The First Journey – Madina to Karbala ( via Makkah ) 28th Rajab
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.
When all the men who had accompanied Imam Husayn to the Governor’s palace got back, the ladies came to know about the journey. Hazrat Abbas, Hazrat Ali Akbar, Hazrat Qasim and all the young men got busy with the preparations. Bibi Fatimah Soghra watched. She was lying in bed, too ill even to get up. No one was saying anything about her going. She decided to wait till her father’s return.
Bibi Fatimah Soghra was Imam Husayn’s daughter. She was about eight years old. She lay on bed praying that her father would agree to take her. How could she possibly live alone? How could she survive without Asghar? Ever since he was born she spent all her time next to Asghar’s little bed playing with him. Now he had begun to recognize faces and smiled whenever he saw Soghra. Soon he would be talking and she was anxious to hear him call out her name. “Ya Allah!”, Soghra murmured, “I hope I would not be left alone in Madina!”
Just then she heard her father’s foot-steps. She quickly wiped away the tears from her eyes, propped herself into a sitting position and put on a brave smile to convince her father that she was well enough to travel.
Imam Husayn sat on the bed, put his hand on Soghra’a head and said, “When you were born, my dear. I named you after my mother Fatimah Zahra. You look know that your grand mother was also known as Saabira, which means the patient one. I want you also to be a saabira and agree to stay in Madina with Ummul Baneen and Umme Salmah. Will you do that?”
What could Soghra say? She nodded her head fighting back her tears. Imam kissed her and left the room.
Whenever the children of the Ahlul Bait were troubled by any thing, they took their problem to Hazrat Abbas. Soghra thought of her dear uncle, smiled hopefully, and sent for Abbas. Surely, he would find a way to solve her problem?
Abbas came in. He was accompanied by Hazrat Ali Akbar.
Soghra looked at them and said, “I know how much you two love me. How can you then leave me and go away? If I die who will bury me?” They explained her that she was too ill to travel and promised her that they would come and fetch her as soon as they had settled some where.
Bibi Fatimah Soghra said, “I will accept that as I do not wish to disobey my father. I will be brave and stay here.” She looked lovingly at her brother and added, “Ali Akbar, promise me one thing though. When after you get married and return to Madina, and find Soghra gone, promise that you and your bride will visit my grave and recite Fatiha.”
Akbar and Abbas could not control their tears as they said good bye.
At dawn the caravan departed. Supported by Umme Salmah on one side and Ummul Baneen on the other, Soghra waved good-bye. It was difficult to part with Asghar and both Imam Husayn and Bibi Rubaab had to hold and console Soghra as she kissed her little brother good-bye.
The story of Karbala’ is a tale of five journeys of tears. This was the first journey. From Madina to Mecca. Each journey had its hero and heroine. The hero of this first journey was Imam Husayn and the heroine was the memory of Bibi Fatimah Soghra, his beloved daughter whom he had left behind. Until they turned the corner, Imam kept looking back. He would bravely smile and wave to his daughter. Hazrat Ali Akbar of course could not even do that because he was unable to control his tears.
As soon as they were out of sight, Imam Husayn stopped his horse and began to sob! It is always so very difficult and so very sad for a parent and child to part!
Days passed into months. Soghra would spend her days in the mosque or visiting Ummul Baneen, Hazrat Abbas’s mother.
Ramadhan passed. Eid was a difficult day for Soghra. She kept on thinking of Asghar, and Akbar and her darling sister Bibi Sakina. Then came Muharram. For some reason Soghra’s restlessness increased. One night she got up. She felt a little thirsty. She filled a cup with water. As she brought the cup to her lips, Soghra stared at the water, and screamed. The cup fell out of her hands. Umme Salmah came running.”What is it, Soghra?” Soghra was shaking with fear. She ran into the arms of Umme Salmah.”O grand-mother!” she cried, pointing at the cup, “As I lifted the cup to my mouth, I saw Ali Asghar’s reflection in the water. I saw him spread out his little arms towards me. And then I heard him speak. He was saying, ‘Al atash, Ya Ukhti Fatimah.” (I am thirsty, O my sister Fatimaah!!) This was the night of 9th Muharram, Shab al-Ashura!!