The Battle of Karbala

Muharram commemorates the events that took place in Karbala in 61AH/680CE which culminated in the massacre of Imam Hussain and his followers on 10th of Muharram.

As a direct descendent of the Prophet of Islam and Humanity Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) Imam Hussain (AS) was considered a leader who should lead the Islamic community as Imam/Caliph (political and spiritual leader).
But Umayyad ruler Muavia nominated his son Yazid against the wishes of notables and the masses of the time majority of whom detested Yazid. People wanted Imam Hussain (AS) as their leader and ruler but they were scared of superior military strength of Muavia and after him Yazid.
On Muavia’s death, the ‘Caliphate’ passed to his son Yazid who required allegiance of loyalty for him as rightful leader from notables and distinguished leaders of the time and top of them was Imam Hussain (AS).
Imam Hussain was unwilling to swear allegiance to Yazid and decided to travel to Kufa in Iraq to lead his supporters there against the Yazid’s despotic tyranny. Yazid ordered an army to intercept Imam Hussain and stop him from reaching Kufa. The caravan of Imam Hussain and supporters got as far as Karbala before they were surrounded by a large number of Yazid’s troops.
Imam Hussain still refusing to swear allegiance to an authority he did not believe was legitimate, faced a desperate situation. His party of 72 armed men, 18 family members and 54 supporters were stranded in the harsh desert without water or supplies.
Imam wanted to avoid bloodshed hence Imam Hussain put his case to Yazid’s generals over eight long days, appealing to their sense of humanity and faith to no avail.
At the dawn on the 10th day – Ashura – after Imam Hussain addressed his followers for the last time, Yazid’s troops fired arrows at the camp and the battle was underway.
Hopelessly outnumbered Imam Hussain’s followers were unable to resist the onslaught; one by one all of the men fell including Imam Hussain, his brother Abbas had been killed earlier. The women and children were in the tents and their tents were burnt and they were tortured and made prisoners.
Yazid army mutilated Imam Hussain’s body and trampled by horses. After the troops left taking the family members of Prophet of Islam, the desert people around what was to become Karbala retrieved bodies of Imam Hussain, Hazrat Abbas and other martyrs of Karbala and buried them.
Since then, pilgrims come to Karbala and it is now one of the most important Islamic and particularly Shia Islamic shrines in the world.

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