Al-Mansur Billah

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al-Mansur Billah
المنصور بالله
Caliph of the Fatimid Dynasty
Reign17 May 946 – 18 March 953
Predecessoral-Qa'im Bi-Amr Allah
Successoral-Mu'izz li-Din Allah
BornJanuary 914
Raqqada
Died18 March 953 (aged 39)
Issueal-Mu'izz Li-Dinillah
Full name
Kunya: Abu Tahir
Given name: Isma'il
Laqab: al-Mansur Billah
DynastyFatimid
Fatheral-Qa'im Bi-Amr Allah
MotherKarima
ReligionIsma'ili Shia Islam

Abu Tahir Isma'il (Arabic: أبو طاهر إسماعيل‎, romanizedAbū Ṭāhir ʾIsmāʿīl; January 914 – 18 March 953), better known by his regnal name al-Mansur Billah (Arabic: المنصور بالله‎, romanizedal-Manṣūr bi-’llāh, lit. 'Victorious in God'), was the third Caliph of the Fatimid Caliphate in Ifriqiya, ruling from 946 until his death. He presided over a period of crisis, having to confront the large-scale Kharijite rebellion of Abu Yazid. He succeeded in suppressing the revolt and restoring the stability of the Fatimid regime.

Early life[edit]

Isma'il was born in early January 914 in Raqqada near Kairouan, the son of the second Fatimid caliph, Muhammad al-Qaim Bi-Amrillah, and a local slave concubine, Karima, who had once belonged to the last Aghlabid emir of Ifriqiya, Ziyadat Allah III.[1] When his grandfather, the founder of the Fatimid Caliphate, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah (r. 909–934) died, he was designated as the secret heir (hujja, "proof") of his father; he was not publicly proclaimed as heir-apparent until 12 April 946, only five weeks before his father's death.[1]

Reign[edit]

The Fatimid realm found itself deep in crisis due to the revolt of Abu Yazid (943-947). However, after the unity of the rebels began to crack, Isma'il managed to put down the revolt with the help of the Berber Zirids. Following this victory he took the epithet al-Mansur, and built a new residence at al-Manṣūriyyah near Kairouan.

Al-Manṣur concerned himself with the reorganisation of the Fatimid state until the end of his reign. He resumed the struggle with the Umayyads of Córdoba in Morocco, and reoccupied Sicily, from where raids into Italy were recommenced. Rule in Sicily was reinforced through the installation of the Kalbids as Emirs.

Al-Mansur died after a severe illness on 18 March 953,[2] and left his realm to his son al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah (r. 953–975).

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dachraoui 1991, p. 434.
  2. ^ Dachraoui 1991, p. 435.

Sources[edit]

  • Brett, Michael (2001). The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijra, Tenth Century CE. The Medieval Mediterranean. 30. Leiden: BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-11741-9.
  • Dachraoui, F. (1991). "al-Manṣūr Bi'llāh". In Bosworth, C. E.; van Donzel, E. & Pellat, Ch. (eds.). The Encyclopaedia of Islam, New Edition, Volume VI: Mahk–Mid. Leiden: E. J. Brill. pp. 434–435. ISBN 90-04-08112-7.
  • Daftary, Farhad (2007). The Isma'ilis: Their History and Doctrines (Second ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-61636-2.
  • Halm, Heinz (1991). Das Reich des Mahdi: Der Aufstieg der Fatimiden [The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids] (in German). Munich: C. H. Beck. ISBN 3-406-35497-1.
  • Kennedy, Hugh (2004). The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphates: The Islamic Near East from the 6th to the 11th Century (Second ed.). Harlow: Longman. ISBN 978-0-582-40525-7.
Al-Mansur Billah
Born: 913 Died: 19 March 953
Regnal titles
Preceded by
al-Qa'im Bi-Amr Allah
Caliph of the Fatimid Caliphate
946–953
Succeeded by
al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah