When Muslims talk of whether Imam Husain (a.s.) was the rightful successor of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and whether he should have pledged allegiance to Yazid, they should first discuss the merits of both individuals to ascertain who was more deserving of leading the Muslim nation.
We delve on just one fundamental merit of Imam Husain (a.s.) with his respect to his lineage on his mother’s side. We will not delve on the numerous other merits of Imam Husain (a.s.) like being the Chief of all youths of Paradise along with his brother, going into Mubahelah against the Christians of Najran, etc.
Fatima Zahra (s.a.) makes all the difference
Even the enemies of Imam Husain (a.s.) confessed that with a mother like Fatima Zahra (s.a.) there was no way any Muslim could claim superiority over of Imam (a.s.).
Yazid’s father Muawiyah admitted in a gathering that included Imams Hasan and Husain (peace be upon them), Abdullah Ibn Abbas, Fazl Ibn Abbas and Abdullah Ibn Jafar that Imam Husain (a.s.) that Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) daughter – Fatima Zahra (s.a.) was the reason behind the superiority of Hasanain (a.s.) over all others.
Muawiyah to Abdullah Ibn Jafar – the cousin of Imams Hasan and Husain (peace be upon them):
How deeply you respect Hasan and Husain?! They are not superior to you. And their father (Ali a.s.) is not superior to your father (Jafar al-Tayyar a.s.). And if their mother was not Fatima – daughter of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.), I would have said your mother, Asma bint Umays, is superior to her.
- Al-Ghadeer v 1 p 400-402
- Kitab al-Sulaim v 2 p 834
- Behar al-Anwar v 33 p 265 onwards
When Muawiyah admits Imams Hasan and Husain (peace be upon them) are superior to all including Muawiyah by virtue of being from progeny of Fatima Zahra (s.a.), then how can he claim superiority over Imam Hasan (a.s.) in leadership by virtue of the peace treaty and how can Yazid claim superiority over Imam Husain (a.s.) by virtue of being Muawiyah’s successor.
Marwan Ibn Hakam confesses
Marwan Ibn Hakam, the stanch enemy of Islam exiled from Medina by Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) once confronted Imam Husain (a.s.):
Were it not for your honor in being Fatima’s (s.a.) son, you could not have attained supremacy over us!
- Manaqib Aal Abi Talib (a.s.) v 4 p 51
- Al-Ehtejaj v 2 p 299
- Madinal al-Maajiz v 3 p 497
- Behar al-Anwar v 44 p 206
Again, with this confession Marwan and his children – Bani Marwan cannot claim superiority in leadership over the progeny of Fatima Zahra (s.a.).
Yazid’s forces in Karbala confess
Likewise, in the battle of Karbala, Imam Husain (a.s.) delivered a sermon in which he put Yazid’s forces under oath:
I implore you for the sake of Allah – do you know that my mother Fatima (s.a.) is the daughter of Muhammad (s.a.w.a.)?
They said: Yes, by Allah!
- Al-Luhoof p 86
Hence the battle of Karbala was fought by Yazid and his forces knowing fully well that Imam Husain (a.s.) held a superior claim over others in leadership.
These are but some instances of enemies admitting to superiority of Imams Hasan and Husain (peace be upon them) in leadership by virtue of being direct sons of Fatima Zahra (s.a.). Hence their challenge to the Imams (a.s.) in leadership, which led them to oppressing the Imams (a.s.) and finally killing them was a sign for the Muslim nation that it is the Imams (a.s.) who are worthy of respect and honour, and not their opponents who usurped their position with the knowledge of their superiority by virtue of Fatima Zahra (s.a.), among other merits.