What was the Empire of the Fatimids

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The Fatimids were a Shiite dynasty of Ishmaelite background who lived from 909 to 1171 AD. prevailed mainly in Egypt up to and including Shaam.

In the middle of the 9th century, a man named Abdallah al-Akbar began to spread the Ishmaelite teaching intensely. He announced the imminent appearance of the hidden seventh imam. For this he was persecuted, but also gained followers among those Shiites who saw themselves betrayed by the Abbasids. They were particularly successful in North Africa. After the seizure of power, they claimed that Abdallah al-Akbar was descended from Fatima (a.), Which is why the dynasty is known as the Fatimid.

The Fatimid rulers in North Africa were:

After Abu Tamin al-Muizz had founded the new imperial capital Cairo, the Fatimid rule in Egypt was expanded under al-Aziz and the greater Shaam area was conquered. In addition to the Ismaili creed of the Fatimids, the Sunnis were tolerated. Later, the Fatimids even briefly gained control of Mecca and Medina. During the time of al-Aziz, the later famous Al-Azhar University was built. With this, Shiites founded the university that would later become the most important educational institution for the Sunnis.

The initial tolerance of the Fatimids towards other religions is said to have been lost over time. The destruction of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem in 1009 is attributed to the Fatimids by many historians. Around 1017, a sect emerged in Egypt which saw the incarnation of God in the reigning Fatimid caliph al-Hakim. It can be assumed that such thoughts were supported by the ruler. The Druze religious community is said to have developed from this.

The Fatimids reached the height of their power under Al-Mustansir (1036-1094) when Ishmaelite conquerors seized power in Yemen and the Abbasids from Baghdad were driven out of Baghdad in 1059 - even if only briefly.

Shortly afterwards, however, the dynasty's decline began. In 1076 AD the greater area of ​​Schaam was lost to the Seljuks. The Fatimids could no longer prevent the conquest of Jerusalem by the Crusaders during the 1st Crusade and the establishment of the Kingdom of Jerusalem. With the successful conclusion of the siege of Askalon (1153) by Baldwin III. the Fatimids lost their last base in the greater Schaam area. In 1171, Saladin overthrew the Fatimids and established the Ayyubid dynasty.

Under the Fatimids the foundations for the Ishmaelite school of law were laid.