The End of the Jihâd State

The Reign of Hishām Ibn ʿAbd al-Malik and the Collapse of the Umayyads

By Khalid Yahya Blankinship

Subjects: Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY series in Medieval Middle East History
Paperback : 9780791418284, 399 pages, June 1994
Hardcover : 9780791418277, 399 pages, June 1994

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Table of contents


Explanations, Symbols, and Abbreviations


The Importance of the Umayyad Caliphate and Its Collapse
The Problem of the Reign of Hisham

1. Jihad and the Caliphate before Hisham

The Doctrine of Jihad
An Outline of the History of the Jihad State 2-132/623-750
The Madinan State and the First Expansion 2-35/623-56
The First Civil War and the First Hiatus 35-40/656-61
The Sufyanid Umayyad State and the Second Expansion 40-63/661-83
The Second Hiatus and the Second Civil War 63-76/683-92
The Marwanid Umayyad State and the Third Expansion 73-99/692-718
Third Hiatus and 'Umar II 99-101/718-20
The Marwanid Umayyad State and the Fourth Expansion 101-22/720-40

2. Administrative Geography and Tribal Identity under Hisham

The Administrative Geography of the Caliphate in 105/724
Tribal Identity in the Administration and the Army

3. The Individual Provinces of the Caliphate

Syria, the Metropolitan Province
The Jaziran Superprovince
The Iraqi Superprovince: The 'Viceroyalty of the East'
The North African or Western Superprovince
The Southern Zone: The West Arabian Backwater

4. Administrative Policies and Ideology at the Beginning of Hisham's Reign

The Caliph Hisham and the Caliphal Office
The Central Administration of the Caliphate under Hisham
Caliphal Fiscal Policy at the Start of Hisham's Reign
Ideological Centralization

5. The Challenges of Internal and Foreign Opposition to Hisham's Caliphate

The Internal Opposition under Hisham
The External Strategic Situation in 105/724
The Byzantine Empire
The Caucasian Principalities
The Khazar Khanate
The Turgesh Khanate and Transoxiana
The Franks
The Berbers
Other Parts of Africa: Nubia and Abyssinia

6. The Beginning of the Military Crisis 105-11/724-29

The Building Crisis
The Byzantine Front 105-11/724-29
The Caucasus 105-11/724-29
Transoxiana 105-11/724-29
Sijistan 105-08/724-27
India 104-08/723-27
Egypt 105-11/724-29
North Africa and the West Mediterranean 105-11/724-29
Spain and the Franks 105-11/724-29

7. The Climax of the Military Crisis

A Sudden Turn for the Worse
Sijistan 108-14/726-32
India 108-13/726-31
The Caucasus 112-14/730-32
Transoxiana and Khurasan 111-15/730-33
The Byzantine Front 112-14/730-32
The Frankish Front 112-14/730-32
Egypt and North Africa 112-14/730-32

8. The Continuation of the Policy of Expansion 115-22/733-40

Lull and Resumption
The Byzantine Front 115-22/733-40
The Caucasus Front 115-23/733-41
Transoxiana and Khurasan 115-23/733-41
Sijistan 115-25/733-43
India 113-22/731—40
Khariji and Shi'i Revolts in Iraq and the East
Egypt 115-22/733-40
North Africa 115-22/733-40
Spain and France 114-22/732-40

9. The Collapse of the Expansion Policy 122-25/740-43

The Berber Revolt and the End of Expansion
The Byzantine Front 123-25/741-43
The East, Including Sind 122-25/740-43
The Great Berber Revolt 122-25/740-43
Causes of the Revolt
The Beginning of the Revolt 122-23/740-41
'Abd al-Malik b. Qatan al-Fihri's Coup in Spain 123/741
The Brief Governorship of Kulthum b. 'Iyad. 123-24/741
The North African Governorship of Hanzala b. Safwan al-Kalbi 124-27/742-45
The Caliphal Twilight in Spain 124-25/742-43


Final Results of the Destruction and Scattering of the Syrian Army
The Yamani-Sponsored Reform Program: Rationale and Result
General Conclusions


Appendix A: Sources for the Reign of Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik

Historical-Critical Considerations
Some Aspects of Methodology
The Nature of the Sources
The Limitations of the Material Evidence
The Muslim Literary Sources and Their Geographical Limitations
Christian Literary Sources
Social and Structural Limitations in the Muslim Literary Sources
Modern Scholarship

Appendix B: On the Population of the Umayyad Caliphate

Glossary of Arabic Technical Terms




Map Index

Demonstrates for the first time that the cause of the Umayyad caliphate’s collapse came not just from internal conflict, but from a number of external and concurrent factors that exceeded the caliphate’s capacity to respond.


Stretching from Morocco to China, the Umayyad caliphate based its expansion and success on the doctrine of jihad--armed struggle to claim the whole earth for God's rule, a struggle that had brought much material success for a century but suddenly ground to a halt followed by the collapse of the ruling Umayyad dynasty in 750 CE. The End of the Jihad State demonstrates for the first time that the cause of this collapse came not just from internal conflict, as has been claimed, but from a number of external and concurrent factors that exceeded the caliphate's capacity to respond.

Khalid Yahya Blankinship is Assistant Professor of Religion at Temple University. He is the translator of Volumes 11 and 25 of the History of al-Tabari, also published by SUNY Press.


"The work argues a plausible theory singlemindedly but quite convincingly with full control of all of the sources, which are treated intelligently and with the proper critical circumspection. It thereby contributes greatly to the understanding of important developments in early Muslim history." -- Franz Rosenthal, Sterling Professor Emeritus, Yale University

"This is the first major book in English on the reign of any Umayyad caliph. The fall of the Umayyads and the rise of the Abbasids has been a central topic of Islamic history for three generations, but until now no one has put it all together and drawn specific conclusions for the caliphate as a whole, and no one has seen the military defeats of Hisham's reign as avoidable disasters that presaged the dynasty's fall. These are fresh insights and serve to refocus attention in a valuable way. Hisham had been thought a quite competent caliph. After reading Blankinship, people will have to reconsider. When they do, they will also have to reconsider the place of jihad in the whole Umayyad period." -- Richard W. Bulliet, Columbia University