The History of al-Tabarī (The Victory of the Marwānids)

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The History of al-Tabarī (The Victory of the Marwānids)
The History of al-Tabarī (The Victory of the Marwānids).jpg
AuthorMuhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari
PublisherState University of Nwe York

The book The History of al-Tabarī (The Victory of the Marwānids) spans less than eight years (part of the year 66 to 73/ 685 to 693) which was a period of remarkable and momentous upheaval in the Islamic Near East.

About the author[edit | edit source]

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari (839-923) was a Moslem historian and religious scholar whose annals are the most important source for the early history of Islam. He is also a renowned author of a monumental commentary on the Koran. After receiving his early education in the religious sciences at Amol, he continued his studies in Rayy and Baghdad, which he reached about the year 855. Not later than 857 he visited Basra, Wasit, and Kufa to hear the famous scholars there. After his return to Baghdad, he studied religious law according to the doctrine of al-Shafii, which he followed for some time before establishing his own doctrine. After visiting several towns in Syria al-Tabari went to Egypt in 867, where he, already a famous scholar, was honored by a splendid reception. After revisiting Syria, he returned to Egypt for a second stay in 870. In Egypt he defended his own independent legal doctrine in disputations with the prominent Shafiite scholar al-Muzani. He returned to Baghdad to stay there for the remainder of his life, though he made at least two trips to Tabaristan, the second one in 903. Fully devoted to writing and teaching, al-Tabari refused an appointment as judge in 912. His lectures attracted large flocks of students. However, after his second trip to Tabaristan, he aroused the hostility of the Hanbalite school, which was predominant in Baghdad, by refusing to recognize its founder, Ibn Hanbal, as a scholar of the law. The Hanbalites accused him of heresy in minor doctrinal points, attacked him and his house, and, even after he apologized to them, continued to prevent students from attending his lectures. Al-Tabari died on Feb. 15, 923. His school of legal doctrine survived for only a few generations.

About the book[edit | edit source]

This book written by Muhammad Ibn Jarir Al-Tabari and translated to English by Michael Fishbein was published in State University of New York Press, Albany. It has 260 pages and covers the resolution of "the Second Civil War" that involves the rival claims of the Umayyads and the Zubayrids, each of whom claimed the caliphal title.

Abstract of chapters[edit | edit source]

Chapter 1: The Events of the Year 66 (cont'd) (685/686)[edit | edit source]

This part examines the events after the death of the Umayyad caliph Yazid I. It was the period of the setting for al-Mukhtar's Schi'ite uprising in al-Kufah during 66/685 and 67/686 in which both the Umayyads (centered in Syria) and the Zubayrids (centered in the Hijaz) contented for control of Iraq.

Chapter 2: The Events of the Year 67 (686/687)[edit | edit source]

This part deals with the events of the year 67/686. Among these events was the death of Ubaydallah b. Ziyad and of the Syrians who were with him.

Chapter 3: The Events of the Year 68 (687/688)[edit | edit source]

Abdallah’s brother Mus'ab returned to Iraq as commander. In this year, the Azarigah returned from Fars to Iraq. They came into the vicinity of al-Kufah and entered al-Mada'in. In this year:

  • Ibn al -Zubayr's governor in charge of Medina was Jabir b. al-Aswad b. Awf alZuhri
  • Ibn al-Zubayr 's brother Mus'ab was in charge of al-Basrah and al-Kufah
  • Hisham b. Hubayrah was in charge of the judiciary of al-Basrah
  • `Abdallah b. `Utbah b. Masud was in charge of the judiciary of al-Kufah
  • `Abdallah b. Khazim al-Sulami was in charge of Khurasan
  • and Abd al-Malik b. Marwan was in Syria

Chapter 4: The Events of the Year 69 (688 /689)[edit | edit source]

This chapter deals with the revolt and death of Amr b. Sa`fd in Damascus. When Abd al-Malik b. Marwan went out to Ayn Wardah, he made Amr b. Said b. al-`As his deputy over Damascus. Amr b. Said b. al-`As fortified himself there. When word of this reached 'Abd al-Malik, he returned to Damascus and besieged him. In the following, a Kharijite Killed at the Pilgrimage. In this year:

  • Mus`ab b. al-Zubayr was in charge of the garrison cities of al-Kufah and al-Basrah
  • Shurayh was in charge of the judiciary of al-Kufah
  • Hisham b. Hubayrah was in charge of the judiciary of al-Basrah
  • Abdallah b. Khazim was in charge of Khurasan

Chapter 5: The Events of the Year 70 (689/690)[edit | edit source]

In this year, the Byzantines arose and gathered an army against the Muslims in Syria. For fear of what he might do to the Muslims, `Abd al-Malik made peace with the Byzantine emperor, on terms that every Friday he would deliver a thousand dinars to him. During this year, Mus`ab b. al-Zubayr went to Mecca, bringing a great deal of money, which he divided among his kinsmen and others. He brought many horses and camels and much baggage.

Chapter 6: The Events of the Year 71 (690/691)[edit | edit source]

In this part we see that Abd al-Malik b. Marwan goes to Iraq to fight Mus`ab b. al-Zubayr. He continues drawing closer to Mus`ab until he arrives at Butnan Habib, while Mus`ab goes out to Bajumayra.

Chapter 7: The Events of the Year 72 (691/692.)[edit | edit source]

Among the events of this year were those events involving the Kharijites and those involving al-Muhallab b. Abi Sufrah and Abd al-Aziz b. Abdallah b. Khalid b. Asid. After eight months of extremely hard fighting between the Azarigah and al-Muhallab at Sulaf, it was reported to them that Mus`ab b. al-Zubayr had been killed. The news reached the Kharijites before it reached al-Muhallab and his forces. They sought the truth.

Chapter 8: The Events of the Year 73 (692/693)[edit | edit source]

In this part we have major events like the death of `Abdallah b. al-Zubayr. The author here gives a description of the Death of Ibn al-Zubayr. In this year the war between Ibn al-Zubayr and alHajjaj took place for six months and seventeen nights in the hollow of Mecca. Bishr b. Marwan Becomes Governor of al-Basrah.  In this year, `Abd al-Malik removed Khalid b. `Abdallah from al-Basrah and appointed his own brother, Bishr b. Marwan, its governor. Thus, the governorship of both it and al-Kufah came to be his. When Bishr was appointed governor of al-Basrah in addition to al-Kufah, he went to al-Basrah and left `Amr b. Hurayth as his deputy in charge of al-Kufah. In the following we have campaigns against the Byzantines. In this year, Muhammad b. Marwan campaigned during the summer and defeated the Byzantines. `Uthman b. al-Walid's attack on the Byzantines in the region of Armenia is said to have taken place in this year. He had 4 thousand men, the Byzantines 60 thousand, but he defeated them and killed many of them. During this year:

  • Al-Hajjaj b. Yusuf was in charge of Mecca, Yemen, and al-Yamamah
  • Bishr b. Marwan was in charge of al-Kufah and alBasrah
  • Khalid b. Abdallah b. Khalid b. Asid was in charge of alBasrah
  • Shuraylh b. al-Harith was in charge of the judiciary of alKufah
  • Hisham b. Hubayrah was in charge of the judiciary of al-Basrah
  • Bukayr b. Wishal} was in charge of Khurasan

By the end of 73/692, the Umayyad regime in Damascus, led by Abd-al-Malik, had extinguished the rival caliphate of Ibn al-Zubayr, and had reestablished a single, more or less universally acknowledged political authority for the Islamic community.