decease, Merwan was chosen caliph upon this condition, that Kaled the son of Yezid should succeed him, excluding his own children, and that Kaled had refused to take the government upon himself, because he was as yet too young: and that to secure the succession to Kaled, Merwan married Yezid's widow, who was Kaled's mother.

Afterwards however, Merwan, having altered his mind, was desirous that the succession should pass to his own children to the exclusion of Kaled, and accordingly caused his eldest son Abdalmelik to be proclaimed his lawful and proper successor.

Kaled, who always hated him, came to him one day, when there were a great many of the nobility about him in the garden, and reviled him in the most opprobrious terms. This moved the old man's choler to such a degree, that he called him bastard. Kaled went immediately and told his mother all that had passed, and the lady, touched to the quick with this affront, resolved secretly to be revenged. She said, however, to Kaled, “ Child, you must have a care of such behaviour, for he will never bear it; let me alone, and I will take care of him for you." Merwan, coming in soon after, asked her if Kaled had said anything concerning him; she told him no; he had too much respect for him to do so.

Merwan did not long survive this event, however; some say his wife poisoned him, others that she laid a pillow upon his face when he was asleep, and sat upon it till he was dead, and then told the people that he died on a sudden.

Some say his age was sixty-three; others, with more probability, seventy-one. He reigned two hundred and ninetyeight days.

He was called Ebn Tarid, "The son of the expelled;" because Mohammed had banished his father Hakem for divulging a secret.* He continued in his exile during the reigns of Abubeker and Omar, and his recall was objected to

"When the father of Merwan was disposed to treat him reproachfully, he would salute his son with the appellation of Bennu or Zerreka, the latter being the name of his grandmother, a woman of infamous character, who, previous to her union with Abi Al Aas, gave lodging to licentious females, and announced her occupation to the public, by exhibiting a flag at the top of the house."-Price.

Othman as one of the greatest crimes; it being nothing less than reversing the sentence of the prophet. Othman, mild and good-natured as he was, thought that since the cause of his banishment and all the bad effects of it that could possibly happen from it, were at an end, the punishment ought to cease also.



Hejirah 65-86. A.d. 684-705.

On the third day of the month Ramadan,* in the sixtyfifth year of the Hejirah, Abdalmelik the son of Merwan was inaugurated caliph, and succeeded his father in the government of Syria and Egypt. It is reported, that when the news was first brought to him, he was sitting with the Koran in his lap; whereupon he folded it up and laid it aside, and said, "I must take my leave of thee now."

Abdallah still holding out against him at Mecca, Abdalmelik was not willing the people should go thither on pilgrimage. For that reason he sent and enlarged the temple of Jerusalem, so as to take the "stone into the body of the church," and the people began to make their pilgrimages thither.

All this while Al Moktar was making the best use of his time. During his imprisonment he found means to keep up his correspondence with the sect. Letters being conveyed to him in the lining of a cap, he was soon informed of Solyman's fate, and thought the season was arrived for him t exert himself. Abdallah the son of Zobeir being still in arms at Mecca against Abdalmelik the new caliph, Ibrahim the son of Alashtar was courted by the sect, who answered, that he

• Abulfeda.

+ See p. 214, at the siege of Jerusalem. MS. Laud. No. 161.

would join with them if they would place themselves under his command; but they told him that that was impossible, because they were already engaged to Al Moktar, who soon afterwards being released, produced, at a meeting where Ibrahim was present, a letter from Al Mohdi the son of Mohammed, the son of Ali, who was head of the sect in a lineal succession, and Ibrahim gave him his hand without any more to do. Accordingly Al Moktar took upon him the sole command of the forces. Not only so, but a great many of them inaugurated him caliph upon these terms, that he should govern according to the contents of the book of God and the tradition of the apostle, and destroy the murderers of Hosein and the family. The first Al Moktar proceeded to seize was Shamer, whom he overcame and killed; the next was Caula, who had carried Hosein's head to Obeidollah, him he beseiged in his own house, and slew and burned him to death. Afterwards he slew Ammar, who commanded the army that had murdered Hosein, and gave orders that the horsemen should trample over his back and breast; he also took the life of his son, and sent both their heads to Mohammed Ben Hanifiyah. The sect were afraid lest he should pardon Ali the son of Hathem, and therefore begged of him to let them kill him; he told them that they might dispose of him as they thought fit. They took him and bound him, saying,


You stripped the son of Ali before he was dead, and we will strip you alive; you made a mark of him, and we will make one of you." Thereupon they let fly a shower of arrows at him, which stuck so thick over all parts of his body that he looked like a porcupine. In short, Al Moktar found means to surprise the enemies of Hosein wherever they were, and destroyed them with a variety of deaths.

Abdalmelikt had about this time sent an army against Abdallah the son of Zobeir, who was at Medina; Al Moktar, who had two such powerful enemies to deal with, determined to try if he could get rid of them one by one. Accordingly, he endeavoured in the following manner to overreach Abdallah, by sending an army, pretendedly, to his assistance.

Abdalmelik having sent an army out of Syria towards Irak, Al Moktar was afraid lest they should not only fall upon him on

+ MS. Laud. No. 161. A.

• Abuifeua.

that side, but that he should be at the same time hard pressed on the other by Abdallah's brother Musab, from Bassorah. He therefore wrote a deceitful letter to Abdallah, telling him, that being informed that Abdalmelik the son of Merwan had sent an army against him, he was ready to come to his assistance with a competent force. Abdallah answered, 66 That if he would only assure him of the sincerity of his allegiance he might come; and in order to satisfy him in that point, he desired him to take the votes of his men for him. If he did this, he would believe him, and not send any more forces into his country; and that in the meantime he must send his proffered assistance with all possible speed against Abdalmelik's army that lay at Dilkora." Upon this, Al Moktar called Serjabil the son of Wars to him, and despatched him with three thousand men, most of them slaves, for there were not above seven hundred Arabs amongst them, and bade him march directly to Medina, and write to him from thence for further orders. Al Moktar's design was, as soon as they came to Medina, to send an Emir to command them, whilst Serjabil should go and besiege Abdallah in Mecca. But Abdallah, who had no great confidence in Al Moktar, especially as he had not given him the security he expected, did not intend to allow himself to be surprised. He therefore sent Abbas the son of Sahel, from Mecca to Medina, with two thousand men, ordering him, if he found the army in his interest, to receive them, if otherwise, to use the best of his endeavours to destroy them. When Abbas, who observed no order in his march, came up with Serjabil, he found his men in order of battle, the horse on the right, and Serjabil himself marching before the foot on the left. After they had saluted one another, Abbas took Serjabil aside, and asked him if he did not own himself to be Abdallah's subject? To which question when Serjabil had answered in the affirmative, Abbas bade him march along with him to Dilkora; but Serjabil told him, that he had received no such orders from his master, who had commanded him to proceed directly to Medina. Abbas however told him, that his master took it for granted, that he was come to join the expedition against Dilkora; but the other still insisted that his instructions were to move upon Medina. Abbas, perceiving how matters stood, concealed

his suspicion, and told him he was in the right to obey his orders; but for his own part he must go to Dilkora. Now Serjabil and his men were almost famished for the want of provision, which in their long march had run short. Abbas therefore made Serjabil a present of a fat sheep, and also sent one to every ten of his men. The sharpness of their hunger soon set them on work, and, leaving their ranks, they were quickly in disorder, running backwards and forwards for water, and whatsoever else was necessary for the dressing their victuals. Abbas in the meantime having drawn up a thousand of his best men, advanced upon Serjabil, who, perceiving his danger, attempted to rally his mer; but had scarcely got together a hundred of them, before Abbas was close upon him, crying out to his men, “O troop of God! come out and fight with these confederates of the devil; you are in the right way, but they are perjured villains!" They had not fought long before Serjabil and seventy of his guard were killed; whereupon Abbas held up a flag of quarter, to which Serjabil's men readily ran, except three hundred, who were all afterwards put to the sword. When Al Moktar heard the news, he wrote to Mohammed the son of Hanifiyah, acquainting him with the disaster, and proffering to send a powerful army to his assistance, if he would please to accept of it. Mohammed answered, that he was very well assured of the sincerity of his zeal; that if he thought fit to make use of arms, he would have no want of assistance; but that he was resolved to bear all with patience, and leave the event to God, who was the best judge. When the messenger who had brought Al Moktar's letter took his leave, Mohammed said to him, "Bid Al Moktar fear God, and abstain from shedding blood." The messenger asked him, if he had not better write that word to him. But Mohammed replied, "I have already commanded him to obey the great and mighty God; and the obedience of God consists in the doing all that is good, and the abstaining from all evil." When Al Moktar received the letter he gave it another turn, and said to the people, "I am commanded to do that which is just, and reject infidelity and perfidiousness."

This same year the Hoseinians went to Mecca, and performed a pilgrimage there, under Abu Abdallah Aljodali. Upon this occasion Abdallah seized Mohammed the son of

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