A new year. This is a day to start fresh, a new dawn, a new day, a time to refresh. Shall we empty the cache and let the party for 2008 begin?
After all, one of the criticisms thrown at the chair of this august establishment is that old Whit and Deuce may be a tad pessimistic, perhaps a little over-salted with cynicism, and not ebullient, especially Whit. We do not walk on the bright side enough as DR may be wont to point out. All worthy and constructive and well received criticisms for sure. For sure.
I got thinking, 2008, how will things change and how will they be different? 2007 was what, Muslims, Sunnis, Pakis, Shiites, Iraq, Iran, Darfur, mosques, terror, destruction....you get it.
Maybe 2008 will be the year where we can help make things better in the Muslim world?
Let us take a look and see how things were one thousand years ago. What was going on in 1008? Who was born and what happened?
Back to the future, meet Al-Muizz ibn Badis, born in 1008.
Al-Muizz ibn Badis
Al-Muizz ibn Badis (Arabic: المعز بن باديس) (1008 - 1062) was the fourth ruler of the Zirids in Ifriqiya and reigned from 1016 to 1062.
Al-Muizz ascended the throne as a minor following the death of his father Badis ibn Mansur (995-1016), with his aunt acting as regent. In 1016 there was a bloody revolt in Ifriqiya in which the Fatimid residence Al-Mansuriya was completely destroyed and 20,000 Shiites were massacred. The unrest forced a ceasefire in the conflict with the Hammadids of Algeria, and their independence was finally recognised in 1018.
Al-Muizz took over the government in 1022 following the overthrow of his aunt. The relationship with the Fatimids was strained, when in 1027 they supported a revolt of the Zanatas in Tripolitania which resulted in permanent loss of control of the region. His son Abdallah shortly ruled Sicily in 1038-1040, after intervening with a Zirid army in the civil war that broke out in the island.
The political turmoil notwithstanding, the general economic wellbeing initially made possible an extensive building programme. However, the kingdom found itself in economic crisis in the 1040s, reflected in currency devaluation, epidemic and famine. This may have been related to the high level of tribute which the Zirids were compelled to pay annually to the Fatimids (one million gold dinars a year).
When al-Muizz, under the influence of Sunni jurists in Kairouan, recognised the Abbasids in Baghdad as rightful Caliphs in 1045, the break with the Fatimids was complete.
The Fatimids then deported the Bedouin tribes of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym from Egypt to Ifriqiya. The invasion of the Bedouin (1051-1052) led to great hardship after the defeat at Jabal Haydaran, severely impacting agriculture in Ifriqiya. The conquest of Kairouan in 1057 resulted in further anarchy. The Zirids lost control over the hinterland and were only able to retain the coastal areas, the capital being moved to Mahdia. With the growth of Bedouin Emirates and the continuing insecurity inland, the economy of Ifriqiya looked increasingly towards the Mediterranean, with the result the coastal cities grew in importance through maritime trade and piracy.
Al-Muizz was succeeded by his son Tamim ibn Muizz.
HAPPY NEW YEAR ONE AND ALL