Brief Biography of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu
Born: Sha’baan 4AH
Demise: 10 Muharram 61AH
Maternal Grandfather: Rasulullah ﷺ.
Maternal Grandmother: Khadija al-Kubra Radiallahu Anha
Mother: Fatima Zahraa – The leader of the Ladies of Jannah Radiallahu Anha
Father: Ali al-Murtadha, – The Fourth Rightly Guided Caliph Karramallahu Waj’hahu.
Tahneek & Upbringing:
He was brought to Rasulullah ﷺ, who was overjoyed. He chewed a date and placed it in the newborn’s mouth which he began to suck. The first thing to enter his stomach was Rasulullah’s ﷺ blessed saliva. He then gave Adhaan & Iqaamat in his ears and named him Hussain. On the 7th day, he instructed that the head should be shaved, and that Sadaqa of silver should be given equivalent to the weight of the hair. Thereafter he did the Aqeeqah, (sacrificed two goats for him).
Hussain was looked after and breastfed by Ummul Fadhl Radiallahu Anha, the wife of Rasulullah ﷺ’s uncle Abbas. She mentions that once Rasulullah ﷺ was holding Hussain in his lap and was in a cheerful mood. He suddenly began to cry. She enquired about the reason. He replied “Jibreel just informed me that my Ummah will one day kill this beloved son of mine.” (Bayhaqi)
Few Hadith in Virtues of Hasan & Hussain:
Hadith: “O Allah! I love Hasan and Hussain! You also love them, and love those who love them.” (Tirmizi)
Hadith: “Hasan & Hussain are the leaders of the youth of Jannah.” (Tirmizi)
Hadith: “Hussain is mine and I am Hussain’s. May Allah love the one who loves Hussain. Hussain is a mighty grandson”. (Ibn Majah)
Hasan is one year older than Hussain and they are both Sahaba. They have also narrated few Ahadith directly from their grandfather ﷺ.
Hussain narrates that his grandfather ﷺ said, “It is from the beauty of a person’s Imaan that he leaves aside things that don’t concern him”
He also narrates, “If a person is afflicted with a calamity which consequently comes to haunt him later on, however at that time he recites ‘Inna lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon’; Allah will give him the same reward which He gave him on the first day.” (Ibn Majah)
Both brothers resembled their grandfather ﷺ although this was more noticeable in Hasan than Hussain Radiallahu Anhuma.
In the Eyes of Sahaba Radiallahu Anhum
Ibn Kathir writes, “Sayyiduna Abu Bakr Radiallahu Anhu used to show great respect to the family of Rasulullah ﷺ. He used to treat Hussain with love, affection, and special attention. Same was the case with Sayyiduna Farooqe A’zam and Sayyiduna Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhuma. (Al-Bidayah 8/36, Tajalliyate Safdar vol1 p487)
When Farooqe A’zam Radiallahu Anhu fixed allowances, he gave Hassan and Hussain the allowance of the Badr participants i.e. 5000 each.
When clothes for distribution came from Yemen, Farooqe Azam Radiallahu Anhu said that these (clothes) are not good enough for Hasan & Hussain. Thereafter, he ordered special clothes be tailored for them. When they were sent, Sayyiduna Umar called both brothers in front of the gathering and gifted them.
When the daughter of Kisra by the name of Princess Sheherbaanu was brought to Madinah Munawwarah among the captives, Sayyiduna Umar Radiallahu Anhu said, “She is only suitable for Hussain.” He gave her to Sayyiduna Hussain who freed her and married her. She gave birth to his son Ali Ibn Al Hussain who was later titled Imam Zain al-Abideen, due to the beauty of his worship.
During the Khilafat of Shaykhayn (Abu Bakr & Umar Radiallahu Anhuma), Sayyiduna Hussain was still growing up. In 26AH, during the Uthmani caliphate, he took part in the conquest of Tripoli. He was instrumental in that victory as well many others that followed.
In 30 AH, he was with Sayyiduna Saeed Ibn Al-Aas Radiallahu Anhu in the conquest of Tabristaan, and thereafter in the conquest of Jurjaan.
In 34 AH, when the rebels surrounded the residence of Sayyiduna Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhu and were thirsty for his blood, this brave prince offered his life, along with a group of youth. They would stand by the door and would guard the house of Uthman Radiallahu Anhu, drawing the rebels back. Despite repeated requests to finish off the rebels and having the ability to do that, Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhu forbade them from shedding a single drop of blood for his protection. In the end, the rebels forced their way in to the neighbours’ property and jumped the walls. They then murdered Uthman Ghani Radiallahu Anhu. Inna lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Rajioon.
After the Shahadah (martyrdom) of the oppressed Caliph, the Muhajireen & Ansaar pledged their allegiance to Sayyiduna Ali Karramallahu Waj’hahu. Sayyiduna Hussain was at his father’s side throughout the five years of his caliphate. He was a very obedient and humble son and took part in the notable battles of Jamal and Siffeen.
After the death of his father, he treated his elder brother Sayyiduna Hassan Radiallahu Anhu, like a father. He would always be at his side and consult him in important affairs.
After remaining khaleefa for just 6 months, Sayyiduna Hasan handed the reign of leadership to Sayyiduna Muawiyah Radiallahu Anhu. Sayyiduna Muawiyah Radiallahu Anhu treated the Ahle Bayt with utmost respect. He had fixed an allowance of 100,000 per annum for Sayyiduna Hasan & Hussain Radiallahu Anhuma. When they would travel to Shaam or Sayyiduna Muawiyah would come Madina Munawwarah, they would treat each other with generosity and hospitality.
When Sayyiduna Hassan died in 50AH, Sayyiduna Hussain became the eldest among the prophetic household. He was the best person on the face of the earth at that time. Once Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-Aas Radiallahu Anhu was sitting in the Haram shareef, near the Ka’ba, when Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu entered. He looked at the radiant face of Sayyiduna Hussain and remarked, “Among all the people on the face of this earth, this person is the most beloved to the angels of the heavens. Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhu would feel proud in holding on to the stirrup of Sayyiduna Hussain’s saddle when he would ride on the horse.”
When Sayyiduna Muawiyah died in 60AH, his son Yazeed became his successor. Yazeed was only in his thirties. The Muslim community were not happy at his appointment. This was due to Yazeed’s transgression.
Not all cities under the Muslim rule pledged their allegiance to Yazeed. On the contrary, there were many who outrightly refused to accept his leadership. As a result, two groups materialised among the Sahaba. Sayyiduna Hussain and Sayyiduna Abdullah ibn Zubair Radiallahu Anhumaa were of the opinion that Yazeed should be confronted and removed. Whereas Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma were hesitant about this, not because they doubted Yazeed’s Fisq but because they feared the killing that would follow the confrontation.
Kufa was one of the main cities in Iraq during this time. The people of Kufa invited Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu to remove Yazeed and unite the ummah. They made promises of pledging allegiance to him. During this time, they wrote hundreds of letters to him. Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu was in Makkah Mukarramah at the time.
He sent his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel Ibn Abi Talib to look into the matter. When Muslim ibn Aqeel reached Kufa, people began to pledge allegiance to Sayyiduna Hussain at his hands. He wrote back saying the whole city is echoing with your name and that you should come immediately.
Sayyduna Hussain left along with his immediate family members and many distant relatives and friends. Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma tried to stop him, not because he supported Yazeed, but because he knew the treacherous nature of the people of Kufa, as they had betrayed Hussain’s father Sayyiduna Ali Karramallahu Waj’hahu.
Sayyiduna Hussain however left. Along the way he received the news that in Kufa, events had taken a turn for the worse. Yazeed had sent an order from Damascus that the governor be changed and he instructed the newly appointed governor Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad to be strict on his opponents. He caught and murdered Muslim Ibn Aqeel. Subsequently people went back on their pledges to Sayyiduna Hussain, in fact many turned against him.
An army was dispatched to capture or kill Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu and his caravan. They cornered him and he reminded them of their invitation and showed them their letters. But they refused to acknowledge those letters.
He asked them for respite on the night preceding Aashura. This happened to be the night preceding Friday. He instructed his caravan to spend the night in worship and in supplication. He busied himself in worship as well. He instructed his sister Sayyida Zainab Radiallahu Anha not to lament after his martyrdom, because martyrdom would be a source of elevation for him.
When he lied down for a bit, he saw his grandfather and our beloved Prophet ﷺ in a dream. The noble Prophet ﷺ instructed him to be patient.
The following morning, the army attacked the caravan. Sayyiduna Husasin Radiallahu Anhu’s family and friends defended him but they were outnumbered. The opposing army consisted of four thousand well-armed soldiers, whereas the caravan consisted of no more than a hundred males, some children and ladies of the household. They were being slain one after the other. Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu was brave like his father and he too was fighting until he was left alone.
They had been defending from morning until the afternoon until the time of Jummu’ah beckoned. Due to being travellers they had to pray Zuhr. Sayyiduna Hussain asked for respite so that they may perform Salah, but they refused and he prayed Zohr Salah with indication (ishaarah).
He was extremely thirsty and wanted to drink some water from the river nearby. However, when he approached the water, one wretched person shot an arrow at him and thus prevented him from drinking. He became extremely weak due to the blood which was seeping from his wounds and at this juncture, a curse came out of his lips. He said, “May you also die with thirst.” And it so happened that the assailant died from an illness which made him thirsty and no matter how much water he drank his thirst wouldn’t go.
No single person had the courage to attack him out rightly. They would approach him in batches, shoot arrows from a distance and then flee when Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu would turn towards them. They decided to ambush him collectively. It was then that Shimr Zil Jawshan struck his head and others severed it from his body. Some vile individuals trampled over his slain body with their horses.
Inna lillallahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raajioon. Inna Lillaahi maa Akhaaza Wa Lahu Maa a’ata Wa Kullun Indahu Bi Ajalin Musamma. May Allah shower immense mercy upon Sayyiduna Hussain and keep elevating his ranks in jannah. Ameen
Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu gave his precious life in order to establish Haqq (truth). He did not surrender to falsehood even though they did make proposals and promises.
The oppressors did not stop with him, they even attempted to kill the children as well. Imam Zainul Abideen was ill and unable to take part. He was therefore kept in the tent with the ladies. The enemies did barge in the tents and attempted to kill him but his aunt Zainab grabbed hold of him and shouted at them upon which they retreated.
Sayyiduna Hussain’s severed head was taken to Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. He touched the lips with a stick in his hand and praised the beauty of the face. One elderly Sahabi could not take it and remarked, “Don’t do that! I have seen the Prophet ﷺ kissing that face.”
Then the severed head and the family members were sent to Yazeed in Damascus. He showed some remorse upon the killing. Allah knows how genuine he was. He then sent the family back to Madinah Munawwarah.
Allah Ta’ala’s decree is astonishing. Exactly 6 years later, Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad, the governor who ordered the killing, was killed on the same day of Aashura in the year 67AH. His severed head was brought before Mukhtar Ibn Abi Ubaid ath-Thaqafi. The people saw a small snake come out of his mouth and then go back through the nose. It did this for a bit and then disappeared inside.
The Ahle Bayt remained extremely calm despite the tragic passing away of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu and many of their relatives. When they returned to Madinah Munawwarah, there were cries of grief from everywhere.
Yazeed and the murderers did not last long. The murderers all spent the rest of their lives in a terrible state, and died very quickly. Yazeed also died within just 3 years. May Allah Ta’ala deal with him in the manner he deserves.
Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhu was in Makkah Mukarramah at the time. He was resting when he saw Rasulullah ﷺ in a dream. His hair were dishevelled and he had a bottle of blood in his hands. Upon Ibn Abbas Radiallahu Anhuma’s enquiry, he replied “I have just been to the place where Hussain was martyred. I collected this blood to present in the court of Allah on the Day of Judgement.”
Abu Uthman Nahdi migrated from Kufa to Basra, saying, “I can’t stay in a city which murdered the grandson of Rasulullah ﷺ.”
Another Tabi’ee said, “If I was among the army that murdered Hussain, and I was allowed to enter Jannah… I would still feel ashamed of myself.”
Some narrations say that the sky suddenly turned black on that fateful day in Karbala. Some also narrate that, in baytul maqdis, when a stone would be turned, they would see blood beneath it.
It was a huge tragedy. Imam Shafi’ee Rahmatullahi Alayhi has composed poetry in relation to the martyrdom of Sayyiduna Hussain in which he declares the total innocence of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu. He says,
ذبيح بلا جرم كآنَ قميصه. صبيغ بماء الأرجوان خضيب
تزلزلت الدنيا لاٰل محمد. وكادت لهم صُم الجبال تذوب
يُصَلَٰي علي المبعوث من اٰل هاشم. و يغزيٰ بنوه ان ذَا لعجيب
“Slaughtered for no reason. His shirt was so red as though it was dyed with a red colour.
The world shook for the family of Muhammad. The massive mountains were close to melting.
How surprising? People send peace & blessings upon the Prophet from Banu Hashim and then kill his children!”
The Ahle bayt carried on with their lives. The Ummah moved on. The assailants suffered in this world as they will do so in the hereafter. It is pointless to keep wailing and lamenting upon this tragedy. Therefore, commercialising this tragedy is even worse.
Shias fabricate stories; some depict blood pouring on a stone and then say that this is Hussain’s blood still flowing until today. Others visit a piece of cloth, which they claim, is from the tent of Sayyiduna Hussain Radiallahu Anhu in Karbala. Others make an effigy of Hussain Radiallahu Anhu (Ta’ziyah) and then carry it around. All these are innovations and we should never ever take part in such activities nor should we admire them. The Shias of today are not even Shia; they are mushriks. The Shias of the previous eras would never do such khurafaat.
If we are to remember the death of Hussain, then think for a moment “Where are we in our lives in comparison to the sacrifices of Hussain and the family of the Prophet? When and where do we stand up for justice, truth and Haqq? Hussain is performing salaah with isharah (indication) in the battlefield whereas we neglect salaah for minor reasons. We should take some lessons from the martyrdom of sayyiduna Hussain and bring the good traits in our lives.
May Allah guide the Ummah. Ameen
Shaykh Abdul Raheem (hafizahullah)