In the Arab world, the youngest daughter of Imam al Hussein (as) is know as Sayyidah Ruqayya (sa) [Hazrat Roghayeh or Bibi Rukkaya] whereas she is know as Bibi Sakina (sa) or Sayedah Sakinah bint al Hussein (as) in rest of the Islamic World.
Bibi Sakina (sa) was a vivacious child, full of love and happiness. Everyone loved Bibi Sakina (sa). She was also a very religious girl. She enjoyed reading Glorious Qur'an and never missed her prayers. From the age of two she took great care to make sure that her head and face were properly covered as per the Islamic dress of code Hijab when in public.
Bibi Sakina (sa) was Imam al Hussein's (as) most beloved child. Our Third Imam (as) used to pray for a daughter in his Tahajjud Prayer (Namaz E Shab) and the birth of Bibi Sakina (sa) was a result of those night prayers. Imam al Hussein (as) was often heard to say, "A house without Sakina would not be worth living in!" She always had a sweet and cheerful smile and a very friendly nature. Other children sought her company as much as the grown ups did. She was very generous and always shared whatever she had with others.
There was a special bond between Hazrat Abbas (as) and Bibi Sakina (sa). Hazrat Abbas (as) loved her more than he did his own children. If Bibi Sakina (sa) requested for anything, Hazrat Abbas (as) would not rest until he satisfied her request. There was nothing that Hazrat Abbas (as) would not do to make Bibi Sakina (sa) happy.
During the journey from Madina to Makkah and then Makkah to Karbala, Hazrat Abbas (as) was often seen riding up to the Mehmil (A decorated framework on a Camel) in which Bibi Sakina (sa) sat to make sure that she had everything she wanted. Bibi Sakina (sa) loved her uncle just as much. While in Madina she would visit, several times a day, the house in which Hazrat Abbas (as) lived with his family and his mother, Bibi Ummul Baneen (sa).
Like any other four-five year old when Bibi Sakina (sa) went to bed at night, she wanted to spend some time with her father. Imam al Hussein (as) would tell her stories of the Prophets (as) and of the battles fought by her grand-father Imam Ali (as). She would rest her head on her father's chest and Imam al Hussein (as) would not move from her until she fell asleep. When from the second of Muharram the armies of Yazid began to gather at Karbala, Imam al Hussein (as) said to his sister Bibi Zainab (sa), "The time has come for you to get Sakina used to going to sleep without me being there." Bibi Sakina (sa) would follow her father at night and Imam al Hussein (as) had to gently take her to aunt, Bibi Zainab (sa) or Bibi Rubab (sa) - her mother.
At Karbala from the seventh Muharram, access to water was blocked by the army of Yazid and water became scarce. Bibi Sakina (sa) shared whatever little water she had with other children. When soon there was no water at all, the thirsty children would look at Bibi Sakina (sa) hopefully, and because she could not help them she would have tears in her eyes. Bibi Sakina's (sa) lips were parched with thirst (Pyas).
On the day of Ashoora - the 10th of Muharram, Sakinah gave her Mashk (water carrier) to Hazrat Abbas (as) to get some water for her and the children. When Hazrat Abbas (as) went to fetch water, the children gathered round Bibi Sakina (sa) with their little cups, knowing that as soon as Hazrat Abbas (as) brought any water, Bibi Sakina (sa) would first make sure that they had some before taking any herself. When Bibi Sakina (sa) saw Imam al Hussein (as) bringing the blood drenched Alam (Flag) she knew that her uncle Hazrat Abbas (as) had been martyred. From that day on Bibi Sakina (sa) never complained of thirst (Pyas). Bibi Sakina (sa) never again asked anyone for water. Bibi Zainab (sa) would persuade her to take a few sips, but she herself would never ask for water or complain of thirst.
Then came the time when the earth shook and Bibi Sakina (sa) became an orphan! But even then she always thought of the others first. She would console her mother, Bibi Rubab (sa) on the death of her six month old brother, Ali Asghar (as) and when she saw any other lady or child weeping Bibi Sakina (sa) would put her little arms around her.
From the time when Imam al Hussein (as) was martyred in the battle field, Bibi Sakina (sa) forgot to smile! Kufa saw her as a little girl lost in thought. Quite often she would sit up at night. When asked if she wanted anything, she would say, "I just heard a baby cry? Is it Asghar? He must be calling out for me!"
Knowing that her weeping upset her mother, Bibi Sakina (sa) would cry silently and quickly wipe away her tears! In the prison in Damascus she would stare at the flock of birds flying to their nests at sunset and innocently ask Bibi Zainab (sa), "Will Sakina ever be going home like those birds flying to their homes?"
Then one dreadful night Bibi Sakina (sa) went to bed on the cold floor of the prison. For a long time she stared into the darkness! The time for the morning prayers came. Bibi Sakina (sa) was still lying with her eyes wide open. Her mother called out: "Wake up, Sakina! Wake up, it is time for prayers, my child!" There was only the painful silence! Our fourth Imam Zainul Abideen (as) walked up to where Bibi Sakina (sa) lay. He put his hand on her forehead. It was cold! He put his hand near the mouth and the nose. Bibi Sakina (sa) had stopped breathing. In between sobs Imam Zainul Abideen (as) said: "Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji'un!"
How was Bibi Sakina (sa) buried? Bibi Zainab (sa) held the still child as Imam Zainul Abideen (as) dug a grave in the cell. As the grave was being filled up after the burial the mother let out a scream! How could anyone console Bibi Rubab (sa)? What could they say? They huddled around her, and the prison walls began to shake with the cry: "Ya Bibi Sakina (sa), Ya Mazloomah!" Bibi Rubab (sa) put her cheek on Bibi Sakina's (sa) grave and cried out: "Speak to me, Sakina! Only a word, my child! Speak to me!"
I am Sakinah daughter of Imam al Hussein (as), today is Ashoora and here is Karbala
Perhaps an hour has passed noon. I do not know. From morning to now, for us, it has seemed like a lifetime; especially these moments that my father has gone towards the battlefield. It is hard to gaze at the cloud of dust rising in the battlefield and to hear the shrieks of the enemy, while my father is among them; it is very hard.
The sound of the drums beating and the shrill screams of the enemy make our hearts sink. We are surrounded with dust and blood.
The sunshine above us is hot and the earth beneath, even hotter. Thirst, thirst, our mouths are burning from thirst, our lips have dried up like parched clay, our tongues are hard and dry in our mouths and our faces have become pale from the extreme heat. My father had only seventy-two soldiers while Yazid had an army of tens of thousands.
Since morning, my father's companions have gone to the battlefield one by one. They stood bravely against the enemy's army, they fought with courage, they killed tens of the enemy soldiers and then they were martyred. Now, my father is all alone, surrounded by the soldiers of the enemy. Oh, how I wish the distance between the tents and the battlefield was not this long. How I wish I could see my father fighting. How I wish my father had let me go with him. A father fighting alone against a vast army and his restless daughter having no news about him! The only thing visible from here is a haze of dust and dirt and the only thing hearable is the uproar of the enemy.
Yesterday, the wrinkles of weariness were clearly visible in my father's expression. Thousands of people from Kufa and other cities had written him letters and promised to support him if he rose against Yazid's ruthless government, but only seventy-two people came to help him, which include our close family members and companions ranging from very young to very old. The youngest of them is my younger brother six month old, baby Asghar and oldest of them is the seventy year old friend of my father Habib ibn Mazahir al-Asadi. Those seventy-two people were very dear to my father. My father told them, "You are the best of people. I do not know any followers more loyal and faithful than you; no one has ever had followers as fine as mine." We all cried when they were martyred but father did not show his sorrow. When my older brother Ali Akbar fell down from his horse we all lost heart but my father did not. When the enemies' arrow ripped my younger brother Ali Asghar's throat on my father's hands, we started wailing and weeping, but my father stood firm. When my uncle Abbas, who was my father's flagman (Alamdar), the sentinel of the tents and the provider of water, fell from his horse after loosing both of his hands, my father kept his patience; but his stature was bent and he put his hands on his waist crying said, "My back is broke".
When all of my father's followers got martyred, my father prepared himself to go to the battlefield, but first he gathered all the women and children and told them with calmness, "Make yourselves ready for affliction and hardship. Be sure that Allah (SWT) is your protector. He will soon save you from the enemy and you shall have a fine destiny. And your enemies will experience all kinds of torture and suffering. Instead of these sufferings, Allah (SWT) will grant you many blessings and treat you with generosity. So do not complain about anything and do not say thing that decrease your dignity."
After this, we were all sure that my father would be martyred. I said, "Father, have you surrendered yourself to death?" Then I burst into tears and cried and cried. I did not want to act impatiently, but I no longer had the power. I was not the only one that was restless. Even my aunt, Zainab who tried to comfort us, was wiping away her tears.
Father hugged me and said: "Sweetheart, how can someone with no allies not surrender to death?"
I started sobbing again and said: "Under whose care you will put us?"
Father wiped my tears with his hands and after kissing my wet eyelashes said, "I put you under the care of Allah (SWT) and His blessings; He who supports you in this world and the afterworld. Have patience, my daughter, about the things that Allah (SWT) wants and don't complain, because this world will come to an end soon but the afterworld remains forever."
I did not complain and I was not ungrateful, but I cried and cried. How could I not cry, while my father, the best father in the world, was going to the battlefield all-alone to face thousands of enemies? Father said farewell to everybody and stroked the children's hair affectionately. Then he whispered things to my aunt Zainab that we could not understand. After that, he told her to bring him an old garment. We were all surprised and asked, "Why do you want an old garment?" Father answered: "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 am martyred."
It was as if father was going to a splendid ceremony. He put on his clothes, fastened his sword and armor, wiped the sweat of his forehead with his turban, then tidied his gray beard and prepared to go towards a savage enemy that was awaiting him with barbaric shrieks.
None could prevent him from going and even if he did not go, the enemy would come to our tents. No one could prevent him from going, because he had foretold his death before this day and he had said that Islam would only survive if he were martyred. No one could tell him, "Father, don't go!" "Uncle, don't go!" "Brother, don't go!"
Because he was the Imam of all, and we all knew that the Imam only does what Allah (SWT) wants. However, we only wanted him to stay with us one more moment, so we could see him, speak with him and listen to his voice a little longer.
My aunt Zainab, trembling, cried out with tearful eyes, "Not so fast dear brother, not so fast."
Father stood and for one last time looked at the crowd of distressed women and children who were crying after him. If anyone other than father had seen this scene, he would have surely slowed his pace; but there was no change in my father's faith and decision and he did not slow his pace. He just gave us an affectionate wave with his hand, put us under the care of Allah (SWT), and hurried towards his horse.
I could not bare it any more. I, who in a few moments would lose such a good father and become an orphan. I stood up involuntarily and without father seeing me, ran towards his horse Zuljana. Father was sitting firmly on his horse and was getting ready to go. However, the horse did not move because I had clasped my hands tightly around its legs. The horse was staring into my eyes and was crying with my cries. Father got off his horse and held me tight to his chest. He wiped my tears and said, "Oh my daughter, my dear daughter, Sakinah."
I said, "Oh father, when uncle Muslim ibn Aqeel was martyred, you hugged his orphan daughter and patted her head. If you go and I become an orphan who is going to pat my head?" Father's eyes filled with tears. I could feel his heart breaking. While fighting back his tears, he slowly whispered to me, "Sakinah, my daughter, please do not cry, because after I go you will shed many tears. While I am here, while I am still alive, do not set my heart ablaze with your tears."
Oh, best daughter in the world, truly after I go you have the most right to cry. "I knew it was impossible, but I don't know why I said, "Father, take us back to the city of Medina beside the shrine of our grandfather, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)."
Father turned his innocent look towards the enemy and said, "You know it's not possible my daughter, Sakinah." The shrieks and screams of the enemy were becoming louder and father has to go. Father set off and I could still feel the warmth of his dried lips on my cheeks. Now I can hear the clanging of swords and the neighing of horses and the savage screams of the enemy. We are standing beside the tents; we are holding our breaths and shivering with fright.
Oh, I think this is my father's horse Zuljana, coming back towards us without a rider, its head and mane covered in blood. Is this the sound of my cry or Fatima or Zainab?
10th Safar: Wafat of Bibi Sakina (sa) daughter of Imam al Hussein (as)
Throughout the entire event of Karbala and everything which followed, we see that people of all ages and backgrounds were affected. Whether it be the young child such as Ali Asghar (as) who, as an infant, was killed, or the youth such as Aun and Muhammad (as) the sons of Bibi Zainab (sa) who gave their lives, no one was spared the grief, trauma and pain of Ashoora - the 10th of Muharram.
This is best exemplified on the 10th of Safar which is the date that the young daughter of Imam al Hussein (as), Bibi Sakina (sa), left this mortal world for her final abode. The name, or rather title of Sakina was given to this young girl due to the fact that she used to bring tranquility to the heart of her father (the Arabic word Sakina meaning 'tranquility' and 'peace') every time he looked at her.
While in the palace of Yazid in Shaam, Sakina woke up one night crying and screaming for her father. The women of the Ahlul Bayt (as) who were with her and knew what had happened to her father too began to cry and wail. Their crying was so loud that it has been mentioned that Yazid woke up from his sleep due to all the commotion.
After finding out what had happened and why all the noise was coming from the members of the Ahlul Bayt (as), Yazid informed one of his servants to go and take the head of Imam al Hussein (as), put it on a silver tray, cover it and deliver it to Sakinah (sa). When the servant came with the tray, historians narrate that Sakinah (sa) and indeed the ladies thought that food was being brought to them. The tray was put in front of Sakinah (sa) to uncover, however much to her dismay and shock, when she uncovered the tray, she was looking straight at the decapitated head of her father covered in blood.
A vision that Bibi Sakina (sa) had of her father, Imam al Hussein (as) saying: "O my Shias, when you drink fresh water, then remember me; or when you hear about a stranger [in distress] or a martyr, then mourn me."