Maqtal al-Husayn (a) (by Abu Mikhnaf)

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From wikishia
Maqtal al-Husayn (a)
AuthorAbu Mikhnaf
SubjectMaqtal of Imam al-Husayn (a)
English translation
En. titleMaqtal al-Husain
En. publisheral-Kharsan Foundation for Publications
En. full textfull text

Maqtal al-Ḥusayn (a) (Arabic: (مقتل الحسین (ع) was the first Maqtal written on the Battle of 'Ashura and martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (a). Lut b. Yahya, known as Abu Mikhnaf, was the author of this maqtal; the book is well-known as Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf. It is inscribed two generations after the Battle of 'Ashura. It was available until the 4th/10th century, but later it perished just like other works of Abu Mikhnaf.

There is a book named Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf which is not accepted by researchers. Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi, in his book Waq'at al-taff li Abi Mikhnaf, tried to collect and organize available quotations in Tarikh al-Tabari and restore the actual Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf.


English translaion of Maqtal al-Husayn (a)

Lut b. Yahya b. Sa'id b. Mikhnaf al-Azdi, known as Abu Mikhnaf, was born in the second half of the 1st/7th century in Kufa; he passed away in 157/773-4 or 158/774-5. He has written many books. According to al-Najashi, Abu Mikhnaf has written twenty-eight books; also Ibn al-Nadim mentioned thirty books,[1] including: the books on the death of 'Uthman b. 'Affan, the Battle of Siffin, Maqtal of Muhammad b. Abi Bakr, Maqtal of Amir al-Mu'minin (a).[2]

Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf was the first maqtal on the Battle of 'Ashura.[3] When he started writing of Maqtal al-Husayn (a) still a number of reliable people who witnessed the Battle of Karbala were alive.[4] According to the author of Waq'at al-Taff, there is no evidence proving that Abu Mikhnaf was a Shi'ite Muslim, but there are reasons that show he respected Ahl al-Bayt (a) and loved them.[5]

The False Version

Maqtal al-Husayn (a) by Abi Mikhnaf was available until the 4th/10th century, but it was later perished like other works of Abu Mikhnaf. The famous present Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf is a false unknown book probably written in the 6th/12th century.[6] Here are the reasons proving that it is a fake book:

  1. The content of this book is very different from the content of Tarikh al-Tabari; as al-Tabari has quoted reports on the Battle of Karbala through only one narrator or even without any narrator from this book.
  2. The first sentence of the book is: "Qala Abu Mikhnaf: Haddathna Abu l-Mundhar Hisham 'an Muhammad b. Sa'ib al-Kalbi" (Abu Mikhnaf said: Abu al-Mundhar Hisham narrated a hadith from Muhammad b. Sa'ib al-Kalbi), (p. 5); while Hisham was a student of Abu Mikhnaf.
  3. On page twelve of the book, it is said: "Rawa al-Kulayni fi hadith …" (al-Kulayni narrated the hadith). While al-Kulayni was born about a hundred years after the death of Abu Mikhnaf.

Mirza Husayn Nuri (al-Muhaddith al-Nuri) in his book Lu'lu' wa marjan, stated on Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf: "Abu Mikhnaf Lut b. Yahya was a grand hadith scholar and a reliable, knowledgeable historian; his book, Maqtal, was a truly a reliable book, but unfortunately, the original version is not available, and the current version which is attributed to him includes some irreligious content which has issues against principles of Islam. However, ignorant men with wicked purposes intentionally inserted new contents that damaged the book's reliability and its narrators are not trustworthy either."[7]


In recent years, several researchers have tried to collect and rearrange quotations from the history book of al-Tabari on Abu Mikhnaf to restore Maqtal of Abu Mikhnaf including:

Maqtal al-Husayn (a) by Hasan Ghaffari, Waqa'at al-taff li Abi Mikhnaf by Muhammad Hadi Yusufi Gharawi which is translated to Farsi and Maqtal Al-Husayn (a) Abu Mikhnaf, corrected and translated by Hujjat Allah Judaki.[8]


  1. Ṣāliḥī, "Pazhūhishī dar huwīyat-i tārīkhī-yi maqtal-i Abī Mikhnaf", p. 52.
  2. Abī Mikhnaf, Waqʿat al-Ṭaff, p. 7.
  3. Abī Mikhnaf, Waqʿat al-Ṭaff, p. 7.
  4. Isfandīyārī, Kitābshināsī-yi tārīkhī-yi Imām Ḥusayn, p. 42.
  5. Abī Mikhnaf, Waqʿat al-Ṭaff, p. 19, 20.
  6. Isfandīyārī, Kitābshināsī-yi tārīkhī-yi Imām Ḥusayn, p. 42.
  7. Isfandīyārī, Kitābshināsī-yi tārīkhī-yi Imām Ḥusayn, p. 43; See also: Abī Mikhnaf, Waqʿat al-Ṭaff, p. 24-26.
  8. Isfandīyārī, Kitābshināsī-yi tārīkhī-yi Imām Ḥusayn, p. 43.


  • Abī Mikhnaf, Lūṭ b. Yaḥyā. Waqʿat al-Ṭaff. Edited by Muḥammad Hādī Yūsufī Gharawī. First edition. Qom: Muʾassisat al-Nashr al-Islāmī, 1367 Sh.
  • Isfandīyārī, Muḥammad. Kitābshināsī-yi tārīkhī-yi Imām Ḥusayn. Qom: Ṣaḥīfa-yi Khirad, 1391 Sh.
  • Ṣāliḥī, Ibrāhīm. 1388 Sh. "Pazhūhishī dar huwīyat-i tārīkhī-yi maqtal-i Abī Mikhnaf". Tārīkhnigarī wa tārīkh nigārī 13:(51-74).