Summary on Chapter4 of Muhammad and the Believers

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Question Description

Read chapter 4 of "Muhammad and the Believers" and summarize the chapter in 500 words.

This is a short summary/responses to the assigned reading. The report must show mastery of the readings. It must be coherent and it must be written in your own words. More than 15 words taken from a source will be flagged by the system as plagiarism. Therefore, try to always paraphrase and use your own languages to explain the readings. While you can refer to the author, you do not need to cite. Think of it as an answer to this question: “What have I learned from the readings this week?”


1. Delivering the required content

2. Accurate information and fact-checking

3. Stating the core arguments of the reading

I have attached the reading down below.

The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 In the generation after Muhammad’s death in 632 C.E. (that is, from about 31/650 until 73/692), the community of Believers was torn apart internally by a bitter dispute over the question of leadership. This dispute manifested itself particularly in two periods of open strife among the Arabian leadership of the Believers’ movement, which we can call the First and Second Civil wars (35-40/656-661 and 60-73/680-692, respectively). Because many of the key participants in these events were actually related to one another by blood or marriage, the Civil Wars— particularly the First— have something of the quality of an extended and very bitter family quarrel. The loss of unity manifested in the Civil Wars has made them very painful events for many Muslims up to the present. For many contemporaries, it was simply heartbreaking that the companions of Muhammad, who had worked shoulder to shoulder for over two decades— and with resounding success— to spread God’s word and to establish the rule of God’s law on Earth, should now come to blows. Later Muslim tradition, reflecting this discomfiture, referred to these events as fitan (singular, fitna), a Quranic word meaning “seduction” or “temptation”— in this case, implying the temptation to pursue personal 146 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS power and worldly advantage at the expense of communal or spiritual interests. It is not clear when this term is first used, but it may go back to the Civil Wars themselves. Background of the First Civil War As we have seen, on the death of Muhammad in 11/632, the Believers in Medina agreed to recognize Abu Bakr as their political leader. This act not only secured the succession but also institutionalized the notion that the Believers should remain a single, united community. We also noted that Abu Bakr was succeeded bv ‘Umar ibn alKhattab (ruled 13-23/634-644) and then by ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (ruled 23-35/644-656) and how under these leaders the first great wave of expansion of the Believers’ movement took place. There can be little doubt that these first leaders of the community were recognized by the Believers because, at the time they were selected, they embodied in important ways the central values to which the Believers were dedicated. The Believers at this time were still very much united in their goals and outlook, and all three men chosen to lead them had been close associates of Muhammad from early in his career. Those who held the position of leadership bore the title amir al-mu’minin, “commander of the Believers,” a title about which I shall have more to say presently. We should not allow the apparent smoothness of succession to mislead us into thinking that the question of leadership was simple or clear-cut, even in those early days. For one thing, the Qur’an seems supremely unconcerned with the question of temporal leadership. It offers no explicit guidance whatsoever on how succession is to be arranged or even on the requirements for leadership of the community. Nor, apparently, had Muhammad clearly designated anyone to succeed him. It was therefore not a straightforward matter for the early Believers to decide what leadership of the commu- The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-69 2 147 nity meant, let alone who should exercise it or how the selection should be made, and in fact each of the three commanders of the Believers was chosen in a different manner. As we have seen, Abu Bakr was acclaimed leader at a meeting involving many Medinese Helpers and some Meccan Emigrants. 'Umar was appointed by Abu Bakr on his deathbed to be his successor. ‘Umar, on the eve of his own death, named six leading contenders for leadership of the community and instructed them to meet as a council (shura) and come to unanimous agreement on which one of them should be his successor. (To provide the conferees with an incentive to avoid deadlock, he also left instructions that if they had not reached unanimity within a few days, those in the minority should be killed.) Numerous reports also suggest that some people may have refused to recognize one or another of the new commanders of the Believers for a time after their selection. Many of these reports involve the prophet’s cousin and son-in-law 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, although it is not clear how many of them are later inventions designed to bolster the claim of ‘Ali’s descendants. There are reports involving other persons as well. The fact that Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman each received broad support on their accessions, however, enables us to deduce a few things about what the early Believers seem generally to have been concerned with in choosing their leaders. All three had been close associates of Muhammad during his lifetime, and their dedication to the Believers' movement was beyond any doubt. Although they were all from the tribe of Quraysh and were Meccan Emigrants (like most of Muhammad’s earliest followers), each was from a different clan of Quraysh, and none was from the prophet’s clan of Hashim. Their broad acceptability to the early community suggests that the Believers generally did not yet see narrow genealogical or lineage criteria, beyond their membership in Quraysh, as a decisive factor in choosing their leaders— in striking contrast to the social traditions of Arabia. Rather, their close association with Muhammad and their 148 MUHAMMAD AND THF. BELIEVERS reputation for piety and upright behavior seem to have been the paramount concerns in their selection. The Believers’ more or less consistent support of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, and, during the first years of his reign, ‘Uthman, was doubtless facilitated by the fact that during these roughly twenty years the Believers’ movement was enjoying phenomenal worldly success, probably beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. As we have seen, during this time they vanquished their opponents in Arabia and expanded their presence in new areas at a pace that must have suggested to many that God was, in fact, on their side, and that their goal of establishing a public order based on their understanding of God’s word was, in fact, in accord with God’s will. The glow of such success, which had brought to them resources, lands, and slaves, probably made it easier for many to ignore whatever irritations or complaints they may have had— to dwell on which, in the context of such God-granted success, might have seemed not only petty but even positively blasphemous. But conditions appear to have changed during the reign of ‘Uthman, and dissatisfaction with ‘Uthman’s leadership of the community became increasingly acute, starting sometime around 30/650-51— that is, about twenty years after Muhammad’s death. A number of practical factors can be proposed to explain this increasing tension among the Believers. By the early 30s/650s, the Believers had to go farther afield from their amsar to wage raids and campaigns of conquest, and the areas to be raided or conquered were less developed, more rural, and hence less rich in booty than the rich lands of Syria, Iraq, and Egypt that had been conquered earlier. There were also more migrants coming to the amsar as muhajirun among whom stipends had to be divided. There are hints in the sources that the governors tried to reduce or eliminate stipends altogether, and this doubtless led to some grumbling. Another sore point involved the disposition of the conquered lands. Almost immediately after the conquests, there had emerged a The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 149 TEXT OF QUR’AN 8 (ANFAL/SPOILS): 41 Know that whatever you take as booty, one-fifth is for God and His apostle and the close kinsmen and orphans and poor and the ibn alsabil. . . (The last term, usually translated “wayfarer,” is interpreted by some as poor Believers or poor muhajirun. The implication is that the four-fifths not reserved for God and His apostle— or later, for the state— should fall to the conquerors as booty.) dispute between the soldiers who had participated in the campaigns and the amir al-muminin, ‘Umar, over this issue. The soldiers wished to see all conquered lands divided among themselves, with only the traditional one-fifth reserved for the amir al-muminin ; they pointed to Qur’an 8:41 and to the prophet’s division of the lands of Khaybar as warrant for their claim. ‘Umar (and later ‘Uthman), on the other hand, argued that conquered lands whose inhabitants were still in occupation— which in most districts were the majority— were different from the regular soldiers’ booty of war and became collective property of the whole community; the inhabitants of the land should remain on them and pay taxes for the benefit of all of the Believers. Only abandoned lands, in their view, were booty to be divided among the soldiers. The picture is not clear, however; many places reached ad hoc agreements with the conquerors, and sources provide very contradictory and confusing accounts of how landholding and taxation actually developed. In addition to the tension over distribution of lands, moreover, there was resentment among many of the soldiers who had actually effected the conquests (or, as time went on, those soldiers’ sons), because some well-connected individuals from the tribe of Quraysh, such as Talha ibn ‘Ubaydallah and Zubayr ibn al-‘Awwam, increasingly emerged as large landowners of great wealth. But this came about 150 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS through caiiphal grants or through various real estate transactions (including trades for properties in Arabia), not because they had participated in the conquest, which is what irked the soldiers. One of ‘Uthman’s governors in Iraq, Sa‘id ibn al-‘As, enraged the soldiers in an address by referring to Iraq as “a garden for Quraysh”; his arrogant remark sparked a mutiny— led by a hero of the conquests there, Malik al-Ashtar al-Nakha‘i— that eventually caused Sa'id to be ejected from the town by the Kufans. A further practical problem that faced the amir al-muminin, particularly by ‘Uthman’s time, was that of management of what was becoming a far-flung empire. As the areas controlled by the Believers grew, the proper supervision of distant military commanders, governors, sub-governors, tax agents, and the sometimes turbulent amsar themselves, w’ith their mixed tribal populations, became ever more challenging. Moreover, this was happening at a time w'hen the core of the Believers’ movement, those from Mecca and Medina, w'as changing; as the years passed, more and more of the Believers who had actually known the prophet died off, and many others were becoming too old to be active as military commanders or governors. ‘Uthman and his main subordinates increasingly had to look to a younger generation of Believers to hold important posts; yet the qualifications and commitment of many of these younger Believers were less obvious to those around them. Indeed, one of the charges raised against ‘Uthman w ? as that of using “youths” in important posts. In addition to these practical concerns, there were probably other factors related to social and economic realities that generated tension among the Believers, but of which little record has survived. These may have included social disagreements among tribesmen of various tribes now living in close proximity in the amsar. The earlier settlers of the amsar saw themselves being swamped by increasingly large waves of newer immigrants from Arabia, including both new fighters and families of those already there. In addition, there was competition The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 151 among individual leaders or tribal groups for influence with the local commander or governor, disputes over pay and benefits received from (or demands of military service to) the state, and squabbles stemming from the tribesmen’s differing access to private economic activities such as pastoralism, commerce, or artisanship. Also very important was a growing sense among the Medinese Helpers and some other Arabian Believers, especially those early converts of humble origins, that the affairs (and financial benefits) of the new state were being increasingly dominated by powerful members of Quraysh. Abu Bakr had followed closely the policy inaugurated by Muhammad himself in his last years of providing important posts to some of those Meccans who had earlier been among his bit- terest opponents— the policy of “conciliation of hearts” that had so incensed some of his earliest followers. Abu Bakr s appointment of Khalid ibn al-Walid, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, and Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan, all of whom had joined the Believers’ movement late in Muhammad's life, can be seen in this light. On his accession, ‘Umar moderated this policy, and relied more heavily for important appointments on those who had been early adherents of the prophet; he dismissed some, like Khalid ibn al-Walid, whom he considered to be too concerned with worldly affairs. Yet his policy was hardly consistent in this regard; he retained ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, widely known for his worldly orientation, as governor of Egypt after ‘Amr conquered it. As important as these practical issues may have been, however, there is good reason to think that the internal tensions that afflicted the community of Believers in the 30s/650s also revolved around the question of piety and how it related to leadership of the community. Competition over land, pay, status, and influence were important not only in their own right, but especially because the Believers sawin them indications that some of their leaders were not acting in accordance with the high principles of piety (including equitable treatment of all Believers) that were a central concern of the Believers’ movement. Differences in status or influence or wealth were 152 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS irksome, but people had long been familiar with such things; what was intolerable to many Believers seems to have been the thought that their leaders should be lax in trying to eliminate such inequities, or worse still, should be actively engaged in favoritism, giving some Believers an advantage over others. This concern came to a head during the time of the third amir al-muminin, ‘Uthman— resulting, as we shall see, in his murder. A number of ‘Uthman’s policies seem to have aroused sharp opposition. One charge raised against him was that of favoring members of his own family, the Umayyads, for important (and probably lucrative) positions such as key governorships. For example, he removed two governors in Iraq who were well-known companions of the prophet and heroes of the conquest, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas and Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, and replaced them with his half-brother Walid ibn ‘Uqba and another relative, ‘Abd Allah ibn ‘Amir ibn Kurayz (who was also granted by ‘Uthman large date plantations in the vicinity). When Walid ibn ‘Uqba was forced to resign in disgrace (for drunkenness), ‘Uthman replaced him with another Umayyad, his second cousin Sa‘id ibn al-‘As. He also took the governorship of Egypt out of the hands of the redoubtable ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, who had conquered it and then managed its affairs and who was very popular with his troops, and replaced him with ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Sarh, a foster brother and close ally of ‘Uthman and his family. The new governor may have been under orders to tighten central control over Egypt’s finances, which would have compounded his unpopularity, as revenues formerly retained in the province were forwarded to Medina. In Syria, ‘Uthman placed the governorship in the hands of his younger kinsman Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan; he had, admittedly, been first appointed by ‘Umar, but ‘Uthman increased his power by giving him control over the main garrison at Hims as well as over Damascus. ‘Uthman’s detractors took these signs of family favoritism as a moral failing on his part. It has been suggested that ‘Uthman was, as amir al-muminin, merely trying to ensure firm control over The Struggle for leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 155 the increasingly complex affairs of the empire by relying on individuals over whom, as a relative, he had strong personal influence. It is impossible to know which of these motivations was uppermost in ‘Uthman’s mind, but it is worth noting that 'Uthman distributed many estates from the conquered lands, not only to his Umayyad kinsmen, but also to important leaders from many groups, including some of the leaders of the conquests, such as Jarir ibn ‘Abd Allah and Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas. 'Uthman was not deaf to complaints of impiety, and he was able to dismiss relatives who were suspected of misdeeds; as we have seen, his half-brother Walid ibn 'Uqba was dismissed as governor of Kufa (and flogged) for drinking wine, which sowed deep enmity between ‘Uthman and Walid’s family, notwithstanding their close family ties. ‘Uthman was also criticized for matters that had nothing to do with worldly gain, however, and those allegations highlight the fact that he was faulted above all for his perceived moral failings— his lack of piety— when, as amir al-muminin, he was expected by the Believers to be a paragon of piety. A few accounts in the traditional sources describe minor alterations in the pilgrimage ritual made by ‘Uthman. Despite their apparent insignificance and despite the fact that the Qur’an is vague on how to do the pilgrimage (as it is on details of most rituals), these alterations seem to have caused consternation among some people, perhaps because the pilgrimage rituals had been affirmed by the prophet himself. Among the most impor- tant of ‘Uthman’s “innovations,” however, may have been his decision to codify the Qur’an text. The stories about this are many and confused; some scholars argue that the Qur’an text as we have it was already codified at the time of Muhammad’s death, but many reports tell of people collecting parts of the revelation that survived the prophet only in people’s memories or in scattered, partial written copies. One stream of tradition holds that ‘Uthman asked a team of companions led by Zayd ibn Thabit to collect and compare all available copies of the Qur’an 154 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS and to prepare a single, unified text. This aroused opposition not perhaps because of the procedure itself, but because once the new Qur’anic “vulgate” was established, ‘Uthman had copies sent to the main amsar with orders that they be used there in place of regional versions that were considered authentic by their followers and that these earlier copies be burned. Despite this, several of the earlier versions of the Qur’an survived— for example, those associated with the early Qur’an reciters Ibn Mas'ud (died 33/653) in Kufa, Ubayy ibn Ka‘b (died 29/649 or 34/654) in Syria, and Abu Musa al-Ash'ari (died 42/662) in Basra, among others, whose copies (or memories) could not be blotted out. There were also copies of parts or all of the Qur’an in the hands of some of the prophets widows and of Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Ali, and other companions. Ibn Mas'ud is said to have refused to destroy his copy when ‘Uthman’s vulgate arrived in Kufa, but in any case the readings of companions who had been teaching those around them how to recite the text could easily have survived in their memories and been copied down again later, even if the original variant codices were destroyed. (Vestiges of these codices seem to survive in compilations of recognized Qur’anic variant readings that form part of the science of Qur’anic recitation.) All of these factors, then, contributed to the rising tide of criticism against ‘Uthman’s conduct as amir al-muminin. Open opposition to his rule seems to have broken out first in the amsar of Fustat in Egypt and Kufa and Basra in Iraq. Groups of dissidents from these towns then marched to Medina to confront ‘Uthman himself. The traditional Muslim sources provide us with lengthy reports about the events of the mutiny and those that followed, which we call the First Civil War; our sources refer to these events as the first fitna, using a pejorative Qur’anic word meaning “temptation, seduction” (by the lure of worldly advantage). The goal of all these reports is either to demonstrate ‘Uthman’s guilt or to exculpate him (or, similarly, to provide moral judgments on other participants in the events). Hence it is difficult, if not impossible, to reach a clear verdict today on the The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 155 relative responsibility of different actors through the thicket of charges and countercharges these reports provide. We can discern quite clearly, however, the basic course of events, the individuals and groups involved, and the main issues at stake because most sources regardless of tendency agree. This much seems clear in evaluation of ‘Uthman’s role in these events: Whether or not he engaged in controversial innovation or was guilty of moral failings, real or perceived, he seems to have lacked the decisiveness of character needed to deal effectively with the problems with which, as amir al-muminin, he was confronted. His prior history showed no outstanding activity, military or otherwise, except for his early decision to follow Muhammad and his generous support of the Believers’ movement from his own personal fortune. Perhaps he was too inclined to leave important decisions to others, including his own relatives, whose good judgment he trusted; perhaps his trust was sometimes misplaced; perhaps he failed to anticipate or even to recognize the depth and character of discontent and tension within the community he led. In any case, the mutiny against him inaugurated a sequence of events that saw the Arabian Believers— hitherto the core of the Believers’ movement— fragmented in a bitter battle for leadership. The Course of the First Civil War (35-40/656-661) Although critics of ‘Uthman’s regime were active in several centers, including Kufa (where they had, as we have seen, driven out his governor Sa'id ibn al-‘As) and Basra, it was a group of agitators from the garrison of Fustat in Egypt who played the leading role in the unfolding of events that led to the First Civil War. After raising demands against ‘Uthman’s governor of Egypt, ‘Abd Allah ibn Abi Sarh, these agitators made their way toward Medina to confront ‘Uthman himself, arriving in late 35/May 656. There they were 156 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS joined by groups of insurgents from Kufa and Basra; this joining of forces suggests that there may have been some coordination of activities even before they marched on Medina. For several weeks 'Uthman (or his supporters) and his opponents engaged in negotiations to deal with the insurgents' grievances, but as time went on his critics grew bolder and his supporters seemed to dwindle in number. Eventually, the aged amir al-mu’minin, besieged in his house in Medina, was attacked and killed (end 35 /June 656). The fact that the amir al-muminin could be murdered in his own home by a group of provincial malcontents demonstrates that ‘Uthman had lost the effective support of those longtime Believers in Medina who, under other circumstances, could surely have defended him and dispersed the rebels. Evidently the native Medinese Helpers, who were distressed at the degree to which they saw themselves increasingly sidelined in the distribution of influential positions and valuable properties by powerful men of Quraysh, were no longer inclined to rescue ‘Uthman. As for ‘Uthman’s Quraysh The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 157 kinsmen, many seem to have made only halfhearted efforts to defend him— either because he had antagonized them by his policies or because they had concluded that his cause was hopelessly compromised— and some may even have encouraged the dissidents. These included the ambitious Talha, the aggrieved ‘Amr and Walid, and many others. The prophet’s esteemed widow ‘A’isha, “mother of the Believers,” still only in her early forties, may or may not have incited the rebels by letter, but her decision to leave Medina on pilgrimage just when the mutiny was coming to a head makes it clear that she had no desire to exert her considerable influence among the Believers to calm the rising tide of opposition to 'Uthman, even in dire circumstances. Ali ibn Abi Talib, who perhaps had more influence than anyone with the population of Medina, must have been torn, as he believed himself to be more entitled to the office ‘Uthman held; at any rate, he was not able to prevent ‘Uthman’s death, and sources disagree on how hard he tried. It is difficult to avoid the impression that by the time of the mutiny, many leading members of the community in Medina were already anticipating ‘Uthman's abdication or removal from office and were maneuvering to secure what they thought would be the best outcome for themselves. It may be that some of these figures miscalculated matters and encouraged the mutiny in the hope that it would merely force ‘Uthman to change his policies, only to see events get out of hand. The immediate beneficiary of ‘Uthman’s death was Ali ibn Abi Talib, the prophet’s cousin and husband of his daugher Fatima. He seems to have had the strong support of the Medinese Helpers and of some of the mutineers, particularly those from Kufa; they constituted the shi'at ‘Ali, the “party of Ali” (for now merely his political bloc, but eventually to become the nucleus of the Shi‘a, who held— and still hold— Ali and all his descendants in special reverence). The day following ‘Uthman’s murder, Ali received the oath of allegiance as amir al-muminin in the mosque of Medina. He had very 158 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS little support from other members of Quraysh, however, some of whom aspired to the leadership themselves. Leading figures from Quraysh simply left Medina quickly without swearing allegiance to 'Ah—or withdrew after they had given it and then repudiated it— to gather in Mecca, their hometown. ‘A’isha, shocked to learn of the accession of ‘Ali (whom she is said to have detested because he had questioned her virtue many years earlier), remained in Mecca after her pilgrimage and gathered her close relatives Talha and Zubayr, whose claims she supported, around her. The Umayyads who happened to be in Medina at the time of ‘Uthman’s death— notably Marwan, at this time the Umayyad clan’s patriarch— also left and gathered in Mecca. From Medina, ‘Ali quickly named new governors for various provinces, intending to replace nearly all those who had served ‘Uthman, some of whom had been unpopular. Mecca and Syria, however, rejected ‘Ali’s claims to lead the community. In Syria, ‘Uthman’s kinsman Mu'awiya, the longtime governor, argued that ‘Ali could not claim to rule until he had brought to justice ‘Uthman’s killers, who were now in his entourage. In Mecca, ‘A’isha rallied most of Quraysh opposed to ‘Ali and they now called for vengeance for the slain ‘Uthman, despite the fact that they had done so little to save him. They also called for the convening of a shura or council to decide the question of who should lead the community. Not only Talha and Zubayr, but also ‘Uthman’s grown sons and many other powerful members of Quraysh joined the opposition, including ‘Uthman’s former governors of Yemen, who came with much wealth. Deciding that they should go to Basra to gather forces there before attacking ‘Ali, they set out in 36/October 656. Arriving in Basra, they skirmished with ‘Ali’s governor and his troops and eventually took control of the city. 'Ali set out to confront them. He sent his son Hasan, along with the leader of the Kufan mutineers against ‘Uthman, Malik “alAshtar” al-Nakha‘i, ahead to Kufa to secure it from ‘Ali’s governor, The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 75 / 655-692 159 Abu Musa, who though pious was only lukewarm in his support of Ali. There Hasan quickly raised an army of Kufans to join Ali, who arrived and made camp east of the city. When Ali’s force was ready, he marched on Basra. Both Ali’s army and that of his Meccan opponents were multi-tribal, and most tribes had members in both armies, some backing Ali, some backing A’isha and her followers. This created hesitation in the hearts of many of the soldiers; moreover, there were in each army people who thought it was wrong for Believers to fight other Believers openly and who therefore withdrew and refused to back either side. The actual battle (called the Battle of the Camel because the epicenter of the fighting was around the camel carrying A’isha’s litter) took place not far from Basra, and it cost many lives on both sides. But Ali’s forces carried the day, and both Talha and Zubayr were killed. Ali promptly took control of Basra (which remained, however, a strong center for pro- c Uthman sentiment for many years); he also sent A’isha back to Medina with strict instructions that she stay out of politics thereafter. A number of prominent Meccans in A’isha’s army evaded capture; some of them eventually made their way to join the Umayyad Mu'awiya, who had remained in Syria. Ali eventually went back to Kufa, which became his main base of activity. Ali’s choice of governors to replace those of ‘Uthman gives us some idea of the goals of his regime. Where 'Uthman had relied heavily on his own Umayyad kinsmen, Ali relied on the Medinese Helpers (whom he sent as governors to Medina, Egypt, Kufa, and Basra before the Battle of the Camel) and members of his clan of Hashim (selected as governors for Yemen, Basra after the Battle of the Camel, and Mecca). (The main exceptions were two members of other Quraysh clans who were very loyal to Ali; Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr was sent as a replacement to Egypt, and another Qurayshite was made governor in eastern Arabia). One surmises that his intent was to place the Believers’ movement and the new state once again in the hands of those who, in his view, were most likely to lead 160 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS it in the spirit of the prophet and his insistence on strict piety. It was intended to be a decisive departure from the leadership and policies of ‘Uthman, roundly criticized for his impiety, who had relied on kinsmen from that clan of Quraysh— the Umayyads— who had long resisted Muhammad’s message and whose commitment to it ‘Ali (and the Helpers) still considered suspect. Ali now had control, more or less, of the Hijaz, Iraq, and Egypt (although in the latter there was a strong faction that called for revenge for the slain ‘Uthman and held aloof from Ali’s governor). He now turned his attention to the sullen opposition of Mu'awiya, who for almost twenty years had been governor of Syria and who had not yet tendered his recognition of Ali as amir al-muminin. Ali’s envoys invited Mu‘awiva to obedience, but Mu'awiya knew that recognizing Ali would mean his own dismissal as governor of Syria. From Mu'awiya’s point of view, furthermore, Ali’s acclamation as amir almuminin by the Medinan mob that had murdered his kinsman 'Uthman was invalid. Whereas Ali might accuse Mu'awiya of being a lukewarm Believer, slow to join the movement and a participant in the worldly minded regime of ‘Uthman, Mu'awiya could point out that Ali’s supporters included the mutineers themselves, whom Ali had never punished even though they were guilty of the unpardonable sin of killing a fellow Believer. It is not surprising that a number of prominent early Believers, such as the leader of the conquest of Iraq, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, decided that they could back neither party in clear conscience and so withdrew in self-imposed isolation for the duration of the First Civil War. Mu'awiya’s political position was strengthened in late 36/early 657 by his conclusion of an alliance with ‘Amr ibn al-'As. The two were not natural allies; Amr had borne a grudge against the Umayyads ever since ‘Uthman had removed him from the governorship of Egypt, and there was some suspicion that the Egyptian mutineers had been instigated in part by Amr. Yet Amr also knew that Ali, whose policies revealed a strong preference for Medinese Helpers The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 161 and Hashimites, would never agree to make him part of his administration. His one hope of regaining his governorship of Egypt was to ally himself with Mu'awiya, which he now did, in exchange for assurances that he would again govern it. Fortunately for Mu'awiya, the divisions among the Arabian Believers in Egypt— the soldiers— meant that ‘Ali’s governors there had their hands full and were in no position to threaten Mu'awiya’s Syrian base, at least for the time being. ‘Amr’s job was to make sure it never happened. At the end of 36/May 657, 'Ali assembled his army in Kufa and marched out to confront Mu'awiya and to force his submission. In Syria, meanwhile, Mu'awiya likewise gathered his troops and moved toward the Euphrates to block ‘Ali’s advance. Neither leader had the unwavering support of the people they ruled, as many on both sides thought it wrong that Believers should march against one another in open warfare. The two armies drew near each other in June, near the town of Siffin on the Euphrates, between Raqqa and Aleppo. A long period of desultory skirmishing and fruitless negotiation ensued between the two leaders. A pitched battle finally occurred in Safar in 37 /late July 657 and lasted several days, with heavy casualties. Finally, Mu'awiya’s forces appeared one morning with copies of the Qur’an hoisted on their lances, a gesture taken by many in 'Ali’s army as an appeal to stop fighting and let the dispute be settled by the principles of their holy book— which, whatever their disagreements, was the thing that united the two sides. The fighting stopped at once; in 'Ali’s camp, some of those who had been lukewarm supporters of the idea of marching against Mu'awiya in the first place now pressed ‘Ali to negotiate, while others insisted that he press the offensive, feeling themselves on the verge of victory. Those in favor of negotiation prevailed. ‘Ali reluctantly agreed to submit the dispute to arbitration, to take place at a neutral venue in a few months’ time, and equally reluctantly accepted his supporters’ demand that he appoint as his negotiator Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, his erstwhile governor of Kufa. ‘Ali’s followers were evidently impressed by Abu Musa’s piety, but ‘Ali 162 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS doubtless would have preferred someone who, unlike Abu Musa, backed him unequivocally. Mu'awiya appointed ‘Amr ibn al-‘As as his negotiator. The divisions among ‘Ali’s supporters grew more acute as he marched his army back to Iraq. Although the majority still agreed with his decision to submit the rivalry over leadership to arbitration, a sizable minority grew increasingly vocal in their rejection of the idea of arbitration. Perhaps fearing that they might be called to account for their role in ‘Uthman s murder, this minority now argued that ‘Ali, by agreeing to arbitration, had taken the decision out of God’s hands— that is, out of the hands of the soldiers who battled “in God’s way”— and put it into the hands of mere men, the arbitrators. This, they held, was a grave sin, and they called on ‘Ali to repent for it, and to express their view they began to circulate the slogan, “No judgment but God’s!” These ultra-pious Believers were dedicated to strictly righteous behavior in accordance with the Qur’an and demanded such righteousness, especially from their leaders. In their view, by agreeing to arbitration, 'Ali and his followers had not only squandered any claim to lead but had actually left the faith itself and had to be fought as unbelievers. After a time they withdrew from 'Ali’s army and encamped at a place called Nahrawan, some distance from Kufa. They came to be called Kharijites (Arabic khawarij, “those who go out”), although the exact significance of their name remains unclear. Perhaps they were so designated because they “went out” from 'Ali’s camp or because by breaking solidarity with 'Ali they were felt to have left the community of Believers; or perhaps their name is a more positive reference to “coming forth in the way of God” (for example, Q. 60:1). The arbitrators convened, probably in Dumat al-Jandal in northern Arabia between Syria and Iraq in late 37/spring 658. The details of their discussions are obscure, but they seem to have tried to settle the question of leadership of the community of Believers by referring to the Qur’an. As a first step, they agreed that ‘Uthman had been The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 163 unjustly murdered, but they were unable to reach further agreement and broke up, calling for the convocation of another shura of leading Believers to decide who should be amir al-muminin. Whether or not this decision was the result of a ruse by Mu'awiya’s negotiator, 'Amr, as claimed by pro-'Alid sources, is hard to ascertain. But whatever its authority, announcement of this decision had major consequences. Mu'awiya and his followers now found themselves vindicated in their insistence on seeking vengeance for ‘Uthman’s murder, in particular against ‘Ali and his followers, who included the murderers. Furthermore, Mu'awiya was some time thereafter acclaimed in Syria as amir al-muminin. The position of 'Ali as amir al-muminin, on the other hand, was undermined by the arbitrators’ announcement, and ‘Ali promptly denounced it and called on his supporters in Kufa to prepare to march, once again, against Mu'awiya in Syria. Before doing so, however, 'Ali had to deal with the Kharijites gathered at Nahrawan. These self-righteous pietists, having withdrawn from ‘All’s forces in protest over his actions and policies, now considered anyone who recognized ‘Ali’s leadership to be similarly guilty of sin and, for this reason, eligible to be killed as an apostate, an ex-Believer. A number of people in the vicinity of Kufa had been done in by them, and ‘Ali’s soldiers were unwilling to embark on a new campaign against Mu'awiya, leaving their families unprotected in Kufa, unless the Kharijites were either won over or eliminated. 'Ali made a number of efforts to secure the Kharijites’ allegiance once again, all of which were rebuffed by the Kharijite leaders— although a large number of individuals did accept his offers of immunity and withdrew quietly from the Kharijite ranks. Filled with pious zeal and convinced that ‘Ali and his men were now apostates, the remaining Kharijites felt that they had no choice but to fight them until they vanquished the “unbelievers” or met their fate as martyrs in what they considered to be God’s way. They attacked ‘Ali’s larger forces and were cut down almost to a man (end 37 /May 658). 164 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS The Kharijites are commonly described as the “first sect” in Islam, as if they were an offshoot or aberration from the original principles espoused by the Believers of Muhammad’s day. But in fact, the intense piety and militancy of these early Kharijites represented the survival in its purest form of the original pietistic impetus of the Believers’ movement. They can therefore be considered the best representatives in the generations following the death of the prophet of the original principles of the Believers’ movement of Muhammad’s day— although they may have followed an extreme form of these principles, because the prophet himself seems to have been more flexible and practical than they in his dealings with his opponents. It is possible— although the evidence is scant— that the intensity of their commitment was rooted in a conviction that the Believers were the vanguards establishing God’s kingdom on Earth in preparation for the Last Judgment that was soon to dawn (or that was, through their actions, already dawning). The massacre at Nahrawan was a pyrrhic victory for ‘Ali. He had secured his home base, Kufa, but the slaughter of something like fifteen hundred Kharijites, among whom were a large number of early Believers well known for their exemplary piety, undermined Ali’s moral claim to lead the community. Moreover, after the battle, Ali’s Kufan forces made clear their reluctance to embark on a new cam- paign against Mu'awiya, whose forces (as they knew from Siffin) included many tribesmen from their own tribes. Ali was forced to remain in Kufa and consider his options. These options became increasingly limited. Mu'awiya’s position, already buoyed by the declaration of the arbiters at Dumat al-Jandal and the Syrians’ recognition of him as amir al-mu’minin, was further strengthened by developments in Egypt. There, as we have seen, Ali’s governor Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr faced a determined (and, it seems, growing) body of troops who remained incensed at the murder of 'Uthman and were therefore reluctant to recognize Ali’s leadership. Learning that Ali was preoccupied with the Kharijites, The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 165 Mu'awiya dispatched ‘Amr ibn al-‘As with a strong detachment of troops to Egypt. These joined forces with the Egyptians already opposed to ‘Ali and destroyed Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr’s army. ‘Ali s governor was caught and killed shortly thereafter. By early 38/August 658, Egypt was once again firmly in the hands of ‘Amr ibn al-'As, its former conqueror, and solidly in Mu'awiya's camp. ‘Ali’s cause also began to show signs of unraveling closer to home. A near-mutiny in Basra was quelled but revealed the erosion of his support even in Iraq; and a temporary, but sharp, quarrel with his cousin c Abd Allah ibn al-‘Abbas, whose backing was important to him and whom he could hardly afford to alienate, revealed (as had numerous other episodes) ‘Ali s tendency to antagonize people and to misjudge situations. This quality had probably been a major reason for his failure to win recognition (even from his Quraysh kinsmen) commensurate with his ambition and early role in the community of Believers. The arbitrators apparently now met for a second time in the month of Sha'ban 38/January 659, this time at Mu'awiya’s behest, at Adhruh (today in southern Jordan). But inasmuch as ‘Ali had dismissed his arbitrator, Abu Musa al-Ash‘ari, after the first round, this meeting was really a public-relations ploy by Mu‘awiya. In the meeting, Mu'awiya’s negotiator, ‘Amr ibn al-‘As, tricked the pious Abu Musa into declaring that he considered ‘Ali deposed as amir almu’minin by pretending that they were in agreement that both contenders should be dismissed; but once Abu Musa had made his statement, ‘Amr stood up and declared his recognition of Mu'awiya for the position. Whatever propaganda advantage Mu'awiya may have gained from this episode, however, does not seem to have translated into any immediate advantage on the ground. Mu'awiya now took the initiative in his struggle with ‘Ali. He began sending periodic raiding parties from Syria to the Euphrates region and into northern Arabia, hoping to win over groups under ‘Ali s control, or those who remained neutral (38/659). ‘Ali also sent a few raids into the Euphrates region but seems to have been preoccupied 166 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS in the period 38-40/659-661 with his confrontation with the Kharijites. Many of the latter who had gathered at Nahrawan had dispersed before the battle, and numerous groups of them continued to disrupt southern and central Iraq. Driven now not only by their pious scruples but also by the desire to avenge their many kinsmen and fellow Kharijites who had fallen at Nahrawan, they demanded that people reject ‘Ali as impious, sometimes killing as apostates anyone who refused to join them. Ali was able to suppress these uprisings, but his killing of yet more Kharijites only deepened the hostility of those who remained. Mu'awiva now dispatched a force to Arabia under his general Busr ibn Abi Artat, which marched through the Hijaz and into Yemen and Hadramawt. Whether or not the many reports of atrocities committed by Busr during this campaign are to be believed, or whether they are to be ascribed to anti-Mu'awiya propaganda, remains unclear; likewise, it is not clear whether Ali took any significant measures to counter this advance. But the campaign resulted in the expulsion of Ali’s governors and brought all the major towns of these regions— not only the symbolically all-important holy cities of Mecca and Medina, but also Ta’if, Tabala, Najran, Sana", and others— under Mu'awiya’s control. Ali’s position was now dire; his control was limited to Iraq, and even there he was plagued by the continuing opposition of the surviving Kharijites and lukewarm support of many others. As he was attempting (yet again) to rally his forces for a campaign against Syria, however, he was struck down in the mosque of Kufa by a Kharijite assassin (Ramadan 40/}anuary 661). Ali paid the ultimate price for his long, unhappy relations with these ultra-pious erstwhile supporters. Upon Ali’s death, his followers in Kufa recognized his son Hasan ibn Ali as their leader and amir al-muminin. Hasan had none of his father’s ambition, however, sitting passively in Kufa awaiting developments, rather than marching against Mu'awiya. He entered into desultory correspondence with Mu'awiya, who meanwhile gathered The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 167 a large army of his own. Mu'awiya soon enough marched with his army down the Euphrates and secured Hasan’s agreement to abdicate; Hasan agreed to recognize Mu‘awiya as amir al-muminin, in exchange for a lifetime pension that allowed him the leisure to pursue his many love affairs, and he never played a role in politics again. Mu'awiya was duly recognized by the Kufans in Rabi c II 41 /August 661. Except for a few bands of Kharijite holdouts, the Believers once more were united under a single amir al-muminin. The First Civil War had involved economic and other practical issues but was fundamentally a debate over the nature of future leadership in the community of Believers, particularly its relationship to issues of piety and morality. In the bitter struggles that took place after ‘Uthman’s death, each claimant or group based its claim on a different set of criteria for what constituted appropriate leadership for the Believers. The most central criterion, to which all groups and contenders made frequent appeal in some way, was that of piety, reflecting the central thrust of the original Believers’ movement itself. The most unalloyed expression of this was found among the Kharijites, for whom piety was not merely an important criterion; it was the only criterion that mattered. In their view, only the most pious Believer was entitled to lead, and they rejected decisively all considerations of kinship, ethnicity, or social status. Any leader who was, in their eyes, adjudged as sinful had either to do penance or to be removed from office, for to follow a sinful leader was itself a sin that disqualified one from membership in the community of true Believers and endangered one’s future in the afterlife. Other groups tended to combine concern for piety with other criteria. Many pious Believers linked it with the notion of “precedence” (sabiqa )— that is, they felt that the community could best be led by men who had been among Muhammad’s first and most loyal backers, because these would understand better than anyone else how to lead the community in accordance with Muhammad’s ideals. Prominent 168 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS early Emigrants, such as Talha ibn ‘Ubayd Allah, Zubayr ibn al‘Awwam, ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf, and ‘Ammar ibn Yasir adhered to this view, as did many Medinese Helpers, and all of the first four commanders of the Believers— Abu Bakr, ‘Umar, ‘Uthman, and ‘Ali — had impressive credentials in this regard. It was a claim that was directed especially against those who had opposed the prophet, or had joined him only late in his career, such as many of the Umayyads. A third criterion for leadership that emerged at an early date was that of kinship to the prophet. ‘Ali, as the prophets cousin and son-inlaw, is presented by later tradition as having raised this claim most forcefully, even though he was no more closely related than other cousins of the prophet, such as ‘Abd Allah ibn al-‘Abbas. On the other hand, ‘Ali’s close kinship with Muhammad obviously did not persuade most of the community to favor him over his three predecessors, so other considerations must have been uppermost in their minds. Moreover, in several places the Qur’an emphasizes that ties to other Believers outweigh even the closest ties of kinship (for example, Q. 9:23). Finally, there were those who asserted a claim to leadership based on effectiveness in practical matters, service to the Believers’ move- TEXT OF QUR’AN 9 (TAWBA/REPENTANCE): 23-24 O you who Believe! Do not take your parents and siblings as friends if they prefer disbelief (kufr) to Belief. Whosoever of you draws close to them, these are the oppressors. Say: if your parents and children and siblings and spouses and tribe and your wealth that you earned and the trade whose sluggishness you fear are dearer to you than God and His Apostle and striving ( jihad) in His way [that is, for His cause], then wait until God brings His Decision. For God does not guide sinful peoples. The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 169 ment, and recognition by members of the community. Many disparaged (and still disparage) this claim as merely a cover for the seizure of power by those who lacked “real” qualifications of the three kinds enumerated above, such as 'Amr ibn al-'As or Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan, who had been slow to embrace the Believers’ movement and were sometimes less than models of piety. But they had in their favor the strong argument that in his final years Muhammad himself had pursued the policy of "conciliation of hearts,” by which he gave even some of his bitterest former opponents important positions. This policy, which was also followed by Abu Bakr, was based on recognition of the fact that the Believers’ movement, if it was to succeed in the world, needed to be in the hands of decisive men having the practical capacity to lead. Someone suggested to 'Umar, on his deathbed, that he appoint as his successor his son ‘Abd Allah, who was highly esteemed for his piety, but 'Umar replied, “How can I appoint someone who can’t even divorce his own wife?” In making this statement, he was presumably voicing not merely his own judgment on his son’s character but also the sentiment of many who knew that force of personality was a crucial ingredient in successful leadership. The fact that piety was such a central feature of the early Believers’ movement helps explain why the First Civil War was such a traumatic event for the Believers— as it was happening, in the decades after it, and for Muslims ever since. The Believers had faced other setbacks with relative equanimity— serious military defeats by armies of impious states, for example— but had responded to these setbacks with alacrity and increased vigor and confidence, even though such setbacks could have been viewed by them as a sign that they no longer enjoyed God’s full favor. They do not seem to have done so partly, perhaps, because the Qur’an itself makes clear that the righteous would have to fight unbelief and unbelievers, and hence some setbacks would be inevitable and simply spurred the Believers to greater efforts. But the First Civil War was different. It 170 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS not only split the community of Believers; it divided its members on precisely that issue around which their communal identity was focused, the question of piety or morality. They were in open disagreement over whether ‘Uthman had acted justly or not; and after his assassination, they were in even sharper disagreement over whether the mutineers and other main actors had acted morally. Moreover, regardless of what stand one took on the mutiny, it meant that the very leaders of the community— the persons w'ho should, by all tokens, be most morally distinguished— had been called into doubt regarding their morality, because one could hardly claim that both ‘Uthman and ‘Ali were sinless. Only much later, after the passage of a generation or more had made the community numb to the pain of the events of the First Civil War and keenly aware of the danger of fragmenting the community that lay in any attempt to insist that one side or the other was at fault, did the community come to consider both ‘Uthman and ‘Ali (along with Abu Bakr and ‘Umar) rashidun, “rightly guided ones,” whose leadership was to be acknowledged as valid by everyone. Between Civil Wars (40-60/661-680) Muawiya's final emergence as the sole amir al-muminin in 40/661 — called the “year of coming together” ( c am al-jama c a ) by Muslim tradition— ushered in two decades of relative calm. During this period the Believers once again turned their attention to implementing the movements goal of spreading God’s rule and ensuring a righteous order in areas they controlled. Mu'awiya appointed as governor men whose loyalty to him and capacity to manage the affairs of their sometimes turbulent provinces were unquestionable. Many were Umayyads, such as his second cousin Marwan ibn al-Hakam and Sa‘id ibn al-‘As, rivals whom he played against one another in serving as governor of Medina, or The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 171 ‘Abd Allah ibn Amir, a distant relation who was his first governor of Basra. Other governors were not Umayyads but were selected for special reasons. He entrusted Mecca to the distinguished Khalid ibn al-As, of the Makhzum clan of Quraysh, who had served as ‘Umar’s governor there and was well liked in the city. Egypt was, naturally, in the hands of Amr ibn al-As (of the Sahm clan of Quraysh), who with Mu'awiya’s consent appointed his younger nephew ‘Uqba ibn Nafi‘ (of the Fihr clan of Quraysh) to invade and govern North Africa. Mughira ibn Shu'ba, a man of Thaqif (the tribe of Ta’if) was appointed governor of Kufa; an early follower (and bodyguard) of the prophet, he was in some ways an unsavory character, but Mu'awiya doubtless valued his ability, toughness, and reliable support. The most interesting of Mu'awiya’s appointments, however, was Ziyad ibn Abihi (“Ziyad, son of his father"), a man of dubious paternity but undeniable executive and financial skill, who had been raised among the Thaqif tribe of Ta’if. He had been a stalwart supporter of Ali during the civil war, and though relatively young had been appointed by Ali as his governor of Fars province because of his brilliant ability. After Ali’s death, Ziyad remained in Fars and in control of the provincial treasury and for some time held aloof from Mu'awiya. Mu'awiya finally won him over by recognizing him as his own halfbrother (that is, as the son of his own father, Abu Sufyan, now safely in the grave and unable to object). This generous gesture paid handsome dividends for Mu'awiya, who appointed Ziyad— henceforth known as Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan— to the governorship of Basra, replacing Ibn Amir in 45/665; later Ziyad was appointed governor of Kufa as well, so that he ruled the entire eastern portion of the empire. He did so with great effectiveness, and Mu'awiya never regretted his decision. Mu'awiya’s key governors supervised a resumption of the conquests into new areas. By this time the institutions of the Believers’ regime had matured into something that had the unmistakable features of a state— not only a standing army, but also a network of tax collectors 172 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS and a rudimentary chancery and bureaucracy. For this reason, the character of the conquests after 660 differed also in some measure from the earliest conquests of the 630s and 640s. Above all, those early conquests had been driven by the Believers’ burning desire to supplant what they saw as the worldly, sinful regimes of Byzantium and Sasanian Iran and to erect in their stead a new, righteous order dedicated to the observance of God’s law. The initial conquests had a centralized impetus but had nonetheless been carried out ad hoc, in response to the unpredictable developments on various fronts; and we might say that the embryonic regime in Medina that provided such centralized direction as existed was dwarfed by the military forces that were at its service. By Mu'awiya’s day and thereafter, on the other hand, the conquests gradually became more institutionalized and routinized. The standing armies now operated from a number of well-established, fixed bases— the amsar, particularly Hims, Fustat, Kufa, and Basra— to which soldiers returned at the conclusion of a season’s campaigning; and campaigns were for the most part undertaken on a regular basis and for a predetermined duration (often six or twelve months). Moreover, although the idea of spreading God’s rule— waging “jihad on God’s behalf” (jihad fi sabil allah )— and of establishing the Believers’ righteous regime remained important, the new campaigns were also driven by the practical needs of the state for a steady flow of booty and captives to meet the payroll of soldiers’ stipends and pensions. In short, by Mu'awiya’s time the conquests had become less an expression of a charismatic moral-religious imperative, as they had been in the early years of the Believers’ movement, and more an institutionalized state policy. This transformation coincided with the gradual disappearance from the scene of the last companions who had actually known the prophet. An important front of new expansion during this period was in North Africa. Under ‘Umar and ‘Uthman, the Believers’ armies had established themselves as far west as Tripolitania in Libya, but The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 173 despite some notable victories farther west they had only launched ephemeral raids into the Byzantine Provincia Africa (roughly modern Tunisia). During Mu'awiya’s time, armies penetrated farther west and established a new misr at Qayrawan (50/670), which became in subsequent years not only the main military staging point for invasions into the western Maghrib but also an important economic and cultural center. There was at first a period of peaceful coexistence with the settled Christian Berbers of the Awraba tribe in the Aures mountains led by their chief Kusayla (or Kasila), and it seems possible that they joined the Believers’ movement. But a little later still, with the re-appointment of ‘Uqba ibn Nafi' (in 62/681, just after Mu'awiya’s death) there seems to have been a change of policy, which resulted in warfare between the Berbers and the Arabian Believers. This did not go well at first— ‘Ubqa ibn Nafi 1 was killed near Biskra, and the Believers were almost forced to abandon their new misr at Qayrawan, but eventually Kusayla was defeated. Resistance to the Believers’ expansion by the Berber population would continue for many years, but the establishment of Qayrawan did much to consolidate the Believers' presence in the eastern Maghrib; soon regular raids in this area became an important source of booty, particularly of slaves, for the Umayyad rulers. Another wave of expansion, meanwhile, was also being undertaken in the east, dependent administratively on Basra and Kufa. Abd Allah ibn Amir dispatched troops to Sistan and reconquered Zaranj and then Kabul, but resistance tightened up thereafter. His successor in Basra, Ziyad, neglected barren Sistan and concentrated instead on expanding into the richer areas in and adjacent to Khurasan. He sent several campaigns to advance eastward from the misr at Marv against the Hephthalites or White Huns (a nomadic people who lived along the Oxus river), and eventually sent fifty thousand men from Basra to be stationed permanently in Marv to strengthen the garrison there. Ziyad's action must also be seen in the context of his concern for stabilizing Basra and strengthening his 174 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS control over it and Kufa; Basra in particular had become crowded with new immigrants from Arabia, so the transfer of many fighting men helped reduce crowding and concomitant tensions in the town. Besides suppressing numerous Kharijite risings, he also took measures in both Kufa and Basra to rationalize (and perhaps to reduce?) soldiers’ pay, and to reorganize the settlements in order to improve his ability to administer the towns. After Ziyad’s death in 53/673, his son and eventual successor as governor of Basra, ‘Ubavd Allah ibn Ziyad, pursued similar policies. A final area of expansion during Mu'awiya’s reign was to the north, against the Byzantine Empire. Besides the regular— almost annual— summer campaign into Anatolia, Mu'awiya sent troops at least twice in efforts to seize the Byzantine capital, Constantinople. The first (49/669) returned quickly, but the second, which was coordinated with a naval assault, besieged the city for three years (5457/674-677) before finally giving up. On the maritime front, Arwad (off the Syrian coast) and Rhodes were occupied at this time (53/673), and Crete was raided. Yet under the surface of relative calm that prevailed during Mu'awiya’s reign, the fundamental disagreements among the Believers— especially among those of the west Arabian ruling eliteremained unresolved. Sometimes they came to the surface, as for example in the brief confrontation between Mu'awiya’s governors in Kufa and a group of malcontents led by Hujr ibn ‘Adi al-Kindi. Hujr and his companions, erstwhile supporters of ‘Ali, increasingly objected to the practice of Mu'awiya’s governors, Mughira and Ziyad, of praying for forgiveness for ‘Uthman and cursing ‘Ali during mosque services. (This policy of cursing one’s opponent— called sabb — had apparently been started by ‘Ali during the civil war, but Mu'awiva and his backers proved only too glad to respond in kind.) Hujr and his group heckled the governors and pelted them with pebbles to express their displeasure; they were eventually hunted down and sent off to Mu'awiya in Syria, where Hujr and a few others The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 175 were executed. Although a relatively minor episode, it reveals that the issues of the First Civil War— especially the question of ‘Uthman’s piety and whether his murder had been justified and the legitimacy of 'Ali’s claim to lead the community— were still unresolved and lay dormant. Hujr’s rising also may have been related to other, more mundane, issues. An account related by the ninth-century Byzantine chronicler Theophanes notes that Mu'awiya reduced the stipends of soldiers in Iraq and increased them in Syria. Although unsupported by other sources, this report is suggestive and plausible. Perhaps this policy, if in fact it was a policy, was simply Mu'awiya’s attempt to reward the Syrian troops who had remained loyal to him during the civil war and to punish the soldiery of Iraq who had backed ‘Ali. Or perhaps Mu'awiya (who, as we have seen, launched at least two attempts to seize Constantinople from the Byzantines) thought that the central challenge the Believers faced, now that the Sasanian dynasty had fallen, was the contest with Byzantium and so adopted a policy on stipends to emphasize the importance of the Byzantine front and to reward the soldiers who fought on it. In any case, such a policy— reducing the stipends of Iraq’s soldiery— could easily have helped push soldiers discontented for other reasons over the line to outright rebellion. Mu'awiya’s reign also masked other tensions. He had apparently acquired large estates in Medina and elsewhere, sometimes by methods that left the previous owners feeling plundered and resentful. These he seems to have worked as investments; one report relates that he held properties in Yamama that were worked by four thousand slaves, and several dams bearing inscriptions mentioning him, still visible today in Medina and Ta’if, represent vestiges of his efforts to develop his holdings. It seems likely that many in the community were envious and resentful, particularly Quraysh or Medinese whose parents had been close followers of the prophet and who therefore thought that they should be prime beneficiaries 176 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS of the Believers’ regime but who realized that they were being left behind. It is worth reiterating at this point that the early Believers’ movement had an ecumenical quality that allowed it to accommodate within itself, in addition to those Arabians who followed Qur’anic law, many Jews and especially (it seems) Christians who shared a commitment to righteous living. It is generally assumed that the tax administration in Mu'awiya’s time was manned largely by Syrian Christian or (in Egypt) Coptic scribes and in Iraq by Zoroastrian scribes of Aramaean or Persian stock. Mu'awiya’s chief financial administrator was a Syrian Christian, Sergius (in Arabic, Sarjun) ibn Mansur. (His son John— John of Damascus— would serve later Umayyads in the same capacity before being recognized as a saint of the Byzantine church.) Christians seem to have participated even in the Believers’ military operations. Mu'awiya himself had, from his earliest days in Syria, established close ties with the powerful Kalb tribe that dominated the Syrian steppe, a tribe that had long been monophysite Christian. To cement the alliance, he married Maysun, the Christian daughter of the chief of the Kalb, Malik ibn Bahdal, and Kalbite troops formed an important contingent in his military, receiving a large stipend for their services. As we shall see, some of the troops in the Umayyads’ Syrian army, even during the Second Civil War, were still Christian. The north Mesopotamian monk John bar Penkaye, who wrote about 67/687, chronicles the begin- ning of Muhammad’s teaching and the Believers’ movement and how they made raids each year; he notes that among the Believers were “Christians, not a few,” of various denominations. The relative “openness” of the early Believers’ movement to participation by Christians (and, perhaps, Jews and Zoroastrians?) thus seems to have continued beyond the middle of the seventh century. Mu'awiya still chose to style himself amir al-muminin, “commander of the Believers,” as a number of contemporary inscriptions show, and some papyrus documents into the middle of the first century The Struggle for Leadership of the Community , 34 - 73 / 655-692 177 AH/seventh century C.E. refer to the “jurisdiction (or maybe the era) of the Believers" ( qada ’ al-muminin). There is, as yet, no documentary indication that the ruling elite, or people in general, were giving up this broader identity as Believers in favor of a more narrowly defined identity as "Muslims,” distinct from other righteous monotheists. That shift, as we shall see, would not take place until after the Second Civil War. The Second Civil War (60-73/680-692) Although Mu'awiya had emerged in 40/661 as the victor of the First Civil War, the basic questions over leadership that had been at issue during the war had never really been settled; they had rather been made temporarily moot by the fact that the logical claimants for leadership at that time had been reduced to one. But on Mu'awiya’s death in Rajab 60/April 680, the latent tensions dividing the ruling elite among the Believers quickly bubbled to the surface. Hoping to secure a smooth succession, Mu'awiya in his last years had issued a decree naming his son Yazid ibn Mu'awiya heir apparent. Yazid was not an unlikely candidate; he had led one of Mu'awiya’s campaigns against Constantinople and was the son of Mu'awiya’s Kalbite wife Maysun, so he was well liked on both counts by the Syrian army. Consequently, there were few objections to Mu'awiya’s designation of him as heir apparent, except from several members of the Arabian elite, some of whom aspired to lead the community themselves. Significantly, all of them were of Quraysh, and all but one was the son of an earlier amir al-muminin, or of someone who had claimed that office during the First Civil War: 'Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, Husavn ibn 'Ali, 'Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr, 'Abd Allah ibn ‘Umar, and ‘Abd Allah ibn al-'Abbas. After Mu'awiya’s death, the last three recognized Yazid as amir al-muminin; presumably their opposition had been mainly to Mu'awiya’s efforts to get the oath of allegiance 178 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS to Yazid sworn in advance, and not to Yazid himself. But Husayn ibn ‘Ali and ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr refused to recognize Yazid. Slipping away from Medina to avoid the Umayyad governor there, they sought sanctuary in the sacrosanct confines of the haram of Mecca. In Kufa, the many people who had formerly supported ‘Ali took hope on Mu‘awiya’s death and wrote to ‘Ali’s younger son Husayn in Mecca, inviting him to come to Kufa, where, they assured him, he would find strong support in making a bid to become amir almuminin. (As we saw earlier, his older brother Hasan had abdicated in favor of Mu'awiya and withdrawn from politics at the end of the First Civil War.) We can at this point begin to refer to the people who were loyal to ‘Ali and his descendants as “Shi'ites” or “the Shi'a,” even though at this early state the “party of ‘Ali” (Arabic, shi 'at 'Ali) had not yet developed the full range of theological doctrines found in later Shi‘ism. To prepare the way for a bid to be amir al-muminin, Husayn sent to Kufa his cousin Muslim ibn ‘Aqil ibn Abi Talib, who was warmly received by the Shi'ites there; he lodged at the house of one of Kufa s Shi'ite leaders, a man named Mukhtar ibn Abi ‘Ubayd. But the Umayyad governor, ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, got wind of their plans and was able to track down Muslim, who was executed for conspiring against the regime. Husayn, however, had set out for Kufa with a small group of his family before word of Muslims demise reached him. Outside Kufa, his little group was intercepted by ‘Ubayd Allah’s troops, who had been sent to look for him. Negotiations carried out over several weeks were fruitless; Husayn refused to recognize Yazid as amir al-mu’minin, nor would he withdraw, and ‘Ubayd Allah would not let him enter the city. Finally, a battle was fought at Karbala 5 , 75 km (46.6 mi) northeast of Kufa, where Husayn and virtually all of his following were cut down (Muharram 10, 61 /October 10, 680). The Struggle for leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 179 POEM OF 'ALI IBN AL-HUSAYN 1BN 'ALI I BN AB1 TAL1B Said to be the first member of al-Husayn’s family killed at Karbala These verses were supposedly declaimed by him as he strode into battle against the Umayyad forces, units of which were led by Shabath ibn Rib'i al-Riyahi and Shamir ibn Dhi l-]awshan (hemistich 3). The last line is a reference to the Umayyad governor, ' Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, whose father had been recognized by the caliph Mu‘awiya as his half-brother. The poem captures some of the central ideas that would be developed by the Shia, notably the ‘Alids’ legitimacy rooted in closeness to the prophet and the idea that the righteous should wage struggle against tyrants, even in the face of hopeless odds. Whether or not the poem is authentic, it shows that these ideas were in circulation by the time of the relatively early author, Abu Mikhnaf (died 157/773-774). I am ‘All son of Husayn son of ‘Ali; We and the household of God are closer to the prophet Than Shabath and Shamir the vile. I strike you with the sword until it bends. The blows of a Hashimite youth, an ‘Alid, And today I will not stop defending my father. By God, the son of the bastard shall not rule over us! [Abu Mikhnaf, Maqtal al-Husayn ihn Ali, ed. Kamil Sulayman alJmburi (n.p.: Dar al-mahajja al-bayda’, 2000), 139.] T he snuffing out of this little insurrection had been an easy task for c Ubayd Allah’s much larger force but was to have momentous and enduring consequences. Although in the short term it had removed one of Yazid’s rivals from the field, the killing of Husayn — 'Ali’is son and the prophet Muhammad’s grandson, in whose veins the blood of the prophet flowed— as well as much of his family, shocked many Believers and contributed to the impression that Yaziid was impious. The Shi'ites of Kufa who had invited Husayn to 180 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS rebel were now full of remorse for having failed to support him but for the moment could do little. After the death of Husayn, ‘Ubayd Allah expelled the Shi'ite leader Mukhtar, who made his way to Mecca to explore the possibility of joining forces with ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr in resisting Yazid’s rule. The aristocratic and dour Ibn al-Zubayr, however, never one to warm to the idea of cooperating with anyone who might rival his own claims, rebuffed Mukhtar’s advances, and Mukhtar withdrew to his hometown, Ta’if, for a time. Yazid’s efforts to win support in the Hijaz met with no success. He invited a delegation of prominent Medinese to Damascus to try to win them over, but many still nursed feelings of having been injured by Mu'awiya’s policies. Added to this, their reports of Yazid’s less-than-abstemious lifestyle at court generated further outrage, not sympathy, among the Medinese, who were shocked that one so lacking in piety could claim to lead the Believers. The Medinese also resented the Umayyads for another reason; after the First Civil War, Mu'awiya had confiscated estates in the town from the Medinese, who had generally backed 'Ali, reducing some Medinese virtually to the status of serfs. In 63/68Z-683, therefore, the Medinese repudiated Yazid’s claim to leadership and expelled Yazid’s governor, who had chided the Medinese for interfering with the Umayyads’ reaping of profits from the land. In Mecca, Ibn al-Zubayr also repudiated Yazid in an insulting sermon in which he referred to his reputed fondness for unusual animals and dissolute living: “Yazid of liquors, Yazid of whoring, Yazid of panthers, Yazid of apes, Yazid of dogs, Yazid of wine-swoons, Yazid of barren deserts” (the rhyming qualities of the original are, of course, lacking in the translation). Ibn al-Zubayr then defeated an armed force (led by his own brother ‘Arm, who was captured and killed with exquisite deliberation) that had been sent by Yazid to arrest him. With the Hijaz now in open revolt, Yazid organized a large Syrian army and dispatched it to the Holy Cities. Prominent in this The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 181 force were tribesmen of Kalb and of the still largely Christian tribe of Taghlib, some of whom reportedly marched with a cross and a banner of their patron, St. Sergius. The Medinese now expelled all members of the Umayyad family and their supporters from Medina- said to be one thousand strong. Yazid’s army marched south into the Hijaz and took up a position in the basalt lava field (harm) east of Medina. After a few days of fruitless efforts to persuade the insurgents to recognize Yazid, battle was joined. The Medinese (descendants of the Helpers and many non-Umayyad Quraysh who had long lived in Medina) seemed to be on the verge of victory, but the Syrians turned the tide. Many Medinese were killed, including many Quraysh, and Medina was subjected to three days of pillage. The so-called “Battle of the Harra” (end 63/August 683) may even have resulted in the enslavement of some Medinese. Then the defeated Medinese were forced to swear allegiance to Yazid as amir al-muminin. Yazid’s army now continued its march south toward Mecca to bring to heel Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, whom Yazid had from the start seen as his most serious rival. Mecca was besieged for several weeks (early 64/September 683); during the siege there was desultory skirmishing, and at one point the Ka'ba (that is, the hangings on it) were set afire and burned. But in the midst of the siege, word arrived that Yazid had unexpectedly died in Syria (Rabi‘ I 64/November 683). Learning this, the commander of the Syrian forces, who had never been very keen on the attack on Mecca or on Ibn al-Zubayr, broke off the siege and began negotiations with Ibn al-Zubayr, in which he invited him to march with him back to Syria to accept the post of amir al-muminin. Ibn al-Zubayr, however, refused to leave Mecca. The Syrian forces withdrew and headed north to Damascus. With the death of Yazid, the fortunes of Ibn al-Zubayr seemed to improve greatly, while that of the Umavyads suffered a serious blow. Ibn al-Zubayr declared himself commander of the Believers in 64/683. In Syria, some recognized Yazid’s young son Muawiya (II) 182 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS as amir al-mu’minin, but outside Syria and even within it many people looked to other possibilities; we have seen that the commander of Yazid’s army was disposed to recognize Ibn al-Zubayr, as were some members of the Umayyad family. Ibn al-Zubayr, already recognized as amir al-muminin in Mecca and Medina, sent a governor to Egypt and, after a period of confusion in Iraq, managed to bring it, too, within his sphere, sending his brother Mus'ab there as governor. Backers of Ibn al-Zubayr again expelled the Umayyads and their supporters from Medina. Meanwhile, Mu'awiya II died after only a few months, leaving the Umayyads in total disarray. Those groups that had been tightly allied to the Umayyad dynasty and therefore had the most to lose if the office of amir al-muminin were to be held by someone else, naturally were the most eager to find an Umayyad claimant. These included especially the chiefs of the powerful Kalb tribe of central Syria, which had been allied to Mu'awiya I and Yazid by marriage; ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, whose service as governor of Iraq for Mu'awiya and Yazid made him eager to see a continuance of Umayyad rule there; and Sarjun ibn Mansur, the Christian chief administrator for Mu'awiya and Yazid. But some erstwhile supporters of the Umayyads, led by Dahhak ibn Qays (of the Fihr clan of Quraysh) and supported by the Qays tribes of northern Syria, backed Ibn al-Zubayr, who was now recognized over the whole empire with the sole exception of Damascus and its environs. Ibn al-Zubayr duly appointed Dahhak his governor of Damascus, in absentia. Even the head of the Umayyad family, the aged Marwan, appears to have been on the verge of recognizing Ibn al-Zubayr (according to some reports, he actually did so). But eventually he was persuaded by ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad and Hassan ibn Malik ibn Bahdal, chief of the Kalb tribe, to claim the leadership for himself. The Umayyad family met at Jabiya, in the Jawlan plateau southwest of Damascus, where Marwan was recognized by them as amir al-muminin; and, after gathering his loyal supporters (particularly the leaders of Kalb and of the Judham The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 183 tribe of Palestine), Marwan confronted Dahhak and those who backed Ibn al-Zubayr at Marj Rahit, northwest of Damascus. In the battle, Dahhak was killed and his backers, particularly those of the Qays tribes, were utterly routed, with heavy loss of life (Muharram 65 /August 684). This battle reinforced the close tie between the Umayyads and the Kalb tribe and stabilized Marwan’s position in Syria, but it sowed intense animosity between Kalb and its allies on the one hand and Qays on the other that would continue to fester for more than a century, bedeviling later Umayyad attempts to build a unified Syrian army. Marwan quickly moved to consolidate his power in Syria and Palestine (not least against the claims of rival Umayyad clan leaders) and then seized Egypt from Ibn al-Zubayr’s governor by the middle of 65 /early 685. When he died a few months later, Marwan was able to hand over to his son and successor, the vigorous 'Abd al-Malik, a secure base on which to restore Umayyad power. In Iraq, meanwhile, Ibn al-Zubayr’s grip was being shaken by developments among the Shi'a of Kufa. Mukhtar ibn Abi c Ubayd, who as we have seen had been expelled from Kufa by Yazid’s governor 'Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad after the battle of Karbala’, returned in Ramadan 64/May 684 after more than three years in Mecca and alTa’if. During that time, he had tried repeatedly to interest c Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr in an anti-Umayyad alliance, but the proud Ibn al-Zubayr would have none of it. Mukhtar began building a populist movement among the Shi'ites of Kufa, calling for the establishment of just rule and succor for the downtrodden. He also called people to recognize Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya, son of ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib by Khawla, a captive of the Hanifa tribe taken during the ridda, as amir al-muminin ; Mukhtar asserted that Muhammad ibn al-Hanifiyya was the rightful claimant not only because of his ‘Alid ancestry but also because he was the eschatological redeemer (mahdi) whose arrival would vanquish evil and (finally) establish a just regime on Earth. (This is the first recorded instance in which the concept of 184 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS the mahdi is evoked among the Believers.) Mukhtar’s movement won broad support in Kufa not only among the Shi ‘a but also among Kufa’s many mawali — former captives and their descendants. It also appealed to a number of the common fighting men, who resented the dominant elite of the city (regardless of whether the latter supported the Umayyads or Ibn al-Zubayr). Mukhtar tried to win over the tribal notables of Kufa also, whose support he deemed indispensable, but there was always an implicit conflict between their interests and the populist, “leveler” nature of Mukhtar’s ideology; one source reports that the notables complained to Mukhtar, “You have taken aim at our mawali, who are booty which God bestowed upon us, and this whole country likewise; we freed [that is, conquered] them hoping for the reward and recompense (of God) in that, and for thanks; we are not pleased that you should make them partners in our spoils.” With tensions running high, word arrived in Kufa in late 66/early summer 686 that ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, the former Umayyad governor who had dispatched the forces that had killed Husayn at Karbala 1 , was marching from northern Syria toward Iraq with a Syrian army. Almost two years earlier, a group of Kufans called the “Penitents” (tawwabun), who regretted their failure to support Husayn at Karbala 5 , had marched out to face the same ‘Ubayd Allah as he marched an army toward Iraq. They met him at ‘Avn Warda on the border between northern Syria and Iraq and were cut down (Jumada I 65/January 685), but following it, ‘Ubayd Allah had become bogged down trying to subdue the Jazira region. Now, eighteen months later, he was ready and had begun his march toward Iraq. Mukhtar quickly organized a force, commanded by the brilliant Ibrahim ibn al-Ashtar, and sent it northward to block ‘Ubayd Allah’s advance. Ibn al-Zubayr’s governor in Kufa, and the tribal notables who backed him, immediately took advantage of the absence of most of Mukhtar’s forces to organize an attack on Mukhtar, whom they The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34-73/655-692 185 hoped to get rid of once and for all. But Mukhtar was able to recall Ibrahim, who returned with his men only a few days after his departure. In the struggle that followed (end 66/July 686), Mukhtar’s forces went into battle shouting the slogans “Vengeance for Husayn!” and “O Victorious One, kill!" (the latter a reference to a messianic redeemer), and those notables who had, under the Umayyads, had any part in supporting the campaign against Husayn were killed. When the failure of their rebellion became obvious to the notables, nearly ten thousand of them fled from Kufa to take refuge in Basra with Mus'ab ibn al-Zubayr, and Mukhtar’s followers razed the houses of those who had fled. Muhktar exacted an oath of allegiance from the people of Kufa, promising to avenge the “people of the house” ( ahl al-bayt, used in reference to the prophet's family— here meaning especially ‘Ali and his descendants)— and appointed governors over Kufa’s dependencies in the east, a vast area that included Armenia, Azerbaijan, Mosul, Hulwan, and the rest of central and northern Iraq. With Kufa more securely under control, Mukhtar again dispatched forces under Ibrahim ibn al-Ashtar to deal with the approaching Umayyad army. Ibrahim’s men, flush from their recent victory in Kufa, were eager to avenge the deaths of both Husayn and the Penitents, and blocked ‘Ubayd Allah’s passage in northern Iraq, near the Zab river. Again the tide went in their favor; at the battle of Khazir, near Mosul, ‘Ubayd Allah’s force was crushed (partly because Qays contingents in the Umayyad force, still smarting from their defeat at Marj Rahit two years earlier, deserted), and ‘Ubayd Allah himself and a number of other important Umayyad commanders were slain (Mu- harram 67/August 686). This gave Mukhtar control of northern Iraq as well as Kufa and was a serious setback for ‘Abd al-Malik’s plan to reconquer the empire. The revenge of the expelled Kufan notables was not long in coming; encouraged by them, Mus'ab ibn al-Zubayr began planning his effort to reclaim Kufa. By the middle of 67/early 687, they were 186 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS ready and marched on Kufa. Mukhtar’s forces were defeated in a first clash at Madhar and were pushed back to Harura 5 and eventually to Kufa itself, which was put to siege. When Mus'ab and his Kufan supporters finally took the city in Ramadan 67/April 687, Mukhtar was killed, along with six thousand of his supporters. The elimination of Mukhtar and his movement put Iraq once more in the control of Ibn al-Zubayr, but his regime thereafter was hardly calm; the Zubayrids faced numerous Kharijite rebellions in Iraq, Fars, and especially in eastern Arabia, where a massive rebellion among the Hanifa tribe of the Yamama region of eastern Arabia, led by the Kharijite Najda ibn ‘Amir, removed a large piece of territory from the Zubayrid realm. In 68/June 688 no fewer than four different leaders headed pilgrimage caravans to Mecca, representing those recognizing Ibn al-Zubayr, the Umayyad ‘Abd alMalik, the Kharijite leader Najda, and the ‘Alid Ibn al-Hanifiyya. Meanwhile, in Syria ‘Abd al-Malik had to deal with a variety of threats to his power before he could think about launching another offensive against Ibn al-Zubayr to recover from the setback suffered by his forces at the Battle of the Khazir River. In early 67 /summer 686, he had to suppress an uprising led by a leader of the Judham tribe in Palestine who had declared his support for Ibn al-Zubayr. He also had to deal with the northern front, where the Byzantine emperor had organized— and backed with money and troops— the invasion of the Syrian coastal regions as far south as Lebanon by a warlike mountain people from the Amanus, the Mardaites. Only by concluding a costly and humiliating treaty with the Byzantine emperor was ‘Abd al-Malik able to secure the Mardaites’ withdrawal. Thus it was in 69/689 that he left Damascus on a first campaign to try to dislodge Mus'ab ibn al-Zubayr from Iraq, but in his absence his distant cousin and rival ‘Amr ibn Sa'id ibn al-‘As seized Damascus and advanced his own claim to lead the Umayyad dynasty. ‘Abd al-Malik had to cancel his Two coins of rivals to the Umayyads. The upper coin, issued by a governor of ‘Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr, was minted in Darabjird, in Fars in western Iran, in the year 53 (of the Sasanian “Yazdegird era”), corresponding to 683-684 c.E. The name legend by the bust, in Pahlavi, reads ABDULA AMIR I-WRUISHNIKAN, ‘“Abdullah, amir al-mu minin’’ The lower image shows a coin issued in Ardashir Khurra (in western Iran) in AH 75, corresponding to 694-695 C.E., by the Kharijite rebel Qatari ibn al-Fujaa, whose name appears in the name legend along with AMIR I-WRUISHNIKAN, Pahlavi for amir al-mu’minin. The reverse shows a fire altar. In the obverse margin, the Kharijite slogan la hukma ilia lillah , “There is no judgment except to God.” 188 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS campaign and return to put down this rebellion and, eventually, execute ‘Amr. He also needed to quell the stubborn opposition to the Umayyads among the Qaysi tribesmen of Qarqisiya’ along the Euphrates (71-72/summer 691). It was only in 72/late 691, therefore, that ‘Abd al-Malik was ready to embark on a definitive campaign against Ibn al-Zubayr’s position in Iraq. After making contact with the many groups and leaders in Iraq who had been alienated by Mus'ab ibn al-Zubayr’s government there, ‘Abd al-Malik advanced. He met Mus'ab’s army at Dayr alJathliq on the middle Tigris (somewhat north of modern Baghdad) and defeated it easily, as many of Mus'ab ’s troops melted away or refused to fight for him. In the end Mus'ab was captured and executed (mid-72/end 691). 'Abd al-Malik entered Kufa and was recognized there as amir al-muminin. 'Abd al-Malik then sent his loyal commander Hajjaj ibn Yusufsoon to be his governor in Iraq— with a force of two thousand Syrians against Ibn al-Zubayr in Mecca. This small force was augmented in the following weeks by others and was joined by another that 'Abd al-Malik had earlier dispatched to the northern Hijaz to guard Syria against any attempt by Ibn al-Zubayr to invade it. Hajjaj encamped first in Ta’if (his hometown) to collect his forces before closing in on Mecca. Toward the end of 72/March 692, the city was blockaded and a siege begun; after six months, during which many of Ibn alZubayr’s forces deserted because of the hopelessness of the situation or were lured away by promises of amnesty, ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr was decisively defeated and killed in a battle outside the city (Jumada I, 73/September 692). ‘Abd al-Malik was finally recognized in all the amsar and their dependencies as amir al-muminin. After twelve years of strife, the Second Civil War was finally over, and Umayyad rule had been restored. The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-692 189 Reflections on the Civil Wars Several noteworthy points emerge from the accounts of the civil wars. First, in both civil wars, but particularly in the first, one is struck by how tightly the dispute is concentrated on the issue of who could best claim to rule the community of Believers. Moreover, it seems that most people saw the leadership as belonging properly within a small group— basically Quraysh. (The Kharijites were the main exception to this view.) This gives the civil wars, particularly the first, the quality of an extremely bitter family feud, as most of the principals in the civil wars were related to one another, often quite closely, by ties of blood or marriage, or at least knew one another personally. Second, the civil wars were striking for the savagery with which they were carried out. There are many episodes in which our sources describe captives being executed in cold blood, in which sons are executed before their fathers, or men killed by, or at the order of, their relatives ('Amr ibn al-Zubayr by his brother 'Abd Allah; 'Amr ibn Sa'id by ‘Abd al-Malik), in which the vanquished were massacred in large numbers (Nahrawan, Khazir, Mukhtar’s followers in Kufa, Battle of the Harra). This may have something to do with the crude temper of the age and with the brutal manners of many participants, who were rough and unrefined bedouins or peasants. But it surely also owed much to the ideological character of many of the conflicts within the civil wars. This led people to demonize their opponents as the very embodiment of evil and also made them keenly aware that a defeated enemy who had not fully repented was, for ideological reasons, always a threat to rebel again, so it was safer to eliminate him. Moreover, the intensely ideological character of the early Believers’ movement made the elimination of such “allies of the devil” morally acceptable, even praiseworthy, in peoples’ minds. The Penitents who met their deaths at ‘Ayn Warda were doubtless convinced of ‘Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad’s status as a representative of the devil; 190 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS Kharijite groups executed as apostates anyone whose observance of proper Belief did not conform to their own stringent requirements; the Kufan notables who slaughtered Mukhtar’s mawali supporters saw them as interlopers who had unjustly usurped their God-given property rights. But old-fashioned revenge played a large part in many bloody events as well— whether it was the Umayyads taking revenge on the Medinese at the Battle of the Harra for their expulsion from the city and for the murder of ‘Uthman, or Mukhtar’s followers ex- acting vengeance from the Kufan notables and on 'Ubayd Allah’s troops for the murder of Husayn. Third, with the Second Civil War in particular, we are palpably moving into a new phase in the history of the community of Believers. The era of the companions of the prophet is rapidly drawing to a close, and the dramatis personae are now members of a younger generation who had no memory of the prophet or of the struggles that shaped his life. One senses an attenuation of the intensely charismatic quality of the early movement, with its clear-sighted concern for piety and observing God’s will; the commitment to piety is still there, but it has become more routinized and less personal and is tempered among many Believers with more practical and thisworldly concerns. The conquests by now apparently had become less a matter of the personal zeal of individual Believers driven by visions of an impending Last judgment and more a lucrative form of state policy intended to keep revenues and plunder flowing into the treasury. Fourth, we see in the civil wars— and particularly in the second— the emergence of those fissures that have, ever since, divided the onceunited community of Believers. ‘Ali’s claims to be amir al-muminin during the First Civil War become gradually transformed into the beginnings of a true sectarian movement, Shi'ism, that held the family of ‘Ali in special reverence; it received its defining event in the massacre of 'Ali’s son Husayn at Karbala’ in the Second Civil War, an event that came to be commemorated by later Shi'ite groups, The Struggle for Leadership of the Community, 34 - 73 / 655-69 2 191 right down to today, and that gave Shi ‘ism its special identity focused on the idea of martyrdom as a means of advancing the cause of the downtrodden. It would be a century and more before Shi ‘ism would fully refine many of its central concepts, such as the notion of the imamate or ideal, God-guided leader of the community, but the later movement has its roots in the First and Second Civil wars. These events thus became the starting point for the construction of two different narratives of legitimation in the Islamic communityone Shi'ite, focusing on the family of ‘Ali, and the other (eventually called Sunni) focusing on the sequence of actual power-holders, including the Umayyads. We have also seen how a third group, the ultra-pious Kharijites, emerged during the First Civil War; although constituting only a small minority of Muslims today, they were quite significant in the first several centuries of Islam. Fifth, the events of the long, intermittent conflict suggest decisively that the Hijaz, despite being the home of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, the cradle and spiritual focus of the early Believers’ movement, was not an effective base from which to project power on an imperial scale— and the community of Believers, with its far-flung amsar dominating most of the Near East, had by the time of the civil wars ascended to a truly imperial scale. More effective as bases of power were those areas that had a solid tax base (especially Egypt and Iraq) and a fairly sizable, stable population. The Hijaz offered neither of these and increasingly became a political backwater (or, at least, a side channel) in the history of the community of Believers. Economic and other practical issues surely contributed a great deal to these conflicts— indeed, it was the fact that so much was at stake economically that made the struggle worth embarking on for many participants. The accounts of Mukhtar’s revolt reveal clearly that Kufa was torn by serious social and economic tensions, pitting the descendants of the first conquerors, who formed a kind of Arabian aristocracy, against the descendants of former captives (mawali); at 192 MUHAMMAD AND THE BELIEVERS times there was added a heavy overtone of social distance separating those whose native language was Arabic from those whose mother tongue was something else. Social and economic tensions of this kind probably always existed; what is striking is that such grievances were articulated into a coherent political movement by the claim that a just leader (or maybe a mahdi, an eschatological savior) would solve the problem. In other words, the Believers’ movement, even as late as the Second Civil War, brought with it the conviction that such routine social injustices and oppression were no longer acceptable, that a new and more just order was attainable. The Believers’ movement thus mobilized people to act in ways designed, they believed, to resolve social and economic tensions that were more or less endemic in premodern society (and maybe in all societies). In this sense, we must see the ideology of the Believers’ movement as the prime cause of these historical developments, rather than the latent economic and social tensions that the movement articulated, for such tensions are always found. The very fact that the civil wars were for the most part a struggle within Quraysh over leadership means that the broader community of early Believers— especially those non-Arabian Christians and Jews who had joined in the movement— were not prominently visible in these struggles. In the Second Civil War, there were moments when Christians, at least, seem to have been involved. As we have seen, the Umayyads’ Christian administrator, Sarjun ibn Mansur was active in encouraging the Umayyads to make a bid for leadership against Ibn al-Zubayr after the deaths of Yazid and Mu'awiya II. Did he really feel himself to be an integral part of the Believers’ movement, or was he just an employee solicitous of the interests of his employers, the Umayyads, who buttered his bread? The evidence is inadequate, but at least it is clear that people like Sarjun did not feel that the movement he served was anti-Christian. The leaders of the Kalb tribe, and many of their soldiers who formed an important component of the Umayyads’ troops, were also probably still Chris- The Struggle for leadership of the Community', 34 - 75 / 655-692 193 tian. We find no evidence, either, of any effort by Christians or Jews to exploit the disarray among the ruling elite to break away or overthrow the Believers’ hegemony, perhaps because they may have felt themselves to be part of it. These factors suggest that the ecumenical qualities of the earliest Believers' movement was still alive through the period of the Second Civil War; but this situation was soon to change.

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Chapter4 of "Muhammad and the Believers"

In the modern-day Islamic religion is always professed to be aggressive, assertive, expansive and
dangerous. Such traits and many more are usually projected under the wide but analytically
loose explanation particularly towards Jihadism. According to the reading, the origin of Islam
has been the reason to escalated arguments in the modern world. “This act not only secured the
succession but also institutionalized the notion that the Believers should remain a single, united
community” (147). Thus this chapter majorly focuses on the traditional outlook that presents
Islam as a self- distinct ...

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Good stuff. Would use again.

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