The origin of the Kaysaniyas

Heretofore, we have examined that Mukhtar Thaqafi appeared in Kufa as a revenger of Hussain's blood after the event of Karbala. He failed to win support from Imam Zayn al-Abidin in his movement. He then turned to Ibn al-Hanafiya, whom he declared as an Imam and a promised Mahdi. Ibn al-Hanafiya did not repudiate Mukhtar's propaganda, and maintained a non-committal attitude, but his name became slogans for Mukhtar to gain public supports. Mukhtar was killed in 67/687, and the death of Ibn al-Hanafiya also took place in 81/700. Abu Hashim, the eldest son of Ibn al-Hanafiya however continued the mission originated by Mukhtar, and his followers then became known as Kaysaniyas. Various explanations are given to this name, but the Kaysan in question was almost certainly the man with the kunya Abu Amra, who was the most distinguished of the mawali supporting Mukhtar. The name was widely given to men of Alid sympathies during the later part of the Umayyad rule and was presumably a pejorative nickname first applied by opponents in order to discredit the group. Abu Hashim was poisoned by the Umayyad caliph Hisham, but before his death in 98/718, he quickly rushed to Humayma, and bequeathed his right to the caliphate and charge of the Kaysaniya sect to Muhammad bin Ali as he had no son.

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