The Umayyad dynasty originally came to power under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644-656), but the Umayyad administration was established following the end of the First Muslim Civil War in 661 CE by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, a long-time governor of Syria. Thus, Mu'awiya is considered the first true caliph, since he led the successful rebellion against Abu Bakr and then defeated Abu Ali al-Husain at the Battle of Muta in 656. He continued to lead the government from that time until his death in 670, when authority was assumed by his son Yazid I.
Yazid I was only eight years old at the time of his father's death, so his uncle Hisham became acting caliph. However, due to their young age, the rulers were advised by an advisory council composed of members of the previous regime as well as others who had been prominent during the reign of Mu'awiya. Hisham died in 705 or 706 and was followed on the throne by his son Marwan II. However, Marwan II was only five years old at the time of his father's death and was therefore ruled by his mother Halimah along with the council. In 714, she married her nephew Maslama bin Abd al-Malik to strengthen her own position and that of her family. The marriage only lasted a few months because Maslama was assassinated before the end of the year.
The Umayyads were the first Muslim dynasty, establishing themselves in Damascus in 661. Their dynasty succeeded the first four caliphs, Abu Bakr, 'Umar I, 'Uthman, and Ali. Mu'awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan, a Mecca native and contemporary of the Prophet Muhammad, founded it. He became governor of Syria after the assassination of Caliph Abu Bakr. He continued to lead an army until he was chosen as successor by the community of prophets (ummah).
The Umayyad dynasty lasted nearly three quarters of a century. They fought many wars against other Arab tribes and against non-Arab nations such as the Romans, Byzantines, and Persians. The most important war during their reign was the First Muslim War against the Roman emperor Constantine I. This conflict ended with the surrender of Damascus under Umayyad rule in 638. After this defeat, the last remnant of the prophet's army retreated to Medina where they established the second Islamic state. The Umayyads were then forced to accept Islam as a political system instead of fighting against it.
The Abbasids took over the Umayyad Empire when Mu'awiyah's son Yazid II died without children in 741. Thus, the Abbasid family became the new rulers of the Islamic world. Unlike the Umayyads, who were Arabs from Damascus, the Abbasids came from Iraq. They are therefore called "the sons of Iraq" in some sources.
The Umayyad dynasty The Umayyads were the first Muslim dynasty, establishing themselves in Damascus in 661. He was chosen by the Muslims to replace 'Ali as leader of their community after the third civil war. The caliphate was an office that had been held by the descendants of Abu Bakr since 33 BC, so there was no need for another election; however, many historians believe that Mu'awiyah's selection was due to his neutrality during the civil wars and his ability to bring peace to the country after 'Ali's death.
They were responsible for many improvements in government practices and infrastructure during their rule. For example, they introduced coinage into the Arabian Peninsula and built roads, bridges, and schools. They also protected women and children by banning slavery and requiring that criminals be treated humanely. However, the Umayyads also persecuted Jews and Christians, especially those who lived under their control. The latter included some Arab tribes who fought against the Umayyads but also many others who did not. These groups included the Hashimites, Kalbids, Makhzumites, Ansar, and Aws.
What exactly were the Umayyads? Although they are mostly known for their work as administrators and judges, there is also evidence that many Umayyad rulers participated in military action against non-Muslim neighbors.
The name "Umayyad" comes from a Hebrew word meaning "my father". The founder of the dynasty was Mu'awiya ibn Abi Sufyan, who served as governor of Syria before becoming king in 647. He was followed by his son Yazid II, who was only eight years old at his death in 683. Thus, the next in line was their cousin Marwan I, but he never claimed the throne. Instead, it went to his brother Hisham, who reigned for ten years until his death in 729. Hisham's son Marwan II succeeded him, but he too died without children in 744. This left two more Umayyad kings: Sulayman and Dawud. Both were sons of Mu'awiya III and both ruled between 745 and 755. That is why the dynasty is called the "Mu'ayyad Dynasty"; it has three names because there were three different men who held the title of king.