Muawiyah and the responsibility of the Imam’s martyrdom
(First printed ‘Al-Jawwad’, September-October 1955 A.D.)
After expressing views on Taqiyyah, the Rizwan editor felt proud of his knowledge of history and he paid tributes to his chief, Muawiyah in the following manner:
Shias blame Amir Muawiyah for the assassination of Imam (as). Some Shias even say that the Imam was assassinated on the order of Muawiyah. However, Shia scholars have themselves concocted these allegations. Reliable Shia books prove that Amir Muawiyah had nothing to do in the Imam’s murder. Mulla Baqir Majlisi writes in Jalalul Uyun1 that Amir Muawiyah willed to Yazid at the time of his death:
1) But as for Imam Husain (as)! You know his relation and nearness to the Holy Prophet (S). He is a part of the Prophet. I know that the people of Iraq will call him and would not help him. If you get control over him, recognize his rights. Remember his rank of nearness to the Prophet. Do not make him recompense for his actions and do not break off the relations I have strengthened with him during this time. Beware! Do not give him any kind of trouble.
2) It is narrated in Nasikhut Tawarikh that Muawiyah made the following will to Yazid: O son! Do not be greedy. Beware, when you come to Allah you should not have the blood of Husain bin Ali upon your neck. Otherwise, you will not be at ease and remain under chastisement forever.
This narration is also from the book of Shias. At least it proves that Muawiyah was not involved in the martyrdom of Husain (as). He had willed Yazid to respect and help the Imam. Then we do not understand why Amir Muawiyah is blamed for the martyrdom of the Imam?
After quoting this objection from the beginning to the end I don’t know which statement should be replied first. By the grace of Allah, each word of this script is inviting an objection. However, I feel it appropriate to present an example of the historical knowledge of Rizwan editor and his associates before criticizing these wordings.
This same issue of Rizwan contained an article, “Coronation of Yazid and Problems of ‘is there more?’” by Maulana Abul Hasanat Sayed Muhammad Ahmad, the chief of the Federation of scholars of Pakistan, Lahore. Who can ask what this exalted personality means by this title. Why he says ‘is there more’ instead of ‘is there from more’.
Is it due to the age-old habit of making distortions? Anyway, the beauty of the title shows the significance of the subject matter. The chief of the Federation of the scholars of Pakistan does not even know that Imam Hasan (as) was martyred ten years before Yazid (l.a.) came to the throne. And that their Chief, Muawiyah had a significant role in this martyrdom. The poor man thinks that Imam Hasan (as) was also martyred in 61 A.H. I shall mention some selected sentences of this article in a sequence as follows:
“Sixtieth year of Hijrah and the month of Rajab…Unclean Yazid dirties the throne with his impure feet… He attacks Imam Hasan (r.a.) for the first time and poisons him a number of times. As a result, the liver of the beloved of the Messenger of Allah (S) came out in pieces.”
After that is mentioned the martyrdom and bequest etc. of Imam Hasan (as). Then he continues…
“…in short, after Yazid satisfied his unlucky heart with the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (r.a.), his eyes fell upon the Prince of the two worlds, Imam Husain (as)…and so on.”2
Do you see the historical knowledge of the chief of the federation of scholars of Pakistan? Even an elementary student of Islamic history will not make such a blunder. But where the only aim is to acquire offerings from people after donning the turban, where is the time for the pursuit of knowledge?
The problem is that the Rizwan editor has tried to undertake a journey, which requires great historical consciousness. The condition of his knowledge is such that he does not even know the sequence of important events. So it is very difficult to explain to him, ‘Who the assassin of the Imam (as) is?’
Let us consider his statements, one by one.
He says: “Shias blame Amir Muawiyah for the assassination of Imam (as).”
Whoever has provided you with this information has not conveyed it in full. Rather they consider it to be connected to much earlier incidents. Shias not only blame Muawiyah but also his predecessors for the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as). They say that the foundation of martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) was laid by your leaders in Saqifah itself. If the rights of the progeny of Muhammad (S) had not been usurped on that day, the tragedy of Kerbala would not have occurred.
They would not have dared to oppress the progeny of Muhammad (S). Hence we consider all, from those responsible for allegiance at Saqifah, to the lowest soldier of Yazid, responsible for the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as). We consider the root more important than the branches. The same thing is versified beautiful way by a poet thus:
“In what a nice way someone has said
That Husain was killed in Saqifah.”3
Also another poet has said about your second Caliph:
“The evil deed of Shimr was due to what he had done.
The blood of all the martyr is upon his neck.”4
These are open secrets well understood by your Imam Ghazzali and other scholars. Hence he issued the verdict, “It is prohibited for a preacher and a non-preacher to speak about Imam Husain (as) and his companions because it instigates enmity of companions (of Prophet).” The question is if Imam Ghazzali was not aware that this event of martyrdom occurred by courtesy of your ‘blessed companions’ and that the foundation of this tragedy has been laid at the hands of the companions, why else would he say that it causes incitement of the enmity of companions?
Also note that even during that period the common man was so conscious of history that he could estimate the causes of events. Otherwise how could the enmity of the companions develop just because a preacher is talking about Husain (as)? The reason is, when an event is viewed in a true light, the mind is led to the incidents prior to that event and one can reach a conclusion based on the relationship between them. It could thus be understood that ‘Husain was killed in Saqifah’. And in this way they would develop hatred to those companions. Thus even the common people understood these historical facts but who would explain them to the Rizwan editor?
“Who does not know this secret?
Though these are the secrets known to all.”5
What to say about others, Muawiyah himself has explained this fact. He says that he was the follower of the three caliphs especially the first caliph, in all these oppressive deeds. If Abu Bakr had not usurped the caliphate, he would never have opposed Ali (as). To be more precise, when Imam Ali (as) accepted the apparent caliphate, Muawiyah began to oppose him. Muhammad bin Abu Bakr, the son of the first caliph, wrote to Muawiyah describing the defects of Bani Umayyah and excellences of Amirul Momineen (as). He asked him to start obeying Amirul Momineen (as) or be prepared to face the chastisement of the Judgment Day. Muawiyah replied as follows:
“This is a letter from Muawiyah bin Sakhr to Muhammad bin Abu Bakr who accuses his own father. So to say: I received you letter in which you have described the power, highness and majesty of God, which He indeed is worthy of. You have also described the excellences due to which God chose the Holy Prophet (S).
You have also stated many things that show your weakness and denounce your father. You have also mentioned about the excellences of Ali bin Abi Talib, his peculiarities, nearness to the Prophet (S) and the Prophet (S) getting his help in times of need. Your arguments against me and finding my faults are due to the appreciation of someone else [i.e. Ali bin Abi Talib (as)]. It is not due to your own excellence. Hence, I thank God Who removed these excellences from you and gave them to someone else. The fact is that we (including your father, Abu Bakr) knew the excellences of Ali bin Abi Talib very well.
We knew that it was incumbent upon us to restore his right. God liked this bounty for His Prophet (S), which he had already chosen. God fulfilled His promise made to the Prophet (S), made His invitation open and enlightened His proof. When God called him back, your father and Farooq were the first to usurp the right of Ali (as) and who opposed him regarding his caliphate. They both united over this issue and made it evident. Then they called Ali to pay allegiance to him. Ali refused to pay allegiance to them. They intended to harass Ali and made considerable attempts to do so…
They neither associated Ali in any of their affairs nor revealed any secret to him till God gave them death. Then their third, Uthman stood up and followed their footsteps only. You and your companion started pointing out his faults. However, the foolish people far and wide were tempted by it. You both wished for hardships upon him and expressed your enmity. Finally you achieved your aims. Thus, O son of Abu Bakr! Beware, and compare your span with the inner area of your palm. You cannot compare yourself with the one (Muawiyah) whose empire is as large as the mountains. Pressure does not make his spear soft. Neither a speaker can understand his order. He has spread the throne of his rule and made his empire very strong.
Now the issue of caliphate that we are discussing; if it is correct, your father (Abu Bakr) alone had made the arrangements. We just followed his orders and became his partners. If your father had not behaved thus, we would also never have opposed Ali bin Abi Talib and on the contrary, accepted his caliphate. We only saw your father’s behavior with Ali and followed his footsteps. Now if you want accuse anyone, accuse your own father or refrain from this issue. And peace be on the one who had his desires fulfilled.”6
Even Yazid (whom Ahlul Sunnat accepted as caliph after Muawiyah) declares that he dared to oppress Ahlul Bayt (as) only because the two Shaykhs, Uthman etc. had opened the door of oppressing the Ahlul Bayt and he had only followed them. Thus after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as), Abdullah bin Umar (son of the second caliph) wrote a letter to Yazid. Both the letter and its reply are present in History of Balazari, which is a work of a great Ahlul Sunnat scholar, Allamah Balazari. The actual text is as follows:
When Imam Husain (as) was martyred Abdullah bin Umar wrote a letter to Yazid bin Muawiyah: “After praise and salutations, you should know that this is a great catastrophe. A great tragedy has occurred in Islam. No day is equal to the day of the martyrdom of Husain (as).”
Yazid replied: “O fool! We acquired decorated houses, spread chessboards, and well-arranged cushions (i.e. a strong empire). So we fought a battle to safeguard our worldly life. If truth is against us (i.e. with Husain and his family) then your father is the first person who started usurping the rights.’”7
The eyes of Abdullah bin Umar opened on reading this reprimanding letter. He understood that if he has to maintain the prestige of his father he would have to support Yazid. Because of opposition of Yazid implies that the three caliphs be opposed. After all, they are links of the same chain, and opposing the three caliphs would eliminate one from the ‘Sunni circle’. Apart from this, he did not have the courage to reveal his father’s blunders and become a truthful one (like Muhammad bin Abi Bakr).
Hence he started supporting Yazid to such an extent that when the people of Medina decided to break allegiance of Yazid it was this Abdullah bin Umar who supported Yazid and became aloof from the people of Medina along with his family members, as mentioned in the books of history. Confession of a criminal is more important than his defensive arguments, but there should be someone who can understand it.
Keeping in mind all these issues, we have to accept that Saqifah was the foundation of not only the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as), but also the martyrdom of every member from the progeny of the Holy Prophet (S).
Hence those orators who say that Muawiyah was the only one involved in the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) along with Yazid, narrate only a part of truth or act with utmost forbearance.
The next sentence is:
“Some Shias even say that the Imam was assassinated only on the order of Muawiyah.”
The editor of Rizwan wants to save his Amir from the accusation of the Imam’s martyrdom. Even if the accusation of martyrdom is taken back it will not be possible to acquit him. Since the pieces of Imam Hasan’s liver prove that he is the culprit. Hasan and Husain (as) are equal in the eyes of the Prophet (S), Allah and we people. As you have not mentioned the name of Imam, let me explain to you how Muawiyah’s hands are smeared with the blood of the Imam. Numerous Ahlul Sunnat scholars accept it. Allamah Ibn Abdul Barr, a famous Ahlul Sunnat scholar, writes in his renowned work, Al Istiab fi Marefat As-haab as follows:
Qatadah and Abu Bakr bin Hafasa said, “Hasan bin Ali was poisoned. He was poisoned by his wife, Judah binte Ashath. A group of scholars believe that this poisoning was only the intrigue of Muawiyah. It was only as a result of what he paid to Judah.”
Allamah Sibte Ibn Jawzi, a renowned Ahlul Sunnat scholar writes in his famous book, Tadhkirah Khwaasul Ummah with more explanation:
“Imam Shabi says that Muawiyah made a secret pact with Judah and said, ‘If you poison Hasan I would marry you off to Yazid and reward you a hundred thousand dirhams.’ After the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (as), she asked Muawiyah to fulfill his promise. Muawiyah sent a hundred thousand dirhams to her along with a message, ‘I love Yazid and want him to remain alive otherwise I would have surely married you to him.’ Imam Shabi says that the proof of this statement is the assertion of Imam Hasan (as) at the time of his death, ‘I know that the sip of Muawiyah has become pleasant and he has fulfilled his wish. By Allah, he would not fulfill his promises and neither is he true to his word.’”
And my grandfather (Allamah Ibn Jawzi) writes in the book, As Safwah that Yaqub bin Sufyan has mentioned in his history that only Judah poisoned Imam Hasan (as). A poet has said regarding this:
‘You know that there are many ways of your consolation,
Thoughts that will take away your grief.
The demise of the Prophet (S), martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (as),
Martyrdom of Husain (as) and the poisoning of Hasan (as).’8
Ibn Saad says that Muawiyah poisoned Imam Hasan (as) a number of times because Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (as) used to visit him in Syria (and he used to poison his guests there).”9
All these points are mentioned by the following Ahlul Sunnat scholars with explanation:
1) Allamah Zuhri in Tahzibul Kamal fee Asmair Rijal
2) Imam Zahabi in Tahzibut Tahzib
3) Shaykh Abu Abdillah Muhammad bin Umar Zainuddin Ibnul Waqidi in Miratul Ajaib
4) Allamah Zamakhshari in Rabi-ul-Abraar
5) Abul Hasanul Madayani in the History of Madayan
6) Allamah Ismail bin Ali bin Mahmud in Al-Mukhtar fil Akhbaar Khairul Bashar
7) Maulana Abdul Qadir bin Muhammad Tabari in Husnus Sareerah etc.
When Muawiyah got the news of the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (as) he exclaimed, ‘Allaho Akbar!’ (God is the Greatest) out of joy. When people asked the reason, they came to know that it is due to the martyrdom of the beloved of the Holy Prophet (S) and they rebuked him. Muawiyah said that his heart was at peace because of his demise. Mirza Mutamid Khan has quoted this incident in his book Miftahun Najah and narrated a lengthy conversation between Muawiyah and Ibn Abbas. I narrate it here in spite of my concern for brevity:
“Allamah Dayar Bakri writes in Tarikh Khamees that when Muawiyah received the news of the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (as), he recited a Takbir (Allaho Akbar). The Syrians also repeated the slogan after him. Thus Fakhta binte Qarza asked Muawiyah, ‘May God keep your eyes cool. What is the reason of this Takbir?’ He replied, ‘Hasan died.’ Fakhta said, ‘Do you shout the slogan of Takbir at the death of the son of Fatima (s.a.)?’ He said, ‘I have not recited Takbir because I am rejoicing at his distress but my heart it at peace.’”
Allamah Dayar Bakri says that this only constitutes ‘rejoicing at someone’s distress’. Without it a heart cannot be at peace at the death of someone else.
Zubair bin Bakar says that Ibn Abbas went to Muawiyah and Muawiyah had already received the news of the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (as). Thus Muawiyah performed a prostration of thanks and his face lit up in delight. Then he gave permission to the people to enter the court. He permitted Ibn Abbas last. He entered and Muawiyah made him sit beside himself. Muawiyah said, ‘Do you know about the incident that occurred in your family?’ Ibn Abbas replied in negative. Muawiyah said, ‘Imam Hasan (as) has expired. May God reward you greatly in this calamity.’ Ibn Abbas said, ‘From Him we come and to Him shall we return. We seek the reward of calamity of the death of Imam Hasan (as) from God only. I have got the news of your prostration and I am sure it is prostration of thanks out of the joy of this death. By Allah, neither his body will close your grave nor his life will increase your life.
We have already suffered the calamity of a greater personality (i.e. Amirul Momineen). Then God recompensed it (by Imam Hasan) (Hence you should not be happy at the demise of Hasan).’ Muawiyah asked the age of Imam Hasan (as). Ibn Abbas replied, ‘He was more honorable that I should be aware of the date of his birth!’ Muawiyah said, ‘I know that he has left behind small kids.’ Ibn Abbas said, ‘We all were young (in his presence) but have become elderly now.’ Muawiyah said, ‘You have become the head of your family now.’ Ibn Abbas replied, ‘Did not God keep Abu Abdillah Husain (as) alive that I should be the chief?’ He stood up saying so with tears flowing from his eyes. Muawiyah said, ‘May God do good to Ibn Abbas. By Allah, we never remained with him but that we found him the leader.’”
Allamah Damiri has also quoted this incident in brief using some different words in his book, Hayatul Haiwan.
The description of Muawiyah’s joy at the demise of Imam Hasan (as), his saying of Takbir, doing prostration of thanks etc. are found in the following books:
1) Nazalul Abrar and Miftahun Najah by Mirza Muhammad bin Mutamid Khan
2) Tarikh Khamis by Dayar Bakri
3) Hayatul Haiwan by Allamah Damiri
4) Rabiul Abrar by Allamah Zamakhshari
Now the Rizwan editor and his brother, Chief of the federation of scholars of Pakistan might have known that Amir Muawiyah could not be absolved of the responsibility of the Imam’s martyrdom. It is not strange for Muawiyah to be happy over the martyrdom of Ahlul Bayt (as). He had also expressed similar joy at the martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (as). A renowned Ahlul Sunnat Imam, Raghib Isfahani writes in one of his notable works, Mahazirat:
Hisham bin Hakam was asked whether Muawiyah was present in the battle of Badr. He replied, “Yes, from the side of the infidels.” Muawiyah and his forbearance was discussed in the presence of Sharik bin Abdullah who remarked, ‘Muawiyah was nothing but a fool. He was reclining on a cushion when the news of the martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (as) arrived. He sat upright and said, “O slave-girl! Sing a song as today my eye has become cool” and the slave-girl started singing this song: “Please send this message to Muawiyah bin Harb. May God never cool the eyes of one who rejoices over other’s distress. You involved us in the calamity of a personality who was the best among the people, in the month of Ramadan itself. You martyred a person who was better than all the riders and those who sit on the ship.”
Muawiyah picked up baton lying before him and hit it hard on her head. As a result, the brain of that slave-girl broke into pieces. Where was his tolerance on that day?
This extempore poem of the slave-girl of Muawiyah that: ‘You gave us calamity and sorrow’ and ‘You killed’ point to Muawiyah. The common historians have not paid attention to this aspect. Before we provide the explanation let us see the account of the martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (as) in brief. Here are some details commonly found in history:
Abdur Rahman bin Muljim was a Khariji. He and two other Kharijis planned to kill Amirul Momineen (as), Muawiyah and Amr bin Aas at the same time so that Muslims remain safe from wars. They fixed the dawn of 19th Ramadan for this job. One of them went to Damascus where Muawiyah lived. The second one went to Egypt where Amr bin Aas resided and Ibn Muljim arrived in Kufa where Ali (as) ruled.
The sword of Ibn Muljim was smeared with poison. Muawiyah did not go to lead morning prayers on the 19th of Ramadan and sent someone in his place and that person was killed. Amr bin Aas went to lead the prayers wearing a silk dress. Silk is prohibited for men but it is permissible in battles because sword strokes are deflected from it. The same thing happened. The Khariji hit him with the sword and it slipped and Amr Aas survived. Amirul Momineen (as) was injured in Kufa and the poison with which the sword was smeared proved more fatal than the injury.
If a neutral person reflects over this incident he could not but be surprised how on that very day Amr Aas wore a silk dress, which is prohibited. Also why Muawiyah sent another person to the Mosque when he used to lead the prayers himself always? Why was the sword of only Ibn Muljim smeared with a lethal poison? Why Muawiyah celebrated that his eyes were cooled on hearing the news of martyrdom? Why did his slave-girl, on the spur of the moment tell him that he had martyred the Imam and caused sorrow to them?
We will have to believe that Muawiyah and Amr Aas were behind the martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (as). They planned the attack in such a way that it should look like a Khariji conspiracy and they should remain safe from criticism and people should not think that they were involved in the martyrdom of Ali (as).
If the Rizwan editor or any of his supporter has any objection to this belief he go ahead and prove it.
Anyway, these issues were raked up because the Rizwan editor had tried to absolve Muawiyah completely from the martyrdom of the Imam. So I thought I should keep the mirror of reality in front of him in which he could see the face of his Amir and himself and know that the teeth of ‘Khalul Momineen’10 are smeared with the blood of more than one Imam.
As a matter of fact he has written the objection of Shias in a distorted manner so that it would be easy to discuss about them. In this too, instead of refuting the Shias he has quoted a will of his chief, Muawiyah. This style of argumentation is also an example of the intellectual perception of the Rizwan editor. The world over, it is a rule that the denial an accused does not have any value. Although if the testimony of others is reliable it is given a hearing. On the other hand if the accused confesses his guilt, it has great importance. But the Rizwan editor considers the denial of the accused as the sole and complete evidence of his justification. The strength of his claim is clear from this.
We feel it necessary to narrate some historical events in brief to explain the true facts:
Bani Umayyah were always opposed to the Holy Prophet (S). They supported the disbelievers in Badr, Uhad, Khandaq and other battles in order to destroy the aim and life of the Prophet (S). After the conquest of Mecca, when Abu Sufyan and others realized that it was impossible to succeed against the Messenger of Allah (S) they apparently accepted Islam. But they were always considered among those who had unstable belief. When the conspiracy of Saqifah took place after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S), they came to Imam Ali (as) and said, “If you say, I can fill the streets of Medina with cavalry and infantry, and restore your rights.”
His Eminence, Ali (as) knew it well that his actual aim was not to support him but to cause bloodshed of Muslims. He also knew that the Messenger of Allah (S) had always remained aloof of Bani Umayyah and continued to consider it un-Islamic that Bani Umayyah should be given an important role or a rank in Islam and hence, he rejected this proposal.
Being dejected, he went to the first caliph and said, “You acquired the caliphate but what have I gained?” The first caliph, after consulting the second caliph presented him with the governorship of Syria to earn his support. He in turn transferred the governorship to his son, Yazid bin Abu Sufyan and Yazid became the governor. When Yazid died, he appointed his brother Muawiyah as his successor and Muawiyah succeeded him after his death.
And the first caliph allowed Muawiyah to continue in the post due to the original reasons. In this way a common opponent (Bani Hashim) united Bani Umayyah and the seat of caliphate. During the reign of the first three caliphs, the duty Bani Hashim’s destruction was performed by the caliphs themselves. But after them, when caliphate reached Amirul Momineen Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as), it was the time for Muawiyah to get into action. He knew that time was ripe for him to rise. Thus he continued to engage Amirul Momineen (as) in battles as long as the latter lived. Till at last, he (as) was martyred at the hands of Ibn Muljim (l.a.).
The Late Riyaz Banarsi has mentioned the account of events in Al-Karrar. He opines that Muawiyah had a great role in the martyrdom of Amirul Momineen (as) also. I have already shed light on this matter.
Imam Hasan (as) ascended the seat of caliphate after Amirul Momineen (as). Muawiyah continued to play his wicked tricks. He bribed the chiefs of the Imam’s army and won them to his side. Imam Hasan (as) had no option but to sign a peace treaty with Muawiyah. The conditions of treaty were such that Muawiyah would not appoint Yazid as his successor. Hence, his prime aim shall not be achieved. Thus, he poisoned Imam Hasan (as) through Judah binte Ashath and expressed joy when he got the news of his martyrdom. We have already mentioned the details in the foregone pages.
Obviously, the aim of Imam Hasan’s murder and use of abusive language for Amirul Momineen (as) was to pave way for the allegiance of Yazid. However, the personality of Imam Husain (as) was not like that of an ordinary person. His presence and opposition was enough to ruin all his plans. So at first, Muawiyah tried to call the Imam (as) towards him in a polite manner. But the Imam (as) was well aware of his cunning and he openly refused to pay allegiance to Yazid.
Now I shall quote, in parts, as required, the account of the later events from the history, Rauzatus Safa11:
Muawiyah traveled to Hijaz along with a thousand riders. When he reached near Medina he happened to meet Imam Husain (as) first of all.
Muawiyah said to the Imam (as), “May luck not favor you. You are like that animal of sacrifice whose blood is ready to gush out. God will surely make your blood flow.”
He spoke in the same way to Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr and others also. Imam Husain (as) told him, “O Muawiyah! Keep quiet! Such talks do not befit us.”
Muawiyah said, “Not only this but you are worthy of worse things. You wanted a matter (caliphate) while God was against it. The intention of God was finally realized. (This is a complete picture of the belief of compulsion, that whatever happens is destined by Allah.)
He did not permit the Imam (as) to meet him in Medina. Imam Husain (as), Abdullah bin Umar, Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr and Abdullah Ibn Zubair went to Mecca. Muawiyah climbed the pulpit of the Messenger (S) and said, “If these four pay allegiance to Yazid it is all right; but if not, I will do what is needed to be done with them.” He uttered many such statements and issued many threats. Later, he stopped using harsh words upon the counsel of A’ysha and Abdullah Ibn Abbas that this trick might work. He came to Mecca, summoned the Imam and began the discussion of Yazid’s allegiance. He said, “If I had considered someone else worthy of caliphate I would have appointed him my heir apparent.” Imam Husain (as) said, “Keep quiet! O Muawiyah! People still exist, who are more worthy and better than your son in terms of parentage.”
Muawiyah said, “You imply yourself in this statement.”
Imam (as) replied, “There is nothing wrong even if I have implied thus?”
Muawiyah said, “Your parents are indeed better than the parents of Yazid but he is better than you in the matter of caliphate and administration.”
Imam (as) said, “How strange! That a drunkard and a transgressor could be better than me!”
Muawiyah said, “Keep quiet! Because if someone mentioned your name before Yazid he would not say anything about you except good.”
Imam (as) replied, “I say whatever I know about him and he should also say what he knows about me.”
Muawiyah said, “Get up and go back. Beware for your life and fear the people of Syria.”
Then he summoned Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Zubair one by one and discussed about the caliphate of Yazid (l.a.). All of them, except Abdullah bin Umar opposed him.
He distributed gifts to the people of Mecca except Bani Hashim. Abdullah bin Abbas who had come to Mecca from Medina with Muawiyah, complained about it and he mentioned the same reason that, “I am disappointed with Husain for he did not accept the caliphate of my son. Hence I have deprived Bani Hashim from rewards and gifts.”
Finally, after being persuaded by Ibn Abbas, he sent monies to all the people and the largest amount to Imam Husain (as) but he refused to accept it.
A day before leaving Mecca, he again called those four persons and raised the matter of Yazid’s caliphate. Abdullah bin Zubair presented three options:
1) Do not appoint anyone as the caliph and leave the selection to Muslims
2) Or appoint a Quraish other than Bani Umayyah
3) Or appoint a selection committee
Muawiyah asked him if any other option remained.
“No,” Ibn Zubair replied, “This was all I wanted to say.”
Muawiyah sought the advice of others and they also opposed the caliphate of Yazid. Muawiyah said:
“All right! Before I leave, I want to go on the pulpit to advise and admonish the people and leave this exhortation for tomorrow. I fear the people of Syria regarding you.”
The next day, that is the day of his departure, he summoned the chiefs of Quraish. These four personalities (including Imam Husain) arrived as promised the day before. Muawiyah climbed the pulpit and delivered a sermon as follows:
“Some baseless news is circulating in the public. Yesterday I heard some people say that Imam Husain (as), Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Zubair do not agree to the caliphate of Yazid and are not paying allegiance to him. I was surprised and called all these chiefs of Quraish and investigated the matter. They spoke kind and loving things and agreed to pay allegiance to Yazid. And I say this in their presence so that if there is any doubt, it should become clear.”
Immediately the Syrians (who were important characters in this drama) unsheathed their swords and said that if the four do not pay allegiance to Yazid openly they would kill them and sought Muawiyah’s permission to behead them.
When Muawiyah had fulfilled his aim, he persuaded them to overlook it, and the swords returned to the sheaths.
On the other hand, Imam Husain (as), Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Abdullah bin Umar and Abdullah bin Zubair were shocked. They began to wonder, “What the promise was and now what has happened? Now, if we refuse to pay allegiance the Syrian army would never leave us alive.” Left with no option, they remained quiet in this gathering and others paid allegiance to Yazid.
Muawiyah came down from the pulpit and the crowd dispersed. The people began to blame them (Imam Husain and others) for opposing Yazid at first then paying allegiance to him. It was then they explained that they were completely unaware of the allegiance, and that Muawiyah had resorted to deceit and made false statements. They also said: “We remained quiet due to the fear of the sword.”
These incidents clearly prove that Muawiyah was fully prepared to slay Imam Husain (as). He had created such an environment that if Imam Husain (as) was not having the Divine support, his martyrdom would occurred in Mecca instead of Kerbala and in 56 A.H. instead of 61 A.H. In this way, Muawiyah had created such an atmosphere that Imam Husain (as) was sure to be martyred. Yazid was taught that he should not refrain from shedding Husain’s (as) blood even in Mecca in order to strengthen his rule. Yazid followed this lesson after coming to the throne and he immediately sent thirty mercenaries to Mecca disguised as pilgrims to assassinate Husain (as) during circumambulation.
Knowing that Husain (as) would never accept the caliphate of Yazid in his life, making Yazid a caliph and teaching him through practical acts that the martyrdom of Husain was not a big issue, were the two important foundations on which the tragedy of Kerbala came into being. Hence we have to believe that “Muawiyah indeed had a hand in the martyrdom of Husain”. And also that he was in favor of this martyrdom. Otherwise why did he use threats time and again?
After reading the above incidents, any sensible person would be compelled to believe that Muawiyah himself wanted to martyr Imam Husain (as). However, his machinations were foiled by the foresight of the Imam and his discernment, and thus Muawiyah remained helpless. Yazid fulfilled this heartfelt wish of Muawiyah. As the poet says:
“What the father could not do, the son did.”
We recite in the Aamal (rituals) of Ashura (10th of Muharram):
“Curse of Allah be on the community that killed you all. And curse of Allah be on those who created the atmosphere for your slaying.”
Muawiyah died with the wish that he had himself murdered Husain (as) but nevertheless, he was indeed among those who harassed him, who was in favor of his slaying and those who created the atmosphere for his martyrdom. Such internal and external conditions are necessary in the background of such incidents, which are causes for this happening. If this is true it is correct to say that all the three caliphs, and Muawiyah and Yazid were equally responsible for the creation of such internal and external conditions for the event of Kerbala because this branch has sprouted from this same root.
Appointing Yazid as the heir-apparent against the terms of the treaty with Imam Hasan (as), threatening Imam Husain (as) time and again about it, knowing that he will not accept Yazid’s heir-apparency, to attribute falsehood to him in public, and surrounding him with naked swords; all these were practical lessons that Muawiyah imparted to Yazid, and Yazid acted on them. Therefore the responsibility of the deeds of Yazid rests on Muawiyah just as the responsibility of effect is on the cause.
In the same way Muawiyah was taught the lesson of usurping of the rights of Ahlul Bayt (as) by the two Shaykhs as both Muawiyah and Yazid have confessed in writing. Thus this matter is seen to have a long connection and the causes of Kerbala carnage are visible in the happenings of Saqifah.
It is possible that someone may think why Imam Husain (as) did not sacrifice his life in Mecca itself and instead remained quiet? This mode of action of Imam is itself a slap on the face of the Rizwan editor who writes again and again that:
“He (Imam) made it clear from his behavior that ‘a religion based on Taqiyyah is not mine’.”
Those who say this should come and see that not only Imam Husain (as) but also three Ahlul Sunnat saints and guides viz. Abdur Rahman bin Abi Bakr, Abdullah bin Zubair and Abdullah bin Umar are practicing Taqiyyah. They confess in clear words: “We remained quiet due to the fear of the sword.” These three Ahlul Sunnat leaders indeed committed an unlawful deed because the Ahlul Sunnat object to Taqiyyah. However, the reasons of Imam Husain’s (as) silence are as follows:
Firstly, Imam Husain (as) did not like that the honor of Mecca should be trampled, the proof of which is found in the time of Yazid also. When Yazid sent killers disguised as pilgrims to murder Imam (as) wherever they could find him, Imam (as) was compelled to change his intention of Hajj. He instead performed Umrah and left Mecca so these people do not destroy the honor of Mecca in their pursuit of the Imam’s murder.
Secondly, till that time the evil deeds of Yazid had not become so well known that people should openly abhor him. Neither his vicious actions had achieved fame. That is why at that time opposition to him could not obtain religious expedience, which came to be the case during his caliphate and after Yazid had become a famous libertine. People were assured that the grandson of the Prophet (S) was opposing Yazid only out of the love of religion. On the other hand, if he had opposed Muawiyah during the discussion of heir-apparency, people would have thought as justified by Muawiyah, that, ‘he is opposing Yazid even though Yazid is better than him because he himself wants to become the caliph’. Muawiyah had explained this to Bakal Ayari during the discussion with Imam (as) so that people may derive the same conclusion. In other words it would have been given a political color at that time, and this, the Imam was not ready to accept.
Thirdly, a lone martyrdom in a crowd could not have created such a dreaded effect on the Islamic World from the East to the West and from the South to the North that the whole world should start hating Yazid. The land of Kerbala and all those calamities were required so that this effect of martyrdom comes into existence. Thousands of people are killed due to political oppositions and no one cares about them. Hence martyrdom in this gathering of Mecca was void of any benefit. Everyone is aware of the intrigues of Muawiyah and he would have completely suppressed this martyrdom. Or he would have presented it in such a light that no one would have understood who was killed and why he was killed. On the other hand, Imam (as) attained an immortal way of propagation through a defensive battle and through the sufferings of his family members, which was not possible in Mecca.
Apparently, Imam (as) remained quiet due to all these three reasons according to Divine Will and acted upon Taqiyyah and then fought the battle of Kerbala. Would the Rizwan editor still say that, “He (Imam) made it clear from his behavior that ‘a religion based on Taqiyyah is not mine’.”
However, all these discussions were incidental and our main aim was to make it clear that Shias are right in considering Muawiyah responsible for the martyrdom of Imam (as). Not only Muawiyah but also the three caliphs are connected to this martyrdom. Hence, Allamah Balazari, a renowned Ahlul Sunnat scholar writes in Tarikh Balazari after the letter of Yazid, which he wrote to Abdullah bin Umar:
“Thus, it is said that Husain (as) was martyred on the day of Saqifah.”
These were the facts. Even if we accept the two evidences of the Rizwan editor against this, then also it is nothing but a veil of deceit so that those who hear it fall prey to misunderstandings like the Rizwan editor. Let us now investigate the veracity of the points mentioned in this will. The first sentence of this will as quoted by the Rizwan editor is as follows:
“But as for Imam Husain (as)! You know his relation and nearness to the Holy Prophet (S). He is a part of the Prophet (S).”
The question is whether Muawiyah himself cared about the honor of the Prophet? And what devotion he had with him that he should have respected a part of his body and his relatives? How much respect he truly had of the Prophet is obvious from the following incident:
Matraf bin Mughaira bin Shayba narrates, “I went to Muawiyah along with my father. My father used to visit him often and upon returning speak about Muawiyah and his intelligence, and he used to be astonished at him. So much so that when he returned one night he did not even eat his dinner and I found him depressed. I waited for a while thinking that this depression was only because of something related to us. At last, I asked him, ‘Why do you look so aggrieved tonight?’ he replied, ‘Today I am coming from the worst infidel and the most vile person.’ I asked, ‘Who is that?’
My father replied, ‘Today, I told him in private: O Master of the faithful! You have reached an age when it would have been better if you had acted justly and nicely and looked at your brothers (i.e. Bani Hashim) with kindness and improved relations with them. By Allah! Today they have nothing, which you may fear and you shall always be praised due to this good deed and rewarded by Allah.’ Muawiyah said, ‘Alas! Alas! How can I hope for the endurance of remembrance? See, a man of the Teem tribe (i.e. Abu Bakr) became a ruler.
He acted justly and did what he should have done, till he finally died, and with him his memory also perished; just his name, Abu Bakr remains. Then a man from Adi tribe (i.e. Umar) became the ruler. He struggled for many years till he finally died and his memory also ended, except that just his name is mentioned as Umar. But see how the name of Ibn Abi Kabsha12 is called out five times a day: “I testify that Muhammad is the Messenger of God.” Now after this which deed of mine and name shall endure? By Allah, there is none except Him, except that they shall be buried (destroyed).’”13
The intrinsic condition of Muawiyah’s heart is clear from this hatred and jealously towards the Holy Prophet (S) and the way he addresses him by the insulting title, which the infidels of Quraish had reserved for him.
When he had such opinions about the Holy Prophet (S) there is no question of honoring his relatives. That is the reason he continued to wage battles against the Commander of the faithful, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (as) and continued to have him cursed from the pulpits; so much so that even some Bani Umayyah were compelled to say, ‘Now that Ali is dead, what is the use of cursing him? And you got the kingdom.’ However, he did not accept it and for ninety long years, preachers continued to recite curses on Amirul Momineen (as) in all the Islamic towns, every Friday.
Some persons of Bani Umayyah told Muawiyah, “Your desire (of becoming a caliph) is fulfilled. Now it would be better that you stop cursing him (i.e. Ali).” He replied, “No, by Allah, I will not stop till children grow old and adults become aged with this habit, and none who glorifies Ali remains.”14
Muawiyah’s son well knew how the elder brother of Imam Husain (as) was treated and martyred. Yazid was also aware about the treatment meted out to Imam Husain (as) outside Medina and in the Prophet’s mosque. The advice of Muawiyah in such circumstances that, ‘If you get control over him, recognize his rights. Remember his rank of nearness to the Prophet. Do not make him recompense for his actions’, it is just a veil of deceit for the common people. While Yazid himself knew how much his father honored the rights of Ahlul Bayt (as) and to what extent he remembered their rank of nearness to Prophet (S) is obvious from the description of Matraf bin Mughaira about how Muawiyah looked upon Bani Hashim. His notoriety had increased so much that his own companion Matraf bin Mughaira bin Shayba had to say, “What is left with Bani Hashim to be feared? Treat them well so that you be remembered as a nice person.” The effect of this advice on Muawiyah is obvious from his reply. The most interesting statement is: ‘Do not break off the relations I have strengthened with him during this time. Beware! Do not give him any kind of trouble’.
The relations Muawiyah maintained with Imam Husain (as) are already mentioned above. If surrounding him with naked swords and saying, ‘I am looking at an animal of sacrifice whose blood is flowing in his blood-vessels about to gush out’, denotes strengthening relations, words like ‘hatred’ etc. would become meaningless.
Lastly, I would like to object against the statement that:
‘I know that the people of Iraq would call him and would not help him.’
Can the Rizwan editor tell us whether Muawiyah had knowledge of the Unseen? How did he know that the people of Iraq would call him and would not help him? Does it not prove that Muawiyah had instructed his agents to call Imam Husain (as) to Iraq and betray him at the last moment and this is what they did. Some of those who led Yazid’s forces in Kerbala were the same who sent letters to Imam (as) from Kufa. Who later became thirsty for the blood of that same Husain (as) whom they had invited through letters. As for the sincere believers who sent letters to Imam Husain (as), they either joined the Imam in Kerbala or were arrested by Ibn Ziyad (l.a.).
The intrigue of Muawiyah is clear from this discourse that how he had organized the martyrdom of Imam (as). Now what effect this apparent will could have on a son who very well knew the real intention of his black-hearted father? All these issues are just deceitful talks so that spectators remain unaware of the real strategy while Yazid had full knowledge about it. Or else, we have to believe that Muawiyah’s followers faked this will after Imam Husain’s martyrdom. And gradually it became a part of history.
The condition of the will of Nasikhut Tawarikh is similar. Then how could the Rizwan editor say: ‘At least it proves that Muawiyah was not involved in the martyrdom of Husain (as)’?
No. At least it proves that Amir Muawiyah and the people who made him governor were surely involved in the martyrdom of Imam Husain (as) and other members of the Prophet’s (S) progeny.
Now you must have understood why Amir Muawiyah is held responsible for the martyrdom of the Imam?
I am surprised that the Rizwan editor claims to be a Sayyid, yet he supports and defends Muawiyah, who was the worst enemy of the Prophet (S) and the murderer of his progeny.
That is why the poet Anwari has beautifully composed the following verses:
“They are devoted to the son of Hind (Muawiyah) but they don’t know how much harm came from him and those three guys.
His father broke the teeth of the Prophet and his mother chewed the liver of the uncle of the Prophet.
He usurped the rights of the son-in-law of the Prophet and his son beheaded the son of the Prophet.
Shouldn’t one curse and hate such people? Curse of Allah be on Yazid and the Progeny of Yazid.”
In his book, Muwaizul Muttaqeen Maulana Syed Muhammad Mahdi quotes from Lulu al-Bahrain an amusing incident of Allamah Hilli (a.r.). It is would not be unfit to present its translation here. He writes:
Allamah Hilli (a.r.) held a dialogue with the Ahlul Sunnat scholars in the court of King Muhammad Khuda Banda. When the debate was over and the rightfulness of the religion of twelve Imams became as clear as daylight, Allamah delivered an eloquent sermon containing praise of God and salutations on the Prophet (S) and the infallible Imams (as). When
Syed Mosuli (a Sunni scholar who had suffered defeat in the debate) heard this, he asked, “What is the proof in support of sending salutations on persons other than the prophets?” Without disturbing his sermon, Allamah replied by reciting the verse:
“Who, when a misfortune befalls them, say: Surely we are Allah's and to Him we shall surely return. Those are they on whom are blessings and mercy from their Lord…”15
Allamah wanted to convey that as innumerable calamities befell Ahlul Bayt (as) and they remained patient only for the sake of God, that is why they are worthy of salutations. On hearing this, Syed Mosuli said obstinately, “Which calamity befell the progeny of the Prophet in which they remained patient and became worthy of salutation?” Allamah (who was a Shaykh) gave an apt reply, “What can be a greater calamity that in their generations is born a person like you who prefers accursed hypocrites and ignorant ones to his venerable ancestors.” The audience burst into laughter at this and all became very surprised and pleased to hear this reply.
Thus the saying has become famous that: ‘A Syed can never be a Sunni’.16
- 1. Page 421-422
- 2. Pg. 17 and 18
- 3. Persian Couplet
- 4. Persian Couplet
- 5. Persian Couplet
- 6. Muruz az-Zahab on the margins of Tarikh Kamil, Vol. 3, Pg. 89, Printed at Egypt. Fazaile Bahira Fee Mahasin, Cairo, Egypt, and Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadid, Part 3, Pg. 162, Iran.
- 7. History, Balazari Pg. 462
- 8. Arabic Couplet
- 9. Tadhkirah-e-Khwaasul Ummah, Account of Imam Husain (a.s.)
- 10. A title of Muawiyah meaning, ‘Uncle of the believers’
- 11. Vol. 3, Pg. 28-31
- 12. A derogatory title given by the Quraish infidels to the Messenger of Allah (S)
- 13. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadid Mutazali, Part 5
- 14. Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Ibn Abil Hadid Mutazali,
- 15. Surah Baqarah 2:156-157
- 16. Persian Couplet