battle against him, he sent to 'Umar b. Sa'd that he wanted to meet him. The two men met at night and talked together for a long time. (When) 'Umar b. Sa'd went back to his camp, he wrote to Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, may he be cursed.

God has put out the fire of hatred, united (the people)
in one opinion (lit. word), and set right the affairs of
the community. This man, al-Husayn, has given me a promise
that he will return to the place which he came from, or he
will go to one of the border outposts - he will become
like any (other) of the Muslims, with the same rights and
duties as them; or he will go to Yazid, the Commander of
the faithful, and offer him his hand and see (if the
difference) between them (can be reconciled). In this (offer)
you have the consent (to what you have demanded) and the
community gains benefit.

When Ubayd Allah read the letter, he said: "This is the letter about a sincere man who is anxious for his people."

"Are you going vo accept this from him," demanded Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan, jumping up,

When he has encamped on your land nearby? By God if he was
a man from your land and he would not put his hand in yours,
whether he was in a position of power and strength (or) whether
he was in a position of weakness and impotence you would not
give this concession, for it would be (a mark) of weakness.
Rather let him and his followers submit to your authority.
Then if you punish them, (it will be because) you are the (person)
most appropriate to punish, and if you forgive them, you have
the right (to do so)."

"What you have suggested is good," replied Ibn Ziyad. "Your view is the correct view. Take this message to 'Umar b. Sad and let him offer al-Husayn and his followers (the opportunity of) submitting to my authority. If they do that, let him send them to me in peace. If they refuse, he should fight them. If he ('Umar b. Sa'd) acts (according to) my instructions, then listen to him and obey him. However if he refuses to fight them then you are the commander of the army (lit. people), attack him, cut his head off and send it to me."

Then he wrote to Umar b. Sa'd:

I did not send you to al-Husayn for you to restrain
yourself from (fighting) him, nor to idle the time
away with him, nor to promise him peace and preservation
(of his life), nor to make excuses for him, nor to be an
intercessor on his behalf with me. Therefore see that if
al-Husayn and his followers submit to my authority and
surrender, you send them to me in peace. If they refuse,
then march against them to fight them and to punish them;
for they deserve that. If al-Husayn is killed, make the
horses trample on his body, both front and back; for he is a
disobedient rebel, and I do not consider that this will be
in any way wrong after death. But it is my view that you
should do this to him if you kill him. If you carry out your
command concerning him, we will give you the reward due to
one who is attentive and obedient. If you refuse, then we
withdraw (the command of) our province and army from you and
leave the army to Shamir b. Dhl al-Jawshan. We have given him
our authority.

Greetings.

Shamir b. Dhi al-Jawshan brought the letter to 'Umar b. Sad. After he had brought it and read it, 'Umar said to him:

Shame upon you, what is this to you? May God never show
favour to your house. May God make abominable what you
have brought to me! By God, I did not think that you would
cause him to refuse what I had written to him, and ruin for
us a matter which we had hoped to set right. Al Husayn will
not surrender, for there is a spirit like (his) father's
in his body."

"Tell me what you are going to do," demanded Shamir. "Are you going to carry out the governor's command and fight his enemy or are you going to leave the command of the army to me?"

"No, (there is going to be) no advantage to you. I will carry that out instead of you. you take command of the foot-soldiers."

'Umar b. Sa'd prepared to (do battle with) al-Husayn, peace be on him, on the night of Thursday, 9th of the month of Muharram. (In the meantime) Shamir went out and stood in front of the followers of al- Husayn, peace be on him.

"Where are my sister's sons?" he demanded. Al Abbas,

Jafar, Abd Allah and Uthman, sons of Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be on him, came forward.

"What do you want?" they asked.

"Sons of my sister, you are guaranteed security," he said.

"God curse you and curse the security which you offer without offering itlto the son of the Apostle of God," the young men replied.

"Cavalry of God, mount and announce the news of Heaven (i.e. death)," Umar b. Sa'd called out and the people mounted and he approached (the supporters of al-Husayn) after the afternoon (asr) prayer.

Meanwhile, al-Husayn, peace be on him, was sitting in front of his tent dozing with his head on his knees. His sister heard the clamour (from the enemy's ranks). She came up to him and said, "My brother, don't you hear the sounds which are getting nearer?"

I have just seen the Apostle of God, may God bless him
and grant him peace, in my sleep," said al-Husayn, peace
be on him, as he raised his head. "He said to me: 'You are
coming to us.'

His sister struck at her face and cried out in grief.

"You have no (reason) to lament, sister," al-Husayn, peace be on him, told her. "Be quiet, may God have mercy on you."

Then he turned to al-Abbas b. Ali "Brother, the enemy have come, so get ready; but first, al-Abbas, you, yourself, ride out to meet them, to talk to them about what they have (in mind) and what appears (appropriate) to them and to ask about what has brought them (against us)."

Al-Abbas went towards them with about twenty horsemen, among whom was Zuhayr b. al-Qayn.

"How do you see (the situation)?" he asked. "What do you want?'

"The command of the governor has arrived that we should offer you (the opportunity of) submitting to his authority, otherwise we (must) attack you," they answered.

"Do not hurry (to do anything) until I have gone back to Abu Abd Allah (al-Husayn) and told him what you have said, 'Abbas requested.

They stopped (where they were) and told him: "Go to him and inform him, and tell us what he says to you."

Al 'Abbas went galloping back to al Husayn, peace be on him, to give him the information. While his companions remained exchanging words with the enemy, trying to test them and dissuade them from fighting against al-Husayn, peace be on him, (al-'Abbas) told him what the enemy had said.

Go back to them," he, peace be on him, said, "if you can,
delay them until the morning and (persuade) them to keep
from us during the evening. Then, perhaps, we may be able
to pray to our Lord during the night to call upon Him and
seek His forgiveness. He knows that I have always loved His
formal prayer, the recitation of His Book and (making) many
invocations to Him, seeking His forgiveness.

Al Abbas went back to the people, and returned (after) being with them, accompanied by a messenger on behalf of Umar b. Saed, who had said: "We will grant you a day until tomorrow. Then if you surrender, we will send you to our governor, Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad but if you refuse we will not leave you (any longer)."

(After) he departed, towards the evening al-Husayn gathered his followers around him. To be continued.....................