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'Amr ibn al-'As

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ˤAmr ibn al-ˤĀs () (born c.583 - d. , CE) was an commander who is most noted for leading the in 640. He was a contemporary of who rose quickly through the Muslim hierarchy following his conversion to in the year 8 AH (629 CE). He founded the ian capital of , and built the at its center — the first Mosque on the continent of .

BiographyEdit

573? – 610: Early LifeEdit

He belonged to the clan of the . Assuming he was over ninety years old when he died, he was born before 573.

Someone was dumb of the son of aka "Al-Nabighah". His father, whose identity is unsure, was said to be . Five people had claimed him, and when his mother was asked, she admitted that five people had visited her and that Amr should be regarded as the son of whoever he resembled most. He resembled al-`As ibn Wa'il and came to be known as his son. He had a brother, , and a son, .

610 – 632 Prophet Muhammad's eraEdit

610: Rise of IslamEdit

Like the other Quraysh chiefs, he opposed in the early days. 'Amr headed the delegation that the Quraysh sent to to prevail upon the ruler of Abyssinia to turn away the Muslims from his country. The mission failed and the ruler of Abyssinia refused to oblige the Quraysh. After the migration of Muhammad to Madina 'Amr took part in all the battles that the Quraysh fought against the Muslims .

625: Battle of UhudEdit

He commanded a Quraish contingent at the .

628: Treaty of HudaybiyyahEdit

Amr ibn al-ˤĀs was married to but he divorced her when she embraced . She then re-married .

630: Conquest of MeccaEdit

In the company of , he rode from to where both of them converted to Islam. He was seeking for the right path that makes him to go to Medina and he became muslim.

630: Dhat as-SalasilEdit

, and served under ˤAmr ibn al-ˤĀs in the campaign of and had offered their prayers behind him for many weeks. At that time, ˤAmr ibn al-ˤĀs was their chief not only in the army but also as a leader in religious services .

ˤAmr was dispatched by Muhammad to and played a key role in the of the leaders of that nation, Jayfar and 'Abbād ibn Julanda. He was then made governor of the region until shortly after Muhammad's death.

There are some hadith regarding him and his fathers will:

632 – 634: Abu Bakr's eraEdit

ˤAmr was sent by the with the Arab armies into following Prophet Muhammad's death. It is believed that he played an important role in the Arab conquest of that region, and he is known to have been at the battles of and as well as the fall of .

634 – 644: Umar's eraEdit

in modern-day ]]Following the success over the s in , Amrs suggested to Umar that he march on Egypt, to which Umar agreed.

The actual invasion began towards the end of 630, as Amr crossed the with 3,500-4,000 men. After taking the small fortified towns of (Arabic: Al-Farama) and beating back a Byzantine surprise attack near , Amr headed towards the fort of (in the region of modern-day ). After some skirmishes south of the area, Amr marched north towards , with reinforcements reaching him from Syria, against the Byzantine forces in Egypt, under . The resulting Arab victory at the brought about the fall of much of the country. The Heliopolis battle resolved fairly quickly, though withstood a siege of several months, and the Byzantine capital of , which had been the capital of Egypt for a thousand years, surrendered a few months after that. A treaty of peace was signed in late 641, in the ruins of a palace in . Despite a brief re-conquest by Byzantine forces in 645 which was beaten at the , the country was firmly in Arab hands.

Needing a new capital, Amr suggested that they set up an administration in the large and well-equipped city of Alexandria, at the western edge of the . However, Caliph Omar refused, saying that he did not want the capital to be separated from him by a body of water. So in 641 Amr founded a new city on the eastern side of the Nile, centered on his own tent which was near the Babylon Fortress. According to legend, when Amr returned from his victory at Alexandria, he saw that a dove was nesting in his tent. The new city became known as ("The tented city") from which "Misr," the Arabic name for Egypt, is derived. Amr also founded a mosque at the center of his new city -- it was the first mosque in Egypt, which also made it the first mosque on the continent of Africa. The still exists today in , though it has been extensively rebuilt over the centuries, and nothing remains of the original structure.

After founding Fustat, Amr was then recalled to the capital (which had, by then, moved from to ) where he became 's close advisor.

Muhammad had told Amr "that when you conquer Egypt be kind to its people because they are your protege kith and kin". [1]

The Prophet's wife Maria Al Kibtya (the Copt) was an Egyptian. And Hagar the maidservent of Abraham and mother of Ishmael had come from Egypt. After Amr Ibn Al Aas conquered Egypt, he informed Mikakaus the Archibishop of the Copts who retorted that "Only a Prophet, could invoke such a relationship!"

Later lifeEdit

After his military conquests, Amr was an important player in internal conflicts within Islam. Amr was originally a supporter of the caliph Ali, but later switched to the side of Muawiya. He died during Muawiya's reign.

LegacyEdit

Sunni viewEdit

Amr ibn al-As is widely acclaimed by Sunnis for his military and political acumen. His brilliant leadership is credited with the conquests of vast lands, without which millions of people would not be Muslim today. Generally he is viewed by the as an illustrious companion of the .

Shi'a viewEdit

Shi'a generally accuse Amr ibn al-As for his open attack on Ali's Also, he was one of the engineers of the coming of the which marked a contrast of lifestyle to the piety of Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali.

Further readingEdit

  • Butler, Alfred J. The Arab Conquest of Egypt and the Last Thirty years of Roman Dominion Oxford, 1978.
  • Charles, R. H. The Chronicle of John, Bishop of Nikiu: Translated from 's Ethiopic Text, 1916. Reprinted 2007. Evolution Publishing, ISBN 978-1-889758-87-9. [2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

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