Despite the traditional resistance of the Bedouins to any restraining central authority, by 631 Muhammad was able to exact from the majority of their tribes at least nominal adherence to Islam, payment of the zakāt, a tax levied on Muslims to support the poor, and acceptance of Medinan envoys.
In March 632, in what Muslim historians later called the first apostasy, or riddah, a Yemeni tribe expelled two of Muhammad’s agents and secured control of Yemen. Muhammad died three months later, and dissident tribes, eager to reassert their independence and stop payment of the zakāt, rose in revolt. They refused to recognize the authority of Abū Bakr, interpreting Muhammad’s death as a termination of their contract, and rallied instead around at least four rival prophets.
Most of Abū Bakr’s reign was consequently occupied with riddah wars, which under the generalship of Khālid ibn al-Walīd not only brought the secessionists back to Islam but also won over many who had not yet been converted.
The major campaign was directed against Abū Bakr’s strongest opponent, the prophet Musaylimah and his followers in Al-Yamāmah. It culminated in a notoriously bloody battle at ʿAqrabāʾ in eastern Najd (May 633), afterward known as the Garden of Death.
The encounter cost the Muslims the lives of many anṣār(“helpers”; Medinan companions of the Prophet) who were invaluable for their knowledge of the Qurʾān, which had been revealed to the Prophet, recited to his disciples, and memorized by them but not yet written down.
Musaylimah was killed, the heart of the riddah opposition was destroyed, and the strength of the Medinan government was established. Sometime between 633 and 634 Arabia was finally reunited under the caliph, and the energy of its tribes was diverted to the conquest of Iraq, Syria, and Egypt.
Contributor: The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica
Article Title: Riddah
Website Name: Encyclopædia Britannica
Publisher: Encyclopædia Britannica, inc.
Date Published:May 13, 2009
Access Date: July 31, 2019
Alī ibn Mūsā ar-Riḍā (Arabic: علي ابن موسى الرّضا ), also called Abu al-Hasan, Ali al-Reza (c. 29 December 765 – 23 August 818) or in Iran (Persia) as Imam Reza (Persian
امام رض ), was a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad and the eighth Shi'ite Imam, after his father Musa al-Kadhim, and before his son Muhammad al-Jawad. He was an Imam of knowledge according to the Zaydi (Fiver) Shia school and Sufis.
He lived in a period when Abbasid caliphs were facing numerous difficulties, the most important of which was Shia
revolts. The Caliph Al-Ma'mun sought out a remedy for this problem by appointing Al-Ridha
as his successor, through whom he could be involved in worldly affairs. However, according to the Shia view, when Al-Ma'mun saw that the Imam gained even more popularity, he decided to correct his mistake by poisoning him. The Imam was buried at the Imam Reza shrine in a village in Khorasan, which afterwards gained the name Mashhad.
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