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In the Name of God بسم الله
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The Speech of Imam al-Husayn (as) on the Night of ‘Ashura’

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The Speech of al-Husayn (as) on the Night of ‘Ashura’

‘Ali bin al-Husayn (as) says: “Al-Husayn gathered his companions after ‘Umar bin Sa‘d went back, and this was just before the sunset. So I went near to hear him [even though] I was sick. I heard my father say to his companions:

“I praise Allah, the Blessed, the Exalted, with the best of praises. I praise him in ease and difficulty. O Allah, I praise You for honouring us with the prophethood (nubuwwah), teaching us the Qur’an and making us comprehend your religion. You gave us [the faculties of] hearing, sight and the hearts; and you did not make us among the idolaters.

I know of no companions more loyal and more virtuous than my companions, nor of any household more righteous and more close-knit than my household. May Allah reward you all the best of rewards on my behalf.

Indeed, I think tomorrow is the day of our [encounter] with these enemies. I deem appropriate that you should all freely leave [me]. I have exempted you of your obligations towards me. Here is the night which has drawn its veil on you, so take it as a mount [and leave].1 Let each one of you hold the hand of one of my family members and get scattered to your [respective] residences and cities so that may Allah deliver [you]; for these people are after me only, and if they get hold of me they will not be concerned about the rest.”

The Stand of the Hashimites

‘Abbas bin ‘Ali (as) was the first to talk. He said to him: “Why should we do [that]? Just in order to remain alive after you?! May Allah never show us that [day]!”

Then his brothers and the sons [of al-Husayn (as)] and the sons of his brother [al-Hasan (as)], and the two sons of ‘Abdullah bin Ja’far [Muhammad and ‘Abdullah], all spoke in similar vein.

Al-Husayn (as) then said: “O sons of ‘Aqil, the martyrdom of Muslim is a sacrifice sufficient on your part. Go as I permit you [to leave].”

They answered: “What will the people say! They will say that we deserted our master, our leader and the sons of our uncles, who was the best of the uncles; that we did not [even] shoot an arrow alongside them, nor did we stab with the spears and strike with the swords with them, nor did we know what they did. Nay, by Allah! We will never do [such a thing]. Rather we will ransom you with our lives, our wealth and our children. We will fight by your side until we enter the place you shall enter! May Allah make life abominable [for us] after your [death]!”2

The Stand of His Companions

Muslim bin ‘Awsajah al-Asadi3 then stood up and said:

“If we leave you alone, what excuse would we give to Allah for not fulfilling your rights [on us]? By Allah! [I will fight] till I break my spear in their chests. I will strike them with my sword as long as its hilt remains in my hand. I will not leave you. If I have no weapon to fight them with, I will throw stones at them in your defence until I die with you!”

[After Ibn ‘Awsajah] Sa’id bin ‘Abdullah al-Hanafi said:

“By Allah we will not leave you until Allah knows that we have preserved through you [the company of] the Prophet of Allah (S) in his absence. By Allah! If I knew that I would be killed and then be revived and then be burnt alive and then scattered, and that would be done to me seventy times, I would [still] not leave you until I met my death [fighting] on your behalf! Why should I not do so when it is only [a matter of] getting killed once? Then, it is an everlasting honour.”

Zuhair bin al-Qain said:

“By Allah! I wish I would be killed and then revived and again be killed until I get killed like this a thousand times, so that Allah should avert death from you and from these youths of your household!”

A group among his companions [then rose] and said:

“By Allah! We will not part with you; may our souls be sacrificed for you. We will protect you with our throats, foreheads and hands. If we get killed, then we would have fulfilled and performed what lies on us.”

[Another] group among his companions [also stood] and spoke words to the same effect.4


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