Al-Musta'sim Billah (full name: al-Musta'sim-Billah Abu-Ahmad Abdullah bin al-Mustansir-Billah; Arabic: المستعصم بالله أبو أحمد عبد الله بن المستنصر بالله‎; 1213 – February 20, 1258) was the Last Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad; he ruled from 1242 until his death.

المستعصم باللہ
Dinar Abbasside - al-Musta'sim bi-llah - 641 AH
Dinar coined under Al-Musta'sim's rule.
37th Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad
Reign5 December 1242 – 20 February 1258 (15 years 2 months 15 days)
as Abbasid Caliph in Cairo
Died20 February 1258 (aged 45)
ConsortQurrat al-Ayn , Bab bachir[1]
MotherHajir [2]
ReligionSunni Islam
Hulagu (left) imprisons Caliph Al-Musta'sim among his treasures to starve him to death. Medieval depiction from "Le livre des merveilles", 15th century.


Al-Musta'sim succeeded his father in late 1242.

He is noted for his opposition to the rise of Shajar al-Durr to the Egyptian throne during the Seventh Crusade. He sent a message from Baghdad to the Mamluks in Egypt that said: "If you do not have men there tell us so we can send you men."[3] However, Al-Musta'sim had to face the greatest menace against the caliphate since its establishment in 632: the invasion of the Mongol forces that, under Hulagu Khan, had already wiped out any resistance in Transoxiana and Khorasan. In 1255/1256 Hulagu forced the Abbasid to lend their forces for the campaign against Alamut.

In 1258, Hulagu invaded the Abbasid domain, which then consisted of only Baghdad, its immediate surroundings, and southern Iraq. In his campaign to conquer Baghdad, Hulagu Khan had several columns advance simultaneously on the city, and laid siege to it. The Mongols kept the people of Abbasid Caliphate in their capital and executed those who tried to flee.

Baghdad was sacked on February 10 and the caliph was killed by Hulagu Khan soon afterward. It is reckoned that the Mongols did not want to shed "royal blood", so they wrapped him in a rug and trampled him to death with their horses. Some of his sons were massacred as well; one of the surviving sons was sent as a prisoner to Mongolia, where Mongolian historians report he married and fathered children, but played no role in Islam thereafter.

The Travels of Marco Polo reports that upon finding the caliph's great stores of treasure which could have been spent on the defense of his realm, Hulagu Khan locked him in his treasure room without food or water, telling him "eat of thy treasure as much as thou wilt, since thou art so fond of it."[4][5]

Abbasid Caliph in Cairo

The Mamluk Sultans and Syria later appointed an Abbasid Caliph in Cairo, but they were even more symbolic than the by-now marginalized Abbasid Caliphs in Baghdad. Even though they kept the title for about 250 years more, other than installing the Sultan in ceremonies, these Caliphs had little importance. After the Ottomans conquered Egypt in 1517, the Abbasid Caliph of Egypt, Al-Mutawakkil III was transported to Constantinople, and Sultan Selim I announced himself to be a Caliph.


  1. ^ Al-Hawadith al-Jami'a . Ibn al-Fuwaṭi
  2. ^ Al-Hawadith al-Jami'a . Ibn al-Fuwaṭi
  3. ^ Al-Maqrizi, p.464/vol1
  4. ^ Yule-Cordier Edition
  5. ^ Ibn al-Furat; translated by le Strange, 1900, pp. 293–300


  • Al-Maqrizi, Al Selouk Leme'refatt Dewall al-Melouk, Dar al-kotob, 1997.
  • Ibn al-Furat; le Strange (1900). "The Death of the Last Abbasid Caliph, from the Vatican MS. of Ibn al-Furat". Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society. 32: 293–300.
Cadet branch of the Banu Hashim
Born: 1213 Died: 20 February 1258
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Last Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliph

5 December 1242 – 20 February 1258
Title next held by

Year 1258 (MCCLVIII) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar.

Al-Hakim I

Al-Hakim I (Arabic: الحاكم بأمر الله الأول‎) Abu al-'Abbas Ahmad ibn Abi 'Ali al-Hasan held the position of the Abbasid Caliph of Cairo, Mamluk Egypt for the Mamluk Sultans between 1262 and 1302. He was an alleged great-great-great grandson of the Abbasid Caliph al-Mustarshid, who had died in 1135. When Baghdad fell to the Mongols in 1258, al-Hakim I escaped to Damascus where he befriended the Arab tribal chief 'Isa ibn al-Muhanna, who tried to set him up as caliph, but in the confusion surrounding the Mongol invasion of Syria in 1259-1260, he ended up in Aleppo, where he was proclaimed. However, the much closer and probably genuine uncle of the last Abbasid caliph al-Musta'sim, al-Mustansir II, was proclaimed caliph in Cairo in 1261. Al-Hakim I joined al-Mustansir II's invasion of Iraq, also submitting to al-Mustansir II as caliph, but the latter was slain with most of the invaders near Hīt in Iraq by the Mongols. Only about fifty troops escaped with al-Hakim, who, making his way back to Cairo and after a careful scrutiny of his genealogical claim to be an Abbasid, was proclaimed caliph in succession to al-Mustansir in 1262. Since al-Hakim's connection with the Abbasids is distant and faint, it cannot now be known whether he was really from that family as he claimed or not. In any case, al-Hakim I had no further adventures, served as a legitimating and ceremonial functionary for the Mamluk sultans in Cairo, reigned for thirty-nine years, and became the progenitor of all the subsequent Abbasid caliphs of Cairo, whether he was really an Abbasid or not. Although he was kept in office after 1262, the Mamluk sultans kept him as a virtual prisoner in the citadel, until Sultan Lajin released him in December 1296, allowing him to live in a house in the city and giving him a bigger financial emolument.

Al-Musta'sim (Cairo)

Al-Musta'sim (Arabic: المستعصم بالله‎), also known as al-Mu'tasim (Arabic: المعتصم باالله‎), served twice (first in 1377, then again in 1386–1389) as Abbasid caliph of Cairo under the tutelage of the Mamluk sultans.

Al-Mustansir (Baghdad)

Al-Mustansir Bi'llah (full name:Abû Ja`far al-Mustansir bi-llah al-Mansûr ben az-Zâhir Surname Al-Mustansir) was born in Baghdad on 1192. On his father's death in 1226 he has succeeded his father Az-Zahir as the thirty-sixth Abbasid Caliph. Al-Mustansir died on 5 December 1242. His son Al-Musta'sim succeeded him as the caliph.

Mustansiriya Madrasah, was established in 1227 (or 1232/34 A.D. by some accounts) by the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mustansir and is one of the oldest universities in the world. Its building, located on the left bank of the Tigris River, survived the Mongol invasion and has been restored.

Al-Mustansir (Cairo)

Al-Mustansir (Arabic: المستنصر بالله الثاني‎) Abu al-Qasim Ahmad was a member of the Abbasid house who was imprisoned by his nephew the Caliph al-Musta'sim in Baghdad. Following the sack of Baghdad by the Mongols in 1258, he escaped to the Arab tribes in the desert, where he hid out for a couple of years, until the Mamluks drove the Mongols from Syria in 1260. After making his way to Cairo, Mamluk Egypt, al-Mustansir was installed as Caliph there by the Mamluk Sultan Baybars I in 1261. He was sent with an army to the east to recover Baghdad, but was killed in a Mongol ambush near Hīt (modern Iraq) in 1261, and was succeeded by his rather distant Abbasid kinsman (and former rival caliph, having been proclaimed by the ruler of Aleppo) Al-Hakim I. Though he was not the direct ancestor of any of them, the line of Cairo caliphs he founded lasted until the Ottoman conquest of Egypt in 1517, but they were little more than religious figureheads for the Mamluks.

Al-Mutawakkil I

Al-Mutawakkil I (Arabic: المتوكل على الله الأول‎) was an Abbasid Caliph of Cairo, Egypt for the Mamluk Sultans between 1362 and 1383, and then 1389 and 1406.

Al-Mutawakkil III

Al-Mutawakkil III (Arabic: المتوكل على الله الثالث‎) (died 1543) was caliph from 1508 to 1516, and again in 1517. He was the last caliph of the later, Egyptian-based period of the Abbasid dynasty. Since the Mongol sack of Baghdad and the execution of Caliph Al-Musta'sim in 1258, the Abbasid caliphs had resided in Cairo, nominal rulers used to legitimize the actual rule of the Mamluk sultans.

Al-Mutawakkil III was deposed briefly in 1516 by his predecessor Al-Mustamsik, but was restored to the caliphate the following year. In 1517, Ottoman sultan Selim I had managed to defeat the Mamluk Sultanate, and made Egypt part of the Ottoman Empire. Al-Mutawakkil III was captured together with his family and transported to Constantinople. He formally surrendered the title of caliph as well as its outward emblems—the sword and mantle of Muhammad—to Ottoman sultan Selim I. Ottoman rulers before him, beginning with Fatih Sultan Mehmed however, had already begun to claim caliphal authority.

Al-Wathiq I

Al-Watiq I (Arabic: الواثق بالله‎) was an Abbasid Caliph of Cairo, Egypt for the Mamluk Sultans between 1340 and 1341.

Al-Wathiq II

Al-Watiq II (Arabic: الواثق بالله‎) was an Abbasid Caliph of Cairo, Egypt for the Mamluk Sultans between 1383 and 1386.


Izz al-Din Aybak (Arabic: عز الدين أيبك‎) (epithet: al-Malik al-Mu'izz Izz al-Din Aybak al-Jawshangir al-Turkmani al-Salihi, Arabic: الملك المعز عز الدين أيبك التركماني الجاشنكير الصالحى) was the first of the Mamluk sultans of Egypt in the Turkic Bahri line. He ruled from 1250 until his death in 1257.


Billah (Arabic: بالله‎) is an Arabic phrase meaning with God or through God. It is used in various standard sayings, such as the Hawqala and the Ta'awwudh. It is also often used as a component of compound personal proper names, particularly as regnal names by caliphs and other rulers when it might be seen as a counterpart of the Christian usage by the grace of God. It is used for example as follows:

al-Aziz Billah (Arabic: العزيز بالله‎), mighty through God

Abu Mansoor Nizar al-Aziz Billah (955–996), fifth Caliph of the Fatimids

Baqi Billah (Arabic: باقى بالله‎), everlasting through God

Khwaja Baqi Billah (1563–1603), Sufi saint from Kabul

al-Mahdi Billah (Arabic: المهدي بالله‎), rightly guided through God

Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah (ruled 909-934), founder of the Fatimid dynasty

Al-Muhtadi Billah (Arabic: المهتدي بالله‎), rightly guided through God

Al-Muhtadee Billah (born 1974), heir to the Sultan of Brunei

Al-Muktafi Billah (Arabic: المكتفي بالله‎), contented through God

one of the names of Mahmud of Terengganu (born 1930), Sultan of Terengganu

one of the names of Mizan Zainal Abidin of Terengganu (born 1962), Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia

Al-Musta'in Billah (Arabic: المستعين بالله‎), one who asks for help through God

Al-Musta'in (Cairo), (c. 1390 − 1430), Abbasid "shadow" caliph

al-Mustansir Billah (Arabic: المستنصر بالله‎), one who asks for help through God

Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah (1029–1094), Fatimid Caliph

Al-Musta'sim Billah (Arabic: المستعصم بالله‎), he who holds fast though God

Al-Musta'sim Billah, (1213–1258), last Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad

al-Mu'tasim-Bi-'llāh (Arabic: المعتصم بالله‎), abstaining from sin through God

one of the titles of Abu Bakar of Pahang (1904–1974), Sultan of Pahang, Malaysia

Proper given name of Mutassim Gaddafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi

Motasim Billah Mazhabi (born 1964), Afghan politician

Al-Qahir Billah (Arabic: القاهر بالله‎), victorious through God

Al-Qahir bi'llah (899−950), Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad

List of 13th-century religious leaders

List of 12th-century religious leaders - List of 14th-century religious leaders - Lists of religious leaders by centuryThis is a list of the top-level leaders for religious groups with at least 50,000 adherents, and that led anytime from January 1, 1201, to December 31, 1300. It should likewise only name leaders listed on other articles and lists.

List of 14th-century religious leaders

List of 13th-century religious leaders - List of 15th-century religious leaders - Lists of religious leaders by centuryThis is a list of the top-level leaders for religious groups with at least 50,000 adherents, and that led anytime from January 1, 1301, to December 31, 1400. It should likewise only name leaders listed on other articles and lists.

List of methods of capital punishment

This is a list of methods of capital punishment, also known as execution.

Mausoleum of Umar Suhrawardi

The Mausoleum of Umar Suhrawardi, or the Mosque and the Tomb of the Sheikh Umar Suhrawardi (Arabic: جامع ومرقد الشيخ عمر السهروردي‎, translit. Suhrawardi Mausoleum), is a historic complex of a mausoleum and a mosque, located in Baghdad, Iraq. The complex dates back to the Abbasid era and is dedicated to Shahab al-Din Abu Hafs Umar Suhrawardi, the founder of Suhrawardiyya Sufi Order. The mosque is located between the Sheikh Umar Street and Bab al-Wastani of the Baghdad wall, in the southern part of Al-Rusafa. The mosque can be overlooked from the Muhammad al-Qasim Highway and approximately one kilometre (zero point six two miles) away from the city center.

Siege of Baghdad (1258)

The Siege of Baghdad, which lasted from January 29 until February 10, 1258, entailed the investment, capture, and sack of Baghdad, the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate, by Ilkhanate Mongol forces and allied troops. The Mongols were under the command of Hulagu Khan (or Hulegu Khan), brother of the khagan Möngke Khan, who had intended to further extend his rule into Mesopotamia but not to directly overthrow the Caliphate. Möngke, however, had instructed Hulagu to attack Baghdad if the Caliph Al-Musta'sim refused Mongol demands for his continued submission to the khagan and the payment of tribute in the form of military support for Mongol forces in Iran.

Hulagu began his campaign in Iran with several offensives against Nizari groups, including the Assassins, who lost their stronghold of Alamut. He then marched on Baghdad, demanding that Al-Musta'sim accede to the terms imposed by Möngke on the Abbasids. Although the Abbasids had failed to prepare for the invasion, the Caliph believed that Baghdad could not fall to invading forces and refused to surrender. Hulagu subsequently besieged the city, which surrendered after 12 days. During the next week, the Mongols sacked Baghdad, committing numerous atrocities and destroying the Abbasids' vast libraries, including the House of Wisdom. The Mongols executed Al-Musta'sim and massacred many residents of the city, which was left greatly depopulated. The siege is considered to mark the end of the Islamic Golden Age, during which the caliphs had extended their rule from the Iberian Peninsula to Sindh, and which was also marked by many cultural achievements.

Sieges of Baghdad

There have been at least 8 major sieges of Baghdad.

Timeline of 13th-century Muslim history

1202: Bakhtiyar Khalji conquers large parts of Bengal. Death of the Ghurid Sultan Ghiyath al-Din Muhammad; accession of Mu'izz al-Din.

1204: Shahab ud Din Ghuri defeated by the Ghuzz Turks.

1206: Death of Shahab ud Din Ghuri. Qutbu l-Din Aibak crowned king in Lahore. Tibetan Expedition of Islamic Bengal.

1210: Assassination of the Ghurid Sultan Mahmud, accession of Sam. Death of Qutb ud Din Aibak, accession of Aram Shah in India.

1211: End of the Ghurid rule, their territories annexed by the Khawarzam Shahs. In India Aram Shah overthrown by Iltutmish.

1212: Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in Spain, end of the Almohad rule in Spain. The Almohads suffer defeat by the Christians in Spain at the Las Navas de Tolosa. The Almohad Sultan Muhammad an-Nasir escapes to Morocco.

1213 Almohad Sultan Muhammad an-Nasir's death. Accession of his son Yusuf II, Almohad Caliph.

1216: The Marinids under their leader Abdul Haq occupy north eastern part of Morocco. The Almohad suffer defeat by the Marinids at the Battle of Nakur.

1217: The Marinids suffer defeat in the battle fought on the banks of the Sibu river. Abdul Haq is killed and the Marinids evacuate Morocco.

1218: Death of the Ayyubid ruler Al-Adil I, accession of Al-Kamil. The Marinids return to Morocco under their leader Othman and occupy Fez.

1220: Death of the Khwarezmid Shah Muhammad II of Khwarezm, accession of Jalal ad-Din Mingburnu.

1223: Death of the Almohad ruler Yusuf II, Almohad Caliph, accession of Abdul-Wahid I, Almohad Caliph. In Spain a brother of Yusuf II, Almohad Caliph declares his independence and assumes the title of Al Adil (Abdallah, Almohad Caliph).

1224: Death of the Almohad ruler Abd al-Wahid I, accession of Abdallah, Almohad Caliph.

1225: Death of the Abbasid Caliph An-Nasir, accession of Az-Zahir.

1227: Assassination of the Almohad ruler Abdullah Adil, accession of his son, Yahya.

1229: Death of the Almohad ruler Yahya, accession of Idris I. The Ayyubid Al-Kamil restores Jerusalem to the Christians.

1230: End of the Khwarezmid Empire.

1232: Death of the Almohad ruler Idris I, accession, of Abdul Wahid II.

1234: Death of the Ayyubid ruler Al-Kamil, accession of Al-Adil II.

1236: Death of Delhi Sultan Altamash. Accession of Rukn ud din Firuz.

1237: Accession of Razia Sultan as Delhi Sultan.

1241: Death of Razia Sultan, accession of Muiz ud din Bahram.

1242: Death of Muiz ud din Bahram, accession of Ala ud din Masud as Delhi Sultan. Death of the Almohad ruler Abd al-Wahid II, accession of Abu al-Hasan as-Said al-Mutadid. Death of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Mustansir, accession of Al-Musta'sim.

1244: The Almohad defeat the Marinids at the battle of Abu Bayash. The Marinids evacuate Morocco.

1245: The Muslims reconquer Jerusalem.

1246: Death of the Delhi Sultan Ala ud din Masud, accession of Nasir ud din Mahmud.

1248: Death of the Almohad ruler Abu al-Hasan as-Said al-Mutadid, ambushed in an attack to Tlemcen. Accession of Umar, Almohad Caliph.

1250: The Marinids return to Morocco, and occupy a greater part thereof.

1258: Battle of Baghdad (1258) - The Mongols sack Baghdad. Death of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Musta'sim. End of the Abbasid rule. The Mongols under Hulagu Khan establish their rule in Iran and Iraq. Berke Khan, the Muslim chief of the Golden Horde, protests against the treatment meted out to the Abbasid Caliph and withdraws his contingent from Baghdad.

1259: the Hafsid ruler Abd Allah Muhammad declares himself as the Caliph and assumes the name of Al Mustansir.

1260: Battle of Ayn Jalut in Syria. The Mongols are defeated by the Mamluks of Egypt, and the spell of the invincibility of the Mongols is broken. Baibars becomes the Mamluk Sultan.

1262: Death of Baha-ud-din Zakariya in Multan who is credited with the introduction of the Suhrawardiyya Sufi order in the South Asia.

1265: Death of Hulagu Khan. Death of Fariduddin Ganjshakar the Chishti saint of the South Asia.

1266: Death of Berke Khan, the first ruler of the Golden Horde to be converted to Islam. The eighth crusade: the crusaders invade Tunisia; failure of the crusade.

1267: Malik ul Salih establishes the first Muslim state of Samudra Pasai in Indonesia. Umar, Almohad Caliph seeks the help of the Christians, and the Spaniards invade Morocco. The Marinids drive away the Spaniards from Morocco. Assassination of Umar, Almohad Caliph; accession of Idris II, Almohad Caliph.

1269: Idris II, Almohad Caliph is overthrown by the Marinids, End of the Almohad. The Marinids come to power in Morocco under Abu Yaqub.

1270: Death of Mansa Wali the founder of the Muslim rule in Mali.

1272: Death of Muhammad I of Granada the founder of the Emirate of Granada. Yaghmurason invades Morocco but meets a reverse at the battle

1273: Death of Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi.

1274: Death of Nasir al-Din Tusi. The Marinids wrest Sijilmasa from the Ziyyanids. Ninth crusade under Edward I of England. The crusade ends in fiasco and Edward returns to England.

1277: Death of Baibars.

1280: Battle of Hims.

1283: Death of Yaghmurasan. Accession of his son Othman.

1285: Tunisis splits in Tunis and Bougie.

1286: Death of Ghiyas ud din Balban. Death of Abu Yusuf Yaqub. Bughra Khan declares his independence in Bengal under the name of Nasiruddin.

1290: End of the slave dynasty in India Jalal ud din Firuz Khalji comes into power. Othman embarks on a career of conquest and, by 1290, most of the Central Maghreb is conquered by the Ziyyanids.

1291: Death of Iranian poet Saadi.

1296: Mongol ruler Ghazan Khan converted to Islam.

1299: Mongols invade Syria. The Marinids besiege Tlemcen, the capital of the Ziyyanid Kingdom of Tlemcen. By the end of this century, global Muslim population had grown to 7 per cent of the total.

Yaqut al-Musta'simi

Yaqut al-Musta'simi (also Yakut-i Musta'simi) (died 1298) was a well-known calligrapher and secretary of the last Abbasid caliph.

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