Abu Yazid


Abu Yazid

Abû Yazîd Mukhallad ibn Kayrâd (أبو يزيد مخلد بن كيراد), nicknamed "Sâhib al-Himâr" or "Owner of the Donkey", was a menber of Banu Ifran [Ibn Khaldun, History of berber] Tribe , he was a Kharijite Berber who led a rebellion against the Fatimids in Ifriqiya (modern Tunisia and eastern Algeria) starting in 944. He conquered Kairouan for a time, but was eventually driven back and defeated by the Fatimid caliph al-Mansur.

His father Kayrad was a trans-Saharan trader from Qastilia, where he was born; he grew up in Tozeur. He inclined towards the Nakkariyya branch of Sufri Kharijism. After he grew up, he went to Tahert, the Rustamid capital and the main center of (Ibadi) Kharijism in the Maghreb of the time, and took up teaching. In 909, however, the Shia Fatimids conquered the Rustamids, and soon after the Sufri state of Sijilmassa to the west. He moved to Tiqyus, and in 928 began agitating against Fatimid rule. When the Fatimid "Mahdi" died in 944, he launched a rebellion in the Aures mountains and declared himself "Shaykh al-Mu'minîn" (Elder of the Believers), seeking aid from the Umayyads of Andalus. Early in his rebellion Abu Yazid was given a gray donkey which he used to ride, for which he received his nickname "Owner of the Donkey"; he is said to have habitually worn a short woolen "jubba" cloak. In this conspicuous frugality, he recalled the Kharijite imams of Tahert and Sijilmassa.

He was initially notably successful. He took Baghai, then Tebessa, then Medjana, then several Tunisian cities including Béja, where he is said to have massacred the civilian population. The population of Tunis threw out their governor and let Abu Yazid in. By the end of the year, he had conquered Kairouan itself, dealing several severe defeats to the Fatimid armies.

In 945, as Abu Yazid besieged Sousse, the Fatimid ruler al-Qaim died, and was succeeded by his son al-Mansur. Under al-Mansur's leadership, the Fatimid forces recovered their position, first breaking the siege of Sousse, then driving Abu Yazid's forces out of Kairouan, back into the Aures Mountains. In 947, the Fatimids finally defeated them in the mountains of Kiyana, near what would later become Qalaat Beni Hammad.

W. K. R. Hallam, in "The Bayajidda legend in Hausa folklore", "Journal of African History" VII.1 (1966), argues that the Hausa culture hero Bayajidda represents a folk personification of supporters of Abu Yazid who fled North Africa after his defeat.

Notes

External links

* [http://www.ismaili.net/histoire/history05/history527.html Abu Yazid al-Khariji]
* [http://www.alwaraq.com/index5.htm?c=http://www.alwaraq.com/cgi-bin/doccgi.exe/booksearch?book=35&option=1&offset=1&searchtext=DADFC8D1C7&fkey=1&RangeOp=1&WordForm=1&totalpages=1&m=http://www.alwaraq.com/search.htm Ibn Khaldun on Al-Waraq]


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