Chapter Seven: The participation of the Sahaba and their sons in killing Muslim bin Aqeel (as)

 

Let us now cite a summary of the events recorded by Ibn Kathir records in Al- Bidayah [Arabic], Volume 7 page 154 and Volume 8 page 1002 of Urdu version published by Nafees Academy Karachi:

Upon returning to Makka he [Hussain] received letters from the people of Kufa, He sent Muslim bin Aqeel to go and assess the situation. Outwardly the people portrayed their support for Muslim bin Aqeel and in turn for Hussain – a thousand people gave bayya. Spies notified Nauman bin Basheer, he did not openly adopt tough measures, but in this regard gave a sermon warning people against sedition and urged the people to remain loyal in the bayya that been given to Yazid. One man stood up and said to Nauman ‘This matter cannot be curtailed without adopting force, the approach that you have adopted is like that of weak people”.

…Yazid said to Ibn Ziyad ‘When in Kufa find Muslim bin Aqeel and then kill him. Ibn Ziyad arrived in Kufa with seventeen men, having assessed the situation he spoke to the nobles in his palace and queried the whereabouts of Muslim bin Aqeel. There was some opposition but Ubaydullah abducted these nobles and deterred people from supporting Muslim.

It got to a point that by Maghrib prayers only thirty people remained with him, by night fall they also deserted him. That night Muslim stayed in the home of an elderly lady, her son notified Abdul Rahman bin Asheesh. Abdul Rahman told his father at that same time who was in Ubaydullah’s house, Ibn Ziyad asked why the secrecy, they told him and Ibn Ziyad immediately sent seventy to eighty men headed by Ibn Hareeth Makhzomi who was the head of police. Muhammad bin Ashath and Abdul Rahman were with them. They collectively captured [Muslim] and sent him to Ibn Ziyad’s residence. Upon reaching the doors of the residence (he was met by) some of the sons of the Sahaba standing there. Muslim did not recognise them although they recognized him. They were waiting to meet Ibn Ziyad, Muslim’s face and clothes were covered in blood, whilst in that state he made a request for water, one of the group said, ‘You will not be able to drink this until you taste the hot water of Hell’. Muslim replied ‘Son of Hell you are more entitled to drink the fire of Hell; than me’.

Up until now we have discussed the scenario that emerged in Kufa with the arrival of Muslim bin Aqeel and Yazid’s orders that Ibn Ziyad to arrest and murder him. We hope that the Nawasib will not seek to absolve their spiritual father Yazid of Muslim’s murder by suggesting that the Shias of Kufa murdered him, and also hope they do not turn a blind eye towards those named Sahaba and their sons who were working for Yazid’s government. Let us give one such example, the police chief namely Amr bin Hareeth Makhzomi who had arrested Muslim bin Aqeel. Imam Dhahabi stated about him:

كان عمرو من بقايا أصحاب رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم الذين كانوا نزلوا الكوفة… له صحبة ورواية.

“Amr bin Hareeth is counted amongst the Sahaba of Rasulullah (s) that had settled in Kufa… he is a Sahabi and have narrated from (Rasulullah)”.
Siyar Al-Aalam al-Nubla, Volume 3 page 418

We read in Usud al-Ghaba by Ibn Atheer, Volume 4 page 98:

وولي لبني أمية بالكوفة وكانوا يميلون إليه ويثقون به وكان هواه معهم

“He was appointed by Bani Umaya in Kufa, they (Umayyad dynasty) trusted him and he loved them”

Similarly Dhahabi in his other famed work Al-Kashif, Volume 2 page 74 Biography 4140 and Imam Ibn Hajar Asaqlani in Tahdheeb al-Tahdheeb, Volume 1 page 732 Biography 5024 have counted Amr bin Hareeth amongst the Sahaba. The Hadiths nraated by him can be found in book like Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Sunnan Abu Dawoud, Sunnan al-Tirmidhi, Sunnan al-Nisai, Sunnan Ibn Majah.

Let us once again remind our readers about the role played by Amr bin Hareeth. Imam of Nawasib Ibn Kathir states in Al-Bidayah wal-Nihayah, Volume 8 page 167:

وبعث ابن زياد عمرو بن حريث المخزومي وكان صاحب شرطته ومعه عبدالرحمن ومحمد بن الأشعث في سبعين أو ثمانين فارسا ، فلم يشعر مسلم إلا وقد أحيط بالدار

“Ibn Ziyad dispatched the police chief Amr bin Hareeth al-Makhzomi, Abdulrehman, Muhammad bin Al-Ash’ath and 70 or 80 soldiers. Muslim didn’t notice until they surrounded his residence”

Do our opponents not appreciate why Shias respect for a Sahabi is based on his conduct and deeds? The simplest litmus test is that a Sahabi who loved and adhered to Ahlulbayt (as), had reached the pinnacle of respect whilst Sahabi who inflicted injustice against the Ahulbayt (as) and hated, hurt and opposed them (as), will be afforded no protection when he appears before Allah [stw] so what right do these people have to demand that we respect such folk?

In the above cited historical reference, we learn of an accomplice of Amr bin Hareeth namely Muhammad bin Al-Ash’ath about whom we have already shed light in the previous chapter and would remind our readers and reiterate that Nawasib may not like it but the reality is that like other killers of Hussain and the helpers of Hussain (as), Muhammad bin Al-Ash’ath did not believe that Imam Ali (as) was the legitimate Caliph after the Prophet (s) rather he believed that Ali (as) was the legitimate forth Caliph after the Prophet (s) a belief that would fall within the definition of Ahle-Sunnah. One can see from Imam Ibn Hajar Asqalani’s Taqreeb al-Tahdheeb, Volume 2 page 57 biography 5760 that he was counted amongst Tabayeen and when it comes to his rank as a narrator of Sunni Hadith works he has been graded ‘Maqbool’.

Whilst Ibn Kathir did not mention the names of those individuals who at the door step of Ibn Ziyad taunted Muslim bin Aqeel (as) Imam Tabari has named a few of those people, such as Kathir bin Shabibah b. al Husayb al Harithi, about whom we read in prominent Sunni book Tabaqat al-Kabir by Ibn Saad, Volume 4 page 104:

“He narrated traditions from Umar bin Khattab and was one of Mu’awiya bin Abu Sufyan’s Governors”.

Upon receiving the news that Imam Hussain (as) was making his way to Kufa Marwan bin Hakam wrote to Ibn Ziyad, stating:

“Hussain ibn Ali is heading in your direction. He is Fatima’s son and she is the daughter of Rasulullah (s). By Allah! We deserve nothing greater than bringing him into our possession”.
al Bidayah, Volume 8 page 165

As Imam Hussain (as) made his way to Kufa, Yazid also wrote to Ibn Ziyad stating:

“I have heard Hussain is making his way to Kufa. From amongst my Governors it is you that is being tested, freedom shall depend on the successful completion of this mission, otherwise you maybe be enslaved again, in the same way that slaves are freed, or freemen are made slaves”
al Bidayah, Volume 8 page 165

 

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