The History of al-Tabari Vol. 25
The End of Expansion: The Caliphate of Hisham A.D. 724-738/A.H. 105-120
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This volume deals with the part of Tabari's great History covering the first fifteen years of the caliphate of the Umayyad Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik, which represents almost the last period of universal political unity in Islamic history. Tabari's work is generally recognized as among the most important sources for Hisham's reign. Here the bitter fighting faced by the Muslim forces on the frontiers receives extensive and graphic coverage. In particular, the unrewarding and continous war against the pagan Turks in Khurasan, a struggle that did so much to alienate the troops and thus to spread disaffection with Umayyad rule, is recorded in much more detail than elsewhere. Military disasters such as the Day of Thirst, the Day of Kamarjah, and the Day of the Defile are vividly portrayed.
Tabari also devotes considerable attention to the growing internal problems that clouded the latter days of Hisham's rule, including the persistent contest for power between the great tribal groupings and the struggle of non-Arab Muslims for better status for themselves in the Islamic state. The burgeoning fiscal difficulties that threatened the state under Hisham are also highlighted. Additionally, there are many reports of the easliest 'Abbasid revolutionary activity. This volume is not only essential for the study of the reign of Hisham but also for understanding the background of the Umayyads' downfall and the establishment of 'Abbasid rule, laying bare some of the roots of the final breakdown of Islmaic political unity.
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