After being conquered by the Muslims, Shaam had seen people like Khalid ibn Walid and Mu’awiah ibn Abu Sufyan as its rulers. The people of that region had neither benefited from the presence of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), nor had they any idea of the method of his companions. The few companions of the Prophet (PBUH&HP) who resided there were separate from each other and did not have any influence on the viewpoint of the people of Shaam. As a result, the people of Shaam, used to take the behavior of Mu’awiah and his group as Islamic behavior, and because they had the Roman imperators as their rulers for centuries, saw the Islamic methods of governance more just than the previous ones and supported it.
This unawareness was considerable to an extent that it has been narrated in the historical sources that once some of the prominent figures of Shaam came to visit Saffah, the Abbasid caliph, they told him: “By God, we never knew that the Prophet of God had any relative other than Bani Umayyah to be his heir, until you became the caliph.”(1)
Now such area, with the abovementioned background, has become the battle ground for Imam Sajjad (PBUH) to act his historical role in defending the achievements of the events of Karbala, and guide the people toward God. Imam (PBUH) as a captive and after witnessing the horrible scenes of Karbala entered the city of Shaam, while history testifies that his hands and neck were chained,(2) and as he could not keep himself on the top of the camel because of illness, his feet were tied together under the belly of the camel. (3)
In this situation, when the captives of Karbala were entering Damascus, a man stood against Imam Ali ibn Hussain (PBUT) and said:
“Thanks the God who killed you and destroyed you, and made the people safe from your vices, and helped the Amir al-Mu’minin – Yazid- to prevail upon you. “
Imam Sajjad (PBUH) silenced until the man from Shaam expressed his feelings. Then he entered the following conversation:
– Have you read the Quran?
– Have you read the verse “O Prophet! Say: I do not ask of you any reward for it but love for my Ahl al-Bayt” (4)?
– Yes I have.
– Have you read the verse “And give to the near of kin their due” (5)?
– Yes I have.
– Have you read the verse “Verily Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House (Ahl al-Bayt)! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying”(6)?
– Yes I have.
Then the Imam (PBUH) told the man: “O old man! These verses are revealed about us. We are the “near of kins” and we are “purified Ahl al-Bayt”.
After hearing the statements of Imam (PBUH), the old man realized that what he had heard about these captives was not true. They are not foreigners; rather they are the children of the Prophet (PBUH&HP). Therefore he was ashamed and said: “O God! I repent from the hatred I had toward these. I hate the enemies of Muhammad and his Household.”(7)
By more investigating the historical documents, we will come across more material pertaining to the situation in Shaam and the approach of Imam Sajjad’s (PBUH) enlightening. For example Ibrahim, the son of Talha, who then resided in Shaam went to watch the captives of Karbala when they were entering the city. When he saw Imam Sajjad (PBUH) he asked him: “O Ali bin Hussain! Now, who is the winner?”
In this word he had a tacit hint to the Jamal battle that had occurred between the army of Imam Ali (PBUH) and Talha and Zubair, in which Talha, the father of Ibrahim, was killed.
Imam Sajjad (PBUH) replied: “Want you to know who the winner is, before performing the Salat, recite the Azan and Ighamah [to see what name you mention].”(8)
We can realize that Imam (PBUH) has subtly replied Ibrahim that the challenge is about monotheism and admitting to oneness of God; not about the governorship of Hashim or Umayyah.(9)
By the testimony of historical sources, Imam Sajjad (PBUH), with making the best decisions and making use of the most efficient methods (10), fought against the powers of ignorance and injustice. Moreover, he could defend the culture of Ashura and its achievement in the most profound way, and he could continue the way of the epic makers of Karbala, and make it eternal upon the height of history.
(The above is a selection from “The Life of Ali ibn al-Hussain (PBUH)”, By Dr. Sayyed Ja’far Shahidi, whit minor changes)
The Roshd Website offers condolences to all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 25th of Muharram, the anniversary of the martyrdom of master of worshipers and the leader of the pious, Imam Ali ibn Hussain (PBUH).
1. Al-Hafawat al-Naadirah, p. 371- Moruj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 73
2. Amaali Sheikh Saduq, vol. 1, p. 90 – Maqtal Khawarazmi vol. 2, p. 40
3. Naasikh al-Tawaarikh, vol. 3, p. 30
4. The Holy Quran, (42:23)
5. The Holy Quran, (17:26)
6. The Holy Quran, (33:33)
7. Maqtal Khawarazmi vol. 2, p. 61 – Lohuf, p. 74
8. Amaali Sheikh Toosi, p. 677
9- From the statements of the son of Talha it becomes clear that some of the prominent figures among the Muhajirin (Immigrants) and Quraish never understood Islam as they should, and if we hesitate to think of them as people who fought beside the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) for wealth and power, their children did not reach the level of faithfulness. How is it possible to think about the battle of Jamal or the conquest of Mecca and the event of Karbala and the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH) as the victory of Bani Hashim or Bani Umayyah, and how is it possible that this person as a son of an Immigrant who is not from the Umayyah tribe is contented that in the event of Karbala as opposed to battle of Badr, the Umayyads were victorious upon the Hashemites?
10- One of the methods used in this respect was stating point in regards to in the prayers. A collection of these prayers is available in a volume known as “Sahifa al-Sajjadiah.”