Was the Prophet (Allah Bless Him and Give Him Peace) Foretold of the Martyrdom of His Grandson Husayn?

Yes, it is authentically established that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) was foretold the news of the martyrdom of our liege-lord Husayn (Allah be well pleased with him) upon which he wept. Imam Husayn was martyred with seventy or so members of his family and companions at Karbala by the army of Yazid. He had set out seeking accord, not discord, with truth on his side and a sense of responsibility to uphold the pristine way of his grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and grant him peace).


Among these narrations are:

1. Anas ibn Malik (Allah be well pleased with him) said, “The angel of rain sought the permission of his Lord to visit the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) and he was granted it. It was the day of Umm Salama and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said, ‘Observe the entrance so that no one may enter upon us.’ It was while she was standing at the door that Husayn came darting past, opened the door, and entered. He began to leap and jump on the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) back and the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) began kissing him.

The angel asked him (Allah bless him and grant him peace), ‘Do you love him?’ He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘Yes.’ The angel then said, ‘Your community will kill him. If you wish I can show you the place where he will be killed.’ He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘Yes.’ He then grabbed a fistful from the place where he would be killed and showed it to him (Allah bless him and grant him peace), having come with reddish soil. Umm Salama then took hold of it and placed it in her garment.” [Ahmad, Musnad; Ibn Hibban, Sahih (with a sound chain according to Sh. Shua`yb Arna’ut); Tabarani, al-Kabir; Abu Ya`ala, Musnad]

The above was also narrated with slightly differing wording by Abu Tufayl from Tabarani with a sound chain according to Haytami in Majma` al-Zawa’id.

2. Abu Umama (Allah be well pleased with him) said, “”Gibril (Allah bless him) said, ‘Your community will kill this son of yours.’ The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘They will kill him while believing in me?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ Then Gibril brought forth soil and said, ‘From such and such place.’” [Tabarani, Mu`ajam al-Kabir (as part of a longer narration similar to the first with a sound chain as per Dhahabi in the Siyar)]

3. `Ali (Allah be well pleased with him said), “I entered upon the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) one day and his eyes were pouring forth tears. I said, ‘Messenger of God! Has someone angered and upset you? What is the matter that your eyes weep?’ He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) replied, ‘Rather, Gibril stood with me before and informed me that Husayn would be killed by the banks of the Euphrates.’” [Ahmad, Musnad (with a sound chain as per Ahmad Shakir); Bazzar, Musnad; Abu Ya`ala, Musnad]

There are a number of other narrations that demonstrate the Prophet’s (Allah bless him and grant him peace) knowledge of the martyrdom of our liege-lord Husayn (Allah be well pleased with him) and his great sadness on hearing such news. Though a number of these narrations are weak, the weakness they suffer from is slight and together they strenghten each other to reach the degree of rigorous soundness.

The love that the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) had for his grandchildren is vivid in the many authentic narrations that have come demonstrating it. He (Allah bless him and grant him peace) would pray to Allah to love them because he loved them. He would hug and kiss them, carry them on his shoulders, allow them to play with him, leap on him, ride on his back during prayer, and  crawl through his legs. All of this is mentioned in the works and entries dedicated to our liege-lords Hasan and Husayn, showing the beautiful and very human relationship that they had with their grandfather (Allah bless him and grant him peace).

It is the duty of every Muslim to love and cherish the family of the Prophet (Allah bless him and be well pleased with them all), for love of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) dictates so. Our tears shed at the martyrdom of our liege-lord Husayn, but more than that we realize the divine wisdom at play and the great spiritual meaning behind his struggle and departure from this world to the next. Among the lessons we learn from the event are: (a) the fleeting nature of this world and reality of death, which everyone must experience, (b) the lofty state of being patient in all of what one experiences, (c) the merits of standing up for what is true and just, (d) realizing that Allah is in charge of all one’s affairs and placing trust in Him alone, (e) the merits of sacrifice, (f) the beauty of repentance and forgiveness, and countless others.

By: SHaykh Zain ul Aqtab Siddiqi

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