Caliphate (/əˈbæsɪd/ or /ˈæbəsɪd/ Arabic:
ٱلْخِلافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّة al-Khilāfatu
al-‘Abbāsīyah) was the third of the Islamic caliphates to succeed
the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The
Abbasid dynasty descended from
Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib
Al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib (566–653 CE), from
whom the dynasty takes its name. They ruled as caliphs for most of
their period from their capital in
Baghdad in modern-day Iraq, after
assuming authority over the Muslim empire from the Umayyads in 750 CE
The Abbasid caliphate first centred its government in Kufa, but in 762
Al-Mansur founded the city of Baghdad, near the Sasanian
capital city of Ctesiphon. The Abbasid period was marked by reliance
on Persian bureaucrats (notably the Barmakid family) for governing the
territories conquered by
Arab Muslims as well as an increasing
inclusion of non-
Arab Muslims in the ummah.
Persianate customs were
broadly adopted by the ruling elite, and they started supporting
artists and scholars.
Baghdad became a centre of science, culture,
philosophy and invention during the Golden Age of Islam.
Despite this initial cooperation, the Abbasids of the late 8th century
had alienated both non-
Arab mawali (clients) and Iranian
bureaucrats. They were forced to cede authority over
Maghreb to the Umayyads,
Morocco to the
Idrisid dynasty, Ifriqiya
Aghlabids and Egypt to the Shi'ite
Caliphate of the Fatimids.
The political power of the caliphs largely ended with the rise of the
Buyids and the Seljuq Turks. Although Abbasid leadership over
the vast Islamic empire was gradually reduced to a ceremonial
religious function, the dynasty retained control over its Mesopotamian
This period of cultural fruition ended in 1258 with the sack of
Baghdad by the Mongols under Hulagu Khan. The Abbasid line of rulers,
and Muslim culture in general, re-centred themselves in the Mamluk
Cairo in 1261. Though lacking in political power, the
dynasty continued to claim authority in religious matters until after
the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517.
Abbasid Revolution (750–751)
1.2 Power (752–775)
1.3 Abbasid Golden Age (775–861)
1.4 Fracture to autonomous dynasties (861–945)
1.5 Buyid and Seljuq military control (945–1118)
1.6 Revival of military strength (1118–1258)
Mongol invasion (13th century)
2.1 Islamic Golden Age
2.6 Glass and crystal
2.11 Status of women
5 Decline of the empire
6 Separatist dynasties and their successors
7 Abbasid Khanate of Bastak
8 See also
12 External links
Abbasid Revolution (750–751)
Main article: Abbasid Revolution
The Abbasid caliphs were Arabs descended from Abbas ibn Abd
al-Muttalib, one of the youngest uncles of
Muhammad and of the same
Banu Hashim clan. The Abbasids claimed to be the true successors of
Muhammad in replacing the
Umayyad descendants of Banu Umayya
by virtue of their closer bloodline to Muhammad.
The Abbasids also distinguished themselves from the Umayyads by
attacking their moral character and administration in general.
According to Ira Lapidus, "The Abbasid revolt was supported largely by
Arabs, mainly the aggrieved settlers of Merv with the addition of the
Yemeni faction and their Mawali". The Abbasids also appealed to
Arab Muslims, known as mawali, who remained outside the
kinship-based society of the Arabs and were perceived as a lower class
Muhammad ibn 'Ali, a great-grandson of
Abbas, began to campaign for the return of power to the family of
Prophet Muhammad, the Hashimites, in
Persia during the reign of Umar
During the reign of Marwan II, this opposition culminated in the
rebellion of Ibrahim the Imam, the fourth in descent from Abbas.
Supported by the province of Khorasan, Persia, even though the
governor opposed them, and the Shi'i Arabs, he achieved
considerable success, but was captured in the year 747 and died,
possibly assassinated, in prison.
On 9 June 747 (15 Ramadan AH 129), Abu Muslim, rising from Khorasan,
successfully initiated an open revolt against
Umayyad rule, which was
carried out under the sign of the Black Standard. Close to 10,000
soldiers were under Abu Muslim's command when the hostilities
officially began in Merv. General Qahtaba followed the fleeing
Nasr ibn Sayyar
Nasr ibn Sayyar west defeating the Umayyads at the Battle of
Gorgan, the Battle of Nahāvand and finally in the Battle of Karbala,
all in the year 748.
Folio from Tarikhnama of Bal'ami depicting al-Saffah as he receives
pledges of allegiance in Kufa.
The quarrel was taken up by Ibrahim's brother Abdallah, known by the
name of Abu al-'Abbas as-Saffah, who defeated the Umayyads in 750 in
the battle near the Great Zab and was subsequently proclaimed
caliph. After this loss, Marwan fled to Egypt, where he was
subsequently assassinated. The remainder of his family, barring one
male, were also eliminated.
Immediately after their victory,
As-Saffah sent his forces to Central
Asia, where his forces fought against Tang expansion during the Battle
of Talas. The noble Iranian family Barmakids, who were instrumental in
building Baghdad, introduced the world's first recorded paper mill in
the city, thus beginning a new era of intellectual rebirth in the
As-Saffah focused on putting down numerous rebellions
in Syria and Mesopotamia. The Byzantines conducted raids during these
The city of
Baghdad between 767 and 912 AD. The round plan reflects
pre-Islamic Persian urban design.
The first change the Abbasids, under Al-Mansur, made was to move the
empire's capital from Damascus, in Syria, to
Baghdad in Iraq. This was
to both appease as well to be closer to the Persian mawali support
base that existed in this region more influenced by Persian history
and culture, and part of the Persian mawali demand for less Arab
dominance in the empire.
Baghdad was established on the
in 762. A new position, that of the vizier, was also established to
delegate central authority, and even greater authority was delegated
to local emirs.
This eventually meant that many Abbasid caliphs were relegated to a
more ceremonial role than under the Umayyads, as the viziers began to
exert greater influence, and the role of the old
Arab aristocracy was
slowly replaced by a Persian bureaucracy. During Al-Mansur's time
Al-Andalus was lost, and the Shiites revolted and were
defeated a year later at the Battle of Bakhamra.
The Abbasids had depended heavily on the support of Persians in
their overthrow of the Umayyads. Abu al-'Abbas' successor, Al-Mansur
Arab Muslims to his court. While this helped integrate
Arab and Persian cultures, it alienated many of their
particularly the Khorasanian Arabs who had supported them in their
battles against the Umayyads.
These fissures in their support led to immediate problems. The
Umayyads, while out of power, were not destroyed. The only surviving
member of the
Umayyad royal family, which had been all but
annihilated, ultimately made his way to Spain where he established
himself as an independent
Emir (Abd ar-Rahman I, 756). In 929, Abd
ar-Rahman III assumed the title of Caliph, establishing Al Andalus
from Córdoba as a rival to
Baghdad as the legitimate capital of the
Battle of Talas
In 756, the Abbasid
Al-Mansur sent over 4,000
to assist the Chinese
Tang dynasty in the
An Shi Rebellion
An Shi Rebellion against An
Lushan. The Abbasides or "Black Flags," as they were commonly called,
were known in
Tang dynasty chronicles as the hēiyī Dàshí, "The
Black-robed Tazi", (黑衣大食) ("Tazi" being a borrowing from
Persian Tāzī, the word for "Arab").[nb 1][nb 2][nb 3][nb 4][nb 5]
Al-Rashid sent embassies to the Chinese
Tang dynasty and established
good relations with them.[nb 6][nb 7] After
the war, these embassies remained in China  with
Harun al-Rashid establishing an alliance with China.
Several embassies from the
Abbasid Caliphs to the Chinese court have
been recorded in the T'ang Annals, the most important of these being
those of Abul Abbas al-Saffah, the founder of the Abbasid dynasty, Abu
Jafar and Harun al-Rashid.
Abbasid Golden Age (775–861)
Harun al-Rashid receiving a delegation sent by
Charlemagne at his
court in Baghdad. Painting by German painter Julius Köckert
(1827-1918), dated 1864. Oil on canvas.
The Abbasid leadership had to work hard in the last half of the 8th
century (750–800), under several competent caliphs and their viziers
to overcome the political challenges created by the far flung nature
of the empire, and the limited communication across it and usher in
the administrative changes needed to keep order. It was also
during this early period of the dynasty, in particular during the
governance of al-Mansur, Harun al-Rashid, and al-Ma'mun, that the
reputation and power of the dynasty was created.
Mahdi restarted the fighting with the Byzantines and his sons
continued the conflict until Empress Irene pushed for peace. After
several years of peace,
Nikephoros I broke the treaty, then fended off
multiple incursions during the first decade of the 9th century. These
attacks pushed into the
Taurus Mountains culminating with a victory at
Battle of Krasos
Battle of Krasos and the massive invasion of 806, led by Rashid
Rashid's navy also proved successful as he took Cyprus. Eventually,
the momentum turned and much of the land gained was lost. Rashid
decided to focus on the rebellion of
Rafi ibn al-Layth in Khorasan and
died while there. While the
Byzantine Empire was fighting Abbasid
rule in Syria and Anatolia, military operations during this period
were minimal, as the caliphate focused on internal matters, its
governors exerting greater autonomy and using their increasing power
to make their positions hereditary.
At the same time, the Abbasids faced challenges closer to home. Harun
al-Rashid turned on the Barmakids, a Persian family that had grown
significantly in power within the administration of the state and
killed most of the family. During the same period, several
factions began either to leave the empire for other lands or to take
control of distant parts of the empire away from the Abbasids. The
reign of al-Rashid and his sons were considered to be the apex of the
Gold dinar minted during the reign of Al-Amin.
After Rashid's death, the empire was split by a civil war between the
caliph al-Amin and his brother al-Ma'mun who had the support of
Khorasan. This war ended with a two-year siege of
Baghdad and the
eventual death of al-Amin in 813.
Al-Ma'mun ruled for 20 years of
relative calm interspersed with a rebellion supported by the
Byzantines in Azerbaijan by the Khurramites.
Al-Ma'mun was also
responsible for the creation of an autonomous Khorasan, and the
continued repulsing of
Al-Mu'tasim gained power in 833 and his rule marked the end of the
strong caliphs. He strengthened his personal army with Turkish
mercenaries and promptly restarted the war with the Byzantines. His
military excursions were generally successful culminating with a
resounding victory in the Sack of Amorium. His attempt at seizing
Constantinople failed when his fleet was destroyed by a storm. The
Byzantines restarted the fighting by sacking
Damietta in Egypt.
Al-Mutawakkil responded by sending his troops into
sacking and marauding until they were eventually annihilated in
Fracture to autonomous dynasties (861–945)
Amir of Khorasan Isma'il ibn Ahmad on the Tajikistani somoni.
Ismail Samani exercised independent authority from the Abbasids.
Even by 820, the
Samanids had begun the process of exercising
independent authority in
Transoxiana and Greater Khorasan, as had the
Shia Hamdanids in Northern Syria, and the succeeding
Saffarid dynasties of Iran. The Saffarids, from Khorasan, nearly
Baghdad in 876, and the
Tulunids took control of most of Syria.
The trend of weakening of the central power and strengthening of the
minor caliphates on the periphery continued.
An exception was the 10-year period of Al-Mu'tadid's rule. He brought
parts of Egypt, Syria, and Khorasan back into the Abbasid's control.
Especially after the "Anarchy at Samarra", the Abbasid central
government was weakened and centrifugal tendencies became more
prominent in the Caliphate's provinces. By the early 10th century, the
Abbasids almost lost control of
Iraq to various amirs, and the caliph
al-Radi was forced to acknowledge their power by creating the position
of "Prince of Princes" (amir al-umara).
Al-Mustakfi had a short reign from 944–946, and it was during this
period that the Persian faction known as the
into power and assumed control over the bureaucracy in Baghdad.
According to the history of Miskawayh, they began distributing iqtas
(fiefs in the form of tax farms) to their supporters. This period of
localized secular control was to last nearly 100 years. The loss of
Abbasid power to the
Buyids would shift as the
Seljuks would take over
from the Persians.
At the end of the eighth century the Abbasids found they could no
longer keep a huge polity larger than that of Rome together from
Baghdad. In 793 the Shi'ite dynasty of Idrisids set up a state from
Fez in Morocco, while a family of governors under the Abbasids became
increasingly independent until they founded the
Aghlabid Emirate from
Al-Mu'tasim started the downward slide by utilizing
non-Muslim mercenaries in his personal army. Also during this period
officers started assassinating superiors with whom they disagreed, in
particular the caliphs.
By the 870s Egypt became autonomous under Ahmad ibn Tulun. In the East
as well, governors decreased their ties to the center. The Saffarids
of Herat and the
Samanids of Bukhara had broken away from the 870s,
cultivating a much more Persianate culture and statecraft. By this
time only the central lands of
Mesopotamia were under direct Abbasid
control, with Palestine and the Hijaz often managed by the Tulunids.
Byzantium, for its part, had begun to push
Arab Muslims farther east
By the 920s, the situation had changed further, as North Africa was
lost to the Abbasids. A Shi'ite sect only recognizing the first five
Imams and tracing its roots to Muhammad's daughter Fatima took control
of Idrisi and then
Aghlabid domains. Called the
they had advanced to Egypt in 969, establishing their capital near
Fustat in Cairo, which they built as a bastion of Shi'ite learning and
politics. By 1000 they had become the chief political and ideological
Sunni Islam in the form of the Abbasids. By this time the
latter state had fragmented into several governorships that, while
recognizing caliphal authority from Baghdad, did mostly as they
wanted, fighting with each other. The
Caliph himself was under
'protection' of the Buyid Emirs who possessed all of
Iraq and western
Iran, and were quietly Shi'ite in their sympathies.
Outside Iraq, all the autonomous provinces slowly took on the
characteristic of de facto states with hereditary rulers, armies, and
revenues and operated under only nominal caliph suzerainty, which may
not necessarily be reflected by any contribution to the treasury, such
Soomro Emirs that had gained control of
Sindh and ruled the
entire province from their capital of Mansura. Mahmud of Ghazni
took the title of sultan, as opposed to the "amir" that had been in
more common usage, signifying the Ghaznavid Empire's independence from
caliphal authority, despite Mahmud's ostentatious displays of Sunni
orthodoxy and ritual submission to the caliph. In the 11th century,
the loss of respect for the caliphs continued, as some Islamic rulers
no longer mentioned the caliph's name in the Friday khutba, or struck
it off their coinage.
Fatimid dynasty of
Cairo contested the Abbasids for even
the titular authority of the Islamic ummah. They commanded some
support in the
Shia sections of
Baghdad (such as Karkh), although
Baghdad was the city most closely connected to the caliphate, even in
the Buyid and Seljuq eras. The Fatimids' green banners contrasted with
Abbasids' black, and the challenge of the Fatimids only ended with
their downfall in the 12th century.
Buyid and Seljuq military control (945–1118)
Despite the power of the Buyid amirs, the Abbasids retained a highly
ritualized court in Baghdad, as described by the Buyid bureaucrat
Hilal al-Sabi', and they retained a certain influence over
well as religious life. As Buyid power waned after the death of Baha'
al-Daula, the caliphate was able to regain some measure of strength.
The caliph al-Qadir, for example, led the ideological struggle against
Shia with writings such as the
Baghdad Manifesto. The caliphs kept
Baghdad itself, attempting to prevent the outbreak of fitnas
in the capital, often contending with the ayyarun'
Buyid dynasty on the wane, a vacuum was created that was
eventually filled by the dynasty of
Oghuz Turks known as the Seljuqs.
By 1055, the
Seljuqs had wrested control from the
Buyids and Abbasids,
and took any remaining temporal power. When the amir and former
Basasiri took up the
Fatimid banner in
Baghdad in, the
caliph al-Qa'im was unable to defeat him without outside help. Toghril
Beg, the Seljuq sultan, restored
Sunni rule and took Iraq
for his dynasty.
Once again, the Abbasids were forced to deal with a military power
that they could not match, though the Abbasid caliph remained the
titular head of the Islamic community. The succeeding sultans Alp
Arslan and Malikshah, as well as their vizier Nizam al-Mulk, took up
residence in Persia, but held power over the Abbasids in Baghdad. When
the dynasty began to weaken in the 12th century, the Abbasids gained
greater independence once again.
Revival of military strength (1118–1258)
Coin of the Abbasids, Baghdad, 1244
Caliph al-Mustarshid was the first caliph to build an army
capable of meeting a Seljuk army in battle, he was nonetheless
defeated in 1135 and assassinated. The
Caliph al-Muqtafi was the first
Caliph to regain the full military independence of the
Caliphate, with the help of his vizier Ibn Hubayra. After nearly 250
years of subjection to foreign dynasties, he successfully defended
Baghdad against the
Seljuqs in the siege of
Baghdad (1157), thus
Iraq for the Abbasids. The reign of al-Nasir (d. 1225)
brought the caliphate back into power throughout Iraq, based in large
part on the
Sufi futuwwa organizations that the caliph headed.
Al-Mustansir built the Mustansiriya School, in an attempt to eclipse
the Seljuq-era Nizamiyya built by Nizam al-Mulk.
Mongol invasion (13th century)
Baghdad by the Mongols led by
Hulagu Khan in 1258.
Genghis Khan established a powerful dynasty among the Mongols
of central Asia. During the 13th century, this
Mongol Empire conquered
most of the Eurasian land mass, including both China in the east and
much of the old Islamic caliphate (as well as Kievan Rus') in the
west. Hulagu Khan's destruction of
Baghdad in 1258 is traditionally
seen as the approximate end of the Golden Age. Mongols feared that
a supernatural disaster would strike if the blood of Al-Musta'sim, a
direct descendant of Muhammad's uncle Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd
al-Muttalib, and the last reigning Abbasid caliph in Baghdad, was
spilled. The Shiites of
Persia stated that no such calamity had
happened after the deaths of Husayn ibn Ali; nevertheless, as a
precaution and in accordance with a
Mongol taboo which forbade
spilling royal blood, Hulagu had
Al-Musta'sim wrapped in a carpet and
trampled to death by horses on 20 February 1258. The Caliph's
immediate family was also executed, with the lone exceptions of his
youngest son who was sent to Mongolia, and a daughter who became a
slave in the harem of Hulagu.
Main article: Mamluk Sultanate (Cairo)
In the 9th century, the Abbasids created an army loyal only to their
caliphate, composed of non-
Arab origin people, known as
Mamluks. This force, created in the reign of
al-Ma'mun (813–33) and his brother and successor al-Mu'tasim
(833–42), prevented the further disintegration of the empire. The
Mamluk army, though often viewed negatively, both helped and hurt the
caliphate. Early on, it provided the government with a stable force to
address domestic and foreign problems. However, creation of this
foreign army and al-Mu'tasim's transfer of the capital from
Samarra created a division between the caliphate and the peoples they
claimed to rule. In addition, the power of the
Mamluks steadily grew
until al-Radi (934–41) was constrained to hand over most of the
royal functions to
Muhammad ibn Ra'iq.
Mamluks eventually came to power in Egypt. In 1261, following the
Baghdad by the Mongols, the Mamluk rulers of Egypt
re-established the Abbasid caliphate in Cairo. The first Abbasid
Cairo was Al-Mustansir. The Abbasid caliphs in Egypt
continued to maintain the presence of authority, but it was confined
to religious matters. The Abbasid caliphate of Cairo
lasted until the time of
Al-Mutawakkil III, who was taken away as a
prisoner by Selim I to
Constantinople where he had a ceremonial role.
He died in 1543, following his return to Cairo.
Islamic Golden Age
Main article: Islamic Golden Age
Early Islamic philosophy
Early Islamic philosophy and Inventions in the
Manuscript from the Abbasid Era
The Abbasid historical period lasting to the
Mongol conquest of
Baghdad in 1258 CE is considered the Islamic Golden Age. The
Islamic Golden Age
Islamic Golden Age was inaugurated by the middle of the 8th century by
the ascension of the Abbasid
Caliphate and the transfer of the capital
Damascus to Baghdad. The Abbassids were influenced by the
Qur'anic injunctions and hadith such as "the ink of a scholar is more
holy than the blood of a martyr" stressing the value of knowledge.
During this period the
Muslim world became an intellectual center for
science, philosophy, medicine and education as  the Abbasids
championed the cause of knowledge and established the House of Wisdom
in Baghdad; where both Muslim and non-Muslim scholars sought to
translate and gather all the world's knowledge into Arabic. Many
classic works of antiquity that would otherwise have been lost were
Arabic and Persian and later in turn translated into
Turkish, Hebrew and Latin. During this period the
Muslim world was
a cauldron of cultures which collected, synthesized and significantly
advanced the knowledge gained from the ancient Roman, Chinese, Indian,
Persian, Egyptian, North African, Greek and Byzantine
civilizations. "In virtually every field of endeavor—in
astronomy, alchemy, mathematics, medicine, optics and so forth—the
Caliphate's scientists were in the forefront of scientific
Main article: Science in the medieval Islamic world
Further information: Alchemy (Islam), Islamic astronomy, Islamic
mathematics, Islamic medicine, and Timeline of science and technology
in the Islamic world
Mustansiriya University in Baghdad.
The reigns of
Harun al-Rashid (786–809) and his successors fostered
an age of great intellectual achievement. In large part, this was the
result of the schismatic forces that had undermined the Umayyad
regime, which relied on the assertion of the superiority of Arab
culture as part of its claim to legitimacy, and the Abbasids'
welcoming of support from non-
Arab Muslims. It is well established
that the Abbasid caliphs modeled their administration on that of the
Sassanids. Harun al-Rashid's son,
Al-Ma'mun (whose mother was
Persian), is even quoted as saying:
The Persians ruled for a thousand years and did not need us Arabs even
for a day. We have been ruling them for one or two centuries and
cannot do without them for an hour.
A number of medieval thinkers and scientists living under Islamic rule
played a role in transmitting
Islamic science to the Christian West.
In addition, the period saw the recovery of much of the Alexandrian
mathematical, geometric and astronomical knowledge, such as that of
Euclid and Claudius Ptolemy. These recovered mathematical methods were
later enhanced and developed by other Islamic scholars, notably by
Al-Biruni and Abu Nasr Mansur.
Jabir ibn Hayyan, "the father of Chemistry".
Christians (particularly Nestorian Christians) contributed to the Arab
Islamic Civilization during the
Ummayads and the Abbasids by
translating works of
Greek philosophers to Syriac and afterwards to
Arabic. Nestorians played a prominent role in the formation of
Arab culture, with the
Jundishapur school being prominent in the
Umayyad and early Abbasid periods. Notably, eight
generations of the Nestorian
Bukhtishu family served as private
doctors to caliphs and sultans between the eighth and eleventh
Algebra was significantly developed by Persian
Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī during this time in his
landmark text, Kitab al-Jabr wa-l-Muqabala, from which the term
algebra is derived. He is thus considered to be the father of algebra
by some, although the Greek mathematician
Diophantus has also been
given this title. The terms algorism and algorithm are derived from
the name of al-Khwarizmi, who was also responsible for introducing the
Arabic numerals and
Hindu-Arabic numeral system
Hindu-Arabic numeral system beyond the Indian
Ibn al-Haytham, "the father of Optics".
Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen) developed an early scientific method in his
Optics (1021). The most important development of the
scientific method was the use of experiments to distinguish between
competing scientific theories set within a generally empirical
orientation, which began among Muslim scientists. Ibn al-Haytham's
empirical proof of the intromission theory of light (that is, that
light rays entered the eyes rather than being emitted by them) was
Alhazen was significant in the history of
scientific method, particularly in his approach to
experimentation, and has been referred to as the "world’s first
Medicine in medieval
Islam was an area of science that advanced
particularly during the Abbasids' reign. During the 9th century,
Baghdad contained over 800 doctors, and great discoveries in the
understanding of anatomy and diseases were made. The clinical
distinction between measles and smallpox was described during this
time. Famous Persian scientist
Ibn Sina (known to the West as
Avicenna) produced treatises and works that summarized the vast amount
of knowledge that scientists had accumulated, and was very influential
through his encyclopedias,
The Canon of Medicine
The Canon of Medicine and The Book of
Healing. The work of him and many others directly influenced the
research of European scientists during the Renaissance.
Astronomy in medieval
Islam was advanced by Al-Battani, who improved
the precision of the measurement of the precession of the Earth's
axis. The corrections made to the geocentric model by
al-Battani, Averroes, Nasir al-Din
Mo'ayyeduddin Urdi and
Ibn al-Shatir were later incorporated
into the Copernican heliocentric model. The astrolabe, though
originally developed by the Greeks, was developed further by Islamic
astronomers and engineers, and subsequently brought to medieval
Muslim alchemists influenced medieval European alchemists,
particularly the writings attributed to
Jābir ibn Hayyān
Jābir ibn Hayyān (Geber). A
number of chemical processes such as distillation techniques were
developed in the
Muslim world and then spread to Europe.
Main articles: Islamic literature,
literature, and Persian literature
Further information: Islamic poetry,
Arabic poetry, Turkish poetry,
and Persian poetry
Illustration from More tales from the Arabian nights (1915)
The best known fiction from the Islamic world is The Book of One
Thousand and One Nights, a collection of fantastical folk tales,
legends and parables compiled primarily during the Abbassid era. The
collection is recorded as having originated from an
of a Sassanian era Persian prototype, with likely origins in Indian
literary traditions. Stories from Arabic, Persian, Mesopotamian, and
Egyptian folklore and literature were later incorporated. The epic is
believed to have taken shape in the 10th century and reached its final
form by the 14th century; the number and type of tales have varied
from one manuscript to another. All Arabian fantasy tales were
often called "Arabian Nights" when translated into English, regardless
of whether they appeared in The Book of One Thousand and One
Nights. This epic has been influential in the West since it was
translated in the 18th century, first by Antoine Galland. Many
imitations were written, especially in France. Various characters
from this epic have themselves become cultural icons in Western
culture, such as Aladdin,
A famous example of
Islamic poetry on romance was Layla and Majnun,
which further developed mainly by Iranian, Azerbaijani and other poets
in Persian, Azerbaijani, Turkish, and other Turkic languages
dating back to the
Umayyad era in the 7th century. It is a tragic
story of undying love much like the later Romeo and Juliet.[citation
Arabic poetry reached its greatest height in the Abbasid era,
especially before the loss of central authority and the rise of the
Persianate dynasties. Writers like
Abu Tammam and
Abu Nuwas were
closely connected to the caliphal court in
Baghdad during the early
9th century, while others such as al-Mutanabbi received their
patronage from regional courts.
Islamic philosophy and Early Islamic philosophy
Further information: Logic in Islamic philosophy, Kalam, Avicennism,
Averroism, Illuminationist philosophy, and Transcendent Theosophy
One of the common definitions for "Islamic philosophy" is "the style
of philosophy produced within the framework of Islamic culture."
Islamic philosophy, in this definition is neither necessarily
concerned with religious issues, nor is exclusively produced by
Muslims. Their works on
Aristotle was a key step in the
transmission of learning from ancient Greeks to the Islamic world and
the West. They often corrected the philosopher, encouraging a lively
debate in the spirit of ijtihad. They also wrote influential original
philosophical works, and their thinking was incorporated into
Christian philosophy during the Middle Ages, notably by Thomas
Three speculative thinkers, al-Kindi, al-Farabi, and Avicenna,
Neoplatonism with other ideas introduced
through Islam, and
Avicennism was later established as a result. Other
influential Abbasid philosophers include al-Jahiz, and Ibn al-Haytham
Zumurrud Khatun Tomb (1200 CE.), in cemetery at Baghdad.
As the power shifted from the Umayyads to the Abbasids, the
architecture styles changed also. The Christian styles evolved into a
style based more on the
Sasanian Empire utilizing mud bricks and baked
bricks with carved stucco. Another major development was the
creation or vast enlargement of cities as they were turned into the
capital of the empire. First, starting with the creation of Baghdad,
starting in 762, which was planned as a walled city with a mosque and
palace in the center. The walls were to have four gates to exit the
city. Al-Mansur, who was responsible for the creation of Baghdad, also
planned the city of Raqqa, along the Euphrates. Finally, in 836,
al-Mu'tasim moved the capital to a new site that he created along the
Tigris, called Samarra. This city saw 60 years of work, with
race-courses and game preserves to add to the atmosphere. Due to
the dry remote nature of the environment, some of the palaces built in
this era were isolated havens.
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress is a fine example
of this type of building which has stables, living quarters, and a
mosque, all surrounding inner courtyards. Other mosques of this
era, such as the
Mosque of Ibn Tulun, in Cairo, and the Great Mosque
of Kairouan in
Tunisia while ultimately built during the Umayyad
dynasty, it was substantially renovated in the 9th century. This
renovation was so extensive as to ostensibly be a rebuild, was in the
furthest reaches of the Muslim world, in an area that the Aghlabids
controlled; however the styles utilized were mainly of the
Mesopotamia only has one surviving mausoleum from this
era, in Samarra. This octagonal dome is the final resting place of
al-Muntasir. Other architectural innovations and styles were few,
such as the four-centered arch, and a dome erected on squinches.
Unfortunately, much was lost due to the ephemeral nature of the stucco
and luster tiles.
Glass and crystal
The Near East has, since Roman times, been recognized as a center of
quality glassware and crystal. 9th century finds from
styles similar to Sassanian forms. The types of objects made were
bottles, flasks, vases, and cups utilized for domestic use.
Decorations on these domestic items include molded flutes, honeycomb
patterns, and inscriptions. Other styles seen that may not have
come from the Sassanians were stamped items. These were typically
round stamps, such as medallions or disks with animals, birds, or
Kufic inscriptions. Colored lead glass, typically blue or green, have
been found in Nishapur, along with prismatic perfume bottles. Finally,
cut glass may have been the high point of Abbasid glass-working,
decorated with floral and animal designs.
9th century harem wall painting fragments found in Samarra.
Early Abbasid painting has not survived in great quantities, and
sometimes harder to differentiate; however
Samarra is a good example
as it was built by the Abbasids and abandoned 56 years later. The
walls of the principal rooms of the palace that has been excavated
show wall paintings and lively carved stucco dadoes. The style is
obviously adopted with little variation from Sassanian art, as not
only the styles is similar with harems, animals, and dancing people,
all enclosed in scrollwork, but also the garments are Persian.
Nishapur had its own school of painting. Excavations at
artwork both monochrome and polychrome from the 8th and 9th centuries.
One famous piece of art consists of hunting nobles with falcons and on
horseback, in full regalia; the clothing identifies him as Tahirid,
which was again, a sub-dynasty of the Abbasids. Other styles are of
vegetation, and fruit in nice colors on a four foot high dedo.
Kufic Inscription, 9th century Brooklyn Museum
Whereas painting and architecture were not areas of strength for the
Abbasid dynasty, pottery was a different story. The
Islamic culture as
a whole and the Abbasid's, in particular, were at the forefront of new
ideas and techniques. Some examples of their work were pieces engraved
with decorations and then colored with yellow-brown, green, and purple
glazes. Designs were diverse with geometric patterns,
arabesque scrollwork, along with rosettes, animals, birds, and
humans. Abbasid pottery from the 8th and 9th centuries have been
found throughout the region, as far as Cairo. These were generally
made with a yellow clay and fired multiple times with separate glazes
to produce metallic luster in shades of gold, brown, or red. By the
9th century, the potters had mastered their techniques and their
decorative designs could be divided into two styles. The Persian style
would show animals, birds, humans, along with
Kufic lettering in gold.
Pieces excavated from
Samarra exceed in vibrancy and beauty any from
later periods. These predominantly being made for the Caliphs use.
Tiles were also made utilizing this same technique to create both
monochromic and polychromic luster tiles.
Egypt being a center of the textile industry was part of the Abbasid
cultural advancement. Copts were employed in the textile industry and
produced linens and silks.
Tinnis was famous for its factories and had
over 5,000 looms. Kasab, a fine linen for turbans and badana for
garments of the upper class to name a couple. In a town named Tuna
near Tinnis, was made the kiswah for the kaaba in Mecca. Fine silk was
also made in Dabik and Damietta. Of particular interest is the
stamped and inscribed fabrics. Not only did they utilize inks but also
liquid gold. Some of the finer pieces were colored in such a manner as
to require six separate stamps to achieve the proper design and color.
This technology spread to Europe eventually.
Main articles: Inventions in medieval Islam,
Revolution, and Timeline of
Islamic science and technology
Illustration showing a water clock given to
Charlemagne by Harun
In technology, the Abbasids adopted papermaking from China. The
use of paper spread from China into the caliphate in the 8th century
CE, arriving in al-Andalus (Islamic Spain) and then the rest of Europe
in the 10th century. It was easier to manufacture than parchment, less
likely to crack than papyrus, and could absorb ink, making it ideal
for making records and making copies of the Koran. "Islamic paper
makers devised assembly-line methods of hand-copying manuscripts to
turn out editions far larger than any available in Europe for
centuries." It was from the Abbasids that the rest of the world
learned to make paper from linen. The knowledge of gunpowder was
also transmitted from China via the caliphate, where the formulas for
pure potassium nitrate and an explosive gunpowder effect were first
Advances were made in irrigation and farming, using new technology
such as the windmill. Crops such as almonds and citrus fruit were
brought to Europe through al-Andalus, and sugar cultivation was
gradually adopted by the Europeans. Apart from the Nile,
Euphrates, navigable rivers were uncommon, so transport by sea was
very important. Navigational sciences were highly developed, making
use of a rudimentary sextant (known as a kamal). When combined with
detailed maps of the period, sailors were able to sail across oceans
rather than skirt along the coast. Abbasid sailors were also
responsible for reintroducing large three masted merchant vessels to
the Mediterranean. The name caravel may derive from an earlier Arab
ship known as the qārib.
Arab merchants dominated trade in the
Indian Ocean until the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century.
Hormuz was an important center for this trade. There was also a dense
network of trade routes in the Mediterranean, along which Muslim
countries traded with each other and with European powers such as
Genoa and Catalonia. The
Silk Road crossing Central Asia
passed through Abbasid caliphate between China and Europe.
Windmills were among Abbasid inventions in technology.
Engineers in the Abbasid caliphate made a number of innovative
industrial uses of hydropower, and early industrial uses of tidal
power, wind power, and petroleum (notably by distillation into
kerosene). The industrial uses of watermills in the Islamic world date
back to the 7th century, while horizontal-wheeled and vertical-wheeled
water mills were both in widespread use since at least the 9th
century. By the time of the Crusades, every province throughout the
Islamic world had mills in operation, from al-Andalus and North Africa
to the Middle East and Central Asia. These mills performed a variety
of agricultural and industrial tasks. Abbasid engineers also
developed machines (such as pumps) incorporating crankshafts, employed
gears in mills and water-raising machines, and used dams to provide
additional power to watermills and water-raising machines. Such
advances made it possible for many industrial tasks that were
previously driven by manual labour in ancient times to be mechanized
and driven by machinery instead in the medieval Islamic world. It has
been argued that the industrial use of waterpower had spread from
Islamic to Christian Spain, where fulling mills, paper mills, and
forge mills were recorded for the first time in Catalonia.
A number of industries were generated during the
Revolution, including early industries for textiles, sugar,
rope-making, matting, silk, and paper. Latin translations of the 12th
century passed on knowledge of chemistry and instrument making in
particular. The agricultural and handicraft industries also
experienced high levels of growth during this period.
Status of women
In contrast to the earlier era, women in Abbasid society were absent
from all arenas of the community's central affairs. While their
Muslim forbearers led men into battle, started rebellions, and played
an active role in community life, as demonstrated in the Hadith
literature, Abbasid women were ideally kept in seclusion. Conquests
had brought enormous wealth and large numbers of slaves to the Muslim
elite. The majority of the slaves were women and children, many of
whom had been dependents or harem-members of the defeated Sassanian
upper classes. In the wake of the conquests an elite man could
potentially own a thousand slaves, and ordinary soldiers could have
ten people serving them.
Nabia Abbott, preeminent historian of elite women of the Abbasid
Caliphate, describes the lives of harem women as follows.
The choicest women were imprisoned behind heavy curtains and locked
doors, the strings and keys of which were entrusted into the hands of
that pitiable creature – the eunuch. As the size of the harem grew,
men indulged to satiety. Satiety within the individual harem meant
boredom for the one man and neglect for the many women. Under these
conditions ... satisfaction by perverse and unnatural means crept into
society, particularly in its upper classes.
The marketing of human beings, particularly women, as objects for
sexual use meant that elite men owned the vast majority of women they
interacted with, and related to them as would masters to slaves.
Being a slave meant relative lack of autonomy during this time period,
and belonging to a harem caused a wife and her children to have little
insurance of stability and continued support due to the volatile
politics of harem life.
Elite men expressed in literature the horror they felt for the
humiliation and degradation of their daughters and female relatives.
For example, the verses addressed to Hasan ibn al-Firat on the death
of his daughter read:
To Abu Hassan I offer condolences.
At times of disaster and catastrophe
God multiplies rewards for the patient.
To be patient in misery
Is equivalent to giving thanks for a gift.
Among the blessings of God undoubtedly
Is the preservation of sons
And the death of daughters.
Even so, courtesans and princesses produced prestigious and important
poetry. Enough survives to give us access to women's historical
experiences, and reveals some vivacious and powerful figures, such as
Sufi mystic Raabi'a al-Adwiyya (714–801 CE), the princess and
'Ulayya bint al-Mahdi
'Ulayya bint al-Mahdi (777–825 CE), and the singing-girls
Shāriyah (c. 815–70 CE),
Fadl Ashsha'ira (d. 871 CE) and Arib
al-Ma'muniyya (797–890 CE).
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January
Baghdad there were many Abbasid military leaders who were or said
they were of
Arab descent. However, the bulk of the army were of
Persian origin, the vast majority being from Khorasan and Transoxania,
not from western Iran or Azerbaijan.
The unit organization of the Abbasids was designed with the goal of
ethnic and racial equality among supporters. When
Abu Muslim recruited
Arab and Iranian officers along the Silk Road, he registered
them based not on their tribal or ethno-national affiliations but on
their current places of residence.
While the Abbasids originally gained power by exploiting the social
inequalities against non-Arabs in the
Umayyad Empire, ironically
during Abbasid rule the empire rapidly Arabized. As knowledge was
shared in the
Arabic language throughout the empire, people of
different nationalities and religions began to speak
Arabic in their
everyday lives. Resources from other languages began to be translated
into Arabic, and a unique Islamic identity began to form that fused
previous cultures with
Arab culture, creating a level of civilization
and knowledge that was considered a marvel in Europe.
Decline of the empire
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Abbasids found themselves at odds with the
Shia Muslims, most of whom
had supported their war against the Umayyads, since the Abbasids and
the Shias claimed legitimacy by their familial connection to Prophet
Muhammad. Once in power, the Abbasids embraced
Sunni Islam and
disavowed any support for Shi'a beliefs. Shortly thereafter, Berber
Kharijites set up an independent state in North Africa in 801. Within
50 years the Idrisids in the
Ifriqiya and a
little later the
Tulunids and Ikshidids of Misr were effectively
independent in Africa. The Abbasid authority began to deteriorate
during the reign of al-Radi when their Turkic Army generals, who
already had de facto independence, stopped paying the Caliphate. Even
provinces close to
Baghdad began to seek local dynastic rule. Also,
the Abbasids found themselves to often be at conflict with the
Umayyads in Spain. The Abbasid financial position weakened as well,
with tax revenues from the
Sawād decreasing in the 9th and 10th
Separatist dynasties and their successors
Caliphate differed from others in that it did not have the
same borders and extent as Islam. Particularly, in the west of the
Caliphate, there were multiple smaller caliphates that existed in
relative peace with them. This list represents the succession of
Islamic dynasties that emerged from the fractured Abbasid empire by
their general geographic location. Dynasties often overlap, where a
vassal emir revolted from and later conquered his lord. Gaps appear
during periods of contest where the dominating power was unclear.
Except for the
Caliphate in Egypt, recognizing a Shi'ite
succession through Ali, and the Andalusian Caliphates of the Umayyads
and Almohads, every Muslim dynasty at least acknowledged the nominal
suzerainty of the Abbasids as
Caliph and Commander of the Faithful.
Northwest Africa: Idrisids (788–974) → Almoravids (1040–1147)
Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia, eastern Algeria and western Libya):
Aghlabids (800–909 CE) → Fatimids of Egypt (909–973 CE) →
Zirids (973–1148) →
Almohads (1148–1229) → Hafsids
Egypt and Palestine:
Tulunids (868–905 CE) → Ikhshidids
Caliphate (909–1171) → Ayyubid dynasty
Al-Jazira (modern Syria and northern Iraq): Hamdanids (890–1004 CE)
Marwanids (990–1085) and
Uqaylids (990–1096) → Seljuks
Mongol Empire and the
Buyids (934–1055) →
Seljuks (1034–1194) →
Khorasan (modern Iran, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan): Tahirids (821
-873) → Saffarids (873–903) →
Samanids (903–995) →
Ghaznavids (995–1038) →
Seljuks (1038–1194) → Ghurids
(1011–1215) → Khwarazmians (1077–1231) →
Mongol Empire and the
Transoxiana (modern Central Asia):
Samanids (819–999) →
Karakhanids (840–1212) → Khwarazmians (1077–1231) → Mongol
Empire and the
Chagatai Khanate (1225–1687)
Abbasid Khanate of Bastak
In 656 AH/1258 CE, the year of the fall of Baghdad, and following the
sack of the city, a few surviving members of the Abbasid dynastic
family led by the eldest amongst them, Ismail II son of Hamza son of
Ahmed son of Mohamed,[nb 8] made their way into the region of Fars in
Southern Persia. They settled in the city of Khonj, then a great
centre for learning and scholarship. Shaikh Abdulsalam Khonji (b. 661
AH – d. 746 AH) son of Abbas son of Ismail II was born in
five years after the fall of
Baghdad and the arrival of his
grandfather in the city. He became a great religious scholar
Sufi saint, held in high esteem by the local populace. His tomb
still stands in
Khonj and is a site visited by people from near and
The descendants of Shaikh Abdulsalam Khonji were religious scholars
and figures of great respect and repute for generation after
generation. One such scholar and direct descendant of Shaikh
Abdulsalam Khonji in the male line, Shaikh Mohamed (d. around 905 AH)
son of Shaikh Jaber son of Shaikh Ismail IV, moved to
Bastak.[page needed] His grandson, Shaikh Mohamed the Elder
(d. 950 or 975 AH) son of Shaikh Nasser al-Din Ahmed son of Shaikh
Mohamed, settled in
Khonj for a time. But in 938 AH, in response to
Safavid power, Shaikh Mohamed the Elder moved permanently to
Bastak as his grandfather had done. His own grandson, Shaikh
Hassan (d. 1084 AH) (also called Mulla Hassan) son of Shaikh Mohamed
the Younger son of Shaikh Mohamed the Elder, is the common ancestor of
all the Abbasids of
Bastak and its neighbouring areas.
Shaikh Hassan’s grandsons, Shaikh Mohamed Saeed (b. 1096 AH – d.
1152 AH) and Shaikh Mohamed Khan (b. 1113 AH – d. 1197 AH) son of
Shaikh Abdulqader son of Shaikh Hassan, became the first two Abbasid
rulers of the region. In 1137 AH, Shaikh Mohamed Saeed began gathering
support for an armed force. Following the capture of Lar, he ruled the
city and its dependencies for 12 or 14 years before dying in 1152
Shaikh Mohamed Khan Bastaki, his brother, was meanwhile the ruler of
Bastak and the region of Jahangiriyeh. In 1161 AH, Shaikh Mohamed Khan
Bastaki departed for Didehban Fortress, leaving
Bastak and its
dependencies in the hands of his eldest son Shaikh Mohamed Sadeq and
his cousin Agha Hassan Khan son of Mulla Ismail. Shaikh Mohamed
Khan ruled Jahangiriyeh from Didehban Fortress for a period of roughly
20 to 24 years, for which reason he has been referred to as Shaikh
Mohamed "Didehban". He eventually returned to
continued to reign from there up to the time of his death. At the
height of his rule, the Khanate of
Bastak included not only the region
of Jahangiriyeh, but its power also extended to Lar and Bandar Abbas
as well as their dependencies, not to mention several islands in the
Shaikh Mohamed Khan Bastaki was the first Abbasid ruler of
hold the title of "Khan" (Persian: خان, Arabic: الحاكم),
meaning "ruler" or "king", which was bestowed upon him by Karim Khan
Zand. The title then became that of all the subsequent Abbasid
Bastak and Jahangiriyeh, and also collectively refers in
plural form – i.e., "Khans" (Persian: خوانين) - to the
descendants of Shaikh Mohamed Khan Bastaki.
The last Abbasid ruler of
Bastak and Jahangiriyeh was Mohamed A’zam
Khan Baniabbassian son of Mohamed Reza Khan "Satvat al-Mamalek"
Baniabbasi. He authored the book Tarikh-e Jahangiriyeh va
Bastak (1960), in which is recounted the history
of the region and the Abbasid family that ruled it. Mohamed A’zam
Khan Baniabbassian died in 1967, a year regarded as marking the end of
the Abbasid reign in Bastak.
List of Abbasid caliphs
Sunni Muslim dynasties
^ Wade states "Tazi in Persian sources referred to a people in that
land, but was later extended to cover
Arab lands. The Persian term was
adopted by Tang China (Dàshí :大食) to refer to the Arabs
until the 12th century."
^ Marshall Broomhall writes, "With the rise of the Abbasides we enter
upon a somewhat different phase of Muslim history, and approach the
period when an important body of Muslim troops entered and settled
within the Chinese Empire. While the Abbasids inaugurated that era of
literature and science associated with the Court at Bagdad, the
Arab element began to give way to the Turks, who
soon became the bodyguard of the Caliphs, ‘until in the end the
Caliphs became the helpless tools of their rude protectors.’ Several
embassies from the Abbaside Caliphs to the Chinese Court are recorded
in the T'ang Annals, the most important of these being those of
(A-bo-lo-ba) Abul Abbas, the founder of the new dynasty, that of
(A-p'u-cKa-fo) Abu Giafar, the builder of Bagdad and that of (A-lun)
Harun al Raschid, best known, perhaps, in modern days through the
popular work, Arabian Nights. The Abbasides or 'Black Flags,' as they
were commonly called, are known in Chinese history as the Heh-i
Ta-shih, 'The Black-robed Arabs.' Five years after the rise of the
Abbasides, at a time when Abu Giafar, the second Caliph, was busy
plotting the assassination of his great and able rival Abu Muslim, who
is regarded as "the leading figure of the age" and the de facto
founder of the house of Abbas so far as military prowess is concerned,
a terrible rebellion broke out in China. This was in 755, and the
leader was a Turk or Tartar named An Lu-shan. This man, who had gained
great favour with the Emperor Hsuan Tsung, and had been placed at the
head of a vast army operating against the Turks and Tartars on the
north-west frontier, ended in proclaiming his independence and
declaring war upon his now aged Imperial patron. The Emperor, driven
from his capital, abdicated in favour of his son, Su Tsung
(756–763), who at once appealed to the Arabs for help. The Caliph
Abu Giafar, whose army, we are told by Sir William Muir, 'was fitted
throughout with improved weapons and armour,' responded to this
request, and sent a contingent of some 4000 men, who enabled the
Emperor, in 757, to recover his two capitals, Sianfu and Honanfu.
Arab troops, who probably came from some garrison on the
frontiers of Turkestan, never returned to their former camp, but
remained in China, where they married Chinese wives, and thus became,
according to common report, the real nucleus of the naturalised
Chinese Mohammedans of to-day. While this story has the support of the
official history of the T'ang dynasty, there is, unfortunately, no
authorised statement as to how many troops the
Caliph really sent. The
statement, however, is also supported by the Chinese Mohammedan
inscriptions and literature. Though the settlement of this large body
of Arabs in China may be accepted as probably the largest and most
definite event recorded concerning the advent of Islam, it is
necessary at the same time not to overlook the facts already stated in
the previous chapter, which prove that large numbers of foreigners had
entered China prior to this date."
^ Frank Brinkley says, "It would seem, however, that trade occupied
the attention of the early Mohammedan settlers rather than religious
propagandism; that while they observed the tenets and practised the
rites of their faith in China, they did not undertake any strenuous
campaign against either Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, or the State
creed, and that they constituted a floating rather than a fixed
element of the population, coming and going between China and the West
by the oversea or the overland routes. According to Giles, the true
stock of the present Chinese Mohammedans was a small army of four
thousand Arabian soldiers, who, being sent by the Khaleef Abu Giafar
in 755 to aid in putting down a rebellion, were subsequently permitted
to settle in China, where they married native wives. The numbers of
this colony received large accessions in the 12th and 13th centuries
during the conquests of Genghis, and ultimately the Mohammedans formed
an appreciable element of the population, having their own mosques and
schools, and observing the rites of their religion, but winning few
converts except among the aboriginal tribes, as the Lolos and the
Mantsu. Their failure as propagandists is doubtless due to two causes,
first, that, according to the inflexible rule of their creed, the
Koran might not be translated into Chinese or any other foreign
language; secondly and chiefly, that their denunciations of idolatry
were as unpalatable to ancestor-worshipping Chinese as were their
interdicts against pork and wine. They were never prevented, however,
from practising their faith so long as they obeyed the laws of the
land, and the numerous mosques that exist throughout China prove what
a large measure of liberty these professors of a strange creed
enjoyed. One feature of the mosques is noticeable, however: though
distinguished by large arches and by
Arabic inscriptions, they are
generally constructed and arranged so as to bear some resemblance to
Buddhist temples, and they have tablets carrying the customary
ascription of reverence to the Emperor of China – facts suggesting
that their builders were not entirely free from a sense of the
inexpediency of differentiating the evidences of their religion too
conspicuously from those of the popular creed. It has been calculated
that in the regions north of the Yangtse the followers of Islam
aggregate as many as ten millions, and that eighty thousand are to be
found in one of the towns of Szchuan. On the other hand, just as it
has been shown above that although the Central Government did not in
any way interdict or obstruct the tradal operations of foreigners in
early times, the local officials sometimes subjected them to extortion
and maltreatment of a grievous and even unendurable nature, so it
appears that while as a matter of State policy, full tolerance was
extended to the Mohammedan creed, its disciples frequently found
themselves the victims of such unjust discrimination at the hand of
local officialdom that they were driven to seek redress in rebellion.
That, however, did not occur until the 19th century. There is no
evidence that, prior to the time of the Great Manchu Emperor Chienlung
(1736–1796), Mohammedanism presented any deterrent aspect to the
Chinese. That renowned ruler, whose conquests carried his banners to
the Pamirs and the Himalayas, did indeed conceive a strong dread of
the potentialities of Islamic fanaticism reinforced by disaffection on
the part of the aboriginal tribes among whom the faith had many
adherents. He is said to have entertained at one time the terrible
project of eliminating this source of danger in Shensi and Kansuh by
killing every Mussulman found there, but whether he really
contemplated an act so foreign to the general character of his
procedure is doubtful. The broad fact is that the Central Government
of China has never persecuted Mohammedans or discriminated against
them. They are allowed to present themselves at the examinations for
civil or military appointments, and the successful candidates obtain
office as readily as their Chinese competitors."
^ It states in Moule's book, "though the actual date and circumstances
of the introduction of
Islam into China cannot be traced with
certainty further back than the 13th century, yet the existence of
settlements of foreign Moslems with their Mosques at Ganfu (Canton)
during the T'ang dynasty (618–907) is certain, and later they spread
to Ch'uan-chou and to Kan-p'u, Hangchow, and perhaps to Ningpo and
Shanghai. These were not preaching or proselytising inroads, but
commercial enterprises, and in the latter half of the 8th century
there were Moslem troops in Shensi, 3,000 men, under Abu Giafar,
coming to support the dethroned Emperor in 756. In the 13th century
the influence of individual Muslims was immense, especially that of
the Seyyid Edjell Shams ed-Din Omar, who served the
Mongol Khans till
his death in Yunnan in 1279. His family still exists in Yunnan, and
has taken a prominent part in Moslem affairs in China. The present
Muslim element in China is most numerous in Yunnan and Kansu; and the
most learned Muslims reside chiefly in Ssuch'uan, the majority of
their books being printed in the capital city, Ch'eng-tu. Kansu is
perhaps the most dominantly Mohammedan province in China, and here
many different sects are found, and mosques with minarets used by the
orthodox muezzin calling to prayer, and in one place veiled women are
met with. These, however, are not Turks or Saracens, but for the most
part pure Chinese. The total Moslem population is probably under
4,000,000, though other statistical estimates, always uncertain in
China, vary from thirty to ten millions; but the figures given here
are the most reliable at present obtainable, and when it is remembered
Islam in China has not been to any great extent a preaching or
propagandist power by force or the sword, it is difficult to
understand the survival and existence of such a large number as that,
small, indeed, compared with former estimates, but surely a very large
and vigorous element."
^ In Giles book, he writes "Mahomedans: IEJ Iej. First settled in
China in the Year of the Mission, A.D. 628, under Wahb-Abi-Kabcha a
maternal uncle of Mahomet, who was sent with presents to the Emperor.
Wahb-Abi-Kabcha travelled by sea to Cantoa, and thence overland to
Si-ngan Fu, the capital, where he was well received. The first mosque
was built at Canton, where, after several restorations, it still
exists. Another mosque was erected in 742, but many of these M. came
to China simply as traders, and by and by went back to their own
country. The true stock of the present Chinese Mahomedans was a small
army of 4,000 Arabian soldiers sent by the Khaleef Abu Giafar in 755
to aid in putting down a rebellion. These soldiers had permission to
settle in China, where they married native wives; and three centuries
later, with the conquests of Genghis Khan, largo numbers of Arabs
penetrated into the
Empire and swelled the Mahomedan community."
^ Giles also writes, "In 789 the Khalifa Harun al Raschid dispatched a
mission to China, and there had been one or two less important
missions in the seventh and eighth centuries; but from 879, the date
of the Canton massacre, for more than three centuries to follow, we
hear nothing of the Mahometans and their religion. They were not
mentioned in the edict of 845, which proved such a blow to Buddhism
and Nestorian Christianity perhaps because they were less obtrusive in
the propagation of their religion, a policy aided by the absence of
anything like a commercial spirit in religious matters."
^ Giles also writes, in the same book, "The first mosque was built at
Canton, where, after several restorations, it may still be seen. The
minaret, known as the Bare Pagoda, to distinguish it from a much more
ornamental Buddhist pagoda near by, dates back to 850. There must at
that time have been a considerable number of Mahometans in Canton,
thought not so many as might be supposed if reliance could be placed
on the figures given in reference to a massacre which took place in
879. The fact is that most of these Mahometans went to China simply as
traders; they did not intend to settle permanently in the country, and
when business permitted, they returned to their old haunts. About two
thousand Mussulman families are still to be found at Canton, and a
similar number at Foochow; descendants, perhaps, of the old sea-borne
contingents which began to arrive in the seventh and eighth centuries.
These remnants have nothing to do with the stock from which came the
comparatively large Mussulman communities now living and practising
their religion in the provinces of Ssŭch'uan, Yünnan, and Kansuh.
The origin of the latter was as follows. In A.D. 756 the Khalifa Abu
Giafar sent a small army of three thousand
Arab soldiers to aid in
putting down a rebellion."
^ For his full genealogy all the way back to Al-Abbas bin
Abdulmuttalib, the paternal uncle of the Prophet Mohamed, please see:
Al-Abbasi's book Nader al-Bayan fi Dhikr Ansab Baniabbassian
Abbasid Revolution against the
Caliphate adopted black
for its rāyaʾ for which their partisans were called the musawwids.
Tabari (1995), Jane McAuliffe, ed., Abbāsid Authority Affirmed, 28,
SUNY, p. 124 Their rivals chose other colours in reaction;
among these, forces loyal to
Marwan II adopted red. Patricia Crone
(2012). The Nativist Prophets of Early Islam. p. 122. . The
choice of black as the colour of the
Abbasid Revolution was already
motivated by the "black standards out of Khorasan" tradition
associated with the Mahdi. The contrast of white vs. black as the
Umayyad vs. Abbasid dynastic colour over time developed in white as
the colour of
Islam and black as the colour of
Sunni Islam: "The
proselytes of the ʿAbbasid revolution took full advantage of the
eschatological expectations raised by black banners in their campaign
to undermine the
Umayyad dynasty from within. Even after the
ʿAbbasids had triumphed over the Umayyads in 750, they continued to
deploy black as their dynastic colour; not only the banners but the
headdresses and garments of the ʿAbbasid caliphs were black [...] The
ubiquitous black created a striking contrast with the banners and
dynastic color of the Umayyads, which had been white [...] The Ismaili
Shiʿite counter-caliphate founded by the Fatimids took white as its
dynastic color, creating a visual contrast to the ʿAbbasid enemy
[...] white became the Shiʿite color, in deliberate opposition to the
black of the ʿAbbasid 'establishment'." Jane Hathaway, A Tale of Two
Factions: Myth, Memory, and Identity in Ottoman Egypt and Yemen, 2012,
p. 97f. After the revolution, Islamic apocalyptic circles admitted
that the Abbasid banners would be black but asserted that the Mahdi's
standard would be black and larger. David Cook (2002). Studies in
Muslim Apocalyptic, p. 153. Anti-Abbasid circles cursed "the black
banners from the East", "first and last". Patricia Crone (2012). The
Nativist Prophets of Early Islam. p. 243.
^ a b c d e f g h Hoiberg 2010, p. 10.
^ Canfield, Robert L. (2002). Turko-
Persia in Historical Perspective.
Cambridge University Press. p. 5. ISBN 9780521522915.
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^ See an article in the French Wikipédia: fr:Julius Köckert
^ a b c Brauer 1995
^ a b c d Dupuy & Dupuy 1986, p. 265
^ Meisami 1999
^ a b c d e f Magnusson & Goring 1990, p. 2
^ Dupuy & dupuy 1986, pp. 265–266
^ Dupuy & dupuy 1986, p. 266
^ Cooper & Yue 2008, p. 215
^ Glassé & Smith 2002
^ Frazier 2005
^ Vásáry 2005
^ Isichei 1997, p. 192
^ Pavlidis 2010
^ Mikaberidze 2004
^ Visser 2005, p. 19
^ Abbas 2011, p. 9
^ a b c d e Gregorian 2003
^ Huff 2003, p. 48
^ Gibb 1982, p. 66
^ Spuler 1960, p. 29
^ Derewenda 2007, p. 247
^ Vallely 2006
^ Hill 1993, p. 4
^ Brague 2009, p. 164
^ Hoiberg 2010a, p. 612
^ Söylemez 2005, p. 3
^ Bonner, Ener & Singer 2003, p. 97
^ Ruano & Burgos 1992, p. 527
^ Eglash 1999, p. 61
^ Verma 1969[full citation needed]
^ Toomer 1964
^ Al-Khalili 2009
^ Rabin 2010
^ a b Grant & Clute 1999, p. 51.
^ de Camp 1976, p. 10
^ Grant & Clute 1999, p. 52
^ Clinton 2000, pp. 15–16
^ a b Leaman 1998
^ a b c Wilber 1969, p. 5
^ Wilmer 1969, pp. 5–6
^ a b Wilber 1969, p. 6
^ Dimand 1969, p. 199
^ Dimand 1969, pp. 199–200
^ a b Dimand 1969a, p. 206
^ Dimand 1969b, p. 211
^ Dimand 1969b, p. 212
^ Dimand 1969c, p. 216
^ Dimand 1969c, pp. 216–217
^ a b Lucas 2005, p. 10
^ Cotter 2001
^ Dunn 2003, p. 166
^ al-Hassan 2002
^ Schwarz 2013
^ Phillips, Douglas A.; Gritzner, Charles F. (2010). Syria. Infobase
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^ al-Hassan 2002b
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in post-invasion Iraq
in ISIL-controlled territory
Freedom of religion
Wars and conflicts
Iraqi Turkmen dialect
Eastern Ganga dynasty
ancient great powers
medieval great powers
modern great powers