SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)-
A picture of holy tombstone of hazrat Abolfazl (A.S)
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -
Rare pictures of the tomb of Imam Hussein
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association)-- There are many opinions among different investigators, as to the origin of the word "Karbala".
Some have pointed out that "Karbala" has a connection to the "Karbalato" language, while others attempt to derive the meaning of word "Karbala" by analysing its spelling and language. They conclude that it originates from the Arabic word "Kar Babel" which was a group of ancient Babylonian villages that included Nainawa, Al-Ghadiriyya, Karbella, Al-Nawaweess, and Al-Heer. This last name is today known as Al-Hair and is where Imam Husayn's (a.s.) grave is located.
The investigator Yaqut al-Hamawy had pointed out that the meaning of "Karbala" could have several explanations, one of which is that the place where Imam Husayn (a.s.) was killed is made of soft earth - "Al-Karbalat".
Other writers made the connection between the name and the disastrous event which painted the desert with blood, and so the word "Karbala" was said to compose of two Arabic words: "Karb" meaning grief and sorrow, and "Balaa" meaning affliction. Such a connection, in fact, has no scientific evidence, since Karbala was known as such even before the arrival of Imam Husayn, peace be upon him.
Martyrdom and popularity
Karbala was at first an uninhabited place and did not witness any construction activity, although it was rich in water and its soil fertile.
Following the tenth of Muharram 61 AH (680 AD), after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.), people from far as well as tribes living nearby started visiting the holy grave.
A lot of those who came, stayed behind and/or asked their relatives to bury them there after their demise.
Despite many attempts by successive rulers, such as Al-Rashid and Al-Mutawakkil, to put a restriction on the development of this area, it has nonetheless spread with time to become a city.
Bounty of visiting Imam Husayn (a.s.)
There is a lot of benefit and great spiritual reward in visiting the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.). The Prophet [s] has said of his grandson Imam Husayn (a.s.): "Husayn is of me and I am of him". Several narrations mention that visiting the grave of Imam Husayn (a.s.) relieves one of worldly afflictions as well as those after death.
Believers, therefore, come from all parts of the world all year round to receive the honour of visiting Imam Husayn (a.s.), particularly during the first ten days of Muharram (Ashura) and the twentieth of Safar (the fourtieth).
One common Iraqi custom during that season is to go walking from Najaf to Karbala, reflecting their strong adhesion to and adoption of the morals and principles for which Imam Husayn (a.s.) struggled and attained martyrdom.
Adapted from the book: "History of the Shrines"
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – In Surat as-Saafaat XXXVII:101-109, Allah (SWT) says:
We gave him (Hadhrat Ibraheem A.S.) the tidings of a son possessing forbearance (hilm).
And when the son (Hadhrat Ismail A.S.) was old enough to walk about with him (some mufassireen have translated sa'ya as to work) (Ibraheem) said : " O my son I have a seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you (for the pleasure of Allah)". He (the son) responded: O my father! Do what you are commanded. If Allah pleases, you will find me of the patient ones."
So when they had both submitted (to Allah), he (Ibraheem) flung him (his son) down upon his face.
We called out to him saying: "O Ibraheem !
You have indeed fulfilled the vision. Surely thus do We reward those who do good deeds
Most surely that was tremendous (manifest) trial !"
Then We ransomed him (Ismail) with a great sacrifice (bidhibhin 'azeem).
And we shifted (this blessing) on him (who is from) among the generations (to come) in later times.
Peace be upon Ibraheem !
The above ayaah paint the picture of a father and son. The father was commanded by Allah to sacrifice his beloved son. The son willingly accepted to be the sacrifice for the pleasure of Allah. By Allah's Grace the son is saved. Allah says the dhibhin 'azeem will come from the later generations. This was a test of obedience to Allah's command. Ibraheem dearly loved Ismail, but he loved Allah more. He agrees to sacrifice his son for the pleasure of Allah. Ismail is a youth with a whole life time ahead of him. Yet not only he agrees to be the sacrifice but also assures his father that he will, inshallah, find him amongst the patient one.
The most poignant statement is that of Allah when He says it was indeed a tremendous trial for the father and the son!
To perpetuate the memory of this test we perform pilgrimage where every ritual is connected with the love which a father and a mother have for their child. Sa'ee reminds us of infant Ismail's thirst and a mother's frantic search for water to quench the baby's thirst. The journey to Meena with a halt at Arafah retraces the journey undertaken by the father and son to fulfill Allah's command.
Where are there any circumstances to call for such a sacrifice ? One can find no reference to it. Was it recorded by any historian ? No, Allah recorded it and reminds the Muslims of the events year after year during the pilgrimage.
Over three thousand years later, on the 10th of Muharram in 61 Hijrah, history witnessed the situation re-enacted on the battle-field of Kerbala. Then a sacrifice was called for to protect and save Islam and all its values from being trampled under the unclean feet of Yezid. Wahdaniyyah was at stake ! Prophethood was at stake ! Justice was at stake ! The belief of accountability on the Day of Judgement was at stake !
Miles away from Mecca we once again we see a father and a son. Ali Akber is standing in front of Imam Hussain. He says, "Father, I request for permission to go and fight the enemies of Islam." Imam looks at his son lovingly. He says, "Akber, you have my permission. May Allah be with you! But Akber, you know how much your mother, sisters and aunts love you. Go and say farewell to them." Akber goes into the tent of his mother. Every time he wants to come out of the tent the mother, aunts and sisters pull his cloak and say, "O Akber, How can we live without you!"
Finally Imam Hussain goes in and pleads with all to let Ali Akber go.
Imam helps his son mount the horse. As Akber begins to ride towards the battlefield, he hears foot-steps coming from behind. He looks back and sees his father. He says, "Father, we have said good-bye, why are you walking behind me?" Hussain replies, "My son, had you been a father you would surely have understood how difficult it is for a father to part from his son!!"
After a fierce battle Akber is over-powered by the enemy who rush from all sides. As he falls from his horse, he cries out. "O Father, my last salaams to you!" As he hits the ground a spear which had wounded him and lodged in his chest breaks. The blade remains embedded in Akber’s chest.
When our Imam heard Akber's salaam he looked at Furaat where Abbas lay and said, 'Abbas! Now that this brother of yours needs you most, where have you gone?' With all his strength sapped by the anguish in Akber's voice, Hussain began to walk towards the battle-field.
When Imam Hussain got to where Akber lay he took him in his arms. Akber had his right hand on the chest. He placed his left arm over the shoulder of his father. Hussain said, "Akber, why do you embrace me with one arm only?" Akber would not reply. Hussain tried to move Akber's hand. Akber resisted. Imam gently moved the hand. Then he saw it ! He saw that dreadful blade of spear sticking out of his son's chest. Imam Hussain laid Ali Akber on the ground and sitting on his knees he put both his hands on the blade of the spear. He then looked at Najaf, and cried out, "Father, I too have come to my Khaiber!" He pulled out the blade.
Jibraeel (a) cried out "Marhaba! Marhaba!". Akber took a deep sigh and then lay still!
Assalamu 'alaika ya waritha Ibraheema khaleelillah!
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Unlike any other city, Karbala has its named engraved in the memory of generations, and in the expanse of the Muslim world... Believers remember that name with sorrow and distress, for they remember the history of the master of all martyrs, Imam Hussein, (p.b.u.h), and his sacrifice for Islam. The wave of visitors never stopped coming to Karbala, from the time the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphs prevented the construction of the shrines to the time the believers were able to build the precinct, despite the hardships and difficulties imposed on them. And today, since Karbala is witnessing new calamities, and the mausoleums of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) and his companions are subjected to destruction and neglect, and visitors are prevented from reaching that place, it is suitable to familiarize ourselves with Karbala...
Two main roads lead the visitor to Karbala. One is from the Iraqi capital Baghdad, through Al-Musails, and the other is from the holy city of Najaf. However, either one excites the visitor with its greenish scenery along the sides. Upon reaching Karbala, the holy place would draw the visitor's attention to its glorious minarets and domes shining due to the light of its lord. At the city's entrance, the visitor finds a row of houses decorated with wooden columns, and while proceeding further towards the holy mausoleum, he sees architechture similar, to some extent, to modern ones. Upon reaching the holy shrine, one finds himself in front of a boundary wall that surrounds wooden gates covered with glass decorations, and when one enters one of those gates, he enters a precinct surrounded by small rooms called "I wans". The holy grave is located in the middle of the precinct, surrounded by square shaped structures called "Rawaq". The grave itself is located in the middle of the grave site with golden windows around it, with beautiful illumination. It really is something great to see.
"Karbala" Origin & Meaning
There are many opinions among different investigators, as to the origin of the word "Karbala". Some have pointed out that "Karbala" has a connection to the "Karbalato" language, while others attempt to derive the meaning of word "Karbala" by analysing its spelling and language. They conclude that it originates from the Arabic word "Kar Babel" which was a group of ancient Babylonian villages that included Nainawa, Al-Ghadiriyya, Karbala, Al-Nawaweess, and Al-Heer. This last name is today known as Al-Hair and is where Imam Hussein's (p.b.u.h) grave is located. The investigator Yaqut al-Hamawy had pointed out that the meaning of "Karbala" could have several explanations, one of which is that the place where Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) was killed is made of soft earth - "Al-Karbalat". Other writers made the connection between the name and the disastrous event which painted the desert with blood, and so the word "Karbala" was said to compose of two Arabic words: "Karb" meaning grief and sorrow, and "Balaa" meaning affliction. Such a connection, in fact, has no scientific evidence, since Karbala was known as such even before the arrival of Imam Hussein (p.b.u.h).
Martyrdom and popularity
Karbala was at first an uninhabited place and did not witness any construction activity, although it was rich in water and its soil fertile. Following the tenth of Muharram 61 AH (680 AD), after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h), people from far as well as tribes living nearby started visiting the holy grave. A lot of those who came, stayed behind and/or asked their relatives to bury them there after their demise. Despite many attempts by successive rulers, such as Al-Rashid and Al-Mutawakkil, to put a restriction on the development of this area, it has nonetheless spread with time to become a city.
Bounty of visiting Imam Hussein (p.b.u.h) There is a lot of benefit and great spiritual reward in visiting the grave of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h). The Prophet [s] has said of his grandson Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h): "Husseinis of me and I am of him". Several narrations mention that visiting the grave of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) relieves one of worldly afflictions as well as those after death. Believers, therefore, come from all parts of the world all year round to receive the honor of visiting Imam Hussein (p.b.u.h), particularly during the first ten days of Muharram (Ashura) month and the twentieth of Safar (the fortieth). One common Iraqi custom during that season is to go walking from Najaf to Karbala, reflecting their strong adhesion to and adoption of the morals and principles for which Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) struggled and attained martyrdom.
Mausoleum of Imam Hussein (p.b.u.h)
The historian Ibn Kuluwayh mentioned that those who buried Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h), made a special and rigid construction with signs above the grave. Higher and bigger constructions above the grave started during the ruling of Al-Saffah, but Harun al-Rashid later on, put heavy restrictions to prevent people from visiting the grave. At the time of Al-Mamun, construction around the grave resumed until the year 236 AH when Al-Mutawakkil ordered the destruction and digging of the grave, and then filling the pit with water. His son, who succeeded him, allowed people to visit the grave site, and since then building the precinct to the grave increased and developed step by step. On the other hand, the historian Ibn Al-Athir, stated that in the year 371 AH, Aadod Al-Dawla Al-Boowayhi became the first to largely lay the foundations for large scale construction, and generously decorated the place. He also built houses and markets around the precinct, and surrounded Karbala with a high boundary wall turning it into a strong castle. In the year 407 AH, the precinct caught fire due to the dropping of two large candles on the wooden decorations, but Hasan ibn Fadl (the state minister) rebuilt the damaged sections. History has recorded the names of several rulers who shared the honor of widening, decorating or keeping the precinct in good condition. Amongst them is Fateh Ali al-Qajari, who in 1250 AH ordered the construction of two domes. One over Imam Hussein's (p.b.u.h) grave and the other over his brother Abu EL-Fadhl EL-Abbas (p.b.u.h). The first dome is 27 meters high and completely covered with gold. At the bottom, it is surrounded with 12 windows, each of which is about 1.25 m away from the other, from the inside, and 1.30 m from the outside. The mausoleum has an area of 59 m / 75 m with ten gates, and about 65 rooms (I wans), well decorated from the inside and outside, used as classrooms for studying. As for the grave itself, in the middle of the precinct, it is called the "Rawda" or garden and it has several doors. The most famous one is called "Al-Qibla" or "Bab al-Dhahab". When it is entered, one can see the tomb of Habib ibn Madhahir al-Asadi, to the right hand side. Habib was a friend and companion of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) since their childhood. He was one of those who was honored with martyrdom at the Battle of Karbala.
The resting place of EL-Abbas son of Ali (p.b.u.h)
Abu EL-Fadl EL-Abbas (p.b.u.h) was the brother of Imam Hasan (p.b.u.h) and Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) and the standard-bearer of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) in the Battle of Karbala. He is well known in history for his valour, loyalty and similarity to his father, the Lion of God, Ali bin Abi Talib (p.b.u.h). The grave of EL-Abbas (p.b.u.h) received similar attention as that of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h). In the year 1032 AH, the King Tahmaseb ordered the decoration of the grave's dome. He built a window on the 'darih' around the grave and organized the precinct. Other similar activities were done by other rulers. As a matter of fact, Karbala contains, besides the grave of Imam Hussein(p.b.u.h) and his brother, the grave of all the 72 martyrs of Karbala. They were buried in a mass grave which was then covered with soil to the ground level. This mass grave is at the foot of Imam Hussein's (p.b.u.h) grave. In particular, besides Imam Hussein's grave are the graves of his two sons Ali Akbar and 6-month old Ali Asgher.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – We weren’t able to find any hadithic proof showing that this sentence: “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala” is a hadith from the infallibles. Yet this concept which is derived from the occasion of Karbala and the line of movement of our imams, is a correct one, containing instructive and valuable points. The reason being that although the incident of Ashura will never be repeated again, but oppression and tyranny are an everyday thing until the appearance of Imam Mahdi (as) and his wiping out all oppression and tyranny. The culture of Ashura will be alive throughout history and time and Karbala will remain the symbol of resistance and struggle against injustice and oppression for divine goals. Our religious leaders have taught us to stand up against oppression and they themselves have also practiced this. Therefore it isn’t true to say that Ashura was a historical incident limited to a specific time and place.
Yet, this sentence is a correct conclusion obtained from the incident of Karbala and the line of movement of our imams and contains some valuable and instructive points; because although another Ashura will never take place, but oppression and tyranny will always continue, until Imam Mahdi (as) reappears and roots out and eliminates all of it. The culture of Ashura will go on forever and Karbala will remain the symbol of resistance and fighting against injustice and oppression. Our religious leaders have taught us to stand up against tyranny, and would do so themselves. Therefore, it isn’t true that Ashura was an incident that took place in a certain time and place and is to be forgotten afterwards.
The sentence “Every day is Ashura and every place is Karbala” signifies that the battle between good and evil is to go on and isn’t limited to any time or place, and that this battle is linked to the ones before, forming a single chain. The incident of Ashura and Karbala is one of the clearest links of this very long chain. Good and evil are always face to face, and libertarians are responsible for the guardianship of the good and fighting the evil, thus, being careless regarding this battle is considered turning away from religion.
Imam Khomeini, who was the establisher of the Islamic Republic, a true follower of Imam Husein (as) and fought against the oppressors of his time, refers to this statement (Everyday is Ashura and…) as “The Great Statement” and stresses on keeping the message of Ashura alive and putting it into practice saying: “This statement is a great one…our nation must always pay attention to the fact that even today is Ashura and that we must stand up against oppression and that we are currently in Karbala and must act according to it, Karbala isn’t limited to a specific land. The incident of Karbala isn’t limited to a group of seventy-something people in the land of Karbala, all lands must play the same role as Karbala did.”
In reality, with the belief that the rise and martyrdom of Imam Hosein (as) must be the guideline for all Muslim social activities, Imam Khomeini made the rise of Imam Hosein (as) the foundation of his movement. “…what Imam Hosein (as) did, the idea that he had and his way and his victory after his martyrdom and consequently, the victory of Islam. This statement brings forth a responsibility for us, while bringing about good news as well. The responsibility is that the oppressed, no matter how little in number, must stand up like Imam Hosein (as) against their oppressors, regardless of their number, how armed they might be and the evil power they might possess. The good news being that this statement has considered our martyrs (that stand up as a result of following Imam Husein [as]) as part of the martyrs of Karbala.”
During the imposed war on Iran, the great leader of the revolution stated: “Although the battle of Ashura was the shortest one time wise (half a day), it is the longest battle between good and evil as far as length goes , therefore, whenever one wishes that he/she were one of the companions of the imam (as) and one of the martyrs of Karbala (یا لیتنا کنا معکم فنفوز فوزا عظیما), the battle of Karbala is still going on and the clash of Ashura is continuous (so there still is hope to be able to reach such a rank).”
In other words, as Imam Hosein (as) is the inheritor and successor (wareth) of Prophets: Adam, Ibrahim, Nuh, Musa, Isa, and Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon all of them), the followers of Imam Hosein (as) are the inheritors and successors of the red line of Jihad and Shahadah (martyrdom) and will never put down the flag of Karbala, and this is the valuable asset of Shi’ism in its political dimension, as Imam Hosein (as) himself says: “فلکم فی اسوة، در کار من برای شما الگو است (there is a good exemplar in me for you)”. This viewpoint of Imam Khomeini, rejects theories that say Karbala and Imam Hosein’s (as) movement were all a personal responsibility that were only for the imam himself and others can’t follow him in it.
One writer even says: “We are certain that if Imam Hosein (as) were to be alive today, he would create another Karbala out of Quds, southern Lebanon, and most Islamic regions, holding the same grounds he held against Mu’awiyyah and Yazid.”
 Of course, some quote this statement from Imam Sadiq (as) without any hadithic backup, see: Abbas Azizi, Payame Ashura (The Message of Ashura), pg. 28 and Javad Muhaddethi, Farhange Ashura, pg. 371.
 Some have even submitted evidence that this statement isn’t a hadith. See: Ulume Hadith Magazine, no. 26.
 Sahifeye Noor (A collection of the late Imam Khomeini’s sayings), v.9, pg. 202.
 Ziyarat Ashura
 Sahifeye Noor, v.20, pg. 195.
 Tabari, v.4, pg304.
 Hashem Ma’ruf Al-Hasani, Al-Intifadhat al-Shi’iyyah, pg.387.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The writers of books on what happened on Ashura (these books are referred to as ‘maqatil’) have not mentioned much about what happened to Dhuljanah. What is mentioned is that he made his mane bloody with the blood of the Imam and returned to the tents neighing very highly. When the household of the Imam heard Dhuljanah they came out of the tents and found out that the Imam had been martyred. But some of the later maghatel like Nasekhul-Tawarikh have extended saying that Dhuljanah banged his head to the ground so much that he died, or that Dhuljanah threw himself in the Furat (the river in Karbala that Imam Husein was denied water from).
 The ziyarah of Nahiyah Muqaddasah; Amaliyy of Sheikh Saduq, pg. 163.
 Mirza Muhammad Taqi Sepehri, Nasekhul-Tawarikh, vol. 6, pg. 2.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Some of our hadith sources contain hadiths narrated from the ma'sumin mentioning how Allah (swt) sent help for Imam Hussein by the jinns and angels.
Of course, this isn't something unusual and has happened before; jinns, angels and any other means of help have been sent down by Allah for the Prophets. In the Quran, Allah (S.A.) says: "Thus (remember when) you (all) implored your Lord (in the battlefield of Badr), so He responded to you:" I will reinforce you with a thousand angels riding up one after another."
Some of the main reasons why Imam Hussein didn’t accept any kind of help are that: the only way he could bring reform to the Ummah in his day was through his martyrdom, he had a great urge and desire to return to his lord, it was his destiny for him to be martyred, the Imam for a fact, conceived martyrdom as the greatest and most pleasant way of dying and wanted to execute this divine plan exactly the way Allah wanted and in a natural way, without the intervention of other beings.
Divine aid for Imam Hussein (as):
In our hadith sources, we can find a few hadith narrated from the Ahlul-Bayt regarding Allah's assistance to Imam Hussein by sending him an army of jinns and angels. For example, Sheikh Mufid has narrated this hadith, through a set of narrators, from Imam Sadeq: "At Imam Hussein's departure from Medina, a group of angels and a group of Muslim and Shiite jinns came and offered their help, but the Imam replied: "May Allah bless you, but I am responsible for my own duties and the time and place of my death has been determined.” The jinns said: "If you had not forbidden us, we would have wiped out all of your enemies." In response Imam Hussein said: "We are more capable of doing so ourselves, yet we refrain, so those who are go astray, go astray with an ultimatum, and those who go on the right path, do such out of awareness and with clear reason." Similarly Imam Sadeq (A.S) says: "My father said: When Imam Hussein (A.S.) confronted Umar Ibn-Sa’d and the battle commenced, Allah sent his aid to the imam, to the extent that it cast its shadow on him, and at that moment he had the option to choose between triumph over his enemies or meeting Allah, and he chose to return to Allah."
Likewise some hadith state that a number of angels came to help Imam Hussein (A.S.). The first time they came the Imam didn’t give them permission to participate in the battle and when they came for the second time the Imam had already been martyred. For example, take this narration from Imam Sadeq: "Four thousand angels descended to fight with Imam Hussein, but they were not given permission to battle. Once more they were given permission but it was too late and the imam had already been martyred..."
To sum it up, this story can be found in our ahadith and is considered true and no scholar or religious expert has tried to deny it; because it isn’t contradictable to any Islamic principle. The assistance of jinns and angels by the demand of Allah has happened for the Prophets also; Allah (S.W.) says in the Quran: "Thus (remember when) you (all) implored your Lord (in the battlefield of Badr), so He responded to you:" I will reinforce you with a thousand angels riding up one after another." Or like when they helped the Muslims in the battle of Ahzab, although in some cases they weren’t able to help due to a few reasons that will be mentioned.
Why didn’t Imam Hussein accept the jinns’ and angels’ offer to help?
In response we can mention the few following reasons:
1. Considering the complicated political situation that Muawiyah and Yazid had created, the wrong they would do in the name of Islam, and also the fact that distinguishing wrong from right had became really difficult, the only way to stop this situation and revive Islam was the martyrdom of the Imam, his children and his companions.
2. The ahadith regarding this matter indicate that the Imam was destined to be martyred so he could achieve his ultimate purpose which was awakening the ummah and saving them from ignorance.
3. Imam Hussein believed that martyrdom was the most beautiful and honorable death possible. This fact has been verified in the sermon that he gave on his departure from Mecca to Iraq: "The adornment of death for mankind is like the adornment of a necklace on the neck of a girl." meaning that death isn’t a restriction imposed onto one, but rather like a necklace; it is something cherished and valuable. Why not wear this necklace, and for Allah’s (swt) sake at that?! Dying for the sake of his religion was very pleasant and like honey for the imam (as). Martyrdom isn’t a flaw or deficiency that one needs to ask the angels for help from, it is a high and great quality; just like how Prophet Ibrahim (A.S.) saw martyrdom as an excellence and as a result wasn’t afraid of burning in the fire and didn’t ask Jibraeil for help, all he would do when they were catapulting him into the fire was remember Allah (swt) and call him.
4. Returning to Allah (S.W.) and his Prophets meant much more to Imam Hussein, especially with the governing circumstances at that time, than remaining in this world, as he mentioned in his sermon in Mecca: "My eagerness to meet my ancestors is like the eagerness of Yaaqub to meet Yusuf."
5. Even though the Imam was capable of succeeding over his enemies through metaphysical means such as miracles and in that case had no need of help from angels and/or jinns, he wasn’t willing to use miracles, for doing so for the Imam - who was to conform to the ordinary circumstances all humans must consent and adapt to - was in contradiction with what the imam was responsible to do, which was to do everything through natural means. In addition to that, one of the main reasons why Imam Hussein has had such a great impact on the lives of Muslims and all seekers of justice and freedom is the fact that he carried out his acts without using paranormal means but rather conducted based on common and standard circumstances. Leading his household to an unfair battle, them being taken as prisoners and all the disrespect they experienced, were all reasons that contributed to Imam Hussein's uprising becoming monumental and everlasting. Is there anyone who would actually think that the imam (as) couldn’t overthrow Yazid through supernatural means?!
 Allamah Majlisi, Biharul-Anwar, vol. 44, pg. 330.
 Seyyid ibn Tawus, Luhuf, pg. 141 (Farsi translation of Seyyid AbulHasan Mir AbuTalebi).
 Sheikh Saduq, Amaliyy (Farsi translation of Mohammad Baqir Kamare’i), pg. 638. It should be noted that this hadith has also been narrated in Kafi of Kuleini, see: Al-Kafi, vol. 1, pg. 283 and 284.
 See: Musbah Yazdi, Muhammad Taqi, Azarakhshi Digar az Asemane Karbala, pp. 44-66.
 Biharul-Anwar, vol. 44, pg. 329.
 Biharul-Anwar, vol. 44, pg. 366; Muhaddith Erbili, Kashful-Ghummah fi Ma’rifatil-A’immah, vol. 2 pg. 29; Luhuf, pg. 110 and 111.
 See: Javadi Amoli, Abdullah, Shokufayiye Aql dar Partowe Nehzate Hoseini, pp. 28-30.
 Shokufayiye Aql dar Partowe Nehzate Hoseini, pg. 27.
 Biharul-Anwar, vol. 44, pg. 366; Kashful-Ghummah vi Ma’rifatil-A’immah, vol. 2, pg. 29; Luhuf, pp. 110 and 111.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – The story of Karbala and martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s) and his companions is one of the very well-known and indisputable facts of a history that has been narrated and passed on to us chest by chest by many narrators. No one even from the enemies has so far denied the incident of Karbala. This great event in which Imam Sajjad (a.s) and Zainab (s.a.) also played a very crucial role had a great impact on revival, growth and expansion of Islam. That was why, the enemies started from the very outset to put an end to it or otherwise distort it and one of the actions taken by them was to introduce some false and untrue stories concerning this great epic.
Today also, proper understanding the history of the great epic of Ashura can cause freedom-seeking nations all over the world to symbolize it, learn a lesson from it and to get further acquainted with the existential aspects of this movement. Given the fact that all the beauties and prides of this movement belong to Islam especially Shia, the enemies of Islam and Shia leave no stone unturned to misrepresent, distort and alter this great event. The historical events especially those that are very important, do not normally remain protected and immune to distortion. The event of Ashura which is also one of those great events of human history is also not an exception. Perhaps, the stories concerning some of the incidents of this event have been tampered with by malicious enemies. That is why we see that Shia's great scholars and those who are truly devoted to this religion have long been trying to purge this event of distortions and alterations; they have written books and articles, given lectures and conducted interviews to enlighten people's mind in an effective manner.
Mirza Noori, one of those great Shia scholars, has written a book on the distortions of the event of Ashura. The book is titled "Pearl and Coral" (Lu'lu wa Marjan). Likewise, Martyr Murteza Mutahhari gave lectures in this regard which have been gathered in the first volume of Hamasa-e Husseini (The Husseini Epic).
Thus, there is no doubt that certain details concerning the event of Ashura have been misrepresented or distorted but it does not mean that whatever we detest or dislike is part of misrepresentations which we should discard. Can we deny an indisputable historic event simply because it is implausible and unlikely? Can we reject a story simple because it does not look to be true?
By raising questions about distortions in the event of Ashura, do we take steps towards serving justice and truth and fighting tyranny, injustice and oppression in the same way as Mirza Noori and Martyr Mutahhari did? Or do we follow other aims by these spurious arguments?
Considering that all these questions have been sent to the User and he has forwarded them to us, therefore we thank the esteemed User for his religious concern, and from now on we will address the original questioner only.
Before dealing with the questions, it is necessary to make mention of the following point:
We as Muslims are proud that our Prophet (s) conforms to sublime morality and stands on an exalted standard of character. On this basis, God also says that Islam owes its expansion and growth to the sublime morality of the Prophet (s). In line with the sublime morality of the Prophet (s), we as Muslims have also been commanded not to insult the pagans' idols.
The event of Karbala and the story of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (a.s) and his companions is one of the well-known and indisputable facts of the history that has been narrated repeatedly and passed on to us chest by chest and generation by generation. No one even from the enemies has so far denied the incident of Karbala. This incident has had a crucial impact on Islam causing to be revived and spread across the world; it has served as a glowing torch for the Islamic Ummah. Imam Sajjad (a.s) and Zainab daughter of Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s) were the messengers of Karbala who with their truthful narration of the event of Ashura decried the enemies' actions, defamed them and unveiled the wicked hands that aimed to destroy the tree of Islam to the extent that the Umayyad family felt that by killing Imam Hussein (a.s), it had gained nothing but defeat, misery and disgrace. That was why the Umayyad government and its mercenaries began, from the outset, to extinguish the light of Karbala by distorting the whole incident and given a narration of the event that was quite opposed to what it really was. Unfortunately, we must say that they succeeded in doing this to some extent.
Today, the history of Ashura and the memory of that great epic have in fact turned into a model for freedom-seeking nations all over the world. With each passing day, the world is getting further acquainted with the various aspects of this movement learning a lesson from it. Given the fact that all the beauties and prides of this movement belong to Islam especially Shia, the enemies of Islam and Shia will leave no stone unturned to misrepresent, distort and alter this great event.
Having said that, it is necessary to study, meticulously, the incidents of this great event so that we can foil the conspiracies hatched by the enemies of Islam and Shi'sim.
The historical events especially those that are very important do not normally remain protected and immune to distortion. The event of Ashura which is also one of those great events of human history is also not an exception. Perhaps, the stories concerning some of the incidents of this event have been tampered with by malicious enemies. That is why we see that Shia's great scholars and those who are truly devoted to this religion have long been trying to purge this event of distortions and alterations; they have written books and articles, given lectures and conducted interviews to enlighten people's mind in an effective manner.
Mirza Noori, one of those great Shia scholars, has written a book on distortions and misrepresentations of the event of Ashura. In his book titled "Pearl and Coral" (Lu'lu wa Marjan) he explicitly says: "Today, we must weep not for the martyrdom of Hussein but for all the lies and false stories related about the event of Karbala with no one giving a stop to them. We must weep for this new tragedy of Hussein bin Ali not for the swords and spears that landed upon his holy body.
In this regard, late Murteza Mutahhari also delivered speeches which have been gathered in the first volume of Hamasa-e Husseini (The Husseini Epic).
Speaking about the misrepresentations of the event of Ashura, he says: "Most of the fabrications that have occurred have been for the purpose of drawing tears, nothing else."
Therefore, there is no doubt that certain details concerning the event of Ashura have been misrepresented or distorted but it does not mean that whatever we detest or dislike is part of misrepresentations and we should discard it. Can we deny an indisputable historic event simply because it is implausible and unlikely? Can we, by creating doubt about some details of the event of Karbala, decrease anything of the nastiness of the crime committed by Yazid and his men?
By raising questions about alteration of the event of Ashura, do we take steps to serve the cause of justice and truth and to fight tyranny, injustice and oppression in the same way as Mirza Noori and Martyr Mutahhari did? Or do we follow other aims by giving rise to spurious arguments?
On this basis, considering that preventing and fighting distortions are good and necessary, it is better that this task be carried out in a scientific manner without the laity indulging themselves in it.
We must know that there is no absolutely no doubt that Imam Hussein (a.s), his companions and comrades were killed and beheaded and their heads were put up on spears with his family members taken as captives.
One of the indisputable facts concerning the event of Ashura is the thirst factor. It is indubitable that Imam Hussein (a.s), his children and companions were thirsty on the day of Ashura. We shall now cite an example of the stern attitude exercised on the part of the enemy. The source of the example is Tarikh al-Umam wal-Muluk, a book authored by Tabari, one of the most famous Sunni historians:
"In a letter to Umar bin Sa'd, Ubaidullah bin Ziyad wrote: "O Umar bin Sa'd, put a barrier between Hussein, his companions and water, and make sure that water is not supplied to them. They should not have even a drop of water.
At the receipt of this letter Umar Ibne Sa'ad gave 500 soldiers under the command of Amr Bin Hajjaj and instructed him to put a stop on water to Imam Husain (a.s.)'s camp. These soldiers put a stay at the bank of Euphrates and became a barrier between the water and the camp of Imam Husain (a.s.). A man named Abdullah bin Ubai Hasin Al-Azdi says to Imam Hussein: "O Hussein, … by Allah, you will not drink of this water until you die of thirst, and Hussein cursed him."
In view of the above explanation and the points which were mentioned, there is no need to enter into the details, yet we will try to give a brief answer to your question.
1. Karbala is not near the Euphrates River; rather it is 15 kilometers straight away from it. In fact, the Euphrates has a tributary which flows nearby Karbala. It is called 'Alqama. Since the river is a tributary of the Euphrates, it is sometimes figuratively called Euphrates. According to some reports, Imam Hussein's companions were taking water from the same river until the night preceding the day of Ashura. Even they performed ghusl (major ablution) using 'Alqama water. However, on the day of Ashura, the enemies started to behave more sternly tightening their siege and preventing access to water. Therefore, there was no water for Imam Hussein and his companions to drink.
As for whether or not they had food to eat or cook, even if we suppose that they had some food to eat, we should say that food is different from water. And (even if we suppose that one can eat food despite extreme thirst), eating food intensifies thirst. In addition, tolerating hunger is easier than tolerating thirst. Therefore, since Imam Hussein (a.s) and his children were insufferably thirsty, no mention has been made of hunger.
2. Even if we suppose that water did exist four to five meters close to the surface of the earth, you can imagine a situation in which a limited number of people are surrounded by their blood-thirsty enemies, those who had been commanded to prevent access to water. Naturally, they would also prevent Imam Hussein and his companions from digging up a well. Nevertheless and despite all the difficulties, they dug a well because in a letter to Umar Sa'd, Ibn Ziyad wrote as such: "I have learnt that Hussein and his children are drinking water and they have dug up a well. Now then! As soon as my letter and messenger reaches you, be severe towards Husain and his comrades and do not let them drink a drop of water from the Euphrates. 
3. You have also enquired about the solar year, season, month and temperature in which the event of Karbala occurred. We do not know what you wish to prove. Do you want to say that there was no shortage of water in Karbala and that no one was thirsty? What do you say about those of the Imam's enemies (e.g. Abdullah bin Ubai Hasin Al-Azdi who, as was stated above, said that he and his children were thirsty? You just suppose a battle taking place in a region like north Iran with moderate temperature. Imagine that the region is besieged by enemies with everyone being busy battling the enemy without water. Don't you think that they will eventually feel thirsty to a degree where they will not be able to fight? Add up children to them. What will happen, if they start crying for water? What would be the situation like in that case?
As for the three quotations which you cited about Imam Hussein's grave, they are not dichotomous nor are they contradictory with each other; in fact, they can be reconciled. In addition, no one has claimed that Karbala had been an infertile and barren land. You must have heard narrators say that some enemies were waiting in an ambush behind date-palm trees in order to murder Abbas.
Although Karbala was not very fertile due its being a bit far from the Euphrates River, there were trees in the surrounding and remote areas.
In his letter to Hurr, Ibn Ziad writes: "Now then! As soon as my letter and messenger reaches you, be severe towards Husain. And let him halt at a barren land, devoid of fortresses and water. I have instructed my messenger not to part with you until you have carried out my orders, Salutations.”
Hurr thus forced Imam and his companions to halt at that place, devoid of habitation and water. In addition, it is possible that a land may be barren for one or several years but it may change overtime by creating streams, subterranean and aqueducts or wells around it. Don’t you think that a land which is close to water flowing in creeks and streams be irrigated through investment and human resources?
When it comes to Ali Asghar, we need to mention two points about him:
A) The first point is about Ali Asghar’s getting killed at the hands of the enemy in Karbala.
B) The second point deals with the way in which he was martyred.
As for the first point, no one has entertained any doubt about the martyrdom of Ali Asghar, Imam Hussein’s suckling child, in Karbala. This is sufficient to prove the enemy's remorselessness, cruelty and viciousness. As for how he was martyred, there are different accounts about it. However, we suffice to giving one reference in this regard.
Imam Hussein companions and all his relatives had been martyred and there was none left except Ali Zainul Abedeen and his suckling child Abdullah. The voice of lamenting of the ladies arose and Imam came to the door of the tent and called for Zainab (a.s) saying, "Give me my infant child so that I may bid him farewell". Then he took him in his arms and bent to kiss his lips. "Woe be to the ignoble nation when Muhammad (s) will confront them."
It is said that all of a sudden an arrow came up and landed on the child's chest and killed him. Then Imam Hussein (a.s) dismounted from his horse and dug a grave with the sheath of his sword; he buried the child under the sand drenched in his blood, he then leapt from his place, arose and recited elegies:
"The nation has disbelieved and have turned their face away from the reward of the Lord of the worlds; the nation killed Ali and his son Hasan, the excellent, the son of esteemed parents; they were filled with hatred and rancor and called upon people and gathered to fight Husain; Woe be to the ignoble nation that assembled groups to fight the people of the 'Two Sacred Sanctuaries; thus they left while inviting others towards obedience of the apostates; opposing Allah to shed my blood, for the sake of Ubaidullah from the progeny of the polytheists; and the son of Sa'ad has killed me aggressively with the help of an army similar to torrential rains; and all this was not in restitution of any crime committed before me, except that my pride are the two stars, Ali who was the best after the Prophet, and the Prophet who was the son of Quraishite parents; my father is the best among men and I am the son of the two best ones."
It appears from your message that you do not deny or doubt the killing of Ali Asghar but you have entertained doubt about the circumstance in which he was killed. We would like to go into further details concerning this point.
Here we wish to raise a few questions before we can embark on the main point. Obviously, we do not intend to prove that the enemy did not shoot an arrow at his chest but at his throat; rather we aim to explain that we cannot substantiate or negate a historical event through a simple rational argument.
Did Imam Hussein (a.s) and some of his companions not approach the enemy to exhort and admonish them? Were they not within the range of enemy archers? Did Imam not meet Umar Sa'd? He did. Is it unlikely of Imam Hussein (a.s) to get so close to the enemy for quenching Ali Asghar's thirst that the enemy could hear him? Indeed he did approach them time and again to warn them about the consequences of their actions?
Do you think it was unlikely of the blood-thirsty enemy to trample the bodies of Hussein (a.s) and his friends, loot the camps and burn them, to flog the women and children remorselessly after the battle so as to further show their spite and enmity? In line with the same objective and in order to further hurt Hussein, they first killed his suckling child. They thought that after the death of the child which in their view inflicted a heavy psychological blow on the Imam (a.s), they could land a more painful physical blow on him.
As for your question about the severance of Abbas' hand and his holding the leather bag with the other hand, you must know that in old times, the warriors used to wear armors to protect themselves against sword injuries. Therefore, it is difficult to imagine that his hands were cut off completely in an instant. In addition, he was riding on a horse and he could have used the horse saddle or body to keep the leather hanging from it until he could use the other hand to take the leather. Therefore, if we look at the incident a bit carefully, the answers to many of the questions become very tangible.
For further information, see: A Mystical, Philosophical and Theological Attitude to the Personality and Revolution of Imam Hussein (a.s), by Qasim Turkhan
 - Qalam: 4 وَ إِنَّکَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظیمٍ.
 - Aal-e Imran: 159 فَبِما رَحْمَةٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ لِنْتَ لَهُمْ وَ لَوْ کُنْتَ فَظًّا غَلیظَ الْقَلْبِ لاَنْفَضُّوا مِنْ حَوْلِک.
 - Al-An'am: 108, وَ لا تَسُبُّوا الَّذینَ یَدْعُونَ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَیَسُبُّوا اللَّهَ عَدْواً بِغَیْرِ عِلْمٍ.
 - Misrepresentation of Ashura 1.
 - Misrepresentation of Ashura 2.
 - For further information, see the following indexes: "Rationality or Devotedness of Imam Hussein's Revolution on the Day of Ashura", No. 4456, "How to Illustrate the Oppression Committed against Imam Hussein (a.s)" No.4459" and "Imam Hasan's Decision of Holding True and Imam Hussein's Decision of Uprising" No, 629.
 - For further information, refer to books authored by Abu Hanifa bin Dawud Deynuri, Akhabar al-Tuwal, Mahdi Damghani, Mahmud, pg. 277, Tehran, Nay Publication, fourth edition, 1992; Ibn A'tham Kufi, Al-Fotuh, Muhammad binahmad Mustawfi Heravi, pg. 884, Chap. Hussein bin Ali (a.s), in Karbala, Tehran, Inqilan Islamic Publications, 1993; Izzuddin bin Athir, Al-Kamil, Halat, Abul Qasim and Khalili, Abbas, vol.11, pg. 148, Tehran, Scientific Publications Institute, 1992.
 - Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad bin Jarir, Tarikh al-Umam wal-Muluk (Tarikh Tabari), Muhammad Abul Fazl Ibrahim, vol.5, pg. 412, Beiruit, Dar al-Turath, 2nd edition, 1387 A.H. 1967 A.D.
 - Abu Muhammad Ahmad bin A'tham al-Kufi, Al-Fotuh, Shiri, ali, vol.5, pg. 91, Beirut, Dar al-Adhwa, first edition, 1411, A.H. (1991).
 - Mufid, Irshad, Sa’edi Khurasani, Muhammad Baqir, pg. 432, Islamiyah, Tehran, first edition, 1380 A.H.
 - - (حتى وقع فی لبة الصبی فقتله) Lubbat al-Sabi is where a garland touches when it is hanging from its neck. It is above the chest close to the neck.
 - Tabarsi, Ahmad bin Ali, Al-Ehtijaj, Ja'fari, vol.2, pg. 99, 168, Islamiyah Publications, Tehran edition, first edition, 2002.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) -- In the event of 'Āshūrā which took place during the month of Muḥarram in 61 AH, three noble Imāms were present.
Imām Ḥusayn (as) who headed this revolution and was martyred in Karbalā. Imām Sajjād (as), [who] for reasons could not participate in the battle, and in accordance to God's will, he remained alive to take on the Imāmat of the Shī'ahs [after his fathers martyrdom]. Imām Bāqir (as) was also present at the event of Karbalā.
The 'Āshūrā, uprising which took place during the month of Muḥarram in the year 61AH, is one of the most important and influential events in the history of Islām.
Three honorable Imāms were present at this event
Imām Ḥusayn (as) who headed this revolution and was martyred in Karbalā. Imām Sajjād (as), [who] for reasons could not participate in the battle, and in accordance with God's will, he remained alive to take on the Imāmat of the Shī'ahs [after his fathers martyrdom]. Imām Bāqir (as) who was four years old at the time.
Here we will examine the evidence regarding Imām Sajjād (as) and Imām Bāqir (as) being present at Karbalā.
The presence of Imām Sajjād (as) in Karbalā is a matter that all historians unanimously agree upon and none have disputed. Imām Sajjād (as) played a vital role in not allowing the blood of the martyrs of Karbalā go to waste.
One of the proofs for his presence in Karbalā is the historical account of his speech in Yazīds palace.
Also one narrator says, "In the year 61AH I entered Kūfah, this was concurrent with the time that 'Ālī ibn Ḥusayn (Imām Sajjād) (as) and the womenfolk of his family were returning from their (heartbreaking) trip to Karbalā."
Imām Sajjād (as) says about his presence on the day of 'Āshūrā, "We exited with Imām Ḥusayn (as) (from Madīnah)… on Saturday the 10th of Muharram 61AH, after the Ẓuhr prayers he was unjustly martyred."
The presence of Imām Bāqir (as) is also something that historians agree upon since there are many reports that state he was born before 61AH.
"Imām Bāqir (as) was born in 57AH in Madīnah."
Similarly, when a person asked Imām Bāqir (as), "Were you there in the era of Imām Ḥusayn (as)?" the Imām replied, "Yes".
Imām Bāqir (as) says in respect to his presence at Karbalā, "My Grandfather Imām Ḥusayn (as) was killed when I was four years old, and I still remember his being killed."
In accordance to this selection of accounts, there is no objection (or obstacle in proving) that Imām Bāqir (as) was present in Karbalā, and naturally since his eminence was quite young at the time he lived and travelled with his family. Also since he was very young at the time, the books of history have mentioned very little information about his presence in Karbalā.
 The Moral Lifestyle of Imam Sajjad (as), 2303 (site: 2411).
 Shaykh Mufid, Al-Amaali, p. 321, Shaykh Mufid World Congress Press, Qum, 1413 AH.
 Majlisi, Muhammad Baqir, Bihar al-Anwaar, vol. 45, p. 90, Al-Wafa' Institute, Beirut, 1404 AH.
 Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 212.
 Kulayni, Al-Kāfī, vol. 4, p. 223, Daar al-Kutub al-Islamiyyah, Tehran, 1365 (solar).
 Ahmad ibn Abi Ya'qub, Taarikh Ya'qubi, vol. 2, p. 320, Beirut, Daar Saadir, no date of publication.