Yazid I

Last updated

Yazīd ibn Mu‘awiya
Drachm of Yazid I, 676-677.jpg
Arab-Sasanian Drachm of Yazid I
2nd Caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate
Reign26 April 680 12 November 683
Predecessor Mu'awiya I
Successor Mu'awiya II
Born646 (25 AH) [1] [lower-alpha 1] Mecca
(present-day Saudi Arabia)
Died12 November 683 (14 Rabi ul-Awwal 64 AH) [2]
SpouseUmm Khalid Fakhita bint Abi Hisham [3]
Umm Kulthum bint Abd Allah ibn Amir [3]
Issue Mu'awiya II [3]
Khaled [3]
Atikah [4]
Full name
Yazīd ibn Mu‘awiya ibn Abī Sufyān
يزيد بن معاوية بن أبي سفيان
House Sufyanid
Dynasty Umayyad
Father Mu'awiya I
Mother Maysun bint Bahdal [5]

Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya (Arabic : يزيد بن معاوية بن أبي سفيان; 646 12 November 683), commonly known as Yazid I, was the second caliph of the Umayyad caliphate. He ruled for three years from 680 until his death in 683. His appointment was the first hereditary succession in Islamic history and his caliphate was marked by the death of Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali and the start of the crisis known as the Second Fitna.

Muhammad Founder of Islam

Muhammad was an Arab merchant and the founder of Islam. According to Islamic doctrine, he was a prophet, sent to present and confirm the monotheistic teachings preached previously by Adam, Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and other prophets. He is viewed as the final prophet of God in all the main branches of Islam, though some modern denominations diverge from this belief. Muhammad united Arabia into a single Muslim polity, with the Quran as well as his teachings and practices forming the basis of Islamic religious belief. He is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mahamad, Muhamad and many others.

Husayn ibn Ali Grandson of Muhammad, son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatimah bint Muhammad, and third Shia Imam

Al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī ibn Abi Talib was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and a son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah. He is an important figure in Islam as he was a member of the Bayt (Household) of Muhammad and the Ahl al-Kisā', as well as the third Shia Imam.

Second Fitna period of general political and military disorder during the early Umayyad dynasty, following the death of the first Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I

The Second Fitna or the Second Islamic Civil War was a period of general political and military disorder and conflicts that afflicted the Islamic community during the early Umayyad caliphate. It followed the death of the first Umayyad caliph Muawiyah I in 680 and lasted for about twelve years. The war involved the suppression of two challenges to the Umayyad dynasty, the first by Husayn ibn Ali, as well as his supporters including Sulayman ibn Surad and Mukhtar al-Thaqafi who rallied for his revenge in Iraq, and the second by Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr.


His nomination in 676 (56 AH) by Muawiya was opposed by several prominent Muslims from Hejaz. Following his accession, after Muawiya's death in 680, Husayn and Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr refused to recognize him and fled to sanctuary in Mecca. When Husayn was on his way to Kufa to lead a revolt against Yazid, he was killed with his small band of supporters by Yazid's forces in the Battle of Karbala. The killing of Husayn led to resentment in Hejaz, where Ibn al-Zubayr centered his opposition to the rule of Yazid, and was supported by many people in Mecca and Medina. After failed attempts to regain the confidence of Ibn al-Zubayr and the people of Hejaz through diplomacy, Yazid sent an army to end the rebellion. The army defeated the Medinese in the Battle of al-Harrah in August 683 and the city was given over to three days of pillage. Later, siege was laid to Mecca, which lasted for several weeks. The siege ended with the death of Yazid in November 683 and the empire fell to civil war.

The Hijri year or era is the era used in the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins its count from the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib. This event, known as the Hijra, is commemorated in Islam for its role in the founding of the first Muslim community (ummah).

Hejaz Place

The Hejaz is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia. The name of the region is derived from the Arabic root Ḥ-J-Z, meaning "to separate", and it is so called as it separates the Jordanian Steppe in the North from the land of Tihamah in the South. It is also known as the "Western Province". It is bordered on the west by the Gulf of Aqaba, on the north by Jordan, on the east by the Najd, and on the south by the Tihamah. Its largest city is Jeddah, the second largest city in Saudi Arabia.

Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr Arab sahabi

Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam was the leader of a caliphate based in Mecca that rivaled the Umayyads between 683 until his death. The son of al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam and Asma bint Abi Bakr, Ibn al-Zubayr belonged to the Quraysh, the leading tribe of the nascent Muslim community, and was the first child born to the Muhajirun, Islam's earliest converts. As a youth, he participated in the early Muslim conquests alongside his father in Syria and Egypt, and later played a role in the Muslim conquests of North Africa and northern Iran in 647 and 650, respectively. During the First Muslim Civil War, he fought on the side of his aunt A'isha against Caliph Ali. Though little is heard of Ibn al-Zubayr during the subsequent reign of the first Umayyad caliph Mu'awiya I, it was known that he opposed the latter's designation of his son, Yazid I, as his successor. Ibn al-Zubayr, along with much of the Quraysh and the Ansar, the leading Muslim groups of the Hejaz, opposed the caliphate becoming an inheritable institution of the Umayyads.

Yazid is considered an illegitimate ruler and a tyrant by many Muslims due to his hereditary succession, the death of Husayn and the attack on the city of Medina by his forces. Modern historians present a milder view of him, and consider him a capable ruler, albeit less successful than his father.

Early life

Genealogical tree of the Sufyanids, the ruling family to which Yazid I belonged Sufyanid dynasty genealogy.png
Genealogical tree of the Sufyanids, the ruling family to which Yazid I belonged

Yazid was born in Syria in 646 to Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, then governor of Syria under Caliph Uthman (r. 644–656), and Maysun, the daughter of Bahdal ibn Unayf, a chieftain of the powerful Banu Kalb tribe. [6] [7] Yazid grew up with his maternal Kalbite tribesmen. [6] Though during his youth he spent his springs in the desert with his Bedouin kin, for the remainder of the year he was in the company of the Greek and native Syrian courtiers of his father, [8] who became caliph in 661. Yazid led several campaigns against the Byzantine Empire and in 670 participated in an attack on Constantinople. He also led the hajj (the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca) on several occasions. [5]

Bilad al-Sham Wikimedia list article

Bilad al-Sham was a Rashidun, Umayyad and later Abbasid Caliphate province in what is now the Levant. It incorporated former Byzantine territories of the Diocese of the East, organized soon after the Muslim conquest of the Levant in the mid-7th century, which was completed at the decisive Battle of Yarmouk. The term "Bilad al-Sham" means "land to the north", literally "land on the left-hand" relative to someone in the Hejaz facing east.

Uthman Companion of Muhammad and third Rashidun Caliph

Uthman ibn Affan, also known in English by the Turkish and Persian rendering Osman, was a son-in-law and notable companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the third of the Rashidun, or "Rightly Guided Caliphs". Born into a prominent Meccan clan, Banu Umayya of the Quraysh tribe, he played a major role in early Islamic history, and is known for having ordered the compilation of the standard version of the Quran. When Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab died in office aged 59/60 years, ʿUthmān, aged 64/65 years, succeeded him and was the second-oldest to rule as Caliph.

The Banu Kalb or Kalb ibn Wabara was an Arab tribe. Prior to the Muslim conquest of Syria in the 630s, the Kalb's territory spanned much of northwestern Arabia, the Palmyrene steppe, the Samawah, the Hawran plain and the Golan Heights. One of their main centers was the desert town of Dumat al-Jandal. The Kalb became involved in the tribal affairs in the eastern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire since the 4th century and were likely the tribe of Mavia, the Bedouin queen of southern Syria. By the 6th century, the Kalb had largely become Monophysite Christians and came under the military authority of the Ghassanids, Arab vassals of the Byzantines.

Nomination as caliph

By the end of the first Islamic civil war (August 661), Muawiya became sole ruler of the Caliphate as a result of a peace treaty with Hasan ibn Ali, who had controlled most of the Caliphate following the murder of his father Ali a few months earlier. The terms of the treaty stipulated that Muawiya would not nominate a successor. However, in 676, Muawiya nominated Yazid as his heir. [9] [10] Muawiya and the shura (consultation) declared for Yazid in Damascus, [11] where the former had summoned influential people from all provinces to the capital and convinced them one way or another. Muawiya ordered Marwan ibn al-Hakam, then the governor of Medina, to inform the people of Medina of Muawiya's decision. Marwan faced resistance to this announcement, especially from Husayn ibn Ali, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, Abd Allah ibn Umar and Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr. Muawiya went to Medina and pressed the four dissenters to accede, but they fled to Mecca. Muawiya followed and threatened some of them with death, but they still refused to support him. Nonetheless, he was successful in convincing the people of Mecca that the four had pledged their allegiance, and received allegiance for Yazid. On his way back to Damascus, he secured allegiance from the people of Medina as well. Yazid's opponents were silent thereafter. German orientalist Julius Wellhausen doubts the story, [12] while Bernard Lewis writes that the homage was arranged with a mix of diplomacy and bribes and, to a lesser extent, by force. [11]

First Fitna civil war within the Rashidun Caliphate which resulted in the overthrowing of the Rashidun caliphs and the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty

The First Fitna was a civil war within the Rashidun Caliphate which resulted in the overthrowing of the Rashidun caliphs and the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty. It began when the caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated by rebels in 656 and continued through the four-year reign of Uthman's successor Ali ibn Abi Talib. It ended in 661 when Ali's heir Hasan ibn Ali concluded a treaty acknowledging the rule of Muawiyah, the first Umayyad caliph.

In 661 CE, after Ali's murder, Hasan ibn Ali attained to the caliphate. There was a military conflict between Caliph Ali and Muawiya ibn Abu Sufyan ; and to avoid the agonies of a further civil war, Hasan signed the Hasan–Muawiya treaty with Muawiyah. According to the treaty, Hasan ceded the caliphate to Muawiyah but the latter could name no successor during his reign; instead, he was to let the Islamic world choose its successor afterward.

Hasan ibn Ali Grandson of Muhammad, son of Ali ibn Abi Talib and Fatimah bint Muhammad, and second Shia Imam

Al-Hasan ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib, commonly known as Hasan or Hassan, was the eldest son of Ali and Muhammad's daughter Fatimah, and was the older brother of Husayn. Muslims respect him as a grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad. Among Shia Muslims, Hasan is revered as the second Imam. Hasan was elected for the caliphate after his father's death, but abdicated after six or seven months to Muawiyah I, the founder of the Umayyad dynasty to end the First Fitna. Al-Hasan was known for donating to the poor, his kindness to the poor and bondmen, and for his knowledge, tolerance and bravery. For the rest of his life, Hasan lived in Medina, until he died at the age of 45 and was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi cemetery in Medina. His wife, Ja'da bint al-Ash'at, is commonly accused of having poisoned him.

Before dying, Muawiya left Yazid a will, instructing him on matters of governing the empire. He advised him to beware of Husayn and Ibn al-Zubayr, and predicted that the people of Iraq would entice Husayn into rebellion and then abandon him. Yazid was further advised to treat Husayn with caution and not to spill his blood, since he was the grandson of Muhammad. Ibn al-Zubayr, on the other hand, was to be treated harshly, unless he came to terms. Muawiya also advised him to treat the people of the Hejaz well. [13]


Oaths of allegiance

Upon his accession, Yazid requested and received oaths of allegiance from the governors of the Caliphate's provinces. He wrote to his cousin, the governor of Medina, Walid ibn Utba ibn Abu Sufyan, informing him of the death of Muawiya and instructing him to secure allegiance from Husayn ibn Ali, Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn Umar. [14] The instructions contained in the letter were:

Al-Walīd ibn ʿUtba ibn Abī Sufyān was a Umayyad ruling family member and statesman during the reigns of the Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I. He served two stints as the governor of Medina in 677/78–680 and 681–682. He was dismissed during his first term for failing to secure oaths of allegiance from Husayn ibn Ali and other senior Muslim figures who opposed Yazid's accession. After his relocation to Damascus during the Second Fitna, he was imprisoned in 684 for proclaiming his support for continued Umayyad rule and condemning the anti-Umayyad caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. He was freed shortly after by his kinsman, Khalid ibn Yazid and the pro-Umayyad Banu Kalb tribe.

Seize Husayn, Abdullah ibn Umar, and Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr to give the oath of allegiance. Act so fiercely that they have no chance to do anything before giving the oath of allegiance. Peace be with you. [15]

Walid sought the advice of Marwan on the matter. Marwan suggested that Ibn al-Zubayr and Husayn should be forced to pay allegiance as they were dangerous, while Ibn Umar should be left alone as he posed no threat. Husayn answered Walid's summon, while Ibn al-Zubayr did not. When Husayn met Walid and Marwan in a semi-private meeting, he was informed of Muawiya's death and Yazid's accession to the caliphate. When asked for his pledge of allegiance to Yazid, Husayn responded that giving his allegiance in private would be insufficient, such a thing should be given in public. Walid agreed, but Marwan interrupted demanding that Husayn be detained until he pledged allegiance. At this, Marwan was scolded by Husayn who then exited unharmed. Husayn had his armed retinue waiting nearby in case the authorities attempted to apprehend him. Immediately following Husayn's exit, Marwan admonished Walid, who in turn rebutted Marwan, justifying his refusal to harm Husayn by stating "On the Day of Resurrection a man who is [responsible] for the blood of Al-Husayn [will weigh] little in the scale of God". Ibn al-Zubayr left for Mecca that night. In the morning Walid sent eighty horsemen after him, but he escaped. Husayn too left for Mecca shortly after, without having sworn allegiance to Yazid. [16] Dissatisfied with this failure, Yazid replaced Walid with Amr ibn Said. [14] Unlike Husayn and Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn Umar, Abd al-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr and Abd Allah ibn Abbas, who had also previously denounced Muawiya's nomination of Yazid, now paid allegiance to him. [17]

Incident of Karbala

Coin of the Umayyad Caliphate at the time of Yazid ibn Muawiya. BCRA (Basra) mint; "Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, governor". Dated AH 60 = AD 679/680. Sasanian style bust imitating Khosrau II right; bismillah and four pellets in margin/ Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames; date to left, mint name to right. Umayyad Caliphate. temp. Yazid I ibn Mu'awiya. AH 60-64 AD 680-683.jpg
Coin of the Umayyad Caliphate at the time of Yazid ibn Muawiya. BCRA (Basra) mint; "Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad, governor". Dated AH 60 = AD 679/680. Sasanian style bust imitating Khosrau II right; bismillah and four pellets in margin/ Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames; date to left, mint name to right.

In Mecca Husayn received letters from pro-Alid [lower-alpha 2] Kufans, inviting him to lead them in revolt against Yazid. Husayn subsequently sent his cousin Muslim ibn Aqil to assess the situation in the city. He also sent letters to Basra, but his messenger was handed over to the governor Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad and killed. Ibn Aqil informed Husayn of the large-scale support he found in Kufa, signaling that the latter should enter the city. Yazid ordered Ibn Ziyad to move to Kufa and execute or imprison Ibn Aqil. Ibn Ziyad brutally suppressed the rebellion and killed Ibn Aqil. [18]

Encouraged by Ibn Aqil's letter, Husayn left for Kufa, ignoring warnings from Ibn Umar, Ibn al-Zubayr and Ibn Abbas that the Kufans could not be trusted. On the way to the city, he received the news of Ibn Aqil's death and that the Kufans had changed sides. [18] Nonetheless, Husayn and his companions continued towards Kufa and Ibn Ziyad sent some 4,000 men to counter them. His troops forced them to camp in the desert of Karbala. In the ensuing hostilities on 10 October 680, Husayn and 72 of his male companions were killed, while Husayn's family were taken prisoner. [18] [19] This event caused widespread outcry among the Muslims and the image of Yazid suffered greatly. [20] It also helped crystallize opposition to Yazid into an anti-Umayyad movement based on Alid aspirations, [21] and contributed to the development of Shi'ite identity. [19]

Revolt of Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr

Ibn al-Zubayr started secretly taking oaths of allegiance in Mecca. Upon hearing of this, Yazid sent a silver chain to Ibn al-Zubayr with the intention of pacifying him, but it was refused. [22] Yazid then sent a force led by Ibn al-Zubayr's own brother Amr, who was at odds with Ibn al-Zubayr, to arrest him. This force was defeated and Amr was killed. [23] After Husayn's death at Karbala, Ibn al-Zubayr's influence reached Medina and Kufa. [24] To counter the growing influence of Ibn al-Zubayr in Medina, Yazid invited notables of the city to Damascus and tried to win them over with gifts and presents. The notables were unpersuaded, and on their return to Medina narrated tales of his lavish lifestyle and practices considered by many to be impious, including drinking wine, hunting with hounds, and his love for music. The Medinese renounced their allegiance to Yazid upon hearing these details and expelled the governor and all Umayyads residing in the city. Yazid sent an army of 12,000 men under the command of Muslim ibn Uqba to reconquer Hejaz. By the end of August 683 Ibn Uqba approached Medina and gave the Medinese three days to reconsider, but was refused. When the ultimatum ended, a battle started in which the Medinese were defeated. After plundering the city for three days and forcing the rebels to renew their allegiance, the Syrian army headed for Mecca to subdue Ibn al-Zubayr. [25] [26] According to one account, the city was not plundered, only the leaders of the rebellion were executed. [25] Ibn Uqba died on the way to Mecca and command passed to Husayn ibn Numayr al-Sakuni, who laid siege to Mecca in September 683. The siege lasted for several weeks, during which the Kaaba caught fire. Yazid's sudden death in November 683 ended the campaign and threw the caliphate into disarray and civil war. Ibn al-Zubayr declared himself caliph and Iraq and Egypt came under his rule. [27] [2]

Foreign campaigns

On the foreign front, Yazid discontinued Muawiya's policy of raids against the Byzantine Empire and focused on stabilizing his borders. Islands in the Sea of Marmara were abandoned. Syrian district of Hims was split and the new district of Qinnasrin was formed. [28] He reappointed Uqba ibn Nafi as governor of Ifriqiya, whom Muawiya had deposed. In 681, Uqba launched a large-scale expedition into western Africa. Defeating the Berbers and the Byzantines, Uqba reached as far as the Atlantic coast and captured Tangier and Volubilis. Despite his successes, he was unable to establish a permanent hold on these territories. On his return eastward, he was ambushed and killed by a Berber-Byzantine force, resulting in the loss of the conquered territories. [29]

Death and succession

Yazid died on 12 November 683 at Huwwarin, aged between 35 and 39. His son Muawiya II, whom he had nominated, became caliph. His control was limited to just some parts of Syria however, and he died after a few months from an unknown illness. Some early sources state that Muawiya II abdicated before his death. [30] In any case, Marwan ibn Hakam became caliph afterwards and the Sufyanid caliphate came to an end. [31]


Yazid is considered an evil figure by many Muslims, especially by Shi'ites. [5] He was the first person in the history of the caliphate to be nominated as heir based on a blood relationship, and this became a tradition afterwards. [32] He is considered a tyrant who was responsible for three major crimes during his caliphate: the death of Husayn ibn Ali and his followers at the Battle of Karbala, considered a massacre; the aftermath of the Battle of al-Harrah, in which the troops of Yazid's general, Muslim ibn Uqba, pillaged the town of Medina; and the burning of the Kaaba during the siege of Mecca, which was blamed on Yazid's commander Husayn ibn Numayr. Moreover, because of his habits of drinking, dancing and hunting, and keeping pet animals such as dogs and monkeys, he is considered to have been impious and unworthy of leading the Muslim community. [5]

Despite his reputation in religious circles, academic historians generally portray a more favourable view of Yazid. According to Jullius Wellhausen, Yazid was a mild ruler, who resorted to violence only when necessary, and was not a tyrant that religious tradition portrays him to be. [33] Michael Jan de Goeje describes him as "a peace-loving, generous prince". [2] According to G. R. Hawting, he tried to continue the diplomatic policies of his father. But, unlike Muawiya, he was not successful in winning over the opposition with gifts and bribes. [5] In the view of Bernard Lewis, Yazid was a capable ruler but was overly criticized by later Arab historians. [21]


  1. His year of birth is uncertain. Reports vary from 22 AH to 30 AH [2]
  2. Pro-Alids or Alid partisans were political supporters of Ali, and later his descendants.

Related Research Articles

Umayyad Caliphate Second caliphate

The Umayyad Caliphate was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the Umayyad dynasty, hailing from Mecca. The third Caliph, Uthman ibn Affan, was a member of the Umayyad clan. The family established dynastic, hereditary rule with Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, who became the sixth Caliph after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661. After Mu'awiyah's death in 680, conflicts over the succession resulted in a Second Civil War and power eventually fell into the hands of Marwan I from another branch of the clan. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital.

Battle of Karbala 10 Muharram 61, October 10, 680 AD

The Battle of Karbala took place on Muharram 10, in the year 61 AH of the Islamic calendar in Karbala, in present-day Iraq. The battle took place between a small group of supporters and relatives of Muhammad's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali, and a larger military detachment from the forces of Yazid I, the Umayyad caliph.

Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam ibn Abiʾl-ʿAs ibn Umayya, commonly known as Marwan I was the fourth caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate. He ruled for less than a year in 684–685, founding the Marwanid ruling house, which took over power from the Sufyanid branch of the Umayyad dynasty and remained in power until 750. Marwan had known the Islamic prophet Muhammad and is thus considered a ṣaḥābī (companion). He served as the secretary and right-hand man of his kinsman Caliph Uthman and participated in the defense of his house during a rebel siege. Uthman was killed by the rebels, prompting Marwan to kill Talha ibn Ubayd Allah, whom he held culpable, during the Battle of the Camel in 656. He subsequently gave allegiance to Caliph Ali and later served as governor of Medina under his kinsman Caliph Mu'awiya I, founder of the Umayyad Caliphate.

Umar II Umayyad caliph

Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, commonly known as Umar II, was the eighth Umayyad caliph, ruling from 22 September 717 until his death in 720. He was also a cousin of the former caliph, being the son of Abd al-Malik's younger brother, Abd al-Aziz. He was also a matrilineal great-grandson of the second caliph Umar ibn Al-Khattab.

This is a timeline of major events in the Muslim world from 601 AD to 700 AD.

Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad Muslim general

ʿUbayd Allāh ibn Ziyād was the Umayyad governor of Basra, Kufa and Khurasan during the reigns of caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I, and the leading general of the Umayyad army under caliphs Marwan I and Abd al-Malik. Ubayd Allah is primarily remembered for his role in the killings of members of Ali ibn Abi Talib's family and he has become infamous in Muslim tradition.

Mukhtār ibn Abī ʿUbayd al-Thaqafī was a pro-Alid revolutionary based in Kufa, who led a rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate in 685 and ruled over most of Iraq for eighteen months during the Second Islamic Civil War.

Battle of al-Harra middle ages battle

The Battle of al-Harra was fought between the Syrian army of the Umayyad caliph Yazid I led by Muslim ibn Uqba and the local defenders of Medina, namely the Ansar and Muhajirun factions, who had rebelled against the caliph, at the lava field of Harrat Waqim northeast of Medina on 26 August 683.

Battle of Marj Rahit (684)

The Battle of Marj Rahit was one of the early battles of the Second Islamic Civil War. It was fought on 18 August 684 between the Kalb-dominated armies of the Yaman, supporting the Umayyads under Caliph Marwan I, and the Qays under al-Dahhak ibn Qays al-Fihri, who supported the Mecca-based Abdallah ibn al-Zubayr; the latter had proclaimed himself Caliph. The Kalbi victory consolidated the position of the Umayyads over Syria, paving the way for their eventual victory in the civil war against Ibn al-Zubayr. However, it also left a bitter legacy of division and rivalry between the Qays and the Yaman, which would be a constant source of strife and instability for the remainder of the Umayyad Caliphate.

Battle of Ayn al-Warda

The Battle of Ayn al-Warda was fought in early January 685 between the Umayyad army and the Penitents (Tawwabun). The Penitents were a group of pro-Alid Kufans led by Sulayman ibn Surad, a companion of Muhammad, who wished to atone for their failure to assist Husayn ibn Ali in his abortive uprising against the Umayyads in 680. Pro-Alid Kufans had urged Husayn to revolt against the Umayyad caliph Yazid but then failed to assist him when he was killed in the Battle of Karbala in 680. Initially a small underground movement, the Penitents received widespread support in Iraq after the death of caliph Yazid in 683. They were deserted by most of their supporters shortly before the departure to northern Syria where a large Umayyad army under the command of Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad was preparing to launch an assault on Iraq. In the three-day long battle that ensued at Ras al-'Ayn, the small Penitent army was annihilated and its senior leaders, including Ibn Surad, were killed. Nevertheless, this battle proved to be a forerunner and source of motivation for the later more successful movement of Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.

Siege of Mecca (683) 683 battle of the Second Islamic Civil War

The Siege of Mecca in September–November 683 was one of the early battles of the Second Islamic Civil War. The city of Mecca served as a sanctuary for Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, who was among the most prominent challengers to the dynastic succession to the Caliphate by the Umayyad Yazid I. After nearby Medina, the other holy city of Islam, also rebelled against Yazid, the Umayyad ruler sent an army to subdue Arabia. The Umayyad army defeated the Medinans and took the city, but Mecca held out in a month-long siege, during which the Kaaba was damaged by fire. The siege ended when news came of Yazid's sudden death. The Umayyad commander, Husayn ibn Numayr, after vainly trying to induce Ibn al-Zubayr to return with him to Syria and be recognized as Caliph, departed with his forces. Ibn al-Zubayr remained in Mecca throughout the civil war, but he was nevertheless soon acknowledged as Caliph across most of the Muslim world. It was not until 692, that the Umayyads were able to send another army which again besieged and captured Mecca, ending the civil war.

'Al-Ḥuṣayn ibn Numayr al-Sakūnī was a leading general of the early Umayyad Caliphate, from the Sakun subtribe of the Kindah.

Khālid ibn ʿAbdallāh al-Qasrī was an Arab who served the Umayyad Caliphate as governor of Mecca in the 8th century and of Iraq from 724 until 738. The latter post, entailing as it did control over the entire eastern Caliphate, made him one of the most important officials during the crucial reign of Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik. He is most notable for his support of the Yaman tribes in the conflict with the Qays who dominated the administration of Iraq and the East under his predecessor and successor, as well as for his reputation for un-Islamic beliefs, support for Christianity and even atheism (zindiq). Following his dismissal, he was twice imprisoned and tortured by his successor, dying as a result in 743.

The Banu Umayya or Umayyads (الأمويون), were the ruling family of the caliphate between 661 and 750 and later of Islamic Spain between 756 and 1031. In the pre-Islamic period, they were a prominent clan of the Quraysh tribe descended from Umayya ibn Abd Shams. Despite staunch opposition to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the Umayyads embraced Islam before the latter's death in 632. A member of the clan, Uthman, went on to become the third Rashidun caliph in 644–656, while other members held various governorships. One of these governors, Mu'awiya I, won the First Muslim Civil War in 661 and established the Umayyad Caliphate with its capital in Damascus, Syria. This marked the beginning of the Umayyad dynasty, the first hereditary dynasty in the history of Islam, and the only one to rule over the entire Islamic world of its time.

Siege of Mecca (692)

The siege of Mecca occurred at the end of the Second Islamic Civil War in 692 when the forces of the Umayyad caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan besieged and defeated his rival, the caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr in his headquarters, the Islamic holy city of Mecca.

Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr al-Ansārī was a commander and statesman of the Umayyad Caliphate. A supporter of Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan during the First Muslim Civil War, he was appointed by him governor of Kufa in 678–680. Afterward, he was made governor of Homs by Caliph Yazid I. After the latter's death, he gave allegiance to the Mecca-based, Caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. When pro-Umayyad forces routed Ibn al-Zubayr's supporters in Syria, he fled Homs but was slain during his escape.

Natil ibn Qays ibn Zayd al-Judhami was the chieftain of the Banu Judham tribe and a prominent tribal leader in Palestine during the reigns of caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I. In 684, he revolted against the Umayyads, took control of Palestine and gave his allegiance to Caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. He joined the latter in Mecca after pro-Zubayrid forces were routed at the Battle of Marj Rahit. He may have renewed his rebellion in Palestine in 685/86 and was slain during the hostilities.


  1. Humphreys 1990, p. 13.
  2. 1 2 3 4 de Goeje 1911, p. 30.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Howard 1991, p. 226.
  4. Wellhausen 1927, p. 222.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 Hawting 2002, pp. 309–311.
  6. 1 2 Goldschmidt Jr. & Al-Marashi 2019, p. 53.
  7. Sprengling 1939, pp. 182, 193–194.
  8. Sprengling 1939, p. 194.
  9. Morony 1996, p. 183.
  10. Madelung 1997, p. 322.
  11. 1 2 Lewis 2002, p. 67.
  12. Wellhausen 1927, pp. 141–145.
  13. Lammens 1921, pp. 5–6.
  14. 1 2 Wellhausen 1927, pp. 145–146.
  15. Howard 1991, pp. 2–3.
  16. Howard 1991, pp. 3–7.
  17. Donner 2010, p. 177.
  18. 1 2 3 Madelung, Wilferd. "Hosayn b. ali". Encyclopædia Iranica. Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  19. 1 2 Daftary 1992, p. 50.
  20. Donner 2010, p. 179.
  21. 1 2 Lewis 2002, p. 68.
  22. Wellhausen 1927, p. 148.
  23. Donner 2010, p. 180.
  24. de Goeje 1911, p. 29.
  25. 1 2 Wellhausen 1927, pp. 152–156.
  26. Donner 2010, pp. 180–181.
  27. Donner 2010, pp. 181–182.
  28. Kennedy 2004, p. 90.
  29. Christides 2000, p. 790.
  30. Wellhausen 1927, pp. 168–169.
  31. Hawting 2000, p. 47.
  32. Kennedy 2016, p. 40.
  33. Wellhausen 1927, p. 168.


Yazid I
Born: 647  Died: 12 November 683
Preceded by
Muawiya I
Caliph of Islam
Umayyad Caliph

680 12 November 683
Succeeded by
Muawiya II