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Muhammad Abu Al Abbas ibn Abu Iqbal
[[file:Assedio di Messina 1040.jpg|frameless|alt=]]
Abbas of Sicily and his troop conquering Messina
Preceded by Abu Iqbal ibn Muhammad Abdullah
Succeeded by Ahmad ibn Muhammad Abul Abbas
Personal details
Born Muhammad Abul Al Abbas
Ifriqiya (somewhere in today's North Africa)
Died 856
Religion Islam

Muhammad I Abu 'l-Abbas, (died 856) also known as Muhammad I of Sicily, was the fifth emir of the Aghlabid dynasty, who ruled over Ifriqiya, Malta, and Italy's Emirate of Sicily, and parts of Bari from 841 until his death. He also led the raid of Rome. Although little is known about him, he is widely considered to be the most successful military leader in Islamic Italy.

Muhammad I was the son of the dynasty's fourth emir, Abu Iqbal (838–841). Muhammad I demonstrated to be a great commander and economy strategist like his uncle Ziyadat Allah I of Ifriqiya and his rival Asad ibn al-Furat. Under his reign, the Aghlabids continued their expansion into the Mediterranean, conquering Messina, Taranto, large parts of Apulia and supporting Emir Kalfün with the establishment of an Islamic Bari. Naples allied with his preceding rulers and asked for their support to repel the siege of Lombard troops coming from the Duchy of Benevento, but despite the previous Muslim-Christian alliance,[1] Abul Abbas seizured Naples, but only for Khums purposes (Islamic booty), without conquering the territories of Campania.[2][3]

Notable was his raid on Rome, history's first Muslim invasion of the Caput Mundi and the central administration of the Catholic Church.[citation needed] In 846, Abul Abbas landed at Porto and Ostia with his enormous troop. Having surpassed Tiber, he continued to strike in the Ostiense and Portuense, while the Roman militia swiftly retreated to the safety of the Roman walls. Simultaneously, his other forces landed at Tyrrhenian Sea's port Civitavecchia. The Vatican Hill was plundered, but Abul Abbas was unsuccessful to storm the protective Aurelian walls of Rome, however, his military forces managed to loot huge amount of wealth St. Peter's Basilica, the world's biggest church, and Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.[4]

In Ifriqiya and Malta, during his rule, agriculture and trade flourished and new urban construction was observed, most notably those of the Great Mosques of Sousse and Sfax. Muhammad's reign was briefly interrupted by his brother Abu Ja'far Ahmad, who like his Abbasid contemporary Al-Wathiq supported the Mu'tazili and persecuted their Sunni opponents, executing some and imprisoning others, most notably the Maliki scholar and jurist Sahnun. When Muhammad AbulAbbas regained the throne in 847, he sent his brother into exile and rehabilitated the Sunnis, making Maliki Sahnun chief qadi of Ifriqiya. He had the reputation of being sympathetic to the Sunnis. For these, it was claimed that he left Shiism and adopted the Sunni doctrine.

Death[edit | edit source]

Muhammad I died in Palermo in 856. He was succeeded by his son Ahmad ibn Muhammad (856–863), under whose reign the kingdom of the Aghlabids reached its zenith.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Hilmar C. Krueger, The Italian Cities and the Arabs before 1095, in Kenneth Meyer Setton and Marshall W. Baldwin (eds.), A History of the Crusades: The First Hundred Years, Vol. 1 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1955), p. 47
  2. Barbara M. Kreutz, Before the Normans: Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991), 57.
  3. Hilmar C. Krueger. "The Italian Cities and the Arabs before 1095" in A History of the Crusades: The First Hundred Years, Vol.I. Kenneth Meyer Setton, Marshall W. Baldwin (eds., 1955). University of Pennsylvania Press. p.48.
  4. Italian Peninsula, 500–1000 AD Archived 5 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine.

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