Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Siffin (657)

Originally posted on and that's the way it was:
Today we’re on the 1358th anniversary of the start of hostilities in Battle of Siffin, during the First Fitna (civil war) in Islamic history. Regular readers may have heard of it before. The Caliph, Ali, took an army of 80,000 men (allegedly; historical sources of…

Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Siffin (657)

Today is (give or take) the anniversary of the start of the Battle of Siffin, during the First Fitna (civil war) in Islamic history. Regular readers may have heard of it before. The Caliph, Ali, took an army of 80,000 men (allegedly; historical sources are notoriously unreliable when it comes to army sizes) against the… Continue reading Today in Middle Eastern history: the Battle of Siffin (657)

Islamic History, Part 13: Ali’s Caliphate (656-661) and the First Fitna

Islamic History Series Before you read this one, please read part 12 of the series, on Ali and his accession to the Caliphate. Ali’s record as Caliph is incomplete, to say the least. He reigned for a mere 5 years, and most of that time was occupied by answering the many direct challenges that were… Continue reading Islamic History, Part 13: Ali’s Caliphate (656-661) and the First Fitna

Islamic History, Part 12: Ali’s Accession to the Caliphate (656)

Islamic History Series Well it’s been quite a while since I did one of these, and I apologize for that. I enjoy writing these long historical pieces but they are not fast and real life often intervenes. Also, this particular bit of our tale is really important, and I wanted to be very careful as… Continue reading Islamic History, Part 12: Ali’s Accession to the Caliphate (656)