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The Companion of the Holy Prophet - Kumail bin Zyyad

By: Kamal al-Syyed
Translated by: Jasim al-Alyawy


On Thursday night the Moslems finish the night prayers. They sit down in lines. They implore Allah, the Merciful Creator, to forgive them their sins. They ask him to be pleased with them.

Sweet words flow out of the mosque minarets. The words fly high in the clear sky full of stars:
Allah, I implore You with Your mercy that has included everything.
And with Your power with which You have overcome everything,
And every thing has.yielded to it...


Whose supplication is this? It's Kumail's.

What's the story of this supplication?

Who was Kumail?

He was Kumail bin Zyyad al-Nakhay. He was one of Imam Ali's companions. He was a noble man. His people obeyed him. He came from Yaman. His family inhabited Kufa during Imam Ali's Caliphate.

Abid al-Rahman bin al-Ashath led a revolution against alHajjaj. Kumail joined the revolution. He led the Koran Readers' Battalion.

The Beginning

Our Master Muhammad said:

I am the city of knowledge and Ali is its gate.

Imam Ali (A.S.) was a great scholar. He said: Allah's Apostle has taught me a thousand doors of knowledge. Each door leads to a thousand doors.

He also said: The Zakat (alms) of knowledge is to publish it.

So, Imam Ali (A.S.) taught his companions whatever they wanted. One day, he took Kumail with him outside Kufa. It was night. The sky was full of stars. Northern fresh breeze was blowing.

Imam Ali (A.S.) said to his companion: Kumail, these hearts are containers (of knowledge). The best of them are those that best preserve the knowledge. Therefore, preserve what I say to you:

There are three classes of people. The first class knows Allah. The second learns knowledge as means of salvation. And the third is rabble, - followers of every crower, who bend with every breeze. These men do not seek to be illuminated by the light of learning, nor do they resort to any authority.

Kumail, knowledge is better than wealth. Knowledge guards you while you guard wealth. Wealth is diminished by expenditure while knowledge is increased even by giving it away.

Kumail, those who amass wealth die even as they live, while those who have knowledge will continue to exist for as long as time lasts.

Al-Khidr's Supplication

Imam Ali (A.S.) was sitting with a group of his companions. One of them asked him about the explanation of the following Holy Verse:

"Therein every wise affair is made distinct"

The Imam said: It is on Shaban 15th.

Then he added:
By Allah, man faces his fate on Shaban 15th. So, man must implore Allah at such a night He must read Al-Khidr's supplication. Certainly, Allah accepts it.

The meeting was over and the Imam went home.

The evening came. Then it got dark. People went to bed. At that hour, Kumail got up. He went to Imam Ali's house. He had a question.

Kumail knocked at the door. Imam Ali (AS.) said: Kumail what has brought you?

Kumail, politely said: Amirul-Momineen, Al-Khidr's supplication

The Imam kindly said: Kumail, please sit down.

Then he added: I'll read you a supplication. Read it on Thursday nights.

The Imam began reading the supplication. Kumail was writing it. Nowadays, millions of Moslems read the supplication. They call it Kumail's supplication.

Thursday night, when you are free, then read Kumail's supplication. Faith will shine in your heart. It will illuminate the way of your life as it had illuminated the way of Kumail's life.

Al-Hajjaj

Imam Ali (A.S.) passed away. Maawyyah became a Caliph. Unjust rulers succeeded him. Kufa lived unbearable life.

The rulers imprisoned and killed the God-fearing followers of Ahlul-bait.

Zyyad bin Abeeh ruled Kufa. Then his son Ubaidullah succeeded him. The latter killed the Prophet's grandson. Besides he killed seventy of his companions and his family.

AI-Hajjaj did his best to please the Umayyad rulers. He filled his prison with innocent men and women. In his prison, there were fifty thousand men and thirty thousand women.

The prison was roofless. The prisoners were subjected to the sun heat in summer. And they were subjected to rain and coldness in winter. In summer their faces became as black as Negroes.

A person had been in prison for months. One day his mother went to the prison to visit him. She was astonished to see him. She said: He's not my son. My son is white. This young man is a Negro. I don't know him.

The young man reminded his mother of some marks.

The mother became certain of her son. She burst into tears. Then she died of sadness.

The Revolution

AI-Hajjaj hated Ahlul-Bait and their followers very much. So, he filled the prisons with Shias. They had no guilt but had loved Muhammad's family.

AI-Hajaj was unjust. People hated him. They asked Abid al-Malik to remove him from office. Abid al-Malik refused because al-Hajaj wanted to strengthen the Umayyad rule with fire and sword.

AI-Hajaj was wicked. He sent people to fight and occupy lands. He forced them to join the invading armies. He wanted them to get the booty of the conquered lands. In the meantime, he wanted to get rid of them.

Abid al-Rahman bin al-Ashath

King Ratbil ruled Turkey. AI-Hajjaj sent Abid al-Rahman bin al-Ashath to Turkey to invade it. Abid al-Rahman went deeply into the Turkish lands. He won victories at some battles. So, he sent al-Hajjaj a letter. In the letter he asked him to stop fighting to refresh his fighters.

AI-Hajjaj's answer was full of abuses. Meanwhile, he ordered Abid al-Rahman to go deeper into the Turkish lands.

Abid al-Rahman and his fighters knew al-Hajjaj's wicked aims. So, they decided to revolt against al-Hajaj and Abid al-Malik.

After Abid al-Rahman had announced the revolution, he came back from Turkey. Many people supported him. The Koran readers were the first to support him.

The Koran readers formed a battalion. Kumail bin Zyyad led the battalion.

Because the Kufians suffered from persecution, they also supported the revolution.

The number of the revolutionaries was over one hundred people. This number included the Koran readers, worshipers, poets, religious jurists, and the common. Half the number were foreigners,. They suffered from racial discrimination. 'Me Umayyads preferred Arabs to non-Arabs.

Saeed bin Jubair, the most famous jurist, was among the revolutionaries. He made the people eager to start the revolution.

Poets urged Abid al-Rahman to go on revolting to end persecution.

The Fights

In 81 AH., Abid al-Rahman advanced towards Iraq. Violent fights took place there. The revolutionaries defeated al-Hajjaj's army. They freed many cities such as Sajestan and Kirman (in Iran), Basra and Kufa (In Iraq).

Abid al-Malik sent a man to Abid al-Rahman to hold talks with him. He accepted some conditions such as removing al-Hajjaj from office.

People rejoiced at freedom and victory. So, they insisted on removing Abid al-Malik from the office, for he appointed al-Hajjaj ruler over them.

Abid al-Malik sent military supplies to support al-Hajjaj. The army in Khurasan joined him, too.

The Battle of Deer al-Jamajum

The two armies met at Deer al-Jamajum. A violent fight took place between the two sides. AI-Hajjaj defeated Abid al-Rahman.

Abid al-Rahman's army scattered. Some fighters escaped. Some passed away. Abid al-Rahman himself took refuge in Turkey. Some revolutionaries such as Saeed bin Jubair and Kumail bin Zyyad disappeared.

AI-Hajjaj began looking for the revolutionaries. He executed some of them. And some were afraid of him.

The End

After Deer al-Jamajum Battle, Kumail bin Zyyad was far away from spies.

The police were looking for Kumail everywhere.

AI-Hajjaj used a new way to arrest Kumail. He ordered the police to annoy Kumail's followers. He deprived them of money. So, their economic condition was bad. Kumail heard about that. Thus, he decided to surrender. The police took him to al-Hajjaj.

Kumail's Memories

Kumail bravely walked with the police. In the meantime, he recalled the beautiful days with his teacher and leader Imam Ali (A.S.).

Kumail remembered the days when he was a soldier in the Imam's Army. He remembered his fights against the disloyal, the unjust and the apostates.

Kumail remembered the day when he led an army of four hundred fighters to face a raid by Maawyyah's Army.

Kumail remembered the day when he chased the invaders in Kirkeesya. He remembered the Imam's scolding letter because he left the borders of his country without soldiers.

The Imam's letter read as follows:
Certainly you have deeply gone into Kirkeesya. And you have left the positions without protection. The idea is incorrect You have become a bridge for your enemies to attack your friends.

Why did Kumail surrender?

Kumail believed in Allah and the hereafter. He loved all people. He loved his family and his tribe.

AI-Hajjaj mistreated Kumail's family and tribe. So, Kumail surrendered to save them from persecution.

Kumail remembered Imam Ali's (A.S.) words:
Kumail, order your family to do good. Order them to help people at night ..

Before Al-Hajjaj

Kumail's face was bright. His beard was white. His heart was certain.

Kumail came into al-Hajjaj's palace. He saw al-Hajjaj sitting and his guards standing around him. He saw a headsman carrying a sword.

Kumail new that al-Hajjaj would kill him, for Imam Ali (AS.) had told him about that.

Paying not attention to al-Hajjaj, Kumail said:

My master Imam Ali (A.S.) has told me that you will kill me. Allah's enemy, do whatever you like! And know that the Judgement Day will be after killing.

Al-Hajjaj said: Disown Ali to save your soul.

Kumail said: Show me a religion better than Ali's.

AI-Hajjaj ordered the headsman to behead Kumail.

Kumail Shrine

Nowadays, the visitor sees Kumail shrine on a hill at Wadi al-Salam in Holy Najaf. Sweet perfume spread in Kumail shrine.

On Thursday nights, sweet words fly high in the sky full of stars. The words remind people of that great martyr whose name has connected with the supplication. So, his name will be immortal.