دمشق التاسعة واﻷربعين سنة هجرية
Damascus, 49 AH
“Will the people accept this?” Muawiyyah asked.
“It’s not without precedence,” replied Mughirah ibn Shubah, the governor of Kufah.
Not too long ago, Muawiyyah had considered dismissing Mughirah. He was getting older, was always complaining of fatigue, and there were whispers that he wanted to resign.
But this idea he brought to Muawiyyah was intriguing. Was it possible? Could it be done?
Muawiyyah would not have any problem with this plan in either Syria or Egypt. Both provinces had once been part of the Eastern Roman Empire and were used to the idea.
Furthermore, Muawiyyah was beloved in Syria and the people there would go along with anything he said.
But the rest of the empire might not follow so easily.
Iraq would definitely take some work. Fortunately, he had Mughirah in Kufah and Ziyad ibn Abihi in Basra. Between the two of them, they should be able to bring Iraq along.
But there may be resistance in Arabia, the spiritual center of the empire, and the birthplace of Islam.
The Arabian Peninsula was still home to several companions and their children.
There was Hassan and Husayn, the sons of Ali. Also, Abdullah bin Umar, Abdullah ibn Zubayr, Abdullah ibn Abbas, and many others.
In order for Muawiyyah to make this plan work, he had to talk quietly, move slowly, and act wisely.
He wrote out a letter and handed it to Mughirah with orders to pass it on to Ziyad ibn Abihi. Muawiyyah would need both men to begin working on this immediately.
A few weeks later, he received Ziyad’s response.
Ziyad said he was in favor of the idea, but agreed they must be careful. Ameerul Mumineen was in good health, he wrote, and they still had many years to put their plan into action.
Ziyad promised to talk with the nobles and chiefs of Basra. He had a certain influence over them and was sure he could get them to go along with the idea.
Muawiyyah knew that Ziyad’s “influence” was just another word for intimidation.
The letter cautioned Muawiyyah about his son’s reputation. Perhaps Ameerul Mumineen should send the young man on a few military expeditions to prove his strength and courage.
Muawiyyah rolled up the parchment, and thought about his governor’s advice. It was true, his son was spoiled and had never tasted any true hardships. Perhaps it was time to send him to the Romans.
قسطنطینية التاسعة واﻷربعين سنة هجرية
Constantinople, 49 AH
The ship rocked violently as Yazid ibn Muawiyyah approached the walls of Constantinople. This was the most famous and magnificent city in the world. If Yazid could capture it for his father, he would be revered like the old warriors he’d heard so many stories about.
But as the Muslim fleet drew closer to the city, the prospects of victory looked dim. Though inexperienced in battle, Yazid realized this was a near impossible task.
Constantinople was built on a small peninsula jutting into the Bosporus Strait separating Europe from Asia. Surrounded by water on three sides, a naval assault was the only option.
The outer walls were the biggest Yazid had ever seen. Some of the ramparts were over one hundred feet high. Behind the outer walls, there was a second ring of walls, just as formidable as the first. The Muslims would have to breach both sets of walls before facing the full might of the Roman military.
Yazid would have to rely on the experience of the men under his command. Many of them were much older than he was and had amazing pedigrees.
The most important figure was Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari. Abu Ayyub was an old man, but everyone treated him with great respect. He was among the first Ansars to accept Islam and among those who invited Prophet Muhammad to Medina.
No one actually expected Abu Ayyub to participate in the fighting. But they hoped Allah’s blessings would follow the old Sahabah to Constantinople and bring the Muslims victory.
Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari was the oldest companion in Yazid’s force, but he wasn’t the only one. His command included illustrious names such as Ibn Abbas, Ibn Umar, and Ibn Zubayr.
“Incoming!” someone yelled.
The Romans welcomed the Muslims with catapults and arrows. Large boulders soared over the high stone walls and splashed harmlessly into the sea behind the Muslim fleet.
“That was just to set their aim,” said Yazid’s captain. “The next volley is going to bite.”
Sure enough, another wave of boulders flew through the air and crashed in and amongst the Muslim ships. Most missed but a few hit their marks. They blasted holes into the wooden ships and pulverized the unfortunate soldiers below deck.
The captain ordered his men to row faster. The closer they got to the walls, the less effective the catapults would be.
Most of the fleet made it safely to the shores of Constantinople. Yazid held his shield over his head and led a mad dash across the beach as the Romans showered them with arrows.
Yazid and his soldiers pressed tightly against the high stone walls. For now, they were safe from arrows and somewhat safe from stones. Yazid’s sappers began hastily drilling into the side of the wall.
But the Romans had been defending Constantinople for centuries. They had more defensive tools than arrows and stones.
One of the sappers screamed in agony as his clothes went up in flames. Yazid glanced up at the wall and saw a strange, white liquid creeping down the sides.
Greek fire. A devilish concoction the Romans had that allowed them to literally pour fire on their enemies.
Yazid shook his head. No wonder Constantinople had not been captured in over four centuries.
دمش خمسون سنة هجرية
Damascus, 50 AH
Within a year, things were beginning to look good for Muawiyyah.
In Kufah, Mughirah ibn Shubah had convinced most of the chiefs to accept Muawiyyah’s plan. Mughirah was a Sahabah and for the most part, enjoyed a good relationship with the people of Kufah.
In Basra, Ziyad ibn Abihi also reported success. The people of Iraq offered very little resistance when he “encouraged” them to accept Yazid.
Mughirah died later that year and Ziyad ibn Abihi became the governor of Kufah and Basra. By this time, all of Iraq had professed their acceptance of Muawiyyah’s plan.
In Damascus, Muawiyyah was doing his part.
Muawiyyah ordered an attack on Constantinople and appointed his son as the overall commander. The young man had never been in battle, but Muawiyyah made sure to include several experienced veterans.
The invasion was an utter failure. Yazid’s forces suffered heavy losses and never even breached the outer walls. Old Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari was one of the many casualties of that battle and had been buried beneath the ramparts of the city.
But it wasn’t a complete loss. It did help boost his son’s reputation.
Muawiyyah had a more difficult time convincing Yazid to change his ways.
His son grew up wealthy and privileged in a cosmopolitan city with a Christian mother. Except for his pilgrimages to Arabia, Yazid knew nothing of the harsh, desert life Muawiyyah grew up in.
Yazid loved hunting and poetry and expensive trips. He attended parties with alcohol and music and singing girls. He enjoyed the finer things of life such as silk and rich food.
Muawiyyah convinced Yazid to cut back on these activities, but he never fully gave them up.
Muawiyyah was still concerned about Arabia. In Syria, they loved him. In Iraq, they were afraid of Ziyad ibn Abihi.
But things were different in the Hijaz.
The Hijazis were much more religious and generally did not cause problems for Muawiyyah.
But he knew they did not love him there. They did not accept Muawiyyah because he deserved to be Caliph. They accepted him because there was no other choice.
The Hijazis did not fear their leaders like the Iraqis and did not blindly follow them like the Syrians. As the custodians of the Kaaba and the fountainhead of Islam, they expected to have a say in who would be the next Caliph.
Muawiyyah did not expect the Hijazis to rise up in revolt. They did not have the manpower nor the inclination to do such a thing.
But he could expect resistance from them. They had made it clear that shura should be utilized to choose Muawiyyah’s successor.
Muawiyyah did not care for Shura. Engaging in consultation and discussion was great for making day to day decisions. But it was not a good way to choose the leader. The Arabs may have had good intentions, but Muawiyyah was convinced that monarchies were more stable.
Besides, everyone else was doing it. The Romans, the Persians, the Abyssinians. They all had monarchies and it seemed to work well for them. Why should the Arabs be any different?
There was nothing in the Quran forbidding a monarchy. The Prophet did not prohibit it. So why did the Muslims act like the only way to choose a leader was with shura?
In fact, none of the previous Caliphs were chosen by shura. The closest was Uthman and they saw how that turned out.
No, Muawiyyah thought shaking his head. The Arabs needed a king. They could not handle choosing their own leader. They may not agree with him now, but they’d thank him later.
شمال أفريقيا خمسون سنة هجرية
North Africa, 50 AH
Ever since the days of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, the Muslim presence in North Africa was limited to Egypt. There had been a few attempts to expand this territory, but nothing of lasting significance.
After that, the Muslim Empire was racked with internal conflict and civil war and there were no further attempts at North African expansion.
But once stability returned, Muawiyyah began launching raids into the lands west of Egypt again. The difference was that by this time, Roman influence had waned considerably.
While the Eastern Roman Empire was still the nominal ruler over much of North Africa, the native Berbers and the local climate would prove to be bigger threats for the Muslims.
The distance between Egypt and the Atlantic coast of Morocco is about two thousand miles. The Sahara Desert makes up seventy-five percent of that area.
Most of the people in this area live in the relatively cool and fertile northern regions along the Mediterranean coast. In Algeria and Morocco, the coast is separated from the Sahara by the Atlas Mountains.
Some of the valleys within the Atlas Mountains trap moisture leading to very fertile pockets. These pockets have allowed the growth of isolated towns and abundant agriculture such as olives, citrus fruits, figs, and dates.
This fertile coast was home to Carthage, one of the greatest ancient civilizations.
Carthage was founded as a Phoenician colony between 846 and 813 BC in northern Tunisia.
The Phoenicians established many settlements and colonies throughout the Mediterranean. Carthage was an exception in that it flourished and outgrew its mother nation.
Eventually, Carthage became an independent city and then a vast empire in its own right. The most famous Carthaginian was Hannibal the Conqueror who waged a bitter war against the Romans.
Hannibal is most famous for taking an army, including thirty war-elephants, from modern day Spain, across the Alps, then south into Italy to invade Rome.
Though he occupied northern Italy for fifteen years, Hannibal was never able to conquer Rome itself.
Problems back in Carthage eventually forced Hannibal to return to North Africa and that allowed the Romans to reassert themselves. The tide slowly turned and by 146 BC, Rome had sacked and burned Carthage to the ground.
After killing or enslaving most of the inhabitants, the Romans rebuilt the city and Carthage would be their North African capital for centuries.
Carthage still exists today, but is little more than a village suburb of the Tunisian capital of Tunis.
تونس خمسون سنة هجرية
Tunisia, 50 AH
Muawiyyah appointed a man named Uqbah ibn Nafi Al-Fihri as the sub-governor of Ifriqiya.
Egypt was the main province and Ifriqiya was really a district under its jurisdiction. Therefore, Uqbah ibn Nafi was subordinate to the Egyptian governor.
Uqbah was from the Fihr sub-clan of the Quraysh and was born in Mecca in the same year that Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, migrated to Medina.
He first accompanied his uncle, Amr ibn Al-As, on some of his early expeditions into Libya during the Caliphate of Umar ibn Al-Khattab. During these early raids, Uqbah had a chance to meet and interact with the native Berber people.
Some of these Berbers accepted Islam and would become a vital part of Uqbah’s push across the continent in later years.
Ifriqiya was considered frontier territory and it is unlikely the Arabs understood its vastness. This, combined with the rough terrain and rough people, contributed to the slow pace of Muslim expansion across North Africa.
In 50 AH, or 670 CE, Uqbah ibn Nafi led his first invasion into what is now Tunisia. The Roman military was fairly weak and Uqbah had little trouble defeating them.
However, the threat of Roman reprisals was eminent and Egypt was too far away to provide support.
To alleviate this threat, Uqbah established the first Muslim garrison in North Africa outside of Egypt. This garrison was named Qayrawan and would grow to become one of the most famous Muslim cities in the world.
Qayrawan was established about eighty miles south of Carthage and fifty miles from the nearest coast. Uqbah ibn Nafi supervised the clearing of the area, and the building of the first Masjid, the government house, and a few plots for future residents.
Like most of the other early Muslim garrisons, Qayrawan was used as a staging ground for further expansion. Qayrawan would grow into a major spiritual center for Islamic studies, particularly for the Maliki branch of Sunni Islamic Jurisprudence. It even rivaled Baghdad and Medina as a city of Islamic scholarship. In the ninth century, it became known as a leading center for the study of sciences, arts, medicine, and mathematics.
Perhaps it was Qayrawan’s isolation and distance from the rest of the Muslim world that attracted so many people. Or perhaps it was the city’s fertile soils and abundant agriculture. Or perhaps it was the canals Uqbah ibn Nafi constructed that brought water from the Mams River.
Whatever it was, Qayrawan flourished and in many ways, surpassed the other Muslim garrisons of its day.
Of all the early Muslim garrisons that eventually became cities, Qayrawan is the only one that still exists as an independent city in its original location.
The original Basra is now a small village dwarfed by the modern metropolis.
The original Kufah has been engulfed by the modern city of Najaf.
The original Fustat is just a neighborhood within the modern capital of Cairo.
The Muslim geographer Muhammad Al-Idrisi described the city as follows: “Qayrawan is the mother of cities and capital of the land. It is the greatest city in the Islamic west, the most populated, prosperous and thriving with the most perfect buildings.”
The most important building in Kairouan is the Masjid established by Uqbah ibn Nafi. When he first ordered its construction, it was just a few simple mud-brick walls. But over the years, it has come to symbolize north African architecture and became the model for all other mosques built in the west.
The Great Mosque, or Jami Uqbah, covers an area over 96800 square feet. The great minaret, completed in 125 AH, or 724 CE, is over 100 feet tall. Jami Uqbah is the oldest mosque in North Africa and one of the oldest existing Islamic buildings in the world.
القيروان خمسة وخمسون سنة هجرية
Khairouan, 55 AH
After establishing Khairouan, Uqbah ibn Nafi wanted to continue his push to the Atlantic. Though he was governor of Ifriqiyyah, he was a warrior at heart. He was restless sitting in Khairouan and anxious to subdue the Berbers of North Africa.
This desire to fight was his undoing. Despite being a successful warrior and governor, he was not independent. Since Ifriqiya was under Egypt’s jurisdiction, the governor of Egypt was Uqbah’s boss.
In 55 AH, the governor of Egypt dismissed Uqbah as governor. Then, Uqbah and the new governor of Ifriqiyyah disagreed about how to deal with the Berbers.
Most Berbers had not yet accepted Islam and saw the Muslims as foreign invaders.
Uqbah favored a stronger, militant approach. He wanted to pursue an aggressive campaign against these non-Muslim Berber tribes.
The governor of Ifriqiyyah did not agree and preferred to use diplomacy with the Berbers.
Ultimately, the governor prevailed and Uqbah ibn Nafi was removed from all military command. Some reports even state the governor arrested Uqbah and imprisoned him for years.
Hence, within five years of the establishment of Khairouan, the Muslim expansion to the west came to another sudden halt. This lull in military activity would prove costly for the Muslims.
Even though the Romans were no longer a threat, it gave the Berbers time to organize and fill the power vacuum. With the Romans on the decline, the scattered Berber tribes saw an opportunity to unite and combine their strengths.
The word “Berber” comes from the Greek word “barbarous,” meaning foreign or barbarian. The Berbers did not call themselves “Berbers” and did not consider themselves either foreign or barbarian.
Instead, they called themselves Almazigh meaning, “Free men.”
But since the term Berber is more common, that is what we’ll use going forward.
The indigenous Berbers were the original inhabitants of the modern nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Berbers are even found in the Canary Islands off the western coast of North Africa.
The Berber language is related to ancient Egyptian, making it part of the Afro-asiatic family of languages. This family includes, among others, Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, Somali, and Aramaic.
However, due to the traditionally isolated nature of most Berber tribes, the Berber language is broken into hundreds of individual dialects. Furthermore, there is no Berber alphabet and, until recently, the language has never been written down.
Hence, there is no “standard” form of Berber like there is a standard Arabic or standard English.
Physically, the Berber people look very similar to most Arabs. However, the Berber culture is a fusion of African and Mediterranean life.
Today, most Berbers are actually Arabs and speak Arabic as their first language. A few isolated communities in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco still speak the original Berber language. But even in these areas, Islam is the dominant force.
الكوفة ثلاثة و خمسون سنة هجرية
Kufah, 53 AH
Ziyad watched the executioner prepare his tools. Of all the times Ziyad had sentenced people to death, he never actually saw this part of the process.
The executioner began by polishing his sword. He rubbed a portion of the blade against a rough stone. Then he poured water over it, wiped it clean, and repeated the process.
Doing this removed the stains from the last beheading. When the executioner was satisfied, he switched to another stone, this one less course than the first.
This second stone was meant to smooth out the blade and remove any kinks or dents.
Ziyad marveled at the man’s care and attention to detail. The executioner was meticulous, peering down the side of the blade, running his thumb along its edge, and muttering when he found a nick in the steel.
When the sword was sharp enough, the executioner hung it on a nearby branch to dry. Then he took a long wooden pole and adjusted the iron tongs and rods baking in a nearby furnace.
Next to the furnace was an earthen bowl, which Ziyad knew was meant to catch the blood and amputated body parts.
Ziyad had been governor of Iraq for almost five years by now. He had first subdued Basra, and after Mughirah ibn Shuba died, Kufah as well.
Muawiyyah had also given him Oman and Bahrain. Both provinces were flourishing and doing very well.
Ziyad was proud of his accomplishments. He had extinguished rebellion, destroyed corruption, and monopolized justice.
He had worked to subdue Iraq for Muawiyyah. He had even convinced the Iraqis to accept Yazid as Muawiyyah’s successor. Ziyad had relaxed some of his stricter policies, hoping this show of mercy would help turn the tide in Yazid’s favor.
The nobles and chiefs of both cities declared their willingness to accept Yazid, but he knew it was not sincere. The Iraqis hated the Umayyads. If given half the chance, they would welcome Ali’s son Husayn in an instant.
The Hijazis weren’t much better. They did not care for Muawiyyah either and had no shortage of prominent Sahabah they would rather see in charge.
Which was why Ziyad had petitioned Muawiyyah to make him governor over Arabia as well.
“I have seized Iraq for you with my left hand,” he wrote to Muawiyyah, “while my right hand is empty. So, fill it with the Hijaz.”
Muawiyyah had agreed. Sort of.
Instead of the entire peninsula, he gave Ziyad Yamama, in central Arabia. Most likely this was a trial run to see how Ziyad would do.
Almost immediately, there was an outcry. Ziyad couldn’t believe when he heard the people of Arabia did not want him. Hadn’t they heard how well Iraq was doing? Didn’t they hear that he was going easy on the people now?
Then he received startling news.
Several Hijazis had gone to Ibn Umar about Ziyad taking over. They wanted him to talk Muawiyyah into changing his mind or, if it came to it, lead a resistance movement against Ziyad.
But Ibn Umar did neither. Instead, he led the group to the Kaaba in Mecca and prayed for deliverance from Ziyad.
At first, Ziyad was amused when he heard that. Ibn Umar’s prayers were in vain. It was obvious whose side Allah was on.
A few days after that incident, Ziyad noticed a strange blotch on his finger. A slight discoloration that he had never noticed before.
He ignored it for a while but it continued to grow and change colors. Soon it covered his entire finger, was spreading towards a second finger, and had taken on a purple-blackish hue. His fingers had a foul odor and periodically sent sharp pains up his arm.
Ziyad kept it quiet but shared his concerns with one of his judges. Ziyad confessed he considered amputating his hand.
“If you cut off your hand,” the judge said, “your body will be scarred, your heart will be saddened, and death will come for you one day anyway.”
“So, what is your advice?” asked Ziyad.
“It’s best to leave it alone and not mutilate yourself out of fear of meeting your Lord. Either the sickness will spread and you will die which is inevitable for all of us, or it may stop and things will return to normal.”
Ziyad took the old man’s advice hoping the sickness would recede.
It did not. Before long, his hand was a blackened, shriveled claw and he could see it beginning to spread beyond his wrist.
It wasn’t long before the word got out and people were saying his hand had the plague. Ziyad noticed people went to great lengths to avoid him and only spoke to him from a safe distance.
Finally, Ziyad decided the old judge was a fool and it was time to take decisive action. He would amputate his hand before this plague got any worse.
And now he sat watching his executioner shine the sword until it gleamed. The cauterizing tools in the furnace were red hot.
Ziyad tried to convince himself it wouldn’t be that bad. How many people did he send to this same man to have their hands and heads removed?
It will be over quickly, he thought as the executioner strapped his arm to a stone pillar and placed the bowl under his hand. Ziyad looked into the bowl and saw dried blood and small bone chips. He imagined his black hand lying there and his arm a bloody stump.
“Wait!” he yelled as the executioner approached.
The man froze, the sword held high above his head, a confused look on his face.
“I can’t do this,” said Ziyad. He used his good hand to undo the straps and shook his arm free.
He left the bewildered executioner and headed straight for the mosque. There he prayed to the same God as Ibn Umar. For the first time in five years, Ziyad began to doubt if Allah really was on his side.
المدينة المنويرة ستة و خمسون سنة هجرية
Medina, 56 AH
Muawiyyah was uncomfortable in the hot tent. Even though he couldn’t see the old woman behind the screen, her voice cut him like a knife.
“Where was your forbearance towards Hujr ibn Adi?” Aisha asked sharply. “Where was the patience of Abu Sufyan?”
“It vanished when good people like you abandoned me,” said Muawiyyah gently, “and hard people like Ziyad ibn Abihi counselled me.”
Muawiyyah grimaced at the thought of his former governor, now dead almost three years. Muawiyyah had a hard time finding someone to replace him. He had already gone through five different governors between Kufah and Basra.
Muawiyyah was never comfortable with Ziyad’s harsh methods, but the man brought results. Ziyad was tough and uncompromising and always got the job done. That stubborn fool would not even amputate his hand when it caught the plague.
The men Muawiyyah appointed to replace Ziyad had all been disappointments. That is, until he met with Ziyad’s son, Ubaydullah.
“By Allah,” exclaimed Aisha, interrupting his thoughts, “if it weren’t that fighting you would cause more problems, things would have been very different after you killed Hujr ibn Adi. I knew him and he was an obedient and dutiful Muslim.”
Muawiyyah shifted uneasily. He did not like how casually she threatened him.
Muawiyyah knew he was nothing compared to them.
“There are many people who would kill you for what you did to Hujr,” she continued boldly.
“But I am safe with you, right,” he asked sheepishly with a smile. There was nothing he could do. He couldn’t touch her. He couldn’t threaten her. He couldn’t arrest her.
“Aren’t you afraid of Allah’s wrath for killing Hujr and his companions?”
“I did not kill him,” Muawiyyah responded. “Those people who signed Ziyad’s statement killed him.”
Muawiyyah left Aisha’s tent humiliated and depressed. He’d come to Arabia for two reasons: to make Umrah, the minor pilgrimage to Mecca, and convince the Hijazis to accept his son.
The trip to Mecca went perfectly. He saw old friends and family and reconnected with the city of his birth.
But the people in Medina were different.
They did not like his regime. They did not like his city. And they did not like his son.
Aisha’s words had confirmed what he always suspected. There was a lot of pent up anger in Arabia ever since the death of Uthman. The slightest jolt might cause an eruption.
That’s why these meetings with the influential Sahaba in Medina were so crucial. He just needed to get one of them to accept Yazid as his successor. If one of them would accept Yazid, he believed the others would follow.
The first to meet with him was the son of his former rival, Husayn ibn Ali.
“My cousin,” said Muawiyyah, “everyone has accepted Yazid except for five people from the Quraish. And I hear you are their leader. Why won’t you accept my son?”
“You heard I’m their leader?” Husayn asked.
“Of course you are,” said Muawiyyah trying to read Husayn who looked so much like his grandfather.
“Then call them all here. If the others accept Yazid, then I’ll accept him also.”
“You would do that?” he asked hopefully.
“Absolutely. But until that happens, don’t accuse me of anything.”
“Okay,” said Muawiyyah, ignoring Husayn’s impudence. “I’ll talk to them. But let’s keep this conversation secret for now.”
Husayn agreed then took his leave.
Next, Muawiyyah summoned Ibn Zubayr and had a similar conversation.
But when Muawiyyah asked him to keep their meeting secret, Ibn Zubayr was coy.
“We are in the sanctuary of Allah Almighty,” replied Ibn Zubayr. “Any promise I make here, is very serious. So, pardon me if I decline.”
Muawiyyah glared at Ibn Zubayr as he departed. This one is dangerous, he thought to himself. Dangerous and ambitious.
Muawiyyah would go on to meet with Ibn Umar and Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr. Neither agreed to give him the support he needed. Just vague promises to accept whatever the people accepted.
He returned to Damascus dejected and uneasy. His trip to Arabia was fruitless and his son would enjoy only nominal support, if even that.
Muawiyyah advised his son Yazid on how to deal with the four men he met in Medina.
“Ibn Umar is too religious to be a threat so, you don’t have to worry about him. Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr will do whatever the others do. The Iraqis will pressure Husayn ibn Ali to rebel against you and he’s gonna listen to them. But they will fail him just like they failed his father and his brother. If he does rebel, fight him but go easy and pardon him afterwards. He is the Prophet’s grandson, after all, and the people love him.”
Then he paused for a while before continuing.
“The one you gotta worry about is Ibn Zubayr. He is like a crouching lion or a heaving reptile or a cunning fox. He will try to destroy you at the first opportunity. When he does that, you must fight him and you must defeat him and you must tear him to pieces.”
For a brief moment, Muawiyyah considered telling his son about the agreement he’d made with Husayn’s older brother, Hassan ibn Ali.
Then the moment quickly passed. Hassan ibn Ali had been dead for many years, so as far as Muawiyyah was concerned, that agreement was null and void.
This was for the best, he told himself. The Arabs needed stability. They needed a king. They needed the Umayyads.
Yazid is a good man, Muawiyyah thought. He will make a good Caliph.
“What do you think, father?” Yazid wanted his opinion on a new silk robe his mother had given him.
Muawiyyah sighed and turned away. Inshallah, he thought. If Allah wills, Yazid will make a good Caliph.
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