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Al-Mustarshid was the Abbasid
The Abbasid Caliphate or, more simply, the Abbasids , was the third of the Islamic caliphates. It was ruled by the Abbasid dynasty of caliphs, who built their capital in Baghdad after overthrowing the Umayyad caliphate from all but the al-Andalus region....

The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 in Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 from 1118 to 1135.

Son of the preceding Caliph, he achieved more independence as a ruler while the Seljuq sultan Mahmud II was engaged in war in the East.

In 1123 an Arab Banu Mazyad general, Dubais, tried to take advantage of the momentary lack of power and, after plundering Bosra
Bosra , also known as Bostra, Busrana, Bozrah, Bozra, Busra Eski Şam, Busra ash-Sham, and Nova Trajana Bostra, is an ancient city administratively belonging to the Daraa Governorate in southern Syria...

, attacked Baghdad together with a young brother of the sultan. He was however crushed by a Seljuq army under Zengi
Imad ad-Din Zengi was the atabeg of Mosul, Aleppo, Hama and Edessa and founder of the Zengid dynasty, to which he gave his name.-Early life:...

. In 1125 it was the time of al-Mustarshid to rebel. He sent an army to take Wasit
Wasit is a place in Wasit Governorate, south east of Kut in eastern Iraq.-History:During Ottoman times, it was the head city of the sanjak of Wasit.To quote UNESCO:...

 but was defeated near Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 and imprisoned in his palace (1126).

At the death of sultan Mahmud, a civil war broke out in the Seljuq western territories. Zengi was recalled to the East by certain rebel members, stimulated by the Caliph and Dubais. Zengi was beaten and fled. The Caliph pursued him to Mosul, and besieged him there but without success for three months. It was nonetheless a milestone in the revival of the military power of the caliphate.

Zengi now resumed operations in Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

 and in 1134 laid siege to Damascus, but was induced, partly by the bravery of the enemy, partly at the instance of the Caliph, to whom Zengi had made some concession in the public prayers, to relinquish the attempt. Recalled again by troubles in the East, he was unable to do much against the Crusaders till after al-Mustarshid's death.

Not long after the siege of Damascus, al-Mustarshid launched a military campaign against sultan Mas'ud of western Seljuq, who had obtained the title in Baghdad in January 1133 by the caliph himself. The rival armies met near Hamadan: the caliph, deserted by his troops, was taken prisoner, and pardoned on promising not to quit his palace any more. Left in the royal tent, however, in the Sultan's absence, he was found murdered, as is supposed, by an emissary of the Hashshashin
The Assassins were an order of Nizari Ismailis, particularly those of Persia that existed from around 1092 to 1265...

s, who had no love for the Caliph. Modern historians have suspected that Mas'ud instigated the murder although the two most important historians of the period Ibn al-Athir and Ibn al-Jawzi did not speculate on this matter.

Al-Mustarshid was succeeded by his son Al-Rashid.