In the Name of Allah; the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful
The occasion of Ashura (10th of Muharram) having recently passed us, I felt it necessary in light of ongoing debates and controversy over the incident of Karbala, to shed some light on the personality of Yazid b. Mu’awiya. The latter was the ruler of the Muslim world who succeeded his father Mu’awiya in 680 C.E. During his tyrannical reign, the beloved maternal grandson of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), al-Imam al-Hussayn (‘alayhis salaam) was martyred along with a small band of his relatives and followers on the plains of Karbala in the country of Iraq. This tragic incident has remained the greatest stain in the history of Islam after the passing away of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Recently, a modern trend has emerged among certain sections of the Muslim world in which Yazid is being defended. It is argued that Yazid was not responsible for the death of Imam Hussayn (peace be upon him), or that, God forbid, he was within his legitimate rights to order the fighting against Imam Hussayn and his family members which resulted in their martyrdom. This neo-Yazidi camp sometimes exhibit Nasibi tendencies (enmity towards the Ahl al-Bayt or household and progeny of the Prophet peace be upon them). According to this camp, Yazid was a righteous man and he was promised salvation citing the Hadith about the conquest of Constantinople as evidence. According to that Hadith it is stated that those Muslims who will form the first battalion to attack Constantinople will be forgiven and granted salvation. The Yazidi camp allege that Yazid was among that first battalion [a claim we dispute]. Others of this tendency take the position that it is forbidden to curse or dislike Yazid, as he was a Muslim and a legitimate Caliph of the Muslim Ummah.
In this specific entry, I only seek to unveil the reality of Yazid from a purely Islamic position, specifically in light of the sayings and prophecies of our Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam).
First, the general principle with regard to cursing Yazid can be understood from the following Hadith:
عَنْ عَوْفِ بْنِ مَالِكٍ ، عَنْ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، قَالَ : " خِيَارُ أَئِمَّتِكُمُ الَّذِينَ تُحِبُّونَهُمْ وَيُحِبُّونَكُمْ ، وَيُصَلُّونَ عَلَيْكُمْ وَتُصَلُّونَ عَلَيْهِمْ ، وَشِرَارُ أَئِمَّتِكُمُ الَّذِينَ تُبْغِضُونَهُمْ وَيُبْغِضُونَكُمْ ، وَتَلْعَنُونَهُمْ وَيَلْعَنُونَكُمْ ، قِيلَ : يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، أَفَلَا نُنَابِذُهُمْ بِالسَّيْفِ ، فَقَالَ : لَا ، مَا أَقَامُوا فِيكُمُ الصَّلَاةَ وَإِذَا رَأَيْتُمْ مِنْ وُلَاتِكُمْ شَيْئًا تَكْرَهُونَهُ ، فَاكْرَهُوا عَمَلَهُ وَلَا تَنْزِعُوا يَدًا مِنْ طَاعَةٍ "
It was narrated from ‘Awf bin Malik that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “The best of your rulers are those whom you love and they love you, who invoke blessings upon you and you invoke blessings upon them. The worst of your rulers are those whom you hate and they hate you, and you invoke curses upon them and they invoke curses upon you.” It was said: “O Messenger of Allah, should we fight them with the sword?” He said: “No, not so long as they establish prayer among you. But if you see something in your rulers that you dislike, then hate their deeds, but do not withdraw your hand from obedience to them.” (Sahih Muslim; Kitab al-Imarah)
According to the purport of this Hadith, Yazid b. Mu’awiya is perhaps the worst of the rulers who ruled the Muslim Ummah because undoubtedly he is the most hated and cursed of such rulers by the Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’i, until this day. No other ruler has been as cursed and hated as Yazid.
Now let us turn to an authentically reported prophecy from the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) concerning Yazid:
حَدَّثَنَا هَوْذَةُ بْنُ خَلِيفَةَ ، عَنْ أَبِي خَلْدَةَ ، عَنْ عَوْفٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي الْعَالِيَةِ ، عَنْ أَبِي ذَرٍّ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، يَقُولُ : " أَوَّلُ مَنْ يُبَدِّلُ سُنَّتِي رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ "
Abi Dharr (Allah be pleased with him) says: I heard Allah’s Messenger Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam saying: “The first person to change my Sunnah is a man from the Bani Omayya.” (Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shaybah and Al-Awa’il of Ibn ‘Asim)
According to another version from Abu Dardaa’ (Allah be pleased with him):
قَالَ أَبُو الدَّرْدَاءِ : سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، يَقُولُ : " أَوَّلُ مَنْ يُبَدِّلُ سُنَّتِي رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي أُمَيَّةَ , يُقَالُ لَهُ : يَزِيدُ "
I heard the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) saying: “The first person to change my Sunnah is a man from Bani Omayya, he called him ‘Yazid’” (Tarikh al-Islam of Imam al-Dhahabi)
According to this prophecy, Yazid, who was the second of the Omayyad rulers, was the first person to go against and change the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
The most eminent Salafi Muhaddith of this time, Muhammad Nasir Uddin al-Albani (1914-1999), authenticated this Hadith:
Reference: Silsilat al Ahadith al-Sahiha; no. 1749
But more damning for Yazid is the prophecy concerning Luka’ bin Luka’
حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَبِي بُكَيْرٍ حَدَّثَنَا كَامِلٌ أَبُو الْعَلَاءِ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ أَبَا صَالِحٍ ، عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ ، قَالَ : قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : تَعَوَّذُوا بِاللَّهِ مِنْ رَأْسِ السَّبْعِينَ ، وَمَنْ إِمَارَةِ الصِّبْيَانِ .
وَقَال : لَا تَذْهَبُ الدُّنْيَا حَتَّى تَصِيرَ لِلُكَعِ ابْنِ لُكَعٍ .
Abi Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said: “Seek refuge in Allah from the turn of the seventieth year, and from the rule of young boys.” And he said: “The world world will not pass until it first belongs to a mean Fool son of a mean Fool.”
Reference: Musnad Ahmad; no. 8303
According to other versions of this prophecy, it is the sixtieth year (of the Islamic calendar), incidentally, the year in which Yazid b. Mu’awiya seized control of the government.
The interpretation of eminent figures of this Ummah, no less a figure than Abi Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) is that the rule of young boys and the tribulation of the sixtieth year is a reference to the rule of Yazid b. Mu’awiya (see the following article http://www.livingislam.org/n/ahtv_e.html for more details).
Consequently, my own interpretation is that the figure Luka’ b. Luka’ (the fool son of the fool, or disgraced son of disgraced), is a reference to Yazid in light of the Hadith I have cited above. In that Hadith Luka’ bin Luka’ is mentioned in the same breadth as the evil government of young boys.