Tuesday, 5 June 2007

The Demise of Hajjaj bin Yusuf

Among the high officials of the Umayyad Caliphate, no one has acquired more fame than Hajjaj bin Yusuf. However, this fame was not acquired because of his generosity, but for his oppression. The tyranny of Hajjaj has become very famous in history.

The Umayyad Caliphate was badly shaken after the death of Yazid bin Muawiyah, but it was Hajjaj bin Yusuf who took over from this falling empire and strengthened them. The greatest threat to this empire was from the Companion of the Prophet Muhammad SAW - Abdullah bin Zubair RA who was based in Makkah but his rule extended to the border of Syria . Hajjaj with his oppression laid siege to Makkah and killed Abdullah bin Zubair RA without any mercy on him.

Hajjaj alone executed 125,000 men. He beheaded leaders like Sa'id bin Zubair RA. He put prominent scholars, who were more importantly - the Noble Companions of the Prophet Muhammad SAW - like Abdullah bin Umar RA and Abdullah bin Zubair RA to death.

Before being executed, Sa'id bin Zubair RA told Hajjaj bin Yusuf:

"Now you will not be able to set out for anyone."

On this saying of Said bin Zubair RA, Hajjaj bin Yusuf passed away within fifteen nights. Even the learned and the peaceful men of that era looked upon Hajjaj as a calamity and curse sent down by Allah Almighty.

The grand Tabi'in - Hasan Basri RA used to say:

"Hajjaj is a calamity sent by Allah; do not try to remove him by force, but ask Allah Ta'ala."

Therefore, the moment the news of the death of Hajjaj was reported, Hasan Basri RA and Umar bin Abdul Aziz RA fell in sujud (prostration) to Allah and exclaimed:

"The Fir'aun (Pharaoh) of this nation is no more!"

We may now observe at how this tyrant ruler faced death.

After twenty years of rule over Iraq, Hajjaj bin Yusuf fell ill at the age of fifty-four. His stomach was infested by innumerable vermin. The temperature of his body decreased and he felt so intensely cold that several stoves were place close to him and yet he gained no relief.

When Hajjaj had lost all hopes of survival, he said to the members of his household:

"Prop me up and assemble the people."

When the people arrived, he pleaded guilty to his sins and tyrannies. He gave a speech and emphasised on the fact that of which he dwelt on death and its severities.

The following sayings came from his tongue:

"The weight of my sins is as the weight of the sky and the earth,

Yet I hope that Allah will show me Mercy.

If He favours me with His pleasure,

It will be the fulfilment of my hope.

But should He do justice,

He would condemn me to torture.

It will be no injustice.

Is it possible that Allah be unjust from whom nothing but Allah has anticipated!"

Hajjaj bin Yusuf then burst into tears and this scene moved in the whole assembly to tears.

As Hajjaj bin Yusuf was passing away, he raised his tearful eyes to Heaven, pleading:

"O Allah! Grant me salvation, for people say You will not forgive me."

He then recited the following:

"Lord! The people give me no hope, though I repose much hope in you."

So saying this he closed his eyes.

When this saying was quoted before Hasan Basri RA, he was extremely suprised and asked:

"Did he really say this?"

The people replied

"Yes, Hajjaj actually said so."

Thereupon Hasan Basri RA said:

"Then perhaps he may be forgiven."

The above story, which has been adapted from Seerah during the time of the Ummayad Caliphate depicts the vast Mercy of Allah SWT. If Allah SWT wishes to forgive, then nothing can stop Allah. Our intentions in our commitment to abide by the Laws of Allah SWT should be for the sake of pleasing Allah Almighty; and in this endeavour, we must truly funnel our full effort to abide. We do not know what small thing we do, that brings about the Wrath of Allah SWT; and we do not know what small thing we do that brings about the Mercy of Allah. Allah SWT is the Most Merciful out of those capable of showing mercy.


Tayseer said...

Very nice post there. I'm currently reading about him and watching a Syrian produced series made on his story. Somehow I feel despite his tyranny he was a man of faith, with no greyness, either black of white. Where are such men today?

Lempira1421 said...

I know that he did many things but if we didn't have him there maybe the fitnah at the time would've been worse he was a necessary evil remember that the Prophet Muhammad didn't make any duaa for the people of Iraq....The Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said, "O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Shaam. O Allaah bestow your blessings on our Yemen." The people said, "O Messenger of Allaah, and our Najd." I think the third time the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, said, "There (in Najd) will occur earthquakes, trials and tribulations, and from their appears the Horn of Satan." Reported in al-Bukhaaree [Book of Trials, Chpt. ‘The afflictions will come from the East’ 9/166 no. 214 Eng. Trans]....A haadeeth which has some controversy surrounding it due to obvious sectarian reasons. A ahaadeeth which has been (deliberately) misunderstood by certain groups of people in order that they may spread their misguidance and deceive ignorant Muslims.

This because upon research and investigation and looking to the words of our early scholars we find that this ahaadeeth does not refer to the Najd that is famously known in Saudi today, but rather it refers to Iraq.

About two years ago I read a book entirely devoted to this ahaadeeth entitled, "an-Najd Qarnu ash-Shaytaan" [I cannot remember the author as I do not have the book on me anymore.] I will quote in general from what I remember from this book, and refrain from mentioning precise quotes except from those references that I have on me. Amongst the scholars that are mentioned who referred this ahaadeeth to Iraq were: al-Khattaabee, al-Kirmaanee, al-Aynee, an-Nawawee, Ibn Hajr and others. The reasons behind this are numerous and clear:

(1) The generality of the ahaadeeth pertaining to the fitnah coming from the east. Al-Bukhaaree includes this ahaadeeth in the chapter: "The affliction will appear from the East"

212) From the father of Saalim: The Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, stood up besides the pulpit (and pointed towards the east) and said: "Afflictions are there! Afflictions are there! From where appears the horn of Satan" or he said, "the horn of the Sun"

213) From Ibn Umar that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alyahi wa sallam, saying while facing the east: "Indeed Afflictions are there, from where appears the Horn of Satan."

214) The ahaadeeth of Najd under discussion. Similar ahaadeeth can be found in Saheeh Muslim (volume 4 no’s 6938+). Ahaadeeth that give the same meaning can be found in Saheeh Muslim (volume 1 no’s 83+)

(2) That the generality of the early trials and tribulations arose from the east, many of them actually in Iraq itself.

Ibn Hajr al-Asqalaanee said after quoting the words of al-Khattaabee explaining the meaning of Qarn (horn), "and others have said that the People of the East were disbelievers at that time and the Messenger of Allaah, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam, informed us that the trials and tribulations would arise from that direction and it was as he said. And the first of the trials that arose, arose from the direction of the east and they were the reason for the splitting of the Muslim ranks, and this is what Satan loves and delights in. Likewise the innovations appeared from that direction." [Fath al-Baaree 13/58 in commentary to the hadeeth of Najd]


Lempira1421 said...

“Oh, People of Iraq, Oh, People of Hypocrisy, My name is Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf ath-Thaqafi. When I take off my turban, you will know me, I see heads that have ripened and need to be harvested, and I shall harvest them.”

Book 41, Number 6943:

Ibn Fudail reported on the authority of his father that he heard Salim b. 'Abdullah b. 'Umar as saying: O people of Iraq, how strange it is that you ask about the minor sins but commit major sins? I heard from my father 'Abdullah b. 'Umar, narrating that he heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying while pointing his hand towards the east: Verily. the turmoil would come from this side, from where appear the horns of Satan and you would strike the necks of one another; and Moses killed a person from among the people of Pharaoh unintentionally and Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, said: "You killed a person but We relieved you from the grief and tried you with (many a) trial" (xx. 40). Ahmad b. Umar reported this hadith from Salim, but he did not make a mention of the words: "I heard".