the Saʾad ibn-abi-Waqas of the 1980s(see Makiya, 11).
While the régime in Baghdād most poignantly displayed the use of Qādisiyyah nomenclature in all facets of life, the name has appeared and continues to function in all sorts of guises in the modern Middle East—even reaching Muslim communities outside the region; al-Qādisiyyah graces the names of everything from hotels to ports to military brigades to universities. Even its use as a military symbol predates Ṣaddām, as evident from the existence of a number of al-Qādisiyyah army units, dating back as early as the 1948 War. The trend of memorialising the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah through naming is at least as ancient as the early Tenth Century, when reports mention al-Qādisiyyah Mosque in the city of al-Kūfah. Below, I have divided the types of Qādisiyyah objects into several subjects: (3.1) geography and toponymy; (3.2) state institutions and symbols, and (3.2.1) military forces and installations; (3.3) radical Islamist organisations and institutions; (3.4) culture and the arts, as well as (3.4.1) modern Arabic poetry; (3.5) education, religion, and recreation, and particularly (3.5.1) sporting clubs and teams; and (3.6) miscellanea. These divisions are ranked roughly from the order of greatest state affiliation to least, or in terms of growing individual choice with respect to the decision to select al-Qādisiyyah as a name. Unless otherwise stated, the titles of the following objects and places is ‘al-Qādisiyyah’.
Most of these examples were produced by states (particularly Ṣaddām’s Iraq), in order to promote a specific agenda or idea (such as ‘Ṣaddām’s Qādisiyyah’).
Qādisiyyah District) in Baghdād, located on the western bank of the Tigris River and near al-Yarmūk Hospital (itself named after the Battle of al-Yarmūk). [website (Facebook page) 1] [website (Facebook page) 2]
the Second Qādisiyyah), in Mawṣil (Mosul)
the Second Qādisiyyah, in ar-Ramādī
Like the previous section, a common thread linking the following instances of al-Qādisiyyah is that they are state-produced and intended to promote an ideological agenda.
The Qādisiyyah Compound) or Mujammaʿ al-Wuzarāʾ al-Qādisiyyah (
The Qādisiyyah Ministerial Compound), a Baghdād government complex and the site of a large fire in April 2010. [map] [article] [image]
The Qādisiyyah Compound), in Kīrkūk.
Ṣaddām’s Qādisiyyah. [image]
Qādisiyyah Company for Land Reclamation(or
Qādisiyyah Corporation for Irrigation and Land Reclamation Projects), a governmental organisation affiliated with the Ministry of Irrigation, responsible for irrigation projects.
The appeal to the symbols of early Islam is common also in the rhetoric of a relatively-new player on the scene—radical Islamists—who have sought to use examples from early Islamic history, such as al-Qādisiyyah, to encourage and motivate their members.
The Third Qādisiyyah Army for the Liberation of Iraq), an Iraqi insurgent group, comprising allegedly of officers and soldiers from the former Iraqi army and the current military. [website (Facebook)]
The Third Qādisiyyah Army for the Liberation of Iraq). [website] [website (Facebook)] [website (Twitter)] [website (Google+)]
Saʿd’s Qādisiyyah Brigade), an Iraqi insurgent group. [video]
The Third Qādisiyyah Project, AlQadisiyya3.com), with the slogan,
Every day … every land … is Qādisiyyah (kul yawm … kul arḍ … Qādisiyyah), a multi-platform website backed by Ṭaha Ḥāmid Dulaymī, an Iraqi Sunnī cleric opposed to Shīʿism and to the Islamic Republic of Iran. [website] [website (Facebook)] [website (YouTube)] [weblog #1] [weblog #2] [weblog #3] [weblog #4]
The Qādisiyyah Website), the ‘official’ website of Ṭaha Ḥāmid Dulaymī, an Iraqi Sunnī cleric opposed to Shīʿism and to the Islamic Republic of Iran (separate from the ‘Third Qādisiyyah Project’ website). [website (Facebook)]
The Third Qādisiyyah), website of radical Iraqi Sunnīs, which celebrates Ṣaddām Ḥusayn. [website (Facebook)]
al-Qādisiyyah for the Liberation of Iran from the Magi), a online anti-Iranian and anti-Shīʿī group calling for the end to ‘Iranian occupation’ of the largely-Arab city of Ahvāz. [website (Facebook group)]
Qadsia Islamic Centre), the centre of Jamāʿat ud-Daʿwah (
Society of Preaching, JuD), the political wing of an Islamist militant group, in Lahore. al-Qādisiyyah Complex, in Muridke, near Lahore. [website (defunct)] [website (Facebook)] [article 1] [article 2] [article 3]
Islamic Courts Union), an Islamist group that controlled much of Somalia until late 2006. [website (archived)]
Battle-days of al-Qādisiyyah: The Islamic Forces in East Ghūṭah (Ghouta)), a Salafī group active in an eastern suburb of Damascus, fighting in the Syrian civil war. [website (Facebook)]
Sons of al-Qādisiyyah Division; also
Alkadisiyah Division), an Islamist group (perhaps linked to the Muslim Brethren) fighting in Latakia (al-Lādhiqiyyah) in the Syrian civil war. [website (Facebook #1)] [website (Facebook #2)] [website (YouTube)] [website (Twitter)]
al-Qādisiyyah Army), a jihadist rebel group fighting on the Deir ez-Zor (Dayr az-Zawr) front in the Syrian civil war. [website (Facebook)] [website (YouTube)]
Qādisiyyah Battalion), a Salafi group, one of the many subfactions of the Katāʾib Aḥrār ash-Shām (
Freemen of Syria Battalions)—alongside many others bearing names from the Arab-Islamic conquests and early Islamic history (such as the Battle of al-Yarmūk and the commander Khālid ibn al-Walīd)—fighting on the Idlib front in the Syrian civil war. [study]
al-Qaʿqāʿ Battalion, the name of a Muslim warrior in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah), a Salafī group, one of the many subfactions of the Katāʾib Aḥrār ash-Shām (
Freemen of Syria Battalions), fighting on the Hama (Ḥamah) front in the Syrian civil war. [study]
al-Qaʿqāʿ Battalion, the name of a Muslim warrior in the Battle of al-Qādisiyyah), a Salafi group, one of the many subfactions of the Katāʾib Aḥrār ash-Shām (
Freemen of Syria Battalions), fighting on the Idlib front in the Syrian civil war. [study]
Islamic Qādisiyyah Brigade), a jihadist rebel group fighting near Darʿā in the Syrian civil war. [website (Facebook)] [article]
al-Qādisiyyah Brigade), a rebel group fighting on the Deir ez-Zor (Dayr az-Zawr) front in the Syrian civil war. [study] [article]
Coalition of the Sons of al-Qādisiyyahor
Coalition of the Sons of al-Qādisiyyah Battalions), an Islamist rebel coalition consisting allegedly of 1300 Kurdish fighters from more than thirty smaller groups (including many with names referring to al-Qādisiyyah and early Islamic history, such as the Sons of al-Qādisiyyah Division, the Abū al-Qaʿqāʿ Battalion, al-Mughīrah ibn Shuʿbah Battalion, the Descendants of Abū Bakr aṣ-Ṣiddīq Battalion, and so forth), fighting in the area of Latakia (al-Lādhiqiyyah) in the Syrian civil war. [website (Facebook)] [article] [video]
Particularly in the case of Ṣaddām’s Iraq, some of the following artistic production is state-produced or inspired; however, some of the examples represent independent, individual choices.
Victory Arch’), sometimes called the ‘Swords of Qādisiyyah’, a monument commissioned by Ṣaddām to commemorate Iraq’s ‘victory’ in the Iran-Iraq War and opened August 1989, one of the largest art pieces in the world (see Makiya, 1), in Baghdād. [image 1] [image 2] [image 3]
The Electronic Qādisiyyah Newspaper, an online newspaper focused on local events in Saʿūdī society and the ‘affairs of the citizens of the Arab world’, in Saʿūdī Arabia. [website] [website (Facebook)]
Girls of the Qādisiyyah Neighbourhood), an online music group affiliated with Aboody Music, in Baghdād. [website (Facebook group)]
Michael Rakowitz: The worst condition is to pass under a sword which is not one’s own, an art exhibition that
explores the multiple references and resonances of the Victory Arch, from the history of its design to its use as a backdrop for military posturingat the Tate Modern Art Museum during early 2010. [website]
Modern Arab poets have also made references to al-Qādisiyyah, usually presenting the battle as a metaphor for past Arab glory or Arab unity. In his poem, ‘Shaẓāyā az-zujāj al-muḥaṭṭam’ (‘Debris of broken glass’), the Tunisian Muḥyī ad-Dīn Khrayyif (b. 1932) expressed nostalgia for the golden age of Islam during his its stanza:
Oh fenêtres des mosquées! / Où sont les yeux qui, à travers vos barreaux, ont regardé le minbar / Oh miḥrāb! / Où est la puissance de ce peuple croyant / Qui d’assaut emportait les portes des palais persans, / Vivait de verdure du desert / Et ramassait les roses après la nuit d’al-Qadisiyya … (cited in Skarżyńska-Bocheńska, 186).
The Palestinian poet Maḥmūd Darwīsh (1941–2008) mentioned al-Qādisiyyah in two poems. In 1970, he published ‘Ḥabībtī tanhaḍ min nawmhā’ (‘My beloved rises from her sleep’), in an eponymous anthology, which describes with nostalgia the Arab nation. In one line, Darwīsh lamented that absence of unifying figure, perhaps an allusion to the recent death of Egyptian president Gamāl ʿAbd an-Nāṣir (1970): ‘Our nation will sail in mourning / For the hero of al-Qadisiyyah!’ (cited in Darwish, 104). Another poem written around the same time, ‘ar-Rajul dhū aẓ-Ẓill al-Akhḍar’ (‘The Man with the green shadow’), is an elegy to ʿAbd an-Nāṣir, the pan-Arabist icon, and cites al-Qādisiyyah as an allegory for Arab greatness:
But / Why are you dying far from the water / When the Nile fills your hands? / Why are you dying far from the lightning / When the lightning resides on your lips? / And you promised the tribes / A summer’s journey from the Jāhiliyya. / And you promised th[ose in] chains / Mighty arms posed to fire. / And you promised the warrior / A battle: one to bring back Qādisiyya (cited in DeYoung, 79).
Yet another poet, the Sudanese Muḥammad al-Faytūrī (b. 1930), used the symbol of al-Qādisiyyah to recall the zenith of Arab achievement and contrast it with the present nadir:
Your enemy has fornicated your history / your enemy despised your national anthems / and your empty war songs / the wound of Palestine can not be healed / by your emotional and patriotic songs / the shame and disgrace of June 1967 / can only be removed by the battle of Al-Qadisiyya (cited in Gohar, 5).
Like the other poets, al-Faytūrī exploited the emotive power of the memory of al-Qādisiyyah to underscore the perceived depths to which the Arab nation had fallen.
The following examples, from the fields of education, religion, recreation, and sport, represent more a reflection of ‘everyday life’ than the official nomenclature above. Still, some of these next illustrations, such as the names of schools and university, may manifest state-sponsored agendæ.
al-Qādisiyyah Mosque), affiliated with the Islamist militant group Lashkar-e Ṭayyibah (
Army of the Good, LeT) and its political arm, Jamāʿat ud-Daʿwah (
Society of Preaching, JuD), in Chauburgi, Lahore.
This final category contains examples of Qādisiyyah nomenclature from an assortment of objects, mostly private businesses, which reflect largely the initiative of individuals in the selection of al-Qādisiyyah as their names.
Do you know of other cases of Qādisiyyah nomenclature? If you have any examples to contribute to the lists above, any corrections to point out, or any comments about this appendix, please use this form to suggest submissions.
Alavi, S M Ziauddin. Arab geography in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries. Aligarh: Department of Geography, Aligarh Muslim University, 1965.
al-ʿAyyīrī, Shaykh Yūsuf. ‘Shaykh Yusuf Al-Ayiri highlights women’s role in helping, hindering jihad’. Jihadist websites—OSC summary, 04 December 2009.
Baram, Amatzia. Culture, history, and ideology in the formation of Baʿthist Iraq, 1968–69. New York City: St Martin’s Press, 1991.
Bartolʹd, Vasiliĭ Vladimirovich [Wilhelm Barthold]. An Historical geography of Iran, ed. Clifford Edmund Bosworth. Modern classics in Near Eastern studies. Translated from Russian by Svat Soucek. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984.
Davis, Eric M. Memories of state: Politics, history, and collective identity in modern Iraq. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2005.
Dawisha, Adeed I. ‘Arabism and Islam in Iraq’s war with Iran’. Middle East Insight 3 (1984): 32-33.
DeYoung, Terri. ‘Nasser and the death of elegy in modern Arabic poetry’. In Tradition and modernity in Arabic literature, ed. Issa J Boullata, Terri DeYoung, and Mounah Abdallah Khouri, 63-86. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press, 1997.
Donner, Fred McGraw. Narratives of Islamic origins: The Beginnings of Islamic historical writing. Studies in late antiquity and early Islam, 14. Princeton: Darwin Press, 1998.
Haseeb, Khair el-Din, ed. Arab-Iranian relations. Beirut: Centre for Arab Unity Studies, 1998.
Humphreys, R Stephen. Between memory and desire: The Middle East in a troubled age. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999.
Jandora, John Walter. The March from Medina: A Revisionist study of the Arab conquests. Clifton, New Jersey: Kingston Press, 1989.
Lewental, D Gershon. ‘Early Islamic history and memory in radical Islamist discourse’. Online article. DGLnotes.com, 12 June 2013. [online]
Lewental, D Gershon. ‘Qādisiyyah, then and now: A Case study of history and memory, religion, and nationalism in Middle Eastern discourse’. PhD dissertation, Department of Near Eastern & Judaic Studies, Brandeis University, 2011. [abstract]
Lewental, D Gershon. ‘“Saddam’s Qadisiyyah”: Religion and history in the service of state ideology in Baʿthi Iraq’. Middle Eastern Studies 50.6 (November 2014), 891-910.
Lewis, Bernard. ‘Perceptions musulmanes de l’histoire et de l’historiographie’. In Itinéraires d’Orient: Hommages à Claude Cahen, ed. Raoul Curiel and Rika Gyselen, 77-81. Res Orientales, 6. Bures-sur-Yvette: Groupe pour l’étude de la civilisation du Moyen-Orient, 1994.
Long, Jerry Mark. Saddam’s war of words: Politics, religion, and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. 1st edition. Albany: University of Texas Press, 2004.
Makiya, Kanan. The Monument: Art, vulgarity, and responsibility in Iraq. Berkeley & Los Angeles & London: University of California Press, 1991.
Muir, Sir William. Annals of the early Caliphate, from original sources. London: Smith, Edler, & Co., 1883. [online]
Noth, Albrecht, in collaboration with Lawrence Irving Conrad. The Early Arabic historical tradition: A Source-critical study. Studies in late antiquity and early Islam, 3. Translated from German by Michael Bonner. 2nd edition. Princeton: Darwin Press, 1994.
Pourshariati, Parvaneh. Decline and fall of the Sasanian empire: The Sasanian-Parthian confederacy and the Arab conquest of Iran. International Library of Iranian Studies, 10. London & New York City: I B Tauris, 2008.
Ram, Haggai. Myth and mobilization in revolutionary Iran: The Use of the Friday congregational sermon. Washington: American University Press, 1994.
Rida, Muhammad. ‘Qadisiyya: A New stage in Arab cinema’. Ur 3 (1981): 40-43.
Roy, Marina. ‘Saddam’s arms: Nationalist and Orientalist tendencies in Iraqi monuments’. Public 28 (Winter 2004): 56-76. [online]
Ṣaddām Ḥusayn. ‘President visits scene of grenade incident 2 Apr’. Baghdād, Voice of the Masses in Arabic. 02 April 1980, 1200 GMT. FBIS-MEA-80-066. 03 April 1980, E2-3.
Skarżyńska-Bocheńska, Krystyna. ‘Le reflet de l’Islam dans la poésie tunisienne contemporaine’. Die Welt des Islams 23.1–4 (1984): 182-197.
aṭ-Ṭabarī, Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad b. Jarīr. The History of al-Ṭabarī. Bibliotheca Persica. Translated 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.
Sword of Qādisiyyat Ṣaddām) issued to commemorate Ṣaddām’s Qādisiyyah. Source: Internet.
Sons of al-Qādisiyyah Division), a Salafī group fighting in the Syrian civil war. Source: Firqat Abnāʾ al-Qādisiyyah (Facebook website).
Freemen of Syria Battalions), a Salafī group fighting in the Syrian civil war, depicting their cause as a ‘second’ Qādisiyyah. Source: Shabkat al-Jihād al-ʿĀlamī (
Network of Global Jihād).
The Electronic Qādisiyyah Newspaper, an online Saʿūdī newspaper. Source: Ṣaḥīfat al-Qādisiyyah al-Iliktrūniyyah (Facebook website).