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March 26th, 2007
Pilgrimage to Karbala
Who are the Shia?: Battle of Karbala

Shia Muslims watch a reenactment of the centuries-old battle of Karbala during which Imam Hussein, grandson of Islam’s founding prophet, Muhammad, was slain, as part of Ashura commemorations on Jan. 31, 2007, in Qatif, Saudi Arabia. Banners on the walls praise Hussein.

(AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)

The Shia rejected the authority of the Umayyad dynasty, claiming that the Umayyads were usurpers and demanding that leadership go to the direct descendants of the Prophet. The Shia rose in the city of al-Kufah (south of Karbala, in present-day Iraq) and, in 680 A.D., invited Ali’s son Hussein to join them and be their leader. Hussein left Mecca with his family and supporters, but was met at Karbala by an army sent by the Umayyad caliph Yazid. Hussein mustered 72 fighting men against the opposing force of thousands. The result was a massacre in which Hussein and all of his family and supporters were killed and then mutilated.

In observance of the massacre, Sunni and Shia alike regard the 10th day of the month of Muharram as “Ashura,” a day of mourning. For the Sunni the day is merely an optionally observed fast, but for the Shia, it is among the most significant days of observance. The massacre of Hussein added a significant passion element to the Shia tradition, similar to the Christian reverence for Christ’s passion on the cross. Hussein, to the Shia, is a martyr of resistance in the face of oppression, while Yazid represents that oppression. As an often-persecuted minority throughout history, the Shia made these concepts central to their tradition.

Ashura is marked with passion plays and public expressions of grief. All Shia who are capable are expected to make a pilgrimage to Karbala, where Hussein is buried, at some point in their lives to mark the day of Ashura.

  • Syed Mulazim Hussain Shah

    Every effort regarding creativity should be appreciated. Excellent work too need attention for improvement. Nice job. Keep the zeal and zest high.

  • Saiyed Jafar Reza

    In the name of ALLAH, Most Compassionate, the Merciful

    I wish to get your help on two points :

    Firtstly, would you kindly send me some email IDs of Ulema and scholars of Iran and Iraq, who are considered authorities on the Battle of Karbala and who welcome quries from reseachers and could respond to my queries in English.

    SEcondly, would you kindly go through the following points and reply me URGENTLY to enable me to correct the proof pending with me. May not be each and every query but maxuim possible points :

    1. What is by road distance today i. Madina to Mecca, ii. Madina to Kufa, iii. Mecca to Karbala, iv. Karbala to Kufa, v.Kufa to Damascus, vi. Damascus to Karbala, vii. Karbala to Madina, viii. Kufa to Nakheela and ix. Nakheela to Karbala. Please mention in Kilo Miters or miles.
    2. What distance Farsakh and what quantity Qur means.
    3.Has any information about the distances of the in those time when no roads were constructed. If so, Kindly send me.
    4. Has a map ever been drawn regarding journey route of Imam Huain(as) from Mecca to Karbala . Similarly, regarding Aseeran-i-Karbala from Karbala to Kufa and Kufa to Damascus and Damascus to Karbala and Karbala to Madina. If so, kindly send the copy of it.
    5. A map of Karbala today mentioning places of pilgrimages.
    6. Maps of the holy mausoleums of Imam Huasin (as) and Hazrat Abbas.
    7. Has any map of the Battle Field of Karbala ever drawn. If so, Kindly furnish a copy of it.
    8. What were the dates of arrival and departure of Aseeran-i-Karbala at Kufa and the Damascus.
    9. Has any one calculated the period of Aseeri at Kufa and Damascus.
    10. Kindly resolved the confusions regarding names :
    i. Hazrat Wahab Kalbi’s father’s name : Khabab or Habab or Abdullah.
    ii. Hazrat Abdullah-bin-Omair Kalbi is also mentioned as Abu Wahab.
    Is any link with Hazrat Wahab Kalbi.
    iii. A name as Hazrat Obaidullah-bin-Omair Kalbi is also mentioned.
    Is any link with Hazrat Abdullah-bin-Omair Kalbi.
    iv. Who is the martyr of Karbala : Nafie-bin- Hilal or Hilal-bin-Nafie
    or both.
    v. What is the name of the son of Hazrat Hurr : Ali or Bakeer.
    vi. What is the correct : Shabs-bin-Ribae or Shees-bin-Ribae.
    vii. What is the correct : Hissin-bin-Nomair or Hissin-bin-Tameem.
    11. Maqatil and Bihar-ul-Anwar tells regarding the sacrifices of Hazrat Wahab Kalbi, his mother and wife, but the same incidents have been mentioned by Maulana Saiyed Ali Naqi Naqavi in his famous Urdu book ‘Shaheed-i-Insaniyat’ ( pages 397-01) as the sacrifices of Hazrat Abu Wahab Abdullah-bin-Omair Kalbi, his mother and wife. He has not mentioned any Shaheed as Hazrat Wahab Kalabi. What is the fact. Are Hazrat Wahab Kalbi and Hazrat Abu Wahab Abdullah-bin-Omair Kalbi are the same person. If so, their life stories are quit deffernt.
    12. What was the age of Imam Zain-ul-Abidin at the martyrdom of Karbala. How long he lived afterward.
    13. Are Hazrat Ruqqaiyya whose mausoleum is at Damascus and Hazrat Sukaina-bint-Husain is the same person. Hazrat Sukaina’s date of death is said to be 5th. of Rabi I. How could it be possible at Damascus.
    14. keeping in view the distance between Karbala and Madina, is it possible to complete the journey in 12-15 days by the
    I am sure that you would kindly accord TOP PRIORITY to my queries.
    Khuda- Hafiz,
    Saiyed Jafar Reza

  • Prof. Saiyed Jafar Reza (India)

    In tha name of God
    Dear Brother in Faith,
    You are doing marvellous job by providing a forum for dicussions on various academic issues. I am glad to see my queries here. But sorry to note that no comment as yet. Please help me. Khuda Hafiz SJR

  • Prof. Saiyed Jafar Reza

    In tha name of God
    Dear Brother in Faith,
    Now Ihave resolved the points raised on 21.4.2009, so kindly drop the item. Thank you again. Khuda Hafiz
    Saiyed Jafar Reza

  • Syed Amjad Ibrahim

    I am from Aulad of Imam Hussain A.S. and a strong follower of sunnat Jamat from India. Aashura the saddest ever day has come again. Come on brothers, lets make ourselves eligible to Jannah by shedding tears for the thoughts of karbala. We have more reponsibility to shed tears than anyone since we are rom Aulad of Imama Husain A.S.

  • kaisar Abbas

    Dear prof.S.jafar Raza,
    i am trying to find the names and nfomation about the christains helped Imam Hussain(A.S)during battle of karbla, would you like to help me
    here is my e.mail
    waiting for your kind reply
    Dr kaisar Abbas

  • Dr. kaisar Abbas

    Dear pProf.S.jafar Reza
    i am in need of some detailed material related to the christains helped Imam Hussan (a.s) in kabala.
    would you like to help me in this regard.
    here is my e.mail
    sincerely yours
    Dr.kaisar Abbas

  • Rebecca Zaheer

    Dear brother. Iam glad tp learn that u had shed a light on karbala and importance of 10 mohoruum the day of mouring. I want u to help me to know who the lady was ,who come out to fight,but Imam said that women are not allowed to jahid.
    kindly tell me i will be waiting.
    And if there any other information about karbala do inform me
    Ishall be thankful on this act of kindness
    Rebecca Zaheer

  • PoorMuslims

    Why are women not allowed to jihad? are they not human too? why would such a ‘merciful’ , ‘graceful’,'benevolent’ allah place such inequality among his creations merely because of their gender in which they had no choice? Why do so many of you get so brainwashed into following the false teachings of MAN? Do you know not that man is imperfect, that they stumble and fall like you and I? How many countless stories have there been of mullahs who exploit women and children? Why do we place such men above others? Are we not all created equal before allah? Why would some have advantage over others? And if allah has already chosen those that will enter into paradise what is the point of all the efforts if they will not change one’s own destiny in eternity?
    My heart goes out to billions of people who have given their lives for such a grand scheme founded on lies.
    Seek God through Jesus Christ, HE is the true forgiving one, when you begin to spend time with him you will be filled with assurance, with a personal relationship which no man can equal.

  • Zahra

    @PoorMuslims, to your ignorant query ,firstly ALhamdullilah we are muslims & Alhamdullilah by the means of religion we are the most Wealthy religion to be alive on earth ,as for women not allowed in Jihad ,is not true women do their jihad in their own way .In Islam, a woman does not have to wear pants and hold a sword or a rifle to do jihad unlike you ignorants we respect women and dont want them to be torn apart in battlefields ,check Kerbalas history and may be you may gain some knowledge as for following Jeseus we are the first to follow him as a Prophet of course,and then for the lying part who more are big liars than you ignorants who believe in Isiah as a son of God ,If your religion is so complete why is your world filled with crimes ,lies hatred,against your own Christans ? why do catholics call protestants the liars and vice versa why have are you divided why so many sects in Christanity ? Stop poking your nose in places it does not belong.

  • Alina Ali

    @PoorMuslims I think you have a big problem somewhere in your best place or you are totally stupid ,otherwise you’ll never end up writing such posts,Allah subhana wataala Is just to all ,Men and Women have their own rights unlike christians ,A womens place in Islam is regarded very sacred,how many muslim women do you find jumping from one bed to other having thousands one night stands delivering 6 or more illigitimate children being beaten up by boyfriends having their kids sexually and physically abused by their so called partners ,being raped by their own fathers and brothers, mothers sleeping with their own son’s now try and find till you get the answer.Do you know 70% of you are illegitimate as you dont even know your own fathers its your women and kids who are exploited not our’s,as for jeseus being forgiving one, he himself is a slave of Allah ,he himself seeks the mercy of Allah.Woe to you for such ignorance.

  • Br. S Jaffer

    To Sister Rebecca Zaheer

    The woman who came out to fight I believe was Um Wahab, who was the wife of Abdullah Kalbi. She took a pole and insisted on going with her husband to fight the enemy. He tried to talk her out of it without any success so Imam Husayn intervened and praised her for her loyalty and then asked her to return to with the other women as ‘women are not obligated to fight in the battlefield’. After her husband, Abdullah Kalbi was killed, she went out to the battlefield to find his body, when she found him, she knelt down and congratulated him for entering paradise. I believe it was the slave of Shimar who hit her behind her head with an iron mace which resulted in her martyrdom. She became the first female martyr in the battle.

  • Hasan Jaffer

    Sayed Jafar

    A Farsakh is unit of distance equal to 6km

  • S Jafar

    farsakh is 6km distance

  • SH


  • Feroz Khan Baber

    Will someone please describe the route on which the Imam Hussain took the journey from Madina to Karbala . I am presently staying in Al Jouf Region of Saudi Arabia and is able to verify the distances between the points and be able to draw a skitch,as requested the bother who asked for the same.

  • zamina

    those people sittin on the wall with there feet on moula’s photo

  • faizullah

    Proud be shia mulsim???

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