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date: 24 October 2019



Muslim dynasty that ruled the Yemen from 1047 to 1138. The Sulayhids, who ruled as representatives of the Fatimid caliphs of Egypt, were responsible for restoring Isma‛ili Shi‛ism to the Yemen. The dynasty was founded by ‛Ali ibn Muhammad al-Sulayhi (reg 1047–67), who had come under the influence of a Fatimid missionary; after the missionary’s death, the Fatimid caliph al-Mustansir (reg 1036–94) named ‛Ali as Fatimid agent in south Arabia. In 1046 ‛Ali and 60 men from his tribe began to set up the rule of the Fatimids in the Yemen, and in 1047 they fortified the mountain village of Masar to the west of San‛a’. In the early 1060s ‛Ali obtained sovereignty over Zabid and San‛a’, which he made his capital in 1063, and asserted himself over the Ma‛nids of Aden. From 1063 he sent the annual covering (Arab. kiswa) for the Ka‛ba at Mecca, a sign of his power and prestige. In ...

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Encyclopaedia of Islam, 8 vols and suppl. (Leiden, 1913–36/R 1987)