Al-Husayn, peace be upon him, summoned Muslim bin Aqil and dispatched him to Kufa. Muslim, the mercy of God be on him, departed until he came to Medina. There he prayed in the mosque of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family, and said farewell to the dearest members of his family.
He went on until he entered Kufa. There he stayed in the house of al-Mukhtar bin Abi Ubayda, which is called today the house of Muslim bin al-Musayyib. Muslims began to come regularly to see him. Whenever a group of them gathered together with him, he would read the letter of al-Husayn, peace be upon him, and they would weep. The people pledged allegiance to him (on behalf of al-Husayn) to the extent that eighteen thousand men made such a pledge to him. Therefore Muslim wrote to al-Husayn, peace be upon him, informing him of the pledge of allegiance to him of the eighteen thousand and urging him to come.
The Muslim began to visit Muslim bin Aqil so frequently that his place (of residence) became well-known. Al-Numan bin Bashlr, who had been Muawiya's governor of Kufa and had been confirmed in office by Yazid, knew of his where about. He went up on the the pulpit and after praising God said: "Servants of God, fear God and do not rush into rebellion and discord. For in that men will be destroyed, blood will be shed, and property will be plundered. I do not combat anyone who does not combat me, nor do I disturb those of you who remain quiet. I do not oppose you, nor do I apprehend (you merely) on grounds of suspicion, accusation or hearsay. However, if you turn your faces away from me, violate your pledge of allegiance and oppose your Imam, by God, other than Whom there is no deity, I will strike you with my sword as long as its hilt remains in my hand, even though I do not have any of you to help me. Yet I hope that those among you who know the truth are more numerous than those whom falsehood will destroy."
Abd Allah bin Muslim bin Rabi'al al-Hadrami, an ally of the Banu Umayya, wrote the (following) letter to Yazid bin Mu'awiya:
Muslim bin Aqil has come to Kufa and muslims have pledged allegiance to him on behalf of al-Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib, peace be on them. If you have any need for Kufa, then send it a strong man, who will carry out your orders and act in the same way as you would against your enemy. Al-Nu'man bin Bashir is a weak man, or he is acting like a weak man.
Yazid gave him authority over Kufa to Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad. Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad himself left Basra after he had made his brother, Uthman, his deputy. When he reached Kufa, he was wearing a black turban and he was veiled. News of al Husayn's departure had reached the people and they were expecting his arrival. When they saw Ubayd Allah, they thought that he was al-Husayn. He (i.e. Ubayd Allah) did not pass a group of people without them greeting him. They were saying: "Welcome, son of the Apostle of God, your arrival is a happy (event)."
He saw in their welcoming of al Husayn something which (greatly) troubled him. Muslim bin Amr said, when their number had become so great (that) they were delaying them: "This is the governor Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad."
When Muslim bin Aqil heard of the coming of Ubayd Allah to Kufa, he left the house of al-Mukhtar and went to the house of Hani bin Urwa and went in (to stay) there. The Muslims began to visit Hani's house secretly to keep it hidden from Ubayd Allah and they enjoined that it should be kept secret.
Ibn Ziyad summoned a retainer (mawla) called Maqil. "Take three thousand dirhams," he told him, "and look for Muslim bin Aqil and search out his followers. If you get hold of one or a group of them, give them these three thousand dirhams. Tell them to use it to help in the war against your enemy. Let them know that you are one of them. For if you give them it, they will be sure of you and have confidence in you, and they will not keep any of their information from you. So go (looking) for them and continue until you find where Muslim bin Aqil is staying."
He came (to a place where) he sat near Muslim bin Awsaja al-Asad; in the great mosque. The latter was praying, and he (Maqil) heard some people saying that this (was one of those who) had pledged allegiance to al-Husayn. He went up and sat right next to him until he had finished praying. "O servant of God," he said, "I am a Syrian whom God has blessed with love for the House of Prophet and love for those who love them." He pretended to weep (in front of) him. Then he continued: "I have three thousand dirhams with which I want to meet a man from them (the House) whom I have learnt has come to Kufa to receive pledges of allegiance on behalf of the son of the daughter of the Apostle of God, may God bless him and his family. I have wanted to meet him but I have not found anyone who will direct me to him and I don't know the place (where he is staying). While I was sitting (here), I heard a group of the faithful saying that this is a man (i.e. Muslim bin Awsaja) who is acquainted with this House. Therefore I have come to you so that you may take this money from me and introduce me to your leader; for I am one of your brethren and someone you can trust. If you wish, you may receive my pledge of allegiance to him before my meeting him."
"I thank God for you meeting me," replied Muslim bin Awsaja, "and it gives me great joy to get (you) what you desire, and that God should help the House of His Prophet, peace be on them, through you. Yet the people's knowledge of my (connection) with this affair before it is finished troubles me, because of (my) fear of this tyrant and his severity." "It would be better (if) you took the pledge of allegiance from me (now)," Maqil told him. So he took his pledge of allegiance and testaments heavily supported by oaths that he would be sincere and keep the matter concealed. He (Maqil) gave him whatever would make him content in that way.
He began to go to visit him frequently with the people and sought permission for him (to visit). Permission was given and Muslim bin Aqil received (Maqil's) pledge of allegiance. He told Abu Thumama al Saidi to take the money from him. That man (i.e. Maqil) began to visit them regularly. He was the first to enter and the last to leave, in order to become acquainted with (everything of) their affairs which Ibn Ziyad wanted. He used to keep him informed about that at regular intervals.
Hani bin Urwa began to fear for himself and he stopped attending Ibn Ziyad's assembly. He pretended to be sick. Ibn Ziyad asked those who did attend, "Why is it I don't see Hani?"
"He is sick." they replied.
"If I had been informed of his illness, I would have paid him a sick visit," said Ibn Ziyad. Then he summoned Muhammad bin al-Ashath, Asma bin Kharija and Amr bin al-Hajjaj al Zubaydi. "I have learnt, that he is better and he sits at the door of his house. Go and tell him that he should not abandon his duty towards us. I do not like one of the Arab nobles like him to ill-treat me." said Ibn Ziyad.
They went until they stood before his (house) in the evening. He was sitting at his door.
"What is stopping you from seeing the governor?" they asked.
"He has been informed," they said, "that you sit at the door of your house every evening. He finds you tardy and tardiness and churlish behavior are things which the authorities will not tolerate. We adjure you to ride with us."
He called for his clothes and got dressed. Then he called for a mule and rode with them until he came to Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad.
After an argument, "Come near me," demanded (Ibn Ziyad). He came nearer and Ibn Ziyad struck his face with his cane and went on beating at his nose, forehead and cheeks so that he broke his nose and the blood flowed from it on to his face anal heard and the flesh of his forehead and cheeks was sprinkled over his beard. Eventually the cane broke. Hani stretched out his hand towards the hilt of the sword of one of the armed attendants but the man pulled it away and prevented him.
"You have been behaving like one of the, Haruri (i.e. Kharijites) all day long!" yelled Ibn Ziyad, "so your blood is permitted to us. Take him away!" They took him and threw him into one of the rooms in the building. They locked the doors on him.
Ubayd Allah sent for the nobles and he assembled them. They (went up to the roof to) look down on the people. They offered additional (money) and kind treatment to those who would obey and they terrified the disobedient with (threats of) dispossession and (dire) punishment. They told them that the army from Syria was coming against them. Kathir bin Shihab spoke until the sun was about to set. He said: "O people, stay with your families. Do not hurry into evil actions. Do not expose yourselves to death.
The (other) nobles spoke in a similar vein. After the people had heard what they had to say, they began to disperse. Women began to come to their sons and brothers (saying): "Go, the people will be enough (without) you." Men were going to their sons and brothers and saying: "Tomorrow, the Syrians will come against you. What are you doing, causing war and evil? Come away." Thus (a man) would be taken away or would leave. They continued to disperse so that by the time evening came and Muslim bin Aqil prayed the evening prayer, he had only thirty men with him in the mosque. When he saw that it was evening and he only had that group with him, he left the mosque and headed for the gates of Kinda. He reached the gates with only ten of them (left) with him. When he left the gate, there was no one with him to guide him. He looked around but could see no one to guide him along the road, to show him to his house and to give him personal support if an enemy appeared before him.
He wandered amid the lanes of Kufa without knowing where he was going until he came to the houses of the Banu Jabala of Kinda. He went on until he came to a door (at which was) a woman called Tawa. She had been a slave-wife (umm walad) of al-Ashath bin Qays and he had freed her. She had, then, married Usayd al-Hadrami and had borne him (a son called) Bilal. Bilal had gone out with the people and his mother was standing at the door waiting for him.
Ibn Aqil greeted her and she returned the greeting.
"Servant of God, give me water to drink," he asked her. she gave him a drink and he sat down. she took the vessel inside and then came out again.
"Servant of God, haven't you had your drink?" she asked.
"Yes," was the answer.
"Then go to your people," she said. But he was silent. She repeated it but he was still silent. A third time she said: "Glory be to God, servant of God, get up - may God give you health - (and go) to your people. For it is not right for you to sit at my door and I will not permit you to do it."
At this he got up and said: "Servant of God, I have neither house nor clan in this town. Would you (show) me some generosity and kindness? Perhaps I will be able to repay it later on."
"What is it, servant of God?" she asked.
"I am Muslim bin Aqil," he replied. "These people have lied to me, incited me (to action) and then abandoned me."
"You are Muslim," she repeated.
"Yes," he answered.
"Come in," she said and he was taken into a room in her house but not the room she used. She spread out a carpet for him and offered him supper but he could not eat.
Soon her son returned. He saw her going frequently to and fro between the rooms and exclaimed: "By God, the number of times which you have gone into and come out of that room this evening, makes me suspect that you have something important (there)."
"My little son, forget about this," she answered.
"By God, tell me," he replied.
"Get on with your own business and don't ask me about anything," she retorted. However he persisted until she said: "My little son, don't tell any of the people anything about what I am going to tell you."
"Indeed," he answered and she made him take an oath. When he swore (not to do) that, she told him. He went to bed without saying anything.
That same morning the son of that old woman went to Abd al- Rahman bin Muhammad bin al-Ash'ath and told him about Muslim bin Aqil being with his mother. Abd al-Rahman went to his father who was with Ibn Ziyad. He went to him and Ibn Ziyad learned his secret.
"Get up and bring him to me immediately," said Ibn Ziyad to (Muhammad bin al-Ashath), poking a cane into his side. He sent Amr bin Ubayd Allah bin Abbas al-Sulam, with him, together with seventy men from the tribal group of Qays.
They went to the house where Muslim bin Aqil was. When he heard the beating of horses hooves and the voices of men, he knew that it was him whom they had come for. He went out against them with his sword (drawn) as they rushed blindly towards the house. He fell upon them and struck them with his sword so that he drove them away from the house. They repeated the attack, and Muslim counter attacked in the same way. He and Bakr bin Humran al-Ahmari exchanged blows and Bakr struck Muslim's mouth, cutting his top lip and slicing down to the lower lip to knock out two of his teeth. Muslim struck him a terrible blow on the head and repeated it again, cutting a nerve along his shoulder with a blow which almost reached his stomach. When the people saw that, they (went up and) looked down on him (Muslim) from the tops of the houses, and began to hurl stones at him and to light canes of wood with fire which they threw from the top of the house. When he saw that, he went out against them into the lane with his sword unsheathed.
"You can have my guarantee of security," said Muhammad bin al-Ashath, "don't kill yourself." But he continued to fight against them saying: I swear I will only be killed as a free man.
He had been hurt by stones and weakened by the fighting. He was out of breath and he was propping his back up against the wall of that house. Ibn al-Ash'ath repeated the offer of security to him.
"If you will not grant me security," declared Muslim, "I will not put my hand in yours."
A mule was brought and he was put on it. They gathered around him and pulled his sword away. At that he was in despair for his life and his eyes filled with tears.
"This is the first betrayal," he cried.
"I hope no harm will come to you," called out Muhammad bin al-Ashath.
Ibn al-Ash'ath went with Ibn Aqil to the door of the palace. He asked permission to enter. Permission was given him and he went in (to see) Ibn Ziyad. He gave a report about Ibn Aqil and Bakr's blow against him, and about his own guarantee of security to him.
"What (is this about) you and a guarantee of security?" demanded Ubayd Allah, "as if we sent you to guarantee him security when we only sent you to bring him."
Ibn al-Ashath fell silent.
While Ibn Aqil remained at the palace door, his thirst had become severe. There was a jug of cold water placed at the doorway. "Give me a drink of that water," asked Muslim. "See how cold it is," replied Muslim bin Amr, "but by God, you will never taste a drop of it until you taste the heat of Hell-fire."
"Shame on you whoever you are!" cried Ibn Aqil.
He sat down, propping himself against a wall. Amr bin Hurayth sent one of his boys to bring a jug with a napkin and cup. He poured water into it and told him to drink. But whenever he went to drink, he filled the cup with blood so that he was not able to drink. He did that once, and then twice. When he made as if to drink for the third time, his tooth fell into the cup.
"Praise be to God," he said, "if it had been a provision granted me (by God), I could have drunk it."
Ibn Ziyad's messenger came out and ordered him to go to (see) him. He went in but did not greet him as governor.
"Don't you greet the governor?" demanded the guard.
"If he wants my death, what is (the point of) my greeting him with words of peace?" he replied. "If he did not want my death, my greetings (of peace) to him would be profuse."
"By my life, you will be killed," declared Ibn Ziyad.
"So be it," he replied.
"Indeed, (it will)."
"Then let me make my will to one of my fellow tribesmen."
Muslim looked at those sitting with Ubayd Allah. Among them was Umar bin Saed bin Abl Waaaas. He said to him: " Umar, there is kinship between you and me and I have need of you. So you could carry out what I need of you. But it is secret."
Umar refused to listen to him.
"Why do you refuse to consider the need of your cousin" asked Ubayd Allah. So Umar got up with him and sat where Ibn Ziyad could watch both of them.
"I have a debt in Kufa," said Muslim. I borrowed seven hundred dirhams when I came to Kufa. Sell my sword and armour and pay the debt for me. When I have been killed, ask Ibn Ziyad to give you my corpse and bury it. Send to al-Husayn, peace be on him, someone to send him back. For I have written to him telling him that the people are with him and now I can only think that he is coming."
"Do you know what he said to me, governor?" Umar said to Ibn Ziyad. "He mentioned these things."
"The faithful would not betray you," said Ibn Ziyad to (Muslim), "But the traitor was confided in. As for what you have, it is yours, and we will not prevent you from doing with it what you like. As for the body when we have killed it, we do not care what is done with it. As for al-Husayn, if he does not intend (harm) to us, we will not intend (harm) to him.
Then Ibn Ziyad said: "Ibn Aqil, you came to the people while they were all (united) and you scattered them and divided their opinions so that some of them attacked others."
"No," replied Ibn Aqil, "I did not come for that but (because) the people of the town claimed that your father had killed their best men, shed their blood and appointed governors among them like the governors of Choesroe and Caesar. We came to enjoin justice and to urge rule by the Book."
"What are you (to do) with that, you great sinner" cried Ibn Ziyad. "Why did you not do that among the people when you were drinking wine in Medina?"
"Me, drink wine! By God, God knows you are not speaking the truth, and have spoken without any knowledge, for I am not like you have said. It is you who are more correctly described as drinking wine than me, (you) who lap the blood of Muslims and kill the life whose killing God has forbidden and (you are one) who sheds sacred blood on behalf of usurpation, enmity and evil opinion while he (Yazid) enjoys himself and plays as if he had done nothing."
"You great sinner (fasiq)," shouted Ibn Ziyad, "your own soul made you desire what God prevented you from having (i.e. authority) (because) God did not regard you as worthy of it."
"Who is worthy of it, if we are not worthy of it?' asked Muslim.
"The Commander of the faithful, Yazid," answered Ibn Ziyad.
"Praise be to God," called out Muslim. "We will accept God's judgement between us and you in every circumstance."
"May God kill me, if I do not kill you in such a way as no one in Islam has (ever) been killed before," reported Ibn Ziyad.
"You are the person with the most right to commit crimes of innovation in Islam which have not been committed before," Muslim replied, "for you will never abandon evil murder, wicked punishment, shameful practice, and avaricious domination to anyone (else)."
Ibn Ziyad began to curse him, and to curse al-Husayn, Ali and Aqil, peace be on them, while Muslim did not speak to him.
"Take him up to the top of the palace," ordered Ibn Ziyad, "and cut off his head, (throw it to the ground) and make (his body) follow it (to the ground)."
"By God," said Muslim, "if there was any (real) kinship between you and me, you would not kill me."
"Where is the man whose head Ibn Aqil struck with (his) sword?" asked Ibn Ziyad. Then Bakr bin Humran al Ahmari was summoned and he told him: "Climb up, and you be the one who cuts his head off."
He went up with him. He (Muslim) said: "God is greater (Allahu Akbar)" He sought forgiveness from God and prayed for blessings on the Apostle, saying:
O God, judge between us and a people, who have enticed us, lied against us and deserted us.
They (took) him to a part which overlooked where the shoemakers are today. His head was cut off (and thrown down) and his body was made to follow his head. Muhammad bin al-Ash'ash, then approached Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad and spoke to him of Hani bin Urwa. He said: "You know of the position of Hani in the town and of his House in the clan. His people know that I and my colleague brought him to you. I adjure you before God, hand him over to me for I would not like (to face) the enmity of the town and his family."
He promised to do that but then afterwards something occurred to him and he ordered Hani (to be) taken (immediately) to the market place and (his head) cut off.
Hani was taken in chains until he was brought to a place where sheep were sold. He began to shout: "O Madhhij! There is no one from Madhhij for me today! O Madhhij, where is Madhhij?"
When he realised that no one was going to help him, he pulled his hand and wrenched it free of the chain, crying: "What is there, stick, knife, stone or bone, with which a man can defend his life?"
At this they jumped upon him and tied the chains (more) tightly. He was told to stretch out his neck but he answered: "I am not so liberal with my life and I will not help you (to take) my life."
A Turkish retainer (mawla) of Ubayd Allah called Rashid struck him with a sword but it did not do anything.
"To God is the return, O God to Your mercy and Your paradise," called out Hani. Then (Rashid) struck him with another blow and killed him.
When Muslim and Hani were killed, the mercy of God be on them, Ubayd Allah bin Ziyad sent their heads with Hani bin Abi Hayya al-Wadi'i and al-Zubayr bin al-Arwah al-Tamimi to Yazid bin Muawiya.
Muslim bin Aqil's (attempted) rising in Kufa was on Tuesday, 8th of Dhu al-Hijja in the year 60 A.H. (680). He, May God have mercy on him, was killed on Wednesday, 9th of Dhu al-Hijja, on the Day of Arafa.