The Lie that Yazid ibn Mu'awiyah is Guaranteed Jannah

بِسۡمِ ٱللهِ ٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِ ٱلرَّحِيمِ

One of the great lies the Wahhabis spread is that Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah was guaranteed Forgiveness because he led the first Muslim invasion of Constantinople.  They cite the hadits recorded, in Swahih al-Bukhari, and on the authority of Khalid ibn Madan (r.a.).

‘Umayr ibn al-Aswad al-Ansi (r.a.) told Khalid ibn Madan (r.a.) that he went to ‘Ubadah ibn asw-Swamit (r.a.) while he was staying in his house, at the sea-shore of Hims, with his wife, Umm Haram (r.a.).  ‘Umayr (r.a.) said. “Umm Haram informed us that she heard the Prophet (s.a.w.) saying, ‘Paradise is Granted to the first batch of my followers who will undertake a naval expedition.’”

Umm Haram (r.a.) added, “I said, ‘O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.), will I be amongst them?’

He replied, ‘You will be amongst them.’  The Prophet (s.a.w.) then said, ‘The first army amongst my followers who will invade Caesar’s City will be Forgiven their sins.’

I asked, 'Will I be one of them, O Allah’s Messenger (s.a.w.)?’  He replied in the negative.”

Here are some contentions about this hadits, and we will consider them methodically.

Firstly, the words used in the hadits were not “Constantinople,” as popularly thought, but “Caesar’s City.”  It is thought that Shaykh ibn-Taymiyyah (r.a.) was one of the first to misquote this hadits and conflate that term with the city of Constantinople, seat of the Byzantine Empire.  One argument, from Imam ibn-Hajr al-‘Asqalani’s (r.a.Fath al-Bari, is that “Caesar’s City” actually referred to the city of Homs, ancient Emesa, in Syria, since Emperor Heraclius II was there when the Prophet (s.a.w.) made this statement.  But this is weak.  Emesa was a military camp for the Heraclius II, a forward staging base for his campaigns in Anatolia and the east.  It was certainly never intended to be the seat of the Eastern Roman Empire.  Regardless, Yazid never undertook a military expedition to Emesa, and the city was taken peacefully by Abu ‘Ubaydah ibn al-Jarrah (r.a.).

Regarding Constantinople itself, the first Muslim army to directly invade it was led by ‘Abd ar-Rahman ibn Khalid ibn al-Walid (r.a.), during the Era of Mu’awiyah (r.a.).  This was recorded by Imam at-Tirmidzi (r.a.) and Imam Abu Dawud (r.a.).  This occurred in 44 AH, which is long before Yazid’s expedition.

Yazid only led the expedition to Constantinople in 55 AH, eleven years later.  He was forced to do this by his father, Mu’awiyah (r.a.).  When Yazid was commanded to lead this army, he recited couplets, saying:

“I do not want to bother with the fever and difficulties the army will face at Dayr Marwan!
Indeed, I am sitting on a high mattress and Umm Kultsum is with me!”

When Mu’awiyah (r.a.) came to know of this, he was furious and made Yazid commandeer the very next expedition.  By then, there had already been seven expeditions, as recorded in al-Bidayah wa an-Nihayah, and elsewhere.

Another contention is that it is the opinion of some ‘ulama that the hadits actually meant the first army to conquer Constantinople, and not merely attack it.  If that is so, this would then refer to the Ottoman army of Sultan Muhammad al-Fatih (r.a.), who conquered Constantinople in 857 AH.  And this would be the likelier intent.

Another point to consider, regarding the matn of this hadits, is that the Prophet (s.a.w.) only spoke of sins committed prior to the expedition.  There is nothing here about future sins.  Yazid’s rule and its subsequent horrors occurred long after the expedition.

All that aside, examining the sanad, we find that there is only one chain of transmission, and every narrator is Syrian, and a partisan of Banu Umayyah.  This was a period where Sham was a place of fabricated ahadits.

Another contention is that the sanad includes, in its chain of narrators, Abu Khalid Tsawr ibn Yazid ibn Ziyad al-Kula’i.  This is the same Tsawr ibn Yazid who was in conflict with Imam Malik (r.a.) and had been accused of belonging to the Qadariyyah sect.  He had to leave Hijaz because of this, and Imam Malik (r.a.) refused to narrate ahadits from him.  He eventually moved to Homs, but was later thrown out of Homs because of his incendiary opinions on several matters, particularly that of the Ahl al-Bayt.  He then moved to Jerusalem.

Imam ibn Sa’d (r.a.) wrote, in his Thabaqat al-Kubra’, “The ancestors of Tsawr ibn Yazid were, along with Mu’awiyyah, at the Battle of Siffin and they were killed by the forces of ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib.  Whenever this Tsawr ibn Yazid heard mention of ‘Ali, he used to say, ‘I do not like to hear the name of the one who killed my ancestors.’”

Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in (r.a.), the companion of Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (r.a.), and one of the great authorities of Rijal, wrote, “This Tsawr ibn Yazid was included in that party which used to curse ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib.”

Imam ibn Hajr al-‘Asqalani (r.a.) wrote, in his Tahdzib at-Tahdzib, “Tsawr ibn Yazid ibn Ziyad was of the Qadariyyah.  His grandfather sided with Mu’awiyah in Siffin, and he was killed in this battle.  When he referred to ‘Ali, he would say ‘I do not deem a person that killed my grandfather to be my friend.’”

This alone is enough to throw out this hadits and discount it.  Why is Imam al-Bukhari (r.a.) recording a hadits that has an ahad chain that includes a man who hated the family of the Prophet (s.a.w.), when Imam Malik (r.a.), the contemporary of this person, accused him of kufr and refused to narrate ahadits from him?


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