'Amr ibn al-'As
|`Amr ibn al-'As|
|Governor of Egypt|
|Preceded by||Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr|
|Succeeded by||Utba ibn Abi Sufyan|
|Preceded by||None (Conquest of Egypt from the Byzantines)|
|Succeeded by||Abdallah ibn Sa'ad|
|Born||14 February 592
|Allegiance|| Rashidun Caliphate
|Service/branch|| Rashidun army
|Years of service||634–636|
Governor of Egypt (642–644), (657–664)
|Commands||Conquest of Palestine
Conquest of Egypt, First Muslim Civil War
`Amr ibn al-`As (Arabic: عمرو بن العاص ‘Amrū ibn al-‘Āṣ; c. 592 – January 6, 664) was an Arab military commander who is most noted for leading the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640. A contemporary of Muhammad, and one of the Sahaba ("Companions"), who rose quickly through the Muslim hierarchy following his conversion to Islam in the year 8 AH (629). He founded the Egyptian capital of Fustat, and built the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As at its center—the first mosque in Africa.
He was the son of Layla bint Harmalah aka "Al-Nabighah". Before his military career, Amr was a trader, who had accompanied caravans along the commercial trading routes through Asia and the Middle East, including Egypt.
Amr ibn ul Aas was born in Mecca, Arabia and died in Egypt. He was a shrewd, highly intelligent man who belonged to the nobility of the Quraysh. He fought with the Quraysh against Islam in several battles. He went to fight the Muslims when he saw them praying, he got highly interested and tried to find out more about Islam. He was determinedly hostile to Islam. In fact he was Quraysh’s envoy to the Negus, the ruler of Abyssinia. Once he converted to Islam with Khalid ibn al-Walid, he became a great commander fighting for the Islamic cause. Amr ibn ul aas mosque, the first mosque in Africa, was built under the patronage of Amr ibn ul aas. He came to Egypt as the commander in chief of the Arab troops in 640 AD.
Like the other Quraysh chiefs, he opposed Islam in the early days.
ʻAmr headed the delegation that the Quraysh sent to Abyssinia to prevail upon the ruler, Aṣḥama ibn Abjar (possibly Armah), to turn away the Muslims from his country. The mission failed and the ruler of Abyssinia refused to oblige the Quraysh. After the migration of Muhammad to Medina ʻAmr took part in all the battles that the Quraysh fought against the Muslims.
He commanded a Quraish contingent at the battle of Uhud.
In the company of Khalid ibn al-Walid, he rode from Mecca to Medina where both of them converted to Islam. He was seeking the right path to Medina and he became Muslim. Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah served under ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs in the campaign of Dhat as-Salasil and had offered their prayers behind him for many weeks. At that time, ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs was their chief not only in the army but also as a leader in religious services.
ʻAmr was dispatched by Muhammad to Oman and played a key role in the conversion of the leaders of that nation, Jayfar and 'Abbād ibn Al-Juland. He was then made governor of the region until shortly after Muhammad's death.
Under Abu Bakr and Umar
ʻAmr was sent by the Caliph Abu Bakr with the Arab armies into Palestine following Muhammad's death. It is believed that he played an important role in the Arab conquest of that region, and he is known to have been at the battles of Ajnadayn and Yarmouk as well as the siege of Damascus.
The actual invasion began towards the end of 640, as Amr crossed the Sinai Peninsula with 3,500-4,000 men.He is reported to have celebrated the feast of pilgrimaga in Arish on 10th Dhul Hij A. H 18 or 12 December 640. After taking the small fortified towns of Pelusium (Arabic: Al-Farama) and beating back a Byzantine surprise attack near Bilbeis, Amr headed towards the Babylon Fortress (in the region of modern-day Coptic Cairo). After some skirmishes south of the area, Amr marched north towards Heliopolis, with 12,000 men reinforcements who had arrived on 6 June 640 reaching him from Syria, against the Byzantine forces in Egypt, under Theodore Trithyrius. The resulting Arab victory at the Battle of Heliopolis brought about the fall of much of the country. The Heliopolis battle resolved fairly quickly, though the Babylon Fortress withstood a siege of several months, and the Byzantine capital of Alexandria, which had been the capital of Egypt for a thousand years, surrendered a few months after that. A peace treaty was signed in late 641, in the ruins of a palace in Memphis. Despite a brief re-conquest by Byzantine forces in 645 which was beaten at the Battle of Nikiou, the country remained firmly in Arab hands.
Needing a new capital, Amr suggested that they set up an administration in the large and well-equipped city of Alexandria, at the western edge of the Nile Delta. However, Caliph Umar refused, saying that he did not want the capital to be separated from him by a body of water. So in 641 Amr founded a new city on the eastern side of the Nile, centered on his own tent which was near the Babylon Fortress. Amr also founded a mosque at the center of his new city—it was the first mosque in Egypt, which also made it the first mosque on the continent of Africa. The Mosque of Amr (Mosque of Amr ibn al-As) still exists today in Old Cairo, though it has been extensively rebuilt over the centuries, and nothing remains of the original structure. One corner of the mosque contains the tomb of his son, 'Abd Allah ibn 'Amr ibn al-'As.
Although some Egyptians did not support the Byzantine forces during the Arab conquest, some villages started to organise against the new invaders. After the battle of Nikiou on 13 May 641, Arab troops having defeated the Byzantine forces, destroyed many Egyptian villages on their march to Alexandria as the Delta rebelled against the new invaders. The Egyptian resistance seems to have been village by village without a unified command and therefore failed.
Muhammad had told Amr "that when you conquer Egypt be kind to its people because they are your protégée kith and kin".
Muhammad's wife, Maria al-Qibtiyya (the Copt) was an Egyptian. After Amr Ibn Al Aas conquered Egypt, he informed Mikakaus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, who retorted that "Only a prophet could invoke such a relationship!", referring to Abraham's marriage to Hagar.
||This article needs attention from an expert in Islam. (February 2012)|
After his military conquests, Amr was an important player in internal conflicts within Islam. Amr was a supporter of the caliph Othman ibn Affan and later a supporter of Muawiya. He died during Muawiya's reign.
Following the murder of Uthman ibn Affan and the dispute between the supporters of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the supporters of Muawiyah ibn Abu Sufyan for successorship, Amr was selected as one of two arbitrators of the dispute, as Muawiyah's selection.
- Butler, Alfred J. The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty years of Roman Dominion Oxford, 1978.
- Charles, R. H. The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from Zotenberg's Ethiopic Text, 1916. Reprinted 2007. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-87-9. Evolpub.com
- Britannica.com Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
- Sermon 179 Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
- Andrew Beattie, Cairo: A Cultural History, p. 94
- (German) Eslam.de Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
- (German) Eslam.de Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
- Al-Islam.org Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
- see Sunan Abu Dawud 2877
- Beattie, p. 95
- (10) Glubb J.B. The Great Arab Conquests. Quartet Books, London 1963
Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr
|Governor of Egypt
Utba ibn Abi Sufyan
|New title||Governor of Egypt
Abdallah ibn Sa'ad