Imam Hussain, on his route to Kufa, encountered Hur and his companions on the 1st of Muharram, 61 A.H. This was the time when Hur and his companions were suffering from extreme thirst. The Imam ordered his companions to open all stocks of water to satisfy Hur and his companions and even their rides.
It was now the time for noon prayers and Hajjaj bin Masruq Juafi, one of the honorable martyrs of Karbala, pronounced azan (call to prayers) under the orders of the Imam.
The Imam then came out of his tent and conversed with them after the call to prayers. Then after praising the Almighty Allah he said, " O people! My excuse before Allah and you Muslims of Kufa is that I did not proceed to Iraq without reason. Your representatives came to me and you wrote in your letters that you had no Imam and asked me to come to you so that Allah might guide you through me. I have come now. If you are prepared to assure me by renewing your promises and covenants I shall come to your city, but if you dont do so or are worried and disturbed on account of my arrival I am prepared to return to the place from which I have come".
Hur and his companions did not, however, give any reply to the Imam. Both the armies offered congregational prayers led by the Imam.
After the prayers the Imam spoke to the companions of Hur once again and said:
"O people! If you fear Allah and are pious and recognize the right of the rightful persons Allah will be pleased with you. We the members of the family of the Holy Prophet are the fittest persons to govern you and to exercise authority over you in material and religious matters as compared with the persons, who are at the helm of affairs these days. They are unreasonable persons and claim to hold a very sacred and delicate office which they do not deserve. They oppress you. Such persons cannot be recognized to be the successors of the Holy Prophet, Imams of the Muslims, defenders of the sacred religion of Islam and the protectors of the Holy Quran".
Hur bin Yazid Riyahi said in reply to the remarks of the Imam: "I swear by Allah that I am not aware of the letters and the messengers."
The Imam asked Uqbah bin Saman to place the letters of the Kufians before Hur and his men."
However, Hur said again: "We have not written any letter and we shall not leave you until we take you before Ibn Ziyad".
The Imam said: "This is not possible before death".
The Imam and Hur mounted along with their respective companions and adopted a route that led neither to Madina nor to Kufa.
In the meantime Hur said to the Imam by way of sympathy and advice: "I entreat you in the name of Allah not to fight, because if you fight you will be killed".
The Imam got excited and said: "Do you threaten me with death? Will you be comforted by killing me? My reply is the same which the man from Aws tribe gave when he wanted to support the Holy Prophet, but his cousin warned him of being killed and said: "Where are you going? You will be killed". That Awsi man replied: "I have selected my path and for a brave man, whose intentions are good, who does not lose the spirit of Islam in the path of jihad and does not care for his life in assisting the good people, keeps aloof from the ignoble persons, and does not accompany the wicked, it is not a matter of shame to die honorably. If I live I will not have to regret and in case I lay down my life in this path I shall not be reproached. The baseness of man lies in the fact that he should live an ignominious and shameful life."
On another occasion during the journey to Karbala, The Imam explained explicitly the conditions prevailing during those days in 60 A.H. and said:
"You should know that these people namely the agents of the Caliphate of Bani Umayya follow Satan, carry out his orders and do not forsake his obedience. In the same proportion they have disobeyed Allah and started committing crimes openly and have suspended the Divine punishments. They have appropriated the property of the Muslims to themselves i.e. they have allocated to themselves the money which should have been credited to the public treasury of the Muslims; spent for their own selfish desires. They have treated the things made lawful by Allah to be unlawful and those made unlawful by Him to be lawful. Now that they have created these conditions, who can be more responsible to change them and eliminate the causes of the decline of the Muslims in accordance with the orders of the Holy Prophet than myself. I am Hussain bin Ali, the son of Fatima, and one of those for whose sake the verse of Purification (33:33) and the verse of Mubahila (3:61) were revealed, and I am the disciple of Imam Ali, the Commander of the Faithful".
On Thursday, the 2nd of Muharram 61 A.H. Imam Hussain camped at a place in the region of Naynava called Karbala. On the following day Umar bin Sad bin Abi Waqqas Zohari reached there from Kufa with 4000 soldiers and encamped opposite the camp of Imam.
Sad belonged to the family of Bani Zohra bin Kilab of the tribe of Quraysh and was a near relative of Lady Amina, mother of the Holy Prophet. Umars father Sad bin Abi Waqqas was one of the five persons who embraced Islam, in the beginning of the Holy Prophets mission. He is well-known in the history of Islam and in connection with the Islamic conquests.
Umar bin Sad sent someone to the Imam enquiring of him as to why he had come to Iraq. The Imam said in reply: "The Iraqis themselves sent letters to me inviting me to come. Now if you do not like my coming I am prepared to return to the Hijaz".
Ibn Sad wrote a letter to Ibn Ziyad and informed him of what the Imam had said. Ibn Ziyad said: "Now that he has been caught in our clutches he hopes to escape and return to the Hijaz. There is now no question of showing indulgence and no way is open for him". Further he wrote to Ibn Sad: "I have carefully read your letter and understood what you have written. Tell Husayn bin Ali that he and all his companions should take oath of allegiance to Yazid. When this has been done we shall take some decision about them".