The Day of Ashura – 10 October 680 AD 

“I see death as nothing but happiness while living with the oppressors is nothing but annoyance.” – Imam Husayn

After the morning prayer, the Imam gave a speech to his companions to be patient. Then he prayed: “O God, you are my supporter in every unfortunate event.”

Then he ordered to dig trenches around the tents and to fill them with bushes so that they could set it on fire to prevent the enemies from attacking them from behind.

After the sunrise, the Imam went to the Kufa army and recited a sermon for them. He reminded them of his status and virtues and that of his father and brother and that the Kufis wrote letters to him that they will support him. However, the Kufis denied it. The speech lasted approximately half an hour. One of the leaders of the opposite front asked the Imam why he would just not accept the orders and rulings of Ibn Ziad and would so save them from the stigma of confronting the son of the Prophet? Here, the Imam said one of his famous sentences: “… he has forced me to choose between being killed and being accepted, and accepting humiliation. Humiliation is far from us.”

After the Imam’s speech, some of his companions said similar aspects to the Kufi army. Then Imam Husayn called on the army to think about the consequences of their actions and said: “Is there someone who will support me?”

After this sentence, some soldiers started to doubt and changed their site, including Hur. Some of the others also fled while seeing the situation escalating to war.

The Kufa army finally agreed to start the war and shot the first arrow, then all the soldiers started to shoot their arrows. A lot of companions already died in this first shooting.

Then the melee started. During these attacks, Imam Husayn ‌ordered his companions to leave the field and fight one by one. Some of the companions were directly martyred in front of Imam Husayn’s eyes.

When one of the companions, named Muslim Ibn Awsajeh, was martyred another companion Habib went to his bedside and said: “I wish I could carry out your will.” Then Muslim pointed to Imam Husayn and answered: “My will is this man.”

The Kufa army was asked to stop the war for the noon prayer but they did not accept and continued to fight.

So the Imam and some of his companions prayed while a group of his companions continued to defend themselves. A couple of them stood around the Imam to intercept and resist the arrows.

In the end, Imam Husayn and his beloved brother Abbas were left alone, all the ones who were able to fight, fought, and died. Abbas asked for permission to go to the battlefield and to fight, but the Imam commissioned him to deliver water to the women and children in the tents first. There was a distance to the river and while the brave Abbas tried to bring them water, he was surrounded by the enemy, his hands were cut off and he was hit on the head so he fell from the horse to the ground. Imam Husayn rushed to his brother’s dismembered body. The enemy retreated slightly. Then the Imam cried and said: “Now my back is broken.”

Imam Husayn returned to the tents to say goodbye. He took his infant Ali Asghar to the battlefield to ask the soldiers for some water for the baby, but he was also killed cruelly by an arrow.

When Imam went to the battlefield to fight, only a few people were willing to confront him. Some shot arrows and some threw spears from the distance. “Shimr” and ten more soldiers came to confront with the Imam and killed him mercilessly. After his martyrdom, 33 spear wounds and 34 sword wounds were counted on his blessed body.

When he was at the point of death the people in the tents noticed the noise of his horse Zul-Jannah and ran out of the tents. A child named Abdullah ran towards the battlefield into the arms of Imam Husayn. Even he was killed next to his uncle.

About 4 pm “Shimr” shouted and commissioned to kill the Imam finally and meanwhile one of the soldiers attacked and plunged his spear into the heart of Imam Husayn…

After the martyrdom of the Imam, some people even looted his clothes and took whatever they could from the Imam and his dead companions.

It was near sunset when the Imam’s head was cut off and taken to Ibn Ziad. Then, according to the orders of Omar Sa’d, they run horses over the holy body of the Imam and his companions to break their bones.

This is how the story of the sad day of Ashura ends.

Translated and compiled by N. Bayani