Mada’in, Capital district of the Sassanid Empire, 36 years ago.
Hujr ibn Adi sat on his horse, staring at the rushing waters of the Tigris River. All around him, his fellow soldiers were splashing into the water with their horses, intent on making it across.
Hujr hadn’t seen something like this since the days of Khalid ibn Waleed. Recent rains had swollen the river, increasing its width and making the waters wild and unpredictable. The Persians had made sure to destroy or capture every single boat and raft for miles around.
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, the current general of the Muslim armies of Persia, was nothing like his predecessor, Khalid ibn Waleed. Where Khalid had been brash and bold and maybe even a little reckless, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, was deliberate and meticulous.
When Caliph Umar ordered Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas to take over in Persia, many of the soldiers doubted Sa’d could fill Khalid’s shoes. Hujr remembered how Khalid ibn Waleed blazed through Iraq, conquering cities at will.
But all of those doubts were laid to rest after the Battle of Qadisiyya. From his sickbed, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas directed the Muslims to an astonishing victory against the best of the Sassanid military.
And now the Muslims were closing in on the Sassanid capital, Ctesiphon. The only thing in their way was the Tigris River.
On the other side, a small Persian force was staring in disbelief at the Muslims crossing the river on horseback. No man in his right mind would attempt such a thing. One false move, one stumble, one errant water current, and they’d be swept off and dragged below in seconds.
A Persian soldier gave a command and a volley of arrows shot towards the approaching Muslims. Under cover of the archers, a Persian cavalry raced into the water to meet them.
Arrows above, the river below, and Persian soldiers in front. This madness was something Khalid ibn Waleed would do; not Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas.
Once again, the Muslims were doing the impossible. To Hujr’s astonishment, not a single Muslim soldier was killed. Their shields absorbed the arrows, their horses swam across the neck-deep water, and the Persian cavalry was cut down in minutes.
The first wave made it across and a cheer erupted from the rest of the army. Hujr found himself cheering along with them.
Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas gave the order and the next wave advanced into the river.
Hujr urged his horse forward, and it obediently splashed into the Tigris. The water came to his ankles, then to his knees, and then to his waste. He could feel the horse’s legs churning below him as she swam towards the opposite bank.
He looked back and saw some of his fellow soldiers staring apprehensively at the water.
“What’s holding you up?” he called back to them laughing. “Is it this little droplet of water?” Then he recited a verse from the Quran.
And no person will die except by the Command of Allah at a specified time.
Chapter 3, verse 145
Hujr and his horse made it to the other side where he joined up with the others in the capture of Ctesiphon.
The Tradition of Cursing Ali ibn Abi Talib
Some Muslims promote the idea that Muawiyyah ibn Abi Sufyan and Ali ibn Abi Talib did not have any real antagonism. They say, these two men were swept up in uncontrollable forces that ultimately led to warfare.
This hypothesis falls apart when we consider the Umayyad practice of cursing Ali.
This practice began after Uthman’s murder when Muawiyyah would display the Caliph’s bloodied shirt during Friday services.
At first, Muawiyyah only cursed those who killed Uthman without naming Ali specifically. But, as the animosity intensified, he began to include Ali.
After becoming Caliph, Muawiyyah continued this practice, ordering his governors to curse Ali and Uthman’s killers during every sermon.
It is known, however, that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas, the famous Sahabah and Muslim general, refused to curse Ali.
The tradition of cursing Ali continued throughout most of the Umayyad era. The only Umayyad Caliph to prohibit this practice, was Umar ibn Abdul Aziz.
Umar ibn Abdul Aziz was the eighth Umayyad Caliph and the great-grandson of Umar ibn Al-Khattab. He is often called the Fifth Righteous Caliph.
The tradition of cursing Ali did not end until the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads.
Hujr ibn Adi
Hujr ibn Adi was a Sahabah who did not take well to the Umayyads cursing Ali.
A Sahabah, or “Companion of Prophet Muhammad,” is any Muslim who saw the Prophet during his lifetime.
The Tabi’een, or “Followers,” is the second-generation of Muslims who followed the Sahaba.
Most sources state that Hujr ibn Adi was a companion. But there are some that suggest he was from the Tabi’een.
What we do know about Hujr ibn Adi is that he was from the Kindah tribe of Central Arabia. He fought for Caliph Abu Bakr during the Wars of Apostasy and then for Caliph Umar in the conquest of Persia.
He was one of the first soldiers to cross the Tigris River during the conquest of the Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon.
When the civil war broke out, Hujr ibn Adi sided with Ali and fought in the Battles of the Camel, and Siffeen. He was injured at Siffeen, but recovered to join Ali in the Battle of Nahrawan.
When Muawiyyah occupied Kufah, Hujr ibn Adi was among several of Ali’s companions that were considered untrustworthy. As such, he was forced to pray at the Masjid every night.
Muawiyyah had good reason to be concerned. Hujr ibn Adi, and many others, felt the Caliphate should have stayed within Ali’s family.
This marks the origin of the idea of a hereditary Caliphate. Eventually, this would become a foundational principle of Shiite theology.
But at this time, it was just wishful thinking. Hujr ibn Adi gave the bay’ah to Muawiyyah and did not participate in any rebellions.
Hujr and others used to shout at Mughirah ibn Shuba, Muawiyyah’s first governor of Kufah, whenever he cursed Ali.
Mughirah ibn Shuba refrained from retaliating against Hujr, and this may have emboldened him even more. By the time Ziyad ibn Abihi became governor of Kufah, Hujr had a following of about thirty men.
Ziyad ibn Abihi was not as forgiving.
The first time Ziyad cursed Ali, Hujr shouted him down just as he did to Mughirah. Ziyad warned Hujr that he was heading for trouble.
Ziyad did not take immediate action, but privately, he told his staff he intended to deal with Hujr ibn Adi.
One Friday, Ziyad was delivering a very long sermon. It was so long, people began to fear the time for prayer would expire.
Hujr ibn Adi was sitting in the audience and was getting impatient with Ziyad’s speech.
Finally, Hujr yelled out, “As-Salaat!” Meaning, the prayer.
Ziyad ignored him and continued to speak.
Again, Hujr yelled: “As-Salaat!”
Ziyad paid him no attention.
Grabbing a handful of dirt and pebbles, perhaps to throw at Ziyad, Hujr stood up and his companions followed him.
This time, Ziyad noticed. He stopped talking, glared at Hujr, then descended the pulpit to pray.
After the prayer, Hujr went to the local market, and Ziyad sent his police to arrest him.
When the police arrived, Hujr’s supporters chased them away.
The police reported back to Ziyad who called an emergency meeting of the elders of Kufah.
“Oh, people of Kufah! Why do you hurt with one hand, then comfort with the other? Your bodies are with me, but your hearts are with this obsessed, stupid, crazy Hujr. This is your fault!”
“God forbid!” replied one of the old chiefs. “We want nothing to do with this man. What can we do to help?”
“Go to your people and find those who support Hujr. Force them to abandon him and denounce him.”
Ziyad ordered his police back to the market. “Bring him back to me and beat anyone who stands in your way!”
The police returned to the market brandishing clubs. Once again, Hujr’s friends tried to intervene, but this time, the police were ready.
Chaos erupted in the market as the police attacked Hujr’s supporters. Hujr tried to help, but one of his supporters, a young man named Umayr, told him to leave and go hide among his people.
Ziyad Closes In
By nightfall, Hujr was still in hiding and Ziyad was growing impatient. After the evening prayer, he rallied the entire city to join the manhunt for Hujr.
“The Hamdan, and the Madhhij! Go to the Kindah and bring this Hujr to me,” he bellowed from the pulpit. “The Tamim, the Hawazin, the sons of Asur, the Asad, and the Ghatafan, go to the Yaman and bring Hujr’s companions to me.”
The next morning, the entire city of Kufah was looking for Hujr. One by one, his remaining supporters were arrested and taken into custody.
Hujr stayed one step ahead of them. He moved from house to house, staying with one friend after another. He went from the Banu Kindah to the Banu Hut to the Banu Nakha to the Banu Azd.
Once he escaped through a hole in the wall in the back of a friend’s house just as the police came crashing through the front. Another time, he donned a disguise and slipped past them while riding a mule. Yet again, a woman hid him in her daughter’s room while the police searched the house.
But Hujr was running out of time. He was alone, outnumbered, and on the run. Most of his supporters had been arrested or had abandoned him.
Umayr, the young man who helped him at the market, was now in custody. Umayr’s family met with Ziyad and promised that if he spared his blood and property, they’d assist in finding Hujr.
Ziyad agreed then had Umayr brought forward. He ordered Umayr to be bound in irons and heavy weights.
“Raise him up!” Ziyad ordered his police.
They lifted Umayr above their heads.
“Drop him,” he said, and Umayr crashed to the ground.
“Again!” ordered Ziyad, as Umayr’s family screamed in protest.
They lifted Umayr and dropped him again. They repeated this over and over.
“Stop it!” Umayr’s brother yelled. “You promised to spare his blood and property!”
“He is not bleeding,” Ziyad replied, “and I haven’t touched his wealth.”
The family rushed over to Umayr, where he lay broken and barely breathing.
“You must pay for all the damages caused by your brother and his friends at the market. And you must assist with finding Hujr. Do you agree?”
“Agreed,” replied Umayr’s brother.
“Very well,” said Ziyad. “You are free to go.”
On the third day, Ziyad received a message. Hujr would turn himself in if he was given a guarantee of safety, and the right to be judged by Muawiyyah.
Ziyad had to think about that one. Muawiyyah was the type to ponder and negotiate rather than take decisive action.
But every second Hujr was free, undermined Ziyad’s authority. Ziyad was also afraid Hujr would leave Kufah and seek refuge in another province.
Just like that poet, the Dumpling.
Basra – Five Years Ago
Hammam ibn Ghalib, also known as Al-Farazdaq, or The Dumpling, was a Bedouin child, whose family had recently settled in Basra.
One day, Farazdaq went to the market to do some trading for his family. Upon completing his business, a strange man began to question Farazdaq about the money he made that day.
Concerned for his safety, Farazdaq called out to the people of the market. When a crowd had gathered, he threw his money into the air and began taking off his clothes.
The crowd laughed and cheered and urged him on.
“Take off your robe!” someone yelled.
Farazdaq took off his robe and threw it into the crowd.
“Take off your shirt!” another person yelled.
He took off his shirt as well.
“Take off your turban!”
He took off his turban and was now only wearing his underwear.
“Take off your underwear!”
Farazdaq abruptly stopped. “I’m not going to go naked,” he replied. “I’m not crazy.”
The commotion attracted Ziyad’s police who were pushing through the crowd towards Farazdaq. Someone from the crowd grabbed Farazdaq and led him to a horse.
“The police are coming for you,” the man said. “You must get out of here.”
When Ziyad found out Farazdaq escaped, he arrested his two elderly uncles instead. But Farazdaq’s family intervened and negotiated their release.
Four years later, Farazdaq crossed Ziyad again. He was a teenager by this time and just developing the poetical skills he would become famous for.
Farazdaq composed a poem poking fun at two tribal elders who, in turn, complained to Ziyad. At first, Ziyad did not remember the young poet.
“Who is this Dumpling?” he asked his advisors.
“The young boy who stripped and grabbed his backside some years back.”
Ziyad remembered and sent his Shurta to arrest Farazdaq.
Farazdaq went on the run and composed poetry about his exploits.
He sang about the speedy camel he used to escape Basra.
“She moves like a male ostrich whose female ostriches compete during the night,”
He sang about the time he spent the night hiding in a woman’s house.
“The daughter of Al-Marrar desired me, but someone like me is not desired hiding under stairs. I would prefer to meet you in the open desert.”
He sang about rumors that Ziyad might pardon him.
“Ziyad summons me for the stipend, but I will not come to him as long as someone with noble lineage is giving away money.”
This was an obvious knock against Ziyad’s unknown father.
Finally, his family suggested he leave Iraq and resettle in Arabia. Farazdaq traveled to Medina, where he was granted refuge by the governor Sa’id ibn Al-As.
Farazdaq’s poetical skills made him famous and he lived the celebrity lifestyle.
He had several broken marriages, a difficult relationship with his children, and received both praise and death threats from politicians.
His poetry ran the gamut from praising Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, to thinly disguised tales of his romantic encounters.
Early Muslim Money
The coins Farazdaq threw into the crowd as a child were probably a mixture of various currencies.
The Muslim Empire had not yet developed a central currency. Instead, they used the coins in circulation from the Romans and Sassanids. When these coins ran out, local governors simply minted copies of the original with a few changes to satisfy Islamic principles.
Since Muawiyyah did not attempt to establish a standard currency and left it up to his governors, minting coins was sporadic, uneven, and disorganized.
Some regions were better at minting coins than others.
Despite its close proximity to Syria, Egypt did not mint its own coins until very late. In fact, gold and silver coins were not minted in Egypt until after the fall of the Umayyads. Instead, Egyptians relied on coins minted in Syria and other regions.
In other parts of North Africa beyond Egypt, there is no evidence of Muslim controlled mints until decades after Muawiyyah’s death. This region took some time to be subdued by the Muslims and the sporadic coinage is evidence of that.
The minting of coins developed faster in Iraq than in Syria. The earliest Islamic coins minted in Iraq were basically copies of the previous Sassanid coins. They even included the likenesses of the Sassanid monarchs. The only difference, was the phrase “Bismillah” inscribed on the coins.
However, Muawiyyah’s attempt to introduce an Islamic coin in Syria was rejected. His gold coin was also a copy of the Romans. But the Christians of Syria wouldn’t use it since he removed the cross.
Many early Islamic coins included both Arabic and Latin phrases. These include an attempt to inscribe the Shahada, or declaration of faith, in Latin.
As the Muslim Empire developed, the minting of coins became more organized.
Over time, the Muslims would completely abandon any likeness to their Roman and Persian predecessors. Within sixteen years of Muawiyyah’s death, the coins were unmistakably Islamic.
And by the time the Muslims conquered Spain, all Roman letters were gone and the coins contained only Arabic inscriptions.
The Islamization of the minting process took place within a span of about six years.
In 691, eleven years after Muawiyyah’s death, the coins were essentially copies of the Roman coins but without a cross.
In 694, a new coin was minted that included a figure of an Arab wearing robes and holding a sword. The Islamic declaration of faith, was inscribed in Arabic around the figure.
In 697, human representations were completely removed from the coins. The coins now had the Shahada in the center, surrounded by verses from the Quran.
This final coin design would become the standard of the Umayyad Dynasty and lasted for another sixty years. Even coins minted by succeeding Islamic dynasties were based upon this original design.
It should also be noted that the coins minted by the Umayyads were originally only gold, with silver being introduced later. Copper coins were eventually added to facilitate smaller purchases.
These copper coins were useful for poor people, who otherwise would have relied on barter or credit in order to conduct business.
Along with leading the prayer, minting coins was a symbol of power and leadership in the Muslim world. Whenever a new ruler came into power, one of the first things he did was invalidate the coins of his predecessor, and order the striking of new coins with his name or likeness.
The Chase Ends
Hujr came out of hiding and presented himself before Ziyad at the governor’s palace.
“Welcome, Abu Abdur Rahman,” exclaimed Ziyad, referring to Hujr by his paedonym. “You bring war in times of war and war in times of peace.”
“No,” replied Hujr. “I have not rebelled, nor have I renounced by pledge to Muawiyyah nor have I turned against the state.”
“Oh, but you have, dear Hujr. You cut with one hand and console with the other. Allah has given you this great opportunity. You should not overlook it. Because I will not.”
Hujr did not want to debate with Ziyad. “You promised that Muawiyyah would judge me.”
“Yes, I have. Take him away.”
“I have not broken my pledge!” Hujr shouted as he was dragged away. “I have not rebelled! I have not broken my pledge!”
For the next ten days, Ziyad focused on two things: hunting down the rest of Hujr’s followers, and building a case against him.
The first part was easy. With Hujr in custody, what little resistance remained fell apart. His followers either turned themselves in or were captured.
One of his supporters named Amr ibn Al-Hamiq escaped with a friend and headed for the mountains of Mosul about two hundred eighty miles north. The governor of Mosul got suspicious when he learned that two strange men were hiding up there.
He sent his soldiers to arrest Amr ibn Al-Hamiq. The governor recognized him as one of those who opposed Caliph Uthman and sent word to Muawiyyah.
Muawiyyah responded that Amr ibn Al-Hamiq had once bragged about stabbing Uthman nine times and ordered the same be done to him.
Amr ibn Al-Hamiq was dead by the second blow.
Another of Hujr’s supporters was a young man named Ibn Khalifah. When Ziyad’s police came to arrest Ibn Khalifah, he put up a strong fight. The commotion attracted other members of Ibn Khalifah’s tribe, and the police fled, fearing for their lives.
Ziyad negotiated with Ibn Khalifah’s family, and they agreed that he would leave Kufah and never return.
Altogether, Ziyad arrested twelve of Hujr’s supporters, including two of his sons.
Ziyad’s Case Against Hujr
When Ziyad became governor of Kufah, he reorganized the army into four divisions, each with its own general. This was a marked departure from the previous system where the army was organized by tribe.
Ziyad had each general sign a statement he drafted outlining Hujr’s crimes. These included:
- Calling for war against Muawiyyah
- Proclaiming the Caliphate belonged to Ali’s descendants
- Attacking government officials and driving them out of the city
- Praising Ali and asking Allah to have Mercy on him
- Encouraging the people to break their allegiance with Muawiyyah
- Disbelieving in Allah
Ziyad didn’t believe the endorsement of his four generals was enough. He put out a call for the nobles and leaders of Kufah to come sign as well. To boost the veracity of this document, he insisted that each man must have a good reputation with sound paternal lineage.
Quite ironic for a man known as “the son of his father.”
By the time he was done, there were seventy signatures on the statement condemning Hujr and his associates. A few of the signatures had been “volunteered” by Ziyad.
Ten days after turning himself in, Hujr and his associates began the journey to Damascus. As they were led out of Kufah, their families met them at the gates, crying and praying for them.
“This will not do us any good now,” said Hujr. “If you really want to help, you know what to do.” They would have to fight against Ziyad.
An old man, watching the prisoners leave Kufah began to shout: “Aren’t there even ten clans strong enough to rescue them? How about five? Not even five clans?”
Two weeks later, the captives were brought before Muawiyyah for judgment. Ziyad had sent two more to Damascus bringing the total to fourteen.
“As-Salaamu Alaikum, ya Ameerul Mumineen,” Hujr greeted Muawiyyah upon entering his court. The room was crowded with the fourteen prisoners, Ziyad’s police escorts, Muawiyyah, and several of his Syrian advisors.
“Oh, now you say ‘Ameerul Mumineen’?” Muawiyyah said. “By Allah, I don’t want to hear anything from you!”
He proceeded to read Ziyad’s statement aloud.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. To Ameerul Mumineen, Muawiyyah, from Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan. These oppressors, whose leader is Hujr ibn Adi, have opposed Ameerul Mumineen, and declared war on us. Allah has made us victorious over them and enabled us to deal with them. I have summoned the best people of Kufah, their nobles and their chiefs, those possessing intelligence and faith. They bear witness to the crimes of these men and their signatures and names are included below.
After reading the letter, Muawiyyah turned to his advisors.
“What should we do? Their own people testify against them.”
“Leave them in Syria,” one advisor replied. “Spread them out among the villages where they cannot cause trouble.”
That wasn’t really an option for Muawiyyah as he did not want these men in his own backyard.
Muawiyyah was at a crossroads. Hujr ibn Adi was well-known throughout the empire and enjoyed a good reputation.
Yet, according to Ziyad, these men deserved to be executed.
His doubts increased when he received another letter from a former judge living in Kufah.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful. To the servant of Allah, Muawiyyah, Ameerul Mumineen. I have heard what Ziyad wrote to you concerning my testimony against Hujr ibn Adi. I did not sign that statement and did not approve my name being attached to it. My testimony about Hujr ibn Adi is this: He prays regularly, gives charity, performs the Hajj, enjoins the good and forbids the evil. His blood and his property are sacred.
Still uncertain, he muttered, “I wish I had read this one first.” He ordered Hujr and the others taken to prison while he considered his next move.
He wrote back to Ziyad. “I’ve read your letter and have examined everything you said about Hujr and his companions. I’m not sure if I should kill them or pardon them.”
“How can you have any doubts about this?” Ziyad wrote back. “You have my testimony. You have the testimony of others who know him well. If you want to keep this city secure, do not send Hujr back to me!”
After receiving Ziyad’s response, Muawiyyah met with his advisors again to discuss the case.
“Just let it go,” one of them said. “Tear up Ziyad’s letter and let them go free.”
Muawiyyah disagreed. “That will make us look weak.”
The families of some of the prisoners came forward to plead for their lives.
“Ameerul Mumineen,” one man said, “release my two cousins to my custody. They were falsely accused by their enemies. They are righteous men who would never defy the Caliph.”
“I know your family well. I trust you and know your heart is good. You can take your cousins.”
Several others interceded for their family members. Muawiyyah patiently listened to all of them, before releasing five more prisoners to their families.
One man did offer to take Hujr under his protection, but Muawiyyah refused.
“Hujr is their leader,” he said. “If he’s let loose in Damascus, he’ll corrupt my city. I’d rather send him back to Ziyad.”
Two of the prisoners, Abdur Rahman Al-Anazi and Karim Al-Khathami, were brought forward. They had asked and received an audience with Muawiyyah.
Karim Al-Khathami spoke first. “By Allah, Ameerul Mumineen. One day you will face your Lord, and you will be questioned about your deeds. You will have to answer for shedding our blood.”
“What do you say about Ali?” asked Muawiyyah, ignoring Karim’s words.
“Whatever you say about him. I can’t abandon Ali’s religion,” said Karim.
Muawiyyah quietly studied him.
Finally, one of his advisors spoke up. “Ameerul Mumineen, this is my cousin. Release him to me.”
“Take him,” growled Muawiyyah. “But let him sit in prison for a month.”
The second prisoner, Abdur Rahman Al-Anazi, was next.
“What do you say about Ali?” asked Muawiyyah.
“Don’t ask me that question,” Al-Anazi replied. “It’s better for both of us.”
“By Allah, you will answer me.”
“Then I say that he worshipped Allah. I say that he ordered what was right and stood for justice. I say that he used to forgive the people!”
“Very well,” said Muawiyyah. “What do you say about Uthman?”
Anazi hung his head. “He opened the gates of injustice, and locked the gates of righteousness.”
“You have doomed yourself!” yelled Muawiyyah.
“No! I have killed you instead!” Anazi shot back.
“Get him out of here,” said Muawiyyah. “Send him back to Ziyad and tell him to kill this man in the worst way possible.”
When Ziyad received Muawiyyah’s message, he had Anazi buried alive.
The next morning, Hujr watched the guards release the six men pardoned by Muawiyyah.
“Ameerul Mumineen is being merciful,” one of the guards said to him. “Renounce Ali and we will let you go also. If not, then you will die tomorrow.”
“I can’t do that.”
“Very well,” the guard sighed. “We are going outside to dig your graves. You have until tomorrow to reconsider.”
The remaining eight prisoners spent the night in prayer and worship. When the morning came, they were brought outside and made to kneel before their graves.
“I saw you all praying last night, and I can tell you are a good man,” the guard whispered to Hujr. “If you don’t want to curse Ali, then say something good about Uthman.”
“He is the one who started all of this,” said Hujr defiantly.
“Ameerul Mumineen was right about you. Take your prisoners!” He barked to the other guards who forced their prisoner’s heads down on stones.
“This is your last chance!” the guard bellowed.
“I can’t do it!” Hujr yelled.
“I honor him! And I curse those who denounce him!”
“Carry out the sentence!” the guard commanded.
Hujr heard grunts of pain, cries of fear, and the sound of metal hitting flesh, bone, and stone.
Then it was his turn.
“Wait,” he said quietly. “Wait. Let me make ablution first.”
The guard nodded. He released Hujr and called for a basin of water.
After he finished washing, Hujr said: “I’ve never made ablution without making two prostrations.”
Again, the guard nodded.
Hujr completed two units of prayer. “I would pray more, but you might think I was afraid of death.”
The guard placed Hujr’s head back on the stone and he trembled slightly.
“You’re trembling,” the guard said. “You are afraid of death. Just say the words, and I’ll let you go.”
“Of course, I’m trembling. I see my grave, my burial shroud, and your sword. I am afraid, but I’m more afraid of my Lord’s wrath.”
The guard unsheathed his sword and took off Hujr’s head.
We close the story of Hujr ibn Adi with the same Quranic verse he recited as a young soldier crossing the Tigris River.
“And no person will die except by the Command of Allah at a specified time.”
After his execution, Hujr’s grave became a pilgrimage site for Shiite Muslims. A shrine and a mosque were built around his grave.
On May 2, 2013 during the height of the Syrian civil war, the shrine over Hujr’s burial place was destroyed and his body exhumed. A Facebook posting showed an empty pit where the grave used to be.
A rebel group named the Free Syria Army claimed responsibility for the desecration. They said Hujr’s body was buried in a secret location.
The location of Hujr’s body is still unknown.
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