Despite some questionable positions held by Ibn Taymiyya (d. 1328) with regard to the events surrounding the massacre at Karbala, such as his downplaying of Yazid’s direct culpability in the act of murder, he does have two particularly interesting statements which deserve consideration since they reflect his views that Karbala was a tragedy of immense proportions and not, as some Sunni scholars insist today, merely an insignificant–albeit tragic–historical incident:
“There is no doubt that al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali and a group of his family were killed unjustly. The murder of al-Ḥusayn was one of the greatest catastrophes in history. His murder—like the assassination of ‘Uthmān —was one of the central causes for the strife and bloodshed which befell the Muslim community. Verily, his killers are the worst of creation in the eyes of God” (Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa 3: 411).
Elsewhere in the same collection, Ibn Taymīyya exclaims: “As to those who killed al-Ḥusayn or assisted in that act or was pleased with it, may the curse (la’n) of God, the angels, and all the people be upon them. No deed or righteous act will be accepted from these people from God as compensation for their heinous crime” (Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa 4: 487)