Harun al-Rashid

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Harun al-Rashid

?763--809 ad, Abbasid caliph of Islam (786--809), whose court at Baghdad was idealized in the Arabian Nights
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Harun al-Rashid


Born February 766 in Ray; died Mar. 24, 809, in Tus. Caliph from 786. Member of the Abbasid dynasty.

Harun came to power with the aid of the Barmecide family, which represented the interests of the Iranian feudal aristocracy. Until the fall of the Barmecides in 803, the family provided Ha-run’s viziers and largely controlled the affairs of the caliphate. From 803 he ruled alone.

Under Harun the Baghdad Caliphate made great progress in agriculture, crafts, trade, and the arts, especially literature. At the same time, however, signs of the decline of the caliphate appeared: antigovernment uprisings took place in Deylam, Syria, and other regions. Harun continued the struggle that his predecessors had begun against Byzantium. He died during a military campaign undertaken to crush the Rafi ibn Leis Uprising in Middle Asia.

The idealized image of Harun popularized by the tales of A Thousand and One Nights has been proved false by the Soviet Orientalist V. V. Bartol’d.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Byzantine later continued peace efforts with Caliph Harun al-Rashid. In the year 798 A.D., Irene had sent Euthymius, minister of Sardis, as emissary with a gift to avoid attacks against Byzantine.
of Harun al-Rashid, who has his dinner host, the commoner Abou Hassan,
Consider also the case of Abbasid caliph Harun al-Rashid. When he sought advice from Fudayl ibn 'Iyadh (R) - an ascetic follower of Imam Abu Hanifah (R) - the latter said: "[Consider] The lands of Islam as your own house, and their inhabitants as your family.
In 795, Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid imprisoned Moussa al-Kadhim.
The 1942 movie Arabian Nights starred Maria Montez as Scheherazade, Sabu as Ali Ben Ali and Jon Hall as Harun al-Rashid.
Examining the history of the `Abbasid caliphate between 809 and 833, a period that began in civil war between the two sons of the just-deceased Harun al-Rashid and ended with the reign of one of the brothers, al-Ma'mun, on Baghdad's throne, Yucesoy (history, Saint Louis U.) focuses on the role of Muslim and non-Muslim messianic and apocalyptic beliefs in shaping political behavior in the caliphate.
The caliphs al-Mansur, Harun al-Rashid (of the Thousand and One Nights fame), and al-Ma'mun are noted for their patronage of learning and medicine.
Islamic historians say Imam Musa al-Kadhem was imprisoned and poisoned in Baghdad in 799 AD by Harun al-Rashid, leader of the Sunni caliphate at the time, who feared him as a rival for power.
The next fifteen years were a time of comparative peace and prosperity, in many ways the high point of Abbasid power and the 'golden prime' of Harun al-Rashid. The new Caliph was happy to leave day-to-day running of the administration in the hands of his mentor, Yahya the Barmakid, whom he referred to as his 'father'.
There is a long line of fictional and historical figures who embody this role in Arab cultural artifacts, whether traditional oral epics or modern TV serials, from Abu Bakr to Harun al-Rashid to Saladin.
He fancied himself the descendant and natural heir to the likes of Abu Jafar al-Mansur, the city's founder, and Harun al-Rashid, its most illustrious ruler.