Rustamid Dynasty (Kharijites Movement)

Rustamid Dynasty (Kharijites Movement)

The most notable of the Kharijites movement was that led by Abdul Rahman b Rustam, a Persian who had accepted Kharijism before he came to the Maghreb. With the help of some Zanata Berbers, he occupied Tiaret in 761 A.D and founded a capital Tahirt which became the capital of the Rustamid State and the second important center of Kharijism in the 8th century.

The Rustamid Dynasty was comprised of parts of the territories of the present day Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria. In spite of occasional rebellions against the Rustamid by the Zanata, The state/dynasty remained till 909 when it was conquered by the Fatimids.

The Rustamid State was a theocratic state and Rustam, its founder assumed the title of Imam in 776 AD. Succession to the Imamate was hereditary in the founder’s line. Some of the Rustamids Imams, for example the 5th Imam assumed pontification over all the other Kharijites in the Maghreb. He received tributes from the Sufi Muslim in Sijilmasa in the form of tithes. The Imams were well educated in their doctrines and in addition they possessed a vast knowledge in secular matter such as the art of government, mathematics, astronomy, and astrology. They applied the Muslim laws strictly in their state, and punished adultery by stoning, stealing by cutting off the hands.

Tahirt the capital of the Rustamid State/Dynasty were a flourishing town well provided with water and rich in fruit gardens. As a trade center it was also economically prosperous. Goods across the Sahara from the South and from the North were exchanged in its market. It was melting pot for settlers from various parts of the Mediterranean world both Muslims and Christians.

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In conclusion, it was noted that some of the Imams were said to have consulted the Christians on state matters. The Rustamid state survived until it was invaded first by the Aghalabids and then by the Fatimids in 909 AD. After its capture, the Rustamid were massacred and those who could escape took refuge among the Bedouin Kharijitres

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