On February 15, 1258  a Mongol army sacked Baghdad, holy city of the Abbasid Caliphate.  Shortly after, the Khan ordered the death of the last Abbasid Caliph, Al-Musta’sim. Though hardly remembered, it was an event that rocked the Muslim world in its days; the repercussions of which are still felt today.

Hulago Khan, commander of the Mongols in the Middle East  and founder of the Persia-based Il-Khanate, was the grandson of Genghis Khan. At its peak, Hulago’s kingdom included Iran, Iraq, Kurdistan; and parts of Turkey, Syria, and Jordan.

The sack of Baghdad culminated the initial phase of the Mongol operations into the Middle East. Hulago opened the campaign with the storming of the Assassin stronghold of Alamut, about 60 miles from modern Tehran; and the destruction of that cult, one of the world’s first international terrorist organization.

Baghdad was then the seat of the Abbassid Caliphate; a secular and religious authority within Islam that dated back to the 9th century. Though schismatic Caliphates existed at the time in Morocco and Egypt,  the Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad was the most recognized throughout the world. And though secular power had long been in the hands of Turkish Sultans; the Caliph (which name means “Successor”, as in the successor to Mohammed) was still the ultimate religious authority within Islam.

Once the Mongols took Baghdad, one of the largest cities in the world in its day, they put much of the population to the sword.

The last Caliph was put to death. Because many of Hulago’s soldiers were, themselves, Muslims, and because it was sacrilege to shed the Caliph’s “holy” blood;  Hulago had the Caliph wrapped in a Persian rug and thrown into the street. The Khan then marched his army on horseback over the rug, crushing the Caliph to pulp within!

The end of the Abbassid Calphate ended any central authority in Islam (though Muslim leaders from time-to-time have claimed such authority; most notably the Ottoman Turkish Sultans). To this day, no such central authority exists. In dealing with the Islamic world, we face this problem daily; as every Imam has the right to issue fatwas as his own conscience dictates, without reference or recourse to a higher authority.

The stated goal of our foes, the Jihadists, is to recreate the lost Caliphate; that jihad against the West can continue under a united Islamic World.

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  1. bekahanne79 says:

    Wow, a very interesting part of history that I was not aware of! It brings much of today into somewhat clearer focus.

  2. Ariel Burden says:

    The Mongols felt it necessary to demolish the Abbasid Caliph to conquer the Islamic world because it was the most powerful and recognized in the world.

  3. Nathan Chapman says:

    The fact that the Mongols took Baghdad, one of the largest cities of the time, is a testament to how strong they were.

  4. Casey Crow says:

    The mongols showed an amazing amount of brutality when they were taking over baghdad especially the way they killed the caliph.

  5. Sarah Boon says:

    The Mongols did anything and everything to take over Bagdad, and changed the Muslim world forever.

  6. Ariel Burden says:

    The Mongols felt that the demolition of the Abbasid Caliph was necessary to dominate the Islamic world because the caliph was the most powerful and recognized in the world. The sack of Baghdad was done brutally, as anything the Mongols did was.

  7. Nathan Chapman says:

    The capture of Baghdad, one of the largest cities of its time, by the Mongols is a testament to their strength.

  8. Taylor Escamilla says:

    This shows a different point of view and in more detail than our text books show us about what happened on this tragic day. It just goes to show you that people are extremely strong minded about their cultural and religous beliefs.

  9. Cassey Mier says:

    This blog gave a much better understanding about the Caliphs! A much better detail as to why there in no longer a certian authority in the islamic world. The crucial incident gave way of the head strong mongolian society.

  10. paige tignor says:

    A very important part of the muslim history was come to by this vicious act. It explains what the past was like and how it has affected the people of our time. It clearly states how the caliphs we killed and how certian battles were done and how some war lords over took the “capitol” or head of the kingdom in a way or just flat out destroyed it. More or less of the second option. This shows extreme religious reviews towards what these people nelieved. the illistrations clearly shows the war, the kingdom, a muslim, and how muslim is stated as to this day.

  11. Marcos Alvarado says:

    The Monglos were very unforgiving at war but yet were very welcoming to other religions and diidn’t care who you were just as long as you are useful.

  12. Todd Forbes says:

    This picture shows that the Mongols were very ruthless and unforgiving during war. But at the same it shows how they didnt care who you were or where you came from as long as you were useful

  13. Nathan Schmidt says:

    The Mongols were overpowering and would stop at nothing to claim Bagdad with brutal power, which would change the Muslims to the very core.

  14. Brooke Rottman says:

    The mongols were extremely strong, as if to prove this point they took over some of the strongest areas and left a large impresion in the religious world.

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