ʿAlqama (Arabic: علقمة) or ʿAlqamī (Arabic: علقمی) was a stream in Karbala near which al-'Abbas b. 'Ali (a) was martyred on the Day of Ashura. The stream is forked from Euphrates to Karbala and its surroundings.
The word "'alqam" means bitterness. A bitter tree or hard water is called "'alqam".
In the Literature of 'Ashura
The 'Alqama creek is associated with Abu l-Fadl al-'Abbas (a)'s amputated hands and the thirst in the Event of Karbala in Persian literature on Ashura. The following poem is a case in point:(translated from Persian)
- Sleep was removed from the eyes of dawn
- Rosewater was removed from the spring of flower
- Slowly on their shoulders, the angels
- removed the spirit of water from 'Alqama
It is not known where in today's Karbala, 'Alqama is located. Within the last 1000 years, there was so much construction and destruction in Karbala that it cannot be identified where Abu l-Fadl al-'Abbas (a) tried to get water from. The water streaming presently on the way to Imam al-Sadiq (a)'s garden, near Imam al-Mahdi's (a) standing place is called "Nahr al-Husayni", forking from the Euphrates in a district called "al-Husayni" 15 kilometers from Karbala. It supplies water to farms. Presently, because of the growth of the population and the high consumption of water in Karbala and the rising level of underground water, the sewage of hotels and houses has prevailed the creek. So it supplies water to farms or goes back to the Euphrates.
- The material for this article is mainly taken from نهر علقمه in Farsi WikiShia.