Sa'eed ibn Jubair was one of the steadfast and loyal companions of Imam Ali bin Hussain (as). Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf was a bloodthirsty tyrant who had ruled over Kufa, Iraq and Iran for almost twenty years after being appointed by the Bani Umayyah and Bani Marwaan. He had killed nearly one hundred and twenty thousand people during his reign, and amongst the friends and descendants of Imam Ali (as) murdered by him, were individuals like Kumayl ibn Ziyad, Qambar, the slave of Imam Ali (as) and Sa'eed ibn Jubair.
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ordered Sa'eed ibn Jubair to be arrested when he became aware of Sa'eed ibn Jubair's belief and inclination towards Imam Ali (as).
Initially, Sa'eed ibn Jubair fled to Isfahan, but when Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf came to know of this, he wrote to the governor of Isfahan, seeking his arrest. The governor possessed a high regard for Sa'eed ibn Jubair and therefore advised him to leave Isfahan for a safer resort.
Acting upon this advice, Sa'eed ibn Jubair set out towards Qum and then proceeded to Azerbaijan and then to Iraq where he sought to enter the army of Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad, who had initiated a rebellion against Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.
Abd al-Rahman ibn Muhammad was defeated and Sa'eed ibn Jubair fled to Makkah where he lived in hiding.
During that period, Makkah was under the rule of Khalid ibn Abdullah Qasri, a ruthless individual, who had been placed there by the Umayyad Caliph, Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik. Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik wrote to him and gave him the order to arrest the well-known Iraqi personalities who were hiding in Makkah, and to send them to Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.
Thus, he arrested Sa'eed ibn Jubair and had him dispatched to Kufa, Iraq. At that time, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf was in Waasit, a city near Baghdad, where Sa'eed ibn Jubair was eventually brought.
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf questioned Sa'eed ibn Jubair about himself, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw), Imam Ali (as), Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar ibn Khattab, Uthman ibn Affan and many others and then asked him: "How should I put you to death?"
"Whatever manner you may adopt to kill me, you are bound to be chastised accordingly, on the Day of Judgment," replied Sa'eed ibn Jubair.
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf said: "I would like to forgive you."
"If the forgiveness is from Allah (SWT), then I seek it, but if it is from you, then I do not desire it," responded Sa'eed ibn Jubair.
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ordered the executioner to sever Sa'eed ibn Jubair's head before him. Despite his hands being tied behind his back, Sa'eed ibn Jubair recited the following verse of the Noble Qur'an: Surely I have turned myself, being upright, wholly to Him Who originated the heavens and the earth, and I am not of the polytheists. Noble Qur'an (6:79)
Hearing this, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf ordered his face to be turned away from the Qiblah (it is the direction that Muslims face when they do their Salaah. It is in the direction of Holy Kaaba in Makkah), whereupon he recited the following verse: And Allah's is the East and the West, therefore, whither you turn, thither is Allah's purpose; surely Allah is Ample giving, Knowing. Noble Qur'an (2:115)
When Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf heard this, he ordered his men to place Sa'eed ibn Jubair's face down, upon the ground. When this was done, Sa'eed ibn Jubair recited the following verse: From it We created you and into it We shall send you back and from it will We raise you a second time. Noble Qur'an (20:55)
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf shouted, "Don't waste any more time! Kill him!"
Sa'eed ibn Jubair testified to the Unity of God (Tawheed) and the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (saw) and prayed: O' Allah! Do not grant Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf respite after me in order that he does not kill anyone else. As he uttered these words, the executioner severed his head.
After the martyrdom of this epitome of perfect faith, Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf suffered a derangement of his senses and did not live for more than fifteen nights. Before his death, he would occasionally lose consciousness, but regaining it, he would repeatedly mutter: "Why did I ever get involved with Sa'eed ibn Jubair?"