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History

Mu'awiya Designates Yazid as Successor

Mu'awiya began a campaign to introduce Monarchy into the structure of Islam. To have Monarchy, by force or otherwise is alien to Islam, an innovation in religion, simply not acceptable. Everyone knew that, for Islam does not subscribe to any form of Royalty through inheritance or Monarchy. In Islam it is supposed to be Shura.

Nevertheless, Mu'awiya sent his agents to the prominent members of the communities to obtain allegiance of loyalty to his son Yazid. But Yazid was evil, of the drinking type, incompetent, contemptible, and a pleasure-seeking person. People knew that. So the people protested vigorously. There was anger everywhere. Emotions went sky high. To calm people down, at least temporarily, Mu'awiya decided to send his son Yazid to Mecca for the pilgrimage. Yes, Yazid did go to Mecca but only after taking alcohol with him as well as a chorus of girls for his entertainment.

MU'AWIYA DIES

Mu'awiya was getting older day by day. At the age of 75, he became seriously ill. He was nearing death. He lay weak and lifeless as if something was choking and strangling him. He felt tortured and tormented, and continuously cried for mercy. He was in terrible pain. He wanted to die but death would not come close to him. His conscience tormented him for the calamities that he brought upon the Islamic Ummah specially Ahlul Bayt. Mu'awiya suffered in agony for many many days. His suffering continued until he breathed his last. At the time of his death, the 30 year old Yazid was nowhere near him, he had gone for fun on a hunting trip.

(Please note that Mu'awiya's brother was by the name of Yazid, and he had named his son after his brother.)

YAZID BECOMES RULER

Upon Mu'awiya's death, Yazid, 30 years old, managed to impose himself on the people and become the Khalifa. At first people refused to accept him as a representative of the Prophet (pbuh) and Islamic Ummah, but Yazid approached people in mosques for their favors. Like his father Mu'awiya, Yazid used all possible means like bribery, coercion, pressure, threats, and force to receive the people's acceptance of him as the legitimate ruler. Many people were worried, threats to their lives and livelihood was too menacing, so they grudgingly and reluctantly gave in. But, Imam Husain (a.s.) and his family (who practiced Islam in its true sense), did not give in. As the true representative of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), Al-Husain flatly refused accepting Yazid either as a Khalifa or a leader of Islam. Despite Yazid's intimidating military power the Imam stood firm in his resolve and chose to challenge Benu Umayya's authorities.

Yazid commissioned Waleed Ibn Ut'ba, his Governor over Medina, to ask for Imam Husain's allegiance of loyalty or else upon refusal, his head. Waleed invited Al-Husain to a meeting for the purpose. Imam Husain did not give his word at the meeting and decided to leave Medina along with his family to proceed to Mecca. When Al-Husain reached Mecca he received 12,000 letters from Kufa urging him to go to Kufa to be their leader, and be the Khalifa. Imam sent an emissary, his cousin Muslim Ibn Aqeel, to Kufa to ascertain first-hand information about the situation in Iraq. In the mean time Yazid spread a network of informants and secret agents in Mecca to assassinate the Imam during pilgrimage. Imam learned about the spies, and carefully evaluated the situation in Mecca. Imam Husain knew that Yazid son of Mu'awiya had no regard for Islamic values and teachings, that he would do anything to enforce his tyrannical rule. Imam Husain also knew that giving allegiance of loyalty to an imposter like Yazid would certainly place Islam at great jeopardy. Therefore he decided to leave Mecca for Kufa to prepare for a confrontation with Yazid and his forces.

Many friends and relatives urged Imam Husain not to go to Kufa, but he insisted on going. Imam Husain, along with family, friends, and companions began the journey toward Kufa (1,100 miles) in a long caravan in the blistering heat of summer.

Adapted from the book: "Karbala; Chain of Events" by: "Ramazan Sabir"