Home » History » Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Qurtubi (d. 1273) on Yazid b. Mu’awiya (d. 683)

Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Qurtubi (d. 1273) on Yazid b. Mu’awiya (d. 683)

Abū ‘Abd Allāh Muhammad b. Ahmad al-Qurṭubī was one of the most prominent exegetes of the Qur’an in al-Andalus and North Africa during the medieval period. Born in Cordoba in al-Andalus in 1214, he emigrated to Alexandria following the capture of his hometown by Fernando III in 1236. By this time he was already an accomplished Maliki jurist, theologian, and expert on hadith. His exegesis of the Qur’an—over 12 volumes long and entitled al-Jāmi‘ li-Ahkām al-Qur’an—is one of the most influential and comprehensive ever written. He also composed an array of other works, dealing with various theological and legal matters. The following is taken from one of his lesser-known works.


“When mentioning the famous hadith of the Prophet that this community would be destroyed at the hands of young men from the tribe of Quraysh, some have commented and asserted that this (and God knows best!) refers to Yazīd and ‘Ubayd Allāh b. Ziyād and their ilk from amongst the rulers of the Banū Umayya. For these were responsible for the murder of the Family of the Prophet and taking them captive, killing the noblest of the Companions from among the Emigrants and the Helpers in Medina and Mecca and elsewhere. This is in addition to all the bloodshed, illicit plunder of wealth and annihilation of life perpetrated by al-Hajjāj [b. Yūsuf] and Sulaymān b. ‘Abd al-Malik and his descendants in Iraq, the Hejaz and elsewhere. In short, the Banū Umayya completely abandoned the Prophet’s commandments and final testament with regard to [caring for] his family and his community and replaced it with dissension and impiety. For verily they shed their blood, took their women and young children captive, destroyed their homes, slandered their noble status, and made cursing them an established practice and, thus, they opposed the Prophet and did the exact opposite of what he commanded. It shall be with great shame and embarrassment that they shall stand before him [the Prophet] on the Day [of Resurrection].”

[al-Qurṭubī, al-Tadhkira fī Ahwāl al-Mawta wa Umūr al-Ākhira (Riyadh, 2004), pp. 1114-1115]


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