Popular – Unreliable – Accounts Related to Ashura

Recently a booklet of around 50 pages was published, researched and written by Muḥammad Tehrānī (researcher and teacher at the Hawzah) in which he goes over numerous accounts related to Āshūrā that are popularly retold from the pulpits or are part of our eulogies. In this work he mentions just over 90 such reports. Majority of them are not found in earlier reliable historical or maqātil literature at all. As a matter of fact, a lot of them are found in works considered seriously weak and problematic. Two famous works which many scholars have called out as problematic and which include a lot of fabrications and lies are Rawḍah al-Shuhadā of Kāshifī (written 850 years after the battle of Karbala) and Tadhkirah al-Shuhadā of Mullā Ḥabībullah Sharīf Kashānī (written 1280 years after the battle of Karbalā). Some of the accounts we hear today only first appear in one of these two works. The first of these works was also heavily critiqued by Shahīd Muṭahharī (d. 1979) as he lamented over how much the account of Karbala has been defaced over the centuries. Eventually, he concluded:

Now my point is that we have introduced thousands of distortions in retelling the narrative of Ashura, both in its outward form, that is, in respect of the very episodes and issues relating to the major events and the minor details, as well as in respect of their interpretation and meaning. Most regrettably, this event has been distorted both in its form and content.

At times a distorted version has at least some resemblance to the original. But there are times when distortion is so thorough that the corrupted version has not the least resemblance to the original: the matter is not only distorted, but it is inverted and turned into its antithesis.

Again I must say with utmost regret that the misrepresentations that have been carried out by us have all been in the direction of degrading and distorting the event and making it ineffective and inert in our lives. In this regard both the orators and scholars of the ummah as well as the people have been guilty, and, God willing, we will elucidate all these matters.

Source: ‘Ashura – Misrepresentations and Distortions

The actual booklet mentions these popular, yet unreliable accounts, and gives further details regarding them, including its sources if there are any and what is problematic about them. It is also interesting to note how late some of these accounts appear only for the first time and how quickly they became popular. Of course, not all of these accounts are retold by everyone and neither are they told in gatherings organized by all ethnicities. In fact, some of these are only popular in Iranian gatherings and unheard of in gatherings held by other ethnicities.

For example, in subcontinent communities, it is popular and pretty much taken for granted that the hair of the women of the Ahl al-Bayt was exposed throughout the journey. There are elaborate stories regarding this as well, such as how the women covered their faces with their hair and so on. Though this is difficult to establish from any earlier works, this book does not mention this because the hair being uncovered is almost unheard of in Arabic and Persian gatherings.

Another common misconception in Indo-Pak communities is that Lady Sughra – one of the daughters of the Imam (a) – was left behind in Medina because she was sick. Elaborate stories around this have also been made up over the course of time. This is even despite most earlier and later works mentioning Lady Sughra with Imam Husayn (a) and present in Karbala and later in Kufa and Syria.

I doubt the Iranian author of the book even knows how big of a deal these two stories are in the Indo-Pak community and hence has not mentioned them in his work.

The work is written in Persian and can be downloaded here. What follows below is simply a brief table of contents of what is further explained in the booklet. It can be seen that a very high percentage of stories often heard from the pulpits and in poetry can only be traced back to weak and problematic sources and often times are mere fabrications and imaginations of individuals.

For further information, readers and researchers can look into Maqātil Jāmi’ Sayyid al-Shuhadā written by a group of researchers under the supervision of Mahdi Pīshvāī, Al-Ṣaḥīḥ min Maqtal Sayyid al-Shuhadā wa Aṣḥābihī by Āyatullah Reyshahri and the book Jaryān Shināsī Tarīkhī – Qirā’at-hā wa Ruyīkard-hāye ‘Āshūrā az Ṣafavīyyeh tā Mashrūṭeh by Mohsen Rajnbar.

As a disclaimer, even though a lot of these 95 instances can be deemed fabricated to a high degree of assurance, there are some instances that can simply be deemed weak and not necessarily fabricated. For example, the statement “I saw nothing but beauty” attributed to Lady Zaynab (s) is first found in a 3rd century hijri work called Kitāb al-Futūḥ of Ibn A’tham. He is the second person in chronological order based on what we have extant to have reported this conversation between Lady Zaynab (s) and Ibn Ziyād. It is difficult to say that this line is necessarily fabricated, however, based on contextual evidence and other indicators of preferences that are employed in historical analysis – like looking at the methodology Ibn A’tham itself – one can say that this account is not as reliable as the other accounts that mention the same conversation.

1. The way in which Imam Ḥusayn (a) left Medina with his family members in a grand manner like a king, with forty camel palanquins covered with silk.

2. The number of soldiers on the army of ‘Umar b. Sa’d were around one-million six-hundred thousand, or elsewhere 460,000. 330,000 of them were killed by Imam Ḥusayn (a) alone, and 25,000 by ‘Abbas (r), and 25,000 by the rest of the companions of the Imam.

3. The day of ‘Āshūra was as long as 72 hours.

4. 10,000 soldiers from Syria joining Ibn Ziyād under the commandership of ‘Āmir b. Ṭufayl.

5. The presence of 1,000 soldiers from Syria in Karbala under the commandership of Shum’ān (or Sham’ūn) b. Muqātil.

6. The presence of 400 jurists in Karbala who issued a verdict for the killing of Imam Ḥusayn (a).

7. The number of enemy soldiers killed: 1,950 by Imam Ḥusayn (a), 750 by Abū al-Qāsim and 800 by Aḥmad – two sons of Imam Ḥasan (a), and 30,000 to 300,000 enemies were killed in total. According to the earliest reliable sources, the number of soldiers killed on the side of ‘Umar b. Sa’d were 88.

8. Exaggerating the strength of the soldiers on ‘Umar b. Sa’d’s side, such as claiming that a man who was considered equal to a thousand men attacked Qāsim and Qāsim was able to bring him down his horse with one strike. Or the presence of Hishām b. ‘Utbah Murqāl (the nephew of ‘Umar b. Sa’d) had a spear approximately 9 metres, or the incident of Yazīd Abṭaḥī who was considered famous for his fighting in Syria, Iraq, Egypt and Rome.

9. Mention of individuals on the side of ‘Umar b. Sa’d or Imam Ḥusayn (a) who are not mentioned elsewhere in any reliable sources being present in Karbala. For example: ‘Abdullah b. Shaqīq, Isḥāq b. Mālik Ashtar, Kathīr b. Yaḥya Anṣārī, Marid b. Ṣudayf Taghlibī and his fight with ‘Abbās (r), a slave by the name of Mubārak, Mas’ūd Hāshimī and others.

10. Names that have been fabricated and mentioned on the side of both Imam Ḥusayn (a) and ‘Umar Sa’d. Such as Zuhayr b. Ḥasān Asadī, Sāmir, Ḥijr Ḥujjār, Ḥammād b. Anas, Waqqāṣ b. Mālik, Shurayḥ b. ‘Ubayd, Qays b. Munabbah, Hāshim b. ‘Utbah.

11. The presence of Za’far the Jinn in Karbala and announcing his loyalty and offering to Imam Ḥusayn (a) and the Imam (a) not accepting his offer.

12. A young Jewish girl in Medina who was blind and sick, but was healed after she touched the beak of a bird that had dipped its beak in the blood of Imam Ḥusayn (a) in Karbala and had flown to Medina.

13. The presence of Layla in Karbala and her coming out of the tent with her feet and hair uncovered when ‘Alī Akbar (r) was killed. This is while no earlier source on Karbala mentions Layla to be present in Karbala.

14. Stories regarding Shahr Bāno, such as per presence in Karbala, or her suicide near the Euphrates, or her escape from Karbala to Iran and disappearing in a mountain. According to earlier historical reports, Shahr Bāno passed away after giving birth to Imam Sajjād (a).

15. The story of Shirīn, the slave of Shahr Bāno.

16. Beheading Imam Ḥusayn (a) from the back. One of the issues that is often mentioned is how the Imam’s head was cut. Even though this is not mentioned in any earlier works, in works after the 6th century hijrī this has been mentioned.

17. Shimr beheads the Imam from the back because the Imam (a) told Shimr not to cut his neck from the area that the Prophet (p) used to kiss. As Shimr cut the head of the Imam, the Imam was saying, ‘O grandfather, O Abā al-Qāsim.

18. Shimr beheads the Imam from the back because the Imam told him that the Prophet (p) compared him to a dog.

19. Shimr sitting on the chest of Imam Ḥusayn (a) and conversing with him. Imam asks him whether the intercession of the Prophet (p) is better or a gift from Yazīd. In response, Shimr says that a gift from Yazīd is better. The Imam then asks for water and Shimr responds that the Imam will not taste a drop of water.

20. Imam Ḥusayn (a) being killed by Shimr while in prostration.

21. Tying the feet of Imam Sajjad (a) under the belly of a camel while taking him to Kufa, which result in the Imam’s feet getting injured.

22. A cameleer and his atrocity towards the body of Imam Ḥusayn (a) on the night of the 11th of Muḥarram. The story says that a cameleer tried to take the belt of the Imam (a) which was made of gold and upheld the Imam’s (a) trousers. In the process, the Imam put his right arm on his trousers and the cameleer cut it off. Then the Imam put his left arm on his trousers and the cameleer cut that off as well. The person who fabricated this story did not realize that wearing gold is impermissible.

23. The imaginary story of a woman named Durrah al-Ṣadaf in Ḥalab who was eager to avenge the blood of Imam Ḥusayn (a) and returning the heads of the martyrs to their bodies as well as freeing the captives from Yazīd’s men.

24. The tradition of Imam Bāqir (a) who says that the horse of Imam Ḥusayn (a) on his return back to the tents was wailing al-ẓalīmah al-ẓalīmah min ummatin qatalat ibn bint nabīyyihā.

25. The attribution of a supplication to Imam Ḥusayn (a) while he was being killed, in the Maqtal of Muqarram (pg. 283).

26. The attribution of the statement, asqūnī shurbah min al-mā fa-qad nashifat kabadī min al-ẓamā and the phrase, hal min nāṣir yanṣuru dhurrīyyah al-aṭhār.

27. Attribution of certain statements to Imam Ḥusayn (a) such as his words to ‘Ali Akbar, yā waladī ammā anta fa-qad istaraḥta min hamm al-dunyā wa ghammihā wa shadāidihā wa ṣirta ila rūḥ wa rayḥān wa qad baqa abūka wa mā asra’a al-laḥūq bika.

28. The newborn child of Imam Ḥusayn (a) being only 6 months and that it had not drunk water for three days. According to earlier sources, the child was either five months, one day, three years, or one year old.

29. Imam Ḥusayn (a) asking for water for the newborn child and Ali Akbar responding to the request.

30. Attributing the statement, ‘the milk in the breasts of his mother has dried up, give him a drop of water,’ to Imam Ḥusayn (a) and that when the baby was killed with an arrow, he looked at the Imam (a), smiled and then passed away.

31. The newborn child of Imam Ḥusayn (a) opening up the strands of his swaddle blanket and throwing himself out his cradle.

32. The wailing and screaming of a lion near the body of Imam Ḥusayn (a) and that the lion was Amir al-Mu’minīn (a).

33. Imam Ḥusayn (a) assisting Qays the Sulṭān of Hind on the day of Āshūra, who had gone hunting, but was attacked by a lion.

34. The imaginary story of Qāsim’s marriage.

35. The marriage of Qāsim and the way he fought against the enemies as described in Muḥriq al-Qulūb fī Maṣāib al-Ḥusayn (pg. 126-130).

36. The conversation of Imam Ḥusayn (a) with Sukayna regarding the martyrdom of ‘Ali Akbar and the Imam telling Sukayna to be patient. The source of this conversation is attributed to Shaykh Mufīd, even though this is not found in the works of Shaykh Mufīd at all.

37. The statement attributed to Sukayna when she saw the horse of Imam Ḥusayn, ya jawāda abī, hal suqiya abī am qutila ‘aṭshāna.

38. Imam Ḥusayn (a) going to the banks of the Euphrates with his horse and having a conversation with the water.

39. The way in which the Imam bid farewell the women of the Ahl al-Bayt as mentioned in Muntaha al-Āmāl (vol. 2, pg. 887-888).

40. Another description of how the Imam bid farewell as mentioned in Muntaha al-Āmāl (vol. 2, pg. 899-900).

41. Attribution of these two statements to Imam Ḥusayn (a), ‘inna al-ḥayāt ‘aqīdah wa jihād’ and ‘in kāna dīn muḥammad lam yastaqim illā bi-qatlī ya suyūf khudhīnī’.

42. Attribution of the statement ‘mā rayto illā jamīla’ (I saw nothing but beauty) to lady Zaynab (s) as a response to Ibn Ziyād when he told her, ‘have you seen what Allah has done with your family?’ This is while this statement cannot be found in any earlier works.

43. Lady Zaynab (s) placing her hands on the body of Imam Ḥusayn (a) and saying, ‘ilāhī taqabbal minnā hadhā al-qurbān…’ as the captives were passing the bodies of the martyrs.

44. Attribution of the statement, ‘laytanī kuntu qabl hadhā al-yawm ‘amyā’ to Lady Zaynab (s) when she saw the body of ‘Ali Akbar.

45. The bells stopped ringing miraculously when lady Zaynab (s) began to speak.

46. The heights of Zaynabīyyah (till Zaynabīyyah): in earlier works, there is no mention of till Zaynabīyyah. The word musannāh is found in earlier works and this was a river bank where Imam Ḥusayn (a) went towards when he was thirty. However, there is no mention of Zaynab (s) ever coming towards this river bank when the Imam was killed.

47. The qatl-gāh: the place where the Imam is said to have been killed. In earlier reliable works, or even later Ṣafavi and Qajār works there is no reference to anything known as the qatl-gāh. It appears that this place and the heights of Zaynabīyyah are two topics that were introduced by the speakers and preachers during the Pahlavī period and eventually became popular.

48. The statement al-Shām, al-Shām, al-Shām: there is no doubt that Syria was one of the most difficult periods for the Ahl al-Bayt. However, the tradition in which Imam Sajjād (a) is asked. ‘what was the most difficult period?’ and his response al-Shām three times is not found in any reliable works. It is only found in some works written in recent times.

49. Imam Ḥusayn (a) returning back towards Medina when he hears about the death of Muslim and Hānī and taking refuge and crying at the grave of his grandfather the Prophet (p).

50. The Imam changing seven horses when the caravan arrived in Karbala, because none of the horses would move any further.

51. The narration of Muslim Jaṣṣāṣ where he relates that the Kufans gave bread, dates and walnuts to the children of the Ahl al-Bayt and Umm Kulthūm told them that ṣadaqah is prohibited upon us. He further relates that when lady Zaynab (s) saw the head of her brother on a spear, she hit her own forehead on the wooden pole of the carrier and blood began to flow.

52. Some gruesome and disrespectful reports regarding the treatment of the women of the Ahl al-Bayt by the soldiers of ‘Umar Sa’d and some of them fainting after the martyrdom of Imam Ḥusayn (a).

53. The description of how disorderly the captives were when they were being taken to Kufa, ‘raytu afkhādha-hum tashkhubu daman’.

54. A group of angels and Jinns offering their assistance to the Imam when he left Medina and the Imam rejecting their offer. This is not mentioned in any work of history.

55. The incorrect and altered description of how Muslim b. ‘Aqīl revolted in Kufa. The report of Muslim not killing Ibn Ziyād in the house of Hānī when he had the chance to do so, or that he killed 1,100 out of 1,800 soldiers Ibn Ziyād had sent to arrest Muslim.

56. Muslim b. ‘Aqīl being arrested after he was forced to back up into a ditch and fell in there.

57. The revolt of Muslim b. ‘Aqīl in Kufa and the martyrdom of his two sons.

58. Sukayna requesting her father Imam Ḥusayn (a) to come off the horse when he was leaving to fight and asking him to stroke his hand on her head like she was an orphan. The Imam accepted her request and embraced and hugged her in between the tents and the battlefield.

59. Imam Ḥusayn (a) giving a pearl necklace to one of the soldiers of the enemy, because when the soldier left his house his daughter had asked for a souvenir from her father.

60. The horse of Imam Ḥusayn (a) not moving forward when he (a) got on top of him and only moving on the condition that the Imam rides on him on the day of Judgement when interceding for the sinners.

61. The companions of Imam Ḥusayn (a) leaving him on the night of ‘Āshūra and only his family members and closest companions remaining.

62. The imaginary story of Ṭirimmāḥ b. ‘Uday and the return of the head of Imam Ḥusayn (a) to its body and seeing the Prophet (p) at the place the Imam was killed.

63. Additional remarks added by Ibn A’tham Kūfī and the transmission of Khwārazmī from him. Even though Ibn A’tham was from the Ahl al-Sunnah, when it came to reporting the history of ‘Āshūra, he was inclined to Shī’ī beliefs. For example, the way in which Walīd b. ‘Utbah called Imam Ḥusayn (a) and Ibn Zubayr to pay allegiance to Yazīd and the way the Imām reacted to it has been reported in the Maqtal of Abū Mikhnaf. However, in Ibn A’tham’s version, there are additional details that are not present in Abu Mikhnaf’s Maqtal, but are in accordance with Shī’ī beliefs.

64. Imam Ḥusayn (a) asking Ibn ‘Umar to pray for him in every prayer.

65. The description of how Imam Ḥusayn (a) and his companions were worshipping, ‘lahum dawīyy ka-dawīyy al-naḥl’ (they had a humming sound like the buzzing of the bees).

66. The statements of Ibn Zubayr to Imam Ḥusayn (a) when the governor of Medina summoned both of them for allegiance. He said, ‘may I be sacrificed upon you, I am afraid they will arrest you…’

67. The disappearance of the water well which Imam Ḥusayn (a) dug in Karbala.

68. The description of how the Imam’s companions had access to water after digging a well a few days before ‘Āshūrā.

69. The thirst of the companions of the Imam being quenched miraculously on the day of ‘Āshūrā.

70. The over emphasis and over exaggeration on the thirst of the Imam, his family and his companions. The thirst of the Imam, his companions and his family on the day of ‘Āshūrā is from the accepted incidents of history. However, it cannot be denied that even until the morning of ‘Āshūrā there was little water in the camp of the Imam by which their thirst could have been quenched. It is not possible for the family of the Imam, especially the women and children, to have had any physical ability to deal with what they did after two full days of no water.

Many stories concerning water and thirst that appear in later works make it appear as if the biggest tragedy was the thirst aspect whereas this is not seen in earlier reliable sources at all. Likewise, many reports that show the Imam (a) in humiliating situations requesting water from enemies and others do not exist in earlier reliable works at all. Some of these fabricated reports are as follows:

a) The Imam begging his enemies to give his family and children water who are dying of thirst.

b) Imam Ḥusayn (a) telling Shimr that he is dying of thirst and to give him some water and then continue fighting.

c) Imam Ḥusayn telling ‘Abbās that when you go out to fight, get some water for the children.

d) ‘Abbās telling ‘Umar b. Sa’d that the family of the Imam is dying of thirst, and requesting him for water.

e) Qāsim requesting Imam Ḥusayn (a) for some water.

f) ‘Abbāṣ reached the water and was about to drink some, but when he heard the sounds of al-‘aṭash from the children, he dropped the water from his hands and swore to God that he will not drink a drop until he gets some to the Imam and his family. Later writers have altered and dramatized this incident even more by adding lengthy details to it.

g) Imam Ḥusayn (a) reached the banks of Euphrates and got some water in his hands, but when he remembered the thirst of the women and the children, he spilled it.

h) The heat on the day of ‘Āshūrā had gone up by seventy-times on the wish of Iblīs.

71. Attributing situations to the Imām (a) and his family where they are crying or overly depressed, such as:

a) When ‘Umar b. Sa’d rejected Imam Ḥusayn’s (a) request for water, he (a) lowered his head and was embarrassed to show his face to his daughters and womenfolk and began to cry so much that his collars became wet.

b) The Imam screaming seven times so loudly that it could be heard as far as four farsakh.

c) The Imam would cry so loud that the saints and other inhabitants of the heavens would cry and tremble.

d) His (a) crying and wailing at the time of Qāsim’s martyrdom.

e) His (a) crying when ‘Abbās (r) asks permission to leave for battle.

f) When the Imam (a) saw the body of his brother ‘Abbās, he cried so much that the enemies began to cry and he (a) fell unconscious.

g) The Imam (a) sighed so loudly after the martyrdom of ‘Alī Aṣghar that the ground of Karbala began shaking.

72) Attributing humiliating qualities to the Imam and his family, such as, orphanage, loneliness, despair, all through fabricated traditions. For examples, refer to the researched work.

73) Exaggerating the way in which the companions of the Imam (a) fought in Karbala, such as ‘Abbas (r) killing 180 horse riders with his left arm while he had lost his right one. For more examples, refer to the researched work.

74) Exaggerated descriptions, far from reality, describing what the family of the Imam (a) and even some of his companions looked like, such as what their height was, what their hair looked like, what their faces looked like and so on.

75) Imam Sajjād (a) coming to Karbala to bury his father and saying, ‘O my father, O Abā ‘Abdillah, if only you were present with us to see how we were taken as captives and were humiliated.’ This is while according to the earliest historical records, it was some people from the Banī Asad tribe that came to bury the martyrs of Karbala.

76) Attribution of a statement to the Prophet (p) addressing Imam Ḥusayn (a), that the enemies have killed you, they did not recognize you and they prevented you from drinking water.

77) Attribution of a statement to Imam Ḥusayn (a) when he saw the body of Qāsim, ‘O my son, the disbelievers have killed you as if they did not know you and did not know who your grandfather and father were.

78) The name of the horse of Imam Ḥusayn (a) Dhū al-Jināḥ and the name of the horse of ‘Alī Akbar named ‘Uqāb.

79) The Ahl al-Bayt dropping themselves off from camels when they passed by the bodies of the martyrs.

80) Humiliating descriptions of what the womenfolk might have been saying while mourning beside the body of the Imam (a).

81) The body of ‘Abbās remaining at the place he was killed due to the numerous injuries on his body to the extent that the Imam could not carry his body from there to where the rest of the martyrs were.

82) ‘Abbāṣ telling the Imam not to take his body towards the tents, because Sukayna requested water and he was not able to fulfil her request.

83) The arms of ‘Abbās and the water bag falling on the ground and the Imam kissing the arms of ‘Abbās.

84) Lady Zaynab (s) showing the bloodied shield of ‘Abbās to his mother Umm al-Banīn in Medina and her falling unconscious.

85) Imam Ḥusayn (a) requesting water for the newborn baby after the martyrdom of ‘Abbās, and ‘Ali Akbar responding to his request. Even though it is established that ‘Alī Akbar was killed before ‘Abbas.

86) The claim that the number of soldiers protecting the Euphrates was 4,000. According to earlier reports, only 500 soldiers were at the banks of the Euphrates preventing access to it.

87) A three-pronged arrow.

88) The angel Fiṭrus.

89) Stories related to Ruqayyah, even though Imam Ḥusayn (a) never had a three-year-old daughter named Ruqayyah. A separate article needs to be written to discuss the historical existence of Ruqayyah.

90) 1,900 injuries on the body of the Imam due to arrows, spears and swords.

91) The way in which ‘Abbās (r) went to the battlefield and was martyred. The book Rawḍa al-Shuhadā, authored by Kāshifī coins a story whose summary is as follows: ‘Abbās (r) sought permission from Imam Ḥusayn (a) to go to the battlefield in order to get water. The enemies prevented him from reaching the water and he retuned to Imam Ḥusayn (a) until he heard the sound of children crying ‘thirst’. After hearing the sounds, he went towards the Euphrates again despite 4,000 men guarding the banks of the river. 500 men attacked ‘Abbās (r) and he was able to kill 80 of them and ward off others until he reached the river and got his horse to go in. A thousand other soldiers attacked ‘Abbās (r) from all directions, but he began to attack back, and the enemies got scared and fled. ‘Abbās (r) filled up the water carrier and for a moment thought about drinking it, but remembered the thirst of the Imam (a), the children and women and didn’t drink. He got on the horse and put the water carrier on his right arm, but the enemies cut off his right arm. He then grabbed the water carrier in his left arm, but the enemies cut off his left arm as well. He then grabbed it with his teeth, but an arrow was shot at it which made all the water spill. At that point ‘Abbās (r) called out for his brother, and the Imam (a) got himself to ‘Abbās and said, ‘now my back has been broken.’ The enemies came to attack ‘Abbās (r) again, and began to cut him into pieces and put them on their spears.

In earlier and reliable works, it says that ‘Abbās (r) went out with Imam Ḥusayn (a) towards the river to get water. Before they had even reached the Euphrates, an arrow hit the face of the Imam and he had to return. At that point, the enemies encircled and separated ‘Abbāṣ (r) from the Imam (a) and fought him alone. After putting up a fight, he was eventually killed by Zayd b. Warqā Ḥanafī and Ḥakīm b. Ṭufayl.

92) The martyrdom of the newborn baby of Imam Ḥusayn (a). An unreliable account is that Imam Ḥusayn (a) became aware that the baby is crying due to thirst and took him in front of the enemies and raised him up in his arms. He asked for a drop of water, but an arrow was shot at the baby and killed him.

A reliable account of it says that Imam Ḥusayn (a) was on his horse (in another earlier account it says he (a) was in his tent) and a baby was born around that same time (in some other accounts, the child was a few months to a few years old) and was brought to him (a). He had the baby with him in his arms and named him ‘Abdullah. At that time, Ḥarmalah b. Kāhil shot an arrow towards the baby and killed it. Imam Ḥusayn (a) pulled the arrow out of the baby’s neck and smeared some of the blood and took the blood and threw it towards the sky and the drops did not fall on the ground (and in another report it says he spilled the blood on the ground).

93) The name of the newborn baby was ‘Abdullah – hence Imam Ḥusayn is known as Abū ‘Abdillah (father of ‘Abdullah). Many later sources also mention the same name for this child. The first place where the name ‘Alī is mentioned for this baby is Ibn A’tham al-Kūfī’s work where he refers to the baby as ‘Alī.

94) The condition made by Lady Zaynab (s) with ‘Abdullah b. Ja’far at the time of her marrying him that if her brother were to travel somewhere, she would travel with him.

95) The reasons mentioned for why ‘Abdullah b. Ja’far, Muḥammad b. Ḥanafīyyah or Ibn ‘Abbās did not travel with Imam Ḥusayn (a). Even though reasons such as illness, blindness, or other responsibilities have been mentioned, however the real reason for them not going to Karbala was because they did not consider Imam Ḥusayn’s (a) obedience to be necessary. They did not have the same understanding of the Imam’s spiritual position as the Shī’as understand today, and hence they even told the Imam to not go towards Kufa at all.

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