In this article we will sketch out some historical details which are based overwhelmingly upon Shia sources and outline the build up to the oppressive and unjust murder of al-Husayn, and then look at these Shia sources to see who actually murdered al-Husayn. These books include: al-Shia wal-Aashooraa of Ridhaa Husayn Subh al-Husnee, Seerah al-A’immah al-Ithnaa Ashar by Haashim Ma’roof al-Husnee, al-Majaalis al-Faahkirah of Abd al-Husayn Sharaf al-Deen al-Mawsawi, Maqtal Husayn of Abd al-Razzaaq al-Mawsawi al-Muqrim, Muntahaa al-Aamaal of Abbaas al-Qummee, Alaa Khattay al-Husayn of Ahmad Raasim al-Nafees, al-Ihtijaaj of al-Tabarsee and numerous others.
After the death of Mu’awiyah (radiallaahu anhu) his son Yazid took power and he sent messengers from the seat of power (Shaam) to the various lands requesting that the prominent people there come under his obedience and give him the pledge of allegiance. Whilst the senior amongst the Companions came under his obedience, al-Husayn (and others such as Ibn al-Zubayr) did not do so for their reasons.
Promises of the Shia of Kufah.
The Shia of Kufah would write to al-Husayn whilst he was in Makkah asking him to come to them to lead them, promising that they would render him obedience. Al-Husayn sent Muslim bin Aqeel to verify the matter in Kufah before embarking on his journey towards it.
Pledge of Allegiance.
When Muslim bin Aqeel reached Kufah he was given a pledge of allegiance by 18,000 according to some and 40,000 by others (from Shia sources). He was hosted by Haani bin Urwah. Muslim bin Aqeel himself was apprehensive about this whole matter as he knew that these people had proven treacherous in the past (towards Alee bin Abi Taalib and al-Hasan) and are quick to change colour. At the same time al-Nu’maan bin Basheer was already in Kufah having been it’s governor on behalf of Mu’aawiyah, and Yazeed had retained him in that position. However, al-Nu’maan, knowing of Muslim’s presence did not get involved or cause him any harm, and he did not wish to cause any divisions and hence, let this matter be.
Al-Husayn Leaves for Kufah.
When this had taken place, Muslim wrote to al-Husayn informing of what had transpired, and that the people of Kufah had united behind him, and that they were now waiting for him, and that 80,000 had given him the pledge of allegiance. al-Husayn then set off for al-Kufah, though he was advised by the senior Companions not to leave, and they include Ibn Abbaas, Ibn Umar, Ibn al-Zubayr, Jaabir bin Abd Allaah, Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree, Abdullaah bin Amr bin al-Aas and also by his brother, Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyyah who warned him of the treachery of the Shia of Kufah towards his father and brother. Even after at the point of setting out on the journey, both Ibn Abbaas and Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyyah pleaded with him not to go. However, it was in the decree of Allaah that he would remain firm upon his decision to leave. So he set out for Kufah.