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Jihād as a Means of Political Legitimation in Thirteenth-Century Sharq al-Andalus

Jihād as a Means of Political Legitimation in Thirteenth-Century Sharq al-Andalus

Chapter:
(p.86) (p.87) 5 Jihād as a Means of Political Legitimation in Thirteenth-Century Sharq al-Andalus
Source:
The Articulation of Power in Medieval Iberia and the Maghrib
Author(s):
Abigail Krasner Balbale
Publisher:
British Academy
DOI:10.5871/bacad/9780197265697.003.0005

In eastern al-Andalus, the end of Almohad authority initiated a period of fierce clashes among Muslim and Christian rivals. Many of these conflicts were presented as holy war, and the eventual loss of the territory to the Christians means narratives often emphasise interreligious warfare. An examination of one independent Muslim ruler indicates the vital importance the doctrine of jihād played in political legitimation, but also the flexibility of this concept. Muḥammad b. Hūd (r. 625–634/1228–1237) fought to assert ʿAbbāsid authority in al-Andalus, and presented himself as a holy warrior (mujāhid) to secure the support of his subjects but, simultaneously, he allied with Castile against his Muslim rivals, believing that this was a jihād in the name of ʿAbbāsid authority. From this perspective, the great battles of thirteenth-century al-Andalus were not determined solely by religious affiliation, but also by debates over what constituted righteous rule.

Keywords:   Muḥammad b. Hūd, jihād, holy war, Almohads, Sharq al-Andalus

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