'Adi ibn Artah al-Fazari

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'Adi ibn Artah al-Fazari (Arabic: عدي بن أرطاة الفزاري‎) (died 720) was a governor of al-Basrah for the Umayyad dynasty, serving during the caliphate of 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz. He was killed during the revolt of Yazid ibn al-Muhallab.

Career under 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz[edit]

'Adi was appointed to the governorship of al-Basrah by the caliph 'Umar ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz, shortly after the latter's ascension in 717.[1] After receiving his appointment, he established himself in al-Basrah; he also ordered the arrest of his predecessor Yazid ibn al-Muhallab, who 'Umar had dismissed from the governorship of Iraq. Once Yazid was captured, 'Adi shipped him to the caliph's residence in Syria, where he was cast into prison.[2]

'Adi served as governor of al-Basrah for the duration of 'Umar's caliphate.[3] Unlike Yazid, who had been governor of all of Iraq and the eastern provinces, 'Adi did not have authority over al-Kufah and Khurasan, which were placed under separate governors.[4] His area of responsibility, however, was still considerable, and extended from al-Basrah and al-Bahrayn in the west to al-Sind in the east.[3] Oman was also initially under 'Adi's authority, but 'Umar revoked his jurisdiction over it after receiving complaints about his lieutenant's administration there.[5]

During 'Adi's governorship, he authorized public works projects in al-Basrah; a canal was dug to provide water to the city's residents and was named after him.[6] A second canal which was completed was named after 'Adi's chief of police.[7] He also wanted to enlarge the governor's residence in the city, but was reportedly dissuaded from doing so by 'Umar.[8] During his administration, a plague struck in 718-719 and was named the "plague of 'Adi ibn Artah."[9]

The Muhallabid revolt[edit]

Shortly after the death of 'Umar in February 720, 'Adi received a message from the new caliph Yazid ibn 'Abd al-Malik informing him that Yazid ibn al-Muhallab had escaped from prison and that he was likely heading toward Iraq. On the caliph's orders, 'Adi arrested and imprisoned the Muhallabids who were in al-Basrah and prepared for an confrontation with Yazid; the local army was organized and a trench was dug around the city.[10]

As Yazid advanced toward al-Basrah, however, 'Adi's defense began to fall apart. Many of his men refused to fight against Yazid, and contingents that were sent out to stop his march instead allowed him to pass by unmolested. Yazid also began offering higher stipends to the Basrans, which increased his popularity among them. Consequently, when he arrived at al-Basrah he was able to enter the city without much difficulty. The Syrians and Basrans who remained loyal to 'Adi attempted to mount a defense outside the fortress of al-Basrah, but they were defeated and the fortress was stormed by Yazid's men. The remainder of 'Adi's forces fled to al-Kufah; 'Adi himself was captured and brought before Yazid, who ordered his confinement.[11]

Following Yazid's conquest of al-Basrah, 'Adi was transferred to Wasit, which was put under the command of Yazid's son Mu'awiyah.[12] He remained incarcerated there until Yazid was killed in battle against Maslamah ibn 'Abd al-Malik in August 720. When news of Yazid's fate reached Wasit, Mu'awiyah took out a number of prisoners under his charge, including 'Adi and his son Muhammad, and executed them in retaliation for his father's death.[13]


  1. ^ Al-Tabari, p. 75; al-Baladhuri, pp. 64-5; Ibn Qutaybah, pp. 362-3
  2. ^ Al-Tabari, pp. 75, 79-81; Khalifah ibn Khayyat, p. 320; Ibn Qutaybah, p. 400; Ibn Khallikan, p. 365
  3. ^ a b Khalifah ibn Khayyat, p. 322
  4. ^ Shaban, pp. 132-3; Powers, pp. xiv-xv
  5. ^ Al-Rawas pp. 66-7; Khalifah ibn Khayyat, p. 323
  6. ^ Al-Baladhuri, pp. 96-7
  7. ^ Al-Baladhuri, p. 82
  8. ^ Al-Baladhuri, pp. 64-5
  9. ^ Dols, p. 380; Ibn Qutaybah, p. 601
  10. ^ Al-Tabari, pp. 89-91; 111-4; al-Ya'qubi, pp. 370, 372; Ibn Khallikan, p. 165
  11. ^ Al-Tabari, pp. 114-8; al-Ya'qubi, p. 372; Khalifah ibn Khayyat, pp. 322, 332; al-Mas'udi, p. 453; Ibn Qutabyah, p. 364; Ibn Khallikan, p. 192
  12. ^ Al-Tabari, p. 127
  13. ^ Al-Tabari, pp. 127 ff., 141; al-Ya'qubi pp. 372-3; Khalifah ibn Khayyat, p. 325; Ibn Khallikan, p. 196


  • Al-Baladhuri, Ahmad ibn Jabir. The Origins of the Islamic State, Part II. Trans. Francis Clark Murgotten. New York: Columbia University, 1924.
  • Dols, Michael W. "Plague in Early Islamic History." Journal of the American Oriental Society 94.3 (1974): 371-383.
  • Ibn Khallikan, Shams al-Din Abu al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Muhammad. Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary, Vol. IV. Trans. Bn. Mac Guckin de Slane. Paris: Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland, 1871.
  • Ibn Kutaybah, Abu Muhammad 'Abd Allah ibn Muslim. Al-Ma'arif. Ed. Tharwat Ukasha. 2nd ed. Cairo: Dar al-Ma'arif, 1969.
  • Khalifah ibn Khayyat. Tarikh Khalifah ibn Khayyat. Ed. Akram Diya' al-'Umari. 3rd ed. Al-Riyadh: Dar Taybah, 1985.
  • Al-Mas'udi, Ali ibn al-Husain. Les Prairies D'Or, Tome Cinquième. Trans. C. Barbier de Meynard. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1869.
  • Powers, David Stephan. Foreword. The History of al-Tabari, Volume XXIV: The Empire in Transition. By Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari. Ed. Ehsan Yar-Shater. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989. ISBN 0-7914-0072-7
  • Al-Rawas, Isam. Oman in Early Islamic History. Reading, UK: Garnet Publishing Limited, 2000. ISBN 0-86372-238-5
  • Shaban, M. A. Islamic History A.D. 600-750 (AH 132): A New Interpretation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1971. ISBN 0-521-08137-8
  • Al-Tabari, Abu Ja'far Muhammad ibn Jarir. The History of al-Tabari, Volume XXIV: The Empire in Transition. Trans. David Stephan Powers. Ed. Ehsan Yar-Shater. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1989. ISBN 0-7914-0072-7
  • Al-Ya'qubi, Ahmad ibn Abu Ya'qub. Historiae, Vol. 2. Ed. M. Th. Houtsma. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1883.
Preceded by
Marwan ibn al-Muhallab
Governor of al-Basrah
Succeeded by
Marwan ibn al-Muhallab