SCENE 3: KARBALA, 9 MUHARRAM -- Camp of Imam Husain (as), Camp of Hurr and Ibn Sa'd, Euphrates river, battlefield
(Hurr is camped there with his army)
(Imam Husain (as) comes out of sajdah on dirt. Looks as if he has just heard something. )
Imam Husain: (raising head and turning it towards Kufa) Wa alaikum assalaam. (Stands) Inna lillah wa inna ilayhi raji'oun. Walhamdulillahi rabbil 'aalameen.
(Children come up to him crying. Roqayyah comes and tugs on Imam Husain's clothes)
Roqayyah: Baba, Baba
Sukayna: We're thirsty.
Zainab: The children haven't had water for two days. They can't take it anymore.
Sukayna: Abbas brought us water two days ago. He can go again.
Roqayyah: Abbas, water?
Abbas: (looking across to river) No. Not now. Not with that army here. Not this time.
Imam Husain: It kills me not to be able to help them. Curse that army that's holding us here. (calling across the plain) Hurr, you still deny these children water! You and your men were dying of thirst, six days ago, and we gave you and your men and your horses water from our own supplies. This is the desert. We're next to a river. (points to Euphrates) You have no right to block it!
Hurr: I hear you, grandson of the Messenger of Allah. I know we drank your water. I know we prayed behind you. I know it's only been a few days. But I'm under orders. Ibn Ziyad sent me another message yesterday. All I can do is let you stay here. I was supposed to arrest you and take you to Kufa. At least here, you're free. We haven't taken you captive yet.
Imam Husain: Don't talk about your orders, Hurr. You are choosing for yourself, and you are choosing the Fire.
Hurr: I'm sorry. I really have no choice.
Imam Husain: May Allah guide you, for if you continue like this, your suffering in the Hereafter will be much worse than theirs in this desert. (indicates children)
(Old Man in traditional dress walks onstage and observes their discourse)
Zaynab: No water?
Imam Husain: Not yet, my sister. Try to distract them. But, to be honest, even I cannot stand this thirst. (Detaches Roqayyah and returns her to Zaynab and walks to greet the man)
Imam Husain: Assalaamu alaikum
Old Man: Wa alaikum assalaam, stranger.
Imam Husain: Do you live here?
Old Man: Yes, but no one else ever comes here. I've never seen so many people here before. (looks at Imam Husain's camp and then at the army)
Imam Husain: What do you call this place?
Old Man: Some call it Ghadiriyyah.
Imam Husain: They do, but certainly they call it something else.
Old Man: Some call it Al-Taff.
Imam Husain: That too; but surely it has a third name.
Old Man: Yes, it has another name, not used much. Some call it Karbala. Land of sorrows and sufferings. I don't know why, except for maybe the heat. The whole desert burns during the daytime, especially these days. They say that the Prophets of old used to come here and shed tears. They say even Prophet Issa (as) came here and wept. Some say Prophet Adam (as) met his end here. Of course, maybe these all are just stories.
Imam Husain: They are not stories, brother. We have come to fulfill their prophecies.
Old Man: (eyes widening) What times have we come to.
Imam Husain: We wish to purchase some of your land.
Old Man: Why? I’m just asking - no one has ever wanted it before.
Imam Husain: We wish to purchase it, for we will not be leaving it alive, and I do not want to burden you with our resting place.
Old Man: That army's after you? I’d help you fight, but I can't anymore. (Imam Husain gestures to Abbas, and he brings some money) It's yours, of course, if you want it.
Imam Husain: (pointing) We will buy from there to there. (Abbas gives Imam Husain the money, who gives it to the man)
Old Man: (looking at the money) This is too much. Our land isn't worth anything, really.
Imam Husain: We don't need it for long. As soon as we are finished, you can have it back.
Old Man: You're buying this desert so you can give it back to me?
Imam Husain: Yes.
Old Man: For what?
Imam Husain: On one condition. Promise us that you will allow us to be buried here (points to the area that he bought), and promise us that you will host anyone who comes to visit our graves.
Old Man: For how long?
Imam Husain: Three days. Look after them for three days. But do it until the end of time.
(drums in the distance; a war trumpet)
Old Man: Agreed. If anyone comes here, I will take care of them, insha'allah. (looking over uneasily) The sun is going down. I have to go.
Imam Husain: God be with you.
Old Man: God be with you too, stranger. (Old Man goes offstage)