Nafi b. Hilal b. Jamil

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Nafi b. Hilal b. Jamil
Martyrs of Karbala.jpg
Native nameنافع بن هلال بن جمیل
Full NameNafi b. Hilal b. Jamil al-Bajali
Companion ofImam Ali, Imam al-Hussain
Place(s) of ResidenceKufa
Cause of
Martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala
Burial PlaceHoly shrine of Imam Hussain, Karbala, Iraq
ActivitiesParticipating in battles of Jamal, Siffin, Nahrawan and Event of Karbala

Nafi b. Hilal b. Jamil, was among companion of Imam Hussain who was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. Nafi' was a companion of Imam Ali and devote Shi'a and supporter of ahl al-bayt. He joined Imam Hussain's caravan at Udhayb al-Hijanat. He was reciter of the Qur'an and a writer of hadiths.

In Imam Ali's time[edit | edit source]

Nafi' b. Hilal was a companion of Imam Ali [1]and participated in three battles: Jamal, Siffin, and Nahrawan.[2] it is reported as saying that Imam Ali himself had taught him the skills of combat. [3]

Joining Imam Hussain's caravan[edit | edit source]

Imam Hussain’s caravan halted at Udhayb al-Hijanat that was the pasture of an-No’man bin al-Munthir’s horses. It was near the border between the Arabia, Iraq and Persia. Here, Thur-Rimma bin Adi, Nafi’ bin Hilal, Majm’a bin Abdullah and Amr b. Khalid al-Saydawi met Imam Hussain. Thur-Rimma was an expert guide of the desert roads. Thur-Rimma recited a poem eulogizing Imam Hussain and his noble cause and cursing the Banu Umayya and their evil deeds. All the four men pledged their support to Imam Hussain[4] Imam Hussain asked them about the people of Kufa, and they replied:

"the nobles of Kufa received bribes and are now against you. The rest of people are with you in their hearts, but against you with their swords." [5]

When Nafi' b. Hilal wanted to go to the battle on the Day of Ashura, his wife asked him not to do so. But he insisted that he had to help Imam Hussain. And when Imam learned about this, he told Nafi': "Your wife is worried, and I do not want you to lose one another when you are so young. You are free to take your wife with you!"

Nafi' replied: "O' the son of the Prophet! If I leave you alone in such hardship and go through my pleasures, how can I face your grandfather, the Prophet, in the Day of Judgment?"[6]

Renewing allegiance with Imam Hussain  [edit | edit source]

On the second day of Muharram, Imam Hussain arrived in Karbala. He called all his households, friends and companions to gather around him. He first looked at his households, cried and said:

"O' God! We are the Ahl al-Bayt, households, of the Prophet and ; we have been ousted [from our city]; we have been forced to leave the sanctuary of our grandfather, the Prophet, and we have been disrespected by Banu Umayya. O' God! Give our rights and possessions back to us, and assist us against injustice!"

After his remarks, the companions of Imam Hussain  rose one by one, declared their support of Imam, and renewed their pledge of allegiance with him. After Zuhayr b. Qayn, Nafi' told Imam:

"You know that your grandfather, the Prophet, could not get all the people to love him or have them all under his command. Some of his companions were hypocrites; they promised to help the Prophet, whereas they betrayed him in the back; they were very sweet to him when they met him, but they were very bitter in his back, until he passed away. The same was the case with your father, Ali. Some people gathered around him to offer him help; Nakithun, Qasitun and Mariqun waged wars against him and opposed him, until he died. Now the same is true about you. People who broke their promises and violated their pledges for allegiance have just harmed themselves, and indeed God does not need them. So you can take us wherever you wish; to the East of the world or to its West. We swear to God that we are not afraid of the fate God has determined for us; we are not afraid of meeting our Lord. We act upon our insights. We love whoever loves you and we hate whoever fights with you."[7]

Bringing water[edit | edit source]

Obayd-Allah Ibn Ziad ordered Omar Ibn Sa’d to block Hussain ibn Ali and his companions from accessing water in a letter. On the 7th of Muharram of the year 61 AH, Omar ibn Sa'd commissioned Amro ibn al-Hajjaj al-Zubaydi and 500 cavalry soldiers to guard the Alghameh river—a branch of the Euphrates—to prevent Imam Hussain's army from accessing the water. Then, Imam Hussain called on Abbas b. Ali to bring water for the camp. Abbas b. Ali along with 30 cavalries and 20 infantries, including Nafi' b. Hilal—went to Euphrates overnight in order to bring water.[8] However, when Abbas and his companions, with Nafi' in their forefront, arrived at the river, Amr b. Hajjaj al-Zubaydi, the commander of the group of soldiers who protected Euphrates, shouted: "Who are you?".

Nafi said: "We came here to drink from the water you have forbidden us",

Amr replied: "You are very welcome to drink! But you cannot take any water to al-Hussain",

Nafi replied: "No, I swear to God, I will not drink from this water, while Hussain and his households and companions are all thirsty". [9]

When Imam Hussain's companions arrived there, Nafi' shouted: "fill your water-skins with water!"

Amr b. Hajjaj and his soldiers tried to prevent the companions of Abbas b. Ali and Nafi' b. Hilal from taking water to Imam Hussain's camp and a deadly combat started. Some companions of Imam managed to fill their water-skins with water and take them to the camps. In this event, some soldiers of the enemy were killed and injured.

Eve of Ashura[edit | edit source]

During the night before Ashura, Nafi' b. Hilal noticed that Imam Hussain  went out of his camp, on his own, to inspect the hills around. Nafi' followed Imam. When Imam noticed the presence of Nafi', he told him "Why did you come out of your camp?"

Nafi' replied: "O' the son of the Prophet! I am worried about your life especially when you show up to this cruel army.

Imam said: "I have come out to inspect the ups and downs of this field before tomorrow's war breaks", said Imam Hussain  . When the inspection was all done, Imam Hussain   told Nafi': "Do you not want to disappear in this dark night to save your life?"

Nafi' fell on Imam Hussain's feet and replied: "I have a sword that is worth one thousand dirhams and I have a horse that is worth about one thousand dirhams. I swear to God that I would never leave you alone so long as my sword can cut".[10]

After this dialogue, Imam Hussain   went to his sister, Zaynab's camp. Nafi' b. Hilal stayed outside waiting for Imam. He overheard Zaynab saying to Imam: "Have you put your companions to test? I am worried about them betraying us and surrendering you to the enemy".

Imam Hussain   replied: "I swear to God that I have tested them. They are brave people who look at death with the corner of their eyes and they love to die for me just as an infant loves its mother's breast".

Nafi' thought that Imam Hussain  's household may have concerns about the faithfulness and perseverance of Imam's companions. So he went to Habib b. Muzahir and talked to him about the concerns of Imam's households. They decided to go to Imam Hussain  and his households to ensure them that they will defend them until the last breath of their lives.[11]

"I swear to God that I would now attack the enemy's army had we not been waiting for Imam's command", said Habib to Nafi'. "I overheard Imams sister. I think we should ensure households about our faithfulness. Can you take your men to Imam's households in order to assuage their concerns?"

Habib b. Muzahir called Imam's companions and told Banu Hashim to return to their camps. He then told the remaining people what he had heard from Nafi'. They all said: "We swear to God—who privileged and honored us to be here that we would attack the enemy had we not been waiting for Imam Hussain's command".

Habib b. Muzahir and other companions of Imam Hussain   approached the camps of Imam's households with their drawn swords and said: "O' the household of the Prophet! These are the swords of your men that will not go back to the sheath unless they kill your enemies. These are your men's spears, and they swear to push them into your enemy's breasts".

Day of Ashura[edit | edit source]

When Amr b. Qaraza al-Ansari was killed in Ashura, his brother, Ali, who was in the army of Umar b. Sa'd told Imam Hussain  : "al-Hussain! You have deceived my brother and caused his death! I have not deceived your brother,"

Imam replied, "God has guided him to the right path and you have been misled".

Ali b. Qaraza al-Ansari told Imam: "May God kill me if I do not kill you or be killed by you!" and under the pretext of avenging his brother, he attacked Imam, but Nafi' b. Hilal al-Bajali injured him before he could attack Imam.[12] Nafi' combated the companions of 'Ali b. Qaraza.

Martyrdom[edit | edit source]

In the Day of Ashura, Nafi' b. Hilal carved his name on his arrows, poisoned them, and then threw them to the enemies. With his arrows, Nafi' killed twelve people from Umar b. Sa'd's army and injured many. When he ran out of arrows, he drew his sword and attacked the enemy.

The army of the enemy was all around him when they attacked him with their arrows and stones. His arms were broken and he was taken as prisoner. Shimr and some of his companions took him to Umar b. Sa'd. Umar told him: "O' Nafi'! Woe to you! Why did you do this to yourself?'.

"My Lord knows of my intent", said Nafi' with bloods flowing from his beard, "I swear to God that I do not blame myself for killing twelve of your soldiers. If my arms were not broken, you could never capture me."

Umar b. Sa'd ordered Shimr to kill him. Nafi told Shimr: "I swear to God that if you are really a Muslim, it would be very difficult for you to meet God while your hands are stained with our bloods. I thank God to have left our death to the hands of the worst of his creatures." He was then murdered by Shimr.[13]

Nafi' b. Hilal has been mentioned in Ziarat al-Rajabiyya of Imam Hussain  and Ziyara al-Shuhada.

Source[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Ibn Shajarī, al-Amālī, vol. 1, p. 172.
  2. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn fī anṣār al-Ḥusayn, p. 147.
  3. Waqār Shīrāzī, ʿAshra kāmila, p. 402.
  4. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn fī anṣār al-Ḥusayn, p. 147.
  5. Ibn Nimā al-Ḥillī, Muthīr al-aḥzān, p. 31.
  6. Kāshifī, Rawḍat al-shuhadāʾ, p. 298; Lisān al-Mulk Sipihr, Nāsikh al-tawārīkh, vol. 2, p. 277.
  7. Ibn Aʿtham al-Kūfī, Kitāb al-Futūḥ, vol. 5, p. 83; Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs, al-Malhūf ʿalā qatlā al-ṭufūf, p. 138.
  8. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 181; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 412-413; Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 117; Khwārizmī, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, vol. 1, p. 346-347.
  9. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 181; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 412-413; Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 117; Khwārizmī, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, vol. 1, p. 346-347.
  10. Bihbahānī, al-Damʿat al-sākiba, vol. 4, p. 273; Muqarram, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, p. 219.
  11. Bihbahānī, al-Damʿat al-sākiba, vol. 4, p. 273-274; Muqarram, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, p. 219.
  12. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 192; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 434; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 67.
  13. Lisān al-Mulk Sipihr, Nāsikh al-tawārīkh, vol. 2, p. 277-279; Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 197; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 441-442; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 71-72.