Berber Rule and the Maghribi Caliphate

The Almohads

Authored by: Pascal Buresi

The Routledge Handbook Of Muslim Iberia

Print publication date:  April  2020
Online publication date:  April  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138649149
eBook ISBN: 9781315625959
Adobe ISBN:


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In the middle of the sixth/twelfth century, for the first time in history, an indigenous Berber dynasty, the Mu’minids, unified the whole Maghrib from current Libya to the shore of the Atlantic, including al-Andalus, the Iberian part of the dār al-islām. The new political construction, a caliphate-imamate, with Marrakesh in the Maghrib as capital, and Seville in al-Andalus as a secondary capital, was based on an imperial ideology, with universal pretension, gradually elaborated by the rulers and their scholars. It profoundly renewed the social, political and religious structures of the entire Islamic West. The Berber origins of the dynasty, the originality of the new dogma – Almohadism – the extent of the reforms accomplished in all fields, make this period, which extends until 667/1269, an exceptional moment in the history of the Muslim West. To what extent was the Almohad movement a revolution? And what was al-Andalus’ role in the genesis and development of this empire?

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