University platform for research on Islam

Initiated by
the Federation
of European

Supported by
the International
of Catholic

Référence :

Islamochristiana 36 (2010) 47–62



Ashura in sunnite mirrors, confused borders between joy and sadness

Original title: “Ashura in sunnite mirrors, confused borders between joy and sadness”

SUMMARY: This article analyzes the Sunnite views of ‘Āshūrā’ and the assassination/martyrdom of al–Ḥusayn, the grandson of the Prophet Muḥammad. It is not an exhaustive work; it is rather selective, searching for meaningful examples to demonstrate the diversity of opinions among Sunnite Muslims in the past and modern times, in moving borders between the two communities. The three main texts analyzed are those of Abū Bakr Ibn al–‘Arabī (d. 1148), Ibn Khaldūn (d. 1406) and Mawdūdī (d. 1979). A variety of opinions vacillates from the compassion with al–Ḥusayn’s tragedy to a more cautious position. The core of the question is the moral evaluation of the first generations of Islam, from whom Muslims received the Message. The credibility of the Prophet’s Companions remains a crucial doctrine in the Sunnite mind, the scandal of Karbalā’ was not the only challenge but perhaps the most eloquent.

Titre original : “Ashura in sunnite mirrors, confused borders between joy and sadness”


Cet article analyse les points de vue sunnites sur ‘Āshūrā’ et l’assassinat/martyre d’al–Ḥusayn, le petit–fils du Prophète Muḥammad. Ce n’est pas un travail exhaustif, mais plutôt sélectif. Il recherche des exemples pertinents pour démontrer la diversité des opinions parmi les musulmans sunnites dans le passé et aujourd’hui, à la charnière des frontières mouvantes entre les deux communautés. Les trois principaux textes analysés sont d’Abū Bakr Ibn al–‘Arabī (m. 1148), Ibn Khaldūn (m. 1406) et Mawdūdī (m. 1979). Une variété d’opinions qui vacille entre la compassion avec la tragédie d’al–Ḥusayn à une position plus ou moins prudente. Le noyau de la question est l’évaluation morale des premières générations de l’Islam, dont les musulmans ont reçu le Message. La crédibilité des Compagnons du Prophète reste une doctrine essentielle pour la mentalité sunnite, le scandale de Karbalā’ n’était pas son unique défi, mais peut-être le plus éloquent.

Resources related to keywords


Jalāl Al-Dīn Al-Suyūṭī: An Historical Contextualization Between Life and Works

  • Antonio Cuciniello

Jalāl al-Dīn al-Suyuṭī, as a religious scholar of the Egyptian Mamluk era, one of the most prominent scholars of the pre-modern Islamic world, is the most prolific author in all of Islamic lite...


The Quran of Historians

  • Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi

How is historical research on the Quran received in the Muslim world? What do we know about the historical figure of Muhammad? Interview with Mohammad Ali Amir-Moezzi, co-director of the “Coran of ...


Islam and the Salvation of non- Muslims: The Qur’anic Perspective

  • Gabriel Said Reynolds

"At the Pluriel conference on “Islam and Otherness” I will argue the Qur’an’s emphasis on divine freedom provides an opening for inclusivism. The Qur’an emphasizes God’s mercy, using al-Raḥmān as a...


In brief: the PLURIEL congress in Lebanon

  • Michel Younès

3rd international congress of the PLURIEL network, on the theme "Islam and Otherness", from 23 to 27 May 2022 in Beirut. In partnership with Saint Joseph University of Beirut and La Sagesse Univers...


Exploring Islamic Social Work. Between Community and the Common Good

  • Hansjörg Schmid

This open access book addresses, for the first time, Islamic social work as an emerging concept at the interface of Islamic thought and social sciences. Applying a multidisciplinary approach it exp...


The document on human fraternity: an interdisciplinary reflection

  • Diego Sarrió Cucarella
  • Laurent Basanese

The volume, published in the series “Interreligious and Intercultural Investigations” (No. 14), brings together contributions from ten international scholars on the Document on Human Fr...


The other in Islamic civilization: from the immanence of cultures to divine transcendence

  • Raja Sakrani

Lecture given at the 3rd International Congress of Pluriel on the theme "Islam and Otherness", on 24 May 2022, at Saint Joseph University in Beirut. Read abstract on the French tab.


Protestantism and Islam

  • Pierre-Olivier Léchot

How did Martin Luther and John Calvin view Islam? How have Protestant theologians contributed to research on Islam? Pierre-Olivier Léchot, professor of modern history at the Protestant Institute of...