by Jonathan Azaziah
My uncle Ishaq-Hussein Azaziah (R.A.) told me many a time before ‘Israel’ gunned him down in cold blood that there are two Kufas: The one which betrayed Imam Hussein (A.S.) to the tyrannical terrorist Yazid (L.A.) in 61 A.H. and the one which avenged Imam Hussein (A.S.) in grandiose revolutionary fashion in 66-67 A.H. The latter was led by the hero of heroes and the blade of blades, Mukhtar al-Thaqafi (R.A.) And the reflection period between Ashoura and Arbaeen wouldn’t be complete without the remembrance of his unbridled and glorious rebellion, which not only saw an uprising against despotism in the name of the one, true, Muhammadi-Husseini Islam but also the pursuit of the psychopathic perpetrators of the massacre on Ashoura.
Imam Ali (A.S.), in Saying 324 of Nahjul Balagha, wrote, “Throw a stone in return from where one comes to you because [there are times that] evil can only be met with evil.” Mukhtar al-Thaqafi (R.A.) took this to heart and pursued the manglers and stranglers of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) to the proverbial ends of the earth. The Commander of Commanders appointed Ibrahim al-Ashtar (R.A.), the son of Imam Ali’s (A.S.) right hand Malik al-Ashtar (R.A.), as his own vicegerent. A most fitting selection.
It began right in Kufa with the accursed mercenaries of Bani Umayya coming down from Mosul to put a stop to the mutiny before it took off after the literal fires of Thawra and Mouqawamah had been lit just nights before. What Abu Sufyan’s (L.A.) successors didn’t know is that Al-Mukhtar (R.A.) already had raised a Mouqawamist army of 3,000 moujahideen inside the holy city and had his deputy, Ibrahim al-Ashtar (R.A.), ready at the gates with another 7,000 lions. The Umayyads were overwhelmed, battered, beaten and forced to flee to seek reinforcements. With Kufa secured, Al-Mukhtar (R.A.) ordered his best and brightest to search the city and comb through the wounded of the shaytanic militias they had just defeated.
The first to be found was Harmala ibn Kahil al-Assadi (L.A.), the murderer of Ali al-Asghar (A.S.) and Abdallah ibn Hassan (A.S.) A rat of rats, he also paraded around Abou Fadhl al-Abbas’s (A.S.) head all the way to Kufa at Yazid’s (L.A.) command. He was captured whilst he was running away from the city and executed.
The next criminal located was Sinan ibn Anas (L.A.), who infamously plunged a spear into Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) chest until it came out of his back after he had already been mortally wounded by Shimr (L.A.) A piece of filth less valuable than a donkey corpse devoid of meat, he was uncovered by Ibrahim al-Ashtar’s (R.A.) men, who brought him to his knees after he put up a desperate last stand–because he deeply feared the smoky, fiery pit that awaited him once the breath departed from his blackened, demonic lungs–and sent him where he belongs.
Umar ibn Sa’ad (L.A.), one of Yazid’s (L.A.) most vocal supporters and a top Umayyad commander during the mass slaughter on Ashoura, was picked off next, as was Khawli ibn Yazid (L.A.), who also stuck his claws into Imam Hussein (A.S.) and was ordered by Ibn Mouawiyah (L.A.) to carry his severed head all the way to Kufa. A degenerate of the lowest, vilest order and a descendant of Himyari Jews, he actually hid Aba Abdallah’s (A.S.) head in the oven of his home for a while when it was by discovered his wife, a pious woman named Nawar bint Malik (R.A.) She was so overwhelmed with grief for Imam Hussein (A.S.), anger at her husband and disgust with herself that she allowed herself to be betrothed to such a treacherous person, she notified the companions of Al-Mukhtar (R.A.) of her husband’s crimes when she heard of the ongoing righteous uprising. Ibrahim al-Ashtar (R.A.), on the orders of Sidi Thaqafi (R.A.), went to Khawli ibn Yazid’s (L.A.) home, where he was hiding in a hole like the spineless slime he was, dragged him out in front, put a sword through his heart and the burnt his body.
One of the two grand prizes that they had been waiting for was next: Shimr ibn Dhul Jawshan (L.A.), the maimer and beheader of Imam Hussein (A.S.) More than just murdering Sayyed al-Shouhada (A.S.), it was he who laid the groundwork for the savage butchering of Muslim ibn Aqeel (A.S.) and was the first marauder to charge into the murder spree that was the 10th of Muharram in 61 A.H. He led Umar ibn Saad’s (L.A.) left flank during the fighting and after chopping off the head of Hussein (A.S.), he even attempted to murder baby Imam Zayn al-Abideen (A.S.) too. He had no morals. He had no respect. He didn’t even have a soul.
He and his entire family were pagans who only accepted Islam after Mecca was overrun by the Original Moujahideen (R.A.) and it is said that they only did so to prevent themselves from being killed. In other words, they had no Deen. Shimr (L.A.) was among the first soldiers to offer his services to push back against Al-Mukhtar (R.A.) but went on the run after the initial waves of the Umayyad army in Kufa were cut down to size. He personally challenged Mukhtar (R.A.) to combat and was swiftly and concussively defeated. He tried to escape again and then Thaqafi the Thunderous (R.A.) sent a group of shabab after him to punish and behead him. They then left his body to be eaten by the city’s rabid and ravenous wild dog population.
Mukhtar’s (R.A.) triumph in Kufa, culminating in the destruction of Shimr (L.A.), was followed up with the epic victory on the Khazir River. During the battle, the General of Generals (R.A.) was able to vanquish the horrific Hussein ibn Noumayr (L.A.), a crueler-than-cruel figure who certainly brought nothing but dishonor to his very namesake. A lifelong servant of the Umayyads starting with Mouawiyah (L.A.) and one of the staunchest enemies of Imam Ali (A.S.), he had a particular interest in inflicting sadism on animals as well as the weak. During Ashoura, he was tasked with shooting horses and wounded soldiers of Imam Hussein (A.S.) with arrows and hitting them with spears. When Ibrahim al-Ashtar (R.A.) met him on the battlefield, he slew him, took his head and sent it to Al-Mukhtar (R.A.) who then sent it to Sayyed Muhammad ibn Hanafiyya (A.S.), the acting representative of of Imam Zayn al-Abideen (A.S.), who would go on to make the most beautiful du’a for Mukhtar’s (R.A.) continued success.
Hakim ibn Tufayl (L.A.), the barbarian who murdered Abou Fadhl al-Abbas (A.S.) and sent his horse along with those of the men under his command to trample the body of Imam Hussein (A.S.), was also hunted down on the banks of Al-Khazir. The sublime moujahid responsible for his assassination was Abdallah ibn Kamel (R.A.), a protege of Ibrahim al-Ashtar (R.A.) The young fighter and his companions beat the murderous rodent and then removed his clothes, just as he had done to Al-Abbas (A.S.) And as Hakim (L.A.) squirmed around on the ground naked, Abdallah ibn Kamel (R.A.) ordered his men to fire arrows upon him so not even an inch of his skin was hit. This too was for Ashoura, as Hakim ibn Tufayl (L.A.) had fired an arrow at Imam Hussein (A.S.) while he was already wounded. It’s said that he was engulfed in so many arrows that he looked like a bloodied hedgehog.
And then came the second of the grand prizes that the Mukhtari revolutionaries were on the prowl for: Ubaydullah bin Ziyad (L.A.), arguably the Umayyads’ most famous battlefield chieftain, the Governor of Kufa during Ashoura and one of the architects of the entire Karbala slaughter. He was Yazid’s (L.A.) political and military point man. Malicious in every maneuver he engaged in, he took great joy from Shimr’s atrocity against Imam Hussein (A.S.) and the mass murder on the 10th of Muharram as a whole. In its aftermath, he ruthlessly repressed what remained of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.), most especially Lady Zaynab (A.S.), who humiliated him upon entry into Kufa during an exchange about Qur’anic verses regarding hypocrites.
The Lady of Light, Lady of Might (A.S.) was so cerebral and powerful in her response that spectators were afraid she’d be killed on the spot. Alas, Ubaydullah (L.A.) refrained out of apprehension over what he may trigger with any further violence so he just imprisoned the Reflection of al-Zahra (A.S.) instead. He’d spend the next several years building up ties with Marwan ibn al-Hakam (L.A.) and fortifying his positions in Damascus and Basra. He wasn’t so fortified though that he could evade the Mukhtari Brigades. And like all the rest of the monsters mentioned, when it came down to the wire, he couldn’t hold his own in a one-on-one fight. Upon being confronted by Ibrahim al-Ashtar (R.A.) in the Battle of Al-Khazir, he was slain in swift and spectacular fashion before having his head severed and sent to Mukhtar the Marvel (R.A.)
Several more battles would ensue before it all came to an end at the hands of the illegitimate ruler of Basra, Mus’ab ibn al-Zubair (L.A.), who mobilized a gang of mercenaries akin to the force Yazid (L.A.) had on Ashoura and vowed to crush the Mukhtari-Husseini Revolt once and for all. On the 14th of Ramadan, Mukhtar al-Thaqafi (R.A.), at the astonishing age of 67, made his last stand and like Imam Hussein (A.S.) himself, he was betrayed by the treacherous people of Kufa, who did not adhere to his orders to join the struggle against the enemies of Ahlul Bayt (A.S.) Only 17 Kufans came to his aid in total and all of them died Shouhada of the highest order beside him. Though he was near 70, he fought like he was near 20, and single-handedly wiped out dozens (some narrations say as many as 100) of Mus’ab’s (L.A.) commanders.
The numbers were overwhelming however and he fell from myriad wounds–with his sword still swinging and inflicting damage on the enemy and the chant of “Ya Latharat al-Hussein (Rise to avenge Hussein[‘s blood])!” on his lips. Mus’ab (L.A.), doing his best impression of Yazid (L.A.), cut off Mukhtar’s (R.A.) hands, mutilated his corpse further, then had his minions nail it to the Masjid of Kufa’s outside walls. He then arrested Mukhtar’s (R.A.) wife Umra’ (R.A.), and asked her in public who exactly her husband was, overtly implying that if she cursed him then she’d live, but the revolutionary warrioress declared, “He was pious. He fasted everyday. He loved Rasoulallah (S.A.W.W.) and his Household (A.S.) And he knew ALLAH (SWT) in a way that you will never fathom.” She was tortured and then decapitated–reportedly the first woman of Islam to face such an obscenity. “Ya Latharat al-Hussein!” was on her blessed lips too.
We reiterate that no commemoration of Imam Hussein’s (A.S.) martyrdom could or would be complete without this remembrance of Al-Mukhtar (R.A.) Indeed, he was the Revolutionary To End All Revolutionaries. The Mouqawamist To End All Mouqawamists. The Glistening Adornment Upon The Spring of Righteous Vengeance from which all other strike-backs now flow. In times as Yazidi as these, there is no other choice but to be Mukhtari. In word. In deed. In art. And if ALLAH (SWT) demands it of us… In sacrifice. We must be the swords of the Moustazafeen to deliver cut after cut to the Empire of the Moustakbireen.
We can say with certainty–UNEQUIVOCAL certainty in fact–that if Mukhtar al-Thaqafi (R.A.) was with us today, he’d have revolts unfolding in Palestine, Syria, Yemen, Nigeria’s Zaria, Bahrain, Kashmir and elsewhere. He’d be a Hizbullahi. An Ansarullahi. A moujahid of Islamic Jihad. An Islamic Revolutionary Guardsmen. A Basiji. An acolyte of Sheikh Zakzaky. No question. Like the Ashoura Shouhada (A.S.) he righteously avenged, he is alive. Breathing Nour into an alternative legacy for Kufa; giving hope to the resistant and the defiant wherever they are. Maybe one day… Just maybe… We’ll be worthy of him. Labaykah ya Mukhtar (R.A.)! Ya Latharat al-Hussein (A.S.)!