The events of Muharram 12th as narrated by Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

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The chronicle of events of Muharram:

The events of Muharram 12th as narrated by Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi

The burial of the martyrs of Karbala/The Bani-Asad clan bury the martyrs of Karbala: the presence of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) for the identification and burial of the martyrs/ The secret behind the hexagon design of Imam Ḥusayn (ʿa)’s burial chamber/ How did Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) manage to come back to Karbala to bury the martyrs despite being a captive at the time?/The Ahl-al-Bayt arrive to Kūfah/The martyrdom of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa)

What happened in Karbala was not a one-dimensional tragedy; it was a tragic incident in many respects. The brutal killing of the Imam and his companions, putting the heads of the martyrs on spears and brandishing them as trophies, preventing the bodies of the martyrs from being buried, and captivating the women and children of the Prophet’s Ahl-al-Bayt (ʿa) and displaying them in different cities, are all but a few of the tragic dimensions of this event which distinguishes it from all other similar historical events.[1]

 

 

 

The burial of the martyrs of Karbala

Until Muhrram 12th, the pure and headless body of the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (ṣ) was left lying in the sun.[2] According to most historical accounts, the martyrs’ bodies were left lying unburied and in the sun for three days[3] and the wind would blow dust on those pure bodies[4].

 

The Bani-Asad clan bury the martyrs of Karbala: the presence of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) for the identification and burial of the martyrs

It is, however, known that the first people to arrive in Karbala after the army of Umar ibn Saʿd left were the Bani-Asad clan who lived in Ghādhiriyyah, a region near Karbala[5].

When they arrived in Karbala and saw the horrific scene of the shredded bodies of the martyrs, all of their men and women began wailing and mourning. They then decided to bury those pure bodies but they could not recognize any of the bodies, as they were all unclothed, headless, and trampled down!

 

As they were confused and did not know what to do, they suddenly saw Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) approaching them from the desert. The Imam came to them and began telling them which body belonged to whom and before any other body, he buried Imam Ḥusayn’s body.[6]

The Imam went to a certain place in Karbala and pushed some dust away; suddenly a ready-made tomb appeared. He then placed his arms under his father’s body and lifted it up and placed it in the tomb alone. When some people tried to help him, the Imam said: “I am already being helped”.

When he finally placed his father’s body in the tomb, he went down and placed his face on the severed neck his father and said the following, while tears were running down his cheeks incessantly:

طُوبى‏ لِأَرْضٍ تَضَمَّنَتْ جَسَدَكَ الطّاهِرَ، فَإنّ الدُّنْيا بَعْدَك مُظْلِمَةٌ وَالْآخِرَةُ بِنُورِكَ مُشْرِقَةٌ، أَمَّا اللَّيْلُ فَمُسَهَّدٌ وَالْحُزْنُ فَسَرْمَدٌ، أَوْ يَخْتارَ اللَّهُ لِأَهْلِ بَيْتِكَ دارَكَ الَّتي أَنْتَ بِها مُقيمٌ وَعَلَيْكَ مِنّي السَّلامُ يَابْنَ رَسُولِ اللَّه وَرَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَ بَرَكاتُهُ

Blessed is the land which has embraced your pure body! This world has turned dark after you and the Hereafter has been lit with the light of your presence. I shall no longer sleep at nights and my sorrow will be unending until Allah j o i ns and reunites your Ahl-al-Bayt with you. Peace be upon you from me O’ son of the Messenger of Allah and may Allah’s compassion and blessing be upon you[7]

 

 

The secret behind the hexagon design of Imam Ḥusayn (ʿa)’s burial chamber

Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) then exited the tomb and covered his father’s body with soil. Then he wrote the following with his finger on the tomb:

هذا قَبْرُ الحُسَيْنِ بنِ عَلِيِّ بنِ أبي‏طالِب الَّذِي قَتَلُوهُ عَطْشاناً غَريباً

This is the tomb of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAli ibn Abi-ṭālib who was killed here thirsty and away from home[8]

Then they attended to ʿAli al-Akbar’s body and buried him at the feet of his father, Imam Ḥusayn (ʿa); the rest of the martyrs including the Imam’s companions and the members of the Bani-Hāshim were buried at the feet of the Imam in a mass grave[9].[10]

After burying all the martyrs, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) led the Bani-Asad clan to the Euphrates drinking place where his uncle Abbas ibn ʿAli was killed, and they buried him in that same place.

When burying his uncle, Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) cried bitterly and addressed Abbas (ʿa), saying:

[11]عَلَى الدُّنْيا بَعْدَكَ الْعَفا يا قَمَرَ بَني هاشِمٍ وَعَلَيْكَ مِنّي السَّلامُ مِنْ شَهيدٍ مُحْتَسَبٍ وَ رَحْمَةُ اللَّهِ وَبَرَكاتُهُ

“O’ Qamar of Bani-Hāshim! Curse be upon this world after you! Peace be upon you from me and may Allah’s compassion and blessing be upon you”[12].

The Bani-Asad then attended to the funeral of Ḥabīb ibn Muẓāhir who was the chief of their clan, and buried him where he lies today[13].[14]

 

How did Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) manage to come back to Karbala to bury the martyrs despite being a captive at the time?

There are numerous traditions explaining how Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) managed to come back to Karbala and bury the martyrs despite being a captive at the time. According to the Shiʻa convictions, only an Infallible Imam is authorized to prepare another Infallible Imam for burial and bury him.

One of such traditions is the one related from Imam al-Ridhā (ʿa) who said the following in response to a question asked by ʿAli ibn Ḥamzah:

He who gave ʿAli ibn al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) the power to go back to Karbala [despite being a captive] and bury the sacred body of his father has also given the Imam of this time [meaning Imam al-Ridhā himself] the power to go to Iraq and take care of the affairs [of the burial] of his father [Imam Musa ibn Jaʿfar (ʿa)] and then return. The only difference between these cases is that the Imam of this time is not captivated the way ʿAli ibn al-Ḥusayn (ʿa) was[15].[16]

 

 

 

The Ahl-al-Bayt arrive in Kūfah

In his book regarding the history of Karbala, Sayyid ibn Ṭāwūss writes:

“Umar ibn Saʿd charged Khūlī ibn Yazid al-Aṣbaḥī and Hamid ibn Muslem al-Azdī with taking Imam Ḥusayn’s sacred head to Kūfah on the day of ʿĀshūrā; he then gave the rest of the heads to Shimr ibn Dhiljawshan, Qays ibn Ashʿath, and ʿAmr ibn Hajjāj to take them to Kūfah.”[17]

Umar ibn Saʿd, however, remained in Karbala himself until the noon of the second day [i.e. Muharram 11th], then he left Karbala with the captives of the Ahl-al-Bayt for Kūfah.[18]

When the caravan of the captives arrived near the city of Kūfah, the people of the city gathered up to watch them; when the captives finally entered the city, a woman from a rooftop shouted: “who are you captives?”[19] the captives replied: “we are the Prophet’s Ahl-al-Bayt, taken as captives![20]

When the woman heard that, she rushed downstairs and brought the women of the Ahl-al-Bayt some chadors and garments for them to cover themselves properly. The rest of the people who had come to watch also began lamenting when they saw that.[21]

However, when Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) saw them lamenting, he said:

اتَنُوحُونَ وَ تَبْكُونَ مِنْ اجْلِنا، فَمَنِ الَّذي قَتَلَنا؟

Are you now lamenting for us?! Who, then, was it that slaughtered us?![22][23]

 

 

The martyrdom of Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) on 12th, 94 Ah.

Muharram 12th of the year 94 Ah. (or 95 Ah.) is also the day that Imam al-Sajjād (ʿa) was martyred.[24]

 

 

Researched, complied, and edited by: the news editorial of the website of the office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi. www.makarem.ir

 

[1] “ʿĀshūrā: the roots, the motives, the events, and the implications”, p. 33.

[2] Ibid, p. 544.

[3] Ibid, p. 551.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid, p. 551.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] For more information refer to: Shaykh Mufīd. Al-Irshād. Pp. 470-471; Muqarram. Maqtal Al-Ḥusayn. P. 320.

[10] “ʿĀshūrā: the roots, the motives, the events, and the implications”, p. 552.

[11] Al-Muqarram. Maqtal al-Ḥusayn. P. 320; Shaykh Mufīd. Al-Irshād. P. 471.

[12] “ʿĀshūrā: the roots, the motives, the events, and the implications”, p. 552.

[13] “The Story of Karbala”, p. 418.

[14] “ʿĀshūrā: the roots, the motives, the events, and the implications”, p. 552.

[15] Biḥār al-Anwār, vol. 48, p. 270.

[16] “ʿĀshūrā: the roots, the motives, the events, and the implications”, p. 552.

[17] Ibid, p. 557.  

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

[22] Al-Malhūf [Luhūf], pp. 189-192 [excerpted].

[23] “ʿĀshūrā: the roots, the motives, the events, and the implications”, p. 557.

[24] “The New Mafātīḥ”, p. 600.


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