During the early period of ‘Abd al-Malik's rule the Shi‘ahs of Kufah rose up in revolt, determined to avenge the bloody death of Husayn ibn Ali (a.s.). They chose five of the bravest and most militant from among them as leaders and started out towards Sham (Syria) to try and destroy ‘Ubaydullah ibn Ziyad who was one of ‘Abd al-Malik's rivals.
‘Ubaydullah also went out to meet them at the head of a thirty-thousand strong army of his henchmen and torturers. A fierce battle ensured between the forces of Truth and Falsehood and after terrible slaughter on both sides, the Shi‘ahs, unable to withstand the sheer size of the enemy army, were defeated. It was ‘Ubaydullah who planned the killing of Imam Husayn and his supporters.
It was not long however before Mukhtar ath-Thaqafi rose up to avenge the death of Imam Husayn (a.s.).
He defeated the armies of ‘Ubaydullah and killed large numbers of the enemy.
‘Ubaydullah, the brutal tyrant was put to death at the hands of Mukhtar ath- Thaqafi himself, the latter cut off the tyrant's head and brought it before Imam as-Sajjad (a.s.) (the fourth Shi‘ite Imam), who expressed satisfaction at the death of one of the bitterest enemies of Islam.