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Evidence for the Ayyūbid Iqā in Ifrīqiyya and a Reconsideration of the Almohad Iqā

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This study begins with an overview of the Ayyūbid system of iqā and its characteristics, followed by a review of the current state of scholarship on the Almohad iqā system. Then some key primary-source passages concerning the Almohad iqā are analysed in depth. The problem of the relation of the Almohad grantee (muqa) to his estate is particularly focused on, and evidence is presented which suggests that the Almohad and afid grantees directly exploited and administered their estates without the intermediary role of the state, as was the case in the Mashriq under the Ayyūbids. Then evidence is presented from a neglected source, which shows that the Ayyūbid iqā system was applied in Ifrīqiyya (western Libya and Tunisia) during the occupation of that region by Sharaf al-Dīn Qarāqūsh and the Ghuzz (Ayyūbid soldiers) in the 1180s. Following their defeat by the Almohads, the Ghuzz were employed in the Almohad army and some of them attained high rank. It is suggested that the Ayyūbid occupation of Ifrīqiyya, and the subsequent presence of the Ghuzz in the Almohad military apparatus may have had some influence on the development of the iqā in the Almohad and post-Almohad periods.
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Keywords: Almohad; Ayyūbid; Iqā; Land-tenure; Medieval North Africa

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 3, 2020

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