Abbasa bint al-Mahdi

Abbasa bint al-Mahdi ibn al-Mansur ibn Muhammad (Arabic: العباسة‎, romanizedal-ʿAbbāsa; c. 765 – after 803) was an Abbasid princess.

Abbasa bint al-Mahdi
Abbasid Empire
Diedafter 803
Abbasid Empire
SpouseMuhammad ibn Sulayman ibn Ali
(until his death in 789)
Ibrahim ibn Salih
(until his death in 792)
RelativesAl-Hadi (brother)
Harun al-Rashid (brother)
Ibrahim (brother)
Ubaydallah (brother)
Ulayya (sister)
Full name
Abbasa bint al-Mahdi ibn al-Mansur ibn Muhammad
MotherRahim (concubine)

She was the daughter of the third Abbasid caliph, al-Mahdi, and a concubine by the name of Rahim. She was the half-sister of al-Hadi, Harun al-Rashid, Ulayya, and Ibrahim ibn al-Mahdi. Harun al-Rashid was known for being unhappy with the fact that he was a relative of Abassa's, as he was attracted to her. To keep Abassa in his life, he had her marry Ja'far ibn Yahya. The marriage was supposed to be one of convenience, but Abassa fell in love with her arranged husband. At night, a slave woman would be sent to Ja'far's bedroom, and Abassa took the slave woman's place one evening. Her husband was surprised. Abassa would get pregnant and give birth to twin boys in secret. The twins would be raised in Mecca. Harun eventually found out about the relationship, and had Ja'far killed. Abassa was either killed, or, sent into exile.[1][2][3]


Her first husband was Muhammad ibn Sulayman,[4] a prominent member of a cadet branch of the Abbasid dynasty, who was a long-time governor of Kufa and Basra.[5]

Her second marriage was with Ibrahim ibn Salih, a member of another cadet branch of the Abbasid dynasty: he was a first cousin to the first two Abbasid caliphs al-Saffah (r. 750–754) and al-Mansur (r. 754–775).[6]


  1. ^ Women in World History: A Biographical Encyclopedia. Gale. 2002. Archived from the original on 2015-09-24.
  2. ^ Betham, Matilda (1804). Dictionary of the Celebrated Women, Every Age and Country. Warick Lake: B. Crosby and Co.
  3. ^ Samuel Lorenzo Knapp (1846). Female biography: containing notices of distinguished women, in different nations and ages. T. Wardle. pp. 69–70. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  4. ^ Bosworth 1989, p. 23 (note 90).
  5. ^ Kennedy 2016, p. 76.
  6. ^ Kennedy 1990, pp. 40 n. 92, 102 n. 315; Gil 1997, p. 284; Ibn Qutaybah n.d., p. 380.