Rafi ibn Leis Uprising

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Rafi ibn Leis Uprising

 

an uprising in 806–810 in Middle Asia against Abbasid rule. The ideology of some of the rebels was similar to that of the Mukanna Uprising. An immediate cause of the revolt was the oppressive taxation of Ali ibn Isa, the caliph’s regent in Khorasan and Mavera-un-nahr. The rebels included peasants, some dehqans (feudal landholders), and Turkic nomadic tribes of the Middle Asian steppe zone. The uprising was led by Rafi ibn Leis, an important landowner who evidently rebelled against the caliph, Harun al-Rashid, for personal reasons.

Rafi ibn Leis seized and fortified Samarkand, which he made his residence. The rebellion spread to Shash, Samarkand, Bukhara, Khodzhent, Ustrushana, Fergana, Khwarazm, and other areas. In 809 and early 810, Samarkand was unsuccessfully besieged by Abbasid troops, first those of Harun al-Rashid and then of his son al-Mamun, who became governor of Khorasan after the retirement of Ali ibn Isa in 809. As peasant participation in the uprising increased, the dehqans and then the Turkic tribes began withdrawing. Rafi ibn Leis also withdrew from the uprising. Left without leaders, the uncoordinated peasant forces were routed by al-Mamun’s troops in 810.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.