The Bedouin of the Fatimid Empire: Faith vs. Politics in a Medieval Islamic Empire

Husain, Adnan Mustafa (2024) The Bedouin of the Fatimid Empire: Faith vs. Politics in a Medieval Islamic Empire. Masters thesis, University of Wales Trinity Saint David.

Text (Dissertation with appendices)
2928 Husain, Adnan Mustafa 2023 The Bedouin of the Fatimid Empire Faith vs. Politics in a Medieval Islamic Empire.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License CC-BY-NC-ND Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (4MB) | Preview


The Fatimid Empire was initially established in 296/909 in North Africa. The capital was later shifted to Cairo from where the Fatimid imams controlled vast areas of the Islamic world, each with its own unique set of ethnicities. Powerful Arab Bedouin tribes were concentrated on the fringes of the eastern borders of the Empire, and many of these professed Shīʿism. A few Bedouin tribesmen even converted to the Fatimid faith and helped in furthering their cause. On the other hand, in the 4th/10th century, loomed the ominous shadow of the Qarāmitah (Carmathians), heavily supported by Bedouin, who launched a strong movement to depose the Fatimids. In the 4th&5th/11th century, Cairo was attacked by powerful Bedouin, this time from the western parts of the Empire. Arabic texts have recorded, albeit clouded by a Sunnī-Shīʿah prejudice, interactions between the Fatimids and various Bedouin tribes. Conversely, modern Western academia has commenced interpreting some of these historical incidents in light of their proper religious context, such as the rise of the Carmathian movement. Albeit, there is still scope to analyse these incidents in their proper religiosocial contexts, which this study aims to do. The Berbers and the Bedouin were two indigenous peoples, however, no Bedouin tribe could match the success that the Kutāma Berbers had with the Fatimids. This may be understood from Fatimid texts which provide insights into Bedouin identity. Since the Fatimids believed themselves to be the rightful imams and thus the true upholders of Qurʾānic values, Fatimid actions with respect to the Bedouin may be traced back to the treatment of the Qurʾān of the Bedouin.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: The dissertation includes maps and appendices
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fatimids, Medieval studies, Islamic History, Religious Studies, Sociology, Anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BP Islam. Bahaism. Theosophy, etc
D History General and Old World > D History (General) > D111 Medieval History
D History General and Old World > DE The Mediterranean Region. The Greco-Roman World
D History General and Old World > DT Africa
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Theses and Dissertations > Masters Dissertations
Depositing User: Adnan Husain
Date Deposited: 01 May 2024 14:55
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 14:31

Administrator Actions (login required)

Edit Item - Repository Staff Only Edit Item - Repository Staff Only