Maqtal-e peyvasteh: Gozaaresh-e mustand-e vaqeʽeh-ye Ashura [A Unified Maqtal: A Documented Account of the Ashura Episode]

Author: Muhammad Muhammadi Reyshahri
Reviewed by: Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani

   Muhammad Muhammadi Reyshahri, Maqtal-e peyvasteh: Gozaaresh-e mustand-e vaqeʽeh-ye Ashura [A Unified Maqtal: A Documented Account of the Ashura Episode], ed. Sayyid Mahmoud Tabatabayi-nezhad, Sayyid Rouh Allah Tabaayi, and Muhammad Hadi Khaleqi, Qum: Dar al-Hadith Institute, 1401 Sh/ 2022. 695 pp. + 5 maps.

 This is a one-volume derivative of the greater and much larger version of a compendious work on the Ashura episode in 16 volumes whose publication took over a decade.  There have been innumerable books and sources on the life and times of the third Infallible Imam al-Husayn and the Ashura episode. Granted that the 16-volume collection takes too much space and might not benefit wider readership, the present one volume edition has been prepared for those who favor a continuous and well-edited version of the whole event. The book contains eighteen chapters. The who book is available in two languages, Arabic and Persian, on adjoining pages. As some references are necessary to be made, these explanations appear mostly on the Persian side of the book.

  To render a more vivid portrayal of the whole event, the book starts with the anticipations made by the Prophet Muhammad regarding the tragic, martyrdom fate of Imam al-Husayn. The whole book rests on ancient and more authoritative sources in Arabic. The currents of the events are designed as they represent the reality. The second chapter tackles the Medina phase of the life of Imam al-Husayn. As he migrated from Medina to Mecca, this is the theme of the third chapter of the book. The fourth chapter covers the struggles and martyrdom fate of Muslim b. ʽAqil, with graphic details. Chapter five reviews the main points in the conspicuous events that took place along the martyrdom journey of Imam al-Husayn from Mecca to the region of Karbala. Chapter six deals with the arrival of Imam al-Husayn on the arena. Chapters seven and eight deal with the events of Tasuʽa and the eve of Ashura, respectively. Chapters 9-13 deal with the details of the events that took place on Ashura. This is because the day of Ashura was the culmination of the tragic events that took place on the plain of Karbala. The rest of the book deals with the return of the Ashura survivors and the commemoration of the massacre that took place in Karbala.

    The text is followed by five color maps that display the places mentioned throughout the book.

     It would be much better if the book had a list of the sources drawn upon. Its lacking indexes is another drawback that is hoped to be compensated in its subsequent editions.


Muhammad-Reza Fakhr-Rohani

University of Qum