Al-Walid ibn Abd al-Malik (Arabic: الوليد بن عبد الملك) or Al-Walid I (668 - 715) was an Umayyad caliph who ruled from 705 - 715. He continued the expansion of the Islamic empire that was sparked by his father, and was an effective ruler.His father Abd al-malik had taken the oath of allegiance for Walid I during his lifetime .[unreliable source?], As such the succession of Al-Walid I was not contested .His reign was marked by endless successions of conquests east and west.
Al-Walid I (705-715 AD/86-96 AH), began the Islamic conquests and took the early Islamic empire to its farthest extents. He reconquered parts of Egypt from the Byzantines and moved on into Carthage and across to the west of North Africa. Then, in 711, Muslim armies crossed the Strait of Gibraltar and began to conquer Spain using North African Berber armies. By 716, the Visigoths of Spain had been defeated and Spain was under Muslim control. This would be the farthest extent of Islamic control of Europe—in 736, they were stopped in their expansion into Europe south of Tours, France. In the east, Islamic armies made it as far as the Indus River in 710—under Al-Walid, the caliphate empire stretched from Spain to India. Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef played a crucial role in the organization and selection of military commanders.
Al-Walid paid great attention to the expansion of an organized military, building the strongest navy in Ummayad era, it was this tactic that supported the ultimate expansion to Spain. His reign is considered as the apex of Islamic power.
Al-Walid also began the first great buiilding projects of Islam, the most famous of which is the mosque at Damascus. The long history of Islamic architecture really begins with al-Walid. This is also the period, however, in which Islamic court culture begins to germinate. With the caliph as a patron, artists and writers begin to develop a new, partly secular culture based on Islamic ideas.
It was also Al-Walid that coupled islamicization with arabicization. Conversion was not forced on conquered peoples; however, since non-believers had to pay an extra tax and were not technically citizens, many people did convert for religious and non-religious reasons. This created several problems, particularly since Islam was so closely connected with being Arab—being Arab, of course, was more than an ethnic identity, it was a tribal identity based on kinship and descent. As more and more Muslims were non-Arabs, the status of Arabs and their culture became threatened. In particular, large numbers of Coptic-speaking (Egypt) and Persian-speaking Muslims threatened the primacy of the very language that Islam is based on. In part to alleviate that threat, al-Walid instituted Arabic as the only official language of the empire. He decreed that all administration was to be done only in Arabic. It was this move that would cement the primacy of Arabic language and culture in the Islamic world.
Like his father, Al-Walid continued to allow Al-Hajjaj bin Yousef free rein, and his trust in Al-Hajjaj paid off with the successful conquests of Transoxiana and Sindh. Musa ibn Nusayr and his retainer Tariq ibn Ziyad conquered Al-Andalus. Al-Hajjaj was responsible for picking the generals who led the successful eastern campaigns, and was well known from his own successful campaign against Ibn Zubayr during the reign of Al-Walid's father. Others, such as al-Walid's brother Salamah, advanced against the Byzantines and into Adharbayjan.
Valladolid is an industrial city and it is a municipality in north-central Spain, upon the Rio Pisuerga and within the Ribera del Duero region. It is the capital of the province of Valladolid and of the autonomous community of Castile and Leon, therefore is part of the historical region of Castile. The name "Valladolid" is linked with the Arabic name for the city بلد الوليد meaning The City of Al- Walid.
Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari describes how Qutaibah bin Muslim, Khurasan's governor, led forces extending the caliphate to the east. Qutaibah campaigned in most, if not all, years of this reign, conquering Samarqand, advancing into Farghana and sending envoys to China. (v. 23)
Al-Tabari records how al-Hajjaj tortured Yazid ibn al-Muhallab. Yazid escaped and made his way to al-Walid's brother Suleiman ibn Abd al-Malik who granted him refuge. Al-Hajjaj pressed al-Walid about this and al-Walid commanded Suleiman to send him Yazid in chains. Suleiman had his own son approach al-Walid chained to Yazid and speak in favour of Yazid's safety. Al-Walid accepted this and told al-Hajjaj to desist. (v. 23, p. 156f)
Umayyad Mosque built by Al-Walid
Al-Walid himself continued the effective rule that was characteristic of his father, he developed a welfare system, built hospitals, educational institutions and measures for the appreciation of art.
In 691, Caliph Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan ordered that the Dome of the Rock be built on the site where the Islamic Prophet Muhammad begun his journey to heaven ( Meraj) on the Temple Mount. About a decade afterward, Caliph Al-Walid I ordered the building of Al-Aqsa Mosque. It was under Umayyad rule of Al- Walid and his father Abd al-Malik that Christians and Jews were granted the official title of "Peoples of the Book" to underline the common monotheistic roots they shared with Islam
Al-Walid himself was an enthusiast of architecture and he repaired and refurbished Masjid al Nabawi in Medina. He also improved mountain passes and wells in Hijaz (al-Tabari v. 23, p. 144). In addition, he demolished the Christian Basilica of St. John the Baptist to build a great mosque, now known as the Great Mosque of Damascus or simply the Umayyad Mosque (John the Baptist is considered a Prophet of Islam and is known as Yahya).
The Grand Mosque of Damascus, also known as the Umayyad Mosque (Arabic: جامع بني أمية الكبير, transl. Ğām' Banī 'Umayyah al-Kabīr), is one of the largest and oldest mosques in the world. Located in one of the holiest sites in the old city of Damascus, it is of great architectural importance.
The mosque holds a shrine which is said to contain the head of John the Baptist, honoured as a prophet by Muslims and Christians alike. The head was supposedly found during the excavations for the building of the mosque. The tomb of Saladin stands in a small garden adjoining the north wall of the mosque.
In 2001 Pope John Paul II visited the mosque, primarily to visit the relics of John the Baptist. It was the first time a pope paid a visit to a mosque.
In an article titled “Syria: Crossroads of the Levant”, featured on Syria’s Ministry of Tourism website , Richard Moore reports that “the highlight to the Old City was the Umayyad Mosque.
Initially, the Muslim conquest of Damascus in 636 did not affect the church, as the building was shared by Muslim and Christian worshippers. It remained a church although the Muslims built a mud brick structure against the southern wall so that they could pray.
Under the Umayyad caliph Al-Walid I, however, the church was demolished and between 706 and 715 the current mosque built in its place. According to the legend, Al-Walid I himself initiated the demolition by driving a golden spike into the church. At that point in time, Damascus was one of the most important cities in the Middle East and would later become the capital of the Umayyad caliphate.
He was also known for his own personal piety, and many stories tell of his continual reciting of the Qur'an and the large feasts he hosted for those fasting during Ramadan. He was married to Umm Banin bint Abdul Aziz ibn Marwan ibn Hakam.
Al-Walid was succeeded by his brother Suleiman.