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1.7.1 - Almohads Dynasty

The Almohads state was first originated in Maghrib, then its borders expanded from Tripoli in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, before they extended to Andalusia. This movement was led by Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ibn Abdullah Ibn Tumart (485/1092-524/1130) from the Berbers of Zinata tribe. He was calling for the doctrine of tawhid (unification), thus they became known as muwahhidin (the Unifying), or Almohads.

He began in 515/1121 calling for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. In 501/1107, he traveled to the Orient for the sake knowledge and learning, ending up in Baghdad. Some historian claim that once Abu Hamid al-Ghazali has been told what has happened with his books in Andalusia, and that the Prince of the Muslims ordered them to be set on fire, then he anticipated that soon his reign shall be ruined and his son will be killed, and that he believes that one who shall do that was present with them in that gathering. Ibn Tumart, who was actually present in that gathering, was already thinking of fighting them, thus his hopes were reinforced and quickly returned to Alexandria and then to Bugia, where he started teaching and preaching. When many people started to follow him, the prince of Bugia feared the consequences and he ordered them to leave the city, so he departed for Maghrib, but he arrived at a near village called Malala, close to Bugia, he met with Abdul-Momin Ibn Ali, who was going to the Orient to seek knowledge. When they met, they negotiated and agreed to revive the process of teaching and call for jihad and fight against ignorance. At that occasion, Muhammad Ibn Tumart went out to Tlemcen and settled in a mosque called al-Ubbad, which is a place that Shaykh Muhyiddin will visit repeatedly whenever he visits Tunisia, because it was a popular place for the Sufis.

Ibn Tumart began to teach the people who gathered around him, and his seekers grew quickly because he had a prestige in their souls and greatness in their hearts. Everyone loved him and appreciated his strong personality. He used to remain silent for long times, and constricted, when he was away from people he hardly spoke a word. He classified some books for his students, all based on the doctrine of Abu al-Hasan al-Ashaari, in most theological matters except in proving the divine attributes where agreed with the Muatazilites in denying them, in addition to few other matters. It has been also said that he was hiding something of Shiismfootnote{The fact that Ibn Tumart is one of the decedents of Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, may Allah honor his face, does not mean that he was a Shiite. A similar situation occurred with Ibn al-Arabi, who is regarded by some ignorant people to be from Shiites because he showed a strong love for the family of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and he spoke of Imam Mahdi and other imams, but it is also no secret that he considers Abu Bakr al-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, to be his example, as well as Omar al-Faruq, may Allah be pleased with him, and he does not differentiate between one of the Sahaba, as we will discuss further in Chapter VII. Therefore, if Ibn Tumart, who founded the Almohads state, was a shiite, this would have been reflected on his followers, who were not deviating from his teachings in an inch, and if he was hiding his faith in the beginning in fear of the people, how could this be done by the Kings of the Almohads, who had ruled Andalusia and Maghrib for more than 100 years to follow? Surely they would liked to convert everyone to shiism.

Almohads fought two battles against the Almoravids, they were defeated in the first in 511/1117 but they won the second in 524/1129. Soon after that, Ibn Tumart died, after he had established the bases for Almohads state. Abdul-Momin Ibn Ali al-Qaysiy (524/1129-558/1163) Ibn Mardanish (518/1124-567/1171) Abu Yaqoub Yusuf Ibn Abdul-Momin (558/1163-580/1184) Yaqoub al-Mansour Ibn Yusuf (580/1184-595/1199)