The fifth caliph of the usurper Omayyad dynasty, Abdul-Malik Ibn Marwan
Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 14th of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 84 AH, the 5th caliph of the usurper Omayyad dynasty, Abdul-Malik Ibn Marwan, died in Damascus at the age of 61 after a reign of 20 tyrannical years during which among a spate of crimes against Islam and humanity, he ordered his Godless general, Hajjaj Ibn Yusuf, to defile the sanctity of the holy Ka’ba with fire and brimstone in order to kill the rival caliph, Abdullah Ibn Zubayr (maternal grandson of Caliph Abu Bakr).
Born in Mecca to Marwan, who along with his pagan father Hakam (a grandson of Omayya and paternal uncle of Caliph Othman bin Affan), was expelled by Prophet Mohammad (SAWA) for ridiculing Islam, he grew up in Medina, where his father was recalled by Othman, made son-in-law, and entrusted all state affairs – the mismanagement of which resulted in the caliph's murder by Egyptian revolutionaries, fed up with the trampling of the Shari'ah.
When his Omayyad kinsman, Mu’awiyyah Ibn Abu Sufyan, seized the caliphate from Imam Hasan al-Mujtaba (AS) the elder grandson of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), Marwan was appointed governor of Medina, and years later in 62 AH, along with his son, Abdul-Malik, was lucky to be allowed to go alive to Syria on the seizure of Arabia by Abdullah ibn Zubayr.
In Damascus Abdul-Malik spent his hours mostly in the mosque, when in 64 AH he suddenly found himself propelled to the truncated Omayyad caliphate in those tumultuous years following the horribly mysterious death of the tyrant Yazid (the perpetrator of the tragedy of Karbala), abdication of the latter’s son Mu’awiyya II a few months later, and his own father Marwan’s surprising rise as caliph and death in the harem nine months later. Abdul-Malik cast aside the holy Qur’an with the words “It is now separation between me and you”.
He faced an uncertain future with the Omayyad caliphate shrunken to Damascus and its environs, as Mukhtar al-Thaqafi, the Avenger of the blood of the Martyrs of Karbala, was all set to wipe out the Omayyads with his string of victories against the killers of the Prophet’s younger grandson, Imam Husain (AS). At this crucial juncture, Abdullah Ibn Zubayr, who a few years earlier had erred in letting Abdul-Malik and his father Marwan go over to Syria, again blundered by refusing to join forces with Mukhtar for obliterating the Omayyads once and for all.
Instead he sent his brother Mus’ab to attack and kill Mukhtar, thereby giving much needed breathing space to Abdul-Malik and in fact allowing him to regroup and attack the divided armies of Iraq and Hijaz. What followed was revival of the Omayyad supremacy and suppression of true Muslims, especially the Prophet’s progeny and their followers, while the boundaries of the realm continued to rapidly expand in both the east and the west – in Central Asia and North Africa.
Although Mu'awiyyah had transformed the Islamic realm into a hereditary Arab empire on the basis of clan control, it was Abdul-Malik who initiated the brazenly racist and chauvinistic polices against the letter and spirit of Islam that made Arabs (especially Omayyad supporters) the dominant class of the expanding realm, hand-in-hand with rabid Arabization that deprived Syrians, Egyptians, and North Africans of their native languages and rich cultural heritage, although in the eastern parts of the empire these apartheid policies failed to erode the Persian language and culture of the Iranians and other Muslim peoples, who in accordance with the message of the holy Qur'an, mastered Arabic language, literature and grammar, as well as hadith and Islamic sciences, while preserving for posterity the positive aspects of the legacies of the past.