After they had trampled on his body, they carried his head to the castle of Cufa, and the inhuman Obeidollah struck him on the mouth with a cane: "Alas," exclaimed an aged Mussulman, "on these lips have I seen the lips of the apostle of God!" In a distant age and climate, the tragic scene of the death of Hosein will awaken the sympathy of the coldest reader.

They were governed in the name of the Bagdad caliphs; but for nearly a century they had been growing into independence, under rulers usually known, from the name of their progenitor, as the Aglabite dynasty. Early in the ninth century, the throne of Mauritania, Massilia, and Carthage was seized by Obeidollah, whose successors assumed the title of Mihidi, or directors of the faithful.

His fears were just: Obeidollah, the governor of Cufa, had extinguished the first sparks of an insurrection; and Hosein, in the plain of Kerbela, was encompassed by a body of five thousand horse, who intercepted his communication with the city and the river.

Moez, the last of the African princes of the house of Obeidollah, who seems to have depended for his dominion more on his prowess than on his supposed descent from Mohammed, transferred his court to Grand Cairo, a city which he had built in Egypt after his conquest of that country. Africa was to be held as a fief of this new empire.