Abu 'Amra Kaysan

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Abu 'Amra Kaysan
Companion of al-Mukhtar
Full NameAbu 'Amra Kaysan
TeknonymAbu 'Amra
Religious AffiliationShi'a
Place of ResidenceKufa
Cause of
Was killed in the battle against Mus'ab b. al-Zubayr
Notable rolesThe chief of guards of Kufa in the time of al-Mukhtar
ActivitiesTook revenge for Imam al-Husayn (a) and Killed many of his enemies like 'Umar b. Sa'd and Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan

Abu 'Amra Kaysan (Arabic: ابوعمرة کيسان) was a companion of al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. He was from Kufa and his teknonym was Abu 'Amra. When al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi took control over Kufa, he appointed Kaysan as the chief of guards of the city. Kaysan introduced the murderers and enemies of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the battle of Karbala to al-Mukhtar. Kaysan killed 'Umar b. Sa'd and based on a narration Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan. He also captured Khawli b. Yazid al-Asbahi.

Kaysan supported al-Mukhtar in the battle against Mus'ab b. al-Zubayr in 67/686-7 which took place in Hammam A'yan region. It is said he was killed in this battle. There are a lot of different narrations on the identity and personality of Kaysan.

Relationship with al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi

Kaysan whose teknonym was Abu 'Amra, supported Shi'a and condemned 'Uthman b. Affan. It is said Kaysan was a close friend of al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi and al-Mukhtar always consulted with him. It was Kaysan who encouraged al-Mukhtar to take revenge against the enemies of Imam al-Husayn (a) in the Battle of Karbala. Kaysan was among the most influential consultants and friends of al-Mukhtar whose friends were mostly Mawali (freed slaves).

Chief of Guards

When al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi announced his intention in Kufa in 66/685 to punish those who fought against Imam al-Husayn (a) and martyred him and his companions, he appointed Kaysan, a trustworthy friend of him, as the chief of guards. He ordered Kaysan to provide thousands of workers to destroy the houses of the landlords who fought against Imam al-Husayn (a). Kaysan started to look for them as he knew them well. When he found them, Kaysan killed them, destroyed their houses and looted their properties. He gave their money to Iranian slaves of al-Mukhtar. It became popular in Kufa, that when people were in a bad financial situation, they said Abu 'Amra has visited them. Kaysan treated enemies of Imam al-Husayn (a) severely; even harsher than al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi.

Killing Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan

Al-Mukhtar assigned Kaysan to slay Shimr b. Dhi l-Jawshan. When Shimr fled from Kufa, Kaysan and his men chased Shimr and caught him in a village between Shush and Saymira. Shimr was killed by Kaysan and one of his men, then his body was fed to dogs.

Capturing Khawli b. Yazid

Kaysan also managed to capture Khawli b. Yazid al-Asbahi who carried Imam al-Husayn's (a) head to 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad, with the help of Mu'ad b. Hani al-Kindi, the cousin of Hujr b. 'Adi. They surrounded Khawli in his house and then captured him. Kaysan took Khawli to al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi and then he slayed Khawli and burnt his body.

Killing 'Umar b. Sa'd

Al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi also ordered Kaysan to kill 'Umar b. Sa'd, the commander of Yazid's army in the battle of Karbala. Kaysan secretly entered 'Umar's house and beheaded him then he took his head to al-Mukhtar.

Commander of al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi's Army

When 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr took control over Hijaz and other territories of Muslims, he found al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi and his supporters a great danger to his supremacy. In 67/686 'Abd Allah ordered his brother, Mus'ab b. al-Zubayr to fight against al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi. The battle took place in a region called Hammam A'yan near Kufa. Kaysan was the commander of Mawalis of the army of al-Mukhtar.


The battle between al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi, led by Kaysan Abu 'Amra, and 'Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr, led by Mus'ab b. al-Zubayr, let to al-Mukhtar's defeat and Kaysan was killed there in 67/686-7.

See Also


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