Methodology of Nasser Ben Muzahim (212H-827AD) in His Book Waq’at Sifeen

Discussion Committee: 
Dr. Adnan Milhem
Mahmoud Othman Fari' Sawalha
Abu el-Fadl Nasser Ben Muzahim Ben Sayyar el-Munqari’s ancestry goes to Bani Munqir Ben Ubaid Ben al-Harith Ben Amre Ben Ka’ab Ben Zaid Munat Ben Tamim. He was born in Kufa but lived in Baghdad. However, historical sources failed to give the date of his birth, Ibn a-Nadeem (380H-990AD) classified him as belonging to Abie Makhnaf Loot Ben Yehya (170H-786AD). This led Abd e-Salam Haroun, editor of Waq’at Sifeen, to say that Nasser’s birth was close to (120H-737AD). Nasser’s effort was completely devoted to writing on Shiites. According to many historians, he exceeded, as a historians, the proper bounds in his beliefs. He had fifty books to his credit but unfortunately, the only book that has survived is Waq’at Sifeen, the oldest narrative available on this battle. Historians, like all Shiite narrators, differed on the reliability of Nasser Ben Muzahim. Ibn Haban Abu Hatim Mohammed Ben Ahmed Tamimi al-Basti (354H-868AD) cited him as one of his trustworthy historians. Ibn Abie al-Hadid Abu Majid Izdeen Abdel-Hamid Ben Hibat Allah a-Shii’i (656H-125AD) said, “He is trustworthy, has authenticity in transfer, not imputed to sectarians and is one of prophetic teachings narrators.” Al-Uqaileh Abu Ja’afer Mohammed Ben Amre Ben Mussa al-Makki (322H-933AD) said of him “A Shiite who has confusion in his narration of hadith” Al Razi Abu Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Ben Abie Hatim Tamimi (327H-938AD) said of him “divergent in his hadith, and left”. It’s worth noting that the battle of sifeen had drawn the interest of many history scholars given the significance of that battle in Islamic history. The battle had lasted for 110 days; there were ninety confrontations leaving 70,000 dead from both camps. Abu Makhanof Loot Ben Yehyah Ben Sa’id Ben Makhnaf Ben Saleem Al-Azdi (170H-786AD) was the first to write about the battle. Nasser, the subject of this study, was contemporary of another historian who had written on it. His name was Abdallah Ben Mohammed al-Wakidi (207H-822AD). In his historical narratives, Nasser quoted from fourty one sheikhs most of whom were Shiites who had lived in Kufa. The most outstanding were Amre Ben Shamer al-Ja’fr (157H-773AD), Omar Ben Sa’d Ben Abie a-Sayd al-Assadi (180H-796AD). Reportedly, Nasser had taken, from the latter, half of the material in his book Waq’at Sifeen. Also Suleiman Ben al-Rabi’s an-Nahdi al-Kharraz (274H-887AD) also took Nasser’s versions in his book Waq’at Sifeen. Biographers also say that Nasser was a seller of perfumes and that had an impact on his writing of good/fine taste. This also made him acquire creativity in writing for he introduces the signs of Sifeen battle with skill. He also depicted the war with full understanding and accurate description. Nasser’s method is similar to Ibn Muzahim’s Al Ayyam (stories of days), reflecting what was taking place in night gatherings, a direct style full of vitality but at the same time realistic mixing between prose and verse. It was also sprinkled with a lot of oration-style, dialogues, verses, hadiths and battles. He introduced an eye catching picture of the different events in all their details. This study dwelt on Nasser Ben Muzahim’s point of view and compared it with points of view of six historians who lived in the 3rd and 4th centuries (Hijra). The purpose of this comparison was to highlight his party opinion and historical attitudes and his view on the battle of Sifeen itself. The researcher believes that holding a historical comparison is the most important way to arrive at accurate findings. The six historians are the following: Al-Balatnari (279H-892AD), Adeenoori (282H-895AD), Al-Ya’coubi (292H-904AD), At-Tabari (310H-922AD), Al-Massoudi (346H-974AD) and Al-Maqdisi (355H-965AD). Nasser’s point of view was in full harmony with the supporters of the Iraqi Alawite’s point of view given the fact that this battle of Sifeen was a departure from the line of the Caliph, the inheritor of the prophet, Ali Ben Abie Taleb; it was considered an unlawful behavior, and a plot weaved by Mu’awiyah Ben Abie Sufian (60H-697AD) and Amre Ben Al-Ass (43H-664AD). Regardless of its consequences and the emergence of a new regime (41H-661AD) which led the Muslim World until 132H-794AD, the battle of Sifeen changed the rules of the political, historical and geographical games.
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