Muawiya II

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Muawiya ibn Yazid
Caliph in Damascus
3rd Caliph of the Umayyad caliphate
Reign 683–684 CE
Predecessor Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya
Successor Marwan ibn al-Hakam
Born c. 664 CE
Died c. 684 CE
Dynasty Umayyad
Father Yazid I
Arabic name
ibn Yazīd
بن يزيد
Teknonymic (Kunya) Abū Laylā

Muawiya II or Muawiya ibn Yazid (Arabic: معاوية بن يزيد‎, translit. Mu‘āwiyah ibn Yazīd‎; c. 664–684 CE) succeeded his father Yazid I as the third Umayyad caliph and last caliph of the Sufyanid line. He ruled briefly in 683/684 (64 AH) before he died.[1]

Early life[edit]

Muawiya was the son of Yazid I and an unknown mother from the Kalb tribe. She is often confused with Umm Hashim Fakhita bint Abi Hashim, mother of Muawiya's half-brother Khalid ibn Yazid.[1]


Before Yazid I died, he had the bay'ah made to his son Muawiya. Muawiya succeeded his father in Damascus in 64 AH (November 683 CE), at an age of somewhere between 17 and 23. He was supported by the Kalb tribe, but his authority was likely only recognised in Damascus and southern Syria, with Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr claiming the caliphate from his base in the Hejaz.[1]

Muawiya's reign would have lasted for about 20 days to 4 months, but likely no more than 2 months. Given the short span of time, few events were possible, and some of those transmitted may be unreliable political and sectarian fabrications. These include:[1]

  • Being a member of the Qadariyya, resulting from the belief that Muawiya abdicated before his death.
  • Denouncing his predecessors' tyranny and injustice towards the Alids.[2]
  • Having the kunya Abu Layla ("Father of Layla"),[3]:428–429 a name often applied to weak persons. This was suspicious because he had no children.
  • Abdication before his death,[3]:468 originating from later Marwanid propaganda.

What does seem certain, is that Muawiya continued his father's policy and remitted a third of the taxes.[4] During his reign, Muawiya suffered from ill health and so had to stay in the Umayyad palace (al-Khaḍrā’) in Damascus. His adviser Al-Dahhak ibn Qays al-Fihri took care of practical affairs.[1]

Death and legacy[edit]

It is unclear how Muawiya died, although jaundice and a plague have been named as causes. Since he had no children and either refused[3]:577 or was not given the opportunity to appoint a successor, the campaigns against Ibn al-Zubayr's revolt came to a complete stop. Umayyad power temporarily collapsed until Marwan I took back control.[1]

In his Futûhat Ul Makkiyyah, Ibn Arabi claimed that Muawiyya II was a spiritual Pole (Ghawth) of his time and one of the few in history have such a spiritual degree combined with a temporal power, like the Rashidun Caliphs and Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Bosworth, C.E. (1960). "Muʿāwiya II". In Bearman, P. Encyclopaedia of Islam (2nd ed.). Brill. ISBN 9789004161214. 
  2. ^ Ya'qubi. Tarikh al-Yaqubi. pp. 302–303. 
  3. ^ a b c Al-Tabari. Henri Lammens, ed. Annales quos scripsit Abu Djafar Mohammed ibn Djarir at-Tabari. II. 
  4. ^ Lammens, Henri (1920). "Moʿâwia II ou le dernier des Sofiânides". Études sur le siècle des Omayyades,. Beirut. pp. 177–179. 
  5. ^ "Parmi les Pôles, il en est dont l'autorité se manifeste et qui détiennent le Califat extérieur, de même qu'en vertu de leur degré spirituel ils détiennent la lieutenance ésotérique. Tel fut le cas de Abû Bakr, de 'Umar, de 'Uthmân, de 'Alî de Al Hasan, de Mu'âwiyah Ibn Yazîd, de 'Umar Ibn 'Abd Il 'Azîz et de Al Mutawakkil " (translation : There are Poles whose authority is manifest and who hold foreign Caliphate, and that according to their spiritual degree they hold esoteric authority to. Such was the case with Abû Bakr, 'Umar, 'Uthmân, 'Alî, Al Hasan, Mu'âwiyah Ibn Yazîd, 'Umar Ibn 'Abd Il 'Azîz and Al Mutawakkil) Le Sceau des Saints, trad. M.Chodkiewicz, ed. Gallimard, Paris 1986, p.121-122.
Muawiya II
Born: c. 664 CE Died: c. 684
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Yazīd ibn Mu‘āwiya ibn Abī Sufyān
Caliph of Islam
Umayyad Caliph
683 – 684
Succeeded by
Marwan ibn al-Hakam