Al-Muqtafi (1096 – 12 March 1160) (Arabic: المقتفي لأمر الله) was the Abbasid Caliph in Baghdad from 1136 to 1160. The continued disunion and contests between Seljuk Turks afforded al-Muqtafi opportunity of not only maintaining his authority in Baghdad, but also extending it throughout Iraq.
Al-Muqtafi was able to defend the capital from various attacks. But he was ill-advised enough to support the rebellion of a son of Seljuk Sultan of Hamadan, who in response marched against Baghdad and forced the caliph to take refuge in the eastern quarter, initiating the Seljuk siege of Baghdad 1157. Later the caliph was recalled by the sultan who needed him to quell a more serious rising in the East when Malik Shah took Hamadan. Al-Muqtafi again received favor by the Seljuk, who betrothed himself to one of his daughters.
During this caliphate, the Crusade was raging furiously, and Zengi, the Governor of Mosul and founder of Zengid dynasty, obtained high distinction as a brave and generous warrior. At one time hard pressed, Zengi made urgent appeal for help to Baghdad. The sultan and the caliph despatched 20,000 men in response. But in reality neither the Seljuks, nor the caliph, nor their amirs, had any enthusiasm in war against Crusaders.
Al-Muqtafi is praised by early Muslim historians as virtuous, able, and brave. During his caliphate of twenty-five years, he conducted many minor expeditions against enemies in the vicinity.
A charter of protection granted by al-Muqtafi in 1139 to the Nestorian patriarch ʿAbdishoʿAbdishoʿ III was published in 1926 by the Assyrian scholar Alphonse Mingana.