Husayn ibn 'Ali, al-

Husayn ibn 'Ali, al-

biographical name

(born January 626, Medina, Hejaz, Arabian Peninsula—died Oct. 10, 680, Karbala', Iraq) Muslim political and religious leader. He was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. After the assassination of his father, the fourth caliph, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, he accepted the rule of the first caliph of the Umayyad dynasty, Mu'awiyah I. He refused, however, to acknowledge the succession of the latter's son, Yazid I, and instead accepted an invitation to travel to Iraq in order to lead a revolt against the Umayyads. He, along with a small entourage of family and followers, was intercepted by the Umayyads and killed at the Battle of Karbala'. He is viewed by Shi'ite Muslims as the prototypical martyr, and his death became a central theme of later Shi'ite theology and is commemorated annually during the holy festival of 'Ashura'.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on Husayn ibn 'Ali, al-, visit

Seen & Heard

What made you look up Husayn ibn 'Ali, al-? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.