Saturday, March 21, 2009

Islamization of the Imazighen


Until their conquest in the 7th cent. by Muslim Arabs, most of the Berbers were Christian (also, a sizable minority had accepted Judaism), and many heresies of the early African church, particularly Donatism, were essentially Berber protests against the rule of Rome. Under the Arabs, the Berbers became Islamized and soon formed the backbone of the Arab armies that conquered Spain. However, the Berbers repeatedly rose against the Arabs, and in the 9th cent. they supported the Fatimid dynasty in its conquest of N Africa.

After the Fatimids withdrew to Egypt, N Africa was plunged into an anarchy of warring Berber tribes that ended only when the Berber dynasties, the Almoravids and the Almohads, were born. Each of these dynasties succeeded in pushing back Christian kingdoms which had pushed south against the fragmented Moors. With the disintegration of these dynasties, the Berbers of the plains were gradually absorbed by the Arabs, while those who lived in inaccessible mountain regions, such as the Aurès, the Kabylia, the Rif, and the Atlas, retained their culture and warlike traditions. When the French and the Spanish occupied much of N Africa, it was the Berbers of these mountainous regions who offered the fiercest resistance. In more recent times the Berbers, especially those of the Kabylia, assisted in driving the French from Algeria. Contemporary relations between Berbers and Arabs are sometimes tense, particularly in Algeria, where Berbers rebelled (1963–65) against Arab ruled and have demonstrated and rioted against Arab discrimination.

See E. Gellner, Saints of the Atlas (1969); E. Gellner and C. Micaud, ed., Arabs and Berbers (1972); J. Waterbury, North for the Trade (1972).

See also

Berber Revolt
The Great Berber Revolt of 12225/74043 took place during the reign of the Umayyad Caliph Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik and marked the first successful secession from the caliphate....

Muslim conquest of North Africa

Uqba ibn Nafi
Uqba ibn NafiUqba ibn Nafi was an Arab general under the Umayyad dynasty, who began the Islamic conquest of the Maghreb, including present-day western Algeria and Morocco in North Africa....

Musa bin Nusair
Musa bin NusairMusa bin Nusair was a Yemeni Muslim governor and general under the Umayyads. In 698 he was made the governor of Ifriqiya and was responsible for putting down a large Berber rebellion....

KusailaKusaila was a 7th century chief of the Awraba tribe of the Berber people and head of the Sanhadja confederation....

Almoravides , was a Berber dynasty from the Sahara that flourished over a wide area of Africa and Europe during the 11th century....

The source of this article is Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL. 2009. All Rights Reserved

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