Husayn ibn Ali

18 01 2008

According to the most reports, Husayn ibn Ali was born on 5 Sha’aban 4 AH/10 January 626 CE. Another report mentions the middle of Jumada al-awwal 6AH/beginning of October 627 CE as his date of birth. [3]

He and his brother Hassan were the only descendants of Muhammad who remained alive. Many of the accounts about Muhammad’s treatment of his grandsons and his great love for them deal with them together and at times confuse them.[3] Muhammad is reported to have said that “whoever loves them[his grandsons] loves me and whoever hates them hates me” and “al-Hasan and al-Husayn are the sayyids of the youth of Paradise”. The latter saying has been particularly important for Shias who used it in support of for the right of Muhammad’s descendants to the imamate. Muhammad, according to other traditions, is pictured with his grandsons on his knees, on his shoulders, or even on his back during the prayer at the moment of prostrating himself. [4] According to Madelung, Muhammad loved them and declared them as his Ahl al-Bayt frequently. The Quran has accorded the Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet an elevated position above the rest of the faithful.[5]

In addition to these traditions, a number of traditions also involve presence of angels. From a Muslim point of view, these traditions do not create any problem but to non-Muslims they as appear legends created under the Shi’i influence.[4]

The Incident of Mubahala

Main articles: Mubahala and Hadith of Mubahela

According to hadith collections, it is narrated that during the 9th – 10th year after hijra an Arab Christian envoy from Najran (currently in northern Yemen and partly in Saudi Arabia) came to Muhammad to argue which of the two parties erred in its doctrine concerning Jesus.[6] After likening Jesus’ miraculous birth to Adam’s creation[7], Muhammad called them to Mubahala (Cursing), where each party should ask God to destroy the lying party and their families. Muhammad, to prove to them that he is a prophet, brought his daughter Fatimah and his surviving grandchildren, Hassan and Hussain ibn Ali, and Ali ibn Abi Talib and came back to the Christians and said this is my family (Ahl al-Bayt) and covered himself and his family with a cloak.[8] The Christian envoy, the traditions add, declined to take part in Mubahala and chose instead to pay tribute.

During the Rashidun Caliphs

See also: Rashidun and Siege of Uthman

At the time of the siege of the caliph Uthman‘s residence in Medina by rebels from Egypt, when Uthman asked Ali to join the defender of his house, Ali sent Husayn. When Uthman asked Husayn if he thought he would be able to defend himself against the rebels, he demurred, and Uthman sent him away. [3]

During Ali’s caliphate, the brothers Hassan, Husayn, Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, and their cousin ‘Abd Allah ibn J’afar appear as his closest assistants within his household. [3]

Muawiyah era

See also: Muawiyah I and Umayyad

Whe Hassan ibn Ali agreed to a peace treaty with Muawiyah I, the first Umayyad caliph, He left Kufa and went to Medina with his brother Husayn. [9] Husayn stayed in Madina until Muawiyah died in 680.

He lived under the most difficult outward conditions of suppression and persecution. This was due to the fact that, first of all, religious laws and regulations had lost much of their weight and credit, and the edicts of the Umayyad government had gained complete authority and power. Secondly, Mu’awiyah and his aides made use of every possible means to put aside and move out of the way the Household of the Prophet and the Shi’a, and thus obliterate the name of Ali and his family.[10] Muawiyah I ordered for public curses of ‘Ali and his major supporters including Husayn and his brother.[3]

According to Shia belief Husayn became the third Imam for a period of ten years after death of his brother Hassan in 669. All of this time but the last six months coinciding with the caliphate of Mu’awiyah.[11]

Battle of Karbala

The Shrine of Imam Hussain ibn Ali in Karbala, Iraq

The Shrine of Imam Hussain ibn Ali in Karbala, Iraq

Main article: Battle of Karbala

Husayn in his path toward Kufa encountered with the army of Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. On October 10 681(Muharram 10, 61 AH), he and his small group of companions and family members, who were between 108 and 136 men of Husayn ibn Ali (the grandson of Muhammad). [16][17], fought with a large army of perhaps 4,000 men under the command of Umar ibn Sa’ad, son of the founder of Kufah. Husayn and all of his men were killed. The bodies of the dead, including that of Husayn, were then mutilated.[14]

Today, death of Hussein ibn Ali is commemorated during every Muharram, with the most important of these days being its tenth day, Ashura.


Husayn’s body is said to have been buried in Karbala, near the site of his death. Most accounts say that his head was later retrieved and interred with his body. The Imam Hussein Shrine was later built over his grave; it is now a holy site of pilgrimage for Shia Muslims

Shi’ahs regard Hussein as an Imam (lord of the spiritual kingdom) and a martyr.He is believed to be the third imam. He set out on his path in order to save Islam and the Ummah from annihilation at the hands of Yazid. According to Shi’a belief he was a willing sacrifice to religious necessity, and Shi’as view Hussein as an exemplar of courage and resistance against tyranny. Ashura, a day of mourning and self-reflection, is held in honor of his suffering.

As a reward for Hussein’s suffering, he will be allowed to intercede for the faithful on the day of judgment.[18]

The saying, “Every day is Ashura, every land is Karbala,” is a reminder to live one’s life as Hussein did on Ashura, with total sacrifice to Allah and for others. This saying also signifies “We must always remember, because there is suffering everywhere”.

from wikipedia





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