For readers who want to know about the historical episodes that happened on the way to Karbala, the following account of the last journey of Imam Hussain (SA) will surely make an enlightening reading. Akhbar is An'war.
So let us journey along with Husaini kafla as it leaves Mecca on 8th Dhulhijjah 61 AH.
List of stations crossed on way to Karbala.
Al- Tanim - Al - Sifah - Al -Hajir - Watering place - Meeting of Zuhayr b. Qayn. - Zarud- Tha'labiyyah - Zubalah - Batn al Aqabah - Sharaf - Bidah - Udhayb Al Hajannat - Qasr Bani Maqatilah - Nainawa
When word of Muawiyah's death was received at Kufa with the news that Imam Hussain has refused allegiance to Yezid and has gone to Mecca, the Shi'ahs gathered in the house of Sulaiman b. Surad and pledged to support Imam Hussain, and thus the first of the many
letters that Imam ul Haq was to receive was written.
It was sent with Abdallah b. Hamdani and Abdallah b. Wali Tamimi and was delivered to Imam Hussain in Mecca on 10th Ramadan. Two days later another 150 letters were delivered, written by individuals or groups, each pledging support and requesting Imam Hussain to come post haste to Kufa.
At Al -Tanim the kafla of Imam Hussain ran into a caravan of camels from Yemen. Some from the caravan joined the Hussaini kafla, when they came to know that Imam Hussain is proceeding towards Kufah.
At Al -Shifa Imam Hussain met Farazdaq b. Ghalib.
When Imam Hussain requested ' Give us news of the people you left behind'
Farazdaq replied " you have asked someone who knows the situation. The hearts of the people are with you, but their swords are with Banu Ummayah. The decree will come from heaven and Allah will do whatever He Desires"
Imam Hussain remarked that ' you have said the truth. The decree belongs to Allah and He will do what He desires...'
When Ubaydallah b. Ziyad received news that Imam Hussain had set out from Mecca towards Kufah, he despatched Hasin b. Tamim - the Chief of Security and his agents to guard on the path between Qadisiyyah and Khaffan, and other adjoining areas leading towards Kufah.
At Al -Hajir from Batn al Rumah Imam Hussain sent out a letter to the people of Kufah through Qays b. Mushir. In this letter he wrote about the letter received from Muslim b. Aqil stating the support and consensus of the leaders of Kufah. Insa Allah I will reach you in a few days.
However, at Qadisiyah he was captured by Hasin b. Tanim, bought to Kufah and martyred and his body thrown down from the top of the palace.
At the Watering place where Abdallah b. Muti was staying, Imam Hussain dismounted. Abdallah cautioned Imam Hussain saying not to proceed towards Kufah and fall into the vile hands of Banu Ummayah.
At Khuzamiyah the caravan of Zuhayr b. Qayn halts alongside the road where Imam Hussain's caravan had halted. Zuhayr b. Qayn meets Imam Hussain and joins Hussaini kafla with joy and a glowing face.
At Zarud Abdallah b. Sulaym and Madhrib Musha'ill who had performed Haj and were returning to Kufah met Bukayr b.Math'abah who had changed course in order not to meet Imam Hussain. He was of the same Asadi Tribe.
When asked of the state of the Kufans, he said that I left Kufah immediately after Muslim b. Aquil and Hani b. Urwah were martyred by Ubaydallah.
At Tha'labiyyah these two caught up with the Hussaini kafla in the evening, and narrated what they had heard. They implored Imam Hussain not to proceed towards Kufah. To which Imam Hussain replied : ' there is no point in living after the death if this two men'.
At dawn the next day Imam Hussain instructed his entourage to collect a good supply of water for the onward journey.
They reached Zubalah and here he received the news of the death of his brother in nurture Abdallah b. Yuqtur. He addressed his entourage by reading out aloud a written statement.
' In the name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful. Very troubling news has reached us regarding the death of Muslim b. Aquil, Hani b. Urwah and Abdallah b. Yuqtur. Thus those who want to part company with us are free to go without any sense of obligation.'
People began to scatter away from him in all directions - only those remained, his followers and family members who had started with him from Medina.
Imam Hussain knew that once he informed them of the true situation, only those followers will remain, who were truly loyal to him, and desired to share in his destiny and to die with him.
At Batn al - Aqabah a member from Banu Ikrimah tribe also pleaded with the Imam not to proceed towards Kufah.
Imam Hussain replied ' Servant of Allah, sound decisions are not concealed from me - but the decree of Allah prevails'
These words of Imam Hussain reveal the true purpose of the journey, and makes one reflect and understand. If it was undertaken for worldly aspiration, it would have been more prudent and worldly wise, to keep the happenings in Kufah under wraps and not loose a great
number of the entourage. But the real purpose was the salvation of mankind till the day of Qayamat.
The Hussaini kafla halted at Sharaf and at dawn Imam Hussain instructed his entourage to quench their thirst and fill in water in their mashqees. At noon an Asadi guide noted a great movement of an advancing platoon.
Imam Hussain changed course and arrived at a safe place at Dhul Husam before the advancing cavalry. When the cavalry noted the change in course, they also changed direction and came towards him.
No sooner had the Hussaini kafla set up tents, the could see the cavalry fast approaching them. They numbered 1000 horsemen under the command of Hurr.b Yezid Yarbu'i.
In the heat if the afternoon, they came to a halt facing Imam Hussain.
Imam Hussain said to his entourage " Supply them with water to quench their thirst. Also provide water to their horses "
When the time came for Zuhr namaz Imam Hussain instructed Hajjaj b. Masruq Jufi to give Adhan. Imam Hussain came out dressed in a waistcoat, cloak and pair of sandals to address the people.
There was complete silence when Imam Hussain addressed the people stating that he has come only after receiving hundreds of letters from the Kufans. He told them that if you honour what you have promised through covenants and oaths, then I will set out for your town. If you will not honour your promises and are displeased with my arrival, then I am prepared to leave you and return from whence I started my journey.
The Kufhan cavalry were all silent and dumb struck and had no answer.
Imam Hussain than told Hurr to lead his followers in namaz, to which he requested the Imam to lead all of them in prayers.
After Asr namaz Imam Hussain prepared to depart and again addressed the Kufhan cavalry showing them two saddle bags filled with letters, which were spread in front of Hurr's army.
Hurr exclaimed that " we are not among those who wrote letters of invitation. We have been instructed, that once we find you, we are not to leave you before bringing you to Ubaydallah b. Ziyad.
A heated argument followed when Imam Hussain instructed his entourage to mount and proceed onward. Hurr said that he has been instructed not to fight, but not to leave you before bringing you to Kufah.
Finally a compromise was reached. Hurr agreed to write a letter to Ibn Ziyad and await his instruction and Imam Hussain agreed not to proceed towards Kufah, but take the road that led to Qadisiyah Hurr closely following the Hussaini kafla.
At Bidah Imam Hussain dismounted and delivered a very poignant speech to his followers and the companions of Hurr. He exposed the misdeeds of the Ummayads and reiterated once again that it was the leaders and people of Kufah, who had invited him to come and
had pledged allegiance.
When Hurr threatened him that if he chose to fight, he would surely be killed. To which Imam Hussain replied : ' Do you think that you can frighten me with death' Than he quoted the following verse.
'I will carry on, for there is no shame in embracing death for a young man
so long as he aims for the truth and struggles as a true Muslim.
And has helped righteous men by sacrificing His own life
and disassociates from those who cause
destruction and delude people.'
At Udhayb Al Hajannat a group of four travelling from Kufah met Imam Hussain reciting verses in praise of Imam Hussain. When asked about the news of the people of Kufah, this was their reply.
' The eminent leaders have been heavily bribed and their sacks have been filled to ensure their support and loyalty. They are united in the campaign against you. As for the remaining people, their hearts are titled in your favor but their swords will be displayed against you'
At Qasr Bani Maqatil Imam Hussain enquired about the occupant of a big tent and was told it belonged to Ubaydallah b. Hurr Jufi, a prominent Kufah leader. Imam Hussain invited him to join his entourage but he refused.
At a short distance from Bani Maqatil Imam Hussain rested for a short time, and when he awoke he recited twice or thrice the Quran Ayat : ' We are from Allah and to Him is our return ; all praise belongs to Allah , Lord of the Universe'
Imam Ali Zainul Abedin came close and inquired and being told what Imam Hussain had witnessed in the wakeful dream state replied. " In that case, O father, there is no need to be concerned as long as we die in the path of truth"
The next morning when Imam Hussain tried to split away from the Kufhan cavalry. Hurr intercepted and caught the reins of his horse, and tried to change course and head towards Kufah.
Imam Hussain resisted and Hurr finally relented and marched alongside till they reached Nainawa.
It is here that the Kufhan cavalry was met by Nusayr Baddi a messenger of Ubaydallah b. Ziyad instructing Hurr to stop the Hussaini kafla at an open place, away from water and village.
It was 2nd Muharram 61 AH and at Karbala Imam Hussain dismounted and rest is history.
Book Ref: Kitab Maqtal Al Husayn - Abu Mikhnaf
Short history of the author : Abu Mikhnaf ( Lut b. Yahya b. Sa'id b. Mikhnaf) is regarded as the first historian to systematically collect the reports dealing with the factual events of Karbala.
Abu Mikhnaf's original work seems to have been lost, and that which is available to the scholars of history, is the work of his student Hisham b. al Kalbi, who preserved all his teacher's works.
Abu Mikhnaf was a profound scholar and man of integrity.
For those who have not read the events that unfolded in Kufah, you may log on to :