(also known as Oqbids
) were an illustrious Arab family and clan, prominent in North Africa
and Muslim Iberia
during the 8th century.
Fihrid emirate between 132-136 Hijri, 750-755 Gregorian
The al-Fihri were originally an Arabian clan Banu Fihr attached to the Quraysh
, the tribe of the Prophet
. Probably the most illustrious of the Fihrids was Oqba ibn Nafi al-Fihri
, the Arab Muslim conqueror of North Africa in 670-680s, and founder of Kairouan
. Several of his sons and grandsons participated in the subsequent conquest of Hispania
As spearheads of the western conquest, the al-Fihris were probably the leading aristocratic Arab family of Ifriqiya
in the first half of the 8th century. They produced several governors and military leaders of those provinces. After the Berber Revolt
of 740-41, the west fell into a period of anarchy and disorder. The Umayyad
Caliph in Damascus
, facing revolts in Persia, did not have the resources to re-impose their authority in the west. In the vacuum, the Fihrids, the pre-eminent local Arab family, seized power in the west. Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib al-Fihri
in Africa (745-755) and Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri
in Al-Andalus (747-755) ruled their dominions virtually independently of the Caliphate
For a moment, it seemed as if the Fihrids might succeed in turning the western half of the Islamic world into a private family empire. The Fihrids greeted the fall of the Umayyads in 749-50 with delight, and sought to reach an accommodation with the new Abbasid
Caliphs of the east to allow them to continue. But when the Abbasids rejected their offer of nominal vassalship and demanded full submission, the Fihrids broke with the Abbasids and declared independence.
In a decision that would prove fatal, Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib invited the remnants of the fugitive Umayyad
clan to take refuge in his dominions. He soon regretted his decision. The arriving Umayyad princes, as the sons and grandsons of caliphs
, were of more illustrious blood than the Fihrids themselves, and became a focal point of conspiracies among the Arab nobles of Kairouan
, resentful of Ibn Habib's autocracy. Ibn Habib set about persecuting the exiles. One of them, the young Abd al-Rahman, would flee to Al-Andalus, depose the Fihrids there and erect the Umayyad Emirate of Córdoba
While the Iberian branch was eclipsed by the Umayyads, the African branch of the Fihrids descended into a bloody family quarrel in 755, that threw Ifriqiya into chaos, and ended with them being overrun and extinguished in a Kharijite Berber
uprising in 757-8.
The al-Fihri name continued to have a magical effect in Al-Andalus, and pretenders drawn from that family continued to challenge Umayyad rule until the end of the century.
The genealogy of the Fihrids:
- Habib ibn Abi Obeida al-Fihri, conqueror of Sous, military commander of Ifriqiyan army, fell at Bagdoura in 741.
- Abd al-Rahman ibn Habib, emir of Ifriqiya (745-755)
- Habib ibn Abd al-Rahman, wali of Cyrenaica, killed his uncles Muhammad and Ilyas in combat, emir of Ifriqiya (755-57)
- Abd al-Rahman ibn Yusuf al-Fihri, governor of Saragossa in 740s.
- Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Fihri, led Iberian revolt in 785.
- Yusuf ibn 'Abd al-Rahman al-Fihri, emir of Al-Andalus (747-756), wali of Toledo (756-759)
- Muhammad ibn Yusuf
- al-Qasim ibn Yusuf
- Ilyas ibn Habib, murdered his brother Abd al-Rahman, wali of Tripolitana, emir of Ifriqiya (755-56)
- Abd al-Wareth ibn Habib, complicit in murder of Abd al-Rahman
- Amran ibn Habib, opposed to murder of Abd al-Rahman, joined with Habib ibn Abd al-Rahman.
- Khalid ibn Abi Habib, fell at Battle of the Nobles in 740.
- Muhammad ibn Abi Obeida, may have been complicit in murder of Abd al-Rahman, killed in conflict with Habib ibn Abd al-Rahman.
H. Fournel, 1857, Étude sur la conquête de l'Afrique par les Arabes, Paris, Impermerie Imperiale, p.95
Last edited on 12 May 2021, at 13:26
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