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SoRoUsH

Book Recommendations on Husain (As)

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37 minutes ago, SoRoUsH said:

This may be too heavy and long, not necessarily an introductory book. Plus, isn't it filled with unverifiable stories to evoke emotions? 

This book about Imam Hussein AS is shorter. See if this one is suitable for a Christian who is interested in knowing about the tragedy of Karbala:

The Journey of Tears  Get PDF

https://www.al-islam.org/the-journey-of-tears-bashir-hassanali-rahim

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2 hours ago, SoRoUsH said:

This may be too heavy and long, not necessarily an introductory book. Plus, isn't it filled with unverifiable stories to evoke emotions? 

As a historical source I think it is fair to use. We may not have rijal information on all of the chains; that's partly because our rijal books are mostly focused on hadith narrators of the second hijri century - companions of the mid to late Imams. Abu Mikhnaf himself was not close to the Imams, he was a descendant of a companion of Amir al-Mu'mineen (as), but he is relied upon by Waqidi, Tabari, Shaykh al-Mufid, and other Sunni and Shia historians. It's one of the earliest accounts of the event. He died (d. 157 AH) in the early part of Musa al-Kadhim's Imamate, and his chains to the event are very short. Since his text is about a public event, and Najashi called him a scholar of Kufa in his time, and since he was not criticized until much later Sunni scholars like Dhahabi, I feel that it is a good source. There are some discrepancies, and so it's not holy scripture, but I found it to be very useful when I first converted.

Here is a good post on the topic: http://www.shiachat.com/forum/topic/235023655-why-is-abu-mikhnaf-reliable/?do=findComment&comment=2716964

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6 hours ago, SoRoUsH said:

Plus, isn't it filled with unverifiable stories to evoke emotions? 

I'm not at all sure how on earth you could have possibly come to that conclusion. If anything it is the exact opposite. It is Abu Mikhnaf attempting to create a reliable narrative about Karbala, which was still in living memory when he compiled the book, he interviewed some eyewitnesses of the battle.

This was the first extant chronicle of the events of Karbala, a contemporary named Nasr b. Muzahim al-Minqari also wrote a maqtal which is now lost. The only written work on the events at Karbala prior to this was a martyr list compiled by a Zaydi companion of Imams al-Baqir and al-Sadiq, named al-Fadhil b. al-Zubayr (d. 110 or 145 Hijri), called Tasmiyatu man qutila ma'a al-Husayn (An Identification of Those Killed with al-Husayn) (published in the spring 1982 edition of Turathuna, edited by Sayyid Ridha al-Husayni, with occasional notes on the martyr and a couple of pages dedicated to the aftermath of Karbala. Abu Mikhnaf, however, created a dedicated chronicle of the events including an collecting reports on events which had witnesses to them, stating his chains of narrators to them. He even notes when he is unable to verify an event because there were no one directly present to witness it (e.g. page 111). I don't think it represents a complete narrative because of the limitations presented by attempting to create a primary source, but the book should definitely represent an authoritative narrative of the events. And like I said before, Shaykh Yusufi Gharavi's reconstruction of the work is outstanding and is the basis for the translation you've been linked to by @Qa'im, there's also been a complete translation of it (including of its notes and lengthy introduction). This book is absolutely germane to any discussion on the historical Karbala.

Also, the Imams invited poets to speak on the manabir, not historians.

I'm not sure what you're looking for, for your friend, if you're looking for an authoritative and historically well-researched book, then it runs into the problem of being too technical and advanced for your friend.

 

By the way, a work people might be interested in reading on Karbala is Agha Muhammad-Sadiq Najmi's "From Medina to Karbala: In the Words of Imam al-Husayn". After each speech, private discussion, line of poetry, or letter, there is a discussion explaining the background of the event, historical debates about something, and extensive citations.

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8 hours ago, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

I'm not sure what you're looking for, for your friend

@Ibn Al-Ja'abi I am looking for introductory books. It will be their very first time hearing/learning about Hussain (as), and I don't want to overwhelm them with technicalities and too much detail. 

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5 minutes ago, SoRoUsH said:

@Ibn Al-Ja'abi I am looking for introductory books. It will be their very first time hearing/learning about Hussain (as), and I don't want to overwhelm them with technicalities and too much detail. 

Are you looking only for a history of the event, though?

Edited by Ibn Al-Ja'abi

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FYI,

What Non-Muslims Say About Husayn, The Third Successor of Prophet Muhammad

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/personalities-what-non-muslims-say-about-husayn-third-successor-prophet-muhammad

Quote

The month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, brings with it the memory of the sacrifice of Imam Husayn (a), the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (s), and his noble family and friends.

This short text reflects the deep admiration of its author towards Imam Husayn (a) and an insight into the tragedy of Karbala, its reasons and its consequences.

It is presented with the hope that it will foster the Islamic unity and the brotherly love that the author seeks in his preface.

The author, of course, is none other than the well-known Sunni English translator and commentator of the Qur'an, Abdullah Yusuf ‘Ali, who died in 1952 in England.

https://www.al-islam.org/articles/imam-husayn-and-his-martyrdom-abdullah-yusuf-ali

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55 minutes ago, Ibn Al-Ja'abi said:

Are you looking only for a history of the event, though?

That and how it's influenced Shiite Muslims. What does Hussain's (as) martyrdom teach us? How does remembering Hussain (as) distinguish us from other non-Shiite Muslims? 

Edited by SoRoUsH

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