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Al-Husayn b. Numayr

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Al-Husayn b. Numayr
A commander of the Umayyad army
Lineage Kinda tribe
Place of Residence Syria
Death/Martyrdom 66/685 or 67/686
Cause of
Killed by Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar
Era Umayyad Dyanasty
Known for The most ardent enemies of Imam Ali (a)
Notable roles Commander of Syria army
Activities Participating in the Battles of Ridda, Battle of Harra, destroying Ka'ba, defeating Tawwabun Uprising

Ḥuṣayn b. Numayr (Arabic: حُصَین بن نُمَیر, d. 66/685 or 67/686) was a commander of the Umayyad army in the period of Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan, Yazid b. Mu'awiya, and Marwan b. Hakam. He is known as one of the most ardent enemies of Imam Ali (a). He is taken to be one of the people who encouraged Mu'awiya to announce Yazid as his successor. Husayn b. Numayr played a role in the Battle of Harra and the burning of the Ka'ba. When the Tawwabun Uprising began, he went to 'Ayn al-Warda and quenched the uprising. He was killed in 66/685 or 67/686 in a battle with the army of al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi under the commandership of Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar.


His lineage goes back to Shabib b. Sakun, a senior figure in the Kinda tribe (a Yemani Arabian tribe). Al-Mas'udi mentioned Husayn b. Numayr as a scribe of Prophet Muhammad (s).

In the Period of Abu Bakr and 'Umar

In 11/632 in the period of Abu Bakr b. Abi Quhafa's caliphate, Husayn b. Numayr allegedly attended the Battles of Ridda (Wars of Apostasy). When Abu Bakr commissioned Ziyad b. Labid to collect zakat from Banu 'Amr b. Mu'awiya and they refused to pay their zakat, Ziyad commissioned Husayn b. Numayr to crack them down.

In the period of 'Umar b. Khattab's caliphate, at the time of the Conquest of al-Qadisiyya in 14/636, an army of 4000 soldiers was sent in order to conquer Iraq under the commandership of Sa'd b. Abi Waqqas. Husayn b. Numayr and some people from the Sakun tribe attended this army.

In the Period of Imam Ali (a)

Battle of Siffin

There is a hadith in which Husayn b. Numayr is considered as the most ardent enemy of Imam Ali (a), but in his book concerning the Battle of Siffin, Nasr b. Muzahim did not mention him in his reports of the battle, although he referred to him as one of the commanders of Mu'awiya b. Abi Sufyan.

Residence in Egypt

According to Nasr b. Muzahim, Mu'awiya wrote a letter to people of Egypt, asking them to resist Qays b. Sa'd b. 'Ubada, the ruler of Egypt appointed by Imam Ali (a), with the help of Husayn b. Numayr and Mu'awiya b. Khudayj, who were present in Egypt at the time. It seems that Husayn b. Numayr was in Egypt when the Battle of Siffin occurred.

In the Period of Yazid

Husayn was one of the prominent figures in Syria who encouraged Mu'awiya in 56/675 to appoint Yazid b. Mu'awiya as his successor.

There are some reports to the effect that Husayn b. Numayr was the head of police in 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad's government in 60/679. And in the events of the uprising of Imam al-Husayn (a) and the Event of Karbala, he is mentioned as a commander of 'Ubayd Allah's army, but it probably is a confusion with Husayn b. Tamim al-Tamimi. Al-Tabari referred to Husayn b. Tamim al-Tamimi as the head of 'Ubayd Allah's police and as having played a role in the Event of Karbala.

Battle of Harra and Mecca

In the Battle of Harra (late 63/683), Husayn b. Numayr was a commander of Muslim b. 'Uqba's army who went from Damascus to Medina. Husayn was the commander of people of Hims. In late Muharram, 64 (September 683), after quenching the uprising of the people of Medina, Muslim b. 'Uqba died while he was in route to Mecca to quench 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr's riot. At the recommendation of Yazid, Husayn b. Numayr undertook the commander-ship of the army. People in Mecca had pledged their allegiance to 'Abd Allah b. Zubayr. Husayn b. Numayr entered Mecca on Muharram 25 or 26, 64 (September 23 or 24, 683) and sieged Ibn Zubayr. Ibn Zubayr and his men took refuge to Masjid al-Haram. On Rabi' al-Awwal 3, 64 (October 30, 683), Husayn b. Numayr and people of Syria launched catapults and stone-throwing devices, attacking Mecca, and in particular, the Ka'ba, with stones and fire. The Ka'ba was destroyed as a result and its cloths and woods were burned down.

After Yazid

In the middle of the battle between Syria and Mecca, Ibn Zubayr learned that Yazid died (Rabi' al-Awwal 14, 64/November 10, 683). Husayn encouraged Ibn Zubayr to undertake the caliphate and accompany him and his army to Syria so that he could take oaths of allegiance to Ibn Zubayr from people of Syria. However, Ibn Zubayr did not accept his offer. Thus, Husayn and his army returned to Syria. After the short caliphate of Mu'awiya b. Yazid and his death in 64/683, Husayn played a role in Marwan b. Hakam's selection as a caliph.

'Ayn al-Warda

In 65/684, at the beginning of 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan's caliphate, Husayn was a commander of Syria who quenched the Tawwabun Uprising under the leadership of Sulayman b. Surad in 'Ayn al-Warda.

Government of al-Mukhtar and the Murder of Husayn

When al-Mukhtar al-Thaqafi started his uprising for the avenge of Imam al-Husayn (a), he recommended the commander of his army, Ibrahim b. Malik al-Ashtar, to kill 'Ubayd Allah b. Ziyad and Husayn b. Numayr.

In 66/685 or 67/686, there was a battle between the army of Ibn Ziyad and the army of al-Mukhtar under the commandership of Ibrahim b. Ashtar. In this battle, many people who had a role in the Event of Karbala were killed, including Husayn b. Numayr. Ibrahim b. Ashtar sent the heads of Husayn b. Numayr and other people in the army of Syria to al-Mukhtar in Kufa. And al-Mukhtar, in turn, sent the head of Husayn and some others to Muhammad b. Hanafiyya in Mecca and hanged the heads of others in Kufa.


  • The material for this article is mainly taken from حصین بن نمیر in Farsi Wikishia.