Battle of al-Harrah

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Battle of al-Harrah
Date 683
Location al-Harrah,near Medina, Saudi Arabia
Result Umayyad victory
Umayyads Supporters of Abdullah ibn Zubayr
People of Medina
Commanders and leaders
Muslim bin Uqbah al-Marri Unknown
10,000 Unknown
Casualties and losses
Medium 11,000[1]

The Battle of al-Harrah was a battle fought at al-Harrah on 26 Dhu al-Hijjah 63 H./26 August 683, then lying to the northeast of Medina. The battle was fought against the armies of Yazid ibn Muawiyah by Abdullah ibn Zubayr and his allies, the people of Medina and several notable Sahabas, many of whom were killed in the battle.[1] It is the second most infamous battle during the reign of Yazid bin Muawiyah, the 2nd Umayyad Caliph.[2]


When Yazid ibn Muawiyah (L.A.) (Arabic:يزيد بن معاوية بن أبي سفيان) became Umayyad Caliph in 680 he faced two major crises. First was the refusal of Husayn ibn Ali (Arabic:حسين بن علي بن أبي طالب) Hussain ibn Ali refused to swear allegiance to Yazid. Imam Husayn ibn Ali (رضی اللہ تعالی عنہ) rejected the legitimacy of Yazid as Caliph, after which Yazid killed him, along with many of his family members and supporters in the Battle of Karbala on October 10, 680. This event further deepened the schism between the Sunni and Shia denominations.[2]

After the killing of Ali, Abdullah ibn Zubayr, the hero of the Battle of Sufetula, decided to stand up against Yazid I.[2] He refused to swear allegiance to Yazid. Abdullah bin Zubayr later launched an insurgency in the Hejaz region, the heartland of Islam, where Makkah and Medina are located.

The people of Medina were not quick to join Abdullah ibn Zubayr’s revolt. They first sent their emissaries to speak with Yazid but returned disenfranchised with his approach to the problems of the region, his general policies and governing style.[1] When the emissaries returned they held a council with other Medinites of status and decided to expel the Umayyad Governor of Medina, Uthman ibn Muhammad, as well as his aide, Marwan ibn Hakam. Other Umayyad supporters were expelled along with them.[1]

Yazid sent an army of 10,000 fighters from Syria against Medina in 683 under General Muslim bin Uqbah al-Marri.[1][2] Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, then a young soldier and who'd later play an important political role in the Umayyad caliphate, was also part of this army.[1]

Abu Sa`id al-Khudri, a Medinite Sahabi, also fought against the Umayyad army in this battle.


Following their victory, the Syrian army looted the city for three consecutive days. A large number of its occupants were killed. The cruelty against the people of Medina by the Umayyad army became a cause celebre that was invoked by future generations.[3] Muslim bin Uqbah al-Marri was henceforth known as Musrif meaning he who exceeds all bounds of propriety.[3] Medina was recaptured and Makkah was also besieged.



  1. ^ a b c d e f Anecdotes for Reflection: Part 2 By Sayyed Ali Akbar Sadequat, World Federation of Khoja Shia Ithna-Asheri Muslim Communities, Published by World Federation of the KSIMC, 2005,ISBN 1-898449-85-6, ISBN 978-1-898449-85-0,Pg 123-125
  2. ^ a b c d The First Dynasty of Islam: The Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750 By Gerald R. Hawting Published by Routledge, 2000, ISBN 0-415-24072-7, ISBN 978-0-415-24072-7,Pg 47-48
  3. ^ a b Islamic Revolution and Historical Memory: An Inquiry Into the Art of Abbāsid Apologetics By Jacob Lassner Published by American Oriental Society, 1986, ISBN 0-940490-66-8, ISBN 978-0-940490-66-6,Pg 51-52

Coordinates: 24°28′N 39°38′E / 24.467°N 39.633°E / 24.467; 39.633