Early ʿAbbasids

In the 740s, the Umayyads were embroiled in the third fitna–essentially, a power struggle within the Umayyad family, compounded by Kharijite rebellion. In the eastern province of Khorasan, a rebellion was raised in the name of the family of the Prophet Muhammad. By 749, these forces were associated with the descendants of the uncle of the Prophet Muhammad. The new dynasty was called the ‘Abbasids, who ruled from 750 to 1258. The ‘Abbasids are associated with the “Golden Age” of early Islam, responsible for the building of Baghdad and the remarkable House of Wisdom and Translation Movement. This is a period with astounding scholarly production, including many of the legal texts and hadith compilations that form the basis of modern understands of Islam. It is also when many of our histories and geographies were written. Early ‘Abbasid caliphs such as Harun al-Rashid became legendary figures, whose adventures inspired popular tales such as 1,001 Nights. The ‘Abbasid period was also remembered as a more Persian-facing dynasty, moving away from the supposedly “Arab kings” of the Umayyad period.

5a. Revolution

5b. Baghdad

5c. Bayt al-Hikma

5d. Fourth Fitna and Mihna