The Abbasid general Qahtaba ibn Shabib at-Ta'i
Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On August 27, in 749 AD, the Abbasid general Qahtaba ibn Shabib at-Ta'i, who played a leading role against the uprooting of the Ommayad caliphate, died in battle near Kufa. He was a Khorasani, belonging to the Yemeni tribal confederation that formed the bulk of the local Muslim population.
While on a visit to Mecca he met Ibrahim Ibn Mohammad Abbasi who appointed him as military leader for the upcoming anti-Ommayad uprising in Khorasan, where the popular sentiments of the Iranian people for the Ahl al-Bayt of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) were being deceitfully exploited by the Abbasids for their own nefarious goals.
This appointment was accepted by the main Abbasid leader and propagandist in Khorasan, the Iranian general, Behzadaan Pour-Vandaad, known popularly as Abu Muslim Khorasani. Following the fall of Merv to the Khorasanis in February 748, Qahtaba took charge of the Abbasid forces that pursued the Ommayad governor of Khorasan, Nasr ibn Sayyar. His army took Nishapur, where Nasr had sought refuge, defeated a 10,000-strong Ommayad force at Gorgan in August and subsequently took Rayy near modern Tehran.
In March 749 he defeated a larger Ommayad army near Isfahan, and then captured Nahavand after a siege, before moving towards Iraq. Qahtaba's army advanced swiftly with the aim of taking Kufa, but was confronted by the Ommayad governor, Yazid ibn Hubayra. Qahtaba was able to launch a surprise night attack on the Ommayad camp, forcing Yazid and his troops to flee to Waset.
Qahtaba, however fell in this battle, but his son Hassan assumed command and took possession of Kufa on 2 September. Both Hassan and his brother, Humayd, were important military leaders in the early decades of the Abbasid regime. Humayd bin Qahtaba was given the estate of Sanabad by the Abbasids, and it was here that the Prophet's 8th Infallible Heir, Imam Reza (AS) was laid to rest upon his martyrdom through poisoning, and which is now the sprawling holy shrine of Mashhad.