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Mu‘awiyah’s last will and testament to Yazid

Some people say that Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan had ordered his son in his last will and testament not to offend al-Husayn (as) nor to interfere with him in any way whatsoever because al-Husayn (as) had a greater right of kinship and nearness to the Holy Prophet (S). They believe that it is therefore impossible and unreasonable to imagine that Yazid would have dared act against his father’s wishes.

Response

Firstly, the text of Mu‘awiyah’s reads, “... If al-Husayn revolts against you and you become triumphant over him, forgive and overlook because he has ties of relationship and kinship to you, and hence has a great right due from you...”62

We can deduce from this text that Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan requested his son to forgive al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali (as) if Yazid were to be militarily victorious over the Holy Imam, but we cannot conclude that Yazid was ordered not to have any conflict with Imam al-Husayn (as) at all.

Secondly, we have previously cited abundant evidence to substantiate that Yazid was responsible for Imam al-Husayn’s (as) martyrdom. Therefore, there is no room left for doubt or skepticism about who Imam al-Husayn’s killer is.

Thirdly, when we refer to history with special attention paid to Yazid’s corrupt personality, it is obvious that Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah was not at all bound or obligated to act according to his father’s will. There is no historical evidence to substantiate that Yazid ibn Mu‘awiyah felt a strong obligation to act according to his father’s last wishes.

It is worthy reminding skeptics that Mu‘awiyah ibn Abu Sufiyan had commanded his son Yazid in his last will and testament to consent to the people’s wishes if they asked him to dismiss and change the governor of Iraq. Yazid did not act according to his father’s wishes in this case.

Notes:

62. Tarikh Tabari, vol. 4, p. 238.

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