Table of Contents

Migration from Kufa

After the people took steps to kill the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger (S), some righteous persons and pious men did not like to continue staying in Kufa. Of them was Abdur Rahman Quzai who left Kufa and settled down in Basra. He said: “I shall not stay in the city where the son of the daughter of the Messenger of Allah (S) was killed.”

The carnage of Karbala created a roaring wave of anxiety and frenzy in all the gatherings of Kufa and the people realized the immensity of the crime that had been committed.1

Here comes to an end our discussion regarding the arrival of the prisoners from Ahlul Bayt to Kufa and the events of that period.

Prisoners from the Family of the Prophet in Damascus

Ladies of the Prophet’s family and the honorable women of the revelation recipients bore hardships and calamities during the dark days they spent in Kufa; because they had to taste the bitterness of their imprisonment, taunts of enemies and the humiliation of being held hostages in a town that was the native place of their Shias and the center of their mission. They because so much aggrieved that its intensity burns the hearts...

Let us now study the sad events that occurred during their dispatch to Damascus and the hardships that they had to experience en route.

Departure of the Heads

Ibn Marjana ordered that the heads of the Purified Progeny be dispatched to Damascus that they may be displayed to the people of Syria like they had been exhibited to the people of Kufa so that the hearts of people become full of the fear of Bani Umayyah and may serve as a lesson to anyone contemplating to undertake an uprising. The heads were sent with Zajar bin Qais Jofi, Abu Burdah bin Auf Azadi and Tariq bin Zibyan Azadi.

Departure of the Prophet’s Family

The family of the Progeny of Prophet (S) was sent under the charge of Mahfar bin Thalaba a relative of Quraish and Shimr bin Zil Jaushan in such a way that the prisoners were tied with ropes and mounted on humps of camel as a result of which their bodies were trembling.

Abdul Basit Fakhuri says: “Then Ubaidullah readied to send the head, Ali bin al- Husayn (‘a) and the family with him, in such a way that its memory makes them shiver at its cruelty.”2

People of Kufa see off the Prisoners

People of all classes of Kufa came out to see off the caravan of Ahlul Bayt, crying and lamenting aloud. Roads of Kufa city were crowded with people who had wept all night long. Due to the crowding it was not possible for the caravan to move forward. Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) was astonished at them and he said, “They have killed us and crying on us!”3

Ladies of the Hamadan tribe began to weep and wail and the sound of their lamentations arose in the atmosphere.4

Shimr bin Zil Jaushan ordered that Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) be hauled by chain with the iron collar and this was done.5 After him they moved the prisoners forward till they joined with the caravan carrying the heads. Throughout the journey, Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) did not speak a word to those wicked people and did not ask them for anything.6

In this way the caravan continued on its route without being distracted by anything else till it approached Damascus and the city became visible. They saw that the city had been decorated with signs of pride and joyfulness.

Celebrations of Syria

The Damascus regime issued orders that all the government and non-government and all the public and private buildings be decorated to celebrate the victories they had achieved in killing the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) and taking the Progeny of His Eminence as hostages.

One of the historians has described the festivities as follows: When they (that is hostages from Ahlul Bayt), came four farsang distance from Damascus, the people of Syria, while distributing coins and sugar plums, welcomed them joyfully to reach them near Damascus. They kept them under observation for three days after their arrival. They were confined to that place so that the decorations of Syria are complete. They decked it with gold, ornaments, silk, brocade, silver and gemstones in such a way that none had seen such resplendent preparation either before or after it. After that men and women, young and old, ministers and officers, Jews, Zoroastrians, Christians and other communities came out to watch the spectacle while drums and other musical instruments played. They had put kohl to their eyes and applied henna to their palms, attired in the best clothes and embellished themselves in the best way...Greater festivities and celebrations were not seen. So much so that it seemed as if all the people residing in Damascus had come out to celebrate.”7

That community which was raised on the enmity of Ahlul Bayt expressed in various ways its joy at the killing and captivity of the family of the Prophets (‘a). The honorable head was brought in the circles of people chanting the slogans of “God is Great” and “There is no god, except Allah” for the victory that the grandson of Abu Sufyan had achieved. Khalid bin Safwan or Ghufran who was present in Damascus when the head of the Imam was brought expressed his grief and lamentation and sought refuge from the people lest the spies of Bani Umayyah may apprehend him, while he recited:

“Your head O son of the daughter of Muhammad, they brought smeared in its own blood.

As if by killing you O son of the daughter of Muhammad they have openly and intentionally killed prophethood.

They killed you while you were thirsty and in killing you they did not have any regard for the meaning and interpretation of Quran.

Now that you are killed they chant, God is the Greatest while in killing you they have destroyed the slogans of ‘God is Great’ and ‘There is no god, except Allah.’”8

Sahl bin Saad says: I was on the way to Baitul Maqdas when I reached the capital of Syria and found it to be a city of flowing rivers and numerous trees with curtains and silks hanging from them. And people were in a festive mood, women played drums and tambourine etc. So I said to myself: The people of Syria must be having some festival of which we were ignorant. I saw some people talking among themselves. I asked them: “Do you have a festival in Syria about which we have no knowledge?”

“Yes respected sir! You seem to be a foreigner.”

“I am Sahl bin Saad and I have seen the Messenger of Allah (S).”

“O Sahl! Is it not strange for you that blood doesn’t rain from the sky and the earth does not swallow its inhabitants?”

“What happened?”

“It is the head of Husayn which has arrived from Iraq as a gift!”

“Really? Husayn’s head is being sent as a gift and people are celebrating it? From which gate is it going to arrive?”

They pointed towards the Sa’at Gate. Sahl hurried towards it and while he stood he saw flags coming one after another and saw a rider holding a standard which was a spear point with the head of one most closely resembling the Messenger of Allah (S); that is the head of his beloved grandson, Husayn. Behind this followed the hostages on backs of camels without a saddles. Sahl rushed to one of the women and asked, “Who are you?”

“I am Sakina, daughter of Husayn.”

“Do you want anything? I am Sahl, a companion of your grandfather, the Messenger of Allah (S).”

“Tell the carrier of this head to ride in front of us so that people are occupied in looking at the head and they do not glance at the womenfolk of the Messenger of Allah (S). Sahl went to the head carrier, paid him 400 Dirhams and made him ride in the front away from the womenfolk.9

The Syrian with Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

There came an old man who approached the womenfolk and household of Husayn (‘a) when they all were in the same place. Then he said: Praise be to Allah Who killed and destroyed you and relieved the city from the existence of your men and imposed the order of Amirul Momineen on you!

Ali bin Husayn (‘a) told him: O old man! Have you read Quran? He replied: Yes.

Ali bin Husayn (‘a): Did you understand this verse. Say: I do not seek from you anything as wages except friendship with relatives?10

He replied: I have read this verse.

He said: We are ‘Zilqurba’ (the relatives of the Prophet). O old man! Have you read in Surah Bani Israel this verse: Observe the rights of Zilqurba?11

He replied: I have read it.

He (‘a) said: We are the ‘Qurba’ O Shaykh! Have you read this verse: And let it be known that whatever booty you may get from everything, then truly one-fifth of it is for Allah and Prophet and Zilqurba?12

He replied: Yes.

He said: We are the ‘qurba’ O Shaykh! Have your read this verse: Indeed Allah intended to remove impurity from you O Ahlul Bayt and to purify you in the best purification?13

He replied: I have read it.

He said: O Shaykh! We are the Ahlul Bayt whom Allah Almighty has identified through this verse.

The narrator says: The old man kept quiet. He was feeling ashamed for what he had said. Then he asked: Tell me, by Allah, are you the same?

Sajjad (‘a): By Allah. We are the same. I swear by the right of our grandfather and say that without any doubt we are the same.

The narrator says: The old man wept, threw his turban on the ground then raised his head towards sky and said: O Allah! I am fed up of the enemies of Aale Muhammad be they from jinn or from human beings. Then he submitted: Is there any scope of repentance for me?

He replied: Yes. If you repent, Allah will accept your Taubah and you will be with us.

He said: I repent.14

Yazid’s Delight

Yazid experienced immense joy and pleasure. When he received the news of the Imam’s martyrdom, he was in his garden of the Green Palace.15 He shouted “God is the Greatest.”16 When the captives arrived he was looking down from the heights of Jeeroon. He saw the hostages and also noticed the heads held on the tips of spears and this made him so elated that he began to sing:

“When that caravan became visible and those heads appeared on the heights of Jeeroon.

The crow called out, then I said: Say or not, I have got whatever I wanted from the Prophet.”17

The grandson of Abu Sufyan had quenched his revenge and got his vengeance from the son of the conqueror of Mecca and the breaker of the idols of Quraish, because he had killed the Purified Progeny and made their children hostages in order to take revenge from the Prophet (S).

The Imam’s head in the Presence of Yazid

Mahfir bin Thalab and Shimr bin Zil Jaushan brought the Imam’s head as a gift for the transgressor, Yazid bin Muawiyah, when they reached the Umayyad court. Mahfir raised his voice so that Yazid would hear it and said: “I have brought the head of the most foolish and degraded man.”

Yazid objected to him and replied, “The child that Mahfir’s mother gave birth to is more foolish and degraded but he was definitely an oppressive man.”18

Yazid gave open court to the people in order to make them aware that he has defeated the family of the Prophet (S). People crowded the palace and expressed their exceeding joy and congratulated Yazid for this false victory.19

The head of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) was placed before the offspring of betrayal and sinfulness and he hit at the lips of His Eminence with a cane that he was holding, where the Prophet (S) had often kissed. Then he said in a revengeful and ridiculing manner, “O Husayn! Did you see the result of your oppression?”20

Then he glanced at his companions and said, “I did not think that Aba Abdillah would be so aged that his hair and beard require dye.”21 After that he looked closely at the Imam’s face while the awe of His Eminence had seized him. He said, “I have never seen a more elegant face.”22

Then he continued to hit at the mouth of the Holy Imam while singing the following poem of Haseen bin Hamam:

“My people did not want that I should be given justice; so the blood-thirsty swords we held brought justice to us.

We will split the skull of proud men who come against us; they were very disobedient and oppressive.”

He had not ended his sentence when Abu Barza Aslami objected and said to him: “Do you whip the mouth of Husayn? You are whipping the mouth I have seen the Holy Prophet kiss. But you, O Yazid! You shall come on the Day of Resurrection and Ibn Ziyad will be your intercessor and he (Husayn) will come and Muhammad (S) shall be his intercessor.”

Then he arose and went away from there.23 Yahya bin Hakam was deeply moved and he began to recite:

“On the bank (of the river) a great army met him who is closer in kinship (to Yazid) than Ibn Ziyad (is), the man with a false lineage.

The offspring of Sumaiyyah has acquired status, while the offspring of the daughter of the Apostle of God is (given) none.”24

Yazid struck his hand against the chest of Yahya bin Hakam and shouted, “Be quiet!” Had your mother not given birth to you!”25

Every sensible being was affected by the painful calamities that the tyrant had caused to Ahlul Bayt.

Imam’s head taken to the Mosque

After the tyrant had finished his wicked occupation with the head of the Chief of the youths of Paradise he sent it to be placed in the Mosque where the head of Prophet Yahya bin Zakaria was placed.26 It was hung there for three days.27

Imam’s head in the Presence of Yazid’s womenfolk

The tyrant Yazid sent the head of the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger to his womenfolk in order to impress his awe and pride upon them. Atika took it and applied perfume to it. Yazid took exception to it and asked, “What are you doing?”

“You sent my uncle’s head smeared with dust,” she replied, “I gathered it and applied perfume to it.”28

Hostages in Yazid’s Court

Yazid, the oppressor was extremely overjoyed upon seeing the prisoners from Ahlul Bayt and in order to humiliate them as much as possible he had them lodged in the Mosque at the place where prisoners were held.29 His guards tied up the womenfolk and children of the Prophets’ family with ropes like goats are tethered. A rope stretched from the neck of his aunt, Zainab (‘a) and other daughters of Allah’s Messenger (S). According to historians when they wanted to stop them on the way they used to whip them. They were brought in a manner that mountains could shatter by its horror. They brought them chanting the words of ‘God is the greatest’ and ‘There is no god except Allah’ and they were displayed before Yazid.

Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) glanced at Yazid and said, “What do you think will be the reaction of our grandfather, Allah’s Messenger (S) if he sees us in this condition?”

Yazid was moved and none in the assembly remained but wept.30 The tyrant was affected by what he saw and he said, “May God detest Ibn Marjana. If there had been any bond of kinship between him and you, he would not have done this to you, he would not have sent you in this state.”31

Then he ordered that the ropes be removed and looking at Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) he said: “Son of al-Husayn, your father cut (the bond of) kinship with me and showed ignorance of my rights, tried to deprive me of my position of authority. Now God has treated him in the way you have seen.”

The lion child of Husayn (‘a) recited the words of God with absolute confidence and tranquility:

No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence; surely that is easy to Allah: So that you may not grieve for what has escaped you, nor be exultant at what He has given you; and Allah does not love any arrogant boaster.32

The tyrant got infuriated by this and his joy was destroyed. At that moment he recited the following verse of Quran:

And whatever affliction befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought, and (yet) He pardons most (of your faults).”33

“It is about those who have committed oppression,” the Imam said, “and not regarding those who are oppressed.”34

After that the Imam turned away his face from him and did not speak to him35 in order to consider him worthless and lowly.

Sermon of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a)

The oppressor, Yazid expressed his delight at the destruction of the Purified Progeny; because he thought that now his power was unchallenged and that the circumstances were as he desired. So he rocked his legs happily and wished that those of his family killed in the battle of Badr were present there so that he could show them how he has revenged their deaths from His Eminence, the Holy Prophet (S) regarding his Progeny and descendants. At that moment he recited the verses of Ibn Zabari in an intoxicated manner and said:

“Alas for my forefathers who were killed in Badr, who had heard the wailing of Khazraj due to the pain of spear wounds. So now you rise up and glance and say: O Yazid! May your hand not be paralyzed. We killed their heads and chiefs and took that revenge of Badr. Hashemites played with the kingdom because neither any (divine) news had come nor was there any revelation. I may not be considered as belonging to Khunduf if I do not take the revenge from the sons of Ahmad for what they did.”36

When the valiant lady of Karbala heard these verses that denoted his infidelity and joy at the killing of the Progeny of Prophet (S) in revenge of those killed in Battle of Badr, she stood up and chastised him, demolishing his arrogance without being in any way mindful of his tyranny and wickedness.

She did not allow herself to be fearful or frightened and rather she was a model of valor and it was as if that victorious ruler and that tyrant was himself defeated. Her Eminence said:

“Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds and blessings on Muhammad and on all the members of his family. Allah told the truth that: The end of those who did bad deeds is bad because they denied the verses of Allah and mocked them.37

O Yazid! Do you think that it is a matter of pride for you that you captured us between the earth and the sky and made us driven like slave maids and that it is a disgrace to us! Does all this make you rejoice as you have prepared the world for yourself? You imagine that everything has been arranged properly for you and that the kingdom and the country is now in your favor. Take respite for a while. But you have forgotten the Word of Allah Who said: Those who have become deniers should not imagine and those to whom We have given a respite must not think that this respite is good for them. We verily have given them a respite who go on sinning. For them will be a disgraceful chastisement.38

Is this just, O son of the liberated, that your wives and slave girls may live behind curtain and the daughters of the Prophet of Allah be captives? You tore their veils, revealed their faces, and drove them from town to town like enemies! You degraded them in the sight of common people. You made people look at them while their guardians and helpers were not with them.

What kind of hope can be entertained from the son of the one who chewed the liver of pious persons and whose flesh was nourished by the blood of martyrs?

How much harshness, due to enmity towards us, Ahlul Bayt, displays the one who looks at us only with vengeance? And then, without realizing, you utter such sinful words: (your elders) rise and dance and tell you: O Yazid! May your hand not be paralyzed whereas you whip on the teeth of the ancestors of Abi Abdullah (‘a).

Why should you not say so, when you peeled the skin off wounds and by shedding the blood of the progeny of Muhammad (S), who were the shining stars on the earth, made them join their ancestors and now you are remembering your ancestors and, in your imagination, calling them.

O Yazid! Very soon you will join them and on that Day, you will wish (and say): Alas, would that I had been paralyzed and would not have uttered what I uttered and should not have done what I did.

O Allah! Restore our rights and take revenge from those who oppressed us and send Your wrath on those who shed our blood and killed our supporters.

(O Yazid!) By Allah, you have skinned none but yourself and have cut only your own flesh. No doubt, you will be brought before the Prophet of Allah (S) having shed the blood of his progeny and tore the curtain of the honor of their progeny and that will be the time and place when Allah will gather them and remove their anxieties and restore their rights. Do not think those killed in the path of Allah are dead. They are but alive, getting provision near their Lord.39

O Yazid! It is sufficient for you that Allah is the Judge and Muhammad (S) is your enemy and avenger of blood, with Jibraeel as his supporter. Very soon you will know who deceived you and who imposed you on the heads of Muslims. How bad is the selection of succession, how bad the occupation of house and how small the possession of power.

O Yazid! Though I have suffered many calamities from you, I consider you valueless and your tragedy great and so also your blame big. What to do, the eyes are tearful and the souls burning.

Wonder, O wonder! Killing of the party of Allah by the hands of the party of Satan is (rare). Our blood is dripping from your dirty hands. Your unclean mouths are devouring our flesh. Those Holy and pious bodies are facing the attacks of rapacious wolves. Pigeons are removing their marks. If you have caught us as war booty then very soon it will prove to be a fine instead of booty. On that day, you will not get anything except what your hands sent forth and Your Lord is not cruel to His servants and all complaints are before Allah.

Carry out whatever fraud or betrayal and effort is in your mind. By Allah, you will never be able to erase our name and remove the Revelation because you did not perceive during our time. This shameful blot will not be removed from you. Is it not the truth that your opinion is wrong and your lifespan limited and short and your group will get scattered? Yes, it will be so on the day when it will be proclaimed: Now, the curse is upon the unjust.

So, all praise be for Allah Who destined salvation and bliss for our first and martyrdom and mercy for our last.

We appeal to Allah so that He may complete their reward and multiply its causes and restore the caliphate duly to us as He is Kind and Merciful. Allah is sufficient for us. He is the best of the executors!”40

This is the most outstanding sermon to be quoted in the books of Islam. It completed the immortal message of Husayn; because the granddaughter of the Prophet (S) through her discourse destroyed the tyranny of that oppressor and put him to shame and defeat. She made him realize that the callers for truth never submit before the leaders of transgression and oppression.

Imam Kashful Ghita says: “Can any pen describe in a better way the condition of Yazid and his conceit, arrogance and delight that he obtained through victory and vengeance? Does anyone have the possibility and capacity to vanquish the enemy through logical arguments and condemn him in such eloquent words as Her Eminence (‘a) had done? That too when she knew that he would not rest content with what he had done so far and try to further humiliate her and those who were with her. Without being awed by his power and tyranny she exposed and disgraced him and made clear for all his wickedness and lowliness of character and origin.”41

The late Fakiki says: “Along with me ponder upon this fiery sermon that what arts of eloquence and power of speech it has and depths in meanings. And it has the power of stimulation and argumentation and proofs that are irrefutable; because it is defense with clarity in the path of nobility, truth and belief, to reach the depths of the heart, sharpen than swords and more pointed than spears in the hearts of human beings than the weapons of war. It was more difficult for Yazid to hear this argument than to stand on the mouth of the python and to climb on the point of a spear that the daughter of nobility and honor said before the devils of Bani Umayyah and spoke of their disgrace in their own palace and in their own gathering.

Apart from this, this historical effective sermon speaks about the immortal valor and incomparable daring that the perceptive and powerful way of speech which included lofty examples and great morals. This literary work will continue to live in all times and in the coming generations and it is a remembrance of the terrible and sad tragedy of Karbala. The lamentations of the women shall remain forever in front of the oppressive transgressors.42

Main Points of the Discourse of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a)

This great discourse was the continuation of the revolution of Karbala and in an outstanding manner it displayed their lofty values and elevated aims; because it included the following points:

First: It spoke of the pride and arrogance of that tyrant because he thought that since he possessed a huge army that could fill up the deserts and lands he had obtained a great victory but that victory was temporary. Due to his foolishness he thought that he had achieved success because of his position near the Almighty Allah and the degraded position of Ahlul Bayt. But he did not know that the Almighty gives bounties to disbelievers in this world so that their sins may increase and they be given the worst chastisement in the Hereafter.

Secondly: The discourse condemned Yazid in the severest tone for having imprisoned the honorable ladies of Ahlul Bayt; because he did not respect their relationship to the Messenger of Allah (S) in spite of the fact that on the day of the conquest of Mecca, His Eminence gave amnesty to the forefathers of Yazid as a result of which his father and grandfather were freed. He did not thank this kindness of the Prophet (S) and recompensed him in the worst possible manner.

Thirdly: What the oppressor had committed, that is the shedding of blood of the Purified Progeny, was a result of his inherited nature; because his grandmother, Hind was such that she chewed the liver of His Eminence, Hamzah, the chief of the martyrs. His grandfather, Abu Sufyan was the first enemy of Islam. His father, Muawiyah, shed the blood of Muslims and defiled all the religious sanctities. On the basis of this, committing sins had become a part of his nature.

Fourthly: Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) criticized Yazid’s recital of poem wherein he expressed the wish that his elders were present to see how he had taken revenge on their behalf from the Prophet (S) by killing his son. She also stated that Yazid would also enter the place they have entered and he shall also remain forever in the fire of Hell.

Fifthly: That tyrant by shedding the blood of the Purified Progeny did not only shed his own blood and did not only cut his skin; because those pure souls achieved immortality and honor and reached the zenith of nobility. While here was Yazid who got himself destined for disgrace and loss.

Sixthly: Her Eminence has pointed out to all those who were instrumental in creating conditions favorable for imposing Yazid as the ruler of Muslims. She says that all of them were fully responsible for all the misdeeds Yazid committed. The aim of Her Eminence is having far reaching meaning that anyone who ponders upon it will understand.

Seventhly: Her Eminence, pointed out to her lofty status and she spoke to him as a ruler or king would have. She considered him worthless and regarded him to be of little value. In a magnanimous way she refrained from speaking to him and she considered it below her dignity to address him directly and she was not worried of his power...despite her exhaustion and pain that she had received as a result of those calamites she proved that her strength was more than his and her valor was much more than his.

Eighthly: Her Eminence stated that although Yazid may try his best to wipe out the remembrance of Ahlul Bayt (‘a) he shall not succeed; because they have a place in the hearts of Muslims and their feelings and they are on truth and truth is bound to be victorious. His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) was also practically successful and the tragedy of His Eminence was changed into a glory no man has been able to achieve. Thus which success is more deserving of immortality and more worthy of perpetuity than the success that Imam (‘a) achieved?

These are some of the numerous points that were mentioned in the sermon; a sermon which is a sign of eloquence and articulation and a miracle of expressiveness and a mortal blow that fell upon the Bani Umayyah regime.

Yazid’s Reply

The sermon of the noble lady fell like a thunderbolt on Yazid; because his vanity was destroyed and his ego was shattered. He was too bewildered to say anything in reply except repeat the lines of a poet:

“O lamentor whose lamentation is better than the lamentation of women! How easy is mourning for the mourners!”43

There was no kind of relationship between the great sermon that Her Eminence delivered describing the reality of Yazid and showing him to be away from all human values, and the poetry that he had quoted; it purported to announce that lamentation was better than the one who was lamenting and mourning is easy for the mourners. No sort of connection is apparent between the two.

Reaction to the Sermon of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a)

The sermon of that noble lady created a roaring wave in the gathering of Yazid and all those who were present there were moved and it increased their sorrow; because it removed all their doubts and all the preparations that Muawiyah had done for establishing his kingdom were destroyed. Yazid began to find ways and means to justify his crime and said to the people of Syria: “Do you know from where the son of Fatima has come? And what impelled him to do this and what caused him to be involved in this?”

“No, we don’t know.”

“He claimed that his father was better than my father and his mother, Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Messenger was better than my mother and also that he was better than me and more deserving of caliphate. As for his saying that his father was better than my father; my father left for Allah to decide and everyone know in whose favor the decision was.

And as for his saying that his mother is better than my mother, by my life, Fatima, the daughter of Allah’s Messenger (S) is better than my mother.

And as for his saying that his grandfather was better than my grandfather; by my life there is none who believes in Allah the Day of Resurrection that could believe in equality of Messenger of Allah (S) and us, but he (Husayn a.s.) due to lack of knowledge committed this deed and he did not read the words of Almighty Allah:

“Say: O Allah, Master of the Kingdom! Thou givest the kingdom to whomsoever Thou pleasest and takest away the kingdom from whomsoever Thou pleasest, and Thou exaltest whom Thou pleasest and abasest whom Thou pleasest; in Thine hand is the good; surely, Thou hast power over all things,44and Allah grants His kingdom to whom He pleases4546

That tyrant thought that the criterion of excellence before Allah was temporal power and in this way he claimed his superiority over Imam. He claimed while he did not know that achieving temporal power is of no value near Almighty Allah; because He gives it to the righteous as well as the sinful.

Sermon of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a)

Yazid’s assembly was full of people. He had told a speaker to go upon the pulpit and extol the virtues of Bani Umayyah and speak ill of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a)!

The speaker mounted the pulpit and praised and exaggerated the merits of Yazid. Then he spoke unfavorably about His Eminence, Amirul Momineen (‘a) and his son, His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) and obtained Yazid’s reward.

Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) stood up and condemned him, “Woe be on you, O speaker! You purchased the pleasure of the creature through wrath of the Creator. Then look at your place in the fire...”

Then he turned to Yazid and said: “Do you permit me to mount the pulpit and say a few words, for the pleasure of Almighty and benefit for the audience?”

The audience was shocked and astounded at this ailing youth who had challenged the speaker and the ruler and replied to them. Yazid rejected his request but the audience urged him to give the permission. This is considered as the beginning of enlightening the minds of the people of Syria.

“If he goes on the pulpit”, Yazid told them, “He will not come down before he disgraces me and the family of Abu Sufyan.”

They told him: “What could be the level of knowledge of this ailing boy?” They did not recognize him and thought that he did not know anything but that tyrant was fully aware of his capabilities, therefore he said: “He is from the family that is nurtured on knowledge.”

The audience urged him and at last he relented to their desire and allowed the Imam to speak. Imam ascended the pulpit and praised and glorified the Almighty.

Historians say: He delivered a great sermon that caused the eyes to weep and distressed the hearts. He said as follows:

“O people! We were given six virtues and exalted with seven excellences: Knowledge, forbearance, generosity, eloquence, valor and love in the hearts of believers and we were given superiority by the fact that the Chosen Prophet, Muhammad is from us. And the truthful one is from us. And the winged one is from us. And from us is the lion of God and the lion of the Prophet. And from us is the chief of the ladies of the world, Fatima, the pure one. And from us are the two best grandsons of this nation and the two chiefs of the youths of Paradise.

Those who know me, know me. Those who don’t shall be informed of my family and lineage. I am the son of Mecca and Mina. I am the son of Zamzam and Safa. I am the offspring of one who carried Zakat in a corner of his cloak. I am the child of the best of those who donned the cloak and mantle. I am the son of the best of those who sometimes put on shoes and sometimes walked barefoot. I am the offspring of the best of those who performed the circumambulation of Kaaba or did the Sayy. I am the son of the best of those who went for Hajj and recited ‘Labbaik’. I am the child of one who was carried in space on the back of Burraq. I am the child of one who during the night was carried from the Masjid al-Haraam to Masjid al-Aqsa. Thus Pure is the One Who took him during the night. I am the offspring of one who Jibraeel took upto the Farthest Lote Tree (Sidratul Muntaha). I am the child of one who was at a distance of two bows or lesser. I am the son of the person who led the angels of the sky in prayers. I am the child of one to whom Allah revealed what He revealed. I am the son of Muhammad Mustafa. I am the son of Ali Murtuza. I am the son who hit the nose of creatures so that they may say: There is no god except Allah. I am the son of the man who did Jihad in service of the Prophet with two swords, striked with two spears, undertook two migrations, pledged two oaths of allegiance, recited prayer facing two prayer directions (Qibla), fought in the battles of Badr and Hunain and did not deny Allah for the fraction of a second. I am the son of righteous believers, the inheritor of the Prophets, the destroyer of apostates, leader of Muslims, effulgence of religious warriors, ornament of worshippers, crown of those who weep, the most patient of the patient ones, the best of those who established prayers, from the family of Yasin and the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds. I am the offspring of whom Jibraeel supported and Mikaeel helped. I am the child of the defender of the honor of Muslims and the slayer of Nakiseen, Qasiteen and Mariqeen.47 And the one who performed Jihad against the malicious enemies, the most dignified of those who walked among the Quraish and the first believer who responded to the call of Allah, the senior most of the preceders, punisher of criminals and liquidator of polytheists and an arrow of God on the hypocrites. The tongue of wisdom of the worshippers, the helper of religion of Allah and the master of affair of God, the guardian of divine wisdom, and treasure of knowledge of God was bestowed to him. Generous, elegant and pure, by whom the people of valleys of Mecca were pleased and delighted.

The bold warrior, the patient keeper of fast, the sincere worshipper of the night, the valiant one, cutter of the waists, disperser of the groups, who was the most powerful of heart and most victorious than them. With a tongue more daring, most determined of all, possessing the most powerful determination, a brave lion and furious attacker. In the battles he used to hit upon them and dispersed and destroyed them like goats and sheep. Lion of Hijaz, possessor of miracle, leader of Iraq. Appointed Imam by right and religious texts, native of Mecca and Medina, a native of Bataha and Tahama, one of Kheef and Aqabah, one of Badr and Uhad, who was present in the pledge of the tree, a migrant, among the Arabs, their master, lion-like in battles, heir of two signs, father of two grandsons, Hasan and Husayn, displayer of miracles and disperser of armies. A shining star, effulgence personified. The victorious lion of God, aim of every wish-seeker, dominant on every victor, he is that same one who is our grandfather, Ali bin Abi Talib.

I am the son of Fatima Zahra. I am the son of the leader of women. I am the son of that pure and chaste lady. I am the son of the beloved one of the Prophet (S).48 I am the child of one who was smeared in blood. I am the offspring of one who was beheaded at Karbala. I am the son of such a one whom the Jinns lament in darkness and the birds in the atmosphere mourn.”49

He, in this way continued to say, ‘I am’, ‘I am’ till the people began to weep and lament and Yazid feared the oncoming mischief and unfavorable circumstances because the Imam’s sermon created an intellectual revolution in the assembly of that oppressor. Yazid told the Muezzin to recite the call for prayer and interrupt the Imam’s discourse. Thus the caller called: “Allah is the Greatest!”

The Imam said: You have remembered with respect a greatness that cannot be compared and that cannot be comprehended by the senses. Nothing is greater than the Almighty. When the Muezzin recited: “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah.”

His Eminence, Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) said: “My hair, skin, flesh, blood, brain and bones testify to this.”

When the Muezzin called: “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.”

His Eminence, Ali bin al-Husayn (‘a) looked at Yazid and asked: “O Yazid! Is this Muhammad my grandfather or yours? If you claim he is yours you would have lied and if you say he is our grandfather, why have you murdered his Progeny?”50

Yazid was speechless and he could not say anything in reply. The people of Syria became aware that they were immersed in ignorance and deviation and the Umayyad regime had tried to take them to misguidance and damnation.

In his sermon, the Imam only dwelled on the introduction of his self and his family and did not mention anything else. This was the most outstanding, subtle and profound point of emphasis; because the society of Syria did not know anything about Ahlul Bayt and the regime had concealed everything concerning them and nurtured the people on loyalty to Bani Umayyah and malice towards Ahlul Bayt.

Reaction of the Sermon of Imam Sajjad (‘a)

The sermon of Imam (‘a) had a profound effect on the gathering of Syrian people. They glanced at each other and secretly spoke about their failures and crimes. So much so, that their relationship with Yazid changed.51 They began to view him as a profligate and a degraded man.

The Syrian and Fatima

A Syrian glanced at Her Eminence, Fatima, daughter of Imam Amirul Momineen (‘a)52 or daughter of Imam Husayn (‘a)53 and said to Yazid, “Give me this girl so that she be my slave.”

The girl says: When we sat before Yazid, he showed pity on us. An Ahmar of the Syrians stood up and said to Yazid: “Commander of the faithful, give me this one.”

He meant me. (Then) I was a pretty young girl. I shuddered for I thought that that would be allowed to them. I caught hold of the skirt of my aunt Zainab and she told (me) that that would not happen. She said to the Syrian: By God, you are a liar. By God, you are too lowly born! Such a thing is not for you nor for him to decide.

“You are a liar,” Yazid cried out angrily. “That is for me to decide. If I wish to do anything, I can do it.”

“No, by God, she replied, God would only let you do that if you left our faith and professed belief in another religion.”

By these statements, Her Eminence, Zainab removed the curtain with which Yazid had covered himself and presented the excuse that he killed Husayn and his Ahlul Bayt because they had become apostate and had rebelled against the Imam of the time. That tyrant could not say anything in reply while he was immersed in fury and malice.

“It is me,” screamed Yazid, distraught with anger, “whom you are treating in this (way). It is your father who has left the religion, and your brother

“I am led by the religion of God, the religion of my father and the religion of my brother,” she answered, “and it is what you are led by, and your grandfather and your father, if you are a Muslim.”

“Enemy of God, you lie,” he shouted.

“You are a Commander of the faithful, yet you vilify unjustly and you have become oppressive with your authority,” she answered.

(At this) he was ashamed and became silent. “Give me that girl,” repeated the Syrian. “Be a bachelor,” Yazid said to him, “May God strike you dead!”54

In those terrible calamities Her Eminence, Zainab displayed her personal abilities and with a firm determination and awareness that she had inherited from her grandfather, His Eminence, the Prophet (S) she stood up to confront the enemies of Islam.

A writer says: “Her Eminence, Zainab despite her weakness and exhaustion achieved the first clear victory on the oppressor who was seated in his dominion and power; because again and again she compelled Yazid to become speechless, while at the same time she exposed to everyone his foolishness. In the same way she mentioned his lack of awareness about religious matters; Muslim ladies, under no circumstances could be subjected to captivity and they could never be dealt like prisoners of war.

It is very likely that the statement of Yazid to that Syrian was the beginning of condemnation for Yazid and the beginning for spread of awareness among the Syrians. Its sign is that the reply of Her Eminence, Zainab to Yazid was sufficient, because if he had fulfilled the demand of that Syrian he would have gone beyond the pale of Islam. The furious debate that ensued between Her Eminence and Yazid shows that the aim of the demand of that Syrian was to open the eyes of the people and ridicule Yazid in a subtle manner; especially since the demand was put forth immediately after the speech of Her Eminence, Zainab (‘a) and the discourse of Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) as both the sermons had spread awareness and a frenzied wave of fury was created in the assembly of Yazid.

Imam Sajjad (‘a) and Minhal

Minhal bin Umar met Imam Sajjad (‘a) and asked His Eminence: “Son of Allah’s Messenger (S) how are you?” “We are like Bani Israel in the hands of the people of Firon, who killed their sons and kept their women alive...The Arabs always took pride over non-Arabs, saying: Muhammad was from Arabia and the Quraish took pride over other Arab tribes telling them that Muhammad was from them. Yet, we, Ahlul Bayt of the Holy Prophet are shelterless, we are being tortured and killed. So, ‘we belong to Allah and to Him we shall return’ over whatever has befallen us.”55

The Holy Prophet (S) was the original source of honor for the Arab nation upon which it prides on itself; because His Eminence organized the life of the Arabs so that they may become the predominant nation over all other communities of the world. He established for them a kingdom which was the most powerful and strongest kingdom of the world. He was recompensed in such a way that the Quraish, that is those who used to pride over other Arabs since Muhammad was from them, killed his progeny, uprooted them completely and took their womenfolk as captives. Is this the reward for one who emancipated and freed them?

Mourning for His Eminence, Husayn (‘a)

Daughters of Allah’s Messenger (S) asked that tyrant to arrange for a house for them where they could mourn for the Chief of martyrs because grief had shattered their hearts and they were afraid of the guards to express their great sadness and deep sorrow that had scorched their beings for the guards were vigilant in this regard and whenever they found anyone of Ahle Bait wailing or lamenting they used to restrain them from mourning on Aba Abdillah (‘a); because Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) is reported to have said: “When the eyes of one of us filled with tears they used to hit us upon our heads with spears.”

Yazid acceded to this request of theirs and got a house vacated. No lady of Bani Hashim or Quraish remained but that she put on black clothes in mourning for Husayn (‘a) and the daughters of Prophethood observed mourning for seven days and sincerely lamented for the Chief of the martyrs (‘a).56They wept and wailed for the brilliant stars of the family of Abdul Muttalib in such a way that the whole earth burnt due to the remorse of their tears.

Ibn Marjana Rewarded

Yazid, the tyrant thanked Ibn Marjana for eliminating the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) and endeavored to exalt and honor him. He summoned him to Damascus so that he may felicitate him specially.

Yazid wrote the following letter to him:

“So to say: You have achieved increase in your position as has been said previously:

‘You were raised and you have passed that height of the clouds and gone beyond that. Except of going up to the rising of the sun you cannot go anywhere.’

Thus, as soon as you receive this letter of mine, come to me so that I may reward you for all that you have done.”

Ibn Ziyad journeyed to Damascus, accompanied with his senior officers. When he reached there all the elements of Bani Umayyah came out to welcome him. When he came to Yazid, the latter approached Ibn Ziyad, embraced him and kissed his forehead. Then he seated him on the royal throne, ordered the singers to sing and the bartenders to serve wine. He said:

“Give me a drink so that my heart is satisfied, then repeat it and serve a drink to Ibn Ziyad in the same way.

He has a position of trust and confidence with me and he is my treasurer and commander of my forces.”

Ibn Marjana stayed in Damascus for a month and Yazid rewarded him with a million Dirhams. He presented an equal amount to Ibn Saad. The taxes of Kufa for a year were also endowed to Ibn Ziyad.57 Yazid tried to get into his good books and introduced him to his womenfolk and family members.58

When his brother, Muslim bin Ziyad came to Yazid, the latter accorded him respect and honor since he was the brother of Ubaidullah. He said to Muslim, “Your love has become incumbent on the family of Abu Sufyan.”

Yazid appointed him as his companion for one full day and bestowed with the governorship of the Khorasan Province.59 He was thankful to the family of Ziyad for having eliminated the family of the Holy Prophet (S) and thought that they had made easy for him rulership and power. What he did not realize was that they have ruined his kingdom, destroyed his power and earned him disgrace and humiliation that was to last forever.

Regret of the Oppressor, Yazid

After the Muslims began to condemn that tyrant with regard to the killing of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) he became regretful and tried to transfer the blame of that crime to Ibn Marjana and he always said: “What would have happened to me if I had borne the pain and lodged him (His Eminence, Husayn) with me in my house and fulfilled his demands and made him the ruler even though this would have brought me condemnation and my power would have weakened; due to having respected the honor of the Messenger of Allah (S) and fulfillment of his rights. May Allah curse Ibn Marjana; because by killing him (Husayn) he has made me hateful to Muslims, and sowed their hearts with malice to me. Such that both the righteous and sinful ones have started disliking me for the seriousness of the killing of Husayn. What do I have to do with Ibn Marjana? May Allah curse him and be furious upon him!”60

It is more likely that he lipped these words only to dissociate himself from that crime and regain his status among Muslims, because if he had been really sincere in this he would have taken revenge from him and sacked him. He would not thanked him, bestowed him with exceeding rewards and granted him proximity, as this indicates his pleasure and lack of regret on what he had done.

Critics and Censurers

Muslims and other people became extremely infuriated at Yazid; because he had killed the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S). Many free thinkers criticized him for this, some of whom are as follows:

1. Roman Ambassador

The Roman Ambassador was present in Yazid’s court when he saw the Imam’s head placed before Yazid. He was shocked by this matter and he remarked: “Whose head is it?”

“It is the head of Husayn.” “Who is Husayn?”

“Son of Fatima.” “Who is Fatima?”

“Daughter of the Prophet of God (S).” “Your Prophet?”

“Yes.”

He was perplexed by this matter and he screamed, “Woe be on you and your religion! I swear by the right of Christ that you are on falsehood. We have an Island, on which is a monastery wherein is kept a hoof of a horse Christ rode. Every year we undertake months-long, year-long journey to it and present our offerings and donations. We consider it more respectable than you regard the Kaaba. Woe be on you people!”

Then he stood up angrily,61 bewildered at that astounding scene.

2. A Jew scholar

A Jewish spiritual personality was also seated in the court of Yazid when Imam Zainul Abideen (‘a) delivered his eloquent and worthy sermon and created a turmoil in the gathering, awakening the people. The Jew holy man turned to Yazid and asked, “Who is this young man?”

“Ali bin al-Husayn.” “Who is Husayn?”

“Son of Ali Ibn Abi Talib.” “Who is his mother?”

“The daughter of Muhammad.”

“Glory be to God! It is the son of the daughter of your Prophet whom you have killed. How terrible is your behavior with his Progeny! By God! If our Prophet, Musa had left a grandson among us, I think we would have worshipped him like our Lord. It was only yesterday that the Prophet went away from you and you have rushed to his son and killed him! Woe upon you! What a nation you are!”

The tyrant became angry at this and ordered him to be hit upon his mouth. The rabbi arose saying, “Kill me if you like. I have found written in the Torah that whosoever kills the progeny of a prophet, shall be damned forever. And when he dies, the Almighty shall burn him in the fire of Hell.”62

3. Caesar, King of Rome

Calls of condemnation came to Yazid in a continuous manner. Among those who denounced him was Caesar, the King of Rome. He wrote: “You have killed the Prophet or the son of a Prophet?”63

4. Raas al-Jaloot

Among the severe critics of Yazid was Raas al-Jaloot who said to Muhammad bin Abdur Rahman, “Between me and His Eminence, Dawood are seventy generations, yet Jews accord respect to us and consider us honorable while you people have killed the son of the daughter of your Prophet.”64

5. Wathila bin Asqa

When the head of Imam was taken to Syria, Wathila bin Asqa companion of Prophet was present over there and he became infuriated at this. He glanced at a Syrian and said, “I have always been a devotee of Ali, Hasan, Husayn and Fatima. So I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say about them what they said.”

“What did the Messenger of Allah (S) say about them?”

“I went to the Messenger of Allah (S) when he was in the house of Umme Salma. Then arrived His Eminence, Hasan and the Prophet seated him on his right knee and His Eminence, Husayn came and the Prophet placed him on his left knee and kissed him. When Her Eminence, Fatima arrived he seated her in the front. After that, he summoned Ali and he came and he covered them with the Khaibari cloak, as if I could see it, then he said: Indeed, Allah only desires to keep impurities away from you and to purify you a thorough purification.65

6. Ibn Abbas

The most severe critic of Yazid was Abdullah bin Abbas. Yazid wrote to him desiring to enter into his good books and requesting him to help him against Ibn Zubair.

Ibn Abbas replied him as follows:

“So to say: I received your letter regarding my rejection of allegiance for Ibn Zubair. By Allah! By this action I did not aim to obtain your favor or praise. But the Almighty Allah is aware of what I have in my heart. You have claimed that you will not forget my favor. Thus O man! Stop your favor from me as I have stopped my favor from you. You want that I should make people support you and make them inimical to Ibn Zubair and restrain them from joining him; this will never be so and neither would you achieve triumph nor honor, as how it can be so when you have killed Husayn and the young men of the clan of Muttalib, the lamps of guidance and the star among the people? Your soldiers, according to your command abandoned them in wilderness while they were lying bathed in their blood. Their belongings were plundered and they were isolated in the desert. They were killed in thirst. Neither were they shrouded nor buried. Wind blew upon them and the sand of the desert fell on them. Till the time the Almighty Allah brought for them a group of people who had not participated in their killing. Thus they shrouded and buried them. It is because of me and them that you obtained status and sit at that position of yours.66

If I have forgotten something, I have not forgotten that you removed Husayn from the Sanctuary of the Messenger of Allah (S) to move to the Sanctuary of Allah, you sent mounted soldiers towards him and you were such till you sent him to Iraq and he also departed fearful and anxious of your mounted soldiers as a result of your enmity with regard to Allah, His Prophet and his Ahlul Bayt - from whom Allah has kept away filth and purified them thoroughly. He wanted you to leave him to return from where he had come. But you preferred to eliminate his few companions and Ahlul Bayt. Thus you attacked him, as if you killed the Ahlul Bayt by deserting and denial. I don’t find anything more surprising than the fact that you seek my support while you have killed the sons of my father and blood is dripping from your sword. You are one of the targets of my revenge. Your victory upon us today should not make you vain as we would also be victorious upon you one day.”67

This letter blames Yazid that he summoned Imam Husayn (‘a) to Iraq so that he may be eliminated and he did not come out except that he was pursued by the mercenaries of Yazid in Medina and Mecca. And he did not come in response to the petitions of the people of Kufa. Rather the mercenaries of Yazid had compelled him to this.

7. Ibn Zubair

Among the critics of Bani Umayyah was Abdullah bin Zubair and he considered them liable for condemnation due to the fact that they had killed Imam Husayn (‘a). Ibn Zubair delivered a speech in Mecca in which he said: “Know that the people of Kufa invited Husayn in order to take authority over them, reform their affairs and return the signs of Islam. But when he went towards them they attacked him and killed him saying: ‘You must surrender yourself to the accursed transgressor, Ibn Ziyad, so that he may decide what to do with you.’ He preferred the death of honor to a life of degradation. May Allah have mercy on Husayn and may He disgrace his killers and everyone who was pleased with his killing and ordered for it, be cursed.”68

Ibn Zubair pretended to express grief at the killing of Husayn in order to gain popularity among the Muslims; while in fact he was pleased at this as he had become free of his most severe opponent. And if he really had faith in what he said he would not have sheltered the killers of Husayn, because those who escaped the clutches of Mukhtar, like Shabth bin Rabi and others, fled to Ibn Zubair and joined him. He welcomed them and dispatched them to fight Mukhtar.

8. Abu Barza

Among those who censured Yazid was the prophetic companion, Abu Barza Aslami who scolded Yazid when he found him fiddling the Imam’s head with his cane. We have already quoted his incident in the foregone pages.

9. Umayyad clan

Yazid’s situation became very difficult and the voices of the protests harried him continuously, because his own clan too began to denounce him. Of them were the following:

A - Yahya bin Hakam: Among the severest critic of Yazid was Yahya bin Hakam who condemned him in his own gathering. Yazid slapped his chest and ordered his servant to throw him out. We have quoted the text of his statements previously.

B - Atika, Yazid’s daughter: Yazid’s daughter, Atika criticized him when he brought the Imam’s head to his womenfolk and consorts. Atika took the head and applied perfume to it saying: “It is the head of my uncle.” We have quoted her statements before.

C - Hind: Yazid’s wife Hind, daughter of Amr criticized him and she reacted by running to his court agitated, shouting: “The head of the daughter of Allah’s Messenger (S) is in our house!”

The wicked man rushed to her, snatched her veil and said: “O Hind! Lament for him as he is the deceased of Bani Hashim and Ibn Ziyad acted in haste with him.”69

10. Yazid’s son, Muawiyah

Muawiyah condemned his father, Yazid and also criticized his grandfather, Muawiyah. He did not accept the caliphate and was not inclined to rulership. He spoke among the people of Syria and denouncing his father and grandfather said:

“My grandfather, Muawiyah, disputed in the matter of caliphate with one who was more eligible than him for this position due to his proximity to the Messenger of Allah (S), his past services and superiority. He was greater in value than the emigrants, the first of them who brought faith, cousin of the Messenger of Allah (S) and husband of his daughter whom the Prophet chose for the hand of his daughter and selected his daughter as his wife. He was the heir of Allah’s Messenger (S), the seal of the prophets. Then my grandfather dealt with him in a way you all know and he did with him that about which you are not unaware,70 till he reached his death and in his grave became involved in his crimes and sins. After that he left the position of caliphate to my father, who was not deserving of it and was controlled by his passions. He disregarded its aspirations and he got only a brief respite. Then he also headed to his grave as a hostage to his crimes and sins.” At that moment he began to weep and say: “The most important thing for us is that we become aware of his evil death and bad consequences; because he killed the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (S), considered defiling his sanctity lawful and ruined the Kaaba.”71

It was in this manner that the kingdom of the family of Abu Sufyan was ruined at the hands Yazid’s son, Muawiyah. The perpetuity and continuation he had planned for his kingdom was destroyed; because the killing of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) that Muawiyah planned and Yazid executed, destroyed and crushed his kingdom and turned it to annihilation.

Historians say: All hell broke loose in the Bani Umayyad clan after the speech of Muawiyah in which he exposed his grandfather and father, and they went to his teacher, Umar al-Qusoos and said to him: “You have taught him all this and restrained him from the caliphate. You taught him devotion towards Ali and his sons and prepared him to make us blameworthy. You made out innovations to be good deeds for him till he issued those statements and said what he said.”

Umar denied having done this and he said: “By Allah! I did not do it, but he was born with love towards Ali and had it in his nature.” They did not accept his explanation. They apprehended him and buried him alive.72

Idle talk and Nonsense

Some partisans of Bani Umayyah in the former and latter periods have tried to absolve Yazid from all the blame of eliminating the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) and they have endeavored to transfer the blame and responsibility to Ibn Marjana. It is due to their ignorance and blind bigotry that they have deviated from the truth and fallen into a great corruption. Some of them are as follows:

1. Ibn Taimiyyah

Yazid holds a position of great respect in the view of Ibn Taimiyyah; because he was his most enthusiastic defender and he denied that Yazid had ordered the killing of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a). He has furiously justified the actions of Yazid and said:

“Yazid did not issue the command of killing Husayn. He did not place his severed head in front of himself. He did not thrash his teeth by his hand-held cane. One who committed all these actions was Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad as this matter is proved in Sahih Bukhari. Neither was his head taken out all around nor were the women and children of Husayn taken as hostages.”73

These statements have become a cause for his ridicule; because he has denied such clear facts that no sensible person doubts in; he has completely ignored the statements of historians based on the fact that Yazid had committed that crime. This view of Ibn Taimiyyah is such that no one having religious perception or Islamic spirit agrees with him.

Ibn Taimiyyah is well-known for his blind prejudice. So much so, that every independent researcher and writer of history and Islamic discussions has opposed his views.

2. Ghazzali

It is a matter of great regret that Ghazzali was a fan of Yazid and he went to extremes in his sincerity towards him and in defending him. Ghazzali says: “Neither is his killing an established fact - that is the killing of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) ñ nor did he (Yazid) ordered for it - that is Yazid did not order Ibn Marjana to kill Husayn and Yazid was also not pleased by it!! - since this incident is not authentic in his view, it is not permissible to suspect him as the murderer; because it is unlawful to have a bad opinion about a Muslim! The Almighty Allah says: O you who believe! Avoid most of suspicion, for surely suspicion in some cases is a sin, and do not spy nor let some of you backbite others. Does one of you like to eat the flesh of his dead brother? But you abhor it; and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, surely Allah is Oft-returning (to mercy), Merciful.7475

Ghazzali has uttered misguided statements; because he has denied the evident facts, just as his partner, Ibn Taimiyyah had done, while historians are unanimous that it was Yazid who ordered Ibn Marjana to eliminate His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) and also that he had ordered him emphatically. Moreover Yazid had even warned Ibn Ziyad that if he was not sincere in fighting against the Imam he would be dissociated from the family of Abu Sufyan and rejoined to his grandfather, Ubaid, the Roman. We have already explained this matter before and hence there seems to be no need to repeat it here.

3. Ibn Arabi2083

Ibn Arabi is well-known for his enmity and indecency towards Ahlul Bayt (‘a). He believed that Yazid was the Imam of his time and the caliph of God on the earth! And the Imam’s uprising against him was illegal and His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) was killed in conformity to the law of his grandfather!76

A handful of dust be upon him and upon everyone who has deviated from the truth and astrayed from the path. By what logic was Yazid, that companion of goats and monkeys, the Imam of Muslims and caliph of God on the earth? Was it due to the fact that he killed the Chief of the youths of Paradise, or was it because he defiled the sanctity of the Prophet’s city, Medina or was it because he burnt down Kaaba? Umar bin Abdul Aziz heard a person calling Yazid as ‘Chief of believers’. He ordered him to be lashed twenty times.77

Defending Yazid, considering his regime lawful and absolving him from killing the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger (S) is like defending evil and falsehood; because Yazid and others like him were from the Umayyad and Abbaside rulers who became the cause of the decadence of the Muslims and who brought mischiefs and calamities upon them and made them involved in a great evil.

4. Ibn Hajar

Ibn Hajar Haithami is a denier in Yazid’s concurrence or issuing of orders to eliminate His Eminence, Husayn (‘a)78 and his blind prejudice has impelled him to utter things that are not compatible with facts. As Ibn Marjana had only one option without there being any forethought or intention of killing His Eminence, Husayn (‘a).

And he said to Musafir bin Shuraih Lashkari: In the incident of Husayn’s killing, it was Yazid who presented me with two options; to kill Husayn or die myself. I chose to kill him (Husayn).79 Ibn Ziyad did not act upon the elimination of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) except after he was threatened with dire consequences by Yazid if he did not obey his orders.

5. Anis Zakaria

Anis Zakaria Nusooli has defended Yazid with great fervor and said: “Without any doubt Yazid initially did not plan the killing of Husayn and he did not expect that the Alawite problem would become so big and culminate into such a terrible disaster and that Ibn Ziyad would eliminate him.”80

6. Dr. Najjar

Among those who consider Yazid free of blame is Dr. Muhammad Najjar who says: “Yazid bin Muawiyah had not the least share in this crime; that is in the killing of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) because despite the fact that his history is smeared with blackness, he is apparently blameless of having perpetrated the elimination of Husayn!”81

7. Muhammad Izzat Duruza

One of the most loyal defendant of Yazid in the present times is one, Muhammad Izzat Duruza. He has spoken highly of Yazid and absolved him from that terrible iniquity. He has also considered Ibn Ziyad and other armed forces who killed His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) to be free of responsibility for that deed. On the other hand he has condemned His Eminence, Husayn and said: “There is nothing that connects the killing of Husayn to Yazid; because not only he did not kill him, he even did not order his killing. He only ordered that he should be besieged but not eliminated. Husayn himself chose to fight. In this way the statement of Ubaidullah bin Ziyad is correct that he was only ordered to surround him and he should not be fought. Except that he himself fights or is brought to him so that he surrenders to him or pledges allegiance to Yazid who was having the legal right of authority. Rather it is possible to assume as correct that hostilities developed between the commanders of the armed forces and His Eminence, Husayn and his companions; because they remained loyal to the orders that were issued to them and also they were much desirous that Allah would excuse them from getting involved in battle with him or having a hand in his killing. And they endeavored to pacify him and urged him to surrender to Ibn Ziyad or pledge allegiance to Yazid. Thus if Husayn refrained from it and did not submit and pledge allegiance like all Muslims had, and rather chose the path of confrontation, in such a case it was absolutely lawful from the religious as well as the political point of view to fight him.”82

Duruza believes that the killing of the beloved grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) and the Chief of the youths of Paradise was lawful from the religious and political point of view. I am unable to decide whether those killers and wicked executioners, that is the killers of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a), harbored deeper enmity and malice towards him or this man whose conscience is covered by the rust of falsehood and who is immersed in the frenzied waves of sinfulness and evil.

Dr. Taha Husayn’s view

Taha Husayn believes that Yazid was responsible for shedding the blood of the Holy Imam and it is not correct to transfer the blame of this crime to Ibn Marjana. Dr. Taha Husayn says:

“Narrators have claimed that Yazid dissociated himself from the killing of Husayn in such a way that he threw the blame of this sin on Ibn Marjana, Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad. But I don’t think he condemned Ibn Ziyad, punished him or dismissed him from his post. Before him (Yazid), Muawiyah killed Hujr Bin Adi and his companions and after that he threw its responsibility on Ziyad and said: “The son of Sumaiyyah urged me and I submitted to his persuasion.”83

Ibn Ziyad did not perform his deed except under express orders of Yazid. And if Yazid had not been pleased by it he would have punished Ibn Ziyad and not made him sit in his drinking party and endowed him with excessive rewards. Thus this matter of his satisfaction on the killing of His Eminence, Husayn (‘a) and his lack of regret inspite of the enormity of that crime and the heinousness of that iniquity proves his assent.

Statement of Taftazani

Taftazani has said: “It is accepted unanimously that it is permitted to curse the one who killed Husayn or one who ordered it or one who considered it lawful and who assented to it’And the fact is that we have received abundant reports regarding the assent of Yazid to the killing of Husayn, his delight to it and insulting behavior with regard to the Ahlul Bayt of Allah’s Messenger (S), even though its detail is from single reports and we do not hesitate regarding him or rather his infidelity. So the curse of Allah be upon him, his helpers and supporters.84

Yafai’s view

Allamah Yafai says: “The decree about one who killed Husayn or issued order for his killing is that he is an infidel and anyone who considers it permissible would also be an apostate.”85

Opinion of Ahmad bin Hanbal

Ahmad bin Hanbal has issued verdict against cursing Yazid! Abu Talib says: Ahmad bin Hanbal was asked about the one who spoke ill of Yazid bin Muawiyah. He replied: Do not speak to me about this matter, the Prophet has said: “Cursing a believer is akin to killing him.”86

What is strange is that he has taken traditions of Prophet as source of issuing this verdict while this tradition is not applicable to Yazid, because he was not having faith and Islam. After he committed the infamy of killing the Purified Progeny, allowing the sack of Medina and casting fire on the Holy Kaaba he has gone out from the pale of Islam, as what sin could be greater that these?

Ahmad’s son, Salih objected to him and said: “Some people consider us to be partisans of Yazid?” He told him, “Can one who has faith in Allah, love Yazid?

His son asked, “Then why do you not curse him?” “When have you seen me cursing anyone?”

“Father! Why shouldn’t be cursed one whom Almighty Allah has cursed in His Book?”

“Where has Allah cursed Yazid?”

But if you held command, you were sure to make mischief in the land and cut off the ties of kinship! Those it is whom Allah has cursed so He has made them deaf and blinded their eyes.”87

Is there an evil greater than the killing of Husayn (‘a)?...”

Ahmad could not say anything in reply.88

Statement of Motazid Abbasi

Motazid Abbasi issued a letter in which he publicized the disgrace of Bani Umayyah and eulogized the Holy Ahlul Bayt and he ordered that it should be read out in official gatherings, public meetings and among the general public. Regarding Yazid it says:

“When the caliphate reached to Yazid he set out boldly to take the revenge of polytheists from Muslims and caused the carnage of Medina. It was such a terrible carnage that humanity had never witnessed such a kind and nothing so horrific ever happened to the Muslims. Thus he satisfied his malice and he thought that he had taken revenge for his ancestors from the friends of Allah and that he has got vengeance on behalf of the enemies of Allah and the Prophet (S).”

Then he adds further: “The most important sanctity that he defiled and the greatest iniquity he committed was the shedding of the blood of Husayn bin Ali (‘a) while knowing his position with the Messenger of Allah (S) and having heard that the Prophet had said about him: ‘Hasan and Husayn are my two flowers in the world. Hasan and Husayn are the two chiefs of the youths of Paradise.’ Yazid committed audacity against Allah and His Prophet; he was inimical to those two and in this action of his he neither feared reprisal nor was worried about disobedience of God.”89

The martyrdom of the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger was the greatest tragedy that shocked the Muslim community no end. And they fell into severe and difficult trials and tribulations; in the same way that incident was the most tragic happening of the world; because of all the atrocities committed against the Progeny of the Prophet (S) it was the most terrible that occurred in the history of the world.

Those transmogrified oppressors from the troops of Yazid practiced various evils and different types of degraded actions and disregarded all human values, common laws, manners and etiquettes that people have made as their code of life. They killed men, children and women after they had deprived them of water. And after they had cut up their bodies into pieces they hoisted their severed heads on points of spears. They also took the heirs of the Prophet on bare camel backs as hostages and took them around towns and cities so that the tyrant may publicize his victory and oppression regarding the family of the Prophet. All these events occurred upon his orders or encouragement and he is responsible for them.

As for Ibn Ziyad he was only his agent who acted on his command and did his bidding as we have already proved above.

Absolving Yazid and throwing the responsibility on Ibn Marjana is nothing but an example of deviation from the truth and following of blind prejudice which no sensible and conscientious person can ever accept.

Thus comes to close our discussion regarding nonsensical statements and idle talks especially regarding the absolution of Yazid and also what important personalities have stated regarding the criminality of Yazid and considering him responsible for shedding the Imam’s blood.

  • 1. Al-Ma’rif, Pg. 426 (Old Edition)
  • 2. Tohfatul Imam Fee Mukhtasar Tarikhul Islam, Pg. 77
  • 3. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayan, Pg. 99
  • 4. Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/125
  • 5. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/416
  • 6. Al-Irshad, 2/119
  • 7. Hujjatul Sa’adah fee Hujjatush Shahada
  • 8. Jawahirul Matalib 2/305
  • 9. Abdullah Nurullah, Maqtal al-Husayn Awalim 17/427-428
  • 10. Surah Shura 42:23
  • 11. Surah Bani Israel 17:26
  • 12. Surah Anfal 8:41
  • 13. Surah Ahzab 33:33
  • 14. Lohoof, Pg. 211-213
  • 15. Al Bustanul Jame’ li Jami’ Tawarikh Ahluz Zaman, Pg. 36
  • 16. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/60-61
  • 17. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 348
  • 18. It is mentioned in Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/84 and Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/194 that it is said that: It is Mahqar not Mahfar. And in Al-Irshad 2/119 it is mentioned that it was Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.) who replied to him.
  • 19. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/197
  • 20. Manawi, Al-Kaukab as-Durriya 1/146. And in Tadhib at-Tahdhib 1/157. It is narrated from Hamza that: I saw the most clever and beautiful woman named Ruba. She was the nurse of Yazid bin Muawiyah and she was aged a hundred years. She said: A man came to Yazid and told him: Congratulations to you that Allah gave you power over Husayn; they killed him and brought his head to you and kept it in the tray. Then he ordered his slave to uncover it. When he saw it his face became red. I asked Ruba: Did he hit his teeth with his cane? She replied: Yes, by Allah!
  • 21. Dhahabi, Tarikh Islam 5/19
  • 22. Tarikh Quzai, Pg. 330
  • 23. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/85
  • 24. Dhahabi, Tarikhul Islam 5/18. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/192. Al-Irshad, 2/119-120
  • 25. Tibrani, Al-Mojam al-Kabir 3/124. Tabari, Tarikh 5/460-461. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/192
  • 26. Subhul Aashi 1/100
  • 27. Tadhib at-Tahdhib 1/157
  • 28. Ansaab al-Ashraaf 3/416
  • 29. Al-Kaukab as-Durriya 1/146
  • 30. Ahmad Fahmi, Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), Pg. 55
  • 31. Tadkiratul Khawaas Pg. 260-261. Al Muntazim 5/342
  • 32. Surah Hadid 57: 22-23
  • 33. Surah Shura 42:30
  • 34. Al Fusulul Muhimma, Pg. 195
  • 35. Al-Irshad, 2/120
  • 36. A’laamun Nisa 2/95. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/192
  • 37. Surah Rum 30:10
  • 38. Surah Aale Imran 3:178
  • 39. Surah Aale Imran 3:169
  • 40. A’laamun Nisa 2/95-97. Balaghatun Nisa, Pg. 21. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/64. As Sayyida Zainab wa Akhbaar az-Zainabiyat, Pg. 86. Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/125-126. Al- Lohoof, Pg. 217-218
  • 41. Siayasatul Husaynia, Pg. 30
  • 42. Journal ‘Ghurra’, Year 7, No. 6
  • 43. Muqarram, Maqtal al-Husayn, Pg. 359
  • 44. Surah Aale Imran 3:26
  • 45. Surah Baqarah 2:247
  • 46. Tabari, Tarikh 5/463-464. Ibne Kathir, Al Bidayah wan Nihayah Pg. 195-196
  • 47. Those who fought Ali (a.s.) in the battles of Jamal, Siffeen and Nahrawan respectively.
  • 48. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/69-70
  • 49. Nafasul Mahmoom, Pg. 261-262
  • 50. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/69-71
  • 51. Jawahirul Kalam fee Mad-hil Sadatil A’laam, Pg. 128
  • 52. Al Bidayah wan Nihayah 8/194. Al Muntazim 5/343
  • 53. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/62
  • 54. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/86
  • 55. Khwarizmi, Maqtal al-Husayn 2/72
  • 56. Abdullah, Maqtal al-Husayn
  • 57. Miraat az-Zamaan fee Tawarikhul Ayaan, Pg. 106
  • 58. Yanabiul Mawaddah 1/149. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 85
  • 59. Al Futuh 5/254
  • 60. Tabari, Tarikh 5/460, 461 & 462, Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/87
  • 61. Miraat az-Zamaan, Pg. 101. As-Siraatus Sawi Pg. 89
  • 62. Hadaiq al-Wardiya 1/127. Al Futuh 5/246-247. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/71
  • 63. Baihaqi, Al-Mahasin wal Masawi 1/63
  • 64. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 90. Jawahirul Matalib fee Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib, Pg. 2/274
  • 65. Abdullah bin Ahmad bin Hanbal, Fazail Imam Amirul Momineen (a.s.) Pg. 2/672-673
  • 66. And it is mentioned in a narration: “And it is due to me and them that you have achieved honor.”
  • 67. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/127-128. Yaqubi in his Tarikh has narrated in another way the terrible things Muawiyah and Yazid had done.
  • 68. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi Pg. 94
  • 69. Khwarizmi, Maqtal 2/74
  • 70. Jawahirul Matalib fee Manaqib Imam Ali Ibne Abi Talib 2/261
  • 71. An-Nujoom az-Zahira 1/164
  • 72. Damiri, Hayatul Haiwan 1/88-89
  • 73. Sawali dar Maurid Yazid bin Muawiyah, by Ibne Taimiyyah, Pg. 16
  • 74. Surah Hujurat 49:12
  • 75. Wafayatul Ayan 3/288
  • 76. Al-A’wasim, Pg. 214
  • 77. Shazaraat al-Zahab 1/69
  • 78. Al-Fatawi al-Haditha, Pg. 193
  • 79. Ibne Athir, Tarikh 4/140
  • 80. Ad-Daulatul Amawiya fish Shaam, Pg. 58
  • 81. Ad-Daulatul Amawiya fish Sharq, Pg. 104
  • 82. Tarikh Jinsul Arabi 8/383
  • 83. Al-Fitnatul Kubra 2/265
  • 84. Shazaraat al-Zahab 1/68
  • 85. Shazaraat al-Zahab 1/69
  • 86. Shamsuddin Hanbali, Al Aadaab ush-Shariya wal Minhul Mariya 1/206
  • 87. Surah Muhammad 47:22-23
  • 88. As-Siraatus Sawi min Manaqib Aalin Nabi 1/207
  • 89. Ibne Abil Hadid, Sharh Nahjul Balagha