Martyrdom of Hujr ibn Adi, His Son and Companions
Hujr al-Khayr or Hujr Ibn ‘Adi who had been among the Holy Prophet’s disciples, did later range himself with ‘Ali’s firm and devoted Shi’ite Muslims. He belonged to the tribe of Kinda, a southern tribe in Hijaz, who had migrated to Iraq in 17 A.H. This tribe was involved in Iraqi events as participants in Siffin and later on in Mukhtar’s uprising.
A crowd from among them was at odds with Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (a) in Karbala. In the course of Siffin, his activity was utterly broad and he played a role as a commander in ‘Ali’s army, yet when many abandoned Imam (a), up to the very last moment he stayed beside him. Hujr could be found amid the most pious disciples of Allah’s Apostle (S). Hukaym Niyshaburi called him the monk of Prophet’s disciples.
After ‘Ali’s martyrdom, he was amongt the ones stimulating the nation to swear allegiance to Hasan Ibn ‘Ali (a). In the process of compromising, Hujr seemed discontented but Imam elaborated that he had to consent merely due to protecting the lives of individuals like him. Nontheless later Mu’awiya by no means remained faithful to his pledge and martyred both Hujr and his followers.
During the governorship of Mughira over Kufa that lasted until the beginning of 50’s (A.H.), in spite of relative freedom, insults were still hurled at Imam ‘Ali (a) in the masque. The leadership of ‘Ali’s Shi’ite Muslims was laid with the characters such as Hujr Ibn ‘Adi and ‘Amr Ibn Hamiq Khuza’i.
Hujr was among those who frequently objected to Mughira accustomed to insult Imam ‘Ali (a). When Mughira was paved the way to send a caravan carrying some properties to Mu’awiya who was in need, Hujr intercepted the caravan and declared that as long as he has not granted the rights of the rightful, on no accounts would he allow these properties to be conveyed. At Mu’awiya’s behest, Mughira had commanded them to take part in the congregational prayer at the mosque.
Once Hujr was urged by Mughira to go up the pulpit and curse Imam ‘Ali (a) he went up and said, “Mughira propels me to curse ‘Ali (a), curse him you all.”
Immediately, the congregation perceived that his intention had been Mughira himself. Mughira, however, had already declared that he never intended to be the first one murdering the celebrity of Kufa and as a result contribute to Mu’awiya’s grandeur in this world and his own abjectness in the Hereafter. This statement was the response to those objecting why he did not arrest or harass Hujr.
Following the demise of Mughira and Ziyad’s governorship over Kufa, the status quo altered perceptibly. Ziyad, from the very first night of his governorship, did commence his rigors. His exceptional sermon for threatening Kufa people, has been recorded as a typical Arab sermon in historical sources at that juncture.
Well acquainted with Hujr Ibn ‘Adi, he warned him stating, “You and I have been in the same situation that you know yourself (concerning ‘Ali’s amity) but today anything has converted. Hold your tongue and stay at your home. My throne can be yours too. I will doubtlessly meet all your demands provided that you get along with me although you are rash”.
Seemingly, Hujr who was convinced went away.
Once again the status quo changed. It is said that one time Hujr interrupted Ziyad’s remarks protracted and the time of prayer was elasping, yelling out, “Al-Salat” (prayer). It is also narrated that he along with other Shi’ite Muslims had been convening meetings after Ziyad’s departure to Basra. Ziyad’s substitute, ‘Amr Ibn Hurayth, wrote to Ziyad that if he desired to maintain Kufa, he should return without delay.
In this respect, Hujr was not merely solitary, but also he was under any circumstances accompanied by a number of Shi’ite Muslims. Quotedly, when Hujr protested against Mughira in the mosque, more than one- third of the audience validated his remarks.
As written by Abu l-Faraj, in the absence of Ziyad, being in Basra, Hujr together with his companions occupied one-third or half of the mosque and began denouncing and vilifying Mu’awiya. Ziyad himself had denounced the nobles of Kufa that “You are on my side whereas your brothers, offspring and tribes are on Hujr’s side.”
After a while, a multitude of those on Hujr’s side dispersed since the chiefs of tribes had menaced the members of the tribes. Therefore, there was no more companion remained with Hujr.
When a group was sent to arrest him, he addressed his friends as saying, “Since you are by no means able to defy them, there is no way for any struggle. Eventually, Hujr conceded to surrender provided that for drawing deduction he should be taken to meet Mu’awiya.
Having accepted the condition, Ziyad was making an attempt on the other hand to expose him to murder. By the same token, he compelled four characters having been appointed as the chiefs of the tribes in Kufa to make an affidavit against Hujr. It was stipulated in the affidavit that Hujr had formed some assemblies wherein Mu’awiya had been cursed.
His belief was that no one merited the caliphate save those from Talib’s lineage. As stated by them having caused chaos within the town, he had expelled ‘Amr Ibn Hurayth, the governor; furthermore, he had not only saluted ‘Ali, but expressed his disgust for his foes and those having combated him.
Ziyad who had on no accounts approved the aforesaid affidavit ordered Abu Burda, son of Abu Musa Ash’ari, to prepare a more pungent one. What he wrote as a result was,
“Hujr has declined to comply with the caliph and seceded from “Jama’a”. He has cursed the caliph and summoned all to a battle and sedition. Having congregated the people around himself, he has urged them to breach their pledges. He dethroned Mu’awiya, Amir al-Mu’minin, from the caliphate and blasphemed against Allah in addition.”
This time Hujr was labeled a blasphemer. Abu Burda who was one of the eminent Sunni traditionists bore the witness of it. Ziyad persuaded others to sign it too. Among the signatories were Ishaq and Moses, sons of Talha, Mundhir, Zubayr’s son, ‘Umar, son of Sa’d Ibn Abi Waqqas and ‘Umara, son of ‘Uqba Ibn Abi Mu’ayt.
As narrated by historians, while Hujr was being arrested, he yelled out, “I am still faithful to my allegiance”. He was absolutely right because he never ever intended to revolt against Mu’awiya. What he insisted on was about ‘Ali not to be insulted. And it was precisely what had been stipulated in Mu’awiya’s commitment and conceded by him.
Fascinatingly, it was specified in the affidavit that Hujr believed that caliphate was well deserved to no one but those from Talib’s lineage. It was the manifestation of Hujr’s purifiedly Shi’ites belief. “Purified Shi’ite Muslims” denotes those being religious Shi’ite Muslims. The belief of such Shi’ite Muslims is that Imamate does solely belong to Prophet’s household (Ahl al-Bayt).
In a poem quoted from Hujr we read, ”Ali was a friend of the Prophet’s (S) and he was gratified with his executorship.”
Hujr described ‘Ali as Prophet’s friend and executor. At that time many were of this belief in Iraq. When Abu l-Aswad Du’ali was sneered due to his in-depth enthusiasm for ‘Ali, he stated in a poem,
“I adore Muhammad (S), ‘Abbas, Hamza and the executor (‘Ali)”
He did introduce ‘Ali as the Holy Prophet’s executor manifesting his successorship. Corresponding to it is Malik’s statement regarding ‘Ali, “The executor of the executors and the inheritor of all Prophets’ body of knowledge is he.”
This description was also what Imam al-Baqir’s Shi’ite Muslims like Jabir Ibn Yazid Ju’fi uttered about ‘Ali (a). Further instances have been presented earlier in discussion of Shi’ism at Imam ‘Ali’s time.
Ultimately, Hujr along with his fourteen companions, known as the heads of Hujr’s followers, was sent to Damascus. A few of them were interceded and forgiven by Mu’awiya in Damascus.
Although Hujr also was interceded, Mu’awiya did in no way accept. Reportedly, Mu’awiya was at first ambivalent and on this account he had already written to Ziyad that he believed that Hujr should never be murdered but Ziyad had replied that liberating him would result in corruption of Iraq, and he could allow Hujr to return to Iraq on the condition that he did not require Kufa.
Mu’awiya eventually made a decision to assassinate Hujr; notwithstanding, since he was terrified to meet him face to face, he commanded to detain them in Marj ‘Adhra’ a few farsangs far away from Damascus.
Later he read out the affidavit of dwellers of Kufa to those of Damascus and appealed to them to voice their opinions! It was utterly evident that what they could ever say when the disciples’ descendants were of that opinion!
Mu’awiya deployed a number to Marj ‘Adhra’ to carry out what they were supposed to. They were at first duty-bound to propose them that if they expressed their loathing for ‘Ali (a), the verdict would be declared null and void. Under no circumstances did Hujr and his companions agree. And it might have been owing to this fact that Imam ‘Ali (a) had asserted that after him if they were impelled to insult him, they should abide by but never ever express loathing for him.
Subsequently digging their own graves, Hujr and his companions spent dusk to dawn in worshiping. Eight out of them were set free but six of them announced their readiness for martyrdom.
Next morning they were again requested to express their idea about ‘Uthman, “The ever-first one who did injustice was ‘Uthman”, they retorted. They were asked whether they would pronounce disgust for ‘Ali. They responded, “No, never, we do all love him and hate those who hate him.”
Then they prepared themselves for being martyred. Hujr who was prominent among the devout of Iraq said a very-long-two-Rak’at prayer (Rak’at, unit of prayer consisting of three postures) and stated, “As yet, I have never performed a prayer shorter than this and I yearned to prolong it if you did not accuse me of being scared of death.”
Six of them were martyred. Karim Ibn ‘Afif Khath’ami and ‘Abd al-Rahman Ibn Hassan al-‘Anzi were both taken to meet Mu’awiya. Karim was interceded but when it was ‘Abd al-Rahman’s turn, Mu’awiya questioned him about ‘Ali (a).
“You had better not enquire any question”, he responded.
When Mu’awiya insisted, he declared, “I do attest that he was among the ones bearing Allah invariably in mind, enjoining good, establishing justice and being magnanimous.” And when he was asked about ‘Uthman, he replied, “He was the first one who opened the door of injustice and closed the doors of justice.”
Mu’awiya sent him to Iraq and instructed Ziyad to kill him brutally. Then, he was buried alive at Ziyad’s behest.
References in relation to the killing of Hujr bin Adi al-Adbar can be located in the following Sunni texts:
1. al Bidaya wa al Nihaya, Volume 8 page 53 Dhikr 51 Hijri
2. Tarikh Kamil, Volume 3 page 249 Dhikr 51 Hijri
3. Tarikh ibn Asakir, Volume 12 page 227 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
4. Tarikh ibn Khaldun, Volume 3 page 13 Dhikr 51 Hijri
5. al Isaba, Volume 1 page 313 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
6. Asad’ul Ghaba, Volume 1 page 244 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
7. Shadharat ul Dhahab, Volume 1 page 57 Dhikr 51 Hijri
8. Tabaqat al Kubra, Volume 6 page 217 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
9. Mustadrak al Hakim, Volume 3 page 468-470 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
10. Akhbar al Tawaal, page 186 Dhikr Hujr ibn Adi
11. Tarikh Abu’l Fida, page 166 Dhikr 51 Hijri
12. Muruj al Dhahab, Volume 3 page 12 Dhikr 53 Hijri
13. Tarikh Yaqubi, Volume 2 page 219
We read in Al Isaba:
After the battle of Qudsiya Hujr ibn Adi participated in Jamal and Sifeen, alongside Ali and was amongst his Shi’a. He was killed upon the orders of Mu’awiya in a village called Mriaj Adra near Damascus. At the time of his execution he requested: ‘Do not remove these chains after I am killed, nor clean the blood. We will meet again with Mu’awiya and I shall petition my case against him’.
We read in Al Bidaya:
When the time of death approached Mu’awiya, he said to himself thrice: ‘Hujr bin Adi! The day of answering for your murder is very lengthy’
We read in Tarikh ibn Asakir:
“Ayesha said: ‘Mu’awiya you killed Hujr and his associates, By Allah! The Prophet told me ‘In the ditch of Adra seven men will be killed, due to this all the skies and Allah will be upset”.
We read in Asad’ul Ghaba:
“Hujr and his associates were arrested and taken to a ditch in Adra which was near Damascus. Mu’awiya ordered that Hujr and his associates be executed in this ditch”
Hujr bin Adi al-Adbar was a pious lover of Maula Ali (as). Mu’awiya made his bastard brother the Governor of Kufa, he would disgrace the family of the Prophet (s) whilst standing on the pulpit, Hujr as a true lover of Maula ‘Ali (as) was unable to tolerate such insults. He would praise Maula ‘Ali (as) and object to such insults. Ibn Ziyad through his usual deception fabricated allegations to Mu’awiya who ordered that they be apprehended and sent to him. On route to Damascus Mu’awiya ordered their execution. This is a fact that the Nawasib cannot escape, a fact that has even been vouched for by the Salafi scholar scholar Hasan bin Farhan al-Maliki who on page 170 of his book ‘Qeraah fi Kutub al-Aqaed’ said:
“The Bani Umaya killed and humiliated the lovers of Ahl ul bayt, and ruthlessly killed Hujr bin Adi during Mu’awyia’s reign on account of his criticism of their act of cursing Ali from the pulpits”
It is also said that when the time came when they were about to murder Hujr they asked him according to the customs if there was one last request that they could grant him. hujr asked them if they could kill his son in front of him before they killed him. The executioner asked what was the reason for this? Hujr said that he would like to see that his son would die with the love of Ali in his heart and that he was afraid that if he himself was killed first then his son might leave on account of fear and go over to the side of Muawiya and denounce Ali.
These cruel heartless people then murdered Hujr’s son in front of him and then proceeded to murder Hujr next.
May Allah bless Hujr ibn Adi, his son and his faithful companions!
“The Suffering of the Ahl ul Bayt and their Followers throughout History” Chapter 13 by Mateen J. Charbonneau