The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 11

The Challenge to the Empires A.D. 633-635/A.H. 12-13

Translated by Khalid Yahya Blankinship

Subjects: Middle East Studies
Series: SUNY series in Near Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780791408520, 304 pages, April 1993
Hardcover : 9780791408513, 304 pages, April 1993

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Table of contents



Translator's Foreword

Genealogical Table of the Later Sasanians as Represented by Sayf b. `Umar

Genealogical Table of the Later Sasanians as Attested in Sources Other than Sayf b. `Umar

Maps 1. Iraq at the Time of the Muslim Conquest

2. Syria at the Time of the Muslim Conquest

The Caliphate of Abu Bakr al-Siddiq

The Events of the Year 12 (633/634)

The Battle of al-Madhar

The Battle of al-Walajah

About Ullays, Which Is on the Euphrates Itself

The Affair of Amghishiya

The Day of al-Maqr and the Mouth of Furat Badaqla

What Happened after al-Hirah

Al-Anbar, Which Is Dhat al-`Uyun, and Kalwadha

About `Ayn al-Tamr

Dumat al-Jandal



Al-Musayyakh of the Banu al-Barsha'

Al-Thani and al-Zumayl


Khalid's Pilgrimage

Those Who Say Abu Bakr Led the Pilgrimage

Those Who Say `Umar Led the Pilgrimage

The Events of the Year 13 (634/635)


Continuation of the Report of Ibn Ishaq

Continuation of the Report of Abu Zayd

[Abu Bakr's Illness and Death]

Who Washed Abu Bakr, His Shroud, Who Prayed over Him, the Time of His Funeral Prayer, and the Time at Which He Died

Abu Bakr's Appearance

Abu Bakr's Genealogy, His Name, and What He Was Known by

The Names of Abu Bakr's Wives

The Names of His Judges, Secretaries, and Tax Officials

[His Appointment of `Umar b. al-Khattab as His Successor]

The Caliphate of `Umar b. al-Khattab

The Events of the Year 13 (cont'd) (634/635)

[The Expedition of Fihl and the Conquest of Damascus]

The Report about Damascus According to Sayf

The Affair of Fihl According to Sayf



Al-Muthanna b. Harithah and Abu `Ubayd b. Mas`ud


Al-Saqatiyyah in Kaskar

The Battle of al-Qarqus, Which Is Also Called al-Quss, Quss al-Natif, the Bridge, and al-Marwah. ah

Lesser Ullays



What Stirred Up the Matter of al-Qadisiyyah

Bibliography of Cited Works



Although this volume deals with the part of al-Ṭabarī's History covering the years 12 and 13 (633-35), in the caliphates of Abū Bakr al-Ṣiddīq and ʿUmar ibn al-Khaṭṭāb, the narratives contained in it, which are lengthy and detailed, are concerned with the first Muslim conquests in Iraq and Syria. Although it might be expected, therefore, that this volume would be a basic source for these conquests, the actual value of the bulk of the reported traditions is in considerable doubt because most of the material is derived from a later Kufan traditionist, Sayf b. 'Umar (d. 170-93/786-809), who apparently exaggerated and distorted his material considerably. Indeed, Sayf's transmissions clearly reveal the tendency of his party, an anti-Shi'ite faction based on the Arab Mudar tribal group in al-Kufah that had lost out with the fall of the Umayyads and the coming of the 'Abbasids to power. Although Sayf's transmissions thus have limited value as far as the earliest conquests themselves are concerned, they are of the utmost value in revealing the content and character of Islamic historical debates in the late 2nd/8th century. In addition, they permit us to elucidate and reconstruct an early harmonizing tendency in Islam that undoubtedly had a significant effect on the way later Muslims viewed their earliest history.

The translation is preceded by an introduction analyzing the tendencies of Sayf and his party as revealed in this volume. Extensive notes accompany the text for the benefit of historians in other fields, as well as of Islamic specialists.