Posted by sepoy on March 17, 2010 · 1 min read

Maya Yazigi, "Defense and Validation in Shi'i and Sunni Tradition: The Case of Muḥammad b. Abī Bakr" Studia Islamica, No. 98/99 (2004), pp. 49-70

One further factor needs to be taken into account. The horrific death that Muhammad b. Abi Bakr met in Egypt at the hands of Mu'āwiya's men made him a perfect exemplar of the atrocities associated with civil war in both traditions. The precise circumstances of his death are unclear. Some reports suggest that he died in combat. The more general belief, however, is that he was killed outside the main fray, then stuffed into the carcass of a jackass and burnt, or even - according to one report - burnt alive inside the carcass. Other reports suggest that he was decapitated before being burnt and that his head was sent for display at the court of Mu'āwiya. Whatever its basis in reality, this richly symbolic gesture became an important topos in Islamic historiography. It allowed Muhammad's death to be remembered in a realm apart, that of firsts (or awā'il): the same accounts that report the despatch of his head to Mu'āwiya also make this the first head to be so transported and paraded in Islam.


omar | March 20, 2010

Is there some way for the rest of us to read the remaining text?