List of Abbasid Caliphs
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List of Abbasid Caliphs

The Abbasid caliphs were the holders of the Islamic title of caliph who were members of the Abbasid dynasty, a branch of the Quraysh tribe descended from the uncle of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, al-Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib.


The family came to power in the Abbasid Revolution in 748-750, supplanting the Umayyad Caliphate. They were the rulers of the Abbasid Caliphate, as well as the generally recognized ecumenical heads of Islam, until the 10th century, when the Shi'a Fatimid Caliphate (established in 909) and the Caliphate of Córdoba (established in 929) challenged their primacy. The political decline of the Abbasids had begun earlier, during the Anarchy at Samarra (861-870), which accelerated the fragmentation of the Muslim world into autonomous dynasties. The caliphs lost their temporal power in 936-946, first to a series of military strongmen, and then to the Shi'a Buyid dynasty that seized control of Baghdad; the Buyids were in turn replaced by the Sunni Seljuk Turks in the mid-11th century, and Turkish rulers assumed the title of "Sultan" to denote their temporal authority. The Abbasid caliphs remained the generally recognized suzerains of Sunni Islam, however. In the mid-12th century, the Abbasids regained their independence from the Seljuks, but the revival of Abbasid power ended with the Sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258.

In 1261, the Abbasid caliphate was re-established by a cadet branch of the dynasty at Cairo, under the auspices of the local Mamluk sultans. Once again, the caliph was a purely religious and symbolic figure, while temporal power rested with the Mamluks. The revived Abbasid caliphate lasted until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517, after which the caliphal title passed to the Ottoman dynasty.

Most Abbasid caliphs were born to a concubine mother, known as umm al-walad (Arabic: ‎, lit. 'mother of the child'). The term refers to a slave woman who had a child from her owner; those women were renowned for their beauty and intelligence, in that the owner might recognize the legitimacy of his children from them to be legally free and with full rights of inheritance, and refrain from trading the mothers afterwards.[1] Those concubines mostly were Abyssinians, Armenians, Berbers, Byzantine Greeks, Turkish or even from Sicily.

List of Abbasid caliphs

Caliphs of Baghdad (25 January 750 - 20 February 1258)

No. Reign Regnal Name Personal Name Parents Notes
1. 750 - 10 June 754 as-Saff Ab?'l-?Abb?s ?Abd All?h
2. 10 June 754 - 775 al-Manr Ab? Ja?far ?Abd All?h
3. 775 - 4 August 785 al-Mahd? bi-'ll?h Ab? ?Abd All?h Mu?ammad
  • Al-Mansur
  • Umm Musa (Arwa bint Mansur al-Himyari)
4. August 785 - 14 September 786 al-H?d? Ab? Mu?ammad M?s?
5. 14 September 786 - 24 March 809 H?r?n ar-Rash?d H?r?n
6. March 809 - 24/25 September 813 al-Am?n Ab? M?s? Mu?ammad
7. September 813 - 9 August 833 al-Ma?m?n Ab?'l-?Abb?s ?Abd All?h
8. 9 August 833 - 5 January 842 al-Mu?ta?im bi-'ll?h Ab? Isq Mu?ammad
  • Establishment of the Turkish ghilman in positions of power. Militarization and centralization of the administration.
  • Move of the capital to Samarra (836).
9. 5 January 842 - 10 August 847 al-W?thiq bi-'ll?h Ab? Ja?far H?r?n
10. 10 August 847 - 11 December 861 al-Mutawakkil ?al? 'll?h Ja?far
  • End of official support for Mu'tazilism, abolition of the mi?nah (848/851). Return to Sunni orthodoxy.
  • Assassinated by the Turkish military.
11. 861 - 7 or 8 June 862 al-Munta?ir bi-'ll?h Ab? Ja?far Mu?ammad
12. 862 - 866 al-Mustan bi-?ll?h A?mad
13. 866 - 869 al-Mu?tazz bi-?ll?h Ab? ?Abd All?h Mu?ammad
14. 869 - 21 June 870 al-Muhtad? bi-'ll?h Ab? Isq Mu?ammad
15. 21 June 870 - 15 October 892 al-Mu?tamid ?al? 'll?h Ab?'l-?Abb?s A?mad
16. October 892 - 5 April 902 al-Mu?ta?id bi-'ll?h Ab?'l-?Abb?s A?mad
  • Height of the "Abbasid revival". Recovery of Jazira, Thughur, Jibal.
  • Return of the capital to Baghdad.
  • Start of the Qarmatian missionary activity and raids.
17. 5 April 902 - 13 August 908 al-Muktaf? bi-'ll?h Ab? A?mad ?Al?
  • Recovery of Egypt and Syria from the Tulunids. End of the "Abbasid revival".
18. 13 August 908 - 929 al-Muqtadir bi-'ll?h Ab?'l-Fa?l Ja?far
19. 929 al-Q?hir bi-'ll?h Ab? al-Manr Mu?ammad
20. 929 - 31 October 932 al-Muqtadir bi-'ll?h Ab?'l-Fa?l Ja?far
  • See #18
21. 31 October 932 - 934 al-Q?hir bi-'ll?h Ab? al-Manr Mu?ammad
  • See #19
  • Second reign
22. 934 - 23 December 940 ar-R bi-'ll?h Ab?'l-?Abb?s A?mad/Mu?ammad
23. 940 - 944 al-Muttaq? li-'ll?h Ab? Isq Ibr?h?m
  • Beginning of the later Abbasid period.
  • Overthrown and blinded by the am?r al-umar Tuzun.
24. September 944 - 29 January 946 al-Mustakf? bi-?ll?h ?Abd All?h
25. 29 January 946 - 974 al-Mu li-?ll?h Ab?'l-Q?sim al-Fa?l
26. 974 - 991 a?-i? li-amri ?ll?h Abd al-Kar?m
27. 1 November 991 - 29 November 1031 al-Q?dir bi-'ll?h A?mad
28. 29 November 1031 - 2 April 1075 al-Qim bi-amri 'll?h
29. 2 April 1075 - February 1094 al-Muqtad? bi-amri 'll?h Ab?'l-Q?sim ?Abd All?h
30. February 1094 - 6 August 1118 al-Musta?hir bi-'ll?h Ab? l-?Abb?s A?mad
  • First Crusade (1096-1099); establishment of the Crusader states in the Levant.
31. 6 August 1118 - 29 August 1135 al-Mustarshid bi-'ll?h Ab?'l-Manr al-Fa?l
32. 29 August 1135 - 1136 ar-R?shid bi-'ll?h Abu Ja?far al-Manr
33. 1136 - 12 March 1160 al-Muqtaf? li-?amri 'll?h Ab? ?Abd All?h Mu?ammad
34. 12 March 1160 - 20 December 1170 al-Mustanjid bi-'ll?h Ab?'l-Mu?affar Y?suf
35. 20 December 1170 - 30 March 1180 al-Musta bi-amri ?ll?h al-?asan
36. 2 March 1180 - 4 October 1225 an-Nir li-D?ni'll?h Abu'l-?Abb?s A?mad
37. 5 October 1225 - 11 July 1226 a?-hir bi-amri'll?h Mu?ammad
38. 11 July 1226 - 2 December 1242 al-Mustan?ir bi-'ll?h Ab? Ja?far al-Manr
39. 2 December 1242 - 20 February 1258 al-Mustaim bi-'ll?h ?Abd All?h

Caliphs of Cairo (13 June 1261 - 22 January 1517)

The Cairo Abbasids were largely ceremonial caliphs under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate that existed after the takeover of the Ayyubid dynasty.[2][3]

No. Reign Regnal Name Personal Name Parents Notes
1. 13 June 1261 - 28 November 1261 al-Mustan?ir bi-ll?h Ab?'l-Q?sim A?mad
  • Installed as Caliph in Cairo, Egypt by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars in 1261. Title also claimed by al-Hakim I, installed as caliph by the ruler of Aleppo, Aqqush al-Burli
2. 16 November 1262 - 19 January 1302 al-kim bi-Amri'll?h I Ab?'l-?Abb?s A?mad
3. 20 January 1302 - February 1340 al-Mustakf? bi-ll?h I Ab? ar-Rab Sulaym?n
4. February 1340 - 17 June 1341 al-W?thiq bi-'ll?h I Ab? ?Isq ?Ibr?h?m
5. 1341 - 1352 al-kim bi-Amri'll?h II Ab?'l-?Abbas ?A?mad
6. 1352 - 1362 al-Mu?ta?id bi-'ll?h I Ab? al-Fat? Ab? Bakr
7. 1362 - 1377 al-Mutawakkil ?al?'ll?h I Ab? ?Abd All?h Mu?ammad
  • First reign
8. 1377 al-Mustaim bi-'ll?h Ab? Ya?ya Zakar?y
  • First reign
9. 1377 - 1383 al-Mutawakkil ?al?'ll?h I Ab? ?Abd All?h Mu?ammad
  • Second reign
10. September 1383 - 13 November 1386 al-W?thiq bi-'ll?h II Ab? ?af? ?Umar
11. 1386 - 1389 al-Mustaim bi-'ll?h Ab? Ya?ya Zakar?y
  • Second reign
12. 1389 - 9 January 1406 al-Mutawakkil ?al?'ll?h I Ab? ?Abd All?h Mu?ammad
  • Third reign
13. 22 January 1406 - 9 March 1414 al-Mustan bi-'ll?h Ab? al-Fa?l al-?Abbas
  • Became Sultan of Egypt from 7 May - 6 November 1412, as a titular figurehead for Shaykh al-Mahmudi.
14. 1414 - 1441 al-Mu?ta?id bi-'ll?h II Ab? al-Fat? D?wud
15. 1441 - 29 January 1451 al-Mustakf? bi-ll?h II Ab? al-Rab Sulaym?n
16. 1451 - 1455 al-Qim bi-?amr All?h Ab? al-Baq ?amza
17. 1455 - 7 April 1479 al-Mustanjid bi-'ll?h Ab? al-Masin Y?suf
18. 5 April 1479 - 27 September 1497 al-Mutawakkil ?al?'ll?h II Ab? al-?Izz ?Abd al-?Az?z
19. 1497 - 1508 al-Mustamsik bi-'ll?h Ab? al-?abr Yaq?b
  • First reign
20. 1508 - 1516 al-Mutawakkil ?al?'ll?h III Mu?ammad
  • First reign
21. 1516 - 1517 al-Mustamsik bi-'ll?h Ab? al-?abr Yaq?b
  • Second reign
22. 1517 al-Mutawakkil ?al?'ll?h III Mu?ammad

Genealogy

Genealogical tree of the Abbasid family. In green, the Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad. In yellow, the Abbasid caliphs of Cairo. Muhammad is included (in caps) to show the kinship of the Abbasids with him.

References

  1. ^ "Umm al-Walad". Oxford Islamic Studies.
  2. ^ Bosworth 2004, p. 7
  3. ^ Houtsma & Wensinck 1993, p. 3

Bibliography


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