Habib b. Muzahir

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Habib b. Muzahir
Native nameحبیب بن مُظاهر الاسدی
Full NameHabib b. Muzahir al-Asadi
Companion ofImam Ali, Imam Hasan, Imam al-Hussain
LineageBanu Asad
Place(s) of ResidenceKufa
Death/Martyrdom61/680
Cause of
Death/Martyrdom
Martyrdom in Event of Ashura
Burial PlaceHoly Shrine of Imam Hussain, Karbala, Iraq
ActivitiesParticipating in the Battles of Imam Ali, One of Shurta al-Khamis, Inviting the tribes of Kufa to join Imam Hussain

Habib b. Muzahir al-Asadi was one of Imam Ali's special companions and martyred at the age of 75 at the Battle of Karbala while fighting in Imam Hussain's army.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Habib's father's name appears in the early sources in different forms. It is sometimes Muzahir,[1] sometimes Muzahhar[2] and sometimes, Mutahhar[3]. Habib had learnt the whole book of Holy Qur'an by heart and spent every night worshipping and supplicating God. According to Imam Hussain he recited the whole Qur'an every night.[4] He was so uninterested in material world and so pious that no matter how much money and security he was offered not to support Hussain, he rejected them all and said, "we will have no excuse to make to the Prophet of God, if we are alive and the son of the Prophet is oppressed and killed."[5]

During Prophet Muhammad's Life[edit | edit source]

It is not clear whether Habib was one of the Prophet's companions or Tabi'un (those who saw the companions, but not the Prophet). Some, like Ibn al-Kalbi[6] and Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani [7]stated that he had been in the presence of the Prophet but Al-Shaykh al-Tusi[8] implies that Habib was not a companion of the Prophet.

During Imam Ali's Life[edit | edit source]

Habib went to Kufa with Imam Ali and fought alongside him in all of his combats. He was considered one of Imam's special companions group called "Shurtat al-Khamis"[9]. Imam Ali bestowed upon him "Ilm al-Balaya wa al-Manaya" (the knowledge of calamities and [time of] deaths). His conversation with Maytham al-Tammar, years before Ashura, about how they will be martyred is one instant of this knowledge.[10]

During Imam al-Hussain's Life[edit | edit source]

After the death of Mu'awiya, Habib and some of the heads of Shi'a communities in Kufa, like Sulayman b. Surad, Musayyib b. Najaba and Rifa'a b. Shaddad al-Bajali, refused to swear allegiance to Yazid, and send letters to Imam Hussain inviting him to lead Kufa in her uprising against Umayyad Dynasty.[11]

When Muslim b. Aqil came to Kufa as the Imam's representative, they rushed to support him. People of Kufa secretly pledged allegiance to Habib and Muslim b. Awsaja as the representative of Muslim b. Aqil. [12]

When Obayd Allah b. Ziad came to Kufa, he threatened people and launched a crackdown against allegiance to Muslim b. Aqil; so people abandoned their allegiance to Muslim b. Aqil and lift him alone. The tribe of Banu Asad hid Habib and Muslim b. 'Awsaja to protect them against Ibn Ziyad's agents. Habib and Muslim b. 'Awsaja left Kufa to join Imam Hussain. They hid themselves from Obayd Allah b. Ziad's spies and agents, so they moved at nights and hid during days. Eventually, they joined Imam Hussain's camp in Karbala on Muharram 7th 61(October 7th 680).[13]

In The Battle of Karbala[edit | edit source]

Upon reaching Karbala, Habib repeats his expression of loyalty to Imam Hussain. As soon as he observed the great number of Imam's enemies and small number of his companions, Habib asked Imam Huassin to go to a nearby tribe of Banu Asad and to ask them to join Imam. With the permission of Imam, Habib hurried to the tribe and started preaching them and encouraging them to join the Imam. However, Omar b. Sa'd stopped the tribe from joining Imam by sending an army to them.[14]

Evening of Tasu'a[edit | edit source]

The day before Ashura, Habib preached to the person who brought a letter from Umar b. Sa'd for Imam Hussain and asked the messenger not to go back to the tyrants. In the evening of Tasu'a, Habib spoke to enemy's army, which was about to attack the camp of Imam Hussain, and warned them about starting a war by talking about the merits of the Imam and his companions.[15]

Eve of Ashura[edit | edit source]

In the eve of Ashura, Hilal b. Nafi informed Habib of the concerns of Zaynab, the daughter of Imam Ali, about the loyalty of the companions of Imam. Hilal and Habib gathered the companions of Imam Hussain and together went to Imam Hussain and informed him that they will support the family of the Prophet to the last drop of their blood.[16]

Day of Ashura

In the morning of Ashura, Imam Hussain appointed Habib b. Muzahir as the commander of the left wing. He put Zuhayr b. Qayn on the right wing and Abbas b. Ali on the center of the army.[17]

In his speech to the enemy's army, Imam Hussain mentioned his lineage, ancestry, merits and the narration of the Prophet saying "These two (Hasan and Hussain) are the masters of paradise's youth." He even said that there are people among you who have heard the narration from the Prophet himself. Just then, Shimr cut Imam's speech and said, "May all of my worship for God be in doubt and uncertainty if I knew what you are talking about."

Habib said, "I swear to God that I see you worship Him with 70 doubts and [layers of] uncertainty. I witness that you are right and have no idea what Imam is talking about. Your heart is dark and sealed against any truth."[18]

At the beginning of the battle when a warrior from Omar b. Sa'd's army was asking for someone to fight, Habib and Burayr hurried to fight him but Imam Hussain stopped them.

At noon of Ashura, when Abu Thumama reminded Imam of the time of the prayer, Imam told his companions to ask the enemy to stop the war so that they can pray. Hussain b. Numayr (Hussain b. Tamim) said, "Your prayers won't be accepted by God."

"You think that the prayer of Prophet's household will not be accepted" replied Habib, "Your prayers will not be accepted, you drunk!" Then Habib attacked him and hit his horse on the face with the sword. He fell to the ground and his friends came to help and rescued him from Habib's attack.[19]

While Muslim b. Awsaja covered in his own blood was breathing his last breaths, Imam Hussain and Habib came to him and Imam prayed to God to bless his soul. Then Imam read the verse of Qur'an which says, "Among the faithful are men who fulfill what they have pledged to Allah. Of them are some who have fulfilled their pledge, and of them are some who still wait and they have not changed in the least."[20] Then Habib told him, "Your death is very hard for me, but I give you the good news of Paradise." Muslim b. Awsaja in return said with a weak voice, "May God give you good news." Habib said, "If my martyrdom were not close, I would have liked you to tell me your will [so that I executed for you] and by that I have fulfilled my tribal and religious duty toward you." Muslim b. Awsaja pointed to Imam Hussain and told Habib, "My will is to stay with Imam Hussain. May God bless you, keep defending him as long as you are alive, and do not stop supporting him until you are killed." Habib said, "I will execute your will and I will make you happy."[21]

Martyrdom[edit | edit source]

Despite being very old, Habib killed 62 people of the enemy. Just then, Budayl b. Maryam Aqfani attacked him and hit him on the head with his sword. Another enemy hit him with a spear, causing him to fall off the horse and down to the ground. Then, Budayl b. Maryam beheaded him. Habib had an underage son named Qasim, who killed Budayl after he came of age.[22]

Imam Hussain came to him and said: "I expect from God [the reward of] myself and my supportive companions."[23] According to some Maqtals, Imam said, "O Habib! You were a virtuous person who recited the whole Qur'an in one night."[24]

Habib's name is mentioned in the scripture of ziarat of Imam Hussain in the middle of Sha'ban and other scriptures of ziarat of Imam Hussain.[25]

Tomb[edit | edit source]

When the tribe of Banu Asad were burying the martyrs of Karbala, they buried Habib b. Muzahir, who was one of their elders and trustees, separately and with a distance of 10 meters from Imam Hussain tomb. Later, his tomb was included in Imam al-Hussain's shrine and was located in the southern porch.[26]

Source[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 352, 355, 416.
  2. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 462, 478, 480.
  3. Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, vol. 5, p. 28, 34, 87.
  4. Qummī, Nafas al-mahmūm, p. 124.
  5. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 4, p. 553.
  6. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 126.
  7. Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Iṣāba fī tamyīz al-ṣaḥāba, vol. 2, p. 142.
  8. Ṭūsī, Rijāl, p. 60, 93, 100.
  9. Mufīd, al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, p. 2-7.
  10. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 127.
  11. Mufīd, al-Irshād, p. 378.
  12. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 4, p. 554.
  13. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 128.
  14. Amīn, Aʿyān al-Shīʿa, vol. 4, p. 554.
  15. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 2, p. 484.
  16. Mawsūʿat kalimāt al-Imām al-Ḥusayn (a), p. 407-408.
  17. Khwārizmī, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, vol. 2, p. 7.
  18. Mufīd, al-Irshād, p. 450.
  19. Qummī, Nafas al-mahmūm, p. 124.
  20. Qur'an, 33:23
  21. Ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Luhūf, p. 133.
  22. Qummī, Nafas al-mahmūm, p. 124.
  23. Abī Mikhnaf, Waqʿat al-ṭaff, p. 265.
  24. Qummī, Nafas al-mahmūm, p. 124.
  25. Ibn Ṭāwūs, Iqbāl al-aʿmāl, p. 229.
  26. Qāʾidān, ʿAtabāt-i ʿālīyāt-i Iraq, p. 122.