be to Allaah.
His name was Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah ibn Abi Sufyaan ibn
Harb ibn Umayaah al-Umawi al-Dimashqi.
Al-Dhahabi said: he was the commander of that army during
the campaign against Constantinople, among which were people such as
Abu Ayyoob al-Ansaari. Yazeed was appointed by his father as his heir,
so he took power after his father died in Rajab 60 AH at the age of
thirty-three, but his reign lasted for less than four years.
Yazeed is one of those whom we neither curse nor love.
There are others like him among the khaleefahs of the two states (Umawi/Umayyad
and ‘Abbaasi/Abbasid) and the governors of various regions, indeed there
were some among them who were worse than him. But the issue in the case
of Yazeed is that he was came to power forty-nine years after the death
of the Prophet SAWS (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him); it
was still close to the time of the Prophet and some of the Sahaabah
were still alive such as Ibn ‘Umar who was more entitled to the position
than him or his father or his grandfather.
His reign began with the killing of the martyr al-Husayn
and it ended with the battle of al-Harrah, so the people hated him and
he was not blessed with a long life. There were many revolts against
him after al-Husayn, such as the people of Madeenah who revolted for
the sake of Allaah, and Ibn al-Zubayr.
(Siyar A’laam al-Nubalaa’, part 4, p. 38)
Shaykh al-Islam described
people’s attitudes towards Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah, and said:
The people differed concerning Yazeed ibn Mu’aawiyah
ibn Abi Sufyaan, splitting into three groups, two extreme and one moderate.
One of the two extremes said that he was a kaafir and
a munaafiq, that he strove to kill the grandson of the Prophet SAWS
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to spite the Messenger of
Allaah and to take revenge on him, and to avenge his grandfather ‘Utbah,
his grandfather’s brother Shaybah and his maternal uncle al-Waleed ibn
‘Utbah and others who were killed by the companions of the Prophet SAWS
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), by ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib
and others on the day of Badr and in other battles – and things of that
nature. To have such a view is easy for the Raafidis who regard Abu
Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmaan as kaafirs, so it is much easier for them to
regard Yazeed as a kaafir.
The second extreme group think that he was a righteous
man and a just leader, that he was one of the Sahaabah who were born
during the time of the Prophet and were carried and blessed by him.
Some of them give him a higher status than Abu Bakr and ‘Umar, and some
of them regard him as a prophet. Both views are obviously false to one
who has the least common sense and who has any knowledge of the lives
and times of the earliest Muslims. This view is not attributable to
any of the scholars who are known for following the Sunnah or to any
intelligent person who has reason and experience.
The third view is that he was one of the kings of the
Muslims, who did good deeds and bad deeds. He was not born until the
caliphate of ‘Uthmaan. He was not a kaafir but it was because of him
that the killing of al-Husayn happened, and he did what he did to the
people of al-Harrah. He was not a Sahaabi, nor was he one of the righteous
friends of Allaah. This is the view of most of the people of reason
and knowledge and of Ahl al-Sunnah wa’l-Jamaa’ah.
Then they divided into three groups, one which cursed
him, one which loved him and one which neither cursed him nor loved
him. This is what was reported from Imaam Ahmad, and this is the view
of the fair-minded among his companions and others among the Muslims.
Saalih ibn Ahmad said: I said to my father, some people say that they
love Yazeed. He said, O my son, does anyone love Yazeed who believes
in Allaah and the Last Day? I said, O my father, why do you not curse
him? He said, O my son, when did you ever see your father curse anybody?
Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi
said, when he was asked about Yazeed: according to what I have heard
he is neither to be cursed nor to be loved. He said, I also heard that
our grandfather Abu ‘Abd-Allaah ibn Taymiyah was asked about Yazeed
and he said: we do not deny his good qualities or exaggerate about them.
This is the fairest opinion.
Majmoo’ Fataawa Shaykh al-Islam,
part 4, p. 481-484