ʿABDALLĀH B. ʿĀMER

 

ʿABDALLĀH B. ʿĀMER B. KORAYZ, ABŪ ʿABD-AL-RAḤMĀN, Arab general and governor active in Iran, b. in Mecca in 4/626. He belonged to the clan of ʿAbd Šams and was related to the future caliph ʿOṯmān b. ʿAffān. The latter, upon assuming the caliphate as a compromise candidate, found himself increasingly isolated from the old Muslims politically arrayed against him. ʿOṯmān then turned to his relatives for support, although they represented those Qorayš clans which were, by and large, the early opponents of the prophet Moḥammad. As a result ʿAbdallāh b. ʿĀmer was appointed in 29/649-50 governor of Baṣra, replacing Abū Mūsā Ašʿarī. He soon embarked on a series of extensive campaigns to the east. After early successes in Fārs, where he conquered Eṣṭaḵr, Dārābīerd, and Gōr (Fīrūzābād), he moved into Khorasan. The campaign in Fārs represented a successful completion of a policy begun by his predecessors at Baṣra. Previous forays, however, stopped short of Khorasan itself, the farthest penetration being to Ṭabasayn.

The amṣār of Iraq were volatile. A campaign far to the east had the advantage, not only of bringing new territories under Islamic control, but also of serving as a safety valve for pressures generated by the anarchic tribal armies. After reaching Ṭabasayn, the gateway to Khorasan, ʿAbdallāh b. ʿĀmer marched to Nīšāpūr, where stiff resistance was met. After a siege of several months, the city capitulated and a large tribute was arranged. Other cities in the region soon fell into line according to similar treaties of capitulation. Within months these territories which had been part of Sasanian Khorasan were nominally brought under Islamic control. In 32/652 Marv-al-rūd, the last stronghold of the opposition, fell. The Muslim forces, however, do not appear to have advanced significantly, if at all, beyond the Oxus river into eastern Khorasan. Nevertheless, Ebn ʿĀmer seems to have neutralized any immediate threat from the Hephthalite principalities. The Muslims, however, did not make an extended effort to consolidate their position to the east. Ebn ʿĀmer returned to Baṣra, leaving a relatively small force behind. These troops were soon tested, and Ebn ʿĀmer was forced to march east again. The situation continued unsettled; the Muslims, plagued by internal strife and lacking a strong resolve to hold and to consolidate these territories, did not make the necessary commitment to bring Khorasan fully under control.

The internal breakdown of order in the Islamic state seriously affected the career of Ebn ʿĀmer. Following the assassination of his cousin ʿOṯmān, he sided with the triumvirate of Ṭalḥa, Zobayr and ʿĀʾeša, against the new caliph, ʿAlī b. Abū Ṭāleb. With the defeat of the rebels and their Basran supporters, Ebn ʿĀmer fled to Damascus to join the governor of Syria, his relative, Moʿāvīa b. Abū Sofyān. Moʿāvīa’s resistance to the incumbent regime resulted in a civil war which was destined to last five years. Following Moʿāvīa’s election to the caliphate in 41/661, Ebn ʿĀmer was returned to his previous position in Baṣra. The extended civil war had completely diverted Muslim energies from the frontier lands. Since a strong Muslim presence was lacking, occupants of eastern territories hitherto defeated, but not fully conquered by the Muslim armies, reasserted their independence. The task fell once again to Ebn ʿĀmer, as governor of Baṣra, to subjugate the eastern territories. Over a period of two years (42-43/662-64) his generals reconquered Sīstān and Khorasan, although certain Hephthalite principalities continued to resist Muslim encroachment. Ebn ʿĀmer was less successful in keeping order in Baṣra. The tribal units defied the established authority, and there seems to have been a breakdown of public order. Though the situation called for vigorous measures, Ebn ʿĀmer was reluctant to act with resolve, for fear of further aggravating tribal sensitivities. Moʿāvīa then felt no recourse but to remove him in favor of a more energetic governor. This was a rather delicate matter in view of the close relations between them. Ebn ʿĀmer was not only a blood relative, but he was the father-in-law of Moʿāvīa’s son Yazīd. The caliph offered him the hand of his daughter in marriage as well as considerable sums of money. In the end he was officially replaced by Zīād b. Abīh, who had been designated for the post some time earlier. Ebn ʿĀmer then retired to Mecca. There is no indication that he ever again assumed a position of importance in the Omayyad administration. He died ca. 59/680.

 

Bibliography:

Ṭabarī, index, s.v. Ebn Saʿd, V, pp. 30-35.

Yaʿqūbī, Taʾrīḵ II, pp. 191ff.; Boldān, index.

Balāḏorī, Fotūḥ, pp. 51, 315ff.; Ansāb (Hyderabad) V, index.

Masʿūdī, Morūǰ, Beirut, 1965-66, II, pp. 337, 357, 377.

Ebn Ḥabīb, Moḥabbar, Beirut, 1960, p. 150.

Aḡānī, index. Tārīḵ-e Sīstān, pp. 79ff., 90-91.

Ebn al-Aṯīr, Osd al-ḡāba, Cairo, 1964-, III, pp. 191-92.

Caetani, Annali VII; Chronographia Islamica, Paris, 1912, pp. 629-30.

B. Spuler, Iran, pp. 17ff. M. Shaban, The ʿAbbāsid Revolution, Cambridge, 1970, pp. 19ff.

 

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عبدالله بن عامر abdallah ebn amer abdollah ibn aamer abdoullah ebn amer
abdoullaah ibn amer abdullah ibn amer    

 

(J. Lassner)

Originally Published: December 15, 1982

Last Updated: July 15, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 179-180

Cite this entry:

J. Lassner, “Abdallah B. Amer,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 179-180; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abdallah-b-amer-arab-general-active-in-iran-d-ca-680 (accessed on 17 January 2014).