Sample History Paper on The Umayyads

The Umayyads

The Umayyads remains to be the most controversial Muslim dynasty. They were the first people to rule the Islamic Empire. Power was mainly passed down within the family which was a common experience with empire nations. However, the historians consider the Umayyad to be impious rulers because they negatively impacted the Islam community. Regardless of their negative methods of ruling, the Umayyad Caliphs were dedicated towards the cause of Islam thus played an important role in ensuring that the transition process among the Islamic people and the Arabian religion was successful. They, therefore, contributed positively to the Muslim conquest by incorporating Caucasus, Maghreb and Sindh into the Islamic world. The passion that they had towards Islam saw them turning 62 million people into Muslims making the Umayyad Caliph Empire one of the largest in the world and in history (Kennedy 82). Umayyad made a positive impact in the world but also negatively impacted the Islamic community and this is analyzed below.

Positive Contributions of Umayyad

The Umayyads Caliph is commended for the strong network of alliances that their leaders had developed which made the empire to become among the most powerful in the world. For instance, the alliance with the Arabs enabled the empire to grow economically which made the people live a comfortable lifestyle. On the other hand, the Umayyads took advantage of their geographical position in the Mediterranean Sea to conduct sea and water trade which strengthened them economically (Kennedy 112). Through this, the empire achieved much stability which was advantageous for it because the Umayyads managed to have one of the strongest army in the world which defended the kingdom from its enemies. The strict leadership style was also advantageous for the empire because it increased the Arabian morale to conduct more conquests. The Umayyads Caliphate therefore ended up gaining more treasures from the conquests making it one of the powerful empires. The strong army also helped the Umayyad to expand its territory from the east to the northwest.

The Umayyads also achieved political stability because Abda al-Malik ibn Marwan (685) devoted much of his reigning period to solving political problems ((Kennedy 102). At the same time, he introduced important reforms that brought stability in the empire. For instance, he made a ruling for the canals to be cleaned and reopened for irrigation purposes which was key for the empire to grow economically. At the same time, he introduced the usage of Indian water buffalo that helped in the farming process. Abd al-Malik also established a new communication method by introducing Arabic language which many people knew and ease the trading process. However, Pahlavi and Greek language was also still being used in the empire.

Negative Contributions of Umayyad

The Umayyad Caliphate was known for their wrong methods of ruling. As a de facto empire, the administrative and taxation system of the Umayyad was considered to be unjust by majority of the Muslims. On the other hand, Jewish and the Christian population had no freedom in this administration meaning that they never enjoyed any freedom. The Umayyad Caliphates forced them to pay the poll tax which was meant for the central state policing. It means that they were not following the law that was set by Muhammad when he was still alive. Muhammad had categorically stated that the Abrahamic religions should be given a chance to honor their religion as long as they took part in the jizya taxation (Kennedy 118). The Jews and the Christians were expected to pay huge amount of taxes in order to continue residing in the empire and practicing their religion freely, an issue which Prophet Muhammad had condemned while still alive. By not following the law, the welfare of the Muslim and the Christians together with the Jews became poor because of heavy taxation.

On the other hand, the Umayyad Caliphate decided to ignore all the religious values in the empire which was contrary to what was experienced in the earlier centuries. During the earlier days, the Muslims were known to allow the Jews and Christians to openly practice their faith. Through this, it was easy for them to make a choice of whether they wanted to remain Christians or convert to become Muslims. The Christians and the Muslims exposed their faith which was inspiring and positive to the kingdom. However, after Umayyad Caliphate took power, they decided to defend the Islamic faith giving less voice to the non-Islamic religions (Kennedy 124). The administration decided to channel all its attention to make the empire an Islamic state by making secular concerns which was against the Christian faith. The Umayyad Caliphate was also known to be biased in their ruling. They showed much favor to the Arabs while ignoring other Muslims. In the end, the tight centralized method of ruling created societal problems like hostility among the Arabs who were considered to below to the upper class and the lower class individuals. On the other hand, the power possessed by the elites who ruled the kingdom was wrongly exercised. They ensured that there was a great difference between the Muslims and the egalitarian regions, an act that ended up affecting the economy of the empire negatively.

When the Umayyad Caliphate became broke, the rulers did not protect the country from further getting into debts. As a result, the empire became divided as war broke out among the existing tribes with each fighting to survive. The army was also not in a position to make regular conquests of other empires because there were not enough finances. Umayyad Caliphate, therefore, lacked enough treasure which it could use to sustain itself and the wide population that resided in the empire. The decline came about after the Syrian army defeated the Umayyad Caliphate army which led to a great financial crisis because of the fiscal reforms that was made by Umar II after the war (Kennedy 178). The fights between the elite Arab tribes and the southern (Kalb) tribe also further reduced the military power in the empire. The great civilization that the empire had achieved soon turned into a greedy lifestyle whereby the rich decided to exploit the poor to make more wealth. The Arabs who were mainly favored by the Umayyad Caliphates ended up becoming wealthier and powerful. In the end, the Umayyads swayed away from the Muhammad teachings on law and healthy living leading to the fall of the kingdom.

In conclusion, the Umayyad Caliphs made both positive and negative contribution to the Islamic civilization. By being dedicated towards the cause of Islam, the Umayyad Caliphs managed to transform several people into Muslims. However, the poor leadership style by the rulers of the empire negatively impacted them leading to economic instability. The whole impact of the Umayyad Caliphs was detrimental to the Islamic civilization and the MENA region.


Work Cited

Kennedy, Hugh. The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates. Routledge, 2004.