Nafi' b. Hilal al-Bajali

Priority: c, Quality: b
From wikishia
Nafi' b. Hilal al-Bajali
Burial Place of most of the martyrs of Karbala, next to the holy grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) in Karbala
Burial Place of most of the martyrs of Karbala, next to the holy grave of Imam al-Husayn (a) in Karbala
Full NameNafi' b. Hilal b. Jamil al-Bajali
Companion ofImam Ali (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a)
Place(s) of ResidenceKufa
Cause of
He was martyred in the Event of Karbala
Burial PlaceHoly shrine of Imam al-Husayn (a)

Nāfiʿ b. Hilāl b. Jamǐl (Arabic: نافع بن هلال بن جمیل), also known as al-Jamalī ( الجملي), al-Bajalī ( البجلي), al-Murādī ( المرادي), and al-Bajalī al-Murādī, was an Arab warrior, a reciter of the Qur'an and a writer of hadiths. Nafi' was a companion of Imam Ali (a), and a rigorous helper of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the Event of Karbala. He is among the martyrs of Karbala.


In some sources and some maqtals, Nafi' b. Hilal's name is mistakenly recorded as "Hilal b. Nafi'".[1] There was another person who was called Hilal b. Nafi' and was, of course, present in the Event of Karbala, but he was a member of 'Umar b. Sa'd's army and a narrator of this event.[2]

Nafi' b. Hilal was from the Jamal kinsman, from the madhḥij (مذحج) tribe, with a Yemeni line of descents.[3]

In Imam Ali's (a) time

Nafi' b. Hilal was a companion of Imam Ali (a)[4] and was present in his three wars: Jamal, Siffin, and Nahrawan.[5] It is said that Nafi' was a brave man. He was a skillful archer. Abu Mikhnaf is reported as saying that Imam Ali (a) himself had taught him the skills of combat.[6]

Events of Karbala

Timeline of the Battle of Karbala
Year 60/680
Rajab 15
(April 21)
Death of Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan
Rajab 28
(May 4)
Departure of Imam al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a) from Medina.
Sha'ban 3
(May 9)
Arrival of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Mecca.
Ramadan 10
(June 14)
Arrival of Kufiyans' first letter to Imam (a)
Ramadan 12
(June 16)
Arrival of 150 letters from Kufa
Ramadan 14
(June 18)
Arrival of the letter from leaders of Kufa
Ramadan 15
(June 19)
Departure of Muslim b. 'Aqil from Mecca toward Kufa.
Shawwal 5
(July 9)
Arrival of Muslim b. 'Aqil to Kufa.
Dhu l-Hijja 8
(September 9)
Departure of Imam al-Husayn (a) form Mecca and uprising of Muslim b. 'Aqil in Kufa
Dhu l-Hijja 9
(September 10)
Martyrdom of Muslim b. 'Aqil
Year 61/680
Muharram 1
(October 1)
Asking for help of 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Hurr al-Ju'fi and 'Amr b. Qays in Qasr Bani Muqatil
Muharram 2
(October 2)
Arrival of Imam (a) to Karbala
Muharram 3
(October 3)
Arrival of 'Umar b. Sa'd with 4,000 people to Karbala
Muharram 6
(October 6)
Habib b. Muzahir's asking for help of Banu Asad
Muharram 7
(October 7)
Banding of water by 'Umar b. Sa'd and joining Muslim b. 'Awsaja al-Asadi to Imam (a)
Muharram 9
(October 9)
Arrival of Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan to Karbala
Muharram 9
(October 9)
Shimr's Safe conduct for Umm al-Banin's children
Muharram 9
(October 9)
Announcing of the Battle by 'Umar b. Sa'd and Imam's (a) asking for a delay
Muharram 10
(October 10)
Events of Ashura and the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a), his Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) and his companions
Muharram 11
(October 11)
Moving the captives towards Kufa and the burial of martyrs by Banu Asad
Muharram 12
(October 12)
Arrival of captives to Kufa and the burial of the martyrs according to the narration
Muharram 19
(October 19)
Moving the captives from Kufa towards Syria
Safar 1
(October 31)
Arrival of the captives and the head of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Syria
Safar 20
(November 19)
Arba'in and the return of Ahl al-Bayt (a) to Karbala and Medina (in some accounts)

Joining Imam al-Husayn (a)'s caravan

Before Muslim b. 'Aqil's martyrdom, Nafi' b. Hilal went out of Kufa[7] and joined the caravan of Imam al-Husayn (a) on the route. He is one of the four people who have joined Imam al-Husayn (a) on his way to Kufa in a caravan-serai called 'Udhayb al-Hijanat. Imam al-Husayn (a) asked him and his companions about the people of Kufa, and they replied:

"the nobles of Kufa received bribes and are now against you. The rest of people are with you in their hearts, but against you with their swords."[8]

Renewing allegiance with Imam al-Husayn (a)

On the second day of Muharram, Imam al-Husayn (a) arrived in Karbala. He called all his households, friends, and companions to gather around him. He first looked at his households, cried, and said:

O' God! We are the Ahl al-Bayt, households, of the Prophet (s) and; we have been ousted [from our city]; we have been forced to leave the sanctuary of our grandfather—the Prophet (s)—and we have been disrespected by Banu Umayya. O' God! Give our rights and possessions back to us, and assist us against injustice!

After his remarks, the companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) rose one by one, declared their support of Imam (a), and renewed their pledge of allegiance with him. After Zuhayr b. Qayn, Nafi' told Imam (a):[9]

You know that your grandfather, the Prophet (s), could not get all the people to love him or have them all under his command. Some of his companions were hypocrites; they promised to help the Prophet (s), whereas they betrayed him in the back; they were very sweet to him when they met him, but they were very bitter in his back until he passed away. The same was the case with your father, Ali (a). Some people gathered around him to offer him help; Nakithun, Qasitun and Mariqun waged wars against him and opposed him, until he died. Now the same is true about you. People who broke their promises and violated their pledges for allegiance have just harmed themselves, and indeed God does not need them. So you can take us wherever you wish; to the East of the world or to its West. We swear to God that we are not afraid of the fate God has determined for us; we are not afraid of meeting our Lord. We act upon our insights. We love whoever loves you and we hate whoever fights with you.

Bringing water

When Imam al-Husayn (a)'s camp was rejected from access to water by the command of 'Umar b. Sa'd and Imam (a)'s companions and households felt extremely thirsty, Imam al-Husayn (a) called on 'Abbas b. 'Ali (a) to bring water for the camp. 'Abbas b. 'Ali (a)—along with thirty cavalries and twenty infantries, including Nafi' b. Hilal—went to Furat overnight in order to bring water.[10]However, when 'Abbas (a) and his companions, with Nafi' in their forefront, arrived at the river, 'Amr b. Hajjaj al-Zubaydi—the commander of the group of soldiers who protected Furat—shouted: "Who are you?". "One of your cousins. We came here to drink from the water you have forbidden us", said Nafi'. "You are very welcome to drink! But you cannot take any water to al-Husayn", 'Amr replied. "No, I swear to God", replied Nafi', "I will not drink from this water, while al-Husayn (a) and his households and companions are all thirsty".[11] When Imam al-Husayn (a)'s companions arrived there, Nafi' shouted: "fill your water-skins with water!"

'Amr b. Hajjaj and his soldiers tried to prevent the companions of 'Abbas b. 'Ali and Nafi' b. Hilal from taking water to Imam al-Husayn (a)'s camp and deadly combat started. Some companions of Imam (a) managed to fill their water-skins with water and take them to the camps. In this event, some soldiers of the enemy were killed and injured.

Eve of Ashura

During the night before Ashura, Nafi' b. Hilal noticed that Imam al-Husayn (a) went out of his camp, on his own, to inspect the hills around. Nafi' followed Imam (a). When Imam (a) noticed the presence of Nafi', he told him "Why did you come out of your camp?" Nafi' replied: "O' the son of the Prophet (s)! I am worried about your life especially when you show up to this cruel army. Imam (a) said: "I have come out to inspect the ups and downs of this field before tomorrow's war breaks", said Imam al-Husayn (a). When the inspection was all done, Imam al-Husayn (a) told Nafi': "Do you not want to disappear in this dark night to save your life?" Nafi' fell on Imam al-Husayn (a)'s feet and replied: "I have a sword that is worth one thousand dirhams and I have a horse that is worth about one thousand dirhams. I swear to God that I would never leave you alone so long as my sword can cut".[12]

After this dialogue, Imam al-Husayn (a) went to his sister, Zaynab (a)'s camp. Nafi' b. Hilal stayed outside waiting for Imam (a). He overheard the lady Zaynab (a) saying to Imam (a): "Have you put your companions to test? I am worried about them betraying us and surrendering you to the enemy". Imam al-Husayn (a) replied: "I swear to God that I have tested them. They are brave people who look at death with the corner of their eyes and they love to die for me just as an infant loves its mother's breast".

Nafi' thought that Imam al-Husayn (a)'s household may have concerns about the faithfulness and perseverance of Imam (a)'s companions. So he went to Habib b. Muzahir and talked to him about the concerns of Imam (a)s households. They decided to go to Imam al-Husayn (a) and his households to ensure them that they will defend them until the last breath of their lives.[13]

"I swear to God that I would now attack the enemy's army had we not been waiting for Imam (a)'s command", said Habib to Nafi'. "I overheard Imam (a)'s sister. I think we should ensure households about our faithfulness. Can you take your men to Imam (a)'s households in order to assuage their concerns?"

Habib b. Muzahir called Imam (a)'s companions and told Banu Hashim to return to their camps. He then told the remaining people what he had heard from Nafi'. They all said: "We swear to God—who privileged and honored us to be here—that we would attack the enemy had we not been waiting for Imam al-Husayn (a)'s command".

Habib b. Muzahir and other companions of Imam al-Husayn (a) approached the camps of Imam (a)'s households with their drawn swords and said: "O' the household of the Prophet (s)! These are the swords of your men that will not go back to the sheath unless they kill your enemies. These are your men's spears, and they swear to push them into your enemy's breasts".

Day of Ashura

It has been reported that Nafi' b. Hilal had married before the Event of Karbala, and when he wanted to go to the battle on the Day of Ashura, his wife asked him not to do so. But he insisted that he had to help Imam al-Husayn (a). And when Imam (a) learned about this, he told Nafi': "Your wife is worried, and I do not want you to lose one another when you are so young. You are free to take your wife with you!" Nafi' replied: "O' the son of the Prophet (s)! If I leave you alone in such hardship and go through my pleasures, how can I face your grandfather, the Prophet (s), in the Day of Judgment?"[14]

When 'Amr b. Qaraza al-Ansari was killed in Ashura, his brother, 'Ali, who was in the army of 'Umar b. Sa'd told Imam al-Husayn (a): "al-Husayn! You have deceived my brother and caused his death!" "I have not deceived your brother," Imam (a) replied, "God has guided him to the right path and you have been misled". 'Ali b. Qaraza al-Ansari told Imam (a): "May God kill me if I do not kill you or be killed by you!" and under the pretext of avenging his brother, he attacked Imam (a), but Nafi' b. Hilal al-Bajali injured him before he could attack Imam (a).[15] Nafi' combated the companions of 'Ali b. Qaraza.

Declaiming during the war

Nafi' spoke eloquently during the war, saying passionately that: "If you do not know me, I am the son of Jamal. My religion is that of al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a)". A person called Muzahim b. Harith replied to him that "Our religion is that of 'Uthman". Nafi' came back at him by saying: "Your religion is that of the devil", and then he attacked the man with his sword. Muzahim wanted to flee but he was killed by Nafi' before he could do anything.

In the Day of Ashura, Nafi' b. Hilal carved his name on his arrows, poisoned them, and then threw them to the enemies. He recited the following poems when he was throwing the arrows:

I throw arrows with inscriptions on them,
The life cannot be saved by fearing them,
They are poisoned and they move through,
In order to fill the field with arrows.

With his arrows, Nafi' killed twelve people from 'Umar b. Sa'd's army and injured many. When he ran out of arrows, he drew his sword and attacked the enemy, reciting the following poems:

I am a young man from Yemen and Jamal,
My religion is that of al-Husayn and 'Ali,
My dream is to be killed today,
This is my belief and I will face my act.


The army of the enemy was all around him when they attacked him with their arrows and stones. His arms were broken and he was taken as a prisoner. Shimr and some of his companions took him to 'Umar b. Sa'd. 'Umar told him: "O' Nafi'! Woe to you! Why did you do this to yourself?'. "My Lord knows of my intent", said Nafi' with drops of blood flowing from his beard, "I swear to God that I do not blame myself for killing twelve of your soldiers. If my arms were not broken, you could never capture me."

'Umar b. Sa'd ordered Shimr to kill him. Nafi' told Shimr: "I swear to God that if you are really a Muslim, it would be very difficult for you to meet God while your hands are stained with our blood. I thank God to have left our death to the hands of the worst of his creatures." He was then murdered by Shimr.[16]

Nafi' b. Hilal has been mentioned in Ziyarat al-Rajabiyya of Imam al-Husayn (a) and Ziyara al-Shuhada. In the latter we read: "Peace be upon Nafi' b. Hilal al-Bajai al-Muradi".


  1. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn fī anṣār al-Ḥusayn, p. 50, 150; Ibn Nimā al-Ḥillī, Muthīr al-aḥzān, p. 31.
  2. Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs, al-Malhūf ʿalā qatlā al-ṭufūf, p. 177.
  3. Ziriklī, al-Aʿlām, vol. 8, p. 6.
  4. Ibn Shajarī, al-Amālī, vol. 1, p. 172.
  5. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn fī anṣār al-Ḥusayn, p. 147.
  6. Waqār Shīrāzī, ʿAshra kāmila, p. 402.
  7. Samāwī, Ibṣār al-ʿayn fī anṣār al-Ḥusayn, p. 147.
  8. Ibn Nimā al-Ḥillī, Muthīr al-aḥzān, p. 31.
  9. Ibn Aʿtham al-Kūfī, Kitāb al-Futūḥ, vol. 5, p. 83; Sayyid b. Ṭāwūs, al-Malhūf ʿalā qatlā al-ṭufūf, p. 138.
  10. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 181; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 412-413; Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 117; Khwārizmī, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, vol. 1, p. 346-347.
  11. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 181; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 412-413; Abū l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Maqātil al-ṭālibīyyīn, p. 117; Khwārizmī, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, vol. 1, p. 346-347.
  12. Bihbahānī, al-Damʿat al-sākiba, vol. 4, p. 273; Muqarram, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, p. 219.
  13. Bihbahānī, al-Damʿat al-sākiba, vol. 4, p. 273-274; Muqarram, Maqtal al-Ḥusayn, p. 219.
  14. Kāshifī, Rawḍat al-shuhadāʾ, p. 298; Lisān al-Mulk Sipihr, Nāsikh al-tawārīkh, vol. 2, p. 277.
  15. Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 192; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 434; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 67.
  16. Lisān al-Mulk Sipihr, Nāsikh al-tawārīkh, vol. 2, p. 277-279; Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol. 3, p. 197; Ṭabarī, Tārīkh al-umam wa l-mulūk, vol. 5, p. 441-442; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil fī l-tārīkh, vol. 4, p. 71-72.


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