3rd Abbasid caliph (r. 775–785)

Abu Abdallah Muhammad ibn Abdallah al-Mansur (744 or 745 – 785), better known by his regnal name al-Mahdi (المهدي, "He who is guided by God"), was the third Abbasid Caliph, who reigned from 775 to his death in 785. He succeeded his father, al-Mansur.


  • Nobody seeks my help with a petition or offers an excuse that is more pressing than he, reminding me of a favor I did him so that it would be followed by its sister (i.e, one like it) and so good would be done to its asker because withholding of later things removes gratitude for earlier ones.
    • History of the Prophets and Kings, Vol. 29, p. 257/258

Quotes about al-Mahdi

  • In the year 159 (AD 776) Al Mahdî sent an army by sea under ‘Abdul Malik bin Shahãbu’l Musamma’î to India… They proceeded on their way and at length disembarked at Barada. When they reached the place they laid siege to it… The town was reduced to extremities, and God prevailed over it in the same year. The people were forbidden to worship the Budd, which the Muhammadans burned.
    • Ibn al-Athir The Complete History, Khalîfa Al-Mahdî (AD 775-785) Barada (Gujarat) Elliot and Dowson, Vol. II. pp. 246

Further Readings

  • Al-Tabari: The History of the Prophets and Kings (The History of Tabari), Translated by Huge Kennedy, State University of New York (1990), Vol. 29
  • Al-Suyuti, History of The Caliphs, Translated by Major H. S. Jarrett, Calcutta (India), 1881.
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