al-Mansur

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Al-Mansur
أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور
2nd Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Caliph of Baghdad
Reign754 AD – 775 AD
Predecessoras-Saffah
Successoral-Mahdi
Full name
Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur
FatherMuhammad
MotherSallama
Born714 AD
Syria
Died775 AD
near Mecca
ReligionIslam
 
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For other uses, see Al-Mansur (disambiguation).
Al-Mansur
أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور
2nd Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Caliph of Baghdad
Reign754 AD – 775 AD
Predecessoras-Saffah
Successoral-Mahdi
Full name
Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur
FatherMuhammad
MotherSallama
Born714 AD
Syria
Died775 AD
near Mecca
ReligionIslam

Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 775 AD);[1] Arabic: أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎) was the second Abbasid Caliph from 136 AH to 158 AH (754 AD – 775 AD).[2][3] He is generally regarded as the real founder of the Abbasid Caliphate.

Biography[edit]

Al-Mansur was born at the home of the 'Abbasid family after their emigration from the Hejaz in 95 AH (714 CE). "His father, Muhammad, was reputedly a great-grandson of Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the youngest uncle of Mohammad; his mother, as described in the 14th century Moroccan historical work Rawd al-Qirtas was one Sallama, "a Berber woman given to his father." [4] He reigned from Dhu al-Hijjah 136 AH until Dhu al-Hijjah 158 AH (754 CE – 775 CE). In 762 he founded as new imperial residence and palace city Madinat as-Salam (the city of peace), which became the core of the Imperial capital Baghdad.[5]

Al-Mansur was concerned with the solidity of his regime after the death of his brother Abu'l `Abbas (later known as as-Saffah). In 754 he defeated Abdallah ibn Ali's bid for the Caliphate, and in 755 he arranged the assassination of Abu Muslim. Abu Muslim was a loyal freed man from the eastern Iranian province of Khorasan who had led the Abbasid forces to victory over the Umayyads during the Third Fitna in 749–750; he was subordinate to al-Mansur but also the undisputed ruler of Iran and Transoxiana. The assassination seems to have been made to preclude a power struggle in the empire; some findings suggest[citation needed] that Abu Muslim became incredulous and paranoid and that this 'necessitated' the assassination.

When Isa ibn Musa, al-Mansur's intended successor, fell under suspicion of corruption, al-Mahdi was appointed in his stead and publicly swore allegiance. Like his elder brother Saffah he wanted to unite the land, so he got rid of all of his opposition.[citation needed]

During his reign, Islamic literature and scholarship in the Islamic world began to emerge in full force, supported by new Abbasid tolerances for Persians and other groups which had been suppressed by the Umayyads. Although the Umayyad caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik had adopted Persian court practices, it was not until al-Mansur's reign that Persian literature and scholarship were truly appreciated in the Islamic world. Shu'ubiya emerged at this time, due to loosened censorship over Persian nationalism; it was a literary movement among Persians which expressed their belief in the superiority of Persian art and culture, and catalyzed the emergence of Arab-Persian dialogues in the 8th century CE.

Perhaps more importantly than the emergence of Persian scholarship was the conversion of many non-Arabs to Islam. The Umayyads actively tried to discourage conversion in order to continue the collection of the jizya (tax on non-Muslims). The inclusiveness of the al-Mansur's regime (which would continue under subsequent Abbasid rulers) saw the spread of Islam within Abbasid borders: from 750 to 775, the Muslim population of the caliphate increased from 8% to 15%.[citation needed]

In 756, al-Mansur sent over 4,000 Arab mercenaries to assist the Chinese in the An Shi Rebellion against An Lushan; after the war, they remained in China.[6][7][8][9][10] Al-Mansur was referred to as "A-p'u-ch'a-fo" in the Chinese T'ang Annals.[11][12][13][14][15][16][17] [18][19][20][21][22]

Al-Mansur died in 775 on his way to Mecca to make hajj. He was buried somewhere along the way in one of hundreds of graves dug in order to hide his body from the Umayyads. He was succeeded by his son, al-Mahdi.

According to a number of sources, Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man (who founded a school of jurisprudence) was imprisoned by al-Mansur. Malik ibn Anas, the founder of another school, was flogged during his rule, but al-Mansur himself did not condone this – in fact, it was his cousin, the governor of Madinah at the time, who ordered it (and was punished for doing so).[23]

Character[edit]

A mancus issued under the Saxon king Offa of Mercia (757–796), copied from a gold dinar of Al-Mansur's reign. It combines the Latin legend OFFA REX with Arabic legends. The date of A.H. 157 (773–774 CE) is readable.[24] British Museum.

Al-Masudi in Meadows of Gold tells of a blind poet, on two occasions, reciting poems of praise for the Umayyads to one he didn't realize was this Abbasid; al-Mansur nonetheless rewarded the poet for the verses. Another tale describes an arrow, with verses inscribed on feathers and shaft, landing near al-Mansur; these verses prompt him to investigate a notable from Hamadan who had been unjustly imprisoned, and release him. There is also an account of foreboding verses al-Mansur saw written on the wall just before his death.

When al-Mansur died, the caliphate's treasury contained 600,000 dirhams and fourteen million dinars.[citation needed]

In 2008, MBC 1 depicted the life and leadership of al-Mansur in a historical series aired during the holy month of Ramadan.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Al-Souyouti, Tarikh Al-Kholafa'a (The History of Caliphs)
  2. ^ Stanley Lane-Poole, The Coins of the Eastern Khaleefahs in the British Museum
  3. ^ Axworthy, Michael (2008); A History of Iran; Basic, USA; ISBN 978-0-465-00888-9. See p.81.
  4. ^ World's Great Men of Color vol. II
  5. ^ Charles Wendell (1971). "Baghdad: Imago Mundi, and Other Foundation-Lore". International Journal of Middle East Studies 2. 
  6. ^ Oscar Chapuis (1995). A history of Vietnam: from Hong Bang to Tu Duc. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 92. ISBN 0313296227. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Joseph Mitsuo Kitagawa (2002). The religious traditions of Asia: religion, history, and culture. Routledge. p. 283. ISBN 0700717625. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  8. ^ Bradley Smith, Wango H. C. Weng (1972). China: a history in art. Harper & Row. p. 129. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  9. ^ Hugh D. R. Baker (1990). Hong Kong images: people and animals. Hong Kong University Press. p. 53. ISBN 9622092551. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  10. ^ Charles Patrick Fitzgerald (1961). China: a short cultural history. Praeger. p. 332. Retrieved 28 June 2010. 
  11. ^ Marshall Broomhall (1910). Islam in China: a neglected problem. LONDON 12 PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.C.: Morgan & Scott, ltd. pp. 25, 26. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "CHAPTER II CHINA AND THE ARABS From the Rise of the Abbaside Caliphate With the rise of the Abbasides we enter upon a somewhat different phase of Moslem history, and approach the period when an important body of Moslem troops entered and settled within the Chinese Empire. While the Abbasides inaugurated that era of literature and science associated with the Court at Bagdad, the hitherto predominant Arab element began to give way to the Turks, who soon became the bodyguard of the Caliphs, " until in the end the Caliphs became the helpless tools of their rude protectors." Several embassies from the Abbaside Caliphs to the Chinese Court are recorded in the T'ang Annals, the most important of these being those of (A-bo-lo-ba) Abul Abbas, the founder of the new dynasty, that of (A-p'u-cKa-fo) Abu Giafar, the builder of Bagdad, of whom more must be said immediately; and that of (A-lun) Harun al Raschid, best known, perhaps, in modern days through the popular work, Arabian Nights.1 The Abbasides or " Black Flags," as they were commonly called, are known in Chinese history as the Heh-i Ta-shih, " The Black-robed Arabs." Five years after the rise of the Abbasides, at a time when Abu Giafar, the second Caliph, was busy plotting the assassination of his great and able rival Abu Muslim, who is regarded as " the leading figure of the age " and the de facto founder of the house of Abbas so far as military prowess is concerned, a terrible rebellion broke out in China. This was in 755 A.d., and the leader was a Turk or Tartar named An Lu-shan. This man, who had gained great favour with the Emperor Hsuan Tsung, and had been placed at the head of a vast army operating against the Turks and Tartars on the north-west frontier, ended in proclaiming his independence and declaring war upon his now aged Imperial patron. The Emperor, driven from his capital, abdicated in favour of his son, Su Tsung (756–763 A.D.), who at once appealed to the Arabs for help. The Caliph Abu Giafar, whose army, we are told by Sir William Muir, " was fitted throughout with improved weapons and armour," responded to this request, and sent a contingent of some 4000 men, who enabled the Emperor, in 757 A.d., to recover his two capitals, Sianfu and Honanfu. These Arab troops, who probably came from some garrison on the frontiers of Turkestan, never returned to their former camp, but remained in China, where they married Chinese wives, and thus became, according to common report, the real nucleus of the naturalised Chinese Mohammedans of to-day. ^ While this story has the support of the official history of the T'ang dynasty, there is, unfortunately, no authorised statement as to how many troops the Caliph really sent.1 The statement, however, is also supported by the Chinese Mohammedan inscriptions and literature. Though the settlement of this large body of Arabs in China may be accepted as probably the largest and most definite event recorded concerning the advent of Islam, it is necessary at the same time not to overlook the facts already stated in the previous chapter, which prove that large numbers of foreigners had entered China prior to this date." 
  12. ^ Frank Brinkley (1902). China: its history, arts and literature, Volume 2. Volumes 9–12 of Trübner's oriental series. BOSTON AND TOKYO: J.B.Millet company. pp. 149, 150, 151, 152. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "It would seem, however, that trade occupied the attention of the early Mohammedan settlers rather than religious propagandism; that while they observed the tenets and practised the rites of their faith in China, they did not undertake any strenuous campaign against either Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, or the State creed, and that they constituted a floating rather than a fixed element of the population, coming and going between China and the West by the oversea or the overland routes. According to Giles, the true stock of the present Chinese Mohammedans was a small army of four thousand Arabian soldiers, who, being sent by the Khaleef Abu Giafar in 755 to aid in putting down a rebellion, were subsequently permitted to * * settle in China, where they married native wives. The numbers of this colony received large accessions in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries during the conquests of Genghis, and ultimately the Mohammedans formed an appreciable element of the population, having their own mosques and schools, and observing the rites of their religion, but winning few converts except among the aboriginal tribes, as the Lolos and the Mantsu. Their failure as propagandists is doubtless due to two causes, first, that, according to the inflexible rule of their creed, the Koran might not be translated into Chinese or any other foreign language; secondly and chiefly, that their denunciations of idolatry were as unpalatable to ancestor-worshipping Chinese as were their interdicts against pork and wine. They were never prevented, however, from practising their faith so long as they obeyed the laws of the land, and the numerous mosques that exist throughout China prove what a large measure of liberty these professors of a strange creed enjoyed. One feature of the mosques is noticeable, however: though distinguished by large arches and by Arabic inscriptions, they are generally constructed and arranged so as to bear some resemblance to Buddhist temples, and they have tablets carrying the customary ascription of reverence to the Emperor of China, — facts suggesting that their builders were not entirely free from a sense of the inexpediency of differentiating the evidences of their religion too conspicuously from those of the popular creed. It has been calculated that in the regions north of the Yangtse the followers of Islam aggregate as many as ten millions, and that eighty thousand are to be found in one of the towns of Szchuan. On the other hand, just as it has been shown above that although the Central Government did not in any way interdict or obstruct the tradal operations of foreigners in early times, the local officials sometimes subjected them to extortion and maltreatment of a grievous and even unendurable nature, so it appears that while as a matter of State policy, full tolerance was extended to the Mohammedan creed, its disciples frequently found themselves the victims of such unjust discrimination at the hand of local officialdom that they were driven to seek redress in rebellion. That, however, did not occur until the nineteenth century. There is no evidence that, prior to the time of the Great Manchu Emperor Chienlung (1736–1796), Mohammedanism presented any deterrent aspect to the Chinese. That renowned ruler, whose conquests carried his banners to the Pamirs and the Himalayas, did indeed conceive a strong dread of the potentialities of Islamic fanaticism reinforced by disaffection on the part of the aboriginal tribes among whom the faith had many adherents. He is said to have entertained at one time the terrible project of eliminating this source of danger in Shensi and Kansuh by killing every Mussulman found there, but whether he really contemplated an act so foreign to the general character of his procedure is doubtful. The broad fact is that the Central Government of China has never persecuted Mohammedans or discriminated against them. They are allowed to present themselves at the examinations for civil or military appointments, and the successful candidates obtain office as readily as their Chinese competitors." Original from the University of California
  13. ^ Frank Brinkley (1904). Japan [and China]: China; its history, arts and literature. Volume 10 of Japan [and China]: Its History, Arts and Literature. LONDON 34 HENRIETTA STREET, W. C. AND EDINBURGH: Jack. pp. 149, 150, 151, 152. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "It would seem, however, that trade occupied the attention of the early Mohammedan settlers rather than religious propagandism; that while they observed the tenets and practised the rites of their faith in China, they did not undertake any strenuous campaign against either Buddhism, Confucianism, Taoism, or the State creed, and that they constituted a floating rather than a fixed element of the population, coming and going between China and the West by the oversea or the overland routes. According to Giles, the true stock of the present Chinese Mohammedans was a small army of four thousand Arabian soldiers, who, being sent by the Khaleef Abu Giafar in 755 to aid in putting down a rebellion, were subsequently permitted to settle in China, where they married native wives. The numbers of this colony received large accessions in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries during the conquests of Genghis, and ultimately the Mohammedans formed an appreciable element of the population, having their own mosques and schools, and observing the rites of their religion, but winning few converts except among the aboriginal tribes, as the Lolos and the Mantsu. Their failure as propagandists is doubtless due to two causes, first, that, according to the inflexible rule of their creed, the Koran might not be translated into Chinese or any other foreign language; secondly and chiefly, that their denunciations of idolatry were as unpalatable to ancestor-worshipping Chinese as were their interdicts against pork and wine. They were never prevented, however, from practising their faith so long as they obeyed the laws of the land, and the numerous mosques that exist throughout China prove what a large measure of liberty these professors of a strange creed enjoyed. One feature of the mosques is noticeable, however: though distinguished by large arches and by Arabic inscriptions, they are generally constructed and arranged so as to bear some resemblance to Buddhist temples, and they have tablets carrying the customary ascription of reverence to the Emperor of China, — facts suggesting that their builders were not entirely free from a sense of the inexpediency of differentiating the evidences of their religion too conspicuously from those of the popular creed. It has been calculated that in the regions north of the Yangtse the followers of Islam aggregate as many as ten millions, and that eighty thousand are to be found in one of the towns of Szchuan. On the other hand, just as it has been shown above that although the Central Government did not in any way interdict or obstruct the tradal operations of foreigners in early times, the local officials sometimes subjected them to extortion and maltreatment of a grievous and even unendurable nature, so it appears that while as a matter of State policy, full tolerance was extended to the Mohammedan creed, its disciples frequently found themselves the victims of such unjust discrimination at the hand of local officialdom that they were driven to seek redress in rebellion. That, however, did not occur until the nineteenth century. There is no evidence that, prior to the time of the Great Manchu Emperor Chienlung (1736–1796), Mohammedanism presented any deterrent aspect to the Chinese. That renowned ruler, whose conquests carried his banners to the Pamirs and the Himalayas, did indeed conceive a strong dread of the potentialities of Islamic fanaticism reinforced by disaffection on the part of the aboriginal tribes among whom the faith had many adherents. He is said to have entertained at one time the terrible project of eliminating this source of danger in Shensi and Kansuh by killing every Mussulman found there, but whether he really contemplated an act so foreign to the general character of his procedure is doubtful. The broad fact is that the Central Government of China has never persecuted Mohammedans or discriminated against them. They are allowed to present themselves at the examinations for civil or military appointments, and the successful candidates obtain office as readily as their Chinese competitors." Original from Princeton University
  14. ^ Arthur Evans Moule (1914). The Chinese people: a handbook on China .... LONDON NORTHUMBERLAND AVENUE, W.C.: Society for promoting Christian knowledge. p. 317. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "ough the actual date and circumstances of the introduction of Islam into China cannot be traced with certainty further back than the thirteenth century, yet the existence of settlements of foreign Moslems with their Mosques at Ganfu (Canton) during the T'ang dynasty (a.d. 618—907) is certain, and later they spread to Ch'uan-chou and to Kan-p'u, Hangchow, and perhaps to Ningpo and Shanghai. These were not preaching or proselytising inroads, but commercial enterprises, and in the latter half of the eighth century there were Moslem troops in Shensi, 3,000 men, under Abu Giafar, coming to support the dethroned Emperor in A.D. 756. In the thirteenth century the influence of individual Moslems was immense, especially that of the Seyyid Edjell Shams ed-Din Omar, who served the Mongol Khans till his death in Yunnan A.d. 1279. His family still exists in Yunnan, and has taken a prominent part in Moslem affairs in China. The present Moslem element in China is most numerous in Yunnan and Kansu; and the most learned Moslems reside chiefly in Ssuch'uan, the majority of their books being printed in the capital city, Ch'eng-tu. Kansu is perhaps the most dominantly Mohammedan province in China, and here many different sects are found, and mosques with minarets used by the orthodox muezzin calling to prayer, and in one place veiled women are met with. These, however, are not Turks or Saracens, but for the most part pure Chinese. The total Moslem population is probably under 4,000,000, though other statistical estimates, always uncertain in China, vary from thirty to ten millions; but the figures given here are the most reliable at present obtainable, and when it is remembered that Islam in China has not been to any great extent a preaching or propagandist power by force or the sword, it is difficult to understand the survival and existence of such a large number as that, small, indeed, compared with former estimates, but surely a very large and vigorous element." Original from the University of California
  15. ^ Herbert Allen Giles (1886). A glossary of reference on subjects connected with the Far East (2 ed.). HONGKONG: Messrs. Lane. p. 141. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "MAHOMEDANS: IEJ Iej. First settled in China in the Year of the Mission, A.D. 628, under Wahb-Abi-Kabcha a maternal uncle of Mahomet, who was sent with presents to the Emperor. Wahb-Abi-Kabcha travelled by sea to Cantoa, and thence overland to Si-ngan Fu, the capital, where he was well received. The first mosque was built at Canton, where, after several restorations, it still exists. Another mosque was erected in 742, but many of these M. came to China simply as traders, and by and by went back to their own country. The true stock of the present Chinese Mahomedans was a small army of 4,000 Arabian soldiers sent by the Khaleef Abu Giafar in 755 to aid in putting down a rebellion. These soldiers had permission to settle in China, where they married native wives; and three centuries later, with the conquests of Genghis Khan, largo numbers of Arabs penetrated into the Empire and swelled the Mahomedan community." Original from the New York Public Library
  16. ^ Herbert Allen Giles (1926). Confucianism and its rivals. Forgotten Books. p. 139. ISBN 1606802488. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "In7= 789 the Khalifa Harun al Raschid dispatched a mission to China, and there had been one or two less important missions in the seventh and eighth centuries; but from 879, the date of the Canton massacre, for more than three centuries to follow, we hear nothing of the Mahometans and their religion. They were not mentioned in the edict of 845, which proved such a blow to Buddhism and Nestorian Christianityl perhaps because they were less obtrusive in ithe propagation of their religion, a policy aided by the absence of anything like a commercial spirit in religious matters." 
  17. ^ Confucianism and its Rivals. Forgotten Books. p. 223. ISBN 145100849X. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "The first mosque built at Canton, where, after several restorations, it may still be seen. The minaret, known as the Bare Pagoda, to distinguish it from a much more ornamental Buddhist pagoda near by, dates back to 850. There must at that time have been a considerable number of Mahometans in Canton, thought not so many as might be supposed if reliance could be placed on the figures given in reference to a massacre which took place in 879. The fact is that most of these Mahometans went to China simply as traders; they did not intend to settle permanently in the country, and when business permitted, they returned to their old haunts. About two thousand Mussulman families are still to be found at Canton, and a similar number at Foochow; descendants, perhaps, of the old sea-borne contingents which began to arrive in the seventh and eighth centuries. These remnants have nothing to do with the stock from which came the comparatively large Mussulman communities now living and practising their religion in the provinces of Ssŭch'uan, Yünnan, and Kansuh. The origin of the latter was as follows. In A.D. 756 the Khalifa Abu Giafar sent a small army of three thousand Arab soldiers to aid in putting down a rebellion." 
  18. ^ Everett Jenkins (1999). The Muslim diaspora: a comprehensive reference to the spread of Islam in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Americas. Volume 1 of The Muslim Diaspora (illustrated ed.). McFarland. p. 61. ISBN 0786404310. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "China • Arab troops were dispatched by Abu Gia- far to China." (Original from the University of Michigan )
  19. ^ Travels in Indo-China and the Chinese empire. p. 295. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  20. ^ Stanley Ghosh (1961). Embers in Cathay. Doubleday. p. 60. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "During the reign of Abbassid Caliph Abu Giafar in the middle of the eighth century, many Arab soldiers evidently settled near the garrisons on the Chinese frontier." (Original from the University of Michigan, Library of Catalonia )
  21. ^ Heinrich Hermann (1912). Chinesische Geschichte (in German). D. Gundert. p. 77. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "785, als die Tibeter in China einfielen, sandte Abu Giafar eine zweite Truppe, zu deren Unterhalt die Regierung die Teesteuer verdoppelte. Sie wurde ebenso angesiedelt. 787 ist von 4000 fremden Familien aus Urumtsi und Kaschgar in Si-Ngan die Rede: für ihren Unterhalt wurden 500000 Taël" (Original from the University of California )
  22. ^ Deutsche Literaturzeitung für Kritik der Internationalen Wissenschaft, Volume 49, Issues 27–52. Weidmannsche Buchhandlung. 1928. p. 1617. Retrieved 14 December 2011. "Die Fassung, daß mohammedanische Soldaten von Turkestan ihre Religion nach China gebracht hätten, ist irreführend. Das waren vielmehr die 4000 Mann, die der zweite Kalif Abu Giafar 757 schickte, ebenso wie die Hilfstruppen 785 bei dem berühmten Einfali der Tibeter. Die Uiguren waren damals noch" (Original from Indiana University )
  23. ^ Ya'qubi, vol.III, p. 86; Muruj al-dhahab, vol.III, p. 268–270.
  24. ^ Medieval European Coinage By Philip Grierson p.330

Bibliography[edit]

Al-Mansur
Born: 712 Died: 775
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
As-Saffah
Caliph of Islam
754–775
Succeeded by
Al-Mahdi