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Muhammad ibn Mansur Mahdi (born: 744 or 745 AD; died: 785 AD), was the third Abbasid Caliph who reigned from 158 AH to 169 AH (775 - 785). He succeeded his father, Mansur. Rapprochement with the Shi'ite Muslims in the Caliphate occurred under al-Mahdi's reign. The powerful Barmakid family, which had advised the Caliphs since the days of al-'Abbas as viziers, gained even greater powers under al-Mahdi's rule, and worked closely with the caliph to ensure the prosperity of the Abbasid state. Al-Mahdi reigned for ten years. He imprisoned his most trusted ####vizier Yaqub bin Dawood and captivated him in a dungeon until he died. In the year 783 A.D. Mahdi instituted an official inquisition to execute the alleged heretics. In the official inquisition. He was fond of music and erotic poetry and during his caliphate the musicians and erotic poets were patronized and he universilized music and erotic poetry in his dominion. In 778, he subdued the rebellion of Abdullah bin Marwan bin Muhammad the Umayyad remnant in Syria. In 777, he put down the insurrection of Yusuf bin Ibrahim in Khurasan. In the same year al-Mahdi deposed Isa bin Musa as his successor and appointed Musa Hadi in his place and took allegiance for him from the nobles. Al-Mahdi was poisoned by one of his concubines in the year 785. The cosmopolitan city of Baghdad blossomed during al-Mahdi's reign. The city attracted immigrants from all of Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Persia, and lands as far away as India and Spain. Baghdad was home to Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Zoroastrians, in addition to the growing Muslim population. It became the world's largest city. Mahdi continued to expand the Abbasid administration, creating new departments, for the army, the chancery, and taxation. Judges were appointed, and laws against non-Arabs were dropped. Mahdi had two important religious policies: the persecution of the dualists, and the declaration of orthodoxy. After his death, his son, Hadi succeeded to the throne.
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