Abdawayh was a member of the abna', a group descended from the Khurasani troops who had helped bring the Abbasid dynasty to power and which formed the mainstay of the army in the late eighth and early ninth centuries. In 826 or 827 he became the chief of security (shurtah) in Egypt for the governor Abdallah ibn Tahir, in place of Abdallah's first chief Mu'adh ibn Aziz.
At the end of February 830, Abdawayh was appointed resident governor of Egypt by Abu Ishaq (the future caliph al-Mu'tasim, r. 833–842) in the aftermath of Abu Ishaq's campaign to put down a rebellion in the province. Abdawayh himself was soon forced to deal with an uprising in the Hawf district in Lower Egypt, but his forces fought against the rebels in the autumn of the year and eventually defeated them. He remained governor until February 831, when he was dismissed and replaced by 'Isa ibn Mansur al-Rafi'i.
^Al-Kindi 1912, pp. 189-90, who claims that Abdawayh was dismissed by al-Afshin, then governor of Barqah, after the latter came to Egypt seeking to recovering the treasure hidden by Ibn al-Jarawi, and that Abdawayh then returned to Barqah with al-Afshin; Ibn Taghribirdi 1930, p. 212, with somewhat different details regarding the account of al-Afshin's time in Egypt; Al-Ya'qubi 1883, p. 567