from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Byzantine apocrisy or ambassador visits 838 al-Muʿtasim (seated on the right - Madrid Skylitzes )

Abū Ishāq Muhammad ibn Hārūn ar-Rašīd ( Arabic أبو إسحاق محمد بن هارون الرشيد, DMG Abū Isḥāq Muḥammad ibn Hārūn ar-Rašīd ; * 794 ; † January 5, 842 ) with the throne name al-Muʿtasim bi-Llāh (المعتصم بالله / al-Muʿtaṣim bi-Llāh  / 'the one who takes refuge with God') was the eighth caliph of the Abbasid dynasty from 833 until his death .

Al-Muʿtasim was the third son of Hārūn ar-Raschīd and a Turkish harem slave . Even as heir to the throne designated by al-Ma'mūn , he participated in the suppression of uprisings in Egypt and in the campaign against Byzantium (830-832). After the death of al-Ma'mūn, al-Muʿtasim took over the rule in 833.

The main feature of al-Muʿtasim's government is that he tried to limit Iranian influence in the army and administration. He was particularly successful in the army through the increased recruitment of Turkish military slaves ( Mamluks ).

He was more like a soldier. The Mihna continued under him , believing that his brother al-Ma'mun, whom he respected, had made the right decision. So he had Ahmad ibn Hanbal flogged so hard that he was about to die. He was then advised to break off the punishment, otherwise an armed popular uprising was to be feared because of Ahmad. On the other hand, however, he also showed himself to be very noble when he hurried with the army to free a Muslim woman who had been kidnapped by the Byzantines and the caliphs with the words "O Muʿtasim (arab. Yā Muʿtaṣima )" , which have become known in Islamic history. called for help. Ahmad ibn Hanbal gave him great credit for the conquest of Umairiyya for Islam in the course of this liberation action .

Al-Muʿtasim founded a new residence with Samarra in 836 in order to prevent tension between the Baghdad population and the Turkish troops. However, with the relocation of the residence, his successors should become increasingly dependent on the Turkish troops. The elimination of the Iranians was intensified when an Iranian conspiracy under al-Abbas, a son of al-Ma'mun, had to be put down in 837. The city of Samarra would still play an important role after his death.

Incidentally, the Mamluk troops initially proved their worth in pacifying the empire. The uprising of Babak Khorramdin in Azerbaijan (837) as well as other revolts in Tabaristan (840) and in southern Iraq (834-835) were suppressed. Al-Muʿtasim is considered the last caliph to exercise his absolute power personally. After his death, his sons al-Wāthiq (842-847) and al-Mutawakkil (847-861) ascended the throne.


  • CE Bosworth: al-Muʿtaṣim bi 'Llāh. In: The Encyclopaedia of Islam . New Edition. Volume VII, p. 776.
  • E. Marin: The reign of al-Muʿtaṣim (833-842). American Oriental Soc., New Haven, Conn., 1951.
predecessor Office successor
al-Ma'mun Abbasid Caliph