Pub. date: 2012 | Online Pub. Date: May 31, 2012 | DOI: 10.4135/9781452218458 | Print ISBN: 9781412981767 | Online ISBN: 9781452218458| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Fatimids: Prehistory to 1400: Africa
The Fatimids were a Shia Muslim dynasty subscribing to the Isma'ili denomination who ruled in the 10th, 11th, and early 12th centuries over the larger part of the Islamic world. They were based first in north Africa, then in Egypt, where they built the city of Cairo. At the peak of their power, their empire spanned Egypt, north Africa (present-day Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya), Syria, Palestine, Yemen, the Arabian Peninsula, parts of Iraq, Sicily, and northwestern India, with additional covert cells in Byzantine and central Asian lands. Their unique institution of religiopolitical proselytizing and education was called the da'wa , which not only orchestrated their initial victory but continued through their rule and even after the end of the dynasty to successfully preach their creed. Claiming biological and spiritual descent from the Prophet Muhammad through his daughter Fatimah and her husband, the first Shia imam and fourth Sunni caliph ...