Ignaz Goldziher on Imam Husain
(1850-1921) Famous Hungarian orientalist scholar.
q "Ever since the black day of Karbala, the history of this family … has been a continuous series of sufferings and persecutions. These are narrated in poetry and prose, in a richly cultivated literature of martyrologies - a Shi'i specialty - and form the theme of Shi'i gatherings in the first third of the month of Muharram, whose tenth day ('ashura) is kept as the anniversary of the tragedy at Karbala. Scenes of that tragedy are also presented on this day of commemmoration in dramatic form (ta'ziya). 'Our feast days are our assemblies of mourning.' So concludes a poem by a prince of Shi'i disposition recalling the many mihan of the Prophet's family. Weeping and lamentation over the evils and persecutions suffered by the 'Alid family, and mourning for its martyrs: these are things from which loyal supporters of the cause cannot cease. 'More touching than the tears of the Shi'is' has even become an Arabic proverb."
[Introduction to Islamic Theology and Law, Princeton, 1981, p. 179]