Maqtal al-Hussain

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Maqtal Al-Hussain
Maqtal al husayn.jpg
AuthorAbu Mikhnaf

The maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf, Maqtal al-Husayn, (Arabic: مقتل الحسین ) is the very first reliable maqtal of Shi'as from which no edition is available.

About the author[edit | edit source]

Abi Makhnaf Lut ibn Yahya Azdi Ghamedi was born in the second half of the first Hijri century in Kufa, and he passed away in 157 or 158 A.H. Being a historian in the early years of Islam, he wrote the first report on the battle of Karbala entitled “Maqtal al-Husayn." There are some disagreements regarding his religion, although he was more interested in Shi'ism according to his works. His works are accepted by Shi'as anyway. His books are known to have been about forty, all of which have disappeared through time. Al-Maghazi, al-Radeh, al-Gharat, Fotuh al-Islam, Fotuh al-Khorasan, Maqtal of Amir al-Momenin, Maqtal of al-Hasan and Maqtal of al-Husayn are among his works.

English translaion of Maqtal al-Husayn by Yasin T. al-Jibouri

About the book[edit | edit source]

Being among the most precedent Maqtals,[1] the Maqtal of Abi Makhnaf was written by Abi Makhnaf Lut ibn Yahya in about the year 130 A.H.[2] The fact that the book was written in an era close to the battle and also the writer’s thorough familiarity with many of the people present during the battle and in the events after that, makes this Maqtal one of the most reliable sources in the history of Shiism. The book was available to the fourth century, and Tabari has mentioned it in his history (the book he wrote). Still, it disappeared like this author's other books, and no edition of it is available now.[3] Some handwritten editions of this book are reported to be present in Berlin, Linden, Saint Peters Burg, and Milan.[4] The book, which is present under the name of "Maqtal al-Husayn" and is famous with Maqtal of Abu Makhnaf, is fake and unreliable to most scholars.[5]

It is also noteworthy that some parts of the book “Tarih-i Tabari : tarikh al-umam wa-al-muluk" taken from Maqtal of Abi Makhnaf, have been published in the form of separate books by some scholars. Among such books, the following ones can be mentioned: Sayyid al-Shuhada Husayn ibn Ali’s rebellion and Mukhtar’s revenge narrated by Tabari and written by Abu Ali Balami and Muhammad Sorour Mowlaee; and Maqtal al-Husayn by Hasan Ghafari Nejad, Esteshhad al-Husayn by Sayyid Jamili, ،The event of al-Tatf by Muhammad Hadi Yousefi ًQeravi, the Eternal Rebellion translated from Maqtal al-Husayn Abi Makhnaf by Hujjat Allah Judaki.[6]

This fake Maqtal has been published many times in Iran, Iraq, and India. The first time was in 1322 A.H under the title of “ Meftah al-Buka’ VA al-Hozn VA al-Asaf ala Shahid al-Lotf," by Muhammad Taher Musavi Dezfooli in 1322 A.H along with the translation of the book “Akhz al-Sar Val al-Mukhtar." attributed to Abu Makhnaf.  Another time was under the title of the first Shia history of the battle of Karbala and Mukhtar’s rebellion written by Muhammad Baqir Ansari and Muhammad Sadiq Ansari (Qom, Dar al-Ketab, 1405 A.H)

In the view of the great ones[edit | edit source]

Allamah Tastari knows Maqtal Abi Makhnaf to be the rightest one. In his book "Lu'lu' wa Marjan," Nouri refers to Abu Makhnaf as a great Mohaddes (narrator of hadith) and a reliable narrator of history. He continues: “alas his original and intact Maqtal is not available, and the one they attribute to him includes some content against the principles of the religion which some ignorant people have entered it to serve their bad intentions. As a result, the book is not reliable and trustworthy anymore." Shaykh Abbas Qomi knows this Maqtal to be of high reliability. Still, he believes that the original format has been destroyed, and what is received is not written by Abu Makhnaf.[3]

The content of the book[edit | edit source]

The text of the book is a chronological presentation of the battle of Karbala. Events like Imam Husayn’s presence in and exit from Medina, Imam Husayn’s presence in Mecca, the events in Kufa after Muslim ibn Aqil’s entrance, the events that took place simultaneously when Imam was exiting Mecca are mentioned in the correct order. The houses and events on the way from Mecca to Kufa are introduced. Then the events of the first ten days of Muharram ending with Ashura are focused on.

Then looting the tents, riding horses on Sayyid al-Shuhada’s body, taking ahl al-Bayt to Kufa, Imam’s holy head in ibn Ziad’s ceremony, the story of the captives in ibn Ziad’s ceremony, the martyrdom of Abd Allah ibn Afif because of his protest against ibn Ziad, the story of the prisoners in Sham (Levant) and Yazid’s ceremony, the entrance of the prisoners to Medina and the first Kufan pilgrim visiting Sayyid al-Shuhada’s tomb are explained.

The reasons why the present Maqtal al-Husayn is not reliable[edit | edit source]

Scrutinizing the book Maqtal al-Husayn by Abu Makhnaf, second edition, Manshurat al-Razi 1362, the reasons below can prove why the present Maqtal is not reliable:

1.     The content of this book is very different from Tabari’s history, while Tabari had used this book without any mediums in between or at most with only one medium.

2.     On the 12th page of the book, something about Koleyni is said while he was born 100 years after Abu Makhnaf.

3.     On page 113, it is said that Tarmah ibn Oday got killed in the battle after having killed 70 members from Omar Sa’d’s army. While in the fifth volume of Tabari’s book, on pages 406 to 407, according to Abu Makhnaf, Tarmah did not participate in the battle.

Sources[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]