The Abbasid Dynasty was second of the two
great dynasties of the Muslim Empire of the
Caliphate. It overthrew the Umayyad caliphate in
750 AD and reigned as the ?Abbasid caliphate
until destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1258.
The name derived from the uncle of the Prophet
Mu?ammad, al-?Abbas (died c. 653).
Under the ?Abbasids the caliphate entered a new
phase. Instead of focussing, as the Umayyads
had done, on the West—on North Africa, the
Mediterranean, and southern Europe—the
caliphate now turned eastward. The capital was
moved to the new city of Baghdad, and events in
Persia and Transoxania were closely watched. For
the first time the caliphate was not coterminous
with Islam; in Egypt, North Africa, Spain, and
elsewhere, local dynasties claimed caliphal
status. With the rise of the ?Abbasids the base
influence in the empire became international,
emphasizing membership in the community of
believers rather than Arab nationality. Since
much support for the ?Abbasids came from
Persian converts, it was natural for the ?Abbasids
to take over much of the Persian (Sasanian)
tradition of government.
Between 750 and 833 the ?Abbasids raised the
prestige and power of the empire, promoting
commerce, industry, arts, and science, in
The present slab has been decorated by an
Islamic inscription on which appears in repetition
a reference to the Angel Maalik together with the
name of the God. Maalik is defined in the Qu'ran
as being the warden of Hell.