Tuesday, October 28, 2008

at 9:02 PM Posted by chaker 0 comments

In 800 Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab was confirmed Emir and hereditary ruler of Ifriqiya by Caliph Harun ar-Rashid in Baghdad. Ibrahim ibn al-Aghlab founded the Aghlabite dynasty that ruled Ifriqiya between 800 and 909. The new Emirs embellished Kairouan and made it their capital which soon became famous for its wealth and prosperity reaching the levels of Basra and Kufa and giving Tunisia one of its golden ages long sought after the glorious days of Carthage.
The Aghlabites built the great mosque and established in it a university that was a centre of education both in Islamic thought and in the secular sciences. Its role can be compared to that of the University of Paris in the Middle Ages. In the 9th century the city became a brilliant focus of Arab and Islamic cultures attracting scholars from all over the Islamic World. In that period Imam Sahnun and Asad ibn al-Furat made of Kairouan a temple of knowledge and a magnificent center of diffusion of Islamic sciences. The Aghlabites also built palaces, fortifications and fine waterworks of which only the pools remain. From Kairouan envoys from Charlemagne and the Holy Roman Empire returned with glowing reports of the Aghlabites palaces, libraries and gardens – and from the crippling taxation imposed to pay for their drunkenness and sundry debaucheries. The Aghlabite also pacified the country and conquered Sicily in 827.
In 893, through the mission of Ubaydalla Said, the Kutama Berbers from the west of the country started the movement of the Shiite Fatimids. The year 909 saw the overthrow of the Sunni Aghlabite that ruled Ifriqiya and the creation of the Shiite Fatimid dynasty. During the reign of the Fatimids, Kairouan was neglected and lost its importance as the new rulers resided first in Raqqada but soon moved their capital to the newly built Al Mahdiyah on the coast of modern Tunisia. After succeeding in extending their rule over all of central Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, they eventually moved west to Egypt to found Cairo making it the capital of their vast Califate and leaving the Zirids as their vassals in Ifriqiya. Governing again from Kairouan, the Zirids led the country through another artistic, commercial and agricultural heyday. Schools and universities flourished, overseas trade in local manufactures and farm produce ran high and the courts of the Zirids rulers were centers of refinement that eclipsed those of their European contemporaries.
When the Zirids declared their independence from Cairo and their conversion to Sunni Islam in 1045 by giving allegiance to Baghdad, the Fatimid Caliph Ma'ad al-Mustansir Billah sent as punishment hordes of troublesome Arab tribes (Banu Hilal and Banu Sulaym) to invade Ifriqiya. These invaders so utterly destroyed Kairouan in 1057 that it never regained its former importance and their influx was a major factor in the spread of nomadism in areas where agriculture had previously been dominant. Some 1700 years of intermittent but continual progress was undone within a decade as in most part of the country the land was laid to waste for nearly two centuries. In the 13th century under the prosperous Hafsids dynasty that ruled Ifriqiya, the city started to emerge from its ruins. It is only under the Husainid Dynasty that Kairouan started to find an honorable place in the country and throughout the Islamic world. In 1881, Kairouan was taken by the French, after which non-Muslims were allowed access to the city. Recently Kairouan was proclaimed as Capital of Islamic Culture for 2009.
source : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kairouan#History

Monday, October 27, 2008

at 7:25 PM Posted by chaker 0 comments

Kairouan was founded in about the year 670, the arab general "Uqba ibn Nafi" crossed the deserts of Egypt and began the first Muslem conquest of the Maghreb region of North Africa. Establishing military posts at regular intervals along his route, Uqba ibn Nafi came to the site of present day Kairouan and there decided to encamp his soldiers for some days (Kairouan, also spelled Qayrawan, means "camp" in Arabic).

Old chronicles describe the region as completely deserted, covered with impenetrable thickets, and being distant from trade routes. Apparently inhospitable as a long term settlement site, why then did this temporary military camp soon become the greatest Muslem city in North Africa and the 4th holiest city of Islam (after Mecca, Medina and Jerusalem).
To answer this question we must look beyond historical records to the earliest legends of the site. Here we find mention of an incident that occurred during the initial encampment of Uqba ibn Nafi, an incident which, because of its miraculous nature, most history books have chosen to ignore. The legend tells of warrior's horse that stumbled on a golden goblet buried in the sands. This goblet was recognized as one that had mysteriously disappeared from Mecca some years before. When the goblet was dug from the desert sand, a spring miraculously appeared and the waters of this spring were said to issue from the same source that supplies the sacred Zamzam well in Mecca. The power of these three miracles - the mysteriously lost and then found Meccan goblet, the miraculous gushing forth of the spring, and the source of that spring - exercised a magnetic effect upon the early North African Islamic people and thereby established the site of Kairouan as a pilgrimage destination for ages to come.

It was located far from the sea where it was safe from continued attacks of the Berbers who have fiercely resisted the Arab invasion. Berber resistance continued, led first by Kusaila whose troops killed Uqba at Biskra about fifteen years after the military post was established, and then by a Berber woman called Al-Kahina who was killed and her army defeated in 702. Subsequently, there was a mass conversion of the Berbers to Islam, but they were for all that treated as second-class citizens in their native land. This consequent dissatisfaction led to their secession as Kharijites or Islamic ‘outsiders’ which formed an egalitarian and puritanical sect still present on the island of Jerba. In 745 Kharijite Berbers captured Kairouan, which was already at that time a developed city with luxuriant gardens and olive groves.
source : http://www.sacredsites.com/africa/tunisia/kairouan.html

at 1:43 PM Posted by chaker 0 comments

Kairouan is defined as the holiest city of Tunisia, being the oldest Islamic settlement, having the oldest mosque in North Africa and the world's oldest minaret.kairouan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and North Africa's most holy city. It has earned the name "City of 100 Mosques". Kairouan is 160 km south of Tunis, 60 km west of Sousse, and south-east of the Tell Mountains, on the Low Steppes, a fairly dry alluvial plain. The plain of Kairouan forms a vast basin, 100 km long (axis North - South) and 40 km wide (axis East - West).
Latitude: 35.66 Longitude: 10.1 Altitude: 60

The region proffers a semi-arid type of climate, characterized by important irregularities in rainfall, big thermal variations, dry summers and humid winters. The average annual rainfall is of the order of 290 mm. Winter rains are weak in intensity compared to autumnal rains. Violent storms principally burst in September and October, with precipitations that can attain 100 to 200 mm within 24 hours, often inducing floods.
Social data - demographic Accommodating one fifth of the total population of the ‘gouvernorate’ / Province (532,709 inhabitants in 1994) and close to 85% of the urban population, the city of Kairouan (102,634 inhabitants in 1994) received the bulk of the rural exodus, particularly after the floods of 1969. Since 1966 its rate of annual increase has continued to progress from 2.3% for the period 1966/1975, to 2.9% for the period 1975/1984 and to 4.3% for the period 1984/1994 (the average national rate in urban environment being 3.2%). In May 2004, new statistics are in the process of being drafted by the INS (National Census Bureau), and we await the results, which will appear soon, to communicate them to you.
source : www.kairouan.org

Religion There are many mosques in the city, among which the great mosque. After its establishment, Kairouan became an Islamic and Qur'anic learning center in North Africa. An article titled Towards a Strategic Geopolitic Vision of Afro-Arab Relations by Professor Kwesi Prah states "By 670, the Arabs had taken Tunisia, and by 675, they had completed construction of Kairouan, the city that would become the premier Arab base in North Africa. Kairouan was later to become the third holiest city in Islam in the medieval period, after Mecca and Medina, because of its importance as the centre of the Islamic faith in the Maghrib".Judaism, no longer prevalent in the city, has an illustrious history in Kairouan, particularly in the early Middle Ages. Rabbeinu Chananel was from Kairouan and many other important rabbis, including Rabbi Isaac Alfasi studied there with him.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

at 10:53 PM Posted by chaker 0 comments

My name is Chaker, i'm native of Kairouan.

This is my first experience in blogging, then i decide to introduce my city with some articles and photos.