Al-Mansur

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Al-Mansur
أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور
Al-mansur 2014-08-25 08-43.jpeg
2nd Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Caliph of Baghdad
(in a 17th-century painting)
Reign 754 AD – 775 AD
Predecessor as-Saffah
Successor al-Mahdi
Full name
Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur
Father Muhammad ibn Ali ibn Abdallah
Mother Sallama
Born 714 AD
Syria
Died 775 AD
near Mecca
Religion Islam

Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 775 AD);[1] Arabic: أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎) was the second Abbasid Caliph from 136 AH to 158 AH (754 AD – 775 AD).[2][3] He is generally regarded as the real founder of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Biography[edit]

Al-Mansur was born at the home of the 'Abbasid family after their emigration from the Hejaz in 95 AH (714 CE). "His father, Muhammad, was reputedly a great-grandson of Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the youngest uncle of Mohammad; his mother, as described in the 14th-century Moroccan historical work Rawd al-Qirtas was one Sallama, "a Berber woman given to his father." [4] He reigned from Dhu al-Hijjah 136 AH until Dhu al-Hijjah 158 AH (754 CE – 775 CE). In 762 he founded as new imperial residence and palace city Madinat as-Salam (the city of peace), which became the core of the Imperial capital Baghdad.[5] Al-Mansur was concerned with the solidity of his regime after the death of his brother Abu'l `Abbas (later known as as-Saffah). In 754 he defeated Abdallah ibn Ali's bid for the Caliphate, and in 755 he arranged the assassination of Abu Muslim. Abu Muslim was a loyal freed man from the eastern Iranian province of Khorasan who had led the Abbasid forces to victory over the Umayyads during the Third Fitna in 749–750; he was subordinate to al-Mansur but also the undisputed ruler of Iran and Transoxiana. The assassination seems to have been made to preclude a power struggle in the empire; some findings suggest[citation needed] that Abu Muslim became incredulous and paranoid and that this 'necessitated' the assassination.

When Isa ibn Musa, al-Mansur's intended successor, fell under suspicion of corruption, al-Mahdi was appointed in his stead and publicly swore allegiance. Like his elder brother Saffah he wanted to unite the land, so he got rid of all of his opposition.[citation needed]

During his reign, Islamic literature and scholarship in the Islamic world began to emerge in full force, supported by new Abbasid tolerances for Persians and other groups which had been suppressed by the Umayyads. Although the Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik had adopted Persian court practices, it was not until al-Mansur's reign that Persian literature and scholarship were truly appreciated in the Islamic world. Shu'ubiya emerged at this time, due to loosened censorship over Persian nationalism; it was a literary movement among Persians which expressed their belief in the superiority of Persian art and culture, and catalyzed the emergence of Arab-Persian dialogues in the 8th century CE.

Perhaps more importantly than the emergence of Persian scholarship was the conversion of many non-Arabs to Islam. The Umayyads actively tried to discourage conversion in order to continue the collection of the jizya (tax on non-Muslims). The inclusiveness of the al-Mansur's regime (which would continue under subsequent Abbasid rulers) saw the spread of Islam within Abbasid borders: from 750 to 775, the Muslim population of the caliphate increased from 8% to 15%.[citation needed]

In 756, al-Mansur sent over 4,000 Arab mercenaries to assist the Chinese in the An Shi Rebellion against An Lushan; after the war, they remained in China.[6][7][8][9][10] Al-Mansur was referred to as "A-p'u-ch'a-fo" in the Chinese T'ang Annals.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] [18][19][20][21][22]

Al-Mansur died in 775 on his way to Mecca to make hajj. He was buried somewhere along the way in one of hundreds of graves dug in order to hide his body from the Umayyads. He was succeeded by his son, al-Mahdi.

According to a number of sources, Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man (who founded a school of jurisprudence) was imprisoned by al-Mansur. Malik ibn Anas, the founder of another school, was flogged during his rule, but al-Mansur himself did not condone this – in fact, it was his cousin, the governor of Madinah at the time, who ordered it (and was punished for doing so).[23]

Character[edit]

A mancus issued under the Saxon king Offa of Mercia (757–796), copied from a gold dinar of Al-Mansur's reign. It combines the Latin legend OFFA REX with Arabic legends. The date of A.H. 157 (773–774 CE) is readable.[24] British Museum.

Al-Masudi in Meadows of Gold tells of a blind poet, on two occasions, reciting poems of praise for the Umayyads to one he didn't realize was this Abbasid; al-Mansur nonetheless rewarded the poet for the verses. Another tale describes an arrow, with verses inscribed on feathers and shaft, landing near al-Mansur; these verses prompt him to investigate a notable from Hamadan who had been unjustly imprisoned, and release him. There is also an account of foreboding verses al-Mansur saw written on the wall just before his death.

When al-Mansur died, the caliphate's treasury contained 600,000 dirhams and fourteen million dinars.[citation needed]

In 2008, MBC 1 depicted the life and leadership of al-Mansur in a historical series aired during the holy month of Ramadan.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Al-Souyouti, Tarikh Al-Kholafa'a (The History of Caliphs)
  2. ^ Stanley Lane-Poole, The Coins of the Eastern Khaleefahs in the British Museum
  3. ^ Axworthy, Michael (2008); A History of Iran; Basic, USA; ISBN 978-0-465-00888-9. See p.81.
  4. ^ World's Great Men of Color vol. II
  5. ^ Charles Wendell (1971). "Baghdad: Imago Mundi, and Other Foundation-Lore". International Journal of Middle East Studies 2. 
  6. ^ Oscar Chapuis (1995). A history of Vietnam: from Hong Bang to Tu Duc. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 92. ISBN 0313296227. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa (2002). The religious traditions of Asia: religion, history, and culture. Routledge. p. 283. ISBN 0700717625. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Bradley Smith, Wango H. C. Weng (1972). China: a history in art. Harper & Row. p. 129. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Hugh D. R. Baker (1990). Hong Kong images: people and animals. Hong Kong University Press. p. 53. ISBN 9622092551. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Charles Patrick Fitzgerald (1961). China: a short cultural history. Praeger. p. 332. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Marshall Broomhall (1910). Islam in China: a neglected problem. LONDON 12 PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.C.: Morgan & Scott, ltd. pp. 25, 26. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 
  12. ^ Frank Brinkley (1902). China: its history, arts and literature, Volume 2. Volumes 9–12 of Trübner's oriental series. BOSTON AND TOKYO: J.B.Millet company. pp. 149, 150, 151, 152. Retrieved 14 December 2011. Original from the University of California
  13. ^ Frank Brinkley (1904). Japan [and China]: China; its history, arts and literature. Volume 10 of Japan [and China]: Its History, Arts and Literature. LONDON 34 HENRIETTA STREET, W. C. AND EDINBURGH: Jack. pp. 149, 150, 151, 152. Retrieved 14 December 2011. Original from Princeton University
  14. ^ Arthur Evans Moule (1914). The Chinese people: a handbook on China .... LONDON NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.: Society for promoting Christian knowledge. p. 317. Retrieved 14 December 2011. Original from the University of California
  15. ^ Herbert Allen Giles (1886). A glossary of reference on subjects connected with the Far East (2 ed.). HONGKONG: Messrs. Lane. p. 141. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 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. Original from the New York Public Library
  16. ^ Herbert Allen Giles (1926). Confucianism and its rivals. Forgotten Books. p. 139. ISBN 1606802488. Retrieved 14 December 2011. 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 ithe propagation of their religion, a policy aided by the absence of anything like a commercial spirit in religious matters. 
  17. ^ Confucianism and its Rivals. Forgotten Books. p. 223. ISBN 145100849X. Retrieved 14 December 2011. The first mosque 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. 
  18. ^ Everett Jenkins (1999). The Muslim diaspora: a comprehensive reference to the spread of Islam in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Volume 1 of The Muslim Diaspora (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 61. ISBN 0786404310. Retrieved 14 December 2011. China • Arab troops were dispatched by Abu Gia- far to China. (Original from the University of Michigan )
  19. ^ Travels in Indo-China and the Chinese empire. p. 295. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  20. ^ Stanley Ghosh (1961). Embers in Cathay. Doubleday. p. 60. Retrieved 14 December 2011. During the reign of Abbassid Caliph Abu Giafar in the middle of the eighth century, many Arab soldiers evidently settled near the garrisons on the Chinese frontier. (Original from the University of Michigan, Library of Catalonia )
  21. ^ Heinrich Hermann (1912). Chinesische Geschichte (in German). D. Gundert. p. 77. Retrieved 14 December 2011. (Original from the University of California )
  22. ^ Deutsche Literaturzeitung für Kritik der Internationalen Wissenschaft, Volume 49, Issues 27–52. Weidmannsche Buchhandlung. 1928. p. 1617. Retrieved 14 December 2011. (Original from Indiana University )
  23. ^ Ya'qubi, vol.III, p. 86; Muruj al-dhahab, vol.III, p. 268–270.
  24. ^ Medieval European Coinage By Philip Grierson p.330

Bibliography[edit]

  • Mas'udi, The Meadows of Gold, The Abbasids, transl. Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone, Kegan Paul, London and New York, 1989
  • Kennedy, Hugh, When Baghdad Ruled The Muslim World, Cambridge, Da Capo Press, 2004

Time line[edit]

Al-Mansur
of the Ahl al-Bayt
Clan of the Banu Quraish
Born: 714 CE Died: 775 CE
Shia Islam titles
Preceded by
Abu'l-`Abbas `Abdu'llāh ibn Muhammad
The Eighth Imām of
Hashimiyya Kaysanites Shia
Abu Ja`far `Abdu'llāh ibn Muhammad "al-Imām"
Nineth and the last Imam of
Hashimiyya Kaysanites Shia

9 June 754 - 775
Succeeded by
Abu `Abdu'llāh Muhammad "al-Mahdi"
Adopted Sunni Islam as state religion
Al-Mansur
Born: 714 Died: 775
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
As-Saffah
Caliph of Islam
754–775
Succeeded by
Al-Mahdi