ʿAbd al-Mumin (Dictionary of World Biography: Middle Ages)
Article abstract: Through military prowess and administrative skill, ʿAbd al-Mumin founded the Almohad empire in North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula, initiating a period of thriving commerce and artistic creativity.
ʿAbd al-Mumin ibn ʿAli ibn Makhluf ibn Yula ibn Marwan, born in 1094 in Tagra (now in Algeria), was the son of Ali, a humble potter and member of the Koumiya, an Arabized section of the Berber Zanata tribe. Legends arose concerning marvelous happenings in his youth: Swarms of bees were said to have alighted on him without stinging, and a holy man prophesied that the boy would conquer countries at the four cardinal points.
Ali decided that his son must have an education. Thus, ʿAbd al-Mumin studied at the school in Tagra and then at the mosque in the important Algerian city of Tlemcen. One historian wrote: “He was endowed with a lively understanding. In the time it takes a man to grasp one question, he understood ten.” To further his knowledge, ʿAbd al-Mumin, accompanied by uncle Yalu, determined to go to the East. In 1117, that plan was scrapped at Mallala, Algeria, because of ʿAbd al-Mumin’s momentous meeting with Ibn Tumart.
Ibn Tumart, a Masmuda Berber of southern Morocco, founded the Almohad movement, the name being a corruption of the Arabic al-muwahhidun, meaning the movement of the unitarians. Ibn Tumart placed special stress on the oneness of...
(The entire section is 2128 words.)
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