Institute of History, Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences
Javid ave. 31, AZ-1143, Baku AZERBAIJAN
Development stages of religious–political movements ranged in Arabian Caliphate and in Azerbaijan being under its influence forms a separate historical period. These religious-political movements begun primarily as political dissents for seizing power, then had obtained mass character and taking a nature of struggle for freedom had developed to popular uprising.
During the political conflicts diverse religious sects and at the result of split within the religious sects separate branches of believes had formed and ideological development of changes had taken place.
As there are enough sources and literature concerning our subject, it gives us a chance to divide the religious-political movements of the VIII-IX centuries into periods.
From this point of view such works as An-Naubakhti‘s “Shiite Sects”, Ash-Shahrastani‘s “A book about the religions and sects”, At-Tabari‘s “History of Prophets and Rulers” are satisfactory. Besides Z.Bunyadov‘s “Azerbaijan in the VII-IX centuries”, N.Velikhanly‘s “Arabian Caliphate and Azerbaijan”, Said Nafisi‘s “Babek”, Majid Baktash‘s “Movement of kharijids during the period from the creation till the fall of Amavids‘ Caliphate and their literature” and I.Petrushevski‘s “Islam in Iran” are acceptable. Basing on these monumental historical works we can divide the VII-IX centuries‘ religious-political movements into following periods:
I period: Early dissents and splits taken place immediately after the prophet Muhammad‘s death.
II period: Creation of Sunnite and Shiite sects on the ground of religious-political conflicts. Creation of movement of Kharijids and its early period.
III National movements obtain a form of uprising.
IV Uprisings in different places of Caliphate takes a form of national struggle for freedom against the Arabian administrative circles and their rule (for instance: movement of khurramids).
The main essence of the first stage consists of divergency of opinions being based on heated arguments around the question who had right to religious and secular leadership, which arose after prophet‘s death, who died intestate, having said nothing about his future heirs. Changes taking place in the social-political life of Imamate and hard clashes in the course of struggle for power caused the formation of religious-political outlook. Hence, it appeared the first signs of split. Some historians into the groups functioning at that period included Shiites too. For instance in his book “Shiite sects” An-Naubakhti noted that after prophet Muhammad‘s death the Moslem community was divided into 3 parts. One of them was called ash-shid and these were the followers Ali-bin Abu Talib. The second were ansarids, who wanted to see Said bin Ubayde al-Hazraji as a ruler. And the third party were muhajiraids the supporters of Abu Bakr bin Abu Kuhaf (An-Naubakhti, Shiite sects, Moscow, 1973, p., 112).
But it is not expedient. It would be more exact if said Moslem community was divided not into 3, but into 2 parts then: one of them were ansarids, who were claiming for military and civil ruling, the other were muhajiraids, supporters of Abu-Bakr, who wanted the matter of heir to be solved by community.
Actual split of Moslem community, getting of struggle for power a religious-political form and main of all, formation of Shiite-Ali group were the results of the first period. In other words, after 30 years from Islam founder‘s death among the followers of Moslem was formed a religious-political group which supported to give the supreme power to Muhammad‘s son-in law Ali bin Abu Talib (Islam, history, philosophy, divine services, Baku, 1994, p., 86 ). This alignment broke the early religious unity of Islamic followers and formed the cell of the movement which divided it into parts differing from each other-Shiites and Sunnites.
The second period of our division begins from the creation of sects of Sunnites and Shiites, and from the military-political conflict ended with battle of Siffin. This battle created the sect of kharijids, which lasted until the fall of Amavids.
In his “Book about the religions and sects” Ash Shahrastani wrote, that there were 4 big sects in Islam: Gadarids, Sifatids, Kharijids, and Shiites (Ash Shahrastani, A book about the religions and sects, Moscow, 1984, part I, p., 29 ).
The I internal war of 656 between the Moslems of Arabia, called “camel fight”, and the II home war of 657 between Ali and Muaviyya called the battle of Siffin are the events of that period we spoke about.
In the center of this period stands the movement of kharijids being the first durable armed uprising in the history of Islam. This movement lasted until the fall of Amavids. Majid Baktash divided this movement itself into 2 periods: the I stage covers the period beginning from the first days of Muaviyya‘s ruling until splitting, and the II stage split of kharijids (Majid Baktash, Movement of kharijids and their literature from the creation till the fall of Amavids‘ Caliphate, Moscow, 1965,p., 2 ). Besides the author notes that the kharijids‘ split into 20 small branches among them the biggest were Azragids, Ibadids, Sufrids and Najdatids.
The III period is connected with the enlargement of uprising waves, including the national movement in Azerbaijan against the Caliphate. Another disturbance getting advantage from the ideas of Dahhag bin Qeys ash-Sheylani al-Haruri who was one of the kharijid leaders of the uprising against the Amavids in Iraq, on the eve when Abbasids came to power. On the top of this uprising created by the resentment of the people was standing Beylagan resident Musafir bin Kasir al-Qassab.
Uprisings of this period after the uprising being Abu Muslim Khorasani on the head led to dynasty changes in Caliphate reached to the highest level.
Another successful uprising of that period is the one also happened in Beylagan. It was against the rule of Abu Muslim caliph Harun ar-Rashid, who had entered the history as “a worthless” (scoundrel) and “evil man”.
Intensification of ideological struggle in Caliphate and the process of fast creation of different communities in Islam was observed in the periods when the social relations were less stable. From this point of view the mid of the VIII century is characteristic.
Overthrow of Amavids, coming Abbasids to power, formation of Shiite movement, creation of many communities on its basis (Zeidids, Islamids, Extremists (Ifratchilar) and others) were the results of deepen social resentment, oppositional mood against the official ideology- Sunnism.
Creation history of khurramid movement being a wide national freedom movement against the domination of Abbasids in Azerbaijan and neighboring countries is the culmination point on the rising line of religious-political struggle. At-Tabari points that the khurramid movement began in 778-779 (At-Tabari, Tarikhu-r-Rusul val-Muluk, III, p.,493: Said Nafisi, Babek, p., 11-12).During the rule of caliph Al-Mamun in Azerbaijan and in the mountains of West Iran “red khurramids‘” powerful uprising under the leadership of Babek lasted for more than 20 years (816-837). As a result of treachery the participants of this uprising were punished sternly. Despite this, in the middle of the X century in Azerbaijan, Rey, Isfahan and in other towns existed the khurramid communities there. Besides till the end of the IX century Babek‘s followers became the cell of all the new uprisings.
On the whole, as a result of division into periods, we can say that the religious-political movements beginning as early political conflicts rising to the level of national liberation movement hadn‘t been traceless. The Arabian Caliphate being a mighty power had been disintegrated into separate states under the blow of movements which created these waves of uprisings, and could never restore its previous power any more.