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Habib b. Muzahir

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Companion of Imam (a)
Habib b. Muzahir
مرقد حبيب بن مظاهر.jpg
Tomb of Habib b. Muzahir in the Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Full Name Habib b. Muzahir al-Asadi
Companion of Imam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam al-Husayn (a)
Lineage Banu Asad
Place(s) of Residence Kufa
Death/Martyrdom 61/680
Cause of
Martyrdom in Event of 'Ashura'
Burial Place Holy Shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a), Karbala, Iraq
Activities Participating in the Battles of Imam 'Ali (a), One of Shurta al-Khamis, Inviting the tribes of Kufa to join Imam al-Husayn (a)

Ḥabīb b. Muẓāhir al-Asadī (Arabic: حبیب بن مُظاهر الاسدي) was one of Imam 'Ali's (a) special companions. He was from Banu Asad tribe, and lived in Kufa. He was one of the people of Kufa who sent letters to Imam al-Husayn (a) and invited him to Kufa, after Mu'awiya's death. However, when he saw that people of Kufa have broken their allegiance to Imam al-Husayn (a), he left Kufa, joined Imam, and was martyred at the age of 75 while fighting in Imam al-Husayn's army.

Name, Kuniya and Lineage

Habib b. Muzahhar (or Muzahir) b. Ri'ab b. Ashtar b. Hajwan b. Faq'as b. Tarif b. 'Amr b. Qays b. Harith b. Tha'laba b. Dudan b. Asad al-Asadi al-Kindi al-Faq'asi.

His father's name appears in the early sources in different ways. It is sometimes Muzahir, sometimes Muzahhar and sometimes, Mutahhar. Based on what is common between people and in some Ziyara scriptures, al-Mamaqani chooses Muzahir as the correct record. On the other hand, Sayyid Muhsin Amin writes, "In most of the manuscripts of ancient historical and non-historical books, it is recorded as Muzahhar, and this is the correct form. However, "Muzahir", which appears in newly written books, is not in accordance with early records."


Timeline of the Battle of Karbala
Rajab 15 Death of Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan
Rajab 28 Departure of Imam al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a) from Medina.
Sha'ban 3 Arrival of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Mecca.
Ramadan 10 Arrival of Kufiyans' first letter to Imam (a)
Ramadan 12 Arrival of 150 letters from Kufa
Ramadan 14 Arrival of the letter from leaders of Kufa
Ramadan 15 Departure of Muslim b. 'Aqil from Mecca toward Kufa.
Shawwal 5 Arrival of Muslim b. 'Aqil to Kufa.
Dhu l-Hijja 8 Departure of Imam al-Husayn (a) form Mecca
Dhu l-Hijja 8 Uprising of Muslim b. 'Aqil in Kufa
Dhu l-Hijja 9 Martyrdom of Muslim b. 'Aqil
Muharram 1 Asking for help of 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Hurr al-Ju'fi and 'Amr b. Qays in Banu Maqatil
Muharram 2 Arrival of Imam (a) to Karbala
Muharram 3 Arrival of 'Umar b. Sa'd with 4,000 people to Karbala
Muharram 6 Habib b. Muzahir's asking for help of Banu Asad
Muharram 7 Banding of water by 'Umar b. Sa'd
Muharram 7 Muslim b. 'Awsaja al-Asadi joined Imam (a)
Muharram 9 Arrival of Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan to Karbala
Muharram 9 Shimr's Safe conduct for Umm al-Banin's children
Muharram 9 Announcing of the Battle by 'Umar b. Sa'd and Imam's (a) asking for a delay
Muharram 10 Events of Ashura
Muharram 11 Moving the captives towards Kufa
Muharram 11 Burial of martyrs by Banu Asad
Muharram 12 Burial of a few member of martyrs
Muharram 13 Arrival of captives to Kufa
Muharram 19 Moving the captives from Kufa towards Syria
Safar 1 Arrival of the captives to Syria
Safar 20 Arba'in
Safar 20 Return of Ahl al-Bayt (a) to Karbala
Safar 20 Moving from Karbala toward Medina (in some accounts)

Habib was a devout and pious man. He practiced virtues and observed the divine rules carefully. He had the Holy Qur'an in memory completely, and spent every night in worship and supplication to God. According to Imam al-Husayn (a) he recited the whole Qur'an every night. He lived a simple and clean life. He was so uninterested in material world and so pious that no matter how much money and security offers he received, he rejected them all and said, "we will have no excuse to make to the Prophet of God (s), if we are alive and the son of the Prophet is oppressed and killed."

During Prophet Muhammad's Life

It is not clear whether Habib was one of the Prophet's (s) companions or Tabi'un (those who saw the companions, but not the Prophet (s)). Some, like Ibn al-Kalbi and Ibn Hajar al-'Asqalani stated that he had been in the presence of the Prophet (s).

Al-Shaykh al-Tusi has listed him among the companions of Imam 'Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a), but he does not mention his name among the companions of the Prophet (s). This implies that Habib was not a companion of the Prophet (s). Also, the writers of al-Isti'ab and Usd al-ghaba did not count him as a companion of the Prophet (s).

During Imam 'Ali's Life

Habib went to Kufa with Imam 'Ali (a) and fought alongside him in all of his combats. He was considered one of Imam's special companions and bearer of his knowledge. Imam 'Ali (a) bestowed upon him 'Ilm al-Balaya wa al-Manaya (the knowledge of calamities and [time of] deaths). His conversation with Maytham al-Tammar, years before 'Ashura', about how they will be martyred is one instant of this knowledge that they were bestowed by Imam 'Ali (a).

He was a member of the special group called Shurtat al-Khamis.

During Imam al-Husayn's Life

In Kufa

After the death of Mu'awiya (60/680), Habib and some of the heads of Shi'a communities in Kufa, like Sulayman b. Surad, Musayyib b. Najaba and Rifa'a b. Shaddad al-Bajali, refused to swear allegiance to Yazid, and send letters to Imam al-Husayn (a) inviting him to lead Kufa in her uprising against Umayyad Dynasty.

When Muslim b. 'Aqil came to Kufa as the Imam's representative, they rushed to support him. People of Kufa secretly pledged allegiance to Habib and Muslim b. 'Awsaja as the representative of Muslim b. 'Aqil. They did all they could in this regard.

When 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad came to Kufa, he threatened people and launched crackdown against allegiance to Muslim b. 'Aqil; so people abandoned their allegiance to Muslim b. 'Aqil and lift him alone. The tribe of Banu Asad hid Habib and Muslim b. 'Awsaja to protect them against Ibn Ziyad's agents. Habib and Muslim b. 'Awsaja left Kufa to join Imam al-Husayn (a). They hid themselves from 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad's spies and agents, so they moved at nights and hid during days. Eventually, they joined Imam al-Husyan's camp in Karbala on Muharram 7th 61(October 7th 680).

In Karbala

Main article: Event of 'Ashura'

Upon reaching Karbala, Habib repeats his expression of loyalty to Imam al-Husayn (a). As soon as he observed the great number of Imam's enemies and small number of his companions, Habib asked Imam al-Huasyn (a) to go to a nearby tribe of Banu Asad and to ask them to join Imam (a). With the permission of Imam, Habib hurried to the tribe and started preaching them and encouraging them to join the Imam. However, 'Umar b. Sa'd stopped the tribe from joining Imam (a) by sending an army to them.

Evening of Tasu'a The day before 'Ashura', Habib preached to the person who brought a letter from 'Umar b. Sa'd for Imam al-Husayn (a) and asked the messenger not to go back to the tyrants. In the evening of Tasu'a', Habib spoke to enemy's army, which was about to attack the camp of Imam al-Husayn (a), and warned them about starting a war by talking about the merits of the Imam (a) and his companions.

Eve of 'Ashura' In the eve of 'Ashura, Hilal b. Nafi' informed Habib of the concerns of Lady Zaynab (a), the daughter of Imam 'Ali (a), about the loyalty of the companions of Imam. Hilal and Habib gathered the companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) and together went to Imam al-Husayn (a) and informed him that they will support the family of the Prophet (s) to the last drop of their blood.

Day of 'Ashura' In the morning of 'Ashura', Imam al-Husayn (a) appointed Habib b. Muzahir as the commander of the left wing. He put Zuhayr b. Qayn on the right wing and 'Abbas b. 'Ali (a) on the center of the army.

In his speech to the enemy's army, Imam al-Husayn (a) mentioned his lineage, ancestry, merits and the narration of the Prophet (s) saying "These two (al-Hasan (a) and al-Husayn (a)) are the masters of paradise's youth." He even said that there are people among you who have heard the narration from the Prophet (s) himself. Just then, Shimr cut Imam's speech and said, "May all of my worship for God be in doubt and uncertainty if I knew what you are talking about."

Habib said, "I swear to God that I see you worship Him with 70 doubts and [layers of] uncertainty. I witness that you are right and have no idea what Imam is talking about. Your heart is dark and sealed against any truth."

At the beginning of the battle when a warrior from 'Umar b. Sa'd's army was asking for someone to fight, Habib and Burayr hurried to fight him but Imam al-Husayn (a) stopped them.

At noon of 'Ashura', when Abu Thumama reminded Imam of the time of the prayer, Imam told his companions to ask the enemy to stop the war so that they can pray. Husayn b. Numayr (Husayn b. Tamim) said, "Your prayers won't be accepted by God."

"You think that the prayer of Prophet's household will not be accepted" replied Habib, "Your prayers will not be accepted, you drunk (donkey)!" Then Habib attacked him and hit his horse on the face with the sword. He fell to the ground and his friends came to help and rescued him from Habib's attack.

While Muslim b. 'Awsaja covered in his own blood was breathing his last breaths, Imam al-Husayn (a) and Habib came to him and Imam prayed to God to bless his soul. Then Imam read the verse of Qur'an which says, "Among the faithful are men who fulfill what they have pledged to Allah. Of them are some who have fulfilled their pledge, and of them are some who still wait,
 and they have not changed in the least." (33:23) Then Habib told him, "Your death is very hard for me, but I give you the good news of Paradise." Muslim b. 'Awsaja in return said with a weak voice, "May God give you good news." Habib said, "If my martyrdom were not close, I would have liked you to tell me your will [so that I executed for you] and by that I have fulfilled my tribal and religious duty toward you." Muslim b. 'Awsaja pointed to Imam al-Husayn (a) and told Habib, "My will is to stay with Imam al-Husayn (a). May God bless you, keep defending him as long as you are alive, and do not stop supporting him until you are killed." Habib said, "I will execute your will and I will make you happy."

Habib's Poem of Bravery

Habib recited this poem before his attack during the battle of 'Ashura':

"I am Habib and my father is Muzahhar, the fighter of fiery battles and wars;

You are superior to us in number and quantity, and we are superior to you in loyalty and steadfastness;

Our reason and argumentation is superior and clear and we are more pious and accepted [by God] than you."


Tomb of Habib b. Muzahir, in Imam al-Husayn's (a) shrine, Karbala

Despite being very old, Habib fought like a hero and killed 62 people of the enemy. Just then, Budayl b. Maryam 'Aqfani attacked him and hit him on the head with his sword. Another enemy hit him with a spear, causing him to fall off the horse and down to the ground. Then, Budayl b. Maryam beheaded him. Habib had an underage son named Qasim, who killed Budayl after he came of age.

Imam al-Husayn (a) came to him and said: "I expect from God [the reward of] myself and my supportive companions." According to some Maqtals, Imam (a) said, "O Habib! You were a virtuous person who recited the whole Qur'an in one night."


When the tribe of Banu Asad were burying the martyrs of Karbala, they buried Habib b. Muzahir, who was one of their elders and trustees, separately and with a distance of 10 meters from Imam al-Husayn's (a) tomb. Later, his tomb was included in Imam al-Husayn's (a) shrine and was located in the southern porch.

Scripture of Ziyara

Habib's name is mentioned in the scripture of ziyara of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the middle of Sha'ban and other scriptures of ziyara of Imam al-Husayn (a).