List of Abbasid caliphs

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The Abbasid caliphs were the holders of the Islamic title of caliph who were members of the Abbasid dynasty, a branch of the Quraysh tribe descended from the uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib.

The family came to power in the Abbasid Revolution in 748–750, supplanting the Umayyad Caliphate. They were the rulers of the Abbasid Caliphate, as well as the generally recognized ecumenical heads of Islam, until the 10th century, when the Shi'a Fatimid Caliphate (established in 909) and the Caliphate of Córdoba (established in 929) challenged their primacy. The political decline of the Abbasids had begun earlier, during the Anarchy at Samarra (861–870), which accelerated the fragmentation of the Muslim world into autonomous dynasties. The caliphs lost their temporal power in 936–946, first to a series of military strongmen, and then to the Shi'a Buyid dynasty that seized control of Baghdad; the Buyids were in turn replaced by the Sunni Seljuk Turks in the mid-11th century, and Turkish rulers assumed the title of "Sultan" to denote their temporal authority. The Abbasid caliphs remained the generally recognized suzerains of Sunni Islam, however. In the mid-12th century, the Abbasids regained their independence from the Seljuks, but the revival of Abbasid power ended with the Sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258.

In 1261, the Abbasid caliphate was re-established by a cadet branch of the dynasty at Cairo, under the auspices of the local Mamluk sultans. Once again, the caliph was a purely religious and symbolic figure, while temporal power rested with the Mamluks. The revived Abbasid caliphate lasted until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517, after which the caliphal title passed to the Ottoman dynasty.

List of Abbasid caliphs[edit]

Caliphs of Baghdad (25 January 750 – 20 February 1258)[edit]

Not accepted by the Muslim dominions in the Umayyad-ruled Iberian Peninsula (cf. Emirate of Cordoba and Caliphate of Cordoba), and the Fatimid and later Almohad-ruled parts of North Africa.[1][2]

No. Reign Regnal Name Personal Name Parents Notes
1. 750 – 10 June 754 as-Saffāḥ Abū’l-ʿAbbās ʿAbd Allāh
2. 10 June 754 – 775 al-Manṣūr Abū Jaʿfar ʿAbd Allāh
3. 775 – 4 August 785 al-Mahdī bi-'llāh Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad
4. August 785 – 14 September 786 al-Hādī Abū Muḥammad Mūsā
5. 14 September 786 – 24 March 809 Hārūn ar-Rashīd Hārūn
6. March 809 – 24/25 September 813 al-Amīn Abū Mūsā Muḥammad
7. September 813 – 9 August 833 al-Maʾmūn Abū'l-ʿAbbās ʿAbd Allāh
  • Victor of the civil war. Anti-caliphate of Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi in Baghdad (817–819) ends with al-Ma'mun's return to Baghdad.
  • Start of official support for Mu'tazilism, institution of the miḥnah (833).
8. 9 August 833 – 5 January 842 al-Muʿtaṣim bi-’llāh Abū Isḥāq Muḥammad
  • Establishment of the Turkish ghilman in positions of power. Militarization and centralization of the administration.
  • Move of the capital to Samarra (836).
9. 5 January 842 – 10 August 847 al-Wāṯiq bi-'llāh Abū Jaʿfar Hārūn
10. 10 August 847 – 11 December 861 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā ʾllāh Jaʿfar
  • End of official support for Mu'tazilism, abolition of the miḥnah (848/851). Return to Sunni orthodoxy.
  • Assassinated by the Turkish military.
11. 861 – 7 or 8 June 862 al-Muntaṣir bi-'llāh Abū Jaʿfar Muḥammad
12. 862 – 866 al-Mustaʿīn bi-ʾllāh Aḥmad
13. 866 – 869 al-Muʿtazz bi-ʾllāh Muḥammad
14. 869 – 21 June 870 al-Muhtadī bi-'llāh Abū Isḥāq Muḥammad
15. 21 June 870 – 15 October 892 al-Muʿtamid ʿalā ’llāh Abū'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad
16. October 892 – 5 April 902 al-Muʿtaḍid bi-'llāh Abū'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad
  • Height of the "Abbasid revival". Recovery of Jazira, Thughur, Jibal.
  • Return of the capital to Baghdad.
  • Start of the Qarmatian missionary activity and raids.
17. 5 April 902 – 13 August 908 al-Muktafī bi-'llāh Abū Aḥmad ʿAlī
  • Recovery of Egypt and Syria from the Tulunids. End of the "Abbasid revival".
18. 13 August 908 – 929 'al-Muqtadir bi-'llāh Abū'l-Faḍl Jaʿfar
19. 929 al-Qāhir bi-'llāh Abū al-Manṣūr Muḥammad
20. 929 – 31 October 932 'al-Muqtadir bi-'llāh Abū'l-Faḍl Jaʿfar
21. 31 October 932 – 934 al-Qāhir bi-'llāh Abū al-Manṣūr Muḥammad
  • Second reign
22. 934 – 23 December 940 ar-Rāḍī bi-'llāh Abū'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad/Muḥammad
23. 940 – 944 al-Muttaqī li-'llāh Abū Isḥāq Ibrāhīm
24. September 944 – 29 January 946 al-Mustakfī bi-ʾllāh ʿAbd Allāh
25. 29 January 946 – 974 al-Muṭīʿ li-ʾllāh Abū'l-Qāsim al-Faḍl
26. 974 – 991 aṭ-Ṭāʾiʿ li-amri ʿllāh Abd al-Karīm
27. 1 November 991 – 29 November 1031 al-Qādir bi-'llāh Aḥmad
28. 29 November 1031 – 2 April 1075 al-Qāʾim bi-amri 'llāh
29. 2 April 1075 – February 1094 al-Muqtadī bi-amri ’llāh Abū'l-Qāsim ʿAbd Allāh
30. February 1094 – 6 August 1118 al-Mustaẓhir bi-'llāh Abū l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad
  • First Crusade (1096–1099); establishment of the Crusader states in the Levant.
31. 6 August 1118 – 29 August 1135 al-Mustarshid bi-'llāh Abū'l-Manṣūr al-Faḍl
32. 29 August 1135 – 1136 ar-Rāshid bi-'llāh Abu Jaʿfar al-Manṣūr
33. 1136 – 12 March 1160 al-Muqtafī li-ʾamri ’llāh Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad
34. 12 March 1160 – 20 December 1170 al-Mustanjid bi-'llāh Abū'l-Muẓaffar Yūsuf
35. 20 December 1170 – 30 March 1180 al-Mustaḍīʾ bi-amri ʾllāh al-Ḥasan
36. 2 March 1180 – 4 October 1225 an-Nāṣir li-Dīni’llāh Abu'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad
37. 5 October 1225 – 11 July 1226 aẓ-Ẓāhir bi-amri’llāh Muḥammad
38. 11 July 1226 – 2 December 1242 al-Mustanṣir bi-'llāh Abū Jaʿfar al-Manṣūr
39. 2 December 1242 – 20 February 1258 al-Mustaʿṣim bi-'llāh ʿAbd Allāh

Caliphs of Cairo (13 June 1261 – 22 January 1517)[edit]

The Cairo Abbasids were largely ceremonial caliphs under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate that existed after the takeover of the Ayyubid dynasty.[3][4]

No. Reign Regnal Name Personal Name Parents Notes
1. 13 June 1261 – 28 November 1261 al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh Abū'l-Qāsim Aḥmad
  • Installed as Caliph in Cairo, Egypt by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1261. Title also claimed by al-Hakim I, installed as caliph by the ruler of Aleppo, Aqqush al-Burli
2. 16 November 1262 – 19 January 1302 al-Ḥākim bi-Amri'llāh I Abū'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad
3. 20 January 1302 – February 1340 al-Mustakfī bi-llāh I Abū ar-Rabīʾ Sulaymān
4. February 1340 – 17 June 1341 al-Wāṯiq bi-'llāh I Abū ʾIsḥāq ʾIbrāhīm
5. 1341 – 1352 al-Ḥākim bi-Amri'llāh II Abū'l-ʿAbbas ʾAḥmad
6. 1352 – 1362 al-Muʿtaḍid bi-'llāh I Abū al-Fatḥ Abū Bakr
7. 1362 – 1377 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā'llāh I Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad
  • First reign
8. 1377 al-Mustaʿṣim bi-'llāh Abū Yaḥya Zakarīyāʾ
  • First reign
9. 1377 – 1383 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā'llāh I Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad
  • Second reign
10. September 1383 – 13 November 1386 al-Wāṯiq bi-'llāh II Abū Ḥafṣ ʿUmar
11. 1386 – 1389 al-Mustaʿṣim bi-'llāh Abū Yaḥya Zakarīyāʾ
  • Second reign
12. 1389 – 9 January 1406 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā'llāh I Abū ʿAbd Allāh Muḥammad
  • Third reign
13. 22 January 1406 – 9 March 1414 al-Mustaʿīn bi-'llāh Abū al-Faḍl al-ʿAbbas
  • Became Sultan of Egypt from 7 May – 6 November 1412, as a titular figurehead for Shaykh al-Mahmudi.
14. 1414 – 1441 al-Muʿtaḍid bi-'llāh II Abū al-Fatḥ Dāwud
15. 1441 – 29 January 1451 al-Mustakfī bi-llāh II Abū al-Rabīʿ Sulaymān
16. 1451 – 1455 al-Qāʾim bi-ʾamr Allāh Abū al-Baqāʾ Ḥamza
17. 1455 – 7 April 1479 al-Mustanjid bi-'llāh Abū al-Maḥāsin Yūsuf
18. 5 April 1479 – 27 September 1497 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā'llāh II Abū al-ʿIzz ʿAbd al-ʿAzīz
19. 1497 – 1508 al-Mustamsik bi-'llāh Abū al-Ṣabr Yaqūb
  • First reign
20. 1508 – 1516 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā'llāh III Muḥammad
  • First reign
21. 1516 – 1517 al-Mustamsik bi-'llāh Abū al-Ṣabr Yaqūb
  • Second reign
22. 1517 al-Mutawakkil ʿalā'llāh III Muḥammad

Genealogy[edit]

Genealogical tree of the Abbasid family. In green, the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad. In yellow, the Abbasid caliphs of Cairo. Muhammad is included (in caps) to show the kinship of the Abbasids with him.

References[edit]

Bibliography[edit]