THE CONQUEST OF THE MAGHRIB
by Ibn-`Idhârî (c. 1312)
The first expedition to Ifrîqiya (Tunisia) in 646
`Uthmân ordered this raid... and put `Abdallâh ibn-Sa`d ibn-abî-Sarh in charge of it. This man had been a secretary of Muhammad who then apostatized from Islam and joined the polytheists in Mecca... When the Prophet conquered Mecca, Ibn-abî-Sarh took refuge with `Uthmân, his brother by way of nursing, and `Uthmân gave him the Prophet's guarantee of safety. When `Uthmân became caliph, he made Ibn-abî-Sarh governor of Egypt and its army. He used to send the Muslims out on cavalry expeditions to raid in the region of Ifrîqiya. They brought back many captives and much booty and he wrote to `Uthmân about this. That is why `Uthmân put him in command and told him to enter and raid Ifrîqiya. So Ibn-abî-Sarh left Egypt with 20,000 men for Ifrîqiya.
The commander of Ifrîqiya was the Batrîq (Patriarch) called Gregory, who ruled from Tripoli to Tangier. Ibn-abî-Sarh sent his troops all over Ifrîqiya and they looted everywhere. Ibn-abî-Sarh met Gregory one morning in a place called Subaytula. [Ibn-`Abdalhakam: Ibn-abî-Sarh called Gregory to accept Islam or the jizya, but he was too proud to accept either.] Gregory had 120,000 men, and the Muslims were constrained and found Ibn-abî-Sarh wondering what to do. He went into his tent to think about it. When Gregory saw the Arab cavalry he was frightened and shaken. So he brought out his observation tower and from which one can observe the battle from above the troops. He had his daughter go up with her face unveiled and 40 servant girls all decked in jewels, surpassingly beautiful. Then he brought his cavalry up in file to see, while he announced, "By the truth of Christ and the religion of the Christians, whoever of you kills the Arab leader Ibn-abî-Sarh, I will give him this daughter of mine as wife, and the other girls too with all their beauty, and build him a house such as no one would hope for from me." As soon as he finished speaking he set his troops and horsemen moving and shouting.
When Ibn-abî-Sarh heard what Gregory did and said he called his army and told them the story, then said, "By the truth of the Prophet Muhammad, whoever of you kills Gregory will have his daughter and her companions as spoil." Then he marched with the Muslims and the two armies met. The battle between the few Muslims and the 120,000 polytheists was fierce. `Abdallâh felt the difficulty and went into his tent to think.
Then, said `Abdallâh ibn-az-Zubayr, "I saw a weak spot in Gregory's defence. His men were in ranks and he was sitting on his heavy horse just behind his companions, cut off from them. Two girls were with him shading him from the sun with peacock feathers. So I came to the tent of Ibn-abî-Sarh and asked to see him. His steward said, 'Leave him, since he is thinking about our affairs. If he had something to say he would call the men." I said, 'I need to tell him something.' The steward said, 'He commanded me to keep people away from him until he calls me.' So I went around to the back of the tent and saw his face. He signalled to me to come; so I entered. He was stretched on his mat and said, 'What have you come for, Ibn-az-Zubayr?' I said, 'I saw a weak spot in the defence of the enemy, and hoped it would be the chance that God provided for us, and I was afraid to miss it.' Ibn-abî-Sarh got up right away and went out to see what I saw, and he said, "Men, I want volunteers to go with Ibn-az-Zubayr against the enemy." A crowd rushed to me and I chose 30 horsemen and said, 'I am going to attack. Guard my rear, while I clear the front.' So I set forth and the volunteers followed behind until I crossed their lines to an empty terrain and I was clear from them. By God, I looked like a messenger to him until he saw I was armed; then he thought I was fleeing to him. When I reached him I stabbed him and he fell. I threw myself on him and the two maids threw themselves on him too, and I cut off the hand of one of them. I finished him off and lifted his head on my spear. His companions withdrew and the Muslims attacked on my side, shouting 'Allâhu akbar', and the Byzantines were defeated. The Muslims killed as many of them as they liked, coming out of their cover on every side. The Muslim cavalry and infantry got to the citadel of Subaytula before them and prevented them from entering. The Muslims pursued them south and north, on the plains and on the hills, killing their champions and horsemen. There were plenty of captives; in one place alone I saw more than a thousand."
When Gregory was killed the men were disputing who killed him, and his daughter was observing them. She said, "What are the Arabs arguing about?" and was told, "About who killed your father". She answered, "I saw the man who killed him". The amîr Ibn-abî-Sarh said, "Can you recognize him?" She answered, "If I see him I will". So he passed his men before her until Ibn-az-Zubayr came along, and she said, "This is the one. By Christ, he killed my father". Ibn-abî-Sarh asked him, "Why did you not tell us that you killed him?" He answered, "He knows for whose sake I killed him". Ibn-abî-Sarh said, "By God, I give you his daughter as spoil". So Ibn-Zubayr took the daughter of king Gregory and made her his concubine with a right to freedom at his death if she bore him a child.
When Gregory's army was defeated, Ibn-abî-Sarh marched to the gate of the capital, Carthage, and besieged it, sealing it off completely until he took it. He took an inestimable amount of booty, both captives and wealth. Most of the wealth stacked up before him was gold and silver, since he had raped Ifrîqiya as a virgin. He and the Muslims were astonished at the amount, and asked the people, "Where did you get this?" One of their men began looking for something on the ground and picked up an olive seed and said, "We got our wealth from this, since people across the sea and on the islands do not have oil and they used to buy from us". The share of each horseman was 3,000 dînârs, and of each infantryman 1,000 dînârs. Ibn-abî-Sarh had the troops from Subaytula march on the fortress of Qafsa, where they took many captives and much booty. So the Byzantine province of Ifrîqiya was humbled and put in a state of severe fright. The people took refuge in their castles and fortresses, and then asked Ibn-abî-Sarh to take 300 qintârs of gold (= 3,000,000 dînârs) as a year's jizya if he would go away and leave them alone. He accepted that, took the money, and stipulated in the treaty that whatever the Muslims took before the treaty they would keep, but they would return what they took after it. The amîr Ibn-abî-Sarh called Ibn-az-Zubayr and said, 'No one is worthier than you to bring the news. Go and tell the commander of the faithful `Uthmân of the success God has bestowed on the Muslims. So Ibn-az-Zubayr left Subaytula and reached Medina in 24 days, having spent a year and two months in Ifrîqiya. Then the booty of Ifrîqiya reached Medina and was sold...
The raid of Ibn-Hudayj in 666
When Heraclius heard of the treaty that the people of Ifrîqiya made with Ibn-abî-Sarh, he sent there a governor called Awlîma and told him to take 300 qintârs of gold from them, just as Ibn-abî-Sarh did. The governor landed at Carthage and told the people his demand, but they refused, saying, "We used the money we had to save our lives from the Arabs, but the Emperor is our master, and he should take what is customary from us". They repelled Awlîma and gathered to make their plans. Their leader, Hubâhiba, went to Syria, saw the caliph Mu`âwiya ibn-abî-Sufyân and told him the state of affairs in Ifrîqiya, asking him to send and Arab army. Mu`âwiya put Mu`âwiya ibn-Hudayj in charge of 10,000 men. He took these to Ifrîqiya with Ibn-az-Zubayr and other Quraysh nobles. The Byzantine governor had 30,000 men, and Ibn-Hudayj sent Ibn-az-Zubayr to fight him. They faced each other near Sûsa, but the governor fled by sea without giving battle.
Ibn-Hudayj then besieged Jadûlâ. He used to fight during the day and then go back to his camp. One day he withdrew and `Abdalmalik ibn-Marwân forgot his shield which he left hanging on a tree; so he went back to get it. He saw that part of the city wall had fallen down; so he shouted to his men and they returned. There was a severe battle until the city was entered by force, and the Muslims looted everything that was in it and took slaves. Ibn-Hudayj divided the spoil among the Muslims and it is said that each man got 200 mithqâls (= 847 grams).
In 47 (667) Ibn-Hudayj sent an army by sea to Sicily in 200 ships. They took captives and booty and stayed there a month. They brought back to Ifrîqiya with plenty of booty, slaves and statues covered with gold and silver. They divided the spoil and sent the fifth to Mu`âwiya ibn-abî-Sufyân, who sent the statues to India to be sold.
The next year Mu`âwiya made Ibn-Hudayj governor of Egypt and Ifrîqiya. Mu`âwiya restricted his governorship to Ifrîqiya in the year 50 (670) and appointed `Uqba ibn-Nâfi` al-Fihrî to Ifrîqiya.
The campaign of `Uqba in 670
`Uqba reached Ifrîqiya with 10,000 troops and conquered it. He entered and put its people to the sword, annihilating the Christians who were there. He said, "If an imâm enters Ifrîqiya they comply by accepting Islam, but if he goes away those who became Muslim go back to unbelief.
Muslims, you must establish a city that will be the strength of Islam for all time." They agreed to that and said its inhabitants should be military (murâbitûn). They added, "Let it be near the sea, so that our jihâd and ribât can be complete". But `Uqba said, "I am afraid that the emperor of Constantinople will attack you there by surprise and take possession of it. Choose rather a place that is away from the sea so that no naval power can attack without your being forewarned. It will still be a ribât if it is not so far as to demand shortening salât for one going to the sea." When they agreed on that, he said, "Make it near the salt marshes, since your animals are camels and they carry your burdens. If we get rid of them we would still have to carry on raiding and jihâd until God gives us victory. It would be better if our camels could graze at the gate of our stronghold, safe from attacks of the Berbers or the Christians." The next year `Uqba began building the city of Qayrawân...
The governorship of Abû-l-Muhâjir
In the year 54 (674) the caliph Mu`âwiya removed `Uqba from his governorship after he had served four years and made Maslama ibn-Mukhallad governor of both Egypt and Ifrîqiya, with Abû-l-Muhâjir Dînâr his representative in Ifrîqiya... Abû-l-Muhâjir removed `Uqba in an ugly way. He refused to enter Qayrawân, ordering it to be burned, and built another city two miles away in his own memory, trying to destroy the work of `Uqba... `Uqba returned sad and complained to Mu`âwiya. Mu`âwiya promised to reinstate him, but the matter dragged on until Mu`âwiya's death in the year 60 (April 680).
In the meantime Abû-l-Muhâjir set off for the West, and set up camp at the springs of Tilimsân. From there he marched against Kusayla ibn-Lamzam al-Awrabî al-Burnusî, who was leading several Berber tribes. Abû-l-Muhâjir defeated him and proposed that he accept Islam. He did, and Abû-l-Muhâjir was good to him and protected him.
[During Abû-l-Muhâjir's governorship the important Byzantine towns of Constantine and Sitif surrendered and their leaders became Muslim.]
The second governorship of `Uqba
In the 682 the caliph Yazîd son of Mu`âwiya made `Uqba governor of Ifrîqiya and the whole Maghrib for a second time.
`Uqba left Syria and went stealthily to Ifrîqiya after Abû-Muhâjir. He put him in chains and ordered the city he built to be burned, moving the people back to Qayrawân...
Then he resolved to go out raiding for the sake of God; so he left in Qayrawân a Muslim force in charge of Zuhayr ibn-Qays al-Balawî, a good man. `Uqba called his children and said, "I have sold myself with God, and have determined to fight those who disbelieve in him until I am killed and am joined to him. I do not know if you will see me again, because my hope is to die for the sake of God." He bequeathed them his favourite possessions and said, "Peace be with you. O God, take me at your pleasure." Then he went out with his army, and the Christians fled from his path right and left as he conquered the country and raided for the sake of God...
He went out to fight the Byzantines and the Berbers, who were Magi and Christian, in the cities of Bâghâya and Carthage and nearby cities. He defeated them and killed many; the Muslims took many captives and horses... The Muslims never saw a more difficult town to capture than Bâghâya, because of the Aures mountains which overlook it... He left this town and went to Monastîr, which at that time was one of the biggest Byzantine cities. People all around had taken refuge in it, and a big and powerful army came out to fight. `Uqba met a severe battle and thought it was the end, but at last he defeated them at the gate of their citadel. The Muslims took much booty and went off, coming back to raid it again another time.
He also raided the Zâb, in the Masîla valley. He defeated the Byzantines power in this area for all time.
He also raided the Byzantines at Tîhart, where the Byzantines and Berbers had gathered a mighty force. `Uqba preached to his men, then did battle with the unbelievers. They were defeated, their horsemen scattered, their guards killed, and their main force split up. The Muslim cavalry beat them to the gate of their city and annihilated them and wiped out all trace of them...
He also raided Tangier, where the defeated Christians and Berbers of Ifrîqiya had fled. He fought them heavily until he almost extirpated them. The remainder took refuge in fortresses and castles and never left them. `Uqba did not bother to besiege them so as not to miss the opportunity of raiding and killing the remaining groups of unbelievers, since the Christians and Berbers of the Maghrib were innumerable and spread all over and could not be numbered by sand or pebbles. So he left the people of Ifrîqiya besieged in their fortresses and made for the west, killing and taking captive one people after another, and one tribe after another. Having committed himself to the Lord, he was not afraid of numbers. Weariness or dust did not settle on his men until they reached the outskirts of Tangier.
Tangier had a king named Yalyân (Julian), who ruled from this town to the opposite shore at Sabta. He was one of the noblest and greatest kings of the Byzantines, clever and smart. When `Uqba approached, Yalyân sent him messages displaying honour and peace, along with a large offering, and asked him for a peace treaty at his discretion. `Uqba accepted this and met with him, and asked him about Spain. Yalyân extolled it, and then said, "You left Byzantium behind you and have only Berbers before you, and they are like animals. They don't accept Christianity or any other religion, but eat cadavers and animals of their flocks, and drink their blood from their necks. They do not believe in the supreme God and do not know him. Most of them are of the Masmûda tribe"...
`Uqba also raided the Sûs al-Aqsâ. Innumerable Berbers of many tribes gathered there, and he fought them hard, as had never been heard of before in the Maghrib. He defeated them and killed very many. He captured their women who are unlike any in the world. It is said that one of their girls fetches about 1,000 dînârs in the markets of the East. The people fled before `Uqba with no resistance, showing that God backs up his saints. He marched until he reached the Atlantic and entered it until the water reached the belly of his horse. Then he raised his hands to heaven and said, "Lord, if not for this sea which prevents me, I would continue through the world like Alexander the Great, defending your religion and fighting those who disbelieve in you." Then he said to his companions, "Go back with the blessing of God". People melted before him, fleeing on every side; the idolaters were extremely afraid, so that their hearts trembled just to think of him. He then rode away from the Sûs al-Aqsâ...
When `Uqba removed Abû-l-Muhâjir, the latter told `Uqba about Kusayla and that he was one of the Berber kings and that Islam had not taken firm possession of his heart. But `Uqba made light of this. One day went to the animal yard and ordered some to be slaughtered to feed the troops. He ordered Kusayla to help those who were skinning the animals. Kusayla said, "God preserve the Amîr. These are my boys and my slaves who supply my provisions." `Uqba answered, "No". So Kusayla got up angry... Abû-l-Muhâjir said to `Uqba, "You have done a terrible thing. The Messenger of God used to be friendly with the strong men of the Arabs. Now you come to a strong man of his people in the land where he is strong, a new convert from disbelief, and you despise him." `Uqba made light of his words; so Kusayla waited for his chance and broke away, taking the leadership of his clan and the Berber tribes. Abû-l-Muhâjir said to `Uqba, "Get him before he puts his plans in motion." So `Uqba went after him, but Kusayla retreated from him. The Berbers protested, "Why do you retreat from him when we are over 50,000 men, and he has only a few and his companions have left him?" So the Berbers assembled a mighty army and Kusayla led them in an attack on `Uqba near Tahûdâ.
`Uqba then did two rak`as and said to Abû-l-Muhâjir, "Take charge of the Muslims and be their commander, for I am going to take martyrdom as my booty." Abû-l-Muhâjir said to him, "I will take it as my booty with you." So each one broke the sheath of his sword, and the Muslim soldiers did likewise. He commanded them to fight bravely from their horses. They did so, until their strain and wounds were many and the enemy was heavy upon them. `Uqba was killed along with Abû-l-Muhâjir and all the Muslims with them to a man, except for a few important prisoners. The governor of Qafsa redeemed these and sent them to Zuhayr ibn-Qays al-Balawî.
`Uqba had made Zuhayr his deputy in Qayrawân and the surrounding territory of Muslims. When Zuhayr heard the news he wanted to retreat to Egypt. Someone said to him, "The Muslims should leave Ifrîqiya for Egypt in defeat?" Then he resolved to fight. But all the people of the Maghrib gathered around Kusayla and moved to attack Qayrawân. Ifrîqiya was in turmoil... In September 683 Kusayla entered Qayrawân and took it from the Muslims... Times were bad for the Muslims, and Zuhayr got up to preach to his men, "Community of Muslims, your companions have entered Paradise and God has rewarded them for their martyrdom. Carry on for their sake, and God will give you victory in this less glorious matter." But Hansh as-San`ânî said, "No, by God, we do not accept what you say, and you have no authority over us. The best thing to do is to save the Muslims from this mess and get back to the East." Then he said, "Community of Muslims, whoever of you wishes to ride back to the East let him follow me." So the men followed him, and no one was left with Zuhayr except his household. So he went after those who had left and stayed in his castle at Barqa, defending it until the reign of `Abdalmalik ibn-Marwân.
When Kusayla came near Qayrawân its inhabitants left and fled, since they had no strength to fight him and his mighty army of Berbers and Byzantines. Kusayla granted safety to the Muslims who remained in Qayrawân, and ruled there as amîr over the rest of Ifrîqiya and the Maghrib, including the Muslims, until the reign of `Abdalmalik ibn-Marwân.
The expedition of Zuhayr ibn-Qays al-Balawî
In 685 `Abdalmalik became caliph, and when his power was secure the leading Muslims came and asked him to rescue Ifrîqiya and the Muslims who were there from the hands of the accursed Kusayla. He said, "Only one who is like `Uqba in religiosity and intelligence is fit to avenge his blood from the Byzantines and the Berbers." He took counsel with his ministers and they agreed that Zuhayr ibn-Qays al-Balawî should lead the expedition. They said, "He was a companion of `Uqba and the most reputed for his way of life, his practicality, and the most worthy to seek vengeance." So `Abdalmalik sent to Zuhayr, who was in Barqa, placing him in charge of a cavalry force to go to Ifrîqiya and rescue those who were in Qayrawân. Zuhayr wrote to him telling him of the large number of Berbers and Byzantines who were with Kusayla; so `Abdalmalik furnished him with plenty of horsemen, infantry and supplies. The cream of Arab fighters volunteered. `Abdalmalik sent them to Zuhayr and they marched off to Ifrîqiya.
In the year 688 Zuhayr reached Ifrîqiya with a mighty army. When Kusayla heard of it, he did not care and was not afraid, since he had a huge force of Berbers and Byzantines, many times more than Zuhayr had. Kusayla summoned the Berber nobles and said, "I think I should go out of this city, since there is a community of Muslims in it to whom we have treaty obligations. We are afraid that in the course of battle they may turn against us. Let us rather go to Mams on the sea, since our army is great. If we defeat them as far as Tripoli we will have wiped them out and the West will be ours for all time. But if they defeat us, the mountains and crags are near and we can defend ourselves there.
When Kusayla left Qayrawân, Zuhayr came up to the town and did not enter it for three days. On the fourth day he left and in the evening came to a place overlooking Kusayla's army. He ordered his men to camp, and in the morning he did salât and marched on Kusayla. Kusayla and his army advanced and the two met in a heavy battle. Both sides suffered many casualties, until the men despaired of life. They continued like that until Kusayla was defeated and killed. The Muslims went after the Berbers and Byzantines and caught and killed many, pursuing them as far as the Malwiya valley in the West. In that battle the Byzantines and Berbers lost their kings and nobles and horsemen. Then Zuhayr went back to Qayrawân and settled his men there. The people of Ifrîqiya were intensely afraid of him and took refuge in their castles and fortresses. Then Zuhayr saw that Ifrîqiya was a mighty kingdom, and he refused to stay there, saying, "I came only for jihâd, and I am afraid that I may turn to love the world and so perish." He was a great worshipper and ascetic; when he departed from Qayrawân, he left it safely in the hands of many of his companions.
Zuhayr then went to the East with many men. The Byzantines got news of his leaving Ifrîqiya for Barqa; so they went to Barqa with a large force in many ships and raided it, taking many captives, killing and plundering. This coincided with the approach of Zuhayr to Barqa, and when he heard of it he ordered his army to march to the shore, hoping to reach the Muslim captives and rescue them. He looked upon the Byzantines, who were a huge army, and was unable to turn back. The Muslim captives shouted and begged for his help while the Byzantines were loading them onto the ships. He called his companions to set up camp, and they did so, the noblest of worshippers and chief Arab fighters, most of them followers of the companions of the Prophet. The Byzantines moved up and with a large force and engaged them in battle. The Byzantines outnumbered them, and Zuhayr was killed along with the best Arabs who were with him. The remaining Arabs went to Damascus and told `Abdalmalik that their amîr and best men were martyred. He was shocked, because of the goodness and religiosity of Zuhayr. This loss was like that of `Uqba before him. So the noblest Arabs gathered and asked `Abdalmalik to provide for Ifrîqiya someone who would fortify and consolidate it. `Abdalmalik said, "I know of no one more suitable for Ifrîqiya than Hassân ibn-an-Nu`mân."
The expedition of Hassân ibn-an-Nu`mân
`Abdalmalik chose Hassân ibn-an-Nu`mân and sent him to Ifrîqiya with 40,000 troops after a brief stay in Egypt... Such a Muslim army had never entered Ifrîqiya. When he reached Qayrawân he asked the people of Ifrîqiya, "Who is the most powerful king here?" They answered, "The master of Carthage rules Ifrîqiya." So Hassân marched to Carthage, where the Byzantines had an uncountable force. They came out with their king to fight him, but Hassân defeated them, killing most of them. Then he besieged and conquered Carthage, the capital of Ifrîqiya.. Carthage was a huge city, with the waves of the sea touching its walls.. There are magnificent ruins there of mighty buildings and monuments, pointing to the greatness of bygone peoples. The people of Tunis today still go to look at the wonderful ruins which the passing ages never make less admirable.
When Hassân approached Carthage and defeated its army, those who were left in the city decided to flee on the many ships they had. Some went to Sicily and others to Spain. The people of the countryside fled to Carthage for safety, but Hassân besieged it tightly until he entered it with the sword, killing and taking captives and plundering. He then assembled the people around, who all came to him trembling at his power and ferocity. He ordered them to demolish Carthage, and they did so, leaving it a relic of the past.
Then Hassân heard that the Christians, with Berber support, had gathered a large army in the district of Satfûra [the coast north of Carthage]. He marched against them and defeated them, killing a great number of Byzantines and Berbers. His cavalry left no part of their country untrampled, and the Byzantines fled in fear, taking refuge in the city of Bâja [Bujâya] which they fortified. The Berbers fled to the territory of Bûna [Bone = Hippo], while Hassân went back to Qayrawân.
The revolt of Kâhina
When Hassân entered Qayrawân he rested there some days and then asked, "Of the remaining kings of Ifrîqiya, who is the greatest?" He wanted to go and defeat him or make him submit. They referred to a woman in the Aures mountains called Kâhina. "All the Byzantines in Ifrîqiya are afraid of her, and all the Berbers obey her. If you kill her, the whole Maghrib is yours. No one will be left to oppose or rebel against you." He went after her with his army, and Kâhina heard of it. she left the mountains with a force you could not count and got to the city of Bâghâya before him. She expelled the Byzantines and demolished it, thinking that Hassan wanted to use the city as a fortress against her. Hassân heard about this and camped in the Maskiyâna valley. Kâhina marched to the same valley, and he was drinking in the upper part of the stream while she in the lower. Hassân did not want to fight her at the end of the day, so the two armies spent the night on their saddles. In the morning they fought a heavy battle such as you never heard of. Both sides held firm, with neither prevailing until Hassân and the Muslims were defeated. Kâhina killed very many Arabs and pursued them to the other side of the district of Gabes.
Hassân then wrote to the caliph `Abdalmalik informing him of the defeat. He said that the peoples of the Maghrib are endless. If one people is wiped out there is always another one behind it ready to come up like wandering stupid sheep. The Caliph answered him that he should make a stand wherever his reply reached him. That was in the district of Barqa. So he made his stand there and built there some forts that even today called by his name.
Kâhina ruled the whole Maghrib after Hassân for five years. When she saw that the Arabs were slow in coming back, she told the Berbers, "The Arabs are just looking for the cities and the gold and silver of Ifrîqiya, but we only want its fields and grazing land. So I think you should destroy the whole land of Ifrîqiya, so that the Arabs will have no interest in it and will not return here for all time." So she sent her men out on every side to cut trees and destroy fortresses. At that time Ifrîqiya was one forest from Tripoli to Tangier; its towns joined one another and its cities were spread around, so that no place in the earth was more blessed.. Kâhina destroyed all that. Then the Christians and the Ifrîqiyans left, looking for help from what Kâhina did to them. They migrated to Spain and the islands of the Mediterranean.
Kâhina captured 80 of Hassân's companions, but was good to them and sent them to Hassân. But she kept with her Khâlid ibn-Yazîd, and said to him one day, "I have never seen a more beautiful or courageous man than you. I want to please you by making you a brother to my two sons.. We Berbers have the custom that brothers by nursing share in inheritance".. So she called her sons and said, "Drink with him from my breasts." They did so, and she said, "Now you have become brothers."
Hassân's second campaign
The caliph `Abdalmalik [in 698] sent Hassân reinforcements of cavalry and infantry. [An-Nuwayrî: One of his first stops was Gabes, a Christian town which surrendered and was given one of Hassân's slaves as governor. From there he went to Ghafsa, which likewise surrendered.]
Hassân then sent a letter by a trusted messenger to Khâlid ibn-Yazîd, who read it and wrote on the back, "The Berbers are divided and have no order or unanimity among themselves. Get your army ready and march fast." He put the letter in a loaf of bread and gave it to the messenger for his journey, who then took it to the amîr Hassân. In no time Khâlid saw Kâhina going out with her hair hanging, beating her breast and saying, "Woe to you Berbers. Your kingdom is gone away in a loaf of bread." The Berbers scattered right and left looking for the man, but God hid him until he reached Hassân. He broke the loaf and they tried to read Khâlid's letter, but it had been spoiled by fire. Hassân told the messenger, "Go back to him". But the messenger said, "The woman Kâhina knows all about this." So Hassân marched against her with his army. Kâhina heard of his coming and marched from the Aures mountains with a huge force. Hassân marched after her, and in the night she said to her sons, "I am killed." She told them she saw her head cut off and placed in the hands of the emperor of the Arabs who had sent Hassân. Khâlid said to her, "Let us escape and leave the country for him." But she refused and thought that would be a shame on her people. Khâlid and her sons then said, "What should we do after you?" She said, "Khâlid, you will have a great kingdom under the Arab emperor. My sons, you will have high command with the man who kills me.. Go and ask him to give you safety." So Khâlid and her two sons rode in the night to Hassân, and Khâlid told him about Kâhina, "She knows she will be killed, so she sent her sons to you." So Hassân put them in the care of a guardian and put Khâlid at the head of the cavalry. Kâhina came out with her hair hanging and saying, "See what is happening to you, for I am being killed." A fierce battle ensued, and Kâhina was defeated and Hassân pursued her and killed her.
A large number of Berbers asked Hassân for safety, but he refused to grant it unless they gave him 12,000 men from their tribes to fight along with the Arabs. They complied and became Muslims at his hands. He put each of the sons of Kâhina in charge of 6,000 horsemen and sent them with the Arabs to go through the Maghrib fighting the Byzantines and the unbelieving Berbers. Hassân withdrew to Qayrawân in October 701 after the Islam and obedience of the Berbers was assured. In this year Hassân established his authority over Ifrîqiya. He instituted registers, fixed the land taxes and imposed them on the foreigners who remained in Ifrîqiya and those who remained Christian.
[The Berbers then became Muslim en masse. Churches were changed into mosques, and only a minority of the population consisting of resident Byzantines, "Ifrîqiyans" (descendants of the Romans), sedentary Berbers, and a very few nomadic Berbers, remained Christian.]
After killing Kâhina, Hassân made no more raids and no one opposed him. Then `Abdal`azîz ibn-Marwân, the governor of Egypt who was also in charge of Ifrîqiya, removed him and commanded him to come to him. Hassân knew what this man, the brother of `Abdalmalik, wanted, so he filled some water skins with jewels, gold and silver, and collected many other valuables, animals, slaves and various forms of wealth and came to the amîr of Egypt, `Abdal`azîz. He gave him 200 slave girls, daughters of the Byzantine and Berber kings, but `Abdal`azîz confiscated the rest of his booty. Hassân then went with his remaining possessions to (the future caliph) al-Walîd and complained to him.. and poured out the water skins for him. Al-Walîd was angry with his uncle `Abdal`azîz and wanted to reinstate Hassân, but Hassân said, "I will never again serve the Umayyads"...
The campaign of Mûsâ ibn-Nusayr
`Abdal`azîz, governor of Egypt, appointed Mûsâ over Ifrîqiya. His first conquest was the castle of Zaghwân and its surroundings. That is a full day's journey from Qayrawân. Mûsâ sent 500 horsemen against the Berber tribes around Zaghwân and took 10,000 captives. This was the first batch of captives to enter Qayrawân during Mûsâ's rule. Then he sent his son `Abdallâh to various parts of Ifrîqiya, and he captured 100,000 slaves. Then he sent his son Marwân, who captured the same number. The fifth of these for the caliph was 60,000, and Mûsâ wrote to `Abdal`azîz telling him of the conquest and that the fifth was 30,000 slaves. That was a mistake of the scribe, who wrote 30,000 instead of 60,000. When `Abdal`azîz read 30,000 he thought that was too much; so he wrote to Mûsâ saying, "Your letter reached me saying that the fifth of what God gave you is 30,000 slaves, and I thought that number is too high, and that it is a mistake of the scribe; so write me the true number." Mûsâ wrote back, "That was a mistake of the scribe. What you thought is wrong and the true number, O Amîr, is without any mistake 60,000." When the letter reached `Abdal`azîz he was astounded and overjoyed. The caliph `Abdalmalik wrote to his brother `Abdal`azîz, "I heard your opinion about the removal of Hassân and the appointment of Mûsâ. I hereby confirm your decision and appointment." `Abdal`azîz answered, telling him of the conquest and Mûsâ's letter, and `Abdalmalik sent a man to Mûsâ to receive from him the fifth that he mentioned. Mûsâ paid him the 60,000 slaves and added a thousand.
When Mûsâ first reached Ifrîqiya and was out with his first army, a sparrow landed on his chest. He caught and killed it and sprinkled its blood on his chest over his clothes; he pulled out its feathers and scattered them on himself, saying, "This is victory, by the Lord of the Ka`ba".
When Mûsâ conquered Sajûma and killed its kings, he ordered the sons of `Uqba, `Iyâd and `Uthmân and Abû-`Abdih, to take their rights from the killers of their father. So they killed 600 unbelievers of the Sajûma people, and he said to them, "That is enough. Stop." That was in 702.
Then Mûsâ conquered the Huwwâra, the Zanâta and the Kutâma, attacking, killing and capturing them. The captives were 5,000. Their leader was a man called Tâmûn. Mûsâ sent him to `Abdal`azîz, who killed him at the pool of `Uqba's town.. The Kutâma came to Mûsâ, and he placed one of their own men over them, taking hostages from their best men.
In May 704 `Abdal`azîz, governor of Egypt, died before his brother `Abdalmalik, and their brother `Abdallâh took his place... In 705 the caliph `Abdalmalik died. (The new caliph) al-Walîd ibn-`Abdalmalik wrote to his uncle `Abdallâh, appointing Mûsâ as governor of Ifrîqiya and the Maghrib, independent of Egypt. Most of the cities of Ifrîqiya were empty because of the Berbers' disagreement over their control.
Mûsâ's conquest of the western Maghrib
Then Mûsâ went out raiding from Ifrîqiya to Tangier. He found that the Berbers had fled to the West, fearing the Arabs. He pursued them and killed very many and also captured a great number, until he reached the nearer Sûs, which is the land of Dar`a. When the Berbers saw that he did not attack them, they asked for safety and obeyed him. He put over them one of their own men, and appointed his client, the ex-Berber slave Târiq, over Tangier and its surroundings, with 10,000 Arabs and 10,000 Berbers. He commanded the Arabs to teach the Berbers the Qur'ân and the obligations of religion. Then he returned to Ifrîqiya.
In the year 705, after he professed allegiance to the caliph al-Walîd, Mûsâ sent Zur`a ibn-abî-Mudrik to the Berber tribes. Zur`a did not fight them and they wanted to make a treaty with him. So he sent their chiefs to Mûsâ as hostages. Then Mûsâ placed `Iyyâs ibn-Akhyâ in charge of the Ifrîqiyan fleet and sent him to Sicily. `Iyyâs attacked the city of Syracuse and looted everything in it, then returned safely with his loot.
When Zur`a took hostages from the Masâmida, Mûsâ put them together with the Berber hostages he took in Ifrîqiya and the Maghrib. This was in Tangier, and he put his client Târiq in charge of them,.. who left 17 Arabs to teach them the Qur'ân and the laws of Islam...
In 710-11 Târiq crossed over to Spain and conquered it with the Arabs, Berbers and hostages that Mûsâ had left with him and those that Hassân had taken from the middle Maghrib before. Târiq had been governor of Tangier and the western Maghrib since 704. By 710-11 the islamization of the people of the western Maghrib was complete. They changed the churches which the idolaters had built to face the qibla and put minbars in the cathedrals. At that time the church of Aghmât was reduced to a sand pile...
In the year 711-12 Mûsâ crossed over to Spain, angry with Târiq. He took a different way and conquered many areas... In the same year he put his son `Abdallâh in charge of Ifrîqiya... In 713-14 Mûsâ left Spain for Ifrîqiya with a fabulous amount of booty... Coming to Qayrawân, he did not enter but stayed at Qasr al-Mâ'. He held court and called the soldiers who had gone with him and those who stayed behind in Qayrawân and told them, "I have three pieces of good news today: The first is a letter of thanks and congratulations from the caliph.. The second is a letter from the sons of `Abdal`azîz telling of their conquests in Spain.. The third I will show you." Then he commanded a curtain to be drawn and there appeared a crowd of girls like shining pearls, daughters of the Byzantine and Berber kings decked in jewels.. Then and there Mûsâ divided the girls among the troops. Afterwards he went back to the East...
[Ibn-`Idhârî] In 717 Ismâ`îl ibn-`Abdallâh ibn-abî-l-Muhâjir was appointed governor of Ifrîqiya by the caliph `Umar ibn-`Abdal`azîz. He was a good amîr and good governor. He constantly called the Berbers to Islam until the rest of the Berbers of Ifrîqiya became Muslims at his hands.. It is he who taught the people of Ifrîqiya what is permitted and what is forbidden. `Umar sent with him 10 Followers of the Companions of the Prophet who were learned and pious.. At that time wine was considered legitimate in Ifrîqiya. When these Followers came they showed that it was forbidden.
"In 720", according to Ibn-`Idhârî, "Yazîd ibn-abî-Muslim came to Ifrîqiya as governor. He was unjust and tyrannical, and the Berbers were on their guard against him. He preached from the minbar saying, 'I have decided to put my seal on your hands, as do the Byzantine kings. I will tattoo the name of each soldier on his right hand and on his left my seal, so that they can be identified. When they understand this, hurry to do what I have commanded.' When the men heard this from him, they agreed to kill him, saying 'He has put us on the level of Christians'. After he went from his house to the mosque for the maghrib salât they killed him while he was doing his salât."
[Ibn-`Idhârî:] Ubaydallâh ibn-al-Habhâb sent Habîb ibn-abî-`Abdih ibn-`Uqba to raid the outer Sûs region. He did so as far as the land of the Blacks. Everyone who met him opposed him, and there was not a tribe in the Maghrib which he did not attack and take many of their people as slaves...
Ibn-al-Habhâb put `Umar ibn-`Abdallâh al-Murâdî in charge of Tangier and the western Maghrib. Of the latter Ibn-`Idhârî says, "He was evil in his ways and transgressed in matters of taxes and tithes. He wanted to impose a tax of a fifth on the Berbers and considered them the booty of the Muslims, as previous governors never did. They only imposed the fifth on those who refused to become Muslim. His blameworthy action was the cause of the revolt and troubles leading to the killing of many of God's servants...
When the Berbers learned that Habîb ibn-`Abdih left to attack Sicily, they renounced obedience to Ibn-al-Habhâb in Tangier and its territory and called on all the Berbers of the Maghrib to join them. This was the first revolt in Ifrîqiya in the time of Islam.
In 740 al-Madgharî rose against al-Murâdî in Tangier and killed him. All the Berbers revolted with their amîr Maysara al-Haqîr. He put `Abdala`lâ ibn-Hudayj in charge of Tangier and marched against Ismâ`îl, son of al-Habhâb in the Sûs region and killed him. There were many battles between the people of the western Maghrib and the people of Ifrîqiya.. At this time some of the Baraghwâta in the western Maghrib began to preach Khârijism. They attracted many and became a strong power. The revolt stemmed from the oppression of Ibn-al-Habhâb's representative and also from the demands of the caliphs in the East for nice things from the Maghrib. They asked the governors of Ifrîqiya for splendid looking Berber girls, and Ibn-al-Habhâb gave many. The demand was greater than the supply, which led to oppression; so all the Berbers revolted against Ibn-al-Habhâb.
The Berbers then moved east, defeating the Arab army. At this point, according to Ibn-`Idhârî, the caliph Hishâm said, "By God I will show them my Arab anger. I will send an army against them that stretches from their country to mine." An army of 12,000 men was sent in 741 together with reinforcements in Egypt and Tripoli. The Berbers defeated this army as well.
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