Lament of the Caravan Leader

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Lament of the caravan leader or rawda-yi sāribān (Farsi: روضه ساربان) is one of the lamentations of the evening of 'Ashura. In this lament, the story of cutting the finger of Imam al-Husayn (a) is mentioned when the caravan leader cuts the finger of Imam (a) to get the ring. However, sometimes, Sariban refers to the caravan leader or cameleer of captives.


In al-Hidaya al-kubra, al-Husayn b. Hamdan al-Khasibi (d. 334/945-6) mentions a report that once a person who did not have hands was crying while doing tawaf around Ka'ba. He was asked about the reason, and that man said, "When Imam al-Husayn (a) was going to Iraq, I was the caravan leader. When I looked at Imam's (a) belt, I found that it was precious, so I was looking for a chance to take it. After Imam (a) was martyred, I tried to open his belt at night, but he (a) took it with his right hand, and I took a broken sword and cut his right hand. Then, he (a) prevented me by his left hand, and I cut his left hand too. Then, I saw a conveyance coming from the sky on which the Prophet (s), Imam Ali (a), Imam al-Hasan (a), Lady Fatima (a), and angels were. The head of Imam al-Husayn (a) was placed on his neck and spoke to his mother and complained about me to his mother and the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) came forth and admonished me and cursed me and there, my hands fell off."

Some sources have mentioned his name as Burayda b. Wa'il. Since the original narrator of this story has been al-Khasibi, and he has been mentioned as unreliable in sources of rijal (biographical evaluation), this story cannot be accepted; however, the person who cut the finger of Imam (a) to steal his ring was Bajdal b. Sulaym al-Kalbi. It seems that the two stories have been confused among laypeople.

The Lamentation

In such a gathering, the rawda-khwan (lament reciter) attributes cutting off the finger of Imam al-Husayn (a) to the caravan leader. Since this incident is said to have happened at night on 'Ashura, this lament is usually recited in Sham-i Ghariban. However, this is among popular laments referred to on different occasions. However, sometimes, Sariban is mentioned in other laments referring to the leader of the caravan of captives to Kufa and Syria.

See Also