(Arabic: بنو علي)
|Ahl al-Bayt of Banu Hashim of the Quraysh of the Adnaniyyun of Banu Ismail|
|Location||Arabia (majority) |
Horn of Africa
|Descended from||Ali ibn Abi Talib |
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The Alids are an Islamic community descended from the fourth caliph Ali (r. 656–661). They are split into three branches, the Hasanids, Husaynids and Hanafids, who are the descendants of Ali's sons Hasan, Husayn and Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya respectively. The Alids community are found predominantly in the Middle East.
Primarily Sunnis in the Arab world reserve the term sharif or "sherif" for descendants of Hasan ibn Ali, while sayyid is used for descendants of Husayn ibn Ali. Both Hasan and Husayn are grandchildren of Muhammad, through the marriage of his cousin Ali and his daughter Fatimah. However ever since the post-Hashemite era began, the term sayyid has been used to denote descendants from both Hasan and Husayn. Arab Shiites use the terms sayyid and habib to denote descendants from both Hasan and Husayn; see also ashraf. They also use the title Mirza to denote the maternal descendants of Hasan and Husayn.
To try to resolve the confusion surrounding the descendants of Muhammad, the Ottoman Caliphs during the 19th Century C.E. attempted to replicate the Almanach de Gotha (the tome listing the noble houses of Europe) to show known and verifiable lines of descent. Although not 100% complete in its scope (some lines might have been excluded due to lack of proof, although no false lines are included) the resulting "Kitab al-Ashraf" (Book of the Sharifs), kept at the Topkapı Palace museum in Istanbul is one of the best sources of evidence of descent from Muhammad.
Following the assassination of Ali in 661, his son Hasan was chosen as caliph by a group of Muslims in Kufa, the headquarters of the community. Ali's political rival Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680) began negotiating with Hasan and both leaders signed a peace treaty. After a short reign of six months, Hasan surrendered his control of Iraq to Mu'awiya, recognizing the latter as the caliph. In the nine-year interval of Hasan's abdication, he and his younger brother Husayn obeyed Mu'awiya's rule, keeping aloof from political involvement against Mu'awiya. Following Hasan's death in 670, his pro-Alid followers turned to Husayn, concerning an uprising, against Mu'awiya, though Husayn refused as he instructed them to wait as long as Mu'awiya was alive due to Hasan's peace treaty with him. Prior to his death, Mu'awiya appointed his son Yazid (r. 680–683) as his successor, an unpreceded move in the caliphate and a violation of the peace treaty. Yazid's succession was opposed by several sons of Muhammad's prominent companions, including Husayn.
The pro-Alid Kufans pledged allegiance to Husayn as their Imam, and invited him to Kufa to protest against Yazid. While Husayn was on his route to Kufa with a retinue of about 70 men, his caravan was intercepted by a 1,000-strong army of the Umayyad governor Ubayd Allah ibn Ziyad. The former was forced to head north and encamp in the plain of Karbala on 2 October 680, where a larger Umayyad army of 4,000 arrived. The Umayyad forces denied access of the Euphrates river to Husayn, and the latter and his partisans spent three days without water until a group of fifty men led by Abbas ibn Ali was able to access the river. Subsequently, on 10 October (10 Muharram 61 AH), the pro-Alid forces and the Umayyad forces fought in the Battle of Karbala, in which Husayn and his partisans being killed. One of Husayn's Kufans betrayers Sulayman ibn Surad later initiated the Tawwabin Uprising, to avenge the former. He and his supporters fought Ibn Ziyad's forces at the Battle of Ayn al-Warda, in which they were defeated, Sulayman being killed.
Following Husayn's death, his son Ali ibn Husayn adopted a life of retirement and prayer, leaving Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya as the visible leader of the Alids. In 685, the pro-Alid Taifian revolutionary Mukhtar ibn Abi Ubayd al-Thaqafi (c. 622–687) sought support from Arab tribal nobility and the non-Arab clients (mawāli), and declared Ibn al-Hanafiyya to be the Mahdi. With the aid of Alids, Mukhtar seized Kufa from Umayyad control, and called for the establishment of an Alid caliphate. Following Ibn al-Hanafiyya's death, his followers, called the Kaysanites, pledged allegiance to his son Abu Hashim as their Imam. On the other hand, the non-Kaysanite Alids split into two divisions, with most of them choosing Muhammad al-Baqir as their Imam, and another group, the Zaydis supporting al-Baqir's half-brother Zayd ibn Ali as their Imam.
Following al-Baqir's death, his son Ja'far al-Sadiq was designated as the Imam. The latter withdrew from politics, not laying any claim to the caliphate. On the other hand, the Umayyad authority experienced another civil war over the question of leadership, with the main contenders being Yazid III (r. April 744 – October 744) and Marwan II (r. 744–750). The war escalated following the eleventh Umayyad caliph al-Walid II's overthrew, and the usurpation of Yazid III, which was challenged by Marwan II. The historical rivalry between the Qays and Yaman rearose, as the former tribe supported Marwan, whereas the latter tribe supported Yazid.
Taking advantage of this civil war, the Alid leader Abd Allah ibn Mu'awiya (fl. 744–746/7), launched a rebellion against the Umayyads in Persia. He was a great-grandson of caliph Ali's brother Ja'far ibn Abi Talib. Ibn Mu'awiya was a prominent leader of the Kaysanites, who claimed Imamate, following Abu Hashim's death. Ibn Mu'awiya managed to seize large regions of Persia, including most of Jibal, Ahwaz, Fars and Kerman. Marwan II dispatched a strong Umayyad army against Ibn Mu'awiya, whose forces were soon defeated at Marw al-Shadhan in 747, and his rule over Persia collapsed. Ibn Mu'awiya himself managed to flee to Khurasan, where the Persian general Abu Muslim executed him.
On the other hand, the Abbasids, the descendants of Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, began protesting against the Umayyads, and soon conquered their north easternmost province Khurasan, led by Abu Muslim. The Abbasids had the active support of most of the Alids, the most common reason being their same tribe, the Banu Hashim. At the same time, the capture and murder of the primary Alid opposition figures rendered the Abbasids as the only realistic contenders for the void that would be left by the Umayyads. Among the most prominent critics of the Abbasids, and especially Abu Muslim, was Ja'far al-Sadiq, who even burned a letter of Abu Muslim's invitation to fight the Umayyads.
After the Abbasids overthrew the Umayyads in 750, their first caliph Saffah (r. 750–754) maintained cordial relations with the Alids, as he invited the community to courts, and give suggestions. His successor al-Mansur (r. 754–775) faced problems dealing, with In the Alid military general Muhammad al-Nafs al-Zakiyya's, uprising in Medina his brother Ibrahim's revolt in Basra. Though Ja'far himself didn't support al-Zakiyya's revolt, his immediate family, including his sons Abd Allah and Musa, supported al-Zakiyya, participating in the protest as well.
Following Ja'far's death in 765, the Alids split further as his successor was disputed amongst the community. Abd Allah led the Fathites, Musa became the head of the Twelvers, whereas Ja'far's eldest son Isma'il was supported the Isma'ilis.
During the Abbasid civil war between the brothers al-Amin (r. 809–813) and al-Ma'mun (r. 813–833), several pro-Alid leaders made abortive attempts to overthrow the caliphate. The first revolt was made by Ibn Tabataba, who allied himself with another pro-Alid leader Abu al-Saraya. Their uprising was initially successful, as the rebels defeated the Abbasid troops of Hasan ibn Sahl, governor of Iraq under al-Ma'mun. Some accounts claim that Ibn Tabata was poisoned while al-Tabari reports that Abu al-Saraya poisoned the former.
Following Ibn Tabata's death, Abu al-Saraya led the anti-Abbasid movement, but he was defeated by the Khuzistan's governor al-Hasan ibn Ali al-Ma'muni. In October 815, the wounded Abu al-Saraya was executed by decapitation by the Abbasid authority. The leadership of the rebellion then came to Muhammad ibn Ja'far, another of Ja'far al-Sadiq's sons. Under the latter's leadership, the rebellion was weakened. Ibn Ja'far eventually surrendered and died in 818.
The most prominent of the anti-Abbasid protests of the Fourth Fitna was by Ibrahim ibn Musa al-Murtada, a son of Musa al-Kadhim. Previously, under the command of Abu al-Saraya, Ibrahim had seized Yemen from the Abbasids. His brutal administration of the region earned him the title al-Jazzar (lit. 'the Butcher'). Though he was defeated by Abbasid forces in 616, he marched towards Mecca, and seized the city, after killing its governor, Yazid ibn Muhammad al-Makhzumi.
During this civil war, al-Ma'mun sought the support of many Alids, chiefly by proclaiming Ali al-Rida, a son of Musa al-Kadhim, for the caliphate. The former also invited Alid sympathies to his court. Later on, al-Ma'mun also had Ibn Musa al-Murtada allied to the Abbasids, by recognizing the latter as the legitimate governor of Mecca. 
There are several dynasties of Alid origin (under two main branches; Sayyids and Alvis):
This is a table of the interrelationships between the different parts of the Alid dynasties:
|Family of Alids|
Below is a simplified family tree of Hasan and Husayn ibn Ali. For the ancestors of ibn Ali see the family tree of Muhammad and the family tree of Ali. People in italics are considered by the majority of Sunni and Shia Muslims to be Ahl al-Bayt (People of the House). The Twelver Shia also see the 4th to 12th Imamah as Ahl al-Bayt.
Genealogoical chart of the descent from Muhammad of the Idrisid dynasty, rulers of Fez and Morocco, Kings of Tunis, and the Senussi dynasty, founders and heads of the Libyan Senussi Order and Kings of Libya are also descended from Hasan ibn Ali through Idris al-Azhar.
The kin which ruled over Medina were descended from the other brother Husayn ibn Ali.
(Islamic prophet and messenger)
|Khadijah bint Khuwaylid|
(4th Sunni Rashidun Caliph)
|Muhsin ibn Ali||Hasan ibn Ali |
(5th Sunni Rashidun Caliph)
|Husayn ibn Ali||Umm Kulthum bint Ali||Zaynab bint Ali|
|Shahrbanu||Rubab bint Imra al-Qais||Layla bint Abi Murrah al-Thaqafi||Umm Ishaq bint Talhah|
|Fatima Sughra||Sakinah bint Husayn||Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn||Sukayna bint Husayn||Ali al-Akbar ibn Husayn||Fatimah bint Husayn|
|Mother of ‘Umar||Ali ibn Husayn|
4th Twelver/Zaidi and 3rd Musta'li/Nizari Imam
|Fatimah bint al-Hasan||Jayda al-Sindhi||Ali al-Akbar ibn Husayn|
|‘Umar al-Ashraf||Muhammad al-Baqir|
5th Twelver and 4th Musta'li/Nizari Imam
|Farwah bint al-Qasim |
|Zayd ibn Ali|
5th Zaidi Imam
|Ali al-Asghar ibn Husayn|
|‘Alī||Hamidah Khatun||Ja'far al-Sadiq|
6th Twelver and 5th Musta'li/Nizari Imam
|Fatima bint al-Hussain'l-Athram bin al-Hasan bin Ali||Zaynab bint Husayn|
7th Twelver Imam
|Abdullah al-Aftah ibn Ja'far al-Sadiq||Isma'il ibn Jafar|
6th Musta'li/Nizari Imam
|Unknown||Umm Kulthum bint Husayn|
|‘Alī||Ummul Banīn Najmah|
|al-Nāṣir al-Kabīr||Ali ar-Ridha|
8th Twelver Imam
|Sabīkah a.k.a. Khayzurān||Muhammad ibn Ismail|
7th Sevener/Musta'li/Nizari Imam
9th Twelver Imam
8th Musta'li/Nizari Imam
10th Twelver Imam
|Hâdise (Hadīthah) / Suzan (Sūsan) / Sevil (Savīl)||Other issue||Muhammad at-Taqi|
9th Musta'li/Nizari Imam
11th Twelver Imam
10th Musta'li/Nizari Imam
12th Twelver Imam
This is a simplified family tree of Abbas ibn Ali.
|Ali ibn Abi Talib (4th Caliph)||Umm al-Banin Fatimah bint Huzam|
|Lubaba bint Ubaydillah||Abbas ibn Ali (Haydar II)|
|Abdullah Awn (Qutb Shah)|