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History

Yazid publicly boasted about killing Imam al-Husayn (as)

Ibn Athir narrates, “After al-Husayn’s martyrdom, Yazid called for a general meeting. The people of Sham were coming in to meet him while the blessed head of Imam al-Husayn (as) was placed next to him. He had a wooden stick in his hands with which he was hitting Imam al-Husayn’s throat (as) while reciting poems composed by al-Husayn ibn Hamam. These actions made his arrogance and pride at killing Imam al-Husayn (as) obvious.”23

If Yazid were in fact not pleased about killing Imam al-Husayn (as), why would he hit the throat, and according to narrations of other historians the lips and teeth, of the severed head of Imam al-Husayn (as)? Moreover, why would he recite poems which alluded to his pride at having done such a deed?

Suyuti writes, “After al-Husayn (as) and his father’s progeny were massacred, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad sent their heads on lances to Sham for Yazid. At first, Yazid became very happy, but when he realized that the Muslims had started to regard him as their enemy and had begun to hate him with all their hearts for what he had done, Yazid showed superficial remorse and regret.

It was appropriate that the people had every right to hate him.”24

Sibt ibn al-Jawzi recounts, “When they brought the head of Imam al-Husayn (as) to Yazid, he invited the people of Sham to come to his palace. He then started hitting Imam al-Husayn’s (as) head with a staff while reciting poems composed by Ibn Zab‘ari.

The purport of these poems was: By killing the elders of Bani Hashim, we have taken revenge for our forefathers who were killed in the Battle of Badr. By killing the elders of Bani Hashim, we have gotten even.”25

Notes:

23. Ibn Athir, Al-Kamil fi al-Tarikh, vol. 3, p. 298.

24. Tarikh al-Khulafa’, p. 208.

25. Tadhkirah al-Khawass, p. 235.

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