Yazid was the first person in the history of the Caliphate to be nominated as heir based on a blood relationship, and this became a tradition afterwards. As such, his accession is considered by the Muslim historical tradition as the corruption of the caliphate into a kingship. He is depicted as a tyrant who was responsible for three major crimes during his caliphate: the death of Husayn and his followers at Karbala, considered a massacre; the aftermath of the Battle of al-Harra, in which Yazid's troops sacked Medina; and the burning of the Ka'ba during the siege of Mecca, which is blamed on Yazid's commander Husayn ibn Numayr. The tradition stresses his habits of drinking, dancing, hunting, and keeping pet animals such as dogs and monkeys, portraying him as impious and unworthy of leading the Muslim community. Extant contemporary Muslim histories describe Yazid as "a sinner in respect of his belly and his private parts", "an arrogant drunken sot", and "motivated by defiance of God, lack of faith in His religion and hostility toward His Messenger". Baladhuri (d. 892) described him as the "commander of the sinners" (amir al-fasiqin), as opposed to the title commander of the faithful (amir al-mu'minin) usually applied to the caliphs. Nevertheless, some historians have argued that there is a tendency in early Muslim sources to exonerate Yazid of blame for Husayn's death, and put the blame squarely on Ibn Ziyad. According to the historian James Lindsay, the Syrian historian Ibn Asakir (d. 1176) attempted to stress Yazid's positive qualities, while accepting the allegations that are generally made against him. Ibn Asakir thus emphasised that Yazid was a transmitter of hadith (the sayings and traditions attributed to Muhammad), a virtuous man "by reason of his connection to the age of the Prophet", and worthy of the ruling position.
NOTE: Internet Explorer is recommended for viewing. If you receive an error message regarding your PDF viewer, right click the "Application Form" link and select "Save Link As" to download the application. You may need to select "Enable All Features" to view the form in Adobe Acrobat. d2c66b5586