Rafed English

The Karbala` Revolution

After the demise of Im?m al-Hasan (`a) in 50 A.H.(670 A.D.), the Sh?`ahs of Iraq started writing al-Husayn (`a) to request him to remove Mu`?wiyah from his self-installed post of ruling over the Muslims. But al-Husayn (`a) stated in his answer to them that he had with Mu`?wiyah a treaty, an agreement, and that he could not violate it. As for Mu`?wiyah, for the period of twenty years of his rule, he used to prepare to firm the foundations of the rule of his debauchee son, Yaz?d, in order to make him a “commander of the faithful”, thus violating his treaty with Im?m al-Hasan (`a) to which he had agreed and, moreover, rejecting and violating what the Sunis had agreed upon, that is, their belief that the selection of a caliph is done through consultation with the condition that he must be righteous and pious. If you consider all of this, you will see the extent of the crime committed by Mu`?wiyah against Islam and Muslims. His line of action was followed by the rest of Umayyad, Abb?side and Ottoman caliphs most of whom could not be distinguished from the Muslims` debauchee and corrupt rulers of our time.

After the death of Mu`?wiyah in 60 A.H. (680 A.D.), Yaz?d seated himself as the ruler. His palace was a nucleus of corruption and sin. He, according to the admission of all Islamic groups, used to publicly drink wine during his crowded night parties. Among his well recorded statements are shallow poetic verses from which we would like to quote the following:

Musical tones distracted me from the sound of the adh?n,

Instead of the h?ris, I took to myself an old hag in the chambers.

This does not surprise us. Yaz?d was brought up by a Christian governess. He, as described by historians, was a reckless youth, a licentious, extravagant, immoral, short-sighted, off-guard young man who surrounded himself with luxury. He is always reported as having led the Friday congregational prayer service on a Wednesday [rather than Friday] and led the fajr prayers in four rek`ats [instead of two] because he was quite drunk. Other such incidents are reported about him the narration of which does not serve our purpose. We have mentioned his violations in order to shed a light on the circumstances during which Im?m al-Husayn (`a) saw that an uprising and a revolution were necessary to resurrect Islam and the religious sunan after they had become threatened with distortion and extinction. The objective of Im?m al-Husayn (`a) behind his revolution was not to take control of the caliphate or run after authority, for he knew that the Umayyads were more prepared to secure it for themselves especially after the people of Iraq had reneged, fearing the Umayyads.

In one of his sermons near Karbal?`, Im?m al-Husayn (`a) states the reason behind his uprising as follows: “O people! Whoever sees an oppressive im?m permitting what All?h prohibits, violating All?h`s covenant after confirming it, behaving contrarily to the Sunnah of His Prophet , ruling among the servants of All?h with sin and oppression, All?h will hurl him together with the same person into the Fire.” In another statement, he said, “O people! They [Umayyads] obeyed Satan, disobeyed the most Merciful One, caused corruption in the land, suspended the implementation of the sunan, took to themselves what belonged to the Muslims, permitted what All?h prohibits, forbade what All?h permits, and I, more than anyone else, am more worthy of opposing them.”

When Im?m al-Husayn (`a) came to know about the reneging and violation of the covenant with him which took place in K?fa, he gathered his companions and family members, who were in his company, and frankly said the following to them: “Our Sh?`ahs have betrayed us. Anyone who likes to go away may do so; he is not obligated to us.” They dispersed from him right and left, so much so that only those who had come with him from Mecca and Med?na stayed. But Im?m al-Husayn (`a) kept upholding his decision and in the same determination whereby he set out from Mecca the Venerable. As described by a poet, his condition was: “If the religion of Muhammad cannot stay straight except if I am killed, then take me, O swords!” He met with `Umar ibn Sa`d, commander of the army sent to fight him by the provincial governor of K?fa,`Ubaydull?h ibn Ziy?d, who was appointed by the Umayyad “caliph”, Yaz?d, which was made up of thirty-two thousand strong, according to some narratives.

It was only natural for the force of the army of Yaz?d son of Mu`?wiyah to be able to kill such a small numbered band. On that day, the tragedy of Ahl al-Bayt (`a) was personified, how they were wronged, in the most clear way. Yaz?d son of Mu`?wiyah, in this massacre, was paying the “reward” which the Messenger of All?h had required him: “Say: `I ask no reward of you for this [Islamic creed] except love for my near in kin`” (Qur`?n, 42:23)... History narrates tragic scenes too difficult for anyone to describe as they were in reality. One of them is the tragedy of the infant son of Im?m Husayn (`a), namely Abdull?h, whom the Im?m carried to the battlefield asking for a drink of water for him after a blockade was enforced on Im?m Husayn (`a)`s camp, depriving him of any access to the Euphrates. Thirst, hence, took its heavy toll on them. The Im?m carried Abdull?h asking for some water for him and to stir their conscience and human feeling. But they shot the infant with an arrow, killing him instantly. Martyrs from among the followers of Im?m Husayn (`a) and from his Ahl al-Bayt (`a) fell one after the other.

Al-Husayn (`a) was the last to be martyred in that decisive battle. Yet they were not satisfied with killing the Master of the Youths of Paradise but severed his head from his body then carried it together with the heads of his companions as gifts to the killers, raising them on their spears on their way to Yaz?d son of Mu`?wiyah in Syria. Some Muslims keep insisting on calling him “commander of the faithful”...; so, there is no will nor might except in All?h...!

Having narrated these events, which clearly show the lofty objectives for which al-Husayn (`a) started his revolution, a revolution which was described by a great Islamist, namely Dr. `Amr Abd al-Rahm?n, thus, “The martyrdom of al-Husayn (`a) is a thousand times greater than his staying alive.” But there are those who minimize the value of this great revolution because of their falling victim to the misleading Umayyad propaganda. Such a propaganda has tried very hard to distort history. And they fell victim to contemptible sectarian fanaticism. They, thus, are forced to adopt such a shameful distortion of the facts such as the statement of so-called “shaikh al-Islam” Ibn Taymiyyah in this sense: “Im?m al-Husayn (`a), in his revolution, caused a dissension in the Islamic nation when he disobeyed the one who was in charge of the affairs of the Muslims”...!!! If we ask this so-called “shaikh al-Islam” about Mu`?wiyah who disobeyed Im?m Ali (`a) (who was then in charge of the affairs of the Muslims), he will not see in it any dissension, nor will he see any sin in it for them. The same applies to `?`isha who disobeyed Im?m Ali (`a)... This is nothing but a norm of attempts to openly falsify our Islamic history; otherwise, how can we explain how most Sunnis ignore this historic tragedy in which the descendants of the Messenger of All?h were killed in the most horrible and painful way? All the descendants of Mu`?wiyah and his son, Yaz?d, followed in the footsteps of the Umayyads and of the Abbasides. They crushed any opposition to their authority, especially when it came from the Members of the Household of the Prophet who were always pursued with discrimination, banishment, killing and torture.

Such oppression was not confined to the Members of the Household of the Prophet alone. Among the victims of the Umayyad oppression from among those who did not belong to Ahl al-Bayt (`a) was, for example, Abdull?h ibn al-Zubayr. History has recorded the tragic scene inside the precinct of Mecca where Abdull?h ibn al-Zubayr was slaughtered and skinned. The sanctity of that place which even people during the j?hiliyya period held as sacred and holy and did not permit the slaughter of animals, let alone of humans, inside it. And the Venerable Ka`ba could not help him against the Umayyad rulers when he clung to its curtains. This same Ka`ba was bombarded with catapults during the time of Abd al-Malik ibn Marw?n who gave a free hand to his tyrant, al-Hajj?j, to kill people without a just cause. About both men, al-Hasan al-Basri said, “Had Abd al-Malik committed only the sin of [giving a free hand to] al-Hajj?j, it would have sufficed him [i.e. was sufficient for his condemnation].” And `Umar ibn Abd al-Az?z said, “Had each nation brought forth its oppressor, and had we [Umayyads] brought forth al-Hajj?j, we would have out-weighed them [in the measure of oppressiveness].”

So, do these deeds qualify their doer to be a Muslim, let alone to being the caliph of the Muslims or the “commander of the faithful”??! Undoubtedly, we nowadays need to take a second look at our history[1] and to discern many of its events then ask to speak to us due to their strong ties to sketching the outlines of the Islamic sects to which the Muslims nowadays adhere. They have in them what helps truly get to know this sect or that away from oppression and injustice. Because of those incidents, the Muslims slipped away from the original Islamic line of Muhammad , becoming diverse sects and groups each one of which claims it is the one that will receive salvation. None of us needs to wait for Divine Wahi to tell him the name of this sect. All?h, the most Great and the most Exalted One, has granted us the mind whereby we can distinguish what is foul from what is good, making it an argument against His servants, prohibiting us from blindly imitating others, saying, “What! Even though their fathers were void of wisdom and guidance?!” (Qur`?n, 2:170). He has also said, “We have sent them admonishment, but most of them hate admonishment” (Qur`?n, 23:71). He has required us to investigate and research before believing each and every one, saying, “O you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you should harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done” (Qur`?n, 49:6).
[1]Take a look at the picture attacked to the cover of the book titled Haqaaiq an Ameer al-Momineen Yaz?d [facts about the commander of the faithful Yaz?d] so you may see to what extent some people have gone in their falsification of the Islamic history...!

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