'Twas the night before 'Ashura, the camps were cowed,
Families met for the last time, as time had allowed.
The harsh desert heat continued through the night,
the innocent children were all crying in fright.
For the last time they held each other's hands,
As they tried to sleep on the hot Arabian sands.
For the past three days without food or water,
they waited patiently for their own slaughter
Young 'Ali Akbar with his dear mother Layla,
the youthful Qasim and the adoring Farwa.
The four year old Sakina in the arms of her uncle,
all wishing to be saved by any miracle.
Alas! Came the dawn on that fateful day,
as for the last time, they all gathered to pray.
Once they finished with their humble supplications
began the grueling trial, the intense tribulations.
First went the companions, one martyr by one,
Each giving their lives for the Prophet's grandson.
The armies were mismatched, seventy-two to forty-thousands,
but each righteous man slayed many countless dozens.
All martyred brutally under the unmerciful heat,
Yazid's cursed army was getting harder to beat.
Noble and merciful, Imam Husayn carried back,
each body to the camp and one in a sack.
For when he began to fight the enemies of God,
young Qasim fell to the ground and by horses was trod.
Alive and conscious, his body was maimed,
until only fragments and pieces of his body remained.
Out went 'Ali Akbar, a youth of eighteen,
he fought like a lion, his strength was unseen.
When a spear hit his chest, he jumped with a start,
the spear was pulled out, but alas, so was his heart.
Small army was gone and only two remained,
Hazrat 'Abbas and his brother Imam Husayn.
'Abbas begged to fight but he was denied,
Sakina asked him for water, and then he cried.
He took her water-bag and headed towards the river,
he filled it up and someone shot his eye with their quiver.
In stealth slew his arms, first left and then right,
he fell to the ground, there ended his plight.
Imam Husayn was alone, he cried out to see,
"Is there anyone here to come and help me?"
His infant son Asghar threw himself from the cradle,
he cried for his father to take him to the battle.
Imam Husayn held his child up high in the air,
"What is the fault of this child? This isn't fair!"
A cursed man, Hurmala, shot three-pronged arrow,
at the neck of the infant, through soft bone marrow.
Grieved and upset, the Imam took up arms,
he fought and was greeted by a great many harms.
Soon he fell to the ground, after giving his best,
the spears and arrows on his back, pierced through his chest.
His last moments came, his head was cut off,
not kindly and swiftly, but with multiple cuts and a scoff.
The women and children, they watched and cried,
the lives of their beloved, forever they were deprived.
Farheen Naqvi is a student at the Sunday School at Islamic Education Center in Chicago.