Ali az-Zahir

Ali az-Zahir

:"For the Abbasid Caliph, see Az-Zahir."

ˤAlī az-Zāhir (20 June 1005 – 13 June 1036) ( _ar. الظاهر بالله) was the Seventh Caliph of the Fātimids (1021 - 1036). Az-Zāhir assumed the Caliphate after the disappearance of his father Tāriqu l-Ḥakīm bi Amr al-Lāh. According to the Hijri Calendar, his birth date is 3rd of Ramzaan 395 A.H.

Governance under the Seventh Caliph

At first, the government was conducted by Ḥakīm's sister Sitt al-Mulk, but after her death in 1023, a group of her favourites took power.

Under this regime, the Fātimid state slipped into crisis - in Egypt, famine and plague lead to anarchy in the years 1023-1025, and in Palestine and Syria, there was a revolt amongst the Bedouin (1024 - 1029). The coalition of rebels was fragmented by Fātimid diplomacy, after which General Anushtegin ad-Dizbiri was able to defeat it militarily.

Meanwhile, in 1028 one of the governing circle, ˤAlī ibn Ahmad Jarjarai, was able to eliminate his colleagues and take over the office of vizir, which he managed to retain until 1045. He enjoyed good relations with the Byzantine Empire, even though the suzerainty over Aleppo was constantly disputed, occasionally coming to arms. To improve relations with Byzantium and the Christian subjects of the realm, the rebuilding of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, destroyed in 1009, was authorised under his caliphate.

During the reign of az-Zāhir, the Druze sect, which had enjoyed the patronage of his father, was heavily persecuted and driven into mountainous regions of Syria and Lebanon.

Death and succession

The period of his Imaamat is 16 years. After ˤAlī died of the plague on 13 June 1036, his son became the Eighth Caliph under the throne name of al-Mustansir.

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