Tuesday, July 9, 2013

013 - Bakri - Battani

Bakri (Abu ‘Ubaydallah al-Bakri) (d. 1094). Arab geographer.  He never left Cordova, but in 1067-68, he compiled information concerning the Western Sudanic region, based on both oral accounts of traders and previous written works.  Of the latter the most important was that of Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Warraq (904-973) which is now lost.  Al-Bakri’s description of Ghana, written shortly after its fall, is one of the best sources of information for that empire.  
Abu ‘Ubaydallah al-Bakri see Bakri

Balawi, al-
Balawi, al-.  Egyptian historian of the tenth century.  His biography of Ahmad ibn Tulun (r. 868-884), the founder of the Tulunids, is the most important source for the period. 

Balban (Ghiyath al-Din Balban) (Ghiyas ud-Din Balban) (1200-1287).  Most prominent of the Mu‘izzi or Slave Sultans of Delhi.  He ruled from 1266 to 1287.  Balban was originally a slave purchased by the sultan Iltutmish.  Balban placed monarchy on a divine pedestal and followed Iranian customs and ceremonies.  A firm administrator, he established law and order in disturbed areas and set up police stations with Afghan guards.  His garrisoning of the northwestern frontier against Mongol invasions was effective.  Balban was one of the few rulers to survive when almost every Muslim state of Central Asia had fallen to the Mongols.  He welcomed refugees from Central Asia and named different quarters of the city after them.  A believer in inherited status despite his low birth, he did not like to appoint lowborn persons to government offices.  He had a stern sense of justice and punished even his officers if they were found guilty of oppression.  

Ghiyas ud-Din Balban was son of a Turkish noble of the Ilbari tribe, but as a child was captured by Mongols and sold as a slave at Ghazni. Later, he was bought by Sultan Iltutmish in 1232, who at the orders of his own master, Qutbuddin Aibak, released him from slavery and brought him up in a manner befitting a prince.

Ghiyas ud-Din Balban was liberally educated. He became the head of the Chalissa, a group of forty Turkish nobles of the state. After the overthrow of Razia Sultana he made rapid strides in the subsequent reigns. He was initially the Prime Minister from 1246 to 1266, but Balban declared himself the Sultan of Delhi after the previous sultan Nasir ud-Din Mahmud's death.

During his reign, Balban ruled with an iron fist. He broke up the Chihalgani, a group of the forty most important nobles in the court. He tried to establish peace and order in the country of India. He built many outposts in areas where there was crime and garrisoned them with soldiers. Balban wanted to make sure everyone was loyal to the crown by establishing an efficient espionage system.

He ruled as the Sultan from 1266 until his death in 1287, and was succeeded by his grandson, Muiz ud-Din Qaiqabad, who reign (1287-1290). His successors were weak and incompetent and the throne was eventually captured by Jalal ud-Din Firuz Khilji in 1290, bringing an end to the Slave dynasty.

Balban's tomb is today situated in the Mehrauli Archaeological Park, beyond the Qutb complex.

Ghiyath al-Din Balban see Balban
Ghiyas ud-Din Balban see Balban

Balewa (Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa) (December 1912 – January 15, 1966) First prime minister of an independent Nigeria. Originally a trained teacher, he became a vocal leader for Northern interests as one of the few educated Nigerians of his time. He was also an international statesman, widely respected across the African continent as one of the leaders who encouraged the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).

Abubakar Balewa was born in Bauchi, the son of a Bageri Muslim district head in the Bauchi divisional district of Lere. He started early education at the Koranic School in Bauchi and like most of his contemporaries, he studied at the Katsina College for further education and soon acquired his teaching certificate. He returned to Bauchi to teach at the Bauchi Middle School. In 1944, along with a few learned teachers from the north, he was chosen to study abroad for a year at the University of London's Institute of Education. Upon returning to Nigeria, he became an Inspector of Schools for the colonial administration and later entered politics. He was elected in 1946, to the colony's Northern House of Assembly, and to the Legislative Assembly in 1947. As a legislator, he was a vocal advocate of the rights of northern Nigeria, and together with Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, who held the hereditary title of Sardauna of Sokoto, he founded the Northern People's Congress (NPC).

In 1949, Balewa militantly represented northern interests in talks on constitutional reform.  At the same time, he worked for moderate reform within his own northern region.

In 1950, Balewa incurred the wrath of many of northern Nigeria’s traditional rulers by instigating an investigation (and initiating the reform) of the institution of “Sole Native Authority,” whereby there were no checks on the power of the emirs within their own communities.

In 1951, Alhaji Balewa joined Alhaji Ahmadu Bello, the Sardauna of Sokoto -- the traditional ruler of northern Nigeria -- in forming the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC) as a vehicle for establishing northern dominance in national politics.  After the implementation of a new constitution in 1952, Balewa became a federal minister.

As a federal minister, Balewa enhanced his reputation as a highly intelligent hard worker.  His star began to rise.

Balewa entered the government in 1952 as Minister of Works, and later served as Minister of Transport. In 1957, he was elected Chief Minister, forming a coalition government between the NPC and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC), led by Nnamdi Azikiwe. He retained the post as Prime Minister when Nigeria gained independence in 1960, and was re-elected in 1964.

Prior to Nigeria's independence, a constitutional conference in 1954 had adopted a regional political framework for the country, with all regions given a considerable amount of political freedom. The three regions then were composed of diverse cultural groups. The premiers and some prominent leaders of the regions later took on a policy of guiding their regions against political encroachment from other regional leaders. Later on, this political environment influenced the Balewa administration. His term in office was turbulent, with regional factionalism constantly threatening his government.

However, as Prime Minister of Nigeria, he played important roles in the continent's formative indigenous rule. He was an important leader in the formation of the Organization of African Unity and creating a cooperative relationship with French speaking African Countries. He was also instrumental in negotiations between Moise Tshombe and the Congolese authorities during the Congo Crisis of 1960-1964. He led a vocal protest against the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 and also entered into an alliance with Commonwealth ministers who wanted South Africa to leave the Commonwealth in 1961. However, a treason charge and conviction against one of the western region's leaders, Obafemi Awolowo, led to protest and condemnation from many of his supporters. The 1965 election in the region later produced violent protests. Rioting and violence were soon synchronous with what was perceived as inordinate political encroachment and an over-exuberant election outcome for Awolowo's western opponents.

As Prime Minister of Nigeria, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, from 1960 to 1961, doubled as Foreign Minister of Nigeria. In 1961, he relinquished the position in favour of Jaja Wachuku who became, from 1961 to 1965, the First substantive Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Commonwealth Relations, later called External Affairs.

In 1962, Obafemi Awolowo, the leader of the Western region, was charged with plotting to overthrow Balewa’s government.  Awolowo was imprisoned.  However, political unrest and violence persisted and continued to plague Balewa’s administration.  

In 1966, a military coup was staged in Nigeria.  Alhaji Balewa was killed in the coup.  He was overthrown and killed in a military coup on January 15, 1966, as were many other leaders, including his old companion Ahmadu Bello. His body was discovered by a roadside near Lagos six days after he was ousted from office. Balewa was buried in Bauchi.

Today, the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University in Bauchi is named in his honor.

Alhaji Abubakar Tafawa Balewa see Balewa
Abubakar Tafawa Balewa see Balewa

Balinus.  Arab name for Apollonius of Perge and Apollonius of Tyana.  {See Apollonius.}
Apollonius of Perge  see Balinus.
Apollonius of Tyana see Balinus.
Apollonius see Balinus.

Balkar.  Turkic speaking peoples who live along the northern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains.  A few small groups also live in Kazakhstan and Kirghizstan.  The name “Balkar” may derive from the word “Bulgar,” which has applied to a number of people in a variety of spellings for many centuries.  Other names and spellings which are used to refer to the Balkar include Balkarlar, Malkarlar, Malkarla, Taulu, and Mallqarli.  

The exact time of the Balkar conversion to Islam is a matter of conjecture, although they were certainly converted by the mid-nineteenth century, at the time of the Shamil revolt in Daghestan (1834-1858).  Whenever the time of conversion, however, the Balkar remained only superficially committed to the faith, retaining certain aspects of shamanism and animism with an incomplete knowledge of the Sunni belief system of the other peoples of the North Caucasus.  Their commitment was slight enough to allow the Balkar to refuse to join the Shamil revolt, even though the call to join was plainly cast as a holy war against the Russians.

By the late nineteenth century, the Balkar lands had been caught in the wave of Russian settlement that followed the pacification of the Caucasus.  Never a numerous people, the Balkar were unable to oppose the gradual conversion of their lands to agriculture, an occupation to which they themselves gradually adapted.

After the Russian Revolution, the Balkar eventually split from the Karachai, with whom they share a common heritage, and were placed in a separate administrative district -- the Kabardian-Balkar A.S.S.R.  

In 1944, Stalin accused the Balkars of Kabardino-Balkaria of collaborating with Nazi Germany and deported the entire population. The territory was renamed the Kabardian ASSR until 1957, when the Balkar population was allowed to return and its name was restored.

Although there is no substantial evidence of Balkar disloyalty during World War II, the Balkar were nonetheless uprooted as a people in 1943 and 1944 and scattered throughout Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Their republic was abolished, and they ceased to be counted as a people.  After 1956 and de-Stalinization, they were rehabilitated, their republic was re-created and certain select groups were allowed to return to it.  Some remained in Central Asia and continue to live there today.  There is little evidence to show that the Balkar of today are practicing Muslims.  

The Karachay-Balkar language of the Balkars is of the Ponto-Caspian subgroup of the Northwestern (Kypchak) group of Turkic languages. Related to Crimean Tatar and Kumyk. There is also an opinion that the Balkars are remnants of a branch of the Bulgar tribe that moved into the Caucasus under Bazbaian after the westward movement of the Hunnish wave at the beginning of the 4th century of the Christian calendar.

At the turn of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries a small segment of the Balkars emigrated to Turkey and Syria.

Many Balkars live in the Russian republic of Kabardino-Balkaria.

The term Balkar is said to be derived from Bolgar or Bulgar, the Balkars supposedly being Bulgars who lived in Onoghur and Great Bulgaria and who remained in the Caucasus as the others migrated to the Balkans and Middle Volga.

Balkarlar see Balkar.
 Malkarlar see Balkar.
Malkarla see Balkar.
Taulu see Balkar.
Mallqarli see Balkar.

Ba Lobbo
Ba Lobbo (/Balobo) (d. 1864).  Leader of the revolt in which Tukolor revolutionary al-Hajj ‘Umar was killed.  Ba Lobbo had hoped to succeed his brother, Hamad II, as ruler of Macina, but the latter abdicated in favor of a son before his death in 1853.  Ba Lobbo served the new ruler, Hamad III, as commander of the Macina army.  When ‘Umar threatened Macina and the neighboring state of Segu, the two rival states allied against him.  ‘Umar’s forces defeated the alliance, and in 1862 Hamad III was killed.  In 1863, Ba Lobbo led a revolt which triggered a widespread anti-Tukolor uprising.  ‘Umar was killed while trying to put down the revolt the following year.  But Ba Lobbo’s success was ephemeral.  ‘Umar’s nephew, Ahmadu Tijani, reconquered Macina within months.  

Ba Lobbo, was the son of Massina Empire ruler Ahmadu Seku, and brother of Hamad III (Ahmadu Ahmadu), the Empire's last king.

After the 1862 fall of the Empire's capital Hamdullahi to El Hadj Umar Tall's (al-Hajj 'Umar's) Tukolor Empire, Hamad III (Ahmadu Ahmadu) was captured and executed, leaving Ba Lobbo the leader of remaining Massina forces. Assembling a force of Fulas and Kountas, Ba Lobbo succeeded in driving Umar Tall from Hamdullahi and into the cliffs of Dogon country near Bandiagara in 1864. Though Umar Tall died there in an explosion of his gunpowder reserves, his nephew Tidiani Tall succeeded him as Tukolor emperor, and suppressed Ba Lobbo's resistance.  Thereafter, the Massina never regained their independence as a state.

Lobbo, Ba see Ba Lobbo
Balobo see Ba Lobbo

Baltis.  An ethnic group of Tibetan descent with some Dardic admixture located in Baltistan, a region in the Northern Areas, Pakistan, and Ladakh, a region in Jammu and Kashmir, India; as well as scattered throughout Pakistan's major urban centers of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad and Rawalpindi. The Balti language belongs to the Tibetan language family and is a sub-dialect of Ladakhi. Balti, Ladakhi and Burig are mutually intelligible.

In the basin of the upper Indus River, the Baltis are the downstream neighbors of the Buddhist Ladakhi of Tibet and the upstream neighbors of the Muslim Dards of Gilgit and Chilas.  Over mountain passes to the north live the Burusho of Hunza and Nagar.  China’s Xinjiang Province is over mountain passes to the northeast, and to the south tracks lead into Indian Kashmir.

The Baltis were Buddhist prior to 1400.  At approximately that time, Sufi teachers converted the Baltis to Islam.  Local tradition attributes the origin of Islam in Baltistan to one or more visits from Kashmir by Sayyid ‘Ali al’ Hamadani (1314-1384).  There is no historical record of his personal visit, but his influence, whether directly or through his disciples, is well established.  Some of the oldest mosques in Baltistan are wooden khanaqahs, constructed on the unique design of the famous Shah Hamadan mosque in Srinagar.  But most interesting, the Nurbakhshiyya Sufi order, derived from 'Ali al' Hamadani through Isaq al' Khuttalani to Muhammad ibn 'Abdullah (known as Nurbaksh [d. 1465]) was brought from Kashmir to Baltistan.  Nurbakhshiyya Sufis still prevail in the eastern sections of Baltistan (Khapalu region) and are numerous in the Shigar region.  

The rest of the Balti population, notably in the Skardu area, is predominantly Shi‘a.  Shiism was brought from Kashmir to Baltistan by Mir Shams-u-din ‘Iraqi’, a Shi‘a who preached in Kashmir under the cloak of the more acceptable Nurbakshiyya Sufi order.  When he fell from favor in Kashmir, he went to Skardu for a brief period.  

Although the Baltis have been Muslim for more than 500 years, the Tibetan roots of their culture can still be seen in their language, animal husbandry, clothing, food and folklore traditions. 

Baluch (Baloch).  A people of western Pakistan, southeastern Iran and southwestern Afghanistan.  The trans-border “heartland” of the Baluch is a 250,000 square mile tract of desolate desert, mountains and seacoast known as “Baluchistan,” or “land of the Baluch.”  However, substantial Baluch populations are found outside this area, notably in Pakistan’s Sind and Punjab provinces and in the Persian Gulf emirates, where for centuries Baluch have gone to find their fortunes, originally as mercenary soldiers and slaves and more recently as workers in oil related activities.  

The Baluch language, Baluchi, belongs to the Iranic branch of Indo-Iranian and has affinities to tongues spoken in the northwest part of present day Baluch territory.  Baluch traditions trace the ancestry of many of the major tribal groups to the Middle East and the Caspian region.  Some native Baluch scholars even suggest that the Baluch are descendants of Babylonian civilization.  Others look to an Arabian or Syrian homeland with Hamza, the uncle of the Prophet, often cited as a key ancestor.

References in the tenth century Persian Book of Kings suggest that, for several centuries earlier, Baluch had served prominently in the vanguards of Persian rulers, while Arab accounts from this period portray the Baluch as well established in the Kirman region of Iran, where they enjoyed a formidable reputation as brigands.

By the late fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, a massive eastward thrust of Baluch, under their renowned folk hero, Mir Chakar Rind, carried them throughout most of Baluchistan and even into the Punjab.  It was at this time that many of the existing Baluch clan and tribal groupings came into being, for the Baluch, as predatory nomads, absorbed into their society and polity many of the peoples in their path and acted as a magnet to others with freebooting inclinations.  This ethnic heterogeneity is evident in the composition of those who call themselves Baluch today.  Black slave groups of African origin, refugees from Pushtu-speaking regions and Brahuis of Dravidian language stock are some of the notable components in the contemporary Baluch population.  

During the heyday of the British Raj, the Baluch were allowed considerable regional autonomy as long as they served as a buffer to Russian ambitions on the Arabian Sea.  Today, this “Great Game” (as Kipling called it) of big power intrigue over the Baluch and their land continued in intensified form, especially after the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

For the most of the latter part of the twentieth century, the Baluch, long accustomed to handling their own affairs, have been increasingly consolidated into the central governmental structures of Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.  Resentments about contemptuous, heavy-handed and often corrupt administration by non-Baluch bureaucrats (such as the Punjabis, who dominate Pakistan’s civil service and who often view the Baluch as near savages) have been rife among the honor-obsessed tribesmen.  Regional autonomy and outright secessionist and irredentist movements have been the result, centered in Pakistan and headed by traditional elites, who resent usurpation of their accustomed powers by nation states.  In recent years, Baluch insurgents have waged both guerrilla and propaganda wars against their various central governments, with the period 1973-1977 witnessing a large scale insurrection in Pakistani Baluchistan spearheaded by the Marri tribe and its Sardar.  The Baluch were abetted in this uprising by such outside forces as India, Iraq and Afghanistan, all of whom had vested interests in destabilizing Pakistan and/or Iran, the centers of Baluch population.

Open warfare had subsided by the summer of 1982, but the anti-Pakistani guerrillas known as Farari continued to receive safe haven in Marxist Afghanistan.  This was ironic because the Baluch shared many cultural values with the Pushtun of Afghanistan, who comprise the bulk of the anti-Soviet Mujahidin insurgents based in Pakistan.  Yet their differing ethnic political interests often lead to armed conflict between Baluch and Pushtun “freedom fighters” when they meet on their respective cross-border forays.  

In Iran, the Sunni Baluch held little tolerance for Khomeini style Shi‘a fundamentalism and were among the first of Iran’s minority groups to protest openly the revolution’s policies.

The Baluchis are believed to have migrated to Baluchistan from Persian around 1100.  Their cultural identity is manifest in Baluchi, a language closely related to Persian; patrilineal social structures; and a code of honor similar to that of their Pathan neighbors.  Baluchis are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslims, although a small Zikri sect exists in Pakistan.

Baluchistan is largely desert intersected by numerous mountain chains.  In this habitat, a variety of local adaptation based on altitudinal zones and water sources developed.  Local communities range from small nomadic camps and transhumant villages to modest towns.  In the more isolated areas, such as the Sarhad in Iran and the Marri-Bugti Hills in Pakistan, pastoral nomadism predominates, often supplemented by rainfall cultivation.  In the more productive areas, irrigation agriculture is practiced.  Transhumant villages are characterized by a mixed economy of cultivation and animal husbandry that seasonally exploits altitudinal zones.

Economic variation is accompanied by a range of political structures.  Pastoral nomadism is associated with tribal organization and egalitarian idioms.  In areas of intensive cultivation, there are feudal-like structures in which a local elite controls subject cultivators, exacting a portion of the harvest as rent or tribute.  In the past, nomadic tribes articulated with these centers through contractual alliances in which the tribes provided warriors but retained de facto autonomy.

Although the Baluchis have never been politically united, local groups in both Iran and Pakistan have long histories of resistance to outside domination.  In recent years, as Iran and Pakistan have attempted to integrate Baluchis in the state, a Baluchi nationalist movement has emerged.  It is centered in Pakistan and espouses autonomous Baluchi regions in both countries.  

Baloch see Baluch

Bambara (Bamana) (Banmana).   Muslim people who form part of the large Mandingo language group.  The Bambara are found in all the regions of Mali and the northern Ivory Coast along with parts of Guinea, Burkina Faso and Senegal.  In the nineteenth century of the Christian calendar, the Bambara formed two powerful states, Segu and Kaarta.  These two states were notable for their attachment to pagan traditions.

The Bambara form part of the large Manding language group and can communicate with Manding speakers as far west as Gambia.  They are found in all the regions of Mali and the northern Ivory Coast.  Many thousands are scattered in Guinea and Gambia.  Most are concentrated along both banks of the Niger River, from the interior delta to Bamako, and from the Bani River in the east to the plains of Kaarta to the west.  In Mali, they form 31 percent of the population and greatly influence the culture and politics of the nation.  About seventy percent of the Bambara are Muslims.  

In the course of the eighteenth century, the Bambara founded two kingdoms in the region where they presently predominate.  The Segu and Kaarta kingdoms were fiercely traditionalist and, in the case of Segu, several idols formed part of the institutional apparatus of state.  Although the Segu and Kaarta Bambara were pagans, they were not averse to using Islam when and where it suited them.  Muslims thus came to have important roles within the administration as diplomats and councilors to the rulers and as representatives of other Muslims living in the kingdoms.  Animist Bambara rulers often sought special prayers from famed Muslim clerics, and they rewarded such services with gifts of luxuries and slaves.  Nonetheless, Islam existed in an uneasy balance with traditional religion until the conquest by the French in the last two decades of the nineteenth century.  

During the period of Bambara hegemony (c. 1710-1861), Bambara identity began to devolve into two forms, although both were clearly defined in opposition to the Muslim Maraka traders.  On the one hand, slave warriors came to dominate the Bambara states.  These warriors were hard drinking, hard fighting and committed to immediate gratification.  All these values were antagonistic to the pious, refrained and accumulative Muslim merchants.  On the other hand, Bambara identity remained deeply imbedded in the organization of farming communities using collective labor practices.  Bambara farmers still dependent upon the ton consider themselves to be the authentic Bamana.

Magic was the primary means through which Islam percolated into Bambara society.  The Bambara are essentially pragmatic.  They are not averse to adding new rituals to their established practices, especially when the efficacy thereof is proven.  Amulets containing written verses from the Qur’an or prayers, known as grisgris, were common accoutrements to Bambara wardrobes.  Indeed, illustrations of fiercely animist Bambara warriors show them bedecked with these amulets.  The Somono and the Soninke followed a quieter path of conversion.

Beginning in 1852, Al Hajj 'Umar participated in a wave of militant Muslim revivals which overthrew the Bambara kingdoms of Segu and Kaarta.  By 1861, 'Umar had established a theocratic state, albeit on rather slender foundations, stretching throughout the areas where the Bambara had ruled.  The 'Umarian experience, however, was not conducive to conversion.  Although the 'Umarians (whose leadership was largely dominated by the Tukulor but included a variety of other West African Muslim peoples) introduced the Tijaniyya brotherhood into the Bambara lands, they made few converts.  Indeed, the 'Umarian experience probably reinforced local animist religions longer than might otherwise have been the case.  Anti-Muslim Bambara warlords led a 30 year resistance against the 'Umarians.  Moreover, the 'Umarians did not fully re-establish a viable regional economy and a strong state in which Islam could have made conquering the western Sudan, their success paradoxically re-established conditions favorable for the expansion of Islam.

By 1912, only a tiny fraction (about 3 percent) of the Bambara were Muslims.  French pacification eroded the slave warrior tradition, although many Bambara served in the French colonial army.  French conquest increased commercial opportunities throughout the western Sudan, and Islam once again spread on the heels of this commerce radiating outward from the cities, as it had done since the eleventh century.  Trade and production for the market gnawed at the traditional forms of community solidarity and weakened them.  As Islam seeped into these open cracks, it provided a new sense of community for those participating in a larger economic system.  Islam also hastened the erosion of these communal bonds, which had rested upon both cooperation and young bachelor’s labor.  In a report written in 1909, a French administrator described how the penetration of Islam into a Bambara community had turned newly converted youth against their animist elders.  The new opportunities for accumulation engendered by expanding markets stood in sharp opposition to the cooperative anti-accumulative strategy of the Bamana.  Conversion also offered those of low social status an opportunity to escape from their place within Bambara society.  

Islam also expanded among the Bambara as a form of opposition to colonial rule.  While the rebellions during the recruitment drive of World War I were organized along traditional animist lines, resistance after World War II was often articulated in an Islamic idiom.  The most numerous conversions among the Bambara occurred after 1945.  Most Bambara today admit to being Muslims and participate in Muslim celebrations and in Friday prayers.  The adaptation of the Muslim lunar calendar to the Bambara agricultural cycle posed no serious hardships.  For example, the fasting of Ramadan meshed naturally with the local “hungry” season.  Islam continued to advance among the Bambara as the established forms of social organization and their cultural and political logic disappeared.  

Bamana see Bambara
Banmana see Bambara

Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) (Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Dol).  A political grouping created as a vehicle for the associates of President Ziaur Rahman in 1978.  Ziaur had been elected president in June 1978 as the candidate of JANODAL (an acronym for the Bengali equivalent of “People’s Party”).  JANODAL and portions of the conservative Muslim League, the leftist National Awami Party (formerly led by Maulana 'Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani), and several other smaller parties joined together to support Ziaur’s nineteen point development program.  Justice 'Abdus Sattar, who succeeded Ziaur as president of the nation in 1981, was the titular leader of the party.  It won 207 of the 300 directly elected seats in the parliamentary poll in February 1979.  After Ziaur’s assassination in May 1981 and the coup that ousted Sattar in March 1982, the party was led by Ziaur’s widow, Begum Khalida Ziaur.   

Founded in 1978 by General Ziaur Rahman, the 6th President of Bangladesh, the BNP evolved into one of the most powerful political entities in South Asia. The BNP was established by President Zia to provide a political platform for him after his assumption of power during Bangladesh's volatile period of Martial Law from 1975 till 1979. The BNP also accommodated not just his supporters, but also those tradiionally opposed to its principal rival, the Awami League, which had a virtual monopoly domination in Bangladeshi politics prior to the Martial Law period. Idealogically, the party has professed Bangladeshi nationalism, described as a more inclusive and Islamic conscieousness of the people of Muslim majority Bangladesh, in order to counter the Awami League's secular Bengali nationalism. The BNP has since its inception, been opposed to communism and socialism and freedom of religion and advocates vigorous free market policies.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party has held power in Bangladesh for five separate terms. Amongst its leaders, four have become President of Bangladesh and two have become Prime Minister of Bangladesh. Within the party, power has remained exclusively in the hands of the Zia family, with Begum Khaleda Zia leading the party since the assassination of Ziaur Rahman, her husband and the party's founder.

Around 2006, the BNP became embroiled in a huge controversy with accusations of unbridled corruption from the press. Hundreds of its leaders, including Begum Zia, her sons as well as dozens of its former ministers and lawmakers were arrested on corruption charges by the military backed interim administration in Bangladesh during the 2006–2008 Bangladeshi political crisis. The party has also been accused of paying a blind eye to the growth of Islamic extremism in the country and for allying with Islamic fundamentalist parties, such as the Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, which had also opposed the independence of Bangladesh.

BNP see Bangladesh Nationalist Party
Bangladesh Jatiotabadi Dol see Bangladesh Nationalist Party

Banisadr (Abol-Hasan Bani Sadr) (Abolhasan Banisadr) (Abu al-Hasan Bani Sadr) (b. 1933).  First president of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1980-1981).  Banisadr was born in the western Iranian city of Hamadan to Ayatollah Hajj Sayyid Nasrollah Banisadr, a religious scholar of some standing.  Banisadr formed his political ambitions early, predicting at the age of seventeen that he would be the first president of post-shah Iran.  He began studies of theology and economics at Tehran University and was at the head of a student delegation that met Prime Minister Amini in 1962.  The following year, however, he was imprisoned for four months after participating in demonstrations.  On his release, he left for France to continue his studies.  He concentrated on economics and sociology, studying these under the guidance of the Marxist scholar Paul Vieille. He also helped in organizing Iranian students in Paris hostile to the shah’s regime.  In early 1972, Banisadr had his first contact with Ayatollah Khomeini when he traveled to Najaf, Khomeini’s place of exile, in order to attend the funeral of his father (the elder Banisadr had died in Beirut, and the body was brought to Najaf for burial).  Thereafter, Banisadr intensified his political activity, and he began to write a number of works on Islamic politics and economics.

In November 1978, Khomeini himself arrived in Paris, and Banisadr became a highly visible member of his entourage.  Returning to Iran with Khomeini in February 1979, Banisadr was appointed to the Council of the Islamic Revolution.  In July, he was given the post of acting minister of economy and finance, and on November 5, 1979, after the occupation of the United States embassy by Islamic militants and the resignation of the Bazargan government, he was appointed acting minister of foreign affairs.  He soon extricated himself from the latter post and concentrated on preparations for the presidential elections due the following January.  As a result of his intensive campaigning -- as well as to the disarray in the Islamic Republican Party -- he received 10.7 million out of the 14.3 million votes cast on January 25, 1980, and was sworn in as first president of the Islamic Republic on February 4, 1980.

The size of Banisadr’s victory was deceptive, however, and in the Majlis, elected in two stages, that first met in May 1980, Banisadr had no organized support.  Friction soon arose between him and a majority of its members, especially those associated with the Islamic Republican Party.  Three persons he proposed to the Majlis as candidates for prime minister were successively turned down, and in August, he was obliged to accept the premiership of Mohammed Ali Rejai.

One month later, Iraq attacked Iran, but the war served only to widen the gap between Banisadr and his opponents.  In November, by denouncing the Islamic Republican Party in a series of speeches, he defied the orders of Khomeini that all parties should observe a political truce.  In March 1981, when Banisadr ordered his personal guards to arrest hecklers at a meeting at Tehran University, he had reached a point of no return.  The efforts of a conciliation committee were fruitless, and events moved swiftly.  On June 10, 1981, Khomeini dismissed Banisadr from his post of commander in chief, and ten days later the Majlis proclaimed him “politically incompetent,” thus removing him from the presidency.  Banisadr then went into hiding, and on July 28, 1981, he fled to Paris in the company of Mas’ud Rajavi, leader of the Mujahidin-i Khalq, to set up a “National Council of Resistance” and a government-in-exile.  But these were ineffectual charades, for the Islamic Republic was able to surmount the crisis that occurred after many of its leading figures were assassinated by Rajavi’s men.  By contrast, the “National Council of Resistance” foundered when Rajavi had a friendly meeting in Paris with Iraqi officials and Banisadr found it politic, in April 1984, to distance himself from him.

Banisadr may be characterized as a man of acute ambition who fundamentally misread the climate of his homeland.  His following was never firm and he was unequipped to compete with the charisma of the religious leadership of Ayatollah Khomeini.  

Abol-Hasan Bani Sadr see Banisadr
Abolhasan Banisadr see Banisadr
Abu al-Hasan Bani Sadr see Banisadr
Sadr, Abol-Hasan Bani see Banisadr
Sadr, Abu al-Hasan Bani Sadr see Banisadr

Banna’, Hasan al-
Banna’, Hasan al- (Hasan al-Banna’) (Hassan al-Banna) (October 14, 1906 – February 12, 1949). Arabic: حسن البنا) was an Egyptian social and political reformer, best known for founding the Muslim Brotherhood, one of the largest and most influential 20th century Muslim revivalist organizations. Al-Banna's leadership was critical to the growth of the brotherhood during the 1930s and 1940s. Convinced that Islamic society should return to the Qur’an and the hadith,  Hasan al-Banna’ founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928.  He was arrested several times and was assassinated in 1949 after the Brotherhood had been suppressed.

Hasan al-Banna’ was born on October 14, 1906 in Mohammediya in northern Egypt as the oldest son of a watch repairman.  Banna’s family was very religious.   In 1923, Banna went to Cairo Teachers College and finished his education as a teacher at the top of his class.  He was then admitted to the famous al-Azhar University.    

In 1927, Banna' began working as a teacher in a state school in the city of Ismailiyya near the Suez Canal.  In March 1928, he established the al-Ikhwan al-Muslimun (Ikhwanu al-Muslimin) -- the Muslim Brothers --  together with his brother and five others.  

The main inspiration for his religious involvement was from the magazine Al Manar which published the writings of Muhammad Rashid Rida.  The organization he started when he was 22 was initially a moderate one in its instruments, but changes in the political climate and reorientations in its ideology, made the Brotherhood active in violent operations from the late 1940s.

The first Brotherhood was a youth club stressing moral and social reform, promoting this through education and propaganda.  

In 1933, Banna' moved the headquarters to the capital Cairo, and, in 1942 to 1945, he travelled many times to Jordan, where he set up Brotherhood branches in many towns over the entire country.  

In 1948, Banna' declared that the Egyptian government was responsible for the Arab weakness in the First Palestinian War against newly formed Israel.

On February 12, 1949, Banna' was shot dead in Cairo by secret service agents.

Banna' was a prolific writer.  He wrote memoirs, as well as numerous articles and speeches.  Among his most important books is his “Letter to a Muslim Student,” a book in which Banna' explains the principles of his movement.  

Banna’s legacy is still active, and his movement has spread to many other Muslim countries.  

Hasan al-Banna’ see Banna’, Hasan al-
Hassan al-Banna see Banna’, Hasan al-

Banna’, Sabri al-
Banna’, Sabri al-.  See Abu Nidal.

Bantu.   General label for over 400 ethnic groups in Sub-Saharan Africa, from Cameroon across Central Africa and Eastern Africa to Southern Africa. These peoples share a common language family sub-group, the Bantu languages, and broad ancestral culture, but Bantu languages as a whole are as diverse as Indo-European languages.

"Bantu" means "people" in many Bantu languages, along with similar sounding cognates. Dr. Wilhelm Bleek first used the term "Bantu" in its current sense in his 1862 book A Comparative Grammar of South African Languages, in which he hypothesized that a vast number of languages located across central, southern, eastern, and western Africa shared so many characteristics that they must be part of a single language group. Bleek's basic thesis of linguistic affinity has been confirmed by numerous researchers using the comparative method.
If one were to draw a line from Cameroon in West Africa to Kenya in East Africa, all peoples south of this line would be Bantu speakers except for a few thousand people speaking Nilotic, Cushitic or Khoisan (Click) languages.  They comprise an enormous number of ethnic groups, frequently called tribes.  In the country of Tanzania alone there are approximately 120 different groups.  Most Bantu peoples have retained their own traditional animistic religions steeped in the sacredness of ancestors and a multiplicity of gods and spirits related to forces and things of nature.  Many millions have become Christians of various sects.  In eastern Africa, a significant number are Muslims, the result of centuries of contact with Arabs and early converts along the coast, the most influential of these being the Swahili peoples.  Among the major Bantu-speaking subgroups who have been most influenced by Islam are the Northeast Bantu, Interlacustrine Bantu and Central Bantu.

The Bantu-speaking peoples probably originated in what today is eastern Nigeria.  The migrations that led to their present wide distribution seem to have begun about 2,000 years ago.  It is thought that they moved south through the rain forest, possibly using canoes, then settled in what is today the Luba area of Katanga in Zaire.  From here they seem to have fanned out in a series of migrations until today they are found as far north as southern Somali (the Northeast Bantu) and as far south as South Africa, a distance of more than 2,000 miles.  Almost everywhere, the Bantu absorbed the pre-Bantu sedentary peoples they found before them.  And almost everywhere they settled, their language developed distinctive characteristics of its own.  

Current scholarly understanding places the ancestral proto-Bantu homeland near the southwestern modern boundary of Nigeria and Cameroon ca. 5,000 years ago (3000 B.C.T.), and regards the Bantu languages as a branch of the Niger-Congo language family.

Before the expansion of farming and herding peoples, including those speaking Bantu languages, Africa south of the equator was populated by neolithic hunting and foraging peoples. Some of them were ancestral to modern Central African forest peoples (so-called Pygmies) who now speak Bantu languages. Others were proto-Khoisan-speaking peoples, whose few modern hunter-forager and linguistic descendants today occupy the arid regions around the Kalahari desert. Many more Khoikhoi (Khoekhoe) and San descendants have a Coloured identity in South Africa and Namibia, speaking Afrikaans and English. The small Hadza and Sandawe-speaking populations in Tanzania, whose languages are proposed by many to have a distant relationship to Khoikhoi and San languages (although the hypothesis that the Khoisan languages are a single family is disputed by many, and the name is simply used for convenience), comprise the other modern hunter-forager remnant in Africa. Over a period of many centuries, most hunting-foraging peoples were displaced and absorbed by incoming Bantu-speaking communities, as well as by Ubangian, Nilotic and Central Sudanic language-speakers in North Central and Eastern Africa. While earliest archaeological evidence of farming and herding in today's Bantu language areas often is presumed to reflect spread of Bantu-speaking communities, it need not always do so.

The Bantu expansion was a millennia-long series of physical migrations, a diffusion of language and knowledge out into and in from neighboring populations, and a creation of new societal groups involving inter-marriage among communities and small groups moving to communities and small groups moving to new areas. Bantu-speakers developed novel methods of agriculture and metalworking which allowed people to colonize new areas with widely varying ecologies in greater densities than hunting and foraging permitted. Meanwhile in Eastern and Southern Africa Bantu-speakers adopted livestock husbandry from other peoples they encountered, and in turn passed it to hunter-foragers, so that herding reached the far south several centuries before Bantu-speaking migrants did. Archaeological, linguistic and genetic evidence all support the idea that the Bantu expansion was one of the most significant human migrations and cultural transformations within the past few thousand years.

It is unclear when exactly the spread of Bantu-speakers began from their core area as hypothesized ca. 5,000 years ago. By 3,500 years ago (1500 B.C.T.) in the west, Bantu-speaking communities had reached the great Central African rainforest, and by 2,500 years ago (500 B.C.T.) pioneering groups had emerged into the savannahs to the south, in what are now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Zambia. Another stream of migration, moving east, by 3,000 years ago (1000 B.C.T.) was creating a major new population center near the Great Lakes of East Africa, where a rich environment supported a dense population. Movements by small groups to the southeast from the Great Lakes region were more rapid, with initial settlements widely dispersed near the coast and near rivers, due to comparatively harsh farming conditions in areas further from water. Pioneering groups had reached modern KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa by 300 C.C. along the coast, and the modern Northern Province (encompassed within the former province of the Transvaal) by 500 C.C.

Between the 14th and 15th centuries powerful Bantu-speaking states began to emerge, in the Great Lakes region, in the savannah south of the Central African rainforest, and on the Zambezi river where the Monomatapa kings built the famous Great Zimbabwe complex. Such processes of state-formation occurred with increasing frequency from the 16th century onward. They were probably due to denser population, which led to more specialized divisions of labor, including military power, while making emigration more difficult, to increased trade among African communities and with European, Swahili and Arab traders on the coasts, to technological developments in economic activity, and to new techniques in the political-spiritual ritualization of royalty as the source of national strength and health.

In the 1920s, relatively liberal white South Africans, missionaries and the small black intelligentsia began to use the term "Bantu" in preference to "Native" and more derogatory terms (such as "Kaffir") to refer collectively to Bantu-speaking South Africans. After World War II, the racialist National Party governments adopted that usage officially, while the growing African nationalist movement and its liberal white allies turned to the term "African" instead, so that "Bantu" became identified with the policies of apartheid. By the 1970s this so discredited "Bantu" as an ethno-racial designation that the apartheid government switched to the term "Black" in its official racial categorizations, restricting it to Bantu-speaking Africans, at about the same time that the Black Consciousness Movement led by Steve Biko and others were defining "Black" to mean all racially oppressed South Africans (Africans, Coloureds and Indians).

Bantu, Central Tanzanian
Bantu, Central Tanzanian.  Central Tanzania, a region of poor soils, low rainfall and frequent famine, is the home of a Bantu speaking people who have in common variants of the basic language family of the Central Bantu of the Niger Congo.  Perhaps half the people are Muslims, divided unequally among the major ethnic groups of the Rangi, Turu and Iramba.  Islam entered the area of central Tanzania in the nineteenth century through the slave trade, for which the town of Kondoa was a center.  It subsequently became a center for Swahili culture, which is Islamic, and continues to hold this position today.  All of the central Tanzanian Bantu Muslims are Sunni of the Shafi school.  

The earliest concrete evidence of Muslim presence in East Africa is the foundation of a mosque in Shanga on Pate Island where gold, silver and copper coins dated from 830 were found during an excavation in the 1980s. The oldest intact building in East Africa is the Kizimkazi Mosque in southern Zanzibar dated from 1107. It appears that Islam was widespread in the Indian Ocean area by the 14th century. When Ibn Battuta visited the East African littoral in 1332 he reported that he felt at home because of Islam in the area. The coastal population was largely Muslim, and Arabic was the language of literature and trade. The whole of the Indian Ocean seemed to be a "Muslim sea". Muslims controlled the trade and established coastal settlements in Southeast Asia, India and East Africa.

Islam was spread mainly through trade activities along the East African coast, not through conquest and territorial expansion as was partly the case in North Africa, but remained an urban littoral phenomenon for a long time. When the violent Portuguese intrusions in the coastal areas occurred in the 16th century, Islam was already well established there and almost all the ruling families had ties of kinship with Arabia, Persia, India and even Southeast Asia owing to their maritime contacts and political connections with the northern and eastern parts of the Indian Ocean. At the end of the 17th century and beginning of the 18th century the coastal Muslims managed to oust the Portuguese with the help of Oman. The Omanis gradually increased their political influence until the end of the 19th century when Europeans arrived at the coast of East Africa.

During the time when Oman dominated the coast politically, the spread of Islam intensified also in the interior of East Africa. Trade contacts with peoples in the interior, especially the Nyamwezi, gained importance and places like Tabora in Nyamwezi territory and Ujiji at Lake Tanganyika became important centers in the ever-increasing trade in slaves and ivory. Many chiefs, even in parts of Uganda, converted to Islam and cooperated with the coastal Muslims. Trade served to spread not only Islam, but also the Swahili language and culture. Before the establishment of German East Africa in the 1880s the influence of the Swahilis was mainly limited to the areas along the caravan routes and around their destinations.

Bantu, Northeast
Bantu, Northeast. The Northeast Bantu of East Africa are about 38 percent Muslim and include a variety of people with enough cultural and linguistic similarities to be grouped together.  The term “Northeast Bantu” is mainly a linguistic one, indicating a degree of similarity greater than that which links them to other Bantu speakers. 

Banu Hillal
Banu Hillal (Banu Hilal).  Bedouins who immigrated from Egypt to the Maghrib (mainly Algeria and Tunisia) in the eleventh century.   About 250,000 of the Banu Hillal are believed to have migrated, which represent the largest influx of Arabic settlers in the Maghrib.  The entering of the Banu Hillal is considered to have had dramatic and devastating effects on the old social and governmental structures.  However, historians note that local structures were in decline, and it is well possible that the success of the Banu Hillal was principally shaped by weakened communities, more than the strength of the Banu Hillal themselves.  The Banu Hillal were, in reality, on good terms with the local rulers.  Their influx changed the use of land from agriculture to pastoralism, even though the Banu Hillal were not hostile to settled life.  The influx also had its effect in that the local population was Arabized in large areas.  This is evident in Tunisia, which received the largest immigration and where a Berber identity is almost extinct.  

The Banu Hillal were a confederation of bedouin tribes that migrated from Upper Egypt into North Africa in the 11th century, having ostensibly been sent by the Fatimids to punish the Zirids for abandoning Shiism. Other scholarss suggest that the tribes left the grasslands on the upper Nile because of environmental degradation accompanying the Medieval Warm Period. Whatever the reason behind their migration, the Banu Hillal quickly defeated the Zirids and deeply weakened the neighboring Hammadids. Their influx was a major factor in the linguistic and cultural Arabization of the Maghrib (Maghreb), and in the spread of nomadism in areas where agriculture had previously been dominant. Ibn Khaldun noted that the lands ravaged by Banu Hilal invaders had become completely arid desert.

The Banu Hillal were led by Abu Zayd al-Hilali. Their story is recounted in fictionalized form in Taghribat Bani Hilal. The Banu Hillal "saga" is still recounted in the form of poetry in Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt: Djezia and Dhieb bin Ghanim opposed to the Zenati Khalifa.

Banu Hilal see Banu Hillal

Baqillani (Ibn al-Baqillani) (Abu Bakr al-Baqilani)(c.950- June 5, 1013).  An Ash‘arite theologian and Malikite jurisprudent (lawyer).  He is said to have been a major factor in the systematizing and popularizing of Ash‘arism.  

Born in Basra c. 950, he spent most of his life in Baghdad, and studied under disciples of al-Ash'ari. He held the office of chief Qadi outside the capital of the Caliphate. He died on 5 June 1013 (402AH).

Al-Baqillani's fifty-two volumous books are regarded as classical works on expounding the Qur'an and its textual integrity, defending orthodoxy and Islam, elaborating on the miracles of the prophethood, providing summaries of the Sunni creed, posing a defense of the Sunni position regarding the Imamate (Caliphate), and rebutting Brahmanism, Dualism, Trinitarianism, etc.

Ibn Taymiyya called al-Baqillani 'the best of the Ash'ari mutakallimun, unrivalled by any predecessor or successor'.

Ibn al-Baqillani see Baqillani
Abu Bakr al-Baqilani see Baqillani

Baqi, Mahmud ‘Abd al-
Baqi, Mahmud ‘Abd al- (Mahmud ‘Abd al-Baqi) (1526-1600).  A Turkish poet.  He was a court poet of the Ottoman Sultans Suleyman II, Selim II, Murad III and Muhammad III and is recognized as the greatest ghazal poet in Turkish literature.  
Mahmud 'Abu al-Baqi see Baqi, Mahmud ‘Abd al-

Baquaqua (Mahommah G. Baquaqua).  Black slave from Zoogas, in the interior of West Africa, who was brought to Brazil in the 1830s.  After his Brazilian experience, Baquaqua traveled to New York as a slave sailor on a merchant vessel. There he was freed.  Later, he went to Haiti, where he was converted to Christianity.  From there he went to Canada.  His autobiography was published in 1854 in Detroit by Samuel Moore.  
Mahommah G. Baquaqua see Baquaqua

Baraka, Amiri
Amiri Baraka, also called Imamu Amiri Baraka, original name (until 1968) (Everett) LeRoi Jones (b. October 7, 1934, Newark, New Jersey — d. January 9, 2014, Newark, New Jersey), was an African American writer who presented the experiences and anger of black Americans with an affirmation of black life.
Jones graduated from Howard University (B.A., 1953) and served in the U.S. Air Force. After military duty, he joined the Beat movement, attended graduate school, and published his first major collection of poetry, Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note, in 1961. In 1964, his play Dutchman appeared off-Broadway to critical acclaim. In its depiction of an encounter between a white woman and a black intellectual, it exposes the suppressed anger and hostility of American blacks toward the dominant white culture. After the assassination of Malcolm X, Jones took the name Amiri Baraka and began to espouse black nationalism.
In 1965, Baraka founded the Black Arts Repertory Theatre in Harlem. He published much during this period, including Black Art (1966) and Black Magic (1969). In addition to poetry and drama, Baraka wrote several collections of essays, an autobiographical novel (The System of Dante’s Hell [1965]), and short stories. In the mid-1970s he became a Marxist, though his goals remained similar. “I [still] see art as a weapon and a weapon of revolution,” he said. “It’s just now that I define revolution in Marxist terms.” In addition to writing, Baraka taught at several American universities. The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka was published in 1984.

The works of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka include:


  • 1961: Preface to a Twenty Volume Suicide Note
  • 1964: The Dead Lecturer: Poems
  • 1969: Black Magic
  • 1970: It's Nation Time
  • 1970: Slave Ship
  • 1975: Hard Facts
  • 1980: New Music, New Poetry (India Navigation)
  • 1995: Transbluesency: The Selected Poems of Amiri Baraka/LeRoi Jones
  • 1995: Wise, Why’s Y’s
  • 1996: Funk Lore: New Poems
  • 2003: Somebody Blew Up America & Other Poems
  • 2005: The Book of Monk


  • 1964: Dutchman
  • 1964: The Slave
  • 1967: The Baptism and The Toilet
  • 1966: A Black Mass
  • 1969: Four Black Revolutionary Plays
  • 1978: The Motion of History and Other Plays


  • 1965: The System of Dante's Hell
  • 1967: Tales
  • 2006: Tales of the Out & the Gone


  • 1963: Blues People: Negro Music in White America
  • 1965: Home: Social Essays
  • 1968: Black Music
  • 1971: Raise Race Rays Raize: Essays Since 1965
  • 1979: Poetry for the Advanced
  • 1981: reggae or not!
  • 1984: Daggers and Javelins: Essays 1974–1979
  • 1984: The Autobiography of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka
  • 1987: The Music: Reflections on Jazz and Blues
  • 2003: The Essence of Reparations

Edited works

  • 1968: Black Fire: An Anthology of Afro-American Writing (co-editor, with Larry Neal)
  • 1969: Four Black Revolutionary Plays
  • 1983: Confirmation: An Anthology of African American Women (edited with Amina Baraka)
  • 1999: The LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka Reader
  • 2000: The Fiction of LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka
  • 2008: Billy Harper: Blueprints of Jazz, Volume 2 (Audio CD)


  • One P.M. (1972)
  • Fried Shoes Cooked Diamonds (1978) .... Himself
  • Black Theatre: The Making of a Movement (1978) .... Himself
  • Poetry in Motion (1982)
  • Furious Flower: A Video Anthology of African American Poetry 1960–95, Volume II: Warriors (1998) .... Himself
  • Through Many Dangers: The Story of Gospel Music (1996)
  • Bulworth (1998) .... Rastaman
  • Pinero (2001) .... Himself
  • Strange Fruit (2002) .... Himself
  • Ralph Ellison: An American Journey (2002) .... Himself
  • Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed (2004) .... Himself
  • Keeping Time: The Life, Music & Photography of Milt Hinton (2004) .... Himself
  • Hubert Selby Jr : It'll Be Better Tomorrow (2005) .... Himself
  • 500 Years Later (2005) (voice) .... Himself
  • The Ballad of Greenwich Village (2005) .... Himself
  • The Pact (2006) .... Himself
  • Retour à Gorée (2007) .... Himself
  • Polis Is This: Charles Olson and the Persistence of Place (2007)
  • Revolution '67 (2007) .... Himself
  • Turn Me On (2007) (TV) .... Himself
  • Oscene (2007) .... Himself
  • Corso: The Last Beat (2008)
  • The Black Candle (2008)
  • Ferlinghetti: A City Light (2008) .... Himself
  • W.A.R. Stories: Walter Anthony Rodney (2009) .... Himself
  • Motherland (2010)

Barakat. The name of four Sharifs of Mecca: Barakat I (r. 1418- 1455); Barakat II (r.1473 -1525); Barakat III (r. 1672-1682); and Barakat IV (r. 1723). 

Barakzai (Barakzays). Afghan dynasty of the emirs or kings of Afghanistan (r.1826-1973).  Their main capital was Kabul.  As the foremost tribe of Afghanistan, the Barakzai were the country’s viziers from 1747 onward.  They were largely removed from power by the ruling Durrani at the end of the eighteenth century, but the Barakzai leader, Dost Muhammad (1826-1839 and 1842-1863), ousted the Durrani from the throne in 1826.  In 1834, he assumed the title of emir, became ruler in Kandahar, and later also first ruler of the united Afghanistan in 1863, thanks to British help.  His successors, Shir 'Ali Khan (1863-1879) and 'Abd al-Rahman (1880-1901), had to defend themselves against other pretenders.  In the state of tension that existed between the British, Russians, and Persians, the Barakzai took the side of the British, who occupied their country in 1879/80.  In 1893, British sovereignty was secured in return for payments under the Durrand treaty with Britain.  In 1919, Aman Ullah (1919-1929) led a war against the British, achieved foreign policy independence and assumed the title of king (padishah) in 1926.  He implemented reforms based on the Ataturk model.  Following disturbances, Nadir Shah (1929-1933) transformed the country into a constitutional monarchy in 1931 by means of a progressive constitution.  His son, Muhammad Zahir Shah (1933-1973), steered a careful course after 1945 between the Soviet Union and the Western powers.  Following restrictions on the rights of the monarch under a new constititution in 1964, he was deposed following a coup by Afghan officers in July 1973.  Muhammad Zahir Shah was removed from the throne by his brother-in-law General Muhammad Dawud Khan.  

The Emirate of Afghanistan

Emir Dost Muhammad Khan (1818 - August 1839)
Emir Dost Muhammad Khan (December 1842 - June 9, 1863)
Emir Sher Ali Khan (June 12, 1863 - May 5, 1866
Emir Muhammad Afzal Khan (May 5, 1866 - October 7, 1867)
Emir Sher Ali Khan (October 7, 1867 - February 21, 1879)
Emir Muhammad Yaqub Khan (February 21, 1879 - October 28, 1879)
Emir Abdur Rahman Khan (August 11, 1880 - October 3, 1901)

The Kingdom of Afghanistan

King Habibullah Khan (October 3, 1901 - February 20, 1919)
King Amanullah Khan (February 28, 1919 - January 14, 1929)
King Inayatullah Khan (January 14, 1929 - January 17, 1929)
King Muhammed Nadir Shah (October 17, 1929 - November 8, 1933)
King Muhammed Zahir Shah (November 8, 1933 - July 17, 1973)

Heads of the House of Barakzai since 1973

King Muhammad Zahir Shah (July 17, 1973 - July 23, 2007)
Crown Prince Ahmad Shah (July 23, 2007 - Present)

The Emirate of Western Baluchistan

Bahram Khan Barkzai (Baranzahi) (1903 - 1919)
Mir Dost Muhmmad Khan Baranzahi (Barakzai) (1919 - 1928)

Barakzays see Barakzai

Baranis, al-
Baranis, al-. Name of one of the two confederations of tribes which, together with the al-Butr, constitute the Berbers. 

Barani, Zia ud-Din
Barani, Zia ud-Din (Zia ud-Din Barani) (Ziauddin Barani)(c. 1285-1357).  Distinguished Indo-Muslim historian whose Tarikh-i Firoz Shahi was an important source of information for and about the Delhi sultans.  Barani had been a courtier of Muhammad ibn Tughluq (r. 1325-1351) and was known for his brilliant conversation.  He fell on difficult times when Firoz Shah Tughluq (r. 1351-1388) came to the throne.  Barani’s extant works include the above-mentioned Tarikh, which contains advice and accounts concerning the sultans from Balban (r. 1266-1286) to the early years of Firoz Shah; the Fatawa-i-Jahandari, containing his recommendations on the political theory of the Delhi sultanate; the Na’t-i Muhammadi, on the life of the Prophet; and the Akhbar-i Barmakiyyan, his Persian translation of an Arabic account of the Barmakids.  Barani had a rare historical perception of character and is unique in his analysis of men and movements, although he has been criticized for the extreme subjectivity of his views.  

Zia ud-Din Barani was born into an aristocratic Muslim family in 1285 in which his father, uncle, and grandfather were all working in high government posts under the Sultan of Delhi. His maternal grandfather Husam-ud-Din, was an important officer of Ghiyas ud din Balban and his father Muwayyid-ul-Mulk held the post of naib of Arkali Khan, the son of Jalaluddin Firuz Khalji. His uncle Qazi Ala-ul-Mulk was the Kotwal (police chief) of Delhi during the reign of Ala-ud-Din Khalji. Barani never held a post, but was a nadim (companion) of Muhammad bin Tughlaq for seventeen years. During this period he was very close to Amir Khusro. After Tughlaq was deposed, he fell out of favor. In "Exile" he wrote two pieces dealing with government, religion, and history, which he hoped would endear him to the new sultan, Firuz Shah Tughluq. He was not rewarded for his works and died poor in 1357.

Zia ud-Din Barani see Barani, Zia ud-Din
Ziauddin Barani see Barani, Zia ud-Din

Barbahari, al-
Barbahari, al- (al-Hasan ibn 'Ali al-Barbahari) (d. 941). Hanbalite theologian, traditionist, jurist and preacher of the tenth century of the Christian calendar.  He played a role in the struggle of Sunnism against Shi‘ite missionaries.  

Al-Ḥasan ibn ʻAlī al-Barbahārī was a Sunni Islamic theologian from Iraq. His books are peppered with stinging remarks that place the Shias, Qadaris, Mu'tazilis and Asharis in an extremely negative light. His concern for preserving the sunnah led him to become increasingly outspoken in his later years, and ultimately got him into trouble with the authorities. He is often remembered by Salafi Sunnis as a staunch defender of Tawhid (Tawheed), and as one who passionately advocated that the viewpoint of the Sahaba or the companions of Muhammad, are a decisive authority when interpreting texts.

Al-Barbahari was born in Baghdad and was fortunate to learn from the students of Ahmad ibn Hanbal. Al-Barbahari focused a large portion of his scholarship on the science of hadith and fiqh. He often found himself in groups of hadith students studying the narrations of the Prophet Muhammad. Sunni scholars have frequently praised his piety and his efforts at preserving the Sunnah.

Al-Barbahari had several widely known students including the famed scholar Ibn Battah. His growing influence in Baghdad ultimately led him to come to loggerheads with public officials and groups who received the brunt of his criticism. An arrest order was issued against al-Barbahari and he was forced into hiding while some of his students were arrested. He died in 329 AH (941 C.C.) in eastern Baghdad.

Al-Barbahari is mostly remembered as a severe critic of innovations in Islam or bidah. In his book, Sharhu s-Sunnah ("Explanation of the Creed"), al-Barbahari rebukes and chastises various groups he believed were heresies. His works may be seen as a warning to the general public to apprise them of the increasing amount of innovation he saw as plaguing Islam.

In deeply relying on the viewpoints of the companions of Muhammad, al-Barbahari praises many of the Tabieen, theorizing that one can ascertain whether an individual is on the right path by discerning whether that individual shows love for the early generations of Muslims. He went as far as to say that those who viewed any Islamic religious matter differently from the Sahaba, or companions of Muhammad, have fallen into disbelief.

Hasan ibn 'Ali al-Barbahari, al- see Barbahari, al-

Barber (in Arabic, hallaq).  Person of very humble status, who could only marry within his own social group.  He worked at market places and in the public baths on specific days of the week.
hallaq see Barber

Barelwis.   Members of the Barelwi movement which emerged during the 1880s in the North Indian town of Bareilly, in the Rohilkhand region of the United Provinces.  The movement is so called because of its close association with the writings of Maulana Ahmad Riza Khan (1856-1921), who, as a resident of Bareilly, had the toponymic (nisbah) name “Barelwi.”  Followers of Maulana Ahmad Riza, however, have always identified themselves as the Ahl al-Sunnat wa-al-Jama‘at or “people of the (prophetic) way and the majority (community).”  The significance of this nomenclature is clear:  they believe themselves to be the true representatives and heirs in South Asia of the earliest Muslim community, the companions and followers of the prophet Muhammad.

The late nineteenth century emergence of the Barelwi movement is significant.  The failure of the Indian revolt of 1857 was followed by the formal colonization of India by the British, leading to the final dissolution of the Sunni Muslim Mughal Empire.  This sequence of events, traumatic from the Indian Muslim point of view, led to a period of lively religious debate among the scholars of Islamic law (the ‘ulama’) in North India.  They could all agree that Indian Muslims had lost political power because of of internal moral weakness and decay (because, in other words, they had neglected to be good Muslims), but they differed widely in their understanding of what constituted a “good” Muslim and how renewal (tajdid) and reform should proceed.  The Barelwi movement emerged in this context of internal debate about identity and action deemed necessary to reverse a politically unfavorable situation.

Maulana Ahmad Riza Khan was born into a well-to-do family of Pathan origin.  His ancestors had been associated with Mughal rule and had become local notables (ru’asa') with land holdings and trading interests in and around Bareilly.  Ahmad Riza’s grandfather, Maulana Riza ‘Ali Khan (1809-1865/66), breaking with family tradition, devoted his life to jurisprudential scholarship (fiqh) and the Sufi way of life (tasawwuf).  There is no evidence that he was involved in the 1857 (Sepoy) revolt; the suggestion in Ahmad Riza’s biography Hayat-e a’la hazrat (1938) that Riza ‘Ali’s piety protected him from falling prey  to a British punitive expedition can be variously interpreted as complicity or as covert opposition, depending on one’s perspective.  Naqi ‘Ali Khan (1831-1880), Ahmad Riza’s father, developed close ties with the nawab of Rampur, a ruling family of largely Shi‘a persuasion.

In scholarly terms, Ahmad Riza had a strong orientation toward the “rational” (ma‘qulat) sciences, and jurisprudence.  His voluminous writings, estimated by some at one thousand, consist for the most part of fatwas -- decisions on specific aspects of the law delivered in response to questions posed by Muslims from all parts of the country and even outsiders (including the Haramayn in Arabia).  The rapid growth of telecommunications and railway networks in late nineteenth century British India facilitated the wide dissemination of Ahmad Riza’s views.

Ahmad Riza and his followers were also Sufi shaykhs or pirs (masters of select circles of disciples), owing particular though not exclusive allegiance to the Qadiri order.  In this capacity, Ahmad Riza enjoyed close relations with a number of prominent Qadiri Sufi families in the Rohilkhand region, particularly those of the Barakatiyah Sayyids in the rural town (qasbah) of Marahra (Etah district) and the ‘Uthmani pirs of Badayun.  The impact of these ties on Ahmad Riza was twofold:  a strong emphasis that a “good” Muslim was contingent on personal devotion to the prophet Muhammad as a loving guide and intercessor between Allah and the individual through a chain of pirs ending in the living pir to whom each individual was bound by an oath of loyalty or bay‘ah.

Barelwi ritual practice reflected this interpretation of correct belief and practice in its emphasis on activity centered on Sufi shrines, particularly the periodic observance of the death anniversaries (‘urs) of the founder of the Qadiri order, Shaykh ‘Abd al-Qadir Jilani Baghdadi (d. 1166) and of one’s own personal pir.  The Barelwi observance of the ‘urs sprang from the insistence (based largely on Ahmad Riza’s interpretation of medieval fiqh works) that individual believers needed the Prophet’s intercession with Allah if they hoped for Allah’s forgiveness.  Those who denied the importance of intercession on the grounds of the equality of all believers before Allah were deemed by Ahmad Riza to be guilty of arrogance.

What brought the Barelwis into conflict with other Sunni Muslim reform movements of the late nineteenth century, particularly with the ‘ulama’ associated with the Dar al-‘Ulum at Deoband, was primarily the Barelwi vision of the prophet Muhammad’s attributes.  These attributes included his ability to see into the future, to have knowledge of the unseen (‘ilm al-ghayb), to be spiritually – and perhaps physically, if the Prophet so wished – present in many places simultaneously, and to be invested with Allah’s pre-eminent light.  Ahmad Riza argued on the basis of certain verses of the Qur’an, as well as hadith and fiqh scholarship, that the prophet Muhammad had been invested with these and other qualities by God, with whom his relationship was that of a beloved.  Denial of these prophetic attributes was interpreted by Ahmad Riza as denial of some of the “fundamentals of the faith” (daruriyat al-din).  These fundamentals, which fall under the rubric of ‘aqa’id (articles of faith), broadly interpreted, were indivisible:  one could not accept some and reject others, as some ‘ulama’ in his view had done, for denial of even one of these fundamentals was tantamount to apostasy from Islam, or kufr (unbelief).   Such denial, to Ahmad Riza’s mind, was implicit in the position taken by those he designated as “Wahhabis,” a term he applied variously to Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi (d. 1831), leader of the early nineteenth-century jihad against the Sikhs; to Sayyid Ahmad Khan (d. 1898), the founder of the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh; and to various Deobandi ‘ulama’ of his own time.  In Husam al-haramayn, a fatwa written in 1906, he specifically designated a handful of Deobandi ‘ulama’ as “Wahhabis” and kafirs (infidels).  

During Ahmad Riza’s lifetime, the Barelwi movement centered on a small core of followers personally loyal to him.  These followers, returning to their own towns after receiving khilafat (the right to accept students of their own), carried his vision beyond the confines of learned ‘ulama’ circles into a wider arena.  Since Ahmad Riza’s death in 1921, “Barelwi” leaders (most of them from towns other than Bareilly) – among them Maulanas Na‘imuddin Muradabadi (d. 1948), Shah Aulad-i Rasul Marharvi (d. 1952), Zafaruddin Bihari (d. 1950s), Ahmad Riza’s son Mustafa Riza Khan Barelwi (d. 1981), and Burhanulhaqq Jabalpuri (d. 1984) – have led the movement in varying directions in terms of the leading political issues of twentieth-century British India, most importantly that of partition in 1947.  Although the movement has been viewed as largely rural in terms of its following, it is currently in the throes of a resurgence among urban, educated Pakistanis and Indians.  Schools and madrasahs identifying themselves as “Ahl al-Sunnat wa-al-Jama‘at” are to be found in South Asian cities and towns including Lahore, Karachi, Bareilly, Mubarakpur, and Hyderabad (Deccan).  Beyond South Asia, the movement also has followers in Great Britain and South Africa.  

Barelvis have expanded their missionary activities in various countries of Asia, Europe, North America and South Africa through the organizational name Ahle_Sunnah-wa-Al-Jamaa (ASWJ). In Pakistan, the Ameer of Ahlesunnah wa Aljamaa Syed Shah Turab ul Haq Qadri worked tirelessly and with his efforts have contributed a lot for ASWJ. One of the ASWJ foundations, Dawat E Islami was founded by Maulana Abu Bilal Attar Qadri Razawi Ziaee in 1981 and has contibuted a lot to ASWJ. Their non-political and cultural activities have contributed to a positive picture of the Barelvi Movement. In England, the movement is considered a moderating force in Muslims.

Between 1992 and 2002, Barelvi organizations, such as the Sunni Tehreek (ST), violently using terror tactics took over dozens of predominantly Deobandi and Salafi mosques in Pakistan, falsely claiming that the mosques had been usurped earlier by their brothers. These incidents often sparked violence. In May 2001, riots broke out in Pakistan after the assassination of the ST leader Saleem Qadri. In April 2007, Sunni Tehreek activists attempted to forcibly gain control of a mosque in Karachi opening fire on the mosque and those inside, resulting in one death and three injuries.

Ahl al-Sunnat wa-al-Jama‘at see Barelwis.
“people of the (prophetic) way and the majority (community)” see Barelwis.

Barelwi, Sayyid Ahmad
Barelwi, Sayyid Ahmad (Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi) (1786-1831).  North Indian activist and leader of jihad.  Born in Rai Bareilly in the old Mughal province of Awadh in north India, this dynamic visionary died in battle on the mountainous frontier of the Northwest.  Three strands of experience in his life came together in this utopian military endeavor.  First, he was born into a family of sayyids, known for their piety and learning but, like many of the educated and well-born, now impoverished and frustrated in finding employment in a princely court.  Second, in Delhi from 1806 to 1811, he entered into the circle of the family of Shah Wali Allah with its program of the dissemination of scripturalist norms.  Third, at about the age of twenty-five, he left Delhi to spend some seven years as a cavalryman for Amir Khan (1768-1834) in central India, immersing himself in the world of local state-building so characteristic of this period.

Back in Delhi, Sayyid Ahmad rejoined the reformist ‘ulama’ but rapidly distinguished himself by more far reaching and stringent reform, for example in opposing certain Sufi practices and enjoining such aspects of family behavior as the remarriage of widows.  His teachings were written down in two works, the Sirat mustaqim, compiled by Maulana Muhammad Isma‘il, and the Taqwiyat al-iman; both circulated in the vernacular language of Urdu thanks to the newly available lithographic press.  The texts identified practices derived from false Sufism, Shi‘a doctrine, and local customs; these were said to compromise God’s unity (tawhid).  It is notable that Sufism as such was not opposed (as it was by the Wahhabis in Arabia and the Fara’izi [Fara’idi] in Bengal). It is also noteworthy that reformers rarely attributed deviations to Hindu influence, but rather blamed Muslims themselves.

With a small group of followers, Sayyid Ahmad toured northern India from 1818 to 1819.  In 1821, he undertook the hajj as a prelude to jihad, traveling downriver to Calcutta, preaching, and collecting a band of some six hundred for a journey whose very practice had long been neglected.  In 1823, he returned to Rai Bareilly where he spent two years teaching and preparing for jihad.

His followers regarded him as the mujaddid of the age; some considered him the Mahdi.  They were prepared to abjure customs that had defined and given honor to personal and family status.  Many were prepared to leave their homes and even to die.  The model for jihad, while seen as following Prophetic precedent, took its shape from the quest for new states in the post-Mughal period.  

In 1826, Sayyid Ahmad left for the frontier, an area of Muslim population as precedent required, to launch warfare on the Punjab, then under Sikh rule. Although he was called amirulmu’minin (Arabic, amir al-mu’minin -- “commander of the faithful”) by his followers, many of the local tribes disliked the reforms of the mujahidin and had their own quarrels to prosecute.  Sayyid Ahman was trapped in Balakot with some six hundred followers and killed in 1831.  Many cherished the idea that he was still alive because his body was not found.  Followers kept the embers of the jihad alive until the 1860s.  Sayyid Ahmad’s example and teachings inspired reformers long after his death.  
Sayyid Ahmad Barelwi see Barelwi, Sayyid Ahmad

Barghash ibn Said, Seyyid
Barghash ibn Said, Seyyid (Seyyid Barghash ibn Said) (Sayyid Barghash bin Said Al-Busaid) (1837 – March 26, 1888). Third Busaidi ruler of Zanzibar (r.1870-1888).  During his reign, he began the Zanzibari occupation of the mainland only to see his dominion partitioned among European colonial powers.

Seyyid Barghash ibn Said (Sayyid Barghash bin Said Al-Busaid), son of Said bin Sultan, was the second Sultan of Zanzibar. Barghash ruled Zanzibar from October 7, 1870 to March 26, 1888. Barghash is credited with building much of the infrastructure of Stone Town, including piped water, public baths (including the Hamamni Persian Baths), a police force, roads, parks, hospitals and large administrative buildings such as the (Bait el-Ajaib) House of Wonders. Sayyid Barghash also helped abolish the slave trade in Zanzibar, signing an agreement with Britain in 1870, prohibiting the slave trade in his kingdom, and closing the great slave market in Mkunazini.

Barghash was perhaps the last Sultan to maintain a measure of true independence from European control. He did consult with European "advisors" who had immense influence, but he was still the central figure they wrestled to control. He crossed wits with diplomats from Britain, America, Germany, France and Portugal and was often able to play one country off another in a skillful endgame of pre-colonial chess.

After the death of his father Sayyid Said in 1856, Barghash Ibn Said made two feeble attempts to usurp the Zanzibari throne from his brother, Majid ibn Said.

In 1859, a dispute broke out between the brothers Majid, the first Sultan of Zanzibar, and Barghash.  Their sister Sayyida Salma (later Emily Ruete) acted (at the age of fifteen) as secretary of Barghash's party.  However, with the help of an English gunboat the insurrection of Barghash was soon brought to an end, and Barghash was sent into exile in Bombay (India) for two years.
After the death of Majid in 1870, Barghash became Sultan.  Once upon the throne, his reign was plagued by two problems: (1) the continuing threat to his position from the Omani portion of his father’s partitioned domain and (2) his efforts to expand Zanzibari commercial activity on the African mainland.  According to Emily Ruete, as soon as Barghash became sultan in 1870, he imprisoned their second youngest brother Khalifah.  Khalifah had to languish in prison for three years, in heavy iron fetters weighed with chains.  This act may have been due to Barghash's fear that Khalifah, being next in line of succession, might attempt to overthrow Barghash just as Barghash tried to overthrow Majid.  According to Ruete, Barghash did not release Khalifah until one of their sisters prepared to set out for a pilgrimage for Mecca and Barghash began to fear that a curse pronounced in the Holy City of the Prophet would befall him.

In 1872, both of Barghash’s problems were aggravated when a hurricane destroyed many of his island’s valuable clove and coconut trees and sank most of his fleet.  With both his military and economic position severely weakened, Barghash had to rely more closely on the British for support.

The British took advantage of Barghash.  They persuaded him to sign, in 1873, a treaty outlawing the seaborne trafficking of slaves.  From the execution of this treaty, the British played an increasingly dominant role in his external relations and the British induced Barghash to implement this and later edicts which eventually ended the bulk of slave trading in East Africa.

The traditional dependence of the clove industry on mainland slaves made Barghash’s economic plight more precarious and caused him to promote other forms of trade on the mainland.  In an attempt to recoup, Barghash emphasized ivory and rubber as alternative commodities to cloves.  

In his attempts to establish a Zanzibari presence on the mainland, Barghash encountered the fact that Zanzibari sovereignty on the mainland was always more nominal than real.  Barghash was soon hard pressed to subdue his mainland rivals.  The Nyamwezi chief, Mirambo, the Zigua chief, Bwana Heri, and the Arab (Swahili) leaders Mbaruk bin Rashid and Abushiri bin Salimu proved particularly troublesome for Barghash.

Nevertheless, despite the obstacles, Zanzibar’s commerce flourished and its exports to Europe and the United States grew considerably.  

During the 1880s, Barghash enlisted the support of powerful independent Arab and Swahili merchants, most notably Tippu Tip, to expand his commercial base.  Barghash appointed territorial govenors, such as Jumbe and Mwinyi Kheri, at various inland mainland stations.

In 1884, the Germans began entering into treaties with mainland chiefs in Zanzibari territory.  In 1885, Bismarck approved a German protectorate over present day Tanzania -- the African mainland area ruled by Barghash.  With the declaration of the protectorate, German agents began to pressure Barghash to cede his territorial claims -- his sovereignty -- to Germany.  

Towards the end of his reign, Barghash had to witness the disintegration of his inherited empire.  In 1884, the German adventurer Carl Peters made African chiefs on the Tanganyika mainland sign documents which declared their areas to be under German "protection."  In February 1885, these acquisitions were ratified by the German government through an imperial letter of protection.  A few weeks later, in April 1885, the German Dehnhardt brothers concluded a contract with the Sultan of Witu (former ruler of Pate) on the Kenya Coast near Lamu which was also put under official German protection.  Barghash tried to send troops against the Witu ruler who in his view was supposed to be his subject when the appearance of a German fleet forced him to accept the German intrusion.

The British-German agreement of October 29, 1886 acknowledged the Sultan's rule over a ten mile strip along the coast from Portuguese Mozambique up to the Tana River and some towns on the Somali coast.  This agreement, however, was only short-lived as it cut the German areas of influence off from the sea.

Barghash did not live to see the 1888 agreements come into force which signed off the coastal strip of later Tanganyika to the Germans resulting in the uprising of the Sultans' subjects against the Germans and its subsequent repression.

Seyyid Barghash ibn Said see Barghash ibn Said, Seyyid
Sayyid Barghash bin Said Al-Busaid see Barghash ibn Said, Seyyid

Bar Hebraeus
Bar Hebraeus (in Arabic, Ibn al-‘Ibri or Abu’l-Faraj) (Abu'l-Faraj bin Harun al-Malati) (b. 1226 near Malatya, Sultanate of Rûm (modern Turkey) – d. July 30, 1286 in Maraga, Persia).  Christian author and translator from Malatya, and a critical author in Syrian literature.  Having been a monk, he was ordained a Jacobite bishop, became Metropolitan of Aleppo in 1253 and in 1264 head of the Jacobite church.  He owes his fame to his Compendium of the Dynasties, written in Arabic, which is an abbreviated translation of the first part of his Syriac Chronography, in which he treats political history from the Creation down to his own time.

Bar-Hebraeus was born with the Arabic name Abū'l-Faraj bin Hārūn al-Malaṭī.. It appears that he took the Christian name Gregory at his consecration as a bishop. Throughout his life, he was often referred to by the Syriac nickname Bar-‘Ebrāyā which is pronounced and often transliterated as Bar-‘Ebroyo in the West Syriac dialect of the Syriac Orthodox Church, giving rise to the Latinized name Bar-Hebraeus. This nickname is often thought to imply a Jewish background (taken to mean 'Son of the Hebrew'). However, the evidence for this once popular view is slim. It is more likely that the name refers to the place of his birth, ‘Ebrā, where the old road east of Malatya towards Kharput (modern Elazığ) and Amid (modern Diyarbakır) crossed the Euphrates.

Bar-Hebraeus collected in his numerous and elaborate treatises the results of such research in theology, philosophy, science and history as was in his time possible in Syria. Most of his works were written in Syriac. However he also wrote some in Arabic, which had become the common language in his day.

A Jacobite Syrian bishop, philosopher, poet, grammarian, physician, biblical commentator, historian, and theologian, Bar-Hebraeus was the son of a physician, Aaron (Hārūn bin Tūmā al-Malaṭī‎). Under the care of his father he began as a boy the study of medicine and of many other branches of knowledge, which he pursued as a youth at Antioch and Tripoli, and which he never abandoned. In 1246, he was consecrated bishop of Gubos, by the Jacobite Patriarch Ignatius II, and in the following year was transferred to the see of Lacabene. He was placed over the diocese of Aleppo by Dionysius (1252) and finally was made primate, or maphrian, of the East by Ignatius III (1264). His episcopal duties did not interfere with his studies; he took advantage of the numerous visitations, which he had to make throughout his vast province, to consult the libraries and converse with the learned men whom he happened to meet. Thus he gradually accumulated an immense erudition, became familiar with almost all branches of secular and religious knowledge, and in many cases thoroughly mastered the bibliography of the various subjects which he undertook to treat. How he could have devoted so much time to such a systematic study, in spite of all the vicissitudes incident to the Mongol invasion, is almost beyond comprehension. The main claim of Bar Hebræus to our gratitude is not, however, in his original productions, but rather in his having preserved and systematized the work of his predecessors, either by way of condensation of by way of direct reproduction. Both on account of his virtues and of his science, Bar Hebræus was respected by all, and his death was mourned not only by men of his own faith, but also by the Nestorians and the Armenians. He was buried at the convent of Mar Matthew, near Mosul.

Ibn al-‘Ibri see Bar Hebraeus
Abu’l-Faraj see Bar Hebraeus
"son of the Hebrew" see Bar Hebraeus
Abu'l-Faraj bin Harun al-Malati see Bar Hebraeus
Gregory see Bar Hebraeus

Barma.  The Barma, a small Muslim ethnic group living near the Chari and Bahr Erguig rivers between Bousso and N’Djamena in Chad, speak a Central Sudanese dialect of the Chari-Nile language family.  Despite their size, through their state of Bagirmi they have played a significant role in the politics of Chad.  Today, mainly poor peasant farmers, in the past, they have known greater power.  

Islam probably came to Bagirmi towards the end of the sixteenth century.  How it came is uncertain.  The existence of an old Fulani Islamic center at the town of Bidiri only ten miles from Massenya, and the belief that the state was created as a result of an alliance between Barma and Fulani does suggest that Islam may have diffused throughout Bagirmi from this center.  In the mid-nineteenth century, Bagirmians were described as indifferent Muslims, probably due to their attachment to conceptions of the mbang (ruler) as a supernatural force.  Such notions of “divine kingship,” while helping to legitimize surplus extraction, conflicted with certain aspects of Islam.

Bagirmi experience with colonialism began in earnest in 1900, when the French defeated Rabah, their chief African competitor, for hegemony in the central Sudan.  Colonialism in the first two decades meant the imposition of French taxes, forced labor and mandatory cash-cropping of cotton.  The prohibition of raiding, combined with the abolition of slave village plantations, considerably reduced the flow of revenue to the pre-colonial state.  Corvee labor and French taxes further diverted production inputs or their products from Bagirmi to French utilization.  Such changes in the Bagirmi opportunity structure provoked considerable emigration from the old kingdom, or as one Barma phrased it: “Dono goto, debge goto” (“Power gone, people gone”). 

Barmakids (in Arabic, al-Baramika).  Refers to the Persian family of viziers under the early 'Abbasids.  Khalid ibn Barmak (d.781) was entrusted by the first ‘Abbasid caliph Abu’l-‘Abbas al-Saffah with the administration of the army and land-tax , and with the governorships of Fars and Mosul by the Caliph Abu Ja‘far al-Mansur.  His son Yahya was chosen as vizier by the caliph Harun al-Rashid in 786 and remained in office until 803.  Yahya’s two sons, al-Fadl and Ja‘far, also held high positions at the court, but in 803 Harun al-Rashid had Ja‘far executed and al-Fadl arrested.  

The Barmakids' (Persian: Barmakīyān; Arabic: al-barāmika, also called Barmecides‎) were a noble Persian family which came to great political power under the Abbasid caliphs.

The family has its origin in a line of hereditary priests (Sanskrit Pramukh, arabized to Barmak) at the Buddhist monastery of Nava Vihara (Nawbahar) west of Balkh. Traditionally, Islamic historians considered the Barmakids to be Zoroastrian priests before converting to Islam; though modern scholars reject this interpretation.

The Barmakid family was an early supporter of the Abbasid revolt against the Umayyads and of As-Saffah. This gave Khalid bin Barmak considerable influence, and his son Yahya ibn Khalid (d. 806) was the vizier of the caliph al-Mahdi (r. 775–785) and tutor of Harun al-Rashid (r. 786-809). Yahya's sons Fadl and Ja'far (767-803) both occupied high offices under Harun.

Many Barmakids were patrons of the sciences, which greatly helped the propagation of Greek science and scholarship from the neighboring Academy of Gundishapur into the Arabic world. They patronized scholars such as Gebir and Jabril ibn Bukhtishu. They are also credited with the establishment of the first paper mill in Baghdad. The power of the Barmakids in those times is reflected in The Book of One Thousand and One Nights, the vizier Ja'far appears in several stories, as well as a tale that gave rise to the expression "Barmecide feast".

In 803, the family lost favor in the eyes of Harun al-Rashid, and many of its members were imprisoned.

The popular story of their disgrace is rather romantic. Harun, it is said, found his chief pleasure in the society of his sister Abbasa and Ja'far, and in order that these two might be with him continuously without breach of etiquette, persuaded them to contract a purely formal marriage. The conditions were, however, not observed and Harun, learning that Abbasa had borne a son, caused Ja'far suddenly to be arrested and beheaded, and the rest of the family except Muhammad, Yahya's brother, to be imprisoned and deprived of their property. It is probable, however, that Harun's anger was caused to a large extent by the insinuations of his courtiers that he was a mere puppet in the hands of a powerful family.

However, Al Tabari and Ibn Khaldun mention other reasons indicating that the decline of the Barmakids was gradual and not sudden. Their Hypotheses is:

   1. The Barmakids' extravagance in spending to the extent that they did overshadowed Harun al-Rashid. It has been said that Jafar built a mansion that cost twenty million Dirhams and that his father, Yahya ibn Khalid, had gold tiles on the wall of his mansion. Harun became upset one trip when he traveled around Baghdad and whenever he passed an impressive house or mansion they told him it belonged to the Barmakids.
   2. Al Fadhl ibn Rabee', an Abbasid loyal civil servant very close to Harun and a rival of the Barmakids, convinced Haurn to assign spies to watch them and that is how he found out about the Yehia Ibn Abdullah Al Talibi's incident.
   3. The Barmakid Army: Although technically this army was under the Abbasids, in reality the soldiers gave allegiance to Al Fadhl Ibn Yahaya Al Barmaki, Jafar's brother; it numbered 50,000 soldiers. During their last days, Al Fadhl ordered twenty thousand of them to come to Baghdad and claimed to create a legion under the name of the Karnabiya Legion. This made Harun very wary of their intentions.
   4. The Governor of Khurasan at the time, Ali Ibn Isa Ibn Mahan, sent a letter to Harun reporting about the unrest in his province and blaming Musa Ibn Yahya, another brother of Jafar, for it.
   5. The Yehya Ibn Abdullah Al Talibi incident: In 176 A.H. (792 C.C.), Yehya Ibn Abdulla went to Daylam in Persia and called for rule by himself in place of Harun. Many people followed him and he became strong enough to cause unrest for the Abbasids. Harun managed to capture him and ordered that he be confined to house arrest at Al Fadhl's house in Baghdad. However, Al Fadhl, rather than making sure he would not escape, gave him money and a ride and let him leave Baghdad. The Abbasids considered that to be high treason.
Baramika, al- see Barmakids
Barmakiyan see Barmakids
Barmecides see Barmakids

Barre, Muhammad Sa'id
Barre, Muhammad Sa'id (Muhammad Sa'id Barre) (Mohamed Siad Barre) (Somali: Maxamed Siyaad Barre) (b. 1919 – January 2, 1995). President of Somalia from 1969 to 1991. Prior to his presidency, he was an army commander under the then young democratic government of Somalia. During his rule, he styled himself as Jaalle Siyaad ("Comrade Siad").

The son of a nomadic camel herder, Barre served with the Somali police (1941-60), rising to the rank of chief inspector.  With independence in 1960, he became a colonel and deputy commander of the army.   Barre led the military coup of 1969 and served as president of the Supreme Revolutionary Council until 1976.  At that time, Somalia became a one-party state, with Barre as secretary-general of the party and the country’s president.  A fervent nationalist, he hoped to unite all the Somali peoples and the lands they inhabit in and around the Horn of Africa, and to that end he fomented an unsuccessful rebellion of ethnic Somalis in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia in 1977-78.

At the time of independence in 1960, Somalia was touted in the West as the model of a rural democracy in Africa. However, clanism and extended family loyalties and conflicts were societal problems the civilian government failed to eradicate and eventually succumbed to itself.

The new military junta that came to power after the ensuing coup d'etat said it would adapt scientific socialism to the needs of Somalia. It drew heavily from the traditions of China. Volunteer labor harvested and planted crops, and built roads and hospitals. Almost all industry, banks, and businesses were nationalized. Cooperative farms were promoted. The government forbade clanism and stressed loyalty to the central authorities. An entirely new writing script for the Somali language was introduced. To spread the new language and the methods and message of the revolution, secondary schools were closed in 1974 and 25,000 students from fourteen to sixteen years of age were sent to rural areas to educate their nomadic brothers and sisters.

Barre was born into the Somali Marehan clan near Shilabo in the Ogaden, although he later claimed to have been born in Garbahaarreey to qualify for the Italian colonial police force. Before joining the police force, he had been an orphaned shepherd. Barre had no formal education but attended some military courses in Italy. He eventually became Vice Commander of Somalia's Army when the country gained its independence in 1960. After spending time with Soviet officers in joint training exercises in the early 1960s, Barre became an advocate of Soviet-style Marxist government.

In 1969, during the power vacuum that followed the assassination of Somalia's second president, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, the military staged a coup on October 21, 1969 (the day after Shermarke's funeral), and took over office. Barre was to rule the nation for the next twenty-two years.

One of the earliest initiatives of Barre's regime was to introduce the Somali language as the official language of education. All education in government schools had to be conducted in Somali. This was necessary, as there was a growing rift between those who spoke the colonial languages, and those who did not. Many of the high ranking positions in the government were given to those people that spoke either Italian or English. To keep everyone on an even playing field, the Somali language was finally written down, and the Latin alphabet was selected as the means for transcribing the language. The establishment of the Somali language as a national language created a new confidence in the masses. In 1972, the second anniversary of the military government, all government employees were ordered to learn to write and read Af Soomaali within six months.

Siad wanted nationalism with realizable goals based on the dignity of the people. This meant that the nomads had to be reached, that the constraints to participation had to be removed, that the dependence on foreign outlays had to end, and that the clan basis of garnering political support had to be rejected. With a nationalism built on participation and social mobilization, the inflammatory irridentist claims could be cooled. That, in a nutshell, was Siad's strategy.

His first objective was to eliminate what he referred to as 'tribalism'. Past attempts to rid the country of tribalism in the civilian period had met with failure. The inevitable first question that Somalis asked one of another when they met was, 'What is your clan?'. When this was considered anathema to the purpose of a modern state, Somalis began to pointedly ask, 'What is your ex-clan?'.

Siad outlawed this question with a vengeance. Informers reported those who asked the clan identification question, and they were jailed for Prejudice or Discrimination to maximize the benefits of diversity in all levels of society.

Further, and more importantly, Siad's first cabinet was clearly chosen on merit and the ascriptive criteria. The military had also effectively stopped inter-clan warfare in rural areas, and had coerced the nomads to bring their dispute to the then central Government. On a more symbolic level, Siad had repeated a number of times, 'Whom do you know? is changed to: What do you know?', and this incantation became part of a popular street song.

Siad Barre also championed the concept of a Greater Somalia (Soomaaliweyn), which refers to those regions in the Horn of Africa in which ethnic Somalis reside and have historically represented the predominant population. Greater Somalia thus encompassed Somalia, Djibouti, the Ogaden and the North Eastern Province (the latter two of which are currently administered by Ethiopia and Kenya, respectively) i.e. the almost exclusively Somali-inhabited regions of the Horn of Africa.

In 1977, the Ogaden War broke out after the government of Siad Barre sought to unite the various Somali-inhabited territories of the region into a Greater Somalia. The Somali national army invaded the Ogaden and was at first very successful, capturing most of the territory. This first phase reached an abrupt end with the Soviet Union's sudden shift of support to Ethiopia, followed by almost the entire communist world siding with the latter. The Soviets began to distribute aid, weapons, and training to the Ethiopians, and also brought in Cubans to assist the Ethiopian regime. Ultimately, Somali troops were pushed out of the Ogaden.

Control of Somalia was of great interest to both the Soviet Union and the United States due to the country's strategic location at the mouth of the Red Sea. After the Soviets abandoned Barre, he subsequently expelled all Soviet advisers, tore up his friendship treaty with the Soviet Union, and switched allegiance to the West. The United States stepped in and until 1989, was a strong supporter of the Barre government for whom it provided approximately US$100 million per year in economic and military aid.

Siad Barre played an important role on October 17 and October 18, 1977 when a Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) group hijacked Lufthansa flight 181 to Mogadishu, Somalia, holding 86 hostages. West German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Barre negotiated a deal to allow a GSG 9 anti-terrorist unit into Mogadishu to free the hostages.

Siad Barre was a hands on leader from early on. Achievements included creating over two dozen factories of mass production such as mills in Balad, Marerey, sugar cane processing facilities, the first meat processing house for local consumption and exporting markets in addition to many other successful industrialization endeavors. The president presided over many decisions and showed a personal interest in the numerous projects he initiated. For one, Barre's government solved the long-standing issue of which writing system to be used to represent the Somali language. This was a problem which the previous administrations were not able to resolve. For practical reasons, Barre settled on the Latin script over the long-established Arabic script and the upstart Osmanya script.

Another notable massive public service campaign by the Barre government involved the resettlement of drought-affected people in the northern regions of Somalia. The drought, which occurred in 1974, was known as the Abaartii Dabadheer, roughly translated as the Lingering Drought. The Soviet Union, which at the time maintained strategic relations with the Siad Barre government, had airlifted thousands of people from the devastated regions of Hobyo and Ainaba. New settlements of small villages were created in the Lower Jubba and Middle Jubba regions in such settlements as Dajuuma, Sablaale and Kuntuwaareey. The Horogle settlement in Middle Jubba was later added. These new settlements were known as the Danwadaagaha or Collective Settlements. The transplanted families were introduced to farming, a change from their traditional pastoralist lifestyle of livestock herding.

Another long lasting public project that was personally tied to the president's efforts toward building a civil society in which Somalis at large united for the greater good, was the Shalanbood Sandune Stoppage. Every weekend scores of agricultural and environmental engineers along with thousands of common citizens volunteered to plant trees, shrubs and push back sand dunes which had been creeping into farming lands of the Lower Shabeelle.

Despite all its contributions to Somali society, the Barre administration was plagued by various clan-based rebel groups. In the northern part of the country, members of the Isaaq clan felt that they had been politically marginalized by Barre's government. The Isaaq clan consequently developed a rebel group named the Somali National Movement (SNM), who were morally and financially supported by Ethiopia. Also in the north, there developed a rebel group called the Somali Salvation Democratic Front (SSDF), which was led by Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed. To combat this and other such groups, the government made many raids against the north. However, by the late 1980s, rival factional groups began to make substantial territorial gains, especially in the northern Somaliland region. These groups received weapons from Ethiopia in the hopes of overthrowing Barre's government, which eventually led to the Somali civil war.

By 1991, the situation in Mogadishu was dire. Factions led by warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid and his rebel group, the United Somali Congress (USC), attacked Mogadishu. Aidid fought against government forces, and Barre was finally overthrown on the evening of January 26, 1991. He was succeeded in office by Ali Mahdi Muhammad, a prominent businessman of the Hawiye Abgaal clan until November 1991. Though internationally recognized, Ali Mahdi's government never managed to exert political or military control over the majority of the country. This is attributed to the fact that by then, Somalia was mired in anarchy. Ali Mahdi and Aidid's personal clan-based militias eventually wound up fighting one another over who would assume control of the country in the wake of Barre's ouster.

After leaving Mogadishu in January 1991, Barre temporarily remained in the southwestern Gedo region of the country, which was the power base of his Marehan clan. From there, he launched a military campaign to return to power. He twice attempted to retake Mogadishu, but in May 1991 was overwhelmed by General Muhammed Farrah Aidid's army, and was forced into exile.

Barre initially moved to Nairobi, Kenya, but opposition groups with a presence there protested his arrival and support of him by the Kenyan government. In response to the pressure and hostilities, he moved two weeks later to Nigeria. Barre died on January 2, 1995 in Lagos from a heart attack. His remains were buried in the Garbahaarreey district of the Gedo region in Somalia.

Muhammad Sa'id Barre see Barre, Muhammad Sa'id

Barsbay (Al-Ashraf Sayf-ad-Din Barsbay).  Burji Mameluke sultan of Egypt (r.1422-1438).  He invaded Cyprus, which had to pay tribute.  His siege of the Turkmen capital of Diyarbakr was unsuccessful and he was forced to enter into negotiations with the Aq Qoyunlu.  He had a diplomatic struggle with the Timurid Shahrukh over the right to cover the Ka‘ba with a palanquin (in Arabic, mahmal).  Barsbay fell a victim to the plague.  

Al-Ashraf Sayf-ad-Din Barsbay was the ninth Burji Mameluke sultan of Egypt. He was Circassian by birth and a former slave of the first Burji Sultan, Barquq. He was responsible for a number of administrative reforms in the Mameluke state, including the consolidation of the sultanate as a military magistrature and securing for Egypt exclusive rights over the Red Sea trade between Yemen and Europe. His mausoleum, which included a madrasa and khanqah, was built in Cairo's Northern Cemetery, and survives to this day.

Ashraf Sayf-ad-Din Barsbay, al- see Barsbay

Barshim, Mutaz
Mutaz Essa Barshim (Arabic: معتز عيسى برشم‎; b. 24 June 1991) is a Qatari track and field athlete who specializes in the high jump.  He is the national record and Asian record holder with a best mark of 2.43 m (7 ft 1112 in). He was the Asian Indoor and World Junior champion in 2010. He won the high jump gold medals at the 2011 Asian Athletics Championships and 2011 Military World Games, and he won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympic Games held in London, with a height of 2.29 m (7' 6"). He jumps off his left foot, using the Fosbury Flop technique, with a pronounced backwards arch over the bar.

Barudi  (Mahmud Sami al-Barudi) (Mahmoud Sami el-Baroudi) (1838 - 1904).  Egyptian political figure and a prominent poet. He served as Prime Minister of Egypt from February 4, 1882 until May 26, 1882. He was known as rab alseif wel qalam ("lord of sword and pen"). He is considered to be one of the pioneers of the renaissance of Arabic poetry.
Mahmud Sami al-Barudi see Barudi
Mahmoud Sami el-Baroudi see Barudi
Baroudi, Mahmoud Sami el- see Barudi

Baruni, al-
Baruni, al- (d.1940).  Tripolitanian Ibadi scholar and politician.  He inspired his countrymen in their struggle against Italy. 

Basasiri, al-
Basasiri, al- (Arslan al-Basasiri) (d. 1060).  Turkish slave who became one of the chief military leaders at the end of the Buyid dynasty.  He Basasiri was a slave that staged a revolt against the Seljuks in Iraq.

Basasiri had been a favorite of the Buwayhid amir al-Malik al-Rahim. When the Buwayhids were expelled from Iraq by the Seljuks in 1055, Basasiri began a rebellion against their authority. The fighting dragged on for a few years with neither side able to gain a definitive advantage over the other. Basasiri eventually turned to the Fatimids for aid. They provided the necessary help and appointed him as Fatimid viceroy of Iraq.

With the support of the Mesopotamian Arabs, Basasiri managed to take Baghdad at the end of 1058. The Caliph al-Qā'im was removed from the city and confined at Haditha and the Fatimids were mentioned in the Friday prayers. When the Seljuk ruler Toghrïl Beg marched on the city, however, Basasiri lost support. His rebellion collapsed, and was forced to flee Baghdad about one year after capturing it. His flight was useless, however, as he was killed in a nearby skirmish.

During the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Al-Qaim; Al-Basasiri constantly paid his due to the Caliph in Baghdad. Until at one point when the Saljuks were away in campaigns. Al-Basasiri put siege over Baghdad and claimed the leadership of the Fatimids as the only legitimate rule over Baghdad. This lasted one year. In 1059 Saljuks returned from campaign and Al-Basasiri was killed.

Arslan al-Basasiri see Basasiri, al-

Bashkir (Bashgird) (Bashgurd) (Bashkurt) (Bashkirt) (Bashjirt). .   A people of extremely mixed origins who, like the nearby Tatars, are related in part to the Oguz, Pechenegs, Volga-Kama Bulgars, Kipchak Turks and a variety of Mongol tribes.  The first recorded evidence of the existence of a people named Bashkir (Bashgird or Bashgurd) appears in the Arab chronicles of the ninth and tenth centuries of the Christian calendar.  Although loosely organized even into the twentieth century, the Bashkir are believed to have experienced their ethnogenesis sometime in the sixteenth century.  The Bashkir religious preference is Sunni Islam of the Hanafi school.  

The Bashkirs, are Turkic people, living in Russia, mostly in the republic of Bashkortostan. Some Bashkirs also live in the republic of Tatarstan, as well as in Perm Krai and Chelyabinsk, Orenburg, Kurgan, Sverdlovsk, Samara, and Saratov Oblasts of Russia.

Bashkirs are concentrated on the slopes and confines of the southern Ural Mountains and the neighboring plains. They speak the Kypchak-based Bashkir language, a close relative of the Tatar language. Most Bashkirs also speak Russian: some as a second language, and some as their first language, regarding Bashkir as a language spoken by their grandparents.

The name Bashkir is recorded for the first time at the beginning of the 10th century in the writings of the Arab writer ibn Fadlan who, in describing his travels among the Volga Bulgarians, mentions the Bashkirs as a warlike and idolatrous race. According to ibn Fadlan, the Bashkirs worshiped phallic idols. At that time, Bashkirs lived as nomadic cattle breeders. Until the 13th century they occupied the territories between the Volga and Kama Rivers and the Urals.

The first European sources to mention the Bashkirs are the works of Joannes de Plano Carpini and William of Rubruquis. These travellers, who fell in with Bashkir tribes in the upper parts of the Ural River, called them Pascatir or Bastarci, and asserted that they spoke the same language as the Hungarians.

According to medieval sources, until the arrival of the Mongols in the middle of the 13th century, the Bashkirs were a strong and independent people, troublesome to their neighbors: the Volga Bulgarians and the Petchenegs, but by the time of the downfall of the Khanate of Kazan in 1552 they had dissolved into a number of weak tribes. They were converted to Islam by the Volga Bulgarians in the 13th century.

In 1556, the Bashkirs voluntarily recognized the supremacy of Russia, which in consequence founded the city of Ufa in 1574 to defend them from attacks by the Kyrgyz and the Nogays, and subjected the Bashkirs to a fur-tax.

In 1676, the Bashkirs rebelled under a leader named Seit, and the Russian army had great difficulties in ending the rebellion. The Bashkirs rose again in 1707, under Aldar and Kûsyom, on account of ill-treatment by the Russian officials. The third insurrection occurred in 1735, at the time of the foundation of Orenburg, and it lasted for six years.

In 1774, the Bashkirs, under the leadership of Salavat Yulayev, supported Pugachev's rebellion.

In 1786, the Bashkirs achieved tax-free status; and in 1798 Russia formed an irregular Bashkir army from among them. Residual land ownership disputes continued.

Some Bashkirs traditionally practiced agriculture, cattle-rearing and bee-keeping. The nomadic Bashkirs wandered either the mountains or the steppes, herding cattle.

Bashkir national dishes include a kind of gruel called öyrä and a cheese named qorot.

Bashgird see Bashkir
Bashgurd see Bashkir
Bashkurt see Bashkir
Bashkirt see Bashkir
Bashjirt see Bashkir

Bashshar ibn Burd
Bashshar ibn Burd (Bashar ibn Burd) (714-784).  Famous Arabic poet of eighth century Iraq.  He was considered one of the glories of Basra.

Bashshār ibn Burd, nicknamed "al-Mura'ath" meaning "the wattled," was a poet in the late Umayyad and the early Abbasid periods. Bashshar was of Persian origin; his grandfather was taken as a captive to Iraq, his father was a freedman (Mawla) of the Uqayl tribe. Some Arab scholars considered Bashshar the first "modern" poet and one of the pioneers of the badi' in Arabic literature. It is believed that he exerted a great influence on the subsequent generation of poets.

Bashshar was blind from birth. He grew up in the rich cultural environment of Basra and showed his poetic talents at an early age. Bashshar fell foul of some religious figures, such as Malik ibn Dinar and al-Hasan al-Basri, who condemned his poetry for its licentiousness. He exchanged Hija with several poets. being anti-Mu'tazili, he criticized Wasil ibn Ata, who by some accounts is considered the founder of the Mutazilite school of Islamic thought.

After the Abbasids built Baghdad, Bashshar moved there from Basra in 762. Bashshar became associated with the caliph al-Mahdi. Due to his libertinism, he was ordered by al-Mahdi not to write any love poetry. This ban was quickly breached and as a result, Bashshar was charged with heresy and zendiqism, imprisoned and beaten to death.  His body was thrown into the Tigris river.

Most of Bashshar's Hija' (satire) is in traditional style, while his fakhr expresses his Shu'ubi sentiments, boasting the achievements of his Persian ancestors and denigrating the "uncivilized Arabs".

Bashar ibn Burd see Bashshar ibn Burd
Mura'ath, al- see Bashshar ibn Burd
"the wattled" see Bashshar ibn Burd

Basmachi.  Term which was applied by Russians to opponents of the Bolsheviks who were active in Central Asia between the Russian Revolution and the early 1930s.  This name – as the character of the movement – parallels the case of the Mujahidin forces which opposed the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the 1980s, whom the Russians referred to by the Persian word dushman, meaning “enemy”. “Basmachi” is similarly a pejorative term, meaning “bandit.”  Like the Afghan “Dushmany,” those whom the Bolsheviks called “Basmachi” included a great variety of people who did not call themselves by this name, nor did they operate as a unified movement.  The Soviet government was able to exploit internal divisions within the Basmachi movement to quell it fairly rapidly, once the Red Army had consolidated power elsewhere in Russia and Central Asia.

The roots of the Basmachi movement extend to the Russian conquest of Central Asia.  Most of the region now comprised by the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan, Kyrghyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan came under Russian domination between the 1830s and the 1880s.  The native, overwhelmingly Muslim population strongly opposed the “infidel” conquest, but the Russians exploited military superiority and rivalries within the region to subjugate all opposition.  Sporadic outbreaks during the tsarist period, such as the Andijan Uprising under the leadership of a Naqshbandi Sufi Ishan, were quickly suppressed.  A more significant uprising occurred in 1916 when, hard pressed by the war with Germany, the tsarist government instituted military conscription of Central Asians.  This, combined with a range of humiliating and impoverishing policies of the colonial administration, was decisive in mobilizing Central Asian opposition to rule from Moscow.

When the Bolsheviks seized power in Saint Petersburg in 1917, their counterparts from among the very narrow Russian immigrant proletariat established a “Soviet” government in Tashkent in Russian Central Asia.  In spite of the Bolsheviks’ affirmed support for “national self-determination,” this self-declared regional government included only Russians.  Some Central Asian intellectuals and reformers had considered alliance with the Communists in hopes that this would lead to autonomy within the new Soviet framework; however, the Qoqand government established in December 1917 by such Central Asians was quickly crushed by Tashkent Communists with support from Moscow.  The Russian Bolsheviks in Central Asia entered on a campaign of seizing lands, looting the native population, and generally affirming their intention of maintaining Russian domination.

The leadership of the Basmachi movement, which derived its widespread popular support from the resulting hostility toward the Russians, was composed of the most diverse elements:  reformists, including Jadidists and “Young Bukharans”; the traditional Islamic leadership, whose authority had been severely undermined by the colonial government; Central Asian rulers such as Said Alim Khan, emir of Bukhara; and even brigand-leaders of outlaw groups that had preyed on the Russian colonists and Central Asians alike.  In 1921, Enver Pasha, leader of the deposed Young Turk government in Turkey, appeared in Central Asia, seeking to unify the opposition under his opportunistic leadership; however, the movement remained divided by leadership rivalries, and Enver Pasha was killed in a skirmish in 1922.

At its height (1920-1922), the Basmachi movement was in control of the entire Ferghana Valley, aside from Russian railroad and military installations, as well as most of what is now Tajikistan and some other areas.  During this same period, however, the Moscow government established control over the Central Asian Bolsheviks and began to conduct a policy in the region that was friendlier to the Muslim population, reopening markets, returning seized lands, and encouraging native participation in state institutions.  Support for the opposition was thus undermined, and military action was intensified now that other regions such as Bukhara and Khiva were under Red Army control.  

By 1924, the movement was largely crushed.  The Soviet government was successful in encouraging substantial defections from Basmachi ranks and in winning over the populace simply by promoting stability and allowing prosperity under the reforms of the New Economic Policy of the 1920s.  Basmachi resistance persisted only in the mountains of the southeasternmost region of Central Asia bordering on Afghanistan until the early 1930s.

After losing their best commanders and many men, the Basmachi movement was destroyed as a political and military force and the few rebels remained decided to hide on the mountains and to start a guerrilla warfare that consisted in terrorist acts, hostage taking, sabotage, blackmail and brutal raids. This kind of warfare and the conciliatory measures of the Soviet Government caused them the loss of the support of the local population who began to see the Basmachi as purely criminal elements. The Basmachi revolt had largely died out by 1926; however, skirmishes and occasional fighting continued until 1931 when the Soviets captured the Basmachi leader Ibrahim Beg. In the area of present-day Kyrgyzstan, the last seats of the Basmachi were destroyed in 1934.

The indigenous leaders started to cooperate with Soviet authorities and large numbers of Central Asians joined the Communist Party, many of them gaining high positions in the government of the Uzbek SSR, a republic established in 1924 that included present-day Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. During the Soviet period, Islam became a focal point for the anti-religious drives of Communist authorities. The government closed most mosques, and religious schools became anti-religion museums. Uzbeks who remained practicing Muslims were deemed nationalist and often targeted for imprisonment or execution. Other developments that took place under the Soviet rule included the emancipation of women and industrialization. With time, a higher standard of living was attained and illiteracy virtually eliminated, even in rural areas. Only a small percentage of the population was literate before 1917.  This percentage increased to nearly 100 percent under the Soviets.

The Red Army took 1,441 casualties during its operations against the Basmachi, of which 516 were killed in action or died from wounds.

The rebellion was a popular subject for Red Westerns, and featured as a central part of the plot of the films White Sun of the Desert, The Seventh Bullet and The Bodyguard.

“bandit”   see Basmachi.
dushman see Basmachi.
enemy see Basmachi.

Batak.  Collective term used to identify a number of ethnic groups found in the highlands of North Sumatra, Indonesia. Their heartland lies to the west of Medan centered on Lake Toba. In fact, the "Batak" include several groups with distinct, albeit related, languages and customs (adat). While the term is used to include the Toba, Karo, Dairi, Simalungun, Angkola, Alas-Kluet and Mandailing.

The several Batak peoples of highland north Sumatra have remarkably complex religious lives, even in so syncretistic a nation as Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country.  The Batak stand out as accepting congenially the religions of Islam, Christianity and animism.  Perhaps thirty percent are Muslims.  There are roughly seven Batak groups, not including the Batak in the rantau (the diaspora communities outside north Sumatra).  The seven groups are the Toba Batak, Simulungun Batak, Karo Batak, Dairi, Silindung (Alas-Kluet), Angkola Batak, and Mandailing.

The Batak are an Indonesian people whose original homeland was in the uplands of the present province of North Sumatra.  The Batak can be regarded as a single people, incorporating several ethnic and linguistic subgroups.  The largest of these, the Toba Batak, inhabited mountain valleys near Lake Toba.  North of them were the Pakpak (Dairi), Karo, and Simalungun and south were the Angkola and Mandailing Batak ( all of whom speak Batak dialects, some mutually unintelligible.  The patrilineal kinship system is dominant among all Batak groups, and all observe as custom the marga, or exogamous patrilineal clan.  Traditionally, the village had been the major governing territorial unit of the Toba, but some other Batak groups (notably the Karo) have had larger administrative units, often village confederations ruled by rajas.

The Batak uplands were generally isolated until the mid-nineteenth century, when Protestant missionaries, the Dutch government, and the lowland plantation agriculture encroached on them simultaneously.  Most Karo and Simalungun were administratively incorporated into the East Coast Residency, while the others were included in Tapanuli.  About half the Toba became Christians, as did numbers of Simalungun and other North Tapanuli Bataks.  The southern Angkola and Mandailing are largely Muslim, having been converted by the Paderi in the early 1800s.  Many other Batak retained their traditional religions.  

Before 1940, members of ruling lineages held most of the positions of prestige, but their legitimacy was largely repudiated by peasants during the independence revolution (1945-1950), which saw widespread violence among Batak of both Tapanuli and East Sumatra.

Batak societies are patriarchal organized along clans known as Marga. The Toba Batak believe that they originate from one ancestor "Si Raja Batak", with all Margas, descended from him. A family tree that defines the father-son relationship among Batak people is called tarombo. Toba Batak are known traditionally for their weaving, wood carving and especially ornate stone tombs. Their burial and marriage traditions are very rich and complex. The burial tradition includes a ceremony in which the bones of one's ancestors are reinterred several years after death. This secondary burial is known among the Toba Batak as mangongkal holi.

Before they became subjects of the colonial Dutch East Indies government, the Batak had a reputation for being fierce warriors. Today the Batak are mostly Christian with a Muslim minority. Presently the largest Christian congregation in Indonesia is the HKBP (Huria Kristen Batak Protestan) Christian church. The dominant Christian theology was brought by Lutheran German missionaries in the 19th century, including the well-known missionary Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen. Christianity was introduced to the Karo by Dutch Calvinist missionaries and their largest church is the GBKP (Gereja Batak Karo Protestan). But, the Mandailing Batak were converted to Islam in the early 19th century.

Ba‘th Socialist Party
Ba‘th Socialist Party (Ba'ath Socialist Party) (Baath Socialist Party) (Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party).  Arab political party and movement in Southwest Asia, principally in Syria and Iraq.

The Ba'th Socialist Party was founded in Damascus in the 1940s by Michel Aflaq, a Syrian intellectual, as the original secular Arab nationalist movement, to unify all Arab countries in one state and to combat Western colonial rule that dominated the Arab region at that time. In Arabic, "baʿath" means "renaissance" or "resurrection." It functioned as a pan-Arab party with branches in different Arab countries, but was strongest in Syria and Iraq, coming to power in both countries in 1963. In 1966 a coup d'état by the military against the historical leadership of Michel Aflaq and Salah Bitar led the Syrian and Iraqi parties to split into rival organizations – the Qotri (or Regionalist) Syria-based party being aligned with the Soviet Union while the Qawmi (or Nationalist) Iraq-based party adopted a generally more centrist stance. Both Ba'ath parties retained the same name and maintain parallel structures in the Arab world.

The Ba'ath Party came to power in Syria on March 8, 1963 and has held a monopoly on political power since. Later that same year, the Ba'athists gained control of Iraq and ran the country on two separate occasions, briefly in 1963 and then for a longer period lasting from July 1968 until 2003. After the de facto deposition of President Saddam Hussein’s Ba'athist regime in the course of the 2003 Iraq War, the Coalition Provisional Authority banned the Iraqi Ba'ath Party in May 2003.

In the 1930s, Michel Aflaq, Salah al-Din Bitar and Zaki Arsuzi travelled around Syria to promote an ideology of Arab nationalism.   In 1943, the Arab Ba‘th Party was formed in Damascus by Aflaq and Bitar.   In 1946, after the French left Syria, Aflaq and Bitar managed to get a license for their political group.  Later they merged it with the political movement led by Arsuzi.   On April 7, 1947, at the first party congress in Damascus, the party was officially founded, a constitution was approved and an executive committee was formed.  In March 1954, the Arab Ba‘th Socialist Party was formed after a merger with the Arab Socialist Party.  In 1966, a split in the Syrian party, led many of its members to establish a second Ba‘th Party in Beirut, Lebanon.  In July 1968, a breakaway branch of the Ba‘th Party moved to Baghdad, following the coup in Iraq.  

The basic principles of the Ba‘th Party were utility and freedom inside an Arab nation.  The party also based itself on the belief that Arabs had a special mission to end Western colonialism.  The Ba‘th Party was nationalistic, populistic, socialistic and revolutionary.  Its socialism was not communism but did involve land reform, public ownership of natural resources, transport, large-scale industry and financial institutions.  It did allow workers and peasants to form trade unions, and  proposed that workers should be allowed into the management of the companies for which they worked.  Nevertheless, the socialism of the Ba‘th party did allow some private ownership.  Central to their ideology was also their tendency to ignore class divisions, as well as divisions between different religious groups.  This allowed many from minority groups to gain political power by joining the Ba‘th Party.   A key element of the original program of the Ba‘th Party was freedom of speech and association.  However, the Ba'th governments of Syria and Iraq did not adopt this element.

The Ba‘th Party in Iraq was established in secret in 1950.  Beginning in 1955, it started to cooperate with other nationalistic groups.  However, it was not until February 1963 that the Ba‘th Party became strong enough to take control over Iraq.  This seizure only lasted for a short period, until November, when a leader outside the Ba‘th Party became prime minister.   Thanks to an initial cooperation with military officers, the Ba‘th Party was able to take full control over Iraq in 1968.  This became the beginning of a process where the party and the state in many important areas would become the same.  This applied to the government, the armed forces, the police and the intelligence agency.  In the 1980s, the socialistic aspect of the Ba‘th Party was filtered out, and much encouragement was given to the private sector.  Also, Arab nationalism was replaced with Iraqi nationalism.

The Ba‘th Party in Jordan was founded in 1948, originating from the Arab Ba‘th Party.  It was with the annexation of the West Bank (with its large Palestinian population) that the Ba‘th Party really grew strong in the country’s nationalist-leftist alliance.  This alliance became the strongest in the parliament after the elections of 1956.   The members of the Jordanian Ba‘th Party were the educated in the cities, and they had strong support from students.  In the period 1958-1961, the Ba‘th Party was active in working against the monarchy of Jordan, and did this with economical aid from Syria. When the West Bank was occupied by Israel in 1967, the Ba‘th Party of Jordan was weakened, and never fully recovered.

The Arab Ba‘th Party of Lebanon was established in 1948, but political freedom was limited the year after, when international parties were banned.  This situation lasted until 1958.  Lebanon was used for the Ba‘th Party’s congresses in 1959 and 1968.  During the Lebanese Civil War of 1975, the Ba‘th Party could establish their own militia with economical support from Syria.  The Ba‘th Party joined a unitary group of several parties in 1987.  This group later became central in forming a unitary government in Lebanon, where central leaders from the Ba‘th Party were given posts.

The branch of the Ba‘th Party of Yemen was established around 1955, but started to become an important group after the end of the Yemeni civil war in 1970.  The party never entered any office and was, in 1976, merged with other parties to form the National Democratic Front.  

The local branch of the Ba‘th Party of Syria is a direct continuation of the original movement, which was first established in Syria.  The party was suppressed from 1958 until 1961, during the union between Syria and Egypt (the union known as the United Arab Republic).   In 1963, the Ba‘th Party seized power in Syria.  However, the same year the party also split into two factions, an anti-Marxist civilian part, and a military part.  The latter was led by Salah Jadid.  In 1966, tensions grew stronger, and Jadid’s group made Michel Aflaq, the leader of the civilian group, go into exile.  In 1970, a two week party congress tried to solve a conflict between Jadid and Hafez al-Assad, but did not succeed.  Soon afterwards, Assad had Jadid removed from his position and put in jail.  Following this, Assad exerted more and more control over the party.  At certain periods there was much dissent with his political line, but by 1979 Assad had removed his opponents from any important positions.

In Iraq, in July 1968, a bloodless coup brought to power the Ba'athist general Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr. Wranglings within the party continued, and the government periodically purged its dissident members. Emerging as a party strongman, Saddam Hussein eventually used his growing power to push al-Bakr aside in 1979 and ruled Iraq until 2003. Although almost all the Ba'thist leadership had no military background, under Hussein the party changed dramatically and became heavily militarized, with its leading members frequently appearing in uniform.

In June 2003, the Coalition Provisional Authority of Iraq banned the Ba'ath party. Some criticize the additional step the CPA took — of banning all members of the top four tiers of the Ba'ath Party from the new government, as well as from public schools and colleges — as blocking too many experienced people from participation in the new government. Thousands were removed from their positions, including doctors, professors, school teachers, bureaucrats and more. Many teachers lost their jobs, causing protests and demonstrations at schools and universities. Under the previous rule of the Ba'ath party, one could not reach high positions in the government or in the schools without becoming a party member. In fact, party membership was a prerequisite for university admission. In other words, while many Ba'athists joined for ideological reasons, many more were members because it was a way to better their options. After much pressure by the US, the policy of deba'athification was addressed by the Iraqi government in January, 2008 in the highly controversial "Accountability and Justice Act" which was supposed to ease the policy, but which many feared would actually lead to further dismissals.

The Arabic word Baʿath means "renaissance" or "resurrection" as in the party’s founder Michel Aflaq’s published works "On The Way Of Resurrection". Ba'athist beliefs combine Arab Socialism, nationalism, and Pan-Arabism

Inspired by the French Jacobin political doctrine linking national unity and social equity, the motto of the Party is "Unity, Freedom, Socialism" (in Arabic wahda, hurriya, ishtirakiya). Unity refers to Arab unity, freedom emphasizes freedom from foreign control and interference in particular, and socialism refers to what has been termed Arab Socialism rather than to Marxism.

The Ba'ath party and the Arabian national movement have been influenced by 19th century mainland European thinkers, notably conservative German philosophers such as Johann Gottlieb Fichte of the Königsberg University Kantian school  and center-left French “Positivists” such as Auguste Comte and professor Ernest Renan of the Collège de France in Paris. Tellingly, Baath party co-founders Michel Aflaq and Salah al-Bitar both studied at the Sorbonne in the early 1930s, at a time when center-left Positivism was still the dominant ideology amongst France’s academic elite.

The “Kulturnation” concept of Johann Gottfried Herder and the Grimm Brothers had a certain impact. Kulturnation defines a nationality more by a common cultural tradition and popular folklore than by national, political or religious boundaries and was considered by some as being more suitable for the German, Arab or Ottoman and Turkic countries.

Germany was seen as an anti-colonial power and friend of the Arab world; cultural and economic exchange and infrastructure projects as the Baghdad Railway supported that impression. One of the early Arab nationalist thinkers Sati' al-Husri was influenced by Fichte, a German philosopher and Nazi precursor, famous for his nation state socialism economic concepts, his anti-semitic stance and his important influence on the German unification movement.

The Ba'ath party also had a significant number of Christian Arabs among its founding members. For them, most prominently Michel Aflaq, a resolutely nationalist and secular political framework was a suitable way to evade faith-based minority status and to get full acknowledgement as citizens. Also, during General Rashid Ali al-Gaylani's short-lived anti-British military coup in 1941, Iraq-based Arab nationalists (Sunni Muslims as well as Chaldean Christians) asked the Nazi German government to support them against British colonial rule.

After 1948, the traditional Arab Muslim elite failed to prevent the foundation of Israel and was not able to provide welfare and administrative standards comparable to the western world. The secular and highly disciplined Ba'ath movement was seen as less corrupt and better organized. In multi-ethnic, multi-faith and highly divergent countries like Iraq and Syria, the Ba'ath concept allowed non-Muslims, as well as secular-minded Sunni and Shia Muslims to work under one common roof. The mentioning of a socialist stance allowed as well for a closer cooperation with the Soviet Union after 1945. Starting with the 1960s, the GDA had a stronger military involvement in Syria as well.

Although Aflaq gave "unity" the priority among the party's objectives, he also stressed democracy and liberties.

The Ba'ath Party was created as a cell-based organization, with an emphasis on withstanding government repression and infiltration. Hierarchical lines of command ran from top to bottom, and members were forbidden to initiate contacts between groups on the same level of organization. All contacts had to pass through a higher command level. This made the party somewhat unwieldy, but helped prevent the formation of factions and cordoned off members from each other, making the party very difficult to infiltrate, as even members would not know the identity of many other Ba'athists. As the United States and its allies discovered in Iraq in 2003, the cell structure also made the Party highly resilient as an armed resistance organization.

A peculiarity stemming from its Arab unity ideology is the fact that the Ba'ath Party has always been intended to operate on a pan-Arab level, joined together by a supreme National Command, which was to serve as a party leadership for branches throughout the Arab world.

Ba‘ath Socialist Party see Ba‘th Socialist Party
Baath Socialist Party see Ba‘th Socialist Party
Arab Socialist Ba'ath Party see Ba‘th Socialist Party

Batiniyya.  Name given (a) to the Isma‘ilis in medieval times, referring to their emphasis on the “inner” meaning (in Arabic, "batin") of the literal wording of sacred texts and (b) to anyone accused of rejecting the literal meaning of such texts in favor of the “inner” meaning.  

Batiniyya is a pejorative term to refer to those groups, such as Alevism, Ismailism, and often Sufism which distinguish between an inner, esoteric level of meaning (Batini) in the Qur'an, in addition to the outer, exoteric level of meaning Zahiri. Batini ta’wil is the name given to the exegesis (ta'wil) of the esoteric knowledge which rests with the Imam, or with the Shaykh/Pir in Sufism.

Batonun (Batonu) (Botombu) (Bariba).  Early European explorers called the people who inhabit the north central-northeastern forest and savanna lands of the People’s Republic of Benin, Bariba.  They call themselves Batonu, Botombu, or Batonun.  The word “Bariba” is most frequently used by foreigners.  

Legend proposes that the Batonun are descendants of Kisra, a seventh century Persian warrior whose exploits in the Nile Valley were terminated by the Prophet Muhammad.  Kisra refused to profess his faith in Islam and rode west to found a new kingdom in Busa, which is today a Batonun city in west central Nigeria.  His military strength was seasoned with political expertise, and he acquired the homage, fealty -- and daughters -- of local land chiefs in exchange for his administrative, judicial and military talents.  

Glimpses of Batonun are found in the journals of travelers, traders and would be conquerors as early as the fifteenth century, but their ethnological origin remains elusive.  Historians agree that they are a Sudanic people whose language stems from Voltaic and Manding substocks and whose culture emerged from a confluence of autochthonous (native or indigenous) as well as immigrant populations.  Their political history shows the alliance of powerful landed families and clans with a group of equally powerful roving horsemen, the gradual extension of control over weaker agrarian and pastoral populations and, finally, the evolution of a social hierarchy responsive to the economic and military needs of the aristocratic group.  

The Batonun (Bariba) are the fourth largest ethnic group in Benin and comprise approximately one-twelfth of the population. The Batonun are concentrated primarily in the north-east of the country, especially around the city of Nikki, which is considered the Batonun capital. They originally migrated from the Kwara state Nigeria and were renowned horsemen. One of their noted festivals is the annual Gani festival which is a showcase for the horseriding that is very much a part of, and is engrained in, the Batonun culture.

The Batonun tribe holds an important place in the history of the country. During the late 19th century, Batonun (Bariba) was known to constitute independent states and dominate with kingdoms in cities like Nikki and Kandi in the northeast of the country.

The Batonun society consists of a higher-ranking official as chief of the town and subordinate chiefs. Social status and titles are inherited in families, but the status of a person may be given by the families’ nature of work.  Notable subdivisions of the Bariba include the ruling Wasangari nobles, Baatombu commoners, slaves of varying origin, Dendi merchants, Fulbe herders, and other divisional ethnic groups.

Agriculture is the dominant occuption for the Batonun. They grow corn, sorghum, rice, cotton, cassava (tapioca), yams, beans, palm oil, peanuts and some poultry and livestock.  Religion plays an important part in Batonun tribes and they are primarily Islamic. The religion was introduced to the Batonun people by Dendi traders who were preaching in the north. However, a number of Batonun communities have their own indigenous beliefs.

Bariba see Batonun
Batonu see Batonun
Botombu see Batonun

Battani (Abu-Abdullah Muhammad ibn Jabir al-Battani) (Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Battani (al-Battani) (Albategnius) (Albatenius) (c.858-929).  Astronomer who examined and corrected, through application of trigonometry, astronomical theories first put forward by the second century Alexandrian Ptolemy.

Born near Haran in north-central Syria in 858, the young Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sinan al-Battani al-Harrani al-Sabi’ moved with his and several other families to Rakka on the Euphrates River midway on the caravan route between Aleppo and the Upper Mesopotamian city of Mosul.  This migration may be explained in part by the nisba, or nickname, retained by the future Islamic astronomer.  “Al-Sabi” may refer to his family’s earlier adherence to the so-called Sabian sect, which was reputed to follow a mixture of Christian and Islamic principles.  Whatever the family’s original religious orientation, Abu ‘Abd Allah’s later fame was won under the banner of Islam, the faith he ultimately followed.  After his move to Rakka as a youth, al-Battani spent the remainder of his life in the same geographical and cultural environment.

No specific information is available on al-Battani’s formal education.  It is not known, for example, whether his original training was obtained in a fully secular “scientific” or in a religious setting.  It was as a youth in Rakka, however, that al-Battani decided to devote himself to careful study of ancient texts, especially those of Ptolemy, which provided him with the knowledge needed to carry out the series of astronomical observations which would make him famous, not only in the Islamic world but in the medieval European West as well.

Al-Battani, known to the West as Albatenius, contributed greatly to advances in the field of trignometry.  To carry out key calculations, he relied on algebraic rather than geometric methods.  Like his somewhat lesser known follower Abul Wefa (940-998), al-Battani focused much of his attention on the theories of the second century Alexandrian astronomer Ptolemy.  Several Islamic scholars before him had been intrigued by Ptolemy’s approach to the phenomenon of the oscillatory motion of the equinoxes.  Al-Battani’s contemporary Thabit ibn Qurrah tried to account for this by supplementing Ptolemy’s theory, merely adding a ninth sphere to the Greek scientist’s assumption of eight spheres. Al-Battani, however, remained doubtful.  He was convinced that trigonometry should be developed more effectively for the purpose of achieving greater precision in already known methods of making these and other astronomical calculations.  This goal led him to explore and expand the relevance of sines.  His use of the Indian sines, or half chords, enabled him to criticize Ptolemy’s conclusions in several areas.

For example, Ptolemy had insisted that the solar apogee was a fully immobile phenomenon.  Al-Battani, however, was able to observe that in the seven centuries since Ptolemy’s time there had been a notable increase in the sun’s apogee.  His further observations suggested that the apogee was affected by the precession of the equinoxes.  To explore this theory required a substantial revision of methods of proposing equations to represent the passage of time in accurate astronomical terms.  Room had to be made for accommodating slow secular variations.  As part of this process, al-Battani set out to correct Ptolemy’s theory of the precession of the equinoxes.

The phenomenon of eclipses was also a field incompletely pioneered by Ptolemy.  Interest in this subject motivated al-Battani to make a variety of studies that aided subsequent astronomers in their calculations to determine the time of the visibility of the new moon.  His treatment of the phenomena of lunar and solar eclipses provided the basic information that would be used by European astronomers as late as the eighteenth century.  

In a somewhat more practical vein easily appreciated by the layman, al-Battani’s observations allowed him to determine the length of the tropic year and, significantly, the precise duration of the four seasons of the year.

One of the most original areas of al-Battani’s work involved the use of horizontal and vertical sundials.  Through their use, he was able to denote the characteristics of a so-called “horizontal shadow” (umbra extensa).  These he used to reveal cotangents, for which he prepared the first known systematic tables.  Similarly, his study of “vertical shadows” (umbra versa) provided pioneer data for calculating tangents.

Most of al-Battani’s important findings in the field of astronomy were contained in his major work, Kitab al-zij (De scientia stellarum or De motu stellarum -- c.900-901).  As the Latin titles suggest, this magnum opus was first circulated widely among scholars of the early period of the European Renaissance.   

Unfortunately, modern scholars’ familiarity with other important writings by al-Battani is limited to what can be gleaned from references to them in other Islamic authors’ works.  A “Book of the Science of Ascensions of the Signs of the Zodiac,” a commentary on Ptolemy’s Apotelesmatika tetrabiblos, and a third work on trigonometry, for example, are all lost in their original versions.

The scholarly career of al-Battani provides an example of the diversity of pre-Islamic sources that contributed to the rise of Islamic science.  It also illustrates the importance of such scientists’ work in saving traces of pre-Islamic contributions to knowledge during the Dark Ages of European history, when much of the classical heritage of Western civilization was lost.  To speak of al-Battani’s role as that of an interim transmitter of knowledge, however, would be to miss the essential importance of scientific endeavors in his era.  It is clear, for example, that al-Battani was dissatisified with interpretations offered by his classical and Indian forerunners.  By the time his work of reinterpretation was translated for transmission to the European world, it reflected numerous original contributions.  Thus, in regard to the re-emergence of Western science during the classical revival period of the Renaissance, it can be said that many of the principles upon which it was based came from Islamic sources.

The fact that such advances in several fields of “pure” science were actively sponsored by the early Islamic caliphs -- themselves assumed to be primary guardians of the religious interests of their realm -- is of major significance.  In al-Battani’s age, knowledge was still recognized as something necessarily derived from syncretic sources.  Tolerance for the exploration of different secular scientific traditions did not, however, survive too many successive generations.  Narrowness of views in the eastern Islamic world a mere century and a half after al-Battani’s contributions would make the role of Western translators of Arabic scientific works just as vital to the conservation of cumulative knowledge in world culture as the work of Islamic translators and commentators had been after the end of the classical era.  Outstanding figures such as al-Battani, therefore, definitely span world civilizations and reflect values that are universal.  These are easily recognized as such beyond the borders of their chronological time or geographic zone.

Al-Battani was the leading Arab astronomer and mathematician of his time.  His astronomical observations at ar-Raqqah, Syria, extended for a period of more than forty years.  

Al-Battani has been recognized as the greatest astronomer of his time and one of the greatest of the Middle Ages.  Abu Abdullah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sin'an al-Battani was born around 858 in or near Battan, a state of Harran.  He belonged to the princely Sa’bi family of Harran and he was a Muslim.  Al-Battani was first educated by his father Jabir ibn Sin’an al-Battani, who was also a well-known scientist.  He then moved to Raqqa, situated on the bank of the Euphrates, where he received advanced education in sciences.  At the end of the ninth century, he migrated to Samarra, where he worked until his death in 929.

Al-Battani made his observations and studies in al-Raqqah from 877 to 929 and made many important discoveries in astronomy.  He made several corrections to Ptolemy’s work and rectified the calculations for the orbits of the moon and certain planets.  He proved the possibility of annular eclipses of the sun and determined with greater accuracy the obliquity of the seasons and the true and mean orbit of the ecliptic, the length of the tropical year and the seasons and the true and mean orbit of the sun.  Al-Battani’s remarkably accurate calculation of the solar year as 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds is very close to the latest estimates.  He found that the longitude of the Sun’s apogee had increased by sixteen degrees since Ptolemy.  If inferred the important discovery of the motion of solar apsides and of a slow variation in the equation of time.  He did not believe in the trepidation of the equinoxes, although Copernicus, several centuries later, held that erroneous notion.

In a sharp contrast to Ptolemy, al-Battani proved the variation of the apparent angular diameter of the sun and the possibility of annular eclipses.  He revised orbits of the Moon and the planets and proposed a new and very ingenious theory to determine the conditions of visibility of the new moon.  Eighteenth century scientists used al-Battani’s excellent observations of the lunar and solar eclipses to determine the acceleration of motion of the moon.  He determine many astronomical coefficients with great accuracy. Al-Battani also provided very ingenious solutions for some problems of spherical trigonometry using the methods of orthographic projection.  It was from a perusal of al-Battani’s work on apparent motion of fixed stars that Hevilius discovered the circular variation of the moon.  

Al-Battani’s greatest fame came in mathematics with the use of trigonometric ratios as we used them today.  He was the first to replace the use of Greek chords by Sines, with a clear understanding of their superiority.  He also developed the concept of cotangent and furnished their tables in degrees.

Al-Battani wrote many books on astronomy and trigonometry.  His most famous book was an astronomical treatise with tables, which was translated into Latin in the twelfth century and is known by the title De Scienta Stellarum - De Numeris Stellarum et motibus.  The third chapter of al-Battani’s book on astronomy is devoted to trigonometry.  His treatise on astronomy was extremely influential in Europe until the Renaissance and was translated in several languages.  

The work of such Muslim scholars as al-Battani paved the way for the great advances in science that we enjoy today.    It is no overstatement to say that in the domain of trigonometry the theory of sine, cosine and tangent is directly attributable to the mathematical genius of al-Battani.   Al-Battani’s original discoveries both in astronomy and trigonometry were of great consequence to the development of the sciences, particularly during the Renaissance.  Copernicus in his trailblazing (and revolutionary) book  De Revolutionibus Orbium Celestium pays tribute to al-Battani and acknowledges his indebtedness to al-Battani.

Indeed, from a more global perspective, the brilliant advances of not only Copernicus, but also Tycho Brahe, Kepler, Galileo, Descartes and Newton cannot be, and should not be, recalled without paying tribute to the fundamental and preparatory labor of such Arab mathematicians as al-Khwarizmi, Thabit ibn Qurrah, al-Biruni, Ulugh Beg and al-Battani.   

In small recognition of al-Battani’s contributions to the advancement of mankind, one of the surface features of the moon (a plain eighty miles in diameter) was named after al- Battani, or as he is known in the West -- Albategnius.  

Abu-Abdullah Muhammad ibn Jabir al-Battani see Battani
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad al-Battani see Battani
Albategnius see Battani
Albatenius see Battani
Abu ‘Abd Allah Muhammad ibn Jabir ibn Sinan al-Battani al-Harrani al-Sabi’  see Battani

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