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The town of Mamoon [variants: Al Maimoona, Al Maymoona] is a suburb of Baghdad.

Mamoon-ar-Rashid [Mamunar Rashid] was a caliph of the Abasside dynasty, the son of Harun al-Rashid, the Abbasid caliph who tyrannically reigned over people. Mamoon, the clever Abbasid Caliph, gained the ruling power over the vast kingdom after he overthrew and destroyed his brother Mahammad Ameen. Mamoon's army attacked Baghdad and defeated Amin, who was assassinated by Mamoon's agents in 814 AD. After this bloody war, Mamoon became the caliph of the whole territory.

The period of Caliph Mamoon is particularly famous for development. He founded his House of Wisdom (Bait-ul-Hikmah), which housed a library as famous as any in medieval history and which was a training centre of scholars. Caliph Al Mamoon set his men to knock a hole in the Great Pyramid at Giza to gain entrance. This impromptu portal, called Al Mamoon's Tunnel, is still in use today. The caliph Al Mamoon was the first person to enter the pyramid in 820 AD, which he did by forcing a way through the solid limestone core blocks until he hit the descending passage.

Since the Alawids and the Sadat, descendants of the Holy Prophet, were driven to extremities by the cruelties of Haroon and his sons, they revolted against Mamoon in the regions of Iraq, Hejaz and Yemen. The rebels wanted the Household of the Holy Prophet to rule over the Muslim community. During Mamoon's reign, Imam Ali Al-Reza [Ali Al-Reda] was the eighth in the series of the Imams from the Household of the Prophet. To quell the rebellion, Mamoon invited the socio-religious Leader of the Shiite Muslims - Imam Reza to Khorasan. By settling Imam Reza in his castle, he planned to pretend that his rule was confirmed by Imam Reza.

Al-Mamoon decided to use Reza as a bargaining chip between him and the Abbasides in Baghdad on one hand, and between him and the Alawis on the other, and also between him and the Shi'as of Khurasan as well. Mamoon took an unusual step to redress the ill feelings of his subjects. In the year 201 AH, he called the Imam to Merv (in Khorasan) from Madinah. The Imam knew his political intention and did not accept the post as administrator. Then Mamoon asked him to be his successor. The Imam accepted it but with one condition that he were not to partake in any governmental task during the lifetime of Mamoon. The Imam accepted the offer with the conditions that he would not have any responsibility that it would be only a symbolic maneuver. Mamoon got people's allegiance in this action. He ordered that the currency should carry Imam's name and that the khutba's be in Imam's name. Imam Reza died in 818 AD, during the reign of Mamoon. The Shiites believed that Imam Reza was killed with poison mixed in his grapes on the order of Caliph Mamoon.

By having Imam All ar-Reza killed, Mamoon was able to win back the confidence of his Abbasid kinsmen, he lost his trust among the followers of the Imam. Mamoon then asked the Ninth Imam: Muhammad ibne Ali, to stay in Baghdad and be declared his successor. But the Imam declined to have any thing to do with the heirship to the Caliphate, or on staying in the palace in Baghdad. Mamoon died in 218 AH, and his brother Mu'tasim Billah succeeded to the throne.

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Page last modified: 09-07-2011 02:49:24 ZULU