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Topic initiated on Wednesday, January 17, 2007  -  5:14 AM Reply with quote
Lesson of Muharram (Ashura)

Asalmoaliekum ,

In the view of upcoming Muharram , i would like to have generated opinions of member about lesson from Waqaie Karbala for Muslim Umma.

Kindly do participate.

Posted - Wednesday, January 17, 2007  -  11:03 AM Reply with quote
Moulana Moudoodi wrote famous book Khilafat-e-Malookiyat . I want you people to give review of this book.

Posted - Saturday, January 20, 2007  -  10:21 AM Reply with quote

TextAsalmoaliekum ,

In the view of upcoming Muharram , i would like to have generated opinions of member about lesson from Waqaie Karbala for Muslim Umma.

Kindly do participate.

http://www.ahya.org - Authentic Islamic Information and Resources

Aashoorah : Celebration or Mourning ?

From As-Sunnah Bimonthly Islamic Newsletter

Question: What is the ruling on those actions performed on the day of Aashoorah, such as wearing kohl, taking a bath (ghusl), using henna, shaking hands with one another, cooking grains (huboob), showing happiness and so on…? Has any saheeh hadeeth to that effect been narrated from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam)? If there is no saheeh hadeeth to that effect, does doing these things constitute bid'ah (innovation)? What about the things that the other people do, such as mourning, grieving, going without anything to drink, eulogizing, wailing, rending their garments, etc.? Is there any basis for these actions?

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (rahimahullah) was asked these questions and he replied saying:

All Praise is to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Nothing to that effect has been reported in any Saheeh Hadeeth from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) or from his Companions (radhi allahu anhu). None of the Imaams of the Muslims encouraged or recommended such things, neither the four Imaams, nor any others. No reliable scholars have narrated anything like this, neither from the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), nor from the Sahabah (radhi allahu anhu), nor from the Taabi'een; neither in any saheeh report nor in a da'eef (weak) report; neither in the books of Saheeh, Sunan, nor in the Musnads.

No hadeeth of this nature was known during the best centuries, but some of the later narrators reported ahaadeeth like the one which says “Whoever puts kohl in his eyes on the day of Aashoorah will not suffer from eye disease in that year, and whoever takes a bath (does ghusl) on the day of 'Aashoorah' will not get sick in that year, etc.” They also narrated reports concerning the supposed virtues of praying on the day of Aashoorah and other reports saying that on the day of 'Aashooraa' Adam (alaihi as-salaam) repented, the Ark settled on Mount Joodi, Yoosuf (alaihi as-salaam) returned to Ya'qoob (alaihi as-salaam), Ibraaheem (alaihi as-salaam) was saved from the fire, the ram was provided for sacrifice instead of Ismaa'eel (alaihi as-salaam), and so on. They also reported a fabricated ahadeeth that is falsely attributed to the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), which says: “Whoever is generous to his family on the day of Aashoorah, Allah will be generous to him for the rest of the year.”

(Then Ibn Taymiyah discussed the two misguided groups who were in Koofah, Iraq, both of whom took Aashoorah as a festival because of their bid'ah)

The Raafidhi group made an outward show of allegiance to the Ahl al-Bayt although inwardly they were either heretics and disbelievers or ignorant and bound by whims and desires. The Naasibi group hated 'Ali (radhi allahu anhu) and his companions, because of the troubles and killings that had occurred. It is reported in Saheeh Muslim that the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said:

“In (the tribe of) Thaqeef there will be a liar and an oppressor.” [Saheeh Muslim]

The liar was al-Mukhtaar ibn Abi 'Ubayd al-Thaqafi, who made an outward show of allegiance to and support of the Ahl al-Bayt, and killed 'Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyaad, the governor of Iraq, who had equipped the party that killed al-Husayn ibn 'Ali (radhi allahu anhu); then he (al-Mukhtaar) made it clear that he was a liar, by claiming to be a prophet and that Jibreel (alaihi as-salaam) brought revelation to him. People told Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) and Ibn 'Abbas (radhi allahu anhu) about this, and said to one of them: “al-Mukhtaar ibn Abi 'Ubayd is claiming to receive revelation.” He said: “He is telling the truth, for Allah says:

“Shall I inform you (O people) upon whom the shayaateen (devils) descend? They descend upon every lying, sinful person.” [Soorah ash-Shoorah (26): 221]

They said to the other: “Al-Mukhtaar is claiming that he receives inspiration.” He said, “He is telling the truth: “And certainly, the Shayaateen (devils) do inspire their friends (from mankind) to dispute with you.” [Soorah al-An'am (6): 121]

As for the oppressor, this was al-Hajjaaj ibn Yoosuf al-Thaqafi, who was opposed to 'Ali (radhi allahu anhu) and his companions. Al-Hajjaaj was a Naasibi and al-Mukhtaar was a Raafidhi, and this Raafidhi was a greater liar and more guilty of fabrication and heresy, because he claimed to be a prophet…

There was much trouble and fighting between these two groups in Kufa. When al-Husayn ibn ‘Ali was killed on the day of Aashoorah, he was killed by the sinful, wrongdoing group. Allah honored al-Husayn with martyrdom, as He honored other members of his family, and raised his status, as He honored Hamzah, Ja'far, his father Ali and others.

Al-Husayn and his brother al-Hasan are the leaders of the youth of Paradise. High status can only be attained through suffering as the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said, when he was asked which people suffer the most: “The Prophets, then righteous people, then the next best and the next best. A man will suffer according to his level of faith. If his faith is solid, he will suffer more, but if his faith is shaky, he will suffer less. The believer will keep on suffering until he walks on the earth with no sin.” [Tirmidhee and others]

Al-Hasan and al-Husayn achieved the high status by the help and decree of Allah. They did not suffer as much as their forefathers had, for they were born and raised during the glory days of Islam, and the Muslims respected and honored them. The Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) died when they were still young, and Allah blessed them by testing them in such a manner that they would be able to catch up with the rest of their family members, as those who were of a higher status than them were also tested. Ali ibn Abi Taalib (radhi allahu anhu) was better than them, and he was killed as a shaheed (martyr).

The killing of al-Husayn was one of the things that caused fitnah (tribulation) among the people, as was the killing of Uthmaan (radhi allahu anhu), which was one of the greatest causes of fitnah, because of which the ummah is still split today. Thus, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “There are three things, whoever is saved from them is truly saved: my death, the killing of a patient khaleefah, and the Dajjaal ('antichrist').”

Then, Shaykh al-Islam (rahimahullah) mentioned a little about the biography of al-Hasan and his just character and he said: ‘Then he died, and Allah was pleased with him and honored him. Some groups wrote to al-Husayn and promised to support and help him if he went ahead and declared himself khaleefah, but they were not sincere. When al-Husayn sent his cousin [son of his paternal uncle] to them, they broke their word and gave help to the one they had promised to defend him against, and fought with him against [al-Husayn’s cousin]. Those who were wise and who loved al-Husayn, such as Ibn 'Abbaas (radhi allahu anhu) and Ibn Umar (radhi allahu anhu) and others, advised him not to go to them, and not to accept any promises from them. They thought that his going to them served no useful interest and that the consequences would not be good.

Things turned out just as they said, and this is how Allah decreed it would happen. When al-Husayn went out and saw that things were not as he had expected, he asked them to let him go back, or to let him join the army that was defending the borders of Islam, or join his cousin Yazeed, but they would not let him do any of these things unless he gave himself up to them as a prisoner. So he fought with them, and they killed him and some of those who were with him, and he was wrongfully slain so he died as a shaheed whose martyrdom brought him honor from Allah, and thus he was reunited with the good and pure members of his family. His murder brought shame on those who had wrongfully killed him, and caused much mischief among the people.

An ignorant, wrongful group who were either heretics and hypocrites, or misguided and misled made a show of allegiance to him and the members of his household, so they took the day of Aashoorah as a day of mourning and wailing, in which they openly displayed the rituals of jaahiliyyah such as slapping their cheeks and rending their garments, grieving in the manner of the jaahiliyyah.

But what Allah has commanded us to do when disaster strikes? One is to bear with patience and fortitude when disaster strikes, seek reward, and remember that all things come from Allah and we must return to Him:

“… but give glad tidings to al-saabiroon (the patient ones), who, when afflicted with calamity, say: 'Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return.' They are those on whom are al-salawaat (the blessings) (i.e., who are blessed and will be forgiven) from their Lord, and (they are those who) receive His Mercy, and it is they who are the guided ones.” [Soorah al-Baqarah 2:155-157]

It is reported in al-Saheeh that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “He is not one of us who strikes his cheeks, rends his garments and prays with the prayer of Jaahiliyyah.”

And he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “I have nothing to do with those who strike [their cheeks], shave [their heads] and rend [their garments].”

“If the woman who wails does not repent before she dies, she will be raised up on the Day of Resurrection wearing trousers made of tar and a shirt of scabs.”

In al-Musnad, it is reported from Faatimah bint al-Husayn, from her father al-Husayn, that the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said:

“There is no man who suffers a calamity, and when he remembers it, even if it is old, he says 'Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'oon (Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return),' Allah will give a reward equal to the reward He gave him on the day he suffered the calamity.”

This is how Allah honors the believers. If the disaster suffered by al-Husayn, and other disasters, are mentioned after all this time, we should say “Innaa Lillaahi wa innaa ilayhi raaji'oon” - Truly, to Allah we belong and truly, to Him we shall return- as Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) commanded, so as to be given the reward like that earned on the day of the disaster itself. If Allah commanded us to be patient and steadfast and to seek reward at the time of the disaster, then how about after the passing of time?

The Shaytaan made this attractive to those who are misled, so they took the day of Aashoorah as an occasion of mourning, when they grieve and wail, recite poems of grief and tell stories filled with lies. Whatever truth there may be in these stories, serves no purpose other than the renewal of their grief and sectarian feeling, and the stirring up of hatred and hostility among the Muslims, which they do by cursing those who came before them, and telling many lies, and causing much trouble in the world.

The various sects of Islam have never known any group tell more lies or cause more trouble or help the kuffaar against the Muslims more than this misguided and evil group. They are even worse than the Khawaarij who went beyond the pale of Islam. They are the ones of whom the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said:

“They will kill the people of Islam and will leave alone the people who worship idols.”

This group cooperated with the Jews, Christians and mushrikeen against the members of the Prophet's household and his believing ummah. The evil and harm that they do to the Muslims cannot be enumerated by any man, no matter how eloquent he is.

Some others either Naasibis who oppose and have enmity towards al-Husayn and his family or ignorant people who try to fight evil with evil, corruption with corruption, lies with lies and bid'ah with bid'ah opposed them by fabricating reports in favor of making the day of Aashoorah a day of celebration, by wearing kohl and henna, spending money on one's children, cooking special dishes and other things that are done on Eids and special occasions. These people took the day of Aashoorah as a festival like Eid, whereas the others took it as a day of mourning. Both are wrong, and both go against the Sunnah, even though the other group (the Rafidis) are worse in intention and more ignorant and more plainly wrong…

But Allah commands us to be just and to treat others well. Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “Those of you who live after my death will see many disputes. I urge you to adhere to my Sunnah and the sunnah of my rightly-guided successors (al-khulafa' al-raashidoon) who come after me. Hold onto it as if biting it with your teeth. Beware of newly-innovated matters, for every innovation is a going astray.”

Neither the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), nor his rightly guided successors did any of these things on the day of Aashoorah, they neither made it a day of mourning nor a day of celebration.

But “when the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) came to Madeenah, he saw the Jews fasting on the day of Aashoorah. He said, “What is this?” They said, 'This is the day when Allah saved Moosa from drowning, so we fast on this day.' He said: “We have more right to Moosa (alaihi as-salaam) than you.” [Saheeh Bukharee]

So he fasted on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day. He (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) did not tell ordinary Muslims to fast on Aashoorah, but he used to say: “This is the day of Aashoorah; I am fasting on this day and whoever wishes to fast on this day may fast.”

And he (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) said: “Fasting on Aashoorah expiates for the sins of one year and fasting on the day of 'Arafaah expiates for the sins of two years.”

When, towards the end of his life, the Prophet (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) heard that the Jews took the day of Aashoorah as a festival, he said:

“If I live until next year, I will certainly fast on the ninth” to be different from the Jews, and not to resemble them in taking the day as a festival.

As for the other things, such as cooking special dishes with or without grains, or wearing new clothes, or spending money on one's family, or buying the year's supplies on that day, or doing special acts of worship such as special prayers or deliberately slaughtering an animal on that day, or saving some of the meat of the sacrifice to cook with grains, or wearing kohl and henna, or taking a bath (ghusl), or shaking hands with one another, or visiting one another, or visiting the mosques and mashhads (shrines) and so on… all of this is reprehensible bid'ah and is wrong. None of it has anything to do with the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam) or the way of the Khulafa' al-Raashidoon.

It was not approved of by any of the imaams of the Muslims, not Maalik, not al-Thawri, not al-Layth ibn Sa'd, not Abu Haneefah, not al-Awzaa'i, not al-Shaafa'i, not Ahmad ibn Hanbal, not Ishaaq ibn Raahwayh, not any of the Imaams and scholars of the Muslims.

The religion of Islam is based on two principles: that we should worship nothing besides Allah Alone, and that we should worship Him in the manner that He has prescribed, (i.e: the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of the Messenger ) not by means of bid'ah or reprehensible innovations. Allah says: “… So whoever hopes for the Meeting with his Lord, let him work righteousness and associate none as a partner in the worship of his Lord.” [Soorah al-Kahf (18): 110]

Righteous deeds are those, which are loved by Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaihe wa-sallam), those which are prescribed in Islam and in the Sunnah. Thus, Umar ibn al-Khattaab (radhi allahu anhu) used to say in his du'aa': “O Allah, make all of my deeds righteous and make them purely for Your sake, and do not let there be any share for anyone or anything else in them.”

[The above is summarized words of Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) from his Book ‘Al-Fataawa al-Kubra’ Part 5 | Courtesy: Islam Q & A : Authoritative answers by Sheikh Muhammad al-Munajjid on a range of topics. English, Arabic or French]

Posted - Sunday, January 21, 2007  -  2:49 AM Reply with quote

Moulana Moudoodi wrote famous book Khilafat-e-Malookiyat . I want you people to give review of this book.

Who Killed Al-Hussain? [1]

Retelling the tragedy of Karbalâ has traditionally been an important feature of Shî‘î spirituality. The passion plays of Iran and the Indian subcontinent, the literature, both prose and poetry, composed upon the subject of the martyrdom of Sayyidunâ Hussain (radiyallâhu ‘anhu) and the general atmosphere of mourning that reigns amongst the Shî‘ah during the month of Muharram, all bear eloquent testimony to importance of that event in the Shî‘î calendar. To the Shî‘ah, ‘آshurâ is probably the most important day of the year.

However, it is regrettable that despite the huge amount of attention the subject of Karbalâ enjoys, the event is persistently portrayed as two-sided. It is always depicted as Hussain against Yazîd, Right rising up against Wrong, the Quest for Justice against the Forces of Oppression. Many an opportunist has even gone to the extent of superimposing upon the event the theme of Shî‘ah against Ahl as-Sunnah.

In this partial retelling that concentrates upon what actually happened at Karbalâ, and conveniently draws attention away from the other guilty party in the ‘آshûrâ tragedy, lies another tragedy in itself. For while Hussain's martyrdom has been oft commemorated, and his physical opponents and killers identified, cursed and eliminated, no one has spared a moment's anger for those who deserted him at the crucial hour.

It is these men in the shadows, who squarely deserve to be called the real villains of Karbalâ, upon whom this article seeks to cast light.

The People of Kufaa invite al-HussainIt was in Ramadân 60AH that the letters from Kûfah started to arrive at the house of ‘Abbâs ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib in Makkah where Hussain ibn ‘Alî was staying after his flight from Madînah, letters urging him to lead the Kûfans into revolt against Yazîd ibn Mu‘âwiyah, and assuring him of their loyalty and allegiance. Mu‘âwiyah died two months earlier, and there was much resentment for his son Yazîd for whom the bay‘ah was taken as his successor. The people of Kûfah especially were looking at Hussain for leadership, and soon there was stream of letters coming in from Kûfah. On certain days there would be as many as 600 letters, with messengers who enthusiastically described the support he would receive from the Kûfans.

Kûfah was a unique place, and the Kûfans a peculiar people. In 37AH Sayyidunâ ‘Alî (radiyallâhu ‘anhu) shifted his capital from Madînah to Kûfah, and ever since that city became the home of those who claimed partisanship of the Ahl al-Bayt. After the reconciliation between Hasan and Mu‘âwiyah in 41AH many of those who had been in Sayyidunâ Hasan's army settled in Kûfah. At the time of Mu‘âwiyah's death in 60AH pro-‘Ali sentiments were still to be found in abundance in Kûfah. At the time of Mu‘âwiyah' s death in 60 AH Kûfah was still very strongly pro-‘ Ali. Thus when the opportunity arose the Kûfans, who still regarded themselves as the Shî‘ah (supporters) of the Ahl al-Bayt, turned to Hussain to lead them against Yazîd.

Sayyidunâ Hussain decided to send his cousin Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl to investigate the situation in Kûfah. If he found it feasible he would write to inform Hussain, who would depart with his family from Makkah to join him in Kûfah. Muslim arrived in in Dhul Qa‘dah. The Kûfans, when they learnt of his arrival presented themselves at the residence of Muslim ibn ‘Awsajah al-Asadî where he was staying. Soon there were 12 000 Kûfans who had given their solemn pledge to support and protect Hussain with their lives and all they possessed. When this number rose to 18 000 Muslim felt confident enough to dispatch a messenger to Hussain informing him of the bay‘ah of the Kûfans, and urging him to proceed from Makkah.

Yazîd replaces the Governor of Kufah with Ubaydullâh ibn Ziyâd
Rumours of what was happening in Kûfah soon reached Yazîd in Damascus. He immediately replaced Nu‘mâ n ibn Bashîr, the governor of Kûfah, with the ruthless ‘Ubaydullâh ibn Ziyâd with orders to find Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl and kill him. Ibn Ziyâd entered Kûfah early in Dhul Hijjah, accompanied by seventeen men on horseback. With the end of his turban drawn over his face he was unrecognizable, and the people of Kûfah, who were expecting Sayyidunâ Hussain, mistook him for Hussain. " Peace upon you, o son of Rasûlullâh," they hailed him. Thus it was that Ibn Ziyâd learnt the truth of the rumors. It was only when one of his mounted men shouted at them, " Stand back! This is the governor ‘Ubaydullâh ibn Ziyâd!" that the Kûfans realized the seriousness of their blunder.

Soon after reaching the governor's residence ‘ Ubaydullâh sent a servant of his own with a bag containing 3000 dirhams to pose as a newcomer from the Syrian town of Hims eager to join the imminent revolution, and thereby discover the whereabouts of Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl. He located Muslim in the house of Hânî ibn ‘Urwah, and took the pledge of allegiance at his hands. The money he handed over to Abû Thumâmah al-‘آmirî who was acting as Muslim' s treasurer. After staying with them for a few days, during which he learnt most of what there was to know about their intrigue, he returned to Ibn Ziyâd and informed him. Hânî ibn ‘Urwah was arrested. At first he denied all knowledge of Muslim' s whereabouts, but when the " newcomer from Hims" was brought before him he confessed. But he still refused to reveal where Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl was.

In the meantime Muslim came to hear about the arrest of Hânî ibn ‘Urwah. Realizing that the hour for a decisive encounter had arrived, he raised his battle cry " Yâ Mansûr" , at which 4000 of the men who had given him their oath of allegiance and loyalty to Hussain gathered around him and proceeded towards the governor' s fort. When he saw Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl with the Kûfans at his gate, ‘Ubaydullâh sent some of the tribal leaders of Kûfah to speak with their people and draw them away from Muslim and warn them of the wrath that would descend upon them when the armies from Damascus arrived.

Soon Muslim's army was called upon by mothers telling their sons, "Come home , there are enough other people here," and fathers ominously warning their sons, "What will happen tomorrow when the Syrian armies start arriving from Damascus? What will you do?"

The resolve of the men who had taken a sacred oath to support and defend the cause of Hussain and the Ahl al-Bayt against Yazîd and his Syrian armies could not hold in the face of such threats and discouragement, even though Hussain was on that very moment making his way to Kûfah with his nearest and dearest relying upon the promises of the Kufans.

The Kufans start deserting one by one

One by one the Kufans deserted Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl under the gates of the governor' s fort. At sunset he was left with only 30 men. He led them in Maghrib, and then moved away to the doorway of the Kindah quarter of Kûfah. He went through that door with no more than 10 men, and before he knew it, he was all on his own in the streets of Kûfah. Of all those who had so anxiously and enthusiastically written to Hussain to come and lead them in revolt against Yazîd, and out of the 18 000 men who but days before placed their right hands in his, solemnly pledging allegiance to the cause for which they had invited the grandson of Rasûlullâh , not a single one was there to offer Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl the solace of their company or refuge from the night.

Eventually, parched with thirst, he knocked at a door. The occupant, an old lady, took him in when she learnt that he was Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl. She hid him away in her house, but her son, from whom she extracted a promise not to tell anyone of his presence there, waited only till the morning to take the news to the governor' s residence. The next thing Muslim realized was that the house was surrounded. Thrice he managed with his sword to drive the attackers out of the house, but when they started putting fire to the house he was forced to face them outside. It was only when ‘Abd ar-Rahmân ibn Muhammad ibn al-Ash‘ath, one of those sent to arrest him, promised him the safety of his life, that he lowered his sword. It was a mistake, for they took away his sword and mounted him upon an ass to be taken to Ibn Ziyâd.

Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl fears for Al-Hussain's life
Muslim knew his death was at hand. Tears flowed from his eyes, not at his own fate, but at the thought of Hussain and his family traveling through the harsh, merciless desert towards a fate much more harsher and merciless, to an enemy firmly resolved to bring an end to his venture, and to the most treacherous of partisans whose desertion at the hour of need had brought his life to this tragic end. He begged Ibn al-Ash‘ath to send someone to Hussain with the following message: “Ibn ‘Aqîl has sent me to you. He says to you: ‘Go back with your family. Do not be deceived by people of Kûfah. They are those same supporters of your father from whom he so dearly wished to part, by death or by being killed. The Kûfans have lied to me and have lied to you, and a liar has no sense.’ ”

Later that day —the Day of ‘ Arafah, the 9th of Dhul Hijjah— Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl was taken up to the highest ramparts of the fort. As he was being led up, he recited the tahlîl, tasbîh, takbîr and istighfâr. His last words reflect his intense disappointment with the people of Kûfah, "O Allâh, You be the Judge between us and our people. They deceived us and deserted us." From high upon the ramparts his head fell down in the dust, in full view of those whose invitations and oaths of allegiance had given him so much to hope for, but whose cowardice and treachery had left him with nothing but despair. And Hussain was on his way…

‘Ubaydullâh ibn Ziyâd had entered Kûfah with only seventeen men. For each man that came with him there was over a thousand who had taken the oath of allegiance at the hands of Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl. Yet not a single sword was raised in his defense. Not a single voice had the courage to protest his execution. And these were the same men who had been telling Hussain, “Come, we are with you.”

Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl's letter reaches Al-Hussain

Upon receipt of Muslim’s letter, Sayyidunâ Hussain started making arrangements to travel to Kûfah. He immediately dispatched a messenger, Qays ibn Mus-hir, to inform the Kûfans of his imminent arrival. This messenger was captured by ‘Ubaydullâh ibn Ziyâd, who ordered him to mount the walls of the fort and publicly curse Hussain and his father. Instead he praised Sayyidunâ ‘Alî and Sayyidunâ Hussain, telling them that Hussain was on his way, and exhorting them to assist him as they had promised. He ended his brief address by imprecating curses upon Ibn Ziyâd. Upon the order of Ibn Ziyâd he was flung from the ramparts and killed. Despite this impassioned plea, the men of Kûfah were unmoved.

In Makkah, a number of the eminent Sahâbah and children of Sahâbah tried to dissuade Hussain from going to Kûfah, and reminded him of the fickleness of the Kûfans with both his father and his brother. ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Abbâs, ‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Umar, Jâbir ibn ‘Abdillâh, Abû Sa‘îd al-Khudrî, his own brother, Muhammad, and his brother-in-law and cousin , ‘Abdullâh ibn Ja‘far all remonstrated with him and tried to persuade him not to go to Iraq. His mind, however, was made up. He set out from Makkah on the 8th of Dhul Hijjah, not knowing of the sad end of Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl.

Al-Hussan reaches Iraq

After an arduous journey of almost a month, his party reached Iraq. It was there that he first heard of the treachery of the Kûfans and the death of Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl. Later he also learnt of the death of Qays ibn Mus-hir. A large number of desert Arabs had by that time attached themselves to his party, thinking that Kûfah was already practically his. Hussain addressed them, saying, "Our Shî‘ah have deserted us. Therefore, whoever wants to leave is free to do so." Soon he was left with only those who left Makkah with him. With them he continued towards Kûfah.

Meanwhle Kûfah was placed under heave surveillance by Ibn Ziyâd. When news of Hussain’s approach reached him, he dispatched a 4000 strong contingent, which was on its way to fight the Daylamites, to stop Hussain. This contingent was put under the command of ‘Umar ibn Sa‘d. There can be little doubt that the Kûfans witnessed the departure of this force from Kûfah with their own eyes. This would be their last chance to honor the oaths of allegiance to Hussain which they had taken upon the hands of Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl. This was the final opportunity to rush to the side of the grandson of Rasûlullâh . It was after all their invitations and assurances of support that encouraged him to abandon the safety of Makkah for the precarious battlefields of Iraq. But once again faithfulness, courage and commitment was found lacking in the people of Kûfah. Only a handful emerged to join Hussain at Karbalâ.

Al-Hussan is Martyred

And when the sun set on the 10th of Muharram, it was too late for the faithless Shî‘ah of Kûfah to make amends, for the sands of Karbalâ was stained red with the blood of Sayyidunâ Hussain and his seventy-one followers.

Four years later the Shî‘ah of Kûfah attempted to make amends for their desertion of the family of Rasûlullâh . There emerged a group of Kûfans calling themselves the Tawwâbûn (Penitents) who made it their duty to wreak vengeance upon the killers of Hussain. On their way to Syria in pursuit of Ibn Ziyâd they passed by Karbalâ, the site of Sayyidunâ Hussain' s grave, where they raised a great hue and cry, and spent the night lamenting the tragedy which they allowed to happen four years earlier. Had they only displayed that same spirit of compassion for Hussain when he was so much in need of it the history of Islâm might have taken a different course.

The Sheites seek to hide their Treachery

There have been attempts by certain writers to absolve the Shî‘ah from the crime of deserting Hussain. Some find an excuse for them in Ibn Ziyâd’s blockade of Kûfah. S. H. M. Jafri writes in his book The Origins and Early Developments of Shi’ah Islam:

…it should be noted again that the blockade of all the roads coming into Kûfa and its vicinity made it almost impossible for the majority of those Shî‘îs of Kûfa who were in hiding, and also for those residing in other cities like Basra. [2]

This explanation of their desertion does not seem plausible when one considers the large number (18 000) of those who had taken the bay‘ah at the hands of Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl. Ibn Ziyâd, as we have seen, entered Kûfah with only 17 men. Even the force that he dispatched to engage the party of Sayyidunâ Hussain at Karbalâ consisted of only 4000 men. [3]

Furthermore, that force was not recruited specifically for Karbalâ; it was only passing through Kûfah on its way to fight the Daylamites. It is not at all credible to assume that Ibn Ziyâd was able to cow the Kûfans into submission with forces such as these, whom they outnumbered by far. It was rather their own treacherousness and fickleness that led them to abandon Sayyidunâ Hussain. This can be clearly seen in the manner they deserted Muslim ibn ‘Aqîl.

There is also the tendency of claiming that those who deserted Sayyidunâ Hussain were not of the Shî‘ah. Jafri writes:

… of those who invited Hussain to Kûfa, and then those 18,000 who paid homage to his envoy Muslim b. ‘Aqîl, not all were Shî‘îs in the religious sense of the term, but were rather supporters of the house of ‘Alî for political reasons - a distinction which must be kept clearly in mind in order to understand the early history of Shî‘î Islam. [4]

Jafri' s motive in excluding the deserters of Sayyidunâ Hussain from the ranks of the “religious” (as opposed to the “political”) supporters of the house of Sayyidunâ ‘Alî is quite transparent. He is clearly embarrassed by the fact that it was the Shî‘ah themselves who abandoned their Imâm and his family after inviting him to lead them in revolt. What leads us to reject this distinction between “religious” and “political” supporters is the fact that Sayyidunâ Hussain himself, on more than one occasion, referred to the Kûfans as his Shî‘ah.

There are also the numerous references to the people of Kûfah as the followers (albeit capricious followers) of his father and brother. And were we to assume that many, or even most of them were not Shî‘ah in the “religious” sense, the question which next presents itself is: Where were the real Shî‘ah when their Imâm required their help?

Were they only that handful who emerged from Kûfah? It is strange that while there is so much reluctance on the part of the Shî‘ah to accept the deserters of Kûfah as their own, they are quite proud and eager to identify themselves with the movement of the Tawwâbûn. The speeches made at the inception of the movement of the Tawwâbûn very clearly prove that they were the same people who invited Sayyidunâ Hussain and then deserted him. [5]

Their very name is indicative of their guilt in this regard. The attempt by the Shî‘ah to absolve themselves from the crime of deserting Sayyidunâ Hussain is therefore at best nothing more than pathetic.

The Sheite Treachery against Zayd ibn ‘ Alî ibn HussainKarbalâ was not to be the last act of treason by the Shî‘ah against the Family of Rasûlullâh . Sixty years later the grandson of Sayyidunâ Hussain, namely Zayd ibn ‘ Alî ibn Hussain, led an uprising against the Umayyad ruler Hishâm ibn ‘Abd al-Malik. He received the oaths of allegiance of over 40 000 men, 15 000 of whom were from the very same Kûfah that deserted his grandfather.

Just before the battle could start they decided upon a whim to ask his opinion about Abû Bakr and ‘Umar. Zayd answered: “I have never heard any of my family dissociate himself from them, and I have nothing but good to say about them.”

Upset with this answer, they deserted him en masse, deciding that the true imâm could only be his nephew Ja‘far as-Sâdiq. Out of 40 000, Zayd was left with only a few hundred men. On the departure of the defectors he remarked: “I am afraid they have done unto me as they did to Hussain.” Zayd and his little army fought bravely and attained martyrdom. Thus, on Wednesday the 1st of Safar 122 AH another member of the Ahl al-Bayt fell victim to the treachery of the Shî‘ah of Kûfah. [6]

This time there could be no question as to whether those who deserted him were of the Shî‘ah or not.

The fact that the thousands of Shî‘ah who deserted Zayd ibn ‘Alî looked upon Ja‘far as-Sâdiq as their true Imâm shows that by and large they were the same as the Ithnâ ‘Asharî, or alternatively Imâmî or Ja‘farî Shî‘ah of today.

Why then, if he had so many devoted followers, did Imâm Ja‘far not rise up in revolt against the Umayyads or the ‘Abbâsids? The answer to this question is provided in a narration documented by Abû Ja‘far al-Kulaynî in his monumental work al-Kâfî, which enjoys unparalleled status amongst the hadîth collections of the Shî‘ah:

Sudayr as-Sayrafî says: I entered the presence of Abû ‘Abdillâh ‘alayhis salâm and said to him: “By Allâh, you may not refrain from taking up arms.” He asked: “Why not?” I answered: “Because you have so many partisans, supporters (Shî‘ah) and helpers. By Allâh, if Amîr al-Mu’minîn (Sayyidunâ ‘Alî) had as many Shî‘ah, helpers, and partisans as you have, Taym (the tribe of Abû Bakr) and ‘Adî (the tribe of ‘Umar) would never have had designs upon him.” He asked: “And how many would they be, Sudayr?” I said: “A hundred thousand.” He asked: “A hundred thousand?” I replied: “Yes, and two hundred thousand.” He asked again: “Two hundred thousand?” I replied: “Yes, and half the world.” He remained silent.

Then he said: “Would you accompany us to Yanbu‘?” I replied in the affirmative. He ordered a mule and a donkey to be saddled. I quickly mounted the donkey, but he said: “Sudayr, will you rather let me ride the donkey?” I said: “The mule is more decorous and more noble as well.” But he said: “The donkey is more comfortable for me.” I dismounted. He mounted the donkey, I got on the mule, and we started riding. The time of salâh arrived and he said: “Dismount, Sudayr. Let us perform salâh.” Then he remarked: “The ground here is overgrown with moss. It is not permissible to make salâh here.” So we carried on riding until we came to a place where the earth was red. He looked at a young boy herding sheep, and remarked: “Sudayr, by Allâh, if I had as many Shî‘ah as there are sheep here, it would not have been acceptable for me to refrain from taking up arms.” We then dismounted and performed salâh. When we were finished I turned back to count the sheep. There were seventeen of them. [7]

It seems from this narration that the tragedy of Karbalâ taught Imâm Ja‘far as-Sâdiq something about those who claimed to be his followers which the Shî‘ah of today are still refusing to come to terms with: that in the trials and misfortunes of the Family of Rasûlullâh the role of the Shî‘ah was as great, if not greater, than that of their physical enemies. It therefore does not come as a surprise that none of the supposed Imâms after Hussain ever attempted an armed insurrection against the rulers of their times. Karbalâ had taught them the fickleness and treacherousness of those who claimed to be their Shî‘ah.

It is about them that Imâm Ja‘far is reported to have said: "No one bears us greater hatred than those who claim to love us."

Imâm Ja‘far is also reported as having said: "No verse did Allâh reveal in connection with the Munâfiqîn, except that it is to be found in those who profess Shî‘ism." [9]

Before Sayyidunâ Hussain, his elder brother Sayyidunâ Hasan was the victim of the treacherousness of the Kûfans. In his book al-Ihtijâj the prominent Shî‘î author Abû Mansûr at-Tabarsî has preserved the following remark of Sayyidunâ Hasan: "By Allâh, I think Mu‘âwiyah would be better for me than these people who claim that they are my Shî‘ah." [10]

When Sayyidunâ Hasan eventually became exasperated at the fickleness of his so-called Shî‘ah, he decided to make peace with Mu‘âwiyah. When someone protested to him that he was bringing humiliation upon the Shî‘ah by concluding peace with Mu‘âwiyah, he responded by saying:

"By Allâh, I handed over power to him for no reason other than the fact that I could not find any supporters. Had I found supporters I would have fought him day and night until Allâh decides between us. But I know the people of Kûfah. I have experience of them. The bad ones of them are no good to me. They have no loyalty, nor any integrity in word or deed. They are in disagreement. They claim that their hearts are with us, but their swords are drawn against us." [11]

Imâm Mûsâ al-Kâzim, the son of Imâm Ja‘far, and the seventh of the supposed Imâms of the Shî‘ah, describes them in the following words:

"If I had to truly distinguish my Shî‘ah I would find them nothing other than pretenders. If I had to put them to the test I would only find them to be apostates. If I were to scrutinize them I would be left with only one in a thousand. Were I to sift them thoroughly I would be left with only the handful that is truly mine. They have been sitting on cushions all along, saying: " We are the Shî‘ah of ‘Alî."


If today ‘آshûrâ will be commemorated as a day of struggle and sacrifice, let it also be remembered as a day of treachery and desertion.

When the names of Yazîd ibn Mu‘âwiyah, ‘Ubaydullâh ibn Ziyâd, ‘Umar ibn Sa‘d and Shamir ibn Dhil Jawshan are mentioned and curses invoked upon their memories, then let us not forget the treachery of the Shî‘ah of Kûfah. The time has long been due for the Shî‘ah to reintroduce into their ‘آshûrâ ceremonies an aspect that was in fact part of the very first commemoration ceremony of the Tawwâbûn. That lost aspect is the admission of their own guilt, along with that of Ibn Ziyâd, Yazîd and others, in the shedding of the holy blood of Sayyidunâ Hussain ibn ‘Alî radiyallâhu ‘anhumâ.


The historical material for this study has been taken largely from al-Bidâyah wan-Nihâyah of Ibn Kathîr. The Shî‘î source Maqtal al-Hussain by ‘Abd ar-Razzâq al-Mûsawî al-Muqarram (5th edition published by Maktabah Basîratî, Qum in 1382) was also consulted.

See S. H. M. Jafri, The Origins and Early Development of Shi’ah Islam p. 198 (Ansariyan Publications, Qum, n.d.)

The figure of 80 000, given in certain Shî‘î sources, and quoted recently on local radio, is clearly fictitious. Apart from contradicting reliable historical sources, its origin in the emotionally charged hyperbolism of the Shî‘ah is self-evident.

Jafri, p. 195

ibid. p. 223

Muhammad Abû Zahrah, Târîkh al-Madhâhib al-Islâmiyyah, p. 613 (Dâr al-Fikr al-‘Arabî, Cairo, n.d.)

al-Kulaynî, al-Kâfî (Usûl) vol. 2 p. 250-251 (Dâr al-Adwâ, Beiru1992)

‘Abdullâh al-Mâmaqânî, Miqbâs al-Hidâyah vol. 2 p. 414 (Mu’assasat آl al-Bayt li-Ihyâ’ at-Turâth, Beirut 1991) quoting from Rijâl al-Kashshî.

ibid. vol. 2 p. 407

Abû Mansûr at-Tabarsî, al-Ihtijâj vol. 2 p. 290-291 (Mu’assasat al-A‘lamî, Beirut 1989

al-Kulaynî, Rawdat al-Kâfî vol. 8 p. 288

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