By Qadi Bohlool Bahjat Âfandi
Now, an Abbasi Caliph, like the ruler of Bani Umayyah, for safeguarding his government, massacred even the progeny of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and executed them and distorted quite a few Islamic rules and regulations. Another example: The caliphs of Bani Abbas not only did not popularise the respect for the Holy Progeny but, instead, gave rewards to poets to libel the pure and pious progeny. There are thousands of proofs substantiating this claim but we suffice here with only one: A poet named Abaan bin Abdil Hameed wanted to earn a prize from Haroon Rashid. In order to gain access to his court, he approached Yahya Barmaki. Yahya told him, ‘The condition to attend the court and gain access to the caliph is to curse Ali (a.s.) and his sons.
Initially Abaan was reluctant to commit this abominable deed but later, wilting under the pressure of Yahya, composed a poem cursing Hazrat Ali (a.s.) and presented it to Haroon. Haroon rewarded Abaan by appointing him as one of his councillors! The aim of these statements is to show that during the days of Bani Umayyah and Bani Abbas, the life and condition of the Holy Progeny was in a great danger. This noble race was pushed aside and having been cut off from the entire ummah, they were passing their days in social isolation. Not only that it was not possible to show any sympathy toward the Holy Progeny’s condition but even taking their name was regarded as a great offence and disloyalty.
One of the errors and negligence of the historians was that they followed the idiom “to find fault in the great ones is a fault” to the hilt. They almost seemed bewitched and enchanted. They not only refused to condemn one of the many Muslim oppressors who passed in the history of Islam nor did they ever criticize them, rather, they listed their names among the truthful ones. They regarded the deadly poison that had permeated into the body of the ummah, as a useful and effective tonic. They named most of the criminals as reformers and benefactors, thereby beguiling the innocent ummah. Of course, the problem later turned into a deadly disease and an incurable wound for Islam, whose sufferings continue unabated. We are obliged to give here some examples for further clarification.
Take a glance at Tarikh-e-Tabari, which claims maximum importance among other history books because of its antiquity and being replete with quotations. You will see that many tyrants have been mentioned therein as truthful. This history showers great appreciation for people like Abu Hurayrah and Mughirah bin Shu’bah. Tabari has never taken the trouble to critically evaluate the deeds of these characters. For him, their company with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) was sufficient to accord them honour and reverence. This attitude, in my humble opinion, is a big mistake and a serious error.
How is it possible that sheer company of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) prevents a historian from a critical dissection of a person? On the contrary, being a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) must make the punishment of their mistakes all the more severe. You can see what Allah the Almighty, in the verses relating to the wives of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), says, “O wives of the Messenger! You are not like all other women. If any one of you commits a sin her punishment will be doubled.” (Ahzaab: 30)
Hence reward and punishment is proportionate to one’s status. It is incumbent for everyone to follow the good deeds of the Prophet’s companions and also to avoid praising those who committed wrongs. Such people should be criticised instead. It is true that the Holy Prop het (s.a.w.a.) said, “Do not malign my companions”. But, then, criticism of erroneous and evil deeds is not slander. Not only the companions, slander is not permitted of anybody.
If criticism is called defamation then the criticism or looking into the deeds of any of the evildoers is also disallowed. Such a belief is totally wrong and what is correct is that the deeds of every person without discrimination, is worth praise and/or censuring. Abu Hurayrah might have been worthy of God’s Grace because of his being one of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). But thereafter he became a puppet of Mu’awiyah and, worse than that of Basr bin Artaat. We shall condemn him because of this very fact and due to his misdeeds afterwards! If one looks at the reward of one’s good deeds one should also think of the punishment of his evil deeds and mischief.
We do not deny that Abu Hurayrah was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and his servant and also a narrator of many traditions. But then, do you know, apart from this, what Abu Hurayrah has done? If no, then ask me. When Mu’awiyah intended to obtain allegiance for his son Yazid, the people of Medina objected to this criminal innovation and intended to oppose that evil move. Mu’awiyah, in order to frighten the gentle citizens of Medina, sent the harshest and heartless beast Basr bin Artat to Medina to get the said allegiance. Then, on Mu’awiyah’s orders, Basr killed seven hundred persons and also arrested three hundred honourable and chaste Muslim women and engaged himself for three consecutive days, in allowing the Syrian robbers plunder and ravage the residents around the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) shrine! At that time, Abu Hurayrah, this very companion of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), was a helper and accomplice, in all of his cruel and oppressive misdeeds! Now, we cannot overlook this crime because, otherwise, we will also be considered as selfish destroyers of truth. Yes, it is due to this cruelty that we will always condemn Abu Hurayrah.
Another historical fact needs to be pondered upon. It is clearly known that Ziyad, on behalf of Mu’awiyah, killed one by one all the partisans of the Holy Progeny of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). At that time, he sent Hujr bin Adi, who was a famous companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), with his friends to Mu’awiyah. There Hujr and others of his like, as a result of the plots of Abu Hurayrah and his ilk, who had sold their religion for gold coins (dinars), were martyred on the charge of being in favour of the Holy Progeny. In this crime, Abu Hurayrah was with Mu’awiyah and so also in every cruelty that was meted out to the holy family.
Therefore, we will never close our eyes from the crimes of Abu Hurayrah even though all historians have ignored these crimes only on account of his being a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Now let us consider some other blunders of Tabari and the rest of historians. It cannot be imagined that there is anyone who does not know that Mughairah bin Shu’bah, who also was an accomplice of Mu’awiyah in all his crimes, was always maligning Ali (a.s.) from the pulpits of the mosques and was using bad words for the Holy progeny too. Yes, many historians have not taken into account the evils of Mughairah bin Shu’bah and they take his name with respect only because he kept company with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.) for some time! His being in the circle of the companions is praiseworthy but what about his being in favour of Mu’awiyah and Yazid and his becoming the cause of the coming to power of a snake like Yazid, who fanned a fire which will not cool till the Day of Judgement? This sin is so serious that it is not at all pardonable and we can never ignore it.
While we agree that he was a companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), we will openly condemn his evils and atrocities during our discussion. Here, let us elaborate how the historians have erred. It is common knowledge that the battle of Jamal was a serious tragedy in the history of Islam and that it was the first blow to the unity of Muslim ummah. History records this battle in detail. It even separates truth from untruth. Why the condemners of this tragedy narrated it in a particular way is not a secret, to some extent.
The only regret is that the historians have attempted to describe this event in such a way that truth and untruth and the identities of the oppressor and the oppressed be ambiguous, and most of the facts remain hidden. They have, through stupid excuses and baseless pretexts, concealed the truth both in ignorance and intentionally. Alas! Alas! They have forgotten the ultimate aim of chronicling history, curtailed its importance and also delivered a deadly blow to this respectable science.
In our opinion, the cause of this covering up is ‘companionship’. True, the perpetrators of the battle of Jamal were among the companions, rather the closest companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Simply because they were companions, historians did not take into account their serious misdeeds and the harm they caused to the world of Islam. They did not display the courage of discriminating truth and falsehood. They did not like to express their opinion in this matter. They thought they were doing Islam good turn by resorting to unfair forgiveness and unreasonable overlooking.
But we say that the duty of a historian is to reveal the root and the truth of the facts to the public so that the succeeding generations may not remain helpless in identifying truth from falsehood. Pardon and forgiveness is related to the Lord of the Day of Reckoning on the Day of Judgement. To forgive and pardon is not the duty of the historian.
It is absolutely clear that the ummah has, against the wish of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), disintegrated into different ranches and the cause of this dissipation has been the said silence in telling the truth and the nonchalance in adjudication. It is known to all as to how much the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) has prohibited the ummah from disunity. Let us come somewhat closer to reality. In days gone by, the policies whereof we still continue to follow, might was right.
In the era of Bani Umayyah, and Bani Abbas, writers, poets, and even religious scholars had entered the assemblies and courts of the notorious caliphs. They have praised loudly their pomp and glory and luxury in magical words and songs. Not a single fellow has ever condemned such gatherings of evil and sin. They only earned thousands of gold coins and engaged themselves in luxury. All this pleasure was before the eyes of the people and needs no explanation.
Though rule and power do not justify anybody’s evil deeds in the eyes of the just, Mu’awiyah bin Abu Sufyan and Harqoos bin Zuhair should have ranked equal but the power and kingdom of Mu’awiyah placed him prominently in the line of caliph and Amirul Momineen making him look honourable! The unlucky Harqoos, because of being powerless, was condemned and maligned! Had he possessed power, his oppressions also would have been covered.
To be more explicit, Harqoos bin Zuhair was one of the companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and also one of the Ashaabe Badr (who had fought at Badr) and other Islamic battles and displayed enough courage too. But fortune did not favour him and he became a criminal by forsaking Ali (a.s.) in the tragedy of Siffin. He fought in the battle of Nahrawan and became one of the Khawarij.
Now all the historians have mentioned Harqoos with contempt and condemnation and no one has taken into account his companionship with the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) because he rebelled against the rightful Imam and, after fighting for one day against him, was killed. But Mu’awiyah, whose atrocities put Islam to various calamities, who made many innovations, who had abused the Holy Progeny of Prophet (s.a.w.a.), who went up the pulpit of the Prophet’s mosque and abused Ali (a.s.) and his holy sons before many companions of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.s.), who turned an Islamic State on the pattern of Caesar and Chosroes, and who killed great companions of the Prophet(s.a.) like Ammar Yasir and Owais Qarni, has been converted into a reverend and honourable figure! We can say that even if we overlook all of his misdeeds and discuss only the killing of Hujr bin Adi, we will find no reason at all for not considering Mu’awiyah as a mischief maker, oppressor, rebel and condemnable!
Alas! Despite all these innumerable cruelties Mu’awiyah has been given the title of Amirul Mu’minin and all of his evils have been put behind the veil of forgetfulness. Not only this, his misdeeds and offences too have been regarded as his Ijtihaad. It has been mentioned that in his own Ijtihaad (thinking), despite being in error, he has earned a prize or reward (sawaab)! I say down with such a Mujtahid,1 who martyred the
Prophet’s favourite son Hasan Mujtaba (a.s.) and made this misdeed an object of Ijtihaad! The whole world should condemn such a Mujtahid, who hoisted a dishonest man like Yazid on the head of the pitiable Muslim Ummah and then rejoiced at it! Umar an-Nasafi in his book Aqaaid an-Nasafi says that the battles and all other acts of Mu’awiyah were based on Ijtihaad! If someone asks why the deeds of Harqoos bin Zuhair also should not be considered as Ijtihaad? What will be his reply? Astonishing indeed!
In the humble view of the writer, Harqoos neither possessed dirham and dinaar nor a bloodthirsty sword so as to get the power of ‘Ijtihaad’. It is a popular saying that ‘a king can do no wrong’. It is a fact that the pomp and power of Bani mayyah has covered all the misdeeds of Mu’awiyah. The ulamah and the historians have not dared to discuss and criticise his cruelties and oppressive acts and all the rules and policies of that era became a continuing style of law.
Translated from Persian by Syed Athar Hussain Rizvi