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The Aftermath of the Revolution of Imam Husayn (a.s.)

The Muslims faced the distressing end of the revolution and the consequences which followed (including the cutting off of heads and captivity) with three attitudes.

The first attitude was the attitude of the Shi'a of the Holy Family. They received the distressing end with sadness, regret and anger: they were sad because of the atrocity which had taken place at Karbala'; they felt regret because they had been remiss in their help and support; and they were angry with the Umayyad regime because it had committed a dreadful crime.

The interaction of grief with sadness generated in them extreme anger and a burning desire to atone, which they expressed against the regime and its supporters in poetry and speeches, and in revolutions which continued through generations. The slogan, 'Vengeance for al-Husayn', became a slogan for all revolutionaries against the Umayyads.

The second attitude was the attitude of the general body of Muslims who were not committed to the political policy of the Shi'a and the Imams of the Holy Family.

These met the disaster with shock and revulsion. The Umayyad techniques of dealing with their political opponents, as revealed in their suppression of the revolution, appalled them. These techniques showed no respect to law or morality, nor did they set any store in social norms.

There is no doubt that this discovery prompted many of the tribal and communal leaders to reconsider their attitude and friendship towards the Umayyad regime. Among such men was 'Ubayd Allah ibn al-Hurr al-Ju'fi who changed from being a supporter of the regime, who had refused to answer the summons of al-Husayn when the latter had asked him to help him, by becoming a revolutionary against the regime, who wrote poems of lament about the martyrs of Karbala' and proclaimed rebellion.

Even the so-called pious who had received the decision to revolt with lassitude and had given advice to stop it, even these men, were not able to maintain their previous negative attitude towards the revolution and were forced to follow popular opinion by showing shock and revulsion. Zayd ibn Arqam had been one of those present at 'Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad's assembly in Kufa when the prisoners and the heads of the martyrs were brought in. He wept when he saw Ibn Ziyad poking at the teeth of Imam al-Husayn with a cane in his hand. When Ibn Ziyad rebuked him for weeping and threatened him, he declared: 'O people ... you will be slaves after today. You have killed the son of Fatima, and you have given power to Ibn Murjana (i.e. Ibn Ziyad). By God, the best of your men have been killed, and the worst of them have become masters. May God destroy those who consent to humiliation and shame!'

When al-Hasan al-Basri learnt of al-Husayn's martyrdom, he said: 'How despicable is an umma which has killed the son of the daughter of its Prophet!'

The third attitude was the attitude of adherents of the regime. These men received the news of the end of the revolution with joy and delight. They demonstrated their feelings of comfort and elation. Some of them could not desist from showing feelings of revenge and gloating.

Yazid ibn Mu'awiya showed his feeling of happiness and elation. Indeed it seems that he made the coming of the prisoners into an occasion for popular merriment in which music and songs were used.6 He could not hide his delight when the prisoners and the head of Imam al-Husayn were brought into him amid a lavish assembly.

The same is the case with regard to the rest of the members of the regime, like 'Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, 'Amr ibn Sa'id b. al-'As and others. They expressed their delight in expressions which narrators have recorded and historians have reported.

Soon, however, the adherents of the regime discovered that the matter did not give rise to happiness. It was not the simple matter which they had envisaged. This revolution was not just a simple insurrection which could easily be put to an end, and then the regime would rid of its dangers.

The members of the regime discovered that the failure of the revolution generated dangers which were much greater than those which had existed before. The whole situation exploded. The failure of the revolution made the Shi'a of the Holy Family become much firmer in their attitude whereas before, during the reign of Muawiya, they had been more inclined to peaceful negotiations and forbearance. Similarly in a way which got talked about so that Muslims heard it from one another, the purifying effect of the revolution produced a great change in the attitude of large numbers of the Muslims towards the Umayyads and their government. We consider that this change made these groups equipped to adopt effective negative policies against the regime after their psycho- logical attitude against the regime had developed.

When the Umayyads discovered this new situation, they began to take practical measures aimed at destroying the effect of this psychological activity which the revolution had produced in the community. This activity had begun to turn the umma away from friendship with the regime to the public declaration of attitudes which resisted it and its institutions and policies.

Yet the adherents of the regime discovered the danger of the spiritual forces, which were unleashed as a result of putting down the revolution by the savage method which had been followed, and they brought into play every means of seduction and intimidation which they possessed in order to prevent these forces from working against the regime. In contrast to that, the Shi'ite leadership with the Imams at its head had also discovered the awesome powers, which the revolution had mobilized to work against the Umayyads and annihilate their regime, and new circumstances which were appropriate to the success of this work. This leadership prepared to use its energies against Umayyad activities, by aiming at releasing the rays of the revolution and spreading its psychological influence among the umma to the furthest extent and the widest range.

In the rest of this chapter we will present a brief picture of the Umayyad activities which were aimed at thwarting the transforming effect of the revolution within the umma in order to move from that to the presentation of a detailed study of the efforts of the Shi'ite leaders, with the Imams of the Holy Family at their head, which resisted Umayyad activities and which aimed at stimulating the activity of the revolution to change the umma from friendship with the Umayyads and to rally against them.

We will see that the activities of the Shi'ite leadership were the ones for which success was ordained in the end.

Adapted from the book: "The Revolution of al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Shaykh Muhammad Mahdi Shams al-Din"

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