Martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi
By: H?j Shaikh Abb?s Qummi
Hujr was among the companions of Im?m Ali (a.s.) and the one receiving the allowances, he was called Hujr al Khayr (Hujr of goodness). He was renowned for his abstinence, abundance of worship and Prayers. It has been narrated that every day and night he recited a thousand units (Rak’at) of Prayers (Sal?t) and was among the learned companions. Although of a less age, he was included among their noble ones. In the battle of Siffeen he was the standard bearer of the clan of Kinda, and in the battle of Naharw?n he was the commander of the right wing in the left part (of the army of Im?m Ali).
Fazl bin Shazan says that among the great noblemen, chiefs and pious Tabe’een were Jandab bin Zuhayrah the killer of magicians, Abdull?h bin Budayl, Hujr bin Adi, Sulaym?n bin Surad, Musayyab bin Najabah, Alqamah, Ashtar, Sa’eed bin Qays and similar to them and more. Battles had bought them and then they increased (in size) and were martyred alongwith Im?m Husain (a.s.).
When Mugheerah bin Sha’b?h was made the governor of Kuf?, he ascended the pulpit and abused Im?m Ali (a.s.) and his Shi’?h. He cursed the murderers of Usm?n and prayed for his forgiveness. Hujr arose from his place and said,
“O ye who believe! Do stand firmly with justice, (bearers of) witness for All?h’s sake, though it be against your own selves.”
I bear witness that the man whom you have vilified, his merit is far more worthy than the one whom you have praised. While the one whom you applaud is worthy of vilification than the one whom you slander.” Mugheerah said, “Woe be to you O Hujr! Restrain yourself from such speech and keep yourself away from the wrath of the king, which would increase until he kills you.” But Hujr would be least effected and would always oppose him in this matter until one day as usual Mugheera ascended the pulpit, and those being the last days of his life, started cursing Im?m Ali (a.s.) and his Shi’?h. Suddenly Hujr sprang up and called out in a loud voice, which could be heard by those who were present in the Mosque, saying, “O man! You do not recognise the person whom you defy? You vilify the Commander of the faithful and praise the culprits”?
In the fiftieth year of the Hijr?, Mugheerah died and Kuf? and the enclosure of Basr? came under the control of Ziy?d bin Abeeh, who then came to Kuf?. Ziy?d called for Hujr, who was his old friend, and said, “I have heard how you treated Mugheerah and he endured it, but by All?h I shall not tolerate it. I tell you that All?h erased off the friendship and love of Ali from my heart and replaced it with enmity and envy (for him). Besides All?h erased off the enmity and envy which persisted in my heart for Mu’?wiyah, replacing it with friendship and love (for him). If you remain on the right path, your world as well as faith will remain secure, but if you strike your hands to the left and right, then you shall put yourself into damnation and your blood will be lawful for us. I detest punishing before warning nor do I like to arrest without any reason, O All?h be a witness.” Hujr replied, “Never will the commander see me doing that what he dislikes and I shall accept his advise”, saying this Hujr came out, thus he dissimulated and took precautions thereafter. Ziy?d cherished him and held him dear. The Shi’?h started visiting Hujr (in secret) and listened to his address. Ziy?d usually spent the winter in Basr? and summer in Kuf? and Samarah bin Jundab was his Vicegerent in Basr? and Umro bin Hurays in Kuf? (in his absence).
One day Amm?rah bin Uqbah told Ziy?d, “The Shi’?h have been visiting Hujr and are under his influence, and I fear lest they rebel in your absence.” Ziy?d called Hujr and warned him and then left for Basr? leaving behind Umro bin Hurays in his place. Shi’?h continued visiting Hujr and when he sat in the Mosque, people came to listen to him. They occupied half of the Mosque and those who came to watch them too sat around them, until the entire Mosque became full of them. Their hue and cry increased and they started vilifying Mu’?wiyah and abusing Ziy?d. When Umro bin Hurays was informed about it, he ascended the pulpit, while the noblemen of the town sat around him, and he invited them to obey and warned them from opposition. Suddenly a group from among the people of Hujr jumped up and started pronouncing the Takbeer (All?ho Akbar). They went near him cursing and pelting stones at him. Umro alighted from the pulpit and went to his palace and closed the doors and wrote to Ziy?d about it.
When Ziy?d became aware of it, he recited the couplet of Ka’ab bin M?lik: “Since morning reached the village, our chiefs voiced their refusal, (saying) else why should we sow our seeds, if we cannot defend it (the field) with our swords.” Then he said, “I am void if I do not make Kuf? safe from Hujr and make him an example for others. Woe be to your mother O Hujr! Your dinner has landed you upon the Fox.” This is a proverb regarding which it is said that one night a man went in search of dinner and himself became the food of a fox. Then he left for Kuf? and entered the palace. He came out wearing a robe of silk brocade and a green fur coat and entered the Mosque. At that moment Hujr was seated in the Mosque surrounded by his friends. Ziy?d mounted the pulpit and delivered a threatening speech. He said to the noblemen of Kuf?, “Summon to yourselves whoever of your relatives are sitting with Hujr and those among your brothers, sons, or kinsmen who would listen to you, until you seperate them from him.” They did as ordered and most of them dispersed, and when Ziy?d saw that the followers of Hujr had lessened, he called Shadd?d bin Haysam Hilali, the head of the police, and told him to bring Hujr to him. He came and told Hujr to accept the call of the commander. Hujr’s companions said, “No, by All?h! We do not accept this.” Hearing this Shadd?d ordered his police force to surround them from all sides with their swords drawn, thus they surrounded Hujr. Bakr bin Ubayd Amudi attacked Umro him Humaq on the head who fell down and two persons from among the clan of Azd viz. Abu Sufy?n and Ajalan lifted him up and took him to the house of a man of Azd viz. Ubaydull?h bin M?lik where he remained hidden until he left kufa. Umayr bin Zayd Kalbi, who was among the followers of Hujr, said, “No one among us has a sword except myself, and is insufficient.” Hujr replied, “Then what do you suggest”? He replied, “Arise and go to the places of your relatives so that they might defend you.” Hujr arose and left, Ziy?d who was looking at them seated on the pulpit called out, “O sons of the clans of Hamad?n, Tameem, Hawazin, Bagheez, Mazhaj, Asad and Ghatafan! Arise, and go to the houses of Bani Kinda towards Hujr and get him here.”
When Hujr came to his house and saw the scarcity of his supporters, he released them saying, “You may all return, for you do not have the strength to resist these people and shall be killed.” When they tried to return back, the horsemen of Mazhaj and Hamad?n came and they confronted them until Qays bin Zayd was arrested and others dispersed. Hujr went towards the road of Bani Harb, a branch of Bani Kinda, and took refuge at the house of Sulaym?n bin Yazeed Kindi. They ran in his pursuit until they reached the house of Sulaym?n. Sulaym?n unsheathed his sword to go out and defend him, when his daughters started weeping and Hujr stopped him and left his house from a chimney. He then went towards Bani Anbarah, another branch of Bani Kinda, and took refuge in the house of Abdull?h bin H?ris, the brother of M?lik Ashtar Nakha’i. Abdull?h welcomed him with a cheerful face. Suddenly Hujr was informed that, “The police have been searching you in the street of Nakha’, for a black slave girl has informed them and they are in your pursuit.” Hujr alongwith Abdull?h came out in the darkness of the night and took shelter at the house of Rabi’ah bin Najiz Azdi. When the police force failed to find him, Ziy?d called Mohammad bin Ash’as and said, “Either bring me Hujr or I shall destroy all your Palm-trees and shall ruin all your houses, and you shall not be able to save yourself until I cut you to pieces.” Mohammad replied, “Give me some respite so that I may search him.” Ziy?d replied, “I will give you three days time, if within that period you bring Hujr to me, then you are free, or else count yourself among the dead.” The soldiers dragged Mohammad towards the cell while the colour of his face had changed. At that moment Hujr bin Yazeed Kindi, who was from a branch of the clan of Bani Murrah, stood surety for him and hence he was released.
Hujr remained in the house of Rabi’ah for one day and night, then he sent a retainer named Rushayd, who was from Isfahan, to Mohammad bin Ash’as with a message that, “I have been informed how the obstinate tyrant has treated you. Do not fear for I shall come to you. Then you go to Ziy?d with some of your men and tell him to give me security and send me to Mu’?wiyah so that he may decide what is to be done to me.” Thus Mohammad accompanied by Hujr bin Yazeed, Jareer bin Abdull?h and Abdull?h brother of M?lik Ashtar went to meet Ziy?d and gave him the message of Hujr. Ziy?d heard it and agreed. They sent a messenger towards Hujr to inform him and he came to Ziy?d. Seeing him Ziy?d ordered him to be imprisoned. He was imprisoned for ten days and Ziy?d did no other work except pursue the other supporters of Hujr.
Ziy?d remained in pursuit of the supporters of Hujr who had fled away, until he had imprisoned twelve out of them. Then he summoned the chiefs of the four districts of Kuf? viz. Umro bin Hurays, Kh?lid bin Arfatah, Qays bin Waleed and Abu Burda, the son of Abu Moos? Ash’ari and said, “All of you should bear witness regarding what you have seen of Hujr.” And they bore witness that Hujr was forming factions and abusing the Caliph and reproaching Ziy?d. And that he was exonerating Abu Turab (Im?m Ali) and praying for (All?h’s) Mercy on him and disassociating himself with his enemies and opponents, while those alongwith him are the chiefs of his friends and share the same views. Ziy?d looked at their testimonies and said, “I do not recognize this testimony and I presume it to be incomplete. I desire that another letter with similar contents should be written.”
Hence Abu Burda wrote: “In the name of All?h the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is the testimony, which is given by Abu Burda, the son of Abu Moos?, for the Lord of the worlds, that Hujr bin Adi has disobeyed and abandoned the group. He has cursed the Caliph and invited towards mischief and battle. He has gathered an army and urged them to break the oath of allegiance and invited to depose Mu’?wiyah from the Caliphate. He has cultivated obscene disbelief in All?h.” Ziy?d said, “Affix your signatures, I shall try my best to see that the foolish traitor is beheaded.” Then the noblemen of other three districts bore witnesses in a similar manner. Then he called the people and said, “You all may bear witness just as the people of all the four districts have borne witness.” Thus seventy people bore witness which included the following: Ish?q, Moos? and Ism?’il the sons of Talh? bin Ubaydull?h, Manzar bin Zubayr, Amm?rah bin Uqbah, Abdul Rahm?n bin Hibaar, Umar bin Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas, Wa’el bin Hujr Hazrami, Zirar bin Hubayrah, Shadd?d bin Manzar, who was renowned by the name of Ibne Bazee’ah, Hajj?j bin Abjar Ajali, Umro bin Hajj?j, Lubayd bin Atarud, Mohammad bin Umayr bin Atarud, Asm? bin Kh?rejah, Shimr bin Ziljawshan, Zajr bin Qays Jo’fi, Shabas bin Rab’ee, Simak bin Muhzima Asadi, the caretaker of one of the four Mosques in Kuf? constructed in rejoice over the Martyrdom of Im?m Husain (a.s.). They included the names of two more men, but they refused to sign viz. Shurayh bin Hars Q?zi and Shurayh bin H?ni. When Shurayh bin Hars was asked regarding Hujr, he said, “He always fasted and remained engrossed in Prayers throughout the night.” Shurayh bin H?ni said, “I heard that my name has been included in it (without my consent), thus I nullify it.”
Ziy?d then handed over the deed of witness to Wa’el bin Hujr and Kaseer bin Shih?b and despatched them with Hujr bin Adi and his companions to Syri?. He ordered them at night to proceed accompanied by the police outside Kuf? and they were fourteen men. When they reached the graveyard of Azram, a station in Kuf?, Qabeesah bin Zabee’ah Abasi, who one of the companions of Hujr, his sight fell upon his house. He saw his daughters looking from the house and he requested Wa’el and Kaseer to take him near his house so that he may bequeath. When they took him near his house, his daughters started weeping. He remained silent for some time and then told them to remain quite and they did so. Then he said, “Fear All?h and forbear, for in this journey, I desire a fair end from my Lord in two matters that either I may be killed, which is a better felicity, or I may be released and come back to you in good health. The one who gave you sustenance and looked after you is the Almighty All?h, Who is alive and will never die. And I desire that He will not abandon you and consider me for your sake.” Saying this he returned back and his people prayed for him.
Then they proceeded further and reached Marj Azra, which is some miles before Syri?, and they were imprisoned there. Mu’?wiyah summoned Wa’el bin Hujr and Kaseer to him. When they came he opened the letter and read it in the presence of the Syrians, whose contents were as follows: To the presence of the slave of All?h, Mu’?wiyah bin Abu Sufy?n, from Ziy?d bin Abu Sufy?n. Now then! All?h has brought forward a fair trial for the Commander of the faithful and has removed his enemies, and has crushed the anarchy of the rebels. The rebels of Ali, the friend of the youth, have dispossessed the Commander of the faithful under the leadership of Hujr bin Adi and have separated from the group of Muslims, and have risen up to fight us. But All?h has subdued their wrath and has given us dominance over them. Then I have called the devout, noble and the wise men of Kuf?, and they have borne witness for whatever they saw. And I have sent them alongwith the witnesses of the pious and virtuous men of the town, whose signatures are affixed at the end of the letter.”
When Mu’?wiyah read this letter he asked the opinion of the Syrians regarding it. Yazeed bin Asad Bajali said, “Scatter them among the villages of Syri? so that the people of the book (viz. Christians and Jews) may finish their task.” Hujr then sent a message to Mu’?wiyah saying that, “We still remain under the pledge of allegiance to the Commander of the faithful. We have not abandoned it, nor do we protest. Our enemies and ill-wishers have borne witnesses against us.” When Mu’?wiyah received this message of Hujr he said, “Verily Ziy?d is more reliable in our eyes than Hujr.” Then he despatched Hadabah bin Fayaz Quza’ee (who was blind with one eye) with two more persons to bring Hujr and his companions to him at night. When Karim bin Afeef Khas’ami saw him he said, “Half of us will be killed and the other half released.” The messenger of Mu’?wiyah came to them and released six persons from them upon the mediation of some Syrians. As regards the other eight men, the messenger of Mu’?wiyah said, “Mu’?wiyah has sent orders that if you disassociate yourselves with Ali and curse him, we shall release you, or else you shall be killed. And the Commander of the faithful believes that shedding your blood is lawful for us due to the witnesses of the people of your town, but the Commander has shown kindness, while if you disassociate yourselves from that man, you shall be released.” When they heard this they refused to oblige, hence the ropes were untied from their hands and shrouds were brought for them, thus they arose and spent the entire night in Prayers.
When it dawned, the companions of Mu’?wiyah told them that, “O group (of men)! Last night we observed that you have recited abundant Prayers and supplications, now tell us so that we may know your belief regarding Usm?n.” They replied, “He was the first person who ordered unjustly and paved a wrong path.” They said, “The Commander of the faithful knows you better.” Then they stood upon their heads and said, “Do you now disassociate yourself from that man (Im?m Ali) or no”? They replied, “No, rather we befriend him.” Hearing this each messenger of Mu’?wiyah caught hold of each one of them so as to kill them. Then Hujr told them, “Atleast let me perform the ablutions and give us some respite so that we may recite two units of Prayers, for by All?h, whenever I have performed the ablutions, I have prayed.” They agreed to it and they recited the Prayers, after completing it Hujr said, “By All?h! Never have I recited such a short Prayer, lest people might think that I have done so fearing death.” Hadabah bin Fayaz A’awar advanced towards him with a sword to attack him when Hujr started trembling. Hadabah said, “You said you did not fear death, I still tell you to disassociate yourself with your Master and we shall release you.” Hujr said, “How should I not fear, when the grave is ready, the shroud worn and the sword unsheathed. By All?h! Although I fear, I do not utter those words which may invite the wrath of All?h.”
The author says that I recollect a tradition that when Hujr went to see Im?m Ali (a.s.), when he was wounded on the head by the sword of Ibne Muljim. He stood facing the Im?m and recited some couplets: “Alas upon the abstentious master, (who is) pious, a brave Lion, and a virtuous door.” When Im?m Ali (a.s.) looked at him and heard his couplets, he said,
“What will be your state when you shall be ordered to disassociate yourself from me, then what will you say”?
Hujr replied, “O Commander of the faithful! Even if I be cut asunder to pieces and thrown into the blazing fire, I prefer it than disassociating myself from you.” Im?m said,
“May you succeed in accomplishing good deeds O Hujr! And may you be amply rewarded by All?h for your love of the Progeny of your Prophet (s.a.w.s.).”
Then the other six companions of Hujr were put to sword. Abdul Rahm?n bin Hiss?n Anzee and Kareem bin Afeef Khas’ami were left out and they said, “Take us to the presence of Mu’?wiyah, so that we may relate to him about that man regarding whom he has ordered us”, they were then taken to the presence of Mu’?wiyah. When Kareem entered therein, he said, “All?h, All?h, O Mu’?wiyah! Verily you shall go from this mortal house to the house of eternity, then you shall be asked as to why you shed our blood.” Mu’?wiyah replied, “So then what do you have to say about Ali”? He replied, “As you say. I disassociate myself from the Religion of Ali through which we worshipped All?h.” Then Shimr bin Abdull?h Khas’ami arose and pleaded on his behalf and hence Mu’?wiyah forgave him but with a stipulation that for one month he would be imprisoned, and till the time Mu’?wiyah rules he would not be allowed to leave Kuf?.
Then he turned towards Abdul Rahm?n bin Hissaan and said, “O brother from the clan of Rabi’ah! What do you have to say regarding Ali”? He replied, “I bear witness that Ali was among those men who remembered All?h the most and he invited towards good, forbade evil and forgave the faults of others.” Mu’?wiyah said, “Then what do you have to say regarding Usm?n”? he replied, “He was the first man who opened the doors of oppression and shut the doors of righteousness.” Hearing this Mu’?wiyah said, “Verily you have killed yourself.” He replied, “Rather I have killed you.” Mu’?wiyah then sent him back to Ziy?d with a message saying that, “He is the worst among those whom you had sent to me. Torture him severely, for he is worthy and then kill him in the worst possible manner.” When he was sent to Ziy?d, he sent him to Qays N?tif who buried him alive.
The seven persons who were martyred were:
Hujr bin Adi,
Shareek bin Shadd?d Hazrami,
Saifee bin Fusayl Shaybani,
Qabeesah bin Zabee’ah Abasi,
Mahzar bin Shih?b Minqari,
Kudam bin Hayy?n Anzi, and
Abdul Rahm?n bin Hiss?n Anzi. (May All?h’s Mercy and Blessings be upon them)
The author says that the Martyrdom of Hujr had a great impact upon the Muslims, who reproached Mu’?wiyah for it. Abul Faraj Isfah?ni says that Abu Makhnaf said that, Ibne Abi Z?edah related to me from Abu Ish?q, that he said, “I remember people saying that the first disgrace which befell Kuf? was the Martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi, the acceptance of Ziy?d as the brother of Mu’?wiyah and the Martyrdom of Im?m Husain (a.s.).”
At the time of his death, Mu’?wiyah said, “I shall be in deep trouble because of Ibnal Adbar.” Ibnal Adbar is referred to Hujr bin Adi for his father was called “Adbar” because behind he had received a wound of a sword. And it has been related that when Rabi’ bin Ziy?d H?risi, the governor of Khurasan, heard the news of the martyrdom of Hujr and his companions, he wished for death. He lifted both his hands (towards the heavens) and said, “O All?h! If you consider me, give me death at this very moment”, then he died.
Ibne Aseer says in his K?mil that Hasan Basri said, that Mu’?wiyah had four such qualities in him, that each one of which was enough for his damnation. First being that he forced himself upon the Muslim nation with the power of his sword and did not (care to) take their opinions regarding his Caliphate, when there were present the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.s.) and other notables and generous men among them. The second being that he nominated (as Caliph) his rebel son Yazid, the wine-bibber, one who wore a silken dress, and beat the tambourine. The third being that he accepted Ziy?d as his brother when the Holy Prophet had said, “A child is abscribed to the husband (of the woman), and for the adulteror are stones”, and the fourth being that he killed Hujr and his companions. Woe unto him as regards Hujr and his companions.
It is related that the people said, “The first disgrace which befell Kuf? was the martyrdom of Hasan bin Ali (a.s.), the Martyrdom of Hujr bin Adi, and accepting Ziy?d to be the son of Abu Sufy?n.”
Hind binte Zayd Ansariyah, who was a Shi’?h woman, recited a couplet in praise of Hujr.
The Author says that the historians have recorded some other reasons regarding the Martyrdom of Hujr. They say that once Ziy?d was delivering a sermon on Friday and he prolonged it, thus the Prayers were postponed. Sensing it, Hujr bin Adi called out in a loud voice, “The Prayers”, but Ziy?d ignored him and continued. Hujr again repeated, “the Prayers”, but he continued the sermon. Hujr feared lest the time of Prayers would elapse, hence he lifted some sand in his hands and stood up to offer Prayers. Following suit the other people arose too. Seeing this Ziy?d descended from the pulpit and recited the Prayers. Then he wrote regarding this matter to Mu’?wiyah and exagerated therein. Mu’?wiyah wrote back that Hujr be despatched to him bound in chains. When Ziy?d desired to arrest him, the people of his clan stood up to defend him. Hujr stopped them and was bound in chains and taken to Mu’?wiyah. When he went to the presence of Mu’?wiyah, he said, “Peace be upon you O Commander of the faithful!” Mu’?wiyah said, “Am I the Commander of the faithful? By All?h! I shall not forgive you nor shall I accept your plea. Take him away and behead him.” Hujr said to those in charge of him that, “Atleast give me time to recite two units of Prayers.” He was given the time and he hurriedly performed it and said, “If I had not feared (lest you might think that I fear death), then I would surely have prolonged it.” Then he turned towards those who were present and said, “Bury me alongwith the chains and the blood of my body, for I desire to meet Mu’?wiyah on the highway tomorrow in Qiy?mah.”
It is written in Asadul Ghabah, that Hujr was among those who received a stipend of two thousand five hundred, he was Martyred in the Year 51 Hijr? and his grave is renowned at Azra and he was an executor of desires.
The Author says that the letter which Im?m Husain (a.s.) wrote to Mu’?wiyah contained the following words:
“Are you not the murderer of Hujr bin Adi al Kindi and other worshipers, who resisted oppression and considered innovations to be grave and who did not fear reproach in the way of All?h? You killed them with oppression and injustice inspite of offering them refuge.”