Events and Circumstances Surrounding the Martyrdom of al-Husain Bin Ali

The book Events and Circumstances Surrounding the Martyrdom of al-Husain Bin Ali address the situation that has developed in Kufa over the past twenty years and eventually lead to assassination of Husain Bin Ali.

Events and Circumstances Surrounding the Martyrdom of al-Husain Bin Ali
Events and Circumstances Surrounding the Martyrdom of al-Husain Bin Ali.jpg
AuthorIan Keith Anderson Howard

About the authorEdit

I. K. A. Howard was a distinguished scholar of Islamic studies, and one of the few Western scholars to devote themselves the study of Shi’a Islam. He translated a number of important Shi’a texts and wrote a series of articles on Shi’a Islam at a time when there was little other work being undertaken on this important subject in Western universities, as such he can be seen as a pioneer in the field.  For many years he held a senior lectureship at the University of Edinburgh where he taught Arabic and Islamic studies. He then taught English in the Middle East, in the Yemen and Lebanon, in the 1960s and early 1970s and thus began his lifelong interest in Arabic and Middle Eastern studies leading to a degree in Arabic from the University of London, and an MA from the American University in Beirut in 1972, which he studied for part-time. It was after receiving his PhD, on Shi’ah law, from the University of Cambridge in 1975, that he became a lecturer at Edinburgh in 1976. Howard died in March 2013.  

About the bookEdit

This book published by Muhammadi Trust of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, has 18 pages and referring to the works of historians such as Abu Mikhnaf, Ibn al-A'tham, al-Dinawari, and al-Ya'qubi, discusses the events that led to the murder of the Prophet's grandson.

Abstract of chaptersEdit

Chapter 1: The Abdication of al-HasanEdit

After Ali was killed in Kufa, his son al-Hasan came to the caliphate. There was immediate confusion among the forces which he had assembled. It soon became apparent to al-Hasan that the situation had reached the point where any continuation of hostilities against Mu'awiya would result in catastrophic defeat. In order to avoid this and the useless bloodshed that such a defeat would involve, al-Hasan came to terms with Mu'awiya under conditionally. al-Hasan had sent a sheet including his own terms, Mu'awiya at first accepted but he refused to accept al-Hasan's second terms.

Chapter 2: The Revolt of Hujr b. AdiEdit

The Shiite uprising against Mu'awiyah began under the rule of Hujr. Ziad had gained his total support through Mu'awiyah’s offer of legitimacy. He sent a delegation to Hujr to try to win him over but Hujr refused. Ziyad's next act was to send the shurta, a kind of police force, to Hujr but he and his friends drove them off. Eventually, Ziyad sent Hujr to Mu'awiya where he was offered his free­dom if he cursed 'Ali. He refused to do this and was executed.

Chapter 3: Yazid's succession to Mu’awiya and the letters sent to al-HusaynEdit

After the destruction of Hujr, Mu'awiya was to break another article of the agreement with al-Hasan, by appointing his son Yazid as his successor. Al-Husayn resolutely refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid. After Mu'awiya's death, al-Husayn left Medina and went to Mecca in order to avoid paying homage to Yazid. The Shi'a in Iraq, particularly al-Kufa, wrote to al-Husayn urging him to lead a revolt against Yazid. Al-Husayn decided to act prudently by sending his cousin Muslim b. 'Aqil to al-Kufa to assess the actual situation there.

Chapter 4: Al-Husayn's letter to the Shi’a in al-BasraEdit

The Shi'a in al-Basra wrote to al-Husayn asking him to lead a revolt against Yazid. In response to a letter from the people of Basra, al-Husayn claimed on behalf of ahl al-bait that they hold the wilaya, (authority from God), that they are the stipulated successors of the Prophet (wasiya) as well as being the rightful inheritors of his authority.

I summon you to the Book of God, the sunna of His Prophet, which has become obsolete while innovation (bida) has become fertile. If you hear my words and obey my command, I will lead you along the path of righteousness.

Chapter 5: Muslim b. Aqil's Death in al-KufaEdit

In this part we read about what happened to Muslim when he arrived in al-Kufa, and how he was executed.

Chapter 6: Al-Husayn's journey to al-Kufa and his deathEdit

Al-Husayn set out from Mecca shortly after the arrival of Muslim's letter urging him to come. What happened in al-Kufa, made Al-Husayn to leave there toward Karbala with his family and companions. Finally, in Karbala, Hussein and his companions were beheaded and their wives sent to al-Kufa under guard.