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Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiyata ibn Abī Sufyān (July 23 645 - 683), commonly known as Yazid I, was the second Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate and ruled for three years from 680 CE until his death in 683 CE. The period of Yazid's rule was a great disaster for the Muslims and his rule is still remembered by many, especially Sunni Muslims. His period witnessed the tragedy of Kerbalamarker, the Muslim forces suffered losses in North Africa, their supremacy at sea was lost. During this period, Muslims also saw the spoliation and profanation of the holy cities of Makkahmarker and Madinahmarker by the Syrian army. Yazid was the first hereditary caliph of Islam died at a young age of 38, he hardly ruled for three years. Many regard Yazid as a tyrant who did great disservice to the cause of Islam.

Oath of Allegiance of Yazid

Muawiyah I was succeeded by his son Yazid I. As it was common in Arabia at those time, Yazid asked Governors of all provinces to take the oath of allegiance to him. The necessary oath was secured from all parts of the country except from Husain and Abdullah ibn Zubayr

Husayn ibn Ali and Ibn az-Zubair

Husayn ibn Ali did not give his oath of allegiance to Yazid. He was living in Madina with his family, but Yazid considered him a threat to his rule and ordered his governor either to take oath from Husayn by any mean or execute him. Husayn ibn Ali refused this demand and hence was pushed to a limit that he finally decided to leave Madina. He first went to Makkahmarker with an intention to perform Hajj. But even at this holy place he couldn't do it with peace as Yazid conspired to kill him in the Kaabamarker during Hajj. So Husayn had to cut short his plan and performed Umrah instead of Hajj.

Kufamarker, a garrison town in what is now Iraqmarker, had been Caliph ‘Alī's capital and many of his supporters lived there. Husayn ibn Ali received many letters from the Kufans expressing their offer of support if he claimed the caliphate. They were also trying to restore Kufa's power against Damascusmarker, the Umayyad capital.

Abd-Allah ibn Abbas and Abdullah ibn Zubayr held a meeting with Husayn in Meccamarker to advise him to refuse to travel to Iraq. Meanwhile, Husayn corresponded with nobles of Basrah and asked them to support him. Major tribes of Basrah gathered and prepared for the fight against Yazid I.

At the same time Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad, governor of Basrah, executed one of Husayn's messengers and then addressed the people and warned them to avoid the insurgency. Husayn departed towards Kufamarker despite many warnings and during the trip, he and many members of his family were killed or captured at the Battle of Karbala.

The complications of Yazid's accession to the Caliphate didn't end there. Many Sahaba and fellow Muslims refused to give their oath of allegiance to Yazid simply because they saw it as usurpation of power and not the proper way of choosing a Caliph by the Shura or Council. The most prominent among these resistors was Abdullah ibn Zubayr.

Abdullah ibn Zubayr opposed Yazid's position as Caliph. He launched an insurgency in the Hejaz, the heartland of Islam, where Meccamarker and Medinamarker are. Yazid sent armies against him in 683. After the Battle of al-Harrah, Medina was recaptured and Mecca was also besieged. During the siege, the Ka‘bahmarker was damaged. The siege ended when Yazid died suddenly in 683 CE.

Setbacks

During the caliphate of Yazid Muslims suffered a great deal of setbacks. In 682 AD Yazid restored Uqba ibn Nafi as the governor of North Africa. Uqba won battles against the Berbers and Byzantines. From there Uqba marched on thousands of miles westward towards tangiermarker, where he reached the Atlantic coastmarker, and then marched eastwards through the Atlas Mountains. With a cavalry of about 300 horsemen, he proceeded towards biskra where he was ambushed by a Berber force under kaisala. Uqba and all his men died fighting. The berbers launched an attack and drove Muslims from north Africa for a period. This was a major setback for the Muslims, because of this they lost supremacy at sea, and had to abandon the islands of Rhodesmarker and Cretemarker.

Death

Yazid I died at the age of 38. He ruled for 3 years. Yazid I was succeeded by his son Muawiyah II.

Sunni view of Yazid

Ahmad ibn Hanbal was reputedly asked by his son about Yazid , and he is said to have replied with a reference to the Qur'an and said it was in reference to the murder of Husayn:

  • Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari records under the year 49 Hijri (or 669-670 CE) during the reign of Muawiyah I, a number of forces, including one under Yazid attacked Constantinoplemarker. However Yazid was not in the first army that attacked constantinoplemarker and it was the 7th attack in which Yazid participated, the first attack being in 42 Hijri. This First Arab siege of Constantinople was a naval assault lasting through the years 670-677. Abu Ayyub al-Ansari was also among the notables accompanying Yazid. This journey marks an important event in the life of young Yazid (27 at that time).


While most Sunni and Shi'i scholars consider Yazid to be a villain of Islamic history on account of his hatred towards the household of Muhammad, many Islamic scholars also believe that Yazid should not be cursed.
  • Abu Bakr ibn al-Arabi Maliki another scholar did not hold permissible the cursing and abusing of Yazid nor declaring him to be a disbeliever.


  • Abdul Mughith Hanbali has the unique distinction of being one of the earliest known biographers of Yazid .Ibn Kathir said about Abdu l-Mughith that, “He was from the righteous Hanbali’s who the common folk referred to.” Abdul Mugheeth was also not in favor of cursing Yazid or declaring him to be a disbeliever, rather he authored a biography of Yazid with the titles Fadhal Yazid and Fadhal Yazid bin Muawiyah .
  • Ibn Kathir reported on Allamah Abu l-Khayr Qazwini:
  • Ibn Salah was also not in favor of cursing Yazid or saying he was a disbeliever. Ibn Hajr the Meccan writes, .
  • Ibn Taymiyyah was neither in favor of cursing Yazid nor declaring him to be a disbeliever. - (ref books: Minhaaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah Fee Naqdh Kalaam ash-Shee’ah Wal-Qadariyyah (2/252), al-Muntaqa al-Minhaj al-I’tidaal fi Naqdh Kalaam ar-Rafdh wa l-i’tizaal (pg.290). However, as discussed above, this Hadith clearly did not refer to Yazid as he did not take part in the first battle of Constantinople, it was his father Mu'awiya during the reign of Caliph Uthman therefore this verse did not apply at all to Yazid. In fact according to the scholar Ibn Khaldun Yazid was unwillingly to take part in the 1st 7 Jihads against Constantinople, and was eventually forced to attend the 8th by his father.


Shi'a and Sunni view of Yazid

For Shi'a and Sunni Muslims, Yazid is viewed as a tyrant for killing Husayn, the grandson of Muhammad, and his family. All Muslims believe that God had purified the household of Muhammad (ahl al-bayt), however they differ on the definition. Furthermore, all Shia's believe that God commanded the Muslim community to have intense love (Al-Muwadata) and kindness for them.

Shi'a scholars, while very vocal in their views towards Yazid, show their stand on his nature even through Sunni texts:

  • Ibn Taymiyyah, a Sunni scholar stated the following concerning the nature of Yazid's position:


  • Shaykh al-hadith Muhammad Zakaria, an Indianmarker Sunni scholar, has stated the following regarding the manner in which Yazid came to power:


  • Ibn Kathir a famously renowned Sunni Islamic scholar, himself reports on the character of Yazid:






  • Although many Sunni Muslims are against the cursing of Yazid, Yazid is cursed even according to the definitions of Muhammad, as recorded by Ibn Kathir: -


The events at Karbalamarker figure as fundamental in Shi'a thought, and many Islamist movements liken their causes to Husayn ibn Ali's struggle against Yazid. Leaders of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Pahlavi government frequently drew such comparisons.

The 10th of Muharram (also known as Ashura), is the Islamic calendar date on which the Battle of Karbala occurred and is commemorated as a day of mourning by Shia Muslims around the world. Rituals on Ashura' usually involve public processions during which the Shi'as reject Yazid's caliphate and recite poems commemorating Husayn ibn Ali and his death. Shi'as and sunnis around the world refer to Yazid as "the tyrant."

References

  1. The arabs by philip k hitti
  2. History of Islam by Prof Masudul Hasan
  3. History of the Arab by Philip k hitti
  4. History of Islam by prof.Masudul Hasan
  5. The Empire of the Arabs by sir John Glubb
  6. The History Of Arabs by Philip.K.Hitti
  7. al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah
  8. Zakir Naik (MUMBAI, 31 December 2007)
  9. al-Awasim Minal Qawasim (pg.222)
  10. al-Bidaayah Wan-Nihaayah (12/328)
  11. Hidaayatul A’arifin Asma' al-Mu’allifeen Wa Athar Musannifin (5/623), al-Bidayah Wan-Nihaayah (12/328)
  12. The Arab world: an illustrated history by Kirk H. Sowell, 2004, p48
  13. The shade of swords: Jihad and the conflict between Islam and Christianity by M. J. Akbar, 2002, p48
  14. Tarikh Ibn Khaldun
  15. [Quran chapter 33, verse 33]
  16. Al-Qurba, Quran chapter 42, verse 23
  17. - (ref book: Minhaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah )
  18. - (ref book: Au Khanar al Masalik vol.3 pg.450).
  19. - (ref book: al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah vol.8 pg.1169)
  20. - (ref book: Tabaqat Al-Kubra vol.5 pg.66)
  21. - (ref book: Sawaiq al Muhriqa pg.134)
  22. (ref book: al-Bidaayah wan-Nihaayah vol.8 pg.1147)


See also




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