Al-Mustan ir billah al- af i: Triumph and troubles of the Last Caliph of Islam

Al-Mustan ir billah al- af i: Triumph and troubles of the Last Caliph of Islam

Author: 
Jadla, Brahim
Place: 
Oxon
Publisher: 
Taylor & Francis Group
Date published: 
2021
Record type: 
Journal Title: 
Journal of North African Studies
Source: 
Journal of North African Studies,Vol. 26, No. 4, 2021, pp. 611-624
ISSN: 
0305-7070
Abstract: 

This article argues that the prestige achieved by the af id caliph al-Mustan ir (1249-1277 CE) was more apparent than real, and should be critically evaluated against the lateness of most Ifriqiyan sources and their authors' commitments to dynastic panegyric, local history, and other literary genres. First of all, al-Mustan ir was operating in a rhetorical and aspirational framework established by his father, Abu Zakariya (r. 1229-1249 CE), who was already being addressed as caliph in the 1230s. The various pledges of allegiance (bay a-s) received by the caliph from Andalusi or Maghribi rulers reflected temporary appeals for af id aid in the 1250s and 60s rather than a recognition of the merits of al- Mustan ir's claim, while the famous bay a of Mecca was almost certainly a af id forgery. Furthermore, the prestige building projects of al- Mustan ir's reign took place against a backdrop of economic stagnation, oppressive taxation and the debilitating financial exactions imposed by the Crusade of Louis IX in 1270. The swift collapse of the caliph's authority after al-Mustan ir's death suggests just how ephemeral af id power really was, even if future members of his dynasty would hold onto his titles for over a century.

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CITATION: Jadla, Brahim. Al-Mustan ir billah al- af i: Triumph and troubles of the Last Caliph of Islam . Oxon : Taylor & Francis Group , 2021. Journal of North African Studies,Vol. 26, No. 4, 2021, pp. 611-624 - Available at: http://library.au.int/al-mustan-ir-billah-al-af-i-triumph-and-troubles-last-caliph-islam