Section Banner Images

Rulership and Justice

Islamic Period

Image Resource Bank

Image Gallery | Back Button On 12 of 15 Next Button On

The Abbasid Caliphate: Administrative Divisions During Hārūn al-Rashīd’s Reign (786 – 809)

The Abbasid Caliphate: Administrative Divisions During Hārūn al-Rashīd’s Reign (786 – 809)

Beginning in the time of Mu‘āwīyah, the first Umayyad caliph-imām, and continuing throughout the Umayyad (661-750 CE) and early Abbasid (750-945 CE) caliphates, the isolation of state personnel and state functions from the influence of the religious elite accelerated, creating a vast, secular and decentralized imperial bureaucracy which inherited political traditions and methods of governance from the Byzantine and Sasanian Empires. One historian characterizes the post-Rāshidūn caliphal state as “a more mundane imperial power, no longer based directly on Islam. Rather it was supported internally as well as externally by a particular complex of military and physical power which was partially supported in turn by Islamic faith.” The administrative divisions of the Abbasid Caliphate during the late eighth and early ninth centuries reinforce this observation. By 786, the reigning Abbasid family had moved the imperial capital from Damascus to Baghdad and ruled over a large multi-ethnic, multi-linguistic land empire through an extensive network of military and civilian deputies. The western frontiers were North Africa and Anatolia (modern-day Turkey), which was controlled by the Byzantine Empire. On the Eastern frontier was the region of Sind, which today is part of Pakistan. 

Next Button Off The Muslim Middle East Around 1090

Rulership and Justice » Islamic Period » Image Resource Bank

© 2010 The Oriental Institute, The University of Chicago  |  Page updated: 12/29/2010

Contact Information  |  Rights & Permissions