The Battle of Karbala

The Battle of Karbala took place in Karbala (680), in present day Iraq. On one side were supporters and relatives of Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali; on the other side was a military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph.

Husayn ibn Ali's group consisted of notable members of Muhammad's close relatives, around 72 men, of which some were either very old or very young. Husayn and some members of his group were accompanied by some of the women and children from their families. On the opposite side, the armed forces of Yazid I were led by Umar ibn Sa'ad and contained at least 40,000 men.

Shia traditions state that Husayn ibn Ali's group killed over 20% of the enemy before being defeated. It is said that Husayn himself killed 900 soldiers, despite the fact that he was thirsty and hungry for 3 days. It is stated that he died to resurrect Islam.

The battle field was a desert region located beside one of the branches of the Euphrates River. The battle resulted in the military defeat of Husayn ibn Ali's group, the death of almost all of his men, and the captivity of all women and children.

The Battle of Karbala is one of the most significant battles in the history of Shia Muslims.

This battle also had significant effects on formation of subsequent revolts against the Umayyad dynasty.

The battle of Husayn ibn Ali is commemorated during an annual 10-day period held every Muharram 10, 61 (Islamic calendar) or (October 9 or 10, 680 AD), culminating on its tenth day, Ashura.

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The Battle of Karbala

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