Habeeb bin Muazhir
The desert was very vast. The sky was full of stars. An old man aged seventy-five left his tent. The old man jumped on his horse and rode away. The old man heard a wolf howling. He was afraid of nothing. He intended to get to Mudharib (Bani Asad's tribe) near the Euphrates.
When the old man got there, some dogs barked at him. Some men of Bani Asad's tribe were sitting in a big tent. They were chatting with one another at night. The old man greeted them. They stood up for him. He looked dignified, but they did not know him. The old man sat down.
He had a beard. His beard was as white as cotton. The men began looking at his calm expression and his white beard.
I am Habib
The old man introduced himself to the men in the tent.
I'm Habib bin Mudhahir: I belong to Bani Asad's tribe.
One of the men was very old. He was acquainted with ancestry. So, he knew Habib and said:
Habib is telling you the truth.
Then the old man added:
He's bin Riaab bin al-Ashtar bin Fakas bin Tareef bin Qais bin al-Harith bin Thalaba bin Doodad bin Asad.
Another man added:
This is the companion of Allah's Apostle. He has lived in Kufa since Imam Ali's Caliphate. He stood by him at the Battle of Camel, the Battle of Siffeen, and the Battle of Nihrawan.
One of the men asked Habib:
Bani Asad's Shaikh, what have you brought?
Habib quietly answered:
I've brought you good no leader has brought to his people.
The men listened to him attentively. Then he added:
Al-Husayn, Ali and Fatima's son is around. A group of the believers has accompanied him. His enemies have surrounded him. They want to kill him. So, I've come to you. I ask you to defend him against his enemies to save the dignity of Allah's Apostle. By Allah! If you support him, Allah will give you honour in here and hereafter.
One of the men stood up. His name was Abdullah bin Bashher al-Asady. He said:
May Allah thank you for your effort. You've brought us a good deed. I'm the first to defend al-Husayn against his enemies.
The number of the volunteers became ninety fighters. Habib took them and headed for an area called Karbala. Their Imam Husayn [a], his family, and his believing supporters had camped there. A man belonging to Bani Asad was a traitor. He took advantage of the darkness and hurried to tell Umar bin Saad, the leader of Yazeed's Army, about Habib and his friends.
Yazeed's Army had besieged Imam Husayn's caravan and prevented them from drinking water. Umar bin Saad formed a division. The number of the division was five hundred horsemen. Al-Azraq headed them.
The horsemen hindered Bani Asad. Al-Azraq asked them to come back, but they refused. A fight took place between the two sides. So, some men of Bani Asad were killed and some were wounded. The volunteers knew that there was a big army before them. And there were big supplies behind the army. For this reason, they decided to come back. When the volunteers got to their tribe Mudharib, they warned it of staying at that area. The men quickly collected their tents and moved to another place in the desert. Habib came back by himself.
He was sad. He told Imam Husayn [a] about Bani Asad's attitude. Imam Husayn [s] said:
There's neither might nor power but with Allah!
Mu'awiyah died. His son Yazeed succeeded him. So, the Caliphate became a kingdom. Yazeed was a bad man. He drank alcohol. He committed illegal actions. He amused himself with his dogs and monkeys.
Thus Imam Husayn [s] refused to pay him homage. The people in many Muslim cities suffered from Mu'awiyah's unjust policy. They wanted him to die to get rid of his bad behaviour.
When the Muslims knew that Yazeed would be the Caliph, they felt pain and were full of anger. They opposed his rule because he did not respect Islam and Muslims.
The people in Kufa liked Imam Ali [a] because he was just and merciful. Besides they knew al-Husayn's good behaviour and his kind treatment towards his Muslim brothers. Therefore, they sent him many letters.
In Makkah, Imam Husayn [s] received the Muslims messengers. In their signed letters, the Muslims said to Imam Husayn [a]:
Come to us! You are our leader only!
Imam Husayn [a] accepted the Muslims request. He decided to revolt against Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah. He took his family and supporters and left for Kufa.
Ubaidullah bin Ziyad had sent a military division. The number of the division was one thousand horsemen. Its aim was to hinder Imam Husayn's caravan. It was very hot. Ubaidullah's horsemen used up their water, Imam Husayn [a] took a pity on them, and ordered his companions to give them water. Imam Husayn [a] camped near River Euphrates. Ubaidullah appointed Umar bin Saad over the division. Umar bin Saad occupied the riverbanks.
He prevented Imam Husayn [a] and his companions from drinking water. Umar bin Saad sent a man called Qurra bin Qais to Imam Husayn [a]. He ordered him to ask the Imam:
Why have you come to Kufa
When Qurra went to Imam Husayn [a], the Imam asked Habib bin Mudhahir about him:
Do you know him?
Yes, this is Qurra bin Qais. I know his good opinion. I don't think he'll fight you.
Qurra came and greeted the Imam. He told him about Umar bin Saad's letter.
The Imam said:
The people of Kufa have asked me to come. If they hate me, I'll leave them.
Qurra bin Qais kept silent. He wanted to come back to Umar bin Saad. So Habib said to him:
Qurra, woe unto you! Don't come back to the unjust people! Support Imam Husayn!
I'll tell Umar about Imam Husayn's answer. Then I'll consider your request.
On Muharram 9th, 61 A.H. Umar bin Saad started his attack at night. He advanced towards Imam Husayn's camp.
Zaynab, Imam Ali's daughter, heard the enemy's voice. She said to her brother al-Husayn:
The enemies have approached! Imam Husayn [a] ordered his brother al-Abbas to ask them. Al-Abbas, Habib bin
Muzahair, and twenty persons jumped on their horses and rode away. Al-Abbas asked them about their aim. They said:
Obey Ubaidullah bin Ziyad, otherwise we'll attack you!
Al-Abbas came back to Imam Husayn [a] to tell him about the enemy's attitude. Habib stayed behind. He began advising the enemy army:
By Allah, tomorrow, Allah will regard you as bad people! How will you meet Him while you are going to kill Imam Husayn and his family? Don't you know that they're the Prophet's grandsons? Don't you know that they pray to Allah after midnight and remember Him very much?
An enemy person called Uzrah said:
Habib, you're praising yourself!
Allah has praised and guided him. Uzrah I advise you to fear Allah!
Al-Abbas went to Imam Husayn [a] to tell him about the enemies' attitude. The Imam said to him:
Go back and ask them for time to pray. We want to pray to Allah tonight. We want to ask Him to forgive us. Allah knows that I love prayers, reading the Qur'an, and asking forgiveness.
Al-Abbas came back and asked them for some time. Umar bin Saad thought for a while. He thought that Imam Husayn [a] would change his mind. So, he agreed on Imam Husayn's request and said: We'll give you a chance till tomorrow. If you give in, we'll take you to Emir Ubaidullah bin Ziyad. If you refuse to give in, we won't let you go
Imam Husayn [a] gets ready to fight.
Imam Husayn [a] and his companions began praying and reading the Qur'an, for it was the last night in the world. The tents were here and there. Imam Husayn [a] wanted to prevent the enemies from penetrating them.
So, he ordered his companions to tie them to each other. He also ordered his companions to dig a trench at the back of the tents to fight the enemies at one front. The Imam met his companions and said:
I praise Allah with the best praise! I am thankful to Him in all conditions whether pleasant or otherwise! Allah, I thank you for making my grandfather a prophet and teaching us the Qur'an! I thank you for giving us ears, eyes and hearts. I thank you for you have not made us polytheists!
The Imam added:
I don't think that there are companions better than mine, there's a family more loyal than mine! May Allah reward you all. I think that we'll face those enemies tomorrow! Now you may go!
All refused and said:
We'll sacrifice our lives, money, and families to defend you against the enemies! We'll stand by you
The Prisoner of War
A young man came to Imam Husayn's camp. He was looking for his father Muhammad bin Basheer al-Hadramy. The young man said to his father:
My brother is a prisoner of war at Ray (a town near Teheran)
His father said:I
'll support Imam Husayn at any rate!
Imam Husayn said:
You're free. Go and release your son.
Muhammad bin Basheer refused that and said:
By Allah, I won't leave you!
Imam Husayn [a] gave him five garments. Each cost one thousand dinars. Then he said to him:
Give your son these garments to release his brother. Thus Imam Husayn's companions preferred death with him to life with the unjust.
At midnight, Imam Husayn [a] went out to see the nearby hills. One of his companions, named Nafi bin Hilal al-Jamaly, saw and followed him.
The Imam asked his companion about his going out. His companion said:
Son of Allah's Apostle, I'm anxious about you.
Imam Husayn [a] said to him:
I've gone out to see the nearby hills.
Imam Husayn [a] and his faithful friend came back together. On their way, Imam Husayn [a] said to him:
Why don't you go through those two hills in the dark to save yourself?
Hilal wept and said:
No! By Allah, I won't leave you alone! I want to be killed with you! When the Imam got to the tents, he came into the tent of his sister Zaynab. Hilal stood by the tent waiting for him. Hilal heard Zaynab saying to her brother:
Are you certain of your companion's intentions?
The Imam said:
By Allah, I've tried them. They are brave. They are ready to die for me.
When Nafi heard Zaynab's words, he wept and went to Habib's tent. He told him about Zaynab's word. Then he said to him:
We'd better go to her to relieve her worry.
Habib stood, left his tent, and said loudly:
The men went out. They stood around Habib. He said to them:
Let us go to Zaynab's tent to relieve her worry.
The men took their swords and went to Zaynab's tent. They said to her:
By Allah, we're ready to sacrifice our lives for you!
Zaynab went out and said:
Good companions, defend the grandsons of Allah's Apostle against their enemies.
Habib and his friends wept. They decided to fight till death.
Imam Husayn's [s] companion went to their tents. Some companions went to bed to get ready to tomorrow's fight, and some began praying and reading the Qur'an.
Al-Husayn was in his tent mending his sword. He felt tired and closed his eyes. It was early morning. Imam Husayn [a] dreamt that he saw dogs attacking him. One of the dogs was spotted. It was biting his neck. Al-Husayn woke and said:
We belong to Allah, we shall come back to Him!
In the morning, Muharram 10th, Imam Husayn [a] and his companions said their prayers. Imam Husayn [a] prepared his companions for the battle. He divided them into three small groups: Zuhair bin al-Qain headed the right wing. Habib bin Mudhahir headed the left wing, and al-Abbas, the Imam's brother, headed the core.
Imam Husayn [a] rode his she-camel and stood before Yazeed's Army. He preached and advised them. He warned them of committing such a crime. All Imam Husayn's efforts were in vain. Satan led Yazeed's fighters astray. So, they forgot Allah.
Yazeed's army began attacking Imam Husayn's army, throwing many arrows at them. Imam Husayn [a] said to his companions:
Good companions, stand up for death!
The two sides met for the first time in a small clash. The clash was over and the Imam's companions came back to their places. Then Yazeed's Army launched savage attacks against the Imam Husayn's companions. Imam Husayn's companions resisted the attacks bravely. Some of them fell over the ground and died martyrs for the Prophet's grandson.
Muslim dies a Martyr
Amru bin al-Hajjaj began a big attack. Imam Husayn's companions faced the attack and fought bravely. Muslim bin Ausajah, a companion of the Imam's, was fighting with enthusiasm. Then he was badly wounded and fell over the ground.
Imam Husayn [a] saw Muslim lying on the ground. He and Habib bin Mudhahir attacked Yazeed's Army. They saved Muslim bin Ausajah from them. Muslim was about to die. Imam Husayn [a] sadly said:
Muslim, may Allah have mercy upon you. I'm giving you good news about the Paradise.
Muslim answered faintly:
May Allah give you good news!
I wish I could listen to your will, but I'll die after you.
Muslim looked at Habib. Then he looked at Imam Husayn [a] and said:
Habib, I ask you to die for Husayn! By the Lord of Kaaba, I will!
On that day, Habib was full of happiness. His face was smiling. A companion of Habib's wondered and asked him:
Why are you happy?
I'm happy because I'll be killed and enter the Paradise!
The fights went on till noon. A companion of Imam Husayn's looked at the sun. He knew that it was time to pray. Imam Husayn [a] asked Yazeed's Army to stop fighting to say their prayers. Al-Husayn bin Numair said to Imam Husayn [a]
Husayn, Allah won't accept your prayers!
Habib bin Mudhahir said stormily:
Donkey! Will Allah accept your prayers, but won't accept the prayers of the Prophet's grandson?
Al-Husayn bin Numair was full of spite. He whipped his horse and attacked Habib. Habib faced him. He hit al-Husayn's horse on the face. So, al-Husayn bin Numair fell over the ground. Many fighters rushed to save al-Husayn bin Numair.
Habib clashed and fought them bravely. In spite of his old age, Habib could kill over sixty fighters. When the fight became strong, a fighter threw a spear at Habib. So, Habib fell over the ground and became a martyr.
Thus the brave companion's life was over. He spent all his life waging holy war for Islam. Al-Husayn bin Numair was not satisfied with killing Habib. He took his head and tied it to his horse's neck.
Then he began roaming through Yazeed's fighters. He was boasting of his bad action. Imam Husayn [a] tried to save Habib, but he got there late. So, his eyes shed tears. He sadly said:
We belong to Allah and we shall come back to Him.
Imam Husayn [a] came back to his camp. He was sad because he lost the closest and the most loyal companion.
In the Believers' Hearts
Today Muslims all over the world go to Karbala to visit Imam Husayn [a]. In the distance, they can see a high gold dome and high minarets. When a Muslim enters the holy shrine full of perfume, he will find a tomb near Imam Husayn's tomb. That tomb belongs to Habib bin Mudhahir, Bani Asad's leader, and the master of the loyal. The visitor to Imam Husayn
[a] must greet his companion and say:
Peace be upon Habib bin Mudhahir al-Asady
It was dawn. As usual, Maitham went to the date-palm trunk. He splashed it with water. The good ground sent out a sweat smell. Maitham said two Rakaas. Then he put his back against the date palm trunk.
Maitham had visited the date palm for more than twenty years. It had not been a mere dry trunk. It had been a tall date palm before twenty years. Days, months, and years passed. Maitham said two Rikaas near the date palm. Then he addressed it:
"Allah has created you for me. And He has created me for you." Maitham liked that date palm. He watered it when it was green. One day, he came to the date palm. He found it a dry trunk. He cut the top of the trunk. That tall date palm became a mere short trunk. Still Maitham went on visiting that dry trunk. Who was Maitham? What was the relationship between him and that date palm?
Maitham was born at Nihrawan near Kufa. He belonged to Iran. A woman from bani Asad bought him. One day, Imam Ali (A.S.) bought and gave him his freedom. Maitham became free. He sold dates in Kufa Market. Maitham lived a simple life.
Two things grew in his heart: faith in Islam and love for Imam Ali (A.S.). Imam Ali (A.S.) taught him that Islam was the only way to freedom. Imam Ali (A.S.) liked Maitham because he was a good man. The Imam went to Maitham's shop. He taught him about Islam.
The Real Name
Imam Ali (A.S.) bought Maitham from a woman belonged to bani-Asad. The Imam asked Maitham:
"What is your name"? "Saalim", he replied.
The Imam said:
"Allah's Apostle (P.B.U.H.) has told me that the Iranians call you Maitham."
Maitham was astonished because no one knew his real name. So, he said:
"Allah and His Apostle are truthful."
Since that day, Maitham had not left the Imam.
In the Desert
Whoever goes to the desert at night will see the sky full of stars. His heart will be afraid of Allah. Imam Ali (A.S.) went to the desert at night to say his prayers. He took a friend of his to that desert to teach him a lesson about Islam.
Sometimes, Imam Ali (AS.) took Maitham to the desert. He told him about future matters. The Imam did not know the unseen. He learnt future matters from our master Muhammad (P.B.U.H.). Maitham listened to Imam Ali's words. The Imam said his prayers. Maitham said them behind him. He listened with awe to the Imam's prayers.
At al-Tammar's Shop
Imam Ali (A.S.) went to the market to meet Maitham al Tammar. He sat and talked with him. Some people passed by them. They did not know the Imam. And some knew him. They were astonished to see the Imam sitting with a dates-seller.
One day Imam Ali (A.S.) went to the market. He sat with Maitham. After a while, Maitham wanted to go to by something. He asked the Imam's permission and went away. The Imam stayed behind to sell dates. In the meantime, a man came to buy some dates for four dirhams. The man took the dates and went away. Maitham came back. He was astonished to see the Dirhams because they were false. The Imam smiled and said:
"The owner of the Dirhams will come back."
Again Maitham became astonished. He wondered: The man bought the dates by false Dirhams! How will he come back? After an hour, the owner of the Dirhams came back. He said with annoy: "I do not want these dates! They are bitter! Why are they bitter"? The Imam said:
"Because your Dirhams are false."
The man was full of astonishment. He took the Dirhams and went away.
The Nation's Scholar
Maitham was a brilliant. He learnt his knowledge from Imam Ali (A.S.). One day he said to Abdullah bin Abbas, the nation scholar: "Ask me whatever you want to know about the Koran explanation. I've learnt everything from Imam Ali (A.S.)."
So, bin Abbas sat before Maitham to learn lessons about the Quran's explanation.
Amru bin Huraith Amru bin Huraith was a leader from Kufa. Maitham said to him:
"I'll be your neighbour. Treat me kindly."
"Do you want to buy bin Masoud's house or bin al-Hakim's"? Maitham kept silent. Amru bin Huraith was puzzled. He wondered: What does Maitham mean? Days and years passed. Unjust rulers succeeded each other over Kufa. They treated people rudely.
Zyyad bin Abeeh became a ruler over Kufa. He began killing Imam Ali's companions. He carried out Mu'awiyah's orders. Mu'awiyah was full of spite.
He ordered people to abuse Imam Ali (A.S.). The ruler appointed a man to look after the market. The man was unjust. The people complained of his bad treatment. The people were afraid of the man. Thus, they went to Maitham.
They asked Maitham to go with them to the Prince. They said to him:
"Maitham, come with us to the prince."
Maitham went with them. He met the Prince and told him about the rude treatment in the market. A policeman in the Palace was displeased with Maitham's words. He said to the Prince:
"Your Highness, the Prince, do you know this man?"
The Prince said:
He's a liar! The supporter of the liar! said the policeman. The policeman meant that Maitham was one of Imam Ali's companion. Maitham said:
"Surely, I'm truthful! I'm supporter of the truthful man. Really, he's Amirul-Momineen! (The Commander of the faithful)."
A Meeting on the Road
Habeeb bin Muzahir was a good companion. After our master Mohammed's demise, Habeeb had a close relationship with Imam Ali (A.S.).
One day, Maitham was riding a horse. Habeeb bin Muzahir was riding a horse, too. They met each other before bani-Asad. They had a short talk. Bani-Asad listened to their talk. Habeeb said with a smile:
"I predict that a bald man with a big belly will sell melons at Dar al-Rizk. The man will be killed for the love of his
Prophet's family." Maitham said:
"I know that a red man with two plaits would appear. The man will support the son of the daughter of his Prophet. The man will be beheaded. His head will be carried through the streets of Kufa." The two friends saw off each other. Bani
"They are liars."
In the meantime, Rasheed al-Hajry passed by bani-Asad. He asked them about Habeeb and Maitham. Bani-Asad said:
"They have just gone away."
Then bani Asad told Rasheed about Habeeb and Maitham's predictions. Rasheed said with a smile:
"May Allah have mercy on Maitham. He's forgotten who brings the head will be given an extra hundred dirhams."
Rasheed went away. Bani Asad were astonished at his words. Then they said:
"Rasheed is a liar too."
Days passed. In Muharram, 61 A.H., bani Asad saw Habeeb's head. It was tied to a long spear. They saw bin Zyyad's policeman carrying the head and walking through the streets of Kufa.
Mu'awiyah bin Abu-Sufyan died. His son Yazeed succeeded him. Yazeed was a young man aged thirty. He drank alcohol. He amused himself with dogs and the monkeys. So, Imam Hussein (A.S.) refused to pay Yazeed homage. Meanwhile, the Kufians were tired of Mu'awiyah's persecution.
Thus, they sent Imam Hussein (A.S.) many letters. In their letters, they asked the Imam to come to save them from Umayyad persecution. The spies told Yazeed about the situation in Kufa. Yazeed had a spiteful Christian doctor called Sergon. He asked the advice of the doctor. Sergon advised him to appoint Ubaidullah bin Zyyad a ruler over Kufa.
Many companions of Imam Ali (A.S.) supported Imam Hussein (A.S.). Many Muslims supported him too. Ubaidullah bin Zyyad arrived in Kufa. He began arresting and imprisoning Imam Hussein's supporters.
Maitham, al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafy, and Abdullah bin al-Harith were in the same prison. Imam Hussein (A.S.) died a martyr for Islam. The prisoners felt pain for him. Al-Mukhtar said to his two friends: "Be ready to meet Allah! After Imam Hussein's killing, Ubaidullah bin Zyyad will kill the Imam's supporters."
Abdullah bin al-Harith said:
"Yes, he will kill us sooner or later."
"No, he won't kill you. My dear Imam Ali (A.S.) has told me that you (al-Mukhtar) will get revenge of Imam Hussein's killers. And you will kick Ubaidullah's head with your foot."
Then Maitham said to Abdullah bin al-Harith:
"You'll rule Basra."
Faith Maitham deeply believed in Allah. He was not afraid of the unjust. People were afraid of bin Zyyad. They shook with fear when they saw him. But Maitham did not pay attention to him. He knew that Ubaidullah's death was certain.
He knew that the unjust would not stay alive forever. Mu'awiyah and his son Yazeed prevented people from loving Imam Ali (A.S.). The police arrested and killed the Imam's companions. Imam Ali (A.S.) had told his companions about the Umayyad police.
One day he said to Maitham:
"The Umayyads will order you to disown me. Will you do that"? Maitham said
Maitham thought that to disown Imam Ali (A.S.) meant to disown Islam. And to disown Islam meant to disown Allah. The Imam said: "Surely, you'll be killed."
"I'll be patient! Death is little for Allah."
The Imam said:
"You'll be with me in the Paradise."
Ubaidullah bin Zyyad ordered the police to bring Maitham. He said to him:
"I've heard that you're a companion of Ali's."
Ubaidullah bin Zyyad said to Maitham:
"Will you disown him"?
"By Allah, Imam Ali (A.S.) has told me that you will kill me! He has told me that you will cut my hands, legs, and tongue."
Ubaidullah bin Zyyad angrily said:
"Your Imam is a liar."
Maitham jeered at that foolish person (Ubaidullah bin Zyyad). Ubaidullah bin Zyyad ordered the police to tie Maitham to the date palm trunk near the house of Amru bin Huraith. Besides, he ordered them to cut off his hands and legs.
Maitham was tied to the date palm trunk. Amru bin Huraith saw him. Amru remembered Maitham's words:
"I'll be you neighbour. Treat me kindly."
So, Amru bin Huraith ordered one of his daughters to sweep the ground around the date palm trunk. He also ordered her to splash it with water. A person looked at Maitham and said:
"Disown Ali to save your soul."
Maitham said with a smile.
"By Allah, this date palm has been created for me! And I've been created for it."
Thus, the people knew the secret of Maitham's visit to the date palm throughout the long years.
Maitham addressed the people:
"People, If you want to hear some information about Ali bin Abu-Talib, then come to me."
The people crowded around Maitham. He began teaching them various kinds of knowledge. The spies told Ubaidullah bin Zyyad about Maitham's words.
Ubaidullah bin Zyyad ordered a policeman to cut off Maitham's tongue.
"Amirul-Momineen has told me about that
Then the policeman cut off Maitham's tongue. Another policeman stabbed him with a sword. Thus this Mujahid's life put out as the candles did!
Maitham did a lot good for the people. The people loved him very much. They wanted to take Maitham's body to bury it, but the police strictly prevented them from approaching it.
One night, seven dates-sellers came. They saw the policeman burning a fire. Two of them sawed the trunk. The seven dates-sellers carried Maitham's body outside Kufa. They buried it at a known place. Then they came back home. Six years passed. Al-Mukhtar announced his revolution in Kufa. His army met Ubaidullah's on Al-Khazir Riverbank.
Ibraheem al-Ashtar could behead Ubaidullah bin Zyyad. Some fighters brought al-Mukhtar Ubaidullah's head. He stood up and kicked Ubaidullah's head. He remembered Maitham's words in the prison:
"Al-Mukhtar, you'll get out of prison. You'll get revenge on Imam Hussein's killers."
Days passed. Imam Hussein's killers parished. People have cursed them throughout history. Today, the visitor leaves the Holy Najaf City. He goes to see Kufa ruins. On the way he sees a beautiful dome. The dome decorates Maitham's shrine