Causes of Aale Muhammad’s1 Dishonor
It should be clear that here the writer has no argument whether Fatima (s.a.) was on the right in the matter of Fadak or not. Here, we only need to see the effects of deprivation of Fadak from Muhammad’s Progeny. It is well known that Muhammad’s Progeny used to receive a considerable income from the orchards of Fadak and they used to spend a major portion of it on the poor and destitute. Thus, its deprivation caused a decrease in their worldly status. There is no doubt that just as the loss of rulership caused public dishonor of Muhammad’s Progeny, In the same way, the loss of Fadak caused a private loss.
Doubtlessly, the deprivation of Fadak is seen as the second rung of the dishonor of Muhammad’s Progeny. With these two a third fear struck Muhammad’s Progeny and that was the rise of Bani Umayyah who were suppressed by the Holy Prophet (S) but had now became the rulers of Syria (Shaam). Their rapid rise to power in Shaam had no parallel in case of any other tribe. Those who are conversant with history know that the progress of Bani Umayyah was at the cost of Muhammad’s Progeny. The Bani Umayyah continued to take revenge from Muhammad’s Progeny as is obvious from the statement of Muawiyah’s son. Yazeed, the son of Muawiyah says:
It was after the carnage of Karbala’ when Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) was presented in the court of Damascus and the singer sang Yazeed’s poetic composition. The poem also had the following couplet:
The Bani Hashim had played a game with the people. Neither glad tidings arrived, nor any revelation descended.
This shows that the frustrated Bani Umayyah considered the prophethood of the Messenger of Allah (S) to be a play and they were actually ignorant of its truth. Anyway, there is no doubt that the rise of Bani Umayyah put an end to the worldly status of Muhammad’s Progeny. The material wealth of Bani Umayyah was such that when Abu Bakr was made the Caliph, Abu Sufyan, the chief of Bani Umayyah came to Ali (a.s.) and said in a concerned way: “O Ali! The matter of Caliphate has been decided but you made no effort to obtain it? If you desire I can fill the desert of Medina with riders of Mecca and destroy that Caliphate in a moment.”
Ali (a.s.) said: “Abu Sufyan! You were creating mischief in the days of ignorance (Jahiliya) too. And now that you have proffered Islam, your machinations are still intact.”
Ali (a.s.) replied to Abu Sufyan in that manner because Abu Sufyan was from the Bani Umayyah and the Holy Prophet (S) had even cursed this tribe. In such circumstances, Ali (a.s.) could not tolerate any kind of pact with Abu Sufyan. Ali (a.s.) followed the Prophet in every matter. His aloofness from Abu Sufyan was justified. If he had shown any inclination to Abu Sufyan’s offer, it would have been absolutely against the desire of the Prophet. It is well known that the Bani Umayyah were dead opposed to both, the religion of Allah and the Messenger of Allah (S). The Holy Prophet (S) had put this tribe in its place in ten years. Now this tribe had no satanic power remaining.
Thus, if Ali (a.s.) sought the co-operation of Abu Sufyan, he would have been the cause of Bani Umayyah’s revival just as the two Shaykhs (Abu Bakr and Umar) were. That is, Abu Sufyan was made partner in rulership in order to save the seat of Caliphate. The result was that Bani Umayyah regained its lost strength and in no time, it became the supreme ruler of the Islamic lands.
It is indeed astonishing that this act, committed by the first Caliphate was clearly opposed to the aims of the Messenger of Allah (S). The consequences of this single mistake are not hidden from the people who know. And what to say of the mischiefs created in Islam itself? Words cannot describe the havoc wreaked upon the family of the Prophet. Doubtlessly, if Ali (a.s.) had agreed to Abu Sufyan’s offer, the blame of all the disasters and the carnage of Karbala’ would have come on Ali (a.s.).
Thus, after getting this reply from Ali (a.s.), Abu Sufyan came to Abu Bakr and Umar and said: “At last you have achieved your aim, but we have no share in your success. I shall destroy your Caliphate in no time.” The two were much worried at this threat of Abu Sufyan. They knew that to destroy the Caliphate was not difficult for Abu Sufyan. With all helplessness, they told Abu Sufyan: “You too become a partner in our success, what is the need to destroy the Caliphate?”
Thus, it was agreed that Abu Sufyan would send his son, Yazeed Ibn Abu Sufyan to rule Syria. This son ruled Syria for four years and after his death, his younger brother inherited the rulership of Syria during Umar’s Caliphate. His late brother was not at all learned and thus his death was a boon to Bani Umayyah. As soon as Muawiyah took over the reins of government, the wealth of Bani Umayyah began to increase rapidly till finally, Muawiyah became the ruler of all the Islamic lands.
We should know that as the Bani Umayyah gained wealth and strength, the Bani Hashim became further away from power and rulership. Due to the above reasons, the Bani Hashim were out of the common populace and their apparent status was no more. Then even though they got rulership during the Caliphate of Ali (a.s.) they could not regain their lost position. Even after gaining the Caliphate, His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) could not dethrone Muawiyah. Ali (a.s.) continued to confront the Bani Umayyah but even after all the turmoil, Muawiyah continued to remain in power. The limited and temporary status of Bani Hashim ended with the martyrdom of Ali (a.s.).
Though Imam Hasan (a.s.) was the successor of his respected father, within a period of six months he had to forgo rulership due to Muawiyah’s onslaught. Here we do not debate whether Ali (a.s.) was on the right or Muawiyah or whether the forced abdication of Imam Hasan (a.s.) by Muawiyah was justified or not. Our aim in presenting these historical facts is only to show the terrible calamities that befell Muhammad’s Progeny after the passing away of the Prophet, due to which their status fell in the view of public, day by day and this finally culminated into the incident known as the tragedy of Karbala’.
Anyway, after the abdication of Caliphate, Imam Hasan (a.s.) became a pensioner of Muawiyah. This was by no means a great insult of Muhammad’s Progeny. At that time, all the Islamic lands were under the domination of Bani Umayyah. Muawiyah was not the chief of Bani Umayyah and ruler of Shaam alone. Being the Caliph of the time, his power extended to even Mecca and Medina.
However, there lived in Medina, Imam Hasan, Imam Husayn (a.s.) and other Bani Hashim. But none of the Bani Hashim had any kind of rulership. The command and the monetary wealth of the government were all in the hands of Muawiyah. In spite of this, Muawiyah was not satisfied. At last, the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (a.s.) pleased the heart of the Caliph.2 But that Imam Husayn (a.s.) was yet alive was not a lesser worry to Muawiyah.
Muawiyah knew that Imam Husayn (a.s.) had inherited the valor of his father. So to remain careless of him would be against reason. Therefore, he used to tell his son: “Do not consider your throne safe. Imam Husayn (a.s.) is still alive.” Even though Muawiyah was anticipating danger from Imam Husayn (a.s.), the condition of Bani Hashim had deteriorated and day by day their economic conditions worsened. Gradually, the people did not consider the grandson of the Messenger of Allah (S) to be worthy of being followed.
An example of this loss of position is that when Imam Hasan (a.s.) came out to confront Bani Umayyah, he had no more than 150 people with him. Seeing this condition of the Muslims, he returned to the city. It is obvious that as they had lost rulership, they could not bank on the support of the general Arab populace.
Only the Bani Hashim, who could never forsake them, offered their support. It was so, because they had true devotion to the Messenger of Allah (S) due to which they considered honoring Bani Hashim an obligatory duty upon themselves. Other people professed support to Bani Umayyah. And why should they not? When all the dominions of Islam were transferred into the hands of Bani Umayyah?
Another example of the dishonor of Muhammad’s Progeny is that at the time of his passing away, Imam Hasan (a.s.) had made a bequest that he should be buried next to the Holy Prophet (S) and this bequest was natural. Also, Imam Hasan (a.s.) considered himself worthy of it. But its result was that when Imam Husayn (a.s.) moved with the bier of Imam Hasan (a.s.) towards the burial place of the Prophet, the opponents of Muhammad’s Progeny showered arrows on the bier.
We don’t know how many arrows were shot, but we can estimate from the fact that 60 arrows hit the bier of the Infallible Imam. Imam Husayn (a.s.) was enraged at this lack of support of the Muslims and unsheathed his sword. However, the matter did not reach the stage of bloodshed. Keeping in mind the kind of nature of Imam Hasan (a.s.), Imam Husayn (a.s.) forsook confrontation and took the last remains of his brother to Jannatul Baqi for burial.
This incident shows that till that time there was a considerable decrease in the status of Bani Hashim. They were not even capable to fulfill the last wish of their departed leader in opposition to the people’s desire. We consider the bequest of Imam Hasan (a.s.) justified because it fulfilled all the conditions of natural emotions. In the view of the just people who was more deserving to be buried next to his grandfather than Imam Hasan (a.s.)? But what is the reply of injustice of the people? O Allah! O Allah!
Now we present another example of the dishonor of Bani Hashim, which was also caused by Bani Umayyah. It is that in Damascus, curses were recited on His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) after every prayer, especially after the Friday Prayer. And as the writer has mentioned above, the initiator of this was Muawiyah. This custom continued for a long time till Umar Ibn Abdul Aziz, the Umayyad Caliph, discontinued it.
The discussion of cursing will follow soon. In any case, if Shias had not adopted this type of cursing, they would have gained the sympathy of many of their opponents and this would have been a very effective instrument for the expansion of Shiaism. After this, we shall mention another example of the dishonor of Muhammad’s Progeny, which would show how the honor of Muhammad’s Progeny had decreased after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (S).
The incident is that Imam Hasan (a.s.) wrote a letter to Ziyad regarding some matter. Ziyad being of illegitimate birth was called by the name of Ibn Sumayyah. Imam Hasan (a.s.) also addressed Ziyad by this name and he had no intention to insult Ziyad, but this enemy of Allah replied to the letter of Imam Hasan (a.s.) addressing him as Hasan Ibn Fatima (s.a.). Imam Hasan (a.s.) was an absolutely good-natured person and he replied with utmost forbearance that:
“Everyone knows my father well, I am the son of Ali.” This shows to what extent Muhammad’s Progeny had fallen in the estimation of public that an illegitimate born disregarded the honor of even a leader like Imam Hasan (a.s.). Ziyad, the one whose hereafter was destroyed, insulted the daughter of the Prophet and the people of that time did not object? What type of Muslims are these who glorify the age of Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas and the tears of the Muslims of this time are unabated.
Regarding the incident of Karbala’, it is necessary to know something about people like Ziyad. He is the same whose son, Ibn Ziyad was Yazeed’s commander and who had come from Basra to fight Imam Husayn (a.s.). Ziyad himself was actually of doubtful paternity, but he was such a resourceful person that Muawiyah felt the need to make him his brother. Indeed, he was most useful for the Caliph. He created brotherhood by announcing publicly that Ziyad is the biological son of Abu Sufyan Ibn Harb. But to confirm this, a witness was not found, except a person who testified that:
“One day Abu Sufyan had come to my tavern which is at a distance of 20 km from Mecca. At that time, Abu Sufyan was on a journey. Reaching my tavern he asked for wine. When I served, he consumed it and became intoxicated. After being intoxicated he asked for a woman. There was no woman except for a slave girl of mine and I presented it to her. On hearing this, Abu Sufyan said that she was not nice as her belly was large. But later when he became more intoxicated he asked me to get her. The woman was brought to him.”
Whatever the tavern-keeper said after this does not deserve to be mentioned here.
Those who desire to know the details may refer to Abul Fida’s Tarikhul Mukhtasar fi Ahwaalul Bashar. Anyway, on hearing this testimony, the Caliph was enraged and said to the tavern keeper: “You have come here to testify or to heap abuses?” In any case, this testimony of the tavern-keeper proved the brotherhood of Ziyad to the Caliph. And from that time, Ziyad became a man with family. Congratulations to Muawiyah Ibn Abu Sufyan for such a brother and to all the opponents of Muhammad’s Progeny.