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ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr and the Mahdī: Between propaganda and historical memory in the Second Civil War*

  • Mehdy Shaddel

The subject of the present paper is a prophetic tradition found in some compendia of eschatological aḥādīth which has received considerable scholarly attention since Wilferd Madelung dedicated an article to it in 1981. Whereas Madelung shares the opinion of earlier scholars that only some of the incidents “prophesied” by this tradition are historical, this study aims to show that it is a wholly ex post facto composition which, in its various strata, remarkably captures episodes from the Zubayrid war of propaganda against their rivals as well as their later attempts to redeem the memory of their lost cause as a just one. The discussion closes by producing a highly singular Syrian tradition most certainly put into circulation with the intent of countering these Zubayrid propaganda efforts.

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I should like to express my unqualified gratitude to Sean W. Anthony (Ohio State University), Mushegh Asatryan (University of Calgary), Ella Landau-Tasseron (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Ian D. Morris (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) for reading through various drafts of this paper and offering constructive suggestions. My thanks are also due to Hossein Sheikh (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) for encouraging me to finish this work. It goes without saying that I am solely responsible for all the remaining errors and infelicities.

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1 See Wilferd Madelung, entries “Mahdī” and “Sufyānī” in EI2 . Elsewhere he cursorily suggests that this ḥadīth might have later played a role in giving rise to the belief in the Sufyānī, but this is doubtful; Madelung, “The Sufyānī between tradition and history”, Studia Islamica 63, 1986, 548 , 9–10; cf. my “The Sufyānī in early Islamic kerygma: an enquiry into his origins and early development”, forthcoming in JRAS.

2 My reconstruction is based on two editions: Muḥammad Muḥyī al-Dīn ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd (Beirut, n.d.); and Shuʿayb Arnāʾūṭ and Muḥammad Kāmil Qurrabalalī (Damascus, 1430/2009).

3 He is only mentioned as “a companion of Ṣāliḥ” in Abū Dāwūd's first narration; his name, however, appears in other isnād chains for the same ḥadīth; see also the asānīd of the other versions in Cook, Michael, “Eschatology and the dating of traditions”, in Motzki, H. (ed.), Ḥadīth: Origins and Developments (Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004), 217–41 (p. 228), originally published in Princeton Papers in Near Eastern Studies 1, 1992, 23–47.

4 While Madelung has opted to render the verb yukhrijūnahu by “they will make him rise in revolt”, I think the translation “they will take him out of his residence” better fits the context since the sentence seems to be primarily preoccupied with locations. Moreover, the fact that the tradition does not refer to the unnamed Qurashī opponent of its protagonist as caliph, whereas it does refer to the equally unnamed Muʿāwiya as such, in addition to the fact that he only shows up after the episode of the bayʿa, goes against Madelung's construal of the term khurūj as “rebellion” here.

5 Thus in the ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd edition, but not in the Arnāʾūṭ edition and most other compendia.

6 The ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd edition again has “between the Rukn and the Maqām” here.

7 ilā al-arḍ in the Arnāʾūṭ edition.

8 Abū Dāwūd, Sunan, ed. M.M. ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd, IV, 107–8; ed. S. Arnāʾūṭ and M.K. Qurrabalalī, VI, 344–6.

9 MacDonald, “Mahdī”, EI 1.

10 Attema, De Mohammedaansche Opvattingen omtrent het Tijdstip van den Jongsten Dag en zijn Voorteekenen (Amsterdam: Noord-Hollandsche Uitgevers, 1942; unfortunately this work has not been available to me).

11 Attema, apud Madelung, Wilferd, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr and the Mahdi”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies 40, 1981, 291305 (p. 292).

12 Mention should also be made of Richard Hartmann who, apparently without knowing of Attema's work or having this particular tradition in mind, perceptively observed that “der Feldzug nach dem Ḥiǧāz, ganz unverkennbar – und zwar gewiß schon in der ursprünglichen Gestalt – den Ereignissen des Jahre 63/683 nachgebildet sind, was den Sufyānī … als Yazīd redivivus erscheinen läßt”. See his Der Sufyānī”, in Studia Orientalia Ioanni Pedersen Septuagenario (Copenhagen: Munksgaard, 1953), 141–51, 148–9 (citing one of his earlier works).

13 Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr”, 293.

14 Alexander, “Medieval apocalypses as historical sources”, The American Historical Review 73, 1968, 9971018 , (p. 999); cf. also Rowland, Christopher, The Open Heaven: A Study of Apocalyptic in Judaism and Early Christianity (London, 1982), 248–67. For the particular case of the Islamic apocalyptic tradition, see Cook, “Eschatology”, especially pp. 219–20.

15 For an instructive taxonomy of the content of an apocalyptic composition, see Collins, John J.’ editorial introduction to the classic volume Apocalypse: The Morphology of a Genre (Semeia 14, 1979), 120 ; and now Collins, John J., “What is apocalyptic literature?”, in idem (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Apocalyptic Literature (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 116 .

16 Or, in case one wishes to subscribe to the thesis that apocalypse is the literature of the times of crisis, without bearing any trace of having been composed under eschatological pressures. For a survey of the debates over the social setting and function of the genre “apocalyptic”, see Thompson, Leonard L., The Book of Revelation: Apocalypse and Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1990), 2534 . As will be seen, the tradition under discussion here actually falls under the category of a genre of great antiquity in the Near East, aptly dubbed “mantic historiography” by Matthew Neujahr; see his excellent monograph, Predicting the Past in the Ancient Near East: Mantic Historiography in Ancient Mesopotamia, Judah, and the Mediterranean World (Providence, RI: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012). Unfortunately, the study of apocalypticism in its Islamic context is still in its infancy and the investigation of its socio-historical setting(s) and the likely need for a redefinition of the genre in the light of the Islamic material are major desiderata of the field. Herein I work on the premise that the former is not much different in the case of the Islamic apocalyptic tradition. The following historical analysis, it will be seen, will not refute this premise, but a more in-depth study will be required before we take such paradigms for granted in the case of the Islamic endtimes literature as well.

17 Cook, “Eschatology”, 230.

18 For the political history of this period, see Gerald Hawting, R., The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate ad 661–750 (London: Routledge, 2000), 4650 ; Wellhausen, Julius, Das arabische Reich und sein Sturz (Berlin: Georg Reimer, 1960), 71125 (English translation The Arab Kingdom and Its Fall [Calcutta, 1927], 133–200); Rotter, Gernot, Die Umayyaden und der zweite Bürgerkrieg (680–92) (Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1982), 3759 ; Lammens, Henri, Le Califat Yazīd Ier (Beirut, 1921); Ibn-Ḥusayn, Buthayna, al-Fitna al-thāniyya fī ʿahd al-khalīfa Yazīd ibn Muʿāwiya, 60–64 H./680–684 M. (Beirut, 2013; not consulted); Kister, Meir J., “The Battle of the Ḥarra: some socio-economic aspects”, in Rosen-Ayalon, M. (ed.), Studies in Memory of Gaston Wiet (Jerusalem: The Hebrew University, 1977), 3349 .

19 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh al-rusul wa'l-mulūk, ed. Ibrāhīm, Muḥammad Abu'l-Faḍl (Cairo, 1387/1967), V, 338; al-Athīr, Ibn, al-Kāmil fi'l-taʾrīkh, ed. al-Qāḍī, Abi'l-Fidāʾ ʿAbd Allāh (Beirut, 1407/1987), III, 377; Kathīr, Ibn, al-Bidāya wa'l-nihāya, ed. Mastū, Muḥyī al-Dīn (Beirut and Damascus, 1431/2010), VIII, 213; al-Jawzī, Ibn, al-Muntaẓam fī taʾrīkh al-mulūk wa'l-umam, ed. ʿAṭā, Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir and ʿAṭā, Muṣṭafā ʿAbd al-Qādir (Beirut, 1415/1995), V, 322.

20 Khayyāṭ, Khalīfa ibn, Taʾrīkh, ed. al-ʿUmarī, Akram Ḍiyāʾ (Riyadh, 1405/1985), 229, 231 (where thumma nuziʿa ʿAmr ʿan al-Madīna fī sanat sittīn after the notice on al-Ḥusayn's death should obviously read iḥdā wa-sittīn), 233, 235, 254; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 343, 399, 474, 477; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380, 405, 446–8; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 215 (putting ʿAmr's arrival at either Ramaḍān or Dhu'l-Qaʿda), 245, 297; pseudo-Ibn Qutayba al-Dīnawarī, al-Imāma wa'l-siyāsa, ed. Shīrī, ʿAlī (Beirut, 1410/1990), II, 56 (in spite of an earlier confused report in ibid., I, 227); Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 324, 329; al-Makkī, ʿUmar ibn Fahd, Itḥāf al-warā bi-akhbār umm al-qurā, ed. Shaltūt, Fahīm Muḥammad (Cairo, 1404/1983), II, 56; Rabbihi, Ibn ʿAbd, al-ʿIqd al-Farīd, ed. al-Tarḥīnī, ʿAbd al-Majīd (Beirut, 1404/1983), V, 125. Here it must be noted that despite the insistence of al-Ṭabarī and a few others (al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 477; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 298; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 348; al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīkh, ed. Muhannā, ʿAbd al-Amīr [Beirut 1431/2010], II, 169) that in 61 the ḥajj was led by al-Walīd, one report indicates that Yazīd's decree arrived late and ʿAmr himself led the pilgrimage that year (Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 56, citing Sibṭ ibn al-Jawzī). The situation at the end of 61 provides a better context for the report that both ʿAmr and Ibn al-Zubayr openly bore arms while performing the ḥajj rites (Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 325), and this, in turn, lends some credence to Ibn Fahd's statement.

21 K.V. Zetterstéen, “al-Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr”, EI2 ; Rotter, Die Umayyaden, 38.

22 My summary account follows Ibn Aʿtham al-Kūfī’s version which is the least fragmentary and most coherent; Aʿtham, Ibn, Kitāb al-Futūḥ, ed. Shīrī, ʿAlī (Beirut, 1411/1991), V, 150–3; for incentives, see Khalīfa ibn Khayyāṭ, Taʾrīkh, 252, who alleges that Yazīd even offered to make him his governor of Ḥijāz (mentioning it after a brief report on the fire of the Kaʿba); reproduced in al-Ishbīlī, Ibn Raʾs Ghanama, Manāqil al-durar wa-manāqib al-zahar, ed. al-Rāshid, Khālid ʿAbd al-Jabbār Shayt (Baghdad, 1429/2008), 71. For the mission, see ibid., 70 (places it after al-Nuʿmān's mission to Medina and before the battle of the Ḥarra), 71 (produces three different reports); Khalīfa ibn Khayyāṭ, Taʾrīkh, 251–2; al-Balādhurī, Ansāb al-ashrāf, ed. Zakkār, Suhayl and Ziriklī, Riyāḍ (Beirut, 1417/1996), V, 323–5 (reporting two delegations), 327, 337 (placing it after ʿAmr's expedition); al-Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīkh, II, 161; al-Dīnawarī, Aḥmad ibn Dāwūd, al-Akhbār al-ṭiwāl, ed. al-Rāfiʿī, Muḥammad Saʿīd (Cairo, 1330/1912), 259–60 (placing it immediately before Muslim ibn ʿUqba's expedition); al-Fākihī, Akhbār Makka fī qadīm al-dahr wa-ḥadīthihi, ed. ʿAbd al-Malik ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Duhaysh (Beirut, 1414/1994), II, 352; Abu'l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, Kitāb al-Aghānī, ed. ʿAbbās, Iḥsān, al-Saʿāfīn, Ibrāhīm, and ʿAbbās, Bakr (Beirut, 1429/2008), I, 37 (placing it exactly one year after al-Ḥusayn's death); Abu'l-Ḥajjāj Yūsuf ibn Muḥammad al-Bayyāsī, al-Iʿlām bi'l-ḥurūb al-wāqiʿa fī ṣadr al-Islām, ed. Maḥmūd, Shafīq Jāsir Aḥmad (Amman, 1987), I, 98–9; Saʿd, Ibn, al-Ṭabaqāt al-kubrā, ed. ʿUmar, ʿAlī Muḥammad (Cairo, 1421/2001), VI, 478; ʿAsākir, Ibn, Taʾrīkh madīnat Dimashq, ed. al-ʿAmrawī, Muḥibb al-Dīn (Beirut, 1415/1995), XXVIII, 208, 210; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344, 476; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 55; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 447–8; al-Azraqī, Akhbār Makka wa-mā jāʾa fīhā min al-āthār, ed. ʿAbd al-Malik ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Duhaysh (Mecca, 1424/2003), 295; al-Dīnawarī, Ibn Qutayba, ʿUyūn al-akhbār (Cairo, 1343/1925), I, 196; ʿUqba, Mūsā ibn, Kitāb al-Maghāzī, ed. Mālik, Muḥammad Abū (Agadir, 1414/1994), 350–51.

23 Wellhausen, Das arabische Reich, 92–4 (Arab Kingdom, 148–50), contends that al-Nuʿmān only undertook one mission to the Ḥijāz, in the year 63 ah, to dissuade the people of Medina from rebelling, arguing that two distinct missions are unlikely to have taken place in such a short time (though he does accept a different version of the first mission to Ibn al-Zubayr as historical). But if al-Nuʿmān's first mission had taken place before ʿAmr ibn al-Zubayr's expedition to Mecca, which stands to reason, and if the governor who had despatched the expedition was ʿAmr ibn Saʿīd (disallowing the incorrect report in al-Masʿūdī, Murūj al-dhahab wa-maʿādin al-jawhar, ed. Marʿī, Kamāl Ḥasan [Beirut, 1425/2005], III, 68), both events must have taken place during 61 ah, since ʿAmr al-Ashdaq was dismissed from his post at the beginning of Dhu'l-Ḥijja of this year (see n. 20 above). Thus, pace Wellhausen, there was a timespan of about two years between the two missions. Furthermore, while most sources mention other people along with al-Nuʿmān as taking part in the first mission, we do not hear of anyone else in the context of the second one. Rotter, Die Umayyaden, 43–4, on the other hand, thinks that there were two separate delegations apart from that of the year 63, both of which included al-Nuʿmān, with the second having taken place “zeitlich kurz vor oder kurz nach der gescheiterten Expedition des ʿAmr b. az-Zubair” – which he places at early to mid-681 ce (61 ah). Obviously, this could hardly have been the case, as al-Nuʿmān would have had to embark on two missions within a timespan of less than a year, and we still have to set aside some time for his departure from Iraq and the preparations made for ʿAmr's expedition. In any case, it is evident that the two missions reported for the year 61 ah in some sources are, in fact, two strands of tradition about the same event.

24 Muṣʿab had retained this post since Marwān's second governorship under Muʿāwiya (54–7 ah); al-Zubayrī, Muṣʿab, Nasab Quraysh, ed. Lévi-Provençal, É. (Cairo, 1953), 268.

25 An Umayyad on his mother's side and a second cousin of ʿAmr ibn Saʿīd; al-Zubayrī, Nasab, 214–5; Ḥazm, Ibn, Jamharat ansāb al-ʿArab, ed. Hārūn, ʿAbd al-Salām Muḥammad (Cairo, 1382/1962), 81.

26 It was said of him that “ʿAmr is not spoken to; anybody who speaks to him will regret it” (ʿAmr lā yukallamu, man yukallimhu yandam); al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 328; see also al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh al-Islām wa-wafayāt al-mashāhīr wa'l-aʿlām, ed. Maʿrūf, Bashshār ʿAwwād (Beirut, 1424/2003), II, 689.

27 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344; Ibn Raʾs Ghanama, Manāqil, 71; al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 328; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 215–6; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 49; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VI, 479.

28 Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, V, 152–3; al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 327; and al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344, imply that Yazīd ordered Ibn al-Zubayr's arrest immediately after the delegation returned from Mecca.

29 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380; cf. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 216; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 49.

30 In translating riḍā as such I am following Crone, Patricia, “On the meaning of the ‘Abbasid call to al-riḍā ”, in Bosworth, C.E. et al. (eds), The Islamic World, from Classical to Modern Times: Essays in Honor of Bernard Lewis (Princeton: Darwin Press, 1989), 95111 .

31 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 478–9; cf. also Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 303; al-Bayyāsī, al-Iʿlām, I, 101; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, VI, 6.

32 Pseudo-Ibn Qutayba, al-Imāma, II, 6: fa-ḍaraba ʿalā ahl al-dīwān al-baʿth ilā Makka wa-hum kārihūna li'l-khurūj fa-qāla lahum immā an taʾtū bi-badalin wa-immā an takhrujū; the same is reported by al-Tamīmī, Abu'l-ʿArab, Kitāb al-Miḥan, ed. al-Jabbūrī, Yaḥyā Wahīb (Beirut, 1427/2006), 130; Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi, al-ʿIqd al-Farīd, v, 126 (where bi-adillāʾ[?] should read bi-budalāʾ). Cf. al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 328, who reports that wa-kāna akthar al-jaysh budalāʾ min al-ʿaṭāʾ wa-julluhum yahwana ’bna al-Zubayr ʿAbd Allāh. On the practice of hiring substitutes for participating in campaigns, see Bonner, Michael, “ Jaʿāʾil and holy war in early Islam”, Der Islam 68, 1991, 4564 , especially 47–9 (where the aforecited passage from al-Balādhurī has been misconstrued and misplaced in the reign of ʿUthmān).

33 fa-akhraja [ʿAmr ibn Saʿīd] li-ahl al-dīwān ʿasharāt wa-kharaja min mawālī ahl al-Madīna nāsun kathīrun; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344.

34 A rough estimate of the number of Umayyad mawālī in Medina at the time is provided by the reports that al-Walīd arrested 300 of ʿAmr al-Ashdaq's mawālī and ghulāms shortly after Yazīd reinstated him as governor of Medina at the end of 61; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 303; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, VI, 6; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 478; cf. also Kister, “Battle of Ḥarra”, 44–7 (see p. 46 and n. 67 thereto on this particular episode). Some accounts of the Medinan uprising of 63 indicate that the number of Umayyads and their mawālī besieged in Marwān's residence was well over a thousand, perhaps even as much as three thousand; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 455; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 308; Abu'l-Faraj al-Iṣfahānī, al-Aghānī, I, 39; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, VI, 12; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 483; Ibn Raʾs Ghanama, Manāqil, 72; al-Bayyāsī, al-Iʿlām, I, 107, 109; cf. also al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 345–6.

35 al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 330.

36 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344 (see n. 33 above).

37 For the number of men in Unays’ contingent, see al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344 (the number of 2,000 in ibid., 347, seems to be a confusion with the rounded-up number of all the men in ʿAmr's army); Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XLVI, 9; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 216; Ibn Raʾs Ghanama, Manāqil, 71 (who adds that Unays’ troops were cavalrymen); Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 324; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 49. By taking the figures reported by ancient authorities at face value the historian is always at risk of sounding credulous, especially since the publication of Conrad, Lawrence I.'s “Seven and the tasbīʿ: on the implications of numerical symbolism for the study of medieval Islamic history”, Journal of the Economic and Social History of the Orient 31, 1988, 4273 , but it must be noted that my argument does not hinge upon the exactitude of these figures – the only thing of importance here is the appreciable presence of Umayyad mawālī in this army.

38 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 345; cf. Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 216.

39 al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, v, 330; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VI, 480; VII, 184; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344–5; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XLVI, 9–10; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 325; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 216; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 52; al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, II, 690.

40 Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VI, 479; VII, 184; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XLVI, 10; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 50; al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, II, 689.

41 Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr”, 296.

42 al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, v, 334; contra Crone, Patricia, “Were the Qays and Yemen of the Umayyad period political parties?”, Der Islam 71, 1994, 157, 38, n. 211, who thinks they could have been raised in Syria.

43 Hawting, “The Umayyads and the Ḥijāz”, Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies 2, 1972, 3946 (p. 42); Haldon and Kennedy, “Regional identity and military power: Byzantium and Islam ca. 600–750”, in Pohl, W., Gantner, C., and Payne, R. (eds), Visions of Community in the Post-Roman World: The West, Byzantium and the Islamic World, 3001100 (Farnham, 2012), 317–53 (p. 344).

44 Shayba, Ibn Abī, Muṣannaf, ed. Abī Muḥammad Usāma ibn Ibrāhīm (Cairo, 1429/2008), XIII, 258.

45 Very possibly in a contemptuous vein, given the high level of regional antagonism between the Syrian metropolis and the regions relegated to peripheral status at this time. The palpability of such regional rivalries in this period may be surmised from the circulation of early traditions glorifying certain cities (Damascus, Mecca, Medina, Jerusalem, Kūfa) – on which see Kister, Meir J., “‘You shall only set out for three mosques’: a study of an early tradition”, Le Muséon 82, 1969, 173–96 (note especially the traditions underscoring the primacy of the Meccan sanctuary on the authority of ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr cited on p. 188); Khalek, Nancy, Damascus after the Muslim Conquest: Text and Image in Early Islam (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 135–65; cf. also Mehdy Shaddel, “Yazid I b. Moʿāwiya”, Encyclopaedia Iranica.

46 al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 330; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344–5; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VI, 479–80; VII, 184; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 50–51; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 216; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 324; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XLVI, 10; al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, 689–90. In the prelude to the campaign, al-Ṭabarī (reproduced almost verbatim by Ibn Kathīr and Ibn al-Jawzī) also states that “ʿAmr encamped in al-Jurf”, either a place in the north of Medina or somewhere near Mecca. In any event, the significance of this report is unclear to me. Al-Balādhurī also mentions al-Ḥajūn, which, per al-Ḥamawī, Yāqūt, Muʿjam al-buldān (Beirut, 1977/1397), II, 225, is the highest point of Mecca, and thus could be a place adjacent to Dhū Ṭawī.

47 Yāqūt, Muʿjam, IV, 51, s.v. “al-Ṭawī”.

48 Yāqūt, Muʿjam, I, 530.

49 Yāqūt, Muʿjam, II, 85.

50 Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ, ed. al-Bāqī, Muḥammad Fuʾād ʿAbd (Beirut, 1412/1991), II, 919; under “bāb istiḥbāb al-mabīt bi-Dhī Ṭawī ʿinda irādat dukhūl Makka wa'l-ightisāl li-dukhūlihā wa-dukhūlihā al-nahār”. The ḥadīth could be found in most other compendia under similar headings. I must emphasize that the authenticity or otherwise of the ḥadīth could barely have any bearing on the accuracy of the information it imparts with respect to Meccan geography.

51 Yāqūt, Muʿjam, I, 523, states that it is closer to Mecca, contra Cook, “Eschatology”, 230, who thinks it is located “just south of Medina”.

52 Lane, An Arabic–English Lexicon, s.v. “b-y-d” (“a desert, a plain wherein is nothing”) and “b-y-ḍ” (“smooth land, in which is no herbage”).

53 See the analysis and diagram in Cook, “Eschatology”, 226–8.

54 Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, V, 153; cf. Cook, “Eschatology”, 230.

55 This is the epithet given to ʿAmr by his brother ʿAbd Allāh in Ibn Saʿd's account, after he was captured in Mecca, in an evident reference to Abraha, the Aksumite king of South Arabia who, per the tradition, led an expedition to Mecca in the year of Muḥammad's birth but was defeated by a swarm of birds which rained stones on his army; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VII, 185; see also Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XLVI, 11. A similar pejorative reference is made to Muslim ibn ʿUqba upon being appointed commander of the army that was to attack Medina and Mecca in pseudo-Ibn Qutayba, al-Imāma, II, 14, 15; al-Bayhaqī, Ibrāhīm ibn Muḥammad, al-Maḥāsin wa'l-masāwī, ed. Ibrāhīm, Muḥammad Abu'l-Faḍl (Cairo, 1380/1961), I, 59, 61; and al-Bayyāsī, al-Iʿlām, I, 128.

56 Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, V, 153. Cf. al-Ṭabarī, fa-qutila Unays ibn ʿAmr wa'l-Muhājir mawlā al-Qalammas fī nāsin kathīrin; Taʾrīkh, V, 346.

57 Or, according to al-Ṭabarī and al-Balādhurī, Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn al-Ḥārith; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 346 (who mistakenly calls him Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Ḥārith); al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 331.

58 Sean Anthony, W., “The Meccan prison of ʿAbdallāh b. al-Zubayr and the imprisonment of Muḥammad b. al-Ḥanafiyya”, in Pomerantz, Maurice and Shahin, Aram (eds), The Heritage of Arabo-Islamic Learning: Studies Presented to Wadad Kadi (Leiden: Brill, 2016), 329 (pp. 5–10).

59 al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 328–33; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 344–7; Ibn Aʿtham, al-Futūḥ, V, 153–4; Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VI, 480–1; VII, 184–5; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, V, 325; Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 380–1; Ibn Kathīr, al-Bidāya, VIII, 216; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 52–3; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XLVI, 9–11; al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, 689–90; Ibn Raʾs Ghanama, Manāqil, 71. Muṣʿab al-Zubayrī knows of ʿAmr's demise in his brother's prison but, as befits a descendant of ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr, not of its cause; al-Zubayrī, Nasab, 178.

60 Ibn ʿAbd Rabbihi, al-ʿIqd al-farīd, V, 141–2; Ibn Fahd, Itḥāf, II, 61, 63; cf. al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 362–3; al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 501; Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, VI, 23.

61 Pace Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr”, 297.

62 al-Ṭabarī, Taʾrīkh, V, 503; followed by Ibn al-Athīr, al-Kāmil, III, 468; and Ibn al-Jawzī, al-Muntaẓam, VI, 24.

63 Pseudo-Ibn Qutayba, al-Imāma, II, 17. These, however, may have been taken prisoner during the incident at Rabadha the next year; see al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 374; VI, 292–3.

64 Pseudo-Ibn Qutayba, al-Imāma, II, 20.

65 For the family, see Crone, Patricia, Slaves on Horses: The Evolution of the Islamic Polity (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), 93–4.

66 See, inter alia, Patricia Crone, “Qays and Yemen”, 44–9.

67 As Cook has observed, mistaking nine for seven is “a familiar graphic confusion” in Arabic and “it is even odds that nine is the original figure”; Cook, “Eschatology”, 230.

68 Note ʿAmr al-Ashdaq's words above. There are in fact a whole host of reports stating that allegiance was pledged to Ibn al-Zubayr, albeit behind the doors, during Yazīd's lifetime. I hope to take up this issue in a future study.

69 For his base of support, see A. Dietrich, “al-Ḍaḥḥāk b. Ḳays al-Fihrī”, EI2 ; Sandra Campbell, “ʿAbdallāh b. al-Zubayr”, EI3 ; as well as the works cited in n. 18 above.

70 On the circumstances surrounding his election, see Crone, Patricia, “ Shūrā as an elective institution”, Quaderni di Studi Arabi 19, 2001, 339, 23–4.

71 For his life and career, see Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr”, 297–305.

72 In his entry for the “Mahdī” in EI2 , V, 1232, however, Madelung backtracks on his earlier view and concludes that, in the light of ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Ḥārith's political nonchalance, “it is in fact unlikely that he was responsible for this ḥadīth”.

73 Wa-kāna ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ṣafwān asraʿ al-nās ilā bayʿatihi, thumma ʿUbayd ibn ʿUmayr wa-ʿAbd Allāh ibn Muṭīʿ al-ʿAdawī wa'l-Ḥārith ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Abī Rabīʿa; al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, V, 371.

74 The date of his death is not known but he is not mentioned among those killed during the attack, is said to have had an audience with ʿAbd al-Malik sometime after the civil war, and, according to one report cited by al-Balādhurī, al-Walīd broke the news of his death to his father ʿAbd al-Malik, to the latter's regret; see n. 75.

75 al-Balādhurī, Ansāb, X, 187–8 (fails to report the context of his defence of Ibn al-Zubayr); al-Dhahabī, Taʾrīkh, II, 927; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XI, 437–47; al-Ṣanʿānī, ʿAbd al-Razzāq, Muṣannaf, ed. al-Aʿẓamī, Ḥabīb al-Raḥmān (Beirut, 1392/1972), V, 127–8; al-Azraqī, Akhbār Makka, I, 306–7; Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ, II, 971–2.

76 A hugely significant recent epigraphic find dates the event to the year 78 ah. The otherwise mundane inscription thus reads in the last three lines: kutiba hādhā al-kitāb / ʿāma buniya ’l-masjid al-ḥarām / li-sanat thamān wa-sabʿīn; see al-Ḥārithī, Nāṣir ibn ʿAlī, “Naqsh kitābī nādir yuʾarrikhu ʿimārat al-khalīfa al-umawī ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān li'l-masjid al-ḥarām”, ʿĀlam al-makhṭūṭāt wa'l-nawādir 12 (1428/2007), 533–43.

77 Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr”, 295; see also Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XI, 438–9. Madelung, rightly, identified these traditions as further pieces of Zubayrid propaganda.

78 For more insights into the Zubayrid art of the construction of the past, see Sandra S. Campbell, Telling Memories: The Zubayrids in Islamic Historical Memory, unpublished PhD dissertation (University of California, Los Angeles, 2003).

79 Madelung, “ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Zubayr”, 296.

80 See, for example, Muslim, Ṣaḥīḥ, IV, 2209.

81 Damascene, a mawlā of the Umayyads (d. c. 194 ah); see Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, LXIII, 274–95. For his exact date of death, see ibid., XLIII, 27 (in any event before the revolt of Abu'l-ʿAmayṭar ʿAlī ibn ʿAbd Allāh ibn Khālid ibn Yazīd al-Sufyānī in 195, about which ex eventu prophecies were spuriously disseminated on his authority – certainly because of his reputation as a pro-Umayyad visionary).

82 Damascene, a mawlā of the Umayyads (d. c. 180 ah); Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XXIV, 9–16.

83 Misidentified by Bashear, Suliman, “Muslim apocalypses and the hour: a case-study in traditional reinterpretation”, Israel Oriental Studies 13, 1993, 7599 (p. 89), as the grandson of the celebrated companion ʿAbd al-Raḥmān ibn ʿAwf and the originator of the tradition. However, this ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, according to Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, VII, 466, had died at the beginning of al-Manṣūr's reign and, hence, before the events Bashear envisages as the tradition's historical context (see n. 88). The tradent remains unidentified.

84 There is some confusion with regard to his identity, arising from the similarity in the patronymic of the celebrated Meccan qāriʾ and mufassir Mujāhid ibn Jabr and a certain Mujāhid ibn Jubayr of whom nothing is known (Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, LVII, 17 ff.). The death date of 130 ah recorded for Mujāhid by Ibn ʿAsākir (Ibn Saʿd, al-Ṭabaqāt, LVII, 24) apparently belongs to this latter, for there is another tradition in Nuʿaym related from Tubayʿ on his authority which “foretells” the demise of the Umayyad dynasty and decidedly originates from the chaos of the Third Civil War (126–9 ah). With Tubayʿ having died long before, this tradition must go back to Mujāhid himself; see Ḥammād, Nuʿaym ibn, Kitāb al-Fitan, ed. al-Zuhayrī, Samīr ibn Amīn (Cairo, 1412/1991), 196 (with a mutilated version on p. 132).

85 Stepson of the Jewish rabbi Kaʿb al-Aḥbār and hence a magnet for apocalyptic prophecies. He dwelt in Syria after the Muslim conquest of that territory, moved to Egypt in his later years, and died in Alexandria c. 101 ah; Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, XI, 26–35.

86 Nuʿaym, al-Fitan, 327–8.

87 Ibn al-Zubayr's self-designation of “a seeker of refuge in the sanctuary” (ʿāʾidhun bi'l-bayt) is too well known to allow for the identification of the tradition's first character with any other person, a fact which could not possibly have been lost on its disseminator(s) and their audience.

88 The tradition has been misidentified by Bashear (“Muslim apocalypses”, 89) as echoing the events of the rebellion of Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd Allāh al-Nafs al-Zakiyya, a strange identification given that he rebelled, and was killed, in Medina. It goes without saying that he never called himself, and was not called, an ʿāʾidh, nor did he ever went to “take refuge” in Mecca. On him, see Elad, Amikam, “The rebellion of Muḥammad b. ʿAbd Allāh b. al-Ḥasan (known as al-Nafs al-Zakīya) in 145/762”, in Montgomery, James E. (ed.), Occasional Papers of the School of ‘Abbasid Studies: Cambridge, 6–10 July 2002 (Leuven: Peeters, 2004), 147–98; and now Elad, Amikam, The Rebellion of Muḥammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in 145/762: Ṭālibīs and Early ʿAbbāsīs in Conflict (Leiden: Brill, 2016).

89 It must be conceded that Mujāhid remains a candidate, though if so he must have had a floruit spanning well over six decades. It is also possible that the isnād is wholly spurious, but in that case Tubayʿ’s name was most likely used to serve as the emblem of pro-Syrian factionalism – as well as because of his reputation as a seer. In any event, the tradition's provenance in circles close to the Umayyad court could hardly be disputed.

90 See, for example, Ibn ʿAsākir, Taʾrīkh, I, 207, 287 (on Mujāhid's authority).

91 Heidemann, Stefan, “The evolving representation of the early Islamic empire and its religion on coin imagery”, in Neuwirth, A., Sinai, N. and Marx, M. (eds), The Qurʾān in Context: Historical and Literary Investigations into the Qurʾānic Milieu (Leiden: Brill, 2010), 149–95 (pp. 166–9).

92 A tradition on the authority of ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr himself has the prophet pronounce, “the eschaton (al-sāʿa) will come about after the appearance of thirty impostors (thalāthūna kadhdhāban), among them Musaylima, al-ʿAnsī, and al-Mukhtār. And the most nefarious (sharr) of all Arab tribes are the Banū Umayya, Banū Ḥanīfa, and Thaqīf” – the last two being the tribes of Musaylima and al-Mukhtār; recorded by, among others, al-Bayhaqī, Aḥmad ibn al-Ḥusayn, Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, ed. Qalʿajī, ʿAbd al-Muʿṭī (Beirut, 1408/1988), VI, 480–81. After Ibn al-Zubayr's death al-Ḥajjāj went to visit his bereaved mother, Asmāʾ bint Abī Bakr, as a gesture, only to be told by her that she heard the prophet say, “there shall come from the Thaqīf an impostor and a butcher” (mubīr). She then continued, “we have already seen the impostor”, meaning al-Mukhtār, “as for the butcher, it is you!” Al-Ḥajjāj confirmed, “butcher of hypocrites!” See, among others, al-Bayhaqī, Dalāʾil al-nubuwwa, 481–2. Ibn al-Zubayr also ascribed traditions on the authority of ʿĀʾisha to the prophet so as to legitimize his rebuilding and restructuring of the Kaʿba, on which now see Hawting, Gerald, “‘A plaything for kings’: ʿĀʾisha’s ḥadīth, Ibn al-Zubayr and rebuilding the Kaʿba”, in Daneshgar, Majid and Saleh, Walid A. (eds), Islamic Studies Today: Essays in Honor of Andrew Rippin (Leiden, 2017), 321 , especially 20–1.

93 A Syrian tradition has it that during the siege of ʿUthmān's house it was suggested to him that, among other options, he could flee to Mecca, but he rejected it because he had heard the prophet say, “a man of the Quraysh shall commit indecency (yulḥidu) in Mecca and [because of it] he shall carry the burden of half of the sins of the world”, and that he did not want to be that man; Ḥanbal, Aḥmad ibn, Musnad, ed. ʿAṭā, Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Qādir (Beirut, 1429/2008), I, 210; see also Madelung, Wilferd, “ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr the mulḥid ”, in Benito, Concepción Vázquez de and Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel Manzano (eds), Actas XVI Congreso UEAI (Salamanca: CSIC, 1995), 301–8 (pp. 307–8). The bestowal of the epithet of mulḥid upon Ibn al-Zubayr by his enemies was evidently motivated by Quran 22:25.

94 For more on the developments of the Islamic cultus in the immediate wake of the Second Civil War and the possible influence of Zubayrid experimentations on it, see Robinson, Chase F., ‘Abd al-Malik (Oxford: Oneworld, 2005), 90128 et passim.

* I should like to express my unqualified gratitude to Sean W. Anthony (Ohio State University), Mushegh Asatryan (University of Calgary), Ella Landau-Tasseron (Hebrew University of Jerusalem) and Ian D. Morris (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas) for reading through various drafts of this paper and offering constructive suggestions. My thanks are also due to Hossein Sheikh (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen) for encouraging me to finish this work. It goes without saying that I am solely responsible for all the remaining errors and infelicities.

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