ʿABD-AL-JABBĀR B. ʿABD-AL-RAḤMĀN AL-AZDĪ, governor of Khorasan, executed in 142/759. An ʿAbbasid partisan, he was in command at Ṭūs in 130/748. Under the caliphs Saffāḥ and Manṣūr, he served as chief of police (ṣāḥeb al-šorṭa); he vacated that office in favor of his brother ʿOmar when Manṣūr appointed him governor of Khorasan in 140/758. Soon after his arrival there (Rabīʿ I, 141/July, 758), ʿAbd-al-Jabbār reported ʿAlid activity in Khorasan and obtained some kind of commission from Manṣūr to deal with it (Baḷʿamī, Chronique IV, p. 370). Acting with great harshness, he extracted money from his predecessor’s subordinates and killed or imprisoned a number of leading men, including supporters of the ʿAbbasids. The caliph, hearing reports of this, took counsel with his Iranian secretary, Abū Ayyūb Ḵūzī. After an exchange of letters, in which ʿAbd-al-Jabbār showed recalcitrance, an army was sent to Khorasan under nominal command of Mahdī, the caliph’s young son. On hearing of the ʿAbbasid army’s arrival, the people of Marv-al-rūd revolted against ʿAbd-al-Jabbār. The governor, having gone into hiding, was pursued, captured, and handed over to the ʿAbbasid commander. He was sent in disgrace to Baghdad, accompanied by his sons and close associates, and brought before Manṣūr. No consideration was shown for his past services. After he and his friends were examined under torture as to the sources of their wealth, he was executed in cruel fashion. His brother ʿObaydallāh risked death by burying his body. The other brother lost his appointment as ṣāḥeb al-šorṭa but later regained it; he is said to have been in office when Manṣūr died (Ṭabarī, II, pp. 458-59). The sons were exiled to the Red Sea island of Dahlak. One, ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān, survived to be a companion of caliphs (Ṭabarī, III, p. 135) and died in the reign of Hārūn al-Rašīd (170-93/786-809).
One’s impression of ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s family is that of a competent and compact group (cf. Ṭabarī, III, p. 122). We may well believe that there was an ʿAlid party in Khorasan at the time; however, ʿAbd-al-Jabbār, though savagely punished for his alleged rebellion, was in no sense a martyr. As is shown by his treatment of ʿAbd-al-Ḥamīd, the well-known secretary of Marvān II (Jahšīārī, Ketāb al-wozarāʾ, Cairo, 1938, p. 79), he was a cruel and unscrupulous man.
Ṭabarī, III, pp. 100-01, 128, 134-36, 458-59.
Baḷʿamī, Chronique IV, pp. 370, 378-80.
Ebn al-Aṯīr, sub annis 140 and 141.
Yaʿqūbī, II, pp. 445-46, 469.
Ḥamza Eṣfahānī, p. 220 (ʿAbd-al-Jabbār’s arrival in Marv as governor is erroneously placed in Rabīʿ II, 142).
Taʾrīḵ al-ḵolafāʾ, ed. I. Gryaznevitch, Moscow, 1967, fol. 272b.
Ebn Ḵallekān, tr. de Slane, II, p. 175.
G. Weil, Geschichte der Chalifen, repr. Osnabruck, 1967, II, p. 36.
Sir W. Muir, The Caliphate, rev. ed., Edinburgh, 1915, p. 452.
S. Moscati, “La rivolta di ʿAbdal-Ğabbār contra il Califfo al-Manṣūr,” Rend. Lincei, ser. 8, II, 1947, pp. 613-15.
(D. M. Dunlop)
Originally Published: December 15, 1982
Last Updated: July 14, 2011
This article is available in print.
Vol. I, Fasc. 2, pp. 118-119
D. M. Dunlop, “'Abd-al-Jabbar Azdi,” Encyclopædia Iranica, I/2, pp. 118-119; an updated version is available online at http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/abd-al-jabbar-azdi (accessed on 15 January 2014).