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" Know Karbala (Special for kids) "

Once there was an important family. Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) was the last messenger of Allah. He was the prophet that started the religion of Islam. His daughter Bibi Fatimah married Hazrat Ali (A.S) and had two sons Hazrat Hassan (A.S) and Hazrat Hussain (A.S). This is the family known as Panjtan Paak and Ahlulbayt (Family of the prophet).

When the prophet went to mosque and his grandchildren went with him, he would sit his grandson Hazrat Hussain on his lap and tell all his followers to remember his face…the prophet knew about the events that were to come! He would comment to people how his grandson resembled him the most.

Muawiyah, son of Abu Sufyan and father of Yazid, was removed from the post of governor of Syria by Hazrat Ali (A.S). Hazrat Ali was later killed under the command of Muawiyah who promised marriage and wealth to Ibne Muljim. This led to Hazrat Hassan becoming the next Calipha.

Hazrat Hassan attempted to stop fights by coming to an agreement with Muawiyah: that he could be the next Calipha so long as he returned the caliphate back to Hazrat Hussain. Muawiyah agreed to this but later went back on his word as he declared his son Yazid as the successor. Yazid was a terrible, evil person. He changed the laws of Islam, saying alcohol was halal and getting involved in wrong doings.

Yazid wanted Hazrat Hussain to pay allegiance to him and follow his leadership but Hazrat Hussain refused. Whilst Hazrat Hussain went to Mecca to do the holy pilgrimage, he heard that Yazid was planning to attack him there. Hazrat Hussain did not want to have bloodshed in such a holy and sacred place so he quickly led his family out without completing the hajj. Hazrat Hussain was offered allegiance from the people of Kufa so he started to head there. Hazrat Hussain sent his cousin, Muslim Ibne Aqeel to go in advance and find out what the situation was like in Kufa. So that the people did not think that Hazrat Hussain was preparing to fight, he asked Muslim to take his two young sons with him. However Yazid’s army had already bribed the people of Kufa with wealth and others were threatened with death. So unfortunately the people of Kufa had paid allegiance to Yazid and betrayed Hazrat Hussain, they killed Muslim and later killed his two young sons too.

Meanwhile Hazrat Hussain, along with his family travelled towards Kufa. As they headed towards the city in Iraq, they were surrounded by Hur and his army. Hur worked for Yazid and prevented the Ahlulbayt from going any further. The family were surrounded for two days, from the 2nd until the 4th of Muharram. Hazarat Hussain asked someone for the name of this place where they were surrounded. He was told that this was Karbala. Hazarat Hussain told his family to set up camp besides the River Euphrates because they had reached their destination, the place of torture and pain!

On the 4th of Muharram, Shimr (the murderer of Hazrat Hussain) turned up from kufa with an army of 10,000 to fight a camp of about 40 people. These 40 people consisted of men of over 80 years old, women, children and a baby of six months old. Shimr ordered them to move their camp away from the river. Hazrat Abbas (Hazrat Hussain’s half brother because he was the son of Hazrat Ali but not Bibi Fatima’s son)) refused but Hazrat Hussain ordered it and so the camp was moved back from the river. Shimr and his army immediately occupied the river. So by the 7th of Muharram, all water supplies were stopped and the thirsty cries of the children could be heard from the camp as any water that they had stored was finished. It is impossible to go a few hours without water in the scorching heat of the desert but that family went three days without water!

On the 9th of Muharram, Yazid’s army moved forward to attack. Hazrat Hussain sent his brother Abbas and son, Ali Akbar to find out what was happening. The army replied that they had been sent orders from Kufa to attack and finish the family off. Hazrat Hussain requested that they be given one more night in order to spend a night in worship of Allah. This was granted.

All night the family prayed and worshipped Allah. Meanwhile, Yazid’s army revelled in music and dance. Some of the army members realized that they were on the wrong side and in the dark hours, they crept off to the camp of Hazrat Hussain, knowing that this was a worthier cause. One such man was Hur, the leader of the army who initially stopped Hazrat Hussain’s caravan from moving on to Kufa. Even the cold hearted can change if Allah will’s it. Hur realized the horrors that were about to occur. Hur, along with his son, went to see Hazrat Hussain. He begged for forgiveness and pleaded with the Imam to let him be the first to fight for him and so Hazrat Hur was the first to fight in the battle of Karbala, and his son followed after him.

That night, Hazrat Hussain held a meeting for his family and companions. He gave them the opportunity to leave the camp and save their lives because Yazid only wanted to punish him, he had no qualms with any of the others. To save anyone from embarrassment, Hazrat Hussain turned all candles out so that whoever wished to leave could do so anonymously. But when the candles were re-lit, no-one had left. All the companions swore allegiance till the bitter end, they were willing to give their lives over and over again regardless of the horrors that they were to endure.

On the morning of the 10th of Muharram(The day of Ashura), Ali Akbar read azan and they all followed Imam Hussain in prayers. Hazrat Abbas was made to be the flag bearer for the small army of about 72 people. Imam Hussain did not order for the fight to start but when Yazid’s army started shooting arrows, he sent Hur out first. Hur battled bravely but as Yazid’s army was enormous, he did not really stand a chance and soon died a martyr to Imam Hussain’s cause, for the true religion of Islam.

All morning, the companions of Imam Hussain continued to fight against Yazid’s army. Then it was time for Zuhr namaz. Saeed ibn Abdullah Al Bijilly informed the Imam of the time. So in the middle of the battlefield, through the shooting arrows, the Imam led prayers as his family and companions followed. Saeed ibn Abdullah Al Bijilly along with Zohair stood infront of the devout followers of Islam and protected them from the falling arrows as they completed their prayers. Once the prayers were complete, the two men fell dead, exhausted with the wounds from the attacks of the arrows.

The fighting continued throughout the afternoon and soon all the companions were martyred, leaving only the family members. The first family member to go out to fight was the Imam’s son Ali Akbar. He fought courageously but thirsty from three days of having no water, the young, brave son of the Imam was soon martyred.

Next to fight was Imam’s nephew, the son of Hazrat Hassan (A.S), Hazrat Qasim. Hazrat Qasim approached Imam Hussain and asked to go out to the battlefield. Imam Hussain declined this request. Feeling upset, Hazrat Qasim approached his mother and told her. She gave Hazrat Qasim a letter and asked him to give this to his uncle. This letter had been written by Imam Hassan (A.S) before he had died because he knew that this day would come. In the letter Imam Hassan requested that his brother give permission to his nephew to fight and so Imam Hussain was forced to give permission to his dead brother’s son.

After this, the Imam’s four brothers: Usman, Jafar, Abdullah and Abbas were killed. Hazrat Abbas heard the cries of the children who were thirsty and desperate for a drink of water in that horrendous heat of the desert. So he asked Imam Hussain if he could go to the River Euphrates and get water. Imam Hussain gave him permission so this great warrior got on his horse and attempted to get water for his niece, Bibi Sakina, the daughter of Imam Hussain. Unfortunately, as he attempted to get water, his arms were chopped off, his body massacred and he died.

Some time later, Imam Hussain took out his 6 month old baby Ali Asghar. He held this baby high and told the army that this child has done them no wrong and to at least give him some water to drink. The commander of Yazid’s army instructed Hurmula, the best marksman in the army to kill the baby. Hurmula aimed the arrow at the baby and shot the arrow straight into Ali Asghar’s throat. The baby died instantly! Imam Hussain caught the spilling blood in his hands and threw it into the air crying that this was the ultimate sacrifice. The sky turned red with the blood of that innocent infant. The Imam took the child back to the camp and informed his mother of the martyrdom of Ali Asghar. All the noble women of the house gathered around the mother as she wept for her child and then Imam Hussain buried the baby in the sand.

Finally, Imam Hussain went out to the battlefield. He introduced himself again as the grandson of the Prophet (PBUH) and that his only crime was that he would not take the oath of allegiance to Yazid and his sinful ways.

But the army of Yazid was greedy for the rewards from Yazid. So they ignored the Imam’s speeches and eagerly attacked him in order to be the one who killed the last member of the family of the Prophet and claim wealth and recognition from Yazid. The Imam was tired, thirsty and wounded, he fell from his beloved horse Zuljinah. The army thought that he was dead and so moved forward to destroy the camp. But the brave, courageous warrior raised his hand to inform the army to stay back because he was still alive. The final arrow was shot by Shimr at the request of the army commander and Imam Hussain took his last breath “Innalillah hai wa inna ilaihay rajayoone” (To Allah we belong and to him is our return).

Imam Hussain’s corpse was beheaded along with the heads of other family members and companions. These holy heads were stabbed onto spear heads and carried off.

In one day the whole mini army: the male family members and companions of Imam Hussain were martyred. By the evening, the only surviving male member of the family, Hazrat Zain Ul Abideen, the noble ladies of the house and children were left. Allah knows best and has a plan. Hazrat Zain Ul Abideen had not fought in the battle at Karbala because he had been severely ill, he had a high fever that had made him unable to lift his head. He was the only male companion for the noble ladies and children.

On the night of the 10th of Muharram (Sham-e-Gharibah), the ladies waited for their torture. Their camp was burnt down and their possessions were looted. The army tied them up in chains, enslaved all who remained and stripped the holy women off their head scarves and tore off the ear-rings from Bibi Sakina and Bibi Fatima Kubra’s ears. Now began their long journey through the hot deserts ofKarbala to initially Kufa to Ibne Ziyad and then a month later to Yazid’s palace in Damascus in Syria. They travelled through the burning sands through the towns of Tikrit, Mosul and Aleppo.

Whilst in Aleppo, Yazid’s men rested at a Christian monastery. The Christian Priest was intrigued by the head upon the spear and asked if he could keep it in the monastery for the night. The soldiers made an agreement and the Imam’s head was kept there for one night. Muslims visit that monastery today and even after fifteen hundred years or so, there still runs fresh blood upon the stone that the head was placed.

Those pious ladies were taken to Syria where Bibi Zainab, the brave sister of Imam Hussain confronted Yazid. She stood before him and told the world about the atrocities that the family of the Prophet had endured. Yazid was ridiculed by this powerful lady and people became aware of the story of Karbala. The family of the prophet was captive for about a year. But then Yazid had to let them free because he was fearful of a revolt. Bibi Sakina passed away in the prison after having a dream about her father Imam Hussain, who told her that he could not bear to see her suffering any longer. Bibi Sakina was buried in the corner of the prison by her brother Imam Zain Ul Abideen.

The family returned back to Medinah, returning to Karbala on the way so that they could visit the graves of Imam Hussain and the martyrs of Karbala.

They entered Medinah carrying black flags and visited the grave of the last prophet (PBUH). Bibi Zainab died about six months after her return.

It was the destiny of this pious lady to spread the story of Karbala. If it hadn’t have been for her, the whole story could have been suppressed and forgotten in the hot desert. Through her pain, suffering and torture she was able to keep the story alive.

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