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Yazid Meets al-Sajjad (a.s.)

Yazid turned to al-Sajjad (‘a) and asked him, “How did you, ‘Ali, see what Allah did to your father, al-Husayn?” “I saw,” answered al-Sajjad (‘a), “what Allah, the One and Only God, the most Exalted One, had decreed before creating the heavens and the earth.” Yazid consulted those around him as to what to do with al-Sajjad (‘a), and they advised him to kill him.

Imam al-Sajjad, Zayn al-’Abidin (‘a), said, “O Yazid! These men have advised you to do the opposite of what Pharaoh's courtiers had advised Pharaoh saying: ‘Grant him and his brother a respite.' The ad’iya’13 do not kill the prophets' sons and grandsons.” This statement caused Yazid to lower his head and contemplate for a good while.14
Among the dialogue that went on between both men is Yazid quoting this Qur’anic verse to ‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (‘a):

“Whatever misfortune befalls you is due to what your hands commit” (Qur’an, 45:22).

‘Ali Ibn al-Husayn (‘a) responded by saying, “This verse was not revealed in reference to us. What was revealed in reference to us was this verse:

‘Whatever misfortune befalls the earth or your own selves is already in a Book even before we cause it to happen; this is easy for Allah, so that you may not grieve about what you missed nor feel elated on account of what you receive' (Qur’an, 57:23). 15

We do not grieve over what we missed nor feel elated on account of what we receive.”16 Yazid then cited the following verse by al-Fadl Ibn al-’Abbas Ibn ‘Utbah:
Wait, O cousins, wait, O masters, do not hurry!
Do not bring to surface what we did bury.17

Al-Sajjad (‘a) sought permission to speak. “Yes,” said Yazid, “provided you do not utter verbal attacks.” He (‘a) said, “I am now standing like one who ought not verbally attack anyone, but tell me: How do you think the Messenger of Allah (S) would have felt had he seen me looking like this?” Yazid ordered him to be untied.18
Yazid ordered the person who used to recite the Friday khutba to ascend the pulpit and to insult ‘Ali and al-Husayn (‘a), which he did. Al-Sajjad (‘a) shouted at him saying, “You have traded the pleasure of the creature for the Wrath of the Creator, so take your place in the fire [of hell].”19
Should you on the pulpits publicly taunt him on demand,
While through his sword did these very pulpits stand?!

He asked Yazid saying, “Do you permit me to ascend this pulpit to deliver a speech that will please Allah Almighty and that will bring good rewards for these folks?” Yazid refused, but people kept pleading to him to yield, yet he was still relentless.

His son, Mu’awiyah II, said to him, “Permit him; what harm can his words cause?” Yazid said, “These are people who have inherited knowledge and oratory20 and are spoon-fed with knowledge.”21 They kept pressuring him till he agreed.
The Imam (‘a) said:

“All Praise is due to Allah for Whom there is no beginning, the ever-Lasting for Whom there is no end, the First for Whom there is no starting point, the Last for Whom there is no ending point, the One Who remains after all beings no longer exist. He measured the nights and the days.

He divided them into parts; so, Blessed is Allah, the King, the all-Knowing... O people! We were granted six things and favoured with seven: We were granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers.

And we were favoured by the fact that from among us came a Prophet, a Siddiq, a Tayyar, a Lion of Allah and of His Prophet (S), and both Masters of the Youths of Paradise from among this nation. O people! Whoever recognizes me knows me, and whoever does not recognize me, let me tell him who I am and to what family I belong: O people! I am the son of Mecca and Mina; I am the son of Zamzam and al-Safa; I am the son of the one who carried the rukn on his mantle; I am the son of the best man who ever put on clothes and who ever made tawaf and sa’i, of whoever offered the Hajj and pronounced the talbiya.

I am the son of the one who was transported on the buraq and who was taken by Gabriel to sidrat al-muntaha, so he was near his Lord like the throw of a bow or closer still. I am the son of the one who led the angels of the heavens in the prayers.

I am the son to whom the Mighty One revealed what He revealed. I am the son of the one who defended the Messenger of Allah (S) at Badr and Hunayn and never disbelieved in Allah not even as much as the twinkling of an eye.

I am the son of the best of the believers and of the heir of the prophets, of the leader of the Muslims and the noor of those who offer jihad and the killer of the renegades and those who deviated from the straight path and who scattered the ahzab and the most courageous one, the one with the firmest determination: such is the father of the grandsons of the Prophet (S), al-Hasan and al-Husayn (‘a), such is ‘Ali Ibn Abi Talib (‘a).

I am the son of Fatima al-Zahra’ (‘a), the Head of all Women, the son of Khadija al-Kubra. I am the son of the one with whose blood the sand mixed. I am the son of the one who was slaughtered at Karbala’. I am the son of the one for whom the jinns wept in the dark and for whom the birds in the air cried”.
Having said this much, people's cries filled the place, and Yazid feared dissension, so he ordered the mu'aththin to call the athan for the prayers. The latter shouted: Allahu Akbar! The Imam (‘a) said: “Allah is Greater, more Magnanimous, and more Kind than what I fear and of what I avoid.” The prayer caller now shouted: Ashadu an la ilaha illa-Allah! He (‘a) said, “Yes, I testify with everyone who testifies that there is no god besides Him nor any other Lord.” The caller shouted: Ashahadu anna Muhammadan rasul-Allah!

The Imam (‘a) said to the prayer caller, “I ask you, by Muhammad, to stop here till I speak to this man,” then he turned to Yazid and asked him, “Is this great Messenger of Allah (S) your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, everyone present here, as well as all other people, will come to know that you are a liar.

And if you say that he is mine, then why did you kill my father unjustly and oppressively and plundered his wealth and took his women captive? Woe unto you on the Day of Judgment when my grandfather will be your opponent.”
Yazid yelled at the prayer caller to start the prayers immediately. A great deal of commotion now could be heard among the people. Some people prayed whereas others left.22
13. Ad’iya’ is plural of da’iy, someone adopted and given the last name of the person who adopted him as though he had been the latter’s own biological offspring in contradiction to the Islamic tenets. N. Tr.

14. al-Mas’udi, Ithbat al-Wasiyya, p. 143 (Najafi edition).

15. Sayyid Muhammad Riďa al-Asterbadi al-Hilli, Al-’Iqd al-Farid, Vol. 2, p. 313. Al-al-Tabari, Tarikh, Vol. 6, p. 267.

16. ’Ali Ibn Ibrahim, Tafsir, p. 603, where the Chapter of al-Shura is discussed.

17. al-Raghib al-Isfahani, Al-Muhadarat, Vol. 1, p. 775, in a chapter about those who boast of antagonizing their kinsfolk. This is one of five verses by al-Faďl Ibn al-’Abbas Ibn ‘Utbah Ibn Abi Lahab recorded by Abu Tammam in his book Al-Hamasa. Refer to p. 223, Vol. 1, of Sharh al-Tabrizi.

18. Ibn Nama, Muthir al-Ahzan, p. 54.

19. Shaikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Nafs al-Mahmum, p. 242.

20. Kamil al-Baha’i.

21. al-Qazwini, Riyad al-Ahzan, p. 148.

22. Shaikh ‘Abbas al-Qummi, Nafs al-Mahmum, p. 242. This lengthy sermon is quoted on p. 69, Vol. 2, of al-Khawarizmi's book Maqtal al-Husayn.
Adapted from: "Maqtal al-Husayn; Martyrdom Epic of Imam al-Husayn (a.s.)" by: "Abd al-Razzaq al-Muqarram"

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