Hazrat Qasim was the youngest son of Imam Hassan (A.S.). Hazrat Qasim was born in 47 A.H. three years before his father was martyred. When Imam Husayn prepared to leave Madina in the month of Rajab 60 A.H. Hazrat Qasim mother Umme al-Farwa asked Imam Husayn to take her and Hazrat Qasim with him. Imam Husayn agreed.
Hazrat Qasim, although only 13 years old, had, like his cousins Aun and Muhammad, learnt fencing from Hazrat Abbas and Hazrat Ali Akbar. Hazrat Abbas was very fond of Hazrat Qasim.
On the night before Ashura when Imam Husayn was passing by Umm al-Farwa’s tent he heard Hazrat Qasim say to his mother, “Mother, tomorrow Uncle Abbas, Ali Akbar and I will defend Imam Husayn. Mother, if I get killed please do not weep for me.” Umm al-Farwa replied, “My son although I dearly love you, I shall not weep for you. Nothing will make me prouder than to see my son give his life for Islam.” When Imam Husayn heard this conversation he prayed to Allah to bless Hazrat Qasim and Umm al-Farwa.
On Ashura day after Aun and Muhammad had fallen in the battlefield, Hazrat Qasim came to Imam Husayn and begged for permission to go and fight. Twice Imam Husayn refused saying “Qasim you are young and your mother’s only son.” Hazrat Qasim was very disappointed. He went to his mother. When she saw her son so disappointed she remembered that just before he died, Imam Hassan had written a letter, given it to Umm al-Farwa saying, “If ever you find Qasim in difficulty, give him this letter.” She gave Hazrat Qasim the letter. In the letter it was written, “My son Qasim, a day will come when my brother Husayn will be facing an enemy army of tens of thousands. That will be the day when Islam will need to be saved by sacrifice. You must represent me on that day.”
Hazrat Qasim read the letter. He smiled. He rushed to Imam and gave him the letter. After reading the letter Imam Husayn said, “O my brother’s son, how can I stop you from doing what your father wanted you to do. Bismillah, go. Allah be with you.”
Imam Husayn tied Imam Hassan’s turban on the head of Hazrat Qasim and helped him mount his horse. As Hazrat Qasim was riding out, Imam Husayn said “Inna Lilla-hi Wa Inna Ilai-hi Raji’oon.” Hazrat Qasim said “O my uncle – Do not be upset. I do not fear death. Death for Islam will be sweeter for me than honey.” Hazrat Qasim came to the battle field. He was a very handsome boy. When the enemy saw him, they began to murmur, “How can we kill someone whose face is shining like moon?”
In a loud and a clear voice Hazrat Qasim introduced himself and cried out a challenge for single combat. He killed several famous warriors who came forward.
Every time he felled an enemy Hazrat Qasim would stand on his stirrups, look behind and wave to Hazrat Abbas, just as a pupil would seek approval of his teacher on any assignment, Hazrat Abbas would proudly wave back. When the enemy saw his bravery and realized that they could not possibly over power him in single combats, they came from behind and one of them hit Hazrat Qasim on the head with a sword.
Hazrat Qasim tried to go on fighting but alas he was so young and he was so very thirsty! He fell from his horse crying out, “ya ammaho, accept my last salaams.” Imam Husayn and Hazrat Abbas rode out. The soldiers tried to stop them, when finally they came to where Hazrat Qasim had fallen they saw a dreadful sight!! Hazrat Qasim’s body had been trampled by the horses of the soldiers who had tried to stop Imam Husayn and Hazrat Abbas. Hazrat Abbas was so angry when he saw this that he began to shake with fury. He took out his sword and wanted to attack the enemy. Imam Husayn restrained him saying “Abbas, have patience, dear brother. Do not give them an excuse for saying that we attacked them first.”
Was Hazrat Qasim body carried to the camp to his mother? This is not very clear. It is reported, however, that Imam Husayn took off his abaa, spread it on to the ground, and gathered the pieces from the ground as one gathers flowers from a garden!