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5 Forgotten Heroes of the Battle of Karbala

Many of the names of those who fought and were victims of the Battle of Karbala, including Imam Hussain and his immediate family, are well-known to many Muslims across the world. But who were some of the other Muslims – the forgotten heroes – who also gave their lives towards the cause?

Many of the names of those who fought and were victims of the Battle of Karbala, including Imam Hussain and his immediate family, are well-known to many Muslims across the world. But who were some of the other Muslims – the forgotten heroes – who also gave their lives towards the cause?

The city of Karbala has a rich history that is both beautiful and tragic, beginning with the slaughter of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, his companions, and his family by the army of Omar ibn Sa’ad as commanded by the Caliph of the time, Yazid ibn Muawiyah.

Hussain refused to give allegiance to a leader like Yazid, and chose to die before legitimizing such a rule. In his own words, Hussain said he was rising up “to revive the affairs of the Ummah of my grandfather”, and to “enjoin the good, and forbid the evil”.

Today, the shrine of Imam Hussain attracts millions of pilgrims from all over the world, all over the year, who visit to pay their respects and worship Allah (swt) by his side.

Many of the names of those who fought and were victims of the Battle of Karbala, including Imam Hussain and his immediate family, are well-known to many Muslims across the world. But who were some of the other Muslims – the forgotten heroes – who also gave their lives towards the cause?

1. Muslim Bin Aqeel

Muslim Bin Aqeel was the first cousin of Imam Hussain, and was personally sent by Imam Hussain to Kufa to try and lead the people against who they believed to be the corrupt leader of the time, Yazid. Muslim Bin Aqeel, therefore, became the ambassador to Kufa in trying to confirm the loyalty of the Kufians to Imam Hussain.

At first, the people of Kufa pledged their loyalty to Imam Hussain, causing Muslim Bin Aqeel to write a letter to Imam Hussain that Kufa would stand behind them. However, when news of the Kufians’ allegiance to Imam Hussain reached the ears of Ubaidullah Ibn Zayed, the governor of Kufa who was appointed by Yazid himself, he threatened the people will murder and harsh retribution should they continue to show allegiance to Imam Hussain.

Unfortunately, this caused many Kufians to withdraw support from Imam Hussain and Muslim Bin Aqeel – and although Imam Hussain and his followers would be vastly outnumbered in the end because of this, it should be remembered that Muslim Bin Aqeel was one of the first who worked tirelessly to gather support and loyalty to Imam Hussain from the people of Kufa – risking his own life in the process.

He would be executed by the ruling authorities of Kufa on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah – making him one of the first martyrs of the Battle of Karbala.

2. Sulayman Ibn Razeen

One of the close companions of Imam Hussain, Sulayman Ibn Razeen was sent to Basra with a letter from Imam Hussain to the chiefs of the city, in order to try and gain allegiance and support. The letter was addressed to the most important chiefs and leaders of Basra: Malik Ibn Musamma Al Bakri, Ahnaf Ibn Qays Al Tamimi, Mundhir Ibn Jarud Al Abdi, Masud Ibn Amr Al Azdi, Qays Ibn Haytham, and Amr Ibn Ubayd Allah Ibn Muammar.

Unfortunately, some of the leaders suspected a plot, and quickly ordered the beheading of Sulayman Ibn Razeen – who had only come with a letter of peace and love towards his Imam Hussain. Along with Muslim Bin Aqeel, Sulayman Ibn Razeen is considered one of the first martyrs of the Battle of Karbala.

3. Habib Ibn Muzahir

A staunchly devoted companion of Imam Ali and later of Imam Hussain, Habib Ibn Muzahir was one of the people of Kufa who pledged loyalty to the camp of Imam Hussain – and kept his word. After realizing many of the people of Kufa had turned their back on Imam Hussain after being threatened by Yazid and the governor of Kufa, Ubaidullah Ibn Zayed, he left Kufa to join Imam Hussain and his army.

At the age of 75, Habib Ibn Muzahir was one of the oldest – however fought as one of the bravest. He is said to have been given command over Imam Hussain’s left flank of the army, but was tragically killed by the army of Yazid and was beheaded after being struck down from his horse.

4. Abu Wahab Abdullah Ibn Umayr

A Christian by birth but later converting to Islam, Abu Wahab Abdullah Ibn Umayr was another one of Imam Hussain’s loyal companions during the Battle of Karbala. It is recorded that Abu Wahab in fact converted to Islam after meeting Imam Hussain and being inspired by him, begging the Imam to let him fight in his army against Yazid.

While he fought valiantly in Imam Hussain’s right flank during the Battle, Abu Wahab was tragically captured and swiftly beheaded – his head thrown mercilessly back at the camp of Imam Hussain.

It is reported that Abu Wahab’s wife, Umm Wahab, was also present at the battle of Karbala – and when she saw her husband killed on the battlefield ran towards the headless corpse, where she was also killed by Yazid’s army after refusing to leave the body. Umm Wahab is one of the female martyrs of the Battle of Karbala, making both her and her husband one of the most tragic cases of the forgotten heroes of the Battle of Karbala.

5. Suwayd Ibn Amr Al Khathami

Said to be one of the last martyrs of the Battle of Karbala, Suwayd Ibn Amr Al Khathami was one of the companions of Imam Hussain who fought bravely during the battle. Struck down in the midst of battle and severely injured, it is said he was left for dead amongst the other corpses – only half conscious.

He was, however, still alive – but when he heard the camp of Yazid celebrating that Imam Hussain had been killed and that the battle was over, he managed to somehow get to his feet and continued to fight. Only half alive and barely able to defend himself, Suwayd Ibn Amr Al Khathami fought in the tragic memory of his beloved Imam Hussain until he was finally killed – making him one of the last loyal companions killed in the Battle of Karbala.


Further Resources

Al-Islam.Org: Nafasul Mahmum Relating Heart Rending Tragedy – Karbala

Sibtayn: Who Were The Companions Of Imam Hussein

Kerbela: The Companions Of Imam Hussain Martyred In Karbala

Almujtaba: Karbala

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