Welcome to Scribd. Sign in or start your free trial to enjoy unlimited e-books, audiobooks & documents.Find out more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
3Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Apocalyptic and Other Materials on Early Muslim—Byzantine Wars: by Suliman Bashear

Apocalyptic and Other Materials on Early Muslim—Byzantine Wars: by Suliman Bashear

Ratings: (0)|Views: 49|Likes:
Published by asadmarx

More info:

Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: asadmarx on Apr 12, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/13/2014

pdf

text

original

 
Apocalyptic and Other Materials
on
Early Muslim—Byzantine Wars:
A
Reviewof
Arabic sources
SULIMAN BASHEAR
Introduction
The standard criteria
for
using apocalypses as historical sources were established by the lateByzantinist, Paul
J.
Alexander. Examining
the
process
of
literary embellishment
and
adjustment
of a few
Syriac
and
Greek apocalypses,
he
arrived
at the
conclusion thathistorical apocalypses
are in
fact "prophecies
ex-eventu",
i.e.
having actually alreadymaterialised around the time
of
their circulation. The amount of
such
material, he argued,may serve as a kind of barometer
for
measuring the eschatological pressure
at
a given timein history since apocalypses
are
written
to
provide comfort
in
times
of
tribulation,particularly during grave military crises.
1
In
the
field
of
Islamic studies some attention
has
been given
to the
spread
in the
lateseventh
and
early eighth centuries
of
Muslim eschatological speculations concerning
the
occupation
of
Constantinople.
2
But all in all,
exploring
the
possible
use of
apocalyptictraditions
for the
study
of
early Muslim history
is
still
a
novelty,
bid'a,
though certainlya blessed one.
3
For
only recently
W.
Madelung,
L.
Conrad
and
M. Cook have
set out to
study
the
rich apocalyptic material
in the
compilation
Kitab al-Fitan
by
Nu'aym
b.
Hammad
(d.
227 H.).
4
Though note has been taken
of
a
few
cases where such use proved futile,
5
it
has beenestablished that,
on
the whole, this material is earlier than
the
Schachtian method
of
isnad
criticism could place
it, and
reflects historical situations which belong
to the
earlyUmayyad period.
8
On the
level
of
content,
a few
aspects
of
early Byzantine-Muslim
1
PaulJ. Alexander, "Medieval apocalypses
as
historical sources",
AHR
73 (1968), pp. 998-9, 1002, 1008.
2
E.g. A.
A. Vasiliev, "Medieval ideas
of
the
end of
the world: east
and
west",
Byzantion
16
(1942—3),
pp.
471-6 and the works cited therein;
cf.
also S.
P.
Brock, "Syriac views of emergent Islam";
in
G.
A.
H. Juynbolled.,
Studies
...
(Carbondale, 1982),
p. 19.
3
L. Conrad notes
how
Steinschneider, Goldziher, Casanova
and
Abbott, though they used
and
discussed"historical" apocalypses
in
their writings, "seem
to
have found little of historical merit
in
them". "Portents
of
the hour: hadith and history in the first century
A.H.
", typescript, p. 11 and nn.
48—51
(forthcoming in
Der
Islam).
4
W.
Madelung, " Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr and the Mahdi",
JNES
40 (1981), pp. 291—306;
idem
"The Sufyanibetween tradition and history", S/63 (1986), pp. 4-48;
idem,
"Apocalyptic prophecies
in
Hims
in
the Umayyadage",
JSS
31 (1986), pp. 141-86;
M.
Cook, " Eschatology, history and the dating
of
traditions", typescript;
L.
Conrad,
art.
cit.
and
letter
to me on 9
May 1989.
6
As demonstrated by both L. Conrad, p. 22 and M. Cook, pp. 10-25, concerning the belief that the Byzantinefinal
malhama
would
be led by
Tiberius,
son
of Justinian
II.
8
W.
Madelung, "Apocalyptic prophecies...",
art.
cit.,
180; L. Conrad's letter;
and
even
the
usually highlysceptical M. Cook
in a
concluding note,
art.
cit.,
pp. 33-4, concerning
the
applicability
of
Schacht's method
for
dating traditions
in
this field.
JRAS,
Series
y,
I, 2
(1991), pp. 173-207
 
174
Suliman Bashear
relations have been dealt with as they were reflected in this material.
7
But to myknowledge no thorough attempt has been made so far to examine the issue of continuousmilitary campaigns to recapture Syria: an issue which is extensively covered by this kindof material.
8
This is a task which the present paper aims to accomplish. In doing so I shalltry to compare the picture arrived at from this material with the sporadic informationprovided by a few historiographical sources on the military situation of the coastal townsofPalestine,Lebanon and Syria in early Islam and throughout the Umayyad period. Theemergence of traditions promoting the merits
(fada'il)
of
these
towns, considering them aswatch-posts
(ribatat)
and urging Muslims to defend and settle them, will also becommented upon as these traditions may reflect the seriousness with which early Islamviewed the menace of a Byzantine re-conquest.Some limitations, however, must be stated at the outset. The primary aim of
the
presentenquiry is to bring to light the overall picture of early Muslim apocalyptic speculations onthe impending conflicts with the Byzantines as expressed in the Arabic sources, and not tostudy the Syriac and Greek materials on this issue or to conduct a thorough cross-examination of Arab and non-Arab sources. Though crucial, this latter task cannot be fullyaccomplished before the basic work of amassing the Muslim material is done in a way thatis equivalent to the work done on its Syriac and Greek counterparts. Hence, only the mainoutlines of the problems raised by students of this latter field will be addressed in the courseof the present enquiry, leaving the detailed comparative investigation for such futurestudies as it may stimulate.
Truce and treachery
Apocalyptic reference to some future truce
(hudna)
between the Muslims and theByzantines (often referred to as
Band al-Asfar)
is made in a complex of traditional sayingswhich were attributed to the Prophet through several companions and which come indivergent textual formulations. One of them is the tradition of "the six portents of thehour" which, as noted by Conrad, occurs in a few sources as heavily associated with thename of the companion 'Awf
b.
Malik through a clear Himsi line
ofisndd,
the commonestlink of which is Safwan b. 'Amr (d. 155 H.).
9
The main idea conveyed by this traditionis that the Prophet named six portents
(ashrat)
which can be identified as actual historicalevents from early Islam and which would occur before the approaching end of the world
(al-sa'a
= the hour). With minor variations these portents were mentioned in thefollowing order: the death of the Prophet, the conquest of Jerusalem, the spread ofmortality
(miitan,
mawtan)
possibly as a result of a plague, the proliferation of wealth, ageneral civil war
(jitna)
and, finally, a truce with and betrayal by the Byzantines who
7
E.g. Conrad and Cook on the issue of the
 final
 Byzantine
malhama,
noted above; Conrad on a certainByzantine-Muslim truce referred to in the tradition on the "six portents of
the
hour"; and
a
few other related
issues brought up in Madelung's review of HimsT apocalyptic traditions.
8
Noted only briefly by M. Cook,
art.
cit.,
nn. 63, 93, 116.
9
L. Conrad,
art.
cit.,
11 nn. 53-6 referring to: Nu'aym b. Hammad,
K. al-Fitan,
Ms. British Museum, Or.9449,fols, 7(b)-8(a), n(a-b); Bukhari,
Sahih
(Beirut, 1981), 4/68; Ibn Hanbal (d. 241 H.),
Musnad
(Cairo, 1313H.),2/174, s/228, 6/22, 25, 27; Ibn 'Asakir,
Tdrtkh
(Damascus, 1951),
1/222-4.
 
Early Muslim apocalyptic materials
175would assemble for the final general war.
10
In what follows, a brief review of the variantcontents of this tradition, corresponding to the names of its transmitters from 'Awf, willbe made. Likewise I shall discuss similar notions attributed to the Prophet by companionssuch as Mu'adh, Dhu Mikhmar, 'Abdullah b. 'Amr, Abu Hurayra, Hudhayfa and possiblyothers too.As transmitted by 'Abd al-Rahman b. Jubayr b. Nufayr (HimsT, d. 118 H.) from hisfather, the 'Awf tradition ends with the statement that at the time of the treacherousByzantine campaign the Muslims/var. their tent of command
(fustat)
would be in a towncalled Damascus in the Ghuta area.
11
From Abu IdrTs al-Khawlanl (Syrian, d. 80 H), 'Abdal-HamTd b. 'Abd al-Rahman b. Zayd b. al-Khattab (Medinese? Kufan? or Jazari?, d.
c.
120 H.), Damra b. HabTb (HimsT, d. 130 H.), 'Abdullah b. al-Daylam (Jerusalemite, d.
c.
100 H.), 'Abdullah b. 'Abd al-Rahman al-'UqaylT, Zayd b. Rufay', Hisham b. Yiisuf(HimsT successor who moved to Wasit) Sha'bT (Kufan, d. 103 H.) and Muhammad b. AbTMuhammad, we learn that the Byzantine campaign would be massive and composed ofeighty banners
(ghaya, ghdba, raya)
under each of which would be 12,000 men.
12
Theversions of Sha'bT, 'Abd al-HamTd and Makhul (the last one being reported either fromKhalid b. Ma'dan (HimsT d. 103 H.)
<-
Jubayr b. Nufayr (d. 75-80 H.) or else directly from'Awf) say that the Byzantines will prepare for the length of a woman's pregnancy, i.e. ninemonths.
13
From the versions of'Abd al-HamTd, Ibn al-Daylam, Abu IdrTs and Sha'bT welearn that the Prophet made this statement to 'Awf while in Tabuk.
14
An interesting variant occurring only in two early sources was transmitted by Hisham
b.
Yusuf and an unnamed figure on the authority of Safwan b. Sulaym (Medinese d.124-30 H.). It includes the element of conquering "the city of
unbelief"
(madinatal-kufr),
possibly Constantinople, among the six portents tradition
of'Awf.
15
But most unique isa variant reported through the Egyptian line: 'Abdullah b. Wahb (Egyptian, d. 197 H.)«- 'Abd al-Rahman b. Shurayh (Alexandrian, d. 167 H.)«- Rabfa b. Sayf (Alexandrian, d.
10
Compare also with Nu'aym, I38(b);
Ibn Abl
Shayba
(d. 235 H.),
Mu$annaf,
(Bombay, 1983), 15/104—5;Abu 'Ubayd
(d. 224 H.),
Gharib al-Hadith
(Haydarabad, 1967), 2/85-7;
Ibn
Maja
(d. 275 H.),
Sunan
(Cairo,1953), 2/134-2,
1371;
TabaranT (d.
360
H.),
al-Mu'jam
al-Kabir
(Baghdad, 1984), 18/40-2, 54-5, 64, 66,
79-81;
idem,al-Mu'jam al-Awsat
(Riyad, 1985),
1/67-8;
Ibn
Manda
(d.
395),
Kitib
al-lman
(Beirut, 1985), 2/914-16;
al-
Hakim
(d. 405 H.),
Mustadrak,
(Beirut, 1986), 4/419,
422-3,
551-2; BayhaqT
(d. 458 H.),
al-Sunan al-Kubra,
(Haydarabad,
1356 H.),
9/223, 10/248; WasitT,
Fada'il
al-Bayt al-Muqaddas,
(Jerusalem, 1979),
52-3; Ibn al-
Murajja,
Fada'il
Bayt al-Maqdis,
Ms. Tubingen 27,
fol. 17
(a-b); Diya' al-DTn
(d.
643 H.),
Fada'il
Bayt
al-Maqdis
(Beirut, 1985),
70;
al-MuttaqT al-Hindi,
Kanz al-Ummal,
in the
margin
of
Ibn Hanbal, 6/11;
Ibn
KathTr
(d. 774
H.),
al-Nihaya
(Cairo, 1980),
1/81-4,
86-9; Qurtub!(d. 671
H.),
Tadhkira
(Cairo, 1986), 2/312-14, quoting
Marj
al-Bahrayn
by Abu
al-Khattab
b.
Duhya
(d. 633 H.);
SuyutT (d. 911
H.),
al-Durr
al-Manthur,
(Cairo, 1314
H.),
6/59; QastalanT,
Irshad
al-Sari
(Cairo, 1293), 5/286-7,
Ibn
Badran,
Tahdhib
Tarikh Ibn 'Asakir
(Damascus,
1329
H.),
1/49-50;
Ibn 'Abd
al-Hadl (d.
744 H.),
Fada'il
al-Sham
(Cairo, 1988), 27-8; al-Albam,
Takhrij
Ahadith
al-
Raba't
(Beirut,
1403 H.),
61-3; BarazanjT
(d. 1103 H.),
al-hha'a li-Ashrat al-Sa'a
(Cairo,
1393 H.), 48.
11
Nu'aym, 7(b)-8(a); TabaranT,
M.
K.
18/42;
Ibn
'Asakir,
1/222-4;
Ibn
Hanbal, 6/25; WasitT, 52-3;
Ibn al-
Murajja, I7(a-b);
Ibn
KathTr,
1/83.
See also SuyutT, 6/59; QurtubT,
2/321;
Ibn 'Abd
al-HadT, 27-8;
Ibn
Badran,1/49; AlbanT,
61—3;
and
compare with
Ibn
Manda, 2/915—16.
12
Nu'aym, u(a-b); TabaranT,
18/40-1,
54-5, 64, 66,
79-81;
Ibn
'Asakir,
1/224;
Ibn
Hanbal,
6/22, 27;
BukharT, 4/68; Abu'Ubayd, 2/85^7;
Ibn
AbT
Shayba, 15/104; Ibn Maja, 2/1341-2,
1371
;al-Hakim, 4/419, 422-
3;
BayhaqT,
9/223
(but
compare with 10/248); Diya' al-DTn, 70, al-MuttaqT, 6/11;
Ibn
KathTr,
1/82,
QastalanT.5/286-7;
Ibn
Manda, 2/914;
Ibn
al-JawzT (d.
597 H.),
Ghartb
al-Hadtth,
Beirut 1985,
2/171.
13
Nu'aym,
8(a);
TabaranT, 18/41-2, 54-5; al-Hakim, 4/422;
but
compare with
Ibn
Manda, 2/914-15.
14
TabaranT, 18/54-5,
66; Ibn
Maja, 2/1341-2, al-Hakim, 4/419,
422-3;
BayhaqT, 9/223;
Ibn
KathTr,
1/82.
16
Nu'aym,
8(a); Ibn
AbT Shayba, 15/104.

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->