Propaganda of the Shia by the Abbasids was continued in these years with great zeal.
1045-1052) Nasir visited Mecca four times, and performed all the rites and observances of a zealous pilgrim; but he was far more attracted by Cairo, the capital of Egypt, and the residence of the Fatimite sultan Mostansir billah, the great champion of the Shia, and the spiritual as well as political head of the house of `Ali, which was just then waging a deadly war against the 'Abbaside caliph of Bagdad, and the great defender of the Sunnite creed, Toghrul Beg the Seljuk.
Pop. 30,000; Moslems about 20,000, of whom a large proportion are Kizilbash (Shia); Christians (mostly Armenians), 10,000.
In 1801 Saud, son of the amir Abdul Aziz, led an expedition to the Euphrates, and on the festival of Bairam, the 10th of April, stormed Kerbela, put the defenders to the sword, destroyed the sacred tomb, scattered the sacred relics and returned laden with the treasures, accumulated during centuries in the sanctuary of the Shia faith.
Ali, who had come to Kufa for a lawsuit, was persuaded by the chiefs of the Shia to organize a revolt.