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Karbala (Arabic: كربلاء‎‎) is a city in Iraqi region of Lower Mesopotamia. It is considered one of the holiest cities in the country.


Shia Muslims gather around the Husayn Mosque

Karbala is the place of martyrdom and burial of Imam Husain (grandson of Prophet Muhammad, son of Hazrat Ali ibn Abi-Talib, and the third Shiite Imam). His martyrdom at the Battle of Karbala, at the hands of the army of Ubaidullah bin Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. The city contains the Mausoleum of Imam Hussain as well as that of Hazrat Abbas Alamdar (the brother of Imam Hussain as well the flag-bearer and the Commander-in-chief of Hussain's caravan). Imam Husain's caravan consisted of 96 individuals including women and children and were called Ahle-Bayt as they represented most of the living members of the Prophet Muhammad's family. On the 10th of the Islamic lunar month of Muharram, 72 members of the Ahle-Bayt were martyred by Ubaidullah's Army, and the rest were taken to and imprisoned in Damascus. The 10th of Muharram is called "Ashura" and is the most important day of mourning and atonement in Shia Islam. The Mausoleums of Imam Hussain and Hazrat Abu Fadl Al Abbas are important pilgrimmage sites to Shiites second only to Mecca and Medina. Every year, 40 days after the 10th of Muharram, 25 000 000 people (mostly Shia muslims) from all over the world walk on foot from the holy city of Najaf all the way to visit Hussains tomb in Karbala. This gathering is known as the Arbaeeniyah (اربعينيه) and is the largest yearly gathering in the world. During this time airports in Iraq might become overcrowded and moving around in the city of Karbala will be harder due to immense security adjustments.

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  • Imam Husayn Shrine (مقام الامام الحسين). One of the holiest sites in Shia Islam, it contatins the grave of Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of the prophet Muhammad. (latitude,) edit
  • The Hadhrat Abbas shrine is a historical building , the burial place of the brave son of Imam Ali (AS), and half-brother of Imam Hussain. The shrine is especially revered by the Shia who visit it every year, in the month of Muharram, and various other times of the year, to honor his legendary martyrdom in the Battle of Al-Taff.
  • The Al-‘Abbās Mosque or Masjid al-‘Abbās ( مسجد الامام العباس‎) is the mausoleum of ‘Abbās ibn ‘Alī, located across from the Imām Husayn Mosque. ‘Abbās was the half-brother of Hasan and Husayn, and was the flag-bearer for Husayn in the Battle of Al-Taff. The majority of the design was done by Persian and Central Asian architects. The central pear shaped dome is an ornately decorated structure with two tall minarets on its sides. The tomb is covered with pure gold and surrounded by a trellis of silver, along with Iranian carpets rolled out on the floors.

Masid Sahib Az Zamaan (a.s.) Garden and Masjid Imam Jafar Sadiq (a.s.) This is the place where Imam Jafar Sadiq stayed before leaving to visit the grave of Imam Husain. Here there are gardens of dates owned by Imam Jafar Sadiq. FuraatThis is the place near Mosque of Sahib Az Zamaan (a.s.). It is said that from here the canal from river Furaat (Euphrates) passed by and is a point where Abbas bin Ali reached to bring water. Khayam e HussainiThis is a place where it is said that Imam Husain and his companions and family put their tents (khayaam) and stayed for few days from 2nd of Muharram till 10th of Muharram. Tilla e Zainabiya This is a place between Khayam e Hussaini and shrine of Imam Husain. It is a bit higher and it is said that Syeda Zainab (s.a.) the daughter of Ali and Fatima, the grand daughter of Muhammad (p.b.u.h) and sister of Imam Husain (a.s.)witnessed the sacrifice and martyrdom of her brother-Imam Husain on day of Ashura. Maqaam e Qat e Yadein There are two different places associated with Abbas bin Ali. It is said that at one place one arm of Abbas bin Ali was cut down by army of Yazid and at the other place his second arm was cut down. Maqaam e Ali Akbar At this place it is said that Ali Akbar, son of Imam Husain was martyered. Maqam e Ali Asghar At this point it is said that Ali Asghar, the youngest son of Imam Husain was martyered. Ali Asghar was only six months old.

Though, most retellings of the battle make no mention of the martyrdom of a second son named Ali.

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