In Mesopotamia, the Caliph and his son were long engaged in a campaign against the Kharijites. In the end this region, which had long been disturbed, partly by rebel bands, partly by the rivalry between Egyptian and Imperial generals, was for the time restored to order.
Al-Mu'tadid was a brave and energetic ruler. He was so tolerant towards Shi'a community that when a heavy largess was sent to them by the prince of Tabaristan, he was not displeased, as his predecessors would have been; but only commanded that it should be done openly. Towards the Umayyad race he was not so just. He even went so far as to have them cursed in the public prayers. He had a volume of their misdeeds rehearsed from the pulpit, and forbade all favorable mention of them in debate at the clubs and religious gatherings. Baghdad was scandalized at this treatment; and in the end the Caliph withdrew his abusive commands. Al-Mu'tadid was also cruel in his punishments, some of which are not surpassed by those of his predecessors. For example, a rebel, admitted to pardon, but afterwards found tampering with the army, was bound to a stake and, after being scorched with fire, taken down, beheaded, and the body impaled on the great bridge. The Kharijite leader at Mosul, who fell by treachery into his hands, was paraded about Baghdad clothed in a robe of silk (the wearing of which Kharijites denounced as sinful) and then crucified.
After a prosperous reign of nearly ten years, al-Mu'tadid died; and al-Muktafi, his son by a Turkish slave-girl, succeeded to the throne.