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[HISTORY
ARABIA

founded (635). In the same year Damascus fell into the hands of the Arabs under Abu ‛Ubaida. In 636 Jerusalem fell and received a visit from the caliph. Three years later the fateful step was taken of appointing Moawiya (Mu’awīyya) governor of Syria. In 640 ‛Amr-ibn-el-Ass (Amr ibn al-‛Ās) invaded Egypt and the following year took Alexandria and founded Fostat (which later became Cairo). The victory at Nehavend in 641 over the Persians, the flight of the last Sassanid king and the capture of Rei or Rai (class. Rhagae) in 643 meant the entire subjugation of Persia and crowned the conquests of Omar’s caliphate. The reign of the third caliph Othman (644-656) was marked by the beginning of that internal strife which was to ruin Arabia; but the foreign conquests continued. In the north the Moslem arms reached Armenia and Asia Minor; on the west they were successful as far as Carthage on the north coast of Africa. After the murder of Othman, ‛Ali (656-661) became caliph, but Moawiya, governor of Syria, soon rebelled on the pretext of avenging the death of Othman. After the battle of Siffin (657) arbitration was resorted to for the settlement of the rival claims. By a trick ‛Ali was deposed (658), and the Omayyad dynasty was established with its capital at Damascus.

During these early years the Arabs had not only made conquests by land, but had found an outlet for their energy at sea. In 640 Omar sent a fleet of boats across the Red Sea to protect the Moslems on the Abyssinian coast. Institution of navy. The boats were wrecked. Omar was so terrified by this that when Moawiya applied to him for permission to use ships for an attack on the islands of the Levant, he resolutely refused. Othman was less careful, and allowed a fleet from Africa to help in the conquests of the Levant and Asia Minor. In 649 he sanctioned the establishment of a maritime service, on condition that it should be voluntary. Abu Qais, appointed admiral, showed its usefulness by the capture of Cyprus. In 652 Abu Sarh with a fleet from Egypt won a naval battle over the Byzantine fleet near Alexandria.

2. Internal Affairs.—In the meantime what had become of Arabia and its unification? The first task of Abu Bekr had been to reduce those rebels who threatened to destroy that unity even before it was fully established. This he did by the aid of the great general Khālid. First he swept down on the Bani Hanīfa in Yemāma, who with their rival prophet Mosailama (Mosailima) and 40,000 men were in arms. The battle of Yemāma (633) was fierce and decisive. Mosailama was slain. The Bani Hanīfa returned to Islam. Bahrein was influenced by this battle, and the rebellion there, which was threatening, was crushed. Oman was reconquered by Huddhaifa, who became its governor. Ikrima settled Māhra. Muhājir, with the help of Ikrima, succeeded with difficulty, but thoroughly, in defeating Amr ibn Ma’dikārib and Qais ibn ‛Abd Yaghūth in Yemen and Ashath ibn Qais in Hadramut. The Hejaz and Tehama were cleared of the plundering nomads by ‛Attāb and Ṭāhir. At the end of the first year of his caliphate Abu Bekr saw Arabia united under Islam. The new national feeling demanded that all Arabs should be free men, so the caliph ordained that all Arab slaves should be freed on easy terms. The solidarity of Arabia survived the first foreign conquests. It was not intended that Arabs should settle in the conquered lands except as armies of occupation. Thus it was at first forbidden that Arabs should buy or possess land in these countries. Kūfa was to be only a military camp, as was Fostat in Egypt. The taxes with the booty from conquests were to be sent to Arabia for distribution among the Moslems. Omar tried to prevent the advance of conquests lest Arabia should suffer. “I would rather the safety of my people than thousands of spoil and further conquest.” But men could not be prevented from pouring out from their homes in search of new conquests and more booty. Many of those who went forth did not return. They acquired property and rank in the new lands. Kūfa attracted chiefly men of south Arabia, Basra those of the north. Both became great cities, each with a population of 150,000 to 200,000 Arabians. Yet so long as the caliphs lived in Medina, the capital of Arabia was the capital of the expanding Arabian empire. To it was brought a large share of the booty. The caliphs were chosen there, and there the rules for the administration were framed. Thence went out the governors to their provinces. Omar was the great organizer of Arabian affairs. He compiled the Koran, instituted the civil list, regulated the military organization. He, too, desired that Mahomet’s wish should be carried out and that Arabia should be purely Moslem. To this end he expelled the Christians from Nejrān and gave them lands in Syria and Irak, where they were allowed to live in peace on payment of tribute. The Jews, too, were shortly after expelled from Khaibar. The secondary position that Arabia was beginning to assume in the Arabian empire is clearly marked in the progress of events during the caliphate of Othmān. In his appointments to governorships and other offices, as well as in his distribution of spoil, Othmān showed a marked preference for the members of his own tribe the Koreish (Quraish) and the members of his own family the Bani Omayya (Umayya). The other Arab tribes became increasingly jealous of the Koreish, while among the Koreish themselves the Hāshimite family came to hate the Omayyad, which now had much power, although it had been among the last to accept Islam and never was very strict in its religious duties. But the quarrels which led to the murder of Othmān were fomented not so much in Arabia as in Kūfa and Baṣra and Fostat. In these cities the rival parties were composed of the most energetic fighting men, who were brought into the most intimate contact with one another, and who kept up their quarrels from the home land. In Kūfa a number of the Koreish had settled, and their arrogance became insupportable. The governors of all these towns were of Othmān’s own family. After some years of growing dissatisfaction deputies from these places came to Medina, and the result was the murder of the caliph. Syria alone remained loyal to the house of Omayya, and Othmān had been advised to take refuge there, but had refused. Arabia itself counted for little in the strife. Yet its prestige was not altogether lost. After the murder the rebels were unwilling to return home until a new caliph had been chosen in the capital. The Egyptian rebels managed to gain most influence, and, in accordance with their desire, ‛Alī was appointed caliph by the citizens of Medina. But Medina itself was being corrupted by the constant influx of captives, who, employed at first as servants, soon became powerful enough to dictate to their masters. In the struggle that ensued upon the election of ‛Alī, Arabia was involved. Ayesha, Ṭalḥa and Zobair, who were strong in Mecca, succeeded in obtaining possession of Baṣra, but were defeated in 656 at the battle of the Camel (see Ali). In the south of Arabia ‛Alī succeeded in establishing his own governor in Yemen, though the government treasure was carried off to Mecca. But the centre of strife was not to be Arabia. When ‛Alī left Medina to secure Baṣra, he abandoned it as the capital of the Arabian empire. With the success of Moawiya Damascus became the capital of the caliphate (658) and Arabia became a mere province, though always of importance because of its possession of the two sacred cities Mecca and Medina. Both these cities were secured by Moawiya in 660, and at the same time Yemen was punished for its adherence to ‛Alī. The final blow to any political pretensions of Medina was dealt by the caliph when he had his son Yazīd declared as his successor, thus taking away any claim on the part of the citizens of Medina to elect to the caliphate.

The Omayyads.—The early years of the Omayyads were years of constant strife in Arabia. The Khārijites who had opposed ‛Alī on the ground that he had no right to allow the appeal to arbitration, were defeated at Nahrawān or Nahrwān (658), but those who escaped became fierce propagandists against the Koreish, some claiming that the caliph should be chosen by the Faithful from any tribe of the Arabs, some that there should be no caliph at all, that God alone was their ruler and that the government should be carried on by a council. They broke up into many sects, and were long a disturbing political force in Arabia as elsewhere. On the death of ‛Alī his house was represented by his two sons Ḥasan and Ḥosain (Ḥusain). Ḥasan soon made peace with Moawiya. On the accession of Yazid, Ḥosain refused homage and raised an army, but was slain at