Horr B. Yazid al-Riahi al-Yarbuʾi al-Tamimi

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Horr B. Yazid al-Riahi al-Yarbuʾi al-Tamimi
Al-Hurr ibn Yazid(2).jpg
Native name
حر بن یزید ریاحی
Died61/680
(Martyred in the Event of Ashura)
Resting placeKarbala, Iraq
Known forBattle of Karbala
ActivitiesPreventing Imam Al-Hussain from going to Kufa and from returning to Medina, Repenting in the day of Ashura and joining Imam al-Hussain

Horr B. Yazid al-Riahi al-Yarbuʾi al-Tamimi (d. 61/ 680), a leading tribesman in Kufa, who obeyed the orders of ʿUbayd-Allah b. Ziad by intercepting Hussain b. ʿAli and his party and leading them to Karbala, but later repented and fought on Hussain’s side which led to Horr’s martyrdom on the 10th of Muharram, Ashura. He is regarded as the symbol of hope in repentance which ensures his salvation.

Encounter with Imam Hussain[edit | edit source]

Horr's reputation by Kazem Chalipa, an Iranian contemporary artist.

The first meeting between Horr and Imam Hussain was not hostile. However, Horr pressed upon Hussain to change his course and follow him, even after the latter had informed him of the letters of support, he had received from the Kufans, towards whom his party was heading. Horr further obeyed Ibn-e Ziad’s subsequent order to force the rebels to stop in a deserted area. Thus, Hussain was led to the plain of Karbala, where he was encircled by the troops dispatched by Ibn-e Ziad under the command of ʿOmar b. Saʿd. Once the latter had rejected Hussain’s final proposals and decided to fight him on the morning of Ashura, 10 Muharram 61/10 October 680, Horr then repented and joined Hussain, who promised him God’s forgiveness.

Repentance on the Day of Ashura[edit | edit source]

When Horr saw that the people have resolved to kill Imam Hussain, and when he heard Imam calling out:

“Is there none who would hasten to assist us in the name of Allah? Is there none who would defend the Household of the Prophet”?

Then Horr told Omar bin Sa’d, “O Omar! Then will you really fight this man”? He replied, “Yes, by Allah! The battle, which if goes smoothly, will result in the rolling of heads and cutting off the hands.” Horr said, “Then is his proposal unacceptable to you”? Omar replied, “If the situation would have been in my hands, I would certainly have yielded to his request, but your commander will not accept it.”

Horr then left him and stood alone far away from others, while his fellow traveler, named Qurrah bin Qays, was along with him. Horr said, “O Qurrah! Have you fed your horse today”? He replied in the negative. Horr said, “Then do you not desire quenching it’s thirst”? Qurrah says that I doubted that perhaps he wanted to skip away from the battle and did not like that I should see him going away, hence I said, “I shall now be doing so.” Hearing this Horr moved away from there. Qurrah says that, “By Allah! If only Horr had revealed to me what he intended, I too would have accompanied him to the presence of Imam Hussain.” Then slowly Horr started moving closer to Imam Hussain.

Muhajir bin Aws told him, “O son of Yazid! What do you intend? Do you intend to lay siege”? Horr did not answer him but was shivering. Muhajir said, “Verily your state seems dubious. I have never ever seen you in any battle in a similar state in which you are now. If I would have been ques­tioned as to who is the most valorous among the Kufans, I would not hesi­tate to take your name. What is this state I presently see you in”? Horr replied, “I find myself between Paradise and hell. And by Allah! I shall not exalt anything else over Paradise, even if I be cut into pieces or burnt.” According to Malhoof, Horr struck his horse and turned to go towards Imam Hussain,

Horr had kept his hands on his head (like a prisoner) and was saying, “O Allah! I am returning towards You, thus You accept me, for I have put fear into the hearts of Your friends and the children of the Prophet’s grandson.”

Tabari narrates that when he neared Imam Hussain and his companions, he overturned his shield and saluted them. Then he went to Imam Hussain and said, “May I be your ransom O son of the Prophet of Allah! I am the one who had stopped you from returning back and had accompanied you all along and had forced you to alight here. But I had not known that these people would directly refuse your proposal and bring you to this present state. By Allah! If I had known that they would do to you such, I would not have undertaken that what I have done. Hence now I apologize to Allah regarding that what I have done, then do you think that my repentance would be accepted”?

Imam Hussain replied,

“May Allah accept your repentance! Thus alight from your horse.”

Horr replied, “It is better for me to be mounted and serve you and fight with them, thus ultimately I will have to alight from my horse (when I am wounded).” Then Imam replied,

“May your Lord have mercy upon you, do as you desire.”

Then he stood in front of Imam Hussain and said, “O Kufans! May your mothers be deprived of you! You invited the righteous slave of Allah, then when he came to you, you handed him over to the enemy, when you had intended to defend him with your lives? Then now you have begun to fight him so as to kill him. You have taken hold of him and seized his collar, and have surrounded him from all sides so that he may not be able to escape to the vast towns of Allah.

He is now left as a prisoner amongst you, then he cannot benefit himself nor can he ward off the evil from it. Then you have stopped him, along with his women-folk, his children and family, from the waters of Euphrates, which is open for the Jews, Christians and Sabians, and the pigs and dogs of Iraq roll therein, while they would perish because of thirst? How badly have you behaved with the Progeny of Muhammad after his death. May Allah not quench your thirst on the day of extreme thirst (Qiyamah)!” Hearing this some of the soldiers attacked him and started shooting arrows at him, then Horr came and stood in front of Imam Hussain,

It is quoted in Tazkirah of Sibt ibn Jawzi, that Imam Hussain then called out to Shabas bin Rab’ee, Hajjar bin Abjar, Qays bin Ash’as and Yazid bin Hars and said,

“Did you not write letters to me”?

They replied, “We do not know what you say.” Horr bin Yazid, who was their leader, said, “Yes by Allah! We had written to you and we are the ones who have brought you here. Thus may Allah keep away vain and the vain-doers. By Allah! I shall not prefer this world over the Hereafter”, saying this he turned his horse and entered the ranks of Imam Hussain. Imam said,

“Welcome! You are at liberty in this world as well as the Hereafter.”

Ibn Nima narrates that Horr told Imam Hussain that, “When Ubayd-Allah commanded me to come towards you and I came out from the palace, I heard a voice calling out at me from behind saying: Have glad tidings of goodness O Horr! I turned around to see but there was none visible. Then I wondered that by Allah, what glad tidings is this, for I am proceeding to a combat with Imam Hussain, and I had not yet intended assisting you.” Imam replied,

“But now you have (ultimately) reached goodness.”

Martyrdom[edit | edit source]

2. Horr's body was buried by his tribe -Banu Asad- in a location far from Karbala, which was called Nawawis at the time and is called "Horr's village" nowadays.

According to most historians, many men from Hussain’s side were killed before Horr.[1] However, Horr’s own words when he rallied behind Hussain imply that he might have been the first to be killed at Karbala. Shiʿite tradition has retained this sequence of events, apparently derived from the work of Shaykh al-Mofid, who does not mention anyone having been killed before Horr, except Muslim b. ʿAwsaja.[2] In Turco-Persian maqtal-nama narratives of the drama of Karbala, which were used extensively by Kashefi for his Rawzat al-Shuhada (see Calmard, 1996, p. 155), after having killed many enemies, Horr became the first martyr of the battle. His martyrdom was followed by those of his brother, Moṣʿab b. Yazid, his son ʿAli, and the latter’s slave.[3]

Legacy[edit | edit source]

Horr’s courageous rallying behind Hussain and sacrificing himself to his cause are widely celebrated in Muharram rituals and related popular literature, such as marthia (elegies), nawha (dirges), and Ta'ziya (religious dramas). Many scenes dedicated to Horr are included in taʿzia collections, particularly in the Cerulli version.[4]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. e.g., Ṭabari, II, p. 350; tr. I. K. A. Howard, XIX, p. 144.
  2. tr. Howard, 1981, pp. 356 f.
  3. Kashefi, pp. 277 ff.; see Calmard, 1975, pp. 351 ff.
  4. Rossi and Bombaci, 1961, Index.

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • M. Ayoub, Redemptive Suffering in Islam, The Hague, 1978, Index.
  • J. Calmard, “Le Culte de l’Imam Hussain. Etude sur la commémoration du drame de Karbala dans l’Iran pré-safavide,” Ph.D. diss., University of Paris (Sorbonne), 1975.
  • Idem, “Shií Rituals and Power, II. The Consolidation of Safavid Shi’ism: Folklore and Popular Religion,” in C. Melville, ed., SafavidPersia, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 139-90.
  • P. J. Chelkowski, ed., Taʿziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran, New York, 1979, index. Ṣ. Homāyuni, Taʿzia dar Irān, Shiraz, 1368 Š./1989, Index.
  • Hussain Wāʿeẓ Kāšefi, Rawżat al-šohadāʾ, ed. M. Ramażāni, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.
  • M. J. Kister, “al-Ḥurr b. Yazīd,” in EI2. Šayḵ al-Mofid, al-Eršād, tr. I. K. A. Howard, Kitāb al-Iršād: The Book of Guidance in the Livesof the Twelve Imams, London, 1981, Index.
  • Mostawfi, Šarḥ-e zendagāni. E. Rossi and A. Bombaci, Elenco di drammi religiosipersiani (fondo mss. Vaticani Cerulli), Vatican City, 1961, Index.
  • P. Ṣayyād, Matn-e taʿzia-e Ḥorr, mansub be-Moṣṭafā Kāšāni (Mir ʿAzā), Tehran, 1350 Š./1971.
  • Ṭabari, II, index; Ṭabari tr., XIX, index. L. Veccia Vaglieri, “al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib,” in EI².

Source[edit | edit source]