Abū-Tāhir Al-Jannābī

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Abu Tahir
Ruler of the Qarmatian State
Shattering isochamend.png
Reign 923–944
Coronation 923
Full name Abū-Tāhir Al-Jannābī
Born c. 906
Birthplace Bahrain (historical region)
Died 944
Place of death Bahrain (historical region)
Buried ????
Predecessor Abū-Saʿīd Jannābī
Successor Succeeded by his 3 surviving sons and nephews
Dynasty Qarmatian state

Abū-Tāhir Sulaymān Al-Jannābī (906–944) (Arabic: ابوطاهر سلیمان الجنّابی‎) was the ruler of the Qarmatian state in Bahrain (historical region) and Eastern Arabia, who in 930 led the sacking of Mecca.

The brother of ‘Abu Sa’id al-Jannabi, the founder of the Qarmatian state, Abu Tahir became leader of the state in 923.[1] He immediately began an expansionist phase raiding Basra that year, followed by Kufa in 927, defeating an Abbasid army in the process, and then threatening Baghdad in 928 before pillaging much of Iraq when he could not gain entry to the city.[2]

In 930, he led the Qarmatians’ most notorious attack when he pillaged Mecca and desecrated Islam’s most sacred sites. Unable to gain entry to the city initially, Abu Tahir called upon the right of all Muslims to enter the city and gave his oath that he came in peace. Once inside the city walls the Qarmatian army set about massacring the pilgrims, taunting them with verses of the Koran as they did so.[3] The bodies of the pilgrims were left to rot in the streets or thrown down the Well of Zamzam. The Kaaba was looted, with Abu Tahir taking personal possession of the Black Stone and bringing it back to Al-Hasa.

Early life[edit]

Tāhir Sulaymān was the brother of Abu Saeed, a tribal leader who had initiated the militarization of the Qarmatians.[4] Abu Saeed was an influential person who began preaching against Islam after being taught by his mentor Hamdan Qarmat a native of Syria, from who they are also named after[5] around 890[5] Tahir suliman was influenced heavily by his brother and taught how to fight early on, along with his followers.[4] Abu Tahir and Abu saeed started off plundering Persian pilgrims off to Mecca, caravans and traders before gathering large a large following.[4] The brothers soon mobilized an army and set out to lay siege to Basra, however the governor of Basra came to know of the preparations of Abu Saeed and he finding himself weak informed the Caliph in Baghdad, the Caliph sent the Persian General Abbas bin Umar to save Basra[4] but Abbas was defeated and his men executed and the Qarmatian siege was successful in capturing the city[4]

Rise to power[edit]

Abu Saeeds success in capturing most of Eastern Arabia encouraged him to lay siege to Hajr, a strategic city near the Persian Gulf, after doing so he appointed his son Sayeed the crown prince[4] a move that had angered Abu Tahir, Abu Tahir soon assassinated his older brother and declared himself chief of the Qarmatians in 288 A.H[4]

Early reign[edit]

Soon after assuming power caliph Al Muqtadir recaptured Basra and ordered the re fortification of the city, Abu Tahir knowing of the caiphs intention allowed him to do so and then defeated the Abbasid army and successfully lay siege to the city capturing it only to loot it and soon withdrew[4] He returned again in 311 A.H and ravaged it totally, destroying the grand mosque and reduced the marketplace to ashes[4] Abu Tahir ruled Bahrain successfully during this time and had corresponded with local and foreign rulers as far as north Africa, but continued fighting off and successfully repulsing Persian assaults who had been allied with the Caliph Muqtadir in Baghdad[4]

Conquests[edit]

Abu Tahir frequently started to raid Muslim pilgrims, reaching as far as the Hijaz region, on one of his raids he was successful in capturing Abul Haija bin Hamdun, who was an Abbasid commander. In 314 A.H he led his army deep into Abbasid Iraq he marched north reaching as far as Kufa, forcing the Abbasids to pay large sums of money so he would go away, on his way home he ravaged the outskirts of Kufa anyway[4] On his return Abu Tahir began populating the city of Ahsa, building Palaces not only for himself but for his fellows and declared Ahsa his permanent capital[4] in 316 A.H Caliph Muqtadir felt confident enough to once again confront Abu Tahir, calling in his generals Yusaf bin Abi As'saj from Azerbaijan, Munis Khadim, muzaffar and Harun[4] After a heavy fight all were beaten and driven back to baghdad.[4] Abu Tahir destroyed Jazirah Provice as a final warning to the abbasids and returned to Ahsa.[4]

Abu Tahir thought that he had identified the Mahdi[clarification needed] as a young Persian prisoner by the name of Abu'l-Fadl al- Isfahani, from Isfahan who claimed to be the descendant of the Persian kings,[6][7][8][9][9][10] brought back to Bahrain from the Qarmatians' raid into Iraq in 928.[11] In 931, Abu Tahir turned over the state to the Mahdi-Caliph who instituted the worship of fire and the burning of religious books during an eighty day rule, which culminated in the Mahdi ordering the execution of members of Bahrain’s notable families including those of Abu Tahir’s family.[12] Fearing for his own life, Abu Tahir announced that he had been wrong and denounced the Madhi as ‘false’. Begging forgiveness from the other notables, Abu Tahir had the Mahdi executed.[13]

Invasion of Mecca[edit]

Abu Tahir desecrated Islams most holiest site after gaining entry

In 930, he led the Qarmatians’ most notorious attack when he pillaged Mecca and desecrated Islam’s most sacred sites. Unable to gain entry to the city initially, Abu Tahir called upon the right of all Muslims to enter the city and gave his oath that he came in peace. Once inside the city walls the Qarmatian army set about massacring the pilgrims, taunting them with verses of the Koran as they did so.[3] The bodies of the pilgrims were left to rot in the streets or thrown down the Well of Zamzam. The Kaaba was looted, with Abu Tahir taking personal possession of the Black Stone and bringing it back to Al-Hasa.

The attack on Mecca symbolized the Qarmatians’ break with the Islamic world – it was believed to have been aimed to prompt the appearance of the Mahdi who would bring about the final cycle of the world and end the era of Islam.[13]

on the first day of Hajj they led a charge on pilgrims, riding their horses into the Haram killing pilgrims praying around the kaaba, their victims numbered around some thirty thousand (30,000). the Zamzam well despoiled houses plundered and slaves rounded up Abu Tahir and his army removed the black stone, broke it and took it away with him.[5]

Final years and death[edit]

Abu Tahir resumed the reigns of the Qarmatian state and again began attacks on pilgrims crossing Arabia. Attempts by the Abbasids and Fatamids to persuade him to return the Black Stone were rejected.

He died a natural death in 944 and was succeeded by his three surviving sons and nephews.[14]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Farhad Daftary, The Ismāı̄lı̄s: Their History and Doctrines, Cambridge University Press 1990, p160
  2. ^ Heinz Halm, The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids Brill 1996 p255
  3. ^ a b Heinz Halm, 1996, The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids Brill, p.255-6
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=a22nrHMlQccC&pg=PA273&lpg=PA273&dq=abu+tahir+suliman&source=bl&ots=pmBXHdj535&sig=spWKqTi7M1a9FmVKmfDAYbDGVq8&hl=en&sa=X&ei=iSS5UeeZKqab0AXR9IGAAg&ved=0CEEQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=abu%20tahir%20suliman&f=false
  5. ^ a b c http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=99M0zoSqsF0C&pg=PA317&lpg=PA317&dq=abu+tahir+al-qarmati&source=bl&ots=Y0cVhKZpLn&sig=hI_MwXyJKkF-n4-v-V0FmfphNUk&hl=en&sa=X&ei=EyW5UY6vKNC20QX6kIDoCA&ved=0CFQQ6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=abu%20tahir%20al-qarmati&f=false
  6. ^ Imagining the End: Visions of Apocalypse By Abbas Amanat, Magnus Thorkell - Page 123
  7. ^ Women and the Fatimids in the World of Islam - Page 26 by Delia Cortese, Simonetta Calderini
  8. ^ Early Philosophical Shiism: The Ismaili Neoplatonism of Abū Yaʻqūb Al-Sijistānī - Page 161 by Paul Ernest Walke
  9. ^ a b The Other God: Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy by Yuri Stoyanov
  10. ^ Classical Islam: A History, 600-1258 - Page 113 by Gustave Edmund Von Grunebaum
  11. ^ Heinz Halm, 1996, The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids Brill, p.257
  12. ^ Farhad Daftary, The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma’ilis, IB Tauris, 1994, p21
  13. ^ a b Farhad Daftary, 1990, p162
  14. ^ Heinz Halm, 1996, The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids Brill, p.383