Abu Mikhnaf was born in c. 689. His given name was Lut and his father was Yahya ibn Sa’id ibn Mikhnaf, who belonged to a noble clan of the powerful Azd tribe resident in Kufa. His great-grandfather was Mikhnaf ibn Sulaym, a chieftain of the Azd and the commander of his tribesmen in the army of Caliph Ali (r. 656–661) at the Battle of Siffin in 657. Mikhnaf’s son Muhammad, Abu Mikhnaf’s paternal granduncle, was seventeen-years-old at Siffin and his reports of the battle were recorded by Abu Mikhnaf. He witnessed the mass Iraqi revolt led by Ibn al-Ash’ath against the Umayyad Caliphate in 700 and the toppling of the Umayyads by the Abbasids in 750. He was a friend of Muhammad ibn Sa’id al-Kalbi and it was through the latter’s son Hisham ibn al-Kalbi that much of Abu Mikhnaf’s volumes were transmitted. He died in 774/75.