al-Mutawakkil (Abbaside)

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Dinar al-Mutawakkils, minted 242 H. (856/857) in al-Fustat , with naming of his designated heir to the throne al-Muʿtazz bi-llāh.

Abu l-Fadl Jafar ibn Muhammad ( Arabic ابو الفضل جعفر بن محمد, DMG Abū 'l-Faḍl Ǧaʿfar b. Muḥammad ; * 822 ; † December 8, 861 ) with the throne name al-Mutawakkil ʿalā llāh (المتوكل على الله) was the tenth caliph of the Abbasid dynasty from 847 to 861 .

Al-Mutawakkil was a son of the caliph al-Muʿtasim (r. 833-842) and a Persian harem lady . After he had succeeded his brother al-Wāthiq (ruled 842-847) on the throne, he tried to limit the strong Turkish influence in the army and administration. In order to secure the support of the population and especially the clergy, he repealed the Mutazilite state doctrine introduced by al-Ma'mūn in 849 . The Shiites were also increasingly suppressed. In this connection al-Mutawakkil had z. B. destroy the burial mosque of Husain ibn ʿAlī in Karbala .

The pushing back of the Turks failed because he had to rely on the Turkish troops to pacify the empire because of unrest in Syria and Egypt . The transfer of the residence from Samarra to Damascus was also prevented by the Turks. Under al-Mutawakkil's rule, the vizier finally assumed the function of central management of government affairs. This was still under Turkish influence. Their power increasingly radiated from the court of the caliph to the provinces, where Turkish governors were installed in Syria and Egypt.

After 855 messages had arrived from Arabia that the Kaaba had become dilapidated, al-Mutawakkil sent the goldsmith Ishāq ibn Salama to Mecca to repair and beautify the building. He was able to complete this work by December 856.

When al-Mutawakkil wanted to oust his designated heir to the throne al-Muntasir in favor of al-Muʿtazz and at the same time wanted to cut the income of some Turkish military leaders, he was overthrown and murdered by a conspiracy of al-Muntasir (861-862) and the Turkish officers (8. December 861). Violent power struggles broke out between the Turkish interest groups in Samarra. Four caliphs ruled by 870 and the empire was on the verge of decline. Only under al-Mu'tamid (r. 870-892) could the disintegration of the caliphate be stopped again.


  • Anna Akasoy, Stefan Georges (eds.): Muhammad ibn 'Abdallah al-Bazyar - The falcon and dog book of Caliph al-Mutawakkil. An Arabic treatise from the 9th century (= knowledge culture and social change 11). Akademie-Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-05-004199-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. See Ferdinand Wüstenfeld : History of the City of Mecca, edited from the Arabic chronicles. Leipzig 1861. Sections 194–196 ( digitized version http: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/1%3D~GB%3D~IA%3Ddiechronikender01wsgoog~MDZ%3D%0A~SZ%3Dn216~ double-sided%3D~LT%3D~PUR%3D).
predecessor Office successor
al-Wāthiq Abbasid Caliph