History is Very Powerful
- :Dr. Ibrahim Ayati
We have already said that the speeches and addresses of the Ahlul Bayt remained prescribed and were free from distortion. They have been recorded in books and documents and have reached us through reliable sources.
Today it is possible to narrate the event of Karbala in detail by means of the speeches which Imam Husayn and the Ahlul Bayt delivered in Makkah and on their way from the Hijaz to Iraq and at Karbala, Kufa, Syria and Madina, by means of the replies given by them to the questions asked by various persons, by means of the epic verses recited by the Imam himself and his companions before the enemy on the day of Ashura and which are recorded and preserved in reliable resources, and by means of the letters which were exchanged between the Imam and the people of Kufa and Basra as well as the letter written by Yazid to Ibn Ziyad and the letters written by Ibn Ziyad and Umar bin Sad to Ibn Ziyad and the letters by Ibn Ziyad to the Governor of Madina, all of which are recorded in reliable history books and will reach the hands of future generations and remain safe for ever. In the presence of these sources there remains no need for any other source or document for the compilation of the history of Ashura.
When Yazid wrote a letter to Ibn Ziyad appointing him the Governor of Kufa and Basra, he also wrote to him about Muslim bin Aqil saying: "I understand that Muslim has come to Kufa to create differences between the Muslims". And when Muslim was arrested and brought before Ibn Ziyad the latter said to him harshly "a son of Aqil! The people of this city were living in peace and then you came and created differences between them and made them bitter enemies of one another". It was the same thing which Yazid had written about Muslim, and Ibn Ziyad did not add anything to it and repeated it to Muslim and this too was recorded in history. Muslim said in reply: "It is not so. I have not come to this city of my own accord and have also not come to disturb the people and to create differences and discord between them. On the contrary it is evident from the letters written by them to us that your father Ziyad killed their good persons, and shed their blood, and behaved towards them like unjust persons and the tyrants. We have, therefore, come to establish justice and to invite the people to obey the commands of the Holy Qur'an".
Evidently how could it be possible that what Yazid and Ibn Ziyad wrote and said should have found its place in history whereas the brief reply given by Muslim wherein he pointed out the mal-administration during the rule of Ziyad, who was one of the tyrants of Iraq, should have been omitted from history and none should have heard it or written about it? In that event the future generations would have remained unaware of it and would have believed that Muslim was seditious, cruel, mischievous, and one, who created differences between the people and this was not possible. Yazid could kill the Imam and his companions, and could also make his Ahlul Bayt prisoners. He could not, however, alter the verdict of history and create for himself a place in it other than that which he possesses.
In order to inform the people formally about the tragedy of Karbala Ibn Ziyad went to the Jame'i Masjid of Kufa and said such things that if he had not done so Husayn bin Ali would have been mentioned in the history of Islam as a liar. In the presence of a few thousand Iraqi Muslims he mounted the pulpit of the Jame'i Masjid of Kufa and said: "Allah be thanked that he made truth and the truthful victorious and helped the Commander of the Faithful Yazid and his party, and killed the liar son of the liar i.e. Husyan bin Ali and his supporters".
Truly speaking if history had favored Ibn Ziyad at this stage to some extent he would not have been given a reply in that assembly and by the side of that very pulpit. It was possible that this speech, which was delivered in the Masjid of the Muslims and before the Muslims by the ruler of the Muslims, might have created doubts in the minds of some persons for some time, and it might have been thought, although by persons lacking intelligence and the spirit of investigation that maybe that was the reality and those persons were telling the truth and the man who had mounted the pulpit and was thanking Allah for this occurrence so firmly in His own House was right, and it appeared that it was really good that Husayn bin Ali had been killed. However, before even one person had left the Masjid, a Muslim was courageous enough to give a reply to that foolish remark and it was recorded in history. Shaykh Mufid and Tabari write that before Ubaydullah ended his speech Abdullah bin Afif Azadi Ghamidi 20 rose from his place. (When the nonsense talk of Ibn Ziyad crossed the limits) Abdullah sprang up from his place and said: "O Ibn Marjana! Liar, son of the liar are you, your father, and he who has sent you as ruler of Iraq, and his father. Do you pretend to advocate truthfulness after killing the children of the Holy Prophet?"
Ibn Ziyad, who imagined that he ruled over history as well, said: "Bring him before me". There was a tumult and what this enlightened man had said could no longer be ignored. This brave person sacrificed his life for the sake of his truthful words and was sent to the gallows under the orders of Ibn Ziyad. However, his words recorded his name in the history of Ashura with his blood.
When Ibn Ziyad looked at the sacred head of the Imam, he laughed and struck a stick, which he held in his hand, on the teeth of the Imam Zayd bin Arqam, a companion of the Holy Prophet who was then very old turned towards Ibn Ziyad and said: "Keep your stick off these two lips for I swear by Allah besides whom there is no god that I have seen innumerable times that the Holy Prophet placed his lips on these lips". He uttered these words and began to weep and lament. Perhaps Ibn Ziyad was under the impression that a person might be a Muslim and might also kill the children of the Holy Prophet, he might consider the guardians of Islam to be liars and still remain a Muslim and he might shed the blood of the dear ones of Islam and still appear as a Muslim in the history of Islam.
She added: "O Yazid! Do you think that we have become humble and despicable owing to the martyrdom of our people and our own captivity? As you have blocked all the paths for us, and we have been made captives and are being taken from one place to another, do you think that Allah has taken away his blessings from us? Do you think that by killing the godly persons you have become great and respectable and the Almighty looks at you with special grace and kindness? For this reason and on account of this wrong thinking you have become elated and arrogant. You have become boastful because you have seen that the matters have taken a turn in your favour. You have, however, forgotten what Allah says: The disbelievers must not think that Our respite is for their good We only give them time to let them increase their sins. For them there will be a humiliating torment." (Surah Ale Imran, 3: 178)
Then lady Zaynab reminded Yazid that on the day of the conquest of Makkah which took place in 8 A.H. the Holy Prophet did favor to all the men and women of Makkah and set them free. Yazid himself was a descendant of those very freed persons. His father Mu'awiya, his grandfather Abu Sufyan and Mu'awiya's mother were among those who were set free at the time of the conquest of Makkah. on that day the Holy Prophet very magnanimously set all of them free irrespective of what they had done in the past and said: "Go, for all of you are free".
In the second part of her speech the daughter of Imam Ali made the conquest of Makkah her topic and said: "O son of the freed ones! Is it justice that you keep your women and slave-girls in seclusion but have made the helpless daughters of the Holy Prophet ride on swift camels and given them in the hands of their enemies so that they may take them from one city to another".
Then she said: "Why shouldn't Yazid be spiteful against us, it is he, who looks at us with hostility. You say with perfect intrepidity and without imagining that you are committing a sin: 'I wish that my ancestors who were killed in Badr had been present here today'. Then you strike Imam Husayn in his teeth with a stick in your hand! Why shouldn't you be like this, although you have done what you wanted to do and have pulled out the roots of piety and virtue! You have shed the blood of the sons of the Holy Prophet and have hidden the brilliant stars on the earth from amongst the descendants of Abdul Muttalib under the clouds of oppression and injustice. However, you shall go before Allah soon. You shall meet your ancestors and shall also be taken to their place. At that time you will wish that you had been blind and dumb and had not said that it was a day of rejoicing for your ancestors".
At this stage the daughter of Imam Ali prayed to Allah and said: "O Lord! Procure our right and take revenge upon those who have oppressed us". Then she turned to Yazid and said: "By Allah you have pulled off your skin and cut off your flesh. You will soon go before the Prophet of Allah and will see with your own eyes that his children are in Paradise. It will be the day when Allah will deliver the descendants of the Holy Prophet from the state of being scattered and will bring all of them together in Paradise. This is the promise which Allah has made in the Holy Qur'an. He says: Do not think of those who are slain for the cause of Allah as dead. They are alive with their Lord and receive sustenance from Him. (Surah Ale Imran, 3: 169)
O Yazid! On the day when Allah will be the Judge and Muhammad will be the petitioner, and your limbs will give evidence against you, your father, who made you the ruler of the Muslims, will receive His punishment. On that day it will become known what reward the oppressors earn, whose position is worse and whose party is more humble. O enemy of Allah and O son of the enemy of Allah! I swear by Allah that I consider you to be humble and not fit even to be reprimanded and reproached. But what am I to do? Our eyes are shedding tears, our hearts are burning, and our martyrs cannot come to life by our reprimanding and reproaching you. My Husayn has been killed and the partisans of Satan are taking us to the fools so that they may get their reward for insulting Allah. Our blood is dripping from their hands and our flesh is falling down from their mouths. The sacred bodies of the martyrs have been placed at the disposal of the wolves and other carnivorous animals of the jungle. If you have gained something today by shedding blood, you will certainly be a loser on the Day of Judgment. On that day nothing but your deeds will count. On that day you will curse Ibn Marjana and he will curse you. On that day you and your followers will quarrel with one another by the side of the Divine scale of Justice. On that day you will see that the best provision which your father made for you was that he enabled you to kill the children of the Prophet of Allah. I swear by Allah that I do not fear anyone except Him and do not complain to anyone else. You may employ your deceit and cunning efforts, but I swear by Allah that the shame and disgrace which you have earned by the treatment meted out to us cannot be eradicated". The daughter of Fatima Zahra ended her speech with offering thanks to Allah. She said: "I thank Allah Who has concluded the task of the chiefs of the youths of Paradise with prosperity and forgiveness and accommodated them in Paradise. I pray to Allah that He may elevate their ranks and favor them more with His kindness, for Allah is Omnipotent".
Adapted from the book: "A Probe into the History of Ashura" by: "Dr. Ibrahim Ayati"
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