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Chapter Abbasids

NMC101H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter Abbasids: Margarita Mamun

Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations
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According to the readings assigned for the week, the Umayyad were overthrown by
the Abbasid revolution, which was in favor of the “House of Prophet”. At that time, there
wasn’t a clear-cut categorization of who belonged to the house of prophet. They were
widely accepted at that time but later sources claim the Abbasids as frauds. However, the
Abbasids, named after Al Abbas, who was the youngest uncle of the Prophet Muhammad.
An interesting fact about al- Abbas was that, even though he was quite close to Muhammad,
he never accepted Islam. It was two generations later when his family began making claims
to the house of Prophet. The Golden Age of the Abbasids was under the Caliph Harun Ar
Rashid, but after his death, he was succeeded by his son Muhammad who took the title of Al
Amin, however, he had a rivalry with his brother Al-Mamun The main message of the
movement was to give equality to all Muslims irrelevant of their race and ancestry.
There are two significant details that I can see in the history of the Abbasids. First of
all, the main propaganda for their movement was equality of all Muslims but they
themselves came to power on the basis of their ancestry, which seems like they
contradicted their own agenda. As Hugh Kennedy states in “The Armies of the Caliphs:
Military and Society in the Early Islamic State.”, that this was probably their tactic to attract
all the groups, which were discontent with the Umayyad. Secondly, with the victory of Al
Mamun, despite the fact that he had a smaller army, links back to the time of Muhammad,
how he won a few battles with a smaller army as compared to the opponent and still came
out victorious. I believe this signifies the legitimacy of Al Mamun, to show that he was God
on his side. One point I would like to discuss further in class is about the name of the
Revolution or caliphate. Why did they name it after an ancestor who wasn’t even a Muslim?
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