III. The Postclassical Period, 500–1500 > B. The Middle East and North Africa, 500–1500 > 2. The Muslim Middle East and North Africa, c. 945–1500 > f. North Africa
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
f. North Africa
The great revolt of Abu Yazid, a Khariji leader who assembled a large tribal coalition against Fatimid rule. The movement nearly toppled the Fatimids before it was finally suppressed. The difficulties of the Fatimids in restoring their authority revealed the shallow base of the regime in North Africa. In 972 they relocated their capital to Egypt and gradually relinquished their North African possessions to the Zirids, who originally operated as their governors.  1
The Fatimids persuaded the Qarmatis (Qaramitas) to return to Mecca the Black Stone of the Ka’ba, which they had earlier stolen. The success of Fatimid diplomacy raised their prestige throughout the Islamic world.  2
The Fatimids temporarily secured Morocco against Umayyad influence. Their victory on the western front allowed them later to resume their dynastic ambition of conquering Egypt. Earlier raids had been turned back (913–15, 920, and 935).  3
The ZIRID DYNASTY, which ruled Tunisia and eastern Algeria. The Zirids were originally appointed as governors of the North African provinces within the Fatimid Empire. They gradually broke away from the Fatimids, who adhered to Shi’ite Islam, and restored Sunni doctrine as the official religion of the state. Their public conversion to Sunnism occurred sometime during the 1040s (probably 1044). A simultaneous development was the growing predominance of the Maliki school of Islamic law and the rapid spread of Sufism among all sections of the population.  4
The Umayyad invasion of Morocco from Spain decisively ended the Umayyad-Fatimid struggle over the country that had begun in the first decade of the 10th century. The Umayyad forces succeeded in establishing indirect control through local allies, until they were overcome by the Almoravids in the late 11th century. Among local factions, the most powerful was the Zanata tribe, operating primarily in the northeast.  5
Death of Ibn al-Tabban (b. 923), a renowned scholar and polymath. Among the fields treated in his writings were Islamic law, philology, medicine, astronomy, and mathematics.  6
Death of al-Qabisi (b. 935), a noted Muslim theologian and mystic who advocated a highly ascetic version of Islam.  7
The HAMMADID DYNASTY, which governed much of central and eastern Algeria. The dynasty was founded by a revolt of the Banu Hammad (1015) under the leadership of the Zirid governor of eastern Algeria.  8
Widespread rioting in Tunisia by Sunni agitators demonstrating against the position of Shi’ite Islam as the official religion of the state. The clashes developed out of social tensions pitting the Shi’ite ruling elites against the largely Sunni urban populations.  9
Invasion of Tunisia and Algeria by the Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym, warlike Arab tribes that had migrated to Egypt in the 8th century. They were encouraged by the Fatimid rulers of Egypt to move to the dynasty's former North African provinces, which were “granted” to them. As they moved westward, the Banu Sulaym stopped early and settled in Cyrenaica. The Banu Hilal pushed on to Tunisia and eastern Algeria, where they seized most of Zirid and Hammadid territory during the 1050s.  10
For Tunisia, one of the principal consequences of the tribal invasion was the spread of the Arabic language to large parts of the countryside, where, unlike in the towns, Berber had formerly predominated. At the same time, the tribes' constant raids sent the region's economic and urban life into decline. The most notable casualty was the city of Qayrawan, which was sacked in 1057 and thereafter lost its cultural and commercial preeminence.  11
Reign of the ALMORAVIDS. The Almoravid movement (al-Murabitun) sprang up among Saharan tribal groups in the mid-11th century. It was inspired by the teachings of a religious sheik (leader), IBN YASIN, who introduced orthodox Islam among the tribes and strictly imposed Islamic law. Under the later rule of Ibn Tashfin (r. 1061–1106), this religious ideology became the justification for a campaign of conquest that subjugated Morocco, Algeria, and Spain by the end of the 11th century. The Almoravid capital was located at the Moroccan city of Marrakesh, founded around 1070. Among the lasting achievements of the Almoravids were the introduction of the Maliki school of Islamic law to the Maghrib and the importation and sponsorship of Andalusian art and culture. They also made possible the political unification of Morocco, which had formerly been fragmented into petty tribal domains.  12
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.