Is cursing Yazid bin Muawiyah permissible?

ⓘ Supported by Al Medina 313.



Islamic Text

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ

In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Kind

Short Answer

There is a difference of opinion among the scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah regarding the notion of cursing Yazid bin Muawiyah as permissible or not. Some scholars like Imam Ibn al-Jawzi considered it permitted. Other scholars like Imam al-Ghazali did not permit it. It is most cautious to avoid it.

Superior not to curse
عَنْ أَبِي الدَّرْدَاءِ، سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ: إِنَّ اللَّعَّانِينَ لَا يَكُونُونَ شُهَدَاءَ، وَلَا شُفَعَاءَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

(Sayidina) Abu Dardaa (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that he heard the  Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying, ‘Those who curse will not be martyrs nor intercessors on the Day of Judgement. (Sahih Muslim, 2598 – 86).

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: لَا يَنْبَغِي لِصِدِّيقٍ أَنْ يَكُونَ لَعَّانًا

(Sayidina) Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘It is not appropriate for a Siddiq (truthful person) to be a curser.’ (Sahih Muslim, 2597 – 84).

As seen in the authentic Hadith narrations above, it is certainly superior not to curse anyone. Muslims who avoid cursing attain higher ranks in the Afterlife (Akhirah). However, there is no absolute prohibition upon cursing when it is warranted.

Cursing is not absolutely prohibited
أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ، يَقُولُ: سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، يَقُولُ: اللهُمَّ إِنَّمَا مُحَمَّدٌ بَشَرٌ، يَغْضَبُ كَمَا يَغْضَبُ الْبَشَرُ، وَإِنِّي قَدِ اتَّخَذْتُ عِنْدَكَ عَهْدًا لَنْ تُخْلِفَنِيهِ، فَأَيُّمَا مُؤْمِنٍ آذَيْتُهُ، أَوْ سَبَبْتُهُ، أَوْ جَلَدْتُهُ، فَاجْعَلْهَا لَهُ كَفَّارَةً، وَقُرْبَةً، تُقَرِّبُهُ بِهَا إِلَيْكَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ

(Sayidina) Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) said that he heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ saying: ‘O Allah, Muhammad ﷺ is a human. He becomes angry as others become angry. Indeed I have a covenant with You (Most High) which you will not breach. Therefore, any believer whom I harm, invoke curse upon or lash, make that an expiation for him. Through it, draw him close to you on the Day of Resurrection.’ (Sahih Muslim, 2601 – 91).

The Hadith above clarifies that the blessed Prophet ﷺ did invoke curse at times. However, the Prophet ﷺ did make dua for such people too. The more consistent Sunnah of the beloved Prophet ﷺ is not to curse people – even if they are idolaters (Mushrikeen) as seen in the Hadith below.

عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قِيلَ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ ادْعُ عَلَى الْمُشْرِكِينَ قَالَ: إِنِّي لَمْ أُبْعَثْ لَعَّانًا، وَإِنَّمَا بُعِثْتُ رَحْمَةً

(Sayidina) Abu Hurairah (May Allah Most High be pleased with him) narrated: It was said, O Messenger of Allah ﷺ, supplicate (make Dua) against the idolaters (Mushrikeen). He ﷺ replied, ‘I was not sent as a curser. I was sent as a mercy.’ (Sahih Muslim, 2599 – 87).

Despite his evil actions we do not curse

It is due to the guidance found in the narrations above that the majority of Sunni scholars refrained from cursing specific individuals. They refrained even if the people in question were considered to be the worst of people.

وَلِهَذَا امْتَنَعَ الْجُمْهُورُ مِنْ لَعْنِ نَحْوِ يَزِيدَ وَالْحَجَّاجِ، وَخُصُوصِ الْمُبْتَدِعَةِ بِأَعْيَانِهِمْ. (مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح)

It is due to this that the majority refrained from cursing the likes of Yazid and al-Hajjaj. (They also refrained from cursing) specific innovators (rather they mentioned them as a group). (Imam Ali al-Qari, Mirqaat al-Mafateeh).

وَيَزِيْدُ مِمَّنْ لاَ نَسُبُّهُ وَلاَ نُحِبُّهُ. (سير أعلام النبلاء)

Yazid is amongst those that we do not curse and do not like. (Imam Abu Abdillah al-Dhahabi, Siyar Alam al-Nubalaa).

Scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah generally discouraged cursing Yazid despite the fact that there is general consensus regarding the evil actions he embarked upon. Refraining from cursing Yazid must not be considered a defence for him. Rather, it is a matter of adherence to the guidance of the Holy Prophet ﷺ.

قُلْتُ: كَانَ قَوِيّاً، شُجَاعاً، ذَا رَأْيٍ، وَحَزْمٍ، وَفِطْنَةٍ، وَفَصَاحَةٍ، وَلَهُ شِعْرٌ جَيِّدٌ، وَكَانَ نَاصِبِيّاً ، فَظّاً، غَلِيْظاً، جَلْفاً، يَتَنَاوَلُ المُسْكِرَ، وَيَفْعَلُ المُنْكَرَ. افْتَتَحَ دَوْلَتَهُ بِمَقْتَلِ الشَّهِيْدِ الحُسَيْنِ، وَاخْتَتَمَهَا بِوَاقِعَةِ الحَرَّةِ، فَمَقَتَهُ النَّاسُ، وَلَمْ يُبَارَكْ فِي عُمُرِه. (سير أعلام النبلاء)

I say: He was strong, brave, opinionated, resolute, sharp and articulate. He has reasonable poetry. However, he was a Nasibi (adversarial to the Ahl al-Bayt), vulgar, foul and abrasive. He would consume intoxicants and engage in sin. He began his reign by killing the martyr al-Hussain and ended it with the brutality at al-Harrah. Therefore, the people hated him. He was not blessed in his lifespan. (Imam Abu Abdillah al-Dhahabi, Siyar Alam al-Nubalaa).

Imam al-Dhahabi is one of the most highly regarded historians in the Sunni tradition. He clearly highlighted the evil actions of Yazid. Despite that, Imam al-Dhahabi discouraged cursing Yazid. This can be seen as the norm amongst Sunni scholars.

Historical accuracy

Another concern raised by some scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah is the fact that the books of history are not very reliable. Therefore, we are not sure of the details of exactly what happened. Considering this, they feel it is best not to curse anyone unless it is well established that they engaged in the said actions.

فإن قيل هل يجوز لعن يزيد لأنه قاتل الحسين أو آمر به قلنا هذا لم يثبت أصلاً فلا يجوز أن يقال إنه قتله أو أمر به ما لم يثبت فضلاً عن اللعنة لأنه لا تجوز نسبة مسلم إلى كبيرة من غير تحقيق نعم يجوز أن يقال قتل ابن ملجم علياً وقتل أبو لؤلؤة عمر رضي الله عنهما فإن ذلك ثبت متواتراً فلا يجوز أن يرمى مسلم بفسق أو كفر من غير تحقيق قال صلى الله عليه وسلم لا يرمى رجل رجلاً بالكفر ولا يرميه بالفسق إلا ارتدت عليه إن لم يكن صاحبه كذلك. (إحياء علوم الدين)

If it is said, is it permissible to curse Yazid because he attacked al-Hussain or ordered it? We say that this is not established. Therefore, it is not permissible to say that he killed him or ordered it until it is proven, let alone cursing.  Since it is not permissible to attribute a major sin to a Muslim without verification. It is permissible to say that Ibn Muljim killed Ali and Abu Lulu’ah killed Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, because this has been proven with Tawātur (numerous chains of narration).

It is not permissible to accuse a Muslim of immorality (Fisq) or unbelief (Kufr) without verification. He ﷺ said, “No man accuses another of disbelief, nor does he accuse him of immorality, except that it returns to him if his companion is not truly like that.” (Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihyaa Uloom al-Deen).

فَهَذَا إِنْ قَالَهُ يَزِيدُ بْنُ مُعَاوِيَةَ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَيْهِ وَلَعْنَةُ اللَّاعِنِينَ، وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ قَالَهُ فَلَعْنَةُ اللَّهِ عَلَى مَنْ وَضَعَهُ عَلَيْهِ. (البداية والنهاية)

So, if Yazid bin Mua’wiyah said it, then the curse of Allah be upon him and the curse of those who curse. But if he did not say it, then may the curse of Allah be upon the one who fabricated it against him. (Imam Abu al-Fidaa Ibn Katheer, al-Bidayah wa al-Nihaayah).

Conditional cursing

In the Nass above, Imam Ibn Katheer does curse Yazid in a conditional manner.  However, Imam al-Ghazali refrains from doing so. Yet, elsewhere in the book (Ihyaa) Imam al-Ghazali seems to be closer to Imam Ibn Kathir’s position.

فإن قيل فهل يجوز أن يقال قاتل الحسين لعنه الله أو الآمر بقتله لعنه الله قلنا الصواب أن يقال قاتل الحسين إن مات قبل التوبة لعنه الله لأنه يحتمل أن يموت بعد التوبة فإن وحشياً قاتل حمزة عم رسول الله قتله وهو كافر ثم تاب عن الكفر والقتل جميعاً
ولا يجوز أن يلعن والقتل كبيرة ولا تنتهي إلى رتبة الكفر فإذا لم يقيد بالتوبة وأطلق كان فيه خطر وليس في السكوت خطر فهو أولى. (إحياء علوم الدين)

If it is said, is it permissible to say the killer of al-Hussain, may Allah curse him, or the one who commanded his killing, may Allah curse him? We say, it is correct to say that the killer of al-Hussain, may God curse him, if he died before repentance (Tawbah). This is because it is possible that he died after repentance. Since Wahshi, the killer of Hamza, the uncle of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ, killed him while he was an infidel, then he repented from disbelief and killing.

It is not permissible to curse (him) even though killing is a major sin but does not reach the rank of disbelief (Kufr). Therefore, if it (the curse) is not qualified by repentance and is unrestricted, there is danger in it. Yet there is no danger in silence, so it is more appropriate. (Imam Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, Ihyaa Uloom al-Deen).

Imam Ibn al-Jawzi considered it permissible

Although the scholars mentioned above took a more cautious approach, Imam Ibn al-Jawzi wrote an entire work on the permissibility of cursing Yazid. He  named it, A refutation of the stubborn zealot who refuses to criticize Yazid:

الرَّدُّ عَلَى الْمُتَعَصِّبِ الْعَنِيدِ الْمَانِعِ مِنْ ذَمِّ يَزِيدَ
قلت: هذه المسألة وقع بين عبد المغيث وابن الجوزي بسببها فتنة، ويقال: إن عبد المغيث تتبع أبا الحسن بن البنا، فقيل: إنه صنف في منع ذم يزيد ولعنه، وابن الجوزي صنف في جواز ذلك. (ذيل طبقات الحنابلة)

I say: This issue occurred between Abd al-Mugheeth and Ibn al-Jawzi. It caused discord. It is said that Abd al-Mugheeth followed Aba al-Hasan bin al-Banna, thus he wrote about the impermissibility of blaming or cursing Yazid.  Ibn al-Jawzi wrote about the permissibility of it. (Imam Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali, Dhail Tabaqaat al-Hanabilah).


Although leading scholars of Ahl al-Sunnah did permit the cursing of Yazid, others warned against it. In either case, there is no argument to defend the actions of Yazid. Rather, we prefer to leave his affair to Allah Most High.

Not only is it the more cautious approach not to curse Yazid, but it is also closer to the Akhlaaq (character) of the believer. The general practice and guidance of the blessed Prophet ﷺ was to avoid cursing.

عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: لَيْسَ المُؤْمِنُ بِالطَّعَّانِ وَلَا اللَّعَّانِ وَلَا الفَاحِشِ وَلَا البَذِيءِ. هَذَا حَدِيثٌ حَسَنٌ غَرِيبٌ

Abdullah (Ibn Mas’ud) said, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘The believer is not insulting, nor a curser, nor is he vulgar, nor one who speaks shamefully.’ (Tirmidhi 1977, Hasan).

And Allah Most High Knows Best.

Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen Rashid (26.07.23)