The Caliphate under the Omayyads of Damascus, and then the Abbasids of Bagdad, became the principal power in the nearer East.
The mosque of the Omayyads in Damascus was built by the Caliph Walid in A.D.
The early years of the Omayyads were years of constant strife in Arabia.
But the Omayyads (with one exception) were not religious men and, while preserving the outward forms of Islam, allowed full liberty to the pre-Islamic customs of the Arabs and the beliefs and practices of Christians.
The conqueror, 'Oqba-bin-Nafa, founded the city of Kairwan (673) which was the residence of the governors of "Ifrigiyah" under the Omayyads and thereafter the capital of the Aghlabite princes, the conquerors of Sicily, who ruled in merely nominal dependence on the Abbasids.
The title Amir ul Muminim, or "commander of the faithful," now borne by the sultan of Turkey, was first assumed by Abu Bekr, and was taken by most of the various dynasties which claimed the caliphate, including the Fatimites, the Spanish Omayyads and the Almohades.
This withdrawal of the head of the state from direct contact with his people was unknown to the Omayyads, and was certainly an imitation of Persian usage; it has even been plausibly conjectured that the name is but the Arabic adaptation of a Persian title.
Soon after, Messianic hopes were active at the time of the fall of the Omayyads, and led to a serious rising under Abu `Isa of Ispahan, who called himself forerunner of the Messiah.
When the Omayyads were overthrown in the East by the Abbasids he was a young man of about twenty years of age.
He was a fine example of an oriental founder of a dynasty, and did his work so well that the Omayyads lasted in Spain for two centuries and a half.
566-652), the eldest uncle of Mahomet, in virtue of which descent they regarded themselves as the rightful heirs of the Prophet as opposed to the Omayyads, the descendants of Omayya.
Throughout the second period of the Omayyads, representatives of this family were among their most dangerous opponents, partly by the skill with which they undermined the reputation of the reigning princes by accusations against their orthodoxy, their moral character and their administration in general, and partly by their cunning manipulation of internecine jealousies among the Arabic and non-Arabic subjects of the empire.
The quarrel was taken up by his brother Abdallah, known by the name of Abu'l-Abbas as-Saffah, who after a decisive victory on the Greater Zab (750) finally crushed the Omayyads and was proclaimed caliph.
The fall of the Omayyads was their work, and with the Omayyads fell the Arabian empire.
He belonged to the foremost family of Mecca, the Omayyads, and that he should favour his relations and the Koreish as a whole, in every possible way, seemed to him a matter of course.
There is, however, a tradition in which Ali himself calls the Omayyads born rulers.
(3) The Kharijites, who, in spite of the heavy losses they sustained at the hands of Ali, maintained their power by gaining new adherents from among those austere Moslems, who held both Omayyads and Alids as usurpers, and have often been called, not unjustly, the Puritans of Islam.
With them all malcontents, in particular the Shiites, found support; by them the dynasty of the Omayyads and the supremacy of the Arabs was finally overthrown.
The description of the reign of the Omayyads is extremely difficult.
The Omayyads were accused by their numerous missionaries of every imaginable vice; in their hands Islam was not safe; it would be a godly work to extirpate them from the earth.
The official history of the Omayyads, as it has been handed down to us, is coloured by Abbasid feeling to such an extent that we can scarcely distinguish the true from the false.
This is represented commonly as a revolt, but as IIomran was a client of Othman, and remained in favour with the Omayyads, it is almost certain that he took the management of affairs only to maintain order.
All the evidence shows that, during the reign of the Omayyads, life in Damascus and the rest of Syria was austere and in striking contrast to the dissolute manners which prevailed in Medina.
The Omayyads, though they with their clients counted more than 1000 men, were not able to maintain themselves, and were allowed to depart only on condition of strict neutrality.
Moslim, having met the expelled Omayyads at Wadi 'l-Qora, encamped near the city (August 683) and gave the inhabitants three days in which to return to obedience, wishing to spare the city of the Prophet and to prevent the shedding of blood.
In no city of the empire, during the reign of the Omayyads, lived more singers and musicians than in Medina.
The Omayyads, who had returned to Medina, were again expelled.
Hakam, of another branch of the Omayyads, who had been Othman's right-hand man.
Mus`ab's best troops were fighting under Mohallab against the Kharijites; many Basrians were secretly favourable to the Omayyads, nor were the Kufian soldiers to be trusted.
Abdalmalik not only brought triumph to the cause of the Omayyads, but also extended and strengthened the Moslem power as a whole.
From that time the Abbasids began their machinations against the Omayyads in the name of the family of the Prophet, avoiding all that could cause suspicion to the Shiites, but holding the strings firmly in their own hands.
The Omayyads who came to pay their respects to him received large donations.
The missionaries were charged with the task of undermining the authority of the Omayyads, by drawing attention to all the injustices that took place under their reign, and to all the luxury and wantonness of the court, as contrasted with the misery of many of their subjects.
In Syria, the Omayyads were persecuted with the utmost rigour.
Ali pretended to grant an amnesty to all Omayyads who should come in to him at Abu Fotros (Antipatris) and acknowledge the new caliph,and even promised them the restitution of all their property.
Only a few Omayyads escaped the massacre, several of whom were murdered later.
With the dynasty of the Omayyads the hegemony passes finally from Syria to Irak.
European scholars have taken it unjustly in the sense of the bloodthirsty, and found in it an allusion to the slaughter of the Omayyads and many others.
At the same time as the revolt in Africa, the independent Caliphate of the western Omayyads was founded in Spain.
Weary of these commotions, the Arabs of Spain at last came to an understanding among themselves for the election of a caliph, and their choice fell upon one of the last survivors of the Omayyads, Abdarrahman b.
Two aunts of the caliph took part in this expedition, having made a vow that if the dominion of the Omayyads were ended they would wage war in the path of God.
From that time forward the Abbasid caliphs became the maintainers of orthodox Islam, just as the Omayyads had been.
In the last days of the Omayyads, the Shiites had chosen as caliph, Mahommed b.
"The Omayyads," says the Spanish writer Ibn IIazm, "were an Arabic dynasty; they had no fortified residence, nor citadel; each of them dwelt in his villa, where he lived before becoming caliph; they did not desire that the Moslems should speak to them as slaves to their master, nor kiss the ground before them or their feet; they only gave their care to the appointment of able governors in the provinces of the empire.
But now his equals in birth and rank, the Omayyads and the Alids, had been crushed; the principal actors in the great struggle, the leaders of the propaganda and Abu Moslim were out of the way; the caliph stood far above all his subjects; and his only possible antagonists were the members of his own family.
The promises made to them during the war against the Omayyads had not been fulfilled, and the new Mandi did not answer at all to their ideal.
During the reign of the Omayyads a few large fortunes were made thus.
It seems certain that he did suffer imprisonment and beating for this reason, at the hands of an earlier governor of Kufa under the Omayyads (Ibn Qutaiba, Ma`arif, p. 248).