Appendix 2: A ‘Revolutionary’ Book: Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid
Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi, the writer of Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid has created a strange type of friction in the Shia, Sunni Hindu and all humanity-loving circles of India and Pakistan by his new slogan. Along with the articles of the actual book, the attacks of Maulavi Abdul Maajid Daryabadi and Maktaba Tajalli Deoband1 have also become the subject of discussion that have introduced this book as ‘revolutionary’. The following are the opening sentences of Maktaba Tajalli:
“By this letter we introduce you to a book which presents a ‘revolutionary’ view on the most delicate matter of the Muslim nation.”
Maulavi Abdul Maajid Daryabadi has also, commenting on this book in the newspaper ‘Sidqe Jadeed’ referred to this book as ‘revolutionary’ and compares this discussion to be an unbiased support.
The common Muslims and especially the Shias are highly disturbed by these statements but I think even in enmity we must not leave justice. The point of justice is that the book is really ‘revolutionary’ and my article is supporting these statements in this matter.
Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid is a religious discussion and to interpret this ‘revolution’ we must seek help from the Holy Qur’an. So that we may come to know how the Qur’an views this upheaval.
The word of ‘revolution’ is used in eight places in the Holy Qur’an in its various forms, that is to ‘turn’ ‘return’ or to ‘come back’ etc. For example:
(1) They will swear to you by Allah when you return to them so that you may turn aside from them; so do turn aside from them; surely they are unclean and their abode is hell; a recompense for what they earned.2
(2) And he said to his servants: Put their money into their bags that they may recognize it when they go back to their family, so that they may come back.3
In the same way refer to (1) Surah Tatfeef, Ruku 1 (2) Surah Fath, Ruku 2 (3) Surah Mulk, Ruku 1 (4) Surah Inshiqaq, Ruku 1 (5) Surah Kahf, Ruku 5. All these examples denote ‘coming back from one place to another’ and there is no mention whether the ‘return’ is for good or bad.
I am sure that Mr. Daryabadi and Maktaba Tajalli have not called this book ‘revolutionary’ in the sense that by reading it, people on a trip would come back to their hometowns because it is a Great Name of God (Isme Aazam). Therefore we shall have to search for other verses in order to understand the meaning of ‘revolutionary’.
In this search we find some verses where in addition to the word ‘revolution’ it is also mentioned whether it is for good or bad.
(1) Those to whom the people said: Surely men have gathered against you, therefore fear them, but this increased their faith, and they said: Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector.4
But Mr. Daryabadi and people of ‘Tajalli’ could not bear to have the word ‘revolution’ interpreted in this sense because the circumstances of the revelation of these verses is against their selfish desires.
The incident in brief is that after the battle of Uhad, the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) took only his injured companions by the command of Allah and went out in pursuit of Abu Sufyan and halted at a place called Humratul Asad. Abu Sufyan was camping at a place called Rauha. Abu Sa’eed Khuzai taking the leave of the Prophet went to Abu Sufyan and told him, “The Prophet is coming in your pursuit with a large army.” Hearing this, Abu Sufyan fled from there. Naeem bin Masud Ashjai met him on way to Medina. Abu Sufyan told him, “If you go to Muhammad and tell him that the infidels of Quraish have got a huge army I would reward you with ten camel loads of dates and dried grapes.”
When Naeem brought this message to the Islamic army, His Eminence, ‘Ali (a.s) at once said, “No problem! Allah is sufficient for us and most excellent is the Protector.” The Almighty Allah liked this utterance of His Eminence, ‘Ali (a.s) so much that He mentioned the same words in the Holy Qur’an and this verse was revealed.5
Among the Ahl al-Sunnah this matter is mentioned by Ibn Marduyah in his book, and this episode is also recorded in Manaqib Ibn Shahr Aashob from Abu Rafe (a Sunni).
However, Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi, Abdul Maajid Daryabadi and the officials of ‘Tajalli’ could not be in favor of this Qur’anic revolution because they themselves want to bring about a revolution.
Firstly, this verse of ‘revolution’ was revealed in praise of ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (a.s) while the book Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid has tried to show supposed weaknesses of this same ‘Ali.
Secondly, this verse indicated the cunning, deceit and enmity of Abu Sufyan towards Islam. The same Abu Sufyan who is the father of Muawiyah, is the hero of these people and the grandfather of Yazid, their idol. It is the same family, which is called the ‘accursed tree’ in the Qur’an but these people are trying their best to make it the center of truth.
Thirdly, this verse has praised those who were injured, less in number and they were warned of the great number of their enemies but they did not care for it and they relied on Allah. If you look for a parallel of this verse in the events of Karbala’ you will see that the army of Yazid, the Amir of Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi was having a huge army like Abu Sufyan and the battalion of Husayn (a.s) was very small like that of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w), injured, afflicted with hunger and thirst but yet having complete certainty in God and His favors. Because the qualities that are praised in this verse are seen only in the army of Husayn (a.s) while the book, Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid is mainly concerned with degrading ‘Ali and Husayn and pointing out their ‘defects’ while on the other hand it glorifies their enemies. Therefore we can be sure that this book could not have been inspired by the type of ‘revolution’ mentioned in the above verse.
(2) Another verse where ‘revolution’ is mentioned in a positive sense is as follows:
It was the occasion when sorcerers summoned by the Pharaoh were over-awed by the miracle of Musa’s staff and they came to the right path and said: “We believe in the Lord of Musa and Harun.” At that time Pharaoh made many allegations, which included that: You want to spread mischief in the land and wish to take over the kingdom. Then he made a threat, which was immediately put into action:
I will certainly cut off your hands and your feet on opposite sides, then will I crucify you all together. They said: Surely to our Lord shall we go back:6
(3) Their statement is mentioned in Surah Shoara in the following words:
They said: No harm; surely to our Lord we go back…7
(4) The Surah Zukhruf is also having these words:
And surely to our Lord we must return.8
But the revolution of the book, Caliphate of Muawiyah and Yazid could not become a discussion of the ‘revolution’ of those believing magicians because,
(1) Those believers were very much less in number and a great majority was against them. This point cannot fit Yazid, the Amir of Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi. It could only fit Husayn (a.s) and his companions. Though Yazid could be seen in the role of Pharaoh.
(2) Those believers were deprived of worldly power and their opponent was having a great power and might. This also fits Husayn and not Yazid because according to Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi, consensus had already taken place for Yazid and he also possessed force and domination while Husayn had no share in any of these things.
(3) Pharaoh had leveled the allegation against those believers that they wish to spread mischief in the lands and want to gain worldly rulership and kingdom for themselves as the Holy Qur’an has mentioned this.
This also does not fit Yazid but Husayn because Yazid, Ibn Ziyad, their caliphs and Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi also make the same allegation that Husayn (a.s) wanted temporal rulership, that is why he made an armed uprising and created mischief to take over the Islamic kingdom. (God forbid!)
Pharaoh tortured those believers in the worst manner but they bore all those calamities with patience and contentment. They were martyred but they did not turn away from the right religion. This also fits Husayn (a.s) and his companions and not Yazid and his militiamen who wrought such terrible afflictions on Husayn (a.s), his companions, helpers and women and children that the history of Islam is ashamed due to the mention of those things.
Since the aim of this book is to highlight the weaknesses of Husayn (a.s) and propagate the rightfulness and benevolence of Yazid, the revolution indicated in the above verse is absolutely opposed to the circumstances of Yazid and fits cent percent the conditions of Husayn (a.s). Hence, I think neither the officials of ‘Tajalli’ nor Mr. Abdul Maajid Daryabadi would like to associate the revolution of those believers with the ‘revolution’ of this book.
But after reaching here no verse in Qur’an remains where the word of ‘revolution’ has a positive connotation.
Though we find many verses that indicate towards the Yazidite revolution. We shall present some of them with brief comments here:
(1) And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least…9
Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi has written a famous book, Sarrash Shahadatain. In this book he has discussed the martyrdoms of Imam Hasan and Imam Husayn (a.s) in an esoteric way and explained that they were based on the hidden wisdom of Almighty Allah. His premise is that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) being the greatest of all the divine prophets possessed in entirety all the virtues and merits that all the previous prophets had. However, the great honor of martyrdom was not found in his share. Now martyrdom could either be in one of the two ways. One is that a person could be poisoned and another is that he be killed in the battlefield. Both these options were not appropriate for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). For if he had died due to poison it would not have served the purpose of making it a magnificent martyrdom, and if he had been martyred on the battlefield it would have been a great insult to the lofty nation of Islam and many weak faith people might even have become demoralized and become apostates and religion would have been destroyed. (As the above verse is indicating towards this same condition). The author writes in this book as follows,
“Thus Divine wisdom decided to transfer this great position of martyrdom and other perfections of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) to other members of the holy Ahl al-Bayt (a.s) after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). To persons who were nearest in relations to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and the most beloved among his children, rather who were considered as his sons (equal to sons). So that these circumstances may become the circumstances of the Prophet and their perfection may be included in the list of the virtues of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w)…that is why Providence and Divine wisdom made Hasan and Husayn (a.s) as representatives of their great grandfather, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and made them the cheek of the elegance of the Prophet (so that through them the elegance and virtues of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) may reach to perfection).”
And since martyrdom is of two types (1) secret martyrdom and (2) open martyrdom, that is why of the two grandsons of the Prophet, Imam Hasan (a.s) achieved martyrdom through poison and Imam Husayn (a.s) got open martyrdom with all its severities so that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) may get the honor of both types of martyrdoms.”
These statements of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi prove that the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) was actually the martyrdom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). In the above verses the Almighty Allah has mentioned a ‘revolution’ in the people after the passing away of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w):
If then he (Muhammad) dies or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least…10
Anyway if not the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) himself, it was the mirror of the elegance of the Prophet, the representative of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) who was martyred. Hence there definitely must be some revolution after this. If not more some people must indeed have to turn to ignorance (apostasy). Mr. Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi is the proclaimer of this same revolution and he is inviting people towards the revolution of: “you turn back upon your heels” and the editor of ‘Sidqe Jadeed’ is harping upon ‘revolutionary points’ to announce the veracity of those verses of Qur’an and the officials of ‘Tajalli’ are presenting examples of:
…their guardians are Shaitans who take them out of the light into the darkness…11
(2) The Almighty Allah has warned the believers of such claimants of revolution:
O you who believe! If you obey those who disbelieve they will turn you back upon your heels, so you will turn back losers.12
(3) The Almighty Allah has warned the Muslims of the ‘revolution’ of ‘turning back on their heels’ in many verses of Qur’an. His Eminence, Musa (a.s) is sermonizing the Bani Israel in Surah Maidah as follows:
…and turn not on your backs for then you will turn back losers.13
(4) The Almighty Allah says:
…and We did not make the vision which We showed you but a trial for men and the cursed tree in the Qur’an as well; and We cause them to fear, but it only adds to their great inordinacy.14
It is a well-known fact of Islamic history, Qur’anic exegesis and biography that the above verse is talking about the dream of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) wherein he saw Banu Umayyah jumping on his pulpit, like monkeys. The Prophet was disturbed at the sight of the destruction of Islam and no one saw him smiling after that, as long as he lived. The Almighty Allah explained to the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) that, that period shall be a time of test for the people. That which of them go towards falsehood after being attracted to worldly benefits and which of them continue to remain on the side of Imam Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (a.s) and his companions at any cost.
It is mentioned in Tafsir Durre Manthur, Vol. 4, Pg. 191, Egypt that: Ibn Jarir has related from Sahl bin Saad, Ibn Abi Hatim narrates from Ibn Umar and Ya’la bin Marrah, Ibn Marduyah from Imam Husayn (a.s), Ibn Abbas and Ayesha from Saad bin Musayyab mention numerous traditions whose basic conclusion is that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) saw a dream wherein he saw that Banu Umayyah were jumping on his pulpit, like monkeys. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w) became so shocked due to this dream that he never ever laughed as long as he lived.
It is also proved beyond any doubt that the ‘accursed tree’ denotes Banu Umayyah and their period was a period of test of the people and their evil deeds and rebellion is also mentioned in the following words:
…and We cause them to fear, but it only adds (YAZEED) to their great inordinacy.15
I think that Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi, Abdul Maajid Daryabadi and their cohorts should be reminded that Allah has called other persons of Banu Umayyah briefly as the ‘accursed tree’ but He has mentioned their ‘respected’ Amir, Yazid by name, due to his extremely evil deeds as the ‘great rebel’ and ‘great inordinacy’.
The name of Yazid is also mentioned in it.
This should be enough for their pride!
(For other verses on Banu Umayyah refer to the chapter, ‘Banu Umayyah in the view of the Holy Qur’an’)
Anyway, it has become clear that the period of domination of Banu Umayyah, which shall be based on oppression and injustice, would be a period of trial for the people.
This period prophesied in the verse arrived and those whose faith was as strong as the mountains, they put to risk all they had but under no circumstances gave up truth and rightfulness. But some people whose apparent Islam was based on force, domination, power and kingdom, their reality was exposed. They called Yazid as ‘Amir al-Mu’minin’ and ‘Rahmatullah alaihe’16 etc. and got deviated from true Islam and they named their deviation as ‘revolution’. I have already explained what type of a revolution it was. Its actual meaning is that people leave the rightful religion and turn back to disbelief and also invite others towards this. Its proclaimer is Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi and ‘caller’ is Maulavi Abdul Maajid Daryabadi and he is supported by some other people also. The following verses perfectly fit these gentlemen:
And among men is he who serves Allah (standing) on the verge, so that if good befalls him he is satisfied therewith, but if a trial afflict him he turns back headlong; he loses this world as well as the hereafter; that is a manifest loss.17
(5) Quoting the statement of a disbeliever, the Almighty Allah says:
And I do not think the hour will come, and even if I am returned to my Lord I will most certainly find a returning place better than this.18
The disbeliever is debating with a believer and he says:
He was a denier of the Day of Judgment, yet he hoped for himself a good ‘revolution’ or you can say that he claimed thus.
This situation also perfectly fits Yazid who brought such a revolution in the world that he planned to destroy the whole religion and uproot the Islamic beliefs. His apostatic couplets shall remain on the pages of history until the Day of Judgment:
“The Banu Hashim had played a game to obtain rulership.
Neither an angel arrived nor a revelation descended.”
How clearly his denial of Islam is mentioned in this one couplet! The followers of Yazid are inviting the Ummah of Muhammad towards this revolution of ‘turning back on the heels’. And inspite of this he hopes, like that disbeliever, that even if there is Day of Judgment they shall be better than how they were in the world. Thus pay attention to these statements of Maktabe Tajalli:
“A study of this book is also necessary for the correction of religious beliefs… it should not be that you reach the Great Creator having misgivings about this great companion (Muawiyah) and be questioned about it on Day of Judgment.”
These gentlemen think that they shall be rewarded for supporting Banu Umayyah. Pray to Allah and say with a sincere heart that may Allah deal with them in the same way as He deals with their leader, and as the Qur’an says:
…the day when We will call every people with their Imam…19
(6) The atrocities perpetrated by Yazid on Husayn, his helpers and Ahl al-Bayt (a.s), their brief sketch could be estimated by the words of Shah Abdul Aziz Dehlavi in Sarrash Shahadatain that the honor the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) received through the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (a.s) was the most perfect honor:
“Since the highest grade of martyrdom is that a man is martyred while he is in a strange land, in travel and with extreme pain and discomfort. He should be rendered without a mount. His corpse should remain lying graveless and un-shrouded, and a large number of his companions and relatives should be killed before his eyes. His belongings should be looted. His ladies and orphan children should be taken as prisoners and he bears all these calamities only for the sake of God.”
Yazid and his army wrought all these oppressions on Husayn (a.s) and his companions, even though they and their present day followers hope:
…and even if I am returned to my Lord I will most certainly find a returning place better than this.20
The Almighty Allah has delivered an instant verdict for them:
…and they who act unjustly shall know to what final place of turning they shall turn back.21
Almost every Zakir (preacher) recites this above verse at the conclusion of Majlis and makes it his closing statement. Hence I also make it my final word in this article.
Our choice of reciting this verse at the end of Majalis proves that we also agree that Yazid is inviting towards a revolution and that revolution encompasses from the world to the Hereafter as we have come to know from the previous verses.
Its worldly face is that Muslims should ‘turn back on their heels’, towards disbelief and become deniers of monotheism, prophethood and resurrection and in the Hereafter the result of this ‘revolution’ would be that these people would themselves see towards which end they are being herded and where they are being returned. Indeed that place shall be Hell and: …a bad place of return it is…
Anyway, my article has clarified that the opinion of Tajalli and Mr. Daryabadi is very much true that this book is ‘revolutionary’ – at the most this revolution is not from lowliness to height or from darkness to light, rather it takes one from height to lowliness and from religion to disbelief. But if you remove the fear of God from your hearts it would not make any difference to you!
[Note: here it is necessary to mention that when the scholar researchers of Ahl al-Sunnah criticized the book of Mahmud Ahmad Abbasi to shreds and the true face of Muawiyah and Yazid was exposed to a great extent, the editor of ‘Tajalli’ issued an apology for their past misdemeanor and acknowledged their own failure to defend Muawiyah and Yazid.]
- 1. Name of a Sunni organization
- 2. Surah Taubah 9:95
- 3. Surah Yusuf 12:62
- 4. Surah Aale Imran 3:173
- 5. Surah Aale Imran 3:173
- 6. Surah Araaf 7:124-125
- 7. Surah Shoara 26:50
- 8. Surah Zukhruf 43:14
- 9. Surah Aale Imran 3:144
- 10. Surah Aale Imran 3:144
- 11. Surah Baqarah 2:257
- 12. Surah Aale Imran 3:149
- 13. Surah Maidah 5:21
- 14. Surah Bani Israel 17:60
- 15. Surah Bani Israel 17:60
- 16. Translation: May Allah have mercy on him
- 17. Surah Hajj 22:11
- 18. Surah Kahf 18:36
- 19. Surah Bani Israel 17:71
- 20. Surah Kahf 18:36
- 21. Surah Shoara 26:227