Mu‘āwiya, the Founder of the Umayyad Monarchy

Upon seizure of Iraq, center of government since 36, all Islamic territories came under the yoke of Mu‘āwiya, who took power thirty years after the Prophet’s demise.

Before becoming a caliph, he governed Damascus and the Greater Syria for roughly twenty years. The Umayyads martially leading the Quraysh in Dark Age, stood against Islam as far as possible and they embraced Islam only when they had no way but this. Not only through their behavior but also by knowing about Abū Sufyān and Mu‘āwiya, in particular, Imām ‘Alī’s statement shall be acknowledged as to the fact that they embraced Islam only because of interests. [1] Zubayr also thought of Abū Sufyān in the same way. [2] Yazīd Ibn Abū Sufyān commanded the troops when conquering. Greater Syria and Abū Bakr granted Mu‘āwiya sainthood besides his brother. [3]

After Yazīd died, Mu‘āwiya was designated as the ruler of Damascus in ‘Umar’s tenure. As mentioned before, ‘Umar’s rigorlessness to Mu‘āwiya had astonished a number of people. [4] According to Ibn ‘Asākir, ‘Umar entrusted Damascus thoroughly to Mu‘āwiya [5] and by the same token, Mu‘āwiya affirmed that by Almighty Allāh he could accomplish to

[1] Sharh nahdj al-balāgha, Ibn Abi l-Hadīd, vol.XX, pp.298-299; Nahdj al-balāgha, letter 454 of ‘Alī to Mu‘āwīya; concerning Mu‘āwīya’s ignoring insult of one Jew towards one Muslim; Ansāb al-ashrāf, vol.IV, p.160
[2] al-Aghānī, vol.VI, p.355; some time Abū Sufyān, at the Hamza’s grave, said, “God bless thee.”; You fought us over something that came under control; al-Amtā‘ wa l-Mu’ānisa, vol.II, p.75
[3] Rasā’il al-Djāhi¨, al-Rasā’il al-siyāsiya, p.344
[4] Tathbīt Dalā’il al-nubuwwa, p.593. Hasan Basrī has said,
لقد تصنّع معاويه للخلافة في ولاية عمربن خطاب Mu‘āwīya had been preparing Himself for caliphate since ‘Umar’s tenure Mukhtasar Tārīkh Dimashq, vol.XXV, p.24
[5] Mukhtasar Tārīkh Dimashq, vol.XXV, pp.17,18,20; Rasā’il al-Djāhi¨, al-Rasā’il al-siyāsiya, p.344


dominate over people merely through his high esteem by ‘Umar. [1] Once encountering Mu‘āwiya going and accompanied majestically by his retinue, ‘Umar asked about the ground. Mu‘āwiya responded that the more the enemy spies multiply, the more our grandeur has to heighten; yet, I will abide by what you command.

“By no means do I enjoin him nor prohibit him”, said ‘Umar. [2]

Mu‘āwiya himself deemed his firm standing as consequence of ‘Umar’s way of behaving towards him. [3] Reacting against objections to Mu‘āwiya, ‘Uthmān said that how he was ever able to depose him designated by ‘Umar.

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