* Abbasid appropriation of most former Umayyad territory
* Eventual establishment of the
Emirate of Córdoba
Emirate of Córdoba
* End of privileged status for Arabs
* End of official discrimination against non-Arabs
* Shia Muslims
* Non-Arab Sunni Muslims
* Non-Tribal Arab Muslims
Middle Eastern Christians
* Indian and
Umayyad Caliphate Support
COMMANDERS AND LEADERS
Abu Muslim Khorasani
Qahtaba ibn Shabib al-Ta\'i †
Al-Hasan ibn Qahtaba
Abdallah ibn Ali
Marwan II †
Nasr ibn Sayyar †
Yazid ibn Umar al-Fazari †
Civil wars of
the early Caliphates
* Revolt of Ibn al-Ash\'ath
* Revolt of Yazid b. al-Muhallab
* Revolt of Harith b. Surayj
* Abbasid Revolution
Alid revolt of 762–763
* Alid revolt of 786
* Qaysi–Yamani war
Anarchy at Samarra
Anarchy at Samarra
* Fifth Fitna
The ABBASID REVOLUTION refers to the overthrow of the Umayyad
Caliphate (661–750 CE), the second of the four major Caliphates in
early Islamic history , by the third, the Abbasid Caliphate
(750–1258 CE). Coming to power three decades after the death of the
Muhammad and immediately after the Rashidun
the Umayyads were a feudal Arab empire ruling over a population which
was overwhelmingly non-Arab as well as primarily non-Muslim. Non-Arabs
were treated as second class citizens regardless of whether or not
they converted to Islam, and this discontent cutting across faiths and
ethnicities ultimately led to the Umayyads' overthrow. The Abbasid
family claimed to have descended from al-Abbas , an uncle of the
The revolution essentially marked the end of the Arab empire and the
beginning of a more inclusive, multiethnic state in the
Middle East .
Remembered as one of the most well-organized revolutions during its
period in history, it reoriented the focus of the
Muslim world to the
* 1 Background
* 2 Causes
* 2.1 Discontent among Shia Muslims
* 2.2 Discontent among Sunni Muslims who were non-Arab
* 2.2.1 Repression of Iranian culture
* 2.3 Discontent among non-Muslims
* 3 Events
* 3.1 Buildup
* 3.1.1 Revolt of Ibn Surayj
* 3.2 Khorasan phase
* 3.3 Mesopotamia phase
* 4 Tactics
* 4.1 Ethnic equality
* 4.2 Propaganda
* 4.3 Secrecy
* 5 Aftermath
* 6 Legacy
* 7 Historiography
* 8 See also
* 9 References
* 10 Further reading
* 11 External links
By the 740s, the Umayyad Empire found itself in critical condition. A
dispute over succession in 744 led to the Third Muslim Civil War ,
which raged across the
Middle East for two years. The very next year,
al-Dahhak ibn Qays al-Shaybani initiated a
Kharijite rebellion that
would continue until 746. Concurrent with this, a rebellion broke out
in reaction to
Marwan II 's decision to move the capital from Damascus
Harran , resulting in the destruction of
Homs – also in 746. It
was not until 747 that
Marwan II was able to pacify the provinces; the
Abbasid Revolution began within months.
Nasr ibn Sayyar was appointed governor of Khorosan by Hisham ibn Abd
al-Malik in 738. He held on to his post throughout the civil war,
being confirmed as governor by
Marwan II in the aftermath.
Khorosan's expansive size and low population density meant that the
Arab denizens – both military and civilian – lived largely outside
of the garrisons built during the spread of Islam. This was in
contrast to the rest of the Umayyad provinces, where
Arabs tended to
seclude themselves in fortresses and avoided interaction with the
locals. Arab settlers in Khorasan left their traditional lifestyle
and settled among the native
Iranian peoples . While intermarriage
Arabs elsewhere in the Empire was discouraged or even banned,
it slowly became a habit within eastern Khorasan; as the
adopting Persian dress and the two languages influenced one another,
the ethnic barriers came down.
Support for the
Abbasid Revolution came from people of diverse
backgrounds, with almost all levels of society supporting armed
opposition to Umayyad rule. This was especially pronounced among
Muslims of non-Arab descent, though even Arab Muslims resented
Umayyad rule and centralized authority over their nomadic lifestyles.
Shias supported efforts to overthrow the Umayyads,
as did non-Muslim subjects of the empire who resented religious
DISCONTENT AMONG SHIA MUSLIMS
Qasr Amra , a desert palace where Umayyad princes were
notorious for indulgence and extravagance.
Battle of Karbala
Battle of Karbala which led to the massacre of Husayn
Ali , the grandson of
Muhammad , and his kin and companions by the
Umayyad army in 680 CE, the
Shias used this event as a rallying cry of
opposition against the Umayyads. The Abbasids also used the memory of
Karbala extensively to gain popular support against the Umayyads.
The Hashimiyya movement (a sub-sect of the
Kaysanites Shia ) were
largely responsible for starting the final efforts against the Umayyad
dynasty, initially with the goal of replacing the Umayyads with an
Alid ruling family. To an extent, rebellion against the Umayyads
bore an early association with Shi'ite ideas. A number of Shi'ite
revolts against Umayyad rule had already taken place, though they were
open about their desire for an Alid ruler.
Zayd ibn Ali
Zayd ibn Ali fought the
Umayyads in Iraq, while Abdallah ibn Mu\'awiya even established
temporary rule over Persia. Their murder not only increased
anti-Umayyad sentiment among the Shia, but also gave both
Iraq and Persia a common rallying cry. At the same time,
the capture and murder of the primary Shi'ite opposition figures
rendered the Abbasids as the only realistic contenders for the void
that would be left by the Umayyads.
The Abbasids kept quiet about their identity, simply stating that
they wanted a ruler from the descendant of
Muhammad upon whose choice
as caliph the Muslim community would agree. Many Shi'ites naturally
assumed that this meant an Alid ruler, a belief which the Abbasids
tacitly encouraged to gain Shi'ite support. Though the Abbasids were
members of the
Banu Hashim clan, rivals of the Umayyads, the word
"Hashimiyya" seems to refer specifically to Abd-Allah ibn
al-Hanafiyyah , a grandson of
Ali and son of
According to certain traditions, Abd-Allah died in 717 in Humeima in
the house of Mohammad ibn
Ali Abbasi , the head of the Abbasid family,
and before dying named
Ali as his successor. Although
the anecdote is considered a fabrication, at the time it allowed the
Abbasids to rally the supporters of the failed revolt of Mukhtar
al-Thaqafi , who had represented themselves as the supporters of
Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyya. By the time the revolution was in full
swing, most Kaysanite Shia had either transferred their allegiance to
the Abbasid dynasty (in the case of the Hashimiyya), or had
converted to other branches of Shi'ism and the Kaysanites ceased to
DISCONTENT AMONG SUNNI MUSLIMS WHO WERE NON-ARAB
The Umayyad state is remembered as an Arab-centric state, being run
by and for the benefit of those who were ethnically Arab though Muslim
in creed. The non-Arab Muslims resented their marginal social
position and were easily drawn into Abbasid opposition to Umayyad
Arabs dominated the bureaucracy and military, and were housed
in fortresses separate from the local population outside of Arabia.
Even after converting to Islam, non-
Mawali could not live in
these garrison cities. The non-
Arabs were not allowed to work for the
government nor could they hold officer positions in the Umayyad
military and they still had to pay the jizya tax for non-Muslims.
Non-Muslims under Umayyad rule were subject to these same injunctions.
Racial intermarriage between
Arabs and non
Arabs was rare. When it
did occur, it was only allowed between an Arab man and a non-Arab
woman while non-Arab men were generally not free to marry Arab women.
Islam occurred gradually. If a non-Arab wished to
convert to Islam, they not only had to give up their own names but
also had to remain a second-class citizen. The non-Arab would be
"adopted" by an Arab tribe, though they would not actually adopt the
tribe's name as that would risk pollution of perceived Arab racial
purity. Rather, the non-Arab would take the last name of "freedman of
al-(tribe's name)", even if they were not a slave prior to conversion.
This essentially meant they were subservient to the tribe who
sponsored their conversion.
Although converts to
Islam made up roughly 10% of the native
population – most of the people living under Umayyad rule were not
Muslim – this percent was significant due to the very small number
of Arabs. Gradually, the non-Arab Muslims outnumbered the Arab
Muslims, causing alarm among the Arab nobility. Socially, this posed
a problem as the Umayyads viewed
Islam as the property of the
aristocratic Arab families. There was a rather large financial
problem posed to the Umayyad system as well. If the new converts to
Islam from non-Arab peoples stopped paying the jizya tax stipulated by
the Qur'an for non-Muslims, the empire would go bankrupt. This lack of
civil and political rights eventually led the non-Arab Muslims to
support the Abbasids, despite the latter also being Arab.
Even as the Arab governors adopted the more sophisticated Iranian
methods of governmental administration, non-
Arabs were still prevented
from holding such positions. Non-
Arabs were not even allowed to wear
Arabian style clothing, so strong were the feelings of Arab racial
superiority cultivated by the Umayyads. Much of the discontent this
caused led to the Shu\'ubiyya movement, an assertion of non-Arab
racial and cultural equality with Arabs. The movement gained support
Berber people , though this movement
was most pronounced among Iranian people .
Repression Of Iranian Culture
Coinage depicting Umayyad Caliph
Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan
Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan .
Muslim conquest of Persia
Muslim conquest of Persia was coupled with an anti-Iranian
Arabization policy which led to much discontent. The controversial
Al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf was upset at the usage of Persian
as the court language in the eastern Islamic empire, and ordered all
written and spoken Persian to be suppressed in both government and
even among the general public, by force if necessary. Contemporary
historians record that al-Hajjaj contributed to the death of the
Khwarezmian language , closely related to Persian. Once the Umayyads
Khwarezm , a stronghold of east Iranian civilization,
al-Hajjaj ordered the execution of anyone who could read or write the
language, to the point that only the illiterate remained.
DISCONTENT AMONG NON-MUSLIMS
Support for the
Abbasid Revolution was an early example of people of
different faiths aligning with a common cause. This was due in large
part to policies of the Umayyads which were regarded as particularly
oppressive to anyone following a faith other than Islam. In 741, the
Umayyads decreed that non-Muslims could not serve in government posts.
The Abbasids were aware of this discontent, and made efforts to
balance both its Muslim character as well as its partially non-Muslim
Persecution of Zoroastrians
Persecution of Zoroastrians was part of state policy during the
Umayyad era. Al-Hajjaj allegedly killed all
Zoroastrian clergy upon
the conquest of east Iranian lands, burning all
and destroying most religious buildings. The non-Muslim aristocracy
Merv supported the Abbasids, and thus retained their status as
a privileged governing class regardless of religious belief.
Beginning around 719, Hashimiyya missions began to seek adherents in
Khurasan . Their campaign was framed as one of proselytism . They
sought support for "a member of the House of the Prophet who shall be
pleasing to everyone", without making explicit mention of the
Abbasids. These missions met with success both among
non-Arabs, although the latter may have played a particularly
important role in the growth of the movement. A number of Shi'ite
rebellions – by Kaysanites, Hashimiyya and mainstream Shi'ites –
took place in the final years of Umayyad rule, just around the same
time that tempers were flaring among the Syrian contingents of the
Umayyad army regarding alliances and wrongdoings during the Second
Third Fitna .
At this time
Kufa was the center for the opposition to Umayyad rule,
particularly Ali's supporters and Shias. In 741-42
Abu Muslim made his
first contact with Abbasid agents there, and eventually he was
introduced to the head of Abbasids, Imam Ibrahim , in
Mecca . Around
Abu Muslim assumed leadership of the Hashimiyya in Khurasan.
Unlike the Alid revolts which were open and straightforward about
their demands, the Abbasids along with the Hashimite allies slowly
built up an underground resistance movement to Umayyad rule. Secret
networks were used to build a power base of support in the eastern
Muslim lands to ensure the revolution's success. This buildup not
only took place right on the heels of the
Zaydi Revolt in Iraq, but
also concurrently with the
Berber Revolt in
Maghreb , the
Ibadi rebellion in
Hijaz , and the
Third Fitna in the
Levant , with the revolt of al-Harith ibn Surayj in
Central Asia occurring concurrently with the revolution itself. The
Abbasids spent their preparation time watching as the Umayyad Empire
was besieged from within itself in all four cardinal directions, and
School of Oriental and African Studies
Emeritus G. R.
Hawting has asserted that even if the Umayyad rulers had been aware of
the Abbasids' preparations, it would not have been possible to
mobilize against them.
Revolt Of Ibn Surayj
Al-Harith ibn Surayj
In 746, Ibn Surayj began his revolt at
Merv without success at first,
even losing his secretary
Jahm bin Safwan . After joining forces with
other rebel factions, Ibn Surayj drove Ibn Sayyar and the Umayyad
Nishapur ; the two factions double-crossed each other
shortly thereafter, with Ibn Surayj's faction being crushed. Western
Khorasan was controlled by Abdallah ibn Mu\'awiya at the time, cutting
Ibn Sayyar in the east off from Marwan II. In the summer of 747, Ibn
Sayyar sued for peace , which was accepted by the remaining rebels.
The rebel leader was assassinated by a son of Ibn Surayj in a revenge
attack while at the same time, another Shi'ite revolt had begun in the
villages. The son of the remaining rebels signed the peace accord and
Ibn Sayyar returned to his post in
Merv in August of 747 – just
Abu Muslim initiated a revolt of his own.
On June 9, 747 (Ramadan 25, 129AH),
Abu Muslim successfully initiated
an open revolt against Umayyad rule, which was carried out under the
sign of the
Black Standard . Close to 10,000 soldiers were under
Abu Muslim's command when the hostilities officially began in
On February 14, 748 he established control of Merv, expelling Umayyad
Nasr ibn Sayyar less than a year after the latter had put
down Ibn Surayj's revolt, and dispatched an army westwards.
Newly commissioned Abbasid officer Qahtaba ibn Shabib al-Ta\'i ,
along with his sons
Al-Hasan ibn Qahtaba and
Humayd ibn Qahtaba ,
pursued Ibn Sayyar to
Nishapur and then pushed him further west to
Qumis , in western Iran. That August, al-Ta'i defeated an Umayyad
force of 10,000 at
Gorgan . Ibn Sayyar regrouped with reinforcements
from the Caliph at Rey , only for that city to fall as well as the
Caliph's commander; once again, Ibn Sayyar fled west and died on
December 9, 748 while trying to reach
Hamedan . Al-Ta'i rolled west
through Khorosan, defeating a 50,000 strong Umayyad force at Isfahan
in March 749.
Nahavand , the Umayyads attempted to make their last stand in
Khorosan. Umayyad forces fleeing
Hamedan and the remainder of Ibn
Sayyar's men joined with those already garrisoned. Qahtaba defeated
an Umayyad relief contingent from Syria while his son al-Hasan laid
Nahavand for more than two months. The Umayyad military units
from Syria within the garrison cut a deal with the Abbasids, saving
their own lives by selling out the Umayyad units from Khorosan who
were all put to death. After almost ninety years, Umayyad rule in
Khorosan had finally come to an end.
At the same time that al-Ta'i took Nishapur,
Abu Muslim was
strengthening the Abbasid grip on the Muslim far east. Abbasid
governors were appointed over
Bactria , while the
rebels who had signed a peace accord with
Nasr ibn Sayyar were also
offered a peace deal by
Abu Muslim only to be double crossed and wiped
out. With the pacification of any rebel elements in the east and the
Nahavand in the west, the Abbasids were the undisputed
rulers of Khorosan.
Folio from the records of Balami depicting
As-Saffah as he
receives pledges of allegiance in Kufa.
The Abbasids wasted no time in continuing from Khorosan into
Mesopotamia. In August 749, Umayyad commander Yazid ibn Umar al-Fazari
attempted to meet the forces of al-Ta'i before they could reach
Not to be outdone, the Abbasids launched a nighttime raid on
al-Fazari's forces before they had a chance to prepare. During the
raid, al-Ta'i himself was finally killed in battle. Despite the loss,
al-Fazari was routed and fled with his forces to
Wasit . The Siege of
Wasit took place from that August until July 750. Although a respected
military commander had been lost, a large portion of the Umayyad
forces were essentially trapped inside
Wasit and could be left in
their virtual prison while more offensive military actions were made.
Concurrently with the siege in 749, the Abbasids crossed the
Euphrates and took Kufa. The son of
Khalid al-Qasri – a disgraced
Umayyad official who had been tortured to death a few years prior –
began a pro-Abbasid riot starting at the city's citadel. On September
2, 749, al-Hasan bin Qahtaba essentially just walked right in to the
city and set up shop. Some confusion followed when Abu Salama, an
Abbasid officer, pushed for an Alid leader. Abu Muslim's confidante
Abu Jahm reported what was happening, and the Abbasids acted
preemptively. On Friday, November 28, 749, before the siege of Wasit
had even finished,
As-Saffah , the great-grandson of Muhammad's uncle,
al-Abbas , was recognized as the new caliph in the mosque at Kufa.
Abu Salama, who witnessed twelve military commanders from the
revolution pledging allegiance, was embarrassed into following suit.
Just as quickly as Qahtaba's forces marched from Khorosan to Kufa, so
did the forces of
Abdallah ibn Ali and Abu Awn Abd al-Malik ibn Yazid
Mosul . At this point
Marwan II mobilized his troops from
Harran and advanced toward Mesopotamia. On January 16, 750 the two
forces met on the left bank of a tributary of the Tigris in the Battle
of the Zab , and nine days later
Marwan II was defeated and his army
was completely destroyed. The battle is regarded as what finally
sealed the fate of the Umayyads. All
Marwan II could do was flee
through Syria and into Egypt, with each Umayyad town surrendering to
the Abbasids as they swept through in pursuit.
Damascus fell to the Abbasids in April, and in August
Marwan II and
his family were tracked down by a small force led by Abu Awn and Salih
Ali (the brother of Abdallah ibn Ali) and killed in Egypt.
Al-Fazari, the Umayyad commander at Wasit, held out even after the
Marwan II in January. The Abbasids promised him amnesty in
July, but immediately after he exited the fortress they executed him
instead. After almost exactly three years of rebellion, the Umayyad
state came to an end.
Militarily, the unit organization of the Abbasids was designed with
the goal of ethnic and racial equality among supporters. When Abu
Muslim recruited mixed Arab and Iranian officers along the Silk Road,
he registered them based not on their tribal or ethno-national
affiliations but on their current places of residence. This greatly
diminished tribal and ethnic solidarity and replaced both concepts
with a sense of shared interests among individuals.
Abbasid Revolution provides an early medieval example of the
effectiveness of propaganda. The
Black Standard unfurled at the start
of the revolution's open phase carried messianic overtones due to past
failed rebellions by members of Muhammad's family, with marked
eschatological and millennial slants. The Abbasids – their leaders
descended from Muhammad's uncle
Al-‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib –
held vivid historical reenactments of the murder of Muhammad's
Husayn ibn Ali
Husayn ibn Ali by the army of the second Umayyad ruler Yazid
I , followed by promises of retribution. Focus was carefully placed
on the legacy of Muhammad's family while details of how the Abbasids
actually intended to rule were not mentioned. While the Umayyads had
primarily spent their energy on wiping out the Alid line of the
prophetic family, the Abbasids carefully revised Muslim chronicles to
put a heavier emphasis on the relationship between
Muhammad and his
The Abbasids spent more than a year preparing their propaganda drive
against the Umayyads. There were a total of seventy propagandists
throughout the province of Khorasan, operating under twelve central
Abbasid Revolution was distinguished by a number of tactics which
were absent in the other, unsuccessful anti-Umayyad rebellions at the
time. Chief among them was secrecy. While the Shi'ite and other
rebellions at the time were all led by publicly known leaders making
clear and well-defined demands, the Abbasids hid not only their
identities but also their preparation and mere existence. As-Saffah
would go on to become the first Abbasid caliph, but he did not come
forward to receive the pledge of allegiance from the people until
after the Umayyad caliph and a large number of his princes were
Abu Muslim al-Khorasani, who was the primary Abbasid military
commander, was especially mysterious; even his name, which literally
means "father of a Muslim from the large, flat area of the eastern
Muslim empire" gave no meaningful information about him personally.
Even today, although scholars are sure he was one real, consistent
individual, there is broad agreement that all concrete suggestions of
his actual identity are doubtful.
Abu Muslim himself discouraged
inquiries about his origins, emphasizing that his religion and place
of residence were all that mattered.
Whoever he was,
Abu Muslim built a secret network of pro-Abbasid
sentiment based among the mixed Arab and Iranian military officers
Silk Road garrison cities. Through this networking, Abu
Muslim ensured armed support for the Abbasids from a multi-ethnic
force years before the revolution even came out in the open. These
networks proved essential, as the officers garrisoned along the Silk
Road had spent years fighting the ferocious Turkic tribes of Central
Asia and were experienced and respected tacticians and warriors.
National borders in the region by 800AD.
The victors desecrated the tombs of the Umayyads in Syria , sparing
only that of
Umar II , and most of the remaining members of the
Umayyad family were tracked down and killed. When Abbasids declared
amnesty for members of the Umayyad family, eighty gathered in
receive pardons and all were massacred.
In the immediate aftermath, the Abbasids moved to consolidate their
power against former allies now seen as rivals. Five years after the
Abu Muslim was accused of heresy and treason by
the second Abbasid caliph al-Mansur .
Abu Muslim was executed at the
palace in 755 despite his reminding al-Mansur that it was he (Abu
Muslim) who got the Abbasids into power, and his travel companions
were bribed into silence. Displeasure over the caliph's brutality as
well as admiration for
Abu Muslim led to rebellions against the
Abbasid Dynasty itself throughout Khorasan and
Although Shi'ites were key to the revolution's success, Abbasid
attempts to claim orthodoxy in light of Umayyad material excess led to
continued persecution of Shi'ites. On the other hand, non-Muslims
regained the government posts they had lost under the Umayyads. Jews,
Nestorian Christians , Zoroastrians and even
re-integrated into a more cosmopolitan empire centered around the new,
ethnically and religiously diverse city of Baghdad.
The Abbasids were essentially puppets of secular rulers starting from
950, though their lineage as nominal caliphs continued until 1258
when the Mongol hordes killed the last Abbasid caliph in Baghdad.
The period of actual, direct rule by the Abbasids lasted almost
exactly two-hundred years.
One grandson of
Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik , Abd ar-Rahman I , survived
and established a kingdom in
Iberia ) after five
years of travel westward. Over the course of thirty years, he
ousted the ruling
Fihrids and resisted Abbasid incursions to establish
Emirate of Córdoba
Emirate of Córdoba . This is considered an extension of the
Umayyad Dynasty, and ruled from Cordoba from 756 until 1031.
Abbasid Revolution has been of great interest to both Western and
Muslim historians. According to State University of New York
professor of sociology
Saïd Amir Arjomand , analytical
interpretations of the revolution are rare, with most discussions
simply lining up behind either the Iranic or Arabic interpretation of
events. Frequently, early European historians viewed the conflict
solely as a non-Arab uprising against Arabs.
Bernard Lewis , professor
emeritus of Near Eastern Studies at
Princeton University , points out
that while the revolution has often been characterized as a Persian
victory and Arab defeat, the caliph was still Arab, the language of
administration was still Arabic and Arab nobility was not forced to
give up its land holdings; rather, the
Arabs were merely forced to
share the fruits of the empire equally with other races.
Al-Ukhaidir Fortress , an early example of Abbasid architecture.
C.W. Previté-Orton argues that the reasons for the decline of the
Umayyads was the rapid expansion of Islam. During the Umayyad period,
mass conversions brought Iranians , Berbers ,
Copts , and Assyrians to
Islam. These "clients," as the
Arabs referred to them, were often
better educated and more civilised than their Arab masters. The new
converts, on the basis of equality of all Muslims, transformed the
political landscape. Previté-Orton also argues that the feud between
Iraq further weakened the empire.
The revolution led to the enfranchisement of non-Arab people who had
converted to Islam, granting them social and spiritual equality with
Arabs. With social restrictions removed,
Islam changed from an Arab
ethnic empire to a universal world religion. This led to a great
cultural and scientific exchange known as the
Islamic Golden Age
Islamic Golden Age ,
with most achievements taking place under the Abbasids. What was later
known as Islamic civilization and culture was defined by the Abbasids,
rather than the earlier Rashidun and Umayyad caliphates. New ideas
in all areas of society were accepted regardless of their geographic
origin, and the emergence of societal institutions that were Islamic
rather than Arab began. Though a class of Muslim clergy was absent for
the first century of Islam, it was with the
Abbasid Revolution and
after that the
Ulama appeared as a force in society, positioning
themselves as the arbitors of justice and orthodoxy.
With the eastward movement of the capital from
Damascus to Baghdad,
the Abbasid Empire eventually took on a distinctly Persian character,
as opposed to the Arab character of the Umayyads. Rulers became
increasingly autocratic, at times claiming divine right in defense of
An accurate and comprehensive history of the revolution has proven
difficult to compile for a number of reasons. There are no
contemporary accounts, and most sources were written more than a
century after the revolution. Because most historical sources were
written under Abbasid rule, the description of the Umayyads must be
taken with a grain of salt; such sources describe the Umayyads, at
best, as merely placeholders between the Rashidun and Abbasid
The historiography of the revolution is especially significant due to
Abbasid dominance of most early Muslim historical narratives; it was
during their rule that history was established in the
Muslim world as
an independent field separate from writing in general. The initial
two-hundred year period when the Abbasids actually held de facto power
Muslim world coincided with the first composition of Muslim
history. Another point of note is that while the Abbasid Revolution
carried religious undertones against the irreligious and almost
secular Umayyads, a separation of mosque and state occurred under the
Abbasids as well. Historiographical surveys often focus on the
solidifying of Muslim thought and rites under the Abbasids, with the
conflicts between separated classes of rulers and clerics giving rise
to the empire's eventual separation of religion and politics.
* Muslim conquest of the
* ^ Paul Rivlin, Arab Economies in the Twenty-First Century, p. 86.
Cambridge University Press, 2009. ISBN 9780521895002
* ^ A B
Saïd Amir Arjomand , Abd Allah Ibn al-Muqaffa and the
Abbasid Revolution. Iranian Studies , vol. 27, #1-4.
Routledge , 1994.
* ^ A B C D E Hala Mundhir Fattah, A Brief History of Iraq, p. 77.
New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009. ISBN 9780816057672
* ^ A B C D E
G. R. Hawting , The First Dynasty of Islam: The
Umayyad Caliphate AD 661-750, p. 105. London: Routledge, 2002. ISBN
* ^ A B
Peter Stearns ,
Michael Adas , Stuart Schwartz and Marc
Jason Gilbert."The Umayyad Imperium." Taken from World
Civilizations:The Global Experience, combined volume. 7th ed.
Pearson Education , 2014. ISBN 9780205986309
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