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 The Battle of Karbala took place in Muharram 10, in the year 61 AH of the Islamic calendar (October 10, 680 AD) in Karbala, near to Kufa in Iraq. The battle took place between a small group of supporters and relatives of Al-Hussain bin Ali bin Abi-Talib (Muhammad's grandson), and a larger military detachment from the forces of Yazeed I, the Umayyad caliph.

 

When Yazeed became the Caliph after his father Muawiya, Hussain Ibn Ali, may Allah be pleased with him and other four Companions refused to pledge allegiance to him. They were Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah Ibn al-Zubair and Abdul Rahman Ibn Abu Bakr.

The news of Al-Hussain's rejection to acknowledge Yazeed reached to the people of Kufa, some thought that it was an opportunity for Al-Hussain to take over the succession instead of Yazeed. So, they sent him letters, asking his help and pledging allegiance to him. He answered their calls and sent Muslim ibn Aqeel, his cousin, to Kufa as his representative in an attempt to consider the exact situation and public opinion.

 

After Muslim reached Kufa, he got from its people the oath and pledge of allegiance to al-Hussain, and to protect and support him. Therefore, He sent a letter back to Al-Hussain – may Allah be pleased with him- to inform him the is the situations are good and he can come to there. On the 8th of the Month of Dhu al-Hijjah, in 60 AH, AlHussain took his family and went out of Makkah towards Iraq. Some companions such as: Ibn Abbaas, Ibn Umar, Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn Amr, his brother Muhammad ibn Hanafiyyah and others, advised him not to go, but he insisted to go.

As soon as Yazid heard of that, he appointed Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyad to Iraq and ordered him to tackle the issue and prevent the Kufans from any dissent. Ibn Ziyyad entered Kufah before al-Hussain, then Ibn Aqeel besieged his palace with 4000 fighters; however, all the fighters withdrew and he remained alone, then he was captive and killed on the Day of Arafa (the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah). Before killing him, he send someone with a letter to Hussain, this is the text of his message: "Return with your family, and don't let the people of Kufa tempt you. They have lied to you and lied to me, and liars have no sound opinion"

 

Ubaydullah Ibn Ziyyad then sent an army under the command of Umar bin Sa'd bin Abu Waqqas, Shamar ibn al-Jushan and Husayn ibn Tamim.

 

When Husain (may Allah be pleased with him) received the letter, he grieved for his death and complete his way towards Kufa.

When he reached Karbala, close to Kufa, he met the army of Ibn Zeyad there. He asked them to let him go back (to Makkah) or to let him go to one of the border regions to fight until death, or to let him go and join his paternal cousin Yazeed. All his demands were rejected and they insisted on taking him prisoner, but he refused and then the battle took place.

There is no doubt that the battle was unequal in number, all the men, from his family, who came with Al-Hussein (may Allah be pleased with him and them) were killed while defending him until he remained alone like a lion. Then, Shumar ibn al-Jushan threw his spear at Hussein which made him fall off his horse to the ground, then they gathered and killed him as a martyr. It is said that Shumr ibn al-Jushan cut off the head of Hussein and it was said that Sinan bin Anas al-Nakha'i who did it, and Allah knows best.

Amongst those killed from his family also were:

§  From Ali bin Abi Talib's sons: Abu Bakr - Mohammed - Othman - Ja'far - Al-Abbas.
§  From Al-Hussain's sons: Abu Bakr - Omar - Othman - Ali Al-Akbar  - Abdullah.
§  From Al-Hassan's sons: Abu Bakr - Omar - Abdullah - Al-Qasim.
§  From Muslim bin Aqeel's sons: Ja'far - Abdullah - Abdul Rahman.
§  From Abdullah bin Ja'far's sons (Al-Hussain 's cousins): Awn - Mohammed
§  And add to them Al-Hussain and Muslim bin Aqeel (may Allah be pleased with them all)
 

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:" Yazeed did not issue orders that al-Husayn be killed, and he did not express joy at his killing.  He did not poke the severed head of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) with a stick, and the head of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) was not brought to him in Syria, but he did issue instructions that al-Husayn be prevented from achieving his goal, even if that involved fighting him. But those who received his instructions went further than that".

May Allah have mercy on Imam Hussain and all those who were martyred there, and Allah knows best.  

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