'Amr ibn al-'As


'Amr ibn al-'As
`Amr
Born 573-589
Mecca, Arabia
Died 664
Egypt.
Allegiance Flag of Afghanistan (1880–1901).svg Rashidun Caliphate.
Umayyad Flag.svg Ummayad Caliphate.
Service/branch Flag of Afghanistan (1880–1901).svg Rashidun army
Umayyad Flag.svg Ummayad army
Years of service 634 - 6
Rank Commander
Governor of Egypt (642-644), (657-664)
Commands held Rashidun conquest of Palestine
Rashidun conquest of Egypt, First Muslim civil War

`Amr ibn al-`As (Arabic: عمرو بن العاص‘Amrū ibn al-‘Ās; c. 573 – January 6, 664) was an Arab military commander who is most noted for leading the Muslim conquest of Egypt in 640. A contemporary of Muhammad, and one of the Sahaba ("Companions"), who rose quickly through the Muslim hierarchy following his conversion to Islam in the year 8 AH (629). He founded the Egyptian capital of Fustat, and built the Mosque of Amr ibn al-As at its center — the first mosque on the continent of Africa.

Contents

Biography

Early life

ʻAmr belonged to the Banu Sahm[1] clan of the Quraysh. Assuming he was over ninety years old when he died, he was born before 573.

He was the son of Layla bint Harmalah aka "Al-Nabighah".[2] Before his military career, Amr was a trader, who had accompanied caravans along the commercial trading routes through Asia and the Middle East, including Egypt.[3] Amr ibn ul Aas was born in Mecca, Arabia and died in Egypt. He was a shrewd, highly intelligent man who belonged to the nobility of the Quraysh. He fought with the Quraysh against Islam in several battles. He went to fight the Muslims when he saw them praying with the prophet, he got highly interested and tried to find out more about Islam. He was determinedly hostile to Islam. In fact he was Quraysh’s envoy to the Negus, the ruler of Abyssinia. Once he converted to Islam with Khalid ibn al-Walid, he became a great commander fighting for the Islamic cause. Amr ibn ul aas mosque, the first mosque in Africa, was built under the patronage of Amr ibn ul aas. He came to Egypt as the commander in chief of the Arab troops in 640 AD.

Muhammad's era

Like the other Quraysh chiefs, he opposed Islam in the early days.

ʻAmr headed the delegation that the Quraysh sent to Abyssinia to prevail upon the ruler, Aṣḥama ibn Abjar (possibly Armah), to turn away the Muslims from his country. The mission failed and the ruler of Abyssinia refused to oblige the Quraysh. After the migration of Muhammad to Medina ʻAmr took part in all the battles that the Quraysh fought against the Muslims.[4]

He commanded a Quraish contingent at the battle of Uhud.

ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs was married to Umm Kulthum bint Uqba[5][6] but he divorced her when she embraced Islam.

In the company of Khalid ibn al-Walid, he rode from Mecca to Medina where both of them converted to Islam. He was seeking the right path to Medina and he became Muslim. Abu Bakr, Umar and Abu Ubaidah ibn al Jarrah served under ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs in the campaign of Dhat as-Salasil and had offered their prayers behind him for many weeks. At that time, ʻAmr ibn al-ʻĀs was their chief not only in the army but also as a leader in religious services.[7]

ʻAmr was dispatched by Muhammad to Oman and played a key role in the conversion of the leaders of that nation, Jayfar and 'Abbād ibn Al-Juland. He was then made governor of the region until shortly after Muhammad's death.

There are some hadith regarding him and his fathers will.[8]

Under Abu Bakr and Umar

ʻAmr was sent by the Caliph Abu Bakr with the Arab armies into Palestine following Muhammad's death. It is believed that he played an important role in the Arab conquest of that region, and he is known to have been at the battles of Ajnadayn and Yarmouk as well as the siege of Damascus.

The Mosque of Amr ibn al-As in modern-day Cairo

Following the success over the Byzantines in Syria, Amr suggested to Umar that he march on Egypt, to which Umar agreed.

The actual invasion began towards the end of 640, as Amr crossed the Sinai Peninsula with 3,500-4,000 men.He is reported to have celebrated the feast of pilgrimaga in Arish on 10th Dhul Hij A. H 18 or 12th December 640. After taking the small fortified towns of Pelusium (Arabic: Al-Farama) and beating back a Byzantine surprise attack near Bilbeis, Amr headed towards the Babylon Fortress (in the region of modern-day Coptic Cairo). After some skirmishes south of the area, Amr marched north towards Heliopolis, with 12,000 men reinforcements who had arrived on 6th June 640 reaching him from Syria, against the Byzantine forces in Egypt, under Theodore Trithyrius. The resulting Arab victory at the Battle of Heliopolis brought about the fall of much of the country. The Heliopolis battle resolved fairly quickly, though the Babylon Fortress withstood a siege of several months, and the Byzantine capital of Alexandria, which had been the capital of Egypt for a thousand years, surrendered a few months after that. A peace treaty was signed in late 641, in the ruins of a palace in Memphis.[9] Despite a brief re-conquest by Byzantine forces in 645 which was beaten at the Battle of Nikiou, the country remained firmly in Arab hands.

Needing a new capital, Amr suggested that they set up an administration in the large and well-equipped city of Alexandria, at the western edge of the Nile Delta. However, Caliph Umar refused, saying that he did not want the capital to be separated from him by a body of water. So in 641 Amr founded a new city on the eastern side of the Nile, centered on his own tent which was near the Babylon Fortress. Amr also founded a mosque at the center of his new city—it was the first mosque in Egypt, which also made it the first mosque on the continent of Africa. The Mosque of Amr (Mosque of Amr ibn al-As) still exists today in Old Cairo, though it has been extensively rebuilt over the centuries, and nothing remains of the original structure.

Although some Egyptians did not support the Byzantine forces during the Arab conquest, some villages started to organise against the new invaders. After the battle of Nikkiou on 13th May 641, Arab troops having defeated the Byzantine forces, destroyed many Egyptian villages on their march to Alexandria as the Delta rebelled against the new invaders. The Egyptian resistance seems to have been village by village without a unified command and therefore failed.

After founding Fustat, Amr was then recalled to the capital (which had, by then, moved from Medina to Damascus) where he became Muawiyah's close advisor.

Muhammad had told Amr "that when you conquer Egypt be kind to its people because they are your protege kith and kin".

Muhammad's wife, Maria al-Qibtiyya (the Copt) was an Egyptian. After Amr Ibn Al Aas conquered Egypt, he informed Mikakaus, the Patriarch of Alexandria, who retorted that "Only a prophet could invoke such a relationship!", referring to Abraham's marriage to Hagar.

Later life

After his military conquests, Amr was an important player in internal conflicts within Islam. Amr was originally a supporter of the caliph Ali, but later switched to the side of Muawiya. He died during Muawiya's reign.

Following the murder of Uthman ibn Affan and the dispute between the supporters of Ali and the supporters of Muawiyah as successors, Amr represented Muawiyah in the arbitration as opposed to Abu Musa Ashaari who represented Ali.

Further reading

  • Butler, Alfred J. The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty years of Roman Dominion Oxford, 1978.
  • Charles, R. H. The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from Zotenberg's Ethiopic Text, 1916. Reprinted 2007. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-87-9. Evolpub.com

See also

References

  1. ^ Britannica.com Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
  2. ^ Sermon 179 Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
  3. ^ Andrew Beattie, Cairo: A Cultural History, p. 94
  4. ^ Witness-Pioneer.org
  5. ^ (German) Eslam.de Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
  6. ^ (German) Eslam.de Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
  7. ^ Al-Islam.org Archived 1 November 2007 at WebCite
  8. ^ see Sunan Abu Dawud 2877
  9. ^ Beattie, p. 95
  • (10) Glubb J.B. The Great Arab Conquests. Quartet Books, London 1963



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  • 'Amr ibn al-'As — (arabisch ‏عمرو بن العاص‎, DMG ʿAmr ibn al ʿĀs; * um 580; † 664 in Ägypten) war ein Gefährte des Propheten Mohammed sowie ein Feldherr und Politiker, der Ägypten für die Muslime eroberte. Leben Amr ibn al As entstammte einer wohlhabenden… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Amr ibn Al-As — (arabisch ‏عمرو بن العاص‎, DMG ʿAmr ibn al ʿĀs; * um 580; † 664 in Ägypten) war ein Gefährte des Propheten Mohammed sowie ein Feldherr und Politiker, der Ägypten für die Muslime eroberte. Leben Amr ibn al As entstammte einer wohlhabenden… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • ʿAmr ibn al-ʿĀs — Amr ibn al As (arabisch ‏عمرو بن العاص‎, DMG ʿAmr ibn al ʿĀṣ; * um 580; † 664 in Ägypten) war ein Gefährte des Propheten Mohammed sowie ein Feldherr und Politiker, der Ägypten für die Muslime eroberte. Leben Amr ibn al As entstammte einer… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Amr ibn al-As — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda ʽAmr ibn al ʽĀṣ (? 663, Al Fusṭāṭ, Egipto) fue un conquistador árabe de Egipto. Después de adoptar el Islam (сerca del 630), lideró una fuerza militar hacia Omán, donde convirtió a los gobernantes de la región. Fue… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Amr ibn el Aß — Amr ibn el Aß, berühmter arab. Feldherr, Koreischit, schloß sich dem Propheten erst 629 an, tat sich bei der Eroberung Palästinas hervor und unternahm 638 oder 639 die Eroberung Ägyptens. Die nähern Umstände derselben sind unvollkommen bekannt.… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Amr ibn al-As — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Amr. Mosquée Ibn al Aṣ au Caire. Construite en 641, mais reconstruite en 1845 par Mohammed Ali Pacha …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Amr ibn al-ʿĀṣʿ — ▪ Arab general died 663, Al Fusṭāṭ, Egypt       the Arab conqueror of Egypt.       A wealthy member of the Banū Sahm clan of the important tribe of Quraysh, ʿAmr accepted Islām in 629–630. Sent to Oman, in southeastern Arabia, by the Prophet… …   Universalium


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