The Defeat of Yazeed (l.a.) in Damascus
1. Then arose Zainab, the daughter of Ali (as) and stated: All praise is for Allah, the lord of the worlds and salutations of Allah be upon His Prophet and all his progeny. Allah, Glorified be He has confirmed:
“Then evil was the end of those who did evil, because they rejected the Communications of Allah and used to mock them.”
(Surah Rum (30): Verse 10)
2. A war was fought on the tenth of Muharram al-Haraam 61 A.H. in Karbala. Husain Ibn Ali (as) with his seventy two companions had confronted hundred thousand of the army of Yazeed Ibn Muawiyah. The war began with the rising sun and ended with its descent. Husaini tents were burnt down and bodies mutilated.
3. The drums of victory resounded in the Yazeedi camp. Thousands witnessed the horrid face of death. The remaining soldiers distributed the booty of the Husaini tents amongst the thousands taking whatever they could lay their hands on.
4. Lamps were arranged for the Yazeedi soldiers and their commanders while the light of the Prophet’s grandson was extinguished. A sick inheritor of the Holy Quran engrossed in divine prostration, 38 frightened, thirsty, semi-alive children sitting silently in the laps of their mothers.
5. The women, covered in dust, without veils, engrossed in worship next to burnt down tents and the whispering of the night air. Janab Zainab and Umm Kulsum deployed as guards on this defeatist night. The sounds of victory and revelry echo on one hand while silence sighs on the other. Eyes were in silent conversation with the sky or fixed on the immovable ground.
Such a contrast has never before been seen or experienced. Never has such a tale been heard nor will it be ever heard again. Let us see how this defeat of a multitude over a few as we have seen degree by degree from Karbala to Damascus, occurring over time and why Yazeed’s army had to face ignominy. How Yazeed with his so called win, which had dealt him repeated blows and the blood dripping from this defeat, the tainted victory became a source of discredit for Yazeed? And the splendors and graces of the so called defeat of Husain (as) and its stains were discovered. The expression of its splendor has made the Divine Throne and Chair send salutations and blessings upon the land of Karbala.
(6) History of the world will never ever witness such a glorious defeat, which is universally appealing in nature, shakes up the intellect and consciousness, purifies and sanctifies the thoughts, shakes up the heavens and astonishing the inhabitants therein. This defeat reflects the sacrifices of the family of Abu Turab in the chain of thanksgiving, the spirit of the entities who are the epitome of morality, being steadfast in the light of consciousness as shields for the meaning of mastership in the face of swords and arrows. Everything is clear for the just in the light of this event. Do also turn your attention also to the seventy year old youth from Kufa, Habib Ibn Mazaahir, the repentant Hurr along with his brother, slave and son cutting through the darkness, reciting the words of freedom, came falling to the feet of Husain (a.s.). The wish of Jaun the slave for a light to illuminate his visage, to see himself get married, all of this is reflected in the mirror of truth. This is the defeat which was adorned to splendor in Karbala. All of them witnessed, be it friend or without, that this is the defeat which has risen to the heavens. Tales of astonishment were written in the dripping sweat beads of the messengers under the subject of this defeat. And the patience and steadfastness of the successors gave courage to the pen to travel the stroke on the whiteness of paper speaking the truth.
(7) The Machiavellian politics of Muaviyah and the last moments of his life: See, analyze and visualize the kind of government Yazeed was sovereign over. Then reflect on Damascus, the Syrian capital and Yazeed Ibn Muaviyah, its ruler and the causes of his defeat. 60 A.H. was the last year of Muaviyahh Ibn Abi Sufyan’s disruptive life. Shockingly, the label of Islam was always affixed on Muaviyah’s political trickeries but the strategy was according to the advice of the intellectual priest Sir John. Even today, the establishment of Wahhabi propagation is based on this ideology. The administration of the monks was in the hands of the papal church. This nation was very cleverly involved with every conceivable step towards far reaching anti-Islam strategies, with examples the world over. How could the priests digest the fabric of Islamic civilization woven from growing fame, initiative, humanity, nobility, morality and public welfare whose dependency was in the light of guidance of divine chains and the matership of Ahle Bait (a.s.) and the light of the verses of the noble Quran? They had the opportunity to impress their line of thought upon the general and popular culture during the reign of Muaviyah. The incidents from the field of Mubaahila to the battle of Naharvan were in witness before them. Hence, the martyrdom of Malik Ashtar by Amr As was performed through a monk. Muaviyah learned a great deal from Christian thinkers on the ups and downs of affairs of the empire and on how to expand the limits of his government on a majority of the Muslim region. He thence saw in his lifetime that Ali (a.s.) had established divine system of Islam and infallible guidance in Kufa and its effects were evident. The lesson of guardianship was repeated in the large crowd in the field of Rahba. The effect of Muaviyah was waning in the city of Kufa. The recognition of prohibited and permitted, avoiding the sinister habit of alcohol, worship, reading of Quran and its commentary, the adopting of the teachings and lifestyle of Janab Zainab (s.a.) by the Kufan women and the lessons of Ahle Bait (a.s.) had become common in the households.
I pause here to make mention of the sermon of Janab Zainab Kubra (s.a.) so that the readers may appreciate the eloquence and scholarly articulation and know her courage and how she faced the situation. How thought provoking was her propagation while teaching moral and scholastic lessons in Kufa! It gives a minor insight into her lifestyle.
(8) Do you, Yazeed, think that – when you blocked all our avenues of the earth and the horizons of the heavens before us, so we were driven as captives – that we are worthless in the eyes of Allah and that you are respectful in His eyes? Or is it because you enjoy with Him a great status? So, you look down at us and become arrogant, elated, when you see the world submissive to you and things are done as you want them, and when our authority and power became all yours?
But wait! Have you forgotten that Allah said,
“Do not regard those who disbelieved that we grant them good for themselves? We only give them a respite so that they may increase their sins, and for them there is a humiliating torment.”
(Surah Aale Imran (3): Verse 178)
We once again remind the readers of our aim. Yazeed on gaining power became anxious of Kufa. According to the aforementioned incident, he called Sir John, the advisor from the time of Muaviyah and made him aware of the situation. Sir John in turn handed over the will of Muaviyah. In it was written: when there is turmoil in Kufa and the people start machinations against the government, hand the governorship and administration of Kufa over to Ubaidullah Ibn Ziyad (may Allah curse him) along with Basrah. He will bring things under control through injustice, tyranny and political tactics. This instruction of Muaviyah guided Yazeed’s actions. In view of this Ubaidullah was given charge, the time was ripe that the progeny of Abu Sufyan should seek revenge upon the progeny of Abu Turab whose scion was Husain Ibn Ali (a.s.). Tarikh Madinah Damishq, Tarikh Ibn Al-Wardi, Mu’jam al-Kabeer, etc. A glance through the different historical accounts gives credence that though the wording and styles may differ but the historians in general have endeavored to present a similar account of this history. Aalusi, Balaazari, Tabarani have even penned the extract of the letter which Yazeed had written to Ibn Ziyad: Husain (a.s.) is moving towards Kufa with his caravan. If you kill him, you will then be considered with nobility and lordship or else you will find yourself as nobody. According to writers, to say that Yazeed Ibn Muaviyah Ibn Abi Sufyan possessed unethical intellect or Nakraa (similar to intelligence) is not enough. He was not only evil, a fornicator and a transgressor but tried to corrupt the prohibited, to blur the recognition between the permitted and prohibited. This debasement peaked at him whereas the system of Muaviyah also knew and understood this belief and aim. In the background of the occurrence of the event of karbala was the surety of the vice like grip of power and false propaganda. There would be no hue or cry if the Friday prayer was performed on Wednesday. One should not be surprised if the relationship of Ali (a.s.) to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was wiped clear from the minds of the Syrians. Not only was the power of the authority spread over Arabs and non Arabs alike behind the incident of Karbala, it likewise incorporated the anti-Islam plans of the Jews and Christians. This movement was against the announcement “Muhammad is naught but an apostle” or “And nothing devolves on us but a clear deliverance (of the message)” or the following of God and prophet and the master of affairs or loving the near ones or obey the one who gives charity while bowing. When the meanings and connotations had almost completely been eradicated through false propaganda and the sanctity of the divine book was soiled through its raisingon spears, the concept of the beheading of Husain (a.s.) came into being. Imam Husain faced this enormous power in Karbala. Else, how was it possible for Yazeed to announce publicly in court that neither book nor religion has been revealed. It was all a play of the Bani Hashim. Imam Husain (a.s.) had sobered Yazeed in court in such a manner that Yazeed could see the fire and the flames of hell in this world. (One can take a detailed view of the means and causes available to Yazeed only if one peruses keenly through Islamic and non Islamic accounts and is able to understand the secrets hidden between the lines). Let us learn how the victory of Yazeed in Damascus became a bed of broken glass for him.
1. Excitement in the city of Damascus: just as the caravan of the prisoners of Karbala reached the city of Damascus, it was halted outside the city limits. Yazeed proclaimed that the city should be bedecked, the houses and establishments to be decorated. The arrangements were not yet complete that the caravan bearing the prisoners and the severed heads of the martyrs entered Damascus. The companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) Suhail, Sulaim Kufi and Hamidah Binte Habibah were walking alongside the caravan. They asked the people of the caravan as to who these women, children and the youth in chains were? They replied: Rebels against Yazeed. The people then learnt that these were the Prophet’s daughters bound in ropes and the orphans of the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and his companions. The youth in chains was the son of Husain (a.s.), the grandson of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.). A current of revolution ran from side to side with the chained image of the great messenger, the captives and children with dust smeared faces. There was no question of lights in the house of a large number of ignorant glutton Syrian youth who were dispatched to hell by the sacrificing martyrs. On the other hand, news of disturbances, turmoil and wailings of the Kufan households had reached the ears of the Damascenes. Despite the enormous efforts at false propaganda, the veils of darkness in faith are torn when overwhelmed by the effects and blessings. Morning would dawn in hopelessness throughout the journey, the noon brought along the beating of chests and the afternoon passed with the heart strings torn asunder. In such conditions of night and day, the lion hearted daughter of Ali (a.s.) would explain to the crowds of spectators, the martyrdom of Husain (a.s.), his relation to the Prophet, his enlightened birth, the elevated stages of divine Will, the relation of the revelation verses of Mawaddat from the Holy prophet (s.a.w.a.) to Hazrat Abid (a.s.). The safeguard of religion despite the scheming of the debased and the cunning and chains of evil was Divine Will, where in Sura Taubah: 32 They cannot extinguish the light of Allah by blowing. “They desire to put out the light of Allah with their mouths, and Allah will not consent save to perfect His light, though the unbelievers are averse.” These are the places where, the contemplators, the righteous, the virtuous, the believers, the worshippers, the just who are aware of the Divine recognition, become aware of His being omnipotent. How else then would somebody who knows the gathering of opposites as impossible understand it possible for a possibility of creation. God says: I will make the worshippers who have been weakened as inheritors of the earth. The former messengers to the seal of the Prophets (s.a.w.a.) in every age have broken the crown of the kings solely through the patience, steadfastness, straightforwardness, promotion and propagation of the clear message. The transformation of Nimrod’s fire to blossom. The slap of a newborn to the face of Firaun by catching his beard, yet staying secure. When we collect the miracles of the prophets, the impossible looks possible.
The Recitation of the Quranic verses by the severed head of Imam Husain (a.s.)
The decapitated head of Imam Husain (a.s.) raised on a spear recited the verse 9 of Surah Kahf (Or, do you think that the Fellows of the Cave and the Inscription were of Our wonderful signs?) not once but throughout the journey and in the court. The Divine Will was: Be aware! This is Husain (a.s.), the from whom the sun of propagation of divine message rises forth but does not set, if you cannot open your eyes even after this miracle, then your end lies in nothing but hellfire. So, the journey from Karbala to Kufa, Kufa to Syria, the court of Ibn Ziyad (l.a.) to the court of Yazeed (l.a.) was removing the veils of ignorance in attention through divine reminders and munificence. If they believed not still, God had said: the eyes were sealed.
The regret is that not only Shia scholars like Sheikh Tai’fa Abu Ja’far al-Tusi, Allama Majlisi, Sheikh Sadooq, etc. have narrated this to an accusation of enemies of Ahle Bait (a.s.) that this is to bolster the faith but renown Sunni scholars like Tabari, the writer of Tarikh Madinah Damishq, Tafseer Ibn Kaseer Suyuti, Ibn Hajar, etc. all of them have written this incident in their historical accounts. The illiterate Muslim Ummah just listens to it in awe but does not believe it. Truth it is that Allama Iqbal bemoaned: Will he give his heart when he gives not his word. Why are the Muslims in disunity? Allama clarified in his will that he was a Sunni but he mourns over the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s.) writing laments. The script “Illallah” is written in every desert. It is the title of the topic of our salvation. Summarily, the so called victory of Yazeed and the defeat of Husain (a.s.) has made him so infamous and scandalous that it cannot be wiped out despite best efforts. If intellectuals and the just place their abilities of understanding in the niche of forgetfulness, then what can one comment says Ghalib. Four events in history which stand absolutely clear with boldness, opinionated and partial in thought without any solid support among the deniers. 1. Shibli writes regarding the incident of pen and paper that it did not happen. 2. Sayyed Abul Hasan Nadwi affirming the incident of the birth of Ali (a.s.) in Ka’ba refuses to consider it as his superiority and equates it with the birth of someone else. The answer is given by Adibul Hindi (t.s.) in his book “Imam Ali” in a very clear manner with solid proofs. 3. May Allah never forgive Ibn Taymiyyah and He will not forgive him who tried to make light of two incidents.
(i) He commented for the incident of Ghadir that half of it was weak and the other half redundant.
(ii) He also comments that as for the event of Karbala, the prisoners and the severed heads of the martyrs were never brought to Damascus. (If this is so why does he not consider the accounts of the Sunni scholars due to their misplaced judgement as liable for burning).
Conclusion: the below given factors will provide conclusive causes and means to prove the futility of Yazeed’s victory as hollow and a failed quest. A defeat given by the protectors of Islam which cries out in the first ten days of every Islamic new year for the last fourteen hundred years and becomes a yoke in the throats of Yazeed, his supporters and the usurping famous scholars whose litany gets choked in their gullets.
1. The severed head of imam Husain (a.s.) recites the verses of Surah Kahf.
2. The sermon of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) and the sermon of Zainab Kubra (s.a.)
3. The reasoning of Imam Sajjad (a.s.) with Quranic proofs
4. Grieving and laments of the Syrian women with the princesses.
Time passed. The century with its signs and blessings, events and incidents, difficulties and tests, the narration which began in Karbala 61 A.H. began to be heard every year in the month of Muharram with its sadness, pain, trials and heart rending voices. Why shouldn’t it be so? The son of Husain (a.s.) in occultation with his list of secrets in which the revenge of the blood of Husain (a.s.) in written in glowing words accepts the condolences of mourners every year. The court of his divine government is manifest. The court which is in turmoil and anguish at the mention of the incident in the palace of Yazeed. What is that event? The readers should know. When the head of Husain (a.s.) was brought to the palace of Yazeed, Aatikah Binte Yazeed and Ibn Abdil Malik washed it and then perfumed it. Then it was taken to the ladies and the children in the prison. How moving would it have been when the mother of pain and sorrow, the intellectual of Bani Hashim, the manifest of patience and satisfaction would have kept her cheek upon her brothers’ cheek and wailed! O Allah! When this event comes before the eyes of my master and lord, by Your Elevation and Greatness, aid him (in his grief) and make us from among his helpers and companions.