I am a student of history and something about the Zulfiqar bothered me.
1. I’ve read that it was a double edged sword. The depictions of the sword show that it had two points, but one edge (to slice with – like the shamshir design of swords). A double edged sword in my understanding would be more like a European long sword or short sword, with two edges that can cut from either side. This kind of sword would not be curved, but straight. Good for stabbing and slashing, unlike the Arab sword which was mainly a slashing weapon. Can you elaborate?

2. When Imam Hussain’s (as) holy body was looted, I’ve heard that his sword was also taken. Was this the Zulfiqar? If so, how did the later Imams (as) possess it? If not, did he fight without the Zulfiqar? Why?

1- We don’t exactly know how Dhul Fiqar looked like because there are different reports about it. In one hadith, the Imam (a) says it’s called Dhul Fiqar because any person it strikes it cuts them off from their family in this world and from heaven in the Hereafter. One description given to the sword is that it it’s not a straight sword—it has bulging parts and troughs, or that it has incisions in it. Some have said that it’s a two-headed sword, but there doesn’t seem to be any hadith evidence for that.

2- We understand from hadiths that this sword was kept with Um Salama in Medina and not taken to Karbala. One possible reason is that Allah had allowed for Imam Hussain (a) to be martyred, and had he taken the sword with him, his enemies might have been completely destroyed.