Imam Al-Husayn’s (A) Killers Gave A Religious Hue To Their Crime
Every system is in needs of ideological and religious support for it survival. Thus, every system wants its support to be based on some philosophy or thought, even if it be a religious thought, inscribed on the hearts of people, so that no one objects to it. Yazid’s regime also could not survive without the support of some beliefs.
You should not think that they were so foolish and thinking that everything has come to an end after the battle of Karbala and there was no need of doing anything about it. It wasn’t so. After this tragic event, the regime was always busy planning how to keep the people occupied in an issue so that they are forced to think that whatever was happening was in favor of that regime. For seeking the pleasure of religious class, it is necessary for the regime to give a religious look to their moves.
Therefore, Qadi Shuraih’s help was sought so that people may be satisfied intellectually and their way of thinking could be changed. This thinking was successful till the Asr of Ashura day in Karbala.
Imam Baqir (A) says that thirty thousand people had gathered in Kerbaia to slay the grandson of the Holy Prophet (S). Why? They wanted to seek the nearness of God after shedding the blood of the son of the Holy Prophet (S).1 They used to attack Imam Al-Husayn (A) with swords in order to earn Paradise.
The leaders of those people were bribed with bags of gold for this, as Farazdaq has said: while people were completely unaware of this fact. The leaders who deviated people from their paths were those who had filled their pockets with bribes. The peculiarity of lbne Ziyad’s regime was that he had given his crimes a religious look in order to deceive people.
On the other hand Yazid had a stigma because of his drinking habit. When he got heated up after being intoxicated, his self spoke. Then he would not be able to control himself and used to speak the truth. He had said that he would not accept anything. This habit left him nowhere. Otherwise, Yazid too would have misguided the people through such intellectual attacks.
After the great martyrdom, Ibn Ziyad gathered the people in the great mosque of Kufa to inform them about the matter. He tried to give a religious look to the martyrdom of Imam Al-Husayn (A) at that time also.
He wore the veil of purity and said, “I thank Allah Who granted victory to truth and the truthful ones and killed a liar, son of a liar who used to deceive people.”2 Ibn Ziyad wanted the people to thank Allah and hundreds of people did so. However there was a blind man in the gathering who though unable to see with his physical eyes was very farsighted. He thwarted Ibn Ziyad’s plan.
The Blind Man Did Not Let Ibn Ziyad’s Trick To Succeed
There was a gentleman called Abdullah Ibn Afif.3 May God bless him. Sometimes, it happens that people dare to lay down their lives and save the entire world by sacrificing themselves. The case of Abdullah Ibn Afif is similar.
He could not see from his eyes. He had lost one eye in Jamal and another in Siffeen fighting alongside Imam Ali (A). He could not work because of his blindness and could not even participate in Jihad because of his handicap. Hence he used to spend most of his time in worship. On that day, he was praying in the Kufa mosque.
As soon as he heard the words of Ibn Ziyad, he got up from his place and said, “O Ibn Ziyad! You are a liar and your father was a liar.”4 After that, Abdullah Ibn Afif continued to speak till people pushed him down and he fell. He was arrested and got martyred but the veil of Ibn Ziyad was already torn.5
Ibn Ziyad’s Logic Based On Force
Ibn Ziyad illegitimate in both senses i.e. he was illegitimate by birth and also had a devilish character. Normally, in societies where people are inclined to religion, despotic rulers use a logic based on force in order to justify their oppression.
They associate every move with Allah. They say that everything was because of the Divine Will. If it had not been so the incident would not have occurred. Whatever happens is because of the Will of God. This logic of forcefulness is the logic of Ibn Ziyad. When he faced Lady Zaynab (s.a.), he associated the course of events to Allah and said, “Praise be to Allah...”
These statements have lot of meaning hidden in them. “I thank Allah for He disgraced you. He killed you and unveiled your lie. i.e. you had spread a strange mischief among the Muslims.”6
Just think upon it! A person who has apparently lost a battle is disgraced according to Ibn Ziyad’s logic. It means, a person who is killed in a battle is like a defeated one. The defeat disgraces and finishes him. In other words, he cannot be said to be following the right path. If he had been on the right path he would have won. He meant to say that since he was able to overpower the Ahl al-Bayt, it was a proof that they were on the wrong path.
Standard Of Disgrace According To Lady Zaynab (S.A.)’s Words
Lady Zaynab (s.a.) replied to Ibn Ziyad saying, “I thank Allah for He granted us honour of prophethood and because we are from the family of the Holy Prophet (S).”7
“Whoever dies in the battlefield is not disgraced because the standard of disgrace is something else.”8
“The standard of dishonour is dependent on the search of truth and reality. Whoever sacrifices his life in the way of Allah is not dishonoured. Disgraced is one who oppresses, and one who turns away from the truth. The standard of being disgraced or not is being on the right path or going astray respectively.
On the basis of dishonour, whoever is killed is not necessarily a liar. The standard of truth or falsehood is a person himself, his goals and his words and deeds. Although my brother, Al-Husayn has been martyred, he would be called truthful. If he had remained alive then too he would have been called truthful.
However, even if you are killed, you will remain a liar. If you remain alive then too you will be a liar.” After this crushing reply, Lady Zaynab (s.a.) attacked Ibn Ziyad severely with her statement and he was dumbstruck. She said, “O son of Marjana!” Marjana was Ibn Ziyad’s mother and he did not like anyone calling him by her name because she was well known for her unchastity.9
Ibn Ziyad Ordered Lady Zaynab (S.A.) To Be Killed
Ibn Ziyad had no reply for statements like: “O son of Marjana! O son of an unchaste woman! Disgrace is for the son of Marjana because it is in his destiny.”
Thus, he became furious and ordered his executioner to behead that woman. A Khariji (enemy of Ali) was present in the court at that time. When he heard Ibn Ziyad’s order, his Arabian sense of honour surged up and he told Ibn Ziyad,10 “O Amir! Are you in your senses? You are talking to a woman and that too, one who has borne infinite sorrows. Her brothers are killed and she has lost her near and dear ones.”
Ali’s (A) Name Offends The Enemy
Imam Al-Sajjad (A) was presented before Ibn Ziyad. He shouted at Imam (A) loudly like Firon, “Who are you?” The Imam said, “I am Ali, son of Al-Husayn.”
Ibn Ziyad asked, “Didn’t Allah kill Ali Ibn Al-Husayn in Karbala?” (Again the act was associated with Allah) so that people are assured that Yazid was right. Imam Al-Sajjad (A) replied, “Certainly, capturing the souls of everyone is in the hands of Allah but my brother was martyred by the people (and not Allah).”
Ibn Ziyad said, “One Ali and another Ali?11 What is all this? Did your father name all his sons Ali? Is your name and your brother’s name Ali? Wasn’t there any other name?’’ Imam Al-Sajjad (A) replied, “My father loved his father very much. He liked to name his sons after his father while you consider your father a disgrace for yourself.”
Shield Of Imam Al-Sajjad (A)
Ibn Ziyad had expected Imam Al-Sajjad (A) not speak a word in front of him because in his view no prisoner could dare to speak up. He had expected Imam Al-Sajjad (A) to agree with him when he said that it was the work of Allah and accept their fate.
However when he saw that Imam Al-Sajjad (A) dared to speak freely in spite of being a captive, he said, “How dare you reply me like this?”12 He hissed like a desert reptile in fury and ordered his executioner, “Go on and behead this youth.”
It is narrated that when this order was given to the executioner, Lady Zaynab (s.a.) stood up from her place and held Imam Al-Sajjad (A) near her. She said, “I swear by Allah, you cannot kill him unless you kill me.”
It is narrated that Ibn Ziyad looked at them for some time and then said, “I can see that if I want to kill this youth, I will have to kill this woman first.”13 That he refrained from killing Imam Al-Sajjad (A).
Yes, it is an important characteristic of Ahl al-Bayt that they fought against the belief of predestination, which is prevalent even today and is being interpreted as justice. In other words, Ahl al-Bayt of the Holy Prophet (S) proved that statements like “there is no responsibility on a human being” or “It is not the duty of a human being to try to bring change in the society” or “whatever is happening was bound to happen” i.e. “there is no role to be played by a human being in this society” were practically wrong and fought against them.
- 1. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 44, Pg. 298.
- 2. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 244; Lohoof, Pg. 163; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 119.
The words of Ibn Ziyad in Masjid Kufa are recorded as follows in Maalimul Madarasatain, Vol. 3, Pg. 186: “Praise be to Allah for He made truth and people of truth triumph and helped the master of faithful, Yazid Ibn Muawiyah and his group and killed liar Husayn Ibn Ali and his supporters.” (Rizwani)
- 3. Abdullah Ibn Afif Azudi.
- 4. “O enemy of God! Certainly you are a liar and your father was a liar and the person who made you governor is also a liar and his father was also a liar. O son of Maijana!”
- 5. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 244; Lohoof, Pg. 164; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 119.
- 6. After a thorough research in this matter, one concludes that the autocratic rulers propagated belief in compulsion because through it they could be acquitted of all crimes. People consider their crimes as one’s destiny and keep quiet and consider it as a part of their faith. Unjust rulers of Bani Umayyah played an important role in spreading the belief of compulsion.
When Imam’s family members were taken captives to Kufa in the court of Ibn Ziyad after incident of Kerbala, he told Lady Zaynab (s.a.): “Praise be to Allah Who has disgraced you, killed you and revealed the false nature of your claims.” Lady Zaynab (s.a.) opposed him saying: “Praise be to God Who has favored us with His Prophet, Muhammad, may God bless him and his family. And He has purified us completely from sin.
He only disgraces the great sinner and reveals the false nature of die profligate. Such men are not among us, praise be to God.” Ibn Ziyad said, “How do you consider God has treated your House?”
“God decreed death for them and they went forward (bravely) to their resting-places,” Zaynab (s.a.) replied, “God will gather you and us together. You will plead your excuses to Him and we will be your opponents before Him.”
Then Ibn Ziyad asked Imam Al-Sajjad (A): “What is your name?” he replied, “Ali Ibn Husayn” Ibn Ziyad said, “Didn’t Allah kill Ali Ibn al-Husayn in Kerbala?” Imam Al-Sajjad (A) said, “My brother, Ali, was martyred by the people.” Ibn Ziyad said, “Indeed Allah killed him.” Imam Al-Sajjad (A) said;
اللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى الْأَنْفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَالَّتِي لَمْ تَمُتْ فِي مَنَامِهَا
Meaning: Allah takes the souls at the time of their death, and those that die not during their sleep. (Surah Zumar 39:42) And
وَمَا كَانَ لِنَفْسٍ أَنْ تَمُوتَ إِلَّا بِإِذْنِ اللَّهِ
Meaning: And a soul will not die but with the permission of Allah. (Surah Aale Imran 3:145)
Yazid told Imam Al-Sajjad (A) regarding oppression in Kerbala, “Your father broke relations with me and denied my right and fought against me in my rule. Whatever Allah did to him in return is in front of your eyes.” Imam Al-Sajjad (A) said:
مَا أَصَابَ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فِي الْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِي أَنْفُسِكُمْ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مِنْ قَبْلِ أَنْ نَبْرَأَهَا ۚ
Meaning: No evil befalls on the earth nor in your own souls, but it is in a book before We bring it into existence. (57:22)
Yazid told his son, Khalid to reply but he could not. Yazid said, “Tell him:
وَمَا أَصَابَكُمْ مِنْ مُصِيبَةٍ فَبِمَا كَسَبَتْ أَيْدِيكُمْ
Meaning: And whatever affliction befalls you, it is on account of what your hands have wrought. (Surah Shura 42:30)
Ibn Ziyad and Yazid related the incident of Kerbala to Allah and said that all injustice in Kerbala was done by Allah. However, Imam Al-Sajjad (A) and Lady Zaynab (s.a.) rejected their logic and said, “God did not do injustice to us. You and your companions have done it”
Narrators who supported the three caliphs have narrated traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) to prove the validity of belief in compulsion. It is narrated from Abu Huraira that the Holy Prophet (S) said, “Ask me.” However, everyone kept quiet because of his awe. Then a person came and sat near the Holy Prophet (S).
He asked, “O Messenger of Allah! What is Islam?” Holy Prophet said, “Not holding anyone as a partner of God, offering prayer, paying Zakat and observing fast in the holy month of Ramadan.” He said, “You are right.”
Then he asked. “What is faith?” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “Believing in Allah, His angels, His books, gathering in front of him, His messengers, resurrection and complete destiny is faith.” He said, “You are right.”
The conclusion of the first nine traditions of Sahih Muslim, “Kitab al-Qadr” is that as soon as a fetus is formed inside the womb, Allah orders His angels to destine its earning, character and habits. He also orders to note down whether the child would be fortunate or not.
Whenever a person is still in the womb, it is decided that he would enter Paradise or Hell and this decision never changes. Thus, a human being is compelled in his actions. (Allamah Sayyid Murtadha Askari, Ahya al-din mein Ahl al-Bayt ka kirdar, Vol. 2, Pg. 387) (Rizwani)
- 7. It is written as follows in Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid and Bihar Al-Anwar: “Praise be to Allah Who honoured us by His Prophet.”
- 8. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 244; Lohoof, Pg. 160; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 117.
- 9. Lohoof, Pg. 160; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 116.
- 10. The name of this person is mentioned as Amr Ibn Hurith in Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 244; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 116.
- 11. It is written in Damaus Sujum, Pg. 251 that it is narrated from Yahya Ibn Hasan in Manaqib that Yazid told Imam Al-Sajjad (A), “How strange it is that your father has named both his sons Ali!” Imam (A) replied. “My father loved his father and wanted to name all his sons Ali.”
- 12. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg. 244; Lohoof, Pg. 162; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 117.
- 13. Ibid.