Praise be to Allah.
The Muslims are still faced with troubles and challenges because of the narration of fabricated reports in historical books. If the wise person reflects upon the words of Allah, may He be exalted (interpretation of the meaning): “That was a nation who has passed away. They shall receive the reward of what they earned and you of what you earn. And you will not be asked of what they used to do” [al-Baqarah 2:134], then holds his tongue and refrains from discussing the hadiths that speak of tribulation, disavows wrongdoing before his Lord, and believes that he should love the family of the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and hate those who show enmity towards them, that will be better for him before his Lord and will be safer in terms of protecting his religious commitment.
Many of the reports which have been narrated about tribulations that occurred among the Muslims were narrated via single narrators (as opposed to a large number of narrators at each stage of the chain of transmission) who were either dubious, liars or unknown. It is not permissible for anyone to rely upon any of the reports narrated by such people, because they do not meet the standards of good character (that are required of narrators). Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning): “O you who believe! If a rebellious evil person comes to you with a news, verify it, lest you harm people in ignorance, and afterwards you become regretful to what you have done” [al-Hujuraat 49:6].
Among these false reports is that which was narrated by at-Tabari in his Tareekh (5/461) and Ibn ‘Asaakir in Tareekh Dimashq (69/176), via Abu Makhnaf, from al-Haarith ibn Ka‘b, from Faatimah bint ‘Ali, who said:
When we were brought before Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah, he felt sorry for us, issued instructions that something (food) be brought to us, and spoke gently to us. Then a ruddy-faced man from Syria stood up and said to Yazeed: O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, give me this one – meaning me, for I was a pretty young girl. I got scared, because I thought that they would not refrain from such a thing, and I held onto the garment of my sister Zaynab. My sister Zaynab was older and wiser than me, and she knew that that would not happen, so she said (to that man):
You are lying by Allah, you vile man! That is not for you or him. Yazeed got angry and said (to her): You are lying, by Allah! I may do that, and if I want to do it, I will do it. She said: No, by Allah. Allah has forbidden that for you, unless you leave our religion and follow some religion other than ours. Yazeed got angry and lost his temper, and he said: Are you speaking to me like that? Rather it is your father and your brother who have left the religion!
Zaynab said: Rather you, your father and your grandfather were guided by virtue of the religion of Allah, the religion of my father, the religion of my brother, the religion of my grandfather. He said: You are lying, O enemy of Allah! She said: You are a tyrant, who slanders people wrongfully and suppress them. By Allah, it was as if he felt ashamed, so he fell silent. Then the Syrian said again: O Ameer al-Mu’mineen, give me this girl. He said: Get out; may Allah strike you dead!
This was also narrated by Ibn Katheer in al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah (11/562) via Abu Makhnaf.
Abu Makhnaf’s full name is Loot ibn Yahya. Adh-Dhahabi said: He is a worthless narrator of stories; he is not to be trusted; he was ignored by Abu Haatim and others. Ad-Daaraqutni said: He is weak. Ibn Ma‘een said: He is not trustworthy. And he said, on one occasion: He is nothing. Ibn ‘Adiyy said: He is a fanatical Shi‘i, a narrator of their reports.
So this report is a lie and is not sound.
The same applies to what they say about Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah poking the teeth of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) with a stick [after he had been killed and beheaded].
Zaynab said to him:
Do you think, O Yazeed, after you have gained control over us and we have ended up being driven as slave women are driven, that we are insignificant to Allah and that you are honoured by Him, and that this was because you are of high status before Him, so you began to behave in an insolent manner and began to look at yourself with jubilant self-admiration? Is it fair, O son of the freed ones [people of Quraysh who were let off by the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) when they surrendered following the conquest of Makkah, despite their years of enmity towards him], to keep your womenfolk and slave women out of sight and to drive the daughters of the Messenger of Allah like prisoners of war, after you have torn their veils and forced them to show their faces, and their enemies drive them from one land to another?
This is something for which there is no basis in the books of the scholars; rather it is something that was narrated only by the Raafidis who are known for lying.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
What is proven in Saheeh al-Bukhaari is that the head of al-Husayn was brought and placed in front of ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad, who started poking at the teeth with a stick in the presence of Anas ibn Maalik.
In al-Musnad it says that this happened in the presence of Abu Barzah al-Aslami.
But some people narrated with an interrupted isnaad that this poking of the teeth happened in the presence of Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah. This is false. End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (27/469)
He also said:
Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah was in Syria, and was not in Iraq at the time of the killing of al-Husayn. Whoever narrated that he poked his teeth with a stick in the presence of Anas and Abu Barzah, in front of Yazeed, is definitely lying, and his lie is well known on the basis of mutawaatir reports. End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (27/4 70)
The well-known view is that Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah did not issue orders for the killing of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) and did not approve of it. He cursed Ibn Ziyaad for killing him, and he honoured the family of al-Husayn who had been with him during that march of his, and during their march back to Madinah. He did not detain them and keep them with him. Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah was born during the caliphate of ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allah be pleased with him) and was not one of those who were well-known for religious commitment and righteousness. He was one of the Muslim youth, and he became caliph after his father’s death despite the objections of some of the Muslims and with the approval of others. He was courageous and generous, and he did not openly commit shameful deeds as his opponents said concerning him. During his reign several significant events occurred, one of which was the killing of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him).
He did not issue orders that al-Husayn be killed, and he did not express joy at his killing, and he did not poke the teeth of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) with a stick or carry the head of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) to Syria. But he did issue orders that al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) be resisted and his efforts to become caliph were to be hindered, even if that meant fighting him.
His deputies went too far in following his commands, and ash-Shamar ibn Dhi’l-Jawshan incited ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad to kill him, so ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad attacked him. Al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) asked them to let him come to Yazeed, or go and guard the Muslim border, or to go back to Makkah.
But they did not allow him (may Allah be pleased with him) to do any of these things, and the only choice they gave him was to surrender to them, and Ziyaad ordered ‘Umar ibn Sa‘d to fight him, and they killed him unlawfully, him and a number of his family members (may Allah be pleased with them).
The killing of al-Husayn (may Allah be pleased with him) was a great calamity, for the killing of al-Husayn and of ‘Uthmaan before him were two of the greatest causes of tribulation in this ummah. They were killed by the worst of people before Allah.
When his family (may Allah be pleased with them) came to Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah, he honoured them and let them go to Madinah. It was narrated that he cursed Ibn Ziyaad for killing him and said: I would have been content with the obedience of the people of Iraq, without the killing of al-Husayn. Yet despite that, he did not take any action to show disapproval of his killing or to avenge him, when he should have done that. So the Muslims criticised him for not doing what he should have done, in addition to other things.
As for his opponents, they added other lies and fabrications about him. End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (3/410)
It was narrated that after that he regretted the killing of al-Husayn and he used to say: What could have happened if I had put up with some annoyance and let him come to my house, and let him have what he wanted, even if that led to weakening of my power and authority, for the sake of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and in showing due respect to him and to the members of his household?
Then he would say: May Allah curse Ibn Marjaanah [i.e., ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad], for he attacked him and forced him to fight, when he had asked him to let him go and let him come to me, or to go and guard one of the borders of the Muslims until Allah, may He be exalted, took his soul in death. But he did not do that, and he refused to let him do (any of those things), and he killed him, and by killing him he made me hateful to the Muslims and instilled enmity in their hearts against me, so that both righteous and evildoers hate me, because of what people think of the seriousness of my having killed Husayn. I wish I had never had anything to do with Ibn Marjaanah, may Allah curse him and be angry with him.
Al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah (11/651); Siyar A‘laam an-Nubala’ (4/370)
Ibn Katheer (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Yazeed ibn Mu‘aawiyah: the worst of his deeds for which he may be criticised is drinking alcohol and committing some shameful deeds. As for the killing of al-Husayn, he – as his grandfather Abu Sufyaan had said on the day of Uhud [regarding the mutilation of Hamzah (may Allah be pleased with him) and others who had been killed during the battle] – did not issue orders to that effect, nor did it upset him.
We have seen above that he said: If it were me, I would not have done to him what Ibn Marjaanah – meaning ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyaad – did. And he said to the envoys who brought al-Husayn’s head to him: Less than this would have been sufficient obedience. He did not give them any reward, and he honoured the family members of al-Husayn and restored to them everything that had been taken from them, and many times more, and he sent them back to Madinah in a very dignified and honourable manner. His family in his house mourned for al-Husayn with al-Husayn’s family – who were lodged with them – for three days. End quote.
Al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah (11/650)
This is not a defence of Yazeed or siding with him. The moderate view concerning him is that he comes under the same ruling as other bad and unjust rulers, so he is not to be regarded as an ally or as an enemy, and he is not to be loved or reviled.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said:
Hence the view of those who follow the beliefs of Ahl as-Sunnah and the leading scholars of the ummah is that he is not to be reviled or loved. Saalih ibn Ahmad ibn Hanbal said: I said to my father: Some people say that they love Yazeed. He said: O my son, would anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day love Yazeed?
I said: O my father, why do we not curse him? He said: O my son, when did you ever see your father curse anyone? End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (3/4 12)
He also said:
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi said, when he was asked about Yazeed – according to what I heard: He is not to be reviled or to be loved. I also heard that our grandfather Abu ‘Abdullah ibn Taymiyah was asked about Yazeed and he said: Do not underestimate his misdeed and do not exaggerate about it.
This is the most equitable and best of the opinions concerning him and others like him. End quote.
Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa (4/483)
For more information about the correct attitude concerning Yazeed, please see fatwa no. 23116
And Allah knows best.