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The Succession to the Caliph Mūsā al-Hādī

Richard Kimber
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 121, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 2001), pp. 428-448
DOI: 10.2307/606671
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/606671
Page Count: 21
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The Succession to the Caliph Mūsā al-Hādī
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Abstract

Hārūn al-Rashīd succeeded his elder brother Mūsā al-Hādī to the caliphate in confused circumstances. It is clear that Mūsā had not wanted his brother to succeed him, but not whether in his short caliphate Mūsā had formally replaced Hārūn as heir apparent with his own young son. The open question is whether Hārūn succeeded to the caliphate by virtue of being heir apparent, or owing to a military intervention after Mūsā's sudden death. Al-Tabarī clearly manipulates his textual evidence to prove the former case, and is greatly helped by an influential Barmakid tradition making the same point. If al-Ṭabarī's editorial intervention can be discounted, it is arguable on the basis of both textual and numismatic evidence that Hārūn's caliphate was as much the creation of the army as was that of the first Abbasid caliph, Abu'l-ʿAbbās.

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