Ashura Encyclopedic Dictionary
A Reference Guide to People, Places, Events, Concepts, and Rituals
by: Dr. Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani
Ashura is a day of mourning and grief in the calendar of all Shi’a Muslims around the globe. This significant milestone commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. This is the first encyclopedic dictionary in English which defines both for laymen as well as scholars the names and concepts associated with this historic day and the events that happened before and after it. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand this epoch-making event which, to this day, continues to influence not only the Shi’a community but also other faith groups who venerate and idolise Husayn as the martyr who laid down his life to speak truth to power and as the heroic figure who redefined the paradigm of the struggle against tyranny and oppression.
Dr. Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani is an associate professor in the faculty of literature at the University of Qom.
His other published books include Martyrdom Narratives and For the Love of Husayn.
This dictionary seeks to present both general and brief information about the third Infallible Imam al-Ḥusayn, his companions, the Ashura survivors, and almost anyone or anything that might have some significance in relation to the Ashura episode of 61 AH/ 680 in some way. There has long been a need to have these nuggets of knowledge for quick reference by an international, mainly English-reading, audience who have limited opportunities to avail themselves of many fine sources available in such languages as Arabic and Persian. For ease of reference, the entries in this dictionary have been placed in alphabetical order rather than in chronological order.
1402 Sh/ 2023
I ought to express my appreciation to the following people whose suggestions, works, and comments proved to be of immense value while the present work was in gestation. There have been
a considerable number of people who have helped me in this process, so I would like to mention them here by name: Muḥammad Baqir Pouramini, Muḥammad Amin Amini, Aḥmad Amini Najafi, Ehsan Aal Taha, Afsaneh Namazi, Sayyid Ahmad Alavi, Sayyid Mojtaba Mousawi, Abd al-Hoseyn Taleie, Sayyid Muhammad-Reza Naser Sheikh al-Eslami, Muḥammad Mojtahedi, Mahdi Mojtahedi, Sayyid Mostafa Assi, Sayyid Muhammad-Hoseyn Dehnad, Mortaza Vafi, Sayyid Mahdi Hoseyni- Roknabadi, Najm al-Din Morawweji Tabasi, Muhammad-Ja‘far Tabasi, Muhammad-Jawad Morawweji Tabasi, Sayyid Mahdi Alavi, and Muhammad Mahdi Khaleqi, Reza Mokhtari.
From Iraq, where the whole event of the Ashura episode took place, the following people proved immensely helpful: ‘Abd al-Mahdi al-Karbalā’ī, Sayyid Yūnis al-Mūsawī, Maryam Hādī
al-Yāsirī, Anmār Muḥammad Muslim al-Suwaydī, Sa‘d ‘Ajīl Mubārak al-Darrājī, Salmān Hādī Āl Tu‘mah, Aḥmad Salmān Āl Tu‘mah, ‘Adnān Āl Tu‘mah, Hudā Tāyih ‘Abd al-Hindāwī, Ḥasan al-
Ṣarrāf, Ḥasan Nāẓim, Sayyid Ḥasan ‘Īsā al-Ḥakīm, Sayyid ‘Alī Ḥuṣayn Abū Sa‘īdah al-Mūsawī al-Najafi, Sayyid Ḥuṣayn Abū Sa‘īdah al-Mūsawī, Ḥawrā ‘Azīz al-Jubbūrī, Sayyid Ḥusayn ‘Adnan
al-Ruḍaywī, ‘Alī al-Fatlāwī, Muḥammad Fāḍil al-Zubaydī, Aḥmad al-Mu’adhdhin, Ṣafwān, Fāṭimah Muḥammad ‘Alī Majlī Abū Hārūn, ‘Alī al-Jabbār al-Rifā‘ī, Muḥammad Ḥusayn al-Rifā‘ī, ‘Abd al-Jabbār al-Rifā‘ī al-Qaḥṭānī, Yāsir Ḥāzim Qāsim al-Lāmī, Rāfid al-Tamīmī, Hādī ‘Abd al-Nabī al-Tamīmī, Nāẓim al-Salāmī, Bāqir Sharīf al-Qarashī, Mahdī Bāqir Sharīf al-Qarashī, and Muḥammad al-Sa‘dī al-Kabābī.
From other parts of the world, the following friends and scholars contributed to this dictionary project: Tehseen Fatemeh Merali, Tressy Arts, Hasan Shikoh, Sophia Butt, Sheikh Zuhayr Ismā‘il, Fizzah Shah, Mortaza Rezaeezadeh, Sayyid Hashim Musawi (UK) Ghaleep Jeppi (South Africa), Syed Sadiq Naqvi, Syeda Bilqis Fatema Husaini, Sujan Mondal, Abdul Rahim Kidwai (India), Ṣaqar Subbūḥ and Kāmil Ismā‘īl (Syria), Syed Husain Mohammad Jafri, Shireen Azfar, Muhammad Reza Kazimi, Sayyid Farhan Ali Bokhari, Sayyid Muḥammad Naqvi (Pakistan), Liyakat Ali Takim (Canada), David B. Cook, Abdulaziz A. Sachedina, and Peter Ford (USA), Fakrul Alam (Bangladesh), Sayyid ‘Alī al-Mūsawī (Bahrain), Giancarlo Anello (Italy), Sumayyah Qasir, Yousof Kattani (Lebanon), and Aidan Parkes (Australia).
At home, my family, particularly my wife, showed much understanding, appreciation, devotion, and contribution throughout the years the present work was in gestation. I also owe a special debt of gratitude to my parents and teachers who have taught me how to make the most of the noble Islamic sources and how to live a religious life. I am most grateful to them all.