Praise be to Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ), for Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ) forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
The Banu Umayya (Arabic: بنو أمية ), also known as the Umayyads (Arabic: الأمويون / بنو أمية al-Umawiyyun), were a clan of the Quraysh tribe descended from Umayya ibn Abd Shams. The clan staunchly opposed Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله), and the spread of Islam. A member of the clan, Uthman, went on to become the third Sunni caliph-usurper, while other members held various governorships. One of these governors, Mu’awiyah I, self-declared himself a caliph in 657, went to war against ruling Ali (the cousin and son-in-law of Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله), Prophet of Islam), and in 661 established the Sunni Umayyad Caliphate.
Notable members included:
Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
Leader of the most powerful tribe of pre-Islamic Arabia. He fiercely opposed the spread of Islam and fought against Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله) and Muslims in the battles of Badr (624 CE), Uhud (625 CE) and the Trench (627 CE). Once his campaign against the spread of Islam failed, he allegedly converted to the faith, as per ,,if you can’t beat them, join them”. However, sincerity of Abu Sufyan’s conversion is contested due to the fact that he made his entire life a mission to destroy Islam and to kill the Prophet, whilst he allegedly ‘converted’ once basically defeated.
- Sunni sources (such as ,,The Complete History” by Ali ibn al-Athir, who wrote 600 years after the Abu Sufyan’s death) reported that he (Abu Sufyan) allegedly lost two eyes in the battles (siege of Ta’if and battle of Yarmouk) fighting on the Muslim side. There’s no historical proof that Abu Sufyan ever took part in afromentioned battles, nor that he lost his eyes in them. Such reports have to be taken with a considerable doubt, as Sunni ruling dynasties such as titular Umayyads, and then Abbasids, whitewashed early Islamic history to suit their ideological agendas, and to give themselves legitimacy.
Uthman ibn Affan
The third Sunni caliph-usurper. Uthman as a caliph, relied solely on his own volition in picking his cabinet, which led to decisions that breeded resistance within the Muslim community. The resistance against Uthman originated because he favored family members over any others in choosing his governors. They went so far as to impose authoritarianism over their provinces. Indeed, many anonymous letters were written to the leading companions of Muhammad, complaining about the tyranny of Uthman’s appointed governors. Moreover, letters were sent to the leaders of public opinion in different provinces concerning the reported mishandling of power by Uthman’s family. This contributed to unrest in the empire and finally to Uthman’s killing in a siege on his own house by the Muslims. One of the killers of Uthman was Abu Bakr’s own son, Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr.
Sunni historians confirm that the agitation against the Uthman started by some influential individuals among the companions. The weakness of Uthman in handing the affairs of the State caused many companions to oppose him. This naturally resulted in a power struggle among the influential companions in Medina. Sunni historians such as al-Tabari, Ibn Athir, and al-Baladhuri and many others provide traditions which confirm that these companions were the first who asked the other companions, resided in other cities, to join them in revolt against Uthman.
Ibn Jarir al-Tabari reported:
When the people saw what Uthman was doing, the companions of the Prophet in Medina wrote to other companions who were scattered throughout the frontier provinces: “You have gone forth but to struggle in the path of Almighty God, for the sake of Muhammad’s religion. In your absence the religion of Muhammad has been corrupted and forsaken. So come back to reestablish Muhammad’s religion.” Thus, they came from every direction until they killed the Caliph (Uthman).
Sunni source: History of al-Tabari, English version, v15, p184.
In fact al-Tabari quoted the above paragraph form Muhammad Ibn Is’haq Ibn Yasar al-Madani who is the most celebrated Sunni historian and the author of “Sirah Rasool-Allah“.
History testifies that those influential people who were the key element in agitation against Uthman include Talha, Zubair, Aisha, Abdurrahman Ibn Ouf, and Amr Ibn al-Aas (the army commander of Muawiyah), among some.
After the body of Uthman had been on the street for three days, Naila, Uthman’s wife, approached some of his supporters to help in his burial, but only very few people responded. The body was lifted at dusk, and because of the blockade, no coffin could be procured. The body was not washed, as Islamic teaching states that bodies are supposed to be washed before burial. Thus, Uthman was carried to the graveyard in the clothes that he was wearing at the time of his assassination. The body was carried to Jannat al-Baqi, the Muslim graveyard. However, Muslims gathered there, and they resisted the burial of Uthman in the graveyard of the Muslims. Instead, the supporters of Uthman buried him in the Jewish graveyard behind Jannat al-Baqi. Some decades later, the Umayyad rulers demolished the wall separating the two cemeteries and merged the Jewish cemetery into the Muslim one to ensure that his tomb was now inside a Muslim cemetery (1, 2, 3).
- R. V. C. Bodley and the Encyclopædia Britannica, mention that during Muhammad’s (صلى الله عليه وآله) lifetime, Uthman was not an outstanding figure and was not assigned to any authority, and was not ever distinguished in any of Muhammad’s (صلى الله عليه وآله) campaigns.
Muʿawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan aka Muawiyah I
The son of Abu Sufyan. The first tyrant of the Sunni Umayyad Caliphate. Appointed as the governor of Syria by the second Sunni caliph-usurper, Umar (who in turn was appointed by the first Sunni caliph-usurper, Abu Bakr). Given even more power and priviliges under the third Sunni caliph-usurper, Uthman (also of Banu Umayya), Muawiyah was dismissed from his post by Ali ibn Abu Talib (first rightful successor to Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وآله), his father-in-law). Not being able to deal with his dismissal that de facto weakened the Umayyad stronghold in Syria, in 657 Muawiyah declared himself a caliph and went to war with Ali, despite the latter being a ruling caliph and a member of Prophet’s closest family (unlike Muawiyah). Both sides clashed at the Battle of Siffin (657 CE), and thanks only to Ali’s piety, treacherous Muawiyah escaped unharmed. After Ali was assassinated in 661, Muawiyah again declared himself a caliph and established the Umayyad Caliphate. Prophet’s living family members disagreed with that, correctly and logically laying claim to the rulership. When Ali was assassinated and people gave allegiance to Hassan, Muawiyah prepared to fight with him. The battles led to inconclusive skirmishes between the armies of Hassan and Muawiyah. Hassan ibn Ali, Prophet’s grandson and Ali’s son, agreed to a treaty with Muawiyah, to avoid the agonies of a further civil war, and to stop the Umayyad genocide against the Prophet’s family, their loyal followers (Shia Muslims) and Sahaba (Companions of Muhammad). According to the treaty, Hassan for the time being ceded the caliphate to Muawiyah, but the latter was to name no successor during his reign. Authority should be for Hassan after Muawiyah, and if an accident occurs, authority should go to Hussain ibn Ali (Prophet’s grandson and Ali’s son), Muawiyah has no right to entrust authority to anyone. He was also to abandon cursing the Ali ibn Abu Talib and the practice of using the qunut in the salat against him, Muawiyah should also not mention Ali unless in a good manner. Eventually, Hassan ibn Ali was poisoned on the order of Muawiyah, who in turn appointed as successor his own son, Yazid ibn Muawiyah.
- It’s noteworthy to mention that it was Muawiyah himself who established the Umayyad tradition of cursing Ali from the pulpits of caliphate’s mosques. The cursing finally came to an end with the fall of the Sunni Umayyad dynasty. According to the Sunni books, Muawiyah’s hatred towards Ali was so great, that the people ceased reciting Talbiyah during Hajj out of fear of Muawiyah and the hatred of Ali ibn Abi Talib that he planted in them:
Classification of hadith: Hasan (good)
Sunni collection: Sunan an-Nasa’i. In Sunni “Islam”, it’s considered one of the most authentic books after the Quran.
It was narrated that Saeed bin Jubair said:
“I was with Ibn Abbas in Arafat and he said: ‘Why do I not hear the people reciting Talbiyah?‘ I said: They are afraid of Muawiyah.‘ So Ibn Abbas went out of his tent and said: “Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, Labbaik! They are only forsaking the Sunnah out of hatred for Ali.‘”
Not surprisingly, adherents to the Sunni religion till this day invoke Radhiallahu ‘anhu (eng. God is pleased with him) after the Muawiyah’s name.
Yazid ibn Mu‘awiya aka Yazid I
The son of Muawiyah. The second tyrant of the Sunni Umayyad Caliphate. Robert Payne quotes Muawiyah in History of Islam as telling his son Yazid to defeat Hussein ibn Ali (Prophet’s grandson and Ali’s son), as Hussein was a descendent of Muhammad, and so a direct threat to the unjust Sunni Umayyad rule. Even Sunni sources mention that the appointment of Yazid was unpopular, including in Madina too (1). As mentioned in the (Shia) Muslim and Sunni sources (for example, Al-Tabari in his Tarikh Al-Tabari, Ibn Kathir in his Al Bidayah Wal Nihayah, Al-Dhahabi in his Tarikh al-Islam al-Kabir), Yazid is fully responsible for numerous anti-Islamic acts; the death of Hussein ibn Ali (Prophet’s grandson and Ali’s son) and his followers (Prophet’s Companions, Shia Muslims) at the battle of Karbala (680 CE), considered an ambush-massacre; the aftermath of the Battle of al-Harrah (683 CE), in which the troops of Yazid’s general, Muslim bin Uqbah al-Marri, pillaged the town of Medina; the burning of the Kaaba during the siege of Mecca (683 CE), which was done on the orders of Yazid’s commander Husayn ibn Numayr al-Sakuni. He was also an alcoholic and adulterer.
He was strong, brave, deliberative, full of resolve, acumen, and eloquence. He composed good poetry. He was also a stern, harsh, and coarse Nasibi. He drank and was a reprobate. He inaugurated his Dawla with the killing of the martyr al-Husayn and closed it with the catastrophe of al-Harrah. Hence the people despised him, he was not blessed in his life, and many took up arms against him after al-Husayn such as the people of Madînah – they rose for the sake of Allâh.
Sunni source: Al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (eng. The Lives of Noble Figures), 4:37-38.
According to further Sunni sources, Yazid was known for having kept monkeys, dogs, and leopards. In fact, one of his monkeys was called Abu Qays. The Sunni caliph was also an alcoholic drunkard. When the people of Medina rebelled against him and elected another, he attacked the Kaaba, the holiest place for Muslims, with a catapult. It was also said that singing and various kinds of entertainment had first spread in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina during his reign.
Yazid wrote one of the most famous Arabic love poems, “Avenge my blood from the scarfed lady,” which sums up his whims and desires. Some of its verses include:
Were it not for my fear of God
I would have embraced her
Between the holy places
I would have kissed her
I would have taken her hand in mine
And would have kissed her lips
I would have become hers
And she mine, even if it were forbidden.
All of that, however, doesn’t stop modern day Sunnis from rehabilitating Yazid, just as they did with his father, Muawiyah. In the video below, Sunnis are screaming towards the Shia Muslims; “Yazid – Paradise”…
YouTube is full of modern day Sunni apologetics for the man who killed Prophet’s grandson and shelled Kaaba:
- It is also noteworthy to mention that the Umayyads withdrew from the siege of Mecca in 683 CE only because of the Yazid’s sudden death (he was killed by his own horse after it lost control). However, in 692 CE the Sunni Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan sent his General Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf with a large army to Mecca to put an end to the rule of Muslims that refused to acknowledge the Banu Umayya godless rule. Ibn Yusuf bombarded the Holy City using catapults from the mountain of Abu Qubays. The bombardment continued during the month of Pilgrimage or Hajj. After a long and bloody combat, the city was eventually taken.
Ziyad ibn Abih aka Ziyad ibn Abu Sufyan
He traced his lineage back to Abu Sufyan. He was called “ibn Abihi” (“son of his own father”), and was infamous for his draconian rules regarding public order. During the usurpation of Umar ibn al-Khattab, Ziyad went on to hold many posts during his lifetime serving as the governor of Faris (Persia), Basra and Kufa. In 662 a year after Ali ibn Abu Talib’s (first rightful successor to Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وآله), his father-in-law) assassination, Mu`awiyah, now the first Sunni Umayyad Caliph-usurper, sent al-Mughira ibn Shu’ba, his governor at Kufa, to Estakhr to recall Ziyad to Damascus. Muawiyah and Ziyad reached an agreement: the Caliph-usurper recognised Ziyad as a brother – Ziyad now adopted the name ibn Abu Sufyan – and appointed him governor at Basra. This act was then and later considered a scandal in Islam, criticised in contemporary satire and by the 13th-century historian Ibn al-Athir (Sunni source: The Complete History (Arabic: الكامل في التاريخ, al-Kāmil fit-Tārīkh), by Ali ibn al-Athir. Volume 3, p. 24, under the Chapter addressing the events of 44 Hijri). Al-Suyuti wrote that Mu’awiyah’s decision to declare Ziyad as his brother, and thus allowing Ziyad to receive inheritance from Abu Sufyan, is against the Sharia (Sunni source: History of the Caliphs (Arabic: تاريخ الخلفاء, Tarikh al-khulafa), by al-Suyuti).
In 670, the governor of Kufa, al-Mughira ibn Shu’ba, died of plague. With Mu’awiyah looking to crush the rebellion of Prophet’s family in Kufa, Ziyad, being the ruthless governor that he was, proved to be the perfect candidate for the emirate. First Sunni Umayyad Caliph-usurper, Mu’awiyah handed the administration of the city to Ziyad, who in turn killed many Shi’a Muslims that stayed loyal to the Prophet’s family while refusing Sunni Umayyad usurpation. In Kufa, he continued the tradition of publicly cursing Ali from the Mosques’ pulpits as it was customary during Mu’awiyah’s reign. This caused the companion Hujr ibn ‘Adi to agitate against Ziyad. As a result, Ziyad clapped him in irons and shipped him to Damascus where Mu’awiyah sentenced him and his followers to death under the false charge of sedition against the state. Ziyad died in 673, and Mu`awiyah appointed his son ʿUbaydullah ibn Ziyad as successor.
In 680, second Sunni Umayyad Caliph-usurper, Yazid I ordered ʿUbaydullah to enact martial law in Kufa as a reaction to the grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وآله) and third rightful successor Hussein ibn Ali’s popularity. ʿUbaydullah took over the control of Kufa. Hussein sent his cousin as an ambassador to the people of Kufa, but ʿUbaydullah executed Hussein’s cousin Muslim ibn Aqeel amid fears of an uprising. ʿUbaydullah amassed an army of thousands of soldiers and ambushed Hussein’s outnumbered caravan in a place called Karbala near Kufa. ʿUbaydullah’s army was victorious; Hussein and his followers were martyred and their heads were sent to the second Sunni Umayyad Caliph-usurper, Yazid I as proof.
Marwan was the fourth Sunni Umayyad caliph. During the usurpation of his cousin Uthman, Marwan served as the usurper’s kātib (secretary). According to historian Hugh N. Kennedy, Marwan was Uthman’s “right-hand man” (see: Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century, 2004, p. 79). Marwan was one of the defenders of Uthman’s house when it was besieged by other prominent Companions in 656. He fought alongside A’isha’s forces against Ali ibn Abu Talib (first rightful successor to Prophet Muhammad ( صلى الله عليه وآله), his father-in-law) at the Battle of the Camel in 656. He used that occasion to kill one of A’isha’s partisans, Talha ibn Ubayd Allah. He married Yazid’s widow, Umm Hashim Fakhita. For a brief period, Marwan served as Mu’awiya’s I governor in Bahrain before serving two stints as governor of Medina in 661–668 and 674–677. In between those two terms, Marwan’s kinsmen Sa’id ibn al-‘As and al-Walid ibn Uqba, held the post. Marwan acquired from Mu’awiya I a large estate in the Fadak oasis in northern Arabia, which he then bestowed on his sons ‘Abd al-Malik and ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (see: Bosworth, The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VI, 1991, p. 621). Fadak was previously unjustly denied to the Prophet’s family by the first Sunni Caliph-usurper, Abu Bakr. It was later parcelled among usurping Sunni Umayyads, one of whom was Marwān and his sons.
Marwan was known to be gruff and lacking in social graces. The Muslim sources labeled him ṭarid ibn ṭarid (outlawed son of an outlaw) in reference to his father al-Hakam’s exiling to Ta’if by the prophet Muhammad and Marwan’s expulsion from Medina by Ibn al-Zubayr. He was also referred to abū’l-jabābira (father of tyrants) because his son and grandsons later inherited the caliphal throne.
Source: Bosworth, The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VI, 1991, p. 622.
Walid ibn Yazid aka al-Walid II
Walid bin Yazid was the eleventh Sunni Umayyad caliph. Walid completely defied both divine and secular powers, and had boundless desires. In addition to his love for drinking, singing, and music, he explicitly engaged in sin. Many stories are told about him.
Once, he wanted to perform the pilgrimage only so he can get drunk near the Kaaba. It is also said that he lured his brother to sin.
Walid did not have respect for anything, not even for the sacred. One time, he asked a concubine to get into disguise and lead people in prayer. In another story he made a pool of wine and swam in it. He even composed poems questioning Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله) as a prophet.
Sunni source: Al-Dhahabi, Siyar a`lam al-nubala’ (eng. The Lives of Noble Figures), 5:371,372,373.
Further Sunni Umayyad Caliphs were responsible for a continuous persecution of the Prophet’s family, until they were overthrown in 750 CE by the Sunni Abbasids who managed to take power over thanks solely to the Shia Muslim masses that were lied to, that after the Umayyads, Abbasids would hand the power over to the Prophet Muhammad’s (صلى الله عليه وآله) family members. Abbasids didn’t, what’s more, they went on a rabid and fanatical persecution of Shia Muslims and the remaining family of the last Prophet of Islam. Not the first, nor a last time, when Sunnis betrayed (Shia) Muslims and insulted Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ). There were countless armed rebellions and uprisings of Muslims disaffected with the Umayyad and Abbasid rulers. Mainly by the family members of Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله).
Ali Asgher Razwy, a 20th century (Shi’a) Islamic scholar states:
“The Banu Umayya were the traditional champions of idolatry and the arch-enemies of Muhammad and his clan, the Banu Hashim. Muhammad had broken their power but Umar revived them. The central component of his policy, as head of the government of Saqifa, was the restoration of the Umayyads. He turned over Syria to them as their “fief”, and he made them the first family in the empire.”
And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know [it]. [2:42]