Alfred Kremer (Freiherr von) Salahuddin Khuda Bukhsh.

Contributions to the history of Islamic civilization online

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intricacies of political diplomacy, and to make the jarring
interests of the discontented parties chime in with the
will of the leader, no man then was more suited and more
adapted than Mu*awiyah. It was not idle flattery nor vain
praise when Omar bestowed on the son of Abti SufySln
the title of the Caesar of the Arabs. The political attitude
of Mu'awiyah towards the immediate successors of
Heraklius was indeed worthy of a consummate statesman.
He stands in emphatic contrast to Hartiuu-r-Rashid. As
soon as history dispels the glamour of romance which has
gathered round the name of the hero of *' Arabian Nights,'*
H^run is shown as a different man. He then appears as
a whimsical, sensual, and impulsive monarch. His rela-
tion with the Eastern Empire was that of a robber. When
he made Tyana the base of operations for Asia Minor,
and gazed at the seat of Augustus from the hills above
Scutari, he ravaged the fairest provinces with the delight
which is characteristic of a barbarian. No sooner had
he effected a razzia than he departed. To bring those

» '* Ad-Duwalu-1-Islamiyyah, *' Publ. Gotha. Vide Introduction.
K, HI * 15



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220 ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION.

provinces within the pale of Islam was not his aim ; he
was a mere robber, who cared for nothing beyond carrying
off rich plunder.

Far different was the case with the son of AbtL
Sufyan. Though he failed in taking Constantinople, yet
he invested the capital with the definite intention of
planting the crescent in the place of the cross. Religious
toleration was deep-rooted in him, and during his Caliphate
the Christians enjoyed equal privileges with the Muslims.^

' It is extremely unjust to accuse the early Muslims of intoler-
ance. We must remember the words of Finlay, that ** liberty of
conscience was an idea almost unknown to any but the Moham-
medans," Finlay, vol. i, p. 375). Persecution is indeed contrary to
the principles of Islam, and the Qur'gn itself says, ** Let there be
no violence in religion.'' Perhaps Muslim history will not furnish a
parallel to the cruelty with which Charlemagne treated the Saxons,
and Henry the Fowler the Slavs. A discursive review only of
the laws of Charlemagne, ramed for Saxony, will show how
little indeed the then most Christian King of Europe appreciated
the teachings of Jesus (Zeller, Foundation de PEmp. German,
PP* 29, 30). If we refer to the persecutions by the Muslims in Spain,
we shall invariably find that the Christians on almost all occasions
compelled them to take that course. Mr. Hines, in his brilliant
monograph entitled " Christianity and Islam in Spain," has brought
home this fact very clearly. His treatment of Islam is most liberal
and most Christian in spirit. The feelings of the Mohammedans on
the subject is expressed in the beautiful saying of *Abbas II, one of
the Persian siifis^ " that it is for God, not for me, to judge men's
conscience, and I will never interfere with what belongs to the
tribunal and Lord of the universe." Again, Akbar followed in
practice the principles thus expressed by his minister, Abu-l-Fadhl :
'* Persecution, after all, defeats its own end : it obliges men to
conceal their opinion, but produces no change " (Hines, p. 92). The
Code of Justinian incapacitated Pagans, Jews and Samaritans from
holding civil or military office, except in the lowest ranks of the
latter. Further, we find that the assemblies of all heretics were
forbidden, their books were to be collected and burned, their rites,
baptism and ordination prohibited (Milman, '* Latin Christianity,"



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ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 221

A Strong personality like Mu*awiyah was necessary, and
doubly necessary, to pacify the commotions of the time.

*Ali was a most chivalrous knight, and, indeed, im-
personated in himself the noble qualities of the Quraish
and the beautiful virtues of the Arabs, but he was much
below the mark of a statesman. If he had any genius,
it was more fitted to be displayed in a religious assembly
than in a political cabinet. An ardent visionary, a weak
commander, and a religious idealist, he would have im-
perilled rather than bettered the condition of the Muslims
There is only one event in the life of Mu'Swiyah which a
historian cannot fully explain ; it is the succession of Yazid.
How a wise father, conversant with the follies of the son,
could have elected him as his successor is one of the
anomalies which history has often presented. We need
not be reminded that the philosophic Emperor Marcus
Aurelius fell into an error which he might have condemned
in others. He, like Mu*awiyah, adorned his profligate son
with the purple, despite the fact that he trampled upon
the virtues of manhood, and shed a lurid light on the
purity of his father.

With the accession of Mu'awiyah, Damascus rose to
the dignity of a capital. We shall now pass on to refer
to the relation of this dynasty with the Eastern Empire
till the accession of Leo the I saurian, in whose reign
was fought the last great battle with the Omayyads at
Acroinon.

vol. ii, p. 34). The Mohammedans never grudged giving offices to
non-Mohaminedans ; in fact, we find Abdul Malik holding Akbtal,
the Christian poet, in great honour. When they conquered a
country, they always respected the established cult of the inhabitants
(Reinaud, " Invasions des Sarracens en France," p. 8). Very often
the Christians were so fiercely persecuted in the Eastern Empire
that they took refuge among the Mohammedans .



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222 ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION.

From February ii, 641, to September, 642, the policy
of Constantinople was blighted by Court intrigue. With
the accession of Constans II, the house of Heraklius
resumed its former vigour, and though there were losses
of frontier and of small islands, this reign may be justly
classed among the halcyon days of Constantinople.

In 638 Mu*5wiyah was appointed the Governor of the
Muslim Empire, from Egypt to the Euphrates. During his
political career he acquitted himself well. It was under
him that the Muslims first built a naval armament, and
inflicted a memorable defeat on the Roman fleet at Phoenix,
off" the Lycian coast.

The year 646, in which Manuel made a fruitless
attempt to recover Alexandria, also witnessed the defeat of
the Roman army sent against Mu'§wiyah who paid back
the insult by overrunning parts of Asia Minor and Armenia.

The preparation of a fleet was highly beneficial to the
cause of Islam. Cyprus (649) had first to feel the power
of the Muslim navy. The expedition, however, obtained
only a partial success. Constantia, the capital city, was
taken^ and the island was visited with all the misfortunes
which accompany war. Aradus (lying between Gabala
and Tripoli) next fell a prey ; but the city was not
destroyed till the following year. Constans, owing to
the necessities of internal reform and besetting danger
of invasion from all sides, made peace with Mu'awiyah
(651),

It was an age in which the gods of the Romans had
deserted them. Armenia was in 652 acquired by the
Muslims by the treachery of Pasaganthes (a Persian), and
when an eflfort was made in 654 by the Roman general
Maurianus to retake the city, his hope was frustrated, and
the Saracen General Abib kept the city tributary to the
Caliph,



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ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 22^

In the same year Rhodes was added to the list of the
Muslim conquests, and so confident of his power and
resources had the son of Abu SufyJn become that in 655
he actually prepared an armament against the new Rome,
and defeated the fleet commanded by Constans II himself
at Phoenix, off the Lycian coast.

With the murder of *Uthman (656), however, Mu*awi-
yah was compelled to take the defensive. The question of
his murder may be despatched here with laconic brevity.
In 659, Mu*awiyah was forced to make a treaty with the
Romans in order to have all his forces at his disposal to
fight with *Ali.

The conditions of the treaty were favourable to the
Romans, but the Muslim politician did not hesitate to
contract a seasonable peace. The Caliph promised to
pay 1,000 nomismata and a horse and a slave as long
as the peace lasted.

The departure of Constans from Constantinople
exposed Asia Minor to further incursions, and from 663
to 667 Muslims annually invaded Roumania. But it was
not till 668 that a heavy loss was sustained by the Empire.
In that year, however, Sapor, the commander of the troops
on the Armenian frontier, revolted, and communicated to
Mu*awiyah the design of submitting Roumania to him
if the Caliph would support him against the Emperor.
Mu'Swiyah fell in with the proposal, and sent his general
Phadalas to lend him assistance.

The rebellious Sapor was not destined to enjoy the
fruit of his treachery. Thrown from a horse, he died of
the shock. Phadalas, intent on carrying out the plan,
asked the Caliph for reinforcements. Yazid was sent to
succour him. Both generals advanced towards Chalcedon.
Many cities of note were taken, among which was Amorium,
but the Arabs could not long maintain possession of it.



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224 ISLAMIC CiVlLIZATtON.

Andreas, in the last decade of the same century, retook
Amorium, and put every Arab to the edge of the sword.

When Constans II had taken up his position in
Sicily, he tried to assail from there the Arabs of Africa.
Carthage and other cities were recovered ; but the Arabs
were equal to the occasion, and at Tripoli the Roman
standard was again humbled.

In 668 Constans was assassinated at the baths called
Daphne. The murder of his brother and the treatment of
Pope Martin I will always cast the foulest shadow on
his memory ; yet he is deserving of some praise and some
respect as an Emperor who, in the interest of civilization
and progress, checked the tide of the Arabian hordes.^

Constantine IV proved a worthy son, and steered the
Empire wisely amidst the storms of politics. In his reign
Crete was taken, but this conquest was short lived.* The
most important event of his reign was the annual siege of
Constantinople by the Muslims from 672 to 677, which,
had it been successful, might have considerably changed the
political geography of Europe. Defeat greatly weakened
the Muslim power, and, in addition, led the Mardaites
to make hostile expeditions into the Muslim countries.
Mu*awiyah, placed in straitened circumstances, made a
second peace with the Eastern Empire. To purchase
thirty years' peace the Saracens consented to pay 3,000
pounds of gold, fifty captives, and fifty thoroughbred horses
annually.

> He treated Martin badly because he opposed his "type,"
which appeared in 648, when he was only 18. This, like the
"Ecthesis" of Heradius, demanded complete silence on religious
questions conQerning the operation of will in Christ.

2 Mu*awiyah had sent an army against Crete during the time of
his contemplated attack on Constantinople in 651, ^Abdullah Ibn
Qais was the leader of the second expedition. After this, all the
Muslim attacks on Crete were from Africa.



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tSLAMlC CIVILIZATION. ^2$

On the death of Constantine IV, Justinian II, at the
premature age of sixteen, ascended the throne. Mu SLwiyah
had already died (680) in the h'fe-time of Constantine
Pogonatus. The Muslim Empire after Mu'§wyiah was
writhing under the lash of civil strife, and it was not till thq
time of * Abdu-1-Malik that Constantinople once more
suffered from the Muslim attacks.

The memory of Yazid I is sullied by three acts — the
pillage of Medina, the murder of Husain, and the taking
of the Ka'bah — acts which have never been pardoned by
the Muslims. During his Caliphate, however, 'Abdullah
Ibnu-2-Zubair was constantly fomenting sedition.

Mu'awiyah II reigned only forty days ; his succes-
sor, Marw§n, was advanced in years when he ascended
the throne. He was threatened and attacked by Dhahhak
ibn Qais and Mus*ab, a brother of Abdullah, but both
these rebellions were quelled/ and Islam, perhaps, will
be grateful to Marwan for giving it a ruler like *Abdu-l-
Malik.

'Abdu-1-Malik found himself at the helm of State at
a most critical period. Though the authority of 'Abdullah
Ibnu-z-Zubair was seriously impaired, he still maintained
a dangerous hold on Arabia and 'Iraq. The son of Marwan
had still to achieve much before he could enthrone himself
without a rival. Had the Caliph had to deal only with
the party of Zubair, perhaps he would have attained
success sooner than he actually did. In IrSq, however, for

» The cause of the rebellion of Dhahhak was strange. He was
led to oppose the Omayyads on the ground that Mu'Swiyah I and
Yazid had chosen their wives from the Yamanite tribe of Kalb. It
is to be remenobcred that this party was chiefly instrumental in
bringing about the overthrow of the Omayyad dynasty. During
the Caliphate of Hishflm, Qaisites raised the standard of revolt in
'Irgq and Kburasan.



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22h ISLAMIC CiViLIZAtlON.

a time the power of Zubair was shaken by the rise of
Mul^btSlr, who declared himself the supporter of the family
of *Ali, and wished to proclaim a son of *Ali, Mohammed
ibnu-1-^anafiyyah, Caliph. MukhtSr at first successfully
waged war with the Zubairite Governor of Ktifah, till he
was overtaken, defeated, and slain by Mus*ab and MuhaU
lab. This event laid Iraq once more at the feet of
* Abdullah Ibnu-z-Zubair. We thus find a curious period
in the history of Islam — four rival claimants were dispu
ing among themselves the sceptre and the Caliphate.^

Hitherto the Omayyad Caliph had suffered only
reverses of fortune. Threatened with disasters within
and without, ^Abdu-1-Malik was unable to give shape to
any definite policy. In Mesopotamia the Omayyad
troops had already been beaten, and when, in A. H. 6g
(688-689 A.D.), * Abdu-l-Malik had left Damascus for Iraq,
he was suddenly obliged to abandon the project by the
treachery of *Amr ibn Said, who in his absence had
declared himself Caliph. Owing to these besetting
difficulties, the wary warrior *Abdu-l-Malik thought it
better to continue friendly relations with the Eastern
Empire ; and it was in pursuance of this steady policy
that, in 685, he renewed the treaty on the payment of
one pound of gold, one slave, and one horse for every
day in the year. This policy, indeed, Was sound and
judicious, as any hostility on the part of the Eastern
Empire, coupled with the serious disorders at home,
might have been fatal to the Omayyad s. In the reign of
Justinian II, moreover, 'Abdu-l-Malik' revised the treaty

' *Abdullahibnu.z-Zubair, the Caliph of Mecca ; *Abdu-l- Malik, the
Caliph of Damascus ; Mohammed Ibnu-1-Hanafiyyah, and the
Kharijite leader, Najdina ibn *Amir.

^ *Abdu-l-Malik renewed with Justinian the peace which he had
made with Constantine. Bury, vol. ii, p. 320.



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ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 1t2^

which he had made with his father, sh'ghtly altering its
conditions. He engaged to pay i,ocx) nomismata and the
daily tribute of one horse and one slave, while the Romans
had to allow the Saracens half of the revenues of Armenia,
Iberia, and Cyprus. But the most favourable result of
this treaty for the Muslims was the removal of the Mar-
daites,^ who were a real danger to the Muslim power
in Syria. This false step on the part of Justinian was
of incalculable importance to the Muslims. *Abdu-l-Malik
was moved to this course of policy because he had still
the son of Zubair to contend against, and to him he
turned his attention as soon as the friendly relation
with the Eastern Empire was established. In Iraq the
extortion practised by the Zubairite Governor insensibly
increased in that reign the influence of *Abdu-l-Malik.
Before marching against *Ir5q, *Abdu-l-Malik had already
gained to his side the chiefs of Mus*ab's army. *Abdu-l-
Malik advanced to meet the army of Mus'ab's, which
was encamped three parasangs from the plain of Dair-u-1-
Jathaliq. When it came to actual fighting, Mus'ab
found himself deserted by his party ; but his courage
did not fail. After this victory, 'Iraq welcomed with
acclamation the Caliph of Damascus. Only Arabia now
adhered to the party of Zubair ; but there also opposition
was crushed ere long. The young General HajjSj Ibn
Ytisuf subdued the Kabbah, and won it for * Abdu-1-Malik.
* Abdullah, the son of Zubair, went in despair to his
mother Asma, who counselled him to preserve his martial
courage and meet death sword in hand.

On October 14, 692, 'Abdullah was at last slain: and
with him the last ember of Zubairite resistance was
permanently extinguished.

» Ranke, " Weltgeschichte," vol. v, pp. 188 et seq.



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2^8 ISLAMIC CIVILISATION.

As soon as 'Abdullah had succumbed to the Omayyad
sword, *Abdu-l-Malik became sole Caliph. True, the
son of the ^anafiyyah was still alive, yet he was not of
much political importance since the death of MukhtSr.
The son of Marwan was, indeed, one of the most
favoured children of fortune ; no conspiracy succeeded
against him. The Kharijites were kept at bay during
his reign ; and the insidious Ibnu-1-Ash*ath, who usurped
the title of Caliph in SijistSn, was finally conquered
by Yazid, son of the famous Muhallab.

Having pacified the troubles which threatened the
safety of Islam and stopped the progress of the Muslim
arms, *Abdu-l-Malik was left to pursue his conquering
career. The treaty which was renewed by *Abdu-l-Malik
was not kept by the Romans with scrupulous fidelity.
Leonatus, the General of the Anatolian troops, had, in
defiance of the treaty, wrung Albania and Roumania
from the Mohammedans. This, indeed, caused hostility
between the two powers, but *Abdu-l-Malik was too much
engrossed with internal dissensions to return the insult.

On the wrong-headed Justinian II the success over
the Bulgarians during the year 689 or 690 brought a
terrible misfortune. Being over-trustful of the Slavonic
captives, whom he transformed into a "supernumerary
corps," he took the offensive, and refused tD receive the
Saracen money which was inscribed with some verses
from the Qur'an.'

' Before the time of *<\bdu-l-\f alik according to Maqrizi,the Arabs
caused coins to be minted on which they preserved the Roman or
Persian figures, but added Arabian nsimes or inscriptions. In a.h.
18 Omar had coins of this kind minted. According to *Maqrizi, even
*Abdu-I-Malik had coins struck representing himself with a sword by
his side. This was objected to by the Muslims. Then the Caliph
substituted for them, after the year 76 of the Hegira, the Moham-
medan coins with which we are acquainted. — De Sacy's paper in the
Journal Asiaitque (apud G\hhon^ vol. vi, p. 378)



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ISLAMIC CIVlLlZATtON. ±2g

*Abdu-l-Malik in vain protested against this hostile
measure, and settlement was, at last, left to the arbitrament
of the sword. In Cilicia, near Sebastopolis, a memorable
battle was fought. The Slavs proved treacherous, and
the Saracens too strong. The victory inclined towards the
Saracens, and the angry Justinian fled to the Propontis.

The immediate result of this victory was the sub-
jugation of Southern Armenia, which was betrayed by
Symbatius, ^ and Cyprus, which had already seen the
Muslims on its soil, was entirely abandoned to them.

The li astern hmpire at this time was a prey to bold
adventurers. Before the return of Justinian, Leonatus
and Tiberius filled the throne. Ihe reign of the former
is known for the final loss of Carthage and Africa, but
that of the latter might equal the military exploits of the
Antonines

Qairawan was planted by 'Uqbah in 670,* taken by the
Christians in 676, recovered by the Arabs under Zubair,
retaken by the Christians in 683, but finally conquered
by Hasan in 697. Hasan ibn Nu^mSn conquered the
coast of Africa as far as Carthage, but no sooner was he
away from the scene of operations than John the Patrician
reconquered it. This conquest of John, however, was only
temporary, and MusS ibn Nusair permanently drove the
Greeks from Carthage and the African coast. The valiant
Musa carried his success as far as Tlemecen. The defeat
of the Romans at Carthage cost Leonatus his throne. He

* Professor Bury has drawn up a valuable sketch of the relation
of the Arabs with Armenia, vol. ii, p. 322, note (4).

« Finlay, note (2), p. 382; the article on "Mohammedanism,"
in the "Encyclopaedia Britannica" Okba bin Nafi permanently
established Qairawan in a little plain situated at a little distance from
the first encampment of Mu^Swiyah ibn Hudayy, p. 566 ; cf. " Ibn
Ifiball," p. 35, note (5), vol. i.



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230 ISLAMIC CIVILIZAtlOr^.

was supplanted by Tiberius. Again the tides turn, and
to our great surprise we find the Romans making incursions
in Northern Syria ; and Herakh'us, Tiberius's brother
gaining two successive victories over the Saracens (702 and
703 A.D.). Still, the Muslims were not altogether losers.
The Roman incursion of the year 700 was answered by
the capture of Mopsuestia and by the acquisition of the
Fourth Armenia, which tried to throw off the Moham-
medan yoke. The year in which Justinian returned from
his exile witnessed the death of *Abdu-l-Malik.^ For six
years Justinian indulged in brutal massacres, and followed
up a policy of revenge.

The loss sustained by the Empire was not of any
serious nature. Tyana, however, was gained by the
Saracens during this period, and in 710 and 711 the
Empire was attacked and invaded. After Justioian had
atoned for his follies with death, three obscure and
incapable Caesars occupied the throne, till a new dynasty
was founded by Leo the Isaurian. The Eastern Empire
at this juncture was in a most defenceless condition.
The swarms of barbarians were constantly streaming
down the frontier. Thrace lay open to the plundering
expeditions of the Bulgarians. Thessalonica was repeat-
edly besieged by the Slavonians, and the fate of Asia
Minor, by the conquest of Tyana, was left entirely at the
mercy of the Muslims.

The immediate successors of * Abdu-1-Malik were
Walid and Sulayman — two able and powerful Caliphs.
Under Walld the Muslim power was extended far and
wide, and the most brilliant, perhaps, of all enterprises
of his age was the conquest of Spain.^ Amasia in
Pontus fell into the hands of the Muslims in 712, and

» He died on October 8, a.d. 705.

= Ibn Kfealdun, " Histoire es Berbers," torn, i, p. 341.



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ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION. 23 1

Antioch in Pisidia endured the same fate in 713. It
was during the Caliphate of Walid that the Muslims
prepared for a fresh siege of Constantinople. Anas-
tasius II took every precaution to stave off th^ impending
danger, but neither was the Roman Emperor then
destined to obtain a triumph over the Muslims, nor were
the Muslims to succeed against Constantinople. The
death of Walid, however, did not prevent the execution
of the plan, and perhaps the dissolution and anarchy of
which Constantinople was the scene further acted as a
bait to SulaymSn (715-717). SulaymSn made a bold
effort. Two armies were sent into Rumania, one under
the command of his brother Maslamah, and the other
under a general who bore the same name as the Caliph.
Amorium was besieged by SulaymSln, but it was rescued
by the tact and diplomacy of Leo. While the Moham-
medan army was in progress, the Isaurian general pro-
claimed himself Emperor (717), and won the gratitude of
the people by saving them from an imminent conquest.
Maslamah, in the meantime, pressed onward, and met with
no serious opposition in his march through Asia Minor.
After capturing Pergamus, he marched to Abydos, where,
on September i, he was joined by^Sulayman, who had
come with 1,800 great warships.

The besiegers encamped before Constantinople on
August I, 717, and after a useless siege of exactly
twelve months retired with irreparable loss. Leo had
prepared here a most powerful defence, and the winter
unfortunately proved exceptionally severe. Natural
difficulties, coupled with Greek fire, wrecked the hopes
of the Muslims.

The siege of 718 was more vigorous than the one
which Constantinople suffered in the reign of Constan-
(ine Po^onatus, and Leo, indeed, in turning back this



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232 ISLAMIC CIVILIZATION.

torrent of Mohammedan invasion, faithfully discharged
the responsibilities which were imposed upon him as
the guardian of the Eastern Empire.

This aspiring attempt of the Muslims was followed
by a transient lull, and the Caliphates of Omar II and


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