ḤORR-E RIĀḤI AL-ḤORR B. YAZID al-Riāḥi al-Yarbuʾi al-Tamimi, a leading tribesman in Kufa, who obeyed the orders of ʿObayd-Allāh b. Ziād (see EBN-E ZIĀD) by intercepting Ḥosayn b. ʿAli and his party and leading them to Karbalā, but later repented and fought on Ḥosayn’s side. The first meeting between Ḥorr and Ḥosayn was not hostile. However, Ḥorr pressed upon Ḥosayn to change his course and follow him, even after the latter had informed him of the letters of support he had received from the Kufans, towards whom his party was heading. Ḥorr further obeyed Ebn-e Ziād’s subsequent order to force the rebels to stop in a deserted area. Thus, Ḥosayn was led to the plain of Karbalā, where he was encircled by the troops dispatched by Ebn-e Ziād under the command of ʿOmar b. Saʿd (see EBN SAʿD, ʿOMAR). Once the latter had rejected Ḥosayn’s final proposals and decided to fight him on the morning of ʿĀšurā (q.v.), 10 Moḥarram 61/10 October 680, Ḥorr then repented and joined Ḥosayn, who promised him God’s forgiveness.

According to most historians, many men from Ḥosayn’s side were killed before Ḥorr (see, e.g., Ṭabari, II, p. 350; tr. I. K. A. Howard, XIX, p. 144). However, Ḥorr’s own words when he rallied behind Ḥosayn imply that he might have been the first to be killed at Karbalā. Shiʿite tradition has retained this sequence of events, apparently derived from from the work of Šayḵ al-Mofid, who does not mention anyone having been killed before Ḥorr, except Moslem b. ʿAwsaja (tr. Howard, 1981, pp. 356 f.). In Turco-Persian maqtal-nāma narratives of the drama of Karbalā, which were used extensively by Kāšefi for his Rawżat al-šohadāʾ (see Calmard, 1996, p. 155), after having killed many enemies, Ḥorr became the first martyr of the battle. His martyrdom was followed by those of his brother, Moṣʿab b. Yazid, his son ʿAli, and the latter’s slave (Kāšefi, pp. 277 ff.; see Calmard, 1975, pp. 351 ff.).

Ḥorr’s courageous rallying behind Ḥosayn and sacrificing himself to his cause are widely celebrated in Moḥarram rituals and related popular literature, such as marṯias (elegies), nawḥas (dirges), and taʿzias (religious dramas). Many scenes dedicated to Ḥorr are included in taʿzia collections, particularly in the Cerulli version (see Rossi and Bombaci, 1961, Index).



M. Ayoub, Redemptive Suffering in Islam, The Hague, 1978, Index.

J. Calmard, “Le Culte de l’Imam Husayn. Etude sur la commémoration du drame de Karbala dans l’Iran pré-safavide,” Ph.D. diss., University of Paris (Sorbonne), 1975.

Idem, “Shií Rituals and Power, II. The Consolidation of Safavid Shi’ism: Folklore and Popular Religion,” in C. Melville, ed., SafavidPersia, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 139-90.

P. J. Chelkowski, ed., Taʿziyeh: Ritual and Drama in Iran, New York, 1979, index. Ṣ. Homāyuni, Taʿzia dar Irān, Shiraz, 1368 Š./1989, Index.

Ḥosayn Wāʿeẓ Kāšefi, Rawżat al-šohadāʾ, ed. M. Ramażāni, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.

M. J. Kister, “al-Ḥurr b. Yazīd,” in EI2. Šayḵ al-Mofid, al-Eršād, tr. I. K. A. Howard, Kitāb al-Iršād: The Book of Guidance in the Livesof the Twelve Imams, London, 1981, Index.

Mostawfi, Šarḥ-e zendagāni. E. Rossi and A. Bombaci, Elenco di drammi religiosipersiani (fondo mss. Vaticani Cerulli), Vatican City, 1961, Index.

P. Ṣayyād, Matn-e taʿzia-e Ḥorr, mansub be-Moṣṭafā Kāšāni (Mir ʿAzā), Tehran, 1350 Š./1971.

Ṭabari, II, index; Ṭabari tr., XIX, index. L. Veccia Vaglieri, “al-Ḥusayn b. ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib,” in EI².

(Jean Calmard)

Originally Published: December 15, 2004

Last Updated: March 23, 2012

This article is available in print.
Vol. XII, Fasc. 5, pp. 479-480