According to most reports Husayn b. ‘Ali was born on 5 Sha‘ban 4/10 January 626 CE; another report mentions the middle of Jomada al-awwal 6/beginning of October 627 CE as his date of birth. Jointly with his brother, he was at first brought up in the household of Muhammad.

Many of the accounts about Prophet Muhammad’s treatment of his grandsons and his great love for them deal with them together and at times confuse them. As the elder grandson, Hasan seems to have attracted more attention, and he later remembered more of his grandfather. Husayn is described as looking like Muhammad, but less so than Hasan did.


Wilferd Madelung 1930-2023

Professor Wilferd Madelung

A leading contemporary Islamicist, Professor Wilferd Madelung has made significant contributions to modern scholarship on mediaeval Islamic communities and movements, including Twelver Shi'ism, Zaydism and Ismailism. Educated at the Universities of Cairo and Hamburg, he became Professor of Islamic Studies at the University of Chicago in 1969 and the Laudian Professor of Arabic at the University of Oxford from 1978.

Among his recent publications are Religious Schools and Sects in Mediaeval Islam (London, 1985), Religious Trends in Early Islamic Iran (Albany, NY, 1988), Religious and Ethnic Movements in Mediaeval Islam (Hampshire, 1992), The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate (Cambridge, 1997), and with Paul E. Walker An Ismaili Heresiography (Leiden, 1998). He has contributed extensively to The Encyclopaedia of Islam, Encycopaedia Iranica of which he is also a Consulting Editor, and learned journals.