Imam Husayn's life
Publish Date: 11/11/2013 Code: 28381

Imam Husayn's life

‘Death is better than embarking on (a life of) indignity;
And indignity is preferable over plunging into the Fire.’

The Birth of Imam Husayn (AS)

Imam  Zayn al-Abidin (AS) said, ‘When Husayn (AS) was born, Allah, most High, revealed to Gabriel[1] (AS) that a boy had been born to Muhammad, and to descend to him, to congratulate him, and to tell him that indeed Ali’s position with respect to you is as that of Aaron to Moses. So name him with the name of Aaron’s son. So Gabriel (AS) descended, congratulated him on behalf of Allah, and then said, ‘Verily Allah commands you to name him with the name of Aaron’s son’. He [the Prophet] asked, ‘And what was his name?’ He replied, ‘Shubayr.’ He said, ‘But my language is Arabic.’ He said, ‘So name him Husayn [i.e. its Arabic equivalent].’[2]

The Proof for his Imama

Fatima (AS) narrated, ‘The Prophet (SAWA) came to me, after I gave birth to Husayn, so I gave him [Husayn] to him [the Prophet] in a yellow cloth, which he cast aside and wrapped him instead in a white cloth. He then said, ‘Fatima take him, he is indeed an Imam and the son of an Imam. He is the father of nine Imams; from his loins will come virtuous Imams, the ninth of whom will be al-Qa’im [the awaited saviour of mankind].’[3]

Imam al-Hasan (AS) said, ‘Certainly Husayn b. Ali (AS) will be the Imam after my death and after my soul has departed from my body. And with Allah - exalted is His Name in the Book – is the legacy of the Prophet, which Allah has added to him along with the legacy of his father and mother. Indeed Allah knew that you are the best people among His creation, hence he chose from you Muhammad (SAWA), and Muhammad chose Ali (AS), and Ali (AS) chose me for the imama, and I have chosen Husayn(AS).’[4]

Husayn is from Me and I am from Him

The Prophet (SAWA) said, ‘As for Husayn, he is from me, he is my son, my offspring, and the best of all mankind after his brother. He is the Imam of the Muslims, the Master of the Believers, the vicegerent of the Lord of the Uni­verse, the helper of those who seek assistance, the refuge of those who seek refuge, the proof of Allah on all of His creation. He is the chief of the youth of Paradise, the door to the community’s salvation. His command is my command. Obedience to him is obedience to me. Whoever follows him is associated with me and whoever disobeys him cannot be associated with me.’[5]

al-Bara b. Azib narrated, ‘I saw the Prophet carrying Husayn and saying, ‘O Allah, indeed I love him, so you love him too.’[6]

Said b. Abi Rashid narrated on the authority of Yala al-Amiri, that he accomp­anied the Prophet (SAWA) to a meal that he had been invited to. [He narrates], ‘The Prophet (SAWA) went ahead towards the people whilst Husayn was playing with the other children. The Prophet (SAWA) wanted to take him, but the child ran from here to there. So the Prophet (SAWA) started to make him laugh until he finally caught him. Then he put one hand behind his neck and the other under his chin, then placed his mouth on Husayn’s mouth and kissed him. He then said, ‘Husayn is from me and I am from Husayn. May Allah love one who loves Husayn. Husayn is a special gran­dson from among other grandchildren.’[7]

Sunan al-Tirmidhi: ‘Ibn Abbas narrated, ‘The Prophet (SAWA) was carrying Husayn b. Ali on his shoulders, and a man said, ‘What a good ride you’ve mounted on, son!’ to which the Prophet (SAWA)  said, ‘And what a good rider he is!’[8]

His Virtues

The Prophet (SAWA) said, ‘Whoever would like to see the most beloved person to the inhabitants of the heavens from among the inhabitants of the earth should look at Husayn.’[9]

Imam Husayn (AS) said, ‘I visited the Prophet (SAWA) when Ubayy ibn Kab was with him. The Prophet greeted me, saying, ‘Welcome O Aba Abdillah, O the beauty of the heavens and the earths.’ So Ubayy said, ‘How is it possible, O Messenger of Allah, for anyone other than you to be the beauty of the heavens and the earths?’ He said, ‘O Ubayy I swear by Him who has rightfully sent me down as a messenger, certainly [the worth of] Husayn b. Ali is greater in the heavens than on the earth. And verily it is written [about him] on the right side of Allah’s Throne: lamp of guidance, ark of salvation, an Imam, not weak, a [source of] dignity and pride, a landmark and a great treasure.’[10]

Imam Husayn (AS), in his speech on the day of Ashura’ said, ‘Beware! Now this impostor, son of the impostor [i.e. Ubaydullah b. Ziyad, son of Ziyad b. Abih][11] has cornered me between two things: between unsheathing the swords, and bearing humil­iation. And far be it that we accept humiliation. Verily Allah, His Proph­et, the believers, the sacred and pure laps which have nursed us and which abhor disg­race, have all refused that obedience to the ignoble men be chosen over an honourable death.’[12]

Imam Husayn (AS) said in his speech on the day of Ashura’, ‘By Allah! I shall not give my hand in yours like the giving of one disg­raced, and nor shall I flee away like the fleeing of a slave.’[13]

Imam Zayn al-Abidin said, ‘I heard Husayn (AS) say, ‘If a man were to insult me in this ear – pointing to his right ear – and excuse himself to me in the other, I would accept that [excuse] from him, and that is because the Commander of the Faithful Ali b. Abi Talib (AS) narrated to me that he had heard my grandfather, the Prophet (SAWA) say, ‘The one who does not accept the excuse of someone, be he right or wrong, will not arrive at the Heavenly Waters.’[14]

Hudhayfa b. al-Yaman narrated, ‘I saw the Prophet (SAWA) holding the hand of Husayn b. Ali (AS), saying, ‘O people! This is Husayn b. Ali, so acknowledge him. By He who holds my life in His Hand, verily he will be in Paradise, those who love him will be in Paradise and those who love his lovers will be in Paradise.’[15]

Shuayb b. Abd al-Rahman al-Khuzai said, ‘A mark was seen on Husayn’s back on the day of Taff [Ashura’], so they asked Zayn al-Abidin [about it], and he replied, ‘This is the mark left by the sacks [of food] he carried on his back to the houses of widows, orphans and the destitute.’[16]  

al-Sayyid Ibn al-Tawus reported in his al-Luhuf on the authority of a narrator of traditions: ‘Then Husayn called the enemy to a duel, and he kept on killing whoever stepped up to challenge him, until he had killed a large number of the enemy, upon which he said:

‘Death is better than embarking on (a life of) indignity;

And indignity is preferable over plunging into the Fire.’

A reporter has said, ‘By Allah, I have never seen a defeated one, whose children, household and companions have all been killed, as calm as him. The men [enemies] were fighting har­shly with him and he too was harsh with them with his sword. He attacked an army of thirty thousand, scattered them in front of him as if they were scattered locusts. He then returned to his base, saying, ‘There is no power or strength save in Allah, the most High, the Most Supreme.’[17]

[1] The archangel Gabriel is known as Jibrail in the Islamic tradition (ed.)

[2] Ilal al-Shara’i, p. 137, no. 5

[3] Kifayat al-Athar, no. 194

[4] al-Kafi, v. 1, p. 301, no. 2

[5] Amali al-Saduq, no. 101

[6] Bihar al-Anwar,  v. 16, p. 264, no. 43

[7] al-Mustadrak ala al-Sahihayn, v. 3, p. 177

[8] Sunan al-Tirmidhi,  v.  5, p. 661, no.  3784

[9] al-Manaqib li Ibn Shahr Ashub, v.  4, p. 73

[10] Uyun Akhbar al-Rida,  v. 1, p. 59, no.  29

[11] The Arabic word ‘dai’ was used to refer to anyone falsely claiming a certain lineage to secure personal gains of rank or honour. This was the case with both Ubaydullah b. Ziyad and his father Ziyad b. Abih (ed.)

[12] al-Luhuf, p. 97

[13] al-Irshad, p. 235

[14] Ihqaq al-Haqq, v. 11, p. 431

[15] Amali al-Saduq, p. 478, no. 4

[16] Manaqib Ibn Shahr Ashub, v. 4, p. 66

[17] al-Luhuf, p. 170



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