He was native of Taif, and a scion of the famous tribe of Thaqif. In his early youth, he was a school-master and preserved a life-long interest in Arabic language, literature, and theology. His speeches were long appreciated and commended by great scholars afterward. After the death of Malik, Walid kept him in governorship of Iraq.
His Strict Administration
He was made the governor of Iraq in 695 to aid Muhallab in fighting the Kharijis. Before that he had won Makkah again for Malik. He ruled Iraq till his death in 714. His government is considered to be one of the cruelest, harshest, and most severe of Umayyads time. As Ameer Ali writes, “In the course of his long Government over Iraq, he put to death nearly 150k men; many on false charges while some of them were the best of Arab race. At the time of his death, 50k people of both sexes were found rotting in prisons and cursing the tyrant.”
The stories of his severity must, however, be understood with caution. We all know the conditions of Iraq before his governorship. At the time of his death, he had brought prosperity and peace back to it. The tribes residing in Kufa and Basra wan disloyal and unruly. They had no specific aim, but to plunder and spread mischief. It may as well be that their behavior may have further aggravated his temperament, but one cannot forget his siege of Makkah where a part of Kaaba was burnt. But he didn’t stay in
Makkah, then, to plunder or pillage it. His character may have been of tyrant, but the picture is painted too grim due Abbasid historian writers.
Development of Arab feudalism
- Canals and other agricultural developments
- Man of learning
- Administrative system he taught to others
- Empire builders
- He expanded Islam to Subcontinent (remember to write about his and Bin Qasim’s role in Pakistan History)