History of Umayyad and Abbasid Essay

3337 WordsMay 18, 201314 Pages
The history of Umayyad Caliphs The Umayyad house was one of the major clans of the Quraysh tribe. Technically, Uthman, the third "Righteous Caliph", was the first Umayyad caliph. During his tenure (644-655), he appointed members of his clan to various posts; in particular, Muawiya b. Abi Sufyan was given the governorship of Syria. Upon the accession of Ali to the caliphate, Muawiya refused to pay him allegience, and in 658 the Syrians acknowledged Muawiya as caliph. That same year he gained control of Egypt; following Ali's death in 661, he subdued Iraq and then formally established himself as caliph. The first line of Umayyads were the Sufyanids (descendants of Abu Sufyan) who ruled from 661- 684. Under Muawiya (661-680) the capital of the Muslim empire was transferred to Damascus. He is credited with raising a highly-trained army of Syrian soldiers which was used to expand Muslim authority east into Khorasan and west into North Africa. Muawiya also led excursions into Anatolia beginning in 672 which culminated in an unsuccessful three-year seige of Constantinople (674-677). He retained the administrative structures left by the Byzantines and Persians but consolidated his authority by appointing kinsmen to key posts. Before his death, Muawiya secured allegiance to his son, Yazid, thus introducing dynastic succession to Muslim rule. Muawiya was the son of Abu Sufyan, the leader of the Abd Shams clan. Most of the members of Abd Shams had rejected Muhammad's prophetic mission until Muhammad's conquest of Mecca in 630. Muawiya and his father are considered to be among those enemies who were reconciled to Islam through gifts. Muawiya then served as one of Muhammad's scribes. During the reign of Abu Bakr, Muawiya served in the armies sent against the Byzantines in Syria. The caliph Umar appointed him governor of Damascus; his kinsman Uthman subsequently enlarged his

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