I (the author) think that there was no Islamic period like that when Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, lived. This period was full of political, social, and economic disorders. In it all the members of the society led a life of worries and grieves. They lost hope in a noble life. This is because the Umayyads spread wrongdoing and persecution and forced the people to follow what they hated.
We will briefly speak about the general aspects of the time when the Imām, peace be on him, lived, the political events and problems which attacked the Muslims and led to discords and misfortunes. We will also speak about the features of the economic and social life, etc. This is because the research on such matters will complete the research on the life of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him. They are as follows:
As for the political life in the time when the Imām, peace be on him, lived, it was filled with disorders and discords. In it fear and terror spread over the people, and they lost all kinds of security and stability. This divided the society and resulted in critical, political crises. I (the author) firmly believe that such crises resulted from the Umayyad, corrupt regime, which employed all its organs to war against social reform and to spread corruption in the earth. We will objectively present this in the following researches:
As for the Umayyad government, it caused many troubles
and afflictions to the Muslims, made them lead a life of discords and
hardships, and threw them into great evil. As for the nature of this government and its prominent aspects, they are as follows:
The Umayyads dictatorially ruled the Islamic nations. Their government did not follow any law; rather it followed the sentiments of the kings, the desires of the ministers, and the wishes of their retinues. Al-‘Alāili said: “The government of the Umayyad kings is similar to what we call nowadays martial law, which sheds blood, suspends ordinary law, and threatens every person’s existence. In this time such a law is taken during exceptional conditions and for especial states to return security through terrorism. However, this regime lasted throughout the Umayyad period. In fact we cannot call this (regime) as judicial power. Rather we strongly deny that there was no judicial power, in the full sense of the world, in the Umayyad time, except in some periods, and then the difference was prevailing. The greatest proof for this is that the Caliph or his government did what they desired with out taking, at least, lawful formalities in order to respect the authorities.”
The political despotism was the prominent aspect of the Umayyad government, for the Umayyads adopted a special method for their government, which destroyed the rules of social and political justice.
Another prominent aspect of the Umayyad government was
that the rulers showed arrogance and vainglory toward their subjects. They
disdained the weak and made little of the poor. They thought that only they
were the sources of power in the country, not the people, that they pushed
down and raised up whomever they willed. Mu‘āwiya said: “We are the time! We
push down and raise up whomever we will!” This means that the social and
national services which the free
 Al-Imām al-Husayn, p. 339.
and the reformers rendered for their own homeland were not important for raising their social position. Rather the only thing which could push down and raise up was government, as the Umayyads thought.
Al-Walid b. Yazid has described the arrogance and tyranny of the Umayyads through these lines of poetry:
Al-Walid boasted of himself and his family, and showed arrogance toward the people as follows:
Firstly, they were more than the people in properties which they took from the Muslims’ Public Treasury.
Secondly, he talked about their corrupt policy through which they ruled the people as follows:
A. They exposed the people to abasement and humiliation, depriving them of their dignity, freedom, and choosing their affairs.
B. They led the people to the places of abasement and humiliation, not to the places of honor and dignity.
C. They governed the nations by force. Then which tyranny is greater than this tyranny? Which arrogance is greater than this arrogance?
The Muslim communities were deprived of their public
freedoms, especially as it concerns the freedom of opinion. None was able to
express his opinion or his belief, especially as it concerns showing
friendship toward the Imāms of the members of the House
(ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. Hence the people preferred the accusation of unbelief to the accusation of showing friendship to them. Some Muslim thinkers were crucified in the public squares in Kūfa because of their love for Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. Examples of them were Maytham al-Tammār, and Rashid al-Hijri.
The Umayyads denied Islam. They removed all its regulations and principles from the Muslim countries. Hence there were no Islamic laws in their offices and organs. Nikelson said: “The Umayyads were dictatorial tyrants, for they violated the laws of Islam. They despised its ideals and set foot on them.” The Umayyads buried the Islamic regulations and principles. Most their kings displayed unbelief and disparaged the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Among them was Yazid b. Mu‘āwiya, who said:
The Hashimites played with the kingdom, for
no news came, nor did a revelation come down!
The Umayyads spread all over the Islamic countries oppression, tyranny, terrorism, and persecution. Hence, in the days of Ziyād b. Abih, the people said to each other: “Sa‘d, save yourself, for Sa‘id has perished!” This is part of the Umayyad policy, which did not conform to any international law.
The Umayyads adopted a certain policy in order to divide
the society, to create conflicts and quarrels. That was through finding tribal
and racial fanaticism among the Islamic nations. For example, they created
conflicts between the Yemenis and the Nazāris, who were
the strongest Arab families in equipment and number. They also created conflicts between the Arabs and the non-Arabs. Through this, the Umayyads turned away from Islam, which underlined the unity of the Muslims, and spreading love and friendship among them.
With this brief presentation we will end our speech about the nature of the Umayyad government, which denied the interests and rights of the Islamic countries.
The Umayyad policy caused oppression and tyranny to the Muslim community, and shook its stability and prosperity. Hence the righteous led successive revolts against the Umayyads. They demanded them to conform to the rights of the society, and summoned them to accomplish social justice among the people. These revolts are as follows:
It is one of the most important world revolts which have changed the course of history. It is still alive, and urges all the nations of the world to attain their freedom, dignity, and independence. It has moved the feelings of the free and the reformers, taught them lessons on defending the dignity of the community, accomplishing its goals and affairs.
This great immortal revolt has moved the feelings of men. This is because its leader, Imām al-Husayn ( peace be on him), was very sincere to the Truth. He did not seek any material interest or goal. Rather he spared no effort to defend man’s dignity, and to save the society from that black regime, which turned the life into unbearable inferno.
In the previous researches we talked about this great revolt, the unbearable afflictions and misfortunes Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, suffered.
It is one of the important revolts which moved the Muslims’ feelings and sentiments. It is regarded as important as the tragedy of Karbalā’. It is necessary for us speak briefly about it.
As for the causes of this violent revolt, they are as follows:
1. The overwhelming majority of the people of Medina (Yathrib) harbored malice against the Umayyads and opposed their government. The Ansār showed enmity toward the Umayyads. It was they who attacked ‘Uthmān and killed him. Then they pledged allegiance to Imām ‘Ali and supported him. They thought that the Prophet’s family was worthy of leading the community. Abū Ayyūb al-Ansāri, a great struggler, headed them. He and seventy of the Ansār took part in the Battle of Siffin headed by Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. The Umayyads knew that the Ansār detested them. Yazid b. Mu‘āwiya sent for Ka‘b b. Ju‘ayl, a well-known poet, and ordered him to satirize the Ansār. However, Ka‘b refused to respond to Yazid, and said to him: “Do you want to return me to polytheism after faith?” I will not satirize the people who supported Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family! Any how, I will lead you to a Christian boy, who belongs to us.” He led him to al-Akhtal, who satirized the Ansār and ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. Hassān through a poem in which he said:
A. The Prophet’s family, who thought that they were worthier than the Umayyads of the Caliphate.
B. Al-Zubayr’s family.
 Al-'Aqdd al-Farid, vol. 3, p. 140.
C. Abi Bakr’s family.
D. ‘Umar’s family.
These families harbored malice against the Umayyads, and plotted against them. They spared no effort by day and night to overthrow the Umayyad government.
2. The family of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, were liable to murder, sever punishments, and captivity. This moved the people to revolt against the Umayyads. The Hāshimite ladies wept and lamented for Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, hence they inflamed the feelings and emotions of the people. One of the ladies addressed the Muslims and recited:
The lamentation for the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, stirred up the people in Medina (Yathrib), and they mutinied against the Umayyad government.
3. Yazid openly practiced dissoluteness,committed offenses and acts of disobedience(to Allah). Hence the good and Allah-fearing
thought that it was incumbent on them to revolt against the government of
Yazid.‘Abd Allah b.Hanzala,a leader of the revolt, said: “We revolted
against Yazid because we were afraid that stones would be thrown at us from
the heaven. Yazid married mothers and(their) daughters, drank wine, and left
the prayers.By Allah, if there was none of the people with me, I would stand
the good test in fighting against him for the sake of Allah!”
 Ibn Sa'd, Tabaqāt.
a great leader of the revolt, said: “Yazid has given me one hundred thousand (dinārs). His benefaction toward me does not prevent me from telling you about him: By Allah, he drinks wine and becomes drunk to the extent that he leaves the prayers!”
I (the author) think that these are the most important factors which moved the people in Medina to revolt against the government of Yazid.
The revolutionists decided to dismiss the governor of Medina (Yathrib) and all the Umayyads. They formed and managed a temporary government. The governor was ‘Uthmān b. Mohammed b. Abi Sufyān. He was a self-conceited young man. Experiences did not harden him, nor did the days educate him. The people threw stones at him and the Umayyads.”
Marwān was very afraid of the revolt, for he was a
destructive, corrupt person. He feared that the revolutionists would attack
his womenfolk. Hence he went to ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar and asked him to protect
them. However, Abd Allah b. ‘Umar refused to respond to him. Marwān burnt with
grief and said: “May Allah make ugly such an affair!”
Then he hurried to Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, who was the source
of mercy and clemency. Marwān presented the affair in the presence of the
Imām, and he, peace be on him, responded to him. The Imām added Marwān’s
womenfolk to his womenfolk and took them to Yanbu‘. Then ‘Ā’isha, daughter of
‘Uthmān and Marwān’s wife, went to al-Tā’if. She passed by Imām Zayn
al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, and he feared for her. Hence he sent with
Imām, peace be on him, guaranteed four hundred women along with their children, protected them, and added them to his family until Muslim b. ‘Aqaba left Medina. One of the women swore by Allah that she had never witnessed rest and ease in her father’s house as she witnessed in the house of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him.”
The people of Medina (Yathrib) broke their pledge of allegiance to Yazid. They decided to overthrow his government, so they dismissed his governor. These news reached Damascus, and Yazid, the tyrannical, was anxious. He feared that the revolt would include the rest of the Islamic countries. Hence he appointed Muslim bin ‘Aqaba, the most dangerous criminal and terrorist, to war against the people of Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family). Al-Fakir said: “Muslim bin ‘Aqaba was one of the Arab tyrants. He was an old man when Yazid entrusted the Battle to him.” The author of al-‘Aqdd al-Farid has mentioned Muslim’s characteristics as follows: “Muslim bin ‘Aqaba was one-eyed, wide-mouthed, and white-haired. He walked as if he drew his legs from mud.” Dozey, an orientalist, said: “Muslim bin ‘Aqaba did not believe in Allah, nor did he believe in Islam. He was ill. When Yazid entrusted the leadership of the army to him, delight seduced him.” Yazid said to him: “If you want, I will release you, for I see that you are ill and exhausted.” However Muslim bin ‘Aqaba, the wicked one, said to him: “I swear by Allah that you should not deprive me of the wage which Allah has driven (to me)!”
Then Yazid supplied Muslim bin ‘Aqaba with these evil commands: “When you go to Medina and they hinder you, kill them with the sword, leave none of them, plunder their properties therein for three days, put their wounded to death, and kill those who turn their back in flight.”
In these commands, Yazid has expressed his wicked inclinations, for he harbored malice against man and was happy with mistreating him.
The troops of error headed by Muslim bin ‘Aqaba, the terrorist, advanced toward Medina to occupy it. They passed by Yazid, who stood on a hill to greet them. The senior officials and the commanders of his army surrounded, and he recited:
The leaders of the opposition said that Yazid drank wine heavily. Hence, in this poetry, he asks them: “Have these troops been dispatched by drunk or wakeful?”
Yazid’s troops covered the desert quickly, reached Medina, and besieged it. The people of Medina dug a trench similar that which dug by Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, at the Battle of the Allies. Addressing Yazid, their poet said:
Yazid’s troops were unable to occupy Medina. However, according to his father’s orders, ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwān hastened to Muslim b. ‘Aqaba and told him about the defects of Medina. Hence Muslim was able to make his troops enter Medina. Then the two armies met each other at a bloody battle. ‘Abd Allah b. Hanzala (a Muslim hero), his sons, a chose of the sons of the Muhājirin and the Ansār were martyred at this Battle. Moreover Medina lost eight Companions of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and his family), to the extent that there was no Badri (those who took part at the Battle of Badr) in it. It also lost seven hundred people from Quraysh and the Ansār, ten thousand people from the rest of the people.”
Muslim b. ‘Aqaba, the terrorist, committed all kinds of
serious offenses and crimes. He violated the sacredness of Medina (the City of
the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family). He named it Fitna,
while the Messenger called it Tiba. He permitted his army to violate it, and
it killed innocent children, old men, women, dishonored them, and forced the
rest of the people to pledge allegiance to Yazid as slaves.
Al-Sayyid Amir ‘Ali al-Hindi described the event and commented on it saying:
“This Battle caused evil results to Islam. At it the choice of the people of
Medina, from among the heroes and the special Companions of Allah’s Apostle (
may Allah bless him and his family), were martyred. In this manner the
Umayyads violated Median and defiled it. Such was Medina, which sheltered the
Messenger throughout his lifetime, and was the shelter of his Message. Besides
its inhabitants, who granted sanctuary to the Messenger and sacrificed their
lives for him at the hour of hardship, suffered the severest
kind of torture and atrocity of which there is no
like in history, except those committed by Constable, the French, and the Lutherans (supporters of George) when they besieged Rome.
“No wonder! Yazid’s troops turned the Mosque into stable for their horses. They demolished the Sacred Places and looted their furniture. Hence paganism won a victory over Islam even for a time. This paganism took revenge on Islam this time, as a European historian said. In this manner they treated Islam, which treated them with mercy and clemency when it triumphed over them.
“As for the chose from among the people of Medina: some of them were martyred; some of them fled to the remote countries in order to save their souls. As for the rest of them who remained in Medina, they accepted to be treated as prisoners and slaves of Yazid b. Mu‘āwiya. As for those who refused (to accept this state), they were disgracefully branded on the neck!”
Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, felt fear of Muslim b. ‘Aqaba, for he saw that the sacredness of Medina was violated, the blood of the Muslims was shed without any right. Hence he, peace be on him, supplicated with this supplication: “My Lord, how many a favor you have bestowed upon me, but my thanksgiving to You for it is little! How many an affliction through which You have tested me, but me patience toward it is little! So abandon me not! O Possessor of kindness which never cuts off! O Possessor of favors which cannot be counted in number! Bless Mohammed and his Household, and repel his evil from! For I ask You to turn him away from me, and seek refuge in You from his evil!”
When this wicked criminal, Muslim b. ‘Aqaba, invaded
Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family), the
Imām, peace be on him, hurried to the grave of his grandfather, Allah’s
Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family. He sought
sanctuary with it. He was captured and brought to Muslim b. ‘Aqaba, the tyrannical. When Muslim saw him, he shook with fear. He stood in honor for him and said to him: “Ask me for your needs.” Accordingly, the Imām interceded with him for those who were sentenced to death, and he responded to him. When Muslim went away, the Imām was asked: “We saw you moving your lips, what did you say?” The Imām replied: [I said:] “O Allah! Lord of the seven heavens and what they shade! (Lord of) the seven earths and what they carry! Lord of the Great Throne! Lord of Mohammed and his pure Household! I seek refuge in You from him, and ask you to turn him away from me! I ask You to give me his good, and spare me of his evil!”
It was said to Muslim b. ‘Aqaba: “We heard you cursing this boy and his fathers. Why did you magnify him when he came to you?” “This was not my opinion,” answered Muslim, “but he filled my heart with fear.” The Imām did not pledge allegiance to Yazid, neither did ‘Ali b. ‘Abd Allah b. al-‘Abbās. Hence al-Husayn b. Numayr said: “Our nephew shall not pledge allegiance (to anyone) except him to whom ‘Ali b. al-Husayn Pledge allegiance, for he is the cousin of the Commander of the faithful (Yazid); otherwise war (will break out) among us. Hence ‘Ali b. ‘Abd Allah was released from pledging allegiance to Yazid. He boasted of his uncles, who protected him from Muslim b. ‘Aqaba, and recited:
Muslim b. ‘Aqaba, the criminal, ordered the heads of the martyrs from among the children of Medina (Yathrib) to be cut off. They were cut off and sent as gifts to Yazid. When they were placed before him, he became overjoyed and recited:
He had recited these lines of poetry when the head of al-Husayn-the plant of sweet basil of Allah’s Messenger, Lord of the youths of the heaven-was placed before him. He wanted his fathers, whose heads were cut off by the swords of the Muslims, to be present. He wanted them to see that he took revenge on the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and the Muslims.
This battle was one of the most dangerous disasters in the world of Islam. As for Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, he was very sad to see Yazid’s Army destroying Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family), filling its houses with bereavement and mourning.
With this we will end our speech about this Battle, which is better known as the Battle of al-Hurra.
The Shi‘ites in Kūfa showed great remorse for their abandoning Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him. It was they who wrote to him, and pleaded to him in order to save them from the tyranny and oppression of the Umayyads. When he responded to them, they left him alone before the swords and spears of the Umayyads. They did not help him nor did they defend him.
 Ibn Hishām, Sira, vol. 3, p. 143. Ibn Salām, p. 89.
The Shi‘ites blamed each other, for they felt the terror of the heavy tragedy. Hence they thought about a practical way to expiate their sins. They found no means to efface their sins except announcing a revolt (against the Umayyads) and avenging the blood of al-Husayn. Then they announced their well-known motto: “Come on to avenge the blood of al-Husayn!”
This motto moved the Shi‘ites and those who were displeased with the Umayyads. Now we will briefly present this revolt which holds the mark of Shiism, for it was the first revolt the Shi‘ites led on the external level.
The Tawwābin or the repenters held their first conference in the house of Sulaymān b. Sart al-Khuzā’i, a great Companion (of the Prophet) and leader of the Shi‘ites. The leaders of the movement delivered many speeches in this conference. In them they showed their remorse and regret for deserting Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him. They declared that they would deserve Allah’s displeasure if they did not avenge the blood of al-Husayn. The number of those who attended the conference was over a hundred men, from among the knights of the Shi‘ites and their great figures. That was in the year sixty-one A. H. It was the year when Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, was martyred.
The Conference took decisions of great importance, which showed their ripen political awareness. They are as follows:
1. Sulaymān b. Sarat al-Khuzā’i was elected as the leader of the movement, and commander-in-chief of the revolt. He was charged with designing political and military plans, corresponding with the regions which included the Shi‘ites in Iraq and outside it.
2. Keeping the movement a secret lest the authorities should be informed of it.
3. Collecting money and donations from the Shi‘ites to buy weapons and war equipment. Khālid b. Sa‘d donated all his possessions, and made the revolutionists move about in them freely. Abū al-Mu‘tamar al-Kināni donated a sum similar to this. They appointed ‘Abd Allah b. Wāl al-Tamimi to collect money and buy weapons.
4. Appointing al-Nukhayla as the place of their meeting and their revolt against the Umayyads.
When the fixed time came, the Tawwābin went out of Kūfa. They were about four thousands. They met at al-Nukhayla and had complete (war) equipment. That was in the year sixty-five A. H. It was the year when Yazid, the sinner, perished. The troops headed for the grave of Imām al-Husayn. They stayed by it for a day and night. They asked Allah to bless the great Imām and asked Him to forgive them. They wept before Allah and pleaded to Him. They showed their repentance and remorse before Him for deserting the grandson of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and his plant of sweet basil. Then they left the Holy Grave and swore by Allah to avenge the blood of al-Husayn. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Awf al-Ahmar raised the spirits of the troops through his revolutionary poetry. He addressed them and recited:
guidance- here we are! Here we are, O summoner!
The poet went on striking this right note, which moved the determinations of the souls. He spoke about the martyrdom of the great Imām (al-Husayn) reciting:
Then the poet addressed the community saying:
This poetry moved the feelings of the Tawwābin (repenters) and urged them to fight against the troops of wrongdoing and error.
The phalanxes of the Tawwābin covered the desert. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Awf headed them and recited:
This poetry moved the Tawwābin and urged them to please Allah, the Exalted, through fighting against the unjust.
 Al-Mas'ūdi, Murūjj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 380.
The phalanxes of the Tawwābin reached ‘Ayn al-Warda and stopped at it. Meanwhile ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād, the criminal, headed his troops and advanced against them. The two armies met, and a violent battled occurred between them. The Tawwābin stood the good test in fighting, which none can describe. Their leaders were martyred at this Battle. Some of them were Sulaymān b. Sarat, al-Musayyab b. Nujayya, and ‘Abd Allah b. Sa‘d. The Tawwābin thought that they had no ability to continue fighting against the Syrians, hence they left the battle-field and returned to Kūfa at night. However, the Syrian troops did not follow them. The Shi‘ites were very sad to hear of the martyrdom of the leaders of the Tawwābin. A‘shā Hamadān, a great poet, elegized these leaders in a poem. In it he mentioned their bravery and resistance before the Syrian troops. This poem is as follows:
In this poem ‘Ashā Hamadān has drawn a wonderful picture of the Tawwābin. He has classified them into two categories: one category sought Allah-fearingness through its struggle; the other wanted to expiate its sins and turn to Allah, the Exalted, in repentance. They all showed bravery and resistance beyond description. East and south wind blew over the graves of those who were martyred in the battle-field and greeted them.
A‘shā Hamadān talked with admiration about the leaders of the revolt who were martyred in the battle-field. He praised and lauded them. At the end he asked Allah not to send them far, for they were the defenders of the city. This is one of the most wonderful poems composed on the Revolt of the Tawwābin.
Any how, the revolt of the Tawwābin filled the murderers of Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, with fear and terror, and prepared the Shi‘ites for struggle against the Umayyads. Dr. Yousif Khulayf said: “Regardless of its results, the revolt of the Tawwābin was the most violent of the revolts which the Shi‘ites announced after the murder of ‘Ali. It helped the Shi‘ites overthrow the Umayyad government. Moreover, it paved the way to another Shi‘ite revolt, which was the Revolt of al-Mukhtār.”
 Hayāt al-Shi'r fi al-Kūfa, vol. 73.
Al-Mukhtār b. Yousif al-Thaqafi was among the Arab and Muslim brilliant figures in history. He was the Arab hero who could overcome the events and lead the greatest social revolt. He adopted political and social justice, and accomplished equal opportunities among the people, regardless of their nations and religions. We will briefly speak about his qualities and the achievements of his revolt.
As for the prominent qualities of this great figure, they are as follows:
Al-Mukhtār was very clever. An example of his sharp cleverness was that he could understand inner selves and address the feelings of the people. Through his cleverness he was able to lead his great revolt and make the hearts and feelings of the people incline to him. He grasped the events from their beginnings. The biographers have mentioned many examples of his cleverness.
Al-Mukhtār was among the most brilliant persons of the Arab world. An examples of his brilliancy is that he succeeded in executing his political plans aiming at destroying the forces which showed enmity toward the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. Though these forces represented the capitalist and aristocratic classes in Kūfa, al-Mukhtār could destroy their influence, brought them down their thrones, and sent them to prisons and cemeteries.
Among the qualities of al-Mukhtār was that he was a military inspired commander. He was the most brilliant of the army commanders in designing war plans and appointing military methods to overcome the events. It was he who schemed the successful plans of the military coup. He led this coup against the government of Kūfa. Hence his plans were then unique in the Islamic world.
Al-Mukhtār was Allah-fearing and pious. He devoted his life to his religion. He built the foundations of his government on inclusive justice among the people. In spite of his many works, he sat among the people and gave them legal decisions. He followed the policy of Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him. The narrators mentioned that al-Mukhtār fasted by daytime during his short-termed Caliphate, and always mentioned Allah, the Most High.
As for the friendship toward the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt), peace be on them, it was among the qualities of al-Mukhtār. He showed sincere friendship toward them and adored them. A proof for this is that Muslim b. ‘Aqil, al-Husayn’s emissary to Kūfa, stopped at his house, told him of his secrets, negotiated with him about the affairs of the revolt, and informed him of those who pledged allegiance to Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him. Yazid, the tyrannical, appointed ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād governor over Kūfa, and he arrested the followers of Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him. Al-Mukhtār was one of those arrested. He remained in prison until Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, was martyred. Then ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar, his brother -in- law, interceded for him with Yazid, and he accepted his intercession. When al-Mukhtār left prison, he struggled for holding the reins of authority to avenge the blood of al-Husayn. When Allah granted him victory over his enemies, he killed the murderers of Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, and demolished their houses. We will mention this when we speak about his exalted position with the Imāms.
It was normal for al-Mukhtār to occupy an exalted
position with the Imāms of ahl al-Bayt, peace be on him, and attain their good
pleasure. He pleased them when he avenged their blood, destroyed those who
shed their blood. There are many traditions concerning
lauding him, respecting him, and admiring his benefits toward the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. The following is some of them:
1. Imām Abū ‘Abd Allah al-Sādiq, peace be on him, said: “No Hāshimite woman combed (her hair) nor did she dye (it) wit henna until al-Mukhtār sent us the heads of those who killed al-Husayn, peace be on him.”
Al-Mukhtār gladdened the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, who were sad for Imām al-Husayn, Lord of the youths of heaven, peace be on him. For he avenged his blood.
2. Imām Abū Ja‘far (al-Bāqir), peace be on him, said: “Curse not al-Mukhtār, for he killed those who killed us, demanded vengeance for us, made our widows join in marriage, and divided properties among us in the strained circumstances.”
3. ‘Abd Allah b. Shurayk narrated: “We visited Abū Ja‘far (al-Bāqir), peace be on him, on the Day of al-Nahr. He was resting. He had sent for the barber. I sat before him. Then a Kufān came. The Kufān took Abū Ja‘far’s hand to kiss it, but he prevented him from this and asked him: ‘Who are you?’ ‘(I am) Abū Mohammed al-Hakam b. al-Mukhtār b. Abi ‘Ubayda al-Thaqafi,’ replied the Kufān. He sat far from Abū Ja‘far. Hence Abū Ja‘far reached out his hand to him, and was about to seat him on his lap, after he had withheld his hand from him. Then Abū Mohammed al-Hakam b. al-Mukhtār said to Abū Ja‘far: ‘May Allah set you right, the people have said many words concerning my father. By Allah, I want your opinion of him.’
“Abū Ja‘far asked: ‘What did they say?’ ‘They say that
he was a liar,’ answered Abū Mohammed al-Hakam b. al-Mukhtār, ‘I accept your
orders.’ Abū Ja‘far, peace be on him, said: ‘Glory belongs to Allah! By Allah,
my father told me that al-Mukhtār had sent the dower of my mother. Did he not
build our houses, kill those who killed us, and avenge our blood? May Allah
have mercy on him!’” In
this tradition there is a clear proof for the exalted position of al-Mukhtār with Imām Abū Ja‘far (al-Bāqir), peace be on him. Besides the tradition shows that he did the ahl al-Bayt, peace be on them, many favors. For example, he demanded vengeance for them, helped them with properties of which were the dowers of their womenfolk, and built their houses demolished by the Umayyad authorities.
4. Al-Mukhtār sent the heads of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād and ‘Umar b. Sa‘d to Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, and he prostrated himself in prayer for Allah, and said: “Praise belongs to Allah who has taken my revenged on my enemies! May Allah repay al-Mukhtār good!”
The Alids were satisfied with al-Mukhtār, just as the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them, were satisfied with him. They thanked him for his benefits toward them. The narrators reported on the authority of Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya, who said: “When al-Mukhtār sent me the heads of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād and ‘Umar b. Sa‘d, I prostrated myself in prayer for Allah, raised my hands in supplication for al-Mukhtār, and said: ‘O Allah, forget not this day for al-Mukhtār, and repay him the best repayment on behalf of the Household of Your Prophet, Mohammed. By Allah, none can blame al-Mukhtār for this!’”
The enemies and opponents accused this great figure (al-Mukhtār) of:
1. Revelation. They said that Gabriel came down to him and told him about unseen things.
2. Angels. They said that the angels came down in the form of white pigeons and warred against his enemies.
3. The Garden. They said that he guaranteed men the Garden, and wrote to them letters like Christian indulgences.
They accused al-Mukhtār of these things because he avenged the blood of Imām al-Husayn, (father of the free, peace be on him), ruined the Umayyad government through his great revolt, treated the Arabs and non-Arabs equally, and adopted the policy of Imām ‘Ali, peace be on him.
Being an experienced leader, al-Mukhtār occupied the highest position in the society of his time, became one of the historical heroes, who adopted the truth, raised the banner of the revolt against backwardness, and dullness. Hence it was normal for his enemies to envy him and accuse him of false things. As for the accusation that al-Mukhtār told (men) about unseen things, it is certain that he told them about the occurrence of some events, and they occurred. He took this knowledge from Maytham al-Tammār-the most brilliant disciple and student of Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him-when he was with him in prison during the days of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād. Does foretelling such events mean prophecy?
Al-Mukhtār announced his great revolt, which aimed at accomplishing social justice among men and demanding vengeance for al-Husayn, father of the free, peace be on him. He adopted this and appointed as motto for his revolt. Hence his people shouted in the lanes and streets of Kūfa with this motto: “Come on to demand vengeance for al-Husayn!”
This effective call echoed in the heaven of Kūfa. It was a thunder-bolt against the traitors and criminals who committed the most atrocious crime in human history. The righteous, deprived people responded to him. Let’s listen to the wonderful poem of ‘Abd Allah b. Humām al-Salūli, the poet of the revolt. In the poem he tells us about the people who supported al-Mukhtār eagerly. He says:
In this poem ‘Abd Allah talks about the motto al-Mukhtār raised for his revolt, and which is: “Come on to demand vengeance for al-Husayn!” This motto had great impression on the Shi‘ites, and they responded to it. Besides he talks about the tribes who took part in this revolt.
Any how the revolt was successful and all things went well with it. As for al-Mukhtār, he undertook the affairs of the country. Then he formed a government including the members of his revolt and the leaders of his party.
As for the objectives al-Mukhtār sought through his revolt, they are as follows:
Al-Mukhtār accomplished equality between the Arabs and
non-Arabs in all the rights and duties. He demolished the barriers the Umayyad
government established to prefer the Arabs to non-Arabs and singled them out
for distinctions. Some orientalists thought that the equality adopted by
al-Mukhtār served Islam and spread it among
 Al-Tabari, Tārikh, 2/2/637.
the non-Arabs nations. Filhāwzin said: “Al-Mukhtār is worthy of praise, for he preceded others in understanding the states standing then. He thought that such states had not to be as they were. Only the Arab elements enjoyed the full civil rights in the State. If al-Mukhtār had accomplished his original objective, he would have been the savior of the Arab State.” Al-Khartūbi said: “It was al-Mukhtār who strengthened and activated the party of the non-Arabs. He raised the importance of the non-Arabs, treated them with justice, and defended them. He moved their hopes and ambitions. Moreover, he improved their political, social, and economic conditions. The non-Arabs craved for these rights throughout the time of the Umayyads and the ‘Abbāsidis.” It is worth mentioning that the non-Arabs were the backbone of al-Mukhtār’s government. Hence al-Mukhtār entrusted the important offices to them, and appointed them as commanders -in-chief of his army. He was sure of their sincerity to him.
Al-Mukhtār was not craving for kingdom when he announced his great revolt, as those who envied him said. Rather, he wanted to demand vengeance for Imām Abū ‘Abd Allah al-Husayn, the martyr, peace be on him. He was indignant with those who killed him, peace be on him. When the power went well with him, he ordered them to be pursued everywhere and arrested. Then he ordered them to be killed, their properties to be confiscated, and their house to be demolished. Now we will briefly present some of his measures against them.
Al-Mukhtār spread fear and terror among those who warred
against Allah and His Messenger, killed Imām al-Husayn, the plant of
sweet basil of Allah’s Messenger, may Allah bless him and his family, and master of the youths of Paradise. Some murderers fled Iraq and went to ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwān in order to seek protection in him. One of them addressed him saying:
‘Abd al-Malik b. al-Hajjāj al-Taghlubi turned his back in flight. He was among those who took part in fighting against al-Husayn, peace be on him. He sought refuge in ‘Abd al-Malik b. Marwān and said to him: “I have fled Iraq for you.”
‘Abd al-Malik shouted at him saying: “You have told a lie! You have not fled Iraq for us! You have fled it because you are afraid of those who demand vengeance for the blood of al-Husayn! You have feared for your life, hence you have sought refuge in us!”
Asmā’ b. Khārija was one of those whom al-Mukhtār terrified, for he was one of those who warred against Imām al-Husayn. Concerning him al-Mukhtār said: “A deep-black fire will come down from the heaven and burn the house of Asmā’.” When Asmā’ heard of these words of al-Mukhtār, he was frightened and said: “By Allah, al-Mukhtār will burn my house!” Then he fled Kūfa.
Al-Mukhtār quickly order his followers to kill all those
who took part in murdering Imām al-Husayn, master of the youths of heaven,
peace be on him. He ordered them to kill two hundred and forty-eighty people
at one time. Shimr b. Dhi al-Jawshan-who
harbored malice against Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him-escaped.
However, the men of al-Mukhtār pursued and killed him. Al-Mukhtār
said: “It is not an act of our religion to leave the murderers of al-Husayn alive! If I do not kill those who killed the males from among the family of Mohammed, peace be on him, then I am a liar in this world. I ask all to help me against them. Food and drink are not permissible for me until I purify the earth from them.” A group of those who took part in war against al-Husayn was brought to al-Mukhtār. They were ‘Abd Allah b. Usayd al-Jahni, Mālik b. Bashir al-Baddi, and Haml b. Mālik al-Muhāribi. Al-Mukhtār said to them: “O enemies of Allah and His Messenger, where is al-Husayn b. ‘Ali? Bring me al-Husayn! You killed him upon whom you were ordered to call down blessings!”
They said to him: “We were sent (to war against him) by force. Hence be kind to us, and leave us alive.” Al-Mukhtār shouted at them saying: “Were you kind to al-Husayn, son of your Prophet’s daughter? Did you leave him alive and give him water?” Then he ordered the hands and legs of Mālik b. Bashir al-Baddi to be cut off. He left him in this state until he died. This is because it was he who deprived al-Husayn of his cap. Then al-Mukhtār ordered the two men to be killed. Then the police arrested Ziyād b. Mālik al-Dab‘i, ‘Umrān b. Khālid al-Qushayri, ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. Abi Khushāra al-Bajali, and ‘Abd Allah b. Qays al-Khawlāni. When they brought them before al-Mukhtār, he shouted at them with anger: “O You who killed the righteous! O You who killed the Lord of the youths of heaven! Allah has punished you on this unlucky day for your depriving (al-Husayn) of his garments!”
It was they who deprived al-Husayn, peace be on him, of his garments. Hence al-Mukhtār ordered them to be executed.
‘Umar b. Sa‘d was very afraid of al-Mukhtār. He sent him
(a letter) and asked him to write him security. Al-Mukhtār did this. Then
he announced before his companions that he would kill a man with great foot, hollow eyes, prominent eyebrows, and whose murder would gladden the believers and the angels brought nigh. Al-Haythem b. al-Aswad al-Nakha‘i understood that al-Mukhtār meant his friend ‘Umar b. Sa‘d. He sent his son to him, and he told him. Hence ‘Umar b. Sa‘d, the wicked, became terrified. He mounted his she-camel and fled Kūfa. Al-Mukhtār was told about this, and he said: “There is a chain around his (‘Umar’s) neck, and it will bring him back.” ‘Umar b. Sa‘d passed all the night (riding) his she camel, but he felt nothing. The she-camel took him through Kūfa and brought him to his house in the morning. He came into his house. Al-Mukhtār sent Abū ‘Umra and a group of the police, and they attacked ‘Umar b. Sa‘d’s house. ‘Umar b. Sa‘d stood to take his sword, but he stumbled over his jubbah. Abū ‘Umra hurried to him, cut off his head and brought it to al-Mukhtār. Hafs b. ‘Umar b. Sa‘d was sitting beside al-Mukhtār. His father had sent him to seek for him security from al-Mukhtār. Al-Mukhtār said to him: “Do you know this?” “Yes, and there is no good after him!” replied Hafs. Hence al-Mukhtār ordered him to be killed in order to follow his father. Then he said: “This, pointing at ‘Umar’s head, in stead of al-Husayn’s (head), and this, pointing at Hafs’s (head), in stead of (the head of) ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. However, they do not equal al-Husayn. By Allah, if I killed three fourths of Quraysh, they would not equal one of his fingers.” With this the life of this wicked traitor, ‘Umar b. Sa‘d, ended. This is because he warred against Allah and His Messenger, and spared no effort to spread corrupt in the earth. He thought that he would through murdering al-Husayn enjoy the power over al-Ray, live in ease, plenty, and kingdom. However, Allah disappointed his expectations. That was when Ibn Ziyād broke his covenant concerning appointing him as governor over al-Ray. Hence he stayed in Kūfa and was liable to curses until al-Mukhtār killed him and sent him to the Fire!
Among those who were punished justly was Harmala b. Kāhil,
 Al-Kāmil, vol. 3, p. 37.
the criminal, who killed ‘Abd Allah, baby of Imām al-Husayn. This wicked person, Harmala, saddened the Alids through this crime of his. Al-Minhāl b. ‘Umar narrated: “When I wanted to leave Mecca, I visited ‘Ali b. al-Husayn, and he said to me: ‘O Minhāl, what did Harmala b. Kāhil al-Asadi do?’
“I have left him alive in Kūfa,” I (al-Minhāl) replied.
The Imām raised his hands toward the heaven and supplicated warmly saying: “O Allah, let him (Harmala) taste the heat of iron! O Allah, let him taste the heat of the Fire!”
Al-Minhāl said: “When I returned to Kūfa, I visited al-Mukhtār, who was my friend. I greeted him, but he was busy thinking and waiting for a certain affair. Moments ago, then Harmala b. Kāhil was brought. Al-Mukhtār ordered a fire to be prepared, Harmala’s limbs to be cut off and thrown into the fire. Hence I exclaimed: ‘Allah is Great!’ Al-Mukhtār turned to me and said: ‘Exclaiming Allah is Great is good. Why have you exclaimed?’ I (al-Minhāl) told him about the supplication of Imām ‘Ali b. al-Husayn. This was great with al-Mukhtār. He fasted his daytime to show thanksgiving to Allah for responding to the supplication of ‘Ali b. al-Husayn at his hand.” Al-Mukhtār killed those who killed Imām al-Husayn, peace be on him, filled their houses with bereavement, sadness and mourning.
Al-Mukhtār knew that ‘Abd
al-Malik b. Marwān had appointed ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād as commander over a
huge army and sent him to conquer Kūfa, that he commanded him to permit his
soldiers to violate it for three days, as Yazid b. Mu‘āwiya did in Medina,
(the city of) the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Hence
al-Mukhtār prepared a strong believing army from among those who showed
friendship toward the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his
family, and harbored malice against the Umayyads. Then he appointed Ibrāhim b.
Malik al-Ashter as commander over the
 Ithbāt al-Hudāt, vol. 5, p. 214.
army. The Army of Ibn Ziyād surpassed Al-Mukhtār’s Army in number and equipment. However, it suffered low spirits and faith in war. The two armies met at a terrible battle, but Allah granted victory to the troops of Islam and faith. Accordingly the Syrian Army was defeated and suffered heavy casualties. As for Ibrāhim, he killed ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād with his own sword. He also killed al-Husayn b. Numayr and other Syrian commanders. Then he ordered their heads to be brought to al-Mukhtār, who became very pleased with seeing them.
The historians said: “A snake came into the mouth of the head of Ibn Marjāna (‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād) and went out of its nostril, an then it did this several times.” Then al-Mukhtār sent the head to Imām ‘Ali b. al-Husayn and ordered the messenger to put it before the Imām at the time when food was placed on the table-clothe after finishing the noon prayers. The messenger came to the door of the Imām at the time when the people went to have food, and then he called out: “O Household of the Prophet, Origin of the Message, Place of descent of the angels, the House of Revelation, I am the messenger of al-Mukhtār b. Abū ‘Ubayda, and the head of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād is with me!” Hence all the Alid womenfolk in the houses of the Hāshimites cried. They remembered the crimes Ibn Marjāna (‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād) committed against the Prophet’s womenfolk.
When the Imām saw the head of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād, he prostrated himself in prayer, thanked Allah for this, and said: “Praise belongs to Allah who has not made me die until he has fulfill what he had promised and punished my enemy!” Then the Imām turned to those who were present and said to them: “Glory be to Allah! None is deceived by the world except him who shows ingratitude toward Allah’s favors! The head of Abi ‘Abd Allah (al-Husayn) was sent to Ibn Ziyād at the time when he was having lunch!”
The historians said: “None saw Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace beon him, smiling from the day when his father was martyred, except on the day when he saw the head of b. Marjāna (‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād). He had camels, and they carried fruit for him from Syrian. Hence , peace be on him, ordered the fruit to be divided among the people of Medina.”
All the Muslims were delighted when they heard of the death of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād. All the people cursed him. The poets satirized him and gloated over his death. Yazid b. al-Mufarragh said:
‘Umayr b. al-Habbāb al-Salmi satirized the Army of ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād saying:
The army which brings together wine and fornication does
not triumph when its meets an enemy.
The army which hurried along with ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād was composed of a criminal band which did not believe in Allah and the hereafter. Rather it hurried with him to look for its interests and purposes. Any how, al-Mukhtār gladdened the Alids when he killed ‘Ubayd Allah b. Ziyād and his criminal friends, who took part in murdering Imām al-Husayn, Lord of the youths of Heaven. He did not confine himself to this great act toward the Alids, rather he gave them a lot of money. He sent twenty thousand dinars to Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, and he accepted it and built the houses of the children of ‘Aqil, which were destroyed by the Umayyads. He give as gift a lot of money to the Imām, Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya, and the rest of the Alids.
Al-Mukhtār was one of the good things of the world, object of pride of the Arab and Islamic communities, and hero of history. He revolted against the Umayyads to support the truth and to adopt the fatal affairs of the community. Through his immortal revolt Allah gladdened the hearts of the believers. For he destroyed that traitorous band and made it taste the outcomes of its evil deeds. With this we will end our speech about the revolt of al-Mukhtār.
The people of al-Hijāz harbored malice against the
Umayyads. This is because the Umayyads attacked during the days of Yazid
Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family), and the Holy Kaaba, which are the object of pride of Muslims. When Ibn al-Zubayr summoned the people of al-Hijāz to pledge allegiance to him, the overwhelming majority of them responded to him. Al-Hijāz and other Islamic countries were ready to support Ibn al-Zubayr. However, Ibn al-Zubayr was not worthy of this important office. He did not take care of saving the community from the wrongdoing of the Umayyads, nor did he take care of its interests. Rather he wanted kingdom and authorities. ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Umar recognized the qualities and inclinations of Ibn al-Zubayr. His wife asked him to pledge allegiance to Ibn al-Zubayr, and he said to her: “Have you not seen the date-palms which Mu‘āwiya visited? Surely, Ibn al-Zubayr wants nothing except them!”
Ibn al-Zubayr showed worship. He clung to the Sacred House. He sometimes circled it, and sometimes prayed in it. He did all this to deceive the simple. Concerning him, Imām ‘Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, said: “Ibn al-Zubayr will set up the snare of the religion to choose the world!” Ibn al-Zubayr had black past, for it was he who warred against Imām ‘Ali, the trustee of Allah’s Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and the gate of the city of his knowledge. It was he who urged his father al-Zubayr to wage war against him. Through this he encouraged the Umayyads to announce an armed mutiny against the legal authority of Imām ‘Ali, and then they held the reins of the government.
The people disliked Ibn al-Zubayr and hated his government. This is because he was a miser. It was said that he gave money to the poor from the Public Treasury as if he gave to them from his father’s inheritance! Al-Fakhri said: “His miserliness was abundant, hence power did not go well with him.” Abū Hurra criticized him for miserliness saying:
Ibn al-Zubayr wanted to conceal his miserliness from the people saying: “My stomach is a span of the hand, hence it holds nothing of the world! It is I who seek refuge in the House and seek sanctuary in the Lord!” These words of him made the people laugh at him. This is because the people knew that he was like a wolf, that he did not abstain from plundering their possessions, and that he bit the properties of Allah as the camels bit spring plants!
The political analysts ascribed the overthrowing of his government to his miserliness and psychological weakness. They said that if the government went well with him, he would spread miserliness and poverty among the people.
Ibn al-Zubayr detested the Household of the Prophet, may
Allah bless him and his family, and harbored malice against them to the extent
that he left calling down blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and
his family, in his sermons. He was asked about this and
he replied: “For he (the Prophet) has evil family who crane their neck when they hear his name!”
Ibn al-Zubayr said to Ibn ‘Abbās: “I have concealed detest toward you, the members of this House, for forty years!” This rude person (Ibn al-Zubayr) denied the Household of the Messenger who were the source of awareness and thought in Islam. Moreover, he forget the bounty of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, toward his people when he saved them from the poor life in the desert, built for them glory and kingdom, made them the masters of nations and peoples.
Ibn al-Zubayr asked the Alids to pledge allegiance to
him, but they refused to accept this and said: “We will not pledge allegiance
(to you) until the members of the community come together.” Hence he ordered
his policemen to arrest them, and they arrested them at Zamzam, threatened
them with death and burning. Then Ibn al-Zubayr appointed for them a fixed
time. Some followers of b. al-Hanafiya advised him to ask help from
al-Mukhtār, the ruler of Iraq. Accordingly, Ibn al-Hanafiya wrote to
al-Mukhtār and told him about the conditions of the Alids in al-Hijāz. At
once, al-Mukhtār responded to him. He appointed ‘Abd Allah al-Jadali as
commander over some military troops and commanded him to hurry to al-Hijāz.
‘Abd Allah took his troops and hurried to Mecca. When they reached it, they
raised their banners and called out: “Come on to demand vengeance for
al-Husayn!” Then they arrived at the Holy Mosque (in Mecca). As for Ibn
al-Zubayr, he ordered wood to be prepared at the gate of the prison where the
Alids were. He intended to burn them. However, the troops broke into the
prison and took the Alids out of it. Then they asked Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya
to permit them to war against Ibn al-Zubayr, but he refused their request and
said to them: “I do not regard
(fighting) in Mecca as lawful!” Concerning the salvation of Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya from the prisons of Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn ‘Abd al-Rahmān, a great poet, said:
I (the author) firmly believe that Ibn al-Zubayr would have killed all the Alids if the affairs had gone well with him. However, Allah, the Exalted, ruined Ibn al-Zubayr’s power through His kindness!
It was normal for the people to overthrow the government
of Ibn al-Zubayr, for he was afflicted by miserliness, dictatorship, and vain
glory, as Abd al-Malik b. Marwān said.
Any how, the Umayyad
troops headed by al-Hajjāj b. Yousif al-Thaqafi advanced against Ibn al-Zubayr and occupied Mecca. Ibn al-Zubayr sought protection with the Sacred House. He expected safety and salvation. He imagined that his seeking protection with the Sacred House would profit him, that the Umayyads would not aggress against him. However, he made a mistake in this because the Umayyads did not respect Allah, nor did they respect His House. Any how, the Umayyads began throwing fire at Ibn al-Zubayr. Hence his companions abandoned him and asked al-Hajjāj for security, and he granted them this. Only few persons stayed with Ibn al-Zubayr, hence the Umayyad troops attacked Ibn al-Zubayr, and then al-Hajjāj ordered him to be crucified beside the Holy Mosque. He remained crucified. Al-Hajjāj did not allow anyone to bury him until ‘Abd al-Malik ordered him to be buried. With this we will end our speech about the revolt of Ibn al-Zubayr, who aimed through his revolt at accomplishing his personal desires, paying no attention to the interests of the community and its achievements.
These are some of the revolts which broke out in that time. They resulted from the political pressure of the Umayyads against the community. The revolts aimed at accomplishing tranquillity, security, preventing the authorities from pursuing the free and the Muslim thinkers.
As for the economic life in the time of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, it was paralyzed and extremely disordered. Agriculture, which was the backbone of the general economy in that time, declined. This is because of the discords, local disorders, the State’s neglecting irrigation projects and land reform. These bad conditions resulted in general famine, high prices, and paucity of life necessities such as clothing. An Asadi poet described his bad economic life in a poem in which he praised some Kufān nobles asking kindness from them. Listen to his words:
 He was Ibn 'Abdal. He composed the poem on a mouse and a cat. The poem is weak in composition.
This is a miserable poet whom poverty and deprivation attacks. He is about to die because of hunger. Then he mentions his poor, simple furniture. Hence he flatters this generous man to help him with food to refresh his soul.
All the Muslim communities led a miserable life. The did not know plenty nor did they know ease. This is because the Umayyads and their hirelings dominated the Public Treasury.
The Umayyads indulged in pleasures. Their children wore
silk garments and looked like the Hercules Dinārs.
‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bought a garment for four hundred dinārs, wore it and
said: “How coarse this garment is!”
Hārūn b. Sālih reported on the authority of his father, who said: “We gave
many dirhams to the washerman to wash our garments with the suds of the
garments of ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, for it was full of perfume (i.e. musk).”
Marwān b. Abān b. ‘Uthmān wore seven shirts of different length, and they
looked like a ladder, and on them he wore a ‘Adani garment
which he bought for one thousand dirhams. The historians have mentioned many examples of the Umayyad luxury and their playing with the economy and wealth of the community.
The Umayyads went too far in offering gifts to the poets. They bestowed lavishly upon their poet al-Ahwas. They one time gave him one hundred thousand dirhams, and another time they gave him ten thousand dinārs. In his poetry al-Ahwas has mentioned that he did not earn his plentiful wealth from commerce or inheritance; rather he earned it from the Umayyads’ gifts and bestowals. He says:
men remain alive, and which is a medicine (for them).
These lines of poetry mean that he who made friends with al-Walid and was among his hirelings obtained plentiful wealth and riches. As for those who turned away from him, they obtained nothing except sudden death. Of course, these are the qualities of the dictatorial regime which follows caprice and desires, and does not conform to the law.
The Umayyads lavishly spent money on the singers. Al-Walid b. Yazid gave Mi‘bid, the singer, twelve thousand dinārs. He ordered all the singers of al-Hijāz to be brought, and he gave them many gifts. Mi’bid, Mālik b. Abi al-Samh, and Ibn ‘Ā’isha visited Yazid b. ‘Abd al-Malik, and he gave each of them one thousand dinārs. Al-Walid sent for Younis al-Kātib, and he went to him and sang before him. Al-Walid admired Younis’s songs and gave him three thousand dinārs.
In this manner the wealth of the community was divided among the singers and the dissolute. In the meantime the community suffered poverty and miserliness, and Islamic economy disappeared from life.
The life of amusement, vanity, and impudence prevailed most the Islamic countries, and especially as it concerned the holy places such as Medina and Mecca. The Umayyad government intentionally spread amusement places in these two sacred cities, that the Muslims might abandon them. We will briefly present the amusement and impudence in Medina.
Singing spread in Medina to the extent that it became its center. Concerning the people of Medina, Abū al-Farajj said: “Their scholar did not deny singing, nor did their worshipper repel it!” Abū Yousif said to one of the people of Medina: “How wonderful your affair in these songs is, O people of Medina! Why do your noble and ignoble not abstain from singing?” When the singers sang, all young men, young women, old men, and old women came to listen to their songs. Dahmān, the famous singer, came to ‘Abd al-‘Aziz al-Makhzūmi, the judge of Medina, to bear witness against an Iraqi. The judge accepted Dahmān’s witness and justice. Hence the Iraqi said to him: “Dahmān is a singer, and he teaches the slave-girls singing!” However, the judge said: “May Allah forgive me and you! Where is he who does not sing? (i.e., all the people sing.)”
Mālik b. Anas, the Jurist of Medina, had perfect
knowledge of singing. Husayn b. Dahmān al-Ashqar reported: “I was in Medina.
The street was void (of people) at midday, and I began singing the following:
What’s the matter with your family, O Rabāb? They look askance (at me) as if
they were angry! Suddenly, a door was opened, and a man with a red beard
appeared. Then the said: ‘O Dissolute, you have performed (the song) in a bad
manner, prevented songstress, and proclaimed atrocity.’ Then he began singing.
Hence I asked him: ‘May Allah set you right, where have brought this song?’
‘When I was young, I would follow the singers to learn (songs) from them,’ he
replied, ‘but my mother said to me: If the singer has an ugly face, none
listens to his songs. Hence leave singing and study jurisprudence, for the
ugliness of face does not injure it. Accordingly, I abandoned
the singers and followed the jurists.’ Then I said to him:
‘Repeat (the song), may I be your ransom!’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘do you
want to say that you have learnt singing from Mālik b. Anas?’ Suddenly, he was Mālik b. Anas, but I did not recognized him.” Whether this narration is true or fabricated against Imām Mālik in order to degrade his importance, it is sure that Medina in that time was one of the singing centers in the Islamic world, and a special institute for teaching slave girls singing.
Singing and dancing parties were held in Medina. Perhaps men and women attended them, and there were no curtains between them. Abū al-Farajj reported: “A beautiful woman sat and wore a long burnoose. There was a Yemeni cloak on her shoulder. She made those who were with her were shorter burnooses. Then she stood, sang, and plaid on the lute. Then Ibn Surayjj, Mi‘bid, Ibn ‘Ā’isha, and Mālik stood and danced with her. They had lutes in their hands and played on them as she did. Then she requested colored garments for her and the people, and they wore them. Then she walked, and the people walked behind her. She sang, and they repeated her song, as chorus. ‘Ā’isha, daughter of Talha, held mixed parties, and ‘Azzah al-Maylā’ sang at them.”
Singing spread among the People of Medina to the extent that it controlled their feelings and emotions. The narrators reported: “Mohammed b. ‘Umran al-Tamimi, the judge of Medina, heard a slave girl singing. Her song moved him, and he unconsciously went to his sandal and hung it in his ear owing to intense glee. Then he crept and said: ‘Guide me, I am a camel! Guide me, I am a camel!’”
Ibn Abi Rabi’a heard a beautiful woman singing, and he
unconsciously tore his shirt, and it became like a cloak. The people of Medina were so fond of singing that they went out to see off Salāma al-Qas, a songstress ‘Abd al-Malik bought from her master for twenty thousand dinārs. They crowded in the yard of the palace, and she stood among them and sang them:
She repeated these words, and they people wept and wailed. Yazid b. ‘Abd al-Malik bought Habbāba, a songstress. She began singing before him. Her previous master, who was from Medina, sat beside Yazid. He unconsciously exposed his beard to a candle, and it burnt out of intense glee. The historians have mentioned many examples of the singing in Medina.
Many songstresses were in Medina (Yathrib). They played an active role in teaching the youths singing. They spread singing, impudence, and corruption. Unfortunately, Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family) became the center of a corrupt life in the time of the Umayyads. The people expected that Medina would be an institute for religious culture, a source for intellectual, civilizational radiance in the Arab and Islamic world. However, the Umayyads deprived it of this aspects and made it lose its political and religious leadership.
The Umayyad kings led a life of amusement, vanity,
dissoluteness, and impudence. Their red nights witnessed wine, singing, and
dancing. Yazid b. Mu‘āwiya was the first Umayyad to
adopt singing and shelter the singers. He brought them from Medina. He openly practiced dissoluteness and drank wine.
Al-Walid b. Yazid was one of the dissolute Umayyads. He summoned Ibn ‘Ā’isha, the singer, to sing him a song, and he sang him. Al-Walid became gleeful and said to Ibn ‘Ā’sha: “By Allah, you have done well, my emir!” Then al-Walid took off his clothes and gave them to Ibn ‘Ā’isha. He remained naked until similar clothes were brought to him. Then he gave Ibn ‘Ā’isha one thousand dinars, make him mount a mule, and said to him: “May my father and mother be your ransom, mount the mule and go away! You have left me yearning for your songs!” Al-Walid sent for ‘Attrad, the singer. When he heard one of his songs, he lost consciousness, tore his embellished garment, and threw himself into a pool of wine. He was still in the pool until he was brought out of it. He was drunk as if he was dead. When he became conscious, he said to ‘Attrad: “I imagine that you will go to Medina, that you will stand, sit in its assemblies, and say: ‘The Commander of the faithful (al-Walid) summoned me, and I paid him a visit. He asked me to sing, and I sang him. I made him gleeful, and he tore his garments.’ By Allah, if you told the people of this event, and I heard of it, I would cut off your neck!” Then al-Walid gave ‘Attrad one thousand dinārs, and he took them and went away.
Yazid b. ‘Abd al-Malik is another example of the dissolute Umayyads. He sent for Ibn ‘Ā’isha, and he came to him. He asked him to sing, and he sang beautifully. Accordingly, he became gleeful and said to his butler: “Give us wine to drink in the fourth heaven!”
These kings spread dissoluteness and corruption all over the Islamic world, and especially as it concerns Medina (Yathrib). This is because they wanted to defile the holiness of this city and its remarkable position with the Muslims.
As for Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, he adopted a solid attitude toward these corrupt trends, which destroyed all moral traits. He shed on them light of his holy spirit which appears in al-Sahifa al-Sajjādiya, which shakes inner selves. This is because the Sahifa contains, preaching, guidance, moral lessons, and Islamic values.
Al-Sahifa al-Sajjādiya, the Gospel of the Household of Mohammed (may Allah bless him and his Household), protected Islam against the Umayyad corrupt methods. It warned the Muslims against intellectual and social decline and urged them to obey Allah, the Creator of the world and Giver of life.
Moreover Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, followed the behavior of his grandfather, the greatest prophet, may Allah bless him and his family. Hence he was able to guide the straying to the right path.
As for the scientific life in the time of the Imām, peace be on him, it was paralyzed in the full sense of the world. This is because the Umayyad government turned away from knowledge, sent far cultural awareness, and spared no effort to make the Muslims ignorant. The Umayyads firmly believed that their interests would be destroyed through knowledge and public awareness, hence they established their kingdom on ignorance. Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, realized this destructive problem, so he, peace be on him, raised the banner of knowledge and summoned the youths of the community to release themselves from the shackles of ignorance.
Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, opened brilliant
horizons to knowledge which men had not recognized before. He presented the
Islamic sciences such as hadith, jurisprudence, interpretation (of the
Qur’ān), theology, philosophy, etc. The biographers said: “The religious
scholars narrated countless science (traditions) from ‘Ali b. al-Husayn.”
The School of the Next Generation was established in the time of the Imām, peace be on him. It was the first Islamic school to be established in Medina after the School of the Imāms from among the members of the House (ahl al-Bayt) , peace be on them. This school took care of the Islamic sciences. As for its members, they were Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab, ‘Urwa b. al-Zubayr, al-Qāsim b. Mohammed b. Abi Bakr, Abū Bakr b. ‘Abd al-Rahmān b. al-Hārith b. Hishām, Sulaymān b. Yasār, ‘Ubayd Allah b. ‘Uttba b. Mas‘ūd, and Khārija b. Zayd. Concerning them, the poet said:
It is worth mentioning that some of these religious scholars studied under Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him, and reported hadith and jurisprudence on his authority, especially as it concerns Sa‘id b. al-Musayyab. Any how, the scientific life in the time of the Imām, peace be on him, was very weak, for the people busied themselves with forming parties in order to hold the reins of the government and control the wealth of the Islamic countries.
The poets have shown in their poetry the literary life during the Umayyad government. Unfortunately, this poetry does not represent the social problems in this time. Besides it does not represent the intellectual and literary life. Rather it represents their tribal beliefs. The poets spoke about their tribal qualities such as generosity, bravery, immense wealth and number. They employed poetry as means to satirize each other and to call one another by nicknames. Hence poetry became a destructive tool. You can clearly see this quality in al-Farazdaq’s and Jarrir’s poetry. Most their poetry is on satire, cursing, and slander. They satirized each other to the extent that they used all the words in the dictionary of cursing and slander. This indicates that the pre-Islamic opinions returned in an ugly manner during the days of the Umayyad government.
In these lines of poetry, al-Kumayt prefers the good traits of his people to those of the Qahtānis. He ascribes to his people the moon of the heaven and the brilliant stars from among men. He singles them out for noble qualities and laudable deeds. He reviles their opponents, the Qahtānis. This is because the Qahtānis married their daughters to the Abyssinians and the Persians, and they gave birth to black and red children. Al-Kumayt says that this marriage results in an offspring like mules. Hence this satire made the Qahtānis angry, moved discords and detest between them and the Madaris. In the meantime, Di‘bil al-Khuzā’i, the poet of the doctrine, answered al-Kumayt and praised his people in a poem composed of six hundred lines of which is the following:
 Al-Mas'ūdi, Murūjj al-Dhahab, vol. 2, p. 196.
The historians said: “The Nazāris went on preferring themselves to the Yemenis, and the Yemenis went on preferring themselves to the Nazāris until they destroyed the country and moved tribalism in the deserts and the cities.”
Any how, the purposes of poetry were confined to boasting and calling by nicknames. This kind of poetry has no sense of an intellectual life nor has it a summons to good and virtue. Rather it has a summon to decline and backwardness. With this we will end our speech about the time of Imām Zayn al-‘Ābidin, peace be on him.
 Ibid., 197.