Rafed English

Coercion used to get allegiance for Yazid

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"

One of Mu‘awiyah’s transgressions which was a clear violation of Islamic law, common logic and societal mores was getting allegiance from the people for his son Yazid by force and coercion. This allegiance was opposed by the council of elders which, according to Sunni traditional practice, is charged with the duty of choosing and appointing the next caliph after the death of the previous one.

This unlawful allegiance was also opposed by the Immigrants [muhajirin], the Helpers [ansar], and the eminent of the Holy Prophet’s (S) companions [sahabah]. It was an allegiance that was obtained by the use of force and the sword. It was an allegiance characterized by intimidation, threats and terror, on the one hand, and bribery and extortion, on the other. Worshippers of the carnal passions were paid to give allegiance to Yazid.

Ibn Kathir says, “In the fifty sixth year of the Islamic calendar, Mu‘awiyah called upon the people of Sham to pay allegiance to his son Yazid. This made his wicked son the crown prince and heir apparent after his death.”28

Ibn ‘Abd al-Barr and other narrators of hadith have recounted that Mu‘awiyah read a sermon for the people of Sham, and in the middle of the sermon, said, “O people of Sham! My age has increased and my death has drawn near. I want to arrange an agreement for the caliphate and leave someone in my place so that he may bring about order and discipline for you. Surely, I am one of you and I am concerned about your affairs. Please tell me your suggestions.”

The people came together and after consulting one another, said, “We are pleased with ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalid ibn Walid, one of the Prophet’s companions.”

This suggestion was unbearably painful for the son of Abu Sufiyan, but he kept his displeasure hidden in his heart. One day, ‘Abd al-Rahman became ill. Mu‘awiyah had a private Jewish doctor whom he held in high respect.

He instructed this Jewish doctor to go to visit ‘Abd al-Rahman and give him a specific poison that would kill him. The Jew did as he was ordered, and gave the liquid poison to ‘Abd al-Rahman. ‘Abd al-Rahman’s stomach was torn apart, resulting in his death.29

Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan committed this dishonorable act of murder and assassination in order to secure the caliphate for his son Yazid.


28. Al-Bidayah wa al-Nihayah, vol. 8, p. 86; the events which occurred in the year 56 AH.

29. Al-Isti‘ab, no. 1402; Al-Aghani, vol. 16, p. 209.


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