|29th Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad
|Reign||1118 to 1135|
|Died||29 August 1135|
Son of the preceding Caliph, he achieved more independence as a ruler while the Seljuq sultan Mahmud II was engaged in war in the East. In 1122, al-Mustarshid deposed and imprisoned his vizier Amid al-dawla Jalal al-Din Hasan ibn Ali. Mahmud II then imposed Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk as his vizier.
In 1123 an Arab Banu Mazyad general, Dubais, tried to take advantage of the momentary lack of power and, after plundering Bosra, attacked Baghdad together with a young brother of the sultan. He was however crushed by a Seljuq army under Zengi and Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk. During the same year, al-Mustarshid removed Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk as his vizier. In 1125 it was the time of al-Mustarshid to rebel. He sent an army to take Wasit but was defeated near Baghdad and imprisoned in his palace (1126).
At the death of sultan Mahmud, a civil war broke out in the Seljuq western territories. Zengi was recalled to the East by certain rebel members, stimulated by the Caliph and Dubais. Zengi was beaten and fled. The Caliph pursued him to Mosul, and besieged him there but without success for three months. It was nonetheless a milestone in the revival of the military power of the caliphate.
Zengi now resumed operations in Syria and in 1134 laid siege to Damascus, but was induced, partly by the bravery of the enemy, partly at the instance of the Caliph, to whom Zengi had made some concession in the public prayers, to relinquish the attempt. Recalled again by troubles in the East, he was unable to do much against the Crusaders till after al-Mustarshid's death.
Not long after the siege of Damascus, al-Mustarshid launched a military campaign against sultan Mas'ud of western Seljuq, who had obtained the title in Baghdad in January 1133 by the caliph himself. The rival armies met near Hamadan: the caliph, deserted by his troops, was taken prisoner, and pardoned on promising not to quit his palace any more. Left in the royal tent, however, in the Sultan's absence, he was found murdered, as is supposed, by an emissary of the Hashshashins, who had no love for the Caliph. Modern historians have suspected that Mas'ud instigated the murder although the two most important historians of the period Ibn al-Athir and Ibn al-Jawzi did not speculate on this matter.
Al-Mustarshid was succeeded by his son Al-Rashid.
- This text is partly adapted from William Muir's public domain, The Caliphate: Its Rise, Decline, and Fall.
- Hanne, Eric. Putting the Caliph in his Place.
Al-MustarshidBorn: 1092 Died: 1136
|Sunni Islam titles|
|Caliph of Islam