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Jeremy Rich

political, military, and religious leader and first Caliph of the Sokoto Caliphate, was born in the town of Morona, now located in Niger, in 1780 or 1781. His father was the revolutionary Islamic cleric and leader Uthman Dan Fodio (1754–1817), and his mother was Hawwa bint Adam ibn Muhammad Agh. Bello received an advanced education in Islamic theology and law thanks to his father, and supported his father’s call for a strict adherence to orthodox Sunni interpretations of Islamic practices. Bello praised his father as a loving parent: “His face was relaxed and his manner gentle. He never tired of explaining and never became impatient if anyone failed to understand” (Boyd, 1989).

When Uthman Dan Fodio launched a series of holy wars against the nominally Islamic sultans of Hausa cities such as Kano in northern Nigeria and southern Niger Bello became an active lieutenant of his father ...

Article

Kurt J. Werthmuller

sultan of the Kurdish Ayyubid dynasty of Egypt and Syria during the time of the Fifth and Sixth Crusades (r. 1218–1238), was born in Syria as Muhammad Ibn al-ʿAdil. He was the son of the sultan al-Malik al-ʿAdil I (r. 1200–1218), nephew of the famed Muslim conqueror Saladin, and father of his immediate successors al-Adil II Abu Bakr (r. 1238–1240) and al-Salih Nijm al-Din Ayyub (r. 1240–1249). While his early life remains obscure, al-Malik al-Kamil (an honorific title meaning “the perfect king”) entered public life in 1208 when his father al Malik al ʿAdil then sultan of the Ayyubid lands appointed him to serve as governor of Egypt This post clearly made a tremendous impact on the young prince who quickly completed work on Saladin s citadel which loomed above Cairo and moved his family into residence there While the interests of most of the Ayyubid family revolved around ...

Article

Aomar Boum

Wattasid Sultan of Fez, was born in Asila around 870/1465, the son of Muhammad al-Shaykh ibn Yahya. He is also known as Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Yahya. Banu Wattas were a subclan of Banu Marin (Marinids), their tribal kinsmen. As a political regency, the Wattasids had emerged mainly in northeast Morocco with virtual autonomy from the Marinids to whom they were tied ethnically and politically. In the 1420s Morocco fell into anarchy and the Marinids began to lose their control over the whole country especially after the murder of the Marinid Sultan Abu Saʿid ʿUthman III. The Marinids were not only weakened by family feuds over power control but also targeted by Iberian powers. By 1415 Portugal captured the port city of Ceuta The failure of the Marinids to extend their authority throughout the coastal communities led to the emergence of religious brotherhoods that would threaten not only ...

Article

Saladin  

Kurt J. Werthmuller

ruler and founder of the Ayyubid dynasty in Egypt and Syria and famed Muslim conqueror who decimated the Crusader Army of Jerusalem and recaptured the city of Jerusalem in 1187, was born in Tikrit, Iraq. Also known as Salah al-Din, his personal name was Yusuf al-Malik al-Nasir Ibn Ayyub. He was the younger son of the Kurdish governor Ayyub Ibn Shadi, in the service of Imad al-Din Zangi, the first Muslim commanders to begin the long process of turning back some of the victories of the First Crusade; Ayyub presided over the regions of Tikrit and Baalbek and eventually the prestigious city of Damascus in 1146, where Saladin spent much of his childhood and for which he retained a lifelong affection.

We know relatively little of Saladin s youth largely because his various biographers and contemporary chroniclers were only interested in his renowned exploits as a general and ...

Article

George Michael La Rue

the first Muslim sultan of the Sudanese kingdom of Darfur, and often cited as the founder of the Kayra dynasty, was born in Jabal Marra to Kuuruu, a local Fur king, and a woman of the Serbung section of the Masalit. Known as Solong or Solongdungo (literally the red-faced, implying here Arab), Sulayman was a descendant of the local Wise Stranger, Ahmad Maʿqur (Ahmad the ham-stringed), a nearly mythical figure, thought to be a Hilali Arab from North Africa who had first introduced Islam to the earlier Tunjur dynasty, and through them to the Fur, according to conflicting versions of the oral traditions. Sulayman Solong was famous for expanding the territory of the Fur westward and for expanding Muslim influence in Darfur.

His father one of a series of Fur rulers in Jabal Marra the volcanic massif at the heart of Darfur had been involved in a dispute with Tunsam ...

Article

Stephen Cory

Almoravid sultan. Although technically not the last Almoravid sultan (his brother Ishaq survived him as sultan for a couple of years), his death functionally brought an end to the Almoravid sultanate in 1145. A capable leader, both administratively and militarily, Tashfin became sultan when the Almoravid decline was already substantially advanced. Despite his best efforts, Tashfin was unable to halt the collapse of the Almoravid regime.

Tashfin was the son of ʿAli ibn Yusuf the second Almoravid sultan The Almoravid movement had arisen in the Saharan desert under the inspiration of the religious teacher ʿAbd Allah ibn Yasin who had been recruited to teach orthodox Islam to the Sanhaja Berbers in the early eleventh century Under the stern direction of Ibn Yasin the Sanhaja were molded into an efficient fighting force that burst forth from the desert fired by zeal to enforce a strict version of Maliki Islam upon ...