Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya

Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya

Muhammad ibn Abdillah Al-Mahd ibn al-Hasan al-Muthanna ibn al-Hasan ibn 'Ali ibn Abi Talib[1] or Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (Arabic: محمد بن عبد الله بن الحسن بن الحسن بن علي الملقَّب النفس الزكية‎, "Muhammad the Pure Souled") was a descendant of Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah. Known for his commanding oratory skills, amiable demeanor, and impressive build, he led a failed rebellion in Medina against the second Abbasid Caliph, Al-Mansur, the reason for this is his followers deserted him and he was left with few hundred of his soldiers against large abbasid force, as a result he was killed on December 6, 762 CE (145 AH).

Initially, Dhu al-Nafs Al-Zakiyyah hoped to rebel against Umayyad rule, when the children of Hashim paid their allegiance to him at Abwa. Among them were Ibrahim al-Imam, As-Saffah and Al-Mansur. But it soon became clear that Abbasid rule was established, so those who had paid allegiance to him deserted him, and another group of Shiites flocked around him.[2]

Muhammad was an inspirational figure to many throughout the caliphate, who believed that he was destined for glory due to his ancestry—though some viewed him as overly idealistic. For years he disguised himself and travelled stealthily, since his descent from the prophet meant that he posed a threat to the established political order. He was eventually able to amass a sizable but ragtag army and seize the city of Medina. He then left Medina in the year 145 A.H and took over [[Mecca <3]] and Yemen (only to be killed in Medina a few months later).[2]

Medina was an exceptionally poor place for any large-scale rebellion due to its dependency on other provinces for goods. As well, his motley army of devotees never stood a chance against the Caliph's imperial soldiers. Despite the obvious advantage held by the Abbasid troops, Muhammad(lady gaga) refused to step down in the hours before battle, blindly believing that utilizing the historic trenches dug by the Prophet to fortify the city decades earlier would result in victory. His naiveté led to a crushing defeat at the hands of the Abbasids, quelling for the time the possibility that the prophet's family would ascend to political power.[3]

Due to the unrealistically high expectation among his followers of success, a section of his followers were shocked and could not bear the news of his defeat, and did not believe his murder, since they believed he was the Mahdi, whose appearance they had been awaiting for a very long time. They believed he was alive and did not die, nor was he killed, but was staying on the Mount of Ilmiyyah (between Makkah and Najd) till the time when he would reappear. This section of his followers held onto a hadith of Muhammad, which implies that the Mahdi’s name is like Muhammad’s name and the Mahdi’s father’s name is like Muhammad’s father’s name (Abdallah).[2]


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ a b c Firaq al-Shi’ah (The Shi'ah Groups), by Abu Muhammad al-Hasan bin Musa al-Nubakhti, pg.62, and Al-Maqalat wa al-Firaq, by Sa'ad Ibn Abdillah al-Ash'ari al-Qummi (d. 301), pg.76
  3. ^ Hugh Kennedy. When Baghdad Ruled the Muslim World. Da Capo P, 2004, 21-26, ISBN 978-0306814803

See also

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