- Lack of any fundamental laws of the state structure, constitution.
- Evolution of Caliphate institution was accidental, not by theory or law of the state.
- No rules and regulations for election of caliph or for its republican structure.
- Few general principles of consultation by the head of the state which led to the growth, of rudimentary consultative system called “Shura”.
- Few rules regarding qualifications and duties of the Ruler and his advisers, appointees etc.
- Umayyad Caliphate was in a hereditary and monarchial form.
STRUCTURE OF THE UMAYYAD CENTRAL GOVERNMENT:
- Five central Departments/Divisions
- Diwan al-Kharaj,
- Diwan al-Jund,
- Diwan al-Rasail,
- Diwan al-Khatim,
- Diwan al-Barid.
- Caliph, Khalifa, Imam, or Ameerul Momineen; Head of the state.
- Umayyad caliphs nominated their successors from their own family or clan in their own life.
- Caliphate was confined to Umayyad by dynasty.
- Hereditary institution like monarchy.
- Not necessarily son, but any leading member of the family.
- Often they nominated two successors which led to troubles after the death of caliph.
- Courtiers, Grandees, Governors and other leading personalities of the Empire had to take oath of allegiance/Bayt onto the hands of presumptive caliph at the time of his accession.
- Similar functions as did an orthodox Caliph but with a different attitude and spirit.
- Imam or spiritual head of Islam.
- Ameerul Momineen or supreme commander and the supreme judge.
- Led public prayers in the central mosque of Damascus,
- Delivered Friday Khutba
- Adjusted disputes of common people
- They were autocrats.
- They held themselves responsible to neither religion nor public opinion and nor to a shura.
- They appointed and dismissed civil and military officials of the provinces.
- The officials were responsible to caliph alone.
- They treated Bayt al-Mal/public treasury as their private property.
- They were inaccessible to their common subjects, even in the mosque where they kept themselves aloof in a stone enclosure called “muqsura.”
- In Umayyad Caliphate, Shura ceased to exist.
- Its place was taken by the court, which comprised members ofthe Umayyad clan, their supporters, big landlords and other leading men of the Arabic tribes.
- Life and work of court varies with reigning caliph e.g.
- Muwaiya & Abdul Malik’s Court- Business centre.
- Umar II’s court –centre of religions discussions.
- Yazid II/ Walid II’s court centre of pleasure.
- Marwan II’s court like military camp.
- Umayyad caliphate was a worldly government rather than a theoretic state of early Islam.
The Central Diwans:
- Five departments of the central government.
- Each department/Diwan headed by one or more officials, called the “Katib” or “Sahib”.
- They (Katib, Sahib) act under the directions from caliph.
- They were really caliph’s servants, appointed or dismissed by him without any consultation.
The five central Diwans of Umayyad Caliphate were
Department of land, Revenue, and Finance.
- Received all taxes.
- Disbursed all expenses.
- Maintained records of all receipts and payments.
- Bank of surplus revenue of Provinces.
Diwan al Jund:
- Military department.
- Responsible for pensions of soldiers according to the Register of Diwan of pensions.
- Tampered by Umayyads who added names of their favourites / loyal in pension lists. Not for their services to Islam but to the Umayyad rule.
Diwan al Rasail:
- Department of Royal correspondence.
- Issue of royal letters, orders, circulars and instructions of caliph to the provincial officials and subjects.
- To coordinate work among different Diwans.
- Chancery of the Umayyads.
- Established by Muawiya to prevent forgery of royal correspondence.
- A copy of correspondence was entered in a register, while the original was sealed and dispatched.
- Diwan al-Barid:
- Postal Department.
- Developed by Muawiya but organized properly by Abdul Malik.
- At first confined for royal letters and mails.
- Later opened to general subjects of the caliphate.
- Postal stages along roads and highways every 18km.
- Every stage had its relay of horses with tails cut off to distinguish them from ordinary horses.
- Every province has postal In charge, called the Sahib al Barid.
- He was the post master.
- Expansion of Umayyad Empire.
- 114 provinces, some large and other smalls.
- 5 viceroyalties for effective administration.
- Lack of speedy and effective communication between caliph and administrators – Caliph entrusted authority to Governors to sort out the things their selves.
- Each province was further divided into districts for the purpose of revenue collection.
- Districts were administered by “Amils”.
- Essential functions of state activists under Umayyads.
- Political administration
- Preserve peace and order
- Punishing criminals & rebels.
- Tax collection.
- Judicial function.
- Constructive or nation building activities were unknown.
- The administrative officials were Governors, the katibs, the Sahib al Barid, and the Amils.
- The revenue officers were Sahib al Kharaj & amils etc.
- The police officials were Sahib ash-Shurta and the Sahib – Ahdath.
- The judicial officers were Qazis.
- Head of provincial administration.
- Governor of major provinces.
- Governor of the small provinces.
- Viceroys of East were man of great learning and culture because East was the hub of these activities in Umayyad times.
- Viceroys of Western regions were commanders and warriors because they had to crush barbarous and rebellious tribes and races.
Position & function of the Governors:-
- Same position within province as that of caliph in Empire.
- Conduct/ arrays public prayers.
- Command/supervise armies.
- Maintain peace and crush disorder.
- Punish criminals, violators of law.
- Development of province through development of trade, agriculture and industry.
- Construction of roads, dams, canals, etc.
- Supervise tax collection in the province.
- Secretary to Governor to share burden of work.
- Works on the instruction of Governor.
- Next to Governor.
- Collect land tax (Kharaj), Jizya, Zakat, Ushar and other taxes.
- Pay all provincial officials expenses like pensions, salaries etc.
- Responsible for his work to caliph, not to Governor.
- In tribes, tribal chief punished the criminals.
- In town, state itself punished the culprit under the law of Islam.
- Police chief of the provincial capital Sahib Ash-Shura.
- Under direct control of governor.
- Ziyad had a force of 40,000 shvitas in kufa.
- A paramilitary force was created to preserve law and order in the countryside. It was called Ahdath.
- Half-way between the police and regular army.
- Militia duty of suppressing rebellions.
- Provincial post-master.
- Controlled the provincial post department/barid.
- Judges to settle disputes between Muslims according to Islamic Fiqah or jurisprudence.
- Non-Muslim Dhimmies had their own judges.
- Qazi’s court was held in the mosque.
- Chief district officer for tax collection.
- Diwan ar- Rasail
- Diwan al Jund
- Diwan al Mustagilate
- Diwan al –Burid provincial postal office. Financial department of province.