Why Imam Hussain (a.s.) did not swear allegiance? (To Yazid) Seemingly, this is a question which was asked Imam Hussein over and over. You can see a brief response of this as it has shown in below:
1: Incapability and corruption
2: fear of Islam ruin
3: corruption of governorship
4: high pitched (the name of Allah) and aiding his religion
5: sockdologer (last word) from Iraq people
6: orders of the Prophet (pbuh)
7: guarding honor of Mecca
8: rational reason on the necessity of arisen
9: being Wajib the arisen against … cruel
10: keeping the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAWW) and right learnings and ruin of Bid’ah
(Aamoozeh Aashoora, Page19, AliReza Aliyayi)
When we look into the personality of both people and what they stand for, we will understand why Hussain ibn Ali was not willing to pay allegiance to Yazid ibn Muawiyah. InshAllah, we will also understand the bigger picture of the tragedy which unfolded in Kerbala after Hussain refused to pay allegiance.
Who is Hussain ibn Ali?
- He is the grandson of the Holy Prophet of Islam. Together with his older brother Hassan ibn Ali, the Prophet used to play with them in public and express his strong feelings for them. He said about both of them, that they would be the leaders of the Youth in Paradise. Furthermore, he said about Hussain: "I am from Hussain and Hussain is from me."
- His mother is the daughter of the Prophet, Fatimah, the Pure, about whom the Prophet said, that she is the leader of the women of Paradise.
- His father is Ali ibn Abi Talib, about whom the Prophet said:"You are in the same position with relation to me as Aaron was with Moses, except that there will be no prophet after me." (al-Bukhari, Hadith 3430, 4064; Muslim, Hadith 4418; al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 3664; Ibn Hanbal, Vol.1)
- He was one of the five people under the cloak as reported in Hadith al Kisa (The event of the Cloak)
- He was known for his noble character, the highest moral standards, his vast knowledge, his humbleness, his help for the poor and struggle to save the true teachings of Islam.
Who is Yazid ibn Muawiyah?
- He was the grandson of Abu Sufyan and Hind, the woman who ate the liver of Hamza after she had instigated his killing in the battle of Uhud. His grandfather Abu Sufyan is known for his stand against the Prophet and Islam. He tortured and attacked the Muslims severely and even after his conversion to Islam, he continued with his animosity against them. Abu Sufyan was cursed by the Messenger of Allah himself.
- His father is Muawiyah who killed prominent companions of the Prophet because they disagreed with his totalitarian policies. He is responsible for the killing of the grandson of the Prophet, Hassan, Hijr b. Uday, Malik al-Ashtar, Muhammad b. Abu Bakr, Ammar b. Yasir, Abd al-Rahman b. Abu Bakr and Sa'd b. Abu al-Waqqas. He also killed many of the Ansar and Qur'an memorizers.
- He lived a life in luxury and indulgence far away from the teachings of Islam.
- He was a drunkard and playboy, evil with no morals and no respect for Islam.
- He became Caliph because his father Muawiyah appointed him as his successor, so the first dynasty was set up in Islam.
He forced Imam Hussain to stay in Kerbala and prevented him from reaching the water of the Euphrates. The army under his rule broke every rule the Holy Prophet of Islam had introduced regarding battles. They acted completely mercyless, butchering the Imam and his family members and companions and humiliating the corpses. They did not even have mercy with the baby child. A three-headed arrow slaughtered him whilst the Imam was holding him in his hand and pleading them to give the child water.
One must bear in mind that the army of Yazid claimed to be Muslims and only 50 years after the sad demise of the Prophet, Islam had reached a point where the Muslim Ummah was led by a cruel tyrant disregarding the teachings of Islam completely. Both individuals and their followers represented two opposing principles. Hussain ibn Ali represented the teachings of the Prophet, the high virtues of Islam - he was living these virtues. Being just, loving, courageous for the pleasure of Allah (swt). Yazid ibn Muawiyah represented the deviation from the path of Allah, the rule of desires over reason; oppressing, threatening and killing the fellow human being, greedily holding on to power, wealth and indulgence.
How could a person like Hussain pay allegiance to a person like Yazid?
Truth would have subdued to falsehood and the true teachings of Islam would have vanished. As Imam Hussain said: "Death with dignity is better than Life in humiliation." He spoke the truth into the face of a tyrant.
References: Sayed Moustafa al-Qazwini, When Power and Piety Collide; al-islam.org; truthaboutshias.blogspot.co.uk