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Volume :39 Issue : 153 2021      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

The Power of Portrayal: The Notion of the Hijra in the Fāṭimid and Murābiṭūn Narratives

Auther : Halszka-Maria Nau

This article aims to show the power of story-telling in early Muslim mediaeval sources. At the forefront of this article stands a comparison of two narratives by early Muslim mediaeval sources revolving around the emergence of two movements from the Muslim West. The paper demonstrates the genesis of these movements and analyses them against the backdrop of their socio-cultural background. Furthermore, it explores the concept of author’s agency and assesses how Muslim mediaeval sources made use of their power of portrayal.
The article engages with literary sources that describe the rise of two North African movements. It conducts an analysis of primary source literature by comparing the rise of the fourth/tenth-century Fāṭimids (296–567AH/909–1171CE) as documented by the Fāṭimid’s official historian, Abū Ḥanīfa al-Nuʽmān b. Muḥammad (d. 363AH/974CE) in Iftitāḥ al-da‘wa wa-ibtidā’ al-dawla (“The Commencement of the da‘wa and the Establishment of the dawla”) with that of the fifth/eleventh-century Murābiṭūn (460–541AH/1068–1147CE), as presented in Kitāb al-masālik wa-’l-mamālik (“The Book of Routes and Realms”). This is the earliest written piece about the Murābiṭūn and stems from the Andalusī scholar, Abū ‘Ubayd ‘Abd Allāh b. ‘Abd al-‘Azīz b. Muḥammad b. Ayyūb b. ‘Amr al-Bakrī (d. 486AH/1094CE).
The research sheds light into how both narratives follow an identical pattern in structure and further demonstrates how elements, considered as highly significant in the context of early Islam and ascribed in sources to the life of the Prophet Muḥammad, were incorporated into these two narratives. Ultimately, both cases historicise legitimisation.
It is recommended for further research to compare other manuscripts written in this period and see whether a paradigm in story-telling can be determined.
 

Keywords: Murābiṭūn, Fāṭimids, narrative, power of portrayal, hijra, legitimisation.

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