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Omar, Farouk (1967) The 'Abbasid Caliphate, 132/750-170/786. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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In the early decades of the second century A.H./eighth century A.D., the supporters of the 'Abbilsids overthrew the Umayyads and put the 'Abblsids in power in a revolution which not only substituted one dynasty for an-other, but had significant and far-reaching political, religious and social consequences. Since this was a formative period in Muslim historiography, one is faced by an overwhelming wealth of material, including numerous contradictory accounts which must be conscientiously sifted. Moreover, as is unavoidable in a period of transition and revolution, there are various loyalties to be unravelled and guarded against. Chapter I shows how historians dealt with the early Abbasid period. The controversial nature of the 'Abbasid revolution with its messianic aspect, the secrecy with which certain doctrines and principles were concealed from the uninitiated, the deceptive character of the occasional slogans destined for general consumption and the conflicting statements of 'Abbasid propaganda and Umayyad counter-propaganda make it difficult to form an accurate picture. However, as the 'Abbasid revolution must be viewed in the light of pre-ceding and following events, Chapter II reviews the situation in Khurasan and the relations of the Khurasani Arabs with the central regime. The chapter leads to an exposition of the political aspect of the 'Abbasid revolution and to the attempt to substantiate the outdated, but still accepted, in some quarters, racial interpretation of the revolt by the theory already outlined by some scholars that the 'Abbasid revolution was essentially the work of the Arabs in Khurasan and was conducted, throughout most of its stages, by Arab tribal groups whose role was predominant in the revolution. Chapter III deals with a recurrent feature of every revolution, namely internal rivalries among the revolutionaries, as is evident in the conflict between Abu Muslim on the one hand, and Abu Salama, Sulaym-an al-Khuza i, Ziyad b. Salih etc., on the other. Having achieved power the 'Abbasids discarded the extremist wing of the da'wa and adopted Orthodoxy in an attempt to win the support of the traditionists (Ashab al-Hadith), a move which resulted in the Rawandiyya risings in Khurasan and Irak. Simultaneously, the 'Abbasids got rid of certain ambitious dais who had grown too strong to be tolerated (Abu Muslim), or had deviated from the 'Abbasid path (Abd al-Jabbar al-Azdi). As the 'Abbasids failed to fulfil the hopes and expectations of the lower strata of society, other messianic and revolutionary movements arose and attracted disappointed elements. These opposition movements are dealt with in Chapters IV and V. Chapter IV shows that as all Bani Hashia had equal rights to the inheritance of the Prophet, one can hardly speak of an "claim" to the caliphate. The majority of 'Alid sympathizers were, in fact, fighting not so much to enforce this claim, as to improve their own lot and give vent to their hatred of the `Abbasid authorities. Chapter V deals with the Umayyed and Kharijite opposition. Though Irak regained its position as the centre of the empire at the expense of Syria, the Syrians did not yield, and expressed their resentment in a series of risings, some of which were connected with the Sofyani myth, while others had no messianic connotations. The Kharijites were, contrary to the generally accepted view, still active under the 'Abbisids. Their risings often proved dangerous to the authority of the 'Abbasid caliphate. 'Uman and Ifriqiyya were their sphere of influence, and many Kharijite risings in the Jazira, the Yaman, Sistan, and Khurasan had lasting success. Chapter VI treats of major political events, selected to illustrate the trends which characterized the early 'Abbasid period. It shows how tribal 'Asabiyya still played an outstanding rile in the politics of the new regime, how al-Mansur utilized it to weaken the influence of the tribal confederations in many parts of the empire, and was able to consolidate the new regime before expanding in Tabaristan or trying to regain Spain from the Umayyads. It finally shows how intrigues which arose at the 'Abbasid court early in the reign of al-Mahdi resulted in the murder of al-Hadi in 170/786.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:10

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