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Ibn al-Zubayr r.a.

‘Abd Allah al-Zubayr or Ibn Zubayr or Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr’ (Arabic: عبد الله بن الزبير‎; 624 – 692) was an Arab sahabi whose father was Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, and whose mother was Asma bint Abi Bakr, daughter of the first Caliph Abu Bakr. He was the nephew of Aisha, Prophet Muhammad’s third wife.

He was a member of the Bani Assad tribe. As a young man, Abd Allah was an active participant in numerous Muslim campaigns against both the Byzantine and Sassanid empires. He marched to Sbeitla, Tunisia, the capital of self-proclaimed local emperor Gregory the Patrician. Gregory was defeated and killed in the Battle of Sufetula in 647 CE.

He also accompanied his father and Aisha into battle against Ali at the Battle of Bassorah.

Ibn al-Zubair’s revolt

Ibn al-Zubayr was not active in politics during the reign of Muawiyah I, but upon the ascension of Yazid I, he refused to swear allegiance to the new caliph.

One of his supporters, Muslim ibn Shihab, was the father of Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri who became a famous scholar.


After the death of Husayn bin Ali at the Battle of Karbela, Ibn Zubayr returned to the Hejaz where he declared himself the righteous caliph, and he began building support. Eventually he consolidated his power by sending a governor to Kufa. Soon, Ibn Zubayr established his power in Iraq, southern Arabia and in the greater part of Syria, and parts of Egypt. Ibn Zubayr benefitted greatly from widespread dissatisfaction among the populace with Umayyad rule. Yazid tried to end Ibn Zubayr’s rebellion by invading the Hejaz, and took Medina after the bloody Battle of al-Harrah followed by the siege of Makkah but his sudden death ended the campaign and threw the Umayyads into disarray with civil war eventually breaking out.


This essentially split the Islamic empire into two spheres with two different caliphs, but soon the Umayyad civil war was ended, and Zubayr lost Egypt and whatever he had of Syria to Marwan I. This coupled with the Kharijite rebellions in Iraq reduced his domain to only the Hejaz.

Abd al-Malik

Ibn Zubayr was finally defeated by Abd al-Malik, who sent Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf to reunite the Islamic empire. Hajjaj defeated and killed Ibn Zubayr radiyaLLahu ‘anh on the battlefield in 692, beheading him and crucifying his body, reestablishing Umayyad control over the Islamic Empire.

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