In the Name of Allah, the most Gracious, the most Merciful
And (as for) those who strive hard for Our sake, We will most certainly guide them in Our ways, and Allah is most surely with the doers of good. (Qur’an, 29:69)
And do not reckon those who are killed in Allah’s way as dead; nay! They are alive, receiving sustenance from their Lord, rejoicing in what Allah has given them of His grace, and they rejoice for the sake of those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Qur’an, 3:169-170)
Surely Allah has traded the believers’ persons and property for the Garden: they fight in Allah’s way, so they slay and are slain, a promise which is binding upon Him in the Torah, in the Bible, and in the Qur’an, and who is more faithful to his covenant than Allah? Rejoice, then, in the pledge which you have made, and that is the mighty achievement. (Qur’an, 9:111)
The only objective anticipated by the creed's Martyr and Islam's defender, al-Husayn son of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), was to undo the Umayyads’ innovations and remove the viciously false allegations attributed to the Islamic Shari’a, and to attract the attention to its clearance and that of its adherents from the shame and the demeaning innovations which the Umayyads attached to it as well as the obvious debauchery and the merciless politics of the time.
The Master of Martyrs achieved his glorious uprising's objective, exposing all the blatant impudence to all those who were concerned about the faith. People came to identify Yazid and all those who surrounded him from among the evil leaders and the germs of dissension as the embodiment of everything shameful.
Ears felt too offended to listen to them, and there was hardly any Muslim who did not look at them with contempt, so much so that hostility towards them intensified, grudge against them mounted, and people's zeal for the faith ebbed.
It reached the point where arguments turned into physical violence, and their life of ease and luxury was turned into one of bloody wars that put an end to them, ruining their government which was founded on the ashes of the Islamic caliphate without any wisdom or merits. Husayn the victor (‘a) thus achieved his objective, and people have kept remembering him. His fame spread far and wide, and so did his prestige and glory.
And do not reckon those who are killed in Allah’s way as dead; nay! They are alive, receiving sustenance from their Lord, rejoicing in what Allah has given them of His grace, and they rejoice for the sake of those who, (being left) behind them, have not yet joined them, that they shall have no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Qur’an, 3:169-170)
I cannot imagine you, dear reader, as you march along history and investigate the facts with analyzing eyes except that the honourable person of the Father of the Oppressed becomes manifest to you, and so is the case with his sacred goal, good intentions, noble aims, as he travelled or landed, assaulted or halted, condemned or condoned.
Nor do I think that you need to be acquainted with the details of those statements after having come to know who the great martyr is, and what deeds he did. Of course, you know before anything the nature of his opposing stand and the shame that caused him to grow gray hair.
Even if we set aside our firm conviction that righteous Husayn (‘a) was, indeed, the nation's Imam and that evident truth was on his side and was beyond the reach of any other man of his time, we will still not find it fair at all that the tyrant of his land should have thus waged a war against him or competed with him for any of his merits. He was the Master of the Youths of Paradise. When did his foe ever find himself qualified to compete with Husayn (‘a) so that he would be apt to challenge him? He (‘a) felt too dignified to meet even those who had preceded Yazid in his post.
Could you imagine al-Husayn (‘a) comparing Abu Sufyan with the Great Prophet (S), or Mu’awiyah with the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), or the liver-chewing woman with the mother of the faithful, Khadija, or Maysun with the Head of the Ladies of the World, or the pre-Islamic debauchery with Islam's inspiration, or its overwhelming ignorance with his own overflowing knowledge, or the humiliating greed with his own sacred and dignified self..., up to the end of such comparisons the recording of which will exhaust the pen and make one run out of words?!
Between Allah, Glory and Exaltation to Him, and His sincere friends were mysterious secrets the knowledge of which is beyond the reach of others and the comprehension of minors. Fanaticism blinded them, so they dared to cast doubts about the sanctity of the Greatest Saviour, insisting on maintaining their shameful fanaticism.
They, therefore, said, “Al-Husayn was killed by the sword of his grandfather because he revolted against the imam of his time (meaning Yazid) after the latter had secured the oath of allegiance for himself and the conditions of the caliphate were met through the consensus of those who did and undid, and there was nothing in his conduct that would shame him [Yazid] or stain his reputation.”1
This speaker has overlooked the fact that Maysun's son (Yazid) never lived in righteousness even for one single day so that he would see the shame of what he did, nor was there for his shameful actions and sins any “before” or “after”. He suckled the breast of the woman from Kilab that was mixed with lustful desires. He grew up in the lap of one who was cursed by the holiest Messenger (S)2 who had ordered the nation to kill him upon seeing him ascending his pulpit.3
Had the nation carried out this binding order, it would have achieved security against the imminent torment threatening it from the window of the innovations of this tyrant and due to his exterminating cruelty in dealing with it. But it denied Allah's bounties, so it started relishing the fountainhead plagued with thorny death.
Allah, therefore, clothed it with the outfit of fear, leaving it moaning under the yoke of persecution, shackled in the chains of humiliation and slavery just as it witnessed the insolence of debauchees and the violations of those who were immersed in their lust. Whatever filled the hated Umayyad bastion provided nourishment for Yazid, the man of sundry desires, as he grew up among such blatant manifestations of promiscuity.
Yazid openly expressed all the ill intentions that he had harbored against Islam and all those who adhered to it, gleefully expressing how he had the field open for him. The renowned scholar al-‘Alusi has said:
“Anyone who says that Yazid did not commit any transgression, and that cursing him is not permissible, ought to line up in the chain of command among Yazid's supporters. Let me say that this malignant man never believed in the Prophet's Message, and that his violations of Allah's sanctities and of the sanctities of His Prophet (S) are no less indicative of such disbelief than throwing a page of the Holy Qur’an in a pile of filth.
I do not think that dignified Muslims were at that time ignorant of his malicious nature, nor were they overcome, subdued, unable to do anything other than persevering. Were this malignant man thought to have been a Muslim, then he was a Muslim whose deeds incorporated the sins that no articulate tongue can ever describe.
I go as far as permitting cursing him by name even when nobody can ever compare him with any licentious man, ever. It is quite obvious that he never repented, and the possibility of his having repented is less than that of his having believed (in Islam) in the first place.”
In his category fall (‘Ubaydullah) Ibn Ziyad, Ibn Sa’d, and their company; so, Allah's curse be upon them and upon those who support, assist and follow them and all those who incline towards them, a curse that lasts till the Day of Resurrection, so long as there are eyes that shed tears for the tragedy inflicted upon Abu ‘Abdullah, al-Husayn (‘a).
I like what our contemporary poet, the one whose distinction is quite evident to everyone, namely ‘Abdul-Baqi Afandi al-’Umari al-Musili, who said the following after having been asked about cursing Yazid,
Anyone who fears lest he should be criticized for thus openly cursing him should nevertheless curse this deviator from the Right Path by saying: “May Allah, the Exalted One, the Almighty, curse whoever consented to have al-Husayn (‘a) killed and whoever unjustly harmed the Progeny of the Prophet (S) and whoever confiscated their rights.”
He will, then, be cursing Yazid in such general terms since the latter is included in such condemnation. Nobody disagrees about the permissibility of condemning this cursed man using such words except Ibn al-’Arabi to whom reference is made above, and so are those who agree with him.
These folks, according to what is narrated about them, do not permit the cursing of those who agreed to have al-Husayn (‘a) killed, and this, by my life, is going too far in being misguided; it is the misguidance which may even surpass that of Yazid himself.
Al-Barzinji, in his book Al-Isha’a, and [Ibn Hajar] al-Haythami [al-’Asqalani], in his book Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa, have both recorded that Imam Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal] was asked once by his son ‘Abdullah about cursing Yazid.
Said he, “Why should anyone not curse one whom Allah has cursed in His Book?!” ‘Abdullah said, “I have read the Book of Allah, the most Exalted, the Almighty, and I did not find in it any cursing of Yazid.” Imam Ahmad said, “Allah says,
‘But if you held command, you were sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship!’ (Qur’an, 47:22).
What corruption and severing of the ties worse that what Yazid had done?”
A group of scholars, including Abu Ya’li, the judge, and al-hafiz Ibn al-Jawzi, emphatically declared the permissibility of cursing Yazid. Al-Taftazani has said, “We do not stop at raising doubts about his [Yazid's] conduct but go as far as doubting his conviction, the curse of Allah be upon him and upon his supporters and followers.” Jalal ad-Din al-Suyuti, too, openly declared the permissibility of cursing him.
In Al-Wafi bil Wafiyyat, and in Ibn al-Wardi's Tarikh, it is stated that Yazid was approaching Jayrun's highway when al-Husayn's women and children were brought and the severed heads were hoisted atop the spears. A raven croaked, so jubilant Yazid said the following verses of poetry:
“What he meant,” both authors comment adding, “is that he [Yazid], having killed those whom he killed [of the Prophet's family], he got even with the Messenger of Allah (S) who caused on the Battle of Badr the killing of men such as Yazid's grandfather, ‘Utbah, and his uncle, ‘Utbah's son, and other men. His statement is nothing but obvious blasphemy.
If the narration is authentic, Yazid will then have committed apostasy. A similar incident is Yazid's adaptation of the poetic verses composed during the pre-Islamic period by ‘Abdullah Ibn al-Zub’ari starting with ‘I wish my ancestors..., etc.'”4
Add to the above a list of more sins and transgressions. He, hence, deserved to be cursed by Allah, by His angels and prophets, and by all those who follow the latter till the Day of Judgment.
Nobody hesitates to do so except one who is deprived of the fragrance of conviction, blinded by his own fanaticism from embarking upon the right tracks so his steps are shaky, and he is confused, not knowing the right path, nor does he find an exit out of his tunnel.
Scholarly critics did not stop at confirming his (Yazid’s) lack of conviction and apostasy; rather, Ibn Khaldun, for example, says, “Abu Bakr Ibn al-’Arabi, the Maliki judge, erred when he said in his book Al-’Awasim wal-Qawasim: ‘Husayn was killed by the sword of the same Shari’a which he followed,' thus overlooking the conditions required of a just imam who is qualified enough to take charge of the Islamic caliphate, for who could be more just than Husayn? Who could be a better Imam than him?
Who could be more fair in fighting those of diverse personal views?” On p. 254, he refers to the consensus view with regard to Yazid being corrupted and to the corruption of those who rallied behind him, and that he was not fit to be the leader of the nation.
It was because of what he was that Husayn (‘a) saw it mandatory to fight him despite the reluctance of the Sahaba and the tabi’in to support him not because his action was not right, but because they did not justify the spilling of blood. It was not proper to support Yazid by fighting Husayn. Rather, the killing of Husayn (‘a) was one of Yazid's indications of apostasy, and al-Husayn (‘a) was truly a martyr.”5
Ibn Muflih, a ‘Hanbalite, says:
“Both Ibn ‘Aqil and Ibn al-Jawzi have permitted the fighting of an unjust leader using the example of Husayn (‘a) fighting Yazid in order to uphold righteousness. Ibn al-Jawzi has included this concept in his book Al-Sirr al-Masun among the common beliefs upheld by the majority of Sunni Muslims barring a group that said that Yazid was right and Husayn (‘a) was wrong in fighting him.
If these folks look into [Yazid's] biography, they will see how the oath of allegiance was taken for him by force, how people were forced to swear the oath of allegiance to him, and how he dealt with people in the ugliest manner.
Moreover, even if we say that his caliphate was valid, Yazid still did many things each one of which rendered his caliphate null and void such as his plundering of the people of Medina, his bombardment of the Ka’ba with the catapult, his killing of al-Husayn (‘a) and his family members, his hitting Husayn's mouth with a rod, his carrying Husayn's head on top of a lance... Anyone who finds such conduct palatable is an ignorant Sunni who thinks that by doing so he is only enraging the Rafiis”6.
Al-Taftazani has said,
“In all truth, the details of Yazid's endorsement of the murder of Husayn (‘a) and his excitement thereat, as well as his insulting the family of the Prophet (S), are consecutively reported even when their details vary. We do not only question his actions, we question his iman. May Allah curse him and curse his supporters and helpers.”7
Ibn Hazm has said,
“The action undertaken by Yazid son of Mu’awiyah was for the sake of this world; that's all, and it has no justification whatsoever; it is pure oppression.”8
“Some scholars transgressed beyond all limits when they decided that al-Husayn (‘a), grandson of the Prophet (S), may Allah be pleased with him and may He please him, was unfair to a drunkard, to one who violated the purified Shari’a, namely Yazid son of Mu’awiyah, may Allah curse both of them. How amazing to come across statements that make the skin shiver and that stun even the hardest rock upon hearing them!”9
Al-Jahiz has said,
“The abominations committed by Yazid, such as his killing of al-Husayn (‘a), his transporting the daughters of the Messenger of Allah (S) as captives, his hitting al-Husayn's lips with his rod, his terrorizing the people of Medina, his demolition of al-Ka’ba..., all point out to his cruelty, oppression, and his being a Nasibi, to his error of judgment, to his grudge, animosity, and hypocrisy, to his altogether renunciation of iman: every apostate is cursed, and everyone who prohibits anyone from cursing an already condemned person is himself worthy of being cursed.”10
Al-Burhan al-Halabi (of Aleppo) narrates saying that the mentor Muhammad al-Bakri, following in his father's footsteps, used to curse Yazid and say, ‘May Allah increase his shame and place him in the lowest rung of Sijjeen.”11
Abul-Husayn ‘Ali Ibn Muhammad al-Kayaharashi, too, has cursed him saying, “Had I unleashed my pen, I would have recorded a great deal of this man's shameful deeds.”12
Ibn al-’Imad quotes him saying that he was once asked about Yazid son of Mu’awiyah, and he answered by saying that the man was not among the Sahaba because he was born when ‘Umar Ibn al-Khattab was the caliph. Ahmad offers two views in this regard one of which is implicit and the other explicit, and so is the case with (Imam) Abu Hanifa.
As far as we are concerned, we have only one explicit view about him and none implicit. Why should there be any other way especially since Yazid was well known for being an expert in playing dominoes, in being a habitual drunkard, in writing famous poems in praise of wine drinking?13
Dr. ‘Ali Ibrahim Hasan says,
“Yazid used to be proverbial in his wine drinking, entertainment escapades, and in hunting.”14
Al-Thahabi, in Siyar A’lam al-Nubala', has said,
“Yazid son of Mu’awiyah was a very rude, crude, and heavy handed Nasibi. He consumed intoxicants and committed abominations. He started his reign by killing al-Husayn, the martyr, and concluded it with the Harra Battle. People, for these reasons, held him in contempt, and he was not blessed in his life-span.”15
Shaikh Muhammad ‘Abdoh has said,
“Had there been in this world a just government that implements the Shari’a and another violating it, every Muslim is obligated to support the first.”
Then he goes on to say,
“It is based on this principle that Imam al-Husayn, grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S), fought the leader of oppression and corruption whose government was forced on the Muslims by oppression and trickery, namely Yazid son of Mu’awiyah, may Allah forsake him and forsake any Nasibi or Karami who defends him.”16
Ibn Taghrbardi, a Hanafi, has said, “Yazid was an adulterer, a habitual drunkard.”17 He adds saying, “Scholars have issued fatawa strongly denouncing ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul-’Aziz al-Qazwini for calling Yazid ‘Commander of the Faithful.' He was, upon saying so, kicked out of Baghdad and sent back to Qazwin [in the Caspian region].”18
Abu Shama has said, “Ahmad Ibn Isma’il Ibn Yousuf al-Qazwini went to Baghdad once and delivered a sermon at al-Nizamiyya (school). On the Day of ‘Ashura, he was asked to condemn Yazid son of Mu’awiyah, but he said, ‘But he was a mujtahid imam,' whereupon someone assaulted him and almost killed him. He collapsed from the pulpit, then he was taken and sent back to Qazwin where he died in 590 A.H/1194 A.D.”19
Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi was asked once about cursing Yazid. He said, “Ahmad [Ibn Hanbal, Imam of the Hanbalites] has permitted it, and we say that we do not like Yazid because of his mistreatment of the son of our Prophet's daughter (‘a), how he transported the family of the Messenger of Allah, peace of Allah and blessings be upon him and his progeny, as captives to Syria on camels without saddles, and how he dared to insult the family of the Messenger of Allah. If you accept our reconciled stand, we say that we do not like him; let it be so; otherwise, we will have to refer to the basic cause: cursing Yazid is permissible.”20
Abul-Qasim al-Zajjaji, who relies on the authority of ‘Umar Ibn al-Dahhak, says, “Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah used to play with a monkey. One day he carried it and put it on a zebra. Then he tied the zebra and set his horses loose to chase it till the horses crushed the zebra to death Yazid Ibn Mu’awiyah thereupon said,
Ibn al-Athir claims that Abu Ya’li, Hamzah Ibn Ahmad Ibn Ja’far Ibn Muhammad Ibn Zayd Ibn ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a), said, “I do not call Yazid kafir because the Prophet (S) had said, ‘I pleaded to Allah not to let my offspring be persecuted by outsiders.'”21
This claim does not deserve anyone's attention because Abu Ya’li was too dignified and too trustworthy to make such a crude statement even when al-Rafi’i had preceded him in making it, recording it in his discussion of the scholars of Qazwin22.
Even if one supposes that he had said so, it must have been said in observance of taqiyya. Mirza ‘Abdullah Afandi, a student of al-Majlisi, went to extremes in refuting it. All those who recorded Abu Ya’li's biography praised and complimented him a great deal without ever mentioning at all that he had made such a statement. Had he made it, they would have despised him solely on its account.
In his books, Shaikh as-Saduq invokes Allah's mercy on Abu Ya’li's soul, expressing his pleasure with him; he was, indeed, one of his mentors. On p. 493, Chapter 39, of ‘Uyun Akhbar al-Riďa (‘a), for example, he is quoted detailing some of the events that took place during the year 339 A.H/951 A.D. according to his correspondence with ‘Ali Ibn Ibrahim Ibn Hashim who details the events of 309 A.H/922 A.D. quoting Yasir, the servant [of Imam al-Riďa (‘a)] who quotes Imam al-Riďa (‘a).
Despite his fanaticism, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi records Abu Ya’li's biography without quoting this unbecoming statement falsely attributed to him.23
This imprudent statement is something that al-Rafi’i and Ibn Athir had added of their own without relying on any authority whatsoever.
Having thus taken note of the nation's most famous scholars who express their contempt towards Yazid, let us put ‘Abdul-Mughith Ibn Zuhayr Ibn ‘Alawi al-Harbi on trial and ask him about the “authentic” references from which he derived the text material for his book in praise of Yazid,24 about which “merit” he found in him to record in his book, and about Yazid's entire life, a life full of shame and assaults on the Shari’a. This is the reason why the scholars paid no attention to his book.
In Vol. 2, p. 275, of Shatharat al-Thahab, while detailing the events of the year 583 A.H/1187 A.D., Ibn al-’Imad rebuts him topic by topic; on p. 328, Vol. 2, of Ibn Kathir's book titled Al-Bidaya, he is accurately and excellently rebutted by Ibn al-Jawzi; in Vol. 11, p. 213, of his book Al-Kamil, Ibn al-Athir rebuts him, and in Muruj al-Thahab, he is rebutted in the most amazing way; on p. 356, Vol. 1, of Tabaqat al-Hanabilah, Ibn al-Jawzi rebuts him and calls his rebuttal “a response to the stubborn fanatic who forbids the cursing of Yazid.”
What is really strange is the verdict of ‘Abdul-Ghani al-Maqdisi who was once asked about Yazid; he said, “His caliphate was authentic because sixty Sahabis swore the oath of allegiance to him including [‘Abdullah] Ibn ‘Umar [Ibn al-Khattab]. But if someone does not like him, he should not be held accountable because he was not among the Sahaba.
Rather, cursing him should be banned for fear of touching his father and in order to close the door before dissension.”25
More strange than this is the denial by Ibn Hajar al-Haythami that Yazid accepted the killing of al-Husayn (‘a) at all or that he ever ordered it26 despite this fact being transmitted consecutively: Yazid was quite pleased with it; this fact is denied only by those who deny the sun having rays. Ibn Jarir and al-Suyuti have both said that when al-Husayn (‘a) was killed, Yazid was very happy, and Ibn Ziyad's status with him was enhanced, then he regretted it.27
Al-Khawarizmi says that Yazid said to al-Nu’man Ibn Bashir, “Praise to Allah Who killed al-Husayn.”28.
They [such “scholars”] kept the lid over his abominable deeds just as they had done to the oppression of his father, Mu’awiyah, who had renounced the laws enacted by the person who carried out the Divine Call. Is he not the one who said the following to his father Sakhr who pretended to have accepted Islam for fear of the Muslim’s swords:
Ibn Abul-Hadid says, “Many of our fellows have cast doubt about Mu’awiyah's creed and said that he was an atheist who did not believe in Prophethood. They quote his own statements testifying to this fact”.30
His grandfather Sakhr is the one who, upon the conquest of Mecca, said to al-’Abbas, “This is a kingdom.” Al-’Abbas, thereupon, rebuked him by saying, “Woe unto you! This is Prophethood!” About Mu’awiyah, Ahmad Ibn al-Husayn al-Bayhaqi says, “Mu’awiyah exited disbelief and entered into hypocrisy, and during the time of the Messenger of Allah (S) and thereafter, he went back to his original disbelief.”31
Maysun's son is the sap of all these abominations. When was he ever fit to rule, much less to be looked upon as the divinely supported caliph, especially since among the nation there was then present the fragrant flower of the Messenger of Allah (S), the Master of the Youths of Paradise, the son of the man upon whose struggle the creed was established, the son of the Head of all the women of mankind, the fifth among those covered with the Prophet's mantle (ashab al-kisa’), the peer of the Glorious Book of Allah according to hadith al-thaqalayn (tradition of the two weighty things)?
He was the one from whose sides knowledge was gushing forth, from whose great conduct ethics and morals were gloriously manifested wherever he went, whose sides emitted the fragrance of Prophethood, whose countenance shone with the glow of Imamate. To such merits does al-Husayn (‘a) point out when al-Walid asked him to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid; he, thereupon, said,
“Amir! We are the household of the Prophet, the substance of the Message, the ones visited by the angels; it is through us that Allah initiates and concludes. Yazid is a man of sin, a drunkard, a murderer of the soul the killing of which Allah has prohibited, a man who is openly promiscuous. A man like me shall never swear the oath of allegiance to a man like him.” 32
Having stated all the above, let us ask this man of pedantry about his claim that al-Husayn (‘a) dissented after the oath of allegiance had (unanimously) been secured for Yazid: “When was such a swearing under duress secured, and when was there any consensus in its regard given by those who tied and untied?
Was it when his father [Mu’awiyah] secured it through terrorism, or was it when he swiftly dispatched funds to the masters of evil who cowered as they licked their lips?33
Or was it when Yazid's appointees offered it to people, so the descendant of the Messenger of Allah (S), together with Banu Hashim, turned away from it, and al-Zubayr fled from it and hid in Mecca, while Ibn ‘Umar confined himself to his house?”34
‘Abdul-Rahman son of [first caliph] Abu Bakr used to publicly say that it was an allegiance taken Heraclius-style: whenever one Heraclius fell, another Heraclius would succeed him.35 So Mu’awiyah dispatched one hundred thousand dirhams to appease him, but he sent the money back saying, “I shall not sell my religion in exchange for this life.”36
‘Abdullah son of ‘Amr Ibn al-’As said to ‘Abis Ibn Sa’id, who urged him to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazid, “I know him better than you, and you have surely sold your religion in exchange for this world.”37
Sa’id Ibn Zayd Ibn ‘Amr Ibn Nafil al-’Adawi said the following to a Syrian man sent by Marwan Ibn al-Hakam to him to secure his oath of allegiance to Yazid: “Marwan is ordering me to swear the oath of allegiance to people whom I have struck with my sword till they submitted to Allah. By Allah! They did not surrender to Allah; they only surrendered to the sword.”38
Ziyad Ibn Abeeh39 said to ‘Ubayd Ibn Ka’b al-Numayri, “Mu’awiyah wrote me with regard to swearing the oath of allegiance to Yazid, and securing the cause of Islam is quite a great cause. Yazid followed his own whims and desires. He was quite negligent about the creed due to a passion for hunting. So, inform Mu’awiyah about me and acquaint him with how negligent Yazid is with regard to the religious injunctions, and tell him about his abominable deeds.”40
Sa’id, son of ‘Uthman Ibn ‘Affan, too, denounced Mu’awiyah. He once wrote Mu’awiyah saying, “My father [the third caliph] is better than Yazid's father; my mother is better than his mother, and I am better than him.”41
Al-Ahnaf Ibn Qays denounced his caliphate, too. He wrote Mu’awiyah once trying to show him where he had erred by appointing his son as his successor and by preferring him over both Imams al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a) despite their merits and lineage.
He reminded him of the terms which he had promised al-Hasan (‘a) to fulfill, including one saying that he would not put anyone ahead of him, and that the people of Iraq never hated him nor his brother al-Husayn (‘a) ever since they loved them both, and that the hearts that hate Mu’awiyah were still beating within them.42
The oppressed Imam and the Master of Martyrs (‘a) spared no means to provide Mu’awiyah with advice, to guide him to the right path, and to acquaint him with Yazid's abominable conduct, and that he was better than him in every respect.
Once he said to him, “My mother is better than his mother, and my father is better than his father.” Mu’awiyah then said to him, “As regarding your mother, she is the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S); she is, of course, better than any woman from [the tribe of] Kilab. As regarding my love for Yazid, were I to be awarded what fills a fertile oasis [with gold], I would not be satisfied. As regarding your father and his, they both sought the judgment of Allah, so Allah judged in favour of his father over yours.”43
It was then that Abu ‘Abdullah, Imam al-Husayn (‘a), refrained from commenting because he became convinced that the son of the liver-chewing mother would never be convinced about the truth Yet Mu’awiyah refrained from saying that Yazid's father was better than Husayn's because he knew that that would have been something quite unheard of due to ‘Ali (‘a) being the foremost in accepting Islam and to his having all merits, and to his superiority in all virtues.
It was for that reason that Mu’awiyah refrained from alluding to the existence of disliking and of a dispute of sort, and this is what the scholars of rhetoric call “persuasion.”
On another occasion, the Master of Martyrs, Abu ‘Abdullah (‘a), said to him, “I understood what you mentioned about Yazid's accomplishments and the policy of Muhammad's nation. You want to mislead people into thinking that you are describing someone with whom they are not familiar, or identify an absentee, or acquaint them with some specific knowledge.
Yet Yazid has personally revealed what his mentality is; so, draw your own conclusion about Yazid from noticing his interest in exploring decorated hunting dogs44, race pigeons, female singers with their musical instruments, his entertainment parties, and you will then find all of that helpful [to form an idea about him]. Stop what you are trying to do; it will not help you when you meet Allah to carry, besides your own burden of sins, the sins of all this multitude.
By Allah! You never cease to seek falsehood with oppression and earn an outrage coupled with injustice, so much so that you have filled all containers though the distance between you and death is only that you close your eyes. So proceed to do something which will testify against you on a Day witnessed by everyone, a Day that is sure to come; there is no doubt about it.”45
On a third occasion, Imam Husayn (‘a) wrote Mu’awiyah saying,
“Be admonished that Allah, the most Sublime, the most Great, has a Book which leaves nothing, small or big, without recording it. Allah, the most Exalted One, does not forget how you annihilate people for mere suspicion, how you kill His friends only on account of your charges, and how you exile them from their homes to foreign lands. Did you not kill Hujr al-Kindi and the worshippers who always upheld their prayers and who resented oppression and regarded bid’as as most abhorred and did not accept the blame of anyone when it came to upholding Allah's Commandments?
Did you not kill ‘Amr Ibn al-Hamq, the companion of the Messenger of Allah (S), the righteous servant of Allah whose body was worn out by adoration and whose complexion turned yellow on account of fearing Allah even after having granted him security and given him of the sacred promises that which, had you given them a bird, it would have descended upon you from the peak of the mountain, so you thus defy your Lord and take such promises lightly?
Did you not claim the son of Sumayya (as your son), the one who was born to a slave from Thaqif, claiming he was begotten by your father although the Messenger of Allah (S) had said, “The newborn belongs to the bed upon which he was born, whereas whoever commits adultery should be stoned,” thus forsaking the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (S) deliberately?
Did you not follow your own inclinations without any guidance from Allah, the most Exalted One, then you granted him authority over the Iraqis so that he would cut the hands of the Muslims, gouge out their eyes, and crucify them on palm-tree trunks, as if you do not belong to this nation, and as if they do not belong to you?
Are you not the one who wrote Ziyad ordering him to kill anyone who followed the creed of ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib (‘a), so he killed them and mutilated their corpses following your orders while ‘Ali's creed is the creed of Allah, the most Sublime, the most Great, whereby He smote you and your father and whereby you now seat yourself where you are?
Add to all this your forcing people to swear the oath of allegiance to your son Yazid although he is a child who drinks wine and plays with dogs. Surely you have lost your soul, compromised your creed, and violated your trust.”46
On a fourth occasion, the Imam (‘a) wrote him to enumerate his sins following the killing by Ziyad Ibn Abeeh of Muslim Ibn Zaymar and ‘Abdullah Ibn Naji, both of Hadramaut, and their crucifixion for many days in Kufa on their houses' doors only because they were supporters (Shi’as) of the Commander of the Faithful ‘Ali (‘a).
Among what he said was: “Are you not responsible for the execution of Hujr and both men from Hadramaut regarding whom the son of Sumayya wrote you telling you that they followed the religion of ‘Ali (‘a) and followed his views, so you wrote him saying, ‘Kill everyone who follows the religion of ‘Ali (‘a),' notwithstanding the fact that ‘Ali followed the creed of his cousin (S) who smote your father, the same creed because of which your father smote those who adhered to it and because of which you yourself now seat yourself where you are?
Had it been otherwise, we, rather than you, would have been honoured by bearing the brunt of its responsibility in this life and in the life to come, had we only removed it from your shoulders and shouldered it ourselves.”
The Imam (‘a) rebuked him in a lengthy letter for adopting Ziyad and appointing him as ruler of Iraq47, but all these pieces of advice from the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) did not avail to put an end to Mu’awiyah's falsehood after the latter's acts of terrorism and greed had already blocked the way before justice and equity.
Yet despite his very well known shrewdness, Yazid did not feel comfortable regarding any harm touching al-Husayn (‘a) for fear of its dire consequences and repercussions. He knew that the most oppressed Imam (‘a) would never accept humiliation till the last breath, and that his Shi’as then were different from the time they used to be when his brother Imam al-Hasan (‘a) was alive.
These kept complaining about the horrible persecution meted to them at the hands of Mu’awiyah's governors, so much so that any of them preferred to be called an atheist rather than a “Turabi.”
Quite often, they used to confront Imam al-Hasan (‘a) very bitterly despite their recognition of his Imamate and their surrendering to the fact that whatever he did was due to divine righteousness and will. They went as far as urging al-Husayn (‘a) several times to rise against oppression, but he declined to do so out of deference for the obligations of the Imamate, preferring to postpone doing so till the right time, the time of which he was informed by both his grandfather (S) and by his wasi, his own father (‘a).
Mu’awiyah knew very well that in the event al-Husayn (‘a) was in any way harmed, the Shi’as would rally behind him, and this would lead to worsening an already bad relationship between both of them.
It was for this very reason that he advised his son Yazid to seek peace with al-Husayn (‘a) if the issue was aggravated no matter how “harsh” the Imam (‘a) might be to him. Said he to Yazid, “The people of Iraq will not leave Husayn till they get him out [of Medina]; so, if he rebels against you, and if you capture him, forgive him, for his lineage is great, and so is his right.”48
Due to his deadly conceit, ignorant Yazid did not pay any attention to that advice; so, his evil overcame him, bringing out the worst in him. If Yazid, the man who personified all abominations, was pleased with a swift victory, his victory was soon followed by failure, and people faced him with condemnation. Even those who did not claim adherence to Islam blamed him a great deal.
The incident of the messenger sent by a [Byzantine] Roman emperor to Yazid at the latter's court is a case in point. The messenger saw how Yazid was beating the sacred severed head of the Imam (‘a), so he responded in a way that shook the whole place. Yazid then realized that his falsely justifying what he had committed was of no avail any longer.
How could his justifications be of any avail after each and everyone who attended that meeting had heard a loud voice coming out of that sacred head saying, “La hawla wala quwwata illa billah” (there is no might nor strength except in Allah), just when Yazid ordered to have that messenger killed?49
Before the tragedy of Karbala’, who had ever heard a head, which had been severed from its body, speak so articulately? Was Maysun's son capable of frustrating Allah's mysteries or putting out His most sacred Light? Of course not.
The denunciation of what Yazid had done came even from his wives and those closest to him, so much so that when his wife Hind50 saw the severed head crucified on her house door as ‘Alawite radiance emanated from it to the depth of the sky and witnessed it bleeding, and the blood was emanating a very sweet fragrance, she was very distressed and could not help entering Yazid's court without her veil.
She screamed: “The head of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S) is crucified on our house!” Yazid stood and covered her up and said, “Mourn al-Husayn, for he is the [cause of] anguish of Banu Hashim. Ibn Ziyad was swift in killing him.”51
He intended to mislead her and, by shifting the blame for the crime to his governor, attempted to avoid condemnation. But what is already fixed cannot be removed. This is why he wrote his short missive which historians describe as “the rat's ear” and which he dispatched together with his more detailed one to the man whom he appointed as governor of Medina, namely al-Walid Ibn ‘Utbah, ordering him to secure the oath of allegiance for him from the entire population.
In his shorter missive, he instructed him to secure it specifically from al-Husayn (‘a)52, and to kill him and send him his head to him if he refused.
This was due to Yazid's knowledge that the righteous men of his time and the dignitaries among them would not endorse his government, nor had they accepted to do so during the lifetime of his father, Mu’awiyah, except after being coerced and harassed.
He wanted to “officially” alienate himself from the order to kill al-Husayn (‘a) so that if his appointee did it then held him accountable, he would seek his excuse by attributing the act of killing to his appointee. In his letter ordering him to secure the oath of allegiance for him from all the people of Medina, he did not dare to refer to such an order. This would provide him with the opportunity to shift the blame to his appointee. It was then that he came up with that excuse, and some historians were thus duped. But will it avail him at all? Of course not.
Commenting on this tradition, Muhibb ad-Din said, “Muslim has mentioned this tradition in his Sahih in the Book of Imara.” It is, in fact, stated on p. 121, Vol. 2, of the Book (chapter) of Imara following the one dealing with the Prophet's military campaigns. It is quoted from Ziyad Ibn ‘Alaqah who cites ‘Arfajah who cites the Prophet (S). This man, Ibn ‘Alaqah, is known to have been misguided in his views and one who deviated from the path of Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) according to the testimony recorded on p. 381, Vol. 3, of Ibn Hajar's book Tahthib al-Tahthib.
The author mentions ‘Arfajah on p. 176, Vol. 3, of his book saying about him the following: “Nobody praised nor condemned him, for he is among those who do not enjoy any recognition and whose traditions are completely ignored.”What is truly strange is Ibn al-’Arabi's conviction that Yazid's government was legitimate despite his knowledge of one hadith of the Prophet (S) in which he has said, “Justice shall dominate my nation till it will first be violated by a man from Banu Umayyah called Yazid.” This tradition is reported on p. 241, Vol. 5, of Mujma’ al-Zawa'id wa Manba’ al-Fawa’id by Ibn Hajar who traces its Isnad to Abu Ya’li and al-Bazzaz.
It is also stated on p. 132 of Al-Sawa’iq al-Muhriqa from al-Ruyani who quotes Abul-Darda' quoting the Messenger of Allah (S) saying, “The first person to change my Sunnah will be a man from Banu Umayyah named Yazid.” In the Book of Dissensions (Kitab al-Fitan) of al-Bukhari's Sahih, the Prophet (S) is quoted as saying, “My nation's annihilation will take place at the hands of minors in my nation.” Also, Abu Hurayra is quoted [in the same reference] as having said, “I have heard the Messenger of Allah (S) saying, ‘The annihilation of my nation will be at the hands of youths belonging to Quraish.”
Ibn Hajar has explained the meaning of this tradition on p. 7, Vol. 13, of his book Fath al-Bari saying, “Abu Hurayra used to walk through the bazaars repeating these words: ‘Lord! Do not permit me to live till the year 60 [A.H.], and do not let me live to see children becoming rulers.'” Ibn Hajar goes on to say, “He [Abu Hurayra] was referring to Yazid's caliphate which took place in 60 A.H./680 A.D. although he did not criticize him [Yazid].”
The author traces the chain of narrators of this incident back to Yahya Ibn ‘Abdullah Ibn Bashir al-Bahili who quotes Ibn al-Mubarak who is not known at all to the scholars specialized in the science of verifying the narrators of hadith.
2) Al-Khawarizmi's Maqtal traces, on p. 150, Vol. 1, its Isnad to al-Hathli who quotes Ibn Sirin saying, “‘Abdul-Rahman Ibn ‘Innab Ibn Asid was the one who had deflowered her then divorced her. ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amir Ibn Kariz then married her, as stated above, except that he substituted the name of al-Husayn (‘a) with that of al-Hasan (‘a), claiming that he said to ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amir after the latter had divorced her, ‘You will not find anyone better than me to legitimize her for you.'
Hind used to say, ‘Their master is Hasan; the most generous among them is ‘Abdullah, and the one I love most is ‘Abdul-Rahman.' On p. 45, Vol. 2, of Ibn Hajar's book Tahthib al-Tahthib, it is stated that al-Hathli is Abu Bakr who is regarded by Ibn Ma’in as a liar and by Abu Zar’ah as “weak” and by al-Nassa’i as one whose traditions should not be taken seriously at all.
On p. 146, Vol. 3, of al-Safadi's book Al-Wafi bil Wafiyyat, the author says, “Muhammad Ibn Sirin admitted to hearing hadith then curtailing it, and that he was among those brought as captives from Jirjaya.” On p. 103, Vol. 2, of Tarh al-Tathrib, it is stated that, “Ibn Sirin was taken captive after ‘Ayn al-Tamr was overrun.”
3) On p. 180, Vol. 6, of al-Nuwayri's Nihayat al-Arab, it is stated that, “Zainab was with ‘Abdullah Ibn Salam who was appointed as ruler of Iraq by Mu’awiyah. Mu’awiyah asked him to divorce his wife because Yazid desired her as his own wife provided he would give him his own daughter to marry.
When he did divorce her, Mu’awiyah's daughter refused to marry him, so Mu’awiyah dispatched Abu Hurayra and Abul-Darda' to Iraq to ask for the hand of Zainab daughter of Ishaq for Yazid. They came to Kufa, and al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (‘a) was there, so they told him their story.
He (‘a) said to them, “Mention my name to her.” She, therefore, chose al-Husayn (‘a) who did actually marry her. When al-Husayn (‘a) came to know that ‘Abdullah Ibn Salam wanted her for himself, he divorced her in order to legitimize her marriage to her first husband.
This lengthy incident, which al-Nuwayri narrates and which he takes for granted in his book Nihayat al-Arab without even tracing the chain of its narrators, is taken for granted by Ibn Badrun who explains one of his poems on p. 172 (1330 A.H./1912 A.D. edition) titled “Uraynab.” Al-Husayn (‘a) never visited Kufa after their departure there from.
4) On p. 274, Vol. 1, of al-Maydani's book Al-Amthal, the following incident is narrated under a heading reading: “There may be someone who diligently helps someone else sitting idly by”: “Mu’awiyah asked Yazid once about his desires, so he informed him of his desire to marry Selma, mother of Khalid and wife of ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Amir Ibn Kariz.
Mu’awiyah called upon the latter to meet with him. When they met, he asked him to divorce his wife, the mother of Khalid, in exchange for all the taxes levied from Persia for full five years. He, therefore, divorced her. Mu’awiyah then wrote his governor over Medina, al-Walid Ibn ‘Utbah, to inform Khalid's offer of her divorce.
After the expiration of the waiting period, Mu’awiyah dispatched Abu Hurayra with sixty thousand dirhams and twenty thousand dinars for her dower in addition to twenty thousand dinars to appease her and yet twenty thousand more as an additional gift. At Medina, he narrated the incident to the father of Muhammad, namely al-Hasan son of the Commander of the Faithful (‘a), who said to Abu Hurayra, “Mention my name to her.” Al-Husayn (‘a), too, said to him, “Mention my name to her.” ‘Ubaydullah Ibn al-’Abbas Ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib said likewise and so did ‘Abdullah son of Ja’far at-Tayyar, as well as ‘Abdullah Ibn al-Zubayr and ‘Abdullah Ibn Muti’ ib al-Aswad. Abu Hurayra met her and narrated to her what Mu’awiyah wanted, then he informed her of the desire of each of these men to marry her. She said to him, ‘You choose one of them for me.'
He, therefore, chose al-Hasan Ibn ‘Ali (‘a) and married her off to him, then he took the money back to Mu’awiyah who reprimanded him (Abu Hurayra) for what had happened. The latter answered him by saying, “One who is consulted is one who is trusted.”
This is all what “trustworthy historians” had recorded of the facts as they had taken place. It is regrettable to see how they did not demonstrate any concern about safeguarding the Muslims' dignity. Just consider this myth the ultimate objective of which is to defame both grandsons of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him and his progeny, the Imams of the nation whenever they stood up or sat down.
One who sees things as they are without discerning them would be duped into accepting such a lie and, hence, would charge Abu Muhammad, Imam al-Hasan (‘a), with a charge because of which the mountains are removed from their places on account of the many wives al-Hasan (‘a) had married, and that to divorce a wife thrice was quite common. They could not find any truthful person to legitimize marrying a woman a permanent marriage then divorcing her other than al-Hasan (‘a)!
I do not know what excuse he will find for himself on the Day when the father of Muhammad [Ibn al-Hanafiyya] asks him, “Upon what basis did you thus violate my sanctity and did not see the evil of what you did?”