Siege of Mecca (692)

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The 692 AD Siege of Mecca occurred after the Islamic Umayyad Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan sent his General Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf with a large army to Mecca where Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr ruled, to put an end to the rival Caliphate. The siege was brutal and destructive and ended after six months with the death of ibn Zubair.[1]

Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf was one of `Abd al-Malik most able generals and administrators. Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, the governor of Hejaz, was `Abd al-Malik strongest opponent. ibn Yusuf set off to subdue Mecca several times before he succeeded. In 689, he had to return to Damascus to help quell a rebellion. In 690 he met with failure. But the rebellious northern tribes capitulated in 691, and he defeated the weakened army of the governor of Basra, Mu'sab ibn al-Zubayr, by bribing many of his soldiers to switch sides and kill their leader.[2] He then turned his attention to the rebel caliph, al-Zubayr. He besieged Mecca in 692 with almost 12,000 Syrian troops. He advanced unopposed as far as his native Taif, which he took without any fighting and used as a base. The caliph had charged him first to negotiate with `Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr and to assure him of freedom from punishment if he capitulated, but, if the opposition continued, to starve him out by siege, but on no account to let the affair result in bloodshed in Mecca. Since the negotiations failed and al-Hajjaj lost patience, he sent a courier to ask Abd al-Malik for reinforcements and also for permission to take Mecca by force. He received both, and thereupon bombarded the Holy City using catapults from the mountain of Abu Qubays. The bombardment continued during the month of the Pilgrimage or Hajj. Abd al Malik served first as a messenger to his father Abd al Haija

After the siege had lasted for seven months and 10,000 men, among them two of Abdullah Ibn al-Zubair's sons, had gone over to al-Hajjaj, Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr with a few loyal followers, including his youngest son, were killed in the fighting around the Kaaba (Jumadah I 73/October 692).

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  1. ^ Dictionary of Battles and Sieges: F-O edited by Tony Jacques
  2. ^ "'Abd al-Malik". Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, Illinois: Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-1-59339-837-8.