|Abu'l-Abbas al-Mu'tadid bi-llah Ahmad ibn Talha al-Muwaffaq|
|Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate|
|Gold dinar of al-Mu'tadid, AH 285 (AD 992/3)|
|Reign||October 892 – 5 April 902|
|Born||ca. 854 or ca. 861|
|Died||5 April 902
Abu'l-Abbas Ahmad ibn Talha al-Muwaffaq (854 or 861 – 5 April 902), better known by his regnal name al-Mu'tadid bi-llah (Arabic: المعتضد بالله, "Seeking Support in God"1) was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 892 until his death in 902.
Al-Mu'tadid was the only son of al-Muwaffaq, the regent and virtual ruler of the Abbasid state during the reign of his brother, Caliph al-Mu'tamid. As a prince, the future al-Mu'tadid served under his father in various military campaigns, chiefly in the suppression of the Zanj Rebellion, in which he played a major role. When his father died in June 891 he succeeded him as regent, and when al-Mu'tamid died in October 892, he succeeded to the throne. Like his father, al-Mu'tadid's power depended on his close relations with the army, dating back to the campaigns against the Zanj, and reinforced in later expeditions: al-Mu'tadid would prove to be the most militarily active of all Abbasid caliphs. Through his energy and ability, he succeeded in restoring to the Abbasid state some of the power and provinces it had lost during the turmoil of the previous decades, a process continued under his less able son and successor, al-Muktafi.
In a series of campaigns he recovered the Jazira, Thughur and Jibal, and effected a rapprochement with the Saffarids in the East and the Tulunids in the West that secured their at least nominal recognition of caliphal suzerainty. These successes however came at the cost of gearing the economy almost exclusively towards maintenance of the army, which resulted in the expansion and rise to power of the central fiscal bureaucracy and contributed to the Caliph's lasting reputation for avarice. Al-Mu'tadid was also renowned for his cruelty when punishing criminals, and subsequent chroniclers record his extensive and ingenious use of torture. His reign also saw the permanent move of the capital back to Baghdad, where he engaged in major building activities.
Despite his successes, his reign was ultimately too short to effect a lasting reversal of the Caliphate's fortunes, and the "Abbasid revival" that he spearheaded was too dependent on the presence of capable personalities at the helm of the state. His successors lacked his energy, and the factionalism within the government that had become apparent during the later years of his reign would debilitate the Abbasid state for decades to come.
Al-Mu'tadid was born Ahmad, the son of Talha, one of the sons of the Caliph al-Mutawakkil (r. 847–861), and a Greek slave named Dirar. The exact date of his birth is unknown; as he is variously recorded as being thirty-eight or thirty-one years old at the time of his accession, he was born either in ca. 854 or ca. 861.234 Al-Mutawakkil's murder in 861 began a period of internal turmoil known as the "Anarchy at Samarra" from the site of the Caliphate's capital, which ended in 870 with the rise to the throne of Ahmad's uncle, al-Mu'tamid. Real power however lay with the elite Turkish troops and with Ahmad's own father, Talha, who, as the Caliphate's main military commander, served as the chief intermediary between the caliphal government and the Turks. Assuming the honorific name al-Muwaffaq in the style of the caliphs, Talha increasingly dominated the governance of the state, and from 882 until his death in 891, was the effective ruler of the Caliphate.56
Caliphal authority in the provinces collapsed during the "Anarchy at Samarra", with the result that by the 870s Baghdad had lost effective control over most of the Caliphate outside Iraq itself. In the west, Egypt had fallen under the control of Ahmad ibn Tulun, who also disputed control of Syria with al-Muwaffaq, while Khurasan and most of the Islamic East had been taken over by the Saffarids, who replaced the Abbasids' loyal clients, the Tahirids. Effective control over most of the Arabian peninsula was lost, while in Tabaristan a radical Zaydi Shi'a dynasty took power. Even in Iraq, the rebellion of the Zanj slaves threatened Baghdad itself, and the Qarmatians were a nascent threat.789 Throughout his regency, al-Muwaffaq engaged in a long struggle to save the tottering Caliphate from collapse.10 His attempts to recover control of Egypt and Syria from the Tulunids failed, as the latter were able to expand their territory and force recognition of the new status quo,1112 but he succeeded in preserving the core of the Caliphate in Iraq by repelling a Saffarid invasion aimed at Baghdad and subduing the Zanj after a long struggle.136
Al-Muwaffaq gave his son a military training from an early age.2 In the description of Harold Bowen, in adulthood the future al-Mu'tadid "was upright and thin; and on his head was a white mole, which, since white moles were not admired, he used to dye black. His expression was haughty. In character he was brave—a story was told of his killing a lion with only a dagger."4 Usually known by his kunya of Abu'l-Abbas, he was "a keen horseman and took care to inspect both his troops and their mounts in person" (Hugh N. Kennedy), and would soon acquire extensive military experience against the Zanj.14 Within a decade from the outbreak of the revolt in 869, the Zanj had seized most of lower Iraq, including the cities of Basra and Wasit and expanded into Khuzistan as well.615 In 879, the death of the founder of the Saffarid state, Ya'qub al-Saffar, allowed the Abbasid government to fully concentrate its attention against the Zanj rebellion,6 and Abu'l-Abbas' appointment in December 879 to command against the rebels, at the head of 10,000 troops, marks the turning-point of the war.16 In the long and hard struggle against the Zanj, which involved amphibious operations in the Mesopotamian Marshes, Abu'l-Abbas and his own military slaves (ghilman), of which the long-serving Zirak al-Turki was the chief, played the major role: although the Abbasid armies eventually swelled with reinforcements, volunteers, and Zanj defectors, it was the few but elite ghilman who formed the army's backbone, filled leadership positions and bore the brunt of the battle, often under the personal command of Abu'l-Abbas.17 After years of gradually tightening the noose around the Zanj, in August 883 the Abbasid troops stormed their capital of al-Mukhtara, putting an end to the rebellion.1819 The detailed account of the war, written by a former Zanj rebel and preserved in the work of al-Tabari, stresses the role of al-Muwaffaq and Abu'l-Abbas as the heroes who, in defence of the embattled Muslim state, suppressed the rebellion; the successful campaign thus came to serve as a major legitimizing tool for their de facto usurpation of the Caliph's power.20
Following the final victory over the Zanj, al-Muwaffaq's relations with his son Abu'l-Abbas deteriorated, although the reason is unclear. Already in 884, Abu'l-Abbas' ghilman rioted in Baghdad against al-Muwaffaq's vizier, Sa'id ibn Makhlad, possibly over unpaid salaries.221 In 885, following the death of Ibn Tulun, Abu'l-Abbas was sent against Ibn Tulun's son and heir, Khumarawayh, but suffered a heavy defeat after which the Tulunids expanded their control over the Jazira and the borderlands (Thughur) with the Byzantine Empire. A peace agreement followed, whereby al-Muwaffaq was forced to recognize the Tulunids as governors over Egypt and Syria for 30 years, in exchange for an annual tribute.1112 Over the next couple of years, Abu'l-Abbas was involved in his father's ultimately unsuccessful attempts to wrest control of Fars from Saffarid control,22 but in 889, Abu'l-Abbas was arrested and put in prison on his father's orders, where he remained despite the demonstrations of the ghilman loyal to him. He apparently remained under arrest until May 891, when al-Muwaffaq, already nearing his death, returned to Baghdad after two years he spent in Jibal.221 Al-Muwaffaq, suffering from gout,1 was already visibly nearing his end; the vizier Isma'il ibn Bulbul and the city commander of Baghdad, Abu'l-Saqr, called al-Mu'tamid and his sons, including the heir-apparent al-Mufawwad, into the city, hoping to exploit al-Muwaffaq's imminent death for their own purposes. Nevertheless, the popularity of Abu'l- Abbas with the soldiers and the common people was such that he was set free; his opponents' houses were ransacked by the mob, and the attempt to sideline him failed.2324
Thus, when al-Muwaffaq died in June 891, Abu’l-Abbas succeeded him immediately in his offices, with the name of al-Mu'tadid bi-llah and a position in the line of succession after the caliph and al-Mufawwad. Within a few months, in April 892, al-Mu'tadid sidelined—and probably killed—al-Mufawwad, and when al-Mu'tamid died in October, possibly poisoned, he succeeded his uncle as Caliph.252627
Like his father, al-Mu'tadid’s power rested on his close relations with the military, and it was military activities which consumed his interest, especially as he usually led his army in person. As Hugh Kennedy writes, "No Abbasid caliph, not even al-Mu'tasim, spent as much time on campaign as did al-Mu'tadid. He was also a skilful diplomat, always prepared to make compromises with those who were too powerful to defeat.". In his "tireless campaigning", according to M. Bonner, "[t]he role of 'ghazī caliph', invented by Harun al-Rashid and enhanced by al-Mu'tasim, now had its greatest performance".2628 As H. Bowen rites, the new Caliph had "inherited all his father's energy and cultivated a reputation of prompt action".4 From the outset of his reign, he set out to reverse the fragmentation of the Abbasid Caliphate, by first securing firm control over its core territories in Iraq, the Jazira and western Persia (Jibal).2
Towards the Tulunids, al-Mu'tadid adopted a conciliatory attitude. He recognized the status quo in exchange for an annual tribute of 300,000 dinars and 200,000 in arrears, while the Tulunid ruler, Khumarawayh ibn Ahmad ibn Tulun, agreed to hand back the two Jaziran provinces of Diyar Rabi'a and Diyar Mudar. The pact was sealed by the marriage of Khumarawayh's daughter Qatr al-Nada to the Caliph, who brought a further million dinars as her dowry.29 In the event, the accord did not survive the murder of Khumarawayh in 896 (his daughter died soon after her marriage): with the Tulunid state in the unsteady hands of Khumarawayh's under-age sons, in 897 al-Mu'tadid extended his control over the border emirates of the Thughur, and in the words of Michael Bonner, "assumed, after a long hiatus, the old caliphal prerogative of commanding the annual summer expedition and arranging the defence against the Byzantine empire". To secure recognition, the new Tulunid ruler Harun ibn Khumarawayh (r. 896–904) was forced to more concessions, handing back all of Syria north of Homs, and increasing the annual tribute to 450,000 dinars.3028 In the Tulunid domains, increasing domestic turmoil and the mounting Qarmatian attacks led to the increasing defection of many of the Tulunids' followers to the resurgent Caliphate.30
In the Jazira the Caliph struggled against the Kharijite rebels, the Shaybani ruler of Amid and Diyar Bakr, Ahmad ibn Isa al-Shaybani, and the Taghlibi chief Hamdan ibn Hamdun. While the Kharijites were distracted by internal quarrels, al-Mu'tadid captured Mosul from the Shayban in 893. In 895 Hamdan ibn Hamdun was evicted from his strongholds, hunted down and captured. Finally, the Kharijite leader Harun ibn Abdallah himself was defeated and captured by Hamdan's son Husayn in 896. Harun was sent to Baghdad, where he was crucified. Husayn ibn Hamdan's exploit began his rise to a prominent position in the caliphal armies, marking the start of the gradual rise of the Hamdanid dynasty to power in the Jazira.2313 Ahmad al-Shaybani died in 898, and in the next year, al-Mu'tadid invaded the Jazira, ousted Ahmad's son Muhammad from Amid, and re-imposed direct control over the province by installing his son and heir, Ali al-Muktafi, as governor.232
Al-Mu'tadid was unable, however, to re-extend effective caliphal control north of the Jazira into Transcaucasia, where Armenia and Azerbaijan remained in the hands of virtually independent local dynasties.32 The local caliphal governor, Muhammad ibn Abi'l-Saj, proclaimed himself independent in ca. 898, although soon he recognized again the Caliph's suzerainty during his conflicts with the Christian Armenian princes. When he died in 901, he was succeeded by his son Devdad, beginning the independent Sajid dynasty.33 In 900 Ibn Abi'l-Saj was even suspected of plotting to seize the Diyar Mudar with the co-operation of the notables of Tarsus, after which the vengeful Caliph ordered the latter arrested and the city's fleet burned.334
In the Islamic East, the Caliph was forced to acknowledge the reality of the Saffarids' control, and reached a modus vivendi with them, perhaps hoping, according to Hugh Kennedy, to harness them in a partnership analogous to that which the Tahirids had enjoyed in previous decades. Consequently, the Saffarids were recognized in their possession of Khurasan and eastern Persia as well as Fars, while the Abbasids were to exercise direct control over Jibal, Rayy and Isfahan.230 This policy gave the Caliph free hand to recover the territories of the Dulafids, a semi-independent dynasty centred on Isfahan and Nihavand. When the Dulafid Ahmad ibn Abd al-Aziz ibn Abi Dulaf died in 893, al-Mu'tadid moved swiftly to install his son al-Muktafi as governor in Rayy, Qazvin, Qum and Hamadan. The Dulafids were confined to the region of Karaj and Isfahan, before being deposed outright in 896. Nevertheless, Abbasid hold over these territories remained precarious, especially due to the proximity of the Zaydi emirate in Tabaristan, and in 897 Rayy was handed over to the Saffarids.303536
The Abbasid–Saffarid partnership in Iran was most clearly expressed against the intrepid general Rafi ibn Harthama, who had made his base in Rayy and posed a threat to both caliphal and Saffarid interests in the region. Al-Mu'tadid sent Ahmad ibn Abd al-Aziz to seize Rayy from Rafi, who fled and made common cause with the Zaydis of Tabaristan in an effort to conquer Khurasan from the Saffarids. With Amr mobilizing anti-Alid sentiment against him and the expected assistance from the Zaydis failing to materialize, Rafu was defeated and killed in Khwarazm in 896. Amr, at the pinnacle of his power, sent the defeated rebel's head to Baghdad, and in 897 the Caliph transferred control of Rayy to him.37
The partnership finally collapsed after Mu'tadid appointed the Saffarid ruler Amr ibn al-Layth as governor of Transoxiana in 898, which was ruled by his rivals, the Samanids. Al-Mu'tamid encouraged Amr to confronr the Samanids, but in the event, Amr was crushingly defeated and taken prisoner in 900. The Samanid ruler, Isma'il ibn Ahmad, sent him in chains to Baghdad, where he was executed in 902, after al-Mu'tadid's death. Al-Mu'tadid in turn conferred Amr's titles to Isma'il ibn Ahmad, but the Saffarid remnant under Tahir proved sufficiently resilient to thwart the caliphal attempts at regaining Fars and Kirman for several more years. It was not until 910 that the Abbasids managed to regain the coveted Fars province.23839
From 897 on, the Caliphate faced a new threat, that of the Qarmatians. Originally a sporadic and minor nuisance in the Sawad, their power grew swiftly to alarming proportions: under Abu Sa'id al-Jannabi, in 899 they seized Bahrein, and in the next year defeated a caliphal army under al-Abbas ibn Amr al-Ghanawi. Following al-Mu'tadid's death, the Qarmatians "were to prove the most dangerous enemies the Abbasids had faced since the time of the Zanj" (Kennedy).240 The same period also saw more anti-Abbasid regimes established on the periphery of the Islamic world: the Fatimids seized power in Ifriqiya,41 and another Zaydi dynasty established itself in Yemen.42
The Caliphate's recovery under al-Muwaffaq and al-Mu'tadid relied on a strong army, and the state was in need of ever more money to pay for the ghilman and the mercenaries who comprised it.13 According to Hugh Kennedy, based on a treasury document from the time of al-Mu'tadid's accession, "out the total expenditure of 7915 dinars per day, some 5121 are entirely military, 1943 in areas (like riding animals and stables) which served both military and non-military and only 851 in areas like the bureaucracy and the harem which can be described as truly civilian (though even in this case, the bureaucrats’ main purpose seems to have been to arrange the payment of the army). It seems reasonable to conclude that something over 80 per cent of recorded government expenditure was devoted to maintaining the army."43
At the same time, the Caliphate' fiscal basis had shrunk dramatically after so many tax-paying provinces had been lost from the central government's control, either to autonomous dynasties or to semi-autonomous governors who held them by way of muqata'a, a form of tax farming in exchange for a fixed tribute, which they often failed to pay. To maximise their revenue from the territory remaining to them, the Abbasids increased the breadth and complexity of the central bureaucracy, dividing the provinces into smaller tax districts as well as increasing the number of the fiscal departments (diwans), allowing for a far closer oversight of both revenue collection and the activities of the officials themselves.44 The Caliph would often personally devote himself to the supervision of revenue, acquiring a reputation for "a spirit of economy, verging on avarice" (F. Malti-Douglas), as he was said to "examine petty accounts that a commoner would scorn to consider" (H. Bowen).445 Fines and confiscations multiplied under his rule, with the resulting revenue, along with the income from the crown domain and even a portion of the provincial taxation, flowing to the caliphal privy purse (bayt mal al-khaṣṣa). The latter now acquired a leading role among the other fiscal departments as it frequently held more money than the public treasury (bayt mal al-ʿamma).4647 By the end of his reign, the once empty privy purse would contain ten million dinars.4 On the other hand, in 895 he changed the start of the tax year from the Persian New Year to 11 June—which became known as Nayrūz al-Mu'tadid, "al-Mu'tadid's New Year"—so that the land tax (kharāj) was now collected after the harvest instead of before, easing the farmers' burden.2848
The Caliph's policies strengthened the position of the civil bureaucracy, which now reached the apogee of its influence, and especially the vizier, whom even the army came to respect as the spokesman of the caliph.13 In terms of personnel, al-Mu'tadid's reign was marked by continuity among the senior leadership of the state. Ubayd Allah ibn Sulayman ibn Wahb remained vizier from the start of the reign until his death in 901, and was succeeded by his son, al-Qasim, who had from the start been deputizing during his father's absences from the capital. Badr, a veteran who had served under al-Muwaffaq and whose daughter married the Caliph's son, remained commander of the army. The fiscal departments, especially of the Sawad (Lower Iraq), were managed first by the Banu'l-Furat brothers Ahmad and Ali, and after 899 by the Banu'l-Jarrah, under Muhammad ibn Dawud and his nephew, Ali ibn Isa.495051 This administrative team was so effective and harmonious that according to the 11th-century historian Hilal as-Sabi, it was said by subsequent generations that "there had never been such a quartet, Caliph, Vizier, Commander, and chief of the diwans, as al-Mu'tadid, Ubayd Allah, Badr and Ahmad ibn al-Furat".52
On the other hand, the reign "saw a growth of factionalism within this bureaucracy, observable also in the army and in urban civilian life" (Bonner).50 The rivalry between the two bureaucratic dynasties of the Banu'l-Furat and Banu'l-Jarrah, with their extensive networks of clients, began at this time, and would dominate the Abbasid government over the next decades, with the factions alternating in office while often fining and torturing their predecessors to extract money, a practice known as muṣadara.1353 In addition, Qasim ibn Ubayd Allah was of an altogether different character than his father: soon after his appointment, he plotted to have al-Mu'tadid assassinated, and tried to involve Badr in his scheming. The general rejected his proposals with indignation, but Qasim was saved from discovery and execution by the Caliph's sudden death. The vizier tried to dominate al–Muktafi, moved swiftly to have Badr denounced and executed, and was involved in yet more intrigues against the Banu'l-Furat.54
Al-Mu'tadid also completed the return of the capital from Samarra to Baghdad, which had already served as his father's main base of operations. The city's centre, however, was relocated on the eastern bank of the Tigris and further downstream of the original city, where it has remained to this day.55 As the 10th-century historian al-Mas'udi wrote, the Caliph's two main passions were "women and building" (al-nisaʿ waʿl-banaʿ),4 and accordingly he engaged in major building activities in the new capital: he restored and expanded the Great Mosque of al-Mansur which had fallen into disuse,56 enlarged the Hasani palace, built the new palaces of Thurayya ("Pleiades") and Firdus ("Paradise"), and began work on the Taj ("Crown") Palace, which was completed under al-Muktafi.5758 He also took care to restore the city's irrigation network, cleaning up the silted-up Dujayl canal, paying for it with money from those landholders who stood to profit from it.55
In the dispensation of justice, he was characterized by "severity bordering on sadism" (F. Malti-Douglas). While tolerant of error and not above displays of tenderness, when his wrath was aroused he resorted to torture in the most ingenious ways, and had special torture chambers constructed underneath his palace. Chroniclers like al-Mas'udi and the Mamluk historian al-Safadi describe in great detail the tortures inflicted by the Caliph on prisoners, as well as his practice of making an example of them by having them publicly displayed in Baghdad. At the same time, however, they tend to justify his severity as legitimate, in service of the interests of the state. As F. Malti-Douglas remarks, when al-Safadi compared al-Mu'tadid with the founder of the Abbasid state, calling him "al-Saffah the Second", this was not only to emphasize his restoration of the Caliphate's fortunes, but also a direct allusion to the meaning of al-Saffah's name, "the Blood-Shedder".459
Al-Mu'tadid died at the Hasani palace on 5 April 902, at the age of either 40 or 47. There were rumours that he had been poisoned, but it is more likely that the rigours of his campaigns, coupled with his dissipate life, severely weakened his health. During his final illness, he refused to follow the advice of his physicians, and even kicked one of them to death.360 Al-Mu'tadid was the first Abbasid caliph to be buried within the walls of Baghdad. Like his sons after him, he was buried in the former Tahirid palace in the western part of the city, which was now used by the caliphs as a secondary residence.61
According to the Orientalist Karl Vilhelm Zetterstéen, al-Mu'tadid "had inherited his father's gifts as a ruler and was distinguished alike for his economy and his military ability", becoming "one of the greatest of the Abbasids in spite of his strictness and cruelty".3 Al-Mu'tadid's capable reign is credited with having arrested the Abbasid Caliphate's decline for a while, but his successes were too dependent on the presence of an energetic ruler at the helm, and "his reign was too short to reverse long-term trends and re-establish Abbasid power on a long-term basis" (Kennedy).2
Al-Mu'tadid had taken care to prepare his son and successor, al-Muktafi, for his role by appointing him as governor in Rayy and the Jazira.262 Although al-Muktafi tried to follow his father's policies, he lacked his energy. The heavily militarized system of al-Muwaffaq and al-Mu'tadid required the Caliph to actively participate in campaigns, setting a personal example and allowing for the formation of ties of loyalty, reinforced by patronage, between the ruler and the soldiers. Al-Muktafi, however, as Michael Bonner writes, "in his character and comportment he did not, being a sedentary figure, instil much loyalty, let alone inspiration, in the soldiers".63 The Caliphate was still able to secure major successes over the next few years, including the reincorporation of the Tulunid domains in 904 and victories over the Qarmatians, but with al-Muktafi's death in 908, the so-called "Abbasid restoration" passed its high-water mark.6465
- Bowen 1928, p. 25.
- Kennedy 1993, pp. 759–760.
- Zetterstéen 1987, p. 777.
- Bowen 1928, p. 26.
- Kennedy 2001, pp. 148–150.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 323–324.
- Mottahedeh 1975, pp. 77–78.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 313–327.
- Kennedy 2001, p. 148.
- Bonner 2010, p. 314.
- Kennedy 2004, p. 177.
- Bonner 2010, p. 335.
- Mottahedeh 1975, p. 79.
- Kennedy 2001, pp. 151, 156.
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 177–179.
- Kennedy 2001, pp. 153–154.
- Kennedy 2001, pp. 151, 153–156.
- Bonner 2010, p. 324.
- Kennedy 2004, p. 179.
- Kennedy 2003, pp. 26–35.
- Kennedy 2001, p. 152.
- Bosworth 1975, pp. 119–120.
- Bowen 1928, p. 27.
- Kennedy 2001, pp. 152–153.
- Kennedy 2003, pp. 26, 34.
- Bonner 2010, p. 332.
- Bowen 1928, pp. 25, 27.
- Kennedy 2004, p. 181.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 335–336.
- Bonner 2010, p. 336.
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 181–182, 266.
- Kennedy 2004, p. 182.
- Madelung 1975, pp. 228–229.
- Madelung 1975, p. 229.
- Mottahedeh 1975, p. 78.
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 182–183.
- Bosworth 1975, p. 120.
- Bosworth 1975, pp. 121–122.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 336–337.
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 183–184.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 327–332.
- Bonner 2010, p. 327.
- Kennedy 2001, p. 156.
- Mottahedeh 1975, pp. 79–80, 87.
- Malti-Douglas 1999, p. 327.
- Bonner 2010, p. 334.
- Finer 1999, pp. 706–707.
- Talbi 1998, p. 456 (note 313).
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 179–180.
- Bonner 2010, p. 333.
- Bowen 1928, pp. 28–31, 43–45.
- Bowen 1928, p. 44.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 333–334.
- Bowen 1928, pp. 57ff..
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 180–181.
- Le Strange 1900, pp. 34–36.
- Le Strange 1900, pp. xxx, 242ff..
- Bowen 1928, p. 59.
- Malti-Douglas 1999, pp. 327–334.
- Bowen 1928, p. 58.
- Le Strange 1900, pp. 120, 194–195 (note 2).
- Bonner 2010, p. 337.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 332, 335, 337.
- Bonner 2010, pp. 337–339.
- Kennedy 2004, pp. 184–185.
- Bonner, Michael (2010). "The waning of empire, 861–945". In Robinson, Charles F. The New Cambridge History of Islam, Volume I: The Formation of the Islamic World, Sixth to Eleventh Centuries. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 305–359. ISBN 978-0-521-83823-8.
- Bosworth, C.E. (1975). "The Ṭāhirids and Ṣaffārids". In Frye, R.N. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 90–135.
- Bowen, Harold (1928). The Life and Times of ʿAlí Ibn ʿÍsà: The Good Vizier. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
- Finer, Samuel Edward (1999). The History of Government from the Earliest Times, Volume II: The Intermediate Ages. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-820790-5.
- Kennedy, Hugh N. (1993). "al-Muʿtaḍid Bi’llāh". The Encyclopedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VII: Mif–Naz. Leiden and New York: BRILL. pp. 759–760. ISBN 90-04-09419-9.
- Kennedy, Hugh N. (2001). The Armies of the Caliphs: Military and Society in the Early Islamic State. London and New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-25093-5.
- Kennedy, Hugh N. (2003). "Caliphs and Their Chroniclers in the Middle Abbasid Period (Third/Ninth Century)". In Robinson, Chase F. Texts, Documents, and Artefacts: Islamic Studies in Honour of D.S. Richards. Leiden: BRILL. pp. 17–35. ISBN 90-04-12864-6.
- Kennedy, Hugh N. (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century (Second ed.). Harlow, UK: Pearson Education Ltd. ISBN 0-582-40525-4.
- Le Strange, Guy (1900). Baghdad during the Abbasid Caliphate from contemporary Arabic and Persian Sources. Oxford: Clarendon Press. OCLC 257810905.
- Madelung, W. (1975). "The Minor Dynasties of Northern Iran". In Frye, R.N. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 198–249. ISBN 978-0-521-20093-6.
- Malti-Douglas, Fedwa (1999). "Texts and Tortures: The Reign of al-Mu'tadid and the Construction of Historical Meaning". Arabica 46: 313–336.
- Mottahedeh, Roy (1975). "The ʿAbbāsid Caliphate in Iraq". In Frye, R.N. The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 57–89.
- Talbi, Muhammad (1998). "Everyday life in the cities of Islam". In Bouhdiba, Abdelwahab; Ma'ruf al-Dawalibi, Muhammad. The Different Aspects of Islamic Culture: The Individual and Society in Islam. New York: UNESCO. pp. 379–460. ISBN 92-3-102742-5.
- Zetterstéen, K.V. (1987). "al-Muʿtaḍid Bi’llāh". In Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor. E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam, 1913–1936, Volume VI: Morocco–Ruzzik. Leiden: BRILL. p. 777. ISBN 90-04-08265-4.
Al-Mu'tadidBorn: c. 860 Died: 902
|Sunni Islam titles|
|Caliph of Islam