ABD AL MALIK IBN MARWAN was a well-educated man and capable ruler who was able to solve many political problems that impeded his rule. Possibly Abd al-Malik depicted on this coin. 14th-century Muslim historian Ibn Khaldun stated that "`Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan is one of the greatest Arab and Muslim Caliphs. He followed in the footsteps of `Umar ibn al-Khattab, the Commander of the Believers, in regulating state affairs". During his reign, all important records were translated into Arabic, and for the first time, a special currency for the Muslim world was minted, which led to war with Byzantine Empire under Justinian II. The Byzantines were led by Leontios at the Battle of Sebastopolis in 692 in Asia Minor and were decisively defeated by al-Malik after the defection of a large contingent of Slavs. The Islamic currency was then made the only currency of exchange in the Muslim world. Also, many reforms happened in his time relating to agriculture and commerce. Al-Malik extended and consolidated Muslim rule, made Arabic the state language and organized a regular postal service. THE UMAYYAD CALIPHATE was centred on the Umayyad dynasty hailing from Mecca. The Umayyad family had first come to power under the third caliph, Uthman ibn Affan (r. 644-656), but the Umayyad regime was founded by Muawiya ibn Abi Sufyan, long-time governor of Syria, after the end of the First Muslim Civil War in AD 661/41 AH. Syria remained the Umayyads' main power base thereafter, and Damascus was their capital. The Umayyads continued the Muslim conquests, incorporating the Caucasus, Transoxiana, Sindh, the Maghreb and the Iberian Peninsula (Al-Andalus) into the Muslim world. At its greatest extent, the Umayyad Caliphate covered 11,100,000km2 (4,300,000 sq mi) and 62 million people (29% of the world's population), making it one of the largest empires in history in both area and proportion of the world's population.
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