Abd Allah ibn Hanzala

ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ḥanẓala ibn Abī ʿĀmir al-Anṣārī (625/26 – August 683) was the leader of the Ansar faction of Medina during the city’s revolt against Caliph Yazid I in 682–683. He was killed when he led his forces to confront Yazid’s expeditionary army at the Battle of al-Harrah in August 683.

Abd Allah ibn Hanzala
عبد الله بن حنظلة
عبد الله بن حنظلة.png
ʿAbd Allāh ibn Ḥanẓala ibn Abī ʿĀmir al-Anṣārī

DiedAugust 683
NationalityRashidun Caliphate


Abd Allah was the son of Hanzala ibn Abi ‘Amir, a sahaba (companion) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad who had been slain at the Battle of Uhud in 625.[1] Abd Allah was born after his father's death.[1] According to historian Julius Wellhausen, he was "celebrated from his birth as the posthumous son of the martyr of Uhud who was washed by the angels".[2] Hence, he became known as "Ibn al-Ghasīl" after his father’s nickname "al-Ghasīl al-Malāʾika" (the one washed by the angels).[1]

When Yazid I succeeded his father Muawiya I as caliph, the move was opposed by the Ansar.[1] The Ansar were the early supporters of Muhammad from Medina and this group had included Abd Allah's father.[1] Abd Allah was part of a delegation from Medina sent by the Umayyad governor of the city, Uthman ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Sufyan, with the aim of reconciling with Yazid in the Umayyad capital, Damascus.[1][3] Despite the warm reception, the delegation left Damascus with the conviction that Yazid was unfit to be caliph.[1] Abd Allah was the most vocal in his criticism and was chosen by the Ansar to be their leader.[1][4] Meanwhile, the Quraysh of Medina, who also opposed Yazid, chose Abd Allah ibn Muti as the leader of their faction.[1]

Together, the Ansar and Quraysh drove out the Umayyads from Medina, prompting Yazid to dispatch an army led by Muslim ibn Uqba to bring the city into submission.[1] The army, composed of the Arab tribesmen of Syria, took up strategic positions in the Harrah just east of Medina where they were met the Ansar led by Abd Allah.[1] During the ensuing battle, the Ansar of Medina were defeated and Abd Allah was slain.[1] According to historians Ch. Pellat and K. V. Zettersteen, Abd Allah fought with "remarkable bravery ... but finally fell under the blows of the Syrians".[1] Eight of his sons were also slain.[5] His body was subsequently decapitated and his head was given to Ibn Uqba.[1] The two soldiers credited with his death were rewarded by Yazid.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Zettersteen and Pellat 1960, p. 45.
  2. ^ Wellhausen 1927, p. 154.
  3. ^ Wellhausen 1927, pp. 153–154.
  4. ^ Wellhausen 1927, p. 153.
  5. ^ Wellhausen 1927, p. 156.


  • Wellhausen, Julius (1927). The Arab Kingdom and its Fall. Translated by Margaret Graham Weir. Calcutta: University of Calcutta. OCLC 752790641.
  • Zettersteen, K. V. & Pellat, Ch. (1960). "Abd Allāh ibn Ḥanẓala". In Gibb, H. A. R.; Kramers, J. H.; Lévi-Provençal, E.; Schacht, J.; Lewis, B. & Pellat, Ch. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume I: A–B. Leiden: E. J. Brill. p. 45. OCLC 495469456.