A brief look at the Life of Imam Hussain (as)
(This is) an account of the Imam after al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on
him, (giving) the date of his birth, the evidence of his Imamate, the age he reached, the
period of his succession (khalifa), the time and cause of his death, and the place of his
grave. (It also provides) a selection from the (historical) reports about him.
The Imam after al-Hasan b. Ali was his brother, al-Husayn b. Ali
(who was) the son of Fatima, daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, through the designation (nass) of his father and grandfather, peace be on them,
and the testamentary bequest (wasiyya) of his brother, al-Hasan, peace be on him. His
kunya was Abu Abd Allah (glory be to Him).
He was born in Medina, on the fifth of Shaban in the year 4 A.H.
(626). His mother, Fatima, peace be on her, brought him to the Apostle of God. The latter
was delighted with him and named him Husayn. He sacrificed a ram on his behalf in the rite
of aqiqa. On the testament of the Apostle of God, he and his brother are the two lords of
the youth of Heaven, and by unanimous agreement, they were the grandsons of the Prophet of
Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them, was like the Prophet, may God
bless him and his family, from his head to his chest, while al-Husayn was like him from
his chest to his feet. They were the two dear ones of the Apostle of God among all his
family and children. [Zadhan reported on the authority of Salman, may God be pleased with
I heard the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, say
concerning al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them: O God, I love both of them. Therefore
love them and love whoever loves them Then he said: Whoever loves al-Hasan and al-Husayn,
is one whom I love. Whomever I love, God loves, and whomever God loves, He will cause to
enter Heaven. Whoever hates them, I hate and God hates. Whomever God hates, He will cause
to enter the Fire. Then he said: These two sons of mine are my two plants of sweet basil
(to sweeten) the world.
[Zirr b. Hubaysh reported on the authority of Ibn
While the Prophet, may God bless him and his family, was praying,
al-Hasan and al-Husayn came and stood behind him. When he raised his head, he took them
tenderly (into his arms). When he resumed (his prayers), they resumed (theirs). Then when
he had finished, he sat one on his right knee and the other on his left knee and said:
Whoever loves me, should love these two. They, peace be on them, are the two proofs
(hujjatay Allah) of God of His Prophet in the contest of prayer (mubahala). After their
father, the Commander of the faithful, they were the two proofs of God (hujjatay Allah) to
the community concerning religion (din) and belief (milla).
[Muhammad b. Umayr has reported on the authority of his teachers
(rijal) that Abu Abd Allah (i.e. Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq), peace be on him, said:]
Al-Hasan, peace be on him, said to his companions: God has two
cities - one in the east and the other in the west - in which Gods creatures are never
interested in disobeying Him. Yet, by God, God's proof to His creatures, both in those two
and between them, is no other than myself and my brother, al-Husayn.
A narration of the same kind is reported from al-Husayn b. Ali peace
be on them, when he said to the followers of Ibn Ziyad on the day of deprivation:
What is the matter with you that makes you help each other
against me or (don't you see) if you kill me, you kill God's proof to yourselves? No, by
God, there is not between Jabilqa and Jabirsa a son of a prophet through whom God provides
proof to you other than myself.
He meant by Jabilqa and Jabirsa, the two cities which al-Hasan,
peace be on him, had mentioned.
One of the conclusive pieces of evidence (burhan) of the perfection
of both of them, peace be on them, and the proof of God's special regard for them both,
after what we have mentioned of the contest of prayer of the Prophet, may God bless him
and his family, (in which he used) them both, is the pledge (bay'a) which the Apostle of
God made to them, when he never made any (other) pledge to a child. The Qur'an also brings
down the positive statement of the reward of Heaven to them both because of their works,
despite the outward state of childhood in which they were. It did not bring down that to
any other like them. God said in Surat Hal ata (known also as Surat al Dahr)
"And they give foods out of love for him, to the poor,
orphans and prisoners We only feed you for the sake of God; we do not want reward or
thanks from you. Indeed we fear from our Lord a hard depressing day. Therefore, God will
guard them from the evil of that day, and make them meet with ease and joy, and reward
them with gardens and silk because they were patient." [Ch 76: Vr 8-12]
This statement is general to them, peace be on them, with their
father and their mother. The tradition contains their assertion of that and their
awareness of it; both of which indicate that the illustrious verse was about the two of
them and (that) the greatest proof (hujja) to creatures was through them both. In the same
way the report about the Messiah, peace be on him, speaking in the cradle was a proof of
his prophethood and God's special regard for him through miraculous acts (karama) which
indicated his place and position with God with regard to merit (fadl) The Apostle of God,
may God bless him and his family, had made clear his Imamate and the Imamate of his
brother before him through designation (nass) when he said:
These two sons of mine are Imams who will experience
difficulties. The testamentary bequest (wasiyya) of al-Hasan, peace be on him, to him
indicated his Imamate,just as the testamentary bequest of the Commander of the faithful,
peace be on him, to al-Hasan, peace be on him, indicated his Imamate just as the
testamentary bequest of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, to the
Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, indicated his Imamate after himself.
According to what we have (just) mentioned the Imamate of al-
Husayn, peace be on him, was confirmed after the death of his brother al-Hasan, peace be
on him, and the obedience of all creatures to him was binding, although he did not summon
them to (follow) him because of precautionary dissimulation (taqiyya) which he was
following and because of the truce which existed between him and Mueawiya b. Abl Sufyan
and the need to fulfil it. In that he followed the same course as his father, the
Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in terms of the establishment of his Imamate
after the Prophet, may God bless him and his family, despite (his own) silence (about it),
and also of the Imamate of his brother after the truce despite (his) abstention (from
politics) and (his) silence. In that they were acting according to the practices (sunan)
of the Prophet of God, may God bless him and his family, when he was blockaded in al-Shi'b
and when he escaped Mecca as an emigrant by hiding in a cave and he was hidden from his
When Muawiya died, the period of the truce came to an end. (It was
this) which had prevented al-Husayn, peace he on him, from calling (people) to (follow)
him. Then he made public his (claim to) authority as far as was possible. Time after time
he explained his right (to authority) to those who were ignorant of it until followers
gathered around him. Then he, peace be on him, urged (them) to take up the struggle
(jihad) and prepared for battle.
Then with his children and the people of his house (ahl baytihi), he
set out from the sanctury of God (Mecca) and the sanctury of his Apostle (Medina) towards
Iraq because of the help that was sought from him by the members of his Shia who had urged
him (to come) against the enemies. His paternal cousin, Muslim b. Aqil, may God be pleased
with him, had preceded him and had satisfied him of the (sincerity of their) call to God
and of (their) pledge of allegiance to him to take part in the struggle. For the people of
pledged their allegiance to him (Muslim) to (do) that, and had promised (to do) it and had
guaranteed help and advice to him and had given their trust and contract to him. However
it was not long before they broke their pledge, deserted him and handed him over. Then he
was killed in their midst without them (trying) to stop it.
(Furthermore) they went out to (make) war against al-Husayn. They
besieged him, peace be on him, prevented him from returning to God's land (i.e. Mecca) and
they used force against him in such a way that he could find no one to help him, and no
place of refuge from them. They prevented him from getting water from the Euphrates so
that they might gain power over him. Then they killed him.
He, peace be on him, died, (a man desperately) thirsty, yet still striving and showing
fortitude, (a man) forced to be detained, (a man) oppressed. The pledge of allegiance to
him was revoked. The respect due to him was ignored. The covenant to him was not fulfilled
nor the responsibility of the agreement made with him honoured. (He died) a martyr as his
father and brother, peace be on them, had done before him.
A Sample of the Outstanding Virtues of al-Husayn b. 'Ali Peace be on
Him, the Merit in Visiting (His Grave) and Mention of His Tragedy [Said b. Rashid reported
on the authority of Yala b. Murra, who said:] I heard the Apostle of God, may God bless
him and his family, say: Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. God loves whoever loves
him. Husayn is indeed an (outstanding) grandson among grandsons.
[Ibn Lahia reported on the authority of Abu 'Awana (with an
interrupted chain of authorities) (rafa'ahu) back to the Prophet, may God bless him and
The Apostle of God said: Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on
them, are the ornaments of the throne (of Heaven). Indeed Heaven, itself, said, 'O my
Lord, You have filled me with weak and poor inhabitants.' God, the Exalted, replied to it:
'Are you not content that I have adorned your corners with al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace
be on him?' Then it swaggered as a bride swaggers with happiness.
[Abd Allah b. Maymun al-Qaddah reported on the authority of Jafar b.
Muhammad al-Sadiq, peace be on them, who said:]
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, were wrestling in front
of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. Hasan, catch hold of Husayn, said
the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. Apostle of God, are you encouraging
the big one against the little one? said Fatima, peace be on her. It is Gabriel, peace be
on him, who is saying to al-Husayn: Husayn, catch hold of al-Hasan, replied the Apostle of
God, may God bless him and his family.
[Ibrahim b. al-Rafi'i reported on the authority of his father, on
the authority of his grandfather, who said:]
I saw al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, walking to the
pilgrimage. They did not pass a rider who did not dismount and walk too. It became arduous
for some of them. They said to Sad b. Abi Waqqas Walking is arduous for us. We would
prefer to ride but these two young lords (sayyid) are walking. Abu Muhammad, said Sad to
al-Hasan, peace be on him, Walking is hard on a group of those with you, yet the people
cannot make themselves feel better by riding when they see you two walking. If you rode,
(it would be easier for them). We will not ride, replied al- ,Hasan, peace be on him. We
have pledged ourselves to walk to the Sacred House of God on our feet. However, we will
turn aside from the road. They both went aside from the people.
[Al-Awza'i has reported on the authority of 'Abd Allah b. Shaddad,
on the authority of Umm al-Fadl, daughter of al-Harith: ]
She visited the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family
and said: Apostle of God, I have had a strange dream during the night. What was it?, he
asked. It was terrible, she said. What was it?, he repeated. I saw (something) like a
piece of your body cut up and put in my lap, she answered. You have seen well said the
Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. Fatima will give birth to a boy when she
is sitting on your lap (to give birth). [She reported:] Fatima did give birth to
al-Husayn, peace be on him, and he was in my lap just as the Apostle of God, may God bless
him and his family, had said. One day I took him to the Prophet, may God bless him and his
family, and I put him in his lap. His gaze turned away from me. Behold, both the eyes of
the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, were flowing with tears. I said:
(May I ransom you) with my father and mother Apostle of God, what is the matter with you?
"Gabriel, peace be on him, came to me," he said. "He told me that my
community will seek to kill this son of mine and he brought me dust made red by his
[Simak reported on the authority of Ibn al-Mukhariq on the authority
of Umm Salama, may God be pleased with her, who said:]
One day while the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, was sitting down, and al- Husayn was sitting on his knee, his eyes suddenly filled
with tears. I said to him: Apostle of God, why do I see you weeping, may I be your ransom?
Gabriel, peace be on him, came to me, he said. She consoled me for the death of my son,
al-Husayn, and he told me that a group of my community will kill him. May God never let
them have intercession from me.
[It is reported with another chain of authorities on the authority
of Umm Salama, may God be pleased with hey that she said:]
One evening the Apostle of God left us and was away for a long
time. He came back, he was dishevelled and dusty and his hand was holding (something). I
said to him: Apostle of God, why do I see you dishevelled and dusty? He said: I have just
been on a night journey to a place in Iraq, called Karbala. There I saw the death of my
son, al-Husayn, and a group of my children and the members of my family (ahl al-bayt). I
could not stop (myself) from gathering (some of) their blood and here it is in my hand. He
opened his hand and said: Take it and look after it. I took it. It was like red soil. I
put it in a phial, fastened its top and kept it. When al-Husayn, peace be on him, left
Mecca on his way to Iraq, I took out that phial every day and night. I used to smell it
and look at it. Then I would weep for his fate. On the 10th of (the month of) al-Muharram,
the day on which al-Husayn, peace be on him was killed, I took it out. At the beginning of
the day it was in its usual condition, but at the end of the day, behold, it was fresh
blood. I shrieked (with grief) and wept. Then I restrained my anger out of fear that the
enemies of the family of the Prophet) in Medina would heae and would hurry to rejoice at
their misfortune. I have kept it secret up to the present time, even to the day when the
messenger bringing the news of his death came to announce it. Then what I had seen was
It is reported that one day the Prophet, may God bless him and his
family, was sitting down. Around him were Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on
them. He asked them: How would you feel if when you were killed, your tombs were
scattered around (the country)? Will we die an (ordinary) death or will we be killed?
al-Husayn, peace be on him, asked, Rather you will be killed unjustly, my little son,
and your brother will be killed unjustly," he answered. "Your offspring
will be scattered over the land. Apostle of God, who will kill us? asked al-Husayn,
peace be on him. The evil men among the people, he said. Will anyone visit (our
graves) after we are killed?, he asked. Yes, my little son, he told him, a group
(taifa) of my community will gain my benificence and favour through visiting (your
graves). On the Day of Resurrection, I will bring them to the place so that I may take
them by the arms and save them from its terrors and sorrows.
[Abd Allah b. Sharik al-Amiri reported:]
I heard the followers of Ali say when 'Umar b. Sed went through
the gate of the mosque: There is the killer of al-Husayn b. 'Ali, peace be on him. That
was some time before he was killed.
[Salim b. Abi Hafsa reported:]
Umar b. Sa'd said to al-Husayn: Abu Abd Allah, stupid people have
come to me claiming that I will kill you. They are not stupid, al Husayn, peace be on him
told him. They are men who dream (of the future). Yet it pleases me that you will not
enjoy the land of Iraq for long after me.
[Yusuf b. Abida reported: I heard Muhammad b. Sirin say:]
Such a redness which was in thc sky was never seen except after
the killing of al-Husayn b. Al, peace be on him.
[Said al-Iskaf reported: Abu-Ja'far, peace be on him, said:]
The killer of Yahya b. Zakariyya (John the Baptist) was a son
born out of wedlock. The killer of al-Husayn b. Ali was a son born out of wedlock. The sky
only went red for those two.
[Sufyan b. Uyayna reported on the authority of Ali b. Zayd, on the
authority of Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, who said:]
We set out with al-Husayn, peace be on him. We did not stop at
any halting-place without him setting off from there by (first) mentioning Yahya b.
Zakariyya and his death. He would say: There was a day and it was a day of the humiliation
of the world before God, when the head of Yahya b. Zakariyya was given to one of the
prostitutes of the Banu Israil.
Reports have already been presented (which show) that none of the
killers of al-Husayn, peace be on him, and his followers, may God be pleased with them,
managed to avoid being killed or suffering tribulation in such a way as put them to shame
before their death.
Al-Husayn, peace be on him, came to his death on Saturday, the 10th
of (the month of) al-Muharram in the year 61 A.H. after the (time for) the mid-day prayer.
(He was) killed wrongfully, while thirsty, always showing fortitude but forced to be
detained, as we have already explained. His age on that day was fifty-eight years. Of
these, he spent seven with his grandfather, the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, thirty-seven with his father, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and
forty-seven with his brother, al- Hasan, peace be on him. The period of his succession (to
the Imamate) after his brother was eleven years. He, peace be on him, used to use henna
and a black dye (katam). When he, peace be on him, was killed, the dye came off (the beard
on) his two cheeks.
Many reports have come down about the great merit (to be acquired)
by visiting his (grave) indeed of it being necessary for everyone who accepts the Imamate
of al-Husayn, peace be on him, (as being bestowed on him) by God, the Mighty and High. It
is reported from al-Sadiq Jafer b. Muhammad, peace be on him, that he said: Visiting the
grave of al-Husayn, peace be on him, is equal to a hundred acceptable pilgrimages and a
hundred acceptable lesser pilgrimages ('umra). The Apostle of God, may God bless him and
his family, said: Whoever visits the grave of al-Husayn, peace be on him, after the
latter's death, will have heaven (as his reward).
Kitab al Irshad
By Sheikh al Mufid
Imam Hussein had married five times. The names of his wives are:
1. Janabe Shahr Banu the daughter of Yazd Gurd, the last emperor of
Iran. Imam Zaynul Abedin a.s. our fourth Imam was her son. She died within ten days of our
fourth Imam's birth.
2. Janabe Rabab was the daughter of Imra'u Al Qays the chief of the
tribe of Kinda.Janabe Rabab was the mother of Sakinah and the baby Abdallah (also called
Ali Asghar). She was present in Kerbala with Imam Hussein a.s. and died after one year of
return to Medinah after the tragedy of Kerbala.
3. Janabe Laila was the daughter of Abu Murra, the son of Urwah bin
Mas'ud Al Thaqafi. Her mother was Maymunah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan and thus she was
the cousin of Yazid. Her aunt Umm Sa'id, daughter of Urwah was a wife of Imam Ali a.s..
Janabe Laila was the mother of Ali Akbar. According to scholars she was not alive at the
time of the Tragedy of Kerbala. Her name has not been mentioned in the old books written
about Kerbala. Nor was her name mentioned in the court of Yazid and there is no account of
anyone blaming Yazid for imprisoning his own cousin.
4. Janabe Umm Ishaq was the daughter of Talhah bin Ubaydallah Taimi
and she is the mother of Fatema Kubra.
5. Janabe Quda'iyah was from the the tribe of Quda'ah. She gave birth
to one child Jaffer who died in Childhood.
sermon of Imam Hussain ( as ) at Mina, to the scholars gathered there
- The Islamic Conscience