Imam Husain’s (a.s.) reply to Muwawiyah
According to Ibne Qutaiba Dainoori and Kashee, when Marwan was the governor of Madina during the reign of Muawiyah, he dispatched a letter to Muawiyah in which he wrote,
‘The prominent people of Iraq and Hejaz are socialising with Husain bin Ali (a.s) and I have come to know through reliable sources that they are planning a revolt against the government. Please inform me about the course of action that I should adopt in this matter.’
To this insolent request Muawiyah replied,
‘I received your letter in which you wrote about Husain bin Ali (a.s). I caution you against taking any step against him as long as he does not interfere with you. However be alert and keep a close watch on him.’
Later, Muawiyah sent a letter to Imam Husain (a.s) in which he wrote,
‘I have received certain news about you. If they are true, then it is not expected that you will involve yourself in those activities. By Allah! If a person has made an agreement and a promise, then it is obligatory upon him to fulfill it. And who else can be more aware of this matter than you. Your status and divine honour demands that you remain steadfast on your promise. But keep in mind that if I find that you have adopted deceit and deception against me, then I too will be compelled to act in a similar manner. If you deny my right then I too will reject your divine position. You are a man of understanding and knowledge. Hence protect yourself, your religion and the nation of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) and safeguard the latter from corruption. Refrain yourself from causing revolt and avoid meeting ignorant people.’
Imam Husain (a.s) wrote a forceful and befitting reply to this letter. But before going into the details of that letter, we would like to draw the attention of our esteemed readers towards those ‘concealed’ causes that compelled Imam Husain (a.s) to break his silence and admonish the son of the “liver-eating” Hind.
If any man of intellect and prudence were to analyse the reply of Imam Husain (a.s), then all those events and their causes will pass before his eyes that ultimately led to the tragic event of Karbala. In his letter, Imam Husain (a.s) has mentioned the way respected companions of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) like Hujr b. Adi Kindi (r.a.) and his pious followers and Amr b. Hamaq (r.a.) were mercilessly killed by Muawiyah b. Abu Sufyan. In this way Imam Husain (a.s) has not only exposed the evil character of Muawiyah, but he (a.s) has also bared the wickedness of the entire Umayyah clan. In his shameful and un-Islamic quest, Muawiyah has put to sword many distinguished personalities of that era. In fact, he has poisoned Imam Hasan (a.s) and Abdul Rehman b. Khalid to achieve his aim. This was because Muawiyah was only interested in making his son Yazid as the heir apparent. It was for this reason that he felt relieved after poisoning Imam Hasan (a.s) and sensed danger only from very few people. Thus, even though those individuals refused to pay allegiance to him, yet he falsely proclaimed that they had in fact sworn allegiance to him.
(Tarikh-e-Islam by Masoodi, pg 35)
When a person studies the history of Islam in some detail and ponders over the life of Imam Husain (a.s), he is able to appreciate and get some insight into the circumstances that eventually brought about his martyrdom. To understand the causes that led Imam (a.s.) to shed his blood in Allah’s Way, one will have to retrace his steps into the early Islamic history wherein the answers lie and not just in the reign of Muawiyah, which was just one of the causes.
This short treatise is not the place where we can have a detailed discussion on all these topics. However we can have a look at the key events of those times. But before doing so, we feel it is appropriate to bring a statement of Ibne Hajar Makki so as to reinforce our argument. Ibn Hajr Makki the celebrated Sunni scholar, Al-Sawaaeq Al-Mohriqah writes in his book.
‘Imam Ghazzali and others have said that it is forbidden for the scholars and orators to speak about the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (a.s) and Imam Husain (a.s) and the circumstances related to it. Also they should not speak about the fighting that took place between the companions because this portrays them in a bad light and people detest them and question their status.”
(Al-Sawaaeq Al-Mohreqah, pg 133)
One question that arises over here is – what is the connection between the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (a.s) and Imam Husain (a.s) and the quarreling among the companions? Why is it forbidden to speak about them, when a scholar like Shaikh Abdul Haq Dehlvi says that even Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) has spoken about the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) when Jibrael came and told him (s.a.w.a) that Husain will be martyred on the banks of the Euphrates? Imam Ghazzali and other followers of the Ahle Sunnat like him have done a huge favour to the believers by issuing an edict (fatwa) that forbids speaking about the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). This single edict of Imam Ghazzali has been successful in achieving what hundreds of books written by the followers of truth could not accomplish. That is to expose the true face of the enemies and bring to light their true Islam or lack of it. In the light of Imam Ghazzali’s edict, let us examine the causes and the events that led to the martyrdom of Imam Husain b. Ali (a.s)
Reasons that led to the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s):
Some of the causes that led to the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) have their roots in the era of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) Today the world finds it bizarre and wonders why the grandson of the Prophet (s.a.w.a) was killed just fifty years after the demise of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). How could the Muslim nation even think about such a dastardly act? But all such questions can be put to rest if we just turn back the pages of history. Some of the motives of killing Imam Husain (a.s) can be found there.
1. In the year 9 A.H, when Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) went for the battle of Tabuk, he left Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) behind in Madina and appointed him as his caliph and successor.
(Sahihe Bukhari, ‘Kitab ul Maghaazi’, pg. 18)
This was the same incident in which 12 – 14 hypocrites tried to get close to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) with the intention of killing him (s.a.w.a). But Allah revealed their evil intentions to His Prophet (s.a.w.a) and saved his life.
(Taarikh-e-Khamis, vol. 2, pg. 148)
So when the Muslims saw that the companions were determined to eliminate the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) for their worldly gains, then there was nothing that could stop the same people who were hungry for power and authority from killing the grandson of the Prophe (s.a.w.a.).
2. In the same year, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) had sent the first two caliphs with the verses of Surah Taubah to the Meccans. But he (s.a.w.a) soon recalled them and on divine command gave this privilege to Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s). When these two ‘elders’ witnessed this they felt grieved and offended.
(Kanzul Ummal vol.1, pg. 246; Qurratul Aainain, pg. 234; Sahihe Bukhari, pg. 238)
The Islamic nation bore testimony to the conduct of Abu Bakr and Umar and saw how they dared to question the wisdom of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) in replacing them with Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.). Being stripped of the honour of delivering the verses of Surah Taubah was a bitter pill that they were forced to swallow and this was more than evident in the manner they challenged the authority of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in relegating them. People of wisdom and intellect should themselves judge how the Muslim nation can be expected to respect and revere the grandson of the Prophet (s.a.w.a), when the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself was deprived of this reverence?
3. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) announced in Ghadeere Khum – by the Order of Allah – that Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) would be his (s.a.w.a) caliph and successor and proclaimed,
‘Of whomsoever I am the Master then Ali is his Master too’.
Inspite of this, the Muslims rejected the truth and denied Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) his rightful position. The Muslims were also aware of the interesting incident in Ghadeere Khum when Hazrat Jibrael (a.s.) warned Umar not to untie the knot of allegiance, and yet the latter went back on his words.
(Mawaddatul Qurba, pg 16 by Syed Ali Hamdani)
So when the Muslims had the audacity to refuse Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) as the first Imam, then there was little to prevent them from rejecting Imam Husain (a.s) as the third Imam.
4. Another instance when the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a) authority was blatantly challenged was when he (s.a.w.a.) ordered Abu Bakr and Umar to proceed with an army under the leadership of Osama, so that at the time of his (s.a.w.a) demise, both these personalities would be out of Madina. However, both of them refused to comply on some pretext or another. Eventually neither did they abide by the orders of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) nor did they leave Madina nor did they respect the saying of the Prophet (s.a.w.a).
(Al-Milal wa al-Nihal, vol. 1, pg. 10, Sharh of Nahjul Balagha by Ibne Abil Hadeed, vol. 2, pg. 21)
So why would the Muslims want to have anything to do with Imam Husain (a.s) and help him in his time of difficulty? This is despite the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a) emphatic appeal to his nation –
‘This son of mine – Husain will be martyred in Karbala. So whoever from among you is present at that time should help and support him.”
(Ibid, pg. 11)
So when the Muslims have not acted on the commands of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) in his own lifetime and refused to participate in the expedition led by Osama, then one can hardly expect them and other Muslims after them to submit to the prophetic command of assisting Imam Husain (a.s), fifty years after his (s.a.w.a) demise?
5. The tragic incident of ‘the pen and paper’ is further proof of the degrant mindset of the Islamic nation. The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) personally requested the Muslims for a pen and paper while he was breathing his last. His (s.a.w.a.) objective was to pen something by which the Muslims after him would be guided. At this critical juncture, the very companions who made tall claims of sacrificing their lives for the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) refused to oblige him. On the contrary, they offended the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) by saying that he was talking in a state of delirium and confusion. Other companions, standing besides the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), only laughed at this comment.
(Sahihe Bukhari, vol. 1, pg. 106; Mishkaat, vol. 2, pg. 253; Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol. 3, pg. 123).
Under these circumstances, how can one expect the same Muslims to comply with the command of loving and respecting Imam Husain (a.s) and accepting him as their leader and guide?
6. When the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) expired, most, if not all, companions were present in Madina. We observe that even when an ordinary Muslim passes away, his friends and relatives consider it as their moral responsibility to immediately gather around the family members and partake in their sorrow and grief. Yet when the divinely appointed representative i.e. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) departed from this world, his so-called beloved companions lacked the basic courtesy of even paying a cursory visit to his bereaved family members. They even abandoned the corpse of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) let alone participating in his burial! And for how long did they keep away? For a couple of hours? No. According to the distinguished historian Tabari, the companions were away for three days!
At the time when Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) expired, Abu Bakr was not present over there. He came after three days. During this time no one had the courage to draw the cloth off his face.
(Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol. 3, pg. 198; Seerah Al- Halabiyyah, vol. 2, vol. 366)
It is worth noting Maulvi Shiblee’s interesting quote on this topic –
‘No one in his wildest imagination could ever think that the very people who always professed love and affection for the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), would leave the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) without attending to his body and without arranging for his burial. What is more astonishing is that this offense and blunder was perpetrated by personalities (Abu Bakr and Umar) who are reckoned to be the paragon of Islamic virtue. They were so indifferent to the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) demise as if nothing had happened.’
(Al Farooq, pg. 66)
So if the leaders of the early Muslim nation are seen behaving in this fashion, then the Muslims of the year 61 A.H are bound to spill the blood of Imam Husain (a.s) for the worldly gains which their leaders coveted. Imam Husain (a.s) was the grandson of the same Prophet (s.a.w.a.). If the grandfather was not spared, then why would the Muslims treat the grandson any differently? Imam Husain (a.s) was third in the line of successors after Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). So if the chief himself was not exempted, how could the successor be treated in a different manner?
7. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), in his lifetime, had announced on various occasions that Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) would be his successor. Yet the people disregarded his declaration and proceeded to Saqifah Bani Saaedah to select their caliph and seized the caliphate from Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s). Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) asserted his right by declaring to Abu Bakr and Umar
‘You have usurped this right forcibly from us.’
(Al – Imamah wal Siyasah, pg. 19, Egyptian edition)
Yazid b. Muawiyah too followed the footsteps of his elders and emulated them. Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) had assigned Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s), Imam Hasan (a.s) and Imam Husain (a.s) as his successors on divine command. But Yazid had different plans and decided to usurp that right from Imam Husain (a.s) just as his elders had snatched that right (of caliphate) from Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s). Finally he killed Imam Husain (a.s.).
Once a Hashmi (i.e. member of Bani Hashim) was asked,
‘When was Imam Husain (a.s) martyred?’ He retorted, ‘On the day when the event of Saqifah Bani Saaedah took place.’
(Kitabul Alfaazul Kitabiyah, pg 143, Beirut edition)
8. When Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) refused to give his allegiance to Abu Bakr, Umar rushed to his (a.s) house along with a group of ‘Muslims’ and threatened to reduce the house to ashes if Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) did not concede to his demands.
(Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol. 3, pg. 198)
It was for the sake of wordly power (caliphate) that Umar threatened to torch the house of Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) and it was for the same reason that Yazid resorted to the drastic step of killing Imam Husain (a.s). If the Muslims of 61 A.H did not have the precedent of Umar’s inhuman treatment of Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s), they certainly would not have dared to behead Imam Husain (a.s).
9. The inheritance of every father is distributed among his sons and daughters. Nowhere in the Holy Quran has Allah exempted the Prophets (a.s.) and Messengers (a.s.) from this Islamic injunction. It is for this reason that after the demise of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), when Janabe Fatima (s.a.) saw that along with the caliphate, Abu Bakr had also conveniently seized other properties that actually belonged to her – because she was the daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) – she immediately sent a message to Abu Bakr demanding her rightful share. She asked for all those properties in Madina that were gifted to Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) and which he had obtained without any fight or battle. She also demanded her rightful share of Fadak and her portion from the Khums of Khaybar. The reply that Abu Bakr gave, quoting the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) is well known among the historians and the scholars. Equally well acknowledged is Janabe Fatima’s (s.a.) displeasure on her inheritance being snatched from her. For this act of injustice, she was so furious with Abu Bakr and Umar that she did not speak to them till her last breath.
(Sahih Bukhari, pg. 453; Sahih Muslim, pg 91;Sharh of Nahjul Balagha by ibn Abil Hadeed, vol.1, pg. 20; Madaarej Nabuwat, vol. 2, pg. 44)
The claim of Janabe Zahra (s.a.) about Fadak being gifted to her in the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) lifetime (and therefore outside the purview of inheritance) was rejected. This, along with the other dues (like Khums) were not granted to her. Actually this formed part of a well-crafted policy adopted by the Bani Umayyah. Right from the beginning, there was a group among the Muslims that was constantly plotting to bring about the downfall of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) and his progeny. This is because these people very well knew that the Ahlul Bait (a.s) would observe the Islamic tenets within the boundaries that had been defined by Allah and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.). And this worked against this group’s primary objective – downfall of Islam. They were afraid that if the Ahlul Bait (a.s) had any source of income then they (a.s) would continue doing the same service to Islam as was done by the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a). But the companions did not even for a moment consider the dreadful consequences of their actions ie. the wrath of Allah. Nor were they concerned about the will of their Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Imam Husain (a.s) is the son of the same Janabe Fatima (s.a.). He (a.s) was a major obstacle in their quest to achieve this world. Whatever Yazid did with Imam Husain (a.s), is what he found his predecessors doing with the Bani Hashim. He observed the way they had ruled and he continued in the same vein. What he did in 61 AH was what he found the rulers doing from 11 AH to 60 AH.
From what has been mentioned until now, we ask our esteemed readers to judge whether the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s) is connected only to Yazid or whether all the ‘elders’ are also involved – those who held the reins of Islam and were its rulers. Even if one hesitates to accept this reality categorically, one cannot prevent the conclusions from rising in the hearts, minds and conscience. It is precisely for this reason that the leaders of Ahle Sunnat have time and again refrained the people from talking about the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s). They knew that if this was done, the role of their ‘elders’ too would be exposed. Thus these leaders did not want the masses to ponder over such matters.
10. While there were a host of other reasons that led to the martyrdom of Imam Husain (a.s), we would now like to turn the attention of our readers to a very important reason that ultimately led to the tragedy of Karbala – the rise of Bani Umayyah and Muawiyah’s emergence as the ‘Caliph’. The events until now were a prelude to an enormous conspiracy and it is to achieve this aim that first Muawiyah, and then his son Yazid, were installed as rulers. Words are inadequate to express the deceitful and fraudulent manner in which Muawiyah usurped the caliphate. History is witness to his atrocities and oppression. Even enemies bemoan the manner in which he has mercilessly tortured and killed some of the most distinguished personalities of Islam. Imam Husain (a.s) has hinted at these very acts of terror committed by Muawiyah. Even if we turn a Nelson’s eye to the various acts of rebellion committed by Muawiyah against Islam, yet his brutal killing of Janabe Hujr b. Adi (r.a.) and Janabe Amr b. Humaq Khuzaee (r.a.) are sufficient disgrace and ignominy for him. Here, it is worth mentioning a statement made by Hasan-e-Basri, which pretty much sums up Muawiyah’s life. He remarks,
‘There are four acts committed by Muawiyah and each one of them is sufficient to bring about his destruction. Firstly, he has usurped the caliphate with the help of foolish and ignorant supporters while he ignored taking the suggestions of the companions of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and other men of distinction. Secondly, he appointed his son Yazid as his heir apparent who was an alcoholic, wore silk clothes and played musical instruments. Thirdly, he announced that Ziyad was the son of his father Abu Sufyan, whereas the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) had clearly mentioned that the son could only be attributed to the man who is the husband of the woman and the adulterer should be stoned to death. Lastly, he butchered Hujr and the companions of Hujr.’
(Al-Kaamil of ibn Athir vol.2, 45; vol. 3, pg. 245, Egypt edition 1301 AH; Taarikh-e-Abul Fudaa vol. 1, pg. 196; Taarikh-e-Tabari vol. 6, pg. 157)
Tabari narrates an interesting point. When Hasan-e-Basri learnt about the killings of Janabe Hujr b. Adi (r.a.), he enquired,
‘Were their funeral prayers recited? Were their bodies covered with the ‘kafan’? Were they buried? Were their bodies laid in the graves facing the Qiblah?’ When people replied in the affirmative to all these questions, he asserted, ‘Then this is sufficient proof against Muawiyah.’
(Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol. 6, pg. 100)
Hasan-e-Basri pointed out that if all those who were killed were given burial in line with the Islamic laws, then this was testimony of their being within the Islamic fold and dying as Muslims. And if this was the case then how come their killing was considered ‘mubaah’ (permissible)? The status of Janabe Hujr b. Adi (r.a.) among the early Muslims can be gauged from the fact that when Ayesha was informed about his brutal murder, she exclaimed, ‘By Allah! These people (i.e. Hujr b. Adi and his companions) were the scholars among the Arabs due to their extensive knowledge of the religion and its laws.’
(Shahid-e-Insaniyat, pg. 133)
Later Muawiyah himself evinced guilt at this heinous crime. Mohammed b. Sireen narrates that in the last days of his illness that ultimately took his life Muawiyah would lament,
‘O Hujr, your killing will force me to have a long day (in Qiyamat).’
(Taarikh-e-Tabari, vol.6, pg. 143)
Similarly, Amr b. Hamaq (r.a.) too was a respected companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) in that era. His greatness can be estimated from the fact that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) had conveyed salutations to him. He was arrested on the orders of Muawiyah and later stabbed to death by the spear. He was assaulted nine times while he had already breathed his last on the second attack made on him (Tabari vol. 6, pg. 148). Historically the first head that was raised on a lance was that of Janabe Amr (r.a.).
All these events created a tumult among the followers of Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s). Imam Husain (a.s) too was deeply affected by all these incidents. But the most crucial and heartbreaking episode was the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (a.s). It was a tragic and catastrophic event not only for Imam Husain (a.s) but for the entire Bani Hashim clan. Their mourning upon this calamity continued for an entire month.
(Mustadrakul Saheehain, vol. 3, pg. 173)
When the people of Iraq came to know about the martyrdom of Imam Hasan (a.s), they were prepared to withdraw their allegiance from Muawiyah and instead pay their allegiance to Imam Husain (a.s). But Imam Husain (a.s) discouraged them and refused to accept their allegiance saying,
‘Between me and Muawiyah there is a covenant and it is not appropriate for me to violate it. We will consider this issue after the death of Muawiyah.’
(Kitabul Irshad, pg. 206)
On the other hand, Muawiyah tried his best to ensure that his soldiers left no stone unturned in perpetrating every act of violence. In fact, he was keen that Imam Husain (a.s), in an act of frustration, would do something that would destroy the social fabric of peace so that he could put the entire blame squarely on the shoulders of Imam Husain (a.s). But Imam Husain (a.s) was well aware of Muawiyah’s designs. He (a.s) was also aware of the future course of events and hence adopted patience and remained silent. In fact, he (a.s) was waiting for Muawiyah to make the first move. In the real sense, the immediate cause of the battle of Karbala can be found here. This was a war of nerves that seemed to go on endlessly and tested the patience of Imam Husain (a.s). But due to his foresight and exemplary fortitude, Imam Husain (a.s) silently observed the transgressions committed by Muawiyah against Islam. When Muawiyah realised that Imam Husain (a.s) may no longer take matters lightly and could revolt against him, he immediately wrote a threatening letter addressing Imam (a.s), excerpts of which are mentioned in the beginning of this article. Now Imam Husain (a.s) no longer preferred to remain quiet. He (a.s) enumerated each and every act of discord and dissension on Muawiyah’s part. He (a.s) gave a fitting riposte to Muawiyah in a most eloquent manner that left no doubt about what he (a.s.) thought about him.
Below we present the historical letter written by Imam Husain (a.s) to Muawiyah:
‘I received your letter in which you wrote that you had received information that I was plotting a rebellion against you, something that you did not expect from me. You should know that this news has been conveyed to you by your so-called well-wishers who are nothing but sycophants trying to flatter you with their sweet talk. These talks only amount to slander and accusation. I have no plans even remotely hostile and I am not at all interested in waging a war against you. I prefer to remain silent. But you should know that I am not happy with what is happening around me. In fact, I am afraid that Allah may become angry with me for remaining silent. You and your cronies should not interpret my silence as an endorsement of your shameful and immoral acts.
(Al-Imamah Was Siyaasah, pg. 179-180)
O Muawiyah, are you not the same person who killed Hujr b. Adi? Are you not the one who killed those virtuous people who were up in arms against oppression and innovation in religion? They were not perturbed by any criticism targeted at them by their opponents in matters concerning religion, while you had made tall promises to them. They had not spread any corruption in the kingdom nor did they rise against you. Yet you did not spare them. Are you not the one who killed the companion of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a), Amr b. Hamaq al Khuzaee? He was such a pious and virtuous servant of Allah that his body had become lean and bent, his strength had deserted him and his face had become pale due to his ceaseless acts of worship. You gave him an assurance of security – a guarantee that was so sound that had it been given to an animal, it would abandon its sanctuary in the mountains for the plains. Then you had the audacity to break your pledge and you killed him for no fault of his. Are you not the same person who declared that Ziyad b. Somaiyya, who was the son of Abd, the slave of Bani Saqf – as the son of your father – Abu Sufyan? While the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) has clearly stated that the son will be ascribed to the man who is the husband of the lady. And according to the Islamic law, the adulterer should be stoned to death. But you chose to ignore the ruling of the Prophet (s.a.w.a) and acknowledged Ziyad as your brother and made him the governor of Iraq.
You did this so that he would severe the hands and legs of Muslims, pierce their eyes with hot iron rods, hang them from trees and beat them mercilessly. Are you not the one who ordered Ziyad b. Somaiyya to kill each and every Muslim who considered Ameerul Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taalib (a.s) as his master? He killed all of them on your orders. In your letter, you have the temerity to ask me to refrain myself, protect my religion and the nation of the Prophet (s.a.w.a) and not to spread corruption and dissent among the people.
But I know of no corruption greater than you and your wicked manners of ruling. Neither do I consider anything more valuable for myself, my religion and the Muslim nation than to condemn you on your waywardness. If I do this, then surely I will attain divine pleasure and proximity and if I remain silent then I will have to seek forgiveness from Allah and seek rectification from Him. You have threatened me in your letter that if I acted with deceit and dishonesty, then you too will not refrain from it and if I refused to acknowledge your right then you too would not respect and honour me. I challenge you to carry out your threat right from this day because I am certain that your shrewdness and deceit is in no way going to harm me. In fact, it is you who will have to bear all its evil consequences because I can see that you are wandering here and there in your state of ignorance and irresponsibility and have completely trampled and disregarded all your promises and covenants.
I swear by my life that by showing your lack of respect for your own pledges and by killing virtuous and pious people (of Iraq) you have not remained steadfast on any of the clauses of the treaty. Neither those people had waged a war against you nor had they spilled the blood of any innocent Muslim. Their only crime was that they loved and respected us and observed our rights. You put them to sword because you were afraid they might outlive you before you could kill them or arrest them. O Muawiyah! Know that there is a Book with Allah in which each and every evil deed perpetrated by you is recorded and you will have to account for and pay the price for each and every one of them. Are you under the delusion that Allah has forgotten the unabashed murder of the innocent under ridiculous pretexts, the exiling of Allah’s virtuous servants to distant lands and the appointing of alcoholics and those who play with dogs, as the rulers upon the people? Never!!
O Muawiyah! I am seeing that you are moving ahead on the path of destruction and ruin. You have destroyed your religion. You have left the Islamic nation in a state of helplessness and disruption. You are not safeguarding the trust that you are carrying on your shoulders. And know that on the one hand you consult the immature and foolish, while on the other hand you are fleeing from the pious and upright people. Was salaam.