Friday, April 26, 2013

'Umar ibn Hafs - Vizier


‘Umar ibn Hafs
‘Umar ibn Hafs (d. 771).  Governor of Ifriqiya.  He was appointed by the ‘Abbasid Caliph al-Mansur in 768 to subdue the Kharijites who rose in a general insurrection under the Sufi Abu Qurra.


‘Umar ibn Hafsun
‘Umar ibn Hafsun ('Umar ibn Hafs ibn Ja'far) (Omar ben Hafsun) (c. 850-917/918).  Leader of a famous rebellion in Muslim Spain.  After his conversion to Islam, he spent some time at Tahert, Algeria.  Upon returning he established himself in the almost impregnable fortress of Bobastro and exercised complete authority over the mountainous region between Ronda and Malaga. In 883, he submitted to the Umayyad amir Muhammad I ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman II (r. 852-886), but in the following year recaptured Bobastro.  He now became the champion of the malcontents, whether Christians or neo-Muslims, repudiated Islam openly, took the name Samuel and began to lead a regular crusade against Islam.  Bobastro was captured by the Umayyad amir ‘Abd al-Rahman III in 928.

`Umar ibn Hafs ibn Ja'far, known in Spanish history as Omar ben Hafsun, was a 9th century Muslim leader of anti-Ummayad dynasty forces in southern Iberia.

The background of Umar ibn Hafsun has been the subject of conflicting claims. His contemporary, the poet Ibn Abd Rabbih (860-940) referred to him as a Sawada, a descendant of black Africans. Writing a century later, Ibn Hayyan recorded a pedigree for Umar ibn Hafsan, tracing his descent to a great-grandfather, Ja'far, who had converted to Islam and settled in the Ronda area. The pedigree then traces back several additional generations to a Count Marcellus (or perhaps Frugelo), son of Alfonso, apparently a Christian Visigoth. This pedigree was copied by later historians, including Ibn Idhari, Ibn Khatib and Ibn Khaldun, as well as the A'lam Malaga (History of Malaga) begun by ibn 'Askar and completed by Ibn Khamis, and more recent authors such as Dozy, in his Histoire des Mussulmans d'Espagne (History of the Muslims of Spain). However, the pre-conversion portion of this pedigree was probably invented by Umar himself. Regardless, his family owned lands in Iznate, Málaga where ibn Hafsun grew up.

Ibn Hafsun was born around 850 in the mountains near Parauta, in what is now Málaga province. A wild youth, he had a very violent temper and was involved in a number of disputes, even a homicide around the year 879. He joined a group of brigands, was captured by the wali (governor) of Málaga, who merely imposed a fine (having not been informed of the homicide). The governor subsequently lost his post. Ibn Hafsun fled the jurisdiction to Africa where he worked briefly as an apprentice tailor or stone mason.

He soon returned to Andalucia, albeit as an outlaw, and joined the bandits who were in rebellion against the caliphate, wherein he soon rose to a leadership position. He settled in the ruins of the old Bobastro castle. He rebuilt the castle, and fortified the nearby town of Ardales, Malaga. He rallied disaffected muwallads and mozárabs to the cause, playing off resentment at the unfair, heavy taxation and humiliating treatment they were receiving at the hands of Abd ar-Rahman and his successors. He acquired castles and lands in a wide area, not only in Malaga, but including portions of the provinces of Cádiz, Granada known then as Elvira, Jaén, and Seville. By 883, he had become the leader of the rebels in the provinces to the south and west of the Emirate of Cordoba. The year before, in 882, he is said to have fought the Emir in a battle in which ally García Íñiguez of Pamplona was killed. About 885, in order to be more centrally located and quicker to respond to external threats, ibn Hafsun moved his headquarters to the town of Poley, which is now known as Aguilar de la Frontera.

After Ibn Hafsun’s defeat by the forces of Abdallah ibn Muhammad at the battle of Poley in 891, he moved his headquarters back to Bobastro. In 898, Lubb ibn Muhammad, of the Banu Qasi, was marching an army to support Umar when the death of his father at Zaragoza forced Lubb to abandon the campaign. In 899, Ibn Hafsun renounced Islam and became a Christian, being christened as Samuel. His motivations seem to have been opportunistic, hoping to obtain military support from Alfonso III of Leon, who had met with indifference overtures by Ibn Hafsun on behalf of Ibn Marwan. His conversion proved a major political mistake which although helping to attract significant Mozarab support, cost him the support of most of his Mullawad followers. He also built at Bobastro the Iglesia Mozarabe (Mozarab Church).

Ibn Hafsun remained a serious threat to Córdoba, even though in 910 he offered allegiance to the Fatimid rulers of north Africa, and when Abd-ar-Rahman III became Emir of Cordoba in 912 he instigated a policy of annual Spring offensives against Ibn Hafsun, using mercenary troops. In 913, they captured the city of Seville, and by the end of 914 had captured 70 of Ibn Hafsun’s castles. In 916, he joined forces with the Umayyads in a campaign against northern Christian kingdoms. The reasons for this are obscure, as is whether it was done in contrition or merely as an expedient compromise. For awhile, even taxes were paid to the Umayyads.

Ibn Hafsun died in 917/918 and was buried in the Iglesia Mozarabe. His coalition then crumbled, and while his sons Ja'far, 'Abd-ar-Rahman and Hafs tried to continue the resistance, they eventually fell to 'Abd-ar-Rahman III's plots and armies. The last, Hafs, surrendered Bobastro in 928 and afterward fought with the Umayyad army in Galicia. With Bobastro's fall, the mortal remains of Ibn Hafsun and his slain sons were exhumed by the emir and posthumously crucified outside the Great Mosque of Córdoba.
'Umar ibn Hafs ibn Ja'far see ‘Umar ibn Hafsun
Omar ben Hafsun see ‘Umar ibn Hafsun


‘Umar ibn Idris
‘Umar ibn Idris (d. c. 1388).  Ruler of the Kanuri empire of Kanem-Bornu (r.1384-1388).  He moved the center of the empire from Kanem to Bornu.  One of his predecessors, the famous Dunama Dibbalemi (around 1250), had precipitated a conflict with the neighboring Bulala nomads, who were descendants of an earlier Kanem ruler.  The conflict continued into the 14th century, and ‘Umar’s five immediate predecessors were killed fighting the Bulala.  ‘Umar abandoned Kanem, east of Lake Chad, and moved his kingdom to Bornu, west of the lake.  The wars with the Bulala continued to the end of the century.


‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi
 ‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi (Umar I ibn Muhammad al-Amin) (Umar of Bornu) (d. 1881).  Ruler of the Kanuri state of Bornu (r.1837-1881).

‘Umar succeeded his father al-Kanemi.  Al-Kanemi had usurped power from the thousand year old Sefawa dynasty of Bornu.   ‘Umar, like his father, permitted the Sefawa kings to remain as titular rulers.  But when one of these Sefawa kings  (Ibrahim) tried to regain power by allying with the state of Wadai.  ‘Umar killed both Ibrahim and Ibrahim’s son.  This act ended the ancient dynasty of the Sefawa kings.

‘Umar was a weak and indecisive ruler who came to rely heavily on his unpopular wazir -- his unpopular chief advisor.  The nobles of the court became so dissatisfied that, in 1853, they supported a coup led by ‘Umar’s brother, Abdurrahman.

Abdurrahman proved to be a tryrannical ruler.  Support soon swung back in favor of ‘Umar, who had seemed all the more preferable because his wazir had died.  The next year Abdurrahman was deposed and ‘Umar was reinstated.  Abdurrahman was killed shortly afterwards.

For the next thirteen years, the most powerful man in Bornu was Laminu Njitiya.  Laminu Njitiya was a former bandit who rose to become ‘Umar’s new advisor.  A capable and popular man, Laminu died in 1871.

In the last years of ‘Umar’s reign the power of the nobility increased at the king’s expense.  ‘Umar was succeeded at his death by his own son, Bukar.  Bukar had made his reputation as a military commander while his father was still alive.

Bukar was probably the de facto ruler of Bornu during ‘Umar’s last year.

Umar I ibn Muhammad al-Amin or Umar of Borno was shehu (Sheik) of the Kanem-Bornu Empire and son of Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi.

Umar came to power after a civil war, the first ruler in a long line from the Kanemi dynasty, and not from the traditional Sayfawa dynasty. The Kanem-Bornu Empire survived the end of the latter dynasty; but Umar, who eschewed the ancient title mai for the simpler designation shehu (from the Arabic shaykh), could not match his father's vitality and gradually allowed the kingdom to be ruled by advisers (wazirs). Bornu began to decline, as a result of administrative disorganization, regional particularism, and attacks by the militant Ouaddai Empire to the east. The decline continued under Umar's sons, and in 1893 Rabih az-Zubayr, leading an invading army from eastern Sudan, conquered Bornu.

Umar ruled from 1846 until November 1853, and for a second time from September 1854 to 1881. Between these periods, `Abd ar-Rahman ibn Muhammad al-Amin was mai.

Umar I ibn Muhammad al-Amin see  ‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi
Umar of Bornu see  ‘Umar ibn Muhammad al-Amin al-Kanemi


‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall
‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall (al-Hajj ‘Umar) (El Hadj Umar Tall) (El Hadj Umar ibn Sa'id Tall) (ʿUmar ibn Saʿīd Tal) (el-Hadj Omar ibn Saʿīd Tal) (b. c. 1794/1797, Halvar, Fouta-Toro [now in Senegal] - d. February 12, 1864, near Hamdalahi, Tukulor empire [now in Mali]).  Founder of the Tukolor Empire.  A theologian, political reformer, and military strategist, he led one of the major West African Islamic revolutionary movements.  He was born in Futa Toro in present Senegal, a region known historically for the export of Islamic reform throughout West Africa.  His family belonged to the ruling Tukolor clerical class.  Although his father was a member of the ancient Qadiriyya Islamic brotherhood, he himself elected to join the newer Tijaniyya sect.  The latter appealed more to the masses, emphasizing salvation through deeds rather than through study.  Nevertheless, by 1826, the year he undertook the pilgrimage to Mecca, he was an established scholar.  On the way to Mecca, he spent about seven months in Sokoto, the seat of the Fula Islamic empire created by ‘Uthman dan Fodio.  Arriving at Mecca and Medina, he was made a high official in the Tijaniyya.  There he was exposed to the recently suppressed Wahhabi movement in central Arabia.  This was a militant, anti-Turkish revivalist movement which stressed a return to fundamental Islam.  ‘Umar also observed Muhammad Ali’s attempts to industrialize Egypt.

On his return, ‘Umar stopped in Bornu, and again in Sokoto (in 1832), where he remained for nearly seven years as a guest of Muhammad Bello, the son and successor of ‘Uthman dan Fodio.  There he gained a large following and considerable wealth.  Shortly after Muhammad Bello died (in 1837), ‘Umar travelled to Macina, then to the rival state of Segu, both of which were later to fall to the Tukolor armies.  He returned to Futa Toro briefly in 1840, and then moved with his followers to Futa Jalon in present Guinea.  Here the ruler, Bubakar, permitted him to establish a religious community near Timbo, the Futa capital.  In 1846, he resumed his travels, touring the Senegambia.  He met with French officials, who were receptive to his ideas of uniting and pacifying the Senegal River valley.

‘Umar returned to Futa Jalon but the political authorities there, fearing his power and his ideas on Islamic revivalism, forced him to emigrate to Dinguiray (in 1848), which he made his new base.  Shortly afterwards, he attacked a number of nearby non-Muslim states.  In 1852, he declared a jihad (holy war).  In the next ten years, he conquered Dinguiray, Bure, Segu, Kaarta, and Macina.

‘Umar’s career had a number of parallels with that of ‘Uthman dan Fodio, founder of the Sokoto Empire.  Both were strong advocates of revivalist Islam.  ‘Umar saw his escape from Futa Jalon in the same way that ‘Uthman viewed his flight from Gobir -- similar to the escape of the Prophet from Mecca.  Both were charismatic figures.  And like ‘Uthman’s followers, those of ‘Umar joined the jihad for a variety of reasons, not all religious.  Many were attempting to bring political revolution to their own lands, using Islamic reform as a vehicle.  Unlike ‘Uthman, however, ‘Umar was a capable military strategist, who led his own armies into battle. 

The greatest challenge to ‘Umar’s empire came from the French, who under Louis Faidherbe were advancing into the Western Sudan.  ‘Umar depended upon French sources for weapons.  When these were cut off, he raided French trading posts on the Senegal River (in 1835).  At the same time, he urged the Muslim community residing in the French colony of Saint Louis to revolt.  Faidherbe advanced French outposts up the Senegal River and gave active support to anti-Tukolor rulers.  After ‘Umar completed the conquest of Kaarta he attacked the French fort at Medine (1857).  Although he was beaten back, he continued harassing the French until they captured his stronghold at Guemou in 1859.

Since ‘Umar was more interested in fighting the Bambara of Segu, while Faidherbe preferred to consolidate his gains, the two sides signed a treaty in 1860.  They continued to clash sporadically.  In 1863, however, ‘Umar was distracted by a major rebellion within the empire.  Fighting spread throughout Segu and Macina, led by Ba Lobbo and Abdul Salam.  In Timbuktu, Shaikh Sidi Ahmad al-Bakka’i amassed an anti-Tukolor army.  ‘Umar was trapped in Macina near the town of Hamdallahi in February 1864, and burned to death when the enemy set fire to the area to prevent his escape.  Macina, however, was quickly reconquered by ‘Umar’s nephew, Ahmadu Tijani.  Leadership of the empire fell to ‘Umar son, Ahmadu ibn ‘Umar.

ʿUmar ibn Saʿīd Tal was a West African Tukulor leader who, after launching a jihad (holy war) in 1854, established a Muslim realm, the Tukulor empire, between the upper Senegal and Niger rivers (in what is now upper Guinea, eastern Senegal, and western and central Mali). The empire survived until the 1890s under his son, Aḥmadu Seku.

ʿUmar Tal was born in the upper valley of the Sénégal River, in the land of the Tukulor people. His father was an educated Muslim who instructed students in the Qurʾān, and ʿUmar, a mystic, perfected his studies in Arabic and the Qurʾān with Moorish scholars who initiated him into the Tijānī brotherhood.

At the age of 23, ʿUmar set out on the pilgrimage to Mecca. He was already well known for his piety and erudition and was received with honor in the countries through which he traveled. Muhammad Bello, emir of Sokoto in Nigeria, offered him his daughter Maryam in marriage. Enriched by this princely alliance, ʿUmar had become an important personage when he reached Mecca about 1827. He visited the tomb of the Prophet in Medina, returned to Mecca, and then settled for a while in Cairo. On a visit to Jerusalem he succeeded in curing a son of Ibrahim Pasha, the viceroy of Egypt. In Mecca, finally, he was designated caliph for black Africa by the head of the Tijānī brotherhood.

Armed with his prestige as a scholar, mystic, and miracle worker, ʿUmar returned to the interior of Africa in 1833. Trained for political leadership by his father-in-law, Muhammad Bello, the emir of Sokoto, with whom he again spent several years, and his position strengthened by the title of caliph, ʿUmar decided to obey the voice of God and to convert the pagan Africans to Islām. By now he not only was looked upon as a miracle worker but also had acquired a bodyguard of followers and of devoted Hausa slaves.

Upon the death of Bello, he departed for his native country, hoping to conquer the Fouta region with the assistance of the French, in exchange for a trade treaty, an agreement the French declined because of ʿUmar’s growing strength. ʿUmar realized that faith without force would be ineffective and made careful preparations for his task. In northeastern Guinea, where he first established himself, he wrote down his teachings in a book called Kitāb rimāḥ ḥizb ar-raḥīm (“Book of the Spears of the Party of God”). Deriving his inspiration from Ṣūfism—a mystic Islāmic doctrine—he defined the Tijānī “way” as the best one for saving one’s soul and for approaching God. He recommended meditation, self-denial, and blind obedience to the sheikh. He gained many followers in Guinea, but, when in 1845 he went to preach in his own country, he met with little success.

El Hadj Umar Tall remains a legendary figure in Senegal, Guinea, and Mali, though his legacy varies by country. Where the Senegalese tend to remember him as a hero of anti-French resistance, Malian sources tend to describe him as an invader who prepared the way for the French by weakening West Africa. Umar Tall also figures prominently in Maryse Condé's historical novel Segu.

El Hadj Umar Tall see ‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall
El Hadj Umar ibn Sa'id Tall  see ‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall
ʿUmar ibn Saʿīd Tal see ‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall
Hadj Omar ibn Saʿīd Tal, el- see ‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall
Hajj ‘Umar, al- see ‘Umar ibn Sa‘id Tall


‘Umari ibn Fadl ‘Allah, al-
‘Umari ibn Fadl ‘Allah, al- (1301-1349).  Arab author who recorded the history of the Mali Empire.  He was an administrator and scholar living in Cairo and Damascus.  He gathered information on Mali shortly after the pilgrimage of its famous king, Mansa Musa (1324-1325).  Al-‘Umari’s account helped achieve international recognition for Musa and Mali.  It remains among the most valuable sources for the empire’s history.


Umaru
Umaru (‘Umar ibn ‘Ali) (c. 1824-1891).  Ruler of the Fula Sokoto Empire (r.1881-1891).  Umaru was a great-grandson of Uthman dan Fodio.  Uthman dan Fodio was the founder of the Fula Empire in northern Nigeria.  Uthman’s successors had kept alive the tradtions of the jihad (holy war) by assembling the armies of the Sokoto emirates for military campaigns each autumn.  These campaigns had degenerated into raids on neighboring territories rather than attempts to extend Sokoto’s boundaries.  Umaru discontinued the raids.  To make up for lost revenues, Umaru extracted greater tribute within the empire.  He also interfered more in the domestic affairs of the individual emirates.  These policies were generally accepted, and the period was one of unprecedented security and flourishing trade.  Expansion to the north and east continued on a peaceful basis.  Ironically, Umaru died while on a military expedition.  He was succeeded by Abdurrahman. 
'Umar ibn 'Ali see Umaru


Umayyads
Umayyads (Banu Umayya).  Dynasty of caliphs which ruled the Islamic world (r.661-750).  Their main capital was Damascus.  Named after its founding father, Umayya, a member of the Prophet’s tribe.  Founder of the dynasty was Muawiya I ibn Abu Sufyan (r. 661-680) who, as governor of Syria, emerged in 657 as an opponent of Caliph Ali and, following his murder, seized power, which he made inheritable.  There followed ongoing conflicts with various Arab tribes and religious movements in early Islam.  Political successes were the rule of Abd al-Malik (r. 685-705), who reorganized the state administration (including monetary reform) and developed Jerusalem as a religious center, and also that of al-Walid (705-715), who advanced Islamic conquests (in 711 as far as Spain in the west and Industal in the east, with Bukhara and Samarkand conquered in 715).  There then followed rulers whose reigns were shortlived, as well as an increase in the number of rebellions among conquered populations protesting at the privileges enjoyed by the Arabs.  Under Hisham (r. 724-743) there was consolidation, but this was followed by political instability and uprisings by Kharijite and Shi‘ite groups, who helped the Abbasids rise to power.  These expelled the last Umayyad caliph, Marvan II (r. 744-750) in 750 and removed the Umayyad family.  One of Hisham’s grandsons who had fled established the rule of the Spanish Umayyads in Cordoba in 756.

The Banu Umayya were the principal clan of the Quraysh of Mecca, represented by two main branches, the A‘yas and the ‘Anabisa.  ‘Affan, the father of the Caliph ‘Uthman, was descended from the A‘yas, as were the Caliph Marwan I ibn al-Hakam and the caliphs who came after him until the end of the dynasty.  Marwan and his descendants formed the Marwanid line of the Umayyads.  The amirs, later caliphs, of Muslim Spain were also descended from the A‘yas.  The most illustrious family of the ‘Anabisa branch was that of Harb, whose son Abu Sufyan was the father of the first Umayyad Caliph Mu‘awiya I.  His line became extinct with the death of Caliph Mu‘awiya II, the son of the Caliph Yazid I, and was followed by the Marwanid line.

If tradition, as established after their fall under the influence of the ideas dominant in pietist circles, has cursed the memory of the Umayyads, it nevertheless remains true that it was precisely under their regime and partly under their stimulus that Islam established itself as a universalist religion.  The Umayyad caliphs, as descendants of the Meccan aristocracy which had fought Islam in its early stages, must have believed in good faith that the propagation of the Muslim faith and the expansion of their temporal power were one and the same thing.  They must have been convinced that the enemies of their policy, whether Shi‘a or Kharijites, were also enemies of the true tradition of the Prophet.

The Umayyad party triumphed under the third caliph ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan at the expense of the first converts, of the Prophet’s son-in-law ‘Ali in the first place.  The opposition between Mu‘awiya and ‘Ali raised an exceedingly delicate constitutional problem: that of the assumption of supreme power over the believers by one who was not among the earliest Companions of the Prophet.  Rather than being the continuators of the sunna of the Prophet, the Umayyads became in fact, if not in official title, “kings” or rather “tyrants” in the Greek sense of the word.  The Umayyad period is marked by a strong opposition between Syria and Iraq, due to Ziyad ibn Abihi’s merciless suppression in Iraq, so different from the policy practised by Mu‘awiya himself.  The Iraqi population seems to have been justified in thinking that the Umayyad caliphate really represented the hegemony of Syria over the rest of Islamic territory and the memory of ‘Ali, which legend soon seized upon, was in a way bound up with the nationalism of Iraq. 

The most tangible success of Mu‘awiya’s policy was that he made the caliphate hereditary after having succeeded in extracting from the tribal chiefs the oath of allegiance (in Arabic, bay‘a) for his son Yazid.  This principle was continued under Marwan I ibn al-Hakam.  The caliphate of the latter’s son ‘Abd al-Malik, under the driving power of al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf al-Thaqafi, was an attempt to establish an absolute monarchy.  Al-Hajjaj reduced the Kharijite movement to temporary impotence, while Shi‘ism, defeated in the open field, took refuge in secret propaganda which was only to bear fruit much later. The vast conquests of Qutayba ibn Muslim in the east, begun in 705, brought about the conversion to Islam of the Turks, while in the west the Berbers, notwithstanding their opposition to the Arab conquerors, gradually also accepted the new religion.  It was to these two races, placed at the two extremes of the Arab empire, that Islam owed the greater part of its future successes but also a profound change in its civilization.

The Caliph al-Walid I was the great builder of the dynasty, and the fiscal reforms of ‘Umar II ibn ‘Abd al-‘Aziz paved the way for the equal treatment of Arabs and non-Arab “clients” and contributed more than anything else to the fusion of the descendants of the conquerors and conquered.

Under the Caliph Hisham ibn ‘Abd al-Malik, the Umayyad caliphate experienced another period of splendor.  But Hisham had exploited to the limit the fiscal reforms of ‘Umar II and exhausted his Muslim and non-Muslim subjects alike.  The scandalous conduct of the Caliph al-Walid II also played an important part in the collapse of the established order.  Misery brought about a revival of Kharijism, and the Shi‘a movement began again to show itself openly in Iraq.  Neither Yasid III ibn al-Walid nor his brother Ibrahim ibn al-Walid succeeded in checking the anarchy which was spreading throughout the empire.  Marwan II ibn Muhammad, the governor of Armenia, proclaimed himself caliph and subdued Syria, Egypt and Iraq.  But in 747, the forces of Abu Muslim rapidly conquered Khurasan and Fars, and in 748 occupied Iraw where the ‘Abbasids suddenly put forward their claims and proclaimed Abu’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah caliph at Kufa.  Marwan II was killed in 750. 

It can be said that the intellectual and moral unification of the Muslim world, accomplished by the ‘Abbasids, had already begun under the Umayyads.

The Umayyads were the self-described heirs to the orthodox or patriarchal caliphate which existed from 632 to 661.  From their capital in Damascus, the Umayyads extended the borders of the Islamic empire to India in the east and to Spain in the west.  The early Umayyad caliphs were adept military tacticians and effective bureaucrats; they also left a rich legacy in poetry, Greek to Arabic translations, and architectural monuments. 

The Umayyads never solved the problem of how to deal with non-Arab converts to Islam (the mawali).  The mawali, together with Arab discontents looking for a return to pristine Islam, supported the ‘Abbasid forces, who defeated the Umayyads in 750.  A lone Umayyad dynast escaped to Spain and established in Spain a regional dynasty that lasted until 1031.

The Umayyad caliphs (661-750) played only a brief and rather indirect, yet nonetheless critical, role in the history of Iran and Central Asia.  Generally, the Umayyad central government was more interested in affairs affecting the western portions of the empire (wars with Byzantium and expansion around the Mediterranean basin) than with the east.  After consolidting the eastern areas conquered earlier by the Arabs, the Umayyads tended to entrust matters in Iraq, and its Iranian dependencies to governors and sub-governors, often chosen from prominent Arab families settled in the respective provinces, who then followed whatever policy they felt best.

One of the most effective and important of these Umayyad officials in Iran was the governor of Khurasan, Qutaiba ibn Muslim al-Bahili (705-715), a protégé of the powerful Umayyad governor of Iraq, al-Hajjaj ibn Yusuf.  Qutaiba effectively suppressed a revolt, led by Nizak (or Tirek) of Badghis, of the semi-autonomous princes of Tocharistan (on the eastern borders of Khurasan); conquered the city of Bukhara and its environs; invaded and subdued Sogdiana, taking its most important city, Samarkand; conquered Khwarazm and settled a colony of Arabs there; and mounted expeditions against several remote principalities along the Syr Darya as far as what is now Tashkent.  All this military activity served a number of useful functions.  It diverted the energies of the Arab tribesmen from factional struggles against each other into the new campaigns, thus encouraging cooperation between the Arab and Iranian military elites; it brought in much-needed booty to bolster the local economy; it provided a vehicle for re-organizing and stabilizing the provincial government; and it checked, at least temporarily, the growing power of the Turkic tribes on the far eastern borders of the Islamic empire.  Unfortunately, this energetic governor fell from favor with the central government after the death of al-Hajjaj and was killed by his own former soldiers when he attempted to revolt.  (Interestingly, the Sogdians he had conquered remained loyal to him to the very end.)

After Qutaiba’s death, the authority of the Umayyads in the east deteriorated steadily.  The reasons for this are complex but can be reduced to three main points.  First, the Umayyads failed to find a permanent means of containing the rivalries, antagonisms, and competition for political and material rewards among their Arab tribal supporters in the provinces.  They were thus ultimately confronted with a bitter intra-Arab civil war in Khurasan.  Second, they based their power more and more on a narrow elite of Arab tribal warriors, many of them newcomers to the east, and the indigenous Iranian military aristocracy.  This alienated the non-Arab peasantry, their village leaders, and the semi-assimilated Arab colonists who had become landowners and resided permanently in the region.  Third, as both Arabs and Iranians came to think more of their common Islamic, rather than their separate ethnic, identity, the Umayyads were unable to find any convincing justification for the legitimacy of their rule that could appeal to the religious sentiments of the pious-minded Muslim masses in the cities and countryside.  These sources of discontent in Khurasan were shrewdly manipulated by various opponents of Umayyad rule, especially by partisans of the Abbasid family who engineered a revolutionary conspiracy in Khurasan that toppled the authority of their governor in that province and subsequently brought down the dynasty itself.

The Umayyad Caliphs at Damascus were:

    * Muawiyah I ibn Abi Sufyan, 661–680
    * Yazid I ibn Muawiyah, 680–683
    * Muawiyah II ibn Yazid, 683–684
    * Marwan I ibn al-Ḥakam, 684–685
    * Abd al-Malik ibn Marwan, 685–705
    * al-Walid I ibn Abd al-Malik, 705–715
    * Suleiman ibn Abd al-Malik, 715–717
    * Umar ibn Abd al-Aziz, 717–720
    * Yazid II ibn Abd al-Malik, 720–724
    * Hisham ibn Abd al-Malik, 724–743
    * al-Walid II ibn Yazid II, 743–744
    * Yazid III ibn al-Walid, 744
    * Ibrahim ibn al-Walid, 744
    * Marwan II ibn Muhammad (ruled from Harran in the Jazira) 744–750

The Umayyad Emirs of Córdoba were:

    * Abd ar-Rahman I, 756–788
    * Hisham I, 788–796
    * al-Hakam I, 796–822
    * Abd ar-Rahman II, 822–852
    * Muhammad I of Córdoba, 852-886
    * Al-Mundhir, 886 - 888
    * Abdallah ibn Muhammad, 888–912
    * Abd ar-Rahman III, 912–929

The Umayyad Caliphs at Córdoba were:

    * Abd ar-Rahman III, as caliph, 929–961
    * Al-Hakam II, 961–976
    * Hisham II, 976–1008
    * Mohammed II, 1008–1009
    * Suleiman, 1009–1010
    * Hisham II, restored, 1010–1012
    * Suleiman, restored, 1012–1017
    * Abd ar-Rahman IV, 1021–1022
    * Abd ar-Rahman V, 1022–1023
    * Muhammad III, 1023–1024
    * Hisham III, 1027–1031


Banu Umayya see Umayyads


Umayyads of Spain
Umayyads of Spain.  Dynasty (r. 756-1031) on the Iberian peninsula with Cordoba as their capital.  ‘Abd al-Rahman I al-Dakhil, “the Immigrant,” was recognized as amir in 756 in Cordoba, the traditional residence of the Arab governors.  The main task of all his successors was to be the pacification of the new amirate.  The Maliki law school was introduced at the end of the eighth century.  Amir ‘Abd Allah gradually consolidated Umayyad authority.  The most glorious period in the history of Muslim Spain was the reign of ‘Abd al-Rahman III. 

The Spanish Umayyads were founded by Abd al-Rahman I (756-788), a grandson of the Umayyad caliph Hisham, the only survivor of the Abbasid massacre of the Umayyads (in 750), who fled to Spain and seized power there.  He and his successors, Hisham I (788-796) and al-Hakam I (796-822), created a stable state structure, brought political conciliation to the country and conducted successful border battles against the Christians in the north.  The first cultural flowering came under Abd al-Rahman II (r. 822-852) through the patronage of literature and science and the refinement of customs and traditions.  Al-Andalus became the center of western Islam.  Next, central power was relinquished in favor of regional government, which led to the successes of the Christian Reconquista.  After government was re-centralized and the political zenith achieved under the rule of Abd al-Rahman III (r. 912-961), who assumed the title of caliph in 929 and restored sovereignty in Spain.  He was able to expand the Umayyad territory towards the Fatimids in North Africa (becoming overlord of Fez and Mauritania in 932) and ruled over the Idrisid state.  Al-Andalus experienced another period of cultural creativity under his learned son, al-Hakam II (r. 961-976), who was able to continue his father’s policy.  During the subsequent decline of the caliph’s office under his young son Hisham II (r. 976-1013), power was transferred to the victorious Amirids under the regent at al-Mansur (r. 978-1002).  The period after 1009 saw civil war and anarchy in the warring between different pretenders and also against the Hammudids of Malaga.  In 1031, the last caliph, Hisham III (r. 1027-1031), resigned his position and al-Andalus split into taifa kingdoms.

The decline and fall of the Spanish Umayyads became evident under the successors of Hisham II.  Between 1009 and 1031 no less than nine caliphs are listed, their reigns being continuously interrupted by the Hammudids of Malaga.  From this time onwards civil war reigned in Cordoba and the caliphate, the Berber element playing a more and more disastrous part in the troubles.  All the provinces of Muslim Spain proclaimed their independence under a Spanish, Slav or Berber chief.  These rulers, known as Party Kings (in Arabic, muluk al-tawa’if), lasted until the end of the eleventh century, when the Almoravids conquered Muslim Spain. 

The following is a list of the Spanish Umayyads:

756 ‘Abd al-Rahman I al-Dakhil
788 Hisham I
796 Hisham II
822 ‘Abd al-Rahman II
852 Muhammad I
886 al-Mundhir
888 ‘Abd Allah
912 ‘Abd al-Rahman III
961 al-Hakam II
976 Hisham II al-Mu’ayyad (first reign)
1009 Muhammad II al-Mahdi (first reign)
1009 Sulayman al-Musta‘in (first reign)
1010 Muhammad II al-Mahdi (second reign)
1010 Hisham II al-Mu’ayyad (second reign)
1013 Sulayman al-Musta‘in (second reign)
1016 Hammudid ‘Ali al-Nasir
1018 ‘Abd al-Rahman IV
1018 Hammudid al-Qasim al-Ma’mun (first time)
1021 Hammudid Yahya al-Mu‘tali (first time)
1022 Hammudid al-Qasim al-Ma’mun (second time)
1023 ‘Abd al-Rahman V
1024 Muhammad III
1025 Hammudid Yahya al-Mu‘tali (second time)
1027-1031 Hisham III

Muluk al-Tawa’if


Umayya ibn ‘Abd Shams
Umayya ibn ‘Abd Shams.  Ancestor of the Umayyads, who were the principal clan of the Quraysh in Mecca.  Like his father, Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf, he commanded the Meccan army in time of war.

Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf was a prominent member of the Quraysh (Quraish) tribe of Mecca in modern-day Saudi Arabia. The Banu Abd Shams sub-clan of the Quraish tribe and their descendants take its name from him.

Abd Shams ibn Abd Manaf was, presumably, the oldest son of Abd Manaf ibn Qusai. His younger brothers were Muttalib, Nawfal and Hashim, after whom the Banu Hashim tribe was named.

The Banu Umayyad clan was named after his son Umayya ibn Abd Shams. Abd Shams was the great-great-grandfather of the sahabi Uthman ibn Affan (d.656), the third Caliph of the Muslim Ummah (community).


Umayya ibn Abi’l-Salt
Umayya ibn Abi’l-Salt (d. 629).  Arab poet, contemporary of the Prophet.  He is said to have refused to recognize the Prophet’s claim to be God’s Messenger.  There are similarities, and divergences, between the Qur’an on the one hand and the recognition of one personal God, the eschatological conceptions of the Last Judgment, Hell and Paradise, and the appeals for a moral life found in Umayya’s poems on the other.  The agreement between the Qur’an and Umayya’s poems may be explained from the fact that before and at the Prophet’s time currents of thought related to the concept of monotheism had attracted wide circles, especially in Mecca and Ta’if.

Umma
Umma (Ummah). Arabic term for the political, social, and spiritual community of Muslims.  The term umma refers to the whole of the brotherhood of Muslims.

The Arabic word umma means “people” or “community.”  The term umma refers to the worldwid community of Muslims.  Although the Arabic word jama’a is nearly synonymous with umma, the word jama’a is now associated almost exclusively with the Sunni branch of Islam, as in the expression ahl al-sunna wa-l-jama’a, “people of the custom and the community [of Muhammad],” while the word umma, both in meaning and in usage, encompasses the entire Muslim community, Shi‘ite as well as Sunni.

Umma is both a scriptural and theological concept and a descriptive historical reality.  In both senses, the term has far-reaching importance.

The earliest Islamic usage of umma occurs in the Qur’an, where it is integral to Muhammad’s revelatory dicta on prophecy.  Each community is defined by the presence in its midst of a prophetic or apostolic figure, whose function is to declare the divine intent for the community to which he has been sent {see Sura 6:42, 10:48, etc.}.  While many of the prophets, including Muhammad, were not accepted without resistance, hostility, and often violent opposition to their teaching, it is they alone who provide the standard by which their respective communities will ultimately be judged on the Day of Reckoning.

The Qur’an extolls Muhammad as God’s chosen apostle to the Arabs; at the same time, it alludes to the intrinsic unity of all humanity as a single community {see Sura 10:19, 11:118}.  The potential recovery of unitary identity is possible through common adherence to a revealed book (kitab).  All People of the Book (ahl al-kitab), therefore, are esteemed because of their book, however much they may have reviled their respective prophets or distorted the true content of prophetic discourse.  Muhammad is viewed as the final prophet, to whom was revealed a book without error or contradiction, the Qur’an.  From a

Muslim perspective, the Qur’an surpassed all other books and Muhammad’s prophecy was the culmination of all prophecy.  Nevertheless, the subsequent evolution of protected peoples in the expanding Muslim world partially derives from the Qur’anic appeal to the original social unity of mankind.

The notion of umma or community was variously interpreted by the Muslim rulers who succeeded Muhammad and tried to apply his revelatory utterances to changing circumstances.  The decisive norm was established under the second Caliph, ‘Umar.  At ‘Umar’s direction, a divan or register was compiled.  Excluding Jews and Christians, the divan ranked members of Muhammad’s community by a strict chronological standard: the date of their profession of loyalty (bai’at) to the Prophet.  Highest on the list were the Meccans who had been senior companions of Muhammad.  Next were the loyal helper families of Medina, followed by later Meccan converts to Islam, and then Arab tribes, according to the date of their leaders’ profession of Islam.  The Prophet’s wives and family were alos accorded a special albeit imprecise place of respect.

‘Umar’s divan was never abrogated, but it was challenged by some and ignored by others.  Shi’ite Muslims, who recognize no legitimate successor to Muhammad before Ali, the fourth caliph, claim for themselves a relationship of supreme intimacy to Muhammad through Ali, the Prophet’s closest male relative among the sahaba -- the companions to the Prophet.  Shi‘ites reject ‘Umar’s divan, along with ‘Umar.  By contrast, the mawali, or clients to the Arabs in lands conquered beyond the peninsula, at first paired their own social ranking to an Arab tribe under the Umayyads, but then gradually came to seek an independent, regional identity under the ‘Abbasids and subsequent dynasties.

The proliferation of regional ruling groups under the later ‘Abbasids, the emergence of three major, often competing medieval Islamic empires, and finally the development of a series of Muslim nation-states in the present century -- all seem to undermine the validity of umma as a workable concern vital to the world view of Muslim peoples.  Yet the ideal persists; its tenacity should not be minimized or disregarded because of historical circumstances, many of them beyond the control of Muslim leaders. The pan-Islamic movement of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the current widespread revival of Islamic loyalties indicate that umma as a vision of religious solidarity continues to inspire Muslims when they react to threats -- whether perceived as Western, colonialist, secular, modernist, or communist -- against the traditional norms and values of Islam.

At the present time, the demographic profile of Islam is more non-Arab than Arab, more Asian and African than Middle Eastern.  The total number of Muslims worldwide is not less than 650 million and perhaps as high as one billion.  There are few authoritative sources on demographic statistics, in large part because few Muslim countries conduct a periodic census with the persistent attention to detail that characterizes the census process in Western Europe and the United States.

Today it is necessary to discard the common assumption that Islam is an ethnically Arab, regionally Middle Eastern religion.  Muslims do face an Arabian city, Mecca, when they pray daily; they do believe in an Arabian prophet of the Quraysh tribe, Muhammad; and they do accord a unique role to Arabic as the language of the Qur’an and ritual prayer.  However, Islam itself is a transregional, multilinguistic, polyethnic, culturally varied community.  Muslims bow to Mecca from many directions of the planet Earth.

Umma is the denotation for the community of Muslims, that is, the totatlity of all Muslims.  The term comes from a word that simply means “people.” In the Qur’an, the word is used in several senses, but it always indicates a group of people that are a part of a divine plan and salvation.  There is even an example of the word being used for an individual, Abraham (Sura 16:120).

Umma when used for a group is often to be understood as confined by ethnicity or linguistics. However, in the Qur’an, this situation was not original:

Once the community of men was one; then they disagreed; if it was not for the word that had come from the Lord, their disagreements would have been settled {Sura 10:20}.

It appears that in the early days of Islam, umma was used for the population of Mecca, but with the development of Islam, the umma of Muhammad changed to become believers, and therefore excluded Meccans that had not converted.  The umma term has without being a central theologifcal concept, been crucial to the Muslim understanding of unity.

Umma is an Arabic word meaning "community" or "nation". It is commonly used to mean either the collective nation of states, or (in the context of pan-Arabism) the whole Arab world. In the context of Islam, the word umma is used to mean the diaspora or "Community of the Believers" (ummat al-mu'minin), and thus the whole Muslim world.

The phrase Umma Wahida in the Qur'an (the "One Community") refers to all of the Islamic world unified. The Quran says: “You [Muslims] are the best nation brought out for Mankind, commanding what is righteous (Ma'ruf - lit. "recognized [as good]") and forbidding what is wrong (Munkar - lit. "unrecognized [as good]")....” [3:110].

On the other hand, in Arabic Umma can also be used in the more Western sense of nation, for example: Al-Umma Al-Muttahida, the United Nations.

The Constitution of Medina, an early document said to have been negotiated by Muhammad in 622 with the leading clans of Medina, explicitly refers to Jewish and pagan citizens of Medina as members of the Umma.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) is the main organization representing the whole Muslim Umma.

Ummah see Umma
People see Umma
Community see Umma


Ummah Ansar
Ummah Ansar (Umma Party) (Hizb al-Umma‎ -- Nation Party) .  The Sudanese Ummah (“Community”) Party was formed in February 1945 by pro-independence nationalists, most of whom were supporters of Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, the posthumous son of Muhammad Ahmad ibn ‘Abd Allah (d. 1885) who founded the Mahdist movement in that country.  The nearly four million followers of this movement, known as Ansar, constitute the bulk of the party’s membership.  Although Ummah often gained the greatest number of seats voted to a single party in general elections, it was never the in a position to form an independent government and was forced to participate in coalitions. 

Three main factors contributed to the formation of the Ummah Party.  The first was the re-emergence of the Ansar as an influential religio-political organization under Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rahman after World War I.  Its sectarian followers provided the mass basis of the Ummah Party and their hierarchical structure of command subsequently served as its backbone.  Second, following the rift created between the Graduates’ Congress and the Condominium government in 1942, political control of this nationalist organization gradually passed to a militant, and later pro-unionist, faction headed by Isma‘il al-Azhari (d. 1969).  This development led ‘Abd al-Rahman to discard the Congress as an instrument for advancing Sudanese independence and to promote the Ummah Party as a substitute.  Third, whereas Congress in 1944 boycotted the establishment of an Advisory Council for the Sudan, ‘Abd al-Rahman realized its political significance and was determined to participate in its deliberations.  Such participation, however, presupposed the formation of a political organization distinct from the Congress.

‘Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi, imam of the Ansar, was the new party’s patron, while its leadership initially rested with one of his sons, Siddiq.  In October 1955, in order to secure the commitment of his sectarian rival to full independence for the Sudan, ‘Abd al-Rahman accepted Sayyid ‘Ali al-Mirghani’s proposal that they pledge themselves and members of their families to refrain from seeking public office.  This measure shifted control of the party to the secular wing, then led by ‘Abd Allah Khalil.  However, the military regime established all political parties, thereby neutralizing the secularists and restoring the Ummah’s leadership to al-Siddiq al-Mahdi. 

Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rahman died in March 1959, and al-Siddiq succeeded him as imam.  Almost immediately the latter integrated the party’s hierarchy of institution with the Ansar movement.  When al-Siddiq himself died in October 1961, his brother al-Hadi was elected as the new imam and his own Oxford educated son al-Sadiq was designated as leader of the Ummah Party.  Thus, the party’s leadership, though retained by the Mahdi family, became essentially divided along functional lines.

This division proved crucial, for al-Hadi was conservative while al-Sadiq was liberal.  By 1963, the latter had grown critical of his uncle’s tolerance of ‘Abbud’s regime, and he began to advocate that the Ummah should adopt a more democratic structure and a modern political program.  With the restoration of democratic rule in October 1964, the struggle between the conservative and liberal wings intensified and in July 1966 precipitated a split within the party.  In April 1969, however, dissatisfied with their reduced political role, al-Hadi and al-Sadiq came to an agreement that reunified the party and prepared it to head a new coalition government.  A few weeks thereafter, and partly in reaction to this development, a second military regime was established under Colonel Ja‘far al-Nimeiri (or al-Numayri).

From the outset the Ummah-Ansar leaders were unequivocably opposed to the leftist orientation of the new junta and, failing to change it by persuasion, they resisted it forcibly.  The confrontation led to a military attack on Aba Island in March 1970, in which Imam al-Hadi and thousands of his followers were killed.  Al-Sadiq was first exiled to Egypt but was later returned to Sudan and kept under house arrest until his release in December 1972.

The Ummah Party participated in setting up the Sudanese National Front in exile to oppose the military regime, and in July 1976 it spearheaded an abortive coup.  A year later, al-Sadiq negotiated a reconciliation agreement with Nimeiri, following which the Front was dissolved.  This agreement created dissension within the Ummah-Ansar from followers of al-Hadi who were vehemently opposed to Nimeiri and who had not forgotten the bitter split of 1966.  Soon, however, al-Sadiq became disillusioned with Nimeiri’s domestic and foreign policies.  In 1978, he led his wing of the Ummah Party again into opposition.

In April 1985, Nimeiri’s regime was overthrown and the Ummah joined other parties in forming a transitional regime pending general elections.  By March 1986, its various wings were effectively reunited, and al-Sadiq was formally re-elected as its leader.  In the elections held a month later, Ummah was able to gain 100 of the 260 contested seats and to head the new coalition government formed with the Democratic Union Party and others.  In May 1987, al-Sadiq was elected imam of the Ansar to succeed his uncle al-Hadi, thereby unifying in his person the leadership of the Ummah-Ansar movement.

The instability created by differences over the repeal of Nimeiri’s Islamic legal code and the resolution of conflict in the southern Sudan opened the way for the establishment, in June 1989, of a third military regime under General ‘Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir.  Its fundamentalist orientation and its close association with the Muslim Brotherhood drove the Ummah and other parties to form the National Democratic Alliance to oppose it.

Ideologically, the Ummah Party draws its orientation from Sudanese Mahdist thought.  Like the Sufi orders and the Muslim Brothers, it believes that Islam plays a major role in the socio-political life of Muslims.  But unlike the former, it is strongly committed to political activism; and unlike the latter, it believes that a just social order can only be achieved on the basis of the widest popular participation.  Accordingly, it supports the establishment of a modern Islamic state, but one that is based on a constitution that recognizes the ummah as the source of political authority and the possessor of sovereignty.  Believing that the institutions of the modern state are new political phenomena with no resemblance to those of the original Islamic polity, the Ummah Party seeks to restore the functions rather than the traditional patterns of ancient Medinese society.  Hence, like the Sufi orders but unlike the Muslim Brothers, it recognizes the shari‘a as the main --- but not the sole -- source for legislation.  In this connection, it advocates the establishment of a shura (advisory) council vested with adequate legislative powers not only to reenact provisions of the shari‘a in the light of modern conditions, but also to validate existing modern legislation for which no precedent can be found in Islamic law.  The application of such an Islamic legal system would be restricted to the Muslim population, and other religious faiths would be formally recognized rather than suppressed or simply tolerated, and their members would be guaranteed full freedom of religious conscience and practice.  In this way, Ummah believes, Sudanese national unity and territorial integrity can be preserved.

The Umma Party is an Islamic centrist political party in Sudan. It was formed in 1945 as the party striving after independence of Sudan. Sadiq al Mahdi was a prominent leader of the faction through much of the last century.

Today there are five active political factions of the Umma Party each claiming political legitimacy.

The most prominent of these factions is the Umma Party (Reform and Renewal).

Another faction of the Umma Party (General Leadership). The Umma Party (General Leadership) became part of the government and agreed to continue cooperation with Sudan's ruling National Congress Party in the mid-interim period after 2008.

The third major faction of the Umma Party is the Federal Umma Party.
Community Party see Ummah Ansar
Umma Party see Ummah Ansar
Hizb al-Umma see Ummah Ansar
Nation Party see Ummah Ansar


Umm al-Walad
Umm al-Walad. Arabic term which means “mother of children” and which was applied to a slave girl who bore her master a child.  In the Qur’an her position is not defined.  According to the Law, every slave girl, even a non-Muslim, who has borne her master a child, becomes ipso iure free, and a legacy set aside by her master in her favor is therefore valid.


Umm Kalthum
Umm Kalthum (Umm Kulthum) (Oum Kulthoum) (Om Kalsoum) (Kawkab al-Sharq - “Star of the East”) (Umm Kulthum Ebrahim Elbeltagi) (b. May 4, 1904?, Tummāy al-Zahāyrah, Egypt - d. February 3, 1975, Cairo, Egypt). Indisputably the greatest singer of the Arab world of her generation.  Stern and tragic, rigidly in control, this was a woman who, in her heyday, truly had the Arab world in the palm of her hand.  With melancholy operettas that seemed to drift on for hours, she encapsulated the love lives of a nation and mesmerized millions. 

Rumor had it that Umm Kalthum inhaled gulps of hashish smoke before performing and that the scarf trailing from her right hand was steeped in opium.  Her stage presence was charged by a theatrical rapport with the audience.  A slight nod of the head or a shake of her shoulders and they were in uproar. She learned to sing by reciting verse at cafes in her village, and sometimes dressed as a boy to escape the religious authorities.  It was to her training in religious chanting that she owed her stunning vocal agility and her masterful command of the complex maqamat.  She was educated in the secular field by the poet Ahmed Ramy and of her total output of 286 songs, 132 were his poems.  Her voice was the epitome of the Arab ideal -- saturated with shaggan, or emotional yearning, and powerful enough on occasion to shatter a glass.

In her long career, Umm Kalthum specialized in love songs that sometimes lasted an hour, improvising and ornamenting on a theme that would bring the audience to a frenzy.  She was once asked to sing a line 52 times over, which she did while developing the melody each time.  Of this ability she said: “I am greatly influenced by the music found in Arabic poetry.  I improvise because my heart rejoices in the richness of this music.  If someone went over a song which I sang five times, he would not find any one like the other.  I am not a record that repeats itself, I am a human being who is deeply touched by what I sing.”  As a childless mother, her songs were her offspring given to the people.  For these gifts, they returned total adoration. 

Apart from Allah, it is said, that Umm Kalthum is the only subject on which all Arabs agree.  This recognition has always given Umm Kalthum a special political significance.  She embraced Nasser’s pan-Arab ideals and drew Arabs together by extending a pride to them during their most difficult period in history.  Nasser used her nationalistic songs to keep the masses behind him, and times his major political speeches carefully around her broadcasts.  The less prescient Anwar Sadat once addressed the nation on the same day as her concert, and ended up without much of an audience, a mistake he only made once.

In her last years, Umm Kalthum visited many other Arab countries and this took the shape of state visitis.  Her funeral in 1975 was described as bigger than the one for President Nasser some five years earlier.

The style of Umm Kalthum was influenced by Western popular music of her time.  However, her music was firmly and dominantly based upon traditional classical Arab music.  She always used large orchestras, but the main force in her performances was always her own powerful voice. She recorded over 300 songs, most famous of which are al-Atlal, Raqqu al-Habib, Inta umri, and Fakarouni.

Umm Kalthum (Umm Kulthum) mesmerized Arab audiences from the Persian Gulf to Morocco for half a century. She was one of the most famous Arab singers and public personalities in the 20th century.

Umm Kulthūm’s father was a village imam who sang traditional religious songs at weddings and holidays to make ends meet. She learned to sing from him, and, when he noticed the strength of her voice, he began taking her with him, dressed as a boy to avoid the opprobrium of displaying a young daughter onstage. Egyptian society during Umm Kulthūm’s youth held singing—even of the religious variety—to be a disreputable occupation, especially for a female. Umm Kulthūm made a name for herself singing in the towns and villages of the Egyptian delta (an area throughout which she retained a great following). By the time she was a teenager, she had become the family star.

Sometime about 1923 the family moved to Cairo, a major center of the lucrative world of entertainment and emerging mass media production in the Middle East. There they were perceived as old-fashioned and countrified. To improve her image and acquire sophistication, Umm Kulthūm studied music and poetry from accomplished performers and literati and copied the manners of the ladies of wealthy homes in which she was invited to sing. She soon made a name in the homes and salons of the wealthy as well as in public venues such as theaters and cabarets. By the mid-1920s she had made her first recordings and had achieved a more polished and sophisticated musical and personal style. By the end of the 1920s, she had become a sought-after performer and was one of the best-paid musicians in Cairo. Her extremely successful career in commercial recording eventually extended to radio, film, and television. In 1936 she made her first motion picture, Wedad, in which she played the title role. It was the first of six motion pictures in which she was to act.

Beginning in 1937, she regularly gave a performance on the first Thursday (which in most Islamic countries is the last day of the workweek) of every month. By this time, she had moved from singing religious songs to performing popular tunes—often in the colloquial dialect and accompanied by a small traditional orchestra—and she became known for her emotive, passionate renditions of arrangements by the best composers, poets, and songwriters of the day. These included the poets Aḥmad Shawqī and Bayrām al-Tūnisī (who wrote many of the singer’s colloquial Egyptian songs) and, later, the noted composer Muḥammad ʿAbd al-Wahhāb, with whom she collaborated on 10 songs. The first of these tunes, “"Inta ʿUmrī"” (“You Are My Life”), remains a modern classic. Her strong and nuanced voice and her ability to fashion multiple iterations of single lines of text drew audiences into the emotion and meaning of the poetic lyrics and extended for hours what often had been written as relatively short compositions.

Known sometimes as Kawkab al-Sharq (“Star of the East”), Umm Kulthūm had an immense repertoire, which included religious, sentimental, and nationalistic songs. In the midst of the turmoil created by two world wars, the Great Depression of the 1930s, and the 1952 Egyptian revolution, she cultivated a public persona as a patriotic Egyptian and a devout Muslim. She sang songs in support of Egyptian independence (“"Nashīd al-Jāmiʿah"” [“"The University Anthem"” ], “"Saʾalu Qalbī"” [“"Ask My Heart"” ]) and in the 1950s sang many songs in support of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser, with whom she developed a close friendship. One of her songs associated with Nasser—“"Wallāhi Zamān, Yā Silāḥī"” (“"It’s Been a Long Time, O Weapon of Mine"” )—was adopted as the Egyptian national anthem from 1960 to 1979. She served as president of the Musician’s Union for seven years and held positions on numerous government commissions on the arts. Her popularity was further enhanced by her generous donations to Arab causes. After Egypt’s defeat in the Six-Day War of June 1967, she toured Egypt and the broader Arab world, donating the proceeds of her concerts to the Egyptian government.

Health problems plagued the singer most of her life. During the late 1940s and early ’50s, she worked only on a limited basis, and on a number of occasions throughout her life she traveled to Europe and the United States for treatment of a variety of ailments. Most obviously, problems with her eyes (purportedly from years spent in front of stage lights) forced her to wear heavy sunglasses, which became a hallmark during her later life. Such was her popularity that news of her death provoked a spontaneous outpouring of hysterical grief, and millions of admirers lined the streets for her funeral procession. She remained one of the Arab world’s best-selling singers even decades after her death. In 2001 the Egyptian government established the Kawkab al-Sharq Museum in Cairo to celebrate the singer’s life and accomplishments.


Umm Kulthum see Umm Kalthum
Oum Kulthoum see Umm Kalthum
Om Kalsoum see Umm Kalthum
Kawkab al-Sharq see Umm Kalthum
Star of the East see Umm Kalthum
Umm Kulthum Ebrahim Elbeltagi see Umm Kalthum


Umm Kulthum
Umm Kulthum (Umm Kulthum bint Muhammad) (d. 630).  Daughter of the Prophet.  She is said to have married ‘Utba, a son of Abu Lahab, the enemy of Islam, but to have been divorced by him at his father’s orders before the marriage was consummated.  After the death of her sister Ruqayya, her brother-in-law ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan, later the third caliph, married her during the battle of Badr.

Umm Kulthum is viewed as the daughter of Muhammad and Khadijah bint Khuwaylid by Sunni Muslims. Other Muslim sects such as Shia Muslims debate her being a daughter of Muhammed (or even of Khadijah).

Umm Kulthum was first married to Utaybah bin Abu Lahab. His father, Abu Lahab, forced Utbah to repudiate Umm Kulthum due to Abu Lahab's opposition to Muhammad and his teachings.  She was subsequently married to Uthman ibn Affan after the death of his first wife Ruqayyah.


Union des Organisations Islamiques de France
Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (Union of Islamic Organizations of France).  Created in 1983, the Union des Organisations Islamiques de France (UOIF) is a federation of Islamic local associations.  Although its seat is in Paris, it is especially active in the east and the center of France.  Thirty local associations are full adherents of the UOIF, each of which pays ten percent of its own resources to the organization.  There are also about fifty affiliate associations, which contribute five percent of their resources.  Each category of association has the right to vote for the administrative council and the governing board of the federation.  The board is composed of twelve persons of various nationalities.  In 1990, the members of the board were Moroccan, Tunisian, Lebanese, Iraqi, and French.  In addition to the contributions of the local associations, the UOIF receives financial help from the Muslim World League and from private individuals from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates.

Although the leaders of this organization are influenced by the ideology of the Egyptian and Tunisian fundamentalist movements, they have not engaged in any political activities in France.  Rather, the main goal of the UOIF is to enhance Islamic culture by legal means and to help Muslims practice their religion in France.  Its leaders seek to support the Islamic local associations in managing religious and educational activities.  For example, an educational commission gives books to the local associations for the teaching of the Qur’an and Arabic.  Moreover, they have developed educational methods that relate specifically to the needs of Muslim children living in France.  They want to protect these children from the temptations of the Western way of life by bringing them up in the Islamic religion.  To this end, each year they organize children’s holiday camps where there is Qur’anic teaching.  About six hundred families are normally involved in this activity.  At the end of 1991, the UOIF created, with funds from Saudi Arabia, the first Muslim seminary in France for the training of imams.  In its first years of operation the seminary had few students and only seven who were not French. 

The Union also supports the cause of Islam in France by improving the knowledge of this religion in the country generally.  It sought, for instance, the authorization of the French Home Office for Muslim women to sit for their identity card photographs with their hijabs (the Islamic headscarf ) and supports allowing of Muslim girls to wear their hijabs in the classrooms of the state schools.   In addition, it organizes a conference on Islam in Paris, where an average of five thousand participants gather and discuss the various forms of Islam in France and in the world.

The UOIF is one of the many federations of Islamic associations in France, testifying to the diversity of French Muslims.  These also point to the beginning of institutional answers to Muslim demands for an authentic “Islam for France,” at the same time as their activities become substitutes for direct social and political participation.

The Union des organisations islamiques de France (UOIF, Union of Islamic Organizations of France) is a prominent Muslim umbrella organization, and the French chapter of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe. Its inclusion by then Interior Ministry Nicolas Sarkozy into the Conseil Français du Culte Musulman has been criticized by both left-wing and right-wing members.

The UOIF was founded in 1983 in Meurthe-et-Moselle by two foreign students, Abdallah Ben Mansour (Tunisia) and Mahmoud Zouheir (Iraq) as a federation of about 15 organizations.  As of 2005, the UOIF covered around 200 organizations. As objectives, the purpose of the UOIF is to respond to the religious, cultural, educational, social and humanitarian needs of the Muslims of France.

The UOIE is the French chapter of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe, which is partly funded by money from the Gulf States, and whose aim is to promote an Islam adapted to the European context. The UOIE is directed from the United Kingdom and is assisted by the European Council of Research and Fatwa, which studies and issues collective fatwas to answer questions for the Muslims of Europe and solve their problems, in accordance with the rules and aims of the sharia.

Union of Islamic Organizations of France see Union des Organisations Islamiques de France


Unionist Party
Unionist Party (Unionist Muslim League).  In India, following the first election in the Punjab under the 1919 reforms, a group of rural Hindus and Muslims worked together to represent agricultural interests agains presumed urban and primarily Hindu exploitation of agriculturists.  The group centered around Fazli Hussain (1877-1936) and adopted the name National Unionist Party in 1923.  Generally pre-dominant during the dyarchy period, the party swept to power in 1937 under provincial autonomy, first under Sikandar Hayat Khan (1892-1942) and later under Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana (1900-1975).  Although defeated in Muslim seats in 1946, it retained the ministry until April 1947 through a coalition with the Congress and the Akali Dal.  The party stood for rural interests throughout, including debt reduction and remission and quotas for “backward groups” in government service and education.  It sought a constitutional solution for India short of partition.  The party dissolved after independence but many individuals reappeared in the Republican Party and Ayub Khan’s Pakistan Muslim League. 

The Unionist Muslim League, also known simply as the Unionist party was a political party based in the province of Punjab during the British Raj in India. The Unionist party mainly represented the interests of the landed gentry and landlords of Punjab, which included Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. However, the party was an umbrella organization of the All India Muslim League. The Unionists dominated the political scene in Punjab from World War I to the independence of India and Pakistan in 1947.


The Unionist party, like Congress a secular Party, was formed as a political party representing the interests of Punjab's large feudal classes and gentry.Although a majority of Unionists were Muslims, a large number of Hindus and Sikhs also supported and participated in the Unionist party.

The Unionists shared a common constitution with the Muslim League and followed a common policy and agenda for national issues. However, the Unionist organization and activities in Punjab were virtually independent of the League. The Unionists were virtually an independent political party in the 1920s and 1930s, when the Muslim League was unpopular and divided into feuding factions. The links improved after Muhammad Ali Jinnah became the League's president in the mid-1930s. However, the rule of Unionist leader Sikander Hyat Khan was undisputed in the Punjab. Sikander served numerous terms as Punjab's chief minister, often forming alliances with the Congress and the Shiromani Akali Dal despite Jinnah's opposition to both parties. Sikander remained the most popular and influential politician in Punjab during his lifetime, preventing both Jinnah and Muhammad Iqbal from gaining the support of a majority of Punjabi Muslims.

The Unionists grew closer to the All India Muslim League in the late 1930s. Sikander was one of the movers of the Pakistan Resolution that was passed in Lahore, calling for a separate Muslim state. But Sikander formed an alliance with the Akali Dal to govern the province. After Sikander's death in 1942, Chhoturam was invited to be the premier but he declined in favor of the relatively young Khizar[Nawab Sir Malik Khizar Hyat Tiwana], nephew of Sikander Hyat Khan. Chhoturam died of overwork as he held innumerable rallies and undertook a revolutionary blitzkrieg march from Hodal to Peshawar to warn people of the communalism while at the same time he struggled for the approval of Bhakra-Nangal with the unrelenting Raja of Bilaspur.

Chhoturam died the day the Bhakra file was passed and his dream project to irrigate and empower Punjab came through. However, he died before the young Khizar Hyat was ready to lead.  Khizar could not match Sikander's popularity and without the guidance of Chhoturam, Khizar soon found it difficult to withstand the tide of the times.  The Unionist Party consequently declined as the popularity of Jinnah and his influence on Punjabi politics increased. Although Khizar supported the demand for Pakistan, the Unionists formed an alliance with the Congress and the Akali Dal to rule Punjab in 1946, even though the Congress and the League were hostile to each other on the national stage.

As the demand for Pakistan grew more intense, political loyalties in the Punjab were reshaped along religious lines. The Direct Action Day campaign brought the downfall of Khizar's ministry, which depended on Congress and Akali support. Intense communal violence claimed the lives of tens of thousands of people, destroying inter-community relations. In early 1947, Punjab was partitioned into Muslim-majority West Punjab and Hindu/Sikh-majority East Punjab. The Unionist party's diverse organization was destroyed, with Muslim Unionists integrating themselves into the Muslim League. Thereafter, the party would cease to exist in independent Pakistan.
Unionist Muslim League see Unionist Party


United Malays National Organization
United Malays National Organization (United Malays National Organisation) (UMNO) (Pertubuhan Kebangsaan Melayu Bersatu). Malaysian political party.  Founded in 1946 (May 11, 1946) with Dato Onn bin Ja’afar as president, it gained recognition as the principal defender of Malay interests by leading the protests against the Malayan Union proposal.   Dato Onn’s later attempt to turn it into a multi-ethnic party failed, and he was succeeded by Tunku Abdul Rahman, the great ethnic conciliator and father of Malaysian independence.  Subsequent leaders have been Tun Abdul Razak (1970-1976), Tun Hussein Onn (1976-1981), and Dato Seri Mahathir Mohamad. 

UMNO has two main roles.  It is the party of the majority of the Malays.  Its main rival, the Alliance Party, was a close contender for that allegiance only at the 1969 election.  In this role, the UMNO has fought for Malay rights.  However, to overcome competition from the Alliance and fundamentalist Islamic groups, the UMNO has had to be accommodating on Islamic issues, as shown by the creation of the Islamic Bqank and the International Islamic University.  In its second role, as the leading component of the governing coalition (Alliance National Front), it has had an allocative and mediating function, ethnically and regionally.  Party and government operations are actually closely linked; the UMNO president is always the prime minister.  Elections for office in the UMNO (mostly triennial) are relatively open, exhibiting a complex mix of deference and democracy.

The UMNO, is Malaysia's largest political party and a founding member of the Barisan Nasional coalition, which has played a dominant role in Malaysian politics since independence. The UMNO emphasizes protecting Malay culture, Islamic values and pro-business policies. In recent years, the UMNO, under Prime Minister Najib has increasingly emphasized reducing ethnic tensions and protecting minority rights. However, detractors have claimed that UMNO's actions unwittingly propagate racial divisions.

UMNO see United Malays National Organization
United Malays National Organisation see United Malays National Organization


Unsuri, Abu’l-Qasim Hasan
Unsuri, Abu’l-Qasim Hasan (Abu’l-Qasim Hasan Unsuri) (Malik-us Shu'ara - King of Poets) (d. 1039/1040/1049).  Persian poet. He owes his fame to a collection of poetry, which contains love poems and panegyrics.  Among the latter, many are written in praise of the Ghaznavid Mahmud ibn Sebuktigin.

Abul Qasim Hasan Unsuri was a 10-11th century Persian (Tajik) poet.  He is said to have been born in Balkh, today located in Afghanistan, and he eventually became a poet of the royal court, where he was given the title Malik-us Shu'ara (King of Poets).  His Divan is said to have contained 30,000 distiches, of which only 2500 remain today.
Abu’l-Qasim Hasan Unsuri see Unsuri, Abu’l-Qasim Hasan
Malik-us Shu'ara see Unsuri, Abu’l-Qasim Hasan
King of Poets see Unsuri, Abu’l-Qasim Hasan


Uqaylids
Uqaylids (Banu ‘Uqayl).  Arab dynasty in northern Syria and northern Iraq (r.990-1096).   Their main capital was Mosul.  The Banu Uqayl, of the Qays tribal group, with possessions throughout North Africa.  They belonged to the great Bedouin tribe of the ‘Amir ibn Sa‘sa‘a.  Initially under Hamdanid sovereignty, their leader, Abu Dhawwa (Abu’l-Dhawwad), conquered Balad in 990 and Mosul in 992, but was driven out by the Buyids.  His brother, Mukallad (r. 996-1000), gained recognition as governor of Mosul, Kufa, and other towns.  Following a consolidation of power under his son, Karvash (Mu‘tamid al-Dawla Qirwash) (1000 [1001?]-1050), Abu’l-Makarim Muslim (Sharaf al-Dawla Muslim) (r. 1061-1085) extended his rule from Baghdad to Aleppo (capturing Raqqas in 1070, Aleppo in 1079). After the reign of Abu’l-Makarim Muslim, ‘Uqaylid power declined rapidly. 

The Uqaylids were subject to Fatimid sovereignty from 1011 and helped them to conquer Baghdad in 1058.  After Muslim had fallen in battle against the Great Seljuks in 1085, Uqaylid authority went into decline.  Ibrahim (r. 1085-1093) was defeated and put to death by the Saljuq of Syria Tutush.  The last ruler ‘Ali ibn Muslim had to give up Mosul in 1096, and in 1096 the Seljuks drove the Uqaylids into an area to the north of the Persian Gulf.

Another branch of the ‘Uqaylids was established between 1036 and 1056 in Takrit.

The 'Uqailid or 'Uqaylid Dynasty was a Shi'a Arab dynasty with several lines that ruled in various parts of Al-Jazira, northern Syria and Iraq in the late tenth and eleventh centuries. The main line, centered in Mosul, ruled from 990 to 1096.

The ʿUqaylids, descendants of the famous Bedouin tribe of ʿĀmir ibn Ṣaʿṣaʿah, established themselves in Jazīrat ibn ʿUmar, Niṣībīn (modern Nusaybin, Turkey), and Balad (northern Iraq) at the end of the 10th century. Abū adh-Dhawwūd Muḥammad (r. c. 990–996), the first ʿUqaylid, was drawn into the struggle between the Ḥamdānids and Marwānids for possession of Mosul and eventually succeeded the Ḥamdānids as emir of Mosul, though remaining nominally subject to the Būyids of Baghdad.

The reign of Qirwāsh ibn al-Muqallad (1001–50), who assumed the emirate after many years of bitter family feuding, was troubled by the threat of Oğuz tribesmen invading his dominions from western Iran and southern Iraq, forcing him into defensive alliances with the Mazyadids, another Muslim Arab dynasty in al-Ḥillah, central Iraq.

Muslim ibn Quraysh (r. 1061–85), however, was able to bring the ʿUqaylid dynasty to the height of its power. By allying himself with the Seljuq sultans Alp-Arslan and Malik-Shāh, Muslim annexed part of northern Syria and thus established ʿUqaylid rule over an area reaching from Aleppo to Baghdad. ʿUqaylid fortunes declined, however, when Muslim switched allegiance to his co-religionists, the Shīʿite Fāṭimids of Egypt. Seljuq armies invaded Mosul and routed Muslim, who was subsequently killed in battle with Seljuq forces. The ʿUqaylids were allowed to remain in Mosul as Seljuq governors but were finally subjugated by the Seljuq sultan Tutush in 1096.

Another ʿUqaylid line had been installed in Takrīt, on the Tigris River, sometime before 1036. The governorship remained in their hands until they submitted to the Seljuq sultan Toghrïl Beg, who in 1055 took Baghdad and displaced the Būyids as overlord of Iraq.





Banu ‘Uqayl see Uqaylids


‘Uqba ibn Nafi’ibn ‘Abd Qays
‘Uqba ibn Nafi’ibn ‘Abd Qays (c. 630-683).  Famous Arab commander.   Shortly before his death in 663 his uncle ‘Amr ibn al- ‘As, the conqueror of Egypt, gave him the supreme command in Ifriqiya.  In 670 he founded the military stronghold of Qayrawan.  He was dismissed in 675 but restored to his post in 682.  He defeated the Berbers but did not secure his conquests.  He was defeated by the Berber chief Kusayla.


‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad
‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad (Ahmad ‘Urabi Pasha) (Ahmed Orabi) (Ahmed Urabi) (Aḥmad ʿUrābī Pasha al-Miṣrī) (Orabi Pasha) (Urabi Pasha) (Ahmed Pasha Urabi el-Masri) (Ahmad Arabi) (b. 1839/April 1, 1841, near Al-Zaqāzīq, Egypt - d. September 21, 1911, Cairo, Egypt). Egyptian army officer and nationalist who led a revolution against Egypt's Dual Control (1881-1882).  Under the slogan “Egypt for the Egyptians” he led a movement directed against foreign control.  The khedive Tawfiq Pasha requested the assistance of the French and the British, and the latter defeated him in 1882.

ʿUrābī, the son of a village sheikh, studied in Cairo at al-Azhar, the preeminent institution of Arabic and Islamic learning. Conscripted into the army, he rose to the rank of colonel after serving as a commissariat officer during the Egyptian-Ethiopian war of 1875–76. In 1879 he participated in the officers’ revolt against the khedive Ismāʿīl Pasha.

Early in his career ʿUrābī joined a secret society within the army with the object of eliminating the Turkish and Circassian officers who monopolized the highest ranks. In 1881 he led a revolt against this dominance. The following year, intervention by the European powers and the dispute about the rights of the Egyptian Assembly concerning budget controls led to the formation of the nationalist ministry of Maḥmūd Sāmī al-Bārūdī, with ʿUrābī as minister of war. ʿUrābī emerged as the national hero under the slogan “Miṣr li’l Miṣriyyīn” (“Egypt for Egyptians”). Khedive Tawfīq, threatened by ʿUrābī’s increasing popularity, requested the assistance of the French and British, who promptly staged a naval demonstration in the bay of Alexandria. Riots then broke out in Alexandria. When the British fleet bombarded the city (July 1882), ʿUrābī, who was commander in chief of the Egyptian army, organized the resistance and proclaimed the khedive a traitor. ʿUrābī’s army was defeated at Tall al-Kabīr (September 13, 1882) by British troops that had landed at Ismailia under the command of Garnet Wolseley. ʿUrābī Pasha was captured, court-martialed, and sentenced to death, but, with British intervention, the sentence was changed to exile in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). He was permitted to return to Egypt in 1901. Although ʿUrābī died an unpopular figure in relative obscurity, his image was revitalized in the 1950s by Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose rise to power bore similarities to ʿUrābī’s.



Ahmad 'Urabi Pasha see ‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad
Ahmed Orabi see ‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad
Ahmed Urabi see ‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad
Aḥmad ʿUrābī Pasha al-Miṣrī see ‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad
Orabi Pasha see ‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad
Ahmad Arabi see ‘Urabi Pasha, Ahmad

Urdu-speaking peoples
Urdu-speaking peoples (Muhajir).  The Urdu speaking peoples Muslims of north India and Pakistan are not an ethnic group in the strict sense of the term, but a collection of ethnic groups.  Nor are they, strictly speaking, a regional group, but rather are widely dispersed geographically.  Nevertheless, they possess a sense of group identity based on cultural and historical factors.  These include the Islamic religion, a Persian cultural tradition and its Indian offspring, the Urdu language and the tradition of Muslim political supremacy in north India, especially during Mughul rule.  Added to this is a sense of political and cultural dispossession, the legacy of British rule which resulted in the creation of a separate Muslim political consciousness and ultimately the establishment of Pakistan. 

Migration was important in the early history of north Indian Muslims as well as in their more recent quests for political autonomy and economic opportunity.  This factor helps to account for their ethnic diversity.  Muslims in north India are ethnically differentiated by their descent from immigrant groups of Arab merchants and soldiers who entered the subcontinent in small numbers as early as the eighth century of the Christian calendar.  Others descended from Turks, Persians and Pushtun who came as conquering armies beginning in the eleventh century and who established political dominance in the area lasting from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries.  Among these immigrant groups were both Sunni and Shi‘a Muslims, adding a sectarian dimension to their diversity.  The Turkish sultans of Delhi, the Mughul emperors who succeeded them and smaller regional princes patronized the emigre Muslim culture in all its heterogeneity: Islamic jurists of the Hanafi school, Persian literati who were Ithna Ashari Shias and Sufis of several orders, including Chishti, Qadiri and Naqshbandi.  The Sufi orders were particularly instrumental in converting Indian Hindus to the new faith.

Indian converts to Islam ultimately outnumbered immigrant Muslims and were similarly diverse in origin.  Conversions came from among both high and low Hindu castes, were made for reasons varying from conviction to convenience and continued from the earliest period

of contact with Islam down to the present.  Sunnis generally outnumbered Shias, although there were concentrations of Shia populations in areas where the princely ruler was Shia (such as Luknow). Ismailism was embraced by entire castes of coastal merchants such as the Khojas and Bohras, who came into contact with Islam through the Indian Ocean trade.  Such merchant groups, while Gujarati speakers, often used Urdu as their language of commerce.  Another element of diversity among north Indian Muslims was the phenomenon of incomplete conversion, such as the persistence of Hindu rituals and caste identities even after formal acceptance of Islam.

Ethnic diversity has been offset somewhat over time by intermarriages among the different groups and by periodic reform movements aimed at Islamizing ritual practice and spreading knowledge and observance of Islamic personal law.  Nevertheless, endogamous groups remain today among the Urdu-speaking Muslims who identify themselves according to their claimed immigrant origins:  Sayyids (descendants of Muhammad or his family), Shaikhs (Arabs or Persians), Mughals (Central Asian Turks) and Pathans (Pushtun).

Members of these four grops are known as ashraf (nobles), and their claimed foreign origin places them at the top of the Indo-Muslim social ladder.  Nobility (sharafat) implies not only noble lineage but also cultivation in the cultural sense.  Hence a man may acquire ashraf status if he maintains a certain style of life and is a magnanimous host, charitable towards those less fortunate, pious -- but not to a fault -- and able to sprinkle his conversation with extemporaneous Urdu couplets.

Beneath the ashraf are ranged the ajlaf, Indian convert groups which retain their Hindu caste or occupational names.  Headed by the Rajputs (warriors and landholders who, because of their high status in Hindu society, often successfully claim ashraf status), they include other occupational groups such as the Momin Julahas (weavers), Qassabs (butchers), Darzis (tailors) and many more, with Muslim “untouchables” at the bottom.  These Muslim groups function in society very much as Hindu caste groups.  They are endogamous (although there are some hypergamous marriages among ashraf) with interdining prohibitions and restricted mobility.  Despite the often quoted adage concerning the greater degree of social mobility among Muslims than among Hindus (“We used to be butchers and now we are Shaikhs; next year if the harvest prices are good for us, we shall be Sayyids”), the fact remains that there is considerable social stratification based upon birth and a corresponding continuity of occupation based upon caste identity.

While among the ashraf, religious identity is marked by a cultivated style incorporating certain Islamic virtues, among the ajlaf Islamic identity is expressed through popular piety.  Examples of this include discipleship of Sufi saints and pilgrimages to their dargahs or tombs.  The ritual at Sufi shrines, with offerings of food, flowers and incense, resembles similar rituals at Hindu temples.   These syncretic observances, in which an essentially Hindu ritual has been endowed with Islamic meaning, give vital evidence of the process of conversion to Islam in India.  These practices are not found uniquely among convert groups, for the ashraf also participate in them as both patrons and as worshippers. 

The ashraf enjoyed a sense of political entitlement derived from a long tradition of military and administrative service, first to the various Indo-Muslim rulers and then, after the collapse of the Mughal Empire, to the British.  It has often been claimed that Muslim officials were ruined by the British takeover, but this was far from the case in north India.  The Urdu-speaking ex-Mughal officialdom retained its prominence in the legal profession and in education in the Uttar Pradesh and the Punjab until the beginning of the twentieth century.  Under the guidance of Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan and Aligarh College, the Urdu-speaking Muslim elites of north India sought to retain their position of political and administrative importance by reconciling their Islamic and Mughal culture with English education.

The Aligarh movement was a political as well as an educational movement.  Through the medium of English education, the Muslim elite sought access to the new corridors of power in order to maintain not only their material intersts but also their cultural heritage, including the Islamic religion and Urdu language and literature.
A somewhat different educational movement was led by the ulama of Deoband, who founded a religious school designed to revitalize Islamic learning among north Indian Muslims.  They also sought to Islamize the religious practices of all strata of Muslim society via an active program of proselytization and Urdu publication. 

Aligarh and Deoband both gave currency to Urdu as a medium of modern communication.  Urdu is an Indo-Iranian language developed during the 500 year period of Muslim rule from the Hindi vernacular spoken in the Delhi region, heavily laden with Persian and Arabic words and written in the Persian script. Persian was the language of the court, but Urdu was the lingua franca, providing a means of communication among the court, the army (Urdu means “language of the camp”) and the population.  As the Mughal court declined, so, too, did the use of Persian, and Urdu gradually gained standing in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, becoming the language of polite society and of local administration throughout northern India.  It gained a body of distinguished literature, especially poetry, written in the forms and with the imagery of Persian poetry.

Urdu was of great symbolic importance to the education of the Muslim elite, who perceived any opposition to the use of the Urdu script as a threat, not only to their professional positions but also to Muslim culture in general.  This threat became a reality in the late nineteenth century when the advocates of Hindi pushed the claim of that language to equal recognition with Urdu as a judicial language, first in Bihar and then in Uttar Pradesh (Hindi is a language very close to Urdu in its spoken form but written in Devanagari-Sanskrit script and laden with vocabulary of Sanskrit origin.  Hence it is of symbolic religious importance to Hindus.)  The Hindi-Urdu controversy at that time was crystallized into a Hindu-Muslim rivalry which overshadowed more serious misunderstandings to come.

The role of the Urdu in the creation of Muslim political self-consciousness in the early twentieth century was significant.  Urdu-speaking Muslims formed numerous anjumans, or associations, for the improvement of Muslim education and the regeneration of the Muslim community in India, a community whose identity was only beginning to emerge from the welter of ethnic, sectarian and regional groupings of which it was composed.  These early Muslim associations formed the nucleus for the All-India Muslim League, founded in Dacca in 1906 at the annual meeting of the Muhammadan Educational Conference.

As Muslim politics developed in the period before 1947, the Urdu speakers of north India became the leaders of the Muslim League, which aimed at establishing itself as the major spokesman for a united Indo-Muslim constituency.  This emerging nationalism centered around the symbols of Islam, past Muslim supremacy, the Urdu language and, after 1940, a territorial demand.  Pakistan was to be the new homeland for Indian Muslims in the areas where Muslims were already in a majority: Sind, Baluchistan, the Punjab and the North-West Frontier Province in the west; and Bengal in the east.  The irony was that the heartland of the Mughal heritage and of Urdu lay in the Uttar Pradesh, an area of fervent political support for the Muslim League which would not be a part of Pakistan.  The holocaust which accompanied the partition of the Punjab and Bengal has been held up as proof both of the need for a territory for the political and cultural survival of Indian Muslims and of the needless sundering of a cultural heritage which belonged to all North India.


Muhajir see Urdu-speaking peoples


‘Urfi, Jamal al-Din
‘Urfi, Jamal al-Din (Jamal al-Din ‘Urfi) (Urfi Shirazi) (Mohammad ibn Badr-al-Din) (1555/1556 - 1590/1591).  Persian poet from Shiraz.  He emigrated to India where the Mughal emperor Akbar I took him into his service.  He enjoyed great popularity in his time in India, especially for his qasidas.

Mohammad ibn Badr-al-Din, mostly known by his pen-name Urfi or Urfi Shirazi, was a 16th-century Persian poet. He was born in Shiraz and in his youth, he migrated to India and became one of the poets of the court of Akbar the Great. He is one of the most prominent Persian poets of Indian style.
Jamal al-Din 'Urfi see ‘Urfi, Jamal al-Din
Urfi Shirazi see ‘Urfi, Jamal al-Din
Mohammad ibn Badr-al-Din see ‘Urfi, Jamal al-Din
Shirazi, Urfi see ‘Urfi, Jamal al-Din


‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam
‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam (Urwah ibn Zubayr) (Urwah ibn al-Zubayr) (c. 645 - c. 710/713).  One of the earliest and foremost authorities on tradition in Medina.  His mother Asthma’ was a daughter of Abu Bakr, and his father a nephew of the Prophet’s wife Khadija.  The famous anti-caliph ‘Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr was his brother.

Urwah ibn al-Zubayr was among the seven fuqahaa (jurists) who formulated the fiqh of Medina in the time of the Tabi‘in and one of the first Muslim historians. He was the son of Asma bint Abi Bakr and Zubayr ibn al-Awwam, the brother of Abd Allah ibn al-Zubayr and the nephew of Aisha bint Abu Bakr.  His son was Hisham ibn Urwa.

He was born in the early years of the caliphate of Uthman, and lived through the civil war which occurred after Uthman's murder. Although his brother Abd-Allah ibn al-Zubayr wrested the rule from Abd al-Malik, it is unknown if he assisted him. He devoted himself to the study of fiqh and hadith and is reputed to have had the greatest knowledge of hadiths narrated from Aishah.

Urwah wrote many books but, fearing they might become sources of authority alongside the Qur'an, destroyed them the day of the Battle of al-Harrah. He later he regretted that, saying "I would rather have them in my possession than my family and property twice over."

He is also known to have written one of the first writings in the area of the biography of the Prophet Muhammad, known as the Tract of Seerah by Urwa Ibn Az Zubayr.

Urwah ibn Zubayr see ‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam
Urwah ibn al-Zubayr see ‘Urwa ibn al-Zubayr ibn ‘Awwam


Usama ibn Munqidh
Usama ibn Munqidh (Majd ad-Dīn Usāma ibn Murshid ibn ʿAlī ibn Munqidh al-Kināni) (Usamah ibn Munqidh) (Ousama ibn Munqidh) (July 4, 1095 – November 17, 1188).  Arab knight, courtier and man of letters. Throughout his life, he was in constant relations with the Franks, sometimes hostile, sometimes friendly; quite a number of the Templars were among his friends.  He spent nine years (1129-1138) in the army of ‘Imad al-Din Zangi I, and six years (1138-1144) at the court of the Burids in Damascus.  Between 1144 and 1154 he was in Egypt, becoming involved in political intrigues during the last phase of Fatimid rule.  On the way from Cairo to Damascus, he lost his entire library, which contained over 4,000 manuscripts.  From 1154 to 1164 he undertook many campaigns against the Franks with Nur al-Din Mahmud Zangi.  Another ten years (1164-1174) were spent in Hisn Kayfa, ruled by the Artuqid Qara Arslan of Diyarbakr (r.1144-1167).  The fame of Saladin brought him for the third time to Damascus.  His fame rests above all on his Memoirs, called Book of Instruction by Example, composed or dictated in 1183.  It gives a vivid picture of his time.

Usāma ibn Munqidh was a medieval Muslim poet, author, soldier, and diplomat from the Banu Munqidh dynasty of Shaizar in northern Syria. His life coincided with the rise of several medieval Muslim dynasties, as well as the arrival of the First Crusade and the establishment of the crusader states.

He was the nephew of the emir of Shaizar and probably expected to rule Shaizar himself, but he was exiled in 1131 and spent the rest of his life serving other leaders. He was a courtier to the Burids, Zengids, and Ayyubids in Damascus, serving the famous Zengi, Nur ad-Din, and Saladin over a period of almost fifty years. He also served the Fatimid court in Cairo, as well as the Artuqids in Hisn Kayfa. He often meddled in the politics of the courts in which he served, and he was exiled from both Damascus and Cairo.

During and immediately after his life he was most famous as a poet and adib (a "man of letters"). He wrote many poetry anthologies, such as the Kitab al-'Asa ("Book of the Staff"), Lubab al-Adab ("Kernels of Refinement"), and al-Manazil wa'l-Diyar ("Dwellings and Abodes"), and collections of his own original poetry. For modern readers, however, he is most well-known for his Kitab al-I'tibar ("Book of Learning by Example" or "Book of Contemplation"), which contains lengthy descriptions of the crusaders, whom he visited on many occasions, and some of whom he considered friends, although he generally saw them as foreign barbarians.

Most of his family was killed in an earthquake at Shaizar in 1157. He died in Damascus in 1188, at the age of 93, a remarkably advanced age for the time.


Majd ad-Dīn Usāma ibn Murshid ibn ʿAlī ibn Munqidh al-Kināni see Usama ibn Munqidh
Usamah ibn Munqidh see Usama ibn Munqidh
Ousama ibn Munqidh see Usama ibn Munqidh


Usama ibn Zayd ibn Haritha al-Kalbi
Usama ibn Zayd ibn Haritha al-Kalbi (d. c. 673).  Son of the Abyssinian freedwoman Baraka Umm Ayman.  He is reckoned among the Prophet’s freedmen.  Hadith records many instances of the Prophet’s fondness for him as a child.  He was among those who prepared the Prophet’s body for burial.  The election of ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan to the caliphate in 644 took place in the house of his wife Fatima bint Qays al-Fihriya, and after the murder of ‘Uthman in 656, Usama refused homage to ‘Ali.


Ustad Muhammad Akbari
Ustad Muhammad Akbari. Head of the Shi‘a Hizb-i Wahdat’s (the Unity Party’s) political committee who lost in a power struggle with Abdul Ali Mazari and joined Rabbani’s Jam’iat-i Islami.  Sayyid Husain Alimi Balkhi, a member of his party, was appointed in July 1996, minister of commerce in Prime Minister Hekmatyar’s government until they were evicted from Kabul and Bamian by the Taliban.


Ustadsis
Ustadsis.  Leader of a religious movement in Khurasan, directed against the ‘Abbasids.  The rising began in 767 and spread rapidly.  Ustadis represented himself as a prophet and exhorted the people to unbelief (in Arabic, kufr).  The movement was suppressed by Khazim ibn Khuzayma. 


Usuli
Usuli. School of Shi‘ite jurisprudence that asserts the permissibility of recourse to rational methods (usul) and exertion (ijtihad) in order to deduce legal ordinances (ahkam) from the scriptural sources of the law -- the Qur’an and the traditions of the Prophet and the twelve imams.  The school is said to have originated with Abu Ja‘far al-Tusi (d. 1067), who was the first Shi‘ite scholar to expound the permissibility of qiyas (analogical reasoning).  Usulism, however, was in its origin less an organized school than a current of jurisprudential thought that generally enjoyed majority support, with the exception of a period of Akhbari supremacy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

The Usuli positions were systematized by Agha Muhammad Baqir Bihbahani and definitively elaborated by Shaikh Murtaza Ansari (d. 1864) and Akhund Khurasani (d. 1911).  The Usulis hold that the Shi‘ite community (in the continuing absence of the twelfth imam) consists of mujtahids -- those technically qualified to practice ijtihad -- and muqallids -- those who, unable to do so, are obliged to follow the rulingsof the former.  This analysis has bestowed on the Shi‘ite religous scholars a claim to loyalty and obedience that has been decisive for the history of Iran.

Usuli is a school of law relying on a series of rational processes, the Usuliyah has been almost universally accepted by Shi‘a Muslims for the past two centuries.  Its designation “Usuliyah,” derived from the expression usul al-fiqh (“principles of jurisprudence”), is not encountered before the mid-twelfth century, but there can be little doubt that the application of rational methods to the deduction of the specific ordinances of the law from its sources was known already during the lifetime of the imams.  Clearly rationalist in tendency was Shaykh al-Mufid (d. 1022), who rejected with great polemical vigor the view of his traditionist opponents (the forerunners of the Akhbariyah) that traditions narrated by only one line of transmission were acceptable sources of law.  His positions were developed, with some modification, by Shaykh al-Ta’ifah al-Tusi (d. 1067), Muhaqqiq al-Hilli (d. 1277), and ‘Allamah al-Hilli (d. 1326).  The last took the crucial step of recognizing the principle of ijtihad (disciplined reasoning based on the shari‘a) that was to become central to the Usuliyah.  He is therefore sometimes regarded as the first Usuli sensu stricto.  This gradual clarification of the bases of rationalist jurisprudence in Shiism owed much to earlier developments in Sunni law, something that did not go unnoticed by the Akhbari adversaries of the Usuli doctrine.

When the Safavids set about propagating Shiism in Iran, creating for the first time the conditions for the application of Shi‘a law in a major Islamic society, representatives of the Usuli position -- such as ‘Ali al-Karaki (d. 1534) and Muhaqqiq Ardabili (d. 1585) -- were initially in the ascendant.  In the mid-seventeenth century, however, there was a late blossoming of the Akhbari school under the auspices of Mullah Muhammad Amin Akhbari (d. 1624).  It succeeded in gaining the loyalty of many of the major intellectual figures of the day and came to enjoy nearly complete control of the ‘atabat in Iraq by the mid-eighteenth century.  The supremacy of the Usuliyah was definitively re-established toward the end of the century by Aqa Muhammad Baqir Bihbahani (d. 1791) by means of both vigorous public debate in the madrasahs of Karbala and the composition of treatises on usul al-fiqh.  His numerous associates and students consolidated this triumph in both Iraq and Iran, and the Usuli positions were from that time virtually co-terminous with Shi‘a law as such. 

Bihbahani not only reasserted the legitimate or even obligatory nature of ijtihad but also made it incumbent on all who had not attained the qualifications for ijtihad to follow, in matters of religious law, those who had.  This process is known as taqlid (“imitation”), and the scholar practicing ijtihad who is selected for imitation is called the marja’ al-taqlid (“source of imitation”).  The structuring of the Shi‘a community that this implied, with obedience to a practitioner of ijtihad made a matter of religious duty, greatly elevated the status of the religious jurists and had a profound impact on Iranian history and society.  It paved the way for the political activism of the Shi‘a ‘ulama’ throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and may even be regarded as an ancestor of the Islamic Revolution of 1978-1979.

The principles of the Usuli school were further refined by Shaykh Murtada Ansari (d. 1864), who had stress on the necessity of choosing as marja’ al-taqlid the most learned jurist available, and by Akhund Muhammad Kazim Khurasani (d. 1911).  The doctrine of wilayat al-faqih (“the vice-regency of the jurist”), according to which a jurist may claim full governmental powers, may be regarded as a radical but nonetheless logical working out of the implications of Usuli doctrine. In elaborating it, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (d. 1989) was able to cite indications scattered in the works of earlier Usuli scholars.

Usulis are the majority Twelver Shi'a Muslim group. They differ from their now much smaller rival Akhbari group in favoring the use of ijtihad, i.e. reasoning in the creation of new rules of fiqh; in assessing hadith to exclude traditions they believe unreliable; and in considering it obligatory to obey a mujtahid when seeking to determine Islamically correct behavior.

After the crushing of the Akhbaris in the late 18th century, the Usuli became the dominant school of Twelver Shi'a and formed an overwhelming majority within the Twelver Shia denomination.

The Usuli believe that the Hadith collections contained traditions of very varying degrees of reliability, and that critical analysis was necessary to assess their authority. In contrast, the Akhbari believe that the sole sources of law are the Qur'an and the Hadith, in particular the Four Books accepted by the Shia. Everything in these sources is in principle reliable, and outside them there was no authority competent to enact or deduce further legal rules.

In addition to assessing the reliability of the Hadith, Usuli believe the task of the legal scholar is to establish intellectual principles of general application (Usul al-fiqh), from which particular rules may be derived by way of deduction: accordingly, legal scholarship has the tools in principle for resolving any situation, whether or not it is specifically addressed in the Qur'an or Hadith.

The dominance of the Usuli over the Akhbari came in last half of the 18th century when Muhammad Baqir Behbahani led Usulis to challenge Akhbari dominance and completely routed the Akhbaris at Karbala and Najaf, to the point that only a handful of Shi'i ulama have remained Akhbari to the present day.

An important tenet of Usuli doctrine is Taqlid or "imitation", i.e. the acceptance of a religious ruling in matters of worship and personal affairs from someone regarded as a higher religious authority (e.g. an 'ālim) without necessarily asking for the technical proof. These higher religious authorities can be known as a "source of imitation" (Arabic, marja taqlid; Persian, marja) or less exaltedly as an "imitated one" (Arabic, muqallad). However, the muqallad's verdicts are not to be taken as the only source of religious information and the muqallad can be always corrected by other muqalladeen (the plural of muqallad) which come after him. Obeying a deceased taqlid is forbidden in Usuli.

Taqlid has been introduced by scholars who felt that Quranic verses and traditions were not enough and that ulama were needed not only to interpret the Quran and Sunna but to make new rulings to respond to new challenges and push the boundaries of Shia law in new directions. Critics also say a major motive behind introducing this was to collect Islamic taxes.


‘Utayba, Banu
‘Utayba, Banu (Banu ‘Utayba) ('Utaybah) (Uteibah) (Otaibah) (Otaiba</I.).  Large Bedouin tribe in central Saudi Arabia which traces its genealogy back to Mudar and claims to belong to the Qays ‘Aylan. 

'Utaybah is a large Sunni Muslim tribe of the Arabian Peninsula. As is the case with many other large tribal confederations in the region, the name 'Utaybah only appeared within the last few centuries. 'Utaybah's original territory was concentrated in the area around Taif, but in the 18th century, their lands extended to include central Nejd. The head of the family is the Bin Humaid family.

Until sometime in the 19th century, a large section of the tribe moved eastwards towards Nejd, which at the time was dominated by another large tribe known as Qahtan. A mighty war ensued between 'Utaybah and Qahtan which led to 'Utaybah taking over most of Qahtan's grazing lands in western Nejd, led by Prince Turki Bin Humaid, 'Utaybah pushed Qahtan further to the east and south. A large boulder in western Nejd where a group of Qahtani tribesmen made their last stand against 'Utaybah is still known today as Hassaat Ghatan ("Qahtan's Rock"). The tribe was mostly bedouin, however, a large number of them settled in the towns of Nejd. Sections of the tribe ended up moving as far east as Riyadh and as far north as Qassim. 'Utaybah, Mutayr and Qahtan are generally considered to be the largest tribes in Saudi Arabia today, though no reliable statistics exist.

The tribe for a long time maintained a cooperative attitude towards the Wahhabi movement championed by the Al Saud clan of Nejd in the 18th and 19th centuries, and tended to side more with the Sharifs of Mecca. In 1912, however, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia, Abdul Aziz Ibn Saud, began an ambitious plan to settle the nomadic tribes within his domains (which at the time included Nejd and Arabia's eastern coastal areas). This was to be coupled with indoctrination of the tribesmen into the religious ideals espoused by Muhammad ibn Abd Al-Wahhab, as the religious observance of the bedouin was hitherto considered to be somewhat loose. The new settlements were to be known as hijras and the accompanying religious movement was called the Ikhwan ("the Brotherhood"). As a result, a large number of 'Utaybi hijras sprung up across the land, especially in western Nejd. The most famous 'Utaybi hijras were 'Afif near Dwadmi, and Sajir near Shaqraa. A large contingent of 'Utaybah, led by Sultan ibn Bjad Bin Humaid aka Sultanaldeen, joined the Ikhwan, who were then deployed by Ibn Saud against his rivals as he sought to unite as much of Arabia under his rule as possible. The Ikhwan were instrumental in gaining control of the Hejaz for Ibn Saud, but they then grew resentful and restless. The 'Utaybi leader of Ikhwan joined with main Ikhwan leaders from other tribes in revolt, but they were defeated by Ibn Saud's forces at the Battle of Sbilla near Zilfi in northeastern Nejd in 1930. The 'Utaybi hijras remained, however, and the hijra of 'Afif became particularly prosperous and is now considered a city in its own right, lying approximately half-way between Riyadh and Mecca.

Many 'Utaybis have entered the Saudi armed forces in the last few decades, and their presence with other tribes is particularly heavy in the National Guard. Prominent members of the tribe include Khalaf ibn Hathal, a poet who rose to prominence during the First Gulf War, Juhayman Al-'Utaybi, the militant who led the 1979 seizure of the Sacred Mosque in Mecca, and Dhaifallah Al-'Utaybi, mayor of Dammam and a former executive in the Saudi national oil company, Aramco.

The Otaibah tribe is subdivided into three major branches: Barga, Rwog, and Bano Saad (Sons of Saad).  Each major branch is divided into many clans, each clan is divided into various families.

The meeting of the 'Utaybah Tribe is considered to be the biggest family meeting in the world.
Banu 'Utayba
see ‘Utayba, Banu
'Utaybah see ‘Utayba, Banu
Uteibah see ‘Utayba, Banu
Otaibah see ‘Utayba, Banu
Otaiba see ‘Utayba, Banu


‘Utba ibn Ghazwan ibn al-Harith
‘Utba ibn Ghazwan ibn al-Harith (Utbah ibn Ghazwan) (d. c. 636/639).  One of the first Companions of the Prophet.  He is best known as the founder of Basra.

Utbah ibn Ghazwan was a well known companion of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. He was the seventh person to convert to Islam and participated in the hijra to Abyssinia, but returned to stay with Muhammad in Mecca before making the second hijrah to Medina. He fought at the battle of Badr (624), the battle of Uhud (625), the Battle of the Trench (627) and many others, including the battles of Yamamah.

During the caliphate of Umar (r.634-644), Utbah commanded a force of 2,000 men in a campaign against Ubullah which lasted from June through September 635. Once Uballa was occupied, Utba sent a force across the Tigris River which occupied the district of Furat, followed by Meisan and Abarqubaz. He was soon appointed governor of Basra (Iraq) by the caliph. In 639 Utba left for the Hijaz to perform hajj and to request Umar to relieve him of his office as governor. Umar refused, but while returning to Basra Utbah fell from his camel and died. He was succeeded by al-Mughīrah ibn Shuʿbah as governor.
Utbah ibn Ghazwan see ‘Utba ibn Ghazwan ibn al-Harith


‘Utbi, Abu Nasr Muhammad al-
‘Utbi, Abu Nasr Muhammad al- (Abu Nasr Muhammad al-‘Utbi) (c.961-1036).  Arab historian from Rayy.  He was the author of a history of the reign of the Ghaznavid Nasir al-Dawla Sebuktigin, the governor of Khurasan on behalf of the Samanids, of his son Mahmud and of the early years of his grandson Mas‘ud I.

Abu Nasr Muhammad al-‘Utbi see ‘Utbi, Abu Nasr Muhammad al-


‘Uthman Abu Bakr Digna
‘Uthman Abu Bakr Digna (Digna) (c. 1840-1926).  Governor and general of the Mahdiyya in the Eastern Sudan.  He was a slave trader who joined Muhammad al-Mahdi in 1883.
Digna, 'Uthman Abu Bakr see ‘Uthman Abu Bakr Digna
Digna see ‘Uthman Abu Bakr Digna


‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan
‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan (Usman ibn ‘Affān) (c. 579, Taif, Arabia - July 17, 656, Medina, Arabia).  Third caliph (r.644-656).  ‘Uthman was an early, pre-hijra convert to Islam.  He belonged to the Banu Umayya and accepted the teaching of the Prophet several years before the hijra. 

He was a rich merchant, and married the Prophet’s daughter Ruqayya.  He is believed to have taken part in the migration to Abyssinia and in the Hijra to Medina, but he did not take part in the battle of Badr.  After the death of Ruqayya, he married Umm Kulthum, another daughter of the Prophet.  After the murder of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab in 644, he was elected caliph by a council of the six oldest Companions, a council that was named by ‘Umar on his deathbed.  ‘Uthman was chosen because he was a member of the Prophet’s family through his marriages, because he was an Umayyad and probably because he was the most outstanding candidate, since ‘Ali, al-Zubayr ibn al- ‘Awwam, Talha ibn ‘Ubayd Allah, Sa‘d ibn Abi Waqqas and ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn ‘Awf ruled one another out.    Since he was an Umayyad, his appointment may be seen as a victory of the old Meccan oligarchy.

During his caliphate many serious grievances were uttered, the first and perhaps gravest charge being that he appointed members of his family to the governorships in the provinces of Syria and Egypt.  He also assigned the booty of the expeditions not entirely to the soldiers, but reserved a share for his governors and family by developing the system of fiefs.  Cutting down the military pensions because of the economic crisis following the sudden enriching of the Arab masses also increased the number of malcontents.  One of the steps which contributed very greatly to stirring up the religious element against ‘Uthman was the official edition of the Qur’an, the destruction of the provincial copies being considered most odious.

In 650, the first movements of rebellion began in Iraq, which was suffering most from the economic crisis, especially in Kufa, and spread to Egypt.  In 655, rebel factions advanced on Medina.  ‘Uthman gave in to all their demands, but on returning, the Egyptians found a letter from the caliph to his foster brother ‘Abd Allah ibn Sa‘d (Ibn Abi Sarh), the governor of Egypt, containing an order to put to death or mutilate the leaders of the movement.  ‘Uthman denied that the letter was genuine, but his house became besieged.

Opposition to ‘Uthman’s caliphate formed in Medina, especially among members of the family of the Prophet and other Meccans, and more overtly in Iraq and Egypt. The Companions, including ‘Ali, maintained an attitude of neutrality and ‘A’isha, the widow of the Prophet, who was opposed to ‘Uthman, left for Mecca.  ‘Uthman refused to abdicate.  It is not known whether it was Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr, the son of the first caliph and brother of ‘A’isha, or another who gave the coup de grace.   In June 656 of the Christian calendar, a group of Egyptian army rebels with grievances invaded Medina and mortally wounded ‘Uthman.  This assassination established a woeful precedent in Islamic history.

‘Ali was subsequently elected caliph, but he was destined to be challenged by Mu‘awiya, the Umayyad governor of Syria.  The political, and soon also the religious unity of Islam was at an end and the period of schisms and civil wars had begun. 

In the final analysis, history shows that the outstanding achievement of ‘Uthman’s reign was his establishment of the definitive text of the Qur’an shortly after 650.  The Qur’an became a living legacy of ‘Uthman’s short, turbulent reign.

A chronology of Uthman’s life reads as follows:

Uthman was probably born in Mecca around 580 of the Christian calendar, the member of the powerful Umayyad clan.  We do not know with any certainty which year he was born, nor where -- but Mecca is most likely.

In the early seventh century, Uthman became a wealthy merchant, and a gentleman of his time. 

In 615, Uthman became a Muslim.  Although some sources indicate that his conversion may have actually occurred at a later date.

Around 620, Uthman married Muhammad’s daughter Ruqaiya.

In 624, Ruqaiya died during the Battle of Badr, preventing Uthman from participating in the battle.

Around 625, Uthman married another daughter of Muhammad, Umm Kulthum.

In 644, Uthman was chosen the new caliph.  There had been seven candidates, but the other ones were controversial.  Uthman was a compromise candidate, and was not chosen because any particular outstanding quality of his own.

In 650, there were rebellions in Iraq and Egypt, protesting against Uthman’s policy of distributing wealth and land won in the war.

In June of 656, Uthman was besieged in his own home by a group of Egyptian Muslims. It is believed that Muhammad’s favorite wife.  Aisha played a central part in the campaign against Uthman.  On June 17, Uthman was assassinated in Medina by Muhammad ibn Abi Bakr.  Following this death, tensions in the Muslim world became even more problematic than under the last years of his reign.  He would be succeeded by Ali as caliph.

Uthman is credited for having centralized the administration of the Muslim state, and it was during his reign that the compilation of the Qur’an was completed.

Uthman was the last caliph who could enjoy unity in the Muslim world, even if there was much displeasure with his regime.  This displeasure came from a number of reasons.  The most important reason was his policy towards war booty from the many military expeditions.  Soldiers and officers felt that Uthman confiscated to large parts of the booty for his own administration and his family.  He established a system of landed fiefs and distributed many of the provincial governorships to members of his family.

The dissatisfaction of his time was no more problematic than what other rulers had to cope with, including his predecessor Umar.  As a matter of fact, Uthman’s politics were a continuation of Umar’s.  But Uthman was not a particularly strong leader, and to a large degree controlled by his family.  His politics would eventually result in his death.  Through his weakness, Uthman became one of the most important men of early Islam, paving for the first schisms in the religion, schisms that still exist (Sunni, Shi‘a, and Khariji).

Another source of discontent was the process of compiling the Qur’an.  The qurra’, who were the bearers of the sacred text both in verbal and written form, exercised a power which was openly questioned by contemporary Muslims.  The qurra’ was suspected of both holding back passages, as well as manipulating other passages.
Islamic history, particularly Sunni history, remembers Uthman in positive terms, calling him handsome, generous, and plain rather than luxurious. It is said that Uthman was one of the most handsome and charming men of his time. Uthman was well known for his reported generosity. During Muhammad's time, while in Medina, he financed the project for the construction of the Al-Masjid al-Nabawi and purchased the well Beer Rauma, which he dedicated to the free use of all Muslims. Uthman’s generosity continued after he became caliph.

Uthman apparently led a simple life even after becoming the Caliph of the Rashidun Empire, though it would have been easy for a successful businessman such as him to lead a luxurious life. The caliphs were paid for their services from bait al-mal, the public treasury, but Uthman never took any salary for his service as a Caliph, as he was independently wealthy. Uthman also developed a custom to free slaves every Friday, look after the widows and orphans, and give unlimited charity. His patience and endurance were among the characteristics that made him a successful leader. He was a devoted Muslim. As a way of taking care of Muhammad’s wives, he doubled their allowances. Uthman wasn't completely plain and simple, however: Uthman built a Palace for himself in Medina, known as Al-Zawar, with a notable feature being doors of precious wood. Although Uthman paid for the palace with his own money, Shia Muslims consider it his first step towards ruling like a King. Uthman's sister Amna bint Affan was married to Abdur Rahman bin Awf, one of the closest companion of Muhammad.




Usman ibn 'Affan see ‘Uthman ibn ‘Affan


‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un ibn Habib
‘Uthman ibn Maz‘un ibn Habib (d. 625).  One of the earliest Companions of the Prophet.  He took part in the emigration to Abyssinia and in the battle of Badr.  In hadith, ‘Uthman is the most characteristic representative of the ascetic tendencies in early Islam, and he is said to have asked the Prophet’s permission to castrate himself.


Utrush, Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-
Utrush, Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al- (Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Utrush) (c.844-917).  Ruler in Tabaristan and recognized as Imam by the Zaydis, including those of Yemen.  He went from Medina to Tabaristan where al-Hasan ibn Zayd ibn Muhammad had founded the Zaydiyya.  He conducetd ‘Alid propaganda from Gilan and, having defeated the troops sent by the Samanid Ahmad Ii ibn Isma‘il (r. 907-914), he established a little ‘Alid state at Amul in east Mazandaran, which lasted until 1126.
Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-Utrush see Utrush, Abu Muhammad al-Hasan al-


Uways I
Uways I (Shaikh Uvais) (Oways) (b. 1341).  Ruler of the Jalayirids (r.1356-1374). 

Uways was a Jalayirid ruler of Iraq (1356-1374) and Azerbaijan (1360-1374). He was the son of Hasan Buzurg and the Chobanid Delsad Katun.

Shortly after Uways succeeded his father, the old enemy of the Jalayirids, the Chobanids, were overrun by the forces of the Blue Horde under Jani Beg in 1357. Malek Asraf was executed, and Azerbaijan was conquered. Following Jani Beg’s withdrawal from Azerbaijan, as well as his son Berdi Beg’s similar abandonment of the region in 1358, the area became a prime target for its neighbors. Uways, who at first had recognized the sovereignty of the Blue Horde, decided to take the former Chobanid lands for himself, even as a former amir of Malek Asraf’s named Akhichuq attempted to keep the region in Mongol hands. Despite a campaign that ended prematurely, as well as the brief conquest of Azerbaijan by the Muzaffarids, Uways conquered the area in 1360. In addition to Baghdad, he also had Tabriz, another large city, under his control.

During his reign, Uways sought to increase his holdings in Persia. He became involved in the power struggles of the Muzaffarids, supporting Shah Mahmud in his efforts against his brother Shah Shuja. Shah Mahmud married one of Uways’ daughters, and received support around 1363 in his conquest of Shiraz. In 1364 Uways campaigned against the Shirvan Shah Kai-Ka’us, but a revolt begun by the governor of Baghdad, Khwaja Mirjan, forced him to return to reassert his authority. In 1366 Uways marched against the Black Sheep Turkmen, defeating their leader, Bairam Khwaja, at the battle of Mush. Later, he defeated the Shirvan Shah, who had attacked Tabriz twice in the meantime. In an effort to extend further east, he fought against Amir Vali, who ruled in Astarbad, and defeated him in Ray. When his brother Amir Zahid died in Ujan, however, he was forced to turn back. The governorship of Ray was trusted in the hands of a Qutlugh Shah, who was followed two years later by ‘Adil Aqa.

Due to his campaigns, Uways spent a great deal of time in Persia.  He died in Tabriz in 1374. During his lifetime, the Jalayirid state reached its peak in power. In addition to his military adventures, which were considerable, he was known for his attempts to revive commercial enterprise in the region, as well as his patronage of the arts. His chronicler, Abu Bakr al-Qutbi al Ahri, wrote of Uways’ deeds in the Tarikh-i Shaikh Uways. Uways was succeeded by his son Hasan.
Shaikh Uvais see Uways I
Oways see Uways I


Uymaq
Uymaq. Term which, in Iran and Inner Asia, refers to a chieftaincy under the authority of a headman supported by military retainers and allied lineages.

Uzbek
Uzbek (Ozbek).  The most numerous non-European peoples in Central Asia are the Uzbek.  By the far the greatest number live in Uzbekistan.  A large number live in Afghanistan, while a few live in China and Mongolia.  The Uzbek are the world’s second largest Turkic-speaking group after the Anatolian Turks.

The early Uzbek were probably one of the components of the Turko-Mongolian Golden Horde, which dominated Russia and western Siberia from the thirteenth through fifteenth centuries.  The ethnonym “Uzbek” may have its origin in the name of Uzbek, Khan of the Golden Horde from 1313 to 1340.  The term itself means “self-lord” or “one’s own prince.”  With the breakup of the Horde during the fifteenth century, the nomadic Uzbek moved southward and established themselves by mid-century in the lower reaches of the Syr and Amu rivers.  There they challenged the power of the Timurid rulers of Transoxiana, the last of whom, Babur, they displaced in the early sixteenth century.  (Babur went on to found the Mughal dynasty in India.)  Further Uzbek expansion southward was blocked by the Safavid dynasty of Iran. 

Over the years, the Uzbek became increasingly sedentary, engaging mainly in agriculture, but with some involvement in commerce and crafts.  They became participants in the area’s Turko-Iranian variant of the Islamic civilization.  Three Uzbek dominated khanates had emerged by the eighteenth century.  Kokand, Bukhara and Khiva.  The majority of the Uzbek were incorporated into the Russian Empire during the latter half of the nineteenth century.  In the course of the Russian Revolution and Civil War (1917-1923) more than 500,000 Uzbek migrated to northern Afghanistan, where they are a major component of the Uzbek community found there presently.  In 1924, Soviet authority having been established in Central Asia, the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic was organized, incorporating within its boundaries most of the Uzbek in the Soviet Union.  The first capital of the Uzbek republic was Samarkand, a traditional cultural center; Tashkent, the former czarist administrative center of Turkestan Province, bcame the capital in 1931.  Under Soviet Russian direction a modernization program was pursued, consisting of secularization, collectivization, industrialization and education.

The Uzbek are Hanafi Sunni Muslims, with some pre-Islamic shamanist and Zoroastrian influences remaining in folkways.  Islam was brought forcibly to Transoxiana by the Arab conquerors during the eighth century.   Conversion to Islam did not become extensive in

the steppes until the fourteenth century.  At the end of the fifteenth century, when the early Uzbek began their move into Transoxiana, they were already Muslim.  The Uzbek khanates supported Islamic cultural institutions.  With the establishment of Soviet power the religious life of the Uzbek changed.  They became subject to officially sponsored secularization, which included invalidating Muslim law, abolishing adat and sharia courts, confiscating waqfs and closing maktab and madrasa schools.  Many mosques were closed, and the Islamic clergy persecuted.   The overt practice of Islam was discouraged.

Uzbeks were rivals to the Safavids in the sixteenth century.

Nineteenth and early twentieth century scholars and travelers followed earlier chroniclers, such as the Khivan ruler Abu al-Ghazi Bahadur Khan (r. 1642-1663) in his Shajara-i Turk, in holding the view that the Uzbeks took their group name from the last powerful Golden Horde potentate, Uzbek (or Ozbeg) Khan (r. 1312-1340), the Islamic proselytizer.  Logically, the domain of that khan became the realm of the Uzbek and, it was thought, thereby acquired the designation Uzbekistan.  Arabic and Persian sources referred to the Uzbeks as the followers of the ruler of the Golden Horde as well as to an Uzbek land located astride the Volga River with its capital at Sarai.  These sources thus placed the center of the Uxbek territory near the prominent westernmost bend in the lower reaches of the Volga.

For modern historians, placing the Uzbek lands so far south and west in the Dasht-i Kipchak (Kipchak steppe) created interpretive tension, because the large tribal confederation of medieval Uzbeks was elsewhere, according to early manuscripts, and remained some sixteen hundred kilometers distant to the northeast for decades after 1340.  This contradiction persuaded several European and Russian researchers to look for an etymological explanation of the name Uzbek that would avoid the link to a specific terrain.  Some scholars accepted the idea that the Turkic reflexive pronoun oz (“self”) had combined with the noble title bek to form a type of name common in various languages in many tribal societies beyond the Uzbek one.  That combination would mean, they reasoned, “master of himself, ” “the man himself, ” and the like.

As a personal name, Uzbek had been known and recorded at least a century before the rise of Uzbek Khan on the Volga.  But by the late twentieth century, scholars had lost enthusiasm for the theory of an eponym like him or for the idea that the Uzbek group name must have come from one of their own chieftains -- a practice quite well known among Mongol-Turkic people.

The history of the nomadic Uzbeks, in contrast to the record of Uzbek Khan’s followers, shows their emergence from the wreckage of the Shaiban ulus (“domain”).  Shaiban (d. 1249), a grandson of the Mongol conqueror Jenghiz Khan (d. 1227), held sway in his time in western Siberia north of the Aral Sea and Lake Balkhash, east and southeast of the Ural chain of hills.  The Uzbek center, Tura, west of the Tobol River, served as the capital of the earliest known Uzbek confederation of tribes under young Abu al-Khair Khan between 1428/1429 and 1446. In fact, most relevant sources observe that the Uzbek lands remained in northwestern Siberia until almost the middle of the fifteenth century.  Some twenty years after Abu al-Khar Khan moved his capital south to the warmer country on the east bank of the middle Sayhun (Syr Darya) River, an onslaught of Kalmuk Mongols pushing westward from Dzungaria devastated the Uzbeks, costing the Uzbeks their khan and their lands in 1469.  Only two years earlier, Uzbek tribal unity had suffered a permanent blow when large dissident numbers split away to become what are today Kazakhs.

Although the polity and territory of the Uzbeks once more lost focus, no later than 1488 a new leader appeared to rally what were reputed to be the ninety-two Uzbek tribes around him.  This was Abu al-Khair Khan’s educated grandson, Muhammad Shaibani Khan (r.1451-1510).  Trained at combat by his grandfather, Muhammad Shaibani Khan gave most of his attention and huge energy to penetrating even farther south into the realm of the Timurid dynasty (1370-1506) southwest of the Syr Darya, which included the historic cities of Khiva, Bukhara, Samarkand, and Herat.  By 1499, the Uzbeks had invaded Transoxiana in full force, and they proceeded to drive out or destroy all meaningful Timurid opposition.

This mass migration of Uzbeks from the Kipchak steppe brought with it a great political change and significant alteration of ethnic (Uzbek) and dynastic (Shaibanid) names.  It reconstituted the basis for an Uzbekistan on entirely new ground.  The new rulers of the area, like their predecessors in Transoxiana, were Muslim, but less tolerant than earlier rulers, who had heterodox and Shi‘ite tendencies.  The Shaibanids viewed this new territory not as Uzbekistan, however, for they remained indifferent to an ethnic definition of their homeland.  Instead, dynastic reach and power held political attention, and Islam, along with Turkic and Persian aesthetics, pervaded cultural life.  Uzbek leaders invariably headed the governments, khanates, and amirates that followed one another in the southern part of western Turkestan throughout the next five centuries.  These entities, remembered by dynastic names linked either to a human eponym (Shaiban), regions (Astrakhan, Khiva, Bukhara, Khokand), or tribes (Manghit, Ming, Qongrat) never selected the name Uzbek for their states throughout that five hundred years.

After 1924, the Russian authorities formed a new political administrative unit within the Soviet Union called the Uzbekistan Soviet Socialist Republic, a constituent part of the Soviet Union.  However, Soviet managers allocated large parcels of land to Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, and similar units in a pattern that appeared to constitute a sort of negative ethnic gerrymandering intended to disperse and dilute the Soviet Uzbeks beyond and within their unit boundaries.  The 1979 Soviet census told the story.  Of the 12.5 million Uzbeks then inhabiting the Soviet Union, 15 percent lived outside the Uzbekistan, mainly in Tajikistan, Kirghizia, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan.  At the same time, well over 1.3 million non-Uzbek Central Asians resided in Uzbekistan, principally Kazakhs, Tajiks, and Kirghiz.

The motive of the Soviet policy of “dilution” was to diminish the influence of Uzbeks throughout Central Asia’s southern reaches, an expanse they dominated almost until the twentieth century.  The census report also recorded a persistent rapid growth in the numbers of Soviet Uzbeks inside and outside their assigned eponymous territorial unit.  By 1979, Uzbeks had become the third largest ethnic group as well as the leading Turkic nationality of the Soviet Union.  This trend generated between 1959 and 1979 a modest rise (to 68.6 percent) in the proportion of Uzbeks among the population of Uzbekistan.  Russian and Ukrainian colonists settling in the region of Uzbekistan beginning in the nineteenth century and continuing through the twentieth moved mainly to urban centers.  They largely account for the low proportion of Uzbeks in Uzbekistan.  Also, the presence of these outsiders reduced Uzbeks to a minority or slight plurality of inhabitants in Tashkent, the capital, and in most other large towns of the constituent republic.  As a result, the outsiders also held a significant percentage of industrial and bureaucratic employment, leaving 70 percent of the Uzbeks in Central Asia still residing in the countryside in 1979.  This distribution promised to change only slowly, for Uzbeks in Uzbekistan could not readily find either adequate housing or suitable employment in the city.  Moreover, Uzbeks, like other Central Asians, did not choose to migrate in any substantial numbers to colder, culturally alien parts of the Soviet Union.  Nevertheless, its growing numbers gave the Uzbek group some grounds for confidence in its ultimate physical survival, despite its brief modern experience as a politically constituted namesake group for Uzbekistan. 

Soviet political and cultural leaders continued to manipulate the content and meaning of national identity in the Soviet Union.  One important instance of this management of group identities occurred about 1947, when Russian and Uzbek authors writing official histories of Uzbekistan (no unofficial ones could appear under Soviet censorship) began to treat the ages before the sixteenth century in a special way.  Few of the older scholars seemed to have participated in this abrupt switch, which was led not by an Uzbek scholar but evidently by the Russian Marxist historian Alexsandr Yakubovskii (1886-1953).  He and his associates chose the new Uzbek republic as a geographical reference point, declaring all history prior to 1925 on that land and all Turkic people found there at any time before that year to be Uzbek back to deepest antiquity.

Approved Soviet historiography for Central Asia since World War II, therefore, features Timurid dynastic, political, and cultural leaders as Uzbeks but, with noticeable selectivity, ignores the important role of the Shaibanids and their successors in shaping the life and civilization of western Turkestan.  This revisionist policy has produced, among other effects, a confusion of historical identities for the main actors in the formative fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  Soviet histories gave, without qualification, the Uzbek to the archenemies of the contemporary Uzbeks: the Timurid rulers Ulug Beg (1394-1449), Timur’s grandson; and Zahiruddin Muhammad Babur (1483-1530), whom the Uzbek troops routed from his small realm in Central Asia.  These articulate leaders, along with Muhammad Shaibani Khan, expressed themselves clearly in regard to each other.  Babur despised the Uzbeks, he said.  Ulug Beg was defeated by them in combat against the forces of the predecessors of Abu al-Khair Khan near Saghanak in 1427, a loss that led to disgrace for him and his field commnaders. 

Both Marxist periodization and Soviet ideology necessitated this rewriting of Uzbek history in order to permit a highly selective class interpretation of Central Asian history.  To downplay the active Uzbek nomadic place in Uzbekistan’s history, this new conception substitutes a racial and territorial foundation for Uzbek group identity for the old sense of unity based on group name and tribal legacy.  These complex guidelines, followed carefully by subsequent Uzbek historians, were never fully absorbed in the group consciousness of the Uzbeks.  After World War II, the Uzbeks remained unchallenged by any new school of Marxist thought studying Central Asian history.  Added to these doctrinal treatments of Uzbek history, the lingering imperfections of the 1924-1925 ethnic partition of Central Asia, seemingly blurred the Uzbek consciousness into a feeling of broader Central Asian identity, an attitude consistent with the actual situation of the Uzbeks up to the Russian invasion that began in the 1850s.

The Uzbek habitat, which they share with the Tajik and other ethnic groups in northern Afghanistan, is an arid zone that has inland drainage systems and a continental climate.  It includes sedentary agriculturalists, but the pattern of semi-sedentary groups dominates, particularly in Afghanistan.  Local ecology greatly influences livestock distribution.  Fundamentally, sheep and goats are mountain animals, although sheep are less adaptable than goats and tend to flounder in the snow.  Both fat-tailed (fat used as cooking oil) and karakul (Persian) lamb skins are major exports from both sides of the Amu Darya River.  Cattle and camels (dromedaries) thrive in transitional forest steppes and semi-deserts.  The most important modern beast of burden, however, is the donkey.  Horses, prestige animals, are ridden, and sometimes the Uzbek drink kumyss, fermented mare’s milk. 

After 1973, Afghanistan was racked by coup d’etat, civil war and the 1979 Soviet invasion.  The one million Uzbek (the largest Turkic speaking minority in Afghanistan), along with other Afghan minority groups, hoped that the founding of the Republic of Afghanistan in 1973 would guarantee them wider participation in political life above the tribal level.  The plans of the republic (never implemented seemed to move towards more equitable distribution in regional economic development and more regional autonomy for the minority groups.

Even after the April 1978 coup d’etat and formation of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan (DRA), the leftist power elite initially indicated it would respect the uniqueness of the minority groups.  Unwise reform programs instituted by the DRA struck at the core of many basic cultural patterns, however, and the Uzbek among others, felt the government to be anti-Islamic, anti-Uzbek, pro-Communist and pro-Russian.




Ozbek see Uzbek


Uzun Hasan
Uzun Hasan (Uzun Hassan) (b. 1423/1425, Amida [now Diyarbakır, Turkey] - d. January 6, 1478, Tabrīz [now in Iran].  Most important ruler of the Akkoyunlu dynasty (r. [1453?] 1457-1478).  The nickname Uzun, “the Long,” referred to his height. 

From 1453, he was a prince of Diyarbakr, and from 1467 until his death sovereign of a powerful state comprised of Diyarbakr, eastern Anatolia and Azerbaijan.  In the west, he made alliance with the Qaramanids against the Ottomans.  In 1467, he defeated the Qara Qoyunlu Jihan Shah and conquered the Timurid Abu Sa‘id.  He entered into negotiations with Venice against the Ottomans, but the latter routed him in 1473.  He thrice invaded Georgia, and succeeded in coming to an agreement with the Burji Mameluke about the frontier between Egypt and his own lands.

A Turkish tribal conqueror in the mold of Timur, Uzun Hasan extended Akkoyunlu power over most of Persia, excluding Khurasan.  He extinguished the rival Karakoyunlu dynasty in 1467 and defeated the Timurid Abu Sa’id in 1469.  He played an active role in international politics, allying with Venice against the Ottomans and martyring the Christian princess Theodora Komnene of Trebizond. 

The Akkoyunlu arose at a time and in an area of religious heterodoxy.  Although Uzun Hasan was a Sunni Muslim who patronized the religious establishment, he also had high regard for popular religious leaders.  He formed an alliance, cemented by marriage ties, with the Shi‘ite Safavid family, partly in opposition to their common enemy, the Karakoyunlu.  However, under Shah Isma‘il (Uzun Hasan’s grandson), the Safavids drove the Akkoyunlu from Persia.

Uzun Hasan promoted a number of state laws to regularize and centralize revenue collection, and instituted more equitable land taxes.  He was a great builder who created a magnificent palace complex and maidan (now destroyed) in his capital, Tabriz.

Uzun Hasan was decisively defeated by the Ottomans in1473, a blow from which the Akkoyunlu never recovered.  He died at the age of fifty-two and was buried at the Nasriyya mosque in Tabriz.

With the death of Kara Osman, founder of the Ak Koyunlu dynasty, in 1435, a civil war ensued among his descendants. By 1453 Uzun Ḥasan had emerged victorious and succeeded to the throne. His principality, centered at Amida, was surrounded by two hostile powers. In the east, the rival Turkmen dynasty of Kara Koyunlu, led by Jahān Shāh; and in the west, the growing power of the Ottomans. Uzun Ḥasan entered into a series of alliances to secure his western flank. He made a major move in 1458 by marrying Catherine, the daughter of Kalo-Ioannes, the Christian emperor of Trebizond (in northeastern Anatolia). He also strengthened diplomatic ties with Venice, Muscovy, Burgundy, Poland, and Egypt and with the Karamanid dynasty of south-central Anatolia.

In 1461 Uzun Ḥasan began his campaigns against the Kara Koyunlu. With the death of Jahān Shāh in 1467, Uzun Ḥasan was able to annex territories in Azerbaijan and Iraq. By 1469 he had occupied all of Iran. Uzun Ḥasan’s support of the Karamanids, however, precipitated war (1472) with the Ottomans (August 1473), who decisively defeated the Ak Koyunlu at the Battle of Terjan and thus emerged supreme in Anatolia.




Hasan, Uzun see Uzun Hasan
Uzun Hassan see Uzun Hasan
Hassan, Uzun see Uzun Hasan


‘Uzza, al-
‘Uzza, al- (“the Powerful”).  Ancient, pre-Islamic Arabian (Meccan) goddess, who was especially associated with the Banu Ghatafan, but whose principal sanctuary was in the valley of Nakhla on the road from Ta’if to Mecca.  She gradually acquired a predominant position among the Quraysh, and formed with al-Lat and Manat a trinity, called “Allah’s daughters” by the Meccans.  Al-‘Uzza was also worshiped by the Lakhmids of al-Hira.  After the taking of Mecca, the Prophet sent Khalid ibn al-Walid to destroy the sanctuary of al-‘Uzza.

Al-Uzzá was one of the three chief goddesses of Arabian religion in pre-Islamic times and was worshiped as one of the daughters of Allāh by the pre-Islamic Arabs along with Allāt and Manāt. Al-‘Uzzá was also worshiped by the Nabataeans, who equated her with the Greek goddess Aphrodite Ourania (Roman Venus Caelestis). A stone cube at aṭ-Ṭā’if (near Mecca) was held sacred as part of her cult. She is mentioned in the Qur'an Sura 53:19 as being one of the female idols that people worshiped.

Al-‘Uzzá, like Hubal, was called upon for protection by the pre-Islamic Quraysh. "In 624 at the battle called 'Uhud', the war cry of the Qurayshites was, "O people of Uzzā, people of Hubal!" Al-‘Uzzā also later appears in Ibn Ishaq's account of the Satanic Verses.


The Powerful see ‘Uzza, al-


Vai
Vai (Vei) (Vey) (Gallinas). The Vai (also found in literature as Vey and Vei) are an offshoot of northern Manding speaking peoples of Guinea and Mali.  The Vai seem to have moved into the forest region around 1500 and finally settled in an area straddling the Mano River on the Atlantic coast in what today is Sierra Leone and Liberia.  Although the initial group was probably small in numbers, the Vai have enculturated surrounding peoples into their way of life.  In addition, by maintaining contact with the savanna Mandinka they have perpetuated their former savanna culture in the forest region. 

Beginning in the middle to late eighteenth century, Islamic influences began to reach the Vai area.  The first contacts seem to have been as a direct result of ongoing trade and cultural contacts between the savanna Mandinka and the coastal Vai.  By the middle of the nineteenth century, the Vai, particularly in the northern areas, were also coming into contact with Muslim Fulani traders from the Futa Jallon

Initally, Islam made little impact upon the Vai.  Individual political leaders who had consolidated several clans into an unstable confederation might turn to a Muslim divine to sanctify and therefore help to sustain their positions.  These divines were recognized as powerful, but the precepts of Islam held little interest for Vai people in general. 

Beginning in the twentieth century, the central governments of Sierra Leone and Liberia extended increasing political control over the Vai.  Political units were stabilized and select individuals and their lineages were designated as the legitimate rulers.  Authority to mete out penalties, particularly the death penalty, which had resided with the Poro elders, was taken over by the central governments.  Finally, in 1928 in Sierra Leone and 1930 in Liberia, the various forms of internal servitude were abolished.  Vai society, resilient through former periods of changing circumstances, for the first time, was shaken to its core.  The legitimacy of the ancestors’ power was undermined.  As a consequence, mass conversion to Islam began.  Islam provided a belief structure which was respected and which could be accommodated to traditional Vai religious concepts.

Early Portuguese writers called the Vai, Gallinas (“chickens”), reputedly after a local wildfowl. Speaking a language of the Mande branch of the Niger-Congo family, the Vai have close cultural ties to the Mande peoples.

Vai behavior in all aspects of life is strongly influenced by secret societies known as poro and sande—for men and women, respectively. The modern Vai are largely Islāmized. Formerly known as slave traders, the Vai now rely on farming and fishing; many work in government or for foreign companies. Their crafts are well developed, especially weaving and goldsmithing. A unique syllabic system of writing, invented in the 19th century by a Vai man, Doalu Bukere (Duala Bukele), is used mostly among older people. Many Vai are literate in Arabic. In the late 20th century the Vai numbered more than 50,000.

Vei see Vai
Vey see Vai
Gallinas see Vai


Vakaba Ture
Vakaba Ture (d. c. 1849).  Founder of the Dyula state of Kabasarana and an early leader of the Dyula revolution.   He was of the group of Dyula Muslim traders who after centuries of controlling trade in the Guinea interior region sought political power.  He was trained by another Dyula Islamic leader, Mori-Ule Sise, who had launched a holy war in 1835.  Vakaba, however, decided that to create his own empire he needed the support of the non-Muslims whom Mori-Ule was fighting.  He allied with them to turn on Mori-Ule and defeat him.  In 1846/1847, he founded the state of Kabasarana. Because he was primarily interested in tribute and securing the trade routes, he did not alienate the local population by demanding conversion to Islam.  Kabasarana grew to control one of the important kola nut trade routes running southward from Bamako.  Vakaba was succeeded by his sons in turn, who ruled independently until Kabasarana was incorporated into the Dyula leader Samori Toure’s empire after 1880.
Ture, Vakaba see Vakaba Ture


vizier
vizier ( vazir) (vizir) (vasir) (vesir) (vezir) (wazir).  Title of ministers of state and of the highest dignitaries in several Near Eastern kingdoms, especially in the Ottoman Empire.  The Arabs took over the term from Sasanian Iran, and in later times the Persians took it back as if it were really Arabic.  The signet-ring was the visible badge of the office.  Under the Ottomans the first vizier is said to have been ‘Ala’ al-Din, brother of Sultan Orkhan ibn ‘Othman.  The so-called “dome viziers” sat with the Grand Vizier under the dome in the palace, assisted him and replaced him during his absence.  The office disappeared with the Ottoman Empire in 1923.

Vizier as an Arabic term refers to the civil administrative chief who leads the various diwans.   The vizier also controls the revenues and expenses of the state.  Beginning with the Seljuks, the vizier received ten percent of the revenues of the state as his annual salary.  A vizier is also known as as a vizir or wazir.

Vizier was a term which was used to designate the person who, and the institution which, represented the ruler towrds his subjects.  The vizier was in many respects the prime minister of his time.  The term comes from old Iranian Pahlavi vcir which was used for a judge.

The two main empires which used the institution of vizier were the Abbasids (750-1258) and the Ottomans (1300-1922).  The term vizier was also used for the head of the administration in ancient Egypt from around 2575 B.C.T.   However, the Egyptians never used the term vizier themselves, but the term is used by modern historians when translating.

Their representatives function in the Abbasid caliphate and the Ottoman Empire, was central -- many other kingdoms and empires before and after were ruled directly by the formal ruler.  The Umayyads who preceded the Abbasids are a good example of direct rule. 

At first the office among the Ottomans was called pervane, which was formed according to Seljuk patterns.  In 1380, the term vizier was introduced, and could be used for several persons at the same time.  These persons had the highest rank in the ruling institutions.

From the mid-fifteenth century under Sultan Mehmed II, the title vizier came to be used for the chier minister, just with the epithet “grand.”  To him a number of lower (called “dome”) viziers were appointed.  During war, of which there were numerous, the grand vizier served as military commander.  At such times, the lower viziers represented the grand vizier in the daily administration.

Later on, the title “vizier” was given also to provincial governors and high officials.

In 1654, the grand vizier acquired an official residence.  In this residence, called Babiali, the main administration for the empire was located.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the grand vizier had a council of ministers which were appointed by the sultan. 

From 1908, the grand vizier got the right to appoint the ministers himself.  With the end of the empire in 1922, the title and institution of the vizier disappeared.

The vizier was originally the chief minister or representative of the ʿAbbāsid caliphs and later a high administrative officer in various Muslim countries, among Arabs, Persians, Turks, Mongols, and other eastern peoples.

The office took shape during its tenure by the Barmakid (Barmecide) family in the 8th century. The ʿAbbāsid vizier stood between sovereign and subjects, representing the former in all matters touching the latter. This withdrawal of the head of state from direct contact with his people was unknown to the previous Umayyad caliphate and was certainly an imitation of Persian usage.

Under the early Ottoman sultans, the office was called pervane (“advice”), a usage inherited from the Seljuqs of Anatolia. The Ottoman title vizier was first conferred on a military commander about 1380. Thenceforth until the conquest of Istanbul (1453), it denoted the highest rank in the ruling institution and could be held simultaneously by several persons, including the ministers of state. In this period members of the powerful Çandarli family served periodically as ministers and held the rank of vizier.

Under the sultan Mehmed II (r. 1444–46, 1451–81), the Ottomans assumed the old Islamic practice of giving the title vizier to the office of the chief minister, but they had to use the distinguishing epithet “grand.” A number of viziers, known as the “dome viziers,” were appointed to assist the grand vizier, to replace him when he was absent on campaign, and to command armies when required. Later the title vizier was granted to provincial governors and to high officials such as the defterdar (finance officer).

The grand vizier was the absolute representative of the sultan, whose signet ring he kept as an insignia of office. His actual power, however, varied with the vigor of the sultans. In 1654 the grand vizier acquired an official residence known as the Babıâli (Sublime Porte), which replaced the palace as the effective center of Ottoman government. Beginning in the 19th century, the grand viziers presided over the council of ministers, appointed by the sultan.  After 1908 they acquired the right to appoint the cabinet ministers. The title disappeared with the collapse of the empire.

The term vizier is also customarily applied to a pair of civil officers in ancient Egypt having viceregal powers. The office dates from at least the 4th dynasty (c. 2575–c. 2465 B.C.T.) and achieved great importance from the reign of Sesostris III (1836–1818 B.C.T.), when the vizier acquired jurisdiction over the entire bureaucracy of ancient Egypt.

In Shatranj, from which modern chess developed, the piece corresponding to the modern chess "queen" (though far weaker) was often called Wazīr. Up to the present, the word for the queen piece in chess is still "vezér" in Hungarian, "vazīr" in Persian, and "vezir" in Turkish.

wazir see vizier
vizir see vizier
vazir see vizier
vasir see vizier
vesir see vizier
vezir see vizier

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