24.03.

809: Harun al-Rashid: The Powerful Islamic Ruler from the One Thousand and One Nights

809: Harun al-Rashid: The Powerful Islamic Ruler from the One Thousand and One Nights
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 24 March 809
  • Harun al-Rashid ruled over large areas of Asia and Africa. He had the title of Caliph, which in the Islamic world indicates Mohammed's successor. The former capital of his caliphate - Baghdad - was at that time the largest city in the world.

One of the most famous Islamic rulers throughout history – the renowned Harun al-Rashid – died on this day. He ruled over a vast expanse from India in the east to about present-day Algeria in the west. Today, the area of his former state is occupied by Tunisia, northern Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, parts of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Yemen, Oman, Qatar, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, etc.

Harun al-Rashid had the title of Caliph, which in the Islamic world means the successor of Muhammad and the religious leader of theoretically all Muslims in the world (although rival caliphs tried to dispute it). The country of Harun al-Rashid was rich and developed, indeed it then belonged to culturally most developed areas of the world. The former capital of his caliphate – Baghdad – was at that time the largest city in the world.

Territory of the Abbasid Caliphate
Territory of the Abbasid Caliphate

Interestingly, the Caliph Harun al-Rashid appears as a character in the famous One Thousand and One Nights. In these tales, he is presented as a wise ruler with a magnificent court. Let us add an interesting fact that the Arabic name Harun actually comes from the Hebrew Aaron (known from the Bible). Similarly, Suleiman comes from Solomon, Abraham from Abraham, etc.

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