Sarim al-Din Ibrahim b. Duqmaq (d. 1406) on Yazid b. Mu’awiya (d. 683)

Ṣārim al-Dīn Ibrāhīm b. Muhammad b. Duqmāq was a prominent Mamluk historian who was originally a Mamluk soldier in Egypt before abandoning a career in the military in order to pursue the study of Hanafi jurisprudence, Arabic literature, and history. According to both his contemporaries and later scholars, such as the historian al-Maqrīzī (d. 1442), Ibn Duqmāq authored over 200 books on history and was a fair, careful historian who emphasizes the importance of the authenticity and veracity of facts rather than merely emulating the works of previous historians. The following is drawn from one of his most important works, al-Jawhar al-Thamīn, which deals with the political history of the Islamic world from the time of the Prophet Muhammad to the Circassian Mamluk period.


The reign of Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya

Yazīd was granted the caliphate after his father, in Rajab 60 A.H. [April 680 A.D.]. He sent one of his representatives to Medina to secure the oath of allegiance from al-Ḥusayn ibn ‘Alī (may God be pleased with them) and ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Umar, but they refused and fled the city by night. ‘Abd Allāh ibn ‘Abbās accompanied them. It was said that ‘Abd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr was in Mecca at the time and that many people had given him the oath of allegiance. Al-Ḥusayn had received various letters from the people of Kufa, and he had sent to them Muslim ibn ‘Aqīl, who was given the oath of allegiance [on behalf of al-Ḥusayn] in secret. When his matter was discovered in Kufa, he was killed by ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ziyād. At the beginning of 61 A.H. [October 680 A.D.], al-Ḥusayn set out [from Mecca] in the direction of Kufa but was intercepted by the troops of Ibn Ziyād, who killed him along with seventy two members of his household, including his children, his brothers, his cousins, and his companions. They also took the female members of his family captive. ‘Ubayd Allāh ibn Ziyād sent them along with the decapitated heads of those killed to Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya, who was in Damascus. Yazīd sent the captives to Medina. The head of al-Ḥusayn was placed on a lance, and this was the first time such a thing had been done in the history of Islam

During his reign, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zubayr led a rebellion in Mecca and in 63 A.H. [683 A.D.] the people of Medina was the Battle of al-Ḥarra, in which the people of Medina expelled and killed the [Umayyad] governor ‘Uthmān [ibn Muhammad ibn Abū Sufyān] and expelled the Umayyads from the city. As a result, Yazīd sent an army led by Muslim ibn ‘Uqba al-Murrī. This military force massacred most of the population of Medina, including a group of illustrious Companions [of the Prophet], among whom were ‘Abd Allāh ibn Zayd, Mu‘ādh ibn al-Ḥārith, ‘Abd Allāh ibn Handhala, Ma‘qal ibn Sinān al-Ashja‘ī, Ḥumayd ibn Abī Khaythama, Yazīd ibn ‘Abd Allāh, Ibrāhīm ibn Nu‘aym and others. The troops then proceeded to plunder the city for three days. Yazīd’s reign also witnessed the shedding of blood in the Holy Sanctuary of God in Mecca, with the Ka‘ba being assaulted with fire during the war with Ibn al-Zubayr. Yazīd was the first ruler who had singing girls and drinking companions in his court and would sit upon a throne. In 64 A.H. [683 A.D.], the Ka‘ba was assaulted with catapults until its walls collapsed, and it was eleven days later that Yazīd died.”

[Ibn Duqmāq, al-Jawhar al-Thamīn fī Siyar al-Mulūk wa al-Salāṭīn (Beirut: ‘Alam al-Kutub, 2007), pp. 67–69]


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