‘Abd al-Mu’min (c.1094–1163) did not establish the first caliphate in the Islamic West, but his encompassed more territory than any that had preceded it. As leader of the Almohads, a politico-religious movement grounded in an uncompromising belief in the unity of God, he unified for the first time the whole of North Africa west of Egypt, and conquered much of southern Spain.
Studying every facet of ‘Abd al-Mu’min’s rule, from his violent repression of opposition to the flourishing of scholarship during his reign, Maribel Fierro reveals an intelligent leader and a skilled military commander who sought to build a lasting caliphate across disparate and diverse societies.
‘Maribel Fierro, an internationally acclaimed authority on the Almohads, presents an accessible account of the true founder of the Almohad empire, ‘Abd al-Mu’min… Despite their importance, ‘Abd al-Mu’min and the Almohads rarely receive the coverage they deserve in surveys of the Islamic world and Fierro uses her deep erudition to address the balance in a way that will intrigue the novice and encourage the expert to think again.’
– Amira K. Bennison, Professor in the History and Culture of the Maghrib, University of Cambridge
‘‘Abd al-Mu’min is a little known but very important figure in the history of the Almohad caliphate and the twelfth-century Maghrib in general. Maribel Fierro has brilliantly brought him to life. Grounded in her in-depth scholarship and with a clear narrative strand, this biography should be the first port of call for anyone interested in this controversial figure.’
– Hugh Kennedy, Professor of Arabic, SOAS, University of London