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(ăl`məhădz), Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco and Spain in the 12th and 13th cent. It had its origins in the puritanical sect founded by Ibn TumartIbn Tumart
, c.1080–1130, Berber Muslim religious leader, founder of the Almohads. He went to the East in his youth and returned convinced that he was the Mahdi and that he was destined to reform Islam. He was a rigorist and purist in doctrine and morality.
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, who stirred up (c.1120) the tribes of the Atlas Mts. area to purify Islam and oust the AlmoravidsAlmoravids
, Berber Muslim dynasty that ruled Morocco and Muslim Spain in the 11th and 12th cent. The Almoravids may have originated in what is now Mauritania. The real founder was Abd Allah ibn Yasin, who by military force converted a number of Saharan tribes to his own
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. His successors, Abd al-MuminAbd al-Mumin
, d. 1163, founder of the empire of the Almohads. He was the favorite of the Almohad religious reformer Ibn Tumart and became (1130) his successor. Even before his rise to leadership, he had attacked the Almoravids.
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, Yusuf II, and Yakub IYakub I
, 1160?–1199, ruler of Morocco (1184–99) and Moorish Spain. He was known as Yakub al-Mansur [the victorious] after his victory over Alfonso VIII of Castile at Alarcos (1195).
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, succeeded in conquering Morocco and Muslim Spain, and by 1174 the Almohads had completely displaced the Almoravids. With time the Almohads lost some of their fierce purifying zeal; Yakub had a rich court and was the patron of Averroës. Yakub defeated (1195) Alfonso VIIIAlfonso VIII
(Alfonso the Noble), 1155–1214, Spanish king of Castile (1158–1214), son and successor of Sancho III. Chaos prevailed during his minority, but he quickly restored order after assuming (1166) the government.
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 of Castile in the battle of Alarcos, but in 1212 the Almohad army was defeated, and Almohad power in Spain was destroyed by the victory of the Spanish and Portuguese at Navas de Tolosa. In Morocco they lost power to the Merinid dynasty, which took Marrakech in 1269.


See studies by Abd al-Wahid al Marrakushi 1881, repr. 1968) and R. Le Tourneau (1969).



the name used in literature for the dynasty and feudal state (1121 or 1122 to 1269) which came into being as a result of the religious and political movement of the Berber tribes of North Africa against the Almoravides. This movement arose in protest against heavy taxation, social oppression, and religious intolerance at the hands of the Almoravides. The founder and exponent of the movement, ibn-Tumart, preached the idea of strict Unitarianism, and thus his followers are known in Arabic as al-Muwahidun (in Spanish, Almohads), which means “Unitarians.” Around 1121 and 1122 the Almohads began an open struggle against the Almoravides. Ibn-Tumart was proclaimed Mahdi. After his death in 1128, Abd-al-Mumin, his closest fellow champion, became caliph. In 1146 he took Marrakech and made it the capital of the new state. As a result of the first (1151–52) and second (1160) campaigns against Ithrikia, the Almohads liquidated the local dynasties and chased the Normans from the coastal cities that the latter had captured. The state of the Almohads reached its maximum size toward 1161 under Abd-al-Mumin (who ruled 1128–63). It comprised all of North Africa and southern Spain. Under Abd-al-Mumin land registration was carried out, and the tribes were obliged to pay taxes and to perform military service.

After the death of Abd-al-Mumin the principle of hereditary transmission of authority became firmly established. The leadership of the Almohads quickly became feudalized. Under the pretext of defending the true faith, religious oppression and persecution were practiced. This gave rise to dissatisfaction among the masses and undermined the power of the Almohads. During the period of the reconquista the united forces of Castile, Aragon, and Navarre utterly defeated the army of the Almohads at Las Navas de Tolosa (1212), and by 1248 the Almohads had lost all lands in Spain except Granada. One after the other the eastern provinces separated from their state. Local dynasties began in 1228 in Tunis and in 1235 in Tlemcen (the territory of Algeria). In 1269 the emirs of the Marinid dynasty seized Marrakech and put an end to the Almohad dynasty.


References in periodicals archive ?
As Jackson puts it: "Under a great line of Almohad kings, the splendour of Moorish Spain was not only maintained but enhanced; for they erected the Castile of Gibraltar in 1160 and began the building of the great Mosque of Seville in 1183.
It includes the Puerta del Perdon -- or Pardon Door -- built during the Almohad dynasty, as well as a mausoleum containing remains of Christopher Columbus, tombs of Spanish kings and a 20-meter-high altarpiece with more than 1,000 figures portraying scenes from both the old and new testaments.
Under Ibn Abi 'Amir (978-1002), cultural pluralism took a heavy hit; as throngs of Berber mercenaries poured into Spain to fight the Christians, followed by the armies of the Almoravids (1086) and then the Almohads (1195), life for the Jews got progressively worse.
This is an observation applicable to the massacres associated with the Crusades; the Almohad persecutions of non-Muslims in Spain; the compulsory conversions of Jews and Muslims that followed the Reconquista of Spain; the Cossack and other pogroms in honor of Easter; the gory passages in the Book of Joshua; or for that matter the exhortations by extremist rabbis quoting those passages to ethnically cleanse Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza of all Arabs--both Muslim and Christian.
Allen Fromherz, "North Africa and the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Christian Europe and the Almohad Islamic Empire," pp.
He was lured into undertaking this project by Rodrigo Jimenez de Rada, the archbishop of Toledo (1208-47) "as part of the mobilization of arms and opinion preceding the campaign of Las Navas de Tolosa that would see the Christian kingdoms of Spain destroy the Almohad army and set the stage for the Christian conquests of the following four decades.
Pointing out that early thirteenth-century France and Germany were being stirred by calls to join crusades against the Albigensian heretics and the Almohad Moors, and that even members of religions other than Christianity or Islam were responding to a crisis call (three hundred western European rabbis set out on pilgrimage to Jerusalem just months before the children began their march), Dickson notes the ecstatic quality of all of these ventures: the fanaticism of the Moorish warriors; the singing, dancing, weeping, and even flagellation of the Christian popular groups.
The Almohad leader Ibn Tumart declared, "Come let us cut them off from being a nation, so that the name of Israel may be no more a remembrance.
But this account, along with a handful of similar testimonies cited by Kraemer to bolster his claim, proves nothing more than that Maimonides practiced the time-honored medieval Islamic tradition of Taqiyya, or prudent dissimulation, by dressing and behaving like a Muslim publicly, perhaps occasionally presenting himself at a mosque, while remaining an observant Jew during the darkest period of Almohad persecution, which forced Jews to dress in hideous costumes and resulted in thousands of forced apostasies and deaths.
For much of his life, Ibn Tufayl served as an adviser and physician to the Almohad Sultan, Abu Ya'qub Yusuf of Morocco and Spain.
In response to Portuguese provocations the Almohad caliph, Abu Yusuf Ya'qub al Mansur (1184-99), crossed over from Africa at the head of a huge Muslim army.
is essentially a concise political history of the Taifa, Almoravid, and Almohad periods.