Sunday, July 7, 2013

003 - 'Abdul Rahman Akhtar Khan - Abu 'l-'Atahiya

'Abdul Rahman Akhtar Khan
'Abdul Rahman Akhtar Khan. Director general of the Pakistani military’s Inter-Services Intelligence organization (1980-1987).  Akhtar Khan was said to have coordinated with William Casey, the director of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA), to support the operations and supply network for the Afghan mujahedin.  Brigadier Muhammad Yousaf, Akhtar’s deputy and head of the Afghan Bureau, controlled the flow of thousands of tons of arms into the hands of the mujahedin and directed every aspect of military activities from training of Afghan guerrillas and logistics support to the planning of ambushes, assassinations, and raids and rocket attacks against the Soviet/Kabul forces.  Akhtar was promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and replaced by General Hamid Gul when the mujahedin started carrying attacks into Soviet Central Asia.  Akhtar perished in a plane crash on August 17, 1988, together with Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq, the American Ambassador Arnold Raphel, Brigadier-General Herbert Wassom, the United States defense attache in Islamabad, and eight Pakistani generals.  American sources attributed the crash to engine failure, but most Pakistanis believe it was a result of sabotage, variously blaming the KGB, the WAD, or the CIA.
Akhtar Khan see 'Abdul Rahman Akhtar Khan.

'Abdul Rahman Alhaj
'Abdul Rahman Alhaj (Tengku 'Abdul Rahman) (Tunku [Prince] 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj) (Bapa Merdeka -- “Father of Independence”) (February 8, 1903 - December 6, 1990).  First prime minister of the Federation of Malaya (1957-1963) and of Malaysia (1963-1970).  

'Abdul Rahman was born in Istana Pelamin, Alor Star, Kedah.  He was the fourteenth son and twentieth child of Sultan 'Abdul Hamid Halim Shah, the twenty-fourth Sultan of Kedah.  His mother, Cik Menjalara, was the Sultan's sixth wife and the daughter of Siamese nobleman, Luang Naraborirak (Kleb), a Thai district officer (Nonthaburi Province) during the reign of King Rama V of Thailand.

'Abdul Rahman had a interesting story about his birth.  In 1902, the Keeper of the Ruler's Seal was exposed as a man who had misused the trust placed in him and had sold state land for his own gain.  Punishment lay with the Sultan, who ordered death for the Keeper, and decreed that the right thumb of the Keeper's wife as well as those of his children should be chopped off as a taint they would carry on for the rest of their lives.

The Keeper's wife rushed to Menjalara, then known to be the Sultan's favorite and implored her intervention.  Menjalara, following her maternal instincts, agreed to intercede.  She had an audience with her husband, the Sultan and told him that she was pregnant again, but feared her child might be seriously affected if the punishment on the Keeper and his family were to be carried out.

Menjalara was a clever woman.  There is a Malay superstition that a husband should do nothing evil during the period of his wife's pregnancy, otherwise a dark spirit would enter the child in the womb.

Sultan 'Abdul Hamid was so elated at the news that his favorite wife was presenting him with another child, and so anxious that nothing unfortunate should happen that he ordered the Keeper to prison instead and cancelled the punishment on his family.

The truth, however, was that Menjalara was not pregnant at that time.  But she conceived soon afterwards, and the child born was 'Abdul Rahman.

'Abdul Rahman began his education in 1909 at a Malay Primary School, Jalan Baharu, in Alor Star and was later transferred to the Government English School, now the Sultan 'Abdul Hamid College, Alor Star, where he studied during the day and read the Qur'an in the afternoon.

When he first went to school in Alor Star, Kedah, little 'Abdul Rahman railed against what he considered was the indignity of being carried to and from by a court retainer.  At that time, little princes were not suppose to dirty their feet, so instead they were carried everywhere.  'Abdul Rahman rejoiced the day he did not have to be carried to school.

Two years later, in 1911, when he was eight, 'Abdul Rahman was sent to study at Debsirin School in Bangkok along with his three brothers.  In 1915, he returned and continued his studies at Penang Free School.

In 1918, 'Abdul Rahman was awarded a Kedah State Scholarship to further his studies at Saint Catherine's College in the University of Cambridge, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1925.  He was the first student from Kedah to study in the United Kingdom under the sponsorship of the Kedah State Government.

Upon his return home, 'Abdul Rahman worked in the Kedah public service and was appointed as District Officer of Kulim and Sungai Petani.  In colonial Malaya, almost all the District Officers were British.  'Abdul Rahman, who was the only Malay District Officer at that time, had the people's interest at heart.  This made him cross swords with the British Administration many times.  However, the British Administration in Kedah could not do anything as he was a prince and the son of the Sultan.  

'Abdul Rahman began his public career in 1931 as an administrative officer in the Kedah state government and continued in this role throughout the Japanese occupation of the area.  Toward the end of the occupation, he participated in the formation of an incipient nationalist political party called Saberkas, or Unity, but later withdrew his support because of the group’s demand for immediate postwar independence, which 'Abdul Rahman thought impracticable, and because of its confrontational, socialist rhetoric.  His nationalism was further boosted by the ill-conceived British proposals for a Malayan Union, which led him, as a leader of the newly formed United Malays National Organization (UMNO), to campaign actively and successfully for their rejection.  'Abdul Rahman’s rise to primacy within UMNO -- he was elected its president in 1951 -- was partly a consequence of the exit of Dato Onn bin Ja’afar, who left to form the multi-racial Independence of Malaya Party.  'Abdul Rahman opposed Ja’afar’s move, believing that Malaya would best be served at this stage of its development by permitting each ethnic community to organize according to its own needs.  Only then, he argued, would the resultant Malay, Chinese, and Indian parties reconcile their differences and form a multi-ethnic coalition.  Setting the stage for a system of politics that still persists, 'Abdul Rahman inspired the Selangor branches of UMNO and the Malayan Chinese Association to announce in January 1952 that the two would contest the Kuala Lumpur municipal election in coalition.  This political merger, first called the Alliance Party and then, after embracing other parties much later, the National Front, has ruled the country ever since.

As head of the United Malay National Organization, 'Abdul Rahman became chief minister of Malaya after an election victory in 1955, and when Malaya attained sovereignty in 1957, the tengku -- the prince -- became its prime minister.  

In May 1961, 'Abdul Rahman broached the concept of merging Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, North Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak into a single political federation.  At first the idea aroused vociferous opposition in Singapore and in the Borneo territories, but with British backing 'Abdul Rahman was able to preside over the birth of the new country -- less Brunei -- in 1963, earning him yet another triumphant honorific: Bapa Malaysia -- “The Father of Malaysia” --, a title marred only by the acrimonious departure of Singapore two years later.

In May 1969, following an election in which the Chinese had increased their political strength, riots broke out in Kuala Lumpur between the Chinese and the Malays.  These disturbances led directly to 'Abdul Rahman’s resignation in 1970.  Although 'Abdul Rahman initially claimed that the Communists had backed them, the riots had been brought about by Malay frustrations over lack of economic benefits and by the quantum increase in non-Malay political power that seemed to be implied by the 1969 election results.  Militant young Malay ultra-nationalists, who believed 'Abdul Rahman and his government had been overly tardy in promoting Malay interests, campaigned remorselessly for 'Abdul Rahman’s resignation.  Although he remained prime minister for another fifteen months, 'Abdul Rahman’s power effectively ended with the declaration of a national emergency in May 1969.  After his resignation on September 22, 1970, 'Abdul Rahman remained active, both as secretary general of the International Islamic Secretariat and, more typically, as an entertaining newspaper columnist (part moralist, part gadfly, and part elder statesman).  

'Abdul Rahman died on December 6, 1990 at the age of eighty-seven.  He was laid to rest at the Langgar Royal Mausoleum in Alor Star.

Contemporary historians opine that 'Abdul Rahman represents the best of his generation. As the father of his country’s independence, he successfully spanned the transition from colonial rule to the important first years of independence.  He was the right man at the right time, a pragmatic democrat who distilled the heady brew of independence into values of ethnic tolerance and democracy that are still idealized, if not always pursued.  That he was able to preside over such momentous change for so long a period with only one eruption of major violence -- in a country where ethnic differences pervade all political, social, and economic life -- secures 'Abdul Rahman’s place in history.  

Tengku 'Abdul Rahman see 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj
Tunku [Prince] 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj see 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj
Bapa Merdeka  see 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj
The Father of Malaysia see 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj
Alhaj, 'Abdul Rahman  see 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj
Bapa Malaysia see 'Abdul Rahman Alhaj

'Abdul Rauf
'Abdul Rauf (‘Abd al-Ra’uf) (Abdurrauf) of Singkei (c.1615-1690 [1693?]). Sumatran theologian and Muslim mystic. 'Abdul Rauf was born in Sumatra.  After extensive travel and study in the Hijaz and Yemen, 'Abdul Rauf worked and taught in Acheh under royal patronage from 1661 onwards.  'Abdul Rauf made a Malay translation of Baidawi’s commentary on the Qur’an and his best-known works are Mir’at a’t-Tullah fi Tashil Ma’rifat al-Ahkam a’sh Shar’iyyah li Malik a’l-Wahhab and Umdat al-muhtajia, the latter with autobiographical details.  Mir’at a’t-Tullah fi Tashil Ma’rifat al-Ahkam a’sh Shar’iyyah li Malik a’l-Wahhab is a book of Shafiite jurisprudence, but also deals generally with social, political and religious life.  In theology, 'Abdul Rauf was an orthodox mystic with views similar to those of Nuruddin Ar-Raniri.
Rauf, 'Abdul see 'Abdul Rauf
‘Abd al-Ra’uf see 'Abdul Rauf
Abdurrauf see 'Abdul Rauf

'Abdul Razak
'Abdul Razak ('Abdul Razak bin Haji Dato' Hussein al-Haj) (March 11, 1922 - January 14, 1976).  The second prime minister of Malaysia (1970-1976).  'Abdul Razak was the Prime Minister responsible for setting up Barison Nasional, the ruling coalition of political parties that hold power in Malaysia.  He is also renowned for launching the Malaysian New Economic Policy (MNEP).

The son of a major chief, 'Abdul Razak was born in Pahang and educated locally at a Malay language school, then at the exclusive Malay College in Kuala Kangsar.  In 1939, 'Abdul Razak joined the Malayan Administrative Service, and after serving with distinction with the British sponsored resistance forces during World War II, he read law in England. During his studies in England he became active in Malayan student politics and was a loyal supporter of 'Abdul Rahman, under whose aegis he would later prosper.  Returning to Malaya, Razak joined the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) while it was still in its infancy and was made head of UMNO Youth in 1950 and deputy president in 1951.  He was appointed deputy prime minister under 'Abdul Rahman after independence in 1957 and succeeded to the premiership and UMNO presidency when 'Abdul Rahman resigned in September 1970.   

In 1956, Razak’s Committee on Education produced guidelines (known as the Razak Plan) that integrated Malaya’s various ethnic groups under a single educational system designed to promote a common Malayan awareness without sacrificing ethnic identity.  After becoming prime minister following the devastating riots between Malays and Chinese in May 1969, 'Abdul Razak was able to return stability to the land.  At the same time, he reintroduced democracy -- despite reports of its death -- following the National Operations Council interregnum of 1969-1970 by persuading a number of former opposition groups to join the ruling coalition.  He helped control simmering Malay dissatisfaction by implementing the Second Malaysia Plan (Malaysian New Economic Policy - MNEP), a new economic program designed to restructure society and correct the economic disparity between Malays and Chinese.  Finally, he was the architect of a new foreign policy that recognized the People’s Republic of China, promoted Southeast Asia as a “zone of peace, freedom, and neutrality,” and supported regionalism within the ambit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.  

'Abdul Razak died on January 14, 1976 from leukemia, a disease he had carefully kept hidden from public attention.  He was posthumously granted the sobriquet Bapa Pembangunan (Father of Development).   He was laid to rest in the Heroes Mausoleum near Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur.   

Razak, 'Abdul see 'Abdul Razak
'Abdul Razak bin Haji Dato' Hussein al-Haj see 'Abdul Razak
Bapa Pembangunan see 'Abdul Razak
Father of Malaysian Development see 'Abdul Razak

'Abdul Salami
'Abdul Salami ('Abdussalami) (d.c.1830).  The first Fula emir of the state of Ilorin (Nigeria) (r.1824-1830).  In 1817, his father, Alimi, a Fula Muslim cleric, had aided Afonja, then the Yoruba ruler of Ilorin, in an independence struggle against the neighboring Oyo kingdom.  Afterward Afonja’s foreign troops revolted and 'Abdul Salami seized power.  He was recognized by Muhammad Bello (who was then building the Fula Islamic empire to the north) as an emir within the new Fula state.  'Abdul Salami was succeeded by his brother, Shitta.  
'Abdussalami see 'Abdul Salami
Salami, 'Abdul see 'Abdul Salami

'Abdul Samad Azhar
'Abdul Samad Azhar.   A member of the Parcham faction of the PDPA who was appointed ambassador to Belgrade in 1989 and defected in 1990.  'Abdul was a Pashtun from Laghman Province who was trained as a police officer in Kabul and Egypt.  A member of President Muhammad Daud’s investigation team of the Maiwandwal “affair” in 1973, 'Abdul is believed to have been the assassin of the former prime minister.  He was arrested in May 1979 by the Khalqi government of Hafizullah Amin and held until January 1980.  The Karmal government appointed him commander of police (Sarandoy) in January 1980 and an alternate member of the central committee.  He became a full member in 1986.  He served as ambassador to Cuba from 1983 to 1986 and to India (in Delhi) from 1986 to 1989. 

'Abdul Wahhab
'Abdul Wahhab.  See Wahhab, 'Abdul.
Wahhab, 'Abdul see 'Abdul Wahhab.

'Abdul Wali
'Abdul Wali (b. 1924).  Commander-in-chief of the Central Forces of Afghanistan until 1973 when he was imprisoned as a result of the coup by his cousin Muhammad Daud.  'Abdul Wali was born in 1924, the son of Marshal Shah Wali and cousin of the ex-King Zahir.  He was educated in France and England where he attended Sandhurst as well as the Command and General Staff College at Camberley.  'Abdul Wali married Princess Bilqis, the daughter of the former King Muhammad Zahir.  He followed the king in exile and lived in Italy after 1976 where he served as Zahir’s spokesperson.  In August 1995, Abdul went to Pakistan where he was received by large crowds.  He talked with high-ranking Pakistani officials and conferred with leading Afghans.   
Wali, 'Abdul see 'Abdul Wali

Abdurahman, 'Abdullah
Abdurahman, 'Abdullah ('Abdullah Abdurahman) (December 18, 1872 - February 2, 1940).  The most important “Coloured” political leader of early twentieth century South Africa.  'Abdullah Abdurahman served as president of the African People's Organization (African Political Organisation) from 1905 until his death.  The grandson of freed slaves, he trained as a medical doctor in Glasgow, Scotland, before returning to Cape Town to practice medicine and participate in political life.  The first Coloured person to serve on the Cape Town City Council (1904-1940) and on the Cape Provincial Council (1914-1940), he was much criticized in the late 1930s by a new, more militant generation of Coloured activists.

'Abdullah Abdurahman was born in Wellington, South Africa.  He was the son of relatively affluent Muslim Cape Malays, and his grandparents were slaves who had bought their freedom.  After receiving a good British education in Wellington and Cape Town, he went to Glasgow to study medicine in 1888, qualifying as a doctor in 1893.  Upon returning to South Africa, he set up a thriving private practice in Cape Town.  In 1904, he was elected Cape Town's first non-European city councillor, a position he held almost uninterrupted until his death.  As city councillor, he worked to improve the conditions of the Coloured community, especially within the field of education.  He helped set up the first secondary schools for Coloureds in Cape Town.

The greatest political achievements, however, of Abdurahman's political life, were connected to his involvement with the African Political Organisation.  Elected president in 1905, his contribution to the party's success was so great that the party was often jokingly referred to as Abdurahman's Political Organisation.  The party's goal was to fight the increasing racial oppression in the country, initially only on behalf of non-African Coloured.  Abdurahman unsuccessfully led two delegations to London to secure franchise rights for Coloured before the creation of the Union of South Africa.  Later, between 1927 and 1934, Abdurahman and his party would start working closer with black African political leaders, in an attempt to create a united front, but this came to little.  By the late 1930s, other political parties, such as the more radical National Liberation League, had taken the initiative.  

On February 2, 1940, Abdurahman died of cardiac arrest.  His funeral was attended by over 30,000 people.  After his death, the party he had built up went into rapid decline.  His political legacy is a mixed one.  Modern, more radical commentators view him as overly accommodating to the white authorities, and as far as practical results are concerned, the achievements of his political career were limited. On the other hand, there is little doubt that he was the most powerful South African Coloured politician of his time, and his popularity in the non-European community was immense, as was the respect he enjoyed with the white elite.  In 1999, Nelson Mandela posthumously awarded Abdurahman the Order of Meritorious Service: Class I (Gold) for his work against racial oppression.

Abdurahman was married twice: first to the British Helen (Nellie) Potter James, whom he met in Glasgow.  They had two daughters and divorced in 1923.  The youngest daughter from this marriage, Zainunissa (Cissy) Gool (1900-1963), became an important political figure in her own right, as a municipal councillor in Cape Town.  Abdurahman's second marriage was in 1925 to Margaret May Stansfield, who bore him two daughters and a son.
'Abdullah Abdurahman see Abdurahman, 'Abdullah

Abdur Rahim
Abdur Rahim (1867-1947 [1952?]).  A prominent Bengali Muslim political and legal figure.  He was born in Midnapur where his father was posted as deputy collector.  He attended Presidency College and later was called to the bar from the Middle Temple in 1890.  Abdur Rahim specialized in Muslim law, and his Principles of Muhammadan Jurisprudence (first published in 1911) is considered a classic on the subject.  He practiced law and became involved in politics, being one of the founding members of the Muslim League in 1906.  Abdur Rahim was also a member of the delegation of Muslim leaders that met with the viceroy, Lord Minto, at Simla earlier in the same year.  It was this delegation that proposed the creation of separate electorates for Muslims.  In 1908, he was appointed a justice of the Madras High Court, where he served until 1920.  During his service there he was twice officiating chief justice.  Also during that period, Abdur Rahim was a member of the Royal Commission on Public Service (1912-1915) and achieved recognition for a strong dissenting minute in which he urged the rapid appointment of Indians to the highest levels of the civil service.  He was a member of the executive council of the governor of Bengal (1921-1925), holding the portfolio of justice, and then a member of the legislative council (1926-1930).  In 1931, Abdur Rahim was elected as an independent to the Central Legislative Assembly and presided over that body (1935-1945).  He also was a member of the Muslim portion of the Indian delegation to the Round Table Conferences in the early 1930s.  He is reported to have been opposed to the partition of Bengal, but moved to East Bengal after partition.  Abdur Rahim’s daughter was the first wife of Hussain Shahid Suhrawardy who supported the creation of a separate dominion for Bengal and Assam.
Rahim, Abdur see Abdur Rahim

Abdur Rashid
Abdur Rashid (Kazi Abdur Rashid) (d.1944).   A pioneer in Muslim publishing in Bengal.  He founded the Bengal Moslem Provincial Library and a number of associated publishing firms.  He was born in the Dhaka district and represented that district in the Bengal Legislative Council (1937-1944).  
Rashid, Abdur see Abdur Rashid
Kazi Abdur Rashid see Abdur Rashid
Rashid, Kazi Abdur see Abdur Rashid

Abenguefith.  See Abu’l-Mutarrif Ibn Wafid.
Abu’l-Mutarrif Ibn Wafid see Abenguefith.

Abenragel.  See Abu’l-Hasan ibn Abi ‘l-Rijal.
Abu’l-Hasan ibn Abi ‘l-Rijal see Abenragel.

Abhomeron Avenzoar
Abhomeron Avenzoar.  See Abu Marwan ibn Abu’l-‘Ala’.
Avenzoar, Abhomeron see Abhomeron Avenzoar.
Abu Marwan ibn Abu’l-‘Ala’ see Abhomeron Avenzoar.

Abkarius (Iskandar Agha ibn Ya‘qub) (d. 1885).  An Armenian man of letters from Beirut.  He composed anthologies of Arabic literature, and is the author of a narrative of the events in Lebanon from 1860 to 1869.
Iskandar Agha ibn Ya‘qub see Abkarius

Abraha (Abreha) ('Abraha al-Ashram) (Abraha bin as-Saba'h). The Christian king of South Arabia in the middle of the sixth century.  In Islamic literature, his fame is due to the tradition that he led a Yemeni expedition against Mecca, referred to in the Qur’an, Sura 105, in the year of the birth of the Prophet (c. 570) -- the Year of the Elephant.  Abraha left a long inscription on the dam of Marib.  The traditions also say that 'Abraha is said to have built a cathedral at San'a' known as "al-Qulays" to rival the Ka'ba at Mecca and specifically came with his forces of elephants to destroy the Ka'ba.

Islamic tradition holds that Abraha perished of illness contracted shortly after the failure of his expedition to the Hejaz.  He was succeeded on the throne by two of his sons, Yaksum and Masruq, born to him by Raihana, a Yemenite noblewoman whom Abraha had abducted from her husband.  Between 570 and 575, the pro-Persian group in Yemen made contact with the Sassanid king through the Lakhmid princes in al-Hirah.  The Persians from Yemen and Southern Arabia became a Persian dominion under a Yemenite vassal within the sphere of influence of the Sassanian empire.  

In historical records, Abraha was an Aksumite (Ethiopian) Christian viceroy in southern Arabia for the Kingdom of Aksum and later the self-styled King of Saba' (Yemen).  Procopius records that Abraha was once the slave of a Roman merchant at Adulis, while al-Tabari says that he was related to the Axumite royal family.

Dhu Nuwas, the Jewish Himyarite ruler of Yemen, in the period c. 523-525 or c.518-20 launched military operations against the Aksumites in Southern Arabia along and their local Arab Christian allies.  The Aksumites in Zafar were killed, their fortresses in the Yemeni highlands destroyed, and the coastal regions reconquered and Najran sacked.  Najran fell in 518 or 523 and many members of the Himyarite Christian community were put to death evoking great sympathy throughout the Christian regions of the Orient and prompting an Aksumite military intervention aided by a Byzantine fleet first made in 518/523.

Abraha was either one of the commanders or a member of one of the armies led by King Kaleb of Axum against Dhu Nuwas.  In al-Tabari's history, 'Abraha is said to have been the commander of the second army sent by Kaleb after the first, led by 'Ariat.  'Abraha was reported to have led his army of 100,000 men to successfully crush all resistance and then following the suicide of Dhu Nuwas, seized power and establishing himself at San'a'.  He aroused the wrath of Kaleb, however, by withholding tribute who then sent his general 'Ariat to take over the governorship of Yemen.  'Abraha rid himself of the latter by a subterfuge in a duel resulting in 'Ariat being killed and 'Abraha suffering the injury which earned him the sobriquet of al-Asram, "scar-face."

According to Procopius, around 530, 'Abraha seized the control of Yemen from Esimiphaeus (Sumuafa' Ashawa'), the Christian Himyarite viceroy appointed by Kaleb, with the support of dissident elements within the Aksum occupation force who were eager to settle in the Yemen, then a rich and fertile land.  An army sent by Kaleb to subdue 'Abraha joined his ranks and killed the ruler sent to replace him (this is perhaps a reference to 'Ariat) and a second army was defeated.

After this Kaleb had to accord him de facto recognition before earning recognition under Kaleb's successor for a nominal tribute.  'Abraha is seen as then becoming a prominent figure in Yemens history, promoting the cause of Christianity in the face of the prevalent Judaism prevalent and the paganism of Central Arabia.  A zealous Christian himself, he is said to have built a great church at San'a' and to have repaired the principal irrigation dam at the Sabaean capital of Ma'rib, 'Abraha is chiefly famous, however, for the military...

Epigraphic sources chronicling 'Abraha's career include an inscription on the Marib Dam recording the quelling of an insurrection backed by a son of the deposed ruler, Esimiphaeus, in the year 657 of the Sabaean era, i.e. between 540-550; vital repairs effected to the dam later in the same year; the reception of envoys from the Negus, from Byzantium, from Persia and from Harith bin Djabalat, the phylarch of Arabia; and the completion of repairs to the dam in the following year; followed by a great feast of rejoicing.  The royal title adopted by 'Abraha is similar to that of his immedaite predecessors and to that of Emperor Kaleb, "King of Saba' and dhu-Raydan and Hadhramaut and Yamanat and of their Arabs on the plateau and the lowland."  A further text discovered at Murayghan records a defeat inflicted by 'Abraha on the North Arabian tribe of Ma'add in the year 662 of the Sabaean era.

'Abraha al-Ashram see Abraha
Abreha see Abraha
Abraha bin as-Saba'h see Abraha

Abraham (known to the Arabs as Ibrahim).  Biblical patriarch who is known as the ancestor of the Hebrews through his son Isaac and of the Arabs through his son Ishmael (Isma‘il). {See Genesis 11:27-25:10.}    In Genesis 12, Abraham obeyed God’s call to leave his home in Ur and lead a life of wandering, believing God’s promise that he would be the father of many peoples and that a land (thus, the Promised Land) would be theirs.  For Jews and Christians, Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son Isaac (Genesis 22) is seen as the supreme test of his faith.  However, for Muslims, it was Isma‘il who was the son to be sacrificed.  

Abraham lived in the period between 2200 and 1700 B.C.T.  Originally called Abram, Abraham was the son of Terah, a descendant of Shem.  Abraham was born in the city of Ur of the Chaldees, where he married his half sister Sarai, or Sarah.  They left Ur with his nephew Lot and Lot’s family under a divine inspiration and went to Haran.  Receiving a promise that God would make him a “great nation,” Abram moved on to Canaan, where he lived as a nomad.  Famine led Abram to Egypt, but he was driven out for misrepresenting Sarai as his sister.  Again in Canaan, after quarrels between Abram and Lot and their herdsmen, they separated, Lot remained near Sodom and Abram continued his nomadic life.  He later rescued Lot from the captivity of King Chedorlaomer of Elam and was blessed by the priest Melchizedek, king of Salem.  Then God promised Abram a son by his wife Sarai, repeated his earlier promises, and confirmed these by a covenant.  

When this covenant was later renewed, the rite of circumcision was established, Abram’s name became Abraham, and Sarai’s became Sarah.  God subsequently repeated his promise of a male son by Sarah by means of visiting angels.  

When God informed Abraham that he intended to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of the wickedness of their inhabitants, Abraham pleaded with him to spare the cities.  Eventually, it was agreed that God would spare the cities if Abraham could find ten righteous men.  The ten men could not be found, and God destroyed both cities.

Isma‘il (Ishmael), the first son of Abraham, whose mother was Hagar, an Egyptian slave, was born when Abraham was 86 years old.  Isaac, whose mother was Sarah, was born when Abraham was in his 100th year.

Abraham, known as Ibrahim in Arabic, is very important in Islam, both in his own right as a prophet as well as being the father of Isma'il and Isaac.  Isma'il, Ibrahim's first born son, is considered the "Father of the Arabized Arabs," and Isaac is considered the "Father of the Hebrews."  Islam teaches that Isma'il was the son Abraham nearly sacrificed on Moriah.  To support this view Muslims use various proofs, including the belief that at the time of the attempted sacrifice Isma'il was his only son.  Ibrahim is revered by Muslims as one of the Prophets in Islam, and is commonly termed Khalil Ullah, "Friend of God."  Ibrahim is considered a Hanif, that is, a discoverer of monotheism.

Ibrahim is mentioned in many passages in 25 Qur'anic suras (chapters).  The number of repetitions of his name in the Qur'an is second only to Moses.

Ibrahim's footprint is displayed outside the Ka'ba, which is on a stone, protected and guarded by Mutawa (Religious Police).  The annual Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, follows Ibrahim, Hagar, and Isma'il's journey to the sacred place of the Ka'ba.  Islamic tradition narrates that Ibrahim's subsequent visits to the Northern Arabian region, after leaving Isma'il and Hagar (in the area that would later become the Islamic holy city of Mecca), were not only to visit Isma'il but also to construct the first house of worship for God (that is, the monotheistic concept and model of God), the Ka'ba -- as per God's command.  The Eid ul-Adha ceremony is focused on Ibrahim's willingness to sacrifice his promised son on God's command.  In turn, God spared his son's life and instead substituted a sheep.  This was Ibrahim's test of faith.  On Eid ul-Adha, Muslims sacrifice a domestic animal -- a sheep, goat, cow, buffalo, or camel -- as a symbol of Ibrahim's sacrifice, and divide the meat among the family members, friends, relatives, and most importantly, the poor.

A line in the Book of Jubilees (20:13) mentions that the descendants of Ibrahim's son by Hagar, Isma'il, as well as his descendants by Keturah, became the "Arabians" or "Arabs."  The first century Jewish historian Josephus similarly described the descendants of Isma'il (i.e., the Ishmaelites) as an "Arabian" people.  He also calls Isma'il the "founder" of the "Arabians."  Some Biblical scholars also believe that the area outlined in Genesis as the final destination of Isma'il and his descendants ("from Havilah to Assyria") refers to the Arabian peninsula.  This has led to a commonplace view that modern Semitic-speaking Arabs are descended from Ibrahim via Isma'il, in addition to various other tribes who intermixed with the Ishmaelites, such as Joktan, Sheba, Dedan, Broham.  Both Judeo-Christian and Islamic traditions speak of earlier inhabitants of Arabia.

Classical Arab historians traced the true Arabs (i.e., the original Arabs from Yemen) to Qahtan and the Arabicized Arabs (people from the region of Mecca, who assimilated into the Arabs) to Adnan, said to be an ancestor of Muhammad, and have further equated Isma'il with A'raq al-Thara, said to be ancestor of Adnan.  Umm Salama, one of Muhammad's wives, wrote that this was done using the following hermeneutical reasoning:  Thara means moist earth, Ibrahim was not consumed by hell-fire, fire does not consume moist earth, thus A'raq al-Thara must be Isma'il, son of Ibrahim.

God demanded that Abraham sacrifice Isma‘il (Isaac in the Jewish and Christian traditions) as a test of faith.  However, because of Abraham’s unquestioning compliance, God permitted Abraham to spare Isma‘il and rewarded Abraham with a formal renewal of his promise.  After Sarah died, Abraham married Keturah and had six sons by her.  He died at the biblical age of 175 (7 x 5 x 5) and was buried beside Sarah in the Cave of Machpelah, in what is now Hebron, Jordan.

In the Christian tradition, God’s acceptance of Abraham’s faith and obedience as righteousness (see Genesis 15:6) becomes in the New Testament a basis for Paul’s doctrine of Justification by Faith (see Galatians 3:6-9 and Romans 4:13-25).  God’s acceptance of Abraham’s faith and obedience as righteousness also led to the Christian interpretation of the Church as the new Israel.  

In the Qur’an, it is reported that God revealed the true religion to Abraham.  Accordingly, it is Abraham who must be considered to be the first Muslim (see Sura 3:55-70).  The Qur’an, which mentions Abraham often, refers to Abraham as a “speaker of truth” as a prophet, calls Islam “the religion of Abraham,” and gives him the epithet “monotheist” (in Arabic, hanif).  Along with his son Isma‘il (Ishmael), it was Abraham who constructed the monotheistic Ka‘ba.

Abraham is mentioned in the Qur’an at the following locations:

Sura 2:115-135
Sura 2:260-265
Sura 3:25-35
Sura 3:55-70
Sura 3:75-85
Sura 4:55-60
Sura 4:120-130
Sura 4:160-165
Sura 6:70-80
Sura 6:160-165
Sura 9:70-75
Sura 9:115-120
Sura 11:70-80
Sura 12:5-10
Sura 12:35-40
Sura 14:1-55
Sura 16:120-125
Sura 19:40-60
Sura 21:50-65
Sura 22:25-30
Sura 22:40-45
Sura 22:75-80
Sura 26:65-75
Sura 29:10-20
Sura 33:5-10
Sura 37:80-85
Sura 38:40-50
Sura 42:10-20
Sura 43:20-30
Sura 53:35-45
Sura 57:25-30
Sura 60:1-5

his conversion Sura 6:70-80

a true believer Sura 3:55-65
Sura 3:85-95
Sura 4:120-130
Sura 6:160-165
Sura 16:120-130

visited by angels: Sura 11:70-75
Sura 15:50-60
Sura 29:25-35
Sura 51:20-30

cast into the flames Sura 21:60-70
Sura 29:10-25
Sura 37:80-100

and Isaac Sura 37:105-120

builds the Ka‘ba Sura 2:120-125
Sura 22:25-30

Ibrahim see Abraham
Abram see Abraham
Speaker of Truth see Abraham
Forefather of the Hebrews see Abraham
Khalil Ullah see Abraham
Friend of God see Abraham

Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shi‘i
Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shi‘i (Abu 'Abdullah al-Shi'i) (Abu 'Abdullah al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Zakariyya al-Shi'i) (d. February 28, 911).  A Shi‘a propagandist and the founder of Fatimid rule in North Africa.  He was a native of San‘a’ in Yemen.

Abu 'Abdullah was a Da'i for the Isma'ilis in Yemen and North Africa mainly among the Kutama Berbers, whose teachings influenced the rise of the Fatimid dynasty.  He was born in Kufa in Iraq (or San'a', according to some accounts) and was active int he administration of the Abbasid Caliphate, before he began to associate with Isma'ili teachers.  At first, he proselytized under the guidance of Ibn Hawshab in Yemen and Mecca.  

During a pilgrimage to Mecca in 892, he met some Kutama Berbers that boasted of their independence and autonomy from the Aghlabids.  Abu 'Abdullah sensed a chance and decided to follow their invitation to the Maghrib where he arrived in 893.  After successfully preaching the Isma'ili doctrine among the Sanhaja, he was able to form a powerful army consisting of Berber peasants.  He began conquering the cities of Ifriqiya up to the point where he finally took over ar-Raqqada, the palace city of the Aghlabids near Kairuan in 909.

All this had been done by him to prepare for the appearance of Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah, the imam-caliph of the Fatimids.  Al-Mahdi was rescued from a prison in Sijilmasa (present-day Morocco) and proclaimed as caliph, ruling from the former residence of the Aghlabids.  

Al-Shi'i had hoped that al-Mahdi would be a spiritual leader, and leave the administration of secular affairs to him, but he was soon disappointed.  After being suspected of complicity in a revolt of Kutama leaders, al-Shi'i was put to death in 911.
Shi'i, Abu 'Abd Allah al- see Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shi‘i
Abu 'Abdullah al-Shi'i see Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shi‘i
Abu 'Abdullah al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Zakariyya al-Shi'i see Abu ‘Abd Allah al-Shi‘i

Abu al-'Abbas
Abu al-'Abbas (al-Saffah) (as-Saffah) (Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah as-Saffah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas ibn Mutalib ibn Hashim) (721-754).  The first 'Abbasid caliph (r. 750-754).  "As-Saffah" literally means "the Slaughterer" in Arabic.  

Abu al-'Abbas -- As-Saffah -- was the head of one branch of the Banu Hashim, who traced their lineage to Hashim, a great-grandfather of Muhammad, via al-'Abbas, an uncle of the prophet.  The Banu Hashim had great support from the camp of 'Ali, the fourth caliph.  They thought that the family which had produced Muhammad and 'Ali would produce another great leader of mahdi who would liberate Islam.  The half-hearted policies of the late Umayyads to tolerate non-Arab Muslims and Shi'as had failed to quell unrest among these minorities.

This unrest led to revolt during the reign of Hisham ibn 'Abd al-Malik in Kufa, a prominent city in southern Iraq.  Shi'ites revolted in 736 and held the city until 740, led by Zayd ibn 'Ali, a grandson of Husayn and another member of the Banu Hashim.  Zayd's rebellion failed, and was put down by Umayyad armies in 740.  The revolt in Kufa indicated both the strength of the Umayyads and the growing unrest in the Muslim world.

As-Saffah chose to focus on Khurasan, an important military region in eastern Iran.  In 743, the death of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham provoked a civil war in the Islamic Empire.  Abu al-'Abbas, supported by Shi'as, Kharijis, and the residents of Khurasan, led his forces to victory over the Umayyads and ultimately deposed the last Umayyad caliph, Marwan II, in 750.  The civil war was marked by millenial prophecies encouraged by the beliefs of some Shi'as that as-Saffah was the mahdi.  Prominent Islamic scholars wrote works such as the Jafr telling faithful Muslims that the brutal civil war was the great conflict between good and evil.  The choice of the Umayyads to enter battle with white flags and the 'Abbasids to enter with black encouraged such theories.  The color white, however, was regarded in much of Persia as a sign of mourning.

Concerned that there would be a return of Umayyad power, as-Saffah invited all of the remaining members of the Umayyad family to a dinner party where he had them clubbed to death before the first course, which was then served to the hosts.  The only Umayyad survivor, 'Abd ar-Rahman I, escaped  to al-Andalus (Spain), where the Umayyad caliphate would endure for three centuries.  For his ruthless efforts to eliminate the Umayyad family, Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah earned the name "as-Saffah" which means "the Slaughterer" or "the Shedder of Blood."

After the victory over the Umayyads, as-Saffah's short reign was marked with efforts to consolidate and rebuild the Caliphate.  His supporters were represented in the new government, but apart from the policy toward the Umayyad family, as-Saffah is widely viewed by historians as having been a mild victor.  Jews, Nestorian Christians, and Persians were well-represented in as-Saffah's government and in succeeding 'Abbasid administrations.  Education was also encouraged, and the first paper mills, staffed by skilled Chinese prisoners captured at the Battle of Talas, were set up in Samarkand.

Equally revolutionary was as-Saffah's reform of the army, which came to include non-Muslims and non-Arabs in sharp contrast to the Umayyads who refused any soldiers of either type.  As-Saffah selected the gifted Abu Muslim as his military commander, an officer who would serve until 755 in the 'Abbasid army.

As-Saffah turned back on his promises to the Shi'a community in claiming the Caliphate for himself.  The Shi'a had hoped that their imam would be named head of the Caliphate, inaugurating the era of peace and prosperity the millenialists had believed would come.  The betrayal alienated as-Saffah's Shi'a supporters, although the continued amity of other groups made 'Abbasid rule markedly more solvent than Umayyad.

Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah as-Saffah died of smallpox on June 10, 754, only four years after deposing the Umayyads.  He appointed his brother Abu Ja'far al-Mansur and the Isa ibn Musa as his successors.
'Abbas, Abu al- see Abu al-'Abbas
Saffah, al- see Abu al-'Abbas
Saffah, as- see Abu al-'Abbas
Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah as-Saffah ibn Muhammad ibn 'Ali ibn 'Abdullah ibn 'Abbas ibn Mutalib ibn Hashim see Abu al-'Abbas
The Slaughterer see Abu al-'Abbas
The Shedder of Blood see Abu al-'Abbas

Abu al-Fida
Abu al-Fida (Abulfida) (Abul Fida Ismail Hamvi) (Abu al-Fida' Isma'il ibn Mahmud al-Malik al-Mu'ayyad 'Imad Ad-din) (Abulfeda) (Abu Alfida)  (November, 1273 - October 27, 1331).  Arab historian and geographer.  

Abu al-Fida was born in Damascus, where his father Malik ul-Afdal, brother of the prince of Hamah, had fled from the Mongols.  He was a descendant of Ayyub, the father of Saladin.  In his boyhood, Abu al-Fida devoted himself to the study of the Qur'an and the sciences, but from his twelfth year was almost constantly engaged in military expeditions, chiefly against the crusaders.  

In 1285, Abu al-Fida was present at the assault  of a stronghold of the Knights of St. John, and took part in the sieges of Tripoli (1289), Acre (1291) and Qal'at ar-Rum.  Tripoli and Acre were the last strongholds of the Crusaders.  

In 1298, Abu al-Fida entered the service of the Mameluke Sultan Malik al-Nasir and after twelve years was invested by him with the governorship of Hamah.  In 1310, Abu al-Fida was appointed governor of the city of Hamah, over which he ruled with almost absolute power.  In 1312, Abu al-Fida was made a prince with the title Malik us-Salhn, and in 1320, he was given the title of sultan with the title Malik ul-Mu'ayyad and the right to transmit the title to his descendants.  

Abu al-Fida’s most important work was An Abridgment of the History of the Human Race, a text that traces human history from the creation of the world until 1329.  This work is especially valuable as a source for the period of the Crusades.  He also wrote Geography, which is valued primarily for its description of the Muslim world.  Geography was founded on the works of his predecessors, including the works of Ptolemy and Muhammad al-Idrisi.  A long introduction on various geographical matters is followed by twenty-eight sections dealing in tabular form with the chief towns of the world.  After each name are given the longitude, latitude, climate, spelling, and then observations generally taken from earlier authors.

Abulfeda crater, a crater on the Moon, is named for Abu al-Fida.

Fida, Abu al- see Abu al-Fida
Abulfida see Abu al-Fida
Abul Fida Ismail Hamvi see Abu al-Fida
Abu al-Fida' Isma'il ibn Mahmud al-Malik al-Mu'ayyad 'Imad Ad-din see Abu al-Fida
Abulfeda see Abu al-Fida
Abu Alfida see Abu al-Fida

Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari
Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari (Ali an-Naqi) (Ali al-Hadi) (Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Abu al-Hasan) (September 8, 828 - July 1, 868).  Tenth Imam of the Twelver Shi‘a.  He lived peacefully in Medina until the accession of the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Mutawakkil, who kept him under surveillance but whose respect he seems to have won.

Ali al-Hadi was born in Medina to the ninth Shi'a Imam, Muhammad al-Taqi, and Lady Samanah.  He was only six when his father died, and when he was appointed to the Imamate.  During the remaining years of the Caliphate of Mu'tasim and the five year Caliphate of Wathiq, al-Hadi and the Shi'a community of Medina lived in relative peace, with al-Hadi mostly engaged in teaching.  

In 848, during the caliphate of al-Mutawakkil, he was summoned to Baghdad and put under house arrest in Samarra, along with his son Hasan al-Askari.  Although they were received hospitably and given a house in which to live, according to twelver Shi'ites in reality he was kept here to stop all communication between himself and his followers.  His time in prison was a time of great persecution against the Shi'a.  The quarter of the city where al-Hadi lived was known as al-Askar since it was chiefly occupied by the army (askar) and, therefore, al-Hadi and his son Hasan are both referred to as 'Askari or together as 'Askariyayn (the two 'Askaris).  According to twelvers, it is reported that at least once al-Mutawakkil attempted to kill al-Hadi but was frustrated by a miracle.

On the other hand, a minority of al-Hadi's contemporaries viewed him with disgust and claimed that he was a greedy man exploiting his lineage with no care for the people.  Although Twelvers claimed that he used miracles to save himself from death, al-Kasim ibn Ibrahim, a contemporary, met with and found al-Hadi to be a reprehensible man, who's only love was money and not religion.  Al-Kasim rhetorically asked the Twelvers, as they would come to be known, "Has he helped someone of you or changed his state?  We have seen actions of his which are appropriate neither to a prophet nor to a believer.  We are ashamed to describe them in our book?" Rather, al-Kasim accused al-Hadi of benefitting from al-Mutawakkil and the khums plundered from his believing Shi'ites.  However, this view is a minority and fringe opinion, and he was well liked in his lifetime.

In Twelver Shi'a Islam, al-Hadi is described as being endowed with the knowledge of the languages of the Persians, Slavs, Indians, and Nabateans in addition to foreknowing unexpected storms and as accurately prophesying deaths and other events.  He is reported to have correctly predicted Mutawakkil's death within three days after the caliph had either humiliated him or had him imprisoned.  In the presence of Mutawakkil, he unmasked a woman falsely claiming to be Zaynab, the daughter of Ali, by descending into a lion's den in order to prove that lions do not harm true descendants of Ali (a similar miracle is also attributed to his grandfather, Ali al-Rida).  A theological treatise on human free will and some other short texts and statements ascribed to al-Hadi are quoted by Ibn So'ba Harrani.

Al-Hadi would live out his life under house arrest, and died at the age of 39 on July 1, 868.  Like his predecessors, it was reportedly by poison.  He was buried at his house in Samarra by his son, who was also the only person to attend his funeral.  His burial spot is now the Al Askari Mosque, one of the holiest Shi'a shrines.

On February 22, 2006, a bomb attack in Iraq badly damaged the shrine of Askari, the burial place of Imam Ali al-Hadi and his son Imam Hasan al-Askari.  Another attack was executed on June 13, 2007 and led to the destruction of the two minarets of the shrine.  

The descendants of al-Hadi are called Naqvi (also spelled as Naqhavi or Naqavi in Iran and the Arab world respectively).  They primarily reside in Pakistan as well as a small but prominent minority in India.

'Askari, Abu al-Hasan 'Ali al- see Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari
Naqi, Ali an- see Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari
Hadi, Ali al- see Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari
Ali an-Naqi see Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari
Ali al-Hadi see Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari
Ali ibn Muhammad ibn Ali Abu al-Hasan see Abu al-Hasan ‘Ali al-‘Askari

Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham
Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) (Avennathan) (Ibn al-Haytham) (Haithem, Abu 'Ali Hasan ibn al-) (965-1039).  One of the principal Arab mathematicians and the person who is recognized as the greatest Arab physicist.  {See Ibn al-Haytham.}

Ibn al-Haytham see Abu ‘Ali al-Hasan ibn al-Haytham

Abu ‘Ali Yahya al-Khayyat
Abu ‘Ali Yahya al-Khayyat (Albohali) (d. c. 835).  An Arab astrologer.  His fame in medieval Europe stems from his work on judicial astronomy.
Albohali see Abu ‘Ali Yahya al-Khayyat

Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd
Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd.  See Ibn Rushd.
Ibn Rushd see Abu al-Walid Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Rushd.

Abu Amir ibn al-Hammarah
Abu Amir ibn al-Hammarah (c. 1180).  Arab poet.

Abu ‘Amr al-Shaybani
Abu ‘Amr al-Shaybani (c.719-c.825).  One of the most influential philologists of the school of Kufa.
Shaybani, Abu 'Amr al- see Abu ‘Amr al-Shaybani

Abu ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ala’
Abu ‘Amr ibn al-‘Ala’.  A “reader” of the Qur’an who died around 770.  He is regarded as the founder of the grammatical school of Basra.

Abubacer.  See Ibn Tufayl.  
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufayl see Abubacer.

Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar (1835-1895).  Generally credited as being the founder of the modern Malay state of Johor.  Eldest son of Temenggong Ibrahim, Abu Bakar was raised in the kampong, or village, of Teluk Belanga in Singapore.  The first English educated Malay prince, he succeeded his father in 1862 and continued his policy of populating Johor with Chinese pepper and gambier planters and creating a formal administration along British lines.  He maintained intimate relations with the British in Singapore and gained entry into European aristocratic circles after being presented to Queen Victoria in 1866.  He was affiliated with British advances in the peninsular states during the 1860s and 1870s and recognized as sultan of the State and Territory of Johor in 1885.  
Bakar, Abu see Abu Bakar

Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr (Abu Bakr al-Siddiq) (Abu Bakr as-Siddiq) ('Abdallah bin Abu Quhafah) (c. 573 - August 23, 634).  The first Caliph -- the first political successor to Muhammad -- and the father of Muhammad’s wife, ‘A’isha.  Abu Bakr is said to have been three years younger than Muhammad, but little is known of his life before his conversion to Islam.  

Abu Bakr was born at Mecca some time in the year 573, in the Banu Taym branch of the Quraysh tribe.  Abu Bakr's father's name was Uthman Abu Qahafa (Uthman Abu Quhafah) nicknamed Abu Qahafa, and his mother was Salma Umm-ul-Khair nicknamed Umm-ul-Khair.  The birth name of Abu Bakr was Abdul Kaaba ("servant of the Kaaba) and when he accepted Islam in 610 he was named Abdullah (servant of Allah) by Muhammad.  

By most reports Abu Bakr was very handsome.  For his beauty, he earned the nickname of Atiq.  He was born into a wealthy family.  He spent his early childhood like other Arab children of the time among the Bedouins who called themselves Ahl-i-Ba'eer -- the people of the camel.  Thereafter, he developed a particular fondness for camels.

In his early years, Abu Bakr played with the camel foals and goats.  His love for camels earned him the nickname of Abu Bakr, the "father of the foal of the camel".  It is said that Abu Bakr did not worship idols even during his youth.  When he was ten years old he went to Syria along with his father with the merchants' caravan.  Muhammad who was 12 years old at the time, was also with the caravan.  Like other children of the rich Meccan merchant families, he was literate and developed a fondness for poetry.  He used to attend the annual fair at Ukaz, and participate in poetical symposia.  He had a very good memory.  In 591, at the age of 18, Abu Bakr went into trade and adopted the profession of a cloth merchant which was the family's business.  In the coming years, Abu Bakr traveled extensively with caravans.  Business trips took him to Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere.  These travels brought him wealth and added to his experience.  His business flourished and he rose in the scale of social importance.  Though his father Uthman Abu Qahafa was still alive, Abu Bakr came to recognized as chief of his tribe.  He was assigned the office of awarding blood money in cases of murder and his office was something like the office of an honorary magistrate.  Abu Bakr was an expert in genealogical lore and he knew intimately who was who in Mecca, and what his ancestry was.

When Muhammad married Khadijah bint Khuwaylid and moved to her house, he became a neighbor of Abu Bakr who lived in the same locality.  That was the quarter of Meccan aristocracy.  Like the house of Khadija, the house of Abu Bakr was double storied and palatial in structure.  

As neighbors, Muhammad and Abu Bakr came in contact with each other.  Both of them were of the same age, traders and good managers.

On his return from a business trip from Yemen, Abu Bakr was informed by some of his friends that in his absence Muhammad had declared himself as the Messenger of God, and proclaimed a new religion.  Abu Bakr converted to Islam becoming the second person to accept Muhammad's Prophethood according to some Sunnis.  Other Sunnis and all Shi'as believe that the second person (and first male) to accept Muhammad as the messenger of Allah  was 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.  However, what is not disputed is that Abu Bakr was the first person outside the family of Muhammad to become a Muslim.

Abu Bakr's birthname, "Abdul Kaaba," was changed to "Abdullah," because the former was indicative of paganism.  His wife Qutaylah bint 'Abd-al-Uzza did not accept Islam and Abu Bakr divorced her.  His other wife, Um Ruman, became a Muslim at his insistence.  All his children except 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr accepted Islam, and Abu Bakr separated from his son Abdur Rahman.  

Abu Bakr's dawah brought many people to Islam.  He persuaded his intimate friends to convert to Islam.  He presented Islam to others in such a way that many of his friends opted for Islam.  Among those who converted to Islam at the instance of Abu Bakr were Uthman ibn Affan (who would become the third caliph), Al-Zubayr, Talhah, Abdur Rahman bin Awf (who became an important part of the Rashidun Empire), Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas, Umar ibn Masoan, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah (who became commander in chief of the Rashidun army in Syria), Abdullah ibn Abdul Asad, Abu Salma, Khalid ibn Sa'id, and Abu Hudhaifah ibn al-Mughirah.

Abu Bakr's acceptance of Islam proved to be a milestone in Muhammad's mission.  Slavery was common in Mecca, and many slaves accepted Islam.  When an ordinary free man accepted Islam, despite opposition, he would enjoy the protection of his tribe.  For slaves, however, there was no such protection, and were subjected to persecution.  Abu Bakr felt for these slaves, so he purchased them and set them free.  Abu Bakr purchased the freedom of eight slaves, four men and four women.  The men were Bilal ibn Ribah, Abu Fakih, Ammar ibn Yasir and Abu Fuhayra.  The women were Lubaynah, Al-Nahdiah, Umm Ubays, and Harithah bint al-Muammil.

Most of the slaves liberated by Abu Bakr were either women or old and frail men.  The father of Abu Bakr asked him why he did not liberate strong and young slaves who could then be a source of strength for him, Abu Bakr replied that he was freeing the slaves for the sake of Allah, and not for his own sake.  

For three years after the advent of Islam, Muslims kept secret their faith, and prayed in secret.  In 613, Muhammad received a revelation to call people to Islam openly.  The first public address inviting people to offer allegiance to Muhammad was delivered by Abu Bakr.  In a fit of fury, the young men of the Quraysh tribe rushed at Abu Bakr, and beat him mercilessly until he lost consciousness.  Following this incident Abu Bakr's mother converted to Islam.  Abu Bakr was persecuted many times by the Quraysh.

In 617, the Quraysh enforced a boycott against the Banu Hashim.  Muhammad along with his supporters from Banu Hashim, were shut up in a pass away from Mecca.  All social relations with the Banu Hashim were cut off and their state was that of imprisonment.  Before it many Muslims migrated to Abyssinia (now Ethiopia).  Abu Bakr, feeling distress, set out for Yemen and then to Abyssinia from there.  He met a friend of his named Ad-Dughna (chief of the Qarah tribe) outside Mecca, who invited Abu Bakr to seek his protection against the Quraysh.  With this assurance, Abu Bakr went back to Mecca.  It was a relief for him to be there.  However, soon, due to the pressure of Quraysh, Ad-Dughna was forced to renounce his protection.  Once again the Quraysh were free to persecute Abu Bakr.  In the year 620, Muhammad's wife and uncle died.  Abu Bakr's daughter Aishawas engaged to Muhammad, however, it was decided that the actual marriage ceremony would be held later.  

Also, in the year 620, Abu Bakr was the first person to testify to Muhammad's Isra and Mi'raj (Night Journey). According to Sunni traditions, Abu Bakr was given the title "al-Siddiq", meaning "the truthful," "the upright," or "the one who counts true," due to his immediate belief of the journey.  During the Roman-Persian Wars, the sympathies of the Qurays of Mecca was with the Persians who were Zoroastrian.  The Muslims on the other hand had their sympathies for the Byzantines who were Christians and were the People of the Book with a belief in the Abrahamic God.  After the Persian victories over Byzantium, verses of the Qur'an revealed in Surah rum the prophesy that Byzantium (Romans) would regain what they lost and the Persians woule be defeated within a few years.  Over this Abu Bakr made a wager with Ubaiy bin Khalf.  It was agreed that the one who lost the wager would pay one hundred camels.  With a decisive Byzantium victory in 627 against the Persians, Abu Bakr won the wager.  Although Ubaiy bin Khalf was not alive, his heirs honored the agreement and gave Abu Bakr one hundred camels.  Abu Bakr then gave the camels away as charity.

In 622, upon the invasin of the Muslims of Medina, Muhammad ordered Muslims to migrate to Medina.  The migration began in batches.  Abu Bakr accompanied Muhammad in his migration for Medina.  Due to the danger of the Quraysh, they did not take the road to Medina.  They moved in the opposite direction, and took refuge in a cave in Mount Thaur some five miles south of Mecca.  'Abdullah ibn Abi Bakr the son of Abu Bakr would listen to the plans and talks of the Quraysh, and at night he would carry the news to the fugitives in the cave.  Asma bint Abi Bakr, the daughter of Abu Bakr brought them meals every day.  Aamir, a servant of Abu Bakr would bring a flock of goats to the mouth of the cave every night where they were milked.  The Quraysh sent search parties in all directions.  One party came close to the entrance to the cave, but was unable to sight them.  After staying at the cave for three days and three nights, Abu Bakr and Muhammad proceeded to Medina, staying for some time at Quba, a suburb of Medina.

In Medina, Muhammad decided to construct a mosque.  A piece of land was chosen and the price of the land was paid for by Abu Bakr.  Muslims constructed a mosque named Al-Masjid al-Nabawi at the site and Abu Bakr also took part in construction.  Abu Bakr was paired with Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari as a brother in faith.  Abu Bakr's relationship with his brother-in-Islam was most cordial, which was further strengthened when Abu Bakr married Habiba, a daughter of Khaarijah.   

Khaarij ah bin Zaid Ansari used to live at Sukh, a suburb of Medina, and Abu Bakr also settled there.  After Abu Bakr's family arrived in Medina he bought another house near Muhammad's.

The climate of Mecca was dry, but the climate of Medina was damp and this adversely affected the health of the immigrants, so that on arrival most of them fell sick.  Abu Bakr also suffered from fever for several days and during this time he was attended to by Khaarijah and his family.  At Mecca, Abu Bakr was a trader in cloth and he started the same business in Medina.  He was a wholesaler, and had his store at Sukh, and from there cloth was supplied to the market at Medina.  Soon his business flourished at Medina.  Early in 623, Abu Bakr's daughter Aisha, who was already engaged to Muhammad, was given to Muhammad in a simple marriage ceremony, and this further strengthened the relationship between Abu Bakr and Muhammad.

In 624, Abu Bakr participated in the first battle between the Muslims and the Quraysh of Mecca known as the Battle of Badr.  In 625, he participated in the Battle of Uhud.  Before the battle began, Abu Bakr's son 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr who was still non-Muslim and was fighting on the side of the Quraysh, came forward and threw down a challenge for a duel.  Abu Bakr accepted the challenge but was stopped by Muhammad.  His son later converted to Islam and gained fame during the Muslim conquest of Syria as a fierce warrior.  In the second phase of the battle, Khalid ibn al-Walid's cavalry attacked the Muslims from behind, changing a Muslim victory to defeat.  Many Muslim warriors were routed from the battle field but Abu Bakr remained, guarding Muhammad from the attacks of the Quraysh soldiers.  During one such attack, two disks from Muhammad's shield penetrated into Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah's cheeks.  Abu Bakr went forward with the intention of extracting these disks but Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah requested he leave the matter to him, losing his two incisors during the process.  Subsequently, Abu Bakr, along with other companions, led Muhammad to a place of safety.  Later in the year, Abu Bakr was a part of campaign again the Jewish tribe of Banu Nadir.   

In 627, Abu Bakr participated in the Battle of the Trench and also in the Battle of Banu Qurayza.  In 628, he participated in the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and was made one of the witnesses over the pact.  Also, in 628, he was a part of the Muslim campaign to Khaybar.  In 629, Muhammad sent 'Amr ibn al-'As to Zaat-ul-Sallasal from where he called for reinforcements and Muhammad sent Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah.  Commanding an army under him were Abu Bakr and Umar and they attacked and defeated the enemy.  

In 630, when Muslim armies completed the conquest of Mecca, Abu Bakr was a part of the army.  Before the conquest of Mecca, his father Uthman Abu Qabafa converted to Islam.  In 630, he was part of the Battle of Hunayn and Siege of Ta'if.  He was part of the Muslim army in the campaign of Tabuk under Muhammad's command and he was reported to have given all his wealth for the preparation of this expedition.

In 631, Muhammad dispatched from Medina a delegation of three hundred Muslims to perform the Hajj according to the new Islamic way.  Abu Bakr was appointed as the leader of the delegates.  Abu Bakr had thus the honor of being the first Amir-ul-Haj in the history of Islam.  In the year 632, Abu Bakr followed Muhammad to Mecca for the farewell Hajj.  

Abu Bakr was apparently a merchant of modest means and an expert in Arab genealogy.  An early convert to Islam (in some traditions the first outside of Muhammad’s immediate family), Abu Bakr was a staunch supporter of Muhammad.  When Muhammad reported the Night Journey, Abu Bakr was one of the few to believe immediately, thus earning the title “al-Siddiq” – “The Witnesser to the Truth.”

Abu Bakr was chosen by Muhammad to accompany him on the Hijra, a position of honor and danger.  In Medina, Abu Bakr was immediately considered as one of the leaders in the emigrant community.  His position became probably stronger when he gave his six year old daughter ‘A’isha to Muhammad for marriage (although the marriage was not consummated until four years later).  His position was also improved or at least confirmed by his active participation in successful military campaigns.  Abu Bakr soon became Muhammad’s chief adviser.

As Muhammad’s primary adviser, Abu Bakr accompanied Muhammad on most of the major military expeditions, but did not have a separate military command.  He was designated to lead the pilgrimage -- the Hajj -- in the ninth year after Hijra and led the public prayer during Muhammad’s last illness.  

Sunni hadith indicate that Muhammad appointed Abu Bakr to become his deputy, so that Abu Bakr became the de facto leader of the Muslim community after Muhammad’s death.  The Shi‘a believe that it was 'Ali that had been appointed by Muhammad.

Abu Bakr’s short two year caliphate (June 8, 632 - August 23, 634) was spent in the Islamicization of Arabia and starting the Wars of Conquest.  It was Abu Bakr who suppressed tribal revolts during the “apostasy” -- the ridda -- and began Muslim conquests outside the Arabian Peninsula in Iraq and Syria.

Sunni hadith depict Abu Bakr in a positive light, as pious and successful on the battlefield.  Abu Bakr stayed in power for only two years until his death in 634.  He ruled from his quarters in Medina.  The principal challenges to Abu Bakr came from Arab tribes that had given allegiance to Muhammad, but recanted after Muhammad’s death. Abu Bakr had to bring them back into the Muslim federation.  By 633, Abu Bakr’s troops had full control over central Arabia.

Abu Bakr died in 634.  He was buried next to Muhammad.  Abu Bakr’s simple, pious life became legendary among practitioners of the Muslim faith.

Depending on the group of Muslims, Abu Bakr is regarded very differently.  Some, like the Naqshibandis, regard him as a central religious personage, and a spiritual authority.  Others, like the Sunnis consider Abu Bakr affectionately as being the first Muslim leader after Muhammad passed away.  On the other hand, the Shi‘a object generally to any caliph except 'Ali, but Abu Bakr is one of those they tolerate most.  Nevertheless, the Shi'a still consider him to be a symbol of profound injustice, that his rule was a human one and not divinely guided, and therefore, illegitimate and tyrannical.

However, what historically cannot be denied is that Abu Bakr took the first steps to make Islam the global religion it has become.  He initiated the first conquests -- conquests which within one century were to make the Muslim Empire, the mightiest power in the world.

Siddiq, al- see Abu Bakr
The Witnesser to the Truth see Abu Bakr
'Abdallah bin Abu Quhafah see Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr as-Siddiq see Abu Bakr
Abu Bakr al-Siddiq see Abu Bakr
Abdul Kaaba see Abu Bakr

Abu Bakr al-Siddiq
Abu Bakr al-Siddiq.  A nineteenth century Islamic scholar who was sold into slavery and later recorded a valuable description of his various residences in West Africa.  Born in Timbuktu around 1790, he lived in Jenne until he was nine, after which he and his tutor travelled southward, living in Kong and Bouna, on the northern frontiers of the Asante Empire.  In 1804, he was captured during an Asante war against Bouna.  He was brought to the Gold Coast, from where he was carried to Jamaica.  Baptized and given the name Edward Donellan, he worked there as a storekeeper until 1834, when he was freed.  The next year he went to England to join John Davidson, then preparing to lead an expedition to Timbuktu.  In December 1835, the expedition was attacked while crossing the Sahara, and Davidson was killed.  The fate of Abu Bakr is unknown, although it is believed that he escaped and made his way back to Jenne.  Before leaving on the expedition he had written an account of his early life and travels.  The best translation from the original Arabic (which is lost) appeared in an article by G. C. Renouard in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society which appeared in 1836.
Siddiq, Abu Bakr al- see Abu Bakr al-Siddiq.

Abu Bakr ‘Asim
Abu Bakr ‘Asim (d. 745).  Head of the Kufan school of Qur’an “readers”.  His system of pointing and vowelling the Qur’anic text has become the textus receptus in Islam.
'Asim, Abu Bakr see Abu Bakr ‘Asim

Abu Bakr ibn 'Abd al-Malik ibn Quzman
Abu Bakr ibn 'Abd al-Malik ibn Quzman (c. 1086-1160).  A poet.

Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib
Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib (Albubather) (Abu Bakr al-Hassan ibn al-Khasib) (al-Khaseb).   An astrologer and physician of Persian origin during the ninth century of the Christian calendar.  His fame rests on an extract from a sort of astrological encyclopedia.

Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib wrote in Persian and Arabic and is best known by his work De nativitatibus which was translated into Latin by Canonicus Salio in Padua in 1218, and was also translated into Hebrew.  Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib was known by his Latinized name of Albubather.
Albubather see Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib
Abu Bakr al-Hassan ibn al-Khasib see Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib
Khaseb, al- see Abu Bakr ibn al-Khasib

Abu Bakr ibn ‘Umar
Abu Bakr ibn ‘Umar (d. 1087).  Leader of the Almoravid force which conquered the Ghana Empire.   The Almoravid movement, which propagated a militant Islam, originated in southern Morocco. The head of the movement, ‘Abdallahi ibn Yasin, established a retreat, probably on an island in the Senegal River, and gathered adherents to his Islamic revivalist doctrine.  Later the Almoravids split in two, and one section conquered parts of Morocco and Spain.  Abu Bakr led the other section, which conquered Ghana in 1076/1077.  He eventually became the overall leader of the Almoravids.  Although the movement was responsible for the downfall of Ghana and contributed to the Islamization of the Soninke people, it disintegrated after Abu Bakr was killed while trying to suppress a revolt.

Abu Bakr was appointed General of the Almoravid movement by its leader Abdallah ibn Yasin upon the death of his brother Yahya ibn Ibrahim in 1056.  He captured Sus and its capital Aghmat in southern Morocco in 1057, and became leader of the Murabitun  (Almoravids) on the death of Ibn Yasin in battle with the Berghwata Berbers in 1059.  He married the wealthiest woman in Aghmat, Zaynab an-Nafzawiyyat, and began to found a new capital at Marrakech in 1070.  On being recalled to the Sahara in 1071 to put down a rebellion, he left control of the Sus to his cousin Yusuf ibn Tashfin while his son Isma'il was given charge of Sijilmassa.  He divorced Zaynab before he left and advised her to marry Yusuf, knowing that she was not suited to a life of jihad in the Sahara.

After suppressing the rebellion, Abu Bakr wanted to return to take up his former position.  However, Yusuf had taken a liking to power.  Acting on Zaynab's advice, Yusuf was able to turn back Abu Bakr using diplomacy rather than force.  As a courtesy to his former leader, Yusuf kept Abu-Bakr's name on the Almoravid coinage until his death.

Abu-Bakr returned to the Sahara.  He is said to have attacked ancient Ghana in 1076 and is often credited with initiating the spread of Islam on the southern periphery of the Sahara.  Abu Bakr ibn Umar died shortly after receiving news of Yusuf ibn Tashfin's victory at the Battle of Sagrajas near Badajoz (in modern Spain) in 1087.  

A leader of remarkable ability, Abu Bakr fused his tribes with a religious reform movement.  His remarkable tolerance of Yusuf ibn Tashfin's insubordination preserved the infant Almoravid state and permitted its rapid expansion into the al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia) and most of North Africa as well.

Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufayl
Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufayl.  See Ibn Tufayl.  
Ibn Tufayl see Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn Tufayl.

Abu Dawud al-Sijistani
Abu Dawud al-Sijistani (Abu Da'ud) (Abu Dawod) (Abu Da'ud Sulayman ibn Ash'ath al-Azadi al-Sijistani) (817-888).  A transmitter of hadith, the sayings and traditions of the Prophet.  He is said to have submitted his work, known as al-Sunan to Ahmad ibn Hanbal, who gave it his approval.

Abu Dawud wrote Sunan Abi Da'ud, the third of the six canonical hadith collections recognized by Sunni Muslims.  Abu Dawud was born in Sijistan (Sistan or Sagestan, Afghanistan) in 817, and died in 888.  Widely travelled among scholars of hadith, Abu Dawud went to Iraq, Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Khurasan, Nishapur, and Marv among other places in order to collect hadith.  He was primarily interested in law, and as a result the collection by him focuses largely on legal hadith.  From about 50,000 hadith, he chose 4,800 for inclusion in his work based on their superior authenticity.  Sunan Abi Da'ud, containing some 4800 hadith, is his principal work, but he wrote some 21 books in total.  Some of his hadith are not sahih (authentic), but Abu Dawud claimed that all hadith listed were sahih unless specifically indicated otherwise.  This has been controversial among Islamic scholars, since some (e.g., Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani) believe some of the unmarked ones to be weak as well.  In another work, Kitab al-Marasil, he lists 600 mursal hadith (hadith lacking a complete chain of narrators) which, after extensive background investigation, he concludes are nonetheless sahih.  
Sijistani, Abu Dawud al- see Abu Dawud al-Sijistani
Abu Da'ud see Abu Dawud al-Sijistani
Abu Dawod see Abu Dawud al-Sijistani
Abu Da'ud Sulayman ibn Ash'ath al-Azadi al-Sijistani see Abu Dawud al-Sijistani

Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Abu Dharr al-Ghifari (Jundub ibn Junadah ibn Sakan) (Abu Dharr) (Abu Tharr al-Ghefari) (d. 652).  Companion of the prophet Muhammad and a focus of modern ideological debate.  He was an early convert to Islam.  When he converted, Muhammad gave him a new name, Abdullah.  He belonged to the Banu Ghifari, the Ghifar tribe.  He died in 652 at al-Rabadha, in the desert near Medina.

Abu Dharr is remembered for his strict piety and also his opposition to the caliph Uthman ibn Affan.  He is venerated by Shi'a Muslims as one of the Four Companions, early Muslim who were followers (Shi'a) of 'Ali ('Ali ibn Abi Talib).  He was one of the Muhajirun.

Little is known of his life before his conversion to Islam.  Abu Dharr is said to have been a serious young man, an ascetic and a monotheist even before he converted.  He was also of lowly birth, since his tribe, the Ghifar, was small and poor.  The Ghifar were a branch of the Kinanah, found to the west of Mecca and Medina.  Abu Dharr was apparently typical of the early converts of Islam, described by Ibn Shihab al-Zuhri as "young men and weak people."

Popular accounts of Abu Dharr say that his tribe lived by pillaging caravans, but that he preferred to live a poor but honest life as a shepherd.  Having heard the supposition that a new prophet had arisen in Mecca, Abu Dharr and his brother travelled to Mecca to find the claimed prophet.  The young seeker converted instantly and rushed out to declare his new faith in front of the Ka'ba, which at that time was a pagan temple.  Abu Dharr was beaten for his presumption.  After this he returned to his tribe, where he made other converts for Islam, and then joined Muhammad after the Hijra, or migration to Medina in 622.

According to the early Islamic historian Tabari, Abu Dharr claimed to have been the fourth or fifth convert to Islam.  However, several other early Muslims made the same claim.  While the exact order of conversion may never be established, no one doubts that he was an early convert.

Abu Dharr was a strong supporter of 'Ali ibn Abi Talib in the political conflicts after Muhammad's death.  He fell into disfavor during the caliphate of 'Uthman ibn Affan.  'Uthman was appointing his relatives as governors and giving them money from the public treasury.  Abu Dharr felt that this was a betrayal of the principles of Islam.

Abu Dharr had begun his agitation in Medina after 'Uthman had given 500,000 dirhams to Marwan I; 300,000 to al-Harith bin al-Hakam; and 100,000 to the Medinan Zayd ibn Thabit from the khums of the booty seized in Ifriqiya in 647.   He then quoted relevant Qur'anic passages threatening the horders of riches with hell-fire.  Marwan complained to 'Uthman, who sent his servant Natil to warn Abu Dharr, but to no avail.  'Uthman displayed patience for some time until, in the presence of the caliph, Abu Dharr launched an angry verbal attack on Ka'ab al-Ahbar, who had backed 'Uthman's free use of public money.  'Uthman chided Abu Dharr and sent him to Damascus.

But Abu Dharr remained resolute.  He was just as forthright in Damascus, where he criticized the luxurious life and free spending of Muawiyah I, 'Uthman's nephew and the governor of Syria.  He was sent back to Medina, and finally, when he would not cease criticizing misuse of the public treasury, he was exiled to al-Rabadha, in the desert near Medina, where he died.   

Many hadith, oral traditions, are traced to Abu Dharr.  He is respected as an early and observant Muslim, and a man who was honest and direct to a fault.  He was, according to the Sunni tradition, a rough, unlettered Bedouin who held no high office, but who served the Muslim community, the Ummah, with everything he had to give.

After the death of Muhammad, he left for the Syrian desert and stayed there during the caliphate of Abu Bakr and Umar.  During the caliphate of 'Uthman, he stayed in Damascus and witnessed Muslims deviating from Islam, going after worldly pleasures and desires.  Abu Dharr was saddened and repelled by this.  When 'Uthman invited him to come to Medina, he was again hurt by people's pursuit of worldly goods and pleasures.

'Uthman then ordered that he should go to al-Rabathah, a small village near Madinah.  Abu Dharr stayed there away from people, holding on to the traditions (sunnah) of Muhammad and his companions.  A man visited him once and when he found his house almost bare, he asked Abu Dharr:  "Where are your possessions?"  

Abu Dharr replied: "We have a house yonder (meaning in the Hereafter), to which we send the best of our possessions."  

The man understood what Abu Dharr meant and said: "But you must have some possessions so long as you are in this abode."

Abu Dharr said: "The owner of this abode will not leave us in it."

Abu Dharr continued in his simple life, and dedicated himself to Allah until the day he died.  

For the Shi'a, Abu Dharr's fame is synonymous with his loyalty to 'Ali.  He is considered one of the Four Companions, early Muslims whose loyalty to 'Ali never wavered.  Shi'a believe that he added the phrase "I witness that 'Ali is the appointed one by God" to the call to prayer (adhan), during Muhammad's lifetime and with his approval.  Abu Dharr is said to have died as a result of his persecution, and thus to regarded as a martyr to the Shi'a cause.  Because of his support for 'Ali, Shi'a accept hadith traced to Abu Dharr.  

Lebanese Shi'a believe that Abu Dharr was the first to preach Shi'a Islam in Syria and Lebanon.  There are two shrines dedicated to Abu Dharr in Lebanon: one in Sarepta near Sidon, and another in Meiss al-Jabal in southern Lebanon.

As in the case of many other companions of the Prophet, we have only a few reports about Abu Dharr’s life and his relation to the early Islamic community.  Most of these reports, however, reflect the early schisms of Islamic history. Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junadah al-Ghifari reportedly came to meet the prophet Muhammad in Mecca.  He was one of the earliest converts to Islam and brave enough to announce this to the Quraysh.  The Quraysh seized him and would have killed him had they not been reminded of his clan’s strategic position on their trade route.  This may have been the reason that the prophet Muhammad asked him to return to his home and call his people to the new religion.  Consequently, Abu Dharr did not participate in the early battles between the Muslims and the Quraysh until the conquest of Mecca.  Later, after the death of the Prophet, he participated in the early Islamic conquests as an ordinary soldier.  He became prominent again when he advocated the sharing of the increasingly overflowing Syrian treasury with the poor.  He was recalled to Medina by ‘Uthman and, exiled, sent to Rabdhah, a village near Medina.  Abu Dharr died two years before ‘Uthman’s assassination.

Even though Abu Dharr was not involved in the first great political and religious dissension in Islam, his criticism of ‘Uthman’s rule was fertile ground for later Islamic interpretation.  The Sunni in particular admire his asceticism and piety but play down his criticism of ‘Uthman’s rule and the detail of his final exile.  Furthermore, they extol his bravery both on the occasion of his conversion in a hostile Mecca and later during the battles.  In contrast, the Shi‘a emphasize his early liaison with ‘Ali and posit him as the ideal supporter of the ‘Alid cause after the death of Muhammad.  For the latter, Abu Dharr becomes a symbol of an ideal Muslim loyal to the family of the Prophet.

In modern times, Abu Dharr has been reincarnated in the debate between Islam and contemporary socio-political ideologies.   An Egyptian scholar, Muhammad Sharqawi, has posited him as the ideal Muslim socialist on the basis of his criticism of hoarding wealth.  However, both Shi‘a and the Sunni ‘ulama’ have rejected this radical association with a companion of the Prophet.  In order to deflect the radicalization of the early Islamic period, the shaykh of al-Azhar, ‘Abd al-Halim Mahmud, even suggested that Abu Dharr was not a companion.

Among the Shi‘a ‘ulama’, Abu Dharr’s status has not been threatened so seriously, but ideological battles also rage over his Islamic and socialist inclinations.  ‘Ali Shari‘ati (d. 1977) translated an Arab biography of Abu Dharr and introduced his Iranian Shi‘a audience to the modern conception of Abu Dharr.   Shari‘ati’s Abu Dharr remained the ideal Shi‘a model but now took on the radical dimensions of modern thought, including a rejection of established religion.  Quite expectedly, Iranian ‘ulama’ have rejected this overly material and radical interpretation of the personality of Abu Dharr.    

Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junadah al-Ghifari  see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Ghifari, Abu Dharr al- see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Ghifari, Abu Dharr Jundub ibn Junadah al see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Jundub ibn Junadah ibn Sakan see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Abu Dharr see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari
Abu Tharr al-Ghefari see Abu Dharr al-Ghifari

Abu Dhu’ayb al-Hudhali
Abu Dhu’ayb al-Hudhali (d. 649).   Arab poet from the early Islamic period.
Hudhali, Abu Dhu'ayb al- see Abu Dhu’ayb al-Hudhali

Abu Hamid al-Gharnati
Abu Hamid al-Gharnati (1080-1169).   Andalusian traveller who collected the stories known as Marvels.
Gharnati, Abu Hamid al- see Abu Hamid al-Gharnati

Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man
Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man (al-Imam al-A'zam) ("The Greatest Imam") (Nu'man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mahan) (c. 699-767).   A theologian and religious lawyer.  He is the eponym -- the person for whom something is named -- of the school of the Hanafites, one of the four orthodox schools (madhhab) of Islamic jurisprudence.  His grandfather is said to have been taken prisoner in Kabul and transported to Kufa, an early Arab town on the Euphrates River in present day Iraq, where Abu Hanifa was born.  He studied at Kufa and gradually gained influence as an authority on legal questions, founding a rationalist school which was named after him.  Afghanistan adheres to the Hanafite interpretation of Islamic law which has the largest in number of adherents; is the most liberal of the four schools; and permits a certain amount of personal reasoning and free judgment in arriving at legal decisions.

Abu Hanifa was born in Kufa during the reign of the powerful Umayyad caliph 'Abdul Malik bin Marwan.  Acclaimed as al-Imam al-A'zam, or al-A'dham (the Great Imam), Nu'man bin Thabit Zuta bin Mah was better known by his kunya Abu Hanifa.  It was not a true kunya, as he did not have a son called Hanifa, but an epithetical one meaning pure in monotheistic belief.  His father, Thabit bin Zuta, a trader from Kabul, part of Khorasan in Persia (the capital of modern day Afghanistan), was 40 years old at the time of Abu Hanifa's birth.

Abu Hanifa's ancestry is generally accepted as being of non-Arab origin as suggested by the etymology of the names of his grandfather (Zuta) and great-grandfather (Mah).  The historian, al-Khatib al-Baghdadi, records a statement from Abu Hanifa's grandson, Ismail bin Hammad, who gave Abu Hanifa's lineage as Thabit bin Numan bin Marzban and claiming to be of Persian origin.  The discrepancy in the names, as given by Ismail of Abu Hanifa's grandfather and great-grandfather are thought to be due to Zuta's adoption of a Muslim name (Numan) upon his acceptance of Islam and that Mah and Marzban were titles or official designations in Persia.  Further differences of opinion exist on his ancestry.  Abu Muti, for example, describes Abu Hanifa as an Arab citing his ancestry as Numan bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Yahya bin Zaid bin Asad.  The widely accepted opinion, however, is that he was of Persian ancestry.

Abu Hanifa grew up in a period of oppression during the caliphates of Abdul Malik bin Marwan and his son Walid bin Abdul Malik.  The governorship of Iraq was under the control of Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, a loyal follower of Abdul Malik.  During his governorship, leaders in religion and learning were especially targeted by Hajjaj as they were proving to be an obstacle to Abdul Malik's establishment of his rule across Arabia and Iraq.  Consequently, Abu Hanifa had no interest nor the opportunity to acquire any education in his early childhood.  He was simply content with following in the footsteps of his ancestors as a businessman.  

Abu Hanifa set up a silk weaving business where he showed scrupulous honesty and fairness.  Once his agent in another country, sold some silk cloth on his behalf but forgot to point out a slight defect to the purchasers.  When Abu Hanifa learned this, he was greatly distressed as he had no means of refunding their money.  He immediately ordered the entire proceeds of the sale of the consignment of silk to be distributed to the poor.

Following the deaths of Hajjaj in 95 A.H. and Walid in 96 A.H., justice and good administration began to make a comeback with the caliphates of Sulaiman bin Abdul Malik and thereafter Umar bin Abdul Aziz.  Umar encouraged education to such an extent that every home became a madrasa.  Abu Hanifa also began to take an interest in education which was heightened further by the unexpected advice of as-Sha'bi (d. 722), one of Kufa's most well-known scholars.

While running an errand for his mother, he happened to pass the home of as-Sha'bi.  Sha'bi, mistaking him for a student, asked him whose classes he attended.  When Abu Hanifa responded that he did not attend any classes, Sha'bi said, "I see signs of intelligence in you.  You should sit in the company of learned men."  Taking Sha'bi's advice, Abu Hanifa embarked on a prolific quest for knowledge that would in due course have a profound impact on the history of Islam.  His early education was achieved through madrasas and it is here that he learned the Qur'an and Hadith, doing exceptionally well in his studies.  He spent a great deal of time in the tutelage of Hammad ibn Abi Sulayman, a great jurist of Kufa.

Abu Hanifa was one of the distinguished students of Ja'far al-Sadiq, as has been confirmed by Ibn Hajar al Makki in his Sawaiq al Muhriqa, Allamah Shiblinji in his Nur al Absar, Abdul Haleem Jindi and Mohaqiq Abu Zohra and various other Muhadatheen and Ulema have clarified that Abu Hanifa was a student of Ja'far al-Sadiq.  Abu Hanifa's initial chain of knowledge was with Imam Baqar and he subsequently expanded this chain of knowledge with Ja'far al-Sadiq.

Abu Hanifa was born 67 years after the death of Muhammad, but during the time of the companions of Muhammad, some of whom lived on until Abu Hanifa's youth.  Anas bin Malik, Muhammad's personal attendant, died in 712 and another companion, Abu Tufayl Amir bin Wathilah, died in 719, when Abu Hanifa was 20 years old.  No evidence exists, however, to indicate Abu Hanifa had narrated any hadith from the companions although there is no doubt that he was a "tabi'i" (one who had met a companion of Muhammad) and had met Anas bin Malik.

It is perceived this is due to the strict age requirements for learning the discipline of hadith that existed at the time of Kufa where no one below the age of 20 was admitted to a hadith school.  The scholars of the time felt that anyone below the age of 20 would not have attained the maturity required to be able to understand the meaning of the narrations.

In 763, al-Mansur, the 'Abbasid monarch offered Abu Hanifa the post of Chief Judge of the State, but he declined to accept the offer, choosing to remain independent.  His student Abu Yusuf was appointed Qadi al-Qadat (Chief Judge of the State) of al-Mansur regime instead of himself.

In his reply to al-Mansur, Abu Hanifa excused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post.  Al-Mansur, who had his own ideas and reasons for offering the post, lost his temper and accused Abu Hanifa of lying.

"If I am lying,"  Abu Hanifa said, "then my statement is doubly correct.  How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qadi (Judge)?"

Incensed by this reply, al-Mansur had Abu Hanifa arrested and put in prison where he was tortured.  Even there, the indomitable jurist continued to teach those who were permitted to come to him.

In 767, Abu Hanifa died in prison.  It was said that so many people attended his funeral that the funeral service was repeated six times for more than 50,000 people who had amassed before he was actually buried.

Nu'man, Abu Hanifa al- see Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man
Hanifa, Abu see Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man
Imam al-A'zam, al- see Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man
"The Greatest Imam" see Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man
Nu'man bin Thabit bin Zuta bin Mahan see Abu Hanifa al-Nu‘man

Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi
Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi ('Ali ibn Muhammad Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi) (c.930-1023).   A man of letters and philosopher of the tenth century.  Al-Tawhidi was an Arabic litterateur and philosopher, probably of Persian origin, and author of numerous books which reflect all the main thems of debate and reflection in the cultivated circles of his time.  His basic outlook could be defined as a kind of simplified and vulgarized Neoplatonism, influenced by Gnostic elements, with four hypostases: God, Intellect, Soul and Nature.  He also had a strong interest in moral questions on both the individual and social level.

Al-Tawhidi compiled a record of 37 sessions, held by Ibn Sa‘dan, the vizier of the Buyid Samsam al-Dawla Abu Kalijar, on the most varied topics.  Another work of his is a collection of 106 conversations on various philosophical subjects.  He was a master of Arabic literary style.

Al-Tawhidi was probably of Persian origin.  However, Arabic is the only language he is known to have used, and most of his life was spent in Baghdad and in Rayy (Tehran) at the court of the Buyid princes and their ministers, in particular the famous Ibn Sa'dan.  It is in the latter's presence that the discussions recorded in al-Imta' wa'-mu'anasa (Enjoyment and Conviviality) took place.  His last years were spent in Shiraz, where he died in 1023.

Al-Tawhidi is a representative of Arabic belles-lettres (adab) rather than a philosopher in the strict sense.  However, some of his main works report discussions devoted to philosophical themes and shed interesting sidelights on questions dealt with in a more systematic fashion by the great Arab philosophers.  It goes with the genre adopted by al-Tawhidi that he rarely expresses his own opinions; his main authority wa0s his master, Abu Sulayman al-Sijistani.  He also appears to make extensive use of the Rasa'il Ikhwan al-Safa' (Epistles of the Brethren of Purity), although their name is rarely cited.  Another source of inspiration is the ethical thinker Ibn Miskawayh, with whom al-Tawhidi exchanged a philosophical correspondence, al-Hawamil wal-shawamil (Rambling and Comprehensive Questions).  Among Greek philosophers, Aristotle is by far the most commonly invoked authority.

Al-Tawhidi's main philosophical work is al-Muqabasat (Borrowed Lights).   Al-Imta' wa'-mu'anasa also contains some philosophical material, besides some which is predominantly literary or grammatical.  In metaphysics, he follows the basic Neoplatonic scheme of emanation.  The First, frequently called the Creator, is the source of the world of nature which emanates continuously from him.  God is thus also characterized by his generosity.  Intellect, Soul and Nature are the three main levles of being, or hypostases, emanating from the First.  The process is sometimes expressed in terms of illumination.  The Intellect receives its light from the First, the Soul from the Intellect, and Nature from the Soul.  Elsewhere, the Soul is considered as being pure light.  Conversely, the First is said to encompass the Intellect, which in turn encompasses the Soul and so forth.

Many paragraphs in al-Tawhidi's works are devoted to the human soul.  Al-Tawhidi takes up positions that can be defined as Platonic.  The soul subsists by itself and is not tied down to the body.  On the contrary, it uses the body as an instrument.  The sould does not arise from the mixture of the elements.   Thus, the Galenic theory is implicitly rejected, although it is ascribed in one passage to Zeno.  The union with the body is described as a kind of fall in a way which has clear antecedents in some conceptions of Gnosticism and Neoplatonism.  In the course of the soul's descent from the heavenly realm it became covered in scales or veils, which it will cast off after physical death, that is, when it relinquishes the body. The soul becomes like a rusty mirror.  Just as the latter is no longer capable of reflecting external objects, the soul forgot what it knew in the intelligible world.  Its true nature is also more fully active in sleep.  In our ordinary waking life, we do not remember the world where our sould originated because we have b een overcome by matter.  These two states of the soul, incarnate and immaterial, correspond to the two realms of intellection and sense-perception.  Intellection is an immediate form of apprehension, devoid of reflection and deliberation, whereas sense-perception is linked to discursive and inductive modes of thought, such as syllogism.

For al-Tawhidi, humanity is thus in an intermediate position between the world of intellect and the world of nature.  The latter is integrated into the emanationist scheme more neatly than is the case in Greek Neoplatonism.  Nature is a life force which emanates from the First Principle and penetrates all bodies, giving thme their forms and linking them together.  The Aristotelian definition of nature as principle of motion and rest is also quoted more than once.

Al-Tawhidi evinces a keen interest in linguistic questions.  He predictably maintains the superiority of Arabic over other languages, but also discusses such topics as the respective place and function of prose and verse.  It is thanks to al-Tawhidi that we have a report of the controversy between the partisans of logic and Greek culture and those of traditional Arabic grammar.  Another discussion tackles the sensitive problem of the relationship between philosophy and religion.  Among the current themes of his time, that of the characters and respective merits of the nations is taken up on several occasions.  In the field of ethics, he devoted an entire epistle to friendship, and this is one of his more personal and interesting works.
Tawhidi, Abu Hayyan al- see Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi
'Ali ibn Muhammad Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi see Abu Hayyan al-Tawhidi

Abu Hurayra
Abu Hurayra (Abu Hurairah) ('Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr al-Azdi) (Abu Horaira) (603-681). Companion of the Prophet and a well-known transmitter of hadith (traditions).  

Abu Hurayra was born in Baha, Yemen, into the Banu Daws tribe from the region of Tihamah on the coast of the Red Sea.  He was a child with only a mother and no other known relatives.  His name at birth was Abd al-Shams ("servant of the sun").  However, as a child, he had a cat and became known as "Abu Hurayra" (which literally means "Father of the Kitten").   As a young man, he worked for Bushra bint Ghazwan.

Abu Hurayra embraced Islam through Tufayl ibn Amr the chieftain of his tribe.  Tufayl had returned to his village after meeting Muhammad and becoming a Muslim in the early years of his mission.  Abu Hurayra was one of the first to respond to his call, unlike the majority of Tufayl's tribesmen.

Abu Hurayra accompanied Tufayl to Mecca to meet Muhammad who, according to Sunni tradition, renamed him 'Abd al-Rahman (servant of the Merciful, one of the 99 names of God).  Hurayra then returned to his tribe for several years.  

In 629, Abu Hurayra went to Medina with some others from his tribe.  Since Muhammad was absent due to the Battle of Khaybar, Abu Hurayra stayed in the masjid.  At the time, Abu Hurayra was single without a wife or child.  His mother, who was still a polytheist, was with him.  He prayed for her to become a Muslim, but she refused.  Sunni sources report that one day, Abu Hurayra again invited his mother to believe in the One God and His Prophet.  She answered with some bad words about the Prophet.  Abu Hurayra went to the Prophet with tears in his eyes.  "Why are you crying, Abu Hurayra?"  asked the Prophet.  "I always invite my mother to Islam, and she always refuses," said Abu Hurayra.  "I asked her again today.  But she said some things about you that made me sad.  Can you pray to God for her to turn to Islam?"  The Prophet prayed for Abu Hurayra's mother to accept Islam.  When Abu Hurayra went home, he found the door closed.  He heard the splashing of water.  He tried to enter the house, but his mother said, "Wait a minute.  Don't come in yet."  Then she got dressed and said, "You can come in now."  When Abu Hurayra went inside, his mother said, "I declare that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger."  Abu Hurayra again went to the Prophet crying.  However, this time his tears were tears of joy. "I have good news, Rasul Allah," he said.  "God has answered your prayer and guided my mother to Islam."

Abu Hurayra died in 681 at the age of 78.  Of the hadith held as authentic by the majority of Sunnis, Abu Hurayra is the most quoted person.  Next to him comes the names of such companions as Abdullah ibn Umar, Anas ibn Malik, Aisha, Jabir ibn Abdullah and Abu Said al-Khudri all of whom transmitted over a thousand sayings of Muhammad.

A majority of Sunni scholars consider Abu Hurayra to be one of the major narrators of hadith, and like all of the sahaba (companions), trustworthy.  On the other hand, Shi'a tradition almost always rejects the authenticity of Abu Hurayra's hadith, accepting his hadith only when there are similar hadith narrated by sahaba that the Shi'a deem to be reliable.  The Shi'a consider Abu Hurayra to be an enemy of 'Ali due to his having found favor with Mu'awiya.

Today, Abu Hurayra is consider one of the most important narrator of hadith in Islam.  He was very close to the Prophet.  Accordingly, he is considered the most revered companion of Holy Prophet.  Although Shi'as criticize Abu Hurayra, this criticism is subjective.  Ultimately, the role played by Abu Hurayra in the early days of Islam simply cannot be ignored.
Hurayra, Abu see Abu Hurayra
Abu Hurairah see Abu Hurayra
'Abd al-Rahman ibn Sakhr al-Azdi see Abu Hurayra
Abu Horaira see Abu Hurayra

Abu ‘Inan Faris
Abu ‘Inan Faris (1329-1358).  Sovereign of the Marinid dynasty who reigned (r.1348-1358).  He had a passion for building.  The Bu ‘Inaniyya at Fez being his most monumental madrasa.  

Abu 'Inan Faris succeeded his father Abu al-Hasan ibn Uthman as sultan of Morocco in 1348.  He took the title of amir al-muminin ("commander of the believers").  Abu 'Inan had to eliminate one of his nephews who had seized power in Fes.  He built the madrasas in Meknes and Fes in 1350, and then seized Tlemcen in 1351 and Bougie in 1352.  However, he was defeated in 1357 and killed the following year by one of his viziers.  He had also constructed another madrasa in Fes in 1357.

Under his ruling, the Black Death and the rebellions of Tlemcen (nowadays a city in Algeria) and Tunis marked the beginning of the decline of the Marinids.  They proved unable to drive back the Portuguese and the Spaniards, who settled on the North African coast during the Wattasids dynasty which succeeded the Marinids.
Faris, Abu 'Inan see Abu ‘Inan Faris

Abu ‘Isa al-Warraq
Abu ‘Isa al-Warraq (d. c. 861).  Mu‘tazili who became one of the arch-heretics of Islam in the ninth century.  He was accused of Manichean sympathies.  He is also the author of "Against the Incarnation", an early Muslim polemic against Christianity.
Warraq, Abu 'Isa al- see Abu ‘Isa al-Warraq

Abu ‘Isa Umayyah
Abu ‘Isa Umayyah (1067-1134).  A poet.
Umayyah, Abu 'Isa see Abu ‘Isa Umayyah

Abu Ja'far al-Mansur
Abu Ja'far al-Mansur.  'Abbasid caliph (r.754-775).  He began the construction of Baghdad.  {See Mansur, Abu Ja'far 'Abd Allah al-.}

Abu Kalijar al-Marzuban ibn Sultan al-Dawla
Abu Kalijar al-Marzuban ibn Sultan al-Dawla (1009 - October 1048).  Ruler of the Buyid dynasty (r.1024-1048).  He curtailed the disruptions in Fars and Khuzistan, but had to constantly preserve his rule against several other members of the dynasty as well as the Saljuqs.  
Abu Kalijar was the Buyid amir of Fars (1024-1048), Kerman (1028-1048) and Iraq (1044-1048).  He was the eldest son of Sultan al-Dawla (Sultan al-Daula).  

The death of Sultan al-Dawla in 1024 prompted a succession crisis within the Buyid state.  Not until 1027 did the army in Baghdad pick his brother Jalal al-Dawla as ruler.  In the meantime, Abu Kalijar had consolidated his power in Fars, although the first several years of his reign were marked by the oversight of his tutor, a eunuch named Sandal, and entered into a conflict with the Buyid ruler of Kerman, Qawan al-Dawla.  The latter's death in 1028 allowed Abu Kalijar to occupy the province.

In 1033, the Ghaznavids invaded Kerman, with the object of overrunning the Buyid states.  However, the financial obligations imposed on the people of Kerman convinced them that Buyid rule would be prefereable.  In the following year, Abu Kalijar's vizier Bahran ibn Mafinna expelled the Ghaznavids from the province.

Abu Kalijar also wanted to gain control of Iraq.  Around 1037, his army marched on Baghdad, although he did not take the city, Jalal al-Dawla recognized him as senior amir, Abu Kalijar subsequently used the title "Shahanshah" on his coins.  However, the amir of Mosul, along with the Arab tribe of the Asadids, supported Jalal al-Dawla, and the two Buyids were forced to come to a compromise.  Both rulers used the same titles and were genuinely independent of each other.  Iraq, therefore, stayed out of Abu Kalijar's control, although he did manage to make his son the governor of Basra.

Jalal al-Dawla's death in 1044 gave Abu Kalijar possession of Iraq.  His control over the region, however, remained weak.  His capital remained in Ahvaz, instead of being moved to Baghdad.  In the meantime, the Kakayids of Isfahan were torn between two rival brothers, and Abu Kalijar attempted to force them to submit to his authority.  They preferred, however, to recognize the Saljuqs as their overlords.

Abu Kalijar continued to cement his authority by traveling to Baghdad, where he received the title of senior amir as well as the title "Muhyi al-Din".  Several minor rulers of Mesopotamia recognized his authority, and even the Kakuyids declared their allegiance.  This last act, however, prompted a Saljuq intervention, and Abu Kalijar decided to negotiate and create a marriage alliance.  The Buyid governor of Kerman, however, decided to submit to the Saljuq Qavurt.  Abu Kalijar marched to reassert his authority, only to be met with an ambassador of the governor, who brought gifts and a promise to renew his allegiance.  Shortly afterwards, Abu Kalijar died at the age of thirty-eight.  He was succeeded by his son al-Malik al-Rahim, but the Buyids suffered a succession struggle soon after his death, and Kerman entered into the Saljuq orbit. 

Abu Kamil Shuja’
Abu Kamil Shuja’ (Abu Kamil Shuja ibn Aslam ibn Muhammad ibn Shuja) (c. 850 - c. 930).  One of the greatest mathematicians of the Islamic Middle Ages (in the ninth century of the Christian calendar). Next to Abu Ja'far Muhammad al-Khwarazmi, he is the oldest Islamic algebraist of whose writings some remains have survived.  

Abu Kamil Shuja is sometimes known as al-Hasib al-Misri, meaning the "Calculator from Egypt."  Very little is known about Abu Kamil's life.  Although little is known about Abu Kamil's life, much is known about the role he played in the development of algebra.  Before al-Khwarazmi, there is no information on how algebra developed in Arabic countries, but after al-Khwarazmi individuals such as Abu Kamil expanded upon the field.  The role of Abu Kamil is important because he was one of al-Khwarazmi's immediate successors.  In fact, Abu Kamil himself acknowledged al-Khwarazmi's role as the "inventor of algebra."  

There is certainly no doubt that Abu Kamil considered that he was building on the foundations of algebra as established by al-Khwarazmi.  However, he also forms an important link in the development of algebra between al-Khwarazmi and al-Karaji.  Abu Kamil is also important because his work was the basis of Fibonacci's books.  Thus, not only is Abu Kamil important to the development of Arabic algebra, through Fibonacci, he was also instrumental to the introduction of algebra into Europe.  

The Fihrist (Index) is a work compiled by the bookseller Ibn an-Nadim around 988.  It gives a rather lengthy account of the Arabic literature which was available in the tenth century and it describes briefly some of the authors of this literature.  The Fihrist includes a reference to Abu Kamil and among his works listed are (1) Book of fortune; (2) Book of the key to fortune; (3) Book of the key to fortune; (4) Book on surveying and geometry; (5) Book of the adequate; (6) Book on omens; (7) Book of the kernel; (8) Book of the two errors; and (9) Book on augmentation and diminution.  The works of Abu Kamil which have survived are Book on algebra, Book of rare things in the art of calculation, and Book on surveying and geometry.

Abu Kamil's Book on algebra is in three parts: (1) On the solution of quadratic equations; (2) On applications of algebra to the regular pentagon and decagon; and (3) On Diophantine equations and problems of recreational mathematics.  The part of the regular pentagon and decagon is also studied in this work.  The content of the work is the application of algebra to geometrical problems.  It is a combination of the geometric methods developed by the Greeks together with the practical methods developed by al-Khwarazmi mixed with Babylonian methods.

Abu Kamil's Book on surveying and geometry was written not for mathematicians but rather for government land surveyors.  Because of the people that it was aimed at, the work contains no mathematical proofs.  Instead it presents a number of rules, some of which are far from easy, each given for the numerical solution of a geometric problem.  Each rule is illustrated with a worked numerical example.  Mainly the rules are for calculating the area, perimeter, diagonals, etc. of figures such as squares, rectangles, and various different types of triangle.  Abu Kamil also gives rules to calculate the volume and surface area of various solids such as rectangular parallelepipeds, right circular prisms, square pyramids, and circular cones.

The Book of rare things in the art of calculation is concerned with solutions to indeterminate equations.  With this work, Abu Kamil became the first Arab mathematician to solve indeterminate problems of the type found in Diophantus's work.  However, Abu Kamil's work was written before Diophantus's Arithmetica had been studied in depth by the Arabs.  Additionally, Abu Kamil's work explains certain methods which are not found in the known books of the Arithmetica.
Shuja', Abu Kamil see Abu Kamil Shuja’
Abu Kamil Shuja ibn Aslam ibn Muhammad ibn Shuja see Abu Kamil Shuja’
al-Hasib al-Misri see Abu Kamil Shuja’
Calculator from Egypt see Abu Kamil Shuja’

Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah
Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah (Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah as-Saffah ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abdullah ibn Abbas ibn Mutalib ibn Hashim) (As-Saffah) (721-754).  First ‘Abbasid caliph (r. 749-754).  He was proclaimed caliph in the Great Mosque at Kufa in November 749.  During his reign, the ‘Abbasid movement not only passed from the revolutionary to the legal phase, but also consolidated itself.  

As-Saffah literally means "the Slaughterer."  As-Saffah was the first 'Abbasid caliph.  

As-Saffah was the head of one branch of the Banu Hashim, who traced their lineage to Hashim, a great-grandfather of Muhammad, via al-'Abbas, an uncle of the Prophet.  The Banu Hashim and great support from the camp of 'Ali, the fourth caliph.  They thought that the family which had produced Muhammad and 'Ali would produce another great leader or mahdi who would liberate Islam.  The half-hearted policies of the late Umayyads to tolerate non-Arab Muslims and Shi'as had failed to quell unrest among these minorities.

The unrest led to revolt during the reign of Hisham ibn 'Abd al-Malik in Kufa, a prominent city in southern Iraq.  Shi'ites revolted in 736 and held the city until 740, led by Zayd ibn Ali, a grandson of Husayn and another member of the Banu Hashim.  Zayd's rebellion failed, and was put down by Umayyad armies in 740.  The revolt in Kufa indicated both the strength of the Umayyads and the growing unrest in the Muslim world.

As-Saffah chose to focus on Khurasan, an important military region in eastern Iran.  In 743, the death of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham provoked a civil war in the Islamic Empire.  Abu al-'Abbas, supported by Shi'as, Kharijis, and the residents of Khurasan, led his forces to victory over the Umayyads and ultimately deposed the last Umayyad caliph, Marwan II, in 750.  The civil war was marked by millennial prophecies encouraged by the beliefs of some Shi'as that as-Saffah was the mahdi.  Prominent Islamic scholars wrote works such as the Jafr telling faithful Muslims that the brutal civil war was the great conflict between good and evil.  The choice of the Umayyads to enter battle with white flags and the 'Abbasids to enter with black encouraged such theories.  The color white, however, was regarded in much of Persia as a sign of mourning.

Concerned that there would be a return of Umayyad power, as-Saffah invited all of the remaining members of the Umayyad family to a dinner party where he had them clubbed to death before the first course, which was then served to the hosts.  The only survivor, 'Abd ar-Rahman I escaped to al-Andalus (Spain), where the Umayyad caliphate would endure for three centuries.  For his ruthless efforts to eliminate the Umayyad family, Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah earned the epithet as-Saffah, which means the "Slaughterer" of "Shedder of Blood."

After the victory over the Umayyads, Abu al-'Abbas's short reign was marked with efforts to consolidate and rebuild the Caliphate.  His supporters were represented in the new government, but apart from his policy toward the Umayyad family, as-Saffah is widely viewed by historians as having been a mild victor.  Jews, Nestorian Christians, and Persians were well-represented in Abu al-'Abbas's government and in succeeding 'Abbasid administrations.  Education was also encouraged, and the first paper mills, staffed by skilled Chinese prisoners captured at the Battle of Talas, were set up in Samarkand.  

Equally revolutionary was Abu al-'Abbas's reform of the army, which came to include non-Muslims and non-Arabs in sharp contrast to the Umayyads who refused any soldiers of either type.  As-Saffah selected the gifted Abu Muslim as his military commander, an officer who would serve until 755 in the 'Abbasid army.

As-Saffah turned back on his promises to the Shi'a community in claiming the Caliphate for himself.  The Shi'a had hoped that their imam would be named head of the Caliphate, inaugurating the era of peace and prosperity the millennialists had believed would come.  The betrayal alienated Abu al-'Abbas's Shi'a supporters, although the continued amity of other groups made 'Abbasid rule markedly more solvent than Umayyad.

Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah as-Saffah died of smallpox on June 10, 754, only four years after deposing the Umayyads.  He appointed his borther Abu Ja'far al-Mansur and then Isa ibn Musa as his successors.

Saffah, Abu'l-'Abbas al- see Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah
Abu al-'Abbas 'Abdu'llah as-Saffah ibn Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abdullah ibn Abbas ibn Mutalib ibn Hashim see Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah
As-Saffah see Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah
The Slaughterer see Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah
The Shedder of Blood see Abu ’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah

Abu Lahab
Abu Lahab (d. 624).  The nickname of ‘Abd al-‘Uzza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib, an uncle and strong opponent of Muhammad.  The name Abu Lahab means “father of the flame" and was given to 'Abd al-'Uzza because his cheeks were always red or inflamed.  His wife was Umm Jamil, who bore him two sons, Utbah ibn Abu Lahab and Utaybah bin Abu Lahab.  The two sons married (and later divorced) two daughters of Muhammad and Khadijah bint Khuwaylid.

According to the Qur’an, Abu Lahab and his wife were condemned to Hell (Jahannam) for their treatment of Muhammad and the Muslims (see Sura 111).

In pre-Islamic Arab culture, an uncle was someone who represented the father if the child was an orphan.  The uncle was also expected to take care of his nephew and raise him like his own child.  Abu Lahab's hatred towards Islam, which brought him into conflict with his nephew, violated those traditions.

Lahab, Abu see Abu Lahab
‘Abd al-‘Uzza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib see Abu Lahab
Father of the Flame see Abu Lahab

Abu 'l-‘Ala, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah
Abu 'l-‘Ala, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah (Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah Abu 'l-‘Ala) (973-1058).  A poet.  Abu 'l-‘Ala was born near Aleppo (Syria).  He lost his sight due to smallpox as a child and spent nearly all his life in northern Syria.  Having gained some local fame, Abu 'l-‘Ala tried the literary world of Baghdad, but soon returned home unsuccessful.  

Abu 'l-‘Ala was an ascetic and a vegetarian.  He never married because he did not wish to wrong anyone by bringing a child into the world.  Abu 'l-‘Ala was too poor to provide financial help to students, but many came to him anyway for advice.  Abu 'l-‘Ala was to a certain extent an adherent of the Modern school of poetry, particularly in his early poems.  In his later work, however, Abu 'l-‘Ala stands apart from all other Arab poets, Traditional or Modern.

In the Luzumiyyat (The Making Necessary of What is Not Necessary), Abu 'l-‘Ala passes a harsh and almost atheistical judgment on the world, and fearlessly and rationally attacks injustice, hypocrisy and superstition.  Orthodox Muslims, displeased by these poems, have almost universally considered Abu 'l-‘Ala’s earlier poems to have been better.

Abu 'l-‘Ala also wrote Risalat al-Ghufran.  Risalat al-Ghufran is the description of a journey through Heaven and Hell, in which the author discusses literary matters with the famous poets he meets.  
Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah Abu'l-‘Ala see Abu 'l-‘Ala, Ahmad ibn ‘Abdullah

Abu ’l-‘Ala’ ibn Zuhr
Abu ’l-‘Ala’ ibn Zuhr.  See Ibn Zuhr.
Ibn Zuhr see Abu ’l-‘Ala’ ibn Zuhr.

Abu ’l-‘Anbas al-Saymari
Abu ’l-‘Anbas al-Saymari (828-888).  A famous humorist of the ‘Abbasid court.  He was also a jurist, astrologer, oneiromancer (interpreter of dreams), poet and man of letters.  
Saymari, Abu 'l-'Anbas al- see Abu ’l-‘Anbas al-Saymari

Abu ’l-‘Atahiya
Abu ’l-‘Atahiya (Abu Ishaq Isma'il ibn Qasim al-Anazi) (748-828).  Arab poet who is known for the freshness and unconventionality of his style.

Abu'l-'Atahiya was born at 'Aynu t-Tamar in the Iraqi desert, near al-Anbar.  His ancestors were of the tribe of Anaza.  His youth was spent in Kufa, where he was engaged for some time in selling pottery.  Moving to Baghdad, he continued his business there, but became famous for his verses, especially for those addressed to Utba, a concubine of the 'Abbasid caliph al-Mahdi.  His love was unrequited, although al-Mahdi, and after him, Caliph ar-Rashid, interceded for him.  Having offended the caliph, he was imprisoned for a short time.

The latter part of his life was more ascetic.  He died in 828 during the reign of Caliph al-Ma'mun.

The poetry of Abu'l-'Atahiya is notable for its avoidance of the artificiality that was almost universal in his time.  The older poetry of the desert had been constantly initiated up to this time, although  it was not natural to town life.  Abu'l-'Atahiya was one of the first to drop the old qasida (elegy) form.  He was very fluent and used many metres.  He is also regarded as one of the earliest philosophical poets of the Arabs.  Much of his poetry is concerned with the observation of common life and morality, and at times is pessimistic.  Because of the philosophical nature of his poetry, Abu'l-'Atahiya was often suspected of heresy.     
'Atahiya, Abu 'l- see Abu ’l-‘Atahiya
Abu Ishaq Isma'il ibn Qasim al-Anazi see Abu ’l-‘Atahiya

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