The Almohads The Rise of an Islamic Empire

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2010-08-15
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris
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How did an obscure Islamic visionary found an empire? The Almohad Empire at its zenith in the 12th century was the major power in the Mediterranean and North Africa, ruling a huge region from the Atlas Mountains to Andalusia. Effective administration was backed by military force, and the empire was the seat of a 12th-century renaissance in the fortunes of Islamic power in North Africa and the western Muslim world. The effect on the culture of both the Middle East and Europe was to prove lasting.Allen Fromherz, drawing on medieval Arabic and Berber sources, analyzes the myth and history surrounding the rise of the Almohad Empire. He shows how Muhammad Ibn Tumart, the son of a minor Berber tribal chief, set off on his mission to reform Islam, then at a low point in its history, battered by the crusades, having lost Jerusalem and been undermined by weak spiritual and political leadership. Muhammad Ibn Tumart was proclaimed Mahdi -- one who would herald the golden age of Islam -- provided charismatic leadership, unwavering adherence to a fundamentalist monotheistic Islam enforced by holy war, established tribal unity, effective administration and a formidable military force. Here were the sinews of the empire's power and the base for lasting political and cultural influence in the Middle East and Europe.

Author Biography

Allen J. Fromherz specialises in Middle East history and teaches at Georgia State University.

Table of Contents

Maps, Figures and Tablesp. vii
Acknowledgements and Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Almohads: A General Overviewp. 1
On Founding Mythsp. 7
The Almohads and Ibn Khaldunp. 15
The Life of Ibn Tumart and the Birth of the Almohad Movementp. 19
Ibn Tumart's Name: The Myths and Uses of Ancestryp. 22
The Journey Eastp. 26
Al-Ghazali and Ibn Tumartp. 30
The Journey Homep. 35
Encounter with 'Abd al-Mu'minp. 46
Ibn Tumart in Marrakechp. 48
Into the Mountainsp. 52
Ibn Tumart in Igilizp. 54
Mahdi Proclamationp. 59
The Writing of History in Medieval North Africap. 70
Gender, Islam and Defining the Otherp. 81
The Rise of the Almohads: The Tribal Roots of Monotheismp. 87
The Almohad Book of Ancestryp. 87
Integrating Tribal Traditionsp. 96
The Almohad Tribesp. 100
The Almohad Hierarchyp. 115
The Almohad Tribal Economy: A Preliminary Sketchp. 128
The Doctrine of Muhammad Ibn Tumart: Mahdi of the Almohadsp. 135
The Almohad Mahdi Doctrine: Possible Historical Precedentsp. 137
Defining the Mahdip. 139
The Era of the Mahdi in the Maghribp. 145
A New Religiosityp. 147
The Almohad Doctrine of the Mahdip. 149
The Doctrine of the A'azz ma Yutlab: The Book of Ibn Tumartp. 155
Law and Societyp. 167
Summary of the Book of Ibn Tumartp. 169
The Rise of the Almohads in Contextp. 187
Social Factors: What is a Tribep. 190
Charisma and the Mahdip. 193
Possible Economic Incentives for the Rise of the Almohadsp. 196
Conclusionsp. 199
Notesp. 203
Referencesp. 255
Indexp. 267
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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