Date of Award

Summer 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Graduate Group

Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations

First Advisor

Paul M. Cobb

Second Advisor

Joseph Lowry

Third Advisor

Jamal Elyas


The Battle of Ṣiffīn (36/657) is the flash point in the emergence of sects within the Islamic religion. This dissertation traces the presentation of the story Ṣiffīn in a specific line of Arabic universal histories, starting with the establishment of the ―vulgate‖ text, Naṣr ibn Muzāḥim al-Minqarī‘s Waqʿat Ṣiffīn, and culminating in the Sunnī Syrian works of Ibn ʿAsākir, Ibn al-ʿAdīm, and Ibn Kathīr. As the vulgate text, al-Minqarī‘s Waqʿat Ṣiffīn forms the basis for every presentation of the story that follows it, including often being reproduced word for word. Developments in the Islamic political and religious spheres, as well as developments in styles of Arabic historical writing, were highly influential in shaping the development of the story. Of particular focus is the development of a narrative voice that seeks to use the story to rehabilitate early Syrian figures by later Syrian historians.