ALMORAVIDS


ALMORAVIDS
ALMORAVIDS (Arab. Al-Murābiṭūn; "Warrior-Monks"), confederation of Berber tribes of the Sanhajah group who lived in the Moroccan Sahara Desert. Their religious fervor and fighting capabilities enabled them to establish a formidable empire in the Maghreb and Muslim (Andalusian) Spain in the 11th and 12th centuries. Their theological Islamic zeal is attributed to Yahya ibn Ibrahim, their spiritual leader, as well as to the 'alim (religious scholar) 'Abd Allah ibn Yasin. Imbued with Islamic zeal, the Almoravids conquered Morocco and major sections of western Algeria between 1054 and 1092. In 1062 they turned marrakesh into their base of operations and religious capital. Thenceforth, their main leaders embraced the title of Amir al-Muslimin ("commander of the Muslims") but nevertheless continued to recognize the legitimacy of a still higher authority in Islam: the Abbasid caliph in Iraq upon whom the title Amir al-Mu'minīn ("commander of the faithful") had been bestowed. It was toward the end of the 11th century that the Castilian Christians who held on to parts of Spain began challenging the authority of the Almoravids and encroaching on their territories. The Almoravid leadership succeeded in temporarily repulsing the Christians and foiling their plans to conquer such key cities as Córdoba and Toledo. With the exception of Valencia, Muslim Spain remained under Almoravid control. Notwithstanding, perhaps the weakest aspect of Almoravid rule in Spain and the Maghreb is the fact that they were a Muslim Berber minority in charge of a Spanish-Arab empire. With the passage of time, they found it increasingly difficult to protect all their territorial possessions from the Christian reconquest, especially in the aftermath of the fall of Saragossa in 1118. Moreover, in 1125 the almohads (those who advocated the "Unity of Allah"), a confederation of rival Berber tribes, began to rebel against them in the Atlas Mountains. Following a protracted struggle and relentless fighting, the Almohads defeated the Almoravids in 1147; they transformed Marrakesh into their own capital and extended their authority into Muslim Spain. In addition to the powerful military force that they created at their zenith, the Almoravid period is also interesting for its art and architecture. What characterized Almoravid art was its puritanism. As Saharan military monks, the Almoravids rejected the lavish decoration that had dominated the late Umayyad architectural style, and they built on a practical rather than a monumental scale. Piety and asceticism prevented them from erecting elegant palaces and magnificent monuments. The most famous architectural site that remained from the time of the Almoravids is the Great Mosque at Tlemcen, Algeria, built in 1082 and reconstructed in 1136. The position of the Jews under Almoravid domination was apparently free of major abuses. Unlike the problems encountered by the Jews during the rule of the almohads (the Almoravids' sucessor dynasty), there are no factual complaints of excesses, coercion, or malice on the part of the authorities toward the Jewish communities. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J.M. Abun-Nasr, A History of the Maghrib in the Islamic Period (1987); J. Clancy-Smith (ed.), North Africa, Islam and the Mediterranean World (2001); A. Julien, History of North Africa: Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco from the Arab Conquest to 1830 (ed. and rev. by R. Le Tourneau, 1970); C.R. Pennell, Morocco since 1830: A History (2000). (Michael M. Laskier (2nd ed.)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Almoravids — (1061 1147)    The name Almoravids, with which the movement is known in Western scholarship, is a Spanish corruption of the Arabic Al Murabitun and designates a Sanhaja Berber dynasty, which ruled over Morocco, western Algeria, and al Andalus.… …   Historical dictionary of the berbers (Imazighen)

  • Almoravids — ▪ Berber confederation Arabic  al Murābiṭūn (“those dwelling in frontier garrisons”)         confederation of Berber tribes Lamtūnah, Gudālah, Massūfah of the Ṣanhājah clan, whose religious zeal and military enterprise built an empire in… …   Universalium

  • Almoravids — n. member of a Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled in Spain and northern Africa (Morocco and Algeria) from 1056 to 1147 …   English contemporary dictionary

  • THE ALMORAVIDS — • (MARRAKECH, 1061 1147 • Yu suf Ibn Ta shufi n 1061 1107 • Ali Ibn Yu suf 1107 1143 • Ta shufi n Ibn Ali 1143 1145 • Ibra hi m Ibn Ta shufi n 1145 • Isha q Ibn Ali 1145 1147 …   Historical dictionary of the berbers (Imazighen)

  • Timeline of the Muslim presence in the Iberian peninsula — This is a timeline of notable events in the Muslim presence in Iberia, which started with the Umayyad conquest in the 8th century. Contents 1 Conquest (710–756) 2 The Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba (756–929) 3 The Umayyad Caliphate (929–1031) …   Wikipedia

  • Almoravid dynasty — ⵉⵎⵕⴰⴱⴷⵏ/المرابطون Al Murābiṭūn ←   …   Wikipedia

  • Taifa — A taifa (from ar. طائفة ṭā ifa , plural طوائف ṭawā if ) in the history of Iberia was an independent Muslim ruled principality, an emirate or petty kingdom, of which a number formed in the Al Andalus (Moorish Iberia) after the final collapse of… …   Wikipedia

  • North Africa — North African. the northern part of Africa, esp. the region north of the tropical rain forest and comprised of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and that part of Egypt west of the Gulf of Suez. * * * Introduction       region of Africa comprising …   Universalium

  • Precolonial Mauritania — Precolonial Mauritania, lying next to the Atlantic coast at the western edge of the Sahara Desert, received and assimilated into its complex society many waves of Saharan migrants and conquerors. Berbers moved south to Mauritania beginning in the …   Wikipedia

  • Spain — /spayn/, n. a kingdom in SW Europe. Including the Balearic and Canary islands, 39,244,195; 194,988 sq. mi. (505,019 sq. km). Cap.: Madrid. Spanish, España. * * * Spain Introduction Spain Background: Spain s powerful world empire of the 16th and… …   Universalium


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.