In the month of Rajab, 60 AH, Mu'awiyah died. He had ruled the Muslim countries for twenty years. He killed many companions of Prophet Muhammad (saw). Hajar bin Adi al-Kindi, Amr bin al-Hamq al-Khazay and Rasheed al-Hajry were of them. He poisoned Imam Hasan (Prophet Muhammad's elder grandson), Malik al-Ashtar, Saad bin Abi Waqas and others.
In spite of the Muslim's dissatisfaction, Mu'awiyah appointed his son Yazeed caliph. So, the Caliphate became a kingdom. The Muslims were angry with Yazeed, for he was a corrupt young man. Besides, he drank alcohol and amused himself with monkeys and dogs.
The Muslims in Kufa,Iraq hoped that Imam Husayn (Prophet Muhammad's younger grandson) would be the Caliph. Moreover, he was a good, God-fearing and believing man. And he treated the poor very kindly. So the Muslims from Kufa sent Imam Husayn (as) hundreds of letters. In their letters, they asked him to save them from persecution.
Imam Husayn (as) was in al-Madina al-Munawara, and did not pay homage (Bayyah) to Yazeed by saying "Hayhat Minna Zilla", for the latter behaved badly. In the meantime, he sent his cousin Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel as his envoy to Kufa and asked him to stay with the most loyal person in Kufa.
The people of Kufa were waiting for Imam Husayn's coming. They were tired of the Umayyad's persecution. Meanwhile, they longed for Imam Husayn's justice.
Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel (as) arrived in Kufa and stayed with Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. The people of Kufa heard about his arrival and crowded around Mukhtar al-Thaqafi's house to see Imam Husayn's envoy. They wanted to pay homage to establish Allah's government.
In the mean time Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel read the Kufians Imam Husayn's message:
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. From al-Husayn bin Ali, to the believing Muslims.
Hani ibn Urwah and Saeed ibn Abdullah al Hanafi brought me your letters. They were your last two messengers. I have understood all that you have written. The majority of your letters have showed that there is no Imam other than me.
You have said: Come. May Allah bring us together to follow guidance and truthfulness. So, I have sent my cousin Muslim bin Aqeel. I have ordered him to write me about your attitude. If he writes me that you all are in agreement, I will come, Insha Allah.
By my life! The Imam must conform to the Book and Justice.
The Muslims of Kufa were full of hope when they heard Imam Husayn's message. Mukhtar al-Thaqafi paid homage to al-Husayn's envoy. He promised to establish the Muslim government. He also promised to revolt against the unjust. Besides he promised to support the persecuted.
Mukhtar al-Thaqafi was the first to pay homage to al-Husayn. Then approximately eighteen thousand people paid homage.
Mukhtar ibn Ubaydullah al-Thaqafi's house became headquarters. The Muslims went to it every day. The spies told Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah about Mukhtar. They also told him about al-Numan bin Basheer al-Ansary's the ruler of Kufa's mildness with him.
Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah appointed Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad, the ruler of Basrah, as the ruler over Kufa. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad arrived in Kufa. He ordered his guards to arrest Muslim bin Aqeel.
Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel disappeared in a house in Kufa. Meanwhile Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad sent spies all over Kufa to look for Muslim bin Aqeel.
Muslim bin Aqeel was forced to announce a revolution. Many people supported him. Muslim bin Aqeel's forces besieged the Prince's palace for several days.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad was wicked. He spread a rumour that an enormous army from Damascus was coming. It would destroy Kufa and kill its people. The people believed Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's rumour and left al-Husayn's envoy alone. Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel was forced to disappear again.
The spies found Muslim bin Aqeel in a house that belonged to a good old woman called Taua. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad sent army personnel to arrest Muslim bin Aqeel. When the army personnel asked him to surrender, he refused and began fighting alone.
Muslim bin Aqeel was badly wounded and later arrested him and took him to the prince's palace. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad was full of spite. He hated the Ahlul-Bayt and their supporters. So, he ordered his guard to kill Muslim bin Aqeel. Besides he ordered them to kill one of his companions, Hani ibn Urwah. He was a leader in Kufa.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad ordered his guards to throw Muslim bin Aqeel and his companion down the palace. Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad began killing and imprisoning the people in Kufa for any accusation. So, the people there were afraid.
Imam Husayn (as) headed towards Kufa. On the way, he heard that Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's guards killed Muslim bin Aqeel, Hani ibn Urwah and others.
On the morning of 10th Muharram (Ashura), the Battle of Karbala took place. Thousands of fighters launched a savage attack against Imam Husayn and his companions. They faced the attack bravely, strong fights took place. They astonished the enemies. Only seventy fighters were fighting from the early hours of the morning till afternoon.
All of Imam Husayn's companions passed away. Imam Husayn was alone. Still he attacked Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's Army, while fighting bravely.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's Army killed Imam Husayn (as) and beheaded the martyrs, tied their heads to the spears and burnt their tents. Then took the women and children as prisoners. Shimr beheaded al-Husayn and gave his head to Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad.
The people saw Imam Husayn's head. They felt pain because they did not support him.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad ordered some guards to bring Mukhtar al-Thaqafi from prison to see the head of his master al-Husayn (as).
One day Mukhtar al-Thaqafi meets Maytham al-Tammar in the same prison and told him about the martyrdom of al-Husayn (as).
Safyyah was Mukhtar's sister. She was the wife of Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab. Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab had good relations with Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah. So, he asked him to release Mukhtar.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad wanted to kill Mukhtar. But Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah sent a man quickly to him. He ordered him to release Mukhtar.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad read Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah's message. He obeyed the orders. So, he released Mukhtar and said to him rudely: You must leave Kufa within three days. If you don't leave, I will kill you.
So, Mukhtar ibn Ubaydullah al-Thaqafi headed for Makkah.
Abdullah bin al-Zubair appointed himself caliph. The people paid him homage. Some people liked him because they disliked the Umayyads. Mukhtar knew that Abdullah bin al-Zubair was ambitious. Anyhow, he paid him homage because he hated the Umayyads.
Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah had killed Imam Husayn (as) and captured his family as prisoners. So, the people of al-Madina al-Munawara, the majority of the Prophet Muhammad's companions (Sahabah) were with them, revolted against him.
Muslim bin Akkaba, whom the people called Mujrim bin Akkaba, headed the Syrian Army. He attacked al-Madina al-Munawara and the Prophet Muhammad's Holy Shrine. He committed massacre. The number of the killed was more than fifteen thousand people. He violated the women and then he put them in markets for sale.
After that massacre, Yazeed's Army headed for Makkah to occupy it.
On the way to Makkah, a scorpion stung Mujrim bin Akkaba and he died. So, al-Husayn bin Numair, who took part in the Karbala massacre, headed the army.
The Syrian Army besieged Holy Makkah. The soldiers occupied the nearby hills and mountains. The soldiers placed their Majaneeq (machines used in ancient times for throwing fire in war).
Al-Husayn bin Numair ordered his soldiers to attack Makkah. After the heavy fires, al-Husayn bin Numair ordered the horsemen to break into Makkah. He also ordered them to kill the passers-by. The infantry, heavily armed, followed the horsemen. They advanced towards Makkah. Violent fights took place in the Holy Kaaba. Mokhtar al-Thaqafi was bravely defending Allah's House against the invaders. He forced them to retreat.
A horseman came from Damascus while the violent fights were going on. The horseman met al-Husayn bin Numair and said to him: I have sad news for you: Caliph Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah has died!
Al-Husayn bin Numair was surprised to hear the news. He asked the horseman to keep silent. But the news quickly spread among the Syrian soldiers, who were tired of the siege. They were displeased with attacking the Holy Kaaba, Allah's House, because they turned their faces towards it when they said their prayers.
Al-Husain bin Numair withdrew his forces. He headed for Damascus. So, the siege was over. After four years' stay in Madina, Mokhtar al-Thaqafi decided to come back to Kufa.
After Yazeed's death, Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad escaped to Damascus. The people of Kufa took advantage of the situation and supported Abdullah bin al-Zubair.
Abdullah bin al-Zubair appointed Abdullah bin Mutea, ruler over Kufa. Some rulers who took part in the massacre of Karbala supported the new ruler.
One day, one of them said: Your highness, Mokhtar al-Thaqafi is more dangerous than Sulaiman. Sulaiman went out to Kufa to fight the Syrian people, but Mokhtar al-Thaqafi wants to get revenge on Imam Husayn's killers.
Another said: I think you have to imprison him.
Abdullah bin Mutea accepted their ideas. Thus, he imprisoned Mukhtar ibn Ubaydullah al-Thaqafi.
Sulaiman bin Sird was a good companion. He and the Kufians felt pain because they did not support Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala. For this reason, he asked them to turn to Allah in repentance. Four thousand Muslims followed him. He formed an army. He announced his revolution against the Umayyads, who killed Imam Husayn (as) and captured his family.
Although the soldiers were few in number, they were very eager to start the fight. First, they visited Imam Husayn's tomb and wept very much. Then they headed for Shaam.
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad formed an army of eight thousand soldiers. The two armies met at Ain al-Warda on the borders between Iraq and Shaam.
Violent fights took place. Sulaiman bin Sird passed away during the fights. Ryfaah bin Shaddad headed the army after Sulaiman bin Sird. Then he decided to withdraw the army to Kufa.
From his prison, Mokhtar al-Thaqafi sent a message to Ryfaah bin Shaddad and his companions. The message was as follows: Allah (SWT) has made your reward greater. He has just decreased your sins for fighting the unjust.
Rufaah answered Mukhtar's message as follows: We are ready to break into the prison to release you!
Mokhtar al-Thaqafi ordered them not to do that.
Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab interceded for Mokhtar al-Thaqafi again and he was released. Having left prison, Mukhtar began calling up the people to punish the persons who committed the Karbala massacre.
In the meantime, he received a letter from Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, Imam Ali's son. In his letter Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah announced his support to Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah's attitude encouraged people to stand by Mukhtar. Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar, a brave senior army leader, joined Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.
The revolutionaries fixed time to announce the revolution. The time was Thursday night, 14th Rabi al-Awwal, 66 AH.
The spies were reporting about Mukhtar's movements. Meanwhile, soldiers were roaming through the streets of Kufa. On Tuesday night, 12th Rabi al-Awwal, namely two days before the revolution, on the way to Mukhtar's house, Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar and some of his friends came across a patrol. The commander of the patrol asked: Who are you?
Ibraheem al-Ashtar replied: I am Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar
The commander of the patrol said: Who are those with you? Have you permission to go out at night?
Ibraheem al-Ashtar replied: No.
The commander of the patrol said: We must arrest you!
Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar was forced to attack the Commander and killed him. The rest of the patrol ran away.
Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar and his friends hurried to Mukhtar. They told him about the incident. Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar said to Mukhtar: You must announce the revolution at once!
Mukhtar became cheerful and said: May Allah (SWT) make you happy! This is the beginning of the conquest!
Mukhtar ordered his followers to make fires. The fires were a sign of the revolution. At midnight, the Kufians woke. They heard the revolutionaries repeating slogans. The revolutionaries went to Mukhtar's house. Street clashes took place in Kufa. The Ruler's soldiers surrendered. Then the Ruler himself escaped to al-Hejaz.
Mukhtar went up the pulpit of Kufa Mosque and announced the aims of the revolution:
I will conform to Allah's Book and to His Apostle's Sunnah. I will take revenge on Imam Husayn's killers. I will fight against those who have broken Allah's laws. I will defend the weak against the strong.
Mukhtar wanted to follow Imam Ali's just policy. So, the people were full of happiness. The Umayyads were racists. They preferred Arabs to non-Arabs. For this reason, Mukhtar abolished racial discrimination. He adopted justice instead.
After the Battle of Ain al-Warda, the Umayyad Army went on and occupied Mousal City. Then headed towards Kufa.
Mukhtar formed an army of three thousand fighters. Yazeed bin Anas, a brave, good, old man headed the army. Reaching Mousal suburbs, Mukhtar Army met the Umayyads' and won the battle. Then Yazeed bin Anas died. His death affected his soldier's spirits. They were afraid of the Umayyads' big Army. Thus, they decided to come back to Kufa.
Imam Husayn's killers rumoured that Mukhtar's army was defeated. They also rumoured that Yazeed bin Anas was killed in the battle. So, Mukhtar formed an army of seven thousand fighters. He ordered Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar, a brave leader, to head the army.
The army left Kufa. Mukhtar's enemies took advantage of the situation. They plotted against Mukhtar's government. The rebels besieged the palace. In spite of the intense siege, Mukhtar sent a horseman to Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar. The horseman told him to come back.
After three days' siege, the rebels were astonished to see the army coming back. The army could end the mutiny quickly. It arrested some plotters. And some could escape.
The army executed Harmala bin Kahil, who killed Imam Husayn's baby, Hazrat Ali Asghar (as). Arrested and executed Sanan bin Anas, who took part in Imam Husayn's martyrdom. And also executed Amr bin Saad, who led the Umayyad Army during the Karbala massacre.
Shibth bin Riby escaped to Basrah. Shimr ibn Thil Jawshan also escaped. The army chased him, untill found him at a village in Wasit and executed him. Shimr ibn Thil Jawshan himself beheaded Imam Husayn (as) and took his head to Kufa and Damascus.
Mukhtar was a good man. He fasted to thank Allah (SWT) for His blessings. Allah (SWT) granted him victory over the Prophet Muhammad's enemies, who killed his grandson and robbed his family of their possessions. Mukhtar thought that Allah's blessings are countless. So, Mukhtar fasted for most days of the year.
Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar's Army reached al-Khazar River. There he met Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's Army. Violent fights took place between the two sides in the Battle of al-Khazir. The Kufian Army fought bravely. Some commandos made a brave attack against the Umayyad's headquarters. They killed senior leaders such as Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad and al-Husayn bin Numair.
Mukhtar's victory spread all over the Muslim cities. The Muslims became very happy when they heard about Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's killing. The Battle of al-Khazar suited Allah's words: How often has a small party vanquished a numerous host by Allah's permission. (2:249) Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar's small army defeated Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad's big one.
Mukhtar made peace with Abdullah bin al-Zubair to unite efforts against the Umayyads, the enemy of Islam. Still Abdullah bin al-Zubair was ambitious. He was afraid of Mukhtar's increasing power and popular base, for he could end the persons who committed the Karbala massacre.
After the death of Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah, his son Mu'awiyah bin Yazeed succeeded him. Mu'awiyah bin Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah was a believing young man. He admitted that his father was bad. Therefore, he resigned from the Caliphate.
Marwan bin al-Hakam was ambitious. He took advantage of the situation. So, he became the ruler. He ruled for six months and died. Then his son Abd al-Malik bin Marwan succeeded him.
Abd al-Malik bin Marwan sent a big army to occupy al-Madina al-Munawara. Mukhtar heard about the army. He formed an army of three thousand fighters to save the Prophet Muhammad's City.
Apparently, Abdullah bin al-Zubair sent an army of two thousand fighters to defend al-Madina al-Munawara against Abd al-Malik's Army. Abdullah bin al-Zubair's real aim was to attack Mukhtar's army.
Mukhtar's soldiers were busy fighting. Abdullah bin al-Zubair's army took advantage of the situation. It attacked Mukhtar's soldiers and killed some soldiers. The rest escaped to the desert and died of hunger and thirst.
Abdullah bin al-Zubair disliked the Alawids. He brought them together near a mountain outside Makkah. He prevented them from leaving that place. Besides he demolished their houses.
Mukhtar sent five thousand fighters to raise the siege. He released the Alawids and rebuilt their houses.
Abdullah bin al-Zubair thought about a new, strict ruler to appoint over Basrah. He chose his brother Mus'ab bin al-Zubair to carry out the task. Mus'ab bin al-Zubair arrived in Basrah and addressed its people: Some people have told me that you surname your rulers. Before you surname me, I have surnamed myself al-Jazzar (butcher).
Those who escaped from Mukhtar's justice, after killing innocent people, began urging Mus'ab bin al-Zubair to fight Mukhtar. Mus'ab bin al-Zubair formed a large army and headed for Kufa. He took Mukhtar by surprise.
Ibrahim ibn Malik al-Ashtar was in Mousal City. So, Mukhtar faced Mus'ab bin al-Zubair with his small army. The two sides won victories during the first fights.
Mus'ab bin al-Zubair's army launched a strong attack and forced Mukhtar's army to come back to Kufa. Mus'ab bin al-Zubair's army followed Mukhtar to Kufa. It besieged his palace. The siege went on for four months. Mukhtar tried to raise the siege. He ordered the Kufians to make street clashes. But they disobeyed him.
On 14th Ramadan, Mukhtar decided to leave his palace. He said to his companions: The siege will weaken us more and more! Let's go out and die martyrs.
Only seventeen persons obeyed Mukhtar. They went out to fight the large army that surrounded his palace.
Mukhtar was sixty-seven years old. He fought bravely. Then he died a martyr for Islam.
Mus'ab bin al-Zubair cheated the persons who stayed in the palace. He promised not to harm them if they came out. When they opened the gates of the palace, he ordered his soldiers to kill them all. Meanwhile, he executed seven thousand people on one day. It was a horrible massacre. The Kufians had never seen it before.
Mus'ab bin al-Zubair ordered his soldiers to arrest Mukhtar's wife. Her name was Umra. Her father's name was al-Numan bin Bashher al-Ansary. She was a believing woman.
Mus'ab bin al-Zubair asked her to disown her husband. She said: I won't disown him. He fasted in the day. He said his prayers at night. He sacrificed himself for Allah (SWT) and His Apostle. He took revenge on Imam Husayn's killers.
Mus'ab bin al-Zubair said with threat: I will kill you!
The believing woman, Umra said: To die a martyr for Allah (SWT) is better than this world. I will die and enter paradise! I prefer Imam Ali (as) to everything!
Mus'ab bin al-Zubair decided to kill her. In the dark, a person took her to a place between Hira and Kufa. In that desert, the person beheaded her. She died a martyr for Imam Husayn's aims.
Mukhtar and his wife, Umra passed away. They wrote a bright page in the history of Jihad. The page has illuminated the way for generations.