Sunday, June 22, 2014

Ibadhism, The Cinderella of Islam (Chapter3)

The Umayyad Period

          The Khawarij suffered a great deal under the Umayyad as well as Abbasid rulers because of their rebellion against the ruling authorities but not against Islam. They were hunted and persecuted. Even those who were loyal to the rulers were not spared. So the struggle for political power continued during the Umayyad rule. When Muawiya died in 680 CE, he was succeeded by his son Yazid I, but the people of Kufa, Iraq wanted Seyyidna Hussein to be their Khalifa, and so started a military conflict for the office, and this is how it ended according to Professor Masud:-
“On the 10th of Muharram, the Umayyad troops increased their pressure (on Seyyidna Hussein), and the unequal contest between the small band of Hadhrat Hussein on the one hand, and a considerable army of the other began in the stony plain of Kerbala. Hadhrat Hussein and his followers soon met their martyrdom”.
“The murderous crowd cut off the head of Hadhrat Hussein. His body was trampled upon under the hoofs of Umayyad cavalry with savage ferocity and subjected to every ignominy. All male members of his family accompanying Hadhrat Hussein perished with him. The solitary exception was his sickly child Ali (who later came to be known as Zain-ul-Abidin)”.
          What a shame that a faction of Muslims under Yazid I for the sake of worldly power should treat the grandson of the Holy Prophet with such beastly barbarity. The Holy Messenger was right when he said,
"أن أول دينكم بدأ نبوة ورحمة ثم يكون خلافة ورحمة, ثم يكون ملكا وجبرية"
“Verily, the first (stage) of your religion is the beginning of Prophet hood and mercy, then there will be the rule of Caliphate and mercy and then there will be kingship and (Government by) coercion.
          And the Khawarij No.2 were right too when they dissociated themselves from the tyranny and moral depravity of the Umayyad rule. Altogether there were eleven kings under the Umayyad rule but only Umar bin Abdul Aziz bin Marwan received the support of the Khawarij because he followed the footsteps of his illustrious great grandfather, Seyyidna Umar bin Khattab. He had been imprisoned by his cousin and brother-in-law Al Walid bin Abdul Malik bin Marwan when the latter succeeded his father, Abdul Malik bin Marwan. Professor Masud has this to say about him:-

          “Umar bin Abdul Aziz was a devout Muslim, and he wanted Muslims to follow the Islamic way of life. He himself set the pattern for such life. He led a simple life on the lines set by the rightly-guided Caliphs. Unlike the other Umayyad Caliphs he had only one wife. He had no maids in his harem. He set a new standard of what a Muslim ruler should be. He avoided show and ostentation. He enjoyed simplicity and austerity in all affairs pertaining to the State. He was very particular in the use of money from the Bait-ul-Mal (State Treasury). He went to the extent of asking his wife to surrender all her ornaments to the State treasury.
          “Umar bin Abdul Aziz abolished the practice introduced by Muawiya of reviling and abusing Seyyidna Ali in the Friday sermons. All the properties which had been confiscated by his predecessors including the property of the family of Seyyidna Ali were restored to original owners.
          “He improved the status of converts to Islam, and decreed that on conversion to Islam, a person would no longer be subject to poll tax. This led to conversion to Islam on a large scale under his reign. When it was pointed out to him that this would mean considerable loss of revenue, he said he would not be a party to discrimination between a Muslim and (another) Muslim. He pointed out that the Holy Prophet had been sent as a mercy to mankind and not as a tax gatherer”.
With regard to the relation of Umar bin Abdul Aziz with the Khawarij, Prof. Masud has this to say:-
“At the outset of his reign, the Kharijites raised their head and resorted to terrorist activities. Instead of military action against them, he (Umar bin A ’Aziz) summoned a delegation of their representatives and brought home to them the point that as Muslims they should not disturb the peace of the land. He assured them that if they had any legitimate grievances he would remove them. He emphasized that if in spite of that, they resorted to terrorist activities, they would be betraying the cause of Islam which they professed to champion. Thereafter the Kharijites gave no more trouble during his reign.”
          From the above passage it is clear that the Khawarij No.2 were not a people who fought the ruling authorities for the sake of making trouble but for the purpose of establishing Islamic justice and when they found it in Umar bin Abdul Aziz they cooperated with him, and so peace and tranquility in the land prevailed in his reign. But the Umayyads were not happy with his policies and so conspired to get rid of him. He was poisoned to death in 720 C.E. when he was only 39 years old after a reign of just three years.
          To recapitulate what happened during the reign of the rightly – guided Khalifas and Umayyad rulers, the following were assassinated:-
1.    Umar bin Khattab
- murdered by a Persian
2.    Uthman bin Affan
- murdered by fellow Muslims
3.    Ali bin Abi Talib
- murdered by fellow Muslim
4.    Hassan bin Ali
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun
5.    Hussein bin Ali
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun
6.    Abdullah bin Zubair
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun
7.    Walid II
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun
8.    Ibrahim bin Walid
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun
9.    Marwan II
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun
10.                       Umar bin Abdul Aziz
- murdered by Uthmaniyyun

          Among the ten rulers murdered only one Khalifa was killed by a Kharijee who acted alone to avenge the death of 3000 innocent Khawarij killed at Nahrawan. The last seven rulers were murdered by the Uthmaniyyun in the struggle for political power. But the sectarian fanatics when they read their gloomy side of Islamic history put on dark glasses so that they do not see anything as if nothing had happened, and then boast to their followers that they are the right ones (أهل الحق).
          In the case of the Caliph Uthman, there were no sects when he was murdered but there had been general complaints from all spectrum of society in the Islamic state, and the Ibadhi historians reiterated what those complaints were, which happened to be shared by many of the Sahabas. When we come to the Abbasid reign we will see almost the same number of rulers killed and their names will be given later.
          Before closing this section on the Umayyad rule it would be interesting to hear what a non-Ibadhi scholar Abu Ameena Bilal Philips, has to say about the Umayyad rulers in his book, “The Evolution of Fiqh” (p.46):-
“The Umayyad Caliphs introduced a number of practices which were common in the non-Islamic states of that time, such as Byzantine, Persia and India. Many of these practices were in clear contradiction to the Fiqh of the earlier period. For example, the central treasury, the Bayt al-Maal, was turned into personal property of the Caliphs and their families, and taxes not sanctioned by Islam were introduced to further increase their fortunes. Music, dancing girls, magicians and astrologers were officially introduced as forms of amusement in the court of the Caliph. Furthermore, with the forced acceptance of Yazeed as crown prince imposed by Caliph Muawiya in the year 679 CE, the office of Caliph was converted into that of hereditary kingship”.
          Abu Hamza al-Mukhtar bin ‘Awf, one of the prominent Ibadhis of Basrah had this to say about the Umayyad rulers in general and Yazid in particular during a Friday sermon in Medina in the presence of Imam Malik ibn Anas:-
          “There came Yazid, a libertine in religion and unmanly in behavior, in whom was never perceived right guidance .........He would eat forbidden food, and drink wine, and wear a robe worth a thousand dinars, through which you could see his flesh so that the veil of modesty was rent, an unpardonable disrobe. And Hababa the singing-girl on his right, and Salama the singing-girl on his left, both singing – if you had taken drink away from him, he would rent his garments! And he would tum to one of them and say, Shall I fly? Aye, he flew. To God’s damnation, and the burning Fire, and a painful torment!
He then turns to the Umayyads:-

          “The sons of Umayyads are a party of error, and their strength is the strength of tyrants. They take conjecture for their guide, and judge as they please, and put men to death in anger, and govern by mediation and take the law out of context and distribute the public moneys to those not entitled to them - for God has revealed those who are entitled, and they are eight classes of men, for He says:-
          “The freewill offerings are for (1) the poor and (2) the needy, (3) those who work to collect them, (4) those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and (5) slaves and (6) debtors, and (7) those in the way of God and (8) travelers (Suratu-Tawbah verse 60). They make themselves the ninth and take it all! Such are those who rule by what God has not sent down.”(John A. Williams, p.218).
          No wonder the Umayyad regimes did not last 100 years, and they had to flee to Spain. Thus the so-called Khawarij did not break away from Islam as their enemies accuse and condemn them but from morally depraved rulers who did not abide by the Islamic standards of morality and social justice.
          The Ibadhis had every right in fighting and dissociating themselves from such corrupt regimes as the Umayyads and establishing their own separate Imamate. But the Uthmaniyyun (the Khawarij No.1) supported them and continued to support them and must share the full responsibility for that disgraceful state of affairs.

>>>>>> (To be Continued)

Ibadhism, The Cinderella of Islam, by Soud H. Al Ma'awaly, pg: 34-40

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