The martyrdom of al-Husayn (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) and the general atmosphere of mourning amongst the Shi’ah during the month of Muharram bears testimony to its importance in the Shi’i calendar. To the Shi’ah, ‘Ashura’ is probably the most important day of the year.
In this partial account of what actually happened at Karbala’, which conveniently draws attention away from the other guilty party in the ‘Ashura’ tragedy, lies another tragedy in itself. For while al-Husayn’s (Radia-Allaahu ‘anhu) martyrdom has been oft commemorated, and his physical opponents and killers identified, cursed and eliminated, no one has spared a moment’s anger for those who deserted him at the crucial hour. It is these men in the shadows, who squarely deserve to be called the real villains of Karbala’, upon whom this article seeks to cast light.
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