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Chapter 2: The Life Of Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘A) In Madinah

When the members of the holy Household (‘a) arrived as captive prisoners in Kufah, a movement against the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (‘a) ignited and spread all over the city. Ibn Ziad, despite being in the process of punishing every one harbouring any kind of disagreement with Yazid, was unable to quell the outraged crowd already clamouring in protest against ever-increasing oppression dealt out by the ruling government and its organizations.

When Ibn Ziad, whilst giving an arrogant political propaganda speech, praised Yazid and the Bani Ummayyah, simultaneously insulting Imam Husayn (‘a) and the other members of the holy Household (‘a), someone by the name of Abdullah Ibn Afif Azdi rose up and shouted: "Oh enemy of Allah! Indeed you, your father and the one who gave you your position are liars, the lot of you. O, son of Marjanah! First you killed the holy sons of the Prophet (S) and then, on top of that, you have the audacity to sit on the pulpit in place of those truthful ones?"

Ibn Ziad ordered: "Bring him to me!" Guards attacked him, intending to drag him to Ibn Ziad. But Abdullah Ibn Afif Azdi called out the ‘Azd’ tribe’s coded call slogan, and seven hundred people of the Azd tribe instantly converged to free him from the hands of Ibn Ziad’s guards. However, during the night, Ibn Ziad dispatched other men who extricated him from his house, sliced through his head and crucified his dead body1, an action that, though at that moment, was seemingly in Ibn Ziad’s favour, actually became the bedrock of upcoming protests.

In Damascus, too, the initial signs of general anger and wrath reared their heads, causing Yazid to condemn Ibn Ziad for the killing of Imam Husayn (‘a). However, the most intense reaction was observed in Hijaz. During the early days of Yazid’s government, Abdullah Ibn Zubayr had gone to Makkah and made that very place a military war base for a battle against Yazid. He used the great event of Karbala as a tool to find fault with Yazid’s system of government. He delivered a sermon in which he accused the Iraqis of disloyalty and praised Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) for his piety and practical dedication to worship.

On returning from Damascus and Iraq, Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) also delivered a sermon to the people in Madinah, as historians record. Before entering the city, the Imam (‘a) gathered the people outside its perimeters and spoke to them thus:

“All praise belongs to Allah, Lord of the worlds; Master of the Day of Resurrection. He is the One who nourishes all creatures; the One who is somewhere high above the skies, yet so near to His servants that He can hear them whispering. We thank Him, during our hardship, for all disastrous times, tragic events, the burning of stings and deadly, unpleasant and horrible calamities.”

“O nation! Allah the Exalted – to whom we should be thankful – has made us face great suffering and behold a huge crack in Islam. Imam Husayn (‘a) has been killed, the women and the children of his family were made captives and his head was paraded through many cities, fixed on the top of a spear. This is such a suffering incomparable to any other.”

“Which person from amongst you would not be depressed at his martyrdom? Which heart would not be sad? Which eye can control its tears after having seen the heavens weeping over Imam Husayn’s (‘a) martyrdom, after having known that the waves of the seas, the elements of the skies, the earth, the leaves of the trees, the fish within the ocean’s watery depths and the esteemed angels have wept for Imam Husayn (‘a)?”

“O people! Where is the heart, which does not shatter into pieces at Imam Husayn’s (‘a) martyrdom? Which is the soul that does not feel sorry for Imam Husayn’s (‘a) martyrdom? And which is the ear that hears this mournful news in Islam and does not become deaf, feeling intensely forlorn?”

“O people! We were rejected and expelled as if we were from among the Turks or from Kabul. But we were not the guilty ones, nor did we kill anyone; we also did not do anything improper, nor did we cause a slight crack in the wall of Islam. We also did not hear anything like this from our grandparents and forefathers. What has been said about us is nothing but a lie.”

“I swear, by Allah, that had the Holy Prophet (S) recommended you to fight and make battle against us to the same extent that he recommended kindness and beneficence, they could not have oppressed us more. Thus, indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him we, indeed, return. For our suffering, which is immense, painful, tragic, breaking, terrible, sore and unfavourable, we, for all our sufferings, only ask Him for our return because He is the only Beloved and Avenger.”2

This sermon, though concise, portrayed the event of Karbala in the most realistic manner; it underlined the condition of the oppressed members of the holy Household of the Prophet (S). In this speech we also come to learn of Imam Husayn (‘a) being painfully slaughtered; we see the holy Household of the Prophet (S) being removed to Damascus as captives and we come to know about the disrespect that Yazid and his officials showed them. We then come to understand that the heads of the martyred were fixed on the top of spears, especially the holy head of Imam Husayn (‘a).

In continuation of his sermon, Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) indicated what the holy Household of the Prophet (S) had to face and mentioned the time they were taken captive, faced with the offensive, abusive and inappropriate behaviour that their enemies displayed towards them. He referred to the sufferings of those who indeed were the offspring of prophethood and the people of inspiration, those who were the leaders of the believers of Islam and those who were the source of peace and prosperity for all.

The Imam (‘a) finished his speech after describing the slaughter perpetrated on the holy Household of the Prophet (S) by the Ummayyad army. Because if, for example, the Prophet (S) had ordered them to kill and mutilate his own Household (‘a) they would not have been able to be more obediently effective than their recent actions had revealed them to have been.

While, on the contrary, we see that the Holy Prophet (S) even forbade his nation from mutilating a mad dog; and on many occasions, he recommended his nation to respect his holy Household (‘a). The Prophet (S) equalized the respect given to his Household (‘a) to the respect given to him. He never asked his nation for anything in return for his prophecy but to respect his Household (‘a). Bearing all this in mind, can anyone favour the deadly actions of the Ummayyad army?

Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) tried, in his talk, to make people aware of the oppression and suffering that the holy Household of the Prophet (S) faced. He wanted to awaken the spirit of revolution in the people of Madinah against the Ummayyad’s oppression and dictatorship as well as to put an end to the Ummayyad’s transgression.

In those days, the governor of Madinah was Walid Ibn ‘Uqbah Ibn Abi Sufyan. During his governorship, the situation in Madinah was far from calm and peaceful, because, in a period of two years, the position of governor had changed three times. Finally, Yazid discharged Walid Ibn ‘Uqbah and awarded his post to Uthman Ibn Muhammad Ibn Abi Sufyan.3

1. The People Of Madinah’s Revoking Their Allegiance To Yazid

Uthman wanted to show his ability in controlling Madinah. He also wanted to gain the satisfaction of the great men of the city. For this reason, he summoned a number of people from amongst the sons of Muhammad’s (S) comrades (Ansaar) and emigrants (Muhajirin), asking them to go to Damascus to meet the young Caliph. He wanted to receive some gifts from Yazid. However, when the mission met Yazid, they noticed iniquitous conduct in both his words and actions.

When they returned to Madinah, they did not hide anything and clearly said: "We met someone who has no belief in Islam; he drinks wine, plays the tambourine, asks slave girls to dance in front of him; he is a dog- trainer and thieves accompany him during the night. We declare here and now that we are revoking him from his post of caliphate."

Abdullah Ibn Handhalah said: "If I don’t find any other person to help me in this mission except for my own sons, I still swear to fight him with these my sons. During the meeting, Yazid showed me respect and gave me some gifts. But I accepted these gifts only to be provoked sufficiently to enable me all the better to fight him."

People in general also revoked Yazid from his post and swore allegiance to Abdullah Ibn Handhalah (Ghaseel Al-Mala’aika), the one who washed angels, and implored him to do his utmost to nullify Yazid’s authority.4

2. The Revolution Of Madinah And Its Consequences

The source of people’s awareness of Yazid’s deviation, his separation from Islam and his oppression were not only the words of those sent to him as a mission; they had already guessed about the existence of his oppression and that of his officials over the Islamic realm, their severity and their disrespect to divine orders regarding things unlawful and prohibited. Not one person could think of a reason for martyring Imam Husayn (‘a); a man who was the son of the fourth caliph, ‘Ali (‘a), and very dear to the Holy Prophet (S). Who could dare to kill someone who was the leader of the youths in paradise? And who could make captive those who were known as the holy Household of the Prophet (S)? And finally, how could anyone legalize Yazid’s habit of drinking wine which was clearly against the words of the holy Qur’an?

Another factor influencing the revolution of Madinah was that the Ummayyad dynasty had great resentment regarding Muhammad’s (S) comrades (Ansaar) who, holding a desire for vengeance, never hid their feelings. Therefore, the people of Madinah, when calling for revolution, also rose against Yazid to neutralise his power without a shadow of doubt in their minds. They besieged the Ummayyads.

Marwan Ibn hakam, a strong enemy of the holy Household of the Prophet (S), when finding no way to escape, came to Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a), asking for shelter.5 The Imam (‘a) overlooked every past mistake he had committed, like the event of Imam Hasan’s (‘a) burial or trying to compel Imam Husayn (‘a) to swear allegiance to Yazid. Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) accepted his request, providing him with shelter.

When Yazid came to know about the revolution in Madinah, he sent Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah to Madinah and ordered him to suppress every movement within that city; a city which was known as Muhammad’s (S) city and which was the place for the revelation of the verses of the holy Book of Allah. Before sending Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah to Madinah, Yazid gave him specific orders such as:

"Ask them three times to surrender, then, if they do not, fight them. In the event that there is a fight, tell your army that they are allowed to loot each and everything in the city such as properties, animals, weapons and food."6

He also ordered Muslim to kill all the injured and those who escaped from the battlefield.7

Yazid’s army entered Madinah and a deadly battle ensued. The people of Madinah fought fearlessly till the very end of their lives. Many of them were martyred. Abdullah Ibn Hanzala and some other companions of the Holy Prophet (S) were also martyred. The commander of the army did as his master, Yazid, ordered him. The city with each and everything in it was permissible for the army for three days. The army entered the houses and either killed babies, women and the elderly people, or made them captives.

The great historian Ibn Kathir writes: "Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah (whom earlier historians named "Masraf" (squanderer) Ibn ‘Uqbah. He was an ignorant old man having all kinds of bad habits; an old man (whose face was made ugly by Allah, as ordered by Yazid (Allah’s damnation be on him), allowed his army to loot the city of Madinah for three consecutive days. They killed most of the noble people as well as the readers of the holy Qur’an, and plundered their wealth and possessions.

A woman from Madinah came to Ibn ‘Uqbah and said: I am one of your female slaves. Your army has imprisoned my son as a captive. Please let him go. Muslim said: "Bring her son to me!" When the person was brought before him, he issued an order of execution for him and then ordered his army to give his severed head to his mother.

During the mentioned three days, Yazid’s army also raped many of the women. It is said that during those days one thousand maidens became pregnant. Madaaini quoted from Husham Ibn Hasan that he said: ‘After the event of "Harra," a thousand maidens from amongst the people of Madinah became pregnant."

It is narrated from Zuhri that he said: "Seven hundred well- known people from amongst the emigrants and Muhammad’s (S) and his family’s companions were killed in the battle of "Hurra." Those whom I did not know, including the slaves, independent ones and others reached ten thousand."8

There is another narrative which says that Muslim’s army went into a house where there was no one except a woman and her little child. They asked the woman to let them loot everything she had at home. She said there was nothing for them to loot. They snatched the child from her and hit its head repeatedly against the wall so much so that his brain smeared everywhere on the walls.9

After the city was taken, a throne was erected for Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah. The captives of Madinah were brought in single file before him and he asked each of them to swear his or her allegiance in the following manner:

‘I am a purchased slave of Yazid Ibn Mu‛awiyah. He has the right to do with me, my blood, my wealth and my family whatever he wishes.’10

Those who did not swear their allegiance in the above mentioned manner or did not accept Yazid, but Allah the Exalted as their only Allah, would be killed on the spot.11

Yazid Ibn Abdullah (who was the grandson of Umm Salamah the wife of the Holy Prophet (S) and Muhammad Ibn Adavi were also brought in front of Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah. He asked them for their allegiance in the same manner. But they said: "We swear our allegiance to Yazid according to Allah’s holy Book and the Sunnah of Muhammad (S)." Muslim said: "I swear by Allah that such an allegiance will not save your lives." Then he ordered his men to kill them both and they did so.

Marwan Ibn Al-hakam was also there. He said to Muslim: "Glory to Allah! Only two people from amongst the Quraish came to swear their allegiance, but you killed both of them!" Muslim had a stick in his hand. He used it to strike Marwan on the back and said: "I swear by Allah that if you also say something like they said, you will not be able to see the skies for more than a moment (you will also be killed like them.)"12

Another person was brought in front of him who said that he would swear his allegiance according to Ummar’s tradition. Muslim ordered his death, too.13

3. Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin And Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah

Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) was also brought in front of Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah. Before his arrival, Muslim was in a state of a great anger and was cursing him and his holy forefathers (‘a). But when the Imam (‘a) arrived, his body started trembling with fear. He stood to welcome the Imam (‘a) and invited him to sit next to him. Then he said to the Imam (‘a): "Ask me for whatever you need." The Imam (‘a) asked him to release the captives and prisoners, the people who were about to be hanged. He did not accept the Imam’s (‘a) request regarding them. The only thing he did was to let the Imam (‘a) go.

After some time, someone said to the Imam (‘a): "While you were sitting next to Muslim, you were speaking below your breath. What were you whispering about?" The Imam (‘a) answered: ‘I was praying this prayer: Oh Lord, who has created the seven skies and whatever is shedding on them; Oh Creator of the seven Earths and whatever it carries. Oh Allah of Muhammad (S) and his holy Household (‘a), I seek your shelter against his evil; and return his evil to himself with the power you have bestowed upon me. I ask you that if he has benefit for me, give it to me and protect me from his evil."

They also said to Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah: "We saw that you were cursing that young man and his forefathers (‘a) but, when he came to you, you gave him respect, why?" He said: "I did not do this because of my faith in him but, when I saw him, my body started trembling with fear."

And this is why Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) did not swear his allegiance to Yazid. ‘Ali Ibn Abdullah Ibn Abbas also did not swear allegiance to Yazid in the same manner. He asked his uncles for shelter who belonged to the "Kanda" tribe and they said to Hussayn Ibn Numayr (the representative of Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah): "Our nephew will not swear allegiance to Yazid just like ‘Ali Ibn Al-Husayn (‘a)."14

Historians say that, after the event of "Hurra", Imam Zayn Al-‘Abidin (‘a) became the guardian of four hundred women of the family of Abd- Manaf and provided them with their expenditure till Muslim’s army left the city.15

It is reported in many narrations that: When Musraf (Muslim) Ibn ‘Uqbah arrived in the city of Madinah, he sent someone to bring Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin (‘a) in front of him. When the Imam (‘a) came to him, he respected him and asked him to sit next to him. He said to him: "Amir Al-Mu’minin, Yazid has ordered me not to deal with you like others and that I should behave gently with you…"16

It is very clear that if swearing of allegiance to Yazid meant his slavery, the Imam (‘a) never accepted it. And after coming to know about the Imam’s (‘a) rejection, they would martyr him as they did his father Imam Husayn (‘a), and thus a new era of war against the deeds of Ummayyads would start which could make the ruling government collapse.

After ending the deadly period of war in Madinah (the city of the Holy Prophet (S) Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah said: "O Lord! I witness that there is no Allah except Allah and witness that Muhammad is His servant and messenger. I swear that being in Madinah, I did nothing but only violently kill the people of Madinah because they liked it and I am very hopeful because of what I have done for the Hereafter."17

When Muslim said this, he was over ninety years old and was soon to leave this world. Just as the event of Hurra finished, he died on the way to Makkah. He was from amongst those Muslims who did not understand the real meaning of Islam. He used the Qur’anic verses and traditions of the Holy Prophet (S) for his own benefit and the justification of his wrong deeds. He was amongst the very sincere friends of Mu’awiyah Ibn Abi Sufiyan. He had, also, commanded a number of Mu’awiyah’s army during the Siffin war against Amir Al-Mu’minin ‘Ali (‘a).18

It was as if he has not heard the Holy Prophet’s (S) hadith in which the Prophet of Allah (S) says: "He who frightens (the people of) Madinah, Allah will frighten him. Allah and angels and all people’s damnation be on him."19
Perhaps he had heard of this hadith, but when he saw that a person (Yazid) who considered himself the successor of the Holy Prophet (S) killed his (S) grandson Imam Husayn (‘a) and made his granddaughters captives, taking them to another city, yet while doing all these things, no one protested against him, perhaps this gave him an overwhelming confidence whereby he felt no fear for anyone committing the above mentioned sins.

4. Destroying And Burning The Ka’bah

After a general massacre in Madinah and complete suppression of the movement, Muslim Ibn ‘Uqbah left for Makkah where Abdullah Ibn Zubair had started another movement against the Ummayyad government. But he was unable to reach Makkah, as death reached him first, before he could set foot in the city. He died on the way to Makkah. After his death, according to Yazid’s order, Haseen Ibn Numair was made commander of the Ummayyad army. When he reached Makkah, he started besieging the city, hurling balls of fire with ballista into the city, an act which set light to the Ka’abah.20

The Ummayyad army had besieged the city of Makkah when Yazid died and went to hell. After his death, the commander of the army, Hussayn Ibn Numayr, who no longer knew who he was working for, held a number of meetings with Ibn Zubair in which he offered him his allegiance on condition that Ibn Zubair would accompany him to Damascus, but Ibn Zubair declined his request and the Ummayyad army, consequently, returned to Damascus.

5. Separation Of The Ummayyad Family

Yazid died at a place named Hawarin in Rabi’ Al-Awwal when he was only thirty- eight. The file of his governing period, which consisted of three years, a number of months, as well as an abundance of shameful incidents; including the martyrdom of the Prophet’s (S) grandson Imam Husayn (‘a), capturing the people of the holy Household of the Prophet (S), the women of the Prophet’s (S) family, the general massacre of Madinah and the burning of the Ka’abah, to name some of them, was closed.

After Yazid’s death, the people of Damascus swore their allegiance to his son Mu‛awiyah Ibn Yazid, but his government did not last long. He sequestered himself from the government after forty days and after a while died in a miserable condition.

After his death, the Ummayyad dynasty was divided into two groups. One group which consisted of Yemeni tribes, whose leader was Hasan Kalbi (this group was also known as the "Kalbis"), was in the favour of Marwan Ibn hakam’s rule, while the second group consisted of Qaisis. Their leader’s name was Dhahhak Ibn Qais Fahari. This group wanted Ibn Zubair as the next caliph.

From the very beginning of Yazid’s short period of caliphate, the Kalbis took the main powerful posts of the country and created intense pressure for the Qaisis. Dhahhak Ibn Qais was so deeply saddened by this, that after Yazid’s death, he swore allegiance to Ibn Zubair (who was an Adnani Arab).

Eventually, there was a fight between the mentioned groups at a place named "Maraj Rahit"21, which was situated in the eastern part of Damascus. The fight ended in favour of the Kalbis, and Marwan Ibn hakam was duly made the next caliph who, to some extent, brought peace to Damascus.

6. Increasing Opposition Against Ummayyad Rulings

Abdullah Ibn Zubair continued his war against the Ummayyads, which he had started after the death of Mu‛awiyah. He asked the people of Hejaz (Arabia Petraea) to swear allegiance to him as the next caliph of the Muslims. Most of the people, as he expected, agreed.

Iraq was also experiencing some newly generated popular movements against the Ummayyads, as the people who initially called Imam Husayn (‘a), and awarded great respect to his messenger, Muslim Ibn ‘Aqil, only to subsequently desert both of them in a disgraceful manner, were now ashamed of themselves and were repenting for what they had done to the grandson of the Prophet (S). But did all the people who participated in this dishonourable act repent?

Never! Many of the people, who rose after Yazid’s death, did not do so for the love of Allah, rather their intention was only to defeat Damascus and to facilitate their objective of Iraq becoming the centre of government.

7. The Tawwabin’s (Repentant) Revolution

Whatever the case, both religious and non-religious groups manifested a war against the Ummayyads. None of them, however, were sufficiently successful to abolish the power of the Ummayyad dynasty. Sulayman Ibn Sard, who was the leader of Tawwabin, was killed and his remaining army returned to Kufah. At this point, a man named Mukhtar Ibn Abi Obeida Thaqafi, with his slogan of "Yaa lisaarat Al-Husayn" rebelled against the government.

8. Al-Mukhtar’s Revolution

After the Tawabin were defeated, Mukhtar commenced his activities for gathering the Shi’ahs. He was well aware that every Shi’ah movement could only be successful when it was provided with leadership of a member of the holy Household of the Prophet (S); and every move should commence under the protection of a member of this great family.

Mukhtar decided that the best choice for him was Imam ‘Ali Ibn Husayn (‘a). However, if Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) failed to accept Mukhtar’s request, he would have no other choice but to ask Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) uncle, Muhammad Ibn Hanifa, to take on the leadership.

Mukhtar sent two concurrent letters: one to Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) and the other to his uncle, Muhammad Ibn Hanifa. Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) accepted Mukhtar’s request (to take revenge for the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (‘a) and punish those involved in the massacre), although he chose not to disclose this information.

When the mission from Kufah asked Imam Al-Sajjad’s (‘a) uncle, Muhammad Ibn Hanifa, about his willingness in regards to becoming the leader of Mukhtar’s army, he said: "Whatever you have said about this person who wants to take our revenge, I swear upon Allah that it will be my great pleasure to know that someone is going to exact our revenge and punish our enemies."22

The mission understood that Ibn Hanifa had approved Mukhtar’s action. This was the reason why Mukhtar had been successful in attracting the attention of well- respected persons such as Ibrahim Ibn Malik Ashtar and others.

Mukhtar delivered the severed heads of Obaidullah Ibn Ziad and Ummar Ibn Sa’d to Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a); and the Imam (‘a) prostrated and said:

"All praise belongs to Allah, who took my revenge over my enemies. May Allah bless Mukhtar."23

Ya’qoobi says: Mukhtar sent the severed head of that wicked person (Ibn Ziad) for Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) and ordered his messenger to take the head in front of the Imam (‘a) soon after the Zuhr prayer when the tablecloth was spread for the Imam (‘a) to have lunch. Mukhtar’s messenger arrived at the Imam’s (‘a) home, and people were gathering around the Imam (‘a) in order to start eating their meal. Suddenly, the messenger shouted: "O holy Household of the Prophet (‘a), O, people of epistle and inhabitants of the place where the Angels came with celestial revelation, I am the messenger of Mukhtar Ibn Abi Obaida Saqafi and I have brought the severed head of Obaidullah Ibn Ziad…" Hearing this, all the women in Bani Hashim family started mourning and crying.24

Historians say: From the very time when Imam Zayn Al-’Abidin’s father (‘a) was martyred, no one had seen him smiling or laughing, with the exception of when the severed head of the son of Marjana was placed before him.25

Some of the historians also say: When Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) saw the separated head of that devil, he said:

"Glory to Allah, only such a person becomes proud in this world who has never enjoyed the blessings of Allah. When they took Imam Husayn’s (‘a) head before Ibn Ziad, he was busy having lunch."26

9. The Years Of Turbulence And Conflicts

The years between 66 H.D to 75 H.D were fraught with conflict and turmoil for Damascus, Hejaz and Iraq. Peace was never maintained in these countries during these consecutive years.

Hejaz was dealing with Abdul Malik Marwan’s attack on Makkah which ended with the murder of Abdullah Ibn Zubair. Iraq was in a desperate state. However, it could be said that Iraq’s suffering was the result of a curse uttered by the Prophet’s (S) grandson Imam Husayn (‘a), as on the very day of Ashura, he raised his hands in prayer, saying:

"Oh, Lord! Deny the rain of your heavens from them, bless them with famine as you did to Yusuf, and make the son of Saqif dominant over them so that he can make them quench their thirst with bitter waters (poison) because they have denied us and left us behind."27

And Allah Almighty made the very cruel Hajjaj Ibn Yousuf Siqfi dominant over the people of Iraq, the ones who had denied Imam Husayn (‘a) abandoning him in his mission. Hajjaj Ibn Yousuf was tyrannical in his treatment toward them. He was a person who could never become tired with killing. He performed some special deed which could not be done by anybody else in the world.28

10. Al-Hajjaj’s Cruelty And His Extensive Transgression

Al-Hajjaj had prisons failing to provide protection for its prisoners from hot and cold weather. Its prisoners and captives experienced extreme torture, and their hands were said to bleed due to being bound by a kind of metal pipe.

Historians say that a figure of around fifty thousand men and thirty thousand women (sixteen thousand of which were naked), died in Hajjaj’s prisons. In his prisons, men and women were kept together in one cell.29 Among the prisoners, thirty thousand of them had been taken captive without being charged with any specific or serious crime.30

During his visits to prisons, when he heard the shouting and noise of the prisoners, he would repeat a part from a verse from the holy Qur’an in which Allah the Exalted says to those in hell: "Be gone in it (hell) and do not speak to me!"31

Ajjaj would laugh at the pilgrims of the Prophet’s (S) holy mausoleum and say: "Curse upon them that they are walking around some pieces of wood and a bunch of bones, rotten bones. Why do not they walk around the grave of Amir Al-Muminin Abdul Malik? Do not they know that everyone’s successor is better than who he sends."32

11. The Reign Of Al-Walid Ibn ‘Abdul-Malik

Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan made the ground of caliphate for his son Walid. He called his son and said to him very stressed very seriously that he should be very kind to the wicked Hajjaj, adding:

"Always respect Hajjaj because he is the one who has made this ground for you. He is like a hanging sword for your enemies. Do not let anyone say something against him and do not let anybody backbite him, because it is you who need him. After my death, call the people to swear their allegiance to you. Kill all those who intend to fight you…"33

This "testament" shows the attraction of Abdul Malik Ibn Marwan towards cruelty and evil, which he did not abandon till the very end of his life. Abdul Malik Marwan died in the month of Shawwal 86 (H.D.).34

Somebody asked Hasan Basri’s view of Abdul Malik. He said: "What should I say about someone, one of whose crimes is Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf."35

  • 1. Shaykh Al-Mufid, Kitab Al-Irshad 11/72; taken from the same book in "Waq'a Al-Taff" by Abi Mikhnaf, pp. 265-256.
  • 2. Ibn Tawus in Al-Luhuf fi Qatli Al-Tufuf 116; Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 45 p. 148-149.
  • 3. Tarikh Al-Tabari 5, p. 479-480.
  • 4. Tarikh Al-Tabari 5, p 480; Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh 4, p 103.
  • 5. Tarikh Al-Tabari 4/485; Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh 4/113.
  • 6. Tarikh Tabari 4/484; Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh, 4/113.
  • 7. Al-Tanbih wal Al-Ishraf p. 263; Cairo edition.
  • 8. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa' l-Nihayah 5/484; Tarikh Al-Khulafa' p. 233; however Tabari has not mentioned the three days looting and raping of the women 5/491, Ibn Athir Jazari has also written the same in his "Kamil" as he did in his book.
  • 9. Tarikh Ibn 'Asakir 10/13; Al-Mahasin wAl-Masawi 1/104.
  • 10. Tarikh Tabari 5/493-495; the same in Al-Kamil fit-Tarikh 4/118; Muruj Al-Dhahab 3/70; Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 8/222. It is mentioned in Tarikh Al-Ya’qubi that the people of Quresh were brought and asked/ Swear your allegiance that you are only Yazid's slaves. If they did not do so, they would be killed.
  • 11. Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh 4/118; Muruj Al-Dhahab 3/70.
  • 12. Tarikh Tabari 5/492; as well as Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh 4/118.
  • 13. Tarikh Tabari 5/493; Al-Akhbar Al-Tiwal 265.
  • 14. Al-Nazariyah Al-Siyasiya Imam Zayn Al-'Abidin (‘a) by Mahmud Baghdadi, p. 273; Majma' Al-'Alami li-Ahl Al-Bayt (‘a) First edition, 1415; Jihad Imam Al-Sajjad p. 71.
  • 15. Al-Irbili, Kashf Al-Ghummah 2/319.
  • 16. Shaykh Al-Mufid, Kitab Al-Irshad 2/152.
  • 17. Tarikh Tabari 5/497; as well as Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh 4/123.
  • 18. Waq'at Siffin pp. 206-213, Al-asaba 3/493-494.
  • 19. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 8/223; has narrated this Hadith from Nisaaei, as well as narrating another Hadith from Ahmad Ibn Hanbal which are almost identical to the one mentioned. There are other Hadiths, too, for which one can refer to Kanz Al-'Amal, Kitab Al-Faza'il Hadith No. 34886; Wafa Al-Wafa 90; and Safinat-al Bihar 8/38-39; which has been taken from Da'aim Al-Islam. Mosnad Ahmad 4/55.
  • 20. Tarikh Al-Tabari 5/498; Al-Kamil fi Al-Tarikh 4/24; narrated from Kalbi who narrated from Abi Awana Ibn Al-Hakam. Additionally, there are other narrations narrated from Ibn Ummar which attempt to portray the wicked Yazid as innocent in regard to burning the holy Ka'aba claiming that it was Ibn Zubair and his men who burnt it.
  • 21. A Village in East Dimashq.
  • 22. Tarikh Tabari 6/12-14; by Ibn Mikhnaf. Ibn N'ama Al-Hilli also has narrated the same narration from his father saying that Mukhtar said to the people: Let's go to your and my Imam "Ali Ibn Al-Hussain (‘a)". When they met the Imam (‘a) and revealed what they had come for, the Imam (‘a) said to Muammad Ibn Hanifa: ''O my Uncle! If a black slave favours us [the members of the holy Household] (and wants to avenge us), it becomes obligatory on all people to favour him and obey his orders. I am giving you this responsibility to do whatever you think is best.'' While the people were leaving Imam Al-Sajjad's (‘a) home, they said to each other/ Imam Al-Sajjad (‘a) and Muammad Hanifa have allowed us to do what we want. This tradition is also present in Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 45/365.
  • 23. Rijal Al-Kashshi /Hadith 127 number 203; Mukhtar Thaqafi 124; Al-Majlisi, Bihar Al-Anwar 45/344.
  • 24. Tarikh Al-Ya’qubi 2/259; Beirut edition.
  • 25. Ibid.
  • 26. Ibn ‘Abd Rabbih Al-Andalusi, Al-‘Iqd Al-Farid 5/143; Durar Al-Samit fi Khabar Al-Thabit 108.
  • 27. Tarikh Tabari 5/451; Waq'at Al-Taff p. 254; Almost the same narration in/ Shaykh Al-Mufid, Kitab Al-Irshad 2/100-111; Ibn Tawus in Al-Lahuf fi Qatla Al-Tufuf p. 60.
  • 28. Ayat Al–Haiwan p. 167.
  • 29. Ayat Al-Hayawan 1/170.
  • 30. Mu'jam Al-Buldan 5/349.
  • 31. Tahdhib Al-Tahdhib 2/212.
  • 32. The interpretation of Nahj Al-Balaghah p. 242 taken from Al-Dabas's book ''Iftiraq Hashim and Abd Shams''; before Nahj Al Balaghah this tradition was also mentioned in Kamil by Mubarrad, 1/222, Sinan Abi Da'ud 4/209; Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa’l-Nihayah 9/131; Al-Nasah Al-Kafiyah of Ibn Aqil which is taken from Jahidh and Rusul Al-Jahidh 2/16.
  • 33. Tarikh Al-Khulafa' p. 220.
  • 34. Ibn Kathir, Al-Bidayah wa 'l-Nihayah 9/68.
  • 35. Muruj Al-Dhahab 3/96.