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Almohad dynasty (Algeria)

Political Aspect:

   Muhammad ibn Tumart travelled to the East to study among its elder intellectuals, and after completing his studies, he returned to the Maghreb in the year 510 AH / 1116 AD. He stayed in Constantine to oppose the jurist Abdul Rahman Al-Mili, then travelled to Bejaia and resided at the Rehana mosque, although he was afraid of Prince Al-Hammadi Al-Aziz bin Al-influence. Mansour's So he went to Malala and met Abd al-Mu'min bin Ali, whom he adored and brought with him to Mitja, then to Ouencheris and Tlemcen.  He was known as al-Faqih al-Susi along the road, and it was reported that he was the Awaited Imam Mahdi, therefore he became known as the Divine Imam. When the Masmoudah tribe pledged allegiance to him under a carob tree on Mount Ecclesias in the year 515 AH / 1121 AD, he declared Mahdism and that he is the Divine Imam. He planned to destroy the Almoravid state and established Tinmel, near Marrakesh, as a base for his military activities.

    After defeating the Almoravids in multiple engagements, Muhammad bin Tumart decided to proceed to the Almoravid capital, Marrakesh, and besiege it. In the year 524 AH / 1130 AD, the Almoravids faced him and defeated him in the Battle of Buhaira. Following that, Muhammad bin Tumart died, and the caliphate was pledged  to Abd al-Mumin bin Ali al-Nadrumi al-Kumai al-Jazairi. He resolved to continue his battles against the Almoravids, thus he marched from Tinmel to the Almoravid bastion of Tazagort in the year 526 AH / 1132 AD and stormed it. The next year, he seized Draa, took possession of several Almoravid strongholds, and subdued many cities in the Far Maghreb.

     Abd al-Mu'min bin Ali decided to send his troops westward towards Algeria. His commander, Abu Hafs Omar bin Yahya al-Huntati, was dispatched with an army to Oran in the year 537 AH / 1142 AD. He besieged it, and when he learned that the Almoravid Prince Tashifin bin Ali was alone from the garrison, they went to him and surrounded him and burned down his door. Tashfin bin Ali came out riding his horse, which fell into the sea, and perished. The Almohads then proceeded to the Mandas plain, in the heart of Zenata's dynasty, and pledged allegience to them. Maymoun bin Hamdoun escaped to Mitja, where he wrote to Abd al-Mu'min with devotion and fidelity. They then went to Tlemcen, where they killed the Almoravid commander, the Robertier. The Almohads entered it on Ramadan 29, 539 AH / March 26, 1145 AD, then returned to Oran and were able to enter it on Eid al-Fitr morning, 539 AH / March 1145 AD. They then gained possession of Miliana in the year 544 AH / 1149 AD, and Abd al-Mumin stormed Bejaia, the capital of the Hammadids, in the month of Dhul-Qi'dah in the year 547 AH / February 1152 AD. In the year 551 AH / 1156 AD, the Almohads were able to enter Pune (Annaba). Thus, after removing the Almoravid power in the Algerian west and the Hammadid dominance in the Algerian east, the Almohads acquired control of the whole Middle Maghreb in a short time of 12 years.

  Algeria, during the Almohad Dynasty, was divided into two big states: The first: Tlemcen: extended from Melwya west to Mina river in the east. The second: Bejaia, which extended all the way to Constantine. Among the most famous Tlemcen Rulers is Suleiman bin Mohamed bin Ouanoudin Hentati, who ruled during the beginnings of the Almohad ruling of the city. In 549 AH/ 1154 AD, Abi Hafs Omar bin Abdul Mumin bin Ali was appointed Wali over Tlemcen, followed by Abu Imran Musa bin Abdul Mumin in 556 AH / 1161 AD. In the year 576 AH / 1181 AD, Yusuf bin Abdul-Mumin Abu Musa Issa bin Abdul-Mumin was appointed as the wali of the city. 

     Among the rulers (wali) of Bejaia, we mention: Abu Muhammad Abdullah bin Abdul Mumin bin Ali, then in the year 561 AH / 1166 AD Zakaria bin Abdul Mumin bin Ali took over the rule of Bejaia.

   The rulers of the Almohad Dynasty were called caliphates, Mansour, or Nasser. The ruling system was hereditary during the time of Abdul Mumin bin Ali. The Almohad Dynasty had a large army, that often reached 400 thouand soldiers (with the exception of the Infantry.) Almohads also cared for building a navy fleet. Theirs, during the time of Abdul Mumin bin Ali, their fleet consisted of 400 marine pieces.

   The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa (Hasn Al-Uqab), which resulted in a humiliating loss for the Almohads in Andalusia at the hands of the Christians in 609AH/1212AD, had disastrous consequences for the Almohad Empire. In the year 626 AH / 1229 AD, the Banu Hafs divided and became autonomous in the Lower Maghreb (Libya, Tunisia, and the Algerian East), with Tunis as their capital. The Banu Zayan then split in the Algerian west, establishing the Zayyanid dynasty in 633 AH / 1235 AD, with its capital in Tlemcen. In the year 668 AH / 1269 AD, the Marinids were also able to totally eliminate the Almohad dynasty, thus establishing the Marinid dynasty with Fez as its capital.

Economic Life: 

   The economic life flourished in the era of the Almohad dynasty, as they set agricultural lands to which they sent farmers to work. Thus, agricultural production significantly increased, and the country witnessed abundance in agricultural crops. The abundance of rain, waters, and rivers (including the Eastern-Temcen river), were also factor in the flourishing agriculture. Governors of Bejaia and Tlemcen, thus cared for agriculture, and some of them resorted to offering lands to soldiers and others to repair and work the land. Tlemcen was known for large yields and fertile farms, and among the most famous agricultural crops, we mention wheat and barley. Algeria's contact during the Almohad dynasty, only grew stronger with the east, be it via marine or land commerce. As International regulations were established to govern European commerce with the Islamic Maghreb. Within Bejaia existed trade countries' consuls to protect the interests of their nationals. We mention Hanin, who was the anchorage of the city of Tlemcen, and the port of the city of Tlemcen, and the big port (Marsa Lkabir) in Oran, Arzew, Mostaganem, Tenes, Cherchell, Algeria, Beni Mazghna, Bejaia, Jijel, and Pune (Annaba).

  From Algerian ports, European merchants imported oil, wool, alum, ostrich feathers, vegetable tanning ingredients, wax, raisins, and other dry fruits. They used to export textiles to Algeria, as well as all other metals in parts and formed into kitchenware and domestic items such as boilers, needles, and knives.

Scientific Life:

   Almohads followed the Ash'ari school of thinking and rejected the Maliki school of philosophy, relying on the words of the Qur'an and Sunnah without regard for a specific school of thought. They declared their opposition to the Almoravids' beliefs and doctrines. And the people of the Almohad era criticized Shiites for believing in the divinity of the Imam, and belief in Muhammad bin Tumart's Mahdism spread among them.

   Tlemcen was similar to significant Islamic towns during that period, such as Kairouan, Fez, and Cordoba, and was one of Algeria's most prominent cities during the Almohad era. It was a notable center for students of science as well as a reservoir for academics and jurists, with one of the most renowned scholars being Othman bin Sahib al-Salaah  (582 AH/1186 AD), the commentator on the book "Al-Ahkam al-Soghra fi al-Hadith.” Maymun bin Jabara (584 AH/1188 AD) and Abdullah bin Muhammad al-Fihri (644 AH/1246 AD) were jurists. In the sphere of poetry and literature, we may name Muhammad ibn Abd al-Haq al-Yafrani (625 AH / 1227 AD) and Muhammad ibn Abd al-Rahim  (654 AH / 1256 AD). Bejaia also flourished as one of Islam's great towns, and it was a key station for academics and students of knowledge from all over the world to migrate to seek knowledge and meet and learn from its professors. We cite renowned scholar "Abdul Haq Al-Ishbili Al-Baja'i” (581 AH/1185 AD), a Maliki jurist, a memorizer of hadith, as one of its most notable academics. As well as Ibn Dahia al-Sabti  (633 AH / 1235 AD) is a resident of Bejaia and Tlemcen, and the mosque of Abu Zakaria al-Zawawi is one of the most prominent mosques in Bejaia. It existed in the 6th century AH / 12 AD and was visited by several academics.

  Mosques had a scientific and educational function throughout the Almohad era, and they were scientific centers that were not devoid of seminars, teaching, and preaching during the day, and even sections of the night. According to Abu Zakaria Yahya bin Ali, also known as Al-Zawawi, there is no district in Bejaia except that it has a mosque and a teacher. At the Mosque of Tlemcen, Ibn Dehhaq (611 AH/1215 AD) was studying "The Book of Purification from the Mudawana."

During the Almohad era, schools flourished, and the most notable instructors were invited to teach. It had the biggest influence in graduating several generations of academics, including Abdullah bin Naim al-Hadrami, one of the sheikhs present to lecture in Constantine in the year 636 AH / 1238 AD.

      Among the architectural monuments of the Almohad era is the foundation of Batha, also known as Sidra, in the districts of Chlef, north-east of Relizane, in the year 555 AH / 1160 AD, which no longer exists today. Tlemcen's governors built its fortifications and took edifices and palaces throughout the Almohad era. The architecture of this time was marked by its beauty, grandeur, and engineering poise, and the majority of the engineers were recruited from Andalusia.