Mu'awiya II

Mu'awiya ibn Yazid
معاوية بن يزيد
Amir al-Mu'minin
3rd Caliph of the Umayyad caliphate
Reign683 – 684
PredecessorYazid I
SuccessorMarwan I
Bornc. 664 CE
Bilad al-Sham, Umayyad Caliphate
Diedc. 684 CE (aged 19–20)
Damascus, Umayyad Caliphate
(present-day Syria)
Arabic name
ibn Yazīd
بن يزيد
Teknonymic (Kunya)Abū Laylā

Mu'awiya ibn Yazid (Arabic: معاوية بن يزيد, romanizedMuʿāwiya ibn Yazīd; c. 664 – 684 CE), usually known simply as Mu'awiya II was the third Umayyad caliph. He succeeded his father Yazid I as the third caliph and last caliph of the Sufyanid line in the Umayyad dynasty. He ruled briefly in 683–684 (64 AH) before he died.

Early life

Mu'awiya was the son of Yazid I and an unknown mother from the Kalb tribe. She is often confused with Umm Hashim Fakhitah bint Abi Hisham, mother of Mu'awiya's half-brother Khalid ibn Yazid.

His father, Yazid died on 11 November 683 in the central Syrian desert town of Huwwarin, his favourite residence, aged between 35 and 43, and was buried there.


Before Yazid I died, he had the bay'ah made to his son Mu'awiya. Mu'awiya succeeded his father in Damascus in 64 AH (November 683 CE), at an age of somewhere between 17 and 23. He was supported by the Kalb tribe, but his authority was likely only recognised in Damascus and southern Syria, with Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr claiming the caliphate from his base in the Hejaz.

Mu'awiya's reign would have lasted for about 20 days to 4 months, but likely no more than 2 months. Given the short span of time, few events were possible, and some of those transmitted may be unreliable political and sectarian fabrications. These include:

  • Being a member of the Qadariyya, resulting from the belief that Mu'awiya abdicated before his death.
  • Denouncing his predecessors' tyranny and injustice towards the Alids.
  • Having the kunya Abu Layla ("Father of Layla"),: 428–429  a name often applied to weak persons. This was suspicious because he had no children.
  • Abdication before his death,: 468  originating from later Marwanid propaganda.

What does seem certain, is that Mu'awiya continued his father's policy and remitted a third of the taxes. During his reign, Mu'awiya suffered from ill health and so had to stay in the Umayyad palace (al-Khaḍrā’) in Damascus. His adviser Al-Dahhak ibn Qays al-Fihri took care of practical affairs.

Death and legacy

Umayyad Caliphate coin at the time of Mu'awiya II ibn Yazid. MRW (Marw) mint; "Abd Allah ibn Khazim, governor". Dated AH 64 (AD 683/4). Sasanian style bust imitating Khosrau II right; bismillah and three pellets in margin; c/m: animal left in incuse/ Fire altar with ribbons and attendants; star and crescent flanking flames; date to left, mint to right.

It is unclear how Mu'awiya died, although jaundice and a plague have been named as causes. Since he had no children and either refused: 577  or was not given the opportunity to appoint a successor, the campaigns against Ibn al-Zubayr's revolt came to a complete stop. Umayyad power temporarily collapsed until Marwan I took back control.

In his al-Futūḥāt al-Makkiyya, Ibn Arabi claimed that Muawiyya II was a spiritual Pole (Ghawth) of his time and one of the few in history having such a spiritual degree combined with a temporal power, like the Rashidun Caliphs and Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz.

This page was last updated at 2023-12-10 21:34 UTC. Update now. View original page.

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