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For other uses, see Al-Mansur (disambiguation). Al-Mansur_sentence_0



أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصورAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_0_0

2nd Caliph of the Abbasid CaliphateAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_1_0
ReignAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_2_0 10 June 754 – 6 October 775Al-Mansur_cell_0_2_1
PredecessorAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_3_0 as-SaffahAl-Mansur_cell_0_3_1
SuccessorAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_4_0 al-MahdiAl-Mansur_cell_0_4_1
BornAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_6_0 714 AD

Humeima, Bilad al-Sham (modern-day Jordan)Al-Mansur_cell_0_6_1

DiedAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_7_0 6 October 775 (aged 61)

near Mecca, Abbasid Caliphate (modern-day Saudi Arabia)Al-Mansur_cell_0_7_1

BurialAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_8_0 Al-Ma'lat CemeteryAl-Mansur_cell_0_8_1
SpouseAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_9_0 ListAl-Mansur_cell_0_9_1
IssueAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_10_0 Al-MahdiAl-Mansur_cell_0_10_1
Full nameAbu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-MansurAl-Mansur_cell_0_11_0
Full nameAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_12_0
DynastyAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_13_0 AbbasidAl-Mansur_cell_0_13_1
FatherAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_14_0 Muhammad ibn AliAl-Mansur_cell_0_14_1
MotherAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_15_0 SallamahAl-Mansur_cell_0_15_1
ReligionAl-Mansur_header_cell_0_16_0 Sunni IslamAl-Mansur_cell_0_16_1

Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (/ælmænˈsʊər/; Arabic: أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎‎; 95AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 6 October 775 AD) was the second Abbasid Caliph reigning from 136 AH to 158 AH (754 AD – 775 AD) and succeeding his brother Abu al-'Abbas al-Saffah. Al-Mansur_sentence_1

Al-Mansur is generally regarded as the real founder of the Abbasid Caliphate, one of the largest polities in world history, for his role in stabilizing and institutionalizing the dynasty. Al-Mansur_sentence_2

He is also known for founding the 'round city' of Madinat al-Salam which was to become the core of imperial Baghdad. Al-Mansur_sentence_3

Background and early life Al-Mansur_section_0

Al-Mansur was born at the home of the Abbasid family in Humeima (modern-day Jordan) after their emigration from the Hejaz in 714 (95 AH). Al-Mansur_sentence_4

His father, Muhammad, was a great-grandson of Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib, the youngest uncle of the prophet Muhammad. Al-Mansur_sentence_5

His mother, as described in the 14th-century Moroccan historical work Rawd al-Qirtas, was one Sallama, "a Berber slave woman given to his father." Al-Mansur_sentence_6

He reigned from Dhu al-Hijjah 136 AH until Dhu al-Hijjah 158 AH (754 – 775). Al-Mansur_sentence_7

He ruled for nine days less than twenty-two years. Al-Mansur_sentence_8

Al-Mansur was proclaimed Caliph on his way to Mecca in the year 753 (136 AH) and was inaugurated the following year. Al-Mansur_sentence_9

Mansur's uncle, Isa ibn Ali, pledged an oath of allegiance first to Mansur and then to Isa ibn Musa who was to be his successor on Sunday, 12 Dhu al-Hijja 136 AH/754 AD. Al-Mansur_sentence_10

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. Al-Mansur_sentence_11

Before ascending to the throne, Al Mansur's bid for Caliph came under contention by a number of ambitious army commanders. Al-Mansur_sentence_12

He was involved in the murder of several individuals that helped lead the Abbasid movement that brought them power; most likely as a strategy to eliminate potential rivals. Al-Mansur_sentence_13

Al Mansur had a formidable rival in his uncle Abdullah ibn Ali, who, with the help of the famous general, Abu Muslim, he defeated in 754 AD. Al-Mansur_sentence_14

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. Al-Mansur_sentence_15

Assassination of Abu Muslim and aftermath Al-Mansur_section_1

Fearing Abu Muslim's power and growing popularity among the people, Al-Mansur carefully planned his assassination. Al-Mansur_sentence_16

Abu Muslim was conversing with the Caliph when, at an appointed signal, four (some sources say five) of his guards rushed in and fatally wounded the general. Al-Mansur_sentence_17

John Aikin, in his work General Biography, narrates that Mansur, not content with the assassination, committed "outrages on the dead body, and kept it several days in order to glut his eyes with the spectacle. Al-Mansur_sentence_18

". Al-Mansur_sentence_19

The assassination of Abu Muslim caused uproars throughout the province of Khorasan. Al-Mansur_sentence_20

In 755, Sandbad (Sunpadh), an Iranian nobleman from the House of Karen, led a revolt against Al-Mansur, taking the cities of Nishapur, Qumis, and Ray. Al-Mansur_sentence_21

In Ray, he seized the treasuries of Abu Muslim. Al-Mansur_sentence_22

He gained many supporters form Jibal and Tabaristan, including the Dabuyid ruler, Khurshid, who was paid with money from the treasuries. Al-Mansur_sentence_23

A force of 10,000 under Abbasid commander Jahwar ibn Marrar al-lijli was ordered to march without delay to Khorasan to fight the rebellion. Al-Mansur_sentence_24

Sandbad was defeated and Khorasan reclaimed by the Abbasids. Al-Mansur_sentence_25

Al-Mansur sent an official to take inventory of the spoils collected from the battle as a precautionary measure against acquisition by his army. Al-Mansur_sentence_26

Angered by Mansur's avarice, Jahwar gained support from his troops after informing them of his intention to split the treasures evenly, and revolted against the Caliph. Al-Mansur_sentence_27

This raised alarm in the Caliph's court and Al-Mansur ordered Mohammad ibn Ashar to march towards Khorasan. Al-Mansur_sentence_28

Jahwar, knowing his troops were at a disadvantage, retired to Isfahan and fortified in preparation. Al-Mansur_sentence_29

Mohammad's army pressed the rebel forces and Jahwar fled to Azerbaijan. Al-Mansur_sentence_30

Jahwar's forces were cut to pieces, but he escaped Mohammad's pursuit. Al-Mansur_sentence_31

This campaign lasted from 756 to 762 AD (138 to 144 AH). Al-Mansur_sentence_32

After relieving former vizier ibn Attiya al-Bahili, Al-Mansur transferred his duties to Abu Ayyub al-Muriyani from Khuzestan. Al-Mansur_sentence_33

Abu Ayyub was previously a secretary to Sulayman ibn Habib ibn al-Muhallab, who in the past, had condemned Mansur to be whipped and flogged to pieces. Al-Mansur_sentence_34

Abu Ayyub rescued Mansur from this punishment and solidified a close relationship with the Caliph. Al-Mansur_sentence_35

Nevertheless, after appointing him as vizier, Mansur suspected Abu Ayyub of various crimes, including extortion and treachery, which led to the latter's assassination. Al-Mansur_sentence_36

The vacant secretary role was granted to Aban ibn Sadaqa until the death of the Caliph. Al-Mansur_sentence_37

Foundation of Baghdad Al-Mansur_section_2

In 757 AD, al-Mansur sent a large army to Cappadocia which fortified the city of Malatya. Al-Mansur_sentence_38

In this same year, he confronted a group of the Rawandiyya from the region of Greater Khorasan that were performing circumambulation around his palace as an act of worship. Al-Mansur_sentence_39

The confrontation turned violent and Al Mansur was graciously saved by former Umayyad general Ma'n ibn Za'ida al-Shaybani, who had, prior to this event, gone into hiding following the Abbasid Revolution. Al-Mansur_sentence_40

The Abbasids had previously accepted the support of the Rawandiyya prior to their uprising, but, after rising to power, the Caliphate cut ties with them because of their unorthodox beliefs. Al-Mansur_sentence_41

Al-Mansur was disconcerted by the Rawandiyya insurgency, and in 762, he founded the new imperial residence and palace city Madinat as-Salam (the city of peace), which became the core of the Imperial capital Baghdad. Al-Mansur_sentence_42

This was in response to a growing concern from the chief towns in Iraq, Basra, and Kufa that there was lack of solidity within the regime after the death of Abu'l 'Abbas (later known as as-Saffah). Al-Mansur_sentence_43

Another reason for the construction of the new capital was the growing need to house and provide stability for a rapidly developing Abbasid bureaucracy forged under the influence of Iranian ideals. Al-Mansur_sentence_44

Mansur even considered using ruins from the last Iranian capital, Ctesiphon, in the construction of Baghdad. Al-Mansur_sentence_45

In 767 AD, Mansur routed another revolt in Khorasan, the leader of which claimed to be a prophet. Al-Mansur_sentence_46

Foreign policy Al-Mansur_section_3

During his reign, Islamic literature and scholarship began to emerge in full force, supported by the Abbasid promotion of scholarly research, best exemplified by the Abbasid-sponsored Translation Movement. Al-Mansur_sentence_47

It was under al-Mansur that a committee, mostly made up of Syriac-speaking Christians, was set up in Baghdad with the purpose of translating extant Greek works into Arabic. Al-Mansur_sentence_48

Due to the Abbasid orientation toward the East, many Persians came to play a crucial role in the Empire, both culturally and politically. Al-Mansur_sentence_49

This was in contrast to the preceding Umayyad era, in which non-Arabs were kept out of these affairs. Al-Mansur_sentence_50

Shu'ubiyya emerged at this time, due to increasing Iranian autonomy; 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 9th century CE. Al-Mansur_sentence_51

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. Al-Mansur_sentence_52

Al-Mansur was referred to as "A-p'u-ch'a-fo" in the Chinese T'ang Annals. Al-Mansur_sentence_53

In 765, Al-Mansur, suffering from a stomach ailment, called Christian Syriac-speaking physician Jurjis ibn Bukhtishu from Gundeshapur to Baghdad for medical treatment. Al-Mansur_sentence_54

Jurjis was awarded 10,000 dinars by Mansur for attending to his malady. Al-Mansur_sentence_55

Al Mansur's treatment of his Christian subjects was severe; he "collected from them capitation with much vigor and impressed upon them marks of slavery." Al-Mansur_sentence_56

Oppression of Islamic scholars Al-Mansur_section_4

The 'Alids, a group descended from the prophet Muhammad's closest male relative and cousin, Ali ibn Abi Talib, fought with the Abbasids against the Umayyads in response to the massacre at Karbala. Al-Mansur_sentence_57

They wanted the power to be given to the Imam, Ja'far al-Sadiq, a great-grandson of Ali and one of the most influential scholars in Islamic jurisprudence at the time. Al-Mansur_sentence_58

When it became clear that the Abbasids had no intention of handing the power to an 'Alid, these groups moved into opposition. Al-Mansur_sentence_59

Al Mansur's harsh treatment towards the 'Alids led to a revolt in 762–763 AD but they were eventually defeated. Al-Mansur_sentence_60

Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, the great grandson of Islamic prophet Muhammad, was the victim of harassment by the Abbasid caliphs and was eventually poisoned and murdered at the orders of the Caliph Al-Mansur in response to his growing popularity among the people. Al-Mansur_sentence_61

This was in the tenth year of Al-Mansur's reign. Al-Mansur_sentence_62

According to a number of sources, Abu Hanifa an-Nu'man (who founded a school of jurisprudence) was imprisoned by al-Mansur. Al-Mansur_sentence_63

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). Al-Mansur_sentence_64

Muhammad and Ibrahim ibn Abdallah, the grandsons of Imam Hassan ibn Ali, grandson of Islamic prophet Muhammad, were persecuted by Mansur after rebelling against his reign. Al-Mansur_sentence_65

They escaped his persecution, but Mansur's anger fell upon their father Abdallah ibn Hassan and others of his family. Al-Mansur_sentence_66

Abdallah's sons were later defeated and killed. Al-Mansur_sentence_67

Relationship with Umayyad dynasty Al-Mansur_section_5

Shortly before the overthrow of the Umayyads by an army of rebels from Khorasan that were influenced by propaganda spread by the Abbasids, the last Umayyad Caliph Marwan II, arrested the head of the Abbasid family, Al Mansur's brother Ibrahim. Al-Mansur_sentence_68

Mansur fled with the rest of his family to Kufa where some of the Khorasanian rebel leaders gave their allegiance to As-Saffah. Al-Mansur_sentence_69

Ibrahim died in captivity and As-Saffah became the first Abbasid Caliph. Al-Mansur_sentence_70

During his brother's reign, Al Mansur led an army to Mesopotamia where he received a submission from the governor after informing him of the last Umayyad Caliph's death. Al-Mansur_sentence_71

The last Umayyad governor had taken refuge in Iraq in a garrison town. Al-Mansur_sentence_72

He was promised a safe-conduct by Mansur and the Caliph As-Saffah, but after surrendering the town, he was executed with a number of his followers. Al-Mansur_sentence_73

As-Saffah died within five years of his reign and Al Mansur took on the responsibility of establishing the Abbasid Caliphate. Al-Mansur_sentence_74

Mansur's dislike of the Umayyad dynasty is well documented and he has been reported saying: Al-Mansur_sentence_75

Fadl ibn al-Rabi relates that at a gathering of Abbasid aristocrats, Mansur described Abd al-Malik, the fifth Umayyad Caliph, as an "arrogant tyrant who did not care what he did." Al-Mansur_sentence_76

In addition, he comments that Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik's "only ambition lay in his belly and his balls" and Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz was like a "one-eyed man among the blind." Al-Mansur_sentence_77

Mansur, however, praises Hisham as being the only great man of the dynasty. Al-Mansur_sentence_78

In one narration by Al Masudi, Salih ibn Ali, an Abbasid general, mentions to Al Mansur that Abd Al-Malik, the son of Marwan, fled to the land of the Christian Nubians with a small following where he was questioned by the King as to their current situation and what had befallen them. Al-Mansur_sentence_79

Abd Al-Malik, a prisoner in Mansur's court at the time, relates to Mansur the incident and describes how the King had rebuked him for "breaking God's commandments" and "oppressing those you ruled." Al-Mansur_sentence_80

He was denied stay in the land of the Nubians out of fear of divine punishment. Al-Mansur_sentence_81

Mansur was moved by this story and felt pity for the former Umayyad Caliph. Al-Mansur_sentence_82

He elected to free Abd Al-Malik, but Isa ibn Ali reminded him that Abd Al-Malik had already received the oath of allegiance as Marwan's heir, so he was escorted back to prison. Al-Mansur_sentence_83

When the people of Khorasan rioted against Al Mansur in the battle of Al Hashimiya, Ma'n ibn Za'ida al-Shaybani, a general from the Shayban tribe and companion of Yazid ibn Umar al-Fazari, the Umayyad governor of Iraq, appeared at the scene of the uprising completely masked, and threw himself between the crowd and Mansur, driving the insurgents away. Al-Mansur_sentence_84

Ma'n reveals himself to Mansur as "he whom you have been searching" and upon hearing this, Mansur granted him rewards, robes of honor, rank, and amnesty from previously serving the Umayyad dynasty. Al-Mansur_sentence_85

Assessments of character Al-Mansur_section_6

Al Mansur's prudence and opportunistic judgement is renowned; he was cautious to remove those whom he deemed a threat to his Caliphate, orchestrating the assassinations of notable individuals including Abu Muslim, Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, the sixth Shi'a Imam, Abu Ayyub, and even his uncle Abdallah ibn Ali. Al-Mansur_sentence_86

He would not refuse the most extravagant generosities if there was personal gain involved, but he would refuse granting even the smallest favor if it entailed loss. Al-Mansur_sentence_87

Al-Masudi in Meadows of Gold tells of Al-Mansur's interaction with a blind poet, where on two occasions, the man recited poetry of praise for the Umayyads to the Abbasid Caliph, whom he did not recognize; al-Mansur nonetheless rewarded the poet for the verses on the first occasion. Al-Mansur_sentence_88

Al-Mansur himself narrates on the second occasion that the blind man did not recognize him at first and began reciting the following Umayyad lines of poetry: Al-Mansur_sentence_89

After hearing this, Al-Mansur questions the blind man as to how much and where Marwan II, the Umayyad Caliph, paid him to recite these lines to which the man responded four thousand dinars, a gala robe and two riding camels in Basra. Al-Mansur_sentence_90

Al-Mansur reveals his identity as the Abbasid Caliph and the blind man begs for forgiveness. Al-Mansur_sentence_91

Al-Mansur narrates that he wanted to punish the man but remembered he was a pilgrim and therefore sacrosanct and elected to let him free. Al-Mansur_sentence_92

In another account by Al-Masudi, the military tactics being employed by Hisham during one of his campaigns was discussed in front of Al-Mansur, who thereupon sent for one of Hisham's officers. Al-Mansur_sentence_93

The officer was questioned about the tactics used during the campaign and he would give his response, ending with a phrase of blessing for Hashim. Al-Mansur_sentence_94

Constant praise for his enemy greatly angered Mansur and he ordered the officer to leave. Al-Mansur_sentence_95

The officer, however, claimed it his duty to bless and propagate Hashim's memory on account of his generosity of providing financial support and a secure haven in times of hardship. Al-Mansur_sentence_96

Mansur was moved by his response and replied "Would that I had men like him in my army!" Al-Mansur_sentence_97

and ordered the officer to be given a sum payable at the treasury. Al-Mansur_sentence_98

In a narration by Aban ibn abi-Ayyash, Al Mansur was sitting in an audience hall above the Khurasan Gate looking out over the Tigris when an arrow was shot from an unknown location at his feet. Al-Mansur_sentence_99

Decorated on the vanes were verses prompting him to reflect on his reign as Caliph and to remember his appointment with Judgement Day. Al-Mansur_sentence_100

The messages on the other vanes insinuated Mansur's negligence towards the people and reminded him of the ephemeral nature of fortune and fate. Al-Mansur_sentence_101

The shaft of the arrow contained the message 'Hamadan- a man from this town is held unjustly in your prisons'. Al-Mansur_sentence_102

Upon reading this, Al-Mansur ordered an investigation of all the prisons and dungeons in town until they found a cell with a length of cloth hung like a curtain over the entrance. Al-Mansur_sentence_103

Inside, there was a notable old man loaded with chains facing the direction of Mecca repeating the verse "Those who oppress will learn what misfortune has been prepared for them" (Qur'an 26:227). Al-Mansur_sentence_104

The man claimed to be from Hamadan and was imprisoned on account of rebellion for the past four years after refusing to relinquish his domain worth a million dirham to the governor, who decided to confiscate it after learning the worth. Al-Mansur_sentence_105

Upon hearing this injustice, Mansur returns the estate to the old man exempt from taxes for the whole of his lifetime and appoints him as governor. Al-Mansur_sentence_106

The man graciously accepts the estate but declines the position of governor. Al-Mansur_sentence_107

Al Mansur gifts the old man with large sums of money and presents and invites the man to correspond with him and inform him of his state and country, specifically with regards to the behavior of his agents concerning matters of war and taxes. Al-Mansur_sentence_108

The current governor was dismissed and punished for his injustice towards the old man. Al-Mansur_sentence_109

al-Tabari writes in his History of Prophets and Kings: "Abu Ja'far had a mirror in which he could descry his enemy from his friend." Al-Mansur_sentence_110

The translator adds in a footnote: "These legends of Abu Ja'far's magical powers are a tribute to his efficient intelligence system." Al-Mansur_sentence_111

Mansur’s secret service extended to remote regions of his empire, and were cognizant of everything from social unrest to the price of figs, making Mansur very knowledgable of his domains. Al-Mansur_sentence_112

He rose at dawn, worked until evening prayer. Al-Mansur_sentence_113

He set the example for his son son and heir and told him: “put not off the work of today until tomorrow and attend in person to the affairs of state. Al-Mansur_sentence_114

Sleep not, for thy father has not slept since he came to the caliphate. Al-Mansur_sentence_115

For when sleep fell upon his eyes, his spirit remained awake.” Notably frugal, he was nicknamed Abu al-Duwaneek (“the Father of Small Change”), kept close tabs on his tax collectors, and made sure public spending was carefully monitored. Al-Mansur_sentence_116

He once said “he who has no money has no men, and he who has no men watches as his enemies grow great.” Al-Mansur_sentence_117

Death Al-Mansur_section_7

Al-Masudi writes that Mansur died on Saturday 6, Dhu al-Hijja 158 AH/775 AD. Al-Mansur_sentence_118

There are varying accounts of the location and circumstances of Al-Mansur's death. Al-Mansur_sentence_119

One account narrates that Al-Mansur was on a pilgrimage to Mecca and had nearly reached, when death overtook him at a location called the Garden of the Bani Amir on the high road to Iraq at the age of sixty-three. Al-Mansur_sentence_120

According to this narration, he was buried in Mecca with his face uncovered because he was wearing the ihram clothing. Al-Mansur_sentence_121

A different narration from Fadl ibn Rabi'ah, who claimed to have been with Mansur at his time of death, states that he died at al-Batha' near the Well of Maimun in which he would have been buried at al-Hajun at sixty-five years of age. Al-Mansur_sentence_122

In this narration, Mansur is sitting in a domed room hallucinating about ill-omen writings on the wall. Al-Mansur_sentence_123

When Al-Rabiah replies "I see nothing written on the wall. Al-Mansur_sentence_124

Its surface is clean and white," Mansur replies, "my soul is warned that she may prepare for her near departure." Al-Mansur_sentence_125

After reaching the Well of Maimun, he reportedly says "God be praised" and succumbs to death that very day. Al-Mansur_sentence_126

When al-Mansur died, the caliphate's treasury contained 600,000,000 dirhams and fourteen million dinars. Al-Mansur_sentence_127

Al-Mansur in popular culture Al-Mansur_section_8

In 2008, MBC 1 depicted the life and leadership of al-Mansur in a historical series aired during the holy month of Ramadan. Al-Mansur_sentence_128

See also Al-Mansur_section_9


  • Abu Hanifa muslim theologian and juristAl-Mansur_item_0_0
  • Battle of TalasAl-Mansur_item_0_1
  • Baghdad city founded by Al-MansurAl-Mansur_item_0_2
  • Al-Rumiya city used temporarily as his seat for a few months by Al-Mansur.Al-Mansur_item_0_3
  • Bay'ah Mosque is a mosque outside Mecca in Arabia, It was built on the orders of Al-Mansur.Al-Mansur_item_0_4
  • Hasan ibn Zayd ibn Hasan Abbasid Governor of Medina 766 to 772.Al-Mansur_item_0_5
  • Ibn IshaqAl-Mansur_item_0_6

Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: