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Allegation That Abdullah Ibn Umar Paid Allegiance To Yazeed

Ahlul Sunnat say that the allegation of Shias that he had given allegiance to Yazeed does not in any way indict Abdullah, because the son of the Imam of Shias, Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya the son of Ali (a.s.) had also pledged allegiance at the hands of Yazeed.

The reply to this is that when Yazeed wrote a lengthy letter to Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya to pledge allegiance to him, Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya replied, “Yes, I have given allegiance to you.” He did not travel from Medina to Damascus to give the allegiance. Sitting in Medina, he sent such a reply to Yazeed’s letter so that he remains safe from Yazeed’s mischief. He was seeing how Yazeed had acted with Imam Husayn (a.s.) regarding the allegiance.

Now neither Imam Hasan (a.s.) was alive nor Imam Husayn (a.s.) and the Bani Hashim had been weakened a great deal. Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya himself was so handicapped due to the severing of the nerves of his arms in the Battle of Siffeen that he could not confront anyone. In such a helpless condition, what else could he have done? We should know that this tradition is of Baihaqi, who was a Sunni. There is no such report in Shias.1 This allegation of Ahlul Sunnat is based on their own tradition. There is no Shia tradition that can prove the allegiance of Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya at the hands of Yazeed.

In the view of the writer, the allegation of Shias on Abdullah Ibn Umar is useless. If any Ahlul Sunnat has given allegiance to Muawiyah or Yazeed what has he done against the demands of his religion? Just as Muawiyah was a valid Caliph, Yazeed also has the right to be called a proper Caliph. How can you blame an Ahlul Sunnat for pledging allegiance to a legitimate Caliph? That Yazeed was a legitimate Caliph for Ahlul Sunnat is proved by the statement of Ghazzali, which says that it was obligatory for Imam Husayn (a.s.) to obey Yazeed, because Muawiyah had made Yazeed the Caliph by bequest.

The fact is that Muawiyah had acted upon the practice of Abu Bakr. Thus, Abdullah Ibn Umar did not do anything wrong by the criteria of Sunni faith, though it may seem unacceptable according to Shia belief. In addition to nomination, the conditions of consensus, consultation and armed power were in favor of Yazeed. From the aspect of the followers of Caliphate, Yazeed was a legitimate Caliph and the allegiance of Abdullah Ibn Umar to him was an action to save himself from the death of ignorance, because according to the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (S):

“One who dies without recognizing the Imam of his time, dies the death of ignorance.”

  • 1. Ref. Biharul Anwar, Vol. 10, Pg. 299.