Revolutionary Condition of Bani Hashim
The Holy Prophet (S) migrated (did Hijrat) and settled down in Medina and with the help of Helpers (Ansar) he was able to establish a religious government in the city. Although Bani Umayyah and other tribes, from time to time launched attacks against Medina, so that this religious government is destroyed, but enemies of Allah were always unsuccessful. Bani Umayyah continued to confront Muslims in the battles of Badr, Uhud, Hunayn and Khandaq, but except for suffering losses, they did not gain anything.
And in a period of ten years, they became so weak that they had no more strength to raise their heads. The Holy Prophet (S) was able to subdue Bani Umayyah after great efforts. To raise their status was with ulterior motives. First of all, this tribe was irreligious, transgressing, sinful and wayward; and hence it was greatly deviated.
Secondly, in its well being the well being of Islam was not expected. Thus, the Holy Prophet (S) with great tact, in his own time, subdued this tribe to such an extent that not only Islam, rather, all Bani Hashim was also protected from its mischief. It is not unknown how much help the Prophet received from Ali (a.s.) in this matter. But Bani Umayyah had to become strong after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S) and the tragedy of Karbala’ had to occur. Immediately after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S), Abu Sufyan the chief of Bani Umayyah, easily because the ruler of Shaam (Syria). Although he himself did not leave Mecca for Shaam, he sent his son over there.
In the beginning, Bani Umayyah ruled Shaam under the command of the three Caliphs and later gained power over whole of the Islamic lands. They ruled for 83 years. On one hand, Bani Hashim were degraded but Bani Umayyah continued to get every type of material well-being. To bestow Bani Umayyah with such undeserved honor immediately after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S) was a clear mistake of Caliphate. If Caliphate had been left to Ali (a.s.) from the beginning, Bani Umayyah would have remained as weak and helpless as the Holy Prophet (S) had left them.
If, after becoming the Caliph, Ali (a.s.) had also proved to be a supporter of Bani Umayyah, the blame of the tragedy of Karbala’ would have been upon him. But indeed Ali (a.s.) could never consider support to Bani Umayyah as lawful, because Ali (a.s.) did not have the slightest difference with policies of the Prophet. That Ali (a.s.) did not get Caliphate, not only resulted in the Prophet’s family being subjected to trouble, but the face of Islam also changed to a great extent from the Islam of the Prophet’s family.
At the time, when the tragedy of Karbala’ occurred, the Islam of the people of Shaam and other Islamic territories was that which was established by the compilations of Ibn Masood. Bani Hashim were aloof from this religion. It is very much possible that if Ali (a.s.) had been accepted as the sole successor of the Prophet, the Umayyad religion would not have come into being. Only that religion would have been followed in the whole of Islamic lands, which in the words of Shah Abdul Haqq Muhaddith Dehlavi and other Sunni scholars, is called the religion of Ali.
Indeed, the tragedy of Karbala’ implies great destruction faced by Bani Hashim but the evil seed of this incident was sowed just after the demise of the Holy Prophet (S). That is the statement: “We have the book of Allah with us.” By which the Caliphate of Ali (a.s.) could not be willed in writing. When Bani Hashim lost the opportunity for Caliphate, Bani Umayyah began to rise in power. Just as the matter proved harmful to Bani Hashim, it was beneficial to non-Bani Hashim.
As we have stated, due to the loss of Caliphate, Bani Hashim lost their economical as well as religious position. As a result, Bani Hashim weakened greatly and became ordinary citizen and the Bani Umayyah became powerful and became the rulers of Islamic lands. The tragedy of Karbala’ is a clear-cut consequence of that deprivation of Caliphate. In the same way, there were hundred of consequences of that deprivation that the Bani Hashim encountered at that time and those, which are still seen today, though neither the Imam of that family is apparent nor Bani Hashim of that age.
The status that Bani Hashim had, at the time of the Prophet would not have made them to expect that after the Prophet, their tribe will be distanced from government. But the action of Umar easily served that purpose. A study of the prevailing situations of that time makes us feel that Umar really despised the family of the Prophet and Ali (a.s.) also had no sort of attachment with Umar. It is a historical misconception that Ali (a.s.) and Umar were fast friends. Ali (a.s.) and Umar were of opposite temperaments and friendship is not possible between people of such opposite temperaments.
In such a condition, Umar could not make Ali (a.s.) the Caliph and he considered himself becoming the Caliph against hidden wisdom. So he apparently made Abu Bakr the Caliph and gave him oath of allegiance. Though Umar had no military exploits to his credit, as seen in the battles of Badr, Uhud, etc. it is true that he had cunning for political manipulations. He made Abu Bakr the Caliph after great manipulations. First of all, this action distanced Bani Hashim from kingdom.
Secondly, the appointment of Abu Bakr was actually the appointment of Umar as the Caliph.
Thirdly, this course of action served as a defense of his selfishness.
Fourthly, due to the old age of Abu Bakr, it was clear that the time of Umar’s Caliphate was not far off. Thus, within a period of two years Abu Bakr made Umar the Caliph and left the mortal world. History shows that since the time of passing away of the Holy Prophet (S) till the time he himself died, Umar continued to make political machinations, but Ali (a.s.) did not resort to any such machinations. Whenever the Caliph’s court was held, he reiterated his rights and kept silent. But the separation from government was very sorrowful for Bani Hashim.
But when Abu Bakr was declared the Caliph, they became sad and kept quiet and were not able to do anything. The reason was that Ali (a.s.) did not resort to violence at the appointment of Abu Bakr as the Caliph. Apart from this, Bani Hashim had hopes that Ali (a.s.) was young and after sometime he would surely become the Caliph, but their hopes were dashed when Abu Bakr made Umar the Caliph by bequest.
Indeed, the appointment of Umar as Caliph by Abu Bakr was an act of returning the favor. Now the Bani Hashim were certainly distanced from rulership. Since Umar was not aged like Abu Bakr there was no hope that the seat of Caliphate would fall vacant in near future. Umar occupied the seat of Caliphate for ten and a half years. If he had not been killed, he might have continued for another ten years at the helm of affairs. But these ten years were not in any way less for Bani Hashim and the fact is that even after these ten years, Ali (a.s.) was not able to gain the seat of Caliphate. Before his death, Umar left the appointment of Caliph an undecided matter. It was a political trick by which Ali (a.s.) had very remote chances of success. Rather, there was also an aspect for Ali (a.s.) to be killed.
Then after Umar, His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) could not become the Caliph by the Consultative (Shura) Committee. Uthman became the Caliph. He was a weak- willed person and his tenure witnessed many upheavals and though his period of Caliphate was the longest among the three Caliphs, his Caliphate was mired in controversies. During his time, Bani Umayyah gained more power. It were already flourishing in Shaam and now the Caliph was also from their clan. In Medina also, Marwan and other Bani Umayyah continued to bleed the Islamic treasury.
After Uthman’s murder, Ali (a.s.) reluctantly accepted the responsibility of Caliphate. As soon as Ali (a.s.) became the Caliph, opponents began to gather means of war. Talha and Zubair who were from the ten special people according to the belief of Sunni, who were guaranteed Paradise, paid allegiance to Ali (a.s.) but soon broke their pledge and joined the ranks of ‘A’ysha. In this battle, ‘A’ysha suffered defeat and these two gentlemen were also exterminated. When Ali (a.s.) got reprieve from these people, Muawiyah rose up in revolt against the rightful Caliph of his time; that is Ali (a.s.).
According to Ahlul Sunnat, this revolt of Muawiyah was an error of jurisprudence (Ijtihaad). Whatever error it might be, the short period of Ali’s Caliphate passed in these conflicts. During the 5th year of his tumultuous Caliphate, Ali (a.s.) was martyred and Imam Hasan (a.s.) was appointed the Caliph. He also had to abdicate within a period of six month.
Now Muawiyah became the de facto ruler of Islam and continued in this position for a long time till his death. In his place, his beloved son assumed the seat of Caliphate. During this period, Muhammad’s Progeny were massacred at Karbala’. Only Imam Zainul Aabideen (a.s.) remained, through whom the progeny of Sadaat continued and the name of the Prophet’s family lived on.
That Ali (a.s.) became the Caliph after Uthman did not in any prove beneficial to Bani Hashim. Bani Hashim had apparently lost religious authority in addition to material losses. Even the Caliphate of Ali (a.s.) did not help them to regain their religious or economical power. Rather, day by day they were hated more by materialist people. Till the time the tragedy of Karbala’ occurred, and after the tragedy, the killings and oppression of Sadaat continued and even today it is seen that these people are hated and people are aloof from them and their faith.
Indeed, all these are the fruits of the statement, “We have the book of Allah with us,” which has effectively invalidated the tradition of the Two Heavy Things (Thaqalayn).