7. Ziad's family tree

Abu Moghaira Ziad was the son of a slave girl called Somayya belonging to a Persian farmer, who gave her to a physician called Harith Thaghafi, in return for his medical service. Somayya gave birth to two sons Nafeea and Naafe while her master was a physician Harith.

Later Harith arranged a marriage between Somayya and his Roman slave ‘Obaid. They lived in Taif. Abu Sufyan went to Taif and asked a barman to procure a prostitute for him. The barman Abimaryam Selluli introduced Somayya to Abu Sufyan and she became pregnant that night, and later gave birth to Ziad in the first year of Hejri, while she was wife of Obaid.

When the Prophet of God besieged Taif one of the sons of Harith (the physician) whose name was Nufay‘ ran to the Prophet who set him free and called him Ababakra. Harith told Nafe‘ that he was his father and so prevented him from running to the Prophet as his brother had.

The three brothers, Ababakra, Nafe‘ and Ziad later were in turn called ‘the slaves who were freed by the Prophet,' Ibn Harith, and Ibn ‘Obaid respectively. Mo'awiah favored and accepted Ziad to be his brother, and named him Ziad Bin Abu Sufyan.

But after Mo'awiah and the down-fall of the Amawi Dynasty, Ziad was called, Ziad son of His Father (meaning illegitimate) and sometimes he was called Ziad Son of Somayya after his mother. Historians have recorded the story of Mo'awiah offering his brotherhood to Ziad and criticized Mo'awiah for his act.

Saif, intending to clear Mo'awiah from blame and to take the stain from Ziad's robe, invented a story which Tabari has recorded in his book (vol.3, p.259) among the events of the year 23 Hejri as follows:-

An Arab called Ganzi complained to ‘Omar that his Governor Abu Musa referred his case to his secretary Ziad Bin Abu Sufyan, and the story continues. ‘Omar asked Ziad how he had spent the first present given to him. Ziad said that he bought his mother's freedom and set her free. Concerning his second present he said that he bought his guardian Obaid's freedom.

Saif in the above invented story intended to prove that Ziad was called ‘Ziad the son of Abu Sufyan' even at the time of Caliph ‘Omar, and Caliph ‘Omar did not object to calling Ziad ‘the son of Abu Sufyan,' hence it was Mo'awiah, the son of Abu Sufyan, who offered Ziad his brotherhood (as explained above Mo'awiah has been criticized by historians for this act).

Furthermore, Saif tries in this story to cover-up for Ziad as well, when Ziad refers to Obaid as his guardian. What is more, Saif tells the story from the time of Caliph ‘Omar, in order to make it more acceptable to Muslims.
(al-Kamel of Ibn Athir — Events of the year 44 Hejri; al-Esti‘ab vol.1, pp.548-555; al-Esabah, vol.1, p.563.)

The Origin of Saif's Story

Saif has recorded the above story from Muhammad, Talha and Mohallab. Saif has recorded 216 stories which are recorded in Tabari from Saif, who in turn recorded from Muhammad Bin Abdullah Bin Sawad Bin Malik Bin Nowaira, who is unknown in all history books except in Ekmal whose writer has also recorded from Saif.

There are two Talhas. One is Abu Sufyan Talha Bin Abdur Rahman of whom no trace can be found. The second, Talha Bin A'lam who lived in Juan near Ray (Tehran) and Saif has not specified him in his story. Saif has recorded sixty seven stories from Mohallab Bin Oqba al-Asadi, which also appears in Tabari, but no trace of him can be found in any biography.

The story told by others apart from Saif

al-Daynawari in his book The Long Stories, page 14 says: "Abu Musa considered Ziad Bin ‘Obaid, a slave of Thaqif tribe, a surprisingly ambitious and clever man, and employed him as his secretary. Ziad was with Moghaira before that." Ibn Abdulbarr in his book al-Esti‘ab, (vol.1, p.548) says: "Before Mo'awiah offered Ziad his brotherhood he was called Ziad Bin Obaid Thaqafi." It is also written there, that Ziad bought his father Obaid and set him free which was a very good deed.

In al-Esti‘ab, page 549 from Ibn Abdulbarr it reads: "Ziad was known as Ziad Ibn ‘Obaid before joining Mo'awiah," then continues; "Ziad delivered a speech in the presence of ‘Omar the Caliph, at a party and his speech surprised every-body." One of the guests Amr'as said, "By God, if this boy (the speaker) was from the Quraish tribe he could have been the ruler." Abu Sufyan then said, " I know his origin." ‘Ali said, "Who is his father?" Abu Sufyan said, "I am." ‘Ali then said, "Stop Abu Sufyan (telling your association with Ziad's mother)." Then Abu Sufyan composed the following verse:

If I was not afraid of someone (‘Omar) I should say, By God, Sakhr Bin Harb would betray, And, you ‘Ali, would certainly decide, For yourself Ziad's speech talent is from whose side.

The following historians have recorded the story of the brotherhood of Ziad and Mo'awiah:

Ibn Athir in the events of the year 44 Hejri. Ibn Abdulbarr in Esti‘ab in Ziad's biography. Ya‘qoubi, vol.2, page 195.

Mas‘oudi in Morooj al-Dhahabi, vol.2, p.54. Soyouti in the events of the year 41

Hejri. Ibn Kathir, vol.8, p.28.

Abul Fada, page 194.

Tabari in vol.4, p.259, and in the events of the year 44

Hejri, also in the events of the year 160, pp.334—335.

Sahih Muslim, vol.l, p.57.

Osdul Ghaba wal Esaba, under Ziad biography. Ibn ‘Asaker, vol.5, pp.409—421

Ya‘qubi, vol.4, p.160.

Other historians have referred to it, but we decided here to cut the story short.


All historians have recorded that:-

a) Ziad was born in ‘Obaid's household by his immoral wife Somayya who was made pregnant by Abu Sufyan on the night she was introduced to him by a man called Abimaryam Selluli.

b) Abu Sufyan betrayed Ziad in ‘Omar's presence.

c) Mo'awiah accepted Ziad as his brother.

d) Muslims have criticized Mo'awiah who disregarded the Prophet's order, ‘The child belongs to the household,' where a husband and wife live together, a child born will be the son of those couple even if the wife was pregnant by a stranger.

e) After the downfall of Amawi Dynasty, Ziad some- times was called ‘Son of His Father' and other times ‘Son of Somayya (his mother).'

Saif wanted to take the responsibility away from Mo'awiah, who offered his brotherhood to Ziad, and invented a story in which Ziad was called, ‘Son of Abu Sufyan' in ‘Omar's time, long before Mo'awiah, and in that time Obaid was called Ziad's guardian, yet we know that Ziad in one of his speeches confessed to be the son of Obaid as recorded in Ya‘qoubi, vol.2, p.195.