“Who is more dear to you, your Caliph or a God sent representative?”(1) This question was asked by the bloodthirsty governor of Kufa, Hajjaj, who governed the city of Kufa during the reign of the fifth Umayyad Caliph, Abd al-Malik. With the above quote Hajjaj was saying that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was only a message bearer of Allah (SWT), whereas Abd al-Malik was God’s Caliph on earth.
Hajjaj had stepped far over his boundaries, to the extent that he had ordered the people of Syria to perform and complete their Hajj pilgrimage in Jerusalem and circumambulate a rock as opposed to the city of Mecca around the Ka’ba.(2) These accounts really make us question, why did the Muslims of the time fall in to such false paths?
We can find the answer in history itself. Before the reign of Mu’awiyah, the capital of the Islamic government was Medina, where Muslims from around the world were able to see and meet with early Muslims, the Sahaba (the companions) and Tabi’in. They were able to exchange information and familiarize themselves with Islamic teachings and rituals. However, Mu’awiyah’s strategic move to change the Islamic capital from Medina to Syria closed all paths and made sure that Muslims would suffice to the basic rituals such as Salat and Fasting. He made it so his dynasty would be no different than the previous reigns and kingdoms such as the Cesar’s.
Mu’awiyah made sure that throughout his forty year reign in Damascus, the people of Damascus would remain as far as possible from Islam. His plan worked to the extent that some people in Damascus considered the Bani Umayyah as the only family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). Furthermore, the Sahabah and companions were prevented from awaking people. Mu’awiyah even became able to prevent Imam Ali (PBUH) and his 90,000 man army reach Damascus. However, Imam Hussain (PBUH) changed this. Imam Hussain (PBUH) and his companions were able to conquer Damascus with their heads on spears and awakened the entire nation…
Mu’awiyah had brainwashed the Muslims into believing that Islam meant giving one’s entire thought and actions to obeying the ruler and king. This matter became especially evident during the reign of Yazid, son of Mu’awiyah, where the phrase “Whatever the Caliph says is religion and religion is whatever the Caliph defines” could clearly be noticed. When Yazid sent his army to fight with Abd Allah ibn Zubair (3) in Mecca, the army of Yazid attacked Ka’ba – the Qiblah toward which they would say prayer – with Catapult!
On the one hand Muslims had been brainwashed to obey the Caliph in all matters, and on the other hand Yazid thought that after the Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH) Islam would be over. He believed that after Imam Hussain (PBUH) no one would dare to stand up and revolt against him. And thus in a celebration gathering that Yazid put together after his so called victory, when the holy head of Imam Hussain (PBUH) was brought, Yazid drunk with pride expressed his real thoughts with a poem. This poem was composed by a pagan poet after the victory of pagans in the Battle of Uhud to praise the Pagans of Quraish and companions of Abu Sufyan:
“I wish the prominent men of my tribe who lost their lives in the Battle of Badr (such as Utbah, Shaibah, Walid, Abu Jahl, and the rest) (4) were present in this ceremony, so that they could witness revenge and the misery the helpers of Prophet Muhammad endured.”
In this celebration Yazid had also invited the elite men of Damascus and other areas to witness this victory. He added a few lines to the poem:
“So to watch this victory and become cheerful and say ‘Thank you Yazid for taking revenge from Bani Hashim. We killed the prominent men of Bani Hashim to revenge the deaths they caused on the day of Badr.
Bani Hashim played with governorship and politics. There was no revelation. There was no inspiration.
I am from the line of Utbah(5), and I do not exist if I do not take revenge from the family of Ahmad and his actions”(6).
This was the result of Imam Hussain’s (PBUH) blood which resulted in Yazid uttering his hidden disbelief. Imam Hussain (PBUH) and his companions were able to conquer Damascus with their cut heads, and reinstate the true of message of Islam in Damascus. As a result Damascus was transformed, and Yazid was forced to respectfully send the remaining family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) to Medina after he had captivated them.
Another significant result of Imam Hussain’s (PBUH) movement was that the idea of the King or Caliph as full authority over mind and body was removed. People were able to correct their assumption that the Caliph had absolute authority over religion, and was even more important than the Messenger of Allah. Before the victory, people considered corruption as disobedience to the Caliph, but after the movement of Imam Hussain (PBUH) they were able to realize that the Caliphs themselves were corrupt. As a result people in all Islamic countries awakened and arose. The first revolt took place in Medina, and was identified as the event of “Harreh”. The second revolt took place in Mecca. The third were 4000 people from the Tawwabin. The fourth was Mukhtar’s rise. And this went on until finally the Bani Umayyad Dynasty fell.
The Martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH) caused an awakening for those who thought they were followers of the Caliphs to retrieve Islam from the original source, the Ahl al-Bayt (PBUT). Yes, this was the result of Imam Hussain’s martyrdom: To restore Islam.
(Selection taken from “The Role of the Imams in Restoring Islam” by Allamah Sayyid Murtada Askari (RA), vol. 16)
Roshd Website offers its condolences to all Muslims around the world and especially you dear friend upon the arrival of Arba’een, forty days after the Martyrdom of him who died for restoring Islam and the true path: Imam Hussain (Peace be upon Him) and his rightful companions.
1. Iqd al-Farid, vol. 5, p. 285-286
2. Tarikh Ya’qubi, vol. 2, p. 261
3. Abd Allah ibn Zubair wa the son of Zubair (a companion of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)) who rised against Yazid in Mecca after the martyrdom of Imam Hussain (PBUH).
4. These people were relatives of Yazid and an important figure of the Pagans in Battle of Badr.
5. Utbah was the grandfather of Yazid from his mother’s side, and another important figure in the Battle of Badr.
6. Ibn A’tham, Khawarazmi, and Ibn Kathir, of Sunni scholars have narrated that when the head of Imam Hussain (PBUH) was brought for Yazid, Yazid recited this poem. (Fotooh ibn A’tham, vol. 5, p. 241; Tarikh ibn Kathir, vol. 8, p. 192; Maqtal Khawarazmi, vol. 2, p. 48…)