The notorious Omayyad partisan and governor of Egypt, Amr ibn al-A'as
Compiled By: Syed Ali Shahbaz
On January 6, 664 AD, the notorious Omayyad partisan and governor of Egypt, Amr ibn al-A'as, died at the age of around 90 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 the rebel Mu'awiyya ibn Abu Sufyan as the caliph. Born out of wedlock in Mecca to a morally-loose slave-girl, named Layla bint Harmalah and called "Nabigha", his paternity was open to doubt in those freewheeling days of Jahiliyya because of the polyandrous 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 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 Prophet 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 support his claim to be a Muslim. After the Prophet, when the neo-Muslim Arab armies swept across Syria and Palestine, he led the attack on the Byzantine province of Egypt. When Mu'wiyyah consolidated his power in Syria, he joined him as advisor in Damascus and was the evil mind in most of the plots against the Prophet's divinely-decreed successor, 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 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 for his sins and crimes against Islam and humanity.