The Islamic Navy in the Early of Islamic Era

Prophet Muhammad died in 632 AD. Abu Bakr Ash Shiddiq was elected as the first caliph. His task replaced the role of the Prophet (peace be upon him) in leading the country and the people. At that time, Islamic power covered almost the entire Arabian Peninsula.

During his reign, Abu Bakr not only succeeded in quelling the rebellion. He also pioneered the expansion of the territory so as to protect Islamic territory from the threat of two superpowers at that time, Eastern Rome (Byzantine) and Iran (Persia).

He appointed Khalid bin Walid to lead the conquest of Iraq. The liberation of Syria was handled by three leaders, namely Amr bin Ash, Yazid bin Abu Sufyan, and Shurahbil bin Hasanah.

Before his death in 634, Abu Bakr appointed Umar ibn Khattab as his successor. In the era of Al Faruq, the expansion of Islamic territory took place rapidly. Four years after he became caliph, Jerusalem was liberated. The amirul mukminin also paved the way of conquest over Persia. Egypt fell to the Muslims, undaunted the Byzantine rulers.

Caliph Umar appointed Muawiyah bin Abu Sufyan as governor of Syria. In carrying out his role, Muawiyah was able to stem the wreckage of Byzantine forces in the border area of the caliphate.

However, the figure nicknamed Abu Abdurrahman realized, the biggest threat actually came from the ocean. And, the defense of the Muslims in the coastal areas was still weak, not comparable to the Byzantine tem pur fleet.

He then proposed to Umar that the Caliphate should immediately build a navy. In his letter, he argued that Muslims could not constantly rely on troop movements on the ground.

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The Arabs were good at fighting on land. When they excel, they continue to attack. Instead, they will retreat regularly or disperse into the desert if the enemy is increasingly urgent.

However, Muawiyah’s wish was rejected by the Caliph. Al Faruq reasoned that the Arabs were not used to fighting in the seas. In the biography by Ali Muhammad Asy Syalabi mentioned Umar’s answer regarding the proposal, “By the Substance who sent the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) with the truth, I will never let a Muslim fight in the sea. By Allah, a Muslim wants more than all that the Byzantines have. So stop with your advice.”

In November 644, Caliph Umar was stabbed by a Persian slave while leading dawn prayers. He died a few days later. Uthman bin Affan was chosen as his successor.

In contrast to Umar, the Prophet’s friend named The Owner of Two Lights tended to consider Muawiyah’s input. However, the caliph did not immediately approve of it. Because, by allowing means that he has violated Umar’s policies and broken his promises when he was initiated.

Thus, Uthman simply allowed Muawiyah to build an attack via the sea route voluntarily. That is, The Muslim troops are not to be required to enlist in the navy, but also will not be hindered if they are interested in following it. With his policy, the initiative of the Syrian governor began to be realized. This is the first fleet in Islamic history.

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