The Second Journey - Mecca to Karbala’
At the same time as Yazid sent Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad as his governor to Kufa to kill Hazrat Muslim and establish a reign of terror there, he sent his agents to Mecca to murder Imam Husayn during the Hajj season in such a way that no one would suspect him of having got the Imam killed.
As the pilgrimage season grew nearer Hazrat Abdullah ibn Ja’far Tayyar came to Mecca with his two sons, Aun and Muhammad. Imam had by this time received the message sent by Hazrat Muslim with Qais ibn Musheer, and made up his mind to go to Kufa after performing pilgrimage. Hazrat Abdullah tried to persuade Imam not to go to Kufa as he felt that Yazid would never let Imam settle there. Imam responded that as the people of Kufa had invited him to go to them as their Imam it was his duty to go.
When Hazrat Abdullah saw that the Imam was adamant, he gave the hands of his two sons into the hand of Imam saying, “Accept my sons in your service. One will serve you as Zainab's representative and the other as mine.”
Thousands of people from everywhere poured into Mecca for Hajj. Amongst them were the assassins sent by Yazid. Imam Husayn came to learn about Yazid's plot. He did not wish the House of Allah to be turned into a battlefield. Imam decided to leave Mecca without performing pilgrimage.
On the eighth of Dhul-Hajj, the very day on which Hazrat Muslim was murdered in Kufa, Imam Husayn's caravan left Mecca. Our Imam's heart was filled with mixed feelings. He was sad at being forced to leave Kaaba without performing Hajj. At the same time, Hazrat Muslim had favourably reported on the situation in Kufa. So at least there would be a sanctuary for Imam there.
So began the second journey of tears. The hero of this journey was Hazrat Abbas and the heroine was Bibi Sakina.
Let us look at this caravan as it travels towards Iraq. At the head of the caravan is Hazrat Abbas carrying the 'Alam. Next, is Imam Husayn surrounded by all his companions. In this group, we find Qais ibn Musheer. He is accompanying Imam to his home town. How proud he would feel entering Kufa with the grand-son of the Holy Prophet! He smiles at the thought. Then come the camels carrying the mehmils (palanquins or litters) in which all the ladies are. Behind the mehmils, forming, the rearguard, are Hazrat Ali Akbar, Hazrat Qasim, Aun, Muhammad and the other young men of Banu Hashim.
Hazrat Abbas can be seen riding up and down the caravan to make sure that everyone is comfortable. He often stops by the Mehmil carrying Bibi Sakina to make sure that she had enough water and food. He inquires of her how Asghar is. If there is anything anyone wants, Hazrat Abbas rushes to fetch it. Bibi Sakina is so very proud of her uncle Abbas. Everyone knew that Bibi Sakina was the apple of the eye of Hazrat Abbas. When any child in the caravan needed anything he or she would tell Bibi Sakina. Bibi Sakina would speak to Hazrat Abbas and the wish of that child would be fulfilled immediately. There were about fifty children in the caravan and the four-year-old Bibi Sakina was an important link between them and Hazrat Abbas.
The caravan came to a small oasis called al-Thalabiya. It was decided to stop there for the night. This was the sixth stop of the journey. Qais ibn Musheer was no longer with Imam Husayn as he had already left for Kufa carrying Imam's letter announcing his imminent arrival.
Tents were pitched. Imam led maghrib prayers. As the evening meal was being prepared, he heard that two travellers from Kufa were in the settlement. He invited them over. He questioned them about the conditions in Kufa. The travellers described how the city had been placed under a total blockade. Imam asked his two guests about Hazrat Muslim.
The travellers remained quiet, their faces reflecting their sadness. Imam asked them again. With tears flowing down their beards the travellers reported of the death of Hazrat Muslim and the brutal way he had been killed. Imam summoned Hazrat Abbas and asked him to look after the guests. Slowly he made his way to Bibi Zainab's camp. Putting his hand on her shoulder, he said, “Dear sister, your mission has begun. Go and console our sister Ruqayya. She is now a widow! But first, send Muslim's daughter to me.”
Young Ruqayya Binti Muslim entered the tent. She was accompanied by Bibi Sakina. Imam took the orphan girl into his arms. Kissed her on her cheeks, Then he put his hand on her head and kissed her again. The young girl looked at Imam Husayn fearfully and said, “Uncle you are treating me as an orphan should be treated in Islam. Tell me, what has happened. Is my father well?” Imam could not speak. Tears rolled down his eyes. Bibi Sakina stepped forward. Yes, Bibi Sakina! The heroine of this journey! She stepped forward and embraced her cousin and lovingly offered her condolences!!!