The history of Karbala was revived by the prisoners of Karbala i.e. they are the protectors of the greatness of Karbala. The greatest foolishness of the Umayyad rulers was to take the Imam’s family as captives through the bazaars of Kufa and Syria.
If they had not done so, perhaps they could have succeeded in distorting the Karbala event or at least they could have veiled its truth to some extent However, they dug their graves with their own hands and committed such an act that the Imam's family got an opportunity to revive the history of Karbala forever.
The Umayyad regime had not expected that distressed women and children could take full advantage of this opportunity. How could they have thought this? They had made a false propaganda to achieve their aim.
It was Friday in Syria and people were getting ready for prayers. Yazid was forced to attend the prayer because perhaps he had to lead the prayer (at present I cannot be certain about it). It is necessary that two beneficial sermons be given before Friday Prayer. After that Prayer should start because these two sermons substitute for two units of Zuhr prayer and Friday Prayer consists of only two units.
At first, the government speaker mounted the pulpit. He praised Yazid and Mu’awiyah as usual and associated goodness with them. Then he spoke ill of Imam Ali and Al-Husayn (A) and cursed them as if God forbid, they had given up the religion and committed such acts.
Imam Al-Sajjad (A) called out aloud. “O speaker! You are selling the pleasure of the Creator for the sake of gaining the pleasure of a creature.”1
Then he said, “O Yazid! Can I stand on these pieces of wood and speak?” How strange is this! The Ahl al-Bayt of the Holy Prophet (S) kept even minute things in mind. For instance, Yazid was called ‘the Commander of the Faithful’ in his court but Ahl al-Bayt did not call him so and did not even call him by is agnomen.
They called him by his name i.e. ‘Yazid’.2 Both Imam Al-Sajjad (A) as well as Lady Zaynab (s.a.) followed the same practice. At that time Imam Al-Sajjad (A) did not called the pulpit ‘a pulpit’ but called it ‘pieces of wood’. The three step wood seen from that place had such a lowly speaker mounted on it. Imam (A) asked whether he was permitted to mount those pieces of wood and speak a few words.
Yazid denied the permission to him. The people gathered there supported Imam Al-Sajjad (A) because he was from Hijaz and they knew that the conversation of the people of Hijaz was very interesting. They also insisted Yazid to permit him because they wanted to see the Imam’s style of speaking, but Yazid did not allow.
His son said, “Father! Please permit him. We want to hear this youth from Hijaz.” Yazid said, “I fear these people.” However, the people insisted so much that Yazid was forced to allow him.3 He also realized that if he asked for more justification, it would further expose his helplessness and fear; so he gave the permission.
Look, Imam Al-Sajjad (A) was ill and a captive at that time because of Divine Will (after that, he did not remain ill and led a normal life like other Imams). Also, as commonly narrated from the pulpits, the Imam was tied in chains and had a heavy iron collar put around his neck.
He had traveled forty stages in such a state to reach Syria. In spite of this, when he mounted the pulpit, what did he do? He created such an enthusiasm in the people that Yazid began to regret his mistake.
He began to feel that people would soon pounce upon him and kill him. Thus, he thought of a way to save himself. The time of prayer had arrived. He ordered the Mu’adhdhin to recite the Azaan (call for prayer) as the prayer was getting delayed. As soon as the Mu’adhdhin raised his voice the Imam became silent.
The Mu’adhdhin called out, “Allah is the greatest, Allah is the greatest”. Then he said, “I bear witness that there is no god except Allah” and the Imam repeated those words. When the Mu’adhdhin said, “I bear witness that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”, the Imam took off his turban and said, “O Mu’adhdhin! For the sake of Muhammad, keep quiet.”
Then he turned towards Yazid and said, “O Yazid! Who is this messenger whose testimony is being given? Is he your grandfather or mine?” Then the Imam turned towards the people and said, “O people! Do you know who we are? Whom you have held captives? Who is my father, Al-Husayn who is martyred?”4
The people were unaware of truth till that time. You must have heard that Yazid released the family members of Imam Al-Husayn (A) and sent them back to Medina with all respect.
Noman Ibn Basheer was a mild and a friendly person. He was given the responsibility of accompanying the Imam’s family to Medina and taking care of their needs and maintaining their honour. Did you ever wonder why it happened thus? Did Yazid suddenly transform into a good person?
Did his thinking change suddenly? No, absolutely not. In reality, the society of Damascus had changed. You must have heard that Yazid used to curse Ibn Ziyad later on and accuse him of all the crimes. He used to say that he never ordered the killing of Imam Al-Husayn (A)5 and that Ibn Ziyad did all that on his own.
How did all this happen? All this happened because Imam Al-Sajjad (A) and Lady Zaynab (s.a.) had turned the flow of circumstances.
- 1. Lohoof, Pg. 188; Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 137.
- 2. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 137.
- 3. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol. 45, Pg. 138; Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram, Pg. 352.
- 4. Bihar Al-Anwar, Vol 45, Pg 139; Maqtal al-Husayn, Muqarram Pg 353
- 5. Irshad, Shaykh Al-Mufid, Pg 247; Muntahaiuk Amaal, Vol , Pg 784.