Primary sources on the Bajīlah’s ‘fourth’

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Overview

al-Baṭḥā, a contemporary settlement in the Sawād, on the banks of the Euphrates River.
al-Baṭḥā, a contemporary settlement in the Sawād, on the banks of the Euphrates River. [1]
In the aftermath of the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah (Ar. Maʿrakat al-Qādisiyyah or معركة القادسية; also spelled Qadisiyya, Qadesiyyah, Kadisiya, Ghadesia, etc.) during the conquest of Sāsānian Iraq in the 630s, the Arab-Muslim invaders occupied the alluvial ‘black’ land of central Iraq, known as the Sawād. In due time, many of the tribesmen who took part in the engagements at al-Qādisiyyah and elsewhere on the Iraqi front began to colonise this rich, fertile region. During the first century of Islam, the Muslim population of Iraq swelled as tribes settled and expanded their populations through reproduction and the addition of non-Muslim clients. The vast body of literature surrounding the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah contains minor reports that appear to depict part of this process as it concerned the tribe of Bajīlah (Bajilah). In fact, the accounts not only relate the tribe’s successful and then unsuccessful land claims, but also seem to have provided an opportunity for tribal glorification and narrative embellishment regarding the Bajīlah’s participation in the Arab-Muslim conquest. Elsewhere, I have argued that scholars may apply an analysis that uses the textual content (Ar. matn) and the chains of transmission (Ar. isnād, pl. asānīd) to shed light on the narrative development of Islamic historiographical literature. Here, I present the primary source literature relating to the traditions of the Bajīlah’s land claims in the aftermath of the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah.

Table of contents

3. Ibn Abī Shaybah (775–849)

An Iraqi traditionist and historian, Abū Bakr ʿAbd-Allāh b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm (Abū Shaybah) al-Kūfī (775–al-Kūfah, 849) came from a family of religious scholars and produced several works in the fields of history, law, and religion. His compilation of sayings (Ar. ḥadīth, pl. aḥādīth) was one of the ten canonical collections in the Maghrib. Ibn Abī Shaybah’s Kitāb al-muṣannaf fī al-aḥādīth wa-ʾl-athār (‘The Book arranged by sayings and traditions’) has survived in many manuscripts. (Biography based upon Pellat, III 692.)

3.1 Abū Usāmah←Ismāʿīl [b. Abī Khālid]←Qays [b. Abī Ḥāzim]

[Forthcoming.]

4. al-Balādhurī (d. 892)

Map of the strategic position of al-Qādisiyyah.
Map of the strategic position of al-Qādisiyyah. [2]
Despite being one of the most noted historians of the Ninth Century, almost nothing is known about the personal life or origins of Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā b. Jābir b. Dāwūd al-Balādhurī (d. 892). Born into a secretarial family of likely Persian origins (he himself translated texts from Persian to Arabic), he grew up in the Baghdād area before studying in a number of cities in Syria and Iraq, with other famous historians including al-Madāʾinī (752–c. 843), Ibn Saʿd (784–845), and Muṣʿab b. ʿAbd-Allāh az-Zubayrī (c. 773–851). At the capital, al-Balādhurī was a boon companion (Ar. nadīm) of the ʿAbbāsid caliph al-Mutawakkil (r. 847–861) and he retained influence through the reign of al-Mustaʿīn (r. 862–866), but lost his position by that of al-Muʿtamid (r. 844–892). Al-Balādhurī’s history of the Arab-Muslim conquests, Futūḥ al-buldān (‘Conquest of the countries’), covers the important events beginning with the wars of Muḥammad and concluding with the subjugation of Iran. The work includes valuable details of cultural and social natures and remains one of the most important sources for the history of the period. Despite this, Becker has noted that ‘his value as a historical source has been occasionally overestimated in certain respects’. Often, al-Balādhurī abridged the material he received from his sources, seeking to present a concise version of history that often eliminated or shortened long stories. (Biography based upon Becker, I 971-971.)

4.1 Abū Mikhnaf

… Jarîr ibn-ʿAbdallâh came from as-Sarâh at the head of the Bajîlah tribe, and offered to go to al-ʿIrâḳ, provided one quarter of what they took possession of be allotted to him and his men. ʿUmar accepted the offer and Jarîr started towards al-ʿIrâḳ. …

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 253 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 405. (Cf. aṭ-Ṭabari, 4.2.)

4.2 ʿAffān b. Muslim←Hammād b. Salamah←Dāwūd b. Abī Hind←ash-Shaʿbī

After the death of abu-ʿUbaid, who was the first to be directed by ʿUmar to al-Kûfah, ʿUmar directed Jarîr ibn-ʿAbdallâh there, saying, Wouldst thou go to al-ʿIrâḳ if I allow thee one-third of the spoils after the [usual] fifth has been taken? and Jarîr said, I will.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 253 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 406.

A Bedouin woman standing with two camels in the western Arabian Peninsula.
A Bedouin woman standing with two camels in the western Arabian Peninsula. [3]
4.3 Muḥammad b. aṣ-Ṣabbāḥ al-Bazzāz←Hāshim←Ismāʿīl b. Abī Khālid←Qays b. Abī Ḥāzim

The Bajîlah tribe constituted one-fourth of the Moslems in the battle of al-Ḳâdisîyah, and ʿUmar had allotted them one-fourth of as-Sawâd. Once when Jarîr [b. ʿAbd-Allāh] called on ʿUmar, the latter said, Had I not been responsible for what I divide (lawlā innī qāsim al-masʾul), I would leave to you the share already given; but I see that the Muslims have multiplied, so ye have to restore what ye have taken. Jarîr and the others did as ʿUmar said and ʿUmar offered Jarîr 80 dînârs.

A woman of the tribe of Bajîlah, called umm-Kurz, came to ʿUmar and said, My father died and his share in as-Sawâd holds good. I shall never deliver it! ʿUmar turned to her and said, But, umm-Kurz, thy people have all consented to do so. I shall never consent, said she, unless thou carry me on a submissive she-camel covered with a red nappy mantle (qaṭīfah) and fill both my hands with gold, which ʿUmar did.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 267 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 424-425. (Cf. Abū Yūsuf, 1.1).

4.4 al-Ḥusayn←Abū Usāmah←Ismāʿīl [b. Abī Khālid]←Qays [b. Abī Ḥāzim]←Jarīr [b. ʿAbd-Allāh al-Bajalī]

ʿUmar gave to the Bajîlah one-quarter of as-Sawâd which they held for three years.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 267 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 425.

4.5 Qays [b. Abī Ḥāzim]

Jarîr ibn-ʿAbdallâh accompanied by ʿAmmâr ibn-Yâsir called on ʿUmar who said, Had I not been held responsible for what I divide, I would leave to you the shares already given, but I see now that ye ought to restore what ye have taken. And they did, upon which ʿUmar offered a present of 80 dînârs to Jarîr.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 267-268 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 425. (Cf. Yaḥyā b. Ādam, 2.1).

4.6 al-Ḥasan b. ʿUthmān az-Ziyādī←ʿĪsā b. Yūnus←Ismāʿīl [b. Abī Khālid]←Qays [b. Abī Ḥāzim]

ʿUmar gave Jarîr ibn-ʿAbdallāh 400 dînârs.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 268 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 425.

4.7 Ḥumayd b. ar-Rabīʿ←Yaḥyā b. Ādam←al-Ḥasan b. Ṣāliḥ←Ṣāliḥ

ʿUmar gave the Bajîlah, in exchange for the fourth of as-Sawâd they held, a stipend of 2,000 dirhams.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 268 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 425.

4.8 al-Walīd b. Ṣāliḥ←al-Wāqidī←ʿAbd al-Ḥamīd b. Jaʿfar←Jarīr b. Yazīd b. Jarīr b. ʿAbd-Allah←his father (Yazid b. Jarīr b. ʿAbd-Allāh)←his father (Jarīr b. ʿAbd-Allāh)

ʿUmar allotted to Jarîr and his men one-quarter of what they had conquered in as-Sawâd. When the spoils of Jalûlâʾ were brought together, Jarîr demanded his quarter. Saʿd communicated the demand to ʿUmar who wrote back as follows: If Jarîr wants himself considered as having with his men, fought for a pay similar to the pay of al-Muʾallafah Ḳulūbuhum [sic; ‘those whose hearts are won to Islam by special gifts’; Qurʾān 9.60], then you may give them their pay. If, however, they have fought in Allah’s cause and will accept his remuneration, then they are part of the Muslims, having their rights and their obligations. Hearing that, Jarîr said, Truly and honestly has the Commander of the Believers spoken, We do not want our quarter.

Source: al-Balādhurī, Expugnationis regionum, 268 (Arabic); English translation from idem, Origins, I 425.

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Bibliography and further reading

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Abū Yūsuf Yaʿqūb b. Ibrāhīm al-Kūfī. Taxation in Islām. Ed. and transl. from Arabic by Aharon Ben Shemesh. Vol. 3, Abū Yūsuf’s Kitāb al-kharāj. Leiden & London: E J Brill; Luzac, 1969.

al-Balādhurī, Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā. Liber expugnationis regionum. 2nd ed. Ed. Michael Jan de Goeje. 1866. Reprint, Leiden: E J Brill, 1968. [online]

al-Balādhurī, Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā. The Origins of the Islamic state, being a translation from the Arabic accompanied with annotations, geographic and historic notes of the Kitâb futûḥ al-buldân of al-Imâm abu-l ʿAbbâs Aḥmad ibn-Jâbir al-Balâdhuri. Khayats Oriental reprint, 11. Ed. and transl. from Arabic by Philip Khuri Hitti. Vol. 1. 1916. Reprint, Beirut: Khayats, 1966. [online]

Becker, Carl Heinrich. ‘al-Balād̲h̲urī, Aḥmad b. Yaḥyā b. Ḏj̲ābir b. Dāwūd’. In Encyclopædia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: E J Brill, 1960–2005. (pp. I 971-971)

Bosworth, Clifford Edmund. ‘al-Ṭabarī, Abū Ḏj̲afar Muḥammad b. Ḏj̲arīr b. Yazīd’. In Encyclopædia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: E J Brill, 1960–2005. (pp. X 11-15)

Donner, Fred McGraw. The Early Islamic conquests. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1981. [online (excerpt)]

Görke, Andreas. ‘Eschatology, history and the common link: A Study in methodology’. In Method and theory in the study of Islamic origins, ed. Herbert Berg, 179-208. Islamic history and civilization: Studies and texts, 49. Leiden & Boston: E J Brill, 2003.

Ibn Abī Shaybah, Abū Bakr ʿAbd-Allāh b. Muḥammad al-Kūfī. Kitāb al-Muṣannaf fī al-aḥādīth wa-ʾl-athār. 15 vols. 1st ed. Riyāḍ: Maktabat ar-Rushd Nāshirūn, 2004/1425.

al-Jaṣṣāṣ, Aḥmad b. ʿAlī Abū Bakr ar-Rāzī. Aḥkām al-Qurʾān. 5 vols. Ed. Muḥammad aṣ-Ṣādiq Qamḥawī. Beirut: Dār Iḥyāʾ at-Turāth al-ʿArabiyyah, 1992/1312. [online]

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Pellat, Charles. ‘Ibn Abī S̲h̲ayba, Abū Bakr ʿAbd Allāh b. Muḥammad b. Ibrāhīm (= Abū S̲h̲ayba) b. ʿUt̲h̲mān al-ʿAbsī al-Kūfī’. In Encyclopædia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: E J Brill, 1960–2005. (pp. III 692)

Schacht, Joseph. ‘Abū Yūsuf Yaʿḳūb b. Ibrāhīm al-Anṣārī al-Kūfī’. In Encyclopædia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: E J Brill, 1960–2005. (pp. I 164-165)

Schmucker, Werner. ‘Yaḥyā b. Ādam b. Sulaymān’. In Encyclopædia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: E J Brill, 1960–2005. (pp. XI 243-245)

Sellheim, Rudolf. ‘al-Ḵh̲aṭīb al-Bag̲h̲dādī, Abū Bakr Aḥmad b. ʿAlī b. T̲h̲ābit b. Aḥmad b. Mahdī al-S̲h̲āfiʿī, known as al-Ḵh̲aṭīb al-Bag̲h̲dādī’. In Encyclopædia of Islam. 2nd ed. Leiden: E J Brill, 1960–2005. (pp. IV 1111-1112)

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aṭ-Ṭabarī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr. Annales quos scripsit Abu Djafar Mohammed ibn Djarir at-Tabari. 15 vols. Ed. Michael Jan de Goeje, Jakob Barth, Theodor Nöldeke, et al. Leiden: E J Brill, 1879–1901. [online (vol. 4)] [online (vol. 5)]

aṭ-Ṭabarī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr. The History of al-Ṭabarī. Bibliotheca Persica. Transl. from Arabic by Khalid Yahya Blankinship. Vol. 11, The Challenge to the empires: A.D. 633–635/A.H. 12–13. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1993.

aṭ-Ṭabarī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr. The History of al-Ṭabarī. Bibliotheca Persica. Transl. from Arabic by Yohanan Friedmann. Vol. 12, The Battle of al-Qādisiyyah and the conquest of Syria and Palestine: A.D. 635–637/A.H. 14–15. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

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Related links

Image credits

  1. al-Baṭḥā, a contemporary settlement in the Sawād, on the banks of the Euphrates River. Source: University of Michigan Museum of Anthropology: Mesopotamian landscapes.
  2. Map of the strategic position of al-Qādisiyyah. Source: D Gershon Lewental (DGLnotes).
  3. A Bedouin woman standing with two camels in the western Arabian Peninsula. Source: Encyclopædia Britannica.

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