On such day in the year 61 AH, forty days passed since the painful, bloody tragedy of Karbala, during which the martyrdom of Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) and his family and noble companions (may God be pleased with them) took place.
Historical sources mention that when the convoy of female captives returned from the Levant to Medina, they reached a crossroads, one of them leading to Iraq, and the other to Hijaz, so they said to the guide: Take us to the Karbala road.
On the twentieth day of Safar - that is, the day of the fortieth - they reached Karbala, and they visited the grave of Imam Al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) and his family and companions, and held the funeral of condolences, and they remained in that state for days.
It is narrated that ‘Atiyyah al-‘Awfi said:
I left with Jabir bin ‘Abdillah al-Ansari (may Allah have mercy on him) to visit the grave of al-Hussayn bin ‘Ali (‘a) bin Abi Talib (upon whom be peace); and when we entered Karbala, Jabir came near the bank of River Euphrates, performed the major ablution (ghusl) and wore his clothes; then he opened his purse which contained su’d [a plant with sweet odor]. He spread the perfume over his body; thereafter he did not take a step save in the remembrance of Allah, until he neared the grave [of al-Hussayn (peace be upon him)].
[Then] he said to me: Make me touch the grave, and I made him do so. Thereupon he fell over the grave unconscious.
I sprinkled some water on him, and he gained consciousness.
Then he cried three times ‘Ya Hussayn….’
Addressing al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) he said:
Why is the beloved not responding to the call of the lover? And how can you respond, while your veins have been severed, and your body has been separated from your head? I bear witness that you are the offspring of Prophets, and the son of the master of believers, and the offspring of the companion of piety, and the offspring of guidance, and the fifth member of the people of the cloak, and the son of the master of chiefs, and the son of Fatimah, the mistress of women; how can you not be so, while the hand of the Leader of Apostles (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household) fed you, and you were breast fed from the breast of belief, and trained in the bosoms of pious people, your weaning accompanied the state of utter submission; hence you enjoyed a pleasant state both during your life and death; however, the hearts of the believers are sorrowful due to your separation, and do not doubt about your good position. So upon you be Allah’s Peace and Approval. And I bear witness that you faced what your brother [Prophet] Yahya (peace be upon him) had faced.
Thereafter Jabir felt the presence around the grave and said:
Peace be unto you and the spirits that have descended in the neighborhood of al-Hussayn (peace be upon him)…I bear witness that you kept prayer steadfast and gave the zakat and you commanded the good and prohibited the forbidden and struggled against the deniers of religion and you worshipped Allah until conviction came to you.
I swear by the One Who sent Mohammad as a Prophet with truth; surely we participated with you in what you encountered.
‘Atiyyah (not understanding this powerful statement made by Jabir) says: I asked Jabir: How can that be possible, while we did not descend on any valley, nor did we climb any mountainous area, nor did we fight with the sword, whereas the heads of the group of al-Hussayn (peace be upon him) have been separated from their bodies, their children made orphans and their women made widows?
Jabir said: “O ‘Atiyyah, I heard from my beloved, the Apostle of Allah (Allah’s prayers be upon him and upon his holy Household), say: ‘Whosoever loves a nation, would be resurrected with them, and whosoever loves the deed of a nation, would be considered one who has participated in the deed. I swear by the One Who Sent Muhammad as a Prophet in truth, surely my intention and the intention of my companions is according to the intention of al-Hussayn and his companions.”
‘Atiyyah said: While we were like this, and behold, a blackness has risen from the direction of the Levant. I said: Oh Jaber, this is blackness that has risen from the direction of Levant. Jaber said to his servant: Go to this blackness, and bring us its news. If they are among the companions of Omar bin Saad, return to us. Perhaps we will resort to a shelter, and if it is Zayn al-Abideen (peace be upon him), then you are free for the sake of God Almighty.
He said: Then the servant departed, and he returned rapidly while saying: O Jabir, rise and receive the family of the Messenger of God (Allah's prayers be upon him and his family). This is Zayn Al-Abideen (peace be upon him) who came with his aunts and sisters.
Jaber walked barefoot with his head uncovered, until he came to Zayn al-Abideen (peace be upon him). Then the Imam (peace be upon him) said: Are you Jabir? He said: Yes, O son of the Messenger of God. He said: Oh Jabir, here, by God, our men were killed, our children were slaughtered, our women were taken captive, and our tents were burned.