Dahhak b. 'Abd Allah al-Mashriqi

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Companion of Imam (a)
Dahhak b. 'Abd Allah al-Mashriqi
Full Name Dahhak b. 'Abd Allah al-Mashriqi
Companion of Imam al-Husayn (a), Imam al-Sajjad (a)
Place(s) of Residence Kufa
Activities Narrator of the Event of Karbala • Present in the Event of Karbala

Ḍaḥḥāk b. ʿAbd Allāh al-Mashriqī (Arabic: ضحاك بن عبد الله المشرقي) was a companion of Imam al-Husayn (a) who accomanied him in the Event of 'Ashura in Karbala. When he fought with the army of 'Umar b. Sa'd and killed some soldiers, he escaped the battlefield in the last moments of the Day of 'Ashura. Dahhak is a narrator of the Event of Karbala in Kufa.

Biography

Dahhak was the son of 'Abd Allah al-Mashriqi from the Hamdan tribe. There is not much information about his life. It is just known that he was in Imam al-Husayn's (a) army in Karbala and he was alive during the imamate of Imam al-Sajjad (a). Al-Shaykh al-Tusi mentioned him as a companion of Imam al-Sajjad (a).

Presence in Karbala

Dahhak b. 'Abd Allah al-Mashriqi was a companion of Imam al-Husayn (a). He attended the Event of Karbala and then escaped the battlefield on the Day of 'Ashura. He was criticized by Shiite historians for leaving Imam al-Husayn (a) and his household alone under those circumstances.

Meeting Imam al-Husayn (a)

According to al-Tabari, Dahhak and Malik b. Nadr al-Arhabi met Imam al-Husayn (a) when his caravan was on its way from Mecca to Kufa. Imam al-Husayn (a) asked them for help. When they excused themselves, Imam al-Husayn (a) asked about their reasons. Malik b. Nadr said: “I have debts and a family”. But Dahhak accepted Imam's (a) request conditionally and said: “I also have a family and debts, but if you do not mind, I will return whenever I do not find a warrior besides you and I will just fight for you so long as I am helpful and I can defend you”. Imam al-Husayn (a) accepted his condition.

Dahhak's Combats on the Day of 'Ashura

Dahhak attended the first attack in the morning of 'Ashura and fought courageously and said noon prayers with Imam al-Husayn (a). When he learned that the army of Banu Umayya was targeting the horses in Imam al-Husayn's (a) army at the command of 'Umar b. Sa'd, he hid his horse in a camp and continued to fight on foot.

As Dahhak himself reported, he killed two foot soldiers of the enemy in front of Imam al-Husayn (a) and cut the hands of another soldier from his body. Imam al-Husayn (a) prayed for him and said: “May you never be frail and may your hands never be cut! May God bestow you the best rewards from the Ahl al-Bayt (a) (household) of the Holy Prophet (s).

Escape from the Battlefield

Abu Mikhnaf quoted 'Abd Allah b. 'Asim al-Fa'ishi who, in turn, quoted Dahhak b. 'Abd Allah al-Mashriqi as saying:

When I saw that Imam al-Husayn's (a) companions were killed and the next victims will be the Imam (a) himself and his household and no one survived except Suwayd b. 'Amr al-Khath'ami and Bashir b. 'Amr al-Hadrami, I went to Imam (a) and told him: ‘O' the son of the Prophet (s)! Do you remember the condition that I had made for helping you?' Imam (a) replied: “Yes. I withdrew your allegiance to me, but how can you escape the enemy's army?” I said: “I have hidden my horse in a camp, and that is why I was fighting on foot.”

Dahhak escaped the battlefield with his horse. Fifteen people from 'Umar b. Sa'd's army chased him, until Dahhak arrived in a village near the Euphrates bank and stayed there. Kathir b. 'Abd Allah al-Shi'bi, Ayub b. Mushrih al-Hayawani, and Qays b. 'Abd Allah al-Sa'idi, who were chasing him, recognized him, and saved his life with the support of a number of people from Banu Tamim.

Reporting the Events of 'Ashura

Dahhak was a narrator and a reporter of the Event of Karbala in Kufa. Some historians, including al-Tabari, cited Dahhak in their account of the allegiance of Imam al-Husayn's (a) friends to him the night before the Day of 'Ashura.

In his al-Irshad, al-Shaykh al-Mufid cited him in his account of the Event of 'Ashura. He is frequently cited in books of history and maqatil (accounts of the Event of Asura).

References