Abd al-Aziz ibn Marwan

ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz ibn Marwān (Arabic: عبد العزيز بن مروان; died 705) was a member of the Umayyad dynasty, the son of Caliph Marwan I (reigned 684–685) and father of Caliph Umar II (r. 717–720). His wife Umm Asim Layla bint Asim was the granddaughter of the second Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab.


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.[1]

He proved himself a capable governor,[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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.[4]

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.[2]

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".[5] Abd al-Aziz's descendants, however, remained influential in Egyptian affairs until the early Abbasid period.[6]


  1. Kennedy (1998), pp. 65, 70–71
  2. 1 2 Zetterstéen (1986), p. 58
  3. Kennedy (1998), pp. 70–71
  4. 1 2 Kennedy (1998), p. 71
  5. Kennedy (1998), pp. 71–72
  6. Kennedy (1998), pp. 77–78


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