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Rustamid dynasty (Algeria)

Political Aspect:

   The Rustumid state was founded by Abderrahman ibn Rostom, whose ancestors may be traced back to Persia. He was a disciple of Abu al-Khattab Abd al-Ala ibn al-Samah al-Ma'afari, who took Tripoli and named Abderrahman ibn Rostom as its king in the year 141 AH / 757 AD. However, after the Abbasid armies defeated Abu al-Khattab Abd al-Ala ibn al-Samh and killed him, Abderrahman ibn Rostom escaped from Kairwan in the year 144 AH/761. He went to the countries of the Middle Maghreb, and was able, thanks to his supporters and followers, to establish a state of their own and take Tihert as the capital of his new state. He was pledged allegiance to in 160 AH / 766 AD, and therefore the Rustumid Dynasty is the first independent state in the Central Maghreb (Algeria) to announce its separation from the Abbasid Caliphate.

   And the influence of the Rustumid dynasty extended to all Algerian territory, except for the district of Zab in the east and Tlemcen in the west; It is bounded from the north by the hills of Mendas, near Relizane. Its borders extended from there in the south to Franda and turn east of Jabal Al-Amour, and from there to the country of M'zab and to Ouarglan (Ouargla) that is on the western side. As for the eastern side, its borders extend from Tissemsilt and Sarsu to Thaniya al-Had, then to Ksar Bukhari and the upper valley of Chlef, then south to east Laghouat towards Touggourt and Wadi Rig. Its influence extended to the region of Tripoli, the Nafusa Mountains, and the Jerid region.

  Abderrahman ben Rostom was referred to as the Imam, Caliph, and Commander of the Faithful (Amir al Mo’ouminin). The Imamate at the time was comprised of four stages: concealment, appearance, defense, and purchase, and there is no set time or period for any of these stages. After the death of Abderrahman ibn Rostom, his son Abdelwahab assumed the imamate, and the opposition arose against him on the grounds that one of the prerequisites for assuming the imamate had been violated. One of these prerequisites is the Muslim consultation "shoura," yet they were able to put a stop to the revolt, and the reign in the house of Al-Rostomi continued until their final imam, Yakdan ben Moahmed, in the year 296 AH / 909 AD. The ruling of this latter knew several troubles, as he did not assume his rule until after killing his uncle, Abi Hatim. Abou Abdellah the Shiite, took advantage of these issues and was able to take down the Rustamid Dynasty. Then, he set Abou Hamid Douass Lahissi and Ibrahim Ben Mohamed the Yemeni known as Houari, as head of state on Tihert. Thus beginning the history of the Fatimid Dynasty in the Maghreb. As for the Rustamids, some of them fled to the Aures and Amour mountain, and some to Jarba Island and Nafusa Mountain.  It appears however, that most of them settled in Ouarglan and then went to Beni M’zab Valley in Ghardaia. 

Economic aspect:

  During the leadership of the Rustamid dynasty, economic life prospered. The Rustamids possessed vast agricultural fields irrigated by valley and river streams. In addition to the frequent rains, Tihert was situated between two major rivers. These forces had a considerable influence on the establishment of the Central Maghreb's fertile plains, which are known as the Sarso plains in the south of Tihert. The Rustamids constructed canals that connected their fields and orchards, and among the most significant crops produced in the region during the time were: Cereals, sesame, flax, fruits of all kinds, vineyards, olives, dates, and Tihret was called the Iraq of the Maghreb. Extensive pastoral ranges spread that supported the state's economy with important livestock such as sheep, goats, donkeys, mules and rats.

   The industry thrived, and Tihert became well-known for its wool, linen, and silk fabrics. There were also several mines that served various industries' needs. Oran has access to iron metal. The Rustamids understood how to build mills and placed them up beside rivers, and they also knew how to make pottery and pottery evolved.

    Tihert featured both large and small merchants, and the Rustamids were engaged in business. The marketplaces were constructed, and the market supervisors were made to circulate through them to watch them and prevent any potential abuses. Tihert was a commercial center where commercial caravans gathered to sell their cattle and purchase supplies from the Tihert marketplaces of grain, dates, and items brought from the East, Andalusia, and Sudan.

   The Rustamids acted as a go-between in the economic links between Andalusia and Sudan. The Rustamids' main exports to Andalusia were grain, particularly wheat, meat animals, and slaves. Among the most significant items carried from Sudan by the Rustamids are: Gold, slaves, ivory, ostrich feathers, and animal skins in exchange for woolen, linen and silk textiles, glass bottles, earthenware, wool and perfume.

   The Rustamids profited greatly from this commerce. And Tehrt rose to become a distinctive and dazzling capital among the major Maghreb metropolises of the period. It was dubbed Little Iraq, and the Rustamid had their own money, according to some reports, however no specimens of this currency have been discovered thus yet. 

Scientific Life:

  The Rustamids' scientific life was tied to the Ibadhi ideology, which they inspired from the East. The groups that sprang from there were dubbed "the flags holders.” the Ibadi school of thought was propagated throughout the Maghreb, and their circles expanded throughout the Lower and Middle Maghreb. These “circles” resembled institutions that taught kids all types of sciences. Sunni Maliki, Ibadi, Mu'tazila, and Shiite intellectuals engaged in lengthy arguments and debate sessions during these circles and sessions. The Rustamids made certain to build a massive library known as "Al-Ma'sumah.” It had around 300,000 volumes in diverse sciences, arts, and literature. After the Shiites acquired control of the Rustamid dynasty under the leadership of Abu Abdellah Al-Shi'i, they burnt this library after invading Tihert, because the Ibadi sect is antagonistic to the Shi'ite sect. They excluded all texts save those pertaining to arithmetic, astronomy, engineering, and medicine.


The borders of the Rustamid dynasty between the rest of the countries 164-296 AH / 782-909 AD


Location of the Rustamid Dynasty between the rest of the countries