Hazrat Ali Akbar
Hazrat Ali Akbar was the son of Imam Husayn. He was a handsome young man of eighteen. His mothers’ name was Umm al-Laila. He was also a brave soldier. He had been taught fencing and archery by Hazrat Abbas. He so much resembled the Holy Prophet that Imam Husayn was often heard to say: “whenever I remember the Holy Prophet I look at Akbar”.
Hazrat Ali Akbar had a loud beautiful voice. It was he who always recited adhaan. On the morning of Ashura day Hazrat Ali Akbar recited adhaan. Every one knew that it was the last time they would hear Hazrat Ali Akbar’s adhaan. Imam Husayn began to weep when Hazrat Ali Akbar began his Adhaan. The ladies could also be heard crying in their tents.
After Zuhr prayers Hazrat Ali Akbar stood in front of Imam Husayn. He said, “Father I request for permission to go and fight the enemies of Islam.” Imam looked at his son lovingly. He said, “Akbar, you have my permission. May Allah be with you! But Akbar, you know how much your mother, sisters and aunts love you. Go and say farewell to them.”Ali Akbar went into the tent of his mother. Every time he wanted to come out of the tent the mother, aunts and sisters would pull his cloak and say, “O Akbar, How can we live without you!” Finally Imam Husayn had to go in and plead with all to let Hazrat Ali Akbar go.
Imam helped his youthful son to mount the horse. As Akbar began to the ride towards the battlefield, he heard foot steps behind. He looked back and saw his father. He said, “Father, we have said good-bye. Why are you walking behind him.” Husayn replied, “My son, had you been a father you would surely have understood!!”
Hazrat Ali Akbar fought very bravely. No one dared come close to him in single combat after he had killed many well known warriors. Umar Sa’ad ordered his soldiers to finish off the young man saying, “When he dies, Husayn will not want to live! Ali Akbar is the life of Husayn.” While a few soldiers attacked Hazrat Ali Akbar another slowly crept up to him and threw a spear at his chest with such ferocity that it penetrated Akbar chest and he felt faint. As he was falling from his horse, he cried out.”O Father, my last salaams to you!” As he hit the ground the spear broke but the blade remained lodged in Akbar’s chest.
When our Imam heard Akbar’s salaam he looked at Furaat where Hazrat Abbas lay and said, ‘Abbas! Now that this brother of yours needs you most, where have you gone?’ With all his strength sapped by the anguish in Akbar’s voice, Husayn began to walk towards the battle-field.
Let us pause briefly to remind ourselves of an incident in the seventh Hijrah. The Jews of Khaibar had revolted against the Holy Prophet. The Prophet and the Muslims of Madina laid a siege on Khaibar. They surrounded the fortress in which the Jews had taken shelter. The Muslims could not get victory unless they entered the fortress. There was a moat surrounding the fortress. Hazrat Ali had been unable to accompany the Muslims due to his illness. Three days passed and the Muslims could not find any solution. Even if they got across the moat they would face the famous gates of the fortress. These were made of steel, and it is said that at least twenty men were needed to push open or close each gate.
On the third day, after the morning prayers, the Prophet summoned Ali. Hazrat Ali immediately responded. He jumped his horse over the moat and with one hand swung open both the gates of the fortress with such force that they broke off their hinges. He carried them and put them across the moat to form a bridge. The Muslims rode into the fortress and conquered Khaibar.
Now let us go back to Karbala’. When Imam Husayn got to where Akbar lay he took him in his arms. Akbar had his right hand on the chest. He placed his left arm over the shoulder of his father. Husayn said “Akbar, why do you embrace me with one arm only?” Akbar would not reply. Husayn tried to move Akbar hand. Akbar resisted. Imam gently moved the hand. Then he saw it! He saw the blade of the spear. Imam Husayn laid Hazrat Ali Akbar on the ground and sitting on his knees he put both his hands on the blade of the spear. He then looked at Najaf, and cried out, “Father, I too have come to my Khaibar!” He pulled out the blade. Jibraeel cried out “Marhaba! Marhaba!” Akbar took a deep sigh and then lay still.