Role of Religious Deviation in leading to Karbala

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Saturday, 19 December 2009


alam The Islamic community in the year the event of Karbalā took place, had greatly differed from that in the last year of Prophet’s life. The trend of deviation had been however gradual, according to many of researchers, the basis thereof was established from the first years after the Prophet’s departure. The foregoing deviations were in such a way that the politicians could avail themselves of them to not only delude the people but also justify their despotism.
The ones who played a crucial role in the origination and the development of such deviations were the Umayyads. The power notably secured by Yazīd revealed the fact that never ever had the Umayya believed in a genuine Islam and their belief was merely a covering people had spread in order to justify and concede their sovereignty. Having accused the Umayya of oppression and enmity,[1] Imām Husayn (a) had described them as those who “obey Satan, disobey Allāh, propagate misdeeds, disregard Allāh’s specified rules and also encroach upon Bayt al-Māl (public treasury)”.[2] In addition to creating corruption and ignoring divine limits, they had distorted a large number of religious concepts and misused them. Here let’s discuss a few of them which had impacts in the course of Karbalā according to historical evidence. Obedience to Imāms, the necessity of Community and unlawfulness of breach of allegiance was three common political terms used by caliphs. It may be claimed that the above-mentioned terms could have guaranteed the base and the persistence of the caliphate. Anyhow, these three terms were right principles among the religious, political and Islamic concepts of which observing for the sake of the community was reasonably incumbent. Obeying an Imām denotes obeying the ruling system. The question raised is that to what extent the ruler should be complied with. Is it imperative that a just Imām be followed or an unjust monarch ought to be obeyed too? Earlier we discussed it in detail while considering ‘Uthmān’s caliphate. Upholding Community implies avoiding disturbance or taking no action to undermine the unity or pave the ground for the emergence of a shaky Islamic community. The considerable question is whether silence should be kept before despotic monarchism or a libertine ruler under any circumstances; in other words, should any objection be suppressed relying on the fact that it spoils “Community” and causes “disunion”? Unlawfulness of breach of allegiance, namely fulfilling a pledge is heavily underlined in Islam. Since breaking a pledge or an allegiance is prohibited seriously, it stands to reason how much the role of which in political affairs can be positive. But if the allegiance were not sworn to caliphs like Yazīd or it were breached and consequently Community was 'spoiled', would it again follow the principle of unlawfulness of breach of allegiance or would it basically be an exception to the rule? As already alluded to, the Umayyad caliphs and later those of Banū ‘Abbās by manipulating such concepts distorted and unconditionally compelled the people to acquiesce to their sovereignty. As stated by Ibn Ishāq, they were doing prayers (perhaps in al-Harām mosque) when they noticed that Shimr Ibn Dhil-Djawshan had raised his hands saying: “O Allāh! You are well-aware of my nobleness, so forgive me.” “I told him, added Ibn Ishāq, how could you ever be forgiven whereas you have aided and abetted in murdering the Prophet’s son?” “What have we preformed?” Shimr reacted. “It was the mandates of our commanders and we could in no way defy them”. Had we disobeyed "we would be far more inferior to water carrier beasts.” [3] Apprehending him, Ibn Ziyād told Muslim Ibn ‘Aqīl: “O outlaw! You have seceded from your Imām and have sowed the seeds of discord among Muslims.” [4] Muslim who never yielded to such a digression, riposted that Mu‘āwiya not only did not procure the caliphate through the consensus of opinions of the nation at all, but he overcame the Holy Prophet’s successor through deception and usurped his caliphate. When Imām Husayn was about to leave Mecca, the deputies of ‘Amr Ibn Sa‘īd Ibn ‘Ās, the governor, said, “Do you not fear from Allāh for seceding from the Muslim congregation and for causing disunion among the nation?” [5] “We have neverever ignored disobeying Imām, nor have we seceded from Community” affirmed ‘Amr Ibn Hadjdjādj, a commander of Ibn Ziyād’s.[6] Advising Ibn Ziyād’s army, he added, “Not ever fail to remember obedience and union and at no time do you doubt about killing the one seceding from the religion and being at variance with Imām (ruler).” [7] Figures like ‘Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Umar who was among the Sunnites religious jurisprudents and hadith-narrators, had imagined that if entire people acquiesced to swear the oath of allegiance to Yazīd, they would consent too. He had given his assurance to Mu‘āwiya, “I shall oppose you unless people all swear allegiance to your son, Yazīd."[8] He also had addressed Imām as saying, “Do cause not disunion among Muslims!”[9] Such individuals as ‘Umar and ‘Abd al-Rahmān Ibn ‘Awf’s daughter had written to Imām to regard obedience with reverence and treat Community and its upholding as urgent.[10] Another religious deviation in the Islamic community was “belief in fatalism”. Previous to the event of Karbalā this belief has been misused. In Early Islamic Era, however, Mu‘āwiya had been the reviver of which or according to Abū Hilāl ‘Askarī he was the initiator of which.[11] Referring to the fact that Mu‘āwiya is the founder of “fatalism”, Qādī ‘Abd al-Djabbār has quoted Mu‘āwiya making as remarkable remarks[12] as follows, “This matter concerning Yazīd is a destiny from among Divine destinies and no one has any volition in this regard.” [13] ‘Ubayd Allāh Ibn Ziyād asked Imām Sadjdjād (a), “Was Allāh not the One who killed ‘Alī Akbar?” Imām’s response was: “I had an elder brother whom people killed.”[14] Once ‘Umar Ibn Sa‘d was objected why he killed Imām Husayn solely for the sake of the Ray governorship, he replied that such an affair had been predestined.[15] When alive, Ka‘b al-Ahbār had been foretelling that under no conditions would authority be secured by the Hāshimites, (although later both the ‘Abbāsids and ‘Alawites could secure it as an instance in Tabaristān). It has been quoted from ‘Abd Allāh Ibn ‘Umar as well, as saying: "Any time you realized that one from the Hāshimites has secured the authority, conclude that it is that end of the world.” [16] References: [1] al-Futūh, vol.V, p. 137 [2] Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.III, p. 171; al-Futūh, vol.V, pp. 144-15; Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p.304; elsewhere, Imām had stated, الا ترون أن الحق لا يعمل به وأن الباطل لا يتناهي عنه Not you see how the gospel is not practiced but the credal error is endlessly practiced? Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p.305; Ibn ‘Asākir, Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn,p. 214. Also Imām had said, فان السنة قد أميتت وان البدعة قد أحييت The Prophet’s Sunnah is dissolved while heresies are revived Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p. 266 [3] Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn, p.197; al-Imāma wa l-siyāsa, Lisān al-mīzān, vol.III, p.151 (Al-Humayr al-saqqā’āt) [4] al-Futūh, bol.5, p.98 [5] Tārīkh al-tabarī, vol.IV, p. 289; such adverse publicity had made, the majority of people specially those from Damascus to consider Imām Husayn as an outsider (the one seceding) and to accuse him of heresy. [6] Tārīkh al-tabarī, p. 275 [7] Ibid. p. 331 [8] Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn, p. 167, as described by Mu‘āwiya, Ibn ‘Umar was a coward (Ibn A‘tham, vol.IV, p. 260). He advised Imām Husayn saying “Do not rise up, be patient, compromise as others did. See also al-Futūh, vol.V, p. 39; Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn, p. 166. [9] al-Kāmil fi l-tārīkh, vol.IV, p. 17 [10] Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn, p. 167 [11] al-Awā’íl, Askarī, vol.II, p. 125 [12] Fadl al-I‘tizāl wa tabaqāt al-mu‘tazila, p. 143 [13] al-Imāma wa l-siyāsa, vol.I, pp. 183, 187 [14] Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn, p. 188 [15] Tabaqāt al-kubrā, vol.V, p. 148 [16] Ibn ‘Asākir,Tardjamat al-imām al-Husayn, p. 193 Source: An extract from 'History of the Caliphs' by Rasul Ja'farian
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