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 14: Muʿawiyah’s Caliphate (661-680) and the Onset of Dynastic Rule

Islamic History Series We can actually close off our first mini-period in Islamic history at this point. Isn’t that exciting? See, the first four Caliphs–Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali–are collectively known in later Islamic historiography as the Rashidun Caliphs, from the Arabic word rashid, which means “rightly-guided” or “righteous.” This is an incredibly loaded… Continue reading Islamic History, Part 14: Muʿawiyah’s Caliphate (661-680) and the Onset of Dynastic Rule