المسترشد بالله
29th Caliph of the Abbasid Caliphate
Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad
Reign 6 August 1118 – 29 August 1135
Predecessor Al-Mustazhir
Successor Al-Rashid
Born April/May 1092
Died 29 August 1135 (aged 43)
Consort Fulana Khatun bint Muhammad
Amira Khatun bint Sanjar
Father Al-Mustazhir
Religion Islam

Al-Mustarshid Billah (Arabic: المسترشد بالله) (1092 – 29 August 1135) was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 1118 to 1135. He was son of his predecessor, Caliph Al-Mustazhir.


Al-Mustarshid achieved more independence as a ruler while the Seljuq Sultan Mahmud II was engaged in war in the East. In 1122, al-Mustarshid deposed and imprisoned his vizier Amid al-dawla Jalal al-Din Hasan ibn Ali. Mahmud II then imposed Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk as his vizier.

In 1123 an Arab Banu Mazyad general, Dubais, tried to take advantage of the momentary lack of power and, after plundering Bosra, attacked Baghdad together with a young brother of the sultan. He was however crushed by a Seljuq army under Zengi and Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk. During the same year, al-Mustarshid removed Ahmad ibn Nizam al-Mulk as his vizier. In 1125 it was the time of al-Mustarshid to rebel. He sent an army to take Wasit but was defeated near Baghdad and imprisoned in his palace (1126).

At the death of Sultan Mahmud, a civil war broke out in the Seljuq western territories. Zengi was recalled to the east by certain rebel members, stimulated by the caliph and Dubais. Zengi was beaten and fled. The caliph pursued him to Mosul, and besieged him there but without success for three months. It was nonetheless a milestone in the revival of the military power of the caliphate.

Zengi now resumed operations in Syria and in 1134 laid siege to Damascus, but was induced, partly by the bravery of the enemy, partly at the instance of the caliph, to whom Zengi had made some concession in the public prayers, to relinquish the attempt. Recalled again by troubles in the east, he was unable to do much against the Crusaders till after al-Mustarshid's death.

Not long after the siege of Damascus, al-Mustarshid launched a military campaign against Sultan Mas'ud of Western Seljuq, who had obtained the title in Baghdad in January 1133 by the caliph himself. The rival armies met near Hamadan: the caliph, deserted by his troops, was taken prisoner, and pardoned on promising not to quit his palace any more. Left in the caliphal tent, however, in the sultan's absence, he was found murdered while reading the Quran, as is supposed, by an emissary of the Hashshashins, who had no love for the caliph. Modern historians have suspected that Mas'ud instigated the murder although the two most important historians of the period Ibn al-Athir and Ibn al-Jawzi did not speculate on this matter.

Physically, Al-Mustarshid was a red-haired man with blue eyes and freckles.[1] He was succeeded by his son Al-Rashid.



  1. Amin Maalouf (15 July 2012). The Crusades Through Arab Eyes. Saqi. p. 81. ISBN 978-0-86356-848-0.


Born: 1092 Died: 29 August 1135
Sunni Islam titles
Preceded by
Caliph of Islam
Abbasid Caliph

6 August 1118 – 29 August 1135
Succeeded by
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