Sometime in 2017 Dr Mohammad Sani Umar Rijiyar Lemo, an erudite expert in the Science of Hadith, suggested I translate an Arabic note written by an equally reputable Libyan scholar, Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaby, to the English language. The suggestion was conveyed to me by Barrister Salisu Muhammad Gumel.
Dr Muhammad Sani had rightly found the note absolutely worthy of wider dissemination in the face of the growing number of attention-craving charlatans masquerading as Islamic scholars and intellectuals obsessed with unearthing and dissemination of the age-old but thoroughly debunked unfounded historical narrations, distorted historical accounts and accounts quoted out of context designed to smear the Umayyad dynasty.
Though I translated the note to English as suggested, I wasn’t sure if was circulated widely enough. I, therefore, revisit, re-edit and present it to the esteemed readers of this column today.
Dr As-Sallaby begins the note by quoting Ibn Katheer who maintained that “Jihad was at its peak during the reign of the Umayyad dynasty, which was never preoccupied with anything else. They overwhelmingly humiliated polytheism and hostile polytheists who were made to live in perpetual fear of the Muslim liberators conquering wherever they targeted.” Dr As-Sallaby then continues “Humanity owes the Umayyad dynasty more than any other ruling dynasty, may Allah be pleased with them. They have been key contributors to Islamic advancement since its advent and would remain so to the Last Day.
Uthman bin Affan (for instance) earned the credit of compiling the noble Qur’an. Also, the amount of the Prophetic Hadeeths narrated by the Mother of the Faithful, Umm Habiba Bint Abi Sufyan, may Allah be pleased with her, was enough proof of her exalted status in Islam. Equally, Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan got the privilege of recording the Revelation i.e. the Qur’an from the Messenger of Allah (SAW). Abdullah ibn Saed ibn Al’aas ibn Umayyat was among the thirteen Martyrs of the Battle of Badr.
Likewise, Yazid ibn Abi Sufyan earned the credit of being the commander of the Muslim liberators in the Levant that also conquered Lebanon, while Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah was the commander of the first brigade of Muslim liberators who raided Constantinople; and interestingly, the Messenger of Allah (SAW) had said “The first brigade (of Muslim liberators) to raid Constantinople has been granted (Allah’s) Forgiveness” (Al-Bukhari)
Among the Umayyad also were Khalid ibn Yazid Al-Amawy, the inventor of Chemistry, Uqbat ibn Naafi’u Al-Amawy, the liberator of North Africa, and Umar ibn AbdulAziz Al-Amawy. The Dome of the Rock (at Al-Masjidul-Aqsa) was also built by Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan Al-Amawy.
Similarly, Andalusia (part of the modern-day day Spain) was liberated by the Umayyad, so was Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan; all embraced Islam thanks to the Umayyad dynasty that took Islam to Europe including Andalusia and southern France.
Andalusia was also saved from destruction by Abdur-Rahman Ad-Dhaakhil Al-Amawy. Abdur-Rahman An-Naasir Al-Amawy reigned as one of the greatest kings in the world. The Umayyad also dispatched Da’awah emissaries to remote parts of the world conducting Da’awah to the religion of Allah the Almighty. Their emissaries got as far as China who they referred to as the White-clothed.
The Umayyad equally promoted knowledge, and justice prevailed across their Caliphate. Compilation of the Prophet’s Hadiths was also started under the Umayyads who were also the first to prepare and keep archives and records in Arabic; the first to issue standardized currency and the first in history to maintain Muslim naval fleet.
During the reign of Al-Waleed ibn Abdul-Malik Al-Amawy, the Islamic Caliphate achieved its biggest expansion in history. Athaan was loudly recited in the Chinese Himalaya, Black African jungles, Grasslands of India, at the Walls of Constantinople, on the outskirts of Paris, at the Portuguese Hills, on the shores of Bahruz-zulumat, on the Plains of Georgia and the shores of Cyprus.
The Umayyads’ white Islamic flag with the inscription of “La’ilaha IllaL-Lah Muhammad RasuluL-Lah” flew high on the castles of these cities. They were Umayyads’ flags, may Allah reward them for their contribution to Muslim and Islamic advancement.
Dr As-Sallaby then ends his note remarking that “From the foregoing, I assume that the underlying motive behind the calumny against the Umayyad is now clear.” However, I, for one, still believe that though the point he wants to make is indeed clear, yet it may still elude some readers.
To make it clearer, Dr As-Sallaby is rightly suggesting that the Umayyads were singled out for the most vicious systematic calumny simply because of their particularly remarkable contribution to the growth of Islamic religion and its civilization.
It’s noteworthy that, as the most populous and indeed one of the leading clans of the prestigious Makkah-based Quraish Arab tribe, the Umayyad had always been associated with leadership even before the advent of Islam; a reputation it maintained for centuries afterwards. Besides, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) appointed more governors among them than any other Arab tribe. In his highly authoritative book, Hiqbatun Minat-Tarikh, a Kuwaiti reputable Islamic scholar, Dr Othman Al-Khamis quoted Shaikhul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah to that effect.