Husayn ibn Ali

(redirected from Imam Hussein)

Husayn ibn Ali

(ĭ`bən ä`lē), 1856–1931, Arab political and religious leader. In 1908 he succeeded as grand sherif of Mecca and thus became ruler of the HejazHejaz
or Hedjaz
, region, c.150,000 sq mi (388,500 sq km), NW Saudi Arabia, on the Gulf of Aqaba and the Red Sea. Mecca is the chief city. Extending S to Asir, Hejaz is mainly a dissected highland region lying between the narrow, long coastal strip and the interior
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 under the Ottoman Empire. In World War I, after receiving British assurances that all Arab lands not under French control would be liberated, he began (1916) a successful revolt against the Turks in Arabia and proclaimed himself king of the Hejaz and of all Arabia. Believing that the British had not kept their promises, he refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles.

Great Britain lent him no support in his struggle with Ibn SaudIbn Saud
(Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud) , c.1880–1953, founder of Saudi Arabia and its first king. His family, with its regular seat at Riyadh in the Nejd, were the traditional leaders of the ultraorthodox Wahhabi movement in Islam.
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, who defeated him in 1924, forcing him to abdicate and renounce his claim to the caliphate. That claim, advanced after the Turkish parliament abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924, was based on Husayn's membership in the Hashemite family, a branch of the Quraysh tribe, to which Muhammad the Prophet had belonged. Husayn lived (1924–30) in exile on Cyprus. He died in Amman, the capital of Transjordan (now Jordan). Abdullah IAbdullah I
(Abdullah ibn Husayn) , 1882–1951, king of Jordan (1946–51), b. Mecca; son of Husayn ibn Ali of the Hashemite family. During World War I, Abdullah, with British support, led Arab revolts against Turkish rule.
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 of Jordan and Faisal IFaisal I
or Faysal I
, 1885–1933, king of Iraq (1921–33). The third son of Husayn ibn Ali, sherif of Mecca, he is also called Faisal ibn Husayn. Faisal was educated in Constantinople and later sat in the Ottoman parliament as deputy for Jidda.
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 of Iraq were his sons.

Husayn Ibn Ali


Born circa 1854; died June 4, 1931, in Amman. Sharif of the Ottoman territories of Mecca and the Hejaz (1908–16). King of the Hejaz (1916–24). Founder of the Hashimite dynasty.

During World War I, Husayn concluded the McMahon-Husayn Agreement of 1915 with Great Britain. According to the terms of the agreement, Britain pledged to recognize the independence of a future Arab state headed by Husayn. As planned in the agreement, Husain raised a revolt against the Ottoman Empire on June 15, 1916, and proclaimed himself king of the Arabs on November 2. Great Britain, however, had already secretly breached its pledge in the spring of 1916 by signing the Sykes-Picot Agreement of 1916 with France. In accordance with this agreement, Britain and France recognized Husayn as king of only the Hejaz.

In March 1924, Husayn, claiming leadership in the Muslim world, declared himself caliph; the Hejaz, however, was the only Muslim state to recognize him. Striving for hegemony in the Arabian Peninsula, Husayn declared war against ibn Saud, the emir of Nejd. The Nejd-Hejaz War of 1924–25 ended in defeat for Husayn. On Oct. 24, 1924, he abdicated the throne in favor of his eldest son, Ali. After 1925, Husayn lived in Cyprus and Transjordan.

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