By: Ammar Abdullah

The tragic event of Karbala, in which members of the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (sawa) family along with their noble companions were massacred, will always be remembered by many sincere and truth-seeking believers.

This event which is commemorated annually in the first 10 days of Muharram by Muslims globally is also unfortunately pushed aside by many Muslims in favour of upholding a tradition that is in contrast with the memory of this tragedy. A tradition which only serves to steer people away from what happened at Karbala and has its origin with the Banu Umayya.

The chain of events that led to the martyrdom of those Noble Souls on the Plains of Karbala really began with the machinations of one individual, Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufiyaan and included events such as the Battle of the Camel, the Battle of Siffeen and the bogus arbitration that followed, as well as the Battle of Nahrawan, the breaking of the agreement held between Imam Hasan (a.s) and Muawiya and the subsequent plot to have him poisoned, which ultimately led to the appointment of Yazid ibn Muayiwa as Caliph of Islam.

However, as significant as this event is in the History of Islam, the subsequent events that took place after the martyrdom of our beloved Imam Husain (a.s) are just as important. The aftermath of Karbala displayed the cowardice and oppression Yazid and Banu Umayya had toward the Family of the Prophet (sawa) and against the people of Makkah and Medina.

What follows is a very brief glimpse of some events that took place after the Battle of Karbala:


After the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s), his tents and that of his womenfolk and companions were ransacked. All belongings were taken as well as his injured horse.

Shimar bin Zil Jawshan saw that Ali bin Husain (a.), who was sick at that time, was also in one of the tents. He looked much younger in appearance than he actually was. When Shimar saw him he said, “Kill him also.”

Humaid bin Muslim stopped him and said “Are you trying to kill little children as well?” When he heard this he stopped himself from killing Ali. This is the same Ali who is well known as Zain-ul- ‘Abidin.

Ali ibn Husain (a.s) and all the women were taken into custody. Amongst those women who survived were Rubab the wife of Imam Husain (a.s) as well as Zainab ibn Husain (a.s).


Word was sent to Ibn Ziyad that the blessed head of Imam Husain (a.s) had been cut off. Eventually the severed head of Imam Husain (a.s) was presented to the governor Ibn Ziyad, who then proceeded to tap the blessed teeth of the Imam (AS) with a stick.

Zaid bin al-‘Arqam, a companion of our Prophet (sawa) was present at the governor’s house and objected to this terrible display.

Soon the captured survivors arrived in Kufa and were taken to the governor. Ibn Ziyad at that time did not even know who Sayyida Zainab (a.s) was. Ibn Ziyad further taunted the remaining survivors and boasted of his apparent victory over Husain (a.s).


Ibn Ziyad ordered that the heads of Imam Husain (a.s) and some of those who were martyred should be placed on top of long spears and taken around the streets of Kufa so everybody could see what had happened to the people who turned against the government.

The next day he called all the women, Zain-ul-‘Abidin (a.s) and two of their servants and told them to mount the camel’s bare backs and shackled everyone. He even made the women remove their veils from their faces so that the people could see them, and sent them all to Yazid ibn Muawiya.

Before they all arrived there, Ibn Ziyad had sent the head of Imam Husain (a.s), so that Yazid could see for himself that he had obeyed his commands.

When the captured finally arrived in Syria they were taken to the palace of Yazid. Imam Husain’s (a.s) head, which was still on a spear, and all the other heads which were on platters were brought before Yazid. When the daughters of Imam Husain (a.s) saw their father’s head they could not hold back and screamed out and cried.

Sayyida Zainab (a.s) made an inspiring and bold speech against Yazid to which he had little response. After a few days in Syria, the captured were taken back to Madina.


The people of Madina had heard of the tragedy of Karbala and the transgression of Ibn Ziyad and Yazid and decided to stand up against them. When Muslim bin Uqbah reached Madina, he blocked all the entrances into the city and camped outside, so that nobody could come to help the people of Madina.

He then sent a messenger to inform the people of Madina that if within three days they had not agreed to the terms of the Yazid, he would prepare to go to war with them, and he would take all their possessions.


When the people of Madina received the message they replied that they were prepared to go to war. Upon hearing the response of the people of Madina, Muslim bin ‘Uqbah attacked Madina with his army and martyred many people.

Many people fled and others hid in their houses. He ordered his men to take all the possessions of the people of Madina. They raped over a 1000 women. A group of the companions of the Holy Prophet (sawa) were also martyred.

They tied their horses in Masjid-al-Nabawi and allowed them to urinate and defecate inside it. For three days there was no call for prayers and congregational prayers were not held inside the masjid.

Muslim bin ‘Uqbah forced everyone to pledge allegiance to Yazid. If anyone declined he had them killed. This tragic event took place during 63 Hijra.


Muslim bin ‘Uqbah gathered his army and ordered them to go to Makkah. When the pious people of Madina found that the Syrians had gone to Makkah to make war with them, they also left in order to assist the people of Makkah. Similarly, people from cities surrounding Makkah also came to help them.

Abdullah bin Zubair gathered the people of Makkah and came outside the city, so that he could fight the Syrians. The war started and a lot of people from both sides died. The Syrians attacked and the Makkans started to disperse, running from the enemy.

For the next three months the war carried on during Muharram and Safar and in the month of Rabi-ul-Awwal, the Syrians started to throw fire balls into Makkah aiming at the Ka’bah so that the people of Makkah who were with Abdullah bin Zubair may be killed. Some of the fireballs hit the Ka’bah, burning the cloth covering it and damaging the walls and roof. The fighting was still continuing in the month of Rabi-ul- Awwal when the news came that Yazid had died.

Abdullah bin Zubair was the first to find out. He asked the Syrians, “Who are you fighting for? Your King has died.” They did not believe him but when they eventually found out that he had died, they left Makkah and went back to Syria, and so the war ended.