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Abd al-Malik Biography

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Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan (646 - 705) was an Umayyad caliph. A well-educated man, he was a capable ruler, despite the many political problems that wracked his rule.

Abd al-Malik became caliph after the death of his father in 685. Within a few years, he dispatched armies under Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef on a campaign to reassert Umayyad control over the Islamic empire. Hajjaj first defeated the governor of Basra, he then went on to the Hejaz where Ibn Zubayr was killed, ending his short rule as caliph. Hajjaj's success led Abd al-Malik to make him the governor of Iraq, and give him a free reign in his territories.

Abd al-Malik was effective in increasing the size of the empire. Control over North Africa was reasserted, and construction on the city of Tunis began. Arab armies also took most of Turkestan. These victories paved the way for great expansions under Abd al-Malik's son.

Abd al-Malik instituted many reforms such as: making Arabic the official language of government across the entire empire, instituting a mint that produced a uniform set of currency, expansion and reorganization of postal service, repairing the damaged Kaaba and beginning the tradition of weaving a silk cover for the Kaaba in Damascus.

The Dome of the Rock was also built in Jerusalem, but parts of that city were also destroyed when Abd al-Malik's armies put down an uprising there. The last years of his reign were generally peaceful, and Abd al-Malik would appoint his son al-Walid I as his sucessor, ignoring his father's orders to appoint Abd al-Malik's brother, Abd al-Aziz.

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