Abd al-Rahman (Makers of the Muslim World) by Maribel Fierro

By Maribel Fierro

Covers the 10th-century founding father of the nice Cordova Caliphate.

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The other title will be dealt with below. The Umayyad" emirs of al-Andalus had not dared until then to proclaim themselves caliphs, and consequently they did not mint gold, although they claimed the inheritance of their ancestors, the Umayyads of Damascus, which entitled them to rule. At the same time, the Andalusi Umayyads did not acknowledge the 'Abbasid caliphs, who had put an end to the Umayyad caliphate and massacred most members of their family. For more than a century al-Andalus had thus been a sort of "no man's land" over the issue of the imam or legitimate political and religious leader of the Muslim community, as it would be again under the Party kings, when an unidentified and ambiguous" 'abd Allah omiT aI-mu'minin" (the Servant of God, the Commander of the Faithful) was acknowledged as imam.

953-75) left for Egypt, the Sanhaja Zirids were left as his representatives in North Africa. " This Berber leader was a Khariji, amember of a militant Islamic sect considered heretical by Sunnis. But N orthAfrican Sunnis, mostly Malikis, were willing to support him if that meant the end of Fatimid rule. And Abu Yazid with his army of Zanata Berbers almost succeeded in bringing about the fall of the Isma'ili dynasty. In 944 he conquered Tunis and Qayrawan, but he was unable to take Mahdiyya, the impregnable fortress by the sea built as a refuge in case of troubles by the first Fatimid caliph.

He took him on some of his campaigns and even put him in· command of some of the troops at the age of twelve, thus gradually incorporating his son into the running of state affairs, while al-Hakam also devoted his time to study and the promotion of knowledge, for which he is mostly known. AI-Hakam's political and military training went together with a very strict supervision of his private life. AI-Hakam was not allowed to take any wife until very late in his life, and rumors circulated about his love for young men.

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