Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn

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Yā la-Thārāt al-Ḥusayn (Arabic: یا لَثارات الحُسَین) is a slogan for the vengeance of Imam al-Husayn (a). The slogan was first used in the Tawwabun Uprising led by Sulayman b. Surad al-Khuza'i, and then in Mukhtar's Uprising led by al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. The slogan was used to indicate the onset of the uprising and to encourage the lovers of Ahl al-Bayt (a). In his battle with the Umayyads, Abu Muslim al-Khurasani used this slogan. According to some hadiths, this will also be the slogan of Imam al-Mahdi (a), some angels and his companions in End Time (Akhir al-Zaman).

Literal Meaning

"Thār" literally means revenge for the blood ("murderer" and "enemy" are also mentioned as its meanings). Its verb form means to "kill a murderer in order to avenge the victim".

Lexicographers have suggested two meanings for "thār" in the phrase "Ya la-tharat such and such a person":

  • "Thār" here means avenger for the blood and the meaning of the phrase is "O the avengers of Husayan". The avengers of Imam al-Husayn (a) are addressed in this phrase who are invited to gather to revenge for his blood.
  • "Thār" might mean murderer and therefore the meaning of the phrase is "O murderers of Imam al-Husayn". The best-known use of such a phrase is "Ya la-tharat 'Uthman" which has occurred both in hadiths and in Hassan b. Thabit's poems. Thus, murderers of Imam al-Husayn (a) are addressed in order to be threatened.

Al-Jawhari takes "thar" in the phrase, "Ya la-tharat such and such a person", to mean the murderer (that is, O the murderers of such and such a person). Most of the lexicographers have cited his view.

The Slogan of Shiite Uprisings

"Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn" was the slogan of the uprisings after Imam al-Husayn's (a) martyrdom that were intended to avenge for him. In contrast to this slogan, followers of Banu Umayya usually used the slogan: "Ya la-Tharat 'Uthman" (O' the avengers of the 'Uthman). The slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn", was very influential in encouraging lovers of Ahl al-Bayt (a) to move against the Umayyad government. According to historical reports, when people heard the slogan, they left their families and went to battlefields.

Slogan of Tawwabun

The first uprising after Imam al-Husayn's (a) martyrdom that occurred in Kufa was the uprising of Tawwabun. They used the slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn". The first people who used the slogan were Hakim b. Munqidh al-Kindi and Walid b. Ghudayn al-Kinani. The leader of this uprising, Sulayman b. Surad al-Khuza'i, and his companions visited Imam al-Husayn's (a) mausoleum and chanted the slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn".

Slogan of Mukhtar's Uprising

According to some sources, this slogan was used frequently in Mukhtar's Uprising. The first movement of Mukhtar's companions against 'Abd Allah b. Muti' in Kufa began with this slogan. When al-Mukhtar was wearing his armors, he ordered that people announce the start of the uprising by chanting "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn" and "Ya Mansur Amit" ("Oh, victorious! Bring death").

When the Khashabiyya army entered Mecca to save Banu Hashim, and particularly Muhammad b. Hanafiyya, they chanted the slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn", while attacking advocates of 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr. Also when 'Umar b. Sa'd was killed, people of Kufa chanted "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn".

In addition to using this phrase as a slogan, companions of al-Mukhtar used it in their poems to encourage people. One poet of that period, 'Abd Allah b. Humam al-Siluli composed the following verses:

At that night, al-Mukhtar, the chivalric
Was anxious, and candles were disconcerted around that young man.
He called to "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn"
And battalions from Hamadan and then Huzay' followed him.

Next Uprisings

The slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn", was not used in uprisings after al-Mukhtar's. For example in the uprising of Zayd and uprising of Yahya against the Umayyads, and uprisings of Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, Ibrahim b. 'Abd Allah known as Qatil Bakhamra,and Husayn b. 'Ali known as the martyr of Fakhkh against the Abbasids, in none of these uprisings was the slogan used to encourage people.

However, people of Khurasan used the slogan against the Umayyads.

The slogan was sometimes used for people other than Imam al-Husayn (a) as well. For example, Qarmatis used the slogan "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn" to avenge for Husayn b. Zukruya. It is believed that Qarmatis used the slogan because of its strong influence, although they used it for someone other than Imam al-Husayn (a).

The Slogan of Imam al-Mahdi's (a) Uprising

According to some hadiths, Imam al-Mahdi (a) will rise with this slogan. According to Ibn Mashhadi in al-Mazar al-kabir, Imam al-Mahdi (a) will use the slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn", in person. Al-Shaykh al-Saduq cited Imam al-Rida (a) as telling Rayan b. Shabib to cry for Imam al-Husayn, adding that companions of Imam al-Mahdi (a) will chant the slogan, "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn". The hadith also refers to angels who have congregated on Imam al-Husayn's (a) resting place and will stay there until the Reappearance of Imam al-Mahdi (a), chanting "Ya la-Tharat al-Husayn".

The fact that Imam al-Mahdi (a) will avenge for the blood of Imam al-Husayn is mentioined in other hadiths too. For example, according to a hadith from Imam al-Sadiq (a), the verse 33 of Sura al-Isra', "and if anyone is killed unjustly, we have given his heir authority", is about Imam al-Husayn (a), and his heir is Imam al-Mahdi (a) who will start an uprising to avenge his blood. Also, according to other hadiths, when the angels were saddened by the Battle of Karbala, God gave them the good news that Imam al-Mahdi (a) will avenge for Imam al-Husayn (a).