A brief look at the Life of Imam
(This is) an account of the Imam after al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on him,
(giving) the date of his birth, the evidence of his Imamate, the age he
reached, the period of his succession (khalifa), the time and cause of his
death, and the place of his grave. (It also provides) a selection from the
(historical) reports about him.
The Imam after al-Hasan b. Ali was his brother, al-Husayn b. Ali (who was)
the son of Fatima, daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his
family, through the designation (nass) of his father and grandfather, peace be
on them, and the testamentary bequest (wasiyya) of his brother, al-Hasan, peace
be on him. His kunya was Abu Abd Allah (glory be to Him).
He was born in Medina, on the fifth of Shaban in the year 4 A.H. (626). His
mother, Fatima, peace be on her, brought him to the Apostle of God. The latter
was delighted with him and named him Husayn. He sacrificed a ram on his behalf
in the rite of aqiqa. On the testament of the Apostle of God, he and his
brother are the two lords of the youth of Heaven, and by unanimous agreement,
they were the grandsons of the Prophet of Mercy.
Al-Hasan b. Ali, peace be on them, was like the Prophet, may God bless him
and his family, from his head to his chest, while al-Husayn was like him from
his chest to his feet. They were the two dear ones of the Apostle of God among
all his family and children. [Zadhan reported on the authority of Salman, may
God be pleased with him:]
I heard the Apostle of God,
may God bless him and his family, say concerning al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace
be on them: O God, I love both of them. Therefore love them and love whoever
loves them Then he said: Whoever loves al-Hasan and al-Husayn, is one whom I
love. Whomever I love, God loves, and whomever God loves, He will cause to
enter Heaven. Whoever hates them, I hate and God hates. Whomever God hates, He
will cause to enter the Fire. Then he said: These two sons of mine are my two
plants of sweet basil (to sweeten) the world.
[Zirr b. Hubaysh reported on the authority of Ibn Mas'ud: ]
While the Prophet, may God
bless him and his family, was praying, al-Hasan and al-Husayn came and stood
behind him. When he raised his head, he took them tenderly (into his arms). When
he resumed (his prayers), they resumed (theirs). Then when he had finished, he
sat one on his right knee and the other on his left knee and said: Whoever
loves me, should love these two. They, peace be on them, are the two proofs
(hujjatay Allah) of God of His Prophet in the contest of prayer (mubahala).
After their father, the Commander of the faithful, they were the two proofs of
God (hujjatay Allah) to the community concerning religion (din) and belief
[Muhammad b. Umayr has reported on the authority of his teachers (rijal)
that Abu Abd Allah (i.e. Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq), peace be on him, said:]
Al-Hasan, peace be on him,
said to his companions: God has two cities - one in the east and the other in
the west - in which Gods creatures are never interested in disobeying Him. Yet,
by God, God's proof to His creatures, both in those two and between them, is no
other than myself and my brother, al-Husayn.
A narration of the same kind is reported from al-Husayn b. Ali peace be on
them, when he said to the followers of Ibn Ziyad on the day of deprivation:
What is the matter with you
that makes you help each other against me or (don't you see) if you kill me,
you kill God's proof to yourselves? No, by God, there is not between Jabilqa
and Jabirsa a son of a prophet through whom God provides proof to you other
He meant by Jabilqa and Jabirsa, the two cities which al-Hasan, peace be on
him, had mentioned.
One of the conclusive pieces of evidence (burhan) of the perfection of both
of them, peace be on them, and the proof of God's special regard for them both,
after what we have mentioned of the contest of prayer of the Prophet, may God
bless him and his family, (in which he used) them both, is the pledge (bay'a)
which the Apostle of God made to them, when he never made any (other) pledge to
a child. The Qur'an also brings down the positive statement of the reward of
Heaven to them both because of their works, despite the outward state of
childhood in which they were. It did not bring down that to any other like
them. God said in Surat Hal ata (known also as Surat al Dahr)
"And they give foods out of love for him, to the poor, orphans
and prisoners We only feed you for the sake of God; we do not want reward or
thanks from you. Indeed we fear from our Lord a hard depressing day. Therefore,
God will guard them from the evil of that day, and make them meet with ease and
joy, and reward them with gardens and silk because they were patient."
[Ch 76: Vr 8-12]
This statement is general to them, peace be on them, with their father and
their mother. The tradition contains their assertion of that and their
awareness of it; both of which indicate that the illustrious verse was about
the two of them and (that) the greatest proof (hujja) to creatures was through
them both. In the same way the report about the Messiah, peace be on him,
speaking in the cradle was a proof of his prophethood and God's special regard
for him through miraculous acts (karama) which indicated his place and position
with God with regard to merit (fadl) The Apostle of God, may God bless him and
his family, had made clear his Imamate and the Imamate of his brother before
him through designation (nass) when he said:
These two sons of mine are
Imams who will experience difficulties. The testamentary bequest (wasiyya) of
al-Hasan, peace be on him, to him indicated his Imamate,just as the
testamentary bequest of the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, to
al-Hasan, peace be on him, indicated his Imamate just as the testamentary bequest
of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, to the Commander of
the faithful, peace be on him, indicated his Imamate after himself.
According to what we have (just) mentioned the Imamate of al- Husayn, peace
be on him, was confirmed after the death of his brother al-Hasan, peace be on
him, and the obedience of all creatures to him was binding, although he did not
summon them to (follow) him because of precautionary dissimulation (taqiyya)
which he was following and because of the truce which existed between him and
Mueawiya b. Abl Sufyan and the need to fulfil it. In that he followed the same
course as his father, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, in terms
of the establishment of his Imamate after the Prophet, may God bless him and
his family, despite (his own) silence (about it), and also of the Imamate of
his brother after the truce despite (his) abstention (from politics) and (his)
silence. In that they were acting according to the practices (sunan) of the
Prophet of God, may God bless him and his family, when he was blockaded in
al-Shi'b and when he escaped Mecca as an emigrant by hiding in a cave and he
was hidden from his enemies.
When Muawiya died, the period of the truce came to an end. (It was this)
which had prevented al-Husayn, peace he on him, from calling (people) to
(follow) him. Then he made public his (claim to) authority as far as was
possible. Time after time he explained his right (to authority) to those who
were ignorant of it until followers gathered around him. Then he, peace be on
him, urged (them) to take up the struggle (jihad) and prepared for battle.
Then with his children and the people of his house (ahl baytihi), he set out
from the sanctury of God (Mecca) and the sanctury of his Apostle (Medina) towards
Iraq because of the help that was sought from him by the members of his Shia
who had urged him (to come) against the enemies. His paternal cousin, Muslim b.
Aqil, may God be pleased with him, had preceded him and had satisfied him of
the (sincerity of their) call to God and of (their) pledge of allegiance to him
to take part in the struggle. For the people of Kufa had pledged their
allegiance to him (Muslim) to (do) that, and had promised (to do) it and had
guaranteed help and advice to him and had given their trust and contract to
him. However it was not long before they broke their pledge, deserted him and
handed him over. Then he was killed in their midst without them (trying) to
(Furthermore) they went out to (make) war against al-Husayn. They besieged
him, peace be on him, prevented him from returning to God's land (i.e. Mecca)
and they used force against him in such a way that he could find no one to help
him, and no place of refuge from them. They prevented him from getting water
from the Euphrates so that they might gain power over him. Then they killed
him. He, peace be on him, died, (a man desperately) thirsty, yet still striving
and showing fortitude, (a man) forced to be detained, (a man) oppressed. The
pledge of allegiance to him was revoked. The respect due to him was ignored.
The covenant to him was not fulfilled nor the responsibility of the agreement
made with him honoured. (He died) a martyr as his father and brother, peace be
on them, had done before him.
A Sample of the Outstanding Virtues of al-Husayn b. 'Ali Peace be on Him,
the Merit in Visiting (His Grave) and Mention of His Tragedy [Said b. Rashid
reported on the authority of Yala b. Murra, who said:] I heard the Apostle
of God, may God bless him and his family, say: Husayn is from me and I am from
Husayn. God loves whoever loves him. Husayn is indeed an (outstanding) grandson
[Ibn Lahia reported on the authority of Abu 'Awana (with an interrupted
chain of authorities) (rafa'ahu) back to the Prophet, may God bless him and his
The Apostle of God said:
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on them, are the ornaments of the throne (of
Heaven). Indeed Heaven, itself, said, 'O my Lord, You have filled me with weak
and poor inhabitants.' God, the Exalted, replied to it: 'Are you not content
that I have adorned your corners with al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be on him?'
Then it swaggered as a bride swaggers with happiness.
[Abd Allah b. Maymun al-Qaddah reported on the authority of Jafar b.
Muhammad al-Sadiq, peace be on them, who said:]
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace
be on them, were wrestling in front of the Apostle of God, may God bless him
and his family. Hasan, catch hold of Husayn, said the Apostle of God, may God
bless him and his family. Apostle of God, are you encouraging the big one
against the little one? said Fatima, peace be on her. It is Gabriel, peace be
on him, who is saying to al-Husayn: Husayn, catch hold of al-Hasan, replied the
Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family.
[Ibrahim b. al-Rafi'i reported on the authority of his father, on the
authority of his grandfather, who said:]
I saw al-Hasan and al-Husayn,
peace be on them, walking to the pilgrimage. They did not pass a rider who did
not dismount and walk too. It became arduous for some of them. They said to Sad
b. Abi Waqqas Walking is arduous for us. We would prefer to ride but these two
young lords (sayyid) are walking. Abu Muhammad, said Sad to al-Hasan, peace be
on him, Walking is hard on a group of those with you, yet the people cannot
make themselves feel better by riding when they see you two walking. If you
rode, (it would be easier for them). We will not ride, replied al- ,Hasan,
peace be on him. We have pledged ourselves to walk to the Sacred House of God
on our feet. However, we will turn aside from the road. They both went
aside from the people.
[Al-Awza'i has reported on the authority of 'Abd Allah b. Shaddad, on the
authority of Umm al-Fadl, daughter of al-Harith: ]
She visited the Apostle of
God, may God bless him and his family and said: Apostle of God, I have had a
strange dream during the night. What was it?, he asked. It was terrible, she
said. What was it?, he repeated. I saw (something) like a piece of your body
cut up and put in my lap, she answered. You have seen well said the Apostle of
God, may God bless him and his family. Fatima will give birth to a boy when she
is sitting on your lap (to give birth). [She reported:] Fatima did give birth
to al-Husayn, peace be on him, and he was in my lap just as the Apostle of God,
may God bless him and his family, had said. One day I took him to the Prophet,
may God bless him and his family, and I put him in his lap. His gaze turned
away from me. Behold, both the eyes of the Apostle of God, may God bless him
and his family, were flowing with tears. I said: (May I ransom you) with my
father and mother Apostle of God, what is the matter with you? "Gabriel,
peace be on him, came to me," he said. "He told me that my community
will seek to kill this son of mine and he brought me dust made red by his
[Simak reported on the authority of Ibn al-Mukhariq on the authority of Umm
Salama, may God be pleased with her, who said:]
One day while the Apostle of
God, may God bless him and his family, was sitting down, and al- Husayn was
sitting on his knee, his eyes suddenly filled with tears. I said to him:
Apostle of God, why do I see you weeping, may I be your ransom? Gabriel, peace
be on him, came to me, he said. She consoled me for the death of my son,
al-Husayn, and he told me that a group of my community will kill him. May God
never let them have intercession from me.
[It is reported with another chain of authorities on the authority of Umm
Salama, may God be pleased with hey that she said:]
One evening the Apostle of God
left us and was away for a long time. He came back, he was dishevelled and
dusty and his hand was holding (something). I said to him: Apostle of God, why
do I see you dishevelled and dusty? He said: I have just been on a night
journey to a place in Iraq, called Karbala. There I saw the death of my son,
al-Husayn, and a group of my children and the members of my family (ahl
al-bayt). I could not stop (myself) from gathering (some of) their blood and
here it is in my hand. He opened his hand and said: Take it and look after it.
I took it. It was like red soil. I put it in a phial, fastened its top and kept
it. When al-Husayn, peace be on him, left Mecca on his way to Iraq, I took out
that phial every day and night. I used to smell it and look at it. Then I would
weep for his fate. On the 10th of (the month of) al-Muharram, the day on which
al-Husayn, peace be on him was killed, I took it out. At the beginning of the
day it was in its usual condition, but at the end of the day, behold, it was
fresh blood. I shrieked (with grief) and wept. Then I restrained my anger out
of fear that the enemies of the family of the Prophet) in Medina would heae and
would hurry to rejoice at their misfortune. I have kept it secret up to the
present time, even to the day when the messenger bringing the news of his death
came to announce it. Then what I had seen was proved.
It is reported that one day the Prophet, may God bless him and his family,
was sitting down. Around him were Ali, Fatima, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, peace be
on them. He asked them: How would you feel if when you were killed, your
tombs were scattered around (the country)? Will we die an (ordinary) death or
will we be killed? al-Husayn, peace be on him, asked, Rather you will be
killed unjustly, my little son, and your brother will be killed unjustly,"
he answered. "Your offspring will be scattered over the land. Apostle
of God, who will kill us? asked al-Husayn, peace be on him. The evil men
among the people, he said. Will anyone visit (our graves) after we are
killed?, he asked. Yes, my little son, he told him, a group (taifa) of
my community will gain my benificence and favour through visiting (your
graves). On the Day of Resurrection, I will bring them to the place so that I
may take them by the arms and save them from its terrors and sorrows.
[Abd Allah b. Sharik al-Amiri reported:]
I heard the followers of Ali
say when 'Umar b. Sed went through the gate of the mosque: There is the killer
of al-Husayn b. 'Ali, peace be on him. That was some time before he was killed.
[Salim b. Abi Hafsa reported:]
Umar b. Sa'd said to
al-Husayn: Abu Abd Allah, stupid people have come to me claiming that I will
kill you. They are not stupid, al Husayn, peace be on him told him. They are
men who dream (of the future). Yet it pleases me that you will not enjoy the
land of Iraq for long after me.
[Yusuf b. Abida reported: I heard Muhammad b. Sirin say:]
Such a redness which was in
thc sky was never seen except after the killing of al-Husayn b. Al, peace be on
[Said al-Iskaf reported: Abu-Ja'far, peace be on him, said:]
The killer of Yahya b.
Zakariyya (John the Baptist) was a son born out of wedlock. The killer of
al-Husayn b. Ali was a son born out of wedlock. The sky only went red for those
[Sufyan b. Uyayna reported on the authority of Ali b. Zayd, on the authority
of Ali b. al-Husayn, peace be on them, who said:]
We set out with al-Husayn,
peace be on him. We did not stop at any halting-place without him setting off
from there by (first) mentioning Yahya b. Zakariyya and his death. He would
say: There was a day and it was a day of the humiliation of the world before
God, when the head of Yahya b. Zakariyya was given to one of the prostitutes of
the Banu Israil.
Reports have already been presented (which show) that none of the killers of
al-Husayn, peace be on him, and his followers, may God be pleased with them,
managed to avoid being killed or suffering tribulation in such a way as put
them to shame before their death.
Al-Husayn, peace be on him, came to his death on Saturday, the 10th of (the
month of) al-Muharram in the year 61 A.H. after the (time for) the mid-day
prayer. (He was) killed wrongfully, while thirsty, always showing fortitude but
forced to be detained, as we have already explained. His age on that day was
fifty-eight years. Of these, he spent seven with his grandfather, the Apostle
of God, may God bless him and his family, thirty-seven with his father, the
Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and forty-seven with his brother,
al- Hasan, peace be on him. The period of his succession (to the Imamate) after
his brother was eleven years. He, peace be on him, used to use henna and a
black dye (katam). When he, peace be on him, was killed, the dye came off (the
beard on) his two cheeks.
Many reports have come down about the great merit (to be acquired) by
visiting his (grave) indeed of it being necessary for everyone who accepts the
Imamate of al-Husayn, peace be on him, (as being bestowed on him) by God, the
Mighty and High. It is reported from al-Sadiq Jafer b. Muhammad, peace be on
him, that he said: Visiting the grave of al-Husayn, peace be on him, is equal
to a hundred acceptable pilgrimages and a hundred acceptable lesser pilgrimages
('umra). The Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, said: Whoever
visits the grave of al-Husayn, peace be on him, after the latter's death, will
have heaven (as his reward).
Imam Hussein had married five times. The names of his wives
1. Janabe Shahr Banu the daughter
of Yazd Gurd, the last emperor of Iran. Imam Zaynul Abedin a.s. our fourth Imam
was her son. She died within ten days of our fourth Imam's birth.
2. Janabe Rabab was the daughter of
Imra'u Al Qays the chief of the tribe of Kinda.Janabe Rabab was the mother of
Sakinah and the baby Abdallah (also called Ali Asghar). She was present in
Kerbala with Imam Hussein a.s. and died after one year of return to Medinah
after the tragedy of Kerbala.
3. Janabe Laila was the daughter of
Abu Murra, the son of Urwah bin Mas'ud Al Thaqafi. Her mother was Maymunah, the
daughter of Abu Sufyan and thus she was the cousin of Yazid. Her aunt Umm
Sa'id, daughter of Urwah was a wife of Imam Ali a.s.. Janabe Laila was the
mother of Ali Akbar. According to scholars she was not alive at the time of the
Tragedy of Kerbala. Her name has not been mentioned in the old books written
about Kerbala. Nor was her name mentioned in the court of Yazid and there is no
account of anyone blaming Yazid for imprisoning his own cousin.
4. Janabe Umm Ishaq was the
daughter of Talhah bin Ubaydallah Taimi and she is the mother of Fatema Kubra.
5. Janabe Quda'iyah was from the
the tribe of Quda'ah. She gave birth to one child Jaffer who died in Childhood.
Ref: The book of guidance, Kitab al Irshad By Sheikh al Mufid