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Karbala, town in Iraq some 90 Km to the south-southwest of Baghdad, celebrated fro the fact that the Prophet’s grandson Hossein Ibn Ali was martyred and his decapitated body buried there in 680. It is also known as Mashhad al-Hossein (The place of Martyrdom of Hossein). Imam Hossein’s tomb was destroyed by the Abbasid Caliph Mutawakkel in 850,but by 977 there was a large sanctuary with a domed chamber over the tomb. The sanctuary was visited by the saljuq Sultan Malik Shah, the Il-Khan Ghazan, the Safawid Shah Ismail and by Ottoman ####Sultan Suleyman II. The Safawid Shah Abbas the Great won the town for the Persian empire in 1623. Radiyya Sultan Begum, a daughter of Shah Hossein I, presented a large sum of money for improvements, and the gold covering for the dome was given by the founder of Qajar dynasty, Aga Muhammad Khan. In 1801 Wahhabis under Sheikh Sa’ud destroyed the shrine, but after the catastrophe contributions poured in from the whole Shi’i world. In 1843 Najib Pasha enforced the recognition Turkish suzerainty over the town. During the month of Muharram (Arabic month) there is a great influx of pilgrims.
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