One of the miracles that testify to the veracity of the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) claim of Prophethood is that each of his prophecies has proved to be true. The pages of history have recorded the prophecies as well as the time when these proved to be correct, so that none can refute the truth. However, some people have tried to interpret, or rather misinterpret, the prophecies. For, they could neither dare to refute the traditional reports nor could they muster the courage to refuse the occurrence of the incidents foretold. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has to his credit not a few but hundreds of prophecies that turned to be true and were witnessed by the Islamic world.For example when Ammar was martyred during the battle of Siffm, Amr Ibne Aas paled with fear and told Muawiya that Ammar has been killed and the prophecy of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has materialized (i.e. we are the group of unjust people). Muawiya distorted the interpretation and said that the responsibility of Ammar’s death was upon the one who had brought him to participate in the battle.
When Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) was informed of this crooked logic he retorted that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had brought Hazrat Hamza (a.r.) to fight at Uhud. So (may God forbid) was he (s.a.w.a.) responsible for the latter’s killing?
Another example is the augury of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) about the barking of dogs when Ayesha would go to confront Hazrat Ali (a.s.) in the battle of Jamal.
The tragedy of Karbala is related to the inheritance of the Prophets and their vicegerents. Therefore, the predictions regarding this tragedy have been made since the inception of Prophethood.
Hence we see that diligent researchers have scrutinized the realms of historical records and succeeded in collecting the prophecies on the tragedy of Karbala from Adam (a.s.) to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). History has recorded the exact words of the righteous servants of Allah. Those words that predicted the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) centuries before its occurrence. As it is not possible to reproduce all the prophecies here, we content ourselves with a few important ones in this article.
Hazrat Adam (a.s.)
When Hazrat Adam (a.s.), the first Caliph of Allah was made to descend to the earth, he was aggrieved for having to forego Paradise. He was repentant for having committed Tark-e-Awla (forsaking a preferable act). Alone in such a wide world, his loneliness augmented his grief. The saddest part of it all was his separation from Janabe Hawwa. Adam (a.s.) repented and wept day and night, and prayed for his reunion with Hawwa. He searched for her wherever possible. During his search, he happened to pass through the land of Nainawah. When he reached there, he sobbed uncontrollably. He was restless. His grief was shattering him. He pleaded with the Almighty Allah, “Have I committed another Tark-e-Awla? Upon reaching this land there is an increase in my grief, sorrow, restlessness and discomfort.” The Almighty Allah informed him throughr evelation, “O Adam! You have neither committed a sin nor Tark-e-Awla. Rather this is the land where my righteous servant and your descendant (Husain) will be martyred. He will call out for help but none will come forward to help and assist him. His sight will be blurred due to thirst and hunger. His enemies will surround him and he will be martyred by being beheaded.”
Hazrat Adam (a.s.) pleaded to Allah, “O Allah what should I do to reduce my grief?” Allah, the Almighty, answered him, “Invoke curse upon Yazid and the other killers of Husain (a.s.).”
Hazrat Adam (a.s.) invoked curse upon Yazid due to which his sorrow iminished. He had hardly walked a few steps from Karbala towards the mountains of Arafat that he met Janabe Hawwa.
(Behaarul Anwaar, (Urdu Tr.) on Imam Husain (a.s.), Vol. I)
Hazrat Nuh (a.s.)
Divine retribution befell the people of Nuh (a.s.). The Great Deluge drowned the whole world. Barring a few, who were eighty-two in number and had boarded the Ark. When it reached Karbala after deflecting the force of the stormy waves, gigantic waves tossed it vehemently and it seemed to be meeting its end. Hazrat Nuh (a.s.) prayed to the Almighty, “O my Allah, I have cruised the whole world in my ark but the fear, sorrow and grief felt at this spot is unparalleled.”
On which Hazrat Jibraeel (a.s.) descended and said, “O Nuh ! This is the place where the grandson of My beloved Mohammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) and the son of the best of My vicegerents [Ali (a.s.)] will be martyred.”
“Who will be his killer?” enquired Nuh (a.s.). Hazrat Jibraeel (a.s.) rejoined, “His killer will be Yazid who is cursed upon by the residents of the earth as well as the sky.”
Hence, Nuh (a.s.) began to repeatedly invoke curse upon Yazid and the ark was saved from the deadly storm.
Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.)
It is narrated that once Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) was riding through the plains of Karbala when his horse tripped and fell along with its rider.
The friend (Khalil) of Allah [Ibrahim] remembered his Lord and extended his hands in prayer, “Did I commit some mistake that I am punished thus?” Immediately, the trustworthy Jibraeel (a.s.) descended and informed him, “O Prophet of Allah, you have not committed any sin. But this is the area where the descendant of Ismail (a.s.), the grandson of Mohammad (s.a.w.a.) and the beloved son of AH (a.s.) will be martyred. His name is Husain (a.s.).” On hearing the name of Husain (a.s.), Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) began to weep incessantly. Wailingly, he enquired about the assassinator. Jibraeel (a.s.) responded, “The most evil man, Yazid. When the Qalam (pen) was ordered to inscribe upon the Lauh (tablet) the name of Yazid (l.a.), it also inscribed a curse after Yazid’s name without being ordered to do so.” The Almighty Allah was pleased by this act of Qalam and said, “You have done very well.” Hence Hazrat Ibrahim (a.s.) began to curse Yazid relentlessly. Resultantly, his horse was endowed with the power of speech and it said, “Aameen” after every curse. Then the horse said, “O Friend of Allah when you fell off my back, I was very ashamed. But now I have realized that my fall was due to the omen of this evil (Yazid (l.a.)).” (Ibid)
Hazrat Ismail (a.s.)
History chronicles that the sheep of Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) grazed at the banks of the Euphrates river. One day, Ismail’s (a.s.) shepherd informed him that the animals had been refusing to drink water since the last few days. Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) came to the sheep and enquired the reason for their action. They responded in eloquent Arabic, “We were informed that your descendant and the grandson of the last Prophet [s.a.] will be martyred here after being deprived of water for three days. We too desire to experience his thirst.” “Who will be his killer?” asked Ismail (a.s.). “Yazid who is cursed by the inhabitants of the earth as well as the skies.”
Hazrat Ismail (a.s.) too prayed to the Almighty Allah to curse Yazid (La.).
Hazrat Moosa (a.s.)
Once Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) was passing through Karbala when the straps of his sandals broke and thorns pricked his feet due to which they were badly injured. He implored, “O Allah why am I punished thus?” Allah revealed, “This is not a punishment. This is the place where the blood of Muhammad Mustafa’s (s.a.w.a.) grandson will be shed. His killer shall be Yazid (l.a.). The jinn, men, animals and birds will curse Yazid. I wish that your blood also mixes with his purified blood.” Hearing this Hazrat Moosa (a.s.) also cursed Yazid (l.a.).
Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.)
Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) was sitting on his special mat when he ordered the wind to fly him. On receiving the order, the wind carried the mat on her shoulders and started flying. On reaching the plains of Karbala, the wind brought the mat slowly on the earth. Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) reprimanded the wind for this sudden landing. Explaining her action, she said, “This is the place where Hazrat Husain (a.s.) will be martyred. Hence, I am unable to move”. Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) enquired, “Who is Husain?” The wind replied “Grandson of Ahmad-e-Mukhtar and son of Hyder-e-Karraar. His killer will be Yazid.” At this Hazrat Sulaiman along with all men and jinn cursed Yazid. With its (curse) blessings, the wind started blowing and the mat of Hazrat Sulaiman (a.s.) recommenced it’s flight. (Ibid)
Hazrat Isa (a.s.)
Traditions record that once during a journey along with his companions, Hazrat Isa (a.s.) reached Karbala. A tiger blocked their path. Hazrat Isa (a.s.) questioned the tiger the reason for it’s action. Allah, the Almighty gave speech to the tiger and it replied, “O Prophet of Allah, this is the place where the grandson of the unlettered (Ummi) Prophet (s.a.w.a.) will be martyred. Until you curse his killers, I will not allow you to go further.” Finally Hazrat Isa (a.s.) cursed the killer of Imam Husain (a.s.) and the tiger went on his way.
Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.)
Great scholars of Ahle Sunnah and Shias have narrated prophecies of Imam Husain (a.s.)’s martyrdom from the Messenger of Allah, Hazrat Muhammad (s.a.w.a.). Renowned books like As-Sawaaiqul Mohreqah, Zakhairul Uqba, Tazkeratul Khawaas, Kanzul Ummal, Maqtal-e-Khaarazmi, Talkhees of Luftullah-e-Saafi by the name of Azmat-e-Husain, etc. For the sake of brevity, we shall discuss only four traditions in this article.
It is cited from Khwarazmi that Abu Ali Salaami Bayhaqi in his Taarikh quotes that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said to Imam Husain a.s.):
“Certainly there is a position in paradise for you which cannot be attained except through martyrdom.”
Sibte ibne Jawzi narrates, “When Imam Husain (a.s.) arrived at Karbala, he picked up the soil of Karbala. After smelling it he enquired the name of the place. His companions replied that it is famous as Karbala and locally is known as Nainawah. On this, he (a.s.) uttered, ‘Karb’ and ‘Balaa’.
Later, he added that his Ummul Momineen, Umme Salma (r.a.) had informed him, ‘One day Janabe Jibraeel (a.s.) was in the presence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). And you (Imam Husain (a.s.)) were sitting with me. At that moment Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) asked for you, “Send my son to me “. You went in the presence of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.). He (s.a.w.a.)took you under his cloak. Janabe Jibraeel (a.s.) asked the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) whether he (s.a.w.a.)loved you. The Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) replied in the affirmative. Jibraeel (a.s.) said, “Your nation will kill him and if you wish I can show you the place. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gave him the permission and Jibraeel (a.s.) showed him (s.a.w.a.)the place…”
After smelling the earth, Imam Husain (a.s.) remarked, “This is the same place about which Jibraeel (a.s.) had spoken and shown to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). That is why the odour of this mud is the same as I had smelted before.”
Ibn Athir has narrated from Gurfa-e-Yazdi (who was from Ahle Saffa): One day I was with Hazrat Ali (a.s.) when some doubts had risen in my heart regarding him. We reached at a particular place when he stopped me and said: “This is the place where his horses and camels will be tied and his blood spilt. May my father be sacrificed for him; there will be no helper for him in the earth or the sky except Allah.”
Gurfa states, “When Imam Husain (a.s.) was martyred, I came to Karbala and noticed that Husain, his companions and helpers were killed were there. And this was the same place of which Ameerul Momineen Ali (a.s.) had foretold. I asked forgiveness from Allah about all the doubts concerning Ali (a.s.) which had already vanished.
Suwaid bin Gafala narrates that once I was in the presence of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) when a person came to him saying: “O Ameerul Momineen (a.s.)! When I was passing by the valley of Qura, I saw that Khalid bin Arfata was lying dead and asked forgiveness for him.”
Hazrat Ali (a.s.) retorted, “He will not die until he joins the army of the deviated ones and the flag-bearer of that army will be Habib bin Hammar. ” From that gathering, one person stood up and said: “O Ameerul Momineen, I am your friend and my name is Habib ibn Hammar.”
Ali (a.s.) remarked, “Yes, you will be the flag bearerof that army.”
Ultimately Ibne Ziyad sent Umar Ibne Saad to Kufa to confront Imam Husain (a.s.). He appointed Khalid bin Arfata to lead the army and it’s flag-bearer was Habib ibn Hammar. Yaqoobi says that the first person to mourn the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) in Medina was Ummul Momineen Umme Salma (r.a.). Finally, itis necessary to draw the attention of the readers towards Zohair Ibn Qayn Bajali.He respected Imam (a.s.) so much that he even hesitated to put up his tent next to that of his Imam. When Imam Husain (a.s.) sent his son, Hazrat Ali Akbar to Zohair Ibne Qayn, he was having his food and his wife Daylam, (who incidentally was the daughter of Umar) was sitting near him. He had not put the morsel in his mouth when his wife said “It is strange! The son of Fatema (s.a.) is beckoning and you are vacillating.” While leaving, he turned towards his friends and said, “I am going with Imam Husain (a.s.) and will be martyred with him.” Then he turned to his wife and said, “You are free”. She: asked him whether he will intercede for her with Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) on the day of Judgment. He promised her that he would certainly do.(In some narrations, it is said that she also went with him). Later, Zohair offered his martyrdom to Imam Husain (a.s.) in the following words, “I remember, once I had gone with an army to Balanjar, an area of Turkistan for Jihad. We were successful in our campaign and a huge quantity of war booty came in our hands. I was very happy with it. Salmaan-e-Farsi was with me. He said, “When you are with the youth of Hazrat Muhammad’s (s.a.) progeny, you will be much happier. A holy war in their company will bring you more joy than this war booty.”