In the month of Rajab; exactly four months remained for Hajj. During the time of Hajj, people from every corner of the country would come for pilgrimage to Makkah. He could then easily convey his message to the people, Imam Hussain (pbuh) knew that if he were to start his Qiyam and struggle from Makkah, all the world of Islam would become aware of his objectives and then it would not be so easy for the regime to deceive the people about him and his aims.
Imam Hussain (pbuh) determined to leave Madina for Makkah at the earliest opportunity before the Governor and related officials had any knowledge of his intentions of departure.
This decision was announced before the members of his family and was a secret matter. However, the other people belonging to the tribe of Banu Hashim soon came to know about the matter and came to visit Imam Hussain (pbuh). After coming to know about the reasons of this sudden journey, they expressed their views in opposition to Imam Hussain's decision, either because they were afraid that he would get killed, or because they were not courageous enough to follow him. But his resolve to uphold the right was not shaken by such objections or threats.
Ummul Momeneen (mother of believers), Umm-e-Salama, one of the Prophets wives, clung to him and adjured him not to go. Then told him, quoting from the Apostle of God (pbuh) that he would be martyred. Imam Hussain (pbuh) informed her soothingly, "Indeed, I know I am going to be martyred, mother."
There were two persons among the visitors with whom Imam Hussain had a lengthy conversation and upon whose lives his decision had a direct impact. The first of them was Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah, the eldest of his brothers who, after conferring with Imam Hussain (pbuh) wanted to accompany him on this fateful journey. Imam Hussain (pbuh), however, told him to stay and send him the reports of everyday events that passed in Madina during his absence. He told him that the only person who was capable of fulfilling this sensitive and dangerous responsibility of reporting about the reaction of the regime in Madina and the opinion of the masses there, as an aware and well-informed observer, was Muhammad Ibn Hanafiyyah. Therefore he had to stay behind and carry out this duty assigned to him.
The second person was Zainab-e-Kubra (pbuh) his younger sister, the wife of Abdullah son of Ja'far. When she saw that Imam Hussain's decision was final and that nobody could make him turn away from it. She was deeply moved, with, grief choking her, voice and tears in her eyes, she spoke to him in these words: "Dear brother! After Grandfather [Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)], Father [Imam Ali (pbuh)], Mother [Bibi Fatima (pbuh)] and Brother Hassan (pbuh), only you remain to console my heart and of all of them it is only you who are left. I cannot bear your separation. How can I stay here with unbearable worry and anxiety about what may happen? Is it not possible that I might be of some service to you if I come along?"
Imam Hussain (pbuh) replied: "No sister. You are a woman with a house, husband and children to take care of. Your husband is an illustrious man. I am not the one to decide about your affairs. It is Abdullah son of Ja'far who can give you the permission. As to myself, I have no alternative but to leave."
Abdullah son of Ja'far (who was himself suffering from sickness at that time) agreed to Zainab's accompanying her brother on the journey. Not only this, he sent two of his sons Aun and Muhammad to accompany her by saying; "Aun will represent his maternal Grandfather Imam Ali (pbuh) and the other will represent his paternal Grandfather Ja'far-e-Tayyar."
Less than thirty hours after his meeting with the governor, Imam Hussain (pbuh) was prepared to leave. As he was making his preparations, he was brought the news that the governor had summoned all other persons who had opposed Yazid's allegiance and conferred with them. One of the opponents of the regime, Abdullah son of Al-Zubayr had secretly left for Makkah the night before. He was pursued by the Government's men who could not trace him since he had not used the usual road to Makkah.
Not more than a few hours were left for his departure when for the last time he visited the tombs of his Grandfather, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), his mother, Bibi Fatima (pbuh) & his brother Imam Hassan Mujtaba (pbuh).
As he was returning, he met Marwan on the way who told him: "I want to give you some advice. I think it is best for your worldly life as well as your Hereafter that you accept to give allegiance to Yazid. Do not put yourself and your relatives into trouble." "Inna Lillahe wa Inna Ilaihe Raje'oon, And bid farewell to Islam?" replied Imam Hussain (pbuh).
If Marwan did not understand Imam Hussain's words, others understood afterwards. Obviously Imam Hussain (pbuh) wanted to say, "If I agree to support Yazid's corrupt Government, then Islam will be wiped out without any trace. Opposition to Yazid may prove to be costly, but anyhow we would have saved our Hereafter. Indeed everything comes from God and returns unto Him."
Just before Imam Hussain (pbuh) left Madina, Ummul Banin (Mother of Sons) or Fatima daughter of Hazam, the mother of Abbas (pbuh). Summoned all her four sons (Abbas, Abdulla, Ja'far and Uthman) and said to them, "My sons you must remember that, Imam Hussain (pbuh) is your Master. If Imam or his sisters or his children get injured or hurt while you are still alive, I will never forgive you." There were tears in Abbas's eyes as he promised his mother that he and his brothers would lay down their lives for Imam Hussain (pbuh) and his children.
Two days remaining until the end of the month of Rajab, on the night of Sunday, Imam Hussain (pbuh) left Madina for Makkah with a most simple caravan together with his family and a few companions. As he left, this verse of Quran was on his lips, a verse which relates the story of Moses (pbuh) as he fled from Pharaoh's Egypt: He therefore got away there from, looking about, in a state of fear. He prayed "O my Lord! Save me from people given to wrong-doing." Holy Quran (28:21)
The night passed, and, as the travelers drew away from Madina, the sun came up. One of the relatives came to Imam Hussain (pbuh) and suggested that the caravan leave the highway for the danger of being stopped by pursuers: "It is possible that they might pursue us like Abdullah son of Al-Zubayr and catch up with us and cause us trouble." Apparently the suggestion was a good one. But Imam Hussain (pbuh), in view of the open and sublime nature of his objectives replied, "I will never deviate from the right way. And you too, friend of Hussain, always choose the right road and move straight. God will be your protector. There is no danger of losing the way as long as you chose to travel on the straight highway!"
The caravan completed its five day journey from Madina to Makkah and entered the city on the 3rd of Sha'ban of the year 60 Hijrah. As he entered the city, Imam Hussain (pbuh) hopefully murmured this verse of the Quran - the words uttered by Prophet Moses (pbuh) as he entered Madyan fleeing Pharaoh's men: Then, when he turned his face towards (the land of) Madyan, he said: "I do hope that my Lord will show me the smooth and straight Path." Holy Quran (28:22) and there he chose to stay at the house of Al-Abbas son of Abdul Mutalib.
The news of his coming soon spread through the city and all men who held any significant social position hurried to see him. The governor of Makkah, other city officials and similarly many important personalities of the city came to pay a visit.
Soon, the busy hours of visitors rushing to see Imam Hussain (pbuh) came to pass and the days took a normal and relaxed aspect. It was during this time that most of the visitors wanted to find out Imam Hussain's views about Caliphate and the general political conditions of the time.
It did not take much time for the people to know that Imam Hussain's movement from Madina was a gesture of opposition to the regime and a protest against the orders sent from the Syrian court to the Governor of Madina. Very soon this news spread to all parts of the country; it reached the capital in Syria and other provinces.
Yazid become aware that Imam Hussain (pbuh) had made the determination to oppose his Government, even as he had refused before to give allegiance to this nomination as crown prince. He discussed the matter with his courtiers and asked them for advice. They held the opinion that it seemed inadvisable to take any hasty step. They advised that it was better to wait and discover the dimensions that Imam Hussain's opposition might take. It seemed possible that he would settle down in Makkah and maintain his silence as before. They suggested that any attempts at his persecution would only help to aggravate the prevailing situation. They reminded him about Muawiya's advice that if Imam Hussain (pbuh) continued his silence, it was sufficient for Yazid and that his persecution was inadvisable under any condition.
In the mean time the news about the political uprising in Kufa reached Makkah, and the leaders of the city wrote a letter in which they declared their opposition to the Umayyads rule, and they would not accept anybody else but Imam Hussain (pbuh) to rule them. This letter was followed twelve thousand (12,000) similar letters, Fruits have ripened and fields have become green. If you come you will have one thousand swords supporting you. If you do not come to us, we will dispute with you in front of God at doomsday.
Imam Hussain (pbuh) could neither blindly accept the call from Kufa, because he had seen how the people of Kufa had not come to his father's help when he needed them, and how they had mistreated his brother Imam Hassan (pbuh). The Kufees (people of Kufa) who were known for their unstable character and unsettled conduct, if later turn treacherous, the world would question Imam Hussain's ready response to their call without the necessary caution. Therefore Imam Hussain (pbuh) decided to send a deputy of his to Kufa to write to him after studying the sincerity in the invitation.
Muslim son of Aqeel - the Holy Imam's Deputy to Kufa