Husayn ibn Ali

Last updated
Husayn bin Ali bin Abi Talib

Third Imam of Shia Muslims
Abu Abd Allah
lHsyn bn `ly.svg
Calligraphic representation of Husayn's name
Native name
ٱلْحُسَيْن ابْن عَلِي ابْن أَبِي طَالِب
Born10 October 625
(3 Sha'aban AH 4) [1]
Died10 October 680(680-10-10) (aged 55)
(10 Muharram AH 61)
Cause of deathBeheaded at the Battle of Karbala by Shimr
Resting placeHis shrine at Karbala, Karbala Governorate, Iraq
32°36′59″N44°1′56.29″E / 32.61639°N 44.0323028°E / 32.61639; 44.0323028
MonumentsIraq, Syria
ResidenceMedinah, Hejaz
Known forBeing a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad
The Battle of Karbala
Term AC 670–680
Predecessor(As Shia Imam) Hasan ibn Ali
Successor(As Shia Imam) Ali Zayn al-Abidin
Opponent(s) Yazid ibn Muawiyah
Spouse(s) Shahrbanu
Umme Rubāb
Umme Laylā
Children 'Alī Zayn al-'Ābidīn, Sakīnah (Mother: Shahrbanu)
'Alī al-Akbar, Fāṭimah aṣ-Ṣughrá (Mother: Laylā)
Sukaynah and,
'Alī al-Aṣghar(Mother: Rubāb) [7]
Relatives Family tree of Husayn ibn Ali

Al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī ibn Abi Talib (Arabic : ٱلْحُسَيْن ابْن عَلِي ابْن أَبِي طَالِب; 10 October 625 – 10 October 680; also transliterated as Husayn ibn Ali, Husain, Hussain and Hussein) was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a son of Ali ibn Abi Talib (the first Shia Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph of Sunni Islam) and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. He is an important figure in Islam as he was a member of the Bayt (Household) of Muhammad and the Ahl al-Kisā' (People of the Cloak), as well as the third Shia Imam.

Muhammad in Islam Muslims consider him a master, legislator and the last prophet of the prophets in Islam

Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdullāh ibn ʿAbdul-Muṭṭalib ibn Hāshim, commonly known as Muhammad, is the seal of prophets and Prophet of God in all the main branches of Islam. Muslims believe that the Quran, the central religious text of Islam, was revealed to Muhammad by God, and that Muhammad was sent to restore Islam, which they believe to be the unaltered original monotheistic faith of Adam, Ibrahim, Musa, 'Isa, and other Prophets. The religious, social, and political tenets that Muhammad established with the Quran became the foundation of Islam and the Muslim world.

Shia Islam Denomination of Islam which holds that Muhammad designated Ali as his successor and leader (imam), whose adherents form the majority of the population in Iran, Iraq, Azerbaijan, and Bahrain

Shia Islam is one of the two main branches of Islam. It holds that the Islamic prophet Muhammad designated Ali ibn Abi Talib as his successor and the Imam (leader) after him, most notably at the event of Ghadir Khumm, but was prevented from the caliphate as a result of the incident of Saqifah. This view primarily contrasts with that of Sunni Islam, whose adherents believe that Muhammad did not appoint a successor and consider Abu Bakr, who they claim was appointed caliph by a small group of Muslims at Saqifah, to be the first rightful caliph after the Prophet.

Rashidun title

The Rashidun Caliphs, often simply called, collectively, "the Rashidun", is a term used in Sunni Islam to refer to the 30-year reign of the first four caliphs (successors) following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, namely: Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman ibn Affan, and Ali of the Rashidun Caliphate, the first caliphate. The concept of "Rightly Guided Caliphs" originated with the later Abbasid Caliphate based in Baghdad. It is a reference to the Sunni imperative "Hold firmly to my example (sunnah) and that of the Rightly Guided Caliphs".


Prior to his death, the Umayyad ruler Muawiya appointed his son Yazid as his successor in a clear violation of the Hasan-Muawiya treaty. [8] When Muawiya died in 680 CE, Yazid demanded that Husain pledge allegiance to him. Husain refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid, even though it meant sacrificing his life. As a consequence, he left Medina, his hometown, to take refuge in Mecca in AH 60. [8] [9] There, the people of Kufah sent letters to him, asking his help and pledging their allegiance to him. So he traveled towards Kufah; [8] however, at a place near it known as Karbala, his caravan was intercepted by Yazid's army. He was killed and beheaded in the Battle of Karbala on 10 October 680 (the 10th of Muharram in 61 AH) by Yazid, along with most of his family and companions, including Husayn's six month old son, Ali al-Asghar, with the women and children taken as prisoners. [8] [10] Anger at Husayn's death was turned into a rallying cry that helped undermine the Umayyad caliphate's legitimacy, and ultimately its overthrow by the Abbasid Revolution. [11] [12]

Mecca Saudi Arabian city and capital of the Makkah province

Mecca, also spelled Makkah, is a city in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. 70 km (43 mi) inland from Jeddah, in a narrow valley 277 m (909 ft) above sea level, 340 kilometres (210 mi) south of Medina, its population in 2012 was 2 million, although visitors more than triple this number every year during the Ḥajj, held in the twelfth Muslim lunar month of Dhūl-Ḥijjah.

Karbala Place in Iraq

Karbala, also Kerbala, is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km (62 mi) southwest of Baghdad, and a few dozen miles east of Lake Milh. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate, and has an estimated population of 700,000 people (2015).

Battle of Karbala 10 Muharram 61, October 10, 680 AD

The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 AH of the Islamic calendar in Karbala, in present-day Iraq. The battle took place between a small group of supporters and relatives of Muhammad's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, and a larger military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph.

Husayn is highly regarded by Shia Muslims for refusing to pledge allegiance to Yazid, [13] the Umayyad caliph, because he considered the rule of the Umayyads unjust. [13] The annual memorial for him and his children, family and companions occurs during Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the day he was martyred is known as Ashura (the tenth day of Muharram, a day of mourning for Shi'i Muslims). Husayn's actions at Karbala fueled later Shia movements, [12] and the martyrdom of Husayn was decisive in shaping Islamic and Shia history. The timing of the Imam's life and martyrdom were crucial as they were in one of the most challenging periods of the seventh century. During this time, Umayyad oppression was rampant, and the stand of Husain and his followers took became a symbol of resistance inspiring future uprisings against oppressors and injustice. Throughout history, many notable personalities, such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, have cited Husain's stand against oppression as an example for their own fights against injustice. [14]

Muharram first month of the Islamic calendar

Muḥarram is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year during which warfare is forbidden. It is held to be the second holiest month, after Ramaḍān. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.

Martyr person who suffers persecution and death for advocating, refusing to renounce, and/or refusing to advocate a belief or cause, usually a religious one

A martyr is someone who suffers persecution and death for advocating, renouncing, refusing to renounce, or refusing to advocate a belief or cause as demanded by an external party. In the martyrdom narrative of the remembering community, this refusal to comply with the presented demands results in the punishment or execution of an actor by an alleged oppressor. Accordingly, the status of the 'martyr' can be considered a posthumous title as a reward for those who are considered worthy of the concept of martyrdom by the living, regardless of any attempts by the deceased to control how they will be remembered in advance. Originally applied only to those who suffered for their religious beliefs, the term has come to be used in connection with people killed for a political cause.

Mourning of Muharram Shia Muslim set of rituals

The Mourning of Muharram is a set of rituals associated with mainly Shia Muslims; however, some Muslims from other sects, as well as some non-Muslims, also take part in the remembrance. The commemoration falls in Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Many of the events associated with the ritual take place in congregation halls known as Hussainia.


Ḥusayn ibn 'Alī

Shiism: Imam; Proof of God, The Martyr of Martyrs, Master of the Martyrs
All Islam: Ahl al-Bayt, Ṣaḥābī, Martyr; Master of the Youths of Paradise [15]
Venerated inAll Islam (Salafis honour rather than venerate him).
Major shrine Imam Husayn Shrine, Karbala, Iraq

Husayn's maternal grandmother was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, and his paternal grandparents were Abu Talib and Fatimah bint Asad. Hasan and Husayn were regarded by Muhammad as his own sons due to his love for them and as they were the sons of his daughter Fatima and he regarded her children as his own children and descendants. He said "Every mother's children are associated with their father except for the children of Fatimah for I am their father and lineage." Thus, the descendants of Fatimah are the descendants of Muhammad, and are part of his family. [16] [17]

Abu Talib ibn Abd al-Muttalib Uncle of Muhammad

Imran ibn ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib,, Better known as Abu Talib or ‘Abd Manāf .}} c. 535 – c. 619), was the leader of Banu Hashim, a clan of the Qurayshi tribe of Mecca in the Hejazi region of the Arabian Peninsula. He was an uncle of the Islamic Nabī (Prophet) Muhammad, and father of the Rashid Caliph Ali, who is also regarded as the first Shi'ite Imam. After the death of his father Abd al-Muttalib ibn Hashim ibn Abd Manaf, he inherited this position, and the offices of Siqaya and Rifada. He was well-respected in Mecca despite a declining fortune.

Fatimah bint Asad Sahabah

Fatimah bint Asad was the mother of Ali bin Abi Talib.

Hasan ibn Ali Grandson of Muhammad, son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatimah bint Muhammad, and second Shia Imam

Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, commonly known as Hasan or Hassan, was the eldest son of Ali and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, and was the older brother of Husayn. Muslims respect him as a grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Among Shia Muslims, Hasan is revered as the second Imam. Hasan was elected for the caliphate after his father's death, but abdicated after six or seven months to Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty to end the First Fitna. Al-Hasan was known for donating to the poor, his kindness to the poor and bondmen, and for his knowledge, tolerance and bravery. For the rest of his life, Hasan lived in Medina, until he died at the age of 45 and was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery in Medina. His wife, Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, is commonly accused of having poisoned him.

Husayn had several children:

Ali al-Akbar ibn Husayn Great-grandson of Muhammad who was killed in the Battle of Karbala

Ali al-Akbar ibn Al-Husayn, commonly known as simply Ali al-Akbar, was the son of Al-Husayn ibn Ali, the third Shia Imam, and Umm Layla. He was killed at the age of 18 on the day of ‘Ashura’, in Karbala’. ‘Ali Al-Akbar is highly respected by Shia Muslim and also respected by Sunni Muslims. According to Jean Calmard writing in Iranica, ‘Ali al-Akbar's reputation as a valiant warrior of the Household of Muhammad might have preceded that of Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali.

Sukayna bint Husayn daughter of Husayn ibn Ali

Ruqayyah bint Al-Ḥusayn, was the daughter of Husayn ibn Ali and Rubab bint Imra al-Qais ibn Adi bin Aws. Her brothers included Ali Zaynul-Abidin, Ali al-Akbar, and Ali al-Asghar. Her sisters included Fatimah as-Sughra and Fatimah al-Kubra, with the latter also being called 'Sakinah'.

Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn Great-grandson of Muhammad who was killed in the Battle of Karbala as an infant

Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Al-Husayn, or simply Ali Asghar, was the youngest child of Al-Husayn and Rubab bint Imra’ al-Qays. He was killed during the Battle of Karbala, and is commemorated in shia as the "personified quintessence of the innocent victim."

Birth and early life

Husayn was born on 10 October CE 625 (3 Sha'aban AH 4). [1] However, Shia Hadith state that He was born AH 3. [18] Husayn and his brother Hasan were reportedly the last male descendants of Muhammad living during his lifetime and remaining after his death. There are many accounts of his love for them which refer to them together. [8] [lower-alpha 1] Muhammad is reported to have said that "He who loves me and loves these two, their father and their mother, will be with me at my place on the Day of Resurrection." [19] and that "Hussain is of me and I am of him. Allah loves those who love Hussain. Hussain is a grandson among grandsons." [19] A narration declares Hasan and Husain as the "Masters of the Youth of Paradise"; this has been particularly important for the Shia who have used it in support of the right of Muhammad's descendants to succeed him. The Shi'a maintain that the infallibility of the Imam is a basic rule in the Imamate. "The theologians have defined the Imamate, saying: "Surely the Imamate is a grace from Allah, Who grants it to the most perfect and best of His servants to Him" [20] Other traditions record Muhammad with his grandsons on his knees, on his shoulders, and even on his back during prayer at the moment of prostrating himself, when they were young. [21]

According to Wilferd Madelung, Muhammad loved them and declared them as people of his Bayt very frequently. [22] He has also said: "Every mother's children are associated with their father except for the children of Fatima for I am their father and lineage." Thus, the descendants of Fatimah were descendants of Muhammad, and part of his Bayt. [16] According to popular Sunni belief, it refers to the household of Muhammad. Shia popular view is the members of Muhammad's family that were present at the incident of Mubahalah. According to Muhammad Baqir Majlisi who compiled Bihar al-Anwar, a collection of ahadith ('accounts', 'narrations' or 'reports'), Chapter 46 Verse 15 (Al-Ahqaf) and Chapter 89 Verses 27-30 (Al-Fajr) of the Qur'an are regarding Al-Husayn.[ citation needed ]

Incident of the Mubahalah

In the year AH 10 (AD 631/32) a Christian envoy from Najran (now in southern Saudi Arabia) came to Muhammad to argue which of the two parties erred in its doctrine concerning 'Īsā (Jesus). After likening Jesus' miraculous birth to Adam's (Adem) creation, [lower-alpha 2] —who was born to neither a mother nor a father — and when the Christians did not accept the Islamic doctrine about Jesus, Muhammad was instructed to call them to Mubahalah where each party should ask God to destroy the false party and their families. [23] [24] "If anyone dispute with you in this matter [concerning Jesus] after the knowledge which has come to you, say: Come let us call our sons and your sons, our women and your women, ourselves and yourselves, then let us swear an oath and place the curse of God on those who lie." [lower-alpha 3] [23] [25] Sunni historians, except Tabari who do not name the participants, mention Muhammad, Fatimah, Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn as the participants, and some agree with the Shia tradition that 'Ali was among them. Accordingly, in the verse of Mubahalah, in the Shia perspective, the phrase "our sons" refers to Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, "our women" refers to Fatimah, and "ourselves" refers to Ali. [23] [25]

Life under the first five Caliphs

Mu'awiyah, who was the governor of the Syrian region under Uthman ibn Affan, had refused Ali's demands for allegiance, and had long been in conflict with him. [26] After Ali was assassinated and people gave allegiance to Hasan, Mu'awiyah prepared to fight with him. The battle led to inconclusive skirmishes between the armies of Hasan and Mu'awiyah. To avoid the agonies of the civil war, Hasan signed a treaty with Mu'awiyah, according to which Mu'awiyah would not name a successor during his reign, and let the Islamic Ummah (Community) choose his successor. [27]

Era of the Umayyad Caliphate

Reign of Muawiyah

According to the Shi'ah, Husayn was the third Imam for a period of ten years after the death of his brother Hasan in CE 669. All of this time except the last six months coincided with the caliphate of Mu'awiyah. [28] After the peace treaty with Hasan, Mu'awiyah set out with his troops to Kufa, where at a public surrender ceremony Hasan rose and reminded the people that he and Husayn were the only grandsons of Muhammad, and that he had surrendered the reign to Mu'awiyah in the best interest of the community: "O people, surely it was God who led you by the first of us and Who has spared you bloodshed by the last of us. I have made peace with Mu'awiyah, and I know not whether haply this be not for your trial, and that ye may enjoy yourselves for a time." [lower-alpha 4] [29] declared Hasan. [27]

In the nine-year period between Hasan's abdication in 41/660 and his death in 49/669, Hasan and Husayn retired in Medina trying to keep aloof from political involvement for or against Muawiyah. [27] [30]

Shia feelings, however, though not visible above the surface, occasionally emerged in the form of small groups, mostly from Kufa, visiting Hasan and Husayn asking them to be their leaders - a request to which they declined to respond. [23] Even ten years later, after the death of Hasan, when Iraqis turned to his younger brother, Husayn, concerning an uprising, Husayn instructed them to wait as long as Muawiyah was alive due to Hasan's peace treaty with him. [27] Later on, however, and before his death, Muawiyah named his son Yazid as his successor. [8]

Reign of Yazid

One of the important points of the treaty made between Al-Hasan and Mu'awiyah was that the latter should not designate anyone as his successor after his death. But after the death of Al-Hasan, Mu'awiyah, thinking that no one would be courageous enough to object to his decision as the caliph, designated his son Yazid as his successor in AD 680, breaking the treaty. [31] Robert Payne quotes Mu'awiyah in History of Islam as telling his son Yazid to defeat Al-Husayn – because Mu'awiyah thought he was surely preparing an army against him – but to deal with him gently thereafter as Al-Husayn was a descendant of Muhammad, but to deal with 'Abd Allah ibn al-Zubair swiftly, as Mu'awiyah feared him the most. [32]

In April AD 680, Yazid succeeded his father as caliph. He immediately instructed the governor of Al-Medinah to compel Al-Husayn and few other prominent figures to give their Bay'ah (Pledge of allegiance). [8] Al-Husain, however, refrained from it, believing that Yazid was openly going against the teachings of Islam in public, and changing the sunnah (Arabic : سنة, deeds, sayings, etc.) of Muhammad. [33] [34] In his view the integrity and survival of the Islamic community depended on the re-establishment of the correct guidance. [35] He and his household left Al-Medinah to seek asylum in Mecca. [8]

While in Mecca, ibn al-Zubayr, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas advised Al-Husayn to make Mecca his base, and fight against Yazid from there. [36]

Battle of Karbala

Painting commemorating the death of Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala, though its focus is his half brother Abbas ibn Ali on a white horse Brooklyn Museum - Battle of Karbala - Abbas Al-Musavi - overall.jpg
Painting commemorating the death of Imam Husayn at the Battle of Karbala, though its focus is his half brother Abbas ibn Ali on a white horse

The Battle of Karbala took place on 10 October 680 (Muharram 10, AH 61). All of Al-Husayn's small army of companions fought with a large army under the command of Umar ibn Sa'ad, and were killed near the river (Euphrates) from which they were not allowed to get any water. In total, around 72 men, and a few ladies and children, had been on the side of Al-Husayn. [38] [39] [40] The renowned historian Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī stated "… then fire was set to their camp and the bodies were trampled by the hoofs of the horses; nobody in the history of the human kind has seen such atrocities." [41]


Imam Husayn Shrine, where Husain is buried, in the 21st century Imam Husayn Shrine by Tasnimnews 01.jpg
Imam Husayn Shrine, where Husain is buried, in the 21st century

Once the Umayyad troops had massacred Al-Husayn, his family members, and his male soldiers, they looted and burned the tents, plundered the body of Al-Husayn, stripped the women of their jewellery, trampled over the body of Al-Husayn with horses, and took the skin upon which Ali Zainal-Abidin was prostrate. Ali had been unable to fight in the battle, due to an illness. [38] [39] [40] It is said that Shimr was about to kill him, but Husayn's sister Zaynab was able to convince his commander, Umar ibn Sa'ad, to let him live. In addition, Zaynul-Abidin and other relatives of Husayn were taken hostage. They were taken to meet Yazid in Damascus, and eventually, they were allowed to return to Al-Medinah. [42] [43]

After learning of the death of Husayn, ibn al-Zubayr collected the people of Mecca and made the following speech:

O people! No other people are worse than Iraqis and among the Iraqis, the people of Kufa are the worst. They repeatedly wrote letters and called Imam Husayn to them and took bay'at (allegiance) for his caliphate. But when ibn Ziyad arrived in Kufa, they rallied around him and killed Imam Husayn who was pious, observed the fast, read the Quran and deserved the caliphate in all respects [44]

After his speech, the people of Mecca joined him to take on Yazid. When he heard about this, Yazid sent a force to arrest him, but the force was defeated. [44] People of Medina renounced their alegiance to Yazid and expelled his governor. Yazid tried to end his rebellion by sending his army the Hijaz, and took Medina after the bloody Battle of al-Harrah followed by the siege of Mecca but his sudden death ended the campaign and threw the Umayyads into disarray with civil war eventually breaking out. Eventually ibn al-Zubayr consolidated his power by sending a governor to Kufah. Soon, he established his power in Iraq, southern Arabia, the greater part of Al-Sham, and parts of Egypt. This essentially split the Islamic empire into two spheres with two different caliphs. Soon afterwards he lost Egypt and whatever he had of Al-Sham to Marwan. This coupled with the Kharijite rebellions in Iraq reduced his domain to only the Hejaz. Ibn al-Zubayr was finally defeated and killed by Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, who was sent by Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, on the battlefield in 692. He beheaded him and crucified his body, reestablishing Umayyad control over the Empire.

Yazid died in Rabi'al-Awwal, 64 AH (November, AD 683), less than 4 years after coming to power. [8] [45] As for other opponents of Al-Husayn, such as ibn Ziyad and Shimr, they were killed in a rebellion led by a vengeful contemporary of Husayn known as "Mukhtar al-Thaqafi." [46] [47] [48] [49]

Years later, the people of Kufah called upon Zayd ibn Ali ibn Al-Husayn to come over. Zaydis believe that on the last hour of Zayd, Zayd was also betrayed by the people in Kufah who said to him: "May God have mercy on you! What do you have to say on the matter of Abu Bakr and Umar ibn al-Khattab?" Zayd said, "I have not heard anyone in my family renouncing them both nor saying anything but good about them...when they were entrusted with government they behaved justly with the people and acted according to the Qur'an and the Sunnah." [50] [51] [52] [53]


Husayn's body is buried in Karbala, the site of his death. His head is said to have been returned from Damascus and interred with his body, [54] although various sites have also been claimed to house, or have sheltered, Husayn's head, among others: Aleppo, Ashkelon, Baalbek, Cairo, Damascus, Homs, Merv, and Medina. [55]

Return of his head to the body

Husayn's son Ali returned his head from Ash-Sham to Karbala, [56] [57] [58] [59] forty days after Ashura, reuniting it with Husayn's body. [60] [61] Shi'a Muslims commemorate this fortieth day as Arba‘īn . [62] [63] [64] [65] According to the Shia belief that the body of an Imam is only buried by an Imam, [66] [67] [68] Husayn ibn Ali's body was buried by his son, Ali Ibn Husayn. [69]

Husayn's head in Isma'ilism

Zarih of Husayn's head at Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo, Egypt mqm lmm lHsyn rDy llh `nh.jpg
Zarih of Husayn's head at Al-Hussein Mosque in Cairo, Egypt

When the Abbasids took power from the Umayyads, in the garb of taking revenge of Ahl al-Bayt, they also confiscated the head of Husayn [ citation needed ]. The Abbasid caliph al-Muqtadir (d. 295/908) attempted many times to stop the pilgrimage to the head but in vain. He thus tried to completely eliminate the sign of the sacred place of Ziyarat; he transferred the head of Husayn to Ashkelon in secrecy, so that pilgrims could not find the place. [70] According to an Arabic inscription, which is still preserved on the Fatimid-era minbar, [71] the Fatimid vizier Badr al-Jamali rediscovered the head and constructed a shrine around it. [55] [72] The shrine was described as the most magnificent building in Ashkelon. [73] In the British Mandate period it was a "large maqam on top of a hill" with no tomb but a fragment of a pillar showing the place where the head had been buried. [74] Israeli Defense Forces under Moshe Dayan blew up Mashhad Nabi Hussein in July 1950 as part of a broader operation. [75] Around the year 2000, Isma'ilis from India built a marble platform there, on the grounds of the Barzilai Medical Center. [76] [77] [75] The head remained in Ashkelon only until Crusaders arrived, upon which it was taken to Cairo where Al-Hussein Mosque became its final resting place. [77]


Khema-gah, Karbala.JPG
Khema-gah, Memorial at Imam Husain Camp location, Karbala
Mourning of Muharram in cities and villages of Iran-342 16 (66).jpg
Mourning of Muharram in cities and villages of Iran

The Day of Ashura is commemorated by the Shia society as a day of mourning for the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala. The commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali has become a national holiday and different ethnic and religious communities participate in it. Husayn's grave became the most visited place of Ziyarat for Shias. Some said that a pilgrimage to Karbala and Husayn's shrine therein has the merit of a thousand pilgrimages to Mecca, of a thousand martyrdoms, and of a thousand days fasting. [78] Shia have an important book about Al-Husayn which is called Ziyarat Ashura. Most of them believe that it is a Hadith-e-Qudsi (the "word of Allah"). [79] [80] The Imam Husayn Shrine was later built over his grave. In 850 Abbasid caliph, al-Mutawakkil, destroyed his shrine in order to stop Shia pilgrimages. However, pilgrimages continued. [81]

Shias mourn during Muharram to pay respect to Husayn whose sacrifices kept true Islam alive and to show their allegiance and love for Imamate. Many Christians and Sunnis also join them in their Mourning of Muharram. [82]

In culture

Historian Edward Gibbon was touched by the story of Al-Husayn, describing the events at Karbala as "a tragedy". [83] [84] According to historian Syed Akbar Hyder, Mahatma Gandhi attributed the historical progress of Islam, to the "sacrifices of Muslim saints like Husayn" rather than military force. [85]

The traditional narration "Every day is Ashura and every land is Karbala!" is used by the Shia as a mantra to live their lives as Husayn did on Ashura, i.e. with complete sacrifice for God and for others. The saying is also intended to signify that what happened on Ashura in Karbala must always be remembered as part of suffering everywhere.

Inspiring modern movements

The story of martyrdom of Husayn has been a strong source of inspiration for Shia revolutionary movements. For Shias, Husayn's willing martyrdom justifies their own resistance against unjust authority. In the course of the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran against Pahlavi dynasty, Shia beliefs and symbols were instrumental in orchestrating and sustaining widespread popular resistance with the Husayn legend providing a framework for labeling as evil and reacting against the Pahlavi Shah. [86]

See also

Wikiquote-logo.svg Quotations related to Imam Husayn at Wikiquote

A copy of the Quran reportedly written by Imam Husain ibn Ali, from over 1300 years ago Quran Written by Imam Hussain ibn Ali.JPG
A copy of the Quran reportedly written by Imam Husain ibn Ali, from over 1300 years ago


  1. In the Shi'ite view, Muhammad had only one biological daughter, Fatimah.
  2. Quran, 3: 59
  3. Quran, 3: 61
  4. Quran, 21:111


  1. 1 2 Shabbar, S.M.R. (1997). Story of the Holy Ka'aba. Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  2. Nakash, Yitzhak (1 January 1993). "An Attempt To Trace the Origin of the Rituals of Āshurā¸". Die Welt des Islams. 33 (2): 161–181. doi:10.1163/157006093X00063 . Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 al-Qarashi, Baqir Shareef (2007). The life of Imam Husain. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. p. 58.
  4. Tirmidhi, Vol. II, p. 221 ; تاريخ الخلفاء، ص189 [History of the Caliphs]
  5. A Brief History of The Fourteen Infallibles. Qum: Ansariyan Publications. 2004. p. 95.
  6. Kitab al-Irshad. p. 198.
  7. 1 2 S. Manzoor Rizvi. The Sunshine Book. ISBN   1312600942.
  8. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Madelung, Wilferd. "HOSAYN B. ALI". Iranica. Retrieved 12 January 2008.
  9. Dakake 2008 , pp. 81–82.
  10. Gordon, 2005, pp. 144–146.
  11. Cornell, Vincent J.; Kamran Scot Aghaie (2007). Voices of Islam. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers. pp. 117 and 118. ISBN   9780275987329 . Retrieved 4 November 2014.
  12. 1 2 Robinson, Chase F (2010). "5 - The rise of Islam, 600–705". In Chase F. Robinson (ed.). The new Cambridge history of Islam, volume 1: Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 215. ISBN   9780521838238.
  13. 1 2 "al-Hussein ibn 'Ali". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
  14. Makhdoomi, Rameez. "Imam Hussain (as) in the light of renowned personalities". News Kashmir Magazine. News Kashmir Magazine. Retrieved 23 October 2018.
  15. Present in both Sunni and Shia sources on basis of the hadith: "al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn are the sayyids of the youth of Paradise".
  16. 1 2 Suyyuti, Jalayeddin. Kanz-ol-Ommal. pp. 152:6.
  18. Thiqatu Al-Islam, Abu Ja'far (2015). Al-Kafi Volume 1 (Second ed.). New York: The Islamic Seminary. p. 468.[ permanent dead link ]
  19. 1 2 Al-Sibai, Amal (30 October 2015). "Murder of the grandson of the Prophet". Saudi Gazette . Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  20. Sharif al-Qarashi, Baqir (2005). The Life of Imam Musa bin Ja'far al-Kazim. Translated by al-Rasheed, Jasim (1st ed.). Qom, Iran: Ansariyan Publications. p. 98. ISBN   978-9644386398.
  21. L. Veccia Vaglieri, (al-) Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, Encyclopedia of Islam.
  22. Madelung (1997), pp. 14–16.
  23. 1 2 3 4 Momen, Moojan (1985). An Introduction to Shi'i Islam. Yale University Press. p. 14,26,27. ISBN   978-0-300-03531-5.
  24. Madelung 1997 , pp. 15–16.
  25. 1 2 Madelung 1997 , p. 16.
  26. "Alī ibn Abu Talib". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 16 December 2010.
  27. 1 2 3 4 Jafri, Syed Husain Mohammad (2002). The Origins and Early Development of Shi'a Islam; Chapter 6. Oxford University Press. ISBN   978-0195793871.
  28. Tabatabaei, (1979), p.196.
  29. Donaldson, Dwight M. (1933). The Shi'ite Religion: A History of Islam in Persia and Irak. BURLEIGH PRESS. pp. 66–78.
  30. Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. pp. 324–327. ISBN   0-521-64696-0.
  31. Halm (2004), p.13.
  32. John Dunn, The Spread of Islam, pg. 51. World History Series. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1996. ISBN   1560062851
  33. Al Bidayah wa al-Nihayah [ permanent dead link ]
  34. Al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah [ permanent dead link ]
  35. Dakake (2007), pp. 81 and 82.
  36. Balyuzi, H. M.: Muhammad and the course of Islam. George Ronald, Oxford (U.K.), 1976, p.193.
  37. "Brooklyn Museum: Arts of the Islamic World: Battle of Karbala". Brooklyn, New York: Brooklyn Museum. Retrieved 7 July 2013.
  38. 1 2 Hoseini-e Jalali, Mohammad-Reza (1382). Jehad al-Imam al-Sajjad (in Persian). Translated by Musa Danesh. Iran, Mashhad: Razavi, Printing & Publishing Institute. pp. 214–217.
  39. 1 2 "در روز عاشورا چند نفر شهید شدند؟". Archived from the original on 26 March 2013.
  40. 1 2 "فهرست اسامي شهداي كربلا". Archived from the original on 29 June 2012. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  41. Chelkowski, Peter J. (1979). Ta'ziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran. New York. p. 2.
  42. Madelung, Wilferd. "ʿALĪ B. ḤOSAYN B. ʿALĪ B. ABĪ ṬĀLEB". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  43. Donaldson, Dwight M. (1933). The Shi'ite Religion: A History of Islam in Persia and Irak. BURLEIGH PRESS. pp. 101–111.
  44. 1 2 Najeebabadi, Akbar Shah (2001). The History of Islam V.2. Riyadh: Darussalam. pp. 110. ISBN   9960892883.
  45. Bosworth, C.E. (1960). "Muʿāwiya II". In Bearman, P. (ed.). Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.). Brill. ISBN   9789004161214.
  46. "al-Mukhtār ibn Abū ʿUbayd al-Thaqafi". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  47. al-Syyed, Kamal. "The Battle of al-Khazir". Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. Qum, Iran: Ansariyan Foundation. p. 21. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  48. Al-Kashee, Ikhtiyaar Ma`arifah Al-Rijaal, pg. 127, hadeeth # 202.
  49. Al-Khoei, Mu`jam Rijaal Al-Hadeeth, vol. 18, pg. 93, person # 12158.
  50. Islam re-defined: an intelligent man's guide towards understanding Islam - Page 54
  51. Abou El Fadl, Khaled (2006). Rebellion and Violence in Islamic Law. Cambridge University Press. p. 72. ISBN   9780521030571.
  52. The waning of the Umayyad caliphate by Tabarī, Carole Hillenbrand, 1989, p37, p38.
  53. The Encyclopedia of Religion Vol.16, Mircea Eliade, Charles J. Adams, Macmillan, 1987, p243. "They were called "Rafida by the followers of Zayd".
  54. Halm (2004), pp. 15 and 16.
  55. 1 2 Williams, Caroline. 1983. "The Cult of 'Alid Saints in the Fatimid Monuments of Cairo. Part I: The Mosque of al-Aqmar". In Muqarnas I: An Annual on Islamic Art and Architecture. Oleg Grabar (ed.). New Haven: Yale University Press, 37-52. p.41, Wiet,"notes," pp.217ff.; RCEA,7:260-63.
  56. Amali of Shaykh Sadouq, Majlis 31, p. 232.
  57. Fattāl Nayshābūrī. Rawḍat al-Wāʿiẓīn. p. 192.
  58. Muhammad Baqir Majlisi. Bihar al-Anwar . 45 p=140.
  59. Sharif al-Murtaza. Rasā’il. 3. p. 130.
  60. Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī. The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries . p. 331.
  61. Zakariya al-Qazwini. ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib al-mawjūdāt . p. 45.
  62. Ibn Shahrashub. Manāqib Āl Abī-Ṭālib. 4. p. 85.
  63. Al-Qurtubi. al-Tadhkirah fī Aḥwāl al-Mawtā wa-Umūr al-Ākhirah. 2. p. 668.
  64. Ibn Tawus. Luhūf . p. 114.
  65. Ibn Namā al-Ḥillī. Muthīr al-Aḥzān. p. 85.
  66. Osul-al-Kafi, Vol 1. pp. 384, 385.
  67. Ithbat-ol-Wasiyah. pp. 207, 208.
  68. Ikhtiar Ma'refat-o-Rijal. pp. 463–465.
  69. باقر شريف قرشى. حياة الإمام الحسين عليه السلام, Vol 3. Qom, Iran (published in AH 1413): مدرسه علميه ايروانى. p. 325.
  70. Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Hussain ibn Ali, From Damascus to Ashkelon to Qahera By: Qazi Dr. Shaikh Abbas Borhany PhD (USA), NDI, Shahadat al A'alamiyyah (Najaf, Iraq), M.A., LLM (Shariah) Member, Ulama Council of Pakistan. Published in Daily News, Karachi, Pakistan on 3 January 2009.
  71. File:Inscription on mimbar Ibrahimi mosque.JPG
  72. Safarname Ibne Batuta.
  73. Moshe Gil, A History of Palestine, 634–1099 (1997) p 193–194.
  74. Taufik Canaan (1927). Mohammedan Saints and Sanctuaries in Palestine. London: Luznac & Co. p.  151.
  75. 1 2 Rapoport, Meron (5 July 2007). "History Erased". Haaretz.
  76. Sacred Surprise behind Israel Hospital, by Batsheva Sobelman, special Los Angeles Times.
  77. 1 2 ; Prophet's grandson Hussein honoured on grounds of Israeli hospital
  78. Braswell, Islam: Its Prophet, Peoples, Politics and Power, 1996, p.28.
  79. Al Muntazar University of Islamic Studies. "Ziyarat Ashoora - Importance, Rewards and Effects". Duas. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  80. Azizi Tehrani, Ali Asghar (15 November 2015). The Torch of Perpetual Guidance, an Expose on Ziyarat Ashura of al-Imam al-Husain (PDF). CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. ISBN   978-1519308160.
  81. Halm (2004), p. 15.
  82. Who-was-hussein-and-why- ...
  83. Cole, Juan. "Barack Hussein Obama, Omar Bradley, Benjamin Franklin and other Semitically Named American Heroes". Informed Comment.[ self-published source ]
  84. "In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Husein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader." The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, vol. 2, p. 218.
  85. Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian memory, By Syed Akbar Hyder, Oxford University Press, p. 170.
  86. Skocpol, Teda. "Rentier state and Shi'a Islam in the Iranian Revolution (Chapter 10) - Social Revolutions in the Modern World". Cambridge Core. Retrieved 24 June 2017.

Related Research Articles

Imamate in Shia doctrine Doctrine of Shia Islam

In Shia Islam, the imamah is the doctrine that the figures known as imams are the central figures of the ummah; the entire Shi'ite system of doctrine focuses on the imamah. Shi'ites believe that the Imams are the true Caliphs or rightful successors of Muhammad, and further that Imams are possessed of divine knowledge and authority (Ismah) as well as being part of the Ahl al-Bayt, the family of Muhammad. These Imams have the role of providing commentary and interpretation of the Quran as well as guidance.

Zaidiyyah branch of Shia Islam

Zaidiyyah or Zaidism is one of the Shia sects closest in terms of theology to the Ibadhi and Mutazila schools. Zaidiyyah emerged in the eighth century out of Shi'a Islam. Zaidis are named after Zayd ibn ʻAlī, the grandson of Husayn ibn ʻAlī and the son of their fourth Imam Ali ibn 'Husain. Followers of the Zaydi Islamic jurisprudence are called Zaydi and make up about 50% of Muslims in Yemen, with the vast majority of Shia Muslims in the country being Zaydi.

Ashura 10th day of the Islamic month Muharram

Yom Ashura or Ashura is the tenth day of Muḥarram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. For the majority of Shia Muslims Ashura marks the climax of the Remembrance of Muharram, and commemorates the death of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala on 10 Muharram in the year 61 AH. Sunni Muslims have the same accounts of these events, but ceremonial mourning did not become a custom – although poems, eulogizing and recounting the events were and continue to be common. Mourning for the incident began almost immediately after the Battle of Karbala. Popular elegies were written by poets to commemorate the Battle of Karbala during the Umayyad and Abbasid era, and the earliest public mourning rituals occurred in 963 CE during the Buyid dynasty. In Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Bahrain, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Ashura has become a national holiday, and many ethnic and religious communities participate in it.

Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin Great-grandson of Muhammad and fourth of the Twelve Imams

{{Infobox person | name = Ali ibn Husayn
علي بن حسين (Arabic) | honorific_suffix = 4th Imam of Twelver and 3rd Imam of Ismaili | image = Imam Zainul Abideen (A.S.).png | alt = | caption = Arabic text with the name of Ali ibn Husayn and one of his titles, "Al-Sajjad" | birth_name = Ali ibn Hussain ibn Ali | birth_date = c. 4 January 659
(5 Sha'aban 38 AH) Or | birth_place = Kufa, Iraq or Medina, Hejaz | death_date = c. 20 October 713 (aged 54)
(25 Muharram 95 AH) | death_place = Medina, Umayyad Caliphate | death_cause = Poisoning by Al-Walid I | resting_place = Jannat al-Baqi cemetery, Medina, Saudi Arabia | resting_place_coordinates = 24°28′1″N39°36′50.21″E

Zaynab bint Ali Sahaba

Zaynab bint ʿAli was the daughter of the Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatimah bint Muhammad. The Islamic Nabi Muhammad was her maternal grandfather, and thus she is a member of his Bayt. Therefore, she is often revered not only for her characteristics and actions, but also for her membership in, and continuation of, the biological line of Muhammad. Like other members of her family she became a great figure of sacrifice, strength, and piety in Islam – in the Sunni and Shia sects of the religion.

Family tree of Ali Muslim family tree

Alī ibn Abī Tālib was an early Islamic leader. Ali is revered by Sunni Muslims as the last of the four Rightly Guided Caliphs, and as a foremost religious authority on the Qur'an and Fiqh. Shi'a Muslims consider him the First Imam appointed by the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the first rightful caliph. Ali was the cousin of Muhammad, and after marriage to Fatimah he also became Muhammad's son-in-law. His descendants through Fatimah are revered today in Shia Islam as Imams, Sharifs or Sayyids.

Ahl al-Bayt Term referring to the family of Muhammad

Ahl al-Bayt, also Āl al-Bayt or Ahlul Bayt, is a phrase meaning, literally, "People of the House" or "Family of the House". Within the Islamic tradition, the term refers to the family of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

The Twelve Imams Wikimedia list article

The Twelve Imams are the spiritual and political successors to the Islamic prophet Muhammad in the Twelver or Athnā‘ashariyyah branch of Shia Islam, including that of the Alawite and the Alevi sects.

Mukhtār ibn Abī ʿUbayd al-Thaqafī was a pro-Alid revolutionary based in Kufa, who led a rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate in 685 and ruled over most of Iraq for eighteen months during the Second Islamic Civil War.

Bab al-Saghir One of Damascus old city gates with cemeteries on the left and right side of the street.

Bāb aṣ-Ṣaghīr, also called Goristan-e-Ghariban, may refer to one of the seven gates in the Old City of Damascus, and street in the modern city of Damascus, Syria. It has qubûr on either side of the road, and is located in the Dimashq Neighborhood, southwest of the Umayyad Mosque.

Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah Son of Ali, 4th Imam of Kaysanites Shia

Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, also known as Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah and surnamed Abu'l-Qasim was an early Muslim leader. He was a son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, the first Imam and the fourth Caliph.

Zuhayr ibn Al-Qayn Al-Bajali, was a member of Al-Bajali tribe in Iraq and a companion of Husayn ibn Ali, Muhammad's grandson and son of Ali ibn Abi Talib. He was martyred during the battle of Karbala in Karbala.

<i>Lohoof</i> Shia book

Lohoof is a book by Sayyed Ibn Tawus, a Shia jurist, theologian, and historian. It is kind of Maqtal al-Husayn, narrating the Battle of Karbala, the death of Husayn ibn Ali, and subsequent events.

Tawwabin uprising Wikimedia list article

Tawwabin uprising or the penitents uprising refers to the uprising of a group of Kufan Shia after the Battle of Karbala to take revenge for murder of Husayn ibn Ali, whom they had invited to Kufa in 680 CE. The group was led by Sulayman ibn Surad Khuzai, a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The army of Tawwabin fought against Umayyad army in the Battle of 'Ayn al-Warda in January 685. They were defeated and their leaders were killed.

Daughters of Husayn ibn Ali

The Islamic figure Husayn ibn Ali had three daughters: Ruqayyah, Fāṭimah aṣ-Ṣughrá and Fāṭimah al-Kubrá.


Husayn ibn Ali
of the Ahl al-Bayt
Clan of the Quraish
Born: 3 Sha'bān AH 4 in the ancient (intercalated) Arabic calendar 10 October AD 625 Died: 10 Muharram AH 61 10 October AD 680
Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Hasan ibn Ali
Disputed by Nizari
2nd Imam of Ismaili Shia
3rd Imam of Sevener, Twelver, and Zaydi Shia
Succeeded by
'Alī ibn Ḥusayn
Succeeded by
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
Kaysanites successor