Shabath b. Rib'i

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Shabath b. Rib'i
Commander of Umar b. Sa'd's army
Native name
شَبَث بن رِبعِی
Full NameShabath b. Rib'i b. Hussain al-Tamimi al-Yarbu'i
TeknonymAbu Abd al-Quddus
LineageBanu Yarbu'
Place of ResidenceKufa
Known forBetraying Muslim b. Aqil and Imam al-Hussain
Notable rolesCommander of Imam Ali's army
ActivitiesOpposing 'Uthman, Presence in the battle of Siffain, battle of Nahrawan, inviting Imam al-Hussain to Kufa, commander of Umar b. Sa'd's army in the battle of Karbala, opposing al-Mukhtar and supporting Mus'ab b. al-Zubayr

Shabath b. Rib'i (Arabic: شَبَث بن رِبعِی) (d. about 70/689-90) was a noble man from Kufa whose life was marked by constant vacillations between opposing camps.

Shabath was among dissidents of 'Uthman and participated in the Battle of Siffin as a commander of the army of Imam Ali. On his way to Nahrawan, he joined Khawarij, but after few words of Imam, he changed his mind and took the leadership of a part of Imam's army in the Battle of Nahrawan.

He was among those who testified against Hujr b. 'Adi.

He was also among those who wrote a letter to Imam al-Hussain and invited Imam to Kufa. However, after Ibn Ziyad took the control of Kufa, he changed his position and actively urged people of Kufa to leave Muslim b. 'Aqil. In the Battle of [[Karbala], he was the commander of foot soldiers of the army of 'Umar b. Sa'd; however, he tried to avoid being seen.

In the Uprising of al-Mukhtar and the revolt of the nobles of Kufa, he stood against al-Mukhtar and played a role in provoking Mus'ab a. al-Zubayr and killing al-Mukhtar.

His Lineage and Kunya[edit | edit source]

His lineage reached Banu Yarbu' from Banu Hanzala tribe. Some of Banu Hanzala tribe joined the army of Aisha following the incitements of Talha and al-Zubayr. But all of Banu Yarbu' stood loyal to Imam Ali. In the Battle of Nahrawan, some of Banu Hanzala including Shabath b. Rib'i joined Khawarij. Some sources have mentioned his name as Shabath b. Rib'i al-Riyahi.

His Life[edit | edit source]

He was among those who saw the time of the Holy Prophet. For a while, he was Mu'adhdhin of Sajah (who claimed to be a prophet) but later returned to Islam. He was among dissidents of 'Uthman and in a letter to Mu'awiya, he was mentioned to be involved in the murder of 'Uthman.

In the Battle of Siffin, Shabath was one commander of Imam Ali's army. Together with other people, he went to Mu'awiya as the representative of Imam. When Hanzala b. Rabi' escaped toward Mu'awiya, Shabath b. Rib'i and two other people from Banu Tamim destroyed his house by the order of Imam Ali.

Disappointed from Hakamiyya, he joined Khawarij. However, after hearing the words of Imam, he joined him and took the leadership of a part of Imam's army in the Battle of Nahrawan.

During the rule of Mu'awiya, in the uprising of Farwa b. Nufil which led to the death of Farwa, he was the leader of the army of al-Mughira.

In the Battle of Karbala[edit | edit source]

Shabath was among those who wrote a letter to Imam al-Hussain and invited him to Kufa. However, because of Ibn Ziyad's dominance over Kufa, he changed his position and played a significant role in dispersing the people of Kufa from around Muslim b. 'Aqil. On the Day of 'Ashura, when Imam al-Hussain addressed the army of 'Umar b. Sa'd, addressed Shabath as one of the writers of the letters people of Kufa wrote to Imam.

He did not want to participate in the Battle of Karbala and fighting against Imam al-Hussain. When Ibn Ziyad asked him to join the army of 'Umar b. Sa'd, he pretended to be sick in order not to stand against Imam. But when Ibn Ziyad told him that "If you obey us, you should go to fight the enemy", he moved toward Karbala.

On the day of 'Ashura, he was the commander of foot soldiers in the army of 'Umar b. Sa'd. When they were showing their happiness for the martyrdom of Muslim b. 'Awsaja, Shabath admonished them. When Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan pierced his spear in the tent of Imam al-Hussain and shouted that, "Bring fire to burn this tent with the people therein.", Imam al-Hussain cursed him. Shabath b. Rib'i admonished him as well.

After the Tragedy of 'Ashura[edit | edit source]

After the martyrdom of Imam al-Hussain, Shabath found an opportunity to reconstruct his mosque in Kufa (which previously Imam Ali had prohibited people from praying there). Following the Uprising of al-Mukhtar, Shabath was appointed by 'Abd Allah b. Muti' to fight al-Mukhtar. He also had a role in the revolt of the chiefs of Kufa against al-Mukhtar. When the army of al-Mukhtar led by Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar went to fight the army of Syria, chiefs of Kufa revolted against al-Mukhtar. Shabath b. Rib'i together with Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan and Muhammad b. Ash'ath b. Qays were among the chief leaders of the revolt. Al-Mukhtar sent someone to tell Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar to bring back the army and suppress the revolt. Following the news of the return of Ibrahim b. Malik Ashtar, Shabath changed his position and sent a message to al-Mukhtar that, "We are from your tribe and your right hand. By God I swear that we will not fight you and you should be confident about this." Al-Mukhtar ignored his letter and sent Ibrahim b. Malik to fight him.

After the revolt was defeated, al-Mukhtar began to chase the killers of Imam al-Hussain. Shabath b. Rib'i, Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan and some other key people in the tragedy of 'Ashura escaped to Basra. Al-Mukhtar sent a group to run them down and they killed Shimr, but Shabath escaped to Basra and provoked Mus'ab b. al-Zubayr there to fight al-Mukhtar and helped him in killing al-Mukhtar. When Hujr b. 'Adi was in the prison of Ziyad b. Abih, Shabth was among those who testified against him.

He died about 70/689-670.

Narrating Hadith[edit | edit source]

Shabath has narrated from Imam Ali and Hudhayfa. Muhammad b. Ka'b Qarzi, Sulayman al-Taymi, Anas b. Malik and others have narrated from him. Also, there is a hadith in Sunan Abi Dawud narrated from him.

References[edit | edit source]