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Who martyred Imam Husain (peace be on him)?

The definition of oppression:

Allah, the Almighty says in Holy Quran:

… These are the limits of Allah, so do not exceed them and whoever exceeds the limits of Allah these it is that are the unjust

(Surah Baqarah(2), 229)

This noble verse explains the meaning of oppression so that man, who possesses intellect, refrains from it. This divine word exhorts us to refrain from oppression by not exceeding limits. Thus, the oppressor can neither justify his act nor hide it.

Oppressors are of two types. The first amongst them is one who persists on and takes pride in it. The other justifies his cruelty to the extent possible and when he runs short of excuses he blames in on “destiny” i.e. he was compelled to oppress. This satanic thought is the basis on which certain people cooked up the theory of “Jabr” (compulsion).

Based on this view, the oppressors would shift the blame of their tyrannical acts on others and get away scot free. In case they did not find any one to blame or any justification, they would simply term it as “pre-destination”. Their justification was – “It was Allah who pre-destined this act for us and we could not have averted it and were forced to oppress. When we oppressed, we were on the right path.” This thought is a ‘meeting of two contradictory things’ i.e. being oppressive as well as on the right path. However, the Holy Quran rejects this thought and clearly states that these are the very people who exceeded the limits of Allah and they are the oppressors.

When Imam Husain (peace be on him) was martyred in Karbala, the oppressors were intoxicated by their greed to grab as much reward from the government and prove their loyalty to it. All were recording their heinous acts with the government so as to be eligible for rewards. However when this intoxication faded and the reality of the worldly gains was evident, they realised the grave sin which they had committed. Those who backed the oppressive government felt it all the more. These people had many links with the government. They had received great rewards while others shared their lineage, tribe and beliefs with the tyrants. Hence they could not deny Karbala or the consequent events. In order to distance themselves from this crime, they now attempted to prove that those who martyred Imam Husain (peace be on him) were not followers of the Caliphate. They tried to create a perception that people of the Caliphate were pure from such a grievous sin and hold Ahle Bait (peace be on them) in high regard. They tried to portray the events of Karbala as the crime of their Shias who are still mourning to wash this away.

As the severity of the oppression intensifies, one way to absolve the oppressor is to shift the blame on a certain person or a group or to extol his virtues so often that his crimes are forgotten. Oppression leads to hatred and helplessness from which the oppressor and his supporters seek escape. They use tools like false propaganda, doubts and whims to spread deviation. They raise such slogans amongst themselves that in spite of being false and childish, are glued to their tongues.

The truth however stands firm and oppression is its adversary. The first ray of dawn washes away the gloom of the preceding night.

Those aware of the truth know well the factors of oppression. They conduct themselves with equity and are concerned of their hereafter.


The martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) lit such a lamp that clearly explained that it was not confined to one era but was a fifty years old conspiracy that was finally realised in Karbala.

The virtues of Ahle Bait (peace be on them) have not only been extolled by Shias but also by the scholars of all the sects of Islam. None of them have been able to point a finger on them. We are talking about those not belonging to the Shia sect. Any person who has even the slightest inclination towards Ahle Bait (peace be on them), be he a Shia or a Sunni, will never absolve Yazid (may Allah curse him), Umar ibn Saad (may Allah curse him), Shimr (may Allah curse him) from confining Imam Husain (peace be on him) and martyring him. Nor will they accept the caliphate of Yazid (may Allah curse him) as legitimate.

The allegation that Imam Husain (peace be on him) was martyred by Shias is a satanic insinuation for which the noble Quran says:

And do not tread the footsteps of Shaitaan…

On the backdrop of this verse, let us enumerate the oppression on Imam Husain (peace be on him) and then ask whether it is possible for any Shia, who chokes on hearing the oppression on Imam Husain (peace be on him), to actually commit it?

Can any Shia, howsoever irreligious he may be, commit any of the following brutal acts on Ahle Bait (peace be on them):

1. Detain and forcibly bring them to Karbala

2. Restrict water over them

3. Kill their children

4. Kill the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him and his progeny)

5. Stampede their dead bodies

6. Imprison the ladies of honor and purity

7. Imprison ailing Imam Ali ibn Husain (peace be on both)

8. Leave the martyrs without shroud and then take their families as captives to the court of Ibn Ziyad (may Allah curse him) and then to the court of the accursed Yazid (may Allah curse him)

We cannot, in this article, enumerate the atrocities as recorded by the historians. Following lines from Ziyarat-e-Ashura suffice as an indicator:

O Aba Abdillah, unbearable is the sorrow, and excruciating and unbearable is your misfortune of for us and for all the people of Islam.

The calamites that shook even the heavens and the earth are beyond the grasp of human mind. The enemies of Ahle Bait (peace be on them) who by nature have enmity with them accept the awfulness of this oppression and strangely consider it as appropriate also. The minds of their scholars also are poisoned by this thought.

Let us briefly enumerate the events on the day of Ashura:

A Comparison

When Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) faced malediction with the Christians, he did not seek help from any person of Madinah. He confided only with Janab Salman (may Allah be pleased with him) and asked him to put up a tent. The succeeding events are mentioned by the Holy Quran. In the same manner Yazid ibn Maqal, the accursed, came out from the army of Yazid (may Allah curse him) with a drawn out sword. Burair Hamdaani (may Allah be pleased with him) kept his head at the blessed feet of Imam Husain (peace be on him). These two had been debating since long in the streets of Kufa. In summary, Burair sought permission to fight from Imam Husain (peace be on him) and when he came before Yazid ibn Maqal (may Allah curse him) the later said:

Since how long have I been saying that Uthman and not Ali is on right path.’

Burair replied that the veracity of Ali (peace be on him) is proved to us on the basis of he being the successor of Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) and I have explained this from every perspective. Now we have drawn our swords and are not in position to debate. The person who is killed will be proved as deviated. At this Yazid ibn Maqal (may Allah curse him) attacked Burair on his head and wounded him. Burair however retaliated and cut him in two halves.

This malediction proves that the Shia residents of Kufa did not martyr Imam Husain (peace be on him). The supporters of Yazid (may Allah curse him) were actually his killers.

The noble reader can himself decide whether there exists a Shia who does not accept the veracity of Imam Ali (peace be on him)? Hence those who confronted Imam Husain (peace be on him) in Karbala believed in the caliphate of Muawiyah (may Allah curse him) and his ilk. Moreover, the reason of this battle was to prove the caliphate of Ameerul Momineen Ali (peace be on him) or his adversaries.

When Ibn Ziyad (may Allah curse him) learnt that the companions of Imam Husain (peace be on him) are digging wells to quench the thirst of their children, he wrote to Ibn Sa’ad (may Allah curse him): “Restrict the water on the companions of Imam Husain (peace be on him) and not a single drop of water should go to them, in the same manner as was prevented from Uthman.”

(Tabari, vol. 5, pg. 412)

Also when the captives of Karbala returned and the ladies of Bani Hashim mourned, a person named Umar ibn Saeed Ashdaq (who belonged to Bani Umayyah) heard their voices and said in delight: “This mourning is the revenge for the mourning of Uthman ibn Affaan.”

(Tabari, vol. 5, pg. 466)

In both the incidents of preventing water to Imam Husain (peace be on him) and the mourning of his harem, Uthman was remembered. Does this not prove that this was due to the enmity of Bani Umayyah (may Allah curse them)?

On the day of Ashura Imam Husain (peace be on him) delivered a sermon before the army of Yazid (may Allah curse him) in which he said:

You are the deviated lot of this nation; you have turned your backs to Quran. You are sinners and have distorted the book of Allah, erased the practice of Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny), killed the descendants of the Prophets (peace be on him and his progeny) and severed his offspring.

You are the sons of Ibn Harb (Muawiyah) and his group. Your only aim is to annihilate us.

(Ibn Asakir, pg. 317; Behaar al-Anwaar, vol. 45, pg. 7)

Urwah ibn Qays

It was ninth of Muharram and Imam Husain (peace be on him) was before his tent with his sacred head resting on his sword. Sleep overcame him and he dreamt that Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) saying to him:

You will come to me very soon.

Meanwhile Janab Zainab (peace be on her) came to him and informed that the enemy has advanced towards us. Imam Husain (peace be on him) said to his brother Janab Abbas (peace be on him):

My brother, may I be sacrificed for you, go to them and find what they intend.

Janab Abbas (peace be on him) along with twenty horsemen including Zuhair ibn Qain (may Allah be pleased with him) and Habib ibn Mazahir (may Allah be pleased with him) went to them and asked their intention. They said that the Emir has asked you to either submit to him or be prepared for battle.

Janab Abbas (peace be on him) returned to the presence of Imam Husain (peace be on him) to convey the message while others stood there trying to admonish them.

Janab Habib ibn Mazahir (may Allah be pleased with him) admonished them thus: “By Allah, the worst people and nation is the one who will meet Allah tomorrow in the condition that they have martyred his progeny and household. They are vigilant in night prayers and remember Allah a lot.”

Urwah ibn Qays (may Allah curse him) said: “You may as extol your virtues as much as you please.”

At this Janab Zuhair ibn Qain (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “These are those purified and guided by Allah, O Urwah, fear Allah, I am admonishing you not to help them in murdering the pure beings.”

Urwah replied: “O Zuhair, you were hitherto not an adherent or a follower of Ahle Bait.”

Zuhair ibn Qain (may Allah be pleased with him) replied: “I am with them, By Allah I did not write to them nor sent them any message and did not promise to help them. I met them on my way and remembered Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) and their proximity with him. I saw that the enemy is preparing to wage war on them and hence decided to help them. I am with them and will sacrifice my life for them while you are violating the right of Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny).”

(Maqtal al-Mukarram, pg. 253-254; Tabari, vol. 2, pg.337)

This proves that none from the army of Yazid (may Allah curse him) was a Shia.

The Rajaz of Hazrat Abbas (peace be on him)

When the right hand of Hazrat Abbas (peace be on him) was severed he recited the following poetry indicating the belief of the enemy. Also it is evident that the groups sharing the same belief are never at war with each other. The difference of opinions leads to conflicts.

By Allah if you severe my right hand

I will still defend my religion

And the truthful and rightful Imam

The grandson of the pure and trustworthy Prophet

Talking about defending one’s religion, about the truthfulness of Imam, he being the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him and his progeny), does it not prove that the antagonists did not share the belief of Imam Husain (peace be on him), while no Shia denies it.

In the end we wish to convey to those who in spite of historical evidences blame Shias for the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) that:

We take Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny), all the prophets (peace be on them), the martyrs and the virtuous, all the proximate angels, all the stars of the heaven and all the particles of earth as witness that we dissociate ourselves with all those who participated, even in the slightest form, in the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) in any manner whatsoever and beseech Allah to severely punish them in this world and the hereafter, no matter how near they are to us.

Would those who blame Shias and thereby defend their ancestors also dissociate in the same manner. Allah who witnessed those who oppressed Imam Husain (peace be on him) and his companions on the day of Ashura will punish them in the hereafter. Allah also witnessed those who backed them and defended them or had a soft corner for them. All of their deeds are recorded in their scroll and are in Allah’s custody.

The Shias do not fear any criticism or any other blame or weapon. They follow Imam Husain (peace be on him) whose self-esteem is widely discussed in heavens. When Imam Husain (peace be on him) fought these accursed people, they were pushed against the walls of Kufa. When Imam, on the order of Allah, put his sword back into its sheath, they attacked him from all sides like cowards and the Imam fell on the ground. He was severely thirsty and could only see faintly. Even then none dared to go near and kill him. Suddenly a degraded person said:

Husain has a high self-esteem, make a cry to plunder his tents.

At this Imam Husain (peace be on him) stood for a while and prevented them from nearing his tents saying their enmity was with him. Shimr (may Allah curse him) on seeing that Imam Husain (peace be on him) was not left with strength to converse further went to him and severed his sacred head.

Curse be on the nation who heard about atrocities on you and were pleased with it.’

They unsuccessfully attempt to blame Shias for the martyrdom of Imam Husain (peace be on him) as and when the flames from the history of Karbala engulf them, this does not harm Shias in any manner. It only weakens the roots of Islam and hence in its interest they should refrain from such insane allegations.

May Allah grant the recognition of Imam Husain (peace be on him) to all the adherents of Islam.

September 3, 2020