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My Bear Father 
Sayyid 'AH Murtada Sanib 


My Fond Mother 
Zubavdah Bi Bi Sahibah 


FOE the last twenty years I have been studying 
Islamic History and allied subjects. When I joined the 
Muslim University, Aligarh, in 1944 for a degree in 
Islamic History, Professor Muhammad Habib suggested 
to me that I should write a treatise on Arab 

Although there is plenty of material for a study of 
this topic, scattered in large volumes of Arabic works, 
there is not any book in any language which deals with 
this subject in a comprehensive manner. A few chapters 
of Amir 'Ali, Mez, Von Kremer, Levy and Hitti give 
much valuable information. Since all these works are 
written to cover several other topics also, the information 
they give about administration is scanty. This work 
is a humble attempt to fill the void. 

My desire to keep the work within the present limit 
has forced me to assume some knowledge of Islamic 
History and some acquaintance with a few very common 
Arabic terms on the part of the reader. 

But for Professor Muhammad Habib's great help, 
constant guidance and persistent encouragement, I could 
not have undertaken this work, Mr. Shaykh <Abdu 'r- 
Rashyd directed the execution of this work and gave me 
very valuable suggestions and help. Professor 'Abdu '1 
*Aziz Memoni helped me with many of his rare and 
valuable Arabic books and often spent several hours with 
me searching for relevant material. I express my sincere 
thanks to the above-mentioned professors of the Muslim 
TJniversity, Aligarh, 


All scholars who have worked on such topics in 
India have realised the lack of facilities for research 
work in this country, and I am no exception to the 
general rule although the Muslim University library is 
one of the richest in India as far as works on Islamic 
topics are concerned, 

I am highly grateful to my friend and colleague 
Mawlawi Rahim Ahmad Sahib Faraqi, M.A., and to my 
former pupil and friend M. 'Abdu VRahman Sahib, B.A., 
for their kindness in going through the typescript and 
suggesting several improvements However, I am solely 
responsible for the opinions expressed herein. My thanks 
are due to my pupil Sayyid *Abdu 'l-Ghaffar Husayni for 
helping me in preparing the index. 

16th February, 1948 \ S ' A ' Q ' HUSAINI 


.Preface ... ... ... p. vii viii 

Contents ... ... ,., pp. ix xiii 

Introduction ... ... ... pp. xiv xvi 


Pre-I slanuc Political Institutions. 

The Townspeople and the Desert-dwellers Arabs of 
the South and the North The Ancient Arab Kingdoms 
Ma'm Saba Himyar The Nabataeans The Palmy- 
renese The Lakhmids The Ghassanids Social Organi 
sation of the Bedouins Their Political Organisation 
Religious Organisation The City State of Makkah 
Municipal amenities in Pre- Islamic Arabia Sanitation 
Lighting Pre-Islamic Military Organisation ... pp. 1-1(5. 


Administration under the Prophet. 

Social and Economic Organisation The Sovereign 
The Prophet's Secretariat The Wali The *Amil 
The Qadi Sources of Revenue al-Ghanjmah az-Zakat 
and as-Sadaqat al-Jizyah al-Kharaj al-Fay' Re- 
ligious Organisation under the Prophet The Army 

pp. 17-28. 


Civil Administration Under the Pious Khallfahs. 

TheKhilafat The Shura The Provinces Provin- 
cial Officials Instrument of Instructions Revenue 
Administration al-Ghanimah-*-az-Zakat al-*Ushr^-al- 
JizyahA-al-Kharaj al-'Ushur on Merchandise al-Fay' 
Public Works al-Hima The Treasury al-Qadi al- 
Ifta' - -The Police Prisons Religious Administration 
... ... ... ... ... pp 29-48, 


Military Administration Under the Pious Khalifahs. 

Number of Soldiers Employed -The Great Diwan 
Military Districts Soldiers' Emoluments -Arms of the 
Army Bodyguard On the March Camping Supply 
Weapons Use of Flags Tactics pp. 49-<H. 


Social Organisation Under the Umayyads and its Effect 
on Administration' 

Birth of Feudalism The Feudal Aristocracy The 
Military Class The Small Landowners The Mawali 
Artisans and Labourers ~ The Beggar Class The 
Slaves ... ... ... pp. 62-76. 


The Umayyad Central Government. 

The Khilafat- The Shura Absolutism Ihe Court 
The Central Boards - Diwanu '1-Jund (The Military 
Board), Diwanu '1-Kharaj (The Board of Finance), 
Diwgnu 'r-Rasa'il (The Board of Correspondence), 
Diwanu '1-Khatam (The Board of Signet) and Diwnnu 
'1-Band (The Board of Posts). 

The Currency Currency before Islam Under the 
Propheib Under Abu Bakr Under 'Umar - Under 
Mu'awiyah Under 'Abdullah bin az-Zubayr Under 
<Abdu '1-Malik. 

Weights and Measures- the habbah, the qirat, the 
daniq, the mithqal, the Qqryah, the rill, the mann, 
the nuwat, the qintar, the buhar, the mudd, the sa', 
the qafiz, the wasq, the kurr, the jarib. Units for 
Measuring Lengths the usbu', the bishr, the dhira 1 , the 
ba c , the rail, the farsakh. 

.The Change of the Language of Administration- 
Religious Organisation ... ..^ pp, 77-94, 


Provincial Administration Under the Umayyads. 

General Features The Provinces and Districts of the 
Empire Arabia al-'Iraq al-Jazirah Syria Egypt 
al-Maghrib the Eastern Province (Ma Wara'u 'n-Nahr 
and Khurasan) ad-Daylam ar - Rihab al - Jibal 
(AiKJient Media) Khuzistan Fars -Karman - as-Sind. 
The Provincial Diwans- Diwanu '1-Jund (The Military 
Board) Diwanu 'r-Rasa'il (The Board of Correspond, 
ence), Diwami '1-Mustaghillat (The Finance Board). 
The Provincial Officials -The Amir or Wali The <Amil 

Sahibu. '1-Kharaj ~~~ The Katib Sahibu '1-Ahdath' 

Distinctive Features of Certain Major Provinces 
al-'Iraq Egypt -Syria Spain ... pp. 95-1 10. 


Revenue Administration Under the Umayyads, 

Sources of Revenue al-Khums- az-Zakat al-*Ushr 

al-Jizyah ~ al-Kharaj Unauthorised Exactions- 
Extra Taxes in Kind Presents, etc. - Child Tribute. 

Revenue Administration of al-*Iraq of Egypt of 
Syria .. ... pp. 111-124. 


Public Works Under the Umayyads* 

Agriculture Public Buildings and Other Undertak- 
ings Education - Municipal Administration Damascus 
Al-Basrah and al-KufahMakkah and al-Madjnah 
41-Mawsil Smaller Towns and Villages ... pp. 125-131. 

Military Administration Under the Umayyads. 

Numbers Emoluments Compulsory Service- 
Volunteers Military Stations, Fortifications, etc, al 


Basrah ~ aMvufah Othor Military Stations - Ranks- 
On the March - The Camp- Women Transport 
Morale Siege Tactics and Siege Weapons Battle 
Weapons Tactics ... - ... pp. 132-148. 


Central Administration Under the Early l Abbasid$. 

The Khilafat ~ The Shura The Court The Wazir 
The Hajib (Chamberlain) The Central Boards Diwanu 
'l-Jurid~ Diwanu '1-Kharaj Djwanu 'r-Rasa'il ~ Dj [wgnu 
'1 Khatarn- -Diwanu '1-Barid Diwanu '1-Azimmah (The 
Audit and Accounts Board)- Diwanu 'n Nazri fi '1- 
Mazalim (The Board of Investigation of Grievances) 
Diwanu 'n-Nafaqat (The Board of Expenditure) Diwanu 
VSawafi (The Board of Crown -lands )~ Diwanu 'd-Diya' 
(tlie Board of Estates)- Drwanu 's-Sirr (The Board of 
ISecret) Diwanu l^Ard (The Board of Military 
Inspection) -Diwanu 't-Tawqi* (The Board of Request). 

The Central Judiciary The Central Police Prison 
Administration Religious Organisation ... pp. 149-177. 


Provincial Administration Under the Early 'Abbfisids. 

Decentralisation -The Provinces The Provincial 
DJ wans- Diwanu '1-KharajDiwnnu 'r-Rasa'H Diwanu 
VZimam Diwanu '1-Barid Diwanu 'd-Diya c . 

The Provincial Officials Salaries The Wali 
The QadiSahibu 'sh-Shurtah~-~The Muhtasib~pp. 178- 
190. ' ' " 


Revenue Administration Under the Early 

The Principal Sources of 
az-Zakat al-'Ushr al-Jizyah al-Kharaj al-* Ushcir 
The Total Revenue of the Empire Al- Jahshiyari's List 
as-Sawad - Kaskar- Dijlah Hulwan al-Ahwaz Faris 
Karxnan-- Mukran as-Sind Sijistan Khurasan 
Jurjan Qumis Tabaristsn ar-Rayy 


Hainadhan al-Kufah and al-Basrah Shaharzur al- 
Mawsil al-Jazirah Adharbayjan Muqan audKarkh 
JjlanArminiyah Qinnasnn and al-*Awasiin Hims 
Damascus al-Urdunn Filastm Egypt Barqah 
Ifriqiyah al-Yaman Makkah and al-Madmah 
Revenue Subdivisions Illegal Levies Ill-Treatment 
of the Tax-Payers ... pp. 191.204, 


Public Works and Municipal Administration Under the 
Early 'Abbfisids. 

Agriculture Public Buildings and Other Under- 
takings Care of the Sick and the Poor Education 
Roads Bridges Care of the Travellers Municipal 
Administration Water Supply Town Administration 
The Administration of Baghdad. . . . pp. 205-219. 


The Arab Navy. . . . pp. 220-224. 


Military Administration Under the Early 'Abbas ids. 

Numbers National Corps Emoluments Volun- 
teers Military Stations and Fortifications Military 
Intelligence. The Arms of the Army and Their Weapons 
On the March The Camp Women Transport 
Supplies Morales-Tactics. ... pp. 225-242. 


Conclusion . . . pp. 243-245. 

Chronology of the Khali fa/is ... p. 246. 


List of Books Consulted and Quoted ... pp. 246-248. 
Index ... pp. 249 seqq. 


FOURTEEN hundred years ago a small nation of a few 
hundred thousand people inhabited Arabia, a sub- 
continent of 1,000,000 square miles and contained within 
it all grades of social structure. It was surrounded by 
highly civilised peoples like the Persians and the 
Romans. The Arabs were a predominantly nomadic 
people details of whose ample and crude thoughts, 
lears and hopes, longings atid aspirations, feelings 
and passions, virtues and vices, customs and man- 
ners, beliefs and superstition carouses and revelries, 
pangs and anxieties, lovfc an hatred, in short, all the 
baser and finer elements of life are available to us 
expressed in verses seriously composed or uttered at the 
spur of the moment by mostly the unlettered men and 
women of that people. 

This remarkable people, driven by economic and 
historic forces and led arid united by a great ideology, 
rose up as one man, before the very eyes of the civilised 
nations, dominated the surrounding countries and evolved 
a system of administration which may be considered the 
best and most advanced in the Middle Ages. 

In the Bedouin settlement of Yathrib (al-Madinah) 
a small band of fugitives from Makkah under the leader- 
ship of Prophet Muhammad laid the foundation of a State 
in A.D. 622. One year after the foundation, its army 
numbered only 313 men, and after one more year the 
young State could put in the field only two horses in 
addition to a small infantry. Within ten years of the 
foundation of this seedling State, the major part of Arabia 
was consolidated under the Prophet, and within twenty, 
the Arabs conquered the major part of the Persian 
Empire and the whole of Syria and Egypt. Within one 
hundred years, the greafc and saintly successor of the 
Prophet, 'Urnar II (99-101 A.H.), ruled over an Empire 


extending from the Chinese frontier in the east to the 
Atlantic .in the west, and from the Indian Ocean in tiie 
south to the Caspian and the Black Seas in the north. 

It is not this extremely swift expansion of the 
Empire which forms the most interesting and remarkable 
feature of the history of the world during this century, 
but the march of historic and economic forces which 
consolidated the tribal people of Arabia into one vigorous 
and conquering nation, the various devices which this 
simple but remarkably versatile people had to adopt to 
maintain and further extend a fast expanding Empire 
spread over parts of all the three continents of the then 
known world and the development of the simple organism 
of the State inaugurated at al-Madinah into a highly 
organised and complicated machinery of government, 
that mark out the period as unique for the study of the 
evolution of a nation and its political institutions. 

To follow step by step the formation of a simple 
State by a nation, which had in it the most primitive 
combination the family as the sole basis of social life, 
to follow the growth of that simple State year by year and 
>bserve new governmental offices and officials spring up 
as and when exigencies demanded them, in short, to 
i.race the growth of a seedling-State of a primitive people 
through all the stages of its development till it grows into 
a full-grown tree with its various branches, leaves, tlowers 
and fruits, is an intellectual delight which more than 
compensates the immense pain involved in picking up 
bits of administrative details from large and voluminous 
works (dealing mainly with political events) and construct- 
ing out of them a work of this natAire, 

I have avoided long discussions and also avoided 
defending or strongly criticising any system or item of 
administration. Here and there I have used a word or 
two in praise of certain items or in disapproval of certain 
others. Topics like al-jizyah, over which much valuable 
ink has been spilt, I have dealt with in a detached and 


cool manner, conliiiiug myself to the details and not 
trying to justify or condemn a tax which had been in 
existence under the Romans and the Persians and was 
borrowed from them by the Muslim State. Had I 
indulged in discussions, the size of this work would have 
multiplied several times and the object of putting a 
concise and reliable work on the subject in the hands of 
students of Islamic history would have been defeated. 

The work ends with the first century of the'Abbasid 
rule, for by that time not only the character of the 
administration ceased to be Arab, but also real power 
passed into the hands .of non-Arab chieftains. 


THE Arabs were divided into two categories : the 
townspeople (Ahlu 7- H ad u rah) and the desert-dwellers 
(AJilu 'l-Badiydh). The natural facilities available, to 
these two categories and their economic activities being 
different, there was much difference in their govern- 
mental organisation. 

In an Assyrian inscription of the eighth century, 
Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) says that he subdued the tribes 
ofThamudand!badid"who inhabit the desert, who know 
neither high nor low officials." 1 This statement relates to 
the nomadic Bedouins. But another Assyrian inscription 
dated alout 2350 B.C. mentions that the kingdom of 
Magan (Ma'an) 2 in Arabia sent timber, stone and metals 
to the Sumerian King Gudea of Sirgulla, 

Thus we see that, on .ne one hand, the ancient 
Bedouins had no political institution whatsoever, and 
that, on the other, since the very dawn of history, nay 
even before that, the town-dwellers of Arabia had some 
form of organised government. In tracing the develop- 
ment of the Arab administrative system, we have to bear 
in mind the nomadic character of the Northern people 
(Banu *Adnan) on the one hand and the civilised nature 
and rich political experience of the Southerners (Banu 
Qahtan) on the other. This difference in the character- 
istic? of the two peoples and the migration of the 
Southerners to the North after the collapse of the great 
dyke at Ma'rib, resulting in bloody wars for the possession 
of the oases and other fertile areas, embittered their 

1. P.K. Hitti : History of the Arabs, p. 37. 

2. Closer ami Hommel identify the word Magan with Ma'an or Main ; 
but others who are not prepared to do so are of the opinion that the kingdom 
of Ma'in flourished ca. 1200 to 650 B.C. See the article i*> the Encyclopedia of 
Islam under "Arabia" ; and Hitti, pp. 52-twL 


relations so much that even Islam could not make them 
forget the past. 

The Ancient Arab Kingdoms 

The most ancient Arab kingdom known to history is 
the kingdom of Ma'm between Najran, Hadramawt and 
Qarnaw which was the capital of the kingdom. It was a 
flourishing State in the second millennium before Christ. 
It must have been a prosperous and organised State 
having commercial relations with foreign countries. We 
know, however, very little about the nature of the 
government which the kingdom had. 

During the period of the decadence of the Minaean 
(Ma'mian) kingdom, there arose another kingdom in 
al-Yaman with Sirwah, west of Ma'rib as the capital. 
The first period of this kingdom extended from about 
950 to 650 B.C. During this period the king was also the 
religious head of the people. 1 It was during this period 
that the great dam of Ma'rib was built 3,900 ft, above sea 
level. This dam stored a very large quantity of water 
and was the principal source of irrigation for the entire 
kingdom. But in the second period of this kingdom 
(650-115 B.C.), however, the priestly character of the 
king disappeared and Ma'rib became the capital. 

About 115 B.C. a new dynasty, the Himyar, became 
master of the South. The first period of this kingdom 
lasted from 115 B.C. to 300 A.D. During this period, the 
Romans, coveting the wealth of the Himyarite kingdom. 
which- was known as the Kingdom of Saba' and Dhu 
Raydan, 2 invaded it in the year 24 B.C. under JElius 
Gallus. The campaign ended in utter failure. 

Roman sources describe the Sabaeans as brave 
soldiers, industrious tillers of the soil, good traders and 
skilful sailors and as the most wealthy of all the Arab 

1. K.A. Nicholson : A Literary History of tht Arabs, p 10. 
'2. Ibid, 


It was during this period that the famous twenty- 
storeyed castle of Ghumdan was built. The agriculture of 
the country depended chiefly on dams, wells and cisterns. 
Agriculture and trade were the chief occupation of the 
people who had the monopoly of the trade between the 
East and the West. 

"The Himyarite kings used to get a large number of 
artisans and craftsmen from Egypt and goods in exchange 
for their own goods/* 1 Specialists in all kinds of arts and 
crafts and accomplished people in all walks of life came 
to al- Yaman from all parts of the world in the hope of 
patronage and royal munificence. The kings gave them 
all facilities to demonstrate their genius, treated them 
with great honour and bestowed on them very large 
rewards. If they wanted to return to their countries, 
they were allowed to do so ; and they were sent laden 
with riches and presents. 2 

The- second period of the Himyarite kingdom lasted 
from 300 to 525 A.D. with 'an interval between 340-378 
during which the Abyssinians seem to have conquered anc 1 
ruled the country. During this period Judaism an3 
Christianity were introduced in al- Yaman. A fratricidal 
war between the Jews and the Christians of the kingdom 
made the Negus interfere in favour of the Christian 
subjects of the Jewish king Dhu Nuwas. 3 This led to 
the conquest of al- Yaman by Abrahah, the Abyssinian 
general, in the year 525 A.D. 

The great dam of Ma'rib seems to have been broken 
several times and restord again and again. With each 
break of the dam some tribes moved North ; and the 
prosperous country of al- Yamari declined due to foreign 
rule, ruin of agriculture and Roman competition in the 
field of trade. The final collapse of the dam seems to 
have taken place between 542 and 570 A.D. 

1. Subhu 'l-A'sha, V, p. 32. 

2. Ibid., p. 36. 

3. Aid., p. 24. 


The national movement to free the ancient kingdom 
from the Abyssinians found its hero in Sayf bin Dhi 
Yazan 1 who succeeded in overthrowing the hated foreign 
rule with the aid of a Persian force sent by Kisra Anu- 
shirwan in 575. At first, a joint administration was set 
up with Sayf as the king who took up his residence in 
the ancient castle of Ghumdan ; but within a few years 
al-Yaman became a Persian satrapy. In A H. 6, Badlian, 2 
the fifth Persian Satrap, embraced Islam, and al-Yainan 
became a Muslim province. 

At Ma'rib there are extensive ruins and amongst 
them are scattered marble columns without capitals. 
West of Ma'rib lies the great dam in ruins. South- west 
of the spot are found the remains of a builoing construct- 
ed with large blocks of hewn stone. At *Adan there are 
rock-hewn reservoirs which were cleared in 1856. There 
are rock-hewn temples also. Some coins on the Greek 
and Roman models have been found which bear Himya- 
ritic letters as well as Arab imitations of Greek and 
Roman figures, especially that of the Attic owl. 

In the North, the Nabataean kingdom flourished from 
the second century B.C. to 105 A.D. in which years 
Trajan, the Roman Emperor, conquered and annexed it. 
The capital of the kingdom was Petra, one of the key 
cities on the caravan route between the East and the 
West. It was an impregnable city carved out of solid 
rock. It had plenty of pure water and there was no 
water anywhere nearby. So all caravans had to go 
through it. The people were idolaters worshipping 
Dashara (Dhu 'sh-Shara) represented by a black rectan- 
gular stone. 

Another kingdom in the North which flourished from 
the first century B.C. to 272 A.D. was the oasis kingdom 
of Tadmur (Palmyra). Situated between the rival 
Empires of Rome and Persia, it took advantage of its 

1. Subhu 'l-A'sha, V, p. 26. 

2. Ibid., p. 26. 

3. Hitti., p. 217. 


neutrality and prospered. Moreover, it was a centre 
through which the trade between the South and the North 
had to pass. Its magnificent ruins have not yet been 
sufficiently excavated and studied. But the fact that the 
armies of this kingdom chased Shapur I of the Sasanian 
dynasty (A.D. 265) to the very walls of his capital 
Ctesiphon (al-Mada'in) l and repeatedly defeated the 
Roman legions (266-272) gave the Arabs a consciousness 
of their martial prowess. 

The South Arabian tribes who migrated to the North 
established two powerful kingdoms. One of them was the 
kingdom of al-Hirah established by Banu Tanukh in the 
region west of the Euphrates in the beginning of the 
second century A.D. and ruled over by the lakhmid 
dynasty. This kingdom, which was a vassal of the 
Persian Empire, did not attain a very high degree of 
civilisation ; but it was a nursery of learning and writing. 
The kings were great patrons of poetry and the famous 
poet, Tanafah, was one of those who were patronised by a 
king of al-Hirah. 

The other kingdom established by the Southern 
Arabs in the North was the kingdom of Ghassan which 
encompassed the districts of Hawran, Balqa, Phoenicia, 
ad Libanum and Palestine Prema and Secunda. The 
Ghassanids were Monophysite Christians a and were 
under the suzerainty of the Byzantine Emperors whose 
frontiers they defended against the Persians and their 
powerful vassals, the Lakhmids of al-Hirah. Al-Jabiyah 
and Jilliq 3 are mentioned as their capital. Emperor 
Justinian bestowed on one of the rulers of Ghassan the 
title of Phylarch and Patricius, 4 the highest rank next 
to that of the Emperor. 

The Ghassanids were superior in culture to the 
Lakhmids. They built beautiful palaces and erected 

1. K.A. Nicholson, p. 33. 

2 Ibid., p 51. 

3. Leone Caetani, III, p. 928, Now called Jillin. 

4. H.A. Nicholspn, p. 50. 


magnificent triumphal arches as monuments of their many 
victories. Their kingdom abounded in public baths, 
aqueducts, theatres and churches. They were munificent 
patrons of poets ; ajnd the, famous poets, Labid and 
Nabighah, were patronised by them. Hassan, the great 
poet who was 'retained' by the Prophet, has sung the 
praise of the Ghassanids in several of his pieces. 1 

When the Arabs conquered Syria, J^balah, the last 
ruler of the kingdom, became a Muslim ; but, unable to 
brook the determination of 'Umar I to do equal justice 
between him and an ordinary Bedouin whom he Jiad 
slapped, he fled to Constantinople and became an apostate. 

Social Organisation of the Bedouins 

In extent, Arabia is larger than the Indian penin- 
sula. Whereas most parts of it in pre-Islamic days were 
inhabited by the Bedouins the basis of whose social 
and governmental organisation was tribal, certain 
other parts had known a more advanced stage of society, 
and had possessed a more developed form of government. 

Among the Bedouins each tent represented a family, 
each group of tents a clan (al-fyayy) and a group of clans 
a tribe (al-qabilah). The Bedouins had only a few 
personal belongings. Sources of water supply, pastures 
(sing, al-hima) and cultivable lands were held in common 
by the tribe. 2 Although the clan was the basis of the 
social organisation of the Bedouins, much before the 
birth of Islam, clans had coalesced into tribes and tribes 
had formed into confederacies (al-ahlaf). 

The numerical strength of the tribe and the strategic 
position occupied by it determined its power and prestige. 
To^ augment their numbers, Arabian families took stran- 
gers as clients (sing, mawla). There were two types of 
al-mawali (plural of al-mawla). Firstly, a free man, who 
wanted to live under the protection of a family, could 

U Al-Aghlni, XVI, p. 16. 
2. Hitti,p. 26. 


become the mawla of that family. Secondly, a freed slave 
usually chose to be attached to the family of his former 
master as a mawla. 1 The mawla of a family automati- 
cally became the mawla of the clan and the tribe to which 
the family belonged. The mawali were an asset to the 
family to which they were attached and became a source 
of help and strength to it. 

In addition to the maw&li, who were free men, there 
were slaves also, Arabs and non- Arabs. The Arab slaves, 
rnen, women and children, were mostly prisoners of war. 
The non- Arab slaves were generally secured by purchase. 
Male slaves were made to work as artisans for their 
sustenance and for the profit of their masters. Female 
slaves had to work as domestic servants, spinners, weavers, 
embroiderers, etc., and were used as concubines. 
Often women of noble birth from amongst the pri- 
soners of war were set free and retaken as wives. Child 
slaves were used as domestic servants and made to learn 
arts and crafts. As long as they were minors, they were 
treated as members of the family. When they became 
majors, they we*"* usually allowed to marry ; but the 
masters had a right to a part of their earnings. 2 

Political Organisation of the Bedouins 

r-ci . I: clan or tribe had its own Elder (ash-8haykh) 
as its ruler. Nobility of birth, seniority in age and other 
personal distinctions or accomplishments were the qualifi- 
cations for rulership in a clan. The Arabs in general, 
and the Bedouins in particular, were thoroughly democra- 
tic in spirit. They would not submit to the arbitrary rule 
of the Shaykh. Hence he had to make his decision in a 
council of the elders of the clan or tribe. There was no 
elaborate machinery of government, no officials, no 

There were very few civil litigations. Civil disputes 
were usually referred to a Qadi approved by both the 

1. Hitti, p. 27. 

2. Al-Mas*$di, IV, p. 3-H- 


parties. There were no permanent Qadis. In criminal 
matters, life for life and limb for limb was the recognised 
principle among the Arabs. A murderer within the tribe 
was handed over to the heirs of the murdered who could 
put him to death, or set him free on receipt of blood money 
(ad-diyah) 9 or give him liberty by granting a free 
pardon. If a murderer, who committed a murder within 
the clan itself, escaped, he was declared an outlaw (at- 
tarid). The structure of society being tribal, a tribeless 
man had no locus standi, no protection, no safety. Losing 
affiliation to the tribe, he became an outcast and went 
outside the pale of law. As between clans or tribes, every 
clan or tribe (as a whole) was responsible for the conduct 
of its members. 

Raiding the enemies' camps or stealing their pro- 
perty was hailed as an act of heroism. In the tribe itself 
there were not many thefts ; for the tribal affinity or 
clan spirit (al-'asabjyah) was so strong that improper 
behaviour, in the face ot possible social ostracism, was 
rare. Cases of theft, if any, were dealt with fiy the 
chieftain and elders of the clan who forced the culprit to 
return the stolen property or to pay the price thereof. 
When, as in Makkah, a society with large private pro- 
perties came into being, severe punishment for theft was 
inflicted. Cutting the hand of a thief, which was pre- 
valent among the Persians, 1 was introduced in Makkah 
by al-Walid bin Mughirah. 

Some writers are inclined to think * that the Arabs 
did not take a serious view of ad /fcery. But the following 
couplet of Imra'u '1-Qays, the great pre-Islamic poet, 
shows that they did take a serious \ ie^v of it : 

Crossing angry guards aijd- tribesmen, to her I held, 
Longing to kill me, if e't my death they could hide. 5 

1. Noldeke-Schwally; Gesth. des Qovans, 1, 230, quoted in the Encyclopedia 
of I slam under "SIriq." ^ 

2. See Encyclopedia of Islam under * zina.' 

'ii '1-Qaya. 


But no known and definite punishment was prescribed 
for adultery. Stoning to death of those who committed 
this crime was in practice among the Jews. 

Religious Organisation of the Bedouins 

The religious organisation could not but be a reflex 
of the social organisation. Each clan had a clan deity, 
a counterpart of its clan chieftain in the belief world. 
The Arabs, in spite of their being of different tribes 
and clans and in spite of their hailing from diverse 
regions with varying economic conditions, had much in 
common unity of language and thought, of dress and 
food, a common culture, and, above all, a strong conviction 
that they were all descended from a common ancestor. 1 
This feeling of national unity, which was in the back- 
ground, and a belief in common ancestry were naturally 
reflected in the conception of the existence of cne Supreme 
Being looking after the affairs of all. Just as each of 
their clans was considered to be an offspring of the 
common ancestor, so also the Arabs thought that each 
of their clan deities was a daughter of the Supreme God, 
Allah. Each clan or sometimes a group of clans had its 
own oracle or soothsayer. 

The City State of Makkah 

Apart from the organised kingdoms a-tid quite dis- 
tinct from the Bedouin form of government, there was the 
republic of the City State of Makkah which stood forth as 
the centre of trade and culture. While commerce gave 
it material prosperity, the Kabbah gave it influence and 
power over the whole of Arabia. The city was ruled or 
rather guided by a body of elders. The Senate or Council 
of Elders was called al-Mala 9 . Lacking coercive powers, 
the Mala* had to depend on persuasion and moral pres- 

1. Arab geneologists claim that all Arabs are descended from Abraham 
but some accounts show that some Arab tribes like the Jurhum were alreadj 
living near Makkah at the time of that Prophet. The historicity of Abraham 
is itself doubted See the article in the Encychp&Jix Britannic a under 
"Abraham.* 1 


sure. According to al-Fasi, "None exercised authority 
unless delegated or kindly permitted to do so/' l 

There was a hall, Daru 'n-Nadwah, a where the 
leading citizens met and transacted business. The 
general meeting of the citizens (nadiu qawri) used to be 
held in the court of the Ka'bah in which affairs of general 
interest were discussed. The various functions apper- 
taining to the Ka'bah and the city in general were 
assigned to different leading families. 

At an early date the Meccans negotiated with the 
adjoining states and obtained from them safe conducts 
and capitulations, permitting the free passage of their 
caravans through specified routes to specified places 
known as the "guarantee of the Caesar and the Khusraw." 3 
They also concluded agreements with the Negus of 
Abyssinia, with the powerful Shaykhs of an-Najd, with 
the Qayls of al-Yaman, with the Phylarch of Ghassan and 

the ruler of al-Hirah. 

Makkah levied a tithe on the merchandise that 
passed through it. There must have been a rudimentary 
system of archives in which the treaties of alliances and 
commerce could be preserved and an equivalent of an 
office to take charge of the collection of taxes from foreign 
traders. Caravans used to start from Darn 'u-Nadwah 
and to report back to it. 

The commercial organisation of the city wa^ Jabo 
rate. The Meccan did not believe in hoard ".ig idle money, 
As his income swelled, he employed it in further enter- 
prises. The sleeping partner had half of the profit. 80 
anybody could invest any small amount in trade. The 
organisation of the caravan and the arrival and departure 
of foreign caravans were matters of public interest. 
The whole population was associated with them. En 
route, the Meccan caravans remained in continual 

1. See Encyclopedia of Islam under "Mecca." 

2. Al-Baladhuri, p. 52. 

3. See Encyclopedia of Islam under " Mecca." 


communication with the metropolis through Bedouins met 
on the journey or special couriers. The caravans of Makkah 
were of enormous size, sometimes the number of camels 
rising to 2,500 and that of men to 300, l 

Municipal Amenities in Pre-Islamic Arabia 

Makkah being a centre of pilgrimage, every year the 
chief citizens of the town made elaborate municipal 
arrangements. Volunteers supplied water to the pilgrims. 
Temporary latrines, holes dug out in the hard soil of 
Makkah, with narrow mouths, were constructed and the 
roads and alleys of the towns repaired and swept. Most 
of the roads of pre-Islamic towns were, and those 
of towns in certain parts of Arabia still are, mere 
tracks formed by the constant walking of men and beasts. 
They required no upkeep. Where some public paths got 
corroded by heavy and torrential cloud-bursts once in a 
blue moon, the citizens combined for the moment to 
repair them. Drinking water was supplied by slaves, or 
by freed slaves for remuneration. 

Every clan inhabiting a town had its own rubbish 
depot (al-mazbalah) where all the rubbish of the clan 
was heaped up. Men went out of the town to ease 
themselves. Women in towns used deep holes dug 
out in the courtyards of houses for the purpose. House 
terraces were also used as latrines. The refuse on the 
roofs (al-maknih 'ala s-sufuh) soon got dried up in the 
scorching sun of Arabia. Every now and then the dried- 
up refuse was collected and thrown away. 

Lighting was very rare among the pre-Islamic Arabs. 
They took their evening meal just before nightfall. An 
Arabic proverb says that the best evening meal is that 
which is taken when yet there is daylight. 2 Oil was 
very scarce in Arabia. Olive oil had to be imported from 
outside. Generally, the pre-Islamic Arabs did not use 

1. See Encyclopedia of Islam under "Mecca.'* 


lamps, but only on festive occasions they lit them. 
When the Prophet settled in al-Madmah, lights were so 
uncommon in that town that a year or two after his 
arrival he observed a light in the direction of the 
house of Asms.' bint Abu Bakr and remarked that 
she should have given birth to a son. In fact she had 
given birth to a male issue, 'Abdullah bin az-Zubayr. 
Chiefs, who could afford it, lit up huge fires on hill- 
tops and other elevated places to serve as beacons to 
straying night travellers. Besides, here and there a monk 
(ar-rahib) kept lights burning at the top of the spire 
(al-mancfr<fh] of his monastery. Imra'u '1-Qays sang 
in praise of his beloved r 

She lights up the darkness of the night 
Like the spire of the monk with its light. 1 

The monks belonged to an organised church with its 
headquarters in Syria whence the monasteries received 
enough supply of olive oil. 

Pre-Islamic Military Organisation 

Every Arab was trained to be a soldier. In a tribal 
society with constant inter-tribal wars there was no 
place for the unwarlike man. More male children 
meant more power and influence to the father and 
the more numerous a tribe the more powerful it was. 
Elaborate instructions were given to the Arab youth 
in swordsmanship, archery and the use of a lance. Well- 
to-do Arabs essentially taught riding to their children. 
Before the advent of Islam there was only a small number 
of horses in Arabia. Only the very rich could afford to 
own horses. 

The Arabs regarded war as a noble profession and a 
successful war paid them amply by way of booty in wealth, 
women and children. The Bedouins lived in tents and 

gee the Mu'allaqah of Imra'u '1-Qays. 


most of their wealth was moveable. When they went 
out on an expedition, they carried their entire belongings 
and family with them. If they lost the battle, they had 
to lose their all. 

Women captured in war were freely used as concu- 
bines. Man was responsible for the protection of his 
women. If he could not protect his women and if they 
fell into the hands of the enemy and were ravished by 
him, no stigma was attached to the helpless women. 
Whenever possible, such violated women were taken back 
either by force or on payment of ransom and owned by 
the former husbands. 

Booty was divided equally among all the soldiers 
after giving the Shaykh his dues. A man who slew an 
enemy in battle was entitled to all his accoutrement 
(as-salab) 1 in addition to his own share of the common 
booty. The Shaykh of a tribe was entitled to four 
items of the booty : al mirba' (one-fourth of the whole 
booty), a$-sa/3y3' (items which the chief could choose for 
himself before distributing the booty among the tribesmen), 
an-na$hitah (any valuable obtained while on the march), 
and al-fuaul (that which was left over after the distribu- 
tion and could not be equally distributed among all the 
soldiers, such as a few horses, etc.). Bistam bin Qays, 
addressing the chief of Banu Shayban, mentions all these 
items in a single couplet as forming his legitimate dues : 

Laka 'l-mirba'u minha wa \~safaya 

Wo hukmuka wa J n-nashllatu wa 'l-fudulu. 2 

All over Arabia there were strong fortresses. Ghum- 
dan in al- Yarnan was a twenty-storeyed castle. There were 
strong castles all over al- Yarnan, Hadranmwt, Mahraand 
*Umm. The entire city of Petra was hewn out of solid 

1. Literally, "that which is >tripi>ed off/' 

2. JyaiM $ ik*-ixx)l 9 v^U*. 3 6 UUJI 
Quoted by al-Khudarf, I, p. 33. 


rock and as such was unassailable. The famous castle of 
al-Khawarnaq near al-Hirah is the subject of several 
legends ; and the poet *Adi bin Zayd, the 'Ibadite, has 
sung in praise of it and in that of as-Sadir, 1 another 
famous castle in the vicinity of al-Hirah. The strong 
castle called al-Ablaq at Tayma' defied the army of the 
king of al-Hirah and "enabled its Jewish master 
as-Samaw'al to earn eternal fame for loyalty and trust- 
worthiness. 2 At-Ta'if had a strong fort. The science of 
breaching and storming strong fortifications having not 
yet developed in Arabia, these castles afforded protection 
against stronger enemies. 

The weapons used by the pre-Islamic Arabs were 
swords, bows and arrows, and lances. Shields were used 
for protection and the rich wore coats of mail. 

The main army consisted of the infantry, and such 
tribes as possessed horses put cavalrjr also in the field. 
The cavalry was mainly used for sudden attack and 
flight (al-karr wa al-farr). 

Physicians and surgeons accompanied the army in 
its expeditions. The Bedouin surgeon (al-jarrah) had a 
few very effective balms and was an expert in his art. 
He cut parts of the body with red-hot weapons and was 
thus able to perform difficult operations without much 
loss of blood. 

Martial songs (sing, ar-rajz) and songs in self- 
glorification accompanied by drums and other primitive 
musical instruments provided the martial music. On 
the march the Arabs used to be very careful ; for surprise 
attacks and ambushes were very common. 

On the battlefield usually the chief of a tribe or 
confederacy was the commander and he took the centre. 

1. vSec at-Tabari, 1, p HH.'J ; Tbn Fanih, p. 178. 

2. As-Samaw'al ref'useil to hand ovrr a set of armour entrusted to him by 
Imra'u '1-Qays c\ en to save his own son who was brutally slaughtered before the 
iaiher's own eyes. 


In addition to the centre (al-qalb), there used to be a right 
wing (al~maymanah), a left wing (al-maysarah), a van- 
guard (al-muqaddamah) and a rear-guard (as-saqah). This 
method of disposition the Arabs might have learnt in the 
interminable wars between the Romans and the Persians 
in which many of the Arab tribes took sides. This five- 
winged formation of the army was so common that the 
word five-winged (al-%hamis} became the common word 
for the army. 

There is a good deal of misconception about the 
pre-Islamic method of warfare. Al-Khuclari 1 and ash- 
Shibli 2 write that the Arabian forces were not arranged in 
any order before the advent of Islam and that they were 
hurled at each other pell-mell. Further, many writers 
think that the pre-Islamic method of warfare was "strike- 
and-run" method only. The fact that the army was 
arranged in the five- winged formation is clearly proved 
by the word al-khamis used by the famous pre-Islamic 
poet al-Muraqqish in the well-known couplet of his : 

To loot and capture God says not, "Nay," 
When the mighty _"Ve-wing'd army says, "Yea." 3 

The method of "strike-and-run" was certainly adopt- 
ed by the pre-Islamic Arabs in raids. But that there 
were many pitched battles also is beyond doubt. The 
following passage taken from at-Tibrizfs commentary on 
the Hamasah relates to a pitched battle : 

"The Band Bakr now prepared for a decisive battle. 
As their enemy had the advantage in numbers, they adopt- 
ed a stratagem devised by Harith. 'Fight them/ said he, 
'with your women. Equip every woman with a small 
water-skin and give her a club. Place the whole body of 

1. Tarikhu M-Vmami l-lsl5mlyah, IT, p. JT7. 

2. Al-F5ru<|, II, p. 1 14. 


See Al-Mufaddahyat. 

16 ARAB 

them behind you this will make you more resolved in 
battle and wear some distinguishing mark which they 
will recognise, so that when a woman passes by one of 
your wounded she may know him by his mark and give 
him water to drink, and raise him from the ground ; but 
when she passes by one of your foes she will smite him 
with her club and slay him/ So the Bakrites shaved 
their heads, devoting themselves to death, and made this 
a mark of recognition between themselves and their 
women, and this day was called the Day 1 of Shearing. . . . 

"The presence of women on the field and the active 
share they took in the combat naturally provoked the 
bitterest feelings. If they were not engaged in finishing 
the bloody work of the men, their tongues were busy 
inciting them. . . . 

"On this day the Banu Bakr gained a great victory, 
and broke the power of Tagblib. It was the last battle of 
note in the Forty Years' War, which was carried on, by 
raiding and plundering, until the exhaustion of both tribes 
and the influence of King Muudhir III of Hira 2 brought 
it to an end." 3 

1. !Uany sueh days of pre-IeUmie battles (ayyam "I-'Arab) have been 
described in the first volume of Ibnu i-Athlr, pp. 22<> seqq. 

2. Harith bin *Awf and Ibn Si nan paid the Mood money to the side that 
suffered more. This generous act of theirs has been eelebrated in immortal 
verse by the great poet Zuimyr. 

3. Nicholson, pp. o!) GO 


"As PBOPHET and reformer of his people Muhammad 
sould not be otherwise than a revolutionary in the fullest 
sense of the word ; for his religious propaganda introduced 
not only a complete change in the political situation but 
also had an equally important bearing on the social 
conditions." 1 

"During the ten years Mohammad presided over the 
commonwealth of Islam, a great change had come over 
the character of the Arab people ; * . t .a congeries 
r>f warring tribes and clans were rapidly consolidated into 
* nation under the influence of one great Idea. The work 
lone within that short period will always remain as one 
Df the most wonderful achievements recorded in history. 1 ' 5 

Social and Economic Organisation 

On the emergence of Islam the tribal organisation of 
the Arabs, the decentralised rule of the Shaykhs in the 
desert regions and that qf small princes and chieftains in 
the more fertile areas gave place to a powerful central 
government with a single legal, moral and religious code 
for all. The primitive isolated and almost static society 
of the Bedouins was violently rocked to its very founda- 
tions and made dynamic and aggressive. The clan basis 
of society, though still persisting in practice, yielded place, 
in theory at least, to a society based on religious 
brotherhood 4 which transcended geographical boundaries 
and racial or linguistic differences. 

The primitive economic organisation of the Bedouins 

1. Orient Under the Caliphs, p. 54. 

SL Amir 4 AH f p. 19. 

3. Ibid., p. 55. 

4. Tbo Qur'an, Chapter XLIX, vert d. 


was communistic. In towns there were three categories 
of property : communal, 1 private,* and feudal. 3 

The Islamic revolution pulled out the bulk of the 
Arab population from their tribal stage and set them on 
the road to the next stage of social, economic and political 
organisation. The nomadic Arab with very uncertain 
means of livelihood became a regular soldier in the way 
of Allah and, as we shall see later, was destined to own 
large estates and great riches. The institution of slavery 
received a rude shock and disappeared as far as the Arab 
nationals were concerned in a few years. 4 The right of 
woman to inherit property was recognised for the first 
time. In short, Islam transformed the primitive com- 
munistic society of the Bedouins into a society of citizens 
owning individual holdings. 

The Sovereign 

The Qur'an, as the revealed word of God, was binding 
on all Muslims including the Prophet. In the matter 
of executing the injunctions of the Qur'an, and in matters 
on which the Qur'an was silent, the authority of the 
Prophet was supreme. If obedience to the laws of God 
is no impediment to full sovereignty as contended by 
Bodin, 5 Hobbes, 6 Austin 7 and others, the Prophet was a 
full sovereign. 

1. Like al-Ghlbah at al-Madlnah ; Baladhuri, p. 9. 

2, The Meocans had possessions in at-Ta'if ; ibid., p. 56. 
"3. Like the estates of the princes and chieftains. 

4. Under *Umar I. 

5. Bodin's sovereign was bound by the law of God* that of nature, moral 
law and the common law of nations. He writes : "If we should define sove- 
reignty as a power tegibus omnibus solutat, no prince could be found to have 
sovereign rights, for all are bound by divine law and the law of nature, and also 
by that common law of nations which embodies principles distinct from these,* 
De Republica, p. 132, quoted by Dunning. II, p. 98 ; also see Dunning, II, 
pp. 100-101. 

6. Hobbes 7 sovereign was bound by the laws of God and those of nature. 
"The ruler was above his own laws but under God's or under the law of 
nature." See The Leviathan, Everyman's series, p. xii. 

7. Austin's famous definition allows a sovereign to be bound by the laws of 
God. See Lectures on Jurisprudence, I, p. 88. 


Although the Prophet's authority was supreme, he 
usually consulted hir chief Companions on all matters of 
importance. He was the prophet, the lawgiver, the 
ruler, the commander, the chief justice and the head of 
the entire administrative machinery. He regulated social 
relations ; he formulated laws in the light of the Qur'an 
and enforced them ; he raised armies and commanded 
them ; he acquired territories and administered them. 

The Mosque of the Prophet (al-Masjidu 'n-Nabawi) 
was his office. He transacted most of the business there. 
He had to carry on a great deal of correspondence. 
Letters had to be sent to the various tribes, treaties execut- 
ed, and orders issued to the Governors and tax-collectors. 
All this was done in the mosque. No office was built 
during the lifetime of the Prophet. 

The PropKeVs Secretariat 

*Ali and 'Uthman and in their absence Ubayy bin 
Ka'ab and Zayd bin Thabit recorded the revelations. 1 
Az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam and al-Juhaym bin as-Salt kept 
record \ of properties collected by way of az-zakat and 
a$-sadagah (amwalu y $-sadaqat). z Hudhayfah bin 
al- Yamaa prepared estimates of revenue from the date- 
palms. 3 Al-Mughirah bin Shu'bah and al-Hasan bin 
Namir recorded transactions between the people. Their 
position was that of a registrar of transactions. 
'Abdullah bin al-Arqam and al-*Ala bin *Uqbah main- 
tained records of the tribes and their waters and also 
kept a record of the Amar, males and females. 4 Zayd 
biq Thabit 5 used to draft letters addressed to kings and 
chieftains. Sometimes, 'Abdullah bin al-Arqam was 
employed to do this work. Mu'ayqib bin Abi Fatimah 

1. Al-Jahshiyari, p. 11 (photo print). 

2. Subhu '1-A'sha, I, p. 91; also flee al-Jahfhiyari, p. 11. 

3. Subhu '1-A'sha, I, p. 91. 

4. Al-Jahshiyari, pp. 1142 (photo copy). 

5. Ibid., p. 12. 

20 ABAS 

kept a record of the income (akmaghifnim) of the State. 
Hanzalah bin ar-Rabf was called the Secretary of the 
JProphet 1 and the Prophet's seal used to be in his custody. 

Thus we see that even in the Prophet's lifetime a 
secretariat in its rudimentary form had come into being. 

The Wali. Al-Madinah was the capital of the whole 
realm and the administration of the city and its adjoining 
areas was under the direct control of the Prophet. Arabia 
was divided into the provinces of al-Madinah, Tayma', 
al- Janad, the region of Bana Kindah, Makkah, Najran, 
al-Yaman, Hadramawt, 'TJman and aLBahrayn. Over 
each one of these provinces the Prophet appointed a 
Governor (al- Wali) who was enjoined to establish law and 
order and make arrangements for the administration of 

The 'Amil. Besides the Governors, the Prophet 
appointed Collectors (sing. al^Amil) over each tribal area 
to collect the poor-rate (az-zakat) and voluntary alms (ast 
sadaqah). 2 The Collectors were experts trained by the 
JProphet in the rules relating to the levy of az-zdkat. All 
the officers appointed by the Prophet were men of sterling 
character and integrity and there was no complaint 
against any of them from any source. 

The Qadi. The Prophet himself acted as the chief 
justice of the" State with his seat at al-Madinah. The 
Judges (sing. al-Qadi) of the provinces were either directly 
appointed by him, or the Governors were directed to 
appoint persons named by him. He appointed very 
eminent scholars, who were also men noted for their 
uprightness, to the posts of Judges. *Ali and Mu'adh 
bin Jabal were among them. 

Sources of Revenue 

During the days of the Prophet the Muslim State 
had five sources of revenue. 

1. Spoils of war (al-ghanimah). 

1. Al-Jahshiyari, p. 12. 

2. At-Tftban, I, l&K). 


2. (a) Poor-rate (az-zakot) ; (b) voluntary alma 

3. Capitation-tax (al-jizyah), 

4. Land-tax (al-Khar$j). 

5. State lands (al-fay*). 

1, AL-.Ghanimah. Al ghammah comprised weapons, 
horses and all other moveable property taken in battle 
from unbelievers. Four-fifths of the booty were divided 
among the soldiers who were present in the action. A 
horseman took double the share of the infantryman. 1 A 
soldier who had slain an enemy in battle received his 
salab in addition to his general share as in <"he pre-Islamic 
days. The remaining one-fifth went to God and His 
Prophet, that is, to the State, and was used according to the 
instructions of the Qur'an a in supporting the Prophet's 
relatives, the orphans, the needy and the wayfarers and 
for the general good of the Muslim community. Warring 
unbelievers (men, women and children), who were taken 
prisoners of war, were also included in al-ghanimah and 
divided as slaves among the soldiers. 5 

2. (a) Az-Zakctt. Az-zakat was a tax levied on 
definite forms of property. It was collected only from 
Muslims who*had attained the age of majority and were 
in full possession of their faculties. It was levied on 
(a) grains, fruits, dates, grapes, etc., (6) animals, i.e. 
camels, cattle and other domestic quadrupeds, (c) gold 
and silver, and (d) merchandise. 

The zakdt on land produce was to be paid imme- 
diately after the harvest, and on the other three 
categories after one year's uninterrupted possession. A 
certain minimum of property (an-ni$ab) was laid down 

1. According to the report preferred by Abu Hanffah. But Ab3 Tusuf 
holds that the Prophet gave two shares for the horse and one to the rider, 
Thus according to him a horseman got three shares and an infantryman only 
one. See KHSbu '/-fttorlj by AbS YSsuf, p. 11. 

2. Chapter VIII, verse 41. 

3. Al-Mavrardi, Ch. XII. 


which would make one liable to this tax. For instance, 
silver or gold below the value of 200 dirhams was exempt 
from az-zakat. The zakat on land produce was collected 
at 10; if the land was watered by a stream or rain. This 
tax was known as the 'ushr. From lands which were 
"watered by means of the bucket" 1 only a 5/ tax was 
levied. Only when the yield from the land of a person 
exceeded five ass-loads (sing, wasq),* he or she had to 
pay az-zakat on it. 

As for animals, the minimum varied with different 
animals. Animals were classified under three categories 
for the purpose of Camels formed the first 
category, cattle the second, and smaller quadrupeds the 

The minimum number of camels required for a levy 
of az-zakat thereon was five. From 5 to 9 the zakat was 
one jadh'* (six months old lamb) or a thinni (one year old 
goat) ; from 10 to 14 two goats ; from 15 to 19 three goats 
and from 20 to 24 four goats. When the number of 
camels reached 25, the was collected in camels and 
not in goats ; from J5 to 35 one bint malchad (one year 
old she-camel) or ibn labnn (two years old male camel) ; 
from 36 to 45 one bint labnn (two years old she-camel) ; 
from 46 to 60 one fyiqqah (three years old she-camel 
capable of responding to the male); from 61 to 75 one 
jadh* (four years old she-camel) ; from 76 to 90 two bint 
labuns ; from 91 to 120 two hiqqahs. So far there is a 
definite nass (text) and there is no difference of opinion 
among the jurists. Abu Hanifah was of the opinion that 
after 120 the circle began again. Ash-ShafH held that 
after 120, for every 40 one bint labun and for every 50 
one hiqqah was being collected. 

The minimum number of cattle 4 on which az-zakat 
was levied was thirty. For 30 cattle one tabr or tabl'ah 

1. Al-BaUdhuri, pp. 70 and 71 and at-Taban, I, pp. 718 A 1772. 

2. The waifj was a measure equal to about 323 Ibs. of wheat in volume. 

3. Tlio term jadh* ie used to mean a young sheep and aiao a young camel, 
4 Buffaloe* m ert iubtequently treated as cattJo. Abi Yfisuf, p. 44. 


(six months old male or female calf) was the zakat. For 
40 one musinnah (one year old cow) in the absence of 
which one year old bull ' ; for 60 two tdbl *s and after 60 
one toby for every thirty and one musinnah for every 

The minimum number required for sheep and goats 
was 40 ; from 40 to 120 one jadh* or thinni ; from 
121 to 200 two sheep; from 200 to 399 three; and after 
400 one sheep for every 100. a 

In the case of gold and silver and also merchandise a 
zakat of 2J/ was levied. Of the treasure-trove the State 
took one-fifth. 

The yield of the zakat was spent on the poor, the 
needy, the poor-tax and alms collectors, those whose 
hearts had to be reconciled, the emancipation of slaves, 
debtors, Allah's purposes, and travellers. 1 Allah's pur- 
poses meant military enterprises and other political under- 
takings. Among the poor and needy, parents, relatives 
orphans, beggars and those driven to evil for want of 
means of livelihood, such as thieves and women of 
doubtful character, were also included. 

(6) As-sadaqah. Sometimes the terms az-zakat and 
as-sfldoga/fcareused in the same sense. But the proper use 
of the term as-sadaqah is in the sense of voluntary alms- 

3. Al-Jizyah. Al-jizyah was a tax levied on non- 
Muslims expressly as the price of protection afforded 
by the State to their lives and properties. In the days of 
the Prophet it was one dinar per year from every male 
member capable of paying it. Women, children, beggars, 
monks, the aged, the insane and the incurably sick were 
exempted from this tax if they did not have sufficient 
independent income. It was not a new tax levied by the 

1. At-Tabari, I. 1729. 

2. Details taken from al-Mlwardj, Chap. XI. 

3. Al-Qur'ln, IX, 60. 


Prophet. It was already prevalent among the Persians 
under the name of gezit and among the Romans under 
the name tributum capitis. The income from al-jizydh 
was exclusively spent on the salary of the soldiers, their 
food, dress and other requirements. 

4. Al-Kharaj. Al-kharaj was the land-tax collected 
from non-Muslims. There was no system of al-khar#j 
among the pre-Islamic Arabs, for there was no organised 
tex-gathering government. It was prevalent among the 
Persians and was known as kharag and among the Romans 
it was known as tributum soli. When Khaybar was 
conquered by the Prophet the Muslims had neither enough 
slaves to cultivate the newly conquered lands nor did 
they have time to do it themselves. Moreover, the Jews, 
recognising the conquerors as the owners of the entire land 
(after the custom of the day), offered 1 to cultivate the 
lands as the tenants of the State and pay it a part of the 
produce. The Prophet granted them their request and 
fixed the kharaj at half of the produce. 2 Thus, the 
institution ofal-kharai came into being among the Arabs. 
Every year * Abdullah bin Rawahah was sent to estimate 
the produce and take one -half of it. 3 

The amount realised through al-kharaj, like that 
collected through al-jizyah, was spent on the salaries of 
the soldiers and for other military purposes. In the days 
of the Prophet there was no fixed salary for the soldiers. 
As the taxes came, they were distributed among the 
soldiers one share to the bachelor and two to the 
married man. 

5. Al-Fay\ The word al-fay\ in a restricted sense, 
is applied to the lands in the conquered territories which 
come under the direct ownership of the^State. Under the 
Pmnhet there were certain crown or State lands, such 
at vhe estate of Fadak, 4 etc., the income from which was 

1. Al.Balldhuri, p. 24 ; Abu Yusuf, p. 29. 

2. Al-Bftlacihuri, pp. 24, 27, 29, 

3. Ibid. pp. 24 ami 27. 

4. l*id.,i. 29. 


distributed among the Prophet's relatives, the orphans, 
the poor, the travellers and for the general good of the 
Muslim community. 

Religious organisation under the Prophet 

The Prophet sent a number of missionaries (sing. 
nd-da'i) to the various tribes of Arabia inviting them to 
embrace Islam. Besides, to serve the growing religious 
needs of a rapidly expanding body of Muslims, the 
Prophet undertook the task of training religious teachers. 
This responsible task was performed by him in person 
and also through eminent Companions whom he deputed 
for this work. A large number of Qur'an readers (sing. 
al-qari") were trained by the Prophet and his chief Com- 
panions and sent to different parts of the country. 

Al-Madmah alone had ten mosques in all of which 
prayers were offered five times a day. Throughout Arabia 
every tribe had its own mosque or mosques. Usually, the 
chief government officials of the towns or the most im- 
portant men of the tribes led the prayers in the mosques. 
As yet no permanent mu'adhdhins (those who call the 
faithful to assemble for prayer) were appointed. 

The Army 

The Prophet was the Commander-in-Chief of the 
army. He himself led and marshalled the forces in all 
important engagements and campaigns like the battles 
of Badr, Uhud and Hunayn and the conquest of 
Makkah. 1 The smaller expeditions were sent under a 
military commander (Amiru *l-'Askar).* No army de- 
partment had yet sprung up. Recruiting, arming, pro- 
visioning, care and command of the entire army were 
vested in the sacred hands of the Prophet. 

The early Muslim army had a very humble beginning. 

1. In all the Prophet took part in 20 or 27 battles and expedition!. See 
af-Tabari. I, pp. 1758-7. 

2. He sent out more than thirty-five sucn expeditions. See at-Tabtri, I, 
pp. 1753eqq. 

26 ARAB 

A small band of devoted seekers after God, driven away 
from their hearth and home, lived in constant dread of 
the enemy they had fled from ; and, not knowing what 
more evil the wicked persecutors intended to do them, 
they started observing the activities of their foes. Making 
sure that the enemy was preparing for an invasion of 
al-Madmah, the holy band, after the prevailing Arab 
fashion, Braided some of the caravans and looted them. 
The tactics employed was that of <stike-and-run' (karr wa 


In the first battle between the two opposing camps, 
the battle of Badr, the Muslim army consisted of only 313 
sodiers and the enemy had an army of about 1,000. The 
battle began after the custom of the day with single 
combats. The Prophet arranged his men "in straight 
regular ranks, which he put in order himself walking 
along the ranks with an arrow to push back any man who 
was out of line with the rest." 1 The formation adopted 
was the ta'biyah or the five-winged formation. The rear- 
guard (as-*8qah) not only guarded the rear but also had 
the charge of baggage, supplies and transport animals. 8 

The lancers were placed in the first line who, leaning 
forward with their lances ready, waited for the enemy to 
charge. They had long shields to protect them. Men 
with mail shirts were put at the most exposed spots. The 
archers who formed the second line were ready with their 
bows and arrows to strike down the approaching enemy 
and to prevent his cavalry from outflanking the Muslim 

The Meccans launched the attack first. The Muslims 
waited till they approached very close to their ranks and 
bore them down with such terrific force and determina- 
tion in one solid mass like "a compact structure," bun- 
yunun marsus, (the archers having slung back the bows 
and drawn* the swords) that the Meccans gave way and 
suffered a serious defeat. 

1. Ibn Hishara, ed. Wuestenfeld, I, p. 444 ; At-Tab&ri, I, p. 319, 

2. Ibn Hi-ham, I, p. 433. 


A verse of the Qur'an says : " Verily God loves thoae 
who fight in His way in a line as if they are one compact 
structure. 1 * 1 The chapter containing this verie is named 
"The Line" (as-Saff). Later, some held that fighting 
in a line was incumbent on the Muslims. When al- 
Mansur sent an army to suppress the rising of Ibrahim 
bin 'Abdillahi '1-Hasani (A.H. 145), the latter's advisers 
asked him to adopt the method of cohorts (sing, kurdus). 
He rejected the suggestion citing the above verse. *Ali 
arranged his infantry according to the saff method in the 
battle of Siffm. (A.H. 37). 

The $aff method was later developed by the Muslims 
and is recommended with great admiration by the great 
writer on military tactics, Abu Bakr of Tortosa. Accord- 
ing to him, the infantry formed the first line with good 
shields, long lances and sharply pointed javelins. " Each 
man knelt on his left knee with his shield upright before 
him, while his lance was fixed by the butt in the ground 
behind and inclined forward towards the enemy." Behind 
the infantry were archers and behind them again the 
cavalry. When the Christians advanced, no Muslim 
stirred until they came within range. The archers shot 
arrows and the lancers threw javelins ; and when the 
foes came too close, the lancers transfixed them with their 
lances and cut them with their swords. When the enemy 
gave way and fled, the cavalry came forward "and 
obtained from them what God willed." 2 

In the year 5 A.H. the Meccans invaded al-Madmah 
with a host of 10,000 men. Against this formidable foe, 
the Prophet thought it unwise to offer battle in the open 
field : so he retired into the town and protected the 
undefended side with a ditch (khandaq).* It was a new 
thing to the Meccans, for it was a Persian device which 
the Muslims learnt from the great Companion, Salman 
of Fars. By his defensive tactics the Prophet wore out 

1. Chapter LXI, verm 4. 

2. At-Tartuihi (Cairo) pp 298 seqq. 

3* Arfkbiciaed form of the Persian word " htndah." 


the invaders and forced them to retire without accom- 
plishing anything. 

In the hotly contested battle of Hunayn, 1 when the 
Muslims were being pressed hard, the Prophet observed 
the wind blowing towards the enemy and threw a handful 
of sand at the most advanced detachment of the adver- 
sary which got blinded for a moment and gave in in the 
face of a ferocious attack launched immediately. This 
simple Btratagem of the Prophet decided the fate of the 

In the siege of at-Ta'if the Prophet employed a 
ballista (manjaniq) and a mantelet (dabbabah) made of 
cow hides and wool. It moved on wheels. Sappers and 
miners entered it and was propelled to the lower part 
of the fortress, where the men protected from the missiles 
tried to make a breach with picks and drills. The defen- 
ders of the fortress hurled red-hot iron bars which burnt 
the dabbabah and killed its occupants. 2 

The warfare in lines and the method of waiting for 
the enemy's approach with the lances read}^ and bearing 
him down with one tremendous force, which the Prophet 
so perfectly evolved, gave the Muslims a decided tactical 
superiority over their enemies who employed the old 
worn-out methods. 

1. A.m. 8. 

2. Al-P 'Udhuri, p. 53. 



The Khilcffat 

IT WAS with the election of Abu Bakr that the insti- 
tution of al-Khilcffat come into existence. The Khaljfah 
was the supreme head of the State. His chief functions 
were temporal. He had no religious authority. He could 
not change or modify any essential Islamic law or tenet. 1 
The KhUafat was, in the words of al-Khudari, "a temporal 
headship based on religion." 2 The Khaljfah's orders were 
binding only to the extent that they did not contravene 
the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet. In matters 
on which there was not a clear direction in the Qur'an 
and the traditions, the position of the Khali f ah was only 
that of any other mujfahid (interpreter of the law). He 
could not do anything without the consensus of opinion of 
the scholars of religion. 

Soon after the demise of the Prophet the majority of 
the Muslims accepted the principle that his successors 
should be from the tribe of the Quraysh. But some like 
Sa'd bin 'Ubadah did not accept the principle although 
they acquiesced, however unwillingly, in the election of 
Aba Bakr. 

Abu Bakr's election was based on the following 
saying of the Prophet which is reported in two different 
texts having almost the same purport. 

1. "Men are like minerals ; the best among them in 

1. Of all the Khalifa** only M " mar could act, in view of the changed circum- 
stances, in contravention to the practices set up by the Prophet in certain matters, 
such as making three divorces at one sitting equal to three at intervals, levying 
az-zwkat on horses, discontinuing the share of Banu Hashim in the ghaniiaah, etc. 
2. Tankhu Umami 'l~Istamiyah, II, p. 171. 


the Period of Ignorance are the best in the Islamic period 
also provided that they understand." l 

2. "The Quraysh are the masters of this affair. The 
good among mankind follow the good among them and the 
transgressors follow the transgressors among them. " a 

This saying of the Prophet was interpreted to mean 
that the Khali f ah should be a Qurayshi by birth and this 
interpretation was followed in practice, in spite of the 
violent protests of the Kharijites, throughout the early 
centuries of Islam. 

Later, some scholars, chiefly Ibn Khaldun among 
them, held that at the time of the Prophet the Quraysh 
were the most advanced section of the Arabs ; that it was 
due to their quality that they were recommended to 
succeed and not by virtue of thier birth ; and *ince the 
Quraysh have subsequently lost those virtues, and since. 
there have sprung up other sections of the Muslim com- 
munity which are equally, if not more, advanced than the 
Quraysh, succession to the Khilafat must be by virtue of 
merit and not by virtue of birth. 

Although it was thought necessary that the Khalifah 
should be from among the Quraysh (bearing in mind the 
influence of that tribe over the whole of Arabia at that 
time), no particular clan of that tribe was specified. The 
first three Khallfahs were from three different clans, Al- 
Khudari, following Ibn Khaldun, holds that the saying of 
the Prophet was with reference to the conditions then 
prevalent and was not meant for ever. For he himself 
has said, " If a Negro with a head resembling a raisin is 
made your ruler, listen to and obey him/ 53 

See Ibn Khaldun : al-Muqaddamah, I, p. 243. 

2. r*f* 
At-Tabari, 1,181. 

7arikku Umami 'l-lslamiyah, II, p. 171. 


Al-Mawardi and many others hold that the Prophet's 
saying was meant for all times and that only a Qurayshi 
by birth could become a Khallfah. 1 

According to Arnold, in the election of the Pious 
Khali fahs the ancient principle of electing the tribal chief 
was recognised and the method was almost the same. 
According to the old custom, "when the chief of a tribe 
died, his office passed to that member of the tribe who 
enjoyed the greatest influence, the leading members of 
the tribe selecting to fill the vacant place someone among 
themselves who was respected on account of age, or 
influence, or for his good services to the common weal ; 
there was no complicated or formal method of election, 
nor within such small social groups would any elaborate 
procedure be necessary, and when the choice of a successor 
had been made, those present swore allegiance to him, one 
after another, clasping him by the hand. 5 ' 2 

Aba Bakr bound himself to follow the Qur'an and 
the traditions of the Prophet. 3 In the case of 'Uthman, 
the Muslims bound him further *hat he should follow in 
the footsteps of the first two Khallfahs. Abu Bakr 
accepted the principle that the office was to continue for 
the period of his good behaviour and not for life. *Ali 
refused to be bound by the precedents of his predecessors 
in office. 

On the whole there were defects in the system of 
electing a Khali/ah* No definite rules of election were 
laid down and no definite qualifications prescribed either 
for the candidate or for the electors. 

The Shura 

The Khalifah was assisted by a Council of Elders 
(ash Shura) composed of the principal Companions. It 
held its sittings in the Mosque of the Prophet and was 
often assisted by the notables of al-Madmah and Bedouin 

1. Al-Mawardi : al-Ahkamu 's-Sultaniyah, Chapter I. 

2. The Caliphate, p. 20. 

3. At-Tabari, I, pp. 1845-6. 


chiefs present in the city. Besides, anybody assembled in 
the mosque could give his opinion. The Elders of the 
Council were drawn from the Muhdjinn and the Ansar . l 

To convene a meeting of the Council a herald used 
to go round proclaiming "as-sal&tuj&mi'ah" which, ren- 
dered roughly means, "assemble for prayer.'* 2 Then the 
people would assemble in the principal mosque. 'Umar I 
and, later, his successors would go to the mosque, offer an 
extra prayer (two rak'ats) and address the assembled on 
the special topic on hand. Then discussions would ensue. 
For transacting ordinary business this was enough. 

When very serious and important questions had to 
be decided, all the important Companions were assembled 
and the session continued for several days. For instance, 
when the question as to whether or not the conquered 
lands in al-'Iraq and Syria should be distributed amongst 
the warriors was to be decided, representatives from all 
sections in and around al-Madmah were called in and the 
session continued for several days. Here is a fragment 
of the speech delivered by 'Umar I : "Verily I do not 
implore you but to share with me in the thing entrusted 
to me and to share with me the burden of your affairs. 
Verily I am one among you. I do not desire that you 
should follow anything arising out of my caprice." 3 

On the eve of the battle of Nihawand there was 
another important sitting of the Council. The Khali/ah 
wanted to command the army in person. 'Uthman, 
Talhah, az-Zubayr and 'Abdu 'r- Rah man bin 'Awf spoke 
against his going. Finally a peroration by <Ali against 
'Umar's going decided the issue and the K halt f ah was 
restrained by the majority from going in person. 4 

Many questions pertaining to the affairs of the State 
were decided by the Shnra* the salary of the soldiers, 

1. Abu Yumif. p. 14. 

2. At-Tabftri, I, 2213. 

3. Abfl Yusuf, p. 14. 

4. At-Tbari, 1, 2214-1*. 

ADMINISTRATION UNbfift f at ptous &HAUFAHS 33 


establishment of the various offices, appointment of 
Governors, right of foreigners to trade in Muslim coun- 
tries, levying taxes on them, etc. 

These deliberations of the Shura were not of an un- 
recognised character. The Shura was recognised as part 
and parcel of the Islamic State machinery. *Umar I 
declared clearly, " There can be no Khilafat except by 
consultation. I 1 Thus both in theory and in practice the 
Shura was an essential part of the government. 

In addition to the Shura there was another circle of 
selected Muhajinn consisting of *Ali, 'Uthman, <Abdu 
'r-Rahman, Talhah, az-Zubayr and a few others whom 
the Khali/ah usually consulted in his day-to-day adminis- 

Abu Bakr appointed 'Umar as the Chief Justice 
and also placed him in charge of distributing the poor 
tax. *Ali was entrusted with the work of correspondence, 
the supervision of the captives of war and their treat- 
ment and ransom. Thus the heavy burden of administer- 
ing the vast Empire was not allowed to rest on the shoul- 
ders of a single man but gladly shared by the leading 

Even the ordinary citizen, if he so desired, could 
have a hand in the administration of the State. *Umar I 
consciously initiated and encouraged democratic methods. 
When the question of appointing tax-collectors for 
al-Kufah, al-Basrah and Syria came up, he ordered the 
citizens of those provinces to select persons whom they 
considered the most trustworthy among them. The 
people of al-Kufah chose 'Uthman bin al-Farqad, those 
of al-Basrah al-Hajjaj bin al-*Ilat and those of Syria 
Ma'an bin Yazid. 'Umar I appointed only these men 
for the respective provinces, 

His willingness to accede to the wishes of the people, 

1. Al-Ftrfg, II, p. 17. 


and, in his later days, his anxiety to please his subjects, 
made the factious people of al-Basrah and al-Kufah take 
too much advantage and clamour for the change of Gover- 
nors too often. 'Umar I yielded every time ; and this 
weakness gave much trouble to his successors. Thus the 
violent 'Umar of his youth, weighed down by conscien- 
tiousness and a sense of responsibility and concern for the 
subjects, began to err on the side of weakness. 

The Provinces. For administrative purposes 'Umar 
I divided the Empire into eight provinces Makkah, al- 
Madinah, Syria, al-Jazirah (Mesopotamia proper), al- 
Basrah, al-Kufah, Egypt and Palestine. Under the By- 
zantines Palestine was a province with ten districts . 'Umar 
I divided this province into two big areas. The headquar- 
ters of one was Ayliya and that of the other llamlah. 
Each area had a separate Governor. Egypt was divided 
into Upper Egypt and Lower Egypt. The former called 
as-Sa'id had twenty-eight districts. Ibn Abi Sarh was 
appointed its Governor. The latter had fifteen districts 
and was under 'Amr bin al-*As who was also the Gover- 
nor-General. In Persia 'Umar I allowed the old terri- 
torial divisions to continue. The old provinces were 
Ears, Karman, Khurasan, Makran, Sijistan and Adhar- 
bayjan. The entire Persian Empire was a part of the 
province of the Sasanian Empire. 

Provincial Officials. By the end of the Pious 
Khildfat a framework of provincial administration had 
been evolved. The chief officials of the provinces were 
the Wali, the 'Amil, the Qadi, the Katibu 'd-Dlwan (Sec- 
retary in charge of the Army) and the Sahibu Bayti 
'I- Mai (Finance Secretary). 

Each province had a permanent Government House 
(Daru *l-Amfirah) and a permanent Secretariat (ad- 
Dlw8n). When 'Umar I sent 'Ammar as the Governor of 
al-Kafah, he sent with him an expert and reliable staff 
often persons. 1 

1. See Usudu '1-GhZbah under al-Qarz who was one of the ten. 


Eaph district had its district officer (al-'Amil) and 
district Qafyi. All the district officials were under the 
Governor of the province. Each subdivision of the 
district had its 'Amil with his staff. 

*Umar I kept a strict watch over the appointment 
and conduct of the officers during the tenure of their 
office. On the whole most of his appointments were 

Instrument of Instructions 

On the appointment of a Wali or 'Amil* he was 
given an instrument which contained his appointment 
order and specified his powers and duties. This deed 
bore the seal or signature of the Khallfah and was 
witnessed by several of the Muhajirln and the Ansar. 
Just before the 'Amil left al-Madmah, the citizens were 
assembled in the mosque and the deed or instrument of 
instructions read out in public. Thus every citizen came 
to know the exact powers and duties of the Governors 
and 'Amils. 'Umar I used to address the Governors- 
designate thus : "Listen, verily I am not sending you as 
rulers and potentates ; on the other hand, I am sending 
you as the leaders of guidance so that men may follow 
you. Render unto the Muslims their rights ; beat them 
not, lest you humiliate them ; praise them not lest you 
make them indisciplined. Do not shut your doors against 
them, lest the strong amongst them devour the weak 


Every Wdh or 'Amil, on his appointment, had to 
furnish a detailed list of all his properties and belongings. 2 
Any extraordinary increase in his property was watched 
and action taken against him. As a matter of fact the 
excessive wealth of Abu Hurayrah and that of * Amr bin 
al-'As were confiscated by 'Umar I. 3 

The officers were paid very high salaries and also 

1. Abu Yusuf, p. 66. 

2. Al-Baladhuri, p. 219. 

3. Ibid., pp. 82-83, 291. 


provided with rations so that there might not be any 
temptation to receive bribes. This was in addition to 
their annuities. For instance, 'Aminar bin Yasir had an 
annuity of 600 dirhams ; and in addition to it he had 
daily rations of wheat and mutton. 1 

Revenue Administration under the Pious Khalifahs 

We have seen that the sources of revenue under the 
Prophet were limited only to five items. As the Empire 
expanded, the sources of revenue also naturally multiplied. 
Besides al-ghanimah, az-zahlt, al-jizyah, al-khanij and 
the income from the crown lands, much revenue was 
derived from tithes (al-'ushftr) collected from merchants. 

Al-Ghanlmah. According to the Qur'sn, 1 the fifth 
(khums) of al-ghariimah is to be shared between the 
Prophet, his relatives, the orphans, the indigent and the 
wayfarer. The Prophet used to divide the khums into 
three portions, one for himself, one for his relatives and 
the third for the other three categories mentioned in the 
Qur'an.' Abu Bakr, *Umar I and 'Uthman divided the 
khums into three portions ; but the share of the Prophet 
and that of his relatives were spent on the weapons and 
equipment of the army and nothing out of the khums was 
given to the heirs of the Prophet or his relatives. 4 'Ali 
also did the same. 5 

Az-Zakat* The rules relating toaz-zakat were fixed 
by the Prophet and strictly followed. Even the Khtdlfah 
could not exempt anyone from the payment of az-zakat- 
*Umar I made a slight modification in the rules of 
az-zakat in favour of the State. 

Horses were imported into Arabia only a few cen- 
turies before the Prophet and the animals were extremely 

1. Orient Under the Caliphs, p. 112. 

2. Chapter VIII, verse 41. 

3. Abu Yusuf, p. 11. 

4. But another report says that the Banu Ilashim received their shares 
till the last jwnr of 'Umnr's reign. Ibid., pp. 11*12. 

5. Ibid., p. 11. 


valuable for purposes of war. la the days of the Prophet 
the nurher of horses in Arabia was not very large. So he 
didnotlevyaz-zakftton them. Under 'Umar horse trade 
became a lucrative concern ; and while the poor dealers 
in camels and goats had to pay the zakat, the rich horse 
merchants went untaxed. In the light of the changed 
circumstances, 'Urnar levied az-zakaton horses also. 

Al-'Ushr. Al-'ushr was one-tenth of the produce 
taken by the State from such lands as had natural 
water facilities. Prom lands watered with buckets only 
one-twentieth of the produce was taken. 1 Al-'ushr was 
collected only from fairly big estates yielding at least a 
gross produce of five wasqs which equalled 60 stf'tf. 2 

Till the Shnra convened by *Umar I made its 
decision against the grant of lands to the Muslims, 
conquered lauds used to be distributed among the soldiers 
like any other booty. From such lands the State took 
al-'ushr. But after the decision made in the Shfim, the 
Muslims were forbidden to acquire any land. This 
decision left some lands in the possession of the early 
Muslims. The l^ter but more powerful Muslims like the 
Umayyads were prevented from possessing any. They 
bided their time, and took the earliest opportunity to 
upset the arrangement made by the Shnra. 

Al-Jizyah. Under the Prophet's regime a uniform rate 
of one dinar was levied per head per annum. *Urnar I 
bad to modify this uniformity taking the prevalent 
customs in Persia and other countries into consideration. 
The capitation tax was universally in force under the 
Sasanians who levied this tax in several grades. *Umar 
retained the grades deviating, out of necessity, from the 
precedence of the Prophet of collecting a uniform rate. 
It was generally four dinars from the rich, two from the 
middle class, and one from poor people with some 

1. Abu Yusuf, p. 21. 

2. AMfcilSdhuri, p. 1 ; Abu Ygsuf, p. 31. See infra for the exact measure 
of a wasq and a si*. 


income. 1 In Egypt 'Arm* bin al-'As levied a uniform 
rate of two dinars per head. 

Since this tax was expressly taken as the price 
for military protection given by the State, whenever the 
Khali/ah felt that he could not protect a region any more, 
he immediately ordered the return of the whole of 
al-jizyah collected from that region. Before the battle of 
the Yarmuk, when the Muslim forces withdrew from 
Hims, Damascus and other advanced posts, the Khaljfah 
ordered the return of the whole of the jizyah amount 
collected from those cities and the adjoining places. 2 If 
any one of the dhimmistook part in a campaign, his jizyah 
was cancelled. If any one of them rendered some service 
to the army, his jizyah for that year was dropped. 3 
When Cyprus was conquered under 'Uthrnanyno al-jizyah 
was levied on the Cypriots as the Khali fah was not yet 
certain that he would be able to protect them from foreign 

Thus we see that al-jizyah was an impost prevalent 
among several nations before Islam, the difference being 
that whereas others were not so conscientious in the 
fulfilment of their obligation to protect the subjects in 
return for this tax, the Muslims did discharge their 
duty faithfully ; and that where the Muslims could not 
protect the dhimmis, they refunded the entire amount 

Al-Khnraj. Under the Prophet the kharaj lands 
were very limited and it did not requiie any elaborate 
machinery to administer them. By the end of the 
Pious Khilrtfat the area yielding aUcharaj comprised 
a considerable portion of the Roman and the whole of the 
Persian Empire. Therefore a very elaborate system was 
required to collect and administer the taxes. 

The first matter that confronted *Umar I concerning 

1. Al-Bfttodlmri, pp. 124, 252. 271. 

2. Ibid.. p . 137 ; 4bu Yusuf, p. 81. 

3. At.T*bari, I, pp. 2663-2665. 


j was whether or not the conquered lands of Syria 
and al-'Iraq should be treated as enemy property to be 
distributed among the soldiers. *Umar I himself was 
against depriving the children of the soil of their ancestral 
possessions for various reasons. He knew that the stabi- 
lity of a government at that stage of civilisation entirely 
depended on the prosperity of the agricultural classes and 
that depriving them of their lands would not only be a 
great hardship to them but would also undermine the 
stability of the government itself. Further, he wanted a 
regular source of revenue for the administration of the 
realm, to pay the salaries of the officials and soldiers and 
to meet the other expenses of the State, such as purchase 
of arms, etc. 1 If the conquered lands went to the soldiers, 
the State would be reduced to bankruptcy. Another 
argument which weighed much with 'Urnar I was that it 
was likely that the martial Arab race, by taking to agri- 
cultural pursuits, should become ease-loving and non- 
martial. In this view he was backed up by 'Ali, 'Uthman 
and Talhah; 2 but 'Abdu 'r-Rahmsn, az-Zubayr and 
Bilal, 3 backed by the military chiefs, were very emphatic 
that the conquered lands should be divided among the 
soldiers as done by the Prophet. 

As we have seen above, 'Umar I summoned a special 
session of the Shttra and the discussions went on for 
several days. The whole discussion turned round the 
point whether the conquered land should be left in the 
hands of the former cultivators in the interest of the 
future generations or not. 4 The opposition held that the 
future generations had no right to them. Finally, 'Umar 
quoted verses 7-9 of Chapter LIX of the Qur'an wherein 
Allah declares that the conquered land belongs to the 
poor among the Muhnjir'm and the Ansftr ... "and to 
those who come after them." He laid emphasis on the 
clause, " who come after them," and carried his proposal 
through. 5 

1. Abu Yusuf, p. 1. 2. Ibid., p. 14. 

3. Ibid., p. 1. 4. Al-Balldhuri, p. 260. 

6. Ab$ Vusuf, p. 15. 


Having thus established that the conquered lands 
should be left in the hands of the former owners, 'Umar I 
proceeded to organise their administration. Instead of 
introducing a uniform system for such diverse countries 
as Arabia, Persia, Syria and Egypt, *Umar I wisely decid- 
ed to retain the former systems as far as possible 
removing only the glaring evil and introducing the new 
Islamic spirit in the old mundane administration. 

The custom prevalent in al-'Iraq since the days of 
Qubadhwas that taxes varied according to the produce of 
the land. 'Umar I appointed 'Uthman bin Hunayf, the 
best available Arab knowing something about the survey 
of land, its quality, etc., to survey the whole of al-'Iraq. 
The work was done with much efficiency. The area 
surveyed covered more than 30,000 square miles. Culti- 
vable land alone was 36,000,000 jaribs 1 (one jarlb was 
equal to 3,600 sq. yards). 

Crown lands, lands endowed to fire temples, un- 
claimed lands, lands confiscated from rebels, lands the 
revenue of which was set apart for roadmaking and the 
maintenance of postal service and forest lands were 
declared al-fay, and their income alone amounted to 
7,000,000 pieces. 2 The whole amount was set apart for 
public works and utility services. Some of these lands 
were given as irfam for meritorious services to Islam, but 
no land was declared al-khardj or al-'ushr free. 

Lands cultivated with barley were taxed one dirham 
per jarlb per year ; 3 those cultivated with wheat or sugar- 
cane two dirhams ; vegetables three ; cotton five ; sesame 
eight ; and land cultivated with grapes or dates ten 
dirhams per jarlb per year. 4 Of course, lands of inferior 
quality had to pay a lesser amount of tax. The total 
revenue of al-*Iraq in the first year of the survey was 
86,000,000 dirhams which soon swelled to 100,020,000 
dirhams. According to Ibn Khurdadhbih, the total 

1. AI-Bftladhuri, p. 269. 2. Abu Yusuf, p. 32. 

3. Ai-Baladhuri, p. 271. 4. Al-aladhuri, pp. 269, 271. 


al-kharaj collected by 'Umar I from al-Irsq was 
128,000,000 dirhams. 1 *Umar continued all the Marzubans 
and Dihqans in their old rights. 

*Umar could not carry out the survey of any other 
province. He allowed the old arrangements to continue 
and also the old languages of administration Persian in 
al-'Iraq and Persia, Syriac in Syria, and Coptic in Egypt* 

In Egypt the system of taxation established by the 
Pharaohs was continued by the subsequent conquerors. 
In the days of the Pharaohs, the whole of Egypt had been 
surveyed and taxes fixed either in cash or in kind. 'Umar I 
continued the same old system. The Romans used to 
collect an additional quantity of grains for provisioning 
their armies. Such taxes were collected by the Muslims 
also in the form of wheat, oil, honey, vinegar, etc., in the 
beginning; 2 but later they were discontinued by 'Umar I 
as unjust and cruel. Egypt was subjected to years of 
draught and years of prosperity. Every year the Khallfah 
had the produce estimated and the taxes modified accord- 
ingly. The average tax levied was one dinar and three 
irdabs* of grain per jarib. The total tax collected from 
Egypt per year came to about 12,000,000 dinars. 

In Syria the Romans had survej'ed the whole land, 
classified it according to fertility of the soil, and water faci- 
lities and fixed different rates of tax for the various kinds 
of land. Formerly the whole administration of Syria 
was carried on in Greek. In the 6th century A D. Syriac 
was adopted as the medium of administration, 'Urnar I 
retained the old system and the Syriac language. The 
total tax collected from Syria came to 14,000,000 dinars. 
One very significant reform of 'Umar I was that he 
abolished the Roman feudal system in Syria and gave the 
land to the actual cultivators of the soil. 

In other parts of the Empire the old system was 

1. Al-Khudari, III, p. 143. 

2. Ai-Baladhuri, pp. 124-2, 152, 173-74, 179, 215 

3. One irclab is equal to five-and-a-half bushels. 


continued unless there was a specific treaty to the con- 
trary. Great care was taken to reclaim the waste lands. 
They were assigned to intending cultivators on condition 
that they should be reclaimed within three years. Thus a 
very large^area of waste lands came under cultivation as 
is shown by the phenomenal rise in the amount of tax 
collected from al-Iraq and other provinces. 

Al-'Ushnr on Merchandise. Another source of 
revenue offered itself to 'Umar I. 1 Abu Musa al-Ash'ari, 
the Governor of al-Kufah, wrote to the Khali/ah that the 
Muslim merchants who traded in foreign countries were 
subjected to a 10% tax on articles of merchandise. 'Uniarl 
wrote back to the Governor directing him to levy the 
same tax on foreigners trading in Muslim countries. 2 
Then this tax was extended to the dhimmls also. The 
dhimmis were subjected to a 5 te x 3 and the 
Muslims had already been paying a zaklt of 2-|/ l} on 
articles of trade. This tax gave an enormous income to 
the State. Tax was levied on open articles. No search 
was made on entering the borders. No tax was collected 
on goods worth less than 200 dirhams. 4 

Al-Fay. Under the Pious KhaUfahs very large 
estates were acquired by the State as al-fay 9 * In Syria 
and Egypt the private estates abandoned by the fleeing 
Patricians, the former crown lands, those estates which 
were confiscated for active opposition to or rebellion 
against the Muslims, unclaimed lands and forest lands 
became al-fay. In Persia, as we have seen above, in addi- 
tion to these categories of lands, those endowed to fire 
temples and those set apart for making roads and main- 
taining the postal service were also declared al-fay * 
Most of the /a v' lands were assigned to the soldiers and 
became 'Ushr estates. 

1. The pre.Islamic Meccano collected tithes on merchandise that passed 
through the city. See supra, p. 10. 

2. Abu Yusuf, p- 78. 3. Ibid, 4. Ibid. 
5. Al-Raladhuri, pp. 272 seq. 


Income from the unassigned fay 9 estates was set 
apart for public work and public utilities. Canals were 
dug, dams put across rivers to regulate water supply 
through sluices, and tanks constructed out of this fund. 
In addition to the canals for irrigational purposes, canals 
to convey drinking water were also dug in several places. 
Al-Maqnzi writes that in Egypt alone 120,000 labourers 
were being employed throughout the year. 1 

Public Works. Although there was not a separate 
department of public works, all the chief items of work 
covered by the department in a modern State were 
attended to by the provincial governments. A Govern- 
ment House (Dfiru 9 l-Amifrnh) was built in every provin- 
cial headquarters, a Secretariat (ad-Divan) and a 
Treasury House (Baytu "l-Mal). Prison houses, rest 
houses, etc., were established at various centres. Roads 
and bridges were constructed, old wells drained and new 
ones sunk. 

Some very big canals and a large number of smaller 
ones were dug out for irrigational and navigational 
purposes and to provide pure drinking water to the 
citizens of large cities. Nahru Ma'qil, a canal from the 
Dijlah, was dug out for reclaiming a large tract of waste 
land. In Khuzistan alone several irrigational canals 
were constructed by the Governor of the district, al- Juz' 
bin Mu'awiyah. Nahru Amiru '1-Mu'immn, a canal 
connecting the river Nile and the Red Sea, served both 
irrigational and navigational purposes. It was of very 
great help in expediting a large supply of food stuffs from 
Egypt to al-Madinah during the great famine in the days 
of *UmarI. Nahru Abi Musa was a canal intended for 
the supply of fresh water to the citizens of al-Basrah. 
Several new towns were built during the period of the 
Pious Khil&fat* such as, al-Basrah, al-Kufah and al- 
Pustat and several villages like al-Mawsil were converted 
into towns. 

' Al-Maqm., 1. 76, 


Al-Hima. There were huge State pastures (sing. 
al-hiwa}* 1 As early as the days of the Prophet a large 
meadow was set apart for grazing the State animals 
which came by way of taxes. 2 Supervising these animals 
was a very responsible task. In the days of 'Urnar the 
Sttyte pastures had no less than 400,000 camels and 
horses. 3 

The Treasury (Baytu V-A/tf/.) There was no need 
for a treasury in the days of the Prophet. All amounts 
collected and all wealth gathered from various sources 
were distributed then and there by him, Abu Bakr 
followed the Prophet's procedure very strictly. During 
the first year of his Khilafat he distributed ten dirhams 
to everyone and in the second, twenty. 

'[Jniar I, at the suggestion of al-Waljd bin, 
established a treasury in spite of the opposition of 'AH 
and appointed 'Abdullah bin al-Arqam as the Chief 
Treasury Officer. He also appointed *Abdu 'r-Rahmriii 
bin 'Ubaydi '1-Qari and Mu'ayqib as his assistants. 
Treasury houses on a moderate scale were built in al- 
Madinah and in all the provincial headquarters and 
guards were posted to watch them. Each province had 
a separate Treasury Officer who was usually independent 
of the Governor. There was a tussle between Sa'd bin 
Abi Waqqas, the powerful but extravagant Governor of 
al- Kufah, and Ibn Mas'ud, the Treasury Officer, as a 
consequence of which Sa 4 d had to be deposed by 

Al-Oadi. Even under the Prophet the judicial and 
executive functions were separated. The Prophet ap- 
pointed a Qffdi over each of the provinces The Qddi 
was practically independent of the Governor in matters 
of dispensing justice. Each province had a Chief Qadi~ 
and each district a Qadi of its own. As yet the provin- 

1 . Al-Baladhnri, pp. 8, 9. 

2. Ibid., p 9. 

3. Sliarhit 'I-Mu'attah, IV, pp. 246-47. 


cial Qddi did not exercise any control over the district 
Qftdis. The Qcfdis treated the high and low as equals. 
*Ali lost a suit of armour and found it with a man. The 
case came up before Qadi Shurayh. *AH sjtood by the 
aide of the accused claiming no privileged treatment. 1 

The Qadi, according to the theory of Islamic law, 
had to be a male adult, in full possession of the mental 
faculties, a free citizen, Muslim in faith, irreproachable 
in character, sound of sight and hearing, and well versed 
in the prescriptions of law. 2 Only most eminent scholars 
who were also wise and upright were appointed as Qadis. 
In some cases *Umar tested the judging capacity and 
judicial acumen of the candidates before appointing them. 
The Qcfdis were paid ampl}^ so that they might not be 
driven to the necessity of taking bribes. During the 
whole period of the Pious Khilafat* there was not a 
single complaint that "a Qadi accepted any bribe or acted 
partially. Litigations were very few. 3 

*Umar laid down that the Qadi should treat all the 
parties equally ; Chat the burden of proof lay on the 
plaintiff or the complainant ; that the defendant or ac- 
cused could swear in the absence of evidence; that under 
all circumstances the parties could compromise ; that the 
judge could, on his own initiative, review his own judg* 
ment; that the date of hearing should be fixed in 
advance ; that in the absence of the defendant, the case 
could be decided ex parte ; that every Muslim was quali- 
fied to give evidence provided that he had not undergone 
any punishment previously and provided also that his 
false testimony had not been already proved. 4 He enjoin- 
ed also that in technical matters, the evidence of experts 
should be sought. Mosques were used as courts and 
no fees were charged for deciding cases. 

In a letter to the famous Qadi Shurayh, 'Umar 

1. Jurji Zaydan, Tarikhu *i~Taniadduni ''l-Jslanti, IV, p. 39. 

2. Al-Mawardi, Chapter VI. 

3. At Tabari, 2135. 

4. AlFaruq, II, 62-63. 


ordained that he should follow the Qur'an ; that in the 
absence of clear instructions in the holy book, he should 
seek guidance from the traditions of the Prophet ; that 
lacking any precedence on any particular topic, he should 
have resort to the consensus of opinion (al-ijma") of the 
scholars (already expressed on various topics) ; and that 
lacking any guidance even in the ijma he should depend 
on his own common sense. 

Al-lfta (Free Legal Opinion). Seeking legal opin- 
ion from well-known scholars had been in practice since 
the very inception of Islam. 'Umar I systematised the 
institution. He authorised only a few well-known and 
trustworthy scholars to give legal opinion, on application, 
without charging any fee. This important institution 
justified the State in assuming that every citizen knew 
the law, for it gave a free opportunity to every person to 
know such legal details as he or she did not already 

The Police. Abu Hurayrah is definitely known to 
have been given police powers in al-Bahrayn. Police 
duties were performed by the public in general. *Umar I 
introduced night watches and patrol, A regularly organ- 
ised police force was not established until the time of 
' All's Khilafat. This Pious Khali f ah formed a municipal 
guard called the Shurtah whose chief was styled Sahibu 
"sh-Shurtah. Supervision of markets, weights and 
measures and the detection of and prosecution for crimes 
were among the duties of the police. 

Prisons. For the first time in Islam 'Umar estab- 
lished prisons. In Makkah he purchased the house of 
Safwan bin Umayyah and converted it into a prison. 
Such prisons were* established in important provincial 
centres. 'Umar was also responsible for introducing 
exile as a punishment. 

Religions Administration under the Pious Khalifahs 

For the propagation of Islam the early Jdialifahs 
depended chiefly on the example of the Muslims, 


especially the Muslim army. They issued elaborate 
moral instructions to the soldiers of Islam to behave as 
heroic human beings and not as beasts of prey. Abu 
Bakr's instructions to Usamah should be written in 
letters of gold. 1 Such instructions were issued by all 
the Pious Khaltfahs from time to time. It was the 
exceptional morale of the Muslim soldiers, their upright- 
ness, their sympathy for the poor and the oppressed, their 
humane treatment of the conquered, the lowly and 
the slaves that won the admiration of millions for their 
religion and for the new social order which they 
represented. Moreover, Islam offered many worldly 
advantages also to the believers. Therefore there was no 
necessity for an organised proselytising mission. In later 
days the Umayyads had to check mass conversions. 

Al-hffjj was an organised institution even before 
Islam. Every year the Khali f ah led the ceremonies of 
the hajj in person or appointed a substitute. Leading all 
the prayers in the chief mosque of the metropolis was a 
part of the auty of the Khali f ah, and his Governors led 
the daily prayers in the chief mosques of the provincial 

Large and beautiful mosques were built throughout 
the Empire and arrangements made for their main- 
tenance. In Arabia alone 4,000 mosques were built in 
the reign of 'Umar I. The courts of the Ka'bah were 
fittingly enlarged and the Mosque of the Prophet built on 
a large scale. Lights were not common among the early 
Muslims, and even mosques went without them in the 
beginning of Islam. Under 'Umar I, wealth and resources 
having developed sufficiently, arrangements were made to 
light all the mosques in the Empire and furnish them 
with mats or carpets. 

The Qur'an was arranged during this period and a 
standard edition of it was issued. Eminent QurYm readers 
were sent to various centres to teach the people how to 

1, See infra. 


read the sacred book. Every mosque was used as a school. 
The study of the Qur'an occupied the first place. Next 
came the study of jurisprudence. Just as eminent readers 
(sing, al-qari) were sent to the various parts of the 
Empire to teach the Qur'an, so also eminent jurists 
(sing, al-faqih) were sent to teach jurisprudence. These 
jurists received State salaries. Only authorised persons 
could teach jurisprudence, and, as we have seen under 
al-ifta\ only approved jurists could give legal opinion. 



AFTER the demise of the Prophet, the major part of 
Arabia revolted against the restraints and duties imposed 
by Islam on the headstrong Arabs. Abu Bakr planned 
and reconquered the entire subcontinent of Arabia, His 
military genius in planning such a large and systematic 
campaign has not yet received due meed of praise. 

With practically no forces left at al-Madinah when 
the surrounding hostile tribes were ready to attack the 
capital, he boldly sent out a large army to punish the 
Byzantines. 1 This army was under the boy Commander, 
Usamah bin Zayd who fulfilled his task with astonishing 
success. Usamah asked the soldiers to attack the enemy, 
as soon as order was given, in one compact unbreakable 
line with full force and not to pursue the fleeing enemy 
at the expense of breaking their own solid line. 2 The 
method of attack succeeded marvellously well, and the 
forces hastened back to al-Madinah with all honours 
striking terror in the hearts of the sullen and discontented 
tribesmen around al-Madmah. 

Aba Bakr then sent out eleven expeditions organised 
with such great skill that the whole of the great peninsula 
was subdued in the most systematic way imaginable. A 
study of the map on the next page will convince any 
reader as to the great insight and genius for military 
strategy with which the expeditions were planned to 
embrace the whole of a subcontinent larger than the 
Indian peninsula. 

Army No. I was sent against the hostile tribes of 
Bana Sulaym and Bana Hawazin to the north-east of 

1. At-Tftbari, 1, 1848. 

2. Orient Under the Caliphs> p. 04. 








al-Madinah ; No. II against the false prophet, Tulayhah, 
to the east of the capital; and Nos. Ill and IV against 
the formidable Musaylimah the Liar to al-Yamamah to 
the south-east of al-Madfnah, After despatching these 
four expeditions against the neighbouring foes, Abu Bakr 
sent an expedition to *Uman, the south-east of Arabia 
(marked No. V in the map) ; another to Mahra in the 
south (No. VI) ; two to al-Yaman in the south-west 
(Nos. VII and VIII) ; two to the north (Nos. IX and X) 
and one to the east against al-Bahrayn (No. XI). 

Army No. I easily subdued Bana Sulaym and Band 
Hawazin and joined army No. II under the great Khalid 
bin al-Walid. The combined forces under the redoubt- 
able general took up the task against Musaylimah and 
relieved armies Nos. Ill and IV to join No. V in *Uman. 
This grand combination of the three units, after complet- 
ing the subjugation of 'Uman, marched south, and, 
effecting a junction with army No. VI in Mahra, 
stormed the chief city of that country. Then the four 
combined forces, bypassing Hadramawt, which was very 
strongly defended, effected a junction with units Nos. VII 
and VIII and reconquered the whole of al- Yaman. Then 
this mighty combination of six armies advanced against 
Hadramawt and reduced it to obedience. 

Units Nos. I and II (under Kbalid), after defeating , 
Musaylimah, marched towards the north on the eastern 
side of the peninsula, and in a series of battles snatched a 
large part of the fertile basin of the Euphrates from the 
Persians. Expedition No. XI subdued al-Bahrayn and 
the expeditions sent to the north (Nos. IX and X) led to 
the conquest of the whole of Syria. 

Number of soldiers employed under Jhe Pious Khallfahs 

The subjugation and reconversion of the whole of 
Arabia to Islam placed a very large number of soldiers at 
the disposal of the Khali f ah. Already there was a state 
of war between the Arab tribes of Banu Bakr bin Wa'il 


and Persia. 1 When the Muslim armies marched against 
the Persians, the tribesmen joined them in large numbers 
under their redoubtable leader al.Muthanna. The entire 
Arabian race was mobilised. Still, against the two 
mighty and populous empires of Borne and Persia, the 
Arab armies were always inferior in numbers. 

In al-Kufah alone, which later grew into a very large 
military station, there were during this period 4,000 
soldiers, one thousand of whom were kept engaged in war 
every year by turn. 8 Ibn Sa'd reports that 30,000 new 
soldiers were recruited evey year. 3 These recruits 
belonged to various nationalities and diverse religions. 
There were Persians, Syrians, Greeks and Egyptians 
professing Islam, Christianity or Judaism. In the 
unfortunate battle of Siffin very large numbers were 
engaged. 'All's army numbered 90,000 and that of 
Mu'awiyah 85,000. 4 

The Great Divan- By the dose of 'Umar's reign 
most of the Arabs were enrolled in the armies of Islam. 
In addition to the Arabs even those non-Arabs who had 
embraced Islam were under an obligation to fight for the 
sacred creed. These soldiers had to be supported. 

During the early days of the Prophet's regime, the 
soldiers of Islam were supported by the income and 
earnings of all the faithful and from the slender State 
revenues. Under Abu Bakr the income of the State was 
divided among the soldiers. The same practice was 
continued in the beginning of 4 Umar's reign. But in an 
Empire comprising the whole of Arabia, the entire 
Persian Empire and the rich countries of Syria and 
Egypt, it was not possible that all the units should be 

1. Between 606 and 611 AD. Hani bin Mas'udi 'sh-Shaybaai defeated the 
Persian regular troops in the battle of Dhu-Qar and the Banu Bakr were expect* 
ing further attacks by the Persians when Islam camo to their aid. The great 
Muslim general al Muthanna belonged to one of the cluas of Banu Bakr. See 
at-Tabari. Vol.1, pp. 1016-1037. 
* 2. A<-4tban, I, 2S30. 

3. Ibul 

4. Al-MarSUi. IV, 344. 


paid without any record. Further, 'Urnar felt that it 
was not' just that the old Companions, who had toiled 
and suffered from the very inception of the Prophet's 
mission, should get the same amount as the latest 
recruits to the faith. 

To regulate the receipts and disbursement of the 
revenue, J Umar I established the department of finance 
under the name of the Diwftn- 1 The expense of the civil 
and revenue administration was the first charge upon the 
revenues. The next was military requirements. The sur- 
plus was used for the support of the community. In this 
all persons of the Arab race and their mawftli were 
entitled to well-defined and strictly regulated shares. A 
register was maintained of all Arabs and non-Arabs 
(men, women and children) entitled to a stipend. 

'Urnar I began his stipend list with the widows of 
the Prophet. They received 12,000 dirhams each per 
annum. 2 Those who took part in the battle of Badr were 
allowed an annuity of 5,000 each; and the same 
amount was assigned to each of the two grandsons of the 
Prophet, al-Hasan and al-Husayn, and to the uncle of the 
Prophet, al-'Abbas. 3 The sons of the warriors of Badr 
were given 2,000 each. Those who became Muslims 
before the migration to Abyssinia were entitled to 4,000 
each and those who became Muslims before the capture of 
Makkah to 3,000 each. Those who accepted Islam on the 
conquest of Makkah were allowed 2,000 dirhams each. 

After this 'Umar I arranged the mass of Arab tribes 
in the order of their relationship to the Prophet. Those 
who were scholars of the Qur'an and those who had 
rendered special services to Islam received high annui- 
tigs. 4 The Arab soldiers and their mawali were assigned 
three to four hundred dirhams each, 5 Hundred dirhams 
each was fixed for weaned children. Later, the limit 

1. For the origin and meaning of the word see Subhu 'I- A' ska, Vol. I, 
pp. 89-90. 

2. Accounts vary : aee Abu Yutuf, pp. 24-25. 

3. According to one report, al-'Abbis got 12,000 : Abu Y3iuf, p. 25. 

4. AbQ Ylauf, p. 25. 5. Ibid. 


of weaning was abolished. Every Muslim child, on 
birth, was entitled to the annuity. The annuity rose as 
the child grew up. At the outset all Muslims received 
annuities without any racial distinction. Since the 
arrangement of the Dlwin was according to the Arabian 
tribes, the non- Arabs had to get affiliated to some tribe 
or other. This has been wrongly taken to mean that 
only Arab Muslims were granted stipends and not the 
non-Arabs. *Umar assigned 100 dirhams each to the 
wives and children of the soldiers who had either fallen 
in battle or were engaged in active service. 

This is the first instance in the history of the world 
where the government took the responsibility of feeding 
and clothing the entire population of the State. Arabia 
was not a country which could have supported the whole 
of its population out of its own resources. So the Arabs 
had to be supported from the revenue drawn from the 
very rich neighbouring countries of ai-*Iraq Syria and 
Egypt. This step was dictated by the special circum- 
stances of the case. It was usual in those days to 
distribute the conquered lands among the soldiers who 
settled on them. If the Arabs had adopted the same 
custom, the whole race consisting of only a few lakhs 
of people 1 would have been absorbed by the more 
populous conquered countries. The distinct identity of 
the conquering race would have disappeared and the 
Empire would have been dismembered much earlier. 

There were many defects in the system, which, in 
the long run, gave considerable scope for the manipula- 
tion of the pension lists. The system blended military 
and political pensions into one. It gave a lot of trouble 
under the Umayyads. Hisham, as we shall see later, 
removed this defect to some extent. 

Most of the military systems prevalent in the 

I. According to Ibn Khaldun the Arab numbered only 150,000 during, 
the Prophet 'a reign ; see *l>Muqaddamah t I, pp. 21)3, 314. 


seventh century were feudal. The king divided the land 
among the barons who bound themselves to provide a 
certain number of soldiers to fight the king's battles. 
By this system, which was in vogue both in the Roman 
and in the Persian Empire, the soldiers were not bound 
to the king by direct allegiance. They were the soldiers 
of the barons or vassals and thus could be called upon 
by the barons to fight against the king himself. *Umar I 
was the first ruler to introduce the system of paying 
regular salaries to the soldiers. 

The first attempt in the history of the world to 
take the responsibility of feeding all its citizens by the 
State worked for a short time magnificently well. Bi^t 
unfortunately the productive forces of Arabia had not yet 
reached a stage wherein such an attempt could become 
permanent. Moreover, even what little was possible was 
foiled by internecine wars and disunion among the 
believers. A critic like Sir William Muir admits : "A 
great nation dividing thus amongst them their whole 
revenues, spoil, and conquests, first on the principle of 
equal brotherhood, and next on that of martial merit and 
spiritual distinction, is a spectacle probably without 
parallel in the world." l 

Military Districts (sing, al-jund). The Empire 
was divided into nine military districts apart from the 
political divisions. Each one of them was called a jund. 
The military districts were: al-Madinah, al-Kufah, al- 
Basrah, al-Mawsil, al-Fustat, Misr, Damascus, Hims and 
Palestine. There were regular barracks for soldiers in all 
these places. Each of the nine military stations had 
a huge stable with 4,000 horses and their equip- 
ment ready so that at a short notice 36,000 cavaliers 
could be put on the field. Large meadows were reserved 
for grazing these horses. Every horse was branded on 
the thigh, "Fighter in the way of God." a Special atten- 

I. Annals of Early Caliphat*, p. 227. 

/, n, p, 23ij *!.;** n, P . 90. 


tion was devoted to breed superior varieties of horses. 
In addition to these big military stations, there were 
military barracks in all big cities, frontier posts and 
coastal towns. Each of the military centres had a record 
office .and a provision store. There was also a Paymaster 
(al-'Arif ) attached to each military station through whom 
salaries were disbursed. 

Soldiers 1 Emoluments 

The lowest salary of a recruit in the beginning of 
'Umar's arrangement was 200 dirhams per year. This 
was subsequently raised to 300. The officers drew salaries 
from 7,000 to 10,000 dirhams per year. On the whole 
the average salary of a soldier came to about 600 dirhams 
per year. 1 Besides this salary every wife and child of a 
soldier drew a pension from the State. Further, every 
soldier got free rations (raw in the initial stage and later 
cooked and served hot), dress, foot-wear, etc., and batta 
(al-maunali). Apart from these emoluments, the early 
conquerors of Islam had four-fifths of the plunder of the 
vast riches of Syria, Egypt and Persia 2 divided amongst 

Great care was taken to provide as much comfort 
to the soldiers as possible. Barring exceptional emergen- 
cies, a soldier was not allowed to be absent from home 
for more than four months. If the Khalifah could 
choose the time and place of operation, he chose cold 
countries for summer and hot ones for winter campaigns. 
Much attention was bestowed on the health of the 
soldiers. Their barracks which were well ventilated and 
spacious, were built in known healthy spots. Each army 
had a number of physicians and surgeons attached to it. 

Anns of the Army- The army consisted of the 
infantry (ar~ra,jil\ the cavalry (al-fursan) 9 the archers, (ar- 
rutit&t), a service corps (al-ghilmdn), scouts (at-tall'ahY 
and rear-scouts (ar-rid). Over every ten soldiers there 
was a decurion (Am'iru 'l-'Ashrah)* and over every 

1. Orient Und# tht Caliphs, p. 360. 2. At-Tabari, I, 2204-2205. 

3. Ibid., 2225. 4. Ibid. 


hundred a lieutenant (al-Q&'id)* Above ten Qaids there 
was a Commander (al-Amir). 

Bodyguard. Mu'awiyah, the Governor of Syria 
under 'Umar and 'Uthman, was the first to institute a 
bodyguard in Islam. The force consisted of picked Arab 
tribesmen in whom he had perfect confidence. During 
the battle of Siffin, Mu'awiyah had a pavilion erected in 
the centre and took his seat on it. At the most critical 
juncture, when 'Ali's great general, Malik al-Ashtar, 
directed his attack at Mu'awiy ah 's person and was almost 
within his reach/ it was the bodyguard of the Umayyad 
Amir that beat back the attack and saved his life. 

On the March. On the march the scouts went much 
in advance of the army spying and studying the path that 
lay ahead. Much behind them the army followed in the 
battle order. 2 The vanguard marched in front followed 
by the centre and the two wings. Then came the rear- 
guard with the luggage, siege engines, etc. Women and 
children of the soldiers often accompanied it as also their 
flocks and herds. Behind the rear-guard rode the rear- 
scouts. Troops were usually marched by easy stages with 
a full twenty-four hours' rest every Friday. 

Camping. When inside the enemy territory, great 
care was taken in camping. Invariably the camp was 
protected by afire ditch and barricades, and sentries were 
posted on -duty. The soldiers went to sleep with the 
arms on their side ready to go into the attack as soon as 
they were awakened. As a matter of fact, there was 
not one occasion during the whole of the Pious Khii&fat 
when the Muslim camp was surprised by the enemy. 
Camping grounds were carefully chosen by an officer 
appointed for the purpose known as ar-mid. 

Supply. Till the days of 'Umar the army provided 
itself mostly by looting the enemy country after the 
practice of the day. Later on, taxes gathered in kind, 
such as grains, olive oil, honey, vinegar, etc., were used 

1. Al-Khudari, II, 140, 2. At-Tabari, I, 2174. 


for the purpose. This caused considerable hardship 
to the subjects. Therefore 'Urnar converted all tax 
payments into cash and established an Army Supply 
Department known by the name Ahra* The first officer 
appointed~to organise the Supply Department was *Amr 
bin 'Utbah. 

Weapons. Swords, bows and arrows, lances and 
slings formed the chief weapons of warfare. Swords 
were mostly double-edged l Arab arrows were so small 
that the Persians called them spindles in derision. 2 
Shields and helmets were used for protection. Coats of 
mail, owing to their very high price, could be worn by only 
some of the soldiers, Ballistas and mantelets were used to 
attack forts. In the year 16 A.H. the Muslims used as many 
as twenty balistas or catapults in the siege of Bahurasir 
and a huge wooden dabbabah possibly with iron plates to 
prevent it from being burnt as it was burnt in the siege of 
at-Ta'if. 5 Naqqcfbun (hole-makers), concealed in that 
huge "tank" moving on wheels, were pushed to the very 
walls of the town. There, protected from the enemy 
missiles, they effected a breach with picks and drills. 
In the storming of Damascus, the Muslims swam 
the moat on inflated skins, flung on the turrets ropes with 
running nooses, climbed the walls and opened the gates. 4 

In defensive battles fire ditches and barricades were 

Use of Flags in the Battlefield. In the battle 
of Nihawand an-Nu*man gave the signal for the attack by 
waving the flag. He is reported to have said : "I shall 
now shake the standard I carry three times. After the 
first shake let each perform the ablutions and satisfy his 
natural wants. After the second shake, let each turn to 
his sword (he may have said sandal throng) and get ready, 
putting everything in order. When the third shake is, 
by Allah's will, made, then rush and let none of you h^ed 
the other." 5 

1. Al-Baladhuri, p. 260. 2. Abu Yusuf, p. 16; At-Tabwi, I, 2236. 

3. Al-Balldhuri, p, 55. 4. At-Tabari, 1, pp, 2152-2153, 

$. Al-Baladfawi, p, 303, . w 



During the wars with two of the most civilised 
empires in the world, the Arab generals had to employ 
various tafctics and stratagems. In the battle of al- 
Walijah, Khalid placed an ambush on either side of the 
enemy. In N the heat of the battle, the hidden forces 
emerged suddenly, and, attacking the enemy on the flanks 
by surprise, turned the tables against him. 

At al-Qidisiyah, the Persians were arranged in 
thirteen lines one behind the other and the Muslims had 
only three lines. "Their three ranks suffered much from 
the Persian arrows, against which their only defence was 
a barrier of palm-branches stuck upright into their 
baggage, the leather throngs from which they employed 
to bind round their he'Sds in substitution for helmets." 1 
The Muslims as usual stood firm till the enemy 
approached very near and charged him with great force 
as they had been doing since Badr with their lances. 
Then they set aside their lances and bows and used their 
swords with deadly effect. As in pre-Islamic days, Sa'd, 
the Commander-in-Chief, sent orators to harangue the 
soldiers in order to rouse their martial ardour. 

In fighting the Persians, the Arabs had to encounter 
a new factor, the elephants. The Arab horses were 
afraid of the huge enimais, 2 and the soldiers themselves 
did not know~how to tackle them. At first some of the 
heroes like Abu 'Ubayd bin Mas'ud tried to strike 
at the trunks of the enormous creatures. 3 Some 
succeeded while some others were crushed by the huge but 
agile animals. 5 Later, they tried another method. They 
cutoff the girdle of fashawdaj on the elephant and made 
the rider topple down to be killed immediately. In 
order to frighten the enemy horses, the Arabs covered 

1. Levy, R., Sociology in Islam. II, p. 303. 

2. Ai-Baladhuri, pp 251-252 ; at-Tabari, I, 2181. 

3. At-Tabari, I, 2118-2119. 

4. Al-Muthnnna killed an elephant : at-Tabari, 2118-2119. 
& At-Tftbftri, I, 2170. 


their camels completely with white blankets and made 
them advance against the cavalry of the enemy, at which 
the horses took fright and fled away from the field. 

The Muslim army had been steadily growing and was 
being employed in very large numbers against the much 
large numbers of the enemies. In the battle of the 
Yarmuk, the Muslims had about 40,000 soldiers all 
mounted, 1 and the enemy had 240,000 consisting of both 
infantry and cavalry. It must have been impossible to 
deploy such enormous numbers in a few lines. So Khalid 
adopted a method of war quite new to the Muslims. 
He divided his forces into 38 cohorts (sing. al-kurdu$) 
of more than one thousand soldiers each and arranged 
them in three wings. The centre consisted of 18 
cohorts with Aba 'Ubaydah in command and the side 
wings consisted of 10 each. The right wing was under 
*Amr bin al-'As and the left under Yazid bin Abi 
Sufyan. 2 Khalid retained the supreme command in his 
own hands. 

The Byzantines launched a tremendous attack. 
Khalid ordered the right and the left wings to advance 
and meet the onslaught. While the two wings were 
engaging the enemy, Khalid ordered the centre to 
advance and wedged it in between the enemy's infantry 
and cavalry. Thus isolated, the cavalry of the enemy 
took to flight; but Khalid held back the Muslims from 
pursuing the enemy. Then the entire Muslim force 
attacked the adversary "as if a wall crashed on them' 53 
and defeated him completely. 

At Sifffn 'Ali arranged his infantry into lines as 
devised by the Prophet. Men with armour were put in 
the front rank. He ordered his men to wait till the enemy 
approached so near that the former's lances were at the 

1. Figures vary in different accounts : al-Khudari, I, 27 ; al-Baladhuri, 
p. 134 ; Ibn Khaldun. al-Muqaddamah, I, p, 28. 

2. At-Tabari, I, 2093. 

3. la* ^: -wXAUJ Ki, al-Khudan, I, pp. 276 seqq. 


chest of the latter. He instructed his men that while 
charging they should lean forward over their lances for 
better effect. He arranged his cavalry in cohorts. The 
horsemen were armed with bows and arrows and swords. 
At close quarters they set aside their bows and used 

By the end of the Pious Kh lift fat, Muslims had 
organised a very efficient army of first-class well- 
disciplined fighters with all the weapons of their age 
including important siege engines ; they had efficiently 
built up a sytem of marching, camping, transport, 
supplies, and other essentials of a first-rate army ; and 
they had learnt and improved the technique of defence, 
of laying siege, of taking a fortress by storm and of 
fighting huge armies with a much lesser number. The 
Prophet had devised for them a unique method of 
warfare; and in every respect, in organisation, in supplies, 
in weapons, in technical skill, the quality of the soldiers 
and commanders, in tactics, and above all in morale, the 
Muslims had outstripped all their contemporaries. 



WITHIN about three or four decades of the Islamic 
revolution, the organisation of Arab society had con- 
siderably changed. Society had definitely passed the clan 
and tribal stage and feudal elements had begun to appear 
in their rudimentary form. It took the whole of the 
Umayyad period to render the feudal organisation 
complete. Even under the Prophet, landed estates had 
begun to appear. 1 The greatest warriors of Islam like 
*Ali, 2 Talhah, 3 az-Zubayr and others 5 received big 
estates under Abu Bakr, 'Umar and 'Uthman as al-qata'i' 
(fiefs). 6 The feudal organisation in Syria, Egypt and 
Persia was maintained. Thus the Arabs, who had lagged 
behind their neighbours in social evolution, by one 
sudden effect, overtook them. Naturally some of the 
glaring evils of feudalism were done away with by the 
early Muslim conquerors who were imbued with a spirit 
of equality and fraternity, and immense relief was 
afforded to the oppressed serfs, slaves and landless 
peasants who had so far been forced to work on land for 
practically nothing. 

Abu Bakr and 'Umar I saw the danger in Muslim 
warriors / becoming landowners to the exclusion of the 
people of the soil and exercised great control over the 
land-hungry Quraysh. But the social forces which the 
great revolution had released and hard facts and realities 
of the situation *were too strong to be controlled or 
countered by the weak 'Uthman. The Quraysh were 
let loose on the vast Empire. Most of them received, 

1. See infra. 2. Al-BaJadhuri, p. 14. 

3. Ibid., pp 273 seq. 4. Ibid., pp. 12, 13. 

5. Ibid , pp. 273 seq. 

6. Yahya bin Adam, Kitabu V- A'/iuro;, pp, 42, 56 seq, 61, 67; al-Baladhun, 
pp. 13, 14, 21. 7. Ai-Baladhuri, pp. 144, 273. 


or acquired by doubtful means, or purchased, big estates 
and converted them from al~khar&j lands to al^ushf 

The revolution was brought about by the poor and 
the needy under the leadership of a scion of the upper 
class. But the fruits of the revolution went, as was the 
case with all such revolutions, to the upper class against 
whom the revolution had started. Within about thirty 
years after the demise of the great Prophet, we see his 
erstwhile enemies in control of the entire Empire with 
the son of Abu Sufyan at the top. 

Thus a revolution which started as a great equalising 
and levelling force, a revolution which appeared to jump 
across all the painful processes of social evolution was 
betrayed by the richer classes who captured the move- 
ment. Abu Dharr, who protested against the great 
wealth of 'Uthman, 1 died languishing in exile; Ibn 
Mas'ud had to find his own level ; and 'Ammar fell 
fighting. The great Usamah's family sank into oblivion. 
His daughter had to seek and get some favour from the 
saintly 'Urnar II. 

Against all the logic of social facts, against the 
opposition of some of the leading Companions, and even 
against the practice of giving away fiefs started by the 
Prophet, 2 'Umar wanted to avoid the birth of feudalism. 
Instead of a feudal aristocracy, he designed a military class 
of warriors (al-muqatilah) drawing regular pensions from 
the State. He was too much ahead of his times. So he 
had to make compromises. Even in this revolutionary 
enterprise he could not follow the logic to its extreme 
end. The ever-increasing mass of new converts could 
not be accommodated in his pension list based on Arabian 
tribea. Had he made it comprehensive enough to 
embrace all Muslims, it would not have worked. The 

1. Uthman If ft behind him 1 50,000 dinars, 1,000,000 dirhameand his estate 
in Wldiu '1-Qura, Bunayn and other places were worth 100,000jilnars. Besides, 
[ie left a very large number of camels and horbes. ftee al-Mas'udi, I, 301, 

"2. Sse infra. 


productive forces had not yet reached a stage wherein 
the entire mass of the people could be equally or almost 
equally supported by the State out of its organised 
labour. Therefore all that was physically possible was to 
ensure bread and vinegar for the entire Arab race and 
the early foreign converts. It was not an ordinary 
achievement. It had no parallel in the history of 
the worlcL 

*Umar's effort was to avoid the inevitable, the 
conversion of the tribal into feudal society. As long as 
his strong hand was there the land-hungry Quraysh were 
held in check. But the weak and well-meaning *Uthman 
could not control them. They migrated to the provinces 
and carved out estates for themselves thereby causing 
great resentment among the population of the provinces, 1 

Thus the dictum,* that out of every tribal society a 
feudal one is born, was again proved. The attempt at 
levelling and equalising failed ; the brotherhood of all 
believers was jeopardised ; racial differences, trible distinc- 
tion and even discrimination between the old and new 
converts entered the scheme of things. Under the 
Umayyads (except during the two-and-a-half years under 
*Umar II) it was not the religious consideration or 
scruple that played the strongest part but considerations 
of re venue and income. 

By the end of the Umayyad period, we observe the 
following distinct classes : 

1. The feudal aristocracy, Arab and non-Arab. 

2. The military class (mainly Arabs) enjoying ^'tate 

3. Small landowners. 

4. New converts neither owning lands nor enjoying 
State pensions (mawaliu 'l 

5. Artisans, labourers, etc. 

1. Al-Khudari, II, 91. 


6. The beggar class including the permanently sick, 
the incapacitated, the indolent and others. 

7. Slaves, 

Each one of these classes presented problems which 
the Umayyads had to tackle. A very honest and sincere 
effort was made by the saintly 'Umar II. But it was an 
uphill task, too big and too difficult for the conscientious 
Khali fab* He died in the effort, but the task remained 
unfulfilled. These problems developed to such huge 
dimensions that they enveloped and destroyed the 
dynasty itself. 

The Feudal Aristocracy 

Feudalism with ail its evils had existed in Syria, 
Persia and Egypt when the Muslims conquered these 
jountriet. Some of the glaring evils were removed by tho 
conquerors. But the old system was allowed to continue 
in all the three lands. Estates deserted by the fleeing 
Patricians, former crown lands, lands of warriors confis- 
cated for active opposition to the Muslims, lands belonging 
to the fire temples and those whose income was set apart 
for maintaining the postal service in Persia became State 
property, the income from which went to the central 
treasury. 1 Other feudal estates under the Syrians, 
Egyptians and the Dikqans of Persia were allowed to 
continue under them in return for tax or tribute. 

In Arabia proper, when the Prophet conquered the 
lands around al-Madinab, the estates belonging to Bano 
Nadir were divided among the Muhftjir~ t n and two of the 
poor al-Ansar ; 2 and those of Banu Qurayzah were 
divided among those who were present. 3 The Prophet 
alao granted fiefs in all parts of Arabia. 4 1580 fiefs carved 
out of the estates of Khaybar were granted by 'Umar to 
the 1540 who had taken part in the treaty of 
al-Hudaybiyah and the 40 Muslims who were with Ja'far 

1. AI-Balidhuri, pp. 272 seq. 2. Ibid., pp. 18, 20. 

$. Ibid., p. $2 

4. Ibid., pp. 12, 13, 14, 18, 20, 33, 73, 93, 129. 


bin Abi Talib in Abyssinia. 1 Under Aba Bakr and 
during the early part of 'Umar's reign many estates were 
given to the early heroes of Islam. 2 

There was a clamour from all sides for more land. 
In the days of 'Umar I, after a very long sitting of the 
Shura* and very hot discussions, it was decided that no 
more conquered lands should be distributed among the 
Muslims. In spite of this, in the reign of Uthraan, the 
Quraysh acquired privateestates (al-qatcCi*}. For instance, 
a large extent of the property left by the Patricians in 
Syria and the confiscated lands had passed on to the State. 
At the request of Mu'awiyah, *Uthman assigned to him 
these estates or at least a large part of them. 4 He gave 
many more estates as fiefs to others also. 5 

As the Khalifah, Mu'awiyah retained the estates 
granted to him by 'Uthman and gave portions of them to 
his supporters, not in trust, but as alienable private 
property. 'Abdu "1- Malik 6 and other Umayyad Khahfahs* 
did the same. Moreover, when the non-M slim owners 
died heirless, * Abdu '1-Malik granted their al-khar&j lands 
to the Muslims as al-'ushr lands. Other Umayyad 
Khalifahs granted fiefs to their favourites and also 
allowed the Muslims to purchase fche kharaj lands from 
non- Muslims. When the kharaj lands passed into the 
hands of the Muslims, they became al-'ushr lands ; and 
hence, the revenue declined. 

Not only in Syria but also in al-'Iraq, Egypt and 
other parts of the Empire the Muslims began to acquire 
great estates, by grant, by purchase, and by other doubtful 
means. The stern and wise principles laid down by 
'Umar in the matter of acquiring lands were relaxed in 
so many individual cases by the weak *Uthman that the 
democratic system of administration began to degenerate 
into a system based on the whim and fancy of th* ruler. 

1 Ai-Bftildhuri, pp. 26, 28 2. Ibid., p. 12. 

:i See supra, p. 39. 4. Al-Ya'qubi, II, p. 191 

5 Al-Baffidhuri, pp. 144, 273. * 0. Ibid., p. 148. 

7. Ibid., pp. 148, 17!), 180, 308. 


The Qurajsh, and especially the Urnayyads, took the 
maximum advantage of the weakness qf 'Uthman. They 
established a monopoly over Babylon (as-Sawad), the 
most fertile region in the Empire, and claimed it as their 
private property to the exclusion of the Muslim commu- 
nity as a whole. The haughty Sa'id bin al-'As went to 
the extent of declaring : -'The Sawad is nothing but the 
estate of the-Quraysh. We take of it what we like and 
leave off what we choose to." l The Quraysh had carved 
out many estates in this region. But *Ali, on his election 
to the khil3fct> took back most of the landed properties 
in al-'Iraq which were granted by 'Uthman to his 
favourites and relatives. 2 

In spite of what *Ali was able to do in al-*Iraq, by 
the end of the reign of Mu'awiyah, a form of feudalism 
was established throughout the Muslim Empire. The 
evil which set in under the mild 'Uthman became more 
and more serious under the later Umayyads. The fact 
that many cornpUints of forceful possession by the strong 
were brought before 'Umar II shows that the process of 
acquiring land was not fair in all cases. 'Umar 11 himself 
declared that more than half of the wealth was in the 
hands of Banu Marwan and that most of it was ill-gotten. 3 

Thus was created a Muslim landed aristocracy which 
deprived the State of a large amount of revenue?. The 
aristocrats were powerful men who could not be taxed 
strictly. The burden naturally fell on the poorer classes. 
Moreover, there was scope in the system of collection of 
taxes to shcve the burden on to the poorer people. 
Often the feudal chiefs, Muslims and r.on-Mu^ims, 
were the tax-collectors in the villages. These big 
landholders apportioned the entire tax due from the 
village to the smaller landowners and thus saved 
themselves from all taxes. Besides, they collected 

U Jb* *U*o U 

Voi. XI, p 30. 

2. Al-MrtB'ucii, IV, p. 29. 

3. Ibnu '1-Jawzi, pp. 108-11 : see infra, p. 


many items of unauthorised taxes, presents and countribu- 
tions and appropriated a good part of them for themselves. 
In this way the evils of feudalism, rampant among the 
Romans and the Persians, which were abolished by the 
wise and strict rules of 'Umar I, reappeared under the 

Umayyad Khalifahs like Mu*awiyah, <Abdu 
9 l-Malik, al-Walid and Hisham and their powerful 
Viceroys like frl-Hajjaj, 1 Maslamah, 9 and Khalid al-Qasri 3 
became the greatest landowners in the Empire. We 
have seen how 'Uthman granted most of the crown lands 
in Syria to Mu'awiyah. To this he added other estates 
like Fadak in Arabia, much bigger ones in Persia and the 
East and those confiscated from the Romans in Egypt 
and other parts of Africa. These estates were, in theory, 
the property of the Muslim community as a whole; but 
Mu'awiyah began to dispose them off as if they were his 
private property. Of course, a large part of the income 
went towards the State expenses ; but the great scruple of 
the Shaykhayn (Abu Bakr and *Urnar) had disappeared. 

This accumulation of huge estates continued under 
the successors of Mu'awiyah. Abdu 1-Malik accelerated 
this process. When feudalisation was at its climax, the 
saintly 'Umar II was elected the Khalifah. 'Umar 
realised that the vast estates of the Umayyads were 
accumulated at the expense of the State and the poorer 
subjects and felt called upon to dispossess the misappro- 
priators. This meant courting the enmity of the entire 
royal family. Nevertheless, he was determined either to 
succeed or to die in the attempt. He made a beginning 
with himself. He had inherited vast estates from his 
father. He returned all of them to the State. Even the 
cash and jewels in the house including those of his 
wife, the noble Fatimah, he surrendered to the State 

1, Ai-Baiidhuri, p. 290. 

1\ Ibid., p. 21)4, 

3, ibid., p. 21$ ; at- Ubari, 11, 


Then he summoned the members of the ruling 
family and addressed them thus: "O descendants of 
Marwan, you have a very big portion of honour and 
wealth in your hands. I feel that one-half, nay, two- 
thirds of the wealth of the people (al-'ummat) is in your 
hands." Then he exhorted them* to return the ill- 
gotten wealth to the rightful owfcers. The haughty 
princes retorted : "By God, as long as ouc^beads are not 
separated from our bodies, these estates shall not be 
returned. By God, neither will we declare our sires arid 
grandsires infidels, 1 nor will we reduce our children to 
beggary/' 'Umar replied : "By Allah, if you do not help 
me to restore this right, I shall humiliate and disgrace 
you." 2 

Thereafter *Umar II assembled the common people 
in the mosque and addressed them as follows: "They 
(the Umayyad Khali fahs) have given to us, the members 
of their family, estates and grants. By Allah, neither 
had they the right to give them, nor did we have the 
right to receive them. Now I restore all of them to their 
rightful owners and begin the process with myself and 
my house." He sent for all the documents of his estates 
and went on cutting them to pieces with a pair of scissors. 
This went on from the morning to the noon. 3 

'[Trnar II undertook a task too big for him, a task 
which was counter to the historical process. He fought 
the feudal aristocracy heroically; but he could not 
succeed. The princes of the royal blood, finding the 
saint too much for them, removed him from their path by 
poisoning him. Thus even the great Umayyad saint 
could not put an end to vast estates accumulating in the 
hands of the princes. After him the process was set on 
the move with a vengeance by his unworthy successors 
and the climax was reached under Hisham, 

Hisham and his Governor of al-'Iraq, Khalid bin 

1. By declaring them in the wrong. 

2- Ibnu T-Jawzi, Kitabu "l-Adhhiyci. pp. 108-11. 

3. fhid., p. 20S. 


*Abdillahi '1-Qasri were the two great landlords in 
al-'Iraq who monopolised such huge quantities of grains 
that they could fluctuate the price of the commodity as 
they liked. They could raise the price by withholding 
the stock and lower it by releasing it. They could force 
others to sell before them by giving a shock to the market 
and then sell their own stocks at a price to be dictated by 
them. It is interesting to note that a keen business 
rivalry developed between these two great landlords and 
business men which ended in the political and financial 
ruin of the weaker. 1 

One good resulted from the land-hunger of Khalid 
al-Qasri. A very large area of marshes in the district of 
Wasit was drained by the famous engineer Hassanu 
'n-Nabati; and big estates were carved out of the newly 
reclaimed lands. The chief estates of Khalid are 
enumerated by name in at-Tabari. 2 

The Military Class 

The rise of the military class in Arabia, rather the 
rise of the entire mass of the desert-dwellers of Arabia 
as a military class, is a unique feature in the history of 
the world. There is no parallel where the entire 
population of a subcontinent, unable to support itself any 
more on the United resources of the land, rises as one 
man, dominates the surrounding countries, and subsirts 
on the income of the conquered lands by a system of 
universal pensions. 

Their own lands could support the Arabs no more. 
So they rose and carried everything that lay before them. 
If they settled in the adjoining countries, there was the 
fear of their getting merged in the population of those 
countries . 3 They had to retain their identity as conquerors 
and yet maintain themselves. Therefore, as a natural 

1. Al-Jahahiylri, pp. 58, 59. 

2. At-T*bari, II, pp. 10,^5. 

8. The Arabs numbered only a few lakhs *t the end of the Prophet's reign . 
Bee ibn KhaMun, I, pp. 293-314, 


result of the inexorable economic causes, the entire nation 
and the early non-Arab Muslims had to be converted into 
a military class with pensions from the revenues of the 
Empire. If Arabia had been economically self-sufficient, a 
feudal monarchy would have emerged. Feudalism could 
be only based on productive land ; there was not much of 
it in Arabia; so it could not thrive there. The tribal forces 
swelled, burst asunder the tribal structure, overflowed 
into the adjacent land and again sank back into the old 
tribal bounds. As there was not sufficient productive land 
in Arabia to support a feudal or any other form df society 
more advanced than the tribal one, the country could 
not have anything but tribalism. 

Even as early as the days of *Umar I, all Arabs 
were liable to military service and received State pensions. 
Military service was compulsory for all those subjects of 
the Empire who received pensions. They were bound, at 
stated periods, to attend the colours of their respective 
al-jund or legion for the necessary training. Under the 
Umayyads, thousands of al-maw&li had to fight in the 
ranks of the Muslim armies without receiving any pension. 
This injustice was brought to the notice of 'Umar II. He 
ordered that all Muslims, Arabs or non-Arabs, who took 
part in the wars, should receive pensions. This generous 
policy did not last long. 

From the beginning there was no uniformity in the 
military pensione. As we have already seen, 1 political and 
military pensions were clubbed together. The Umayyad 
rulers behaved very capriciously in this matter. Names 
of unfriendly or suspected persons were removed from the 
list and other names inserted. Pensions were reduced 
or Increased at will. The custom of giving pensions also 
to the wives and children of the muqatilah had already 
been restricted by Mu'awiyah and altogether discontinued 
by *Abdu 1-JMalik bin Marwan. 'Urnar II reintroduced 
the practice. 

I. See supra, p. 54. 


The Small Landowners 

In the Early Muslim Empire feudalism was comple- 
tely divested of military obligation. If the old feudal 
order was retained, it was done so only for the purpose of 
collecting taxes and not to serve military ends. 

Those lands which were conquered from the feudal 
order by force ('anwalan) were given to the actual tillers 
of the soil and those estates which were conquered by 
peace (sulhan) were allowed to be retained by the old 
land lords. 

Thus there were three categories of lands : 

1. Estates vacated by the former rulers and the 
nobility, the endowed estates of fire temples, estates 
belonging to fche postal department and lands left behind 
by those who were killed on the battlefield, etc. 1 These 
estates became crown lands from which the State took 
the landowners' share of the produce. These were the 
estates which were later on given to the Muslim nobles 
as af-t/iitft'? and formed the basis on which Muslim 
feudal lords thrived. 

2. Those lands which were conquered by force and 
given back to the peasantry in return for al-Jtharftj 
without any obligation to render military service. On 
these lands flourished the smaller peasantry, 

3. Those la) ids which were conquered by peace and 
left under the old feudal lords in return for a stipulated 
tribute or al-khardj to be paid by them in a lump sum. 1 

The conversion of the peasants to Islam deprived 
the State of al-jtayah and al-khar&j. When such conver- 
sions began to take place on a mass scale, they created a 
very gtfnous financial problem for the rulers. 

1. Ai-Baiadb ri, pp. 272 aeq. 

2. Ibid,, pp. A. 9, 00, 152. U4 seqq 


The Mawali 

A very large number of the landless new Muslims 
migrated to the towns and attached themselves to Arab 
families as their clients (al-mawali). Further, prisoners 
taken in wars, who subsequently became Muslims, 
were also thus attached to the families of their masters, 
The Prophet said : " The mawla of a people is one 
among them, be he one through captivity, through 
affiliation, or through covenant." 1 In adition to these 
categories, the cultivating peasants, when they became 
Muslims, abandoned the kharaj lands and came over 
to the towns to have the advantages of town life and 
.enjoy the privileges of Islam. These people, in the days 
of the Pious Khaljfjhs, paid no poll-tax. 2 Many of them 
were included in the^perision list, but even then a very 
large number was excluded. 

Under the Umayyads, the influx into towns of these 
categories of men became so great that the countryside 
suffered for want of labourers. Moreover, mass conversion 
caused very groat financial loss to the government. Most 
of the Umayyads were more particular about the re venue 
than about conversion to Islam. Hence al-Hajjaj collect- 
ed al-jisyah from the mawali as well and collected al- 
khardj from those al-mawali who, after their conversion 
to Islam, continued in possession of the kharaj lands, 
He "even re-imposed it upon those who had before 
been freed from it/' 3 He forebade al-hijrah (immigration 
into the centres of Islam) to the mawali and drove back 
such as had already migrated to the towns under his 
jurisdiction to their original places. 

There was very great discontent among the mawctli. 
They were Muslims, but they had to pay the jizyah and 
the kharftj- They fought in the wars of Islam, but received 
no salaries. In Khurasan alone there were 20,000 
al-mawffli soldiers fighting for Islam without receiving 
any remuneration} from the State. 

See Ibn Khaldun, T, 246. 2. AKjizyah. 

3. YVellhausen, p. 280. 


*Urnar II, realising the injustice done to the maw&li* 
cancelled al-Hajjaj's order forcing them to pay the jizyah 
and ordered annuities to be given to those who served in 
the army. But the good and just rule of *Umar II did 
not continue long. After him the maw^liwere treated with 
contempt and injustice ; and they played an important 
role In bringing about the downfall of the Umayyad 

Artisans and Labourers 

Islam gave a stupendous fillip to arts and sciences. 
Though the zenith was not yet reached under the 
Umayyads, many industries had begun to appear. The 
textile industries kept large numbers well occupied. The 
manufacture of cloths, carpets (sing, al-bisfit), curtains 
(sing. as~sitr), long strips (sing, an-nakhkh), prayer-rugs 
(sing, al-musalla), quilts, pillows, various sorts of 
cushions, etc., gave employment to marry . The perfume 
industry was especially paying under the Umayyads. 
Jewellers and manufacturers of valuable vessels and 
costly cloths of silk and of gold and silver embroidery 
made heaps of money. Shipbuilding aiid arms manu- 
facture employed a very large number of workers. 

Artisans, both Muslim and non-Muslim, thrived and 
prospered. They were not much affected by the civil 
wars; and life went on smoothly in spite of the civil 
strife. Mu'awiyah 1 and, after him, 'Abdu 'l-Malik a and 
al-Walid I were very much interested in the prosperity 
of the industrial classes. Al-Waltd had a special taste 
for architecture and constructed many magnificent 
buildings which gave employment to thousands. We dp 
not find any evidence of large-scale unemployment under 
the Umayyads. Of course, there was the lazy mendicant 

The skilled non-Muslim artisans- who earned large 
incomes had a very great advantage over their Muslim 

1. AlJtolidhori, p. 117. 2. Ibid. 


co-protessionists. While the Muslims had to pay 
azzakat on gold, silver and animals, the non-Muslims 
escaped by paying al-jizyah alone, which never exceeded 
four dinars per year on tne richest class. This advantage, 
which the non-Muslims enjoyed over the Muslims, the 
Umayyads were not slow to perceive. Their Governors 
taxed the rich non-Muslim artisans in ways other than 
those prescribed by the shari'at. For example, under 
Mu'awiyah, the presents received by his Governor of 
al~*Iraq on a Nawruz 1 alone amounted to 10,000,000 

The Beggar Class 

The beggar class consisted of the incapacitated and 
the indolent. *Umar I fixed pensions for all early 
Muslims; and the charities were administered in such 
a way that there was no necessity for begging. But 
things degenerated after him. The system of pensions 
and charities could not embrace all Arabs and non- Arabs; 
Muslims and non-Muslims. Therefore begging became a 
common thing. Al- Walid I made elaborate arrangements 
to support the blind, the aged, the maimed and the other 
incapacitated. Hundreds of public kitchens were estab- 
lished where the poor could take their meals. This 
indiscriminate charity and the system of caring for the 
wayfarers gave rise to a class of lazy persons who 
made begging and visiting mosques as wayfarers a profes- 
sion. This class not only depended on the State for its 
support, but also paid no taxes. Non-Muslim beggars 
belonging to the above categories were exempted from 

The Slaves 

The teachings of the Prophet and his example 
decidedly discouraged slavery. As a result, under 'Urnar I, 
it was completely abolished as far as the Arab nationals 
were concerned* The Arab upper classes, even in 

1- The Persian New Year Dmjf. 
2. Al-Ya'qubL Vol. II, p. 259. 


those days when their resources used to be very slender, 
were accustomed to have slaves. In many families male 
slaves were a boon. As long as they were young, they 
served a^ domestic servants. When they eame of age, 
they earned fcheir own livelihood as artisans but were 
always attached and devoted to their masters' families. 
Thus a childless widow or a brotherless girl could always 
depend-on the slaves of the family (in bondage or freed) 
to attend to all her needs. 

After the emergence of Islam, the resources of the 
Arabs multiplied on the one hand, and, on the other, all 
Arab slaves were emancipated. The rich could not get 
slaves to serve their needs. Slaves were imported from 
far and wide. Besides, necessity made the unscrupulous 
rulers adopt a new and abnoxious course. They levied a 
child ta* on the prolific Berbers and others which 
supplied the ruling class with a large number of young 
male slaves. It was 'Umar II who did away with this 
inhuman innovation. 

Thus we see that by the end of the Umayy ad period, 
feudalism had been firmly established in the entire 
Islamic Empire ; that a feudal aristocracy of Muslims had 
sprung up in addition to the already existing non-Muslim 
one; that the strong socialistic and equalitarian tenden- 
cies of Islam had been drowned in mutual jealousies and 
the race for more arid more of land ; that instead of a 
uniform society based on equality and brotherhood, a 
stratified society had appeared among the Arabs, while 
the old stratification continued among the non- Arabs; 
that the feudal aristocracy was growing richer and richer 
by defrauding the Government on the one hand and the 
peasants and others on the other; and that each of the 
new classes presented a set of problems for the Umayyads 
to solve. 


The Khilafat 

UNDER the Umayyads the Khil&fat of the holy Prophet 
was converted into a de facto kingship. It seems 
as though it could not have been otherwise. From 
the beginning there were no fixed rules regarding 
the election of a Khalifa ft. The Qur'an is silent on the 
point and the Prophet left the matter entirely in the 
hands of the Muslim community by leaving no clear in- 
structions. The election of Abu Bakr. though generally 
approved, cannot be called a regular one. There were 
no rules regarding the qualifications required of a Khali- 
fah, as to the method of nomination and election and as 
to the qualifications of a voter or elector. Nor was the 
system of bay* at &n innovation of Islam. It was an old 
Arab custom continued by the new religion. Whenever a 
clan or tribe chose its head, the members of the community 
used to pay homage to him. Sometimes a special bay* at 
was taken for a particular pact or undertaking. 

The Prophet did not make any rules concerning 
elections, for no one under the circumstances could have 
done it. Modern methods of election could not have 
been practised in those days in any country of the world, 
and least of all in Arabia. The old Arab custom was that 
the most influential members of the clan or tribe proposed 
a man to be the chief and the others acknowledged him. 
If there was a serious difference of opinion, only the 
sword could decide. A similar procedure was adopted in 
the election of Abu Bakr, A small section of the Ans&r, 1 
assembled in the meeting place of Bann Sa'dah, and 
agreed to elect Abu Bakr. Then he was acknowledged by 
others. *AH genuinely felt injured that his claim? were 
ignored and did not pay homage to Abu Bakr till after 
the death of Fatimah. As yet a civil war among the 

1. About 40 m number j at-Tubari, 1. 1819. 


Muslims was out of the question. The general sense of 
the Companions of the Prophet including that of * All and 
the much chagrined Sa*d bin 'Ubadah who refused to pay 
homage to Abu Bakr till his death 1 was that the sceptre of 
the young State should not be split in twain. 2 So any 
undeserving man could have easily got himself elected 
and demanded obedience in the name of the unity of all 
the Muslims. To avoid such a contingency Abu Bakr 
proposed 'Umar. But he declined the honour and im- 
mediately nominated Abu Bakr and paid homage to him. 
The argument against splitting the sceptre of Islam pre- 
vailed ; and those like < Ali and Sa'd who were dissatisfied 
with the election, had to yield in the general interest of 
the young community. 

Before his death Abu Bakr nominated 'TJmar after 
consulting some of the leading Companions. 3 The problem 
of a successor confronted the fatally wounded 'Umar. His 
decision, though well meant, proved harmful. His arrange- 
ment left the entire power in the hands of 'Abdu 'r- 
Rahman bin <Awf and again it amounted to a nomi- 
nation: this time nomination by the Khali fall's nominee. 
After the unhappy murder of 'Uthman, <Ali was 
elected by the same old method. The insurgent mob 
hailed him as the Khcdifah, and practically thrust the 
office on him under threat of personal violence. There 
was no other way. No other method is imaginable. 
Electing one more candidate would have meant civil war. 

A feudal society was being born from a tribal one and 
it required fedual overlords. The Umayyads supplied it 
with thetn. As to the method of appointing the successors, 
the experience of the preceding half a century had clearly 
shown Mu'awiy ah that the method of nomination was the 
best. He also knew that in the ca*o of earlier nomina- 
tions it was not personal merit alone that counted. For 
instance, by no stretch of imagination could it be con- 
sidered that 'Uthman was the best qualified person for the 

1. At-Tabari, I, pp, 1844seq. 2. Ibid., pp. 1883 seq. 

3. Ibid , pp. 2157 seq, 


Khilafat on the ground of personal capacity to rule a 
martial race and a rising empire. Family, wealth, posi- 
tion, relationship to the Prophet, tribal backing, past 
services were all taken into account. When family, 
position, wealth, tribal backing, etc., counted in nominat- 
ing a successor and not services to Islam or personal 
merits alone, it was quite natural that &f u'awiyah should 
nominate his son for the great office. 

Under the Sufyanids succession was determined by 
the rule of primogeniture- Mu'awiyah was succeeded by 
his elderst son, Yazid, who, in his turn, was succeeded by 
his eldest son, Mu'awiyah II. Although in practice the 
Khdafat passed from father to son under the Sufyanids 
and descended down in the same family under the 
Marwanids, the office in theory continued to be elective. 
Ths authority of the~Khali/jfks was based on the homage 
done to him by every Muslim citizen and never was the 
Khilafat looked upon as hereditary. 

The nomination of a single successor under the 
Sufyanids gave place to the nomination of two under the 
Marwanids. Marwan nominated his two eons to succeed 
him one after the other, 'Abdu '1- Malik and ( Abdu 
"l-*Aziz. The latter having predeceased the former, 
4 Abdu '1-Malik Dominated two of his sons, al-Walid and 
Sulayrnan. Sulayman nominated a cousin and a brother, 
*Umar bin 'Abdi 'l-'Aziz and Yazid bin *Abdi '1-Malik. 
Yazid II nominated a brother and a non, Hisham and 
al-Walid II. Besides, under the Marwanids the rule of 
a son succeeding the father was not strictly followed. 
The rule of Mu'awiy ah II was a failure. No boy could ru|e 
the unruly Arabs Therefore Marwan started and others 
followed the practice of nc imnatmg two grown up persons 
to avoid a minor's rule. But throughout, the successors 
were chosen from the descendants of Marwaii I. 

The choice of two successors at a time by the last 
reigning prince gave rise to a new kind of evil. Many 
elder members of the senior branches had to be left 
without the possibility of succession. Thus under 


al- Walid II the evil became very apparent and led to his 



'Abdu 'l-Malik 'Abdu 'l-'Aziz 

3 | 4 ] 6 j |7 |5 

Al-Walid I Sulayman Yazid II Hisham 'Umar II 

9 | 10 | 8 | 

Yazid III Ibrahim Al-Walid II 

It will be seen from the above table that, at the time 
of al-Walid II, Yazid and Ibrahim, the sons of aJ-Walid I, 
the eldest son of *Abdu 'J-Maiik, were left out of power, 
while ai-Waltd II, the son of the third son of *Abdu 
'l-Malik ruled over the Empire with the possibility of 
his son succeeding him. This made the sons of 
al-Walid I revolt and murder al-Wahd 1L This murder 
divided tbeUmayyads into two camps, and this division 
was one of tlie causes for the downfall of the dynasty. 

The Shtira 

From the beginning the Shvra was not an elected 
or representative body. It consisted in effect of a 
few topmost men. It was more a Council of Elders 
of the pie-Islamic days than <*, parliament. Since 
its meetings took place m the mosque, less important 
persons also could take part in it. Such presumptuous 
spirits were only few and the earlier Khali fa Its tolerated 
them. It is certain that under the first two Khahfahs 
the most impoitaat, leaders of the revolution were 
constantly consulted. Under 'Uthrnan even this sem- 
blance of a council disappeared. His relatives were his 
chief advisers ; and on one important occasion he called 
for a conference of the Governors, rather than the 
parliament of the faithfu) . During his governorship of 
al-Hijaz, 'Uinar II established a council and consulted it 


on all 'Important affairs of the province. When he 
succeeded to the office of the Khilafat, he endeavoured 
his best to get as many of the best men among scholars 
and divines around him as possible. But his reign was 
so short and eventful that he could not accomplish 
anything definite in this direction. 


The old harmless 'Uthman imagined that he was 
a full sovereign and began disposing off the fay' of 
the Muslims as he liked. He gave the whole of the 
khums of Tripoli to Marwan, who was his son-in-law and 
an evil counsellor of his. 1 To Ibn Abi Sarh, he gave one- 
fifth of the khums and to /Abdullah bin* Khalid 50,000 
pieces. Such presents were never given by the previous 
Khali fahs. He gave a beautiful camel belonging to the 
State to a relative of his in an irregular way. 'Abdu 
'r-Kahman bin Awf, the companion who was solely 
responsible for 'Uthman's election, took forcible possession 
of the animal, slaughtered it and distributed the meat 
among the citizens of ai-Madjnah. 'Uthman was old 
and weak, his counsellors selfish and unscrupulous ; so 
the holy Khil&fat took a worldly turn. 

Nor did things improve under Mu'awiyah who was 
himself the recipient of several irregular gifts from 
'Uthman. As we have already seen, most of the vast 
crown lands were given to Mu*awiyah by 'TJthman. 
Mu'awiyah began enjoying and bestowing them as he 
pleased. Under him the rules of pensions were mani- 
pulated to suit the royal interests. Many names disappear- 
ed from the register while many new ones were inserted. 
The stipends of many were discontinued or reduced. 
M$ny favourites receive4 enhanced stipends. Thus 
Mu'awiyah became the ruler over the Arabs and the 
absolute disposer of the fay" of the Muslims. Money 
means power. Full control over the purse of the Muslims 
gave Mu'awiyah absolute power, and the later Umayyads 
cliiDg to it. 

1. AJ.Ya'qifbi, II, 191. 


The Court 

It was quite natural that with wealth and absolute 
power a court should spring up. The great 'Urnar I, 
even if he had wanted to have a court, could not 
have afforded the luxury out of his 5,000 dirhama per 
year (about Rs. 100 per month) with his several wives 
and numerous children. It was under 'Uthman that the 
beginnings of a court appeared. His pompous life and 
costly surroundings, so vehemently denounced by Abo 
Dharri 1-Ghif ari, were the precursors of the Umayyad 
court. Even in *Umar's days, Mu'awiyah, his young 
Viceroy in Syria, could afford to maintain a small 
court because he was not as scrupulous with public 
money as his conscientious master. After the attempt 
on his life, Mu'awiyah instituted a guard (al- haras) ; 
and even in the mosque, he constructed a small 
partition known as the hujrah (room) to protect 
himself from intending assassins. It was this very same 
Khali f ah of the holy Prophet who set up a throne and sat 
on it like a king. 1 From these beginnings a veritable 
royal court developed at Damascus under the worldly 
Umayyads with all the attendant evils. Thus the great 
succesaorship of the holy Prophet of God was, under the 
Umayyads, converted into a grand monarchy with 
absolute powers and all its accompaniments. 

The heroic and saintly 'Umar II did a good deal to 
eliminate the rot that had entered the sacred institution. 
He returned all his wealth and that of his wife to the 
State treasury, led a simple life and was content with the 
meal seryed in the State kitchen for the poor and the 
helpless. The courtiers, songsters, poets, musicians, and 
others was turned out of the court. He sat on the floor 
as his great-grandfather 'Umar I had done. As the 
Shura could not be restored again in the old form, he 
tried to get round him as many scholars and divines as 
possible to advise him, and kept himself in touch with 
great scholars like al- Hasan al-Basri. 

1. Ibn Khaldun, I, p. 217, 


After the death of *Umar H the grand court of the 
Umayyads was revived. The old pdmp and gay life of 
the palace was restored. Poets, musicians, songstresses 
and others returned and the Umayyad royalty was restor- 
ed with great pomp and ostentation. The ruler of the 
Muslim Empire was no more the de facto Khali f ah of the 
holy Prophet of God, but lie became a worldly emperor 
like the Khusraws and the Caesars with unlimited power 
over his subjects. 

The Central Boards 

There were five Boards at the Centre Diw&nu T-Jund 
(The Military Board), Diwanu *l-Kharaj (The Board of 
Finance), Diwanu 'r-Rasa'il (The Board of Correspon- 
dence), Diwanu 'l-Khatam (the Board of Signet) and 
Diwanu 'l-Barid (The Board of Posts). 

1 . Diwanu 'l-Jund. It was the same great Diwan 
established by 'Umar I which assigned annuities to all 
Arabs and to the Muslim soldiers of other nationalities. 
The form in which 'Umar had left it underwent much 
change in the hands of the Umayyads. On the one hand, 
the Government meddled with the register of the second 
Khali f ah as it liked; and, on the other, the recipients 
began to regard the pension as a subsistence allowance 
rather than as a salary given for military service. 
"Hisham put a stop to the abuse of granting pensions as 
a benefice (' living ') ; no one got it, not even an Umayyad 
prince, who had not either seen service in the war himself 
or sent a substitute. His own share he gave to his mawla, 
Yaqut, who had to take the field in his stead." 1 

2. Diwanu *l-Khar$j. This Central Board directly 
administered the revenue side of as-Sawad, the richest 
region of the Empire, and also administered the entire 
finance of the State. It was the Central Finance Board 
where all receipts and disbi a dements were made and 
records relating to them maintained. The surplus of the 
provinces was paid into this Board. Still, as we shall see 

1. Wellhausen, p. 348. 


, huge sums were kept in the provincial treasuries 
for local purposes and emergencies. 

3. Diwanu 'r-ftas&'il. The Prophet employed 
several persons to maintain the records of the State. 
During the Pious Khilafat the machinery at the Centre 
was almost the same as far as correspondence was con- 
cerned. Individual Companions were employed to record 
the various activities of the State. 

Under the Umayyads a regular Board of Correspon- 
dence (Diwanu *r~Rasa*il) was established. Literally it 
means a Board of Letters or Pamphlets. As a matter of 
fact this Board issued circulars and pamphlets giving 
instructions to the provincial officers and the subjects in 
general. Some of these circulars and pamphlets have 
been copied in the book of al-JahsMyarL 1 This Board 
dealt with all correspondence, issued circulars and pam- 
phlets and coordinated the work of all the other Boards. 
Political correspondence under the early Khalifahs 
was very brief and to the point. To 'Abdu '1-Hamid, the 
Katib of Marwan II, is ascribed the introduction of the 
flowery style with its conventional polite phraseology. 2 
'Abdu 3 l-Hamid's style was followed and improved upon 
under the 'Abbasids. An Arabic proverb says, "Insha 
(epistolary composition) began with 'Abdu 1-Hamidand 
ended will Ibnu 'l-'Amid." 3 

4. Diwanu %Khatam. Mu'awiyah established a 
Chancery Board which bore the title of Diwanu "l-Khatam 
(The Board of Signet). Every order issued by the 
Khali f ah was registered by the Board ; and then the 
original was sealed and despatched . Before the establish- 
ment of this Board, unsealed orders were sent out or 
delivered to the persons concerned. Mu*awiyah gave a 
letter to *Amr bin az-J2/ubayr ordering Ziyad bin Abihi to 
give the bearer 100,000 dirhams. <Amr opened the letter, 

1. KiWbu 'l-Wu*ar&i*>a 'l-Kutmb, (Egypt, 1938). 

2. Itm^hallikin, I, p. 660, and al-Mas'udi, VI, p. 81. 

3. Ibnu VAmld was thd Wazlr of Buknu 'd-Dawlah, the Buwayltfd. 


altered the figure to 200,000 dirhams and received the 
amount from Ziyad. 1 The fraud was, however, detected 
when the Viceroy sent his account. *Amr was arrested 
for fraud; but his brother, 'Abdullah bin as-Ziibayr, paid 
the extra amount to Mu'awiyah and secured his release. 
The keeping of office copies and the sealing of orders 
before despatching them were not confined only to the 
Central Government; the Governors also adopted the 
system. Ziyad used to preserve copies of ail his orders. 8 
By the time of *Abdu 1-Malik, the State Chancery had 
developed into a regular department and State archives 
had been established at Damascus. 

5, Dlwanu 'l-Barid. Mu'awiyah was the first 
Muslim ruler to establish the postal system. It was 
originally designed to serve the purposes of the State ; and 
later, it was used by the subjects also. The main highways 
were divided into stages, and each stage had horses ready 
to carry the post. In Arabia and Syria camels were 
used. 5 Thus by a system of relay, the State messages and, 
later, all posts were carried from one part of the Empire 
to another. 4 The system was known as al-Barjd. In 
Mu'jamu 'l-Buldan Yaqut writes that the word came from 
the Persian word buridan (to cut off) as the tails of the 
postal horses used to be cut off to distinguish them from 
the other horses and to recognise a rider on such a horse 
as the messenger of the State. 5 The distance between 
one stage and another was twelve miles. 

Under 'Abdu '1-Malik the postal system was consider- 
ably improved. Not only was the post carried through a 
relay of horses, but also State officials used the postal 
system for swift journey. 6 In times of emergency the 
postal carriages were used for swift transport of troopsfi 
They were able to carry 50 to 100 men at a time. Under 
Yosuf bin *Umar, the Viceroy of al-'Iraq, the postal 

1. Al-Jahshiyari, pp. 24-25. 2. Al-Ya'qubi, II, p. 279. 

3. Ibnu 'l-Athlr. Vol. VI, p. 49. 4, Al Mas'udi, IV, p. 93. 

5. Quoted by al-Khudari, II, p. 222. 

6. Ibnu 1-AthJr, IV, pp. 352 to 356, 374. 


department for that province alone cost 4,000,000 dirhams 
a year. The postmasters, in addition to their postal duties, 
had to keep the KhaUfah informed of all important 
happenings in the territories under their jurisdictions. 

The Currency 

Before Islam the Arabs were using the Persian and 
Roman coins. Neither had they a Central Government 
nor a common currency. Of course, in the south, where 
a high standard of civilisation and a stable government 
had prevailed, some coins bearing Himyaritic inscrip- 
tions and the Attic owl also had been under circulation. 
The Meccans accepted all coins of pure gold and silver 
and determined their value by weight. Under the 
Prophet and Aba Bakr, only the Roman and Persian 
currencies were used. Dr. Karabacek had a dinar of the 
false prophet, Musaylimah ; and Saulcy in the Journal 
Asiatique had spoken of a copper piece issued by Khalid 
bin al-Walid. 1 

Under 'Umar I the Muslim Empire expanded by leaps 
and bounds and all kinds of coins poured in, some of 
which were defective. On an examination it wa^ found 
that the dirhams were of three different weights. Some 
weighed 20 carats, some 12 and some only 10. *Umar 
struck the average and minted dirhams each weighing 
14 carats which equalled T 7 ^ mithq&l. The model adopted 
was that of the Persian dirham. This was done in the 
year 18 A.H. Some had "All praise is to Allah" 
inscribed on them, some bore " Muhammad is the 
Messenger of God," and others, " There is no God but 
Allah," He fixed the ratio of the dinar and the dirham 
as 1 : 10. 'Uthman issued some dirhams with the 
inscription "Allah is Great." 

-According toNoldeke's Syrian, Mu'awiyah struck 
gold and silver monejr, but it was not accepted (by the 

1. See Orient Under the Caliphs, p. 198 (footn6te). 


Christians) because there was no cross upon it." * But 
Maqnzi says that they were rejected because they were 
defective, 2 Mufe'ab bin az-Zubayr struck coins in the name 
of his brother 'Abdullah. Silver pieces bearing 'Abdullah's 
name in Pahlavi characters have been acquired/ 
* Abdullah bin az-Zubayr was the first to mint the 
dirham in the round shape. The shape of the previous 
dirhams was not a perfect circle and the surface wag 
rough and defective. These defects were removed and 
the coin was made a piece of art and a&sthetics. On one 
side his dirham bore the inscription "Muhammad is the 
Messenger of God," and on the other, "God commands 
fidelity and justice." The coins minted by Mus'ab seem 
to be different from those minted by his brother, 
'Abdullah, the formidable rival of 'Abdu '1-Malik for thA 
office of the Khilafat. 

When < Abdu '1-Malik became the undisputed master 
of the Muslim Empire, he took up the problem of coinage. 
According to al-Baladhuri, 4 the Romans got paper from 
Egypt and the Muslims got dinars from the Romans. Up to 
the days of 'Abdu '1-Malik, the Egyptian paper bore 
Christain inscriptions and the sign of the cross as water 
mark. Under 'Abdu 1-Malik the verse " Say, He alone 
is God " was substituted. The Romans threatened to 
retaliate by inscribing some blasphemy against the 
Prophet on the dinars. *Abdu '1-Malik was not the 
monarch to be cowed down like that. He had his own 
dinars and dirhams minted in A.H. 76. The attempt 
succeeded marvellously well ; uniformity in weight and 
size and artistic beauty were attained beyond all expec- 
tations. The ratio between the dinar and the dirham in 
value was 10 : 1 and in weight 10 : 7. To make 
thS Muslim dinar attractive to the Romans, *Abdu *1- 
Malik put 2% of more gold in his dinar than the 
Roman coin contained. 5 Mubarak *Ali BashS, who has 
made a thorough study of the Muslim coins, says that 

1. Orient under thi Caliphs, p. 198 ; WeUhausen, p. 218. 

2. Al Khudari, II, 360. 3. Wellhaufion, p. 218. 

4. Al-Baladhuri, p. 240. 5. Al-Khudari, II, p. 360. 


in the days of *Abdu '1-Malik, a dinar weighed half the 
weight of a modern English guinea. 1 

At the command of 'Abdu '1-Malik, al-Hajjaj also 
minted and issued dirhams. His dirham was round in 
shape. On the one side was inscribed " Say, He alone is 
God/' and, on the other, "There is no God but Allah/ 1 
Both the sides had beautiful borders. On one of them 
(within the border) was inscribed " This dirham was 
minted in such and such a city," and, on the other, 
"Muhammad is the Messenger of God : He sent him with 
guidance and the true religion to supersede all other 
religions." * 

When Yazid bin * Abdi '1- Malik became the K hall f ah, 
his Viceroy in al-'Iraq, *Umar bin Hubayrah, minted the 
Hubayriyah dirham on the standard weight of six 
daw&riiq* When Hisham, who was a great hoarder, 
succeeded Yaztd, he ordered that the standard should be 
raised to seven dawanlq (sing, daniq). So his Viceroy, 
Khalid al-Qasri, minted and issued the Khalidiyah coins 
containing seven dawanlq. All the previous coins were 
withdrawn and all mints except the one at Wasit were 
closed down* Khalid was deposed in 120 A.M. ; and his 
successor reverted to the old standard of six daw&niq. 

Weights and Measures 

From the very beginning of the Muslim State, great 
care was taken to see that merchants and dealers used 
proper weights and measures. Of all the pious Khallfahs 
'Ali was most particular about it. He used to go round 
the market of al-Kufah, whip in hand, to see that proper 
weights and measures were used and no one cheated any- 
one else. 1 Under the Umayyads police officers were in 
charge of the supervision of weights and measures. Al- 
Walid I was also in the habit of visiting markets. Some- 
times he even reduced the prices of articles. 

1. Ai-Khutfari. p. 363. 2. Ibid., p. 361, 

3. For the exact weight of a da uiq soe next page. 


Often local areas had their own weights and 
measures. The following weights weredn general Use : 

1. The Habbah (Grain): It was equal to the 
weight of two grains of barley. The word was of 
purely Arabian origin. 1 

2. The Qlrat (Carat) : It was equal to 4 habbahs 
or 8 grains of barley. The word is of Greek origin. 

3. The Daniq : It weighed 2J qirais. The word 
is of Persian origin.* Its weight was equal to 20 grams 
of barley which was equal to of the weight of a dirham. 

4. The Mithqal : Each dinar weighed one mithgal. 
The weight of a dinar was V of that of & dirham* Each 
dirham weighed six ddniqs. Thus a mithqal was equal 
to 7" dtlniqs which equalled in weight to 17 If grains of 
barley. The weight of the dindr was equal to that of half 
a modern English guinea. 3 

5. The Oqlyali (Ounce) : The word is of Greek 
origin and it weighed about T ^ of an English pound. Its 
exact weight was 1-312 English ounces. 

6. The Ritl : A ritl weighed 15-75 ounces, i.e. 
about one pound. Its exact weight was 38-4 tolfts. 

7. The Mann : A mann weighed two nils. Roughly 
it was equal to an Indian Ser* To be exact, a mann 
weighed 76| tolas while an Indian Ser weighs 80 tolas. 

8. The Nuw&t : It was a weight employed to 
weigh gold and silver. It weighed '20 tiqiyahs which 
equalled 64 tolas. 

9. The Qintar : This weight was used to weigh a 
very large quantity of the precious metals. Reports vary 

1. Al-Balidhuri, pp, 299 aeq. 2. The Pemian word was 

3. See supra, pp. 87*88. 


{as to its exact weight. Abu *Ubayd says that it was 
equal to 1,200 uqiyahs 1 and as-Sidi supports him by 
saying that it weighed 100 ritls. 2 Since these two 
independent reports agree (1,200 uqlya hs being equal to 
100 ritls), we can safely grant that a qintar weighed 100 
ritls The origin appears to be Greek connected with the 
word centum* 

10. The Buhar : The word literally means weight ; 
and is evidently an Arabicised form of the Persian word 
bar (weight). It was used to indicate a weight of 
300 ritls. Abu 'Amr says that it was equal to 600 ritls. 3 

Liquids and grains were mostly measured and not 
jweighed. The following measures were prevalent : 

1. The Mudd (Modius) : It was Greek in origin 
and measured 1*15 litres. It could contain 52 tolas of 
wheat, i.e. 1^ pounds of that grain. 

2. The S& : 4 mudds made one sa f . Hence a sa' 
could hold 210 tol&s of wheat. 

3. The Qaflz : 12 sa's made one qafiz. It could 
hold slightly more than 64J Ibs. of wheat. 

4. The Wasg (ass load): It was equal to five 
gafizes which equalled 60 a's equalling in measure to 323 
IDS. of wheat. 

5. The Kurr: 6 wasqs made one kurr which 
equalled 360 sa's, nearly 4J cwt. of wheat. 

6. The Jarib : 40 qafizes made one jarib which 
equalled about 5| cwt. of wheat. 

Units for Measuring Lengths 

1. The Usbu'i Six grains of barley lined up 
breadthwise made one usbu* or inch. 

1. Ibn SIdah : aJ-Af nJtossas, Vol. XI, p. 266. 

2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 


2. The Bishr : A span is called a bishr. 

3. The Dhir&* : 24 u$bu's made one dhira* (cubit). 
The standard cubit was 22f English inches long. 

4. The B&* : A fathom was called a b& . 

5. The Mil: 4,000 cubits made one mil. 1 The 
mil was equal to 1*44 English miles. 

6. The Farsakh: This word is of Persian origin 
and is the same as the Persian farsang or para-i-sang* 
A farsakh was equal to 3f English miles. 

The unit for measuring lands was the/#n&. A jafib 
was equal to 3,600 square yards, nearly f of an acre. 

Under the Utnayyads, weights and measures were 
standardised and they used to be sealed by the Govern- 
ment. Al-Hajjaj seems to be at- the bottom of this 
reform. The picture of a Byzantine weight, validated by 
al-Walfd I, bearing on the obverse |B, i.e. two ounces, 
and on the reverse a Kufic inscription stating that the 
Khalifah has recognised it as equivalent to two Uqlyahs 
is published by Hitti. He is of the opinion that probably 
it is "the earliest inscribed Muslim weight thus far found. " a 

The Change of the Language of Administration 

When 'Abdu '1-Malik consolidated the much distracted 
Muslim Empire under his sway, he desired uniformity in 
the administration. In Persia most of the crucial 
administrative posts were occupied by the Persians, in 
Syria by the Greeks and in Egypt by the Copts. Most of 
these administrators were non-Muslims. Arabic was the 
language of the Bedouins, and, as such, had not yet 
possessed the terms necessary for running the adminis- 
tration of a huge civilised empire. Most of the 
Khali fahs and their Governors thought and the foreigners 
saw to it that they so thought that the administration 
c^uld not be carried on in Arabic, 

1. Ibn Khaldun, I, p. 7. 2. Hitti, p. 223. 


It is due to the genius of the great intellectual 
al-Hajjaj, that this apparently insurmountable difficulty 
was mastered. 1 One day he saw one Salih bin *Abdi 
Y-Rahman, a clerk in his office^ writing both in Arabic 
and in Persian. He observed him and went away. It 
struck Salih that al-Hajjaj might make him supersede his 
.superior, Zadan Farriikh. He conveyed his apprehension 
to Zadan who haughtily replied that al-Hajjaj stood in 
greater need of him than he was in need of al-Hajjaj as 
no one else could -carry on the work. 2 Salih said that he 
could convert the registers into Arabic. Zadan asked 
lim to try a few lines. Salih accomplished the task 
marvellously well. Zadan wanted to make sure if Salih *s 
genius had been really noticed by al-Hajjaj. So he asked 
Salih to pretend to be ill. Salih did as directed by his 
toss. Al-Hajjaj immediately sent his own physician to 
treat the rising genius. At Zadan's behest, Salih did not 
take any active step to further attract the attention of 
al-Hajjaj. In the wars connected with the revolt of Ibnu 
'1-A'sh'ath, Zadan Farrukh was killed as a civilian 
casualty. Thereupon al-MajjaJ *nade Salih Secretary in 
the place of Zadan. 3 Salih was offered" 100,000 dirhams 
by the interested Persians to tell al-Hajjaj that it was not 
possible to change the language of the registers. Salih did 
not take, the bait. 4 He accomplished the difficult task in 
87 A.H. and earned the gratitude of the entire Arab 
community. But he met with a very tragic end under 
Yazid II. 5 

The man in charge of the Syrian Dlwftn in the days 
of Mu'awiyah was Sarjun (Sergius) 6 bin al-Mansur the 
Greek, and he was followed by his son al-Mansur. The 
man who translated the Syrian Diwftn from Syriac to 
Arabic was Sulayman bin Sa'id, the K&tlbu 'r-Ras#'il. 
The translation of the Syrian Dlwftn took place in the 
days of al-Walid. 

1. AI-Baladhuri, pp. 30C seqq. 2. Al-Jahshiyari, p. 33. 

3. Ibid., pp. 33-34. 4. Al-Baladhuri, pp. 300-301. 

6. Al- Jahfibiyari, p. 3. 6. Al-Baladhuri, p. 193. 


The Dlwtln of Egypt was translated into Arabic in 
87 A.H* by Ibn Yarba' al-Fazari of Hims during the 
reign of al-Walid. 

Thus were all the records of the Government 
translated into Arabic ; and the language of Arabia 
became the medium of administration throughout the 
Muslim Empire. In spite of this change, Persians, 
Greeks, and Copts were not completely excluded from the 
administration. They picked up Arabic and continued} 
in the service of the Government in large numbers. 

Religious Organisation tinder the Umayyads 

Although it has become a fashion to paint all the 
Umayyads except the irreproachable 'Umar II as ungodly 
and irreligious and to call the Umayyad period a period of 
reaction against Islam, the main factors of the Islamic 
religion continued unaltered under the Umayyads, 
It is a lack of historical sense that makes critics 
consider Islam a sudden jump in the historical evolution 
of Arabia and the Umayyad period as a recoiling after 
that sudden jump. A careful study of all the available 
material will show that throughout the historical process 
was consistent and natural and that the dialectical 
process has worked as consistently as in any other 
country of the world. 

It is true that the thesis and antithesis in pre-Islamic 
Arabia found a synthesis under Islam, that under the 
Umayyads, this synthesis developed into a thesis and 
antithesis for which a new synthesis was found under the 
'Abbasids which again, in its turn, got resolved into a 
thesis and antithesis. This working of the historical 
process will be a very interesting topic of study if under- 
taken with sufficient equipment. 

The religious organisation under the Umayyads 
remained almost the same as under the Pious Kkalifahs. 
Religious dogmas still remained elastic ; and if people 
were executed for their views, they were done so because 


their views were dangerous to the dynastic interests of the 
Umayyads, and not because they held religious views 
different from the common ones. The spirit of 
toleration that admitted into the fold of Islam and 
employed usefully even rival prophets like Tulayhah 
continued under the Umayyads. 

Muslim laws were not as yet codified ; much less the 
Muslim tenets. The judges possessed wide discretionary 
powers and the practice of denouncing people as kafirs 
or zindlqs on the slightest pretext had not yet come into 
vogue. The term used to denounce the shocking be- 
haviour of Yazid I was fisq (transgression). In spite of all 
the profane acts attributed to al-Walid II, including the 
tearing of the Qur'an to pieces with arrows, he was not 
denounced as a kafir. He was only dubbed a f&siq 
(transgressor), and curiously enough it is recorded that 
this monarch, like one of his predecessors, 'Uthman, 
suffered death with the Qur'aft in his hand. 1 

The same arrangement for the conduct of prayers 
and the care of the mosques, which had existed under the 
Pious Khallfahs 9 continued under the Umayyads. New 
mosques were built in very large numbers and the old 
ones enlarged and beautified. The zakat and other alms 
were collected and distributed to the poor exactly as they 
were done under the Pious Khali fahs. Every year 
the Khallfah appointed a person to lead the Hajj 
ceremonies as the previous rulers had done, and very 
often Umayyad rulers led the pilgrimage in person. The 
other most important duty of waging war against the 
infidels and inviting the non-Muslim nations to embrace 
Islam was as faithfully and zealously performed by the 
Umayyads as done by the Pious Khalifahs before and the 
* Abbasids after them. On the whole, the form of religious 
organisation, the spirit of religious performances and 
ceremonies and the guarding of Muslim interests, as 
opposed to those of the non-Muslims, remained the same 
as under the immediate successors of the Prophet. 

1. Al-Khudari, II, p. 337. 



THE Easterners in general, and the Muslims in parti- 
cular, loved local autonomy. In the matter of adminis- 
tration the provinces were autonomous to a very large 
extent. All provincial expenses were met from the 
revenues of the respective provinces. All works of public 
utility, such as roads, canals, public buildings, mosques, 
schools, etc., were raised and all essential services run 
from the treasury of the province where they were re- 
quired. The 'ushr from 'Uman used to be sent to the 
State treasury at al-Basrah. *Umar II ordered that it 
should remain in *Uman itself and that it should be 
divided among the poor of the province. 1 He also order- 
ed that the kharaj of Khurasan should remain in the 
same province and be spent there itself. 2 

After meeting all the charges and paying the State 
annuities, the provincial treasuries contained huge 
amounts. When Mukhtar conquered al-Kufah, the 
treasury contained 9,000,000 dirhams. 3 Ibn Ziyad left 
19,000,000 at al-Basrah, 4 and Yazjd bin Muhallab 
captured the treasury of the same city with 10,000,000. s 

Another important feature to be noted in the 
Umayyad administration is the separation of financial 
from political administration. Formerly, the Amir or 
Wftli, as the chief of the whole administration, had both 
these departments under his charge. Mu'awiyah was the 
first to see the evils of the system although as early as the 
reign of 'Umar we see separate treasury officers being 
appointed in certain provinces. Mu'awiyah desired that 

1. Al-Baladhuri, pp. 77. seq. 2. At-Tftbwri, II, 1366. 

3. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, IV, 187. 4. Ibid., p. 110. 

5, De Goejo : Fratgmtnta Hist. Arabicorvm, Vol. I, p. 50. 


these two branches of administration should be separated 
completely. He wrote to *Amr bin al-*As about it, but the 
crafty general and administrator refused to hold the horn 
while another milked the cow. By patience and care 
Mu'awiyah succeeded in separating these two branches in 
his own lifetime in almost all the provinces. The officer 
in cjb&rge of finance, especially the administrator of land- 
tax, was called Sahibu 'l-Kharaj. 

The appointment of subordinate Governors or ad- 
ministrators was in the jbiands of the major Governors. 
The Governor of Africa appointed the 'Amil of Spain 
and the Governor of al-'Iraq, the 'Amils of Khurasan, 
Sind, etc. The intimation of the appointment used to be 
given to the Khali fah> Sometimes the Khalifak himself 
suggested the dismissal of certain 'Amils and the appoint- 
ment of certain others. In all the major towns of the 
provinces 'Amils were appointed. When 'Ziyad bin 
Abihi became the Viceroy of al-'Iraq, he divided 
Khurasan into four districts and appointed an 'Amil 
over each of them. Similarly under al-Hajjaj 'Amils 
were appointed over Karman, Sijistan, Sind and other 
districts. Later, when the Governors of Khurasan 
became practically independent, they appointed their own 
'Amils over the various districts of that country. 

The Provinces and Districts of the Empire 

At the end of the Umayyad period, the Muslim 
Empire was divided into 14 huge provinces (sing, al-iqiim) 
of unequal size. Each of tuem was subdivided into 
several large districts (sing, al-kurah)- To give an 
example, the whole of Arabia, a subcontinent larger than 
the Indian peninsula, formed a single province and the 
whole of Spain one district. 

1 . The Province of Arabia. The Arabian province 
was divided into four districts : 1. Al-Hijaz, comprising 
the whole of al-Hijaz, the entire Arabian region north of 

1. Al-Maqdisi, quoted by al-Khudari, HI, pp. 32 to 40. 


Makkah and the whole of Wadiu '1-Qura. It contained 
the towns of Makkah (which was the capital of the 
district and also of the province), al-Madinah, Tayrna', 
Yanbu S 1 al- Jar, at-Ta'if, etc. 

It comprised the whole of north-western Arabia 
and a portion of the north : east. 

2. Al-Yaman : This district comprised the whole 
of al-Yaman (consisting of Tihamatu '1-Yaman with its 
capital Zubayd and Najdu 1-Yaman with its capital 
San'a'), Hadramavvt and Mahra. It contained the famous 
towns of San'a', Ma'rib,J!hihr, Zafar, etc., and the ports of 
Iludaydah, Mukha and 'Adan. 

3. *U man : Comparatively it was a smaller district 
comprising the south-western part of Arabia, and its 
capital was Suhar, a port on the Arabian Sea. 

4. Hajr : The capital of Hajr was al-Ahsa'. This 
district comprised the whole of al-Yamamah also. Hajr 
was that area most of which was formerly covered by 

2. The Province of al-'Iraq. This province was 
divided into six districts. 

/. Al-Kuftih: It encompassed the area around 
al-Kufah including al-Qadisjyah and *Aynu 't-Tamar. 

2. Al-Basrrth : The district of al- Basrah included 
al-Ubullah and 'Abbadan also in addition to al-Basrah. 

3. Wasil : This district had Fammu 's-Sulh also 
in it. 

4- Al-Madain : The district of al-Mada'in includ- 
ed, in addition to the town of that name, an-Naharwan, 
Jalula, etc. 

5. Hidwan : This district encompassed Khaniqm 
and as-Sfrwan also. 


6. Sftmarra* Besides Samarra this district had 
in it the towns of al-Karkh, al-Anbar, Hit, Tarkit, etc. 

3. The Province of al-Jazirah. It comprised the 
ancient Assyria. It was the region that lay between 
the Tigris and the Euphrates. It consisted of three 

/. The Region of RabVah with Mawsil as its 
headquarters included the towns of Nasibin, Ra'su 'l-'Ayn, 

2. The Region of Bakr with Amad as its capital. 

3. The Region of Mudar with ar-Raqqah as the 
capital of the district. 

Al-Mawsil was the capital of the province. 

4. TJic Province of Syria. It contained six dis- 

/. Qinnasrrn: Its capital was Halab and it 
comprised in it the towns of Qinnasnn, Mar'ash, Iskanda- 
ronah, etc. 

2. Hints 1 : It comprised Salanuyah, Tadmur, 
and al-Ladhiqiya also. 

J. Damascus with Bayrat, Tripoli, etc. 

4. Al-Urdunn: Its capital was Tiberias and it 
included the important port of Acre. 

5. Filastin: With its capital ar-Ramlah, this 
district had in it the towns of Ma'ab, Tabuk, etc., also. 

5. The Province of Egypt. Egypt was divided 
into seven districts. 

/. Al-Jifar which had al-Farama' as its capital. 

1 . I have uot given the names of the capital* of those districts, the names 
of whirl) are identical with the names of the district headquarters. 


2. Al-Hawf with Bilbays (also Balbis and Bilbis) 

as its capital. 

3. Ar-R]f : It had aPAbbasfyah as its chief town. 

4. Alexandria with the surrounding area. 

5. Maqdtiniyah with al-Fustat as its capital. 

6. As-Said: This district had Aswan as its 

7. Al~ Wahat : the Oases 

6. The Province of al-Maghrib (The West). This 
province comprised the whole of North Africa, West 
of Egypt and also Spain, Sardinia and the Balearic 
Islands. It had seven districts. 

7. Barqah. 

2- Ifrlqiyfth with al-Qayrawan as the capital. 

J. Takirat. 

4- Sijilm&sah. 

5. Ffis : also known as the Nearer Sus (as-Susu 

6. The Farther Sus (as-Susu '1-Aqsa). 
Its capital was Tarafanah. 

7. Spain: Its capital was Cordova. 

7. The Eastern Province. It consisted of two 
big divisions divided by the river Oxus (Jayhun 
or Amu). The fertile region that lies on the east 
of the river was called '(a) Ma Wara'u 'n-Nahr or Haytal 
and that which Key on the west, (b) Khurasan. The for- 
mer was divided into six districts and the latter into 

(a) Ma Wara'u 'n~Nahr. 
7. Fargh&nah having Akhsikath as its capital. 

2. hbijab. 

3. Shash with Banakath as the capital. 


4. Ushrusanah having Btinjikath as the capital. 

5. Sughd : Its, capital was Samarqand which was 
also the capital of the province. 

6. Bukhara. 

(b) Khurasan. 

1. Ralkh. 

2. K&bulistan ' Its capital was Ghaznah. 

3. Sijistan with Zaranj as its capital. 

4. Hirat. 

5. Juzjan&n having Yahudjyah as its capital. 
6- Marw. 

7. Naysabur with Iranshahr as the capital. 

8. Kuhistan: Its capital was Qa'in. 

8. The Province of ad-Daylam. This province 
comprised the region on the south and south-east coast 
of the Caspian Sea. It had five districts. 

7. Qumis : Its capital was Danrighan. 

2. Jurjan having Shahristan for its capital. 

3. Tabarist&n with Amul as the capital. 

4* Ad-Daylaman- Its capital was Baradan. 
5. Al-Khazar with Itil as the capital. 

9. The Province of av-Rihab. It comprised the 
region on the south-west of the Caspian Sea. 

7. Arran : Its capital was Bardha'ah and one of 
its chief towns was Tiflis. 

2. Armenia : Its chief town was Maraghah. 

3. Adharbayjan with Ardabil as its capital. 

10. The Province of al-Jibal (Ancient Media). 
It consisted of three districts. 

7. Ar-Rayy. 


2. Hamadhan which was also the capital of the 
province . 

3. Isfahan. 

11. The Province of Khuzistan (al-Ahwaz). It 
contained seven districts. 

7. As-Sus. 

2. Jundaysabur : It was als o the capita] of the 

3. Tmtar. 

4. 'Askar Mukram. 

5. Al-Ahwaz. 

6. Ad-Dawraq. 

7. Rafnhurmuz. 

12. The Province of Fars. It had six districts. 

7 . Arjan. 

2. Ardashir Kharrah. Its capital was Siraf, 

3. Darabjird. 

4. Shiraz : It was also the capital of the pipvince. 

5. Sabur. 

13. The Province, of Karman. It comprised five 

7. Bardsir (also Sardsir). 

2. Narmasir. 

3. As-Sirjan : It was also the capital of the 

4. Bamm* 

5. Jirut. 

14. The Province of as-Sind. 

1. Mukr&n*. Its capital was Banjbur (Panjpar). 

2. Turftn with Qasdar aa the capital, 


3. As-Sind Proper : Its capital was al-Mansurah. 

4. Wayhind. 

5. Qanuj. 

Although Syria was a province of the Empire, no 
separate Governors were appointed for that country under 
the Umayyads. Mu'awiyah, who had been its Governor 
for twenty years, became the ruler of the whole of the 
Muslim Empire, Even after he became the Khullfah^ he 
kept the provincial government of Syria in his own 
hands appointing deputies over the various districts. 

The most important viceroyalty of the Empire was 
that of al-*Iraq. From the days of 'Umar, that is, since 
the foundation of the two military towns of al-Kufah and 
al-Basrah each had a separate Governor. But during the 
most critical periods of Umayyad history, these.^ two 
governorships had to be combined under one very able 
administrator. Mu'awiyah combined these two governor- 
ships under Ziyad bin Abihi 1 and Yazid combined thenj 
under 'Ubaydullah bin Ziyad. Similarly, 'Abdu '1-Malik 
combined them under al-Hajjaj whose viceroyalty com- 
prised the wholeofal-*Iraq,Tabaristan,Jurjan ? Khwarizm, 
Khurasan, Sijistan, Karman, as : Sind, etc., a veritable 
empire in itself with al-Yamamah, Najd, 'Uman arid 
al-Bahrayn to boot. 2 

Spain was under the Viceroy of Africa. It was 
conquered in 92 A.H, and was governed by a series of 
*Amils who were subordinate to the Viceroy of Africa. 
The duration of the office of the Viceroy of Africa was 
subject to the caprice of the Khali fahs who themselves 
changed very fast. The 'Amils of Spain were changed 
at the whim and fancy of the Governors of Africa. So 
no capable 'Amil could continue in Spain for a long 
tiitie. It was one of the reasons for the failure of the 
Arabs in Spain. 

About Egypt, a great mass of details in addition to 

}. At.Tabari, II, 88 t 2. Ibid., pp. 1032. seqq. ' 


the accounts given by the later historians is available 
from the papyri. Mu'awiyah had promised the whole 
revenue of Egypt to 'Amr bin al-*As for his support 
against *AU. When further conquests in North Africa 
were made, Mu'awiyah did not like that the revenue of 
the new territory should also go into the pockets of *Amr. 
So he incorporated the newly conquered African territory 
into a separate province. 

The Provincial Diwans 

There seem to have been only three Boards in the 

1. Dlwanu 'l-Jund (The Military Board). 

2. Dlwanu ''r-Rasa'il (The Board of Correspon- 

3. Dlwanu "l-Uustaghillat (The Finance Board). 

Dlwanu *l-Jund administered the military affairs of 
the province. Dlwanu 'r-Easail was the Chief Secre- 
tariat which dealt with all correspondence and coordinat- 
ed the work of all departments. The entire correspon- 
dence of this department from the very beginning was 
carried on in Arabic. Dlwanu 'l-Mustaghtilat Was the 
finance department of the province where accounts of 
all receipts and disbursements were kept. 

A register containing the copies of all orders emanat- 
ing from the Governor was maintained in all the pro- 
vinces ; but as yet no Dlwanu 'l-Khfttam was established 
in the provinces. 

Dlwanu "l-Barid at the Centre was represented in 
the provinces by Sahibu "l-Barid (The Postmaster). 

The Provincial Officials 

The provincial officials under the Umayyads were 
almost the same as under the Pious Khali/aha. 


1. The Amir or Wall. 

The duties of the Khali f ah were to conduct the daily 
prayers, to command the Muslim armies, to collect taxes 
and charities and spend them as they should be spent and 
to administer civil and criminal justice. 

In the province all these duties devolved on the 
Governor if he was appointed with general powers. The 
Wali himself conducted prayers in the chief mosque of 
the provincial headquarters and made arrangements for 
the conduct of prayers throughout his province. He 
commanded the armies of the province in person or 
appointed proper commanders over th em . He appointed 
all provincial officers, such as S&hibu 'l-Kharaj, 'Amilu 
^ s-Sadaqatj the Kcttibs of the Diwctns and others. Some- 
times the appointments for important provincial posts 
were made by the Khalifah himself. Usually the W all 
made the appointment and informed the Khali f ah. 1 

The Governors with general powers were permanent 
qfficers subject to good conduct. They had almost abso- 
lute powers. Such Governors in al-*Iraq were Ziyad, his 
son 'Ubaydullah, al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf, 'Umar bin Hubay- 
rah, and Khalid bin 'Abdilkhi '1-Qasri. Of all these 
al-Hajjaj was the most firmly established Wali and he 
continued till his death. 

The primary reason why such absolute powers had to 
be given to the Governors was the difficulty of communi- 
cation. If every case had to be referred to the Khalifah, 
it would have involved very long delay, and sometimes 
delay would have been dangerous. 

Though the chief function of a W all was to take 
such measures as would suppress the tendency to 
rebellion, many of the W alis got interested in many of 
those functions which are performed by the modern 
provincial governments, such as the improvement of the 

t. Al-Baladhuri, p. 224. 


country in general, reclamation of waste lands, draining 
marshes, digging canals, constructing roads, bridges, etc. 

Under the later Umayy ads, princes of the royal blood 
were appointed Governors. Some of them preferred to 
remain at the court appointing substitutes (sing, an-naib) 
to administer their provinces for them, concerning 
themselves with filling their pockets from the revenues 
of the provinces. Thus when Hisham appointed Masla- 
rnah Governor of Armenia and Adharbayjan, the prince 
preferred to remain at the court. Later, when he took 
charge of the province in person, he failed to send the 
balance of the revenue to the central treasury. 

2. The 'Amil. 

The 'Amil was in charge of the revenue of the 
province. During the period of conquest atid expansion, 
the Amir (who was the man of the sword) was the chief 
provincial officer. When the Empire was sufficiently 
consolidated, the 'Amil began to advance in importance. 
Where the interest of the treasury was concerned, his 
opinion might even overrule that of the Amir or W$li. 

3. Sahibu 'l-Khamj. 

The person in charge of 'the collection of the land- 
tax was called Sahibu 'l-Kharaj. In the days of the 
Prophet there was not much al-kharaj to be collected. 
Az-zakat was the chief source of revenue ; the officer 
collecting it was called an 'Amil. Later on, when al- 
kharaj became the most important source of revenue, the 
revenue officer was called Sahibu 'l-Kharaj. Very often 
an 'Amil took over the * duties of an Amir also and 
appointed a separate individual to collect the kharaj. 

4. The Katib. 

The chief of a Dlwan was known as the Katib. 
While the Wali was in charge of the entire administra- 


tion, military and fiscal, the Katib administered certain 
departments thus relieving the Wali of a great amount 
of work. Later, when the administrative machinery 
developed further, it was not possible for the Wali to 
attend to all the details of administration by himself. So 
he had to appoint several Katibs to assist him. 

Early in the Umayyad period, revenue administra- 
tion was separated from the executive business. The 
Finance Secretary of the province (Sahibu 'l-Kharaj) was 
in charge of the collection and disbursement of the entire 
revenue of the province. He had to collect the kharaj, 
the zaktit, the jizyah, the tribute from the tributary 
princes, and other ma'mnls, such as presents on the 
Nawruz and Mihrgan festivals, and meet all the 
expenses of the province pensions, salaries, public 
undertakings, etc. 

5. Sfihibu 'l-Ahdath. 

Each of the chief police officers of the provinces and 
of the provincial towns was known as Sahibu "l-Ahdcfih. 
His function was half military and half police. He had 
to maintain law and order ; if necessary, engage the 
rebels in battle and look to the policing of the province. 
Mostly the police work was entrusted to the local chiefs. 
But Sahibu *l-Ahd&th was the officer responsible for the 
prevention of rebellion and other crimes like theft. He 
had not only to punish crimes but also be watchful 
and remove the causes thereof. 

Under Ziyad, al-Kufah alone had a military police 
force of 40,000 men. Perfect order prevailed throughout 
the province. No one dared even to pick up a thing left 
on the road till the owner returned and recovered it. 
Lonely women could sleep in their houses without locking 
the doors. Ziyad declared that if a citizen lost 


any tiling through theft, he would hold himself responsible 
for it. 1 

Under Mu'awiyah all the suspects in Damascus were 
registered and watched. 2 Ziyfid appointed Ja'd bin Qays 

to watch the activities of the suspects. 3 

6. TJie QadL 

The Arabs in general and the Muslims in particular 
hated becoming Judges. In pre-Islamic .days eminently 
just people were appointed al-Hakim or al-Qadi to decide 
particular cases of dispute. The terms al-Hakim and 
al'Qddi were continued under Islam. In the early days 
only a few Qadis were appointed. Later, as Muslim 
colonies sprang up throughout the length and breadth 
of the Empire, a network of Qadis had to be established 
to decide disputes among the Muslims. 

From the beginning the Muslim rulers wisely left the 
settlement of disputes among their non- Muslim subjects 
to their own chiefs and priests. Only when disputes 
among non-Muslims took a turn which was likely to 
affect law and order, the Government interfered. 

In those good days most of the disputes were settled 
by the parties themselves and the Qadis did not have 
much work to do. 4 So they were given a lot of other 
duties also to perform. Many of them administered the 
properties of orphans and the insane and also the 
endowments (awqaf). 

The position and the quality of the Qadis under the 
Umayyads were not so good as they were under the Pious 
Khal] fahs. Much of their independence and dignity had 
to be sacrificed to suit the whims of the tyrants. Still, 
where the matter in dispute concerned only the common 
people, most of the Qadis were impartial and just. 

1. See Tarikh-i-Islam by Shah Mu'Jnu 'd-DIn Ahmad, II, p. 35. 

2. Ibid. 3. Ibid. 4, At-Tabari, I, 2135. 


The rules of Muslim jurisprudence not having been 
codified till then, the Qadi had a large measure of 
freedom in deciding cases. Sometimes the Qftdi wrote to 
the Khali f ah for elucidation of certain points of law. In 
the days of 'TJmar bin 'Abdi 'l-'Aziz, <Iyad bin 'Ubaydillah, 
the Qadi of Egypt, wrote to him seeking guidance on the 
right of pre-emption disputed between a neighbour and a 
partner. *Umar decided that the partner had a greater 
claim than the neighbour. 1 

As the law r was not yet codified, there was a lack of 
uniformity in its administration. Since a good deal 
depended on the discretion of the Qadis, it is obvious 
that they should have held different views on several 

During the days of Mu'awiyah, his Qadi in Egypt, 
Sulaym bin *Anz, decided a dispute relating to 
inheritance. The parties refused to abide by the decision 
and again came to him quarrelling. This time the Qadi 
wrote down his judgment and took the signatures of 
army officers. 2 

Distinctive Features of Certain Major Provinces 

Al-'Iraq. Al-'Iraq was the richest and most 
populous of all the provinces. The most important cities 
of this province were the two military stations of al-Ktifah 
and al-Basrah. Their entire population was bound to 
render military service. These two cities were the spoilt 
children of the Muslim State. As early as the days of 
*Umar I, they became restive and troublesome ; and 
even that great Khallfah had to change his Governors 
constantly on the demand of the unruly citizens. Under 
'Uthman things became much worse, and the citizens 
of these two cities had a hand in the revolution which 
brought about his murder. After 'Uthman, the long 
series of civil wars and the dependence of one party or 

1. Al-Khudari, II, p, 355. 

2. Ibid 


another on these mighty military settlements destroyed 
all discipline and law in them. 

When 'Abdu '1-Malik succeeded in consolidating the 
whole of the Muslim Empire under him he placed the 
province of al-'Iraq under the able and ferocious 
Viceroy, al-Hajjsj bin Yusuf. By a series of most drastic 
measures al-Hajjaj re-established order and enforced the 
old compulsory military service on the part of all those 
who received State annuities, 1 

Egypt. Financial administration in Egypt was 
carried on by the Copts who had been trained in the 
Byzantine system. Some records seem to have been 
kept in Greek, but the bulk of the records was main- 
tained in the Coptic language till it was translated 
into Arabic under al-Walid I. 

The province of Egypt was divided into Upper 
and Lower Egypt. Each of these units was 
divided into districts (sing, al-kurah). Each district 
consisted of a town or village with the surrounding 
territory. These districts, in their turn, were divided 
into villages (sing, al-cjaryah) each under a headman 

The Arab rule came to Egypt as a geat relief. 
When an Arab Governor was denounced as harsh, it was 
by the interested moneyed classes who resented the 
vindication of the rights of the poor against them. This 
was especially the case against the Governor Qurrah bin 
Sharik. The Governors allowed the use of both Arabic 
and Coptic scripts. They did not compel the non -Muslim 
clerks to use Muslim formulae in their letters ; but, on the 
other hand, permitted them to use the sign of the cross. 

Syria- Syria being the seat of government, it was 
governed by the Khali f ah himself with the help of the 
Deputy Governors of the four districts. Is was the first 

1. Al-Aghani, XII, p. 42. 


foreign province to come under the Arab rule, and was 
governed according to the rules originally laid down. 
Since the Umayyads had to depend on this province for 
the continuance of their power, the Syrian subjects were 
usually kept contented. 

Spain. 'When the Muslims conquered Spain, a very 
bad system of feudalism was prevalent in that unfortunate 
land. The Muslim administration swept away the unjust 
rights and privileges of the governing classes nobles and 
the clergy. In the place of grinding imposts, the 
Spaniards had now to pay light and fixed taxes 
al-kharaj, al-jizyah> etc. 

Of course, the estates of the nobles and, who 
fought the invaders, were confiscated and distributed 
among the Muslim soldiers as permanent colonies had 
to be established to hold those far off regions. The slaves 
and serfs, who had been treated worse than as animals, 
were raised to the status of free human beings with a 
permanent right in the lands they tilled. 

Spain was subdivided into five large sub-districts : 
Andalusia, Central Spain, Gaiicia cum Lusitania, the 
area east of the Douro to the Pyrenees, and the v territory 
beyond the Pyrenees. The Arabs converted Spain into 
a garden and gave to the Spaniards for the first time in 
their history what might be called a civilised government. 



Sources of Revenue 

THE sources of revenue under the Umayyads were more 
than those under the Pious Khalifahs. "They were : 

1 . Al'Khums 9 fifth of the booty, of the products of 
mines and of treasure-troves. 

2. Az-Zakat. . 

3. Al-'Ushr on land (one of items of az-zakat). 

4. Al-Jizyah. 

5. Al-Kharftj. 

6. Al-'Ushur on merchandise. 

7. Al-Fay'. 

8. Tribute under treaties. 

9. Additional imposts in kind. 

10. Presents on occasions of festivals, etc. 

11. Child tribute from the Berbers. 

7. The Khums. 

We have already seen how the Prophet divided the 
khums among the various categories mentioned in the 
Qur'an. The Pious Kkalifahs stopped giving the share 
of the Prophet's relatives 1 and used the amount for 
military purposes. 2 The same custom was followed by 
the Umayyads. But 'Umar II, relying on the text of the 
Qur'an, sent the share of the Prophet and that of his 
elatives to the Hashimites at al-Madmah to be divided 
amongst them. 3 His successors reverted to the 
practice of the Pious Khalifahs and the early Umayyads. 

1. &x> supra, p. 3<".. L>. Abu Yusuf, p. 12. 3. Ibid., p. 12. 


2. Az-Zak&t. 

There was no innovation in or meddling with the 
rules of az-zakcit, for they were fixed by the nass (text) 
and could not be varied at will. While distributing the 
annual pensions, Mu'awiyah deducted the zakat due from 
the pensioners for the year, 1 This has been compared to 
the reduction of income-tax from the salaries of govern- 
ment servants. 2 But there must have been a difference 
between the modern deduction and the one made by 
Mu'awiyah. The income-tax is levied ou the government 
servants' current salary. Az-zakal could not have been 
levied on the current annuity : for after defraying all his 
expenses, if a pensioner saved more than 200 dirhams, 
which remained with him for one full year, then only 
az-zakat would have become due and that too only on 
the amount saved. Perhaps what Ya'qabi means is that 
the total za~zakai due from the individual on his entire 
property for the preceding year was ascertained and 
deducted from the annuity to cut short the double process 
of disbursing the annuities and then collecting the 
governmental dues. 

3. Al-'Ushr. 

Al-'ushr was the tithe or one-tenth of the produce of 
land collected from Muslim landowners. When the 
Muslim .State came into existence at al-Madmah, most of 
the Meccaii Muslims were poor and landless. When the 
lands of the hostile Jews came into the possession of the 
Prophet, he divided them first among the Meccan Muslims 
(who had no lauded property] and then among the 
others also. This process ol dividing the conquered lands 
among the conquering soldiers was the general rule of the 
times. The Prophet levied al-'ushr on lands already 
possessed by the Muslims and also on such lands as were 
distributed by him to his followers. When the Prophet 
conquered Khaybar, the Jews of that place besought him 

1. Al-\a*ijul>i, 11, p. 27<>. 

2. Orient under the Caliphs, p. 187 ; Hitti, ,p. 225. 



to leave the major part of the land in their hands and 
receive a part of the produce as al-kkaraj. The Prophet 
granted- their request. 

Thus even as early as the days of the Prophet, two 
categories of land came into existence, the *ushr land and 
the kharfij land. When the Muslims becathe richer and 
richer, they began purchasing the kharfij lands. On 
purchase by a Muslim, the kharaj land automatically 
became al-'ushr land. The income of the State from the 
'ushr land was only one-tenth of the produce or less and 
that from the Ichardj land one-half in the beginning of 
the Muslim State. 

Under *Umar I the process of dividing the conquered 
land among the warriors or the purchase of the kharaj 
land by the Muslims was put an end to. All Muslims 
were granted State pensions and forbidden to acquire any 
more land. But the land hunger of the greedy Umayyads 
and others could not be checked after % the death of the 
great Khali f ah. They carved out huge estates from the 
kharaj lands, thus causing considerable loss to the State. 
When some of the rulers wanted to put an end to this 
loss of revenue, those Muslims who wanted to acquire 
more lands suggested that they would pay the same tax 
as paid by the non-Muslims. Al-kharaj could not be 
collected from the Muslims, for it is a form of tribute to 
be levied from the subject people. Yet it was realised 
that when the Muslims were prepared to pay the same 
tax, they should not be deprived of the right of acquiring 
lands in view of the fact that the system of pensions had 
ceased to embrace all the Muslims. So they were 
permitted to acquire land and the old khara j was collected 
from them under the new name of * lease money* 
(cd-ijarah). Thus the right of the Muslims only to pay 
the 'ushr on their land fell into disuse when the prohibi- 
tion of 'Umar against the acquisition of land by them was 

On the whole, the simple and clear rules enunciated 
by the great second Khallfah were disregarded even 


under his immediate successor. The confusion arising 
from this breach of law and from other historical factors 
was so great that the entire financial system was thrown 
into chaos, and this chaotic condition enveloped and 
consumed the Umayyad dynasty. 

4. Al-Jizyah. 

Al-jizyah was an old tax prevalent among the 
Persians and the Byzantines, which was continued by 
the Muslims. It was money collected as substitute for 
military service and as a price for the protection offered 
by the State. According to the teachings of Islam, it 
could be collected only from non-Muslims and never from 
the Muslims. 

There is no evidence to prove that the Muslim State 
meant the jizyah to be a symbol of humiliation. The 
haughty Arabs regarded all taxes as a mark of subordina- 
tion. Even the payment ofal-kharajwa,8 regarded as a sign 
of inferiority. They had no objection to pay taxes if they 
were called charities. Therefore Muslims paid their taxes 
under the various heads of charities az-zak&t and 
as-sadaqah. The Christian tribe of Band Taghlib would 
not pay any tax because they considered it humiliating ; 
nor would they embrace Islam. But they offered to pay 
double the poor-tax (az-zakat). The Muslims accepted it. 
On its part the Muslim State did not want to humiliate its 
non-Muslim subjects, but the haughty non-Muslim Arabs 
regarded payment of any tax as a symbol of humiliation. 
The ill-treatment meted out to the non- Muslim tax- 
payers is clearly denounced by Abu Yasuf as against the 
spirit of Islam. 1 

Under the Umayyads, Muslim conquests vastly 
increased and proportionately the avarice of the ruling 
class rose. The days of the conscientious Abu Bakr, 
who ordered that every pie of the State received by him 
for his maintenance should be returned to the public 
treasury from his private property, and the dayd of 

1. See al-Baladhuri, pp. 181, 182, 314 ; Abu Yosuf, p. 70. 

tt&VB&UB ADlflBISTfeltlOtt tBfcBB THE tJMAYYADS 115 

'TJmar, who would not place his own son on a par with 
the sonfc of those who did not flee 1 from the field of 
Uhud, and the days of *Ali, who would dip a dry 
loaf of barley bread in water and eat it, were 
gone. A gay court with a rich princely class and 
feudal lords with enormous karims and loving all 
sorts of luxuries and amusements including the prohibited 
ones had sprung up. Every son of the famous warriors 
of early Islam, every scion of the Umayyad family, which 
had fought tooth and nail against Islam in its early days, 
was now a rich prince with a miniature court. This 
new class had to be provided from the fay 1 of the 

Islam as the most sensible religion naturally attract- 
ed many converts. When it became the master of a vast 
Empire offering great worldly advantage also to its adher- 
ents, millions of the conquered people began to embrace 
it en masse. This meant loss of al-jizyah on the one hand 
and additional expenditure by way of pensions to those 
millions on the other. A serious situation arose loss of 
revenue, addition in the number of pensioners and a very 
expensive and parasitic class of rulers wanting more and 
more to squander and hoard. 

The new Muslims were called al-maw&li; and they 
were attached to one tribe or another of Arabia. As long 
as the number of these new converts was manageable, 
there was no difficulty. Many of the non-Arabs in the 
provinces became the ma wait of the various tribes settled 
in the respective provinces. This arrangement worked 
well as long as the number of these al-mawali was limited. 
Sometimes whole tribes of new Muslims were affiliated 
to "Arab tribes. 5 When the rush into Islam became too 
great even for this arrangement, the new converts could 
not become the mawali of any particular tribe ; so they 
became the mawali of Islam. Converts attached to 

1 . *T7mar fled away from the battlefield of Uhud on hearing a false rumour 
that the Prophet was killed. 

2. The word in an unrestricted sense meant the total wealth of the State* 
8. Al~Baladhuri,p.280. 


powerful tribes had their right to the non-payment of 
cd-jizyah exercised through their powerful patrons. But 
the poor mawnli of Islam had no one to support them. To 
avoid al-jizyah and earn pension and also out of the con- 
verts 1 proverbial zeal for the new religion, they joined the 
Muslim armies. Still they were given no stipends from the 
fay' of the Muslims. Many migrated to the towns in 
order to avoid the hated al-jizyah and to get enlisted in the 
pension registers of the towns. This caused serious short- 
age of labour in the villages. They were in no better predi- 
cament in the towns. Al-Hajjaj forced most of the mawali 
in the great cities of al-'Iraq to go back to their villages 
and also compelled them to pay those taxes which they 
had been paying before their conversion to Islam. 

The Umayyads, out of fear of losing the revenue, had 
been discouraging conversion to Islam; and if anyone 
got converted, they declined to exempt him from al-jizyah 
or to enlist him as a State pensioner. *Umar II wanted 
to reverse all that his Umayyad predecessors had done in 
this regard. When one of his officials pointed out that 
placing the mawali on an equal footing with the Arabs in 
the matter of taxes would empty the treasury, 'Uinar 
replied : " Glad would I be, by Allah, to see everybody 
become Muslim so that thou and I have to till the soil 
with our own hands to earn a living/' 1 When the 
Governor of Egypt complained against the fall in the 
revenue due to mass conversions, 'Umar II wrote : " God 
sent His Prophet as a missionary and not as a tax-gather- 
er/' In Khurasan the officials tested the genuineness of 
the new converts by their willingness to get circumcised. 
'tlmar II forbade it saying: "Muhammad was sent to 
call men to the faith, not to circumcise them." 

'Umar II was an idealist. He failed to see the trend 
of historical forces. It was easy for his corrupt and un- 
scrupulous relatives to do away with the unsuspecting saint 
than it was for that man of God to liquidate the devildom 
nround him. 'Umax strived after the impossible and 

1. Ibnu 'l-Jawzi, pp. 99.100. 


naturally failed. He died like a hero but never faltered. 

The unfortunate al-mawtlli had to pay al-jizyah like 
the non- Muslims. They grumbled, conspired and revolted. 
Many of the noble-minded Arabs supported them till 
finally the Umayyad dynasty was overthrown. 

The fixed al-jizyah imposed under the pious Khali- 
fahs of one, two and four dm3rs on the poor, the middle 
class and the rich respectively, became almost whimsical 
under the Umayyads. Instead of each individual paying 
his al-jizyah, quotas were fixed for the various villages. 
If a village with one hundred taxable heads was paying 
200 dinars at a particular time, the same amount was 
demanded from it when the number of taxable heads had 
been reduced by conversion and flight. Thus the smaller 
number of villagers had to pay what the one hundred 
people had paid originally. 1 

In Egypt, to avoid al-jizyah, a large number of people 
became monks or pretended to have become ones. Some 
cases of pretension were detected and tax demanded from 
all the monks who, according to the rules laid down by 
the Prophet, had been exempted from al-jizyah. Further, 
the jizyah of the dead was collected from those who 
inherited their property. 2 

The very sound fiscal principles laid down by the 
great 'Umar I were violated by the Umayyads. This 
violation led to confusion in the finances of the Empire 
and to extortion and cruelties which forced the oppressed 
people to rise and destroy the unjust rule. 

5. Al-Kharaj. 

Al-kharttj presented a very serious problem under the 
Umayyads. According to the original practice, conversion 
to Islam freed a non-Muslim from all tributary obliga- 
tions. The convert became a part and parcel of the 

1. The justification was that the total quantity of the la*d of the village 
remained constant. 

8, Al.Maqrlai, I, p, 2W, 


conquerors. He belonged no more to the subject nation. 
When a piece of land bearing al-kharaj was acquired 
by a Muslim, it became an al-'ushr land. As there were 
mass conversions and as acquisition of lands by Muslims 
took place on a very large scale, the State treasury suffer- 
ed severely. Therefore the Umayyads made it a rule 
that each village should pay its original tax in a lump. 
This meant additional burden on the non-Muslims. 

Various measures were tried to remedy the state of 
affairs. Sometimes unscrupulous Viceroys like al-Hajjaj 
made the Muslim land-holders pay the kharaj and the 
converted Muslims pay the poll-tax. 

Under *Umar I it was agreed that the entire con- 
quered land was to be State property and that it should 
be given to non-Muslims to cultivate and pay the kharaj 
to the treasury. As long as the Muslims were prevented 
from acquiring lands (in view of the pensions they received 
from the State), the principle worked well. When an owner 
ofal-kharaj land became Muslim, he had to leave the land 
to the community and get himself enlisted as a pensioner 
of the State. *Ali said to a newly converted proprietor 
of * Aynu 't-Tamar, " Thy land falls to the Muslims ; if thou 
wilt, get thee into the city and receive pension, else thou 
must remain as farmer (al-qahruman) on the land and 
deliver to us part of the yield." 1 When a new Muslim 
chose to remain on the land and pay the original amount, 
the payment was treated as lease money and not as 
al-kharaj. If these clear principles had been held fast to, 
there would have been no difficulty, no confusion. 

As for the principles evolved during the Pious 
Khilafat, the following emerge out clearly : 

1. Lands in possession of the Muslims up to the 
verdict of the special Shvra, which decided the question 
in 16 A.H., were to continue as al-'ushr lands. 

2. Muslims were not to acquire al-kharaj lands. 

I. AbUY5*if,p.4S. 


3. If the owner of a Wwrnj land became a Muslim, 
he had to give up his land and enlist himself as a pensioner 
of the State, the sale proceeds of the land going to the 

4. If a convert to Islam chose to retain his kharaj 
laad even after his conversion, he had to pay the kharaj 
amount as lease amount and not as tribute to the State 
which is due only from non-Muslims. 

If these four principles had been adhered to, no 
difficulty would have arisen. Under the Umayyads a 
mixing up of these principles confounded the whole 
situation. The land-hungry Quraysh were allowed to 
acquire the kharaj lands. As a powerful and rich clique, 
they also claimed and got the concession that, as 
Muslims, they should only pay al-'ushr and not 
al-kharaj. They enjoyed pensions from the State on the 
one hand and the fruits of the *ushr lands on the other. 
If millions became Muslims entitled both to pensions and 
freedom from the payment of al-kharaj, and if most of 
them also acquired al-kharaj lands from the non-Muslims, 
no State could make both the ends meet. No govern- 
ment since the days of 'Umar I was strong enough to 
enforce strict adherence to the rules, and much of the 
State expenditure was met from the enormous al-khums 
that came from the various theatres of war and from the 
unjust and illegal levies collected by tyrants like 

Under 'TJmarll, when the wars of further conquests 
were stopped and unjust levies dispensed with, a great 
financial strain was felt. Therefore he had to go back to 
the old regulation, " that the kharaj land was first of all 
the joint property of the Muslims and secondly must be 
considered the joint possession of the communities con- 
cerned, to whom the Muslims had handed it over for 
usufruct on payment of tribute, so that therefore portions 
of it must not be taken from the whole to become, by 
passing into Muslim ownership, tax-free private estates," 1 



*Umar II prohibited the sale of al-kharaj lands to 
the Muslims from the year 100 A. H. It was beyond his 
power to give the order retrospective effect although he 
fought tooth and nail to get back most of the misappro- 
priated crown lands and other State effects. In spite of 
this decree, some cases of Muslims acquiring lands 
occurred. On detection of such cases both the buyer and 
the seller were punished. The purchase money was 
forfeited to the government and the land restored to the 
peasant. 1 Even this decree of *Umar II was not adhered 
to for a long time. It was in force during the next two 
reigns. Then the land-hungry began grabbing land, and 
the Khali/ahs acquiesced in this breach of the law. But 
these new acquirers were made to pay the kharaj on the 
newly acquired lands. 

In Spain alone the Muslim warriors were given such 
lands as were conquered by force. In the strict spirit of 
the Qur'an and according to the practice set up by the 
Prophet, the soldiers were entitled to the conquered 
lands. In Syria and al-'Iraq a deviation from the 
practice of the Prophet was undertaken in the interests of 
the State and the future generations. In Spain Muslim 
colonies had to be established to keep the country down. 
So in that country the Umayyads including the pious 
'Uinar II had to adopt the original practice, which 
prevailed in the days of the Prophet, of dividing the 
conquered land among the participants in the conquest. 
Those lands which were conquered by the Muslims 
through peace were left with the former owners in return 
for tribute. 

During the reign of Marwan II, Nasr bin Sayyar, 
his great Governor of Khurasan, introduced a tax reform 
which reconciled the financial interests of the State with 
the principle that the Muslims need not pay the tribute. 
He raised a fixed amount solely from land-tax from every 
taxable district. All land proprietors, irrespective of 
their religion or nationality, had to contribute ta it in 

1. Ibnu 'l-'Asakir quoted by Von Krcmer : Bee Orient Under the CalipJu, 
p. 209, 


proportion to their property. The maw&li were freed 
from the poll-tax. This principle wasr adopted in other 
parts of the Empire also sooner or later. . If this had 
been done earlier, many of the difficulties and injustk'*s 
would have been avoided. 

This principle cancelled the regulation that the 
Muslims were bound to pay only the 4 ushr and not the 
kharaj. Although this reform, at the outlet, appeared to 
be against the interests of the Muslims, the disadvantage 
was more than offset by allowing them to own al-kharflfi 
lands against the enactment of both the *Umars. 

The other items of regular taxes did not raise any 
special problems under the Umayyads. 

Unauthorised Exactions 

1. Extra Taxes in Kind. 

According to al-Maqrjzi, extra taxes were also 
collected. In Egypt they were levied on each district 
(al-kiirah), the chief of which was made responsible for 
their delivery. These extra taxes consisted of articles in 
kind, such as material for ship-building or implements. 
The whole community was liable for satisfaction of all 
the demands and no money substitute was accepted. 1 
These taxes, which were being levied under the Romans, 
were, for some time, continued under 4 Umar I. But in his 
later days, the great Khali fah discontinued the practice. 
The Umayyads broke this good rule of *Umar also and 
reimposed the unjust exactions. 

2, Presents, etc. 

Further, under the Umayyads, the officials accepted 
presents on behalf of the Government on festive 
occasions, such as the Nawruz and the Mihrgan 
festivals, and weddings. Besides, a certain ma*mul or 
customary fee was collected whenever the lands of a 
peasant were supplied with water and this was called 

I. Al-Maqrlzi ; KkiW, p. 77, 


'l-futnli.' Khuda Bakhsh, after consulting 
Margoliouth, calk it sluice money. 2 A sort of 
stamp fee also was collected on paper used for 
writing documents. Officials always expected that people 
should wait upon them with presents. 8 One of 
Mu'awiyah's Viceroys in al-'Iraq received presents 
totalling 10,000,000 dirhams on a Nawruz. 

These unauthorised collections were not new to the 
countries in which they were levied. They were being 
levied under the Romans and Persians. *Umar I 
discontinued but the Umayyads renewed them. They 
were again discontinued by *Umar II 5 and once more 
reimposed after him. In al-Yaman a brother of al-Hajjaj 
began collecting al-Tcharaj instead of al-'ushr. 'Umar II 
put a stop to the unauthorised levy, 6 

3. Child Tribute. 

Although Islam discouraged slavery and declared it 
meritorious to free slaves, the institution of slavery was 
not abolished. Muslim conquests made the Arabs more 
and more rich, and they wanted more and more of luxury. 
There was a great demand for slaves. Therefore the 
conquering armies of Islam took as many of them as pos- 
sible. Musa bin Nusayr took 300,000 captives from 
Ifnqiyah, 7 and captured 300,000 virgins in Spain. 8 In 
Sughd alone Qutaybah's captives numbered 100,000. 

Az-Zubayr bin al-'Awwam bequeathed 1,000 male 
and female slaves 10 and the Khali fah, 'Uthman, had 1,000. 
Umayyad princes maintained retainers of thousands of 
slaves. 11 Not to speak of the nobles, each of the ordinary 
private of the Syrian army in the battle of Siffin had one 
to ten slaves waiting on him. 12 

1. See Von Kremer, p. 212. Many texts read "couriers' fees, " 
I tee no reason why that reading should not be accepted. 

2. Orient under the Caliphs, p. 212. 

3. Al-Ya'qubi, II, p. 259. 4. Abu Yusuf, p. 49. 

5. Al-Ba&dhuri, p. 73. 6. Al-Maqrlzi, I, p. 148. 

7. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, IV, p. 448., 8. Al-Maqam, IV, p. 464. 

9. Al-Mai'Udi, IV, p. 264. 10. Ad-Dwnlri, I, 49. 

11, Jbu'l-AthIr,JV ( p. 147. 18. /U.MM'Bdi, IV, p, 387, 


To satisfy this great demand for slaves, all the cap- 
tures of the Muslim armies were not enough. Slave- 
purchasing expeditions were sent out to all foreign count- 
ries. Yet the demand could not be satisfied. So the 
Umayyads resorted to levying a child tribute on the 
Berbers. 1 This was wholly against the spirit of the teach- 
ings of the Prophet ; and the immoral tribute was 
dispensed with by the saintly 'Urnar II. 

Revenue Administration of al- Irftq 

Al-*Iraq was the richest province of the Empire. 2 
Since the days of 'Uthman, this rich and beautiful pro- 
vince lacked order and peace. This lack of order and 
peace threw the fiscal affairs of the province into great 
confusion. The revenue under 'Umar I from this pro- 
vince was 120,000,000 dirhams* but at the time when 
'Abdu 'l-Malik became the master of al- c lraq the revenue 
had dwindled to 40,000,000 Jirhams.* 

The causes for the great fall in the revenue were many, 
and one of them was the mass conversion of the non- 
Muslims to Islam which took away a very large part of 
al-kharaj and al-jizyah. The ruthless Viceroy of *Abdu 
'1-Malik, al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf, stabilised the financial 
position of ai-*Iraq by means fair or foul and the newly 
conquered territories of the East yielded a large revenue. 
As-Sind alone brought in a surplus revenue of 6,000,000 
dirhams per annum. 4 

Most of the records relating to the receipts and dis- 
bursements of the Umayyad period were destroyed during 
the various civil wars. The revenue from al-'Iraq alone 
reached 130,000,000 dirhams per year. 

1. Al-Balldhuri, pp. 237 aeq. 

See the Mu'allaqah of Zubayr. *. Al-Balldhuri, p. 270. 

4. Jbu 'l-Athfr, JV, pp. 427-28 ; Jurji Zaydin, JI, f>, 27, 



The land in Egypt, as under the Romans, belonged to 
the State and was rented out to the peasants who culti- 
vated it. After the harvest the yield was estimated by a 
government official known as the Qdbbal who collected the 
government dues. 1 No al-kharjj was levied on the 
individual cultivators as done in the other provinces. 
Taxation was collective and specified groups of villages 
were responsible for particular amounts. Al~jizyah was 
collected by the village headman who forwarded it to the 
headquarters. The annual revenue of Egypt was 
3,000,000 dinars or 36,000,000 dirhams.* 


The total revenue per year from the province of 
Syria amounted to 20,000,000 dirhams.* 

1. See Becker, Papyri, pp. 70 seq. 

2. Jurii ZaydSn, II, p. 27. 
J. Ibid. 



As EARLY as the days of Mu'awiyah, efforts were made 
to reclaim more lands and to provide additional facilities 
for cultivation. The Ma'qil canal which was constructed 
in the reign of *Umar was made deeper and the accumu- 
lated silt removed. 1 A large number of dams were con- 
structed in the mountainous regions to store large 
quantities of rain water for the purpose of irrigating the 
lands. 2 Mu'awiyah had the canals of Kazimah, Azraq 
and ash-Shuhda' dug in the neighbourhood of al-Madinah 
which increased the produce so much that the land around 
al-Madjnah alone yielded 150,000 wusilq of dates and 
100,000 wustiq of wheat. 3 Al-I]ajjaj constructed the two 
canals of an-Nil and az-Zabi, 4 the former of which con- 
nected the Euphrates and the Tigris. He also completed 
the canal of Sa'd by digging out a part of a mountain. 5 
He also constructed several dams. 6 

The rivers Euphrates and Tigris were subject to 
constant floods which broke their banks and inundated 
large tracts of land. 7 Under the Persian kings constant 
efforts were made to reclaim them. During the year 6 or 
7 of the Hijrah there were floods which burst the banks of 
the rivers at several places and submerged a large part of 
the country. 8 Mu'awiyah was the first to pay attention to 
the reclamation of these submerged lands. 9 His work was 
continued by al-Hajjaj during the reign of al-Walid. 10 
Had al-Kajjaj been provided with sufficient funds, he 
would have drained the whole area. As a matter of fact, 
he demanded 3,000,000 dirhams for the restoration of 

1. Al-Baladhuri, p. 366. 2. Wafau 'l-Wafa, II, p. 321. 

3. Ibid., pp. 117 and 237* 4. Al-Baladhuri, p. 290. 

6, Ibid., p. 274. 6. Ibid., p. 290. 

7. Ibid., p. 292. 8. Ibid. 

9. Ibid., p. 293. 10. Ibid., p. 290. 


dams, but al- Walyd did not sanction the amount. 1 Masla- 
mah, a brother of the Khallfah, undertook the work at his 
own cost and made a huge fortune out of it. a The great 
engineer, who planned the drainage of the whole area, 
was Hassan an-Nabati. 3 Again the work was taken up by 
KhalM al-Qasri, the Viceroy of Hisham, who employed 
the same engineer to drain more marshy areas. Khalid 
al-Qasri's chief estates, most of which were carved out 
from the newly reclaimed land, are mentioned by name 
in at-Tabari. 4 

Al-Hajjaj prevented the slaughter of oxen so that 
they might be available for the plough. Thus the first 
step in the direction of preserving the livestock of the 
Empire was taken by the great intellectual. He imported 
a large number of buff aloes from India and introduced 
them in al-'Iraq and Syria. 5 Hisham took great interest 
in horse breeding. 

Public Buildings and Other Undertakings 

As early as the days of 'Umar, public buildings for 
offices of the State and mosques for the worship of the 
faithful began to be built by the government. 'Umar and, 
after him, 'Uthman extended the courts of the mosques of 
Makkah and al-Madmah. Mu'awiyah built for himself the 
famous Green Palace at Damascus. The Ka'bah was 
rebuilt by Ibnu VZubayr as desired by the Prophet. On 
his accession, 'Abdu '1-Malik restored it to the form in 
which the Prophet left it. 6 

In the year 86 A.H. certain parts of the city of 
Makkah were inuqiiated by a great cloud-burst causing 
much damage. Abdu '1-Malik constructed walls and 
embankments around the exposed areas so that no damage 
from cloud-burst may occur thereafter. 7 In 69 A.H. 
the same monarch erected in Jerusalem the magnificent 

1. Al Baladlmri, p. 24. 2. Ibid., p. 274. 3. Al-Jahshiylri, p. 7. 

4. At-Tabari.II.p. 1655. 6. Al-BalSdhnri, p. 293. 

tf. Ibid., pp. 167 eq, 7. Ibid., p. 54. 


Dome of the Bock (Qubbatu *$-Sakhrah) wrongly called 
by the Europeans " the Mosque of *Umar." He built 
another mosque in the southern section of the sacred 

The greatest builder of the period was al- Walid bin 
*Abdi 1- Malik. During his reign when people met, 
building formed the main topic of discussion. The 
mosque at al-Madmah was rebuilt on a very grand scale 1 
for which material came from all parts of the Empire. 
The Byzantine Emperor, at the request of al-Walid, sent 
100,000 mithqals of gold (50,000 guineas) and forty camel 
loads of mosaics with a large number of expert masons. 
The gold work on the single wall, towards which the 
worshippers faced, alone consumed 45,000 mithqals. The 
other building on which al-Walid bestowed great 
attention and wealth was the mosque in Damascus. The 
construction of this mosque is estimated to have cost 
600,000 dinars. For this building also material came 
from far off places. It was considered to be one of the 
marvels of the world and people came from far and near 
to see and admire its grandeur and beauty. In addition 
to these two great mosques, al-Walid built, extended and 
beautified scores of other mosques and decorated the 
mausoleum of the Prophet. He also built several schools 
and hospitals. He removed from a church at Ba'labakk 
a dome of guilded brass and set it over the mosque of 
*Abdu '1-Malik in Jerusalem. 

In the third year of his reign (A.H. 88) al-Walid had 
all the roads in the Empire repaired and planted with 
mile-stones. 2 Along all the roads rest-houses were built 
and wells sunk. It was al-Walfd who first thought of 
establishing hospitals throughout the Empire. 3 He had 
those who had infectious diseases, especially the lepers, 
segregated. He made elaborate arrangements for feeding 
and treating the sick. The most remarkable service 
rendered to humanity by al-Walid, which no other State 

1. Al-Baladhuri, pp. 7 seq. 2, At-Tabari, I, i>. 1191. 

& Al-Ya'qubi, II, p. *4& 


had ever rendered was his undertaking to support all the 
incapacitated and limbless. He prevented them from 
begging, granted pensions to them, and, above all, appoint- 
ed servants to lead the blind and assist the incapacitated. 1 
Further, this great and noble monarch provided for the 
care and education of all the orphans. 2 

The philanthropic undertakings started by a 1-WalrdI 
were improved upon and extended by the saintly 4 Umai II. 
He had rest-hpuses built and wells sunk in the newly 
conquered territories of the East. He ordered the Walts 
of Khurasan and Samarqand to build rest-houses along 
all the roads, feed the wayfarers, treat the sick among 
them, and, if they were without means, to pay them the 
fare, etc., to reach their destinations. 3 

Most of the days of Hisham were spent in wars and 
in suppressing rebellions. Still this monarch also did his 
bit. He built several ponds and tanks on the way to 
Makkah for the convenience of the pilgrims. His 
Governor at al-Mawsil built a college and also a caravan- 
sarai in that big city. Even the infamous al Walid II 
paid attention to the blind, the crippled and the indigent. 
He raised by ten per cent the annuity assigned to the 
blind and the crippled and ordered public distribution of 
food. 4 


The Prophet made elaborate arrangements for 
religious teaching. He trained instructors and sent them 
to the various parts of Arabia. Under the Pious Khali- 
fahs, the same arrangement was continued with more 
elaboration and extensive application. But during their 
days only a few branches of learning came to be 
recognised, the Qur'anic exegesis (at-tafsir) 9 traditions of 
the Prophet (al-hadlth), jurisprudence (al-fiqti) and the 
study of pre-Islamic poetry. 

1. AH-Suyuti, p. 224. 2. Ibid. 3. Af-Tabari, II, p. 3364. 

4. De Uoeje : Fragmenta Hittoricorum Arabicasum, I, p. 123. 


Under the Umayyads more branches of learning 
sprang up, such as Grammar, History, Geography, etc. 
Some scholars studied sciences like Medicine and Chemis- 
try, but these sciences had not yet become common. 
Khalid, son of Yazid I, was a great master of Medicine 
and Chemistry and left writings on these two subjects. 

Thus up to the end of the Umayyad rule religious 
studies formed the main part of education ; and, as auxilia- 
ries to religious subjects, other subjects were also taught. 
Students learned History to know the details of the 
Prophet's life and his wars ; Spherical Geography to 
know the times of prayer and fasting in various pjarts of 
the extensive Empire and Arabic Literature to know the 
diction of the Qur'an. Most of the schools were attached 
to mosques and endowed with property. Man| of the 

monarchs built schools in different parts of the Empire. 


At the time of the Prophet, only a handful of the 
people could read and write at the birthplace of Islam. 
Starting with such meagre beginnings, within a century 
after the demise of the Prophet, education became fairly 
common. A large part of the population could read and 
write, and most of the Muslims read and understood the 

Municipal Administration 


In addition to the construction of public 
buildings, embankments, etc., the main municipal 
activities of the Umayyads seem to have centred round 
water supply. One set of channels supplied fresh water 
to the city and another set served as sewage. The chief 
feature of Damascus even today is its system of flowing 
water. The most remarkable aspect of the system is that 
both the sets of channels touch every house in the city. 
When new constructions and alterations in the houses 
take place, care is taken to divert these channels properly 
so that water may be kept flowing day and night. The 
Baradah River, the Chrysorrhoas of the Greeks, h|id been 
conducting a plentiful supply of Fftter into the ancient 


town even before the Muslim conquest ; " bitt the merit 
of developing the system of water courses to such an 
extent that up to this day even the poorest house has its 
particular fountain, is unquestionably due to the 
sovereigns of the house of Qmayya." 1 

As in the case of the principal towns of Syria, 
Damascus was walled for defensive purposes. " The 
various trades and guilds occupied separate quarters or 
streets which were named after them.** 2 This division 
seems to have sprung from the tribal spirit of the Arabs, 
each one of the tribes desiring to live in separate 
quarters with its own houses, mosques, bazaars and the 
burial ground. Each of these quarters was called a ward 
(al-lulrrah) and is still well marked. The rulers took 
advantage of this clannish spirit, and, to prevent combi- 
nations, converted these hftrralu into small walled towns, 
each separated from the rest by strong gates guarded by a 
warder (al-1i3ris). In times of trouble these quarters 
could be isolated by closing the strong gates. 

Damascus must have become a very large city under 
the Umkyyads who beautified it with stately buildings, 
springs, fountains, gardens and avenues. On the register 
alone Damascus had 45,000 pensioners. 3 The population 
must have been several times more. 

Al-&a$rah and al-Knjah 

Al- Basrah and al-Kufah, the two largest cities of 
al-'Iraq, sprang from military camps and were built in the 
reign of *Uinar I. As early as A.H. 50, al-Basrah had 
reached a population of 200,000. Much later the city is 
reported to have had 120,000 streams. 4 As regards 
water supply, the two cities of al-'Iraq, being situated on 
the bank of the Euphrates, still have a perennial supply 
of plentiful water ; and, just as in Damascus, every house 
had its own stream. If at any stage the city had 120,000 

1. Amir 'Ail. p. 193. 
f>. 192. 

imu., j>, IVK. 

PelSktojo : Frag. Hist. Arab.. I, p. 6. 

AMstakluri, p. 80 ; Ilm Hawqai, p. 159. 


streams, it means that there were 120,000 houses or blocks 
of houses in the great city each having a stream of its own. 

According to a census taken during the governorship 
of Ziyad bin Abihi, al-Kufah had a population of 00,000 
men capable of bearing arms and their women and 
children numbered 80,000.* Very soon aftar this the 

city further increased in population. 

Makkah and al-Madinah. 

Al-Madmah always had plenty of water supply, but 
Makkah had very little of it. Sulayman bin 'Abdi 
'1-Malik applied himself to solve this problem. Through 
his Governor at Makkah, Khalid al-Qasri, who later 
became the Viceroy of al-*Iraq, he had a great tank bnilt 
at the foot of Mount Thabjr ; and from there water was 
carried to the holy city through lead pipes and allowed to 
fall in a tank of alabaster between Rukn and Zamzam. 
Kh,ilid, noted for his extravagance, invited all the citizens 
of al-Madfnah to attend the opening ceremony. This 
canal supplied a large quantity of water to the birthplace 
of Islam. 


Under the later Umayyads al-Mawsil was coming 
into great eminence. Hisharn had a canal dug at a 'cost 
of 8,000,000 dirhams which supplied the city with plenty 
of good drinking water. The famous road by the side of 
the canal was planted with shady trees and became the 
resort of the citizens and their families for evening 
recreation. Al-Hur bin" Yusuf, the Governor under 
Hisham, built a college, a caravansarai, and a mansion of 
pure white alabaster for his residence. 

Smaller Towns and Villages. 

The smaller towns and villages, especially in the 
mountain regions, preserved their native features and 
ancient cultural patterns. Islam changed the beliefs of 
the people, but it did not, as yet, change the details of 
their cultural life. 

1. At-Baladhuri, p. 360 ; ai-Mas'udi, IV, p. 194. 



THE Prophet and, after him, his successors were in 
supreme command of the forces of Islam. They had full 
control over the use of troops and disposition of military 
equipment /md supplies. Next to the K hall f ah came the 
Commander-in-Chief appointed by him. The first quali- 
fication required of a Commander was military skill * and 
not noble birth. T5riq bin Ziyad, who conquered 
Andalusia, was a freedman. 2 

Under the Commander-in-Chief, usually the tribal 
chiefs led their men in battle, but the Commander-in- 
Chief could substitute competent subordinates if the chiefs 
themselves could not be present. 3 Just before the battle 
of the Yarmuk, when there was some difficulty about 
the chief command, the tribal chiefs were ready to go into 
battle independently without any coordination. 4 But 
better sense soon prevailed and such a disorganised battle 
was never fought as long as the Khali fahs retained their 


By the beginning of the reign of Mu'awiyah Muslim 
armies had swollen to very Urge numbers. In the battle 
of Siffin 175,000 soldiers Were engaged on both sides. 
Ziyad's census of al-Kufah and al-Basrah revealed that 
the former had 60,000 warriors and the latter 80,000. 5 
About this time Misr had 4,000 soldiers. There should 
hav been very large numbers in the other principal 
cities of the Empire also. Spain was invaded by a large 
army having many Berbers in it. Yazfd bin al-Muhallab 
invaded Jurjan and Xabaristan with an army of 100,000 

1. At-Tabari, II, p. 10. 2. Ibid., II, p. 123. 3. Ibid., I, p. 2112 

4. Ibid., I, pp. 2091 seq. 6. Al-Mas'udi, IV, p. 344. 


men ; 1 and the army of Marwan II, the last ruler of the 
Umayyad dynasty, in the fateful battle of the Zab num- 
bered 120,000. These figures give us an idea of the 
number of soldiers available to the rulers. All Muslims 
were eligible to become soldiers, and hence a very large 
number of the now converts (Persians, Copts, Berbers, 
and Turks) served Islam as soldiers in the way of God. 


By the time of Mu'awiyah the emoluments of soldiers 
seem to have risen to about 1,000 dirhams per head per 
year including the family pensions. In A.H. 74 al-*Iraq 
alone had 60,000 stipendiaries (sing, al-murtazaq) and 
the allowance for them and their families amounted to 
60,000,000 dirhams per year. 2 In addition to the fixed 
annual pensions, the rulers had to pay the soldiers from 
time to time extra amounts for special undertakings. 
Yazjd I paid 100 dinars over and above the pension to 
every soldier who was prepared to march against Makkah 
and al-Madmah. Yazid III had to shell out 2,000 
dirhams to each of the soldiers who took up arms against 
al-WalidIL But al-Walid II offered his supporters or; ly 
500 dirhams each. The Syrians who marched against the 
Khawarij in A.H. 130 had to be paid 1,000 dinars, a war 
horse and a beast of burden each. Even the Kharijite 
Dahhak had to pay his men high salaries. 5 

In order to ensure a constant supply of men, the 
Umayyads had to subsidise various tribal chiefs on 
condition that they would supply a certain number of 
warriors when required. The chief of the Qahtanite 
tribes received an annual subsidy of 2,000,000 dirhams 
in return for a standing draft of 2,000 men/ 
This works out at 1,000 dirhams per soldier 
which was the average cost per head incurred by the 
government of Mu'awiyah. Whether this was in 
addition to the salaries of the soldiers, is not clear. 
Probably it was not. Yazid II allotted stipends for 3,000 

1. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, V, p. 19. 2. Al-Mas'udi, V, p. 194. 

3. At-Tabari, II, p. 1939. 4. ^Ulas'udi V, p, 2000. 


men in *Uman to be available for service when called 
upon. 1 

The most systematic payment was made under 
*Umar I when every soldier received his stipend, his 
family had pensions and he himself got rations, comforts 
and batta in addition to his share in the four-fifths of the 
enormous bipoty. 2 Under 4 Umar soldiering was a 
princely business. With the election of 'Uthman, the 
system began to degenerate. Under his weak rale his 
hungry relatives and favourites began to manipulate the 
register by increasing the stipend of the favourites. 
Under Mu'awiyah things became still worse. The names 
of suspects and undesirable politicals were removed from 
the register or their pensions were cut down. New 
names were entered and the stipends of the favourites 
increased. This game, once begun, was carried to absurd 
extremity and the whole system was thrown in confusion 
and chaos. 4 Umar II discovered that 20,000 al-mawjli 
were in active service but received no salaries. During 
the successive civil wars, the opposing Khali fahs paid the 
soldiers as much as they could and those who could not 
or would not pay the soldiers enough lost the war. Things 
improved in the days of Hisham. All the records relating 
to the Urtiayyad period were destroyed in the domestic 
wars of the Umayyads, the various revolts during fehejr 
reigns and the great 'Abbasid revolution. Hence it is 
almost impossible to get the exact details. 

Compulsory Service 

The stipends fixed by *Umar were of such a nature 
that they could be interpreted as State maintenance. In 
the days of that great Khalifah the zeal for the 
holy war was Still aglow, and it was safely assumed that 
every able-bodied and healthy Muslim would fight. But 
active service was not made a condition for the payment 
of pensions ; for the system embraced from the widows 
of the Prophet down to the newborn child in the 

1. De Ooej6 : 'Frag. Hist. Arab., p. 66, 2. Al-Baladhuri, p. 253. 


remotest corner of Arabia. Even under *Umar, people 
wha did not serve in the field received their .pensions 
regularly. Under 'Uthman and his successors things 
deteriorated further. By the time of al-Hajjaj every 
Arab claimed pension, but none felt bound to fight for the 

In the year 80 A.H. al-Hajjaj compelled the citizens 
of al-Basrah and al-K&fah to provide each a force of 
20,000 men for reinforcing the armies in Persia under 
the threat of withholding the pensions. Three yeafs 
later he levied another force of 20,000 men from al-Kufah 
for the campaign in Khurasan. He disbursed the 
annuities and threatened with death those who, after 
taking their stipends, did not join the army within three 
days. 1 Against the redoubtable Kharijite leader Shabyb, 
al-Hajjaj sent a conscript host of 40,000 warriors and 
10,000 camp-followers. 2 


From the very beginning reward in the next world 
was one of the chief motives of the Muslims. In mariy 
eases the worldly benefits and the opportunities of making 
money did also count, but never was the motive of 
paradise and its great attractions absent from any 
Muslim's rnind when he undertook to serve in a war 
against the infidels or against the heretics. In the 
early days of Main not only did the Muslims fight for 
nothing, but also they gave their all for the noble cause. 
Later, when wealth poured in, they gave freely in the 
way of Allah and willingly fought the battles of Islam. 
Even under the Umayyads many Muslim volunteers offered 
to fight against the infidel Turks, Christians, Hindus, 
Zoroastrians and others. Often they joined the armies at 
their own expense and with their own equipment and 
sometimes even contributed towards the expense of the 
war. Such a contribution was called at-tanahud? The 

1. Al-Mubarrad : a/-/C3mif, edited by Wright, p. 21t>. 

2. At.Tabari, II, p. 948. 

3. Literally, the word means sharing the expense of a journey. 


stipendiaries could not go home as a matter of right 
when a certain campaign was over, but the volunteers 
could. They joined only for a certain purpose and when 
that purpose was accomplished, they were free to return 

Military Stations, Fortifications^ etc. 

In the outposts of the extensive Empire and in 
strategic places the Muslims established military stations 
and garrisons. Strategic fortifications were built on 
the frontiers. 1 Soldiers who settled in these military 
stations and garrisoned the outposts and the border 
fortresses received regular annuities and family pensions 
and were provided against war risks. The great cities of 
al-Kufah, al-Basrah, al-Pustat and Qayrawan were 
originally military camps. 

Al-Basrah and al-Kufah. 

The sites Chosen for these two cities and later for the 
city of Wasit testify to the sound strategical sense and 
insight of the early Muslims. 

In the year 14 A.H. the Muslim army was camping 
on the ruins of an ancient settlement called Kharabah. 
The officer in command pointed out to 'Umar the 
necessity of a camping ground and suggested the very 
same site for the purpose. Water and reeds (for fuel) 
were available easily and in plenty at that spot, and this 
was one of the chief considerations for seleqting the site. 
Umar consented to the proposal and thus arose the camp 
which later became the great city of al-Basrah. 

At first the soldiers built their huts of reeds. When 
they went out on a campaign, these huts were pulled 
down" to be set up again on their return. Soon the 
population increased. Permanent houses, mosques and 
public buildings sprang up. In the course of a few 

1. Al-Baladhuri, pp. 103-71. 


decades, the city grew up by leaps and bounds, and, us we 
have already seen, in the days of Ziyad it contained a 
population of more than 200,000. At a later period the 
city had 120,000 channels supplying water to as many 
houses. The number of troops at first quartered at this 
spot was only 800; and from such humble beginning 
the might city of al- Basrah rose. 


After the conquest of al-Mada'in for some time the 
Arab garrison of al-'Iraq was stationed in that former 
capital of the Persian Empire ; but the malarial climate 
of that city did not suit the Arabs. 1 Then a camp was 
established at al-Anbar. 2 In this new place the Muslims 
suffered much from gnats. 3 So 'Umar had a suitable 
place searched out which could have the desert climate 
and at the same time be in the vicinity of al-Anbar. 
Such a site on a higher elevation was found and approved 
by 'TJmar. 4 On this site grew al-Kufah, the great capital of 
*Ali. In the year 17 A.H. Sa'd, the Governor of the city, 
built a mosque and a government house in front of which 
he left a large space for the future bazaar. Then he marked 
out portions of the site and allocated them to the tribes 
who wanted to settle there. 5 In the beginning some 
20,000 Arabs and a few thousand al-mawali and others 
settled in the town. When Ziyad took the census 
of the city, it contained a population of 140,000 people. 

A glance at the map will show how carefully the 
sites for these two military stations were chosen. 
Al- Basrah served the purpose of a seaport and al-Kufah 
commanded the Euphrates. Both the towns had the 
desert behind them and could get support from 
al-Madmah. They were primarily intended to be military 
stations. Almost all the citizens settled in them received 
pensions and were bound to serve in the army. But due 
to the increase in the wealth of the people and due to the 

1. Ai-Baladhuri, pp. 275 seq. 2. Ad-DIuawari, p. 131. 

3. Al-Balldhuri, p. 275, 4. Ibid,, p. 276 ; At-Tabari, 1, p. 2389. 

5. Ai-Baladhuri, p. 276. 


defect in the system of pensions, the citizens began to 
shirk the onerous duties of military service. 

Moreover, these two cities, pampered and spoilt by 
the opposing Khallfahs, became the hotbeds of all 
seditions, conspiracies and rebellions. AM laj jaj complete- 
ly subdued them, stamped out sedition and e^en billeted 
soldiers in the houses of the citizens. To reduce the 
importance of f -ese two mighty cities, he built a new city 
midway betw^n ^ Basrah, al-Kufah, al-Mada'in and 
al~Ahwaz and ued it Wasit (the middle one). 1 

To the end of the Umayyad rule, al-Basrah and 
al-Kufah remained the most important sources of man- 
power of the Empire in the East. The garrison of 
Khurasan under Sulayman bin Abdi '1-Malik had in it 
40,000 soldiers from al-Basrah and 7,000 from al-Kufah. 
Hisham sent a reinforcement of 10,000 soldiers from 
each of the two cities to the same province against the 
redoubtable Khaqan. 

Other Military Stations 

In every newly conquered territory the Arabs chose 
a strategic town for stationing the army. Where such 
towns did not exist, they selected a strategic spot and 
camped their soldiers there with their families. These 
camps were very soon converted into prosperous towns. 
In some places new towns for stationing the army were 
built. In Khazistan, 'Askar Mukram sprang up from a 
camp, and in Fars, Shiriz. In the province of as-Sind, 
al-Mansurah and al-MahfGzah were built to serve military 
purposes. The town of Merg sprang up in Transoxania, 
and in the province of Adharbay jan troops were stationed 
at Maraghah and ArdabiL 

In Syria the towns which were already in existence 
were used as military stations. When the Muslims 
conquered Syria, the Byzantines abandoned the land 
lying north of Antioch and Aleppp, and, destroying the 

1. AI-Balldhim, p. 290. 


towns therein, converted a large part of the territory into 
one vast wilderness to keep the dreaded Muslims away. 
At the outset, the Muslims welcomed this separation, but 
gradually, feeling more secure and confident, they built up 
and fortified the towns and villages abandoned by their 
foes and step by step extended their conquest to the very 
block-houses of the Byzantines. They fortified the 
frontier posts with castles called al-'Awasim (the 

The most important fortified strategical points were 
Tarsus, Adana, Mar'ash, Malatyah and'Massisah } which 
were situated either at the junction of the military roads 
or at mountain passes from which Byzantine troops 
might issue. A very close check was kept on the 
members of the garrison and their families. An officer 
was appointed for the sole purpose of enquiring into 
arrivals and departures. 

Massisah was one of the earliest frontier posts. 
*Abdu '1-Mulik built a strong castle in it, 2 and *Umar II 
provided for the spiritual salvation of citizens by 
building a mosque. 3 Tarsus which had been abandoned 
by the Byzantines lay in ruins. It was rebuilt by the 
Umayyads and converted into a large camp later by 
Haru'nii 'r-Rashid. Mar'ash, Adana and Malatyah 
changed hands several times till they were finally 
conquered by al-Mansur the 'Abbasid. 4 

In other provinces also the same system of border 
fortification was adopted. The Umayyads built and 
maintained block-houses and fortified watch posts 
(sing, ar-ribat). Later, when the need for these watch 
posts disappeared on account of the further extension of 
the Muslim Empire, they were converted into seminaries 
for dar wishes who spent their time in religious exercises 
and mystic visions. 

1. Ai-Baiadhuri, p. 165. 2. Ibid. 

3. Ibid. 4. Ibid., pp. 168, 185, 187 seq. 


Military Ranks 

The formation of troops was in tens, hundreds and 
later in thousands. Over every ten men there was a 
Decurion (Amlru 'l^Ashrah or al-'Anf); over every 
hundred (in some cases over every fifty), a Deputy 
(an-Na J ib) ; over every ten Ntftbs commanding in all 
one thousand men, there was a Lieutenant (al-Qaid), and 
over evrery ten Qaids, a commander (al~Amlr). A 
company of one hundred men formed a squadron and ten 
squadrons formed a cohort (al-kurdus). 

As under the Pious Khali fahs, the army was compos- 
ed of infantry, cavalry, a service corps and a party of hole- 
makers (an-naqqabun) whose duty was to effect breaches in 
the walls of the enemy 's fortresses under the protection of a 
mantelet (ad-dabbctbah). The civil officers attached to the 
armies were almost the same as under the Pious Khaljfahs, 
viz. the Paymaster, the Treasurer, the Advocate,' the 
Interpreter, the Reporter, the Mentor and the Qadi. 

On the March 

As already noticed in Chapter IV, the army used to 
march in the battle (at-ta'blyah} formation. The dull 
piercing sound of the small drum drowned the noise and 
bustle of the march. In smaller expeditions or when the 
despatch of reinforcement was very urgent, the cavalry 
took the foot soldiers on horseback. 1 To cover long 
distances the infantrymen were also transported on 
horses. Every soldier had to know riding and swimming, 
So there was no difficulty in transporting thc^ whole mass 
of the army on horseback when necessary. Under ordinary 
circumstances, the entire infantry marched on foot by 
easy stages. After every day's march the Muslims used 
to pitch their camp. 

The Camp. 

The work of setting up the entrenchments and 
digging ditches belonged to the vanguard which marched 

1. It was an old Arab custom, and the additional rider was called ar-radif. 


ahead of the main army. The camp sites were carefully 
chosen by an official specially appointed for the purpose. 
The camps, if of long duration, were protected by 
barricades also, and, as an additional precaution in enemy 
territories, the warriors stood to arms in their proper 
formation, enough in numbers to repel any surprise 
attack. 1 If, for any reason, the digging of a trench was 
omitted, still further precautions were taken to avoid 
surprise and ensure safety. The camps were provided 
with two or four exits. 2 When the camp was set up, it 
looked like a small town or village with streets, market 
and squares. Soon the camp fire was lit, kettles began to 
boil and the campers, after a simple dinner, began to 
form friendly circles. 


Often women and children accompanied the soldiers ; 
firstly, for the comfort of the soldiers and, secondly, to 
settle with them in the newly conquered territories. To 
the Indian mind it may appear strange that women and 
children should be risked like this in the proximity of the 
battlefield. In the pre-Islamic wars and even in the 
battles of Badr and Uhud women stood behind their men 
and encouraged them with martial songs and speeches. 
It was a common thing for the Arab women to be taken 
captives, to pass from one hand to another and some- 
times to go back to the original husb ands . The presence of 
women and children, though sometimes an encumbrance 
and impediment, often served as an incentive to fight 
to the last. 

In the battle of the Yarmuk several women took part 
in the actual fighting. Among them Hind, Mu'awiyah's 
mother, was one. 3 Further, whenever the enemy 
succeeded in penetrating the Arab lines, women attacked 
them with swords and drove them back. Just before the 
capture of Bukhara m the year 90 A.H., while Qutaybah 

1. At-Tabari, III, p. 335. 

2. Ibnu 'l-Ath!r, VI, pp. 162, 103, 280. 

3. At.Tabari, I, pp. 2100 and 2447 ; al-Baladhun, p. 13. 


was laying siege to the city, the Turks and the Sughdians 
came to the aid of the beleagured city. The besieged 
forces sallied forth, and the Muslims, hemmed in on all 
sides, gave way. Screaming Muslim women beat the 
faces of their soldiers' horses and forced them back on the 
enemy. 1 The force that sallied forth was driven back 
into the city which was captured soon thereafter. 


In the matter of transport, the Arabs had one 
marked advantage over their adversaries. While the 
Byzantines and others used cumbersome methods of 
transport, the Arabs transported their soldiers, their 
women and children, baggage and supplies and even the 
siege engines on the backs of camels. These * ships of 
the desert' also carried ambulances and sedan chairs for 
the sick and the wounded. Von Kremer's tribute to the 
camel is worth being quoted in full to do justice to the 
patient and useful creature : " Leo's observation on the 
transport camels in the Arab army calls for special 
notice. * While the Byzantines used horses, mules and 
donkeys, or waggons drawn by oxen, the Arabs trans- 
ported men and baggage with far greater safety and 
expedition by means of camels, even through arid deserts 
wholly unsuited to the Greek army an advantage that 
cannot be too highly estimated.' I do not at all exagge- 
rate in holding that the Arabs secured moat of their 
victories by the help of their camels. These patient 
animals conquered Syria and Egypt for them. Before 
the Muslim conquest the camel does not seem to have 
been used in Asia Minor. It won indeed the victories of 
Islam." 3 The Arabs used to decorate the pack-saddles 
with small banners as it is the practice even now with 
the caravans, and this heightened the impressiveness of 
the march. 

Whenever necessary, the Muslims used other means 
of transport also pack-horses, mules and donkeys. The 

1. Al-Khuclari," IT, p. 27. 

2, Orient under the Caliphs, pp, 33- eq 


great bailista, "The ..Bride** (Al-'Arus), was sent to 
as-Sindin a ship with other engines, provisions and other 
supplies. During the great famine in the days of *Umar I, 
*Amr bin al- As sent food to the port of Yanbu* by ships 
from where it was transported on camels to al-Madmah. 


Prom the very beginning the Prophet was very 
particular about the morale of the soldiers.. He forbade 
them to kill monks, women, children and the blind and 
forbade the destroy ing of horses, cutting down of trees or 
other wanton waste. 1 When the expedition to Mu'tah 
under Usamah was about to start, Abu Bakr addressed 
the commander of the army thus : " See that thou 
avoidest treachery. Depart not in any wise from the 
right. Thou shalt mutilate none, neither shalt thou kill 
child or aged man, nor any woman. Injure not the date- 
palm, neither burn it with fire, and cut not down any 
tree wherein is food for man or beast. Slay not the flocks 
or herds or camels, saving for needful sustenance. Ye 
may eat of the meat which the men of the land shall 
bring unto you in their vessels, making mention thereon 
of the name of the Lord. And the monks with the shaven 
heads, if they submit, leave them unmolested. Now 
march forward in the name of the Lord, and may He 
protect you from sword and pestilence." 2 

These instructions were strictly followed by the 
Muslims. While their adversaries shot at them, 
especially at their horses, with poisoned arrows, the 
Muslims did nothing of the sort. Pillaging and burning 
villages was a Byzantine military practice. The Muslim 
law prevented it except under certain conditions. In 
every respect the Muslims had moral superiority over 
their enemies. 

Siege Tactics and Siege Weapons 
The first fortified town to be attacked by the Muslims 

1. Orient undsr ike Caliphs, p. 322 (footnote). 
2- Amir <Ali, p. 93 ; t Tabori, I, p. I&30. 


was at-Ta'if. In attacking the town the Prophet used a 
ballista (al-manjaniq) and a mantelet (ad-dabbabah). 1 
The town surrendered before it could be stormed. The 
first fortified place to be taken by storm was the Garden 
of Death (Hadiqatu, %Mawt) at 'Aqrabah in al-Yamamah. 
There Bark' bin Malik was lifted to the top of the wall. 
He jumped boldly in the midst of the enemy and opened 
the gates for the Muslim forces to enter. 2 To take 
Damascus by storm, the Muslim soldiers swam the moat 
on inflated skins, and, flinging on the turrets ropes with 
running nooses, climbed the walls and opened the gates. 3 

In the siege of Bahurasir in the year 16 A.H., twenty 
ballistas and one huge addabbabah made of wood were 
used. In the siege of at-Ta'if, the dabbabah was made of 
cow-hides and wool. It was burnt by defenders of 
at-Ta'if by throwing red-hot bars of iron causing loss of 
lives to the Muslims, Hence the improvement was made. 
If it had iron plates, which probably was the case, to 
make it non combustible, then it must have been a 
veritable tank. 

The machine al^ArtiBUBedin the siege of Daybul in 
as-Sind was so big and powerful that it required 500 men 
to work it. 4 This machine threw huge pieces of stones 
with great force and precision. The chief artillerist 
in charge of the 'Arns was Ja'wiyah who shattered the 
talisman flagstaff with the third stone. The garrison 
made a sortie. It was defeated and driven back into the 
city, and the Arabs, planting their ladders, just when the 
garrison defending the ramparts had sallied forth and was 
being defeated, swarmed over the walls and took the city 
by storm. 

Two names of machines hurling stones on the 
besieged towns are noticed under the Umayyads : the 
manjanjq and the 'arradah. According to Ibnu '1-Athir, 5 

1. See supra, p. 28 ; al-Baladhuri, p. 55. 

2. At-Tabari, I, p. 1943. 

3. Ibid., I, p. 2152 ; al-Baladhuri gives a different version, 

4. Al-Baladhuri, p. 437, 

5. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, VII, p, 98. 


the 'arradah was a smaller machine which could be 
loaded on a barge or boat. The machine was used when 
the bigger one could not be brought near the wall by 
filling up the moat. 

"The catapults were so 3trong that the blocks of 
stone which issued from them flew in a straight line 
against the walls and penetrated right into them. To 
obtain such-tremendous results they had considerably to 
enlarge the lifting beams, so that the machine assumed 
quite an extraordinary size." 1 It was with such a 
powerful machine that as early as the reign of Mu'awiyah 
the walls of Kabul were shattered. 2 

The siege tactics as seen in the various sieges may 
be summed up as follows : 

The besiegers kept up a constant attack giving no 
rest to the besieged and tried to breach the walls with the 
use of powerful stone-throwing machines and through the 
use of the dabbubah which concealed in it the nagqabnn 
armed with picks and drills. While the naqqabnn were 
at work, they were protected by a barrage ot arrows from 
the archers. Sometimes a battering ram (al-kabsh) was 
employed. Unable to stand this constant assault, when 
the defenders of the ramparts sallied forth to attack the 
besieging force, the Muslims defeated them ; and, before 
the enemy soldiers could hurry back to their original 
posts on the walls, they planted their ladders and, scaling 
the walls, took the fort by storm. Often they swam 
across the moat, every soldier having been taught to swim. 

Battle Weapons. 

Under the Umayyads the infantrymen used lances 
about 8 feet long, bows, arrows in quivers, javelins, 
double-edged swords, maces haying a sharp iron knob, 
battle-axes, long shields covering the whole body and also 

1. Orient under the Caliph$ t p. 327. 

2. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, III, p. 174. 


small round ones with a knob in the middle. They wore 
helmets to protect the heads and mail shirts or shirts 
made of leather with several folds, often overlaid with a 
breast plate, to guard the body. 1 The hands and legs 
were incased in iron. As early as the battle of Nihawand, 
the armour worn by Nu'man was so heavy that it 
impeded his agility. 2 The warriors were armed with 
daggers (sing, ad-dabbnsf also for use at close quarters. 
Sometimes slings were also used/ 

The horsemen were equipped with lances, bows and 
arrows, and long, broad and straight swords. They carried 
smaller shields for protection and wore shirts of chain 
mail which came up to the knees. The horses were 
protected on the breasts and foreheads with iron plates. 
The riders used girdles, reins and round saddles. 

Thus we see that in the matter of weapons, the 
Muslim soldiers in the Umayyad period were not behind 
their contemporaries. They came in contact with 
several nations inhabiting all the three continents of the 
Old World and adopted what was best in their weapons 
and equipments. 

In addition to all these material weapons, the 
greatest weapon of the Muslim soldier was his faith and 
determination. He believed in the righteousness of 
his cause, possessed an excellent morale and fought 
courageously and skilfully with very little regard for 
his life. 


The masterly tactics evolved by the great Prophet 
held its ground to the end of the Umayyad period and 
even much afterwards. We have already noticed the 
evidence of at-Turtushi 5 to the effect that the saff 
method was adopted in his country as late as his own 

1, At-Tabari, I, p. 1315. 2. Al-Bal!dhuri, p. 304. 

3. Ibnii *l-Ath!r. X, pp. 44 mq. 4. Ibid,, VII, p. 245. 

5. A Spanish Muslim (died A.H. 520) who wao the author of 
SMj* 'i 


day& with great success. 1 Of course, there were variations 
in the tactics employed in the different battles. 

Just before the battle of the Yarmok, as we have 
already seen, Khalid arranged his cavalry in cohorts. 

It was recognised by the Umayyad strategists that 
the infantry was the best suited to withstand the 
onslaught of the enemy, and that the cavalry was the best 
fitted for attack. Thus, in all their battles a combination 
of the infantry and the cavalry was used. In the fight 
with the Shi'ite rebels of al-Kufah under Sulayman bin 
Surad, who demanded vengeance for the blood of al- 
Husayn, the Umayyads used both infantry and cavalry. 
Again in the battle with the dreaded Kharijite leader, 
Shabib, * Attab divided his army into the usual three wings 
and himself took the centre. The infantry, which was 
under an entirely independent command, was arranged 
in three lines. The mail-clad swordsmen were placed in 
the first. Behind the infantry the cavalry was arranged 
in cohorts 

In the battle of Buknara, the Turks took up their 
position on the other side of the river and for a time the 
Muslims could not cross the deep stream. Then one of 
the heroes of Bana Tamim named Harim crossed the 
river on his horse. Other horsemen followed him and 
engaged the enemy. In the meanwhile a temporary 
bridge was improvised and the infantry, crossing the 
river by it, took the enemy on the back. Thus hemmed 
in on two sides, the Turks we A *e completely routed and 
Bukhara was captured. In this way the infantry aided 
the cavalry to attain victory. 

When the army was divided into cohorts or 
squadrons, the divisions kept close to one another ; and if 
one of them was pressed too hard, others or men detached 
from them came to its aid. 2 The Commander-in-Chief 
coordinated the efforts of the various squadrons. The 
battle order was invariably a long square which was 

1. For a full description of the saff method, see ibnu 'l-Ath!r, IV, p 344. 

2. Ad-Dfnawari (ed. Guirgape), p. 128. 


difficult to attack as it afforded the greatest advantage for 
defence. Even while giving battle, great care was taken 
to keep the battle formation intact. Since the days of 
the Prophet, the Muslims never used to pursue the 
fleeing enemy at the expense of breaking their own 
formation. *Ali definitely forbade his soldiers to kill a 
fleeing foe. Even in hand-to-hand fight, the formation 
was kept intact. 

As directed by the Qur 'an and the Prophet, and later 
by 'All and others, the Muslims held their positions firmly. 
They would not be goaded to hasty onslaught. They 
waited patiently for the enemy to launch the attack. 
When once the first blow was delivered, they pressed 
forward with might and main in serried ranks, putting 
their shields together, like ferocious lions caring very 
little for their lives. 

With all his courage and disregard for life, the 
Muslim soldier was circumspect and skilful. "Foresight 
and cunning," said al-Muhallab, the great warrior, coun- 
selling his sons on his death-bed, "are of more avail in 
war than bravery.' 1 1 

A unique method of warfare was evolved by the 
Kharijite leader Mirdas. The Kharijites, who were 
always very few in numbers, possessed some of the best 
and noblest horses, whose names and pedigrees are still 
preserved ; and with their aid they carried the method of 
"strike and run" to perfection. They suddenly appeared 
in the country, terrorised the population and took from 
them what they wanted. On the approach of the 
government troops, they engaged the advance forces, 
such as the scouts, the vanguards, etc., sometimes the 
entire army, killed as many of them as possible, and then 
escaped on their marvellous steeds. To meet this new 
danger, al*Hajjaj had to procure a large number of 
equally good horses on which the redoubtable Kharijites 
were chased for hundreds of miles till they were finally 
engaged and annihilated. 

J. See Levy's Sociology of I item, vol. II. 



THE end of the Umayyad rule, the Arabs in 
general and the Umayyads in particular had monopolised 
all the high offices of the State to the exclusion of the 
non-Arab Muslims. This policy of 'discrimination 
between Arab and non- Arab Muslims caused a great wave 
of resentment throughout the Empire, and the 'Abbasids 
effectively exploited it to their advantage. The revolu- 
tion which wrested the supreme power from the 
Umayyads and transferred it to the 'Abbasids, having 
been manned and conducted chiefly by the non- Arabs, 
opened the eyes of the subject nationalities and made 
them realise their real strength. 

"Henceforth the non- Arabs, as common subjects of a 
great and civilised empire, assumed their proper place as 
citizens of Islam, were admitted to the highest employ- 
ment of the state, and enjoyed equal consideration with 
the Arabs. A greater revolution than this has scarcely 
been witnessed either in ancient or modern times. It 
gave practical effect to the democratic enunciation of the 
equality and brotherhood of man. To this mainly is due 
the extraordinary vitality of the 'Abbasid Caliphate and 
the permanence of its spiritual supremacy, even after it 
had lost its temporal authority. The acceptance of this 
fundamental principle of racial equality among all the 
subjects helped the early sovereigns of the house of 
* Abbas to build up a fabric which endured without a rival 
for over five centuries, and fell only before a barbarian 
attack from without/ 1 1 

The Khilafat 
The Khallfah was the head of the whole Empire. 

1. Amir *Ali, pp. 402-403. 


As we have already noticed, he was more a political 
head than a religious one although his authority was 
based on religious factors. The Prophet and, after him, all 
his successors have been delegating the exercise of their 
military function to a general (al~Amir), revenue 
administration to an 'Amil and judicial power to a 
Qftdi. In addition to these offices a very high office, 
that of the Minister (al-Wazir), was instituted by the 
'Abbasids to whom the Khalifah delegated his civil 
authority. In spite of delegating his several duties to 
the various functionaries of the State in this manner, 
the Khalifah remained the final arbiter of all govern- 
mental affairs. 

Although the Khilftfat was not a purely religious 
office like that of the Pope, the Pious Khalifahs, as the 
immediate temporal successors of the great Prophet and 
as the leaders of the pligrimage (al-hajj] and the prayer 
(as-alat), had a good deal of the religious elements 
attached to their person and to their office. But much of 
the religious halo attached to the person of the Khalifah 
and the sanctity attached to his office were destroyed 
under the Umayyads some of whom were indifferent to 

The 'Abbasids pame to power backed by a strong 
movement for the revival of the pure and impartial State 
of the early Muslims, a revolution which demanded that 
a Qurayshi and Salman of Fars, a noble Arab and the 
Negro Bilal, an ordinary subject and a prince like 
Jabalah 1 should once more be treated as equals, a revolt 
against the discrimination made against the non-Arab 
Muslims, a mighty protest against the worldliness of the 
Umayyads. As creatures of a strong religious revival, the 
'Abbasids took great care to lay much emphasis on the 
religious character and dignity of their office as an 
I mil mat (religious leadership). In about a century after 
the establishment of the'Abbasid dynasty, the Vicegerent 
of the Messenger of God (Khalifatu Rasillil&h] became 

I . fc>uo supra, p. (i. 


the Vicegerent of God (Khalifatullah) and God's Shadow 
on the Earth (Zillullahi 'a 1 , a 'l-ard). 1 

Form the failure of the rule of Mu'awiyah II, the 
Marwanids realised early enough that a boy ruler or a 
weak one was a danger to the dynasty itself and they 
invariably nominated more than one grown-up successor. 
This led to a new set of evils. In the interest of the 
dynasty the Marwanids did not observe the strict rule of 
inheritance. This ill-defined hereditary principle of 
succession was followed throughout the 'Abbasid period 
with the same evil results. The reigning Khali/ah 
nominated a favourite son (without any regard to his 
seniority or juniority) or any other kinsman whom he 
regarded as the best suited successor. Out of the first 
eight rulers of the 'Abbasid period, there was only one 
case of the eldest son succeeding the father directly, that 
of al-Hadi. 

As-Saffah nominated his brother al-Mansur to 
succeed him and after him <Isa bin Musa. Al-Mansur 
got round "Isa by the payment of a large sum to waive 
his right of succession in favour of al-Mahdi, the son of 
al-Mansor. *Isa was to succeed al-Mahdi. By the use 
of threat, al-Mahdi made Isa give up his right of 
succession altogether in favour of al-Mahdi's two sons, 
al-Hadi and ar-Rashid, who ruled one after the other. 

Ar-Rashjd nominated al-Amm (who was junior to 
al-Ma'mun but was born to Princess Zubaydah) as his 
immediate successor. Al-Ma'mun, who was senior to 
and more talented than al-Amm, but was the son of a 
Persian slave girl, was designated al-Amm's successor. 
This preference of a frivolous junior to a more sober and 
more talented senior led to very unhappy consequences 
mainly due to the weakness and faults of the former. 

Al-Ma'mon nominated al-Mu'tasim, his brother, as 
his successor ignoring the claims of his own son, al-< Abbas. 
Al-Mu'tasim was succeeded by his son al-Wathiq. With 

1. Al-Mas'udi, VII, p. 278. 


the death of al- Wathiq, the sun of 'Abbasid glory began 
to descend and real power passed into the hands of the 
Turks and other non-Arab generals. 



Ibrahim As-Saffah Al-Mansur 


I 1 

Al-Hadi Ar-Rashjd 

Al-Amm Al-Ma'mun Al-Mu'tasim 


The nomination of successors without any regard to 
the strict rales of inheritance caused civil wars as it did 
under the Umayyads, and the house of al-'Abbas was 
divided against itself from the very beginning. 

Soon after the death of as-Saffah, 'Abdullah bin Ali, 
the uncle of the deceased Khali/ah and victor of the 
battle of the Zab, revolted against the succession of 
al-MansQr to the throne. But he was defeated and got 
out of the way. 

Al-Mahdi set aside the succession of <Isa bin Mesa 
and nominated his two sons to succeed him. Had <Isa 
been powerful enough, a civil war would have ensued. 


Soon after his succession, al-Hadi endeavoured to 
nominate his son, a mere boy, as his successor and to set 
aside the claim of Haranu 'r-Rashid. The great Wazir, 
Yahya bin Khalid, advised the Khallfah against the 
improper course and suffered imprisonment therefor. 

Ar-Rashfd ought to have been more careful; but he 
was not. He nominated three of his sons (al.Amin, 
al-Ma'man,and al-Mu'tamin) to succeed one after another 
and gave al-Ma'mun, on whose good sense the Khalifah 
relied, the option of setting aside the claim of Mu'tamin. 
Ar-Rashfd not only nominated his three sons to succeed 
him but also put them in actual possession of the means 
of fighting out a civil war by dividing the Empire into 
three parts and giving one to every one of them. 
Ar-Rashrd should have anticipated the arrogance and 
frivolities of al-Amm which led to the civil war resulting 
in the latter's defeat and murder. Al-Ma'uiun was 
careful not to repeat the mistake of his father and, by 
nominating only his brother, Mu'tasim, avoided the 
possibility of a civil strife. 

The Khil&fat came to be an office to be held by the 
most outstanding and influential person from among the 
Quraysh. The Khallfah was to be elected by all the 
Muslims. Since there was no other machinery of 
election, the old tribal method of nomination by some 
influential person and subsequent securing of homage for 
him became the established practice. Although the 
Khalifah nominated his successor, the right of the 
successor was not based on the nomination by the 
preceding Khalifah but on the homage obtained for him. 

Abu Bakr's speech, 1 soon after his election, clearly 
shows that he was to be the ruler only as long as he 
enjoyed the confidence of the Muslims. There was much 
discontent against 'Uthman and a section of the Muslim 
community demanded that he should abdicate. 'Uthman 
recognised the principle that he was to rule only as long 

1. At-Tabari, I, pp. 1S45-46. 


as he acted rightly and enjoyed the confidence of the 
Muslims ; but he refused to recognise the fact that he had 
done wrongs enough to justify a deposition or that he had 
lost the confidence of the majority of the Muslims. Again, 
the lack of a machinery to find out the general opinion of 
the Muslims was at fault ; and the meek old Khali jah 
had to suffer death at the hands of the rebels. 

All the Umayyad Khalifahs recognised that the 
right ol a K hall f ah depended on the homage done to him 
by the Muslims; and the answers 1 of 'Umar II to the 
Kharijite 'Asim clearly show that the pious Umayyad 
Khalifah, like Abu Bakr before him, recognised the 
principle that the Muslims were to follow him only as long 
as he was in the right and enjoyed the confidence of the 

Again, after his election as the Khalifah, Yazjd III 
clearly laid down the same principle ai^d declared that 
al-Walid II had to be deposed and murdered as he acted 
in contravention to the Qur'an and the traditions of the 
Prophet and that he would hand over power to anyone 
whom the Muslims wanted to elect.* 

The same theory continued under the 'Abbasids also 
and al-Ma'mun's answers to a Kharijite zealot recognised 
it in clear terms. The principle that each Khali/ah 
should be elected and that he should hold office during 
the pleasure of the people was recognised throughout, but 
no machinery was evolved or could be evolved at that 
stage of society by which the votes of millions of Muslims 
could be taken as often as the rulers changed or had to be 

All the early 'Abbasid/fAtf/7/tfAs, with the exception 
of the unfortunate al-Amin, were men of great abilities 
and worked hard as the chiefs of the entire administration 
of a very vast Empire. Many of them attended to the 

1. Al-Khudari, II, pp. 300-328. 

2. Al-MaTudi, V, pp. 458 aeq. 


minute details of administration, led the armies in person 
and acted as the highest court of justice. The early 
'Abbasid Khallfahs were a part and parcel of the vast 
administrative machinery, and in that capacity they 
acquitted themselves remarkably well. 

The Shura 

We have seen how in the pre- Islamic days the chief 
of a clan or tribe had to make his decision in a Council 
of Elders of the clan or tribe; how during the Pious 
Khilfifat the Khali fahs convened the Shura to discuss 
and decide important questions of the State ; again we 
have noticed 1 how 'Umar II attempted to revise the 
institution when he acted as the Governor of al-Hijaz. 

All along it was recognised in theory that the 
Khali fah should consult his subjects through a selected 
few in all matters of administration. But nothing definite 
could be done under the Umayyads. Of course, the 
leading members of theUoiayyad family formed a sort of 
council of the Khali fah. Under the early 'Abbasids, the 
members of the royal family and the members of those 
families which were faithful to the dynasty like the 
Mahanids and the Barmakids were often consulted by the 

Al-Ma'mun was the first Khali fah to constitute a 
regular Council of State representing every community 
which owed allegiance to him. These representatives 
enjoyed perfect freedom in the expression of their 
opinions and were not hampered in their discussions. 
This council was continued under the later Khalifahs 
also ; and when the Empire broke up into principalities, 
each prince had a council of his own in imitation of the 
Khali fah's council. 

The Court 

The colour of the early 'Abbasids was black ; black 
too was the colour of their banner bearing in white the 

1. Seueuprti, pp. 80-81. 


inscription, "Muhammad is the Messenger of God." The 
coronation was marked by absolute Arab simplicity. The 
Khalifah wore a black kaftftn (a flowing garment) and a 
black turban. On him rested the mantle of Muhammad 
and in his hand was placed his (the Prophet's) staff. 
'Uthman's copy of the Qur'an was kept before him. One 
after another the nobility first and then the others kissed 
the hand of the Khalifah and this was the form of 
paying homage. 

The court staff consisted of the princes of the 
Khali f ah? s house, the palace staff, the Khali f ah" s freedmen, 
the guards, he private secretaries, the Qur'an readers, the 
Mu'ad/tdhins, the astronomers, the officers in charge of 
the clocks, story-tellers, jesters, the Khalifah' j artisans 
(goldsmiths, carpenters, etc.), marshalls, hunters, 
menagerie-keepers, personal attendants, cooks, physicians, 
crew of the court boats, lamn-lighters, etc. 

After his return to Baghdad (819 A.D.) al-Ma'mun 
had a list prepared of men whom he wished to entertain 
at his table. The list included literati, savants, courtiers, 
and military leaders. 

"The court establishment consumed large sums. 
For the kitchen and bakery 10,000 dinars (100,000 marks) 
were allotted per month. Merely for musk a monthly 
sum of 300 dinars was paid into the kitchen, though the 
Caliph did not care much for it in his food, and at the 
most had but a little in his biscuits. In addition to these 
sums the following payments are shown per month : 120 
dinars for water carriers, 200 dinars for candles and oil, 
30 dinars for medicine, 3,000 dinars for incense, baths, 
liveries, arms, saddles and carpets." * 

The Wazir 

Next to the Khalifah came the Wazir. Although 
the word is Arabic, the office was of Persian origin. 
Al-Mawardi 2 and other theorists speak of two kinds of 

1. Mez, pp. 142-43. 2. Al-Ahkamu "s-Sul\aniyah, Chapter II. 


ul wizard t, the wizfoat of infield (having full unlimited 
authority) and the wizdrat of lanfidh (having limited 
executive powers only). 

Often the Wazlr was all-powerful. He could appoint 
and dismiss Governors and Judges. Although, in theory, 
he had to consult the Khallfah regarding every important 
appointment or dismissal, often he acted without 
consulting him. 

The office of the Wazir did not eTist under the Pious 
Khaljfahs, nor under the Umayyads, It is an 'Abbasid 
institution borrowed from the Persians. The first 
individual to be called a Wazir under as-Saffah was Abu 
Salmah al-Khallal. He was the chief of the* *Abbasid 
propaganda at al-Kufah and was known as the ' Wazlr of 
the Family of Muhammad." He was charged with 
pro-'Alid sympathy and executed. After him as-Saffah 
appointed Abu Jahm. According to another version, 1 
he appointed Khalid bin Barmak. Khalid came of a 
noble family of Persian priests and was one of the leaders 
of the 'Abbasid revolution. Although Khalid discharged 
the duties of the Wuzlr 9 he did not call himself by that 
name being afraid of the fate that overtook Abu Salmah. 

Under the early 'Abbasids #e do not clearly discern 
the two separate posts of the Wazlr and the Ha jib* After 
Abu Salmah's murder, the person who performed the 
duties of the Prime Minister did not call himself the 
Wazlr. Often a single person seems to have performed 
both the functions of the Wazlr and the Ha jib* 

Under as-Saffah and al-Mansur, the Wazlrs were 
highly circumspect and were kept under the strict 
supervision of the Khalifahs. Under al-Mahdi and 
al-Hadi and during the major part of the reign of 
ar-Rashidthe Wazlrs practically exercised the powers and 
prerogatives of the Khali/ah* They could appoint and 
dismiss any officer except the one directly appointed by 
the Khali/ah. They acted as the Chief Judge and heard 

1. Al-Khudari, III. p. 7J. 


all appeals from the lower courts. The Khali fahs, who 
had perfect confidence in their Wazlrs, were glad that 
more and more of the burden of the office was being 
taken by trustworthy Wazlrs and some of them devoted 
more time for their pleasures and amusements. 

The task of the Wazlr was by no means easy. He 
had to please the despotic monarch on the one hand and 
the fickle populace on the other. The office required an 
intimate knowledge of administration, principles of 
taxation and the whole of Muslim Law, public and 
private. Losing the confidence of the monarch meant 
dismissal, confiscation of all properties and certain death. 
As a rule, the early 'Abbasids executed all their deposed 
Wazlrs Under ar-Rashjd his Wazlr, Ja'far, and his 
Barmakid family became so powerful that the suspicious 
monarch in a fit* of jealousy and fear had him executed ; 
and all 'the members of the family were degraded and 

Under al-Amm, al-Fadl bin ar-Rabr< and during the 
early years of al-Ma'man's reign, al-Fadl bin Sahl were 
the de facto rulers. But once al-Ma'mon's eyes were 
opened by the great Imam *Ali ar-Rida, he took all 
powers into his own hands and his two successors followed 
in the footsteps of their great predecessor. After them 
the Khalifah ceased to be the de facto ruler and real 
power passed into the hands of his functionaries. 

The Hajib (Chamberlain) 

The growth of a large Empire with scores of newly 
subdued races and discontented people, the growth of new 
religious and social movements, which the Khalifahs had to 
suppress, and the rivalry between the members of the 
Muslim nobility for power, put the. lives of the Khalifahs 
in great danger. 'Umar I was assassinated by a discontent- 
ed prisoner of war and *Ali by a disgruntled religious 
zealot. Mu'awiyah was attacked but he escaped with a 
serious wound. Since the attack on Ms life, Mu'awiyah 
took care not to mingle with the people freely. He 


conducted the daily prayers ; but even in the mosque he 
had a separate room (al-hujrah) constructed for him. He 
was the first to place guards (sing, al-haras] at his door 
and always had a special bodyguard with him. 

Apart from the danger to the life of the Khali/ah, it 
was not practicable that he himself should be at the beck 
and call of every citizen of one of the most extensive 
empires the world has ever seen. Therefore 'Aba 
'1-Malik appointed a Hajib to interview all those who 
wanted to see the Khaljfah and send on to him only 
those who really stood in need of interviewing the 
Khalifah in person. Many -of the needs and complaints 
were attended to by the Hajib himself. To counterbalance 
and compensate for this isolation of the Khalifah from 
the common people, 'Abdu 5 l-Malik appointed a day 
in the week when he heard all grievances and complaints 
in person. 

The office of the Hajib received additional signi- 
ficance and very great importance under the 'Abbasids. 
Keeping away a large number of people from interviewing 
the monarch implied power to the Hajib to remove their 
grievances himself and thus obviate the necessity of seeing 
the Khalifah. Gradually the power of the Hajib increased 
on account of his remaining always with the Khalifah. 
The duty of the Hajib also included introducing accredit- 
ed envoys and dignitaries of foreign countries into the 
presence of the Khali j 'ah. 

The Central Boards 

The * Abbasids developed a very elaborate system of 
administration. Under the Umayyads there were five 
Central Boards. Qudamah bin Ja'far 1 gives a list of 
eleven in his days. In determining which of the Central 
Boards existed during the early 'Abbasid period, there are 
four special difficulties : 

(a) The writers on this subject do not draw 2 a 

1. He flourished during the first half of the tenth century. 

2. Mex : The Renaissance of Islam, p. 76. 


clear line between the central departments and the 
provincial ones. We have simply to infer from the 
context or with reference to the names of the provinces 
which are sometimes mentioned along with those of the 

(b) Details as to when some of these Boards came 
into beinor are not available. 1 

(c) " It is difficult, nay well-nigh impossible, to give 
a perfectly accurate account of the administrative 
machinery at a given period, inasmuch as different 
rulers frequently made capricious changes/' 2 

(d) Some of the departments in a big Board also 
seem to have been called Dlwftns. 

In spite of the confusion we can clearly make out 
the following Boards at the centre : 

L Dlwfinu 'l-Jund.* 

2. Dlwanu 'l-Kharaj? 

3. Dlwanu "r-Rasa'ti? 

4. Dlwznu "l-Khatam* 

5. Dlwanu "l-Barld" 

Thus the five Central Boards which existed under 
the Umayyads were continued under the early 'Abbasids, 
and many more were added to them. By the end of the 
first century of the 'Abbasid rule, the following Boards 
seem to have been established : 

6. Dlwanu 'l-Azimmah (the Audit and Account 
Board). 8 

7. Dlwanu *n~Nazri fi 'l-Mazalim (the Board of 
Investigation of Gievances). 9 

1 Regarding a few w get full information, 

2. Orient under the Caliphs, pp 23<> 37. 

3, Al-Jahshiyari, p 197. 4. Ibid., p. 89, 

5. Ibid., p. 197. 6, Ibid., pp. 139, 212. 

7. Ibid., p. 336. B. Ibid., p. 196. 

9. Al-Khudftri, III, p, 88. 


8. Dlwanu *n~Nafaqat (The Board of Ex- 
penditure). 1 

9. Dlwanu 's-Sawafi (The Board of Crown- 
lands. 2 

10. Dlwanu 'd-Diya' (The Board of Estates). 3 

11. Dlwanu VSirr (The Board of Secrecy). 4 

12. Dlwanu "l-*Ar$ (The Board of Military 
Inspection). 5 

13. Dlwanu 't-Tawgl* (The Board of Request). 
7. Dlwanu *l-Jund. 

The great Dlwan of 'Umar I, distorted and disfigured 
by the early Umayyads, but reformed and rectified by 
Hisham, was continued under the 'Abbasids. All soldiers 
irrespective of their nationalities were given stipends and 
allowances, 6 but, retaining the very useful reform of 
Hisham, for whom al-Mansur had a great admiration, no 
one, who did not take part in any war, was paid any 

This Dlwan was responsible for the recruitment and 
pay of the troops. Actually, the Khali/ah or his Wazlr 
looked after these matters which were among the most 
important in the State. 

2. Dlwanu 'l-Kharaj 

This Dlw&n, founded under the Umayyads, was 
continued by the 'Abbasids. It not only kept the account 
of the taxes collected, but also maintained the records of 
the expenditure. In this way it became the Central 
Finance Board. As under the. Umayyads, it was one of 
its duties to collect the taxes of as-Sawad, the richest 
province of the Empire. All amounts remaining over in 
the provinces, after payment of the salaries of the officials 

] . Al- Jaliahiyari, pp. HO, 230, 329. 2. Ibid., p. 337. 

3. Ibid., p. 131). 4. Ibid , pp. 139, 337. 

5. Ibid., p. 365 ; Amir 'All, p. 418. 

0. This was made possible by reducing the pay of the soldiers an< 
making it almost uniform. At Tabari, III, pp. 238 and 245. 


and meeting other necessary expenditure, were received 
in this office. 

3. Dlwdnu 'r-Rasft'il. 

'* The duties of the president of this bureau, who may 
be regarded as one of the principal Secretaries of State, 
was to draw up the imperial mandates, diplomas, letters 
pat dpi, and political correspondence generally, and after 
them? had been approved by the sovereign, or the vazier, 
to Scjp.1 them in red wax with the pontifical seal bearing 
the (Haliph's device. He also revised and corrected 
official letters, and sealed them himself. He attended 
the pnblic audiences, where the Caliph heard the 
complaints or petitions of the people, and took down the 
royal decision on the paper presented by the suitor ; often 
in such cases a copy was given to the complainant while 
the original was kept in the state archives. From 
the nature of the work transacted in this office and the 
style otj writing, which was and has always 1 been 
elaborately elegant, the secretaries and clerks were 
necessarily selected from among men of talent and 
education belonging to the higher classes of society." 2 

4. DlwHnu * 

Von Kremer, 1 Amir *Ali/ Mez* and Levy 6 write 
that this Board was displaced by Dlwtinu *t-Tawqf* 
Al-Jahshiyari mentions Diwtfnu 'l-Kh&tam under several 
of the 'Abbasid rulers. 7 According to him, this Board 
was in existence even under al-Amin (809-814 A.D.).* 
Mez writes that Diwftnu 't-Tawql* was presided over by 
Ja'far, the great Wazlr of ar-Rashid (786-809 v A.D ). 
Ja'far (ex. 803 A.D.) presided over Diwtinu 'n-Nazri 
fi 'l-Ma^alim, 10 and the orders were known as the 
t.* 1 Thus we see that D.wtlnu 

1. Since the days of Marwan II. 2. Amir 'Alt, p. 416. 

3. Ornrtt under the Caltphs, p. 23. 4. Amir *Ali, p. 416 

0. Me/, j>. 76. fl. Jjevy, I, pp. 35 neq. 

7. Al-Jfthhiyari, pp 139, 212. 3C5. 8. Ibid., p. 365. 

9. Mez , p. 79, 10. Al-Jahehiyari, p. 240. 

11. W~aqqa'a imply meaiu to decide a case or give a decree. .See 
l-Jhfaiyiri, p. 249. 


continued at least for a decade even after the 
establishment of Diwanu 't-Tawqi*. Whatever may 
be the ground for the above statement of ,,jfcjie 
European writers, it is definite that Diwanu 'l-Kh&tafa 
continued till and during the reign of al-Amin 

5. Diwanu 'l-Barjd. 

The postal department, introduced into the Islamic 
Empire by Mu'awiyah, was further developed under 
*Abdu '1 -Malik and his successors and perfected underlkfefc 
'Abbasids. Ar-Rashid oraganised the service through feijf 
tutor and counsellor Yahya bin Khalid, the Barmakidi 

There was a central office at Baghdad which received 
mails and reports from the whole of the Empire and 
sorted and distributed them to the various departments. 
S&hibu "I- Bar id (the Postmaster-General) at Baghdad 
submitted such of the reports to the Khaljfah as he 
thought necessary and the other reports (which used 
to be already classified and sorted to some extent at the 
provincial headquarters) were sent to the concerned 
departments. The provincial postmasters sent separate 
reports concerning each department of administration. 
In this way the work of distributing them to the various 
departments at the Centre was facilitated. Extracts of 
important reports were made and kept on the file of the 
central office. 

The central office had very accurate postal itineraries 
of the whole Empire in which all the stations were noted 
and the distances between different stations carefully 
marked. The earliest Arab geographers derived much 
help from these accurate postal directories. 

The Postmaster-General at the capital was one of 
the most important officers of the Khalifah. Besides 
looking after the Imperial Mail and supervising the 
various postnl establishments, he was in charge of a very 
elaborate espionage system in which the services of the 
entire personnel of the whole department were utilised In 


this double capacity, as the chief of the postal department 
and the head of the espionage system, the postmaster was 
called Sahibu 'l\Bandi wa "l-Akhhar (Controller of the 
Post and Intelligence Service). He was not only the 
Postmaster-General and Inspector-General of espionage 
but also the direct confidential agent of the Khallfah. 
Sfthibu 'l-Barid had in his hands the appointment of the 
postal officials in all the provincial towns, their general 
superintendence and the payment of their salaries. 

The Postmaster-General was a very powerful 
officer and could report even against the Governors. 
There is on record a report sent by the Postmaster- 
General of Baghdad to the Khaljfah, al-Mutawakkil, who 
was out of the capital, against the powerful Governor of 
Baghdad. The Governor neglected his legitimate duties 
and gave occasion for some scandal by his absorption in 
the love of a slave irl, whom he had brought from 
al-Hijaz, whither h& had gone on pilgrimage. The 
following is the report : 

"In the name <>f (*od, the Merciful and Com- 
passionate. O, Commander of the Faithful, Muham- 
mad bin 'Abdillah ha)s purchased a girl for 100,000 
dirhoms. He amuses himself with her from noon to 
night and neglects the affairs of the State. The 
Commander of the Faithful would not like to see 
Baghdad in an uproar, for then the Commander of the 
Faithful would have difficulty in restoring order. The 
most humble slave reports this to the Commander of the 
Faithful whom may God strengthen. Peace and Mercy 
and the blessing of Allah be upon him." 1 

6. Diwanu 'I'Azimmah. 

Some writers 2 have wrongly called it Diwjnu 
. This Diwan, founded by al-Mahdi (158-168 
A.H,) was called Dlwxnu 'l-Azimmah* at the Centre and 
Dlwflnu *Z'Zim<tm in the provinces. 4 This Board 

1 Orient under the Caliphf, p. 231. 

2. Hitti. p 321 ; Orient, p 2T7. and Arolr 'Ali. p 4 1C 

X Plural of*/ zimam; *ee al-Jahslnyari, pp. 19ft and 260, iJ 

4. Al-Jahsh.yan, p. 199. 


concerned itself with audit and accounts land was an 
effective means of improving the administration. All 
provincial audits and accounts officers wepe under its 

7. D'wfinu 'n-Nazri fi 'l-Ma$ftlim* 

The Prophet and, after him, his Piouri Successors 
heard appeals .from all parts of the Empire, a|nd investi- 
gated into all grievances of the subjects. 

After the assassination of 'Ali and the attempt on 
Mu'awiyah's life, the Khallfaks became less and 
less accessible to the public. But all the Umawad rulers 
set apart some time for hearing appeals and the inspection 
of grievances. According to Ibnu 'i-Athir, 1 *Abdu '1- Malik 
was the first K kail fall to devote a special day for hearing 
cases of al-ma%ftlim. *Umar II followed the precedence 
set up by his uncle with great zeal. 2 

The 'Abbasids continued this practice and established 
a regular department which was the highest court of 
criminal appeal. Under ar-Rashjd, Ja'far presided over 
this Board. On a certain day Ja'far decided a thousand 
and odd cases and passed brief decrees. On an ejxami- 
nation, it was found that none of the sentence^ was 
repeated and none was against the truth or i right 

Al-Ma'mun set apart Sundays for deciding cases of 
al~ma%alim. A woman brought a case against the 
Khahfah's son. Al-Ma'mun ordered a Qadi to hear and 
decide the case in his presence. The Q&di decided the 
case against the prince and the decree was executed. 4 

8. Dlwftnu 'n-Nafaqat* 

This Board was concerned with the requirements of 
the court. It dealt with the salaries of court officials, 
provisions (bread, meat, sweets, eggs, fruits, fuel, etc.)> 

1. Ibnft '1- Athlr, I, p. 46. 2, Al-Ya'qubi, II, p. 8C7, 

3. Al-J*hthiySri, p. 24$. 4. Al-M5wwdi, Ohapttr VTJ, 


constructions and repairs of the royal buildings, and care 
of the stables (horses, mules, camels, othqr animals, and 
their fodder) and met all contingent expenses connected 
with the requirements of the court. 

9 & 10. Dlwftnu s-Sxwafi 1 and DlwZnu 'd-Diyn'.* 

As-Saw&fi means crown-lands and ad-%iy& means 
estates. Both these Boards are mentioned by al-Jahshiyari. 
But the passage dealing with ad-diya* reads : "And 
(ai-Mansik) placed Sa'id, his mawla> in charge of his 
estates." 3 v Therefore it appears that the crown-lands 
were under Dlwanu 's-Sawafi and the personal estates of 
the Khali/ah under Diwftnu 'd-Diy&, 

1 7. Diwftnu 9 s-Sirr. 

This Board is mentioned in two places by 
al-Jahshiyari, that is, under al-Mansur 4 and under 
ar-Rashid. 5 In both the places it is reported to be upder 
the same officer who was in charge of Diwttnu 'r-Ras&'il* 
Possibly it was a section or department of Dlwanu Y- 

12. DlwZnu 'l-Ard. 

This Board is also mentioned by al-Jahshiyari. 6 It 
concerned itself with the inspection of military equip- 
ments, etc. The arsenals were under a special officer 
called the Mushrifu 's-Sana'ati bi 'l-Makhzan'? Whether 
this Board was a part of Dlwanu 'l-Jund or an 
independent one i not clear. 8 

13. Dlw&nu 9 t-Tawqi*. 

An order passed on a petition of request or grievance 
was called at-tawqi'.* Such orders used to be brief, 

I. Al-Jahshiyari, p. 337. 2. Ibid,, p. 139. 

3. *Vy* I Xft U> 4* U-a jJSj Jbtd. p. 139. 4. Ibid. 

6. Ibid., p. 337. 6. Ibid., p. 365. 

7, Amir 'Ali, p. 418. 8. Ibi4. 
9, Al-Jahhiyari, pp 249, 343, 388. 


comprehensive, elegant and clear and used to be recordejd 
on the petitions themselves. Such orders, passed by 
Ja'far, who presided over Dlwltnu *l'Ma$dlint 9 l weresoljd 
to collectors of literary pieces, who paid one d'titftr a piecje 
for them. 2 

Later a Dlwftn was established which drew up formal 
documents based on these short notes; entered them into 
a register, and sent them on to the concerned person^ 
This D wdn seems to have taken up the work of Dlwdnu 
"l-Khatam as well. 3 But Dlwftnu *l-Khatam is mentioned 
under the early 'Abbasids including the reign of al-Amm "* 
Therefore, Dlw&nu "t-Tawql must have substitute^ 
D.wanu *l-Kh3tam later than al-Amjn's accession, 

A vivid account of the working of this Djwfin under 
al-Mu'tadid (279-289 A.H.) is given by al-Maqnzi 5 and 
al-Qalqashandi. 6 

A petition to postpone the date of payment of the 
kharffj was presented to the Khallfah. He heard the 
case and gave his decision to the scrioe who wrote it down 
in a concise and elegant language on the petition itself. 
Then the petition was passed on to the officers of the 
Dlwan who drew up the formal document. Several 
copies of the document were made (one of them was made 
in a register) and, after affixing the seal and the motto of 
the Khalifah 9 the copies were sent out as circular letters 
to all provincial Governors and other officials concerned. 

The Central Judiciary 

It was in the days of al-Mahdi that the institution of 
the Chief Judge (Qadiu 'l-Qud&t) 7 came into existence. 
In the days of the Prophet ne was the Chief Judge at 
al-Madmah, and he appointed Qttdis for the various 

1. Al-Jahshiyari, p. 249. 

2. Tbn KhaJdun : KitUbu 'l-'Ib*r, I. p. 206. 

3. Mez, p. 79 ; Von Kramer, p. 236 ; Amir 'All, p. 416 ; Cevy, I, pp. 356 aeq. 

4. A-Jahshiyan, pp. 139, 212, 365. 

5. KAi*{u Misr, I, p. 274. 

6. Subhu 'LA'sha, I, p. 93. 

7. Tta title waa objected to as a title of God ^fhich go iqaft oou|d assuwe . 


provinces of Arabia. Later, the Khalifah appointed 
Qadis who were independent and had neither subordinate 
Qadis under them nor were they under any superior 
Qadis. Al-Mahdi appointed Aba Yusuf, the most 
illustrious student of Imam Aba Hanifah, as the Qadi of 
Qadis. So far, the provincial Qadis were appointed by 
the Governors of the respective provinces or directly by 
the Khalifah. Henceforward, the Chief Judge appointed 
his deputies (nct^ibs) in the provinces. Aba Yusuf served 
as the Chief Judge under a!~Mahdi and his two sons, and 
died in the year 798 A.D. 

The Central Police 

The police was called ash-Shurtah and the police 
officer Sahibu "sh-Shurtah by 'AH who was responsible 
for instituting the office. The Umayyads would not 
adopt the name given by *AU. They called the police 
officer Sahibu 'l-Ahdath. When the 'Abbasids came to 
power, "the police officer once more became SsJiibu 

The chief police officer at Baghdad ranked almost 
as a Governor ; and under the later 'Abbasids presided 
over a Diwfin and held the rank of a minister. 1 Under 
the early 'Abbasids he was the chief of the bodyguard of 
the Khali/ah and executed death sentences. 2 

Mu'awiyah was the first Khallfah to have a body- 
guard, and since then the bodyguard had become a part 
and parcel of the military force at the capital. Under the 
first two 'Abbasid Khallfahs Persian soldiers formed the 
bodyguard. Al-Mahdi, the third Khali f ah of the house 
of al-'Abbas, selected 500 men from among the 
Ansar of al-Madmah to form his bodyguard. 
Al-Mu'tasim, the eighth 'Abbasid Khallfah, made the 
great mistake of discarding the Arab bodyguard and 
forming a standing military corps of Turks. " Dressed 
in splendid uniform they galloped recklessly through the 
streets of Baghdad, knocking down everybody in their 

1. Ibn Khaldun : al-Muqaddamah, I, p. 452. 

2. Ibu 'J-Athfr, VI, pp. 16-17. 


way. There was a howl of rage, in the capital.' 51 The 
Khali f ah had to remove himself to Samarra with his 
bodyguard. This force was officered almost entirely by 
Turkomans, freed men or slaves, and before long * 'assumed 
^he part of the Praetorian guards of the Roman Empire, 
deposing and setting up sovereigns at their own will and 
pleasure. 5 ' 2 

Prison Administration 

Among the pre-Islamic Arabs it was customary to 
lead the prisoners along the streets in chains. People 
would give them alms, and that wo,s the means of their 
sustenance. Even after the advent of Islam, the same 
old custom was continued till 'Ali put a stop to it and 
maintained the prisoners from State revenues. Mu'awiyah 
and his successors did likewise. 

Imprisonment is not one of the punishments pre- 
scribed by the Qur'an. The holy book prescribes summary 
punishment for all crimes. With the degeneration of 
the Muslim Commonwealth, certain evils crept in. 
Political crimes on the part of the discontented subjects 
and suspicion on the part of the rulers, who were not sure 
of their title to the great office of the Khallfah, created a 
new contingency, that of placing the suspects and others 
in prisons. With the appearance of new types of crimes, 
prison-houses had to be built in every province and filled 
with a large number of prisoners. 

Under the early 'Abbasids, the old practice of 
leading the prisoners along the street seems to have been 
revived. Aba Yosuf vehemently criticising the practice 
writes : " It is incumbent that every non-Muslim 
prisoner should be fed and well treated till his case is 
decided. Then what about a Muslim who has committed 
a mistake or a crime ? Is he to be left to die of starvation 
because fate or ignorance has forced him to become what 
he is ?".... " Do away 3 -with leading them in chains for 

1. Amir 'All, p. 282. 2, Ibid. 

3. Abu Yusuf's book KitUbu 'l-Kharaj was written in answer to certain 
questions put by the Khallfah Harun." 


people to give alms to them ; for it is a great wrong that 
Muslims, who have committed some crimes or mistakes 
(God having ordained that they should), should be 
imprisoned and led out in chains to be bestowed with 
alms. I do not think that the infidels do such a thing 
with Muslims who are their prisoners. Then, how is it 
proper that Muslims should lead Muslims in chains in 
order that they may get something to eat? And sometimes 
they do not get anything.'* 1 Aba Yosuf further suggests 
that all male and female prisoners should be supplied each 
with a cotton suit for summer and a woollen one for winter. 

Religious Organisation under the Early 'Abbftsids 

Islam, at its inception, consisted of a few simple 
tenets. The Prophet insisted that all Muslims should 
profess belief in God and his own mission ; but he did not 
pry into men's private views and their variations in 
details. Soon after the death of the Prophet, there was 
a widespread apostasy which was stamped out ; and all 
those apostates who repented were taken back into the 
fold of Islam. Even Tulayhah, who had claimed to be 
the Prophet of God, was tolerated within the fold of 
Islam when he became a Muslim. Under *Umar and 
*Uthman, we do not hear of any heresies. During the 
Khil&fat of 'Ali, Ibn Saba and Nusayr attributed divinity 
to 'Ali who had Nusayr executed. Under the Umayyads, 
as we have already seen, people were not executed for 
holding views which were slightly different from the 
common ones. But many were killed whose views were 
likely to endanger the djnastic interests of the Umayyads. 
This freedom to hold slightly divergent views in matters 
of belief did not spring from any deliberate attempt on 
the part of the tJmayyads, but was the result of the 
freedom implied in the great Islamic movement itself. 

By the end of the Umayyad period, this freedom had 
been abused giving rise to many absurd beliefs which 
were quite opposed to the fundamental precepts of Islam. 

1. Quoted by al-Khudari, III, pp. 1*56.156. 


Again, the absence of a written code gave room for 
much difference of opinion among jurists, judges and 
others. This occasioned lack of uniformity in the law of 
the land and variations in the performance of the religious 

The Qur'an was compiled under Abft Bakr, and its 
authorised version was issued under 'Uthman. The 
Qur'an is a book, small in volume, containing in all 6,666 
verses. Of them about 6,000 verses deal with Biblical 
stories and other narrations which have a moral or reli- 
gious value. Only some 600 and odd verses of the 
Qur'an deal with orders and prohibitions (ol-awamiru 
wa 'n-nawahi). Excluding repetitions, the number of 
verses dealing with orders and prohibitions are only a few 
hundred in number. Hence, a large part of the tenets, 
religious practices and legal and moral regulations depend 
on the sayings and examples of the Prophet. 

Already in the last years of the Prophet's life, it was 
a pious custom that when two Muslims met, one- should 
ask for news (al-fyadjh) and the other should relate a 
saying or anecdote of the Prophet. After his death this 
custom continued and the name al-hadjh w&s still applied 
to sayings and stories which were no longer new. 1 In 
the first century of Islam there was a large number of 
living witnesses from whom traditions were collected, 
committed to memory and orally handed down. No book 
on traditions, written before the 'Abbasids came to power, 
has come down to us. 

The most ancient book which deals with the Muslim 
law and gives a large number of traditions is the Muatta 
of Imgm Malik 8 bin Anas (died 178 A,H.) of al-Madinah. 
The most ancient and authoritative collections of tradi- 
tions, arranged in chapters according to the subject-matter, 

1. Sprenger, Uber das Traditionswesen bei den Arabern, Z. D. M. G., Vol. 
X, p. 2, quoted by R. A. Nicholson, p. U3. 

2. Some are of the opinion ttyit az-Zuhri or ' Jbnu Jurayj was the first to Bet 
4own traditions in writing. 


are those of al-Bukhari and Muslim both of whom died 
in the later half of the third century A.H . 

Some of the passages of the Qur'an were explained 
by the Prophet himself. 'Abdullah bin al-* Abbas, a cousin 
of the Prophet, was the real founder of Qur'anic exegesis 
(at't^fsir}. The gist of the researches of the early inter- 
preters, whose writings have perished, is embodied in the 
great commentary 1 of the famous historian at-Tabari who 
died in 310 A.F. 

AH the four great schools of Muslim jurisprudence, 
which are still called by the names of their founders, Abu 
Hanifah (80-150 A,H.) Malik bin Anas (d. 1?8 A.H.), 
a'sh-Shafi'i (150-204 A.H.), and Ahmad bin Flanbal (168- 
241 A.H.), flourished under the early 'Abbasids. 

Thus during the early period of the 'Abbasid rule, 
the meanings of the verses of the Qur'an were made more 
or less definite and the great mass of the sayings of the 
Prophet and reports about his doings collected and 
arranged. Further, Muslim law was codified and regula- 
tions regarding the various religious duties and cere- 
monies fixed by the four great schools of Muslim law and 
jurisprudence (al-fiqh). Thus a few marked steps were 
taken in the direction of making a hitherto elastic and 
dynamic creed definite and static. 

Although a tendency towards defining and fixing the 
beliefs of the Muslims is clearly perceived in the period 
with which we are concerned (the first century of the 
'Abbasid rule), the articles of faith were not yet defined 
and made fixed. The only intellectual group which could 
have done it was that of the Mu'tazilah. But they, being 
of a liberal outlook, disdained to engage themselves in 
rendering elastic creed inelastic and fixed. 

This was done by one <Ali bin Isma'il al- Ash'ari com- 
monly known as Abu '1- Hasan al-Ash'ari. He had been 
a Mu'tazilite for a long time ; then he renounced the 

1. This work has been published at Caire in 30 volume*. 


creed of I'tizil, and passing over to the then (about 300 
A.H.) triumphant orthodox side, became its intellectual 
exponent. Having learnt all that the Mu'tazilites could 
teach him and, having thoroughly mastered their 
dialectics, he turned against them with deadly effect the 
weapons which they had put in his hands 

For the first time in Islam organised religious per- 
secution and inquisition by the State began under the 
*Abbasids. The early 'Abbasids were sincerely religious 
and took to persecution seriously. Their zeal for the 
faith would not allow them to tolerate views which they 
considered to be against the cardinal principles of Islam. 
On the one hand, they were really religious and felt it 
their duty to punish heresies, and, on the other, they used 
the charge of heresy as a convenient pretext against their 
enemies. Many supporters of the *Alid cause died as 
heretics. Heresy was the excuse offered for the murder 
of the great Wazjr, Ja'far, and the degradation of the 
entire Barmakid family. The same charge was levelled 
against the great general, Afshjn, before he was executed. 
Thus the establishment of an inquisition served two pur- 
poses. Firstly, it was used to suppress the new fangled 
beliefs and practices which were becoming numerous, and, 
secondly, it was used as a weapon against the enemies of 
the Khallfah. 

It was under al-Mahdi that organised State persecu- 
tion began. During his stay at Khurasan he had come 
across certain types of people who, calling themselves 
Muslims, held Manichaean beliefs and indulged in such 
practices as were likely to loosen the bonds of domestic 
and social morals. He imbibed an intense abhorrence of 
their tenets, and when he became the Khaljfah, he made 
it a part of his duty to put down the heretics. 

A heretic of that type was called az-Zindiq. Various 
explanations are given of this term. R. A. Nicholson 
writes : "2add]q is an Aramaic word meaning 'righteous.* 
Its ethnological equivalent in Arabic is siddi</ 9 which 
has a different meaning, namely, * veracious.' Zaddlq 


passed into Persian in the form zandik, which was 
used by the Persians before Islam, and zindiq is the 
Arabicised form of the latter word." 1 

Some are of the opinion that it is an Arabicised 
Persian word and that its origin was zan din (woman's 
creed), i.e. hiding infidelity and professing faith. 2 The 
wide scope of the term is shown by the fact that it 
included- under it the pagan chiefs of the Quraysh, Abu 
Muslim, Babik, Mazayyar, Afshm, the Qaramitah leader 
al-Jannabi, Ibnu 'r-Rawandi, al-Hallaj and others. 3 This 
wide scope of the term became dangerous in the hands of 
a Khaljfah like al-Mahdi, a suspicious whisper into whose 
ready ear led, often without trial, to a fatal end. A very 
large number of persons were apprehended as heretics and 
put to death. The worst aspect of it was that intriguers, 
taking advantage of the blind hatred of the Khaljfah for 
anybody who was dubbed a zindiq* often without tender- 
ing any proof, could bring about the ruin and death of 
their enemies. 

Al-Mahdi established a department of the State to 
hunt down the heretics and appointed a minister to be in 
charge of it. He was called Sahibu 'z-Zan3diqah. The 
department worked very vigorously under al-Mahdi and 
his fiery son al-Hadi. It was a kind of inquisition which 
apprehended a great multitude as heretics and put them 
to death Under ar-Rashid and his immediate successors, 
Persian influence was supreme and Sahibu 'z-Zanftdiqah 
did not have much work to do. After the execution of 
Ja'far and the degradation of the entire Barmakid family, 
it was given out that the Barmakids were zindiq s. 

The narrow dogmatism under the first few of the 
*Abbasids created a revulsion in the minds of thinking 
people and paved the way for the doctrine of al-itiz&l 
being accepted as the State creed under al-Ma'mcin. 
** With the eye of genius Ma'mun foresaw the trend of 

1. Nicholson, p. 375 (footnote). 

2. According to *I%zu 'd-Din bin 'Abdi VSalam quoted by S. A Q Hueaini 
in Ibn al-'Atabi, p. 36. 

3. Nicholson, p. 375. 


the dogmas that ware gradually coming into force in the 
Church of which he was the head ; the rigidity they were 
acquiring with the efflux of time, and their ultimate 
consequences on- society and state. In his judgment, 
adherence to those doctrines was worse than treason, for 
their tendency was to stifle all political and social 
development, and end in the destruction of the Common- 
wealth. He foresaw the effect of swathing the mind of 
man with inflexible dogmas. He, therefore, applied 
himself vigorously, during the last four years of his reign, 
to the task of secularising the state, and of emancipating 
the human intellect from the shackles which doctors and 
jurists were beginning to place upon it. No one was 
better qualified than he for this great work of reform. In 
ins knowledge of the traditions and jurisprudence he 
excelled most of the doctors of his time ; his study of the 
Qur'an was profound and careful ; he was a disciple of 
the apostolical Imam ar-Rida, from whom he imbibed his 
love for philosophy and science and that liberalism which 
forms a distinguishing feature in the teachings of *the 
philosophers of the House of Muhammad/ The first 
half of the second century had already witnessed the 
Dissent of Wasil bin <Ata. Wasil was originally a disciple 
of the Imam ^Fa'far as-Sadiq, from whom he learnt the 
value of Human Reason. He afterwards attended the 
lectures of al* Hasan al-Basri, from whom, however, he 
seceded on a question of religious dogma. His followers 
are, in consequence of his secession, called Mu tazilah or 
dissenters and the system that he founded was designated 

as the Madhhabu '1-I'tizal, the Dissenting Church 

Ma'man adopted the Mu'tazilite doctrines and tried to 
introduce them in his dominions, as he considered the 
safety of Islam, and all the hope of progress, depended on 
their general adoption." 1 

The two cardinal tenets of the Mu'tazilah adopted 
and enforced by al-Ma'man were the doctrine of freedom 
of will in the place of predestination and that the Qur'an, 
though inspired, was "created." The orthodox and 

1. Ainir 'Ali, pp. 275-277. 


hitherto undisputed tenet was that it was "uncreated and 

An inquisition was set up by the liberal al-Ma'mun 
called the Miknah. People suspected of holding views 
opposed to the ones approved by the State, especially on 
the above two tenets, were punished. " Those who wou d 
not take the test were flogged and threatened with the 
sword. "After Ma'mun's death the persecution still went 
on, although it was conducted in a more moderate 
fashion. Popular feeling ran strongly against the 
Mu'tazilites. The most prominent figure in the orthodox 
camp was the Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal, who firmly 
resisted the new dogma from the first. 'But for him,' 
says the Sunnite historian, Aba '1-Mahasin, 'the beliefs of 
,a great number would have been corrupted.' 1 Neither 
threats nor entreaties could shake resolution, and 
when he was scourged by the command of the Caliph 
Mu'tadm, the palace was in clanger of being wrecked by 
an angry mob which had assembled outside to hear the 
result of the trial. The Mu'tazilite dogma remained 
officially in force until it was abandoned by the Caliph 
Wathiq and once more declared heretical by the cruel and 
bigoted Mutawakkil (847 A.D.). From that time to this 
the victorious party have sternly suppressed every 
rationalistic movement in Islam." 2 

Arrangements for the conduct of prayers throughout 
the Empire were made as during the previous periods. 
Thousands of mosques were built. Baghdad alone had 
27, (MO of them; and the faajj ceremony was organised by 
the government as usu^al. On the whole, there was more 
of formal religious observances under the 'Abbasids than 

By the end of the Umayyad period the conflict 
between the spread of Islam and the financial interest of 
the State disappeared. All land-owners had to pay 
al-kharaj in the kharaj area and ol-jizyah was removed 

1. An-Nnftttnu 'z-Zahirah, ed. by Juynboll, Vol. I, p. 030, 
:>. K. A. Xjcholaon, p. 3UU. 


from all Muslims. The 'Abbasids, who rode to power on 
the rising tide of the discontent of the new converts, 
could not afford, even if it was necessary, to force their 
own supporters to pay the detested tax. There was no 
need ; and the ' Abbasids could champion the spread of 
Islam without suffering any substantial loss of revenue. 
Great masses embraced Islam, and the movement was 
deliberately and zealously encouraged by the Khalifahs. 
Thus under the early <Abbasids the entire Muslim 
Empire was Islamised by removing all impediments on 
the way of new converts and by offering them equal 
status with the old Muslims both in theory and in 

CttAFTWt Xtt 


VON KBEMER admits that the love for local freedom 
and hatred of centralisation are more in the East than in 
the West. 1 Apart from this love of freedom, there was 
another fact which demanded decentralisation. As we 
have already seen, the means of communication were so 
slow that the Governors had to be given full control 
over their provinces. 

During the early part of al-Mansur's reign 
(138 A.H.), Spain became an independent Muslim State 
under *Abdu 'r- Rah man, a grandson of Hisham bin *Abdi 
'1-Malik. The Governor of Ifnqiyah attempted to 
reconquer the country ; but the invading force was defeat- 
ed, and the head of the 'Abbasid commander was sent 
by a secret messenger and thrown in front of al-Mansur 
as he was holding his court at Makkah. 

During the short reign of al-Hadi (168-170 A.H.), a 
scion of the house of 'Ali, Idris (a brother of an-Nafsu 
'z.Zakiyah), escaped to Tangier from the battlefield of 
Fakh. He was welcomed by the Berbers who helped him 
to lay the foundation of the Idnsid dynasty. Several 
attempts were made by the Governors of Ifnqiyah to 
reconquer Western Africa, but they all ended in failure. 

Even Ifnqiyah proper was in intermittent revolt 
since the accession of the 'Abbasids. It was a difficult 
and unruly province to govern and it did not yield any 
revenue. Hence it had been the cause of a constant drain 
on the resources of the Empire. Every year a subsidy of 
100,000 dinars had to be remitted from the revenues of 
Egypt to balance the deficit budget of the government 
of Ifnqiyah. 

1. Orient under the Caliphs, p. 238. 


Ibrahim, whose father Aghlab had been a successful 
Viceroy of Ifriqiyah, proposed to ar-Rashid that if the 
governorship of Ifnqiyah was bestowed permanently on 
him and his successors, he would not only restore peace 
and order in the province, but also (instead of asking for 
any subsidy) remit 40,000 dinars annually to 
Baghdad. On Harthamah's advice, ar-Rashid accepted 
Ibrahim's offer subject to investiture and confirmation by 
the Khallfah upon each succession. Henceforth Ifriqiyah 
became an autonomous principality. 

During the early years of al-Ma'mon's reign, 
al- Yaman was in a state of revolt due to the influence of 
the Shi'ites. Al-Ma'mun wanted to send a strong man to 
that province who would restore order and establish a 
strong government. Al-Hasan bin Sahl recommended 
the name of Muhammad bin Ibrahim, a descendant of 
Ziyad bin Abihi. He was appointed Governor in the 
year 203 A.H. Muhammad marched with an army 
against Tihamatu '1- Yaman and conquered it. He estab- 
lished his headquarters at Zabid in 204 A.H. and ruled 
over al- Yaman from that city. He and, after him, his 
successors were the Governors of the Khallfah only in 
name ; but, for all practical purposes, they were almost 

Thus during the early 'Abbasid period four indepen- 
dent Muslim kigdoms were established in the West, each 
with its own separate history. As time rolled on, several 
independent dynasties arose in the East also. 

Even under the Umayyads, governorships had almost 
become hereditary. This tendency developed further 
under the 'Abbasids, and the result was the split of the 
mighty Empire into small principalities, most of which 
acknowledged the nominal suzerainty of the Khaljfah. 

When an 'Abbasid W azir fell from power, he was 
executed and all his properties were confiscated. Moreover 
all the Governors and other important officials appointed 
by him were disgraced and dismissed from service. This 


gave rise to a sort of " spoils" system. The change of 
ministers involved changes in the Governors which 
meant dislocation in the administration of the provinces. 

Up to the end of the Umayyad period, the adminis- 
trative machinery was simple ; and there were not many 
departments at the Centre or in the provinces. Under 
the 'Abbasids, the governmental machinery became more 
elaborate and naturally greater order was brought in the 
System of administration. 

The Provinces 

The division of the Empire into provinces was not 
uniform. As we have already seen, al-Hajjaj's vice- 
royalty embraced the whole of the Eastern Empire. 
Under less capable Governors the huge provinces or the 
more difficult ones to administer were subdivided. 
Sometimes the whole of the Arabian subcontinent was 
placed under one Governor and sometimes spilt up into 
two or three governorships. Similarly, the province of 
Khurasan sometimes embraced, in addition to its four 
districts (Marw, Balkh, Hirat and Naysabor), the whole 
of Ma Wara'u 'n-Nahr, Khwarizm, Sijistan, and 
Kuhistan. Under the 'Abbasids the huge and unwieldy 
provinces of Arabia and Khurasan were split up and also 
the very rich or very difficult and unruly provinces. 

From the revenue chart given by al-Jahshiyari, 
it is clear that there were 35 fiscal provinces. 1 Ibn 
Khaldun adds one more, Masabadhan.* Thus we are able to 
make out 36 clear units of fiscal administration in the 
* Abbasid Empire under ar-Rashid and al-Ma'mun. Prof. 
Hittit has given a list of 24 of the chief provinces of the 
'Abbasid Empire. 3 

The following are the fiscal provinces given by 
al-Jahshiyari : 

( \ ) As-Sawad ; (2) Kaskar; (3) the district of Dijlah ; 
(1) Hulwan ; (5) al-Ahwaz ; (6) Pars ; (7) Karman ; 

I. A! .Uhghiyari . KttZbu V-W uzara'i tsu V Kuttiih, pp 35S-364 
2 . Al-M^addamah, I, p 3i3. 3. Hitti, p. 330. 


(8) Mukran ; (9) as-Sind ; (10) Sijistan ; (11) Khurasan ; 
(12) Jurjan ; (13) Qamis ; (14) Tabaristan ; (15) ar-Ray ; 
( 1 6) Isfahan; ( 17) Hamadhan; ( 18) al-Basrah and al-Kufah ; 
(19) Shaharzar ; (20) al-Mawsil ; '(21) al-Jazirah ; 
(22) Adharbayjan ; (23) Muqan and Karkh ; (24) Jilan : 
(25) Arminiyah ; (26) Qinnasrin and al-'Awasim ; (27) Hims; 
(28) Damascus ; (29) al-Urdunn ; (30) Filastm'; 
(31) Egypt ; (32) Barqah ;(33) Ifnqiyah ; (34) al-Yaman ; 
(35) Makkah and al-Madjnah. To these 35, we can 
add Masabadhan from the list of Ibn Khaldun. 1 

These 35 or 36 units were fixed for fiscal purposes. 
The major units like Egypt and Khurasan had a complete 
set of provincial officers and all the provincial Dlwans. 
In the pages of at-Tabari we come across appointments of 
officers to all these units ; but more often several of these 
units were placed under one officer. 

Ar-Rashid made Ja'faru '1-Barmaki the Viceroy of 
the whole West from al-Anbar to the western limits of 
the Empire and made his brother al-Fadlu '1-Barmaki the 
Viceroy of the whole East. * After the fall of the 
JRarmakids, the same Khalifdh made al-Fadl bin Sahl 
Governor of Khurasan, Jurjan, Tabaristan and ar-Rayy. 5 
Al-Ma'man bestowed on al-Fadi the whole of" the East 
from Hamadhan mountain to the mountain of Siqinan 
and Tibet in length and from Jie Sea of Fars 4 and 
al-Hind 5 to the Sea of Daylam and Jurjan 6 in breadth : 
and he allotted to him a stipend of 3,000,000 dirhams and 
called him Dhu ^r-liiyas&tayn? The meaning of the 
term Dhu *r-Riyasatayn is "the master of two domains/' 
the domain of war and that of statesmanship. 8 

Thus we see that the extent of the area of a 
governorship depended on the importance of the Governor 
and not on any definite demarcation. The area of 
political governorship being thus variable according to 

1. Al-Muqaddamah, I, p. 323. 2. Al-Jahshiyari, p. 230. 
3. Ibid., p. 337. 4. The Persian Gulf. 

2. The Arabian Sea. 6. The Caspian Sea. 
7. AWahahiylri, p. 887. 8, Jbjd, 


the importance of the incumbent in the eyes of the 
Khalifah or his Wazir, these 35 or 36 units seem to have 
remained fixed as fiscal provinces. 

The Provincial Diw&ns 

Each of the main Djwans at the Centre had a 
corresponding Dlwan or an officer to represent it in 
every one of the provinces. Often the functions of more 
than one Dlwan at the Centre were combined in a single 
Dlwan of the province. The existence of the following 
provincial Diw&ns is ascertainable : 

1. Diwanu 'l-Kharaj. 1 

2. Diwanu "r-Rasa'il* 

3. Diwanu 'z-Zimam, 3 

4. Diwanu '1-BaridS 

5. Diwanu d-Diya'? 
Diwanu *l-Kharaj. 

In the provinces this Dlwan concerned itself with 
the assessment and collection cf taxes and with husband- 
ing and multiplying the taxable resources of the people. 
All payments were made in this Dlwan and all expenses, 
salaries of officials, Annuities, pay and allowances to the 
soldiers, cost of public utility works and all other expenses 
of the State, were met by it. It was the finance 
department of the province, 

Diwanu 'r-Rasail. 

This Dlwan looked after the entire official corres- 
pondence appertaining to the province. It was, so to 
say, the Chief Secretariat of the province. The functions 
of the Diwanu *r-Rasail and Diwanu 'l-Khatam at the 
Centre were performed by this Board at the provincial 

1. Al-Jahshiylri, pp. 139, 161, etc. 2. Ibid., p. 180. 

3. Ibid., p. 196. 4. Ibid., p. 314. 

6. Ibid,, p. 321. 


Diwanu 'z-Zimam. 

This DiwZn looked after the financial audit of the 
province. At the head of this Board generally a financier 
wag placed. 

Dlwjnu 'l-Bar;d. 

Each of the provincial headquarters had a post 
office with branches in all the important cities and towns 
of the province. The postmaster in charge of the 
province *vas responsible for the postal administration 
of the entire province. The magnitude of the postal 
department of a province can be realised from the fact that 
under His ham the expenses of postal administration in 
the province of ai-'Iraq alone amounted to 4,000,000 
dirhams. 1 Under the 'Abbasids it cost 154,000 dinars. 2 
This high expenditure included the cost of feeding the 
animals, the purchase of new ones and the salaries of the 
postal officials and menials. 

In addition to his enormous administrative w ork, the 
provincial postmaster had to submit confidential reports 
to S&hibv 'l-Barid at Baghdad or to the Khali fak 
himself directly on the conduct and activities of the 
government officials (including the Governor) and 
important? private individuals. Besides, he had to 
submit periodical reports on the condition of the province, 
the working of the administration, the state of the 
peasantry and agriculture, the attitude of the local 
autaorltiefc towards the monarch on the one hand and 
towards the subjects on the other, the condition of the 
mint and the amount of gold and silver coined. He had 
to attend all important government functions, especially 
th mustering and paying of troops. 

Under al-Ma'mun, when his great general Tahir bin 
Husayn, who had been made the Governor of Khurasan, 
declared his independence by substituting his own name 
in the place of that of al-Ma'mun in the Khutbah, the 

1. Al-MIwardi, Chapter XIV, 

2. Amir 'Ali, p. 417. A 4i*9r in those dy waa equ*l to 81 (f 


postmaster of Khurasan immediately despatched a report 
to a 

As we have already seen, all the roads in the Empire 
had been repaired and planted with milestones under 
al-Walid and, later, under 'Urriar II. More roads were 
constructed under the 'Abbasids and planted with mile- 
stones. All these roads were divided into definite postal 
stages and at every one of them horses, mules or camels 
were kept ready for the quick transport of mails and 
passengers. In exceptionally emergent cases, the 
transport was very quick. The message from Tahir 
about his success over *Ali bin <lsa bin Mahan, v reached 
al-Ma'miin in three days. The distance covered was 
750 miles. 

During the 'Abbasid regime, as under the Romans, 
pigeons were trained and used as letter-carriers both" by 
the government and private individuals. The news of 
the capture of Babik Khurrami was carried to al-Mu'tasim 
by this method. 1 About this time the founder of the 
Qaramitah sect organised the use of pigeons systematically 
and on a considerable scale. Ar-Raqqah and al-Mawsil 
could communicate with Baghdad, Wasit, al-Basrah and 
al-Kufah through carrier pigeons within 24 hours. 

" The fire telegraph (signalling) which was in use in 
the Byzantine Empire was retained by the Muslims in 
the countries which had formerly been Greek, but was 
not introduced in the other provinces. It is said to have 
worked particularly well on the North African coast. 
This statement holds good for the 3rd/9th century. A 
message reached Alexandria from Ceuta in one night, 2 
and in three to four hours from Tripoli/' 3 

Diwanu 'd-Diya'. 

This Board looked after and managed the personal 
estates of the Khali f ah in the province. The Khali fahs 
had vast personal estates in most of the provinces. 

1, Al-Mas'udi, VTt, pp. 126 seq. 2. Ibnu 't-Taghriblrdy, I. p. 174, 

3. Mez, pp. 502 seq. 


The Provincial Officials 

The most important officer was the W&li who was in 
charge of the entire administration of the province. Next 
in rank and importance was the Qadi- Other important 
officers were Sahibu f l-Bar~ L d, Sahibu 'sh-Shitrtah and 
the secretaries of the various Boards. 


All the provincial officers were paid well and there 
was not much corruption under the early 'Abbasids. 
The chief provincial officers under the Umayy ads received 
300 dirhams l per month each and the same salary was 
continued under the early 'Abbasids till the days of 
al-Ma'man when al-Fadl bin Sahl raised the salaries 
further. 1 Under al-Ma'mun the Qadi of Egypt is reported 
to have drawn a salary of 4,000 dirhams per month. 3 

The salarj of an ordinary clerk was 10 dirhams a 
month, 4 which was equal to the salary of a labourer who 
was employed ia building Baghdad. 5 Sawwar, the Qadi 
of al-Basrah under al-Mansur, had two Kfitibs under him ; 
one was paid 40 dirhams and the other 20. He wrote 
for an equalisation of the salaries hoping that the salary 
of the low-paid clerk would be raised to 40; but, much 
against his expectation, the salary of the better-paid clerk 
was reduced to 30 and that of the low-paid one raised to 
the same figure, 6 

From the above figures we understand that the 
salary of a provincial officer was thirty times that of a 
labourer or the initial salary of a clerk. 

The WaK. 

Al-Mawardi 7 counts the following among the duties 
of a Governor: the supreme direction of the military 
affairs of the province, the nomination and control of 

1. Al-Jahshiylri, p. 141. 2. Ibid. 

3. As-Suyuti : Husnu 'i-Muhcidarah, II, p. 100. 

4. Al-Jahahiyiri, p. 149. 5. At-Tabari, III, p. 326. 

0. Al-Jahahiyari, pp. 123 seq. 7. Al-Mawardi, Chapter III, 


the judiciary, levying of taxes, meeting all the expenses 
of the province, maintenance of law and order, safe- 
guarding religion against innovation (al~bid'at), police 
administration, supervision of morals (al-ihtisab), 
presiding at Friday prayers, the equipment and despatch 
of the annual pilgrim caravan, the waging of war against 
the unbelievers (where the province adjoined an enemy's 
territory) if no special commander was appointed, the 
stationing and -disposition of troops and paying their 
salaries and the execution of the Qcldi's decrees. 

Usually the Governor heard all cases of al~ma%&lim 
or appointed an officer for that purpose. The cases of 
al-mazalim included official excesses, excessive collections, 
omission of names in the register, misappropriations, 
unjust confiscation of property, non-payment of proper 
salaries, withholding of conjugal rights, non-compliance 
with the Qadi's judgment, non-performance of public 
prayers and improper behaviour in public. 1 

As in the case of the Waz\r, al-Mawardi 2 makes out 
two kinds of Governors, those having full powers and 
those having only limited jurisdiction. To these two 
categories he adds a third, the Amir by usurpation 
(al-Amiru bi ' 

The early 'Abbasids did not keep a Governor in the 
same province for a long time. The Governors used to 
be transferred from one province to another. On being 
relieved of the governorship of a province, the Governor 
had to give a full report of his administration. If there 
was the slightest suspicion of breach of trust, all his 
properties were confiscated. 

The office of a Governor was not a sinecure under 
the early 'Abbasids. The Governors held office for short 
terms and were liable to dismissal at the pleasure of the 
sovereign. After the 'Abbasid dynasty was firmly 

1. Al.Mawardi, Chapter VII, 2 t Ibid,, Chapter III. 
3, Ibid, 


established, the terms of the Governors became longer ; 
but still their powers of initiation were limited. However, 
some Governors succeeded in obtaining special privileges 
through services rendered to the State or through special 
loyalty to the Khali fah. 

The Qadi. 

Each provincial capital and also every important 
town in the province had a Qadi. Al-Mawardi 1 makes 
a distinction between two kinds of judgeship. In the 
one kind, the authority is general and absolute and, in 
the other, it is special and -limited. He lays down the 
following qualifications for a Qadi* He must be a male, 3 
Muslim, in full possession of his senses, a freeman, honest, 
pious and above suspicion, free from defects of hearing 
and sight, and, above all, well- versed in the principles of 

He prescribes the following as the duties of a Qadi 4 : 
settling disputes, restoration of rights, administration of 
the properties of minors, the insane, etc., supervision of 
endowments (al-awqaf) 9 execution of wills (al-was<3ya), 
encouragement of and arranging for the marriage of 
widows, execution of the prescribed punishments 
(al-kudttd), removal of public encroachments, control over 
his subordinates (sing, an-na'ib) and watching their 
conduct and protecting the weak against the strong. 

The Qadi was to give his judgment and the execution 
thereof was in the hands of the Governor. 

Under the Umayyads, the Qcidis had much scope for 
using their own interpretations of the laws and possessed 
a good deal of personal discretion in matters of procedure, 
etc., as the laws had not yet been codified. But during the 
'Abbasid period the laws were codified and the rules of 
judicial procedure made definite. Thus uniformity in 
law and procedure was established throughout the 

1. Al-MIwardi, Chapter VI. 2. Ibid. 

I, Abu Hanlfah is for women also, 4. Al-Mawardi, Chapter VI. 


Since the time of al-Mansur, a remarkable legal 
institution came into existence a permanent body of 
witnesses. Formerly only witnesses known to be of good 
repute were accepted. Others were either openly rejected 
or, in case they were absolutely unknown, enquiries were 
made regarding them from their neighbours. " But now, 
as there is such a lot of false swearing, secret enquiries 
are made regarding the witnesses ; that is to say, a list of 
men, fit to be called as witnesses, is prepared. The result 
is that riot reliability but inclusion in the prepared list is 
now the passport to the witness-box, the word witness 
(ash-shdhid) signifying such an individual." 1 

From these witnesses some were chosen as assessors 
to help the Q.adi in his work. Selection of witnesses 
became one of the duties of the Qadi, and on a Qadi 
vacating his office, the assessors appointed by him ceased 
to continue in that capacity. 

Sdhibu 'sh'Skurlah* 

Each city had its own police* force called the 
Shurtah under a chief known as Sahibu \<sh-Shurtah who 
was responsible for the protection of the person and 
property of the citizens. His force patrolled the city at 
nights for the purpose of suppressing the malefactors. 
Every day he had to prepare and send a report to the 
police chief at Baghdad. According to Ibn Khaldun, 2 
the duties of Sdhibii 'sh-Shiirfah mainly related to the 
maintenance of law. He had to suppress crimes, inve^ti- 
gate them and punish the guilty. 

He administered the customary (al-*urf) laws which 
were distinct from the laws of the Shariat. Sfthibu 
'sh-Shurfah, unUKe the Qadi, had to move about to 
investigate crimes reported or suspected and could use 
force to extract confession from the accused. He could 
imprison a suspected person in order to make investi- 
gations and could torture him to force him to make a 

1. AMCindi, p. 361, quoted by Mez, p. 227, 

2, Al'Muqaddawabt I, pp. *00 seq. 


confession. 1 He could imprison for life a habitual 
criminal or one who caused great hardship to the 
community. He could hear the evidence of dhi minis 
and could hear and decide cases of assaults/ 

The police held equal rank with the militia and its 
personnel were well paid. The officers of the Shurtah 
were honest and discharged their duties with great zeal 
and ardour. 

The Muhtasib. 

Along with Sakibu 'sh-Shurtah another officer, the 
Muhtasib* was appointed for the maintenance of law, 
especially the religious and moral side of it. His business 
was to see that *he religious and moral precepts of Islam 
were obeyed. This office, created under al-Mahdi, was 
continued under his successors. 

Al-Mawardi writes that the Muhtasibs were of two 
kinds, volunteers and paid officials. Their function was 
to order people to do good and prevent them from doing 
the evil. In his capacity as the superintendent of 
markets, the Muhtastbs went through the city daily 
accompanied by a detachment of subordinates, inspected 
provisions to find out if they were adulterated and tested 
weights and measures. 3 

His duties included prevention of nuisance, removal 
of obstruction from and encroachment upon public 
streets, prevention of burying people in lands owned by 
others, prevention of cruelty to servants and animals, 
forcing debtors to pay their debts, encouraging regular 
attendance at the mosque, preventing public eating in the 
month of Ramadan, enforcement of al-'iddah (the period 
of waiting) on widows and divorced women, encourage- 
ment of the marriage of unmarried girls, preventing men 
consorting with women in public, chastising anyone found 
in a state of drunkenness, supervision of games, etc. 

1. Abu YuBuf. p 107. 2. Al-Miwardi, Chapter XIX. 

3. Al-Mawardi, Chapter XX. 4. Ibid. 


The Mufytasib could only try cases summarily when 
the truth was not in doubt. If a case required sifting of 
evidence and administering of oaths, it had to go to the 
Qadi. His functions stood midway between those of the 
Qftdi and the Naziru *l-Ma$&lim; but in rank and power 
he was inferior to both of them. 1 Essentially, the duties 
of the MuJitasib related to public morals and prevention 
of commercial knavery. An offence had to be committed 
in public before the JUuMasib could take cognizance 
of it. He had no right to pry into the secrets of men or 
exceed the limits of decency. 2 

i, Chapter XX. 2. Ibid. 



ALTHOUGH the sources of revenue under the 'Abbasids 
were the same as under the Umayyads, there was a great 
difference in the spirit of administering the revenue 
system. Under the Umayyads an invidious distinction was 
made between the Arabs and the non- Arabs and between 
the old converts and the new ones, but all such distinctions 
were abolished under the 'Abbasids, and all Muslims were 
treated on an equal basis in the matter of revenue 
collections. Still some of the hideous and unauthorised 
collections made under the Umayyads seem to have 
continued under the 'Abbasids also. From the revenue 
charts given by al-Jahshiyari and Ibn Khaldun it is clear 
that some provinces were paying a certain number of 
slaves as tribute every year. Abu Yosuf gives a long list 
of illegal imposts and recommends to ar-Rashid that they 
should be discounted as they are against the Sharj'at. 

The principles of revenue administration, which had 
been evolving through the preceding two centuries, were 
definitely laid down by the great master of jurisprudence, 
Aba Yusuf, in answer to a series of questions of put to him 
by ar-Rashid. Abu Yusuf's book, Kitabu 'l-Kharaj* 
gives a clear exposition of the principles and the history 
of their evolution. It points out the course to be followed 
in the future and brings to the notice of the Khalifdh 
most of the corrupt practices prevalent in the sphere of 
revenue administration, and exhorts him to put an end 
to them. 

The Provincial Sources of Revenue 

/. Al-Qhanimah. 

Abu Yosuf includes under al-ghanimah all those 

1. Bulaq, 1306 A.M. 


categories also on which khums is levied ; such as 
minerals and precious metals 1 dug out or picked up from 
the earth, treasure-troves and precious commodities 
gained from the sea pearls, amber, etc. 2 

We have seen how the khums was divided by the 
Prophet, how his immediate successors abolished his 
share and that of his relatives, how 'Umar II sent the 
share of the Prophet and that of his relatives to the Banft 
Hashim and how his successors dispensed with the 

Abu Yusuf says that the companions of the Prophet 
were unanimous in their opinion that the share of the 
Prophet and that of his relatives should be spent on the 
equipment and weapons of the army. 3 Abu Hanifah and 
most of the Hanafi jurists are of the opinion that the 
khums should be spent as done by the four pious 
Khaljfahs. Abu Yusuf writes that he concurs in the 
opinion of ash-Shafi'i that the share of the Prophet 
should be used for the common good of the Muslims 
and that of his relatives should be given to the 
descendants of Hashim. 4 

2. Az-Zakat, 

Abu Yusuf advises ar-Rashid to appoint separate 
'Amils to collect az-zakat. He holds that it is not proper 
that the revenue from the sadaqat (charities) of the 
Muslims should be mixed up with that derived from the 
kharaj? He further holds that the zakat of each town 
should be distributed in the same town and should not be 
carried outside it. 6 

J. Al-'Ushr. 

Abu Yusuf mentions the following categories of land 
as al-'ushr land 7 : 

1. Thor^is no tux on prerioua atones ; p. 12. 

2. But Abu Hanifah excludes sea products. Abu Yusuf, p. 39. 
3 Ibid., p. 11. 4. Ibid., p 12. 

5. Ibid., p. 46. 6. Ibid. 

7, Ibid., pp. 33, 39. 


1. All Arabian lands except the ones in the hands 
of Bann Taghlib. 1 

2. Such non- Arabian lands as the owners of which 
embraced Islam. 

3. Such non-Arabian lands as were conquered by 
the Muslims by force and were distributed by the Imam 
(the Khali f ah) among the conquerors. 8 

Abo Yusuf recognises the right of the Khali f ah to 
grant the conquered non- Arabian lands to the Muslim 
soldiers and also his right to bestow the fay' lands as 
fiefs on Muslims for special services. Such lands may 
be given as al-kharaj lands or as al-'ushr lands.* 

Thus, the practice, started by 'Uthman and followed 
by his Umayyad successors in clear contravention of the 
rules laid down by the great 'Umar has become a 
recognised principle in the hands of the 'Abbasid jurist. 
Abu Yusuf also lays down that the fiefs once granted by 
a Khali fah cannot be revoked by his successors. 

In addition to the lands of the above categories, such 
waste lands (al-mawat)* marshes (al-bat&ih) and forests 
(al-ffj&m) as are reclaimed by Muslims are to become 
al-'ushr lands unless they are watered by the kharaj 
channels (ariharu J l-khar#j). 4 

Under the Pious Khalifahs, all Muslims holding 
lands paid only al-'ushr and no one paid al-kKaraj. 
Under the Umayyads more and more of the kharaj lands 
came into the possession of the Muslims, and huge estates 
came under the ownership of a few princes. This meant 
loss of revenue to the State ; and al-Hajjaj was forced to 
collect al-kharaj from those Muslims also who held 
former al-kharaj lands. Naturally this caused resent- 
ment among the Muslim land-holders. 

According to the reform of an-Nasr bin Sayyar, the 
tax on each village was fixed, and it was apportioned 

1. For full details see al-Baladhuri, pp. 181-183. 

2. Abu Yusuf, p. 36. 3. Ibid., p. 33. 4. Ibid. 

104 AfcAB 

among all the land-owners, Muslims and non-Muslims, on 
the basis of the extent of the land. This reform prevented 
the loss of revenue to th6 government on the one 
hand and permitted Muslims to own al-kharaj lands on 
the other. 

4. Al~Jizyah. 

Abu Yusuf holds tha,t>al-jizyah is compulsory on all 
the people of adh-dhimm&h except the Christians of 
Banfc Taghlib and Najrsn. 1 It is to be levied on men 
only and not to be levied on women and children. It 
shall not be taken from the indigent, the blind, , the 
crippled, the monks and the old who have neither 
employment npr wealth. 2 Abo Yusuf fixes al-jizyah at 
the rate of 48 dirhams per year for the rich, 24 for the 
middle class and 12 for the labourers. 3 The Christians of 
Banu Taghlib were to pay double the zakfttS 

Although al-jizyah on the new converts was 
abolished by the great Governor of Khurasan, anNasr 
bin Sayyar, during the last days of the Umayyada, the 
hatred caused by that impious imposition was so great 
that even its abolition at the eleventh hour could 
not save the dynasty. 

The *Abbasids, whose success was mainly due to the 
help rendered by the Khurasanis and other non- Arabs, 
never imposed al-jizyah on Muslims belonging to any 
nationality. This liberal step and the consequent Islam - 
isation of the whole Empire was rendered possible by two 
great reforms which were made towards the close of the 
Umayyad period. 

As we have already seen, the reform of Hisharu 
limited pensions only to active combatants. The State 
was no more responsible to give annuities to all Muslims 
am? no more did the fear of granting pensions to the 
new converts deter the Khali f ah from encouraging 
conversion to Islam. Another fear that prevented thr 

1. Abu Yfjftuf, p ofe. 2. Ibid., p, 70. 

3. Ibid , pf 70-71. 4, Ibid,, p. t>9 ; al-Baladhuri, pp. 18! !.?. 


UmayJ/ads from encouraging conversion to Islam was 
the loss of revenue by way of the kharaj lands being 
converted into the 'ushr lands. This fear was removed 
by the reform of an-Nasr bin Sayyar which was adopted 
throughout the Empire. Of course, more conversions 
meant loss of al-jizyah. This loss was more than com- 
pensated by the savings from the former indiscriminate 

These two great reforms (the pension reform and the 
khar&j reform) were actually made under the Umayyads 
at a time when they were nearing their end, and the 
'Abbasids reaped their full benefit. 

5. Kharaj. 

Abu Yusuf giv^s the Khalifah the option of dividing 
a conquered land Among the warriors (as done previous, 
to the decision of *Umar I) or of leaving it in the hands 
of the people of the soil (as done by the second 
Khalifah). When the land was left in the hands of the 
conquered people, it became their alienable private 
property. Thus, all lands, which were conquered by force 
from the non- Arab people and were left by the conquerors 
in the hands of the children of the soil, and all lands, 
which were taken by peace from them, become al-khar&* 
lands. 1 

'Umar I had fixed the rates of taxes. But Abu 
Yosuf is against such fixation and holds the system 
injurious to the interest of the public treasury. He gives 
the Khalifah the right to vary the rates at his discretion, 

Al-Ma'mtm reduced the tax in as-Sawad from one- 
half of a produce to two-fifths, a reduction of twenty 
per cent. 3 The same Khalifah reduced the tax oi 
ar-Rayy by ^,000,000 dirhams* and raised that of Qumis 
from 2,000,000 to 7,000,000 dirhams* 

1. Abu Yilsuf, p. 39. 2. Ibid., p. 48. 

3. Al-Fakhri, p. 260. 4. AsTabari, III, p 

5. Ibid., pp. 1092 seq. 


Al-kharaj was usually levied after the harvest, and 
the financial year for the collection of al-khar&j was 
solar, and not lunar as in the case of the charities 
collected from the Muslims. The date of payment in 
those territories which were conquered from the 
Sasanians was the Nawruz or New Year's Day. The 
calendar employed being defective, trouble was 
experienced ; but the defect was rectified later under 
al-Muqtadir (295-320 A.H.). 

Al-Mawardi enumerates three methods of assessing 
al-kharaj : 

1. Al-kharaj was assessed on the basis of the total 
area of the village irrespective of the actual area 

2. The total cultivated area alone was made the 
basis of assessment. 

3. The total yield was divided, the State getting its 
share. 1 

The system of assessing al-kharaj in lump sums 
payable by the various districts had continued from the 
days of the Sasanians. The taxes were heavy, and, to 
pay them in the lean years, farmers had to sell away 
parts of their holdings. The system of assessing al-kharaj 
in lump sums was known as at-takmilah and it was dis- 
continued under al-Muqtadir. 2 

It is reported that 'Ubaydullah, the Wazir of 
al-Mahdi, suggested to him that his income would be 
increased if, instead of the takmilah system, he introduced 
the system of sharing the produce of the land. s 

From the scanty accounts we have about the 
administrative details of this period we an conclude that 
all the three systems enumerated by al-Mawardi were in 
practice under the early 'Abbasids. We learn of 
complaints against the takmilah system 4 and that of 

1. Al-Mawardi, Chapter XIII. 2. Al-Maqrlzi, I, pp. 273 seq. 

3. Al-Fakhri, pp. 210-210. 4. Al Maqrizi, I, pp. 273 ueq. 


at-taqbil* and also learn that al-Ma'man took two-fifths 
of the yield instead of one-half. 

Under the early 'Abbasids the collection of taxes was 
left in the hands of the contractors in return for a fixed 
sum of money. This naturally led to extortions of various 
kinds. This buying and selling of tax-farms is severely 
condemned by Aba Yusuf. This system, which was 
known as at-taqbll? had led to unauthorised exactions 
from the subjects by the contractor (al-muqabbil). Abu 
Yusuf permits at-taqbll, if the people of a village propose 
that some trustworthy man from among them should be 
allowed to collect and pay the taxes into the treasury on 
behalf of all of them. 

In Egypt the taxes were paid collectively as had 
been the custom under the Byzantines. Experts estimat- 
ed the probable yield in the various districts and, meeting 
the heads of the villages, settled what proportion of the 
total tax was payable by each village^ The appropriate 
part of this sum was imposed on the individuarvtlittger&r 
The share of the defaulters had 'to be paid by the rest. 
The system of at-taqbll was more common in Egypt 
than in al-'Iraq. Coqtracts used to be made for four 
years to permit of adjustments for drought or other 
unusual difficulties. 

6. Al-'Ushur. 

This tax is not mentioned in the Qur'an. It was 
imposed by *Umar I. Abu Yusuf writes that some traders 
of Manbij sought permission from *Umar to trade in 
Muslim countries promising to pay tithes and that the 
Khali fah 9 after consulting the Companions of the Prophet, 
permitted them to do so. 3 

Abu Yusuf 4 makes a clear distinction between the 
tributes (al-khar&j* al-jizyah and al~*ushur) and the 
charities (az-zak&t, as-sadaqah, and al-'ushr). The eight 
charges on the charities are definitely mentioned in the 

1. Al-Fakhri. p. 260. 2. Abu Yuuf ( p. 00, 

. Ibid., p. 78. 4. Ibid, p. 49 


ri. 1 Abu Yusuf lays down that the following five 
items of expenditure are to be met from the tributes : 

It The salaries of Qadis 9 Governors, and other 
government officials. 

2. Emoluments to soldiers. 

3. Digging new canals and repairing the old ones 
for purposes of cultivation. 

4. pigging canals for supplying water to big cities. 

5. Prison administration. 

The Total Revenue of the Empire 

The total revenue of the Empire (including the price 
of commodities collected in kind) under ar-Rashid, 2 
according to a report in the handwriting of Ahmad bin 
Muhammad bin <Abdi '1-Hamid, 3 was 530.312,000 
dirhams.* The revenue in cash alone amounted to 
404,708,000 diihams* 

The total cash revenue in the days of al-Ma'man, as 
given by Ibn Khaldun, 6 was 319,600,000 dirhams and 
3,817,000 dinars 7 which give a total of 403,574,000 

According to Qudamah's balance sheet, 9 which 
represents the revenue in the days of al-Mu'tasim, the 
total revenue received at Baghdad, including the price of 
taxes collected in kind, 10 was 314,281,350 dirhams and 
6,102,000 dinars 11 which gives a total of 426,525,350 
dirhams. 1 * 

1. See supra, p, 23. 2. Al-Jahshiyari, pp. 357 seq. 

8. Ibid., and Ibn Khaldun, I, p, 321. 

4. Received at Baghdad after defraying the provincial ' xppnses. Al- 
JafaihiTln, p 361. 

6. Ibid. 6. Ibn Khaldr a, JL, pp. 321 seq. 

7. Totalled by al-Khudari, III, pp. 200 seqq. 

. Converting the dinars into dirhams at the rate of 22 dirhams per dinar ; 
Hee al-Jahhiyari, p. 364. Hitti gives a total of only 331,929,008 dirhams ; see 
p. 821. 

9. Ai.Khudari, III pp, 200 seqq. 10. Hitti, p. 321. 

11. Totalled by al-Khuclari, pp. 200 seqq. 1$. At 5$ dirhams per dirtpr. 


From a comparison of these lists we see that the 
total revenue received at Baghdad during the .early 
Abbasid period, after meeting all the expenses 1 in the 
provinces, was 400 to 600 million dirhams per year. 

Of all the lists available that of al-Jahshiyari 2 gives 
the figures of the earliest period and it gives more details 
than that of Ibn Khaldun. Items omitted by Ibn Khaldan 
are marked thus *, and those figures of the great historian 
and pvilosopher which differ from those of al-Jahshiyari 
or have been omitted by the latter are given within 

Al-Jahshiy&ns List 


The value of the income 
from the grain lands of as- 
Sawad (alhmanu ghallati 5 s- 

2. From other items of revenue 
(abivdbu 7-m<7/)of as-Sawad 

Clothing pieces of Najran 
Sealing lac (terra sigillata) ... 

3. Kaskar 3 

4. The District of Dijlah 4 . . . 

5. Hulwan 

6. Al-Ahwfiz 

1. Paris 

Black raisin-water (black 

* Pomegranates and quinces... 

* Mangoes 
*Sjraficlay 5 

* Raisins 

8. Karm&n 


200 pieces 

30,000 ritls 









20,000 Tills 
30,000 bottles 
15,000 Tills 
50,000 Tills 
3 Hashimi kurrs 


Al-Jahahiyari, p. 364. 2. Ibid,, pp. 356 seqq, 

'6. The region, of Wiilf. 4* The region of Shattu 'l 

0. Edible i soeLe Strange i Eaitnn Ctliphati. p. $$< 



Yamani and Khabisi' garments 500 



Cumin (al-kammnn)* 

9. Mukrttn 

10. As-Sind and its Adjuncts 

* Foodstuff 

* Elephants 

* Hashishi robes 

* Waist wrappers 
Indian incense 

* Other kinds of incense or 
aloes- wood (al-ud) 

* Sandals 

* These were in addition to 
cloves and nutmeg (al-jawzbuwa). 

11. Sijistdn 

200 ritls 
100 ritls 

1,000,000 kayrakhi 


2,000 pieces 

150 manns 

150 manns 
2,000 pairs 

Stipulated (al-mu'ayyanah) 


Al-ftlnld (a kind of sweets) 
12. Khurasan 
Pure silver ingots 
Tack horses (al-bartlzln) 
Cloth pieces 
Myrobalans (al-ihlilaj) 




14. Qurnis 
Pure silver ingots 

* Garments 

* Pomegranates 

300 pieces 
20,000 ritls 


1,000 heads 
300 ritls 
(3,000 riffs) 

1,000 manns 
(1,000 pieces) 

70 pieces 



1. Khablf a a town in Karma n ; al-Jahahiyari. (Cairo), p. 282 (footnote 2), 
2 A kind of plant used u a carminative. 



15. Tabaristan, Ruy/ln 

and Diinbawand ... ... 6,300,000 

Tabari carpets ... 600 pieces 

Garments ... 200 

Cloth ... 300 pieces 

Kerchiefs ... 300 

Vessels (sing, al-jam) ... 600 (300) 

16. Ar-Rayy ... ... 12,000,000 

* Pomegranates ... 100,000,000 

* Peaches ... 1,000 ritls 
(Honey ... 20,000 ritls) 

17. Itfahflit 

(Excluding .Khamtash and 

rural areas of 'IsaRadis)... ... 11,000,000 

* Honey ... 20,000 ritls 

* Wax ... 20,000 ritls 

18. Hamadhan and Dastabfi! ... 11,800,000 
Plums or robba ... 1,000 manns 

(1,000 rills) 

Honey of Arwand ... 20,000 ritls 

(12,000 ritls) 

19. The two Mahs* of al-Knfah 

and al-Ka&rah ... ... 20,700,000 

Mqsabadhan and ar-Rpyan* ... (4,000,000 

20. S/iaharznr and its 

adjuncts ... ... 24,000,000 


21. Al-Maiesil and its 

adjuncts .... ... 24,000,000 

White honey ... 20,000 ritls 

22. Al-Jazlrah, ad-DiyHrat 

andal-Furat 34,000,000 

23. Adharbayjan ... ... 4,000,000 

24. Muqan and Karkh 300,000 

1. Nihiwand and Dlnawar. 

{. Given by Ibn Khaldun ; niight have been comprised by province No. 15, 








26. Armlniydh 

Carved or dug out 

(al-mahfurah) carpets ., 
Variegated cloth (ar-raqm) .. 
Fish (seasoned with salt and 


Tarragon (at-tarikh) 


(1,000 heads) 
12 wine-skins 
(12,<T)0 wine-skins) 



580 pieces 

27. Qinnasrjn and al-'Awlsim 

10,000 ritls 
10,000 rills 


*28. Him* 320,000 

* Raisins ... 1,000 camel loads 

29. Damascus 420,000 

(Raisins 1,000 camel loads) 

30. Al-Urdunn ... - 90,000 

31. Filastin ... - 320,000' 


And from all the Districts of 

Syria . . . 300,000 ritls of raisin 

(300,000 ritls of oil) 

1. The cash column is not filled up in al-Jahshiyari's book. Ibn Khaldun 
gives the amount as 5,000,000 dirhams. SOP al-Muqaddamah, Vol. I, p. 323. 

2. Al-Jahshiyari's figure reads uJ> Vj >^-* ^ XJ U C) ^ and that of Ibn 
Khaldun ^JYT iL**ui^ AJU Cj^'- Since the word ^Y I can be used with 
ten and not with twenty, the figure of Ibn Khajdfin must be correct. See 
fd-Jfthshiylri, p. 963, and Ibn Khaldun, I, p. 324, 



32. Egypt 

Excluding Tinnis, Dimyat and al-Ashnan, the 
revenues of which are set apart to provide for 
expenditure ... ... 1,920,000 


33. Barqah ... ... 1,000,000 


34. Ifriqiyah ... ... 13,000,000 


Carpets ... 120 pieces 

35. Al-Yaman ... ... 870,000 


36. 'Makkah and al-Madlnah ... 300,000 

The contributions in kind are to the value of 
5,000,000 (and odd) dinars (including the gold coins) 
which at the rate of 22 dirhams per dinar 1 are equivalent 
to 125,532,000 dirhams. 

The coined silver money amounts to 404,780,000 a 

The money plus the value of the deliveries in kind 
amount to 530,312,000 dirhams. 

Revenue Subdivisions 

From the scanty details which we are able to get 
about the revenue subdivisions of al-'Iraq and Egypt, 
we can presume that all the fiscal provinces would have 
been similarly divided. However, it must be borne in 
mind that, due to local traditions arid accidental 
circumstances, there must have been much difference in 
details from province to province. 

1. Theoretically, the dinftr was equivalent to 10 dirhams. Under 
ar-Rashfd gold, having appreciated in value a dinar was normally worth 20 
dirhams. though in governmental transactions, as here, its value was reckoned 
at 22 dirhams : Von Kremer : Ueber das hmnahmebudget des Abbasiden 
JReichs vom Jahre, p. 306, in Denkschrift d. phil-hist. cl d. Wiener Academic Bd. 
XXX VI, p. 287, quoted by Levy, II, p. 347. 

2, The total of the amounts as they appear in the list is different. 
Evidently there are errors and omissions in the body of the chart which become 
pbvious when we compare these figures with those of Jbn Khaldun. 


We have already seen how Egypt was subdivided. 1 
As-Sawad was divided into districts (sing, al-karah) each 
of which consisted of several sub-districts (sing, al-tassfij).* 
Each tassuj was divided into several rural areas 
(sing, ar-rustdq) and each rustfiq into villages (sing. 
al-qaryah). To give an example, Badurayya was the 
richest subdivision in as-Saws.d, situated on the right 
bank of the Tigris, and was the most difficult to 
administer. An officer who succeeded in administering 
that rich subdivision was usually nominated as Sahibu 
'l-Kharftj- The tassnj of Badurayya was divided into 
twelve rustaq s of which the best was that of Karkh. 
Karkh itself was divided into twelve qaryahs. 

Illegal Levies 

Aba Yusuf enunciates that the kharfij-p&yera should 
not be required to feed the tax-collectors, nor to pay the 
waiting charges (ujuru 'l-mads) nor the handful (a I 
ihtifftn) of corn, nor any extra charge on an exceptionally 
good crop (an-nazlah). They should not be made to pay 
the carrying charges (al-hamwftlah) or to pay for the 
pamphlets (as-sufyaf) of instructions and other papers 
(al-qarcit'is) ; nor should they be forced to pay the wages 
for couriers (itjani 7-///ytf/). No batta (al-maunah) is 
due to anyone from them. No additional customary 
charges (ar-riwftj) should be levied at the time of 
collecting al-khar&j* 

Ill-Treatment of the Tax-Payers 

Al-Jahshiyari writes that the kharfij- payers were 
being ill-treated by exposing them to wild animals 
(as-stbfi*), bees (az-zanablr), polecats (as-sansnir) and that 
al-Mahdi put a stop to those cruelties. 3 Abu Yusuf 
writes that tax-payers were made to wait at the door of 
the tax-collectors for days together, that they were made 
to stand in the sun and that sometimes the tax-collectors 
beat them severely inflicting injuries. 4 The I mum 
recommends that these unjust and cruel tortures should 
be suppressed and suggests that there should be an 
espionage system to watch and report these atrocitifes as 
the khar ^/'-payers themselves could not make any reports. 

1. Se*iupr,p. 109, 2. YlqGt : Mu'jamu '//#* I, p. Ml. 

8. Al-Jfthfhiy&ri* p. 163. 4. Abu Yueuf, p. 70. 




AGRICULTURE, upon which the collection of taxes 
depended, received great impetus under the early 
*Abbasids. The restoration and preservation of all canals 
and the digging of new ones were looked upon as one of 
the most important functions of the government. Abu 
Yusuf lays emphasis on the fact that it is one of the 
primary duties of the government to restore, at its cost, 
canals for the promotion of agriculture. 

Great care was taken to improve cultivation in as- 
Sawad, the most fertile part of the Empire. Deserted 
villages were reinhabited and ruined farms rehabilitated. 
" Canals from the Euphrates, either old and now 
re-opened or else entirely new, formed a 'veritable net- 
work/ * The first great canal, called Nahru *lsa after a 
relative 2 of al-Mansur who had re-excavated it, connected 
the Euphrates at al-Anbar in the north- west with the 
Tigris at Baghdad. One of the main branches of the Nahru 
*Isa was the Sarah. The second great transverse canal was 
Nahr Sarsar," which entered the Tigris above al-Mada'in, 
The third was the Nahr al-Malik ('river of the king') which 
flowed into the Tigris below al-Mada'in. 3 Lower down 
the two rivers came the Nahr Kutha and the Great 
Sarah, 4 which threw off a number of irrigation channels. 
Another canal, the Dujayl (diminutive of Dijlah, the 
Tigris), which originally connected the Tigris with the 
Euphrates, had become silted up by the tenth century, 

1. Al-Istakhri. p. 85 ; Ibn Hawqal, p. 166. 

2 & 3 For these canals see al-Tstakhri, pp. 84-85 ; same in Ibn Hawqal, pp. 
K>r-G6 ; al-Maqciiai, p. 124; al-Khatib, 7 a'nkh, pp. 99, 111 seq.; Le Strange, 
" Description of Mesopotamia and Br' Y !idad. written about- the year 900 A D. by 
Ibn Serapion, * Journal Royal Asiatic .Society (1895), pp. 225-31. 

4. Yaqut, III, pp 377-78. 

206 ARAB 

and the name was given to a new channel, a loop canal, 
which started from the Tigris below al-Qadisiyah and 
rejoined it farther south after sending off a number of 
branches. 1 Other less important canals included the 
Nahr al-Silah dug in Wasit by al-Mahdi. 2 Arab 
geographers speak of caliphs 'digging' or 'opening' 'rivers/ 
when in most cases the process involved was one of 
re-digging or re-opening canals that had existed since 
Babylonian days. In al-'Iraq as well as Egypt the task 
consisted mainly in keeping the ancient systems in 
order." 5 

The staple crops of al-'Iraq were barley, wheat, rice, 
dates, sesame, cotton and flax. Besides these crops, nuts, 
oranges, sugarcane and other useful things were grown 
in large quantities in the very fertile and alluvial plain? 
of the south. 4 

Like al-'Iraq and Egypt, Khurasan was another very 
rich agricultural country. It yielded a revenue of 
28,000,000 dirhams, 2,000 ingots of pure silver, 4,000 
pack-horses, 1,000 slaves, 27,000 pieces of cloth, etc. The 
land around Bukhara was another veritable garden where 
a large variety of fruits grew. 

In addition to the growing of corns, fruits and 
vegetables, great care was taken to grow flowers of all 
varieties, especially roses and jasmines, 

Public Buildings and Other Undertaking* 

During his short and bloody reign, as-Saffah built 
not only the palace of al-Hashimjyah at al-Anbar but also 
constructed rest-houses for the convenience of pilgrims at 
reasonable intervals all the way from al-Qtdisjyah to 
Makkah. He also planted milestones along the whole 

Al-Mahdi improved and enlarged the buildings of 

1. AM*t*Mri. pp 77 7S , Yaqul, \<>1 H, p- r '* w 

2, A) Bftl'Mihuri, p /91 ; Qmftmah, p. 241, 
8 Haiti, pp 349 M*q. 

4 Ifon Hftwqa), pp. 3.")T seq 


as-Saffah and constructed tanks at every stage and filled 
them with water. Moreover, he further enlarged the 
eourfe of the Ka'bah. It must be said, not to the credit 
of al-Mahdi, that he ordered the name of al-Walid to be 
effaced and his own written on the wall of the Mosque of 
the Prophet. He enlarged the mosques and schools in all 
the principal cities and built new ones where none 

The most marvellous construction during tne early 
'Abbasid period was the building of Baghdad. Dissatisfied 
with al-Hashimiyah, al-Mansur searched for a suitable 
site for building his capital and selected a spot on the 
right bank of the Tigris, some fifteen miles above 
al-Mada'in. The spot is mentioned as old Baghdad in 
connection with the wars of al-Muthanna. 1 

The city was circular in shape, 1 surrounded by a 
strong wall and a deep moat. It had four gates with 
massive iron doors and each of them was mounted by a 
gilt cupola. The royal palace was in the middle of the 
city, and on it stood the cathedral mosque. The suburbs, 
which were many in number, were covered with parks, 
gardens, villas, and beautiful prorninades. They had a 
large number of bazaars and all other amenities. 

Baghdad was designed to be a strong military 
position which could defy any enemy. Al-Mansar 
advised his son al-Mahdi not to allow the oily to spread 
on the left bank of the rivpi lest its strong military value 
should be compromised. But the son did not pay heed to 
the father's advice, On the left bank he built a more 
extensive city and called it al-Mahdiyah, which was more 
magnificent than the city on the western bank. "The 
palace ((Jasru '/-/v7w/ ; /*///) stood in the midst of a vast 
park 'several hours in'om-imiference/ which, besides a 
menagerie and aviary, comprised an enclosure for wild 
animals reserved for th- chase. The palace grounds were 
laid out in gardens, and adorned in exquisite taste with 

1. Muir : The Call phut t\ f?i>e> J''ttfwt? and Fall, n. 4.V7 

2. For a map of B.*ghdUl see I ho tibo\e hook, o)p pg 4W 


plants, flowers, and trees, reservoirs and fountains, 
surrounded by sculptured figures." 1 

" Baghdad was a veritable City of Palaces, not made 
of p f ones and mortar, but of marble. The buildings, 
although not different in structure or style from those in 
Damascus, were usually of several stories, and the 
influence of Persian taste was distinctly visible in the 
decorations. The palaces and mansions were lavishly 
gilt and decorated, and hung with beautiful tapestry and 
hangings of brocade or silk. The rooms were lightly and 
tastefully furnished with luxurious dlwans, costly tables, 
unique Chinese vases, and gold and silver ornaments. 
The imperial Qctsrs were resplendent with inlaid jewels; 
and the interminable halls bore distinctive names 
according to their ornamentation. The special feature 
of one was a tree made entirely of gold, with birds 
perched on its branches made also of gold, and studded 
with gems. 5 ' 2 The tree weighed 600,000 drams ; and 
the birds were so constructed that they chirped by 
automatic devices. 3 Baghdad had a very large number 
of public baths to which women were also allowed on 
specific days. Not long after its foundation, the city had 
as many as 10,000 baths/ Under Muqtadir (295-320 
A.H.) the city is said to have had 27,000 baths 5 and later 
60,000. 6 

" Then as now the bath-house comprised several 
chambers with mosaic pavements and marble-lined inner 
walls clustering round a large central chamber. This 
innermost chamber, crowned by a dome studded with 
small round glazed apertures for the admission of light, 
was heated by steafm rising from a central jet of water in 
the middle of a basin. The outer rooms were used for 
lounging and for enjoying drinks and refreshments." 7 

Care of the Sick and the Poor 
Al-Mahdi resembled al* Walid I in many respects ; 

! Amir *Ali, p 445. 2. Ibid., pp. 447 seq. 

,1 Al-KhatZb, I, pp. jtOO-105. 4. Al-Ya'qubi, pp. 250, 254. 

5. Al-Khatlb, pp. 118 seq. 0. Ibid., p. 117. 

7. Hitti, pp. 338 seq. 


and in the care of the sick and the poor also he resembled 
his great predecessor. He provided pensions for the 
lepers and prevented them from begging or roaming about 
in the streets. He also fixed pensions for those poor 
people who were imprisoned for debts. Under the wise 
and generous rule of the Barmakids hospitals and 
dispensaries were established throughout the Empire, and 
the poor, the incapacitated and the sick were properly 
cared for. It is reported that under al-Wathiq, when the 
'Abbasid power was at its zenith, there was not a single 
mendicant throughout the whole Empire. On the whole, 
the * A bb^sids took great care to relieve the sufferings of the 
poor, and their hospitals and infirmaries, which admitted 
patients of both sexes, provided food and treatment. 


As we have already seen, education had become 
common throughout the Empire by the end of the 
Umayyad period. Most of the Muslims, males and 
famales, could read and understand the Qur'an. The 
elementary school was an adjunct of the mosque and the 
Qur'an was used as a reading text-book. Very youpg 
girls also attended these schools. The curriculum 
consisted of reading, writing, grammar, stories about and 
traditions of the Prophet, elementary principles of 
arithmetic and some devotional poems. Senior students 
studied Qur'anic Exegesis, Qur'anic Criticism, the Science 
of Apostolic Tradition, Jurisprudence, Scholastic 
Theology, Grammar, Lexicography, Rhetoric and 
Literature. Advanced scholars engaged themselves in 
the study of Astronomy, Spherical Geography, Philo- 
sophy, Geometry, Music and Medicine. 

The early 'Abbasid period is especially illustrious in 
world annals for its "most momentous intellectual 
awakening in the history of Islam and one of the most 
significant in the whole history of thought and culture." 1 

About the y$ar 771 A.B. an Indian savant iatrodqceit 

1, Hitti, p. 300, 


the Siddhanfca (Sindhind), which was translated into 
Arabic by Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Fazari at the 
command of al-Mansur. The famous astronomer al- 
Khwarizmi who died in 850 A.D. based his astronomical 
tables (art/) on al-Fazari's work. The same Indian savant, 
who brought the Siddhanta, is supposed to have 
introduced the Arabic (Hindi) numerals also. From 
Persia came works on arts and belles-lettres. 

In 765 al-Mansur summoned from Jundi-Shapur the 
Nestorian Jurjis (George) bin Bakhtishu', who was the 
dean of the hospital of that city, which was famous for 
its academy of medicine and philosophy (founded about 
555 A.D. by Anusharwan), and made him his court 
physician. Jurjis's son Bakhtyshu* was appointed the 
chief physician of the Baghdad hospital under ar-Rashid. 

Abu Yahya bin al-Ba;riq is supposed to have 
translated for aLMansur the major works of Galen and 
Hippocrates who flourished in the first half of the fifth 
century B.C. The Elements of Euclid and the Almagest, 
the great astronomical work of Ptolemy, appear to have 
been translated about this time. 1 The chief (ash-shaykh) 
of the translators was Hunayn bin Ishaq who was later 
appointed superintendent of Baytu "l-Hikmah. He with 
the help of his son Ishaq and a nephew Hubaysh bin 
al-Hasan translated many Greek works into Arabic. 

" The apogee of Greek influence was reached under 
al-Ma'mun. The rationalistic tendencies of this Caliph 
and his espousal of the Mu'tazilite cause, which main- 
tained that religious texts should agree with the 
judgments of reason led him to seek justification for his 
position in the philosophical works of the Greeks .... In 
pursuance of his policy, al-Ma'man in 830 established in 
Baghdad his famous Bayt al-Hikmah (house of wisdom), 
a combination of library, academy and translation bureau 
which in many respects proved the most important 
educational institution since the foundation of the 

1. Al-Maa'udi, VIU, p. $&\. 


Alexandrian Museum in the first half of the third century 

B.C Beginning with al-Ma'mun and continuing under 

his immediate successors the work was centred mainly in 
the newly founded academy. The 'Abbasid era of 
translation lasted about a century after 750. " J Baytu 
'l-fitkmah had an observatory attached to it which was 
used for teaching astronomy. The numerous hospitals in 
Baghdad were utilised as centres of medical study. 


Arabia proper had no artificial roads. Tracks formed 
by the constant treading of men and beasts were the only 
roads. In 24 B.C., during the reign of Augustus Caesar, 
an expedition was launched by the Romans against 
al-Yaman from Egypt. 2 An army of 10,000 men marched 
along the western coast of Arabia down to al-Yaman. 
During this invasion the infantry had constructed a road. 
The word sirjf is supposed to be related with the word 
street. Barring this road, Arabia had no artificially built 

Soon after the appearance of Islam, a very large 
part of the Roman Empire and the whole of the Persian 
Empire passed under the sway of the Muslims. These 
highly civilised nations had a few well-constructed roads 
and they have been described in a number of books 
dealing with roads (al-masalik). 

The following were the main post roads of the 
Empire under the < Abbasids : 

7. Baghdad to Cyranaica. 

Baghdad, Mawsil, Balad, Sinjar, Nisjbin, Ra'su '1- 
'Ayn, Haqqah, Mambij, Aleppo, Hamat, Hims, Ba'labakk, 
Damascus, Tibrias, Ramlah,Ghifar, al-Fustat, Alexandria 
and thence to Cyranaica. 3 

2. Baghdad to Syria. 

From Baghdad along the eastern bank -of the 

1. Hitti, p. 310. 2. See iupra, p, 2, 

3, Qudimah, pp. 227 aeq, 


Euphrates to al-Anbar and thence to Hit where the road 
crossed to the westetn bank of the river and proceeded to 

3. Baghdad to China* 

Baghdad, Hulwan, Hamadhan, ar-Rayy, Naysabflr, 
Marw, Bukhara, Samarqand, 1 and thence to the frontier of 

4. Marw to Fargh&nah. 

The great eastern road branched off at several places. 
At Marw it branched off and, passing through central 
Khurasan, reached Balkh. Beyond Balkh, it crossed 
the Oxus near Tirmidh and entered Farghanah at Rasht. 2 

5. Nays&bnr to 

AtNaysabur the great eastern road branched off and, 
passing through Yazd, reached Shiraz grossing Iran 

6. Baghdad to Makkah. 

The road to Makkah crossed the Euphrates at 
al-Kufah and entered the desert at 'Udhayb 3 and, passing 
through Ma'dinu 'n-Nuqrah (north-east of al-Madynah) 
reached Makkah. This road was metalled by al-Mahdi 
from al-Qadisiyah to Zubalah. 

7. The Roman Highway. 

The Roman highway on the western side of Arabia, 
which was later extended farther, stretched from 
Damascus in Syria to $an*a* in al- Yaman. Starting from 
Damascus, it passed "through Petra, Tabuk, al-'Ula, 
al-Madmah, Makkah, at-Ta'if and Khawlan and reached 

8. Al-Fustat to the Atlantic. 

Al-Fustat, Alexandria, Qayrawan, thence proceeding 
along the coast to as-Susu 1-Adna on the Atlantic 

1. Al-lnqdisi, p. 278. 2. Al- Ya'qubi : KiWb* 'l-BuldZn, p. 287. 

3. Qudamah, p. 196. 


Ocean. From Qayrawgn to as-Sasu '1-Adna was 
2,150 miles. 1 This was the great highroad trhich 
communicated between Spain and the East. 2 


Although at many places the postal department and 
the travellers had to employ the ferry to cross the major 
rivers, there were also a large number of bridges through- 
out the Empire. 

Rom an bridges were known to the Arabs even before 
the advent of Islam. The pre-Islamic poet Tarafah has 
referred to the Roman bridge (qantaratu 'r-Rumi) in his 
famous al-Mu'allaqah. 3 The most famous bridge in the 
Muslim Empire was the one constructed "by the Emperor 
Vespasian over the Geuk Su, a tributary of th& Euphrates 
near Samosata. It was regarded as one of the wonders 
of the world because it 'soared high above a ravine in a 
single arch of masonry, each stone being ten yards long 
and five high.'" 4 In Khuzistan the bridge of Disful, 
east of the ancient Susa, was 320 paces Idng and 15 broad, 
and was built on 72 arches. Ibn Serapion calls it the 
'Bridge of the Romans.' 5 " In al-Atywaz there was the 
'Indian Bridge,' built of bricks, with a mosque erected 
on it ; 6 and over the upper Qarun was the bridge of 
Idhaj, spanning the stream at a height of 150 yards in a 
singly arch of stone, held together with iron clamps." 7 

Under the Sasanians there were permanent bridges 
over the Tigris. But most of these bridges fell to pieces 
and were displaced by bridges of boats. " A permanent 
bridge with five " doors," one large and four small, led 
across the 'Isa canal at the point where it branched off 

1. Ibn Khurdadhblh, p. 89. 2. Ibid., p. 55. 

3. j^vXA? >Ux3 iJtA. ^yUi&xJ U^j +S\ t^^j 

" Like the Roman bridge whose builder swore 
That it shall stand compact built with bricks." 

4. Mez, p. 495. 5. Le Strange, p. 239; 
6. Al-Maqdiai. 7. Mez, pp. 494 seq. 


from the Euphrates. 1 At the end of the 3rd/9th century 
the width of the large " door " was fixed at 22 yards, that 
of the small " doors " each $t 8 yards, after it had been 
ascertained that even so the largest vessel could pass 
through." 2 

Care of the Travellers 

We have already seen that, under the Umayyads, 
al-Walid I had all the roads. in tho Empire repaired and 
planted with stones, that along all the roads rest-houses 
were built and wells sunk and that 'Umar II had the s^tme 
amenities provided in the newly conquered territories of 
Transoxania. This good and useful work was continued 
under the 'Abbasids. 

Elaborate ' arrangements were made to police the 
highways, and to provide the inns with provisions and 
plenty of water. In Turkistan alone there were 10,000 
hostelries in many of which the needy traveller was given 
food for himself and fodder for his beast. 3 In Khuzistan 
buckets of water, often brought from a distance, were 
placed along the road at intervals of one parasang. 4 Mez 
admits that the East was more hospitable than the West. 5 

Municipal Administration 

The towns of the Muslim Empire were divided into 
metropolises (sing, al-mi$r), cities (sing; al-gasabah),towm 
(sing, al-madinah) and villages (sing, al-qaryah)- 

There were five types of towns : 

1. Hellenistic Mediterranean type. 

2. The South Arabian type: Makkah, al-Fusiat 
and some other towns belonged to this type in which the 
streets were narrow and the houses several storeys high 
with about two hundred people living in each of the 

1. Wuuuri*, p. 267. 2. Mez, p. 494. 

3. Ai-Itakhri, p. 290. 4. Al-Maqdisi, p. 418. 

5. Mez, p. 493. 


3. The Mesopotamian and the Eastern type. 

4. The Iranian type : Iranian towns consisted of a 
citadel, the official quarters, and the commercial quarters. 
These three portions were separated by walls. 

5. The garden towns like al-Madinatu 'z-Zahra' at 
Cordova and Samarra near Baghdad. These new towns 
were spacious with very wide streets, and the houses stood 
single and apart with several trees in each of the 

Water Supply 

The Muslims always emphasised the importance of 
drinking water. We have seen how under the Pious 
Khalifahs and then under the Umayyads huge amounts 
were spent to provide water for cities like Makkah, 
al-Madinah, al-Basrah, al-Kufah, Damascus, al-Mawsil, 
etc. The same tradition was kept up by the 'Abbasids. 

Baghdad, like Damascus and the cities of al- 
Basrah and al-Kofah, abounded in fresh water canals. 
Al-Khatib 1 devotes a section of his history to the canals 
(anhar) of Baghdad. Most of these canals were brought 
from the Tigris. In addition to these canals there were 
a large number of cisterns which were used as reservoirs. 
In addition to the large number of streams, there were two 
covered aqueducts built of bricks and lime/ Drinkihg 
water was carried to the houses of the well-to-do by water- 
carriers direct from the main river. 

In spite of all the efforts of the Umayyads to provide 
fresh water to the holy city of Makkah, the city suffered 
much, especially during the fyajj season, for want of 
water. Zubaydah, a grand-daughter of al-Mansur and wife 
of ar-Rashid constructed at her own expense of 1,500,000 
dinars the famous underground aqueduct which still 
bears her name. It relieved fresh water scarcity in the 
holy city to a very great extent and is still one of the 

1. Al-Khatlb. Vol. I, pp. 11M17. 

2. Al-Ya'qibi : Kitabu '1-BuldZn, p. 260. 


principal sources of water supply. This aqueduct some- 
times gave trouble; and it is recorded that about the 
middle of the third century a skin of fresh water in 
Makkah cost 80 dirhams. The defect in the aqueduct, 
which gave such trouble from time to time, was rectified 
by the mother of al-MutawakkiL 1 

In Samarqand, since pre-Islamic times, water 
circulated in an old moat of the fortress. It was carried 
to the middle of the market by a stone dam whence it 
was distributed by means of lead pipes. The system was 
supervised by Zoroastrian engineers. 2 Throughout ihe 
city, arrangements were made to supply the citizens with 
iced water in God's name. "Water was supplied at 
2,000 places either in brick-built shelters or from brass 
buckets/' 3 

Naysabor, the greatest town of the East, had an 
underground water-course like the other great cities of 
Iran. A large number of conduits ran underground 
supplying water to the houses and gardens of the city. 
These water-courses had their own supervisors and 
administrators. 4 

The ancient city of Carthage had marvellous 
aqueducts. Yaqut praises their arches and minaret- like 
pillars. 5 Al-Kindi considers them as one of the wonders 
of the world. 6 

Thus, in all the towns throughout the Muslim 
Empire, the old systems for water supply were continued 
and new arrangements made. Al-Fustat used the Nile 
water, which the water-carriers supplied at the uniform 
rate of half a d&niq per skin. The town of Qumm had 
an underground water-course like that of Naysabur. 7 
The mountainous town of Dinawar, rich in springs, 

1. At-Tabari, HI. p. 1440. 

1 Al-fafakhri, p. 216 , Ibn Hawqal, p. 86(5. 

3. Al-Istakhri, p. 290 ; Ibn Hawqal, p. 339. 

4. Al-Maqdi*i, p. IMo ft. Yaqut, IV, p. 58 

7. Al-Y*'qfibi;fl*Wflw,p. 274. 


signalised its refinement by supplying water in cool 
pitchers with mouthpieces." l 

Town Administration (Tadblru *l-Balad) 

"Nothing was more foreign or distasteful to the 
Asiatic mind than a severely centralised government. 
El^ry hamlet, every town, indeed, conducted its own 
affairs by itself, and the government onlv interfered 
when it was insubordinate." * 

Al-Mansur is reported to have remarked that an 
honourable Qadi, a just police officer, a business-like 
financial administrator and a trustworthy postmaster 
formed the four pillars of government. All these foui; 
officers were appointed by the government in every 
town a Qadi, a Sahibu 'sh-Shurtah, an ' Amil and a 
Sahibu 'l-Barid.* 

Many of the towns were governed by a council oi 
notable citizens (Dlwanu 'sh-Shiira). The members were 
nominated by the government; and the council was 
presided over by an elected president (as-Sadr). In the 
East each town with its dependencies administered its 
own affairs, levied its own taxes and paid the fixed 
revenue to the State. Only if there was a dispute with 
the neighbouring towns, the government interfered. 

The cities with their dependencies formed so many 
semi-independent principalities and resembled in many 
respects the free cities of Europe. 

Each of the commercial cities had a merchants' guild 
or syndicate which supervised commercial transactions 
and suppressed frauds. This body was presided over by 
the most influential and outstanding merchant of the city 
who was called Raisu "t-Tujjar* The members were 
called Amins. 

Thus, in matters of administration, trade and social 

1. Mess, p. 415. 

2. The Orient Under the Caliphs, p. 238. 3, Ibn Hawqal, p. 309. 


relations, the towns were almost self-sufficient and most of 
the functions of the government, such as the collection of 
taxes, maintenance of order, administration of justice, 
regulation of trade and commerce and looking after all 
civic amenities were performed by the citizens 

The Administration of Baghdad 

The administration of Baghdad requires special 
attention. As the capital of the entire Empire, all the 
Central Boards were situated at Baghdad. There was a 
separate Governor for the city known as the Governor of 
Baghdad, who was in charge of the western portion of 
the city. The eastern portion was under the direct 
administration of the court. This portion was divided 
into several wards each of which was placed under the 
administration of a courtier. 

Baghdad must have been a very huge city, but, 
unfortunately, we do not have any details about the 
number of its population. About the year 300 A.H. there 
were in Baghdad 27,000 mosques. 1 Even if we count at 
the low rate of fifty males per mosque, the adult male 
population should have been 1,350,000 and the total 
population from two to three millions. Al-Khatib has 
calculated the adult male population of Baghdad to have 
been about 1,500,000 Z at the rate of 25 males per bath. 
The city is reported to have had 60,000 baths. If the 
number of mosques and the number of baths given by 
writers are true, we will not be far wrong if we assess the 
total population of the city at about 3,000,000 souls, men, 
women and children all included. 3 

" Immense streets, none less than forty cubits wide, 
traversed the city on both sides of the river, from one end 
to the other, dividing it into blocks or quarters, each 
under the control of an overseer, or supervisor, who 

1. Al-Khatib : Tankhu Baghdad, p. 70. 2. Ibid., p. 74. 
3. Al-Khuclari estimates the population oT Baghdad under the 'Abbas ids 
at 2,000,000 : see Vol. Ill, p. 134. 


looked after the cleanliness, sanitation, and the comforts 
of its inhabitants. At the corner of each street were 
posted sentries (ashabu 'l-arbu") to maintain order/ 51 

Apart from the government officials, each of the 
different nationalities in the capital had its own foreman 
(a^-Rals) and judge (al-Qadi). The Ra-is represented 
their interests with the government and to him the 
stranger to the city of his nationality could appeal for 
counsel or help. He was also responsible for the good 
conduct of his compatriots. 

At night the squares and the streets were lighted 
with lamps and there were elaborate arrangements forth 
disposal of night-soil. 

I. Amir 'Ali, p. 445. 



THE Northern Arabs had always a dread for the 
sea. After a small force sent' across the Red Sea was 
completely lost in the sea, *Umar I would not trust the 
treacherous element any more. Mu'awiyah sought 
permission from him to invade the Byzantine territories 
from the sea also, but 'Umar refused to grant it. 1 The 
first Muslim expedition by sea was the one launched by 
al-'Ala' bin al-Hadrami against the Persians across 
the Gulf without the previous sanction of the Khalifah. 
Under 'Uthman, Mu'awiyah got the necessary 
permission. 2 But *Uthmp,n stipulated that naval service 
should be completely voluntary and that no one should be 
pressed in against his will. Mu'awiyah is reported to 
have made fifty summer .and winter raids against the 
Greek islands of which Cyprus was conquered in A.H. 28 
by expeditions launched both from the Syrian and the 
Egyptian coasts. 3 

At the beginning the ships' crew were mostly 
Greco-Syrians (the countrymen of the ancient Phoeni- 
cians) and Copts. The warriors who were carried in the 
ships were mostly Arabs who received salaries and rations. 

In A.H. 34 4 Mu'awiyah sent an expedition of 200 
ships against the Byzantines who could assemble 600 
vessels against the invaders. The Muslims boldly sailed 
close to the enemy vessels, and, ship grappling ship, the 
men fought at close quarters. A bloody battle followed and 
victory fell to the Muslims. The boHand beautiful wife 
of the Commander, Busaysah, was present on board one 
of the ships. She gave evidence as to how a young soldier, 

1. Al-Baladhuri, p. 28 ; at-Tabari, I, pp. 2820 seq. 

2. Al-Baladhuri, p. 28 ; at-Tabari, I, p. 2824. 

3. At-Tabari, I, p. 2826. 

4. At-fabsri places the event in A.H. 31 ; see I, p. 2865. 


'Alqamah, saved a ship by boldly throwing himself against 
a grapple and cutting it with the sword. In A.H. 30 
Junadah bin Abi Umayyah al-Azdi conquered Rhodes 
from the Byzantines and the Muslim fleet struck terror in 
the heart of the Greeks who were in constant fear of it. 

In the year 48 A.H. Mu'awiyah launched an attack 
on Constantinople by land and sea. Greek reports say 
that the Muslim navy numbered 1,800 vessels, 1 The navy 
had to withdraw on account of the Greek fire thrown by 
the garrison on the advancing Muslim fleet. In the year 
54 A.H. a raid was made on Crete. The two great 
admirals under Mu'awiyah were Junadah and 'Abdullah 
bin Qays. 'Abdullah alone led about 50 raids against 
the Byzantines. In the year 68-69 a navy of 200 ships, 
sailing from Alexandria, attacked Sicily. The raid 
succeeded and the expedition returned with a very large 

By the end of the reign of Mu'awiyah the Muslims 
had a great fleet of 1,700 ships. The task of ship-building 
on such a large scale was facilitated by the large number 
of forests in the mountains of the Lebanon. 2 In addition 
to the ship- build ing yards in the Syrian coast, several in the 
coast of Egypt were engaged in ship-building. 3 

A very large part of the reign of 'Abdu '1-Malik was 
spent in the civil war. Hence, he could not pay much 
attention to the navy. -Under his son al-Wahd the navy 
had a heyday. Most of the islands in the western 
Mediterranean, and, above all, Spain and as-Sind, were 
conquered with the aid of the mighty Muslim navy. 

'The fleet was divided into five squadrons, those of 
Syria with headquarters at Laodicea, Africa (that is 
Tunis), Egypt (with Alexandria as the starting point), the 
Nile (with headquarters at Babylon), and a special 
squadron to guard the mouths of the Nile from descent 
upon the coast by the Byzantines. For Egypt the chief 

1 J B. Bury : A Hi^lwy of the Later Roman Empire, IX, pp. 4i seq. 
1 AMChudoxi, II, p. 2U. 3. Ai-Bal5dhuri, p. 144, 


arsenals and ship-building yards were at Babylon and 
Clysma." * The ship-building yard at Tunis alone built one 
hundred ships during the short governorship of Musa bin 
Nusayr. We can have an idea of the extent of the Muslim 
navy fc from the fact that in the siege of Constantinople in 
717 A.D. an armeda of 1,800 ships was employed. 

Muslim navigation was divided into two separate 
areas, the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. The 
types of vessels used in these two areas were quite 
different. In the Mediterranean planks were nailed 
together whereas in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean 
they were stitched. 2 This difference was the result of 
traditional usage. Not using the nails is ascribed to the 
fact that salt water might attack the nails. 3 The ships 
of the Mediterranean were larger than those in the Red 
Sea and the Indian Ocean. 

Even under the Umayyads the mercantile navy 
became important; and under the 'Abbasids Arab 
merchants traversed the Indian and the Pacific Oceans. 
The Arabs were supreme in the Mediterranean. From 
Antioch to the Atlantic they took 36 days to journey. 
The port of Antioch was Seleucia which under the early 
'Abbasids was the most important centre of trade in Syria. 
Al-Mu'tasim had it fortified. About this time the harbour 
of Syrian Tripoli sheltered a thousand vessels. The 
military harbour from which operations were directed 
against the Byzantines was Tyre which was protected by 
massive fortifications/ 

Since the force sent by 'Umar I perished in the Red 
Sea, it was dreaded very much owing to its reefs and 
adverse winds. They sailed on it only in day time. On 
account of the dangers of navigating, this sea, the Nile 
waterway, which runs parallel to the Red Sea, became 
important for maritime navigation too. At Aydhab the 
cargo was disembarked and taken to Aswan or Qas from 
where it went on the Nile to Cairo. 5 

1. Muir : Caliphate, Its Ris* t Decline and Fall, p, 362. 

2. Al-MaB'Bdi, I, p. 365. 3. Ibid. 

4. Al-Ya'qubi : Buld$n t p, 327. 3, NIsir Khusraw, p, 64 j Me*, p. 510, 


The route along the coast (for all ships in those 
days kept close to the coasts) from *Adan to the Persian 
Gulf and thence to the shore of Baluchistan was called 
the "Persian Sea." And the rest of the ocean was 
called the ** Indian Sea." The two were navigable at 
opposite seasons. When the one was calm, the other was 
rough and vice versa. The Persian Sea^was navigable at 
all seasons and the~Tndian only in winter. 1 The most 
important harbours on the Indian Ocean were 'Adan 
and Sirnf. Next to them in importance came al-Basrah, 
Daybul 2 and Hurmuz. 3 'Adan was the great centre 
of trade between Africa and Arabia and the 
meeting point of the trade between India and China on 
the one hand and Egypt on the other. Siraf was the 
world port of the Persian Gulf through which the exports 
and imports of entire Persia passed. 4 Under the early 
'Abbasids the dues levied on the shipping at this port 
amounted to 253,000 dinars per year. 5 It was especially 
the port for China. Al-Basrah, like Calcutta, had to be 
reached through a river. At the mouth of the river there 
was a lighthouse, which was illuminated at night for the 
guidance of the ships. 

The Muslims had factories or trading centres in all 
the important cities of the Far East. " They sailed along 
the Indian coast, or directly from Muscat in about one 
month to the Malabar port Kulam (modern Quilon), then 
left Ceylon on the right and went to the Nicobar Islands 
(10 to 15 days from Ceylon), then to Keda in Malacca 
about a month's journey from Quilon, then to Java and 
the Sund-Island, Ma'it ; thence in 15 days to Combodia, 
then Cochin China and China. The Chinese coast alone 
demanded two months' voyage ; further, in those regions, 
since only one wind blows for half the year, they had to 
wait for the favourable one. On the return journey they 
sailed 40 days from Tsunanchou to Atyeh (north-west 

1. Ibn Rustah, p 86 foil. ; Mez, p oil, 

2. At the mouth of the Indus. 

3. The port of Karman. 

4. Al-Istakhn, p. 34. 

5. Jim ia-Balkhi, J.R.A.S, 1912, p, 188. 


point of Sumatra) where they traded, and took the sea 
again in the following year in order to reach home in 
some 30 days with the help of the regular winds/* l 

The first 'Abbasid Khali f ah to undertake a naval 
operation was ar-Rashid. Early in the 'Abbasid period 
the two chief maritime countries of the Muslim Empire, 
Spain and Western Africa, became independent of the 
government of Baghdad, and under ar-Rashid Ifnqiyah 
also became independent all but in name. In spite of the 
loss of these important maritime provinces, ar-Rashjd 
was able to conquer Rhodes for a second time. Crete 
and Cyprus, which had slipped away from the Muslim 
hands during the internecine wars, were attacked by 
ar-Rashid in 175 A.H., and the Greek admiral was taken 

In the days of al-Ma'mon the Aghlabid fleet con- 
quered Sicily and ravaged lower Italy. It was the 
mightiest fleet in the Mediterranean and as such dominated 
the shores of that sea all around. During the reign of 
al-Wathiq 2 the Aghlabid forces appeared before the very 
walls of Rome. 

t. Cbw Ju-Kua* p. 114, quoted fe^r Met, tt> 
fc Inthyew28M3*A.R. 



As WE have already seen, the Khallfah possessed and 
exercised supreme authority in all military matters 
although the details were worked through Dlwanu *l-Jund> 
Under the autocratic rule of the Umayyads, it was the 
Khallfah who decided the military policy and was 
responsible for war or peace. The general organisation 
of the army was a central subject administered under the 
direct supervision of the Khalifah* Under the 'Abbasids 
military affairs were attended to by the Khalifah or his 

After the Khali j ah or his Wazlr, the highest 
authority in military matters was the Commander-in- 
Chief. Al-Mawardi devotes the whole of Chapter IV of 
his famous book 1 to military rules and regulations, treat- 
ment of soldiers, of prisoners of war, of enemies, etc,, and 
gives a long list of the duties of the Commander which 
throws much light on the Muslim view of the military 
art. He writes that the Commander should be responsible 
for the safety of the army, should take precautions against 
surprise and examine all places in which an ambush 
is possible. He must choose a proper place for engaging 
the enemy. The battlefield should be, as far as possible, 
an even ground, well supplied with water and pasture. 
Wherever possible, the flanks of the army should be 
protected by natural obstacles such as mountains, rivers, 
etc. He must make arrangements for sufficient food for 
his men and enough of fodder for the animals. Further, 
the Commander should try to have a correct estimate of 
the number of the enemy forces and keep himself 
informed of their movements. He must keep some 
soldiefs in resetve arid place a sufficiently large number of 

i. Al-Ahkumv 's-Sultamyah. 


men to guard the flanks. He must urge the soldiers to fight 
hard promising reward in this world and in the world to 
come. He must not allow his men to engage themselves 
in trade or agriculture. 1 

From the earliest times the Arabs used to have 
physicians and surgeons in the army. That practice was 
continued under Islam. Each army had a Qjdi who was 
in charge of the booty and distributed it according to the 
laws of Islam. There was also an advocate (ad- Da' iy ah) 
to represent the cases of the soldiers and a Rc^id whose 
duty it was to select proper camp-sites. Each army had 
its own interpreter and also a scribe. 2 

The Umayyad army had exceeded the 100,000 mark. 
Under the early 'Abbasids still larger forces were available 
for employment in the field. Three 3 figures are available 
regarding the number of soldiers employed under the 
early 'Abbasids. In the year 190 A.H., when ar-Rashfd 
marched against the treacherous Emperor Nicephorus, 
beat him down to his knees and reduced him to the 
contempt of a personal impost on himself arid each 
member of the imperial house, the Khaljfah had under 
his command 135,000 paid soldiers (al-murtaziqah) and 
a very, large number of volunteers (aLmutatawwi'ah}. 
The number of volunteers must have been immense as it 
was a holy war against the infidels under the personal 
leadership of the Khali f ah. 

We are able to get the peak figures only in connection 
with the civil wars. At Siff'in the soldiers employed by 
both the sides numbered 175,000.* In the civil war 
between al-Ani]n and al-Ma'mon, the latter's forces which 
occupied al-'Iraq alone numbered 125,000. There must 
have been a considerable number on the side of al-Arum, 
the ruling monarch In addition to these huge numbeis, 
al-Ma'mon should have left small forces behind him to 

1 AI Mawardi, Chapter IV 2. At-Tabari, I. pp. 2223 sq. 

3 A qas-.dah (ode) of Marwan bin Abi 1 lafsah says that al-Fadl bin Yahya 
hnd an ai my of 500,000 in Khurasan ; ai-Khudan, III, p. 11. i have not taken 
the figure into account fearing that it may be a poetical exaggeration 

4. See supra, p. 52 ; al-Mas'udi, IV, p. 344. 


garrison the eastern provinces, and on al-Amm's side 
there should have been some additional forces garrisoning 
the provincial and frontier towns. In a parade at 
Baghdad, conducted under al-Muqtadir (917 A.D.) in the 
presence of the Byzantine envoys, 160,000 cavalry and 
footmen are reported to have taken part. 1 

Under the 'Abbasids higher military posts were open 
to all nationals and equal treatment an<4 equal salaries 
were given to soldiers of all nationalities. This democratic 
complexion attracted very large numbers to Islam and to 
the army of the Khali f ah. Many of the new converts in 
Syria, Egypt, Africa, al-'Iraq, Persia and Transoxania 
chose military service as it was the most profitable of the 
services available. 

Thus, under the early <Abbasids, the Muslim army 
became very large and the soldiers were recruited from 
all nationalities. Although the <Abbasids still retained 
very large Arab forces, the military monopoly of the 
Arabs was done away with and non-Arabs got more and 
more of the military posts. Natives of Khurasan 
continued for nearly a century to form the main body of 
the 'Abbasid forces, and, later, the Turks began to 
predominate in the Muslim army. 

National Corps 

Al-Mansur, who was the virtual founder of the 
* Abbasid dynasty and who took great interest in military 
matters, seems to have formed three national divisions/ 
namely, the North Arabian Division (Mudar), the South 
Arabian Division (al-Yaman), and the Xhurasani 
Division. This splitting up of the army into national 
corps was continued under the successors of al-Mansur. 
Al.Mu*tasim added two more divisions, one consisting of 
Turks and the other of Africans. 

The division of the army into these five national 
corps was intended to prevent a general rising and to 

1. Hitti, p. 303. 2. Ibnu 'l-Attilr,' V, pp 462 seq. 


counterpoise one unit against another ; but thin arrange- 
ment brdtigtit othei 1 #Wis. It ^as the homogeneous, *tell- 
knit army of the Arab race belonging to a single land fend 
having the same interests and aspirations that won all 
the victories of earljr Islam. The splitting up of the aritty 
into national corps destroyed the espirit de corps of the 
Muslim army arid introduced in its place a spirit of 
antagonism, jealousy* rivalry and competition for power. 

The foreign Tttrkish soldiers, out of whom al- 
Mu'tasim formed his personal bodyguard, behaved with 
such arrogance and Recklessness that it caused very great 
resentment among the people of Baghdad, and the 
Khaljfah was obliged to transfer his residence along 
with the headquarters of his bodyguard to the new city 
of Samarra, built on the eastern bank of the Tigris. This 
Turkish guard soon assumed the part of the Praetorian 
guards of the Roman Empire under the weak successors 
of al-Mu'tasim, and their Commanders deposed and set up 
Khaljfahs at their own will and pleasure. 


The salary in the beginning of 'Umar's reign was 
300 dirhams for the recruits and the average salary of the 
forces was about 600 dirhams per annum. It rose under 
Mu'awiyah to 1,000 dirhams per head per year. 

During the course of the 'Abbasid revolution, the 
soldiers engaged in the movement received very small 
allowances of 3 to 7 dirhams, 1 but in the reign of the first 
'Abbasid Khali fah the average pay of the foot-soldier was 
960 dirhams per annum in addition to the usual rations, 
allowances and share in the booty. The horseman 
received double that salary, 

About the end of ar-Rashid's reign the salary of the 
foot-soldier had fallen down to 60 dirhams a month 2 
against the 80 given by as-Saffah, and under al-M&'mon 

J . At-T&hari, II, pp. 1968 aeq. 

2. Under the government of Africa; Ibnu 'i-Athir, VI, p. 187. 


the salary was further reduced to 20 dirham& a month. 
The horseman got only 40 dirhams* However, during 
the civil war between al-Aiwn and al-Mt'man both sides 
paid their soldiers 960 dirhams per annum. 

In comparison wUh the salary drawn under the 
Umayyads and in comparison with that paid by as-Saff ih , 
the pay of the soldier under al-Ma'mun was very low 
(about one-fourth). But, by itself, it was not a low salary. 
A <5lerk employed in the central government received 
only an initial salary of 10 dirhams a month, and when 
al-Mansgr built the city of Baghdad, he paid each of the 
labourers only 2 dzniqs par day 2 (one-third of a dirham). 
Thus, even the salary paid by al-Ma'mun was double the 
wages of a labourer or the initial salary of a clerk. 

As long as the Muslim army consisted of only Arabs, 
the Khali fah could not cut down the salaries for fear of 
* mutiny which was very easy in a homogeneous army. 
Besides, as we have already seen, till the days of Hisham 
the Arabs looked upon their pensions as a subsistence or 
living allowance rather than as a salary for which they 
were bound to render service. Moreover, the number of 
Arab soldiers available for service in the field being 
limited (many of them having grown above the need to 
earn their livelihood through a soldier's profession), the 
State was forced to pay them heavy salaries under the 

Under the 'Abbasids, the Arabs lost their military 
predominance as they lost their influence with the 
Khali fah. Arabs, Persians, Turks, Berbers, Negroes, all 
were enlisted in the army without any racial or colour 
bar. Thus, the descendants of al-'Abbas had a wider field 
for recruitment, and, being not bothered about the race of 
the soldiers, could get them in very large numbers. It is 
an ordinary law of economics that with the increase in 
the supply over and al>0ve the demand, the value of a 
creases. |Jv$a ot)ier things being ftqual, the 

t. fta* 'HtMb ^ P W. * At-ttteri, m, P 


very fact that a large number of soldiers were available 
would have made the State reduce the salaries. As the 
field for recruitment widened more and more, the salaries 
of the soldiers droped lower and lower. 

Further, under the 'Abbasids, soldiering did not 
involve so much risk to life as it did under the earlier 
periods. Islam was firmly established over a Very wide 
area and the wars of conquest and expansion were not 
continuous but intermittent. In those regions where the 
soldiers were more exposed to the risk of war or rebellion, 
the State paid higher salaries. Al-Ma'man paid 40 
dirhams a month to the footman at Damascus and 100 
dirhams a month to the cavalry. 1 During the civil 
war with his brother, the same Khalifah paid his 
foot-soldiers at the rate of 80 dirhams. The troops 
guarding the frontiers received higher salaries and 
additional allowances. Under al-Mansur, eaph of the 
jBoldiers garrisoning Malatyah received, in addition to his 
usual salary, free quarters, an allowance of 10 dinars and 
provisions toorth 100 dinars. Al-Mu'tasirn assigned a 
monthly salary of 100 dirhams to every horseman and 40 
to every loot-soldiers who garrisoned the important 
strategic station of Tyana, at the foot of Taurus in the 
neighbourhood of the Cilician passes. 2 

Another reason for the reduction in the salaries of 
the soldiers was the enormous increase in the size of the 
army. "The armies became considerable and counted in 
hundreds of thousands under the first 'Abbasids as shown 
above. This large growth of the army forced them in 
fact to cut down the pay of the soldiers/' 3 

The final and most important reason for the decrease 
in the salary of the soldiers seems to be the appreciation 
of the dinar. The soldiers were paid in gold at the rate 
of one dinyr for every 10 dirhams. But the market 
value of diniir during the reign of ar-Rashid, as we 

1. De Goeje, pp. 42X, 433. 464 ; Tht Orient under tht Caliphs, p 338, 

3. Ibnu 'I. At Jar, VI, p. 311. 3. The Orient under the Caliphs, p. 339, 


have already seen, 1 was 20 to 22 dirhams. Thus, a 
soldier getting 20 dirhams in gold could have the benefit 
of 40 or more in silver. 


Under the Urnayyads, a very large number of 
Muslims took part in the wars of Islam as volunteers. 
Many more flocked under the standards of the 'Abbasids 
to defend the Muslim territory or raid into the territories 
of the non-Muslims. The summer expeditions against 
the Byzantines aroused special zeal and ardour among the 
believers and even women of the royal family took part in 
some of them. 2 In due course these summer expeditions 
assumed the character of a religio-military exercise 
performed every year. When the enemy, in his turn, 
attacked the frontier towns of the Muslim Empire, the 
inhabitants of the towns (colonies of Muslims set up by 
the State) rose to a man to defend them " save those who 
had neither horse nor weapons.'' 3 The Khnl'ifah "sent 
his army; and volunteers and money poured in from ail 
parts of the Empire to assist the defenders of the frontiers 
of Islam/ The services of volunteers were available to 
the Khali fall against heretics also, for every Muslim con- 
sidered it his pious duty to stamp out all kinds of heresies. 

But there was one defect in employing the 
volunteers. They could go back to their homes after a 
particular campaign ended. A large body of Muslim 
volunteers offered to fight against Babik Khurrami hoping 
that the campaign would be a short one. But when they 
found that victory was not possible in one campaigning 
season, they made up their mind to return home. 5 

Military Stations and Fortifications 

Under the Umayyads, the most important military 
stations were the cities of al-Basrah and al-Kufah. 

1. See supra, p, 203 footnote). 

2. Two aunts of al-Mansur joined an expedition (138*39 A.H.) in fulfil men, 
of a vow. ' 3. AMabari III, p, 1235. 

4. Jbnu '1-Athlr, VII, p, 80. <5, At-Tabari, III, p, 1214, 


Under the 'Abbasids, both these great military stations 
lost much of their importance ; and Baghdad not only 
was the capital of the new dynasty but also served the 
military purpose hitherto served by al-Basrah, al-Kufah 
and Wasit. 

Al-Mansar felt that it was a great military mistake 
on the part of the Umayyads that they did not possess a 
heavily fortified city which could have defied the enemy 
for a considerable length of time. This defect he wanted 
to rectify by building Baghdad. Built on the west bank 
of the Tigris on a very strong and mighty scale, with deep 
canals in the rear and massive iron gates, Baghdad, in its 
original conception, was an unassailable fortress which 
could not easily be taken by any foe. It not only held 
the principal cities of al-'Iraq in check but also served as 
an admirable heart of the Empire. The eastern bank, 
which was more vulnerable, was provided with accom- 
modation for a very large force. Since al-Mansur desired 
that Baghdad should be a strong military position, he 
enjoined on his son al-Mahdi not to permit the growth of 
any suburbs, especially on the left bank. But the prince, 
when he became the Khal]fah 9 built an equally grand 
city on the eastern side and called it al-Mahdiyah. 

With a pure military purpose al-Mansur built a 
strong citadel near ar-Raqqah on the upper reaches of 
the Euphrates and garrisoned it with Khurasani soldiers. 
He called the citadel ar-Rafiqah (the Companion). The 
same Khali fab strengthened the defences of al-Kafah and 
al-Basrah with money collected from the citizens of those 
two great cities. 

The Umayyads had extended their rule as far as 
Cilicia and Cappadocia. But when the strength of the 
Muslim Empire declined as a result of the internecine wars 
and dissensions, the Byzantines not only reconquered all 
the important border towns but also a portion of the 
territory belonging to the Arabs. 

Al-Mansor and, after him, his successors recovered 
all the frontier towns, fortified them and planted in them 


Muslim colonies. Ar-Rashld created a special province 
out of the border towns of Asia Minor and called it 
al-'Awasim The garrison of these outposts received high 
salaries in addition to considerable special allowances and 
provisions. They were granted lands which they 
cultivated themselves. Arab tribes were brought from 
the interior of Arabia to colonise these border towns and 
the State provided them with all necessary facilities. 
Al-Mansur built and fortified Mar'ash, Malatyah and 
several other border towns. At Malatyah he quartered a 
garrison of 4,000 men and gave them special allowances 
and facilities. The fort Hisnu '1-Mansur was built by the 
same Khali/ah. 

Ar-Rashld had the town of Massisah surrounded by 
ramparts. He manned Taurus with a garrison and 
converted it into a large camp. He fortified Ad ana and 
quartered a garrison there. At Anazarbah, eleven miles 
north-east of Massisah , he planted another military colony. 
He built a citadel at Mar'ash and called it al-Haroniyah. 
Zubaydah, wife of ar-Rashjd, rebtiilt at her own 
expense the famous town of Iskandaran (Alexanderette). 
Al-Mu'tasim, who was very jealous in guarding the 
Muslim frontiers, completed the fortification of Massisah 
and had the old town of Tyana peopled with military 
colonists. As we have already seen, he paid higher 
salaries to the garrison of this strategic town. 

The same system of border fortifications was also 
adopted in other provinces which adjoined foreign 
countries. We have already noticed how a- large number 
of watch-posts in Transoxania later became seminaries 
for Darw'shes and Sufis. 

Military Intelligence 

The Arabs, especially the 'Abbasids, had a very 
efficient spy system. Since the days of Mu'awiyah, the 
Arabs had developed a very well-organised spy system to 
report their enemies' strength, their weak points, the plans 
of their forts and other strongholds and, in short, to 


collect all such information as may be useful to a nation 
against its enemies. For this espionage system, people 
from all classes of society were chosen, and often the 
chief military and naval officers themselves ventured into 
the enemy country to find out the real state of affairs. 
'Abdullah bin Qays, the great hero of several naval 
engagements, often took to espionage in person; and, 
during one such adventure, his liberality towards a poor 
Greek woman disclosed his identity and he was executed 
by the Byzantine government. 

Qutaybah bin Muslim always used to prepare a map 
of the country which he wanted to invade, with the help 
of reports received through the spies. Persons of both 
sexes were emploj 7 ed as spies. They travelled about in 
different guises, especialty those of merchants and 
physicians and furnished secret reports to the Muslims. 

Apart from what the generals did on their own 
initiative, the central government at Baghdad had its 
independent spy system in the adjoining countries, and 
the spies submitted regular reports to the court at 
Baghdad, Under ar-Rashjd one 'Abdullah as-Sldi served 
for twenty years as a spy in the Byzantine Empire. 
From the reports furnished by the spies, the description 
of the Byzantine Empire, its military strength, its 
resources for defence, etc., were compiled by Ibn 
Khurdadhbih and handed down to us. The Muslim 
government tried to get military information about 
nations other than the Byzantines also. The report of a 
spy sent by al-Wsthiq to the regions of the Volga and 
the Jaxartes is preserved in the work of Idrjsi. 1 

Since the days of MuMwiyah, the Khali fa/is kept a 
very strict watch over strangers entering the Muslim 
Empire. Mu'awiyah also kept a close check upon the 
members of the garrisons and their families and appointed 
an Arab official in each garrison town to enquire into 
arrivals and departures. This system was continued 
under the 'Abbasids. 

1. Idrlsi, translated by Jaubert, p, 4JG ; see The Orient under th* Caliphs, 
p. 305. 


The Arms of the Army and Their Weapons 

The army consisted of the infantry (al-harbiyah), 
the cavalry (alfursfin), the archers (ar-ramiyah), 
the naphtha firemen (an-naffatnn), the hole-makers 
(an-naqqabun) and the labour corps (al-ghilmSn)* 

The infantry used lances, bows and arrows, javelins, 
swords and battle-axes and the cavalry used lances, bows 
and arrows and long, broad and straight swords. 
Archery was much improved under the 'Abbasids 
and new kinds of bows were used which could throw 
several arrows at the same time. Crossbows and hand- 
bows were used to shoot larger and heavier arrows. A 
machine made out of a combination of several crossbows 
could throw a number of arrows at the same time. To 
use these improved bows 1 a separate corps of archers was 

The nafftitun prepared and used naphtha. 2 They 
placed sulphur and white naphtha with the stones and 
wrapped the whole with tow. These fire-balls were set in 
the holder of the manjanlq and shot against the walls so 
that they split with the heat. 3 Ar-Rashjd used such balls 
in the siege of Heraclea in the year 187 A.H. The 
n.iftatun wore fire-proof suits in which they could safely 
penetrate into the burning ruins of the enemy's strong- 
holds. During one of ar-Rashid's campaigns against the 
Byzantines, the way of the Muslims was barred by 
Emperor Nicephorus with trees which had been felled 
and set fire to. The naff at tin in their special fire-proof 
suits plunged themselves in the midst of the burning 
trees and cleared the wa}' for the army. 4 

As we have already seen, the naqqabun were 
armed with picks and drills. It is popularly believed 5 
that the Muslims were the first to invent gunpowder. 
We have just now seen that they employed sulphur and 
white naphtha to blast the walls of the enemy. When 

i. Ibnu M-Athlr. XIII. p. 55 seq. 2 At-Tabari, III, p. 79. 
8. Al- Agha ni, X VI l f p. 45, *. Ibid., XVII, p. 45. 

6. Levy, II, p. 311. 


convenient holes were made in the walls of forts, it is 
quite probable that cumbustive and explosive materials 
should have been used to blow off a portion of the 

Each army had a labour corps (al-ghilm&ri) 1 attached 
to it. They carried spades, axes and other tools 2 in 
addition to swords and shields. Irrone of the campaigns 
a force of 40,000 soldiers was accompanied by a labour 
corps of 10,000 men. 3 Troops were also employed for 
digging and other heavy works/ 

On the March 

We have already described the Arab army on the 
march under the Umayyads. Almost the same arrange- 
ments continued under the 'Abbasids; but the grandeur 
of the march was enhanced by the Persian and Turkish 
elements and the tendency of the court at Baghdad to 
make a greater display of splendour. 

As under the Umayyads, th*e scouts went ahead of 
the army investigating all possible places of ambush, 
collecting information about the enemy movements and 
the strength of his forces, and mapping out the terrain for 
the use of the Commander where such maps did not 
already exist. Behind the scouts the entire army 
marched in battle array followed by the rear scouts 
(ar-rid'). Von Kramer has given the following 
description of the 'Abbasid army on the march: 

" The Arab arrny must have created a great and 
powerful impression as they passed in innumerable 
columns through the hostile country. Troops of light 
cavalry in brilliant shirts of mail and shining steel 
helmets with long lances, the heads of which were 
adorned with black ostrich-feathers, formed the vanguard. 
The archers of tauny colour, strong and half-naked 
accompanied them running and almost kept pace with 
their horses. The two wings were secured against sudden 

1. At-Tabari, II, p. 948. 2. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, VJJ, p, 270. 

1 At-f abari, II, p. 94S. . 4. Ibid,, III, p. 1199. 


attack by flying corps. In the centre marched the 
infantry, armed with javelin, sword, and shield. In their 
midst thousands of camels carrying provisions, tents and 
arms moved onward, while ambulances and sedan-chairs 
for the sick and the wounded, and war-machines packed 
upon camels, mules and pack-horses followed in the rear. 
If the Commander of the Faithful himself or one of his 
princes happened to be with the army, the splendour of 
the scene was heightened by the diverse gold-embroidered 
costumes of the royal bodyguard. There could then be 
seen Persian guards with their high, black caps of lamb's 
leather, the Turkish palace guards with snow-white 
turbans. On the banners and standards shone, embroid- 
ered in gold, the name of the ruler who, in the midst of 
his royal household surrounded b}^ the highest 
commanders, rode on his palfrey streaming with pearls 
and gold. Immediately behind the prince were eunuchs 
easily distinguished on account of their distorted features 
and a line of thickly covered palanquins in which were 
to be found select ladies of the Harem." 1 

The beating of the drum was the marching signal, 
and the columns stopped as soon as it ceased. 2 

The Camp 
Describing the eamp, Von Kremer writes : 

"When, at last, they reached the appointed places 
of encampment, where the vanguard had already set up 
entrenchments, and had dug ditches, there arose, all of a 
sudden at a wave of the magician's wand, as it were, a 
large town of tents with streets, markets and squares. 
The camp-fire was set aglow and the kettles began to boil, 
and after a simple dinner people began to form friendly 
circles at which stories were related and ancient poetry 
declaimed to the accompaniment of flute or violin. Only 
when the stars began to fade from the firmament did 
peace and stillness of night steal over the camps and their 
variegated denizens." 3 

1. The Orient under the Caliph's, pp 333 seq 2 At-Tabari, III, p. 1203. 
3- The Onent under the Caliphs, pp 334 eq. 


Leo the Wise (886-912 A.D.) writes that the Arabs 
"were always in fear of night attacks, especially in 
foreign territory, and took great precautions against them. 
Guards were placed on duty all night or else the camp 
was carefully fortified so as not to be taken by surprise." 1 

During the march against Babik Khurrami, Afshin, 
the Commander-in-Chief, placed the main body of the 
army in the midst of a calthrop or prickly hedge 
(al'hasak).* Mounted soldiers kept circling, night and 
day, around the camp at a distance of a league. 3 

Various kinds of trenches were used by the Muslims 
for purposes of defence. We have already seen that the 
Prophet employed fire-trenches around aJ-Madinah to 
defend the city against the Meecans. 4 Such fire-trenches 
were commonly used to protect camps and supplies. 
Ibnu 1-Athir speaks of concealed pits which were 
commonly used as defence against cavalry attacks. 5 In 
the war against the Zanji (Ethiopian slave) rebels during 
the reign of al-Mu*tamid (256-279 A.H.), an army of the 
Khali fah which was despatched to regain al-Basrah from 
the rebels remained entrenched before the city for six 
months before it was forced to retreat. 6 Many of the 
fortified towns had trenches dug around the walls and 
filled with water. It was a pre-Islamic device which was 
continued by the Muslims. 


With the advent of the 'Abbasids we hear no more 
of those heroic Arab women who took active part in the 
wars of early Islam as suppliers of water, nurses of their 
wounded and despatchers of the wounded foes. Some 
lone women to fulfil a vow or to register a pious deed 
sometimes soiled their feet in the way of God. But such 
exceptions were only few. Non-Arab elements became 
more and more dominant, and thenceforward we hear of 
women carried in thickly veiled palanquins and heavily 
covered litters. 

1. L<>vy, II. p. 31U. -2 At-Tabari, HI. p 1JU7. 

3 Ibid., p 1200. 4. Ibid , I, p 1405 

a. Ibnu 'l-Athlr, VII, p 1*30 Ibid., VII, p 163 



Under the 'Abbasids, in addition to the camels, 
horses, mules and oxen, river boats and gondolas also 
had to be employed in large numbers. The region 
affected by the *Zanji rebellion was marshy; and 
rivers and narrow channels were the only means of 
approaching the villages. The rebels had a large number 
of boats and could dominate the region with their 
superiority in vessels for a long time. The Khali fdh's 
government in order to meet this new situation built a 
large number of canoes and shallow rafts made of local 
reeds in addition to the larger vessels The larger vessels 
were equipped with rudders, but the freeboard was 
made sufficiently low to be hidden among the reeds. 1 
During one of the campaigns against the rebels, 10,000 
additional boatmen were employed to handle these 
boats and canoes besides the regularly employed crews. 8 

Thus, we see that the Arabs employed all kinds of 
means of transport according to the nature of the terrain 
camels, horses, oxen, mules, ships, boats, canoes, etc. 
Campaigns were carefully planned and arrangements for 
the quickest transport of men and material made on a 
ver y elaborate scale. This attention to the details of 
the campaigns was one of the causes of the stupendous 
success of the Arab arms. 


In the beginning, according to the custom of the 
times, Muslim forces chiefly depended on the land of the 
enemy for their supplies. Since the days of *Umar I, 
arrangements were made for supplies from the central 
government. Still, much reliance was placed on the 
possibility of local supplies. 

In the campaigns against Constantinople, when the 
Muslim armies could not advance beyond Taurus, they 
had to suffer much for want of local supplies. Hence, 

1. Ibnu '1-AthIiS VII. pp. 234 seqq. 2 Ikid , VII, p. 274, 


the 'Abbasids took great care to see that their armies 
were well provisioned. In the long campaign against the 
Zanji rebels, Mtiwaffaq, the brother of Mu'tamid, who was 
in command, made arrangements with the merchants of 
al-Basrah to provide him with large quantities of supplies 
which were kept in specially constructed stores. 1 When 
al-Mu'tasim invaded Asia Minor in 244 A.H., he is said 
to have had with the army 30,000 merchants and 
providers as well as thousands of camels and mules laden 
with supplies. 2 

In 241 A.H. a Sudanese tribe revolted against the 
Khalifa h and persistently attacked the government forces. 
Several expeditions launched against them by the Egyp- 
tian Governor came to grief for want of provisions. Finally, 
a large army from Kgypt was ordered to move against the 
rebels and it was supplied with provisions by sea from the 
Suakin coast. The chief of the Sudanese tribe, *Ali Baba, 
not knowing anything about the ships, evaded direct 
attack and planned to wipe out the Egyptian army by 
alluring it farther and farther and exhausting all its 
supplies. This time he was disappointed. The rebellion 
was quelled and <Ali Baba himself admitted to terms. 3 


Before the 'Abbasid period, the morale of the Muslim 
forces was excellent. There was no standirrg army in the 
sense known to us and no mutiny of the soldiers. Every 
Arab was a soldier liable to be called up for service 
in the field. Excepting a small bodyguard consisting 
of loyal tribesmen, the Umayyads had no standing 

The 'Abbasids had very large standing armies. As- 
we have seen, large national corps were formed and 
permanently stationed in barracks. The history of these 
military divisions is one of mutual jealousies and rivalries 

1. Ibmi 'l-A. l iIr, VII, p 246. 

2. tF. B. Bury : Eastern Roman Empire, p. 03, footnote No. 3. 

3. Ifonu '1-Athir, VII, pp. 50 seqq. 


inter se and insubordination to constituted authority and 
readiness to rebel on the slightest pretext. 

On the whole the morale of the Muslim soldiers under 
the 'Abbasids was much lower than that of the fighters of 
the earlier periods. 


By the end of the Umayyad period, two distinct 
methods of warfare were in common use the saff method 
and the kurdns method. Since the battle of biff n, the 
practice of arranging the infantry in lines and the cavalry 
in cohorts became common,, 

In the fight against the 'Abbasids, Ibrahim bin 
'Abdillahi '1-Hasani re fused to adopt the cohort method. 1 
In the final battle of the civil war between al-Amm and 
al-Ma'niun, the former's forces were arranged in lines 
and the latter's in cohorts. 

Of the battles fought during the early 'Abbasid 
period, the accounts of two battles are useful for a study 
of the tactics employed during that period the final battle 
of Nisi bin in the year 137 A.BL in which Aba Muslim 
completely defeated 'Abdullah, the rebel uncle of 
al-Mansur and the last battle of the civil war between 
al-Amm and al-Ma'mun in the year 198 A.H. 

At Nisibm fighting went on for five months without 
any definite result, but in the end, through Abu Muslim's 
able tactics, 'Abdullah was completely defeated. On the 
final day, while marshalling his troops, Abu Muslim 
depleted his own right wing and greatly augmented the 
left. * Abdullah, fearing an attack on his right by the 
opposing left, emptied his left wing to strengthen the 
ri^ht. Thus, Abu Muslim succeeded in weakening the 
left wing of 'Abdullah. Thon he launched a mighty 
attack with his own depleted right and the main weight 
of the centre which was directed towards the left wing of 

1. Soo supra, p. 2T. 


the enemy. The weakened left wing of 'Abdullah could 
not stajid^tbe forceful onslaught and gave way. The rout 
was complete and 'Abdullah fled. 

In the final battle between the forces of al-Ammand 
al-Ma'mon, the former's general *Ali bin *Isa arranged 
his forces in formations each of which composed of a 
thousand soldiers and was placed under one banner 
(rr<lyah). These formations (ar-rayat) were placed one 
behind another at a distance of a bowshot. 1 Al- Madman's 
general, Tahir, on the other hand, arranged his soldiers in 
cohorts (iil-kunldis). A surprise attack by T.lhir witli the 
aid of several cohorts won the day for him. 2 

1. IbmTJ-Atbir, VI. p. 16* 2. At.TcUri, III, p. S23. 


THE most outstanding feature of Arab administration 
is the ease with which the Arabs assimilated foreign 
institutions with their own notions of Government. Most 
of the institutions of the lands which they conquered 
were kept intact, but a new and vigorous spirit was 
infused in them. In Syria and Egypt, they adopted the 
Roman and in Persia the Persian system. Still, the 
glaring evils of feudalism, as practised in those lands and 
also in Spain, were done away with, and human souls in 
the degraded form of serfs and slaves regained their 
legitimate human stature. 

Another feature to be noted is the religious and 
moral spirit which dominated the entire field of adminis- 
tration under the early Khalifahs. Fear of God pervaded 
the whole political atmosphere and every Muslim, as the 
follower of the great Prophet of God, felt his great 
responsibility. Degeneration and worldliness did creep in 
later, but they were checked to some extent by 
conscientious rulers like 'Umar II and al-Ma'mun the 
Great. Finally, when the fear of God and the spirit 
infused by the holy Prophet waned, the Empire was 
destroyed by barbarian hordes and the Muslims had to 
pay very dearly for having deviated from the path shown 
by Allah's Messenger. 

Theoretically, all Muslims were considered equal in 
every respect, and every man Muslim or non-Muslim 
was equal in the eye of law on all matters concerning 
this world. There were departures in the field of 
practice, but the theory reasserted itself again and again. 
If there were cases of extreme bigotism and narrow 
fanaticism on the one hand, there were cases of broad- 
minded toleration and liberalism also on the other. 
Khalid al Qaspi, the Umayyad Viceroy of al-'Iraq, allowed 
his mother to continue in the Christian faith and permitted 


the construction of new churches. His toleration, it is 
reported, even went to the extent of allowing Jews, 
Christians and Zoroastrians to have Muslim wives. The 
early 'Abbasid rulers displayed much toleration and 
insigh tnnd caused books on philosophy and sciences in 
the leading civilised languages to be translated into 
Arabic. Thus, many of the works of the Greek and 
R nnan masters and the great rishis and gurus of India 
were translated into Arabic for the use of the Muslim 

The Government of the Muslim Commonwealth was 
democratic in theorv and practice during the days of the 
early Khaljfahs, but, later, it remained democratic in 
theory alone. In practice the Umayyad and the early 
* Abbasid rulers were absolute tnonarchs,and under the latei 
*Abbasids real power passed into the hands of foreign A mlrs 
who could enthrone or depose Khallfiths at their will. 

The institution of the Shnra seems to have worked 
successfully only under the early Kh.illfahs. 1 'Urnar II 
tried to revive the institution and al-Ma'man succeeded 
in doing so. Al-Ma'rn-.n's Shurj was as representative 
as it could be in those (lays. Later, other Muslim 
princes also hod a council known as the Sh&ra to assist 
them \n the government of their territories, but' none of 
them attained that amount of power and freedom which 
the early Shilra enjoyed. 

Although feudalism with military service based on 
land was a common feature in other lands, the Muslim 
world was free from it during the period covered by this 
work. Feudal elements in other forms big estates, a 
landed aristocracy, etc. had already appeared ; but milit- 
ary service was not as yet based on land. The Khali fahs 
maintained standing armies and employed paid generals 
and soldiers. 

The early Muslim soldier was the best paid and most 
contented in the world. He fought for a cause which he 
sincerely loved. The benefit of the conquest went to him, 
Out of the spoil* he got his share of the four-fifths and 
gave only one-fifth to the State. He was amply paid 

1, Especially under 'T'mar I 


well fed, ana diligently cared for. His family enjoyed a 
State pension whether he was alive or dead. 

Each expedition was earefulty planned and all 
possible 'needs and contingencies provided for. Vinegar 
for soldiers fighting in as-Sind was sent to them soaked in 
cotton and dried. Their siege engines and additional 
supplies caine laden on ships. Enormous amounts were 
spent on each expedition so that nothing might be left 
wanting. Al-Hajjij sent a moderate army to Sijistan, the 
equipment of which alone, apart from the soldiers" 
salaries, came to 2,000,000 dirhams l 

The strategy evolved by the Prophet proved 
irresistible and deadly to the enemy. The morale of the 
Muslim soldier was the highest ever known and the 
patient camel, 'the ship of the desert,' provided the best 
means of transport even in the most difficult terrain. 
The Arabian horses were, as they perhaps still are, the 
best that could be had. 

It was the sheer merit of the Muslims that gave 
them the great success their military genius, 
immense capacity for organisation, inexhaustible patience 
in working out and providing for the detail, quick 
grasp of the essentials of other systems and immediate 
assimilation of the good things thereof and, above all, 
their courage and steadfastness in the battlefield. 

The great success of the Muslims in the various 
fields has been an object of wonder and surprise. 
Wonder always springs from lack of knowledge. Since 
people did not care to study the Islamic phenomena in 
all their details, either due to prejudice or owing to despise 
of "the barbarians," and since some superstitious 
Muslims, in their ignorance, gave a tinge of miracle and 
m irvel to ever} 7 aspect of Muslim life, they could not look 
at^the merits of the Muslim system and indulged in 
enshrouding all the achievements of the Muslims in a 
robe of miracle and surprise. If the Muslims conquered 
and maintained a very large part of the then known world, 
it was not by accident or aimless activity. There was a 
well-thought-out system in all that they accomplished, a 
system, all the details of which were carefully planned 
and precisely executed. 

1. Ibnti 'l.Athlr. TV. o SftfL 


The Pious Khalifaks 

Abu Bakr 



The Umayyads 

Mu'awivah I 

Yazid I 

Mu'awiyah II 

Marwan I 

'Abdu 'l-Malik .. 

Al-Walid I 


'Umar II 

Yazid II 


Al-Walid II 

Yazid III 


Marwan II 
The Early 'Abbtsids 











13-23 (end) 












193'- 198 





















2. Abu Yusuf : RttJbu 'l-Kharaj, Bulaq, 1302 A.H. 

3. Amir *Ali : * oz.^-.,/ u:***^* ** *L~ c 


A Short History of the Saracens, 
London, 1934. 
Arnold : The Caliphate, Oxford, 1924. 

6. Aba '1-Farj : KiMbu 'l-Aghani, B&laq, 1286 
in 20 vols. 


6. Al-Baladhuri : Futnhu 'l-Buldan, ed. DC Ooeje, 

Leyden, 1866. 

7. A^-Damm: Hayatu "l-Iiayawanu J l-Kubra, Cairo. 

1309, in 2 vols. 

8. Ad-Diyarbakri : al-Khamis 9 Cairo, 1302, in 2 vols. 

9. Hitti : History of the Arabs, London, 1940. 

10. Husaini : Ibn al- Arabi, Adyar, 1931. 

11. Ibn 'Asakir : Tarlkhu Dimaskq, MS. 

12. Ibnu '1-Athjr: Ta'rikhu 'l-Kamil, ed. Turnberg, 

Leyden, 1851-76, in 14 vols. 

13. Ibim '1-Athir: Usudu "l-Ghdbah ft Akhbilri 

's Sahabah, Cairo, 1286 A.H. 

14. Ibn Hawqal: al-Masaliku wa 'l-Mafmllik, Leyden, 


15. Ibnu '1-Jawzi : Kitabu "l-Adhkiya\ Cairo, 1306 A.H. 

16. IbnKhallikan:lV^?)*f/tt V-^>zn,Cairo,I3lO,in3voJs. 

17. Ibn Khurdadhblh : al-Mas#liku wa "l-Manullik, 

Leyden, 1306 A.H. 

18. Al-Istakhri: al-Mamalikuwd'l-Ma^lUk. Leyden, 1870. 

19. Ibn Khaldun : al-Muqaddamah, ed. M, Ouartre- 

mere, Paris, 1858, in 3 vols. 

20. IbnKhaldun: Kitabu V-76ar,Bulaq,1284A.H.,in7vols. 

21. Al- Jahshiyari : Kitabu *l-Wuzara'i wa *l-Kuttab % 

printed copy with the original pages marked ; the 
original pages have been quoted (Cairo, 1938). 

22. Al-Khudari : Tarikhu Umami *l'lslfinriyah f Cairo, 

1926, 1934, in 3 vols. 

23. Al-Maqarri: Nafhu '('Tib, Bulaq, 1279 A.H., in 4 vols. 

24. Al-Maqdisi : Ahsanu 't-Taqaslm* ed. De Goeje. 

Leyden, 1906/ 
^5. Al-Maqnzi: Khitatu Misr, Bulaq, 1270 A.H., in 2 vols. 

26. Al-Mas*udi : Muruju 'dh-DhaJiab, ed. and translated 

by Barbier de Meynard and Pavet de Conrteille, 
. Paris, 1861-77, in 9 vols. 

27. Al-Mawardi : Al-Ahkfimu 's Sultan:\nh, Egypt, 

1298 A.H. 

28. Mazharu '1-Haqq : 'Umar bin 'Abdi 7-Ms7*. 

29. Mez : The Renaissance of Islam, London, 1937. 

30. Mu'inu 'd-Djn : Ttfrikli-i Islam, A'zamgarh, in 3 vols. 

31. Al-Mubarrad : al-Kamil, Cairo, 1286. 

32. Ibn Sidah : al~Mukha$$a& 9 Cairo, in 17 vois. 

33. Levy, Sociology in Islam, Ldhdon, in 2 vols. 


34. Nicholson : A Literary History of the Arabs, 

Cambridge, 1930. 

35. Al-Qalqashandi: Subh^ 'l-A'sha, Cairo,1913, in 14vols. 

36. Qudamah : Kitabu "l-Kharaj, Leyden, 1306 A.H. 

37. As-Suyuti : Husntt *l~Muhadarah fi Misr wa 

'l-Qahirah, Cairo, 12i>9 A.H./in 2 vois. 

38. Ash-Shibli : al-Farnq, A^.amgarl), in 2 vols. 

39. At-Tabari : Tar]khu, "l-Umami wa 9 l-Mulnk, ed 

De Goeje and others, Ley den, 1879-1901, in 3 series 

40. Ibn Taghribirdy An-Nujumu ^-Zahirah, Leyden, 

1851, in 2 vols' 

41. At-Turtushi, Siraju "l-Muluk, on the mar^m of Ibn 

Khaldun's al-Muqaddamah, Cairo, 1311 A.H. 

42. Wellhausen:4ra&/Cm^om^^2^sFa//,Calctitta,1927. 

43. Sir William Muir, Annals of the Early Caliphate, 

London, 1883. 

44. Sir William Muir, The Caliphate : Its Rise, Decline 

and Fall, Edinburgh, 1915. 

45. Yahya bin Adam : Kitabu "l-Kharaj, Cairo, 1 347 A.H. 

46. Ya ; qubi:r^VjM,ed.byM.Th.Houtsma,Leyden,1883. 

47. Ya'qubi : Kitabu 'l-Buld<fn, Leyden, 1885. 

48. Yaqut: Mu'jamti *l-Buldan, ed. Wustenfeld, 

Leipzig, 1866-70, in 6 vols. 

49. Encyclopaedia of Islam, ed. M. Th. ]3outsma and 

others, Luzac & Co., London, 1U13, in 4 voK 

50. T. P. Hughes : A Dictionary of Islam, London, 1895. 

51. Von Kremer: Orient under the Caliphs, translated 

by Khuda Bakhsh, Calcutta, 1920. 

52. Bury : The Eastern Roman Empire, London, 1912. 

53. Bury: A History of the Later Roman Empire, 

London, 1889. 

54. Becker : Papyri, Heidelberg, 1906. 

55. De Goeje: Fragmenta Historicorum Arabicorum, 

Leyden, 1879-81, in 2 vols. 
.56. Leone Caetani: Annali dell 'Islam, Milano, 1905 seqq. 

57. IbnTiq:aqah:.4/-Fc7*/m,ed.W.Ahlwardt,Gotha,1860. 

58. Malik bin Anas : Mu'atta, Cairo, 1 280 A.H. 

59. Le Strange: The Lands of the Eastern Caliphate* 

Cambridge, 1905, 

60. As-Sabi: Kitabu *l-Wuzara\ Leyden, 1904. 

61. Ibnii '1-Faqih: Kitabu "l-Buldan, ed. De Goeje, 

Leydeta, 1S02 A'.H. 


'Abbauan, 97 

-'Abbas bin 'Abdi 'l-Muttalib, 

53 ; the house of, 149, 167 ; the 

geneology of the house of, 152 
'Abbas bin al-Ma'man, 151 
'Abdullah bin al-' Abbas, 152, 17? 
'Abdullah bin <Ali, 152, 241, 242 
Abdullah bin al-Arqam, 19, 44 
'Abdullah bin Khalid bin al- 

Walld, 81 n. 

'Abdullah bin Qays, 221, 2:U 
'Abdullah bin Rawahah, 24 
'Abdullah as-Sldi, 234 
'Abdullah bin az-Zubayr, 12, 85, 

87, 126 

'Abdu 'l-'Aziz bin Marwan, 79, SO 
<Abdu '1-Hamid, 84 
'Abdu 'l~Malik bin Marwan, 66, 

68, 71, 74, 79, 80, 85; coinage 

ufcder, 87, 88; 91, 102, 109, 123 

126, 127, 139, 159, 163, 165, 

'Abdu 'r-Rahman bin al-Ash'alb, 

'Abdu 'r-Rahman bin ' Awf, 32, 33, 

39, 78, 81' 
'Abdu 'r-Rahman bin Mu'awiyali 

bin Hisham, 178 
'Abdu 'r-Rahman bin 'Ubaydi 

'1-Oari, 44 * 
Ablaq, 14 
Abrahah, 3 
Abraham, 9 

Absolutism, Umayyad, 81 
Abo 'Amr, 90 
Abu Bakr, the first KMifah, 2!), 

31, 36, 44, 47, 49, 51, 52, 66, 77, 

The definite article al lias been pi*iixed throughout the text to those Arabic 
names which take it, but m the index it is denoted by a dash, e.g. 'Abbas for 
al-* Abbas. Names of books aa well as Oriental words and technical terms 
explained in the text are printed in italics. 

78; oirrency under, 86, 114; 

his advice to Ussmah, 143; 153, 

154, 171 

Abn Bakr of Tortosa, 27, 146 
Aba Dharri '1-Ghifari, 63, 82 
Abu Hanlfah, 21 n., 22, 168, 172, 

187 n., 192 
Abn '1- Hasan al-Ash'ari (see *A|i 

bin Isma'il) 
Aba Hurayralh, 35, 46 
Aba Jaham, 157 
Abu '1-Mahasin, Ibn Taghnbirdi, 


Abu Masa, al-Ash'ari, the Gover- 
nor of al-Kofah, 42 
Abu Muslim al-Khurasani, 174 


Abu Salmah al-Khallal, 157 
Abu Sufyan, 63 
Abu 'Ubayd, 90 
Abu 'Ubayd bin Mas'ud, 59 
Abu 'Ubaydah bin al-Jarrah, 60 
Aba Yahya bin al-Batriq, 210 
AbnYusuf, 21 n., 114, 168, 170, 

191 to 195, 197, 198, 204, 205 
abwabu 'l-mall 199 
Abyssinia, 10, 53, 66 
Abyssinians, 3, 4 
Academy of Jundi-Shapdr, 210 
Acre, 98 
*Adan, 97, 223 
Adana, 139, 233 
Adharbayjan, 34, 100, 105, 138, 


'Adi bin Zayd, the J Ibadite, 14 
'Adnan (tribe), 4 
JElius Callus, 2 
Africa, 68, 102, 178, 221, 223, 




Africans, 227 

Afshin, 173, 174, 238 

Aghani, see footnotes 
Aghlab, 179 
Aghiabid fleet, 224 
Agriculture, 125 

fl/*/# /"(confederacies), 6 
Ahlu 'l-B<ldiyah t 1 

Ahln 'l-Hadarah, 1 

Ahmad bin Hanbal, 172 

Alimad bin Muhammad bin *Abdi 

''l-Hamid, 198 
ahr% (supply department), 58 

Ahsa', 97 

Ahwaz, 101, 138, 180, 199,213 

Akhsikath, 99 

'Ala' bin al-Hadrami, 220 

'Ala' bin 'UqWh, 19 

Aleppo (Halab), 138,211 

Alexandefette, 233 

Alexandria, 99, 184, 211, 212, 221 

Alexandrian Museum, 211 , 

'AH, the Pious Khatifah> 19, 20, 
27, 31 to 33, 36, 30, 44 to 46, 
IS2, 57, 60, 62, 67, 77, 78, 88, 
103, 115; his ruling on al- 
Kharaj, 118; 137, 148, 158, 
165, 168 to 170, 178 

'AH bin 'Abdillah bin al- 'Abbas, 

<AH Baba, 240 

'AH bin Isa bin Mahan, 184, 242 

'AH bin Isma'll al-Ash'ari (Abu 
'1-Hasan), 172 

'AH ar-Rida, 158, 175 

'Alid, 173" 

Almagest, 210 

'Alqamah, 221 

'Amil, 20, 34, 3r>, 9C, 101, 105, 
150, 192,217 

'Amils, 96, 101 
'Amilu 's-saduqat, 104 

Amln," the Khali/ah, 151 to 
154, 158, 162, 163, 226, 227, 
229, 241, 242 

Amins, 217 

Amir, 57, 95, 104, 105, 140, 150 

Ammt U 'l-i$tila\ 186 

Amir by usurpation, 186 

Amir 'AH, see footnotes and 162 

Amirs, 244 
, Amirit 'l-'Ashrak, 56, 140 

Am'iru 'l-'Askar* 25 

'Ammar bin Yasir, 34, 36, 63 

<Amr bin al-'As, 34, 35, 38, 60, 
96, 103, 143 ' 

'Amr bin 'Utbah, 58 

4 Amr bin az-Zubayr, 84, 85 

Amu (River), 99 

Araul, 100 

amwalu 's-sad&qat, 19 

Anazarbah, 233 

Anbar, 98, 137, 181, 205, 206, 

Andalusia, 110, 132 

Anhftr, 215 

Anhdru 'l-Khwaj, 193 

Adsar, 19, 32, 35, 39, 65, 77, 

Antioch, 138, 222 

Anusharwan (Anusbirwan), 210 

anwatan (by force), 72 

Anz, 108 

*Aqrabah, 144 

Arabia, 6, 9, 11, 12, 14, 25, 30, 
36, 37, 40, 47, 49, 51, 52, 54, 
55, 65, 68, 70, 71, 180, 221 

Arabian provinces under the Pro- 
phet, 20 

Arabian Sea, 97 

Ardabll, 138 

Ardashir Kharrah, 101 

'Anf, 56, 140 

Arjan, 101 

Armenia (Armlniyah) 100, 105, 
181, 202 

Arms, of the army under the 
Pious Khatifahs, 56 ; manufac- 
ture, 74 

Army supply, 58 

Arnold, 31 

'arrndah, 144, 145 

Arran, 100 



Artisans, 74 

'Arns (the Bride), 143, 144 

Arvvand, 201 

, 8 

'l-arbu' t ?19 
Ash'ari, (see 'Ali bin Isma'll) 
Ashnun, 203 
Asia Minor, 142, 233, 240 
Asiatic, 217 

*Asim, the Kharijite, 154 
'Askar Mukram, 101, 138 
Asma' bint Abo Bakr, 12 
Assyria, 98 

Assyrian inscription, 1 
Astronomy, 209 
Aswan, 222 

Atlantic Ocean, 212, 221 
Attab, the Um ay y ad Commander, 


Attic owl on coins, 4, 86 
Atyeh, 223 
Augustus Caesar, 211 
Audit and Accounts Board, 160 
Austin, 18 ; his definition of 

sovereignty, 18 n. 
Aw&sim, 139, 181, 202, 233 
awqaf, 107, 187 
Aydhab, 222 
Ayliya, in Egypt, 34 
'Aynu 't-Tamar, 97, 118 
ayyamu 'I- Arab, 16 n. 
Azraq, 125 

Babik (also Babak) al-Khurrami, 

174, 184,231,238 
Babylon, in Egypt, 221, 222; in 

al-'Iraq (as-Sawad), 67 
Babylonian, 206 
Badhan, 4 
Badr, battle of, 25, 26, 53, 59, 


Bsdurayya, 204 
Baghdad, 156, 163, 164, 168, 176, 

179, 183, 184, 108, 199, 206, 

207, 208, 210 to 212, 315; 

Governor of, 218; population 

of, 218; the Government of, 224; 

227, 228, 232, 234 
Bahrayn, 20, 46, 51, 97, 102 
Bahuraslr, the siege of, 58, 144 
Bakhtishu' bin Jorjis, 210 
Bakr, the region of, 98 
Bakrites, 16 
Ba'labakk, 211 
Balad, 211 
Baladhuri, see footnotes and 


Balbis (see Bilbays) 
Balearic Islands, 98 
Balkn, 99, 180, 212 
Balqah, 5 
Baluchistan, 223 
Bamm, 101 

Banjbur (Panjpar), 101 
Bana 'Adnan, i 
Bann Bakr, 15, 16, 51, 52 n. 
Banu Hashim, 29 n., 36 n., 192 
Bana Hawazin, 49, 51 
Banfl Kindah, the regions of, 20 
Band Mar wan, 67 
Band Nadir, 65 
Bana Qahtan, 1 
Bano Qurayzah, 65 
Band Sa'dah, 77 
Bana Shayban, 13 
Bano Sulaym, 49, 51 
Band Taghlib, 114, 193, 194 
Band Tamim, 147 
Bana Tanukh, 5 
ba\ 91 
bar, 90 

Bardha'ah, 100 

Barmaki'd, 99, 158, 173, 174, 209 
Barmakids, 155, 174, 181 
Bara' bin Malik, 144 
Baradah (River), 129 
barazin, 200 
Bardsir (Sardsir), 101 
bind, 85 
Barqah, 99, 181, 203 
Basrah, 33, 34, 44, 55, 95, 97, 

108, 130, !32, 134* 136 to 158, 



181. 184, 201, 215, 223, 231, 

232, 238, 240 
bataih, 193 
bay'at, 77 
Bayrot, 98 
Baytu 'l~Mal, 4b, 44 
Baytu 'l-Hikmah, 2 JO, 211 
Becker, 124 n. 
Bedouins, nomadic, 1 ; social 

organisation of, 6, 17; political 

organisation of, 7; religious or- 
ganisation of, 9; 11, 12, 18, 31, 

Berbers, child tax on, 76, 123, 

132, 138, 178, 229 
bid'ai, 186 
Bilal, 39, 150 
Bilbays (also Balbis and Bilbis), 


bint makhad, 22 
bisat, 74 
bishr, 91 
Bistam bin Qays, 13 
Bodin, 18; his view on sovereignty, 

18 n. 

Bodyguard, 57 

" Bridge of the Romans," 213 
Brotherhood, 17, 55, 64 
buhar, 90 
Bukhara, 99; the capture of, 141; 

battle of 147; 206, 212 
Bukhari, Muhammad bin 

Isma'il, 172 
Bunjikath, 100 
buridau, 85 
Busaysah, 220 
Buwayhid, the, 84 
Byzantine, 6, 91, 109, 127, 139, 

143, 184, 220, 227, 234 
Byzantines, 34, 49, 60, 114, 138, 

139, 142, 197,220 to 222, 231, 

232, 234, 235 

Caesar, 10, 83 
Cairo, 222 
Calcutta, 223 

Cappadocia, 232 
Carat, (al-qirst), 89 
Carthage, 216 
Caspian Sea, 100 
Central Spain, 110 
Ceuta, 184 
Ceylon, 223 
Chemistry, 129 
Chief Justice, 33 
Child tribute, 111, 122 
China, 212, 223 
Chinese, 208 ; coast, 223 
Christ, 2 

Christian, 114, 135, 243 
Christianity, 3, 52 
Christians, 3, 27, 87, 194, 244 
Chrysorrhoas (River), 129 
Cilician passes, 230 
City State of Makkah, 9 
Clysma, 222 
Cochin China, 223 
I Commander, 132; duties of, 22; 
| 228, 236 
| Commander-in-Chief, 132. 22 


Combodia, 223 
Companions of the Prophet, I 

25, 31 to 33, 53, 63, 78, 197 
Constantinople, 6, 221, 222, 239 
Controller of the Post arid Intel- 

gence Service, 164 
Coptic, 41, 109 
Copts, 91, 93, 109, 133, 220 
Cordova, 99, 215 
Council of Elders (Senate) 9, 3 

32, 80, 155 
Council of State, 155 
Crete, 221, 224 
Ctesiphon (al-Mada'in), 5 
Currency, the, 89, seqq. 
Cyprus, 38, 220, 224 
Cypriots, 39 
Cyranaica, 211 


dabbahah, 28, 58, 140, 144, 14i 
dabbits, 146 



Dahhak, 133 

DtK 25 

Damascus, 38, 55; the storming of 

58, 85; 107, 126, 127, 129, 130, 

144, 181,202, 208, 211, 215 
daniq, 89 
Darabjird, 101 
Daru 'l-Amarah t 34, 43 
Darn 'n-Nadwah, 10 
darwishes, 139, 233 
Dastaba, 201 
Dawraq, 101 
Daybul, 144, 223 
Daylam, province of, 100; sea 

of, 181 

Daylaman, 100 
Day of Shearing, 16 
Decurion, 140 
De Goeje, see footnotes 
dhimmah, 194 
Dhirarms, 38, 42, 189 
Dha Nuwas, 3 
Dhu Qar, battle of, 52 n. 
Dhu Raydan, 2 
Dhu 'r-Riyasatayn, 181 
Dihqans, 41, 65 
Dijlah (River), 43; the district of, 

180, 199, 205 
Dimyat, 203 
Dinar, value of, (10 dirhams), 

87; weight of, (half the modern 

guinea), 88 ; value under al- 

Ma'mnn, 198; 203 
Dinawar, 216 
Dmawari, see footnotes 
Dirham, weight of, under 'Umar 


Disful, 213 
Dizc'ffn, 34, 43, 52 to 54, 92, 93, 

105, 161, 167, 182 
Diwans, 104, 160, 181, 182, 208 
Diwanu 'l-'Ard, 161, 166 

'l-Azimmah, 160, 164 
'l-B*rid t 83, 85, 103, 160, 

163, 182, 183 
Diwanu 'd-Diva', 161, 160, 182' 

Dlwanu 'Isjund, 83, 103, 160, 

161, 166, 225 
Diwanu 'l-Kharrtj, 83, 160, 161, 

Dm'clnu 'l-Khatam, 83, 84, 103, 

160, 162, lf)3, 167, 182 
Dwfinu 'l-Mustaghill*t t 103 
DwZnu *n-Nafaqrit, 161, 165 
Diwanu 'n-Nazri fi 'l-Mazalim, 

160. 162, 165, 167 
j D'nvanu 'r-Rasa'il, 83, 84, 103 

160, 162, 160, 182 
D'lwanu 'i-Sawrtfi, 161, 166 
Dlwaitu 'sh-Shnra, 217 
D'nvanu 's-Sirr, 166 
Diwanu 't-Tavqi> 161 to 163 f 166, 


Dlwanu 'z-Zimam, 164, 182, 183 
<#>'3' f 166 
divah (bloodwit), 8 
i Diyarat, 201 
Dome of the Rock, 127 
Douro (River), 110 
i Dujayl, 205 

Dumbawand, 201 
! Dashara (Dhn \h-SfMra), 4 

Egypt, 3, 34, 38, 40, 41, 43, 52, 
54, 56, 62, 65, 66, 68, 90, 93 ; 
province of, 98; 99, 102, 103, 
108; Lower, 109; 121, 124, 
142, 178, 181, 197, 203, 204, 
206, 211, 221, 223, 227, 240, 

Egyptian, 220, 240 

Egyptians, 52, 65 

Elements, 210 

English, 89, 90 

Euclid, 210 

Euphrates, 5, 51, 98, 125, 130, 

130, 137, 205, 212 to 2H 
( Europe, 217 

European, 163 
I Europeans, 127 
[ Extra taxes, 121 



Fadak, 24, 63 

Fadl, the Barmakid, 181 

Fadl bin ar-Rabr, 158 

Fadl bin Sahl, 158, 181 

Fadl bin Yahya, 226 n. 

Fakh, 178 

Fammu \s-Sulh, 97 

fiimd. 200 

faqih, 48 

Farama', 98 

Farghanah, 99, 212 

Faris, 199 

Pars, 34; province of, 101, 138, 
180; sea of, 181 

farsakh (farsang), 91 

Fas, 99 

Fasi, 9 

fZsiq, 9 

Fatimah, daughter of the Prophet, 

Fatimah, wife of 'Umar II, 68 

/*/, 21, 24, 40, 42 to 44, 81, 
111, 115, 116, 193 

Fazari, Muhammad bin Ibrahim, 

Fazari, bin Yarbu', 93 

Feudal aristocracy, 65, 7(5 

Fiiastln, 98, 181, 202 

- fiqh, 172 

/<! siq t 94 

Forty Years' War, 16 

//<</*/, 13 

Furat, 201 (also see Euph- 

/wrsiiH, 56, 235 

Fustat,44, 55, 136, 211, 212, 

Galen, 210 

Galicia cum Lusitania, 110 

Garden of Death, the, 144 

Geography, 129 

Geometry, 209 

Geuk Su, 213 

Geiit (al-jiiyah), 24 

Ghabah, 18 n. 

Ghanlmah, definition of, 21 ; 
one of the sources of revenue, 
20 ; division of, 21 ; claimants 
of the one-fifth of, 21 ; share of 
the -State in, 21; 'Umar's 
deviation in the distribution of, 
29 n.; 36, 191 

Ghassan, Kingdom of, 5, 10 

Ghassanids, 5, 6 

Ghaznah, 99 

Ghifar, 211 

Ghilmcln, 56, 235, 236 

Ghumdan, 3, 4, 13 

Glaser, 1 n. 

Government House (see also 
Dnru 'l-Amarah), 34, 43, 137 

Governor (see al-Wali) 

Gr-ain (al-luibbah), 89 

Grammar/ 129, 209 

Greco-Syrian, 220 

Greek, 4, 41, 90 to 93, 109, 142, 

Greeks, 52, 129, 210, 221 

Green Dome, 126 

Gudea of Sirguila, 1 

gurus, 244 


habbah (grain), 89 

H5di, 151 to 153, 167, 174, 

Jtadltk, 128, 171 

Hadlqatu 'l-Mawt, 144 

Haclramawt, 2, 13, 20, 51, 97 

Hajar, 97 

Jlajib, 157 to 159 

hajj, 47, 94, 150, 176, 215 

Hajjaj bin al-'Ilat, 33 

Hajjaj bin Yosuf, 68, 73, 74, 
81, 88, 91 , change in language 
of records into Arabic bv, 92 ; 
96, 102, 104, 109, 116,* 118, 
119, 122, 123, 125, 126, 135, 
138, 148, ISO, 193, 244 


-*Hakim, 107 

Haiab (Aleppo), 9S 

Hallaj, 174 

Hamadhan, 101, 181, 201, 212 

Hamasah, 15 

yamat, 211 

^-Itamwalnh, i!04 

Hanafi, 192 

liani' bin Mas'ftdi 'sh-Shaybani, 

52 n. 
Han/.alah bin ar-Kabr, J9 

Haqqah, 211 
tiaras, 82, 159 
frrlnyah. 235 

/laww (Harem), 115, 237 
bciris, 130 

Harith bin Awf, 16 n. 
harrah> 130 
Harthamah, 179 

Haranlph, 233 

Harttnu VRashid (see ar-Rashld) 

hasak, 238 
Hasan bin 'AH, 53 

Hasan al-Bam, 82, 175 
Hasan bin Sahl, 179 
Hasan bin Namir, 19 
Hashimites, 111 

Hashimlyah, 206, 207 
Hassan (poet), 6 

1 fassanu 'n-Nabati (engineer) 70, 
" 126 

Haudaj, 59 

Hawf, 99 
Hawran, 5 
Haytal, 99 

h&yy (clan), 6 
Hellenistic, 214 
Heraclea, 235 
Heresy, 173 

Hijaz, 96, 155, 164 

hijrah, forbidden to the ma^alt\ 

, 6 f 44 

Mims, 38, .15, 9:5, 98, 181, 202, 


Himyar, 2 

Himyarite, kings, 3 ; letters, 4 

} iimyaritic inscriptions on coins, 

* 86 

Hind, Mu'awiyah's mother, 141 

Hind, 181 

Hindi, 210 

Hindus, 135 

Hippocrates, 210 

Hiqqah, 22 

Hirah, th Kingdom of, 5, 10, 

Hirat, 100, 180 

Hisham, the KhaKfah, 54, 68, C9, 
79, 80 ; his reform of *Umar's 
Dncan, 83 ; 88, 105, 126, 128, 
131, 134, 138, 161, 178, 183, 
194, 229 

1 lisnu '1-Mansor, 233 

rtistory, 129 " 

History of the World, 54, 53, 64, 

HH, 98, 212 

Hitti, P. K., see footnotes and 91, 

Hobbes, 18; his view on sove- 
reignty, 1H n. 

Hommel, 1 n. 

Hubayrlyah, 88 

Ilubaysh bin al-Hasan, 210 

Hudayblyah, the treaty of, 65 


Hudhayfah bin al-Yam5n, 19 

hndud, 187 

iiujra?i,*2 t 159 

Hulwan, 97, 180, 199, 212 

Hunayn, 25, 28, (>3 n. 

llunayn bin Ishaq, 210 

Hnrmuz, 223 

I lurr bin Yusuf, 131 

(lusaini, S.AO., 174 n. 

Husayn, 53 

I iusayn, 147 

Husayni, (see Husaini) 

Ib.tdui, 1 
Ibadite, 14 



Ibn Abi Sarh, 'Abdullah, 34, 8i 

Ibnu 'l-'Amld, 84 

Ibnu 'l-'Arabi, 174 n. 

Ibnu 1-Athir, see footnotes and 

144, 165, 238 
Ibnu f l-Jurayj, 171 n. 
Ibn Khaldun, see footnotes and 

30, 180, 181, 191, 198, 199 
Ibn Khurdadhbih, 40, 234 
tint lalnln, 22 

Ibn Mas- ad, 'Abdullah, 44, 63 
Ibn 'r-Rawandi, 174 
Ibn Saba, 170 
Ibn Sa'd, 52 
Ibn Sii&n, 1C n. 
Ibn YarbiY, al-Fazari, 03 
Ibn Ziyad, 95 
Ibnu 'z-Zubayr (see 'Abdullah bin 

Ibrahim bin 'Addillahi '1-Hasani, 

27, 241 

Ibrahim bin Aghlab, 179 
Ibrahim bin Muhammad, 152 
Ibrahim bin al-Walld I, 80 
>iddah, 189 
Idhaj, 213 
Idris, 178 
Idrlsi, 234 
Idrlsid, 178 
Ifnqiyah, 99, 122, 178, 181, 203, 


jfta\ 46, 48 
ihlilaj, 200 
ihti/Zn (handful), 204 
ihtisal', 186 
ijarah, 113 
ijma*, 46 
Imam, 193, 204 
itnfitnat, 150 
Imperial Mail, 163 
Imra'u r l-C )a y s . 8 ' i-', 14 
in' 3m, 40 
India, 223 

Indian, 89, 9H, 209, 223 
"Indian Bridge," 1!1?/ 
Indian Ocean, 1 222, ^:i 
Indian peninsula, ** t 19 

"Indian Sea/ 1 223 

Interpreter, 140 

Instrument of instructions for the 
Walt, 35 

Inspector General of Espionage, 

iqlim, 96 

Iran, 212, 216 

Iranian, 215 

Iraq, 31, 39 to 42, 54, 66, 67, 
09, 70, 75, 96, 97, 102, 108, 
109, 116, 120, 122, 123, 120, 
130, 131, 133, 137, 183, 197, 
203, 206, 226, 227, 232, 243 

--irdab, 41 

4 !sa bin Musa, 151 

'Isa Canal, 213 

Isa Radis, 201 

Isbijab, 99 

Isfahan, 101, 181, 201 

Ishaq, 210 

Iskandaran, 233 

Iskandarrmah, 98 

Islamic revolution, 18, 62; law, 
29, 45 ; State, 33 


Italy, Lower, 224 

i'tizal, 173, 175 

[yad bin 'Ubaydillah, 108 

4 Izzu J d-din bin 'Abdi 's-Salam, 
174 n. 

i Jabalah, 6, 150 

i Jabiyah (capital of Banu Ghas- 

san) ( 5 

1 Ja^d bin ( )ays, 107 
, jadh\ 22, 23 
} Ja'far bin Abi T.ihb, 65 

Ja'far, the Barmakid, 158, 162, 
1 % 105, 167, 173, 181 

Ja'far, as-Sadiq, 175 

Jahshiyari, see footnotes and 
162, 166, ISO, 191, 199, 204 

Jalula, 97 

jrim, 201 
- Janad, 2u 



Jannabii 174 

Jar, 97 

jarib, 40, 1 41, 90, 91 

jarrati, 14 

Jaubert, 234 n. 

Java, 223 

Ja'wiyah, 144 

jawzbuwah, 200 

Jaxartes, 234 

Jayhan (River), 99 

Jazirah, (Mesopotamia), 34; the 

province of, 98; 181, 201 
Jerusalem, 126, 127 
Jewish, king, 3; master, 14 
Jews, 9, 24, 112 
Jibal, the province of, 100 
Jifar, 98 
Jilan, 181, 202 
Jillin, 5 n. 

JHliq, 5 

Jlruft, 101 

jizyah 21, 36 ; levied on non- 
Muslims, 23, 76, exempted from, 
23; before Islam, 24, 38 ; old 
name of, 24 ; charges on, 24 ; 
rate under the Prophet, 37 ; 
under the Khalifahs, 37 ; effect 
of mass conversion on, 72; levied 
on al-maw&li, 73; abolished for 
al-mawttli, 74; 105, 106, 110, 
111, 114 to 117, 124, ,176, 194, 
195, 197 

Journal Asiatique, 86 

Judaism, 352 

Juhaym bin as-Salt, 19 

Junadah bin Abi Umayyah 'J-Azdi, 

jund, 55, 67 

Jundaysabar, 101 

Jundi-Shapar, 210 

Jurbum, 9 n. 

Jurisprudence, 48, 128, 209 

Jurists, 48 

Jurjan, 100, 102, 132, 181,200 

Jurjis bin BakhtishiV, 210 

Jurji Zaydan, 123 n. 

Justinian, 5 

Juz* bin Mu'awiyah, 43 
Juzjanan, 100 

Ka'bah, 9, 10, 47, 207 

kabsh, 145 

Kabul, 145 

Kabulistan, 100 
| kiifir, 94 
1 Kafirs, 94 
t kaftan; 156 
i kammun, 200 

Karabacek, Dr., 86 

karadis, 241 

Karkh, 98, 181, 201, 204 
! Karmin, 34, 96, 101, 102, 180, 
| 199, 200 n. 
i karr wa al-farr, 14, 26 
i Kaskar, 180, 199 
i katib, 105, 106, 185 

Katibs, 104 

Ktitibu 'd-Diw&n, 34 

Katibu r r-Rasail, 92 

Kazimah, 125 

Keda, 223 

Khabis, 200 n. 

KhaKsi, 200 

Khaiid bin 'AbdHlah al-Qasri 
(Viceroy of al-'Iraq), 68 to" 70, 
88, 104, 131,243 

Klialid bin Barmak, 167 

Khaiid bin al-Walld, 51, 59, 60; 
copper coins issued by, 86; 128, 

Khaiid bin Yazid bin Mu'awiyah, 

Khalidlyah, 88 

KhaKfatullah r l5l 

Khattfatu Rasnlillah, 160 

khamls (army), 15 

Khamtash, 201 

khandaq, 27 

Khaniqln, 97 

Khaqan, 138 

Kharabah, 136 



kharaj, levied under Islam, 24 ; 
one of the sources of revenue, 
21 ; an ancient tax, 24 ; old 
name of, 24 ; before Islam, 24 ; 
on non-Muslims, 24 ; the main 
source of revenue, 38 ; decision 
of the Shora on, 39 ; difference 
between the/ay and, 42; con- 
version of Kharaj lands into 
Ushr lands, 63, 66 ; levied on 
d-mawalit 73, reform of Nasr 
bin Sayyar, 121, 122 ; 36, 40, 
41, 72,95, 105, 110, 111, 113, 
118 to 120. 124, 167, 176, 192 
to 197, 204 

Kharijite, 133, 135, 147, 154 

Kharijites, 30, 148 

Khatlb, 215, 218 

Khawirij, 133 

Khawarnaq, 14 

Khawlan, 212 

Khaybar, 24, 65, 111 

Khazar, 100 

Khuda Baksh, 122 

Khudari, 15, 29, 30, 226 n, 

khums, division of, by the Pro- 
phet, 36 ; 'Umar's deviatioii in 
the matter of the division of, 
36 ; of Tripoli given to Mar wan, 
81; one-fifth of, given to Ibn 
Abi Sarh, 81; share of the 
Prophet and his relatives res- 
tored, 111, 119; on minerals 
and precious metals, 192 

Khurasan, 34, 73, 96, 99, 100, 
102, 116, 128, 135, 138, 173, 
180, 181, 183, 184, 194, 200, 
206, 212, 226, 227 

Khurasani, 227, 232 

Khurasanis, 194 

Khuraw, 10, 83 

Khutbah, 183 

Khazistan, 43 ; province of, 101 ; 
138, 180, 214 

Khwarizm, 102, 180 

Khwarizm i, 210 

Kindi, 188 n., 216 

Kisra Anushirwan (also Anushar- 

wan), 4 
Kitabu 'l-Kharaj by Abfl Yilsuf, 

i Kitabu 'l-Wuzara'i wa l-Kutt"db t 

180 n. 

I Ktiah, 33, 34, 42, 44, 52, 55, 88, 
1 95, 97, 108, 130 to 132, 134, 

136 ; population of, 137 ; 138, 

147, 181, 184, 201, 212, 215, 

231, 232 

Kufic inscription, 91, 157 
KQhistan, 100, 213 
Kulam, 223 

kilrah, 96, 109, 121,204 
kurdus, 27, 60, 140, 241 
kurr , 90 

Labid (poet), 6 

Labourers, 74 

Ladhiqlyah (Laodicea), 98 

Lakhmid dynasty, 5 

Lakhmids, 5 

Laodicea (al-Ladhiqiyah), 221 

Lebanon, 221 

Leo, The Wise, 238 

Levy, see footnotes and 162 

Lexicography, 209 

Li ban urn, 5 

Lieutenant, 140 

Literature, 209 

Lower Egypt, 109 

Lusitania, 110 


Masabadhan, 180, 181, 201 
Ma wara'u 'n-Nahr 99, 180 
Ma'ab, 98 

Ma'an bin Yazid, 33 
Ma'an, the Kingdom of, 1 
Mada'in, 97, 137, 138, 205, 207 
Madlnah, 12, 18 n., 20, 25 to 
27,31,32,34, 35, 43, 44, 49, 
51, 55, 65, 81, 97, 111, 112, 
125,126, 131, 133, 137, 143, 



107, 168, 171, 181, 203, 212, 

215, 238 
madwiah, 214 
Maciinatu 'z-Zahra', 215 
Ma'dinu 'n-Nuqrah, 212 
Magan, the Kingdom of, 1 
maghaniw* 2-0 
Maghrib, the province of, 99 
Mahanids, 155 
Mahdi, the Khalifah, 152, 157 

164, 167, 168, 173, 174, 196, 

204, 206 to 208, 212, 232 
Mahdiyah, 207, 232 
mahfurah, 202 

Mahfuzah, 138 

Mahra, 13, 61,97 

Ma'ln, 1 n., the Kingdon of, 2 

Ma'it, 223 

Makkah, 8; city stateof, 9 ; 10, 11, 
20, 25, 34, 46, 53, 97, 126, 131, 
178, 181, 203, 206, 212, 214 to 

Makran, (also Mukran), 34, 101, 
181, 200. 

wakrtth <ala 's-Sutuh, 11 

-mala' (the Senate of Makkah), 9 

Malabar (port), 223 

Malacca, 223 

Malatyah, 139, 230, 233 

Malik'al-Ashtar, 57 

Malik bin Anas, 171, 172 

wfl'wti/, 106, 121 

Ma'mun, 151 to 156, 158, 165; 
174 to 176, 179 to 181, 183, 
184, 195, 197, 198, 210, 211, 
224, 226, 228 to 230, 241 to 

manarah, 12 

Manbij, 197, 211 

Manichaean, 173 

manjamq, 28, 144, 235 

mann t 89 

Mansur, the Khali/ah, 139, 151, 
152/157, 161, 166, 178, 188, 

205, 207, 210, 215, 217, 227, 
230 to 233, 241 

Manser bin Sarjan, 02 

Mansorah, 102, 138 

Maqdisi, see footnotes 

Maqdaniyah, 99 

Ma'qil, 12.5 

Maqqari, see footnotes and 121 

Maqrizi, see footnotes and 43, 

87, 167 

Maraghah, 138 
Marash, 93, 139, 233 
Mafgoliouth, 122 
Ma'rib, the great dyke of, 1,3, 4 ; 

capital of Saba 1 , 2, 97 
Marw, 100, 180, 212 
Mar wan I, 69, 79, 81 
Marwgn II, 120, 133, 162 n. 
Marwan bin Hafsah, 226 n. 
Marwanids, 79 ; the geneology of, 

80; 151, 156 
Marzubans, 41 
masalik, 211 
Maslamah, 68, 105, 126 
Masqat (Muscat), 223 
Masslsah, 139. 233 
Mas'Qdi, see footnotes 
ma'unah, 56, 204 
mawali, 6, 7, 15 ; not granted 

annuities, 71 ; al-jizyah leviecj. 

on, 73, 115, 117; freed from 

al-jizyah, 74, 121; 20,000 of 

them received no salaries, 134 ; 


mawaliu 'l-I$lam, 64, 116 
Mawardi, see footnotes and SI, 

185, 186, 196, 225 
mawat, 193 
mawla, 6, 7, 73, 83, 166 
Mawsil, 4*, 55, 98, 128, 181, 

181, 184, 201,211,215 
maymandh, 15 
maysarah, 15 
mazalim, 165 
mazbalah, li 
Mazilt, 109 
Measures, 88 
Meccan, 112 
Meccans, 10, 18 n., 26. 27, 42, 89, 




Media, 100 

Medicine, 129,209 

Mediterranean Sea, 214, 221, 222, 

Mentor (al-Muhtasib), HO 

Merg, 138 

Mesopotamia, 205 n., 215 

Messenger of God, 86 to 88, 150, 

Mez, see footnotes and 162, 214 

mihnah, 176 

Mihrgan, 106, 121 

mil, 91 

Military, organisation, pre-Islamic, 
12 seqq., under the Prophet, 25 
seqq.; under the Pious Khali - 
fahs, 49 seqq ; _class, 70 seqq.; 
under the 'Abbasids, 225 seqq. 

ifitrte', 13 

Mirdas, 148 

Mkr, 55, 132 

>, 214 

mithqnli 86, 89 

Modi us (al*mudd) t 90 

Monophysite Chistians, 5 

Mosque of the Prophet (al-Masjidu 
'n-Nabam), 19,31,47, 207 " 

Mosque of 'Umar, the, 127 

Mosul (see al-Mawsil) 

Mu'adh bin Jabal/20 

Mu'adhdhin, 25, 156 

Mu'allaqah, 123 n., 213 

Muanah, 171 

Mu'awiyah I, 52, 57, 66 to 68, 71, 
74, 75, 78, 79, 81, 82; established 
Diwanu 'l-Khatam, 84 ; 85, 86, 
92, 95, 96, 102, 103, *107, 108 ; 
deducted az-zakai, 111; 125, 
126, 132 to 134, 145, 158, 163, 
165, 168, 169, 220, 221, 228, 
233, 234 

Mu'Swiyah II, 79, 151 

Mu'ayqlb, 44 

Mu'ayqlb bin Abi Fatimah, 19 

mu'ayyanah, 200 

Mubarak 'All Basha, 87 

Mudar, region of, 98; North 

Arabian Corps, 227 
mndd (modius), DO 
Mughlrah bin Shu'bah, 19 
Muhajirin, 32, 33, 35, 39, /65 
Muhallab bin Abi Sufrah, 148 
Muhammad, the Prophet, 17, 86 

to 88, 116, 156, 175 
Muhammad bin 'Abdillah, the 

Governor of Baghdad, 164 
Muhammad bin *Ali, 152 
Muhammad bin Ibrahim al-Fazari, 


Muhtasib, 189, 190 
Muir, Sir William, 55 
Mujamu 'l-Buldan, by YaqQt, 

85, 204 n. 
mitjtahid, 29 
Mukha, 97 
Mukhtar, 95 
Mukran (see Makran) 
Mundhir III, King of aHIirah, 15 
Municipal amenities, 11 
Muqabbil, 197 
Muqaddasi (see al-Maqdisi) 
muqaddamah (the vanguard), 15 
Moqan, 181, 201 
Muqcttilah, 63, 71 
Muqtadir, 196, 208, 227 
Muraqqisb (poet), 15 
murtazaq, 133 
murtaziqah, 226 
Musabin Nusayr, 122, 222 
Mus'ab bin Zubayr, 87 
muxdlla, 74 

Musaylimah, 51 ; dinar oS, 86 
Mi&at (see Masqat) 
Mushrifw 's-$ana'ati bi x 7- 

Makhzan, 166 
Music, 209 
musinnah, 23 
Muslim bin al-Hajjaj (tradi- 

tionist), 172 
Mu'tadid, 167 
Mu'tah, 143 
-^Mu'tamid, 238, 240 



Mu'tasim, 151 to 153, 168, 170, 

184, 198, 227, 228, 230, 233 
Mutawakkii, 104, 170, 216 
Mu'tazilah, 172, 175 
Mu'tazilite, 175, 170, 210 
Mu'taziJites, 172, 173, 176 
Muthanna, 52, 207 

Muwaffaq, 240 


Nabataean Kingdom, 4 

Nabighah (poet), 

nadiit qawm, 10 

naff a tuii t 235 

Nafsu 'z-Zakiyay, 178 

Nahru Amlri 'l-Mu'minln, 43 

Nahru Abi Musa, 43 

Nahr 'Isa, 205 

Nahr Kntha, 205 

Nahr al-Malik, 205 

Nahru Ma'qil, 43 

Nahr Sarsar, 205 

Nahr al-Silah, 206 

Nahrawan, 97 

ti3*ib, of the Governor, 105 ; 
military commander, 105 ; oi 
the Qadi, 187 

Xa'ibs, 168 

Najd, 10, 102 

Najdu '1-Yaman, 1)7 

Najran, 2, 20, 194, 190 

--nakhkh, 74 

Naqqabnn, 58, 140, 145, 235 

Narmasir, 101 

nashifah, 13 

Nasr bin Sayyar, 193 to 195 

jiass-, 112 

National corps, 227 

Nawrnz, Persian New Year Day, 

75, 122, 196 

Naysabur, 100, 180,212, 216 
Naziru 'l-Mazalim, 190 
nazlah, 204* 
Negroes, 229 
Negus, 3, 10 
Ncstorian, 210 
Niccphorus, 235 

Nicholson, K. A., see footnotes 

and 173 

Nihawand, battle of, 32, 58, 146 
Nil (canal), 125 
Nile (River), 41, 216, 221, 22* 
niwb t 21 

Nishapor (see Naysabur) 
Nisibin, 211, 241 
Noldeke, 8B 

Nomadic, Arab, 18 ; Bedouins, 1 
Nujiimu 'z-Zrthh\ih t 176 
Nu'man, 58, 146 
Nusayr, 170 
niiwrtt, 89 


Oases, 1 

Orient under the Caliphs, The, 

see footnotes. 
Oxus (River), 99, 212 

Pacific Ocean, 222 

Pahlawi (Pahiavi), 87 

Palestine, 5, IM, 55. (see also 

Palmyra, 4 
Pan j pur, 101 
Pdra-i-san^ (farsak/i, fiosan*;), 


Patricians, 42, 65, 66 
Paymaster, 140 
Pensions, 75 
Perfume industry, 74 
Period of Ignorance, 30 
Persia, 34, 37, 40 to 42, 52, 56, 

62, 65, 68, 135, 168, 223, 227, 

Persian, satrapy, 4 ; Empire, 5, 

34, 38, 52, 55, 137 ; device, 27 ; 

regular troops, 52 n. ; currency, 

86; 89, 90, 125, 151, 156, 174; 

Gulf, 181, 220, 223 ; 208, 236, 

237, 243 
Persians, 5, 8, 15, 24, 51, 52, 58, 

59, 68, 114, 122, 133, 167, 174, 

220, 229 



" Persian Sea/' 223 

Petra, Nabataean capital, 4, 13, 

Pharaohs, 41 

Philosophy, 209 

Phoenicia, 5 

Phoenicians, 220 

Phylarch, of Ghassan, 5, 10 

Physicians, 14, 226 

Pope, the, 150 

Postmaster, 86, 103, 163, 164, 
183, 184, 217 

Postmaster General, 163, 164 

Praetorian Guards, 169, 228 

Pre-Islamic political institutions, 
1 ; Arabs, 14, 24 ; Arabia, 24 ; 
military organisation, 12 ; days, 
6, 59 ; method of warfare, 15 ; 
battles, 16 n., 141 ; Meccans, 
42 ; 216 

Presents, 111,121 

Prophet, the, 6, 12, 17 ; as sove- 
reign, 18 ; the Secretariat of, 19; 
the Secretary of, 20 ; 21, 23, 
24 ; as Commander-in-Chief, 
25 ; 26 to 28 ; the traditions of, 
29, 30, 46 ; 31, 36 to 39, 44, 49, 
52, 54 n., 60 to 63, 56, 70 n., 
75, 77 to 79, 82; currency 
under, 86; 94, 110, 112, 113, 
116, 120, 123, 126, 127, 129, 
132, 134, 143, 144, 146, 148, 
150, 154, 156, 167, 170 to 172, 
192, 238, 243, 245 

Ptolemy, 210 

Pyrenees, 110 

Qabbal, 124 

qabilah (tribe), 8 

Qftcfi, 8, 20, 34, 35, 44, 45, 

107, 108, 140, 150, 165, 185 ; 

the qualifications of, 187 ; the 

duties of, 187; 188, 190, 217, 

219; of theaimy, 226 
Oadis. 107, 167, 188, 187, 198 

Qadislyah, 97, 206, 212 

Q$ ( }iu 'l-Qutf&t, 167 

qafix, 90 

qahruman, 118 

Qahtanite, 133 

Q'aid, 57, 140 

Qa'in, 100 

qalb, 15 

Qalqashandi, 167 

qantaratu 'r-Rumi, 213 

Qanoj, 102 

Qaramitah, 184 

q drafts, 204 

-Qari', 25, 48 

Qarnaw, 2 

yaran, 213 

qaryah. 129, 204, 214 

Qarz, 34 n. 

qawbah, 214 

Qasdar, 101 

qawdah. 226 

Qasr'u 'l-Khilafah, 207 

qat&i', 62, 66, 72 

eayrawan, 99, 136, 212, 213 
ay Is of al-Yaman, 10 

Qinnisrin, 89, 90, 98, 181, 202 

~-qirci(, 89, 90 

Qubadh, 40 

Qubbatu 's-Sakhrah, 127 

QudSmah bin Ja'far, 159, 198 

Quilon, 223 

Qamis, 100, 181, 195, 200 

Qumm, 216 

Qur'an, 18, 19, 21, 25, 27, 29. 
31, 36, 39, 46, 48, 53, 77, 94, 
111, 120, 129, 148, 154, 156, 
169, 171, 172, 175, 197, 198, 

Qur'anic exegesies (see at-tafs/ir) 

Quraysh, the, 29, 30, 62, 64, 66, 
67, 119,153 

Qurayshi, 150 

Qurrnh bin Shank, 109 

Qus, 222 

Outaybah bin Muslim, 122, 141. 
234 ' 



Rabi'ah, the regions of, 98 

radif, 140 n. 

Rahib, 12 

Rz'id, 57 

Ka'ts, 219 

Ra'isu 't-Tujjar, 217 

rttfilt 56 

Ramhurmuz, 101 

ramiyah, 235 

Raralah, in Egypt, 34 

.Ramlah, in Palestine, 98, 209 

raqm, 202 

Raqqah, 98, 184, 232 

Rashld, Haran, 139, 151 to 
153, 157, 162, 163, 165, 166, 
169 n., 174, 179 to 181, 191, 
192, 198, 203 n., 210, 215, 224, 
228, 230, 233 to 235 

Ra'su '1-Ayn, 211 

Rayy, 100, 181, 195, 201, 212 

rayah (pi. ar-rayat), 242 

Red Sea, 43, 222 

Reporter of the array, 140 

Rhetoric, 209 

Rhodes, 221, 224 

ribat, 139 

rtf','56. 236 

Rida (see 'AH) 

Rlf, 99 

Rihab, province of, 100 

rishis, 244 

m/, 89, 90 

riwaj, 204 

Roman, competition in the field 
of trade, 3 ; legions, 5 ; Empire, 
38, 55, 169 ; currency, 86 ; 212, 
213, 228, 243, 244 

Romans, 2, 15, 41, 68, 121, 122, 
184, 211 

Rome, the walls of, 224 

Rukn, 131 

Ruknu 'd-Dawlah, 84 

rumftt, 56 

mstaq, 204 

Royan, 201 


sZ<> 90 

Saba, the Kingdom of, 2 

Sabaeans, 2 

8Sbar, 101 

Sa'd bin Abi Waqqas, 44, 59, 

125, 137 

Sa'd bin 'Ubadah, 29, 78 
sadaqah, 19 to 21, 23, 197 
$adaq&t t 192, 
Sadr, 217 
Sadir, 14 
safaya\ 13 
saf, 27, 146, 241 
Saffah; 151, 152, 157', 206, 207, 

228, 29 

Safwan.bin Umayyah, 46 
^saqah (rearguard), 15, 26 
Sahibu 'l-Ahdath t 106, 108 
Sa'hibu 'l-Barid, 103, 163, 164, 

183, 185, 217 
Sakibu 'l-Baridi wa 'l-Akhbar, 


nhibu Bayti 'l-Mal, 34 
SZUibu >l-Kharaj t 95, 105, 106, 

Sahibu 'sh-Shurtah, 46, 185, 188, 


Sahibu 'z-Zantidiqah t 174 
Sa*ld, (province in Egypt), 34, 

99, 166 

Sa'id bin al-'As, 67 
salab, 13,21' 
Salamyah, 98 
Salary, of provincial officers, 185 ; 

of clerks, 185 ; of labourers, 

185 ; soldiers 1 , 229 
sal at, 150 
balatu jami'ah, 30 
Salih bin 'Abdi 'r-Rahman, 92 
Salman of Pars, 27, 150 
Samarqand, 100, 128, 212, 216 
Samarra, 98, 162, 228 
Samaw'al bin 'Adiya', 14 
Samosata, 213 
', 97,212 



sanamr, 204 

Sarah, 205 

Sardinia, 99 

Sardsir (Rardsir), 101 

Sargon II, 1 

Sasanian, dynasty, 5 ; Empire, 34 

Sasanians, 37, 196, 213 

Saulcy, 86 

Sawad, 07 ; administered by 

the centre, 83 ; 101, 180, 195, 

190, 204 
sawafi, 166 
Sayf bin Dhi Yazan, 4 
Scholastic Theology, 209 
Secretary, of the Prophet, 20; 

finance, 34 ; of the army, 34 ; 

of al-Hajjaj, 92 
Seleucia, 222 
Senate, 9 
Ser, Indian, 89 
Serapion, 213 

Sergius, (Sarjun bin al-Mansur), 
1 92 

Shafi'i, 22, 192 
Shaharzur, 181 
shzhid, 188 
Shapur I, 5 

sliari'at, 75, 188, 191 
Shattu 'l-'Arab, the region of, 199 


Shaykh, 7, 13 
Shaykhavn (Abu Bakr and 


Shaykhs, of Xajd, 10, 17 
Shibli, 15 
Shi'ite, 147 
Shritcs, 179 
Shihr, 97 

Shlfaz, 101, 138,212 
Shu > .,31 to 33, 37, 39, 66, 80, 

118, 155, 244 
Shurayh (Qadi), 45, 46 
Shurtah, 46, 168, 189 
Sicily, 224 
Siddh&nta. 210 
$iddiq, 173 
Sidi, 90 

I Siffm, battle of, 27, 52, 57, 60, 

* 122, 132, 226, 241 

Sijilmasah, 99 

Sijistan, 34, 96, 100, 102, 181, 
200, 245 

Sind, 1)6 ; the province of, 101 ; 
: 102, 123, 138, 143, 144, 181, 

. Sind/rind, 210 
, Sinjar, 211 
j Siqinan, 181 
i Slraf, 10], 223 

Slrjan, 101 

Sir wan, capital of Saba', 2 

Sirwan, 97 

Slaves, 75 ; Arab ones emancipat- 
ed, 70 ; in revenue, 200, 202 

South Arabia, 214 

South Arabian tribes, 5 
! Sovereignty, 18, IS n. 
I Spain, 96, 99, 102, 110, 122, 178, 
! 213,221,224 
! Spaniards, 110 

Spherical geography, 129, 209 

State Chancery, 85 

Suakin coast, 240 

Sudanese, 240 

Sufis, 233 

Sufyanids, the, 79 

Sughd, 100, 122 

Sughdians, 142 

Suhar, 97 

5-w/w*/, 214 

Sulayman bin 'Abdi '1-Malik, 79, 
80, 131, 138 

Sulayman bin Sa'id, 92 

Sulayman bin Surad, 147 

sullian, 72 

Sumatra, 224 

Sumerian king, I 

Sund Islands, 223 

Surgeons, Bedouin, 14 ; 226 

Sos, Nearer, (al-Adna), 99, 212, 

Sns, Farther, (al-Aqsa), 99 

Sus, in Khozistan, 101 

Susa, 213 



Suyati, tee footnotes 

Syria, 6, 12, 32 to 34, 39 to 42, 
51, 52, 54, 56, 57, 62, 65, 66, 
68, 82, 85, 91 ; the province of, 
98 ; 102, 109, 120, 126, 130, 
138, 142, 211, 212, 220 to 222, 
227, 243 

Syriac, 92 

Syrian, Dtwan rendered into 
Arabic, 92, 110, 122, 221 

Syrians, 52, 65, 133 

Tabari, see footnotes and 70, 

126, 172, 181 
fabaristan, 100, 102, 132, 181, 


tabi', (tete'ah), 22, 23 

Ta'biyah, 26, 140 

Tabrizi, 15 

TabQk, 98, 212 

Tactics, pre-Islamic, 14 ; under 
the Prophet, 26 to 28 ; under 
the Pious Khilafat, 59 to 61 ; 
of the siege, 143 ; under the 
Uraayyads, 146 to 148 ; under 
the 'Abbasids, 241 seq. 

Tadmur, the kingdom of, 4, 98 

tafsir. 128, 172,209 

Taghlib (tribe), 16 

Tahir bin al-Husayn, 183, 184, 

" 241 

Tahirat, 99 

Ta'if, 4, 18 n. ; siege of, 28 ; 58, 
97, 144, 212 

takmilah, 196 

Talhah, 32, 33, 39, 62 

fall' ah, 56 

Takrit, 98 

tana hud, 135 

Tangier, 178 

taqbll, 197 

Tarafah, 5, 213 

Tarafanah, 99 

^-fari'd, 8 

fartkh (tarragon), 202 

Tariq bin Ziyad, 132 

Tarsus, 139 

(assttj, 204 

Taurus, 230, 233, 239 

tawqV, 166 

i*tayrcA 9 162 

Tayma', 14, 20, 97 

Textile industry, 74 

Thablr, Mount, 131 

Thamod, 1 

thinni, 22, 23 

Tiberias (Tabarlyah), 98, 211 

Tibet, 181* 

Tiflis, 100 

Tigris, 98, 125, 204 to 207, 213, 

228, 232 

Tihamatu 'I-Yaman, 97, 179 
Tinnis, 203 
Tirmidh, 212 
Tortosa, 27 
Traditions of the Prophet (see al- 


Trajan, the Roman Emperor, 4 
Transoxania, 138, 227, 233 
Treasurer of the army, 140 
Treasury House (see bay fa *l-mal) 
Tribal organisation of the Arabs, 

Tribute, under treaties, 111 ; 

child, 111 

Tripoli, Syrian, 98, 222 
Tsunanchou, 223 
Tulayhah, the false prophet, 51, 
" 94, 170 
Tunis, 221, 222 
Turin, 101 
Turkistan, 214 
Turkish, 228, 236, 237 
Turkomans, 169 
.Turks, 133, 142, 147, 152, 168, 

227, 229 
Turtushi (see Abu Bakr of 

Tyana, 230, 233 
Tyre, 222 


Ubayy bin Ka'ab, 19 
Ubaydullah (Wazlr of al-Mahdi), 



Ubaydullah bin Ziyad, 102, 104 

Ubullah, 97 

<ud, 200 

Udhayb, 212 

Uhud, battle of, 25, 115, 141 

ujuru 'l-futuh t 122 

ujuru 'l-fuyuj, 204 

ujuru 'l-mada, 204 

<Uia, 212 

Uman, 13, 20, 51, 95, 97, 102, 134 

'Umarl (bin al-Khattab), 6, 29 
n., 32 to 47, 52 to 58, 62 to 6tf, 
08, 71. 75, 78, 82, 83 ; coinage 
under, 86; 95, 133, 118, 119, 
122, 123, 126, 130, 134, 135, 
137, 143, 158, 161, 170, 193, 
195, 197, 220, 222, 239 

'Umar II (bin 'Audi 'l-'Aziz), 63 
to 65, 67 to 69, 71, 74, 76, 80 ; 
ash-Shara under, 81, 82 ; re- 
turned all his property to the 
state, 82 ; 95, 108 ; returned 
the share of the Prophet and 
his relatives in the Khums, 111; 
and al-mawali, 116 ; |19, 120, 
122, 123, 128, 134, 136, 139, 
154, 155, 165, 184, 214, 243, 

'Umar bin Hubayrah, Viceroy of 
al-'Iraq, 88, 104 

ummat, 69 

uq^yah (ounce), 89 to 91 

Urdunn, 98, 181, 202 

'urf, 188 

Usamah bin Zayd, 47, 49, 63 

usbu' t 90 

'ushr, definition of, 22 ; rate of, 
37 ; 40 ; al-Kharaj lands con- 
verted into al-'ushr lands, 63, 
66 ; from 'Uman, 95 ; 111 to 
113, 118, 119, 121, 122, 192, 
193, 195, 197 

Ushrusanah, 100 

'ushur, 36 ; origin of, 42 ; 111, 
112, 197 

'Uthman bin 'Affan, 19, 31 to 33, 
36, 38, 39, 44, 57, 02 to 64, 66 

to 68, 78 to 82, 94, 108, 122, 
126, 134, 135, 153, 156, 170, 
171, 193, 220 

'Uthman bin al-Farqad, 33 

'Uthman bin Hunayf, 40 

Vicegerent of God, 151 
Vicegerent of the Messenger of 

God, 150 
Volga, the, 234 
Volunteers, 231 
Von Kremer, see footnotes and 

142, 162, 178, 236, 237 


Wadiu '1-Qura, 63 n., 97 

Wahat (oases), 99 

Wall, under the Prophet, 20 ; 
during the Pious Khilafat, 34, 
35, 9JL ; under the Umayyads, 
104 to 106; under the 'Ab- 
basids, 185 seqq. ; duties of, 
185, 186 ; kinds of, 186 

Walls, 104 

Walld I, (bin <Abdi '1-Malik). 
68, 74, 75, 79, 80, 88, 90, 9g, 
109, 125, 126, 128, 184, 207, 
208, 214, 221 

Walld bin Hisham, 44 

Waild bin Mughlrah, 8 

Walld II (bin Yazid), 79, 80, 
94, 128, 133, 154 

Walijah, battle of, 59 

waqqa'a, 162 n. 

wasaya, 187 

Wasii bin 'Ata', 175 

Wasit, 70, 97, 136, 138, 184, 
199n., 206, 232 

wasq, 22, 37, 90 

Wathiq, 151, 152, 176, 209, 
224, 234 

Wayhind, 102 

Wazir, 150, 153, 156 to 158, 
161, 182, 225 

Weights and measures, 88 seqq. 

Wellhausen, see footnotes 



Wazarat, of tafwitf and of 
tanfidh, 157 

Yahadiyah, 100 

Yahya bin Khalid al-Barmaki, 

153, 163 

Yamamah, 51, 97, 102, 144 
Yaman (country), 2 to 4, 10, 

13, 20, 51, 97, 179, 181, 203, 

yaman (South Arabian Corps), 


Yamani, 200 
Yanba', 143 

Ya'qfcbi, see footnotes and 112 
Yaqat, 83, 85, 216 
Yarmak, battle of the, 38, 60, 

132, 141, 147 
Yazd, 212 

Yazid bin Abi Sufyan, 60 
Yazld I (bin Mu'awiyah), 79, 

102, 133 
Yazld II (bin 'Abdi '1-Malik), 79, 

Yazid III (bin al-Walld I), 80, 

133, 154 

Yazid bin Muhallab, 95, 132 
Yosuf bin 'Umar, Viceroy of 
al-'Iraq, 85 

Zab, battle of the, 133, 152 
Zabi, 125 

Zabld, 179 

Zadan Farrukh, 92 

zuddiq, 173 

Zafar, 97 

zakat, 19, 20 ; definition of, 21 ; 
categories of property liable to, 
2t ; rate of, 22 ; on animals, 
22, 23 ; on land produce, 22 ; 
on merchandise, 23, 42 ; on 
gold and silver, 23, 74 ; on 
horses, 29 n., 36, 37 ; 94, 105, 
106, 111, 112, 114, 192, 194, 

Zamzam, 131 

zanabir, 204 

zandik, 174 

zandin, 174 

Zanji, 238 to 240 

Zaranj, 100 

Zayd bin Tbabit, 19 

Zillu 'tiki <ala 'l-ard, 151 

zimftm, 164 n. 

zindiq, 173, 174 

Zindiqs, 94, 174 

Ziyad bin Abihi, 84, 86, 96, 102, 
104, 106, 131, 132, 137, 179 

Zoroastrian, 216 

Zoroastrians, 135, 244 

Zubalah, 212 

Zubaydah, 151, 215, 233 

Zubayr bin al-'Awwam, 19, 32, 
33, 39, 62, 122 

Zuhayr (poet), 16 n., 123 n. 

Zuhri, 171 n.