I read your response to a question about the Incident of Karbala, which was posted quite some time ago, and I have to wonder about your sources. Even the most biased sources that were against Imam Husayn and the Prophet’s family (a.s.) do not report that Husayn and his followers led a “mutiny” against Yazid‘s government.
It is well established in many historical accounts that Mu’awiyah had pushed to have his son Yazid appointed as caliph. Many people openly opposed this due to Yazid‘s open disregard for Islam. On his deathbed, Mu’awiyah pleaded Yazid not to force Husayn to give his allegiance to him. After his father’s death, Yazid paid no heed and sent his representatives to Husayn to ask for allegiance. This is the reason Husayn left Madinah for Makkah, to initially protect his family. There, he began performing the pilgrimage until he learned that Yazid had sent more representatives this time to kill him. This was not uncommon. Yazid had already killed people who did not pledge him allegiance, and he was scaring people into pledging allegiance all over the caliphate. It is well know that Ibn Zubayr also did not pledge allegiance, and Yazid‘s men were looking for him. (See the history of al-tabari)
The people of Kufa, who recognized Husayn as a righteous Imam, asked him to come to them so that they might rid the Ummah of a tyrant, namely Yazid. Husayn only left for Kufa because he did not want to be killed in Makkah, in the sacred mosque (Masjid-al-Haraam) where people were performing Hajj. He left fully aware that he would be killed. The only question was where? Karbala ended up being the spot.
So, Husayn‘s murder had nothing to do with a desire on his part to take the caliphate. On the contrary, it was his refusal to give allegiance to a person who had no regard for Islam or for religious laws that got him killed.
You need not reply to this e-mail. I understand that your reluctant reply to the question was only your opinion. I do, however, think you should pay careful attention to historical sources in forming an opinion such as this. Although, some aspects of history have many different views, there is little evidence that Husayn desired the caliphate or that he initiated the opposition towards Yazid when it is well known that Yazid was forcing people to pledge allegiance to him. This was not something new. His older brother, Hasan, did not pledge allegiance to Mu’awiya even after handing him the caliphate, and his father, Ali did not give his allegiance to Abu Bakr for 6 months until he feared that the Muslims would become disunited by his seclusion.
Just some food for thought,
My dear brother
In my referred article, I did mention that the particular incident of Karbala and many other incidents of history have been reported in varying ‘shapes’. I had also mentioned some of the books that have been written on the subject.
However, I respect your opinion and in recognition of that I am posting your letter on the website, linked to my response, so that anyone who reads my response should also have a chance of reading your comments on my response.
I thank you for visiting ‘Understanding-Islam’ and for writing to me.