Home » General » Made In Khorasan : The Wives And Concubines Of the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al Rashid

Made In Khorasan : The Wives And Concubines Of the Abbasid Caliph Harun Al Rashid

Hi folks if you are wondering why I have not been updating my blog as regularly is because I am finishing up another book (about Islam, the Quran, etc) I have written. Also I am still doing massive amounts of reading – to also help me complete the book. 

Part of my research has focussed on the Islamic Abbasid Caliphate – the THIRD Caliphate in early Islam that lasted from the 8th till the 13th centuries AD. The Abbasid Caliphate was founded in Baghdad which at that time was under the strong influence of the Persian civilisation.

The power center of the Abbasid Caliphate later moved to Khorasan (Persia).

The most famous Abbasid Caliph was Harun al Rashid whose rule ushered in what was known as the Golden Age of Islam. 

Here are some notes about Harun al Rashid:

763 – 809 AD : Harun was the fifth Abbasid Caliph.

Hārūn was born in Rey, capital of Khorasan, in the present-day Tehran.  

Hārūn became caliph in 786 when he was in his early twenties. 

beginning of the Islamic Golden Age.

Harun established the legendary library Bayt al-Hikma (“House of Wisdom”) in Baghdad in present-day Iraq, and during his rule Baghdad began to flourish as a world center of knowledge, culture and trade

During his rule, the family of Barmakids played a deciding role in establishing the Abbasid Caliphate.

Harun greatly admired the ancient Persian king Darius 

Under Hārūn al-Rashīd Baghdad flourished 

appointed the Hanafi jurist Muhammad al-Shaybani as qadi (judge),

The Persian Barmakids managed the fate of Harun’s empire

For the administration of the whole empire, Harun Rashid fell back on his mentor and longtime associate Yahya bin Khalid bin Barmak. Harun Rashid appointed him as his vizier with full executive powers, and, for seventeen years, Yahya and his sons served Rashid faithfully in whatever assignment he entrusted to them. 

His vizier (chief minister) Yahya Barmakid, Yahya’s sons (especially Ja’far ibn Yahya), and other Barmakids generally controlled the administration. 

The position of Persians in the Abbasid caliphal court reached its peak during al-Rashid’s reign

The Barmakids were an Afghan family (from Balkh in Khorasan) that dated back to the Barmaki, a hereditary Buddhist priest of Nava Vihara, who converted after the Islamic conquest of Balkh and became very powerful under al-Mahdi. 

Yahya Barmaki had helped Hārūn Rashid to obtain the caliphate, and he and his sons were in high favor until 798, when the caliph threw them in prison and confiscated their land. 

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari dates this event to 803 and lists various reasons for it: Yahya’s entering the Caliph’s presence without permission; Yahya’s opposition to Muhammad ibn al Layth, who later gained Harun’s favour; and Ja’far’s release of Yahya ibn Abdallah ibn Hasan, whom Harun had imprisoned.

The fall of the Barmakids is far more likely due to their behaving in a manner that Harun found disrespectful (such as entering his court unannounced) and making decisions in matters of state without first consulting him. 

The wives and concubines of Harun al Rashid


  1. Harun’s first wife was Zubaidah
  2. Another of his wives was Azizah
  3. Another was Amat-al-Aziz Ghadir
  4. Another wife was Umm Muhammad
  5. Another wife was Abbassah
  6. Another wife was Jurashiyyah al-Uthmanniyah


  1. Harun’s earliest known concubine was Hailanah
  2. Another concubine was Dananir
  3. Another concubine was Marajil
  4. one of the ten maids presented to Harun
  5. Another concubine was Qasif
  6. Another concubine was Maridah
  7. Another concubines  was Dhat al-Khal
  8. Another was Sihr
  9. Another was Diya
  10. Another concubine was Inan
  11. Another was Ghadida
  12. Another of Harun’s concubines was Greek 
  13. Zubaidah also presented him her personal maid
  14. an Egyptian maid also won his favour

other concubines were Ri’m; Irbah, Sahdhrah, Rawah, Dawaj, Kitman, Hulab, Irabah, Sukkar, Rahiq, Khzq, Haly, Aniq, Samandal, Zinah (15 here).

One day Harun was struck by a beautiful slave

Harun also desired a slave girl owned by an official named Isa.

Harun al Rashid had more than 37 wives, concubines and slave girls by whom he fathered many sons and daughters.

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