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Gold coin of Calif al-Mahdi, Kairouan, 912 CE.
Gold cion of Calif al-Mahdi, Mahdiyya, 926 CE.

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Abdul'Allah al-Mahdi Billah (r. 909-934) (Arabic: عبد الله بن الحسين المهدي‎) is the founder of the Fatimid dynasty, the only major Shi'ite caliphate in Islam, and established Fatimid rule throughout much of North Africa.

After establishing himself as the first Imam of the Fatimid dynasty he made claim to genealogic origins dating as far back as Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, through Husayn, Fatimah's son, and Ismail.

The above interpretation of the Fatimid history is only an interpretation of some of the writers. Other authors who have extensively written on the Fatimids such as "al-Miqrizi" and "Idris Imaduddin" have denied the above theory. Also a German scholar Heinz Halm has written a different aspect of this part of history in his book The Empire of the Mahdi: The rise of the Fatemids.

He began his conquest by establishing his headquarters at Salamiyah and began riding towards north-western Africa, which at the time was under Aghlabid rule, following the propagandist success of his chief dai', Abu 'Abdullah Al-Husayn Al-Shi'i. Al-Shi'i, along with laying claim to being the precursor to the Mahdi, was instrumental in sowing the seeds of sedition among the Berber tribes of North Africa, specifically the Kutamah tribe.

It was Al-Shi'i's success which was the signal to Sa'id who set off from Salamyah disguised as a merchant. However, he was captured by the Aghlabid ruler Ziyadat-Allah and thrown into a dungeon in Sijilmasah. Al-Shi'i was then required to rescue Sa'id in 909 after which the Aghlabid dynasty, the last stronghold of Sunni Islam in North Africa, was expelled from region.

'Ubaydallah Al-Mahdi, as Sa'id was now to be known, established himself at the former Aghlabid residence at Raqqadah, a suburb of Al-Qayrawan in Tunisia. Two years after he achieved power, 'Abdullah had his missionary-commander Al-Shi'i executed. After that his power only grew. At the time of his death he had extended his reign to Morocco of the Idrisids, as well as Egypt itself. In 920, 'Abdullah took up residence at the newly established capital of the empire, Al-Mahdiyyah, which he founded on the Tunisian coast sixteen miles south-east of Al-Qayrawan, and which he named after himself.

After his death, 'Abdullah was succeeded by his son, Abu Al-Qasim Muhammad Al-Qaim, who continued his expansionist policy.

Sources

External links

Preceded by
Founder
Fatimid Caliph
909–934
Succeeded by
Muhammad al-Qaim Bi-Amrillah
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Simple English

Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi Billah a.k.a Said ibn Husayn (Arabic: عبيد الله بن الحسين المهدي) is considered the founder of the Fatimid dynasty, the only major Shi'ite caliphate in Islam, and established Fatimid rule throughout much of North Africa.

After establishing himself as the first Imam of the Fatimid dynasty he made claim to genealogic origins dating as far back as Fatimah, the daughter of the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, through Husayn, Fatimah's son, and Ismail. It was at this time as well that he changed his name to Ubaydallah Al-Mahdi.

Links and references

Preceded by
Founder
Fatimid Caliph
909–934
Succeeded by
Muhammad al-Qaim Bi-Amrillah


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