Salim ibn Mustafad

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Abūʾl-Murajjā Sālim ibn al-Mustafād al-Ḥamdānī (died 1034) was the commander of Aleppo's ahdath (urban militia) during the reigns of the Mirdasid emirs Salih ibn Mirdas (r. 1024/25–1029) and Nasr ibn Salih (r. 1029–1038). He was executed by the latter in 1034 for stirring a local Muslim uprising against Aleppo's vassalage to the Christian Byzantine Empire.

Aleppo City in Aleppo Governorate, Syria

Aleppo is a city in Syria, serving as the capital of the Aleppo Governorate, the most populous Syrian governorate. With an official population of 4.6 million in 2010, Aleppo was the largest Syrian city before the Syrian Civil War; however, now Aleppo is probably the second-largest city in Syria after the capital Damascus.

The aḥdāth were local militias or irregular police found in Syria in the 10th through 12th centuries C.E. The aḥdāth maintained order and protected cities from outside domination. Though some later writers ascribed proletarian values to the aḥdāth, as an outlet of the popular will, many aḥdāth also fulfilled a more formal police function and in many cases worked in conjunction with the urban bourgeoisie. The aḥdāth were utilised by the Fatimid dynasty in Syria in repelling attacks by the Crusaders.

Mirdasid dynasty

The Mirdasid dynasty was an Arab dynasty that controlled the Emirate of Aleppo more or less continuously from 1024 until 1080.



Salim ibn al-Mustafad was the son of a ghulam (slave soldier; pl. ghilman) of Sayf al-Dawla, the Hamdanid emir of Aleppo in 945–967. [1] Ibn al-Mustafad was a leader of the surviving Hamdanid-era ghilman when the Fatimids directly ruled Aleppo in the early 1020s. [2] Though of foreign origins, Ibn al-Mustafad was assimilated into the Aleppine populace and resided in the al-Zajjajin (glassmakers) quarter where he likely cultivated close relationships with craftsmen, minor traders and laborers. [3]

Ghilman slave-soldiers and/or mercenaries in the armies of the Abbasid, Ottoman, and Persian Safavid, Afsharid and Qajar empires

Ghilman were slave-soldiers and/or mercenaries in the armies of the Abbasid, Ottoman, Safavid, Afsharid and Qajar empires.

Sayf al-Dawla Muslim general

Ali ibn Abu'l-Hayja 'Abdallah ibn Hamdan ibn al-Harith al-Taghlibi, more commonly known simply by his laqab of Sayf ud-Dawla, was the founder of the Emirate of Aleppo, encompassing most of northern Syria and parts of western Jazira, and the brother of al-Hasan ibn Abdallah ibn Hamdan.

Hamdanid dynasty dynasty

The Hamdanid dynasty was a Shi'a Muslim Arab dynasty of northern Iraq (al-Jazirah) and Syria (890-1004). They descended from the ancient Banu Taghlib Christian tribe of Mesopotamia and Eastern Arabia.

Ibn al-Mustafad defected to the Bedouin rebel Salih ibn Mirdas when the latter besieged Aleppo in 1024. [2] Ibn al-Mustafad rallied the ghilman and local residents and opened the Bab Qinnasrin gate to Salih's Kilabi forces on 18 January 1025. [2] In turn, Salih guaranteed the residents' safety and appointed Ibn al-Mustafad as ra'is al-balad (municipal chief) and muqaddam al-ahdath (commander of the local militia). [3] The ahdath consisted of young armed men from Aleppo's lower and middle-class neighborhoods. [3] Salih then entrusted Ibn al-Mustafad and Sulayman ibn Tawq with overseeing the siege of the Aleppo Citadel where the Fatimid garrison was holed up. [2] The latter surrendered on 30 June and all of Aleppo came under Salih's Mirdasid emirate. [4]

Bedouin group of Arab nomads who have historically inhabited the Arabian and Syrian Deserts

The Bedouin or Bedu are a grouping of nomadic Arab people who have historically inhabited the desert regions in North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq and the Levant. The English word bedouin comes from the Arabic badawī, which means "desert dweller", and is traditionally contrasted with ḥāḍir, the term for sedentary people. Bedouin territory stretches from the vast deserts of North Africa to the rocky sands of the Middle East. They are traditionally divided into tribes, or clans, and share a common culture of herding camels and goats. The vast majority of Bedouin adhere to Islam.

Salih ibn Mirdas Emir of Aleppo

Abū ʿAlī Ṣāliḥ ibn Mirdās, also known by the laqabAsad al-Dawla, was the founder of the Mirdasid dynasty of Aleppo, ruling between 1025 until his death. At its peak, his emirate (principality) encompassed much of the western Jazira, northern Syria and a string of central Syrian towns. With occasional interruption, Salih's descendants would rule Aleppo for the next five decades.

Bab Qinnasrin

Bab Qinnasrin is one of the gates of the medieval Old City of Aleppo in northern Syria. In its present form, it dates to 1256.

After Salih died, his sons Nasr and Thimal succeeded him, until the former seized complete control of Aleppo in 1030 following the Mirdasid victory over the Byzantines at the Battle of Azaz. Ibn al-Mustafad remained in charge of the ahdath, but he opposed Nasr's move to make the Emirate of Aleppo a formal vassal of the Byzantine Empire in 1031. [3] He stirred up the city's poor and middle class Muslims to protest the alliance with Byzantium, [5] prompting the Byzantine governor of Antioch to demand Nasr execute Ibn al-Mustafad. [3] Accordingly, he was captured and executed in 1034. [3] It is not apparent in contemporary sources if anyone succeeded Ibn al-Mustafad as commander of the ahdath. [3]

Shibl al-Dawla Nasr Amir of Aleppo

Abu Kamil Nasr ibn Salih ibn Mirdas, also known by his laqab of Shibl al-Dawla, was the second Mirdasid emir of Aleppo, ruling between 1029/30 until his death. He was the eldest son of Salih ibn Mirdas, founder of the Mirdasid dynasty. Nasr fought alongside his father in the battle of al-Uqhuwanah, where Salih was killed by a Fatimid army. Afterward, Nasr ruled the emirate jointly with his brother Thimal. The young emirs soon faced a large scale Byzantine offensive led by Emperor Romanos III. Commanding a much smaller force of Bedouin horsemen, Nasr routed the Byzantines at the Battle of Azaz.

Muʿizz al-Dawla Abū ʿUlwān Thimāl ibn Ṣāliẖ ibn Mirdās was the Mirdasid emir of Aleppo from 1042 until 1057, and again from 1061 until his death. He was the son of Salih ibn Mirdas.

Battle of Azaz (1030) battle of the Arab–Byzantine wars

The Battle of Azaz was an engagement fought in August 1030 near the Syrian town of Azaz between the Byzantine army, led by Emperor Romanos III Argyros in person, and the forces of the Mirdasid Emirate of Aleppo under Emir Shibl al-Dawla Nasr.

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  1. Zakkar 1971, p. 258.
  2. 1 2 3 4 Amabe 2016, p. 62.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Amabe 2016, p. 66.
  4. Amabe 2016, p. 63.
  5. Bianquis 1993, p. 117.


Thierry Bianquis was a French Orientalist and Arabist. His main interest was the medieval Islamic Middle East, most notably the Fatimid era of Egypt and Syria, which was the subject of his dissertation.

Charles Pellat was a French Arabist. He was a member of the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, and an editor of the Encyclopaedia of Islam.

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