Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr

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Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr
Native name Abdullah ibn Zubair ibn Awwam ibn Khuwailid ibn Asad
Born May, 624[1]
Medina, Arabia[1]
Died November, 692[1]
Cause of death
In battle
Known for Khadijah's grand-niece
Opponent(s) Yazid I; Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan
Parents Zubayr ibn al-Awwam; Asma bint Abi Bakr

`Abd Allah al-Zubayr or ibn Zubayr (Arabic: عبد الله بن الزبير‘Abdallāh ibn az-Zubayr; 624–692)[1] 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, third wife of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr [2] was the first Muslim to be born in Madinah after the hijrah. He was the most prominent representative of the Muslim nobility.[1]

ibn Zubayr led a rebellion against the Umayyad Caliphate but was defeated and killed in Mecca in 692 AD after a six-month siege by general Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.[3]


Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr was a member of the Bani Hashim tribe and was born one year and 8 months after the hijra of Muhammad to Madinah. As such, he was the first Muslim child born in Madinah.[4] He was the cousin of Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr. Qasim ibn Muhammad ibn Abu Bakr was the grandfather of Jafar al-Sadiq[5]

Ibn 'Abbas said about him: "his (maternal) grandfather, Abu Bakr was (the Prophet's) companion in the cave, his mother, Asma' was 'Dhatun-Nitaq', his aunt, 'Aisha was the mother of the Believers, his paternal aunt, Khadija was the wife of the Prophet , and the paternal aunt of the Prophet was his grandmother. He himself is pious and chaste in Islam, well versed in the Knowledge of the Quran".[6]

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 did so well that Uthman ibn Affan nominated him to officially revise the Qur'an. After the death of Uthman ibn Affan, he stayed politically inactive during the civil wars that followed; however when the Umayyad Dynasty came to power and Yazid I became the heir apparent he refused to swear allegiance.[1]

Yazid reign[edit]

After Muawiyah I died, in 680, his son Yazid I took over. Husayn bin Ali Muhammad's grandson felt that he had to confront him. Both Abu Bakr's family and Ali's family felt Yazid I was unjust and stood up to him. Robert Payne quotes Muawiyah in History of Islam as telling his son Yazid to defeat Hussein, who was surely preparing an army against him, but to deal with him gently thereafter as Hussein was a descendent of Muhammad; but to deal with Abdullah al-Zubair switfly, as Muawiyah feared him the most.[7]

Ibn al-Zubayr's caliphate[edit]

Upon the ascension of Yazid I, al-Zubayr refused to swear allegiance to the new caliph, and fled to Mecca.[1] He advised Husayn bin Ali to make Mecca his base and fight against Yazid.[8]

When Husayn was martyred in Karbala, Ibn al-Zubair collected the people of Makkah and made the following speech:

"O people! No other people are worse than Iraqis and among the Iraqis, the people of Kufa are the worst. They repeatedly wrote letters and called Imam Husayn to them and took bay'at (allegiance) for his caliphate. But when Ibn Zeyad arrived in Kufa, they rallied around him and martyr Imam Husayn who was pious, observed the fast, read the Quran and deserved the caliphate in all respects[4]

After his speech, the people of Makkah declared that no one deserved the caliphate more than Ibn al-Zubair and requested to take an oath of allegiance to his caliphate. When he heard about this, Yazid had a silver chain made and sent to Makkah with the intention of having Walid ibn Utbah arrest Ibn al-Zubair with it.[4]

In Mecca and Medina Husayn's family had a strong support base and the people were willing to stand up for them. Husayn's remaining family moved back to Medina.

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 benefited 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. He then invaded the Tihamah and lay siege to Mecca but his sudden death, in 683,[1] ended the campaign and threw the Umayyads into disarray with civil war eventually breaking out.

Death by Abd al-Malik[edit]

The last stage of Abdullah Ibn Zubair life, and that was when he fought against Hajjaj, which was in the year beginning 70 A.H. Mekkah at that time was surrounded by Hajjajs’ Army and they had laid siege to Mekkah for approximately one and a half years……..

When he entered into Mekkah he (Hajjaj) sent a letter to Abdullah Ibn Zubair saying you have three choices;

- You can be taken and chained to Abdul Malik who was then the Khalifah of Damascus. - Or leave by yourself and give up all the lands that he had overcome like Egypt, Iraq, Yemen /leave the Khalifa. - Or continue fighting. So he had these three chooses from Hajjaj. He then went to his mother (Asma bint Abu Bakr radiallaahu anha) who was still alive for advice and she was over a hundred years. So Abdullah Ibn Zubair said, to his mother,

"So the people have left me by myself, even my own son, no-one is with me except a handful of people all I have is an hour of patience and then death and if I were to do what the people want me to do then I will be free."

So then Asmaa (radiallaahu anha) replied to her son, she said,

"You know better in your own self that if you are upon the truth and you are calling towards the truth go forth for people more honourable than you were killed and have been killed and if you are not upon the truth, then what an evil son you are, you have destroyed yourself and those who are with you. If you say what you say, that if you are upon the truth and you will be killed at the hands of others then you will not truly be free, for this is not the statement of someone who is free".

Then she said to her son, this is the statement of the mother to her son,

"how long will you live in this world, death is more beloved to me than this state you are on/ this state of weakness."

Then this conversation between Abdullah Ibn Zubair and his mother continued.

Then he said to his mother after she had told him to go forth and fight.

He said, "I am afraid I will be mutilated by the people of Sham,I am afraid that they will cut up my body after they have killed me"

So she said to her son,"after someone has died it won't make any difference what they do to you if you have been killed."

Abdullah Ibn Zubair then said to his mother,"I did not come to you except to increase myself in knowledge." The shaikh wanted to point out,look at the manners which he presented towards his mother, this was the manners of the Salaf how they would behave towards their parents.

He said to her, "I did not come to you except to increase me in knowledge, look and pay attention to this day for verily I am a dead man, your son never drank wine, nor was he fornicator, nor did he wrong any Muslim or Kaafir, nor was he unjust, I am not saying this to you to show off or show how pure I am but rather as an honour to you."

So then Abdullah Ibn Zubair left by himself on his horse and he was killed by the Army of Hajjaj and when he was killed by the Army of Hajjaj all the Army said "Allahu Akbar" and Ibn Umer (radiallaahu anhu) heard this and he said, " how strange is it that this man when he was born all of the Muslims said "Allahu Akbar” and now that he is killed everyone is also saying "Allahu Akbar".

Then Hajjaj crucified him and said," No one must put down his body except Asmaa (radiallaahu anha ), she must come to me and ask permission of me and only then will his body be put down".

Asmaa (radiallahu anha.) refused to go and ask permission to put down her sons body and it was said to her, "if you don't go his body will remain like that." So she said " let it be then".

Until eventually, Hajjaj came to her and said,

"what do you say about this matter " and she said,

" Verily you have destroyed him you have ruined his life and with that you have ruined your hereafter."

Family tree[edit]

`Abd Manaf ibn Qusai
Abd Shams
Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf
Abdul Mutallib
`Abd Allah
Abu Talib
`Abbas (Abbasids)
Safiyyah bint ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abu Sufyan
`Abd Allah ibn `Abbas
Zubayr ibn al-Awam
Uthman ibn Affan
Marwan I
Muawiyah I
Hasan ibn Ali
Hussein ibn Ali
Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr
also Abu Bakr's grandson
Yazid I


Timeline of the two caliphates[edit]

Four Umayyad caliphs reigned during the twelve years of Ibn Al-Zubayr's caliphate between 680 and 692. The shorts terms indicated in the upper plot in light blue and yellow correspond to the tenures of Muawiya II and Marwan I, respectively. (Note that a caliph's succession does not necessarily occur on the first day of the new year.)

Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan Yazid I

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "'Abd Allah ibn az-Zubayr". Encyclopedia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL: Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. 2010. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8. 
  2. ^ "Family Tree Abu bakr". Quran search online. Retrieved 28 September 2012. 
  3. ^ Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: F-O edited by Tony Jacques
  4. ^ a b c Najeebabadi, Akbar Shah (2001). The History of Islam V.2. Riyadh: Darussalam. p. 110. ISBN 9960892883. 
  5. ^ Al-Kâfî, Ar-Rawdah, 8:101
  6. ^ Sahih Al Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 187 Narrated by Ibn Abi Mulaika
  7. ^ John Dunn, The Spread of Islam, pg. 51. Worl History Series. San Diego: Lucent Books, 1996. ISBN 1560062851
  8. ^ Balyuzi, H. M.: Muhammad and the course of Islam. George Ronald, Oxford (U.K.), 1976, p.193
  9. ^ Muawiya Restorer of the Muslim Faith By Aisha Bewley Page 81

Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Muawiyah I
Succeeded by
Caliphate abolished