AZDI,ʿABD-AL-JABBĀR b. ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān, was a governor of Khorasan who came into conflict with the caliph al-Manṣur.
ʿAbd-al-Jabbār was one of the leaders of the Khorasanian army at the time of the overthrow of the Umayyads and that he was then commander of the caliph al-Saffāḥ’s elite military force, or šorṭa.
Probably in 140/757-8 he was sent as governor to Khorasan by al-Manṣur and there then followed a series of events, the causes and significance of which are rather obscure. Upon his arrival in Khorasan, he began to imprison or execute a number of notables of Khorasan and Transoxania. According to a report of Ṭabari (III, p. 123), he suspected them of pro-ʿAlid sympathies, but Yaʿqubi (II, p. 445) and Ṭabari (III, p. 134) indicate that his measures were directed against the party (šiʿa) of Banu Hāšem. It was these imprisonments and executions which led al-Manṣur to determine to depose him. An exchange of letters between the caliph and ʿAbd-al-Jabbār followed and then al-Manṣur sent an army to Khorasan to remove him from office (Ṭabari, III, p. 134). The army was under the command of the heir apparent, al-Mahdi, but he remained in Rayy and it was Ḵāzem b. Ḵozayma who led the army to Khorasan. ʿAbd-al-Jabbār escaped from the battlefield but was later handed over to Ḵāzem b. Ḵozayma by some of the Khorasanians. Ḵāzem sent him to al-Manṣur who had him tortured and executed, probably in 142/759-60.
In his discussion of the revolt of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, Moscati, relying on Ṭabari and Yaʿqubi, concentrates on the exchange of correspondence with al-Manṣur as illustrating the caliph’s political skill, and he apparently sees ʿAbd-al-Jabbār as no more than an over-ambitious governor (II, pp. 613-15). However, Gardizi (ed. Ḥabibi, pp. 123-24) says that he formed an alliance with the remnants of the “heretical” movement which had been led by Esḥāq the Turk, while Naršaḵi indicates that at one time al-Moqannaʾ was in his vizier (tr. Frye, p. 66). A further link between ʿAbd-al-Jabbār and the Persian “heretical” movements of the early ʿAbbāsid period is provided by the information that he adopted the color white which was associated with the group of movements known generally as the Abu Moslemiya (Omar, pp. 148-54). But the source material is probably insufficient to enable us to reach firm conclusions about the nature of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s conflict with the caliph.
W. W. Barthold, Turkestan Down to the Mongol Invasion, 2nd ed., London, 1958 pp. 198-9, 203.
P. Crone, Slaves on Horses, Cambridge, 1980, p. 173.
Gardizi, Zayn al-aḵbār, ed. ʿAbd-al-Ḥayy Ḥabibi, Tehran, 1347 Š./1968, pp. 123-24.
S. Moscati, La Rivolta di ʿAbd al-Ğabbār contro il califfo al-Manṣūr, 8th ser., II, 1947, pp. 613-15.
Idem, “ʿAbd al-Djabbār b. ʿAbd al-Raḥmān al-Azdi,” EI2.
Naršaḵi, The History of Bukhara, tr. R. N. Frye, Cambridge, Mass., 1954, p. 66.
F. Omar, ʿAbbāsiyyāt, Studies in the History of the Early ʿAbbāsids, Baghdad 1976, pp. 148-54, and index.
G. H. Sadighi, Les mouvements religieux iraniens au iie et iiie siècle de l’hégire, Paris 1938, pp. 58, 152f., 168.
Ṭabari, Ketāb taʾriḵ al-rosol wa’l-moluk, ed. M. J. de Goeje et al., 15 vols., Leiden, 1879-1901; repr. Leiden, 1964., III, pp. 128, 134-6 and index; J. D. Mcauliffe, tr., ʿAbbāsid Authority Affirmed, The History of al-Ṭabarī XXVIII, Albany, 1995, pp. 62-76 and index; Hermann Zotenberg, tr., Chronique de Abou Djafar-Mohammed-ben Djarir-ben-Yezid Tabari traduite sur la version persane d’Abou-ʿAli Moʿhammad Belʿami, Paris, 1867-74., IV, pp. 378-9.
Yaʿqubi, Taʾriḵ, ed. M. T. Houtsma as Historiae, Leiden, 1883., II, pp. 433, 445, 446, 469.
(G. R. Hawting)
Originally Published: July 20, 2002
Last Updated: August 18, 2011