Muawiyah’s Reign

By Muawiyah’s coming to power, the pre-Islamic idol ruling force replaced the democratic rule of Islam. Vices, indecency, and violation of good manners found place to expand in Islamic nation with the consent of these individuals from Umayyad.1

Muawiyah had inherited enmity against the Holy Prophet (S) from his father who was the bitterest enemy of Islam, and from his mother Hind who, out of her malice against Islam, had eaten the liver of Hamzah during the Battle of Uhud. Furthermore, the son exceeded his parents in malice; he could not hide his real feelings especially because announcement of name of the Holy Prophet (a) during the azan - five-time per day declaration of prayer - was annoying him.2

In consequence, he hated the Prophet’s Household and offsprings in the extreme. He therefore issued the most malicious decision to conceal their virtues and merits.

Muhammad ibn Idris al-Shafii; the founder of the Shafiite Islamic school of law, answered those who asked him to say his opinion about Imam Ali Amir al-Muminin:

“What can we say about a person whose partisans have had to hide his merits because of fear, and enemies have hidden his merits out of envy? But between these two, his merits that have become widely known are too numerous to be counted.”3

During the reign of Muawiyah, the partisans of Imam Ali and the Ahl al-Bayt had to suffer various sorts of persecution. For instance, the criminal Bisr ibn Artaah killed and burnt more than thirty thousand individuals. Samarah ibn Jundab killed eight thousand individuals from Basra, and Ziyad ibn Abih, who exceeded everyone else in criminality, cut the limbs of the Imam’s partisans.

Even the women who showed loyalty to Imam Ali (a) and the Ahl al-Bayt were not spared of the inhuman procedures of Muawiyah’s criminal authorities. Furthermore, Muawiyah gave the orders to destroy the houses of the Imam’s partisans and leave them homeless. He also deprived them of their shares from the public treasure4 and refused their testimonies in the official courts. Eventually, Muawiyah exiled more than fifty thousand of them to Khurasan, northeast of Persia.

By the way, those exiles propagandized Shiism in that province whose people, later on, changed into a strong front of opposition against the Umayyad ruling until they under the leadership of Abu Muslim al-Khurasani, were able to overthrow their oppressive state.

Assassination of Imam al-Hasan

Anyhow, the gravest crime of Muawiyah was assassination of Imam al-Hasan (a) after he had pledged, through a famous truce with the Imam, to hand the position of leadership to the Imam. Thus, he could establish an Umayyad royal state.

As he looked in the long list of the criminals who could do this mission so completely, he could not find anyone more qualified than Jadah daughter of al-Ashath, even though she was the Imam’s wife. This lady was brought up on betrayal and perfidy.

Muawiyah sent a lethal poison to Marwan ibn al-Hakam and asked him to seduce Jadah to poison her husband under promise of marriage to Yazid, Muawiyah’s son.

Due to her nature, Jadah did not hesitate; she poisoned the Imam’s food.

The Imam (a) began to suffer the pains of poison and vomit pieces of blood in a washtub. When Lady Zaynab visited him, he ordered to take away that washtub so that she would not see that hurting view. Yet, she became very sad as she realized that her brother would depart from her forever very soon.

The Imam (a) then advised his brothers and companions to adhere to the nobilities of character, good deeds, and fear of Allah. While he was reciting Verses of the Holy Quran, his soul exalted to the Heavens to join the endless world there.

Imam al-Husayn (a) undertook his brother’s funeral ceremonies and intended to bury him next to his grandfather, Prophet Muhammad (S). But Aishah, owing to incitement of the Umayyads, rode a mule and shouted, “Do not take to my house those whom I do not like,” and created a big seditious matter due to which the blood of huge numbers of Muslims was about to be shed. Evading such a matter, Imam al-Husayn (a) had to change his mind and bury his brother in another place.

Assigning Yazid as the coming caliph

Muawiyah sealed his criminal reign with imposing his son, Yazid, as his successor. Like his father and grandfather, Yazid was known of his hypocrisy, treachery, and enmity against Islam. He, publicly, slighted all human values and principles. He used to drink wine in every moment of his life and some historians have specified dipsomania as cause of his death. He was also fond of breeding animals, especially monkeys.

In summary, Yazid represented all vices and offenses that had nothing to do with Islam or leadership of the Islamic ummah.

  • 1. See Sayyid Amir Ali’s Ruh al-Islam; 296
  • 2. See Ibn Abil-Hadid’s Sharh(u) Nahj al-Balaghah; 2:297, and 10:101.
  • 3. See al-Muhaddith al-Qummi’s al-Anwar al-Bahiyyah.
  • 4. See Ibn Abil-Hadid’s Sharh(u) Nahj al-Balaghah; 11:44.