18 December, 2010

Umayyad Caliphs (661-750) (part IV of the Grand Mosque of Damascus)

Umayyad Caliphs (661-750)
  • Muawiyah I ibn Abu Sufyan (661-680)
  • Yazid I ibn Muawiyah (680-683)
  • Muawiya II ibn Yazid (683-684)
  • Marwan I (684-685)
  • Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (685-705)
  • al-Walid I ibn Abd al-Malik (705-715)
  • Suleiman ibn Abd al-Malik (715-717)
  • Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz (717-720)
  • Yazid II ibn Abd al-Malik (720-724)
  • Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik (724-743)
  • al-Walid II ibn Abd al-Malik (743-744)
  • Yazid III ibn Abd al-Malik (744)
  • Ibrahim ibn Abd al-Malik (744)
  • Marwan II (744-750)
The Umayyads did manage to achieve a high degree of stability, particularly after 'Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan succeeded to the caliphate in 685. Under his rule and that of the four sons who succeeded him, the dynasty at Damascus reached the zenith of its power and glory. He is also known as ‘father of kings’. During his time the greatly remembered buildings such as the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus, the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, and the lovely country palaces in the deserts of Syria, Jordan, and Iraq were constructed.

The major advancements/accomplishments of the Umayyad Dynasty are the following:
1. The capital of Islam moves to Damascus, Syria
2. Expansion of Islam touched the regions of India, China, North Africa, and Spain
3. Arabic is the official language of the Empire
4. Arabian currency is used about the Empire
5. Roads are built
6. Postal routes are created.

Under 'Abd al-Malik, the Umayyads expanded Islamic power still further. To the east they extended their influence into Transoxania, an area north of the Oxus River in today's Soviet Union, and went on to reach the borders of China. To the west, they took North Africa, in a continuation of the campaign led by 'Uqbah ibn Nafi' who founded the city of Kairouan - in what is now Tunisia - and from there rode all the way to the shores of the Atlantic Ocean.
The greatest Umayyad builder Al Walid, son of Abd-al- Malik enlarged and beautified the great mosque of Makkah, rebuilt that of madinah, erected in Syria a number of schools and places of worship. He was perhaps the first ruler in medieval times to build hospitals for persons with chronic diseaces. But his greatest achievement was the conversion in Damascus of the site of the Cathedral of St.john the Baptist into a Mosque. The Umayyad mosque is still considered the fourth holiest sanctuary of Islam, after three harams of makkah, al-madinah and Jerusalem.

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