Sermon of Imam Hussain (asws) on the Eve of Ashura
Imam Husain (asws) gathered his companions at night. Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (asws) says that: I went closer to them so as to hear what they said, and at that time I was unwell. I heard Imam (as) telling his companions that,
“I glorify Allah with the best glorification, and praise him in times of prosperity as well as misfortunes. O Allah! I praise You that You have likened Prophethood to be bestowed in our family, You taught us the Qur’an thus making us intellectuals in Religion, and conferred upon us the faculty of hearing and foresight and an enlightened heart. Thus enter us among the fold of your grateful servants. Now then! I have not known any companion who are more faithful and devout than you, nor have I known any family who is more considerate, affectionate, favorable, and amiable than my family.
Thus may Allah reward you well on my behalf. And I presume that the enemy will not spare even a single day, and I permit all of you to go away freely while I validate this for you. I lift up from you the responsibility of the allegiance and oath (which you have swear at my hands). The darkness of the night has enveloped you, thus free yourself from the whirlpool (hiding) in the waves of darkness. Then each of you may catch hold of the hand of each of my family members and disperse into the villages and cities, until Allah bestows relief upon you. For these people desire me only, and after having laid their hands upon me, they shall not pursue anyone else.”
Hearing this his brothers, sons, nephews and the sons of Abdullah bin Ja’far said, “We shall never do this so as to remain alive after you. May Allah never cause this to happen.” Hazrat Abbas (as) bin Ali (asws) preceded in the declaration and others followed suit.
Then Imam (asws) turned towards the sons of Aqeel bin Abi Talib (as) and said, “The sacrifice of Muslim is sufficient for you, hence I permit you to go away.”
They replied, “Glory be to Allah! What will the people say? They will say that we have forsaken our chief, master and a cousin who was a best cousin. And that we did not shoot arrows alongside him, thrust spears and did not strike our swords besides him, and we would not know what to do (regarding this accusation). By Allah! We shall never ever do this. In fact we shall sacrifice our lives, wealth and our family for you. We shall fight alongside you until we reach the fate besides you. May life be ugly after you (if we remain alive).”
Then Muslim bin Ausaja arose and said, “Shall we forsake you? Then when we go to the presence of the Almighty, what excuse shall we present to Him regarding the fulfillment of your rights? No, By Allah! I shall pierce this lance of mine in the hearts of the enemies, and shall strike them with my sword until its hilt remains in my hands, and if no weapon remains with me to fight with them, I shall attack them with stones. By Allah! We shall not lift our hands off you, until it is proved to Allah that we have honored the regard of the Prophet in respect of you. By Allah! Even if I know that I shall be killed and then made to rise again and then killed and burnt and my ashes be scattered around, and this shall happen seventy times, even then I shall not forsake you until I am killed in your obedience. Then how should I forsake this when I know that death is to come only once, after which a great blessing awaits me.”
Then Zuhayr bin Qayn arose and said, “By Allah! I hold dear that I should be killed then made to arise and again killed, and this should happen to me a thousand times, and thus Allah, the Mighty, the Sublime, may defend you and your family from being killed.”
Then all the other companions unanimously repeated the same. They said, “By Allah! We shall not abandon you; in fact our lives shall be sacrificed for your life. We shall defend you with our necks, faces and hands. Then we all shall die while having performed our duty.”
The following couplet best suits their discourses: “O my Master! Even if the throne of my greatness reaches the empyrean, I shall remain your servant and a beggar at your door, if I lift my heart and its love from you, then whom should I love and where should I take my heart”? May Allah reward them favorably with respect to Imam Husain (asws) Then Imam Husain (asws) returned back to his tent.
Qutubuddin Rawandi relates from Abu Hamza Sumali that Imam Ali Zainul Abedeen (asws) said that I was along with my father (Imam Husain) on the night preceding his martyrdom. Then he addressed his companions thus,
“Consider this night to be armor for yourselves, for these people desire me and after having killed me they will not turn towards you, while you are pardoned and are capable.”
They replied, “By Allah! This shall never ever happen.” Imam said, “All of you will be killed tomorrow and no one will be spared.”
They replied, “Praise be to Allah who has bestowed grace upon us to be martyred along with you.” Then Imam prayed for them and told them to lift up their heads. They did so and saw their status in Paradise, and Imam (asws) showed them one after the other their places therein. Thus every one was forwarding his face and chest facing the swords, so as to enter the status in Paradise.
It is related in the Amali of Shaikh Sadooq from Imam Ja’far as Sadiq (asws), who says that after the discourse of the Imam (asws) with his companions, he ordered a trench to be dug around his army. The trench was dug and filled with firewood. Then Imam ordered his son Ali Akbar (as) to fetch water, accompanied by thirty horsemen and twenty-foot soldiers, while they were in the state of severe fright and Imam (asws) was reciting the following couplet:
“Time, shame on you as a friend, at the day’s dawning and the sun’s setting, how many a companion or seeker will be a corpse, time will not be satisfied with any substitute, the matter will rest with the Mighty One, and every living creature will have to journey along my path.”