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Abbasid Revolution

Abbasid Revolution

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Abbasid revolution was a revolution that ended the coup in the Arab Caliphate and the transfer of power from the Umayyad to the Abbasids. The purpose of the study is to tell about the events of the Abbasid revolution.


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Before the first half of the XVIII century, the Abbasids did not strive for the supreme power in the community. Abbas' son, Abdullah who died in the year 686 in a battle of Siffin, commanded a part of the army of Ali ibn Abi Talib. After the death of Ali Ibn Abbas, he was loyal to the Umayyads, and his son Ali ibn Abdullah was in good relations with the Caliph Abdul-Malik. At the time of Abdullah ibn al-Zubayr’s reign, some al-Mukhtar al-Sakafi began propaganda in Iraq in favor of Muhammad ibn al-Hanafi, the son of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Al-Sakafi encouraged revenge for Husayn ibn Ali. A group formed by them in Taif announced that after Muhammad ibn al-Hanafiyyah, his son Abu Hashim Abdullah was to be the imam. After the reign of Suleiman, Abu Hashim began to oppose the Umayyads. He went to his cousin and son of Ali bin Abdullah, Muhammad ibn Ali, and began to call for the restoration of "legal right" to the might of the Prophet’s family. Before dying, Abu Hashim made a will in favor of Muhammad ibn Ali who was involved in the anti-Umayyad activities (Gordon, 2005, p. 46). Apparently, the reason that had prompted Muhammad ibn Ali to accept the will of Abu Hashim was an insult of Caliph al-Walid to his father. Organization of the Abbasids was thoroughly conspired, only the trustees could meet with the imam. The ruling center was in Kufa until 747, and it was headed by Bukayr ibn Mahan, and then - Abu Salama al-Hallan. The slogan "follow the Quran and the Sunnah of the Prophet" enabled the movement to have the support of various circles of the anti-Umayyad opposition. Muhammad ibn Ali resolutely kept his supporters from the premature action, waiting for the opportune moment (Hawting, 2002, pp. 105, 106, 113).


Revolution was supported by various segments of the population. This phenomenon was particularly noticeable among the Muslim population that was not Arab. The majority of the population agreed with the idea of the central Umayyad government overthrow.

Dissatisfaction among Shia Muslims

The Battle of Karbala resulted in the violence of Husayn ibn Ali. Later, the Shias made use of this fact as a rallying opposition cry against the Umayyads. In addition, the Abbasids made use of the Karbala’s memory to gain support (Dizadji & Dizadji, 2010, p. 50).


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The final idea of overthrowing the ruling Umayyad dynasty laid the foundation for the Hashimiyya movement. Therefore, the rebellion against the Umayyads was associated with Shi'ite ideas. Numerous Shi'ite rebellions against the Umayyad rule had occurred. However, the Shia were open in their desire concerning the Alid ruler. Zayd ibn Ali combated the Umayyads in Iraq. In addition, Abdallah ibn Mu'awiya managed to establish a short-term rule over Persia. Their murder increased the anti-Umayyad feeling among the Shia and gave them as well as the Sunnis a common rallying cry. In addition, the fact of capturing and murdering the main Shi'ite opposition representatives was referred to the Abbasids as the rival for the Umayyads’ void (Esposito, 1999, pp. 24-25). After the death of Abd-Allah in the year 717, the Abbasid family was led by Muhammad ibn Ali (Brend, 1991, p. 20).

Dissatisfaction among non-Arab Sunni Muslims

The non-Arabs could not hold the state positions, marry the Arab women, and they could not become soldiers. There was even a tax for non-Arabs if the person was not an Arab by descent.

There was a gradual conversion to Islam. In case a non-Arab person wanted to convert to Islam, he/she was obliged to give up his/her name and remain a second-class citizen. This person would be "adopted" by an Arab tribe despite the fact that they would not accept the tribe's name.. That would pose a pollution risk in terms of the perceived Arab racial purity. However, the non-Arab would better accept the name of "freedman of al-(tribe's name)," even if he/she was a slave before conversion. This indicated the idea that those people were subservient to the conversion sponsored tribe (Bulliet et al., 2014, p. 251).

The Revolution

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In 718-19, the first emissaries were sent to the region of Khorasan that was elected as the main object of propaganda. In this region, there were many opposition forces. The success of the anti-Umayyad propaganda was designated only after the death of Caliph Hisham in 743. At this time, the beginning strife among the Umayyads, exacerbation in Khorasan, feuds between the northern and southern Arabs exacerbates the struggle against the Kharijites. In March 747, the son of Muhammad, Ibrahim ibn Muhammad, sent to a trusted person to Khorasan. It was a slave-freedman Abu Muslim, who was able to isolate the governor of Khorasan and entered Merv at the beginning of the year 748 (Wynbrandt, 2010, p. 58).

Caliph Marwan II understood the seriousness of the situation only after the rebels occupied the entire West Khorasan and came to Ray. The Umayyad government first established a direct relationship with Ibrahim ibn Muhammad Abu Muslim; Ibrahim was arrested and imprisoned in Haran (North Syria), and then poisoned. The leadership of the uprising passed to his brother, Abul-Abbas Abdallah, who in October 749, secretly arrived in Kufa and captured the Abbasid army (Berry, 2007, p. 80). For almost one and a half months, the head of Abu Salama intended to negotiate with Shi’ite leaders and give them the power, but they declined his offer. On November 28, 749, when the arrival of the Abul-Abbas was known to many, he appeared in front of the people in the cathedral mosque and delivered the keynote speech, after which those present swore to him. In this speech, Abul Abbas called himself a "generous" (or "forgive sins") - Al-Saffah and subsequently took the epithet and other caliphs.

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