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Some observations on the 'Abbāsid caliphate of Cairo

  • P. M. Holt

Extract

The re-establishment of the 'Abbāsid caliphate in Cairo after its overthrow on the fall of Baghdad to the Mongols in 656'1258 was, as is well known, accomplished by the Mamlūk sultan, al-Ẓāhir Baybars, who installed successively two refugee 'Abbāsids as caliphs in his capital. What is perhaps not always realized is that the two pretenders did not appear in turn and out of the blue at the beginning of Baybars's reign, and that the sultan's reasons for installing the first, al-Mustanṣir, were not identical with his reasons for installing the second, al-Ḥākim. In certain respects the official account by Baybars's court biographer, Muḥyī al-Dīn Ibn 'Abd al-Ẓāhir, needs to be supplemented and corrected.

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1 Ibn, Muḥyi al-Dīn 'Abd al-Ẓāhir, al-Rawḍ al-zāhir fī sīred al-Malik al-Ẓāhir (ed. 'Abd, al-'Azīz al-Khuwayṭir), al-Riyāḍ [1396/1976], 99112, 141–8

2 Al-Ṣafadī, , al-Wāfī bi'l-wafayāt, VI (ed. Sven, Dedering), Wiesbaden, 1972, 317–18 (no. 2819)

3 Al-Ṣ1afadī, , Wāfi, VII (ed. Iḥsān, 'Abbās), Wiesbaden, 1969. 384–6 (no. 3378)

4 Shāfi', B. 'Alī, Ḥusn al-manāqib al-sirriyya al-muntaza'a min al-sīra al-Ẓāhiriyya (ed. 'al-Khuwayṭir, Abd al-'Aziz b. 'Abdallāh), [al-Riyāḍ, 1396/1976], 46

5 Ibn 'Abd al-Ẓāhir, Ratwḍ, 173–4

6 For a valuable study of the dynasty, see Garcin, J. C., ‘pHistoire, opposition politique et piètisme traditionaliste dans le Ḥusn al-muḥādarat de Suyøti’, Annales Islamologiques, VII, 1967, 3390

7 Garcin, ‘Histoire’, p. 55, n. 1, states that ‘L’investiture accordèe par le calife au sultanest notèe par Maqrizi à partir de Malik ‘Adil Katbugha en 694’.

8 Ibn Taghrībirdī, al-Nvjūm al-zāhira (Cairo edn.), x, 4–5; tr. Holt, P. M., ‘The position and power of the Mamlūk sultan’, BSOAS, XXXVIII, 2, 1975, 244

9 e.g. on the accession of al-Nāṣir Ahmad: bāya'ahu al-khalīfa bi'l-saltana (Ibn Taghrībirdī, Nujūm, x, 60); al-Ṣāliḥ Ḥājjī (783/1381): fa-bāya‘ahu al-khalifa wa-halafa lahu al-umarā’ (Nujūm, XI, 207); al-Manṣūur Ḥājjī (791/1389): wa-qad hadara al-khalīfa wa'l-quḍāt wa-bāya'ūhu bi'l-salṭana (Nujūm, XI, 319): al-Ṣāliḥ Muḥammad (824/1421): fa-lammā rāhu al-khalīfa qāma lahu wa-ajlasahu bi-jānibihi wa-bāya‘ahu bi’l-salṭana (Nujūm, xiv, 211); Muḥ5ammad b. Qāyitbāy (901/1496): fa-bāya'ahu al-khalīfa bi'l-salṭana (Ibn Iyās, Badā'i' al-zuhūr, III, 324); al-Ẓāhir Qānṣawh (904/1498): fa-bāya'ahu al-khalīfa bi'l-salṭana (Badā'i', III, 405); al-Ashraf Ṭūmānbāy (922/1516): fa-bāya'a al-sulṭān amīr al-mu'minīn Ya'qūb niyābatan 'an loaladihi Muḥammad al-Mutawakkil (Badā'i', v, 105), tr. Gaston, Wiet, Journal d'un bourgeois du Caire, II [Paris], 1960, 96, ‘Le sultan reçut done le serment de l'émir des croyants Ya'qûb, mandaté par son fils Mutawakkil’. It should be noted, however, that on the accession of the Caliphs al-Mustakfī II (845/1441) and al-Qā'im (855/1450), Ibn Taghrībirdī says kānat mubāya'at al-khalīfa [fulān] bi'l-khilāfa (Nujūm, xv, 349, 432) without specifying who performed the bay'a to the caliph on these occasions

10 Khalil, b. Shahin, al-Ẓāahirī, Zubdat kashf al-mamālik (ed. Paul, Ravaisse), Paris, 1894, 54.

11 Khalīl al-Ẓāhirī, Zubdat, 90

12 Ibn, Taghrībirdī, Nujūm, VIII, 263

13 Ibn, Taghrībirdī, Nujūm, IX, 8

14 Ibn, Taghrībirdī, Nujūm, XIII, 189208

15 Ibn, Taghrībirdī, Nujūlm, XIII, 204

16 Ibn, Ṭūlūn, Mufākahat al-khillān (ed. Mohamed, Mostafa), II, Cairo, 1964, 7890. The corresponding passage for A.H. 925 is lost

17 'Abd al-Raḥmān al-Jabartī, ‘Ajd’ib al-āthār, III, 355–6

18 Various references in the genealogies (none ancient) translated in MacMichael, H. A., A history of the Arabs in the Sudan, Cambridge, 1922, ii. The text of a genealogy compiled in 1361/1942, ‘Abdallāh Muḥammad al-Khabīr, Hādhā jāmi’ nasab al-Ja'aliyyin al-musammā bi'l-sūr al-ḥaṣīn, has recently been published by 'Abdallāh 'Alī Ibrāhīm of the Institute of African and Asian Studies, Khartoum [n.d.]. See also Holt, P. M., ‘The genealogy of a Sudanese holy family’, BS0A8, XLIV, 2, 1981, 262–72

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