Monday, March 18, 2013

Ahmad al-Mansur - Akbar

Ahmad al-Mansur
Ahmad al-Mansur (Ahmad I al-Mansur) (Ahmed el-Mansour) (El-Mansour Eddahbi) ("The Golden One") (b. 1549).  Sa‘di Sharif of Morocco (r. 1578-1603).  He turkicized his court and administration and showed real diplomatic talents in foreign affairs. 

Ahmad I al-Mansur (also Ahmed el-Mansour and El-Mansour Eddahbi) was Sultan of the Saadi dynasty from 1578 to his death in 1603.  The sixth and most famous of all rulers of the Saadis, he was the third son of Mohammed ash-Sheikh who became sultan of Morocco.

In 1578, Ahmad's brother, Sultan Abu Marwan Abd al-Malik I Saadi, died in battle against the Portuguese army at the Ksar el Kebir. Ahmad was named his brother's successor and began his reign amid newly-won prestige and wealth from the ransom of Portuguese captives.

On October 16, 1590, Ahmad took advantage of recent civil strife in the Songhai Empire and dispatched an army of 4,000 men across the Sahara desert under the command of converted Spaniard Judar Pasha. Though the Songhai met them at the Battle of Tondibi with a force of 40,000, they lacked the maghrebian's gunpowder weapons and quickly fled. Ahmad advanced, sacking the Songhai cities of Timbuktu and Djenné, as well as the capital Gao. Despite these initial successes, the logistics of controlling a territory across the Sahara soon grew too difficult, and the Saadians lost control of the cities not long after Ahmad al-Mansur's death in 1603. He was buried in the mausoleum of the Saadian Tombs in Marrakech. In that city is also his El Badi Palace. Well known writers at his court were Ahmed Mohammed al-Maqqari, Abd al-Aziz al-Fishtali, Ahmad Ibn al-Qadi and Al-Masfiwi.

Ahmad al-Mansur was succeeded by Zidan Abu Maali, who was based in Marrakech, and by Abou Fares Abdallah, who was based in Fes and had only local power.

Mansur, Ahmad al- see Ahmad al-Mansur
Ahmad I al-Mansur see Ahmad al-Mansur
Ahmed el-Mansour see Ahmad al-Mansur
El-Mansour Eddahbi see Ahmad al-Mansur
"The Golden One" see Ahmad al-Mansur

Ahmad al-Nasiri al-Salawi
Ahmad al-Nasiri al-Salawi (Abu al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Khalid al-Nasiri al-Salawi) (1834/5-1897).  Moroccan historian. His major work is a general history of Morocco.

Ahmad al-Nasiri al-Salawi was born in Salé and is considered to be the greatest Moroccan historian of the 19th century of the Christian calendar. He was a prominent scholar and a member of the family that founded the Nasiriyya Sufi order in the 17th century. He wrote an important multi-volume history of Morocco entitled Kitab al-Istiqsa li-Akhbar duwwal al-Maghrib al-Aqsa. The work is a general history of Morocco and the Islamic west from the Islamic conquest to the end of the 19th century. He died in 1897 shortly after having put the finishing touches to his chronicle.

Salawi, Ahmad al-Nasiri al- see Ahmad al-Nasiri al-Salawi
Abu al-Abbas Ahmad ibn Khalid al-Nasiri al-Salawi see Ahmad al-Nasiri al-Salawi

Ahmad Amin
Ahmad Amin (1886-1954).   Egyptian scholar and writer.  His most important production was a history of Islamic civilization to the end of the tenth century.

Ahmad Amin was born in Cairo, the son of a shaykh at al-Azhar.  His early education was in kuttabs, at a government primary school, and then at al-Azhar.  In 1907, he entered Madrasat al-Qada, a mosque school, spending four years as a student and some ten as assistant to the director, who introduced him to Western and particularly English scholarship.  After a few years as a shari'a judge, he joined the faculty of the Egyptian University (now University of Cairo) in 1926 and remained there until retirement in 1946.  He was dean of the Faculty of Arts from 1939 to 1941.  From 1914 until his death, he chaired the Committee on Authorship, Translation, and Publication (Lajnat al-Ta'lif wa al-Tarjama wa al-Nashr), editing its weekly literary magazine, al-Thaqafa, from 1939 to 1953.  He was also a member of the Arabic Language Academy, founded the Popular University (later, Foundation for Popular Culture), and served as director of the Cultural Department of the Arab League.  Through these and other activities, he was a prominent participant in the intellectual life of Egypt.

The best known of Ahmad Amin's writings are his eight volume series on early Islamic cultural history, Fajr al-Islam (The Dawn of Islam, 1929), Duha al-Islam (The Forenoon of Islam, 1933-35), and Zuhr al-Islam (The Noon of Islam, 1945-55), the first effort by an Arab Muslim writer to make use of Western scholarship in writing this history.  He wrote over 600 articles on almost every conceivable topic except party politics for periodicals such as al-Thaqafa, al-Risala, and al-Hilal; most of these were re-published in ten volumes of Fayd al-Khatir (Overflowing Thoughts, 1938-55) or in Zu'ama al-Islah fi al-'Asr al-Hadith (Leaders of Reform in the Modern Age, 1948).  He collaborated in editing a number of classical Islamic texts and wrote or co-wrote books for schools and books on Western philosophy and literature.  Other writings include Yawm al-Islam (The Day of Islam, 1952), al-Sharq wa al-Gharb (The East and the West, 1955), and his autobiography, Hayati (My Life, 1950).

Ahmad Amin espoused opinions close to the secularist ones for which Ali Abd al-Raziq and Taha Husayn were criticized.  However, Ahmad Amin stated his opinions more cautiously.  He was particularly known for questioning the authenticity of the hadith (legends and traditions surrounding the prophet Muhammad).  Amin wanted his compatriots to learn from the West but at the same time affirm their own Arab-Islamic cultural personality.  Thus, much of his work seeks to present the treasures of Islamic civilization to his readers.  His series on Islamic cultural history uses Western scholarship to help make that history accessible to modern Muslims, while, by stressing the contribution of non-Muslim cultures to early Islamic culture, the series conveys the message that Muslims today can also learn from non-Muslims.  Other writings also give a positive presentation of Western ideas and ways, although his criticism of Western colonialism and materialism could be harsh and angry, especially in some of his later writings.
Amin, Ahmad see Ahmad Amin

Ahmad Bey
Ahmad Bey (Ahmad Bey Husayn) (1806-1855).  Bey of Tunis (r. 1837-1855).  He resisted the claims of Turkey, which was supported by Great Britain, and sought the aid of France.  In 1846, he abolished slavery. 

Ahmad Bey's mother was a Sardinian slave captured in a raid on San Pietro in 1798.  His father was Mustafa ibn Mahmud (Bey of Tunis, 1835-37).  Ahmad was the tenth bey of the Husaynid dynasty.  Ahmad Bey received a traditional education, learning the Qur'an by heart.  Besides studying the traditional Qur'anic sciences and Turkish, Ahmad learned European history and geography.  The latter knowledge influenced his efforts to modernize Tunisian society and turned his foreign policy orientation away from the Ottoman Empire and closer to Europe.

Ahmad Bey's upbringing introduced him to palace intrigues and political disputations.  A month before his ascension to power, he participated in the execution of a prominent Mameluke official, Shakir Sahib al-Tabi, keeper of the seal.  He had been the most powerful official in the bey's court.  When Ahmad Bey assumed the throne in October 1837, he quickly consolidated his authority and constructed his own patron-client political machine.  To do so, he appointed his own clique of friends, Mamelukes, and clients to key positions.

Ahmad had two primary goals: first, to maintain Tunisia's relative independence vis-a-vis the Ottoman Empire and France's colonial regime in Algeria, and, second, to strengthen Tunisia's internal political order.  To accomplish the first, he avoided implementing the Ottoman Tanzimat reform program that had begun in 1837.  He also sought international legitimacy through recognition by nations of Europe (especially France).  To placate the Ottomans, Ahmad Bey continued to send the obligatory annual gift in exchange for the firman (decree) of investiture while avoiding implementation of the Tanzimat by pleading Tunisia's lack of resources to do so.  Ahmad Bey maintained good relations with France, and continued to seek France's guarantees of Tunisian independence and to deny Ottoman claims of sovereignty.  In the 1850s, he sent troops to the Crimea to show support for the Ottomans rather than to reject their sovereignty.

Ahmad Bey's goal of reforming the fabric of the state has been criticized for attempting too much and accomplishing too little.  Inspiration for his reform efforts came from Napoleon's France, Muhammad Ali's Egypt, and the Tanzimat program.  All of these taught him that military strength was paramount.  Wedged between France's colonial regime in Algeria and a resurgent Ottoman Empire in Libya, Ahmad saw modernizing the military as one way to maintain Tunisia's territorial integrity against the aspirations of its powerful neighbors.

In 1831, Husayn Bey had begun reforming the military by inviting Europeans to train a nizami corps of infantry based on the latest European and Ottoman models.  The term nizami was borrowed from the Ottoman designation nizam-i cedit (new order), applied by Sultan Mahmud II to Ottoman military modernization efforts.  The Tunisian nizamis wore European uniforms and Tunisian shashiyas (small red hats with tassels).

Mustafa Bey accelerated the expansion of the nizami corps by developing a conscription system.  An informal system of recruiting troops (in exchange for returning an earlier batch to the same area as reserves) was developed in order to minimize friction between recruiters and the local populace.  To avoid antagonizing the Turkish military elite, the bey maintained Turkish-Mameluke domination of the upper ranks.  The army thus remained top-heavy in inefficient higher-rank officers who were traditional in outlook and ill-suited to the disciplinary codes of modern armies.  The lower ranks and non-commissioned officers were reasonably motivated but poorly led.  As a result, the reforms largely failed to produce the desired results.

From a small contingent of about 1,800 men at the beginning of his reign, by 1850 Ahmad Bey had expanded the nizami forces to between 26,000 and 36,000, with 16,000 actually in service at any one time.  Seven regiments of infantry, two of artillery, and a partial one of cavalry comprised the corps.  In the last two years of his reign, financial constraints forced Ahmad Bey to drastically reduce the size of the military.

A critical step in Ahmad Bey's military reform efforts was the establishment in 1840 of a military academy (maktab harbi) adjacent to the Bey's Palace at Bardo (a suburb of Tunis), to train young Mamelukes, Turks, and sons of prestigious Arab families in the military arts.  The school prepared an elite cadre of graduates who later led reform efforts in the 1870s, during the administration of Prime Minister Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi (1873-1877).  It set the precedent for Sadiqi College (established in 1875), which trained Tunisians in modern subjects.  Its graduates were members of the Young Tunisians in the 1890s and early 1900s.  Most Tunisian nationalists who formed the Destour and Neo-Destour political movements studied at Sadiqi, including independent Tunisia's first president, Habib Bourguiba.

Seeking to make Tunisia self-sufficient in military-related goods, Ahmad ordered the construction of a cannon foundry, a small arms factory, powder mills, tanneries, saddle/leather factories, a textile factory, and other industries.  He imported European technicians to train Tunisian workers in modern manufacturing techniques.  These efforts provided the Tunisian elite and some workers with a rudimentary understanding of European industrialization practices.

Between 1841 and 1846, Ahmad Bey abolished slavery, initiated with the closing of the slave market in Tunis (the Suq al-Birka) and culminating with the January 1846 decree officially abolishing slavery in Tunisia.  At al-Muhammadiya, about ten miles southwest of Tunis, Ahmad Bey constructed a magnificent governmental complex, which he intended to serve as Tunisia's Versailles.  Europeans designed and furnished this complex with the latest European gadgets.

The last five years of Ahmad's reign were a period of financial chaos, declining agricultural production, his poor health, and overall ruin of his accomplishments.  His need for money to finance his military reforms led him to depend on a ruthless tax farmer, Mahmud ibn Ayad.  Ahmad Bey tolerated the financial oppression of his subjects so long as Ibn Ayad increased the state revenues.  The decline of those state revenues between 1849 and 1852 culminated in the flight of Ibn Ayad to Paris and his subsequent attempts to sue Tunisia's government.  Khayr al-Din arbitrated the matter in Paris, but recovered none of the funds Ibn Ayad had taken.

In July 1852, Ahmad Bey suffered a stroke, which impaired his ability to rule.  In 1853, he was forced to disband his army due to financial problems.  Ahmad Bey died in May 1855, at the age of forty-eight.  He had sought to modernize a backward and traditional state and society through emphasis on military reforms.  He established positive precedents in the Bardo military academy and the conscription of native Tunisians, and negative ones in the lack of accountability of his leading ministers and in his own financial irresponsibility.
Bey, Ahmad see Ahmad Bey
Ahmad Bey Husayn see Ahmad Bey

Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ahmad ibn Hanbal (Ahmad bin Hanbal) (Ahmed ibn Hanbal) (Ibn Hanbal) (780-855).  A famous jurist, theologian, and transmitter of traditions.  He was also the founder of the Hanbali school of law.  His most celebrated work is a collection of traditions, known as Musnad. 

Ahmad ibn Hanbal  (780 - 855 C.C.) was an important Muslim scholar and theologian born in Khorasan to a family of Arab origin.  He is considered the founder of the Hanbali school of fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). His full name was Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu `Abd Allah al-Shaybani. Shayban or Banu Shaybah is Ibn Hanbal's tribe.  It is an Arabic tribe located in Arabia and it still exists in Saudi Arabia.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal was born at Merv, in Khorasan in 780. Ibn Hanbal's family was of Arabic origin and they spoke Arabic. He started his career by learning jurisprudence (fiqh) under the celebrated Hanafi judge Abu Yusuf, the renowned student and companion of Abu Hanifah. He then discontinued his studies with Abu Yusuf in the pursuit of hadith, travelling around the Caliphate, at the age of 16. It is said that as a student he highly impressed his teachers. Ibn al-Jawzi states that Ibn Hanbal had 414 hadith masters whom he narrated from. Imam al-Shafi’i was one of Ibn Hanbal's teachers with whom he had a mutual respect.

Ibn Hanbal did not content himself with merely seeking knowledge.  He also acted, by making jihad, performing the guard duty at Islamic frontiers (ribat) and making hajj five times in his life, twice on foot.
Nevertheless, Ibn Hanbal did spend 40 years of his life in the pursuit of knowledge, and only thereafter did he assume the position of a mufti. By this time, he had mastered six or seven Islamic disciplines, according to al-Shafi'i. He became a leading authority in hadith and left a colossal hadith encyclopaedia, al-Musnad, as a living proof of his proficiency and devotion to this science. He is also remembered as a leading, and the most balanced, critic of hadith in his time. Ibn Hanbal became a principal specialist in jurisprudence, benefitting from some of the famous early jurists, such as Abu Hanifah, Malik ibn Anas, al-Shafi'i, and many others. His learning, piety and unswerving faithfulness to traditions gathered a host of disciples and admirers around him. He further improvised and developed upon previous schools, becoming the founder of a new independent school of jurisprudence, known as the Hanbali school. Some scholars, such as Qutaiba ibn Sa’id, noted that if Ibn Hanbal had witnessed the age of Sufyan al-Thawri, Malik, al-Awza’i and Laith ibn Sa’d, he would have surpassed them all. Despite being bilingual, he became an expert in the Arabic language, poetry, and grammar.

The Caliph Al-Ma'mun subjected scholars to severe persecution at the behest of the Mu'tazili theologians, most notably Bishr al-Marrisi and Ahmad ibn Abi Du’ad, mainly to establish the notion that God created the Qur'an as a physical entity (rather than saying that the Qur'an is God's speech in an indescribable way, as held by the orthodox view).

Almost all of the scholars in Baghdad acknowledged the creation-of-Qur'an doctrine, with the notable exceptions of Ibn Hanbal and Muhammad ibn Nuh. This greatly pained and angered Ibn Hanbal, so that he boycotted some of the great traditionists for their acknowledgement and often refused to narrate hadith from them. Amongst those boycotted were a close companion and a colleague of Ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Ma’in, about whom it is said that Ibn Hanbal refused to speak to him until he died.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal and Muhammad ibn Nuh were also put to the test on the order of al-Ma’mun, but they refused to acknowledge the literal creation of the Qur'an as created like the other of Allah's creatures. Consequently, they were dispatched in irons to be dealt with by al-Ma’mun himself. On the way, Ibn Hanbal supplicated to Allah to prevent him from meeting al-Ma’mun. His prayer was answered in the sudden death of al-Ma’mun.

Due to the death of al-Ma'mun, both Ibn Hanbal and Muhammad ibn Nuh were sent back. Muhammad ibn Nuh passed away on their return journey, and there was none to prepare his funeral, pray over, and bury him except Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

The policy endorsing the created-Qur'an premise was continued by al-Mu'tasim (who is reported to have had Ibn Hanbal flogged) and by al-Wathiq (who banished Ibn Hanbal from Baghdad).

This was ended, however, by al-Mutawakkil who, unlike his predecessors, had the utmost respect and admiration for the Sunni school. Promptly after assuming the position as Caliph, he sent orders throughout the Caliphate to put an immediate end to all discussions regarding the Quran, released all the prisoners of faith, dismissed the Mu’tazili judges, and more significantly deported the chief investigator of the inquisition, Ahmad ibn Abi Du’ad along with his family. He further ordered that the Mu’tazili judges responsible for the inquisition be cursed from the pulpits, by name. Al-Mutawakkil is said to have treated Ibn Hanbal in a special way with great respect.

After Ibn Hanbal turned 77, he was struck with severe illness and fever, and became very weak.  However, he never complained about his infirmity and pain.  Nevertheless, after hearing of his illness, masses flocked to his door. The ruling family also showed the desire to pay him a visit, and to this end sought his permission. However, due to his desire to remain independent of any influence from the authority, Ahmad denied them access.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal died in Baghdad in Rabi' al-Awwal, 241 AH (Friday, July 31, 855). The news of his death quickly spread far and wide in the city and the people flooded the streets to attend his funeral. One of the rulers, upon hearing the news, sent burial shrouds along with perfumes to be used for the funeral. However, respecting Ibn Hanbal’s wishes, his sons refused the offering and instead used a burial shroud prepared by his female servant. Moreover, his sons took care not to use water from their homes to wash the body, as Ibn Hanbal had refused to utilise any of their resources because they had accepted the offerings of the ruler.

After preparing his funeral, his sons prayed over him, along with around 200 members of the ruling family, while the streets were teeming with both men and women, awaiting the funeral procession. The funeral was then brought out and the multitudes continued to pray over him outdoors, before and after his burial at his grave. According to the Tarjamatul Imam, over 800,000 men and 60,000 women attended the funeral of Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

Ibn Hanbal, Ahmad see Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ibn Hanbal see Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ahmad bin Hanbal see Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ahmed ibn Hanbal see Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Hanbal Abu `Abd Allah al-Shaybani see Ahmad ibn Hanbal

Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi (Ahmed Gran) (Ahmed Gragn) (Ahmed Ibrahim al-Ghazi) (“The Left-Handed”) (c.1506-1543).  Muslim conqueror of the kingdom of Ethiopia.  His early background is controversial.  Whatever his family antecedents, it is clear that during the early 1520s he rose to the leadership of a Muslim state which had recently shifted its capital from Djibouti on the Red Sea to Harar.  He called himself the Imam, raised the banner of jihad, or religious war, and began to raid the Christian kingdom of central Ethiopia in 1527.  Two years later, he inflicted a major defeat on the emperor Lebna Dengel, but was unable to follow it up because his armies (sated with booty) began to disintegrate. 

In 1531, Ahmed Gran returned to central Ethiopia with the apparent intention of permanently conquering the Ethiopian kingdom.  He inflicted another major defeat on Lebna Dengel, whom he never caught, and his armies ravaged the highlands.  Churches were burned, cities were sacked, and most of the kingdom’s Christians were forced at least nominally to accept Islam. His supremacy in Ethiopia was unchallenged, but he failed to establish a permanent headquarters, while his enemies solicited external aid.  The tide turned against him in 1541, when Lebna Dengel’s successor Galawdewos combined with Portuguese musketmen to defeat one of Ahmed Gran's armies.  Ahmad scored some further successes, but was finally killed near Lake Tana in a decisive battle two years later.  His death spelled the end of serious Muslim threats to Christian Ethiopia, though his successors continued to wage a desultory war from Harar. 

Ahmad ibn Ibrihim al-Ghazi (c. 1506 - February 21, 1543) ("the Conqueror") was an Imam and General of Adal who invaded Ethiopia and defeated several Ethiopian emperors, wreaking much damage on that kingdom. With the help of an army mainly composed of Somalis, Imam Ahmad (nicknamed "Gurey" in Somali and "Gragn" in Amharic (both meaning "the left-handed"), embarked on a conquest which brought three-quarters of Ethiopia under the power of the Muslim Sultanate of Adal during the Ethiopian-Adal War from 1529-43.

While Ahmad has traditionally sometimes been interpreted as being an Arab in Ethiopia[4], he is most often identified by scholars and historical sources as an ethnic Somali.  However, although Somali clans -- principally the Habar Magadle Isaaq, the Harti Daarood, and the Mareehaan -- played a strong role in the Imam's conquest of Abyssinia, these clans went to war not so much as Somalis but as Muslims.

Ahmad was born near Zeila, a port city located in northwestern Somalia (then part of Adal, a Muslim state tributary to the Christian Ethiopian Solomonic dynasty), and married Bati del Wambara, the daughter of Mahfuz, governor of Zeila. When Mahfuz was killed returning from a campaign against the Ethiopian emperor Lebna Dengel in 1517, the Adal sultanate lapsed into anarchy for several years, until Ahmad killed the last of the contenders for power and took control of Harar.

In retaliation for an attack on Adal the previous year by the Ethiopian general Degalhan, Ahmad invaded Ethiopia in 1529. Although his troops were fearful of their opponents and attempted to desert upon news that the Ethiopian army was approaching, Ahmad maintained the discipline of most of his men, defeating Emperor Lebna Dengel at Shimbra Kure that March.
The chronicle of Ahmad's invasion of Ethiopia is depicted in various Somali, Ethiopian and other foreign sources. Ahmad campaigned in Ethiopia in 1531, breaking Emperor Lebna Dengel's ability to resist in the Battle of Amba Sel on October 28. The Muslim army of Ahmad then marched northward to loot the island monastery of Lake Hayq and the stone churches of Lalibela. When Ahmad entered the province of Tigray, he defeated an Ethiopian army that confronted him there. On reaching Axum, he destroyed the Church of Our Lady Mary of Zion, in which the Ethiopian emperors had for centuries been crowned.

The Ethiopians were forced to ask for help from the Portuguese, who landed at the port of Massawa on February 10, 1541, during the reign of the emperor Galawdewos. The force was led by Cristóvão da Gama and included 400 musketeers as well as a number of artisans and other non-combatants.  Cristovao da Gama and Ahmad Gragn met on April 1,1542, at Jarte, which has been identified with Anasa, between Amba Alagi and Lake Ashenge.
On April 4, after the two unfamiliar armies had exchanged messages and stared at each other for a few days, da Gama formed his troops into an infantry square and marched against the Ahmad's lines, repelling successive waves of Muslim attacks with musket and cannon. This battle ended when Ahmad was wounded in the leg by a chance shot; seeing his banners signal retreat, the Portuguese and their Ethiopian allies fell upon the disorganized Muslims, who suffered losses but managed to reform next to the river on the distant side.

Over the next several days, Ahmad was reinforced by arrivals of fresh troops. Understanding the need to act swiftly, da Gama, on April 16, again formed a square which he led against Ahmad's camp. Although the Muslims fought with more determination than two weeks earlier -- their horse almost broke the Portuguese square -- an opportune explosion of some gunpowder traumatized the horses on the Ahmad's side, and his army again fled in disorder.

Reinforced by the arrival of the Bahr negus Yeshaq, da Gama marched southward after Ahmad's force, coming within sight of him ten days later. However, the onset of the rainy season prevented da Gama from engaging Ahmad a third time. On the advice of Queen Sabla Wengel, da Gama made winter camp at Wofla near Lake Ashenge, still within sight of his opponent.

Knowing that victory lay in the number of firearms an army had, the Ahmad sent to his fellow Muslims for help.  Ahmad received 2000 musketeers from Arabia, and artillery and 900 picked men from the Ottomans to assist him. Meanwhile, due to casualties and other duties, da Gama's force was reduced to 300 musketeers. After the rains ended, Ahmad attacked the Portuguese camp and through weight of numbers killed all but 140 of Da Gama's troops.  Da Gama himself, badly wounded, was captured with ten of his men and, after refusing an offer to spare his life if he would convert to Islam, was executed.

The survivors and Emperor Gelawdewos were afterward able to join forces and, drawing on the Portuguese supplies, attacked Ahmad on February 21, 1543 in the Battle of Wayna Daga, where their 9,000 troops managed to defeat the 15,000 soldiers under Ahmad.  Ahmad Gragn was killed by a Portuguese musketeer, who was himself mortally wounded in avenging da Gama's death.

Ahmad Gragn's wife, Bati del Wambara, managed to escape the battlefield with a remnant of the Turkish soldiers, and they made their way back to Harar, where she rallied his followers. Intent on avenging her husband's death, she married his nephew Nur ibn Mujahid on condition that Nur would avenge Ahmad's defeat.

In Ethiopia, the devastation wrought by Ahmad Gragn did has never been forgotten. Every Christian highlander still hears tales of Gragn in his childhood. Haile Selassie referred to him in his memoirs.  Even today, villagers in northern Ethiopia point out sites of towns, forts, churches and monasteries destroyed by Gragn as if these catastrophes had occurred only yesterday. While acknowledging that many modern Somali nationalists consider Ahmad a national hero, it must be noted that the concept of a Somali nation did not exist during Ahmad's lifetime.

Ahmed Gran see Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Gran, Ahmed see Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Ghazi, Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al- see Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
"The Left-Handed" see Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Ahmed Gragn see Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi
Ahmed Ibrahim al-Ghazi see Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi

Ahmad ibn Tulun
Ahmad ibn Tulun (September 835 - May 884).  Turkish slave who founded the Tulunid dynasty of Egypt and Syria  (r. 868-884).

Ahmad ibn Tulun was the founder of the Tulunid dynasty that ruled Egypt briefly between 868 and 905. Originally sent by the 'Abbasid caliph as governor to Egypt, Ibn Tulun established himself as an independent ruler.
Ibn Tulun was born in Baghdad during the month of Ramadan 220 AH (September 835). His father, Tulun, was one of the Turkic slaves included with a tribute sent by the governor of Bukhara to the 'Abbasid Caliph al-Ma'mun around the year 200/815-16. The 'Abbasid court recruited Turkish slaves to serve as military officers, and Tulun did well for himself, eventually coming to command the Caliph's private guard.

The family moved to Samarra in 850, and Ibn Tulun received his military training there, and also studied theology. He was appointed commander of special forces for the Caliph al-Mutawakkil in 855. Tulun died around this time, and his widow married an influential Turkish commander in the palace, Bayik Bey. Ibn Tulun married Hatun, the daughter of another influential Turkish general in the palace guard, who bore him two chilren: ‘Abbas and Fatimah.

After serving in military campaigns against the Byzantine Empire in Tarsus, Ibn Tulun gained the favor of the Caliph al-Musta'in. Upon returning to Baghdad in 863, the Caliph presented him with a concubine, Meyyaz, with whom he had Khumarraweh, the son who eventually succeeded him as ruler of Egypt.

In 868, the Caliph al-Mu'tazz appointed Bayik Bey as the governor of Egypt. Bayik Bey in turn sent Ahmad ibn Tulun as his regent. Ibn Tulun arrived in Egypt in September 868.

On arriving in Egypt, Ibn Tulun found that the existing capital of Egypt, al-Fustat, founded by Amr ibn al-'As in 641, was too small to accommodate his armies. He founded a new city to serve as his capital, Madinat al-Qatta'i, or the quartered city. Al-Qatta'i was laid out in the style of the grand cities of Persia and the Byzantine Empire, including a large public square, hippodrome, a palace for the governor, and a large ceremonial Mosque of Ibn Tulun, which was named for Ibn Tulun. The city was razed in 905, and the mosque alone survived.

Initially, Ibn Tulun's rule in Egypt was marked by a struggle for control with the existing head of the council of financial affairs, Ibn al-Mudabbir. Ibn al-Mudabbir was disliked by the local population because of the high rates of taxation (particularly against non-Muslim citizens, which comprised over half of Egypt's population) and greed. Ibn al-Mudabbir reported directly to the Caliph, not to the governor of Egypt, and as such ignored Ibn Tulun entirely. Ibn Tulun used his influence at the 'Abbasid court to work against Ibn al-Mudabbir, and finally was able to have him removed after four years.

Bayik Bey was murdered around 870, and governorship passed to Yarjukh al-Turki, father of Ibn Tulun's wife, Hatun. Yarjukh retained Ibn Tulun as his regent in Egypt, and increased his power by granting him authority over Alexandria and other territories in the region. Ibn Tulun led a campaign against the rebellious governor of Syria, ‘Īsā ibn Shaykh ash-Shaybanī, which allowed him to amass an army of 100,000 men.

In 871, the Caliph al-Mu'tamid appointed his brother Al-Muwaffaq as governor of Damascus, and his son, later the Caliph Al-Mu'tadid, to succeed Yarjukh as governor of Egypt. The rebellion of the Zanji, a group of black slaves who seized control of Basra and much of southern Iraq during this decade, siphoned much of the caliphate's resources away from the provinces. In 874, Ibn Tulun took advantage of the chaos in Iraq to sever relations with Baghdad and declare independence.

It was not until 877 that Al-Mu'tadid sent armed forces under Musa bin Bugha to retake control of Egypt. But the attempted invasion was a rout, with most of Musa's army scattering before the larger forces led by Ibn Tulun. Ibn Tulun's forces followed and took control of large portions of Syria, but the campaign was cut short when Ibn Tulun had to return to Egypt to deal with a revolt led by his own son, ‘Abbās.

Following his return from Syria, Ibn Tulun added his own name to coins issued by the dynasty, along with those of the Caliph and heir apparent. In 882, Ibn Tulun invited the nearly powerless Caliph al-Mu'tamid to Egypt to offer him protection against his brother, Al-Muwaffaq, who was trying to remain in power as regent. Al-Muta'mid was intercepted en route to Egypt, and Ibn Tulun and Al-Muwaffaq began an endless campaign against each other. Ibn Tulun was able to have a group of prominent jurists declare Al-Muwaffaq a usurper, and both leaders had the other cursed during Friday prayers.

Military skirmishes followed. After leading the siege of Tarsus in 883, Ibn Tulun fell ill on his return to Egypt and died on May 10, 884. He was succeeded by his 20-year old son, Khumarraweh, who lacked much of the charisma and cunning that kept Ibn Tulun in power. The Tulunid dynasty was short-lived, and Egypt was reoccupied by 'Abbasid forces in the winter of 904-05.

Ibn Tulun see Ahmad ibn Tulun

Ahmadiyya (Ahmadiya).  Modern day messianic movement originating in South Asia.  The founder of the Ahmadiyya was Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani (Mirza Ghulam Ahmad).  Ghulam Ahmad Qadiyani (1839-1908) was a Punjabi Muslim who attempted to regenerate Islam in the face of challenges from the British Raj, Protestant Christianity, and revitalized Hinduism.  Ghulam Ahmad’s visions led him to believe that he was an agent of the apocalypse, at once the Mahdi and the Messiah whom Muslims expected at the end of time.

In 1889, by accepting his first disciples, Ghulam Ahmad launched the movement named after him.  It grew rapidly during his lifetime and continued to grow after his death in 1908.  But his successor, Nur ad-din, was not able to prevent the outbreak of factionalism among the Ahmadiyya.

In 1914, a split, due as much to personal antagonisms as doctrinal differences, evolved between the Qadiyani and Lahori branches of the movement.  The Lahoris have been consistent apologists for a progressive, modernist Islam, defending their faith against propaganda attacks from other religions, while the Qadiyanis, by insisting on the uniqueness of Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet, have been engaged in a rearguard debate with other Muslims.  Neither the Qadiyanis nor the Lahoris associate or communicate with the other, but both are zealously missionary in outlook and organization, accounting for the diffusion of Ahmadi communities throughout the Western world, Africa, and Asia.

The prolific writings of Ghulam Ahmad reveal him to have been both a reformer and a traditionalist.  He inveighed against a militant interpretation of jihad -- holy war -- but upheld the validity of polygamy and purdah -- the veiling and seclusion of women.  Ghulam Ahmad criticized many of the traditions ascribed to Muhammad, while at the same time accepting the Qur’an as an error free document of divine inspiration, not one word of which could be abrogated or superseded. 

What evoked continuing controversy was Ghulam Ahmad’s identification of himself as a prophet.  This identification appeared to contradict orthodox Muslim teaching that Muhammad was the last divine emissary, “the seal of the prophets”  -- the last of the prophets.

Stressing the affinity between himself and Jesus as prophets, Ghulam Ahmad argued that his own prophethood was only partial, reviving the law of Muhammad just as Jesus had revived the law of Moses.  Neither he nor Jesus was sent to bring new laws; they merely completed, by updating and restoring, the law in their respective prophetic cycles.

Representatives of orthodox Islam, especially the learned functionaries or ‘ulama', never accepted Ghulam Ahmad’s arguments, and his community suffered increasing difficulties after the formation of Pakistan in 1947.  Many of the Ahmadis migrated from Qadiyan in North India to Rabwah in Pakistan after 1947.  However, once in Pakistan, they soon found themselves the subject of repeated hate campaigns in 1949, 1952, 1953, and 1974.  Indeed, riots against the Ahmadis occurred in Lahore in 1953.  After the last hate campaign of 1974, agitation against the Ahmadis led to an amendment to the constitution of Pakistan declaring that followers of Ghulam Ahmad were a non-Muslim minority and were, therefore, barred from holding public office. 

The Ahmadiyya emerged as a competitive movement within Sunni Islam in Punjab, British India, where Christian and Arya Samaj missionary activity was rife in the 19th century of the Christian calendar. The Ahmadiyya emphasizes the peaceful propagation of Islam. Ghulam Ahmad was an important religious figure who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times who was to herald the Eschaton as predicted in the traditions of various World religions. Essentially, Ghulam Ahmad was deemed to be the Mujaddid (divine reformer) of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah (“Second Coming of Christ”) and the Mahdi.

The Ahmadiyya views on certain beliefs in Islam have been controversial to some mainstream Muslims since the Movement’s birth. A majority of mainstream Muslims do not consider Ahmadis to be Muslims, citing in particular the Ahmadiyya viewpoint on the death and return of Jesus, the Ahmadiyya concept of jihad and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community view on the finality of Muhammad with particular reference to interpretation of verse [33:40] of the Qur'an. However, Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and claim to practice Islam as was taught and practiced by Muhammad and the early Muslim community. Ghulam Ahmad founded the movement in 1889 and termed it the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat (community) envisioning it to be a revitalization of Islam.

The original Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat split into two separate groups after the death of Hakim Noor-ud-Din, the first successor of Ghulam Ahmad. They are known respectively as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the smaller Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam). These groups vary in their specific interpretations of Ahmad's teachings and claims. They also differ in their views on who should have succeeded Ghulam Ahmad, and how such a successor should be chosen.

The larger faction of the Ahmadiyya Movement, known as the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is established in 190 countries of the world. The International Headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is currently in London. In addition, they have created a place called ‘Islamabad’ in Tilford, Surrey, the London Mosque and also Western Europe’s largest mosque, the Baitul Futuh in Morden, south-west London.

The smaller faction, known as the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement is established in 17 countries of the world and out of these 17 countries, is largely apparent in Germany, Australia and Pakistan. The International Headquarters of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement is in the town of Lahore, Pakistan in which the Lahore Movement originated. Within Lahore, Pakistan, are the Ahmadiyya Buildings Lahore which act as the international administrative headquarters for the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.

The Ahmadiyya movement claims to represent the latter day renaissance of the religion of Islam. At the end of the 19th century,  Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian proclaimed himself to be the “Reformer of the Age” (the Mujaddid), the Promised Messiah, and the Mahdi of the age. He claimed to have fulfilled the prophecy of the return of Jesus. He and his followers claimed that his advent was foretold by Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and also by many other religious scriptures of the world. In 1889, Ghulam Ahmad laid down the foundation of his community, which was later given the name of “Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at”. Since its inception, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at's objective has been the revival of Islam. Soon after the death of Ghulam Ahmad, the movement split into two sects over the question of the finality of Prophethood. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement affirmed the traditional Islamic interpretation that there could be no new prophet after Muhammad and viewed itself as a reform movement within the broader Ummah. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, however, claimed that Ghulam Ahmad had indeed been a “non-law-bearing” prophet and that mainstream Muslims who rejected his message were guilty of disbelief. The question of succession was also an issue in the split of the Ahmadiyya movement. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believes that an anjuman (body of selected people) should be in charge of the community. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, however, believes that caliphs (successors of Ghulam Ahmad) should continue to take charge of the community.

Overseas Ahmadiyya missionary activities started at an organized level as early as the 1920s. For many modern nations of the world, the Ahmadiyya movement was their first contact with proclaimants from the Muslim world.  The Ahmadiyya movement is considered by some historians as one of the precursors to the African-American Civil Rights Movement. According to some, until the 1950s, the Ahmadiyya were “arguably the most influential community in African-American Islam," when the Nation of Islam gained support among black communities.  Many notable jazz musicians converted to Ahmadiyya Islam. The influence of the Ahmadiyya movement in the United States was later reduced by the splits among the community caused by the Nation of Islam as well as the Sunni scholars during the 1950s.

Ahmadiyya beliefs do not conflict with those of Islam in general.  Ahmadiyya beliefs include a belief in the prophethood of Muhammad, reverence for historical prophets, and a belief in a single creator. Ahmadis accept the Qur'an as their holy text, face the Ka'ba during prayer, accept the authority of hadiths (reported sayings of and stories about Muhammad) and practice the Sunnah.

Central to the Ahmadiyya is the belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Ahmadis emphasize the implementation of the kalima (the fundamental creed of Islam) as quintessentially linked with the Islamic principles of the rights of God (Haqooqul-Lah) and the rights of mankind (Haqooqul-Ibād).  Every prophet is believed to have emphasized one of the two parts of this Islamic creed depending on the need of the time.

Mankind is believed to have erred with regard to both of these essential aspects of religion in the present age. Ahmadis believe that Ghulam Ahmad was divinely commissioned to establish the unity of God, remind mankind of their duties towards God and God's creation, and to emphasize both aspects of religion which Ahmadis believe is the need of the present age. As such, Ahmadis hold that Ghulam Ahmad was the representative and spiritual re-advent of all previous prophets. Giving precedence to faith over worldly pursuits is also a key principle in Ahmadiyya teachings.

Although the central values of Islam (prayer, charity, fasting, etc.) and the six articles of belief are shared by Muslims and Ahmadis, distinct Ahmadiyya beliefs include the following:

(1) That the prophecies concerning the second coming of Jesus were metaphorical in nature and not literal and that Ghulam Ahmad fulfilled in his person these prophecies and the second advent of Jesus.  Indeed, that Ghulam Ahmad was the promised Mahdi and Messiah.

(2) That Ghulam Ahmad is the continuation of divine revelation. Although the Qur'an is the final message of God for mankind, God is still able to communicate with his chosen individuals in the same way as he is believed to have always done. All of God's attributes are eternal.

(3) That Jesus, contrary to mainstream Islamic belief, was crucified and survived the four hours on the cross. He was later revived from a swoon in the tomb. Ahmadis believe that Jesus died in Kashmir of old age whilst seeking the Lost Tribes of Israel. Jesus' remains are believed to be entombed in Kashmir under the name Yuz Asaf. Ahmadis believe that Jesus foretold the coming of Muhammad after him, which Christians have misinterpreted.

(4) That Jesus Christ did not bring a new religion or law i.e. was not a law-bearing prophet but was last in the line of Israelite prophets who appeared within the dispensation of Moses akin to that of David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Isaiah etc.

(5) That jihad can only be used to protect against extreme religious persecution.
(6) That the “Messiah” and the “Imam Mahdi” are the same person, and that it is through his teachings, influence, his prayers and that of his followers that Islam will defeat the Anti-Christ or Dajjal in a period similar to the period of time it took for nascent Christianity to rise (300 years) and that the Dajjal's power will slowly melt away like the melting of snow, heralding the final victory of Islam and age of peace.
(7) That the history of religion from the time of the Biblical Adam is split into seven epochs or ages, parallel to the seven days of the week, with periods for light and darkness.

(8) That Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appeared as the Promised Messiah at the sixth epoch heralding the seventh and final age of mankind, as a day in the estimation of God is like a thousand years of man's reckoning (Quran:22:48). According to Ghulam Ahmad just as the sixth day of the week is reserved for Jumu'ah (congregational prayers) likewise his age is destined for a global gathering or assembly in which the world is to unite under one universal religion which according to him was Islam.

The two Ahmadiyya groups have varying beliefs regarding the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that Muhammad brought prophethood to perfection and was the last law-bearing prophet and the apex of man's spiritual evolution. New prophets can come but they must be subordinate to Muhammad and cannot exceed him in excellence nor alter his teaching or bring any new law or religion. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believes that Muhammad is the last of the prophets and no prophet, new or old, can come after him.

India has a significant Ahmadiyya population.  Most of them live in Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. In India, Ahmadiyyas consider themselves Muslims. This belief is supported by a court verdict (Shihabuddin Koya vs. Ahammed Koya, A.I.R. 1971 Ker 206).

In Pakistan, parliament has declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. In 1974, the government of Pakistan amended its constitution to define a Muslim “as a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad”.  Due to this strong clash of beliefs, Ahmadis have been the target of many attacks led by various religious groups. According to an ordinance issued in 1984, Ahmadis are forbidden to call themselves Muslims. This means that they are not allowed to profess the Islamic creed publicly or call their places of worship mosques. Trespassing the ban is considered blasphemy, a crime that can incur severe penalties.

As a result of the cultural implications of the laws and constitutional amendments regarding Ahmadis in Pakistan, persecution and hate-related incidents are constantly reported from different parts of the country. All religious seminaries and madrasahs in Pakistan, belonging to different sects of Islam have prescribed essential reading materials specifically targeted at refuting Ahmadiyya beliefs.

In a recent survey in Pakistan, pupils in private schools of Pakistan expressed their opinions on religious tolerance in the country. The figures assembled in the study reflect that even in the educated classes of Pakistan, Ahmadis are considered to be the least deserving minority in terms of equal opportunities and civil rights. In the same study, the teachers in these elite schools showed even lower amount of tolerance towards Ahmadis than did their pupils.

In Bangladesh, fundamentalist Islamic groups have demanded that Ahmadiyyas be declared “officially” as kafirs. Ahmadiyyas have become a persecuted group, targeted via protests and acts of violence. According to Amnesty International, followers have been subject to “house arrest”, and several have been killed. In late 2003, several large violent marches, lead by Moulana Moahmud Hossain Mumtazi, were directed to occupy an Ahmadiyya mosque. In 2004, all Ahmadiyya publications were banned.

In 2008, many Muslims in Indonesia protested against the Ahmadiyya Movement. With violence and large demonstrations, these religious conservatives put pressure on the government to monitor, and harass the Ahmadiyya community in Indonesia.  Many conservative Islamic groups called for an outright ban on the Ahmadiyya. In June 2008, a law was passed to curtail “proselytizing” by Ahmadiyya members. An Ahmadiyya mosque was burned.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established in Canada in 1963. On October, 17, 1992, in the presence of Mirza Tahir Ahmad and many members of Parliament the Baitul Islam Mosque in Maple, Ontario (House of Islam) was opened and is now the headquarters of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Canada.

Orthodox Muslims consider both Ahmadi movements to be heretics and non-Muslims for a number of reasons, chief among them being the question of finality of prophethood, since they believe members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community do not regard the Islamic prophet Muhammad to be the last prophet. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement does not subscribe to this belief. Ahmadis claim that this is a result of misinterpreting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's statements referring to his coming “in the spirit of Muhammad”, (similar to John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah). Ahmadi Muslims believe Ghulam Ahmad to be the Mahdi and promised Messiah.

Mainstream Muslims do not accept this claim, and do not believe Ghulam Ahmad to have fulfilled the prophecies about the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. According to mainstream Muslims Ghulam Ahmad's failiure to establish a perfect worldwide Muslim government and the alleged manner of his death invalidate his claim to be the promised Mahdi and Messiah and hence he is seen as a false prophet. A 1974 Declaration by the World Muslim League declared the Ahmadiyya movement to be outside the fold of Islam. The World Muslim League held its annual conference at Makkah Al-Mukaramma Saudi Arabia from 14th to 18th of Rabiul Awwal 1394 H (April 1974) in which 140 delegations of Muslim countries and organizations from all over the world participated.

Both Ahmadi movements are considered non-Muslims by the Pakistan government, and their adherents have this fact recorded on their travel documents. In contrast, Ahmadi citizens from Western countries and other moderate Muslim nations perform Hajj and Umra as the Saudi government is not made aware that they are Ahmadis when applying for the visa. A court decision has also upheld the right of Ahmadiyyas to identify themselves as Muslims in India.

As the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement’s view regarding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s status as a Prophet is closer to traditional Islamic thought, the Literature published by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement has found greater acceptability among the Muslim Intelligentsia.

Some mainstream Muslims group both Ahmadi movements together and refer to them as “Qadianis”, and their beliefs as “Qadianism” (after the small town of Qadian in the Gurdaspur District of Punjab in India, where the movement's founder was born). However, most, if not all, Ahmadis of both sects dislike this term as it has acquired derogatory connotations over the years and furthermore they prefer to differentiate their two separate movements. Furthermore, mainstream Muslims will not use the term “Muslim” when referring to Ahmadis, even though both sects refer to themselves as such citing the fatwas given by the Islamic scholars. However, as members of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement deny the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, some orthodox Islamic Scholars consider the Lahore Ahmadiyya as Muslims. In earlier times in Pakistan and India, there was widespread persecution of Ahmadis by certain Muslim groups. Sporadic violence as well as persecution of a more subtle nature against Ahmadis continues even today.

Christian missionaries during the life of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad were actively engaged in debates, prayer duels and written arguments with the Ahmadiyya Movement. The Ahmadiyya Movement considered Christian nations (particularly of the developed world) as being part of the prophesized Dajjal and Gog and Magog. The Ahmadiyya view of the death of Jesus has also been a source of ongoing friction with the Christian Church.

The primary significance of the Ahmadiyya Movement lay in its missionary emphasis. Every Muslim believed that Islam was the only religion free from error. The Ahmadis made it part of their principles to show the errors of other religions to their adherents and to proselytize energetically for Islam. In a sense, the Ahmadis represent the Muslims emerging, religiously speaking, from the withdrawal that had begun with the arrival of the British, just as the Muslim League represents the political emergence from that same withdrawal. Although the sect most attacked by Muslims in India and Pakistan, it has also been the one which has worked hardest, in both its branches, to defend and extend Islam against the competition offered by other faiths.

Ahmadiya see Ahmadiyya

Ahmad Khan, Sayyid
Ahmad Khan, Sayyid  (Sayyid Ahmad Khan) (October 17, 1817 - March 27, 1898).  Educational, political, and religious reformer and the major formulator of the modern concept of communal identity among Muslims of India in the latter half of the nineteenth century of the Christian calendar.  As founder of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh and leader of the Aligarh movement, he attempted to bring about a synthesis between the culture of the Mughal Empire and the institutions of British rule.

Son of an official of the Mughal court, by then a protectorate of the British East India Company, Sayyid Ahmad was raised in the religious and cultural style of the Mughal literati and scholastic tradition associated with Shah Wali Ullah (Shah Wali Allah).  In defiance of the wishes of his elders, he took service as a subordinate official of the British regime in 1836 and spent the next forty years of his life posted in a series of small North Indian towns.  At the same time, he was editor of one of the first Urdu newspapers and author of religious and historical works.  During the 1857 Revolt, he remained a staunch supporter of British rule, but afterwards published a sharp critique of British policies and attitudes. 

During the 1860s, Sayyid Ahmad became an active public leader, journalist, and orator, as well as the founder of a series of schools and associations, all aimed at reconciling British and Indian ideologies and institutions.  He established a Scientific Society in 1864, which moved to Aligarh the following year, dedicated to translating European historical and scientific works into Urdu and publishing older works of Indian and Islamic scholarship.

Following a trip to England in 1869/1870 Sayyid Ahmad became determined to establish an autonomous Indian Muslim educational system, which would prepare a new intellectual leadership grounded in Western knowledge as well as in a reformed Islam.  Although his religious liberalism inspired intense opposition, the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College, Aligarh, founded in 1875, became a center and symbol of a new concept of communal unity for Indian Muslims.

In 1887, “Sir Syed,” as he came to be known, led a movement of opposition to the Indian National Congress, arguing that its program was inconsistent with the nature of Indian society and the interests of Muslims.  After his death, these opinions were deemed a charter for separatist Muslim politics, although Sayyid Ahmad represented more the imperial ideologies of the Mughals and British than the religious nationalism of the movement that led to the creation of the state of Pakistan. 

Syed Ahmed Khan (also Sayyid Ahmad Khan), commonly known as "Sir Syed," was an Indian educator and politician, and an Islamic reformer and modernist. Syed Ahmed pioneered modern education for the Muslim community in India by founding the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College, which later developed into the Aligarh Muslim University. His work gave rise to a new generation of Muslim intellectuals and politicians who composed the Aligarh movement to secure the political future of Muslims in India.

Born into Mughal nobility, Syed Ahmed earned a reputation as a distinguished scholar while working as a jurist for the British East India Company. During the Indian Rebellion of 1857, he remained loyal to the British and was noted for his actions in saving European lives. After the rebellion, he penned the booklet Asbab-e-Bhaghawath-e-Hind ("The Causes of the Indian Mutiny") — a daring critique, at the time, of British policies that he blamed for causing the revolt. Believing that the future of Muslims was threatened by the rigidity of their orthodox outlook, Syed Ahmed began promoting Western-style scientific education by founding modern schools and journals and organising Muslim intellectuals. Towards this goal, Syed Ahmed founded the Muhammedan Anglo-Oriental College in 1875 with the aim of promoting social and economic development of Indian Muslims.

One of the most influential Muslim politicians of his time, Syed Ahmed was suspicious of the Indian independence movement and called upon Muslims to loyally serve the British Raj. He denounced nationalist organisations such as the Indian National Congress, instead forming organisations to promote Muslim unity and pro-British attitudes and activities. Syed Ahmed promoted the adoption of Urdu as the lingua franca of all Indian Muslims, and mentored a rising generation of Muslim politicians and intellectuals. Although hailed as a great Muslim leader and social reformer, Syed Ahmed remains the subject of controversy for his views on Hindu-Muslim issues.
Syed Ahmed Khan Bahadur was born in Delhi, then the capital of the Mughal Empire. His family is said to have migrated from [Herat] (now in [Afghanistan]) in the time of emperor Akbar, although by other accounts his family descended from Arabia. Many generations of his family had since been highly connected with the Mughal administration. His maternal grandfather Khwaja Fariduddin served as wazir in the court of Akbar Shah II. His paternal grandfather Syed Hadi held a mansab, a high-ranking administrative position and honorary name of Jawwad Ali Khan in the court of Alamgir II. Syed's father Mir Muhammad Muttaqi was personally close to Akbar Shah II and served as his personal adviser. However, Syed Ahmed was born at a time when rebellious governors, regional insurrections and the British colonialism had diminished the extent and power of the Mughal state, reducing its monarch to a figurehead status. With his elder brother Syed Muhammad Khan, Syed Ahmed was raised in a large house in a wealthy area of the city. They were raised in strict accordance with Mughal noble traditions and exposed to politics. Their mother Azis-un-Nisa played a formative role in Syed Ahmed's life, raising him with rigid discipline and with a strong emphasis on education. Syed Ahmed was taught to read and understand the Qur'an by a female tutor, which was unusual at the time. He received an education traditional to Muslim nobility in Delhi. Under the charge of Maulvi Hamiduddin, Syed Ahmed was trained in Persian, Arabic, Urdu and religious subjects. He read the works of Muslim scholars and writers such as Sahbai, Rumi and Ghalib. Other tutors instructed him in mathematics, astronomy and Islamic jurisprudence. Syed Ahmed was also adept at swimming, wrestling and other sports. He took an active part in the Mughal court's cultural activities. His elder brother founded the city's first printing press in the Urdu language along with the journal Sayyad-ul-Akbar. Syed Ahmed pursued the study of medicine for several years, but did not complete the prescribed course of study.  Until the death of his father in 1838, Syed Ahmed had lived a life customary for an affluent young Muslim noble. Upon his father's death, he inherited the titles of his grandfather and father and was awarded the title of Arif Jung by the emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar.  Financial difficulties put an end to Syed Ahmed's formal education, although he continued to study in private, using books on a variety of subjects. Syed Ahmed assumed editorship of his brother's journal and rejected offers of employment from the Mughal court. Having recognised the steady decline in Mughal political power, Syed Ahmed entered the British East India Company's civil service. He was appointed serestadar at the courts of law in Agra, responsible for record-keeping and managing court affairs. In 1840, he was promoted to the title of munshi.
The Social Reformer was a pioneering publication initiated by Syed Ahmed to promote liberal ideas in Muslim society. While continuing to work as a jurist, Syed Ahmed began focusing on writing on various subjects, mainly in Urdu. His career as an author began when he published a series of treatises in Urdu on religious subjects in 1842. He published the book Athar Assanadid ("Great Monuments") documenting antiquities of Delhi dating from the medieval era. This work earned him the reputation of a cultured scholar. In 1842, he completed the Jila-ul-Qulub bi Zikr il Mahbub and the Tuhfa-i-Hasan, along with the Tahsil fi jar-i-Saqil in 1844. These works focused on religious and cultural subjects. In 1852, he published the two works Namiqa dar bayan masala tasawwur-i-Shaikh and Silsilat ul-Mulk. He released the second edition of Athar Assanadid in 1854. He also penned a commentary on the Bible in which he argued that Islam was the closest religion to Christianity, with a common lineage from Abrahamic religions.

Acquainted with high-ranking British officials, Syed Ahmed obtained close knowledge about British colonial politics during his service at the courts. At the outbreak of the Indian rebellion, on May 10, 1857, Syed Ahmed was serving as the chief assessment officer at the court in Bijnor. Northern India became the scene of the most intense fighting. The conflict had left large numbers of civilians dead. Erstwhile centres of Muslim power such as Delhi, Agra, Lucknow and Kanpur were severely affected. Syed Ahmed was personally affected by the violence and the ending of the Mughal dynasty amongst many other long-standing kingdoms. Syed Ahmed and many other Muslims took this as a defeat of Muslim society. He lost several close relatives who died in the violence. Although he succeeded in rescuing his mother from the turmoil, she died in Meerut, owing to the privations she had experienced.

In 1858, Syed Ahmed was appointed to a high-ranking post at the court in Muradabad, where he began working on his most famous literary work. Publishing the booklet Asbab-e-Bhaghawath-e-Hind in 1859, Syed Ahmed studied the causes of the revolt. In this, his most famous work, he rejected the common notion that the conspiracy was planned by Muslim élites, who were insecure at the diminishing influence of Muslim monarchs. Syed Ahmed blamed the British East India Company for its aggressive expansion as well as the ignorance of British politicians regarding Indian culture. However, he gained respect for British power, which he felt would dominate India for a long period of time. Seeking to rehabilitate Muslim political influence, Syed Ahmed advised the British to appoint Muslims to assist in administration. His other writings such as Loyal Muhammadans of India, Tabyin-ul-Kalam and A Series of Essays on the Life of Muhammad and Subjects Subsidiary Therein helped to create cordial relations between the British authorities and the Muslim community.

Through the 1850s, Syed Ahmed Khan began developing a strong passion for education. While pursuing studies of different subjects including European [jurisprudence], Syed Ahmed began to realize the advantages of Western-style education, which was being offered at newly-established colleges across India. Despite being a devout Muslim, Syed Ahmed criticized the influence of traditional dogma and religious orthodoxy, which had made most Indian Muslims suspicious of British influences. Syed Ahmed began feeling increasingly concerned for the future of Muslim communities.  A scion of Mughal nobility, Syed Ahmed had been reared in the finest traditions of Muslim élite culture and was aware of the steady decline of Muslim political power across India. The animosity between the British and Muslims before and after the rebellion (Independence War) of 1857 threatened to marginalize Muslim communities across India for many generations. Syed Ahmed intensified his work to promote co-operation with British authorities, promoting loyalty to the Empire amongst Indian Muslims. Committed to working for the uplifting of Muslims, Syed Ahmed founded a modern madrassa in Muradabad in 1859. This was one of the first religious schools to impart scientific education. Syed Ahmed also worked on social causes, helping to organize relief for the famine-struck people of the Northwest Frontier Province in 1860. He established another modern school in Ghazipur in 1863.

Upon his transfer to Aligarh in 1864, Syed Ahmed began working wholeheartedly as an educator. He founded the Scientific Society of Aligarh, the first scientific association of its kind in India. Modelling it after the Royal Society and the Royal Asiatic Society, Syed Ahmed assembled Muslim scholars from different parts of the country. The Society held annual conferences, disbursed funds for educational causes and regularly published a journal on scientific subjects in English and Urdu. Syed Ahmed felt that the socio-economic future of Muslims was threatened by their orthodox aversions to modern science and technology. He published many writings promoting liberal, rational interpretations of Islamic scriptures. However, his view of Islam was rejected by Muslim clergy as contrary to traditional views on issues like jihad, polygamy and animal slaughtering. In face of pressure from religious Muslims, Syed Ahmed avoided discussing religious subjects in his writings, focusing instead on promoting education.

The onset of the Hindi-Urdu controversy of 1867 saw the emergence of Syed Ahmed as a political leader of the Muslim community. He became a leading Muslim voice opposing the adoption of Hindi as a second official language of the United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh). Syed Ahmed perceived Urdu as the lingua franca of Muslims. Having been developed by Muslim rulers of India, Urdu was used as a secondary language to Persian, the official language of the Mughal court. Since the decline of the Mughal dynasty, Syed Ahmed promoted the use of Urdu through his own writings. Under Syed Ahmed, the Scientific Society translated Western works only into Urdu. The schools established by Syed Ahmed imparted education in the Urdu medium. The demand for Hindi, led largely by Hindus, was to Syed Ahmed an erosion of the centuries-old Muslim cultural domination of India. Testifying before the British-appointed education commission, Syed Ahmed controversially exclaimed that "Urdu was the language of gentry and Hindi that of the vulgar." His remarks provoked a hostile response from Hindu leaders, who unified across the nation to demand the recognition of Hindi.

The success of the Hindi movement led Syed Ahmed to further advocate Urdu as the symbol of Muslim heritage and as the language of all Indian Muslims. His educational and political work grew increasingly centered around, and exclusively for, Muslim interests. He also sought to persuade the British to give Urdu extensive official use and patronage. His colleagues and protégés such as Mohsin-ul-Mulk and Maulvi Abdul Haq developed organisations such as the Urdu Defence Association and the Anjuman Taraqqi-i-Urdu, committed to the perpetuation of Urdu. Syed Ahmed's protégé Shibli Nomani led efforts that resulted in the adoption of Urdu as the official language of the Hyderabad State and as the medium of instruction in the Osmania University. To Muslims in northern and western India, Urdu had become an integral part of political and cultural identity. However, the division over the use of Hindi or Urdu further provoked communal conflict between Muslims and Hindus in India.
On April 1, 1869, Syed Ahmed travelled to England, where he was awarded the Order of the Star of India from the British government on August 6. Travelling across England, he visited its colleges and was inspired by the culture of learning established after the Renaissance. Syed Ahmed returned to India in the following year determined to build a "Muslim Cambridge." Upon his return, he organized the "Committee for the Better Diffusion and Advancement of Learning among Muhammadans" (Muslims) on December 26, 1870.

By 1873, the committee under Syed Ahmed issued proposals for the construction of a college in Aligarh. He began publishing the journal Tahzib al-Akhlaq (Social Reformer) to spread awareness and knowledge on modern subjects and promote reforms in Muslim society.  Syed Ahmed worked to promote re-interpretation of Muslim ideology in order to reconcile tradition with Western education. He argued in several books on Islam that the Qur'an rested on an appreciation of reason and natural law, making scientific inquiry important to being a good Muslim. Syed Ahmed established a modern school in Aligarh and, obtaining support from wealthy Muslims and the British, laid the foundation stone of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College on May 24, 1875. He retired from his career as a jurist the following year, concentrating entirely on developing the college and on religious reform. Syed Ahmed's pioneering work received support from the British. Although intensely criticized by orthodox religious leaders hostile to modern influences, Syed Ahmed's new institution attracted a large student body, mainly drawn from the Muslim gentry and middle classes. The curriculum at the college involved scientific and Western subjects, as well as Oriental subjects and religious education. The first chancellor was Sultan Shah Jahan Begum, a prominent Muslim noblewoman, and Syed Ahmed invited an Englishman, Theodore Beck, to serve as the first college principal. The college was originally affiliated with Calcutta University but was transferred to the Allahabad University in 1885. Near the turn of the 20th century, it began publishing its own magazine and established a law school. In 1920, the college was transformed into a university.

In 1878, Syed Ahmed was nominated to the Viceroy's Legislative Council. He testified before the education commission to promote the establishment of more colleges and schools across India. In the same year, Syed Ahmed founded the Muhammadan Association to promote political co-operation amongst Indian Muslims from different parts of the country. In 1886, he organized the All India Muhammadan Educational Conference in Aligarh, which promoted his vision of modern education and political unity for Muslims. His works made him the most prominent Muslim politician in 19th century India, often influencing the attitude of Muslims on various national issues. He supported the efforts of Indian political leaders Surendranath Banerjea and Dadabhai Naoroji to obtain representation for Indians in the government and civil services. In 1883, he founded the Muhammadan Civil Service Fund Association to encourage and support the entry of Muslim graduates into the Indian Civil Service (ICS).

Syed Ahmed's political views were shaped by a strong aversion to the emerging nationalist movement, which was composed largely of Hindus. Syed Ahmed opposed the Indian National Congress (created in 1885) on the grounds that it was a Hindu-majority organization. Syed Ahmed called on Muslims to stay away from it. While fearful of the loss of Muslim political power owing to the community's backwardness, Syed Ahmed was also averse to the prospect of democratic self-government, which would give control of government to the Hindu-majority population.

Syed Ahmed's fierce criticism of the Congress and Indian nationalists created rifts between Muslims and Hindus. At the same time, Syed Ahmed sought to politically ally Muslims to the British government. An avowed loyalist of the British Empire, Syed Ahmed was nominated as a member of the Civil Service Commission in 1887 by Lord Dufferin. In 1888, he established the United Patriotic Association at Aligarh to promote political co-operation with the British and Muslim participation in the government. Syed Ahmed Khan was knighted by the British government in 1888 and in the following year he received an LL.D. honoris causa from the Edinburgh University.

Syed Ahmed Khan lived the last two decades of his life in Aligarh, regarded widely as the mentor of 19th- and 20th century Muslim intellectuals and politicians. He remained the most influential Muslim politician in India, with his opinions guiding the convictions of a large majority of Muslims. Battling illnesses and old age, Syed Ahmed died on March 27, 1898. He was buried besides Syed Masjid inside the campus of the Aligarh university. His funeral was attended by thousands of students, Muslim leaders and British officials.  Syed Ahmed is widely commemorated across South Asia as a great Muslim reformer and visionary.

The university he founded remains one of India's most prominent institutions. Prominent alumni of Aligarh include Muslim political leaders Maulana Mohammad Ali, Abdur Rab Nishtar, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Maulvi Abdul Haq, who is hailed in Pakistan as Baba-e-Urdu (Father of Urdu). The first two Prime Ministers of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan and Khawaja Nazimuddin, as well as the late Indian President Dr. Zakir Hussain, are amongst Aligarh's most famous graduates. In India, Syed Ahmed is commemorated as a pioneer who worked for the socio-political upliftment of Indian Muslims, though his views on Hindu-Muslim issues are a subject of controversy. Syed Ahmed is also hailed as a founding father of Pakistan for his role in developing a Muslim political class independent of Hindu-majority organizations. The Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology was established in honor of Syed Ahmed in Karachi and is a leading technical institution in Pakistan. Furthermore, Sir Syed Government Girls College in Karachi, Pakistan is also named in the honor of Syed Ahmed Khan.

During his lifetime and in contemporary times, Syed Ahmed was criticised for encouraging communal divisions between Hindus and Muslims. He is identified by historians as one of the earliest advocates of the Two-Nation Theory — that Hindus and Muslims were distinct and incompatible nations. Historians argue that Syed Ahmed was emotionally unable to accept the prospect that an independent India's Hindu-majority would come to rule Muslims, who had been the erstwhile colonial rulers. He also feared that Hindu culture would diminish the Perso-Arabic nature of Muslim culture, which had enjoyed a dominant status under Muslim rulers for centuries. His condemnation of Indian nationalists and profession of the incompatibility of Muslims and Hindus widened the socio-political gulf between the communities that had emerged with the Urdu-Hindi controversy.

Supporters of Syed Ahmed contend that his political vision gave an independent political expression to the Muslim community, which aided its goal to secure political power in India. His philosophy guided the creation of the All India Muslim League in 1906, as a political party separate from the Congress. Syed Ahmed's ideas inspired both the liberal, pro-British politicians of the Muslim League and the religious ideologues of the Khilafat struggle. The Muslim League remained at odds with the Congress and continued to advocate the boycott of the Indian independence movement. In the 1940s, the student body of Aligarh committed itself to the establishment of Pakistan and contributed in a large measure to the activities of the Muslim League. Syed Ahmed's patronage of Urdu led to its widespread use amongst Indian Muslim communities and following the Partition of India its adoption as the official language of Pakistan, even though the most spoken Pakistani languages were Bengali and Punjabi.

Khan, Sayyid Ahmad see Ahmad Khan, Sayyid
"Sir Syed" see Ahmad Khan, Sayyid
Syed Ahmed Khan see Ahmad Khan, Sayyid

Ahmadou Ahidjo
Ahmadou Ahidjo.  See Ahidjo, Ahmadou.

Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Shah (Abdali Durrani Ahmad Shah) (Ahmad Khan) (Ahmad Shah Durrani) (Ahmad Shah Abdali) (Ahmad Khan Abdali) (1722-1773).  The first emir of Afghanistan (r. 1747-1773).  Ahmad was the hereditary chief of the Abdali tribe of Afghans, whom he later renamed the Durrani, and was the founder of the Sadozai dynasty of the Abdali tribe. 

Born in Herat in 1722, Ahmad Shah was the son of Muhammad Zaman Khan, who was governor of Herat.  After capturing Kandahar, Nadir Shah of Iran (r.1736-1747) exiled Ahmad Khan to Mazandaran in northern Iran and subsequently appointed him governor of that province.  At the death of Nadir Shah, Ahmad Khan was commander of an Afghan contingent of the Persian army at Kandahar.  He was able to capture a caravan with booty from India which assured his election as king (shah) of Afghanistan in October 1747 by an assembly of Pashtun chiefs.  The Pashtun tribesmen rallied to his banner, and Ahmad Shah led them on eight campaigns into India in search of booty and territorial conquest. In 1761, he inflicted a severe defeat on an Indian army (the Marathas) at Panipat, India.  He followed this with a victory over the Punjab Sikhs at Gujarwal in 1762.   He added Kashmir, Sind, and the Western Punjab to his domains and founded an empire which extended from eastern Persia to northern India and from the Amu Darya to the Indian Ocean. 

  He was buried in Kandahar, which became the capital of Afghanistan until Timur Shah (r.1773-1793) established his capital at Kabul. 

Although he was a powerful military leader, and although his Durrani Empire extended from the Oxus (Amu Darya) to the Indus and from Tibet to Khurasan, Ahmad Shah never really succeeded in permanently ruling India.  Indeed, ultimately, Ahmad Shah withdrew from India back into Afghanistan. 

Ahmad Shāh Durrānī, also known as Ahmad Shāh Abdālī and born as Ahmad Khān Abdālī, was the founder of the Durrani Empire and is regarded by many to be the founder of modern Afghanistan. After the assassination of Nader Shah Afshar, he became the Amir of Khorasan and later became the founder and ruler of his own Empire. The Pashtuns of Afghanistan often call him Baba ("father").

Ahmad Khan (later Ahmad Shah) was born in Multan, Punjab, Pakistan. He was from the Sadozai section of the Popalzai clan of the Abdali Pashtuns, and he was the second son of Mohammed Zaman Khan, chief of the Abdalis. In his youth, Ahmad Shah and his elder brother, Zulfikar Khan, were imprisoned inside a fortress by Hussein Khan, the Ghilzai governor of Kandahar. Hussein Khan commanded a powerful tribe of Pashtuns, having conquered the eastern part of Persia a few years previously and trodden the throne of the Safavids.

In around 1731, Nader Shah Afshar, the new ruler of Persia, began enlisting the Abdalis in his army. After conquering Kandahar in 1737, Ahmad Khan and his brother were freed by the new Persian ruler. The Ghilzai were expelled from Kandahar and the Abdalis were allowed to settle there instead.

Nader Shah favored Ahmad Khan due to his young and handsome features. Ahmad Khan was then given the title of “Dur-i-Durran” (Pearl of Pearls) by Nader Shah and thus Ahmad Khan changed the Abdali tribe's name to the Durrani tribe. Ahmad Khan proved himself in Nader Shah's service and was promoted from a personal attendant (yasāwal) to command a cavalry of Abdali tribesmen. Ahmad quickly rose to command a cavalry contingent estimated at four thousand strong, composed chiefly of Abdalis, in the service of the Shah on his invasion of India.

Popular history has it that the brilliant but megalomaniac Nader Shah could see the talent in his young commander. Later on, according to Pashtun legend, it is said that in Delhi Nader Shah summoned Ahmad Khan Abdali and said, "Come forward Ahmad Abdali. Remember Ahmad Khan Abdali, that after me the Kingship will pass on to you. But you should treat the descendants of Nader Shah with kindness." The young Ahmad Shah's response was, "May I be sacrficed to you. Should your majesty wish to slay me I am at your disposal. There is no cause or reason for saying such words!".

Nader Shah's rule abruptly ended in June 1747, when he was assassinated. The Turkoman guards involved in the assassination did so secretly so as to prevent the Abdalis from coming to their King's rescue. However, Ahmad Khan was told that Nader Shah had been killed by one of his wives. Despite the danger of being attacked, the Abdali contingent led by Ahmad Khan rushed either to save Nader Shah or to confirm what happened. Upon reaching the King's tent, they were in time only to see Nader Shah's body and severed head. Having served him so loyally, the Abdalis wept at having failed their leader, and headed back to Kandahar. On their way back to Kandahar, the Abdalis decided that Ahmad Khan would be their new leader and began calling him Ahmad Shah.
Later in 1747, the chiefs of the Durrani (Abdali) tribes met near Kandahar for a Loya Jirga to choose their new leader. For nine days serious discussions were held among the candidates in the Argah. Ahmad Shah kept silent by not campaigning for himself. At last Sabir Shah, a religious chief, came out of his sanctuary and stood before those in the Jirga and said, "He found no one worthy for leadership except Ahmah Shah. He is the most trustworthy and talented for the job. He had Sabir's blessing for the nomination because only his shoulders could carry this responsibility". The leaders agreed unanimously. Ahmad Shah was chosen to lead the tribes. Coins where struck as his coronation as King occurred in October, 1747, near the tomb of Shaikh Surkh, adjacent to Nadir Abad Fort.

Despite being younger than other claimants, Ahmad had several overriding factors in his favour:  (1)He was a direct descendant of Sado, patriarch of the Sadozai clan, the most prominent tribe amongst the Pashtuns at the time; (2) he was unquestionably a charismatic leader and seasoned warrior who had at his disposal a trained, mobile force of several thousand cavalrymen; and (3) he was the undisputed heir of Nadir Shah's kingdom.
Haji Ajmal Khan, the chief of the Mohammedzais (also known as Barakzais) which were rivals of the Sadodzais, withdrew out of the election.

One of Ahmad Shah's first acts as chief was to adopt the title "Durr-i-Durrani" ("pearl of pearls" or "pearl of the age") because Nader Afshar always used this title for him.

Following his predecessor, Ahmad Shah set up a special force closest to him consisting mostly of his fellow Durranis, Tājiks, Kizilbāshes, and Yūzufzais.

Ahmad Shah began his military conquests by capturing Ghazni from the Ghilzai Pashtuns and then wresting Kabul from the local ruler, and thus strengthened his hold over eastern Khorasan which is most of present-day Afghanistan. Leadership of the various Afghan tribes rested mainly on the ability to provide booty for the clan, and Ahmad Shah proved remarkably successful in providing both booty and occupation for his followers. Apart from invading the Punjab three times between the years 1747-1753, he captured Herāt in 1750 and both Nishapur (Neyshābūr) and Mashhad in 1751.

Ahmad Shah first crossed the Indus river in 1748, the year after his ascension - his forces sacked and absorbed Lahore during that expedition. The following year (1749), the Mughal ruler was induced to cede Sindh and all of the Punjab including the vital trans Indus River to him, in order to save his capital from being attacked by Ahmad Shah. Having thus gained substantial territories to the east without a fight, Ahmad Shah turned westward to take possession of Herat, which was ruled by Nadir Shah's grandson, Shah Rukh of Persia. The city fell to Ahmad Shah in 1750, after almost a year of siege and bloody conflict; Ahmad Shah then pushed on into present-day Iran, capturing Nishapur and Mashhad in 1751.

In the preceding three years, the Sikhs had occupied the city of Lahore, and Ahmad Shah had to return in 1751 to oust them. In 1752, he invaded and reduced Kashmir. He next sent an army to subdue the areas north of the Hindu Kush. In short order, the powerful army brought under its control the Turkmen, Uzbek, Tajik and Hazara peoples of northern, central, and western Afghanistan.

Then in 1756/57, in what was his fourth invasion of India, Ahmad Shah sacked Delhi and plundered Agra, Mathura, and Vrndavana. However, he did not displace the Mughal dynasty, which remained in nominal control as long as the ruler acknowledged Ahmad's suzerainty over the Punjab, Sindh, and Kashmir. He installed a puppet Emperor, Alamgir II, on the Mughal throne, and arranged marriages for himself and his son Timur into the Imperial family that same year. He married the daughter of the Mughal emperor Muhammad Shah. Leaving his second son Timur Shah (who was wed to the daughter of (Alamgir II) to safeguard his interests, Ahmad finally left India to return to Afghanistan. On his way back he could not resist attacking the Harmandir Sahib -- the Golden Temple -- in Amristar and filled its sarovar (sacred pool) with the blood of slaughtered cows and people. The Golden Temple is to the Sikhs what Mecca is to the Muslims hence Ahmad Shah's transgressions were of great proportion. It was this final act that was to be the start of long lasting bitterness between Sikhs and Afghans.

The Mughal power in northern India had been declining since the reign of Aurangzeb, who died in 1707. The Marathas, who already controlled much of western and central India from their capital at Pune, were straining to expand their area of control. After Ahmad Shah sacked the Mughal capital and withdrew with the booty he coveted, the Marathas filled the power void.  In 1758, within a year of Ahmad Shah's return to Kandahar, the Marathas secured possession of the Punjab, and succeeded in ousting his son Timur Shah and his court from India.

Amidst appeals from Muslim leaders like Shah Waliullah, Ahmad Shah chose to return to India and face the formidable challenge posed by the Maratha Confederacy . He declared a jihad (Islamic holy war) against the Marathas, and warriors from various Pashtun tribes, as well as other tribes such as the Baloch, Tajiks, and Muslims in India, answered his call. Early skirmishes ended in victory for the Afghans. By 1759, Ahmad Shah and his army had reached Lahore and were poised to confront the Marathas. By 1760, the Maratha groups had coalesced into a great army that probably outnumbered Ahmad Shah's forces. Once again, Panipat was the scene of a confrontation between two warring contenders for control of northern India. The Third battle of Panipat (January 1761), fought between largely Muslim and largely Hindu armies who numbered as many as 100,000 troops each, was waged along a twelve-kilometer front, and resulted in a decisive victory for Ahmad Shah.

Plagued by the plight of the Uyghurs whose lands were conquered by the warring Qing dynasty, Ahmad Shah laboriously attempted to rally Muslim nations to check Qing expansion. Ahmad Shah halted trade with Qing China and dispatched troops to Kokand. However, with his campaigns in India exhausting the state treasury, and with his troops stretched thin throughout Central Asia, Ahmad Shah did not have enough resources to check Qing forces. In an effort to alleviate the situation in East Turkestan, Ahmad Shah sent envoys to Beijing, but the talks did not yield favorable prospects for the Uyghurs.

Ahmad Shah used to hold, at stated periods, what is termed a Majlis-e-Ulema, or Assembly of the Learned, the early part of which was generally devoted to divinity and civil law.  Ahmad Shah himself was a Molawi and the meetings of the Majlis often concluded with conversations on science and poetry.  As a rule, Ahmad Shah did not interfere with the tribes or their customs as long as they did not interfere with his ambitions.
The victory at Panipat was the high point of Ahmad Shah's and Afghan power. His empire was among the largest Islamic empires in the world at that time. However, this situation was not to last long.  The empire soon began to unravel. As early as the end of 1761, the Sikhs had begun to rebel in much of the Punjab. In 1762, Ahmad Shah crossed the passes from Afghanistan for the sixth time to crush the Sikhs. He assaulted Lahore and Amritsar. Within two years, the Sikhs rebelled again, and he launched another campaign against them in 1764, resulting in a severe Sikh defeat. During his 8th invasion of India, the Sikhs vacated Lahore, but faced Ahmad Shah's army and general, Jahan Khan. The fear of his Indian empire falling to the Sikhs continued to obsess the Ahmad Shah and he initiated another campaign against Sikhs towards the close of 1766. This was his eighth invasion into India. The Sikhs had recourse to their old game of hide and seek. They vacated Lahore, but faced squarely the Afghan general, Jahan Khan at Amritsar, forcing him to retreat, with six thousand of Ahmad Shah's soldiers killed. Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with an army of about twenty thousand Sikhs roamed in the neighborhood of the Afghan camp plundering it to his heart's content. Never before had Ahmad Shah felt so helpless, his dream of capturing the whole of India was dying before his own eyes. The Sikhs thereafter ruled the region until 1849 losing to the British in the Second Anglo-Sikh War.

In the spring of 1761, Ahmad Shah, returned to Kabul.  From that period, up to the spring of 1773, his forces were actively employed against foreign and domestic foes.  Around this time, his health, which had been long in declining, continued to get worse, and pre-vented his engaging in any foreign expeditions. He had a cancer of the face, which had afflicted him first in 1764, and at last occasioned his death. He died at Murghah, in Afghanistan, in the beginning of June 1773, in the fiftieth year of his age. He was succeeded by his son, Timur Shah Durrani.
Ahmad Shah's successors, beginning with his son Timur and ending with Shuja Shah Durrani, proved largely incapable of governing the Durrani empire.  Faced with advancing enemies on all sides the Durrani Empire came to an end within 50 years of Ahmad Shah's death. Much of the territory conquered by Ahmad Shah fell to others in this half century. By 1818, Ahmad Shah heirs controlled little more than Kabul and the surrounding territory. They not only lost the outlying territories but also alienated other Pashtun tribes and those of other Durrani lineages. Until Dost Mohammad Khan's ascendancy in 1826, chaos reigned in Afghanistan, which effectively ceased to exist as a single entity, disintegrating into a fragmented collection of small units.

Nevertheless, the policies pursued by Ahmad Shah ensured that he did not continue on the path of other conquerors like Babur or Mohammad Ghori and make India the base for his empire. What he did accomplish was create the basis for Afghanistan as a modern-day nation. Indeed, the name "Afghanistan" finds official mention for the first time ever in history, in the Anglo-Persian peace treaty of 1801. Ahmed Shah has therefore earned recognition as "Ahmad Shah Baba", the "Father" of Afghanistan.

His victory over the Marathas also influenced the history of the subcontinent and in particular British policy in the region. His refusal to continue his campaigns deeper into India prevented a clash with the East India Company and allowed them to continue to acquire power and influence after their acquisition of Bengal in 1757. However, fear of another Afghan invasion was to haunt British policy for almost half a century after the battle of Panipat. The acknowledgment of Ahmad Shah's military accomplishments are reflected by British intelligence reports on Panipat, which referred to Ahmad Shah as the 'King of Kings'. Fear of an alliance between the French and Afghans led in 1798 to a British envoy, to the Persian court, being instructed to stir up the Persians against the Afghan Empire.

In addition to his military accomplishments, Ahmad Shah wrote a collection of odes in his native Pashto language. He was also the author of several poems in Persian.


Abdali Durrani Ahmad Shah see Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Khan see Ahmad Shah
Shah, Ahmad see Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Shah Durrani see Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Shah Abdali see Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Khan Abdali see Ahmad Shah

Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Shah (Ahmad Shah Qajar) (January 21, 1898 - February 21, 1930). The last Qajar ruler of Iran (r. 1909-1925). 

Ahmad Shah Qajar ‎was Shah of Persia from July 16, 1909, to October 31, 1925 and the last of the Qajar dynasty.

Ahmad acceded to the Peacock Throne on July 16, 1909, following the overthrow of his father and predecessor, Mohammad Ali Shah, who had attempted to reverse earlier constitutional restrictions on royal power, and thus enraged the majority of Iranians. Ahmad Shah inherited a kingdom in turmoil, frustrated with British and Russian imperialism and the absolute rule of his father. He attempted to fix the damage done by his father by appointing the best ministers he could find. He was, however, an ineffective ruler who was faced with internal unrest and foreign intrusions, particularly by the British and Russian Empires. In 1917, Britain used Persia as the springboard for an attack into Russia in an unsuccessful attempt to reverse the Russian Revolution of 1917. The newly born Soviet Union responded by annexing portions of northern Persia as buffer states much like its Tsarist predecessor. Marching on Tehran, the Soviets extracted ever more humiliating concessions from the Qajar government - whose ministers Ahmad Shah was often unable to control. The weakness of the central bureaucracy in the face of such aggression by an atheist foreign power sparked seething anger among many traditional Iranians - including the young Ruhollah Khomeini, who would later condemn both communism and monarchy as treason against Iran's sovereignty and the divine laws of Islam.

Eventually, the British crown and the Anglo-Persian Oil Company decided that the old, decaying feudalistic Qajar system was no longer useful to them, and shifted their support to Seyyed Zia'eddin Tabatabaee and Colonel Reza Khan Mirpanj of the Cossack Brigade, who believed in a heavily centralized authoritarian government that would bring the entire nation under his direct control. By 1923, with Reza's power rapidly on the rise, the young Shah's days in power were numbered.

Ahmad Shah was pushed aside in a military coup in 1921 by his Minister of War, Colonel Reza Khan, who subsequently seized the post of Prime Minister. Stripped of all his remaining power, Ahmad went into exile with his family in 1923. He was formally deposed on October 31, 1925, when Reza Khan was proclaimed Shah by the Founders Assembly, taking the name Reza Shah Pahlavi.

Ahmad Shah died in 1930 at Neuilly-sur-Seine, outside Paris, France. His brother, former crown prince Mohammad Hassan Mirza, assured the physical continuation of the dynasty through his descendants.

Shah, Ahmad see Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Shah Qajar see Ahmad Shah

Ahmad Shah
Ahmad Shah (b. 1943).  A member of the Ittihad-i Islami of Sayyaf who, in 1988, became prime minister of an interim cabinet founded by the Ittihad-i Islami-yi Mujahedin-i Afghanistan, an umbrella group of seven mujahedin parties headquartered in Pakistan.  Born in 1943 in a village in the Bagrami district of Kabul and educated at Ibn Sina School, Kabul Polytechnic Institute, and Kabul University, where he obtained an engineering degree in 1968 and started work with the department of agriculture and irrigation.  He came to the United States in 1972 and obtained an master's degree in engineering from Colorado State University in 1974.  In 1975, he started a teaching career at King Faisal University in Saudi Arabia but came to Peshawar after the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan.  He joined the Sayyaf group and became president (ra’is) of the committee for education and later the committee of finance.  When Hekmatyar joined the Rabbani government in May 1996, Ahmad Shah became Minister of Education.  He was forced to flee when the Taliban captured Kabul.  He was married to an African American woman whom he subsequently divorced. 
Shah, Ahmad see Ahmad Shah

Ahmad Shahi
Ahmad Shahi.  A dynasty that established an independent sultanate in Gujarat, India, in 1396.  It is named after its second ruler, who did much to consolidate the new state as well as the position of Islam in Gujarat.  The later Ahmad Shahis were in frequent conflict with Portuguese, Mughal, and other powers until Gujarat finally was incorporated into the Mughal Empire in 1593.  Vigorous patrons of architecture, the Ahmad Shahis established several new capital cities.  Ahmadabad, the first and most famous, today remains a thriving commercial center. 
Shahi, Ahmad see Ahmad Shahi.

Ahmad Sirhindi
Ahmad Sirhindi.  See Sirhindi.
Sirhindi, Ahmad see Ahmad Sirhindi.
Sirhindi see Ahmad Sirhindi.

Ahmadu (c.1775-1844).   A Fulani religious reformer and ruler of Macina in present day Mali.  Inspired by Uthman dan Fodio, Ahmadu set out to be a teacher, but soon rose up against the semi-pagan ruler of his homeland and overthrew him.  A jihad ( a holy war) against the neighboring Tuareg and Songhai principalities ensued and, in 1826, Ahmadu captured Timbuktu.  Founding a capital at Hamdallahi (“God be Praised”), Ahmadu ruled over his Islamic empire with fanatic zeal until his death.  Ahmadu is considered to be one of the three great jihad leaders of West Africa.  He was succeeded by his son and grandson, the latter being captured and killed by al-Hajj 'Umar Tal in 1862. 

Ahmadu Bamba
Ahmadu Bamba (c.1850-1927).   The founder of the Mouride Islamic brotherhood in Senegal.

Ahmadu Bamba was born in the state of Baol to Tukolor parents whose origins were Futa Toro.  He was initiated into the Islamic Qadiriyya brotherhood in 1880 and shortly afterwards went to Mauritania to study Islamic theology and law.  Ahmadu returned to Senegal to reside with Lat Dior, the ruler of the Kayor state who, at that time, was rapidly spreading Islam throughout western Senegal.

Lat Dior was killed resisting the French in 1885.  After Lat Dior’s death, Ahmadu returned to Baol.  Soon after arriving in Baol, Ahmadu had a vision in which he was commanded to establish a new Islamic brotherhood.  The brotherhood was to be called the Muridiyya.  The Muridiyya preached that hard work and total submission to its leaders were the most important requisites to winning God’s favor. 

During this time, French colonialism had created unsettled conditions in Senegal as citizens were deprived of their chiefs and slaves were released from their households.  In this chaos, Ahmadu attracted a following of thousands. 

The French began to fear that Ahmadu was building a new Islamic state similar to those which they had just destroyed.  In 1895, after rumors spread concerning a planned jihad (holy war) the French exiled Ahmadu to Gabon. 

In 1902, Ahmadu was permitted to return to Senegal.  Soon after his return, followers flocked to the revival of his movement.  Amidst a new rumor of a Muridiyya uprising, the French once again exiled Ahmadu.  This time he was sent to Mauritania.

In 1907, the French responded to pressure from Ahmadu’s followers and allowed Ahmadu to return to Senegal.   Ahmadu settled in the town of Diourabel where he remained under house arrest until his death in 1927.

In 1914, Ahmadu supported Blaise Diagne, a radical politician.  With Ahmadu’s support Diagne was elected to the French Chamber of Deputies.

During Ahmadu’s later years, he gave implicit support to the French colonial regime.  The colonial regime capitalized on Ahmadu’s support and profited from Ahmadu’s ability to mobilize his followers in the mass cultivation of peanuts. 

In 1918, he was awarded the French Legion of Honor for his efforts in enlisting his followers in support of the French during the First World War.

Today, the movement which Ahmadu founded remains a potent political and religious force in Senegal.  It is estimated that about forty percent of the country’s peanut production is controlled by the Muridiyya Islamic brotherhood. 
Bamba, Ahmadu see Ahmadu Bamba

Ahmadu ibn ‘Umar Tall
Ahmadu ibn ‘Umar Tall (c.1833-1898).   Ruler of the Tukolor Empire of Senegal (r. 1864-1893). 

Ahmadu ibn ‘Umar Tall was the son of and successor to al-Hajj ‘Umar ibn Sa'id Tall, the founder of the Tukolor Empire of Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal.  Ahmadu’s mother was a Hausa who had been a slave.  Ahmadu’s father married his mother in Sokoto (now Nigeria) while returning from a pilgrimage.

When ‘Umar died in 1864 putting down a revolt at Macina, a succession dispute ensued.  Ahmadu gained control over Segu, but his cousin Ahmadu Tijani recaptured and held Macina while some of ‘Umar’s ministers seized Kaarta.  Because of the dispute, Ahmadu was forced to wait nearly two years before formally announcing the death of his father.

Ahmadu did not inherit his father’s prestige.  Ahmadu simply lacked ‘Umar’s charisma.  However, Ahmadu did possess a high intelligence and he wisely surrounded himself with experienced and capable advisers.

Ahmadu spent the first years of his rule consolidating his kingdom and centralizing his government.  In 1870, Ahmadu began a campaign against his half-brothers which brought Kaarta back within the Tukolor Empire by 1874.  As for Macina, Ahmadu was never able to recapture it from Ahmadu Tijani.

Towards the end of the 1870s, Ahmadu faced a new challenge from the French, who had fought ‘Umar in the 1850s, but who had afterwards come to terms with him while they concentrated on commercial development. 

In the early 1880s, the French resumed their eastward encroachment into the Tukolor Empire, establishing posts as far inland as Bamako.  Ahmadu, beset with internal problems, was powerless to stop them, but the French themselves were not anxious to engage in hostilities because of their preoccupation with Samori Toure and Lat Dior elsewhere.  A truce was effected between the two empires.

As evidence of the truce, in 1887, Ahmadu and the French joined forces to destroy Mamadu Lamine whose military ambitions in Senegambia threatened both French and Tukolor Empires.  However, by 1889, the threat to the French posed by Lat Dior and Samori Toure had been dissipated.  The French ended the truce.  They resumed hostilities with the Tukolor Empire.

The French captured Kaarta, Segu, and Jenne.   Ahmadu was forced to flee to Macina and to negotiate an alliance with the Macina rulers.  But this alliance was not long lasting. 

In 1893, Macina fell.  The French installed Ahmadu’s son, Muhammed Aguibu Tall as ruler of the Tukolor Empire.  Once again Ahmadu was forced to flee.

Ahmadu moved about for a time.  He finally came to settle in Sokoto in 1896 with the remainder of his followers. 

Ahmadu ibn ‘Umar Tall died in 1898. 

Ahmadu Tijani
Ahmadu Tijani (d.c. 1887).  Tukolor ruler of Macina (Mali) (r. 1864-1887).

Ahmadu Tijani was a protégé of the great al-Hajj ‘Umar ibn Sa'id Tall, the founder of the Tukolor Empire.  During the 1850s, Ahmadu Tijani assisted ‘Umar in consolidating the Empire. 

In 1864, ‘Umar was killed while suppressing a revolt in the province of Macina.  Ahmadu Tijani took command of the army and reconquered Macina within a few months.

Although ‘Umar’s son, Ahmadu ibn ‘Umar Tall, inherited the Tukolor Empire, Ahmadu Tijani refused to relinquish his control of Macina to the new emperor.  For the remainder of his life, Ahmadu Tijani independently ruled Macina from his capital at Bandiagara. 
Tijani, Ahmadu see Ahmadu Tijani

Ahmadzai.   Section of the Sulaiman Khel division of the Ghilzai tribe.  They are settled in a “triangle” formed by a line drawn from Kabul to Jalalabad and Gardez.  They are generally wealthy and often employed as traders, while some have held high positions in the Afghan government and have intermarried with the Durranis.  Amir Abdul Rahman settled a number of Ahmadzai families in northern Afghanistan to weaken their power and have them serve as Pashtun colonists among the Turkic population.  Only a small few of the Ahmadzai are nomadic.

Ahmadzai ("descendants of Ahmad") is a Pashtun tribal last name. There are many separate and distinct clans, sub-clans, tribal factions, and large families that trace their ancestry to different Ahmads.

In Afghanistan, there are two distnict clans of Ahmadzai: the Ghilzai branch of Paktia and Logar and the Durrani (a.k.a. Abdali) branch. The Ahmadzai of the Ghilzai branch are largely found in an area formed by a triangle from Kabul to Jalalabad to Gardez. These Ahmadzai are mainly sedentary, often engaged in trade and many of them having become wealthy. They have also been well represented in various governments of Afghanistan. The Ghilzai Ahmadzai have a long history of intermarrying with members of the Durrani tribe.

The Wazir Ahmadzai tribe lives in the south-eastern side of the Durand Line in Waziristan, north-western Pakistan.

Ahmed I
Ahmed I (Ahmed I Bakhti) (April 18, 1590 - November 22, 1617).  Ottoman sultan (r. 1603-1617).  He was born on April 18, 1590, in Manisa.  His mother was Valide Sultan Handan Sultan, originally named Helena (Eleni), a Greek.   In 1603, he became sultan (at the age of 13) after the death of Mehmed III (Muhammad III).   Ahmed I succeeded his father Mehmed III (1595–1603) at the age of 13.  Ahmed broke with the traditional fratricide and sent his brother Mustafa to live at the old palace at Bayezit along with their grandmother Safiye Sultan.

In the earlier part of his reign Ahmed I showed decision and vigor, which were belied by his subsequent conduct. The wars which attended his accession both in Hungary and in Persia terminated unfavorably for the empire, and its prestige received its first check in the Treaty of Zsitvatorok, signed in 1606, whereby the annual tribute paid by Austria was abolished. Georgia and Azerbaijan were ceded to Persia. In 1606, pursuant to the Peace of Zsitvatorok, Ahmed was also forced to give commercial privileges to France, Venice and Netherlands inside the empire.  This was a blow to Ottoman prestige. 

Ahmed I died of typhus on November 22, 1617.  He was succeeded by Mustafa I.  However, altogether three of his sons would become sultan: Osman II, Murad IV, and Ibrahim. 

The rule of Ahmed I was dominated by wars, internal rebellions and bad government.  The internal rebellions took the form of viziers aiming at enriching themselves without the interests of the state in mind.  Ahmed dealt with these with the hardest of means, and had many executed.  Another important issue for Ahmed was improving land administration within the Ottoman Empire.

Ahmed was a pious sultan, more interested in protecting the holy places of Islam, than building infrastructure in the empire.  He adorned holy structures of Mecca and Medina, and he had the Blue Mosque built, a structure which is considered to be one of the greatest architectural achievements of Islam and a structure which bears Ahmed’s name. 

Ahmed was also known for his skills in fencing, horseback riding, and fluency in numerous languages.  Ahmed was a poet who wrote a number of political and lyrical works under the name Bakhti. He was devoutly religious, spending much of his wealth to support the works of scholars and pious men. He also attempted to enforce conformance to Islamic laws and traditions, restoring the old regulations that prohibited alcohol and he attempted to enforce attendance at the Friday Mosque prayers and paying alms to the poor in the proper way.

Today Ahmed I is remembered mainly for the construction of the Sultan Ahmed Mosque (also known as the Blue Mosque), one of the masterpieces of Islamic architecture. The area in Istanbul around the Mosque is today called Sultanahmet. He died at Topkapi Palace in Istanbul and is buried in a mausoleum right outside the walls of the famous mosque.

He was married twice, to Valide Sultan Mahfiruze Hatice Sultan, originally named Maria, a Greek and the mother of Osman II, and to Valide Sultan Kadinefendi Kösem Sultan (or Mahpeyker), originally named Anastasia, a Greek and the mother of Murad IV and Ibrahim I. He also had Bayezid and Suleiman.

Ahmed I Bakhti see Ahmed I

Ahmed II
Ahmed II (February 25, 1643 - February 6, 1695). Ottoman sultan (r. 1691-1695).  He was born on February 6, 1695, in the Topkapi Palace, the son of Sultan Ibrahim I by Valide Sultan Khadija Muazzez..  In 1691, after being imprisoned for years, Ahmed II became sultan, succeeding his brother Suleiman II.  Ahmed's best act was to confirm Mustafa Kuprulu as grand vizier.  However, in the first year of his reign, the Ottoman forces were defeated by the Austrians (under Margrave Louis William of Baden) at Slankamen and the Grand Vizier Mustafa Kuprulu died in the battle.  Subsequently, the Ottoman Empire lost large parts of Hungary.    In 1692, Venice attacked Crete which had been seized by the Ottomans during the reign of Sultan Ibrahim.   In 1694, The Venetians gained control of Chios. The next year, on February 6, 1695, Ahmed II died in Edirne, worn out by disease and sorrow.

Ahmed II was only in power for four years, and his years in prison left him unprepared for the sultanate. He proved to be a sultan with little strength and independence.  However, his reign (administered by able viziers) did manage to leave some achievements.  The most important accomplishment was the encouragement of tribal settlement in Anatolia by nomadic Turkmen tribes, and modernizing the land administration system.  Nevertheless, his years were marked by the unsuccessful war against Austria and Venice, where important lands were lost.  Additionally, internally, there were uprisings in Syria, Hijaz and Iraq. 

Ahmed III
Ahmed III (December 30/31, 1673 - July 1, 1736).   Ottoman sultan during the Tulip Era (r. 1703-1730).  Ahmed III was Sultan of the Ottoman Empire and a son of Sultan Mehmed IV (1648–87). His mother was Valide Sultan Mah-Para Ummatullah Rabia Gül-Nush, originally named Evemia, a Greek. He was born at Hajioglupazari, in Dobruja. He succeeded to the throne in 1703 on the abdication of his brother Mustafa II (1695–1703). Nevşehirli Damat İbrahim Pasha and his daughter, Princess Hatice (wife of the former) directed the government from 1718 to 1730, a period referred to as the Tulip Era.

Ahmed III maintained good relations with France, doubtless in view of Russia's menacing attitude. He awarded refuge in Ottoman territory to Charles XII of Sweden (1682–1718) after the Swedish defeat at the hands of Peter I of Russia (1672–1725) in the Battle of Poltava of 1709. King Charles XII of Sweden escaped to the Ottoman Empire after losing the Battle of Poltava against the Russians, which was a part of the Great Northern War. In 1710 he convinced the Ottoman Sultan Ahmed III to declare war against Russia, and the Ottoman forces under Baltacı Mehmet Pasa won a major victory at the Battle of Prut. In the aftermath, Russia returned Azov to the Ottomans and agreed to demolish the fortress of Taganrog and others in the area, and to stop interfering into the affairs of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth.

Forced against his will into war with Russia, Ahmed III came nearer than any Ottoman sovereign to breaking the power of his northern rival, whom his grand vizier Baltacı Mehmet Paşa succeeded in completely surrounding near the Prut River in 1711.
However, the Ottoman advance was halted as a report reached Constantinople that the Safavids were invading the Ottoman Empire, causing a period of panic, turning the Sultan's attention away from Russia. Sultan Ahmed III had become unpopular by reason of the excessive pomp and costly luxury in which he and his principal officers indulged. On September 20, 1730, a mutinous riot of seventeen janissaries, led by the Albanian Patrona Halil, was aided by the citizens as well as the military until it swelled into an insurrection in front of which the sultan was forced to give up the throne.

Ahmed voluntarily led his nephew Mahmud I (1730–54) to the seat of sovereignty and paid allegiance to him as Sultan of the Empire. He then retired to the apartments in the palace previously occupied by Mahmud and died at Topkapi Palace after six years of confinement.
The reign of Ahmed III, which had lasted for twenty-seven years, although marked by the disasters of the Great Turkish War, was not unsuccessful. The recovery of Azov and the Morea, and the conquest of part of Persia, managed to counterbalanced the Balkan territory ceded to the Habsburg Monarchy through the Treaty of Passarowitz, after the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Austro-Turkish War of 1716-18. In 1716, he sent an army of 33,000 men to capture Corfu from the Republic of Venice.

Ahmed III left the finances of the Ottoman Empire in a flourishing condition, which had remarkably been obtained without excessive taxation or extortion procedures. He was a cultivated patron of literature and art, and it was in his time that the first printing press authorized to use the Arabic or Turkish languages was set up in Constantinople, operated by Ibrahim Muteferrika (while the printing press had been introduced to Constantinople in 1480, all works published before 1729 were in Greek).

It was in the reign of Ahmed III  that an important change in the government of the Danubian Principalities was introduced. Previously, the Porte had appointed Hospodars, usually native Moldavian and Wallachian boyars, to administer those provinces; after the Russian campaign of 1711, during which Peter the Great found an ally in Moldavian Prince Dimitrie Cantemir, the Porte began overtly deputizing Phanariote Greeks in that region, and extended the system to Wallachia after Prince Stefan Cantacuzino established links with Eugene of Savoy. The Phanariotes constituted a kind of Dhimmi nobility, which supplied the Porte with functionaries in many important departments of the state.

Admed III married Valide Sultan Amina Mihr-i Shah, and Valide Sultan Rabia Sharmi. By his first wife he had Mustafa III and by second wife he had Abdul Hamid I.

Ahmed al-Jazzar
Ahmed al-Jazzar [Ahmad al-Jazzar] (Arabic أحمد الجزار, Turkish " Cezzar Ahmet Paşa") (b. 1720 (or 1708) in Stolac, Bosnia Eyalet - b. 1804 in Acre, Sidon Eyalet) was the Ottoman ruler of Acre and the Galilee from 1775 until his death.

Jazzar was a Christian slave boy from Herzegovina who, escaping after committing a murder, sold himself to the slave-markets of Constantinople. There he was bought by an Egyptian ruler who converted him to Islam and used him as his chief executioner and hit-man. He began his rise as governor of Cairo but made his name defending Beirut against Catherine the Great's navy. Beirut was honorably surrendered to the Russians after a long siege and the sultan rewarded al-Jazzar with promotion to Governor of Sidon, and sometimes also that of Damascus. Jazzar set up his capital in Acre after the fall of Dhaher al-Omar. He earned the nickname "the Butcher" for his bravery and brutal effort to defeat his enemies. He is reputed to have walked around with a mobile gallows in case anyone displeased him.

Jazzar led a ruthless 'holy war' (jihad) campaign against non-Muslims. Under his ruled, Christians were forced to "accept" Islam. He oppressed minorities in Palestine including Christians (who were massacred) and Jews.
Jazzar is best known for defending Acre against Napoleon Bonaparte during the siege of Acre in 1799. After Napoleon's capture of Egypt, then an Ottoman territory, the French army attempted to invade Syria and Palestine. Although the French captured Al-Arish and Jaffa, and won every battle they fought against the Ottomans on an open field, they were unable to breach the fortifications of Acre. Their army was weakened by disease and cut off from resupply. The success was due to the English Commodore William Sidney Smith too, who sailed to Acre and helped the Turkish commander reinforce the defenses and old walls and supplied him with additional cannon manned by sailors and Marines from his ships. Smith also used his command of the sea to capture the French siege artillery being sent by ship from Egypt and to deny the French army the use of the coastal road from Jaffa by bombarding the troops from the sea.
Though both Napoleon and Jazzar requested assistance from the Shihab leader, Bashir, ruler of much of present-day Lebanon, Bashir remained neutral. After several months of attacks, Napoleon was forced to withdraw and his bid to conquer Egypt and the East failed.
With the help of his chief financial adviser, Haim Farhi, a Damascus Jew, Jazzar embarked on a major building program in Acre that included fortifying the city walls, refurbishing the aqueduct that brought spring water from nearby Kabri, and building a large Turkish bath. One of the most important landmarks built by Jazzar was the mosque that bears his name, a massive building in the Turkish style. Built over a Crusader church, the Al-Jazzar Mosque incorporates columns brought from Roman and Byzantine ruins in Caesarea and Tyre, and included a school for Islamic religious studies, later used as a religious court. Al-Jazzar and his adopted son and successor Suleiman Pasha, were buried in the courtyard.

Ahmed, Fakhruddin 'Ali
Ahmed, Fakhruddin 'Ali.  See Fakhruddin 'Ali Ahmed.

Ahmed Gran
Ahmed Gran.  See Ahmad ibn Ibrahim al-Ghazi.

Ahmedi, Taj al-Din Ibrahim
Ahmedi, Taj al-Din Ibrahim.  See Taj al-Din Ibrahim Ahmedi.

Ahmed Jewdet Pasha
Ahmed Jewdet Pasha (1822-1895).  Ottoman writer and statesman. He was five times the Minister of Justice.  The most important of his works are historical covering the nineteenth century. 
Jewdet Pasha, Ahmed see Ahmed Jewdet Pasha

Ahmed Khan
Ahmed Khan (Sayyid Ahmed Khan) (Sayyid Ahmad Khan) (October 17, 1817 - March 27, 1898).   Educational reformer and founder of Islamic modernism in India.  {See Ahmad Khan, Sayyid.}

Sayyid Ahmed Khan see Ahmed Khan
Sayyid Ahmad Khan see Ahmed Khan
Ahmad Khan, Sayyid see Ahmed Khan

Ahmed Midhat
Ahmed Midhat (1844-1913).  Ottoman Turkish writer.  He played an important role in the development of Turkish journalism and wrote an enormous number of books.
Midhat, Ahmed see Ahmed Midhat

Ahmed Pasha Bonneval
Ahmed Pasha Bonneval (Claude-Alexandre Comte de Bonneval) (July 14, 1675 - March 23, 1747).   French count who converted to Islam and entered Ottoman military service. 

Claude Alexandre was a French army officer who later went into the service of the Ottoman Empire, eventually converting to Islam and becoming known as Humbaracı Ahmet Pasha (Ahmed Pasha).

He was the descendant of an old family of Limousin.  At the age of thirteen he joined the Royal Marine Corps. After three years he entered the army, in which he rose to the command of a regiment. He served in the Italian campaigns under Catinat, Villeroi and Vendôme, and in the Netherlands under Luxembourg, giving proofs of indomitable courage and great military ability. His insolent bearing towards the minister of war was made matter for a court martial (1704). He was condemned to death, but saved himself by fleeing to Germany.

Through the influence of Prince Eugene of Savoy he obtained a general's command in the Austrian army, and fought with great bravery and distinction against France, and afterwards against Turkey. He was present at the Battle of Malplaquet, and was severely wounded at Peterwardein. The proceedings against him in France were then allowed to drop, and he visited Paris, and married a daughter of Marshal de Biron. He returned, however, after a short time to the Austrian army, and fought with distinction at Belgrade.

He might have risen to the highest rank, had he not made himself disagreeable to Prince Eugene, who sent him as master of the ordnance to the Low Countries. There his ungovernable temper led him into a quarrel with the Marquis de Prié, Eugene's deputy governor in the Netherlands, who answered his challenge by placing him in confinement. A court martial was again held upon him, and he was condemned to death; but the emperor commuted the sentence to one year's imprisonment and banishment. Bonneval was returned to Vienna, stripped of his rank, titles and honors, and exiled to Venice.

Soon after his release, Bonneval offered his services to the Turkish government, professed Islam, and took the name of Ahmed. He was made a pasha, and appointed to organize and command the Turkish artillery, eventually contributing to the Austrian defeat at Nis and the subsequent end of the Austrian-Ottoman war marked by the Treaty of Belgrade, where Austria lost Northern Serbia with Belgrade, Lesser Wallachia, and territories in northern Bosnia. In Constantinople, he met the young Giacomo Casanova, who was then a Venetian naval officer stationed there. He was also close friends with a well-respected local mullah, Ismail Pasha.

He rendered valuable services to the sultan in his war with Russia, and with the famous Nadir Shah. As a reward he received the governorship of Chios, but he soon fell under the suspicion of the Porte, and was banished for a time to the shores of the Black Sea. He died at Constantinople in March 1747.

Bonneval, Ahmed Pasha see Ahmed Pasha Bonneval
Bonneval, Claude-Alexandre Comte de see Ahmed Pasha Bonneval

Ahmed Rasim
Ahmed Rasim (1864-1932).  Turkish writer whose works include novels, carefully prepared historical compilations, and textbooks.
Rasim, Ahmed see Ahmed Rasim

Ahmed Wefiq Pasha
Ahmed Wefiq Pasha (1823-1891).   Ottoman statesman and a leading Turcologist.  He published the first Turkish dictionary in Turkish and adapted sixteen comedies of Moliere.
Wefiq Pasha, Ahmed see Ahmed Wefiq Pasha

Ahrar, Khwaja ‘Ubayd Allah
Ahrar, Khwaja ‘Ubayd Allah.  See Khwaja ‘Ubayd Allah Ahrar.

Ahrar Party
Ahrar Party.  A Muslim political party.  Its full name was the All-India Majlis-i Ahrar-i Islam and it was founded at Amritsar in 1931. Active primarily in the Punjab and United Province districts near Delhi, its membership included former Khilafatists and ex-Congressites.  Lacking a consistent intellectual approach, the Ahrar’s history became a catalog of the causes it supported.  After 1940, the movement split, with one group under Habibur Rahman and Maulana Hussain Ahmad Madni rejoining the Congress, and a second, under Afzul Haq, supporting the Muslim League. 
All-India Majlis-i Ahrar-i Islam see Ahrar Party.

Aimaq (Aimak).  Aimaq means “tribal people” or “nomad” in Turkic or “administrative district” in Mongol.  The term “Aimaq” is used in Afghanistan and Iran to distinguish the Aimaq from the Persians and the Tajik.  The Aimaq tend to be Sunni Muslims living amongst Shi‘a majority populations.  The Aimaq speak Dari (Afghan Persian -- Afghan Farsi) with some Turkic admixture.  The Aimaq are also called Chaha Aimaq and include the Jamshidis, Firuzkuhis, Taimanis, and the Sunni Hazaras of Qala-i Nau.  They were at times independent or allied with a Durrani prince ruling in Herat.  Amir 'Abdul Rahman severely curbed the power of their chiefs and put them under the control of the governor of Herat.  The tribes are semi-nomadic and dwell in conical felt yurts.  They raise sheep and cattle and are concentrated primarily in Herat, Ghor, and Badghis Provinces.

The term “Aimaq” is not an ethnic denomination.  Its contemporary meaning in western Afghanistan and adjacent Iranian Khorasan is “tribal people,” in juxtaposition to the non-tribal population in the area, the Persians (Fariswan) and Tajik.  Linguistically, there is no difference between the Aimaq and the majority of Persians surrounding them.  The local dialects of the Aimaq tribes are very close either to eastern Khorasan Farsi or to Dari, the Herati dialect of Farsi.  In Afghanistan, all of the Aimaq are Sunni (Hanafi school), in contrast to the Shi‘a Aimaq of Iran.  Most numerous among the 20 Aimaq groups is the Char Aimaq (chahar -- four), an administrative grouping of four semi-nomadic or semi-sedentary tribes. 

The Char Aimaq include Jamshidi, Aimaq-Hazara (Sunni Hazara or Qala-e nau), Firuzkuhi and Taimani.  The tribes of Char Aimaq are ethnic formations of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. They were invested some 300 years ago in Badghis as Wardens of the Marches by the Safavid ruler, Shah Abbas II.  Taiman, a Kakar Pushtun from Baluchistan, built a coalition in the mountains of Ghor around 1650.  In this case, the tribe bears the name of the de facto founder.  The Zai Haki, traditional rulers of the northern Firuzkuhi, claim descent from Durrani Pushtun ancestors.  This tribe takes its name from Firuzkuhi -- Mountain of Turquoise -- the twelfth to thirteenth century capital of the Ghorid dynasty on the upper Heri-rud River. 

After the downfall of Safavid power in Persia in the eighteenth century, Badghis became the prey of marauding Sunni Turkmen hunting for Persian Shi‘a slaves in Khorasan, whom they sold on the markets of the Uzbek khanates of Khiva and Bukhara.  The Jamshidi joined them, whereas the Aimaq-Hazara retreated farther to the east.  Jamshidi fought Hazaras, and the three contending factions of the Firuzkuhi took part in these conflicts. 

As far as history can be traced, the Char Aimaq have never been politically united.  In the nineteenth century, the situation in Khorasan and Badghis provoked more than one international crisis.  The Persian quest for Herat was backed by czarist Russia, which intended to incorporate Badghis into the newly acquired Central Asian territories.  The British were anxious to maintain their influence in Afghanistan, where two branches of the reigning Durrani Pushtun clan were fighting for supremacy.  Herat, the traditional economic, political and spiritual center for all the Aimaq, was the focus of activities in all these affairs.  The Aimaq leaders sided, at one time or another, with either of the contending parties in order to retain their power and to secure the homesteads of their people. 

During the second half of the nineteenth century and early in this century, the Jamshidi were forced to lead a nomadic life.  All of the tribe or greater parts of it had been exiled in Persia, in Khiva and in northeast Afghanistan.  Thousands of Taimani and Tajik of Ghor were forcibly transplanted to the north of Herat, and the most populous of the other Aimaq tribes, the Timuri, suffered a virtual diaspora.  The situation calmed down only after the delineation of Afghanistan’s northwestern border in 1886. 

Amir Abdur Rahman (1879-1901) cruelly, but successfully, had gained power even in the most outlying areas.  The power of the traditional tribal leaders had been weakened, if not smashed.  A new type of tribal chief supplanted the hereditary aristocrats.  Leaders of the patrilineal lineages started to compete.  The segmented structure of contemporary Aimaq tribes is a consequence of their ethnogenesis. 
“tribal people” see Aimaq
“nomad” see Aimaq
Aimak see Aimaq

AIS.  See Arme Islamique du Salut.
Arme Islamique du Salut see AIS.

Aisa Kili Ngirmaramma
Aisa Kili Ngirmaramma (Aissa Koli).  Ruler of the Kanuri empire of Bornu (r. 1563-1570).  A daughter of the previous ruler, Dunama (r.c. 1545-1562/3), she is not mentioned in Arabic sources, which would be due to a tendency of Muslim sources to ignore a woman sovereign.  However, local tradition makes no attempt to conceal her rule.  It is said that she preserved the throne until the famous Idris Aloma was able to assume it, and then stepped down. 
Ngirmaramma, Aisa Kili see Aisa Kili Ngirmaramma
Aissa Koli see Aisa Kili Ngirmaramma

‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr
‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr (‘A’isha) (Aishah) (Ayeshah)  (c.614-678).  Abu Bakr’s daughter and one of Muhammad’s wives.  ‘A’isha was born in Mecca and became the third and favorite wife of the Prophet Muhammad after the death of Muhammad’s first wife, Khadija (c.555-619).  In order to strengthen ties with Abu Bakr, his chief legal adviser, Muhammad married ‘A’isha, Abu Bakr’s daughter, when she was about nine years old, shortly after the hijra.  When ‘A’isha went to live in an apartment in Muhammad’s house, she took her toys and games.  This childhood innocence coupled with her charm and beauty made her Muhammad’s favorite.   Even after subsequent marriages of the Prophet, ‘A’isha remained devoted to Muhammad. 

‘A’isha became the leader in the harem, but her relations with Muhammad were marked by an incident in which she was accused of infidelity.  In 627, while waiting in a camp from which the caravan had moved off, ‘A’isha was found by a young man who escorted her to Medina.  This led to gossip concerning possible infidelity which was countered by a revelation to the Prophet.  ‘A’isha’s innocence was proved by the Qur’an in Sura 24:11-20, but 'Ali ibn Abi Talib was among those who advised Muhammad to send ‘A’isha back to her father to avoid even the hint of impropriety.  This advice earned 'Ali, ‘A’isha’s bitter enmity.

Nevertheless, for her faithfulness, ‘A’isha is known among Muslims as “Mother of the Believers.”  After the death of Muhammad in 632, ‘A’isha, a childless widow of 18, helped her father become the first caliph, or ruler, of the Muslims.

‘A’isha was always loyal to Muhammad and to her father, but seems to have played no major role in politics until the caliphate of ‘Uthman, whom she opposed on moral grounds.  ‘A’isha was not implicated in ‘Uthman’s death, being in Mecca at the time, but she may have been there organizing her own party, for shortly after the murder she was found in Basra with an army of a thousand, including Talha and Zubayr, who were, while claiming to seek vengeance for ‘Uthman, also opposed the caliphate of 'Ali. 

‘A’isha’s forces were defeated by the forces of 'Ali at the Battle of the Camel in December of 656. However, after the defeat, ‘A’isha herself was well treated and lived until July of 678. 

Because of her unique stature in Islam, ‘A’isha is the source of many hadith. 

Aisha (Aisha meaning "she who lives"), was the third wife of Muhammad. In Islamic writings, she is thus often referred to by the title "Mother of the Believers" (in Arabic: umm-al-mu'minīn), per the description of Muhammad's wives as "Mothers of Believers" in the Qur'an (33.6), and later, as the "Mother of Believers", as in Qutb's Ma'alim fi al-Tariq. She is quoted as the source for many hadith, sacred traditions about Muhammad's life, with Muhammad's personal life being the topic of most narrations. She narrated 2210 hadiths out of which 316 hadiths are mentioned in both Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim.

Aisha was the daughter of Um Ruman and Abu Bakr of Mecca. Abu Bakr belonged to the Banu Taym sub-clan of the tribe of Quraysh, the tribe to which Muhammad also belonged. Aisha is said to have followed her father in accepting Islam when she was still young. She also joined him in his migration to Abyssinia (Ethiopia) in 615.  A number of Mecca's Muslims emigrated then, seeking refuge from persecution by the Meccans who still followed their pre-Islamic religions.

According to the early Islamic historian Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari, Aisha's father tried to spare her the dangers and discomfort of the journey by solemnizing her marriage to her fiance, Jubayr ibn Mut'im, son of Mut‘im ibn ‘Adi. However, Mut’am refused to honor the long-standing betrothal, as he did not wish his family to be connected to the Muslim outcasts. The emigration to Ethiopia proved temporary and Abu Bakr's family returned to Mecca within a few years. Aisha was then betrothed to Muhammad.
Aisha was initially betrothed to Jubayr ibn Mut'im, a Muslim whose father, though pagan, was friendly to the Muslims. When Khawla bint Hakim suggested that Muhammad marry Aisha after the death of Muhammad's first wife (Khadijah bint Khuwaylid), the previous agreement regarding marriage of Aisha with ibn Mut'im was put aside by common consent.  It is suggested that Muhammad hoped to strengthen his ties with Abu Bakr, and that the strengthening of ties commonly served as a basis for marriage in Arabian culture.

According to the traditional sources, Aisha was six or seven years old when betrothed to Muhammad. She stayed in her parents' home until the age of nine, when the marriage was consummated. The marriage was delayed until after the Hijra, or migration to Medina, in 622. Aisha and her older sister Asma bint Abu Bakr only moved to Medina after Muhammad had already migrated there. After this, the wedding was celebrated very simply. The sources do not offer much more information about Aisha's childhood years, but mention that after the wedding, she continued to play with her toys, and Muhammad entered into the spirit of these games.

Most early accounts say that Muhammad and Aisha became sincerely fond of each other. Aisha is usually described as Muhammad's favorite wife, and it was in her company that Muhammad reportedly received the most revelations. Some accounts claim it was the curtain from her tent that Muhammad used as his battle standard.

Aisha was traveling with her husband Muhammad and some of his followers. Aisha claimed that she had left camp in the morning to search for her lost necklace, but when she returned, she found that the company had broken camp and left without her. She waited for half a day, until she was rescued by a man named Safwan ibn Al-Muattal and taken to rejoin the caravan. This led to speculation that she had committed adultery with Safwan. Muhammad's adopted son Zayd ibn Harithah defended Aisha's reputation. Shortly after this, Muhammad announced that he had received a revelation from God confirming Aisha's innocence and directing that charges of adultery be supported by four eyewitnesses. These verses also rebuked Aisha's accusers, whom Muhammad ordered to receive forty lashes.

Ibn Kathir wrote in his biography of Muhammad that Muhammad's wife Umm Salama Hind bint Abi Umayya was given a skin filled with honey, which she shared with her husband. Muhammad was fond of sweets and stayed overlong with Umm Salama Hind bint Abi Umayya.  At least in the opinion of Aisha and her co-wife Hafsa bint Umar. Aisha and Hafsa conspired. Each of them was to tell Muhammad that the honey had given him bad breath. When he heard this from two wives, he believed that it was true and swore that he would eat no more of the honey. Soon afterwards, he reported that he had received a revelation, in which he was told that he could eat anything permitted by God.

Word spread in the small Muslim community that Muhammad's wives were taking advantage of their husband, speaking sharply to him and conspiring against him. Umar, Hafsa's father, scolded his daughter and also spoke to Muhammad of the matter. Muhammad, saddened and upset, separated from his wives for a month. By the end of this time, his wives were humbled; they had admitted their wrongdoing, and harmony was restored.

Ibn Ishaq, in his Sirah Rasul Allah, states that during Muhammad's last illness, he sought Aisha's apartments and died with his head in her lap. It highlighted Muhammad's fondness for Aisha. Aisha never remarried after Muhammad's death. Indeed, a passage in the Qur'an (Sura 33:53) forbade any Muslim to marry a widow of Muhammad.

After Muhammad's death in 632, Aisha's father, Abu Bakr, became the first caliph, or leader of the Muslims. This matter of succession to Muhammad is extremely controversial to the Shi'a. The Shi'a believe that 'Ali had been chosen to lead by Muhammad, but the Sunni maintain that the Muslim community chose Abu Bakr, and did so in accordance with Muhammad's wishes.

Abu Bakr's reign was short, and in 634 he was succeeded by Umar, as caliph. Umar reigned for ten years, and was then followed by Uthman Ibn Affan in 644 AD. Both of these men had been among Muhammad's earliest followers, were linked to him by clanship and marriage, and had taken prominent parts in various military campaigns. Aisha, in the meantime, lived in Medina and made several pilgrimages to Mecca.

In 656, Aisha took part in provoking the people to kill Uthman. The rebels then asked Ali to be the new caliph. Many reports absolve Ali of complicity in the murder. Ali is reported to have refused the caliphate. He agreed to rule only after his followers persisted.

Aisha raised an army which confronted Ali's army outside the city of Basra.  It was during this engagement that Muslim slaughtered Muslim for the first time.  A battle ensued and Aisha's forces were defeated. Aisha was directing her forces from a howdah on the back of a camel.  Accordingly, this 656 battle is called the Battle of the Camel.

Ali captured Aisha but declined to harm her. He sent her back to Medina under military escort headed by Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr (a brother of Aisha), who was one of the commanders in Ali's army

Historians see Aisha as a learned woman, who tirelessly recounted stories from the life of Muhammad and explained Muslim history and traditions. She is considered to be one of the foremost scholars of Islam's early age with some historians accrediting up to one-quarter of the Islamic Sharia (Islamic religious law), based on the collection of hadiths, to have stemmed from her narrations. Aisha became the most prominent of Muhammad’s wives and is revered as a role model by millions of women.

After Khadijah al-Kubra (the Great) and Fatimah az-Zahra (the Resplendent), Aishah as-Siddiqah (the one who affirms the Truth) is regarded as the best woman in Islam by Sunni Muslims. She often regretted her involvement in war but lived long enough to regain status and position. She died peacefully in the year 678 in the month of Ramadan. As she instructed, she was buried in the Jannat al-Baqi -- in the City of Light -- beside other companions of Muhammad.

Sunnis view 'A'isha is a positive one. Many believe that she was Muhammad's favorite wife and the best woman of her time. They consider her (amongst other wives) to be Umm al-Mu'minin and among the Ahl al-Bayt.

However, the Shi'a view of 'A'isha is generally a negative one. This is primarily due to what they see as her contempt for the Ahl al-Bayt (Muhammad's family) and her attempts to stir up the fitnah of the time. Her participation in the Battle of the Camel is widely considered her most significant sign of such contempt. They also do not believe that she conducted herself in an appropriate manner in her role as Muhammad's wife .

‘A’isha see ‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr
Aishah see ‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr
Ayeshah see ‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr
“Mother of the Believers”   see ‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr
"She Who Lives" see ‘A’isha bint Abu Bakr

Ajami, Fouad
Fouad A. Ajami (Arabic: فؤاد عجمي‎; September 18, 1945 – June 22, 2014), was a MacArthur Fellowship winning, Lebanese-born American university professor and writer on Middle Eastern issues. He was a senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
Ajami was an outspoken supporter of the Iraq War, the nobility of which he believed there "can be no doubt".

‘ajemi oghlan
‘ajemi oghlan.  Turkish term which literally means “foreign children.”  The ‘ajemi oghlan were the children and adolescents drafted in the Christian provinces of the Ottoman Empire by the devshirme system who became Janissaries -- the Sultan’s personal bodyguards and servants. 
oghlan, 'ajemi see ‘ajemi oghlan.
“foreign children” see ‘ajemi oghlan.

Akan.  Refers to the Akan speaking peoples of West Africa who inhabit the tropical rain forest and the transitional savannah in the southern half of Ghana and the western part of the Volta region, Togo and the Ivory Coast. 

Despite a high degree of cultural homogeneity, the Akan may be divided into four major linguistic subgroups of the Kwa branch of the Niger-Congo family: the Twi, the Fante, the Nzema and the Anyi-Bawle.  Each of these is subdivided into dialect groups or individual ethnic groups (called tribes in Ghana), the largest of which is the Twi-Asante, the best known and most influenced by Islam. 

Historians disagree on the precise ethnogenesis of the Akan. Evidence indicates that no one particular locality can be described categorically as the cradle of the Akan.  Multi-lineal development seems to have occurred in the northern Brong savanna, in the Adanse forests and along the Etsi coastline.  Akan civilization apparently evolved in stages, beginning about the year 1000 of the Christian calendar among agricultural communities based on iron technology and moving through the development of urban settlements and small principalities between 1400 and 1600.  It crystallized in the rise of large kingdoms between 1600 and 1850, the most illustrious being the Asante Empire, stemming from profitable long range international trade, the spread of firearms, Islamic influences and European imperialism.

Despite the militant expansion of Islam in West Africa, especially in the early nineteenth century, its success does not seem to have affected the majority of ethnic groups in Ghana.  Nevertheless, Islam in one form or another and some degree of Arabic scholarship have managed to penetrate far into the savanna country and even to the tropical forest to such places as Salaga and Kumasi in the northern and Ashanti regions, respectively.

Today, about five percent of the Akan are Muslim.  A large majority of orthodox Muslims in Ghana are Sunni of the Maliki school: others follow Shafi rites.

The Akan people are an ethnic linguistic group of West Africa.

From the 15th century to 19th century, the Akan people dominated gold mining and gold trade in the region. Akan art is wide-ranging and renowned, especially for the tradition of crafting bronze gold weights, which were made using the lost wax casting method. Branches of the Akan include the Abron and the Afutu. The Akan culture is the most dominant and apparent in present-day Ghana. Some of their most important mythological stories are called anansesem. Anansesem literally means 'the spider story', but can in a figurative sense also mean "traveler's tales". These "spider stories" are sometimes also referred to as nyankomsem; 'words of a sky god'. The stories generally, but not always, revolve around Kwaku Ananse, a trickster spirit, often depicted as a spider, human, or a combination thereof.


Akbar (Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar) (Jalāl ud-Dīn Muhammad Akbar) (Akbar the Great) (Badruddin Mohammed Akbar) (October 15, 1542 – October 17 or October 27, 1605).   The third Mughal emperor of India (r. 1556-1605).  He is generally considered to be the true founder of the Mughal Empire and to be the greatest of the Mughal emperors.  The son of Emperor Humayun, Akbar was born in Umarkot, Sind (now part of Pakistan).  He succeeded to the throne at the age of 13.  Akbar first ruled under a regent, Bairam Khan, who did much to re-capture for the young emperor the territory usurped by his enemies at the death of his father.  In 1560, however, Akbar took the government into his own hands.  Realizing that Hindu acceptance and cooperation was essential to the successful rule of any Indian empire worthy of that name, Akbar won the allegiance of the Rajputs, the most belligerent sector of the Hindu population, by a shrewd blend of tolerance, generosity, and force.  Indeed, Akbar himself married two Rajput princesses.

Having neutralized the Hindus, Akbar further enlarged his realm by conquest until it extended from Afghanistan to the Bay of Bengal and from the Himalaya to the Godavari River.  Akbar’s supreme achievement, however, was the establishment of an efficient administrative system that held the empire together and stimulated trade and economic development. 

Akbar put the Mughal Empire on an administrative footing that was to sustain it until the mid-eighteenth century.  The basic institution of this administrative structure was the mansabdari system.  Akbar integrated leaders of the indigenous ruling class, the Rajputs, into the imperial framework.  In the preceding three centuries, Rajputs and the imperial rulers at Delhi had been at loggerheads, neither side gaining a decisive victory over the other.  Akbar resolved the conflict with generous treatment of those who submitted to his authority and ruthless treatment of the few who did not. 

Akbar had inherited a nobility almost equally divided between Mughals and Persians.  Over the next quarter century he gradually altered this composition by inducting at the highest echelon diverse elements such as Afghans, Indian Muslims, and Hindus so that by 1580 every group had been reduced to a small minority in no position to dominate over others or the emperor.  In this context, Akbar’s political and religious philosophy of mutual tolerance (“peace with all”) found ready acceptance.  The diverse yet well-balanced elements in the nobility, along with the efficient administrative apparatus, also gave successive Mughal emperors a much greater degree of centralized power than any other dynasty in Indian history. 

Akbar also perfected a mechanism of revenue administration that was to last until the end of the empire.  After several experiments, the “Ten-Year Settlement” was formulated.  Land was divided into four categories according to the period for which it lay uncultivated, the ideal being uninterrupted cultivation.  Differential rates of revenue were imposed on these categories with an increase in the rate as land moved from a lower to a higher category.  Average yields of each field over the preceding ten years were assessed, as were average prices of crops in neighboring markets over the same period.  Revenue was fixed at between one-fourth and one-half of the gross produce, depending on the region and the crop.  This share was then converted into market prices.  If revenue was collected in kind, this was also converted into cash through sale.  Rates were subject to revision.  This tax system was essentially regressive, for it imposed the same rates on all cultivators without respect to their resources.

Almost as notable was Akbar’s promulgation of a new religion, the Din-i-Ilahi (“Divine Faith”), a blend of Islam, Brahmanism, Christianity, and Zoroastrianism.  Although this attempt failed, Akbar surrounded himself with learned men of all faiths and, although illiterate himself, made his court a center of arts and letters.  Akbar took a keen interest in history writing, translation of Hindu scriptures into Persian, painting, and architecture.  New schools were established in each of these areas mainly by blending Indian and Persian culture.

Of all the Mughal rulers of India, only Akbar is remembered with fondness by present day Hindus, for whom his name has become synonymous with religious tolerance.  From the standpoint of Islam, however, Akbar is often pictured as a heretic, intent upon destroying the “true faith” in the interests of political expediency.

Deeply moved by several intense mystical experiences, Akbar established a Hall of Worship where, every Thursday, Muslims of various sects would debate points of theology.  In 1582, Akbar apparently gave up on his attempts to reform Islam from within and founded a new religion, the Din Ilahi -- the “Divine Faith”. 

The Din Ilahi became an ecletic faith aimed more at synthesizing Indian and Mughal culture than at preaching a new path to the Divine.  Seasonal vegetarianism was encouraged and the killing of cows was made a crime punishable by death.  Special taxes against Hindus were lifted and many were appointed to administrative positions in Akbar’s government.  During Akbar’s reign, no new mosques were allowed to be built; the study of Arabic and Islamic law was discouraged; and no male could bear the revered name of Muhammad. 

Akbar found fault with all dogmas.  Thus, on his deathbed, he would not allow sectarian prayers of any kind to be said for him.

Akbar’s Din Ilahi soon passed away with him.  The Din Ilahi is now not much more than an historical curiosity -- a religion created by a Muslim with Hindu sympathies but which essentially was a religion with no stated creed. 

Akbar, also known as Akbar the Great, was the son of Nasiruddin Humayun whom he succeeded as ruler of the Mughal Empire from 1556 to 1605. He was the grandson of Babur who founded the Mughal dynasty. On the eve of his death in 1605, the Mughal empire spanned almost 1 million square kilometers.

Akbar, widely considered the greatest of the Mughal emperors, was only 14 when he ascended the throne in Delhi, following the death of his father Humayun. He was descended from Turks, Mongols, and Persians — the three peoples who predominated in the political elites of northern India in medieval times. It took him the better part of two decades to consolidate his power and bring parts of northern and central India into his realm. During his reign, he reduced external military threats from the Afghan descendants of Sher Shah by waging wars against Afghan tribes, and at the Second Battle of Panipat he defeated the Hindu king Samrat Hemu Chandra Vikramaditya, also called Hemu.The emperor solidified his rule by pursuing diplomacy with the powerful Rajput caste, and by admitting Rajput princesses into his harem.

Akbar was an artisan, artist, armorer, blacksmith, carpenter, emperor, general, inventor, animal trainer (reputedly keeping thousands of hunting cheetahs during his reign and training many himself), lacemaker, technologist and theologian. His most lasting contributions were to the arts. He initiated a large collection of literature, including the Akbar-nama and the Ain-i-Akbari, and incorporated art from around the world into the Mughal collections. He also commissioned the building of widely admired buildings, and invented the first prefabricated homes and movable structures. Akbar began a series of religious debates where Muslim scholars would debate religious matters with Sikhs, Hindus, Carvaka atheists and even Jesuits from Portugal. He founded his own religious cult, the Din-i-Ilahi or the "Divine Faith"; however, it amounted only to a form of personality cult for Akbar, and quickly dissolved after his death.

At birth, Akbar was named Badruddin Mohammed Akbar, because he was born on the night of a badruddin (full moon). After the capture of Kabul by Humayun his date of birth and name were changed to throw off evil sorcerers. Popular myth records that Akbar, meaning "Great", was a title given to Akbar by the people of India. In fact, he was given the name Akbar at birth after his maternal grandfather, Shaikh Ali Akbar Jami.
Akbar was born on October 15, 1542, at the Rajput Fortress of Amarkot in Sind where the Mughal Emperor Humayun and his recently wedded wife, Hamida Banu Begum were taking refuge. Humayun had been driven into exile, following decisive battles, by the Afghan leader Sher Shah Suri. Akbar did not go to Persia with his parents and soon they were transferred to the Princely State of Rewa (in present day Madhya Pradesh) where Akbar grew up in the village of Mukundpur. Akbar and prince Ram Singh who later became Maharaja of Rewa grew up together and stayed close friends throughout life.

Humayun was the eldest son of Babur. For some time, Akbar was raised by his uncle Askari and his wife in the eastern country of Persia - what is now modern Afghanistan - rather than in the splendor of the Persian court. He spent his youth learning to hunt, run, and fight, but he never learned to read or write, the sole exception in Babur's line. Nonetheless, Akbar matured into a well-informed ruler, with refined tastes in the arts, architecture, music, a love for literature, and a breadth of vision that tolerated other opinions.

Following the chaos over the succession of Islam Shah (Sher Khan Suri's son), Humayun reconquered Delhi in 1555, leading an army partly provided by his Persian ally Shah Tahmasp. Months later, Humayun died. Bairam Khan cleverly concealed the report of Humayun's death in order to prepare for Akbar's accession to the throne. Akbar succeeded his father on February 14, 1556 (Gregorian February 24), while in the midst of a war against Sikandar Shah for the reclamation of the Mughal throne. In Kalanaur (Gurdaspur, Punjab) the 13 year old Akbar donned a golden robe and Dark Tiara and sat on a newly constructed platform, which still stands, and was proclaimed Shahanshah (Persian for "King of Kings"). The mosque built at the time of Akbar can still be seen and the place where he prayed can be visited.

Akbar decided early in his reign that he should eliminate the threat of Sher Shah's dynasty, and decided to lead an army against the strongest of the three, Sikandar Shah Suri, in the Punjab. He left Delhi under the regency of Tardi Baig Khan.

Sikandar Shah Suri presented no major concern for Akbar, and often withdrew from territory as Akbar approached. However, back in Delhi Hemu, a Hindu King, also known as Hemu Vikramaditya, captured Agra and then Delhi on October 6, 1556 and declared himself as Emperor of India. Tardi Beg Khan promptly fled the city. Hemu Vikramaditya, who during three years from October 1553 to October 1556, had won 22 successive battles not only appointed himself the ruler, or Raja Vikramaditya, but also re-established the Hindu Kingdom in Delhi.

News of the capitulation of Delhi spread quickly to Akbar, and he was advised to withdraw to Kabul, which was relatively secure. But urged by Bairam Khan, Akbar marched on Delhi to reclaim it. To bolster troop morale, he ordered that someone should "prepare fireworks as a treat for the soldiers" and "make an image of Hemu, fill it with gunpowder, and set it on fire". Tardi Beg and his retreating troops joined the march, and also urged Akbar to retreat to Kabul, but he refused again. Later, Bairam Khan had the former regent executed for cowardice, though Abul Fazl and Jahangir both record that they believed that Bairam Khan was merely using the retreat from Delhi as an excuse to eliminate a rival.

Akbar's army defeated the more numerous forces of Hemu Vikramaditya at the Second Battle of Panipat, 50 miles (80 km) north of Delhi, thanks to a chance arrow into Hemu's eye. Hemu was brought to Akbar unconscious, and was beheaded. Hemu's body was cut into pieces, his head was hung outside Delhi Darwaza, while his torso was hung outside Purana Qila, opposite present day Pragati Maidan in Delhi. Acting out as a Ghazi ("victor"), Akbar constructed a victory pillar made from the heads of the captured/surrendered army of Raja Hemchandra Vikramaditiya and rebellious soldiers, just like Babur did. Pictures of such towers are displayed in the National Museum, New Delhi, and Panipat Museum in Haryana.

The victory also left Akbar with over 1,500 war elephants which he used to re-engage Sikandar Shah at the siege of Mankot. Sikandar surrendered and so was spared death, and lived the last remaining two years of his life on a large estate granted to him by Akbar. In 1557, Adil Shah, brother of Sikandar, died during a battle in Bengal.
Akbar was only 14 years old when he became emperor, and so his general ruled on his behalf until he came of age. The regency belonged to Bairam Khan, a Shi'a (Afghan) noble born in Badakhshan who successfully dealt with pretenders to the throne and improved the discipline of the Mughal armies. He ensured power was centralised and was able to expand the empires boundaries with orders from the capital. These moves helped to consolidate Mughal power in the newly recovered empire.

Respect for Bairam's regency was not, however, universal. There were many people plotting his demise in order to assume the apparent absolute rule they saw in him. Much was written, critically, of his religion.

The majority of the early court were Sunni Muslims, and Bairam's Shi'ism was disliked. Bairam knew about this, and perhaps even to spite that, appointed a Shia Sheikh, Shaikh Gadai Kamboh, to become the Administrator General, one of the more important roles in the empire. Additionally, Bairam lived a rather opulent lifestyle, which appeared to be even more excessive than that of Akbar.

The most serious of those opposed to Bairam was Maham Anga, Akbar's aunt, chief nurse and mother of his foster brother, Adham Khan. Maham was both shrewd and manipulative and hoped to rule herself by proxy through her son. In March 1560 the pair of them urged Akbar to visit them in Delhi, leaving Bairam in the capital, Agra. While in Delhi Akbar was bombarded by people who told him he was now ready to take full control of the empire and to dismiss Bairam. He was persuaded to fund an excursion for Bairam to go on Hajj to Mecca, which was to act, essentially, as a form of ostracism. Bairam was shocked at the news from Delhi, but was loyal to Akbar, and despite Akbar's refusal to even meet with the General, refused the suggestions by some of his commanders to march on Delhi and "rescue" Akbar.

Bairam left for Mecca, but was quickly met by an army sent by Adham Khan, approved by Akbar, which was sent to "escort" him from the Mughal territories. Bairam saw this as the last straw, and led an attack on the army, but was captured and sent as a rebel back to Akbar to be sentenced. Bairam Khan, whose military genius had seen the Mughals regain their lands in India, who had served both Humayun and Akbar loyally, and laid the foundation for a strong empire, was now before the emperor as a prisoner. Maham Anga urged Akbar to execute Bairam, but Akbar refused. Instead, in defiance of Anga, he laid down full honors to the General, and gave him robes of honor, and agreed to fund him a proper hajj excursion. However, shortly after Bairam Khan's hajj journey got underway, just before he reached the port city of Khambhat he was killed by an Afghan assassin whose father had been killed five years earlier in a battle led by Bairam. Bairam died on January 31, 1561.

Akbar is recorded as saying "A monarch should be ever intent on conquest, lest his neighbors rise in arms against him", and he went on to expand the Mughal empire to include Malwa (1562), Gujarat (1572), Bengal (1574), Kabul (1581), Kashmir (1586), and Kandesh (1601), among others. Akbar installed a governor over each of the conquered provinces, under his authority.
Akbar did not want to have his court tied too closely to the city of Delhi. He ordered the court moved to Fatehpur Sikri, near Agra, but when this site proved untenable, he set up a roaming camp that let him keep a close eye on what was happening throughout the empire. He developed and encouraged commerce.

Akbar's tax reforms were especially noteworthy, and formed the basis of the Mughal Empire's immense wealth in succeeding generations. His officials prepared a detailed and accurate cadaster (land register) noting each land parcel's soil quality, water access, and so assessed their value, taking account of prevailing prices for various crops in each region. This was a distinct improvement on earlier land tax systems, including the Egyptian and Roman ones, which had levied land taxes as an in-kind share of the harvest. By making taxes reflect the value of the land rather than the harvest, this stimulated both improvements in investments and more productive use of the land. The economic effect was such that the revered Qing emperor Kang Xi adopted similar measures a century later in China, with similar success.
Starting in 1571, Akbar built a walled capital called Fatehpur Sikri (Fatehpur means "town of victory") near Agra. Palaces for each of Akbar's senior queens, a huge artificial lake, and sumptuous water-filled courtyards were built there. However, the city was soon abandoned and the capital was moved to Lahore in 1585. The reason may have been that the water supply in Fatehpur Sikri was insufficient or of poor quality. Or, as some historians believe, Akbar had to attend to the northwest areas of his empire and therefore moved his capital northwest. In 1599, Akbar shifted his capital back to Agra from where he reigned until his death.

Akbar's reign was chronicled extensively by his court historian Abul Fazl in the books Akbarnama and Ain-i-akbari. Fazl gave a positive spin to Akbar's reign by glossing over uncomfortable facts of the emperor's reign related to his interaction with other communities of his empire, which has been repeated by numerous historians over the years. Other contemporary sources of Akbar's reign like the works of Badayuni, Shaikhzada Rashidi and Shaikh Ahmed Sirhindi were written outside of court influence and hence contain more authentic information and less flattery for Akbar.

Jalaluddin Muhammad Akbar see Akbar
Jalāl ud-Dīn Muhammad Akbar see Akbar
Akbar the Great see Akbar
Badruddin Mohammed Akbar see Akbar

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