The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 19

The Caliphate of Yazīd b. Muʿāwiyah A.D. 680-683/A.H. 60-64

Translated by I. K. A. Howard

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Near Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780791400418, 264 pages, January 1991
Hardcover : 9780791400401, 264 pages, January 1991

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Table of contents


Translator's Foreword

The Events of the Year 60 (cont'd) (680)

The Attack of `Amr b. al-Zubayr

The Kufans' Invitation to Husayn and the Mission of Muslim b. `Aqil

Continuation of `Ammar al-Duhni's Account from AbuJa`far

Abu Mikhnaf's Account

Al-Husayn's Departure from Mecca for al-Kufah

Continuation of `Ammar al-Duhni's Account from AbuJa`far

The Events of the Year 61 (6801681)

The Names of the Banu Hashim Killed with al-Husayn and the Number of Those Killed from Every Tribe Which Fought against Him

The Death of Mirdas b. `Amr b. Hudayr

The Appointment of Salm b. Ziyad

Yazid's Dismissal of `Amr b. Sa`id as Governor of Medina and His Appointment of al-Walid b. `Utbah

The Events of the Year 62 (681/682)

The Arrival of a Delegation of the People of Medina to Yazid b. Mu`awiyah

The Events of the Year 63 (682/683)

The Events of the Year 64 (683/684)

The Death of Muslim b. `Uqbah and the Bombardment and Burning of the Ka`bah

The Cause of the Burning of the Ka`bah

The Number of Yazid b. Mu`awiyah's Sons

Bibliography of Cited Works



This volume deals with the caliphate of Yazīd. Yazīd was not accepted as a legitimate caliph by many of the leading Muslims of the time, and, therefore, al-Ṭabarī has concentrated his account of Yazīd's caliphate almost entirely on the opposition to him. This opposition had its leadership in two of the leading Islamic figures of the time, al-Ḥusayn, the son of the caliph ʿAlī, and Ibn al-Zubayr, a leading Muslim who felt that he had had some claims to the caliphate himself. The first revolt was led by al-Ḥusayn. This revolt, although ineffectual in military terms, is very important for the history of Islam, as al-Ḥusayn came to be regarded by Shi'ite Muslims as the martyred imam; his martyrdom is still commemorated every year by them.

In his account al-Ṭabarī has preserved for us some of the earliest historical writing on the subject. The amount of space he devotes to this event shows the importance it had already assumed by his own time. The second revolt, that of Ibn al-Zubayr, was much more serious in immediate terms. The revolt or civil war can be divided into two stages. This volume covers the first stage, ending with the timely death of Yazīd, which saved Ibn al-Zubayr from defeat.