'Abdu'llah ibn Sa'ad

Abdallah ibn Sa'd
Governor of Egypt
In office
Preceded byAmr ibn al-As
Succeeded byMuhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa
Personal details
Parent(s)Sa'd ibn Abi Sarh
Muhana bint Jabir al-Ash'ariyyah[1]
Military service
AllegianceRashidun Caliphate
Battles/warsMuslim conquest of the Maghreb

Muslim conquest of Egypt

Arab–Byzantine wars

Abdallah ibn Sa'd ibn Abi Sarh (Arabic: عبد الله بن سعد بن أبي السرح, romanizedʿAbd Allāh ibn Saʿd ibn Abī al-Sarḥ) was an Arab administrator and commander.[2]

During his time as governor of Egypt (646 CE to 656 CE), Abdallah ibn Sa'd built a strong Arab navy.[citation needed] Under his leadership the Muslim navy won a number of victories including its first major naval battle against the Byzantine emperor Constans II at the Battle of the Masts in 654 CE.[citation needed]


He came from the Banu Amir ibn Lu'ayy clan of the Quraish tribe and was an adopted brother of the caliph Uthman.[2]

During Muhammad's era[]

When Abdullâh Ibn Sâd Ibn Abî Sarh had converted to Islam, Muhammad invited him to be his scribe. Muhammad told him to write down some verses from Surah Al-Mu'minun which Allah had just revealed to him. It has been claimed that when the 14th verse had been dictated to Abdallah in the section "and then produced it as another creation", Abdallah expressed his amazement by saying "So blessed be Allah, the Best of Creators!" Muhammad then said, "This ['Abdallah's last expression] is how it was revealed to me." So Abdallah allegedly doubted Muhammad's prophethood, and said, “If Muhammad is truthful, then I was inspired just as he was; and if he is lying, I have uttered exactly what he did utter." And later he went to Mecca which at that time hadn't been conquered by Muhammad.[3]

When Muhammad had gathered enough troops to besiege Mecca, he ordered to his followers that Abdallah bin Sa'd would be one of those who had to be killed even though he was hiding beneath the curtain of the Kaaba. But Abdallah then went to his adopted brother, Uthman ibn Affan asking for help, then with him came to Muhammad to beg for forgiveness. When he met the two of them, Muhammad who was accompanied by some of his companions, was silent for a long time. But after the two of them left, Muhammad said to his followers, "I kept silent so that one of you might get up and strike off his head!" One of the Ansar said, "Then why didn’t you give me a sign, O apostle of God ?" He answered that a prophet does not kill by pointing.[4]

A hadith in Sunan Abu Dawud similarly records Abdallah ibn Sa’d's tense encounter with Muhammad in Mecca post his defection and fleeing Mohammad after the capture of Mecca by Muslims.[5] In his History, al-Tabari briefly records about Abdallah and Muhammad that "Abdallah b. Sa`d b. Abi Sarh used to write for him. He apostatized from Islam and later returned to Islam on the day of the conquest of Mecca".[6]

During Umar's era[]

Umar appointed him as second-in-command (lieutenant) of Amr Bin al-As for the campaign of conquest of Egypt. He played a major role as a military commander in the conquest of Egypt. During the conquest of Egypt, he was commander of the right flank of the army of Amr and participated in all battles fought during the conquest of Egypt under Amr’s command.[7]

During Uthman’s era[]

When Uthman became caliph in 644 CE, he appointed Abdallah governor of Egypt replacing 'Amr ibn al-'As, with Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa as his aide. Abdallah brought over a large foreign entourage and established the diwan, "and commanded that all the taxes of the country should be regulated there".[8]

The protests against Abdallah appear to have been instigated by his aide, Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa. Muhammad's father (Abi Hudhayfa) was an early convert to Islam who died in the Battle of Yamama. Muhammad was raised by Uthman. When he reached maturity he participated in the foreign military campaigns and accompanied Abdallah to Egypt as an aide. Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa admonished Abdallah, recommending changes in the government but Abdallah did not respond. After continuous efforts, eventually Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa lost patience and turned from sympathetic admonisher to a disillusioned opponent—first of Abdallah and later of Uthman for appointing him. Abdallah wrote to Uthman claiming that Muhammad was spreading sion and that if nothing was done to stop him, the situation would escalate. Uthman attempted to silence Muhammad's protests with 30,000 dirhams and expensive presents. Uthman's gifts were perceived as a bribe and that caused a backfire, with Muhammad bringing the money and presents into the Great Mosque saying;

“Do you see what Uthman is trying to do? He is trying to buy my faith. He has sent these coins and these goods to me as a bribe.”

Uthman sent numerous placatory letters to Muhammad, but he continued building the agitation against Abdallah. In 656 the leaders of Egypt decided to send a delegation to Medina to demanding Abdallah's dismissal. Abdallah also left for Medina to defend himself at the court of the caliph. In his absence, Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa assumed charge of the government.

When Abdallah reached Ayla, he was told that Uthman's house was under siege (Siege of Uthman) and decided to return to Egypt. At the border he was informed that Muhammad ibn Abi Hudhayfa had given orders to prevent him from entering Egypt. He then went to Palestine awaiting the outcome of events in Medina. In the meantime, Uthman was killed in Medina, and when Abdallah heard the news, he left Palestine, and went to Damascus to live under the protection of Muawiyah I.

See also[]


  1. ^ "ص407 - كتاب الطبقات الكبرى ط دار صادر - وهب بن سعد بن أبي سرح بن الحارث بن حبيب بن جذيمة بن مالك بن حسل بن عامر بن لؤي وهو أخو عبد الله بن سعد وأمهما مهانة بنت جابر من الأشعريين - المكتبة الشاملة الحديثة". al-maktaba.org (in Arabic). Archived from the original on 2021-09-16. Retrieved 2021-09-16.
  2. ^ a b Becker, C.H. "ʿAbd Allāh b. Saʿd".
  3. ^ Wahidi Nayshaburi, Abu al-Hasan Ali. Asbab Al-Nuzul. p. 107. ISBN 9781891785184.
  4. ^ Ibn Ishaq. The Life of Muhammad - Sirat Rasul Allah. p. 550. ISBN 0196360331.
  5. ^ Hadith 2683 Sunan Abu-Dawud Transl. Professor Ahmad Hasan (hadith 2677 in Hasan's translation)
  6. ^ Al-Tabari, "History of al-Tabari Vol. 9 - The Last Years of the Prophet", transl. Ismail K. Poonawala, p.148, Albany: State University of New York Press
  7. ^ Ibn, Athir. Usûd Ulghâbah fî Ma'rifat Is-Sahâbah (in Urdu). Lahore: Al-Meezan. p. 265.
  8. ^ Archdeacon George (fl. 715), as transferred to Severus of Muqaffa; B. Evetts (1904). "Benjamin I". History of the Patriarchs of the Coptic church of Alexandria. On George's authorship of Lives 27-42:Robert G. Hoyland (1998). Seeing Islam As Others Saw It. Darwin Press. p. 447.
Preceded by Governor of Egypt
Succeeded by