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Tawwabun – The Shia of Husayn who deserted him

Posted by answersforshiafriend on September 26, 2012

The tragic event of Karbala stirred religious and moral sentiment, particularly among those of the Kufans who had so zealously invited Hussain to Iraq to guide them on the path of God. But when Hussain came to Iraq they did not not stand with him in the hour of trial.

Soon after the event of Karbala, the Umayyad governor Ibn Ziyad returned to Kufa from his camp at Nukhayla, the Shiites, according to Tabari (7th vol., p. 47), “were stung with shame at their faint-heartedness. They took to mutual recrimination as they painfully realized the enormity of neglecting to go to Hussain’s help, and thereby leading him to his death in their close neighbourhood, since he had come to Iraq only to their invitation.” They thought that they must make similar sacrifices to obtain God’s forgiveness.

They believed that they could only prove their real repentance by exposing themselves to death while seeking vengeance for the blood of Hussain. Hence they named themselves as the tawwabun (the penitents).

The movement of the Tawwabun began under the headship of five of the oldest trusted associates of Ali, with a following of a hundred diehard Shiites of Kufa. The five leaders of the Tawwabun, Suleman bin Surad al-Khuzai, Al-Musayyab bin Najaba al-Fazari, Abdullah bin Sa’d bin Nufayl al-Azdi, Abdullah bin Walin at-Taymi, and Rifa’a bin Shaddad al-Bajali; had always been in the forefront of all Shiite activities in Kufa. At the end of 61/680 they held their first meeting in the house of Suleman bin Surad. According to Tabari (2nd vol., p. 498), the first to speak was Al-Musayyab bin Najaba al-Fazari, who said: “We invited the son of the daughter of our Prophet to come to Kufa to guide us on the right path, but when he responded to our call, we became rapacious for our own lives until he was killed in our midst. What excuse would we have before our Lord, and before our Prophet when we must meet him on the day of resurrection, while his most beloved son, family and progeny were massacred in our midst. By God, there is no other way for us to expiate ourselves for the sin except to kill all his murderers and their associates or be killed. Perhaps by doing so our Lord may forgive our sin. You must, therefore, now select someone from among you as your leader, who can organize and mobilize you under his command and proceed with the plan of seeking God’s forgiveness by taking the action which has been proposed.”

Finally, Suleman bin Surad had been chosen as their leader, who also made a forceful speech in the meeting, and said: “We used to crane our necks eagerly in looking for the arrival of the members of the Prophet’s household, but when they arrived, we acted with such indifference and laxity that in our land and not far from us, the Prophet’s son was put to the sword. When he raised his voice in demanding justice and help, there was none to respond to him to say, `Here I am, standing in thy service’. The man of sin made him the target of their arrows and spears, and killed him. Now if you wish to get up, rise! God’s wrath has been stirred. Resolve here and now not to return to your wives and children till you have taken steps to win God’s pleasure.

Now that you consider sinners, prepare yourselves for sacrifice. Sharpen your swords, and straighten your spear-heads.” (Tabari, 7th vol., p. 48) He then entered into correspondence with Shiite leaders in other cities, namely Sa’d bin Hudhayfa al-Yamen in Madain and Al-Muthanna bin Mukharriba al-Abdi in Basra.

The movement of Tawwabun, however, went on secretly for three years, increasing in number and strength, and waiting for an appropriate time. In the interim, Yazid died in 64/683, encouraging the Tawwabun to come out in the open. They succeeded in gaining support of 16,000 Kufans. Suleman started final preparations for action, and the penitents embarked upon a course of direct action against Yazid’s rule.

Source: Origin and rise of the Tawwabun from Ismaili Shia Website

FOOD FOR THOUGHT: These are the real villans of Karbala, they are the real Shias of Ali and Husayn, who deserted him after inviting him with promises of their support. They did this again with the grandson of Husayn sixty years later and deserted him after promising their support in uprising against the tyrant caliph. (See Zaidi Shias)


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