Ibn Tumart

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Ibn Tumart (1077–1130 (AH 470–524)). A Muslim reformer in Morocco who was known as al-Mahdī of the Almohads. He grew up under the Almoravids who followed the Mālikite understanding of fiqh, in which reason is subordinate—a position contested by al-Ghaz(z)ālī, whose works were burnt by the rulers. He was prepared to preach jihād even against other Muslims, if their lax behaviour constituted, in effect, an attack on Islam. Gathering increasing personal authority to himself, he identified himself as al-Mahdi, calling his followers al-Muwaḥḥidūn (the Unitarians), hence the name Almohads.

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Ibn Tumart (Ĭ´bən tōōmärt´), c.1080–1130, Berber Muslim religious leader, founder of the Almohads. He went to the East in his youth and returned convinced that he was the Mahdi and that he was destined to reform Islam. He was a rigorist and purist in doctrine and morality. Believing in a mystical concept of the oneness of God, Ibn Tumart fought violently the anthropomorphism then current. He became increasingly fanatical, until he finally preached a holy war against Muslims who disagreed with him. He was esteemed as a man of compelling personality and of great sagacity.