Idrisid dynasty is founded

On this day, 5 February 789 CE (4 Ramadan, 172 AH), Idris ibn Abd Allah founded the Idrisid dynasty in the town of Volubilis or Walili (now in Morocco). Idris was the great-grandson of Hasan bin Ali. In 786, he escaped Arabia after the battle of Fakhkh first to Egypt, then across the Maghreb to Tangier. By 788, he had settled in Walili.

Idris was a descendent of the Holy Prophet ﷺ and so held a special position of being a religiopolitical leader of the Islamic world. When he arrived in Morocco, his cause was espoused by the Awraba, at the time one of the most powerful tribal groups in northern Morocco.

The Tomb of Idris I (green roofed structure, bottom left) in Moulay Idris, Morocco | Photo: Wikimedia

Considering the fact that Idris was a sharif (the descendent of the Prophet ﷺ), the Awraba recognized him as their imam upon the initiative of their chief Ishaq b. Abdul Hamid. Thus, Idris established his power and founded the Idrisid dynasty in Morocco.

The Idrisids were political opponents of the Abbasid Caliphate. As a result, Idris was assassinated (poisoned) in May 791 by an agent sent by the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid from Baghdad.

Previously in the Battle of Fakhkh, the Abbasids had crushed an uprising of the Alids (the descendants of Ali ibn Abu Talib) in Hejaz. The Alids revolted because Abbasid governor of Medina ill-treated and accused some members of the Alids of having drunk wine.

Alids under the command of al-Husain ibn Ali al-Abid ibn Hasan fought the Abbasids in the battle of Fakhkh. The Alids lost the battle and al-Husain also lost his life in the combat. Idris was the maternal uncle of al-Husain and managed to escape the atrocities of the Abbasid regime.

The Alids charged for drinking wine were whipped on the orders of the governor. Historians have claimed that the charges were not proved.

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