الأربعاء، 28 يناير، 2009

Why Didn’t Hussain Come to Terms With Yazid?


A question is asked sometimes, that why Imam Hussain (AS) had not chosen to come to terms with Yazid as his elder brother, Imam Hasan(AS) had done earlier while dealing with Moawiya. The question does not take into account the difference in the situations of the two brothers. Ali (AS) as the Imam left his elder son the mantle of Imamat which he at the time of his death passed it on to his brother Imam Hussain (AS). Imam Hasan (AS) had also been installed as the Caliph. Finding that Moawiya had succeeded in, secretly, sowing the seeds of discord and dissent among the Muslims, and had induced the feeling of great insecurity by undermining the machinery for the maintenance of peace, law and order, Imam Hasan (AS) had deemed it expedient to enter into a treaty with him under which the Imam abdicated in favor of his adversary only the adjuncts of worldly power. He did not dissociate himself from the spiritual primacy at all and continued to be the spiritual leader and the Imam of the Ummah.

Second point which is equally important is that when Yazid enforced his oath of allegiance over the Muslims, he insisted the people must swear allegiance to him, not to Allah; such an oath was totally different from the oath of allegiance of Kholafa-e-Rashidoon. Previously they swore the oath of allegiance that the Khalifa should rule according to the verdict of the Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet. But Yazid's impertinence and arrogance made it an abject acknowledgement by the swearer that he was the slave (Abd) of Yazid who would dispose off his life, property and offspring in any manner deemed fit. One of the companions of the Prophet in Madina named Ibn Rabia Al Aswad was prepared to swear allegiance to Yazid in accordance with the old practice but refused to swear allegiance in the form proposed. He was summarily executed. This happened inside the city of Madina.

Where then was there any point in Imam Hussain (AS) trying to make up to Yazid. This is where Imam Hussain (AS) found himself placed in circumstances which were markedly different from those which confronted his elder brother who had abdicated only his temporal power in favor of Moawiya for the restoration of peace and order on the domain of Islam. This kind of oath was entirely out of question for Imam Hussain (AS) to accept. This would have totally degraded Islam as ordained in the Qur'an and as it was practiced by the Prophet of Islam. When settlement with Yazid being wholly out of question, the only alternative course open to Imam Hussain (AS) was to oppose Yazid to save and protect the values of Islam from further degradation and to protect the faith itself from destructive inroads of pre-Islamic revivalism. He could, however, have entertained no illusions about the kind of support he could hope to enlist for himself in any conflict with Yazid. The exceedingly unhappy position in which his elder brother had found himself through the treacherous withdrawal of the support given to him in his confrontation with Moawiya, Imam Hussain (AS) therefore thought of entirely new strategy of war with Yazid, for in any case war it had to be. He made no attempt to meet Yazid's military might with his own martial strength. He builds no hopes on numerical strength for the success of his cause which was entirely the cause of Islam and saving Islamic values. Imam decided to battle with Yazid on the spiritual plane, to oppose Yazid's might with his nobility of character, confront power with powerlessness, meet multitudes with want of material support and defy oppression with suffering and martyrdom.

The proof of this line of thought became so clear in Imam Hussain's sermons and letters to his brother Muhammad El-Hanafiya when the Imam was leaving Makka for Iraq.

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