Ahl al-Sunna on Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya

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Ahl al-Sunna on Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya

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Ahl al-Sunna on Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya
by Sh. G. F. Haddad

Ibn al-Jawzî in al-Radd `alâ al-Muta`as.s.ib al-`Anîd al-Mâni` min Dhammi Yazîd ("Refutation of the Obdurate Sectarian Who Forbids the Blame of Yazîd") asserts that the Ulema deemed it permissible to curse Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya - together with al-H.ajjâj - as did the H.anafîs H.âfiz. al-Dîn al-Kurdî (who said it was preferable not to - as cited by al-Munâwî in Fayd. al- Qadîr §281) and Imâm Sa`d al-Dîn al-Taftazânî in Sharh al-`Aqâ'id al-Nasafiyya (p. 117=p. 102).

Imâm Ibn H.ajar al-Haytamî in al-S.awâ`iq al-Muh.riqa cited Ibn al-Jawzî's attribution of this position to Imâm Ah.mad via Abû Ya`lâ in his Mu`tamad fîl-Us.ûl, the latter narrating it from S.âlih. ibn Ah.mad, from the Imâm. However, Abû Muh.ammad al-Tamîmî in his `Aqîdat al-Imâm Ah.mad relates a contrary position from Imâm Ah.mad, as narrated by Abû Ya`lâ's son in T.abaqât al- H.anâbila and Ibn Muflih. in al-Maqs.ad al-Arshad:
  • He [Imâm Ahmad] withheld saying anything about Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya but rather committed his matter to Allâh. He would refrain from speaking against anyone from the first century. But our [H.anbalî] colleagues differ concerning him [Yazîd]. Some declared it permissible to blame him because he terrified al-Madîna and the Prophet MHMD Allah bless and greet him - cursed whoever terrifies al-Madîna. Others withheld from taking any position. Imâm Ah.mad was asked about it and he said: 'People prayed behind him and took his alms.' Others considered him among the Muslims that sinned and it is better to refrain from taking any position in what is not obligatory. It was impermissible to curse any Muslim unless the Law provided a proof-text to that effect. For it is narrated and transmitted that to curse a Muslim is like killing him and that the Believer is not one given to cursing. 1
From the above it can be seen that the claim that "Imâm Ah.mad ibn H.anbal permits that curses be pronounced against Yazîd" made by Shaykh Muh.ammad ibn Rasûl al- Barzanjî in al-Ishâ`a fî Ashrât. al-Sâ`a (Shukrî ed. p. 77 and p. 144) is not correct even though Ah.mad did forbid narrating from him cf. T.abaqât al-H.anâbila (1:347) from Muhannâ ibn Yah.yâ al-Shâmî.

Nor is the claim of Mullâ `Alî al-Qârî correct in Sharh. al-Shifâ' (2:556) that "Imâm Ah.mad ibn H.anbal's view is that Yazîd committed kufr" although he correctly goes on to state that "the majority of Ahl al-Sunna do not condone cursing Yazîd as his kufr has not been definitely established."

Imâm al-Ghazzâlî, also, forbade the cursing of Yazîd cf. Ih.yâ' `Ulûm al-Dîn (3:108) as did many early and late Ulema:

- Al-Damîrî, H.ayât al-H.ayawân, section on the Caliphs (2:186)
- Al-Haytamî's Fatâwâ H.adîthiyya (p. 270);
- Al-Zabîdî, Ith.âf al-Sâdat al-Muttaqîn (7:488);
- Ibn `Abidîn, H.âshiya (2:587);
- `Abd al-H.ay al-Lacknawî, Fatâwâ (1:36);
- Gangohî, Fatâwâ Rashîdiyya (1:3/26); etc.

The rightly-guided Caliph `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Azîz - Allâh be well-pleased with him - reportedly would say "rah.imahullâh" after the name of Yazîd but when he heard a man call him "Amîr al-Mu'minîn" he had him lashed twenty times as narrated by Ibn H.ajar in Lisân al-Mîzân (6:294).

The refusal of Imâm al-H.usayn ibn `Alî - Allâh be well- pleased with both of them - to declare allegiance to Yazîd is that of the generality of the Companions in Madîna and Makka including `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As. and the totality of the veterans of Badr. It was predicted by Abû Hurayra Allâh be well-pleased with him - in many narrations pertaining to the Banû Umayya and to Yazîd specifically. Abû Hurayra decried the governor of Madîna Marwân ibn al-H.akam, warned of a terrible disaster about to befall the Arabs, and prayed for death before the year 60, the year Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya came to power, under whose rule three scandals took place:
al-H.usayn ibn `Alî was killed; Madîna was ransacked for three days (al-Harra) during which the Companions were massacred, after which no survivor of the battle of Badr was left on earth and a thousand unmarried women gave birth to fatherless children; finally, the Ka`ba was destroyed and burnt, at which time Yazîd died.

- Abû Hurayra said: "Woe to the Arabs for a disaster that is fast approaching! The rule of young boys: if you obey them they shall enter you into the Fire, and if you disobey them they shall strike your necks with the sword."2

- Another version also from him states: "Woe to the Arabs for a disaster that is fast approaching at the turn of the year 60! The public trust will become spoils of war, almsgiving will be considered a fine, people will only bear witness for their friends, and lusts will govern."3

- `Umayr ibn Hâni' al-`Anasî narrated that Abû Hurayra used to walk in the marketplaces and say: "Hold on to the two temples [sides of the head] of Mu`âwiya! O Allâh, do not let me reach the year 60!"4

- "Seek refuge in Allâh from the turn of the year 60 and from the rule of young boys" (imârat al-s.ibyân). And he said: "The world will not pass before it first belongs to a mean fool son of a mean fool (luka` ibn luka`)."5 Some versions have "and the rule of fools" (imârat al-sufahâ').6

- The above reports show Abû Hurayra's familiarity with the report of Abû Sa`îd: "I heard the Messenger of Allâh MHMD Allah bless and greet him - say: "There will be, after sixty years, { a later generation who have ruined worship and have followed lusts. But they will meet deception } (19:59). Then there will be a later generation who recite Qur'ân but it will not reach beyond their throats. Three types will be reciting the Qur'ân [at that time]: the Believer, the hypocrite, and the open rebel."7 Confirming the above is the famous saying of `Alî at S.iffîn: "People! Do not loathe Mu`âwiya's leadership. If you were to lose him, you would see heads parting with their necks like colocynths (kal-h.anz.al)!"8 Al-Bayhaqî said: "`Alî and Abû Hurayra spoke such things only because they heard them from the Messenger of Allâh MHMD Allah bless and greet him."9

- Ibn `Ajlân narrated that Abû Hurayra used to say: "Verily, I am reporting narrations today which, if I had said a word of them in the time of `Umar, my head would have rolled."10

- "If I told you everything I knew, people would charge me with violating the law and they would say: Abû Hurayra is mad!" Another narration states: "You would have pelted me with dung."11

- `Abd Allâh ibn `Amr ibn al-`As. stood weeping before the Ka`ba which had been destroyed and burnt by the army of H.usayn ibn Numayr al-Sakûnî12 in the year 63 and said: "People! By Allâh, if Abû Hurayra had informed you that you would be fighting the grandson of your Prophet MHMD Allah bless and greet him - and burn the House of your Lord, you would have said there is no worse liar than Abû Hurayra! And now you know, therefore, expect Divine revenge."13

- Abû Hurayra said: "I preserved from the Messenger of Allâh- Allah bless and greet him - two large vessels of knowledge. I disseminated the first one among the people. Were I to disseminate the second, my gullet would be cut."14 Another version states: "I preserved three vessels, of which I disseminated two." Ibn H.ajar said the gist of this is that Abû Hurayra disseminated more than what he kept secret. Thus the first vessel in the h.adîth of al-Bukhârî is larger than the second.

- Abû Hurayra also said, "I heard the Messenger of Allâh xxs Allah bless and greet him - say: 'The destruction of my Community will take place at the hands of boys (ghilma) from the Quraysh.' I can name them if you wish. They are the Banû Fulân and the Banû Fulân."15 Another sound version has "boylings" (ughaylima).

- Abû Hurayra also narrated that the Prophet MHMD Allah bless and greet him - said: "Those who will destroy the people are this particular clan (hâdhâ al-h.ayyu) of the Quraysh." They said, "What do you order us to do, Messenger of Allâh?" He replied: "If only the people stayed away from them (law anna al-nâsa i`tazalûhum)!"16 This is precisely what Abû Dharr did. Ibn `Umar similarly said: "I heard the Messenger of Allâh MHMD Allah bless and greet him - say: 'This particular clan (h.ayy) of the Quraysh shall remain safe until they turn away from their Religion into apostates.' A man stood up saying: 'Messenger of Allâh! Will I be in Paradise or in Hellfire?' The Prophet MHMD Allah bless and greet him - answered, 'In Paradise.' Another stood asking the same, whereupon the Prophet MHMD Allah bless and greet him - answered, 'In Hellfire.' Then [he said], 'Say nothing to me as long as I say nothing to you. Were it not for fear that you would stop burying one another (lawlâ an lâ tadâfanû) I could certainly tell you about a great number of those who will be in the Fire and you would know who they are. If I am ordered to do it I shall certainly do it!'"17

- H.umayd ibn Mâlik ibn Khuthaym was sitting with Abû Hurayra in his land of al-`Aqîq when a group of the people of Madîna came to him. They dismounted and came to him. H.umayd said: "Abû Hurayra said [to me]: 'Go to my mother and say to her, Your son sends his salâm and asks you to send us a little food.' I went and she gave me three loaves of bread and some olive oil and salt. I carried it to them. When I put it in front of them Abû Hurayra said: 'Allâhu akbar. Praise be to Allâh Who has sated us with bread after the time when our only food was the two black ones: water and dates!' The people did not leave anything except they ate it. When they went away, he said: 'Son of my brother, be kind to your sheep, wipe their mucus from them, improve their pastures, and pray in their vicinity, for they are from the animals of Paradise. By the One in Whose hand is my soul, there will soon come a time upon people when the flock of sheep will be dearer to its owner than the sons of Marwân!'"18

As for those who mouth an accusation of baghî (rebellion) against al-H.usayn ibn 'Ali ibn Abî T. âlib: Such should be identified and denounced by every Muslim as Nâs.ibîs, that sect which considers it par of its religion to attack the members of the Prophetic House. Al-Dhahabî said of Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya in Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ' (4:37-38):
  • He was strong, brave, deliberative, full of resolve, acumen, and eloquence. He composed good poetry. He was a stern, harsh, and coarse Nâs.ibî. He drank and was a reprobate. He inaugurated his Dawla with the killing of the Shahîd al-H.usayn and closed it with the catastrophe of al-H.arra. Hence the people despised him, he was not blessed in his life, and many took up arms against him after al-H.usayn such as the people of Madîna - they rose for the sake of Allâh - and Mirdâs ibn Udayya al-H.anz.alî al-Bas.rî, Nâfi` ibn al-Azraq, T.awwâf ibn Mu`allâ al- Sadûsî [three Khârijîs], and Ibn al-Zubayr in Makka.
And Allah knows best.


1 Ibn Abî Ya`lâ, T.abaqât (1:246, 2:273), al-Haytamî, al- S.awâ`iq (2:635), Ibn Muflih., al-Maqs.ad al-Arshad (2:283).

2 Narrated by Ibn Abî Shayba.

3 Narrated from Abû Hurayra by Ma`mar ibn Râshid in his Jâmi` (Mus.annaf 11:373), al-H.âkim (1990 ed. 4:530), and Nu`aym ibn H.ammâd in al-Fitan (2:703 §1981). Al-T.abarânî narrates something similar in al-Awsat. (2:106) with a weak chain cf. al-Haythamî (4:199).

4 Narrated from `Umayr ibn Hâni' al-`Anasî by Ibn `Asâkir in Mukhtas.ar Târîkh Dimashq (29:206) and by Ibn Sa`d (4:340-341) as well as al-Bayhaqî in the Dalâ'il, al- Dhahabî in the Siyar, Ibn H.ajar in al-Is.âba (7:443), and Ibn Kathîr in al-Bidâya (6:228-229). "Hold on to the two temples of his head" i.e. love him while you still can, as his epigones will not be so lovable.

5 Narrated from Abû S.âlih. the mu'adhdhin, from Abû Hurayra by Ah.mad and Ibn Abî Shayba (7:461 §37235) with the number 70 cf. al-Haythamî (7:220) but cited by al-Suyût.î in Ziyâdat al-Jâmi` al-S.aghîr (§2040) and the Kanz (§30854) with the number 60. Also - second sentence only - from Abû Hurayra, Hâni` ibn Nyâr, and H.udhayfa ibn al-Yamân by al-Tirmidhî (h.asan) and Ah.mad with sound chains cf. Fath. (1:129-131).

6 Cf. Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhîd (2:303) and al-Shawkânî, Nayl al-Awt.âr (9:167).

7 Narrated from Abû Sa`îd by Ah.mad, al-Bukhârî in Khalq Af`âl al-`Ibâd (p. 117), al-T.abarânî in al-Awsat. (9:131), Ibn H.ibbân (3:32 §755), and al-H.âkim (1990 ed. 2:406 s.ah.îh. and 4:590 isnâd s.ah.îh.), all "with a good strong chain meeting the Sunan criteria": Ibn Kathîr, Bidâya (6:228) cf. al-Haythamî (6:231).

8 Narrated from al-Sha`bî from al-H.ârith al-A`war by Ibn Abî Shayba (7:548 §37854).

9 Cited by Ibn Kathîr in al-Bidâya (6:228).

10 Narrated by Ibn `Asâkir in Mukhtas.ar Târîkh Dimashq (29:192) and cited by al-Dhahabî.

11 Narrated by Ibn Sa`d (4:57, 2:119).

12 Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya's general.

13 Narrated from `Ubayd Allâh ibn Sa`îd by Ibn `Asâkir in Târîkh Dimashq (13:206) and cited by al-Dhahabî in the chapter on `Abd Allâh ibn `Amr in the Siyar (4:266).

14 Narrated by al-Bukhârî.

15 Narrated by al-Bukhârî and Ah.mad.

16 Narrated by al-Bukhârî, Muslim, and Ah.mad.

17 Narrated from Ibn `Umar by Abû Ya`lâ (10:66 §5702) and, as part of a longer narration, by Ibn Abî H.âtim in his `Ilal (2:256 §2262).

18 Narrated by Mâlik in his Muwat.t.a'.

Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.

Hajj Gibril
GF Haddad
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