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39
CALIPHATE

were demolished, and likewise those of Baalbek, Damascus, Jerusalem and other towns. Syria was utterly crushed, and therewith the bulwark of the dynasty was destroyed. Not until the summer of 128 (A.D. 746) could Merwan resume his campaign against Irak.

The governor of this province, Abdallah, the son of Omar II., was a man of small energy, whose principal care was his personal ease and comfort. An ambitious man, Abdallah b. Moawiya, a great-grandson of Ali’s brother Ja‛far, put himself at the head of a band of Shi‛ites and maulas, made himself master of Kufa and marched upon Hira, where, since Yūsuf b. Omar, the governor and the Syrian troops had resided. The rebels were defeated, and Kufa surrendered (October 744) under condition of amnesty for the insurgents and freedom for Abdallah b. Moawiya. This adventurer now went into Media (Jabal), where a great number of maulas and Shi‛ites, even members of the reigning dynasty and of the Abbasid family, such as the future caliph Mansur, rejoined him. With their help he became master of a vast empire, which, however, lasted scarcely three years.

Ibn Omar did not acknowledge Merwan as caliph. For the moment Merwan could do no more than send a new governor, Ibn Sa‛īd al Ḥarashī. This officer was supported only by the Qaisite troops, the Kalbites, who were numerically superior, maintaining Ibn Omar in his residence at Hira. There were many skirmishes between them, but a common danger soon forced them to suspend their hostilities. The general disorder after the death of Hisham had given to the Khawarij an opportunity of asserting their claims such as they had never had before. They belonged for the greater part to the Rabī‛a, who always stood more or less aloof from the other Arabs, and had a particular grudge against the Moḍar. Their leading tribe, the Shaibān, possessed the lands on the Tigris in the province of Mosul, and here, after the murder of Walid II., their chief proclaimed himself caliph. Reinforced by many Kharijites out of the northern provinces, he marched against Kufa. Ibn Omar and Ibn Sa‛īd al Ḥarashī tried to defend their province, but were completely defeated. Ḥarashī fled to Merwan, Ibn Omar to Hira, which, after a siege of two months, he was obliged to surrender in Shawwāl 127 (August A.D. 745). Manṣuř b. Jomhūr was the first to pass over to the Khawarij; then Ibn Omar himself took the oath of allegiance. That a noble Koreishite, a prince of the reigning house, should pledge himself to follow Ḍaḥḥāk the Shaibānite as his Imam, was an event of which the Khawarij were very proud. Ibn Omar was rewarded with the government of eastern Irak, Khūzistān and Fārs.

Whilst Merwan besieged Homs, Ḍaḥḥāk returned to Mesopotamia and took Mosul, whence he threatened Nisibis, where Abdallah, the son of Merwan, maintained himself with difficulty. Suleimān b. Hishām also had gone over to the Khawarij, who now numbered 120,000 men. Mesopotamia itself was in danger, when Merwan at last was able to march against the enemy. In a furious battle at Kafartūtha (September A.D. 746) the Khawarij were defeated; Ḍaḥḥāk and his successor Khaibarī perished; the survivors were obliged to retire to Mosul, where they crossed the Tigris. Merwan followed them and encamped on the western bank. Immediately after the battle of Kafartūtha, Yazid b. Omar b. Hobaira directed his troops towards Irak. He beat the Kharijites repeatedly and entered Kufa in May or June 747. Ibn Omar was taken prisoner; Manṣūr b. Jomhūr fled to Ibn Moawiya. Ibn Hobaira was at last free to send Ibn Ḍobāra with an army to Mesopotamia. At his approach the Kharijites left their camp and fled to Abdallah b. Moawiya, who was now at the height of his power. But it was not destined to last. The two generals of Ibn Hobaira, Ibn Ḍobāra and Nobāta b. Ḥanẓala defeated his army; Ibn Moawiya fled to Khorasan, where he met his death; the chief of the Kharijites, Shaibān Yashkori went to eastern Arabia; Suleimān b. Hishām and Manṣūr b. Johmūr escaped to India. Thus, at last, the western and south-eastern parts of the empire lay at the feet of Merwan. But in the north-east, in Khorasan, meanwhile a storm had arisen, against which his resources and his wisdom were alike of no avail.

When the news of the murder of Walid II. reached Khorasan, Naṣr b. Sayyār did not at once acknowledge the Caliphate of Yazid III., but induced the Arab chiefs to accept himself as amir of Khorasan, until a caliph should be universally acknowledged. Not many months later (Shawwāl 126) he was confirmed in his post by Yusuf b. Omar, the governor of Irak. But Naṣr had a personal enemy, the chief of the Azd (Yemenites) Jodai’ al-Kirmānī, a very ambitious man. A quarrel arose, and in a short time the Azd under Kirmānī, supported by the Rabī‛a, who always were ready to join the opposition, were in insurrection, which Naṣr tried in vain to put down by concessions.

So stood matters when Ḥārith b. Soraij, seconded by Yazid III., reappeared on the scene, crossed the Oxus and came to Merv. Naṣr received him with the greatest honour, hoping to get his aid against Kirmānī, but Ḥārith, to whom 3000 men of his tribe, the Tamīm, had gone over, demanded Naṣr’s abdication and tried to make himself master of Merv. Having failed in this, he allied himself with Kirmānī. Naṣr could hold Merv no longer, and retired to Nishapur. But the Tamīm of Ḥārith could not endure the supremacy of the Azd. In a moment the allies were divided into two camps; a battle ensued, in which Ḥārith was defeated and killed. Originally, Ḥārith seems to have had the highest aims, but in reality he did more than any one else to weaken the Arabic dominion. He brought the Turks into the field against them; he incited the native population of Transoxiana against their Arab lords, and stirred up discord between the Arabs themselves. Being a Tamīmite, he belonged to the Moḍar, on whom the government in Khorasan depended; but he aided the Yemenites to gain the upper hand of them. Thus he paved the way for Abu Moslim.

Since the days of Ali there had been two tendencies among the Shi‛ites. The moderate party distinguished itself from the other Moslems only by their doctrine that the imamate belonged legally to a man of the house of the Prophet. The other party, that of the ultra-Shi‛ites, named Hāshimīya after Abu Hāshim the son of Mahommed b. al-Ḥanafīya, preached the equality of all Moslems, Arabs or non-Arabs, and taught that the same divine spirit that had animated the Prophet, incorporated itself again in his heirs (see Shi'ites). After the death of Hosain, they chose for their Imam Mahommed b. al-Ḥanafīya, and at his decease his son Abu Hāshim, from whom Mahommed b. Ali, the grandson of Abdallah b. Abbas, who resided at Ḥomaima in the south-east of Syria, obtained the secrets of the party and took the lead (A.H. 98, see above). This Mahommed, the father of the two first Abbasid caliphs, was a man of unusual ability and great ambition. He directed his energies primarily to Khorasan. The missionaries were charged with the task of undermining the authority of the Omayyads, by drawing attention to all the injustices that took place under their reign, and to all the luxury and wantonness of the court, as contrasted with the misery of many of their subjects. God would not suffer it any longer. As soon as the time was ripe that time could not be far off—He would send a saviour—and out of the house of the Prophet, the Mahdi, who would restore Islam to its original purity. All who desired to co-operate in this holy purpose must pledge themselves to unlimited obedience to the Imam, and place their lives and property at his disposal. As a proof of their sincerity they were required at once to pay a fixed sum for the Imam. The missionaries had great success, especially among the non-Arabic inhabitants of Khorasan and Transoxiana.

Mahommed b. Ali died A.H. 126 (A.D. 743-744), and his son Ibrahīm, the Imam, took his place. Ibrahīm had a confidant about whose antecedents one fact alone seems certain, that he was a maula (client) of Persian origin. This man, Abu Moslim by name, was a man of real ability and devoted to his master’s cause. To him, in 745-746, the management of affairs in Khorasan was entrusted, with instructions to consult in all weighty matters the head of the mission, the Arab Suleimān b. Kathīr. At first the chiefs of the mission were by no means prepared to recognize Abu Moslim as the plenipotentiary of the heir of the Prophet. In the year 129 he judged that the time for open manifestation had arrived. His partisans were ordered to assemble from all sides on a fixed day at Sīqadenj in the province of Merv. Then, on the 1st Shawwāl (15th June 747), the first solemn meeting took