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The new Abu Muslim al-Khurasani

All ideas discussing religion have a political aspect that is as important as the religious one

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

All ideas discussing religion have a political aspect that is as important as the religious one, if not more so. Abu Muslim al-Khurasani is a controversial character. He is the real founder of the Abbasid caliphate, and he killed more than 600,000 people to found his state, according to prominent historian Al-Tabari.

Some say he is the grandchild of Persian nobleman Bozorgmehr, and others say he descends from the family of the last Sasanian ruler Yazdegerd III. Ironically, the actual founder of the Abbasid caliphate, Abu Ja’far al-Mansur, killed Khurasani in the year 137 Hijri in Madain.

The Kurds also say he is one of them, his name is Bahzad, and he is from southern Kurdistan. He once claimed Abbasid ancestry, but history shows he was presented to Ibrahim al-Imam, head of the Abbasids and resident of Al-Hamima.

Murder

When Mansur went to kill him in his council after seeing guards behind the corridor, he told them to attack him with their swords upon his signal. Khurasani shouted: “Keep me for your enemies.” Mansur replied: “You are my worst enemy!” Ibn Khallikan said Khurasani “spoke the Arabic and Persian languages fluently; he had a well-balanced mind, wrote poetry and was knowledgeable.”

Khurasani is considered an Iranian national hero, just like Rustam during the Sasanian period and Qasem Soleimani during the modern era

Mshari al-Thaydi

Expressing his discontent over the deviation of the Abbasid revolution, historian Al-Dhahabi said in his book “Siyar A’lam al-Nubala”: “Here comes the foreign and strong state, founded by Khurasani; history is repeating itself.” The last comment is suggestive, as Dhahabi was a scholar during the Mamluk era.

The irony is that the character of Khurasani has a positive impact on Iranian culture, and it was a subject taught at school. There is also a football team, which is one of the best in Iran, in Mashhad in his name.

However, this man supported the rule of the Abbasids, who killed the Alawites, which means he is considered an Iranian national hero, just like Rustam during the Sasanian period and Qasem Soleimani during the modern era. Will we witness new destruction similar to that carried out by Khurasani?

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on Sept. 16, 2016.
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Saudi journalist Mshari Al Thaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Al Thaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.