Baghdad as The Best Islamic City During The Time of Caliph Harun al-Rashid (Architectural & Social contacts)
Caliph Harun al-Rashid was one of the prominent caliphs in the early period of Abbasid Caliphate. He was widely known by his successful administration and it marked the peak of the caliphate's glorious era during his time. There were so many changes made by Caliph Harun al-Rashid to make the government became more systematic and organized, until Baghdad which was the caliphate's capital became the best model of Islamic city.
One of the reasons why Baghdad became the best model of Islamic city was because its architectural design. The city was built in an organized way, surrounded by strong, thick walls. The caliph's palace was built in the middle of the city along side with the centre mosque. Then, the residency of the soldiers would be inside the outer wall; this would be easier for them to protect the city wall. Besides, the organized residency of the countrymen would be outside the outer wall. The city was built in a round-shape because it will be easier for the soldiers to detect the incoming dangers from the outside of the wall.
Besides, the city was also provided with a canal system. The canals were connected to every house in the city providing enough water supply for the people. there were also roads built connecting places in the city, and there were even roads covered with tar, mainly the main roads to the palace of the caliph. Another interesting system was the lighting of lamps at the main roads during the night time. So, from here, we can see that Baghdad was a great model of a city that have been taken as an example mostly by the Europeans during that time.
During the time of Caliph Harun al-Rashid, he emerged the system of Dawawin. Dawawin was a system which the administration was divided into several important departments to control their assigned affairs. During his time, he added new dawawin besides of what have already been established in the time of khulafa' al-rashidin. The new dawawin were like Diwan al-Shurtah, Diwan al-Zimam and Diwan al-Nazar fi al-Mazalim. The establishment of these new dawawin further helped to maintain the well-being of the city and the caliphate. And of course, the security of the people was also levelled up.
Furthermore, Baghdad was also famous with intellectual and learning activities. The Caliph was so encouraging in the field of learning. As from this fact, many scholars were born during his time and there were also many teachers were given opportunities to share their knowledge. Many madrasah, schools and educational institutions were founded and sponsored by the government. The most famous educational institution was Bayt al-Hikmah. Bayt al-Hikmah was known to be a library, school and the translation centre for various books.
Another important reason to justify Baghdad was the best model city is because the social system practiced by Caliph Harun al-Rashid. The Caliph did not practice any class or caste system but rather treated the people with justice and equality. All people were living peacefully despite their differences in faith and race. Religious tolerance was so much encouraged to maintain peace and harmony.
Besides that, the poor residents were not left behind, and they were given help by the government. As during Caliph Harun's time, many hospitals were built. From there, if a person was admitted into the hospital for his illness and he did not have money to pay for the treatment, the government would sponsor his treatment until he recovered. There were also orphanages built for orphans. A special institution for prisoners was also built to provide the prisoners with proper trainings for their self-improvements. Aside from that, asylums for the insanes were also built and proper treatments were provided for them.
|The city of Baghdad|