As quoted by Mas’oodi, Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) reached Madinā and offered Prayers at the Masjide Nabawi and bade farewell to his household. He took along with him two people from Bani Qays as guides to direct the way and left. They took a wrong road and hence lost the way. They became thirsty and could no longer walk further. The two men who had escorted Muslim died due to severe thirst, but they directed him to the way before dying. Muslim advanced further and stopped at a renowned halting place called Mazeeq and dispatched Qays bin Mus-hir Saydawi with a letter to Imām Husayn (a.s.) which read as follows: “Now then! I left Madinā accompanied by two escorts as guides, but we lost the way and became intense thirsty and the two associates died because of it. We proceeded further until we found water and hence saved ourselves and this place called Mazeeq in Batne Jannat. I consider this to be an ill omen, if you deem fit please relieve me and dispatch someone else to pursue this task. Salutations.”
Imām Husayn (a.s.) replied to him:
“Now then! I fear regarding your excuse to relieve you from the task for which I sent you is due to fright. Therefore proceed further towards what I sent you. Salutations.”
When Muslim read the letter, he said that he did not fear anything for himself and proceeded further. He reached a water place, which was of Bani Tayy and dismounted there and then proceeded further. Suddenly Muslim saw a hunter shoot an arrow towards a Gazelle, who came into his sight and killed it. Thus Muslim said, “Allāh willing, we too shall kill our enemies thus”, and then proceeded further.
As is written in Murujuz Zahab, that he (Muslim) entered Kufā on the fifth of the month of Shawwal. According to the narration of Tabari, he resided at the house of Mukhtār bin Abi Ubāydah and the Shi’āh came to visit him. Then when a group of people gathered, he read the letter of Imām Husayn (a.s.) to them, hearing which they started weeping. Then Ābis bin Abi Shabeeb Shakiri arose and after Praising and Glorifying Allāh said, “Now then! I do not speak for the people, nor am I aware as to what is concealed in their hearts, and thus I do not want to deceive you. By Allāh! I only say that which is in my heart. By Allāh! I shall respond to you whenever you call out, and shall fight your enemies by your side. And in your presence I shall strike them with the sword until I meet Allāh, and I do not intend anything except Allāh’s favor (in lieu of all this).”
Then Habib bin Mazāhir Faq’asi stood up and said, “May Allāh’s blessings be upon you! You have revealed concisely whatever you had in your mind. I swear by Allāh, besides Whom there is no other Deity, that I too am of the same belief as of this man (referring to Ābis who preceded him)”, and then he repeated what Ābis had said.
Hajjāj bin Ali says that I asked Muhammad bin Bashr that, “Did you not reply to him (Muslim)”? He replied, “I desired that Allāh would grant success and esteem to my friends, but I did not appreciate being killed nor did I like to utter a lie.”
Eighteen thousand men swore the oath of allegiance to Muslim and hence he wrote to Imām Husayn (a.s.) informing him about their oath, and invited him to come to Kufā. This letter was written by Muslim some twenty seven days before his martyrdom. The Shi’āh visited Muslim quite frequently and the place of his whereabouts became known.
This news reached No’mān bin Basheer, who was made the governor of Kufā by Mu’āwiyah and Yazid too had let him remain in his place. He ascended the pulpit and after Praising and Glorifying Allāh said,
“Now then! O slaves of Allāh! Fear Allāh and do not make haste in spreading mischief and discord, for it will result in the murder of men, bloodshed and confiscation of wealth. I do not fight the one who does not confront me, nor do I advance towards the one who does not advance towards me. I do not vilify you nor do I call for account anyone by mere suspicion or accusation. But if you turn your face away from me and break the oath of allegiance or try to oppose your Imām, then by Allāh, besides Whom there is no other Deity, I shall then strike you with my sword until it’s hilt remains in my hand even if there does not remain my supporter among you. Yet I hope that those among you who know the truth are numerous than those whom falsehood will (ultimately) destroy.”
Abdullāh bin Muslim bin Rabi’ah Hazrami, who was an ally of the Bani Umayyāh stood up and said,
“This mischief which you now see will not cease except by the use of force, and this attitude which you have towards the enemies is that of the timid ones.”
“If I remain timid while obeying Allāh, then I cherish it than remaining mighty while disobeying Him”,
saying this he alighted from the pulpit and left. Abdullāh bin Muslim came out and then wrote a letter to Yazid bin Mu’āwiyah saying,
“Muslim bin Aqeel has come to Kufā and the Shi’āh have pledged the oath of allegiance to him on behalf of Husayn bin Ali. Then if you desire that Kufā should remain under your domain, dispatch a powerful man who would implement your orders and act according to your command. For No’mān bin Basheer is a feeble man or is deliberately showing as weak.”
Ammārah bin Uqbah and Umar bin Sa’ad bin Abi Waqqas too wrote similar letters to Yazid. When these letters reached Yazid he called for Sarjoon, the slave of Mu’āwiyah and said,
“Husayn has sent Muslim bin Aqeel to Kufā and people have started pledging their oath of allegiance to him, while No’mān is a feeble man and there are other bad reports regarding him. According to your opinion whom should I nominate as the governor of Kufā in his stead”?
During that period Yazid was annoyed with Ubaydullāh bin Ziyād. Sarjoon replied,
“If today Mu’āwiyah becomes alive would you listen to his counsel”?
Yazid replied in the affirmative. Sarjoon produced a letter of Mu’āwiyah appointing Ubaydullāh bin Ziyād as the governor of Kufā, and then said,
“This is the advice of Mu’āwiyah, for when he was about to die, he intended bestowing the governorship of Kufā and Basrā both to Ubaydullāh.”
Yazid agreed and sent a message to Ubaydullāh. Then he called for Muslim bin Umro Bahilee, the father of Qutaybah, and handed over a letter in the name of Ubaydullāh whose contents were as follows:
“Now then! My followers in Kufā have written to me that the son of Aqeel is gathering troops to spread rebellion among the Muslims. Then when you read my letter, hasten towards Kufā and search for the son of Aqeel as if you were looking for a bead, until you find him. Then bind him (in chains), either kill him or banish him from the city. Salutations.”
Yazid also gave him the authority for the Governorship of Kufā. Muslim bin Umro proceeded until he reached Ubaydullāh at Basrā. As soon as Ubaydullāh received the command and authority, he ordered to prepare for the journey scheduled for the next day.
It is appropriate that here we discuss in brief about No’mān bin Basheer. He name is No’mān bin Basheer bin Sa’ad bin Nasr bin Sa’labah Khazraji Ansāri. His mother is Umrah bint Ruwahah, the sister of Abdullāh bin Ruwahah Ansāri who was martyred along with Ja’far bin Abu Tālib (a.s.) in the battle of Mutah. It is said that No’mān was the first child among the Ansār (helpers of Madinā) to be born after the Prophet entered Madinā, just as Abdullāh bin Zubayr was the first child to be born among the emigrants after the Prophet’s entry into Madinā. His father Basheer bin Sa’ad was the first person to swear the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr in Saqifa, and likewise the other Ansār followed suit. Basheer was killed in the battle of Aynut Tamar along with Khālid bin Waleed. No’mān was from the family of poets and being a follower of Caliph Usmān, hated the Kufāns because of their love for Imām Ali (a.s.). He was the only Ansār who had accompanied Mu’āwiyah in the battle of Siffīn. He was considered respectful and of high regard in the eyes of Mu’āwiyah, thus Yazid too liked him.
No’mān remained alive till the Caliphate of Marwān bin Hakam and was the governor of Hamas. When people started swearing the oath of allegiance to Marwān, he invited people towards Abdullāh bin Zubayr and opposed Marwān. And this incident occurred when Zahhāk bin Qays was killed in Marje Rahit. But the people of Hamas did not pay attention to his call and thus he fled from there, they pursued him until they found him and ultimately killed him. This happened in the year 65 A.H.
As regards Yazid calling him a feeble man and a slanderer, it has been quoted by Ibn Qutaybah Deenawari in his book Al Imamah was Siyasah that, it was so because No’mān bin Basheer had said that, “The grandson of the Prophet is more dear to me than the grandson of Bahdul.” The grandson of Bahdul was none other than Yazid bin Mu’āwiyah whose mother Maysoon was the daughter of Bahdul Kalbiyyah. Ibn Qutaybah is Abu Muhammad Abdullāh bin Muslim bin Qutaybah bin Muslim bin Umro Bāhili, and this Muslim bin Umro is the same person who was sent by Yazid to Ubaydullāh nominating him as the governor of Kufā.
Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbala’, Sheikh Abbas Qummi, ISLAMIC STUDY CIRCLE, Mumbai, India