Sheikh M. S. Al-Munajjid, a prominent Saudi Muslim lecturer and author, states: “Yazid’s full name is: Yazid ibn Mu`awiyyah ibn Abi Sufyan ibn Harb ibn Umayyah Al-Umawi Al-Dimashqi.
Al-Dhahabi said: “He was the commander of that army during the campaign against Constantinople, among which were people such as Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. Yazid was appointed by his father as his heir, so he took power after his father’s death in Rajab 60 AH at the age of thirty-three, but his reign lasted for less than four years.
Yazid is one of those whom we neither curse nor love. There are others like him among the caliphs of the two states (Umayyad and Abbasid) and the governors of various regions; even there were some among them who were worse than him.
But the issue of Yazid is that he came to power forty-nine years after the death of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It was still close to the time of the Prophet and some of the Sahabah (Prophet’s Companions) were still alive, such as Ibn `Umar who was more entitled to the post of caliphate than him.
His reign began with the killing of Al-Husayn and it ended with the battle of Al-Harrah. So, people hated him and he was not blessed with a long life. There were many revolts against him after Al-Husayn, such as the people of Al-Madinah who revolted for the sake of Allah, and Ibn Al-Zubayr.” (Siyar A`lam Al-Nubala’, part 4, p. 38)
Shaykh Al-Islam, ibn Taymiyyah, described people’s attitudes towards Yazid ibn Mu`awiyyah, saying: “People differed concerning Yazid ibn Mu`awiyyah, splitting into three groups, two extreme and one moderate.
One of the two extreme views said that he was a Kafir (non-Muslim) and a Munafiq (hypocrite), that he strove to kill the grandson of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to spite the Messenger of Allah and to take revenge on him, and to avenge his grandfather `Utbah, his grandfather’s brother Shaybah and his maternal uncle Al-Walid ibn `Utbah and others who were killed by the Sahabah and by ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib on the day of Badr and other battles. To hold such a view is easy for the Rafidis (one of deviating groups) who regard Abu Bakr, `Umar and `Uthman as Kafirs, so it is much easier for them to regard Yazid as a Kafir.
The other extreme group think that he was a righteous man and a just leader, that he was one of the Sahabah who were born during the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and were blessed by him. Some of them accord him a status higher than that of Abu Bakr and `Umar; and some of them regard him as a Prophet.
The above two views are obviously false to one who has the least common sense and who has any knowledge of the lives and times of the early Muslims. This view is not attributable to any of the scholars who are known for following the Sunnah or to any reasonable person who has mind and experience.
However, the third view – which is the moderate one – is that he was one of the kings of the Muslims, who did good deeds and bad deeds. He was not born until the caliphate of `Uthman. He was not a Kafir, but it was because of him that the killing of Al-Husayn took place, and he did what he did to the people of Al-Harrah. He was not a Sahabi, nor was he one of the righteous devotees of Allah. This is the view of most of the people of reason and knowledge and of Ahl Al-Sunnah wal-Jama`ah.
Then the above group divided into three groups, one which cursed him, one which loved him, and one which neither cursed nor loved him. The last stance is what was reported from Imam Ahmad, and this is the view of the fair-minded among his companions and others among the Muslims.
Salih ibn Ahmad said: “I said to my father, some people say that they love Yazid.” He said: “O my son, is there any believer who believes in Allah and in the Day of Judgment and love Yazid?” I said: “O my father, why do you not curse him?” He said: “O my son, when did you ever see your father curse anybody?”
Abu Muhammad Al-Maqdisi said: “When he was asked about Yazid: ‘According to what I have heard he is neither to be cursed nor to be loved.’ He also said: ‘I heard that Abu `Abd-Allah ibn Taymiyyah was asked about Yazid and he said: We do not deny his good qualities nor exaggerate about them.’” This is the fairest opinion.” (Majmu` Fatawa Shaykh Al-Islam, part 4, pp. 481-484)”