Biography of Abd al-Mumin. Emir de Marruecos (1095-1163)

First Amir of the Almohad dynasty (1130-1163), born in the year 1095, in the village of Tagra, next to Tlemcen (Algeria), in those years belonging to the domains of the dynasty hammadi, and died on 12 May of the year 1163, in Tinmal (Morocco). Culminated the work undertaken by the religious movement, Ibn Tumart, leader to create the basis for territorial development, carried out his two immediate successors, who forged a vast Empire that encompassed the territories ranging from the High Atlas to the Tripolitana, in Africa, and much of the Iberian peninsula.

Member of the Berber of the zannata tribe and son of a simple Potter of Tlemcen, was captured for the Almohad cause when Ibn Tumart was returning from a long stay on several cities of Eastern Islamic, to become his most faithful follower and the armed wing of the religious-political movement which would have the Almoravids conquer the entire central and Western Maghreb and al - Andalus. In the city of Tinmal, nerve center of the dynasty, worked closely with Ibn Tumart and the Council of notables in the task of spreading the Islamic reform by the southern and mountainous regions of the High Atlas. Having no success the first propaganda attempt, Ibn Tumart decided to assert its claims of Justice in a violent way, with his challenge to the Almoravids, which put Abd al - Mumin as head of the political and military apparatus while he/she retired in Tinmal devoted to the study and prayer. The work of Abd al - Mumin soon obtained the desired success, to draw into the movement a number of disaffected Moroccan. In the year 1127, Abd al - Mumin took place the first frontal attack against the Almoravids with the siege of Aghmat population and the capital Marrakech, without any success. Rejected with violence by the Almoravids, Abd al - Mumin was obliged to return to Tinmal and wait for a better chance to continue their fight against the "infidels" almoravides, period that took the opportunity to consolidate its leadership between the Almohads, in view of the delicate health of Ibn Tumart, and reorganize his troops.

On the death of Ibn Tumart, dated in the year 1130, Abd al - Mumin was proclaimed his successor on sovereignty, not in the religious dimension of the mahdi, a title reserved only for Ibn Tumart, a circumstance that led to the secret of the confirmation of the charge until the year 1132, precisely because of the sense of infallibility that the own Ibn Tumart not had never ceased to claim for itself in exclusivity. However, the proper performance of Abd al - Mumin at the forefront of a nascent Empire that he/she was able to consolidate earned him the final recognition of the two major councils of the movement (the tens and fifties), and the proper oath of allegiance by all the tribes between the months of February and August of the year 1132.

Once sworn in office, Abd al - Mumin autointituló is the position of Caliph, higher rank that theoretically could only hold in Islam a person as the direct heir of the Prophet, which entered in franca collision with the Abbasid Caliph of Baghdad, who had been recognized in their religious authority by the Almoravids. Then, between 1139-1145, Abd al - Mumin took place a harassment in any rule against the power of the Almoravids. To realizing their inferiority and the little preparation for his army to organize prolonged sieges and fighting to open against the almoravides troops organized field, initially Abd al - Mumin complied with resorting to guerrilla tactics to limit their activities and uproar in the Sous region, at the same time that reorganizaba and consolidated his forces with the creation of a perfectly prepared for the ambitious final target Cavalry: overthrow the Almoravids.

In the year 1140, Abd al - Mumin turned to the Northwest of the country, where he/she took several cities and fortresses. With the year 1145 the decisive period of the Almohads began in his conquest for power. Dead the Almoravid emir Ali Ibn Yusuf Ibn Tashfin, in the year 1143, his son Tashfin Ibn Ali was unable to compete with the growing power of the Almohads to die when he/she abruptly fled from Marrakech. The Almoravid army suffered a severe defeat near Tlemcen, a city that fell into the hands of Abd al - Mumin, to soon be followed by Agmat, Fes, Tanger, Ceuta and, finally, in the year 1147, the capital Marrakech. In little more than fifteen years, the Almohads had managed to impose their domain in the Maghreb.

The Almohad leadership, unlike the Almoravids, always had against the influential ulema and conceptualisation of the Maliki rite. Even in those Territories completely dominated from the beginning of the movement have emerged periodically violent insurrections. Almohad history the Maghreb and al - Andalus was rife with seditions and protests by the religious rigour imposed by their rulers. However, the Almohad success resided in the fact that perfectly took the loss of the support of the people to the Almoravids, which were deeply divided by disagreements, revolts and dynastic quarrels in the Maghreb and al - Andalus.

After the fall of Marrakech, the Almoravid power evaporated, giving way to the Almohad dynasty represented by Abd al - Mumin, who once had purged the city of seditious or harmful elements became the capital of the Empire. The fall of the Almoravids allowed many tribes South shake the political tutelage and organize their own tiny States, so Abd al - Mumin consecrated its first efforts on crushing any hint of separation or secession of the Berber tribes, to reintegrate them into the Empire, either by force or by means of agreements. Abd al - Mumin wiped out whole tribes without regard, unequivocal demonstration of its intentions, Loyalist and centralizing in this campaign. To avoid future seditions in southern, Abd al - Mumin ordered the construction of the first foundations of Rabat, which became headquarters of its troops in the South of the Empire. Pacified once the southern part, Abd al - Mumin turned his attention to the northern territories, still no control at all and ended up a stroke with all sorts of opposition fed from the city of Ceuta. Immediately afterwards, Abd al - Mumin had to circumvent the danger which accounted for the installation of the Normans of Sicily in a wide strip of land extending from Tripoli to Tunisia. With the finest of his cavalry, the Almohad emir marched eastward and took spark plug, in the year 1153, after which he/she returned to Marrakech to quell outbreaks of riots and conspiracies mint condition in his absence. But rather than suppress them by force of arms, Abd al - Mumin opted to persuade the heads of these rebellious tribes to come to form part of his army and be used in their next goal: the conquest of al - Andalus. But before you make the leap to the Peninsula, Abd al - Mumin was concerned about consolidating his political work by naming his firstborn son Muhammad heir to the throne in the year 1155. With this election, accepted by all without opposition, Abd al - Mumin substantially modified the original structures of the Almohad, definable in their early days as a theocratic tribal oligarchy power, to transform it into a dynastic monarchy in accordance with the Abbasid model.

The Almohad presence in the Iberian peninsula is mostly due to two very specific significant factors: on the one hand, the expansive ideal of the religious reform movement created by Ibn Tumart, which forced to follow the propaganda work, on the other, the need for the Andalusian resort to the new North African political power to counter Christian advances boldly. In this sense, the intervention of the Almohads, as happened with the Almoravids half a century before, only served to prolong the precarious existence of al - Andalus for a while before falling mostly in the hands of Christians. The progressive decline of the Almoravids and the fact of his Emirs saw is forced to reduce its troops in al - Andalus by need them in the Maghreb, originated new local autonomies known historiography as the "second taifa period", name that designates the political fragmentation of Al-Andalus between the Almoravid end and new territorial unification imposed by the Almohads.

Ultimately, Abd al - Mumin was almost forced to intervene in the Iberian peninsula, since, in addition, the Christian kingdoms had declared a holy crusade against the Muslim power supported with fervor and determination from Rome. Tortosa and Lleida, two of the main cities of the North in the hands of the Muslims, fell into Christian hands in the year 1148 and 1149, respectively, which put in jeopardy the integrity of the upper mark. Also, in the year 1147, Almeria fell to the joint forces of Castile-Leon, Genoa, Pisa and other Christian powers. The internal situation in al - Andalus was not much more optimistic, since it was deteriorating at a rapid pace. Cordoba, Valencia, Murcia, Malaga and other cities had adopted, as I have said, pro-independence positions under the command of local Kinglets who were not willing to cede their newly released sovereignty to a stranger from the deep regions of the Maghreb.

To fix the situation, Abd al - Mumin Peninsula sent large contingents of troops under the command of three of its best generals, Abu Ishaq Barraza, Omar Ibn Salih and Ahmed Ibn Qasi, which, between 1147 and 1149, managed to dominate with little problems Seville, Cordoba and Granada, in addition to a number of minor towns immediately did not hesitate to accept the domain Almohad before such show of force by the Almohad troopswhich acted in their plundering and campaigns without the least regard or diplomacy. From the year 1152 onwards, the Almohads were completely dominate all the southern part of al - Andalus with the fall of Guadix, Málaga, Almería, Baeza, Jaen and Úbeda. However, the Almohad rule in al - Andalus was born in precarious, without hardly support from the population, just under for fear the destructive capacity of the Almohad army. The territory continued to beset by divisive forces of importance and restless.

Abd al - Mumin dilated everything he/she could his presence in al - Andalus; It preferred to be its governors and armies which keep the Warrior, diplomatic and propaganda work, while he/she dedicated himself completely to expand the Empire by the central Maghreb, work which did not end until the year 1159, with the conquest of Tripoli. Of all its governors, noted for its Government's ability his son Abu Yacub Yusuf, then his successor, he/she appointed Governor of Seville.

In the year 1158, Ibn Mardanish, Firecrest in Valencia, and his father-in-law Ibn Hamushk, allied themselves with the Castilian monarch Alfonso VIII, which took the city of Jaén and then Carmona, positions that threatened seriously to Seville and Cordoba. Abd al - Mumin received the news with dismay. The urgent demand for relief by his son from Seville persuaded the Almohad emir not to delay any longer its presence in al - Andalus. On 5 November the year 1160, landed in Gibraltar at the head of a huge army, composed of Berbers and Arabs. He/She was received as a hero salvador by its governors and large delegations of notable Andalusian who rushed to pay homage when they learned of their arrival. Abd al - Mumin remained only two months at Gibraltar, long enough to bring order to everything Al - Andalus: confirmed his son Abu Yacub Yusuf Governor of Seville and his other son Abu Said in the Granada in.; also Omar Inti, collaborator decided that the great Sheikh yours since the early days of Ibn Tumart, occupying the Government of Cordoba, very punished for attacks by Ibn Mardanish e Ibn Hamushk. On his return to Marrakech, Abd al - Mumin found how the Almohad offensive was carried out without further delay with success. But, while attacking Carmona, in the year 1161, Ibn Hamushk managed to seize Granada with the help of the Jewish population. The contingent almohade, a whole body of infantry and cavalry, offered strong resistance but they needed all possible assistance to repel the attacks of the coalition. This type of threat confirmed the opinion of Abd al - Mumin that it was necessary to introduce one army even more in al - Andalus, headed by himself, to end once and for all with the wrens of taifas, which were slowly undermining the Almohad power on the Peninsula.

During all the year 1162, Abd al - Mumin threw himself body and soul in the thorough preparation of an impressive army with which it had planned to invade al - Andalus from South to North. With such military device, Abd al - Mumin was intended to not only put an end to the few taifa kingdoms which still persisted, but directly attacking the armies of the three Christian monarchs: the first, that of Alfonso Enríquez (Alfonso I of Portugal), garrisoned in Coimbra; the second, that of Fernando II of León, situated in city Rodrigo; and the third, that of Alfonso VIII of Castile, located mostly in Toledo. But when preparations were already practically finished, Abd al - Mumin fell seriously ill while visiting the tomb of Ibn Tumart in Tinmal and died on 12 May of the year 1163, without having achieved his dream of mastering everything al - Andalus and emulate the ancient splendour achieved by the Umayyad dynasty of Al-Andalus.

Abd al - Mumin was a lucky leader and a great statesman who won respect for his followers, but, despite all its apparent devotion and intelligence, in the year 1155 had appointed successor to his eldest son Muhammad, character who certainly did not even to be the shadow of his father in terms of talent to govern, much less such as military and strategistqualities that his father did not fail to demonstrate that in the year 1130 did with the direction of the Almohad movement. The frivolity of the latter, which drank wine, something objectionable among the rigid Almohads, led a first attempt at succession crisis in the dynasty which was immediately met with his fulminating dismissal after forty-five days of command. Luckily for the dynasty, the Council of ten elected as successor Abu Yacub Yusuf, Governor of Seville, who was in charge of the Almohad Empire at the peak of its territorial expansion.


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