Karbala Iraq, c. 680

The Battle of Karbala 680 cemented a division that still exists between Islam’s Sunni and Shia branches. Initially, the dispute began over succession to the Caliphate of Mohammed because the Prophet did not explicitly appoint as a successor thus throwing succession into a tizzy.

Ali, who was Muhammad’s son-in-law, blood cousin, and first male to accept Islam at 12 years old felt he was the correct choice, and rightful successor because Muhammad did not have any male children.

But the Sunni’s disagreed, believing the hadith stated succession should be on merit and consultation by the leadership. With trouble imminent, the three men chose among themselves and picked Abu Bakr as Muhammad’s successor believing that Ali did not have the political clout to encourage the the spread of Islam or hold it together.

Bakr ended up being a fitting choice and as caliph, he helped developed the tenets of Sunni Islam and organized the expanding Islamic empire. He met his fate when a discontented Persian slave 1 Possibly a Shiite but records do not state anything other than “Persian” so we are left to ponder that. murdered him.

Like Muhammad, Abu Bakr left no explicit successor (caliph), instead giving a list of six potentials, and asked his followers to pick among them. Ali’s name was on the list, again, but again he was bypassed for the same reasons, and again the leaders chose among themselves, picking this time Uthman.

Unlike his predecessor Abu Bakr, Uthman’s caliphate was controversial. First, there were disputes over his apparent favouritism towards members of his own tribe, probably a typical argument, but worse, the question whether bribery had helped secure his position hung over his caliphate like Cicero’s Damocles Sword.

After 12 years in power, disaffected Muslims from Egypt and Iraq assassinated Uthman. This was highly unusual, and Ali’s supporters saw another path for him to be caliph, but Uthman’s supporters, one which his cousin and a very powerful governor of Syria, Mu‘awiyah, demanded Ali bring Uthman’s killers to justice.

Ali assassinated in Kufa

Before Ali could do a thing, Mu’awiyah’s men assassinated in him in the Great Mosque in Kufa, Iraq. Shortly afterwards, the first Muslim civil war broke out. Ali now dead, the Shia decided that his eldest son, Hassan, was the natural successor, but Hassan fearing for his life almost immediately signed a peace treaty with Mu‘awiyah, ending the civil war and fled to Medina.

Almost immediately Mu‘awiyah broke the terms of his treaty with Hassan and announced his son, Yazid and not Hassan would succeed him as caliph. Ali supporters were enraged by the announcement, and since Mu‘awiyah’s family, the Banu Abd Shams, of the tribe of the Quraysh, had not only opposed Muhammad’s message of Islam but also persecuted the Prophet. Adding fuel to the controvery, the Shia noted the Shams controlled Mecca but were not Muslim. Acknowledging the problem, Mu’awiyah converted.

In the meantime, the Ali-Hassan supporters planned and plotted their next move, and waited. They waited twenty years, intimidated by Mu’awiyah, until the latter’s death, upon which as expected Yazid became caliph, and shortly after which Ali’s son Hassan murdered.

Now Hassan’s brother Hussein, continued the claim. Since Mu’awiyah had been neither wise nor well-loved, they wrote to Hussein to come to Kufa and take the caliphate. Hussein unwisely did with a caravan of about 150 people.

The chart below shows what happened next.

The mundane chart of the Battle of Karbala

Remember, the time is approximate as I have no idea when the battle was over or that Hussain was killed. I have chosen sunset around 6 pm on the 10 of October.

The grand trine Earth from Jupiter in the ninth, Yazid the Caliph in Kufa, to Venus in the fifth in Virgo, the hopes and dreams of acquiring the caliphate, to Uranus in Taurus, the unexpected turns things do not look good for Hussein and his people. That he is there at all is because of the Moon in Pisces, reflecting his maternal line to Muhammad. His grandfather, Ali, the original claimant shows up as Saturn in Leo reflecting his birth in the Qaba, and blood relation to Muhammad.

Perhaps in this map the Moon in watery Pisces is also the water that Zayid withheld in the four days from Hussain and his people; it is the only watery element on the map and in the eleventh house, almost hovering above the rest of the chart as a promise. Everything else is fire (the desire to win, the desert heat) earth (the basis on both sides of their claims, the dry land) and air (the beliefs that make them strong, and their swords ready to fight).

Claims of Hussein

Alas, the Moon is opposite Venus in its detriment in Virgo, and this claim is not well respected by all particularly the strong leaders in the ninth house who want someone with political knowledge and connections to expand the empire further, while Hussan trine to Neptune is just thinking about the religious duties of Caliph. Obviously that just was not enough for the elders, they were looking for the vision thing (Uranus conjunct the first house and ascendant 02 Taurus 35 or Men in search of Golconda, the rich diamond minds of the Qutb Shahi dynasty in Hyderabad, Telangana, India. More fitting that I would have thought).

The stellium in Libra in the sixth house of house and duty is packed with the connections now severed, literally, between the two parties: on one side the Son (Muhammad’s bloodlines), the other Tradition or the Law (Mercury) and in the middle the Battle.

Ibn Ziyad’s army opened the combat by showering Ali’s small camp with arrows. Fearing for the safety of their women and children, Ali and his men asked for the right to meet ibn Ziyad’s soldiers in single combat. One by one, Ali and his men went out to meet their enemies in hand-to-hand combat, fighting and then dying. ■ If Ali’s band of 72 caused 88 enemy fatalities, it did not matter as Zayid could always bring another out to fight the victor until they were all dead.

After ibn Ziyad’s army left the battlefield, locals buried the dead, marking only Hussein’s grave. The day after the battle, the captive women and children—including Hussein’s younger sister Zaynab, that poor Venus — were loaded onto camels, and taken to Kufa.


  • The chart is in Alcabitius or Abu al-Saqr Abd al-Aziz ibn Uthman ibn Ali al-Qabisi, who practised astrology in the 6th century.
  • Our header picture is of Saladin’s tomb


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    Possibly a Shiite but records do not state anything other than “Persian” so we are left to ponder that.
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