21 June, 2018 | 7 Shawwal, 1439 H

"What corrupts generosity is mentioning it."

- The Prophet Muhammad (s)

Learning
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Core Curriculum

Section 1 - God, Religion and Islam: An Introduction
  • Topic 1.1 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 1.2 - God, Allah and Religion

  • Topic 1.3 - Introduction to Islam

  • Topic 1.4 - What is “Religion” and What’s the Point of it Anyways?

  • Topic 1.5 - A Brief Introduction to the Prophet Muhammad (s), the Prophet of Islam

Section 2 - Foundations of Islam - Theology
  • Topic 2.1 - Entering Islam: The Shahada

  • Topic 2.2 - The Usūl al-Dīn: The Fundamental Beliefs of Islam

  • Topic 2.3 - Tawhīd: The Unity and Oneness of God in Islam

  • Topic 2.4 - Adala: Divine Justice in Islam

  • Topic 2.5 - Nubuwwa: The Purpose of Prophethood in Islam

  • Topic 2.6 - Imāmah or divinely guided leadership in Islam after the Prophet Muhammad.

  • Topic 2.7 - Maʿād: The Day of Judgment in Islam

  • Topic 2.8 - The Sharīʿa: Purpose and Practice

  • Topic 2.9 - The Islamic Concept of the Nafs: Battling the Human Ego

  • Topic 2.10 - Satan, Jinns and Angels: Their Influence in the World

  • Topic 2.11 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

Section 3 - Foundations of Islam - Obligatory Acts
  • Topic 3.1 - Accepting Islam: Putting Faith into Action

  • Topic 3.2 - Jihād in Islamic Law and Spirituality

  • Topic 3.3 - Salāt: Obligatory Ritual Prayers in Islam

  • Topic 3.4 - Ritual Purity in Islamic Law: Understanding Tahāra and Najāsa

  • Topic 3.5 - The Five Categories of Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.6 - Tawalla and Tabarra, its Basics and Purpose

  • Topic 3.7 - The Purpose of Zakat and Khums in Islamic Law

  • Topic 3.8 - The Hajj Pilgrimage

  • Topic 3.9 - The Furūʿ al-Dīn: The Fundamental Practices of Islam

  • Topic 3.10 - Fasting in Islam, its Purpose, Dos and Don’ts

  • Topic 3.11 - Other Obligatory and Forbidden Acts in Islam

  • Topic 3.12 - Niyya: Religious Intention as the Foundation of Islamic Practice

  • Topic 3.13 - Commanding the Good and Forbidding Evil in Islam

Section 4 - Prophethood in Islam
  • Topic 4.1 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Childhood (PART I of III)

  • Topic 4.2 - Bio: The Prophet Muhammad as a Prophet of God (PART II of III)

  • Topic 4.3 - A Brief Biography of the Prophet Muhammad (s): The Prophet’s Character (PART III of III)

  • Topic 4.4 - The Prophet Muhammad (s) as Messenger and Teacher

  • Topic 4.5 - The Prophet and his Relationships

  • Topic 4.6 - The Prophet’s Sunnah and Hadith

  • Topic 4.7 - Ghadīr and Arafah: The Two Last Sermons of the Prophet

  • Topic 4.8 - Jesus and Mary in Islam

Section 5 - The Qur'an and Hadith
  • Topic 5.1 - Islam and Other Religions

  • Topic 5.2 - What is the Qur’an? A Short Introduction to Islam’s Holy Book

  • Topic 5.3 - The Structure of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.4 - The Quran and Islamic law

  • Topic 5.5 - The Qur’an, Allah and Humankind

  • Topic 5.6 - Hadith and Sunnah, difference and variations

  • Topic 5.7 - The Reliability of Hadiths

  • Topic 5.8 - A Reflection on Verses of the Holy Qur’an

  • Topic 5.9 - Hadith al-Thaqalayn

  • Topic 5.10 - Imam Ali (as) and Nahj al-Balagha.

  • Topic 5.11 - Taqlid and Tawḍih Al Masail Genre of Literature

Section 6 - Measuring Good and Bad in Islam
  • Topic 6.1 - The Effects of Our Actions in this World

  • Topic 6.2 - The Gray Areas of Islamic Law and Morality

  • Topic 6.3 - Heaven and Hell in Islam

  • Topic 6.4 - Life and Death in Islam

  • Topic 6.5 - Guidance According to Islam

  • Topic 6.6 - Fate and the Consequences of our Choices in Islam

  • Topic 6.7 - The Effect of Culture and Environment in Shaping our Religious Choices

  • Topic 6.8 - Major Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.9 - Why Allah Allows People to Sin

  • Topic 6.10 - Repentance and Forgiveness of Sins in Islam

  • Topic 6.11 - The Three Kinds of Rights in Islam

  • Topic 6.12 - Sinning Against Others and their Delayed Punishment

  • Topic 6.13 - Kufr in Islam

  • Topic 6.14 - Trivializing the Harām

  • Topic 6.15 - Benefits of Islamic Law in this World

  • Topic 6.16 - Good and Bad Deeds: The Spiritual Consequences of our Choices

Section 7 - The Legacy of the Prophet Muhammad (s) and his Ahl al-Bayt (as)
  • Topic 7.1 - Islam and Knowledge: the Importance of Islamic Education

  • Topic 7.2 - The Ahl al-Kisa

  • Topic 7.3 - Imamah in the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.4 - Fatima al-Zahrah (as)

  • Topic 7.5 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam al-Hasan until Imam Muhammad al-Baqir)

  • Topic 7.6 - A Brief Look at the Lives of the Imams (Imam Jafar al-Sadiq until Imam Hasan al-Askari)

  • Topic 7.7 - A Brief Look at the Life and Importance of Imam al-Mahdi (aj)

  • Topic 7.8 - Salawat and Atonement in Islam

  • Topic 7.9 - The Companions (Sahaba) of the Prophet According to the Qur’an

  • Topic 7.10 - Clerical Hierarchies in Muslim Communities

  • Topic 7.11 - Mosques in Islam

  • Topic 7.12 - The Philosophy of Karbala and Majalis

  • Topic 7.13 - A Brief Biography of Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib (as)

  • Topic 7.14 - The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Section 8 - Islamic Relationships, Sects and Conflicts
  • Topic 8.1 - Misconceptions about Shi’ism

  • Topic 8.2 - Major Sects of Islam

  • Topic 8.3 - Islam and Religious Conflicts

  • Topic 8.4 - Islam and Rights

  • Topic 8.5 - Sunnism and Shi’ism, beginnings and historical developments.

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Special Topics

Section 9 - Independent Topics
  • Topic 9.1 - Muslim Converts – Welcome to Islam!

  • Topic 9.2 - Basic Dos and Don’ts of Being a Muslim

  • Topic 9.3 - Halal Food and Zabiha

  • Topic 9.4 - Family, Parents and Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.5 - Marriage in Islam

  • Topic 9.6 - Islam and Sex

  • Topic 9.7 - Modesty in Islam

  • Topic 9.8 - Women’s Menstruation in Islam

  • Topic 9.9 - Music, Alcohol, Drugs and Pork in Islam

  • Topic 9.10 - Islam and Science

  • Topic 9.11 - A Reading List of Islamic Knowledge

  • Topic 9.13 - Ritual Prayers and Supplications in Islam

  • Topic 9.14 - Death & Burial Rituals in Islam

  • Topic 9.15 - The Battle of Armageddon: An Islamic View

  • Topic 9.16 - The Muslim Calendar

  • Topic 9.17 - Muslims and non-Muslims in the Shariah

  • Topic 9.18 - A Timeline of Major Events in Islamic History

  • Topic 9.19 - Introducing the Qur’an: Why it is the way it is

  • Topic 9.20 - The School of Imam Jafar al-Sadiq

  • Topic 9.21 - Major Fields in Islamic Studies

  • Topic 9.22 - The Caliphate in Sunni and Shia Islam

  • Topic 9.24 - Islam, Racism and Anti-Semitism

Section 10 - Islam, Religion, and Modern Controversies
  • Topic 10.1 - Modern Fallacies about God: where Theists and Atheists Agree

  • Topic 10.2 - Tawhīd: The Muslim God according to the Prophet Muhammad and the Ahl al-Bayt (as)

  • Topic 10.3 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Being (Wujūd)

  • Topic 10.4 - God’s Existence: The Kalam Cosmological Argument

  • Topic 10.5 - God’s Existence: The Argument From Design

  • Topic 10.6 - The Problem of Evil, Suffering and Pain

  • Topic 10.7 - Why did God Create Us? The Purpose of our Creation

  • Topic 10.8 - Why Humans Need Religion according to Islam

  • Topic 10.9 - Jahl and Spiritual Ignorance in Islam

  • Topic 10.11 - Do Non-Muslims Go to Hell?

The Battle of Karbala: A Brief History

Abstract

Imam al-Husayn’s (as) sacrifice during the Battle of Karbala was meant to delegitimize corrupt political rule and protest the hijacking of Islam at the hands of a small but powerful and corrupt group of rulers. 

INTRODUCTION 

 

Bismillāhir Rahmānir Rahīm, As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh. Peace be upon you brothers and sisters. 

 

Welcome back to the Muslim Converts Channel! 

 

Modern day Karbala, is a Muslim holy city in Iraq. It is best known for hosting the largest religious gathering of humans in the world. As of the year 2016, almost 30 million people converged unto this city.  

 

In a previous lesson, we looked over the philosophy of Imam al-Husayn’s (as) sacrifice in Karbala and what lessons we could draw from it in our contemporary lives.  

 

With that in mind, here we wish to briefly go over the history of the battle of Karbala in terms of what the catalyst for the battle was, and how the battle unfolded on that tragic day of Ashura. 

 

 BODY OF TEXT 

 

The battle of Karbala took place in the 10th of Muharram, 680 A.D, otherwise known as Ashura, meaning the 10th.  Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar.  

 

The battle of Karbala took place between Imam al-Husayn (as) and a small group of his family members and 72 of his companions on the one hand, and the Caliph of the time, Yazid ibn Muwiyah.  

 

In light of Imam Husayn’s (as) small group of supporters in Karbala, Yazid’s army counted in the thousands. Unfortunately, Imam Husayn (as) and his companions were almost all slaughtered. Only a few were spared from the massacre. 

 

So what led the Ahl al-Bayt (as) to this tragic end? There were a number of catalysts that brought it about.  

 

Muawiyah, Yazid’s father, had led a coup against the Caliphate of Imam al-Hasan (as) who was Imam al-Husayn’s brother. As Muawiyah had bribed most of Imam al-Hasan’s core military supporters, Imam al-Hasan (as) was left with no choice but to accept a forced treaty with Muawiyah that would have handed over power to Muawiyah himself. However, part of this agreement was that Muawiyah would hand over the Caliphate to Imam al-Husayn (as).  

 

This, however, did not materialize. Muawiyah broke every single point of the agreement he had made with Imam al-Hasan (as). Instead of designating Imam al-Husayn (as) as his successor, he designated his own corrupt son Yazid to power and therefore turning the Caliphate into a dynasty.  

 

The breaking of the treaty was only the first step in bringing about the tensions that would lead to the tragedy of Karbala. Imam al-Husayn (as) may have settled with this kind of trickery if it was just that. However, the corrupt nature of Yazid’s personality was simply too much for Imam al-Husayn (as) and he could not, as a result, submit to the request of giving him his oath of allegiance.  

 

Yes, corrupt rulers had existed before, but Yazid completely stood out. Although Muawiyah had been an enemy of Islam, he nevertheless kept some kind of a semblance of Islam in his rule no matter how distorted or mocking it was.  

 

Yazid on the other hand would publically ridicule and mock Islam. He would recite poetry against the Prophet Muhammad (s) and would lead Friday prayers while in a state of intoxication. Subverting Islam as a hypocrite was one thing, but to subvert it openly was a level of shamelessness that had not been seen before. 

 

This wasn’t all. Yazid brutally oppressed Muslims from innocent men to innocent women. He would kill and torture anyone who would question him. At least Muawiyah did it discreetly most of the time, but Yazid would openly commit massacres and violate people’s honor in the streets.  

 

Yazid was also involved in the highest level of financial corruption the Caliphate had ever seen and appointed the most immoral and corrupt of human beings to sensitive political posts. He was, in a sense, Muawiyah on steroids. 

 

Despite the open mockery of Islam and the open oppression of Muslims living under him, Yazid nevertheless asked Imam al-Husayn (as) to pledge allegiance to him. Naturally, Imam al-Husayn (as) could not under any circumstances do such a thing. 

 

Yazid, however, would not tolerate any form of dissent and set a plan to kill Imam al-Husayn (as) and massacre his family or use them as leverage against him. Imam al-Husayn (as) did not want to have blood shed either in Mecca or Medina, the two cities that he was usually present in.  

 

Faced with this dilemma, Imam al-Husayn (as) received a letter from his supporters in Kufa. A number of the Kufans claimed to be able to give him and his family shelter and support him against the oppressor Yazid.  

 

In order to save Islam’s holy cities from bloodshed, Imam al-Husayn (as) headed to Kufa along with his family members. Yazid’s army, however, found out about Imam al-Husayn’s (as) plans and intercepted him before he reached Kufa in a town called Karbala. 

 

Although Yazid was not present in Karbala, he had instructed his army to give him the option of pledging allegiance to him or death. Imam Husayn’s (as) strong sense of morality and justice could not allow him to pledge allegiance to a tyrant as bad as Yazid.  

 

As a result of this refusal, Yazid’s army went into battle against Imam al-Husayn (as). Although the Imam inflicted a lot of damage on the attacking army, their sheer number ensured that Imam al-Husayn, his family and his small group of companions were slaughtered in the field of Karbala. 

 

Imam al-Husayn (as) himself was beheaded and his infant children were slaughtered. Only a handful survived and they were taken captive. Among these were his son Ali Zayn al-Abidin, the future fourth Imam, and his sister Zaynab.  

 

An important question that has to be asked is the following: what did Imam al-Husayn’s sacrifice achieve? Why didn’t he just give allegiance and in the process, spare his life and that of his family’s?  

 

The reason is because although Yazid subverted and mocked Islam publically, he was nevertheless considered a representative of God on earth by virtue of being a Caliph. The Caliph’s word was sacred and gospel. Imam Husayn, by virtue of his respected position in the Muslim community, shattered this perception through his martyrdom as his death sent shockwaves across the Muslim Ummah. 

 

As a result, a whole new generation of scholars, both Shia and Sunni, were born that were not only independent of the Caliphate, but at times defined themselves in opposition to it.  

 

The corrupt rulers of the Muslim Ummah were no longer to define Islam and Imam al-Husayn’s (as) sacrifice took away the authority over Islam that the rulers had and gave it back to the people. 

 

Before we let you go, it’s important to clarify that this short recounting of the history of Karbala is by no means exhaustive. It is only a small glimpse as to what happened in this tragic event. Please check out our further reading section to learn more about Imam al-Husayn (as) and the battle of Karbala. 

 

Until Next Time, Thank you for watching. As-salāmu ʿAlaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuh

Yazid

Son of Muawiyah, Caliph responsible for the murder of Imam al-Husayn (as). 

Karbala

Town where Imam al-Husayn, his family and his close companions were massacred in. 

 

Kufa

City which Imam al-Husayn (as) headed to in order to to avoid bloodshed in Mecca and Medina. 

 

Ashura

 Tenth day of Muharram, the day the battle of Karbala took place and Imam al-Husayn (as) was killed. 

 

Muharram

First month of the Islamic calendar, the month in which Imam al-Husayn (as) was killed. 

Q1

What made Yazid different from other corrupt rulers?

Yazid openly mocked Islam and took corruption to a level that no one previous to him had done before.

Q2

Who was Yazid’s father?

Muawiyah 

Q3

Who put Yazid in power?

Muawiyah 

Q4

What is the significance of Muawiyah appointing his son as the next Caliph?

It turned the Caliphate into a dynasty. 

Q5

Why didn’t Imam al-Husayn (as) leave his family behind?

Because they would have been killed anyways and used as leverage if he had left them behind. 

Imam Husayn
Imam al-Husayn
Karbala
Yazid
Yazid ibn Muawiyah
Imam al-Hasan
Kufa
Caliph
justice
battle of Karbala
Iraq
Ashura
Day of Ashura

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