It was the 7 century A.D., Europe was still a wilderness. Rome and Greece were still pagans; the Christian creed emanated from the welding of the monastic Christianity with the pagan cult of Rome, affected by King Constantine of Rome, after about 300 years after the departure of Jesus was still ignorant of the elementary knowledge about the world. Its knowledge even about the earth was childish for even centuries later it had yet to pelt stones on Columbus when he told them that the earth was round. This was the state of Europe when Islam had already preached the truth about the universe as a whole. The truth which even to this day is the highest and the modern scientists, with all their claims of wonderful advancement, have yet to arrive at the Islamic disclosures already made through the Holy Qur’an.
The only hope lay in the most practicable and the most reasonable Faith, Islam, and its practice, but, with the alienation of the righteous Family Members of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from the paramount authority over the affairs of the people, started the corruption in the faith and with OMAYYADS (Arabic tribe) on the throne, began the ever progressive adulteration of the faith and the unwanted innovations in its practice. The only hope of the world getting on the right track was in Islam but with YAZID the son of Muawiya on the throne declaring disbelief in the bonafide of the apostleship of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the holy Qur’an being the revealed Word of God all hopes of the redemption of humanity from the abyss of material degradation and the lack of the truth about the real Creator of the universe and the position and the commitment of man in it, were at stake. When no apostle was to come, the only one to play the role of an apostle was HUSSAIN, the Imam of the age, who was in the place of the Apostle, the Vicegerent of God on Earth. Only in view of the unique position of his grandson HUSSAIN, and the duty identical with his own, which HUSSAIN was destined to discharge, that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had said:
“HUSSAIN is of me and I am of HUSSAIN”.
Truly speaking if we wish to find out the causes of the rising of Imam Hussain we shall have to make a search for its preliminaries during a period of at least 30 years preceding that time because about 30 years after the migration of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), there had taken place such developments as had made necessary a movement like this in the Islamic society.
Uthman bin Affan Umavi ruled over the Muslims for about 12 years as the 3rd Caliph of Islam. It is clearly recorded in the history of Islam that the shape of the Islamic government underwent a change during the 6 years covering the 2nd half of the Caliphate of Uthman. Taking advantage of the lenient state of affairs, the people began to amass wealth and property from the Baytul Mal (public treasury) of the Muslims. It was the same Baytul Mal that was guarded so carefully by Imam Ali during the period of his caliphate. The same policy was adopted by the caliphs preceding Uthman and even Uthman exercised necessary care in spending from it during the earlier part of his caliphate.
However, later this wealth, instead of being spent on the general welfare of the Muslims, fell into the hands of a few persons. These were the malpractices, started thirty years earlier, which Imam HUSSAIN decided to restrain in 60 A.H. by means of a sweeping and bloody revolution, which resulted in his own martyrdom and his everlasting honor.
Mas’udi writes in Murujuz Zahab that at the time of his death the 3rd Caliph left behind in cash 150,000 gold dinars and one million dirhams. However, according to the same Mas’udi, when Imam Ali was martyred Imam Hassan mounted the pulpit and announced: “My father has not left behind any gold or silver except 700 dirhams. This money, too, had been saved by him from his salary to procure a servant for his house”.
Thereafter Mas’udi writes: “The value of the property owned by the Third Caliph in Wcidiul Qura and at other places reached 100,000 gold dinars. Besides it he also left behind a large number of horses and camels”.
About Zubayr, he writes: “Besides the well-known palace at Basra he built a large number of houses in Basra, Kufa, and Alexandria and at the time of his death he owned 50,000 gold dinars, one thousand horses, one thousand slaves, and slave-girls and numerous estates in different cities.
Talha bin Ubaydullah was a well-known companion of the Holy Prophet. His daily income from the property owned by him in Iraq alone reached 1000 gold dinars and according to another version it exceeded this amount. In Syria, he owned even larger property.
Thereafter Mas’udi himself writes: “During the Caliphate of Umar there was no such financial disorder and he did not permit these persons to grab all this wealth from the property of the Muslims. After Caliph Uthman, Imam Ali attained to the caliphate. The difficult task for Ali, on account of which battles were also fought, was to control these influential persons and not to permit any person any longer to take even one dinar from the Baytul Mal of the Muslims without proper accounting. He wanted to restrain the people from all sorts of covetousness, greed, and bad habits.
For about four and a half years covering the period of his caliphate, he had to struggle against these very persons who had been prevented by him from amassing wealth. He used to say: “It is no longer possible that I should be at the helm of affairs and this plundering should be renewed. On the contrary, I shall recover whatever has been given or taken unlawfully and shall deposit it in the Baytul Mal”. On this very account, Ali was eventually martyred. (To be continued)