Yazid (may Allah curse him), the son of Muaviyah, was a blot to Islam and Muslims. He has been cursed in the Holy Quran as well. It is mentioned in Surah Bani Israel (17), verse 60 that –
“… And We did not make the vision which We showed you but a trial for men and the cursed tree in Quran as well?”
Tabari, explaining the revelation of this verse, has written about a dream that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had. The Prophet (s.a.w.a.) dreamt that the children of Hakam bin Abi Aas (from the family of Umayyah) were jumping up and down upon his pulpit like monkeys. This dream upset the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) so much that he never laughed again. [Tafsir-e-Tabari, Vol. 15, Pg. 177, Ad-Durrul-Mansur, Vol. 4, Pg. 191]
Ayesha told Marwan bin Hakam that Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) told her: “The ‘Cursed Tree’ in the Quran implies you (i.e. Marwan bin Hakam and his family).” [Al-Durr al-Manthoor, Vol. 4, Pg. 191]
Marwan bin Hakam is the originator of ‘Bani Marwan’ (the progeny of Marwan). His acronym (Kunniyat) was Abu Abdil Malik. His genealogy is Marwan bin Hakam bin Abil Aas bin Umayyah.
Thus, the bottom line is that history has proved that ‘the cursed tree’ is none other than the family of Umayyah – Bani Umayyah. Yazid, the accursed son of Muaviyah is from this very family.
The Genealogy of Yazid
His father’s name was Muaviyah and that of his grandfather – Abu Sufyan. His grandmother was Hinda – the one who ate the liver of Hazrat Hamzah (a.s.), the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) uncle after the battle of Uhud. She was notorious throughout Mecca as being a woman of loose character. Yazid’s mother’s name was Maisoon binte Bakhdal Kalbi. She was extremely beautiful due to which Muaviyah became inclined towards her. However when she conceived Yazeed, Muaviyah abandoned her. Hence, Yazeed was born in her house where she and many other women of immoral character breast fed him.
Yazid’s genealogy and the dirty deeds of his parents and grandparents have been chronicled in details. Abu Sufyan, Hinda the liver eater, Marwan and their followers were foremost in the enmity towards Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and Ahle Bait (a.s.).
The Despicable Attributes of Yazid
Every society and all the religions of the world declare alcoholism, gambling, genocide, incest, fornication and the like to be the worst of acts. Humanity deems that any person who indulges in these acts should be condemned. Islam too has denounced these activities, declared them to be unlawful (Haraam) and threatened with severe punishment, both in this world as well as the hereafter, for those who commit them. Moreover, a friendly relationship with such people too is prohibited in Islam.
The Holy Quran says, “And obey not from among them any sinner or ungrateful one.” [Surah Al-Insaan (76): 24]
The character of Yazid Ibn Muaviyah was synonymous with all of these shameful qualities. He stood for everything which Islam had forbidden.
The atrocities of Yazid on the Muslim nation (other than the event of Karbala)
Historians have recorded that after the event of Karbala (the event of Karbala is covered separately later), among the other shameful acts committed by Yazid, two acts which bring out the brutality of Yazid and his hate for Islam are:
After Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) was martyred in the Kufa Mosque in the year 40 A.H. the position of Imamate was given to his elder son Imam Hasan Ibn Ali (a.s.) on Divine command. However, Muaviyah Ibn Abu Sufyan became a self-proclaimed Caliph of Muslims by deliberate use of military power after the rule of Imam Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.). He did not have any rightful claim to Caliphate. Muaviyah wanted to usurp this position so that he could perform all his illicit activities under the name of Islam. He also committed atrocities on the followers and Shias of Imam Hasan (a.s.). However, since he was very well aware of the status of Imam Hasan (a.s.) he entered into a Peace treaty with him. It was also his Machiavellian politics due to which he made war an impossibility for Imam Hasan (a.s.) by threatening his soldiers to life and bribing some others. Among the many conditions of that peace treaty were that he agreed to not torture any of the Shias and also agreed that the position of Caliphate was to be handed over to the Prophet’s household.
Muaviyah, however, did not adhere to any of the conditions. He even had Imam Hasan (a.s.) poisoned which resulted in the latter’s martyrdom in 50 A.H. As per the Divine command, after Imam Hasan (a.s.), his younger brother Imam Husain (a.s.) was appointed as the Imam of the Muslim nation. Muaviyah did not honour the position of Imam Husain (a.s.) and continued his despotic rule. He finally died in 60 A.H.
After his death, his son Yazid took over from him and wanted Imam Husain (a.s.) to pay allegiance to him (bay’at) so that Muslims would recognize Yazid as the rightful caliph. At that point in time, Yazid had gained control of almost the entire Muslim empire but he very well realized that till Imam Husain (a.s.) does not pay allegiance to him and recognize him as the Caliph of the Muslims, his claim to Caliphate would be falsified and he wouldn’t get a chance to carry out all his illegal activities. He also threatened to kill Imam Husain (a.s.) if he refused to do bay’at. Imam Husain (a.s.) was very well aware of Yazid’s character and the reason behind his asking for bay’at. Imam (a.s.) refused to do bay’at saying,
"A person like me can never do bay’at of a person like Yazid.”
Imam (a.s.) also said,
“Death with honor is better than a life of degradation.”
In the year 60 A.H. when Imam Husain (a.s.) went to Mecca for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Yazid sent his soldiers to Mecca to force Imam Husain (a.s.) for bay’at with clear instructions to them that they should kill Imam Husain (a.s.) if he refuses to pledge allegiance to Yazid and accept him as the leader of Muslims. When Imam Husain (a.s.) came to know of his evil plans, he converted his Hajj into an Umrah and left from Mecca. Imam Husain (a.s.) did not want any bloodshed in the holy land of Mecca and that too during Hajj. Hence, in order to preserve the sanctity of the Holy Kaaba, he along with his family left from Mecca to Iraq. Little did his family know that this would be their last journey with their beloved master, Imam Husain (a.s.). The journey which started in the month of Zilhajj (the last month of the Islamic calendar) of 60 A.H. came to a halt when the caravan of Imam Husain (a.s.) reached the Iraqi city of Karbala, which is on the banks of river Euphrates, on 2nd Muharram 61 A.H. (the first month of the Islamic calendar).