His skills in single combat had become legendary. When he saw that Umar Saa’d and his men had made up their mind to kill Imam Husayn (pbuh) and his kinsmen, he was itching to give them a taste of his sword which had always struck terror in his enemies’ hearts. With difficulty Imam Husayn (pbuh) was able to restrain him and convince him that his purpose was not to attack the enemy but to defend and die like martyrs.
It was Burayr who, during his rounds of the camp, had heard the cries of the thirsty children for water and had called a few of the friends of Imam Husayn (pbuh) to make arrangements to bring at least one bag full of water to wet the dry lips of the children. He and the gallant few had marched towards the river bank with determination to get water, cost what it might. When challenged by the soldiers of Umar Saa’d, who were guarding the river banks, and being asked as to who he was and for what he had come, he had boldly told them that he was Burayr Hamadani, follower of Imam Husayn (pbuh), and had come to take water from the river to Imam Husayn (pbuh)’s camp for the thirsty children of
“We have not the least objection to you and your friends drinking as much water as you want,” they had replied, “but we cannot allow you to take a drop of water for Imam Husayn (pbuh)’s children.” How infuriated he had got at this reply and shouted back at them: “O heartless brutes, you have no consideration for the helpless children of Imam Husayn (pbuh) whom thirst is killing? So long as these innocent children do not get water, it is unthinkable for any of us to taste even a drop of it.” When they mockingly rejected his request, he said: added: “If that is your final reply, be ready to fight us, for we shall not go back without water, whatever the consequences.”
With what bravery he and a handful of his friends had fought and dispersed the regiment that was guarding the river, and with what satisfaction he had filled the bag with water and hurried towards the camp. How with pride and satisfaction he had placed the bag of water at the feet of the thirsty children who had clustered round the water-bag with shouts of joy and thrown themselves on it! With what dismay he had seen the tied end of the bag opening under the crush of the thirsty children and water flowing out on the dry soil, and the children crying with disappointment and rubbing their bodies on the wet sand! Moved to tears at this heart-rending sight, how he had exclaimed in utter despondency: “Alas, Burayr’s efforts have gone in vain and the thirst of these innocents has remained unquenched!”