Fromherz, drawing on medieval Arabic and Berber sources, analyses the myths and history surrounding the origins and rise of the Almohad Empire. He shows how Muhammad Ibn Tumart, the son of a minor Berber tribal chief, set off on his mission to reform Islam, then at a low point in its history, battered by the crusades, having lost Jerusalem and been undermined by weak spiritual and political leadership. Muhammad Ibn Tumart was proclaimed Mahdi - one who would herald the golden age of Islam - provided charismatic leadership, unwavering adherence to a fundamentalist monotheistic Islam enforced by holy war, established tribal unity, effective administration and a formidable military force. Ibn Tumart and his legacy were to prove the launch pad for empire, leading to Almohad domination of the western Mediterranean from Tunisia to Morocco and Andalusia.
Allen J. Fromherz is Associate Professor of History at Georgia State University. He was previously Assistant Professor of Middle Eastern History at Qatar University. He received his PhD from the University of St Andrews in Scotland after graduating from Dartmouth College in New Hampshire and was awarded a Fulbright Research Scholarship in Morocco. In 2010 he was awarded the Gerda Henkel Stiftung fellowship to pursue research on the history of nationalism in the Middle East. He is also the author of The Almohads: The Rise of an Islamic Empire (I.B.Tauris) and Ibn Khaldun, Life and Times.