Abu Mikhnaf

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Abu Mikhnaf
Native nameابو مخنف
Full NameAbu Mekhnaf Lut Yahya Azdi Qamedi
Well Known AsMuslim historian
Birth132 AH
Place of BirthKufa
Death/Martyrdom157/8 AH (Anoo Hegirea)
WorksMaqtal al-Husayn

Abu Mikhnaf was a Muslim historian active in Kufa, near Baghdad and author of the lost work Kitab Maqtal al-Hussain (History of the Battle of Karbala). His grandfather was a companion of Ali and this close connection to the prophet's companion and his family background made it possible for this author to gather great amounts of information of the "inner circle". Abu Mikhnaf's principal work, the Kitab Maqtal al-Hussain, has reached us through the work of his student, Hisham ibn al-Kalbi (d. 204 ah). His work was considered reliable among later Shi'a and Sunni historians like Tabari.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Abu Mekhnaf Lut Yahya Azdi Qamedi ,known as Abu Mikhnaf, was born in Kufa. His birh Date  is unknown (estimated around 132 Ah) but he died in 157/8 AH (Anoo Hegirea). He was a famous narrator in second era of Hegriea. He narrated various important events after Islam from Prophet Muhammad arisen to the last day of Umayyad Dynasty, the first Muslim dynasty.

He wrote around 30 books but we just  have some narrations of him in different books like The History Of Tabari , written by Al-Tabari. Although It’s not clear if he was Shi’ite , he showed his respect and love towards Ahl-Al-Bayt.

Abu Mekhnaf Lut Yahya Azdi Qamedi was born in a famous family known as Yamani A’zd from Ghamed tribe. His Grandfather, Mokhnaf Ebn-e Salim was one of the follower of  prophet of Islam , Muhammad, and after Muhammad’s passing, he folowed Imam Ali. Ebn-e Salim participated in Jamal war which it was between Imam Ali and A’yeshe ( Muslim Prophet’s wife, Tal’he, Zobayr. In this war, he lost his two brothers. After war, Hamadan and Isfahan authority attributed to Ebn-e Salim.

In Sefeyn war, Imam Ali wrote a letter to him to help him in this war against Umayyad dynasty. He atrributed Hareth Ebn-e Abu Rab’I and followed Imam Ali. During the war, some soldiers disobeyed Imam’s commands but Ebn-e Salim was praised by Imam due to the fact that he supported Imam and God’s commands.

Historiography[edit | edit source]

As far as Abu Mikhnaf's reports are concerned, it can be said that his approach was anti-Umayyad and in favour of Imam al-Hussain, but whether he was actually a Shi’i is questionable. Certainly, he is hostile to both Ibn Ziyad and Yazid; both poke at the teeth in the head of the martyred Imam in his account.

Because of the nature of al-Tabaris annalistic approach to history, Abu Mikhnaf's beginning of the account is missing, as it does not belong to events of the year 60. Part of it may be preserved by al-Baladhuri by using the collective term qalu. When the Imam al-Hasan died, the Shi’i in Iraq wrote to the Imam al-Hussain to ask him to come to lead them. He wrote back reminding them of the agreement that his brother had made with Mu'awiya and promising to lead them. Mu`awiya heard that the people thought that the Imam al-Hussain would lead them after his death and wrote to him warning him against this. The Imam al-Hussain wrote back denouncing him. Thus, the scene is set for the confrontation on the death of Mu'awiya.

The variety of Abu Mikhnaf's stories and his statement about the majority of the reporters[1] suggest that he was reporting from an existing literature.

Books[edit | edit source]

  • death of 'Uthman b. 'Affan,
  • the Battle of Siffin,
  • Maqtal of Muhammad b. Abi Bakr,
  • Maqtal of Amir al-Mu'minin
  • Maqtal al-Husayn

The book “Maqtal al-Husayn”  vanished due to some reasons:

1.   Difference between the main book and Tarikh Al-Tabariin context .

2.   Different start between the original book and the available book

3.   Wrong information in text by writing an example from Al-Kulayni who was born about 100 years after Abu Mikhna’s death.

The original version is not available and the current version is collected by non-religious people who have issues against Islam. But in recent years , researcher have tried to restore the book by collecting information from reliable books.

Source[edit | edit source]

Reference[edit | edit source]

  1. U. Sezkin, op. cit., pp. 116-22