The Ispahbad Farrukhán and Qaṭarí the Khárijite.

Qaṭarí b. al-Fujá`at al-Máziní (f. 76a), the chief of the Khárijites or ‘Seceders’, one of the bravest and most eloquent of the Arabs, took refuge with the Ispahbad, in the time of the tyrant Ḥajjáj b. Yúsuf, together with 'Umar Fannáq*, Ṣáliḥ Mikhráq and other Khárijite chiefs, all of whom were hospitably entertained by their host during the winter. But when they and their horses were rested and strengthened, they threatened the Ispahbad that they would seize his country unless he accepted their creed.

The author here gives a brief account of the origin of the Khárijites after the Battle of Ṣiffín and the arbitration of Dawmatu`l-Jandal. Their first leaders were 'Abdu`lláh b. al-Kawwá and Ma'dán al-Ayádí, who, at the head of a thousand men, first raised the Khárijite war-cry, “Arbitration belongs to God alone!” (<Arabic>), to which 'Alí replied:


And on that day 'Alí’s soldiers kept reciting this verse:


The first person to whom the Khárijites swore allegiance as “Commander of the Faithful” (Amíru`l-Múminín) was 'Abdu`lláh b. Wahb ar-Rásibí, and the first who drew his sword in support of this heresy was 'Urwa b. Udayya, who, turning to Ash'ath b. Qays, said:


Ash'ath turned from him, and 'Urwa struck with his sword the hind-quarters of the mule he was riding. At the battle of Nahruwán, 'Urwa (f. 76b) fled from before 'Alí’s sword, but later he was taken prisoner and brought before Ziyád ibnu Abí-hi, who asked him what he thought of 'Alí and 'Uthmán. He declared them both infidels, whereupon Ziyád caused his head to be struck off.

The Khárijites are known by four names, to wit:

(1) Ḥarúriyya, because of Ḥarúrá, a place where they encamped. This name was given to them by 'Alí, who exclaimed, on hearing a verse read from the Qur`án (xviii, 103—104) concerning “those whose effort miscarries in the life of this world while they suppose that they do well,” “By God, these are they of Ḥarúrá!”

(2) Máriqiyya (“disobedient”, “rebels”, “heretics”), in allusion to the saying of the Prophet: “They shall slip from the Faith as the arrow slips from the bow” —


and another of his sayings to 'Alí: “Verily thou shalt fight the covenant-breakers, the doers of injustice, the rebels:”


(3) Shurát (“sellers” of their lives to win Paradise), alluding to Qur`án, ii, 203, and ix, 112, which verses they were accustomed to apply to themselves.

(4) Khárijites (Khawárij, “rebels”, “dissidents” or “seceders”), because they came out in revolt against 'Alí.

Whenever one of their chiefs was slain, they at once swore allegiance to another, until it came to the above-mentioned Qaṭari b. al-Fujá`at al-Máziní, who was one of the bravest and most famous of them, and whose poems are preserved in the Ghuraru`d-Durar of Sayyid Murtaḍá, the Ḥamása of Abú Tamám, and the Kámil of al-Mubarrad. Thus, when the Khárijites elected him their chief and swore allegiance to him, he wrote to Abú Khálid:

<Arabic>* <Arabic>

To which Abú Khálid (whom the author curses) replied:

(f. 77a) <Arabic>* <Arabic>

'Imrán al-Ḥiṭṭán, one of the most eloquent and learned jurisconsults of the Khárijites, wrote the following verses in reply to Abú Khálid:


This 'Imrán it was who, when at war with 'Alí, said:

<Arabic>* <Arabic>

The following verses are also by him:


Ḥajjáj b. Yúsuf slew many of the “blue-clad” Khárijite heretics (<Arabic>) by the hands of his general Muhallab b. Abí Ṣufra, and sent Sufyán b. Abi`l-Abrad al-Kalbí with an army drawn from Syria and the two 'Iráqs to attack the Khárijites in Ṭabaristán, bidding them not rest till they could bring him Qatarí alive or dead. When Sufyán reached Ray, the Ispahbad Farrukhán, who was encamped with his army at Damáwand, sent an ambassador offering his help, provided that he should be recompensed in some way for his services. Sufyán promised to give him whatever he desired, and his request was that the Arabs should not molest or interfere with his kingdom, on which understanding the pact was concluded. Qaṭarí, being informed of this, marched from Damáwand to Samnán, pursued by the Ispahbad, who overtook him at the spot last named, where a battle took place between them. The two leaders, singling one another out, engaged in a duel. Qaṭarí missed his stroke, fell from his horse and broke his leg, and was decapitated by the Ispahbad. 'Umar Fanṇáq, Ṣáliḥ Mikhráq and the other Khárijite leaders were also slain, while others were brought captive to Mázandarán, where the traces of their encampe­ment are still visible in the place called Qaṭarí Kaláda. The Ispahbad spared the lives of the captives and common soldiers (<Arabic>), and sent the heads of the slain and a portion of the spoils to Sufyán, who forwarded them on with an account of the victory to Ḥajjáj b. Yúsuf. Ḥajjáj thereupon sent a messenger to Sufyán with an ass’s load of gold and an ass’s load of dust, bidding him, in case Sufyán should prove to have gained the victory himself, to bestow on him the gold; but if otherwise, to cast the dust on his head at the chief cross-roads in the bázár, which disgrace Sufyán had to suffer when the true state of the case was made known.

Soon afterwards 'Abdu`l-Malik b. Marwán died and was succeeded by his son Walíd, while Ḥajjáj b. Yúsuf also fell from power, and Qutayba was made governor of Khurásán and Transoxiana, in which capacity he shewed much friend­ship towards the Ispahbad. Yazíd b. al-Muhallab (f. 78a) was in the service of Sulaymán b. 'Abdu`l-Malik (who suc­ceeded his brother Walíd in A. D. 715), and whenever Qutayba wrote despatches describing a fresh victory in Turkistán, he would write back belittling them and saying, “All the accounts of thy victories are from a place where the Commander of the Faithful cannot test their reality: why dost thou not conquer Ṭabaristán, which is a garden in the midst of the domains of Islám?” But Qutayba knew that Yazíd b. al-Muhallab was his enemy, while the Ispah­bad, on the other hand, was his friend, so that he naturally refrained from attacking him.

Sulaymán, on his accession, gave the government of Khurásán to Yazíd, and ordered Qutayba to be slain. And when Yazíd sent him accounts of his victories over the heathen in Transoxiana, the Caliph used to reply. “Why does he not effect that which he blamed Qutayba for not doing?” So Yazíd, hearing this, collected an army of Arabs and men of Khurásán and Transoxiana, and came to Gurgán. When the Ispahbad heard this, he sent all his people with their families and cattle into the mountains, leaving the plains empty of their population. Meanwhile Yazíd reached and occupied Tammísha, and continued his advance in the level country towards Sárí, while the Ispahbad Farrukhán marched parallel with him in the hills. On reaching Sárí, Yazíd alighted in the Ispahbad’s palace, and the people were afraid, and the Ispahbad himself was inclined to flee into Daylamán and there seek hélp against the invaders, but his son dissuaded him from an act which would be regarded as tantamount to abdication (f. 78b), and counselled him rather to sent messengers into Gílán and Daylamán asking for re-inforcements, which finally arrived to the number of some ten thousand men. Yazíd, hearing this, sent Khidásh b. al-Mughíra b. al-Muhallab b. Abí Ṣufra and Abu`l-Jahm al-Kalbí with twenty thousand horseman against the Ispahbad. When they drew near, Salmán the Daylamite came out to meet them, and was attacked by the van-guard of the Muslims under Muḥammad b. Abú Surra al-Ju'fí, who defeated Salmán’s troops, slew him, and pursued the fugitives into the hills, where, however, the Ispahbad’s army put them to rout with a storm of stones and arrows. Then, withdrawing by another road from this position, they pre­pared an ambush into which the Muslims fell, so that fifteen thousand of them, including some of Yazíd’s own kinsmen, perished. Continuing their advance, they plundered and burned Yazíd’s camp, after which the Ispahbad despatched a courier to Gurgán, bidding the Nahapets of Ṣúl* rise against Ḍarís and the Arab soldiers who occupied their country, slay them all, and seize for themselves their cattle and possessions. This was done, and amongst the slain were fifty of Yazíd’s cousins (f. 79a). Then the Ispahbad sent men to destroy the high road from Sárí to Tammísha and render it impassable (<Arabic>) to horsemen, after all of which deeds he ceased to fear Yazíd.

So Yazíd, unable to prevail by force, had recourse to strategem, and summoned before him Ḥayyán an-Nabaṭí (“the Nabathean”), a Daylamite client of Maṣqala b. Hubayra, who had been nick-named “the Nabathean” because he was dumb, and said to him: “O Abú Ya'mar! I entreated thee evilly in Khurásán, confiscated thy goods, and put thee in bonds. I have now a favour to ask of thee: think no more of the past, and meditate no treachery or guile.” “O Amír,” replied Ḥayyán, “since thou hast shewn me so much honour and favour, I bear no malice; and God forbid that I should neglect the claims of Islám or protect the Magian faith!” Then Yazíd told him the news from Gurgán, the strait in which he found himself, and the discouragement of his troops, begging him to devise some plan whereby the Muslims might save themselves in the present and take their revenge in the future. Ḥayyán answered: “This gabr (i. e. the Ispahbad) hath now waxed bold: if he should not hearken to my words, but should say, ‘For two years he has ravaged my country and raided my cattle and property,’ what answer shall I make?” Yazíd answered, “I will give as much as 300,000 dirhams in com­pensation, if he will accept it, and let us depart in peace.”

Then Ḥayyán came to the Ispahbad and said, “Yazíd b. al-Muhallab (f. 79b) hath sent me to say that if you will serve him in this matter, he will quit your country, but if not he will summon re-inforcements from Syria, ‘Iráq, Khurásán and Turkistán and destroy you and your kingdom.” So the Ispahbad was prevailed upon to accept the 300,000 dínárs, of which he gave 5000 to Ḥayyán, and to let Yazíd go: and he encamped in Tammísha by the moat to give time for the captives and fugitives of his army to join him. Then Yazíd passed onwards to Gurgán, where he swore to shed enōugh blood to turn a mill; but after kill­ing many of the marzubáns and principal men of the coun­try, he was glad to escape from his oath by a device suggested to him by the Nahapets of Ṣúl, who bade him mix blood with a mill-stream and eat of bread baked from the flour which it ground. Then he returned to Syria to the court of the Caliph Sulaymán.