The Military and Doctrinal Role of Rāwandiyya in Enabling the Abbasids to Attain Power

Document Type : Research Paper

Authors

1 Ph.D student, Department of History , Yadegar-e-Imam Khomeini (RAH) Shahre Rey Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of History, Yadegar-e-Imam Khomeini (RAH) Shahre Rey Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran (Corresponding Authorʹs)

3 Associate Professor, Department of History, Centeral Tehran Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

10.22034/jid.2023.261039.2122

Abstract

The Abbasids infiltrated the network of Hashimite and Kaysanite activists, eventually seizing power in Khorasan. With the military support of Abū Muslim al-Khurāsānī, they incited riots that undermined and ultimately led to the downfall of the Umayyad dynasty. A key faction within Abū Muslim's military forces, known as the "Rāwandiyya," played a pivotal role in assisting the Abbasids. However, upon assuming power, the Abbasids needed ideological support to justify the transfer of Imamate and leadership from the Hashimites to the Abbasids. The Rāwandiyya actively contributed to this endeavor, expediting the process of transferring the Imamate from Muḥammad Ḥanafiyya to Ibrāhīm al-Imām, and subsequently to the Abbasids. With their distinctive perspectives, the Rāwandiyya portrayed the Imamate and leadership by tracing the Abbasid genealogy back through the Prophet to ʿAbd Allāh b. ʿAbbās. According to historical sources, there were individuals among the Rāwandiyya who held extremist views and were referred to as exaggerators. These individuals believed that al-Manṣūr al-ʿAbbāsī (Al-Mansur the Caliph) was their deity. Despite these beliefs, the Hashimites remained aligned with al-Mansur, underscoring the significance of the Rāwandis in the eyes of the Abbasid caliphs. This research employs a descriptive-analytical approach to demonstrate that the Rāwandis made substantial contributions, both in military engagements and by providing doctrinal views. Consequently, they played a pivotal role in facilitating the transfer and consolidation of power within the Abbasid dynasty.

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