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ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Marwān ibn al-Ḥakam (Arabic: عبد العزيز بن مروان‎; died 705) was the Umayyad governor and de facto viceroy of Egypt between 685 and his death. He was appointed by his father, Caliph Marwan I (r. 684–685). Abd al-Aziz's reign was marked by stability and prosperity, partly due to his close relations and reliance on the Arab military settlers of Fustat. Under his direction and supervision, an army led by Musa ibn Nusayr completed the Muslim conquest of North Africa. He was removed from the line of succession to the caliphal throne and, in any case, died before his brother, Caliph Abd al-Malik. However, one of Abd al-Aziz's sons, Umar II, would become caliph in 717–720.

Abd al-Aziz ibn Marwan
Governor of Egypt
In office
Preceded byAbd al-Rahman ibn Utba al-Fihri
Succeeded byAbdallah ibn Abd al-Malik
Personal details
MotherLayla bint Zabban ibn al-Asbagh al-Kalbiyya
FatherMarwan I
ResidenceFustat (685–690)
Hulwan (690–705)
Military service
AllegianceUmayyad Caliphate
Years of service684–685
Battles/warsBattle of Marj Rahit (684)

Abd al-Aziz's wife Umm Asim Layla bint Asim was the granddaughter of the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab.



Origins and early careerEdit

Abd al-Aziz was the son of the Umayyad Marwan ibn al-Hakam and one of the latter's wives, Layla bint Zabban ibn al-Asbagh of the Banu Kalb tribe.[1] He fought alongside his father and the Banu Kalb against al-Dahhak ibn Qays al-Fihri and the Qaysi tribes, who supported the anti-Umayyad caliph, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr, at the Battle of Marj Rahit near Damascus in 684. Abd al-Aziz was thrown off his horse during the battle, which ended in a crushing Umayyad–Kalbi victory.[2]

Governor of EgyptEdit

Abd al-Aziz is most notable for his twenty-year-long tenure as governor (wali) of Egypt, from AH 65 (685 CE) to his death in AH 86 (705 CE). He was placed in the post by Marwan I immediately after the Umayyads regained control of the province during the civil war against Ibn al-Zubayr, and held it until his death. He enjoyed wide autonomy in the governance of Egypt, and functioned as a de facto viceroy of the country.[3]

He proved himself a capable governor,[4] and his rule was a period of peace and prosperity, marked by his conciliatory and co-operative attitude towards the leaders of the local Arab settlers (the jund): throughout his tenure, Abd al-Aziz relied on them rather than the Syrians, who elsewhere were the main pillar of the Umayyad regime.[5] He resided chiefly at Fustat, leaving it only for two visits to the caliphal court at Damascus and four more to Alexandria, although when the plague struck Fustat in 690, he moved the seat of his government to the nearby town of Hulwan.[6] Abd al-Aziz also supervised the completion of the Muslim conquest of North Africa; it was he who appointed Musa ibn Nusayr in his post as governor of Ifriqiya.[6]

Marwan I had named Abd al-Aziz his second heir after his elder brother Abd al-Malik (r. 685–705). Abd al-Malik, however, wanted his son al-Walid I (r. 705–715) to succeed him, and Abd al-Aziz was persuaded not to object to this change. In the event, Abd al-Aziz died shortly before Abd al-Malik.[4]

Abd al-Aziz was also hoping that his own eldest son, al-Asbagh—for whom he also nurtured hopes in the caliphal succession—would succeed him as governor of Egypt, making the province into a hereditary appanage for his family, but his son died a few months before Abd al-Aziz himself. He was succeeded by Abd al-Malik's son Abdallah, whose aim was to restore caliphal control over the province and, in the words of Hugh N. Kennedy, "remove all traces of Abd al-Aziz's administration".[7] Abd al-Aziz's descendants, however, remained influential in Egyptian affairs until the early Abbasid period.[8] Among them was his great-grandson al-Asbagh ibn Sufyan ibn Asim, who upheld support for the Abbasid caliph al-Mansur (r. 754–775).[9]


  1. ^ Fishbein (1990), p. 162.
  2. ^ Hawting 1989, p. 62.
  3. ^ Kennedy (1998), pp. 65, 70–71
  4. ^ a b Zetterstéen (1986), p. 58
  5. ^ Kennedy (1998), pp. 70–71
  6. ^ a b Kennedy (1998), p. 71
  7. ^ Kennedy (1998), pp. 71–72
  8. ^ Kennedy (1998), pp. 77–78
  9. ^ Al-Tabari, ed. McAuliffe (1995), p. 236.


Preceded by
Abd al-Rahman ibn Utba al-Fihri
Governor of Egypt
Succeeded by
Abdallah ibn Abd al-Malik