By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"The Hashemites had played the game of kingdom; neither any message descended [from heaven] nor revelation).
These blasphemous words were uttered by Yazid today in 61 AH on the 1st of the month of Safar on the entry in his court in Damascus of the captive members of the blessed progeny of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), along with the severed heads of the martyrs of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala.
With a crucifix dangling around his neck as a memento from his adulterous mother, Maysoun, and a cup full of wine in one hand, the tyrant poked a cane at the teeth of the head of the Leader of the Youth of Paradise, Imam Husain (AS), placed in a tray before him, he gloating blurted out:
"Had my forefathers seen this action of mine (massacre of the Ahl al-Bayt), they would have been filled with pride and would have said, ‘O Yazid, you have avenged us!’ – for our defeats in the Battles of Badr and Ohad that they had imposed upon the Prophet of Islam.
Through such sacrilegious words and deeds, the son of the charlatan Mu’awiya and the grandson of the accursed pair, Abu Sufyan and Hind – the chewer of the liver of the Prophet’s uncle Hamza – thus openly admitted that he was not a Muslim.
By doing so, he exposed as un-Islamic the flawed system of caliphate that in violation of God’s commandments in the holy Quran, had started at Saqifa Bani Sa’da in Medina fifty years earlier in 11 AH, by depriving Imam Ali (AS) of his right of political leadership of the Ummah – as was proclaimed by the Prophet at Ghadir-Khom in a huge gathering of over a hundred thousand pilgrims while returning from his Farewell Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
His joy, however, was short-lived when the voice of lady from amongst the noble captives reverberated in the court to the shock of all courtiers:
"Those who have helped you to become the head of the Muslim State have done a big disservice to Islam and will soon know what awaits them. The end of all tyrants is terrible…”
The one, who spoke in such an eloquently electrifying manner to the tyrant, was none other than the Prophet’s granddaughter, Hazrat Zainab (SA), who with complete trust in the Will of God Almighty in carrying the fight to the enemy’s camp, added:
"God is sufficient and will deal with you as befitting your monstrosity, the Prophet is your antagonist and the angel Gabriel our supporter and helper against you.”
She then delivered a memorable sermon in flawless Arabic that shook the court of the Godless Omayyad regime to its very foundations. Passages from her sermon that meant proclamation of victory for the mission of Imam Husain (AS), read:
"O you the son of freed slaves! Is this your justice that the ladies of your household remain veiled and we, the Prophet’s family should be paraded thus? You have insulted our dignity… "O Yazid! Your misdeeds have clearly proved your rebellion towards God and the message the Holy Prophet brought to this world, and this has proved beyond doubt that you refuse to honour the Prophetic Message sent by God.
"This behaviour of yours does not come as a surprise, for your ancestors chewed the liver of the Prophet’s uncle Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttalib. Hind, the wife of Abu Sufyan, mutilated his body, had his liver taken out, sucked it and quenched her thirst for vengeance at the Battle of Ohad. You belong to this clan, which always opposed the Prophet and collected armies from various clans to oppose him. The offspring of such monsters are the enemies of God and His Prophet, and are expected to be merciless and deadly since violence is part of their nature.”
"O Yazid, you have done what you wished to do, but remember, you are doomed to perish and you will be cut to pieces. Then (on Judgement Day) you will be taken in to the presence of the Prophet and you will be burned with the sins you have committed by shedding the blood of his progeny and disrespecting the sanctity of his family. You will be taken in the presence of the Prophet to a place where his family members will be gathered and you will undergo horrible punishment and then there will be no escape for you and your companions.”
The tyrant further exposed his infidel roots by ordering a court mullah to mount the pulpit to praise the Godless Omayyads and to pour curses on the One and Only Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Taleb (AS).
At this, a 23-year old sick and weak youth stood up and asked permission to climb the "wooden planks” (pulpit) to state his position, but was denied request by Yazid. The court, however, insisted that he allow the frail captive to speak.
He was Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS), the son and successor of Imam Husain (AS), who moved the audience when he said:
"O people, we have been granted (by God) six things and favoured with seven: We have been granted knowledge, clemency, leniency, fluency, courage, and love for us in the hearts of the believers. We have been favoured by the fact that from among us came the Chosen Prophet, Mohammad (SAWA), the as-Siddiq (or the Most Truthful One) – Imam Ali (AS) – the at-Tayyar (that is, Ja’far ibn Abi Taleb whom God has granted wings to fly in the heaven on his loss of both his hands in the Battle of Mota), the Lion of Allah and of the Prophet (that is, Hamza ibn Abdul-Muttaleb), the Noblest of Ladies of the world Fatema the Chaste, and the Two Lords of the Youths of Heaven – Imam Hasan (AS)and Imam Husain (AS).”
The sermon of Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) stunned the tyrant, and as the people of Syria shocked at the unpardonable crime Yazid had committed, started weeping, he ordered the muezzin (caller to prayer) to recite the Azaan, although it was not yet time for the ritual prayer, nor was the place ritually clean to hold the prayer.
When the muezzin said: "Allahu Akbar”, Imam Zain al-Abedin (AS) said: "You have acknowledged as great the Greatest One Who cannot be measured and cannot be perceived by senses; there is nothing greater than Allah.”
When the muezzin recited: "Ashhadu an la ilaha illa Allah,” which means "I testify there is no god except Allah”, the Imam said: "My hair, my skin, my flesh, my blood, my brain, and my bones bear witness that there is no god but Allah.”
When the muezzin chanted: "Ashhadu anna Muhammadan Rasool-Allah,” which means "I testify that Mohammad is the Messenger of Allah”, the Imam turned to Yazid and asked him: "O Yazid, is Mohammad your grandfather or mine? If you say that he is yours, then you are a liar, and if you admit that he is mine, then why did you kill his grandson and family?”
These are the among the tragic events of the 1st of Safar on which after a long wait at the Bab at-Tuma Gate of Damascus, so the streets could be decorated and fitted with mirrors, the Ahl al-Bayt were paraded in ropes and fetters to the court of the tyrant through the marketplace with the heads of martyrs mounted on lances.
The noble captives through their sermons turned the tables on the tyrant, and although with patience they suffered all the calamities, including the martyrdom in the dungeon of the less than four-year-old daughter of Imam Husain (AS) –Ruqayya (SA). Thus, their bold statements unmasked hypocrisy and in the process universalized and internationalized the genuine teachings of Islam, for the protection of which, Imam Husain (AS) had chosen to drink the elixir of martyrdom rather than acknowledging the illegal and un-Islamic rule of Yazid.