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ʿUtba ibn Abī Sufyān ibn Ḥarb (died 665) was a member of the Umayyad ruling family and served as the Umayyad governor of Egypt in 664–665, during the reign of his brother, Caliph Mu'awiya I.


Genealogical tree of the Sufyanids, the ruling family of the Umayyad Caliphate, to which Utba belonged.

Utba was a son of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb of the Banu Umayya and Hind bint Utba ibn Rabi'a ibn Abd Shams.[1] Under Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab (r. 634–644), he was charged with collecting the sadaqat (tribute) from the Kinanah tribe based around Mecca.[2] He sought to use the money collected from them towards trade.[3] He fought alongside most of the Quraysh led by the Islamic prophet Muhammad's wife A'isha against Muhammad's cousin, Caliph Ali (r. 656–661), in the Battle of the Camel near Basra in 656. In the immediate aftermath of Ali's victory, Utba took refuge with A'isha and avoided giving allegiance to Ali. He soon after managed to escape to Damascus, where his brother, Mu'awiya ruled as governor of Syria.[4] In the alliance negotiations between Mu'awiya and Amr ibn al-As, Utba pressed his brother to accept Amr's offer of receiving the lifetime governorship of Egypt in return for his support against Ali.[5] Utba was later part of Mu'awiya's retinue during the Battle of Siffin against Ali in 657.[6] Mu'awiya became caliph in 661 and appointed Utba to lead the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca in March 662.[7] He led the Hajj again in February 667 and January 668.[8]

Following the death of Amr in 664, Utba was appointed governor of Egypt.[9] He strengthened the Muslim Arab presence and elevated the political status of Alexandria by attaching 12,000 Arab troops to the city and constructing a Dar al-Imara (governor's palace).[9] The Dar al-Imara was intended to serve as the residence of the Arab governor of the province, who was based in Fustat.[10] Utba was the first Arab governor of Egypt recorded to have visited Alexandria by the Arabic sources, though Amr is implicitly said to have entered the city as governor, according to al-Baladhuri.[11] Nonetheless, Utba remained concerned that troop numbers in Alexandria remained insufficient and vulnerable to the large, local Christian population there.[9] Utba died in office in 665,[12] and was succeeded by the muleteer of Muhammad, Uqba ibn Amir.[9]

Utba's son al-Walid went on to serve as governor of Medina under Mu'awiya and his son and successor, Caliph Yazid I (r. 680–683). A descendant of Utba, Abd Allah ibn Muhammad al-Utbi was recorded as a source of information in the 9th-century historical work of al-Tabari.[13]


  1. ^ Morony 1987, p. 220.
  2. ^ Donner 1981, p. 251.
  3. ^ Donner 1981, p. 271.
  4. ^ Madelung 1997, p. 182.
  5. ^ Madelung 1997, p. 196.
  6. ^ Madelung 1997, pp. 236–237.
  7. ^ Morony 1987, p. 19.
  8. ^ Morony 1987, pp. 89–92.
  9. ^ a b c d Kennedy 1998, p. 69.
  10. ^ Jelle 2018, p. 50.
  11. ^ Jelle 2018, pp. 51–52.
  12. ^ Rosenthal 2015, p. 633, note 475.
  13. ^ Brinner 1987, p. 83.


  • Bruning, Jelle (2018). The Rise of a Capital: Al-Fusṭāṭ and Its Hinterland, 18-132/639-750. Leiden and Boston: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-36635-0.
  • Kennedy, Hugh (1998). "Egypt as a Province in the Islamic Caliphate, 641–868". In Petry, Carl F. (ed.). Cambridge History of Egypt, Volume One: Islamic Egypt, 640–1517. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 62–85. ISBN 0-521-47137-0.
  • Madelung, Wilferd (1997). The Succession to Muhammad: A Study of the Early Caliphate. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-56181-7.
  • Morony, Michael G., ed. (1996). The History of al-Ṭabarī, Volume 18: Between Civil Wars: The Caliphate of Muʿāwiyah, 661–680 A.D./A.H. 40–60. SUNY Series in Near Eastern Studies. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-87395-933-9.
  • Rosenthal, Franz (2015). Man versus Society in Medieval Islam. Leiden and Boston: Brill. ISBN 978-90-04-27088-6.
Preceded by
Amr ibn al-As
Governor of Egypt
Succeeded by
Uqba ibn Amir