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Question 568: Dear Scholars. We have varying numbers relating to the forces in Yazids (la) army in the battle of Karbala. Tabari mentions 1000 troops under the regiment of Hur and 4000 under Umar ibn Sa’ad and therefore 5000 in total. What is a more authentic account?

Salaams and duas

Answer 568: Umar bin Saad was the commander in charge of Yazids army. Although, records differ as to the number of soldiers who came to Karbaa to fight against Imam Hussain (as), but, according to the most reliable sources, they were 30 thousand people. The two following hadith support this idea.

First tradition: Ahmad bin Harun al-Fami said that Muhmmad bin Abdullah bin Jaafar bin Jame al-Hamiri narrated for us that my father quoted from Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Yahya from Muhammad bin Sinan from Mufadal bin Umar from Imam Jaafar Sadiq (as) that the Imam narrated from Imam Sajjad (as) that one day, Imam Hussain (as) went to His brother Imam Hassan (as), when He looked at him, Imam Hussain (as) started crying. Imam Hasan (as) asked, what makes you cry? Imam Hussain replied: I cried for what they will be brought to you! Imam Hasan (as) said: What shall befall me is the fatal poison, but there is no Day like Your Day O’ Aba Abdillah, Thirty thousand people, claiming to follow our Grandfather (the holy Prophet (pbuh), will unite to attack you and shed your blood, and violate the sanctity and imprison your women-folk and children and plunder your tents. At that time the wrath of Allah, the Almighty will descend upon the Bani Umayyah and the heavens will rain blood, and all things will lamnet over you, to the extent that the wild-beasts of the forests and the fish of the rivers will also weep over your sufferings. [1]

Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

حَدَّثَنَا أَحْمَدُ بْنُ هَارُونَ الْفَامِيُّ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ جَامِعٍ الْحِمْيَرِيُّ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي عَنْ أَحْمَدَ بْنِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ يَحْيَى عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ سِنَانٍ عَنِ الْمُفَضَّلِ بْنِ عُمَرَ عَنِ الصَّادِقِ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ جَدِّهِ ع أَنَّ الْحُسَيْنَ بْنَ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ ع دَخَلَ يَوْماً إِلَى‏ الْحَسَنِ ع فَلَمَّا نَظَرَ إِلَيْهِ بَكَى فَقَالَ لَهُ مَا يُبْكِيكَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ أَبْكِي لِمَا يُصْنَعُ بِكَ فَقَالَ لَهُ الْحَسَنُ ع إِنَّ الَّذِي يُؤْتَى إِلَيَّ سَمٌّ يُدَسُّ إِلَيَّ فَأُقْتَلُ بِهِ وَ لَكِنْ لَا يَوْمَ كَيَوْمِكَ يَا أَبَا عَبْدِ اللَّهِ يَزْدَلِفُ إِلَيْكَ ثَلَاثُونَ أَلْفَ رَجُلٍ يَدَّعُونَ أَنَّهُمْ مِنْ أُمَّةِ جَدِّنَا مُحَمَّدٍ ص وَ يَنْتَحِلُونَ دِينَ الْإِسْلَامِ فَيَجْتَمِعُونَ عَلَى قَتْلِكَ وَ سَفْكِ دَمِكَ وَ انْتِهَاكِ حُرْمَتِكَ وَ سَبْيِ ذَرَارِيِّكَ وَ نِسَائِكَ وَ انْتِهَابِ ثَقَلِكَ فَعِنْدَهَا تَحِلُّ بِبَنِي أُمَيَّةَ اللَّعْنَةُ وَ تُمْطِرُ السَّمَاءُ رَمَاداً وَ دَماً وَ يَبْكِي عَلَيْكَ كُلُّ شَيْ‏ءٍ حَتَّى الْوُحُوشُ فِي الْفَلَوَاتِ وَ الْحِيتَانُ فِي الْبِحَارِ.

Evaluating the chain of transmitters of this hadith: Although, there it is mentioned some unreliable narrators like Muhammad bin Sinan and Mufadal bin Umar, but the others like Muhammd bin Abdullah bin Jaafar al-Hamdiri and his father Ahmad bin Harun al-Fami are reliable.

Second tradition. Abu Ali Ahmad bin Ziyad said that Ali bin Ebrahim bin Hashim quoted from Muhammad bin Eisa Ubaid al-Yaqtini from Younis bini Abdul Rahman from Ibn Isbat from Ali bin Salim from his father Thabit bin Abli Safiyyeh that Imam Sajjad (as) looked at the son of Hadhrat Abbas (as), Abdullah bin Abbas bin Ali bin Abi Talib (as) while his eyes were full of tears and said: There was no day much harder than the day of Uhud for the holy Prophet (pbuh), where Hamza (as) was martyred and after that, on the battle of Mawtah where Jaafar bin Abi Talib was martyred, He (Imam Sajjad) said, then: there is no Day like your Day O’ Aba Abdillah! Thirty thousand people, claimed to be the Ummah of the holy Prophet (pbuh), united to kill Him, while Imam Hussain (as) reminded them Allah, the Almighty, but they never listened to Him until they killed the Imam (as). [2]

The Arabic version of this hadith is as follows:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو عَلِيٍّ أَحْمَدُ بْنُ زِيَادٍ الْهَمَدَانِيُّ رِضْوَانُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ قَالَ حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ إِبْرَاهِيمَ بْنِ هَاشِمٍ عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ عِيسَى بْنِ عُبَيْدٍ الْيَقْطِينِيِّ عَنْ يُونُسَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ عَنِ ابْنِ أَسْبَاطٍ عَنْ عَلِيِّ بْنِ سَالِمٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ عَنْ ثَابِتِ بْنِ أَبِي صَفِيَّةَ قَالَ: نَظَرَ سَيِّدُ الْعَابِدِينَ عَلِيُّ بْنُ الْحُسَيْنِ ع إِلَى عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبَّاسِ بْنِ عَلِيِّ بْنِ أَبِي طَالِبٍ فَاسْتَعْبَرَ ثُمَّ قَالَ مَا مِنْ يَوْمٍ أَشَدَّ عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ص مِنْ يَوْمِ أُحُدٍ قُتِلَ فِيهِ عَمُّهُ حَمْزَةُ بْنُ عَبْدِ الْمُطَّلِبِ أَسَدُ اللَّهِ وَ أَسَدُ رَسُولِهِ وَ بَعْدَهُ يَوْمَ مُؤْتَةَ قُتِلَ فِيهِ ابْنُ عَمِّهِ جَعْفَرُ بْنُ أَبِي طَالِبٍ ثُمَّ قَالَ ع وَ لَا يَوْمَ كَيَوْمِ الْحُسَيْنِ ع ازْدَلَفَ عَلَيْهِ ثَلَاثُونَ أَلْفَ رَجُلٍ يَزْعُمُونَ أَنَّهُمْ مِنْ هَذِهِ الْأُمَّةِ كُلٌّ يَتَقَرَّبُ إِلَى اللَّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ بِدَمِهِ وَ هُوَ بِاللَّهِ يُذَكِّرُهُمْ فَلَا يَتَّعِظُونَ حَتَّى قَتَلُوهُ بَغْياً وَ ظُلْماً وَ عُدْوَاناً.

Evaluating the chain of transmitters of this hadith: there are many prominent, reliable and pious muhaddith (narrator) among the chain of transmitters of the hadith. So, there is no problem in its chain of narration.

Note: Some sources listed the commanders and the number of their soldiers which altogether become 22 thousand people presented in Karbala.[3] In his book Ithbat al-wasiyya, Al-Mas’udi mentioned 28 thousand people.[4] According to Al-Tabari, they were 14 thousand people.[5] Ibn Shahr Ashub mentioned 35 thousand people (however in his detailed lists of commanders and soldiers he counted 25 thousand people).[6] Sibt b. al-Jawzi said they were 6 thousand people.[7] According to Ibn ‘Inaba, they were 31 thousand people.[8] Mulla Husayn al-Kashifi reported 32 thousand and also 17 thousand people.[9] According to an anonymous report, the enemy’s number were 20 thousand till the sixth day of Muharram.[10]

[1] . Al-Amali (by Sheikh Sadouq), al-Nass, Pg. 116.

[2] . Al-Amali (by Sheikh Sadouq), al-Nass, Pg. 463

[3] . Ibn A’tham, Vol. 5, Pgs. 84-90 and 101; Kharazmi, Vol. 1. Pgs. 341-345; Ibn Emad Hanbali, Shazarat al-Zahab, Vol. 1, Pg. 67; Majlesi, Biharul Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 386.

[4] . Ithbatul Wasiyyah, Pg. 166.

[5] . Dalael al-Imamah, Pg. 178.

[6] . Manaqib Aal e Abi Talib, Vol. 4, Pg. 106.

[7] . Tazkiratul Khawas, Vol. 2, Pg. 161.

[8] . Omdatul Talib fee Ansab Aal e Abi Talib, Pg. 192.

[9] . Ibid.

[10] . Ibn Sabagh Maleki, al-Fusul al-Muhimmah, Pg. 191.

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