The Revolt of Ibn Zubayr
The people of al-Hija`z harbored malice against the Umayyads. This is because the Umayyads attacked during the days of Yazid Medina (the City of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family), and the Holy Kaaba, which are the object of pride of Muslims.
When Ibn al-Zubayr summoned the people of al-Hija`z to pledge allegiance to him, the overwhelming majority of them responded to him. Al-Hija`z and other Islamic countries were ready to support Ibn al-Zubayr. However, Ibn al-Zubayr was not worthy of this important office.
He did not take care of saving the community from the wrongdoing of the Umayyads, nor did he take care of its interests. Rather he wanted kingdom and authorities. 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar recognized the qualities and inclinations of Ibn al-Zubayr. His wife asked him to pledge allegiance to Ibn al-Zubayr, and he said to her: "Have you not seen the date-palms which Mu'a`wiya visited? Surely, Ibn al-Zubayr wants nothing except them!(Haya`t al-Ima`m al-Husayn, vol. 2, p. 310).
Ibn al-Zubayr showed worship. He clung to the Sacred House. He sometimes circled it, and sometimes prayed in it. He did all this to deceive the simple. Concerning him, Ima`m 'Ali, the Commander of the faithful, peace be on him, said: "Ibn al-Zubayr will set up the snare of the religion to choose the world!"(Sharh Nahjj al-Bala`gha, vol. 7, p. 24).
Ibn al-Zubayr had black past, for it was he who warred against Ima`m 'Ali, the trustee of Allah's Apostle, may Allah bless him and his family, and the gate of the city of his knowledge. It was he who urged his father al-Zubayr to wage war against him. Through this he encouraged the Umayyads to announce an armed mutiny against the legal authority of Ima`m 'Ali, and then they held the reins of the government.
The people disliked Ibn al-Zubayr and hated his government. This is because he was a miser. It was said that he gave money to the poor from the Public Treasury as if he gave to them from his father's inheritance!(Al-Ya'qu`bi, Ta`rikh, vol. 3, p. 9).
Al-Fakhri said: "His miserliness was abundant, hence power did not go well with him. Abu` Hurra criticized him for miserliness saying:
The non-Arabs have admonished the Caliph and
complained to him of hunger and poverty.
What is against us? What has befallen us? Which a king
has overcome that which is all around us?(Haya`t al-Ima`m al-Ba`qir, vol. 2, p. 180).
Ibn al-Zubayr wanted to conceal his miserliness from the people saying: "My stomach is a span of the hand, hence it holds nothing of the world! It is I who seek refuge in the House and seek sanctuary in the Lord!"(Abu` al-Farajj al-Isfaha`ni, al-Agha`ni, vol. 1, p. 22).
These words of him made the people laugh at him. This is because the people knew that he was like a wolf, that he did not abstain from plundering their possessions, and that he bit the properties of Allah as the camels bit spring plants! Al-Dahha`k b. Fayru`z ridiculed him saying:
You have told us that a handful (of food) satisfies you,
that your stomach is a span of the hand or less than it.
However, when you attain a thing, you burn it as the shiny
fire burns the nabk wood.
If you repay a relative or do (him) a favor, then affection
will return you to 'Amru`.(Haya`t al-Ima`m al-Ba`qir, vol. 2, p. 180).
The political analysts ascribed the overthrowing of his government to his miserliness and psychological weakness. They said that if the government went well with him, he would spread miserliness and poverty among the people.
His Detesting the Alids
Ibn al-Zubayr detested the Household of the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, and harbored malice against them to the extent that he left calling down blessings upon the Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, in his sermons. He was asked about this and he replied: "For he (the Prophet) has evil family who crane their neck when they hear his name!(Al-Ya'qu`bi, Ta`rikh, vol. 3, p. 8).
Ibn al-Zubayr said to Ibn 'Abba`s: "I have concealed detest toward you, the members of this House, for forty years!(Al-Mas'u`di, Muru`jj al-Dhahab, vol. 3, p. 26).
This rude person (Ibn al-Zubayr) denied the Household of the Messenger who were the source of awareness and thought in Islam. Moreover, he forget the bounty of the great Prophet, may Allah bless him and his family, toward his people when he saved them from the poor life in the desert, built for them glory and kingdom, made them the masters of nations and peoples.
His Arresting the Alids
Ibn al-Zubayr asked the Alids to pledge allegiance to him, but they refused to accept this and said: "We will not pledge allegiance (to you) until the members of the community come together." Hence he ordered his policemen to arrest them, and they arrested them at Zamzam, threatened them with death and burning. Then Ibn al-Zubayr appointed for them a fixed time. Some followers of b. al-Hanafiya advised him to ask help from al-Mukhta`r, the ruler of Iraq.
Accordingly, Ibn al-Hanafiya wrote to al-Mukhta`r and told him about the conditions of the Alids in al-Hija`z. At once, al-Mukhta`r responded to him. He appointed 'Abd Allah al-Jadali as commander over some military troops and commanded him to hurry to al-Hija`z. 'Abd Allah took his troops and hurried to Mecca. When they reached it, they raised their banners and called out: "Come on to demand vengeance for al-Husayn!" Then they arrived at the Holy Mosque (in Mecca).
As for Ibn al-Zubayr, he ordered wood to be prepared at the gate of the prison where the Alids were. He intended to burn them. However, the troops broke into the prison and took the Alids out of it. Then they asked Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya to permit them to war against Ibn al-Zubayr, but he refused their request and said to them: "I do not regard (fighting) in Mecca as lawful!" Concerning the salvation of Mohammed b. al-Hanafiya from the prisons of Ibn al-Zubayr, Ibn 'Abd al-Rahma`n, a great poet, said:
If the people see this chief at al-Khif, part of Mina`, they will
recognize that he is not a wrongdoer.
He is named by the name of the Prophet (the chosen),
and is his cousin. He releases those who are in shackles
and profits the doubters.
He is lofty. He does not buy error for the right direction,
nor does he fear the blame of a blamer for the sake of
We have recited Allah's Book through praising Him at this
Khif of the unlawful, where pigeons are safe, and the
enemy is like the peaceful friend.
Happiness will not subsist for the people of the world, nor
will intense affliction last.
You tell him whom you meet that you are a seeker of
refuge (in Allah); rather the seeker of refuge (in Him)
is he who is oppressed in a terrible prison!( Abu` al-Farajj al-Asfaha`ni, al-Agha`ni, vol. 8, p. 31).
I (the author) firmly believe that Ibn al-Zubayr would have killed all the Alids if the affairs had gone well with him. However, Allah, the Exalted, ruined Ibn al-Zubayr's power through His kindness!
The Overthrowing of his Government
It was normal for the people to overthrow the government of Ibn al-Zubayr, for he was afflicted by miserliness, dictatorship, and vain glory, as Abd al-Malik b. Marwa`n said.(Haya`t al-Ima`m al-Ba`qir, vol. 2, p. 183).
Any how, the Umayyad troops headed by al-Hajja`j b. Yousif al-Thaqafi advanced against Ibn al-Zubayr and occupied Mecca. Ibn al-Zubayr sought protection with the Sacred House. He expected safety and salvation. He imagined that his seeking protection with the Sacred House would profit him, that the Umayyads would not aggress against him.
However, he made a mistake in this because the Umayyads did not respect Allah, nor did they respect His House. Any how, the Umayyads began throwing fire at Ibn al-Zubayr.
Hence his companions abandoned him and asked al-Hajja`j for security, and he granted them this. Only few persons stayed with Ibn al-Zubayr, hence the Umayyad troops attacked Ibn al-Zubayr, and then al-Hajja`j ordered him to be crucified beside the Holy Mosque.
He remained crucified. Al-Hajja`j did not allow anyone to bury him until 'Abd al-Malik ordered him to be buried. With this we will end our speech about the revolt of Ibn al-Zubayr, who aimed through his revolt at accomplishing his personal desires, paying no attention to the interests of the community and its achievements.
These are some of the revolts which broke out in that time. They resulted from the political pressure of the Umayyads against the community. The revolts aimed at accomplishing tranquillity, security, preventing the authorities from pursuing the free and the Muslim thinkers.