The History of al-Ṭabarī Vol. 20

The Collapse of Sufyānid Authority and the Coming of the Marwānids: The Caliphates of Muʿāwiyah II and Marwān I and the Beginning of The Caliphate of ʿAbd al-Malik A.D. 683-685/A.H. 64-66

Translated by G. R. Hawting

Subjects: Islam
Series: SUNY series in Near Eastern Studies
Paperback : 9780887068577, 264 pages, July 1989
Hardcover : 9780887068553, 264 pages, August 1989

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Table of contents



Translator's Foreword

The Events of the Year 64 (cont'd) (683/684)
The Caliphate of Mu'awiyah b. Yazid
'Ubaydallah b. Ziyad and the People of al-Basrah Following the Death of Yazid
The Deposition of 'Amir b. Hurayth by the People of al-Kufah and Their Appointment of Amir b. Mas'ud as Governor over Them
The Rendering of Allegiance to Marwan b. al-Hakam in Syria
The Battle at Marj Rahit between al-Dahhak v. Qays and Marwan b. al-Hakam and Its Immediate Consequences
The Disturbances in Khurasan Associated with 'Abdallah b. Khazim
The Beginnings of the Movement of the Penitents (al-Tawwabun) in al-Kufah
The End of the Kharijites' Support for Abdallah b. al-Zubayr in Mecca and the Dissensions among Them
The Arrival of al-Mukhtar in al-Kufah
Ibn al-Zubayr's Demolition of the Ka'bah

The Events of the Year 65 (684/685)
The Departure of the Penitents from al-Kufah and Their Destruction by the Syrian Army at the Battle of 'Ayn al-Wardah
Marwan's Designation of His Two Sons 'Abd al-Malik and 'Abd al-Aziz as Heir Apparent
The Death of Marwan
The Failure of the Syrian Expedition against Medina
The Plague of al-Jarif in al-Basrah
The Threat to al-Basrah from Nafi' b. al-Azraq and the Kharijites and al-Muhallab b. Abi Sufrah's Victory over Them
Ibn al-Zubayr's Dismissal and Appointment of Governors in al-Kufah and Medina
Ibn al-Zubayr's Rebuilding of the Ka'bah
The Continuation of Tribal Warfare in Khurasan under 'Abdallah b. Khazim

The Events of the Year 66 (685/686)
Al-Mukhtar's Revolutionary Movement in al-Kufar and His Appeal to the Shi'ah There

Bibliography of Cited Works



This volume covers the vital early years of the second Muslim civil war, when the Umayyad caliphate seemed on the point of extinction. That it survived had much to do with the vigor of the Umayyad Marwān ibn al-Hakam whose initial restoration of Umayyad authority is described here in some detail by al-Ṭabarī's sources. In the chaos and confusion of the civil war, however, developments took place that were to prove significant for the future of the Umayyad calphate, indeed for the early history of Islam in general. Among them, the first manifestations of large-scale tribal divisions among the Arabs, together with the development of support for the descendants of the Prophet as the only legitimate rulers, were particularly important and receive special attention. For this period, al-Tabari's History is a fundamental source.

The material collected by al-Ṭabarī frequently makes lively and colorful reading, and the annotations that accompany this translation attempt to clarify and make more explicit the sometimes allusive and compressed information provided by al-Ṭabarī and his sources. Since the standard edition of the text was made, at the end of the nineteenth century, a significant number of other sources have been published, which often make possible a more exact reading of al-Ṭabarī's text. For these reasons, it is hoped that this translation will appeal to those interested in the period but who have little or no Arabic and will also prove useful to students and scholars who are capable of reading the Arabic but will appreciate the suggested textual amendments and improvements and the elucidatory comments.