Rustamid Dynasty
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Rustamid Dynasty
Rustamid Kingdom

777 or 779-909
Rustamid dynasty 900 ad.png
Common languagesBerber, Arabic, Persian
Ibadi Islam
o 777-788
?Abdu r-Rahman ibn Bahram ibn R?stam
o 906-909
Yaqzan ibn Muhammad Abil-Yaqzan
o Established
777 or 779
o Disestablished
Today part of Algeria

The Rustamid dynasty (or Rustumids, Rostemids) was a ruling house of Ib im?ms of Persian descent[2][3] centered in Algeria.[4][5][6] The dynasty governed as a Muslim theocracy for a century and a half from its capital Tiaret (in modern Algeria) until the Ismaili Fatimid Caliphate destroyed it. Their realm extended mostly to current central Algeria, but also Libya.[7][8]


Genealogy of the Rustamid dynasty

The Ib movement reached North Africa by 719, when the missionary Salma ibn Sa'd was sent from the Ib?d? jama'a of Basra to Kairouan.[] By 740, their efforts had converted the major Berber tribes of Huwara around Tripoli, in the Nafusa Mountains and at Zenata in western Tripolitania. In 757 (140 AH), a group of four Basra-educated missionaries including ?Abd ar-Rahm?n ibn Rustam proclaimed an Ib imamate, starting an abortive state led by Abu l-Khattab Abdul-A'la ibn as-Samh which lasted until the Abbasid Caliphate dispatched Muhammad ibn al-Ash'ath al-Khuza'i to suppress it in 761, and Abul-Khattab Abdul-A'la ibn as-Samh was killed.[] On his death, the Tripolitanian Ib?diyya elected Abu l-Hatim al-Malzuzi as Im?m; he was killed in 772 after launching a second unsuccessful revolt in 768.[] After this, the center of power shifted to Algeria, and, in 777, ?Abd ar-Rahm?n ibn Rustam, an Ifriqiyan-born convert to the Ib movement of Persian origin[9] and one of the four founders of the imamate, was elected Im?m; after this, the post remained in his family, a practice which the Ib?diyya justified by noting that he came from no tribe, and thus his family had no bias towards any of the tribes of which the state was formed.[]

The new imamate was centered on the newly built capital of Tiaret; several Ib?d? tribes displaced from Tunisia and Tripolitania settled there and strong fortifications were built.[] It became a major stop on the newly developing trade routes with sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East.

Ibn as-Saghir also describes the Im?m as ascetic, repairing his own house and refusing gifts; the citizens sharply criticized him if they considered him derelict in his duty. Religious ethics were strictly enforced by law.[]

The Rustamids fought the Kairouan-based Aghlabids of Ifriqiya in 812, but otherwise reached a modus vivendi; this displeased Ib?d? tribes on the Aghlabid border, who launched a few rebellions.

After Abdu l-Wahh?b, the Rustamids grew militarily weak; they were easily conquered by the Ismaili Fatimids in 909, upon which many Ibis - including the last Im?m - fled to the Sedrata tribe of Ouargla, whence they would ultimately emigrate to Mzab.

The Rustamid dynasty, "developed a cosmopolitan reputation in which Christians, non-Kharijite Muslims, and adherents of different sects of Kharijism lived".[10] On the intellectual field, the Rustamids had many scholars and learned men, such as 'Abd ar-Rahman ibn Rustam, 'Abd al-Wahhab ibn 'Abd ar-Rahman, Aflah ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, dan Abu al-Yaqzhan ibn Aflah, Mahdi an-Nafusi, 'Abd Allah al-Lamthi, and Mahmud ibn Bakr. 'Abd ar-Rahman had an exegesis of the Qur'an. 'Abd al-Wahhab wrote his Masa'il Nafusah on Islamic jurisprudence. Aflah mastered Arabic literature, mathematics, and astronomy. Abu al-Yaqzhan wrote about 40 works. Because of their intellectual enthusiasm, the Rustamids vigorously transferred valuable works from the Masyriq to the Maghrib, especially to the library of al-Ma'shumah (in Tahert) and that of Khizanah Nafusah (in Jabal Nafusah). Moreover, Tahert was famous as 'Iraq al-Maghrib, al-'Iraq ash-Shaghir, Balkh al-Maghrib, or Little Basra. Apart from these achievements, the Rustamids also had significant contribution to Islamization in the Maghrib and Bilad as-Sudan. For about two centuries (130-340 AH / 750-950 AD), the Kharijite people gained control of trade routes in the Maghrib and Bilad as-Sudan. Many Ibadite merchants made journeys along the vast area, such as Tahert, Wargla, Nafzawa, Jabal Nafusah, Tadmakkat, Gao, and Ghana. By this economic activity, the Ibadites took advantages of trading business and preaching Islam at the same time.[11]

Rustamid Imams

Part of a series on the
History of Algeria
Emblem of Algeria.svg
  • ?Abdu r-Rahman ibn Bahram ibn R?stam (B?n?-B?d?sy?n) (776-788)
  • ?Abdu l-Wahhab ibn Abd ar-Rahman (788-824)
  • Aflah ibn ?Abdi l-Wahhab (824-872)
  • Abu Bakr ibn Aflah (872-874)
  • Muhammad Abu l-Yaqzan ibn Aflah (874-894)
  • Yusuf Abu Hatim ibn Muhammad Abi l-Yaqzan (894-895)
  • Ya?qub ibn Aflah (895-899)
  • Yusuf Abu Hatim ibn Muhammad Abi l-Yaqzan, again (899-906)
  • Yaqzan ibn Muhammad Abi l-Yaqzan (906-909)


  1. ^ The Transmission of Learning in Islamic Africa - Scott Steven Reese
  2. ^ Bosworth, C.E., ed. (1995). Encyclopedia of Islam (New ed.). Leiden [u.a.]: Brill [u.a.] p. 638. ISBN 9004098348.
  3. ^ Islamic History - Laura Etheredge - p73
  4. ^ Britannica Encyclopedia, Retrieved on 18 December 2008.
  5. ^ "The Places where Men Pray Together", pg. 210.
  6. ^ Based on Britannica 2008: The state was governed by imams descended from ?Abd ar-Ra?m?n ibn Rustam, the austere Persian who founded the state in the 8th century.
  7. ^
  8. ^ Concise History of Islam - Muzaffar Husain Syed, Syed Saud Akhtar, B D Usmani [1] "The exact extent of its dominions is not entirely clear, but it stretched as far east as Jabal Nafusa in Libya"
  9. ^ Britannica Encyclopedia, Retrieved on 18 December 2008.
  10. ^ John P. Entelis, Algeria: The Revolution Institutionalized, page 14.
  11. ^ Ahmad Choirul Rofiq, "Moderation and Civilization: A Historical Analysis on the Moderate Policy of the Rustamid Dynasty" in


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