The Revolt of some of the Early Scholars of Islam and the Case of Husayn Ibn Ali: Revolution against the Tyranny of Muslim Rulers in Light of the Sunnah and the Manhaj of the Salaf

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Bestower of Mercy. All praise is for Allah. And may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his Companions and those who follow his guidance. To proceed:

Those who revolt against the Muslim rulers and rise-up in opposition to them have no proof for their actions when they claim they are following the example of some of the virtuous Salaf (early Muslims) who rebelled. What they regard as “proof” is actually not proof for them at all.

So, there are several fundamental religious reasons why these protestors, revolutionaries and political agitators have no basis when they proclaim they are following the example of Al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali, the grandson of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) for example, when he left Makkah to join the people of Iraq when they promised to give him allegiance.

It is (however) true that some of the early Salaf rose up, in accordance with what saw to be correct — they certainly strived to come to the truth and made ijtihād (reached a decision). However, the erroneous ijtihād (juristic position) of the virtuous scholars is not considered as proof in Islamic Law (the Sharī’ah). Proof in Islamic Law is the saying of Allah, His Messenger (ﷺ) and the Ijmā’ (agreement by consensus). Allāh said to the Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him)‭:‬

‭ ‬فَلا‭ ‬وَرَبِّكَ‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يُؤْمِنُونَ‭ ‬حَتَّى‭ ‬يُحَكِّمُوكَ‭ ‬فِيمَا‭ ‬شَجَرَ‭ ‬بَيْنَهُمْ‭ ‬ثُمَّ‭ ‬لا‭ ‬يَجِدُوا‭ ‬فِي‭ ‬أَنْفُسِهِمْ‭ ‬حَرَجًا‭ ‬مِمَّا‭ ‬قَضَيْتَ‭ ‬وَيُسَلِّمُوا‭ ‬تَسْلِيمًا

“No! By your Lord, they will not truly believe until they make you the judge in the disputes between them. Thereafter, they do not find in themselves any difficulty with what you have judged, and they submit with complete submission.

As for the doctrines and ideologies of the sects of deviation (such as the Khawārij, Shī’ah, Mu’tazilah, etc) who rebelled and revolted against the Muslim rulers, then their rebellious views were rejected outright by Ahlus-Sunnah, Ahlul-Hadīth and the early Salaf. In fact, the fourth Caliph, ‘Ali Ibn Abi Tālib (may Allah be pleased with him) fought against the insurgents who rose up against him — and the Companions, all of them, opposed these Khawārij. And upon this, there was a consensus (ijmā’) among them.

However, what has caused confusion among many Muslims is the fact that some of the early Salaf held it permissible to rise-up against the tyrannical rulers. And in these times, the misguided sectarian groups, such as Al-Ikhwān Al-Muslimeen, Al-Qā’idah, As-Surooriyyah, Al-Qutubiyyah, ISIL and others (who are ideological descendants of the Khawārij and the Mu’tazilah) exploit the erroneous juristic opinions (ijtihādāt) of some of the early Salaf as a basis for their uprisings and protests against the rulers.

It is true that some among the early Salaf rose-up against the tyranny of some of the rulers. However, this was before the ijmā’ (agreement by consensus) was established. In the beginning, when the fitnah began, there was some misunderstanding among a small number of the virtuous Sahābah and some of the Tābi’een. However, a large number from the Sahābah and the Imāms of the Tābi’een returned to the sayings of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) for decisive guidance. And it was this guidance that won the day in the end, and from it, a consensus (ijmā’) was achieved.

Ibn Abī ‘Āsim reported in As-Sunnah (2/508) from ‘Adiyy Ibn Hātim (may Allah be pleased with him) that we said: “O Messenger of Allah, we do not ask you regarding obedience to the ruler who has taqwā (pious and fears Allah), who is good and rectifies. Rather, we are asking about the ruler who does such-and-such and such-and-such?“ And he mentioned their evil traits. So the Prophet (ﷺ) answered: “Fear Allah, listen to the ruler and obey him!” (Also reported by At-Tabarāni in Al-Kabīr, 17/101, and authenticated by Al-Albāni in Dhilāl Al-Jannah)

So, after the time of the Tābi’een (who are the successors of the Sahābah), the ijmā’ was settled upon based upon the textual proofs. This ijmā’ was recorded in the books of Creed, Methodology and Fundamentals such as the writings of Ahmad Ibn Hanbal, Al-Bukhāri, Al-Lālikā’ee, As-Sābooni, Al-Khallāl, Ibn Battah, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmidhi, Ibn Mājah, Al-Barbahāri, Al-Ājurri, Al-Muzani, Ibn Abi Dawood As-Sijistāni, Ibn Abi ‘Āsim and countless others.

Thereafter, it was not permissible to claim that one is acting upon a difference of opinion between the early scholars. That is because even if there was not an ijmā’ prohibiting rebellion, then a difference of opinion is NOT a Sharī’ah evidence that gives one license to rebel and rise-up against the Muslim leaders. You may ask, “Why?” The answer is: because it opposes the clear-cut narrations of the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) wherein he prohibited, over and over again, rebellion and fighting against the rulers, even if they filled what is between the sky and the earth with misguidance, tyranny and oppression. Al-Hasan narrated:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) mentioned the rulers and the evil rulers, and he mentioned the leaders and the evil leaders. He stated that the misguidance of some of them will fill what is between the sky and the earth! So he was asked: “O Messenger of Allah, should we not strike them with the sword?” He replied: “No. So long as they establish the prayer, then no.” (Reported by Al-Imām Nu’aym Ibn Hammād (died 239H) in Kitāb Al-Fitan, 1/185, no. 491)

Furthermore, it is not allowed to use as a proof the difference of opinion between the scholars to act upon one’s desires and political agenda. That is the path of Ahlul-Bid’ah. For this reason, Al-Hāfidh Ibn Abdil-Barr (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated: “[Utilizing] difference of opinion is not a proof with any of the people of knowledge from the jurists of the Ummah, except for the one who has no insight, has no knowledge with him and has no proof for his saying.” (Jāmi’ Bayān al-‘Ilm wa Fadhlihi, 2/229).

Also, al-Khattābi (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated: “And differing is not a proof – rather the explanation of the Sunnah is a proof for those who differ with each other, from the earlier people and the later people.” (A’lāmul-Hadeeth 3/2092)

So, the establishment of an ijmā’ reinforced the proofs of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah, Ahlul-Hadīth against the Khawārij and Mu’tazilah. This ijmā’ was based upon the authentic Sunnah which, without doubt, forbids raising the sword and rebelling against the rulers, whether they are pious or tyrannical. And Imām An-Nawawi (died 676H) cited an ijmā’ (consensus) concerning this matter:

“As for rebellion (khurooj) against them and fighting them, then that is harām (prohibited) by ijmā’ (consensus) of the Muslims, even if the rulers are sinners and oppressors. The ahādeeth I have already mentioned that carry that meaning are apparent and manifest — and Ahlus-Sunnah have agreed (ijmā’) that a ruler is not to be removed due to his sin. As for the position stated in the books of fiqh that some of our colleagues hold, that he is to be removed; and what is cited from Mu’tazilah then the one who says it is wrong and he is an opposer of the ijmā’. And the Scholars have stated: ‘The reason why it is forbidden to remove the ruler and it is prohibited to rebel against him is because of the fact that it leads to fitan (tribulations), the spilling of blood, discord and corruption between the people. And the corruption that arrises in removing him is greater than him remaining in place.” (See Sharhun-Nawawi ‘ala Sahīh Muslim, 12/317)

Elsewhere, An-Nawawi (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated: “Rather it is obligatory to admonish him and to instil in him the fear of Allah due to the ahādeeth that are reported regarding that. Al-Qādi stated: Abu Bakr Ibn Mujāhid claimed ijmā’ in this matter. So some people tried to refute him using [as a proof] the actions of Al-Husayn, Ibn Az-Zubayr (may Allah be pleased with them both), and the people of Madinah who opposed Banu Umayyah, and the large body among the Tābi’een who stood against Al-Hajjāj with Ibn Al-Ash’ath. Those who use these actions as a proof state that the narration which states: ‘We do not contend with those in authority’ refers to the just rulers [only]. However [we say]: the evidence of the majority of those who rebelled against Al-Hajjāj was not on the basis of his sins but due to him altering the religion and making manifest unbelief. Al-Qādi said: ‘It is said: This differing was only in the beginning. Then the consensus (ijmā’) was established that forbade rebellion against the rulers.‘ And Allah knows best.” (Sharh An-Nawawi ‘alā Muslim, 12/318)

Nevertheless, there are decisive proofs that make clear that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) prohibited rebellion against the evilest of rulers who would beat the Companions of the Prophet, and fill the earth with misguidance, and take their wealth and property.

Ibn Abī ‘Āsim reported in As-Sunnah (1026) and Ibn Hibbān in his Sahīh (4062) from ‘Ubādah Ibn Sāmit (may Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said:

“Listen to the ruler and obey him when it is hard for you and when it is easy for you, whether you are pleased or displeased, and when others are given preference over you, and even when he consumes your wealth and beats your back.” (Declared sahīh by Al-Albāni; see Dhilāl Al-Jannah and At-Ta’līqāt Al-Hisān).

The second Caliph, the leader of the believers, the noble Companion, ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattāb (may Allāh be pleased with him, died 23H) said to Suwayd Ibn Ghaflah: “O Abu Umayyah! Indeed I do not know, perhaps I will not see you again after this year. So even if a crippled Abyssinian slave is placed [as a ruler] in charge of your affairs, hear and obey him. And if he beats your back, be patient. If he denies you [your rights], be patient. If he desires to command you with a matter that causes you deficiency in [acting on] your Religion, then say: ‘I hear and obey, my blood, not my Religion.’ But do not split away from the body of the Muslims [under his rule].” (Ibn Abi Shaybah in Al-Musannaf, 6/544 no. 33711; Al-Khallāl in As-Sunnah, 1/111 no. 54; Al-Ājurri in Ash-Sharī’ah, 1/161, no. 71, and others with an authentic chain of narration)

Imām Al-Ājurri (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) explained this narration in his Ash-Sharī’ah (1/162): “So it is possible that the ruler may command you to kill the one who does not deserve to be killed, or to cut the limb of someone who does not deserve it, or to beat someone it is not permissible to beat, or to take the wealth from someone whose wealth does not deserve to be taken, or to be unjust to one whom it is not permitted for you to be unjust towards — so in these matters do not obey him. And if he says to you: ‘If you do not do as I have commanded, I will kill you or punish you!’ Respond by saying: ‘My blood but not my religion.'” So here ‘Umar commanded him not to obey the ruler if he commands with sin and disobedience to Allah, and at the same time not to rebel against him or leave the body of Muslims under his rule. In this Al-Ājurri makes clear the Manhaj of Ahlus-Sunnah in the affair of obedience to the ruler.

So there are four questions that need to be asked to those who allow revolt and uprising against the Muslim governments:

  1. Is the erroneous ijtihād of a scholar of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah a proof that Muslims can base their actions upon? Answer: No. That is because any speech or actions that oppose the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of Messenger (ﷺ) is rejected regardless of who comes with it.
  2. Is the difference of opinion between the Scholars a proof that allows people to choose whichever opinion suites their inclination and desires? Answer: No. Rather, the Sunnah is proof for those who differ with each other. Imām Mālik Ibn Anas stated with regard to the Sahābah (may Allah be pleased with them all): “There is not in the differing of the Sahābah an excuse (or allowance). Indeed there is only that which is wrong or right.” (Jāmi’ Bayānil-‘Ilm wal-Fadlihi)
  3. Can Muslims use the doctrines of Ahlul-Bid’ah such as the Khawārij, Shī’ah and Mu’tazilah as evidence in establishing their methodologies? Answer: No. Muslims are obligated with the Sunnah of the Messenger (ﷺ) upon the understanding of the Sahābah and the early generations. And where they differed, one must return to the Book and Sunnah for judgement.
  4. Can the ijmā’ be opposed once it is established? Answer: No. The ijtihād of a scholar in any era after the ijmā’ is established cannot be used as proof. That is because ijmā’ is a Sharī’ah evidence (hujjah). It is obligatory to follow it and adhere to it and it is prohibited to go against it.

Imām Al-Qurtubi (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated in his Jāmi’ (5/205):

“When an ijmā’ is established after there was once differing, then it removes the differing.”

An example of this is the ijmā’ in the compilation of the Sunnah (i.e. the ahādīth). Imām Adh-Dhahabi stated in Syar A’lāmin-Nubalā (3/80):

“Then the ijmā’ was established after the Sahābah had differed, that it is desirable to record this knowledge (i.e. ahādīth) by writing it down.”

As-Sarkhasi (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated: “Ijmā’ takes the ruling of knowledge absolutely. It carries the same position as the [revealed] texts. Just as it is not allowed to leave off acting upon the revealed texts based upon an opinion that opposes them, likewise it is not permitted to oppose the ijmā’ with an opinion that opposes it after the ijmā’ has been established based upon its evidence.” (Usool As-Sarkhasi, 1/308)

So, the consensus was established based upon the textual evidences, even if there may have been some differing between some of the people of virtue in the beginning. Ibn Hajr Al-Asqalāni (died 852H) stated: “The rebellion of a group from the Salaf against the tyrannical ruler, then that was before the establishment of the ijmā’ that prohibited rebellion against the oppressive ruler.” (See Mirqāt Al-Mafāteeh Sharh Mishkāt, 2/181). He also stated (Fathul-Bāri 13/7): “Ibn Battāl said: In the hadeeth is proof forbidding revolt against the ruler, even if he is tyrannical. The scholars (fuqahā) are in agreement (ijmā’) upon the obligation of obeying the ruler who came into power by conquest; it is obligatory [therafter] to make jihād alongside him, and obedience to him is better than rebelling against him… and the scholars made no exception to this [ijmā’] except if the ruler disbelieves openly and clearly. In that case, there is no obedience to him. Rather it is obligatory to strive to oust him for the one who has the ability.”

Nevertheless, as I’ve stated previously, even if there was no true ijmā’, the text of the Sunnah and its decisive commands are sufficient as evidence. So those who entered into rebellion from the early Salaf did so erroneously based upon a mistaken ijtihād. And it is not permissible to follow a scholar in his error — and upon that principle, the Book and Sunnah are clear, and the Sahābah were agreed.

وَمَن يُشَاقِقِ الرَّسُولَ مِن بَعْدِ مَا تَبَيَّنَ لَهُ الْهُدَىٰ وَيَتَّبِعْ غَيْرَ سَبِيلِ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ نُوَلِّهِ مَا تَوَلَّىٰ وَنُصْلِهِ جَهَنَّمَ ۖ وَسَاءَتْ مَصِيرًا – 4:115

“And whoever contradicts and opposes the Messenger after the right path has been made clear to him, and follows other than the believers’ way. We shall keep him in the path he has chosen, and burn him in Hell – what an evil destination.”

And Allāh’s Messenger (ﷺ) stated: “When a judge (or scholar) makes a judgement and he makes ijtihād, and he is correct, he gets two rewards. And if he judges and is incorrect, he receives a single reward” (Hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah reported by Bukhāri and Muslim). So the scholar is either right or he is wrong. If he is shown to be wrong in his ruling after comparing his saying to the Book and Sunnah, then it is not allowed to follow him.

Al-Imām Ibn Al-Qattān Al-Fāsi (died 628H) stated: “They (Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah) have agreed (ajma’ū) that hearing and obeying the ruler is obligatory. And they have agreed (ajma’ū) that whoever gains authority of the affairs of the people of a country whether it was with their pleasure or by ceasing power with brute force, whether the rulers are pious or tyrannical, then they are not to be rebelled against with the sword regardless of whether the leaders are oppressive or just.” (Al-Iqnā’ fil-Ijmā)

Shaikh Al-Islām Abu ‘Uthmān Ismā’eel As-Sābooni (died 449H) stated: “Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah do not hold that it is permissible to revolt against them (rulers) even if they see from them abandoning justice and replacing it with tyranny and injury…” He ended his treatise saying: “These sentences which I have affirmed in this chapter was the creed of all of them (i.e. the scholars of Ahlus-Sunnah). None of them differed regarding it with each other. Rather, they agreed by ijmā’ with it all.” (See ‘Aqīdatus-Salaf As-hābul-Hadeeth, p. 32)

Al-Imām Abul-Hasan Al-Ash’ari (may Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 324H) stated: Ijmā’ number 45: Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah have agreed upon hearing and obeying the rulers of the Muslims. And whoever gains authority over the people [in a country] whether with their pleasure or by overpowering, then obedience is given to them, whether they are righteous or sinful. It is not allowed to revolt against them regardless if they are tyrannical or just.” (Risālah ilā Ahlith-Thaghar, p. 168)

The two Imāms Abu Zur’ah Ar-Rāzi (died 264H) and Abu Hātim Ar-Rāzi (died 277H) stated an ijmā’: “We reached the scholars of all the townships of the Hijāz, Iraq, Shām, Yemen and from their beliefs was: We do not hold it is permissible to rebel against the rulers or to fight in times of tribulation. We hear and obey those Allah has placed in authority over us. We do not remove the hand of obedience. We follow the Sunnah and the Jamā’ah; and we avoid opposition, differing and splitting.” (Sharhu Usool I’tiqād Ahlis-Sunnah wal-Jamā’ah of Al-Lālikā’i, 1/197-199)

Abu Bakr Ahmad Ibn Muhammad Ibn Hāni Al-Athram (May Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 261H) stated in his work entitled, Nāsikh Al-Hadīth wa Mansūkhihi, p. 257): “The ahādīth from the Prophet (ﷺ) are mutawātirah (i.e. so many narrators at every level of the chains of narration that they are irrefutable and beyond reproach) and they are narrated plentifully from him, and from the Sahābah and from the Scholars after them that command with withholding from rebellion. And they labelled those who opposed them in this affair to have split from the Jamā’ah, that they are among the Harūriyyah (Khawārij) and have abandoned the Sunnah.”

Shaikh Al-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (died 728H) stated: “The best and most excellent of the Muslims forbade from rebellion (khurooj) and fighting in times of fitnah as was the stance of Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, Sa’eed Ibn Musayyib, Ali Ibn Al-Husayn, and other than them. They prohibited the people [of Madinah] in the year of Harrah to rebel against Yazeed Ibn Mu’āwiyah just as Al-Hasan Al-Basri, Mujāhid and others prohibited revolt during the fitnah of Ibn Al-Ash’ath (who rose against Al-Hajjāj). So based upon this, the affair of Ahlus-Sunnah was established and settled upon abandonment of fighting in times of fitnah due to the authentic and firmly-established ahādīth reported from the Prophet (ﷺ). So Ahlus-Sunnah started to mention these narrations in their ‘Aqeedah (Creed) and they commanded with patience in the face of the tyranny of the rulers, and not to fight them. This came about even though a large number of the people of knowledge and religion [before this] had fought during fitnah.” (Minhāj As-Sunnah An-Nabawiyyah, 4/529-530)

Shaikh Al-Islām Al-Mujaddid, Muhammad Ibn Abdul-Wahhāb (may Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 1206) stated: “The Imāms of all the Madhhabs are agreed upon the fact that whoever conquers a land or lands, he takes the role of rulership in all matters. And the greatest of these matters is that it is a must to withhold from rebellion against him. And if this was not the case, then the worldly affairs would not be settled. And the people for a very long time right up until this day have not united behind one leader. And it is not known that any of the scholars stated that the Sharī’ah laws are not valid except with a single ruler ruling over the Muslims.” (See Ad-Durar As-Saniyyah, 59/5, Al-Fatāwa wal-Masā’il, 3/67)

Al-‘Allāmah Ibn Al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allah’s mercy be upon him, died 1420H) stated: “The Salaf were united upon the belief that it is forbidden to revolt against the rulers regardless of whether they are righteous or wicked.” (Sharh As-Siyāsah Ash-Shar’iyyah, p. 92)

The Deception of the People of Iraq against the Grandson of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), Al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) and his Travelling to Iraq Against the Advice of the Noble Sahābah

The journey of the beloved grandson of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to Iraq (that led to his unjust and oppressive murder) was a journey that the rest of the Companions advised him against in the strongest of terms. In the end, he left Makkah desiring only rectification, and not aware of the plots and the treachery that would be inflicted against him.

So, from those notables who tried to restrain him and prevent him from leaving Makkah and travelling to the people of Iraq in order to accept their pledge of allegiance (bai’ah) were: Ibn ‘Abbās (his uncle), Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar, Abdullah Ibn ‘Amr, Jābir Ibn Abdillāh, Muhammad Ibn Al-Hanafiyyah (his brother), Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri, Abu Wāqid Al-Laythi, Al-Miswar Ibn Makhramah, and others (may Allah be pleased with all of them). Ibn Atheer (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) said regarding the leaving out from Makkah of Al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him):

“There came to him letters from the people of Kufah while Al-Husayn was in Makkah. So he prepared himself to travel. And a group of the Sahābah (and others) prohibited him. From them, his own brother Muhammad Ibn Al-Hanafiyyah (the son of ‘Ali Ibn Abi Tālib), Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbās and others.” (See Usdul-Ghābah, 2/24)

Shaykhul-Islām Ibn Taymiyyah (may Allah’s mercy be upon him) stated:

“For this reason, when Al-Husayn intended to go out to join the people of Iraq after they had written to him many letters (inviting him). The virtuous of the people of knowledge and religion advised him, such as: Ibn ‘Umar, Ibn ‘Abbās, Abu Bakr Ibn Abdir-Rahmān Ibn Al-Hārith Ibn Hishām that he must not go out (to join those who seek revolt in Kufah). They were almost sure that he would be killed to the extent that one of them said to him: ‘I entrust you to care of Allah and his safety from being murdered.’ Another said to him: ‘Were it not for the intercession, I would have definitely held you back and prevented you from going out to Iraq.’ So they all intended by this to give him sincere advice and counsel, seeking benefit for him and for the Muslims. Allah and His Messenger (ﷺ) command with rectification, not corruption. However, one’s opinion can sometimes be correct and sometimes incorrect. And the affairs turned out to be as they had said. And there was no benefit in the revolt, neither for the Religion and nor in the worldly affairs.” (Minhāj As-Sunnah, 4/530)

And this is the point that must be made to those who use the revolt of Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) as a proof, i.e. the senior Companions advised him and their advice was correct and sincere.

The Advice of the Companions to the Noble Grandson of the Prophet (ﷺ)

The following narrations have been cited and recorded by the scholars in there works such as: Tahdheeb Al-Kamāl of Al-Mizzi (6/416, 417, 418), Al-Bidāyah Wan-Nihāyah of Ibn Katheer (9/240, 241 and 11/503), Siyar A’lām An-Nubalā of Adh-Dhahabi (3/296, 297), Tareekh Al-Islām of Adh-Dhahabi (5/5-12), and that which has been reported by the likes of Ibn Abi Shaybah in Al-Musannaf (37364), At-Tabarāni in Al-Kabeer (2859), Ibn Asākir in Tāreekh Dimashq (14/200), Ibn Abi ‘Āsim in Az-Zuhd (267), and many others.

Abu Wāqid Al-Laythi (may Allah be pleased with him, died 68H) said: “It reached me that Husayn Ibn ‘Ali was going out [to join the people Iraq] so I reached him at Malal (a place on the road between Makkah and Madinah and closer to the latter). There, I adjured him by Allah that he should not go out — and that his leaving (to join the people of Iraq) will not be a leaving except to kill himself. So he responded: ‘Then I will not return.'”

Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbās (may Allah be pleased with him, died 68H) said: “Al-Husayn came to me seeking my advice concerning leaving out to the people of Irāq. So I said to him: ‘Were it not for the fact that both you and I would be blamed, I would have grabbed your hair with my hands. And if I thought, that by doing so, you would stay [in Makkah], I would surely have done it.'” Then Ibn ‘Abbās began to weep [after narrating this].

Jābir Ibn Abdillah (may Allah be pleased with him, died 78H) said: “I spoke to Al-Husayn and I said to him: ‘Fear Allah and do not cause some of the people to strike others. By Allah, I cannot praise what you are doing.’ However, he did not listen to me.”

Miswar Ibn Makhramah (may Allah be pleased with him, died 64H) said to Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him): “Beware of being deceived by the letters from the people of Iraq.”

Abu Sa’īd Al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him, died 74H) said to Al-Husayn: “It has reached me that a group of people from your faction in Kufah have written to you inviting you to join them. Do not go out to them for indeed I heard your father saying when he was in Kufah: ‘By Allah, I blame them and I hate them and they blame me and hate me.”

The Sayings of the Scholars Among the Tābi’een Regarding the Events Surrounding Al-Husayn Ibn ‘Ali (may Allah be pleased with him).

Sa’eed Ibn Al-Musayyib (died 94H) stated: “If Al-Husayn had not left out (to join the people of Kufah), it would have better for him.” Imām Adh-Dhahabi stated commenting on this: “This was the position of Ibn ‘Umar, Abu Sa’eed, Ibn ‘Abbās, Jābir and group besides them. They spoke to him about his leaving out (to join the people Iraq) as has preceded in the discussion concerning his death.” (Tārīkh Al-Islām, 5/106-9)

‘Amrah bint Abdir-Rahmān Ibn Sa’ad Al-Ansāriyyah (may Allah be pleased with her, died 98H) was from the Tābi’īn. She wrote to Husayn, the grandson of Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ), explaining to him the seriousness of what he wished to do. She commanded him with obedience, clinging to the main body of Muslims [who live under the ruler] and that he was travelling to his own death. (Al-Bidāyah wan-Nihāyah of Ibn Katheer, 11/503)

It is not permissible in any way or manner to revile or speak ill of the noble Companion, the grandson of the Prophet (ﷺ), because the Sahābah were mujtahidūn and are rewarded for their ijtihād, even if they are mistaken. As for those who follow them, then it is not permissible to follow the mistakes of those who preceded and use that as evidence to rebel. Rather we say, as Allah said:

وَالَّذِينَ جَاءُوا مِن بَعْدِهِمْ يَقُولُونَ رَبَّنَا اغْفِرْ لَنَا وَلِإِخْوَانِنَا الَّذِينَ سَبَقُونَا بِالْإِيمَانِ وَلَا تَجْعَلْ فِي قُلُوبِنَا غِلًّا لِّلَّذِينَ آمَنُوا رَبَّنَا إِنَّكَ رَءُوفٌ رَّحِيمٌ – 59:10

“And those who came after them say: ‘Our Lord! Forgive us and our brethren who have preceded us in Faith, and put not in our hearts any hatred against those who have believed. Our Lord! You are indeed full of kindness, Most Merciful.'”

As for Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) then he did not decide to go out to receive the pledge of allegiance from the people of Iraq except after:

  1. He received written requests and letters from the people of Iraq — they gave him their pledge and stated that the rule was not established for Yazeed.
  2. He feared that the Grand Mosque in Makkah would be violated as he clearly stated (radiyallāhu ‘anhu). Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated in his Musannaf (7/477, no. 37364) with an authentic chain of narration that Husayn (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) said to Ibn ‘Abbās (radiyallāhu ‘anhu): “This Sacred Mosque will be violated by the man. It is better that I am killed in such-and-such land far away from it than that I remain here.” And the Sacred Mosque was indeed violated in the time of Ibn Az-Zubayr (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) by Al-Hajjāj Ibn Yusuf.

So, this is the path of Ahlus-Sunnah wal-Hadeeth in understanding this affair. And all praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Messenger, his family, his Companions and true followers.

Listen to these two important lectures:

Talk 1: “We hold that revolt against the rulers opposes the Sunnah”

Talk 2: “Can the rebellion against the Rulers by some of the early Salaf be used as proof for the rebellion by those who came after them?


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