Day of Tasu'a

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The Day of Tasu'a (Persian: تاسوعا) refers to the ninth day of Muharram and the day before Ashura. Several events occurred on this day, including: Shemr's entrance to Karbala, the granting of safe conduct for the children of Umm ul-Banin, preparation for war, and besieged day. The day is named for Abbas ibn Ali because he was the brave commander of Husayn ibn Ali. Abbas is seen as the embodiment of manliness, chivalry and loyalty in Shia culture.

The meaning of Tasu'a[edit]

Tasu'a literally means ninth and in the Islamic calendar refers to the ninth day of Muharram.[1][2]

Events of Tasu'a[edit]

The following are the main events of Tasu'a:

Shemr's entrance to Karbala[edit]

In the forenoon of Tasu'a, Shemr, accompanied by a four thousand-man army, arrived at Karbala.[3][4][5] He brought a letter from Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad to Umar ibn Sa'ad, telling him to take Bay'ah from Husayn or fight.[6][7][8]

Safe conduct for the children of Umm ul-Banin[edit]

Shemr was one of the tribesman of Umm ul-Banin. He was given a guarantee of safe conduct from Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad for children of Umm ul-Banin in Tasu'a. He asked Abbas ibn Ali and his brothers to abandon Husayn ibn Ali and obey Yazid. Abbas didn't accept his safe conduct and answered him: "God curse you and your safe conduct! You give us safe conduct and you do not give safe conduct to the grandson of the Prophet of God? And you are asking us to enter the obedience of the cursed people and those who are children of cursed people?"[6][8]

Preparing for war[edit]

After rejection of the safe conduct by Abbas and his brothers, Umar ibn Sa'ad ordered his army to attack Husayn's camp.[9][10][11] When Husayn ibn Ali understood their intent, he asked his brother to go to them and ask about his plan. Abbas ibn Ali, Zuhayr ibn Qayn, Habib ibn Madhahir and a few others went and asked them. They answered that our governor ordered us to ask you to Bay'ah him and his rule or fight. Abbas returned to Husayn and said their message. "Go back to them and ask them to give us this evening as a respite till tomorrow so that we may pray to our Lord, supplicate to Him, and seek His forgiveness, for He knows how much I love prayers, the recitation of His Book, the abundance of invocations, and the seeking of His forgiveness", Husayn said to Abbas. Abbas went back to the army and said them the message. Umar Ibn Sa'ad agreed to delay the war until the next day.[6][8][12]

Besieged day[edit]

In a Hadith by Ja'far al-Sadiq it is said: "Ninth of Muharram is the day, when Imam Husayn and his companions were besieged at Karbala by the army of Syria from all sides and offloaded their luggage. The son of Marjanah (Ubaydullah bin Ziyad) and Umar ibn Sa’ad were pleased at the large number of their army and they deemed Imam and his companions to be weak. They knew that Imam Husayn had no helpers or aides in Iraq. May my father be ransom upon the oppressed traveler."[7]

Relation with Abbas ibn Ali[edit]

This day is devoted to Abbas ibn Ali in Shia communities, especially in Iran and Iraq, because of his bravery as the great general of Hussein's army. Abbas embodies manliness, chivalry and loyalty in Shia culture.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mahmoud, Ahmad; Kherad, Nastaran. The Neighbors. University of Texas Press. p. 409. 
  2. ^ "Translation and meaning of word Tasu'a". المعانی. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Ahmad ibn A'tham. Al-Fotooh 5. p. 94. 
  4. ^ Ibn Shar Ashoob. Manaqib Ali ibn Abi Talib 4. p. 98. 
  5. ^ "A Short Report on Imam’s Movement from Medina until his Martyrdom". عاشورا. Retrieved 29 September 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c Ali Husayn Jalali. Karbala and Ashura. Ansariyan Publications. 
  7. ^ a b Abbas Qumi. Nafasul Mahmum, Relating to the heart rending tragedy of Karbala'. Islamic Study Circle. 
  8. ^ a b c Abu Mikhnaf. The Event of Taff, The Earliest Historical Account of the Tragedy of Karbala. ABWA Publishing and Printing Center. 
  9. ^ Al-Baladhuri. Genealogies of the Nobles. p. 186. 
  10. ^ Al-Shaykh Al-Mufid. Al-Irshad 2. p. 89. 
  11. ^ Al-Kharazmi, Al-Muvafaq ibn Ahmad. Maqtal al-Husayn 1. p. 249. 
  12. ^ Abd al Razzaq al-Muqarram. Maqtal al-Husayn. Al-Kharsan Foundation for Publications. 
  13. ^ Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Hamid Dabashi, Seyyed Vali Reza Nasr. Shi'ism: Doctrines, Thought, and Spirituality. Sunni press. p. 319.