Abd al-Malik by Chase Robinson

By Chase Robinson

'Abd al-Malik, who got here to prominence through the moment civil struggle of early Islam, governed the Islamic empire from 692 until eventually 705. not just did he effectively suppress uprising in the Muslim international and extend its frontiers, yet in lots of respects he based the empire itself. via approximately seven hundred, the varieties of a brand new realm, which stretched from North Arica within the west to Iran within the east, has taken transparent form with 'Abd al-Malik at its head. This booklet covers the beginnings and upward push to energy of this immensely influential caliph, in addition to his spiritual rules and ideas, his financial, administrative and army reforms, and his legacy, together with the Dome of the Rock, the oldest surviving huge development erected via Muslims.

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Tribesmen could lose contact with each other through settlement and migration, the result being the erosion or complete loss of that sense of belonging; but members of the same family, even if a large one, had a stronger sense of belonging. Knowing each other much better, they usually worked much harder on each other’s behalf. Little wonder then that although the Prophet’s first successors were chosen by acclamation and election, it took no more than four caliphs for the principle of hereditary succession to establish itself, with Mu‘awiya’s appointment of his son Yazid.

It was almost certainly Ibn al-Zubayr’s status as a Companion that recommended Ibn al-Zubayr to this Sunni historian. Non-Sunnis found other reasons to grant Ibn al-Zubayr the caliphate. As one ninth-century historian said of the competing claims between ‘Abd al-Malik and Ibn al-Zubayr, “he who controls the two sanctuaries in Mecca and Medina and leads the pilgrimage thus merits the caliphate”: choosing between the two, he accordingly plumped for the latter (al-Ya‘qubi, ii, 321). Had we a Zubayrid historiography, it would represent Ibn al-Zubayr as a legitimate caliph who was overthrown by a rebel.

Al-Mukhtar inherited the remnants of an earlier Shi‘ite movement, and championed the right to the caliphate of Muhammad b. al-Hanafiyya, a son of ‘Ali whom we met in chapter 1. His support was fairly wide (although not necessarily deep), and included not only Arab Muslims, but relatively large numbers of slaves and freedmen. He enjoyed considerable success as a result, appointing governors over regions in northern Iraq and Iran that had been administered from Kufa; in 686 a commander of his led a signal victory against an Umayyad army in northern Iraq.

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