Beliefs and Acts Of Yazid

What was the character of this so-called caliph of the Prophet? He was such that he openly denied the messengership of the Messenger (s.a.w). He made his beliefs clear in the following couplets: Banu Hashim (the Prophet and his family) has played a game to obtain temporal power.

The fact is that neither an angel came to them nor any revelation descended." Intoxicated in this wrong belief, he considers that the tussle between Islam and disbelief to be a battle between two clans and is overjoyed that he has succeeded in taking revenge from the progeny of the Prophet on behalf of his ancestors. "If only my ancestors who died in Badr had been alive and seen how their opponents (Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet) were suppressed, they would have screamed in joy: 0 Yazid! May your hands never tire! We have killed their leader and in this way took revenge of Badr. And I won't be eligible to be called the descendant of the fighters of the Ditch (Khandaq) if I had failed to take revenge from Muhammad and his relatives." This much is sufficient to learn about his true beliefs. Let us now see what he says regarding other pillars of Islamic faith:


"0 my beloved! (Do not be sure of reunion after death) Because whatever you have heard of life after death is mere fiction which makes one heedless of the joys of this real world."


Your God has not said that Hell is for those who drink. Rather He has said that it is for those who pray." Against the background of his misguided notions it is also necessary that we study his evil feats. In addition to the tragedy of Karbala he committed so many atrocities in the history of humanity that each alone is sufficient to make him forever deserving to be cursed. Here we shall present only two examples of his evil feats in which he was not successful but his aim became very much obvious. It was at the time when he was the heir apparent of Muawiyah.

First of all he wanted to marry Ayesha, the widow of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). At that time the age of Ayesha was more than fifty years. This desire only proves that all he wanted was to insult the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and Holy Quran, because the Holy Quran has prohibited the Muslims to marry the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Thus Yazid also intended to insult the Muslims who considered the wives of the Prophet as the mothers of the believers. Yazid had to give up the desire at the behest of his father, who was a cunning diplomat, and he knew 0 that this blatant act would cause the loss of all opportunities of Yazid of ever becoming the Caliph.

Secondly he tried to drink wine on the roof of the House of God, that is the Holy Ka'ba. On this occasion also he was restrained by his friends and advisers.

After gaining caliphate he began to openly ridicule the Islamic worship acts (as we have stated before). He dressed up dogs and monkeys in the attire of scholars and religious leaders. Chess and playing with bears was his favorite pastime. He used to spend all his time everywhere in drinking wine without any hesitation whatsoever. He had no respect for any woman. So much so that even the ladies among his blood relation, like the mother, sisters, paternal aunts, nieces and daughters were like other women for him.


Yazid ordered attack on Medina and the holy town of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) was freely plundered. Three hundred virgins (along with other ladies) became the target of their lusts. Three hundred reciters of the Holy Quran and seven hundred companions of the Messenger were martyred mercilessly. The Holy mosque of the Prophet remained shut for many days and Yazid's forces utilized it as a stable for their mounts, and dogs took shelter in it. Even the holy pulpit of the Messenger did not remain safe from filth. At last the commander of the forces compelled the people of Medina to pay allegiance to Yazid in the following words: "We are the slaves of Yazid. And it is upto him whether he restores our freedom or sells us in the slave market." Those who wanted to pledge allegiance for Yazid upon the condition that he would follow the Quran and the traditions of the Prophet were put to death. Here it would not be importunate to state that the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) has said:

"Whoever terrifies the people of Medina shall be under divine curse forever."


After this, under orders from Yazid, the army departed for Mecca and these people laid siege to the Holy City of God. This army could not enter the town so they used catapults and by this method rained stones and burning logs of wood on the Ka'ba. Kiswa, that is the cloth covering of the Ka'ba was burned down and a part of the Holy Ka'ba collapsed. In this way we have reached such a time when everything connected to Islam, from the roots of religion to the sanctified worship acts, from family life to social system all were under attack and were being destroyed. Through whom? Through Yazid who was supposed to be the protector and defender. And the most important matter was that some of those innovations would indeed have been considered Islamic and made a part of Islam. Because since the last fifty years people had become accustomed to accept all that the ruler does as the true criteria of Islam. Today no sign would have remained of Islam if Imam Hasan (a.s) had not put a stop to this tendency and if Imam Husain (a.s) had not openly opposed the reigning king (that is Yazid).


Neither anyone possessed such courage nor anyone had such love for Islam and neither did so much responsibility rest on anyone regarding Islam as it rested on Imam Husain (a.s). Husain was the son of the daughter of the Prophet. He was the beloved son of Ali and Fatima and the younger brother of Imam Hasan (a.s). He was the heir and successor to all of them. Islam was the religion that his grandfather had brought and established. Since the beginning this family was a staunch defender of Islam. The members of this family could offer any sacrifice for Islam. And many a times they sacrificed everything they possessed for Islam and even gave up their life and lives of their beloved ones. Imam Husain (a.s) was used to sacrificing everything for the sake of Islam. He found Islam in peril and he rose up for its defense. He also saw that it was the best opportunity to present an effective and final sacrifice for Islam. So that it maybe forever safe from danger. Therefore he came to Karbala along with some of his selected relatives and companions who did not exceed 150 persons including women and children. The whole world knows what happened at Karbala. And how Imam Husain (a.s) and his companions and relatives (including a six-month infant) tasted the cup of martyrdom on the 10th of Muharram 61 AH. How they bore the torture of thirst and hunger from the seventh to the tenth of Muharram. How their tents were burned down and how their household possessions plundered. How their ladies and ailing son and little children were made captives. And how they were presented in the courts of Ibn Ziyad and Yazid in Kufa and Damascus. How they underwent the tortures of imprisonment for a full year. How they were released after that. All know these facts and therefore I need not go into the details here.


Imam Husain (a.s) was martyred and Yazid apparently seemed victorious; but only apparently. Actually it was Husain (a.s) who emerged a victor and he wrote the story of his success on the sands of Karbala with his blood. There were many aspects of this success of his. However, I intend to discuss only one aspect over here. As we have seen before, Yazid was the absolute ruler of the Islamic kingdom. And according to the principles established by the previous three caliphs, each of his action was supposed to have been considered as the standard and criteria of religion.

Imam Husain (a.s) had no such political certificate. But he was the only one who could confront Yazid (the reigning king) and not be called a rebel, because he possessed every certificate from God and the Prophet that his elder brother Imam Hasan (a.s) had received. And the tradition of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) that: 'Husain is from me and I am from Husain,' had clarified that every action of Husain was same as that of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). Therefore when people learnt about the tragedy of Karbala they could not in any way believe that Husain (a.s) would have been in the wrong. Because to say that Husain was on the wrong was same as saying that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) was on the wrong (God forbid), that is why Yazid (l.a.) became the target of cursing in the whole Islamic world.

In this way the task of separating religion and politics that was started during the time of Imam Hasan (a.s) reached completion at the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) and it was the link of the same chain. The peace treaty of Imam Hasan (a.s) and the battle of Imam Husain (a.s) are complimentary to each other and it is not possible to understand them in isolation from each other. It is mentioned in traditions that the upper portion of Imam Hasan's (a.s) body and the lower portion of Imam Husain's (a.s) resembled that of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w). Perhaps the Almighty Allah wanted to make it a sign that in order to understand the true and correct religion of the Prophet, it is necessary to study the life of both the grandsons together. The two brothers together saved Islam from the willful deeds of the rulers.

Imam Husain (a.s) turned the stream of the opinion of the people in the right direction. After the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) political power did not denote religious authority. After Karbala the status of ruling kings did not remain such that their act should become a law of Islam. Anyone could become a king through nomination or consensus. Anyone could occupy the throne by force and compulsion. However becoming the ruler of people was something else and being a religious leader is different. The former is appointed by the people and the latter by Almighty God. Imam Husain (a.s) at last opened the eyes of the Islamic world forever. Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s) saved Islam from the slavery of rulers and in this way saved it from decadence and destruction. And the names of Imam Hasan and Imam Husain (a.s) shall also remain attached to Islam forever.


His Eminence, Prophet Ibrahim (a.s) was already appointed at the post of Messengership. He already donned the mantle of "divine friendship" (Khalil), and seeking the vastness of his skirt the Beneficent Lord had bestowed him with the pearls of merits and virtues. Today again, providence wants to grant him a significant position but to achieve this status he has to pass a strange test. He sees a dream for two consecutive nights that he is slaughtering his one and only son in the path of God. The scene of the third day is described in the following words of the Holy Quran: And when he attained to working with him, he said: 0 my son! surely I have seen in a dream that I should sacrifice you; consider then what you see. He said: 0 my father! Do what you are commanded; if Allah please, you will find me of the patient ones.1 This conversation clearly shows how steadfast these father and sons were and how particular they were in obeying the command of Allah. The Holy Quran is informing us that: So when they both submitted and he threw him down upon his forehead, and We called out to him saying: 0 Ibrahim! You have indeed shown the truth of the vision;

1 Surah Saffat 37:102

surely thus do We reward the doers of good:1 Ibrahim (a.s) opened his eyes. My God! What is this? Ismail is standing away from him and smiling; and in his place a ram is lying slaughtered. Ibrahim (a.s) was perplexed. He though, "If I had seen my son rolling in the dust and blood, and had been patient in obeying the command of Allah, how great my status would have been in the court of Allah. It is a pity that I could not scale those heights. May be this sacrifice is not worthy of acceptance in the courts of the Almighty Lord and that is why it has been neglected." At that time the Holy Quran only tells us that the statement of Almighty Allah supported him:

Most surely this is a manifest trial. And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.2 In many commentaries of Quran the "great sacrifice" is said to denote that same ram which was slaughtered in lieu of His Eminence, Ismail (a.s).3 In the Shia commentary, Tafsir Safi a tradition of Tafsir Qummi is also quoted on this topic: When Ibrahim (a.s) decided to slaughter Ismail (a.s), the Almighty Allah made a beautiful ram its ransom. It used to graze in Paradise since the last forty years prior to this and it was not born of a female; the Almighty had created it with His intention. All the animals that shall be slaughtered in Mina shall all be ransom of Ismail. In this commentary many narrations on this topic are quoted, however the Late Maulana Farman Ali (t.s.) has remarked under the translation of this verse that: "Though commentators have construed a fat ram of Paradise by "the great sacrifice" this is absolutely

1 Sarah Saffat 37:103-105
2 Surah Saffat 37:106-107
3 Tafsir Kabir, Vol. 7, Pg. 160, Malimut Tanzil, Pg. 759, Durre Manthur, Vol. 5, Pg. 284

against reason, because even though it be of Paradise and no matter how fattened it may be, in comparison to a prophet it cannot be 'great'. In my view "the great sacrifice" could not be anything other than the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). That is why the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w) used to say: Husain is from me and I am from Husain."1 The respected Maulana has differed with the commentators in his writings and with all due respect and reverence I also beg to differ with the Maulana. No proof is required of the fact that the apparent explanation of the Quranic verse is different from their hidden interpretation. It is an established fact accepted by all sects of Islam that the Quran is revealed with seven letters or seven layers of meanings. Thus it is reported from Jabir Ibn Abdullah Ansari:

I asked the interpretation of some verse from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s) and he informed me of it. Then I asked him about it again and he gave me a different reply. So I told him: May I be sacrificed on you. Before this day you had given a different reply to this question. He replied: 0 Jabir! There is an interior of the Quran and an interior of the interior. And it has an exterior and an exterior of the exterior. 0 Jabir! Nothing is beyond the intellects of the people more than the exegesis of Quran. Because for most of the verses the beginning portion is about one thing and the last portion is about something else while apparently the statement seems continuous and connected and different meanings are construed from it." Have you noted how clearly the Holy Imam (a.s) has explained that there are multiple meanings of the Quran. And if one believes in the apparent meaning it does not mean that one is denying the inner interpretation.

1 Pg. 719, Urdu Translation of Holy Quran by Late Maulana Farman Ali

And neither does it mean that one who believes in the inner meaning should reject the apparent explanation. That is why Imam Ali Reza (a.s) told one of his companions, "Do not become like those who deny the apparent meanings of Quran." After this preface, I beg to state that when traditions have explained the "great sacrifice" to also denote the ram that was slaughtered in lieu of Ismail there is no reason that we should deny this apparent explanation only because the esoteric interpretation says that the "great sacrifice" denotes the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). This denial cannot be justified because on the basis of traditions and principles of faith we are obliged to have faith and believe in both equally. The Maulana himself had acted on the principle a little before the captioned verse. Thus under the explanation of the verse: ...surely I have seen in a dream that ...1 He writes its interpretation:

A voice came, 'You passed your test. Right now just offer the sacrifice of this heavenly ram and We have ransomed it with a great sacrifice.' Please note the underlined words on page 718 of the translation. Though even I agree that of all the arguments that arc presented to prove the greatness of this ram not even one is valid and acceptable and none proves the greatness of the ram over Ismail (a.s). For example let us see the following justifications:

1 - Some people say that since the ram was slaughtered, it became great. But I cannot as yet understand how merely being slaughtered endowed it with greatness.
2 - Sometimes it is explained that its greatness is due to the fact that Allah accepted it in lieu of the son of Ibrahim. But this argument clearly shows that its greatness was based on

1 Surah Saffat 37:102

the fact that it became ransom of Ismail. Therefore it could not be superior to Ismail.

3 - It is also stated as a cause that since it was sent by the Almighty God that is why it became great. Now the question is that if you are asked who is greater, a ram sent by God or aProphet sent by God, whom would you select?

4 - The same question is applicable to those who say that it was the ram of Habeel, which was alive in Paradise and it was sent at that time to be the ransom of Ismail.

5 - It is a very significant thing to state that it had grazed in Paradise for years and was fattened a great deal, therefore it was "great." If the aim of sacrifice is that the flesh and blood is used by God for Himself then indeed the huge ram is "great" in comparison of Ismail (a.s). But is not so, rather:

There does not reach Allah their flesh nor their blood, but to Him is acceptable the guarding (against evil) on your part ... 1 The Almighty Allah only sees sincerity and piety; thus indeed the sacrifice of the one and only son had much more sincerity and piety than slaughtering a ram. And a son who was born after 90 years of prayers and was the justification of the words: "We give you the good news of a boy..."2 and also the bearer of the effulgence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w). The gist of the matter is that as far as the superiority of Ismail to the ram is concerned I am in perfect agreement with the honorable Maulana. Even though it be a ram of Paradise and however fat it may be, but its superiority to prophets is impossible. Let us however examine this matter from another angle. Is it not possible that in tradition where the ram is said

1 Surah Hajj 22:37
2 Surah Hijr 15:53

to be "great sacrifice" there is no issue of its comparison with His Eminence, Ismail (a.s)? And this comparison is only the product of our imagination? Is it necessary to construe that it only means "greater than Ismail"? Can it not be construed that it denotes "great in itself" or "greater than other animals"? Would it be against eloquence? The fact is that no trace of comparison with His Eminence, Ismail (a.s) is found in the traditions. Rather they are content to just state the greatness of the ram itself and they inform us that the ram was born without the medium of parents by the command of God and grazed in Paradise for forty years and the Almighty Allah had created it only to save the life of Ismail (a.s). In this regard it possesses a superiority over all animals and that is why it is called "great." This was the apparent explanation and the inner exegesis indeed says that it refers to the great martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). Allamah Abdullah Yusuf Ali has also confessed this in his translation and commentary of this verse. I am not quoting his writing for the sake of brevity. In the same way whatever Maulana Farman Ali has written about this matter has already been quoted by us above. Even our Zakireen1, when they see that the "great sacrifice" refers to the martyrdom of Husain (a.s) they become needless of more contemplation and instantly translate that: We have made the sacrifice of Husain as the ransom of Ismail and on the basis of this translation they construct their whole speech (Majlis). They discover such corners of virtues and calamities that even the stoniest heart could not, but be affected by it. Though only this much is correct in this translation that the great sacrifice denotes the sacrifice of Husain (a.s). The first objection that applies to this translation is that a ransom is always of lesser value and ________________________
1 Plural of Zakir, Speakers about the virtues of Able Bayt (a.s.) and their afflictions, especially the Tragedy of Karbala

significance than the ransomed object/person. It does not befit the people of reason that they sacrifice a thing of more value to save something of lesser value. And here the sacrifice is said to be ransomed by the "great sacrifice" or in his words Imam Husain (a.s) is taken as ransom of Ismail, which is not in any way acceptable because the Infallible Imams (a.s) are universally believed to be superior to all prophets except the Last Prophet (s.a.w). Therefore the translation is absolutely wrong. The reply given to this objection is that at that time Ismail (a.s) carried in his loins the seeds of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) and Lady Fatima Zahra (a.s) and also all the Infallible Imams among whom Imam Husain (a.s) was also included and were Ismail slaughtered at that time, it would have destroyed the seeds of all the Imams. Therefore Imam Husain (a.s) did not become only the ransom of Ismail (a.s), but he became the ransom of this whole chain of whom he was also a part, and there is nothing wrong according to reason if a part is sacrificed for the whole. The statement of Maulana Farman Ali in the margins that: That is why the Holy Prophet (s.a.w) used to remark that 'Husain is from me and I am from Husain' also most probably denotes the same thing and he has indicated towards this same reply.

These justifications indeed entertain a religious gathering but the actual problem is not solved. Just suppose even if we ignore this question it still remains unsolved that when the aim of the sacrifice was fulfilled and the sincerity and steadfastness of Ibrahim and Ismail (a.s) passed the test and the life of Ismail was also saved, then what was the need of presenting a ransom? Apart from this, we should also note that the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) was destined much before the incident of Ismail (a.s) and the Almighty Allah had also hinted it on different occasions. Thus His Eminence, Adam (a.s), His Eminence, Nuh (a.s), and His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s) had already been informed about the event of Karbala

before the occurrence of this incident (of Ismail). Then keeping in mind this point how far is it justified to say that the martyrdom Imam Husain (a.s) was made the ransom of Ismail's slaughter? Now I do not wish to keep the readers in further suspense. I present the same narration according to which the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) is said to denote the "great sacrifice." (And indeed it denotes thus!) So that it becomes clear what the intention of the narration is and what the people have construed it to mean. FazI narrates that he heard Imam Ali Reza (a.s) say: When the Almighty Allah commanded Ibrahim (a.s) to slaughter the ram that was sent in place of his son, Ismail, Ibrahim (a.s) wished he had not been commanded to slaughter the ram and he had been allowed to slaughter Ismail with his own hands so that he had experienced a grief a father feels on slaughtering ones own beloved son and in this way he would have become eligible for the rewards of such grief stricken people. Thus Allah revealed to him: 0 Ibrahim! Who is most beloved to you among all the creatures? Ibrahim (a.s) replied, "0 my Lord! None among Your creatures is as much beloved to me as Your beloved, Muhammad." Thus revelation came asking him: Is he more precious to you or your own self? He said that he was more beloved to him than his own self. Then he was asked whether he (Muhammad's) son was more beloved to him or his own son (Ismail)? Ibrahim (a.s) replied, "His (Muhammad's) son is more beloved to me. At that time the Almighty Allah informed, "Would you be more aggrieved upon his oppressive slaughter or upon the slaughter of your son by your hands under My orders?" Ibrahim (a.s) said that he would be more aggrieved on the slaughter of the Prophet's son at the hands of enemies. Then the Almighty Allah informed him that a group would think that they are from the nation of Muhammad and after Muhammad they would unjustly slay his son like a ram is slaughtered. And those people would become eligible for divine wrath due to this act. Hearing this incident, Ibrahim (a.s) became restless and his heart became aggrieved and began to weep. At that time the Almighty Allah revealed: 0 Ibrahim! The grief you would have suffered due to slaughtering Ismail with your own hands, We have ransomed it with this restlessness that you experienced due to Husain and his slaying and I have bestowed you with the highest position of the grief stricken people; and that is the aim of the divine saying:

And We ransomed him with a great sacrifice.1

You must have noted what the tradition says. Read the narration and think upon its explanation. Does it say that Allah made the sacrifice of Husain (a.s) as ransom of the slaughter of Ismail? After writing this tradition, Allamah Majlisi has also explained it and first of all he has mentioned the objection of the lesser value of the ransom and the greatness of Imam Husain (a.s). Then he has stated the same point, which we have stated in our forgone discussion. However after that he says: It is not stated in this tradition that the Almighty Allah made Husain the ransom of Ismail, therefore there is no scope of objection about ransom. Rather it says that the Almighty Allah ransomed the grief of Ibrahim (a.s) he would have experienced by slaughtering Ismail by his restlessness and weeping upon Husain (a.s). Then he says: Obviously on the basis of this tradition the "ransom" here does not denote ransom in the real sense. It only denotes giving something in exchange because His Eminence, Ibrahim (a.s) was regretting that he had missed the reward of grieving for his son. Therefore the Almighty gave him in its place a thing that was more rewarding and superior, that is

1 Surah Saffat 37:107

the grief on the sufferings of Imam Husain (a.s). The gist of the matter is that the martyrdom of Husain (a.s) was a pre-destined event. It did not occur to save Ismail from slaughter. Therefore the objection is not applicable that the ransom must be of lesser value than the ransomed thing.

Towards the end I would also like to point out that if the 'b' in `bi zibhin azeem' is taken to be article of causation it would denote ransom in the true sense. However, under such circumstances would it become the cause of the ransom and not ransom itself. That is, it would mean that due to the "great sacrifice" We have given the ransom of Ismail and saved him because if Ismail had been slaughtered, Imam Husain (a.s) would not have come into existence. Therefore to save him, Ismail was saved through the ram. Allamah Majlisi has also suggested this interpretation in Bibarul Anwar. The aim of the Allamah is that if the ransom is taken in its actual connotation, we would have to consider `bi' as the `bi' of causation. And if it is not considered causative we would have to accept that the pronoun of 'ha' contains a metaphor and also the ransom would have to be considered synonymous to "replacement." Hopefully the inner interpretation of this verse has become clear for the readers.

Now it remains to be seen why the Almighty Allah has honored the martyrdom as a "great sacrifice." By comparing it to other events from the aspect of the loftiness of the aim, the importance of the events, the comprehensiveness of the consequence and its effectiveness it could be shown that a sacrifice greater than this had neither been offered before nor is there any possibility that it shall be done even in the future. But since all such discussion here would prolong the article so much that no space would remain for other articles in al­Jawwad Journal, I refrain from the same. However, it need not be mentioned that this is just a preface to a deeper.