Making a will is one of the wisest actions through which one’s rights are protected. The chain of goodness and virtue continues even after the death of the person. The person before dying is content that his wealth would be utilized in a befitting manner and is not overly concerned in this regard. Making a will is a crucial duty for Muslims and under certain conditions Islam has even made it obligatory.
That is why Quran has prescribed it emphatically, especially in Surah Baqarah: 180-181 ‘Bequest is prescribed for you when death approaches one of you, if he leaves behind wealth for parents and near relatives, according to usage, a duty (incumbent) upon those who guard (against evil). Whoever then alters it after he has heard it, the sin of it then is only upon those who alter it; surely Allah is Hearing, Knowing’
All the prophets (a.s.), messengers (a.s.), successors (a.s.) and Imams (a.s.) have acted upon this Sunnat. They used to often make a will to their children, relatives and friends to inform them of future events. On the day of Ashoora, Imam Husain (a.s.) has advised his relatives and companions on several occasions, which have been recorded as a will. The most important will of Imam Husain (a.s.) was made to Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyya when he left Medina for Mecca. This will utlines Imam’s (a.s.) objective behind setting out against Yazid.
In the name of Allah the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful This is a will from Husain Ibne Ali (a.s.) written to his brother Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyya. I bear witness that Allah is One, there is no associate for him and that Muhammad (s.a.w.a.) is His messenger. Whatever he (s.a.w.a.) has conveyed is the truth. (I bear witness) paradise and hell are certain and the Day of Judgment is a certainly. Allah, the High, will surely raise the dead from the graves. I am Husain (a.s.). I am not leaving Medina with the aim of perpetrating tyranny and corruption. I do not have any ambition (for power) nor do I wish to abandon the truth. I am only leaving Medina for the rectification of the nation of my grandfather, the messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.). I only wish to fulfill my duty of exhorting goodness and prohibiting evil. I have heard from Muhammad Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) that Husain will be a victim of killing.’
On hearing this will, Abdullah Ibne Abbas advised Imam Husain (a.s.), ‘Swear allegiance to Yazid and be patient on his tyranny and oppression like you were patient with Muawiya before that, until circumstances favor you.’ Astonished at this advice, Imam (a.s.) said,
‘What are you saying? A person like me can never swear allegiance to Yazid and obey his commands. What the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) has said about him and his father is evident for me.’
Ibne Abbas replied, ‘You are right. I myself have heard the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) declare – O Yazid what have you done? May Allah never bless Yazid, for surely he will kill my son, who is the son of my daughter – Husain Ibne Ali (a.s.)! By Allah! None shall kill my son, except Yazid. None shall assist Yazid in this, as Allah shall infuse differences amongst them.’
Then Abdullah Ibne Abbas declared, ‘O Husain! Currently I don’t find anyone else to be the son of the Prophet’s daughter (s.a.), besides you. And the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) help and assistance on this nation is a duty, without which Allah shall never accept the prayers and zakat of the believers.’
Imam Husain (a.s.) replied, ‘O Ibne Abbas! What do you have to say about this nation, which drives away the son of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) from his house and his birthplace, they force him to vacate the shrine of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and deprive him of his visitation (ziarat), they intimidate him so much that he cannot take shelter in any village or town and finally conspire to kill him while he is sinless and innocent’
Finally, Imam (a.s.) handed over the will to Muhammad Ibne Hanafiyya, bid him farewell, and Medina to go to Mecca in the dead of the night accompanied by his progeny, friends and companions.