Before the entry of the Mongols, how did Baghdad live 12 days of siege and destruction?
On these days, 764 years ago, the capital, Baghdad, witnessed a fierce Mongol attack that led to the fall and destruction of the Abbasid Caliphate, and the shedding of the blood of its people, after nearly 5 centuries of prosperity.
On this day, January 29, 1258, Hulagu’s army reached the outskirts of Baghdad, and began to besiege and bombard it in preparation for its invasion on February 10.
Preludes to the invasion
Professor of Islamic history, Dr. Wafaa Adnan Hamid, says: After the decision of the Great Mughal Khan, Mongo Khan, to incur the incursion into the Islamic East, his brother Hulagu moved to invade the lands extending from the Gihon River to Egypt.
She explained to Al-Jazeera Net that Monko Khan’s instructions included politeness with those who obey his orders and submit to the will of the Mongols and their laws, and as for those who rebel and disobey, they are drowned in humiliation and humiliation, he and his women, sons and relatives, then he ordered to go to Iraq first.
He notes that Baghdad and the Abbasid Caliphate were living in difficult conditions during the period in which they faced this invasion, which is considered the strongest movement of armies against the Abbasid state, as the invasion coincided with the sinking of agricultural lands, damage to crops and the rebellion of soldiers.
Dr. Wafaa adds: Politically, two different positions emerged within the institution of the caliphate, the first being the son of the Caliph Al-Mu’tasim Ahmed and the commander of the Turkish-born Duwidar army, who called for confronting the Mongols with honor and valor.
The second position was shown by the vizier Al-Mu’ayyad Al-Din Ibn Al-Alqami, who called on the Caliph to pour money on the Mongols and avoid them in the best way, but the Mongols were determined to invade the military.
Siege and Suffering
In turn, the academic and researcher Dr. Hilal Kazem Al-Shibli says: Baghdad was not the first city to be controlled by the Mongol leader Hulagu Khan and his Chinese deputy, Joe Khan.
He shows to Al-Jazeera Net that Baghdad was besieged for about 12 days, and he asked the Caliph to surrender, and he refused at first, but when he saw defeats in his army, he agreed to surrender, but the victorious Hulagu refused that and stormed Baghdad and destroyed it and exterminated its inhabitants in horrific ways.
Al-Shibli points out that the people of the capital heard about the horrific news that Hulagu carried out with the residents of the cities that fell before entering Baghdad, such as the Khwarizmian state and the Lur tribes, as well as the Assassin sect in Persia who fortified themselves in the “Castle of Death” and exterminated them all except for Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, who accompanied Hulagu. Since 1256 he arrived with him in the city of Baghdad.
He notes that the news of the brutality of Hulagu’s army caused a great uproar in Baghdad and had a great resonance. Instead of preparing to fight against the invading army and defend the city, some people fled, especially after the success of Hulagu’s collaborators in confusing the people of Baghdad, which led to the disruption of the Abbasid army’s defenses as well. For the failure to develop a solid plan by the Caliph Al-Musta’sim Billah and to spend funds for the defense.
Al-Shibli believes that the siege and starvation are two important reasons for Hulagu’s victory in that war, in addition to the presence of a number of traitors who cooperated with Hulagu, “which was represented by a large segment of the caliph’s entourage and the leaders of the soldiers at the time.”
massacres and devastation
For his part, professor of the history of the Abbasid state, Dr. Muwaffaq Salem Al-Jawadi, says: Baghdad was forbidden for 40 days during which the Mongols struck their swords at people without discrimination on any consideration, except for those who colluded with them or fled outside Baghdad or disappeared in basements, tunnels, wells, or others.
Al-Jawadi describes to Al-Jazeera Net how the roads and squares flowed with the blood of men, children and women, and some people were camping on the roofs of their homes, so the soldiers followed them and slaughtered them, and so the gutters ran with their blood.
And he adds: As for the Caliph Al-Musta’sim by God, they put him in a bag and then kicked him and kicked him until he died, and before that they killed the delegation that accompanied him to surrender, in which were 3000 of Baghdad’s notables, jurists and scholars, without respecting the customs and traditions of dealing with delegations or surrendering, especially when they were among the great leaders .
In such circumstances, the corpses filled the roads and alleys until they rotted, epidemics and plagues spread, and many residents fled towards the Levant and Egypt.
Al-Jawadi continues that the matter did not stop at the brutal killing, but the hand of the Mongols extended to the libraries and books, so they burned them and threw them in the Tigris, until it was said, “It became a bridge over which people crossed, and that the color of the river water changed to black because of the ink with which it was written.” Then they demolished the residential neighborhoods and burned them with what They took stables from the Imam al-Kilani Mosque and the shrine of Imam Musa al-Kadhim as stables for their horses, and they did not give any consideration to the sanctity of the sanctities, and thus Baghdad became scattered in vain and its basement lined with ruggedness due to the brutality and ugliness with which the invaders dealt.
He asserts that this was not a trait that distinguished the Mongols from others, as such behavior distinguished the wars of the Roman Empire at its height of civilization, as well as the Crusades, but it was much more uglier than that. over the entire world.
He continues his talk: After 40 days of permissibility, the Mongols raised their swords, sheathed them, and declared public safety. People came out of their hideouts, their shapes and colors changed from hunger and lack of sun, so that some of them do not know each other.
And life began again in the city, and it began to re-establish little by little, in an attempt to resurrect the spirit in the civilization of Baghdad. Once again, the land of Mesopotamia has lost security and political stability for more than two centuries. It was a field for successive fierce wars between the new forces greed for the country’s bounties, according to Al-Jawadi.
And the professor of the history of the Abbasid state points out that one of the paradoxes, which must be pointed out, is that unfamiliar transformation in the relationship between the two sides of the occupation equation – the victor and the defeated – so the dominant was affected by the culture of the defeated, embracing his religion and taking his culture, trying to atone for his previous sins.
Al-Jawadi concludes that the Mongols converted to Islam after 30 years of their occupation of Baghdad, especially during the time of Sultan Mahmoud Ghazan, and they worked diligently to spread Islam in the countries of India and the Caucasus until they were an impenetrable dam against the invasion attempts coming from the north, and even spread Islam there until they reached the outskirts of Moscow.