As soon as the tragedy of at-Taf ended, and Imam al-Hussayn and his holy family and companions (peace be upon all of them) were martyred, until other chapters of this tragic event began, as the journey of the captives of Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) from Karbala to Kufa, and then to the Levant, preceded by the heads of the martyrs on spears. And the journey of captivity was an integral part of that painful event.
And on such day, the first of Safar 61 AH, was the day of the entry of the captives of the holy Household of Mohammad (Allah's prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household) to the Levant.
The Prophet's family was halted behind the door of Syria for 3 days, while the town was being decorated in a manner as was never seen before . Five hundred thousand Syrian men and women, accompanied by tambourines, cymbals and drums wore new dresses and prepared themselves.
At the end of the day, with great difficulty, they could reach the gate of the palace of Yazeed bin Mu'awiyah due to the large crowd of men. A throne, studded with jewels, was laid for Yazeed and his house was decorated, while golden and silver chairs were kept surrounding his throne. The courtiers of Yazeed ordered the bearers of the heads to enter therein and they complied. They said, "By the honour of the commander! We killed the Progeny of Abu Turab (Imam Ali) and severed their origins". Then they narrated the entire episode and laid the heads in front of him. The Ahl al-Bayt (peace be upon them) were imprisoned for a prolonged time.
The oppressive Syrians said, "We have never ever seen such beautiful captives. Who are you?" Lady Sakeena (peace be upon her), the daughter of Imam Husain (peace be upon him), replied, "We are the captives of the family of Mohammad (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household)". They were detained at the stairway of the mosque along with Imam Ali bin Husain (Zayn al-Abideen) (peace be upon him), who was in his youth. An old man from among the Syrians approached them and said, "Praise be to Allah that He has killed and destroyed you and put off the fire of revolt".
Then he said whatever he desired, and when he became silent, Imam Zayn al-Abideen (peace be upon him) told him, "Have you read the Qur'an of Allah?" And he replied in the affirmative. He said, "Have you read this verse: Say (O Our Messenger): I demand not of you any recompense for (the toils of the Prophethood) save the love of (my) relatives.' ?" He said, "Yes, I have". Imam (peace be upon him) said, "We are from that very family. Then have you not read this verse: And give to the near of kin his due." He replied that he had read it, and Imam Sajjad (peace be upon him) said, "We are one of those". Then he retorted, "Haven't you read this verse: Verily Allah intends but to keep off from you (every kind of) uncleanliness O you the People of the House, and purify you (with) a thorough purification? He said, "Why not", and Imam said, "We are the ones referred to herein". Hearing this, the Syrian man lifted up his hands towards the heavens and said, "O Lord! I disassociate myself in Your presence from the enemies and the murderers of the progeny of Mohammad (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household). I frequently read the Qur'an but never ever pondered upon this until today".
Al-Majlisi has narrated in Behar al-Anwar that the al-Hussayn convoy entered Damascus during day time while its people had hung the decorations everywhere happily and excitedly, at the time where their women were playing the tambourines as if it was their greatest Eid (festival).
It was narrated from Sahl Ibn Saad Al-Saedy (the Prophet's companion) that he had said: «I was going to Jerusalem and when I reached the Levant, I found myself in a city with long rivers and heavy trees, while its people had hung the decorations everywhere happily and excitedly, and their women were playing the drums and the tambourines, so I said to myself: Maybe the people of the Levant has an Eid (festival) that we are not aware of! I saw some people talking between each other, so I said: Do you have an Eid that we do not know? They said: O old man, we see that you are a stranger, I said: I am Sahl Ibn Saad, I had seen the Messenger of Allah (Allah's prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household) and narrated his Hadith (Sayings). So they said: O Sahl, it is a wonder that the sky does not rain blood, and the earth does not swallow its people! I said: why is that?
They said: this is the head of al-Hussayn, the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (Allah's prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household), it is being carried as a gift from Iraq to the Levant and it is almost here. So I said: It is a wonder! As the head of al-Hussayn is given as a gift and the people are pleased?!!
I asked, "From which gate are they being entered in?" They pointed towards a door named gate of as Sa'at. Suddenly I saw standards one after the other, and one horseman held a long pointless lance on which was mounted a head that resembled most to the Prophet of Allah (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household) with regards to his cheeks than anyone else. Following the head were the women mounted upon saddleless camels.
I went towards them and asked one of them, "Whose daughter are you?" She replied, "I am Sakinah daughter of al-Hussayn". I asked, "Do you have any desire? I am Sahl Ibn Sa'ad, one of the companions of your Grandfather, the Prophet of Allah (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household)". She replied, "Tell the bearer of this head to take it further away from our midst so that the people may be busy in looking at it while the family of the Prophet of Allah (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household) may be relieved from their sight". I went to the bearer of the head and said, "Do you desire obtaining four hundred Ashrafi and in lieu of this fulfil my desire?" He asked as to what was it, and I replied, "Take this head further away from the midst of these women". He agreed and took the Ashrafi.
Sahl Ibn Sa′ad al-Sa'idi said: I came to Ali Ibn al-Hussayn (peace be upon them), and I told him): O Master, is there anything I can do for you?” He told me: Do you have some Dirhams on you? I replied One thousand dinars and One Thousand paper. He told me: Take from it a bit and give it to the one who carries the head and tell him to keep it away from the women?”
Sahl said I did as the Imam (peace be upon him) told me and came back to him, and asked: O Master, I did what you ordered me" Is there anything else I can do for you? He replied: O Sahl, do you have an old cloth? I said: O Master, what are you going to do with it, you are offering people precious clothes as gifts and you ask me for an old garment? He told me: O Sahl, I want to put it under this chain as it has eaten my neck! Sahl said I gave him the cloth, and when he lifted the chain, the blood flowed from beneath it."