The details of the final separation of the Holy Imam (pbuh) from the helpless ladies, children and other inmates of his camp, particularly from his sisters Zainab and Kulthoom, are very heart-rending and it is impossible for any one to describe the whole sorrowful scene in a paragraph of a brief work like this.
To Zainab and Kulthoom, his two sisters, Imam Hussain (pbuh) said: "Our camp will be plundered and set on fire. After I am slain, the series of calamities to you all would begin. Your heads will be stripped of your covering cloths-veils. Beware O my dear sisters; let not patience under any suffering be lost. The enemies will take you prisoners and parade you in the streets of Kufa and Shaam. This will be a very difficult time for you. Do not give up hope; you will have to be brave. Bear every calamity in the way of the Lord with patience and fortitude. Dear sisters, let not what I have done with so much of patience and fortitude would be undone by your impatience." Zainab (pbuh) with tears rolling down her cheeks promised her brother that she would not let him down. "Convey my salaams to my people, and tell them to remember our thirst whenever they drink water."
After that, Holy Imam (pbuh) told her sister Zainab to bring him an old garment. Because, the enemy is an unmanly one. After killing me, they will take my clothes as spoils. I want to wear an old garment under my clothes so my body will not be bare after I'm martyred.
Then, Imam Hussain (pbuh) turned to sister Zainab and said "I am leaving the widows and orphans in your care. My dear sister please look after my Sakina especially, she has never been separated from me even for a day. Please dear sister when you get water give it to her first, she hasn't asked for water since her uncle Abbas died."
At this Sakina came forward and said, "Oh father. When 'Muslim son of Aqeel' was martyred, you hugged his orphan girl and patted her head. If you go and I become an orphan who is going to pat my head?" Imam's eyes filled with tears. While fighting back his tears, he slowly whispered, "Sakina, my daughter, please do not cry, because after I go you will shed many tears. While I am here still alive, do not set my heart ablaze with your tears." He picked up Sakina, and kissed her cheeks, knowing that these same cheeks were going to be slapped by the cruel hands of Yazid's men.
The Holy Imam (pbuh) at last came into the field bidding goodbye to all (including advanced age nurse, Fizza), not to return again to his camp, but to drink the cup of martyrdom to fulfill the covenant with the Lord to save and secure the Truth for all times until the Day of Judgment.
Hussain (pbuh) hands over the charge of the Imamate:
Imam Ali (pbuh), the eldest son of Hussain called Zainul Abideen (Grace of the pious) or Sajjad, was lying unconscious on his sick bed. Imam Hussain (pbuh) went to him and handed over the charge of the sacred office of Imamate to him. He enumerated the difficulties and the tortures that would befall him immediately following his martyrdom and advised him (who was to succeed as the Fourth Holy Imam) to observe the highest degree of patience and fortitude against every aggression and oppression that would be inflicted on him and his dear ones, and never to get angry or curse the people.
Note: According to another report, when Imam Hussain (pbuh) went into the tent of Imam Zainul Abideen (pbuh) to bid him good-bye. Imam Zainul Abideen (pbuh) asked him, "Father! How did things come about between you and these people? (i.e., Imam Zainul Abideen (pbuh) was unaware of what was happening until that time)." The Imam Hussain (pbuh) said to him, "Son, this matter has ultimately led to a battle." What happened to 'Habib son of Mouzaher'? Asked Imam Zainul Abideen. "He was Martyred," replied the Imam Hussain. How about 'Zuhayr son of Al-Qayn'? "He was also Martyred," replied the Imam Hussain. What happened to 'Burayr son of Khudayr Al-Hamadani'? "He was Martyred," said Imam Hussain. Imam Zainul Abideen continued naming each of his father's companions one after another and the Imam's reply was the same. Then he asked concerning the men of Banu Hashim. "What happened to Qasim?" "What happened to my brother Ali Akbar?" "What happened to my uncle Abbas?"
The answer was the same: "They all have been Martyred." This is a fabrication and a lie. Imam Zainul Abideen, Na'udhubillah, was not so sick and unconscious as not to know what was going on. Historians have written that even in that state of illness he rose from his bed and said to Zainab (pbuh), "Aunt, bring me my staff and give me a sword." Details can be read from next heading.
The last call of the Holy Imam in the way of the lord:
Lest later any one in the surroundings should say that he was neither called nor given any opportunity to serve the cause of defending the Truth by helping the Holy Imam who was fighting for it, Imam Hussain (pbuh) now standing all alone, with the enemy forces all around him, bleeding from innumerable wounds from head to toe, having lost one and all of his Godly comrades (sons, brothers, nephews and companions), gave his last call to humanity around him, inviting them to join him in the way of the Lord, saying:
"Hal Min Nasirin Yansorona (Is there any helper to help us)?"
Hal Min Nasir Yansurna (Is there anyone to assist me). The one who listens to the cry of us, the Household (Ahlulbayt), and does not hasten to assist us, Allah shall throw him head-long into the fire of hell. Imam Hussain (p.b.u.h.)
"Hal Min Zabbin Yazubbo An Harame Rasoolullah (Is there any defender to repulse the enemy from approaching the tents of the family of the Holy Prophet)?"
When there was no response from any one of the thousands standing around him, he then said aloud:
"Alam Tasma'o? Alaisa Fikum Muslimu (Do you hear me not? Is there not even a single Muslim among you)?" Yet there was no response.
When Imam Hussain (pbuh) gave his final call to the world around him inviting the people in the way of the Lord, Imam Hussain's son 'Ali Zainul Abideen' who was confined to bed with high fever, and who had just a little before received the charge of the Imamate from his father, got up and leaning on a staff, dragged himself out of his tent with his feeble sickly voice, walking towards the Holy Imam saying:
"Labbaik, Ya Abata, Labbaik (Yes, Here I am O Father dear! Here I am)!"
Imam Hussain (pbuh) seeing his ailing son Ali coming out tottering in the high fever bade him saying: "Get back O son! My progeny is to spring from you."
It is reported that in response to the call from the Holy Imam, some mysterious voices of 'Labbaik! Labbaik!' (Yes we are here O son of the Holy Prophet) were heard from the spiritual world above, to which the Holy Imam replied 'Thanks to you all, but my concern here today is only with the living in the physical world.'
Imam Hussain in the Battlefield to offer the greatest sacrifice:
Imam Hussain (pbuh) went to the battlefield wearing the Prophet's robe and turban. Imam Hussain (pbuh) first preached to his enemies, the love of God, the obedience to the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and abstinence from vice and wickedness, and at last asked the people:
"Why do you kill me?", "Did I commit any sin or crime?", "Did I plunder anybody?", "Did I interfere with any one's affairs?"
All stood dumb and none answered. Then the Holy Imam (pbuh) continued: "Then why do you kill me? What answer have you to give to God, and to the Holy Prophet on the Day of Judgment?"
When no answer from the enemy forces, the Holy Imam said:
"You have killed all my companions, my children, my brothers and even my little baby; now I tell you to leave me, I will migrate to Yemen, to Iran or even to the far off Hind (India), stain not your hands with my blood, which is the blood of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) himself, and you will not have salvation. It is for you; I tell you, shed not my blood and save yourselves."
This last offer of the Holy Imam (pbuh) was superb and matchless and yet the enemies did not avail of it. It was in fact the fulfillment of the 'Hujjat' or the argument to give the last chance to the greedy devils to save themselves from the wrath of God.
'Umar son of Saad' shouted to his men "Do not be fooled by Imam Hussain's words, attack him now!" Arrows were showered on Imam Hussain (pbuh). He charged into the battlefield like a lion, saying "If you are determined to fight me then I am ready; watch how the Grandson of the Prophet fights; see how the son of Ali and Fatima fights. Even after three days of hunger and thirst, I am not afraid to die. For me death is better than surrender."
When the enemy saw Imam Hussain (pbuh) charging towards them, they thought for a moment that Imam Ali (pbuh) had come down from the heavens to take revenge on them. Many of them ran away. When 'Umar son of Saad' saw the fear on their faces, he sent his bravest soldiers to fight Imam Hussain (pbuh). There was not a single member in Yazid's army who could stand in front of Imam Hussain (pbuh). The enemy troops surrounded him from all sides, but he defeated them all. 'Umar son of Saad' stood back and watched, amazed at how Imam Hussain (pbuh) who had suffered so much, was fighting so bravely.
Imam Hussain (pbuh) had chosen a point for his combat which was nearer the tents of the womenfolk. That was for two reasons. Firstly, he knew the unmanly and inhuman character of the enemies. They lacked even the sense of honor to spare the tents of their attacks as it was he whom they were fighting. Therefore he wanted to restrain them from attacking his camp so long as he was alive and had the strength to stop them. He would make a frontal attack and they would flee. But he would not pursue them but return to guard the tents of his womenfolk from any assault. Secondly, so long as he was alive he wanted the members of his family to know that he was alive. Accordingly, he had chosen a point from where his voice could be heard by them. Whenever he returned after making an attack he would stand at that point and cry out: There is no power or strength to save that which derives from God, the Exalted and the Almighty.
His cries would reassure the women who knew that the Imam was still alive. The Imam had told them not to come out of the tents as long as he was alive. He had told them that they must not make any untoward utterance which might reduce their reward with God. He had told them that they would find deliverance and that their ultimate end would be a good one, that God will punish their enemies. Imam Hussain son of Imam Ali's sense of manly honor and their own sense of feminine honor did not permit them to come out. Accordingly, when they heard the Imam utter 'La Hawl Wala Quwatta Illa Billahil Aliyyil Azim', they felt reassured. And as the Imam had come back to them once or twice after bidding them farewell, they still expected the Imam to return.