This map shows how, in the second half of the 10th century CE, the Fatimid state had transformed from a North African regional power to a Mediterranean empire extending from the present-day Morocco to Sicily, Palestine and Syria.
In the mid-twelfth century, the head of Imam al-Husayn was reinterred from Damascus in Cairo near the Great Eastern Palace of the Fatimid Imam-caliphs, close to the graves of other caliphs whose remains the Fatimids had brought with them when they transferred their centre of rule from Ifriqiyya to their new city of Cairo.
The public proclamation of Abd Allah al-Mahdi as the first Fatimid Imam-caliph marked the formal inception of Fatimid rule in North Africa, from where the subsequent three Imam-caliphs would rule for sixty-four years.
The Fatimid Imam-caliphs traced their roots to the Prophet's grandson, Imam al-Husayn, and founded rival caliphate against the Abbasids.
The Blue Qur’an is one of the most lavish examples of a 9th/10th century manuscript, commonly attributed to the early Fatimid court. Its most prominent features are the indigo-dyed parchment, gold Kufic script and verse markings of silver rosettes.
Recent discoveries of Fatimid artefacts, manuscripts, and archeological sites has led to a renewed scholarly insterest in exploring the history, thought and material culture of the Fatimids.
The IIS is delighted to announce the release of the first book in the World of Islam series – in print, e-book and audiobook formats.
Emerging from a period of long seclusion, the leader of the burgeoning community of Ismaili Shi'i Muslims was declared the first Fatimid Imam-caliph in the year 909. Abd Allah al-Mahdi founded the only sustained Shi'i dynasty (909-1171) to rule over substantial parts of the medieval Muslim world, rivalling both the Umayyads of Spain and the Abbasids. At its peak, the Fatimid Empire extended from the Atlantic shores of North Africa, across the southern Mediterranean and down both sides of the Red Sea, covering also Mecca and Medina.