Story of First Power Usurpation in Islam - page 2

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This was the second round in which the Sahaba, who were the from among the prominent people and among the leaders of the Ummah, responded to Mu’awiyah sturdily; this is why Mu’awiyah remained completely silent over the issue after that.

A year after that, i.e. in year 51AH, al-Hassan Ibnu Ali (ra) fell ill. It was the illness from which he later died. When Mu’awiyah heard of this, he wrote to his governor in Medina saying: “If you can keep me posted day by day on the condition of al-Hassan then do so.” So his governor kept on writing to him until al-Hassan passed away. When the news reached him he could not conceal his joy. He prostrated and those present followed suit.

Ibnu Abbas got wind of this as he was in al-Sham at the time; so he went to Mu’awiyah and when he sat down Mu’awiyah said: “O Ibnu Abbas; al-Hassan Ibnu Ali has died.” Ibnu Abbas replied: “Indeed he has died; he the recited “Inna Lillahi Wa Inna Ilayhi Raji’oon” several times and then said: “I also heard of the joy and happiness you had exhibited when you heard of his death. By Allah his body has not filled your hole, nor has his short lifespan increased your own; he died while he was better than you. Even if we are aggrieved by his departure, we were in the past aggrieved by the departure of someone better than him, namely his grandfather the Messenger of Allah (saw). May Allah comfort us in this calamity and grant us after him the best of substitutes.” Ibnu Abbas broke into tears after that and all those present cried, including Mu’awiyah. Then Mu’awiyah said: “I heard that he had left young kids behind.” Ibnu Abbas said: “We were all small and then grew up.” Mu’awiyah said: “How old was he?” upon this Ibnu Abbas said: “The matter of al-Hassan is so great and known to everyone.”

So Mu’awiyah kept silent for a moment and then said: “O Ibnu Abbas, you have now become the leader of your folk after him.” Upon this Ibnu Abbas replied: “No, not as long as Allah keeps Abu Abdullah al-Hussein.” No sooner had a few days passed after the death of al-Hassan than Mu’awiyah proceeded with effectively taking the Baya’ah for Yazid. He took the Baya’ah for Yazid in al-Sham and wrote to all the provinces ordering his governors to take the Baya’ah for Yazid.

His governor in Medina was Marwan Ibnul Hakam; so he wrote to him and mentioned what Allah (swt) had decreed through him in respect of the Baya’ah for Yazid. He ordered him to gather those in his vicinity from Quraysh among others from the people of Medina and to get them to give the Baya’ah to Yazid. When Marwan read out the letter, people rejected it and so did Quraysh. So he wrote back to Mu’awiyah saying: “Your folk have refused to respond to your request to give the Baya’ah to your son, Yazid. So you decide what to do.”

Upon this Mu’awiyah dismissed Marwan and appointed Saeed Ibnul A’as. He then wrote to him and ordered him to invite the people of Medina to give their Baya’ah and to write back to him reporting on those would promptly comply and on those who would drag their feet. When the letter reached Saeed Ibnul A’as, he ordered people in a firm and severe manner to give the Baya’ah to Yazid; he dealt harshly with all those who were slack. Most people were slow to respond especially Bani Hashem; none of them responded to his order and Ibnul Zubayr was the most categorical in his rebuttal and denouncement. Saeed Ibnul A’as wrote to Mu’awiyah briefing him of all those events and ended his letter by saying: “I cannot overpower them without steeds and manpower; otherwise, you come down and decide for yourself what to do.”

Upon this Mu’awiyah wrote to Abdullah Ibnu Abbas, Abdullah Ibnul Zubayr, Abdullah Ibnu Ja’afar and Hussein Ibnu Ali (ra) and ordered Saeed Ibnul A’as to deliver the letters and to send their answers. Each one replied to Mu’awiyah’s letter, rejecting the proposed Baya’ah for Yazid. So Mu’awiyah wrote to Saeed Ibnul A’as ordering him to take the Baya’ah for Yazid using ruthless and brutal means if necessary, and not be lenient to anyone from among al-Muhajireen and al-Ansar, and their children until they gave their Baya’ah. Everyone refused to give their Baya’ah. So Saeed wrote to Mu’awiyah saying: “No one gave me the Baya’ah; people are followers of that group; if they give you their Baya’ah, people would follow suit and no one would turn you down.”

Upon this Mu’awiyah wrote to him, ordering him to keep them in there until he comes. Then he arrived in Medina as a Hajji and when he reached al-Jurf, al-Hussein and Abdullah Ibnu Abbas intercepted him. Mu’awiyah said: “Greetings to the son of the Messenger of Allah’s daughter and to his cousin.” He then turned to the crowd and said: “These two are the sheikhs of Bani Abdu Manaf.” He then continued talking to them in a friendly and courteous manner, smiling and exchanging pleasantries as he did, until he reached Medina. When he dismounted, they both left him; al-Hussein veered towards his house and Abdullah Ibnu Abbas went to the mosque.

When Mu’awiyah settled in his house he sent after al-Hussein Ibnu Ali and held a private meeting with him. He said to him: “My nephew, the people have confirmed this matter except for five men from Quraysh and you are their leader my nephew; so what has led to this divergence?” Al-Hussein replied: “Send for them; if they give you their Baya’ah, I will be one of them; otherwise, you will not have judged me hastily on the matter.” Mu’awiyah asked: “Would you do that?” to which he replied: “Yes.”

Upon this Mu’awiyah urged him not to inform anyone of their conversation and then sent after Ibnul Zubayr and held a private meeting with him. He said to him: “People have confirmed this matter except for five men from Quraysh and you are their leader. My nephew, what has led to this divergence?” Upon this Ibnul Zubayr said to him: “So send for them, and if they give you their Baya’ah, I will be one of them; otherwise, you will not have judged me hastily on the matter.” Mu’awiyah asked: “Would you do that?” to which He replied: “Yes.”

Upon this Mu’awiyah urged him not to inform anyone of their conversation and then sent after Ibnu Omar. He had a private meeting with him and addressed him in a tone that was gentler than the one he used with his two friends. He said: “I would hate to leave the Ummah of Mohammed after my departure without a shepherd and people have corroborated this matter except for five persons, of whom you are their leader; so what has caused this divergence?” Ibnu Omar asked: “Do you want me to tell you about a matter that would spare you the bloodshed and make you achieve your aim?” Mu’awiyah replied: “I would love that.” Upon this Ibnu Omar said: “You sit on your throne and then I will come and give you the Baya’ah that after you, I will join in with what the Ummah has agreed upon. By Allah if the Ummah were to agree upon an Abyssinian slave after your departure I would join in with what the Ummah has embarked upon.” Mu’awiyah asked: “Would you do that?” to which he replied: “Yes.”

Mu’awiyah then sent after Abdul-Rahman Ibnu Abi Bakr and held a private meeting with him. He told him: “You have the audacity to raise your hands and feet against me?” Abdul-Rahman said: “I hope that this is good for me.” Mu’awiyah said: “By Allah I am thinking of having you killed.” Abdul Rahman replied: “By killing me your punishment will be that Allah shall curse you in this world and throw you in Hell in the next.” Then Abdul-Rahman Ibnu Abi Bakr left.

The following morning, Mu’awiyah ordered a divan so it was set up for him and the seats of his close entourage and his family were arranged. He then emerged wearing a Yemeni garment and a dark turban with its end covering his shoulders; he put on some scent and sat on his divan with his aides nearby so that they could hear his instructions and ordered his usher not to allow anyone to enter no matter how close they were. He then sent for al-Hussein Ibnu Ali and Abdullah Ibnu Abbas. Ibnu Abbas arrived first and after he had entered and uttered his greetings, Mu’awiyah invited him to sit on the left side of the divan. Then al-Hussein Ibnu Ali arrived and when Mu’awiyah saw him, he grabbed a cushion that was on his right and when al-Hussein entered and gave his greetings, he invited him to sit to his right where the cushion was and then started speaking.

He talked once again about the issue of the Baya’ah for Yazid and his talk included some criticism of al-Hussein. To quote from what he said: “Hence, this was the attribute of the Messenger of Allah (saw); then he was succeeded by two righteous men and a praiseworthy third, and after that came a long dispute which we dealt with through observing, struggling, evaluating and listening, and I do not know about it more than you do. As for the issue of Yazid, he was placed ahead of you two and approved; and Allah knows how, through this, I am trying to serve the subjects, in terms of repairing the damage and healing the rift by appointing Yazid; something which has caught the attention and praised the action. This is what I mean about Yazid; and you have the excellence of kinship, the virtue of scholarship and the perfect bravery; I have sensed this in Yazid through assessment and comparison and I found the same in you and in others. Yet Yazid is well versed in the Sunnah and the reciting of the Qur’an, in addition to his rock-solid and tremendous meekness; etc.” When Mu’awiyah finished, Ibnu Abbas was about to speak but al-Hussein interjected saying: “Wait; I am the target and my share of the accusations is greater than yours.”