Timeline of the Battle of Karbala
Year 60/680
Rajab 15
(April 21)
Death of Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan
Rajab 28
(May 4)
Departure of Imam al-Husayn b. 'Ali (a) from Medina.
Sha'ban 3
(May 9)
Arrival of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Mecca.
Ramadan 10
(June 14)
Arrival of Kufiyans' first letter to Imam (a)
Ramadan 12
(June 16)
Arrival of 150 letters from Kufa
Ramadan 14
(June 18)
Arrival of the letter from leaders of Kufa
Ramadan 15
(June 19)
Departure of Muslim b. 'Aqil from Mecca toward Kufa.
Shawwal 5
(July 9)
Arrival of Muslim b. 'Aqil to Kufa.
Dhu l-Hijja 8
(September 9)
Departure of Imam al-Husayn (a) form Mecca and uprising of Muslim b. 'Aqil in Kufa
Dhu l-Hijja 9
(September 10)
Martyrdom of Muslim b. 'Aqil
Year 61/680
Muharram 1
(October 1)
Asking for help of 'Ubayd Allah b. al-Hurr al-Ju'fi and 'Amr b. Qays in Qasr Bani Muqatil
Muharram 2
(October 2)
Arrival of Imam (a) to Karbala
Muharram 3
(October 3)
Arrival of 'Umar b. Sa'd with 4,000 people to Karbala
Muharram 6
(October 6)
Habib b. Muzahir's asking for help of Banu Asad
Muharram 7
(October 7)
Banding of water by 'Umar b. Sa'd and joining Muslim b. 'Awsaja al-Asadi to Imam (a)
Muharram 9
(October 9)
Arrival of Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan to Karbala
Muharram 9
(October 9)
Shimr's Safe conduct for Umm al-Banin's children
Muharram 9
(October 9)
Announcing of the Battle by 'Umar b. Sa'd and Imam's (a) asking for a delay
Muharram 10
(October 10)
Events of Ashura and the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a), his Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) and his companions
Muharram 11
(October 11)
Moving the captives towards Kufa and the burial of martyrs by Banu Asad
Muharram 12
(October 12)
Arrival of captives to Kufa and the burial of the martyrs according to the narration
Muharram 19
(October 19)
Moving the captives from Kufa towards Syria
Safar 1
(October 31)
Arrival of the captives and the head of Imam al-Husayn (a) to Syria
Safar 20
(November 19)
Arba'in and the return of Ahl al-Bayt (a) to Karbala and Medina (in some accounts)

Letters of the people of Kufa to Imam al-Husayn (a) refers to the letters sent to Imam al-Husayn (a) by the people of Kufa to invite him and give allegiance to him. These letters were written shortly after the death of Mu'awiya, and after Imam al-Husayn's (a) refusal to give allegiance to Yazid, when he (a) was in Mecca. These Letters made the Imam (a) move towards Kufa, but when 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad became the governor of Kufa and suppressed the people there, they did opposite to what they had written and abandoned Imam al-Husayn (a) in the Tragedy of 'Ashura. Among the writers of the letters, the names of some chiefs and famous figures of Shia such as Sulayman b. Surad al-Khuza'i, Habib b. Muzahir, and Rifa'a b. Shaddad can be seen.


The number of letters has been reported hundreds and even thousands. In those days, many messengers arrived in Mecca, and some messengers delivered several letters. Shaikh 'Abbas Qummi mentioned the number of the letters as 12000.


First Letter

When the people of Kufa received the news about the death of Mu'awiya, they doubted the caliphate of Yazid and felt the threat. At that time, they were informed that Imam al-Husayn (a) had refused to give allegiance to Yazid and had gone to Mecca. Therefore, Shia of Kufa made a meeting in the house of Sulayman b. Surad al-Khuza'i and spoke about the death of Mu'awiya and praised to God for that. Then, Sulayman b. Surad said that "Mu'awiya is dead and Husayn b. 'Ali (a) has not given allegiance to his son Yazid and has gone to Mecca. If you intend to help him, inform him, and if you doubt to help him, do not deceive him and do not put him in danger." People insisted that they wanted to help him and wrote a letter to Imam al-Husayn (a) saying,

"In the Name of God the All-Compassionate, the Most Merciful
To al-Husayn b. 'Ali, from Sulayman b. Surad, Musayyib b. Najba, Rifa'a b. Shaddad, Habib b. Muzahir and his other followers from the believers and faithful ones in Kufa.
Peace be upon you and we praise with you for God; there is no God but Him alone.
But then, praise be to God who defeated your oppressing and rebellious enemy, the one who attacked this Umma, confiscated the caliphate and the treasure of the people and took their caliphate without their consent. Then, he killed the good and remained the evil and shared the treasure of God among the oppressors and the wealthy. So, may the curse of God be upon him the way the people of Thamud were inflicted by the curse of God.
Indeed, we do not have any leader, so come to us, may God unite us through you. Nu'man b. Bashir is in the palace of the governorship and we neither pray with him on Fridays, not do we go out with him on the days of Eid; and when we know you have come to us, we will throw him out of the city to Syria. God Willing."

The elders of Kufa sent the letter by 'Abd Allah b. Musamma' al-Hamdani and 'Abd Allah b. Wa'il and asked them to deliver it to the Imam (a) as soon as possible. The letter was delivered to the Imam (a) in Mecca on Ramadan 10.

Second Letter

Two days after sending the first letter, the people of Kufa sent Qays b. Musahhar al-Saydawi, 'Abd al-Rahman b. 'Abd Allah al-Irhabi and 'Amara b. 'Abd al-Saluli with 150 letters to Imam al-Husayn (a). The author of some of these letters were two or four people.

Third Letter

Two days later, the people of Kufa sent Hani b. Hani al-Sabi'i and Sa'id b. 'Abd Allah al-Hanafi to Imam al-Husayn (a) carrying another letter with them. It was written in that letter that,

"In the Name of God the All-Compassionate, the Most Merciful
This is a letter to Husayn b. 'Ali (a) from his followers and Muslims. But then, rush!; for people are waiting for you and all agree upon you, so rush, rush! And rush and rush again! The end."

Fourth Letter

Shabath b. Rib'i, Hajjar b. Abjar, Yazid b. Harith b. Ruwaym, 'Urwa b. Qays, 'Amr b. Hajjaj al-Zubaydi and Muhammad b. 'Amr al-Taymi wrote a letter to the Imam (a) that,

"Gardens have become green and fruits are ripe now; so, come whenever you decide, since your soldiers are ready waiting to help you. The end."

Answer of Imam al-Husayn (a)

All of the messengers gathered before Imam al-Husayn (a) and the Imam read the letters and asked the messengers about the situation of the people. Then, he (a) wrote a letter and sent it with Hani b. Hani al-Sabi'i and Sa'id b. 'Abd Allah al-Hanafi who were the last messengers. The text of the letters was as below:

"In the Name of God the All-Compassionate, the Most Merciful
From Husayn b. Ali to all the Muslims and believers
But then, Hani and Sa'id came to me with your letters and they were your last messengers who came to me, and I found what you mentioned and most of you stressed that 'we do not have an imam; so, come to us; may God unite us over the guidance and truth through you.' Now, I send my brother, my cousin and a reliable person in my relatives to you. If he writes that the opinions of most of you and your wise and elder ones are in agreement with what your messengers inform about and I read in your letters, I will soon come to you by the will of God; for I swear by my soul that Imam (a) is not anyone but one who rules according to the Book of God, rises to justice, observes the religion of truth and commits himself to what God has said and ordered. The end."

Sending Muslim b. 'Aqil to Kufa

Imam al-Husayn (a) called Muslim b. 'Aqil b. Abi Talib and sent him with Qays b. Musahhar al-Saydawi, 'Amara b. 'Abd al-Saluli and 'Abd al-Rahman b. Abd Allah al-Irhabi. He ordered Muslim to observe piety, conceal his duty, and treat people kindly and if he sees that people are sufficiently unanimous and united, informs the Imam (a) quickly.


  • The mateiral for this article is mainly taken from in Farsi WikiShia.