Muawiya

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Muawiya

(mo͞oä`wēä), d. 680, 1st UmayyadUmayyad
, the first Islamic dynasty (661–750). Their reign witnessed the return to leadership roles of the pre-Islamic Arab elite, and the rejuvenation of tribal loyalties. The Banu Ummaya constituted the higher stratum of the pre-Islamic Meccan elite.
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 caliph (661–80), one of the greatest Muslim statesmen; son of Abu Sufyan, a Koreish tribesman of Mecca. He submitted to Islam the year of the surrender of Mecca and became Muhammad's secretary. Under Umar he became the very able governor of Syria. He struggled with AliAli
(Ali ibn Abu Talib), 598?–661, 4th caliph (656–61). The debate over his right to the caliphate caused a major split in Islam into Sunni and Shiite branches, and he is regarded by the Shiites as the first Imam, or leader: Shiite derives from the phrase
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 over the government of the empire and led in the deposition of HasanHasan
, c.625–c.669; son of Ali and Fatima (daughter of Muhammad the Prophet). When Ali was killed in 661, Hasan became caliph, but he was not strong enough to withstand the threat of arms of the Umayyads and under pressure abdicated in favor of Muawiya.
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. As caliph he made Islam an autocracy, retaining the old forms of self-government. He secured his domain against aggression by continual raids beyond its borders. His policies ended the ancient hostility that long had separated the North and South Arabian tribes, thus making the Muslim empire the remarkably unified force that it was. Muawiya's administration was always tolerant, and he displayed an enlightened point of view in all his dealings. His name is also spelled Moawiyah.