Karbala, Iraq

Districts | History | Early modern | Religious tourism | Transport : Air | Sport | Media | Education : University

🇮🇶 Karbala or Kerbala is a city in central Iraq, located about 100 km south-west of Baghdad, and a few miles east of Lake Milh, also known as Razzaza Lake. Karbala is the capital of Karbala Governorate. The city, best known as the location of the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE, or the shrines of Imam Husayn and Abbas, is considered a holy city for Shia Muslims, in the same way as Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem. Tens of millions of Shi'ite Muslims visit the site twice a year, rivaling Mecca and Mashhad by the number of pilgrims annually. The martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali is commemorated annually by millions of Shi'ites. Up to 8 million pilgrims visit the city to observe ʿĀshūrāʾ (the tenth day of the month of Muharram), which marks the anniversary of Husayn's death, but the main event is the Arbaʿīn (the 40th day after 'Ashura'), where up to 30 million visit the graves. Most of the pilgrims travel on foot from all around Iraq and more than 56 countries.

Districts • Ain Al-Tamur • Al-Hindiya • Karbala • Al hur.

History The Battle of Karbala was fought on the bare deserts on the way to Kufa on October 10, AD 680 (10 Muharram 61 AH). Both Husayn ibn Ali and his brother Abbas ibn Ali were buried by the local Banī Asad tribe, at what later became known as the Mashhad Al-Husayn. The battle itself occurred as a result of Husain's refusal of Yazid I's demand for allegiance to his caliphate. The Kufan governor, Ubaydallah ibn Ziyad, sent thirty thousand horsemen against Husayn as he traveled to Kufa. Husayn had no army, he was with his family and few friends who joined them, so there were around 73 men, including a 6-month-old Ali Asghar, son of Imam Husayn, in total. The horsemen, under 'Umar ibn Sa'd, were ordered to deny Husayn and his followers water in order to force Husayn to agree to give an oath of allegiance. On the 9th of Muharram, Husayn refused, and asked to be given the night to pray. On 10 Muharram, Husayn ibn Ali prayed the morning prayer and led his troops into battle along with his brother Abbas. Many of Husayn's followers, including all of his present sons Ali Akbar, Ali Asghar (six months old) and his nephews Qassim, Aun and Muhammad were killed.

In 63 AH (AD AD), Yazid ibn Mu'awiya released the surviving members of Husayn's family from prison as there was a threat of uprisings and some of the people in his court were unaware of who the battle was with, when they got to know that the descendants of Muhammad were killed, they were horrified. On their way to Mecca, they stopped at the site of the battle. There is record of Sulayman ibn Surad going on pilgrimage to the site as early as 65 AH (685 AD). The city began as a tomb and shrine to Husayn ibn Ali, grandson of Muhammad and son of Ali ibn Abi Talib, and grew as a city in order to meet the needs of pilgrims. The city and tombs were greatly expanded by successive Muslim rulers, but suffered repeated destruction from attacking armies. The original shrine was destroyed by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mutawakkil in 850 but was rebuilt in its present form around 979, only to be partly destroyed by fire in 1086 and rebuilt yet again.

Early modern Like Najaf, the city suffered from severe water shortages that were only resolved in the early 18th century by building a dam at the head of the Husayniyya Canal. In 1737, the city replaced Isfahan in Iran as the main centre of Shia scholarship. In the mid-eighteenth century it was dominated by the dean of scholarship, Yusuf Al Bahrani, a key proponent of the Akhbari tradition of Shia thought, until his death in 1772, after which the more state-centric Usuli school became more influential.

The Wahhabi sack of Karbala occurred on 21 April 1802 (1216 Hijri) (1801), under the rule of Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad the second ruler of the First Saudi State, when 12,000 Wahhabi Muslims from Najd attacked the city of Karbala. The attack was coincident with the anniversary of Ghadir Khum event, or 10 Muharram. This fight left 3,000–5,000 deaths and the dome of the tomb of Husayn ibn Ali, was destroyed. The fight lasted for 8 hours.

After the First Saudi State invasion, the city enjoyed semi-autonomy during Ottoman rule, governed by a group of gangs and mafia variously allied with members of the 'ulama. In order to reassert their authority, the Ottoman army laid siege to the city. On January 13, 1843, Ottoman troops entered the city. Many of the city leaders fled leaving defense of the city largely to tradespeople. About 3,000 Arabs were killed in the city, and another 2,000 outside the walls (this represented about 15% of the city's normal population). The Turks lost 400 men. This prompted many students and scholars to move to Najaf, which became the main Shia religious centre. Between 1850 and 1903, Karbala enjoyed a generous influx of money through the Oudh Bequest. The Shia-ruled Indian Province of Awadh, known by the British as Oudh, had always sent money and pilgrims to the holy city. The Oudh money, 10 million rupees, originated in 1825 from the Awadh Nawab Ghazi-ud-Din Haider. One third was to go to his wives, and the other two-thirds went to holy cities of Karbala and Najaf. When his wives died in 1850, the money piled up with interest in the hands of the British East India Company. The EIC sent the money to Karbala and Najaf per the wives' wishes, in the hopes of influencing the Ulama in Britain's favor. This effort to curry favor is generally considered to have been a failure.

In 1915, Karbala was the scene of an uprising against the Ottoman Empire.

In 1928, an important drainage project was carried out to relieve the city of unhealthy swamps, formed between Hussainiya and the Bani Hassan Canals on the Euphrates.

Defense of the City Hall in Karbala – a series of skirmishes fought from April 3 to April 6, 2004, between the Iraqi rebels of the Mahdi Army trying to conquer the city hall and the defending Polish and Bulgarian soldiers from the Multinational Division Central-South

In 2003 following the American invasion, the Karbala town council attempted to elect United States Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Matthew Lopez as mayor. Ostensibly so that his Marines, contractors, and funds could not leave.

On April 14, 2007, a car bomb exploded about 600 ft (180 m) from the shrine to Husayn, killing 47 and wounding over 150.

On January 19, 2008, 2 million Iraqi Shia pilgrims marched through Karbala city, Iraq to commemorate Ashura. 20,000 Iraqi troops and police guarded the event amid tensions due to clashes between Iraqi troops and Shia which left 263 people dead (in Basra and Nasiriya).

Religious tourism Karbala, alongside Najaf, is considered a thriving tourist destination for Shia Muslims and the tourism industry in the city boomed after the end of Saddam Hussein's rule. Some religious tourism attractions include: • Al Abbas Mosque • Imam Husayn Shrine • Euphrates • Ruins of Mujada, about 40 km (25 miles) to the west of the city.

Transport: Air Airports in Karbala include: • Karbala Northeast Airport • Karbala International Airport (located to the south-east of Karbala).

Sport Karbalaa FC is a football club based in Karbala.

Media There are many references in books in films to "Karbala", generally referring to Husayn's death at the Battle of Karbala. Husayn is often depicted on a white horse impaled by arrows. There are films and documentaries about the events of Karbala in both animated and realistic form

Education: University Hawza are the Islamic education institutions that are run collectively by mujtahid or Allamas to teach Shia Muslims and guide them through the rigorous journey of becoming an Alim. In terms of the Hawza in Karbala, after the death of a renowned Alama, the Sayyid Muhammad, the leadership in terms of teacher shifted to taqlid to mujtahid. This was a significant factor that lead to the leadership of Ulama to reside in Karbala and as well as Najaf. Initially Karbala's hawza (Islamic education institution) consisted mostly of Iranians and Turkish Ulama. After the death of Sharif-ul-Ulama Mazandarani in 1830 and the repression of the shia population by the Ottomans in 1843 both played an important role in the relocation of many Ulamas and thus Najaf becoming the centre of Shia Islamic leadership in education.

As of now, there are two universities in Karbala. University of Karbala, which was inaugurated on March 1, 2002, is one of the top most universities in Iraq regarding academic administration, human resources, and scientific research. The Ahl Al Bayt University was founded in September 2003 by Dr. Mohsen Baqir Mohammed-Salih Al-Qazwini. The university has six major colleges: College of Law, Arts, Islamic Sciences, Medical & Health Technology, Pharmacy and Dentistry.

Warith al-Anbiya University in Karbala, has recently been established under a project of Husayn Holy Shrine, having the faculties of engineering, administration, economics, law and pathology, which is ready to receive students for the first academic year 2017–2018.

Baghdad Time 
Baghdad Time
Image: Photo by Levi Meir Clancy on Unsplash

Karbala has a population of over 700,000 people. Karbala also forms the centre of the wider Karbala Governorate which has a population of over 1,218,732 people.

To set up a UBI Lab for Karbala see: https://www.ubilabnetwork.org Twitter: https://twitter.com/UBILabNetwork

Twin Towns - Sister Cities Karbala has links with:

🇮🇷 Mashhad, Iran 🇮🇷 Nishapur, Iran 🇮🇷 Qom, Iran
Text Atribution: Wikipedia Text under CC-BY-SA license

North of: 32.614

🇨🇳 Shiyan 32.619

🇸🇾 Daraa 32.626

🇨🇳 Huainan 32.631

🇮🇷 Isfahan 32.633

🇲🇽 Mexicali 32.639

🇺🇸 Chula Vista 32.64

🇺🇸 Opelika 32.641

🇵🇹 Funchal 32.648

🇯🇵 Uki 32.649

🇮🇷 Esfahan 32.651

West of: 44.025

🇾🇪 Taiz 44.017

🇮🇶 Erbil 44.009

🇷🇺 Nizhny Novgorod 44.006

🇸🇦 Buraidah 43.967

🇦🇲 Shirak 43.917

🇦🇲 Gyumri 43.844

🇷🇺 Arzamas 43.828

🇷🇺 Nalchik 43.63

🇬🇪 Akhalkalaki 43.487

🇷🇺 Dzerzhinsk 43.467

Antipodal to Karbala is: -135.975,-32.614

Locations Near: Karbala 44.0248,32.6142

🇮🇶 Najaf 44.333,32 d: 74.2  

🇮🇶 Baghdad 44.35,33.3 d: 82.1  

🇮🇶 Shūrīyah 44.4,33.317 d: 85.6  

🇮🇶 Karkh 44.4,33.317 d: 85.6  

🇮🇷 Ilam 46.4,33.633 d: 248.5  

🇮🇶 Nasiriyah 46.256,31.045 d: 273.6  

🇮🇶 Kirkuk 44.391,35.469 d: 319.2  

🇮🇶 Sulaymaniyah 45.387,35.567 d: 351.4  

🇮🇶 Al-Qa'im 41.083,34.367 d: 335.2  

🇮🇷 Kermanshah 47.05,34.3 d: 337.5  

Antipodal to: Karbala -135.975,-32.614

🇵🇫 Papeete -149.566,-17.537 d: 17855.3  

🇦🇸 Pago Pago -170.701,-14.279 d: 15956.3  

🇼🇸 Apia -171.76,-13.833 d: 15834.8  

🇹🇴 Nuku'alofa -175.216,-21.136 d: 15945.5  

🇺🇸 Hilo -155.089,19.725 d: 13850.4  

🇺🇸 Maui -156.446,20.72 d: 13697.9  

🇺🇸 Kahului -156.466,20.891 d: 13679.4  

🇺🇸 Wailuku -156.505,20.894 d: 13677.7  

🇺🇸 Maui County -156.617,20.868 d: 13676.3  

🇺🇸 Honolulu -157.85,21.3 d: 13585.1  

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