Who Was Yazeed?
Yazeed bin Mu’awiyah was the unfortunate soul whose hands are stained in the blood of the family of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. He was an ugly, obese, ill-mannered, alcoholic and evil person. Many prohibited acts were made legal by him such as marrying to women who are ‘Mehram’ and the use of interest, etc.
Hazrat Abdullah bin Hazrat Hanzalah RadiyAllahu Anhuma reports:
‘We decided to fight with Yazeed when we feared that due to his evil practices, we would be bombarded with stones from the skies as a result of the Wrath of Allah Ta’ala. He had allowed unlawful marriages, like marrying ones sister, drinking alcohol was becoming the norm, and people were not punctual about Salaat anymore. [Tareekh ul Khulafa]
Hazrat Abu Hurairah RadiyAllahu Anhu, who was one of the secret bearers of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam used to supplicate to Allah Ta’ala in the following manner in the year 59 Hijri:
‘O Allah! Save me from witnessing the year 60 Hijri and the barbaric rule of the youngsters of Quraish
(referring to Yazeed).’ [Tareekh ul Khulafa]
My beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s beloved devotees, Hazrat Abu Hurairah who was the bearer of secret knowledge imparted to him by RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, knew very well that in year 60 Hijri Yazeed would inherit the rule from Hazrat Mu’awiyah RadiyAllahu Anhu and so he made the above supplication which was accepted as he passed away in 59 Hijri.
It is narrated in Tareekh ul Khulafa that in 63 Hijri, Yazeed received the news that the people of Madinah broke their allegiance to him and were preparing to launch an attack on him. Upon hearing this he sent a mighty army towards Madinah and declared a war. After looting and destroying the pious heritage of Madinah, the same army invaded Makkah Muazzamah, which was then under the leadership of Hazrat Abdullah bin Zubair RadiyAllahu Anhuma. This is when the incident of Hirra took place.
When the army of Yazeed invaded Madinah Munawwarah there was not a single person who was spared from their atrocities. Thousands of Companions of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam were martyred. Nearly every household was looted of their precious belongings and most horrifyingly, hundreds of women were raped in the most blessed city of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. (Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Raji’oon)
Why Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu Declined the Oath
When Hazrat Ameer Mu’awiyah RadiyAllahu Anhu passed away in Rajab 60 Hijri, his unworthy son Yazeed took over as the leader. Soon after, he sent envoys around the country to invite people to pledge allegiance to him and consider him as their leader. He did the same with governor of Madinah, Waleed bin Uqbah, and asked him to take oath from his people. In particular, he instructed him to take oath from prominent personalities like Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Hazrat Abu Bakr, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar and Hazrat Abdullah bin Zubair RadiyAllahu Anhum Ajmaeen and not to give them any time to think over it.
As soon as he received this instruction, Waleed invited Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu to the governor’s house and demanded that he pledge allegiance to Yazeed. Imam Hussain was very straightforward in declaring that Yazeed, due to his evil practices and wicked nature, was not fit to be the leader of the Muslims and that he would not pledge allegiance to such a person.
Upon learning of the decision of Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu, Waleed calmly tried to convince him and warned him of the consequences that would follow. But when he realised that Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu was as firm as a mountain on his decision, he advised him to return home and think carefully over the matter and come again the next day.
My beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s beloved devotees. Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu was well aware of the fact that by declining to pledge allegiance to Yazeed, he had made Yazeed his worst enemy, and that he (Yazeed) would now be after his life. But how can it be possible for the grandson of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam to forsake the path of truth and guidance and agree with a tyrant, just to protect his own life?
It is clear that if Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu had pledged allegiance to Yazeed, he would have been very grateful to Imam Hussain and would have showered him with gifts and presents, or in fact made him the governor of a province. But the true Imam knew that if he did so, then the system of Islam would be shattered and chaos would prevail all over; Islamic principles would be ruined and the glorious flag of Islam would never fly high again as the allegiance of Imam Hussain would have become a stamp of approval for all that Yazeed did, and people would blindly follow him as he would be their leader.
This was the only reason why the grandson of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam chose to face the trials inflicted by the enemy and even had his family sacrificed right in front of his eyes and shed his own blood in order to save the dwindling and sinking ship of the Ummah.
Setting off from Madinah Munawwarah
Yazeed had planned to first take oath from Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu and once he had achieved this no one else would dare to decline pledging allegiance to him. When Imam Hussain refused, his plans were shattered and he became furious. Yazeed sent a message to Waleed that if Imam Hussain did not agree to pledge allegiance to him, he should be killed and his head sent to Yazeed. When Waleed received a number of such messages, he was compelled to disclose the evil plans of Yazeed to Imam Hussain. Imam Hussain took some advice from the companions and decided to leave Madinah.
My beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s beloved devotees. We can only imagine the state of Imam Hussain when he must have paid his final respects to his RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. With a mountain of grief on his heart and tears flowing from his eyes, he must have cried, ‘O grandfather, who rode us on his shoulder, who kissed our forehead and cuddled us, who extended his prostrations for us, look at our state. We are being forced to leave the most beloved land by some evil men, please permit us to leave, Ya RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam.’
My beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s beloved devotees. What must the state of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam himself been when he was witnessing the departure of the one who was nurtured by his love, the beloved son of his beloved daughter. After all it was Imam Hussain, due to whom RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam sacrificed his own son. Even the slightest displeasure felt by Imam Hussain would upset and grieve RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. These are the thoughts which upset, disturb and grieve the hearts of those who truly love RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam and his blessed family.
It is stated in Raudatus Shuhda that Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu first visited Jannatul Baqi to pay his respects to his blessed mother Sayyeda Fatima and his brother Imam Hasan, and then went to the blessed Rauda of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. After offering his salutations and confiding in RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam about his situation, he fell asleep. In his dream, RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam was holding his head in his lap. Imam Hussain urged, ‘Ya RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, I am being forced to leave your blessed city by some evil elements and I feel I will never be able to come here again.’ RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam replied, ‘Soon you will join me and I see that you are being mercilessly killed in Karbala in a desperate state of hunger and thirst. O Hussain, be steadfast and accomplish your task. It won’t be long before you join your father, mother and brother when you will be sitting with us enjoying the immeasurable bounties of your Merciful Lord.’ At this point, Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu woke up and he became certain that his martyrdom was near.
Hence, on the 4th of Sha’baan, 60 Hijri, he set off towards Makkah Mukarramah with his family and companions, leaving the people of Madinah grieving on his departure. After reaching Makkah in Sha’baan, he lived peacefully for the following four months of Ramadhan, Shawwal, Zil Qa’dah and Zil-Hajj. The people of Makkah were very proud and pleased that the grandson of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam was living amongst them.
Sa’eed bin Aas was the governor of Makkah who was appointed by Yazeed. Upon seeing the arrival of Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu and realising his growing importance, he cautioned Yazeed, which frustrated him even more.
Requests from the People of Kufa and the Departure of Imam Muslim
In the period of his stay in Makkah, Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu received about 150 letters from the people of Kufa, in which he was invited to go and live in Kufa. The inhabitants there were eagerly waiting to pledge allegiance to him as they did not want to make a tyrant their leader.
Hazrat Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu, upon seeing the desperate state of the people of Kufa, decided to go there. Many companions of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam advised him against going there as history had shown that the people of Kufa were very disloyal and could not be trusted. But Imam Hussain was extremely concerned about the state of people and so he sent Imam Muslim to gather first hand information about the situation there.
Imam Muslim accompanied by his two children reached Kufa and received an overwhelming welcome from the people of Kufa. Soon over twelve thousand people took an oath at his hands on the name of Imam Hussain RadiyAllahu Anhu. Imam Muslim wrote to Imam Hussain describing the situation and the support that he had from the people of Kufa.
When this news reached Yazeed, he appointed Ubaidullah bin Ziyad as the governor of Kufa, before which he was the governor of Basra. Ubaidullah was a very shrewd and cruel character. As soon as he arrived in Kufa he threatened the people of Kufa that if they did not stop supporting Imam Muslim, they would be thrown behind bars or killed and Yazeed’s army would attack their houses, destroy them and massacre their families.
On receiving these threats, the people of Kufa began to abandon Imam Muslim and soon he had no followers. Soon Ubaidullah sent an army to fight Imam Muslim, who single-handed fought fearlessly with extreme courage and faced the swords and arrows of the army until finally his head hit a stone and his body was drenched in blood. He fell on the ground and turning his face towards Makkah cried, ‘O brother Hussain bin Ali, look what these people have done to me and I fear that they might do the same to you, but how can I let you know and stop you from coming here?’
In the end, Imam Muslim was captured and brought before Ubaidullah who ruthlessly killed him. Inna Lillahi wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon.
Martyrdom of the Two Sons of Imam Muslim
My beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s beloved devotees. After killing Imam Muslim, the oppressors started to look for his children. Ubaidullah announced that whoever brought the two children to him would receive a hefty reward, and the one who gave them refuge would be killed. They were living with Qazi Shareeh, who when he heard the announcement from Ubaidullah called for the two orphans and began to sob. The children pleaded to know the reason and asked if their father had been killed. When he confirmed the news, they hugged each other and began to grieve.
In the middle of night, Qazi Shareeh arranged for the children to join a caravan which was on its way to Madinah. Due to the darkness of night, the two children got lost before reaching the caravan. In the morning they sat at the side of a pond and were spotted by a slave-woman who recognised them. The slave woman took them to her owner. The owner was a very pious lady and loyal to the Ahle Bait (family of RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam). She was so pleased to have the children that she freed the slave and engaged herself in serving the children. But her husband Haaris was just the opposite and was looking for the children so that he could hand them over to Ubaidullah and earn the reward. He came home and went to sleep unaware that the children were in the house. But in the middle of night he was woken up by a loud cry. The elder brother woke the younger one and said, ‘This is not the night to sleep, I just saw our grandfather, RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, in Jannah with Hazrat Fatima RadiyAllahu Anha and Hazrat Ali RadiyAllahu Anhu. I also our beloved father and we too were present with them. Then RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam looked at us and said to our father, ‘O Muslim, you have come on your own and left your two oppressed children behind?’ Imam Muslim replied, ‘Ya RasoolAllah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam! They will soon join us and will be here by tomorrow.’ So brother it seems we too will soon be martyred.’
When Haaris spotted them he enquired to his wife as to whom they were. His wife was too scared to speak so he asked the children themselves. They fearlessly revealed their identity. The cruel man grabbed their hair and pulled them outside the house. The children were crying due to the pain and agony. He then loaded them on a mule and rode them to the banks of river Euphrates. There he aligned them and removed his sword but his wife, who had been following them, came in between and pleaded with him to change his mind and not stain his hands with the blood of the Ahle Bait.
But the devil was riding on Haaris and in a rage of fury he attacked his wife who fell on the ground. He then turned towards the children. As soon as he was about to attack the younger brother, the elder brother cried and demanded that he should be killed first so he would not have to see his younger brother dying. The same words were repeated by the younger brother. But nothing could move the stone-hearted monster and he finally killed them both. Inna Lillah wa Inna Ilaihi Rajioon.