Yazid I
Overview
 
'Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān (born 645; died 683), commonly known as Yazid I, was the second Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 of the Umayyad Caliphate (and the first one by birthright). He ruled for three years from 680 CE until his death in 683 CE. Many Muslims condemn Yazid's rule as contentious and unjust. Yazid was not chosen by election or by council, but appointed himself after the death of his father, Mu'awiyah.
Encyclopedia
'Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān (born 645; died 683), commonly known as Yazid I, was the second Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 of the Umayyad Caliphate (and the first one by birthright). He ruled for three years from 680 CE until his death in 683 CE. Many Muslims condemn Yazid's rule as contentious and unjust. Yazid was not chosen by election or by council, but appointed himself after the death of his father, Mu'awiyah. In violation of an agreement singed by Hassan Ibn Ali and Mu‘āwiya

Oath of Allegiance of Yazid

Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I
Muawiyah I was the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. After the conquest of Mecca by the Muslims, Muawiyah's family converted to Islam. Muawiyah is brother-in-law to Muhammad who married his sister Ramlah bint Abi-Sufyan in 1AH...

 was succeeded by his son Yazid I. Upon succession, Yazid asked Governors of all provinces to take an oath of allegiance to him. The necessary oath was secured from all parts of the country. Husayn ibn Ali
Husayn ibn Ali
Hussein ibn ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib ‎ was the son of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib and Fātimah Zahrā...

 and Abdullah ibn Zubayr refused to declare allegiance. Historians have recorded that the contents of a letter sent to Husayn were solely for the purposes of obtaining allegiance from him. Additionally, as Yazid knew that Walid would not be able to handle this task due to his cowardice, he sent Marwan, a soldier in his army, to assist in this task.

Husayn ibn Ali and Ibn az-Zubair

Husayn ibn Ali, along with many other prominent dignitaries among the Muslims, not only disapproved of Yazid's nomination for caliph but declared it against the spirit of Islam. When the nomination issue was deliberated upon in Medina, Abdullah ibn Zubair went along with Husayn to Mecca, because some prominent Muslims were of the opinion that Mecca would be the best place as a stronghold or base for launching a campaign for building up public opinion against Yazid's heirship. However, before any significant work could be done in this regard, Muawiyah died and Yazid took over the reins of government.

Kufa
Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000....

, a garrison town in what is now Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

, had been Caliph ‘Alī
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

's capital and many of his supporters lived there. Husayn ibn Ali received many letters from the Kufans expressing their offer of support if he claimed the caliphate. As he prepared for the journey to Kufa, Abdullah ibn Umar and Abdullah ibn Abbas pleaded vigorously against his plan and entreated him to at least leave women and children in Mecca if he was determined to proceed to Kufa, but Husayn ignored their suggestions. On the way, he received the report of Muslim ibn Aqeel
Muslim ibn Aqeel
Muslim ibn Aqeel, or Muslim ibn Aqil, was the cousin of Hasan ibn Ali and Husayn ibn Ali, and the son of Aqeel ibn Abu Talib. Muslim ibn Aqeel was sent ahead as an envoy to Kufa to see if the people could be trusted to be loyal to the Imam Husayn. He sent word back saying that the people of Kufa...

's death at the hands of Yazid's men and the apathy and indifference displayed by the people of Kufa. The Kufans had changed their loyalties to Yazid, pledging support to him against Husayn and his followers. They were trying to restore Kufa's power against Damascus
Damascus
Damascus , commonly known in Syria as Al Sham , and as the City of Jasmine , is the capital and the second largest city of Syria after Aleppo, both are part of the country's 14 governorates. In addition to being one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, Damascus is a major...

, the Umayyad
Umayyad
The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major Arab caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. It was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, whose name derives from Umayya ibn Abd Shams, the great-grandfather of the first Umayyad caliph. Although the Umayyad family originally came from the...

 capital, in which case they chose diplomacy with Yazid at the cost of rejecting Husayn.

Husayn and his followers, among them relatives of Muslim ibn Aqeel, were resolved to continue on to Kufa. At the same time Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad
Ubayd-Allah ibn Ziyad
Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad was a son of Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan after whose death in 673 he became the Governor of Kufa and Basra and later Khurasan.He also minted coinage, which survives to this day...

, governor of Basrah, executed one of Husayn's messengers and then addressed the people and warned them to avoid the insurgency. He sent a message in accordance with the instructions of Yazid: "You can neither go to Kufa nor return to Mecca, but you can go anywhere else you want." Despite this, Husayn departed towards Kufa
Kufa
Kufa is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000....

 and during the trip, he and many members of his family were killed or captured at the Battle of Karbala
Battle of Karbala
The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 of the Islamic calendar in Karbala, in present day Iraq. On one side of the highly uneven battle were a small group of supporters and relatives of Muhammad's grandson Husain ibn Ali, and on the other was a large military detachment...

.

The complications of Yazid's accession to the Caliphate didn't end there. Many Sahaba
Sahaba
In Islam, the ' were the companions, disciples, scribes and family of the Islamic prophet...

 and fellow Muslims refused to give their oath of allegiance to Yazid simply because they saw it as usurpation of power and not the proper way of choosing a Caliph by the Shura
Shura
Shura is an Arabic word for "consultation". The Quran and Muhammad encourage Muslims to decide their affairs in consultation with those who will be affected by that decision....

 or Council. The most prominent among these resistors was Abdullah ibn Zubayr.

Abdullah ibn Zubayr opposed Yazid's position as Caliph. He launched an insurgency in the Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

. Yazid sent armies against him in 683. After the Battle of al-Harrah
Battle of al-Harrah
The Battle of al-Harrah is a battle fought at al-Harrah in 683 CE, then lying to the northeast of Medina. The battle was fought against the armies of Yazid ibn Muawiyah by Abdullah ibn Zubayr and his allies, the people of Medina and several notable Sahabas, many of whom were killed in the battle....

, Medina was recaptured and Mecca was also besieged. During the siege, the Ka‘bah
Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 was damaged. The siege ended when Yazid died suddenly in 683 CE.

Setbacks

During the caliphate of Yazid, Muslims suffered several setbacks. In 682 AD Yazid restored Uqba ibn Nafi
Uqba ibn Nafi
Uqba ibn Nafi was an Arab hero and general who was serving the Umayyad dynasty, in Amir Muavia and Yazid periods, who began the Islamic conquest of the Maghreb, including present-day Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco in North Africa. He was the nephew of 'Amr ibn al-'As. Uqba is often surnamed...

 as the governor of North Africa. Uqba won battles against the Berbers
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 and Byzantines
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

. From there Uqba marched on thousands of miles westward towards Tangier
Tangier
Tangier, also Tangiers is a city in northern Morocco with a population of about 700,000 . It lies on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel...

, where he reached the Atlantic coast
Atlantic Coast
The Atlantic Coast is any coast fronting the Atlantic Ocean. The term differentiates the coasts of countries or continents with coastlines on more than one body of water, such as North America, South America, Africa and Europe.-See also:*Indian Ocean...

, and then marched eastwards through the Atlas Mountains
Atlas Mountains
The Atlas Mountains is a mountain range across a northern stretch of Africa extending about through Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. The highest peak is Toubkal, with an elevation of in southwestern Morocco. The Atlas ranges separate the Mediterranean and Atlantic coastlines from the Sahara Desert...

. With cavalry numbering about 300, he proceeded towards Biskra where he was ambushed by a Berber force under Kaisala. Uqba and all his men died fighting. The Berbers launched an attack and drove Muslims from north Africa for a period. This was a major setback for the Muslims, because of this they lost supremacy at sea, and had to abandon the islands of Rhodes
Rhodes
Rhodes is an island in Greece, located in the eastern Aegean Sea. It is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of both land area and population, with a population of 117,007, and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within...

 and Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

.

Death

Yazid I died at the age of 38. He ruled for 3 years. Yazid I was succeeded by his son Muawiyah II. On his death Yazid I was burried in Damascus. Most people believe his grave no longer exists while others believe that his grave is located in a small street near Omayyad Mosque without any mark or distinction.
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