Histories & Culture

The Abbasids descend from Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib, and related to the Quraysh and the Mudar tribes.

Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib, uncle of the Prophet Mohammad, converted to Islam after the Battle of Badr. He lived through the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, dying at the age of 88 during the caliphate of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan in the year 32 AH.

His descendants became the Abbasid Caliphate, which reigned from 742 until the fall of Baghdad in 1258AD at the hands of the Mongols.

Prominent Abbasids:
- Abdullah ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Ali, known as “Al-Saffah” (“The Bloody”).

- Abu Ja'ffar al-Mansour, who founded Baghdad and made it his capital city in 762AD. He laid down the laws of the Abbasid state, subjugated the Allawis and put down the rebellion of Muhammad Zay al-Nafs al-Zakiya in Medina on the Arabian Peninsula. He also put down the revolt of Ibrahim Akhi Muhammad in Kufa, Iraq, and the revolt of al-Muqanna’ in Persia.

- Harun al-Rashid, under whose reign the Abbasid caliphate reached the height of its power and prosperity, and expanded its conquests. Harun was interested in architecture and the sciences and literature and support of the scholars.

- Al-Ma’mun, who founded the “House of Wisdom” in Baghdad, leading to a flourishing translation movement during his time and the movement towards Arabic.

Source text:
Translated from the Arabic by Andrew Leber, Brown University, Class of 2012.