Karbala', Battle of


Karbala', Battle of

(Oct. 10, 680) Brief engagement in which an Ummayad army sent by Yazid I killed al-Husayn ibn 'Ali and a small group of his family and followers. Al-Husayn, a grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, was on his way to Al-Kufah, where he had been invited to press his claim to the caliphate, when he and his party were attacked and killed near the town of Karbala', Iraq. Most Shi'ites regard the anniversary of the battle as a holy day of mourning, and on that day they ritually reenact al-Husayn's death; his tomb in Karbala' is likewise considered a place of great sanctity. See also 'Ali; fitnah; Mu'awiyah I.

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