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In the Name of God بسم الله

Misrepresenting Karbala: A Response To Yasir Qadhi

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pakistanyar

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  • 1 year later...

I have to give this a bump, because this is an amazing piece of a cogent, well balanced, and extremely informative piece on the issue.

It is a must read, for the non-muslim, muslim, atheists, theist , anyone from any background.

I might even request this article to be pinned. Moderators, Admins, why don't you have a read and decide?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I don't mind you posting the video brother. Suffice to say, the link in the OP is not made by a shia muslim to the best of my knowledge. It is an excellent refutation and i would say so even if i came in as a neutral.

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Yasir al-Qadhi treats Karbala the way it should be - a tragedy of politics and betrayal.

No Sunni explanation will satisfy the modern-day Shi'a, because they see the events of Karbala from a religious perspective (Sunni vs Shia), whereas Sunnis have always seen Karbala as Sunni vs Sunni, one side pro-Ummayyad and the other anti-Ummayad (Kufan Shias).

He mentions correctly several times that Shiism at this point was merely a pro-Alawid political movement, it had not yet undertaken a theological transformation, and this would not happen for hundreds of years.

Abu Mikhnaf was a political Shii (not an Twelver Shii, they didn't exist yet), and, as such, his account needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

The reason being that Karbala was a political event, Abu Mikhnaf was a political Shii, and therefore inherently biased. The same goes for taking the account of Karbala from a pro-Ummayad source. Both are biased, both must be treated with caution. This is not to say that Abu Mikhnafs account is totally rejected - it is just treated with caution.

He (Qadhi) tries to avoid recriminations - and this has been the standard approach of Ahlul Sunnah since day one.

Simply put, the events at Karbala were political in nature, and we derive no religious benefit from its analysis nor from recriminations against any parties involved.

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You are entitled to your opinion, but i think Sheikh Yasser Qadhi does not give a fair account of the event. The following is from a non-shia individual who has taken an open minded and analyical view on his talk and has subsequently drafted up points of contention he has against Sheikh Qahdi's methodology:

That being said, there were several key problems with Dr. Qadhi’s talk:

1)    His treatment of the sources is inconsistent and unscholarly.

From the outset, Dr. Qadhi declares that he purposely ignores the accounts of Abū Mikhnaf (d. 774)* and al-Ṭabarī (d. 923) and chooses to focus instead on the narrative provided by Ibn Kathīr (d. 1375), al-Dhahabī (d. 1348) and Ibn Ḥajar al-Asqalānī (d. 1448). I understand the need to make critical decisions about which sources to rely upon due to constraints of time. However, I think that it was a mistake to rely heavily on sources such as Ibn Kathīr for the events of Karbala. Putting aside the fact that the later narratives were written more than 700 years (!!) after the events they describe, they are also imbued with a strong sense of doctrinal commitment and polemical bias of a Sunnism which was hardly existent centuries earlier. In other words, the narrative provided by both Ibn Kathīr and Ibn Ḥajar cannot be considered as reliable sources for the actual history of Karbala, since they are later Sunni reflections on the event. Abū Mikhnaf and al-Ṭabarī, on the other hand, were writing much closer in time to the event itself and long before there were any substantial doctrinal (Sunnī vs. Shī‘i) formulations; the usefulness of these early chronicles is also reinforced by the fact that they both list chains of transmission and the sources being relied on. Moreover, many historians have recognized that the value of these sources far exceeds that of Ibn Kathīr’s chronicle (which itself makes heavy use of Abū Mikhnaf!), Ibn Ḥajar’s writings, and—most certainly—Ibn Taymīyya’s perspective, which Dr. Qadhi relies upon a little too heavily throughout his lecture. There is much more that can be said about his problematic use of sources, a problem which may stem from the fact that Dr. Qadhi is not a historian, but a theologian, but it should be sufficient to conclude by saying that the primary problem of the lecture was its failure to base itself upon reliable historical sources on one hand and its overreliance upon later medieval Sunni doctrinal texts on the other. He also massively misrepresents the nuanced and complex perspectives of Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jamā’ah by claiming that the positions he puts forth in his talk are representative of Sunni Islam as a whole.

*An English translation of Abū Mikhnaf’s account can be found here: http://www.sicm.org.uk/knowledge/Kitab%20Maqtal%20al-Husayn.pdf

2)     Dominance of Ibn Taymīyya’s views.

The second problem relates to an overemphasis of the opinions of one particular figure: Ibn Taymīyya (d. 1328). This would have been fine if the premise of the lecture had been “Ibn Taymīyya’s Views on Karbala,” but as even Dr. Qadhi himself asserted his lecture was intended to be an actual historical exploration of the events of Karbala, not his summary of one medieval Muslim theologian’s views of them. The problem is compounded by the fact that the work by Ibn Taymīyya on which Dr. Qadhi relies upon the most during the analytical portions of the talk was Minhāj al-Sunnah al-Nabawīyya*, a virulently anti-Shī‘ī polemic which is hardly representative of the Sunni perspective on the events that transpired at Karbala; in fact, Ibn Taymīyya himself—in his later works—would nuance or reverse several of the views presented in this work. The audience would have been surprised to learn that Ibn Taymīyya was also NOT a historian, but a theologian so it was a very strange decision by Dr. Qadhi to privilege the views of this one thinker over the perspective provided by the classical Muslim historians (Tabarī, Abū Mikhnaf, al-Ya‘qūbī, al-Mas‘ūdī, Ibn Miskawayh, Ibn al-Jawzi etc.). This decision, I think, was one rooted more in theological concerns than a genuine desire to understand the historical reality of Karbala.

*[Minhāj al-Sunnah was a comprehensive refutation of Shī‘ism written in response to a major, anti-Sunnī polemical work entitled Minhāj al-Karāmah by a prominent Twelver Shī‘ī scholar named Ibn Muṭahhar al-Ḥillī (d. 1325). The arguments and statements put forth about Karbala by Ibn Taymīyya are therefore framed in a deliberately polemical and heavily ideological context in which the objective is to utilize history in order to prove the theological supremacy of one school of thought over another. On the other hand, if one looks to Ibn Taymīyya’s writings about Karbala found within the Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa, a collection of his writings and epistles, one can attain a far more nuanced perspective. Curiously, in one of his statements about Karbala found within the Fatāwa Ibn Taymīyya says: “The murder of al-Ḥusayn was one of the greatest catastrophes in history. His murder—like the assassination of ‘Uthmān —was one of the central causes for the strife and bloodshed in the Muslim community. Verily, his killers are the worst of creation in the eyes of God” (Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa 3: 411). Elsewhere in the same collection, Ibn Taymīyya exclaims: “As to those who killed al-Ḥusayn or assisted in that act or was pleased with it, may the curse (la’n) of God, the angels, and all the people be upon them. No deed will be accepted from these people from God as compensation for their heinous crime” (Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa 4: 487). It was quite unfortunate that Dr. Qadhi did not include these two quotations within the body of his lecture, since I think it would have shown the audience the degree of significance which Ibn Taymīyya attached to the murder of al-Ḥusayn. The cursing of the murderers of al-Ḥusayn would have been particularly illustrative in demonstrating that this was not merely a later Shi’ite practice. https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/ibn-taymiyya-d-1328-on-the-martyrdom-of-imam-husayn-d-680/]

3)     Glorification of Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān.

There is a very problematic discussion of the reign of Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān (r. 661–680). Dr. Qadhi completely passes over the fact that it was none other than Mu‘āwiyah who was one of the central antagonists during the First Civil War (656–661) and played a very negative role in the fragmentation of the Muslim community in his bid for power during his rebellious actions against Imām ‘Alī. Rather, Dr. Qadhi seeks to provide us with a flowery—and inaccurate—picture of Mu‘āwiyah as a just, peaceful ruler whose only intention was the preservation of the Muslim community. Such an assessment does not stand up to actual historical inquiry and is more a reflection of Dr. Qadhi’s doctrinal commitments. Quite conveniently, Dr. Qadhi fails to mention that Mu‘āwiyah secured the oath of allegiance to his son Yazīd by the sword, through compulsion and the use of violence. It was not a simple case, as Dr. Qadhi says, of most people accepting the appointment of Yazīd. He even uses the term “Imāmat al-Mafḍūl” (a largely Zaydi Shi’ite concept which affirms the permissibility for an individual of lesser stature to become caliph even though more qualified candidates exist) for Yazīd in order to provide a legitimizing framework for his reign (I hope he elaborates on what he meant by this concept, because I didn’t understand its use in this context). The attempt to misrepresent and justify these actions of Mu‘āwiyah which caused so much suffering to the Muslim community are among the most problematic aspects of the entire lecture.

4)    Ambiguous position on Yazīd.

At various points throughout the talk there are attempts where Dr. Qadhi seems to not only defend, but even praise, Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiyah (esp. in the reference to Yazīd’ participation in a raid against Constantinople) . Despite all the historical evidence to the contrary, Dr. Qadhi insists that Yazīd was largely innocent from the murder of al-Ḥusayn; we are informed that the bulk of the blame rests with the Kufans, Ibn Ziyad, Shimr, and ‘Umar ibn Sa’d. He even suggests that Yazīd  was upset by the fact that al-Ḥusayn was murdered, yet admits that absolutely no action was taken to punish those responsible. Strangely, Dr. Qadhi does not even mention how the women and children of the Ahl al-Bayt were massively mistreated and paraded like slaves in the streets of Damascus and in the court of Yazīd…even though this is a major part of the tragedy of Karbala and is recorded by a vast majority of the chronicles. To those well-versed in history, it is quite clear that Yazīd did in fact play a central role in the murder of al-Ḥusayn, whose refusal to pledge allegiance to him as caliph threatened his very legitimacy. Any denial of Yazīd’s major responsibility is a massive distortion of history and anyone who wishes to learn the truth of these matters can easily learn the truth through a very cursory glance at the historical texts, which are quite unambiguous about Yazīd’s culpability; medieval Sunni, Shi’i, and even Christian sources written in Arabic all make this fact very clear. Although, to be fair, Dr. Qadhi does not claim that Yazīd is a positive role model—which is clear from his showing how no less a figure than Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal exclaimed “How can anyone with true belief claim to love Yazīd?!”—he fails to show the full extent of his tyranny and depravity (again, these are facts of history). Nowhere does he discuss how Yazīd was a sadist and debauched individual (even though these points are underscored by Ibn Taymīyya and Ibn Kathīr, Qadhi’s main sources) nor does he even mention how Yazīd was responsible for the sack of Medina (in which thousands of the Companions of the Prophet were killed) and the bombardment of Mecca, a siege which led to the destruction of the Ka‘ba. Yet, throughout the lecture we are led to believe that such an individual was unwilling to kill one political opponent…

5)     Theme of “Treacherous Shi’ites”.

The overemphasis on the betrayal by the Kufans–identified as the primary culprits–also requires some commentary. It is undoubtedly true that the Kufan supporters of al-Ḥusayn massively betrayed him and refused to come to his assistance, despite being the ones who initially urged him to come to their city. As Dr. Qadhi pointed out, there are numerous indications which show how contemporary Muslims (Umm Salama, Ibn ‘Umar, even the Ahl al-Bayt themselves) blamed and cursed the Iraqis for their actions which played a huge role in the chain of events culminating in the massacre at Karbala. However, this betrayal was only one element of the broader story. The blame for the actual massacre rests squarely on the shoulders of the Umayyads. Time and again, Dr. Qadhi seeks to draw a connection between the treacherous Kufans and modern-day Shī‘ī Muslims who, he tells us, “beat themselves up every year for their betrayal of al-Ḥusayn.” It becomes clear that the overemphasis on the Kufans is intended to conform to a long-standing Sunni polemic in which the Shī‘is (past and present) are transformed from the supporters of the Ahl al-Bayt into their murderers; by contrast, he asserts that Sunni Muslims “are the true Shi’ites (supporters) of Ahl al-Bayt”. He reinforces this connection between modern Shi’ites and the Kufans further by tracing the theological origins of Shī‘ism to the Tawwabūn movement in the 680s. Rather than explaining that the development of theological Shi’ism was a long and complicated process which would require a much more detailed exposition, Dr. Qadhi chose to put forth these misleading statements to an audience which is already suffering from massive misconceptions of Shī‘ī Islam. Aside from being inaccurate in their own right, these claims are very unhelpful in the current climate of sectarianism, of which the demonization of Shī‘ī Muslims by the overwhelming majority of Muslims is one of the root causes.

6)     Factual errors.

Throughout the lecture, there were several historical errors which demonstrate that Dr. Qadhi’s strengths lie in his being a theologian, not a historian. These errors could easily have been avoided by carefully reading through the texts and consulting secondary sources. The most significant of these errors was his statement that Zayd ibn ‘Alī (d. 740)—who was actually Imām Ḥusayn’s grandson—was killed not by the Umayyads, but by the Abbasids! Given that Zayd was killed ten years before the Abbasids became a dominant political force, this is a particularly grievous error. Every single narration about the revolt of Zayd mentions quite explicitly that he was rebelling against the Umayyads. Errors like this are unacceptable given the subject matter being covered here. Also, with regard to Zayd, Dr. Qadhi again places all the blame on the shoulders of the Kufans (“the Shi’ites”) and does not emphasize that it was in fact the Umayyads which murdered him, before having him decapitated…just as they did with al-Ḥusayn.

7)     Unflattering and unacceptable representation of Imām Ḥusayn.

Despite claiming over and over that “we love and adore al-Ḥusayn,” Dr. Qadhi paints a very unflattering picture of him throughout his talk. Al-Ḥusayn is represented as an impulsive, naïve, and emotionally-driven individual whose only guiding force is his illogical drive for power and an attempt to reclaim his rights. Rather than commending his attempt to restore his rights (which Dr. Qadhi does acknowledge), he is critiqued for not having the wisdom of his brother al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī and conceding these rights to the Umayyad family. Nowhere is it mentioned that al-Ḥusayn was driven by a desire for justice and a strong awareness of the oppression wrought by the Umayyads against the Muslim community. Yazīd’s oppressive rule is barely mentioned. Nowhere do we have a sense of the Ḥusayn who is the son of Gate of Knowledge (‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib) whose wisdom was sought out by others and who was among the most knowledgeable men of the age. Rather, he is depicted as rejecting the wise advice of “more knowledgeable and wiser men” such as Ibn ‘Abbās and Ibn ‘Umar (regarding the point that Ibn ‘Umar was superior to al-Ḥusayn, see: https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/the-love-and-respect-of-umar-ibn-al-khattab-d-644-for-ahl-al-bayt/) .  Al-Ḥusayn’s decision to set out for Kufa is represented as flawed in every way and Dr. Qadhi seems to imply that his death was one that could have been easily avoided if only he had heeded the advice of his peers. This depiction is very unflattering and completely ignores that al-Ḥusayn knew perfectly well what he was doing. Indeed, he stated his objective in unambiguous terms in one of his final sermons in Mecca:

O People! The Prophet of Islam has said that if a believer sees a tyrannical ruler transgressing against God and his Messenger and oppressing people, but does nothing by word or action to change the situation, then it will be just for God to place him (the witness to tyranny) where he deservingly belongs. Do you not see to what low level the affairs [of this nation] have come to.., do you not observe that truth has been deviated from and falsehood has no limits. And as for me, I look upon death but a means of attaining martyrdom. I consider life among the transgressors an agony and an affliction!

(Abū Nu‘aym al-Iṣfahānī, Ḥilyat al-Awliyā’ ).

Since the Umayyads eventually did attack Mecca, it seems that in the long-run al-Ḥusayn’s sense of urgency in setting out to rectify the injustice which had occurred with the accession of Yazīd was justified after all, despite the “wise advice” of Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas. Unfortunately, however, this is not acknowledged by Dr. Qadhi anywhere in the lecture.

https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/misrepresenting-karbala-a-response-to-dr-yasir-qadhi/

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I understand that bloggers criticisms - but he does not mention the fact that al-Qadhi explicitly stated at the beginning of the lecture that he could easily give 10 lectures on all the varying opinions regarding the events at Karbala.

You are not going to condense an event of such magnitude into a 1-2 hour lecture.

What al-Qadhi did do, however, was provide a brief overview of the main position of Ahlul Sunnah - that the events of Karbala were political in nature, that all the sides involved were on the same religion, and that it was a tragedy of political betrayal.

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On 6/8/2015 at 5:41 PM, Husayn said:

I understand that bloggers criticisms - but he does not mention the fact that al-Qadhi explicitly stated at the beginning of the lecture that he could easily give 10 lectures on all the varying opinions regarding the events at Karbala.

You are not going to condense an event of such magnitude into a 1-2 hour lecture.

What al-Qadhi did do, however, was provide a brief overview of the main position of Ahlul Sunnah - that the events of Karbala were political in nature, that all the sides involved were on the same religion, and that it was a tragedy of political betrayal.

What the blogger is saying is, even within the 1-2 hours Sheik Qadhi used , he was giving his paticular view of Kerbala. Indeed, ten hours could be sufficient to give all the views of many, but the point is, he was giving his view, and hence 1-2 hours was sufficient for him to outline his key points, key evidences and key premises.

The blogger explains - as a non shia- he still felt, coming from a historical perspective - rather than a polemical one- Sheikh Qadhi did not give a fair and balanced view, did not properly consult historical sources, made historical errors, and there was a clear polemical bias in his methodology and approach among other flaws.

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On 6/8/2015 at 5:31 PM, Tawheed313 said:

You are entitled to your opinion, but i think Sheikh Yasser Qadhi does not give a fair account of the event. The following is from a non-shia individual who has taken an open minded and analyical view on his talk and has subsequently drafted up points of contention he has against Sheikh Qahdi's methodology:

That being said, there were several key problems with Dr. Qadhi’s talk:

1)    His treatment of the sources is inconsistent and unscholarly.

From the outset, Dr. Qadhi declares that he purposely ignores the accounts of Abū Mikhnaf (d. 774)* and al-Ṭabarī (d. 923) and chooses to focus instead on the narrative provided by Ibn Kathīr (d. 1375), al-Dhahabī (d. 1348) and Ibn Ḥajar al-Asqalānī (d. 1448). I understand the need to make critical decisions about which sources to rely upon due to constraints of time. However, I think that it was a mistake to rely heavily on sources such as Ibn Kathīr for the events of Karbala. Putting aside the fact that the later narratives were written more than 700 years (!!) after the events they describe, they are also imbued with a strong sense of doctrinal commitment and polemical bias of a Sunnism which was hardly existent centuries earlier. In other words, the narrative provided by both Ibn Kathīr and Ibn Ḥajar cannot be considered as reliable sources for the actual history of Karbala, since they are later Sunni reflections on the event. Abū Mikhnaf and al-Ṭabarī, on the other hand, were writing much closer in time to the event itself and long before there were any substantial doctrinal (Sunnī vs. Shī‘i) formulations; the usefulness of these early chronicles is also reinforced by the fact that they both list chains of transmission and the sources being relied on. Moreover, many historians have recognized that the value of these sources far exceeds that of Ibn Kathīr’s chronicle (which itself makes heavy use of Abū Mikhnaf!), Ibn Ḥajar’s writings, and—most certainly—Ibn Taymīyya’s perspective, which Dr. Qadhi relies upon a little too heavily throughout his lecture. There is much more that can be said about his problematic use of sources, a problem which may stem from the fact that Dr. Qadhi is not a historian, but a theologian, but it should be sufficient to conclude by saying that the primary problem of the lecture was its failure to base itself upon reliable historical sources on one hand and its overreliance upon later medieval Sunni doctrinal texts on the other. He also massively misrepresents the nuanced and complex perspectives of Ahl al-Sunnah wal Jamā’ah by claiming that the positions he puts forth in his talk are representative of Sunni Islam as a whole.

*An English translation of Abū Mikhnaf’s account can be found here: http://www.sicm.org.uk/knowledge/Kitab%20Maqtal%20al-Husayn.pdf

2)     Dominance of Ibn Taymīyya’s views.

The second problem relates to an overemphasis of the opinions of one particular figure: Ibn Taymīyya (d. 1328). This would have been fine if the premise of the lecture had been “Ibn Taymīyya’s Views on Karbala,” but as even Dr. Qadhi himself asserted his lecture was intended to be an actual historical exploration of the events of Karbala, not his summary of one medieval Muslim theologian’s views of them. The problem is compounded by the fact that the work by Ibn Taymīyya on which Dr. Qadhi relies upon the most during the analytical portions of the talk was Minhāj al-Sunnah al-Nabawīyya*, a virulently anti-Shī‘ī polemic which is hardly representative of the Sunni perspective on the events that transpired at Karbala; in fact, Ibn Taymīyya himself—in his later works—would nuance or reverse several of the views presented in this work. The audience would have been surprised to learn that Ibn Taymīyya was also NOT a historian, but a theologian so it was a very strange decision by Dr. Qadhi to privilege the views of this one thinker over the perspective provided by the classical Muslim historians (Tabarī, Abū Mikhnaf, al-Ya‘qūbī, al-Mas‘ūdī, Ibn Miskawayh, Ibn al-Jawzi etc.). This decision, I think, was one rooted more in theological concerns than a genuine desire to understand the historical reality of Karbala.

*[Minhāj al-Sunnah was a comprehensive refutation of Shī‘ism written in response to a major, anti-Sunnī polemical work entitled Minhāj al-Karāmah by a prominent Twelver Shī‘ī scholar named Ibn Muṭahhar al-Ḥillī (d. 1325). The arguments and statements put forth about Karbala by Ibn Taymīyya are therefore framed in a deliberately polemical and heavily ideological context in which the objective is to utilize history in order to prove the theological supremacy of one school of thought over another. On the other hand, if one looks to Ibn Taymīyya’s writings about Karbala found within the Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa, a collection of his writings and epistles, one can attain a far more nuanced perspective. Curiously, in one of his statements about Karbala found within the Fatāwa Ibn Taymīyya says: “The murder of al-Ḥusayn was one of the greatest catastrophes in history. His murder—like the assassination of ‘Uthmān —was one of the central causes for the strife and bloodshed in the Muslim community. Verily, his killers are the worst of creation in the eyes of God” (Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa 3: 411). Elsewhere in the same collection, Ibn Taymīyya exclaims: “As to those who killed al-Ḥusayn or assisted in that act or was pleased with it, may the curse (la’n) of God, the angels, and all the people be upon them. No deed will be accepted from these people from God as compensation for their heinous crime” (Majmū‘ al-Fatāwa 4: 487). It was quite unfortunate that Dr. Qadhi did not include these two quotations within the body of his lecture, since I think it would have shown the audience the degree of significance which Ibn Taymīyya attached to the murder of al-Ḥusayn. The cursing of the murderers of al-Ḥusayn would have been particularly illustrative in demonstrating that this was not merely a later Shi’ite practice. https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/ibn-taymiyya-d-1328-on-the-martyrdom-of-imam-husayn-d-680/]

3)     Glorification of Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān.

There is a very problematic discussion of the reign of Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān (r. 661–680). Dr. Qadhi completely passes over the fact that it was none other than Mu‘āwiyah who was one of the central antagonists during the First Civil War (656–661) and played a very negative role in the fragmentation of the Muslim community in his bid for power during his rebellious actions against Imām ‘Alī. Rather, Dr. Qadhi seeks to provide us with a flowery—and inaccurate—picture of Mu‘āwiyah as a just, peaceful ruler whose only intention was the preservation of the Muslim community. Such an assessment does not stand up to actual historical inquiry and is more a reflection of Dr. Qadhi’s doctrinal commitments. Quite conveniently, Dr. Qadhi fails to mention that Mu‘āwiyah secured the oath of allegiance to his son Yazīd by the sword, through compulsion and the use of violence. It was not a simple case, as Dr. Qadhi says, of most people accepting the appointment of Yazīd. He even uses the term “Imāmat al-Mafḍūl” (a largely Zaydi Shi’ite concept which affirms the permissibility for an individual of lesser stature to become caliph even though more qualified candidates exist) for Yazīd in order to provide a legitimizing framework for his reign (I hope he elaborates on what he meant by this concept, because I didn’t understand its use in this context). The attempt to misrepresent and justify these actions of Mu‘āwiyah which caused so much suffering to the Muslim community are among the most problematic aspects of the entire lecture.

4)    Ambiguous position on Yazīd.

At various points throughout the talk there are attempts where Dr. Qadhi seems to not only defend, but even praise, Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiyah (esp. in the reference to Yazīd’ participation in a raid against Constantinople) . Despite all the historical evidence to the contrary, Dr. Qadhi insists that Yazīd was largely innocent from the murder of al-Ḥusayn; we are informed that the bulk of the blame rests with the Kufans, Ibn Ziyad, Shimr, and ‘Umar ibn Sa’d. He even suggests that Yazīd  was upset by the fact that al-Ḥusayn was murdered, yet admits that absolutely no action was taken to punish those responsible. Strangely, Dr. Qadhi does not even mention how the women and children of the Ahl al-Bayt were massively mistreated and paraded like slaves in the streets of Damascus and in the court of Yazīd…even though this is a major part of the tragedy of Karbala and is recorded by a vast majority of the chronicles. To those well-versed in history, it is quite clear that Yazīd did in fact play a central role in the murder of al-Ḥusayn, whose refusal to pledge allegiance to him as caliph threatened his very legitimacy. Any denial of Yazīd’s major responsibility is a massive distortion of history and anyone who wishes to learn the truth of these matters can easily learn the truth through a very cursory glance at the historical texts, which are quite unambiguous about Yazīd’s culpability; medieval Sunni, Shi’i, and even Christian sources written in Arabic all make this fact very clear. Although, to be fair, Dr. Qadhi does not claim that Yazīd is a positive role model—which is clear from his showing how no less a figure than Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal exclaimed “How can anyone with true belief claim to love Yazīd?!”—he fails to show the full extent of his tyranny and depravity (again, these are facts of history). Nowhere does he discuss how Yazīd was a sadist and debauched individual (even though these points are underscored by Ibn Taymīyya and Ibn Kathīr, Qadhi’s main sources) nor does he even mention how Yazīd was responsible for the sack of Medina (in which thousands of the Companions of the Prophet were killed) and the bombardment of Mecca, a siege which led to the destruction of the Ka‘ba. Yet, throughout the lecture we are led to believe that such an individual was unwilling to kill one political opponent…

5)     Theme of “Treacherous Shi’ites”.

The overemphasis on the betrayal by the Kufans–identified as the primary culprits–also requires some commentary. It is undoubtedly true that the Kufan supporters of al-Ḥusayn massively betrayed him and refused to come to his assistance, despite being the ones who initially urged him to come to their city. As Dr. Qadhi pointed out, there are numerous indications which show how contemporary Muslims (Umm Salama, Ibn ‘Umar, even the Ahl al-Bayt themselves) blamed and cursed the Iraqis for their actions which played a huge role in the chain of events culminating in the massacre at Karbala. However, this betrayal was only one element of the broader story. The blame for the actual massacre rests squarely on the shoulders of the Umayyads. Time and again, Dr. Qadhi seeks to draw a connection between the treacherous Kufans and modern-day Shī‘ī Muslims who, he tells us, “beat themselves up every year for their betrayal of al-Ḥusayn.” It becomes clear that the overemphasis on the Kufans is intended to conform to a long-standing Sunni polemic in which the Shī‘is (past and present) are transformed from the supporters of the Ahl al-Bayt into their murderers; by contrast, he asserts that Sunni Muslims “are the true Shi’ites (supporters) of Ahl al-Bayt”. He reinforces this connection between modern Shi’ites and the Kufans further by tracing the theological origins of Shī‘ism to the Tawwabūn movement in the 680s. Rather than explaining that the development of theological Shi’ism was a long and complicated process which would require a much more detailed exposition, Dr. Qadhi chose to put forth these misleading statements to an audience which is already suffering from massive misconceptions of Shī‘ī Islam. Aside from being inaccurate in their own right, these claims are very unhelpful in the current climate of sectarianism, of which the demonization of Shī‘ī Muslims by the overwhelming majority of Muslims is one of the root causes.

6)     Factual errors.

Throughout the lecture, there were several historical errors which demonstrate that Dr. Qadhi’s strengths lie in his being a theologian, not a historian. These errors could easily have been avoided by carefully reading through the texts and consulting secondary sources. The most significant of these errors was his statement that Zayd ibn ‘Alī (d. 740)—who was actually Imām Ḥusayn’s grandson—was killed not by the Umayyads, but by the Abbasids! Given that Zayd was killed ten years before the Abbasids became a dominant political force, this is a particularly grievous error. Every single narration about the revolt of Zayd mentions quite explicitly that he was rebelling against the Umayyads. Errors like this are unacceptable given the subject matter being covered here. Also, with regard to Zayd, Dr. Qadhi again places all the blame on the shoulders of the Kufans (“the Shi’ites”) and does not emphasize that it was in fact the Umayyads which murdered him, before having him decapitated…just as they did with al-Ḥusayn.

7)     Unflattering and unacceptable representation of Imām Ḥusayn.

Despite claiming over and over that “we love and adore al-Ḥusayn,” Dr. Qadhi paints a very unflattering picture of him throughout his talk. Al-Ḥusayn is represented as an impulsive, naïve, and emotionally-driven individual whose only guiding force is his illogical drive for power and an attempt to reclaim his rights. Rather than commending his attempt to restore his rights (which Dr. Qadhi does acknowledge), he is critiqued for not having the wisdom of his brother al-Ḥasan ibn ‘Alī and conceding these rights to the Umayyad family. Nowhere is it mentioned that al-Ḥusayn was driven by a desire for justice and a strong awareness of the oppression wrought by the Umayyads against the Muslim community. Yazīd’s oppressive rule is barely mentioned. Nowhere do we have a sense of the Ḥusayn who is the son of Gate of Knowledge (‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib) whose wisdom was sought out by others and who was among the most knowledgeable men of the age. Rather, he is depicted as rejecting the wise advice of “more knowledgeable and wiser men” such as Ibn ‘Abbās and Ibn ‘Umar (regarding the point that Ibn ‘Umar was superior to al-Ḥusayn, see: https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/10/23/the-love-and-respect-of-umar-ibn-al-khattab-d-644-for-ahl-al-bayt/) .  Al-Ḥusayn’s decision to set out for Kufa is represented as flawed in every way and Dr. Qadhi seems to imply that his death was one that could have been easily avoided if only he had heeded the advice of his peers. This depiction is very unflattering and completely ignores that al-Ḥusayn knew perfectly well what he was doing. Indeed, he stated his objective in unambiguous terms in one of his final sermons in Mecca:

O People! The Prophet of Islam has said that if a believer sees a tyrannical ruler transgressing against God and his Messenger and oppressing people, but does nothing by word or action to change the situation, then it will be just for God to place him (the witness to tyranny) where he deservingly belongs. Do you not see to what low level the affairs [of this nation] have come to.., do you not observe that truth has been deviated from and falsehood has no limits. And as for me, I look upon death but a means of attaining martyrdom. I consider life among the transgressors an agony and an affliction!

(Abū Nu‘aym al-Iṣfahānī, Ḥilyat al-Awliyā’ ).

Since the Umayyads eventually did attack Mecca, it seems that in the long-run al-Ḥusayn’s sense of urgency in setting out to rectify the injustice which had occurred with the accession of Yazīd was justified after all, despite the “wise advice” of Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas. Unfortunately, however, this is not acknowledged by Dr. Qadhi anywhere in the lecture.

https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/misrepresenting-karbala-a-response-to-dr-yasir-qadhi/

From the comments:

https://ballandalus.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/misrepresenting-karbala-a-response-to-dr-yasir-qadhi/comment-page-1/#comment-1556

Quote
I’ve read your article and then watched Yasir Qadhi’s video. I think you misrepresent Qadhi’s argument in many ways. Your opinion is your own regarding Karbala, but you ascribe opinions to Qadhi that simply are NOT present in the video… to the point where I don’t think you watched the same video or you did not pay attention properly.
 
3) Glorification of Mu‘āwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān
 
I listened to Yasir Qadhi’s video you refer to and not once did Qadhi glorify Mu’awiyah. Not once. Qadhi makes it clear when he said explicitly that Hassan (ra) was better qualified than Mu’awiyah to be caliph and was a better Muslim for giving up his claim to avoid bloodshed. Qadhi does not agree with Mu’awiyah but at the same time does not actively vilify him. This is not glorification in the slightest. For you to claim glorification makes me think you’re watching a different video to the one I saw.
 
4) Ambiguous position on Yazīd
 
Again I cannot understand your position. Qadhi squarely places the blame for Hussein’s (ra) death on Yazid. Qadhi blames him in two ways. Firstly for being the man ultimately in charge, he must take the blame for Hussein’s (ra) death. Secondly Yazid is to blame for not punishing the people responsible for murdering Hussein (ra), which Qadhi claims demonstrates insincerity on the part of Yazid when he apologies.
 
There is no ambiguity in the video. Qadhi’s video represents Yazid in a negative light. The fact that he does not document everything Yazid did is probably a reflection of the fact that the video is almost 3 hours long. Seriously, you criticise the man for not covering everything when Qadhi makes it very clear at the start of this video, long as it is, does not cover everything? I think you are being unreasonable with your judgements of Qadhi.
 
5) Theme of treacherous Shiates
 
How can there be an overemphasis on the betrayal of Hussein (ra) by the people of Kufa? Qadhi’s point is that their betrayal was the primary reason why Hussein lost his life. I think Qadhi’s point is extremely fair. The people of Kufa lured Hussein (ra) from Mecca to Karbala and then did nothing to stop him being killed by the forces of Ibn Zayid. These same people betrayed Hussein’s (ra) father, Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib (ra), in similar manner.
 
Unless you are disputing the facts Qadhi puts forward, I think your conclusions are very strange. If the people of Kufa supported Hussein (ra), ibn Zayid and Shimr could never have done what they did. And Qadhi’s point is valid: The theological Shias of Kufa curse Abu Bakr (ra), Umma (ra), Uthman (ra) but then do nothing to save the life of the Prophet Muhammad’s (saw) of grandson? And they call themselves Shīʻatu ʻAlī? How is this possible? Very strange.
 
6) Factual errors.
 
It’s odd for you to claim Qadhi made a factual error about the Abbasids killing Zayd ibn ‘Alī. Qadhi clearly states in the video he was killed by the Abbasids (he says Ummayid and then 2 seconds later corrects himself to say Abbasids).
My friend, I think you not very dishonest with your article. Either you did not watch Qadhi’s video properly or if you have deliberately misrepresented his work. Innocent mistakes happen, but you’ve drawn so many strange conclusions from Qadhi’s video that I cannot believe these mistakes to be accidental. I think you have not watched the video properly.
 
You accuse Qadhi of making a factual error he never made. It’s there in the video, watch it (1:28:50). Qadhi clearly says Abbassids. What about your commitment to factual accuracy?
 
7) Unflattering and unacceptable representation of Imām Ḥusayn.
 
Despite Qadhi praising Hussein’s (ra) courage and honesty, you say this. Despite Qadhi saying how much he loves Al Bayt, you say. This is despite Qadhi clearly choking back tears as he describes the people who killed Hussein (ra), you say he did not represent Hussein (ra) in a positive light.
 
You clearly have a problem with Yasir Qadhi or perhaps Sunnis in general. I cannot understand how you can watch Qadhi’s video and then make such baseless claims. You start off quoting and comparing various historical sources, which is fine… but then you descend into a series of criticisms which have absolutely no relation to what Qadhi intended or even said. Very strange. Not scholarly at all.
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From point 5:

Quote
The blame for the actual massacre rests squarely on the shoulders of the Umayyads.

Really? So the Kufan Shias who called al-Husayn (RA) to Kufa and then betrayed him deserve no blame? Not even a little...?

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On 6/8/2015 at 5:21 PM, Husayn said:

Yasir al-Qadhi treats Karbala the way it should be - a tragedy of politics and betrayal.

No Sunni explanation will satisfy the modern-day Shi'a, because they see the events of Karbala from a religious perspective (Sunni vs Shia), whereas Sunnis have always seen Karbala as Sunni vs Sunni, one side pro-Ummayyad and the other anti-Ummayad (Kufan Shias).

He mentions correctly several times that Shiism at this point was merely a pro-Alawid political movement, it had not yet undertaken a theological transformation, and this would not happen for hundreds of years.

Abu Mikhnaf was a political Shii (not an Twelver Shii, they didn't exist yet), and, as such, his account needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

The reason being that Karbala was a political event, Abu Mikhnaf was a political Shii, and therefore inherently biased. The same goes for taking the account of Karbala from a pro-Ummayad source. Both are biased, both must be treated with caution. This is not to say that Abu Mikhnafs account is totally rejected - it is just treated with caution.

He (Qadhi) tries to avoid recriminations - and this has been the standard approach of Ahlul Sunnah since day one.

Simply put, the events at Karbala were political in nature, and we derive no religious benefit from its analysis nor from recriminations against any parties involved.

The last bit what you've said hear is absolute nonsense. The Shias have their perspective and stand by it where as the Ahle Sunnah have still yet to decide why Hussain left for Kufa. I have seen a lot of episodes of THE TRUTH BEHIND KARBALA. On one hand they say that Hussain left for the Islah of the Kufans, on the other hand they believe he left to challenge Yazeed and his ways and then they say that he sacrificed his life to save Islam. You have different versions here but the vast majority of the Muslims believe that Hussain went to save Islam and its teachings which were tampered by Yazeed and his ways and he sacrificed his life and saved Islam. So I don't know what you are exactly talking about and how you reached to such a conclusion.

On 6/8/2015 at 5:47 PM, Husayn said:

From point 5:

Really? So the Kufan Shias who called al-Husayn (RA) to Kufa and then betrayed him deserve no blame? Not even a little...?

They were not Shias my friend, they were Muslims. Just because Hussain answered their call and others from Madina didn't bother or gave their own opinion to what should and shouldn't be done doesn't mean they were Shias

Karbalaa didn't happen over night. An idiot like Yazeed did't get in to power in a few days. A storm doesn't just come out of the blue in full force. You don't get seriously ill over night. Things take time bro. This nonsense started off from Sakeefa and made its way to Karbalaa. The Ummah is to blame and it's division and negligence. It's got nothing to do with Shias and Sunnis.

On 6/8/2015 at 5:41 PM, Husayn said:

I understand that bloggers criticisms - but he does not mention the fact that al-Qadhi explicitly stated at the beginning of the lecture that he could easily give 10 lectures on all the varying opinions regarding the events at Karbala.

You are not going to condense an event of such magnitude into a 1-2 hour lecture.

What al-Qadhi did do, however, was provide a brief overview of the main position of Ahlul Sunnah - that the events of Karbala were political in nature, that all the sides involved were on the same religion, and that it was a tragedy of political betrayal.

The vast majority of the Ahle Sunnah do not believe it was political but in fact it was religious. They believe that Hussain sacrificed his life to save Islam and its teachings. And those who stood and fought alongside him and then perished were all Shia. It was the Muslims who betrayed him. Under who's rule was Kufa??? Who governed Kufa???

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Regarding the "treacherous kufans" can we blame then by taking the names of atleast their leaders rather than lumping all the population of Kufa togather?

Anyone please need names

On 6/8/2015 at 5:47 PM, Husayn said:

From point 5:

Really? So the Kufan Shias who called al-Husayn (RA) to Kufa and then betrayed him deserve no blame? Not even a little...?

ofcourse blame them

but mention them by name just their leaders

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We don't say that the Sunnis killed Hussain. We don't say that Yazeed was a Sunni. We don't accuse the Ahle Sunnah for Hussain's martyrdom. It's about time you gave Shiaism and the Shias a rest for the negligence and carelessness of the Muslims of that time.

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After my exams, i will come here and we can have a proper dialouge.

I recommend everyone to watch this video:

Al-Husayn bin 'Ali - Hussain in the eyes of academics | Full Documentary - HD

this lady is definitely biased she just wants to hear what ideologically suits her , better look up madelungs article on Husayn b Ali
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We don't say that the Sunnis killed Hussain. We don't say that Yazeed was a Sunni. We don't accuse the Ahle Sunnah for Hussain's martyrdom. It's about time you gave Shiaism and the Shias a rest for the negligence and carelessness of the Muslims of that time.

eh yes imami shias Blame sunnis and sunni turn around blame shias both Blame the kufis but please name the leaders who betrayed hussain then we can discuss their biographies aND see who they were
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On 6/9/2015 at 11:35 AM, Panzerwaffe said:

 please name the leaders who betrayed hussain then we can discuss their biographies aND see who they were

Salam,

These are some of the people/shia who invited Al Hussain(ra) to Kufa:

1. Habib bin Muzahir

2. Muslim bin Awsajah

3. Suleiman bin Surd

4. Rifa'ah bin Shaddad

5. Al Museeb bin Najbah

6. Shibth bin Rabe'ee

7. Hijar bin Abjar

8. Yazid bin al Harith bin Riwaym

9. Azrah bin Qays

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

11.Muhammed bin Umayr 

And here are some of the shia who fought against Al Hussain(ra):

 6.Shibth bin Rabe'ee

 9. Azrah bin Qays

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

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eh yes imami shias Blame sunnis and sunni turn around blame shias both Blame the kufis but please name the leaders who betrayed hussain then we can discuss their biographies aND see who they were

Tell me where exactly have Imami Shias blamed Sunnis and which Sunnis were they????

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On 6/7/2015 at 4:01 PM, Abul Hussain Hassani said:

I know brother - the blog author is not Shi'i. 

Brother, 

I know you're a sunni but do you consider shi'i as brothers in Islam?

On 6/9/2015 at 1:49 PM, Maulana said:

And here are some of the shia who fought against Al Hussain(ra):

 6.Shibth bin Rabe'ee

 9. Azrah bin Qays

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

Was Ubayd-Allah ibn Jahsh still a muslim after his conversion to christianity?

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On 6/8/2015 at 5:41 PM, Husayn said:

I understand that bloggers criticisms - but he does not mention the fact that al-Qadhi explicitly stated at the beginning of the lecture that he could easily give 10 lectures on all the varying opinions regarding the events at Karbala.

You are not going to condense an event of such magnitude into a 1-2 hour lecture.

What al-Qadhi did do, however, was provide a brief overview of the main position of Ahlul Sunnah - that the events of Karbala were political in nature, that all the sides involved were on the same religion, and that it was a tragedy of political betrayal.

I don't get it. People all over the world are killed because they do not accept Abu Bakr as first caliph and now they portray Karbala as a mere political tragedy?

If I'm not wrong Abu Bakr is even mentioned in sunni aqeedah. So why is the latter a religious matter and the former a political one?

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I dont know yasir qadhi nor iam interested to know him ! What i knows is all four true=salaf imams of ahl'al sunnah declared, yazeed fasiq and murtad ! Imam shafai r.h even declared that one can also curse him. So as iam sunni [laån be upon yazeed]!

Sry for, if i hurted any of his lovers, faith matters !

Ma'assalama

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Salam,

 

These are some of the people/shia who invited Al Hussain(ra) to Kufa:

 

1. Habib bin Muzahir

 

2. Muslim bin Awsajah

 

3. Suleiman bin Surd

 

4. Rifa'ah bin Shaddad

 

5. Al Museeb bin Najbah

 

6. Shibth bin Rabe'ee

 

7. Hijar bin Abjar

 

8. Yazid bin al Harith bin Riwaym

 

9. Azrah bin Qays

 

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

 

11.Muhammed bin Umayr

  

 

And here are some of the shia who fought against Al Hussain(ra):

 

 6.Shibth bin Rabe'ee

 

 9. Azrah bin Qays

 

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

You've put down people stroke Shia. Why did these people invite Hussain and what for??? How does this make them Shia???

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Why did these people invite Hussain and what for??? How does this make them Shia???

The people of Kufa(about 18.000) pledged their support to Al Hussain(ra) because they do not accept Yazid(ra) as their leader.

 

Muslim ibn Aqil played a major role in Kufa!

 

 

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The people of Kufa(about 18.000) pledged their support to Al Hussain(ra) because they do not accept Yazid(ra) as their leader.

 

Muslim ibn Aqil played a major role in Kufa!

Thank you - that clears the whole confusion ^_^ Shia-by-default [by believing that out of those two, Hussain [a] was a more preferable leader for them, not really believing that the caliphate was Hussain's [a] right neither that he was their Imam- in a way, like the Khajirites] and Shia of Hussain [a] by conviction. Really, it's not that difficult to see the difference here... if one wants to. And logically seen, you can't be the Shia of someone whom you fight against and are involved in his killing- how does that even work? :rolleyes: The moment they decided to follow Yazeed, they became his people, obviously [and please, next time, do bring some source for your claims for people to refer to].

(wasalam)

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The people of Kufa(about 18.000) pledged their support to Al Hussain(ra) because they do not accept Yazid(ra) as their leader.

Muslim ibn Aqil played a major role in Kufa!

Ok, so why and how did those 18,000 people suddenly become Shia??? They didn't continue to accept Yazeed as Khalif or did they disagree on him being Khalif right from the very start??? And what was the disagreement on and or about Yazeed??? You can clarify this matter and make it more clear. How did 18,000 people suddenly become Shia???

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The one who saved Islam R.A and the one who tried to destroy Islam R.A. Indeed Sunnism is an Jahliyayt  sect who cannot differentiate between Haq and Batil!

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Salam,

These are some of the people/shia who invited Al Hussain(ra) to Kufa:

1. Habib bin Muzahir

2. Muslim bin Awsajah

3. Suleiman bin Surd

4. Rifa'ah bin Shaddad

5. Al Museeb bin Najbah

6. Shibth bin Rabe'ee

7. Hijar bin Abjar

8. Yazid bin al Harith bin Riwaym

9. Azrah bin Qays

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

11.Muhammed bin Umayr

And here are some of the shia who fought against Al Hussain(ra):

6.Shibth bin Rabe'ee

9. Azrah bin Qays

10.Amr ibn al Hajjaj

Thanks brother now let's take them one after the other

Shibath b ribea...

former riddah leader

tribal leader in Kufa time of uthman he disagreed with zayd b suhan ( sahabi and suppoerters of ali) in criticizing aisha

later supported Ali in siffin

one of the first khawarij ,

later left them as well

Was in Karbala against hussain b Ali

later supported zubayris against mukhtar

So you see he was in every political camp imaginable he's a typical Iraqi noble who like afghan warlords of 90s were rolling Stones to ensure their survival

Please correct me if I'm wrong

On the flip let me tell u another "shia of ali" wail b hujr later became a supporter of ummayyads aND later signed the death warrant of hujr b adi

And former supporter of Aisha who later become supporter of Ali example is yala b ummayya...who fell for Ali in siffin

Flip flopping was essential for survival hard to argue with that btw wail, yala were both sahabis shibath is not

Edited by Panzerwaffe
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Those who accepted Abu Bakar as Khalif at Sakeefa, did that make them Sunni??? If yes then why and how??? And those who opposed Sakeefa and how it was conducted and rejected Abu Bakar as Khalif, did that make them Shia??? Why and how???

How can you be a Shia and then fight against Hussain??? Explain to me. Shia means supporter and follower. For example, so and so is a Shia but he doesn't believe in and accept Imamath! What kind of a Shia is this???

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Those who accepted Abu Bakar as Khalif at Sakeefa, did that make them Sunni??? If yes then why and how??? And those who opposed Sakeefa and how it was conducted and rejected Abu Bakar as Khalif, did that make them Shia??? Why and how???

How can you be a Shia and then fight against Hussain??? Explain to me. Shia means supporter and follower. For example, so and so is a Shia but he doesn't believe in and accept Imamath! What kind of a Shia is this???

Definition of shia of Ali is not the same at saqifa vs time uthman vs karbala
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