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ABDALLATIF

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Originally appearing in Volume V01, Page 33 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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ABDALLATIF, or ABD-UL-LATIF (1162–1231), a celebrated physician and traveller, and one of the most voluminous writers of the East, was born at Bagdad in 1162. An interesting memoir of Abdallatif, written by himself, has been preserved with additions by Ibn-Abu-Osaiba (Ibn abi Usaibia), a contemporary. From that work we learn that the higher education of the youth of Bagdad consisted principally in a minute and careful study of the rules and principles of grammar, and in their committing to memory the whole of the Koran, a treatise or two on philology and jurisprudence, and the choicest Arabian poetry. After attaining to great proficiency in that kind of learning, Abdallatif applied himself to natural philosophy and medicine. To enjoy the society of the learned, he went first to Mosul (1189), and afterwards to Damascus. With letters of recommendation , from Saladin's vizier, he visited Egypt, where the wish he had long cherished to converse with Maimonides, " the Eagle of the Doctors," was gratified. He afterwards formed one of the circle of learned men whom Saladin gathered around him at Jerusalem. He taught medicine and philosophy at Cairo and at Damascus for a number of years, and afterwards, for a shorter period, at Aleppo. His love of travel led him in his old age to visit different parts of Armenia and Asia Minor, and he was setting out on a pilgrimage to Mecca when he died at Bagdad in 1231. Abdallatif was undoubtedly a man of great knowledge and of an inquisitive and penetrating mind. Of the numerous works—mostly on medicine—which Osaiba ascribes to him, one only, his graphic and detailed Account of Egypt (in two parts), appears to be known in Europe. The manuscript, discovered by Edward Pococke the Orientalist, and preserved in the Bodleian Library, contains a vivid description of a famine caused, during the author's residence in Egypt, by the Nile failing to overflow its banks. It was translated into Latin by Professor White of Oxford in 1800, and into French, with valuable notes, by De Sacy in 181o. ,ABD-AR-RAHMAN, the name borne by five princes of the Omayyad dynasty, amirs and caliphs of Cordova, two of them being rulers of great capacity. ABD-AR-RAHMAN I. (756–788) was the founder of the branch of the family which ruled for nearly three centuries in Mahommedan Spain. When the Omayyads were overthrown in the East by the Abbasids he was a young man of about twenty years of age. Together with his brother Yahya, he took refuge with Bedouin tribes in the desert. The Abbasids hunted their enemies down without mercy. Their soldiers overtook the brothers; Yahya was slain, and Abd-ar-rahman saved himself by fleeing first to Syria and thence to northern Africa, the common refuge of all who endeavoured to get beyond the reach of the Abbasids. In the general confusion of the caliphate produced by the change of dynasty, Africa had fallen into the hands of local rulers, formerly amirs or lieutenants of the Omayyad caliphs, but now aiming at independence. After a time Abd-ar-rahman found that his life was threatened, and he fled farther west, taking refuge among the Berber tribes of Mauritania. In the midst of all his perils, which read like stories from the Arabian Nights, Abd-ar-rahman had been encouraged by reliance on a prophecy of his great-uncle Maslama that he would restore the fortune of the family. He was followed in all his wanderings by a few faithful clients of the Omayyads. In 755 he was in hiding near Ceuta, and thence he sent an agent over to Spain to ask for the support of other clients of the family, descendants of the conquerors of Spain, who were numerous in the province of Elvira, the modern Granada. The country was in a state of confusion under the weak rule of the amir Yusef, a mere puppet in the hands of a faction, and was torn by tribal dissensions among the Arabs and by race conflicts between. the Arabs and Berbers. It offered Abd-ar-rahman the opportunity he had failed to find in Africa. On the invitation of his partisans he landed at Almunecar, to the east of Malaga, in September 755. For a time he was compelled to submit to be guided by his supporters, who were aware of the risks of their venture. Yusef opened negotiations, and offered to give Abdar-rahman one of his daughters in marriage and a grant of land. This was far less than the prince meant to obtain, but he would probably have been forced to accept the offer for want of a better if the insolence of one of Yusef's messengers, a Spanish renegade, had not outraged a chief partisan of the Omayyad cause. He taunted this gentleman, Obeidullah by name, with being unable to write good Arabic. Under this provocation Obeidullah drew the sword. In the course of 756 a campaign was fought in the valley of the Guadalquivir, which ended, on the 16th of May, in the defeat of Yusef outside Cordova. Abdar-rahman's army was so ill provided that he mounted almost the only good war-horse in it; he had no banner, and one was improvised by unwinding a green turban and binding it round the head of a spear. The turban and the spear became the banner of the Spanish Omayyads. The long reign of Abd-arrahman I. was spent in a struggle to reduce his anarchical Arab and Berber subjects to order. They had never meant to give themselves a master, and they chafed under his hand, which grew continually heavier. The details of these conflicts belong to the general history of Spain. It is, however, part of the personal history of Abd-ar-rahman that when in 763 he was compelled to fight at the very gate of his capital with rebels acting on behalf of the Abbasids, and had won a signal victory, he cut off the heads of the leaders, filled them with salt and camphor and sent them as a defiance to the eastern caliph. His last years were spent amid a succession of palace conspiracies, repressed with cruelty. Abd-ar-rahman grew embittered andferocious. He was a fine example of an oriental founder of a dynasty, and did his work so well that the 0mayyads lasted in Spain for two centuries and a half. ABD-AR-RAHMAN II. (822–852) was one of the weaker of the Spanish Omayyads. He was a prince with a taste for music and literature, whose reign was a time of confusion. It is chiefly memorable for having included the story of the " Martyrs of Cordova," one of the most remarkable passages in the religious history of the middle ages. ABD-AR-RAHMAN III. (912–961) was the greatest and the most successful of the princes of his dynasty in Spain (for the. general history of his reign see SPAIN, History). , He ascended the throne when he was barely twenty-two and reigned for half a century. His life was so completely identified with the government of the state that he offers less material for biography than his ancestor Abd-ar-rahman I. Yet it supplies some passages which show the real character of an oriental dynasty even at its best. Abd-ar-rahman III. was the grandson of his predecessor, Abdallah, one of the weakest and worst of the Spanish Omayyads. His father, Mahommed, was murdered by a brother Motarrif by order of Abdallah. The old sultan was so far influenced by humanity and remorse that he treated his grandson kindly. Abd-ar-rahman III. came to the throne when the country was exhausted by more than a generation of tribal conflict among the Arabs, and of strife between them and the Mahommedans of native Spanish descent. Spaniards who were openly or secretly Christians had acted with the renegades. These elements, which formed the bulk of the population, were not averse from supporting a strong ruler who would protect them against the Arab aristocracy. These restless nobles were the. most serious of Abd-ar-rahman's enemies. Next to them came the Fatimites of Egypt and northern Africa, who claimed the caliphate, and who aimed at extending their rule over the Mahommedan world, at least in the west. Abd-ar-rahman subdued the nobles by means of a mercenary army, which included Christians. He repelled the Fatimites, partly by sup-porting their enemies in Africa, and partly by claiming the caliphate for himself. His ancestors in Spain had been content with the title of sultan. The caliphate was thought only to belong to the prince who ruled over the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina. But the force of this tradition had been so far weakened that Abd-ar-rahman could proclaim himself caliph on the. 16th of January 929, and the assumption of the title gave him increased prestige with his subjects, both in Spain and Africa. His worst enemies were always his fellow Mahommedans. After he was defeated by the Christians at Alhandega in 939 through the treason of the Arab nobles in his army (see SPAIN, History) he never again took the field. He is accused of having sunk in his later years into the self-indulgent habits of the harem. When the undoubted prosperity of his dominions is quoted as an example of successful Mahommedan rule, it is well to remember that he administered well not by means of but in spite of Mahommedans. The high praise given to his administration may even excite some doubts as to its real excellence. We are told that a third of his revenue sufficed for the ordinary expenses of government, a third was hoarded and a third spent on buildings. A very large proportion of the surplus must have been wasted on the palace-town of Zahra, built three miles to the north of Cordova, and named after a favourite concubine. Ten thousand workmen are said to have been employed for twenty-five years on this wonder, of which no trace now remains. The great monument of early Arabic architecture in Spain, the mosque of Cordova, was built by his predecessors; not by him. It is said that his harem included six thousand women. Abd-ar-rahman was tolerant, but it is highly probable that he was very indifferent in religion, and it is certain that he was a thorough despot. One of the most authentic sayings attributed to him is his criticism of Otto I. of Germany, recorded by Otto's ambassador, Johann, abbot of Gorze, who has left in his Vita an incomplete account of his embassy (in Pertz, Mon. Germ. Scriptores, iv. 355-377).- He blamed the king of Germany for trusting his nobles, which he said could only increase their pride and leaning to rebellion. His confession that he had known only twenty happy days in his long reign is perhaps a moral tale, to be classed with the " amnia fui, et nil expedit " of Septimius Severus. In the agony of the Omayyad dynasty in Spain, two princes of the house were proclaimed caliphs for a very short time, Abd-ar-rahman IV. Mortada (rosy), and Abd-ar-rahman V. Mostadir (1023-1024). Both were the mere puppets of factions, who deserted them at once. Abd-ar-rahman IV. was murdered in the year in which he was proclaimed, at Guadiz, when fleeing from a battle in which he had been deserted by his supporters. Abd-ar-rahman V. was proclaimed caliph in December 1023 at Cordova, and murdered in January 1024 by a mob of unemployed workmen, headed by one of his own cousins. The history of the Omayyads in Spain is the subject of the Histoire des Musulmans d'Espagne, by R. Dozy (Leiden, 1861). (D. H.) ABD-EL-AZIZ IV. (1880- ), sultan of Morocco, son of Sultan Mulai el Hasan III. by a Circassian wife. He was fourteen years of age on his father's death in 1894. By the wise action of Si Ahmad bin Musa, the chamberlain of El Hasan, Abd-el-Aziz's accession to the sultanate was ensured with but little fighting. Si Ahmad became regent and for six years showed himself a capable ruler. On his death in 'goo the regency ended, and Abd-el-Aziz took the reins of government into his own hands, with an Arab from the south, El Menebhi, for his chief adviser. Urged by his Circassian mother, the sultan sought advice and counsel from Europe and endeavoured to act up to it. But disinterested advice was difficult to obtain, and in spite of the unquestionable desire of the young ruler to do the best for the country, wild extravagance both in action and expenditure resulted, leaving the sultan with depleted exchequer and the confidence of his people impaired. His intimacy with foreigners and his imitation of their ways were sufficient to rouse fanaticism and create dissatisfaction. His attempt to reorganize the finances by the systematic levy of taxes was hailed with delight, but the government was not strong enough to carry the measures through, and the money which should have been used to pay the taxes was employed to purchase firearms. Thus the benign intentions of Mulai Abdel-Aziz were interpreted as weakness, and .Europeans were accused of having spoiled the sultan and of being desirous of spoiling the country. When British engineers were employed to survey the route for a railway between Mequinez and Fez, this was reported as indicating an absolute sale of the country. The fanaticism of the people was aroused, and a revolt broke out near the Algerian frontier. Such was the condition of things when the news of the Anglo-French Agreement of 1904 came as a blow to Abd-el-Aziz, who had relied on England for support and protection against the inroads of France. On the advice of Germany he proposed the assembly of an international conference at Algeciras in i906 to consult upon methods of reform, the sultan's desire being to ensure a condition of affairs which would leave foreigners with no excuse for interference in the control of the country, and would promote its welfare, which Abd-el-Aziz had earnestly desired from his accession to power. The sultan gave his adherence to the Act of the Algeciras Conference, but the state of anarachy into which Morocco fell during the latter half of 1906 and the beginning of 1907 showed that the young ruler lacked strength sufficient to make his will respected by his turbulent subjects. In May 1907 the southern tribes invited Mulai Hafid, an elder brother of Abd-el-Aziz, and viceroy at Marrakesh, to become sultan, and in the following August Hafid was proclaimed sovereign there with all the usual formalities. In the meantime the murder of 'Europeans at Casablanca had led to the occupation of that port by France. In September Abd-el-Aziz arrived at Rabat from Fez and endeavoured to secure the support of the European powers against his brother. From France he accepted the grand cordon of the Legion of Honour, and was later enabled to negotiate a loan. His leaning to Christians aroused further opposition to his rule, and in January 1908 he was declared deposed by the ulema of Fez, who offered the throne to Hafid. After months of inactivity Abd-el-Aziz made an effort to re-store his authority, and quitting Rabat in July he marched on Marrakesh. His force, largely owing to treachery, was completely overthrown (August 19th) when near that city, and Abd-el-Aziz fled to Settat within the French lines • round Casablanca. In November he came to terms with his brother, and thereafter took up his residence in Tangier as a pensioner of the new sultan. He declared himself more than reconciled to the loss of the throne, and as looking forward to a quiet, peaceful life. (See MOROCCO, History.) ABD-EL-KADER (c. 1807-1883), amir of Mascara, the great opponent of the conquest of Algeria by France, was born near Mascara in 1807 or 1808. His family were sherifs or descend-ants of Mahomet, and his father, Mahi-ed-Din, was celebrated throughout North Africa for his piety and charity. Abd-el-Kader received the best education attainable by a Mussulman of princely rank, especially in theology and philosophy, in horsemanship and in other manly exercises. While still a youth he was taken by his father on the pilgrimage to Mecca and Medina and to the tomb of Sidi Abd-el-Kader El Jalili at Bagdad—events which stimulated his natural tendency to religious enthusiasm. While in Egypt in 1827, Abd-el-Kader is stated to have been impressed, by the reforms then being carried out by Mehemet Ali, with the value of European civilization, and the knowledge he then gained affected his career. Mahi-ed-Din and his son returned to Mascara shortly before the French occupation of Algiers (July 1830) destroyed the government of the Dey. Coming forward as the champion of Islam against the infidels, Abd-el-Kader was proclaimed amir at Mascara in 1832. He prosecuted the war against France vigorously and in a short time had rallied to his standard all the tribes of western Algeria. The story of his fifteen years' struggle against the French is given under ALGERIA. To the beginning of 1842 the contest went in favour of the amir; thereafter he found in Marshal Bugeaud an opponent who proved, in the end, his master. Throughout this period Abd-el-Kader showed himself a born leader of men, a great soldier, a capable administrator, a per-suasive orator, a chivalrous opponent. His fervent faith in the doctrines of Islam was unquestioned, and his ultimate failure was due in considerable measure to the refusal of the Kabyles, Berber mountain tribes whose Mahommedanism is somewhat loosely held, to make common cause with the Arabs against the French. On the 21st of December 1847, the amir gave himself up to General Lamoriciere at Sidi Brahim. On the 23rd, his submission was formally made to the duc d'Aumale, then governor of Algeria. In violation of the promise that he would be allowed to go to Alexandria or St Jean d'Acre, on the faith of which he surrendered, Abd-el-Kader and his family were detained in France, first at Toulon, then at Pau, being in November 1848 transferred to the chateau of Amboise. There Abd-el-Kader remained until October 1852, when he was re-leased by Napoleon III. on taking an oath never again to disturb Algeria. The amir then took up his residence in Brusa, removing in 1855 to Damascus. In July 186o, when the Moslems of that city, taking advantage of disturbances among the Druses of Lebanon, attacked the Christian quarter and killed over 3000 persons, Abd-el-Kader helped to repress the outbreak and saved large numbers of Christians. For this action the French government, which granted the amir a pension of £4000, bestowed on him the grand cross of the Legion of Honour. In 1865, he visited Paris and London, and was again in Paris at the exposition of 1867. In 1871, when the Algerians again rose in revolt, Abd-el-Kader wrote to them counselling submission to France. After his surrender in 1847 he devoted himself anew to theology and philosophy, and composed a philosophical treatise, of which a French translation was published in 1858 under the title of Rappel a l'intelligent. Avis d l'indiiffrent. He also wrote a book on the Arab horse. He died at Damascus on the 26th of May 1883. See Commdt. J. Pichon, Abd el Kader, 1807-1883 (Paris [1899].); Alex. Bellemare, Abd-el-Kader: sa vie politique et militaire (Paris, 1863) ; Col. C. H. Churchill, The Life of Abdel Kader (London, 1867).
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