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History

Yazid and Ibn Ziyad were in constant contact

History bears witness to the fact that when Yazid appointed ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad as the governor of Kufah, he ordered Ibn Ziyad to be in constant consultation with him on every matter, large or small, that involved Imam al-Husayn (as).

From this, one can rightly infer that all the crimes which the son of Ziyad committed, including the killing of Imam al-Husayn (as), were carried out on direct orders from Yazid.

Tabari writes, “After martyring Muslim ibn ‘Aqil and Hani, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad cut their heads from their bodies and sent them together with a letter to Sham for Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah. In his reply to ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad’s letter, after mentioning various issues, Yazid pointed out, ‘News has reached me that al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali has set off towards Kufah. Enlist spies to keep anyone allied to al-Husayn under strict surveillance and employ armed men to arrest his followers.

Imprison al-Husayn’s followers on any accusation you can trump up, and inform me about everything that takes place. May God’s peace, mercy and blessing be upon you’.”6

We can deduce from this historical evidence that Yazid not only entrusted the city of Kufah and confrontation with Imam al-Husayn (as) to ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, but that Yazid himself was also personally involved in the events that took place and in direct command of all affairs. Consequently, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad kept reporting whatever he did to Yazid.

Additional evidence to substantiate that Yazid had complicity in all the crimes committed by ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad is that Yazid extolled Ibn Ziyad for every decision and action he took.

Notes:

6. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 4, p. 285.

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"