ḤAMZA B. ĀḎARAK or Atrak or ʿAbd-Allāh Abu Ḵozayma, Kharijite rebel in Sistān and Khorasan during early ʿAbbasid times. He was of dehqān (q.v.) stock from southern Afghanistan, to the east of Bost, where there was a long tradition of Kharijite, anti-government activity. His rebellion began in the countryside of Sistān in 179/795-96 or possibly in the following two years, and was directed not only against the official representatives of the ʿAbbasids but also against rival Kharijite sects. He assumed the title of “Commander of the Faithful,” and in 182/798 defeated caliphal forces under the governor of Khorasan, ʿAli b. ʿIsā b. Māhān (q.v.). Although unable to capture such bastions of Sunni orthodoxy and caliphal power as the cities of Zarang, Herat and Nishapur, Ḥamza’s partisans sacked the town of Bayhaq and terrorized the countryside, deliberately killing tax collectors, thus impeding the flow of revenue from the east to Baghdad. Ḥamza’s movement thus had clear social as well as religious dimensions and gave vent to the resentment felt against exploitation by the ʿAbbasid governors. It was Kharijite depredations which made Hārun-al-Rašid resolve to march against Ḥamza in 193/808, and we possess the texts of an exchange of letters, the caliph’s ultimatum to Ḥamza and the latter’s defiant and contemptuous reply (Tāriḵ-e Sistān, pp. 162-68, tr. Gold, pp. 128-34; G. Scarcia, “Lo scambio di lettere tra Hārun al-Rašid e Hamza al-Ḫāriği secondo il «Taʾriḫ-i Sistān»,” AIUON, N.S. 14, 1964, pp. 623-45).

Hārun died the next year without achieving any success against the rebels, and Ḥamza’s activities continued for a further twenty years or so until his death in Jomādā II 213/August-September 828; he had been the leading figure of the Kharijites of the East for thirty years.



Primary sources: Ebn al-Aṯir, Beirut, VI, pp. 147, 150-51.

Ṭabari, III, pp. 638, 651.

ʿAbd-al-Qāher Baḡdādi, Farq, ed. Badr, pp. 72-82.

Ebn Fondoq, Tāriḵ-e Bayhaq, ed. A. Bahmanyār, Tehran, 1317 Š./1938, pp. 44-45, 266-67.

Gardizi, ed. Ḥabibi, pp. 131-33.

Tāriḵ-e Sistān, pp. 27, 156-80, tr. Gold, pp. 20, 123-43.

Secondary Sources: C. E. Bosworth, Sīstān under the Arabs, from the Islamic conquest to the rise of the Saffārids (390-250/651-864), Rome, 1968, pp. 91-104.

Idem and B. Scarcia Amoretti, in Camb. Hist. Iran, IV, pp. 96-97, 108-9, 510-12.

G. H. Sadeghi, Les mouvements religieux iraniens au IIe et au IIIe siècle de l’hégire, Paris, 1938, pp. 54-56.

(C. Edmund Bosworth)

Originally Published: December 15, 2003

Last Updated: March 6, 2012

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