Abu Jafar Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur

Published: 2021-06-12 08:10:04
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Abu Jafar Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur had lived between 712 and 775 AD.  Though he was born of a slave woman, he was regarded by the Islamic people for being the second caliph and founder of the Arab Abbasid dynasty.  He was his brother (Abu al-Abbas al Saffah) successor in the quest to destroy the Umayyads dynasty and the founding of Abbasid dynasty during 749 AD.[1]
Abbasid Movement was originated from Iraq, which came about as early as eight century when these group of people through the leadership of Muhammad ibn Ali and Ibrahim ibn Muhammad thought of placing the caliphate in the hands of Prophet’s family.  This was accounted by Matthew Gordon in his book, which says, “Authority over the umma belonged to the chosen one from the family of the Prophet.”[2]
Many became leaders of the Movement but Ja’far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur was given much account for his accomplishments in the history of Arab countries.
Where, when and into what family he/she was born?
Abu Jafar Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur was a descendant of Prophet Muhammad through his uncle who came from Alid family.  He was born in 712 AD at al-Humaymah by a Berber slave woman; his father was a great grandson of Abbas.
 Very little were accounted in the life of Al-Mansur as a young boy.  However, the existing cultural values of that time molded his life as a boy who never learned to give up or surrender.  He had some pride being a descendant of the Prophet, and possessed valiant character because of the influence of Islam faith on him; for them dying for what you fight for is a kind of heroism.
His free-spirited consciousness was from his mother who was a Berber slave from North Africa.
What were his accomplishments?
Al-Mansur though a transitional figure of that significant event, carried out the final destruction of the Umayyad clan in 750 AD.  Abu Ja’far al-Mansur in his reign from 754 to 775 AD was recognized for being the proper person who established the new dynasty.  According to Matthew Gordon, he was responsible for “the consolidation of Abbasid authority.”[3]  He was also seen as the leader who established Baghdad as the capital of the region in 760s.
This transformation of the region had complement in the new image of the area as the premier commercial and cultural center of the Near East and Mediterranean worlds being “fitting site for the dawn of a new imperial era.[4]
Al-Mansur was also successful in restoring order in some areas where Umayyad family resided such as in North Africa in 772.  Within his reign, he was able to reorganize his administration; he created different offices and ministries under his authority.  There was great order during his rule although, many attempts of siege had taken place but to no avail.
Other accomplishment he had during his sovereignty were the improvement of the economy of his dynasty and flourishing of Persian literature.
What was the relationship between your character and society in which he/she lived?
Living during that era was like survival of the fittest; in which if one wishes to continue to exist he must be strong.  There were conflicts all over to expand territories and kingdoms.  This part of the world was as well in great effort for survival.  In one instance, they had to clash against Byzantines to defend their territory.
Aside from that, their faith had contributed to his ideology.  For them, killing an enemy is god’s will, and he will reward those who do for the sake of protecting the faith and country.
Discuss the major challenges your character faced and how he/she overcame them (if he or she did in fact overcome those challenges).
Throughout his time in power, he struggled hard to take control of the supremacy of the region, and with that, he had to face battles against numerous forces who tried to overrule him.  However, the most challenging event in the life of Al-Mansur was his dealing with rebellions inside his administration.  At first, he had many allies who turned to be his enemies due to envy.  Most prominent to these names were Al Muslim and Muhammad b Ibrahim, while Shiite group and his uncle were also among them.  Throughout his struggle to establish peace in his empire, he had to be vigilant and unyielding in his judgment.
The first man of his army who turned against him was Jahwar for fear of punishing him for collecting treasures from the camp.  Al-Mansur then killed him after many attempts to escape.[5]
Abu Muslim was assassinated at Al-Mansur’ command, which he exclaimed, “Keep hitting! May God cut your hands off (if you don’t)!”  In one source Abu Muslim cried, “Commander of the Faithful, spare me for your enemy’s sword.” But Abu Jafar retorted, “For what enemy have I more treacherous than you?”[6]  However, Al-Mansur did everything to win back the loyalty of Abu Muslim’s army.  This event as recorded by McAufliffe, was to present Al-Mansur’ intelligence to maintain his kingdom in the midst of struggles.
[1] Kennedy Hugh. The History of Al-Tabari: An Annotated Translation. Volume xxix (New York: State University of New York, 1990), p.2.
 [2] Matthew Gordon. The Rise of Islam (Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2005) p. 46.
 [3] Matthew Gordon. The Rise of Islam (Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Press, 2005) p. 47. [4] Ibid. [5] Jane Dammen McAuliffe. Abbasid Authority Affirmed (New York: State University of New York, 1995) p. 30.

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