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Islam / Caliph / Abbasids /
Arabic: 'al-mā'mūn

(786-833) Caliph of Islam 813-833, belonging to the Abbasid Dynasty.
His reign saw more territorial consolidation, than new conquests. There were gains in India and Afghanistan, while lands of Persia and Turkestan were secured. Continuous fighting against the Byzantine Empire gave no important victories.
al-Ma'mun is remembered for being active in religious/political matters. He instigated the Mihna and he changed the official theological orientation of the caliphate. This was met with fierce opposition from the ulama.

786: Born as son of Harun ar-Rashid.
809: Harun dies, and al-Amin becomes new caliph, with al-Ma'mun as heir. This despite al-ma'mun being the oldest, but al-Amin's mother was of royal anscestry, while al-Ma'mun's mother was a Persian slave. al-Ma'mun becomes governor of Khurasan, ruling from Merv (now Turkmenistan).
810: al-Amin appoints his son Musa as heir. This results in a bloody war between al-Amin and al-Ma'mun.
813: al-Ma'mun's troops storm Baghdad, killing al-Amin. al-Ma'mun becomes new caliph, but chose to stay on in Merv for the next few years.
— Appoints Ali ar-Rida as his successor. Ali ar-Rida was an old man by then, so the appointment was only an empty gesture.
815?: Chooses the Mu'tazili theological orientation as the official one.
827: In order to secure the loyalty of his administration, al-Ma'mun institutes the Mihna, the Islamic inquisition.
832: Founds the Bayt al-Hikma, "House of Wisdom", which would involve itself in the translation of Greek manuscripts into Arabic, and other intellectual deeds.
833: Dies while leading an expedition against Sardis.

By Tore Kjeilen