The Caliphate of Al-Mutawakkil (847–861)

Andrew Marsham

in Rituals of Islamic Monarchy

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780748625123
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653157 | DOI:
The Caliphate of Al-Mutawakkil (847–861)

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This chapter focuses on the caliphate of al-Mutawwakil. It discusses the accession of al-Mutawwakil after the death of al-Wāthiq. The first years of al-Mutawwakil's witnessed the demise of all the members of the clique except Wasif and Sīma. The demise of some members of the clique gave al-Mutawwakil power. This signified a dramatic turn in power at the caliphal court wherein an Abbasid walī al-،ahd was nominated after forty-five years. The elimination of the old scribe elite also paved the way for the appointment of al-Mutawwakil's two sons as successors and as governors of the central and western provinces of Iran. Al-Mutawwakil's reign also marked the most extensive phase of building at Samarra. During his reign, he built the al-Mutawwakkiliyya to mark the successful break of Muslim from the domination of Turkish commanders that had marred the previous generation. It also served as a foundation in the tradition to al-Mu،tasim's establishment of Samarra. While the caliphate of al-Mutawwakil flourished, his reign also faced factions and conflicts. The restoration of the wilāyat al،ahd and the long-term rise of ،Ubyad Allāh, al-Fath and their non-Turkish military allies led to the factional conflict and to the assassination of al-Mutawakkil.

Keywords: caliphate of al-Mutawwakil; caliphal court; Abbasid walī al-،ahd; Samarra; al-Mutawwakkiliyya; factions; wilāyat al،ahd

Chapter.  3787 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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