Muharram is the second most sacred and holiest month of the Islamic calendar to mourn the death of Imam Hussain, the son of Hazrat Ali and the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad who died in the battle of Karbala. While there is a lot of narration about the battle of Karbala, some people doubted that the battle actually happened or it is just fictional. As per beliefs, the Battle of Karbala was fought near the river Euphrates (modern-day Iraq) under the command of Husayn ibn Ali or Imam Hussain in October 680 CE. The battle was one-sided and ended with a decisive Umayyad victory, while Hussain and his soldiers were brutally killed.
This battle also became one of the core reasons for opposition against the Umayyads and it still remains an important part of Islamic heritage and is commemorated annually by observing the Ashura festival. As the history goes, Imam Hussain with his 72 companions departed Mecca on a day before the annual hajj pilgrimage out of which 32 were on horses and 40 were on foot.
On the way to Kufa, Hussain and his companion were followed by the vanguard of the Umayyad forces which were around 1000 men. Nearly, 3000 men attacked Hussain’s army, however, Hussain’s 32 men who were on horses attacked them viciously and fought. However, Umayyads blocked access to the Euphrates River with 500 cavalry troops to force Hussain and his followers into submission.
Legend has it that Hussain was heavily wounded, however, he fought his attackers until he was finally beheaded by one of them. Hussain’s belongings were stolen, his camp looted, and the women and children of his family were imprisoned. The battle was over as Hussain’s 70 men laid lifeless on the ground. Their bodies were decapitated and their heads sent to Damascus. Hussain’s death sparked continuous resentment against the Umayyads. His death holds a special place in the Shia as well as Sunni belief as he is considered as a martyr who fought against oppression even when things were hopeless.