Bismillahi Al-Rahmani Al-Rahim
Ahl al-Sunna on Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya
Ibn al-Jawzî in al-Radd `alâ al-Muta`assib al-`Anîd al-Mâni` min Dhammi Yazîd ("Refutation of the Obdurate Sectarian Who Forbids the Blame of Yazîd") asserts that the Ulema deemed it permissible to curse Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya - together with al-Hajjâj - as did the Hanafîs Hâfiz al-Dîn al-Kurdî (who said it was preferable not to as cited by al-Munâwî in Fayd. al-Qadîr §281) and Imâm Sa`d al-Dîn al-Taftazânî in Sharh al-`Aqâ'id al-Nasafiyya (p. 117=p. 102).
Imâm Ibn H.ajar al-Haytamî in al-Sawâ`iq al-Muhriqa cited Ibn al-Jawzî's attribution of this position to Imâm Ahmad via Abû Ya`lâ in his Mu`tamad fîl-Usûl, the latter narrating it from Sâlih ibn Ahmad, from the Imâm. However, Abû Muhammad al-Tamîmî in his `Aqîdat al-Imâm Ahmad relates a contrary position from Imâm Ahmad, as narrated by Abû Ya`lâ's son in Tabaqât al-Hanâbila and Ibn Muflih in al-Maqsad al-Arshad:
He [Imâm Ahmad] withheld saying anything about Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya but rather committed his matter to Allâh. He would refrain from speaking against anyone from the first century. But our [Hanbalî] colleagues differ concerning him [Yazîd]. Some declared it permissible to blame him because he terrified al-Madîna and the Prophet - Allah bless and greet him - cursed whoever terrifies al-Madîna. Others withheld from taking any position. Imâm Ahmad was asked about it and he said: 'People prayed behind him and took his alms.' Others considered him among the Muslims that sinned and it is better to refrain from taking any position in what is not obligatory. It was impermissible to curse any Muslim unless the Law provided a proof-text to that effect. For it is narrated and transmitted that to curse a Muslim is like killing him and that the Believer is not one given to cursing.i
From the above it can be seen that the claim that "Imâm Ahmad ibn Hanbal permits that curses be pronounced against Yazîd" made by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Rasûl al-Barzanjî in al-Ishâ`a fî Ashrât al-Sâ`a (Shukrî ed. p. 77 and p. 144) is not correct even though Ahmad did forbid narrating from him cf. Tabaqât al-Hanâbila (1:347) from Muhannâ ibn Yahyâ al-Shâmî.
Nor is the claim of Mullâ `Alî al-Qârî correct in Sharh al-Shifâ' (2:556) that "Imâm Ahmad ibn Hanbal's view is that Yazîd committed kufr" although he correctly goes on to state that "the majority of Ahl al-Sunna do not condone cursing Yazîd as his kufr has not been definitely established."
Imâm al-Ghazzâlî, also, forbade the cursing of Yazîd cf. Ihyâ' `Ulûm al-Dîn (3:108) as did many early and late Ulema:
The rightly-guided Caliph `Umar ibn `Abd al-`Azîz - Allâh be well-pleased with him - reportedly would say "rahimahullâh" after the name of Yazîd but when he heard a man call him "Amîr al-Mu'minîn" he had him lashed twenty times as narrated by Ibn Hajar in Lisân al-Mîzân (6:294).
The refusal of Imâm al-Husayn ibn `Alî - Allâh be well-pleased with both of them - to declare allegiance to Yazîd is that of the generality of the Companions in Madîna and Makka including `Abd Allah ibn `Amr ibn al-`As and the totality of the veterans of Badr. It was predicted by Abû
Hurayra - Allâh be well-pleased with him - in many narrations pertaining to the Banû Umayya and to Yazîd specifically. Abû Hurayra decried the governor of Madîna Marwân ibn al-Hakam, warned of a terrible disaster about to befall the Arabs, and prayed for death before the year 60, the year Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya came to power, under whose rule three scandals took place: al-Husayn ibn `Alî was killed; Madîna was ransacked for three days (al-Harra) during which the Companions were massacred, after which no survivor of the battle of Badr was left on earth and a thousand unmarried women gave birth to fatherless children; finally, the Ka`ba was destroyed and burnt, at which time Yazîd died.
As for those who mouth an accusation of baghî (rebellion) against al-Husayn ibn 'Ali ibn Abî Tâlib: Such should be identified and denounced by every Muslim as Nâsibîs, that sect which considers it part of its religion to attack the members of the Prophetic House. Al-Dhahabî said of Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya in Siyar A`lâm al-Nubalâ' (4:37-38):
He was strong, brave, deliberative, full of resolve, acumen, and eloquence. He composed good poetry. He was a stern, harsh, and coarse Nâsibî. He drank and was a reprobate. He inaugurated his Dawla with the killing of the Shahîd al-Husayn and closed it with the catastrophe of al-Harra. Hence the people despised him, he was not blessed in his life, and many took up arms against him after al-Husayn such as the people of Madîna - they rose for the sake of Allâh - and Mirdâs ibn Udayya al-Hanzalî al-Basrî, Nâfi` ibn al-Azraq, Tawwâf ibn Mu`allâ al-Sadûsî [three Khârijîs], and Ibn al-Zubayr in Makka.
And Allah knows best.
Blessings and peace on the Prophet, his Family, and all his Companions.
i Ibn Abî Ya`lâ, Tabaqât (1:246, 2:273), al-Haytamî, al-Sawâ`iq (2:635), Ibn Muflih., al-Maqsad al-Arshad (2:283).
ii Narrated by Ibn Abî Shayba.
iii Narrated from Abû Hurayra by Ma`mar ibn Râshid in his Jâmi` (Musannaf 11:373), al-Hâkim (1990 ed. 4:530), and Nu`aym ibn Hammâd in al-Fitan (2:703 §1981). Al-Tabarânî narrates something similar in al-Awsat. (2:106) with a weak chain cf. al-Haythamî (4:199).
iv Narrated from `Umayr ibn Hâni' al-`Anasî by Ibn `Asâkir in Mukhtasar Târîkh Dimashq (29:206) and by Ibn Sa`d (4:340-341) as well as al-Bayhaqî in the Dalâ'il, al-Dhahabî in the Siyar, Ibn H.ajar in al-Isâba (7:443), and Ibn Kathîr in al-Bidâya (6:228-229). "Hold on to the two temples of his head" i.e. love him while you still can, as his epigones will not be so lovable.
v Narrated from Abû Sâlih. the mu'adhdhin, from Abû Hurayra by Ahmad and Ibn Abî Shayba (7:461 §37235) with the number 70 cf. al-Haythamî (7:220) but cited by al-Suyûtî in Ziyâdat al-Jâmi` al-Saghîr (§2040) and the Kanz (§30854) with the number 60. Also - second sentence only - from Abû Hurayra, Hâni` ibn Nyâr, and Hudhayfa ibn al-Yamân by al-Tirmidhî (hasan) and Ahmad with sound chains cf. Fath. (1:129-131).
vi cf. Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Tamhîd (2:303) and al-Shawkânî, Nayl al-Awtâr (9:167).
vii Narrated from Abû Sa`îd by Ahmad, al-Bukhârî in Khalq Af`âl al-`Ibâd (p. 117), al-Tabarânî in al-Awsat (9:131), Ibn Hibbân (3:32 §755), and al-Hâkim (1990 ed. 2:406 sahîh. and 4:590 isnâd sahîh), all "with a good strong chain meeting the Sunan criteria": Ibn Kathîr, Bidâya (6:228) cf. al-Haythamî (6:231).
viii Narrated from al-Sha`bî from al-Hârith al-A`war by Ibn Abî Shayba (7:548 §37854).
ix Cited by Ibn Kathîr in al-Bidâya (6:228).
x Narrated by Ibn `Asâkir in Mukhtasar Târîkh Dimashq (29:192) and cited by al-Dhahabî.
xi Narrated by Ibn Sa`d (4:57, 2:119).
xii Yazîd ibn Mu`âwiya's general.
xiii Narrated from `Ubayd Allâh ibn Sa`îd by Ibn `Asâkir in Târîkh Dimashq (13:206) and cited by al-Dhahabî in the chapter on `Abd Allâh ibn `Amr in the Siyar (4:266).
xiv Narrated by al-Bukhârî.
xv Narrated by al-Bukhârî and Ahmad.
xvi Narrated by al-Bukhârî, Muslim, and Ahmad.
xvii Narrated from Ibn `Umar by Abû Ya`lâ (10:66 §5702) and, as part of a longer narration, by Ibn Abî Hâtim in his `Ilal (2:256 §2262).
xviii Narrated by Mâlik in his Muwatta'.