As a Shi‘a but specifically Twelver Shi‘a myself, writing about the beliefs and religious practices of the faith harkens back to my own childhood. My most vivid memories of childhood are about going to the mosque on Thursdays, where we recited the beautiful supplication of Du’a al-Kumayl as taught by Ali bin Abi Talib.

The massacre at Karbala is a central event in Islamic history. Its significance can be judged by the fact that the very mention of Karbala evokes strong emotions amongst Muslims, particularly the Shi’a. On 10 October 680, corresponding to the Islamic date 10 Muharram 61, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad, Husayn b. ‘Ali (referred to as ‘al-Husayn’) along with his family and companions, was brutally martyred.