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A little known kingdom Ibadite : The State of Banu Masala (Ixe s.)

The Berber kingdom of Rostemides-Ibadi with its capital in Tahert (near the current Dash, in the ci-devant department of Oran Algeria), founded in 761/62 of our era by Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rustum, from 776/77 Imam recognized by all the Ibadites Maghreb1, reached the height of its power during the reign of his son and successor Imam 'Abd al-Wahhab ibn Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Rustum (784/85 – 823/24)². This leader has succeeded, after his successful campaigns, gather, towards the end of the eighth and beginning of the ninth century AD, almost all Ibadi Berber tribes of North Africa under his rule. It seems almost conquer even though Ifriqiya itself. Indeed, I believe that the uprising Salih ibn Nusayr Alibadi the tribe Nafzâwa which according to Ibn al-IDARI Marrakusi and Ibn Haldun occurred in Ifriqiya in 787/88 3 was for the annexation of the country in the realm of Tahert.

It was perhaps the failure of the revolt that Abd al-Wahhab decides to make peace with Rawh ibn Hatim, governor of Kairouan from the Abbasid caliphs. En effet, negotiations between Tahert and Kairouan began immediately after the disaster of Ibadites of Ifriqiya the same year 787/88 4. has the following these negotiations peace was restored in North Africa. The governors of Kairouan, and follows the aghlabides emirs were careful not to disturb the Berber tribes- Ibadi for a quarter of a century. At that time tribal boundaries Rustamid kingdom embraced, according to a tradition reported by Ibn as-Sagir, columnist Tahert, v. l'an 902/903, all the Maghreb, to the city of Tlemcen in the west 5 . The center of the kingdom of Abd al-Wahhab was made by the city of Tahert (it also named Tahert- Newfoundland) as well as the neighboring districts of this city ; tray Sersu among other. These districts were populated by Berber tribes-Ibadites Lamaya, Matmata, de Luwata, de Banù Dammar, Zenta and others 6. North, the border of the kingdom Rustamid approached the Mediterranean in the vicinity of the present city of Mostaganem 7 and south the kingdom embraced the case of Oued Righ and Ouagla 8. A corridor formed by a part of Hodna and Zab, as well as Jebel Aures and populated by Berber tribes-Ibadi bound the western parts of the kingdom of Abd al-Wahhab with Ibadi of Tunisia and South districts of northern Tripoli 9. The Ibadi Maghreb historians cite the names of several provinces of the two countries governed in the name of Imam Abd al-Wahhab as p.ex. Qastiliya, Qafsa, Nafusa Gabal et Surt, one embracing the eastern part of Tripoli to the limits of Cyrenaica. It seems powerful Berber tribe inhabiting the Hawara between the South and the Jabal Nafusa depended Imam Abd al-Wahhab, who came to their aid in that as 811, during their war with the governor of Tripoli aghlabide 10. So it is with reason that Ibn as-Sagir wrote in his column by quoting an ancient local tradition Tahert, that "the authority of Abd al-Wahhab on Ibadites or other paris had an extension which Ibadites had not arrived before him. He received the submission of groups on which his predecessors had not gathered the action and no one had had before his military ... He continued to govern the way, without the union and concord were troubled by rebellions and attacks, until the split happened ".11

The Ibadi historians give us information on various splits (en arabe iftiraq) and rebellions that have troubled the glorious reign of Abd al-Wahhab 12 Two of these rebellions, namely schism Nukkarites and revolt Mu'tazilite tribes belonging to the Berber branch Zenta suckled repressed by the imam without making significant harm to the consistency and power of the kingdom of Rostemides 13. That question, however, arises from the third revolt, including the insurrection against Abd al-Wahhab and detachment of the kingdom of Tahert a certain part of the powerful Berber tribe-Ibadi Hawara capita closest vicinity of the state capital of Rostemides ; this has been brought to its future destiny of this kingdom.

Let us now look more closely this uprising and the fate of Huwwaride small state created after the territory northeast of Oran department.

According to Ibn as-Sagir, which uses data from several anonymous informants Ibadi, source domination of Abd al-Wahhab, camped in the immediate vicinity of Tahert with other fractions-Ibadi Berber tribes recognized authority Rustamid dynasty, a fraction of the tribe of Hawwara who headed a large family called al-Aws and also later known as the Banu Masala. The head of Aws proposed marriage to a girl of great beauty from a family brand Luwata a branch of the Berbers who camped in the vicinity. The parents of the girl already approved his application, but Abd al-Wahhab fearing the possible alliance between Hawara and Luwata of around Tahert that could cause political difficulties, decided to ask the hand of the girl for him and he got. The head of Aws having learned something, got angry, which was also shared by the people of his fraction. He broke camp and moved with all his tribe in Wadi Hawwara (“Vallée des Hawwara“) located ten miles Arab (around twenty kilometers) or more west of Tahert. The exact location of this place escapes us, but it should be a left tributary of the Mina, tributary Chelif. The rebels were joined there by the other fractions of the Hawara area Tahert, as well as other people who shared their opinions. By using state of war against Imam Abd al-Wahhab, he attacked and killed one of his sujets.14

Immediately Imam lives to gather around him a considerable amount of tribes and warriors who were loyal to him and marched insurgents at the head of a huge army. The Aws heard this movement, concentrated their forces along a stream called Nahr Islan identical and perhaps Wadi Hawwara or another left tributary of the Mina. In the fierce battle that ensued between the two parties and which took, next to the Imam Abd al-Wahhab, also his son Aflah who distinguished himself by his bravery and was appointed because of this the same day as the battle future imam, there was a considerable number of deaths among the various tribes. The Hawara suffered the most significant losses. According to the informants did Sagir Ibn, Huwwara de les Wadi Huwwara durent will replier, following these losses, Danse le Gabal Ingan, mountainous district, whose exact location eludes us 15. However, it seems that the name mentioned by the writer must be corrected probably Gabal Tigan, zénète the name of a tribe living in the mountains Wanseris (current massive Ouarsenis between Mina and the city of Miliana) and called Wartigan (that is to say Banu Tigan) By the twelfth century Arab geographer al-Idrisi 16. If this information is true, the Hawara took refuge after the battle in Nahr Islan massive inaccessible to Ouarsenis. However, other informants whose stories were used by Ibn as-Sagir believe that the rebels are Hawara won the Gabal Tigan that more tard117.

In any case it is certain that fans of Aws, although they suffered great losses, have maintained their independence vis-à-vis the kingdom Rustamid. The Nahr Islan became the beginning of the State of Hawara in the reign of Aws (or rather Banu Masala as they called the royal family of this branch of Hawara in the ninth century), State created in the country Rustamid, in the vicinity of Tahert.

Ibn as-Sagir unfortunately not give us the precise splitting of Aws nor the battle of Nahr Islan. However, it seems that this event took place towards the end of the reign of Imam Abd al-Wahhab, when his son was already an adult Aflah, apparently gold circa 820 AD.

We know nothing about the kingdom of Banu Masala in the reign of Imam Aflah who took power in Tahert 823/24 and who died in 871/72. 18. Under the brief rule of his son Abù Bakr ibn Aflah (864/65 or 871/72) occurred a rebellion against the imam, monitoring infighting Tahert which have formed various parties. Abù Bakr was abandoned by everyone and supporters had to leave Rostemides Tahert. They scattered in various places quite far from the city. The head of the party Rustamid, Prince Abu 'l-Yaqzan Muhammad ibn Aflah fled to call the place' Asekdal located in a one-day south Tahert 19. And appears in the new dynasty of Banu Masala. According to Ibn as-Sagir, Muhammad ibn Masala occupa la capitale rostémide, d’où s’enfuit Abù Bakr ibn Aflah. We do not know under what circumstances it occurred. However it follows the story of Ibn as-Sagir the city was occupied by the coalition of Hawara and Luwata, probably called for help by one of the parties fighting for power Tahert. The calm was restored in the city, where huwwaride replaced the chief imams rostémides.20. It may be that time comes Qabr Masala ("Tombeau de Masala") monument that still existed at the time of Ibn as-Sagir, which was built, according to this author, instead of the oratory of Imam Abd ar-Rahman, founder of the dynasty Rustamid 21. It seems beyond doubt that the tomb was one of huwwarides princes of the dynasty of Banu Masala.

The order restored Tahert by Muhammad ibn Masala did not last long, At one point the divisions occurred between Luwata and Hawara. The latter came to dominate Luwata with the help of urban. Following this , Luwata left the city, settled in a strong named Hisn Luwata south of Tahert and entered into relationship with Prince Rustamid Abu 'l-Yaqzan who settled after the talks in a place located near the sources of the Mina, in the vicinity of the residence Luwata. 22. Such were the origins of a new coalition Rustamid directed against Hawara Muhammad ibn Masala and against the citizens of Tahert who remained loyal to the prince for a long time.

The war between the Rostemides supported by Luwata and supporters of Banu Masala lasted, if we believe Ibn as-Sagir, for seven years. It was only towards the year 871/72 or 878/79 that Abu 'l-managed Yaqzan, following the mediation of people from Nafusa mainstay of Rostemides, residents decide to capitulate Tahert 23. Ibn as-Sagir says nothing besides the conditions in lequelles Hawara with Muhammad ibn Masala head left Tahert. In all likelihood it was the result of a pact between Abu 'l-Yaqzan and chief huwwaride.

Ibn as-Sagir which we owe so many curious details about the origins of the state of Banu Masala gives no specific information about the location of this state, by simply saying, as we have already seen before, that the original center of the kingdom was more than ten Arab miles west of the city of Tahert, that is to say more than twenty kilometers west of Mina during the, left tributary of Chelif24. We need more detailed information on this topic geographer and historian al-Arab Ya'qubi which usefully complements the Ibn as-Sagir data on the history of Banu Masala information. This is the description of the state huwwaride content in his geographical treatise titled Kitab al-Bulan ("The Book of the country") written 889 ou bien en 891, in the chapter on North Africa is a valuable testimony on the state of the country during the last quarter of the ninth century, on people who live there and the authorities on which they depend. According to the author of the Kitab al-Buldan, 25 the kingdom of Ibn al-Ibadi Masala from the tribe of Hawara was located in the immediate vicinity of the State Tahert ruled in time by Muhammad ibn Aflah the same as restémide Imam Abu Muhammad ibn lYaqzan Aflah of . Ibn Masala dissented from King Tahert and led the war against him. According to the description contained in the Kitab al-Buldan, the kingdom of Ibn Masala owned two cities. The identification of one of these cities, namely Ilil (Ilil, also : Yalala) a town surrounded by villages and fields cultivés26, leaves no doubt : this is the current Hilil, town located south-east of Mostaganem 27. It should be added that according to al-Bakri, well-known Arab geographer of the second half of the eleventh century, the town was still populated Ilil Hawara 28. The second of the cities belonging to the State of Masala was Ibn al-Gabal. According to al Ya'qubi 29, the latter place was the residence of Ibn Masala, was removed from a distance of half a day's walk (about 15 with 20 km) City of Ilil. Georges Marçais locates because al-Gabal near Kalaa (aussi Kalaa of the Beni Rached) of the cartes30. This place which is now a small Berber village hanging on the side of steep escarpment of Jebel Barhar, is located 19 kilometers south of the HIllil31, This corresponds perfectly to distance indicated by al-Ya'qubi.

Al-Bakri appelle ou bien cette localites Qal'a Huwwara Taseqdalt32. This residence was part of a mountainous country called Gabal Hawara Ibn Haldun, famous historian of the fourteenth century, and between the course of the Mina and the Habra, river with its mouth west of Mostaganem33. It is therefore very likely that not only the city of al-Gabal, but also all the Gabal Hawara belonged to the kingdom of Banu Masala. Al-Bakri and Ibn Khaldun also locate a branch of Hawara in the tray Sersou (Sersou), southeast of the plain Mindas, on the right bank of the Mina34. it seems that as the Hawara branch was in the ninth century under the rule of Banu Masala, as well as in the established Huwwara Gabal Tigan ; in the massive Ouarsenis , former refugees after the battle of Nahr Islan.

It goes without saying that the birth, in the immediate vicinity of Tahert, capitale of the Etat Des Rostémides, once so powerful, huwwaride a small kingdom that knew how to defend its independence until at least the year 889 (or 891) if not even longer, was a matter of indifference to the fate of the State. It seems that this fact contributed to a considerable degree to the decline of the prestige of the imams in the Berber tribes Rostemides, enthusiasts Ibadites probably under their jurisdiction but poorly supporting the government of these imams, like all other central government. Separatist tendencies of the tribes who lived in the vicinity of the city of Tahert proved distinctly during the reign of Imam Aflah, son and successor of 'Abd al-Wahhab. It gives three, Ibn as-Sagir, have become rich and powerful, montraient Autant pride of the inhabitants of the capitale, so qu'Aflah came to fear a coalition that could wrest power. So Aflah strove to sow discord among the tribes close to each other. Its excitations between Luwata and Zenata, the Luwata and Matmata brought splits that gave rise to wars between tribes. Each tribe sought therefore to conciliate the favor of the Imam for fear of seeing her his support against rivale35.

This policy allowed reasonable Aflah keep short the proud and powerful Berber tribes living around Tahert, However, the center of the State Rostémides.il missed her strength to save its state borders to the East. It is therefore not surprising that during his reign most of the eastern provinces is detached from Imamate Rustamid. The emir aghlabide Abu 'l-' Iqal began in the year 838/39 action against the Berber-Ibadi tribes inhabiting the Southern Tunisia, This resulted, after a while the meeting of the territory of the State Aghlabids 36. His successor, Abu 'l-' Abbas (840/41 – 856/57) tries to move the borders of his state in the west to the nearby Tahert basing there, la ville al-Abbasiya. It is only then, with the help of the Spanish Umayyads Aflah managed to repel the danger he is on this side and burning in 853/54 al-‘Abbasiya 37. After the death of Aflah the decline of state Rostemides continues. not only the last provinces lE'st this state stand and among them the most faithful bastion Jabal Nafusa to Tripoli falling under the blows of Aghlabids in 896 38 , but also in the very center of the state reign disorder. Tahert itself becomes the second Motie the ninth century the spectacle of long and bitter internal struggles 39, which even benefit the Banu Masala to conquer this city, seat of a family hated by them 40. However, the final collapse of the state and Rostemides Tahert was not caused solely by internal struggles in which Banu Masala played an important role, but it was the work of the Fatimids who finally destroyed in 908/909 this small state already reduced that remained of the old and famous Imamate of Rostemides 41. Everything seems to indicate that on this occasion also lose their independence-Ibadi Berber tribes inhabiting the territory northeast of Oran department and also from the Hawara. The Fatimid persecution 910/911 these tribes were forced to abandon the doctrines of the Ibadi sect and embrace the Shia beliefs 42.

Thus the history of this small state that creates the tribe Hawwara almost in the center of the powerful Rostemides Imamate and the participation of the State in the fall of the Imamate which, effectively, occurred even before the Fatimid army has dealt the final blow.

I think, that these circumstances justify the fact sufficient to take care of this problem in this article were mainly tasked to shed some light on this period that can be considered as still belonging to the period that the French historian renowned EF. Gautier aptly calls 33The dark ages Maghreb "43.


1.Description of Northern Africa by Abu Obeid al-Bkri Arabic text ed. The Slane, Second edition, Paris 1911 (= El Bckri Description of Africa, texte air.), pp. 67-68, Description of North Africa al-Bkri . Trad. Mac Guckin the Slane. Revised edition Algiers 1913 (= El-Bakri, Description of Africa, trad.) pp. 139-141 ; Chronique d’Abou Zakaria, trad. And Par. Masqueray, Algiers 1878 (= Masqueray, Chronique d’Abou Zakaria), pp. 49-56 ; Chronicle of Ibn Saghir on Rostemides imam Tahert ed.A. the C.Motylinski, Actes du Congrès International des XIV Orientalists Algiers 1905. Part, Paris 1908 (= Ibn Saghir, Chronicle), pp. 1216 (texte air.) a pp. 63-72 (trad.) ; Ibn Khaldoun. History of the Berbers and the Muslim dynasties of North Africa, later. Pair of Slane. New edition published by P. Casanova (= Ibn Khaldoun, History of the Berbers), t. I, Paris 1925, p. 220 ; H Fournel, Berbers, t. I, Paris 1875, P. 387 ; G Marçais, Rustemiden, Encyclopedia of Islam, t.III Leiden Leipzig 1936, p, 1283 ; T.Lewicki, The geographical distribution of Ibadi group, "Yearbook of Oriental", XXI, 1957, p, 309.

2. Masqueray, Chronique d’Abou Zakaria, pp, 57-154 ; Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, pp. 16-23 (texte air.) a pp. 72-81 (trad.) ; Lewicki, Geographical distribution of Ibadi groups, pp. 309-311 ; Historians, biographers and work-Ibadi ilionnistes wahbites of North Africa from the eighth to the sixteenth century. "Fold foil dntalia", 1961, Krakow 1962, pp. 13-16.

e Ibn Khaldoun, History of the Berbers, t. I, p. 224 (and corrected in Fournel, The Berbers, t. I, p. 384, note 6).

4. Ibn Khaldoun, l.c. ; Fournel, The Berbers, t. I p. 387.

5. Ibn Saghir, Description of Africa, texte air, pp. 66,57 and 75 ; trad., pp. 137,139 and 154 ; Ibn Khaldoun , History of the Berbers, t. I, pp. 220, 234 and 241 ; Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, pp. 20, 27, 50 and 52 (texte air.) a pp. 78, 115, 117 and 86-87 (later.).

7. Lewicki, The geographical distribution of groups Ibadi, p. 310 ; Georges Marçais, The Berbers in the ninth century. History and archeology mixtures of Muslim West. The ibadites in Arabia and Africa. I : Articles and conferences Georges Marçais, Algiers 1957, p. 47

8. Lewicki, The geographical distribution of groups Ibadi, p. 27.

9. Lewicki, l.c.

10. See in this connection ; Lewicki, The geographical distribution of groups Ibadi, pp. 310-311 and passim ; Ibadites Tunisia in the Middle Ages. Polish Academy of Science and Letters. Library of Rome. Conferences, fascicole 6 Rome 1959, Passim ; An unpublished document Ibadi emigration Nafusa of Gabal, "Folia Orientalia", II, 1960, Krakow 1961, pp. 175-191.

11. Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, pp. 16-17 (texte air.) a p. 73 (later.).

12. The ibadites in Arabia and Africa. Lewicki, Subdivisions of Ibadiyya, “Studia Islamica“, fasc. IX, Paris 1958, pp. 71-82.

13. The ibadites in Arabia and Africa. Lewicki, Al-Nukkar, Encyclopaedia of Islam, 1st ed, Suppl., pp. 185-186 ; Masqueray, Chronique d’Abou Zakaria, pp. 80-115.

14. Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, pp. 20-21 (texte air.) a pp. 78-79 (later.).

15. Ibid., pp. 21-23 (texte air.) a pp. 79-81 (trad.).

16. Description of Africa and Spain by Edirîsî. Arabic text published with a translation by ... R. Dozy et M. J. of Goeje, Leyde 1866, Arabic text p. 85 a trad. Translation. P. 98.We find the name of Gabal * Tigan in the Gabal * Tugan (mss., ,Farhan branches, Farhan pour Tvjan ) quoted in another part of the work of al-Idrisi (texte air., p. 83, trad. Translation., p. 95) like the name of a mountain on the road to al- Ma’askar (Mascara) à theThe (l’HIlil).

17. Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, p. 23 (texte air.) a p. 81 (later.).

18. G Marçais, Rustemiden, p. 1285 ; Lewicki,Historians, biographers and traditionalists Ibadi ..., pp. 100-101.

19. Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, p. 39 (texte air.) a p. 102 (later.).

20. Ibid., p. 11 (texte air.) a p. 65 (trad.).

21. Ibid., p. 11 (texte air.) a p. 65 (trad.).

22. Ibid., pp. 39-40 (texte air.) a p. 102 (later.).

23. Ibid., pp. 40-41 (texte air.) a pp. 103-104 (trad.).

24. See above, p. 9

25. Kitâb al-Boldân auctore Ahmed ibn abi Jakûb ibn Wadhih al-Kâtib al-Jakûbî, Library geographorum arbicorum, and. M.J. of Goeje, 2th edition 1892, pp. 355-356.

26. Ibid., p. 356.

27. El-Bekri, Desdription of Africa, trad., p. 160 et note 7 ; H. Fournel, The Berbers, t. II, Paris 1881, p. 289.

28. Ibid., texte air., p. 143 ; trad., p.274.

29. Kitâb al-Boldân, and. of Goeje, p. 356.

30. G. Marçais, The Berbers in the ninth century, p. 47.

31. Blues guides. Algeria, Tunisia, Tripoli. - Malte. Edited by Marcel My Market, Paris 1927, p. 95.

32. El-Bekri, Description of Africa, texte air., p. 69 ; trad., p. 143.

33. Ibn Khaldoun, History of the Berbers, t. I, 281.

34. El-Bekri, Description of Africa, texte air., p. 67 ; trad. P. 139 (Tihart au sud de-la-neuve, capital Rostemides) ; Ibn Khaldoun, History of the Berbers, t. I p. 21. On Hawara in the immediate vicinity of the Mina see Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, p. 44 (text) a p. 108 (later.).

35. Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, p. 27 (texte air.) a pp. 86-87 (later.).

36. Fournel, The Berbers, t. I, pp. 507-508 ; Lewicki, Ibadites Tunisia in the Middle Ages, pp. 6-14. Other Sunni Arab aghlabide consider annexation of southern Tunisia as won by Abu 'Iqal army Berber tribes revolted against the victory Aghlabids.

37. See Fournel, The Berbers, t. I, pp. 513-514 and Arab sources cited by this author.

38. Lewicki, The geographical distribution of Ibadi group pp. 329-330 ; see Fournel, on. cit., t. I, p. 575 ; F. Béguinot, Al-Nafusa, Enzyklopacdie of Islam, t. III, p. 898.

39. Ibn Saghir, Chronicle, pp. 31-41 (texte air.) a pp. 91-104 (later.).

40. See above, p. 11.

41. Masqueray, Chronique d’Abou Zakaria, pp. 217-221 ; El-Bekri, Description of Africa, texte air., p. 68 and later., pp. 139-140 ; Ibn Khaldoun, History of the Berbers, t. I, p. 243 ; Fournel, The Berbers, t. II ; pp. 90-91 ; G. Marçais, Rustemiden, p. 1283.

42. Ibn Khaldoun, History of the Berbers, t. I, p. 244.

43. And. F. Gautier, The history of North Africa. The dark ages. Paris 1952.

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