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Uthman ibn Muhammad ibn Abi Sufyan

ʿUthman ibn Muḥammad ibn Abī Sufyān (fl. 682 – c. 683) was a member of the Umayyad ruling family who served as the governor of Medina under the Umayyad caliph Yazid I (r. 680–683) in 682 until being expelled by its townspeople in 683 during the Second Fitna.


Uthman belonged to the Banu Umayya clan and was a grandson of Abu Sufyan ibn Harb, making him a paternal cousin of Caliph Yazid I,[1] who appointed Uthman governor of Medina in 682, replacing their other cousin, al-Walid ibn Utba ibn Abi Sufyan. According to an account recorded in the history of 9th-century historian al-Tabari, Uthman's appointment came about as a result of a ploy by the Mecca-based, anti-Umayyad claimant to the caliphate, Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr. The latter had sent a letter disparaging al-Walid ibn Utba as unfit and suggesting he be replaced by a governor more inclined to mutual cooperation. Yazid responded by installing Uthman.[2] According to historian Julius Wellhausen, Uthman was "a young man, inexperienced and conceited".[3]

In an effort to conciliate the growing opposition to Yazid in Medina, Uthman sent an embassy of city notables to Yazid's court in Damascus in hopes that the caliph would secure their support by financial incentives; though Yazid gave them numerous gifts, they returned to Medina with reports of the caliph's misdeeds and lack of religion.[3] Afterward, the townspeople of Medina, led by a member of the embassy Abd Allah ibn Hanzala, revolted against Yazid and assaulted Uthman. The Banu Umayya and their mawali (non-Arab clients) and supporters among the Quraysh, numbering some 1,000 people, were likewise attacked and found refuge with the senior Umayyad of the region, Marwan ibn al-Hakam.[4] Uthman, being "only a young lad without any judgement", according to al-Tabari, was sidelined by Marwan who managed the Hejazi Umayyads' during this crisis.[5] The Umayyads ultimately relocated to Syria, the political center of the Umayyad Caliphate. There is scant information available about Uthman beyond his short term in Medina.[1] One of his daughters was later wed to the Umayyad caliph, al-Walid II (r. 743–744).[6]


  1. ^ a b Howard 1990, p. 197, note 655.
  2. ^ Howard 1990, p. 197.
  3. ^ a b Wellhausen 1927, p. 152.
  4. ^ Howard 1990, p. 201.
  5. ^ Howard 1990, p. 202.
  6. ^ Howard 1990, pp. 197–198, note 655.


  • Howard, I. K. A., ed. (1990). The History of al-Ṭabarī, Volume XIX: The Caliphate of Yazīd ibn Muʿāwiyah, A.D. 680–683/A.H. 60–64. SUNY Series in Near Eastern Studies. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-0040-1.
  • Wellhausen, Julius (1927). The Arab Kingdom and its Fall. Translated by Margaret Graham Weir. Calcutta: University of Calcutta. OCLC 752790641.
Political offices
Preceded by
Al-Walid ibn Utba ibn Abi Sufyan
Governor of Medina
Succeeded by