Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr

historical Arab ruler (624-692)

Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam (April 624 — 1 October 692) was the leader of a caliphate based in Mecca that rivaled the Umayyads from 683 until his death. The son of Zubayr ibn al-Awam and Asmā' bint Abi Bakr. Ibn al-Zubayr belonged to the Quraysh, the leading tribe of the nascent Muslim community, and was the first child born to the Muhajirun, Islam's earliest converts. As a youth, he participated in the early Muslim conquests alongside his father in Syria and Egypt, and later played a role in the Muslim conquests of North Africa and northern Iran in 647 and 650, respectively. During the First Muslim Civil War, he fought on the side of his aunt A'isha against Caliph Ali (r. 656–661). Though little is heard of Ibn al-Zubayr during the subsequent reign of the first Umayyad caliph Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680), it was known that he opposed the latter's designation of his son, Yazid I, as his successor. Ibn al-Zubayr, along with much of the Quraysh and the Ansar, the leading Muslim groups of the Hejaz (western Arabia), opposed the caliphate becoming an inheritable institution of the Umayyads.

Sasanian-style dirham minted in the name of ʿAbd Allāh ibn al-Zubayr in Fars in 690/691
If a man loses his sword, he is a defenseless as a woman. Pay no attention to the glittering swords



Last Sermon

  • Family of al-Zubayr, if you give yourselves up willingly for me, we shall be people of a distinuished house among the Arabs. We shall have been extirpated for the Sake of God, but no calamity will have afflicated us. And now, O family of al-Zubayr, let sword blows not frighten you. Whenever I have been present at a battle field, I have been carried away wounded from among the slain; and I have found the treatment of sword wounds to be worse than the pain of the sword's blow. Guard your swords as you guard faces. I know of no man who ever broke his sword and saved his life. If a man loses his sword, he is a defenseless as a woman. Pay no attention to the glittering swords; let each man engage his adversary. Let no question about me distract you, and do not say, Where is Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr? But if anyone asks about me, I am in the front ranks.
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