The Companion of the Holy Prophet - Al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafy
by: Kamal al-Syyed | Translated by: Jasim al-Alyawy

In the month of Rajab, 60 A.H., Mu'awiyah died. He had ruled the Muslim countries for twenty years. He killed many companions of our Master Muhammad. Hajar bin Ady al-Kindy, Amr bin al-Hamq al-Khazay, and Rasheed al Hajry were some of them. He killed with poison Imam Hasan (the Prophet's grandson), Malik al-Ashtar, Saad bin Abu Waqas, and others.

In spite of the Muslims' dissatisfaction, Mu'awiyah appointed his son Yazeed caliph. So, the Caliphate became kingdom.

The Muslims were angry with Yazeed, for he was a corrupt young man. Besides he drank alcohol and amused himself with his monkeys and dogs.

The Muslims in Kufa hoped that Imam Husain would be the Caliph, for he was our Master Muhammad's grandson. Moreover, he was good, God-fearing, and a believing man. And he treated the poor kindly.

So, the Muslims sent Imam Husain hundred's of letters asking him to come to save them from persecution.

Imam Husain (A.S.) was in al-Madena al-Monawwara. He did not pay homage to Yazeed, for the latter behaved badly. In the meantime, he sent his cousin Muslim bin Aqeel as his envoy to Kufa.

Imam Husain asked his cousin to stay with the most loyal person in Kufa.


The people of Kufa were waiting for Imam Husain's coming. They were tired of the Umayyads' persecution. Meanwhile, they longed for Imam Husain's justice.

Muslim bin Aqeel arrived in Kufa and stayed with al-Mukhtar. The people of Kufa heard about his arrival.

The people crowded around al-Mukhtar's house to see Imam Husain's envoy. And they wanted to pay homage to establish Allah's government.

Muslim bin Aqeel read the Kufians Imam Husain's message:

In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
From al-Husain bin Ali,
To the believing Muslim people,
Hany and Saeed 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 with you
to follow Guidance and truthfulness.
So, I have sent you my cousin Muslim bin Aqeel.
I have ordered him to write me about your attitude.
If he writes me that your good people are all in agreement,
I'll come, Allah willing.
By my life! The Imam must conform to the Book and Justice.
The Muslims were full of hope when they heard Imam Husain's message. Al-Mukhtar paid homage to al-Husain's envoy. He promised to establish the Muslim government. He also promised to revolt against the unjust. Besides he promised to support the persecuted.

Al-Mukhtar was the first to pay homage to al-Husain. Then thousands of people paid homage. Their number was eighteen thousand people.

Al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafy

Al-Mukhtar bin Abu UbAld bin Masoud al-Thaqafy was born in Tayif City, 1 A.H.

Al-Mukhtar's father loyally believed in Islam. He led the Muslim Army to conquer the Persian country. An elephant killed him at the Battle of al-Jisr. So, his son Jubair led the Muslim army. He became a martyr, too.

Al-Mukhtar's house became the headquarters. The Muslims went to it every day.

The spies told Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah about al-Mukhtar. They also told him about al-Numan bin Basheer al-Ansarys' mildness, the ruler of Kufa, with him.

Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah asked the advice of Sergon. Sergon was a spiteful Christian man. Sergon advised Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah to appoint Ubaidullah bin Zyyad, the ruler of Basrah, ruler over Kufa.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad arrived in Kufa. He ordered his guards to arrest Muslim bin Aqeel.

Muslim bin Aqeel disappeared in a house in Kufa. Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's guards arrested al-Mukhtar. They sent him to al-Tamura. Al-Tamura was a fearful prison under the ground.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad filled the prisons with innocent people. Meanwhile he sent spies all over Kufa to look for Muslim bin Aqeel.

Muslim bin Aqeel was forced to announce the revolution. Many people supported him.

Muslim bin Aqeel's forces besieged the Prince's palace for several days.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad was wicked. He spread a rumour: The Shamian enormous army will come. It will destroy Kufa and kill its people.

The people believed Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's rumour. They left Imam Husain's envoy alone. Muslim bin Aqeel was forced to disappear again.

Taua's House

The spies found Muslim bin Aqeel in a house which belonged to a good old woman called Taua.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad sent the police to arrest Muslim bin Aqeel. When the police asked him to surrender, he refused and began fighting alone.

Muslim bin Aqeel was badly wounded. The police promised to treat him kindly. So, he handed over his sword. The police arrested and took him to the Prince's palace.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad was full of spite. He hated Ahlul-Bait and their supporters. So, he ordered his guards to kill Muslim bin Aqeel. Besides he ordered them to kill one of his companions. The companion's name was Hany bin Urwa. He was a leader in Kufa.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad ordered his guards to throw Muslim bin Aqeel and his companion down the palace.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad began killing and imprisoning the people in Kufa for any accusation. So, the people there were afraid.

The Battle of Karbala

Imam Husain left al-Madina al-Monawwara. He went to Makkah to perform the Hajj. Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah knew about al-Husain's travel. He sent some spies to kill him. So, Imam Husain decided to leave Makkah. He said: "I don't want them to violate the Holiness of the Kaaba."

Imam Husain headed for Kufa. On the way, he heard that Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's guards killed Muslim bin Aqeel, Hany, Qais bin Muzahir al-Saidawy, and others.

A thousand horsemen surprised Imam Husain's caravan. They prevented it from advancing towards Karbala. Then the military battalions came successively. Their number was four thousand fighters. Seventy persons came with Imam Husain. They were his family and his supporters.

When Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's army asked Imam Husain to surrender and to pay homage to Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah, he said his famous words: "Abasement is far away from us!"

Imam Husain was ready to die a martyr for Islam.

In the morning, Muharram 10th, the Battle of Karbala took place. Thousands of fighters launched a savage attack against Imam Husain 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 Husain's companions passed away. Imam Husain was alone. Still he attacked Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's army. He was fighting bravely.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's Army killed Imam Husain. It beheaded the martyrs, tied their heads to the spears, and burnt the tents. Then it took the women and the children prisoners.

Al-Husain's Head

Al-Shimr beheaded al-Husain and gave his head to Ubaidullah bin Zyyad.

The people saw Imam Husain's head. They felt pain because they did not support him.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad ordered some guards to bring al-Mukhtar.

Seeing al-Husain's head, al-Mukhtar said with pain:

"Alas! Alas!"

Then he thought about a revolution to punish the criminals.

Maitham al-Tammar

Maitham al-Tammar was a good man. He was one of Imam Ali's companions. From the Imam's knowledge, he learnt a lot.

Maitham al-Tammar was in the same prison with al-Mukhtar. One day al-Mukhtar said to him: "Ubaidullah bin Zyyad, the unjust man, had killed the Grandson of Allah's Apostle so, he will kill us!"

Maitham al-Tammar said: "My dear Ali (A.S.) has said to me:" 'They will tie you to a date-palm trunk. Then they will kill you. They will release al-Mukhtar from prison. He will kill the unjust tyrant. He will kick his face with his leg.' "


Safyyah was al-Mukhtar's sister. She was the wife of Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab. Abdullah bin Umar bin al- Khattab had good relation with Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah. So, he asked him to release al-Mukhtar.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad decided to kill al-Mukhtar. But Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah sent a man quickly to him. He ordered him to release al-Mukhtar.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad read Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah's message. He obeyed him. So, he released al-Mukhtar. He said to him rudely:

"You must leave Kufa within three days. If you do not leave it, I will kill you."

So, al-Mukhtar headed for Makkah.

Abdullah bin al-Zubair

Abdullah bin al-Zubair appointed himself caliph. The people paid him homage. Some people liked him. Some disliked the Umayyads.

Al-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 Husain and captured his family. So, the people of al- Madina al-Monawwara, the majority of the Prophets companions were with them, revolted against him.

Muslim bin Akkaba, whom the people called Mujrim bin Akkaba, headed the Shamian army. He attacked al-Madina al-Monawwara and the Prophet's Holy shrine. He committed massacre. The number of the killed was more than fifteen thousand people. He violated the women. Then he put them in the markets for sale.

After that massacre, Yazeed's Army headed for Makkah to occupy it.

Al-Mukhtar defends Allah's House

Mujrim bin Akkaba headed the Shamian Army. On the way to Makkah, a scorpion stung him. He died. So, al-Husain bin Numair, who took part at Karbala massacre, headed the army.

The Shamian Army besieged the Holy Makkah. The soldiers occupied the nearby hills and mountains.

The soldiers placed their Majaneeq (in ancient times, machines for throwing fire in war).

Al-Husain bin Numair ordered his soldiers to attack Madena:

"Throw fire at them!"

A soldier said: "Leader, they are meeting in the Kaaba!"

The leader commanded the soldiers with spite: "Throw fire at the Kaaba!"

The soldiers did. The fire dropped on the houses and the mosques. The walls of the Kaaba caught fire.

After the heavy fires, al-Husain 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 Kaaba. Al-Mukhtar was 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 horsemen met al-Husain bin Numair. He said to him: "I've sad news."


"Caliph Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah has died!


Al-Husain bin Numair was surprised to hear the news. He asked the horseman to keep silent.

But the news quickly spread among the Shamian soldiers, who were tired of the siege. They were displeased with attacking the Kaaba, Allah' House, because they turned their faces toward it when they said their prayers.

Al-Mukhtar comes back to Kufa

Al-Husain bin Numair withdrew his forces. He headed for Damascus. So, the siege was over.

After four years' stay in Madena, al-Mukhtar decided to come back to Kufa.

After Yazeed's death, Ubaidullah bin Zyyad 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 at Karbala massacre supported the new ruler.

One day, one of them said: "Your Highness, the Prince, al-Mukhtar is more dangerous than Sulaiman. Sulaiman went out to Kufa to fight the Shamian people, but al-Mukhtar wants to announce his revolution in Kufa. He wants to get revenge on Imam Husain's killers."

Another said: "I think you have to imprison him."

The Prince accepted their ideas. Thus, he imprisoned al-Mukhtar.

Sulaiman bin Sird

Sulaiman bin Sird was a good companion. He and the Kufians felt pain because they did not support Imam Husain 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 Husain and captured his family.

Although the soldiers were few in numbers, they were very eager to start the fight. First, they visited Imam Husain's tomb and wept very much. Then they headed for Sham.

Ubaidullah bin Zyyad formed an army of eight thousand soldiers. Violent fights took place.

The two armies met at Ain al-Warda on the borders between Iraq and Sham.

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.

Al-Mukhtar sends a Message

From his prison, al-Mukhtar sent a message to Ryfaah and his companions. The message was as follows:

"Allah has made your reward greater. He has decreased your sins for fighting the unjust. Allah will reward you."

Ryfaah answered al-Mukhtar's message. In it he said: "We are ready to break into the prison to release you!"

Al-Mukhtar ordered them not to do that.

Al-Mukhtar announces Revolution

Abdullah bin Umar bin al-Khattab interceded for al-Mukhtar again. He was released.

Having left prison, al-Mukhtar began calling up the people to punish the persons who committed Karbala massacre.

In the meantime, he received a letter from Muhammad bin al-Hanafiyah, Imam Ali's son. In his letter, Muhammad announced his support to al-Mukhtar.

Muhammad's attitude encouraged people to stand by al-Mukhtar. Ibraheem al-Ashtar, a brave senior army leader, joined al-Mukhtar.

The revolutionaries fixed time to announce the revolution. The time was Thursday night, Rabi al-Awwal 14th, 66 A.H.

The spies were reporting about al-Mukhtar's movements. Meanwhile, the police were roaming through the streets in Kufa.

The Revolution breaks out

On Tuesday night, Rabi al-Awwal, namely two days before the revolution, on the way to al-Mukhtar's house, Ibraheem al-Ashtar and some of his friends came across a patrol. The Commander of the patrol said: "Who are you?"

Ibraheem al-Ashtar answered: "I'm Ibraheem al-Ashtar"

The Commander of the patrol said: "Who are those with you? Have you permission to go out at night?"


"We must arrest you!"

Ibraheem al-Ashtar was forced to attack the Commander. He killed him. The rest of the patrol ran away.

Ibraheem al-Ashtar and his friends hurried to al-Mukhtar. They told him about the accident. Ibraheem al-Ashtar said to al-Mukhtar: "You must announce the revolution at once!"

Al-Mukhtar said: "What has happened?"

"I have killed the Commander of the patrol. It's important to announce the revolution at once."

Al-Mukhtar became cheerful and said: "May Allah make you happy! This is the beginning of the conquest!"

The Revenge

Al-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 al-Mukhtar's house.

Street clashes took place in Kufa. The Ruler's soldiers and the police surrendered. Then the Ruler himself escaped to al-Hejaz.

In Kufa Mosque

Al-Mukhtar went up the pulpit. He announced the aims of the revolution:

"I'll conform to Allah's Book and to His Apostle's Sunnah. I'll take revenge on Imam Husain's killers I'll fight against those who have broken Allah's laws. I'll defend the weak against the strong."

Al-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, al-Mukhtar abolished racial discrimination. He adopted justice instead.

The Victory

After the Battle of Ain al-Warda, the Umayyad Army went on advancing towards Kufa. It occupied Mousal City. Then it headed for Kufa.

Al-Mukhtar formed an army of three thousand fighters. Yazeed bin Anas, a brave, good, old man headed the army

Reaching Mousal suburbs, al-Mukhtar's Army met the Umayyads' one at two battles. It won the two battles. Then Yazeed bin Anas died. His death affected his fighters' spirits. They were afraid of the Umayyads' Big Army. Thus, they decided to come back to Kufa.

The Rumours

Imam Husain's killers rumoured that al-Mukhtar's army was defeated. They also rumoured that Yazeed bin Anas was killed at the battle.

So, al-Mukhtar formed an army of seven thousand fighters. He ordered Ibraheem al-Ashtar, a brave leader, to head the army.

The army left Kufa. Al-Mukhtar's enemies took advantage of the situation. They plotted against al-Mukhtar's government.

The rebels besieged the Prince's palace. In spite of the siege, al-Mukhtar sent a horseman to Ibraheem 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 escaped.

The army executed Harmala bin Kahil, who killed Imam Husain's baby. It arrested and executed Sanan bin Anas, who took part in Imam Husain's killing. And it executed Amr bin Saad, who led the Umayyad Army at Karbala massacre.

Shibth bin Riby escaped to Basrah. Shimr bin Zil- Jawshan also escaped. The army chased him. It found him at a village in Wasit and executed him. Al-Shimr himself had beheaded Imam Husain. He took his head to Kufa and Damascus.

Al-Mukhtar thanks To Allah

Al-Mukhtar was a good man. He fasted to thank Allah for His blessings. Allah granted him victory over the Prophet's enemies, who killed his grandson and robbed his family of their possessions. Al-Mukhtar thought that Allah's blessings are countless. Concerning this, Allah, the Glorified, said: "And if you count Allah's favours, you will not be able to number them."

So, al-Mukhtar fasted for most days of the year.

The Battle of al-Khazar

Ibraheem al-Ashtar's Army reached al-Khazar River. There he met Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's Army.

Violent fights took place between the two sides. The Kufian Army fought bravely. Some commandos made a brave attack against the Umayyads' headquarters. They killed senior leaders such as Ubaidullah bin Zyyad and al-Husain bin Numair. Anyhow, Ibraheem al-Ashtar's Army defeated Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's.

Al-Mukhtar's victory spread all over the Muslim cities. The Muslims became happy when they heard about Ubaidullah bin Zyyad'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"

Ibraheem al-Ashtar's small army defeated Ubaidullah bin Zyyad's big one.

Abid al-Malik bin Marwan

Al-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 al-Mukhtar's increasing power and popular base, for he could end the persons who committed Karbala massacre.

Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah died. His son Mu'awiyah 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. He died. Then his son Abid al-Malik succeeded him.

Abid al-Malik bin Marwan sent a big army to occupy al-Madina al-Monawwara. Al-Mukhtar heard about the army. He formed an army of three thousand fighters to save the Prophets' City.

Apparently, bin al-Zubair sent an army of two thousand fighters to defend Madina against Abid al-Malik's Army. Abdullah bin al-Zubair's real aim was to attack al-Mukhtar's Army.

Al-Mukhtar's soldiers were busy fighting. Bin al-Zubair's army took advantage of the situation. It attacked al-Mukhtar's soldiers. It killed some soldiers. The rest escaped to the desert. They died of hunger and thirst.

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.

Al-Mukhtar sent five thousand fighters to raise the siege. He released the Alawids and rebuilt their houses.

Musab bin al-Zubair

Abdullah bin Al-Zubair thought about a new, strict ruler to appoint over Basrah. He chose his brother Musab to carry out the task. Musab bin al-Zubair arrived in Basrah. He addressed its people: "Some people have told me that you surname your rulers. Before you surname me, I have surnamed myself al-Jazzar (Butcher)."

Some persons killed innocent people. They escaped from al-Mukhtar's justice. They began urging Musab to fight al-Mukhtar.

The End

Musab formed a big army and headed for Kufa. He took al-Mukhtar by surprise.

Ibraheem al-Ashtar was in Mousil City. Al-Mukhtar faced Bin al-Zubair with his small army. The two sides won victories during the first fights.

Bin al-Zubair's Army launched a strong attack. It forced al-Mukhtar's army to come back to Kufa.

Musab's Army followed al-Mukhtar to Kufa. It besieged his palace. The siege went on for four months. Al-Mukhtar tried to raise the siege. He ordered the Kufians to make street clashes. But they disobeyed him.

On Ramadhan 14th, 61, al-Mukhtar decided to leave his palace. He said to his companions: "The siege will weaken us more and more! Let's go out to die martyrs."

Only seventeen persons obeyed al-Mukhtar. They went out to fight the big army that surrounded the palace.

Al-Mukhtar was sixty-seven years old. He fought bravely. Then he died a martyr for Islam.

Musab cheated the persons who stayed in the palace. He promised not to harm 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.

The Believing Women

Musab ordered his soldiers to arrest al-Mukhtars wife. Her name was Umra. Her father's name was al-Numan bin Basher al-Ansary. She was a believing woman.

Musab asked her to disown her husband. She said: "I won't disown him. He fasted at day. He said his prayers at night. He sacrificed himself to Allah and His Apostle. He took revenge on Imam Husain's killers."

Musab said with a threat: "I'll kill you."

The believing woman said: "To die a martyr for Allah is better than this world. I'll die and enter the Paradise! I prefer Imam Ali's to everything!"

Musab decided to kill her. In the dark, a person took her to a place between Hira and Cuba. In that desert the person beheaded her. She died a martyr for Imam Husain's aims.

Al-Mukhtar and his wife passed away. They wrote a bright page in the history of Jihad. The page has illuminated the way for generations.