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As soon as the caliph thought himself peaceably in possession of the throne, he executed the project of securing it in his family. Tesid his refid. fon was not only declared his successor, but his colleague. Most of the Muffulmen took the oaths to him, which 'till then had been done only to the reigning caliph. But Ofein, son of Ali, and grand-son of the prophet by his mother, had not the same averfion for the empire as his brother Affan had shewn; and when, after a reign of nineteen years, the redoubtable Moavia had left all the authority to his son lesid, Osein prepared to dispute with the son of the usurper what he considered to be the patrimony of his forefathers.
All the empire was in subjection to lesid, except Mecca and Medina, which the partisans of the house of Ali had caused to declare for Ofein. This prince hoped to get possession likewise of Cufa, which had been the residence of his father and brother. The intelligence which means had been found to procure him being multiplied, he thought he had only to present himself at Cufa to be proclaimed caliph there. But, whilst he was on his way thither, with all his family, at the head of a hundred and fifty armed men, the only forces that he had been able to assemble, and which he thought sufficient in a town that already acknowledged his authority, Ielid, informed of the intentions of the Cufians, sent new troops thither from Syria, and had the principal
partisans of Osein punished. In fine, every thing was quieted when the son of Ali appeared, and the unfortunate prince met a numerous army who came to fight him, instead of obedient subjects whom he expected to fee come running out: to meet their lawful master.
Osein's little troop was presently surrounded : he had only the choice left him, to acknowledge the caliph Iesid, or, with a hundred and fifty men, to make head against fix thousand. Ofein had with him his brothers, sisters, wives, and two young fons, all the hope of the house of Ali. His courage, or rather despair, prevented his saving them from the fword of the vanquisher; he chose rather to confirm the Ommiasian race on the throne of Mahomet, by delivering to them all those that might dispute their right, than acknowledge them, even by a forced confent, for the family of his masters. Affecting a prophetic enthusiasm, he fell on his knees amidst his people, and repeated aloud a fervent prayer, to ask the protection of God for a just cause and ! the blood of his p · Osein knew how to make the best of his bad position with a conduct and courage worthy of another recompense. During the night that preceded his defeat, and which Iesid's general employed in treating with Osein, this prince caused to be digged around his camp a large ditch, which he filled in the morning with com
bustibles, so that he seemed to be defended by a rampart of fire, which the horses refused to approach. Notwithstanding the most vigorous resistance, Osein perished, with seventeen of his brothers or relations, and almost all his soldiers. His sisters, some of his wives, and his two sons, called Ali and Amru, were preferved; who, after having been stripped of every thing that they had valuable, were dragged in captivity to Damascus.
Iesid saw with joy the head of his rival in greatness, though he shewed some sense of compassion for his fate. Osein's fifters were treated as became the grand-daughters of Mahomet, notwithstanding the sanguinary reproaches with which they loaded Iesid; he respected even the infancy of the sons of Osein. As he was deliberating in his council upon what he fhould do with them, several exhorted him not to pollute his reign with the murder of two innocent victims whose blood was venerated by every; Mussulman. This opinion was violently opposed by one of Iseid's ministers; who, hɔlding up a small steel instrument for cutting nails, said to the caliph, My lord, this suffices at present to terminate the important affair under consideration ; but if it be deferred, the blood of millions will not decide it. This bloody advice seemed to be well founded, as the hatred of Osein's children manifested itself at every moment. Iseid, seeing the little Amru, Osein's second son, quarrelling with
his son, a child of the same age, faid jestingly to the young Ainru: Wouldest thou fight with my fon? Yes, replied the child earnestly; let us eache have a sword. This young lion already promised his father's enemies all that hatred which has since so violently shewn itself between the Shiites and Sunnices. But these dispositions made no alteration in Iseid's conduct, who constantly treated Orein's family as generous souls ought to use the unfortunate. He sent them all back to Medina, expressing the regret which he felt at having been obliged by circumstances to put Orein to death; and he lavished on them every fuccour capable of alleviating their misfortune. The Shiites count Ofein and his son Ali as the third and fourth lawful caliphs.
Iefid's generosity irritated his enemies. No sooner was Ali's family returned to Medina, than the people, full of the remembrance of Osein, thought they ought to shake off the yoke of the Ommiasian caliphs. Ali and Amru were both too young to be placed at their head; it was therefore necessary to oppose some person that had both courage and experience against a prince so well settled on the throne of Mahomet. They chose Abdallah, the son of Zobeir, of the family of the Ashemites, from whom their first caliph, Ali, was descended ; and being all come to the mosque, the first person among them cried : 1 depose lesid from the califate, as I take this turban
from my head. I depose lèsid from the califate, said the second, as I take this shoe from my foot. All the Medinese having followed this example, in an instant the ground was covered with turbans and shoes. They drove out all those who fided with the Ommiasian family, and took measures, as much as the tumult of a numerous army would admit of, to have the principal towns of Arabia follow the example of Medina.
Abdallah marched towards Mecca without many obstacles, as the garrison, which held for the caliph, was not sufficiently strong to hinder him.
Jesid learned at Damascus that his clemency to the family of Ali had encouraged the rebels. He sent immediately a numerous army into Arabia; the news of its march brought back a great many of the rebels; but Medina resisted constantly. This city sustained a long and bloody fiege, without Abdallah, who meditated the conquest of the rest of Asia, making any attempt to succour it. After a resistance of three months, Medina was taken and pillaged. The victorious soldiers regarded only the family of Ali, agreeably to the orders which they had received from lesid. This success encouraged the general of the Syrian army : he proposed to beliege the Arabian caliph who was then at Mecca; but whilft he was marching towards it, he learned the death of his roaster, lesid, and returned into his own country. This was the year 684 of Jesus Christ, the 64th lunar