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‘Abdullah Ibn Abbas

Having come to know that ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas refused to swear the oath of allegiance to Ibn al-Zubayr, Yazid wrote him saying,

“It has come to my knowledge that the atheist son of al-Zubayr invited you to swear the oath of allegiance to him and to be obedient to him so that you might support him in his wrongdoing and share his sins, and that you refused and kept your distance from him because Allah made you aware of our rights we, family members of the Prophet (S); so, may He grant you the rewards due to those who maintain their ties of kinship, who are true to their promise.

No matter what I forget, I shall never forget how you always remained in contact with us, and how good the reward you have received, the one due to those who obey and who are honoured by being relatives of the Messenger of Allah (S).

Look, then, after your people, and look at those whom the son of al-Zubayr enchants with his words and with his promises and pull them away from him, for they will listen to you more than they will to him; they would hear you more than they would that renegade atheist, and peace be with you.”
 
Ibn ‘Abbas wrote Yazid back saying,

 “I received your letter wherein you mentioned Ibn al-Zubayr's invitation to me to swear the oath of allegiance to him, and that I refused due to recognizing your right. If that is the case [as you claim], I desire nothing but being kind to you.

But Allah knows best what I intend to do. And you wrote me urging me to encourage people to rally behind you and to discourage them from supporting Ibn al-Zubayr...

Nay! Neither pleasure nor happiness is here for you; may your mouth be filled with stones, for you are the one whose view is weak when you listened to your own whims and desires, and it is you who is at fault and who shall perish! And you wrote me urging me to hurry and to join my ties of kinship.

Withhold your own, man, for I shall withhold from you my affection and my support. By my life, you do not give us of what is in your hand except very little while withholding a lot; may your father lose you!

Do you think that I will really forget how you killed Husayn (‘a) and the youths of Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib, the lanterns that shone in the dark, the stars of guidance, the lamp-posts of piety, and how your horses trampled upon their bodies according to your command, so they were left unburied, drenched in their blood on the desert without any shrouds, nor were they buried, with the wind blowing on them and the wolves invading them, and the hyenas assaulting them till Allah sent them people who do not have shirk running through their veins and who shrouded and buried them...?

From me and from them come supplications to Allah to torment you!

No matter what I forget, I shall never forget how you let loose on them the da’iyy and the son of the da’iyy, the one begotten by that promiscuous prostitute, the one whose lineage is distant, whose father and mother are mean, the one because of whose adoption did your father earn shame, sin, humiliation and abasement in the life of this world and in the hereafter.

This is so because the Messenger of Allah (S) said, “The son is begotten by wedlock, whereas for the prostitute there are stones.” Your father claims that the son is out of wedlock, and it does not harm the prostitute, and he accepts him as his son just as he does his legitimate offspring! Your father killed the Sunnah with ignorance while deliberately bringing to life all misguidance.

And no matter what I forget, I shall never forget how you chased Husayn (‘a) out of the sanctuary of the Messenger of Allah [Medina] to that of Allah Almighty [Mecca], and how you dispatched men to kill him there.

You kept trying till you caused him to leave Mecca and to go to Kufa pursued by your horsemen, with your soldiers roaring at him like lions, O enemy of Allah, of His Messenger (S), and of his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a)! Then you wrote Marjana's son to face him with his cavalry and infantry, with spears and swords.

And you wrote him ordering him to be swift in attacking him and not to give him time to negotiate any settlement till you killed him and the youths of Banu ‘Abd al-Muttalib who belong to Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) with him, those from whom Allah removed all abomination and whom He purified with a perfect purification.

Such are we, unlike your own uncouth fathers, the livers of donkeys! You knew fully well that he was most prominent in the past and most cherished now, had he only sought refuge in Mecca and permitted bloodshed in its sanctuary.

But he sought reconciliation, and he asked you to go back to your senses, yet you went after the few who were in his company and desired to eradicate his Ahl al-Bayt (‘a) as if you were killing dynasties from the Turks or from Kabul!

How do you conceive me as being friendly to you, and how dare you ask me to support you?! You have killed my own brothers, and your sword is dripping with my blood, and you are the one whom I seek for revenge.

So if Allah wills, you shall not be able to shed my blood, nor shall you be faster than me in seeking revenge so you would be more swift in killing us just as the prophets are killed, considering their blood equal to that of others. But the promise is with Allah, and Allah suffices in supporting the wronged, and He seeks revenge for the oppressed. What is truly amazing is your own transporting the daughters of ‘Abd al-Muttalib and their children to Syria.

You see yourself as our vanquisher, and that you have the right to humiliate us, although through me and through them did Allah bestow blessings upon you and upon your slave parents. By Allah! You welcome the evening and the day in security indifferent to my wounds; so, let my own tongue wound you instead, and let my tying and untying not provoke you to argue.

Allah shall not give you a respite following your killing of the Progeny of the Messenger of Allah (S) except for a very short while before He takes you as a Mighty One does, and He shall not take you out of the life of this world except as an abased and dejected sinner; so, enjoy your days, may you lose your father, as you please, for what you have committed has surely made you abased in the sight of Allah.68

Notes:

68. We have compiled this text from the contents of p. 250, Vol. 7, of Mujma’ al-Zawa’id of “Abu Bakr,” namely Ibn Hajar al-Haythami al-’Asqalani, p. 18, Vol. 4 (first edition), of al-Balathiri's book Ansab al-Ashraf, p. 77, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi's book Maqtal al-Husayn, p. 50, Vol. 4, and of Ibn Kathir's book Al-Tarikh al-Kamil, where the events of the year 64 A.H./684 A.D. are detailed, an account which agrees with what is recorded in al-Mas’udi's book Muruj al-Thahab.

Adapted from: "Maqtal al-Husayn; Martyrdom Epic of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram"