I apologise for the delay in today’s post. Got caught up in something!
After the death of Mu’awiya, his son Yazid took charge of the caliphate. In those times, paying allegiance to a ruler was considered very important. All those of importance were to pay allegiance to the king of that time, agreeing to comply to their rules and ways. Before Yazid came into power, Mu’awiya had asked the well-known to swear allegiance to Yazid and his caliphate. Imam Hussain (A.S) was not amongst these people. He had also guarded his son that when the time came, and if Imam Hussain (A.S) refused to give his hand in allegiance to his caliphate, he must simply overlook the matter or await dire consequences.
Yazid, reckless and egotistic, paid no heed to his father’s warnings and ordered the governor of Medina to force Imam Hussain (A.S) to pledge allegiance, or, if not, then to send his head to Damascus. After the governor of Medina informed Imam Hussain (A.S) of the order, the Imam asked for a day’s time to think. In the meanwhile, he started a journey towards Mecca with his family. For about four months the Imam and his family sought refuge in Mecca, during which time letters from his sympathizers started to flood in. These consisted of letters from the people of Kufa, who asked Imam Hussain (A.S) to march to Iraq and to overthrow Yazid and take control of the empire that was rightfully his.
When Zilhaj, the month of the annual pilgrimage (Hajj) arrived, the Imam found out that some of Yazid’s men had also entered Mecca with the intention to kill him. With no intention to accept Yazid as his caliph, Imam Hussain (A.S) announced that he would now be heading off to Iraq, and that he would be martyred. He also asked other Muslims to come with and help him in his task.
When going up against an army like that of the Ummayads, it was understood that the Muslims would not emerge victorious at the end of the war (materialistically). Imam Hussain (A.S), however, refused to pledge his allegiance to a ruler who refused to follow the teachings of his grandfather. He was warned by several people of the danger that awaited him if he embarked upon this journey. He, however, stated that death was inevitable for him whichever way he chose and if he leaving Mecca meant saving respect for the house of God, then that was what he would do.
While on the way to Kufa and still a few days’ journey away from the city, he received news that the followers of Yazid in Kufa had put to death the representative of the Imam, Muslim ibn Aqeel, in that city and also one of the Imam’s determined supporters who was a well-known man in Kufa. Their feet had been tied and they had been dragged through the streets. The city and its surroundings were placed under strict observation and countless soldiers of the enemy were awaiting him, There was no way open to him but to march ahead and to face death. It was here that the Imam expressed his definitive determination to go ahead and be martyred.
TOMORROW: KARBALA – MUHARRAM 2nd, 61 A.H.