Persians’ Fire… from Temples to Barmakids’ Chests!!
Perhaps the greatest lesson that can be drawn from the Persian penetration of the Abbasid state system is that “hatred against the Arabs is buried in Persians’ core” and shall remain as long as Arabs and non-Arabs remain.
It is a relationship that Islam tried to pave and normalize between two neighboring nations, yet Persians, despite the fact that most of them converted to Islam, have mostly retained an inherited hatred for the Arabs, generation after generation, tinted with arrogance, contempt and condescension to the “Bedouin Arabs” who overthrew their false empire and turned it into scattered dust.
Such grudges and hatred, although they disappeared for some time, yet they are clearly visible in the political, cultural and financial system later created thereby to overthrow the Arab state and its joints.
Persians’ contribution to overthrow the Umayyad state did not stem from the desired justice as they claim, nor a belief in the cause of the “Hashemites” opposed to the Umayyads, but rather as a means to eliminate the first Arab Umayyad state only to focus on the Abbasids to demolish or control. This is exactly what really happened.
The Umayyads built a purely Arab state, solid and intractable. It was difficult for the Persians to penetrate it, so they allied with its enemies, who, by chance, were the Abbasids.
Perhaps the greatest mistake the Abbasids committed after establishing their state was their sense of gratitude to the Persians, especially the Barmakids, believing that they were the ones who helped them establish their state by harnessing Khorasan, its resources and society favor the Abbasid project.
They did not realize that this was not a belief in the Abbasid cause by the Persians, nor a search for a perfect state, but a deep foreign hatred. Just as those Persians worshiped fire, that fire moved from their temples to their guts and chests in the form of hatred for the Arabs. Nothing extinguished that file even when their success to control the necks of the Abbasid caliphs.
The Barmakids tightened their control over the Abbasid state on behalf of all Persians, where their plan was based on seizing and controlling money first, as it is the mainstay of life and the most effective weapon in building loyalties, buying people and paving the way for the Persian state; the dream they have always had.
Barmakids’ extensive influence during the reign of Caliph Harun al-Rashid reached its maximum extent, as, at the beginning of his rule, he left them the affairs of the state, its finances and its vital joints. With that blind confidence, the Barmakids went much further and deeper. They formed their own economic system parallel to the system of the Abbasid state until they minted dinars of their own, in a serious indication of their belief of being partners in governance and the power of influence and that they are the state, even greater than the state.
Barmakids’ absurdity wasted the funds of the Abbasid caliphate and its enormous resources. Waste and foolishness were the most prominent features of the financial violation witnessed by the state of Al-Rashid. For example, until the Caliph himself complained that, while he was the head of the state, he could not spend anything of its funds except with the approval of Yahya al-Baramki or his son, Jaafar.
Barmakids relied on extinguishing their waste and financial tampering by imposing more taxes and fees and collecting land from the people, on a selective basis, without aiding the state and restoring its economic balance and in a way that disturbs loyalty and develops hatred and anger.
They relied on Abbasids’ financial resources to build their own influence against the Abbasids themselves and promoted to themselves through poets, writers, and merchants under their control, who glorified and spread Persian culture and history, degrading Arabs’ status.
Barmakids financial waste did not stop at spending money on propaganda and pockets of the poets. There greed exceeded to unprecedent levels. There is no beautiful palace, farm or feudal estate in Baghdad or Khurasan that was not seized thereby. They adopted extravagant behavior and possessed splendor with the money of the Muslim treasury.
Due to their control over the joints of the state, the Barmakids became the only threshold to access and influence in sultans’ palaces, so that people with needs stopped at their doors instead of sultans’ gates.
Undoubtedly, the actions of the Persian Barmakids were not innocent, but rather a long-term plan, organized attrition and systematic action, intended to overthrow the Abbasid Arab state and replace it with the Persian Barmakid state.
Yahya Al-Barmaki attempted to separate the Abbasid Caliphate into two states, which is the great state that Al-Rashid talked about when he saw a cloud passing over Baghdad, saying: “Rain wherever you want and your output will come to me”. Al-Baramki’s plan was to dismantle the Abbasid caliphate into two weak emirates between Al-Amin and Al-Ma’mun, sons of Caliph Harun Al-Rashid, after they sparked dispute between them and separated them. Had it not been for the acumen of Al-Rashid and his persecution of his kingdom, they would have eliminated him forever. Nevertheless, Persian disease had penetrated and smashed the body of the caliphate, which is what later occurred in terms of successive revolutions and secessions that eventually destroyed the Abbasid state.