البصرة ثمان وخمسون سنة هجرية
Basrah, 58 AH
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad stood among the spectators watching the racehorses line up. He had placed a small wager on one of them and hoped it would win.
Four years earlier, Ubaydullah had gone to Damascus, begging Muawiyyah for a government position. At first Muawiyyah hesitated, but eventually, he relented.
His first assignment was as governor of Khurasan, a remote sub-district of Basra.
Ubaydullah performed well and eventually Muawiyyah promoted him to governor of Basra.
On this day, the governor did not notice the group of men approaching him until the captain of his Shurta pointed them out.
“Oh tyrant!” one of the men yelled. “You are like the people of ignorance who came before us!”
The man was looking directly at Ubaydullah, while his friends looked around warily.
“You build monuments to yourself and live in huge palaces. Do you think they’ll make you live forever?”
“Urwah, are you crazy?” the man’s friends asked him. “Don’t you know Ibn Ziyad will kill you?”
“I’m not afraid of Ubaydullah, Son of the Bastard.”
Hearing his father insulted made the rage boil deep down inside of Ubaydullah.
But instead of lashing out, Ubaydullah channeled his father, and swallowed his rage. Then he silently left the race.
That evening, he sent his shurta to arrest Urwah but the man had already fled to Kufah.
Ubaydullah sent one of his fastest messengers to Kufah with a letter warning the governor that Urwah was a Kharijite and should be sent back to Basra if apprehended.
Barely a week later, Urwah was dragged before Ubaydullah.
“Anything to say now,” the governor asked.
Urwah’s face was covered in bruises. He had not come willingly.
“I think”, he said through bloodied lips, “that you have ruined this world for me.”
“Not yet,” said Ubaydullah turning to his captain. “Cut off this rebel’s hands and feet.”
There was a flurry of activity as Urwah frantically fought against his chains. Six, seven, eight Shurta rushed to hold him as he swung in every direction.
They wrestled Urwah to the ground, pinning him down, two men to a limb.
Ubaydullah’s captain unsheathed his sword and went from limb to limb, hacking off Urwah’s hands and feet with practiced precision. Urwah screamed as the sword crunched through his flesh and bone and tendon. The air filled with the smell of roasting flesh as his bloody stumps were cauterized.
When it was all done, Urwah writhed on the bloody ground, his screams turning to pitiful moans.
“Now,” said Ubaydullah, “anything else to say?”
“I think,” Urwah choked painfully, “that you have ruined the next world for yourself.”
“Defiant to the end,” sighed Ubaydullah in disgust. “Bring in the girl.”
A young woman, no more than fourteen years old was hauled in. She screamed when she saw Urwah on the floor and tried to rush to his side, but the Shurta held her back.
“When you rebel against the regime,” bellowed Ubaydullah, not bothering to swallow his rage this time, “you bring ruin to yourself and your family! Kill them both!”
Urwah and his daughter were dragged away, and Ubaydullah smiled softly to himself.
His father would be proud.
دمشق تسعة وخمسون سنة هجرية
Damascus, 59 AH
Muawiyyah greeted Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad and his delegation from Basra as they entered his court. They had arrived to pledge allegiance to Muawiyyah’s son and successor, Yazid ibn Muawiyyah.
They started to sit, but Muawiyyah ordered them to remain standing. He did not want them looking directly at his face.
He had slicked his hair back with oil and applied a special ointment to make his skin look robust and less pale. But he wasn’t sure if any of it worked.
Muawiyyah was pleased with Ubaydullah. The young man was just as effective as his father had been, although much harsher, something Muawiyyah would have never thought possible.
Ubaydullah and his father were loyal, but that loyalty came with a cost.
One such cost was the memory of Hujr ibn Adi which still haunted Muawiyyah.
Muawiyyah’s face wrenched in anguish as a familiar bolt of pain shot through his abdomen. It was so deep he couldn’t even scream. All he could do was suck in his breath and wait for it to pass.
“Are you alright, Ameerul Mumineen?” asked Ubaydullah.
Muawiyyah nodded and gestured for his governor to continue.
This is Hujr’s revenge, he thought as the pain vibrated through his body. My days are three times worse because of Hujr ibn Adi.
He wanted to lay down, but he was too proud. Instead, he adjusted the pillows that were keeping him upright.
Death was near. There was no doubt about it.
Muawiyyah reflected on the other Sahabah who had died during his reign.
Aisha bint Abi Bakr. Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas. Sa’id ibn Zayd. Hassan ibn Ali. Abu Musa Al-Ashari. Maymunah bint Al-Harith. Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr. Abdullah ibn Amir. Arqam ibn Al-Arqam. Amr ibn Al-As. Abu Ayyub Al-Ansari.
They were instrumental in establishing Islam and the empire, and he would be joining them soon.
But he hoped to see another summer. He hoped to send one more army against the Romans.
دمشق ستين سنة هجرية
Damascus, 60 AH
Muawiyyah did not get to see another summer nor launch another raid against the Romans. He died on Rajab 15, 60 AH, or April 21, 680. He was seventy-five years old.
He reigned for a little more than nineteen years, longer than any of his predecessors.
But his Caliphate was controversial.
The peace and stability he brought the empire was badly needed. No one can deny his administrative abilities.
He successfully defended the Caliphate against external enemies, established it as a naval power, and expanded its reach in all directions.
One way he did this was to maintain a perpetual state of war against the Roman Empire.
Muawiyyah kept the Romans in check by sending an army to attack them every summer before the harvest and while the ground was soft.
There were some gains such as when they captured the Greek isles of Rhodes and Crete.
But these battles weren’t really for territorial conquest. It was a war of attrition in which Muawiyyah hoped to wear down the Romans and keep his soldiers in fighting shape.
There was also eastern and western expansion during his reign, though much slower and costlier than the early Muslim conquests.
To the east, Central Asia was a vast land, with ferocious tribes and thousands of miles of inhospitable mountains.
To the west, North Africa was a vast land, with ferocious tribes and thousands of miles of inhospitable desert.
There was also a dark side to Muawiyyah’s reign.
After Ali’s death, Muawiyyah had the opportunity to heal the rift with the Shi’atu Ali. Instead, his policies pushed them further away.
He appointed despotic governors like Ziyad ibn Abihi and his son Ubaydullah. He encouraged the cursing of Ali on the pulpit. And he filled the government with people from his clan.
One scholar had this to say about the fifth Caliph:
Muawiyyah had four flaws, and any of them would have been a serious offense: his appointing troublemakers for this community so that he stole its rule without consultation with its members, while there was a remnant of the Companions and possessors of virtue among them; his appointment of his son as his successor after him, a drunkard and a winebibber who wears silk and plays tanburs; his allegation about Ziyad, while the Messenger of God has said, ‘The child belongs to the bed, and the adulterer should be stoned;’ and his killing of Hujr ibn Adi. Woe unto him twice for Hujr and his companions.
Before he died, Muawiyyah publicly pledged allegiance to his son Yazid. This meant, in theory, that all those who had pledged to Muawiyyah, were now pledged to his son.
He also ensured his governors would support Yazid’s Caliphate against any rebellions.
In this way, the Caliphate became a monarchy and passed from father to son.
المدينة المنورة ستين سنة هجرية
Medina, 60 AH
“Why do you think he’s sent for us,” asked Ibn Zubayr.
“Most likely the tyrant in Damascus has died and he wants our pledge to his son before it becomes public,” replied Husayn ibn Ali.
The two men were sitting in the Prophet’s Mosque when they received the governor’s summons.
“What are you going to do?” inquired Ibn Zubayr.
“I’m going to obey the summons and go see the governor.”
“That worries me.”
“No need to worry,” replied Husayn. “I won’t go to him alone.”
Husayn returned to his home and began gathering the men of his family. He called for his sons, his cousins, and his uncles. He called for his male servants, his in-laws, and his nephews. Then he called for those who were connected to his family through allegiance and fostering.
At fifty-four years, he was not an old man, but he was not young either. Nineteen years ago, when his brother had abdicated the Caliphate, he would have been better able to resist the Umayyads.
Husayn was patient and went along with his brother back then. Even after his brother died, under mysterious circumstances no less, Husayn exercised patience.
But after nineteen years of Umayyad rule, he was running out of patience.
The brutality of the bastard governor in Iraq. The cursing of his father throughout the Empire. The unjust trial and execution of Hujr ibn Adi.
Husayn was the grandson of the Messenger of Allah and the son of a Caliph. He could not sit safely in Medina, while innocent Muslims were slaughtered all around him.
But would the Muslims support him? After all, they had barely supported his father.
Most of the Muslims had betrayed Ali. Even some of those who were closest to his grandfather.
Aisha, his grandfather’s wife had fought against Ali.
Talha and Zubayr, two of his grandfather’s closest friends, had betrayed Ali.
Even the Iraqis had ultimately turned against Ali.
When Husayn arrived at the governor’s palace, he instructed his men to wait outside. They were only to come in if they heard shouting or fighting.
“Muawiyyah has returned to his Lord,” said the governor Walid ibn Utbah when Husayn entered. “Ameerul Mumineen Yazid ibn Muawiyyah, demands that you give him bay’ah and prove your loyalty to the regime.”
“From Allah we come, and to Him is our return,” said Husayn. “Something as important as the pledge should be done in public so the entire community can bear witness.”
“Do not fall for that,” said Marwan ibn Al-Hakam, standing behind Walid. Marwan was the former governor of Medina, and had once been Caliph Uthman’s secretary. “Do not let him leave without getting his pledge.”
“He is the grandson of the Messenger of Allah,” replied Walid. “What would you have me do? Put him in fetters until he pledges?”
“By Allah!” hissed Marwan. “If he leaves without taking the pledge, you’ll never get it without a fight. Take his pledge or take off his head.”
“You son of a blue-eyed woman,” spat Husayn. “You dare call me a liar? You dare threaten me? You are the liar and the sinner.”
Husayn turned and stormed away. With each step, he expected Walid to arrest him.
Instead, the governor and Marwan argued about whose fault is was that he was getting away.
المدينة المنورة ستين سنة هجرية
Medina 60 AH
Asma bint Abi Bakr listened to the conversation outside.
“Don’t rush me,” she heard her son say. “This is a big thing you’re asking me for. I need more time.”
“The governor wants an answer,” the other man replied.
“And I will give him one soon enough!” her son shot back. She heard his footsteps grow louder as he approached the house.
“How many does that make?” she asked her son as he entered.
“That’s the fourth messenger today,” he responded.
“Any word from Ibn Ali?”
“He met with the governor but he hasn’t pledged yet.”
Asma knew Husayn would never give Yazid the bay’ah. He had that proud, self-righteous streak just like his father. All of the Shi’iatu Ali acted as if the rest of the Muslims had done some great wrong to them.
It was a shame what happened to Ali, she admitted. But he brought it on himself by fighting her sister and allying with those flaky Iraqis.
Her son would not make that mistake. He was brave and stubborn like his father. But he was also patient and wise like his grandfather.
But she was afraid for him. Banu Umayyah was powerful. They had money, and armies, and spies.
All her son had was righteousness and his people’s love. He would need more than that.
Asma thought back to the Battle of the Ditch when Abu Sufyan led ten thousand soldiers against Medina.
Her son was only five years old back then. They were huddled inside the fortress of Medina with several other women and children.
Some of the pagans had briefly crossed the ditch and were almost inside the city. Zubayr led a group of Sahaba who quickly drove them back.
“See there,” she had said pointing to her husband. “There’s your father fighting for Allah and His Messenger.”
Though she was proud of her husband that day, her marriage to Zubayr was neither easy nor pleasant.
Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam was a devout man and totally dedicated to the cause of Islam. But he was also a harsh and demanding husband.
Like most of the Prophet’s followers, Zubayr had lost everything when he migrated to Medina. Her husband could not afford a servant so she had to care for his horse on her own.
This included watering and grooming the beast, grinding date stones to make feed and carrying heavy bushels of grass and hay in the desert sun.
Zubayr’s fortunes eventually turned as Islam spread throughout Arabia. By the time Uthman was Caliph, he was one of the wealthiest men in Medina.
And after twenty-three years of marriage and eight children, Zubayr divorced her.
She was there in Medina the day the Caliph was killed. She knew there were people begging her ex-husband to accept the Caliphate.
But Zubayr refused. This requires shura, he had insisted. Not one man’s decision.
Then out of nowhere, they heard that Ali had proclaimed himself Caliph. There was no shura and no consultation.
And those same Iraqis who killed Uthman, had rallied around Ali.
Even that would have been forgivable if Ali had done what he promised to do: find Uthman’s killers.
But he did not.
He claimed he had neither the support nor the manpower to find them. Yet he was able to lead an army against her sister at the Battle of the Camel.
“Your father and your grandfather stood for truth,” she said to her son, “even when the entire world stood against them. You are a warrior and you must not submit to tyranny.”
Ibn Zubayr nodded. “But I can’t stay in Medina. The governor will not rest until I pledge allegiance to that fat drunkard in Damascus.”
“Sixty years ago, I helped your grandfather and the Messenger of Allah escape Mecca and come to Medina. Now, you must do the same, but in the opposite direction.”
“And what about Husayn?”
“My hope is that you two will work together against Banu Umayyah. But my fear is that he will rely on those feeble Iraqis. You must not do that. You must go to Mecca.”
The rest of the day was a flurry of hushed and rushed activity. Ibn Zubayr continued to deflect the governor’s messengers as he secretly prepared for his journey.
Finally, in the middle of the night, Asma bade her son farewell as he mounted his camel.
“Stay off the main road,” she advised him as they walked towards the gate. They had already gone over this several times, but she couldn’t help reminding him once more.
“Of course, mother.”
“I will join you as soon as it’s safe. Don’t worry about us.”
“It is too late for that,” he replied.
She watched him and his party leave the compound and disappear into the night.
دمشق ستين سنة هجرية
Damascus, 60 AH
Yazid couldn’t believe the news.
He read the parchment again, just in case he missed something.
Ibn Zubayr had fled Medina the same night Muawiyyah’s death was announced. Yazid’s cousin, the governor, Walid ibn Utbah, had sent soldiers after him, but they never caught him.
And if that bit of incompetence wasn’t enough, Husayn ibn Ali had slipped away the very next morning. The governor was so concerned about catching Ibn Zubayr, he completely ignored Husayn.
Yazid shook his head and shifted uncomfortably in his clothes. He had put on several pounds in the past few years and his robes did not fit well.
His father never had these problems. Muawiyyah managed the entire empire all while keeping his enemies at bay.
But his father’s advisors supported and adored him. Even that disgusting governor in Iraq gave good counsel.
Yazid did not enjoy such a relationship with Muawiyyah. His father was always busy with affairs of state and hardly took any notice of his son.
It was Yazid’s Christian mother who showered him with love and praises. Of course, his father was kind and made sure he had the best education and training money could buy.
But Yazid always felt his father was secretly disappointed in him. As if he wasn’t a true Arab. His father was always disapproving of Yazid’s love of music and silk and dancing girls.
Yazid admitted he did not act like a traditional Arab. But in his defense, he did not grow up in Arabia; he grew up in Damascus.
Truthfully, he couldn’t stand Arabia. It was too hot and the people were too religious. Especially in Mecca. He had made one pilgrimage and that was enough for him.
And what were Husayn and Ibn Zubayr doing in Mecca?
No doubt, planning an alliance against him. Even though their fathers had fought each other, he was their common enemy now.
Yazid knew Iraq would welcome Husayn ibn Ali with open arms. The Shia would never get over how they failed Ali.
But why did Ibn Zubayr withhold his pledge? What grudge did he have against Banu Umayyah?
So many questions, yet Yazid had no answers.
He tried to place himself in his father’s shoes. What would he do in this situation?
Muawiyyah used to dismiss governors who proved ineffective. Perhaps it was time for Yazid to do the same.
He called for a parchment and ink and scribbled a brief message. Then he handed it his messenger and urged him to deliver it quickly.
With the exception of Banu Umayyah, Yazid did not care for the Hijazis and he knew they did not like him either.
The hated him because his mother was Christian, and because he was fat, and because he drank wine.
But he was still the Caliph and the son of Muawiyyah. And he would teach them to love him.
They would all love him just like they had loved his father.
مكة المكرمة ستين سنة هجرية
Mecca, 60 AH
Husayn nodded curtly at Ibn Zubayr as their groups passed each other on the way to the Kaaba. It was the holy month of Ramadan, and the city was crowded with pilgrims from all over the empire.
In the two months since Husayn arrived in Mecca, he noticed the city had divided into three groups.
There were those that supported him and Banu Hashim.
And then there were those loyal to Banu Umayyah.
And finally, there were those who for some reason, were loyal to Ibn Zubayr.
What right did Ibn Zubayr have to the Caliphate?
Yes, Ibn Zubayr’s father had been a great companion, but Husayn’s father was greater.
Yes, Ibn Zubayr’s grandfather was Abu Bakr, but Husayn’s grandfather was Prophet Muhammad.
Yes, Ibn Zubayr’s mother was Asma, and one of the first twenty people to accept Islam. But Husayn’s mother was Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter and one of the first five people to accept Islam.
Ibn Zubayr had come to Mecca first so he had already begun gathering supporters and forging alliances by the time Husayn arrived.
But lately, more and more people were beginning to gravitate towards Husayn.
As Husayn’s popularity increased, their relationship turned frosty. Husayn and Ibn Zubayr had always been friendly in Medina, but now there was an unspoken coldness between them.
Husayn did not want that. He needed Ibn Zubayr as an ally, not an enemy. He was well aware of the sad history between their fathers at the Battle of the Camel.
Aisha, Talha, and Zubayr should have never turned against his father. They forced Ali to confront them at the Battle of the Camel. Yet, it was Ali who suffered the most. His reputation never recovered after drawing swords against the Prophet’s widow.
Husayn would not make the same mistake. He would avoid any conflict with Ibn Zubayr.
Besides, Husayn knew his real strength was in Iraq, not in the Hijaz. His people were in Kufah. And they needed him there.
Every day he received messages from Kufah telling him how the people were gathering in houses, praying for his return. They said no one respected the Umayyad governor, and refused to pray behind him.
They begged Husayn to come to Kufah. They wanted the rightful Caliph in Iraq.
Husayn was moved by the love they expressed for his father. And he was touched by the anguish they felt for letting him down. The Iraqis blamed themselves for Ali’s defeat. And they wanted to make up for it by pledging to his son.
It was this outpouring of love that encouraged Husayn to take the next step. He sent his cousin, Muslim ibn Aqil, to scout things out in Kufah.
Muslim ibn Aqil was to first determine if the stories were true. If it turned out there really was massive support for Husayn, then he would send word back to Mecca.
Only then would Husayn make the long and dangerous journey to Kufah.
If Ibn Zubayr wanted the Hijaz, he could have it. For now.
Arabia was too sparsely populated to field a strong army. Its cities were too far apart and the lack of food and water led to small, isolated communities.
Besides, everyone knew the Hijazis were too religious for warfare. This was proven when Husayn had run into Ibn Umar and Ibn Abbas on his way to Mecca.
The two companions were returning to Medina and were not yet aware of Muawiyyah’s death. When Husayn informed them that he and Ibn Zubayr had refused to give the pledge, they begged him not to go to Mecca.
Ibn Umar warned Husayn that his actions would divide the community and bring more bloodshed.
Husayn respected Ibn Umar, but the man was naïve. Ibn Umar would have been content to spend the rest of his life praying for victory against Banu Umayyah instead of fighting for it.
But then again, nobody was cursing Ibn Umar’s father. Everyone loved Caliph Umar and gushed about how good things used to be back then.
When people spoke about the good old days, they really meant: “When Umar was the Caliph.”
Husayn did not have that luxury. He politely thanked Ibn Umar for his advice and continued to Mecca.
He knew those two would eventually pledge to Yazid. Not because they loved Banu Umayyah, but because they wanted to avoid warfare and bloodshed.
Husayn completed the seven circuits of the Kaaba and raised his hands in prayer. He prayed for the security of the city and its people. He prayed for peace and justice. And he prayed for the success of his cousin, Muslim ibn Aqil.
دمشق ستين سنة هجرية
Damascus, 60 AH
Yazid ibn Muawiyyah hated getting letters. Each one brought worse news than the last.
There was trouble brewing in Kufah, this new letter warned. The Shi’atu Ali were calling for Husayn to come and lead them in a rebellion against his government.
Yazid had expected this. He knew the Shi’atu Ali hated him just like they hated his father.
According to the message, Husayn’s deputy, Muslim ibn Aqil, had entered Kufah quietly. He stayed with another Shi’ah, a relative of that rebel Hujr ibn Adi, and began to secretly call people to join Husayn.
The word spread and the excitement surrounding Husayn boiled over. Before long, the entire city was openly talking rebellion.
The next line shocked Yazid. Twelve thousand men had already given bay’ah to Husayn through his deputy.
According to the Umayyad loyalists in Kufah, the Shi’atu Ali had no regard for his governor, Numan ibn Bashir. Numan ibn Bashir was an Ansar and one of the Prophet’s companions. But that did not matter.
The people of Kufah wanted Husayn.
The letter said most of the city mocked the governor and refused to pray behind him. The governor pleaded with the people to remain loyal. He even threatened them with all sorts of violence and punishment. But none of it worked.
The calls for Husayn continued to grow and they were getting louder and bolder.
Yazid knew that if Husayn got to Kufah, they would rally around him and overthrow his governor. And then Yazid would have to fight enemies on two fronts: Ibn Zubayr in Mecca, and Husayn in Iraq.
The boldness of it all troubled Yazid. The Shia acted as if Husayn was guaranteed to topple Banu Umayyah.
What would Father do, Yazid thought to himself once again. He’d probably tell the bastard to deal with it and turn a blind eye while hundreds of people lost their heads.
But it would get the job done, Yazid had to admit. Perhaps that was why his father tolerated Ziyad’s brutality. He got the job done.
That’s not what Yazid wanted. He did not want to kill people. But, what else could he do? Ibn Zubayr and Husayn weren’t going to lay down their swords just because he asked them nicely.
And what had his father told him about those two?
“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.”
“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.”
His father was right, of course. He had to deal with these rebellions swiftly before they got out of hand.
At just that moment, Sarjun walked in.
“Ameerul Mumineen, another letter from Kufah,” the old man said. “More bad news, I’m afraid.”
Sarjun was his secretary and was his father’s secretary before that. He was a Christian man, well-educated and fluent in Arabic, Latin, and Greek.
Yazid trusted Sarjun more than any of his uncles and cousins.
“Sarjun,” said Yazid, “my realm is threatened by rebellions and usurpers. You served my father long and well. What should I do?”
“If your father could talk to you right now and give you sound advice, would you listen to him?”
“Then perhaps you should look at this final order he made on his deathbed.” The old secretary withdrew a small parchment from his robe and handed it to Yazid.
Yazid read the parchment and shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he finally said. “That man is a brute just like his father was.”
“But your father saw something in his father, Ameerul Mumineen. Every hunter needs a dog, and so do you. You need someone to do your dirty work. You need someone to call when the time for talking has passed.”
Yazid sighed. The old man was right.
The time for talking had passed.
البصرة ستين سنة هجرية
Basra, 60 AH
Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad took a deep breath as he unsealed the parchment.
This was it, he thought. This was the message he was afraid of.
Ameerul Mumineen, Yazid ibn Muawiyyah, never liked Ubaydullah’s father. Yazid openly called his father a bastard and did not believe they were true Umayyads.
The hatred Yazid had for Ziyad ibn Abihi passed on to Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad.
Ubaydullah tried to prove himself to his new Caliph. But no matter what he did, Ameerul Mumineen never warmed up to him.
He opened the parchment, expecting to read the order for his dismissal. Instead, Ameerul Mumineen was ordering him to take over Kufah.
Ubaydullah studied the parchment, looking for some sign of trickery. Perhaps this was some Khawarij plot to get him out of Basra.
But the Caliph’s seal was unmistakable.
The letter said Husayn ibn Ali was plotting a rebellion in Kufah. Over twelve thousand people had given bay’ah to Husayn through his deputy, a man named Muslim ibn Aqil.
Ameerul Mumineen wanted Ubaydullah to go to Kufah and reestablish the Caliphal authority. He was also to arrest and kill Husayn’s deputy and anyone else who openly defied Banu Umayyah.
Ubaydullah sat back in utter disbelief. He couldn’t believe how closely his life was paralleling his father’s.
Ameerul Mumineen had just given him all of Iraq, just like Muawiyyah had done with Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan.
Muawiyyah had raised his father from a forgotten refugee to the second most powerful man in the empire. And now the son was doing the same thing for him.
Ubaydullah felt tears welling in his eyes. Allah had heard his prayers. He was being given the chance to save the empire and prove his worth.
He would not let this chance go to waste. He would protect Banu Umayyah and save the regime. He was one of them.
This was not about power.
This was about family.
He made up his mind to strike out for Kufah in the morning. He would take over the city, kill Muslim ibn Aqil, and stop Husayn’s rebellion before it got started.
And may Allah have mercy on anyone who stood in his way.
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