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Battle of al-Khazir

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Battle of al-Khazir
Part of Uprising of al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi
Date 67/686
Location Near Khazir
Coordination 36°20′00″N 43°24′00″E / 36.33333°N 43.40000°E / 36.33333; 43.40000
Result Victorious of Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar
Belligerents
Army of al-Mukhthar al-Thaqafi Army of Umayyads
Commanders
Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar al-Nakha'i 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad
Strength
8000 40000
Casualties
'Ubayd Allah, Husayn b. Nmir, and ...

Battle of al-Khāzir (Arabic: حَرب الخازِر) was among the battles of the uprising of al-Mukhtar which took place between Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar (commander of al-Mukhtar's army) and 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad (commander of the army of Syria) in 67/686. This battle took place beside al-Khazir (the right branch of Zab river) and led to the death of 'Ubayd Allah.

Ibrahim, son of Malik al-Ashtar urged his companions against 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and his army to take revenge for Imam al-Husayn (a). Al-Husayn b. Numayr, the commander of the right wing of 'Ubayd Allah's army conquered the left wing of Iraq's army. Then, Ibrahim ordered his commander of the right wing and his flag bearer and himself attacked the enemy with his foot soldiers and defeated them after an intense battle. Many people of both sides were killed. Ibrahim b. Malik killed 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.

Time and Place

There are different opinions about the time of the battle of al-Khazir. Some sources have mentioned its happening in 66/685 and some have mentioned it in 67/687. Al-Tabari have mentioned the report of Abu Mikhnaf, which is historically closer to the time of the battle and has considered it in 67/687-8. In this battle, many people of those who caused the Tragedy of Karbala including 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad were killed.

According to geographers, al-Khazir is a river between Arbil and Mosul and then between the river of Zat Bala and Mosul. This river flows from Arbun village in Nakhla and pour in Tigris river. In some sources, the name of this river is recorded as Jazir. Another opinion is that al-Khazir is a town in al-Mada'in.

According to al-Tabari, al-Khazir was in Mosul region, near Barbitha village, 5 Farsangs away from Mosul.

Battle of al-Khazir was the second battle against the criminals of the tragedy of Karbala and the murderers of Imam al-Husayn (a). The first uprising was in 'Ayn al-Warda (in 65/684-5) between 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and Tawwabun led by Sulayman b. Surad al-Khuza'i which later became known as the Battle of Tawwabun.

Background

After Yazid b. Mu'awiya died in 64/684 and Mu'awiya b. Yazid withdrew from caliphate, the situation in Syria and Iraq became chaotic and 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad who was Umayyads' governor in Iraq and had sent the army to war with Imam al-Husayn (a), had to go to Syria. So Iraqis made some efforts to free themselves of Umayyads' rule; including al-Mukhtar b. Abi 'Uabyd al-Thaqafi who made an uprising in Kufa to revenge for the blood of Imam al-Husayn (a). He sent Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar, who was among distinguished Shia personalities, with a great army from Kufa to north (Syria) in order to fight the army of 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad before they enter Iraq.

'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad who was ordered by the Umayyad caliph, 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan to tranquilize the situation in Iraq and bringing it back under the control of Umayyads in Syria, exited Syria. In the first battle in Dhu l-Hijjah 66/686, he was defeated from Mukhtar's forces led by Yazid b. Anas. Then, his army engaged in a battle with Mukhtar's army led by Ibrahim b. Malik in al-Khazir.

Beginning of the Battle

The number of soldiers in the army of Ibrahim in this battle is recorded about eight thousand and the number of soldiers of the army of 'Ubayd Allah about forty thousand ones.

Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar sent Tafayl b. Laqit al-Nakha'i, who was a brave man, as the commander of the lead of the army toward 'Ubayd Allah. Ibrahim always moved with battle style and did not separate his horsemen from his foot soldiers. He formed the elements of his army in the battle style, kept his horsemen who were few with himself in the heart and the right wing of the army.

He urged his companions against 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and his army to take revenge of the blood of Imam al-Husayn (a). Al-Husayn b. Numayr the commander of the right wing of 'Ubayd Allah's army conquered the left wing of Iraq's army. Then, Ibrahim ordered his commander of the right wing and his flag bearer and himself attacked the enemy with his foot soldiers and defeated them after an intense battle. Many people from both sides were killed. Ibrahim b. Malik killed 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad.

Many chiefs of Syria who were also in the Umayyad army, including al-Husayn b. Numayr and Shurahbil b. Dhi l-Kala' were killed. Companions of Ibrahim chased those who escaped and took over their camp. The number of the enemies who were drowned in the river while escaping was more than those who were killed in the battlefield. Ibrahim ordered to behead 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and sent his head together with the heads of his commanders and the glad news of his victory to al-Mukhtar when he was in al-Mada'in and burned the body of 'Ubayd Allah.

References

  • The material for this article is mainly taken from جنگ خازر in Farsi WikiShia.