faith would be defamed by the excesses and abuses of power committed by him, they were desirous of calling to their aid a leader from the Prophet's family, who would secure, in its original purity, the performance of that religion which Mahumud had taught. Some thousands of respectable Mussulmauns, it is related, signed a petition to Hosein, requesting his immediate presence at Shawm, in order, as the petition stated, 'that the religion his grandsire taught might be supported and promoted'; and declaring 'the voluptuousness and infamy of Yuzeed's life to be so offensive and glaring, that the true faith was endangered by his vicious examples'; and entreating him to accept his lawful rights as 'Emaum' (Leader of the Faithful).
Hosein received the petition, but declined accepting the proposed restitution of his family's rights at that time; yet he held out hopes in his reply, that he might eventually listen to their entreaties, should he be convinced his presence was essential to their welfare; and, as a prelude to this, he sent his cousin Moslem, on whom he could rely, to make personal observation of the real state of things at Shawm; expecting to learn, from his matured knowledge, the real causes of complaint, and the wishes of the people, and by whose report he would be guided, as to his final acceptance or rejection of the proposed measure for his becoming their leader.
Moslem, accompanied by his two sons, mere youths, left Medina on this important mission, and having accomplished the tedious march without accident or interruption, he delivered Hosein's letters to those persons of consequence in Shawm, who were at the head of the party petitioning his appearance there, and who proffered their influence and support for the recovery of the rights and privileges so long withheld from the descendants of Mahumud.
Moslem was kindly greeted by them, and multitudes flocked to his quarters, declaring Hosein the lawful leader of true Mussulmauns. Elated with these flattering indications, he too promptly despatched his messengers to Hosein, urging his immediate return to Shawm.
In the mean time, and long before the messengers could reach Medina, Yuzeed, learning the state of things in the capital, was seriously alarmed and greatly enraged; he issued orders for the seizure of Moslem and his children, and desiring to have them brought to his presence, offered immense sums of money for their capture. The friends of Moslem, however, succeeded, for a time, in secreting his person from King Yuzeed's emissaries, trusting the darkness of night would enable him to escape. But the slaves and dependants of the tyrant being despatched into all quarters of the city, Moslem's retreat was eventually discovered; and, through the influence of a purse of gold, his person was given up to the King's partizans.
The unfortunate agent of Hosein had confided the charge of his two sons to the Kauzy of the city, when the first report reached him of the tyrant Yuzeed's fury. This faithful Kauzy, as the night advanced, intended to get the poor boys conveyed to the halting place of a Kaarawaun, which he knew was but a few miles off, on their route for Medina. The guide, to whom the youths were intrusted, either by design or mistake, took the wrong road; and, after wandering through the dreary night, and suffering many severe trials, they were taken prisoners by the cruel husband of a very amiable female, who had compassionately, at first, given them shelter as weary travellers only; but, on discovering whose children they were, she had secreted them in her house. Her husband, however, having discovered the place of their concealment, and identified them as the sons of Moslem, cruelly murdered the innocent boys for the sake of the reward offered for their heads. In his fury and thirst for gold, this wicked husband of the kind-hearted woman spared not his own wife and son, who strove by their united efforts, alternately pleading and resisting, to save the poor boys from his barbarous hands.
This tragic event is conveyed into pathetic verse, and as often as it is repeated in the families of the Mussulmauns, tears of fresh sympathy are evinced, and bewailings renewed. This forms the subject for one day's celebration during Mahurrum; the boys are described to have been most beautiful in person, and amiable in disposition.
After enduring ignominy and torture, and without even being brought to trial, Moslem was cast from a precipice, by Yuzeed's orders, and his life speedily terminated, to glut the vengeance of the tyrant King.
As the disastrous conclusion of Moslem's mission had not reached the ear of Hosein, he, elated with the favourable reception of his cousin, and the prospect of being received at Shawm in peace and good will, had without delay commenced his journey, accompanied by the females of his family, his relations, and a few steady friends who had long devoted themselves to his person and cause. The written documents of that remarkable period notice, that the whole party of Hosein, travelling from Medina towards Shawm, consisted only of seventy-two souls: Hosein having no intention to force his way to the post of leader, had not deemed it necessary to set out with an army to aid him, which he undoubtedly might have commanded by his influence with the people professing 'the Faith'.
Yuzeed, in the mean time, having by his power destroyed Moslem and the two youths his sons, and receiving positive intelligence that Hosein had quitted Medina to march for Shawm, as his fears suggested, with an army of some magnitude, he ordered out an immense force to meet Hosein on the way, setting a price on his head, and proclaiming promises of honours and rewards, of the most tempting nature, to the fortunate man who should succeed in the arduous enterprise.
The first detachment of the Shawmies (as they are designated in the manuscript of Arabia), under a resolute chief named Hurrh, fell in with Hosein's camp, one day's march beyond the far-famed ground, amongst Mussulmauns, of Kraabaallah, or Hurth Maaree, as it was originally called.
Hurrh's heart was subdued when he entered the tent of the peaceable Hosein, in whose person he discovered the exact resemblance of the Prophet; and perceiving that his small camp indicated a quiet family party journeying on their way, instead of the formidable force Yuzeed's fears had anticipated, this chief was surprised and confounded, confessed his shame to Hosein that he had been induced to accept the command of the force despatched against the children of the Prophet, and urged, in mitigation of his offences, that he had long been in Yuzeed's service, whose commission he still bore; but his heart now yearning to aid, rather than persecute the Prophet's family, he resolved on giving them an opportunity to escape the threatened vengeance of their bitterest enemy. With this view, he advised Hosein to fall with his party into the rear of his force, until the main body of the Shawmies had passed by; and as they were then on the margin of a forest, there to separate and secrete themselves till the road was again clear, and afterwards to take a different route from the proposed one to Shawm.
Hosein felt, as may be supposed, grateful to his preserver; and, following his directions, succeeded in reaching the confines of Kraabaallah unmolested.
The ancient writings of Arabia say, Mahumud had predicted the death of Hosein, by the hands of men professing to be of 'the true faith', at this very place Kraabaallah, or Hurth Maaree.
Hosein and his family having concluded their morning devotions, he first inquired and learned the name of the place on which their tents were pitched, and then imparted the subject of his last night's dream, 'that his grandsire had appeared to him, and pronounced that his soul would be at peace with him ere that day closed'.