The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 10

The Conquest of Arabia: The Riddah Wars A.D. 632-633/A.H. 11

Translated by Fred M. Donner

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Near Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780791410721, 248 pages, June 1993
Hardcover : 9780791410714, 248 pages, July 1993

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Table of contents



Translator's Foreword

Maps 1. Western Arabia at the Time of the Riddah Wars

2. Eastern Arabia at the Time of the Riddah Wars

The Events of the Year 11 (cont'd) (632/633)

What Took Place between the Muhajirun and the Ansar over the Matter of Leadership at the Portico of the Banu Sa`idah

Remainder of the Account Regarding al-`Ansi the Liar

[Abu Bakr's Letter to the Apostates]

The Remainder of the Account about Ghatafan at the Time of Their Joining with Tulayhah and Other Things Relating to the Affair of Tulayhah

The Apostasy of Hawazin, Sulaym, and `Amir

Banu Tamim and the Affair of Sajah bt. al-Harith b.Suwayd

Continuation of the Account of Sayf

Al-Butah and Its Story

Remainder of the Story of Musaylimah the Liar and His Tribe of the People of al-Yamamah

The People of al-Bahrayn, the Apostasy of al-Hutam, and Those Who Joined With Him in al-Bahrayn

The Apostasy of the People of `Uman and Mahrah and the Yemen

The Account of Mahrah in the Uplands

Account of the Apostates in the Yemen

The Wicked People of `Akk

Apostasy of the People of the Yemen a Second Time

The Story of Tahir When He Marched to Reinforce Fayruz

The Account of Hadramawt during Their Apostasy

Continuation of the Report of Sayf

Bibliography of Cited Works



Volume X of al-Ṭabarī's massive chronicle is devoted to two main subjects. The first is the selection of Abū Bakr as the first caliph or successor to the Prophet Muh'ammad following the Prophet's death in 632 C.E. This section of the History reveals some of the inner divisions that existed within the early Muslim community, and sheds light on the interests and motivations of various parties in the debates that led up to Abū Bakr's acclamation as caliph.

The second main subject of Volume X is the riddah or "apostasy"--actually a series of rebellions against Muslim domination by various tribes in Arabia that wished to break their ties with Medina following the Prophet's death. The History offers one of the more extensive collections of accounts about this early sequence of events to be found in the Arabic historical literature. It provides richly detailed information on the rebellions themselves and on the efforts made by Abū Bakr and his Muslim supporters to quell them. It also tells us much about relationships among the tribes of Arabia, local topography, military practice, and the key personnel, organization, and structure of the early Islamic state.

The successful suppression of the riddah marked the transformation of the Muslim state from a small faith community of importance only in West Arabia to a much more powerful political entity, embracing all of the Arabian peninsula and poised to unleash a wave of conquests that would shortly engulf the entire Near East and North Africa. The riddah era is, thus, crucial to understanding the eventual appearance of Islam as a major actor on the stage of world history.