Chapter 13: The Kings Of His Time
The research about the kings with whom the Imam, peace be on him, coincided, is, according to modern studies, an important matter, for it reveals the programs of their general policy. The psychologists say that political events affect all the branches of life including the general conduct of every citizen.
The kings with whom the Imam, peace be on him, coincided belonged to the Umayyad family, who, according to the laws of genetics and education, gave life to the opinions and traditions of those who lived before Islam. Hence many Umayyad kings did their best to curb the Islamic development and deaden the religious awareness of the Muslims. Now, we will briefly speak about their affairs and trends.
Mu‘awiya b. Abi Sufyan was the first king with whom Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, coincided. He practiced a black policy against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and their followers. He intended to uproot the pure family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household, and to kill their followers and those who believed in their political rights as well as he spread fear and terror all over the Islamic world in order to force the Muslims to submit to abasement and bondage. The Imam was in the bloom of youth when he witnessed this policy of Mu‘awiya. We will briefly mention some of Mu‘awiya’s affairs.
Before we speak about Mu‘awiya’s affairs, we want to talk quickly about his parents, that it may be clear for us that he inherited malice against Islam from his parents whose souls were full of ignorance and enmity toward all human values.
As for his father Abu’ Sufyan, he was the most mortal enemy of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Because he detested him, he employed all his possessions to suppress the Islamic Message and to destroy it in the cradle. He waged war against him and led the armies at the Battle of Badr. However Allah, the Exalted, supported His Prophet and exalted His religion. He wrote disappointment and loss against Abu’ Sufyan, who took to flight when his troops were defeated.
As for his mother Hind, her evil heart was filled with malice and hatred against the greatest Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. After the crushing defeat that afflicted the Army of Abu’ Sufyan at the Battle of Badr, she became very sad for the members of her family whom she lost at the battle. Hence she provoked the young and the old, male and female, to demand vengeance for their dead and to get ready for another battle. Accordingly, the Battle of Uhud occurred. At it Hamza, the Prophet’s uncle, and seventy Muslim heroes were martyred. Had it not for Allah’s gentleness and bounty, the Message of Islam would have been destroyed. The hero of Islam Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on himdefended the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and protected him with his own soul. Hind, Mu‘awiya’s mother, maimed the corpse of the great martyr, Hamza. With this she took her vengeance. She refreshed her heart, rested her eye, and quenched her spites. Abu’ Sufyan won victory and returned to Mecca.
After the Battle of Uhud, the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his Household, returned to Medina (Yathrib). There he gathered his troops and prepared them to conquer Mecca, which was the only center of his enemies. With Allah’s help and support he was able to conquer it without shedding blood, and then he pardoned his enemies in general. With this he was able to show the mercy of Islam, its kindness and dignity. He, may Allah bless him and his family, did not follow the international practices which permit destroying the aggressors. He included all the aggressors in his mercy. Among those whom his pardon included was Abu’ Sufyan and the members of his family, who stayed at the corners of abasement and laziness, and upon whom the Muslims looked down, for they were the defeated enemies and opponents of Islam.
Mu‘awiya was one of those prisoners who were released on the Day of the Conquer of Mecca. He was a pauper and walked bare-footed beside the saddlebags of ‘Alqama b. Wa’il al-Hadrami.1 A woman counseled with the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in order to marry Mu‘awiya, and he scolded her, saying: “Mu‘awiya is a pauper.”
As Islam abased the Umayyads and destroyed their glory, they harbored malice against it, showed enmity toward it, and planed by day and night to destroy it. In this connection the Holy Hadith says: “If there would be only one toothless old woman from the Umayyads, she would spare no effort to ruin Allah’s religion.”
As for Mu‘awiya’s qualities, they are as follows:
Mu‘awiya’s heart was void of kindness and mercy. It was cruel, polluted, and filled with crimes. It was Mu‘awiya who empowered Bisr b. Abi Artat and commanded him to kill all those who followed the creed of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, which is Allah’s creed. Hence Bisr b. Artat, who was an ignoble aggressor, killed them and their wives and their children. For example, he killed two of ‘Ubayd b. al-‘Abbas’s children. Accordingly, a lady said to him: “The ruler who kills women and children is wicked.”
Treason was among Mu‘awiya’s prominent qualities. Mu‘awiya, who had pre-Islamic opinions, did not believe in keeping promise and other humane values. For example, he offered conditions to the pure Imam al-Hasan b. ‘Ali, peace be on them, and then he broke them all in a shameful manner. He addressed the people, saying: “Indeed I have been requested by al-Hasan (to give him) things and I have given things to him. All of them are now under my foot. And from now on I will not fulfill anything.”
Mu‘awiya was an evil liar. He was not accustomed to truthfulness. He lied to the Syrians and seduced them when he told them that he was the nearest of all the people to the great Prophet and his inheritor. He lied to them when he told them that Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, killed ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan, that he demanded his blood. He told them a lie when he told them that Imam ‘Ali killed ‘Ammar b. Yasir, the great companion (of the Prophet), at the Battle of Siffin. He was very fond of lying to the extent that he formed committees from among the pseudo clergy men to create traditions and to ascribe them to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his Household. He ordered them to praise the companions (of the Prophet) and to degrade the importance of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Moreover, he adopted lying and took it as a method for his life and constitution for his state.
Deception was among Mu‘awiya’s qualities. He deceived a grouped of the Muslims at whose head was Imam al-Hasan, peace be on him, the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and his grandson. He appointed him as his successor, but he broke his promise. He sent deadly poison to his governor Marwan b. al-Hakam and ordered him to give it to al-Hasan. Hence Marwan seduced al-Hasan’s wife, Ju‘da, daughter of al-Ash‘ath, and she gave her husband poison to drink. Shortly after this the Messenger’s grandson joined the Highest Comrade.
These are some of Mu‘awiya’s qualities. It is certain that he had no noble moral trait or inclination.
Some mercenaries and pseudo clergy men described Mu‘awiya with false qualities such as cleverness, clemency, and good policy. Among them was Nafi‘ b. Jubayr, who said: “Clemency makes Mu‘awiya keep silent, and knowledge makes him speak.” When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, heard these words, he refuted them saying: “He (Nafi‘ b. Jubayr) has told a lie. The incapability of speaking makes him keep silent, and ingratitude makes him speak.2”
If Mu‘awiya had had an atom of clemency, he would not have killed Hijr b. ‘Adi, the great companion (of the Prophet), and his companions, who sacrificed their souls for Islam. If he had had clemency, he would not have killed ‘Amr b. al-Hamq al-Khaz’‘i, the great companion (of the Prophet). If he had had a bit of clemency, good policy and management, he would not have imposed his son Yazid, the drunkard one, as a caliph on the Muslims, and he thrown them into continuous afflictions.
The mercenaries and pseudo clergy men said that Mu‘awiya was a writer of the Revelation. How did the Messenger entrusted the Revelation of the Lord of the worlds to Mu’awiya, who had pre-Islamic beliefs, and turned away from the Guidance and Truth? Whoever carefully studies his behavior finds that he was a professional terrorist, had no relationship with noble ideals and good qualities.
The painful thing is that Mu‘awiya was imposed as a governor over the Muslims in Damascus. He was ordered to lead them in prayer, to rule among them according to What Allah had sent down, and to undertake collecting their zakat and land taxes, while he was not appropriate for such an office. It is worth mentioning that Islam took precautions against appointing governors; rather all officials. It made it incumbent (on the caliph) to study their life and to consider carefully their behavior, their tendencies, and their inclinations. It ordered him to appoint those who were pious, pure, and noble in their souls and among their people, and had knowledge of the affairs of management and government. Moreover it urged him to refrain from appointing those who had no religion, had bad behavior, and were ignoble in soul and lineage.
As for appointing Mu‘awiya as a governor over Damascus, which was then among the sensitive centers in the Islamic world, it did not result from studying his life and considering his works. Rather it resulted from some political inclinations. Anyhow, it has no relationship with the interests of the community. Unfortunately, the Second Caliph (‘Umar b. al-Khattab) brought him near and went too far in supporting him. Although he heard that Mu‘awiya wore silk garments and used plates made of silver and gold, and turned away from the Islamic teachings, he apologized on behalf of him saying: “Mu‘awiya is the Kasra of the Arabs.” How wonderful! Is there Kasrasim or Caesarism in Islam? All Muslims know that Islam has played an important role in abolishing all kinds of racism, treated its followers equally, and distinguished between them according to Allah-fearingness and good deeds of which is serving and developing the Islamic society.
The Umayyads employed a policy full of deception in order to reach authority and loot the wealth of the community. They were supported by the Arab and Qurayshi capitalists, who did their best to keep their personal interests, which they lost during the days of the government of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and pioneer of social justice on the earth. Hence Mu‘awiya was able to hold the reins of government. Nichalson said: “The Muslims regarded the victory of the Umayyads headed by Mu‘awiya as victory of the pagan aristocracy which showed enmity toward the Messenger, against which the Messenger struggled and destroyed; the Muslims were patient along with him until Allah granted them a victory, hence they ruined it, and established on its debris the pillars of Islam, the tolerant religion which made people equal in prosperity and adversity.3” Mu‘awiya trod on the Moslems’ necks. He drowned the country into black afflictions and dangerous events. He openly challenged the Moslems’ will. He spared no effort to abase them, deprived them of their freedom, and withheld them from all the rights confessed by the international and human customs. The following is some of the unjust ways he practiced against the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and their followers, who were the source of awareness and thought in Islam:
Mu‘awiya employed all mean ways to extinguish the light of the family of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family, to prevent them from communicating with the community, and to deprive the community of their noble moral traits. Hence he created an atmosphere of atrocious terrorism against those who mentioned their virtues and laudable deeds. Besides he officially declared abusing Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, who was the greatest thinker in Islam. Accordingly, the mercenaries and pseudo clergy men competed with each other for abusing him on their pulpits and during Friday prayers. Yet the behavior of Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, chased Mu‘awiya and followed him in his palaces, for it led to mutiny against oppression and tyranny, and opened noble horizons to political and religious awareness.
Mu‘awiya politically decided to eliminate and uproot the followers and friends of the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them. Hence he wrote to all his governors to pursue and kill all those who loved the family of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. Besides he commanded them to stop their salaries, confiscate their properties, and to imprison them in dark prisons. Accordingly, his terrorist governors spared no effort to carry out his commands. The Shi‘ites of the ahl al-Bayt lived in a state of fear and terror. Some men preferred calling them unbelievers to calling them the lovers of the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and to showing friendship toward them. This is because they wanted to save them selves from murdering and punishing. Mu‘awiya ordered a group of great Muslim figures to be executed. Examples of them were Hijr b. ‘Adi, Rashid al-Hijri, ‘Amr b. al-Hamq al-Khaza‘i, and others. They had no guilt except that they showed friendship toward the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them.
Mu‘awiya appointed over the Islamic countries a band of traitors and criminals such as Ziyad b. Abih, al-Mughira b. Shu‘ba, and Bisr b. Abi Artat. These persons deviated from (Islam), understood nothing except murdering, destruction, and aggression against men. Ziyad b. Abih declared his black policy toward Iraq saying: “I will punish the innocent because of the guilty, and the comers because of those who turned away (from me). I will punish (you) even for suspicion and accusation.” He turned the life in Iraq, in his time, into inferno to the extent that he made the people say to each other: “Sa‘d, save yourself, for Sa‘id has been perished!”
Mu‘awiya ended his life through the worst crime when he appointed his corrupt son, Yazid, as a ruler over the Muslims. Being corrupt, Yazid spared no effort to deviate the Muslims from their religion and life in this world. He ruled among them according to the pre-Islamic beliefs. He turned the life in the Islamic world into unbearable inferno, and committed atrocities to the extent that he has blackened the Arab and Islamic history.
Some Muslims expressed their unfavorable impressions of Mu‘awiya in his time. They are as follows:
‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abbas, a great Muslim thinker, expressed his opinion of Mu‘awiya saying: “Mu‘awiya has no quality to bring him near to the Caliphate.4”
Sa‘sa‘a bin Sohan al-‘Abdi, a great Mujahid, met Mu‘awiya in the days of his government, and he asked him: “Which Caliph you have seen me?”
Sa‘sa‘a answered him courageously, saying: “He who rules the people by force, governs over them with pride, and sizes (power) with the means of falsehood, lying, and trickery, is not a caliph! By Allah, at the Battle of Badr, you had neither a sword nor an arrow! You and your father were among those who fought against Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family! You are a freedman, and son of a freedman. Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, released you. Therefore, how is the caliphate appropriate for a freedman?5”
Al-Mughira bin Shu‘ba, Mu‘awiya’s friend and partner in sins, came to Mu‘awiya and heard him saying a tradition thereby he slandered the great Prophet. Hence he was dissatisfied with him, left him, went to his son Yazid, and said to him: “I have come from the most malicious of all the people!” Then he related the tradition to him.6
Samra bin Jundub, who was a hypocrite and liar, was among those who were indignant with Mu‘awiya. That was when he removed him from the office of Basrah. Hence he said: “May Allah curse Mu‘awiya! By Allah, if I had obeyed Allah as I obeyed Mu‘awiya, He would never had chastised me!7”
With this we will end our speech about Mu‘awiya. He who carefully considers Mu‘awiya’s policy finds it full of acts of disobedience to Allah and His Messenger such as murdering the free, chasing the reformers, violating women, and spreading crimes and offenses.
Yazid’s government was the greatest danger the Muslim community faced in that time. Yazid is the most abominable person in the pages of history, and the remotest of the kings from Islam in spirit, objective, and meaning. For he has immortalized difficulties and hardships in the way of the Muslims and thrown them into great evil.
This sinful tyrant was indifferent to all values and customs. He followed his passions and pleasures. Al-Mas‘u’di described him saying: “He hastened to his pleasure, openly did acts of disobedience, and approved his offenses. The affair in his religion was easy for him when this world was sound for him.8” Concerning him, Bolis Salam said:
Be kind to the possessor of the throne (Yazid), who was
heedless of Allah through the beautiful songstresses.
A thousand times of Allahu akbar (Allah is great) did not
equal a drink of wine between Yazid’s two palms of
The Muslims were afflicted by Yazid, who committed ugly crimes which shake human conscience, and which the Muslims have never forgotten throughout history. Examples of these crimes are that he killed Imam al-Husayn, peace be on him, the grandson of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, his plant of sweet basil, Lord of the youths of Heaven. He destroyed the Pure family of the Prophet as well as he violated Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family) and the Sacred House. We will mention in detail these tragedies.
Mu‘awiya bin Yazid held the reins of government in his bloom of youth, but he had abundant piety and reverential fear of Allah. He thought of his life in the next world more than he thought of it in this world. Hence he concluded that his grandfather (Mu‘awiya) with out right warred against Imam ‘Ali, peace be on him, who was the successor of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, his testamentary trustee (of authority), and the gate of the city of his knowledge. He also concluded that his father Yazid committed the most horrible crimes when he killed the males from among the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and attacked Medina. All these events made Mu‘awiya b. Yazid renounce authority and abdicate the Caliphate before Allah and the community. Accordingly, he summoned the officials, the commanders of the army, and the rest of the classes from among the Syrians, and then he delivered an effective eloquent speech thereby he announced his abdication of the Caliphate. After he had praised and lauded Allah and called down blessings upon the great Prophet, he said:
“O Men, I am not desirous of authority over you, for I hate you very much. I know that you hate us too, for we have been afflicted by you, and you have been afflicted by us. Surely, my grandfather Mu‘awiya fought for this affair against him (Imam ‘Ali) who was more appropriate for it than him and other than him. This is because of his nearness to Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, his great excellence, his precedence (in Islam), the greatest of the emigrants in importance, the bravest of them in heart, the most abundant of them in knowledge, the first of them in faith, the noblest of them in rank, and the earliest of them in companionship (to the Prophet). He (Imam ‘Ali) was the paternal cousin of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, his son-in-law, and his brother. He (the Prophet) married him to his daughter Fatima. He appointed him a husband for her because he chose her. He appointed her a wife for him because she chose him. He (Imam ‘Ali) was the father of his two grandsons, the two lords of the youths of Heaven, the best (two ones) of this community, who were brought up by the Messenger, the two sons of Fatima the chaste, and who belonged to the good pure tree. However, my grandfather committed against him (Imam ‘Ali) what you know, and you committed against him that of which you are not ignorant, until the affairs went well with him. When death came to him, he has remained as a hostage to his work, and isolated in his grave. He has found what his hands earned, seen what he committed, and those against whom he transgressed. Then my father Yazid became a caliph over you according to his father’s desire. As he did evil deeds and was immoderate against himself, he was not appropriate for the Caliphate over the community of Muhammad, may Allah bless him and his family. He followed his caprice, approved his offenses, showed insolence toward Allah, and made lawful (violating) the sacredness of the children of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family. Hence his period was little, his track cut off, and his work accompanied him. He has become the ally of his grave and hostage to his offenses. His sins and ill-consequences have remained. He has attained what he did. He has felt remorse, but remorse does not profit him. The grief for him has distracted us from grief over him. I wish I knew what he said, and what it was said to him! Has he been punished because of his evil deeds? Has he been repaid for his works? This is my opinion!”
Mu‘awiya bin Yazid wept and wailed for along time, and then he turned to the people and said to them: “I have become the third of the people. Those who are dissatisfied with me are more than those who are satisfied with me. I cannot bear your sins. I do not want Allah, great be His power, to see me assuming your offenses and ill-consequences. Your authority is your affair. Take it. Appoint as a ruler over you him with whom you are content. Hence I have released your necks from the pledge of allegiance to me. Greetings!9”
This speech is proof for Mu‘awiya bin Yazid’s perfect religious awareness, for he unveiled the reality of his father and grandfather. He showed that they deviated from the straight path. I (the author) think that there is no political speech similar to this in focusing on the truth, reality, honesty, refraining from selfishness, and renouncing the world. This speech resulted from a soul full of virtues and noble ideals.
The Umayyads ran in disorder and surged in discord. They went to the teacher of Mu‘awiya, accused him of teaching him friendship to the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, and buried him alive.10 Hence chaos prevailed all parts of Syria. In this connection the poet said:
I can see the discord whose boilers are boiling,
and the authority after Abi Layla (Mu‘awiya)
is for him who overcomes.
Thus, Mu‘awiya bin Yazid, the noblest Umayyad, whom history has ever known, could destroy the dynasty of the family of Abi Sufyan.
What a farcical time! What a ridiculous fate! How did Marwan bin al-Hakam become a caliph over the Muslims? How was the important office of the Caliphate entrusted to him? Marwan bin al-Hakam and his father were cowardly persons. Because of their corrupt behavior, Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, banished them. The bad social, intellectual and religious circumstances caused to the Muslim these tragedies and misfortunes, and helped this corrupt person become a ruler over them.
Marwan was one of the destructive elements of falsehood and hypocrisy. He had shameful qualities and anti-Islam attitudes. All the historians unanimously agreed that Marwan was a cheating, evil person, that the Muslims detested him and called him Khayt Batil (the thread of falsehood). He and his father lived in exile (at al-Ta’if) throughout the time of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the government of the two Shaykhs (i.e. Abu’ Bakr and ‘Umar). They stayed there until they became hungry and poor. When ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan became a caliph, he summoned them to Medina (Yathrib) brought them near to him, and spent money on them lavishly. He trusted Marwan, appointed him a minister, and entrusted to him all the political affairs, though he had no correct political opinion. However, it was the tribal fanaticism that moved ‘Uthman to take care of the Umayyads and the family of Abi Mi‘yat, to give to them the properties of the Muslims, and to single them out for the highest official positions. He created from them a dangerous capitalist family, such that they controlled the political affairs of the Islamic countries, and it was very difficult for the Muslims to decrease their influence and to destroy their domination.
Anyhow, during the days of the Caliphate of ‘Uthman, Marwan was the absolute ruler. He moved about in the affairs of the state according to his desires. Hence the revolutionary Muslims all over the Islamic countries demanded ‘Uthman to remove him from office, but he refused their demand and insisted on clinging to him. Accordingly, the revolutionists attacked ‘Uthman and killed him.
After the murder of ‘Uthman, all the Muslims pledged their allegiance to Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and Pioneer of social justice on the earth. The pledge of allegiance to him was general. All the Muslims in Medina (Yathrib) and the rest of the Islamic cities celebrated it, while they did not celebrate the pledge of allegiance to the other Caliphs.
The Qurayshi capitalist forces were frightened when the Muslims pledged allegiance to Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. This is because they feared for the properties which they took from the people during the government of ‘Uthman, and which the Imam, peace be on him, would confiscate. They held meetings and exchanged views. Then they accused the Imam of murdering ‘Uthman, and mutinied against him. They used Mrs. ‘A’isha as a means. They adopted her as a face to seduce the mobbish whom rumors changed from state to state, and who are the affliction of this East throughout history. Anyhow, they entrusted the leadership of the movement to ‘A’isha, and appointed her as a commander-in-chief of the armed forces. All the Umayyads headed by Marwan joined the rebels. They crept toward Basrah and occupied it. Hence Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, headed an army and hurried to Basrah to destroy this mutiny. After the terrible battle which the historians have mentioned, the Imam’s Army could defeat ‘A’isha’s troops. It could captured ‘A’isha and her prominent commanders among whom was Marwan.
Al-Hasan and al-Husayn interceded for Marwan with their father to release him, and he pardoned him. Then Marwan and the members of his family fled to Syria, which was the stronghold of the Umayyads. He stayed with his cousin Mu‘awiya, and joined him in waging war against the legal authority. After the terrible events and black afflictions which befell the Muslims, Mu‘awiya could attain the Caliphate with sword and trickery. He appointed Marwan as a governor over Medina (Yathrib) several times. When Mu‘awiya died and Yazid held the reins of authority, Marwan was among those who were the first to support his government. It was he who advised al-Walid, the governor of Medina, to arrest Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, but he refused to respond him. When Yazid perished, and Mu‘awiya (the Second) abdicated the Caliphate, Marwan decided to pledge allegiance to ‘Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr. However, ‘Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr prevented him from this idea11. He did not dream of the Caliphate nor was he worthy of it, for he had no good past nor did he render any service to the Muslims.
Anyhow, al-Husayn (bin Numayr) nominated Marwan for the Caliphate. He said: “In my sleep I saw a lamp hanging in the heaven. He who undertook the Caliphate could reach it. None could reach it except Marwan.12” Then he told the Syrians about his dream, and they responded to him. Accordingly, Rouh b. Zunba‘ addressed the Syrians saying: “O Syrians, this is Marwan b. al-Hakam, who is the Shaykh of Quraysh, demanded the blood of ‘Uthman, fought against ‘Ali b. Abi Talib at the Battle of the Camel and Battle of Siffin. So pledge allegiance to the great one!13” Hence the opportunists and mobbish competed with each other for pledging allegiance to Marwan, who was the first to assume the Marwani State, which subjected the Muslims to tyranny, poverty, and deprivation.
During the days of Marwan, the Shi‘ites disappeared, for they feared for their souls and properties. Al-Mas‘u’di said: “The believers disappeared. The Shi‘ites were sought in the cities of the land. Their blood was shed in vain, and their properties were (confiscated). They (the Marwanis) cursed (Imam ‘Ali), the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, on their pulpits.14”
Marwan was fond of cursing Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. He cursed him on the pulpits every Friday when he was the governor of Medina (Yathrib).15 He expressed the reason for cursing Imam ‘Ali when he met Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and said to him: “None of the people defended our companion (i.e. ‘Uthman) more than your Companion (i.e. Imam ‘Ali) did.” Hence Zayn al-‘Abidin asked him: “So why do curse him on the pulpits?”
“The authority does not go well with us except through this,” replied Marwan.16
Disparaging Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and distorting his brilliant reality was part of the Umayyad policy based on lying, deception, and misguidance.
Arab history and Islamic Sunna are full of fabricated narrations whose fabricators intended to deny the truth, that they might preserve their narrow interests. Some of these fabricated narrations show that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, had strong relationships with Marwan b. al-Hakam. They are as follows:
1. Al-Dhahabi17 and b. Hajar18 mentioned that Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, reported Prophetic traditions on the authority of Marwan b. al-Hakam. We cannot believe this narration because Marwan did not take care of the Prophetic traditions and the Islamic norms of sunna, for he devoted himself to the political affairs, strengthening the government of the Umayyads, and increasing his wealth through the money he took from the Muslims’ Public Treasury.
2. Ibn Sa‘d reported that Marwan sent a messenger to Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, and he said to him: “Your father al-Husayn asked Marwan to loan him four thousand dinars. At that time Marwan had not such a sum of money. Now, he has this sum of money. If you want it, he will send it for you.” The Imam asked it, and it remained with him. None of the Marwanis asked him for it. When Hisham b. ‘Abd al-Malik became a ruler, he asked the Imam to return the money. The Imam returned it, but Hisham gave it to the Imam as a gift.
This narration is clear in fornication. This is because Imam al-Husayn refused abasement. He disdained Marwan, who was fond of cursing Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, and asked the governor of Medina to kill him (al-Husayn) if he refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid. There was an enmity standing between Imam al-Husayn and Marwan. Therefore, how did Imam al-Husayn yield to Marwan and ask him for a loan? How did Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, ask him for this a loan, while the Umayyads murdered his father?
3. Some narrators reported that Marwan b. al-Hakam asked Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, to marry some women, that Allah might provide him with some children to replace al-Husayn’s children, whom the Umayyads killed with their own swords. The Imam said to him: “I have no money to get married!” Hence Marwan lent him a hundred thousands (dinars). The Imam took it and got married. When Marwan was about to die, he asked his children not to take the money from ‘Ali b. al-Husayn (Zayn al-‘Abidin). Al-Dhahabi commented on this narration saying: “Marwan did not die a natural death. Rather his wife Umm Khalid strangled him. So how did he have his own consciousness and order this money to be given to ‘Ali b. al-Husayn?”19
The Caliphate of Marwan did not lengthen, for Marwan stayed on the throne of government for some months. Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, foretold the period of his Caliphate, and described it as short as the dog licked its nose.20 When Marwan died, one of the pages of treason, sins, and falsehood was turned over!
The Islamic Caliphate, which was the Shade of Allah on the earth, reached to one of the Umayyad stubborn tyrants. He was ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan. He was appointed as caliph during the lifetime of his father. When his father perished, the pledge of allegiance to him was renewed in Damascus and Egypt.21 The narrators said: “Before ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan became a caliph, he had displayed asceticism and worship, that he might deceive the populace and pave the way to government. When he was given good news of the kingdom, he closed the copy of the Qur’an, which was in his hand, and said: ‘This is the end of the covenant with you.’ Or he said: ‘This is a separation between me and you.’22” He was truthful to his words, for he separated himself from Allah’s Book from the first moment when he held the reins of government, ruled the Muslims with a black policy, and empowered over them men like wolves, and they spread tyranny, injustice, and terrorism.
‘Abd al-Malik was an arrogant tyrant. He paid no attention to what he did, as al-Mansu’r al-Dawaniqi said.23 It was he who said: “After this station of mine, if someone orders me to fear Allah, I will cut off his neck!24” He also said: “I will cure this community with nothing except with the sword until your affairs go well with me!25” Have you seen how did he treat his subjects rudely? He did not treat them with mercy and kindness. Rather he treat them with violence, tyranny, and injustice. These qualities were some of his psychological pleasure. Rather they were some of his personal elements. He went too far in shedding blood without any right, hence he spread bereavement, sadness, and lamentation among the houses of the Muslims. Umm al-Darda’ said to him: “I have heard that you drank wine after asceticism and worship!” “Yes, by Allah! I have also drunk blood!26” he replied. He shed the blood of the Muslims and drank it until he became full.
In addition to his tyranny, violence, and wrongdoing, he was a miser. Hence he was called Rashah al-Hijara (the Oozing of the Stone).27 During the days of his government, the community suffered hunger, poverty, and deprivation. We will briefly mention some of his unjust works and his attitudes toward Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him.
‘Abd al-Malik poured upon the Muslims a shower of painful torture, and turned their life into an unbearable inferno. This was when he appointed as governor al-Hajjaj b. Yousif al-Thaqafi, who was the worst terrorist whom mankind has ever known throughout history. He gave him wide-range authority. He made him move about in the affairs of the state according to his desires and inclinations, which did not yield, in any case, to the logic of law; rather they yielded to the logic of violence and dictatorship. Hence, al-Hajjaj ordered some people to be executed; some to be imprisoned; some to be arrested. He did this to meet his desires, not to preserve the regime. Accordingly, he created an atmosphere of political crises which were unique in cruelty and bitterness. We will briefly speak about some of the aspects of his wrongdoing:
This arrogant tyrant shed the blood of the Muslims without any right. AL-Damyari said: “Al-Hajjaj could not withhold himself from shedding blood. He committed what none did.28” Those whom he killed without any right, except those whom he killed during his battles, were counted, and they were one hundred and twenty thousand people.29 It was said that they were one hundred and thirty thousand people.30 He officially confessed shedding blood when he said: “By Allah, I think that there is none on the earth bolder than me in shedding blood.31” He killed with his own sword the reciters of the Qur’an, the worshippers, and the scholars when they supported the revolt of Ibn al-Ash‘ath. Among those whom he killed without any right was Sa‘id b. Jubayr, who was a great religious scholar and among the eminent figures of the Shi‘ites. Al-Hasan al-Basri praised Sa‘id saying: “By Allah, Sa‘id b. Jubayr died, while all the people on the earth were in need of his knowledge.32”
Al-Hajjaj showed mortal enmity toward the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and harbored malice against him. Before the people, he addressed Allah, the Exalted, saying: “Which is better-Your Messenger (Muhammad) or Your caliph (‘Abd al-Malik)?33” He punished and laughed at those who visited the grave of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, saying: “Woe unto them! They circle walls and decayed bones! Why do they not go round the palace of ‘Abd al-Malik, the Commander of the faithful? Do they not know that the Caliph is better than the Messenger?34” This rude person (al-Hajjaj) preferred ‘Abd al-Malik to the greatest Messenger, whom Allah sent as mercy for mankind. He not only made little of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, but also his survival Companions. The historians said: “Al-Hajjaj spared no effort to abase the Prophet’s companions35 to the extent that he stamped their necks and their hands.36”
This evil criminal (al-Hajjaj) went too far in displaying enmity toward the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), from whom Allah took away uncleanliness, and whom He purified completely. Hence he wrote to ‘Abd al-Malik saying: “If you want your kingdom to be firm, then kill ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.” However, ‘Abd al-Malik did not respond to him and wrote to him: “Keep me away from the blood of the Hashimites, and spare their blood. This is because Allah removed the kingdom of the family of Abi Sufyan when they went to extremes in shedding their blood.”
When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, heard of this, he thanked ‘Abd al-Malik and lauded him.37 The historians said that the best means to seek nearness to al-Hajjaj was disparaging Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. A man came and said to Him: “O Emir, my family has wronged me when it named me ‘Ali! I am poor and miserable! I am in need of the Emir’s gifts!”
Al-Hajjaj was pleased with the man, hence he said to him: “It is gentle of you, hence I have appointed over so-and-so.38” Hisham al-Kalbi narrated: “The children of Awad39 taught their children how to curse ‘Ali b. Abi Talib. A man belonging to the tribe of ‘Abd Allah b. Idris b. Hani’. The man came to al-Hajjaj b. Yousif and said some words to him. Al-Hajjaj answered the man crudely, hence the man interrupted him saying: ‘Do not say this, O Emir! We have the excellencies of which Quraysh and Thaqif boast !’”
Al-Hajjaj admired the man and asked him: “What are your excellencies?”
“We never disparage ‘Uthman in our assembly, nor do we mention him with evil,” replied the man.
“This is an excellence,” explained al-Hajjaj.
“We have no rebel,” said the man.
“This is an excellence,” said al-Hajjaj.
Then the man went on mentioning the excellencies of his people saying: “None of us attended an assembly of Abi Turab (Imam ‘Ali) except one man, and this has made him fallen and unknown in our eyes. He has neither importance nor value with us.” Al-Hajjaj was pleased with this, hence he said: “This is an excellence.”
The man said: “If one of us wants to marry a woman, he asks her whether she loves Abu’ Turab (Imam ‘Ali) or not. If she loves him, he turns aside from her and does not marry her.”
Al-Hajjaj said: “This is an excellence.”
The man said: “We have never named our sons ‘Ali, Hasan, and Husayn, nor have we named our daughters Fatima.”
Al-Hajjaj said: “This is an excellence.”
The man said: “When al-Husayn came to Iraq, one of our womenfolk vowed that if Allah had killed him, she would have ordered ten camels to be slaughtered. When he was killed, she performed her vow.”
Al-Hajjaj became happy with this excellence and said: “This is an excellence.”
The man said: “One of our men was summoned to renounce and curse ‘Ali, and he said: ‘I renounce and curse not only him, but also al-Hasan and al-Husayn!’”
Al-Hajjaj hastened to say: “By Allah, this is an excellence!”
The man said: “‘Abd al-Malik, the Commander of the faithful, said to us: ‘You are the underwear (shi‘ar) which is under the outer garments (dithar) (i.e., the nearest to me), and you are the supporters (ansar) after the Supporters.’”
Al-Hajjaj said: “This is an excellence!”40
This is sufficient proof for the exalted position of Imam ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, for none detested him except those who had neither honor nor excellence, such as al-Hajjaj b. Yousif and his corrupt followers.
An example of the crimes and offenses of this tyrant (al-Hajjaj) was his aggression against the Holy House, which Allah has appointed as security for men. He besieged it for six months and seventeen nights when Ibn al-Zubayr sought sanctuary in it. He placed his fighters on the Mountain of Abi Qays and commanded them to throw fire and stones at the Kaaba with their catapults. His fighters carried out his commands and said:
We are throwing (fire and stones) at the walls of that Masjid with catapults like a foaming bull!41
This tyrant did not respect the Sacred House of Allah; he violated its sacredness. Yazid b. Mu‘awiya had violated its sacredness before him.
After al-Hajjaj had demolished the Holy Kaaba, the religious scholars and judges wanted to rebuild it. When they wanted to place the Black Stone in its place, it did not become stable. Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin came, and the people magnified him. Then he took the Black Stone and returned it to its place, and it became stable. Hence the people loudly exclaimed: “Allah is Great!”42
This professional terrorist (al-Hajjaj) used the prisons which did not protect (the prisoners) from heat and coldness. He severely tortured the prisoners. He drew them on broken Persian canes until they bled. The historians said: “Fifty thousand men and thirty thousand women died in his prisons. He imprisoned both men and women in one place.43” “ There were thirty-three innocent prisoners in his prisons.44” He passed by the prisoners and said to them: ‘Go away into it and speak not to Me!’45” He likened the prisoners to the inhabitants of the Fire, and likened himself to the Great Creator.
Allah punished this wicked criminal (al-Hajjaj), who drowned the country in afflictions and misfortunes. He made Canker attack his stomach, and cold attack his body. The braziers full of fire were placed around him. They were brought nearer to him to the extent that they burnt his body, but he did not feel them. Pain attacked him severely, hence he complained of this to al-Hasan al-Basri, and he said to him: “I had prohibited you from mistreating the righteous, but you insisted on this.” Then al-Hajjaj said to al-Hasan: “O Hasan, I do not ask you to ask Allah to relieve me. However, I ask you to ask Him to seize my soul quickly, and not to lengthen torturing me.46”
This evil criminal suffered the agony of death until he perished. Hence his wicked soul went to the Fire. When he died, the door of tyranny was broken, and the spirit of injustice decreased. When al-Hasan al-Basri heard of his death, he said: “O Allah, you have made him die, then deaden the norms of his sunna. He (al-Hajjaj) came to us weak-sighted and short-fingered! He never struggled in the way of Allah. An example of his unbelief is that he said: ‘Pledge allegiance to me; otherwise I will cut off your necks!’47” ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said: “If all communities brought their wicked persons and we brought al-Hajjaj, we would overcome them.48” Al-Sha‘bi said: “If all communities brought their evil and sinful persons and we brought al-Hajjaj, we would surpass them.49” The Muslims were very glad to hear the news of the death of this wicked criminal. They cursed him until Allah would inherit the earth and what was on it.
‘Abd al-Malik appointed the most wicked of Allah’s creatures over the Islamic world, and they spread tyranny and oppression. He appointed Hisham b. Isma‘il al-Makhzu’mi as governor over Medina (Yathrib), and he behaved badly, governed the people with injustice, and wronged the family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family.50 Moreover he mistreated Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab, a jurist, and ordered him to be whipped sixty times.51 The subjects complained to ‘Abd al-Malik, but he did not respond to them; rather he scolded them. Al-Nimri also complained to him of wrongdoing, persecution, and plundering properties. Addressing him in a poem, he said:
As for the poor, their milk she-camels have been
taken; everything has been taken even the hair (of camels).
Hence their families have become poorer!
The rich have also become poor, and nothing of their
possessions has remained because of the disorders.
If you raise (this sate) from them now, you will refresh
them; otherwise they will perish in the next year.52
These lines of poetry mean that the authorities had confiscated the norishments of the poor and deprived them of their properties. They took all things from them even the hair of the camels. They also transgressed against the rich and stopped the development of their properties. The poet asked sympathy from ‘Abd al-Malik to refresh his people and to raise wrongdoing from them. He thought that if he had not helped them they would have perished.
As for the affairs of Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, with ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, they are as follows:
‘Abd al-Malik circled the Kaaba, so did the Imam. The pilgrims surrounded the Imam and magnified him. Hence ‘Abd al-Malik asked the people about him, and they said to him: “This is ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.” He summoned him and said to him: “O ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, I am not the murderer of your father! What has prevented you from coming to me?”
The Imam did not take care of him and answered him: “The murderer of my father has spoiled his life in this world through his deed, and my father has spoiled the life of his murderer in the next world. If you want to be such a person, then be so.”
The vainglory of ‘Abd al-Malik became lower, and he said: No, but come to us, that you may attain something of our world.”
The Imam, peace be on him, refused to respond to him.53
‘Abd al-Malik heard that the sword of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, was with Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. Hence he sent for him and asked him to give to him (the sword) as gift or need. However, the Imam refused to respond to him. As a result ‘Abd al-Malik wrote to him and threatened him with cutting off his livelihood from the Public Treasury, so the Imam, peace be on him, answered him:
“Now then, Allah has guaranteed the relief of the Allah-fearing from where they are forced, and provision from where they deem not. He, Great be His Name, said: ‘Surely Allah loves not anyone who is unfaithful, ungrateful.’ Then think: who is worthier of this verse-I or you? Greetings.54”
‘Abd al-Malik appointed a spy in Medina to inform him of all things therein. The Imam, peace be on him, had released a slave girl and married her. ‘Abd al-Malik made use of this event, criticized the Imam for it, and wrote to him:
“Now then, I have been informed of your marrying a slave girl. I know that there are qualified Qurashi (women) who will bear you noble children. You have not thought of yourself nor have you thought of your children. Greetings.”
This message contains the essence and customs of the pre-Islamic people, who refrained from marrying non-Arab women. Hence the Imam replied to him with the following letter which has included Islamic logic: “Now then, I have received your letter in which you have scolded me for marrying my slave girl, claimed that there are Qurayshi women through whom I can be glorious, and have noble children, that there is no glory and generosity higher than Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. (As for the slave girl), she had been the possession of my right hand. I have released her according to the command of Allah, the Great and Almighty. I have besought His reward through her. Then I have returned her according to His norms of sunna. He who is honest in the religion does not oppose any of Allah’s commands. Through Islam Allah has abolished mean things, completed shortcomings, and taken away ignobility. Therefore, the Muslim blames not; rather those who (follow) the pre-Islamic thoughts blame!55”
Islam has adopted abolishing all kinds of racism and all the barriers which divide the members of Islamic society, create selfishness and hatred among them. The organization of the Muslim family has been based on equity, not on lineage. However, ‘Abd al-Malik did not understand this brilliant reality, hence he criticizing the Imam, peace be on him, for marring a miserable slave girl after he had released her. There is no blame or injury against the Imam; rather blame and injury are against the corrupt customs of those who lived before Islam. The historians said: “When ‘Abd al-Malik read the message of the Imam, peace be on him, he admired it and said: ‘‘ ‘Ali b. al-Husayn increases in honor, while the people abase themselves.56”
Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, sent a letter to ‘Abd al-Malik and summoned him therein to fear Allah and obey Him. The letter is as follows:
“Now then, nothing exalts you except Allah, and you are in need of Him. If you are exalted through him, then pardon (men) for Him, for you are powerful through Him, and to Him you will return. Greetings.57”
This, though brief, is one the Arab most eloquent messages, and contains affairs of great importance. They are as follows:
1. Reverential fear of Allah is the reason for exaltation and glory; kingdom and authority are not two reasons for them.
2. Though ‘Abd al-Malik had a great kingdom, he was in need of Allah, who was capable of depriving of his kingdom.
3. The Imam summoned ‘Abd al-Malik to pardon those evildoers, that he might seek nearness to Allah, to Whom he would return.
The Imam’s knowledge, asceticism, piety, and reverential fear spread all over the Islamic world. In their assemblies, the people spoke about his excellencies and laudable deeds. ‘Abd al-Malik was informed of this, and he became very angry. Hence he ordered his men to arrest the Imam and send him to Damascus. While the Imam was being preparing for going there, a miracle occurred. Al-Zuhri narrated the miracle saying: “I witnessed ‘Ali b. al-Husayn on the day when ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan ordered him to be sent from Medina to Syria. He made him heavy in iron, and entrusted him to many guards. I asked permission from them to greet and see him off. They permitted me, and I went to him. He was in a dome. His hands and legs were shackled. Hence I wept and said to him: ‘I wish I were in your place, and you were safe!’ He said: ‘O Zuhri, do you think that the shackles around my hands, legs, and neck grieve me? If I willed, they would not be!’
Then he brought his hands and legs out of the shackles. Then he said: ‘I will not pass by two way stations of Medina with them!’” Al-Zuhri added: “We passed four nights, and the guards came and looked for ‘Ali b. al-Husayn in Medina, but they did not find him. I asked the guards about him, and one of them answered me: ‘We saw none following him, nor did we see him dismounting. We were around him. We did not sleep, for we were observing him. When we entered upon morning, we found nothing in his place except the shackles.’” Then al-Zuhri added: “After this I went to ‘Abd al-Malik, and he asked me about ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, and I told him. Then he said to me: ‘‘Ali b. al-Husayn came to me on the day when the helpers lost him, and asked me: ‘What am I? What you are?’ Then I said to him: Stay with me. He said: ‘No, I dislike this.’ Then he went out. By Allah, my garment was full of fear of him.’” Al-Zuhri said: [So I said:] “O Commander of the faithful, ‘Ali b. al-Husayn is not as you imagine. He is busy with himself. ‘Abd al-Malik said: ‘ How an excellent work!’”58
Allah, the Exalted, make miracles and excellencies run through the hands of His friends, that He may exalt them, magnify their importance, and strengthen their spiritual forces.
With this we will end our speech about the events which occurred between the Imam, peace be on him, and ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwan.
‘Abd al-Malik became ill. His doctors treated him, but all their efforts were in vain. Hence death approached him quickly. Then he died. The historians said: “‘Abd al-Malik was anxious and disturbed. His evil works attacked him, hence he hit himself on the head, and said: ‘I wish I earned my livelihood day by day, busied myself with worshipping and obeying my Lord, the Great and Almighty.’59”
‘Abd al-Malik appointed his son al-Walid as successor after him. He ordered him to take care of al-Hajjaj, a terrorist criminal, saying: “Consider al-Hajjaj and honor him. It is he who has paved the way to the pulpits, and he is your sword, Walid, and your hand against your enemy. Listen not to anyone’s words against him. You need him more than he needs you. When I die, summon the people to pledge allegiance to you. Employ your sword against those who refuse it.60”
These commandments represent ‘Abd al-Malik’s inclinations toward evil even in the last hours of his lifetime. He advised his son to take care of al-Hajjaj, the sinful shedder of blood, who drowned the Islamic countries in afflictions and misfortunes, spread bereavement, sorrow, and mourning among the Muslims. He also ordered him to kill those who were dissatisfied with the Umayyad government. Nothing remained after these commandments except moments, and then he died.61 His death was on Wednesday, the first half of Shawwal, in the year 86 A. H.62 Al-Hasan al-Basri was asked about ‘Abd al-Malik, and he said: “What will I say concerning a man one of whose evil acts was al-Hajjaj? 63”
Al-Walid held the reins of government on the day when his father ‘Abd al-Malik died. Al-Mas‘u’di described him saying: “Al-Walid was a stubborn, unjust, and malicious tyrant.64” He made grammatical mistakes. He delivered a sermon in the Mosque of the Prophet saying: “Ya ahlu al-Medina (O People of Medina).” Ahl is a noun in the vocative. The grammatical rule says that such a noun must be in the accusative. However, he used damma in stead of fattha. One day he delivered a speech saying: Ya laytuha kant al-qadiya [O would that it had made an end (of me) ]. He used damma in stead of fattha on the letter (ت). Hence ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz said: “May it be against you and relieve us from you!” His father blamed him for his making grammatical mistakes saying: “None can be a ruler over the Arabs except him who speaks their language well.” Then he gathered the grammarians to teach him. Hence al-Walid entered a house and did not go out of it for six months. Then he went out of it while he was more ignorant of grammar than he was before.65 ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz criticized al-Walid’s government saying: “Al-Walid was one of those who filled the earth with tyranny!66”
In the time of this arrogant tyrant (al-Walid), Sa‘id b. Jubayr, a great scholar, was murdered by al-Hajjaj b. Yousif. His murder was among the critical events which terrified the Muslims.
This tyrant (al-Walid) appointed Salih b. ‘Abd Allah al-Murri governor over Medina (Yathrib). He wrote to him to bring al-Hasan b. al-Hasan, an ‘Alid person, out of prison and whip him five hundred times. Hence Salih took al-Hasan to the Mosque in order to whip him before the people. When Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him, heard of this, he hastened to al-Hasan, approached him, and said to him: “O cousin, supplicate (Allah) with the supplication for grief, and He will relieve you.”
“What is it?” al-Hasan asked.
Say: “There is no god but Allah, the Clement, the Generous! There is no god but Allah, the All-high, the All-mighty! Glory belongs to Allah, Lord of the seven heavens, Lord of the Great Throne! Praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds!”
Al-Hasan repeated this supplication, and supplicated Allah sincerely. Hence Allah turned the affliction away from him. The Governor did not carry out what he was commanded to do. Then he wrote to al-Walid about al-Hasan’s affair, and he ordered him to release him.67
The historians said: “Al-Walid was the most malicious toward Imam Zayn al-‘Abidin, peace be on him. He thought that the kingdom and authority would not go well with him as long as the Imam, peace be on him, was (alive). Hence he gave him poison to drink.68” I (the author) will mention this at the end.
Anyhow, al-Walid was the last Umayyad king with whom the Imam was coeval.
As for the Imam’s attitude toward the kings of his time, it was distinguished by hatred and detest toward them, for their works were corrupt, their policy was evil, and they deviated from the Straight Path. In the meantime, he expected that Islam would be exalted, and its troops would be victorious over the troops of those who deviated from it, that the Banner of Allah might wave high over the earth.
This is one of the great supplications, which display the highest moral traits of the Imam, peace be on him, and his great talents, which did not yield to any desire except the truth. Now, let’s listen to this great supplication with which he would supplicate for the people of the frontiers:
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, fortify the frontiers of the Muslims through Your mighty, support their defenders through Your strength, and lavish upon them gifts through Your wealth! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, increase their number, hone their weapons, guard their territory, defend their midst, unite their throng, arrange their affair, send them supplies in a steady string, undertake Yourself to suffice them with provisions, support them with victory, help them with patience, and give them subtlety in guile! O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, give them the knowledge of that of which they are ignorant, teach them what they do not know, and show them what they do not see!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad and his Household, make them forget when they meet the enemy to remember this cheating and delusive world of theirs, erase from their hearts the thought of enchanting possessions, place the Garden before their eyes, and display to their sight that part of it which You have prepared for themthe homes of everlastingness and mansions of honor, the beautiful houris, the rivers gushing forth with all sorts of drinks, the trees hanging low with all kinds of fruitslest any of them think of turning his back or suggest to himself to flee his opponent!”
This part is full of prayers for the Muslim defenders and guards, who were at the frontiers, and stood as strong barriers in order to prevent the enemies from entering the Islamic lands. The Imam supplicated to Allah for them in order to exalt them, to support them, to increase their number, and to make their weapons penetrate the necks of their enemies. He asked Him to unite their throng, to arrange their affair, to send them supplies in a steady string, and to suffice them with provisions, that they might be stable and free from need. He asked Him to support them with victory when they met their enemies, to make them forget the remembrance of the world, the thought of possessions which would prevent them from resisting their enemies, and to place the Garden before their eyes, that they might fight with faithfulness and sincerity. These brilliant paragraphs of the Imam, peace be on him, show that he had a wide experience in war techniques and psychological ways which would give the strugglers a success in fighting against the enemies. Now, let’s listen to other parts of this great supplication:
“O Allah, defeat their enemy through that, trim their nails from them, separate them from their weapons, pull out the firm ties from their hearts, keep them far away from their stores, bewilder them in their roads, turn them astray from their direction, cut off reinforcements from them, chop them down in numbers, fill their hearts with terror, hold back their tongues from speaking, scatter by them the ones behind them, make them a lesson for those beyond them, and through their degradation cut off the hopes of those who come after them.
“O Allah, make the wombs of their women barren, dry up the loins of their men, cut off the breeding of their mounts and their cattle, and permit not their sky to rain or their earth to grow! O Allah, through that strengthen the prowess of the People of Islam, fortify their cities, increase their properties, give them ease from their fighting to worship You and from their warfare to be alone with You, so that none will be worshipped in the regions of the earth but You and no forehead of theirs may be rubbed in dust for less than You!”
These paragraphs are full of supplications against the enemy troops which warred against Islam. The Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah, the Exalted, to defeat their troops, to divide them, to separate them from their weapons, to fill their hearts with fear and terror of the Muslims. He asked Allah, the Exalted, to tie back their tongues from speaking, and to inflict on them a destructive defeat which would make them a lesson for those beyond them. He asked Allah to dry up the loins of their men and to make the wombs of their women barren, for they would give birth to unbelievers. He asked Him to destroy their economic life, that they might not be strong enough to war against the Muslims. Then he asked Him to exalt and strengthen the Muslims, that they might devote themselves to worshipping and obeying Him. Now, let’s listen to another part of this Holy Supplication:
“O Allah, send out the Muslims of every region on raids against the idolaters who face them! Reinforce them with angels in ranks from You, till the idolaters are routed by them to the end of the land, slain in Your earth or taken captive, or till they admit that You are Allah, other than whom there is no god, You are alone, who has no associate! O Allah, include in this Your enemies in the regions of the lands, the Indians, the Byzantines, the Turks, the Khasars, the Abyssinians, the Nubians, the Zanjis, the Slavs, the Daylamites, and the rest of the idol-worshipping nations, those whose names and attributes are concealed, but whom You count in Your cognizance and oversee through Your power! O Allah, distract the idolaters from reaching for the borders of the Muslims through the idolaters, bar them from cutting them down through being cut down, and hold them back from massing together against them through dissension! O Allah, empty their hearts of security and their bodies of strength, distract their hearts from thinking of stratagems, make their limbs too feeble for clashing with men, make them too cowardly for contending with champions, send against them a troop of Your angels with some of Your severity as You did on the Day of Badr, so that through it You may cut off their roots, harvest their thorns, and disperse their number!”
This paragraph shows that the Imam took great care of the victory of the Muslims over the idolaters. He asked Allah to reinforce them with angels in ranks from Him, till the idolaters were routed by them to the end of the land, slain in His earth or taken captive, or till they admitted the Unity of Allah, the Creator of the universe and Giver of life.
The Imam, peace be on him, went on supplicating against the unbelieving troops which spread in the regions of the earth. He asked Allah to abase and undermine them, to spread among them enmity and detest, so that they might not unite their throng against the Muslims. He asked Him to empty their hearts of security and their bodies of strength, make their limbs too feeble for clashing with the Muslims, to reinforce the Muslims with angels in ranks, that He might grant them a victory, as He did at the Battle of Badr, so that He might harvest the thorns of the idolaters, disperse their number and throng. Now, let’s listen to another part of this great supplication:
“Mix their waters with pestilence and their foods with maladies, hurl down their cities, harass them with peltings, hinder them through drought, place their supplies in the most ill-omened part of Your earth and the farthest from them, bar them from its fortresses, and strike them with constant hunger and painful illness! O Allah, if a worrier from the people of Your creed wars against them or a struggler from the followers of your prescriptions struggles against them so that Your religion may be the highest, You party the strongest, and Your share the fullest, cast ease to him, arrange his affair, attend to him by granting success, select for him his companions, strengthen his back, lavish upon him livelihood, give him enjoyment of joyous vitality, cool for him the heat of yearning, give him sanctuary from the gloom of loneliness, make him forget the remembrance of wife and child, pass along to him an excellent intention, attend to him with well-being, make safety his companion, release him from cowardice, inspire him with boldness, provide him with strength, support him with help, teach him right conduct and the norms of the Sunna, point him straight in judgment, remove from him hypocrisy, purify him from seeking fame, and make his thinking and remembrance, his departing and his staying, be in You and for You! When he stands in ranks before Your enemy and his enemy, make them few in his eye, diminish their importance in his heart, give him a turn to prevail over them, not them a turn to prevail over him! But if You seal him with felicity and decree for him martyrdom, then let it be after he has exterminated Your enemies by slaying, captivity has afflicted them, the borders of the Muslims are secure, and the enemy has turned his back in flight!”
This part of the supplication of the Imam, peace be on him, contains the following:
Firstly, the Imam supplicated Allah against the idolaters who warred against Islam and showed enmity toward it. He asked Allah to strike them with the pestilence which is nowadays called Cholera, which spreads through water, and it infects those who drink it. In his supplication, the Imam has discovered this scientific reality. He also supplicated Him to mix their foods with maladies, that they might be unable to fight against Islam. Moreover, he asked Him to afflict their cities with eclipse and earthquakes, to strike them with drought and hunger, and to decrease their foods, that their sate might be worse.
Secondly, the Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah, the Exalted, to strengthen those who struggled for His sake, in the way of Islam, and defeating the troops which showed enmity toward it. He asked Him to give them success, strength, activity, well-being, bravery, boldness, and harshness against the enemies. Anyhow, he asked Him to lavish upon them all good qualities. After this, let’s listen to the last parts of his supplication:
“O Allah, and if a Muslim should take the place of a warrior or a soldier in his home, attend to those left behind in his absence, help him with a portion of his property, assist him with equipment, hone him for the struggle, send along with him a supplication for his purpose, or guard his honor in his absence, reward him with the like of his reward measure for measure, like for like, and recompense him for his act with an immediate compensation through which he will hasten to the profit of what he has sent forth and the joy of what he has given, till the present moment takes him to the bounty You have granted to him and the generosity You have prepared for him!
“O Allah, and if the affair of Islam should worry a Muslim and the alliance of the idolaters’ against Islam should grieve him, so that he has the intention to go to war and is about to enter the struggle, but frailty keeps him seated, neediness keeps him waiting, a mishap delays him, or an obstruction prevents him from his wish, write his name among the worshippers, make incumbent for him the reward of the strugglers, and place him among the ranks of the martyrs and the righteous!
“O Allah, bless Muhammad, Your slave and Your messenger, and the Household of Muhammad, with a blessing high above all other blessings, towering beyond all other blessings, towering beyond all other salutations, a blessing whose end is never reached and whose number is never cut off, like the most perfect of Your blessings that have passed to any one of Your friends! You are All-kind, Praiseworthy, the Originator who takes back again, Accomplisher of what You desire.”69
The Imam, peace be on him, supplicated for him who took the place of a worrier or a soldier, attended to his family in his absence, helped him with a portion of his property, assisted him with equipment, and honed him for the struggle. He asked Allah to reward such a person with the like of the worrier’s reward measure for measure. He also supplicated for the Muslim who took care of the affair of Islam, grieved because the idolaters massed together against Islam, intended to go to war, and was about to enter the struggle, but an obstruction kept him seated. The Imam, peace be on him, asked Allah to make his reward like that of the strugglers, and place him among the martyrs and the righteous.
With this we will end our speech about the kings with whom the Imam, peace be on him, was contemporary.
- 1. Al-Bayqahi, al-Mahasin wa al-Masawi’, vol. 1, p. 29.
- 2. A‘yan al-Shi‘a, vol. 5, p. 26.
- 3. The History of Islam, vol. 1, p. 278.
- 4. Al-Mas‘u`di, Hamish b. al-Athir, vol. 6, p. 7.
- 5. Ibid.
- 6. Al-Mas‘u`di, Muru`jj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 342.
- 7. Al-Tabari, Tarikh (first edition), vol. 6, p. 157.
- 8. Al-Tanbih wa al-Asraf, p. 264.
- 9. Al-Dimyari, Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, pp. 61-62. Al-Niju`m al-Zahira, vol. 1, p. 164.
- 10. Al-Dimyari, Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 62.
- 11. Muru`jj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 31.
- 12. Ibn al-Athir, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 327.
- 13. Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 3.
- 14. Ithbat al-Wasiya, p. 168.
- 15. Hayat al-Imam al-Baqir, vol. 2, p. 16.
- 16. Nahjj al-Balagha, vol. 13, p. 220.
- 17. Tarikh al-Islam (filmed), vol. 2, p. 266, al-Sayyid al-Hakim Library.
- 18. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 7, p. 304.
- 19. Al-Tabaqat al-Kubra, vol. 5, p. 215.
- 20. Siyar ‘Alam al-Nubala’ (filmed), vol. 4, p. 238.
- 21. Ibn Kuthayr, Tarikh, vol. 8, p. 260.
- 22. Ibid.
- 23. Al-Maqrizi, al-Niza‘ wa al-Takhasum, p. 8.
- 24. Al-Siyu`ti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 219.
- 25. Al-Maqrizi, al-Dhahab al-Masbu`k, p. 29.
- 26. Al-Tabari, Tarikh.
- 27. Al-Qada‘i, Tarikh, p. 72.
- 28. Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 167.
- 29. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 211. Taysir al-Wsu`l, vol. 4, p. 31.
- 30. Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 170.
- 31. Ibn Sa‘d, Tabaqat, vol. 6, p. 66.
- 32. Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 171.
- 33. Al-Jahiz, Rasa’il, p. 297. Al-Maqrizi, al-Niza‘ wa al-Takhasum, p. 27.
- 34. Sharh al-Nahjj, vol. 15, p. 242.
- 35. Al-Arbali, Khulasat al-Dhahab al-Masbu`k, p. 9.
- 36. Tarikh al-Khlafa’, p. 221.
- 37. Al-Sayyid al-Hakim Library, al-Kharaiyj wa al-Jaraiyh (manuscript), no. 231.
- 38. Hayat al-Imam al-Hasan bin ‘Ali, vol. 2, p. 336.
- 39. The children of Awad belonged to the children of Sa‘d.
- 40. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, pp. 119-120.
- 41. Ibn ‘Asakir, Tahdhib, vol. 4, p. 50.
- 42. Zayn al-Din al-‘Amili, al-Sirat al-Mustaqim, vol. 2, p. 181.
- 43. Hayat al-Hayawan, vol. 1, p. 170.
- 44. Mu‘jam al-Buldan, vol. 5, p. 349.
- 45. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 212.
- 46. Ibn Khllakan, Wafayat al-A‘yan, vol. 6, p. 347.
- 47. Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, vol. 2, p. 213.
- 48. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 4, p. 133.
- 49. Al-Fakhu`ri, Tuhfat al-Anam, p. 93.
- 50. Al-Ya‘qu`bi, Tarikh, vol. 2, p. 340.
- 51. Ibid., p. 327.
- 52. Ibn Salam, Tabaqat, p. 441.
- 53. Ithbat al-Hudat, vol. 5, p. 229.
- 54. ‘Ayan al-Shi‘a, 4/Q2/980.
- 55. Ibid., 4/Q2/479. There is a letter similar to this in al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 7, p. 121.
- 56. Al-‘Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 7, p. 121.
- 57. Abi Hayyan al-Tawhidi, al-Basa’ir wa al-Dhakha’ir, p. 217. Bahjat al-Majalis wa Uns al-Majalis, vol. 2, pp. 321-322.
- 58. Kifayat al-Talib, pp. 448-449. Jami‘ Karamat al-Awliya’, vol. 2, p. 156. Sharh Shafiyat Abi Firas, vol. 2, p. 104. Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 36, p. 148. Matalib al-Sa’u`l fi Manaqib Al al-Rasu`l, vol. 2, pp. 43-44. Bahr al-Ansab, p. 42. Al-Majjlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 46, p. 123. A‘yan al-Shi‘a Q/4/235. Hulyat al-Awliya’, and others.
- 59. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 68.
- 60. Al-Siyu`ti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 220.
- 61. Hayat al-Imam al-Baqir, vol. 2, p. 40.
- 62. Al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya, vol. 9, p. 68.
- 63. Al-Mas‘u`di, Muru`jj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 96.
- 64. Ibid.
- 65. Ibn al-Athir, Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 138.
- 66. Al-Siyu`ti, Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 223.
- 67. Al-Ithaf bi Hub al-Ashraf, p. 76.
- 68. Al-Durr al-Nazim, p. 182.
- 69. Al-Sahifa al-Sajjadiya, supplication no. 27.