Is there any evidence to suggest that it is permissible to curse Yazid by name, and when he is mentioned to say, “the curse of Allah be upon him”?
In the name of Allah; Most Compassionate, Most Merciful.
The indispensible requirement for the completion of faith is to love and loathe for the sake of Allah, Most High. All of the pious scholars, throughout the Islamic history, abhorred Yazid due to his impious lifestyle and being guilty of committing acts of sacrilege. Many of the scholarly predecessors did, indeed, curse Yazid and some explicitly declared him an apostate (kafir).
Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH) mentioned in his book dedicated to the dispraise of Yazid:
“In one of my (Ibn al-Jawzi’s) gatherings of religious counsel an individual questioned me in regards to Yazid, son of Mu’awiya; his role in the martyrdom of Imam Hussayn (Allah be pleased with him), and his order to plunder and pillage the blessed city of Madina. He (the questioner) said to me, “is it permissible to curse Yazid?” I said, “It (curse) suffices him; however, it is more befitting to remain silent.” He replied, “I am aware that it is more befitting to remain silent but my question remains, is it permissible to curse him?” I said to him, “many pious scholars have permitted cursing Yazid and from amongst them is Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Allah be pleased with him).”
(al-Radd ala’l Muta’assib al-Anid al-Mani’ min dhamm Yazid, Ibn al-Jawzi, p33-34).
The renowned Hanafi theologian, Imam Sa’d al-Din al-Taftazani (d. 792 AH), wrote in his celebrated work concerning the authentic Muslim creed; Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya:
“Some scholars have permitted the cursing of Yazid because he committed disbelief for issuing the blasphemous order for the martyrdom of Imam al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him). All scholars are in agreement that it is permitted to curse the one who martyred Imam al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him), the one who ordered his martyrdom, the one who considered his martyrdom lawful and the one who expressed happiness upon his martyrdom. The truth is that Yazid was pleased that Imam al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) was martyred; he rejoiced and dishonoured the family of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). This information has been unequivocally mass-transmitted in meaning (tawatara ma’nahu), albeit the (particular) details are taken from single reports (Ahad). Thus we will not hesitate in the matter of cursing Yazid (i.e. we are convinced of the permissibility to curse him), but rather we will restrict ourselves in regards to his belief (i.e. not convinced that he is a believer). May the curse of Allah be upon Yazid, and upon all his aides and collaborators.”
(Sharh al-Aqa’id al-Nasafiyya, al-Taftazani, p149)
Like many other Muslim historians, Imam Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti (d. 911 AH) authored a book on the history of Muslim Caliphs entitled ‘Tarikh al-Khulafa’. In this work Imam al-Suyuti mentioned the story regarding the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) and thereafter cursed Yazid with the following words:
“… then Imam al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) was martyred and his blessed head was brought on a metal tray and placed before Ibn Ziyad. The curse of Allah be upon the one who martyred Imam al-Husayn (Allah be pleased with him), and upon Ibn Ziyad and Yazid.”
(Tarikh al-Khulafa, Jalal al-Din al-Suyuti, p341)
Allah, Most High, mentions in the Qur’an, “And if you were given authority (to rule over people), then what else can be expected but you act viciously on the Earth and sever your (ties of) relationship? Those (who do so) are the ones that Allah (Most High) has cursed for He (Most High) has made them deaf and blinded their sights” (Al-Qur’an; 47; 22-23). Whilst commenting on these verses, the distinguished spiritual exegete of the Qur’an, Al-Sayyid Mahmud al-Alusi al-Baghdadi (d. 1270 AH) wrote:
“The ruling concerning the permissibility to curse Yazid, may what he deserves befall upon him from Allah, has been derived from this verse. Barzanji in ‘Al-Isha’ah’ and al-Haythami in ‘Al-Sawa’iq’ have narrated that when Imam Ahmad was questioned by his son, Abdullah, about the cursing of Yazid, Imam Ahmad responded, “How can it be that Yazid is not cursed when Allah, Most High, has cursed him in the Qur’an.” Abdullah replied, “I have indeed recited the Book of Allah, however, I have failed to find the curse upon Yazid in it.” The Imam said, “Indeed Allah (Most High) said, ‘And if you were given authority (to rule over people), then what else can be expected but you act viciously on the Earth and sever your (ties of) relationship? Those (who do so) are the ones that Allah (Most High) has cursed.’ Which vicious act and severing of ties is more severe than what Yazid did?”
(Ruh al-Ma’ani, Al-Alusi, v.9, p.227)
Whilst analysing the people cursed by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) in hadith literature, Ibn al-Jawzi wrote, “And know that in the prophetic traditions particular kinds of people have been cursed by the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) for acts which do not equate to one hundredth part of the acts that Yazid committed.”
(al-Radd ala’l Muta’assib al-Anid al-Mani’ min dhamm Yazid, Ibn al-Jawzi, p42).
Yazid was, indeed, directly responsible for allowing the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) to take place. Authentic books of Islamic history are replete with the lengthy details of the brutal pain and injustice that Yazid’s followers inflicted on Imam Husayn; his family and companions (Allah be pleased with them all), and how the great Imam was mercilessly martyred. Even after the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (Allah be pleased with him), Yazid continued to act insolently as Ibn Kathir wrote, “when the (blessed) head was placed before Yazid, he began striking the (blessed) front teeth with a stick that was in his hand.”
(Al-Bidaya wa’n Nihaya, Ibn Kathir, v.7, p.200)
When the news of Imam Husayn’s (Allah be pleased with him) martyrdom reached the mother of the believers, Umm Salamah (Allah be pleased with her), she is recorded to have said, “they killed him! may Allah fill their houses and graves with fire.”
(Al-Tabaqat, Ibn Sa'd, v. 6, p. 452)
Following the martyrdom of Imam Husayn (Allah be pleased with him) a Madinese delegation travelled to visit Yazid in the year 62 AH. Upon their return to Madina they informed the people about the impiety and lack of religiosity of Yazid, and openly hurled abuse at him. They referred to him as ‘the drunkard enemy of Allah’.
(al-Radd ala’l Muta’assib al-Anid al-Mani’ min dhamm Yazid, Ibn al-Jawzi, p65-66)
As a result, the people of Madina renounced their allegiance to Yazid. When this news reached Yazid, he dispatched an army to Madina under the command of Muslim ibn Uqba in the year 63 AH. Yazid instructed him to give the people of Madina three days to repledge their allegiance to him, and if they refused then his definitive command was “Fight them! And I permit you to do whatever you please in Madina for three days.”
(Al-Bidaya wa’n Nihaya, Ibn Kathir, v.7, p.227).
The people of Madina vehemently refused and consequently the soldiers of Yazid murdered and raped thousands of Madinese people for three days. These dark days are referred in the books of Islamic history as ‘Waq’atul Harra’ (the onslaught of Harra). Ibn Kathir wrote, “ten thousand people of Madina were martyred during those three days, from which seven hundred were the honourable Muhajirun and Ansar. Following the ‘Onslaught of Harra’ one thousand rape victims, with no husbands, gave birth to babies. And indeed, during these three days grave atrocities took place and words cannot do justice in describing the true extent. Allah (Most High) alone knows the true extent of those atrocities.”
(Al-Bidaya wa’n Nihaya, Ibn Kathir, v.7, p.229-230).
The evils that took place during these three days were the direct consequence of Yazid’s order. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed the one who terrorizes the people of Madina. He (peace be upon him) said, “Whoever terrorizes the people of Madina with oppression, Allah (Most High) will terrorize him. The curse of Allah (Most High), the angels and the people altogether will be upon him. Neither will repentance from him be accepted nor a ransom.”
(Al-Musnad, Ahmad ibn Hanbal, v. 13, p.65)
On the first of Muharram 64 AH, after Yazid’s soldiers had violated the sanctity of Madina, they marched towards the city of Makkah to assassinate the companion of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him); Abdullah Ibn al-Zubayr (Allah be pleased with him), who had refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid. In the following two months the blessed land of Makkah was violated by Yazid’s soldiers as they besieged the city and fought against its inhabitants who had pledged allegiance to Abdullah Ibn al-Zubayr (Allah be pleased with him). On the third of Rabi’ al-Awwal 64 AH, Yazid’s followers set up large catapults and hurled flaming stones at the Ka’bah which burned the roof and the covering of the Ka’bah. Eleven days following the start of this sacrilegious assault on the House of Allah (Most High), Yazid died in the land of Shaam on the fourteenth of Rabi’ al-Awwal 64 AH.
(Al-Bidaya wa’n Nihaya, Ibn Kathir, v.7, p.233-234).
In the history of Islam there has not been any leader who has violated the sanctity of Islam more openly and audaciously than Yazid. He was an irreligious and unprincipled leader whose reign commenced with the martyrdom of the grandson of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him). During the course of his reign he plundered the blessed land of Madina and his reign came to an end when his soldiers attacked the sacred House of Allah, Most High. May the curse of Allah, Most High, be upon Yazid, and upon all his aides and collaborators.
Allah (Most High) and His Prophet (peace be upon him) know best.
Answered by Mufti Zulfiqar Haidar Pirzada al-Azhari