Hazrat Aqeel (a.s.) was one of the brothers of the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali (a.s.).
Hazrat Muslim (a.s.) was the son of Hazrat Aqeel (a.s.). He had two sons aged about 10 and 12 years. The name of older son was Muhammad and the younger one was Ibrahim.
There are two versions of their whereabouts before the great tragedy of Karbala. One version states that they were with their father Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel (a.s.) in Kufa at the time of his martyrdom. The second version says that they were with Imam Husayn (a.s.) in Karbala and subsequently imprisoned in Kufa. Their imprisonment in Kufa is confirmed. They were in the prison for about a year. They underwent extreme hardships. They were provided barley bread and one cup of water every day.
After a year, they talked to each other and decided to disclose their identity to the jailor. When the jailor came to know that they were from Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and belonged to the Hashemite tribe, he apologized to them and set them free. He also gave them some provisions and direction to go to Madina. As it was becoming dark, they lost their way to Madina. They were tired and exhausted and approached an old woman who was sitting outside her house and requested for shelter for the night. When she learned that they were from the Noble Prophet’s family, she was very kind to them. But she was worried about her son-in-law, Harith who was a supporter of Ibne Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. Earlier, the Governor had proclaimed that two prisoners had escaped from the prison and offered to pay two thousands Dirham to any one who would bring the heads of the sons of Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel.
The two brothers slept in a dark room. Both of them saw their father in the dream. They woke up and started crying and sharing their dream with each other. Harith had returned home and was sleeping when he heard the crying voices. He searched the whole house and found them. He bound their feet together and attached to a pillar.
Next morning, Harith ordered his slave to take them to the river, kill them and bring back their heads. The slave refused to comply when he learned that the boys belonged with Ahlul Bayt. He asked his son to kill them but he also refused. Finally, the tyrant took the boys to the Euphrates River to kill them. They pleaded with him to sell them as slaves rather than killing them. But he refused to listen. They again pleaded with him to take them to Ibne Ziyad, and let him decide their fate. But the cruel and greedy man would not listen. He said, “I better earn his nearness by spilling your blood and also collect the prize money. They finally requested permission to offer two raka’at prayers, which was granted.
After the prayer, they looked up towards heaven and prayed, “O’ Thou Alive, O’ Thou Wise, O’ Who is the best of all the Judges. Thou judge us and him with justice.” Then the evil man killed the older brother first and threw his head-less body in the river, the body waited for the younger brother. When the younger brother was also killed and thrown his body in the river, then both the bodies swept away simultaneously.
The man wrapped their heads in a cloth and took it to the court of Ibne Ziyad to collect two thousands Dirham in bounty. Their tomb is at Musaiyab, a place about 10 miles from Karbala.
It is to be noted that even the children of Ahlul Bayt remember prayers in the face of any catastrophic death.
It is an irony that Imam Ali at the age of about 11 years offered to help and assist the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) and defend Islam at the First Feast in Islam called “Dawat-e-ZulAshira” in Makkah, when Allah directed his Apostle to warn his kin’s and community members. As time passed, Imam Ali (a.s.)’s Zulfiqar saved and protected not only Islam but also the Noble Messenger (s.a.w.a.s.) in various battles e.g. Uhad, Badr, Khandaq, and Khyber, to name a few. He (a.s.) saved the Prophet of Islam on the night of Hijra by sleeping in the Prophet’s bed. On that night, who ever slept on that bed was sure to be killed. The Quraish were waiting to kill the Prophet in the morning. In return for these valiant and brave services to Islam and the Prophet of Islam, Imam Ali and his Ahlul Bayt were made to pay dearly. This onslaught on the family of Hazrat Abu Talib (a.s.) reached the zenith at Karbala. Allah says in Surah al-Rahman Ayah 60, “Hal Jaza-al- Ehsaan Illal Ehasn?” meaning: “Can anything else be a response to a favor but a favor?”History narrates that instead of respecting and loving Ahlul Bayt, the Muslims mercilessly killed, tortured and imprisoned the Ahlul Bayt from Imam Ali (a.s.) to Imam Hasan al-Askari (a.s.)!