Abdallah ibn Amir

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Abdallah ibn Amir
Died678 (aged 55–56)
AllegianceRashidun Caliphate

Abdallah ibn Amir (Arabic: عبدالله بن عامر‎) was a governor of Busra (647–656) and a notably successful military general during the reign of Rashidun Caliph Uthman ibn Affan. His father was a maternal uncle of Caliph Uthman, thus making Abdallah a cousin of Uthman. He is well known for his administrative and military prowess; his campaign of reconquest and pacification of former territories of the Persian Empire has left a legacy of Islamization in both Iran and Afghanistan.[1]

Early life

Abdallah ibn Amir was born in Mecca, in present-day Saudi Arabia. He belonged to the Umayyad clan of Quraish. He is the son of `Amir bin Kurayz ibn-Rabi`ah, brother of Arwa bint-Kurayz the mother of to-be-Caliph `Uthman ibn-`Affan. Abdallah therefore is `Uthman's direct cousin. Narratives from the islamic tradition which make of him a descendent of `Utba bin-Rabi`ah, the father of Hind (wife of Abu-Sofian ibn Harb and mother of Mu`awiyah) are false.

Appointment as the Governor of Busra

In the year 647, when Abu Musa al-Asha'ari was deposed from the governorship of Basra, Caliph Uthman appointed Ibn Amir as the Governor of Basra. Ibn Amir was only twenty-five years old that time.Muʿāwiyah ibn ʾAbī Sufyān.[2]

Caliph Uthman was aiming in solving the tensions in newly conquered Iraq which caused by sudden influx of Arab tribesmen to the garrison towns in frontlines such as Kufa and Basra. he solved this by opening new fronts in new territories to conquer which aimed to consume the energy of those tribesmen and channeling them towards new military expeditions. When Ibn Amir arrived at Basra he immediately readied the fronts to new conquests into the land of Persia.Cite error: The <ref> tag has too many names (see the help page). Ibn Amir made several reforms such as constructing new irrigation canal in Basra and fixing the water supply system for the use of Hajj pilgrims which passing through Basra[3]


Ibn Amir's expeditions were particularly embarked on a campaign to subjugate many revolts within Persia former territories.[4]

First campaign of Kerman

At first conquest Rashidun caliphate has sent two contingent consisting of Ibn Amir and Suhail to conquer Kerman. First reaching Tabasayn and then advanced further towards Nishapur. following this his advanced guards was immediately met with the oppositions and then fierce fights has occurred against the Koch o Baloch which resulted the death of Sassanid governor of Kerman.

Re-conquest of Fars

The Persian province of Fars was conquered during the reign of Caliph Umar. During Uthman’s reign the province broke into revolt like other Persian provinces. Uthman directed Ibn Amir to crush the rebellion activities.

He accordingly marched with a large force to Persepolis; the city surrendered and agreed to pay tribute. From here the army marched to Al j bard, where a small resistance of Muslims had captured the city, and citizens agreed to pay tribute. Thereafter the Muslim force advanced to Jor. The Persians gave battle but they were defeated and the city was captured by the Muslims. Peace was made on the usual term of the payment of Jizya.[5] While the Muslim army was still in Jor, Persepolis again broke into revolt; Abdullah ibn Aamir took the forces to Persepolis and laid siege of the city. After a violent battle the Muslims were able to regain the control of the city once again. All leaders among the Persians who were guilty of instigating the revolt were hunted out and executed. With the fall of Persepolis, other cities in Fars also submitted unconditionally. The Uthman’s appointed governor of Fars, after analyzing the situation, sent Islamic missionaries to various cities of the region to convert the people to Islam to avoid a revolt in future, as the cause of revolt was the spirit of nationalism in Persians and discrimination of Persians by Arab rulers.

Reconquest of Kerman

After suppressing revolts in Fars, Abdullah ibn Aamir turned towards Kerman which revolting again during 651-652 AD. He sent a force under the command of Mujasshaa ibb Musa Salmi. Kerman was soon re-conquered, with little resistance.[6]

Re-conquest of Sistan

Uthman directed Abdullah ibn Aamir, which at the time was Governor of Basra to re-conquer the province. A column was sent to Sistan under the command of Rabeah ibn Ziyad. He re-conquered it up to what is now Zaranj in Afghanistan. Rabeah ibn Ziyad was made governor of Sistan. He remained there for years, then he left for Busra, and the province broke into revolt once again, this time in a much larger area.

Abdullah ibn Aamir sent Abd al Rahman/AbdurRahman ibn Sumra to undertake the operation. Abdur Rahman bin Sumra led the Muslim forces to Zaranj. Once Zaranj was captured Abd al Rahman marched into Afghanistan and conquered it into north up to Kabul. after this campaign Abdullah set his eyes toward Khorasan

Re-conquest of Khorasan

Khorasan, a province of the Persian Empire was conquered during the reign of Caliph Umar, under the command of Ahnaf ibn Qais. After the death of Umar, Khorasan broke into series of which first happened when revolt under Persian Emperor Yazdegerd III, but before he could lead the Persians against the Muslims, he was betrayed and killed in 651. Caliph Uthman in 651, sent Abdullah ibn Aamir, the governor of Busra, to re-conquer Khorasan. Abdullah ibn Aamir marched with large force from Busra to Khorasan outstripping another Contingent of Said Ibn Al-Aas who departing from Kufa together with Hudzaifah Ibn Al-Yaman, Husayn ibn Ali, Hasan ibn Ali and another companions.[7] After capturing the main forts in Khorasan he sent many columns to various directions into Khorasan, the strategy being to prevent the Persians from gathering into a large force.[8] The town of Bayak, in modern Afghanistan, was taken by force, with a Muslim commander falling in the battle. After Bayak, the Muslims marched towards Tabisan, which was captured with little resistance. The Muslim army captured the city of Nishapur after a long siege. The Muslim army continued capturing other small and big towns in the Khurassan region. Afterwards they consolidated their position in Khurassan. The Muslims then marched towards Herat in Afghanistan, which surrendered to Muslims peacefully. After gaining control of the region the Muslims marched towards city of Merv in modern Turkmenistan. The city surrendered along with other towns of the region except one, Sang, which was later taken by force. The campaign in Khorasan ended with conquest of Balkh (Afghanistan) in 654.

However, the second uprising was broke again in Khorasan after the wake of First Muslim civil war when Muawiya was appointed as Caliph replacing Ali, this time happened in Herat and Balkh. Abdullah was appointed once again to give reprisal of this revolt. this time the retaliation was fierce and swift where the famous Zoroastrian temple of Nobahar was destroyed.[9]

because the continuous campaign in Khorasan there's unavoided effect of Arabizations of this area under the military operations of Abdullah. it was described the structure of the army of Abdullah Ibn Amir during the reconquest of Khurasan was composed the army from Basra which recruited from tribes which has Hijra(emigrated) to a Misr(garrison town) and enlisted in Diwan. it was natural that these tribesmen carrying on their old tribal traditions, bearing the name of their original clan('Ashira) with whom they might have severed their relationship by emigrating to the Misri. each clan, or even a tribal groupin from related clans would have its own chief as commander. this is the military system which latter will standardized in the era of Umayyad Caliphate[10]

Campaign in Transoxiana

After consolidating Muslim forces in Khorasan, Abdullah ibn Aamir crossed the Oxus River or more known to the Muslims as Amu Darya and invaded Uzbekistan in southern Transoxiana. Details of these campaigns are little known but it is known that a greater part of southern Transoxiana submitted to the suzerainty of the Rashidun Caliphate.[11]

Death of Caliph Uthman and its aftermath

After the successful completion of his campaigns, Abdullah ibn Aamir donned the Ahram in Nishapur, and made a pilgrimage to Mecca to perform the Hajj and offer thanks to God. After performing the Hajj, Abdullah b 'Aamir proceeded to Madinah to see Uthman. Before Abdullah ibn Aamir reached Medina, Uthman had been martyred. That was a great shock for Abdullah ibn Aamir. When Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Talha and Ayesha raised the call for the vengeance for the blood of Uthman from the rebels, Abdullah ibn Aamir suggested them to come with him to Busra because of his greater influence in the city. The confederates succeeded in capturing Basra because of the influence that Abdullah ibn Aamir commanded over the people of Basra. Along with Talha and Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, Abdullah ibn Aamir arrested and killed around 4000 suspected rebels in connection with the murder of Caliph Uthman. In the Battle of the Camel in December 656, the confederates were defeated and Busra was captured by Caliph Ali.

During Caliph Ali’s reign

The reign of Caliph Ali was full of turbulence. Though Abdullah ibn Aamir, did not take part in the Battle of Siffin, fought between the forces of Caliph Ali and Muawiyah, he supported the vengeance of Caliph Uthman's murder. After the murder of Caliph Ali in 661, his eldest son Hassan ibn Ali became the caliph. He was pressured by the Syrian governor Muawiyah to resign as caliph. Avoiding another civil war, Hassan ibn Ali resigned in the favor of Muawiyah six months later. During this Abdullah ibn Aamir supported the caliphate of Muawiyah.[12]

During Muawiyah’s reign

The caliphate of Muawiyah founded the Umayyad dynasty, dissolving the Rashidun empire of Rashidun Caliphs. Abdullah ibn Aamir for some time remained the governor of Busra under the Umayyad dynasty, though later Muawiyah disposed him from the governorship of Busra presumably due to his growing influence in Busra, but another

During a brief rule in Basra under Muawiyah, he is strucking the reforms of Sassanian style of coinage which printed with the portrait of Khusraw Parviz of the Sassanid which mentioned in Al-Muwatta Of Iman Malik Ibn Ana By Anas, page 45-46[13]

Nevertheless, in the wake of civil wars in early 660s public orders broke down a crimes and insecurities was growing rampant in Basra. according to Ash-Shabi, whenever a dissolute youths took holds of a woman, they would tell her to cry three times. if someone answered to her, her safety is assured. but if no one answer, they would not be blamed to what happened to her. when Ziyad was arrived in 665 as governor, the night is full of cries of private watchmen who being hired by wealthy peoples who feared the crimes which growing in the city. so Ziyad established a Shurta which compilled of four thousands Infantry and Cavalry, impose curfews and set some draconian laws to beheads anyone on the street after the evening worships time to Basra. he also re-establish order in outside roads of Basra by appointing chiefs of Tamim and Bakr clan as the security forces of the said roads[14]


Abdullah ibn Aamir protested against his dismissal. Abdullah left Busra for Madinah and died there in the year 678, at the age of 56.


Abdullah ibn Aamir’s reign as a governor of province of Busra for 9 years (647 – 656) was extremely successful. Caliph Uthman was accused of nepotism, appointing his cousin Abdullah ibn Aamir, a young man of twenty-five years, as the Governor of Busra. but the Apologetic resume from Susiyanto, an Indonesian Islamic Historian citing many medieval sources and modern Contemporary historical References indicates that the appointing of Abdullah ibn Aamir was in fact because his capabilities proved to be the most successful of Caliph Uthman's governors, as no other governor was able to make conquests on as large a scale. Susiyanto marked that the people of Basra themselves unsatisfied with the rule of Abu Musa so they want Uthman to appoint Abdullah ibn Aamir unanimously, who though not very well known, was proven as one of the top ranking generals and capable Governor of Islamic history, just like another famous Uthman's Cousin, Muʿāwiyah ibn ʾAbī Sufyān.[15]

Another legacy he left were probably the introduction of Misr System, a garrison town of which formed by the basis tribal system consisting of Arabs who migrate to Persia that originally intended for military function which probably was the basis of Arabic diaspora in the land of Iran for later era[16]

He is also mentioned as the chain narrators of Hadith attributed to his father, Amir ibn Rabiah which compilled in Jami` at-Tirmidhi Sahih compilation[17]

See also


  1. ^ Iraq After the Muslim Conquest by Michael G. Morony citing Baladhuri, Jahshiyari and Tabari Archived January 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ N. Kennedy, Hugh (2008). The great Arab conquests. pp. 230–231.
  4. ^ Governors of Uthman
  5. ^ Re-Conquest of Fars
  6. ^ The Baloch and Balochistan: A Historical Account from the Beginning to the fall of Baloch State by Naseer Dashti citing At Tabari
  7. ^ Kisah Hidup Utsman ibn Affan Citing Tarikh At-Thabari (5/270)
  8. ^ Reconquest of Khurasan
  9. ^ Hist Afghanistan V 1 & 2 By Percy Sykes
  10. ^ The 'Abbāsid Revolution By M. A. Shaban
  11. ^ Transoxiana
  12. ^ Reflections on His Caliphate
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2015-01-06. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-01-06. Retrieved 2015-01-06. Unknown parameter |deadurl= ignored (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ The 'Abbāsid Revolution By M. A. Shaban
  17. ^ Narrated: Abdullah bin Amir ibn Rabiah From Sunan at-Tirmidhi (Jami-al-Tirmidhi)