Islamic Months · Muharram

The Tragedy of Karbala [Part 2]

karbala 1

Part 1

The murder of Habeel (son of Adam) by his brother Qabeel is perhaps an incident comparable to Caliph Uthman´s radhiAllahi `anhu assassination. When Qabeel declared his intention to kill Habeel, the latter announced his resolve, in the words of the Qur’an,

لَئِن بَسَطتَ إِلَىَّ يَدَكَ لِتَقْتُلَنِى مَآ أَنَاْ بِبَاسِطٍ يَدِىَ إِلَيْكَ لاًّقْتُلَكَ إِنِّى أَخَافُ اللَّهَ رَبَّ الْعَـلَمِينَ 

If you do stretch your hand against me to kill me, I shall never stretch my hand against you to kill you, for I fear Allah; the Lord of all that exists. [Surah al-Ma`idah:28]

[Read the tafseer of Surah al-Ma`idah Ayah 28]

So, Habeel was assassinated by his brother and that was the first act of homicide in the history of mankind. It was a totally unjustified murder in which the victim refused to offer resistance as in the assassination of Caliph Uthman radhiAllahi `anhu. For such an act, Allah subhanahu wa ta`ala has declared His reward and punishment in the Qur´an,

مِنْ أَجْلِ ذلِكَ كَتَبْنَا عَلَى بَنِى إِسْرَءِيلَ أَنَّهُ مَن قَتَلَ نَفْساً بِغَيْرِ نَفْسٍ أَوْ فَسَادٍ فِى الاٌّرْضِ فَكَأَنَّمَا قَتَلَ النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً وَمَنْ أَحْيَـهَا فَكَأَنَّمَا أَحْيَا النَّاسَ جَمِيعاً

“Because of that, We ordained for the Children of Israel that if anyone killed a person not in retaliation of murder, or (and) to spread mischief in the land – it would be as if he killed all mankind, and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of all mankind.” [Surah al-Ma`idah:32]

[Read the tafseer of Surah al-Ma`idah Ayah 32]

Before Caliph Uthman´s assassination, Abdullah Ibn Salam radhiAllahi `anhu, a Jewish scholar who had converted to Islam, addressed the rebels surrounding the residence of the Caliph in these words,

“O people! Beware of murdering a caliph of a Rasool (Messenger of Allah) for, I am a scholar of Torah and I tell you that Allah avenges the murder of His prophets and the murder of the deputies of his prophets (caliphs). There has hardly been any murder of a prophet which Allah has not avenged by inflicting death on seventy thousand people and the murder of a caliph by inflicting death on thirty five thousand people.”

Now it is on record that, after the martyrdom of Uthman radhiAllahi `anhu, the conflict and strife among the Muslim continued for almost five years. Civil war broke out and three major battles — Jamal, Siffeen and Nahrwan — were fought, causing eighty four thousand deaths of Muslims at the hands of other Muslims.

Many a pious and good Muslims were slained by the sword of fellow Muslims. Amongst them were eminent Companions like Talha, Zubair, Ammar Ibn Yasir and many more radhiAllahu anhum.

Ali radhiAllahi `anhu, the fourth Caliph, also sacrificed his life in this strife. Ameer Mu´awiya radhiAllahi `anhu was also attacked but survived. Amar Ibn Al-Aas radhiAllahi `anhu survived a murder attempt due to an alibi; his proxy was killed instead. The schism and strife among the Muslims caused by Abdullah Ibn Saba and his followers claimed countless valuable lives.

How Muslims Fell Victims to the Traps

An instance from the authenticated record of the battle of Jamal is narrated here to illustrate how Muslims fell victims to the traps laid by the Sabayees.

After the occupation of Basra, Umm-ul-Momineen A`aisha radhiAllahi `anha received a message from Caliph Ali radhiAllahi `anhu for talks and negotiation. It should be remembered that she was never a claimant for the caliphate. Her only demand was that the murderers of Uthman radhiAllahi `anhu must be punished immediately. Ali radhiAllahi `anhu offered to accept her demand if his hands were first strengthened by a declaration of allegiance to him by her group. Both the armies of A`aisha radhiAllahi `anhu and Ali radhiAllahi `anhu were facing each other and camping on the battle field when these negotiations started.

The news of this negotiation reached Abdullah Ibn Saba and Malik Ibn Ashter Nakhey. They immediately pursued their nefarious plot to undermine the peace talks. Accordingly, under the cover of darkness, they, along with some of their followers, mounted an attack on Umm-ul-Momineen A`aisha´s camp and the rumor was spread that the attack was made by the forces loyal to Ali radhiAllahi `anhu.

At the same time, they sent the word to Ali´s radhiAllahi `anhu camp that Umm-ul-Momineen A`aisha´s forces had initiated the attack. Consequently the opposing armies clashed with each other with all their might, leaving thousands dead on the battle field.

It is a very painful part of Muslim history that no investigation to discover the truth in time was ever successful.

During the reign of Caliph Ali radhiAllahi `anhu, the Muslim empire did not exist as a single state under one central authority but broke up into various power centers. Ameer Mu´awiya radhiAllahi `anhu, the governor of Syria, demanded avenge of Uthman´s murder.

“The assassins of Uthman radhiAllahi `anhu are in your camp and they are your advisers. I will not declare allegiance to you unless they are punished,” he insisted.

It should be borne in mind that Ameer Mu´awiya radhiAllahi `anhu did not put forward his claim to the Caliphate and was contented with the governorship of Syria. Whether his demand and pressure on Ali radhiAllahi `anhu was justified or not is an open issue, and everyone is entitled to have an opinion.

(continued in next post)

Book: The Tragedy of Karbala
Author: Dr. Israr Ahmad
Download PDF in Urdu: Saniha-e-Karbala_Book

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