1 So, today we turn to early Islamic Beirut. what do we know of the earliest times of #Beirut under early Islamic rule, starting with the #conquest. How and when did Beirut enter the emerging Muslim empire? -rm

2 Let’s start with traditional sources for the early Islamic period. Of those, only al-Balādhurī (d. ca. 892), the Abbasid scholar, is informative. Other Muslim and non-Muslim sources including al-Ṭabarī's Tārīkh are silent on the matter.-rm
3 In his small tome, Futūḥ al-Buldān, al-Balādhurī tells his readers: “After the conquest of Damascus, Yazīd came to Sidon, ʿArqa, Byblos, and Beirut which lie on the sea coast with his brother Muʿāwiya leading the van of the army.”-rm
4 Hence, the men who conquered Beirut were Yazīd b. Abī Sufyān (d. 639) and his half-brother and future caliph Mu‘āwiya (r. 661-680). The date of the conquest of the coast falls between 636 and 639 at the latest, the date of the death of Yazīd in the plague of Emmaus. -rm
5 Yazīd and the Muslim army likely took the coastal road to Beirut, a path taken by numerous armies before. They would have either swung from Damascus to Baalbek through the Hims gap to ‘Arqa, then Byblos, crossed the Dog River, and arrived at the eastern side of Beirut.
6 The other alternative was for them to have taken a southern route conquering Sidon first and swinging north marching through the Byzantine settlement of Khan Khalde (ancient Heldua) and arrived at the southern gate of Beirut
7 According to Balādhurī, the conquest of the coast was easy (fatḥan yasīran) and did not involve any major fighting. Al-Balādhurī reports that many of the inhabitants fled. Archaeological investigation, as expected, did not turn up any evidence for the Muslim conquest -rm
8 The inhabitants of Beirut who lived through the Sasanian-Byzantine wars would have expected an agreement to guarantee their safety and the conquerors would have sought one to consolidate their victory. If an agreement took place what would it have involved?
9 It would parallel agreements made with other Syrian towns in its brevity and basic exchange of security for submission and taxes.
10 The Muslim hold over Beirut was precarious. Caesarea to the South and Tripoli to the North resisted the Muslims, helped by their fortifications and reinforcements by the Byzantine navy. The Byzantines took possession of the coast at the end of the caliphate of ‘Umar (644)-rm
11 In response, Mu’awiya, now governor of Syria, reconquered the coast (645?) and partially as a result invested in a Muslim navy and launched campaigns against the islands. Beirut and the Syrian coast turned into a maritime frontier

More from Tweeting Historians

More from World


1. I am indeed disgusted with attempts to misrepresent and take out of context what I wrote on my blog yesterday.

2. Those who did that highlighted only one part of paragraph 12 which read: “Muslims have a right to be angry and to kill millions of French people for the massacres of the past.”

3. They stopped there and implied that I am promoting the massacre of the French.

4.If they had read d posting in its entirety & especially the subsequent sentence which read: “But by & large the Muslims hv not applied the “eye for an eye” law. Muslims don’t. The French shouldn’t. Instead the French should teach their people to respect other people’s feelings

5. Because of the spin and out of context presentation by those that picked up my posting, reports were made against me and I am accused of promoting violence etc… on Facebook and Twitter.

You May Also Like