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.