ABD-AR-RAHMAN III (′ABD AR-RAHMāN IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ′ABD ALLāH
IBN MUHAMMAD IBN ′ABD AR-RAHMAN IBN AL-HAKAM AR-RABDI IBN HISHAM IBN
′ABD AR-RAHMAN AD-DAKHIL; Arabic : عبد الرحمن
الثالث; 11 January 889/91 – 15 October 961) was the Emir
* 1 Life
* 1.1 Early years * 1.2 Accession to throne * 1.3 Early rule * 1.4 Ibn Hafsun and other rebels * 1.5 The Levente and Algarve rebels * 1.6 Assumption of the Caliphate * 1.7 War with the Christian kingdoms of the north * 1.8 Later years
* 2 Legacy * 3 Ancestry * 4 Notes and references * 5 Bibliography * 6 External links
Abd ar-Rahman was born in Córdoba , the grandson of Abdullah ibn
Muhammad al-Umawi , seventh independent
Muhammad was assassinated by his brother Al-Mutarrif, who had
allegedly grown jealous of the favour Muhammad had gained in the eyes
of their father Abdallah. Al-Mutarrif had accused Muhammad of plotting
with the rebel
Umar ibn Hafsun
ACCESSION TO THRONE
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From the very early stages of his reign, Abd ar-Rahman showed a firm resolve to quash the rebels of al-Andalus, consolidate centralized power, and reestablish internal order within the emirate. Within 10 days of taking the throne, he exhibited the head of a rebel leader in Cordoba. From this point on he led annual expeditions against the northern and southern tribes to maintain control over them. To accomplish his aims he introduced into the court the saqalibah , slaves of East European origin. The saqalibah represented a third ethnic group that could neutralize the endless strife between his subjects of Muslim Arab heritage, and those of Muslim Berber heritage.
Hasdai ibn Shaprut , a Jewish courtier of the king's court who served as financier to the king, wrote of the king's revenues on this wise:
The revenue of the king amounts annually to 100,000 florins, this arising only from the income derived from the numerous merchants who come hither from various countries and isles. All their commerce and affairs must be subjected to my guidance, praised be the Almighty, who bestows his mercy upon me! The kings of the world no sooner perceive of the greatness of my monarch, than they hasten to convey to him presents in abundance. It is myself who am appointed to receive such presents, and at the same time to return rewards awarded to them.
During the first 20 years of his rule, Abd ar-Rahman avoided military
action against the northern Christian kingdoms, Asturias and the
Kingdom of Navarre
He first had to suppress the rebel Umar ibn Hafsun. On 1 January 913
an army, led by the eunuch Badr, conquered the fortress of
Écija , at
some 50 kilometres (31 mi) from the capital. All the city's
fortifications were destroyed, aside from the citadel, which was left
as residence of the governor and a garrison for the emiral troops. In
the following spring, after sixty-five days of meticulous
preparations, Abd ar-Rahman personally led an expedition to the south
of his realm. His troops were able to recover the coras (provinces) of
Jaén and Granada , while a cavalry detachment was sent to free
In the first year of his reign, Abd ar-Rahman took advantage of the
rivalries between the Banu Hayyay lords of
The region of
IBN HAFSUN AND OTHER REBELS
Abd ar-Rahman's next objective was to quash the longstanding rebellion of Umar ibn Hafsun.
His troops left Córdoba on 7 May 914 and, after a few days, encamped before the walls of Balda (identified with today's Cuevas de San Marcos ). His cavalry ravaged the nearby woods and the countryside, while the rest of the troopes moved to Turrus, a castle located in the present municipality of Algarinejo , which was surrounded within five days, while its environs were also devastated.
Abd ar-Rahman launched three different campaigns against Ibn Hafsun (who died in 917) and his sons. Among them, Jafar ibn Hafsun held the stronghold of Toledo. Abd ar-Rahman ordered ravaged the city's countryside. Jafar, after two years of siege, escaped the city to ask for help in the northern Christian kingdoms. In the meantime Abd ar-Rahman obtained the surrender of the city from its population, after promising them immunity, although 4,000 rebel men escaped in a night sally. The city surrendered on 2 August 932, after a siege of two years.
In 921 the Banu Muhallab of
The last of Ibn Hafsun to fall was Hafs, who commanded his powerful fortress of Umar ibn Hafsun. Surrounded by Abd ar-Rahman's vizier Said ibn al-Mundhir who had ordered the construction of bastions around the city, he resisted the siege for six months, until he surrendered in 928 and had his life spared.
THE LEVENTE AND ALGARVE REBELS
The continued expeditions against the Hafsunids did not distract Abd
ad-Rahman III from the situation of other regions in al-Andalus, which
recognized him only nominally, if not being in open revolt. Most of
the loyal governors of the cities were in a weak position, such as the
In much of the eastern and western province, Abd ar-Rahman's
authority was completely unrecognized. The lord of Badajoz, Abd Allah
ibn Muhammad, grandson of
Abd-ar-Rahman ibn Marwan al-Yilliqi, not
only fortified his city against a possible attack from Ordoño, but
also acted in complete independence from Córdoba. To avoid the fall
The absence of royal authority enabled Ordoño II to easily campaign in this area, his main objective being the city of Mérida , in the summer of 915. Abd ar-Rahman III did not send an army and only several local Berber jefes offered some resistance which was ineffective.
ASSUMPTION OF THE CALIPHATE
Letter proclaiming Abd-ar-Rahman III's assumption of the Caliph title We are the most worthy to fulfil our right, and the most entitled to complete our good fortune, and to put on the clothing granted by the nobility of God, because of the favour which He has shown us, and the renown which He has given us, and the power to which He has raised us, because of what He has enabled us to acquire, and because of what He has made easy for us and for our state to achieve; He has made our name and the greatness of our power celebrated everywhere; and He has made the hopes of the worlds depend on us , and made their errings turn again to us and their rejoicing at good news be (rejoicing at good news) about our dynasty . And praise be to God, possessed of grace and kindness, for the grace which He has shown, most worthy of superiority for the superiority which He has granted us. We have decided that the da‘wa should be to us as Commander of the Faithful and that letters emanating from us or coming to us should be in the same manner. Everyone who calls himself by this name apart from ourselves is arrogating it to himself and trespassing upon it and is branded with something to which he has no right. We know that if we were to continue the neglect of this duty which is owed to us in this matter then we should be forfeiting our right and neglecting our title, which is certain. So order the khaṭīb in your place to pronounce using and address your communications to us accordingly, if God will. Written on Thursday, 2 Dhū al-Ḥijja 316 . Translated by David Wasserstein
In the next year, despite having defeated only some of the rebels,
Abd ar-Rahman III considered himself powerful enough to declare
Abd ar-Rahman's move made him both the political and the religious leader of all the Muslims in al-Andalus, as well as the protector of his Christian and Jewish subjects. The symbols of his new caliphate power were a scepter (jayzuran) and the throne (sarir). In the mint he had founded in November 928, Abd ar-Rahman started to coin golden dinars and silver dirhams, replacing the "al-Andalus" title with his name.
In his new role of caliph, he achieved the surrender of
In the end he was able to create a protectorate covering the northern
and central Maghreb, supporting the
WAR WITH THE CHRISTIAN KINGDOMS OF THE NORTH
Even before al-Andalus was firmly under his rule, he had restarted
the war against King
Ordoño II of León
Recognizing he had underestimated the power of Ordoño II, in 920 Abd
ar-Rahman mustered another powerful army to reclaim the territories
lost after the previous campaign. He captured the forts of
In 924 Abd-ar-Rahman felt obliged to avenge the massacre of Viguera castle perpetrated by King Sancho Ordóñez of Navarre one year earlier. he launched counter offensive against Sancho in which Abd-ar-Rahman devastated a large area of Basque territory.
The succession crisis which struck León after Ordoño II's death in
the same year caused hostilities to cease until Ramiro II obtained the
throne in 932; a first attempt by him to assist the besieged rebels in
Toledo was repelled in 932, despite the Christian king capturing
In 934, after reasserting supremacy over
Despite early defeats, Ramiro and García were able to crush the
caliphate army in 939 at the
Battle of Simancas
In 950 Abd ar-Rahman received in Córdoba an embassy from count Borrell II of Barcelona , by which the northern county recognized caliphate supremacy in exchange for peace and mutual support. In 958, Sancho , the exiled king of Leon , Garcia Sanchez , King of Navarre , and Queen Toda all paid homage to Abd-ar-Rahman in Cordoba .
Until 961, the caliphate played an active role in the dynastic strife
characterizing the Christian kingdom during the period. Ordoño III's
half-brother and successor, Sancho the Fat , had been deposed by his
cousin Ordoño IV . Together with his grandmother Toda of Navarre,
Sancho sought an alliance with Córdoba. In exchange for some castles,
Abd-ar-Rahman helped them to take back Zamora (959) and
Abd-ar-Rahman was accused of having sunk in his later years into the self-indulgent habits of the harem . He is known to have openly kept a male as well as a female harem. This likely influenced the polemical story of his falling in love with a 13-year-old boy (later enshrined as a Christian martyr and canonised as Saint Pelagius of Córdoba ) who refused the Caliph's advances. The love story may have been a construct on top of an original tale, however, in which he ordered the boy-slave to convert to Islam. Either way, enraged, he had the boy tortured and dismembered, thus contributing to the Christian perception of Muslim brutality.
Abd-ar-Rahman spent the rest of his years in his new palace outside Córdoba. He died in October 961 and was succeeded by his son al-Hakam II .
Abd-ar-Rahman was a patron of arts, especially architecture. A third
of his revenue sufficed for the ordinary expenses of government, a
third was hoarded, and a third was spent on buildings. After
declaring the caliphate, he had a massive palace complex, known as the
Under his reign, Córdoba became the most important intellectual centre of Western Europe. He expanded the city's library, which would be further enriched by his successors.
I have now reigned above fifty years in victory or peace; beloved by my subjects, dreaded by my enemies, and respected by my allies. Riches and honours, power and pleasure, have waited on my call, nor does any earthly blessing appear to have been wanting to my felicity. In this situation, I have diligently numbered the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to Fourteen: - O man! place not thy confidence in this present world!
He also reinforced the Iberian fleet, which became the most powerful
Due to his consolidation of power, Muslim Iberia became a power for a
few centuries. It also brought prosperity, and with this he created
mints where pure gold and silver coins were created. He renovated and
added to the
Mosque–Cathedral of Córdoba
He was very wary of losing control and kept tight reins in his
family. In 949, he executed one of his sons for conspiring against
him. He was tolerant of non-Muslims, Jews and Christians who were
treated fairly. European nations sent emissaries such as from Otto I
of Germany, and the
Abd-ar-Rahman III's mother Muzna was a Christian captive, possibly
from the Pyrenean region. His paternal grandmother Onneca Fortúnez
was a Christian princess from the Kingdom of
ANCESTORS OF ABD-AR-RAHMAN III
16. Abd ar-Rahman II,
8. Muhammad I,
20. García Íñiguez, King of
10. Fortún Garcés, King of
1. ABD-AR-RAHMAN III, CALIPH OF CóRDOBA
3. Muzna (originally Maria?)
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ A B C D E Fletcher, Richard (2006) . "Chapter 4: The Caliphate
of Córdoba". Moorish Spain (2nd ed.). Berkeley, California:
University of California Press. pp. 53–54. ISBN 978-0-520-24840-3 .
* ^ A B Wasserstein, David (1993). The Caliphate in the West: An
Islamic Political Institution in the Iberian Peninsula (snippet view).
Oxford: Clarendon Press. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-19-820301-8 . Retrieved 5
* ^ Azizur Rahman, Syed (2001). The Story of Islamic Spain (snippet
view). New Delhi: Goodword Books. p. 129. ISBN 978-81-87570-57-8 .
Retrieved 5 September 2010. 16 Oct., 912 after 26 years of writing an
intro to the first caliph and leaving his fragmented and bankrupt
kingdom to his grandson ‘Abd ar-Rahman. The following day, the new
sultan received the oath of allegiance at a ceremony held in the
"Perfect salon" (al-majils al-kamil) of the Alcazar.
* ^ Byers, Paula Kay, ed. (1998). "Abd al-Rahman III". Encyclopedia
of World Biography. Volume 1: A – Barbosa (2nd ed.). Thomson Gale.
p. 14. ISBN 978-0-7876-2541-2 . Retrieved 5 September 2010.
* ^ A B Gordon, Matthew (2005). "Document 15: Abd al-Rahman III of
al-Andalus". The Rise of Islam. Greenwood guides to historic events of
the medieval world. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group.
p. 151. ISBN 978-0-313-32522-9 .
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q "'Abd ar-Rahman III".
Encyclopædia Britannica. I: A-Ak - Bayes (15th ed.). Chicago, IL:
Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2010. pp. 17–18. ISBN
* ^ Kennedy, Hugh N. (1996). Muslim Spain and Portugal: A Political
History of al-Andalus (snippet view). London: Longman. p. 99. ISBN
978-0-582-49515-9 . Retrieved 6 September 2010. The
* Coope, Jessica (1995). Martyrs of Córdoba: Community and Family
Conflict in an Age of Mass Conversion. Lincoln: University of Nebraska
Press. ISBN 0-8032-1471-5 .
* Fierro, Maribel (2005). Abd-al-Rahman III of Córdoba. Oxford:
Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-384-4 .
Ibn Idhari (1860) .
Al-Bayan al-Mughrib (in Spanish). Volume 1.
trans. Francisco Fernández y González. Granada: Francisco Ventura y
* "Abd-er-Rahman III.". Collier\'s New Encyclopedia . 1921.
Abd-ar-Rahman III BANU UMAYYAH Cadet branch of the BANU QURAISH
Preceded by Abdallah ibn