Tasua, picture of love and loyalty
Tasua is the ninth of Moharram. It is so closely connected with Ashura that the devotees of the Prophet and his Ahl al-Bayt observe it just like Ashura.
Imam Sadeq (AS) said, "Tasua is the day on which Hussein (AS) and his companions were besieged at Karbala and the Syrian troops gathered against them. Ibn Ziyad and Umar Sa'd were happy at having so many troops and belittled Imam Hussein (AS) and his companions on that day, making sure that nobody else will come to help him and that the Iraqis will not support him."
Shias attribute this day to Imam Hussein's valiant brother, Hazrat Abul Fazl Abbas (AS), and mark it by mourning and lamenting for this paragon of loyalty.
On the 9th of Moharram known as Tasua, Karbala was witness to everlasting events. It is narrated that at least 30,000 disbelievers had ganged up to engage in the battle against the Prophet's younger grandson and third infallible successor and his companions. Some historical accounts have mentioned the number to be 100,000. On the other side, however, there were 72 free-spirited determined souls who had gathered around Imam Hussein (AS) and were ardently waiting to sacrifice their lives for the revival of all divine virtues. Shemr ibn Zil-Jowshan entered the plain of Karbala with 4000 troops. He has a letter from the tyrannical ruler of Kufa ibn Ziyad for the commander of the Yazidi hordes, Umar ibn Sa'd. Ibn Ziyad had demanded from Umar Sa'd to either force Imam Hussein to take oath of allegiance to Yazid or fight him and kill him. Ibn Ziyad had warned Umar Sa'd that if he defied the order he had to step down and give the commandment of troops to Shemr. Ibn Sa'd read the letter and told Shemr, "I won't cede the commandment of the troops to you as I don’t find you fit for this job. Thus, I will accomplish the job and you will just command the infantry."
When he was receiving the letter from Ibn Ziyad, Shemr asked for an assurance of safety for Abbas and his brothers as he was their maternal uncle. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad accepted his request and Shemr brought the letter of assurance alongside the first letter to Karbala.
Having given Umar Sa'd's letter to him, Shemr approached Imam Hussein's encampment shouting, "Where are our nephews?"
Hazrat Abbas and his brothers were sitting by Imam Hussein (AS). Abbas was silent and gave no answer to Shemr. Imam Hussein (AS) said, "Reply him even if he is a transgressor. He is your maternal uncle, after all."
Abbas, Abdullah ibn Ja'far and Osman son of Imam Ali came out, saying, "What do you want?"
Shemr said, "O my nephews, you are secure. I have got assurance for you from Ubaydullah."
Hazrat Abbas shouted, "May your hands be cut and God curse you and your assurance. O enemy of God, do you urge us to give up helping our brother and master, Hussein (AS) and obey the accursed lot and their illegitimate offspring? Do you give us assurance while there is no assurance for the son of the Messenger of God (SAWA)?"
Seeing the decisiveness of Abbas and his brothers, Shemr went back to his troop frustrated and infuriated. History mentions the names of personalities who have abided by their covenants and promises at the cost of their life. No doubt, the companions of Imam Hussein were the best of such people throughout history as the Imam himself emphasized it. Yet, Hazrat Abbas was a unique figure among these symbols of loyalty. As a matter of fact, the name of Abul Fazl Abbas has turned into the proverb of loyalty and valour forever.
On the afternoon of Tasua, the Godless hordes of Umar Sa'd increased their moves as they were getting ready to fight Imam Hussein. Imam Hussein (AS) was standing in front of the encampment. Hazrat Abbas came up to him as he heard the uproar of the hordes of the enemy. He told the Imam, "The enemy wants to attack." Imam Hussein (AS) said, "May my soul be sacrificed for you, Abbas! Mount on your horse and go to them. Delay their attack if you can. Get this night as the respite so that we can pray to our Lord, be in communion with Him and seek His forgiveness; as He knows that I love prayer, recitation of Qur'an, supplication and seeking forgiveness."
Hazrat Abbas went to the enemy's encampment and succeeded to delay the war.
The sweet celestial voice of Imam Hussein broke the silence of night when he gathered his companions and told them, "Now you are free to use the darkness of night and go to your city because the goal of this army is just me; and if they get access to me, they will leave others."
These words caused a row and tears rolled down the cheeks. Hazrat Abbas spoke of resistance and loyalty. Then each of the companions stood up and ruled out any thought of leaving the Imam. Imam Hussein (AS) told them, "Tomorrow all of you will be killed and nobody will be saved." They cried out unanimously, "All thanks belong to God who granted us martyrdom in your path."
The Imam's brothers and relatives came to him, saying, "O son of the Prophet, if we leave you here, what will we tell the people. How can we tell that we abandoned our master and the best of the creation among the enemy?"
At this moment, Moslem ibn Owsajeh stood up and said, "I swear by God that I will not give up you so that God knows that I observed His Prophet's respect regarding you."
Zuhair ibn Qain uttered these words fervently, "O son of the Prophet, I yearn to be killed thousand times before you and become alive again every time so that, by my death, God prevents you and your family from being killed."
That night, it was the sound of prayer, supplication and crying at the divine court that could be heard from the camps of Imam Hussein and his companions. They were getting prepared for history's most fateful battle as they were counting the moments to be martyred with Imam Hussein in the way of God.