UMAYYADS, dynasty (660–750) under which the Arabs established their empire, extending from Central Asia and the Indian border to the Atlantic Ocean. The religious ties which had unified Muslims under the first four Orthodox caliphs ("al-Rāshidūn") were weakened under ʿUthmān. Muʿāwiya, the first Umayyad caliph (661–680), transformed the community of the faithful into a secular Arab state in which religion took second place. For the first time, leadership was in the hands of a person who had not been one of the Prophet's eminent associates. Muʿāwiya was proclaimed caliph in *Jerusalem in 660, but was not finally recognized as such until 661 – after ʿAlī had been assassinated and his son Ḥasan had abdicated. Muʿāwiya organized the empire on the Persian and Byzantine model, introduced the barīd (postal horse) service, the official service of Post and Intelligence, and was the first to create an Arab fleet.

The capital of the Umayyad caliphate was *Damascus, and *Syria and Ereẓ Israel were the center of the Muslim world. Muʿāwiya built a wooden mosque on the Temple Mount (mentioned in an apocalyptic Midrash; Wertheimer, Battei Midrashot (1894), 30 and by the Christian pilgrim Arculfus: J. Wilkinson, Jerusalem Pilgrims before the Crusades (1977), 9–10). He and his successors confiscated land from the Jews of Ereẓ Israel and distributed it among the new Arab settlers, causing great disappointment to the Jews among whom the Arab conquest of Ereẓ Israel had caused messianic stirrings (see: PdRE, ch. 30 and Nistarot de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai), and it seems that they settled some of those Jews in *Tripoli, Lebanon. Muʿāwiya established the principle of heredity for the caliphate and four years before his death appointed his son Yazīd as his successor. The majority of the tribal chiefs supported the appointment. After his death, opposition to Umayyad rule resulted in civil war, the main centers of the unrest being in *Persia, *Iraq, and the *Ḥejāz. Abdullah ibn Zubayr proclaimed himself caliph in Mecca, having gained the support of the Muslim aristocracy; the Umayyad caliphs Yazīd I (680–3), his son Muʿāwiya II (683–4), and ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān (685–705) warred against him. Ḥusayn, the grandson of Muhammad, revolted and was killed in Karbalā', Irak (680). ʿAbd al-Malik built the Dome of the Rock (691–2), the costs being covered by the tax revenue which he received from *Egypt for a period of seven years. *Goldziher assumes that the purpose of the grandiose structure was to divert the pilgrims from Mecca to Jerusalem, but *Goitein is of the opinion that the aim was to compete with the Holy Sepulcher. A. Elʿad, according to older traditions than those used by both researchers, thinks that Goldziher was right ("Al-Ḥaram al-sharīf: ʿAbd al-Malik's Jerusalem," in: Oxford Studies in Islamic Arts, 9:33–58) and that ʿAbd al-Malik or his son al-Walīd (705–715) built the Al-Aqṣā Mosque.

Al-Wasiṭī (Jerusalem, 1019), the author of the oldest remaining book of Faḍā'il al-Bayt al-Muqaddas ("The Praises of Jerusalem"; I. Hasson ed. 1979, 43–44) reports that a group of Jewish attendants were in charge of cleanliness in the mosque and on the Temple Mount and responsible for the maintenance of the lighting, for which service they were reimbursed by exemption from the poll tax. This monopoly was inherited by their descendants until it was abolished by Omar II. The Umayyad caliphs employed both Jews and Christians, some of whom attained high posts in the government hierarchy. Under ʿAbd al-Malik a Jew was in charge of the mint. In spite of the existing prohibition on the building of new churches, some were in fact built. In general Umayyad caliphs exercised tolerance in religious matters, the exception being Omar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz (the Second; 717–20), a religious fanatic who was the first to apply the restrictions of the Covenant of *Omar to the religious minorities. It was presumably Omar II who excluded the Jews from the Temple Mount and restricted them to prayers at only one gate (*Salmon b. Jeroham in his commentary on Psalms 30:10; see Dinur in bibl.).

During the rule of the Umayyads, Ereẓ Israel was the scene of construction and development projects. Sulaiman ibn ʿAbd al-Malik (715–7) built *Ramleh, which became a district capital in Jund Falastin. Walīd II (743), the son of Yazīd II, embarked on a project of diverting the Jordan for irrigation purposes, but the project came to an abrupt end when a landslide caused the death of some of the workers; Walīd was then assassinated by his opponents. This event is described in Midrash Nistarot de-Rabbi Shimon bar Yoḥai: "Another king will arise and will seek to separate the waters of the Jordan, and he will bring laborers from distant lands to dig a canal to raise the water level and irrigate the land; and the land they dig up will collapse upon them and kill them, and when their princes learn of this event they will rise against the king and assassinate him" (J. Even Shemuel, Midreshei Ge'ullah (19542), 193). This report was confirmed by the Arab chronicler al-Ṭabarī.

Toward its end, the Umayyad regime was plagued by natural catastrophes and internal strife. Between 746 and 749 a number of earthquakes occurred in Ereẓ Israel. The most severe took place in 748 and caused a heavy loss of life and the collapse of a part of the Dome of the Rock. Against a background of inter-Muslim sectarian strife, Shiʿite opposition to the ruling house, and wars against the Byzantine Empire, which raised messianic hopes among the Jews of a Muslim victory over the Christians, Jewish sects came into being in the East in the beginning of the eighth century. Some of these sects advocated revolt against the established order, hoping to bring about redemption by force. One of these sects was headed by Serenus (or *Severus) of Syria, who was active at the time of Yazīd (720–4); reports of his appearance even reached Spain. The climax of anti-Umayyad stirrings in Persia came in the 740s, when an insurrection headed by Abdullah ibn Muʿāwiya was successful in establishing a short-lived independent kingdom. This was the background for the rise of the Jewish pseudo-messiah Abū ʿIssa (or Obadiah) from *Isfahan, who lived during the rule of Marwān II (744–50), the last Umayyad caliph. The internal strife in various parts of the empire was among the major causes for the collapse of the Umayyad dynasty and paved the way for the rise of the *Abbasids.

[Eliezer Bashan]

Umayyad Caliphs in Syria

Muʿāwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān, 661–680

Yazīd ibn Muʿāwiyah, 680–683

Muʿāwiya II ibn Yazīd, 683–684

Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam, 684–685

ʿAbd al-Malik ibn Marwān, 685–705

al-Walīd ibn ʿAbd al-Malik, 705–715

Sulaymān ibn ʿAbd al-Malik, 715–717

ʿUmar ibn ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz, 717–720

Yazīd II ibn ʿAbd al-Malik, 720–724

Hishām ibn ʿAbd al-Malik, 724–743

al-Walīd II ibn Yazīd II, 743–744

Yazīd III ibn al-Walīd, 744

Ibrāhīm ibn al-Walīd, 744

Marwān II ibn Muḥammad, 744–750

In Spain

The Umayyad dynasty began its rule in Spain in 756. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān I (reigned 756–88), a survivor of the slaughter of the Umayyad dynasty in Damascus by the newly proclaimed Abbasid caliphate, and grandson of the 10th Umayyad caliph Hishām, made *Cordoba the capital of his emirate. The Jews under his jurisdiction enjoyed the same rights and status as they had previously under the former Muslim rulers. Both they and the Christians had to pay the special poll tax (*jizyah) of 12, 24, or 48 dirhems each year, according to income. The activity of the Umayyad dynasty at first was the consolidation of the conquest of Spain and the conciliation of a hostile Christian population, a task which continued well into the mid-9th century. The Jewish minority, which had welcomed the Muslim takeover, did not suffer from the Muslim attacks on rebellious Christians, particularly prevalent in Cordoba. The first cultural flowering came under 'Abd al-Raḥmān II (822–852) through the patronage of literature and science and the refinement of customs and traditions: Al-Andalus became the center of western Islam. There is little information on the Jews under early Umayyad rulers in the 8th and 9th centuries, except that the population increased rapidly as Umayyad tolerance encouraged Jewish immigration to Spain. Under Umayyad rule, the Jews attained wealth, developed their culture, and even acquired influential positions at the center of power. *Ḥisdai ibn Shaprut was physician and adviser to ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III (912–61), who proclaimed himself caliph in 929. The latter's reign marks the height of Umayyad military, economic, and cultural supremacy, and the caliph was considered the most tolerant toward minorities of all the Umayyads. Ḥisdai, head of the Jewish community, was in charge of trade and commerce and foreign affairs, traveling to the generally hostile northern Christian provinces of Spain on diplomatic missions. Cordoba was then the center of Muslim civilization in the West and an important seat of Jewish culture. Other prominent Jewish communities included *Tarragona, *Granada, and *Lucena. Under ʿAbd al-Raḥmān's successors, al-Ḥakam II (961–76), Hishām II (976–1013), and al-*Manṣūr (Hishām's chamberlain who in effect managed affairs of state from 996 to 1002), the Jewish community in the caliphate rose to great wealth and cultural prominence. Just as the western caliphate had declared its independence of Abbasid Baghdad, Spanish Jewry began to assert its independence of the Babylonian academies and the *geonim. The 12th-century historian Abraham *Ibn Daud describes the relations between the Jewish community of Cordoba and the caliph (Ibn Daud, Tradition, 63–71). Apparently the Umayyad ruler intervened in the appointment of the head of the Jewish community (*nasi) and the head of the academy, as exemplified in the case of the conflict between R. *Ḥanokh b. Moses and R. Joseph *Ibn Abitur in the late tenth century. At first, al-Ḥakam acknowledged the leadership of R. Ḥanokh. During Hishām's reign, al-Manṣūr appointed a supporter of Ibn Abitur, Jacob *Ibn Jau, a wealthy silk merchant who supplied the royal house with his costly wares, nasi of all Jewish communities in his domain. Ibn Jau, however, did not collect enough tribute from his people to suit al-Manṣūr, and was imprisoned. He was released by Hishām. The wealth of the Cordoba community and especially of Ibn Jau is attested to by Ibn Daud. The intellectual exchange and high cultural level of the Umayyad house may be ascertained from the statement that Ibn Abitur "interpreted the whole of the Talmud in Arabic for the Muslim king al-Ḥakam." The *Berber invasion and sack of Cordoba (1010–13) resulted in the decline of the Umayyad dynasty in Spain. Cordoba never regained its supremacy as a Muslim and Jewish cultural center; many Jews fled to Granada, Malaga, Lucena, and other cities. The constant internecine strife between the Muslim principalities contributed to a longing for the stability and peace of the Umayyad reign which had endured for nearly 250 years. The dynasty ended with the demise of the weak Hishām III in 1031.

Umayyad Emirs of Spain

ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān ibn Muʿāwiya, 756–788

Hishām ibn ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān, 788–796

al-Ḥakam ibn Hishām, 796–822

ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān II ibn al-Ḥakam, 822–852

Muḥammad ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, 852–886

al-Mundhir ibn Muḥammad, 886–888

ʿAbdallāh ibn Muḥammad, 888–912

ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān III ibn Muḥammad ibn ʿAbdallāh, 912–929

Umayyad Caliphs of Spain

ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān III al-Naṣir, as caliph, 929–961

Al-Ḥakam II ibn ʿAbd ar-Raḥmān, 961–976

Hishām II ibn al-Ḥakam, 976–1009

Muḥammad II ibn Hishām, 1009–1009

Sulaymān ibn al-Ḥakam, 1009–1010

Hishām II, restored, 1010–1012

Sulaymān, restored, 1012–1017

ʿAbd al-Raḥmān IV ibn Muḥammad, al-Murtaḍā 1018–1023

ʿAbd al-Raḥmān V ibn Hishām, 1023–1024

Muḥammad III ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān, al-Mustakfī, 1024–1025

Hishām III ibn Muḥammad, 1027–1031

[Isaac Hasson (2nd ed.)]


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