Umar ibn Hubayra

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Umar ibn Hubayra al-Fazari (fl. 710–724) was a prominent Umayyad general and governor of Iraq, who played an important role in the Qays–Yaman conflict of this period.


A Qaysi from the Jazira,[1] Umar claimed to belong to the traditional Arab nobility by virtue of his maternal grandfather, who was supposedly chief of the Banu Adi tribe. However, the family is unknown from the sources until the emergence of Umar himself in 696, when he served in Iraq under Sufyan ibn al-Abrad al-Kalbi.[2]

Umar participated in the campaigns against the Byzantine Empire in the 710s, and under the command of Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik, commanded the Muslim fleet in the great siege of the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, in 717–18.[2][3] On his return from Constantinople, he was appointed governor of the Jazira (in 718 or 720),[2] and, about a year after the accession of Yazid II (720 or 721), he was named governor of Iraq, replacing his patron Maslama.[2][4] His governorship extended to the entire eastern Caliphate, including Khurasan, where he appointed first his fellow Qaysi, Sa'id ibn Amr al-Harashi, and then the Bakri Muslim ibn Sa'id ibn Aslam ibn Zur'a, as his deputies.[5] In 721, he led a campaign into the Byzantine province of Armenia IV, where he seized 700 prisoners.[6]

As elsewhere in the Caliphate under Yazid II, his governorship marked a return to the oppressive policies of the notorious al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf. In the wake of the suppression of Yazid ibn al-Muhallab's rebellion, Iraq was held down in virtual occupation by the regime's trusted Qaysi Syro-Jaziran troops, and Umar appointed almost exclusively his fellow north Arab Qaysis to provincial governorships, virtually excluding the south Arab (Yamani) tribes, traditionally dominant in Iraq, from power. His partisanship was so blatant that the contemporary Iraqi poet al-Farazdaq called him the "glory and supreme support" of the northern Arabs.[4][5][7] Indeed, when the Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik came to power in 724, one of his first acts was to dismiss Umar from his post, and replace him with the Yamani Khalid al-Qasri.[5] Umar was tortured and freed only after giving up a considerable part of his fortune.[2]

The Islamic scholar Jean-Claude Vadet assesses Umar's governorship thus: "Harsh in his treatment of those he conquered, Ibn Hubayra seems to have governed in the name of Arabism and Islam, regarded as a religion of the sword. His methods of governing, however, were not above reproach, although in fact this great Arab nobleman, proud of belonging to the Ghatafan, was accused more of cynicism than of corruption."[5] As a result of his fervent championship of the Qays in the Qays–Yaman conflict, both he, and his son, Yazid, who would serve as governor of Iraq under Marwan II, receive a very negative treatment in the sources.[2][5]


  1. ^ Crone (1980), p. 44
  2. ^ a b c d e f Crone (1980), p. 107
  3. ^ Blankinship (1994), p. 87
  4. ^ a b Blankinship (1994), pp. 87, 88
  5. ^ a b c d e Vadet (1971), p. 802
  6. ^ Blankinship (1994), p. 119
  7. ^ Crone (1980), pp. 44, 47


Preceded by
Maslama ibn Abd al-Malik
Governor of Iraq
Succeeded by
Khalid al-Qasri