Chiarelli's History can be divided into two parts: the first is a chronological survey of Muslim Sicily's political history from beginning to end, grafted along Aghlabid, Fatimid, and Kalbid periods, and the second contains three studies, on Sicily's social structure, economy and trade, and Islamic culture.
In an early section, in the context of the conquest of Sicily by the Aghlabid princes in Qayrawan, Chiarelli presents Asad as a political threat to the Qayrawani court (p.
Drawing from snippets of information from various sources, Chiarelli introduces him as a scion of the Aghlabids and former governor of Tripoli, who was behind the anti-Fatimid uprisings.
I will select, from the middle of the book, pages about Qairawan, which contain photos of one of the Aghlabid
pools and another of the Great Mosque; then, the Casbah of Algiers and photos of the Ketchaoua Mosque, with its minarets, and the city of Zabid in Yemen, and a photo of the Eastern Shabarek Gate, and the palaces of Wadani, Shanqit and Kshit and the old manuscripts and homes in Mauritania, and the Tadarat Akakus site in Libya, and rock drawings of men dancing, and other geometrical ones in the rock itself.
They and the subsequent Abbasid and Aghlabid
rulers promoted Islam and presided over a return to order in Libya where irrigation systems were rebuilt and trade was restored.
The mosque was founded in 732 under the Umayyad dynasty, but the present architectural monument dates back to the Aghlabid dynasty, in the year 864.
Kairouan soon develops into a capital of monumental splendour and cultural renown under the Aghlabid dynasty.
North of the mosque, the Aghlabid pools, the large reservoirs, are a credit to the 9th century engineers who designed them to hold water carried around 35 kilometres by aqueducts from hills west to Kairouan.
c]Abbasid province of Ifriqiya and its successor, the Aghlabid
The pattern emerges most clearly in two chapters on the Maghrib, in which Bloom argues that in Aghlabid and subsequent Hammadid domains the mosque tower was adopted as a sign of adherence to the Abbasid caliphate, whereas in Umayyad Spain the significance was rather that of adherence to Sunnite Islam, in opposition to the rising power of the Fatimids, who were ideologically opposed to the mosque tower.
In contrast to his interpretation of the Aghlabid tower at the congregational mosque in Qayrawan, datable thirty years earlier, he considers that Ahmad Ibn Tulun built his "to spite the Abbasids.