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For the ruler of Zaragoza, see Ahmad al-Muqtadir.
Abu 'l-Fadl Ja'far ibn Ahmad al-Mu'tadid
أبو الفضل جعفر بن أحمد المعتضد
Dinar of al-Muqtadir with Abu'l-Abbas and Amid al-Dawla.jpg
Gold dinar of al-Muqtadir with the names of his heir Abu 'l-Abbas and vizier Amid al-Dawla
18th Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad
Reign 908 AD to 932 AD
Predecessor Al-Muktafi
Successor Al-Qahir
Born 895
Died 31 October 932 CE
Religion Sunni Islam
The execution of Mansur Al-Hallaj at the behest of Al-Muqtadir (Baghdad, 26 March 922) as represented in a 17th-century Mughal Indian painting.

Abu 'l-Fadl Ja'far ibn Ahmad al-Mu'tadid (Arabic: أبو الفضل جعفر بن أحمد المعتضد‎) (895 – 31 October 932 CE), better known by his regnal name al-Muqtadir bi-Allah (Arabic: المقتدر بالله‎, "Mighty in God"[1]), was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 908 AD to 932 AD (295 AH - 320 AH).

After the previous Caliph, al-Muktafi, was confined for several months to his sick-bed, there was intrigue as to his successor. The choice was between a younger brother of al-Muktafi's, whom the Caliph favoured, and Abdallah, a descendant of al-Mu'tazz, who was only thirteen at the time. The vizier, hoping for more power and influence, chose the former. The boy assumed the title of al-Muqtadir, Mighty by the help of the Lord, a sad misnomer, for even in manhood he was but a weak hedonist in the hands of women of the Court, and of their favourites.[citation needed] His twenty-five years reign is the constant record of his thirteen viziers, each new one rising on the fall, or on the assassination, of another.[citation needed]

The stand that had been made during the last three reigns to stay the decline of the Abbasid power at last came to an end. From al-Muqtadir's reign on, the Abbasids would decline. Yes, at the same time, many names that would become famous in the world of literature and science lived during this and the following reigns. Among the best known are: Ishaq ibn Hunayn (d. 911) (son of Hunayn ibn Ishaq), a physician and translator of Greek philosophical works into Arabic; ibn Fadlan, explorer; al Battani (d. 923), astronomer; Tabari (d. 923), historian and theologian; al-Razi (d. 930), a philosopher who made fundamental and lasting contributions to the fields of medicine and chemistry; al-Farabi (d. 950), chemist and philosopher; Abu Nasr Mansur (d. 1036), mathematician; Alhazen (d. 1040), mathematician; al-Biruni (d. 1048), mathematician, astronomer, physicist; Omar Khayyám (d. 1123), poet, mathematician, and astronomer; and Mansur Al-Hallaj, a mystic, writer and teacher of Sufism most famous for his self-proclaimed but disputed divinity, his poetry and for his execution for heresy by Caliph Al-Muqtadir.

By the time of al-Muqtadir's reign, there had been war for some years between the Muslims and the Greeks in Asia, with heavy losses for the most part on the side of the Muslims, with a great number taken as prisoners. The Byzantine frontier, however, began to be threatened by Bulgarian hordes. So the Byzantine Empress Zoe Karbonopsina sent two ambassadors to Baghdad with the view of securing an armistice and arranging for the ransom of the Muslim prisoners. The embassy was graciously received and peace restored. A sum of 120,000 golden pieces was paid for the freedom of the captives. All this only added to the disorder of the city. The people, angry at the success of the "Infidels" in Asia Minor and at similar losses in Persia, complained that the Caliph cared for none of these things and, instead of seeking to restore the prestige of Islam, passed his days and nights with slave-girls and musicians. Uttering such reproaches, they threw stones at the Imam, as in the Friday service he named the Caliph in the public prayers.

Some twelve years later, al-Muqtadir was subjected to the indignity of deposition. The leading courtiers having conspired against him, he was forced to abdicate in favour of his brother al-Qahir, but, after scenes of rioting and plunder, and loss of thousands of lives, the conspirators found that they were not supported by the troops. Al-Muqtadir, who had been kept in safety, was again placed upon the throne. The state's finances fell after this event into so wretched a state that nothing was left with which to pay the city guards. Al-Muqtadir was eventually slain outside the city gate in 320 AH (932 CE).

Al-Muqtadir's long reign had brought the Abbasids to the lowest ebb. Northern Africa was lost and Egypt nearly. Mosul had thrown off its dependence and the Greeks could make raids at pleasure along the poorly protected borders. Yet in the East formal recognition of the Caliphate remained in place, even by those who virtually claimed their independence; and nearer home, the terrible Carmathians had been for the time put down. In Baghdad, al-Muqtadir, the mere tool of a venal court, was at the mercy of foreign guards, who, commanded for the most part by Turkish and other officers of foreign descent, were frequently breaking out into rebellion. Thanks to Al-Muqtadir's ineffective rule, the prestige which his immediate predecessors had regained was lost, and the Abbasid throne became again the object of contempt at home and a tempting prize for attack from abroad.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bowen, Harold (1928). The Life and Times of ʿAlí Ibn ʿÍsà: The Good Vizier. Cambridge University Press. p. 88. 
Born: 895 AD Died: 932 AD
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Caliph of Islam
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Caliph of Islam
Succeeded by