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al-Mufid

The last writer in the list of authorities is Shaykh al‑Mufid. In his work Kitab al‑Irshad1, he presents an account of the martyrdom of the Imam al‑Husayn. He claims that his authorities are Ibn al‑Kalbi and al‑Mada'ini. In fact, he seems mostly to have used Ibn al‑Kalbi in al‑Tabari's recension. On one occasion he uses an alternative to Ibn al‑Kalbi which al‑Tabari has provided concerning Ibn Ziyad's entry into Kufa2, but without indicating a different source. Al‑Mufid does, however, make the beginning of the story clear by giving those events prior to Mu`awiya's death which al‑Tabari has omitted.

The historiographical study of this event shows how the martyrdom of the Imam al‑Husayn became an important subject for historians from an early time. Despite attempts by some to diminish the stature of the Imam, the historical tradition has, by and large, preserved the general picture of heroism and sacrifice.

The reality, in the simpler stories, has conveyed a more profound effect than the embellishments of some later writers. It was the martyrdom that gave rise to the historical writings, and the historical writings have carried on the tradition of the martyrdom to inspire men throughout the years since the tragic event.

  • 1. Al‑Mufid, Kitab al‑Irshad, pp. 299‑372.
  • 2. Al‑Mufid, Kitab al‑Irshad, p. 308.

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