“We served in the army of Amir al-Mu’minin during the battle of Saffein under the command of Ammar Yasir1. It was noon and we were sitting in the shadow of the flag to escape the heat. A man cut through the lines and came up to us asking, ‘which one of you is Ammar Yasir?’
Ammar spoke up: ‘I am Ammar.’
The man responded, ‘I have a question. Should I ask in private or in public?’
Ammar said: ‘Ask in public.’
The man said: ‘When I left my house in the morning to participate in this battle, I was under the impression that Imam Ali (PBUH) was with the truth and that Muawiyah and his troops were wrong. But when I entered the battle I saw things that surprised me. I saw Muawiyah’s army reciting the Adhan; they too bared witness to the oneness of Allah and the Great Prophet as His messenger! They performed their prayers and recited Quran; they have everything we have! I started doubting and asking myself why we are about to fight other Muslims who pray and recite the Quran?? So I went to Amir al-Mu’menin (PBUH) with my disappointment and he sent me to you.’
Ammar asked: ‘Do you see who is holding the black flag in front of us?’
He said: ‘Amr ibn al-‘As is holding it2.’
Ammar replied: ‘I fought that same flag alongside the Great Prophet (PBUH&HP) on three occasions during the battles of Badr, Uhud and Hunayn. Be certain that today that same flag remains as the flag of nonbelievers and this flag, which we are sitting in its shadow, is the only and true flag of Islam3.’”
Muawiyah was a sworn enemy of the Prophet of Allah and his Ahlul-Bayt (PBUT). But he had managed to deceive the public by acting as a Muslim. He would keep a certain status for himself in the eye of the Islamic nation. Given his position, his main goal was to destroy Islam and wipe out anything that had to do with the Prophet and name of Allah.
Imam Hussain (PBUH), like his honored father and brother understood that he must fight against such fatal deceit. But he did not see another battle with Muawiyah to be in the interest of Islam and the Muslim nation, because people did not know Muawiyah’s true face, and many thought he was a decent believer. The people would question the validity of a war against another believer?
Thus it was necessary for Imam Hussain (PBUH) to follow the footsteps of Imam Hassan (PBUH) in the peace treaty and oblige Muawiyah to the treaty and the promises that Muawiyah would eventually break. In this manner, Imam Hussein (PBUH) could show Muawiyah’s true intentions and hypocrisy to people over time, and set the stage of an uprising against the Umayyad dynasty.
After the death of Muawiyah, his son Yazid came to power. Yazid was a shameless and irreverent individual. He was served wine in front of the Muslim nation, and often sang infidel-like poems such as: “Reign was a game in the hands of Bani Hashem; and now it is in our hands; Truly there was no angels to descend upon anyone and there was no revelation! 4”
When Yazid demanded the allegiance of Imam Hussain (PBUH) through the ruler of Medina, the Imam said: “When the authority of all Muslims is left to a person like Yazid, then that is a clear end to Islam.”5
This sentence shows that the motivation of Imam Hussain (PBUH) in his uprising against Yazid in the year 61 AH was to prevent the Umayyad destruction of the religion and protect Islam. The phrase “a person like Yazid” implies that Yazid himself is not a significant entity to have an uprising against, but it is more the mentality and practices of Yazid. Imam Hussain’s (PBUH) uprising was against people with such mentality and those who approve it.
Although Yazid died long ago, his mentality and practices remains to this day. And until the reappearance of Imam Mahdi (PBUH), the followers of Imam Hussain (PBUH) should continue to reject them. Therefore, the yearly uproar of Ashura and the show of affection and love to Imam Hussein (PBUH) during Arbaeen is a response to the rebirth of the true Islam, or rather giving life to the Hussein thinking path.
Selection taken from the Book, Hussein (PBUH) the light of guidance and the rescue arc, by Ayatullah Seyyed Muhammad Zia Abadi (with minor changes)
On behalf of Roshd Website, we offer our condolences to all free people of the world, especially you dear friend, on the 40th day (Arba’een) after the martyrdom of Imam Hussein (PBUH) and his companions.
1. Ammar e Yasir was among Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) greatest companions who joined him from the first days of the Prophet’s mission, and was among the first people who became Muslim in Mecca. After the migration, Hijrah, Ammar fought in different battles, alongside the Prophet, against the non-believers. The status of Ammar among the Muslims and the Prophet’s (PBUH&HP) companions was quite high, to the extent that Muslims would consider Ammar as living proof and one they could count on for finding the true path. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) continuously praised Ammar for his faith and persistence, and would introduce him as the necessity of truth and truthfulness. Based on this, Ammar considered the flag of the Bani Ummayah and that of the army of Siffein to be the same flag as that of the clan of Qureish in the wars of Badr, Ahad, and Hunein against Islam. He refers to the Bani Umayyah and those of whom who fought in Siffein as the same people who before the victory of Mecca by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had worked so hard to destroy Islam. Those are the same people who continued to destroy Islam, only with a different appearance and technique.
2. ‘Amr ibn al-‘As was one of Muawiyah’s senior commanders who ordered the Qurans to be placed on the spears to fool the opposition army into a temporary peace. This was done in the battle of Seffein.
3. The Event of Seffein, pg. 321
4. Ihtijaj Tabarsi, vol. 2, pg. 307
5. Luhuf, pg. 24