The Umayyad Caliphate at its greatest extent in AD 750
|Common languages||Classical Arabic (official) – Coptic, Greek, Latin, Persian (official in certain regions until the reign of Abd al-Malik ) – Aramaic, Armenian, Berber languages, African Romance, Mozarabic, Sindhi, Georgian, Prakrit|
|Muawiya I (first)|
|Marwan II (last)|
• Muawiya I becomes Caliph
|estimated from 660 to 665|
|720||11,100,000 km2 (4,300,000 sq mi)|
|Currency||Gold dinar and dirham|
| Caliphate |
|Historical Arab states and dynasties|
The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; UK: /
British English is the standard dialect of the English language as spoken and written in the United Kingdom. Variations exist in formal, written English in the United Kingdom. For example, the adjective wee is almost exclusively used in parts of Scotland and Ireland, and occasionally Yorkshire, whereas little is predominant elsewhere. Nevertheless, there is a meaningful degree of uniformity in written English within the United Kingdom, and this could be described by the term British English. The forms of spoken English, however, vary considerably more than in most other areas of the world where English is spoken, so a uniform concept of British English is more difficult to apply to the spoken language. According to Tom McArthur in the Oxford Guide to World English, British English shares "all the ambiguities and tensions in the word 'British' and as a result can be used and interpreted in two ways, more broadly or more narrowly, within a range of blurring and ambiguity".
American English, sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of varieties of the English language native to the United States. American English is globally considered to be one of the most influential dialects in the world; more so than any other dialect of English.
The romanization of Arabic writes written and spoken Arabic in the Latin script in one of various systematic ways. Romanized Arabic is used for a number of different purposes, among them transcription of names and titles, cataloging Arabic language works, language education when used in lieu of or alongside the Arabic script, and representation of the language in scientific publications by linguists. These formal systems, which often make use of diacritics and non-standard Latin characters and are used in academic settings or for the benefit of non-speakers, contrast with informal means of written communication used by speakers such as the Latin-based Arabic chat alphabet.
The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Transoxiana, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus) into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000 km2 (4,300,000 sq mi) and 33 million people, making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world's population. The dynasty was eventually overthrown by a rebellion led by the Abbasids in 750. Survivors of the dynasty established themselves in Cordoba in the form of an Emirate and then a Caliphate, became a world centre of science, medicine, philosophy and invention, ushering in the period of the Golden Age of Islam.
Transoxiana, known in Arabic sources as Mā Warāʾ an-Nahr and in Persian as Farârud, is the ancient name used for the portion of Central Asia corresponding approximately with modern-day Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, southern Kyrgyzstan, and southwest Kazakhstan. Geographically, it is the region between the Amu Darya and Syr Darya rivers. The area had been known to the ancient Iranians as Turan, a term used in the Persian national epic Shahnameh, and to the Romans as Transoxania. The Arabic term Mā warāʼ an-Nahr passed into Persian literary usage and stayed on until post-Mongol times.
Sindh is one of the four provinces of Pakistan, in the southeast of the country, and the historical home of the Sindhi people. Sindh is the third largest province of Pakistan by area, and second largest province by population after Punjab. Sindh is bordered by Balochistan province to the west, and Punjab province to the north. Sindh also borders the Indian states of Gujarat and Rajasthan to the east, and Arabian Sea to the south. Sindh's landscape consists mostly of alluvial plains flanking the Indus River, the Thar desert in the eastern portion of the province closest to the border with India, and the Kirthar Mountains in the western part of Sindh.
The Maghreb, also known as Northwest Africa or Northern Africa, Greater Arab Maghreb, Arab Maghreb or Greater Maghreb, or by some sources the Berber world, Barbary and Berbery, is a major region of North Africa, which consists primarily of the countries Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. It additionally includes the disputed territories of Western Sahara and the cities of Melilla and Ceuta. As of 2018, the region has a population of over 100 million people.
The Umayyad caliphate ruled over a vast multiethnic and multicultural population. Christians, who still constituted a majority of the Caliphate's population, and Jews were allowed to practice their own religion but had to pay a head tax (the jizya) from which Muslims were exempt.There was, however, the Muslim-only zakat tax, which was earmarked explicitly for various welfare progammes. Prominent positions were held by Christians, some of whom belonged to families that had served in Byzantine governments. The employment of Christians was part of a broader policy of religious accommodation that was necessitated by the presence of large Christian populations in the conquered provinces, as in Syria. This policy also boosted Muawiya's popularity and solidified Syria as his power base.
Christianity is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Its adherents, known as Christians, believe that Jesus is Christ, whose coming as the messiah was prophesied in the Hebrew Bible, called the Old Testament in Christianity, and chronicled in the New Testament. It is the world's largest religion with about 2.4 billion followers.
Judaism is the ethnic religion of the Jewish people, comprising the collective religious, cultural and legal tradition and civilization of the Jewish people. Judaism is considered by religious Jews to be the expression of the covenant that God established with the Children of Israel. It encompasses a wide body of texts, practices, theological positions, and forms of organization. The Torah is part of the larger text known as the Tanakh or the Hebrew Bible, and supplemental oral tradition represented by later texts such as the Midrash and the Talmud. With between 14.5 and 17.4 million adherents worldwide, Judaism is the tenth largest religion in the world.
Jizya or Jizyah is a per capita yearly taxation historically levied in the form of financial charge on permanent non-Muslim subjects (dhimmi) of a state governed by Islamic law in order to fund public expenditures of the state, in place of the Zakat and Khums that Muslims are obliged to pay. Muslim jurists required adult, free, sane males among the dhimma community to pay the jizya, while exempting women, children, elders, handicapped, the ill, the insane, monks, hermits, slaves, and musta'mins—non-Muslim foreigners who only temporarily reside in Muslim lands. Dhimmis who chose to join military service were also exempted from payment, as were those who could not afford to pay.
In the decades preceding the advent of Islam in the early 7th century, the Umayyads or "Banu Umayya" were a leading clan of the Quraysh in Mecca.By the end of the 6th century, the Umayyads dominated the Quraysh's increasingly prosperous trade networks with Syria in the north and Yemen in the south. In the process, they developed economic and military alliances with the nomadic Arab tribes that controlled the northern and central Arabian desert expanses that their caravans traversed, allowing them a degree of political power in the region. The Umayyads under the leadership of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb were the principal leaders of Meccan opposition to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, but after the latter captured Mecca in 630, Abu Sufyan and the Quraysh embraced Islam. To reconcile his influential Qurayshi tribesmen, Muhammad gave his former opponents, including Abu Sufyan, a stake in the new order. Abu Sufyan and the Umayyads relocated to Medina, Islam's political center, to maintain their new-found political influence in the nascent Muslim community.
Islam is an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion teaching that there is only one God (Allah), and that Muhammad is a messenger of God. It is the world's second-largest religion with over 1.9 billion followers or 24.4% of the world's population, commonly known as Muslims. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 50 countries. Islam teaches that God is merciful, all-powerful, and unique, and has guided mankind through prophets, revealed scriptures and natural signs. The primary scriptures of Islam are the Quran, believed to be the verbatim word of God, and the teachings and normative examples of Muhammad.
The Banu Umayya or Umayyads (الأمويون), were the ruling family of the Islamic caliphate between 661 and 750 and later of Islamic Spain between 756 and 1031. In the pre-Islamic period, they were a prominent clan of the Quraysh tribe descended from Umayya ibn Abd Shams. Despite staunch opposition to the Islamic prophet Muhammad, the Umayyads embraced Islam before the latter's death in 632. A member of the clan, Uthman, went on to become the third Rashidun caliph in 644–656, while other members held various governorships. One of these governors, Mu'awiya I, won the First Muslim Civil War in 661 and established the Umayyad Caliphate with its capital in Damascus, Syria. This marked the beginning of the Umayyad dynasty, the first hereditary dynasty in the history of Islam, and the only one to rule over the entire Islamic world of its time.
The Quraysh were a mercantile Arab tribe that historically inhabited and controlled Mecca and its Ka'aba. The Islamic prophet Muhammad was born into the Hashemite clan of the tribe. Despite this, many of the Quraysh staunchly opposed Muhammad, until converting to Islam en masse in c. 630 CE. Afterward, leadership of the Muslim community traditionally passed to a member of the Quraysh, as was the case with the Rashidun, Umayyad, and Abbasid caliphs.
Following Muhammad's death in 632, a succession crisis ensued and nomadic tribes throughout Arabia that had embraced Islam defected from the Medina-based Muslim state.Abu Bakr, trusted by the Ansar and the Muhajirun (Muhammad's earliest supporters from Medina and Mecca, respectively) as one of Muhammad's closest friends and accepted by the late converts from the Quraysh as a native Meccan who assured their influential role in state matters, was chosen as caliph (political and religious leader of the Muslim community). Abu Bakr showed favor to the Umayyads by awarding them command roles in the Muslim conquest of Syria. One of the appointees was Yazid, the son of Abu Sufyan who owned property and maintained trade networks in Syria.
Abdallah ibn Abi Quhafah, popularly known as Abu Bakr, was a companion and, through his daughter Aisha, a father-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, as well as the first of the Rashidun Caliphs.
Ansar are the local inhabitants of Medina who took the Islamic Prophet Muhammad and his followers into their homes when they emigrated from Mecca (hijra).
Muhajirun were the first converts to Islam and the Islamic Prophet Muhammad's advisors and relatives, who emigrated with him from Mecca to Medina, the event known in Islam as The Hijra. The early Muslims from Medina are called the Ansar ("helpers").
Abu Bakr's successor, Caliph Umar (r. 634–644), though he actively curtailed the influence of the Qurayshi elite in favor of Muhammad's earlier supporters in the administration and military, did not disturb the growing foothold of Abu Sufyan's sons in Syria, which was all but conquered by 638. When his overall commander over the province, Abu Ubayda ibn al-Jarrah, died in 639, he appointed Yazid governor of its Damascus, Palestine and Jordan districts. Yazid died shortly after and Umar installed his brother Mu'awiya in his place. Umar's exceptional treatment of Abu Sufyan's sons may have stemmed from his respect for the family, their burgeoning alliance with the powerful Banu Kalb tribe as a counterbalance to the influence of the Himyarite tribes in the Homs district or the lack of a suitable candidate at the time, particularly amid the plague of Amwas which had already killed Abu Ubayda and Yazid. Under Mu'awiya's stewardship, Syria remained domestically peaceful, organized and well-defended from its former Byzantine rulers.
Umar, also spelled Omar, was one of the most powerful and influential Muslim caliphs in history. He was a senior companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He succeeded Abu Bakr (632–634) as the second caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate on 23 August 634. He was an expert Muslim jurist known for his pious and just nature, which earned him the epithet Al-Farooq. He is sometimes referred to as Umar I by historians of Islam, since a later Umayyad caliph, Umar II, also bore that name.
Jund Dimashq was the largest of the sub-provinces, into which Syria was divided under the Umayyad and Abbasid dynasties. It was named after its capital and largest city, Damascus ("Dimashq"), which in the Umayyad period was also the capital of the Caliphate.
Jund Filasṭīn was one of the military districts of the Umayyad and Abbasid province of Bilad al-Sham (Syria), organized soon after the Muslim conquest of the Levant in the 630s. Jund Filastin, which encompassed most of Palaestina Prima and Palaestina Tertia, included the newly established city of Ramla as its capital and eleven administrative districts (kura), each ruled from a central town.
Umar's successor, Uthman ibn Affan, was a wealthy Umayyad and early Muslim convert with marital ties to Muhammad.He was elected by the shura council, composed of Muhammad's cousin Ali, al-Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Talha ibn Ubayd Allah, Sa'd ibn Abi Waqqas and Abd al-Rahman ibn Awf, all of whom were close, early companions of Muhammad and belonged to the Quraysh. He was chosen over Ali because he would ensure the concentration of state power into the hands of the Quraysh, as opposed to Ali's determination to diffuse power among all of the Muslim factions. From early in his reign, he displayed explicit favoritism to his kinsmen, in stark contrast to his predecessors. He appointed his family members as governors over the regions successively conquered under Umar and himself, namely much of the Sasanian Empire, i.e. Iraq and Iran, and the former Byzantine territories of Syria and Egypt. In Medina, he relied extensively on the counsel of his Umayyad cousins, the brothers al-Harith and Marwan ibn al-Hakam. According to the historian Wilferd Madelung, this policy stemmed from Uthman's "conviction that the house of Umayya, as the core clan of Quraysh, was uniquely qualified to rule in the name of Islam".
Uthman's nepotism gained him the ire of the Ansar and the members of the shura.In 645/46, he added the Jazira (Upper Mesopotamia) to Mu'awiya's Syrian governorship and granted the latter's request to take possession of all Byzantine crown lands in Syria to help pay his troops. He forwarded the surplus taxes from the wealthy provinces of Kufa and Egypt to the treasury in Medina, which he used at his personal disposal, frequently disbursing its funds and war booty to his Umayyad relatives. Moreover, the lucrative Sasanian crown lands of Iraq, which Umar had designated as communal property for the benefit of the Arab garrison towns of Kufa and Basra, were turned into caliphal crown lands to be used at Uthman's discretion. Mounting resentment against Uthman's rule in Iraq and Egypt and among the Ansar and Quraysh of Medina culminated in the siege and killing of the caliph in 656. In the assessment of the historian Hugh N. Kennedy, Uthman was killed because of his determination to centralize control over the Caliphate's government by the traditional elite of the Quraysh, particularly his Umayyad clan, which he believed possessed the "experience and ability" to govern, at the expense of the interests, rights and privileges of many early Muslims.
In the aftermath of Uthman's assassination, Ali was recognized as caliph in Medina, though his support stemmed from the Ansar and the Iraqis, while the bulk of the Quraysh were wary of his rule.Indeed, the first challenge to his authority came from the Qurayshi leaders al-Zubayr and Talha, who, though opposed to Uthman's empowerment of the Umayyad clan, feared that their own influence and the power of the Quraysh in general would dissipate under Ali. Backed by one of Muhammad's wives, A'isha, they attempted to rally support against Ali among the troops of Basra, prompting the caliph to leave for Iraq's other garrison town, Kufa, where he could better confront his challengers. Ali defeated them at the Battle of the Camel, in which al-Zubayr and Talha were slain and A'isha consequently entered self-imposed seclusion. Ali's sovereignty was thereafter recognized in Basra and Egypt and he established Kufa as the Caliphate's new capital.
Though Ali was able to replace Uthman's governors in Egypt and Iraq with relative ease, Mu'awiya had developed a solid power-base and an effective military against the Byzantines from the Arab tribes of Syria, which he governed since Umar's reign.Mu'awiya did not claim the caliphate, but was determined to retain control of Syria and opposed Ali in the name of avenging his kinsman Uthman, accusing the caliph of culpability in his death. Following his victory in Basra, Ali marched against Mu'awiya, the two sides meeting at the Euphrates river boundary separating their territories. The two sides fought to a stalemate in the ensuing Battle of Siffin in early 657, and Ali was compelled to settle the matter with Mu'awiya by arbitration, though the talks failed to achieve a resolution.
The decision to arbitrate fundamentally weakened Ali's political position as he was forced to negotiate with Mu'awiya on equal terms, while it drove a significant number of his most pious supporters, who became known as the Kharijites, to revolt.Ali's coalition steadily disintegrated and many Iraqi tribal nobles secretly defected to Mu'awiya, while the latter's ally Amr ibn al-As ousted Ali's governor from Egypt in July 658, dealing a blow to the caliph's influence. In July 660, Mu'awiya was formally recognized as caliph in Jerusalem by his Syrian tribal allies. Ali's attempt to once again march against Mu'awiya was aborted as a result of Ali's assassination by a Kharijite in January 661. His son al-Hasan succeeded him, but abdicated in return for compensation upon Mu'awiya's arrival to Iraq with his Syrian army in the summer. At that point, Mu'awiya entered Kufa and received the allegiance of the Iraqis.
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Muawiyah's personal dynasty, the "Sufyanids" (descendants of Abu Sufyan), reigned from 661 to 684, until his grandson Muawiya II. The reign of Muawiyah I was marked by internal security and external expansion. On the internal front, only one major rebellion is recorded, that of Hujr ibn Adi in Kufa. Hujr ibn Adi supported the claims of the descendants of Ali to the caliphate, but his movement was easily suppressed by the governor of Iraq, Ziyad ibn Abi Sufyan. Hujr, who had been a sahabah (companion of Muhammad), was sentenced to death by Muawiya for his support of Ali.
Muawiyah also encouraged peaceful coexistence with the Christian communities of Syria, granting his reign with "peace and prosperity for Christians and Arabs alike",and one of his closest advisers was Sarjun ibn Mansur, the father of John of Damascus. At the same time, he waged unceasing war against the Byzantine Roman Empire. During his reign, Rhodes and Crete were occupied, and several assaults were launched against Constantinople. After their failure, and faced with a large-scale Christian uprising in the form of the Mardaites, Muawiyah concluded a peace with Byzantium. Muawiyah also oversaw military expansion in North Africa (the foundation of Kairouan) and in Central Asia (the conquest of Kabul, Bukhara, and Samarkand).
Muawiyah was succeeded by his son, Yazid I, in 680. This hereditary accession was opposed by a number of prominent Muslims, most notably Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr, son of a companion of Muhammad, and Husayn ibn Ali, the younger son of Ali. The resulting conflict is known as the Second Fitna.Ibn al-Zubayr had fled Medina for Mecca, where he remained in opposition until his death. The people of Kufa invited Husayn to their city and revolt against the Umayyads. However, Yazid I prevented this alliance by having Kufa occupied and Husayn and his family intercepted on their way to Kufa in the Battle of Karbala, in which Husayn and his male family members were killed. Word of Husayn's death fueled further opposition movements, one centered in Medina and the other around Kharijites in Basra. In 683, Yazid's army suppressed the Medinese opposition at the Battle of al-Harrah and then besieged Mecca. During the campaign, widespread pillaging and the damaging of both the Grand Mosque in Medina and the Kaaba in Mecca caused deep resentment and became a major cause for censure of the Umayyads in later histories of the period.
Yazid died while the siege was still in progress, and the Umayyad army returned to Damascus, leaving Ibn al-Zubayr in control of Mecca. Yazid's son, Muawiya II (683–684), initially succeeded him but seems to have never been recognized as caliph outside of Syria. Two factions developed within Syria: the Confederation of Qays, who supported Ibn al-Zubayr, and the Quda'a, who supported Marwan, a descendant of Umayya via Wa'il ibn Umayyah. The partisans of Marwan triumphed at a battle at Marj Rahit, near Damascus, in 684, and Marwan became Caliph shortly thereafter.
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Marwan's first task was to assert his authority against the rival claims of Ibn al-Zubayr, who was at this time recognized as caliph throughout most of the Islamic world. Marwan recaptured Egypt for the Umayyads, but died in 685, having reigned for only nine months.
Marwan was succeeded by his son, Abd al-Malik (685–705), who reconsolidated Umayyad control of the caliphate. The early reign of Abd al-Malik was marked by the revolt of Al-Mukhtar, which was based in Kufa. Al-Mukhtar hoped to elevate Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, another son of Ali, to the caliphate, although Ibn al-Hanafiyyah himself may have had no connection to the revolt. The troops of al-Mukhtar engaged in battles both with the Umayyads in 686, defeating them at the river Khazir near Mosul, and with Ibn al-Zubayr in 687, at which time the revolt of al-Mukhtar was crushed. In 691, Umayyad troops reconquered Iraq, and in 692 the same army captured Mecca. Ibn al-Zubayr was killed in the attack.
The second major event of the early reign of Abd al-Malik was the construction of the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem. Although the chronology remains somewhat uncertain, the building seems to have been completed in 692, which means that it was under construction during the conflict with Ibn al-Zubayr. This had led some historians, both medieval and modern, to suggest that the Dome of the Rock was built as a destination for pilgrimage to rival the Kaaba, which was under the control of Ibn al-Zubayr.
Abd al-Malik is credited with centralizing the administration of the Caliphate and with establishing Arabic as its official language. He also introduced a uniquely Muslim coinage, marked by its aniconic decoration, which supplanted the Byzantine and Sasanian coins that had previously been in use. Abd al-Malik also recommenced offensive warfare against Byzantium, defeating the Byzantines at Sebastopolis and recovering control over Armenia and Caucasian Iberia.
Following Abd al-Malik's death, his son, Al-Walid I (705–715), became caliph. Al-Walid was also active as a builder, sponsoring the construction of Al-Masjid al-Nabawi in Medina and the Great Mosque of Damascus.
In the year 712, Muhammad bin Qasim, an Umayyad general, sailed from the Persian Gulf into Sindh and conquered both the Sindh and the Punjab regions along the Indus river. The conquest of Sindh and Punjab, in modern-day Pakistan, although costly, were major gains for the Umayyad Caliphate. However, further gains were halted by the death of Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf Al-Thaqafi, as after his death Muhammad was called back from his conquests. After this, Muslim chroniclers admit that the Caliph Mahdi "gave up the project of conquering any part of India".[ citation needed ]
A major figure during the reigns of both al-Walid and Abd al-Malik was the Umayyad governor of Iraq, Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef. Many Iraqis remained resistant to Umayyad rule, and to maintain order al-Hajjaj imported Syrian troops, which he housed in a new garrison town, Wasit. These troops became crucial in the suppression of a revolt led by an Iraqi general, Ibn al-Ash'ath, in the early eighth century.
Al-Walid was succeeded by his brother, Sulayman (715–717), whose reign was dominated by a protracted siege of Constantinople. The failure of the siege marked the end of serious Arab ambitions against the Byzantine capital. However, the first two decades of the eighth century witnessed the continuing expansion of the Caliphate, which pushed into the Iberian Peninsula in the west, and into Transoxiana in the Muslim conquest of Transoxiana (under Qutayba ibn Muslim) and northern India in the east.
Arab sources claim Qutayba ibn Muslim briefly took Kashgar from China and withdrew after an agreementbut modern historians entirely dismiss this claim.
In AD 715, the Umayyad Caliphate deposed the ikhshid of the Principality of Farghana, and installed a new king Alutar on the throne. The deposed king fled to Kucha (seat of Anxi Protectorate), and sought Chinese intervention. The Tang dynasty sent 10,000 troops under Zhang Xiaosong to Ferghana. He defeated Alutar and the Arab occupation force at Namangan and reinstalled the ikhshid on the throne.
The Chinese defeated the Umayyad invaders at the Battle of Aksu (717), forcing the Umayyad commander, Al-Yashkuri, and his army to flee to Tashkent.
Sulayman was succeeded by his cousin, Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (717–720), whose position among the Umayyad caliphs is somewhat unusual. He is the only Umayyad ruler to have been recognized by subsequent Islamic tradition as a genuine caliph (khalifa) and not merely as a worldly king (malik).
Umar is honored for his attempt to resolve the fiscal problems attendant upon conversion to Islam. During the Umayyad period, the majority of people living within the caliphate were not Muslim, but Christian, Jewish, Zoroastrian, or members of other small groups. These religious communities were not forced to convert to Islam, but were subject to a tax (jizyah) which was not imposed upon Muslims. This situation may actually have made widespread conversion to Islam undesirable from the point of view of state revenue, and there are reports that provincial governors actively discouraged such conversions. It is not clear how Umar attempted to resolve this situation, but the sources portray him as having insisted on like treatment of Arab and non-Arab ( mawali ) Muslims, and on the removal of obstacles to the conversion of non-Arabs to Islam.
After the death of Umar, another son of Abd al-Malik, Yazid II (720–724) became caliph. Yazid is best known for his "iconoclastic edict", which ordered the destruction of Christian images within the territory of the Caliphate. In 720, another major revolt arose in Iraq, this time led by Yazid ibn al-Muhallab.
The final son of Abd al-Malik to become caliph was Hisham (724–43), whose long and eventful reign was above all marked by the curtailment of military expansion. Hisham established his court at Resafa in northern Syria, which was closer to the Byzantine border than Damascus, and resumed hostilities against the Byzantines, which had lapsed following the failure of the last siege of Constantinople. The new campaigns resulted in a number of successful raids into Anatolia, but also in a major defeat (the Battle of Akroinon), and did not lead to any significant territorial expansion.
From the caliphate's north-western African bases, a series of raids on coastal areas of the Visigothic Kingdom paved the way to the permanent occupation of most of Iberia by the Umayyads (starting in 711), and on into south-eastern Gaul (last stronghold at Narbonne in 759). Hisham's reign witnessed the end of expansion in the west, following the defeat of the Arab army by the Franks at the Battle of Tours in 732. In 739 a major Berber Revolt broke out in North Africa, which was probably the largest military setback in the reign of Caliph Hisham. From it, emerged some of the first Muslim states outside the Caliphate. It is also regarded as the beginning of Moroccan independence, as Morocco would never again come under the rule of an eastern Caliph or any other foreign power until the 20th century. It was followed by the collapse of Umayyad authority in al-Andalus. In India the Arab armies were defeated by the south Indian Chalukya dynasty and by the north Indian Pratiharas Dynasty in the 8th century and the Arabs were driven out of India.
In the Caucasus, the confrontation with the Khazars peaked under Hisham: the Arabs established Derbent as a major military base and launched several invasions of the northern Caucasus, but failed to subdue the nomadic Khazars. The conflict was arduous and bloody, and the Arab army even suffered a major defeat at the Battle of Marj Ardabil in 730. Marwan ibn Muhammad, the future Marwan II, finally ended the war in 737 with a massive invasion that is reported to have reached as far as the Volga, but the Khazars remained unsubdued.
Hisham suffered still worse defeats in the east, where his armies attempted to subdue both Tokharistan, with its center at Balkh, and Transoxiana, with its center at Samarkand. Both areas had already been partially conquered, but remained difficult to govern. Once again, a particular difficulty concerned the question of the conversion of non-Arabs, especially the Sogdians of Transoxiana. Following the Umayyad defeat in the "Day of Thirst" in 724, Ashras ibn 'Abd Allah al-Sulami, governor of Khurasan, promised tax relief to those Sogdians who converted to Islam, but went back on his offer when it proved too popular and threatened to reduce tax revenues.
Discontent among the Khurasani Arabs rose sharply after the losses suffered in the Battle of the Defile in 731. In 734, al-Harith ibn Surayj led a revolt that received broad backing from Arabs and natives alike, capturing Balkh but failing to take Merv. After this defeat, al-Harith's movement seems to have been dissolved. The problem of the rights of non-Arab Muslims would continue to plague the Umayyads.
Hisham was succeeded by Al-Walid II (743–44), the son of Yazid II. Al-Walid is reported to have been more interested in earthly pleasures than in religion, a reputation that may be confirmed by the decoration of the so-called "desert palaces" (including Qusayr Amra and Khirbat al-Mafjar) that have been attributed to him. He quickly attracted the enmity of many, both by executing a number of those who had opposed his accession, and by persecuting the Qadariyya.
In 744, Yazid III, a son of al-Walid I, was proclaimed caliph in Damascus, and his army tracked down and killed al-Walid II. Yazid III has received a certain reputation for piety, and may have been sympathetic to the Qadariyya. He died a mere six months into his reign.
Yazid had appointed his brother, Ibrahim, as his successor, but Marwan II (744–50), the grandson of Marwan I, led an army from the northern frontier and entered Damascus in December 744, where he was proclaimed caliph. Marwan immediately moved the capital north to Harran, in present-day Turkey. A rebellion soon broke out in Syria, perhaps due to resentment over the relocation of the capital, and in 746 Marwan razed the walls of Homs and Damascus in retaliation.
Marwan also faced significant opposition from Kharijites in Iraq and Iran, who put forth first Dahhak ibn Qays and then Abu Dulaf as rival caliphs. In 747, Marwan managed to reestablish control of Iraq, but by this time a more serious threat had arisen in Khorasan.
The Hashimiyya movement (a sub-sect of the Kaysanites Shia), led by the Abbasid family, overthrew the Umayyad caliphate. The Abbasids were members of the Hashim clan, rivals of the Umayyads, but the word "Hashimiyya" seems to refer specifically to Abu Hashim, a grandson of Ali and son of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya. According to certain traditions, Abu Hashim died in 717 in Humeima in the house of Muhammad ibn Ali, the head of the Abbasid family, and before dying named Muhammad ibn Ali as his successor. This tradition allowed the Abbasids to rally the supporters of the failed revolt of Mukhtar, who had represented themselves as the supporters of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya.
Beginning around 719, Hashimiyya missions began to seek adherents in Khurasan. Their campaign was framed as one of proselytism (dawah). They sought support for a "member of the family" of Muhammad, without making explicit mention of the Abbasids. These missions met with success both among Arabs and non-Arabs (mawali), although the latter may have played a particularly important role in the growth of the movement.
Around 746, Abu Muslim assumed leadership of the Hashimiyya in Khurasan. In 747, he successfully initiated an open revolt against Umayyad rule, which was carried out under the sign of the black flag. He soon established control of Khurasan, expelling its Umayyad governor, Nasr ibn Sayyar, and dispatched an army westwards. Kufa fell to the Hashimiyya in 749, the last Umayyad stronghold in Iraq, Wasit, was placed under siege, and in November of the same year Abul Abbas as-Saffah was recognized as the new caliph in the mosque at Kufa.[ citation needed ] At this point Marwan mobilized his troops from Harran and advanced toward Iraq. In January 750 the two forces met in the Battle of the Zab, and the Umayyads were defeated. Damascus fell to the Abbasids in April, and in August, Marwan was killed in Egypt.
The victors desecrated the tombs of the Umayyads in Syria, sparing only that of Umar II, and most of the remaining members of the Umayyad family were tracked down and killed. When Abbasids declared amnesty for members of the Umayyad family, eighty gathered to receive pardons, and all were massacred. One grandson of Hisham, Abd al-Rahman I, survived, escaped across North Africa, and established an emirate in Moorish Iberia (Al-Andalus). In a claim unrecognized outside of al-Andalus, he maintained that the Umayyad Caliphate, the true, authentic caliphate, more legitimate than the Abbasids, was continued through him in Córdoba. It was to survive for centuries.
Previté-Orton argues that the reason for the decline of the Umayyads was the rapid expansion of Islam. During the Umayyad period, mass conversions brought Persians, Berbers, Copts, and Aramaics to Islam. These mawalis (clients) were often better educated and more civilised than their Arab overlords. The new converts, on the basis of equality of all Muslims, transformed the political landscape. Previté-Orton also argues that the feud between Syria and Iraq further weakened the empire.
The first four caliphs created a stable administration for the empire, following the practices and administrative institutions of the Byzantine Empire which had ruled the same region previously.These consisted of four main governmental branches: political affairs, military affairs, tax collection, and religious administration. Each of these was further subdivided into more branches, offices, and departments.
Geographically, the empire was divided into several provinces, the borders of which changed numerous times during the Umayyad reign. Each province had a governor appointed by the caliph. The governor was in charge of the religious officials, army leaders, police, and civil administrators in his province. Local expenses were paid for by taxes coming from that province, with the remainder each year being sent to the central government in Damascus. As the central power of the Umayyad rulers waned in the later years of the dynasty, some governors neglected to send the extra tax revenue to Damascus and created great personal fortunes.
As the empire grew, the number of qualified Arab workers was too small to keep up with the rapid expansion of the empire. Therefore, Muawiya allowed many of the local government workers in conquered provinces to keep their jobs under the new Umayyad government. Thus, much of the local government's work was recorded in Greek, Coptic, and Persian. It was only during the reign of Abd al-Malik that government work began to be regularly recorded in Arabic.
The Byzantine and Sassanid Empires relied on money economies before the Muslim conquest, and that system remained in effect during the Umayyad period. Byzantine copper coins were used until 658, while Byzantine gold coins were still in use until the monetary reforms c.700.In addition to this, the Umayyad government began to mint its own coins in Damascus, which were initially similar to pre-existing coins but evolved in an independent direction. These were the first coins minted by a Muslim government in history. Gold coins were called dinars while silver coins were called dirhams.
To assist the Caliph in administration there were six Boards at the Centre: Diwan al-Kharaj (the Board of Revenue), Diwan al-Rasa'il (the Board of Correspondence), Diwan al-Khatam (the Board of Signet), Diwan al-Barid (the Board of Posts), Diwan al-Qudat (the Board of Justice) and Diwan al-Jund (the Military Board)
The Central Board of Revenue administered the entire finances of the empire. It also imposed and collected taxes and disbursed revenue.
A regular Board of Correspondence was established under the Umayyads. It issued state missives and circulars to the Central and Provincial Officers. It co-ordinated the work of all Boards and dealt with all correspondence as the chief secretariat.
In order to reduce forgery, Diwan al-Khatam (Bureau of Registry), a kind of state chancellery, was instituted by Mu'awiyah. It used to make and preserve a copy of each official document before sealing and despatching the original to its destination. Thus in the course of time a state archive developed in Damascus by the Umayyads under Abd al-Malik. This department survived till the middle of the Abbasid period.
Mu'awiyah introduced postal service, Abd al-Malik extended it throughout his empire, and Walid made full use of it. Umar bin Abdul-Aziz developed it further by building caravanserais at stages along the Khurasan highway. Relays of horses were used for the conveyance of dispatches between the caliph and his agents and officials posted in the provinces. The main highways were divided into stages of 12 miles (19 km) each and each stage had horses, donkeys or camels ready to carry the post. Primarily the service met the needs of Government officials, but travellers and their important dispatches were also benefitted by the system. The postal carriages were also used for the swift transport of troops. They were able to carry fifty to a hundred men at a time. Under Governor Yusuf bin Umar, the postal department of Iraq cost 4,000,000 dirhams a year.
[ citation needed ]
In the early period of Islam, justice was administered by Muhammad and the orthodox Caliphs in person. After the expansion of the Islamic State, Umar al-Faruq had to separate judiciary from the general administration and appointed the first qadi in Egypt as early as AD 643/23 AH. After 661, a series of judges served in Egypt during the caliphates of Hisham and Walid II.
The Diwan of Umar, assigning annuities to all Arabs and to the Muslim soldiers of other races, underwent a change in the hands of the Umayyads. The Umayyads meddled with the register and the recipients regarded pensions as the subsistence allowance even without being in active service. Hisham reformed it and paid only to those who participated in battle. On the pattern of the Byzantine system the Umayyads reformed their army organization in general and divided it into five corps: the centre, two wings, vanguards and rearguards, following the same formation while on march or on a battle field. Marwan II (740–50) abandoned the old division and introduced the Kurdus (cohort), a small compact body. The Umayyad troops were divided into three divisions: infantry, cavalry and artillery. Arab troops were dressed and armed in Greek fashion. The Umayyad cavalry used plain and round saddles. The artillery used the arradah (ballista), the manjaniq (mangonel) and the dabbabah or kabsh (battering ram). The heavy engines, siege machines and baggage were carried on camels behind the army.
The Umayyad Caliphate had four main social classes:
The Muslim Arabs were at the top of the society and saw it as their duty to rule over the conquered areas. Despite the fact that Islam teaches the equality of all Muslims, the Arab Muslims held themselves in higher esteem than Muslim non-Arabs and generally did not mix with other Muslims.
As Islam spread, more and more of the Muslim population consisted of non-Arabs. This caused social unrest, as the new converts were not given the same rights as Muslim Arabs. Also, as conversions increased, tax revenues from non-Muslims decreased to dangerous lows. These issues continued to worsen until they helped cause the Abbasid Revolt in the 740s.
Non-Muslim groups in the Umayyad Caliphate, which included Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians and pagans, were called dhimmis. They were given a legally protected status as second-class citizens as long as they accepted and acknowledged the political supremacy of the ruling Muslims, i.e. paid a tax, known as jizya, which the Muslims did not have to pay, who would instead pay the zakat tax. If they converted to Islam they would cease paying jizya and would instead pay zakat.
Christians and Jews still continued to produce great theological thinkers within their communities, but as time wore on, many of the intellectuals converted to Islam, leading to a lack of great thinkers in the non-Muslim communities.Important Christian writers from the Umayyad period include the theologian John of Damascus and bishop Cosmas of Maiuma.
Although non-Muslims could not hold the highest public offices in the empire, they held many bureaucratic positions within the government. An important example of Christian employment in the Umayyad government is that of Sarjun ibn Mansur. He was a Melkite Christian official of the early Umayyad Caliphate. The son of a prominent Byzantine official of Damascus, he was a favourite of the early Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I, and served as the head of the fiscal administration for Syria from the mid-7th century until the year 700, when Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan dismissed him as part of his efforts to Arabicize the administration of the Caliphate. According to the Muslim historians al-Baladhuri and al-Tabari, Sanjur was a mawla of the first Umayyad caliph, Mu'awiya I (r. 661–680), serving as his "secretary and the person in charge of his business". The hagiographies, although less reliable, also assign to him a role in the administration, even as "ruler" ( archon or even amir ), of Damascus and its environs, where he was responsible for collecting the revenue. In this capacity, he is attested in later collections of source material such as that of al-Mas'udi. Sarjun ibn Mansur was replaced by Sulayman ibn Sa'd al-Khushani, another Christian.
Muawiya's marriage to Maysun bint Bahdal (Yazid's mother) was politically motivated, as she was the daughter of the chief of the Kalb tribe, which was a large Syriac Orthodox Christian Arab tribe in Syria.The Kalb tribe had remained largely neutral when the Muslims first went into Syria. After the plague that killed much of the Muslim army in Syria, by marrying Maysun, Muawiyah used the Syriac Orthodox Christians against the Byzantines.
Tom Holland writesChristians, Jews, Samaritans and Manichaeans were all treated well by Muawiyah. Muawiyah even restored Edessa's cathedral after it had been toppled by an earthquake. Savagely though Muawiyah prosecuted his wars against the Romans, yet his subjects, no longer trampled by rival armies, no longer divided by hostile watchtowers, knew only peace at last. Justice flourished in his time, and there was great peace in the regions under his control. He allowed everyone to live as they wanted."
Muawiyah I's family, including his progenitors, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and his wife Hind bint Utbah, were originally opponents of Islam and particularly of Muhammad until the Conquest of Mecca, but they converted to the religion in 630.
However, many early history books, e.g., The Islamic Conquest of Syria Fatuhusham, by al-Imam al-Waqidi, state that, after their conversion to Islam, Muhammad appointed Muawiyah I's father Abu Sufyan ibn Harb and his brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan as army commanders. Muawiyah I, Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan and Hind bint Utbahfought in the Battle of Yarmouk. The defeat of the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius at the Battle of Yarmouk opened the way for Muslim expansion into Jerusalem and Syria.
In 639, Muawiyah was appointed as the governor of Syria by the second caliph, Umar, after the two previous governors—his brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan and, before him, Abu Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah—died in a plague along with 25,000 other people.'Amr ibn al-'As was sent to take on the Roman Army in Egypt. Umar asked Muawiyah to defend against an anticipated Roman attack.
Muawiyah next set about creating allies. Muawiyah married Maysum, the daughter of the chief of the Kalb tribe, a large Jacobite Christian Arab tribe in Syria. His marriage to Maysum was politically motivated. The Kalb tribe had remained largely neutral when the Muslims first went into Syria.Muawiyah now could use the Jacobite Christians to restore the ranks of the plague-depleted army against the Romans. Muawiya's wife Maysum (Yazid's mother) was also a Jacobite Christian. With limited resources and the Byzantines just over the border, Muawiyah worked in cooperation with the local Christian population. To stop Byzantine harassment from the sea during the Arab-Byzantine Wars, in 649 Muawiyah set up a navy, which was manned by Monophysite Christians, Copts, and Jacobite Syrian Christian sailors and Muslim troops.
Muawiya was one of the first to realize the full importance of having a navy; as long as the Byzantine fleet could sail the Mediterranean unopposed, the coastlines of Syria, Palestine and Egypt would never be safe. Muawiyah, along with Adbullah ibn Sa'd, the new governor of Egypt, successfully persuaded Uthman to give them permission to construct a large fleet in the dockyards of Egypt and Syria.
The first real naval engagement between the Muslim and the Byzantine navy was the so-called Battle of the Masts (Dhat al-sawari), or Battle of Phoenix, off the Lycian coast in 655,where the resulting Muslim victory opened up the Mediterranean.
Muawiyah I came to power after the death of Ali and established a dynasty.
|History of the Levant|
The Umayyad caliphate was marked both by territorial expansion and by the administrative and cultural problems that such expansion created. Despite some notable exceptions, the Umayyads tended to favor the rights of the old Arab families, and in particular their own, over those of newly converted Muslims (mawali). Therefore, they held to a less universalist conception of Islam than did many of their rivals. As G.R. Hawting has written, "Islam was in fact regarded as the property of the conquering aristocracy."
During the period of the Umayyads, Arabic became the administrative language. State documents and currency were issued in the language. Mass conversions brought a large influx of Muslims to the caliphate. The Umayyads also constructed famous buildings such as the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem, and the Umayyad Mosque at Damascus.
According to one common view, the Umayyads transformed the caliphate from a religious institution (during the rashidun) to a dynastic one.However, the Umayyad caliphs do seem to have understood themselves as the representatives of God on earth, and to have been responsible for the "definition and elaboration of God's ordinances, or in other words the definition or elaboration of Islamic law."
The Umayyads have met with a largely negative reception from later Islamic historians, who have accused them of promoting a kingship (mulk, a term with connotations of tyranny) instead of a true caliphate (khilafa). In this respect it is notable that the Umayyad caliphs referred to themselves not as khalifat rasul Allah ("successor of the messenger of God", the title preferred by the tradition), but rather as khalifat Allah ("deputy of God"). The distinction seems to indicate that the Umayyads "regarded themselves as God's representatives at the head of the community and saw no need to share their religious power with, or delegate it to, the emergent class of religious scholars."In fact, it was precisely this class of scholars, based largely in Iraq, that was responsible for collecting and recording the traditions that form the primary source material for the history of the Umayyad period. In reconstructing this history, therefore, it is necessary to rely mainly on sources, such as the histories of Tabari and Baladhuri, that were written in the Abbasid court at Baghdad.
Modern Arab nationalism regards the period of the Umayyads as part of the Arab Golden Age which it sought to emulate and restore.[ dubious ] This is particularly true of Syrian nationalists and the present-day state of Syria, centered like that of the Umayyads on Damascus.[ citation needed ]
The Umayyad dynastic color was white, after the banner of Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan;it is now one of the four Pan-Arab colors which appear in various combinations on the flags of most Arab countries.
Many Muslims criticized the Umayyads for having too many non-Muslim, former Roman administrators in their government, e.g., St. John of Damascus.As the Muslims took over cities, they left the people's political representatives, the Roman tax collectors, and the administrators in office. The taxes to the central government were calculated and negotiated by the people's political representatives. Both the central and local governments were compensated for the services each provided. Many Christian cities used some of the taxes to maintain their churches and run their own organizations. Later, the Umayyads were criticized by some Muslims for not reducing the taxes of the people who converted to Islam.
Later, when Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz came to power, he reduced these taxes. He is therefore praised as one of the greatest Muslim rulers after the four Rightly Guided Caliphs. Imam Abu Muhammad Adbullah ibn Abdul Hakam who lived in 829 and wrote a biography on Umar Ibn Adbul Azizstated that the reduction in these taxes stimulated the economy and created wealth but it also reduced the government's budget, including, eventually, the defense budget.
The only Umayyad ruler, who is unanimously praised by Sunni sources for his devout piety and justice is Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz. In his efforts to spread Islam, he established liberties for the Mawali by abolishing the jizya tax for converts to Islam. Imam Abu Muhammad Adbullah ibn Abdul Hakam stated that Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz also stopped the personal allowance offered to his relatives, stating that he could only give them an allowance if he gave an allowance to everyone else in the empire. After Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz was poisoned in 720, successive governments tried to reverse Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz's tax policies, but rebellion resulted.
The negative view of the Umayyads held by Shias is briefly expressed in the Shi'a book "Sulh al-Hasan".According to Shia hadiths, which are not considered authentic by Sunnis, Ali described them as the worst Fitna. In Shia sources, the Umayyad Caliphate is widely described as "tyrannical, anti-Islamic and godless". Shias point out that the founder of the dynasty, Muawiyah, declared himself a caliph in 657 and went to war against Muhammad's son-in-law and cousin, the ruling caliph Ali, clashing at the Battle of Siffin. Muawiyah also declared his son, Yazid, as his successor in breach of a treaty with Hassan, Muhammad's grandson. Another of Muhammad's grandsons, Husayn ibn Ali, would be killed by Yazid in the Battle of Karbala. Further Shia Imams, such as Muhammad's great-grandson, Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidin would be killed at the hands of ruling Umayyad caliphs.
Asked for an explanation of the prophecies in the Book of Revelation (12:3), `Abdu'l-Bahá suggests in Some Answered Questions that the "great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads,"refers to the Umayyad caliphs who "rose against the religion of Prophet Muhammad and against the reality of Ali".
The seven heads of the dragon are symbolic of the seven provinces of the lands dominated by the Umayyads: Damascus, Persia, Arabia, Egypt, Africa, Andalusia, and Transoxiana. The ten horns represent the ten names of the leaders of the Umayyad dynasty: Abu Sufyan, Muawiya, Yazid, Marwan, Abd al-Malik, Walid, Sulayman, Umar, Hisham, and Ibrahim. Some names were re-used, as in the case of Yazid II and Yazid III, which were not accounted for in this interpretation.
The book Al Muwatta, by Imam Malik, was written in the early Abbasid period in Medina. It does not contain any anti-Umayyad content because it was more concerned with what the Quran and what Muhammad said and was not a history book on the Umayyads.
Even the earliest pro-Shia accounts of al-Masudi are more balanced. Al-Masudi's Ibn Hisham is the earliest Shia account of Muawiyah. He recounted that Muawiyah spent a great deal of time in prayer, in spite of the burden of managing a large empire.
Az-Zuhri stated that Muawiya led the Hajj Pilgrimage with the people twice during his era as caliph.
Books written in the early Abbasid period like al-Baladhuri's "The Origins of the Islamic State" provide a more accurate and balanced history. Ibn Hisham also wrote about these events.
Much of the anti-Umayyad literature started to appear in the later Abbasid period in Persia.
After killing off most of the Umayyads and destroying the graves of the Umayyad rulers apart from Muawiyah and Umar ibn Adb al-Aziz, the history books written during the later Abbasid period are more anti-Umayyad.The Abbasids justified their rule by saying that their ancestor Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib was a cousin of Muhammad.
The books written later in the Abbasid period in Iran are more anti-Umayyad. Iran was Sunni at the time. There was much anti-Arab feeling in Iran after the fall of the Persian empire.This anti-Arab feeling also influenced the books on Islamic history. Al-Tabri was also written in Iran during that period. Al-Tabri was a huge collection, preserving everything the compiler could find for future generations to codify and to judge whether the histories were true or false.
Part of a series on the
|History of Iran|
| Timeline |
|Caliphs of Damascus|
|Muawiya I ibn Abu Sufyan||28 July 661 – 27 April 680|
|Yazid I ibn Muawiyah||27 April 680 – 11 November 683|
|Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr|
|Muawiya II ibn Yazid||11 November 683– June 684|
|Marwan I ibn al-Hakam||June 684– 12 April 685|
|Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan||12 April 685 – 8 October 705|
|al-Walid I ibn Abd al-Malik||8 October 705 – 23 February 715|
|Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik||23 February 715 – 22 September 717|
|Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz||22 September 717 – 4 February 720|
|Yazid II ibn Abd al-Malik||4 February 720 – 26 January 724|
|Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik||26 January 724 – 6 February 743|
|al-Walid II ibn Yazid||6 February 743 – 17 April 744|
|Yazid III ibn al-Walid||17 April 744 – 4 October 744|
|Ibrahim ibn al-Walid||4 October 744 – 4 December 744|
|Marwan II ibn Muhammad (ruled from Harran in the Jazira)||4 December 744 – 25 January 750|
Muawiyah I was the founder and first caliph of the Umayyad Caliphate, and the second caliph from the Umayyad clan, the first being Uthman of the Rashidun Caliphate. Muawiyah and his father Abu Sufyan had opposed the Islamic prophet Muhammad, their distant Qurayshite kinsman, until the latter captured Mecca in 630, after which Muawiyah became one of Muhammad's scribes. He was appointed by Caliph Abu Bakr a deputy commander of his brother Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan for the conquest of Syria and steadily moved up the ranks until becoming governor of Syria during the reign of Uthman. He forged marital ties with the region's powerful Banu Kalb tribe, developed the defenses of its coastal cities and directed the war efforts against the Byzantine Empire, including the first Arab naval campaigns.
Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya , commonly known as Yazid I, was the second caliph of the Umayyad caliphate. He ruled for three years from 680 until his death in 683. His appointment was the first hereditary succession in Islamic history. His caliphate was marked by the death of Muhammad's grandson Husayn ibn Ali as well as the start of the crisis known as the Second Fitna.
Marwan ibn al-Hakam ibn Abi al-As ibn Umayya, commonly known as Marwan I was the fourth Umayyad caliph, ruling for less than a year in 684–685. He founded the Marwanid ruling house of the Umayyad dynasty, which replaced the Sufyanid house after its collapse in the Second Muslim Civil War and remained in power until 750.
This is a timeline of major events in the Muslim world from 601 AD to 700 AD.
Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr was the son of Abu Bakr and a companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. His mother was Asma bint Umays, who was a widow of Ja'far ibn Abi Talib prior to her second marriage with Abu Bakr. He became the adopted son of Ali, the fourth Rahidun caliph and the first Imam of Shiite Muslims, and became one of his generals.
The First Fitna was a civil war within the Rashidun Caliphate which resulted in the overthrowing of the Rashidun caliphs and the establishment of the Umayyad dynasty. It began when the caliph Uthman ibn Affan was assassinated by rebels in 656 and continued through the four-year reign of Uthman's successor Ali ibn Abi Talib. It ended in 661 when Ali's heir Hasan ibn Ali concluded a treaty acknowledging the rule of Muawiyah, the first Umayyad caliph.
The Second Fitna or the Second Islamic Civil War was a period of general political and military disorder and conflicts in the Islamic community during the early Umayyad caliphate. It followed the death of the first Umayyad caliph Mu'awiya I in 680 and lasted for about twelve years. The war involved the suppression of two challenges to the Umayyad dynasty, the first by Husayn ibn Ali, as well as his supporters including Sulayman ibn Surad and Mukhtar al-Thaqafi who rallied for his revenge in Iraq, and the second by Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr.
Abū Hāshim Khālid ibn Yazīd ibn Muʿāwiya ibn Abī Sufyān was an Umayyad prince, commander and one-time candidate for the caliphal throne. As a son of Caliph Yazid I and brother of Caliph Mu'awiya II, Khalid was supported by powerful elements of the pro-Umayyad Syrian tribes of Kalb and Kinda to succeed Mu'awiya II in the wake of his death and the outbreak of the Second Muslim Civil War, which the saw Umayyad domains largely overtaken by supporters of the non-Umayyad, Caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. Ultimately, Marwan I, a senior Umayyad from another branch of the clan, was chosen as caliph by the Syrians, thus ending the rule of the Sufyanid household to which Khalid belonged. Despite this, he forged close ties with Marwan's son and successor, Caliph Abd al-Malik, who appointed him to successive administrative and military roles. After successful campaigns against Ibn al-Zubayr's loyalists in Mesopotamia, Khalid lived the rest of his life in his Homs estate. Later sources turned Khalid into a legendary alchemist, known in the Latin sources as Calid.
Sakhr ibn Harb ibn Umayya ibn Abd Shams, better known as Abu Sufyan (Arabic: أبو سفيان, romanized: Abū Sufyān, was a leader and merchant from the Quraysh tribe of Mecca. In his early career, he often led trade caravans to Syria. He had been among the main leaders of Meccan opposition to Muhammad, the prophet of Islam and member of the Quraysh, commanding the Meccans at the battles of Uhud and the Trench in 625 and 627. However, when Muhammad entered Mecca in 630, Abu Sufyan was among the first to submit and was given a stake in the nascent Muslim state, playing a role at the Battle of Hunayn and the subsequent destruction of the polytheistic sanctuary of al-Lat in Ta'if. After Muhammad's death, he may have been appointed the governor of Najran by Caliph Abu Bakr for an unspecified period. Abu Sufyan later played a supporting role in the Muslim army at the Battle of Yarmouk against the Byzantines in Syria. His sons Yazid and later Mu'awiya were given command roles in that province and the latter went on to establish the Umayyad Caliphate in 661.
Ziyad ibn Abdallah ibn Yazid ibn Mu'awiya, commonly known as Abu Muhammad al-Sufyani, was an Umayyad nobleman and a pretender to the Umayyad Caliphate, which had been overthrown by the Abbasid Caliphate in early 750. Abu Muhammad led a revolt against the Abbasids, but his forces were defeated and he fled to Arabia, where he was killed in the early part of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur's reign.
Abūʾl-Aʿwar ʿAmr ibn Sufyān ibn ʿAbd Shams al-Sulamī, identified with the Abulathar or Aboubacharos of the Byzantine sources, was an Arab admiral and general, serving in the armies of the Rashidun caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar and Uthman and the Rashidun governor of Syria and later Umayyad caliph, Mu'awiya I.
Jabiyah was a town of political and military significance in the 6th–8th centuries. It was located between the Hawran plain and the Golan Heights. It initially served as the capital of the Ghassanids, an Arab vassal kingdom of the Byzantine Empire. Following the Muslim conquest of Syria, it early on became the Muslims' main military camp in the region and, for a time, the capital of Jund Dimashq. Caliph Umar convened a meeting of senior Muslim figures at the city where the organization of Syria and military pay was decided. Later, in 684, Jabiyah was the site of a summit of Arab tribes that chose Marwan I to succeed Caliph Mu'awiya II. Jabiyah was often used by the Umayyad caliphs as a retreat. Its significance declined when Caliph Sulayman made Dabiq the Muslims' main military camp in Syria.
Abū Unaysal-Ḍaḥḥak ibn Qays al-Fihrī was an Umayyad general, head of security forces and governor of Damascus during the reigns of caliphs Mu'awiya I, Yazid I and Mu'awiya II. Though long an Umayyad loyalist, after the latter's death, al-Dahhak defected to the anti-Umayyad claimant to the caliphate, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr.
The Hashemite–Umayyad rivalry was a feud between the clans of Banu Hashim and Banu Umayya, both belonging to the Meccan Arab tribe of Quraysh, in the 7th and 8th centuries. The rivalry is important as it influenced key events in the course of early Islamic history.
Al-Walīd ibn ʿUtba ibn Abī Sufyān was a Umayyad ruling family member and statesman during the reigns of the Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I. He served two stints as the governor of Medina in 677/78–680 and 681–682. He was dismissed during his first term for failing to secure oaths of allegiance from Husayn ibn Ali and other senior Muslim figures who opposed Yazid's accession. After his relocation to Damascus during the Second Fitna, he was imprisoned in 684 for proclaiming his support for continued Umayyad rule and condemning the anti-Umayyad caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. He was freed shortly after by his kinsman Khalid ibn Yazid and the pro-Umayyad Banu Kalb tribe.
Nuʿmān ibn Bashīr al-Ansārī was a commander and statesman of the Umayyad Caliphate. A supporter of Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan during the First Muslim Civil War, he was appointed by him governor of Kufa in 678–680. Afterward, he was made governor of Homs by Caliph Yazid I. After the latter's death, he gave allegiance to the Mecca-based, Caliph Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. When pro-Umayyad forces routed Ibn al-Zubayr's supporters in Syria, he fled Homs but was slain during his escape.
Sufyān ibn ʿAwf ibn al-Mughaffal al-Azdī al-Ghāmidī was an Arab commander in the service of the Rashidun and Umayyad caliphs Umar, Uthman and Mu'awiya I. He fought as a partisan of Mu'awiya against Caliph Ali during the First Muslim Civil War, leading a raid against the latter's forces in Iraq. Throughout his military career, he was major commander in the wars with the Byzantine Empire. Though the medieval Arabic, Greek and Syriac accounts are not entirely consistent, he most likely was at the head of a large Arab army that was decisively defeated by the Byzantines in 673/74 and was slain during the battle.
ʿAbd Allāh ibn Masʿada al-Fazārī was an Arab commander from the Banu Fazara tribe who fought in the service of the Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I and Yazid I. He also played a political role under the caliphs Marwan I and Abd al-Malik.
Ḥubaysh ibn Dulja al-Qaynī was a tribal leader of the Quda'a in Jund al-Urdunn and a commander for the Umayyad caliphs Mu'awiya I, Yazid I and Marwan I.
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