Fatimid Caliphate
   HOME

TheInfoList



The Fatimid Caliphate ( ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْفَاطِمِيَّة , al-Ḫilāfa al-Fāṭimiyya) was an Ismaili Shia
caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the '' ...
of the 10th to the 12th centuries AD. Spanning a large area of
North Africa
North Africa
, it ranged from the
Red Sea
Red Sea
in the east to the
Atlantic Ocean
Atlantic Ocean
in the west. The Fatimids, a dynasty of Arab and Kutama origin , trace their ancestry to Muhammad's daughter Fatima and her husband
‘Ali b. Abi Talib
‘Ali b. Abi Talib
, the first Shi‘ite imam. The Fatimids were acknowledged as the rightful imams by different Isma‘ili communities, but also in many other Muslim lands, including
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle Ea ...

Persia
and the adjacent regions. Originating during the
Abbasid Caliphate The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate to succeed the Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was founded by a dynasty descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abdul-Mutta ...
, the Fatimids conquered
Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia in northern Africa , image_map2 = , capital = Tunis , largest_city = capital , coordinates = , official_languages = Arabic Translation by ...

Tunisia
and established the city of "
al-Mahdiyya
al-Mahdiyya
" ( ar, المهدية). The Shiʿite dynasty ruled territories across the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin In biogeography, the Mediterranean Basin (also known as the Mediterranean region or sometimes Mediterranea) is the region of lands aroun ...

Mediterranean
coast of Africa and ultimately made
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
the center of the caliphate. At its height, the caliphate included – in addition to Egypt – varying areas of the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
,
Sudan Sudan (; ar, السودان, as-Sūdān), officially the Republic of the Sudan ( ar, جمهورية السودان, link=no, Jumhūriyyat as-Sūdān), is a country in Northeast Africa. It is bordered by Egypt to the Egypt–Sudan border, nort ...

Sudan
,
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographic ...

Sicily
, the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the G ...

Levant
, and the
Hijaz The Hejaz (, also ; ar, ٱلْحِجَاز, al-Ḥijāz, lit=the Barrier, ) is a region in the west of Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthem = "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia, " "National Anthem of Saudi Arabia" , image_map = Saud ...

Hijaz
. The Fatimids claimed descent from
Fatimah Fatimah bint Muhammad ( ar, فَاطِمَة ٱبْنَت مُحَمَّد, Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad, ; 615 AD/5 BH – died 28 August 632 ), commonly known as Fatimah al-Zahra ( ''Fāṭimah al-Zahrāʾ''), was the daughter of the Islamic ...

Fatimah
, the daughter of the
Islamic prophet Prophets in Islam ( ar, الأنبياء في الإسلام, translit=al-ʾAnbiyāʾ fī al-ʾIslām) are individuals in Islam who are believed to spread God in Islam, God's message on Earth and to serve as models of ideal human behaviour. Som ...
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
. The dynasty was founded in 909 CE by the caliph'' ʿ'' Abdu llāh al-Mahdī Billa, who legitimized his claim through descent from Muhammad by way of his daughter and her husband
Ali , house = Quraysh ( Banu Hashim) , house-type = Tribe , father = Abu Talib ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib , mother = Fatimah bint Asad , religion = Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, ...

Ali
, the first Shī'' ʿ''a Imām, hence the name . Between 902 to 909 the foundation of the Fatimid state had been realised by the
Kutama The Kutama (Berber language, Berber: ''Ikutamen'') was a Berbers, Berber tribe in northern Algeria classified among the Berber confederation of the Bavares. The Kutama are attested much earlier, in the form ''Koidamousii'' by the Greek geographer Pt ...
Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser ...
whose conquest of
Ifriqiya Ifriqiya ( '), also known as el-Maghrib el-Adna ( ar, المغرب الأدنى), was the area during medieval history comprising the eastern part of the Constantinois (what is today eastern Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered ort ...
resulted in the establishment of the Caliphate. After the conquest of Ifriqiya the realm of the Rustamids had also been conquered on the way to Sijilmasa where Abdullāh al-Mahdī Billa who at the time was imprisoned was freed and then accepted as the Imam of the movement, becoming the first Caliph and founder of the ruling dynasty. In 921, the city of al Mahdiyya was established as the capital. In 948, they shifted their capital to al-Mansuriyya, near
Kairouan Kairouan ( ar, ٱلْقَيْرَوَان '), also spelled Al Qayrawān or Kairwan (), is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia i ...

Kairouan
. In 969, they conquered
Egypt Egypt ( ar, مِصر, Miṣr), officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, is a transcontinental country This is a list of countries located on more than one continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identif ...
, and in 973 they established
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the capital and largest city of Egypt. The Cairo metropolitan area, with a population of 21.3 million, is the 2nd largest in Africa and in the Arab world, and the ...
as the capital of their
caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the '' ...
. Egypt became the political, cultural, and religious centre of their empire, which developed a new and "indigenous Arabic" culture. The Fatimid Caliphs belonged to the Ismai'li branch of Shiʿa Islam, as did the leaders of the dynasty. The existence of the caliphate marked the only time the descendants of
Ali , house = Quraysh ( Banu Hashim) , house-type = Tribe , father = Abu Talib ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib , mother = Fatimah bint Asad , religion = Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, ...

Ali
and Fatimah were united to any degree (except for the final period of the
Rashidun Caliphate The Rashidun Caliphate ( ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلرَّاشِدَةُ, ') was the first of the four major caliphates established after the death of the Prophets and messengers in Islam, Islamic prophet Muhammad. It was ruled by the f ...
under Ali himself from 656 to 661). The name "Fatimid" refers to Fatimah and
orientalist Orientalist may refer to: *A scholar of Oriental studies *A person or thing relating to the Western intellectual or artistic paradigm known as Orientalism (as in 'an Orientalist painting' or '-painter') *''The Orientalist'', a biography of author L ...
authors sometimes use the separate term ''Fatimi'' (or "Fatimite") to refer to the caliphate's subjects. Fatimid reliance on the Berbers of Kutāma was not much a matter of a choice; they were the first adherents of the Fatimids and had helped bring them to power in Ifrīqiya After its initial conquests, the caliphate often allowed a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Shia sects of Islam, as well as to
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is t ...

Jews
and
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jes ...
. However, its
leader Leadership is both a research area, and a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual, group or organization to "lead", influence or guide other individuals, team A team is a group of individuals (human or non-human) working ...

leader
s made little headway in persuading the Egyptian population to adopt its religious beliefs. During the late eleventh and twelfth centuries, the Fatimid caliphate declined rapidly, and in 1171,
Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب, An-Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb; ku, سەلاحەدینی ئەییووبی, Selahedînê Eyûbî; 11374 March 1193), better kno ...

Saladin
invaded its territory. He founded the
Ayyubid dynasty The Ayyubid dynasty ( ar, الأيوبيون '; Kurdish: ئەیووبیەکان Eyûbiyan) was a Sunni Muslim Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, diffe ...

Ayyubid dynasty
and incorporated the Fatimid state into the nominal sphere of authority of the .


History


Origins

The Fatimid dynasty came to power as the leaders of
Isma'ilism Ismāʿīlism (Arabic language, Arabic: , ) is a branch or sub-sect of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī () get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar as the appointed spiritual successor (Imamate in Nizari doctrine, imām) to J ...
, a revolutionary
Shi'a Shia Islam or Shi'ism is one of the two main branches of Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ...
movement "which was at the same time political and religious, philosophical and social", and which originally proclaimed nothing less than the arrival of an Islamic
messiah In Abrahamic religions The Abrahamic religions, also referred to collectively as the world of Abrahamism and Semitic religions, are a group of Semitic people, Semitic-originated religions that claim descent from the Judaism of the ancient I ...
. The origins of that movement, and of the dynasty itself, are obscure prior to the late 9th century. Prominent Battles led by ikutamen Berbers before the creation of the Fatimid caliphate Pre-Fatimid and Aghlabid War (902–909) * Siege of Mila (902): Kutama victory * Siege of Setif (904): Kutama victory * Siege of Mila (904): Kutama victory * Battle of Constantine (905): Kutama victory * Siege of Tubna (906): Kutama victory * Siege of Bilizma (906): Kutama victory * Uprising of al-Qayrawan (906): Uprising quelled * Siege of Tijis (907): Kutama victory * Battle of Kasserine (908): Inconclusive * Battle of al-Aribus (909): Kutama Victory * Result: Kutama victory + creation of The Fatimid and destruction of Aghlabids. The Fatimids , that had expanded from Ikjan in modern day Kabylia (Eastern Algeria) all the way to the holy-land of Jerusalem basing their state upon a single political entity : the Kutama berber clan, these fierce soldiers obeyed neither to the Aghlabids of Kairaouine nor did they submit to the Rostémids of Tiaret. Their fame reached Abu Abd Allah al-Chi'i , who traveled to their 'bilad' (country - technically) in order to found his caliphate. The origins of the Fatimids Dynasty Rulers were Arabs established by Kutama berbers, starting by its founder the
Isma'ili Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah''; fa, اسماعیلیان, ''Esmâ'īliyân'') is a branch or sub-sect of Shia Islam. The Ismāʿīlī () get their name from their acceptance of Imam Isma'il ibn Jafar, Ism ...
shia
Caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the '' ...
Abdallah al-Mahdi Billah Abu Muhammad Ubayd Allah ibn al-Husayn (873 – 4 March 934), better known by his regnal name Abu Muhammad Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah ( ar, أبو محمد عبيد الله المهدي بالله), was the founder of the Isma'ili Fatimid Cal ...
. Their military soldiers were from the
Kabylia Kabylia (Tamurt n Leqbayel or Yiqbayliyen, meaning "Land of Kabyles") is a cultural Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, bel ...

Kabylia
in
Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Algiers , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , religion = , official_languages = , languages_type = Othe ...
, several historians attribute the military creation/establishment and its origin to the Kutama Berbers.


Early Shi'ism and the roots of Isma'ilism

The Shi'a opposed the
Umayyad The Umayyad Caliphate (661–750 CE; , ; ar, ٱلْخِلَافَة ٱلْأُمَوِيَّة, al-Khilāfah al-ʾUmawīyah) was the second of the four major caliphates established after the death of Muhammad. The caliphate was ruled by the U ...
and
Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There ar ...
caliphates, whom they considered usurpers. Instead, they believed in the exclusive right of the descendants of
Ali , house = Quraysh ( Banu Hashim) , house-type = Tribe , father = Abu Talib ibn 'Abd al-Muttalib , mother = Fatimah bint Asad , religion = Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, ...

Ali
through Muhammad's daughter,
Fatima
Fatima
, to lead the Muslim community. This manifested itself in a line of
imams Imam (; ar, إمام '; plural: ') is an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the ''s'' is or , and whether the ''a'' is pronou ...
, descendants of Ali via
al-Husayn Husayn ibn Ali ibn Abi Talib ( ar, ٱلْحُسَيْن ٱبْن عَلِيّ ٱبْن أَبِي طَالِب, Al-Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlīy ibn ʾAbī Ṭālib; 10 January AD 626 – 10 October 680) was a grandson of the Islamic prophet Muham ...

al-Husayn
, whom their followers considered as the true representatives of God on earth. At the same time, there was a widespread messianic tradition in Islam concerning the appearance of a ("the Rightly Guided One") or ("He Who Arises"), who would restore true Islamic government and justice and usher in the end times. This figure was widely expected—not just among the Shi'a—to be a descendant of Ali. Among Shi'a, however, this belief became a core tenet of their faith, and was applied to several Shi'a leaders who were killed or died; their followers believed that they had gone into "
occultation An occultation is an event that occurs when one object is hidden by another object that passes between it and the observer. The term is often used in astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science tha ...
" () and would return (or be resurrected) at the appointed time. These traditions manifested themselves in the succession of the sixth imam,
Ja'far al-Sadiq Jaʿfar ibn Muḥammad aṣ-Ṣādiq ( ar, جَعْفَرُ ٱبْنُ مُحَمَّدٍ ٱلصَّادِقُ; 700 or 702–765 Common Era, CE), commonly known as Ja‘far al-Ṣādiq or simply as-Sadiq (The Truthful), was an 8th-century M ...
. Al-Sadiq had appointed his son
Isma'il ibn Ja'far Abu Muhammad Ismāʿīl ibn Jaʿfar al-Mubārak ( ar, إسماعيل بن جعفر; c.719 AD – c.762 AD) was the eldest son of Imam Imam (; ar, إمام '; plural: ') is an Islamic leadership position. It is most commonly used as ...
as his successor, but Isma'il died before his father, and when al-Sadiq himself died in 765, the succession was left open. Most of his followers followed al-Sadiq's son Musa al-Kazim down to a twelfth and final imam who supposedly went into occultation in 874 and would one day return as the . This branch is hence known as the "Twelvers". Others followed other sons, or even refused to believe that al-Sadiq had died, and expected his return as the . Another branch believed that Ja'far was followed by a seventh imam, who had gone into occultation and would one day return; hence this party is known as the "Seveners". The exact identity of that seventh imam was disputed, but by the late 9th century had commonly been identified with
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...
, son of Isma'il and grandson of al-Sadiq. From Muhammad's father, Isma'il, the sect, which gave rise to the Fatimids, receives its name of "Isma'ili". Due to the harsh Abbasid persecution of the Alids , the Ismaili Imams went into hiding and neither Isma'il's nor Muhammad's lives are well known, and after Muhammad's death during the reign of Harun al-Rashid (), the history of the early Isma'ili movement becomes obscure.


The secret network

While the awaited Muhammad ibn Isma'il remained hidden, however, he would need to be represented by agents, who would gather the faithful, spread the word (, "invitation, calling"), and prepare his return. The head of this secret network was the living proof of the imam's existence, or "seal" (). It is this role that the ancestors of the Fatimids are first documented. The first known ''ḥujja'' was a certain Abdallah al-Akbar ("Abdallah the Elder"), a wealthy merchant from
Khuzestan Khuzestan Province ( fa, استان خوزستان ''Ostān-e Khūzestān'') is one of the 31 provinces of Iran. It is in the southwest of the country, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf. Its capital is Ahvaz and it covers an area of . Since ...

Khuzestan
, who established himself at the small town of
Salamiya A full view of Shmemis (spring 1995) Salamiyah ( ar, سلمية ') is a city and district in western Syria, in the Hama Governorate. It is located southeast of Hama, northeast of Homs. The city is nicknamed the "mother of Cairo" because it was ...
on the western edge of the
Syrian Desert The Syrian Desert ( ar, بادية الشام, ''Bādiyah Ash-Shām''), also known as the Syrian steppe, the Jordanian steppe, or the Badia, is a region of desert upright=1.5, alt=see caption, Sand dunes in the Rub' al Khali ("Empty quarte ...

Syrian Desert
. Salamiya became the centre of the Isma'ili , with Abdallah al-Akbar being succeeded by his son and grandson as the secret "grand masters" of the movement. In the last third of the 9th century, the Isma'ili spread widely, profiting from the collapse of Abbasid power in the
Anarchy at Samarra The term "Anarchy at Samarra" refers to the period 861–870 in the history of the Abbasid Caliphate The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْخِلَافَةُ ٱلْعَبَّاسِيَّةُ, ') was the third caliphate to succeed the Islami ...
and the subsequent Zanj Revolt, as well as from dissatisfaction among Twelver adherents with the political quietism of their leadership and the recent disappearance of the twelfth imam. Missionaries (s) such as
Hamdan Qarmat Hamdan Qarmat ibn al-Ash'ath ( ar, حمدان قرمط بن الأشعث, Ḥamdān Qarmaṭ ibn al-Ashʿath; CE) was the eponymous An eponym is a person, place, or thing after whom or which someone or something is, or is believed to be, n ...
and
Ibn Hawshab Abu'l-Qāsim al-Ḥasan ibn Faraj ibn Ḥawshab ibn Zādān al-Najjār al-Kūfī ( ar, أبو القاسم الحسن ابن فرج بن حوشب زاذان النجار الكوفي ; died 31 December 914), better known simply as Ibn Ḥawshab, or ...
spread the network of agents to the area round
Kufa Kufa ( ar, الْكُوفَة ), also spelled Kufah, is a city in Iraq, about south of Baghdad, and northeast of Najaf. It is located on the banks of the Euphrates, Euphrates River. The estimated population in 2003 was 110,000. Currently, Kufa a ...

Kufa
in the late 870s, and from there to
Yemen ) , image_map = File:Yemen on the globe (Yemen centered).svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Sana'a (''Houthi takeover in Yemen, De jure'')Aden (Temporary capital Yemeni government, in exile) , coordinates = , capital_exile = ...

Yemen
(882) and thence India (884),
Bahrayn Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf. The Island country, island nation co ...
(899),
Persia Iran ( fa, ایران ), also called Persia, and officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the Greater Middle Ea ...

Persia
, and the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
(893).


The Qarmatian schism and its aftermath

In 899, Abdallah al-Akbar's great-grandson,
Abdallah Abdullah is the primary Romanization of Arabic, transliteration of the Arabic name, Arabic given name, ar, عبد الله, built from the Arabic words ''Abd (Arabic), ʿAbd'' and Allah. The first letter ''a'' in ''Allah'' in its native pronunciati ...
, became the new head of the movement, and introduced a radical change in the doctrine: no longer was he and his forebears merely the stewards for Muhammad ibn Isma'il, but they were declared to be the rightful imams, and Abdallah himself was the awaited . Various genealogies were later put forth by the Fatimids to justify this claim by proving their descent from Isma'il ibn Ja'far, but even in pro-Isma'ili sources, the succession and names of imams differ, while
Sunni Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch Image:Tree Leaves.JPG, The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany as a ramus) is a woody structural member connected to but not part o ...
and Twelver sources of course reject any Fatimid descent from the Alids altogether and consider them impostors. Abdallah's claim caused a rift in the Isma'ili movement, as Hamdan Qarmat and other leaders denounced this change and held onto the original doctrine, becoming known as the "
Qarmatians The Qarmatians ( ar, قرامطة, Qarāmiṭa; ; also transliterated Carmathians, Qarmathians, Karmathians, Karmatian, or Karmathian, Qarmatī, Qarāmiṭah) were a dynasty of a syncretism, syncretic branch of Sevener Isma'ilism, Ismaili Shia I ...

Qarmatians
", while other communities remained loyal to Salamiya. Shortly after, in 902–903, pro-Fatimid loyalists began a great uprising in Syria. The large-scale Abbasid reaction it precipitated and the attention it brought on him, forced Abdallah to abandon Salamiya for Palestine, Egypt, and finally for the
Maghreb The Maghreb (; ar, المغرب, al-Maghrib, lit=the west), also known as Northwest Africa, is the western part of North Africa and the Arab world. The region includes Algeria, Libya, Mauritania (also considered part of West Africa), Morocco and ...

Maghreb
, where the
Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Zakariyya, better known as Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i ( ar, ابو عبد الله الشيعي, Abū ʿAbd Allāh ash-Shi'ī), was an Isma'ili Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah ...
had made great headway in converting the
Kutama The Kutama (Berber language, Berber: ''Ikutamen'') was a Berbers, Berber tribe in northern Algeria classified among the Berber confederation of the Bavares. The Kutama are attested much earlier, in the form ''Koidamousii'' by the Greek geographer Pt ...
Berbers Berbers or ''Imazighen'' ( ber, translit=Imaziɣen, ⵉⵎⴰⵣⵉⵖⵏ, ⵎⵣⵗⵏ; singular: , ) are an ethnic group mostly concentrated in North Africa, specifically Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, the Canary Islands, and to a lesser ...
to the Isma'ili cause. Unable to join his directly, Ubayd Allah instead settled at
Sijilmasa Sijilmasa ( ar, سجلماسة; also transliterated Sijilmassa, Sidjilmasa, Sidjilmassa and Sigilmassa) was a medieval Moroccan city and trade entrepôt at the northern edge of the Sahara in Morocco. The ruins of the town extend for five miles alo ...
.


Establishment of the Fatimid Caliphate

Beginning in 902, the Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i had openly challenged the Aghlabids, The Ikutamen berbers from Ikjan led multiple siege until their ultimate victory in 909' representatives in the eastern Maghreb (
Ifriqiya Ifriqiya ( '), also known as el-Maghrib el-Adna ( ar, المغرب الأدنى), was the area during medieval history comprising the eastern part of the Constantinois (what is today eastern Algeria ) , image_map = Algeria (centered ort ...
.), the
Aghlabid dynasty 300px, An Aghlabid cistern in Kairouan The Aghlabids ( ar, الأغالبة) were an Arab dynasty of emirs from the Najd Najd, ( ar, نَجْدٌ, ) or the Nejd, forms the geographic center of Saudi Arabia (Shahada) , national_anthe ...
. After a succession of victories, the last Aghlabid emir left the country, and the 's Kutama troops entered the palace city of
Raqqada Raqqāda ( ar, رقّادة) is the site of the second capital of the 9th-century dynasty of Aghlabids, located about ten kilometers southwest of Kairouan, Tunisia. The site now houses the National Museum of Islamic Art. History In 876, the nin ...
on 25 March 909. Abu Abdallah established a new, Shi'a regime, on behalf of his absent, and for the moment unnamed, master. He then led his army west to Sijilmasa, whence he led Abdallah in triumph to Raqqada, which he entered on 15 January 910. There Abdallah publicly proclaimed himself as
caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state An Islamic state is a form of government based on Islamic law. As a term, it has been used to describe various historical Polity, polities and theories of governance in the Islami ...
with the
regnal name A regnal name, or regnant name or reign name, is the name used by monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the ...
of , and presented his son and heir, with the regnal name of al-Qa'im. Al-Mahdi quickly fell out with Abu Abdallah: not only was the over-powerful, but he demanded proof that the new caliph was the true . The elimination of Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i and his brother led to an uprising among the Kutama, led by a child-, which was suppressed. At the same time, al-Mahdi repudiated the millenarian hopes of his followers and curtailed their
antinomian Antinomianism (Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the following periods: Myc ...
tendencies. The new regime regarded its presence in Ifriqiya as only temporary: the real target was
Baghdad Baghdad (; ar, بَغْدَاد ) is the capital of Iraq Iraq ( ar, ٱلْعِرَاق, '; ku, عێراق '), officially the Republic of Iraq ( ar, جُمْهُورِيَّة ٱلْعِرَاق '; ku, کۆماری عێراق '), is a ...

Baghdad
, the capital of the Fatimids' Abbasid rivals. The ambition to carry the revolution eastward had to be postponed after the failure of two successive invasions of Egypt, led by al-Qa'im, in 914–915 and 919–921. In addition, the Fatimid regime was as yet unstable. The local population were mostly adherents of
Maliki The ( ar, مَالِكِي) school is one of the four major madhhab A ' ( ar, مذهب ', , "way to act") is a school of thought within '' fiqh'' (Islamic jurisprudence Jurisprudence, or legal theory, is the theoretical study of law. Sch ...
Sunnism and various
Kharijite The Kharijites ( ar, الخوارج, ''al-Khawārij'', singular , ''khāriji''), also called the al-Shurat (Arabic: الشراة, ''al-Shurāt''), were an Islamic sect that appeared in the first century of Islam during the First Muslim Civil Wa ...
sects such as
Ibadism The Ibadi movement (Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya, also known as the Ibadis ( ar, الإباضية, ''al-Ibāḍiyyah'')), is a school of Islam dominant in Oman Oman ( ; ar, عُمَان ' ), officially the Sultanate of Oman ( ar, سلْطنةُ ...
, so that the real power base of Fatimids in Ifriqiya was quite narrow, resting on the Kutama soldiery, later extended by the
Sanhaja The Sanhaja ( ber, Aẓnag, pl. Iẓnagen, and also Aẓnaj, pl. Iẓnajen; ar, صنهاجة, ''Ṣanhaja'' or زناگة ''Znaga'') were once one of the largest Berber tribal confederations, along with the Zanata and Masmuda confederations. Ma ...
Berber tribes as well. The historian
Heinz HalmHeinz Halm (born 21 February 1942 in Andernach, Rhine Province) is a German scholar of Islamic Studies, with a particular expertise on early Shia Shia Islam or Shi'ism is one of the two main branches of Islam Islam (;There are ten p ...
describes the early Fatimid state as being, in essence, "a hegemony of the Kutama and Sanhaja Berbers over the eastern and central Maghrib". In 916–921, al-Mahdi built himself a new, fortified palace city on the Mediterranean shore,
al-Mahdiyya
al-Mahdiyya
, removed from the Sunni stronghold of
Kairouan Kairouan ( ar, ٱلْقَيْرَوَان '), also spelled Al Qayrawān or Kairwan (), is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia i ...

Kairouan
. The Fatimids also inherited the Aghlabid province of
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographic ...

Sicily
, which the Aghlabids had gradually conquered from the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...

Byzantine Empire
starting in 827. This process was still incomplete however: the Byzantines still held territories in the northeast of Sicily, as well as in
southern Italy Southern Italy ( it, Sud Italia; nap, 'o Sudde; scn, Italia dû Sud), also known as ''Meridione'' or ''Mezzogiorno'' (, literally "Midday"; in nap, 'o Miezojuorno; in scn, Mezzujornu), is a macroregionA macroregion is a geopolitical subdivisi ...
. This ongoing confrontation with the traditional foe of the Islamic world provided the Fatimids with a prime opportunity for propaganda, in a setting where geography gave them the advantage. Sicily itself proved troublesome, and only after a rebellion under
Ibn QurhubAhmad ibn Ziyadat Allah ibn Qurhub, commonly known simply as Ibn Qurhub, ruled Sicily (masculine) it, Siciliana (feminine) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , de ...
was subdued, was Fatimid authority on the island consolidated. The Fatimids also faced difficulties in establishing control over the western Maghreb, as they were confronted by rival dynasties hostile to the Fatimids' pretensions, including the powerful Umayyads of Spain. In 911,
Tahert Tiaret ( ar, تاهرت / تيارت; Berber language, Berber: Tahert or Tihert, i.e. "Lioness") is a major city in central Algeria that gives its name to the wider farming region of Tiaret Province. Both the town and region lie south-west of the ...
, which had been briefly captured by Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i in 909, had to be retaken by the Fatimid general Masala ibn Habus. He went on to capture
Fez Fez most often refers to: * Fez (hat) The fez (, ), also called tarboosh ( ar, طربوش, translit=ṭarbūš, derived from fa, سرپوش, translit=sarpuš, lit=cap), is a felt headdress in the shape of a short cylindrical peakless hat, usuall ...

Fez
in 920, expelling the local
Idrisid dynasty The Idrisids ( ar, الأدارسة ') were an Arab The Arabs (singular Arab ; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: , plural ar, عَرَبٌ, ISO 233: , Arabic pronunciation: ) are an ethnic group An ethn ...
, and Sijilmasa in 921. Masala's successor, Musa ibn Abi'l-Afiya, captured Fez from the Idrisids again, but in 932 defected to the Umayyads, taking the western Maghreb with him. All this warfare necessitated the maintenance of a strong army, and a capable fleet as well. Nevertheless, by the time of al-Mahdi's death in 934, the Fatimid Caliphate "had become a great power in the Mediterranean".


Consolidation and peak

The reign of the second Fatimid imam-caliph, al-Qa'im, was dominated by the Kharijite rebellion of
Abu Yazid Abu Yazid Makhlad ibn Kaydad al-Nukkari ( ar, أبو يزيد مخلد بن كيداد; – 19 August 947), known as the Man on the Donkey ( ar, صاحب الحمار, Ṣāhib al-Himār), was an Ibadi The Ibadi movement (Ibadism or Ibāḍiy ...
. Starting in 943/4 among the
Zenata The Zenata ( Berber: ⵉⵣⵏⴰⵜⵏ ''Iznaten'') are a group of Amazigh (Berber) tribes, historically one of the largest Berber confederations along with the Sanhaja and Masmuda. Their lifestyle was either nomadic or semi-nomadic. Society T ...
Berbers, the uprising spread through Ifriqiya, taking Kairouan and blockading al-Qa'im at al-Mahdiyya, which was besieged in January–September 945. Al-Qa'im died during the siege, but this was kept secret by his son and successor, Isma'il, until he had defeated Abu Yazid; he then announced his father's death and proclaimed himself imam and caliph as
al-Mansur Al-Mansur or Abu Ja'far Abdallah ibn Muhammad al-Mansur (; ar, أبو جعفر عبدالله بن محمد المنصور‎; 95 AH – 158 AH (714 AD – 6 October 775 AD) was the second Abbasid The Abbasid Caliphate ( or ar, اَلْ ...
. While al-Mansur was campaigning to suppress the last remnants of the revolt, a new palace city was being constructed for him south of Kairouan. It was named al-Mansuriyya, and became the new seat of the caliphate. In 969, the Fatimid general Jawhar the Sicilian, conquered Egypt, where he built near Fusṭāt a new palace city which he also called al-Manṣūriyya. Under Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah, the Fatimids conquered the Ikhshidid Wilayah, founding a new capital at ''al-Qāhira'' (
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the capital and largest city of Egypt. The Cairo metropolitan area, with a population of 21.3 million, is the 2nd largest in Africa and in the Arab world, and the ...
) in 969. The name ''al-Qāhirah'' ( ar , القاهرة), meaning "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror", referenced the planet Mars, "The Subduer", rising in the sky at the time when the construction of the city started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army—the actual administrative and economic capitals of Egypt were cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Ifriqiya to Syria, as well as
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographic ...

Sicily
. Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the centre of an empire that included at its peak parts of
North Africa
North Africa
, Emirate of Sicily, Sicily, Levant, the Levant (including Transjordan (region), Transjordan), the
Red Sea
Red Sea
coast of Africa, Tihamah, Hejaz, Upper Yemen, Yemen, with its most remote territorial reach being History of Multan#Ismailis, Multan (in modern-day Pakistan). Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network both in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean. Their trade and diplomatic ties, extending all the way to China under the Song Dynasty (), eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages. The Fatimid focus on agriculture further increased their riches and allowed the dynasty and the Egyptians to flourish under the Fatimid rule. The use of cash crops and the propagation of the flax trade allowed Fatimids to import other items from various parts of the world.


Decline

While the ethnic-based army was generally successful on the battlefield, it began to have negative effects on Fatimid internal politics. Traditionally the Berber element of the army had the strongest sway over political affairs, but as the Turkish element grew more powerful, it began to challenge this, and by 1020, serious riots had begun to break out among the Black African troops who were fighting back against a Berber people, Berber-Turk Alliance. On the other hand, the Persian traveller Nasir Khusraw mentions that there were 20,000 Kutama horsemen during his visit to Egypt in 1047 By the 1060s, the tentative balance between the different ethnic groups within the Fatimid army collapsed as Egypt suffered an extended period of drought and famine. Declining resources accelerated the problems among the different ethnic factions, and outright civil war began, primarily between the Turks under Nasir al-Dawla ibn Hamdan and Black African troops, while the Berbers shifted alliance between the two sides. The Turkish people, Turkish forces of the Fatimid army seized most of
Cairo Cairo ( ; ar, القاهرة, al-Qāhirah, , Coptic: ⲕⲁϩⲓⲣⲏ) is the capital and largest city of Egypt. The Cairo metropolitan area, with a population of 21.3 million, is the 2nd largest in Africa and in the Arab world, and the ...
and held the city and
Caliph A caliphate ( ar, خِلَافَة, ) is an Islamic state under the leadership of an Islam Islam (;There are ten pronunciations of ''Islam'' in English, differing in whether the first or second syllable has the stress, whether the '' ...
at ransom, while the Berber troops and remaining Sudanese forces roamed the other parts of Egypt. By 1072, in a desperate attempt to save Egypt, the Fatimid Caliph Abū Tamīm Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah recalled general Badr al-Jamali, who was at the time the governor of Acre, Israel, Acre. Badr al-Jamali led his troops into Egypt and was able to successfully suppress the different groups of the rebelling armies, largely purging the Turks in the process. Although the Caliphate was saved from immediate destruction, the decade long rebellion devastated Egypt and it was never able to regain much power. As a result, Badr al-Jamali was also made the vizier of the Fatimid caliph, becoming one of the first military viziers ("Amir al Juyush", ar, امير الجيوش, Commander of Forces of the Fatimids) who would dominate late Fatimid politics. Al-Jam`e Al-Juyushi ( ar, الجامع الجيوشي, The Mosque of the Armies), or Juyushi Mosque, was built by Badr al-Jamali. The mosque was completed in 478 H/1085 AD under the patronage of then Caliph and Imam Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah. It was built on an end of the Mokattam, Mokattam Hills, ensuring a view of the Cairo city. This Mosque/Masjid was also known as a victory monument commemorating vizier Badr's restoration of order for the Imam Mustansir. As the military viziers effectively became heads of state, the Caliph himself was reduced to the role of a figurehead. Badr al-Jamali's son, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, succeeded him in power as vizier. In the 1040s, the Berber Zirids (governors of North Africa under the Fatimids) declared their independence from the Fatimids and their recognition of the Sunni Islam, Sunni Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad, which led the Fatimids to launch the devastating Banu Hilal, Banū Hilal invasions of North Africa. After about 1070, the Fatimid hold on the
Levant The Levant () is an approximate historical geographical term referring to a large area in the Eastern Mediterranean region of Western Asia Western Asia, also West Asia, is the westernmost subregion of Asia. It is entirely a part of the G ...

Levant
coast and parts of Syria was challenged first by Turkic peoples, Turkic invasions, then the First Crusade, Crusades, so that Fatimid territory shrank until it consisted only of Egypt. The Fatimids gradually lost the Emirate of Sicily Emirate of sicily#Decline, over thirty years to the Italo-Norman Roger I of Sicily, Roger I who was in total control of the entire island by 1091. The reliance on the Iqta system also ate into Fatimid central authority, as more and more the military officers at the further ends of the empire became semi-independent. After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nur ad-Din Zangi, Nūr ad-Dīn had his general, Shirkuh, seize Egypt from the vizier Shawar in 1169. Shirkuh died two months after taking power, and rule passed to his nephew,
Saladin Al-Nasir Salah al-Din Yusuf ibn Ayyub ( ar, الناصر صلاح الدين يوسف بن أيوب, An-Nāṣir Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb; ku, سەلاحەدینی ئەییووبی, Selahedînê Eyûbî; 11374 March 1193), better kno ...

Saladin
. This began the Ayyubid Dynasty, Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria.


Dynasty


Caliphs

#Abdallah al-Mahdi Billah, Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdul-Lāh al-Mahdī bi'llāh (909–934) founder Fatimid dynasty #Al-Qa'im (Fatimid caliph), Abū'l-Qāsim Muḥammad al-Qā'im bi-Amr Allāh (934–946) #Al-Mansur bi-Nasr Allah, Abū Ṭāhir Ismāʿil al-Manṣūr bi-Naṣr Allāh (946–953) #Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah, Abū Tamīm Maʿadd al-Muʿizz li-Dīn Allāh (953–975) Egypt is conquered during his reign #al-Aziz Billah, Abū Manṣūr Nizār al-ʿAzīz bi-llāh (975–996) #Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, Abū ʿAlī al-Manṣūr al-Ḥākim bi-Amr Allāh (996–1021) The Druze religion is founded during the lifetime of Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. #al-Zahir li-i'zaz Din Allah, Abū'l-Ḥasan ʿAlī al-Ẓāhir li-Iʿzāz Dīn Allāh (1021–1036) #Al-Mustansir Billah, Abū Tamīm Ma'add al-Mustanṣir bi-llāh (1036–1094) Quarrels over his succession led to the Nizari split. #Al-Musta'li, Abū'l-Qāsim Aḥmad al-Musta'lī bi-llāh (1094–1101) #Al-Amir bi-Ahkam Allah, Abū ʿAlī Manṣūr al-Āmir bi-Aḥkām Allāh (1101–1130) The Fatimid rulers of Egypt after him are not recognized as Imams by Mustaali/Taiyabi Ismailis. #Al-Hafiz, Abu'l-Maymūn ʿAbd al-Majīd al-Ḥāfiẓ li-Dīn Allāh (1130–1149) The Hafizi sect is founded with Al-Hafiz as Imam. #al-Ẓāfir, Abū Manṣūr Ismāʿil al-Zāfir bi-Amr Allāh (1149–1154) #al-Fā'iz, Abū'l-Qāsim ʿĪsā al-Fā'iz bi-Naṣr Allāh (1154–1160) #al-'Āḍid, Abū Muḥammad ʿAbdul-Lāh al-ʿĀḍid li-Dīn Allāh (1160–1171)


Consorts

# Rasad, wife of the seventh caliph Ali al-Zahir and mother of the eighth caliph al-Mustansir bi-llāh.


Burial places

"Al-Mashhad al-Hussaini" (Al-Hussein Mosque, Masjid Imam Husain, Cairo) is the burial site of twelve Fatimid Imams: the 9th, Taqi Muhammad, through the 20th, Mansur al-Amir Bi-Ahkamillah, Mansur al-Āmir. The site is also known as "Bāb Mukhallafāt al-Rasul" (door of remaining part of Rasul), where the Sacred Hair of
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
is preserved.


Capital cities

Al-Mahdiyya, the first capital of the Fatimid dynasty, was established by its first caliph, ʿAbdullāh al-Mahdī (297–322 AH/909–934 CE) in 300 AH/912–913 CE. The caliph had been residing in nearby Raqqada but chose this new and more strategic location in which to establish his dynasty. The city of al-Mahdiyya is located on a narrow peninsula along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, east of
Kairouan Kairouan ( ar, ٱلْقَيْرَوَان '), also spelled Al Qayrawān or Kairwan (), is the capital of the Kairouan Governorate in Tunisia ) , image_map = Tunisia location (orthographic projection).svg , map_caption = Location of Tunisia i ...

Kairouan
and just south of the Gulf of Hammamet, in modern-day Tunisia. The primary concern in the city's construction and locale was defense. With its peninsular topography and the construction of a wall 8.3 m thick, the city became impenetrable by land. This strategic location, together with a navy that the Fatimids had inherited from the conquered Aghlabids, made the city of Al-Mahdiyya a strong military base where ʿAbdullāh al-Mahdī consolidated power and planted the seeds of the Fatimid caliphate for two generations. The city included two royal palaces – one for the caliph and one for his son and successor al-Qāʾim – as well as a mosque, many administrative buildings, and an arsenal. Al-Manṣūriyya was established between 334 and 336 AH (945 and 948 CE) by the third Fatimid caliph al-Manṣūr (334-41 AH/946-53 CE) in a settlement known as Ṣabra, located on the outskirts of Kairouan in modern-day Tunisia. The new capital was established in commemoration of the victory of al-Manṣūr over the Khārijite rebel Abū Yazīd at Ṣabra. Like Baghdad, the plan of the city of Al-Manṣūriyya is round, with the caliphal palace at its center. Due to a plentiful water source, the city grew and expanded a great deal under al-Manṣūr. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that there were more than 300 ḥammāms built during this period in the city as well as numerous palaces. When al-Manṣūr's successor, al-Muʿizz, moved the caliphate to Cairo, his deputy stayed behind as regent of al-Manṣūriyya and usurped power for himself, marking the end of the Fatimid reign in al-Manṣūriyya and the beginning of the city's ruin (spurred on by a violent revolt). The city remained downtrodden and more or less uninhabited for centuries afterward. Cairo was established by the fourth Fatimid, caliph al-Muʿizz in 359 AH/970 CE and remained the capital of the Fatimid caliphate for the duration of the dynasty. Cairo can thus be considered the capital of Fatimid cultural production. Though the original Fatimid Great Palaces, Fatimid palace complex, including administrative buildings and royal residents, no longer exists, modern scholars can glean a good idea of the original structure based on the Mamluk-era account of al-Maqrīzī. Perhaps the most important of Fatimid monuments outside the palace complex is the mosque of al-Azhar (359-61 AH/970-72 CE) which still stands today, though little of the building is original to its first Fatimid construction. Likewise the important Fatimid mosque of al-Ḥākim, built from 380-403 AH/990-1012 CE under two Fatimid caliphs, has been rebuilt under subsequent dynasties. Cairo remained the capital for, including al-Muʿizz, eleven generations of caliphs, after which the Fatimid Caliphate finally fell to Ayyubid forces in 567 AH/1171 CE.


Administration and culture

Unlike western European governments of the era, advancement in Fatimid state offices was more meritocracy, meritocratic than hereditary. Members of other branches of Islam, like the
Sunni Sunni Islam () is by far the largest branch Image:Tree Leaves.JPG, The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany as a ramus) is a woody structural member connected to but not part o ...
s, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance was extended to non-Muslims, such as
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of Jes ...
and
Jews Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים ISO 259-2 , Israeli pronunciation ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation originating from the Israelites Israelite origins and kingdom: "The first act in the long drama of Jewish history is t ...

Jews
, who occupied high levels in government based on ability, and this policy of tolerance ensured the flow of money from non-Muslims in order to finance the Caliphs' large army of Mamluks brought in from Circassia by Genoese merchants. There were exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, however, most notably by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, though this has been highly debated, with Al-Hakim's reputation among medieval Muslim historians conflated with his role in the Druze, Druze faith. Persecution of Christians, Christians in general and Persecution of Copts, Copts in particular have been persecuted by Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah;Robert Ousterhout, "Rebuilding the Temple: Constantine Monomachus and the Holy Sepulchre" in ''The Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians'', Vol. 48, No. 1 (March, 1989), pp.66–78 the Persecution of Christians, persecution of the Christians included closing and demolishing churches and forced conversion to Islam. With the succession of Al-Zahir li-i'zaz Din Allah, the Druze faced a mass persecution, which included a large massacres against the Druze in Antioch, Aleppo, and other cities. The Fatimids were also known for their exquisite arts. A type of ceramic, lustreware, was prevalent during the Fatimid period. Glassware and metalworking was also popular. Many traces of Fatimid architecture exist in Cairo today; prominent examples include the Al-Azhar University and the Al-Hakim Mosque. The madrasa is one of the relics of the Fatimid era in Egypt, descended from
Fatimah Fatimah bint Muhammad ( ar, فَاطِمَة ٱبْنَت مُحَمَّد, Fāṭimah bint Muḥammad, ; 615 AD/5 BH – died 28 August 632 ), commonly known as Fatimah al-Zahra ( ''Fāṭimah al-Zahrāʾ''), was the daughter of the Islamic ...

Fatimah
, daughter of
Muhammad Muhammad ibn AbdullahHe is referred to by many appellations, including Messenger of Allah, The Prophet Muhammad, Allah's Apostle, Last Prophet of Islam, and others; there are also many variant spellings of Muhammad, such as Mohamet, Mohammed, ...

Muhammad
. Fatimah was called ''Az-Zahra'' (the brilliant), and the madrasa was named in her honour. The Fatimid Great Palaces, Fatimid palace in Cairo had two parts. It stood in the Khan el-Khalili area at Bayn al-Qasrayn, Bayn El-Qasryn street.


Military system

The Fatimid military was based largely on the
Kutama The Kutama (Berber language, Berber: ''Ikutamen'') was a Berbers, Berber tribe in northern Algeria classified among the Berber confederation of the Bavares. The Kutama are attested much earlier, in the form ''Koidamousii'' by the Greek geographer Pt ...
Berber people, Berber tribesmen brought along on the march to Egypt, and they remained an important part of the military even after Ifriqiya began to break away. A fundamental change occurred when the Fatimid Caliphate attempted to push into Syria in the latter half of the 10th century. The Fatimids were faced with the now Turkish-dominated forces of the Abbasid Caliphate and began to realize the limits of their current military. Thus during the reign of Abu Mansur Nizar al-Aziz Billah and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, the Caliph began incorporating armies of Turkic peoples, Turks and, later, black Africans (even later, other groups such as Armenians were also used). The army units were generally separated along ethnic lines: the Berbers were usually the light cavalry and foot skirmishers, while the Turks were the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as ''Mamluks''). The black Africans, Syrians, and Arabs generally acted as the heavy infantry and foot archers. This ethnic-based army system, along with the partial slave status of many of the imported ethnic fighters, would remain fundamentally unchanged in Egypt for many centuries after the fall of the Fatimid Caliphate. The Fatimids focused their military on the defence of the empire as threats presented, which they were able to repel. In the mid-10th century, the
Byzantine Empire The Byzantine Empire, also referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages ...

Byzantine Empire
was ruled by Nikephoros II Phokas, who had destroyed the Muslim Emirate of Crete, Emirate of Chandax in 961 and conquered Tartus, Al-Masaisah, 'Ain Zarbah, among other areas, gaining complete control of Iraq and the Syrian borders, and earning the sobriquet "The Pale Death of the Saracens". With the Fatimids, however, he proved less successful. After renouncing his payments of tribute to the Fatimid caliphs, he sent an expedition to
Sicily (man) it, Siciliana (woman) , population_note = , population_blank1_title = , population_blank1 = , demographics_type1 = Ethnicity , demographics1_footnotes = , demographic ...

Sicily
, but was forced by defeats on land and sea to evacuate the island completely. In 967, he made peace with the Fatimids and turned to defend himself against their common enemy, Otto I, who had proclaimed himself Roman Emperor and had attacked Byzantine possessions in Italy.


Important figures

List of important figures: *
Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i Al-Husayn ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Zakariyya, better known as Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i ( ar, ابو عبد الله الشيعي, Abū ʿAbd Allāh ash-Shi'ī), was an Isma'ili Ismāʿīlism ( ar, الإسماعيلية, ''al-ʾIsmāʿīlīyah ...
(d. After 911) * Abu Yaqub al-Sijistani (d. After 971) * Al-Qadi al-Nu'man (d. 974)   * Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani (d. After 1020)   * Nasir Khusraw, Hakim Nasir-i Khusraw (d. After 1070) * Al-Mu'ayyad fi'l-Din al-Shirazi, Al-Mu'ayyad fi'l-Din al-Shirazi (d. 1078) * Al-Sayyida al-Mu'iziyya (also known as Durzan)


Legacy

After Al-Mustansir Billah, his sons Nizar (Fatimid Imam), Nizar and Al-Musta'li both claimed the right to rule, leading to a split into the Nizari and Musta'li factions respectively. Nizar's successors eventually came to be known as the ''Aga Khan'', while Musta'li's followers eventually came to be called the ''Dawoodi bohra''. The Fatimid dynasty continued and flourished under Al-Musta'li until Al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah's death in 1130. Leadership was then contested between At-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim, Al-Amir's two-year-old son, and Al-Hafiz, Al-Amir's cousin whose supporters (Hafizi) claimed Al-Amir died without an heir. The supporters of At-Tayyib became the Tayyibi Isma'ilis. At-Tayyib's claim to the imamate was endorsed by Arwa al-Sulayhi, Queen of Yemen. In 1084, Al-Mustansir had Arwa designated a ''hujjah'' (a holy, pious lady), the highest rank in the Yemeni Da'wah. Under Arwa, the ''Da'i al-Balagh'' (the imam's local representative) Lamak ibn Malik and then Yahya ibn Lamak worked for the cause of the Fatimids. After At-Tayyib's disappearance, Arwa named Dhu'ayb bin Musa the first ''Da'i al-Mutlaq'' with full authority over Tayyibi religious matters. Tayyibi Isma'ili missionaries (in about 1067 AD (460 AH)) spread their religion to India, leading to the development of various Isma'ili communities, most notably the Alavi Bohra, Alavi, Dawoodi Bohra, Dawoodi, and Sulaymani Bohras. Syedi Nuruddin went to Dongaon to look after southern India and Syedi Fakhruddin went to East Rajasthan.


See also

*List of Shia Islamic dynasties


Notes


References


Sources

* * * * Cortese, Delia, "Fatimids", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I, pp. 187–191. * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Fatimids entry in the ''Encyclopaedia of the Orient''.

The Institute of Ismaili Studies, London.

The Shia Fatimid Dynasty in Egypt
, - , - , - {{Authority control Fatimid Caliphate, Ismaili dynasties Former countries in Asia Former countries in Europe History of North Africa History of the Mediterranean Historical transcontinental empires Medieval Egypt Ifriqiya under the Fatimid Caliphate History of Malta History of Palestine (region) History of Saudi Arabia Medieval Sicily Ismailism Shia Islam Former countries in the Middle East Former monarchies of Africa Former monarchies of Asia Former monarchies of Europe Shia Islam in Algeria States and territories established in 909 States and territories disestablished in 1171 Former countries 1171 disestablishments