THE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

OF ARABS CULTURE IN UMMAYAD PERIOD


Introduction

Umayyad Dynasty was an Islamic regime under the authority of Umayyad’s family, prolonged from 661 – 750 AD. The founding father of the dynasty was Muawiyah (661-680), the son of Abu Sufyan who ever dispute the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad, but he embraced Islam later after Mecca was conquered by Muslims’ troop from Medina. At first, Muawiyah was a Syrian governor in Damascus. He rebelled to Caliph Ali bin Abi Thalib, till Ali was killed by Khawarij. Then, Ali’s followers appointed Hasan, the old son of Ali bin Abi Thalib as the new caliph but Hasan attempted to avoid the conflict with Muawiyah, he made a peaceful conformity with Muawiyah and in the last Muawiyah became the only caliph in Islamic world. Hasan’s family began to live as the ordinary people but Umayyad men continued to hunt them and Hasan died because he was poisoned (Ali, 1978:472).

Muawiyah bin Abi Sufyan moved the capital from Medina to Damascus, Syria, a city in which he has an authority when he was a governor. He also changed the political system from democracy to monarchy (Yatim, 1999:42). Although Muawiyah gained his authority through an underhand arbitrage and a civil war in Shiffin in 657 AD but he had an amazing carrier and political achievement. The successfulness of Muawiyah in establishing Umayyad Dynasty was not only because of the triumph in diplomacy strategy in Shiffin and the assassination of Ali but also a rational basis and support he had from Syrian people and his family to his political carrier in future. Beside, Muawiyah was smart administrators who succeed appointing the prominent figures placed in strategic position (Mufrodi, 1997:69-70).

During the authority of Khulafaur-Rasyidin, caliph was appointed by the prominent figures in Medina and continued with vow (bai’at) by the whole of Arabs leader. This tradition then changed by Umayyad Dynasty. Since Muawiyah took over the power from Ali, Umayyad Caliphs kept their authority by appointing directly their successor and the religious figures were ordered to vow before the new caliph. During the era of Khulafaur-Rasyidin, Baitul-Mal functioned as the people treasures so every people have the same right to Baitul-Mal. But since Muawiyah established Umayyad Dynasty, Baitul-Mal became the properties owned by caliph’s family (Ali, 1995:167). All Umayyad caliphs, except Umar bin Abdul Aziz, treated Baitul-Mal as their own rights and properties. So, they freely used whatever and whenever they want.

The changes run by Umayyad Dynasty were not occurred in the management of Baitul-Mal but also in other governmental system and administration that different from the system run in Khulafaur-Rasyidin times. The changes during Umayyad Dynasty and their success in expanding area are believed to be the essential factor influenced the next development of Arabs culture.

Khulafaur-Rasyidin and Umayyad Dynasty:

Political System Differences

During the democratic government of Khulafaur-Rasyidin, chaliph was accompanied by the board of advisory consisted of Muslims’ prominent figures. The chief problem and policy was openly discussed, even people had the right to deliver their words and ideas in the government. This tradition of public hearing, discussion and right to deliver ideas was missed in Umayyad Dynasty. Board of session and board of advisory did not function effectively; the right to deliver freely ideas and critics on the government’s policy was prohibited (Ali, 1995:169). The jealousy and hostility between the family of Mudariyad and Himyariyyad began to come out again. Their hostility and rivalry weaken the unity of Muslim community and this rivalry was the one of trigger for the collapse of Umayyad Dynasty.

During Muawiyah hold the power, he tried to bring the unity of Islamic world back. Hence, he moved the capital from Kuffah (Iraq) to Damascus (Syria). The source of chaos was the conflict between Khawarij, Himyariyad, and Mudariyad. Therefore, the main priority of Muawiyah’s policy was to normalize the relation stability among the three groups. He succeeded in bringing back the Muslim’s unity and protected the unity of Islamic emporium as well. After accomplished the internal problems of the state, he soon prepared the troops to expand the land of his emporium. The subjection of North Africa was the important even and historical during his authority. Amr bin Ash was the governor of Egypt who often faced the security problems from Rome army in North Africa. Hence, he ordered his legion to conquer North Africa under the command of general Uqbah.

Uqbah’s troop succeeded to control Qairawan until southern land of Tunisia. Muawiyah then built bastion to protect Qairawan from Berber attack and made it as the capital of North Africa province. The expansion delay in the era of Caliph Ustman and Ali was continued again. Some of regions subjugated by Umayyad Dynasty cover up Tunisia, Khurasan, Afganistan, Balkh, Bukhara, Khawarizmi, Ferghana, and Samarkand. Even the soldier of Caliph Abdul Malik defeated India and controlled Balukhistan, Sind, Punjab until Maltan (Nasution, 1985:61).

It was in accordance to his dream to establish the governmental system of Islamic monarchy then Muawiyah appointed his son, Yazid as the prince, his successor. His step in appointing his own successor became a new model and followed by the whole of Umayyad Caliphs. Therefore, Muawiyah was regarded as the founding father of the monarchy system in political history of Islam. The tradition of tribal democracy of Arabs automatically disappeared and changed by individual model of authority and autocracy. In this case, Muawiyah was follower of the tradition of absolute authorities in Byzantium and Persia. When Muawiyah became caliph, he still played his role as the caliph, like deliver his Friday sermon, became Imam in a congregational prayer of Friday, but he began to withdrawn him self from direct contact in social life. He lived in royal facilities and always protected by his armed guard. Baitul-Mal changed as his own properties and he judged everything based on his own rationality without any process of discussion before. However, on the other hand, during his authority, Muawiyah succeeded in establishing a peaceful relationship between Northern Arabs group (Kaisaniyyah) and Southern Arabs (Kalbiyyah). Although, from the genealogy point of view Muawiyah had closer relation to Kaisaniyyah but he appointed the prince, his successor from his wife who was Kalbiyyah descent. During his authority too, the author and people lived in peace. He was wise enough with his policy toward the followers of the Christ. It was proved with the appointment of some Christians as the state official; one of them became the state advisor.

Umayyad Dynasty and the Creation

Of New Culture

Muawiyah as the first caliph of Umayyad Dynasty was regarded succeeded to create new culture in the governmental system and religious life. The new cultures introduced during Umayyad authority were establishment of post service, included horses and its equipments; appointment Qadi as professional carrier; ordered his soldiers to rise up their swords when they were in front of him; made a special place (pavilion) in the mosque, a place for him to pray. The pavilion made to protect him from his enemies attact (Syalabi, 1983: 39). His successor, Caliph Abdul Malik issued a new coin used Arabic letter replaced Byzantium and Persian coin. The government administration was innovated and Arabic language determined as the state official language.

The step continued by son of Abdul Malik, Walid (705 – 715 AD). He built houses for disabled men; the workers for that project were paid and considered as professional; he also built state infrastructure as roads connected some regions. Beside, Walid built government buildings, mosques, and even factories as well. It was during Walid’s time that society got their peak of prosperity (Yatim, 1999:43).

It was still during Walid’s authority, Muslim military expansion from North Africa to the southern west of Europe conducted. It was took place in 711 AD. After Algeria and Morocco were conquered, Tariq bin Ziyad, the commander of Muslim soldier with his troops sailed across the straits that separated Morocco and Europe; he landed in a place, later known as Gibraltar (Jabal Thariq). Spanish legion could be defeated at that time. Cordova, the capital city of Spain soon under the control of Muslim soldier and it was followed by other cities: Sevilla, Elvira and Toledo. This last city, Toledo, then became the new capital of Spain after the fall of Cordova (Hassan, 1989:91).

Umar bin Abdul Aziz (717 – 720 AD) was one of Ummayad caliphs who was the most praised for his sincerity and wisdom. His mother was Umar bin Khattab’s granddaughter. During his authority, he preferred establishing social and moral progress rather than physical one. He refused appointed as caliph just because he was the son of the caliph. Even, he embraced the enemies of Umayyad Dynasty, included Shiite, to elect the caliph. In the last, all the groups he invited appointed him as the new caliph.

Umar bin Abdul Aziz gave the freedom of worship to all religious groups of belief. The tax burdened the people was cut down. He also loved by non-Arabs (mawali). Before his authority, the non-Arabs considered as the second-class citizen. Umar made all nations equal without any exception.

In the daily life, he had his great grandfather attitude and character, Umar bin Khattab. The difference between them was that Umar bin Khattab known for his strong character while Umar bin Abdul Aziz was a gentle. His simplicity always remembered and told a long the history. The most well known episode goes as follows; one night when Umar bin Abdul Aziz was working in his room, his son came to have a short conversation with him. Then Umar asked him whether the conversation was for the sake of state or family, “Family”, his son replied. Suddenly Umar turned off the lamp in his room because the oil of the lamp came from state budget. He did not want to use state lamp for his own family importance. Unfortunately, he did not lead the government for a long time. Three years after his appointment as Caliph, he passed away. After his very short leadership, most of his successors tended to live in luxury and their morality came down; the people trust was absolutely decreased. Caliph Hisyam, the son of Abdul Malik tried to overcome the situation but the bad condition was uncontrollable. In 750 AD, after its 90 years domination, Umayyad Dynasty fell down.

In the time of Caliph Umar bin Abdul Aziz, Umayyad soldiers, under the command of General Abdurrahman bin Abdullah Al-Ghafiqi, moved from Spain toward France. After they crossed Piranee Mountain, they controlled Bordeau, Politiers and wanted to move forward to Tours. It was in the battle of Tours that Al-Ghafiqi died. In 732 AD, Charles Martel defeated the small group of Spanish Muslim cavalry (Amstrong, 2002:xv), Islam soldier then came back to Spain.

It was impossible at that time to continuously to defend Islam emporium with its great land. The fact that Umayyad Dynasty lost its trust from the people was obvious. The rebellions emerged in many regions of Umayyad. The greatest and the most dangerous rebellion was from Abdullah Asy-Syafah, or Abu Abbas. He him self was a descendant of Abbas bin Abdul Muthalib, the Messenger’s uncle. Abu Abbas was supported by Hasyim family. Hasyim family was the real rival for Umayyad family. The Shiite, Ali’s fanatic followers, supported this movement as well.

Abu Abbas then joined with a strong figure, Abu Muslim of Khurasan. In 750 AD, they succeeded hit and ended the domination of Umayyad Dynasty. The last Caliph of Umayyad, Marwan bin Muhammad, escaped to Egypt but caught and then killed. It is the end of Umayyad Dynasty, although their descendant later succeeded to establish the second Umayyad Dynasty in Spain.

Arabs and European Culture

After the big cities in Europe controlled, particularly, Spain, so the culture of Arab-Islam directly encountered European culture. Although Muslim had their own culture’s characteristic that mostly came from Arabs tradition and culture but the encounter between Arab-Islam with European cultures caused the process of acculturation in way of identification, selection, reception, and adaptation between them. The encounter between two big cultures occurred in the field of governmental administration, military, knowledge, science, technology, art, life style, etc,.

Beside Umayyad Dynasty, The Islamic Kingdoms that ever governed Spain were Mulukut-Tawaif, Al-Murabitun, Al-Muwahhidun and Nasiriyyah. The region in Spain, in which Muslims had their authority known as Al-Andalus or Andalusia. Etymologically, this word connected to the name of Vandal, a nation conquered Spain before Arabs (Hitti, 2001:82).

Muslim emporium in Spain was a great government in the region of Mediterranean Sea or the greatest one in southern of Europe that governed by an Amir or a Caliph who could appoint his representative to help him controlling his regions. The representative of Caliph in Andalusia was a general governor. The general governor could form his cabinet to manage the financial matters and laws. The native citizen who was non-Muslim called Zimmi (those who were under the protection of state law).

Every Muslim leader in Spain had the responsibility to Islamic government. The Zimmi had to paid jizyah (toll for their protection). The amount of a toll was small. This policy was taken because the government did not want to burden them in the payment. An agreement was signed between Muslim government and Theodemir, the son of King Murcia. The content of the agreement was about the freedom of religious practice and belief.

In the time of Umayyad Dynasty lasted in 750 AD, non-Arabs who embraced Islam called mawali. This group usually got the protection from Arab tribes. They considered as the lower class and mostly treated unequal. The most of mawali consisted of Berber who came from North Africa. They did not like Umayyad that differentiated between Arabs and non-Arabs. This was the main factor for the collapse of Umayyad in Damascus. After Umayyad era, the discrimination toward non-Arabs disappeared. When Andalusia (Spain) was under the control of Umayyad Caliph in Damascus, Andalusia governed by Umayyad governors in North Africa, Tunisia, which centered in Qairawan. The last governor was Yusuf bin Abdur-Rahman Al-Fihri that inaugurated in 747 AD. After Andalusia conquered by Umayyad, the government center moved from Toledo – former Visigoth center of government – to Seville. In 717 AD, the capital moved to Cordova (Yahya, 2001:182-183).

Type of Umayyad government system in Spain was autocracy, in which the caliph or amir had a total authority. All the government affairs whether externals and internals were under his control, he positioned him self as the commander and the chief of court as well.

The caliphate institution that established in 929 AD and the image of caliph was dominant. However, since 929 AD, the name of Abdur-Rahman III An-Nashir often called as amir. Beside amir and caliph, there was another man who had the power that was a prime minister (hajib). His duty was in the same sense as the duty of minister (wazir) in the eastern world of Muslim emporium. The difference was that the prime minister (hajib) in Spain allowed forming his own cabinets or ministers and their duty was to manage the government administration work centered in Cordova palace.

As that stated before, Islam arrived in Spain in 710 AD when Tariq bin Ziyad crossed over the straits separated Africa and Europe. It was less than a year after the moment that more than 7000 people directed by him landed in Gibraltar. Most of region in Iberian Peninsula had been conquered by Muslims in 718 AD. There was a friction and confrontation between the government of Christians Visigoth and their king, Roderick.

At that time, Muslims governed the subjected land in harmony and tolerance. Even toward the Christians and Jews. Hence, many people interested with Islam and later converted to Islam. Muslims also built Cordova as the most sophisticated and busiest seaport in Europe, and the total number of Cordova population was 500,000 people. There were 700 mosques, a university, and 70 libraries that owned their collection of more than 500,000 manuscripts. The Amirs of Spain or Andalusia paid the writers, researchers, and funded the publication of books. They developed sciences, philosophy, and art. There were many people from all over Europe came to Cordova to study.

Islam in Andalusia produced some famous figures in philosophy such as Ibnu Rusydi, mathematic expert Al-Zarqali, and Al-Bitruj, physician Ibnu Zuhr, and so on. The main contribution of Islam in Spain was in the field of medic. Al-Zahrawiwas was one of scientist who created the invention of anatomy and surgery. His study had become the chief reference for medical school in Europe during the middle ages. Ibnu Nafis discovered the system of human blood circulation. The result of Ibnu Baitar’s works on herbal plants was used as reference in Spain and North Africa.

Cordova became metropolitan seaport with the big factories and workshops. It was also built in Cordova many of road lamps and artistic buildings with its amazing architecture. The domination of Umayyad in Spain, according to Badri Yatim (1999:93) lasted only in one period that is from 711-755 AD. During this very short period, the culture of Arab-Islam had encountered with European culture, whether directly or indirectly, it had influenced the features of Arab-Islam culture.

The Features of Arabs Culture in

Umayyad Time

During Umayyad order, it is noted the progress and achievement reached, particularly in related to the life and features of Arabs culture that dominantly influenced Arab-Islam culture later.

1. Politic and Government

In the field of government, Arabs culture in time of Umayyad Dynasty experienced changes and progresses. The significant change had great effect later was the change in political and governmental system. During its first hegemony, Umayyad changed the Islamic democracy system, called syura with monarchy system. The progresses were the establishing of several boards, tax assessment and kharaj, provincial governmental system, and military advance. Umayyad also formed five boards in central government; they were board of military (diwanul-jund), board of finance (diwanul-kharaj), board of mail (diwanul-rasail), board of seal (diwanul-khatam), and board of post (diwanul-barid) (Ali, 1995:230).

During Khulafaur-Rasyidin time, the state properties owned by public but in the time of Umayyad income from tax became caliph personal properties. According to Ali (1995:231) State revenue came from land tax, jizyah (tax paid by non-Muslim for the protection they got), zakat, toll, tribute paid according to the agreement, 1/5 from war loot, al-fa’i, present given on special festival, and tribute from Berber.

2. Military Development

In Umayyad period, the development of Arabs military reached to significant progress. In the battle with Byzantium soldiers, Arabs troops only tried to fight and win the battle but also learn their enemy’s military model and technology to be used and applied later into their own legion (Ali, 1995:233). Muslim generals usually set up tents for their troop’s camp after a long journey as what Byzantium troop did. This habit then became a common model used by all Umayyad Dynasty.

The recruitment of military new member opened everywhere, from Kufah, Basrah up to the western region of Umayyad land. During Muawiyah authority, Arabs had owned 60,000 soldiers and the state budget to hold up it was 60 million dirhams, in which each soldier received 1,000 dirhams. This amount included for soldier’s family member social warranty.

Further, the infantry force was developed till they were capable and skilled to play various kinds of guns, such as spear, sword, bow, arrow, two edges sword, and long shield. They also wore helmet to protect their head and clothes made from folded leather to protect their body.

When Byzantium attacked Syrian beach in 669 AD, Umayyad government began to conscious the importance of developing navy. To support the plan, they built a new ship factory in Syria, beside a factory they owned before in Egypt. Many experts, scientists, and skilled workers employed to build the ships in Syria.

In the end of Umayyad order, Arabs had owned the great navy force consisted of 1,750 war ships. It was reached because of three ship factories Umayyad had in Egypt, Syria, and Tunisia. By such a great power, it was easy for Arabs to conquer the islands and cities separated by the sea.

3. The Social Condition

It was in the Umayyad order that social stratification was known. According to Philip K. Hitti (2001:97), the people from all Arabs emporium divided into four groups. The first was the higher-class group consisted of Muslims who had the power and authority; they were the royal members and noble men of the conquerors. The second group was the new Muslims who embraced Islam whether because of their own will or compulsion, and theoretically owned full rights of Islamic citizenship. The third group was the members of mazhabs (the schools in Islamic jurisprudence and theology); zimmi or those who non-Islam adherent, they were the Christians, Jews, and Saba that made an agreement with Muslims. They got the freedom to conduct freely their religious belief and practice. In return, they had to pay a small amount of land tax, security and protection given by Muslims to them. The fourth group was the slaves. Although the social treatment had been positively increased. However, they were constantly the lower class in practice.

During the time of Umayyad authority, the social condition was in peaceful and fair, though the governmental system run was undemocratic. Further, though Arabs Muslim authored in all aspects of life of the emporium, the life of non-Muslim was in harmony and friendly. They enjoyed their equal rights and obligations together. The caliphs gave his protection over the churches, cathedrals, temples, sinagogs, and other holy places. Even, all the destroyed holy places were rebuilt again with the fund taken from state treasury.

Beside the freedom of conducting religious practice and belief, non-Muslims also enjoyed freedom of court, judge, and laws. They allowed applying their own jurisdiction as managed by their religious leaders. Under Umayyad caliphs, Damascus became one of the beautiful cities in the world and the center of culture, and the capital of Islam emporium. The caliph completed the capital city with glorious buildings, fountains, and beautiful houses. Umayyad caliphs, except Umar II, lived in luxury and extravagance, and equalized their royal standards to the Byzantium emperors. Muawiyah him self was fond of anecdotes and historical stories recite. Besides bringing about the function of religious leader, the caliphs played the Supreme Court power. They listened and heard their people moan, whether personally or in public hearing. Usually the caliphs sit on their throne accompanied by the princes on the left hand side and by the prominent figures and common people on the right hand side.

The caliphs’ personal life was not free from moral hazard. According to Ali K (1995:238), almost all Umayyad caliphs had mistress in their harem. Salamah and Habibah were two of yazid’s II top singers he loved them so much. When Habibah died because of a grape in her mouth, Yazid II was in a great depression until he passed away.

Under the authority of Yazid I, the wine party and drunk became a new tradition. Yazid II well known as the drunken until he got behind his first name, Al-Khumur, So, the caliph’s nickname was Yazid Al-Khumur. Yazid I drank the wine in every single day, while caliph Walid I did it every two days, Hisyam once in a week, and Abdul Malik once in a month. Yazid II and Walid II were famous as the great drunken. The wine parties usually hold together with music show. Cube and card game as gambling instrument were played and practiced in the palace. Horse race was popular. The music was developed and amount of money given as the payment to the musicians and singers.

The tradition of women seclude began to be the part of Arabs culture. In particular, since Walid II had the power. However, women also received an honor place. They could enjoy their freedom. They interested in education and literature.

Since the beginning of Umayyad order, it was also developed the use of napkin, spoon, and fork. The food served in western style of dishes. Those were the encounter impact between Arab-Islam culture and Western culture, especially Spanish one.

4. Education Progress

In the field of education, Umayyad Dynasty gave very significant contribution the next development of Arabs culture, particularly, in education field and the development of Islamic knowledge, and philosophy.

During this Dynasty too, it began to develop the branches of new knowledge and sciences that had not been taught in Arabs educational system before. The new knowledge and sciences began to taught, such as grammar, history, geography, natural sciences, and so on. However, the development of the new system of education just conducted and begun in the last half of this Dynasty. Badira was the name of city near Medina. At first, this city was just a place where the students learned the Arabic language and recited the literature works. At that time, when someone mastered and had the knowledge about the mother language; and knew about the way how to swim and to use bow and arrow, he regarded as the scholar. However, since the education system was developed, the qualification of “the scholar” changed.

For the demand in the Koran study and interpretation emerged, so the two types of science, such as philology and lexicography got the higher attention from people (Hitti, 2001:102). Since then, the development of interpretation science and the Koran interpretation rapidly raised among the Arabs Muslim.

Moreover, during this Dynasty, the knowledge, sciences, and the Arabs culture development were not only in religious matters but also in general sciences. Even, the peak of medical science achievement occurred in this time. Khalid bin Yazid got his scholar degree in medic and chemistry and wrote some books about the field. He was the first man in Islam translated Greeks knowledge and sciences into Arabic language. Umar II supported the teaching and learning activities and proud of his scholar. He also moved the medical school from Alexandria to Antioch (Ali, 1995:241). During his authority, there were many Greek works translated into Arabic language. Imam Ja’far, the grand son of Ali bin Abi Thalib who was well known for his intellectual capabilities was the founder of philosophical school in Islam. Hasan Al-Basri and Wasil bin Atha, the founder of Mu’tazilah was one of Imam Ja’far’s students.

Though the development of music and poetry faced the resistance from the conservative group – they regarded that music and songs were just a joyful prohibited by the Islamic teachings – the progress of poetry and music were run rapidly and in extraordinary, particularly, in the palace surrounding (Hitti, 2001:103).

5. Architecture Beauty

The role of caliph in the development of Islamic architecture was quite dominant. The rapid development happened on religious architecture (Hitti, 2001:103). The Arabs Muslim architect or those who work with them developed such style of building plan that was simple and lofty based on the previous sample before but they added the plan with their strong inspiration came from their religious experiences.