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Ibn Tulun's Jihad: The Damascus Assembly of 269/883 (Brief Article)

The Journal of the American Oriental Society 2010, Oct-Dec, 130, 4

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Ahmad ibn Tulun is famous as the first ruler of Egypt in Islamic times who became, to a large degree, independent of the central caliphate. Between his appointment as governor in 254/868 and his death in 270/884, Egypt emerged as a serious power in the Islamic and Mediterranean worlds, after centuries of subordination to the Roman, Byzantine, Persian, and caliphal empires. In particular, Egyptian-based Tulunid power extended--if only for a while--across Palestine and Syria to the borderlands facing Byzantium in southern Anatolia. Meanwhile, Islamic Egypt expressed itself in an increasingly mature and distinctive voice, using the Arabic language, in the religious sciences, secular literature, and the visual arts. (1) This article will focus on an episode that is already known but has not received special attention. Toward the end of his life, Ibn Tulun convened an assembly of jurists and notables at Damascus in order to thwart the designs of al-Muwaffaq, brother of the reigning 'Abbasid caliph, al-Mu'tamid. Not only did Ibn Tulun seek approval in declaring al-Muwaffaq deposed from his position as heir apparent (wall l-'ahd), but he tried to cajole or intimidate the assembly into subscribing to a declaration of jihad against this powerful prince. This unusual and (arguably) unprecedented move came as the culmination of a long involvement, on Ibn Tulun's part, with the Arab-Byzantine frontier district and the various practices of jihad.

Ibn Tulun's Jihad: The Damascus Assembly of 269/883 (Brief Article)
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  • Category: Social Science
  • Published: 01 October 2010
  • Publisher: American Oriental Society
  • Print Length: 88 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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