In our view, the following factors compelled the Imam to leave Mecca in haste:
1. Safety of the Sanctuary
Imam (a.s.) feared that the sanctified House of Allah, where all those who enter it are granted immunity from harm. This was so because Bani Umayyad did not recognize any of its sanctity and Yazid had ordered Amr bin Saeed Ashdaq to fight the Holy Imam and if he could not do so, he must have him assassinated. And Ashdaq had arrived in Mecca with a large number of mercenaries. When the Imam was informed about this he set out from there1 and he did not take refuge in the sanctified house so that he may protect its sanctities.
His Eminence (a.s.) said,
“Even if I am killed one hand span outside Mecca, it is more preferable to me.”
His Eminence (a.s.) himself said to Ibn Zubair, “If I am killed at such and such place, it is more preferable to me than that the sanctity of this place (Mecca) be defiled.”
(Ibne Asakir, Tarikh vol. 14, p. 203)
The succeeding days showed that Bani Umayyads had no regard for the holiness of this Great House, because during their battle against Ibn Zubair they fired burning logs of wood and stones with the help of catapults on the Kaaba, just as before that they had
- Miraat az-Zamaan, p.167 from facsimile copy at Imam Amirul Momineen (a.s.) Library. defiled the sanctity of Medina’
- Fear of being Killed Imam (a.s.) resorted to extreme precaution that it should not be that he is killed in Mecca or that he becomes an easy prey for the Umayyads, because Yazid had dispatched assailants to eliminate His Eminence.
Abdullah bin Abbas in his letter to Yazid wrote: “And whatever I may forget I will not forget that you forced Husayn bin Ali from the sanctuary of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) towards the sanctuary of Allah and after that sent your agents to assassinate him and he had to leave the sanctuary of Allah to go to Iraq in a condition of trepidation and in a precautionary manner. While he was and still is the most liked person in the land of valleys (Hijaz) and among the people of the two towns he is the most obeyed if he had stayed there and considered hostilities in these places lawful.
3. Janab-e-Muslim’s Letter
Another factor that prompted the Imam to set out from Mecca was the letter of his emissary, Muslim bin Ail, which urged him to move to Iraq and it had mentioned that all the people of Kufa were with him and the number of people who have pledged allegiance for him exceeded 18,000’
These were some of the factors that impelled the Imam to depart for Iraq and the weakest view is that which claims that the Imam set out from Mecca at the behest of Ibn Zubair because Ibn Zubair did not command any importance that the Imam should leave Mecca because of him, only the factors that we have indicated were explained. When Mecca became the target of Umayyad attack such a situation was created that it never became a center of any political movement.