The Umayyad Caliphate (661 – 750) | Second Largest Muslims Empire of the World
A government of Islamic form while representing the united political situation and most importantly the Muslims leadership is famously known as the Caliphate. And the one who ruled the Muslims Caliphate is known as Caliph. Another important thing is that the position of Caliph depends upon the notion of a successor to the political authority of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Caliph is defined differently as according to Sunni Muslims, a Caliph is the one being elected by the Muslims or their representatives. But according to Shia Muslims, the one only descended from the line of Ahl al-Bayt.
Out of the four caliphates in the world, Umayyad Caliphate was the second and also the second largest Empire of the world after the Ottoman Empire. Umayyad Caliphate was established after the death of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم). Its name was derived from Umayya ibn Abd al-Shams, the great-grandfather of Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, the first Caliph of the Umayyad Dynasty. Damascus, in spite of their origin was Mecca (Makkah), was the Capital of the Umayyad Caliphate. Umayyads clan was out of the major powerful clans of Mecca who fought a decisive battle (Battle of Badr 624 CE) against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and his followers.
Foundation and Reign
Muwiya ibn Abi Sufyan, while taking the cause of avenging the assassination of Hazrat Usman (R.A), opposed Hazrat Ali (R.A) and both faced each other in the Battle of Siffin 657 CE near Euphrates River. But the matter went into arbitration and later Muawiya I was admitted as Caliph by his supporters from Jerusalem. Hazrat Ali (R.A) was Caliph on the other side in Kufa, Iraq. Hazrat Ali (R.A) was assassinated by a Kharijite in 661 CE and Hasan ibn Ali succeeded him. But Muawiya I reached Kufa and received the allegiance from them too. So, Muawiya I officially founded the Umayyad Caliphate in 661 CE.
Umayyads also became the reason to spread Islam in the whole world. They moved towards Africa, Europe, and Asia. They also attacked on what is now Pakistan thus starting the process of converting to Islam which would continue for centuries. They also fought a lot of battles against the Byzantine Empire of that time while establishing Islam in Istanbul and Anatolia. By 705 CE, Umayyad Caliphate was at its apex of power while covering almost five million square miles and being the largest empire of the world until that era.
The Umayyads clan established the largest Arab-Muslim state in history. After the Holy Prophet Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وسلم) until 1924 CE, various dynasties established successive and contemporary caliphates including the Rashidun Caliphate of the first four caliphs (Hazrat Abubakr Siddique R.A, Hazrat Usman Ghani R.A, Hazrat Umar Farooq R.A, and Hazrat Ali ul Murtaza R.A), the Umayyads based in Damascus and Córdoba (Spain – Abd al-Rehman an-Nasir), the Abbasids based in Baghdad & later in Cairo, the Fatimids based in Cairo, and finally the Turkish Ottoman Empire based in Istanbul.
- Ummayads administration system was the best of the whole world of that time. The whole administration system was comprised of 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).
- Second largest Muslims empire to exist ever after the Ottoman Empire being on top.
- Fifth largest contiguous empire to exist ever.
- Modern Arab nationalism regards the period of the Umayyads as part of the Arab Golden Age.
We will cover all these empires and caliphates in the upcoming articles and also about their caliphs. So, keep visiting our website also for the latest news about the TV Series.