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Muslim b. 'Aqil

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Companion of Imam (a)
Muslim b. 'Aqil
Shrine of Muslim b. Aqil.JPG
The Tomb of Muslim b. 'Aqil next to the Mosque of Kufa
Full Name Muslim b. 'Aqil b. Abi Talib
Companion of Imam al-Hasan (a), Imam al-Husayn (a)
Lineage Banu Hashim
Wellknown Relatives The Prophet (s),Imam 'Ali (a),Imam al-Hasan (a),Imam al-Husayn (a),'Aqil b. Abi Talib
Place of Birth Medina
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Death/Martyrdom 60/680
Cause of
Martyred by 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad
Burial Place Kufa
Activities Imam al-Husayn's (a) representative in Kufa, participating in the battle of Siffin

Muslim b. ʿAqīl b. Abī Ṭālib (Arabic: مسلم بن عقیل بن ابي طالب), cousin of Imam al-Husayn (a) and one of his companions in his movement against Yazid b. Mu'awiya. He was martyred before the day of 'Ashura in Kufa.[1] Imam al-Husayn (a) received numerous letters form the people of Kufa inviting him to the city, he sent Muslim to Kufa as his representative to see if the conditions are ready for his presence and if the people are really supporting him. According to a report, 27 days before his martyrdom, Muslim wrote a letter to Imam al-Husayn (a) and informed him that the people are ready and waiting for you.[2] However, after that 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad was appointed as the governor of Kufa and because people were afraid of him, they suddenly left Muslim alone. Thus, he was arrested and martyred in the day of 'Arafa (Dhu l-Hijja 9), 60 (September 13, 680).[3]

Birth, Lineage and Martyrdom

His birthday is unknown. He was martyred at the age of 28[4] in Dhu al-Hijja 9th 60 in Kufa (September 13, 680).

His father 'Aqil b. Abi Talib (Imam 'Ali (a)'s brother) was a genealogist[5] and an eloquent speaker.[6]

His mother was a slave woman, 'Aqil had bought from Syria, called 'Alliyya[7] (or according to al-Baladhuri's report Hilliyya)[8].

Ibn Habban (d. 354/965), one of the Sunni scholars, writes, "Muslim b. 'Aqil al-Hashimi. His kuniya was Abu Dawud. He was the most similar person to the Prophet (s) among the sons of 'Abd al-Muttalib. He was contemporaneous with some of the companions of the Prophet (s)."[9]

Baladhuri has described him as the most powerful and brave son of 'Aqil.[10]

He was buried next to Mosque of Kufa.[11]

Family tree of the Prophet (s)
400 CE
'Abd al-'Uzza
'Abd Manaf
430 CE
'Abd al-Dar
464 CE
'Abd Shams
'Abd al-Muttalib
497 CE
Khadija (a)
'Abd Allah
b. 545 CE
Abu Talib
Muhammad (s)
b. 571 CE
'Ali (a)
b. 599 CE
Fatima (a)
'Abd Allah
Al-Hasan (a)
b. 625 CE
Al-Husayn (a)
b. 626 CE

Wife and Children

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)

Abu al-Faraj al-Isfahani writes, "Muslim did not have (male) children."[12] Nevertheless, many historians have mentioned sons and daughters for him.

Tabari mentions 'Abd Allah b. Muslim b. 'Aqil, whom 'Amr b. Subayh al-Sada'i hit by an arrow on the day of 'Ashura in Karbala. Then he was attacked by a group of soldiers and martyred.[13] He adds that 'Abd Allah's mother was Ruqayya bt. 'Ali (a), whose mother was a slave woman. He continues that some have said that his murderer was Usayd b. Malik al-Hadrami.[14] However, in another place he mentions Zayd b. Ruqad, who was later killed by Mukhtar's order.[15]

Also, Qadi Nu'man al-Maghribi mentions a son for Muslim named 'Abd Allah, whose mother was Ruqayya bt. 'Ali and was martyred in Karbala by 'Amr b. Subayh or according to some reports by Asad b. Malik.[16]

Counting the martyred companions of Imam al-Husayn (a), al-Shaykh al-Tusi has mentioned a son for Muslim with the same identity as the preceding reports.[17]

al-Baladhuri reports that there was a young person in Karbala by the name 'Abd Allah b. Muslim b. 'Aqil b. Abi Talib, whom Zayd b. Ruqad al-Janbi hit on the forehead and heart by arrows and killed.[18] However, in another place he says that 'Amr b. Subayh hit him by arrow then a group of soldiers attacked him and killed him.[19]

Counting his children, he writes, "'Abd Allah and 'Ali -who were born from Ruqayya bt. 'Ali- Muslim (b. Muslim) whose mother was from the tribe of Bani 'Amir b. Sa'sa'a, 'Abd Allah, whose mother was a slave woman and Muhammad." He did not give the name of the last one's mother.[20] al-Baladhuri adds that Ruqayya's mother was called Sahba' and her complete name was "Umm Habib bt. Habib b. Bujayz al-Taghlibi from the region of 'Ayn ai-Tamr."[21]

Dhahabi mentions two son for Muslim named 'Abd Allah and 'Abd al-Rahman who were martyred in Karbala.[22]

al-Tabrisi writes, "Ruqayya bt. 'Ali was Muslim b. 'Aqil's wife, who gave birth to 'Abd Allah -who was martyred in Taff (Karbala)- 'Ali and Muhammad.[23]

Ibn Qutayba writes counting Muslim's children, "'Abd Allah, 'Ali -who were born from Ruqayya bt. 'Ali- Muslim and 'Abd al-'Aziz."[24] He did not mentions the mother of the two last ones.

Ibn Makula reported that Muslim had a daughter named Umm Hamida who was married to 'Abd Allah a. Muhammad b. 'Aqil b. Abi Talib (her cousin) and had a son from him named Muhammad.[25]

It has been mentioned in some historical sources that Muslim had two sons who were captured after the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a) and imprisoned in Kufa by the order of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. They fled from the prison; but were martyred later.[26]

Imam Husayn's Representative in Kufa

Muslim accompanied Imam al-Husayn (a) when Imam departed Medina toward Mecca. But when Imam received numerous invitation letters form people of Kufa, he sent sent Muslim to Kufa to check if they are honest in their letters and also if the conditions are ready for his presence.[27]

According to another report Imam (a) sent Qays b. Mushir al-Saydawi, 'Amarat b. 'Abd al-Saluli and 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Abd Allah al-Arhabi along with Muslim and ordered him to be wary of God, hide his mission and tolerate people and get along with them; then if he sees that people are united and have unanimous opinion, inform the Imam immediately.[28]

When Muslim arrived in Kufa, he entered the house of Mukhtar b. Abi 'Ubayda. Shi'a came to the house and Muslim read the Imam al-Husayn's letter for them.[29] In another report, Mas'udi says that he entered the house of 'Awsaja,[30] or as Ibn Jawzi recorded Ibn 'Awsaja.[31]

Ibn 'Asakir writes, "12000 people pledged allegiance to Imam al-Husayn (a) by swearing allegiance to Muslim". Some recorded 18000[32] and some reported more than 30000.[33] Having witnessed the warm welcome of people for Muslim, spies wrote a letter to Yazid and said if you want Kufa, hurry up because the current governor of Kufa (Nu'man b. Bashir) is weak or pretends weakness. When Yazid received the letter, appointed 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, who was the governor of Basra, as the governor of Kufa as well.[34]

After the arrival of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad in Kufa, Muslim left Mukhtar's house and went to Hani b. 'Urwa's. Although Muslim was hidden and has secret connections with Shi'a, 'Ubayd Allah find his hiding place by recruiting spies. 'Ubayd Allah summoned Hani and asked him to surrender Muslim. Hani refused and as a result was arrested.

When Hani's tribe, Madhhij, heard the news, they gathered in front of the governmental palace (Dar al-Imara). But, 'Ubayd Allah scattered them by deception. He asked Shurayh al-Qadi to bear witness that Hani was his guest.

When the news reached Muslim, he prepared 4000 people by the motto "O Victorious! make them die" (Ya Mansur, Amit!)and surrounded the palace. 'Ubayd Allah asked some heads of kufa to scatter them by giving them money or frightening them from the Levant's army. His plot succeeded and people left Muslim gradually. By night, Muslim was alone and did not even have a place to sleep. Finally, he asked a woman named Taw'a, whose house he was standing next to, for some water. When the woman recognized him, asked him to stay at her house for the night. The woman's son realized that Muslim was in the house, so in the morning he went to 'Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad b. Ash'ath and told him that. When 'Abd al-Rahman told his father, Ibn Ziyad give Muhammad b. Ash'ath 70 soldiers and asked him to arrest Muslim and bring him to the Palace.

After a fight between Muslim and the soldiers, Muhammad b. Ash'ath said to Muslim that if he surrenders, no one will harm him. Thus, Muslim surrendered and was took to the palace. But, Ibn Ziyad refused Muhammad b. Ash'ath's words and after a struggle between Muslim and him, he ordered to take Muslim to the roof of the palace and to behead him.[35]

After Muslim's martyrdom, Ibn Ziyad also gives his orders of killing Hani b. 'Urwa. Then he sent their heads to Yazid b. Mu'awiya in Damascus.[36]


  1. Isfahani, Maqatil al-talibiyyin, p.52
  2. Tabari, Tarikh, vol.4 p.297
  3. Amin, A'yan al-shi'a, vol.1 p.593
  4. Shahidi, Pazhuhishi tazi piramun qiyam Imam Husayn, p.122
  5. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Isti'ab, vol.3 p.1079
  6. Ibn 'Abd al-Barr, al-Istidhkar, vol.8 p.249
  7. Isfahani, Maqatil al-talibiyyin, p.52
  8. Baladhari, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.3 p.224
  9. Ibn Habban, al-Thiqat, vol.5 p.391
  10. Baladhari, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.2 p.77
  11. Sayyid al-Buraqi, Tarikh al-Kufa, p.98
  12. Isfahani, Maqatil al-talibiyyin, p.52
  13. Tabari, Tarikh, vol.4 p.341
  14. Tabari, Tarikh, vol.4 p.359
  15. Tabari, Tarikh, vol.4 p.534
  16. Qadi Nu'man, Sharh al-akhbar, vol.3 p.195
  17. Tusi, Rijal, p.103
  18. Baladhari, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.6 p.407-408
  19. Baladhari, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.3 p.200
  20. al-Baladhari, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.2 p.70-71
  21. Baladhari, Ansab al-ashraf, vol.2 p.192
  22. Dhahabi, Siyar a'lam al-nubala', vol.3 p.320
  23. Tabrisi, I'lam al-wara, vol.1 p.397
  24. Ibn Qutayba, al-Ma'arif, p.204
  25. Ibn Makula, Ikmal al-kamal, vol.6 p.235
  26. Saduq, al-Amali, p.143-148
  27. Ibn Qutayba, al-Akhbar al-tiwal, p.230
  28. Mufid, al-Irshad, p.295-297
  29. Ibn Qutayba, al-Akhbar al-tiwal, p.231
  30. Mas'udi, Muruj al-dhahab, vol.3 p.54
  31. Ibn Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol.5 p.325
  32. Ibn Qutayba, al-Akhbar al-tiwal, p.235
  33. Ibn Qutayba, al-Imama wa l-siyasa, vol.2 p.8
  34. Ibn Qutayba, al-Akhbar al-tiwal, p.231
  35. Mufid, al-Irshad, p.53-63
  36. Ibn A'tham, al-Futuh, vol.5 p.62


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from مسلم بن عقیل in Farsi Wikishia.
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