During Yazid’s Rule Sayyid A. A. Maudoodi’s Khelafat o Rajtantro

During Yazid’s Rule Source: Translated/Excerpted from Sayyid A. A. Maudoodi’s Khelafat o Rajtantro
[Dhaka: Adhunik Prokashoni, 1989; Bengali rendering of his monumental work, Khilafat wa mulikiyyat in Urdu]

Translator: Dr. Mohammad Omar Farooq
Study Resources: http://www.globalwebpost.com/farooqm

The legacy of placing politics over Deen and violating the Shariah for the sake of power politics that started during the rule of Hadrat Muawiya (r) reached a critical low during the rule of his own appointed heir, Yazid. Three specific things during his rule stunned and appalled the entire Muslim world.

The first incident relates to the martyrdom of Sayyidina Hussain (r). Undoubtedly he ventured out, at the call of the people of Iraq, to destroy the throne of Yazid, and the regime of Yazid also regarded him as a rebel. Was his rebellion permissible from the Islamic viewpoint – is a question that we will avoid for the moment. [41] However, that his rebellion was not permissible, or that he engaged in a haram act, we have no knowledge that either during his own life time or upon his death any sahaba or tabeii held such a view. Those sahaba who tried to refrain him from this undertaking did so thinking that it was not wise and pragmatic. Even if one entertains the notion that the position of Yazid’s government was valid, he (Imam Hussain) was not being accompanied by an army. With him were his sons and daughters, other family members, 32 riders and 42 on feet. No one can characterize this as a military expedition, especially when the strength of the contingent from Kufa under the leadership of Omar ibn Saa’d ibn Abi Waqqas was 4,000. There was no need for such a disproportionately large contingent to engage that tiny, essentially non-military, caravan; of course, there was no justification to kill him. They could have easily surround and seize this tiny caravan. Also, the last plea of Hadrat Hussain (r) was: let me return, or let me proceed toward some border region, or take me to Yazid. None of his pleas was heeded. Instead, they insisted that he has to appear before Obaidullah ibn Ziyad, the governor of Kufa. Hadrat Hussain (r) was not ready to surrender to Ibn Ziyad, because he was fully aware of how he treated Muslim ibn Aqeel. At last, Hadrat Hussain (r) was fought. Even when all the companions of Hadrat Hussain (r) were martyred and he was alone in that field, these people deemed it necessary to attack him. When his body fell to the ground, he was decapitated. Everything from his body was removed, even clothes from his body were also removed. Then, his body was mauled under the feet of horses. Then, his station was looted and the coverings of the women were removed. Then, his as well as the severed heads of other martyrs of Karbala were taken to Kufa. Ibn Ziyad not only displayed all these in public, standing on the minbar of the Jame Masjid, he proclaimed: “All praises to Allah, who has distinguished the truth and its adherents, granted victory to Amirul Mu’mineen Yazid and his army, and has killed the liar’s-son-liar Hussain ibn Ali and his supporters.” After this all the severed heads were sent to Yazid in Damascus, where Yazid put up a pompous display. [42]

For the sake of argument, let’s assume that Hadrat Hussain, in view of Yazid, was involved in a rebellion. Even if this is so, is there no rule in Islam pertaining to how a government deals with the rebels? All major books of fiqh have such laws codified. For examples, let’s just consider the chapter on the rebels in Hedaya and its commentary Fat-hul Qadir. In view of such laws, whatever happened – stretching from the fields of Karbala to the offices of Kufa and Damascus – was completely haram and serious injustice. There are variations in details as to what happened in Damascus in the presence of Yazid. Disregarding all such reports, let’s just consider this report as accurate that at seeing the severed head of Hadrat Hussain (r) and his attendants, tears dropped from Yazid’s eyes. He said: “I would have been satisfied with your loyalty, even if Hussain (r) were not killed. Curse of Allah on Ibn Ziyad. By Allah, if I were present there, I would have forgiven Hussain (r). He further said: “If I were the one who faced you (Hussain), I would not have killed you.” [43] The issue still remains, after such a monstrous injustice and transgression, what punishment did he mete out to his great governor? Hafiz Ibn Katheer reports that he did not give any punishment to Ibn Ziyad, did not fire him from his office, did not even write a letter of reprimand. [44] Let alone any Islamic courtesy or etiquette, if there was an iota of humanity in Yazid, he would have remembered, how the Messenger of Allah (s) dealt with his entire clan in compassion, and how his (Yazid’s) government dealt with his (the Prophet’s) grandson.

The second tragic incident occurred during the battle of Harrah. It was during the end of Hijra year 63 and toward the end of Yazid’s life, this battle occurred. In summary, the residents of Madinah revolted against Yazid, labeling him as Fasiq/Fajir and Zalim. They dispelled the governor of Madinah and declared Abdullah ibn Hanzala as their leader. After learning about this, Yazid sent Muslim ibn Uqba al-Murbi (Salf-salehin have labeled him as Mushriq ibn Uqba) with twelve thousand soldiers to attack Madinah. He instructed them to give the Madinians three days’ respite to give allegiance. If they do not, then fight against them, and if you are victorious, let Madinah be permissible (halal) for the soldiers for three days. According to his instructions, the soldiers attacked/entered and conquered Madinah. Then, he (Mushriq ibn Uqba), in accordance with Yazid’s commandment, instructed the soldiers to do whatever they liked in Madinah for three days. During these days there was wanton looting everywhere. The residents were subjected to wholesale massacre. According to the reports of Imam Zuhri, almost 700 nobles and 10,000 commoners of Madinah were killed. The barbaric army also subjected the women of Madinah to indiscriminate rape. Hafiz ibn Katheer reports: “It is reported that during this time one thousand women became pregnant due to rape.” [45]

Even if one argues that the rebellion of Madinah was illegitimate, let alone against a rebeling Muslim neighborhood, does Islam allow such treatment even against non-Muslim rebels or combatant disbelievers (kafir)? Also, that this was not any ordinary township, but Madinatur Rasul (City of the Messenger) itself. There are numerous narrations in Bukhari, Nasai’ and Musnad-e-Ahmad from various sahaba regarding this sacred city.

“Anyone who will try to harm the people of Madinah, Allah will have smoldered him in the fire of hell.”*

The Prophet further said: “� ‘Medina is a sanctuary form ‘Air (mountain) to such and such place so whoever innovates in it an heresy or commits a sin therein, he will incur the curse of Allah, the angles, and all the people and Allah will not accept his compulsory or optional good deeds.”**

Hafiz Ibn Katheer commented that on the basis of the above narrations, one group of scholars considers it permissible to curse Yazid. There is also a statement from Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal in support of this view.  However, fearing that such a provision might open the door for cursing his father or other sahabas, other Ulama disapprove of this position. [46] Hadrat Hasan Basri was cajoled: “You are not participating in any way in the revolt against the Banu Umayyah. Are you then content with the Syrians (Umayyads)?” He replied: “I will be content with the Syrians!! May Allah destroy them. Did they not make the City of the Prophet into something halal? Did they not massacre the people there for three days? Did they not permit their soldiers to do whatever they like to Madinah? They also attacked noble, pious women, barring none. Then, they attacked Baitullah. After throwing stones, they set it on fire. May Allah’s curse be on him. May he have the worst of consequence.” [47]

The third incident has been mentioned in the above report from Hadrat Hasan Basri. After rampaging the city of the Prophet, the same contingent went to fight Abdullah ibn Zubayr (r) in Makkah and catapulted stones over Ka’ba. As a result, one side of Ka’ba collapsed. There is also report of setting fire to Ka’ba, even though there is variation of report regarding its causes. However, there is no difference regarding throwing stones. [48]

All these incidents clearly demonstrate that these rulers used to hold their power and protect it above everything else. They did not hesitate to cross any boundary or commit any wrong for their power.


41. In my book, The lessons of Muharram, I have detailed my views. Also, in Chapter 8 of this book, I have discussed this matter in greater detail.

42. For details, please read Tabari, Vol. 4, pp. 309-356; Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 3, pp. 282-299; Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, pp. 170-207.

43. At-Tabari, Vol. 4, p. 352; Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 3.

44. Al-Bidaya wa nihaya, Vol. 8, p. 203.

45. For details of this event, see Tabari, Vol. 3, pp. 372-379; Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 3, pp. 310-313; and Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, pp. 219-221.

46. Al-Bidaya, Vol. 8, p. 223. Hafiz Ibn Katheer reports the statement from Imam Ahmad Ibn Hanbal …

47. Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 4, p. 170.

48. At-Tabari, Vol. 4, p. 383; Ibn al-Atheer, Vol. 3, p. 316; Al-Bedaya, Vol. 8, p. 225; Tahzibut Tahzib, Vol. 11, p. 361.

*Maulana Maudoodi mentioned this hadith without detailed reference. However, reference to a similar hadith can be found in Sahih Muslim, #3155

**I did not have the time to locate the reference for this exact hadith myself, even though there are quite a few similar hadith I came across.


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