Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah
The people differed concerning Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah, and they split into three groups, two extreme and one moderate. One of them was that he was one of the Muslim rulers, who did good deeds and bad ones. He was not born until the caliphate of `Uthman (may Allah be pleased with him). He was not a Kafir, but it was due to him that the death of Al-Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him) occurred, and what happened to the people of Al-Harrah. He was not a Sahaby, nor was he one of the `Awliya (pious people / righteous friends of Allah). This is the view held by Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah be merciful with him) [Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, part 3, p. 409-413 and part 4, p. 443, 484 and 506], the general opinion of most of the intelligent and knowledge people, and the view of Ahl-ul-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah.
Who was Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah?
His name was Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan ibn Harb ibn Umayaah al-Umawi al-Dimashqi.
adh-Dhahabi said: he was the commander of that army during the campaign against Constantinople, among which were people such as Abu Ayyoob al-Ansaari. Yazeed was appointed by his father as his heir, so he took power after his father died in Rajab 60 AH at the age of thirty-three, but his reign lasted for less than four years.
Yazeed is one of those whom we neither curse nor love. There are others like him among the khaleefahs of the two states (Umawi/Umayyad and ‘Abbaasi/Abbasid) and the governors of various regions, indeed there were some among them who were worse than him. But the issue in the case of Yazeed is that he was came to power forty-nine years after the death of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); it was still close to the time of the Prophet and some of the Sahaabah were still alive such as Ibn ‘Umar who was more entitled to the position than him or his father or his grandfather.
His reign began with the killing of the martyr al-Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him) and it ended with the battle of al-Harrah, so the people hated him and he was not blessed with a long life. There were many revolts against him after al-Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him), such as the people of Madeenah who revolted for the sake of Allaah, and Ibn al-Zubayr. [Siyar A’laam al-Nubalaa’, part 4, p. 38]
Shaykh al-Islam described people’s attitudes towards Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah, and said:
The people differed concerning Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan, splitting into three groups, two extreme and one moderate.
One of the two extremes said that he was a kaafir and a munaafiq, that he strove to kill the grandson of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to spite the Messenger of Allaah and to take revenge on him, and to avenge his grandfather ‘Utbah, his grandfather’s brother Shaybah and his maternal uncle al-Waleed ibn ‘Utbah and others who were killed by the companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), by ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib and others on the day of Badr and in other battles – and things of that nature. To have such a view is easy for the Raafidis who regard Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan as kaafirs, so it is much easier for them to regard Yazeed as a kaafir.
The second extreme group think that he was a righteous man and a just leader, that he was one of the Sahaabah who were born during the time of the Prophet and were carried and blessed by him. Some of them give him a higher status than Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and some of them regard him as a prophet. Both views are obviously false to one who has the least common sense and who has any knowledge of the lives and times of the earliest Muslims. This view is not attributable to any of the scholars who are known for following the Sunnah or to any intelligent person who has reason and experience.
The third view is that he was one of the kings of the Muslims, who did good deeds and bad deeds. He was not born until the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan. He was not a kaafir but it was because of him that the killing of al-Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him) happened, and he did what he did to the people of al-Harrah. He was not a Sahaabi, nor was he one of the righteous friends of Allaah. This is the view of most of the people of reason and knowledge and of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.
Should Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah be loved or cursed?
As for cursing him, people are equally split on this into three groups, one which cursed him, one which loved him and one which neither cursed him nor loved him. This is what was reported from Imaam Ahmad, and this is the view of the fair-minded among his companions and others among the Muslims. Saalih ibn Ahmad said: I said to my father, some people say that they love Yazeed. He said, O my son, does anyone love Yazeed who believes in Allaah and the Last Day? I said, O my father, why do you not curse him? He said, O my son, when did you ever see your father curse anybody?
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi said, when he was asked about Yazeed: according to what I have heard he is neither to be cursed nor to be loved. He said, I also heard that our grandfather Abu ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Taymiyah was asked about Yazeed and he said: we do not deny his good qualities or exaggerate about them. This is the fairest opinion. [Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam, part 4, p. 481-484]
This moderate opinion is based on the fact that his Fisq (flagrant violation of Islamic law) was not established in a way that makes cursing him permissible, or that the specified Fasiq (one flagrantly violating Islamic law) is not entitled to be cursed, whether due to a prohibition or out of respect. It has been authentically reported in “Sahih Al-Bukhari”, on the authority of `Umar – in the story about `Abdullah ibn Himar, who regularly drank Khamr (intoxicants) and was whipped for it by the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) – that when some of the Sahabah cursed him, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “لا تلعنه، فإنه يحب الله ورسوله“
“Do not curse him, as he loves Allah and His Messenger.” [Al-Bukhari, Fat-h-ul-Bary, no. 6780; and Abu Ya`la Al-Mawsily, Musnad, nos. 176 and 177.]
He (peace be upon him) also said, “لعن المؤمن كقتله” “Cursing a Mu’min is like killing them.” [Al-Bukhari, Sahih, Book on manners, no. 6105; Muslim, Sahih, Book on faith, no. 110; Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 4, p. 33; and Al-Darimy, Sunan, Book on blood money, no. 2361.]
These texts, as the other that include warnings are general, such as those concerning consuming orphans’ wealth unlawfully, Zina (sexual intercourse outside marriage), and theft, are not to be taken as proof that the person concerned will be one of the dwellers in the Fire, due to the possibility of the absence of binding conditions for a predominating reason. This reason may be due to Tawbah (repentance to Allah), good deeds, expiating circumstances, an accepted intercession, or any other cause for expiation of sins. All the above reasons make it prohibited to curse him, but as for not loving Yazid, because he did not perform the good deeds that necessitate loving him, and accordingly, he was one of the Muslim rulers, but loving this type of person is not lawful, because he performed actions that testified to his Fisq and injustice and these are evident from his biography and in the matters related to Al-Husayn (May Allah be pleased with him) and the people of Al-Harrah.
[Excerpts taken from Permanent Committee for Scholarly Research and Ifta’ Fatwa no. 1466 (Part No. 3; Page No. 396-398)]
May Allah grant us success! May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions!