|Second 'Abbasid Caliph|
|Name||'Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Abd Allah b. 'Abbas|
|Epithet||Al-Mansur (Al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi, Al-Mansur al-'Abbasi)|
|Father||Muhammad b. 'Ali b. 'Abd Allah|
|Burial Place||Al-Ma'lat Cemetery|
|Reign||136/754 to 158/775|
|Contemporary with||Imam al-Sadiq (a)|
|Activities||Confronting Scientific Status of Imam al-Sadiq (a), Imprisonment of Descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a), Killing Abu Muslim, killing Imam al-Sadiq (a) by poison|
ʾAbū Jaʿfar ʿAbd Allah al-Manṣūr (Arabic: ابوجعفر عبدالله المنصور) known as al-Mansūr al-'Abbasī (Arabic: المنصور العباسي) and Al-Manṣūr al-Dawānīqī (Arabic: المنصور الدوانیقي) (ruled 136/754 to 158/775) was the second Abbasid caliph and a descendant of al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib. He was the first person who brought conflicts between Abbasids and Alids in the time of his reign. He also ordered to imprison a large number of descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a). He ruled in the time of Imamate of Imam al-Sadiq (a); according to Ibn Shahrashub, al-Mansur martyred Imam (a).
The uprising of al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and the uprising of Qatil Bakhamra took place in the time of al-Mansur's caliphate. Al-Mansur ordered to build the city Baghdad which is regarded among his significant actions.
Birth and Lineage
'Abd Allah b. Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Abd Allah b. al-'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib was born in 95/713-4 in Humayma. His mother was a Berber female slave called Salama. The teknonym of 'Abd Allah was Abu Ja'far and his epithet was al-Mansur.
When Abbasid tried to usurp caliphate, Ibrahim (Organizer's of Abbasid and al-Mansur's brother) appointed al-Saffah, the younger brother of al-Mansur, as the crown prince; because al-Mansur was a child of a female slave, he was treated secondary to al-Saffah. Later, al-Mansur was appointed as the crown prince. When al-Saffah became the caliph (ruler) of Muslims, he appointed his brother, al-Mansur, as the governor of al-Jazira (northern region of Iraq), Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Al-Mansur was performing Hajj rituals in the time of al-Saffah's death. When he was informed of the news, he hurried back to Iraq and took control of power. Then he asked people to pledge allegiance to him.
- Ambitiousness: Al-Mansur considered himself as a king. It is quoted from him: "There are four caliphs: Abu Bakr, 'Umar b. al-Khattab, 'Uthman b. Affan and 'Ali b. Abi Talib (a); and there are four Kings: Mu'awiya, 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan, Hisham b. 'Abd al-Malik and me." He also stated that God has chosen him responsible for income and food of people.
- Stinginess: Al-Mansur was a stingy and narrow-minded man who questioned his agents and representatives for small amounts of money. As a result, he was known as al-Dawaniqi (Daniq means a very small of money) . It is said when 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan built al-Aqsa mosque, he covered the doors with gold and silver, however, when al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi intended to repair the mosque, he ordered to take out the gold and silver from doors and mint coins with them.
Political and Social Situations
The political and social situation in the time of al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi was massively influenced by cultural interactions and contacts between Arabs and conquered territories including Iran and Rome. Iranian culture was the dominant culture and their political structures were changed similar to Iranians' structure. Al-Mansur managed to suppress numerous uprisings and then he focused on stabilization of power. Similar to Sassanid kings, al-Mansur had complete power over all governors, ministers, judges and emirs.
In the time of al-Mansur, social situation changed. As Arabs humiliated Mawalis (freed servants) and consequently the movement of Shu'ubiyya (rejecting the Arabs' superiority over other nations) started. National and social traditions revived in Abbasid era among government officials and people. Nowruz, Mehregan and other national ceremonies of Iranians along with poems and music brought the taste of Sassanid era back. Bureaucratic system of Sassanid era was transmitted to Abbasid era. Diwan al-rasail (letters) was revived in the framework of Arabic literature conveying Pahlavi literature mixed with Islamic notions. Even Abbasid caliphs were interested in listening to Pahlavi texts and aphorisms as well as Islamic teachings; especially al-Mansur.
|Imam 'Ali (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b.3 BH/600 - d.40/661)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 11/632 - 40/661||Abu Bakr'Umar b. Khattab'Uthman b. 'Affan|
|Imam al-Hasan (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 3/625 - d. 50/670)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 40/661 - 50/670||Abu Bakr 'Umar b. Khattab 'Uthman b. 'Affan Imam 'Ali (a) Mu'awiya|
|Imam al-Husayn (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 4/626 - d. 61/680)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 50/670 - 61/680||Abu Bakr 'Umar b. Khattab 'Uthman b. 'Affan Imam 'Ali (a) Imam al-Hasan (a) Mu'awiya Yazid b. Mu'awiya|
|Imam al-Sajjad (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 38/658 – d. 94/713)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: b. 61/680 – 94/713||Imam 'Ali Imam al-Hasan (a) Mu'awiya Yazid Mu'awyia b. Yazid Marwan b. Hakam 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan Walid b. 'Abd al-Malik|
|Imam al-Baqir (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 57/677 – d. 114/733)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 94/713 - 114/733||Mu'awyia b. Yazid Marwan b. Hakam 'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan Walid b. 'Abd al-Malik Sulayman b. 'Abd al-Malik 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'AzizYazid b. 'Abd al-MalikHisham b. 'Abd al-Malik|
|Imam al-Sadiq (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 83/704 – d. 148/765)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 114/733 - 148/765||'Abd al-Malik b. Marwan Walid b. 'Abd al-Malik Sulayman b. 'Abd al-Malik 'Umar b. 'Abd al-'AzizYazid b. 'Abd al-MalikHisham b. 'Abd al-MalikWalid b. YazidWalid b. 'Abd al-MalikIbrahim b. WalidMarwan b. MuhammadAbu l-'Abbas al-Saffahal-Mansur al-Dawaniqi|
|Imam al-Kazim (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 128/745 - d. 183/799)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 148/765 - 183/799||Marwan b. MuhammadAbu l-'Abbas al-Saffahal-Mansur al-Dawaniqi al-Mahdi al-'Abbasial-Hadi al-'AbbasiHarun al-Rashid|
|Imam al-Rida (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 148/766 – d. 203/818)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 183/799 - 203/818||Al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi Mahdi al-'AbbasiHadi al-'AbbasiHarun al-RashidAmin al-'AbbasiMa'mun al-'Abbasi|
|Imam al-Jawad (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 195/811 - d. 220/835)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 203/818 - 220/835||Amin al-'AbbasiMa'mun al-'Abbasi al-Mu'tasam al-'Abbasi|
|Imam al-Hadi (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 212/828 - d. 254/868)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 220/835 - 254/868||Ma'mun al-'Abbasi al-Mu'tasam al-'Abbasial-Wathiq bi Allahal-Mutawakkil al-'Abbasial-Muntasir al-'Abbasi al-Musta'in al-'Abbasi al-Mu'tazz al-'Abbasi|
|Imam al-'Askari (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 232/846 - d. 260/874)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 254/835 - 260/874||al-Mutawakkil al-'Abbasial-Muntasir al-'Abbasi al-Musta'in al-'Abbasi al-Mu'tazz al-'Abbasi al-Muhtadi al-'Abbasi al-Mu'tamad al-'Abbasi|
|Imam al-Mahdi (a)ـــــــــــــــــ (b. 255/869 - alive)ـــــــــــــــــ Duration of Imamate: 260/874 - alive||al-Mu'tazz al-'Abbasi al-Muhtadi al-'Abbasi al-Mu'tamad al-'Abbasial-Mu'tadad al-'Abbasial-Muktafi al-'Abbasial-Muqtadir al-'Abbasial-Qahir al-'Abbasial-Radi al-'Abbasi ...|
Treatment of Sunni Faqihs and Scholars
When al-Nafs al-Zakiyya launched an uprising in Medina, Malik b. Anas stated that oath of people of Medina to Abbasid caliph is Haram (forbidden) as it was taken by force. Abu Hanifa, Sufyan al-Thawri, al-A'mash and other faqihs of Kufa along with hadith scholars supported the uprising.
Al-Mansur recaptured Medina and suppressed Ibrahim later. Then he ordered to lash Malik b. Anas and he gave Abu Hanifa life sentence. Later al-Mansur tried to convince Malik to join him in order to confront the influence of Imam al-Sadiq (a).
Confronting Scientific Status of Imam al-Sadiq (a)
As Imam al-Sadiq (a) became hugely influential among scientists, al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi tried to validate and admire the other scholars and influential figures of the time in order to humiliate Imam (a). Hence the spokesmen of Banu l-Abbas in Medina stated: "Nobody is allowed to issue fatwa in Islamic laws except for Malik b. Anas and Ibn Abi Dhi'b." The caliph did his best to support and magnify Malik b. Anas to guide people toward him and away from Imam al-Sadiq (a).
Imprisonment of Descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a)
Also al-Mansur ordered to arrest and imprison all the descendants of Imam al-Hasan (a), except for al-Nafs al-Zakiyya and Ibrahim (the sons of 'Abd Allah b. Mahd) who managed to hide. He ordered to shackle them bring them to al-Hayra and imprison them in a harsh situation.
Killing Abu Muslim
Abu Muslim al-Khurasani challenged al-Mansur at times. They became rivals in the time of al-Saffah's caliphate. Abu Muslim's rule in Khorasan worried al-Mansur, then he decided to kill Abu Muslim in 137/754-5 which brought painful consequences for him as Abu Muslim was the political, military and religious leader of Khorasan. After the death of Abu Muslim, a number of uprisings took place to avenge his blood; they brought difficulties and problems for Abbasids.
Building the city Baghdad is regarded as the most notable actions performed by al-Mansur al-Dawaniqi. Abbasids did not have a specific capital for thirteen years, and when al-Mansur built Baghdad, he chose it as the capital of Abbasid dynasty. He had political, military, critical and climate-related motivations in building the city.
Uprisings against Him
The Uprising of His Uncle, 'Abd Allah
When al-Mansur came to power, his uncle 'Abd Allah tried to usurp the power and caliphate as well. As he made huge efforts in stabilizing the bases of Abbasid caliphate, he expected to become the caliph after al-Saffah. He was ordered by al-Saffah to prepare a dominant army and attack Syria (Sham), but when he was informed of the demise of al-Saffah, he immediately forced his close friends and army commanders to testify that al-Saffah has appointed him as the Crown Prince. Then people of Syria pleadged allegiance to him. Al-Mansur acknowledged potential danger of 'Abd Allah, then he sent Abu Muslim to fight against him; although he held grudges against Abu Muslim as well. Therefore, he would get rid of one of them at least. Abu Muslim applied his political and military talent and defeated 'Abd Allah. He fled to Basra and finally was killed in prison by al-Mansur.
Uprising of Al-Nafs al-Zakiyya
The uprising of Muhammad b. 'Abd Allah al-Hasan, known as al-Nafs al-Zakiyya was the first rise of Alids against Banu l-Abbas. When Banu l-Abbas broke their oath in handing power over to al-Nafs al-Zakiyya (a descendant of Imam al-Hasan (a) who introduced himself as the promised Mahdi and people pledged allegiance with him), he launched an uprising in Medina against al-Mansur, the Abbasid caliph. He was finally killed along with his supporters.
Uprising of Ibrahim b. 'Abd Allah
The uprising of Ibrahim b. 'Abd Allah was the second rebellion against Banu l-Abbas. Ibrahim b. 'Abd Allah was a descendant of Imam al-Hasan (a); he launched the uprising after his brother al-Nafs al-Zakiyya in Basra. A large number of supporters of Zaydi, Mu'tazila and a few number of well-known faqihs attended the uprising which failed eventually. Ibrahim was killed in Bakhmara region near Kufa in 145/762-3.
Uprising of Sinbad
The rebellion of Sinbad was among the first actions after the death of Abu Muslim. Taking the revenge of Abu Muslim was only an excuse for his rise. He tried to misuse national and religious feelings of different groups to overthrow the dominance of Arabs and Islam in defeating Banu l-Abbas. He was outpowered in a battle against the supporters of al-Mansur and was beheaded; his head was sent to al-Mansur as a gift.
Uprising of Ishaq al-Turk
Also Ishaq al-Turk revolted against al-Mansur to avenge the blood of Abu Muslim. There are doubts on the lineage and originality of Ishaq though. It seems he supported Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism, similar to Sinbad. His revolt did not last long but it provided the situations for the uprising of Sepidjamegan who launched the main revolt seeking the revenge against the killers of Abu Muslim.
Movement of Rawandiyya
The movement of Rawandiyya is regarded amongst the most important movements formed after the death of Abu Muslim. Rawandis had mixed beliefs, although they apparently showed their support and respect toward al-Mansur, they made efforts to overthrow him as well. The majority of Rawandiyya's supporters were from the Great Khorasan. They planned to admire al-Mansur, earn his respect to deceive and kill him, just like al-Mansur treated Abu Muslim.
There were other uprisings in the time of al-Mansur as well, including the revolt of Ustadh Sis (who was a Magus, i.e. Zoroastrian, of Khorasan; he claimed that he was a Zoroastrian prophet) and the revolts of Kharijites which were all suppressed by the armies of al-Mansur.
Treatment of Imam al-Sadiq (a)
Summoning Imam al-Sadiq (a)
The last years of Imam al-Sadiq's (a) life coincided with the rule of al-Mansur. Imam (a) was hugely influential as a spiritual figure among Banu Hashim. According to Asad Haydar in his book Imam al-Sadiq wa l-Madahib al-Arba'a, Imam's popularity was increasing all over the Islamic territories. Knowledgeable men and scholars often came to meet him and they held discussions and asked him their questions. The influence of Imam (a) concerned al-Mansur. As a result, he summoned Imam (a) to Baghdad to keep a close eye on him; he even thought of martyring Imam (a). Al-Sayyid b. Tawus stated in his book Muhaj al-da'awat wa manhaj al-'ibadat that al-Mansur regularly summoned Imam al-Sadiq (a) to Baghdad and Kufa.
Imam al-Sadiq (a) usually refused to go to al-Mansur's palace, expect on some occasions; al-Mansur mostly complained about rejections he got from Imam (a). When he complained to Imam (a) about his infrequent visits to his palace, Imam replied: "I have done nothing to be afraid of you, and your deeds in this world do not make me optimistic about your situation in the Hereafter. Your current situation is nothing delightful to congratulate you; you do not regard it a misery to offer my condolences to you; then why should I come to visit you?"
Martyrdom of Imam al-Sadiq (a)
Al-Mansur held grudges against Alids and tried very hard to keep a close eye on Imam al-Sadiq (a); he did not let Imam (a) to live freely. On the other hand, Imam (a), just like his fathers, openly considered himself as the Imam of Muslims and believed others have usurped the power by force. It brought dangers to al-Mansur. Then he was looking for the right time to martyr Imam (a).
According to sources, al-Mansur considered Imam al-Sadiq (a) a major obstacle in his way and it is said he took an oath to kill Imam (a). Eventually Imam al-Sadiq (a) was martyred on Shawwal 25, 148/December 14, 765 According to Ibn Shahrashub in al-Manaqib, Imam (a) was poisoned by al-Mansur.
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