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of these proceedings and the real person for whom Abû Muslim was making such exertions; and he found at length that this person was Ibrahîm the imâm, who was then residing with his brothers and relatives at al-Humaima, a place of which we shall speak again in the life of Ali Ibn Abd Allah Ibn al-Abbâs. He immediately sent to have him arrested and brought to Harrân; on which Ibrahîm delegated his rights and authority to his own brother Abd Allah as-Saffàh. When he arrived at Harrân he was kept in confinement by Marwan, but after some time the latter had him thrust head foremost into a leather sack containing a quantity of quicklime; the mouth of the sack was then tied up and kept closed till the victim perished. This event took place in the month of Safar, A. H. 132 (Sept.-Oct. 749). It is said by some, that he was put to death in a different manner, but that which we have mentioned is borne out by the general opinion. Ibrahim was then fifty-one years of age; he was buried somewhere within the walls of Harrân, and Abû Muslim immediately called on the people to support the rights of Abû ’l-Abbås Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad, surnamed as-Saffàh. It had been a rule with the Omaiyides to prevent the descendants of Hashim from marrying any woman belonging to the tribe of Hårith, on account of a prediction which declared that this business (of the Abbaside conspiracy) would terminate successfully by the accession of a Hårithide female's son (Ibn al-Hårithiya to the supreme power. When Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz was raised to the khalifate, Muhammad Ibn Ali went to him and said: “I wish to marry the daughter “ of my maternal uncle, who is of the tribe of Hârith Ibn Kaab; will you give
me your permission ?”—“Marry whom you like,” replied Omar; on which he took to wife Raita the daughter of Obaid Allah, who was the son of Abd Allah al-Midân, the son of ar-Rakkåb, the son of Katan, the son of Ziàd, the son of al-Harith Ibn Kaab. This woman bore him a son who was the as-Saffah above-mentioned.] Al-Madâini (12) gives the following description of Abû Muslim's person: “He was low in stature, of a tawny complexion, with hand
some features and engaging manners; his skin was clear, his eyes large, his “ forehead lofty, his beard ample and bushy, his hair long and his back also, “ his legs and thighs short, and his voice soft; he spoke Arabic and Persian with
elegance and discoursed agreeably; he could recite many poems, and had great "skill in conducting public affairs. He was never observed to laugh, and he
never condescended to jest except at proper times. The gravest events could
“ hardly disturb the serenity of his countenance ; he received news of the most “ important victories without expressing the least symptom of joy; under the
greatest reverses of fortune he never betrayed the slightest uneasiness; and “ when angered, he never lost his self-command. He abstained from inter“ course with females, except once in each year. “Such an act,' said he, “is a “ sort of folly, and it is quite enough for a man to be mad once a year. With “ all this, he was the most jealous of mortals (13).” Abú Moslim had some brothers, one of whom was Yasår, the grandfather of Ali Ibn Hamza Ibn Omāra Ibn Hamza Ibn Yasar al-Ispahâni. The birth of Abû Muslim took place A.H. 100 (A. D. 718-9) in the khalifate of Omar Ibn Abd al-Aziz, at a village called Nàwâna (14) in the canton of Fâtik. The natives of Jai, the quarter of Ispahân so called, pretend that he was born in their city. He made his first public appearance in Khorasan at the city of Marw, on Friday the 21st, or according to al-Khatib (al-Baghdadi), on the 25th of Ramadân, A. H. 129 (June, A. D. 747). Nasr Ibn Saiyâr al-Laithi, who was then governor of Khorasân for Marwân Ibn Muhammad, the last of the Omaiyides (and who discovered what was passing), then wrote the following line to the khalif :
I see here a young horse who will never be broken in, if once he casts his first teeth; hasten then, before he gets his second teeth.
To this, Marwan made no reply, being then engaged in quelling some insurrections which had broken out in Mesopotamia and other provinces (one of which was headed by ad-Dahhảk Ibn Kais al-Harûri] (15). Abú Muslim had at that time only fifty followers. The governor then wrote to Marwân a second letter, containing the following verses [extracted from a long poem composed by a poet whom he had in his service, and who kept a school in Khorasàn. This poet, whose name was Abů Maryam Abd Allah Ibn Ismail, was a member of the tribe of Båjila and a native of Kûfa] :
I see fire glimmer under the ashes, and it will soon burst out in flames. Fire is produced by the friction of wood, and war has its beginning in discourses. If men of prudence do not extinguish it, human heads and bodies will be its fuel. O that I knew whether the sons of Omaiya be awake or sunk in sleep! If they are sleeping in such times as these, say to them: “ Arise, the hour is come!” (16)
The answer to this did not arrive, and Abů Muslim's power became so great that Nasr had to abandon Khorâsân, and was retreating to Irak when he died on the way, near Sawa, a place not far from Hamadân. His death took place in the month of the first Rabi, A. H. 131 (November, A.D. 748). [He had governed Khorasân ten years.] On Tuesday the 28th of Muharram, A. H. 132 (September, A.D. 749), Abû Muslim attacked and imprisoned Ali Ibn Judai Ibn Ali (17) al-Kirmâni at Naisapůr; he then put him to death, and having seated himself in the chair of state, he was saluted governor, after which . he officiated at the public prayer and pronounced the khotba, imploring the blessing of God on as-Saffah Abû ’l-Abbas Abd Allah Ibn Muhammad, the first khalif of the family of al-Abbâs. Khorasân then submitted to him without resistance, and the authority of the Omaiyides having ceased throughout the province, he despatched an army against Marwan Ibn Muhammad. The same year, on the eve of Friday the 13th of the latter Rabi (25th November, A. D. 749), as-Saffah was proclaimed khalif at Kûfa, where he suddenly made his appearance (18). Other dates are assigned, however, to this event. The Khorasanites and the other troops were then placed under the orders of Abd Allah Ibn Ali, the uncle of as-Saffäh, and they marched against Marwan who had advanced as far as the Záb (the river between Mosul and Arbela], and in an engagement which took place at Kushảf [a village in that neighbourhood), Marwân's army was defeated. He then retreated to Syria, but being closely pursued by Abd Allah, who followed with all his forces, he retreated to Egypt. [Abd Allah halted at Damascus, but sent a body of troops under the orders of al-Asfar (who is named also Musfar or Aamir) Ibn Ismail al-Jurjāni, in pursuit of the prince.] Marwân then arrived at Bûsir, a village near al-Faiyûm (in Egypt), and was slain on the eve of Sunday, the 26th of Zû 'l-Hijja, A. H. 132 (5th August, A. D. 750); [or, it is said, in the month of Zů ’l-Kaada. He fell by the hand of the Aamir abovementioned, who then cut off his head and sent it to as-Saffàh, by whose orders it was carried to Abû Muslim, that it might be exposed to public view in the towns of Khorasan. (When Marwan was at his last moments) some person
asked him what had reduced him to such a state, and he replied: “The little atten“ tion which I paid to Nasr Ibn Saiyâr's letters when he wrote to me from Kho“rasân for assistance.”] The fall of Marwân is an event well known, and the consequence of it was that as-Saffàh took possession of the khalifate without meeting any further resistance. He afterwards treated Abú Muslim with the highest honour for his services and for the talent he displayed in directing this
important enterprise. From that period the following lines were very often repeated aloud by Abû Muslim :
By resolution and secresy I succeeded in an undertaking which the sons of Marwân had vainly combined their forces to resist. I never ceased my efforts to work their ruin, whilst they slumbered in Syria, heedless of danger. I then struck them with the sword, and roused them from a deeper sleep than any had ever slept before. When a shepherd feeds his flock in a land haunted by beasts of prey, if he yields to sloth and neglects his duty, the lion will undertake the tending of the sheep.
As-Saffàh died at al-Anbår of the small-pox, in the month of Zù ’l-Hijja, A. H. 136 (May-June, A. D. 754), and his brother Abů Jaafar al-Mansûr, who was then at Mekka, succeeded to the khalifate on Sunday, the 13th of the same month. From that moment the conduct of Abû Muslim was marked by a number of particularities which produced a total change in the khalif's feelings towards him and made him resolve his death. During some time he hesitated whether to take the advice of his counsellors on this matter or follow his own determination, and in this state of mind he said one day to Muslim Ibn Kutaiba (19) : “What do you think of the manner in which Abû Muslim is getting " on?” To this Muslim made answer: “Were any other god but God in the " world, heaven and earth would be destroyed (by such a man).”—“It suffices; “O Ibn Kutaiba !” replied the khalif, “you have confided your thought to "safe ears." All the efforts of al-Mansûr being then directed to inspire Abû Muslim with a false security, he at length succeeded in drawing him to the palace. (Another circumstance contributed to allay Abu Muslim's apprehensions :) He used to consult books of predictions (20), and he found therein his own history; that he was to destroy a dynasty, create a dynasty, and be slain in the land of Ram (Asia Minor). Al-Mansûr was then at Rumaiyat al-Madain (21), a place founded by one of the Persian kings, and Abû Muslim never suspected that he should meet with his death there, as he fancied that it was the land of the Greeks which was meant by the oracle. On entering into al-Mansùr's presence, he met with a most favourable reception, and was then told to retire to his tent; but the khalif only awaited a favourable opportunity in order to take him unawares. Abû Muslim then rode a number of times to visit al-Mansûr, who commenced reproaching him with some pretended misdeeds. At last he went to the palace one day, and being informed that the khalif was making a general ablution previously to prayers, he sat down in the antechamber; but in the mean time, al-Mansûr posted some persons behind the sofa on which Abû Muslim was to sit, and ordered them not to appear till he, the khalif, clapped his hands ; on this signal, they were to strike off Abû Muslim's head. Al-Mansûr then took his seat on the throne, and Abů Muslim being introduced, he made his salutation, which the khalif returned. Al-Mansûr then permitted him to sit down, and having commenced the conversation, he proceeded to reproaches: “Thou 396 “ hast done this,” said he, "and thou hast done that!”—“Why say you so to me,” replied Abû Muslim, “ after all my efforts and my services?"_“Son of a
prostitute!” exclaimed al-Mansûr, “thou owest thy success to our own good “ fortune; had a negress slave been in thy place, she had done as much as thee! “Was it not thou who, in writing to me, didst place thy name before mine? Was “ it not thou who wrotest to obtain in marriage my aunt Aâsiya, pretending, in“ deed, that thou wast a descendant from Salit, the son of Abd Allah Ibni Abbâs? “ Thou hast undertaken, infamous wretch! to mount where thou canst not “ reach !” On this Abû Muslim seized him by the hand, which he kissed and pressed, offering excuses for his conduct; but al-Mansûr's last words to him May God not spare me, if I spare thee !"
thee !” He then clapped his hands, on which the assassins rushed out upon Abû Muslim and struck him with their swords ; al-Mansûr exclaiming all the time: “God cut your hands off, rascals ! “ strike!” On receiving the first blow, Abû Muslim said : “Commander of the
that I may be useful against thy enemies.” But the khalif replied: "May God never spare me if I do! where have I a greater enemy than “thee?” The murder of Abû Muslim was perpetrated on Thursday, the 24th of Shaabân, A. H. 137 (February, A. D. 755), or by other statements on the 27th of the month; or on Wednesday the 22nd; others again say that he was put to death in the year 136 or 140. This occurred at Rûmiyat al-Madâin, a village on the east bank of the Tigris and in the neighbourhood of al-Anbår; it is counted as one of the Madâins, or cities built by the Persian King. When Abů Muslim was slain, his body was rolled up in a carpet, and soon after, Jaafar Ibn Hanzala entered (22). “What think you of Abû Muslim?” said the khalif to him. “Commander of the faithful,” answered the other, “if you
have ever the misfortune to pull a single hair out of his head, there is no resource for you but to kill him, and to kill him and to kill him again.”—“God has given
66 faithful! spare me,