“Is there none who would hasten to assist us for the sake of God? Is there none who would defend the Household of the Prophet”?

These were the words that Hurr heard on the Day of Ashura from Imam Husain (peace be on him) and which were the final straw for him to change sides.

In one of the previous posts we spoke about Hurr. Just to give a recap, he was one of the commanders of Yazid’s army who stopped Imam Husain (peace be on him) from entering Kufa as he sought to take him to the governor of Kufa himself.

Both in pre-Islamic period and after it, his family were from the elite. He was one of the best warriors of Kufa. He was appointed as one of the commanders of ‘Ubayd Allah’s Army to confront Imam Husain.[1]

Hurr and Imam Husain’s Encounter

When the Imam met Hurr on his way to Kufa, it was a hot day and the Imam’s caravan had filled their water skins previously. The army of Hurr was thirsty and, therefore, the Imam ordered his companions to quench the thirst of not only the members of his enemy’s army but also their mounts. Such was the perfection and kindness of the Imam!

Hurr wanted to take the Imam into Kufa and turn him over to the governor. The Imam refused to accompany him and sought to return to Madina. However, Hurr once again stopped him as he had been ordered not to leave him until he was captured. As a result, the Imam set up camp on the burning plains of Karbala which would be his place of martyrdom.[2]

The Day of Ashura and Hurr’s Repentance

One the day of Ashura, the Imam gave a speech in the morning, addressing the army of Yazid. He reminded them of their letters pleading with him to come and help and their allegiance to him and advised them not to fight him. He reminded them of his lineage and asked them if he had ever wronged them. At one point in the sermon, however, he said that if they broke their promises to him, he wouldn’t be surprised as they had done the same to his father Ali (peace be on him) and his brother Hasan (peace be on him).[3]

When Hurr saw that the army was determined to fight Imam Husain, he turned to the commander of the army and asked him: “O Umar! Then will you really fight this man”? He replied, “Yes, by Allah! The battle, which if goes smoothly, will result in the rolling of heads and cutting off the hands.” Hurr said, “Then is his proposal unacceptable to you”? Umar replied, “If the situation would have been in my hands, I would certainly have yielded to his request, but your commander will not accept it.”

Hurr separated from the commander and slowly started moving closer to Imam Husain. Seeing this one of the soldiers asked him, “O son of Yazid! What do you intend? Do you intend to lay siege”? Hurr did not answer him but was shivering. Muhajir said, “Verily your state seems dubious. I have never ever seen you in any battle in a similar state in which you are now. If I would have been ques­tioned as to who is the most valorous among the Kufans, I would not hesi­tate to take your name. What is this state I presently see you in”? Hurr replied, “I find myself between Paradise and hell. And by Allah! I shall not exalt anything else over Paradise, even if I be cut into pieces or burnt.” Then Hurr struck his horse and turned to go towards Imam Husain.[4]

Hurr then turned his horse towards the camp of Imam Husain with his hands over his head and was saying: O God I have turned back to you and repent, accept my repentance, as I have brought fear and anxiety to the hearts of your friends and the progeny of the Holy Prophet.

When he reached the Imam, he said to him: May I be sacrificed for you! I am the one who stopped you from returning to Madina and made things hard for you. By God! I never thought this would happen; that these people would deal with you thus. I have repented to God; do you think my repentance has been accepted?

The Imam said to him: Yes, God accepts your repentance, come down (from your horse). However, Hurr requested that he stay on it and go fight and be the first from that moment on to be martyred for the Imam. The Imam gave him permission to do so.[5]

Then he stood in front of Imam Husain (a.s.) and said to the army of the enemy,

“O Kufans! May your mothers be deprived of you! You invited the righteous servant of Allah, then when he came to you, you handed him over to the enemy, when you had intended to defend him with your lives? Then now you have begun to fight him so as to kill him. You have taken hold of him and seized his collar, and have surrounded him from all sides so that he may not be able to escape to the vast towns of Allah.

He is now left as a prisoner amongst you, then he cannot benefit himself nor can he ward off the evil from it. Then you have stopped him, along with his women-folk, his children and family, from the waters of Euphrates, which is open for everyone, and the pigs and dogs of Iraq roll therein, while they would perish because of thirst? How badly have you behaved with the Progeny of Muhammad (S) after his death. May Allah not quench your thirst on the day of extreme thirst (Day of Judgment)!”

He fought a brave fight and killed many of the enemies and was ultimately martyred. When they brought his body to the Imam, he cleaned the dust from his face and said to him: You are free (Hurr means free) as your mother named you; you are free in this world and the next.[6]

How fortunate was Hurr to have recognized the truth and chosen to follow it before it was too late and how blessed that he was given a chance to give his life for the Imam and for the truth! He is an eternal beacon of hope for all those who have sinned and done wrong, who reminds us that the doors of repentance and forgiveness are always open.

Compiled by: Rashed

[1] https://en.wikishia.net/view/Al-Hurr_b._Yazid_al-Riyahi.

[2] Mufid, Muhammad b. Muhammad. 1376 AP. Al-Irshad. Edited by Muhammad Baqir Behbudi. Translated by Muhammad Baqir Saidi Khurasani. Tehran: Islamiyyah. Vol. 2, pp. 426-427 & 429 & 433. Retrieved from: https://www.noorlib.ir/View/fa/Book/BookView/Image/30068/1/346.

[3] Ahlul Bayt DILP Team. In Karbala, Imam Husayn’s admonishment. In The Tragedy of Karbala. Chap. 14. Retrieved from: https://www.al-islam.org/the-tragedy-of-karbala-collection-of-texts/in-karbala#imam-husayn-ass-admonishment.

[4] Qummi, Abbas. Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the Heart Rending Tragedy of Karabala. (Aejaz Ali T Bhujwala, Trans.). Retrieved from: https://www.al-islam.org/nafasul-mahmum-relating-heart-rending-tragedy-karbala-shaykh-abbas-qummi/praise-battle-companions#hurr-joins-imam-husayn.

[5] Ibn Tawus, Ali. 1380 AP. Luhūf. (Abul Hasan Mir Abutalebi, Trans.). Research by Fars Tabrizian. Qom: Dalil-i Ma.

pp. 142-143. Retrieved from: https://www.noorlib.ir/View/fa/Book/BookView/Image/35784.

[6] Ibn. Tawus, Ibid.  p. 143.