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5. Banu Umayya from 'Abd al-Malik to Marwan

5. Banu Umayya from 'Abd al-Malik to Marwan

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

Title: The Khilafa of Banu Umayya from ’Abd al-Malik to Marwan 65-132 / 685-750

Author: Abdalhakim Andersson and Aisha Bewley

Publication date: 29/09/2012

Lecture 5: Banu Umayya from ‘Abd al-Malik to Marwan ibn Muhammad 65-132 / 685-750

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم وصلى الله على سيدنا محمد وعلى ءاله وصحبه أجمعين

As-salamu alaykum. Welcome to the History of the Muslims Programme of the Muslim Faculty of Advanced Studies. This is the fifth of 12 sessions which make up the History of the Khalifas module. The lecture will last approximately 40 minutes during which time you should make a written note of any questions that may occur to you for clarification after the lecture. The following lecture is based on lecture notes that Hajja Aisha Bewley prepared, but since she is not able to deliver them, I have reworked her notes slightly and will present that today.


In the previous lecture we went through the history of the Umayyad khulafa and the Muslim umma under their leadership, from the ‘am al-jama’a under Mu’awiya after the first fitna to the ‘am al-jama’a under ‘Abd al-Malik after the second fitna. Today, we are going to continue with the actual reign of ‘Abd al-Malik and the khulafa who succeeded him, which includes four of his sons and his cousin, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz, among others. After the second fitna and the restoration of the unity of the Muslim community under ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, the situation was similar to the beginning of Mu’awiya’s reign, in his ‘am al-jama’a. However, the marks of the two preceding fitan were not easily swept away and, as ‘Abd al-Malik realised, serious measures had to be taken in order to build a dawla that would stand strong against both the internal and external challenges facing it at the time. 

‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan  65-86 / 685-705

As soon as the fitna was over, ‘Abd al-Malik undertook a number of reforms, many of which al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf – the notorious general who had defeated Ibn az-Zubayr in Makka – had a lot to do with. It is, in fact, hard to think of ‘Abd al-Malik without thinking of al-Hajjaj, who was essential for implementing his policies and intents, while also providing a lot of suggestions that became policy, even including marking the divisions in the masahif and the diacritical marks in the Qur’anic text.

Under ‘Abd al-Malik, the first independent Muslim dinar and dirham coins were minted replacing the previously circulating gold, silver and copper coins that had been minted, more or less, as copies of the Roman gold solidus and the Persian silver drahm. The development towards an independent Islamic currency was, however, a gradual process that had begun already at the time of ‘Umar onwards. While Abu Bakr continued using the pre-existing coins, in the manner of the practice at the time of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘Umar found it necessary in the economic administration of the expanding dawla to establish the standard ratios of 7:10 between the weights of the coins, which remained the same under the following khulafa rashidun, even though ‘Umar himself minted very few, if any, coins according to these standards and it was not until the khilafa of Mu‘awiya that the Muslims began producing coins in larger quantities. ‘Abdallah ibn az-Zubayr and his brother, Mus’ab, are also mentioned by some historians as the first to mint silver dirhams with various Islamic inscriptions in Arabic during the second fitna. The process was, as we can see, gradual and many different leaders of the Muslims contributed to its development. Even the first coins minted under ‘Abd al-Malik had many traces of the previous coinages, including pictures of the khalifa reminiscent of the images of Persian and Roman emperors, although purely epigraphic dinars and dirhams were soon produced in the dawla. It is, in fact, said that it was al-Hajjaj himself that recommended removing images from the coins and replacing them with Arabic inscriptions. From the sources, however, it seems that it was  towards the end of the second fitna that ‘Abd al-Malik decided to begin reforming the coins, perhaps as a response to the coins minted by the Zubayrids or perhaps as a part of his own vision for the Muslim dawla since the coins were only one of several reforms that he undertook.

Other reforms included cleaning and reopening the irrigational canals of the Tigris-Euphrates thus leading to increased prosperity, introducing the Indian water buffalo in the marshes, and the re-organisation of government bureaucracies – with different branches assigned to different tasks. He established postal routes and made the existing ones more efficient, which conducted information to the centre, and replaced Greek and Pahlavi with Arabic as the language of administration and the diwans, which was important for the establishment of Arabic as the language of the Muslim lands. Along with monetary reforms and buildings such as the Dome of the Rock (Masjid Qubbat ash-Shakhara) in Jerusalem, the establishment of Arabic as the official language was important both socio-politically and symbolically, since it manifested the authority of the Muslims and, particularly in the case of the coins, spread the message of Islam right into the pockets of people, Muslims and non-Muslims, within the borders of the dawla and beyond. 

The centralisation of control was a response to the chaotic situation during the second fitna, including conflicts not only with the Zubayrids, but also the various Khawarij and proto-Shi’a movements. It does not seem to have been a pre-thought out programme, but one which developed in response to events. In relation to the on-going discussion about the khalifa as a sultan, a political leader, or an imam with a spiritual role as well, ‘Abdal-Malik made no claims for religious authority for the position of the khalifa. It ought to be said, however, that he was a man of great knowledge. As he grew up in Madina, he studied under many of the famous ‘ulama and fuqaha of the sahaba and the tabi’un. Regarding ‘Abd al-Malik, Nafi’, the client of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar and one of the prominent scholars of Madina at the time, is reported to have said, “I saw Madina, and there were no youth in it who worked harder nor with more fiqh nor who read the Book of Allah more than Sa’id ibn al-Musayyab, ‘Urwa ibn az-Zubayr, Qabisa ibn Dhu’ayb and ‘Abdu’l-Malik ibn Marwan.”1

But as a child he had also witnessed what had happened to ‘Uthman in Madina, and was determined that such unrest should not happen again. For the most part, he preferred to pardon and reconcile whenever that was possible, but sometimes, especially in Iraq under the governance of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, it was perhaps not possible. Marwanid rule moved from the more indirect rule of the Sufyanids to a more centralised form of governance. The ashraf were replaced by officials directly answerable to the khalifa. This was also necessary because many of the mawali were becoming Muslim while more Arabs were ceasing to play a military role. They received estates and settled down. The Syrian army became more of a standing army that was sent to various provinces at different times according to circumstances. There was also a garrison for the Syrian army in Wasit in Iraq that was resisted by the locals and was a constant source  of resentment.

Peace in the east allowed ‘Abdal-Malik to turn his attention to the West, where the Berbers had taken the opportunity to revolt. In 74/694, the troops reached as far as Tangier and many Berbers became Muslim. 12,000 were recruited into the army. The expansion thus continued and at the time of his son and successor, al-Walid, the Muslim dawla reached its largest extent ever in history. ’Abd al-Malik left a stable situation with all the Muslims, except the Kharijites, united, a full bayt al-mal, and al-Hajjaj still in place. Four of his sons succeeded him.

Walid (I) ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 86-96 / 705-715

‘Abd al-Malik's son, al-Walid, turned to construction. The work on the irrigation systems continued, and mosques, hospitals and roads were built, because ‘Abd al-Malik had enormous wealth and cities were growing rapidly, resulting in unemployment. Al-Walid spent this money on the towns, which also prevented unrest. For the lepers, blind, and chronically ill there was a state subsidy – even slaves to guide the blind. But this seems to have been mostly for the Arabs. The mosques in Madina and Jerusalem were expanded and a mosque built in Damascus, and roads and wells built on the way to the hajj. He encouraged manufacture and design. Because of the wealth from conquests, zakat was no longer collected, although kharaj, the land tax, and the jizya from the ahl adh-dhimmi under Muslim protection was. 

Al-Hajjaj continued to manage Iraq for al-Walid, dying in 95/714, a year before al-Walid, but if he had lived on, the new khalifa, Sulayman ibn al-’Abd al-Malik, would certainly have replaced him since he did not agree with his policies. It is also during the later reign of al-Walid and his successor, Sulayman, that al-Andalus was opened by Tariq ibn Ziyad, the mawla of the governor of North Africa (Ifriqiya), Musa ibn Nusayr. 

But around this time there arose a split which plagued Umayyad rule – the Qays/Yaman dispute, often characterised as a tribal split between North and South. It is, however, far more complex than that, although tribal connections probably played a part in the choice of parties and, indeed, their development, because we find Qays members on the Yamani side and vice versa. From the governmental policy followed by those in power it seems that the conflict was about the actual course which the dawla should follow. The position attributed to the Qays favoured Arab supremacy and segregation of the Arabs from the conquered non-Arab peoples, and Yaman favoured assimilation. The Qaysi answer to internal stress was to expand through conquest and direct the attention elsewhere and send dissidents to the frontline where they would have ample opportunity to fight. This was a pragmatic solution to the situation and not necessarily a long-term one. The tensions were not going to disappear because a few people had been transferred elsewhere. And, in fact, it was from Khorasan, the very province where the dissidents had been sent, that the successful ‘Abbasid revolt arose. If this had simply been a tribal dispute, as many claim, then we would expect to have seen it before this period, or to have seen it continuing into the Abbasid period. It does not. So the interpretation that the split had something to do with policy seems more likely. The fact that the two sides could not and did not reach an accommodation paved the way for an Abbasid victory.

Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 96-99 / 715-717

Al-Walid ruled for ten years. When Sulayman, al-Walid's brother, came to power, there was a shift in policy. Instead of al-Hajjaj, he appointed Yazid ibn al-Muhallab ibn Abi Sufra, a Yamani supporter who had suffered in his career from the abuse of the Qaysites. All the Qaysites except for Qutayba in the east were dismissed and replaced. The military situation there was such that it was best to leave him in place. Sulayman was not averse to military campaigns. He laid siege to Constantinople. He also gradually brought in non-Arabs to the government. It was a mixed programme, continuing military action while bringing non-Arabs in and giving them a role. The most crucial action, which was carried out with the greatest possible tact, was to appoint his cousin, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz his successor rather than one of the sons of ‘Abd al-Malik, supplanting his own brother Yazid. This was a very very unusual step. Normally, the next khalifa should by rights have been his brother, Yazid. The reasons for it might be unknown, but one result was that the Yamani policy continued to be implement under ’Umar and if that was the reason being the appointment, then it would have been successful in the long-run if ‘Umar had lived to old age.

‘Umar (II) ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz 99-101 / 717-720

‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz was radical in implementing change and had a universal Islamic rather than Arab vision of the community. He had previously been governor in Madina and there had received both political, social and scholarly experience from the ‘amal of the people of Madina, which he accordingly implemented as khalifa. Immediately after his succession, he instigated great changes from the top. He saw that the success of Mu‘awiya had been based on moderation and accommodation, rather than authoritarianism. Instead of preserving order by force and overpowering, be preserved it by justice (‘adl) and removal of oppression (dhulm) in all the regions.

He undertook a complete reorganisation of the way that things were done. He annulled various Marwanid privileges as well as making the basis of the community the deen rather than being an Arab Muslim. Central authority became even stronger and governors had detailed instructions to ensure that they carried out the new instructions. This enabled him to appoint both Qays and Yamani governors. His instructions were detailed to the extent that he forbade planting trees along the banks of the Nile since it would interfere with towing boats upstream. The Syrian garrisons in Iraq and Khorasan were withdrawn. He stipulated that stipends should be paid to every Muslim who fulfilled his military obligations, Arabs or non-Arab, and that the taxes of all should be the same, which meant that the jizya that in some regions had still been levied on new Muslims was removed. ‘Umar realised the necessity to secure the transmission of Islam among the people already incorporated into the dawla and sought proportionally to combine outward expansion with inward education of the Umma, including implementing the knowledge in society as well as collecting and teaching knowledge, particularly hadith. The 20th century scholar, Muhammad Abu Zahra, writes regarding ‘Umar and his importance for the spread of the knowledge he received in Madina:

Firstly he commanded the scholars of Madina to disperse throughout the lands of Islam to instruct and guide people. They clarified for them the limits and laws of Islam, the fiqh of Madina was disseminated in this way. Right guidance became widespread through them. It is perhaps those Followers who were sent from Madina who made the Muslims of North Africa love the knowledge of Madina so that only Malik was followed when his madhhab was founded, Madina being the source of its knowledge.2 

It is also narrated that ‘Umar told Abu Bakr ibn Hazm to collect the ahadith and sunan of the Prophet, sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, because of his fear that knowledge may become extinct and the ’ulama disappear.3 But besides his importance for the transmission of knowledge, his general governmental policy was not only sound in respect of the din, it made political and strategic sense and is, in fact, the policy which the Abbasids aspired to follow, which is why he is the one Umayyad they respected. He was able to govern by consent, which is what Mu‘awiya had done before him and indeed his ancestor on his maternal side, ’Umar ibn al-Khattab.

Yazid (II) ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 101-105 / 720-724

Unfortunately ’Umar’s reign was short, less than three years, and when Yazid (II) ibn ’Abd al-Malik took over, he reverted to the previous policy. He reacted against what had deprived him of power. Seeing the writing on the wall, as it were, Yazid ibn al-Muhallab promptly rebelled in Basra and was defeated with a great deal of bloodshed, which entailed Maslama, the new Qaysite appointee, slaughtering prisoners in groups of twenty and thirty, while selling the women and children into slavery.

Maslama was instructed to eliminate all resistance, eject every Yamanite from office and reverse every decision. There was a Syrian garrison stationed again in Wasit, Berbers were insulted, Egyptians deprived of stipends. It is really this Qaysite vision which was the policy the Abbasids later cursed. It is a short-sighted policy because eventually the expansion has to stop. There has to be some consolidation and absorption or things will reach the point where the centre cannot hold and control is lost. By this time, non-Arab Muslims outnumbered Arab Muslins.

To mention Khorasan again, during the second civil war, there were no military campaigns for fourteen years. People got used to being settled and interested in other pursuits. When expansion got going again, especially under al-Hajjaj who used it to get rid of troublesome groups by sending them on expeditions from which there was no recall, Qutayba, the governor, brought in non-Arabs and the troops got a share of the booty. This worked so well that the Arabs and Persians co-operated to depose Qutayba so that they could return home. The same process happened in Jazira where they assimilated. The same was true everywhere. It was very successful with the Berbers. Then when it was reversed, after the Berbers had basically conquered Spain, it caused discontent which was only stopped by ‘Umar (II) ibn ’Abd al-’Aziz. His father, ‘Abd al-‘Aziz ibn Marwan, who had been the governor of Egypt, previously had acted on that basis. The progress on this front was, however, lost under Yazid.

There were also various attacks in the far northeast from Turgesh tribes and, for instance, the Muslims suffered a serious defeat on the Day of Thirst in 106/724, after which the Muslims were on the defensive and had to reconcile the locals to their rule, reflecting the gradual disintegration of central Umayyad rule, although one strong ruler was to follow, Hisham ibn ’Abd al-Malik.

Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 105-125 / 724-743

When Yazid died in 105/725, Hisham, the fourth son of ‘Abd al-Malik, continued the Qaysite policy. More of a statesman than his brother, when the policy of expansion was going badly in Khorasan, he appointed a Yamanite instead.  Unfortunately he then replaced him with a Qaysite who re-imposed the jizya on the mawali, resulting in a revolt in which the rebels called on the Turks for help and much of Transoxiana was lost. It took another six years just to get Bukhara back. To resolve this, Hisham then cut the diwan in half, allowing half to settle and he brought in 20,000 reinforcements from Iraq. There was a revolt in 734/115 under al-Harith ibn Surayj. This was an Arab revolt. The locals sided with the rebels. Things were becoming more and more serious. Eventually the troops were able to defeat the Turgesh decisively in 737/119 in the Battle of Kharistan. It was the end of the Turgesh threat.

When examining the end of the Umayyad dawla, however, it is important not only to look at the internal situation and issues such as tribal and regional conflicts or religious rivalry, but also take external factors into account. Although internal problems weakened Umayyad rule and paved way for the Abbasids, for instance, the constantly unruly Khorasan and Iraq – where new sectarian groups such as al-Qadariyya appeared and uprisings took place against the harsh treatment of its governors, such as the rebellion of Muhammad an-Nafs az-Zakiyya – external factors were perhaps even more significant. As Khalid Yahya Blankinship argues in his The End of the Jihad State (1994), it is particularly necessary to scrutinise in greater detail the reign of Hisham ibn 'Abd al-Malik and the collapse of the expansion policies during his reign. He writes:

The various internal problems which beset the Umayyads, including tribal strife, regionalism, and revolutionary movements with a religious coloring, were mostly long standing. Though severe, these previously had been and still might have been compassed, deflected and overcome, even in Hisham's reign, given enough time, concentration of effort, and political wisdom. But what made that impossible was an unprecedented series of military disasters inflicted on the caliphate by outside powers during this reign. It was mainly this combination of spectacular military defeats that started the Umayyad rule hurtling toward its sudden downfall, rather than any new or worsening set of internal problems. Even the sage Hisham was incapable of doing much to remedy the situation and gradually lost control over the course of events, though it was left to his successors to feel the full force of the deluge.4

From 122/744 onwards, and the Berber rebellion in North Africa, the political unity of the Muslims was lost and thus, in Abbasid times, much of North Africa and al-Andalus were no longer to be integral parts of the khilafa. In that same year, expansion through jihad stopped on all fronts, with only a few exceptions. As Khalid Blankinship notes, Muslims of the Abbasid times onwards had to turn to the internal ordering of society, which arguably contributed to great cultural and scholarly developments, but at the same time saw religious leadership becoming increasingly more separate from government.

If we return to the time of Hisham, however, there was trouble on all fronts. The Khazars were attacking in Jazira, the reinvigorated Byzantines were yet again a threat, a strong opposition appeared on the front against the kingdoms of India and in France, the Muslim advance had been stopped by the Franks under Charles Martel at the battle of Tours sometimes known as the Battle of Poitiers. Internally, the Berbers began to rise up in North Africa and the east, as we have seen, was never at peace. Hisham's policy of military expansion eventually brought him up against strong opponents on more than one front aggravated by the fact that the troops were tired of constant campaigning. Three problems loomed. The cost of warfare was not offset by the amount of booty, resulting in increased taxation and reduced spending and thus discontent. Harsh campaigning coupled with lack of success had weakened morale. This was not helped by constant changes of leadership and policy because of the Qays/Yaman conflict. Losses in the field weakened the Syrian army so much that it was no longer the force that it had once been. Hisham's genius lay in the fact that he survived the propensity to fragmentation with relative peace, but, after his death, disintegration increased rapidly.

Walid (II) ibn Yazid 125 / 743-744

Hisham’s nephew, al-Walid (II) ibn Yazid, followed an even more extreme Qaysite policy, not to mention his being completely dissolute, and was, in the end, murdered. He emptied what was left in the bayt al-mal and outraged everyone. Then came the third fitna. It begins with the rebellion against al-Walid in 744 and it ends with assumption of control by Marwan (II) ibn Muhammad in 747. It is important to note that the Marwanids had always ruled by family consensus, which was now shattered in the civil war precipitated by Walid’s poor rule and the economic problems after years of increasingly less successful jihad. The time was more than ripe for fragmentation. The fitna was more or less immediately followed by the Abbasid revolt. Again, we have an embittered heir apparent, as Hisham had planned to set Walid, his nephew, aside for his son. Walid's behaviour resulted in great hatred for him – he executed his opponents, and imprisoned other members of the family. He handed over Khalid al-Qasri, the leader of the Yamanites, to an enemy of his to be tortured to death. He had Hisham's son, Sulayman, beaten, banished and imprisoned. It was the Syrians themselves who overthrew him. This is, in fact, the end of the Marwanids, because the source of their authority  the Syrian army – had overthrown them. A son of Walid I was put in his place: Yazid (III) ibn al-Walid.

Yazid (III) ibn al-Walid 126 / 744

Yazid III reversed the policies of Walid. He tried to appeal to the policies of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdu'l-‘Aziz. He said that he was elected by shura and that if there was someone better fitted to office upon whom his subjects decided, he would be the first to give him allegiance. But the grievances were too numerous. He had to promise to cut back on building and irrigation, especially that which benefited private estates; to spend the revenues on a territory in which the money was raised; not to keep soldiers away from their homes for long periods; not to overburden those who paid jizya; to pay attention to the complaints of the weak against the powerful, and to pay stipends regularly to all entitled to them. It gives us a picture of what was wrong at the time and how the situation had been allowed to slide.

Ibrahim ibn al-Walid 126 / 744

Yazid died after only six months. His brother Ibrahim succeeded him, but had limited acceptance and Marwan, a grandson of the first Marwan, led a rebellion after which he took over the khilafa.

Marwan (II) ibn Muhammad 127-132 / 744-750

The khilafa of Marwan began in year 127/744 after his rebellion against Ibrahim ibn al-Walid, which can be seen an extension of the overthrow of al-Walid. The situation was one of complete chaos. Marwan went back to the Qaysites and abandoned Damascus, making his capital Harran, in the far north of Bilad ash-Sham. Insurrections broke out everywhere. There was also the usual Kufan rebellion under ‘Abdullah ibn Mu‘awiya, the grandson of Ja‘far, ‘Ali's brother. When ‘Abdullah had to flee to the east, he was murdered by Abu Muslim, the architect of the ‘Abbasid movement. As soon as he had fled, there was a Kharijite revolt in Iraq which Sulayman ibn Hisham ibn ’Abd al-Malik joined after having fled from the civil war with Marwan ibn Muhammad. As soon as that rebellion was under control another broke out and so it went. Appeals for help came from Khorasan, but Marwan had no spare men to send.

We might ask why the uprising that finally toppled the Umayyads began in Khorasan? There was a large Muslim civilian population with genuine grievances. There was factionalism. Marwan was busy dealing with the situation in Iraq. The claim of this movement theoretically goes back to Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya, ‘Ali’s son who was supported by al-Mukhtar. They later claimed that his son, Abu Hashim, transferred his claim to Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, the head of the Abbasids, and so their initial movement was called the Hashimiyya. It started, of course, in Kufa, but the main energy was focused by missionaries in Khurasan, particularly in Merv. It called for a leader from the Ahl al-Bayt. Both mawali and Arabs were involved. In fact, there were a large number of mawali and the uprising was encouraged by the division between Arab and non-Arab espoused by the late Umayyad policies. In Khurasan and other outlying regions there were even different mosques for Arabs and non-Arabs. This also encouraged the non-Arabs to embrace Shi‘ism, perhaps given the fact that it echoed their pre-Islamic, messianic traditions.

Abu Muslim was appointed the personal representative of Imam Ibrahim, who had succeeded his father, Muhammad the great grandson of al-‘Abbas, in 128/746 as head of the Abbasids. Abu Muslim’s origins are unknown, but the black banners, with their messianic connotations, were raised in 125/747. He called on the people to give allegiance to ar-Ridâ, someone ‘pleasing’ from the Ahl al-Bayt, as yet unnamed. As the insurgents had a great deal of success, the central government became alarmed. The connections between Ibrahim and the movement were uncovered and he was arrested and died shortly thereafter, presumed murdered. The rest of the family fled to Kufa and went into hiding. Abu Salama took control of the organisation of the movement in Kufa. Abu Muslim also assassinated erstwhile supporters when he no longer had need of them. Abu Salama was not keen on the Abbasids and wanted to recognise a descendant of ‘Ali. Ja‘far as-Sadiq refused the offer and the other possible ‘Alid candidates hesitated.

When Abu Muslim and his followers heard that twelve of the army leaders had ridden into Kufa, he brought Abu'l-‘Abbas out of hiding and gave bay‘a to him. Abu Salama had to follow. So he was recognised. He was the younger weaker brother, Abu Ja‘far being the stronger, so perhaps Abu Muslim thought he would be more easily controlled or even perhaps removed. Meanwhile, the Kharijites had rebelled yet again and Marwan had to go to Iraq to put them down which he did successfully, but at the same time, the Shi‘ite revolt was underway, with years of careful planning behind it.

Marwan was drawn into battle and was defeated at the Greater Zab in 132/750 and his army was destroyed. He kept fleeing until he was betrayed and killed. Abu'l-‘Abbas soon had Abu Salama killed and al-Mansur later had Abu Muslim killed. The Abbasids were in complete control. They made sure that no Umayyad opposition was going to arise by murdering most of the members of the Umayyad family. One of the few surviving, ’Abd ar-Rahman ad-Dakhil, then fled towards the west and soon gathered enough support to build up the Umayyad amirate that would later transform itself into the Umayyad khilafa of al-Andalus, which I will continue with after the two lectures on the khilafa of Banu’l-’Abbas. As we previously said, from 122/744 onwards, the political unity of the Muslims was shattered and thus ’Abbasid rule never went far beyond modern day Tunisia. Furthermore, the jihad stopped and the ’Abbasids even established a diplomatic mosque in Constantinople, while the general respect for leadership and the possibility of unification under one leader were considerably reduced. It was not until the the time of the Osmanli khulafa that the universal jihad began again. 


That brings us to the end of today’s lecture and the following lecture will continue from where this ended: with the rise of the khilafa of Banu’l-‘Abbas and their first century-long period of strength. Recommended further reading relating to this lecture is Jalal’ud-Din as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa (Eng. “History of the Caliphs”), Khalid Yahya Blankingships The End of the Jihad State: The Reign of Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik and the Collapse of the Umayyads (1994) and the relevant passages from al-Muqaddima that deal with government and the rise, fall and renewal of society in general. 

For those of you who have sufficient knowledge of the Arabic language, I would also recommend to have a look at some of the classical Muslim historians, for example al-Baladhuri and at-Tabari. The well-known later historian, Ibn Kathir, also has a substantial section dedicated to Banu Umayya in his al-Bidaya wa an-Nihaya. which is worth having a look at. Also, Abu’l-Faraj ibn al-Jawzi’s book Fadha’il ‘Umar ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz is highly recommended for the more biographical approach. Some of these are, as far as I know, also available in the English language, although the translations might be deficient.

As preparatory reading for the next lecture on the ‘Abbasids, we recommend Jalal’ud-Din as-Suyuti’s Tarikh al-Khulafa (Eng. “History of the Caliphs”) pp.261-371 and and Chapter III of Ibn Khaldun’s Muqaddima on the power issues involved. 

Thank you for your attention. As-salamu alaykum.

Appendix 1: Timeline from ‘Abd al-Malik to Marwan ibn Muhammad

‘Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan  65-86 AH (685-705)

Second Civil War

65-67/685-87 Shi'ite rebellion of Mukhtar in Iraq

71-72/691 Battle of Dayr al-Jathaliq

73/692 Defeat and death of Ibn az-Zubayr 

75-96/694-714 Hajjaj in Iraq

75/695 Dome of the Rock

78/697 Language reforms, Arabic replaces Pahlavi in Persian administration

79/698 Capture of Carthage

Walid (I) ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 86-96 AH (705-715)

89/708 Capture of Tangiers

90/709 al-Aqsa

92/711 Tariq ibn Ziyad attacks southern Spain - beginning of the opening of al-Andalus. 

93/712 Opening of Sind by Muhammad ibn al-Qasim. Qutyaba, governor of Khurasan, opens Khwarazm and Transoxiana. First mosque in Bukhara.

95/715 Al-Hajjaj dies

96/ 715 Muslims open Transoxiana; Qutayba dies.

Sulayman ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 96-99 AH (715-717)

97-98/716-718  Unsuccessful siege of Constantinople

‘Umar (II) ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz 99-101 AH (717-720)

99-101 Tax reforms and other reforms.

100/719 Cordoba becomes capital of Andalus

101/720 Zaydi split in Shi‘ism.

Yazid (II) ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 101-105 (720-724)

101/ 720 Last Companion dies.

Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik 105-125 AH (724-743)

106/724 Turgesh and Soghdians defeat Muslims in Day of Thirst

114/732 Battle of Poitiers

116/734 Berber uprising. Al-Harith ibn Surayj’s revolt.

119/ 737 Battle of Kharistan

122/740 Uprising of Zayd ibn 'Ali in Kufa.

123/741 Battle of Wadi Sabu

Walid (II) ibn Yazid 125 AH (743-744)

Yazid (III) ibn al-Walid 126 AH (744)

Ibrahim ibn al-Walid 126 AH (744)

Marwan (II) ibn Muhammad 127-132 AH (744-750)

127/745 Epidemic of plague in Iraq, upper Mesopotamia and Syria.

128/746 Uprisings of the Kalb in Syria and of the Khawarij in Iraq. 

128/747 Abu Muslim unfurls the black banner of the 'Abbasids in Khurasan, signalling the start of the revolution.

130/748 Qahtaba defeats the Umayyad governor of Khurasan. 

131/749 'Abbasid forces gain control of all Persia, and occupy Kufa. 

132/750 Battle of the Greater Zab, defeat of Umayyads.

137/755 ‘Abd ar-Rahman ad-Dakhil al-Andalus and establishes his authority in the following year.

Appendix 2: Lineage of the khalifas of Banu Umayya

1Bewley, Aisha. Mu’awiya: Restorer of the Muslim Faith. London: Dar al-Taqwa, 2002, p. 75.

2 Abu Zahra, The Four Imams. London: Dar al-Taqwa, 2001, p. 41f.

3 Abu Zahra, The Four Imams. London: Dar al-Taqwa, 2001, p.  42.

4Blankinship, Khalid Yahya. The End of the Jihad State. New York: SUNY. 1994: 5f.