Aun and Muhammad were the sons of Bibi Zainab. They had not accompanied Bibi Zainab when she left Madina with Imam Husayn (A.S.) Just before Imam Husayn started his journey from Mecca, Hazrat Abdullah ibn Ja’far brought his two sons to Mecca and handing them over to Imam Husayn said, “Ya Imam, since you have decided to go and will not allow me to come with you, please take my two sons with you. Aun will represent his maternal grandfather Hazrat Ali (A.S.) and the other will represent his paternal grandfather Hazrat Ja’far al-Tayyaar.”
Habeeb Ibn Mazahir was about the same age as Imam Husayn. They were childhood friends. When Hazrat Ali moved the capital to Kufa, Habeeb also moved to Kufa. He stayed on in Kufa and became a prominent citizen. He was a devout Shiah. The first letter which Imam Husayn received inviting him to Kufa was signed by Habeeb Ibn Mazahir. After Hazrat Muslim and Hazrat Hani Bin Urwah were killed by Ibn Ziyaad, Kufa was sealed off. No one could get in or out of the city without the Governor’s permission.
Hazrat Hurr bin Yazid at-Tamimi al-Yarbu’i was a career officer in the Kufa army. When Husayn bin Numayr, the commander at al-Qadisiya, learnt that Imam Husayn and his entourage were getting very close to Kufa he dispatched Hurr with a detachment of 1,000 men to intercept Imam.
This is the story of a young bride and a young bridegroom who were at Karbala’. They had been married only two months. The bridegroom was his mother’s only child.
After his marriage the mother decided to go for Hajj and take the son and his bride. They left Kufa for Mecca in the month of Shawwaal.
Among those who were martyred at Karbala’ were sixteen slaves or freed slaves. Most of them were from Abyssinia, the present day Ethiopia. Some of them belonged to Imam Husayn’s family and others to the companions of Imam who remained with him.
The following excerpt from the last will and testament of the Late Ayatullah Ruhullah Khumayni (A.R.) is most touching and relevant: “The memory of this great epic event (Ashura) must be kept alive. Remember, the cries of damnation and all the curses that are rightfully raised against the cruelty of the Bani Umayyayah caliphs towards the Holy Imams, are reflected in the heroic protests against cruel despots by the nations through the centuries.
At the same time as Yazid sent Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad as his governor to Kufa to kill Hazrat Muslim and establish a reign of terror there, he sent his agents to Mecca to murder Imam Husayn during the Hajj season in such a way that no one would suspect him of having got the Imam killed.
After saying good-bye to the graves of his grand-father and his mother, Imam Husayn went to Bibi Zainab’s house. Bibi Zainab was Imam’s sister and was married to their cousin Hazrat Abdullah ibn Ja’far ibn Abu Taalib. After exchanging greetings with Hazrat Abdullah, Imam Husayn advised his cousin of what had happened and what he had decided. Hazrat Abdullah tried to persuade Imam not to leave Madina but Imam insisted that it was the only way to save Islam. He then requested Hazrat Abdullah to permit Bibi Zainab to accompany him. Hazrat Abdullah looked at his wife and said, “Bismillah!” Bibi Zainab said farewell to her husband and her sons Aun and Muhammad. The brother and sister walked to Imam’s house.
On 20th Rajab in 60 Hijra, Muawiya died. For more than twenty years the tyrant had ruled over Muslims. He was the son of Abu Sufyan and Hinda who had left no stone unturned in persecuting the Holy Prophet. Abu Sufyan became a Muslim only after he was convinced that Mecca would surrender to the Prophet. His son Muawiya, however, refused to accept Islam and went into exile in Yemen. It was only when he saw the whole of Arabia become Muslim that Muawiya was left with no alternative but to accept Islam.
Over one thousand three hundred and fifty years ago, on the 10th of Muharram, just before ‘asr, a man stood on a sand-dune at Karbala’. He was bleeding from several wounds on his body. He had lost everything. Since early morning he had carried several dead bodies into his camp. He had even buried his infant child.