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(əbă`sĭd, ă`bəsĭd) or


(–sīd, –sĭd), Arab family descended from AbbasAbbas
, d. 653, uncle of Muhammad the Prophet and of Ali the caliph. A wealthy merchant of Mecca, he was at first opposed to the religious movement initiated by his nephew Muhammad.
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, the uncle of Muhammad. The Abbasids held the caliphate from 749 to 1258, but they were recognized neither in Spain nor (after 787) W of Egypt. Under the UmayyadUmayyad
, the first Islamic dynasty (661–750). Their reign witnessed the return to leadership roles of the pre-Islamic Arab elite, and the rejuvenation of tribal loyalties. The Banu Ummaya constituted the higher stratum of the pre-Islamic Meccan elite.
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 caliphs the Abbasids lived quietly until they became involved in numerous disputes, beginning early in the 8th cent. The family then joined with the Shiite faction in opposing the Umayyads, and in 747 the gifted Abu MuslimAbu Muslim
, c.728–755, Persian leader of the Abbasid revolution. By political and religious agitation he raised (747) the black banners of the Abbasids against the ruling Umayyad family.
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 united most of the empire in revolt against the Umayyads. The head of the Abbasid family became caliph as Abu al-Abbas as-SaffahAbu al-Abbas as-Saffah
, d. 754, 1st Abbasid caliph (749–54). Raised to the caliphate by the armed might of Abu Muslim, he took the reign name as-Saffah [shedder of blood]. Most of the Umayyad family was exterminated, and the reign was one of massacre and force.
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 late in 749. The last Umayyad caliph, Marwan II, was defeated and killed and the Umayyad family nearly exterminated; one surviving member fled to Spain, where the Umayyads came to rule. Under the second Abbasid caliph, called al-Mansur (see Mansur, al-Mansur, al-
[Arab.,=the victorious], d. 775, 2d Abbasid caliph (754–75) and founder of the city of Baghdad. His name was in full Abu Jafar abd-Allah al-Mansur. He was brother and successor of Abu al-Abbas.
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, d. 775), the capital was moved from Damascus to Baghdad, and Persian influence grew strong in the empire. The early years of Abbasid rule were brilliant, rising to true splendor under Harun ar-RashidHarun ar-Rashid
[Arab.,=Aaron the Upright], c.764–809, 5th and most famous Abbasid caliph (786–809). He succeeded his brother Musa al-Hadi, fourth caliph, a year after the death of his father, Mahdi, the third caliph.
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, the fifth caliph, and to intellectual brilliance under his son al-Mamun (see Mamun, al-Mamun, al-
(Abu al-Abbas Abd Allah al-Mamun) , 786–833, 7th Abbasid caliph (813–33); son of Harun ar-Rashid. He succeeded his brother al-Amin after a bitter civil war, but was unable to enter Baghdad until 819.
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), the seventh caliph. After less than a hundred years of rule, however, the slow decline of the Abbasids began. Long periods of disorder were marked by assassinations, depositions, control by Turkish soldiers, and other disturbances, and from the beginning of their reign there were rival caliphs (see caliphatecaliphate
, the rulership of Islam; caliph , the spiritual head and temporal ruler of the Islamic state. In principle, Islam is theocratic: when Muhammad died, a caliph [Arab.,=successor] was chosen to rule in his place.
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). In 836 the capital was transferred to Samarra, remaining there until 892. Under the later Abbasids, the power of the caliphate became chiefly spiritual. Many independent kingdoms sprang up, and the empire split into autonomous units. The Seljuk Turks came to hold the real power at Baghdad. The conquests of Jenghiz Khan further lowered the prestige of the Abbasids, and in 1258 his grandson Hulagu Khan sacked Baghdad and overthrew the Abbasid caliphate. The 37th caliph died in the disaster, but a member of the family escaped to Cairo, where he was recognized as caliph (see MamluksMamluk
or Mameluke
[Arab.,=slaves], a warrior caste dominant in Egypt and influential in the Middle East for over 700 years. Islamic rulers created this warrior caste by collecting non-Muslim slave boys and training them as cavalry soldiers especially loyal to their
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). The Cairo line of the Abbasid caliphate, completely subordinated to the Mamluks, survived until after the Ottoman conquest (1517) of Egypt.


See M. A. Shaban, The Abbāsid Revolution (1970); H. Kennedy, The Early Abbasid Caliphate (1981).

References in periodicals archive ?
Abbasid caliphs followed the Sassanid and Sasanian influences are obvious in political, social and many affairs of life of Abbasids.
Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander the Great, Hajjaj, the Abbasid caliphs, the Mongol invaders and finally Saddam Hussein all launched devastating wars that killed civilians in their millions.
Many Ja'faris became influential during the reign of some Abbasid caliphs in Iraq and Iran.
The toll wreaked by this practice can be gauged from the fact that some two-dozen Abbasid caliphs were blinded to be dethroned from the royal seat.
By the early 10th century, the Abbasid caliphs had lost their military authority, many of their provinces, much of their revenue, most of their administration and all but some residual respect.
Iraq holds a special place in Islamic history, where the nascent religion of the Arabs was transformed into a "golden age" under the Abbasid caliphs in the ninth and tenth centuries of the common era.
Although they were hard advocate of Abbasid caliphs, they are completely independent and their seigniory was in the form of domination.
Osama Hammad, professor of Islamic history at Alexandria University, explained to Daily News Egypt that Egypt was a Shia country when it fell under the Shia Fatimid caliphate, in opposition to the Abbasid caliphs in Baghdad at that time, who were Sunni Muslims.
Rashid is of Arabic origin, and means rightly guided; the name takes two variant forms, Rashid and Rashed and it's widely used in the UAE and the Gulf, its nickname is Rashoud, people are called this name after Harun Al Rashid, who was one of the greatest Abbasid Caliphs in Iraq.
The Abbasid caliphs valued Jerusalem as an Islamic holy site.
The House of Hashem, the progeny of Ali both as the first Imam in Shiism and the fourth Caliph in Sunnism, the Fatimids of Syria who in the 9th Century AD were a secret Ismaili Shiite movement trying to overthrow the Sunni Abbasid Caliphs of Iraq, and the Jaafari Shiites make a fascinating history worth looking up.
However, because of various factors such as domestic disputes of Buwayhids princes, and excess of rulers of the army and the absence of buoys, and thus exacerbated weakness of the central government in Baghdad and also endorsement of Sunni government of fresh and powerful institution of the caliphate Ghaznavides and Seljuqids, provided a perfect location for two of the competent Abbasid caliphs, qader Billah (381-422Bc) and qaim Bamrallah (422-467BC) to have taken appropriate measures to restore the caliphate institution of political identity.