This article of the wretched assassin of Imam Husain (A.S.) to enlighten the character and conduct of the enemies of Ahlebait (A. S.). Here we have recorded the circumstances of Ibn Ziyad’s immoral life so that the readers may understand his ‘unholy position’.
His name was Obaidullah and his father’s name was Ziyad bin Abeen. His epithet was Abu Hafs. His mother’s name was Marjana. His paternal grand mother Somaiya was a slave- maid of Haaris bin Kaldah Taefi. Since her promiscuous nature was known to everybody, hence Haris had refused to own two of her sons viz. Abubakr and Ziyad. It was for this reason that Ziyad was known as Ziyad bin Abeeh (his father’s son). When Mowaiya bin Abu Sufyan succeeded in grabbing the caliphate then he declared Ziyad to be a son of Abu Sufyan (born under sin) and thus his brother. When Ziyad died in 53 AH. then all of his sons adhered to Umayyid dynasty. Obaidullah was more prominent among them. As a conclusion, Obaidullah was known as a nephew of Mowaiya since his father Ziyad was ascribed to Abu Sufyan. Obaidullah and his father Ziyad, both of them were illegitimate by birth.
The Ruler of Khorasan and Basra.
In 54 A. H. Mowaiya appointed Obaidullah as the governor of Khorasan. He conquered some of the regions of Mawara-ul-Nahar. In 56 A. H. he was dismissed from the governorship of Khorasan and in the same year, he was made the governor of Basrah. In 60 A. H. with the death of Mowaiyah, the governorship of Kufa also fell in his hands. In 61 A. H., Yazid deputed him to fight against Imam Husain (A. S.). Under his commandership, the event of Karbala took place. After the death of Yazid, he staked the claim for caliphate and invited the people of Basrah and Kufa for the pledge of allegiance.
Initially the people of Basrah paid fealty to him but later they rose in rebellion against him. While the people of Kufa outrightly repudiated paying fealty to him.
(Ansabul-Ashraaf, vol. 4, pg. 79)
ThE Activities of Ibn Ziyad in KufA.
According to a narration, Yazid was displeased with him and wanted to dismiss him. But because of his enmity towards Imam Husain (A. S.) and also at the same time Hazrat Muslim bin Aqeel who was in Kufa seeking allegiance for Imam Husain (A. S.), was seen as a threat by Yazid and hence to counter this threat he send Ibn Ziyad to Kufa so that he can arrest Hazrat Muslim and finally kill him. (Tabari, the events of 60 A H)
While Balazuri writes in Ansabul Ashraaf that Mowaiya appointed him as the governor of Kufa in his own lifetime.
When Muslim bin Aqeel reached Kufa and the people expressed their fealty to Imam Husain (A. S.) and were earnestly awaiting him. In the meantime Ibn Ziyad entered Kufa in cognito since the people of Kufa did not know him hence they mistook him for Imam Husain (A. S.). Ibn Ziyad monitored the circumstances very shrewdly and reached the ministerial palace. He ordered search for Muslim Ibn Aqeel.
(Tabari, the events of 60 A.H; Al Bidaya wan-Nihaya, vol.8, pg. 155)
During his address to the people of Kufa, he threatened his opponents with dire consequences and lambasted them. While his supporters were tempted with bribes and gifts. (Abul-Qaraj, pg. 97)
Hani ibn Urwah was sick and since Ibn Ziyad knew him, he expected the visit of Muslim bin Aqeel. Ibn Ziyad had come to know of this, hence he summoned Hani Bin Urwah to his palace and imprisoned him. Later he also arrested Muslim Bin Aqeel and slayed both of them. He despatched both of their heads to the court of Yazid. (Tabari, The events of 60 A.H.)
The Terrorism of Ibn Ziyad.
His tyranny and oppression in Kufa was rising everyday. The prominent and reputed Shias were imprisoned. The seekers of the world who use to brag of their loyalty to Imam Husain (A.S.) joined hands with Ibn Ziyad and strived their best to gain his pleasure Many of them who had corresponded with Imam Husain (A. S.) and had invited him to Kufa disappeared. In short Ibn Ziyad publicised his despotic maneuvers which was enough to spread terror among the masses.
When Muslim Bin Aqeel was brought to the court of Ibn Ziyad they exchanged a fiery dialogue which is recorded by the historians. We are quoting it briefly over here:
When Muslim Bin Aqeel was ushered in the court he did not greet Ibn Ziyad. When the soldiers said you did not greet the Emir.
Janabe Muslim: “He is not my Emir.”
Ibn Ziyad: “You greet or not you will definitely be killed.”
Janabe Muslim: “If you kill me (so what), as worse people than you have killed a superior people to me.”
Ibn Ziyad (in a fit of rage): “0 you sower of dissensions. Rebel! You have revolted against your Imam. You have tarnished the Muslim Unity and spread commotion.”
Janabe Muslim (shot back): “You are a blatant liar. Mowaiyah was not the
caliph of Muslims Rather he overpowered the successor of the Holy Prophet (S.A.) with fraud and deceit and snatched caliph ate from him. Similar was
his son Yazid. Commotion was wrought by you and your father Ziyad. I beseech God to bestow martyrdom on me through his worst creatures. By Allah! I have not sown dissensions neither did I make any change in the religion. I am a obedient follower of Husain Bin Ali, the son of Fatema and the Holy Prophet (S.A.). We deserve caliphate more in comparison of Mowaiyah and the offspring of Ziyad.”
(Al Bidayah wan-Nihayah by Ibn Kaseer, vol. 8, pg- 158)
It is a very lengthy dialogue, in the end of which Ibn Ziyad got so flared up that he started abusing Muslim Bin Aqeel, which is a typical trait of every disgraceful and mean person.
Who Tampered the Religion?
A contemplating glance over the dialogue will show that how Muslim Bin Aqeel even at the end moments of his life was defending Imamat and very vociferously announced that the Holy Ahlebait (A. M. S.) did not change or distort the religion rather it has been habit of Mowaiyah, Yazid and their offsprings.
Who made divisions among Muslims?
He also clearly said in this dialogue that Muslims were divided due to commotion which was spread by Mowaiyah, Yazid, Ziyad and Ibn Ziyad.
The Machinations for the assasination of Imam Husain (A. S.).
After the murder of Muslim Bin Aqeel he turned towards Imam Husain (A. S.) and commanded Hurr bin Yazid Riyahee with a contingent to intercept Husain where ever he is found and to restrict water to him. He despatched Umar bin Sa’ad bin Abi Waqas with another contingent. He enticed Umar bin Sa’ad with the greed of rulership and asked him to seek allegiance from Imam Husain (A. S.).
On 10th Moharram 61 A. H. Imam Husain (A. S ) was slain along with his kith and kin. The plan for this whole massacre was laid out by Ibn Ziyad.
This heinous crime of Ibn Ziyad displeased Muslims to no end and particularly the people of Kufa were more angered because after the event of Karbala during his first address.
Abdullah bin Afeef rose and abused Yazid. Tabari has written that even his mother Marjana was enraged at this. But Ibn Ziyad due to his power and self remained stuck to the caliphate. Finally Yazid left for hell and Abdullah bin Zubair staked his claim for caliphate in Hijaz, while Ibn Ziyad left Iraq and migrated to Syria.
It is a matter of dispute among historians that after Yazid, whether Ibn Ziyad went to Syria and Basra or he made a claim for caliphate in Kufa.
The death of Ibn Ziyad
In 67 A. H. he had fled to Syria. Later he made preparations to fight Janabe Mukhtar. Ibrahim bin Malik Ashtar along with a troop of twelve thousand soldiers went towards Mosul in search of Ibn Ziyad. After covering only a few stages of journey, he saw some of the assassins of Imam Husain (A. S.) like Shees bin Rabiee, Shimr bin Ziljaushan, Mohammad bin Ashath bin Qais and Umar-e-Sa’ad. They sent a message to Mukhtar that if leniency was not showed to them then be ready to fight with them.
Mukhtar conveyed a message to Ibrahim bin Malik that be soft with them so that they may return towards Kufa. The messenger gave this message to Ibrahim who allowed them to return towards Kufa. When he received the intelligence that they all are at the house of Shees bin Rabiee and are planning to fight against Mukhtar. He immediately raided the house of Shees bin Rabiee and arrested all of them. Fifty men were killed and eight hundred of them were made captive, two hundred and fifty of them were of those who had been to Karbala to fight with Imam Husain (A. S.). They all were beheaded and their heads despatched to Mukhtar. Then Ibrahim bin Malik again went in the search of Ibn Ziyad. In the region of Mosul both the armies confronted and after a very brief fighting the Syrian army made a bid to escape. But Ibrahim bin Malik moved ahead and encouraged his soldiers in these words:-
“0 partisans of truth and helpers of religion, kill these children of Shaitan. Kill whoever had come with the son of Marjana.”
Then he attacked Ibn Ziyad and said, “He is the same who restricted the water of Furat to Imam Husain (A. S. ). He is the same who had told Imam that you will not be granted amnesty unless you pay allegiance to me. He is the one who had misbehaved with the family of prophethood and Imamat and made them captive and dragged them in the streets of Kufa and Syria.”
These words of Ibrahim bin Malik had such an effect upon the soldiers that they again attacked the Syrian army and devastated them. Ibrahim saw a man near Furat who wore armour and gloves in his hands, with a sword, he attacked him, snatched his sword and killed him. He was Ibn Ziyad, the next day he was beheaded and his head was brought in front of Ibrahim. He became joyous and lay prostrate in gratitude to God.
(Zindagani-e-Abi Abdullah Al Husain by Emaadzadeh, vol. 2, pg. 255.)
A Drop of Blood.
Emaadzadeh writes that after the martyrdom of Imam Husain (A. S.), a drop of blood dropped from the holy head of Imam and fell on the thigh of Ibn Ziyad and drilling a hole in it fell on the ground. This wound of Ibn Ziyad was not healed even up to the end of his life (i.e. for five years). It also emitted such a foul smell that it was odious to others hence to suppress the smell he use to always use musk. The soldiers identified him from the strong smell of musk and beheaded him.
“0 Lord! Chastise Ibn Ziyad, his progeny and his partisans.”