By: Mir M.Hosseini
Imam Hossein was the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad. He acknowledged Moawiyeh as the Caliph but refused to accept Yazid as his successor. He thus took off on a journey from Medina and arrived in Mecca on May, 12, 680 where he did not find the support he expected. Seeking to join supporters in Kufa, he left Mecca on Sep, 12.
On his way to Kufa to join his followers, he was intercepted by the Omavi forces on Oct, 5. Again, he refused to acknowledge Yazid's reign and chose to engage in battle although the Omavi army outnumbered his followers and a defeat was imminent. Imam Hossein, with 72 of his people, were massacred in the desert of Karbala. His sister, Zeynab became the messenger of the fallen martyrs. Also, the Battle of Karbala occurred at the banks of Euphrates river.
Only three years after the Karbala incident, in February, 683, around 20,000 Iranians gathered around Mokhtar Saqafi, after his call for revenge. Thus for the first time, a serious uprising against the Omavi dynasty began.
Imam Hossein is the centerpiece of the concept of martyrdom in Shiite faith. Every year on the anniversary of Ashura, mourning ceremonies take place all around the Shiite society and continue for 3 days. Hossein's tomb in Karbala is considered a holy site visited by millions of pilgrims every year.