Those who wrote about it called it a “Disaster” (Nakba)
Historians’ opinions differed in deriving the causes of the Barmakids’ disaster, knowing the reasons for those events that prompted Al-Rashi to treat them the way he did to the extent of being accused of cruelty, violence and sometimes treachery to them.
Among the historical opinions that clarified the reasons behind that attitude were those of the biographers, who pointed out what prompted Al-Rashid to get rid of the Barmakids with that force, even though he grew up in the lap of Yahya ibn Khalid Al-Barmaki. Some of them see that they are reasons that belong to the Al-Rashid family, for whom he decided to take revenge. However, this is unacceptable. It is inconceivable that he would uproot most of the Barmakid leaders only because of one of them, given that Al-Rashid was such seasoned politician. Among those reasons was the release of Ja’far al-Barmaki Yahya ibn Abdullah al-Alawi after al-Rashid ordered him to be imprisoned. Some say that Barmakids’ tyranny and their collection of money attracted people to them, which prompted some persons from al-Rashid’s inner circle, who got impatient with the Barmakids’ harassment to them, especially that they were Arabs, such as Bani Sahl who were very pretentious during the reign of Al-Ma’mun. They revealed the Barmakids’ news and the extent of their inner domination and favoritism to the Persian element, intensifying it in the joints of the state.
Persians’ nature was the love of showing off. They entrenched their ancient cities, which are full of traditions and customs, and multiplied their religious sects. They transmitted to Islam whatever ideas they wanted, where most historians agree that they inherited their hatred against the Umayyads, which motivated them to take revenge on the Arabs, yet gently and smoothly. They learned prudent fear and conspired to eliminate Arab rule, sometimes through revolutions and at other times by persuasive advocacy. They inherited and were brought up on reverence for their kings and recognition of the divine right thereto.
The Barmakids were simultaneously the savior and the exploiter of the status they acquired, even if there were among them really good and loyal Muslims. However, whoever of them that was stationed in the joints of the state, was taken by pride and exploited the political and economic conditions.
Some historians confirm that the Baramkid disaster was not sudden, but a result of successive events. Al-Fadl had a role in stopping the release of Yahya ibn Abdullah Al-Hassan Al-Alawi, as aforementioned, in Al-Daylam, as his release from his prison caused the collapse of the relationship between him and Al-Rashid. Hence, through an elaborate plan to get rid of them, Al-Rashid confiscated their money and wrote to the provinces to ensure that their supporters shall not move to work for them.
It was a matter of imbalance in the management of the state. Al-Tabari mentioned in his work, The History of Nations and Kings, the consequences of those events. This is an affirmation of Barmakids’ danger and what they brought to the state in terms of successive interventions on the successors of the Abbasid state. He also mentioned Arab’s struggle to get rid of the Barmakids, in particular, and the Persian domination, in general, and their endeavor to achieve influence and authority in the state. We also find that the Persian element, on the other hand, excelled in specifying their target and working thereon since the era of al-Mansur after he got rid of Khorasani; they are even credited for calling for the establishment of the Abbasid state. With the Barmakids’ disaster they became more determined not to return to the shadows, but rather they must reappear in a tyrant manner that nothing can stand in its way.
Elimination of the Persian Barmakids, which is a description agreed upon by historians, meant confrontation with the Iranian elements that aspired to further power. Al-Rashid’s granting the mandate of the Covenant to more than one of his sons was a disaster that was exploited in igniting the flames of strife among the members of the ruling house.
Among the events mentioned by Al-Tabari as an example of the Persians’ dealings with the ruling house are the actions of Abu Muslim al-Khurasani with Abu Ja’far al-Mansur. He pointed out that he was working to diminish his prestige and spending a lot of money on entertainment. He was keen to walk in front of him on the road after performing Hajj. It seems that Abu Muslim was keen on al-Mansur’s feeling of his value and the value of his supporters. It is also narrated that Abu Muslim was slow in his pledge of allegiance after the death of Abi Al-Abbas, so he only sent condolences thereto him. Al-Tabari clarified thereafter that Abu Ja’far was in conflict with Al-Khorasani because he was keeping him away from his area of influence, so he would not stay in Khurasan and turn its people against him.
Al-Tabari also narrated a saying of Khorasani, in which he said: “He gives me the Levant and Egypt and Khorasan is mine”.