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Gallery

After the Prophet refers several times to Shia devotional posters of Ali, Hussein, and the massacre at Karbala. These iconic images are sold at kiosks and by street vendors throughout the Middle East.
Here are some examples:

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In the center is Ali, the fourth Caliph of Sunni Islam and the First Imam of Shia Islam. He is flanked by his sons Hasan, to his left, and Hussein, to his right. Beneath them all twelve of the Shia Imams are seated in a V-formation with Ali in the lead. The figure at rear left with the blanked-out face is the Hidden Imam, known as the Mahdi.
 

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A kiosk in Damascus. Clockwise from top left, Hussein's half-brother Abbas finds water; Ali, known as The Lion of God, with a lion at his feet; Ali and his shrine in Najaf; Hasan, Ali, and Hussein; the Ayatollah Khomeini; Lebanese Hizbollah leader Hasan Nasrallah. Center: Iran premier Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Syrian president Bashar Assad, and Lebanon's Hasan Nasrallah. (New York Times photo/Shawn Baldwin)
 

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In Baghdad, a large poster of Ali in front of one of Muqtada al-Sadr, head of the Mahdi Army. (AP photo/Samir Mizban)
 

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Scenes from the ordeal at Karbala, when Hussein and his seventy-two warriors were massacred by soldiers of the first Sunni dynasty. At left., Hussein holds the body of his infant son, shot through the neck with an arrow. At right, Hussein's half-brother Abbas finds water to bring back to Hussein's besieged encampment.
 

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On a wall hanging, Hussein cradles his dying eldest son Ali Akbar, killed in single combat with the besieging army.
 

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On a calendar, Hussein's severed head is shown impaled on the point of a spear. To the left, the tents of his besieged encampment, and in front of the tents, his white horse, which Shia legend says returned wounded and riderless and bowed its head to the ground in mourning for Hussein.
 

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Iranian women carry a poster of Hussein's severed head in an Ashura procession commemorating the massacre at Karbala.
 

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On the cover of After the Prophet, Doubleday designers used a detail from this late nineteenth-century painting of the Battle of Karbala, with Hussein astride his horse in the center, surrounded by scenes from the siege and its aftermath.
 

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This street poster from the Iranian Revolution of 1979-80 used the silhouette of banner-waving pilgrims marching toward Karbala for the Ashura commemoration of Imam Hussein's death. Its emotive power came from the fact that the silhouette could as well be that of seventh-century warriors going into battle for Hussein.