Ali al-Akbar ibn Husayn

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‘Ali al-Akbar ibn Al-Husayn
عـلي الأكـبـر بـن الـحـسـيـن
(أبي الحسن علي بن الحسين بن علي بن أبي طالب الهاشمي القرشي (رحمه الله.png
‘Ali al-Akbar ibn Al-Husayn's name in Arabic calligraphy
BornMonday, 11th of Sha'ban, 42 A.H. / 30 November 662 (Gregorian Calendar)
Medina, Hijaz
DiedFriday, 10th of Muharram, 61 A.H. / 10 October 680 (Gregorian Calendar) (aged 18 years 4 months 29 days)
Karbala’, ‘Iraq
FatherAl-Husayn ibn ‘Ali
MotherUmm Layla

Ali al-Akbar ibn Al-Husayn (Arabic: علي الأكبر بن الحسين‎), commonly known as simply Ali al-Akbar, was the son of Al-Husayn ibn Ali, the third Shia Imam, and Umm Layla.[1] He was killed at the age of 18 on the day of ‘Ashura’, in Karbala’.[2] According to Jean Calmard writing in Iranica, ‘Ali al-Akbar's reputation as a valiant warrior of the Household of Muhammad might have preceded that of Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Ali.[2]


Ali al-Akbar was Husayn's eldest son who was 18 years old at the battle of Karbala.[1][2] Two of his brothers were also named Ali, Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn and Zayn al-Abidin.[3] The teenager resembled his maternal grandfather Muhammad, the prophet of Allah, so much that Husayn ibn Ali often said, "whenever I happen to miss my maternal grandfather I look at the face of Ali al-Akbar." Ali al-Akbar was killed by Murrah ibn Munqad on 10 Muharram 61 AH in battle of Karbala.[4][5]

Death in the Battle of Karbala[edit]

As an Iranica said, Ali al-Akbar was the first of the person who was killed in battle-field.[2][6] He had a loud and beautiful voice, on the morning of the day of Ashura, Husayn ibn Ali asked Ali Akbar as to call out the Adhan. Husayn ibn Ali and many women in their tents began to weep when Ali Akbar began calling out the Adhan, suspecting that it may be the last time they heard Ali Akbar give the Adhan.[7]

Ali Akbar stood in front of Husayn ibn Ali after Zuhr prayers and said: "Father I request for permission to go and fight the enemies of Islam." His father gave him permission and said, "May Allah be with you! But Akbar, you know how much your mother, sisters, and aunts love you. Go and say farewell to them." Ali Akbar went into the tent of his mother, Umme Layla. Every time he wanted to come out of the tent his mother, aunts, and sisters would pull his cloak and say, "O Akbar, How will we live without you?" Husayn ibn Ali had to plead with all to let Ali Akbar go.[8]

Husayn ibn Ali helped his son mount his horse. As Akbar began to ride towards the battlefield he heard footsteps behind him. He looked back and saw his father. He said: "Father, we have said good-bye. Why are you walking behind me?" Husayn ibn Ali replied, "My son if you had a son like yourself then you would have surely understood!"[9]

According to Bal'ami, Ali Akbar stroke the enemies ten times and killed two or three of them each time.[2] [10] Umar ibn Sa'ad ordered his soldiers to kill him, saying, "When he dies, Husayn will not want to live! Ali Akbar is the life of Husayn." While a few soldiers attacked Ali Akbar, Murrah ibn Munqad threw a spear through Ali Akbar's chest. Murrah ibn Munqad [10] then broke the wooden part of the spear and left the blade inside Ali Akbar's chest, to cause him more pain. As Ali Akbar fell from his horse, he said, "Yaa bata alayka Minni salaam" upon hearing his son's call, it is said that Imam Hussain lost his eyesight. When Imam Hussain arrived close to him and tried to remove the spear from his chest, the spear's head had been tangled in his veins and when Imam Hussain pulled it out, his heart came out alongside it.[4] He was then surrounded and was cut to pieces.[2]

He walked towards the battlefield.[11] When he went to Akbar, Akbar placed his right hand on his wounded chest and his left arm over the shoulder of his father. Al-Husayn asked, "Akbar, why do you embrace me with only one arm?" Akbar did not reply. Al-Husayn tried to move Akbar's right hand, but Akbar resisted. Then Al-Husayn forcefully moved the hand and saw the blade of the spear. He laid Akbar on the ground and sat on his knees, placing both of his hands on the blade of the spear. He looked at Najaf, where his father was buried, and said, "Father, I too have come to my Khaybar!" He pulled out the blade, with it came to the heart of Akbar. Al-Husayn, distraught seeing his son in such pain and stress, wept. Akbar sent his last Salam and martyred.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Flaskerud, Ingvild. Visualizing Belief and Piety in Iranian Shiism. Continuum; 1 edition (December 2, 2010). ISBN 978-1441149077.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Calmard, J. (1 August 2011). "ʿALĪ AKBAR". ENCYCLOPÆDIA IRANICA.
  3. ^ Hyder, Syed Akbar. Reliving Karbala: Martyrdom in South Asian Memory. Oxford University Press; 1 edition (September 1, 2008). ISBN 978-0195373028.
  4. ^ a b Aghaie, Kamran Scot (30 November 2004). The Martyrs Of Karbala. University of Washington Press. p. 200. ISBN 0-295-98448-1.
  5. ^ The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica. "Battle of Karbalā". britannica.
  6. ^ Mikhnaf, Abu. "The Martyrdom Of The Family Members Of Al-Husayn (as)". ABWA Publishing and Printing Center.
  7. ^ Jalali, Ali Husayn (2000). Karbala and Ashura. Ansariyan Publications. ASIN B000EEP2NM.
  8. ^ Haeri, Shaykh Fadhlalla (25 April 2006). Son of Karbala: The Spiritual Journey of an Iraqi Muslim. O Books. p. 240. ISBN 1-905047-51-7.
  9. ^ Mathews, David (18 July 1994). The Battle of Karbala. Rupa & Co. p. 96. ISBN 81-7167-213-2.
  10. ^ a b Ali Mir, Muhammad. Encyclopedia of the Islamic World.
  11. ^ Darbandi, Aqay-e. Israr-e-Shahadat Lang. Persian. p. 337.
  12. ^ Jalali, Ali Husayn (2000). Karbala and Ashura. Ansariyan Publications. ASIN B000EEP2NM.