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Born in April, 61 AH as the youngest son of Husayn ibn Ali and Rubab, Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn was the youngest martyr who was killed at the Battle of Karbala. He was only six months old and died 10th October, 61 AH, which is Tenth of Muharram by Islamic calendar. His father was the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad who was also the third Shia Imam and Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn’s mother was the daughter of the Kinda Imra al-Qays tribe chief.

Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn was born in Medina. His name Ali al-Asghar means ”youngest Ali”. He was thrid Husayn’s son. Husayn’s other sons were Ali ibn Husayn and Ali Akbar ibn Husayn. Ali ibn Husayn was the fourth Imam and his brother Ali Akbar ibn Husayn was also killed in the Battle of Karbala by Yazid’s army. Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn’s sisters were Sakina (Rukayya), Fatema Sugra and Sakinah (Fatema Kubra).

Husayn was on his way to Kufa to meet nobles there and stand up against Yazid whom he didn’t want to accept as caliph. He wanted to draw a line and show difference between old Islam which was true and new trends which came with Yazid.  Yazid’s army was sent to stop him in Karbala. Surrounded by Yazid’s army and left without water for many days. He tried to convince Yazid’s army to give them water to drink or to let someone get water and bring. He even sent his brother Al-Abbas ibn Ali to try to bring some water, but his brother was caught, both arms cut off and then Yazid’s army killed him.

Then Husayn tried to negotiate again and took his son Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn to battle field to show in how bad state is his only six month old son who didn’t get any water for so long. Instead of giving water to his son and other people there, Hurmala shot one arrow in their direction. Arrow pierced Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn’s neck. Arrow was with three heads per Shia and Sunni tradition and Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn died. His death happened on 8th Muharram 61 AH and Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn is considered a martyr by Shia Muslims.

Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn is buried in Karbala with his brother Ali Akbar ibn Husayn. That is most visited mosque in the world these days. While mourning, during Muharram, Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn is represented during ceremonies as innocent six month old child who suffered without water many days, going through terrible agony caused by thirst. Death of Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn is mentioned at length in many pieces of literature such as rawza-khani, folklore, taziya tradition and even whole majles were dedicated to Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn.

Even modern politics is sometimes influenced by Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn’s death and his martyrdom. One such example happened when Ayatollah Khomeini who lead the revolution in Iran, gave a speech on June 1963, where he mentioned Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn with intention to compare the actions of Umayyad at Karbala with actions by the Shah against maraji. This speech occured in Qum, Iran, at the Fayziya Madrasa. That comparison was a way to show that as Abdullah Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn didn’t do anything to provoke and deserve the anger of Yazid ibn Muhawiyah, same way madrasah student who was only 18 years old didn’t do anything against the Shah and not even his government, but still that 18 year old and completely innocent student was killed by the Pahlavi regime.


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