Imam Sajjad ('a) and the Disgrace of Ibn Ziyād

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Imam Sajjad ('a) and the Disgrace of Ibn Ziyād

Question: How did Imam Sajjad ('a) Disgrace Ibn Zīyād in Kufah?
Concise answer:

The second stage of this movement, which began from the event of ‘Ashura, continued with the sermons of Zaynab (‘a) (the daughter of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (‘a)) in the market of Kūfah, along with the short and simple, yet powerful speeches of Imam Zayn al-’Abidīn (‘a).

Detailed answer:

In order to remove wretchedness and virtual slavery from the society, and to allow people to regain their freedom and honor, there was no option but to create awareness in the people. When people were made aware of the true reality, then the grounds of revolution would be sown against that of tyranny and oppression. The people had to be awakened and shown the reality, in order that they would feel responsible for the state that they were in, and to rise up against the oppressive powers that had just slaughtered the family of the Prophet of Islam (saww). If they were given this understanding, then a revolution would take place by itself over time.

In reality, this was nothing but Imam Husayn’s (‘a) plan; he had allowed the enacting of its first stage through the martyrdom of himself and his followers, and now the responsibility of the second stage, which was the propagation of the message of Karbalā, was passed on to Imam Zayn al-’Abidīn (‘a) and the Lady Zaynab (‘a). It was only through this type of struggle that the propaganda effects of over 30 some years of Umayyad rule could be overturned and defeated. This was also the only way that a movement could be initiated against Yazīd’s government and finally, once and for all, send its foundations crumbling to the ground.

The second stage of this movement, which began from the event of ‘Ashura, continued with the sermons of Zaynab (‘a) (the daughter of Amīr al-Mu'minīn (‘a)) in the market of Kūfah, along with the short and simple, yet powerful speeches of Imam Zayn al-’Abidīn (‘a).

The Imam (‘a) indicated to the crowd, which had gathered to see the prisoners, to be quiet, and everyone became silent. Then, after praising and thanking God the Almighty, he began to speak: ‘Oh people! Those who know me, know me, and for those who do not, I will begin to introduce myself. I am ‘Ali, the son of Husayn, the son of Abī Ṭālib. I am the son of he, whose sanctity was encroached upon, and whose wealth and possessions was plundered…and whose family was taken as prisoner. I am the son of he, who was beheaded by the river of Furāt, while he had neither oppressed anyone, nor engaged in any trickery towards anyone. I am the son of he, who was beheaded and this is an honor most high and great. Oh people, did you not write letters to my father? And did you not give your pledge to him? And did you not make a covenant with him? And did you not commit treason against him?  And did you not go in to battle against him? What evil actions! And what evil thinking and deeds! If the Messenger of God (ṣ) tells you: You killed my children, and you encroached upon my honor; you are not of my Ummah! How will you bear to look at him?’

These short, yet powerful speeches created a firestorm of emotions and penetrated deep in to the heart and spirits of the people of Kūfah; from every corner one could hear wailing and crying. People were saying to one another: You have destroyed yourselves, but you do not know.

‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a) said: May God bless he who accepts my counsel and, for the sake of God and his Messenger (ṣ), gives me ear. Our lifestyle should be like the lifestyle of the Prophet (saww), which is the best of all lifestyles. Everyone said: ‘Oh son of the Prophet (saww), we will listen; give orders and we will be faithful! We will not break away from you. We will fight with whomever you say and make peace with whomever you say. We will capture Yazīd and we are averse to the oppressors.’ ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a) said: Alas, oh deceitful people! Do you wish to do with me, what you did with my father and grandfather? No, by God the injury that you have done me is still raw and bleeding, and my chest is burning with the pain of the death of my father and brothers. The bitterness of this grief cannot be soothed and I want that you neither be with us nor against us![1]
The Exchange of Words between Imam Sajjad (‘a) and the Son of Zīyād

As explained previously, the Umayyad government used the ideology of predestination, and would ascribe all of its actions and crimes to the will of God. Through these means, it eventually succeeded in stupefying the thinking of the masses in to submission. Yet Imam Sajjad (‘a) and Zaynab (‘a) were aware of this ideological tool, and used the means at their disposal to counteract it. One clear example of this is the clash of words that Imam Sajjad (‘a) had with Ibn Zīyād in Kūfah.

After the prisoners were brought in to the general gathering at the palace of Ibn Zīyād, and sharp words were exchanged between him and the Lady Zaynab (‘a), Ibn Zīyād became aware of ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a), and said: Who is this? Some of those present said: It is ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a). He said: Did God not kill ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a)? The Imam replied: I had a brother who was called ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn, and the people killed him. Ibn Zīyād replied: No, God killed him! Imam (‘a) replied with this verse in the Quran: (ٱللَّهُ يَتَوَفَّى ٱلْأَنفُسَ حِينَ مَوْتِهَا وَٱلَّتِى لَمْ تَمُتْ فِى مَنَامِهَا )[2], which means: ‘It is Allah that takes the souls (of men) at death; and those that die not (He takes) during their sleep’. Ibn Zīyād said: With what impudence you answer me? Take him and cut off his head!

At this, the Lady Zaynab (‘a), who was the protector of the great trust of Imamate, said: ‘Oh Son of Zīyād, you have not left any of our men alive. If you want to kill him, then kill me along with him!’ Imam ‘Ali ibn al-Husayn (‘a) said: Oh my aunt, please be quiet so that I can speak with him. Then he said: Oh son of Zīyād, do you try to frighten me with fear of death? Do you not know that being killed is an ordinary affair for us, and martyrdom is a greatness for us?[3] [4]



[1] Sayyid ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Lūhūf fī qatl al-ṭufūf, Qum, Manshūrāt al-Dāwarī, p. 66; Doctor Shahīdī, Sayyid Ja'far, The Life of 'Ali ibn al-Husayn (a), Tehran, First Print, The Office for the Propagation of Islamic Culture, 1365 Hijrī Shamshi, p. 56; Ḥasani, 'Alī Akbar, The 4th Imam (a), the Guardian of the Bloody Revolution of Karbalā, Qum, Young Generation Publications, p. 38-40. There is the possibility that this sermon was delivered on the return of the Ahl al-Bayt from Syria, in the city of Kūfah. The reasons behind this are that this is a lengthy sermon, and during the time of going to Syria, there was no freedom to deliver such a speech. There was neither freedom, nor was there any time or opportunity. [2] Surah Zumar, Verse 42 [3] Sayyid ibn Ṭāwūs, al-Lūhūf fī qatl al-ṭufūf, Qum, Manshūrāt Maktabah al-Dāwarī, p. 68. [4] Taken from the text: Sīrah Pīshvāyān, Mahdī Pīshvāī, Mu'asasah Imam Sadiq ('a), Qum, 1390 Hijrī Shamsī, 23rd Edition, p. 206.

Published on: « 1393/01/18 »
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