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Testimony: An elegiac poetry account on Battle of Karbala

By: Mirza Sharafat Hussain Beigh

My sight caught few papers scattered
On the shelf, sunk in time.
I wiped dust cautiously from papers,
So words could remain intact.
Yet, soul energetic and each word
Sustaining therein, though condoling.
And a number of couplets
Each on paper finding reciter.
I pushed the window to let air in
And perched on old window frame‟s sill, wide and thick.
From lucarne, Dal Lake seemed mourning,
Who is there? Humming those couplets to it?
I contemplated and found, subsisting words
Being recited to Dal itself.
Suddenly, bursting cloud splashed,
On my face and papers.
Pure words met pure rain and
It was like words weeping true tears.
I gazed towards the sky of my Lord
And saw embossed clouds resembling words.
Was it pareidolia or sheer truth?
They were the words of „Marsiya‟ seen high in the sky.
But now smudged on papers like stained blood,
Still I find words to croon.
I swear, I yelled towards sky, a witness,
Testimony of bloodshed Karbala.

Sky repeats tragedy, utters while sobbing rain,
What I saw that I heard, I wrote, and you read.


I saw Husayn, invited by Kufi1 men,
The men whom I call pregnant Women.
Fourth Caliph refer them
The creation, just look like men.
Invited Husayn with warmth first,
Disloyally then turned their face
And to Husayn, son of Adam showed disgrace.
Husayn now confined in tents, in Diyar-e-ghair.
In Karbala without water, in hot air,
Husayn has hope, aim, and no despair.

It‟s Muharram and Husayn with his households
Is not allowed to drink, only asked for allegiance.
But to Tyrant Yazid, worthy is Husayn, his defiance.
Ready to give his head not hand,
Sacrificed his house, children, on dry land.
Hence, a battle starts near river Euphrates.
Faith, Loyalty, Imamate, Husayn demonstrates.

Then I saw, in the battle field, before Iraqi Nation,
Baby doll of Husayn in consternation.
Sukyna holds Asghar, cries and wails,
On tents blessing of God hails.
Their pangs of thirst made Abbas distressed.
The grief of children to Husayn he addressed.
That moment cries made skies shiver,
Abbas for water hurried to river.

Tragedy falls on Husayn,
As soon Ali's apple of eye fills waterskin.
Yazid's men shot long lances,
Shoulders of Abbas torn apart,
Amputated at Furaat.
Loyalty won't end here, to reach tents
Full of water Abbas aims,
Repeats attributions of lord, his names.
To tents armless Abbas rushed,
Oh, grief! drink of poor gushed.

Quake hits the land, as Abbas falls on Sand.
Husayn from tents to Abbas dashed,
Oh, Lord! Blood of Ali swashed.

Abbas-e-Ali asks pledge from Husayn, while breathing last.
“My master assure me you don't hasten and go fast,
Taking me dead to somber tents, oh! Sukyna, solace her.
I had assured water to parched lips, my body can't face her.”

Sukayna watches from Husayn‟s Tent.
To her, Abbas lying dead is apparent.
She talked around in daze,
Towards Furaat, she fixed her gaze.

Oh! Amu, she cries over and over,
“Return to tents back, don‟t abstain.
We‟ll never ask for drink, come home again,
Baba is lonely, don‟t you see his pain?”

The corpse of towering Abbas itself shivers, lifts and falls
On the bloody lab-e-dariya.
Husayn yells “Zainab, ask children of house
Not to bawl, their cries to cease.
So Abbas would die with ease.”


Morning light of Ashura dispersed, soon calamity to befall,
Ali Akbar recited Fajar Azan in front of all.
Noon approaches closer to Imam of Era,
Women in tents scream and wail, 'Ya Imam' aloud.
Husayn doffs robe, and lapped shroud.

Storm broke, Tragedies befell.
Women gathered to bid farewell.
Suddenly Ali Akbar from tents to field left,
Umm Layla, Husayn and Zainab bereft.

Ali Akbar asks his mother, for last permission.
Tents of Husayn witnessed sorrowful expression.
Mother and Son talking through eyes,
Akbar‟s lip, by thirst dries.
“Son, ever come to my dream”,
Oh! Umm Layla‟s scream.
Sorrow and all pain; is what she reflects.
Now then, nowhere her day sets.

“My Son Ali Akbar, to tent's door, I will come to wail”
Mother tears dress, Umm Layla is colorless, pale.
Her desert inundated, tears brought such a flood,
Ali Akbar in the battle field sank in blood.

One after one leaves Husayn, unaided, single handed.
Pale bearded man's woe, grew even more,
Shortly after infant Ali Asghar demanded drink.
No suckler, no water, Husayn is all helpless.
Before an army of men, absurd and reckless.

What has left for Husayn? each bit stolen.
Thirst made tongue of Ali Asghar swollen.
Sukyna sister hums lullaby as cradle rocks,
For Ali Asghar, death at door loudly knocks.

Then, Husayn requested water,
To a cursed army chief, loyal of Yazid.
Umar Saad adds more to Husayn's grief,
Replied to thirst with a triple pointed arrow.
A shot of Teer-e-Seh-Pahlu, not any bullet.
Six month‟s baby of Husayn speared down on gullet.

Husayn would serve holy drink of Hawz-e-Kausar,
If thee had shown mercy, nay thee worst.
The one who requested drink for Asghar‟s thirst,
By his gaze over deserts, fountains would burst.

Oppressed father, Husayn digs a grave,
In desert of baking sand.
For his baby prince, sobbingly implores to land,
“Embrace my son”, while Husayn's heart pounds.
Beseeched to grave, “quench his thirst and heal his wounds.”



After noontide, Sun witnesses oppression at fullest,
Shemr desecrates Husayn, resting upon his chest.
Mother Fatimah cries heard from firmament, 'Wa Husayn'
Who would stop Shemr Ziljushan's hand?
She bows, rubs effulgent face with sand.

On a mound, watches Lady Zainab,
And Shemr decapitates Husayn.
Wailing, mourning, ghost and angel, she will make.
Don't reveal, blooded dagger for God's sake.
Zainab's ripping veil will cause heaven shake.

Flag carrier lying martyr, Abbas-e-Ali but,
In a miracle became breathful, agog and eager.
Amputated hands of Abbas, halted Shemr's dagger.
Twelve times Shemr slitted throat,
While Husayn reciting verses.
Mournful Zainab, kneeling on land, cries and curses.



Zuljanah's lonely return to tents has fueled clamor.
In the tents of Husayn, he is asked about Master.
And ladies seen flailing arms in mourning,
Shouting in exclamation, elegies and rhymes
“Wavyla-Sadh-wavylah” , hundred, thousand, countless times.

Sukyna's embrace with Zuljanah is worth grieving,
Holds the leash and asks in the midst of weeping.
“Where you left my Father alone, a prophet's epitome?
Havoc has struck my destiny, didn‟t father come home?”

Sukyna cries and persists, in strange city
“Where Baba lied down, as Amu Abbas, for eternity?
Left us anxious, orphan, thirsty.
Eyes half closed and head band; shut and tied?
In whose lap my father died?”

Replies Zuljanah in a feeble tone,
“Husayn was looking for son, any help, any aide,
While being slit under pitiless hands.
Tried to conceal his body, so you could not see
His corpse lying unshrouded, he didn't yield,
On the Iraq's ruthless battlefield.”


Night of Plight has fallen on Jinab e Zainab.
Husayn, Husayn, she utters while sighing,
One after one, she saw alone, children dying.
Near the gory Maqtal, Zainab now circumambulates.
Wailing Zahra, weeping Muhammad (PBUH) is seen,
For Ali Akbar, who aged one more than seventeen.

In the mute battlefield, households of Muhammad (PBUH)
Lie nowhere, in their dead carcasses.
Unwed Ali Akbar‟s jewel fell tarnished,
This is how justice established.
Righthood against Falsehood distinguished.
Rings of wedding, spoiled in soil,
Unrest in heavens, angels on boil.

In the arms of Ashura‟s dark dusk,
Lady Zainab, Sukyna, and all their cries
Reflect from desert,
And I hear some whispering
In the midst of weeping.
Sukyna asking Zainab,
“Baba has never been so late,
Where he went?”
In Sham-e-Ghariba, tents now lie silent.
Aura poorly lit, ambience of sufferings and pains.
Ladies and children, all tied in chains.



A beam of sun ceased my journey,
Near the same old window frame, I now lie.
Sighing for rest of moments I live.
Instantly I sung to infant of Husayn, a Lullaby.
People hear soothing songs, melodious, humming,
My berceuse they never heard while mourning.

I complain, so I protest to God,
To me and Husayn, is same Lord.
In a miracle2, if fire for Abraham turned calm,
Nimrod responded with amaze.
Then how Husayn‟s tent set ablaze?
Soon after Husayn was beheaded,
Tents plundered and Husayn‟s head paraded.

I have still many debts to pay.
How can I stand before Husayn, on doomsday?
What else can I chant?
For solacement of Prophet's households.
Sharafat obliterate words,
Writes and moulds.

Elegist: Mirza Sharafat Hussain Beigh

Posted by: Sabrina Agha

Originally taken from :


battle of Karbaladirgeelegyimam husayn hussainislamic poetrylullabymarsiyashia islamthrenody

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