Family tree of Husayn ibn Ali
Muhammad (maternal grandfather)
Hasan (full brother)
Zaynab (full sister)
Umm Kulthum (full sister)
Muhsin (full brother)
Abbas (paternal half-brother)
Abi Talib (Arabic: الحسين ابن علي
ابن أبي طالب; 10 October 625 – 10 October 680)
Sha'aban AH 4 (in the ancient (intercalated) Arabic
calendar) – 10
Muharram AH 61) (his name is also transliterated
as Husayn ibn ‘Alī, Husain, Hussain and Hussein), was a grandson of
the Islamic Nabi (Arabic: نَـبِي, Prophet) Muhammad, and son
Abi Talib (the first
Imam and the fourth Rashid caliph
of Sunni Islam), and Muhammad's daughter, Fatimah. He is an important
Islam as he was a member of the Bayṫ (Arabic:
بَـيـت, Household) of Muhammad, and Ahl al-Kisā’ (Arabic:
أَهـل الـكِـسَـاء, People of the Cloak), as well as
being the third
Ali became the
Shia after the death of his older
brother, Hasan, in AD 670 (AH 50). His father's supporters (Arabic:
شِـيـعَـة عَـلِي, Shī‘aṫ ‘Alī) in Kufah gave
their allegiance to him. However, he told them he was still bound to
the peace treaty between Hasan and
Muawiyah I and they should wait
until Muawiyah's death. Later, Husayn did not accept the request of
Muawiyah for the succession of his son, Yazid I, and considered this
action a breach of the Hasan–Muawiya treaty.
When Muawiyah died in 680 AD, Husayn refused to pledge allegiance to
Yazid, who had just been appointed as
Umayyad caliph by Muawiyah. He
insisted on his legitimacy based on his own special position as a
direct descendant of
Muhammad and his legitimate legatees. As a
consequence, he left Medina, his hometown, to take refuge in
AH 60. There, the people of Kufah sent letters to him, asking
his help and pledging their allegiance to him. So he traveled towards
Kufah, but, 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 (10th of
مُـحَـرَّم), 61 AH) by Shimr Ibn Thil-Jawshan, along with
most of his family and companions, including Husayn's six month old
Ali al-Asghar, with the women and children taken as
prisoners. Anger at Husayn's death was turned into a rallying
cry that helped undermine the
Umayyad caliphate's legitimacy, and
ultimately overthrow it by the Abbasid Revolution.
Husayn is highly regarded by Shi'ite
Muslims for refusing to pledge
allegiance to Yazid, the
Umayyad caliph, because he considered the
rule of the Umayyads unjust. The annual memorial for him and his
children, family and his companions is the first month in the Islamic
calendar, that is Muharram, and the day he was martyred is the Ashura
(tenth day of Muharram, a day of mourning for Shi'i Muslims). His
Karbala fueled the later Shi'ite movements.
2 Birth and early life
2.1 The incident of the Mubahalah
3 Life under the first five Caliphs
4 Husayn and the
4.1 Reign of Muawiyah
4.2 Reign of Yazid
4.2.1 Martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala
5.1.1 Return of his head to the body
5.1.2 Transfer of his head in Fatimid belief
6 Views on Husayn
6.1 In culture
7 Inspiring modern movements
8 Selected sayings
9 See also
13 External links
Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī
Shiism: Imam; Proof of God, The
Martyr of Martyrs, Master of the
All Islam: Ahl al-Bayt, Ṣaḥābī, Martyr; Master of the Youths of
Islam (Salafis honour rather than venerate him).
Imam Husayn Shrine, Karbala, Iraq
Main articles: Family tree of Husayn ibn
Ali and Daughters of Husayn
Husayn's maternal grandmother was Khadijah bint Khuwaylid, and his
paternal grandparents were Abu Talib and
Fatimah bint Asad. Husayn and
Hasan 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 and descendants as his own children and descendants. He
said "Every mothers children are associated with their father except
for the children of
Fatimah for I am their father and lineage" Thus
Fatimah are descendants of Muhammad, and part of his
Zayn al-‘Ābidīn (Arabic: زَيـن
الـعَـابِـدِيـن, "Adornment of the Worshipers") (b.
AH 36), Sakinah (b. AH 38), (Mother:Shahr Banu)
Ali al-Akbar (b. AH 42),
Fatimah as-Sughra (b. AH 45) (Mother:Layla)
Sukaynah (b. AH 56) and,
Ali al-Asghar (b. AH 60) (Mother: Rubab)
Birth and early life
The verse of purification
The verse of purification and The verse of
Entry gate of the mausoleum of Husayn in Karbala, Iraq
A copy of the
Quran reportedly written by
Imam Husain ibn Ali, from
over 1300 years ago
Husayn was born on 10 October CE 625 (3
Sha'aban AH 4).
Shia Hadith state that He was born AH 3. Husayn and his
brother Hasan were the last 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.
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." and that "Hussain is of me and I am of him. Allah
loves those who love Hussain. Hussain is a grandson among
grandsons." A narration declares them 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" Other traditions
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.
According to Wilferd Madelung,
Muhammad loved them and declared them
as people of his Bayt very frequently. 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
Fatimah were descendants of Muhammad, and part of his
Bayt. 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 (Arabic: أحـاديـث, '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.
The incident of the Mubahalah
Main article: Event of Mubahala
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 (Arabic:
عِـيـسَى, Jesus). After likening Jesus' miraculous birth to
Adam's (Adem) creation,[a]—who was born to neither a mother nor a
father — and when the Christians did not accept the Islamic doctrine
Muhammad was instructed to call them to Mubahalah where
each party should ask God to destroy the false party and their
families. "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."[b] 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
Shi‘ite tradition that ‘
Ali was among them. Accordingly, in the
verse of Mubahalah, in the Shi‘ite perspective, the phrase "our
sons" would refer to Al-Hasan and Al-Husayn, "our women" would refer
to Fatimah, and "ourselves" would refer "‘Ali".
Life under the first five Caliphs
Mu'awiyah, who was the governor of
اَلـشَّـام) under Uthman ibn Affan, had refused
Ali's demands for allegiance, and had long been in conflict with
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
أُمَّـة, Community) choose his successor.
Husayn and the
Calligraphic representation of Husayn ibn
Ali in Hagia Sophia,
Reign of Muawiyah
Muawiyah I and Umayyad
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
but the last six months coinciding with the caliphate of
Mu'awiyah. 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."[c] declared Hasan.
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.
Shi'ite 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. 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. Later on,
however, and before his death, Muawiyah named his son Yazid as his
Reign of Yazid
Revolt of al-Mukhtar (Khazir
Ibn al-Zubayr's Revolt
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. 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.
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
بَـيـعَـة, Pledge of allegiance). Al-Husain, however,
refrained from it, believing that Yazid was openly going against the
Islam in public, and changing the sunnah (Arabic:
سـنـة, deeds, sayings, etc.) of Muhammad. In his view
the integrity and survival of the Islamic community depended on the
re-establishment of the correct guidance. He, therefore,
accompanied by his household, his sons, brothers, and the sons of
Al-Hasan, left Al-Medinah to seek asylum in Mecca.
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. On the other hand, the people in Al-Kufah who
were informed about Mu‘awiyah's death sent letters urging Husayn to
join them and pledge to support him against the Umayyads. Al-Husayn
wrote back to them saying that he would send his cousin
Aqeel to report to him on the situation. If he found them united as
their letters indicated he would speedily join them, because the Imam
should act in accordance with the Qur’an, uphold justice, proclaim
the truth, and dedicate himself to the cause of God. The mission of
Muslim was initially successful, and, according to reports, 18,000 men
pledged their allegiance. But the situation changed radically when
Yazid appointed ‘
Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad
Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad as the new governor of
Al-Kufah, ordering him to deal severely with ibn ‘Aqil. Before news
of the adverse turn of events arrived in Mecca, Al-Husayn set out for
On the way, Al-Husayn found that
Muslim was killed in Al-Kufah. He
broke the news to his supporters and informed them that people had
deserted him. Then, he encouraged anyone who so wished, to leave
freely without guilt. Most of those who had joined him at various
stages on the way from
Mecca now left him.
Martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala
Main article: Battle of Karbala
See also: Maqtal al-Husayn
The 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
On his path towards Kufah, Al-Husayn encountered the army of
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad. Husayn addressed the Kufans' army, reminding
them that they had invited him to come because they were without an
Imam. He told them that he intended to proceed to Kufah with their
support, but if they were now opposed to his coming, he would return
to where he had come from. However, the army urged him to choose
another way. Thus, he turned to left and reached Karbala, where the
army forced him not to go further, and stop at a location that was
Umar ibn Sa'ad, the head of Kufan army, sent a messenger to Husayn to
inquire about the purpose of his coming to Iraq. Husayn answered again
that he had responded to the invitation of the people of
Kufa but was
ready to leave if they now disliked his presence. When Umar ibn Sa'ad,
the head of Kufan army reported it back to ibn Ziyad, the governor
instructed him to offer Ḥusayn and his supporters the opportunity to
swear allegiance to Yazid. He also ordered Umar to cut off Husayn and
his followers from access to the water of the Euphrates. On the
next morning, as ʿOmar b. Saʿd arranged the Kufan army in battle
Al-Hurr ibn Yazid al Tamimi
Al-Hurr ibn Yazid al Tamimi challenged him and went over to
Al-Ḥusayn. He addressed the Kufans in vain, rebuking them for their
treachery to the grandson of Muhammad, and was killed in the
The Battle of
Karbala lasted from morning till sunset of 10 October
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. The renowned historian
Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī
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."
People visiting the Mosques of Husayn and Abbas in Karbala, Iraq, in
the 21st century
Umayyad troops had massacred Al-Husayn and his male soldiers,
they looted the tents, stripped the women of their jewellery, and took
the skin upon which
Ali Zainal-Abidin was prostrate.
Ali had been
unable to fight in the battle, due to an illness. It is
said that Shimr was about to kill him, but Husayn's sister Zaynab was
able to convince his commander, Umar, to let him live. 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
After learning of the martyrdom of Husayn, ibn al-Zubayr collected the
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
Imam Husayn to them and took bay'at (allegiance) for his
caliphate. But when ibn Ziyad arrived in Kufa, they rallied around him
Imam Husayn who was pious, observed the fast, read the
Quran and deserved the caliphate in all respects" 
After his speech, the people of
Mecca joined him to take on Yazid.
When he heard about this, Yazid had a silver chain made and sent to
Mecca with the intention of having Walid ibn Utbah arrest Ibn
al-Zubair with it 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. Yazid tried to end his rebellion by invading the Hijaz, and
Medina after the bloody
Battle of al-Harrah followed by the siege
Mecca but his sudden death ended the campaign and threw the
Umayyads into disarray with civil war eventually breaking out. This
essentially split the Islamic empire into two spheres with two
different caliphs, but soon the
Umayyad civil war was ended, and he
Egypt and whatever he had of
Al-Sham to Marwan. This coupled with
Kharijite rebellions in
Iraq reduced his domain to only the Hijaz.
Mecca and Medinah, Husayn's family had a strong support base and
the people were willing to stand up for them. However, Husayn's
remaining family moved back to Al-Medinah. Abd
Allah ibn al-Zubayr was
the grandson of
Abu Bakr and the cousin of Qasim ibn
Muhammad ibn Abu
Bakr. Both Abdullah and Qasim were Aisha's nephews. Qasim was also the
Imam Jafar al-Sadiq. 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 AD 692. He beheaded him and crucified
his body, reestablishing
Umayyad control over the Empire.
Yazid reportedly died in Rabi‘al-Awwal, 64 AH (November, AD 683),
less than 4 years after coming to power. 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
Years later, the people of Kufah called upon Zayd 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
The Zarih of Husayn in the
Imam Husayn Shrine, Karbala
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. Fatimid and some
Shia believe that Husayn's head was first
buried in the courtyard of Yazid (in what is now the
then transferred from
Ashkelon to Cairo.
Return of his head to the body
Several Shi'ite and Sunni sources confirm the return of Husayn's head
to his body in Karbala. According to Shaykh Saduq, Husayn's son Ali
took it back from Ash-Sham, and returned it to Karbala.
Fetal Neyshabouri and Majlesi have confirmed this in their books,
Bihar al-Anwar respectively. Sharif
al-Murtaza also mentions this in his book Rasaael. Ibn shahrashub
Sharif al-Murtaza stating the same thing about the head of
Husayn. He also narrates
Shaykh Tusi that this event, i.e. returning
the head to the body, happened forty days after Ashura and it is for
this reason, there are specific rituals for this day. This day is
recognised by Shias and is known as Arba'een. Similar statements are
Shia scholars e.g. Ahmad ibn Tawoos and Muhaqeq
Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī
Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī in his book The Remaining Signs
of Past Centuries has stated that Husayn's head was returned to his
body and was buried altogether on 20th of the lunar month of Safar
(Arba'een). There is no certainty about what Islamic sect Biruni
believed in. Similar statement is mentioned by Sunni scholar Zakariya
al-Qazwini, in his book ʿAjā'ib al-makhlūqāt wa gharā'ib
al-mawjūdāt. Qurtobi narrates from Shias on the return of the
head to the body on Arba'een.
Transfer of his head in Fatimid belief
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Shrine of Husayn's head in
Umayyad Mosque, Damascus, the Levant
The place where Husayn's head is kept,
Umayyad Mosque, Damascus,
Ash-Shām (Arabic: الـشَّـام, the Syrian region)
Muslim pilgrims to the
Shrine of Hussein in Ashkelon, April 1943
The Mimbar of
Imam Husain Mashhad of
Ashkelon now placed at the
Ibrahimi Mosque, Hebron,
Al-Arḍ Al-Mubārakah (Arabic: الأَرض
الـمُـبَـارَكَـة, "The Land The Blessed")
This is believed by the
Fatimids to be the burial place of Husayn's
head in Ashkelon, Israel
An Inscription on the Mimbar of the Ibrahimi Mosque at Hebron,
The Zarih of Husayn's head in Al-Hussein Mosque, Cairo, Egypt
 On the second day after the battle of Karbala, the forces of
Yazid I raised the head of Husayn on a lance. They took it to
present it to Ubayd-
Allah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa, leaving
behind the mutilated body of Husayn. According to a popular belief,
the headless body was thus buried there by the tribe of Bani Assad,
who were living in the vicinity of Karbala. However, according to the
Shia belief that the body of an
Imam is only buried by an
Imam, Husayn ibn Ali's body was buried by his son,
Husayn. After the exhibition and display of the head of Husayn,
ibn Ziyad dispatched it to
Damascus to be presented to Yazid as a
Yazid celebrated the occasion with great pomp and show by displaying
the head of Husayn in his crowded and decorated court. The head was
then buried in a niche of one of the internal walls of Jame-Masjid,
Damascus, Syria. Afterwards, the head of Husayn remained confiscated
and confined in
Damascus by the order of the
Umayyad monarch, Sulayman
ibn Abd al-Malik (d.86/705), in this condition for about two hundred
and twenty years.
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 and
proved to be worse enemies than the Umayyads. It was the Abbasid
Al-Muqtadir (d. 295/908), an enemy of the Ahl al-Bayt. He
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
10 km (6.2 mi) from the
Gaza Strip and 58 km
(36 mi) south of Tel Aviv, Israel) in secrecy, so that the
pilgrims could not find the place.
The following part of a text is a translation of the Arabic
inscriptions, which is still preserved on the Fatimid minbar:
".. among the miracles, a major glory with the wishes of Allah, is the
recovery of the Head .. Imam.. Husain .. which was at the place of
Ashkelon, .. hidden by the tyrants... ..
Allah has promised to
reveal.. wishes to hide it from the enemies..to show it to Awliya ...
to relieve the heart of ‘Devotees’ of
Imam Husain, as
their pure heartedness in Walayat and Deen.
Allah keep for long our Moula .. Al Mustansir’billah.. .The
.. Commander of the forces.. the Helper of Imam.. the leader of
Do’at .. Badr al Mustansari has discovered Raas al
Imam al Husain in
Imam Mustansir’s period and has taken it out from its hidden place.
He specially built a Minbar for the Mashhad, at the place where this
sacred Head lay buried. ..
He (..Badrul’jamali) constructed this building ..the revenue from
which is to be spent only on this Mashhad ... ."
The shrine was described as the most magnificent building in
Ashkelon. 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.
Taiyabi Ismaili belief, after the 21st Fatimid
Imam At-Tayyib Abi
l-Qasim went into seclusion, his uncle, Abd al Majid occupied the
throne of the Fatimid Empire. Fearing disrespect and the atrocities of
the traitors and enemies, the Majidi-monarch, Al-Zafir, ordered the
transfer of the head to Qahera. The W’ali of the city of Ashkelon,
Al Amir Sayf al Mamlaka Tamim along with the custodian of the Mashhad,
Qazi Mohammad bin Miskin, took out the buried casket of Raas al Imam
al Husayn from the Mashhad, and with due respect and great reverence,
on Sunday 8 Jumada al-Thani, 548 (30 August 1153) carried the head
from the city of
Ashkelon to Qahera, Egypt. Syedi Hasan bin Asad
(Hir’az, Yemen) discussed this event in his Risalah manuscript as
follows: "When the Raas (head) al
Imam al Husain was taken out of the
casket, in Ashkelon, drops of the fresh blood were visible on the Raas
Imam al Husain and the fragrance of Musk spread all over."[citation
Historians, Al-Maqrizi, Ahmad al-Qalqashandi, and Ibn Muyassar (d.
1278) have mentioned that the casket reached Qahera on Tuesday 10
Jumada al-Thani (1 September 1153). Ust’ad Maknun accompanied it in
one of the service boats which landed at the Kafuri (Garden). It was
buried there in the place known as "Qubbat al Daylam" or "Turbat al
Zafr’an" (currently known as "Al Mashhad al Husain", wherein lie
buried underground thirteen Fatimid Imams from 9th
Twelver Imam) to 20th Al-Amir bi-Ahkami l-Lah). This place is
also known as "B’ab Makhallif’at al Rasul" and located in
Al-Hussein Mosque.
During the golden era of the Fatimid caliphate, on the day of Ashurah,
every year the people of
Egypt from far and near used to gather and
offer sacrifices of camels, cows, goats in the name of Allah, recite
Marsiyah-elegies on the Ahl al Bait and the Ans’ar of Husayn and
pronounced la‘naṫ (Arabic: لَـعـنَـة, curse) loudly on
Yazid, Shimr Ibn Thil-Jawshan, ibn Ziyad and other murderers of
Husayn. During the tenure of Saladin, all Marasim al Az’a, or
mourning commemorations for Husayn, were officially banned as they
Bid‘ah (Arabic: بِـدعَـة, 'Innovation').
The burial place is now also known as Raous (head)-us-Husain, A silver
Zarih (Maqsurah) is made on the place by Dawoodi Bohra Dai, and the
place is visited regularly by all Shia. The presentation of the
Maqsurah is also unique in the history of loyalty and faithfulness.
Maqsurah of Raas al
Imam al Husain was originally constructed for
Al Abbas Mosque
Al Abbas Mosque at Karbala, Iraq. When this
Maqsurah reached the
mosque of Al-Abbas ibn
Ali it would not fit in the place. The size of
Maqsurah and the site of the fitting place differed at the time of
fitting, although all technical aspects and measurements of the site
were taken into account very precisely. The engineers were astonished,
at what had happened, although every minute detail was handled very
professionally. The loyalty of Al-Abbas ibn
Ali was also witnessed on
that day too, as it had been witnessed on the day of 'Ashura'. There a
divine guidance came to the effect by way of intuition that a sincere,
faithful, loyal and devoted brother could not tolerate, that the head
of Muhammad's grandson, Husayn, buried in Al Qahera, Egypt, should be
without a Maqsurah, thus how could he accept this gift for himself.
Hence even after Shahadat, Al-Abbas ibn
Ali paid his tribute to Husayn
and presented his own
Maqsurah for Raas (head) al
Imam al Husain. When
Maqsurah was brought from Karbala,
Iraq to Al
Moizziyat al Qahera, Egypt, it fitted upon the original position of
the grave known as Mashhad of Raas al
Imam al Husain in such a manner,
as if it had been fabricated for Raas al
Imam al Husain
Arab traveler Ibne Batuta also wrote in his safarname (rihla) that,
after the incident of
Karbala the head of Husain was in the Umayyad
Mosque of Damascus. From there it was taken and buried in Ashkelon.
During the crusade, the Fatimid ruler of
Egypt exhumed the head and
brought it to Egypt. Thereafter the head of Husain was buried again in
the al Qarrafa graveyard in Cairo. The site of the graveyard became
the mausoleum called Raasul Husain (inside Al-Hussein Mosque).
During the period of Saladin, and by his order, the minbar made by Dai
Badr-ul Jamali was transferred from
Ashkelon to the Masjid Khalil al
Rahman (Cave of the Patriarchs),
Hebron in the West Bank, Palestinian
Saladin did not know that this minbar contained an
inscription showing the history of Husayn. The 51st al Dai al
Taher Saifuddin (d.1385/1965) got the honour to
visit Masjid Khalil al Rahman, and he discovered the Fatamid minbar,
one thousand years after the seclusion of the Fatamid Imams.
The Masjid of the
Ashkelon known as "Masjid Al Mashhad al Husain" was
blown up deliberately as part of a broader operation of defence force
in 1950 at the instructions of Moshe Dayan, but the devotees of Ahl al
Bait did not forget it.
In 2000, the 52nd Fatamid/Ismaili/Mustali/Dawoodi Bohra Dai Mohammed
Burhanuddin, built a marble platform, as per traditional Fatimid
architectural design, at the site, on the Barzilai Hospital grounds,
Ashkelon and since then thousands of devotees have come from across
the world, year-round to pay tribute to Husayn. 
Main articles: Mourning of
Muharram and day of Ashura
Arba'een and Hussainia
Khema-gah, Memorial at
Imam Husain Camp location, Karbala
Muharram in cities and villages of Iran
Day of Ashura
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.
Al-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. Shi‘ites 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").[dubious – discuss] The
Imam Husayn Shrine
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
Shia Mourn during Moharram to pay respect to Husayn whose sacrifices
Islam alive loving true Imamate. Lots of
Christian and Sunni
also join them. 
Views on Husayn
Karbala § Ahadith
The effect of the events in
Muslims has been deep and is
beyond passion in Shiʿism. While the intent of the major players in
the act has often been debated, it is clear that Husayn cannot be
viewed as simply a rebel risking his and his family’s lives for his
personal ambition. He continued to abide by the treaty with Muawiyah I
despite his disapproval of Muawiyah's conduct. He did not pledge
allegiance to Yazid, who had been chosen as successor by Muawiyah in
violation of the treaty with Hasan ibn Ali. Yet he also did not
actively seek martyrdom and offered to leave
Iraq once it became clear
that he no longer had any support in Kufa. His initial determination
to follow the invitation of the Kufans in spite of the numerous
warnings he received depicts a religious conviction of a mission that
left him no choice, whatever the outcome. He is known to have said:
...Dying with honor is better than living with dishonor
Edward Gibbon was touched by the story of Al-Husayn,
describing the events at
Karbala as "a tragedy". 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.
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
Karbala must always be remembered as part of suffering
Inspiring modern movements
See also: Battle of
Karbala § Impacts on culture and politics
The story of martyrdom of Husayn has been a strong source of
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.
This article contains embedded lists that may be poorly defined,
unverified or indiscriminate. Please help to clean it up to meet
Wikipedia's quality standards. Where appropriate, incorporate items
into the main body of the article. (September 2017)
"The most generous people are those who do kindness when it is least
"Knowledge facilitates comprehension and experience increases
"Patience in a person glows like a jewel."
"Those who are silent while others are being oppressed are just as
guilty as the oppressors."
"If you do not believe in any religion, and do not fear the Day of
Resurrection, then at least be free in this world."
Quotations related to
Imam Husayn at Wikiquote
List of casualties in Husayn's army at the Battle of Karbala’
Holiest sites in
Shi'a view of the Sahaba
Sunni view of the Sahaba
Sayyed Ibn Tawus
Who is Hussain?
The martyrs of al-Ukhdûd (Arabic: الأُخـدُود, "the
Ditch", or a place near Najran)
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^ Quran, 3: 61
^ Quran, 21:111
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al-Kazim. Translated by al-Rasheed, Jasim (1st ed.). Qom, Iran:
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^ a b Kamal S. Salibi (2003). A House of Many Mansions: The History of
Lebanon Reconsidered. I.B.Tauris. pp. 61–62.
ISBN 978-1-86064-912-7. To the Arabs, this same territory, which
the Romans considered Arabian, formed part of what they called Bilad
al-Sham, which was their own name for Syria. From the classical
perspective, however, Syria, including Palestine, formed no more than
the western fringes of what was reckoned to be Arabia between the
first line of cities and the coast. Since there is no clear dividing
line between what is called today the Syrian and Arabian deserts,
which actually form one stretch of arid tableland, the classical
concept of what actually constituted
Syria had more to its credit
geographically than the vaguer Arab concept of
Syria as Bilad al-Sham.
Under the Romans, there was actually a province of Syria, with its
capital at Antioch, which carried the name of the territory.
Otherwise, down the centuries,
Syria like Arabia and
no more than a geographic expression. In Islamic times, the Arab
geographers used the name arabicized as Suriyah, to denote one special
region of Bilad al-Sham, which was the middle section of the valley of
the Orontes river, in the vicinity of the towns of
Homs and Hama. They
also noted that it was an old name for the whole of Bilad al-Sham
which had gone out of use. As a geographic expression, however, the
Syria survived in its original classical sense in
Western European usage, and also in the Syriac literature of some of
Eastern Christian churches, from which it occasionally found its
Christian Arabic usage. It was only in the nineteenth century
that the use of the name was revived in its modern Arabic form,
frequently as Suriyya rather than the older Suriyah, to denote the
whole of Bilad al-Sham: first of all in the
literature of the period, and under the influence of Western Europe.
By the end of that century it had already replaced the name of Bilad
al-Sham even in
Muslim Arabic usage.
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Development of Shi’a Islam; Chapter 6. Oxford University Press.
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Islam in Persia and Irak. BURLEIGH PRESS. pp. 66–78.
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Early Caliphate. Cambridge University Press. pp. 324–327.
^ Halm (2004), p.13.
^ John Dunn, The Spread of Islam, pg. 51. World History Series. San
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Al-Sawa'iq al-Muhriqah [permanent dead link]
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Archived from the original on 26 March 2013.
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Islam in Persia and Irak. BURLEIGH PRESS. pp. 101–111.
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^ Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Hussain ibn Ali,
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,
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Story of Karbala: Maqtal e Abi Mukhnaf
Brief History of Transfer of the Sacred Head of Hussain ibn Ali, From
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.
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
Hasan ibn Ali
Disputed by Nizari
Imam of Ismaili
Imam of Sevener, Twelver, and
‘Alī ibn Ḥusayn
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
Hasan ibn Ali
Husayn Ibn Ali
Ali ibn Husayn
Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin
Ali ("Asās" or "Wāsih" of Nabi Muhammad)
Abadullāh (Wāfi Ahmad)
Ahmad (Tāqi Muhammad)
Husayn (Rādhi Abdullāh)
Husayn ibn Ali
Ali ibn Husayn
Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin
Isma'il ibn Jafar
Muhammad ibn Isma'il
Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah
al-Qa'im bi-Amr Allah
Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Dīn Muḥammad III
Rukn al-Din Khurshah
Muḥammad ibn Islām Shāh
al-Mustanṣir billāh II
ʿAbdu s-Salām Shāh
Abū Dharr ʻAlī
Khalīlullāh II ʻAlī
Shāh Khalīlullāh III
Aga Khan I
Aga Khan II
Aga Khan III
Aga Khan IV
Mourning of Muharram
Battle of Karbala
Husayn ibn Ali
Ali Akbar ibn Husayn
Ali Asghar ibn Husayn
al-Abbas ibn Ali
Zaynab bint Ali
Sukayna bint Husayn
Muslim ibn Aqeel
Imam Husayn Shrine
Day of Ashura
Hosseini infancy conference
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