Yazeed Bin Muawiyah Bin Abu Sufyan

Allamah Suyuti writes that Muawiyah wrote to Marwan, the Governor of Medina, to take allegiance for Yazeed. Marwan told the people of Medina that Muawiyah has ordered them to give allegiance to Yazeed, as it is the practice of Abu Bakr and Umar.1 On page 197 of the same book, it is written that when Muawiyah made Yazeed the heir apparent and began to take allegiance, the people of Shaam paid the allegiance.

Marwan bin al-Hakam tried to take allegiance from the people of Medina, but Husain, Abdullah Ibn Zubair and Abdul Rahman bin Abu Bakr prevented it and due to that, the men of Medina refused to pledged allegiance. Then Muawiyah came to Medina with 1000 riders and explained the matter to ‘A’iysha. It was then that the people of Hijaz gave allegiance for Yazeed.

In brief, Muawiyah made Yazeed, the Caliph by inheritance and left this world. The day Muawiyah died, people gave allegiance of Caliphate to Yazeed and a royal edict was issued for people to give allegiance. Everyone acted on this, except Husain and Abdullah Ibn Zubair, who went into hiding from Walid, the governor of Medina.2 Abdullah Ibn Umar wrote a very sincere letter to Yazeed after the death of Muawiyah.

But the people of Medina broke the allegiance of Yazeed. The reason was that Yazeed had appointed Ammar bin Muhammad bin Abu Sufyan, his cousin, as the governor of Medina. Some people complained about him to Yazeed, exposed his transgression and alcoholism and at last externed him from the city.

When Abdullah Ibn Umar learnt of this, he collected a vast body of men and said: “I have heard from the Holy Prophet (S) that on Judgment Day every traitor will be given a painful chastisement and it is for this very reason I have given allegiance to Yazeed. And this allegiance has the approval of Allah and the Prophet and in my view nothing is greater than the fact that one should pledge allegiance on the command of Allah and the Prophet and then go back on his word. And I do not find any justification for refusing to give allegiance.

Obedience of that Imam is obligatory on whom consensus has taken place. And refusal to give allegiance on the basis of transgression is not allowed.”3

All this shows that Abdullah Ibn Umar had special attachment to the allegiance of Yazeed. He had not done the allegiance of Yazeed under any compulsion. People of justice may compare this allegiance with the allegiance of Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya. The fact is that Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya just said: “I am prepared to give allegiance or I give your allegiance,” and in this way he passed over the demand of Yazeed. Anyone having some faith cannot blame Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya for allegiance. But Ahlul Sunnat blame Muhammad Ibn Hanafiya in order to justify the actions of Abdullah Ibn Umar regarding the allegiance of Yazeed.

Most Ahlul Sunnat scholars are seen in support of Yazeed. Ibn Hajar Makki writes in Sawaiqul Mohreqa that it is not allowed to curse Yazeed or call him a disbeliever, because he was from the believers and his affair is in Allah’s hand.

In Sharhe Fiqhe Akbar4 Mulla Ali Qari and Ghazzali have stated that the killing of Imam Husain (a.s.) is not proved on Yazeed, so it does not make Yazeed a disbeliever.

It is not allowed to blame a Muslim for having committed a Greater sin without any proper investigation. Abu Shakoor Salmi writes in the marginal notes of Sharh Aqaide Nasafi5 that the allegiance and obedience of Yazeed was obligatory on Imam Husain (a.s.), because his Caliphate was legitimate. It is written in Hayatul Haiwan6 that Ghazzali says: “If at all, the blame of Husain’s killing is proved on Yazeed, it would only be that he has killed a Muslim. He might have repented for it. Thus, Yazeed who was a Muslim must not be cursed.”

It is written in Tarikh Ibn Khallikan that according to Ghazzali, Yazeed is deserving of mercy and it is recommended to invoke blessings on him. Tafseer Baidhawi7 says that divine help was given to Yazeed in view of the prophecy of the verses of Holy Quran. The greatest support is seen in the fact that Yazeed is one of the twelve Caliphs of Ahlul Sunnat.

It is mentioned is Sharh Fiqhe Akbar that the Holy Prophet (S) said that there will be twelve Caliphs after him. The four of them are the righteous Caliphs (Khulafa Rashideen), i.e. Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (a.s.) and the rest are Muawiyah and his son, Yazeed, Abdul Malik bin Marwan and his four sons. Yazeed bin Abdul Malik, Sulaiman, Hisham and Walid and of them is Umar bin Abdul Aziz. This shows that the Caliphate of Yazeed came into being in accordance with the saying of the Messenger of Allah (S). Now what can be said of Yazeed? Father and son, both became the successors of the Prophet.

In Shahristani’s Al-Milal Wan-Nihal8 it is said that Ahlul Sunnat believe in the Caliphate of Muawiyah, Yazeed and Bani Marwan. All this shows that the foundation of the religion of Ahlul Sunnat is based on enmity to Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet. The fact is that from the time of Abu Bakr, till today, it has continuous opposition to the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and it will continue till Judgment Day.

Now let us find out whether Yazeed was pleased with the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.) or not? Why should he not be happy? When he had, before this, written to Walid that if Husayn does not give allegiance, he should be beheaded and his head should be sent to Medina? If Walid could not carry out these instructions and Ibn Saad did it instead, it was same for Yazeed. He became happy by this according to the dictates of reason.9

It is written therein: When Imam Husayn (a.s.) and his companions were martyred and their blessed severed heads were brought to Yazeed, he became extremely happy; but when Muslims criticized him, he became ashamed. In the same way, it is written on page 102 of Sharh Aqaide Nasafi that Yazeed indeed approved the killing of Husayn and was pleased when it was carried out. He used to be happy at the martyrdom and the insult to the family of the Prophet.

This report is narrated by a large number of historians and traditionists. After this, the commentator writes: “I do not approve the cursing of Yazeed, his friends and supporters.” Curse of Allah be upon him. One would pose a question whether Muawiyah could be considered among the supporters of Yazeed or not? If not, why not? In Tarikh Balazari10 it is written that when Imam Husayn (a.s.) was martyred, Abdullah Ibn Umar wrote to Yazeed: “A great calamity occurred in Islam and a tragedy has occurred. That is, Husayn is martyred!” Yazeed replied: “O foolish man! I am sitting in my house on a restful couch. If our opponents were on the right, your elders were the first to initiate this trend.”

On this basis, people say that Husayn was killed on the day of Saqifah.

This reply of Yazeed is very much appropriate. Saqifah was the first of the chain of events that finally culminated in the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s.). The fact is that as there arose controversies in Islam, which brought new kinds of calamities on the Prophet’s family, there was bloodshed of Muslims and due to disunity among Muslims they are weak and downtrodden in every part of the world.

The root cause of all this lacunae is Umar, the father of Abdullah. Yazeed was aware of all this, that is why he could give such a fitting reply to Abdullah Ibn Umar. The fact is that if Umar had not been there and if he had not been such a severe opponent of the Prophet’s family, the history of Islam would have been quite different. The writer has written a great deal in this regard and it is not worth repeating here.

  • 1. Tarikhul Khulafa, Pg. 195
  • 2. Hayatul Haiwan, Vol. 1
  • 3. Qastalani, Vol. 10, Pg. 162.
  • 4. Pg. 87
  • 5. Pg. 102
  • 6. Hayatul Haiwan
  • 7. Pg. 33
  • 8. Pg. 8
  • 9. Ref. Tarikhul Khulafa, Pg. 308.
  • 10. Pg. 462