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Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Mansur (Arabic: أبو عبد الله محمد بن عبد الله المنصور‎; 744 or 745 – 785), better known by his regnal name al-Mahdi (المهدي, "He who is guided by God"), was the third Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliph
Caliph
who reigned from 775 to his death in 785. He succeeded his father, al-Mansur.

Contents

1 Early life 2 Reign 3 Cultural and Administrative Aspects of his Reign 4 References 5 Bibliography

Early life[edit] Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
was born in 744 or 745 AD in the village of Humeima (modern-day Jordan). His mother was called Arwi, and his father was al-Mansur. When al-Mahdi was ten years old, his father became the second Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliph.[1] When al-Mahdi was young, his father, the Caliph
Caliph
al-Mansur, needed to establish al-Mahdi as a powerful figure in his own right. So, on the east bank of the Tigris, al-Mansur oversaw the construction of East Baghdad, with a mosque and royal palace at its heart. Construction in the area was also heavily financed by the Barmakids, and the area became known as Rusafa.[2] When he was 15-years-old, a-Mahdi was sent to defeat the uprising of Abdur Rahman bin Abdul Jabbar Azdi in Greater Khorasan. He also defeated the uprisings of Ispahbud, the governor of Tabaristan, and Astazsis[verification needed] , massacring more than 70,000 of his followers in Khorasan. These campaigns put Tabaristan, which was only nominally within the caliphate, firmly under Abbasid
Abbasid
control.[3] In 762 AD, al-Mahdi was the governor of the Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliphate's eastern region, based in Ray. It was here that he fell in love with al-Khayzuran and had several children, including the fourth and fifth future Caliphs, al-Hadi and Harun al-Rashid.[4] Around 770 AD (153 AH), al-Mahdi was appointed as Amir al-hajj.[1] Reign[edit] Al-Mahdi's father, Al-Mansur, died on the hajj to Mecca
Mecca
in 775. The throne then passed to Al-Mansur's chosen successor, his son Al-Mahdi. According to Marozzi, "[it] was, by the standards of the future, blood-soaked successions of the Abbasid
Abbasid
caliphate, a model of order and decorum."[5] Al-Mahdi, whose nickname means "Rightly-guided" or "Redeemer", was proclaimed caliph when his father was on his deathbed. His peaceful reign continued the policies of his predecessors. Rapprochement with the Alids
Alids
in the Caliphate
Caliphate
occurred under al-Mahdi's reign. The powerful Barmakid family, which had advised the Caliphs since the days of Abu al-‘Abbās as viziers, gained even greater powers under al-Mahdi's rule, and worked closely with the caliph to ensure the prosperity of the Abbasid
Abbasid
state. Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
reigned for ten years. He imprisoned his most trusted vizier Ya'qub ibn Dawud. In the year 167 AH/ 783 AD, al-Mahdi instituted an official inquisition which led to the execution of alleged Zindiq (heretics). He was fond of music and poetry and during his caliphate many musicians and poets received his patronage and he supported musical expression and poetry across his dominion; accordingly, his son Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi (779–839) and his daughter ‘Ulayya bint al-Mahdī (777-825) were both noted poets and musicians.[6] In 775, a Byzantine envoy, Tarath, travelled to Baghdad
Baghdad
to convey the congratulations of the Byzantine emperor to Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
on his accession to the throne. Tarath was so pleased with the hospitality he received that he offered to put his engineering knowledge to use and build a mill that would generate annual profits, of 500,000 dirhams, equal to the cost of its construction. On completion, the envoy's forecast proved to be correct, and so, delighted, Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
ordered that all profits should be given to the envoy, even after he left Baghdad. It is believed this continued to his death, in 780.[7] In 777 AD (160 AH) he put down the insurrection of Yusuf ibn Ibrahim in Khurasan. In the same year al-Mahdi deposed Isa ibn Musa as his successor and appointed his own son Musa al-Hadi
Musa al-Hadi
in his place and took allegiance (bayah) for him from the nobles. In 778 AD (161 AH), he subdued the rebellion of Abdullah ibn Marwan ibn Muhammad, who was leading the Umayyad remnant in Syria. Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
was poisoned by one of his concubines in 785 AD (169 AH).

Dirham
Dirham
of Al-Mahdi, 166 AH, Kirman, silver 2.95 g.

Cultural and Administrative Aspects of his Reign[edit] The cosmopolitan city of Baghdad
Baghdad
blossomed during al-Mahdi's reign. The city attracted immigrants from Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Persia, and lands as far away as Afghanistan
Afghanistan
and Spain. Baghdad
Baghdad
was home to Christians, Jews, Hindus
Hindus
and Zoroastrians, in addition to the growing Muslim population. It became the world's largest city. Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
continued to expand the Abbasid
Abbasid
administration, creating new diwans, or departments: for the army, the chancery, and taxation. Qadis or judges were appointed, and laws against non-Arabs were dropped. The Barmakid family staffed these new departments. The Barmakids, who were of Persian extraction, had originally been Buddhists. Their short-lived Islamic legacy would count against them during the reign of Harun al-Rashid. The introduction of paper from China (see Battle of Talas) in 751 had a profound effect. Paper
Paper
had not yet been used in the West with the Arabs and Persians using papyrus and the Europeans using vellum. The paper related industry boomed in Baghdad
Baghdad
where an entire street in the city center became devoted to sale of paper and books. The cheapness and durability of paper was vital element in the efficient growth of the expanding Abbasid
Abbasid
bureaucracy. Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
had two important religious policies: the persecution of the zanadiqa, or dualists, and the declaration of orthodoxy. Al-Mahdi focused on the persecution of the zanadiqa in order to improve his standing among the purist Shi'i, who wanted a harder line on heresies, and found the spread of syncretic Muslim-polytheist sects to be particularly virulent. Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
declared that the caliph had the ability, and indeed the responsibility, to define the orthodox theology of Muslims to protect the umma against heresy. Al-Mahdi
Al-Mahdi
made great use of this broad, new power, and it would become important during the 'mihna' crisis of al-Ma'mun's reign. References[edit]

Wikisource
Wikisource
has original works written by or about: Al-Mahdi

^ a b "The Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliphs During the Lifetime of Imam Reza (A.S.)". Imam Reza Network. Retrieved 10 December 2016.  ^ Marozzi, pp. 21–2 ^ Toyib, p. 36 ^ Kennedy, Hugh (2004). "The True Caliph
Caliph
of the Arabian Nights". History Today. 54 (9).  ^ Marozzi, pp. 25–6 ^ Hilary Kilpatrick, ‘Mawālī and Music’, in Patronate and Patronage in Early and Classical Islam, ed. by Monique Bernards and John Nawas (Leiden: Brill, 2005) pp. 326-48. ^ Marozzi, p. 25

Bibliography[edit]

al-Masudi. The Meadows of Gold, The Abbasids. transl. Paul Lunde and Caroline Stone, Kegan Paul, London and New York, 1989. Marozzi, Justin. Baghdad: City of Peace, City of Blood. Penguin Books, 2015. Toyib, Biodun. Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliphate. School of Art and Social Sciences, National Open University of Nigeria, 2011.

Al-Mahdi Abbasid Cadet branch of the Banu Quraish Born:  ? Died: 785

Sunni Islam
Islam
titles

Preceded by Al-Mansur Caliph
Caliph
of Islam Abbasid
Abbasid
Dynasty 775 – 785 Succeeded by Al-Hadi

v t e

Abbasid
Abbasid
Caliphs

Caliphs of Baghdad (749–1258)

as-Saffah al-Mansur al-Mahdi al-Hadi Harun al-Rashid al-Amin Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi[B] al-Ma'mun al-Mu'tasim al-Wathiq al-Mutawakkil al-Muntasir al-Musta'in al-Mu'tazz al-Muhtadi al-Mu'tamid al-Mu'tadid al-Muktafi al-Muqtadir Abdallah ibn al-Mu'tazz[B] al-Qahir ar-Radi al-Muttaqi al-Mustakfi al-Muti at-Ta'i al-Qadir al-Qa'im al-Muqtadi al-Mustazhir al-Mustarshid ar-Rashid al-Muqtafi al-Mustanjid al-Mustadi al-Nasir az-Zahir al-Mustansir al-Musta'sim (Mongol conquest)

Caliphs of Cairo (1261–1517)

al-Mustansir al-Hakim I al-Mustakfi I al-Wathiq I al-Hakim II al-Mu'tadid I al-Mutawakkil I al-Musta'sim al-Mutawakkil I al-Wathiq II al-Musta'sim al-Mutawakkil I al-Musta'in al-Mu'tadid II al-Mustakfi II al-Qa'im al-Mustanjid al-Mutawakkil II al-Mustamsik al-Mutawakkil III al-Mustamsik al-Mutawakkil III (Ottoman conquest)

[B] indicates ephemeral caliphs recognized in the city of Baghdad
Baghdad
only

Authority control

WorldCat Identities VIAF: 4031

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