Umayyad dynasty

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The Banu Umayya (Arabic: بَنُو أُمَيَّة‎, translit. Banū ʿUmayya, lit. 'Sons of Umayya') or Umayyads (الأمويون), were a clan of the Quraysh tribe descended from Umayya ibn Abd Shams. The clan staunchly opposed the Islamic prophet Muhammad, but eventually embraced Islam before the latter's death in 632. A member of the clan, Uthman, went on to become the third Rashidun caliph in 644–656, while other members held various governorships. One of these governors, Mu'awiyah I, won the First Muslim Civil War in 661 and established the Umayyad Caliphate with its capital in Damascus, Syria. This marks the birth of the Umayyad dynasty, the first hereditary dynasty in the history of Islam, and the only one to rule over the entire Islamic world of its time.

The Sufyanid line founded by Mu'awiyah failed in 683 and Umayyad authority was challenged in the Second Muslim Civil War, but the dynasty ultimately prevailed under Marwan I, who founded the Marwanid line of Umayyad caliphs. The Sufyanids drove on the Early Muslim conquests, including North Africa, Spain, Central Asia, and Sindh, but the constant warfare exhausted the state's military resources, while Alid revolts and tribal rivalries weakened the regime from within. Finally, in 750 the Abbasid Revolution overthrew Caliph Marwan II and massacred most of the members of the family. Only Abd al-Rahman, a nephew of Marwan II, managed to escape, making his way to Muslim Spain (Al-Andalus), where he managed to make himself accepted as ruler (emir). Thus Abd al-Rahman founded the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba, which Abd al-Rahman III elevated to the status of caliphate in 929. After a brief golden era, the Caliphate of Córdoba disintegrated into several independent taifa kingdoms in 1031, thus bringing to a definitive end the rule of the Umayyad family.


Hashim ibn 'Abd Manaf (the paternal great-grandfather of the Islamic prophet Muhammad) and 'Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf were conjoined twins - born with Hashim's leg attached to Abd Shams' head. It was said that they had struggled in the womb, each seeking to be firstborn. Their birth was remembered for Hashim being born with one of his toes pressed into the younger twin-brother, Abd Shams's, forehead. Legend says that their father, 'Abd Manaf ibn Qusai, separated his conjoined sons with a sword and that some priests believed that the blood that had flown between them signified wars between their progeny (rivalry between the Hashemite Abbasid Caliphate and the Umayyad Caliphate would indeed reach a bloody climax in the Abbasid Revolution, culminating in 750 CE).[1] The astrologers of Arabia opined that Abd Munaaf had committed a grave error when he separated his sons by means of a sword; they did not regard his deed as a good omen.[2]

The Banu Umayya clan took its name from Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf's son Umayya ibn Abd Shams.[3][4] Bani Umayyah became enemies of the Bani Hashim when Hashim banished his brother, 'Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf, from Mecca.[5]

The enmity and opposition between Bani Umayya and Bani Hashim began before the struggle for rulership and authority had occurred between them and before Islam had gained predominance in the 7th century CE. The reasons for this included tribal party spirit, superiority complex, old grudges, desire for vengeance of the murder of kinsmen, political views, personal sentiments, and differences in ways of life and manner of thinking. Bani Umayya and Bani Hashim were the chiefs of Mecca and held high offices even during the Age of ignorance. The chieftainship of Bani Hashim was spiritual, whereas that enjoyed by Bani Umayya was political and they were also tradesmen and possessed enormous wealth.[6]

Notable individuals of the Banu Umayya clan[edit]

The descendants of Umayya ibn Abd Shams and ʿAbd al-Muttalib[edit]

Abd Manaf
Abd Shams
Muttalib ibn Abd Manaf
Umayya ibn Abd Shams
Abd al-Muttalib
Harb ibn Umayyah
Abu al-'As ibn Umayyah
Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Muttalib
Abu Talib ibn Abdul Muttalib
Hamza ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib
Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib
Abu Sufyan ibn Harb
Al-Hakam ibn Abi al-'As
Affan ibn Abi al-'As
Khadija bint Khuwaylid
(Family tree)
Khawlah bint Ja'far
Abdullah ibn Abbas
Muawiyah I
Marwan I
Uthman ibn Affan
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah
Ali ibn Abd Allah
Umayyad dynasty
Uthman ibn Abu-al-Aas
Hasan ibn Ali
(Family tree)
Mukhtar al-Thaqafi
Muhammad "al-Imam"

Family tree of the Umayyad dynasty in Syria and al-Andalus[edit]

  Umayyad Caliphs of Damascus (661–750)
  Umayyad Emirs of Córdoba (756–929)
  Umayyad Caliphs of Córdoba (929–1031)


  1. ^ Ibn Kathir; Le Gassick, Trevor; Fareed, Muneer. The Life of the Prophet Muhammad: Al-Sira Al-Nabawiyya. p. 132.
  2. ^ Razvi, Haafiz Mohammed Idrees (2009). Manifestations of the Moon Of Prophethood (PDF). Imam Mustafa Raza Research Centre Overport. p. 18.
  3. ^ "Banu Hashim - Before the Birth of Islam". Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  4. ^ "Muslim Congress". Muslim Congress. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  5. ^ a b "The Bani Umayyah". Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  6. ^ "The Bani Umayyah". Retrieved 1 August 2013.
  7. ^ Note: Uthman (indicated in blue color) is the nephew of Al-Hakam ibn Abi al-'As, not a brother of Abu Sufyan as it was incorrectly drawn and placed in the following schematic diagram.


Cadet branch of the Quraysh
Rashidun Caliphate as elective caliphate Caliphate dynasty
661 – 6 August 750
Succeeded by
Abbasid dynasty
Preceded by
Umayyad dynasty as caliphal dynasty
Ruling house of the Emirate of Córdoba
15 May 756 – 16 January 929
Emirate elevated to Caliphate
New title
Ruling house of the Caliphate of Córdoba
16 January 929 – 1017
Succeeded by
Hammudid dynasty
Preceded by
Hammudid dynasty
Ruling house of the Caliphate of Córdoba
1023 – 1025
Succeeded by
Hammudid dynasty
Preceded by
Hammudid dynasty
Ruling house of the Caliphate of Córdoba
1026 – 1031
Caliphate dissolved
into Taifa kingdoms