Fatimid

Fatimid

Overview
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn (Arabic الفاطميون) was a Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 Shia Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 first centered in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and later in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, and Hijaz from 5 January 909 to 1171.

The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the Tunisian city of Mahdia
Mahdia
Mahdia is a provincial centre north of Sfax. It is important for the associated fish-processing industry, as well as weaving. It is the capital of Mahdia Governorate.- History :...

 and made it their capital city, before conquering Egypt and building the city of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 in 969, which thereafter became their capital.
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Timeline

994   Major Fatimid victory over the Byzantine Empire at the Battle of the Orontes.

1009   The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, a Christian church in Jerusalem, is completely destroyed by the Fatimid caliph Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, who hacks the Church's foundations down to bedrock.

1099   First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon  Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeat Fatimid forces led by Al-Afdal Shahanshah. This is considered the last engagement of the First Crusade.

 
Encyclopedia
The Fatimid Islamic Caliphate or al-Fāṭimiyyūn (Arabic الفاطميون) was a Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 Shia Muslim
Muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 first centered in Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

 and later in Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 that ruled over varying areas of the Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

, Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

, and Hijaz from 5 January 909 to 1171.

The caliphate was ruled by the Fatimids, who established the Tunisian city of Mahdia
Mahdia
Mahdia is a provincial centre north of Sfax. It is important for the associated fish-processing industry, as well as weaving. It is the capital of Mahdia Governorate.- History :...

 and made it their capital city, before conquering Egypt and building the city of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 in 969, which thereafter became their capital. The 4th century AH /10th century CE has been called by Louis Massignon ‘the Ismaili century in the history of Islam’.

The term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the citizens of this caliphate. The ruling elite of the state belonged to the Ismaili
Ismaili
' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

 branch of Shi'ism. The leaders of the dynasty were also Shia Ismaili Imams
Imamah (Shi'a Ismaili doctrine)
The Ismaili view on the Imamah differs from the Twelver Shi'a view, in particular because the Imam in Ismailism is the Noor of God . Ismailis believe that the Noor of God is present in the Imam, and that there is only a Ẓāhirī difference between each one...

, hence, they had a religious significance to Ismaili Muslims. They are also part of the chain of holders of the office of Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

, as recognized by some Muslims. Therefore, this constitutes a rare period in history in which the descendants of Ali (hence the name Fatimid, referring to Ali's wife Fatima) and the Caliphate
Caliphate
The term caliphate, "dominion of a caliph " , refers to the first system of government established in Islam and represented the political unity of the Muslim Ummah...

 were united to any degree, excepting the final period of the Rashidun Caliphate
Rashidun Caliphate
The Rashidun Caliphate , comprising the first four caliphs in Islam's history, was founded after Muhammad's death in 632, Year 10 A.H.. At its height, the Caliphate extended from the Arabian Peninsula, to the Levant, Caucasus and North Africa in the west, to the Iranian highlands and Central Asia...

 under Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 himself.

The caliphate was reputed to exercise a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam as well as towards Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, Maltese Christians
Maltese people
The Maltese are an ethnic group indigenous to the Southern European nation of Malta, and identified with the Maltese language. Malta is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea...

, and Coptic Christians.

Rise of the Fatimids


The Fatimid state originated among the Kutama people of Algeria. The dynasty was founded in 909 by , who in the late 9th century started a movement among the Kutama Berbers and managed to convert them to Shi'a Isam. He would seize Tunis the same year.

Ubayd Allah made his claim through his descent from Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

 by way of his daughter Fātima as-Zahra
Fatimah
Fatimah was a daughter of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from his first wife Khadijah bint Khuwaylid. She is regarded by Muslims as an exemplar for men and women. She remained at her father's side through the difficulties suffered by him at the hands of the Quraysh of Mecca...

 and her husband , the first Imām
Imam
An imam is an Islamic leadership position, often the worship leader of a mosque and the Muslim community. Similar to spiritual leaders, the imam is the one who leads Islamic worship services. More often, the community turns to the mosque imam if they have a religious question...

, hence the name al-Fātimiyyūn "Fatimid". For the first half of its existence the empire's power rested primarily on the Kutama Berbers and their strength, with a Berber army conquering northern Africa, Palestine, Syria and, for a short time, Baghdad. Their role within the Fatimid state was so central that Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldun
Ibn Khaldūn or Ibn Khaldoun was an Arab Tunisian historiographer and historian who is often viewed as one of the forerunners of modern historiography, sociology and economics...

 counted the Fatimids among the Berber dynasties. The Fatimids existed during the Islamic Golden Age
Islamic Golden Age
During the Islamic Golden Age philosophers, scientists and engineers of the Islamic world contributed enormously to technology and culture, both by preserving earlier traditions and by adding their own inventions and innovations...

.

Abdullāh al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of central Maghreb
Maghreb
The Maghreb is the region of Northwest Africa, west of Egypt. It includes five countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania and the disputed territory of Western Sahara...

, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco
Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...

, Algeria
Algeria
Algeria , officially the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria , also formally referred to as the Democratic and Popular Republic of Algeria, is a country in the Maghreb region of Northwest Africa with Algiers as its capital.In terms of land area, it is the largest country in Africa and the Arab...

, Tunisia
Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

, and Libya
Libya
Libya is an African country in the Maghreb region of North Africa bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad and Niger to the south, and Algeria and Tunisia to the west....

, which he ruled from Mahdia
Mahdia
Mahdia is a provincial centre north of Sfax. It is important for the associated fish-processing industry, as well as weaving. It is the capital of Mahdia Governorate.- History :...

, his newly built capital in Tunisia.

Under Al-Muizz Lideenillah, the Fatimids entered Egypt (may refer Fatimid Egypt) in the late 10th century, conquering the Ikhshidid dynasty
Ikhshidid dynasty
The Ikhshidid dynasty of Egypt ruled from 935 to 969. The dynasty carried the Arabic title "Wali" reflecting their position as governors on behalf of the Abbasids, the first governor was Muhammad bin Tughj Al-Ikhshid, a Turkic slave soldier, who was installed by the Abbasid Caliph and gave him and...

, and founding a new capital at al-Qāhira (Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

) in 969. The name was a reference to the planet Mars, "The Subduer", which was prominent in the sky at the moment that city construction started. Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army, though the actual administrative and economic capital of Egypt was in cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, and even ruling Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, and southern parts of the Italian Peninsula
Italian Peninsula
The Italian Peninsula or Apennine Peninsula is one of the three large peninsulas of Southern Europe , spanning from the Po Valley in the north to the central Mediterranean Sea in the south. The peninsula's shape gives it the nickname Lo Stivale...

.

Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the center of an empire
Empire
The term empire derives from the Latin imperium . Politically, an empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled either by a monarch or an oligarchy....

 that included at its peak North Africa
North Africa
North Africa or Northern Africa is the northernmost region of the African continent, linked by the Sahara to Sub-Saharan Africa. Geopolitically, the United Nations definition of Northern Africa includes eight countries or territories; Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, South Sudan, Sudan, Tunisia, and...

, Sicily
Sicily
Sicily is a region of Italy, and is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding minor islands, it constitutes an autonomous region of Italy, the Regione Autonoma Siciliana Sicily has a rich and unique culture, especially with regard to the arts, music, literature,...

, Palestine
Palestine
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, used to describe the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands....

, Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

, Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, the Red Sea
Red Sea
The Red Sea is a seawater inlet of the Indian Ocean, lying between Africa and Asia. The connection to the ocean is in the south through the Bab el Mandeb strait and the Gulf of Aden. In the north, there is the Sinai Peninsula, the Gulf of Aqaba, and the Gulf of Suez...

 coast of Africa, Hejaz
Hejaz
al-Hejaz, also Hijaz is a region in the west of present-day Saudi Arabia. Defined primarily by its western border on the Red Sea, it extends from Haql on the Gulf of Aqaba to Jizan. Its main city is Jeddah, but it is probably better known for the Islamic holy cities of Mecca and Medina...

, and Yemen
Yemen
The Republic of Yemen , commonly known as Yemen , is a country located in the Middle East, occupying the southwestern to southern end of the Arabian Peninsula. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the north, the Red Sea to the west, and Oman to the east....

. Egypt flourished, and the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network in both the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

. Their trade and diplomatic ties extended all the way to China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

 and its Song Dynasty
Song Dynasty
The Song Dynasty was a ruling dynasty in China between 960 and 1279; it succeeded the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms Period, and was followed by the Yuan Dynasty. It was the first government in world history to issue banknotes or paper money, and the first Chinese government to establish a...

, which eventually determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages
High Middle Ages
The High Middle Ages was the period of European history around the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries . The High Middle Ages were preceded by the Early Middle Ages and followed by the Late Middle Ages, which by convention end around 1500....

.

The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system.

Unlike other governments in the area, Fatimid advancement in state offices was based more on merit than on heredity. Members of other branches of Islam, like the Sunnis, were just as likely to be appointed to government posts as Shiites. Tolerance was extended to non-Muslims such as Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

s, and Jews
Jews
The Jews , also known as the Jewish people, are a nation and ethnoreligious group originating in the Israelites or Hebrews of the Ancient Near East. The Jewish ethnicity, nationality, and religion are strongly interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish nation...

, who occupied high levels in government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 based on ability. However, it is important to note here that Jews in particular were part of a larger scheme to gain monetary leverage for trade in Europe. And tolerance was set into place to ensure the flow of money from all those who were non-Muslims too in order to finance the Fatimids Caliphs' large army of Mamluks brought in from Circassia by Genoese merchants. There were, however, exceptions to this general attitude of tolerance, most notably Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim, called Al-Hakim bi Amr al-Lāh , was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam .- History :...

 although this has been highly debated, with Al-Hakim's reputation among medieval Muslim historians conflated with his role in the Druze faith
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

.
The Fatimids were also known to a great extent 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, the most defining examples include the Al Azhar University and the Al Hakim mosque. The Al Azhar University was the first university in the East and perhaps the oldest in history. It was founded by Caliph Muizz and was one of the highest educational facilities of the Fatimid Empire.

The Fatimid palace in Cairo had two parts. It stood in the Khan el-Khalili
Khan el-Khalili
thumb|200px|An old chandeliers shop at Khan el-KhaliliKhan el-Khalili is a major souk in the Islamic district of Cairo. The bazaar district is one of Cairo's main attractions for tourists and Egyptians alike.-History:...

 area at Bin El-Quasryn street.

Military system


The Fatimids military was originally based largely on the Kutama
Kutama
The Kutama were a powerful Berber tribe, in the region of Jijel , a member of the great Sanhaja confederation of the Maghrib and the armed body of the Fatimid Caliphate.-Origins of the Kutama:...

 Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

 tribesmen it brought with them on their march to Egypt, and they remained an important part of the Fatimid military even after Tunisia itself began to break away.

After their successful establishment in Egypt, local forces were also incorporated into their army, though they remained a relatively minor part of the Fatimid (and in fact, succeeding dynasties as well) forces.

A fundamental change occurred when the Fatimid Caliph attempted to push into Syria in the later half of the 10th century, here they were faced with the now Turkish dominated forces of the Abbasid Caliph and the powerful Byzantium armies, and began to realize the limits of their current military, thus during the reign of Abu Mansoor Nizar al-Aziz Billah
Abu Mansoor Nizar al-Aziz Billah
Al-Aziz was the fifth Caliph of the Fatimids .- History :Since Abdallah, the heir to the throne, had died before his father Ma'ad al-Muizz Li-Deenillah , his brother Abu Mansur Nizar al-Azizbillah acceded to the Caliphate with the help of Jawhar as-Siqilli...

 and Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah
Abu ‘Ali Mansur Tāriqu l-Ḥākim, called Al-Hakim bi Amr al-Lāh , was the sixth Fatimid caliph and 16th Ismaili imam .- History :...

 the Caliph began incorporating armies of Turks and later Black Africans (even later, other groups such as Armenians were also used).

The army units were generally separated along ethnic lines, thus the Berbers were usually the light cavalry / foot skirmishers, while the Turks would be the horse archers or heavy cavalry (known as Mamluks), and 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 many centuries after the Fatimid caliph's fall.

Civil war and decline



While the ethnic based army was generally successful on the battlefields, they began to have negative effects on the Fatimid's internal politics, traditionally the Berber element of the army had the strongest sway over political affairs, but as the Turkish element grew more powerful they began to challenge this, and eventually by 1020 serious riots began to break out among the Black African troops who were fighting back against a Berber
Berber people
Berbers are the indigenous peoples of North Africa west of the Nile Valley. They are continuously distributed from the Atlantic to the Siwa oasis, in Egypt, and from the Mediterranean to the Niger River. Historically they spoke the Berber language or varieties of it, which together form a branch...

/ Turks Alliance.

By 1060s, the tentative balance between the different ethnic groups within the Fatimid army collapsed as Egypt was suffering through a serious span of drought and famine, the declining resources accelerated the problems between the different ethnic factions and outright civil war began, primarily the Turks and Black African troops were fighting each other while the Berbers shifted alliance in between. The Turkish
Turkish people
Turkish people, also known as the "Turks" , are an ethnic group primarily living in Turkey and in the former lands of the Ottoman Empire where Turkish minorities had been established in Bulgaria, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Greece, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Romania...

 forces of the Fatimid army would end up seizing most of Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 held the city and Caliph
Caliph
The Caliph is the head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the ruler of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah. It is a transcribed version of the Arabic word   which means "successor" or "representative"...

 at ransom while the Berbers troops and remaining Sudanese forces roam the other parts of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

, making an already bad situation much worse.

By 1072 the Fatimid Caliph Abū Tamīm Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah in a desperate attempt to save Egypt recalled the Armenian
Armenians
Armenian people or Armenians are a nation and ethnic group native to the Armenian Highland.The largest concentration is in Armenia having a nearly-homogeneous population with 97.9% or 3,145,354 being ethnic Armenian....

 general Badr al-Jamali whom was at the time the governor of Acre, Palestine. 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 of this event, Badr al-Jamali was also made into the vizier
Vizier
A vizier or in Arabic script ; ; sometimes spelled vazir, vizir, vasir, wazir, vesir, or vezir) is a high-ranking political advisor or minister in a Muslim government....

 of the Fatimid caliph, becoming one of the first military viziers that would dominate the late Fatimid politics. As the military viziers effectively became heads of state, the Caliph himself was reduced to the role of a figure head. Badr al-Jamali's son, Al-Afdal Shahanshah
Al-Afdal Shahanshah
al-Malik al-Afdal ibn Badr al-Jamali Shahanshah was a vizier of the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt.- Ascent to power :He was born in Acre, the son of Badr al-Jamali, an Armenian who became Muslim. Badr was vizier for the Fatimids in Cairo from 1074 until his death in 1094, when al-Afdal succeeded him...

, succeeded him in power as vizier.

Decay and fall


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
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 Abbasid caliphs of Baghdad, which led the Fatimids to launch devastating Banū Hilal
Banu Hilal
The Banu Hilal were a confederation of Arabian Bedouin tribes that migrated from Upper Egypt into North Africa in the 11th century, having been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism. Other authors suggest that the tribes left the grasslands on the upper Nile because of...

 invasions. After about 1070, the Fatimid hold on the Levant
Levant
The Levant or ) is the geographic region and culture zone of the "eastern Mediterranean littoral between Anatolia and Egypt" . The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Israel, the Palestinian territories, and sometimes parts of Turkey and Iraq, and corresponds roughly to the...

 coast and parts of Syria was challenged first by Turkic
Turkic peoples
The Turkic peoples are peoples residing in northern, central and western Asia, southern Siberia and northwestern China and parts of eastern Europe. They speak languages belonging to the Turkic language family. They share, to varying degrees, certain cultural traits and historical backgrounds...

 invasions, then the Crusades
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

, so that Fatimid territory shrank until it consisted only of Egypt.

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 and were often a source of problems.

After the decay of the Fatimid political system in the 1160s, the Zengid ruler Nūr ad-Dīn had his general Shirkuh
Shirkuh
Asad ad-Din Shirkuh bin Shadhi , also known as Shêrko or "Shêrgo" was an important Kurdish military commander, and uncle of Saladin....

, seize Egypt from the vizier Shawar
Shawar
Shawar was a ruler of Egypt, the vizier, from December 1162 until he was assassinated in 1169. He is best known for being part of the three-way power struggle during the Crusades between the Christian King Amalric I of Jerusalem and Shirkuh, a Syrian general and uncle of the man who was to become...

 in 1169. Shirkuh died two months after taking power, and the rule went to his nephew, Saladin
Saladin
Ṣalāḥ ad-Dīn Yūsuf ibn Ayyūb , better known in the Western world as Saladin, was an Arabized Kurdish Muslim, who became the first Sultan of Egypt and Syria, and founded the Ayyubid dynasty. He led Muslim and Arab opposition to the Franks and other European Crusaders in the Levant...

. This began the Ayyubid Sultanate of Egypt and Syria
Ayyubid dynasty
The Ayyubid dynasty was a Muslim dynasty of Kurdish origin, founded by Saladin and centered in Egypt. The dynasty ruled much of the Middle East during the 12th and 13th centuries CE. The Ayyubid family, under the brothers Ayyub and Shirkuh, originally served as soldiers for the Zengids until they...

.

Fatimid caliphs


  1. (909-934) founder Fatimid dynasty
  2. (934-946)
  3. (946-953)
  4. (953-975) Egypt is conquered during his reign
  5. (975-996)
  6. (996-1021)
  7. (1021–1036)
  8. (1036–1094)
  9. (1094–1101) Quarrels over his succession led to the Nizari
    Nizari
    'The Shī‘a Imami Ismā‘īlī Tariqah also referred to as the Ismā‘īlī or Nizārī , is a path of Shī‘a Islām, emphasizing social justice, pluralism, and human reason within the framework of the mystical tradition of Islam. The Nizari are the second largest branch of Shia Islam and form the majority...

     split.
  10. (1101–1130) The Fatimid rulers of Egypt after him are not recognized as Imams by Mustaali
    Mustaali
    The Musta‘lī Ismā'īlī Muslims are so named because they accept Al-Musta'li as the nineteenth Fatimid caliph and legitimate successor to his father, al-Mustansir...

    /Taiyabi
    Taiyabi
    Tayyibi is a branch of Mustaali Ismailism that split with the Fatimid supporting Hafizi branch by believing Taiyab abi al-Qasim was the rightful Imam. They are the surviving branch of the Mustaali and have split into Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaimani Bohra, and Alavi Bohra.Upon the death of the 20th Imam...

     Ismaili
    Ismaili
    ' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

    s.
  11. (1130–1149)
  12. (1149–1154)
  13. (1154–1160)
  14. (1160–1171).

Fatimid heritage


After caliph `Adid, the Fatimids were deposed from rule over Egypt by the Ayyubids.

Currently two groups lay claim to the Fatimid legacy. The Taiyabi
Taiyabi
Tayyibi is a branch of Mustaali Ismailism that split with the Fatimid supporting Hafizi branch by believing Taiyab abi al-Qasim was the rightful Imam. They are the surviving branch of the Mustaali and have split into Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaimani Bohra, and Alavi Bohra.Upon the death of the 20th Imam...

 (including the Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra
Dawoodi Bohra is a subsect of Ismāʿīlī Shīʿa Islām. While the Dawoodi Bohra is based in India, their belief system originates in Yemen, where it evolved from the Fatimid Caliphate and where they were persecuted due to their differences from mainstream Sunni Islam...

) claim that their Da`is (see List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra) are successors in authority to 21st Imam Taiyab
Taiyab abi al-Qasim
aṭ-Ṭayyib Abī l-Qāṣim was, according to Ṭayyibī Musta‘lid Isma‘ili Muslims, the 21st and the last Fatimid Imām, the hereditary leader of the Muslim community in the direct line of ‘Ali). Abī l-Qāṣim was the son of the 20th Fatimid Imām, Mansur al-Amir Bi-Ahkamillah, was the ruler of Egypt from...

, the son of 20th Imam Amir (10th Fatimid calipha) (the office of Da`i being instituted by Sulayhid queen of Yemen Arwa al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi
Arwa al-Sulayhi c. 1048–1138,death:22nd Shabaan,532 AH) was the long-reigning ruler of Yemen, firstly through her first two husbands and then as sole ruler, from 1067 until her death in 1138...

).

The current claimant to be genealogical heir of the Nizari line is the Aga Khan
Aga Khan
Aga Khan is the hereditary title of the Imam of the largest branch of the Ismā'īlī followers of the Shī‘a faith. They affirm the Imamat of the descendants of Ismail ibn Jafar, eldest son of Imam Ja'far al-Sadiq, while the larger Twelver branch of Shi`ism follows Ismail's younger brother Musa...

.

See also


  • Emirate of Sicily
    Emirate of Sicily
    The Emirate of Sicily was an Islamic state on the island of Sicily , which existed from 965 to 1072.-First Arab invasions of Sicily:...

  • List of Shi'a Muslims dynasties
  • List of Ismaili Imams
  • List of Dai of Dawoodi Bohra
  • Ismaili
    Ismaili
    ' is a branch of Shia Islam. It is the second largest branch of Shia Islam, after the Twelvers...

  • Mustali
  • Taiyabi
    Taiyabi
    Tayyibi is a branch of Mustaali Ismailism that split with the Fatimid supporting Hafizi branch by believing Taiyab abi al-Qasim was the rightful Imam. They are the surviving branch of the Mustaali and have split into Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaimani Bohra, and Alavi Bohra.Upon the death of the 20th Imam...

  • Dawoodi Bohra
    Dawoodi Bohra
    Dawoodi Bohra is a subsect of Ismāʿīlī Shīʿa Islām. While the Dawoodi Bohra is based in India, their belief system originates in Yemen, where it evolved from the Fatimid Caliphate and where they were persecuted due to their differences from mainstream Sunni Islam...

  • Arwa al-Sulayhi
    Arwa al-Sulayhi
    Arwa al-Sulayhi c. 1048–1138,death:22nd Shabaan,532 AH) was the long-reigning ruler of Yemen, firstly through her first two husbands and then as sole ruler, from 1067 until her death in 1138...

  • North Africa Arabization

External links