Scene 3: KARBALA -- NIGHT OF 11 MUHARRAM

 

(Imam Husain's body is lying there on the ground, headless)

 

Narrator: Night fell in Karbala.

 

(Soldiers beating women and attacking them with whips. Women, children crying)

 

Ruqayyah: Mommy! Mommy!

 

Soldier with Whip: (waving whip at her) Shut up! You deserve this for revolting against the caliph, you dirty rebels! (grabs her outer hijab and pulls it off)

 

Ruqayyah: (trying to grab it back) Ammah Zaynab!

 

(Looting Soldier looking for stuff to steal)

 

Looting Soldier: (disdainfully holding some rags) Is this ALL you have? (To soldier with whip) We came here for THIS?

 

Zainab: (while being beaten) We do not have anything else.

 

Looting Soldier: Load of TRASH. (yanks off Zaynab's abayah)

 

Zainab: (screams and tries to cover self with hands) Husain, where are you now?!

 

Sajjad: You came only for my father. Do not disgrace the women of our household.

 

Soldier with whip: Get back! (hits Sajjad, who because of his weakness falls)

 

Sajjad: My aunt, I am sorry, I cannot help you.

 

Looting Soldier: Your clothes are TRASH, all of your stuff is TRASH. (Eyes fall on Sukayna) Now here's something. (Rushes to Sukayna) Finally, here's a few dirhams.

 

Sukayna: My father Husain gave those to me. You cannot have them.

 

Looting Soldier: (sneers and slaps Sukayna) Insolent child! Those earrings are mine! (Tears earrings off from lobes)

 

(Sukayna screams from pain and is bleeding)

 

Zainab: You inhuman beasts!

 

(Soldier with torch runs on with lit torch)

 

Soldier with torch: Fall back, our orders are to burn the lot!

 

Soldier with Whip: (excited) Burn the tents of the zaalimeen!

 

(Women and children scream and rush around, yelling about fire and things burning. Soldiers leave. Everyone runs off to side but Zaynab)

 

Leila: Fire!

 

Ruqayyah: Help! Ammah Zaynab! Ammah Zaynab!

 

Zainab: (to Sajjad) O son of my brother, look at the state we are in. All of us have lost a son, a brother, a husband. We have no one left to help us, and even you cannot walk. We cannot stand against these soldiers. They have taken everything from us, even our hijabs, and their men are staring at us, uncovered. They have already set fire to our tents. Shouldn't we stay here and protect our modesty, rather than let these men take us captive?

 

Sajjad: Dear aunt, Allah does not permit anyone to abandon life, no matter how dire the situation. Take the widows and the children and flee from the tents. Allah will protect us. Without you, no one will be left to carry on the message, and my father will have died in vain.

 

Zainab: I will do what you command, my Imam. (To women and children) Everyone out! The tents are burning! Everyone out! Quickly!

 

(Women, children, and soldiers are rushing around. Nice Soldier comes face to face with child lost and wandering alone)

 

Child: Good sir, can you do something for me?

Nice Soldier: For you? Ok, what is it?

 

Child: I'd like to know the way to Najaf.

 

Nice Soldier: Najaf?? That's so far! Why would you want to go THERE?

 

Child: I want to go to Najaf to speak to my grandfather Ali.

 

Nice Soldier: Your grandfather? Ali? Ibn Abi Talib?

 

Child: Yes, I want to tell him what is happening to us. I want to tell him how those men are hitting us, and how they burned us, and how they grabbed the earrings from Sukayna's ears. He will listen to me.

 

Nice Soldier: My child, your grandfather is dead.

 

Child: The shuhadaa never die. "Wa laa tahsabanna alladheena qutilu fi sabil allahi amwaatan; bal hum ahyaaa'un 'inda rabbihim yurzaqoun." (3:169)My grandfather will listen to me, and he will come to our aid.

 

Nice Soldier: You are dreaming, child. Ali was a great man, but he can do nothing for you. Yazid is our ruler now.

 

Zainab: Over here, over here. (Women and children and Sajjad gather in one unburned area. counting) Laila, Um Kalthum, Rabab, Ruqayyah........ Sukayna? Where is Sukayna? (panicked) Where is Sukayna?????

 

(Zainab rushes out calling for Sukayna and finds her beside the body of Imam Husain)

 

Zainab: Thank God, thank God, what are you doing here?

 

Sukayna: Baba... baba, it hurts so much. They hit Ruqayyah on the back and they hit me here. (demonstrates) And my ears are still bleeding. I miss you so much, Baba, I can't live without you....

 

Zainab: Sukayna, we have to go.

 

Sukayna: Baba, what happened to you. Your chest is all bloody. And your head, baba.... (Begins crying uncontrollably)

 

(Zainab picks up Sukayna and leads her back to the tent)

 

Zainab: (to Sajjad) What a miserable state we have fallen into.

 

(Hur's wife approaches, bearing a big tray of bread and water. Zainab stands to face her)

 

Zainab: O sister, why are you here. Please have mercy on us and leave us to our suffering.

 

Hur's wife: I have come to help you. I am the wife of (sob) Hur ibn Yazid.

 

Zainab: We are indebted to your husband. He was the first to give his life defending us. May God give you patience to endure your loss.

 

Hur's wife: You are in more need of patience than I. I only lost one husband, while you lost 18 members of your family.

 

Zainab: Inna lillah wa inna ilayhi raaji'oun.

 

Hur's wife: Since they are no longer fighting you, the soldiers let us bring this small amount of food and water to you. Please, take it, for my sake.

 

(puts down tray and leaves)

 

Sajjad: They butchered my father when he was thirsty, and now they bring us water.

 

Zainab: I don't think I can ever drink cold water again. Laa, wallah. (goes to Sukayna who is sleeping and wakes her up) Here, Sukayna, drink. (Sukayna takes the cup and wanders around searching for something) Sukayna, you've been thirsty for days. Please, drink something.

 

Sukayna: I need to find my brother Ali Asghar to give him water before I can drink first. Where is he?

 

Zainab: Sukayna, Ali Asghar has gone on to drink from the Fountain of Kawthar in Paradise along with Abbas and Qasim and everyone else. But they cannot drink before you do. Please, have some water.

 

Sukayna: I wish I could bring you this water with my own hands, Uncle, since you gave up your hands trying to bring me water. Drink, Ali, in Heaven then. (cries an then drinks a little, then the food and water is passed around and they take a bit, painfully since they haven't eaten or drank in some time)

 

(Zainab emerges from group and speaks. Breaks down)

 

Zainab: O father, we need you now. We needed you when Ali Akbar and Qasim were in the battlefield. We needed you when Abbas was trying to get water for Sukayna. We needed you when they cut of my brother's head. We need you now. You were always so strong. Help us!........ (Raises hands to sky) O Allah, give me the strength to bear this catastrophe. O Allah, give me the patience to endure these trials, and help me to stand against the indignities that are to come. Grant us courage, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.

 

Click here to listen to the sound clip at the end of Scene 3