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Muʿāwiyya(h) ibn Abi-Sufyān

Muʿāwiyya(h) ibn Abi-Sufyān (d. 680 (AH 80)). Founder of the Umayyad dynasty. He was a late convert to Islam, but was immediately appointed as ‘personal secretary’ by the Prophet Muḥammad. Upon ʿUthmān's murder, he politically outmanœuvred ʿAlī. After ʿAlī's death in 661 (AH 61), Muʿāwiyya easily persuaded Hasan, the Prophet's eldest grandson, with a grant of a large sum, to step down in his favour.

As khalīfa, Muʿāwiyya pursued a policy of pragmatism. In politics he insisted on rapprochement. His approach to dissidents was through persuasion and monetary gifts. It was Muʿāwiyya who changed the character of the Caliphate to one of hereditary monarchy (mulk).

On the question of succession Muʿāwiyya tried to secure a peaceful transfer of power to his son Yazīd. Upon his death, however, these plans backfired and led to the beginning of the Second Civil War in Islam.

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