Arabs on the Eve of the Holy Prophet’s Arrival
By: Sayyid Imdad Imam
From his book "Misbah-uz-Zulam", Roots of the Karbala’ Tragedy
When the Holy Prophet (S) arrived, a part of the Arab land was under Iran’s rule and a part under the Byzantine government. The remaining areas were ruled by tribal Chiefs (Shaykhs). Mecca and Medina were similarly under the rule of their respective Shaykhs. The Sheikhdom of Mecca was in the family of the Holy Prophet (S), who were called Bani Hashim; but their other relatives, Bani Umayyah, were having more power and wealth. There was no love lost between Bani Umayyah and Bani Hashim. Yet there had been no major bloodshed either before or after the arrival of the Holy Prophet (S).
The ways of life of these two tribes were not similar. Normally the Bani Hashim were faithful, brave, kind, generous and sincere, whereas the Bani Umayyah were remote from all these attributes. Though both belonged to Quraish tribe, their behavior was very different from one another. If a comparison between to people each from the said two clans is made, the difference will be quite obvious. For this purpose let’s take up the case of Abdul Muttalib from Bani Hashim and Abu Sufyan from Bani Umayyah. All knew about the courage, faithfulness, kindness, truthfulness, foresight, generosity and thoughtfulness of Abdul Muttalib.
On the other hand, Abu Sufyan had nothing to do with these virtues. He was a selfish, evil, greedy, a malicious drunkard and a mischievous fellow. Besides many other virtues, the generosity of Abdul Muttalib was so great that he was prepared to fulfill the need of the needy before the latter could even describe it fully. It had also happened that this chief of Bani Hashim was once about to leave for Syria with trade goods, when at the last moment a needy fellow came to his door and asked for a big amount in charity. Abdul Muttalib at once complied with his request and could not undertake his trade journey due to lack of funds.
Even the greatest enemy of Abdul Muttalib is unable to show that he had on any occasion grabbed anyone’s wealth or had ever fled from the battlefield or behaved badly and unjustly with anyone or wished evil of anybody or drank wine or committed adultery etc. Undoubtedly, such evil deeds can never be committed by a man from whose loins, the two divine radiances, viz. the radiance of Muhammad (S) and the radiance of Ali (a.s.) were to be transferred to the loins of Abdullah and Abu Talib (r.a.). Doubtlessly, Abu Sufyan did not posses these graces.
Obviously, this book is not aimed to abuse anyone, otherwise, many sour affairs would have to be recalled; then if Abu Sufyan is to be compared with Abdul Muttalib it will be asked: Can a dead lamp be compared with the bright sun?
Similarly, if a comparison is made between Muawiyah and His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) and of Imam Husayn (a.s.) with the son of Muawiyah, the distance between the behaviors of Bani Hashim and Bani Umayyah will become all the more obvious, even to the unaware. Lastly, if a comparison is made between Marwan bin Hakam, Abdul Malik bin Marwan, Walid bin Abdul Malik, Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik, Hisham bin Abdul Malik and Walid bin Yazeed bin Abdul Malik and people like Imam Zainul Aabideen, Imam Muhammad Baqir, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and other members of the holy family of the Prophet, the difference between good and evil will become crystal clear.
In Bani Umayyah tribe, a man named Marwan looks like the head of all mischief- makers of the world. Then Hakam bin Aas, Walid bin Uqbah etc. were also outstanding examples of the character of Bani Umayyah. The truth is that almost all the people in this tribe, with the sole exception of Umar bin Abdul Aziz, are such that to call them humans is like killing humanity.
Religion of Arabs at the time of Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWA)
Three religions were prevalent in Arabia at the time of the arrival of the Holy Prophet (S). One was the religion of polytheistic Arabs, who worshipped idols in the worst way. Another was the religion of Christianity, which was in a very bad condition as it had ceased to be a divine religion and the third was the religion of Prophet Moosa (a.s.) (i.e. religion of the Jews) which had also deteriorated like Christianity. In short, the entire land of Arabia had gone completely astray. In these circumstances, it was a demand of Divine Mercy that the Holy Prophet (S) should be appointed by Allah.
But the religion of Muhammad (S) could not spread and grow easily and many calamities befell the Holy Prophet (S) in Mecca. Bani Umayyah people were bent on opposing God. They could not kill the Holy Prophet (S) so long as Abu Talib (r.a.) was alive. But after the death of this kind and caring uncle, the idol-worshippers made all preparations to kill the Holy Prophet (S). Among the apostates of Mecca, the greatest enemies of the Prophet were these very Bani Umayyah.
At last, after suffering many troubles, he left Mecca and migrated to Medina. The people of Medina gave him a warm welcome and accepted the Divine religion in large numbers. Against all hopes, Islam gained roots and flourished in Medina and the people of the native Mecca remained deprived of this blessing. Strange are the affairs of Allah! How strange that a deadly enemy like Abu Jahl was from the native place of Mecca! The Holy Prophet (S) did get refuge and peace in Medina and many Medinites also became Muslims with a sincere heart, but this flourishing of Islam became extremely intolerable for Bani Umayyah and other unbelievers of Mecca.
So Bani Umayyah did everything to harm both the Holy Prophet (S) and the religion of Allah. Abu Sufyan advanced to Medina many times, accompanied with an army, and also fought the Muslims of Medina in several battles, but always failed. Almighty Allah did not allow His religion to be destroyed.
Finally, Abu Sufyan and other apostates of Mecca became tired and sat put at home. The Battle of Hunayn shook the Bani Umayyah severely and made the devil powerless. We should remember that it took ten years for the Prophet to weaken Bani Umayyah and it was only his military acumen and intelligence, which controlled such a rebellious tribe. But alas and again alas! After a little while, Bani Umayyah not only regained their lost strength but also gradually became the rulers of all the territories of Islam and it was as a result this, that one of their rulers caused the massacre, which is now remembered as the Tragedy of Karbala’.1
It is recorded in history, how Bani Umayyah became powerful once again and I have recounted those events in my book Kashful Haqaiq Vol. 12 and will again mention them wherever necessary in this book. But before I narrate the events of Karbala’, it is necessary to explain the religious conditions of the Muslims of those days so that the events of Karbala’ may also be understood easily. This is essential, because without knowing this, no one can understand the truth about Karbala’.
For instance, one could ask in astonishment: “My God! What is this? When Husayn (a.s.) was the grandson of the Holy Prophet (S), how and why did the Muslims killed him so mercilessly?” But when this questioner knows the facts, his bewilderment will go away and the Karbala’ incident will appear to him natural according to the law of cause and effect. This is a world where every happening must have a cause.
1. Refer to books of History
2. This book is now out of stock and perhaps not available anywhere.