What did the Shiites Muslim do in Karbala?

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In fact, the base of Shiism and Shiites Muslim in the 60s AH was the city of Kufa. Kufa, as the former center of the five-year caliphate of Ali ibn Abi Talib, is a gathering place for Shiites Muslim.

Many Shiites Muslim in Kufa invited Hussain to emigrate and declared that they were ready to revolt against Yazid and the Umayyad rule in Iraq. So, Hussain goes there, trusting the letters of the people of Kufa. But in the area of Karbala, Hussain and his companions were besieged by Obaidullah ibn Ziad’s army, and a bloody incident took place in Karbala. Now, the question is how weak or disrupted the people of Kufa were when they left Hussain alone in Karbala, and except for a few people like Habib ibn Mazahir and Muslim ibn Awsajeh and a few other ones, no one joined Hussain.

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History of Kufa creation


Kufa was established, one year after the conquest of Ctesiphon in the wars between the Muslims and the Sassanid army, in 17 AH, during the time of Omar, as a military base outside the capital, which was then the city of Medina.

The inhabitants of Kufa were soldiers who took part in the conquest of Ctesiphon. According to a drawing, each of the Arab tribes was given a large plot of land in which they pitched tents, and later, gradually, these tents were turned into brick houses. Each tribe in the center of the district in which they settled had a cemetery for themselves and small mosques to symbolize ….

Now in Kufa, tribes from different parts of the Arabian Peninsula had settled in this city, tribes from the north, south, Taif, etc., who had established a tribal community in Kufa.

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Now the people of the several tribes of Kufa were rapidly changing their political positions based on the benefits of the tribes …. and the decisions were mainly in the benefits of their tribes, and this was a problem for the non-unity of the Kufis. The lack of unity of the Kufa community manifested itself not only in the tribal structure but also in their numerous political aspirations, which in turn contributed to their worldliness and deception. One group of Kufis had foreign ideas and another group called Ashraf more or less allied with the Umayyads. In the meantime, the Shiites Muslim and the lovers of the Ahl al-Bayt were just one group of the people of Kufa, not all of them … and many groups were present on the scene, far from specific political divisions of known thought or belief.

Those who came to the battle of Hussain from Kufa were some greedy people who were looking for spoils, some of them were ordinary people and did not know what to do, and some of them were only motivated by tribalism and as his tribe appeared in Karbala, according to the tribal customs were present there and were subordinate to their chiefs. This political analysis during the time of Imam Hassan in 41 AH, was the same that Hassan was forced to make peace with Mu’awiyah. By studying the political situation of the city of Kufa, we understand that the tribal structure in the Ashura movement was still in place. Another issue that can be seen is that a significant number of letters sent to invite Hussain were written by the Shiites Muslim of Kufa, but also by some of the Ashrafs of this city who thought that with the arrival of Hussain in Kufa and the formation of the Shiite government there, one should not neglect the spoils and the possibilities of that government. After the assassination of Uthman (the third caliph), a term called Shiite or Alawite was used to describe a group of people, especially the inhabitants of Kufa. The term did not actually mean that they were all Shiites, but that they opposed Uthman and those who approved of his assassination. They were a kind of political supporters of the Ali family, who could be told that they were political Shiites. Of course, among such Alawites and Shiites, there were those who, after the establishment of Ali’s rule in Kufa, became deeply acquainted with him in terms of their beliefs, knowing his dignity. But the presence of political Shiites whose identities and distinctions were defined exclusively in opposition to Uthman was greater.

It is obvious that Such seemingly Shiite people, due to political pressure and threats, according to someone like Obaidullah Ibn Ziad, approach the political thought of the day, that is, the Umayyad thought, some of them even became members of the Umayyads’ sinister and bloody intentions and plans about Hussain.

How Obaidullah ibn Ziad dominated Kufa

After Mu’awiyah’s death and Yazid ascended the caliphate, Hussain renounced allegiance to him and emigrated to Mecca to protest. When the people and Shiites Muslim of Kufa became aware of this, they took full advantage of the weakness of the Umayyad governor of Kufa, Nu’man ibn Bashir, and wrote a letter to Hussain inviting him to emigrate to Kufa and take responsibility for the Kufi rule against the government of the time.

In response to this very important change and the invitation of the people of Kufa to Hussain, Yazid, who was deeply disturbed by the people of this city and saw that Kufa was lost, called Obaidullah ibn Ziad, the Umayyad governor of Basra, who was a bloodthirsty and cunning man and appointed as governor of Kufa.

Obaidullah ibn Ziad took advantage of the weaknesses and tribal system to the detriment of Hussain’s movement by entering Kufa and pursuing a violent policy and threatening the people of this city. Yazid also asked Obaidullah to kill Hussain if he did not agree to allegiance. Obaidullah went to the mosque in his first act and in a sermon full of threats told the people that Yazid had entrusted me with the leadership of your city and ordered me to be fair to the oppressed and to forgive the deprived and to treat those who obey like a kind father. But I will answer those who oppose and break the covenant with the sword.

By doing so, Obaidullah threatened the people and ordered all the tribes, personalities and nobles of the city of Kufa to be identified one by one, and gradually summoned them and promised them to obey him. He made the decision about those who did not come to him: “If someone does not come and prove his loyalty, it is permissible for us to shed his blood and confiscate his property. “Any person who disobeys any tribe will be killed in the same tribe and hanged in front of his house.”

In any case, Ibn Ziad suppressed the Kufis’ support for Hussain with all his might. Obaidullah and his agents spread rumors in the city that the Sham army was moving towards Kufa.

These rumors had such an effect on the people that some historians write that they frightened each other and announced to each other that they were terrified of the Sham expeditionary corps.

In addition to threats, bribery was also used by Ibn Ziad Ibn Ziad told the people of Kufa: “Yazid sent me four thousand dinars and two hundred thousand dirhams to be distributed among you and to take you out to fight Hussain’s army. The dependence of the people on financial donations could incite some of them in Karbala against Hussain.

Oppressed Hussain shrine

What did the Shiites Muslim do with the arrival of Obaidullah Ibn Ziad in Kufa?

Ordinary Shiites Muslim , who constituted a significant part of the people of Kufa, although they were very interested in the Ahl al-Bayt, soon withdrew their allegiance to Muslim with the arrival of Obaidullah. In the face of Ibn Ziad’s tyranny, even if one of the chiefs objected, the members of his tribe did not dare to support him. For example, when Haniyeh ibn Arwa was arrested, he was the head of the Bani Murad tribe, and according to historians, “four thousand horsemen and eight thousand infantry” supported him. If Bani Murad’s allies and allies had been added to the Kanda tribe, there would have been a total of 30,000. However, when he was arrested and dragged to the ground in the market, he was less likely to be heard for his help. Shortly afterwards, he was martyred and no one objected! On the other hand, when Ibn Ziad could persuade a tribal leader to join Omar Sa’d’s army and fight Hussain by threatening or tempting him, the members of that tribe, who were mentally weak and did not have the power to analyze events, were generally temperamental. Greedy, and hoping to win the spoils of war, they went to war with Hussain.

When Hussain stopped in Karbala, speaking to the people of Kufa, Ibn Ziad asked them to go to Karbala. He threatened: “From today, any man who violates the army will be held accountable (by a stranger).” This meant that his punishment was murder. It was at this time that all the swords were moved against Hussain, while one can be sure that the people were not satisfied with this, there were so many. “We now understand this word better in describing the people of Kufa, who said to Hussain, ‘The hearts of the people are with you, but their sword is with the Umayyads.” People could not have gone to Karbala in those circumstances, but not going was tantamount to being killed.

The Shiites Muslim had two options: either to join Hussain (which was very difficult with the threats they made) or to flee Kufa and Karbala. According to some reports, the people of Kufa who were forcibly sent to Karbala to fight Hussain fled halfway, and many of them did not show up in Karbala. “A commander was sent with a thousand men, but when he arrived in Karbala, he was accompanied by three hundred or four hundred or even fewer,” Blazeri wrote.

n addition to escaping, a group tried to join Hussain in support of him. But none of them anticipated war and martyrdom to Hussain, and for this reason, they did not rush to join the convoy of that Imam, and only certain people thought and joined Hussain from the very beginning. Nafi ‘ibn Hilal Moradi,’ Umar ibn Khalid Sa’idawi, Sa’d from Mawlawi ‘Umar ibn Khalid, and Majma’ ibn Abdullah al-‘Azi from the Madhhaj tribe joined Hussain. Near the Day of Ashura, Muslim Ibn Awsajeh and Habib Ibn Mazahir reached Hussain.

Arrest of some elders of Kufa at the time of Ashura

During the siege of Kufa and the pressure on the Shiites, Obaidullah ibn Ziad killed or imprisoned many of the most prominent Shiites Muslim of Kufa. Mukhtar Ibn Abu Ubayd al-Saghafi, who had gone out of Kufa to gather forces on the day of Muslim’s killing, was also arrested when Mukhtar returned to Kufa, and Ibn Ziad intended to kill him, who he saved through the mediation of Amr ibn Harith and imprisoned until the end of Hussain’s uprising. But there were people like Suleiman ibn Surd Khazaei who were supporters of Ali and Hassan, but did not help Hussain during the Ashura uprising, but later launched the Tawabin movement …

Summary of why the Shiites Muslim were not in Karbala

Many Shiite dignitaries could not attend this holy uprising and help Hussain because they were imprisoned or martyred before the Karbala incident. Many of them, confused by the tyranny of Obaidullah ibn Ziad in Kufa and the pressures, in the absence of a powerful leadership that could organize them, made a very serious and fatal calculation error in calculating the danger that threatened Hussain. But, many of them later felt guilty about this mistake and martyred during the Tawabin uprising.

From the day after the Ashura uprising, later the Shiites revolted in different stages … so that this process continued until the end of the Umayyad rule and all the insurgents revolted against Hussain’s blood, which can be called Mukhtar Saghafi uprising, Tawabin uprising, uprising Ibn Abbas, and … pointed out.

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