Yahya al-Intaki

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[pp. 386-389]


(d. 1276 A.D.)

A Melkite physician from Antioch. He continued Eutychius' Chronicle (in Arabic).

Ed.: and French transl.: J. Kratchkowski - A. Vasiliev, PO 18, 5 (1924); 23,3 (1936).

T. : PO A:1

[Nubian Raids]

In this year [339 H./b. 20 June 950 A.D.] the king of the Nūba went to the Oases of the territory of Egypt; he killed [some people, others he] took prisoners, burnt down [villages] and caused great damage. (PO 16, p. 769).

In the same year 345 H. [begun 15 April 956 A.D.], the king of the Nūba went out again on a campaign. When he arrived at Aswān he devastated the town, killed and took a number of townsmen captives. An army from Miṣr marched against him by river and by land; they killed and took prisoner a great number of men, others fled. One of their citadels, called Ibrīm, fell [to the Egyptians]. (PO 18, pp. 773 - 774).

[Abū Rakwa]

About this time [1005 A.D.] a man from Spain rose in the district of Barqa; his name was al-Walīd ibn Hāshim; claimed descent from the family of 'Uthmān ibn 'Affān. He settled among the Berbers of that district. His aim was to raise the prestige of Islam by putting an end to the blasphemous insults which were currently addressed to the Companions [of the Prophet] and to his wives.<ref>The Fatimid Caliph of Egypt [especially al-Ḥakim] used to heap insults on the three thirst caliphs and the Banū Omayya and to publicly insult them as a sign of loyalty to the Fatimide Shī’a and to their dynasty</ref>.

[p. 387] By using the same manners in which he treated the Berbers and adding many promises, he succeeded in gaining the support of the Banī Qurra Arabs ... On Saturday [1 April 1005 A.D.] he made the Arabs and the Berbers swear allegiance to him in a place called 'Uyûn an-Nazhar, in the Barqa mountains ... At the same time, they were informed that troops from the Lawāta tribe, which are a Berber people, led by one Ibn Ṭayibūn, were advancing towards Barqa to bring relief to the population. The rebel (khâriji) Abū Rakwa went out with his troops to oppose them.<ref>Abū Rakwa defeated the Lawāta.</ref>

Al-Ḥākim, in order to stop him, had sent a numerous army from Egypt led by a Turkish servant (ghulām) called Yanāl-the-Tall... The two armies joined battle without respite for three days in the month of Dhū-l-Qa'da of the year 395 H. [9 August - 7 September 1005 A.D.]. Al-Walīd Ibn Hāshim entered the town [Barqa] on Wednesday 3 Dhū-l- Hijja of the year 395 H. [11 September 1005 A.D.]. He made a public profession of his faith, which was the sunnite, one of the confessions (madhāhib) of the Muslim people. Al-Walīd Ibn Ḥāshim took the title of "An Nâsir lidīnillah. [The Victorious Champion of the Religion of Allah] Amīr al-mu’ minīn [Commandant of the Faithful]" and had his title engraved on his coins, which he struck when he proclaimed himself Caliph. As for the people of Egypt, they just nicknamed him "Abū Rakwa" [the Man of the Basket].<ref>Because he used to go about with a basket (rakwa).</ref> (ibid., pp. 470 -474, passim).

Then [year 1006 A.D.] al-Faḍl ibn Ṣāliḥ, with all the troops he had assembled in the Fayyūm district, marched against Abū Rakwa. The two armies joined battle on Friday 3 Dhū-l-Hijja of the year 396 H. [31 August 1006 A.D.] in a place of the Fayyūm district called al-Birka. Abū [p. 388] Rakwa with his Arab troops was defeated, most of his Berbers were killed and only a small number of women and children escaped death. They were taken to Miṣr as captives and were later freed; but smallpox and plaque broke out among them so that nobody survived.

As for Abū Rakwa, he took to flight with the Arabs. Al-Fadl sent to the Banī Qurra [asking them] to hand him over; he promised them a large sum of money, but they refused. Then the Banī Qurra abandoned Abū Rakwa and the soldiers [of Al-Faḍl] scattered all around in the region of the Ṣa'īd in search of him. After they had spent a long time in the Ṣa'īd, the Arabs of the Tamīmī tribe went back to Miṣr and he [Al-Faḍl] loaded them with gifts, after which they retired to their homes.

By this time, information reached Al-Faḍl that the Arabs had guided Abū Rakwa to the Nubian frontier and that he was about to enter that country. He dispatched [a messenger] to al-Ḥudhayl (or Handīl?), the emir of the Arabs and governor of the district (nāhiya) of the Blacks (Sūdān) (sic! perhaps for Aswan?), promising him money and cattle if he could seize Abū Rakwa. Al-Ḥudhayl began searching [the country] as far as the district of the Lord of the Horses (ṣāḥib al-khayl, obviously a misreading for ṣāḥib al-jabal, Lord of the Mountain) which lies at the entrance of the country of the Nūba. He informed [the Lord of the Mountain] about the affair of the rebel, about his arrival in their territory and said that he himself had come to seize him. He also threatened that the army would invade and devastate the country [Nubia], if he would not hand over the rebel. [The Lord of the Mountain] said: 'Nobody has crossed the frontier, except two Christians mounted on Beja camels.' Ḥudhayl said: 'It is exactly they whom I seek.' The other said: 'If you find them, seize them.’ He began searching for them. Information was received that they had [p. 389] arrived at some monastery. He left for that monastery and found only two Beja camels with a servant. He [Ḥudhayl] asked the servant [some] questions about his master. And then all of a sudden [the master] appeared carrying a basket (zanbīl) on his head, accompanied by two Beja tribesmen. The servant addressed him: 'Peace be upon you, O Commander of the Faithful!' Abū Rakwa did not know what to do. Ḥudhayl arrested him and, handcuffed him behind his back and led him to Al-Faḍl, who took him to Miṣr a prisoner.

On Sunday, 16 Jumadā al-Ākhir of the year 397 H. [8 March 1007 A.D.], Abū Rakwa was paraded around the town for shame and put to death the same day in the place known as "the Mosque of Tibr". After he was crucified, his body was burnt. From the day he received the oath of allegiance at Barqa to the day of his death, two years elapsed. (PO 23, pp. 470 - 471).