The Omayyad partisan and governor of Egypt, Amr bin al-Aas
Compiled by: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On 1st of the Islamic month of Shawwal in 43 AH, the Omayyad partisan and governor of Egypt, Amr bin al-Aas, died at the age of 93 years in a state of acute mental agony while recalling his crimes against Islam and humanity, including how he had tried to cheat Imam Ali (AS) of the caliphate by declaring Mu'awiyya ibn Abu Sufyan as the caliph.
Born out of wedlock in Mecca to a morally-loose bondwoman, named Layla bint Harmalah and called "Nabigha", his paternity was open to doubt in those freewheeling days of Jahiliyya because of the promiscuous relations of his mother with at least five persons at the same time including Abu Sufyan and Aas ibn Wa'el.
Although Amr greatly resembled the stingy miser Abu Sufyan, his mother by openly citing the issue of maintenance claimed that the rather generous Aas had fathered her child. With the advent of Islam, Amr showed bitter hostility toward Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and when the latter migrated to Medina, he was involved in almost all the battles imposed upon Muslims by the pagan Arabs of Mecca.
Earlier, when a batch of persecuted Muslims led by the Prophet's cousin, Ja'far ibn Abu Taleb, sought asylum in Abyssinia he led an unsuccessful mission to the court of the Christian king, Negus, for the handover of the refugees.
In 8 AH, two years before the passing away of the Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), and shortly before the surrender of Mecca to the Muslims, Amr, sensing the end of the days of paganism, came to Medina along with that other avowed enemy of Islam, Khaled bin Waleed, to claim conversion to Islam, although none of his deeds ever supports his claim to be a Muslim.
After the Holy Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), when the neo-Muslim Arab armies swept across Syria and Palestine, he led the attack on the Roman province of Egypt. When Mu'awiyyah consolidated his power in Syria, he joined him as advisor in Damascus and was the evil mind in most of the plots against the Commander of the Faithful, Imam Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS), including the raising of copies of the holy Qur'an on spear-points during the War of Siffeen in order to deceive Muslims and evade a definite defeat.
Earlier during the battle, to escape certain death from the flashing blade of Imam Ali (AS), Amr while fleeing shamelessly disrobed himself, making the Imam Ali (AS) turn away from such an abhorred sight.
In 38 AH, he again attacked Egypt and seized it by brutally martyring the legally appointed governor, Mohammad ibn Abu Bakr. Thus at the time of his agonizing death, he admitted that he felt as if the Mountain of Redhwa was hanging upon his neck and he was being dragged through the eye of a needle.