The Caliph in a Sacred Guise Origins as Initiated by Abû Ja‘far al-Mansûr

Issam Sakhnini


It was the second ‘Abbãsid Caliph Abû Ja‘far al-Mansûr, who was the first to formulate a complete, integrative ideological system about the sacredness of the caliphal institution and of the caliph himself. Unlike his predecessors, whether Rãshidis or Umayyads, whose caliphate had never been considered as a heavenly divine affair, Abu Ja‘far wanted his one to be pertaining to the realm of religion, and his person as a caliph to be surrounded by an aura of holiness. To this effect, he incorporated in his ideological system diverse elements that had never been put together before. Religion-like claims, concepts of a mythical nature and inherited ancient Arab traditions were combined together to incubate his theory about the caliphate. Although this was intended primarily to inhance his legitimacy in ruling and confronting his antagonists of the different colors and sects, this ideological system initiated by al-Mansûr found its way into some aspects of the political Islamic thought in which the caliphal institution has been by and large one of the religious terms and concepts that strongly echoes Abû Ja‘far's opinions.


Caliph, Abû Ja‘far al-Mansûr, Sacredness, Abbãsid Caliphates.

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