Did ‘Abdullah Ibn ‘Abbas praise Yazeed?

Some people quote a narration of Ibn ‘Abbas in which he praised Yazeed b. Muawiyah. The narration is narrated by al-Baladhuri in “Ansab al-Ashraf” (5/289) through historian Abul Hasan al-Madaa’ini as follows:

الْمَدَائِنِيّ عَنْ عبد الرحمن بْن مُعَاوِيَة قَالَ، قَالَ عامر بْن مسعود الجمحي

Al-Madaini narrates from Abdur-Rahman b. Muawiya who said:  ‘Amir b. Masud al-Jumhi said whilie narrating the incident of Ibn ‘Abbas when the news of the death of Mu’awiya reached him, that Ibn ‘Abbas said, “…Indeed Yazeed is from the righteous of his family members.”

Sh Zubair Ali Zai and Kifaytullah Sanabili claimed that Abdur Rahman b. Muawiyah in this chain was Abul Huwairith. This claim is wrong and illogical as al-Madaaini died in the year 224 or 225 AH while Abul Huwairith Abdur-Rahman b. Muawiya died in the year 130 or 132 AH. So there was at least 94 years between the deaths of both. And it is said that al-Madaa’ini died when he was 93 years of age. So it is pathetic to claim that Abdur Rahman b. Mu’awiyah in the sanad was Abul Huwairith.

For age of al-Madaaini see al-Muntazam (11/95) of Ibn al-Jawzi.

Shaykh Kifayatullah Sanabili claims that there is no authentic chain to prove anything about the death of Al-Madaa’ini except that he was 93 years old when he died. And since Ibn Nadeem quotes, in al-Fihrist, from Husain ibn Fahm that al-Madaaini died in the year 215 AH, therefore he must have been born in the year 122 AH. And since Abul Huwairith died in the year 132 AH, 130 AH or 128 AH therefore he found 10, 8 or 6 years of the life of Abul Huwairith Abdur-Rahman b Muawiyah. This proves, according to Shaykh Kifayatullah, that al-Madaa’ini was a contemporary of Abul Huwairith.

Let us deal with it one by one.

  1. First he claimed that there is no authentic narration mentioning the year when al-madaa’ini died. This is a false claim. Let me quote the same page of Tarikh Baghdad from which this he quoted the Tawthiq of al-Madaa’ini. Al-Khateeb (12/55) said:

أَخْبَرَنَا مُحَمَّدُ بْنُ جَعْفَرِ بْنِ عَلانَ الْوَرَّاقُ- إجازة- أخبرنا مخلد بن جعفر، حَدَّثَنَا مُحَمَّد بْن جرير الطبري قَالَ: عليّ بْن مُحَمَّد بْن عَبْد اللَّه بْن أَبِي سيف مولى عَبْد الرَّحْمَن بْن سمرة، أَخْبَرَنِي الحارث أنه هو الذي أخبره بنسبه وولائه. وذكر الحارث أنه سرد الصوم قبل موته بثلاث سنين، وأنه كان قد قارب مائة سنة، فقيل له فِي مرضه: ما تشتهي؟ فقال: أشتهي أن أعيش. وكان مولده ومنشؤه بالبصرة، ثم سار إلى المدائن بعد حين، ثم سار إِلَى بَغْدَاد، فلم يزل بها حتى توفي بها فِي ذي القعدة سنة أربع وعشرين ومائتين وكان عالما بأيام الناس، وأخبار العرب وأنسابهم، عالما بالفتوح والمغازي ورواية الشعر، صدوقا فِي ذلك

Muhammad b. Jafar b. ‘Allaan al-Warraq – Makhlad b. Ja’far – Ibn Jareer al-Tabari who said Harith b. Abi Usama said: “…(al-Madaa’ini) reached near a hundred years. It was said to him in his illness near his death, “What do you wish?” He said, “I would like to live (more).” His birth and his early upbringing was in Basrah. Then he left for Madaa’in after some year. After that he moved to Baghdad and remained there until his death in the month of Dhul Qa’ada in the year 224 AH…”

This is an authentic chain and relied upon by many scholars who quoted the year of death of Al-Madaa’ini relying on the statement of Harith. Note that Harith b. Abi Usama was born in the year 186 died in the year 282 as per Imam Dhahabi in Siyar (13/388), and he also lived in Baghdad where al-Madaa’ini died. This makes him more reliable as compared to anyone who came later or lived somewhere else. Also note that al-Madaa’ini died in the month of Dhul Qa’dah which is the second last month of Islamic calendar. That is why some historians mentioned that al-Madaa’ini died in 225 AH.

  • Shaykh Sanabili preferred the statement of Husain b. Fahm out of six views he mentioned. He preferred it because according to him there is nothing established about the year of death of al-Madaa’ini. Therefore he chose the view attributed to Husain b. Fahm because he was his student, even though Sanabili accepts that this report is not established.  Let me quote the book of Ibn Nadeem to show the gross error of Shaykh Sanabili. Ibn Nadeem says in the entry of al-Madaa’ini:

“His birth as per what narration of Muhammad b. Yahya from Husain b. Fahm that Al-Madaa’ini said, “I was born in the year 135 AH” And he died in the year 215AH.” [al-Fihrist pg.130]

If one has to say that Husain b. Fahm was the student of al-Madaa’ini so we should prefer his views then why not prefer the view of al-Madaa’ini who himself in this same reports say that he was born in 135 AH. Sanabili has accepted the half of the quote and contradicted the other without informing the readers about this.

Note that it is possible that Ibn Nadeem could have done mistake in copying the year. In any case the report of Muhaddith Harith b. Abi Usama is decisive in this regard.

  • It is interesting how possibly al-Madaa’ini would have narrated from Abul Huwairith when he was born after his death as it has been proven in previous points. And if we accept that he was 10 years old when Abul Huwairith died then how do the scholars of hadith accept that an old man [Abul Huwairith] living in Madinah would narrate to a child supposedly of 10 years in the city of Basra or Madaa’in.
  • Unfortunately this shaykh Sanabili, not just trying to prove Simaa’ of a child from an aged man living miles away from him, he is even claiming that they were contemporary (Mu’aasir).

In conclusion, Abdur-Rahman b. Mu’awiya in the above narration is a Majhool person and “research” of Shaykh Kifayatullah Sanabili on it is unreliable. Allah knows best

Did Husain (ra) want to compromise with Yazeed?

Did Husain (ra) want to meet Yazeed to settle his dispute before he was martyred?

Many books on Tarikh and even an authentic report states that Husain wanted from the force of Ibn Ziyad that he be left to meet Yazeed where he could settle down his dispute. In the wording mentioned in narrations Husain asked that he be taken to Yazeed where he could give his hand in his hands. In some tradition it is reported as one of the three options Husain seek before he was attacked and finally martyred.

The foremost to report this was the Shia Historian Abu Mikhnaf who is the foremost in narrating incidents of Karbala. Imam Ibn Jareer (5/413) has quoted him saying, “As for what has been narrated to us by Mujalid b. Saeed, Sa’aqab b. Zuhair al-Azdi and other muhadditheen then it is something which was opined by the group of muhadditheen, and they say: Husain said, “Accept from me any of the three things; 1. Either let me go back to the place I came from (i.e. Makkah) 2. Or let me put my hands in Yazeed hands so he will see what is between us, 3. Or take me to any of the borders of Muslim state so I will be one of them…”

Then Abu Mikhnaf says: As for Abdur Rahman b. Jundub, he narrated to me from Uqba b. Sam’aan that he said, “I accompanied Husain when he left Madina for Makkah, and Makkah for Iraq. I did not leave him until he was killed. There was nothing of his speeches in Madina or Makkah, and on the way or in Iraq and also during battle until his death except that I heard it. By Allah, he did not gave them what they are talking about that he agreed to give his hand in the hands of Yazeed b Muawiyah, nor that he be sent to some city near border of Islamic country. However, he said, “Leave me so that I may go to this waste land until I see what has happened to people.”

It seems the incident was well known among people that is why Abu Mikhnaf came up with his clarification in form of a report. The defensive report he gives is weird because the person he quotes the explanation of is not known in history except through Abu Mikhnaf himself. This is after the fact that this same report claim that Uqba b Sam’an was one of his close companions who accompanied Husain not just from Makkah to Iraq, but also from Madina to Makkah when Husain did not intend to go back to Iraq. He is not known in Islamic history (except through Abu Mikhnaf) and appears to be a forgery of Abu Mikhnaf (died. 157 AH) known for his Tashayyu’. Abu Mikhnaf was accused of lying.

The other view which is that Husain wanted to compromise with Yazeed has been reported in many books. Besides Abu Mikhnaf himself, it was also narrated by Abu Ma’shar Najeeh (d. 170 AH) from his shuyukh. Abu Ma’shar was better than Abu Mikhnaf in narrating historical traditions.

There is a connected report also which attest to this view. This has been reported by Ibn Jareer al-Tabari (5/591) through Muhammad b Ammar al-Razi from Saeed b. Suleiman (Sa’dwaih) from from Abbad b. Awwam from Husain from Hilal b. Yisaaf.Al-Baladhuri also narrated it in Ansab al-Ashraf (3/173, shii tahqiq) through same chain of Saeed b. Suleiman Sa’dwaih as in Tabari.The chain is connected and reliable. In it Husain asked Umar b Sa’d, Shimr and Husain b Numair that he be taken to Yazeed where he could give his hand in his hands, but they refused until he submit to Ibn Ziyaad.Note that Hilal b Yisaf lived during the time of Sayyiduna Husain, and he had also seen Sayyiduna Ali even though he did not hear anything from him.


This incident does not prove that Yazeed was a righteous person. It only shows that later Husain was inclined to the opinion of other senior companions like Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas who accepted Yazeed not because he was good but because it was good to avoid the bloodshed. Husain did not fear for his life because in that case he would have submitted to Ibn Ziyaad also which never happened.This also disprove the conclusion of some scholars that Yazeed was a Kafir because he hurt the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) by hurting his family.

And Allah knows best.