al-Muʿtamid (Abbasids)

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271 H. (884/85) minted dinar from Sanaa , on which the caliph al-Mu'tamid is named as well as his powerful brother al-Muwaffaq and his vizier with the laqab Dhu l-Wizaratain.

Abu l-Abbas Ahmad al-Mu'tamid ala llah ( Arabic أبو العباس أحمد المعتمد على الله, DMG Abū 'l-ʿAbbās Aḥmad al-Muʿtamid ʿalā' llāh ; * 842 / 844 ; † October 15, 892 ) was the fifteenth caliph of the Abbasid dynasty from 870 until his death .

Al-Mu'tamid was the youngest son of al-Mutawakkil (ruled 847–861). After his murder by the Turkish guards, his predecessors in Samarra were each overthrown after a short time. As a result of the fact that the central government was unable to work, the continued existence of the caliphate was increasingly threatened. The Tulunids in Egypt , one of the richest provinces of the Islamic empire, made themselves virtually independent. In addition, the Zanj uprising shook southern Iraq (869-883). Al-Mu'tamid was badly affected by the latter because there were large Abbasid lands in southern Iraq that were now no longer available.

When al-Mu'tamid took over the office of caliph, the dissolution of the caliphate was initially stopped. The government was headed from 875 by his brother al-Muwaffaq bi-llah . It was possible to regain better control of the Turkish guards and the provinces and to suppress the slave revolt in southern Iraq by 883. In 892 it was even possible to move the caliph's residence from Samarra back to Baghdad without, however, changing the influence of the Turkish troops.

However, the de facto independence of the Tulunids in Egypt had to be recognized. Even in the parts of Eastern Iran and Transoxania ruled by the Saffarids and Samanids , the influence of the caliph was only slight.

In the second half of the 9th century the Abbasids found themselves increasingly in financial difficulties, as the maintenance of their Turkish troops devoured over 50% of the state's income. Therefore, the Turkish officers were increasingly enfeoffed with land ( iqta ) . This practice initially reduced the caliphs' need for cash, but increasingly withdrew their control over the provinces.

After the death of the regent al-Muwaffaq (891), his offices were taken over by his son Abu l-Abbas Ahmad. This forced al-Mu'tamid to determine him as his heir to the throne and took over the caliphate as al-Mu'tadid (892-902).


  • Matthew Gordon: The Breaking of a Thousand Swords: A History of the Turkish Military of Samarra (AH 200-275 / 815-889 CE) . State University of New York Press, Albany 2001. ISBN 0-7914-4795-2 .
  • Hugh N. Kennedy : The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates. The Islamic Near East from the sixth to the eleventh century . Pearson, 2nd edition, Harlow et al. 2004 (original 1986). ISBN 978-1-13878760-5 .

Individual evidence

predecessor Office successor
al-Muhtadi Abbasid Caliph
al-Mu'tadid bi-'llah