What do you know from Islamic history regarding the Shahadat of Hadhrat Husain, I was once told that he was killed by the Kufis not by Yazid, although I haven’t found any thing like that in Books, which we were recommended to read?
One of the points that I would like to stress at the outset is that the particular incident in Muslim history that you have referred to has been reported in quite a few varying shapes. Among these ‘shapes’ is the one that is generally accepted by the Muslims. But I assure you that it is not the only one. In my opinion, it would be advisable for anyone interested in this part of Muslim history to make his interpretation of the events on the basis of at least three books, which present three different point of views (all these books are in Urdu). One of these books is Abul-A`ala Maududi’s “Khilafat-O-Malookiyat“. The second among these is Mehmood Ahmad Abbasi’s “Khilafat-e-Mu`awiyah-o-Yazid“. While the third book, which presents a more balanced point of view, in my opinion, is Atique Ur Rehman Sambhali’s “Waqi`a-e-Karbala – aik naye mutali` kee roshnee main“. I do not imply that any of the views [presented in the referred books] is correct or incorrect. On the contrary, the point that I want to make is that the books of history do not present historical facts, rather they are a narration of historical facts as seen, perceived and narrated by a particular historian. Moreover, I also believe that any historical event after the life of the Prophet (pbuh) – including the incident of Karbala – may hold a great significance from a purely academic perspective, but is of no significance from an Islamic or a religious perspective. Islam – and the information related to its beliefs and practices — is not based on any historical event [after the life of the Prophet (pbuh)] but on the teachings of the Qur’an and the Sunnah.
It is because of this reason that I normally tend to avoid presenting my point of view regarding any given historical event. I try to concentrate on explaining the teachings of Islam and generally restrict myself to that.
As far as my own point of view regarding the tragic incident is concerned, in my opinion, although Hadhrat Husain’s initial action was not correct, but later on, especially when he changed his stance regarding that action, his killing was completely unjustified. It was not only a sad event from a very human perspective but was also a wrong political decision. Some of the important aspects of the whole incident which in my opinion qualify as ‘facts’ are:
The Shari`ah prohibits mutiny against the state except when three conditions are fulfilled. Firstly, that the Ameer [head of the state] against whom the mutiny is being staged should be guilty of Kufr-e-bawaah [open rejection of Islamic faith]. Secondly, the government does not enjoy the support of the majority of the Muslims living in the state. And thirdly, the person who leads the mutiny should clearly enjoy the support of the majority of the Muslims;
Hadhrat Husain, at the prompting of the Kufis, due to some reason agreed to lead and initiate a mutiny against the Yazid government. For this purpose, Hadhrat Husain took the handful of people, who supported him and led them to Kufa, where he accepted to be made the head of the state and subsequently lead an organized movement against the Yazid government;
The Yazid government, as any other government would have done, took actions to prevent Hadhrat Husain from reaching Kufa and thereby prevent the mutiny from being successful;
While on his way to Kufa, Hadhrat Husain, after losing his confidence in the Kufis and becoming aware of the changed conditions, altered his plans. He then turned toward Damascus to go to Yazid and to renew his allegiance to him. He offered the governor of Iraq to accept any one of the following three conditions:
To allow him to go back to Medinah;
To send him to join the Muslim armies to fight for the Muslim state; or
To allow him to go to Yazid and renew his pledge of allegiance with him.
Even after his surrender, the events that followed took such a shape that led to a fight, which concluded at the sad killing of Hadhrat Husain.
If my explanation is correct then it seems that the burden of the sad event cannot be placed directly on Yazid. Yazid took the action that would have been taken by the head of any other state to prevent mutiny against his government. But on the other hand, because the incident took place during his rule, therefore his name would be mentioned, whenever the incident is narrated. I believe that the governor of Iraq reacted unjustly in the situation, which ultimately resulted in the martyrdom of Hadhrat Husain. Moreover, there is a major role of the Kufis (may God forgive them all) and that of a wrong decision of Hadhrat Husain himself (ra).
8th May 1999