Abd Allah b. Yaqtar

Priority: c, Quality: b
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Companion of Imam (a)
Abd Allah b. Yaqtar
Full Name 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar
Companion of Imam al-Husayn (a)
Lineage Banu Layth
Wellknown Relatives Imam al-Husayn (a)
Place(s) of Residence Medina
Death/Martyrdom 61/680
Cause of
Death/Martyrdom
Killed by 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad
Activities Representative of Imam al-Husayn (a) in Kufa

ʿAbd Allāh b. Yaqṭar (Arabic:عبد الله بن يقطر) was milk sibling of Imam al-Husayn (a) and his representative in Kufa along with Muslim b. 'Aqil. He was captured by Huṣayn b. Numayr, a commander of Ibn Ziyad in Qadisiyya. He refused to swear at Imam Ali (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a), therefore, was thrown down the Dar al-Khilafa. Some sources mentioned the same about Qays b. Musahhar and regarded 'Abd Allah among the martyrs of Karbala.

Lineage

'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar b. Abi Aqb Laythi is a descendant of Banu Layth b. Bakr b. 'Abd Manaf b. Kinana[1] was milk sibling of Imam al-Husayn (a), therefore, Ibn Hajar considered him among the Companions.[2] Since he belonged to Himyar, some considered him Yemeni and from Himyar tribe. He was born in Medina.[3]

Parents

'Abd Allah's father was Yaqtar, and his mother was Maymuna. According to some historians, his father was originally from Yemen. Yaqtar was a servant of the Prophet (s) and his wife, Maymuna, worked in the house of Imam Ali (a); thus Maymuna took care of Imam al-Husayn (a) in his childhood and became famous as milk-mother of the Imam (a).[4] In Khulasa,[5] al-'Allama al-Hilli mentioned the name of his father as Yaqtar, but al-Tabari mentioned it as Baqtar.[6] Yusufi Gharawi reported al-Tabari's quote and mentioned that "our sources have recorded Yaqtar."[7]

Birth and Childhood

Many sources regarded Abd Allah as milk-brother of Imam al-Husayn (a); thus his birth can be regarded in 4/625-6. According to some reports, he was born three days before Imam al-Husayn (a).[8]

However, some recent scholars do not accept that his mother suckled Imam al-Husayn (a), but they say that Abd Allah's mother took care of Imam al-Husayn (a) and that was why she became famous as his milk-mother. They believe that Imam (a) was not suckled by anyone other than Lady Fatima (a).[9] Some sources mentioned his title as Himyari.[10]

Ambassador to Kufa

After Muslim b. 'Aqil went to Kufa, Imam al-Husayn (a) sent 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar to Kufa too.[11] He went to Kufa after Muslim b. 'Aqil sent a letter to Imam (a) and informed him of the allegiance of the people of Kufa with Imam (a). Thus, Imam (a) sent 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar with a letter to Muslim to inform him of Imam's (a) caravan.[12]

However, there are different reports about the time of his travel to Kufa:

  • Before Muslim b. 'Aqil[13]
  • After Muslim and after his letter[14]
  • Accompanied Muslim to Kufa, but after Muslim saw the betrayal of the people of Kufa, he sent him to Imam (a) to deliver the news of Kufa to him.[15]

According to some reports, 'Abd Allah was captured, and his mission remained unfinished.

  • He joined Muslim, and when people gave allegiance to Muslim, Muslim sent the word with 'Abd Allah to Imam al-Husayn (a).[16]

Imam al-Husayn's (a) Letter

"In the Name of God, the Most Compassionate, the Most Merciful. From Husayn b. Ali (a) to his Muslim and faithful brothers. Peace be with you. Praise be to God; there is no god other than Him. So, I have received a letter from Muslim b. Aqil. That letter showed your unity and a good thought yours for helping us and taking back our lost rights. I ask God to make our destiny good and grant you the best rewards for your good deeds. I moved from Mecca to see you on Tuesday, 8th of Dhu l-Hijja, the Day of Tarwiya. When my representative comes to you, hasten in your affairs and try and be prepared that I will, God-willing, meet you soon. Blessings and mercy of God be upon you."

Capturing of 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar

Huṣayn b. Numayr[17] or Huṣayn b. Tamim[18] caught 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar and sent him to 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad. Ibn Ziyad asked him to go up on the Dar al-Imara palace's roof and swear at Imam al-Husayn (a) and his father and call them a liar. He went up on the roof of the palace and said, "O people, I am sent by al-Husayn (a), help him against Ibn Marjana and Ibn Sumayya." And called Ibn Ziyad, "Vile, son of vile".[19]

Finding Muslim b. 'Aqil's Letter

Malik b. Yarbu' al-Tamimi sent a letter to Ibn Ziyad, he had taken from 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar. In that letter, it was written,

"To Husayn b. Ali b. Abi Talib (a). So, I inform you that a group of Kufa people who are such and such have given allegiance to you. When you receive my letter, move (towards Kufa) immediately because a majority of people are with you and do not side with Yazid."

Then, Ibn Ziyad ordered to kill 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar.[20]

Martyrdom

Ibn Ziyad ordered to throw Abd Allah b. Yaqtar down the roof of the palace when his bones were broken. Then, someone went forth and beheaded him, and when people objected, he said that he wanted to relieve him of pain.[21] Al-Tabari mentioned 'Abd al-Malik b. 'Umayr al-Lakhmi as his killer.[22] He was a judge during a period of Umayyad rule and was famous for mischief and wrongdoing.[23]

Ibn Kathir reported the same story about Qays b. Musahhar.[24] He reported the martyrdom of 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar on the Day of 'Ashura together with Imam al-Husayn (a).[25] Al-Shaykh al-Mufid counted him among the martyrs of Karbala on the Day of 'Ashura too.[26] He considered Qays b. Musahhar as the letter-bearer.[27] Although in al-Irshad, he also mentioned about 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar as a weak report.[28] Ibn Sa'd reported his martyrdom on the first day of entering Ibn Ziyad to Kufa, before the martyrdom of Muslim b. 'Aqil.[29]

Ibn Qutayba and Ibn Miskawayh said that the person Imam al-Husayn (a) sent with a letter to Muslim was Qays b. Musahhar. They said that 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar was sent together with Muslim b. Aqil and when Muslim saw that people left him alone, sent 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar back to Imam (a) to inform him of what happened to him, but Abd Allah b. Yaqtar was caught by Husayn b. Tamim and was sent to 'Ubayd Allah.[30]

Imam al-Husayn (a) and the Martyrdom of 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar

When Imam al-Husayn (a) was informed about the martyrdom of 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar, he (a) made a speech and said that "O people! Our supporters abandoned us and Muslim, Hani, Qays b. Musahhar and 'Abd Allah b. Yaqtar were killed." Then, Imam (a) turned to his companions and told them that they were free to continue the way with Imam (a).[31] Many of the people who had come with Imam (a) for worldly desires left, and only those who had come with him from Medina remained.[32]

The Letter-Bearer: Abd Allah or Qays

In many sources, the martyrdom of Abd Allah b. Yaqtar and Qays b. Musahhar has been reported similarly so that one story has been reported for both of them the same way. With a thoughtful analysis of the sources, it can be assumed that there are differences between delivering the letter by each of them.

Imam (a) first sent Abd Allah b. Yaqtar with a letter to Kufa and he went there from a path. Then, he (a) gave another letter to Qays b. Musahhar, but sent him to Kufa from another path. But they both were caught by the agents of Ibn Ziyad and were martyred.[33] However, the way they were martyred was similar:

  • Imam (a) sent Abd Allah b. Yaqtar through a region called Hajiz and heard the news of his martyrdom in a place called Zubala.[34]
  • He (a) sent Qays b. Musahhar from a place called Bayda and received the news of his martyrdom in a place called Udhayb al-Hijanat.[35]

Notes

  1. Rāwandī, al-Kharāʾij wa l-jarāʾiḥ, vol. 2, p. 550.
  2. Ibn Ḥajar al-ʿAsqalānī, al-Iṣāba, vol. 5, p. 8.
  3. Yūsufī Gharawī, Mawsūʿat al-tārīkh al-Islāmī, vol. 6, p. 113.
  4. Yūsufī Gharawī, Mawsūʿat al-tārīkh al-Islāmī, vol. 6, p. 113.
  5. Ḥāʾirī Shīrāzī, Dhakhīrat al-dārayn, p. 493.
  6. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 5, p. 398.
  7. Abī Mikhnaf, Waqʿat al-Ṭaff, p. 164.
  8. Ḥāʾirī Shīrāzī, Dhakhīrat al-dārayn, p. 494.
  9. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 93.
  10. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 93.
  11. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 168.
  12. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 93.
  13. Ṭabrisī, Tuḥfat al-abrār, p. 234.
  14. Ḥāʾirī Shīrāzī, Dhakhīrat al-dārayn, p. 494.
  15. Ḥāʾirī Shīrāzī, Dhakhīrat al-dārayn, p. 496.
  16. Ibn Aʿtham al-Kūfī, Kitāb al-Futūḥ, p. 852.
  17. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 168.
  18. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 94.
  19. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 168.
  20. Majlisī, Biḥār al-anwār, vol. 44, p. 343.
  21. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 169.
  22. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 5, p. 398.
  23. Abū al-Ṣalāḥ al-Ḥalabī, Taqrīb al-maʿārif, p. 399.
  24. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 8, p. 168.
  25. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya wa l-nihāya, vol. 8, p. 189.
  26. Mufīd, al-Ikhtiṣāṣ, p. 83.
  27. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 70.
  28. Mufīd, al-Irshād, vol. 2, p. 70.
  29. Ibn Saʿd. al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, p. 460.
  30. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn, p. 94.
  31. Shūshtarī, Iḥqāq al-ḥaqq, vol. 27, p. 159.
  32. Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-Ṭabarī, vol. 5, p. 398; Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 169.
  33. Labīb Bayḍūn, Mawsūʿa Karbalā, vol. 1, p. 552.
  34. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 167; Labīb Bayḍūn, Mawsūʿa Karbalā, vol. 1, p. 553; Abū ʿAlī Miskiwayh, Tajārib al-umam, vol. 2, p. 60.
  35. Labīb Bayḍūn, Mawsūʿa Karbalā, vol. 1, p. 553.

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