The Chief of the Reciters, Burair bin Khuzair was from the people of Bani Mashriq and belonged to Hamadan .
(Asadul-Ghabah – Ibn Aseer Jazari)
Some of the authors of Rejal have referred to him as Burair bin Haseen instead of Burair bin Khuzair. Burair wasquite aged, brave and staunch worshipper keeping himself awake for the whole night in prayers. He was enumerated among the Tabeein’ (followers). He was popularly known as ‘Qariul-Quran’ (The Reciter of Quran) and ‘Sayyedul-Qurra’ (The Chief of the Reciters). He was a companion of Hazrat Ali (a.s.). His personality can be known by the fact that he was regarded among the espectable men of Kufa from the tribe of Hamadan. His uncle, (the husband of his maternal aunt) Abu Ishaq al Hamadani As-Sabeei was a Tabeei’ from Kufa, about whom it is said that for forty years he completed recitation of Holy Quran, once every night and performed morning prayers with the same Wuzoo which he had made for the ‘Isha’ (night) prayers. Nobody in his time surpassed him in worship. Regarding the narration of the traditions (Ahadees), he is considered reliable among the Shias and the Sunnis alike. He was from the aides of Imam Zainul Abedeen (a.s.).
According to historians when Burair heard of Imam Husain (a.s.)’s migration from Medina to Mecca, he immediately left Kufa for Mecca and joined the handful followers of Imam (a.s.) and finally attained martyrdom in Karbala.
Survi writes that “When Hur intercepted the path of Imam Husain (a.s.) with obvious harshness, Imam (a.s.) delivered a sermon. After the sermon of Imam (a.s.), Burair said: “By Allah, O Son of Messenger of Allah, Allah has obliged us by giving us an opportunity to fight at your side and get ourselves killed with our body cut to pieces, so that on the Day of Qiyamat, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) may intercede for us. They will never succeed and prosper, who do not fulfill the right of the son of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Indeed their plight will be deplorable when they face Allah. Woe be upon them when they will burn in the fire of Hell and their cry and plea will rise high.”
A section of historians recorded that when the thirst of Imam Husain (a.s.) reached at the peak, Burair sought permission from Imam (a.s.) that he may talk with the faithless army. When Imam (a.s.) permitted him, he went to the contingent of Ibne Saad and addressed them thus:
“O men! Surely Allah raised Muhammad with truth as a Warner and a conveyor of glad tidings, caller towards Allah with His permission and a bright beacon. The dogs and swines drink from the water of Furaat, while you block it for the son of
the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Is this the reward for the toils and pains of uhammad
(s.a.w.a.).” The enemies replied: “Enough Burair! Shut your mouth, By Allah! Husain should be slain thirsty in the same way as Usman was killed thirsty.” Then Imam Husain (a.s.) himself addressed them.
Abu Makhnaf has recorded a dialogue between Burair and Yazeed bin Ma’aqal, who was from the tribe of Bani Umar in the following manner:
Yazeed: How is your condition, Burair?
Burair: Extremely good.
Yazeed: You are lying, while you were not a liar. Don’t you remember that while passing through the street named Lauzan in Kufa you were loudly announcing that Usman is no good and Muawiya is deviated from the right path and Ali Ibne Abi Taalib (a.s.) is the righteous Imam.
Burair: Certainly, I said so.
Yazeed: I testified that you too are among the deviated ones.
Burair: Would you like to come forward for Mubahila (a trial from Divine) so as curse be upon the liars and truth be revealed.
Then both of them fought.Yazeed attacked Burair but was not successful. Then Burair struck Yazeed’s head, which shattered his helmet and bisected his skull. The sword got struck in Yazeed’s brain. Burair pulled the sword back and said: “I
am Buriar and my father is Khuzair, and every virtue can be found in Burair.”
After eliminating Yazeed he assaulted the contingent. Razi bin Marqad Abdi attacked Burair. Burair smashed him on the ground and sat on his chest. He cried for help. Ka’ab bin Jaabir Umar Azadi took his men and sprang to his rescue. When they saw Burair they said “He is the same” Qari’ (Reciter) who taught us Quran in the mosque. Then they struck sword on Burair’s back and then came in front and hit him with the sword. Thus Burair was martyred
(Ansaar-ul-Ain, pg. 102; Zakhiratud Darain,pg. 261).
The narrator says that Razi rose from the ground and shed dust from his attire and expressed his gratitude to Ka’ab. When Ka’ab returned, then his sister or wife
said, you killed ‘Sayyedul Qurra’ (The Chief of Reciters), a great crime indeed. By God, I will never talk to you again. It is said that Burair was killed by Bahrain bin Ous Zabbi.