Marwan ibn al-Hakam
Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 3rd of the Islamic month of Ramadhan in 65 AH, Marwan ibn al-Hakam, the fourth caliph of the usurper Omayyad dynasty died in Damascus at the age of 64 years, after nine months in power, which was limited mostly to Syria. He was actually killed by his most recent wife, a widow of the tyrant Yazid ibn Mu'awiyyah, who put a pillow on his face and sat over it till his breath was snuffed out, because of being mistreated by him.
One of the most criminal characters in Islamic history, Marwan was the son of the hypocrite Hakam bin Aas, who was expelled from Medina by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) for ridiculing Islam. Marwan was the first cousin of Osman bin Affan, who on becoming caliph recalled him to Medina, gave his daughter in marriage to him, and entrusted him all affairs of the state.
The resulting mismanagement and plunder of the public treasury ended some twelve years later in the killing of Osman by Muslim revolutionaries from Egypt. In the "Battle of Jamal" that the pledge-breakers led by Ayesha – a wife of the Prophet – imposed on Imam Ali ibn Taleb (AS) near Basra in Iraq, Marwan treacherously killed his own leader, Talhah Ibn Obaidollah, with an arrow shot at the unprotected thigh.
When the Omayyads seized the caliphate he served as governor of Medina for intermittent periods, and stayed there after retirement, until Abdullah ibn Zubayr rebelled against Yazid, and made the mistake of allowing him and his son Abdul-Malik to leave for Damascus. Here on the abdication of Muawiya II, in protest to his father Yazid's crimes against Islam and humanity, including the tragic martyrdom of Imam Husain (AS) in Karbala, Marwan found himself propelled to the caliphate.
His ascension pointed to a shift in the lineage of the Omayyad dynasty from descendants of Abu Sufyan to those of Hakam, both of whom were grandsons of Omayya. Some 67 years later, the Marwanids were thrown into the dustbin of history with the rise of the new dynasty of usurper caliphs, the Abbasids.