Answering common Nasibi objections to the stance of Imam Hussain (as)

 

The martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) is actually the death of Yazeed and Yazidism hence over the last few centuries Nawasib have been advancing some objections over the stance of Imam Husayn (as) and his merits and on some other aspects of the tragedy of Karbala. We would like to offer our replies to their criticisms of our Imam (as) which are actually geared towards defending Yazeed (la).

Objection One: Did Imam Hassan give bayah to Mu’awiya ? If yes, then why did Imam Husayn (as) not likewise give bayya to Yazeed ?

 

Imam Hassan (as) didn’t give bayah to Mu’awyia rather he(as) entered into a treaty with him. Authentic Sunni sources like Tareekh Abul Fida, Volume 1 page 182, Tareekh Khulfa page 130, Tareekh Kamil, Volume 3 page 190 and Tareekh Tabari, Volume 6 page 92 etc mention about the treaty and there is no mention of Bayah as one of the terms of the agreement. Moreover the most authentic Sunni work Saheeh Bukharee contains details of the treaty of Imam Hassan (as) wherein there is no mention of bayah.

Sahih Bukhari Volume 3, Book 49, Number 867:

Narrated Al-Hasan Al-Basri:
By Allah, Al-Hasan bin Ali led large battalions like mountains against Muawiya. Amr bin Al-As said (to Muawiya), “I surely see battalions which will not turn back before killing their opponents.” Muawiya who was really the best of the two men said to him, “O ‘Amr! If these killed those and those killed these, who would be left with me for the jobs of the public, who would be left with me for their women, who would be left with me for their children?” Then Muawiya sent two Quraishi men from the tribe of ‘Abd-i-Shams called ‘Abdur Rahman bin Sumura and Abdullah bin ‘Amir bin Kuraiz to Al-Hasan saying to them, “Go to this man (i.e. Al-Hasan) and negotiate peace with him and talk and appeal to him.” So, they went to Al-Hasan and talked and appealed to him to accept peace. Al-Hasan said, “We, the offspring of ‘Abdul Muttalib, have got wealth and people have indulged in killing and corruption (and money only will appease them).” They said to Al-Hasan, “Muawiya offers you so and so, and appeals to you and entreats you to accept peace.” Al-Hasan said to them, “But who will be responsible for what you have said?” They said, “We will be responsible for it.” So, what-ever Al-Hasan asked they said, “We will be responsible for it for you.” So, Al-Hasan concluded a peace treaty with Muawiya. Al-Hasan (Al-Basri) said: I heard Abu Bakr saying, “I saw Allah’s Apostle on the pulpit and Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali was by his side. The Prophet was looking once at the people and once at Al-Hasan bin ‘Ali saying, ‘This son of mine is a Saiyid (i.e. a noble) and may Allah make peace between two big groups of Muslims through him.”

We don’t see any thing about bayah in the above cited tradition rather we learn that it was Mu’awiyah who had sent two people to Imam Hassan (as) for the purpose of the treaty and Imam Hassan (as) adopted the method which avoided bloodshed among Muslims.

Another comment supported by a question is often advanced from Nasibis, namely ‘why didn’t Imam Hassan (as) choose to fight Mu’awiya rather than enter into a peace treaty?’ We would like to reply that the Holy Prophet (s) had foretold that Imam Hassan (as) will make treaty between two groups. We read in Sahih Bukhari Volume 5, Book 57, Number 89:

Narrated Abu Bakra: I heard the Prophet talking at the pulpit while Al-Hasan was sitting beside him, and he (i.e. the Prophet ) was once looking at the people and at another time Al-Hasan, and saying, “This son of mine is a Saiyid (i.e. chief) and perhaps Allah will bring about an agreement between two sects of the Muslims through him.”

Thus it was not possible for Imam Hassan (as) to oppose the words of the Holy Prophet (s) while rejecting the offer of treaty.

Objection Two: Why did Imam Husayn (as) not give bayah to Yazeed?

 

We should begin by pointing out that Imam Husayn (as) was not given the offer of a treaty. Our Imam (as) was sitting at home in Madina wherein he was ordered to give bayah to Yazeed. Secondly there wasn’t any prediction by Holy Prophet (s) that would have allowed Imam Husayn (as) to enter into a treaty. Imam Hassan (as) made a treaty with Mu’awiya and his supporters in the same manner that the Holy Prophet (s) made peace with the Kuffar of Makkah. After agreeing the treaty our Prophet (s) opted to fight the Kuffar of Makkah after migrating to Madina, and his (s) younger grandson Imam Husayn (as) did likewise and fought the supporters of Mu’awiya during the reign of Yazeed. In brief, both Imam Hassan (as) and Imam Husayn (as) were the mirror image of the Makki and Madani life of Holy Prophet(s). The reason for Imam Hassan (as) making a treaty with Mu’awiya rather than fight was the same reason that the Holy Prophet (s) chose not to fight the Kuffar of Makkah, rather entered into a treaty with them. Similarly when the decision was taken by Rasulullah (s) to fight the same Kufar of Makkah Imam Husayn (as) adopted the same position by fighting against Yazeed.

If we go into detail about the two different stances adopted by Holy Prophet (s) and his grandsons we will come to know that Holy Prophet (s) by making treaty with the pagans of Makkah offered a final resort to them so that they might accept guidance during the said time but when they didn’t leave the path of ignorance and intolerance and kept committing oppression. This left our Holy Prophet (s) with no other choice but to migrate to Madeena and to respond against all attacks by the pagans of Makkah. Similarly Imam Hassan (as) by making treaty offered a final chance to Mu’awiya and his supporters so that they could come to the path of guidance and abandon the methods of oppression on earth but when those people didn’t abandon irreligiousness and kept destroying Islam Imam Husayn (as) responded by fighting the Yazeedi forces. In short, the stance of Holy Prophet (s) of making treaty first and then making Jihad was done jointly by His(s) grandsons, as had been the case with the previous Prophets. They would initially offer guidance to the ignorant of their time and when faced with stubborn refusal to the point of ruthlessness, Allah(swt) would send his wrath onto them.

Objection Three: Why did Imam Husayn (as) not pay heed to the words of the eminent Sahaba not to go Iraq, a land wherein he was ultimately slain?

 

Reply One

It was the words of Holy Prophet (s) which prevented him The way Prophet (s) had foretold that Allah will bring about an agreement between two sects of the Muslims through Imam Hassan (as). Similarly (as we mentioned earlier) the Prophet (s) had told him that he would have to travel to Iraq and be martyred on the path of truth. Imam Husayn (as) was aware of these words of the Prophet (s) so how could he have accepted the advice of others proving the words of Holy Prophet (s) false? When the Prophet (s) had instructed him to proceed in this manner, then after the order of the Prophet (s) the advice of the Sahaba becomes irrelevant, no Sahaba is entitled to express a different opinion. At the time of the peace treaty of Hudaibiya, Umar opposed the decision of the Prophet (s), yet the Prophet (s) gave no consideration to Umar’s objections, likewise in this instance the order of the Prophet (s) was one that placed a specific duty on Imam Husayn (as). That is why Imam Husayn (as) deemed the advice of the Sahaba to be irrelevant, the words of the Prophet (s) made their advice null and void.

Reply Two

The Prophet (s) deemed the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) so important for Islam that he(s) instructed his companions to go and aid Imam Husayn (as) if they are alive by that time. We had already cited this Hadeeth in the previous chapter from several esteemed works:

“I heard Rasulullah (s) say ‘Verily my son [Husayn] will be killed in a land called Kerbala, whoever amongst you is alive at that time must go and help him”.

Bearing this Hadeeth in mind, how could Imam Husayn (as) ignore theses words, when the Prophet (s) had stressed such great importance on them ? That’s why right from the beginning till the end of the tragedy of Karbala we see that Imam Husayn (as) kept showing his satisfaction whenever he found the predictions made by Holy Prophet (s) becoming true even when He(as) was being slaughtered, He(as) showed his satisfaction that the prediction of Prophet (s) was being confirmed. We shall evidence this from the following esteemed Sunni works:

1. Kanz ul Ummal, Volume 7 page 11
2. Al Bidayah wal Nihayah (urdu), Volume 8 page 1083. Nafees Acadmy Karachi

Kanz ul Ummal:

“Muhammad bin Umer bin Husayn narrates that we were with Husayn(as) at Karbala and when He(as) saw Shimer zil Joshan he said: “Allah and His Prophet had told truth. Prophet (s) had said: ‘I see a dog with white spots on its body putting his mouth into the blood of my Ahlubait and licking it’. Verily this statement of Holy Prophet (s) turned out so true”.

Reply Three:

If the above reply is not sufficient to destroy the Nasibi objection on Imam Husayn’s stance then we would like to present the fact that a renowned Sunni historian Ibn Athir Jazri has written that even after the death of Muawiyah, Imam Husayn (as) didn’t give bayah to Yazid and moved to Makkah from Madina. It was in Makkah where he received letters from the people of Kufa therefore he started preparations for the journey but some people like Muhammad bin Hanafia, Ibn Umer and Ibn Abbas suggested him not to go Iraq but Imam Husayn (as) replied: “I have seen Holy Prophet (s) in a dream and I will definitely do what has been instructed by Prophet(s)”. Hence Imam Husayn (as) left for Iraq. (Usdal Ghaba, Volume 3 page 27). Scholar Dyar Bakri has written same thing in Tareekh Kamees, Volume 2 page 332.

We can read same text in many other books. For example in histories of Tabari and Kamil we read:

“Husayn(as) expressed the following reason for not accepting their suggestions: “I have seen Holy Prophet (s) in a dream and He(s) has instructed my such a thing which I cannot refuse whether it is goes in my favor or not”. People asked him about that instruction of Holy Prophet (s) to which Husayn(as) replied: “I haven’t told this dream to anyone yet and I will not tell it to anyone until I meet my lord”.
1. Tareekh Tabari, Volume 6 page 219
2. Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 17

Reply Four:

The extreme honor of Baitullah was one of the reasons which made Imam Husayn (as) to leave Makkah. Imam Husayn (as) was also aware of another prediction by Holy Prophet (s) about a person who will commit severe bloodshed Makkah and will abandon the honor offered to Baitullah / Kabah . Therefore by deeming the prediction of Prophet (s) true, Imam Husayn (as) left Makkah so that He(as) would not become the reason of attacking the house of Allah(swt). When some people suggested him not to leave Makkah, He replied:

“Prophet (s) had said that there will be a frog in Makkah which will abandon and destroy its honor. Hence I don’t want to become that frog”
1. Tareekh Tabari, Volume 6 page 217
2. Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 16

Similarly Imam Husayn (as) used to say:

“By Allah! I will prefer to be murdered a step outside Makkah than to be murdered inside Makkah even its one step inside Makkah”.
1. Tareekh Tabari, Volume 6 page 27
2. Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 16

Objection Four: Had Imam Husayn (as) not left Makkah his blood might have been saved as opponents would have taken the honor of Kabah into account

 

Reply One:

First of all this assumption is incorrect as it was certain at that time that people were not going to spare Imam Husayn (as) at any cost even Imam Husayn (as) himself was aware of this fact therefore He said:

“By Allah ! Even if I go inside the holes of insects, these people will bring me out of that and will slay me”
1. Tareekh Tabari, Volume 6 page 27
2. Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 16

As for the assumption that the opponents would have spared Imam Husayn (as) by taking the honor of Kabah in concerned, we would like to present the historical fact that Yazeed’s army didn’t spare the blood of Abdullah Ibn Zubair and murdered him inside the Kabah without keeping in mind any importance of that esteemed place.

Reply Two: Yazeed sent assassins to kill Imam Husayn within in Makka

We read in Tareekh e Kamil Volume 4 page 63:

“Ibn Abbas replied a letter of Yazeed saying ‘I can never forget the fact that you forced the grandson of the Prophet (s) to leave Madeena and seek refuge in Makka, you sent soldiers on horses in his direction to disturb him, so you forced him to make his way towards Iraq, he left Makka through fear”.

Objection Five: Why did He(as) not perform Taqiyyah?

 

We read in Tadhkirathul Khawwas page 156:

“Ibn Abbas replied a letter of Yazeed saying ‘I can never forget the fact that you forced the grandson of the Prophet (s) to leave Madeena and seek refuge in Makka. I also can’t forget that that preparations of Ibn Ziyad the Governor of Kufa to implement your order to kill Husayn, Yazeed you has sent your troops to kill Husayn in Makka”

As we can see Yazeed had not care for the pure soil of Makka and sent troops to kill the Imam (as) there.

Reply One:

The order to practice taqiyya is a common one, whereas the order to fight Yazeed was a specific edict.

  1. Al Bidayah wal Nihayah (urdu), Volume 8 page 163 Dhikr Husayn
  2. Tareekh Ibn Asakir Volume 4 page 332 Dhikr Husayn
  3. Tareekh Kamil by Ibn Atheer Volume 4 page 21 Dhikr Husayn
  4. Asad’ul Ghayba Volume 2 page 21 Dhikr Husayn
  5. Maqathil Husayn page 217 Part1
  6. Tareekh Khamees Volume 2 page 197 Dhikr Husayn
  7. Ya Nabi al Mawaadah page 336 Chapter 61

Al Bidayah:

“Whilst making preparations for Iraq, Husayn said ‘I witnessed my grandfather the Prophet in a dream, he gave me an order, and said that I must act upon it, and I cannot disclose this order to any Kufan, until I pass through this matter”

Ya Nabi al Mawaddah:

When efforts were made to dissuade Imam Husayn from leaving for Iraq, his brother Muhammad bin Hanafeeya tried hard, the Imam said ‘I witnessed my grandfather in a dream, he ordered me to travel to Iraq, and said ‘Allah desires that you are martyred on his path covered in blood. Muhammad Hanafeeya said, ‘If this is the case, then why are you taking women with you?’ The Imam said ‘My grandfather had also told me that Allah (swt) desires that his Deen is protected via the imprisonment of these women”

If Nasabi still refuse to accept this line of reasoning then we will point out that when mass opposition turned into rebellion against Khaleefa Uthman, and he was pressured into abandoning his post, so mush so that the Sahaba on Madeena constantly told him to resign, he replied ‘The Prophet told me not to remove the Shirt of Khilafath, even if it means me being killed’. If these Nasabi wont accept the words of Uthman then they will likewise not accept the word of Imam Husayn (as).

Reply Two:

The scholars of Islam are fully aware that the knowledge of Usul (principles) that if general ruling is overtaken by a specific ruling, that specific ruling takes precedence. We will provide an example:

“If a teacher says to his teacher ‘You can all go home now, the lesson has finished’ they will all leave, BUT if he says to one of those students ‘You can’t go’ the first order is a general one, the second is specific, that referred only to that student that had been asked to stay.

The order to practice taqiyya is a general one, whilst the order to be slain to protect the Deen of Allah (swt) at Kerbala, was an order specific to Imam Husayn (as). It is clear that when the Prophet (s) told Imam Husayn to make his way to Kerbala and be slain there, then any Nasabi objection as to why taqiyya was not utilized becomes redundant.

Reply Three:

Imam Husayn (as) was a divinely appointed Imam whose task is to protect the religion of Allah(swt) and guide the people and making their faith alive or more strong. Had Imam Husayn (as) practiced Taqiyyah at that time, the said purpose would have not been achieved, Islam would have been perished and Kufr would have been spread. The task which was given to him by Allah(swt) and the expectation Holy Prophet (s) had from him(as) about the protection of the religion of Allah(swt) would have been foiled. Imam Husayn (as) practicing taqiyyah at that time means that he could have given bayah to Yazeed making all of his immoral and anti Islam acts lawful while everyone know that Yazeed [la] used to commit acts which were totally against the teachings of Allah and his Prophet(s). Had Imam Husayn (as) practiced taqiyyah at that time, kufr would have re-emerged making all the efforts of Holy Prophet[s null and void.

There is a difference between the things permissible for followers and the duties of a Imam or guide. We read in history that:

The non-believers once caught Ammar-bin-Yaser (ra) and they forced him to say praise their false gods and to condemn Prophet Muhammad (s). They forced him to an extent that Ammar bin Yasir (ra) gave in an exceeded to their demands. After that, when he returned to the Prophet Mohammed (s), Ammar (A.S) narrated the whole story to him (s). Prophet Muhammad (S) asked him, how do you feel in your heart? To which Ammar (A.S) replied, I am fully content with Allah's religion in my heart. To this Prophet Mohammed (S) said, if non-believers ask you to say the same again, say it.
1. Tareekh Kamil, Volume 2 page 24
2. Tafseer Durre Manthur Volume 4 page 132, (Cairo edition)

Hence we came to know that Holy Prophet (s) gave clear permission to Ammar Yasir(ra) for practicing taqiyyah but Prophet (s) himself didn't perform taqiyyah during that particular time as he(s) was divinely appointed Imam of the time and practicing taqiyyah would have foiled all of his previous efforts for Islam.

Objection Six: It was Hazrat Hamzah (ra) who was 'Syed ush Shuhdah' but later on Shias attributed this title to Imam Husayn (as)

 

We would like to reply that till his period Hazrat Hamzah (as) was exalted martyr among other martyrs that is because he was 'Syed ush Shuhdah' till that time but Imam Husayn (as) touched the highest stage of martyrdom which entitled him to be called 'Syed ush Shuhdah'. And its not only Shias but a vast majority of Ahle Sunnah ulema also call him 'Syed ush Shuhdah'. For example Maulana Ahktar Shah of Merath (India) has called him(as) as 'Syed ush Shuhdah' (see Tasdeeq e Shahadat, page 94), Maulana Shah Muhammad Suleman Phulwari in his 'Risala Shahadat Husayn o Risala Gham e Husayn' has written Imam Husayn (as) as 'Syed ush Shuhdah', Maulana Muhammad Mubeen in his esteemed book 'Wasilat ul Nijaat ' (published in Lucknow) has written Imam Husayn (as) as 'Syed ush Shuhdah' at many places. Moreover Imam of Ahle Sunnah and renowned anti Shia scholar Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalwi writes in his book:

"Syed ush shuhdah Imam Husayn (ra) attained martyrdom by the hands of enemies"
Tauhfa Athna Ashari, page 28 published by Fakhar al Matab`e 1268

Objection Seven: Prophet (s) himself called Hamzah (ra) as 'Saheed ush Shuhdah' while that is not the case with Husayn(as). And Hamzah (ra) fought in Uhud along with Prophet (s) having higher status than Husayn (as)

 

First of all we would mention that fact that Imam Husayn (as) was not martyred during the life of Holy Prophet (s) then how he could have given this title to Imam Husayn (as) ? And there is no where written that Prophet (s) restricted this title only for Hazrat Hamzah (ra). If the argument is that Prophet (s) called Hamzah (ra) as 'Shaheed ush Shuhdah' therefore no one can attribute this title to anyone else then we should point out that Holy Prophet (s) called Geor Jis 'Shaheed ush Shuhdah' as well. Allamah Jalaluddin Syuti records:

نادى مناد من السماء إن يحيى بن زكريا سيد من ولدت النساء وإن جورجيس سيد الشهداء

"Holy Prophet (s) said that a caller from sky called that Yahya (as) is the leader of all people while Geor Jis is Shaheed ush Shuhdah"
Tafseer Dur e Manthur, Volume 2 page 32

So we came to know that Geo Jis was Shaheed ush Shuhdah during his time, Hamzah (ra) was Shaheed ush Shuhdah during his time but Imam Husayn (as) is the leaders of all martyrs hence he will remain Shaheed ush Shuhdah.

As for the comment that the martyrdom of Hazrat Hamzah (ra) was more superior to the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) due to the fact that Hamzah (ra) fought along with Prophet (s) in battle of Uhud while that is not the case with Imam Husayn(as), we would like to mention that the martyrdom of Hamzah (ra) was no doubt in the service of Islam but Shah Abdul Aziz Dehalvi writes that the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) added certain merits to Holy Prophet(s).

The martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) is in reality the martyrdom of his Muhammad (s) and it completed all the aspects of prophet hood of Prophet(s)"
Risala sar al-Shahadatein Dar Tehreer al-Shahadatein, published in Lucknow

Objection Eight: Imam Husayn (as) didn't show bravery and kept sending his associates into battle

 

Some Nasibis find the tragedy of Karbala as a good opportunity to criticize the stance of Imam Husayn (as) and his strategy so that they can give a cover to the cowardness their caliphs exhibited in battle fields at the time of Prophet(s). But what these Nasibis don't know is the fact that unlike their caliphs Imam Husayn (as) fought hard in the battle field against his massive enemies.

Molvi Atta Muhammad wrote:

"Now the Zulfiquar of Husayn Ibn Ali was unleashed…He jumped into his enemies like Ali went for Khayber.. 410 enemies were killed by the hands of Husayn(as)"
Kitab Shahadatain, page 179, published Gorakh Pur. India

Even being thirsty Imam Husayn (as) managed to reach river Tigris and the enormous army of Ibn Sa`d wasn't able to do anything. [Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 32]. Ibn Hajar Makki writes:

“If the army of Yazid had not ditched Husayn(as) by coming between Him and river, they would never have been able to over come Him because He was such a brave person who would never move from his place.When all of His companions got killed and Husayn(as) became alone, He made such a strong attack on the army of Yazid that He killed many of their strong men and then many groups collectively attacked Him”
Sawaiq e Muhirqah, page 118. (Egypt)

Ibn al Hadeed Muttazali writes:

“The army of Yazid used to say: “We haven’t seen any courageous person than Husayn because even after being injured and weak and loosing his companions and brother he used to attack the opponent army like an experienced lion”
Sharh Nahjul Balagha, Volume 3 page 482. Published in Egypt

Ibn Athir Jazri while mentioning the last moments of His(as) life writes:

“Even after resorting on his feet Husayn(as) used to fight like a brave person and used to rigorously attack enemies while saving himself from the mass arrows and jumping into the empty spaces and used to say: ” Are you people gathering for my murder ? By God ! After my murder there will not be any human being on whose murder Allah would be enraged”
Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 31

Ibn Athir Jazri and Tabari wirtes:

“When enemies started attacking Husayn(as) from both sides He(as) too jumped on them and then the situation was that when Husayn(as) would attack the enemies on left hand side He would perished them and when He would attack the enemies of his right hand side He would make all of them unconscious. Narrator says: “By Allah ! I haven’t found anyone firm, brave and strong hearted than Husayn infact I haven’t seen anyone similar than him although he was collapsed at that time due to the fact that his brother, nephew, friends and companions had been killed. By Allah ! The army of Yazid used to run from his attack as if a goats run after the attack of beast”
1. Tareekh Tabari, Volume 6 page 259
2. Tareekh Kamil, Volume 4 page 22

The status of courage, strong heartedness and martyrdom of Imam Husayn (as) can be known from the above cited quotations. We see intense fighting by a person who was hungry and thirsty that the army of Ibn Ziyad used to run as if they were attacked by a lion.

Another point is that in the situation of Karbala, to stay alive required more courage and bravery. Everyone there knew that they were to be killed, then there was no point in being scared or lengthening the life that had turned worse than death. At that time in the extreme hunger and thirst, Imam Husayn (as) showed that he indeed is the grandson of Rehmatul-Lil-Aalameen, and sent his companions to the battlefield first, as they were already there to die, but of course they were under an unbelievable spell of thirst and hunger, death was no problem for them, but yes, the starvation was a problem, therefore Imam Husayn (as) stayed in the battlefield till the end, bore the thirst and hunger, lifted all the corpses of his family and companions, and he was hungry and thirsty throughout that time, and finally he himself fought and achieved martyrdom himself.

Any rational sensible person would agree that in Karbala, life had become more difficult than death, hence Imam Husayn (as) eased up the things for his companions.