Sunday, July 21, 2013

Mir 'Ali Shir Nawa'i - Mu'allim Naji

Mir ‘Ali Shir Nawa’i
Mir ‘Ali Shir Nawa’i (Mir 'Ali Shir Neva'i) (1441-1501).  Chaghatay poet.  He also was an important Central Asian cultural and political figure of the reign of the Timurid Husayn Bayqara (r. 1469-1506).  He is universally considered as the greatest representative of Chaghatay Turkish literature and exerted profound influence on the development of Azeri, Uyghur, Tatar and Ottoman Turkish literatures.
Mir 'Ali Shir Neva'i see Mir ‘Ali Shir Nawa’i
Neva'i, Mir 'Ali Shir see Mir ‘Ali Shir Nawa’i
Nawa'i, Mir ‘Ali Shir see Mir ‘Ali Shir Nawa’i

Miranshah ibn Timur
Miranshah ibn Timur (c. 1367-1408).  Third son of Timur.  Babur, the founder of the Mughal dynasty, was his descendant. 

Mirdasids (Banu Mirdas) (1023-1079/1080).  Arab dynasty in Aleppo and northern Syria.

The Mirdasid dynasty was a dynasty that controlled the Amirate of Aleppo more or less continuously from 1024 until 1080.

The Mirdasids were members of the Banu Kilabi, an Arab tribe that had been present in northern Syria for several centuries. Like the other Arabs of the region, the Mirdasids were Shi'a Muslims, although as a result of the expansion of the Seljuk Turks into the area they were constrained to convert to Sunnism.

Unlike other Arab tribes of Greater Syria that managed to establish their autonomy or independence in the late 10th/early 11th centuries, the Mirdasids focused their energies on urban development. As a result, Aleppo prospered during their reign. The Mirdasids demonstrated a high degree of tolerance to Christians, favoring Christian merchants in their territories and employing several as viziers. This policy, no doubt influenced by comparatively good relations with the Christian Byzantine Empire, often upset the majority Muslim population.

The early history of the Mirdasid dynasty is characterized by constant pressure from both the Byzantines and the Fatimids of Egypt. By mixing diplomacy (the Mirdasids were vassals of both the Byzantines and Fatimids several times) and military force, the Mirdasids were able to survive against these two powers.

Militarily, the Mirdasids had the advantage of light Arab cavalry, and several Arab groups in the region, such as the Numayrids of Harran and their own Kilabi brethren, provided valuable assistance. Later on, the Seljuks supplanted the Byzantines and Fatimids as their primary antagonist; the Turks' light cavalry was superior to their own and the Mirdasids had a much more difficult time dealing with them. The Mirdasids had resorted to recruiting Turkish mercenaries into their armies, although this caused its own problems, as the Turks began to acquire an increased role in the government.

The timeline of Mirdasid Amirs reads as follows:

    * Salih ibn Mirdas, 1024-1029
    * Shibl al-Daula Nasr, 1029-1038

The Fatimids conquer Aleppo

    * Mu'izz al-Daula Thimal, 1042-1057

Aleppo transferred to the Fatimids

    * Rashid al-Daula Mahmud, 1060-1061
    * Mu'izz al-Daula Thimal, restored, 1061-1062
    * 'Atiyya ibn Salih, 1062-1065 (in Rahba only 1065-1071)
    * Rashid al-Daula Mahmud, restored, 1065-1075
    * Jalal al-Daula Nasr, 1075-1076
    * Sabiq ibn Mahmud, 1076-1080

The Uqailids take over Aleppo

After the overthrow of the Hamdanids in 1004, Aleppo had been ruled by several princes nominally subordinate to the Fatimids. It was from these individuals that Slih ibn Mirdas took the town in 1024. When he died fighting the Fatimids five years later, his two sons Shibl al-Daula Nasr and Mu'izz al-Daula Thimal succeeded him, although Nasr quickly became sole amir. He became a Byzantine vassal, although later he transferred his allegiance to the Fatimids. However, the Fatimid governor of Damascus killed Nasr in battle and took Aleppo 1038.

Nasr's brother Thimal managed to recover Aleppo in 1042 and eventually made peace with the Fatimids. He was a vassal of both the Byzantine Emperor and Fatimid Caliph. Troubles with the Kilab, however, caused him to give up Aleppo to the Fatimids in exchange for several coastal towns. The Kilab threw their support behind Thimal's nephew Rashid al-Daula Mahmud, who took Aleppo in 1060. Thimal returned and in 1061 regained Aleppo from Mahmud, but died a year later.

After Thimal's death a succession dispute emerged between Mahmud and Thimal's brother 'Atiyya ibn Salih, leading to a split in the Mirdasid domains. Mahmud controlled the western half, while 'Atiyya controlled the east. In order to gain an edge over Mahmud, 'Atiyya recruited a band of Turks, but they later defected to Mahmud, forcing 'Atiyya to give up Aleppo in 1065.

The Turks began moving into northern Syria in greater numbers, forcing Mahmud to convert to Sunni Islam and become a vassal of the Seljuk sultan. Mahmud's death in 1075, followed by that of his son and successor Jalal al-Daula Nasr in 1076, resulted in Nasr's brother Sabiq ibn Mahmud becoming amir. Conflicts between him and members of his family, along with several different Turkish groups, left the Mirdasid domains devastated, and in 1080, prompted by Sabiq, the Uqailid Sharaf al-Daula Muslim took over Aleppo. The Mirdasids maintained a level of influence in the region after the loss of Aleppo, and attempted to stem the advance of the First Crusade.

Banu Mirdas see Mirdasids

Mirghaniyya (Khatmiyya) (d. 1851).  Dervish order founded by Muhammad ‘Uthman al-Mirghani.  The main expansion of the order has been in eastern Sudan.
Khatmiyya see Mirghaniyya

Mir Ja’far
Mir Ja’far (Mīr Muḥammad Jaʿfar Khan) (1691—February 5, 1765, Bengal, India). First Bengal ruler (1757–60; 1763–65).  Mir Ja’far was an adventurer who married the half-sister of Alivardi Khan, the nawab of Bengal, thus entering the new ruling group in Bengal.  His best-known act as a general was to betray his master, Siraj ud-Daulah, at the Battle of Plassey.  Ambition and personal loyalty to Robert Clive, rather than support for the company (whose trading abuses he protested) were his politics.  Forced to abdicate in favor of his son-in-law Mir Qasim, he was re-installed by the British when they declared war on his successor in 1763.  Mir Ja’far died, frustrated with British self-aggrandizement, on February 5, 1765.

An Arab by birth, Mīr Jaʿfar assisted his brother-in-law, General ʿAlī Vardī Khan, in seizing the government of Bengal in 1740. Discontented, he conspired with others in 1756 to depose Sirāj al-Dawlah, the grandson and successor of ʿAlī Vardī. In 1757, he assured Robert Clive, British governor of Madras (now Chennai), that he would enter into an alliance with the British to exclude the French from Bengal and pay £500,000 to the East India Company and £250,000 to the European inhabitants of Calcutta (now Kolkata) to compensate them for the loss of the city to Sirāj the previous year, provided that the British support his bid to be ruler of Bengal. He also promised large gratuities to British military and naval forces and to the Calcutta city council members. He and his fellow conspirators took no active role in the Battle of Plassey (June 1757), in which Sirāj was overthrown, but he was installed afterward as the nawab (Muslim ruler) of Bengal.

Mīr Jaʿfar found the Bengal treasury unexpectedly small, but he undertook the fulfillment of his financial promises and issued free passes for the private trade of the English merchants, policies that led to the state’s financial ruin and a demoralization of the East India Company’s servants that marked the early years of British rule. After Clive’s departure in 1760, Mir Jaʿfar was deposed in favor of his son-in-law Mīr Qāsim. Reinstated in 1763 on the outbreak of war between the English and Mīr Qāsim, he made concessions to the English that led to his financial and political downfall. At his death he was addicted to opium and suffered from leprosy.

Mīr Muḥammad Jaʿfar Khan see Mir Ja’far

Mir Jumla
Mir Jumla (Mir Jumla II) (Mir Muhammad Sa‘id Ardistani) (Mir Muhammad Saeed Ardestani) (Muhammad Sa‘id Mir Jumla) (c. 1591- March 30, 1663).  Name of Mir Muhammad Sa‘id Ardistani, a Persian merchant adventurer who entered the service of the Qutb Shahis of Golconda around 1630.  From the rank of havildar of Masulipatam, he gradually rose to be the chief minister under Abdullah Qutb Shah -- an appointment probably earned in appreciation for the military talent he displayed in the conquest of Udaygiri Fort in 1643.  Master of a strong artillery in which even English gunners were employed, he carved out a dominion for himself by extensive conquests in eastern Karnataka.   Mir Jumla established an efficient financial and civil administration, organized messenger service between Hyderabad and Karnataka, and maintained a powerful army paid both in cash and jagirs (tracts of land).  The geopolitics of the region brought him into conflict with the Bijapuris but his main thrust was concentrated against the Vijayanagar empire.  When in April 1656, Mir Jumla transferred his allegiance to Shah Jahan, the title of Mu’azzam Khan was conferred on him.  Later, he was appointed diwan-i kul (chief minister) of the Mughal empire.  Under Aurangzeb, he became governor of Khandesh and later viceroy of Bengal.  He extended the Mughal frontiers to Cooch Behar and Assam.  Mir Jumla’s mining activities made him the owner of twenty-five maunds of diamonds.  He lent money to the English and conducted trade with West Asia and the East Indies.

Mir Jumla II was a prominent subahdar (governor) of Bengal in Eastern India under the Indian Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. An Iranian by birth, his original name was Mir Muhammad Saeed Ardestani (not to be confused with Mir Jumla I whose name was Mir Muhammad Amin during the reign of Emperor Jahangir). He received various titles from the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb such as Mu'azzam Khan, Khan-i-Khanan, Sipah salar and Yar-i-Wafahdar, but he became more popular in history as Mir Jumla. His son's name was Muhammad Amin Khan.

Born in Ardestan, Isfahan, Mir Jumla was the son of a poor oil merchant from a Sayyid (the honorific title used by claimants as the descendants of Muhammad) family.

In his early age, Mir Jumla acquired some knowledge of reading, writing and arithmetic through which he was able to secure the job of a clerk under a diamond merchant having connections with the Kingdom of Golkonda in Southern India (near present day city of Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India), which was famous for its diamond mines. He later came to India in the service of another merchant. He, however, started his own diamond business, farmed some diamond mines, engaged in maritime commercial ventures and gradually rose to be a merchant of much fame, owning many ships.

Mir Jumla entered the service of the Sultan of Golconda and rose to the position of Vizier or prime minister of the kingdom. He met and befriended the French traveler Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, Baron of Aubonne during this time. Tavernier was a pioneer of European trade with India and the charismatic Mir Jumla is mentioned prominently in his book "Le Six Voyages de J. B. Tavernier".

Mir Jumla led campaigns against Karnataka, occupied it and gained immense wealth, which roused the suspicions of the Sultan of Golconda against him.

Prince Aurangzeb, the Mughal viceroy in the Deccan (Southern India) forwarded his cause and he got the protection of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who honored him with the title of Muazzam Khan, raised him to the rank of 6000 zat and 6000 sawar and appointed him the diwan-i-kul or the prime minister.

On his accession to the throne, Aurangzeb entrusted Mir Jumla with the task of dealing with Shah Shuja. Shuja was Auranzeb's brother and a contender to the Indian throne. He was defeated in the Battle of Khajwa and took to flight. Mir Jumla pursued Shuja from Khajwa to Tandah and from Tandah to Dhaka (capital of the present day republic of Bangladesh), where he arrived on May 9, 1660. The latter, however, had already left Dhaka, crossed the eastern border and ultimately found shelter with the king of Arakan (modern day Myanmar).

Soon after his arrival at Dhaka, Mir Jumla received the imperial farman (decree) appointing him subahdar (governor) of Bengal. The emperor, in recognition of his services, honored Mir Jumla with titles, rewards and increment of mansab (rank). He at once began reorganizing the administration, which had become slack in the absence of Shuja during the war of succession, and disobedience and refractoriness had become prevalent. Reversing the action of Shuja who had transferred the capital to Rajmahal, he restored Dhaka to its former glory. He then paid attention to the administration of justice, dismissed dishonest Qazis (clerics and judges) and Mir Adils and replaced them with honest persons.

Mir Jumla's construction activities in Dhaka and its suburbs resulted in two roads, two bridges and a network of forts, which were necessary for public welfare, strategic purposes, and speedy dispatch of troops, equipment and ammunition. A fort at Tangi-Jamalpur guarded one of the roads connecting Dhaka with the northern districts. It is now known as the Mymensingh Road. The other road led eastward, connecting the capital city with Fatulla (old Dhapa), where there were two forts, and by extension the road could lead up to Khizrpur where two other forts were situated. The Pagla bridge lies on this road off Fatulla. Some parts of the roads and forts built by Mir Jumla are still extant.

The most important aspect of Mir Jumla's rule in Bengal was his northeastern frontier policy, by which he conquered the frontier kingdoms of Kamrup (Kamarupa) and Assam. Koch Behar was a vassal state, but Raja Pran Narayan took advantage of the war of succession and shook off his allegiance. The Ahom king of Assam, Jayadhvaja Singh, occupied a part of Kamrup, which had earlier been integrated with the Bengal subah.

Mir Jumla advanced with a large army and navy against the enemy. He sent the main body of the troops and the navy towards Kamrup, while he himself proceeded against Koch Behar. On his approach, Pran Narayan evacuated the country and fled towards the hills. Koch Behar was occupied in about one month and a half and making administrative arrangements there, Mir Jumla came to join the advance party towards Kamrup.

The king of Assam was prudent enough to evacuate Kamrup, but Mir Jumla decided to conquer Assam also. Mir Jumla took 12,000 cavalry, 30,000 infantry, and a fleet of 323 ships and boats up river towards Assam—the naval contingent comprised Portuguese, English, and Dutch sailors.

An account of the campaign and the life during the times was presented by the Venetian adventurer Niccolao Manucci in his memoirs 'Storia do Mogor'. This book was a reference for the work of the French historian François Catrou who wrote the ‘Historic Generale de l’Empire du Mogol’ in 1715. Manucci also got acquainted with a Mughal Navy officer of British descent during the same period named Thomas Pratte. Pratte was appointed by Mir Jumla as an officer in the Mughal navy and used to collect war boats and procure gunpowder necessary for naval warfare.

Assam, in those days, was a big country and its physiography was much different from that of Bengal. But nothing daunted Mir Jumla. In less than six weeks' time, since his starting from Guwahati, Mir Jumla conquered up to Garhgaon, the capital of Assam.

Beyond that the country was full of high hills and mountains, inaccessible for horses and troops, where the Ahom king took shelter. During the rains, the Mughals were locked in a few raised grounds, the roads were submerged, the streams and even the nalahs (drains) swelled up to become big rivers. The Assamese harassed them from all sides by their habitual night attacks. The supply of rations from their base was also stopped, because they could not be sent due to inundation of roads.

There was very great shortage of food in the camps, both for men and beasts, soldiers began to slaughter furnished horses, and it was with great difficulty that the Mughals could save themselves from complete annihilation. Besides the shortage of food, pestilence broke out in the Mughal camps, due to bad and unhealthy air and water. As a result, Mir Jumla lost almost two-thirds of his army, and worst of all Mir Jumla himself became sick.

Many armies would have disintegrated under these circumstances but under Mir Jumla's magnificent leadership, the Indian Mughal army held firm and remained on the offensive.

After the rains were over, both Mir Jumla and the king of Assam agreed to sign a peace treaty. The terms of the treaty implied that the Ahom king would accept Mughal rule and also send two Ahom princesses to the court of the Indian Emperor as a sign of goodwill (one of whom was Romoni Gabhoru, who later became the daughter-in-law of Emperor Aurangzeb - a.k.a Princess Rahmat Begum). The Ahoms also had to pay a war indemnity and an annual tribute of 20 elephants. They also had to cede the western half of their kingdom from Guwahati to Manas river.

Although the terms were favorable to the Mughals, the occupied Assamese territory was lost as soon as Mir Jumla retraced his steps. He died on his way back on boat off Khizrpur (March 30, 1663).

His simple tomb located on a small hillock has been maintained over the centuries near Garo Hills in the northeastern Indian state of Meghalaya. The tomb reflects a remarkably long grave and bears testimony to the legendary height of Mir Jumla-a true giant among men.

Mir Jumla, a successful businessman himself in his early career, was aware of the contribution of trade and traders in the economy of a country and looked after the interests of the traders.

During his time, the Portuguese trade had declined. But the Dutch and English companies had emerged to take their place. They dreaded his influence and courted his favor. He helped the foreign traders including the European companies to enjoy the trade privileges already granted to them by the imperial authority.

Mir Jumla, a self-made man, was one of the remarkable personalities in 17th century India. Enterprising and amiable, he started as a simple clerk and rose to be one of the greatest generals and governors of the Indian Mughal Empire.

A great statesman, he was intelligent and farsighted. He is remembered as a just and humane Indian Mughal governor.

Mir Jumla II see Mir Jumla
Mir Muhammad Sa'id Ardistani see Mir Jumla
Muhammad Sa'id Mir Jumla see Mir Jumla
Mir Muhammad Saeed Ardestani see Mir Jumla
Mu'azzam Khan see Mir Jumla
Khan-i Khanan see Mir Jumla

Mirkhwand (Mirkhvand) (Muhammad ibn Khwanshah Mirkhwand) (Muhammad ibn Khwanshah Mirkhvand) (1433-1498).   Timurid historian in Herat.  He wrote a universal history in Persian which enjoyed exceptional popularity throughout the Turco-Iranian regions and was translated several times into Turkish.
Mirkhvand see Mirkhwand
Muhammad ibn Khwanshah Mirkhwand see Mirkhwand
Muhammad ibn Khwanshah Mirkhvand see Mirkhwand
Mirkhvand, Muhammad ibn Khwanshah see Mirkhwand
Mirkhwand, Muhammad ibn Khwanshah see Mirkhwand

Mir Lawhi, Sayyid Muhammad
Mir Lawhi, Sayyid Muhammad (Sayyid Muhammad Mir Lawhi) (Naqibi).  Shi‘a religious scholar from the seventeenth century.  He wrote on Shi‘a theology, the Imamate, especially the question relative to the twelfth Imam, and on the refutation of all forms of Sufism.  He directed sharp criticism against Majlisi-yi Awwal.
Sayyid Muhammad Mir Lawhi see Mir Lawhi, Sayyid Muhammad
Lawhi, Sayyid Muhammad Mir see Mir Lawhi, Sayyid Muhammad
Naqibi see Mir Lawhi, Sayyid Muhammad

Mir, Muhammad Taqi
Mir, Muhammad Taqi (Khuda-e-Sukhan Mir Taqi Mir) (Meer Taqi Meer) (1722/1723- September 20, 1810).  Along with Ghalib, one of the two greatest poets of the classical Urdu style of poetry, the ghazal.  Mir was born and grew up in Agra, but lived his adult life first in Delhi, then after 1782 in Lucknow, where he died.  Moody, proud, quite conscious of his own pre-eminence, he was often on difficult terms with his relatives and patrons.  But his brilliance as a poet was recognized even before his first divan, or group of poems, was collected around 1750; during his lifelong poetic career, he produced a good deal of other Urdu and Persian poetry, together with an autobiography (in Persian) and an account of Urdu poets.  Mir’s command of Persian, his fondness for prakritic vocabulary, and his wonderful capacity for wordplay give his language a piquancy that belies that reputation as a poet of unrelieved melancholy.  More than any other poet Mir shaped the classical Urdu ghazal in its middle period.  His popularity and influence remain very much alive.

Khuda-e-Sukhan Mir Taqi Mir was the leading Urdu poet of the eighteenth century, and one of the pioneers who gave shape to the Urdu language itself. He was one of the principal poets of the Delhi School of the Urdu ghazal and remains arguably the foremost name in Urdu poetry often remembered as Khuda-e-Sukhan (god of poetry).

Mir Jumla was born in Agra, India (called Akbarabad at the time), ruled by the Mughals at the time. He left for Delhi, at the age of 11, following his father's death. His philosophy of life was formed primarily from his father, whose emphasis on the importance of love and the value of compassion remained with him through his life and imbued his poetry. At Delhi, he finished his education and joined a group of nobility as a courtier-poet. He lived much of his life in Mughal Delhi. Kuchha Chelan, located in the famous grain market Khari Baoli, in Old Delhi was his address at that time. However, after Ahmad Shah Abdali's sack of Delhi each year starting 1748, he eventually moved to the court of Asaf-ud-Daulah in Lucknow, at the king's invitation. Distressed to witness the plundering of his beloved Delhi, he gave vent to his feelings through some of his couplets. He remained in Lucknow for the remainder of his life. He died in Lucknow, of a purgative overdose, on September 20, 1810.

Mir's literary reputation is anchored on his ghazals. Mir lived at a time when Urdu language and poetry was at a formative stage - and Mir's instinctive aesthetic sense helped him strike a balance between the indigenous expression and new enrichment coming in from Persian imagery and idiom, to constitute the new elite language known as Rekhta or Hindui. Basing his language on his native Hindustani, he leavened it with a sprinkling of Persian diction and phraseology, and created a poetic language at once simple, natural and elegant, which was to guide generations of future poets.

After his move to Lucknow, his beloved daughter died, followed by his son, and then his wife. This, together with other earlier setbacks (including his traumatic stages in Delhi) lends a strong pathos to much of his writing - and indeed Mir is noted for his poetry of pathos and melancholy.

What Mir was practicing was probably the “Malamati” or “Blameworthy” aspect of the Sufi tradition. Using this technique, a person ascribes to oneself an unconventional aspect of a person or society, and then plays out its results, either in action or in verse. He was a prolific writer. His complete works, Kulliaat, consist of 6 dewans, containing 13,585 couplets comprising all kinds of poetic forms: ghazal, masnavi, qasida, rubai, mustezaad, satire, etc.

Khuda-e-Sukhan Mir Taqi Mir see Mir, Muhammad Taqi
Meer Taqi Meer see Mir, Muhammad Taqi
God of Poetry see Mir, Muhammad Taqi
Muhammad Taqi Mir see Mir, Muhammad Taqi

Mir Qasim
Mir Qasim (Mir Kasim) (Mir Kasim Ali Khan) (d.1777).  Nawab of Bengal (r.1760-1763).  Mir Qasim was the son-in-law of his predecessor, Mir Ja’far.  Installed by the British, Mir Qasim refused to be a puppet.  A more proficient administrator than Mir Ja’far, he doubled revenue collections and attempted to modernize the army.  When the British refused to stop abusing their trade privileges, Mir Qasim boldly extended the same exemptions from tax to the Indian merchants.  The outraged British declared war in June 1763 and brought back Mir Ja’far.  Mir Qasim’s alliance with Nawab Shuja ud-Daulah of Awadh and with the Mughal emperor culminated in his defeat at Baksar on October 23, 1764

Mir Qasim was Nawab of Bengal from 1760 to 1764. He was installed as Nawab by the British East India Company replacing Mir Jafar, his father-in-law, who had himself been installed by the British after his role in the Battle of Palashi. However, Mir Jafar had started to assert independence by trying to tie up with the Dutch East India Company. The British eventually overran the Dutch forces at Chinsura and replaced Mir Jafar with Mir Qasim. Qasim later fell out with the British and fought them at the Battle of Buxar. His defeat has been suggested as the last real chance of preventing a British-ruled India following Britain's victory in the Seven Years War.

Upon ascending the throne, Mir Qasim repaid the British with lavish gifts. To please the British, Mir Qasim robbed everybody, confiscated lands, reduced Mir Jafar's purse and depleted the treasury. He also transferred the districts of Burdwan, Midnapur and Chittagong to the British East India Company. However, he soon tired of British interference and endless avarice and like Mir Jafar before him, yearned to break free of the British. He eventually shifted his capital from Murshidabad to Munger in present day Bihar where he raised an independent army, financing them by streamlining reforms in tax collection.

He opposed the British East India Company position that their imperial Mughal license (dastak) meant that they could trade without paying taxes (other local merchants with dastaks were required to pay up to 40% of their revenue as tax). Frustrated at the British refusal to pay these taxes, Mir Qasim abolished all taxes on the local traders as well. This upset the advantage that the British traders had been enjoying so far, and hostilities built up. After losing a number of skirmishes, Mir Qasim overran the Company offices in Patna in 1763, killing several Europeans including the Resident. Mir Qasim teamed up with Shuja-ud-Daula of Avadh and Shah Alam II, the itinerant Mughal emperor, who were also threatened by growing British might. However, their combined forces were defeated in the Battle of Buxar in 1764, thus ceding control of the rich Gangetic plain to the British.

Mir Qasim's short campaign against British was significant. It was a direct fight against the outsider British by a native Bengali. Unlike Siraj-ud-Daulah before him, Mir Qasim was an effective and popular ruler. The battle with Mir Qasim and the success at Buxar established the British as conquerors of Bengal in a much more real sense than the Battle of Plassey ten years before.

Mir Qasim died in obscurity, possibly in Delhi in 1777. He passed his last days in abject poverty. His shawl had to be sold to pay his coroners.

Mir Kasim see Mir Qasim
Kasim, Mir see Mir Qasim
Qasim, Mir see Mir Qasim
Mir Kasim Ali Khan see Mir Qasim
Khan, Mir Kasim Ali see Mir Qasim

Mirza.  Persian title, originally meaning “born of a prince.”  In Persian usage, it was also given to noblemen and others of good birth, thus corresponding to the Turkish Aga.  In Indian usage, it is accorded, from Mughal times onwards, to kinsmen of the Mughals, the Timurids, the Safavids, members of other royal houses and to certain Mughal nobles.

The title Mirza (Persian: میرزا ) is a high title of nobility, originally used in the Persian Court. Starting in the 15th century, the title was also adopted by the Ottomans, Mughals, and various Tatar khanates and is still in use, in areas which were conquered by them (from modern day Eastern Europe/Former Yugoslavia to South Asia). The name Mirza still enjoys a wide degree of use in Iran and the neighboring states of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Mirza Abu’l-Qasim ‘Arif
Mirza Abu’l-Qasim ‘Arif (1880-1934).   Persian revolutionary poet and satirist.  His poetry is full of social satire, attacks on corruption, and of nostalgia for Persia’s great past.
'Arif, Mirza Abu'l-Qasim see Mirza Abu’l-Qasim ‘Arif

Mirza Ahmad Khan
Mirza Ahmad Khan.  Indian Muslim noble and traveller to the West during the eighteenth century.  In 1794, he travelled via Muscat, Istanbul and Marseilles to Paris, where he was well received by the Committee of Public Safety.  In gratitude, he translated the “Declaration of the Rights of Man” into Persian.
Khan, Mirza Ahmad see Mirza Ahmad Khan.

Mirza ‘Aziz Koka
Mirza ‘Aziz Koka (c. 1542-1624).  Son of the Mughal Emperor Akbar’s wet nurse Jiji Anaga.  He rose to prominence in the Mughal court, army and administration.

Koka, Mirza 'Aziz see Mirza ‘Aziz Koka

Mirzakhani, Maryam
Maryam Mirzakhani (Persian: مریم میرزاخانی‎; b. May 3, 1977, Tehran, Iran - d. July 14, 2017, Palo Alto, California) was an Iranian mathematician, and a full professor of mathematics (beginning on September 1, 2008) at Stanford University. 
Her research interests included Teichmuller theory, hyperbolic geometry, ergodic theory, and symplectic geometry.   In 2014, Mirzakhani became the first woman, as well as the first Iranian and the second person from the Middle East (after Elon Lindenstrauss), to be awarded the Fields Medal. 

Maryam Mirzakhani was born in 1977 in Tehran, Iran. She went to high school in the city at the Farzanegan School, a school for gifted girls that is administered by the National Organization for Development of Exceptional Talents (NODET). Mirzakhani competed and was recognized internationally for her math skills, receiving gold medals at both the 1994 International Mathematical Olympiad (Hong Kong) and the 1995 International Mathematical Olympiad (Toronto), where she was the first Iranian student to finish with a perfect score.

Mirzakhani obtained her BSc in mathematics (1999) from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. She went to the United States for graduate work, earning a PhD from Harvard University (2004), where she worked under the supervision of the Fields Medalist Curtis McMullen. She was also a 2004 research fellow of the Clay Mathematics Institute and a professor at Princeton University. 

Mirzakhani made several contributions to the theory of moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces.  In her early work, Maryam Mirzakhani discovered a formula expressing the volume of a moduli space with a given genus as a polynomial in the number of boundary components. This led her to obtain a new proof for the formula discovered by Edward Witten and Maxim Kontsevich on the intersection numbers of tautology classes on moduli space, as well as an asymptotic formula for the growth of the number of simple closed geodesics on a compact hyperbolic surface. Her subsequent work has focused on Teichmüller dynamics of moduli space. In particular, she was able to prove the long-standing conjecture that William Thurston's earthquake flow onTeichmuller space is ergodic.

Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal in 2014 for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces". She was congratulated for her win by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

She married Jan Vondrak, a theoretical computer scientist.  They had a daughter named Anahita.

Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. After four years, it spread to her bone marrow. Mirzakhani died from breast cancer on July 14, 2017 at the age of 40.

Mirza Muhammad Amir Kabir
Mirza Muhammad Amir Kabir (c. 1807-1852).  Reformist statesman of nineteenth century Persia.  He took part in diplomatic missions to Russia and Turkey and, as a consequence, made strenuous efforts to introduce modernising measures.  He met with hostility at the court, and was executed in Kashan.  
Kabir, Mirza Muhammad Amir see Mirza Muhammad Amir Kabir

Mirzas.  Turbulent family of Timurid descent in Gujarat who were troublesome during the reign of the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Miskawayh (Ibn Miskawayh) (Abu 'Ali Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ya'qub Ibn Miskawayh) (932-1030).  Philosopher and historian from Rayy.  Writing in Arabic, he was one of the particularly brilliant intellectual generation who worked in Buyid Persia and Iraq between 961 and 1039.  As a philosopher, he is distinguished by the central importance he attached to ethics.  His universal history from the Flood to the year 980 is original only in the last part dealing with the Buyids.

Ibn Miskawayh was a prominent Persian philosopher and historian from Ray, Iran. He was active during the Buwayhid era. As a neo-platonist, his influence on Islamic philosophy is primarily on in the area of ethics. He was the author of the first major Islamic work on philosophical ethics, entitled Tadhib al-akhlaq (Ethical Instruction), focusing on practical ethics, conduct, and refinement of character. He separated personal ethics from the public realm, and contrasted the liberating nature of reason with the deception and temptation of nature.

Miskawayh may have been a Mazdaean convert to Islam but it seems more likely that it was one of his ancestors who converted. He was fluent enough in Middle Persian to have translated some pre-Islamic texts in that language into Arabic. He worked as a secretary and librarian for a sequence of viziers, including Adud al-Dawla, whom he greatly admired.

Some contemporary sources associated him with the Brethren of Purity, claiming that some of his writings were used in the compilation of the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity.

Miskawayh has been considered to be the peak of Islamic historiography. In his Tajarib al-umam (Experiences of Nations), he was the one of the first major Muslim historians to write a chronicle of contemporary events as an eyewitness. As a Buwayhid bureaucrat, he worked under the vizier al-Muhallabi and had access to the internal happenings of the court. The chronicle is a universal history from the beginning of Islam, but it cuts off near the end of the reign of Adud al-Dawla.

Abu 'Ali Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Ya'qub Ibn Miskawayh see Miskawayh
Ibn Miskawayh see Miskawayh

Misrata.  Berber tribe belonging to the branch of the Hawwara of the Baranis (Branes) group.

Mizanji Mehmed Murad
Mizanji Mehmed Murad (1854-1917).  Ottoman politician, official and journalist.  Among other works, he wrote an Ottoman history in 12 volumes.
Murad, Mizanji Mehmed see Mizanji Mehmed Murad

Moghols. An ethnic and, until recently, linguistic group originally concentrated in west-central Afghanistan, in the modern province of Ghorat.  Now, however, groups of them have become dispersed throughout northern and central Afghanistan.  They number at most 10,000 individuals.

Two elements distinguish the Moghols of Afghanistan.  They no longer speak their original Mongol language, and within a generation or two they will have lost their ethnic identity.   Demographically unimportant -- they number no more than 10,000, dispersed in fewer than 50 villages -- they once played a major role in the history of Afghanistan.  Their language fascinates linguists, who now study the development and change of a language separated by thousands of miles for over half a millennium from the main body of Mongol speakers.  

The forefathers of the Afghan Moghols were once the military and political leaders of a thirteenth century multi-ethnic coalition known as Nikudari or Qarawunas.  Nikudar Oghlan was a Chagatai. general of Hulagu, founder of the Mongol II Kahn dynasty, who came to Persia in 1256.  Marco Polo mentioned him as “king of the Qarawunas.”  Nikudar planned to defect, was imprisoned and died in Mesopotamia.  Many of his troops aligned themselves with the Kurt dynasty of Herat in their successful struggles for independence from Il Khan rule.  This union lasted for a century until Timur (Tamerlane) captured Herat in 1380.

The Nikudari soon disappeared from historical records, to be mentioned only once again, in 1562, by Babur, founder of the Moghul dynasty in India, who referred to them as “inhabitants of Ghor.”  It was in this mountainous tract of west central Afghanistan that the Afghan Moghols lived until around 1900.  

It was while they were allied with the Kurt rulers in Herat that the Nikudari or Moghols established themselves in Afghanistan.  An unruly group of princes, the Kurts were often attacked by Il Khanid troops and on these occasions retreated to their castle, the “stronghold of Qaisar,” in southern Ghor.  The ruins of this castle and a number of nearby Moghol villages remain to this day.  In 1886, British intelligence reported 18 Moghol villages with a population of some 5,000 still living in the area.  The publication of a vocabulary of their Moghol language in 1838 caused a sensation among linguists of the time.  They were forgotten again until 1955, when a team of United States and Japanese linguists discovered what has been called the “Zimi Manuscript,” which prompted renewed interest.  Further linguistic research has been carried out be a German team.  

The Kurts disappeared from history after Timur captured Herat in 1380.  Under Timurid and Arghunid rule, the Moghols of Ghor exerted political power in the mountain region of west central Afghanistan.  Then, in 1650, a Pushtun immigrant from Baluchistan named Taiman shaped a coalition of peoples in southern Ghor that has become known as the Taimani tribe of the Char Aimaq.  Taiman and his successors seem to have gotten along well with the Moghols until around 1900, when a quarrel about marriage contracts arose that started a blood feud.  The ensuing fight caused the diaspora of the majority of the Moghols from Ghor.  That case was not settled until 1930 through an exchange of wives in marriage between the Taimani chiefs of Nili and the leading family of the Moghols in neighboring Zirni.  By then only eight villages with Moghol populations had survived in Ghor near Qaisar; the rest of the population had emigrated to Obeh and Herat oases on the Heri-rud River and at least five villages in northern and northeastern Afghanistan.

Mohamed 'Ali
Mohamed 'Ali (Muhammad Ali) (Maulana Mohammad Ali Jouhar) (Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar) (10 December 1878 – 4 January 1931).  Key figure in Indian politics during the first two decades of the twentieth century.  He was editor of the Comrade and the Hamdard, two of northern India’s most influential newspapers; the chief spokesman of Muslim interests; and the architect of the Khilafat campaign, which dominated Indian politics from 1919 to 1923.

Born in Rampur, Mohamed Ali was educated at Aligarh and Oxford.  He returned to India in 1902 and found employment first in Rampur and later at Baroda.  Toward the end of 1910 he decided on a career of journalism; the Comrade, launched on January 14, 1911, was his first venture.  Soon afterward, he acquired the Urdu-language Hamdard.  These journalistic ventures received unprecedented popularity and provided a framework for the uneasiness and dissatisfaction of important Muslim groups, molding their attitudes toward government.  Above all, the newspapers focused on the disturbing news from the Balkan front, which gave evidence of successive military reverses suffered by the Turkish armies and raised the specter of European forces advancing into the heartlands of the Islamic world.

For his views and involvement in the pan-Islamic upsurge, Mohamed Ali was sent to jail, first on May 15, 1915, later in November 1922.  During his famous Karachi trial in October 1922, Mohamed Ali said, “The trial is not Mohamed Ali and six others versus the Crown, but God versus man.”  

During the Khilafat movement Mohamed Ali was a close ally of Gandhi and a staunch supporter of the Indian National Congress.  But when Hindu-Muslim relations deteriorated in the aftermath of the Khilafat and non-cooperation movements, Mohamed Ali became disillusioned with the Congress as well as with Gandhi.  

The gulf that separated Gandhi and Mohamed Ali was confirmed by Mohamed Ali’s open condemnation in April 1930 of the civil disobedience movement launched by the Mahatma.  Mohamed Ali urged Muslims not to join it because its goal was the establishment of a Hindu raj.

Mohammad Ali opposed the Nehru Report's rejection of separate electorates for Muslims, and supported the Fourteen Points of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and the League. He became a critic of Gandhi, breaking with fellow Muslim leaders like Maulana Azad, Hakim Ajmal Khan and Mukhtar Ahmed Ansari, who continued to support Gandhi and the Indian National Congress. Mohammad Ali said: "Even the most degraded Muhammadan was better than Mahatma Gandhi."

Ali attended the Round Table Conference to show that only the Muslim League spoke for India's Muslims. He died soon after the conference in London, on January 4, 1931 and was buried in Jerusalem according to his own wish.

Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar is remembered as a fiery leader of many of India's Muslims. He is celebrated as a hero by the Muslims of Pakistan, who claim he inspired the Pakistan movement. But in India, he is remembered for his leadership during Khilafat Movement and the Non-Cooperation Movement (1919-1922) and his leadership in Muslim education.

The famous Muhammad Ali Road in south Bombay, India's largest city, is named after him. The Gulistan-e-Jauhar neighborhood of Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan's largest city, is also named for him.  Additionally, the Mohammad Ali Co-operative Housing Society (M.A.C.H.S.) in Karachi is named in honor of Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar. Johar Town, Lahore, Punjab is also named after him.

'Alli Mohamed see Mohamed 'Ali
Muhammad Ali  see Mohamed 'Ali
Maulana Muhammad Ali Jouhar see Mohamed 'Ali
Jouhar, Maulana Muhammad Ali see Mohamed 'Ali
Maulana Muhammad Ali Jauhar see Mohamed 'Ali
Maulana Mohammad Ali Johar see Mohamed 'Ali

Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi
Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi.  See Pahlavi, Mohammed Reza.

Mohmand (Momand).  Name of a Pathan or Afghan tribe on the boundary between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Mohmand are a clan of Sarban Pashtuns, living primarily in northeastern Afghanistan and in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan.

In Pakistan, the Mohmands live in the Mohmand Agency and down to the plains of Peshawar, Charsadda, and Mardan. Mohmands are also scattered throughout Pakistan in urban areas including Karachi, Lahore, and Quetta.

In Afghanistan, they are mainly found in Nangarhar and Kunar provinces.

Momand see Mohmand

Molbog (Molebugan) (Molebuganon).  One of the minor Muslim groups of the Philippines, the Molbog are the aboriginal population of Balabac Island, located between Palawan and Borneo.  The Molbog constitute the majority of the overall local population.  In the outer islands of the Balabac archipelago, the Molbog are intermixed with other Muslim groups, mainly the Sama.  Molbog can also be found in the southernmost tip of Palawanon, and in Banggi, a big island south of Balabac that is in Malaysian territory.

The name Molbog derives from malubog, which means “unclear/turbid water.”  Tradition says that the name was given by early sailors and merchants and referred to the island as well as its inhabitants.

The Molbog are one of the groups last Islamized.  According to tradition, the first Islamic missionaries arrived in Balabac from Borneo seven pangkat (generations) ago, more or less during the last half of the eighteenth century.

The story of the conversion is painted with the shades of legend.  Many figures common to Sulu Muslims such as alims walking on the water from Mecca, hajjis gifted with powerful amulets and mighty sultans are credited for almost instantaneous conversion, while proselytization was undoubtedly long and uneven.  Spanish sources report the existence of “pagans” at the end of the nineteenth century.

Contact between Molbog and Muslim developed in three stages.  At first it was occasional.  Balabac was visited by Muslim merchants, provided a refuge for Sama pirates and was sometimes subjected to slave raids.  No stable and continuous relationship was established.

As a result of the expansion of Sulu at the expense of Brunei, the second stage began.  Around the beginning of the nineteenth century, some Tausug and Jama Mapun settled in Balabac.  These individuals, possibly former slave traders or merchants, were able to obtain the subjection of some groups of Molbog in exchange for protection from other foreign intruders.  Using the title Datu, they imposed taxation and ruled the local population.  In this period, new Islamic elements penetrated deeped into Molbog culture.  The newcomers generally merged with the local population.  They married Molbog women and introduced part of their former cultural heritage.

A third stage is characterized by the successful spread of Islam throughout the island as well as by a more direct control of Balabac by the Sulu sultanate.  The local kalibugan (mestizo) rulers in Balaback were the offspring of marriages between the first Tausug settlers and the Molbog.  They used the title panglima (official representative of the sultan) and collected taxes to send once a year to Batarasa, in the mainland Palawan, where part of the Sulu royal family transferred during the nineteenth century.

The control by the sultan was strict.  He had ultimate word in questions of succession, and his emissaries directly and frequently interfered with local problems.  After American rule was established at the beginning of this century, the process of Islamization was still in progress.  In different periods, imams and Islamic teachers came to Balabac for short visits, and it was only after the first years of the century that all the Molbog came to profess the Islamic faith.

The Molbog (are concentrated in Balabak Island and are also found in other islands of the coast of Palawan as far north as Panakan. The word Malubog means "murky or turbid water".

The Molbog are probably a migrant people from nearby North Borneo. Judging from their dialect and some socio-cultural practices, they seem to be related to the Orang Tidung or Tirum (Camucone in Spanish), an Islamized indigenous group native to the northeast coast of Sabah. However, some Sama words (of the Jama Mapun variant) and Tausug words are found in the Malbog dialect. This plus a few characteristics of their socio-cultural life style distinguish them from the Orang Tidung.

Molbog livelihood includes subsistence farming fishing and occasional barter trading with the Sulu Bangsa Moro and nearby Sabah market centers.

In the past, both the Molbog and the Palawanon Muslims were ruled by Sulu datus, thus forming the outer political periphery of the Sulu Sultanate. Inter-marriage between Tausug and the Molbog hastened the Islamization of the Molbog. The offspring of these inter-marriages are known as kolibugan or "half-breed".

Molebugan  see Molbog
Molebuganon see Molbog

Mole-Dagbane Speaking Peoples
Mole-Dagbane Speaking Peoples. The many societies of the Mole-Dagbane-speaking peoples of northern Ghana and the adjacent parts of neighboring countries are built upon a common linguistic and historical base.  The societies range from small isolates of a couple of thousand to the several million Mossi, most of whom live in Upper Volta.  Most of the other 30 or so societies number in the tens of thousands, the largest being the Grusi and Dogamba.  Muslims account for no more that thirty-five percent of the entire Mole-Dagbane-speaking peoples, with the largest concentration among the Mossi.

The Mole-Dagbane-speaking peoples are not so much “Muslim” as they are “influenced by Muslims.”  They affect the economy and society of the entire region without being politically or numerically dominant.  Indeed, so ethnically pluralist is the region that the leading historian of Islam in the region has distinguished the “dispersion of Muslims” from “the spread of Islam.”

The Volta Basin location is important to the Mole-Dagbane peoples, both in terms of their general history and specifically with respect to Islam.  Since ancient times long-distance trade routes have crisscrossed the West African savanna, linking its peoples with each other and with the culturally distinct populations of the coastal rain forests to the south and with the Mediterranean world across the Sahara.  Three major routes converge in Mole-Dagbane territory.  One starts in the land of the Akan peoples, the most well-known and powerful of whom are the Asante.  A second begins in the northwest part of the Middle Volta, where a succession of Manding empires and their cities of Jenne, Mopti and Timbuktu have been centers of Islamic learning as well as trade.  A third connects with the great Hausa cities and states of northern Nigeria: Sokoto, Kano, Zaria and Katsina, all major Islamic and economic centers.  

In the past, the Akan peoples traded gold and kola nuts (a caffeine-rich stimulant much sought throughout the savanna, especially by Muslims denied alcohol by their faith).  In return, the savanna states traded for salt (from the Saharan mines) and slaves.  The latter were in great demand once the Trans-Atlantic slave trade developed.  Except for some gold and slaves (often Mole-Dagbane), the Middle Volta peoples controlled trade routes rather than resources.  But those routes and their trade were very important.  The Akan “Gold Coast” was the main source of gold for Europe and the Arab world through the Middle Ages until the Spanish conquest of Peru and Mexico.  It was the trade through the Middle Volta which brought the cavalry and traders from elsewhere who introduced state government and Islam to the Mole-Dagbane farming peoples.

Sometime around the thirteenth century, cavalry, possibly from Nigeria, entered the Middle Volta Basin.  Militarily superior, they were able to conquer local people and establish states.  Defining dates and sequences is still difficult, not least because the traditionally “senior” state of Mamprusi was in recent centuries weak in power and in oral tradition.  Also, “Mossi” cavalry were in the region some two centuries before the earliest known state.  (“Mossi” in a historical context is frequently applied to all these immigrant state-founding cavalry.)  By the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, datable references to wars with Mossi appear in records of Mali and Songhay.  Nevertheless, none of the currently existing states can be reliably dated earlier than about 1480, the approximate date for foundation of Mamprusi and Dagomba.  The northern (modern) Mossi states were founded a generation or so later.  In each case, “founding” means establishing a state over pre-existing farming groups, whose Mole-Dagbane languages became the languages of the “Mossi” cavalry elite as well.

The various Manding-speaking peoples moved outwards from their Upper Niger River homeland at different times.  The rise of the Mali Empire and its successors added greater importance to Manding movements.  They were the source for the diffusion of Islam into the western Sudan savanna, including the Hausa, and their traders, the Dyula, known also as Wangara, who figure heavily in early accounts of the West African interior.

Dates for these developments are not firmly established, but it has been argued that the Dyula from Mali brought Islam into the Volta Basin beginning in the late fourteenth century, with the pace accelerating in the next century.  The late fifteenth century saw the founding of the Mole-Dagbane “Mossi” states out of the somewhat earlier cavalry influx.  Gonja, a state with a Mande elite south of Dagomba, rose in the late 1500s.  The first Akan state, to the south, arose roughly contemporaneously with the Mole-Dagbane states.  Hausa histories from Kano first mention kola nuts, which come only from the Akan forests, in the early fifteenth century.  The period 1350-1600, then, saw the rise of trade between the Akan forest peoples and and the Mali Mandinka to their northwest and the Hausa to the northeast.  The traders were Muslim.

Mole-Dagbani is spoken by about fifteen percent (15%) of the nation's population, the name of which is a portmaneau of two closely related languages: Moore language (Mole), spoken by the Mossi, and Dagbani language (Dagbane) spoken by the Dagomba, two related peoples. The majority of the Mossi live in Burkina Faso, which the Dagomba mainly reside in Northern Ghana. Its speakers are culturally the most varied. For centuries, the area inhabited by Mole-Dagbane peoples has been the scene of movements of people engaged in conquest, expansion, and north-south and east-west trade. Hence, Hausas, Gurunsi, Fulanis, Zabaremas, Dyulas and Bassaris are all integrated into the Dagbani areas, and many speak the language. For these reasons, a considerable degree of heterogeneity, particularly of political structure, developed here. Many terms from Arabic, Hausa and Dyula are seen in the language, due to the importance of trans-Saharan and West African trade and the historic importance that the Islamic religion has had in the area.

Molla.  See Mullah.

Mollah. See Mullah.

Monarchs. Islam’s expansion faced the ummah (community) with the issue of mulk (royal authority).  This term was already used, sometimes pejoratively, under the Umayyads (661-750), who were criticized for betraying an ideal.  Sura 2:247-249 cites the Hebrew prophet emphasizing that God alonge made and unmade kings, whom he endowed with knowledge and power, not wealth.  Their dyah (“sign”) was the Ark, a sakinah, and Moses’ and Aaron’s relics.  Shi‘a traditions mention the imams’ sakinah (the divine radiance), legitimating hereditary charisma.

God’s throne overspreads heaven and earth (Suras 2:256 and 25:60).  The Last Day will mark mulk’s return to God (Sura 22:55).  His law, shari‘a, preexists any earthly law.  Man’s purpose is the exemplifciation and execution of shari‘a, and the purpose of the dar al-Islam (Muslim lands) is the elimination of the dar al-harb (non-Muslim lands).  Except in Shi‘a doctine, the Prophet died without nominating successors in his secular, leadership role.  Those closest to him solved the dilemma by reference to Arab practice.  By ijma’ (consensus) they selected the venerable among his companions, his first four deputies (khulafa’ – “rightly guided”), because they were best versed in the law revealed to the Prophet.  Sura 4:62, however, while primarily enjoining obedience to God and the messenger, affords some scope for flexibility by adding, “and those in charge among you.”

The aim of such great jurists as al-Maturidi (d. 944), Baqillani (d. 1013), Baghdadi (d. 1037), al-Mawardi (d. 1058), Juwayni (d. 1085), al-Ghazali (d. 1111), and Ibn Taymiyah (d. 1328) was adherence to revelation, maintaining Muslim piety, and, never more than in the paramount matter of leadership of the community, matching Muslim theory with practice.  Mu‘tazili rationalizations needed refuting, but, beginning in the ninth century, the Sunni jurists had first to combat two extremes: Shi‘a doctrine that only the descendants of the Prophet’s son-in-law ‘Ali were rightful leaders of the community and, notably after the occultation of the Twelfth Imam in 873, that in effect secular rulers were only tolerable under the aegis of the fuqaha’ (those qualified to interpret the law); and the Khariji doctrine that, if sound of body and mind, any Muslim might be elected caliph.  Given that opposition to God’s law and the consensus of the Prophet’s people, “who can never agree on error,” was heresy, the Sunni jurists’ watchwords were maslahah (commonweal for Muslims to fulfil God’s purpose), ittigaq al-ahwa’ (unanimous agreement on what is desirable), and on the negative side, mafsadah (what causes corruption), and especially, fitnah (economic and social disruption).

In a situation lacking dichotomy between spiritual and temporal authority, the jurists’ problem was soon compounded by the rise of more than one acliphate, the ‘Abbasid (749-1258) in Baghdad rivaled by others in Spain and Egypt.  Although for reasons where theology and law were intertwined, the jurists sought the caliph’s warrant, from 821 onward, provincial amirs assumed and made hereditary local sovereignty as malik or sultan, and in 945, the Shi‘a Buyids captured the caliph’s capital, Baghdad.  They demonstrated pre-Islamic Iranian kisrawi or khosroan influence by reviving Sassanian royal titles.

Such changes defied the Shi‘a theory of nass (imams by prophetic designation) as well as the Sunni bay‘ah (mutally agreed “bargain” between ruler and ruled).  Al-Farabi (d. 950), philosopher rather than jurist, anticipated developments by stipulating that a king should be skilled and powerful enough to be in fact philosopher-king, whether he were honored or not, rich or poor, Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406) described the inqilab (transformation) of the caliphate to mulk as “natural,” but decadent, implying Arab Muslims’ loss of ‘asabiyah (strong common feeling).  Ruzbihan Khunji (d. 1521) accepted kings as world managers provided that they protected shari‘a and enabled the people to be dutiful Muslims.  

The pre-Islamic Iranian din and dawlah (twinning of kingship and religion in mutual inter-dependence) as invoked, and crystalized in the Seljuk compromise with the caliphate. Under the Buyids, the jurist al-Mawardi said a restrained caliphate might function provided the restraining force upheld shari‘a.  New rulers’ other primary duties related to taxes and defending Islamic territory.  Al-Ghazali was less concerned with the sultan-caliph relationship than with preservation of the religious life.  Order, avoidance of fitnah, was vital.

When the Mongol Hulegu Khan ended the ‘Abbasid caliphate, the symbol of authority from the Prophet’s kinsmen and companions disappeared, though the Muzaffarid Mubariz al-Din Muhammad (1313-1357) in Fars and certain North African aspirants to kingship sought legitimation from an ‘Abbasid descendant in Cairo.  The legal implications and Islam’s exposure to unbelievers’ infiltrations consequent on this not being lost on religious teachers around him, Il-Khanid caliph Ghazan’s conversion to Islam in 1295 appears to have initiated an attempt to fill the void.  He was assiduously apostrophized by his minister and apologist, Rashid al-Din, as Padshah-i Islam, and proof of the intention seems evident in the adoption of the ‘Abbasid black banner.

For the Shi ‘a the dilemma might have seemed resolved when, challenged by Sunni Ottoman and Mughal neighbors, the Safavids (1501-1722) made Shi‘ism the religion of Iran, though both the shah and his Ottoman enemy styled themselves to each other as sovereign of Islam.  Because Twelver Shi‘ism claimed Safavid descent from the seventh imam, Musa al-Kazim (d. 799), it might seem to have combined imamate and mulk.  In effect, it caused tension between the ‘ulama’ and king.

An Afghan Sunni leader’s defeat of the Safavids and their subsequent final removal by their erstwhile liberator, Nadir Shah, left Iran still officially Shi‘a.  By 1979, a monarch had allowed his version of kisrawiyah seriously to distort the delicate balance between the divine and mundane which Islam requires to be kept, at least as nearly as possible, in equilibrium.  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini replaced the shah in the Iranian Revolution.  Enthusiastic followers called the ayatollah “imam,” but he instituted what he termed, and depersonalized as, vilayat-i faqih (guardianship of the jurisprudent): one sufficiently knowledgeable in shari‘a to be viable as curator of maslahah until the awaited Hidden Imam’s return.  Kingship banished, a fresh experiment in application of the ideal began: according to pure Islamic theory, not so much a political-social experiment as an attempt to retrieve from mafsadah God’s purpose for man.

In Saudi Arabia, Ibn Sa‘ud took the title of king in 1924.  Foreign oil agreements, obviating dependence on local finance, consolidated his position.  Morocco’s old dynasty became a constitutional monarchy in 1962.  Faced by modern Muslims’ re-purification concerns, these kingdoms’ survival, owing much to their creators’ abilities, largely depends on their heirs’ capacity.  Represented as “Western” innovations, these monarchies might, whatever their credentials, look beholden to forces threatening Islam.

Mongke (Möngke Khan) (Mongka) (Mangu) (Mangku) (b. January 10, 1209, Mongolia - d. August 11, 1259, Szechwan, China).  Fourth Great Khan of the Mongol Empire (r.1251-1259).  He sent his brother Qubilai Khan to begin the subjugation of the Sung Empire in South China, and his other brother Hulegu, the founder of the Il-Khanid dynasty, was commissioned to march west against the Isma‘ilis of Persia and the ‘Abbasid caliphate.  He was notable for his interest in and tolerance of a wide range of religions.  The Franciscan missionary Willem van Ruysbroeck (William of Rubruck) visited his court at Karakorum in 1253-4.

Möngke,was the grandson of Genghis Khan and heir to the great Mongol empire.  Elected great khan in 1251, he was the last man who held this title to base his capital at Karakorum, in central Mongolia. Under his rule the city achieved an unprecedented splendor, and the Mongol Empire continued to expand at a rapid rate. Its territory became so large and diverse that Möngke was the last great khan capable of exerting real authority over all the Mongol conquests.

In the West, Möngke’s armies, led by his brother Hülegü (c. 1217–65), launched an attack on Iran, crushing the last resistance there by the end of 1256. The Mongols then advanced on Iraq, taking the capital at Baghdad in 1258. From there they moved into Syria in 1259, took Damascus and Aleppo, and reached the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.

In the East, Möngke’s armies, under the command of his other brother, the famous Kublai (1215–94), outflanked the Chinese in the south and captured the Thai kingdom of Nan-chao, located in present-day Yunnan Province in China. They then brought much of present-day Vietnam under their suzerainty. Meanwhile the main Mongol forces began to advance against China proper. In 1257 Möngke took personal charge of his armies within China.

While conducting the war in China at Fishing Town in modern-day Chongqing, Möngke died near the site of the siege on August 11, 1259. His youngest wife, Chubei, died a month after Mongke at the Liupanshan Mountains.

Möngke was succeeded by his brother Kublai, who completed the conquest of China. A strict man, Möngke tried to preserve the old Mongol way of life. His contemporaries judged him to be a benevolent ruler.

As the only Great Khan to have ever been killed in action, several different accounts have been published as to how he perished. Some reports indicated that he died of cholera. Persian accounts assert that he died of dysentry. He is also reported to have been killed by an arrow shot by a Chinese archer during the siege. However, the most popular account states that he died of a wound caused by cannon fire or a projectile launched from a Song Chinese trebuchet, while the Mongolians covered up the story by claiming that his death was due to illness to maintain their soldiers' morale. While Möngke left a will declaring that the town should be massacred once taken, its siege continued for another 17 years before the defenders of the town surrendered themselves to Kublai Khan, who promised to spare the lives of the town's residents.

Möngke's death led to the 4-year succession war between his two younger brothers: Kublai Khan and Ariq Boke. Though Kublai Khan eventually won the battle against Ariq Boke, the succession war essentially marked the end of the unified Mongol empire. When Kublai Khan established the Yuan Dynasty in China in 1271, Möngke Khan was placed on the official record of the dynasty as Xianzong

Mongke Khan see Mongke
Mongka see Mongke
Mangu see Mongke
Mangku see Mongke

Mongols (Islamic Mongols). Refers to the nomadic horsemen from northeastern Asia who under Jenghiz Khan and his descendants overran most of Asia in the thirteenth century.  Mongols is the name of a tribe whose original home was in the eastern part of the present day Mongolia.  In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, under Jenghiz Khan and his successors, they established by military conquest the most extensive continuous land empire known to history.  They invaded the Khwarazm-Shah’s empire in 1219-1223 and sacked the great cities of Khurasan, Herat and Nishapur.  The effect of the Mongolian invasion on Persian agriculture, heavily dependent on irrigation by means of underground water channels (in Arabic, qanat) was even more serious.  South Persia, on the other hand, escaped virtually unscathed.  In general, the more long-term effects of the period of Mongol rule in the Islamic world are likely to have been, for the most part, deleterious.  The 40 years of pagan Il-Khanid government before the accession of Mahmud Ghazan in 1295 seem to have been characterized by ruthless and short-sighted exploitation.  Mahmud Ghazan declared his conversion to Islam, and the Mongols in Persia duly followed his example, at least in name.  He introduced administrative reforms, which probably had some beneficial effect.

Following the death of Jenghiz Khan in 1227, his vast empire was divided up among his four sons, Jochi, Chaghatai, Ogedei (successor as Great Khan), and Tolui, who thereby became founding fathers of the Mongol tribal organizations (ulus).  Once Tolui’s son, Mongke (r. 1251-1260), had become Great Khan of Mongolia, he entrusted his brothers Kubilai and Hulagu with the conquest of China and Persia.  Hulagu conquered Iranian territory in 1256, launched the Mongol assault on Baghdad in 1258, and founded the empire of the Ilkhanids, who converted to Islam in 1326 (under Khan Tarmashirin), leading to the split between Islamic Transoxiana and “heathen” Mongolistan.  In the name of the Chaghatai ulus, Timur (r. 1370-1405) conquered vast territories in the west and claimed the inheritance of the Ilkhanids.  The Jochi ulus (in Russia, the western part of the empire) partially converted to Islam (under Berke Khan) and finally in 1313 (under Khan Uzbek).  The Jochi tribes were united as the Golden Horde in 1378 (under Khan Toqtamish), but were defeated by Timur (1495/96) in the battle for the leadership of the Islamic Mongols.

Islam in Mongolia is mainly practised by the ethnic Kazakhs of Bayan-Ölgii and Khovd aimag in western Mongolia. In addition, a number of small Kazakh communities can be found in various cities and towns spread throughout the country. Historically however, the majority of the Mongol elite during the Mongol Empire generally favored Islam over other faiths as three of the four major khanates adopted Islam.

Islam first gained the notice of the Mongols, after Genghis Khan had conquered Afghanistan. In 1222 he, on his way back to Mongolia, visited Bukhara in Transoxiana. It was believed he inquired about Islam, and subsequently approved of Muslim tenets - as well as Christian, Taoist, and Buddhist tenets - except the Hajj, considering it unnecessary. However, he continued his worship of Tangri as his ancestors had done.

The earliest evidence of Islam in Mongolia is dated to 1254, when the Franciscan William of Rubruck visited the court of the great khan Mongke at Karakorum. He celebrated Easter at a Nestorian Christian church but also noted seven temples of the "idolators" (probably Buddhist and Taoist temples), and two mosques. Therefore, historians date the arrival of Islam to Mongolia to between 1222 and 1254.

It was the Mameluke ruler Baybars who played an important role in bringing many Golden Horde Mongols to Islam. Baybars developed strong ties with the Mongols of the Golden Horde and took steps for the Golden Horde Mongols to travel to Egypt. The arrival of the Golden Horde Mongols to Egypt resulted in a significant number of Mongols accepting Islam. By the1330's, three of the four major khanates of the Mongol Empire had become Muslim. These were the Golden Horde, Hulagu's Ulus and Chagatai's Ulus. The Yuan Empire also embraced Muslim peoples such as the Uyghurs and Persians.

Although the court of the Yuan Empire adopted Tibetan Buddhism as the official religion, the majority of the ordinary Mongols, especially those who continued living in Mongolia proper remained Shamanists. After the decline of the Yuan Dynasty, Shamanism once again became the dominant religion. To varying degrees, political and economic relations with Muslim nations such as Moghulistan and the Uyghurs continued.

The Muslim Kazakhs began to settle in the Jungaria and Altai regions in the late nineteenth century. The majority of these Kazakhs were the Kerei and Naiman clans, many of them escaping persecution from Czarist Russia. When independence Bogdo Khan Mongolia was established on December 29, 1911, the Kazakhs in Xinjian and Altai regions sought patronage of the restored Khanate. The Government of Bogdo Khan admitted them and allowed them to settle in the western region of Mongolia's Kobdo territory.

Bayan-Ölgii aimag was established as part of the administrative reforms of the Mongolian People's Republic in 1940. As a result of historically high birth rates, the Muslim population in Mongolia increased between 1956-1989. However, there was a decline in the Muslim population in 1990-1993 due to the large wave of repatriation of ethnic Kazakhs (so called oralmans) to Kazakhstan following the break-up of the Soviet Union. Islam is freely practiced in the country since Mongolia became a democracy in 1990.

Islamic Mongols see Mongols

monk (in Arabic, rahib).  In the Qur’an, monks are the religious leaders of the Christians.  In one place they are said to live at the expense of other people, in another the Christians’ friendship to their fellow-believers is said to be due to their priests and monks.

There is no such thing as monasticism in Islam. It is a human created thing. Allah said in the holy Quran: "We sent Noah and Abraham and placed in the progeny of them both the Prophethood and the Book. Then some of their descendants adopted guidance but many became transgressors. After them We sent Our Messengers, one after the other and followed them with Jesus son of Mary and gave him the Gospel, and We put in the hearts of those who followed him, compassion and mercy, but monasticism they themselves invented-we did not prescribe it for them: they invented it themselves in order to seek Allah's good will. But then they did not observe it as it should have been observed. We gave those of them who had believed their rewards, but most of them are transgressors." (57:26-27)

While most Muslims do not believe in monasticism (emphasizing the Qur'anic injunction [Qur'an 57:27] in which Allah says that monasticism is a man-made practice that is not divinely prescribed), various Muslim Sufi orders, or "tariqas" encourage practices that resemble those of monastic brotherhoods in other faiths.

Dervishes—initiates of Sufi orders—believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe. Many of the dervishes are mendicant ascetics who have taken the vow of poverty. Though some of them are beggars by choice, others work in common professions. Many Egyptian Qadirites, for example, are fishermen.

All genuine dervish brotherhoods trace their origins from two of the close companions of Muhammad, Ali ibn Abu Talib and Abu Bakr. They differ from spiritual brotherhoods of Christianity in that they usually do not live together in a 'monastery' setting; it is actually a stipulation that they have families, and earn an ethical living.

Whirling dance, practiced by the Mevlevi order in Turkey, is just one of the physical methods to try to reach religious ecstasy (majdhb) and connection with Allah. Rif'ai, in their mystical states, apparently skewer themselves without engendering any harm. Other groups include the Shadhili, a gnosis based order who practice the 'hadra' or 'presence', a dance-like breathing exercise involving the repetition of divine names. All genuine brotherhoods and subgroups chant verses of Qur'an, and must follow their form of sharia, or sacred law.

Traditionally monks in Sufism have been known as fakirs. This term has also been applied to Hindu monks.

rahib see monk
fakir see monk

Moors  (in Arabic, al-Mar).  Rather vague term used in Europe to indicate the ancient Muslims of Spain and the inhabitants of the Mediterranean ports of North Africa.

The Moors, who are almost totally Sunni Muslim, live in western North Africa.  They constitute about fifty-eight percent of Mauritania’s population; ten percent of Morocco’s; three percent of Mali’s; and trace percentages in Senegal and The Gambia.  A Moor is regarded as any person, irrespective of skin color, who speaks any of the numerous dialects of Hassaniya, a language which, in its purest form, draws heavily on the original Yemeni Arabic spoken by the Bani Hassan tribe which invaded northwest Africa during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Largely nomadic, Moorish society is hierarchical, composed of tribal confederations, tribal and clan segments, subsegments and tent units.  The social system resembles that of other Saharan and Arab desert societies with variation due to West African ecology and history.  The complex structure of society, developed in nomadic life, emerged from the constant state of insecurity in a harsh desert environment characterized by fratricidal wars, banditry and organized raids.

The Moors recognize four major divisions, based upon elements of heritage, race and occupation.  At the top are those called the white Moors, composed of an aristocracy and its tributaries, then two types of slaves and finally occupational castes.

A bidan (white Moor) is ethnologically defined as a nomad of Berber-Arab origin.  Living primarily in Saharan Mauritania and Mali, the bidan becomes progressively darker in skin color toward the south as a result of black African admixtures.  (Other elements entering the Moorish ethnic group include the non-Negroid Fulani and the Negroid Wolof and Soninke.)

The bidan upper elements of Moorish society are divided into two strata.  The nobility, or the suzerains, are generally referred to as ‘adma, or bones; the second, commoners or tributaties, are called lahma, or flesh.  The ‘adma is composed of the hassan (warriors) and the zawya (religious leaders).  Before the French “pacification,” the hassan generally had political pre-eminence over the zawya.

Traditionally, the function of the hassan is to protect the zawya; each zawya tribe has its particular hassan protector.  An important zawya tribe may have several hassani tribes as protectors or vice versa.  Such arrangements and verbal treaties do not, however, imply any kind of zawya vassalage to the hassan.  The zawya provide moral, spiritual, legal and political services to their protectors, instruct their children, minister to their sick and wounded, act as intercessors between God and man, chase away evil spirits, prevent curses and the evil eye and settle disputes.  The hassan and zawya complement each other.

Below the two ‘adma aristocratic classes come the lahma, or tributaries, who are in a position similar to that of the clients in ancient Rome.  They are grouped into tribes which may be vassals of either the hassan or zawya tribes.  They must marry at their social level.  They, too, may be men of war or of religion, although those with martial traditions serve as auxiliary forces.  Modern government injunctions to disarm have led most of them to a life of monasticism.  Many still in remote areas pay tribute to their ‘adma overlords.

The sudan (black) Moors form the lower classes of Moorish society.  They live in a world of their own, usually in slavery.  Although slavery has been outlawed, it remains basic in the social and economic structure of the Moors.  The juridical abandonment of the term ‘abd (slave) and its replacement by that of hartani (freedman) for a sudan Moor cannot hide the continued survival of slavery in northwest Africa.  

Two kinds of slaves exist: the ‘abd-le-tilad, who belongs to the tent and constitutes membership in the family, and the ‘abd-le-tarbiya, an acquired slave.  Many Moors, whether in Mauritania or Mali, remain oblivious to governmental provisions outlawing slavery.  Those who are aware of them consider the laws impractical.  In their view, owners would be ruined without slaves and many slaves would not know what to do with their freedom.  Many freed slaves refuse to leave their masters, while others form a destitute proletariat in the urban centers.

The fourth element in Moorish society is represented by the occupational castes, usually regarded as aliens by both ‘adma and lahma, although they have similar characteristics.  Among them are the m’allmin (craftsmen), the aghazazir (salt miners), the ighyuwn (bards) and two fast disappearing tribes of namadi (hunters) and imraguen (fishermen).  These are not castes in the traditional sense of the term, but remnants of aborigines who have kept their ethnic purity through insularity.  

Moors follow the Maliki school of Islamic law.  Two main tariqa flourish among them.  The Qadiri is the most widespread, characterized by a multitude of secret societies replete with mysticism.  The Tijani is a second major brotherhood.  Less important is the Shadhiliyya tariqa.

Mar, al- see Moors

Moors  (Sri Lankan Moors). Name given to the Muslims of Sri Lanka who settled there prior to the British conquest of the island in 1795.  As with the Muslims of the Philippines, known as Moros, the name is one that has been given to the Islamic population by Europeans.  In both cases, the people identify themselves as Muslims rather than Moors or Moros.  They number slightly more than one million, and their historical background and social characteristics closely resemble those of the Muslims of peninsular India -- the Mappilas or Kerala and the Labbais of Tamil Nadu.  That is, Sri Lankan Muslims evolved from the commercial settlements of the Arab Muslim traders who first arrived in Sri Lanka in the late seventh or the early eighth century of the Christian calendar.  Some of these Muslims probably came directly from Arabia while others arrived via Kerala, but the majority of the later settlers must have come from Tamil Nadu, as Tamil is the major language among them.  The majority of Muslims in Sri Lanka still make their living as merchants, although there is a community of Muslim agriculturalists in eastern Sri Lanka.  

The Sri Lankan Moors (commonly referred to as Muslims) are the third largest ethnic group in Sri Lanka comprising eight percent (8%) of the country's total population. They are predominantly followers of Islam. The Moors trace their ancestry to Arab traders who settled in Sri Lanka some time between the eighth and fifteenth centuries. The Arabic language brought by the early merchants is no longer spoken, though many Arabic words and phrases are still commonly used. Until the recent past, the Moors employed Arwi as their native language, though this is also extinct as a spoken language.

Moors today use Tamil as their primary language with influence from Arabic. Those from central and southern Sri Lanka also widely use Sinhala, an Indo-European language spoken by the ethnic Sinhalese majority in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan Moors lived primarily in coastal trading and agricultural communities, preserving their Islamic cultural heritage while adopting many Southern Asian customs. During the period of Portuguese colonization, the Moors suffered widespread persecution, and many fled to the Central Highlands and the East Coast, where their descendants remain.

The Tamils of Sri Lanka, throughout history, have attempted to categorize the Sri Lankan Moors as belonging to the Tamil race. It is claimed that this was a bid to eliminate the minority community from having its own unique identity. The Government of Sri Lanka, however, treats the Muslims as of Arab origin and as a distinct ethnic group from the Tamils.

The manner in which Islam developed in Sri Lanka is very similar to that on the Malabar coast of India. Tradition has recorded that Arabs who had settled down on the Malabar coast used to travel from the port of Cranganore to Sri Lanka on pilgrimage to pay homage to what they believed to be the footprint of Adam on the top of a mountain, which, until today, is called Adam's Peak.

Ibn Batuta, the famous 14th century Arab traveller, recorded many facets about early Arab influence in Sri Lanka in his travelogues.

Before the end of the 7th century, a colony of Muslim merchants had established themselves in Ceylon. Fascinated by the scenic splendor and captivated by the traditions associated with Adam's Peak, Muslim merchants arrived in large numbers and some of them decided to settle in the island encouraged by the cordial treatment they received by the local rulers. Most of them lived along the coastal areas in peace and prosperity, maintaining contacts, both cultural and commercial, with Baghdad, Hadramout, Oman and other Islamic cities.

The first Arabs who practiced Islam arrived in Sri Lanka around the 7th/8th century of the Christian calendar, and there is evidence that there was a settled community of Arabs in Ceylon in pre-Islamic times.

The circumstances that helped the growth of Muslim settlements were varied. Most of the majority Sinhalese depended more on agriculture than trade, thus trade was wide open to the Muslims. The Sinhalese Kings considered the Muslim settlements favorably on account of the revenue that they brought with them through their contacts overseas both in trade and in politics. The religious tolerance of the local population was also another vital factor in the development of Muslim settlements in Ceylon.

The early Muslim settlements were set up mainly around ports on account of the nature of their trade. It is also assumed that many of the Arab traders may not have brought their womenfolk along with them when they settled in Ceylon. Hence they would have been compelled to marry the Sinhalese and Tamil women of the island after converting them to Islam. The fact that a large number of Moors in Sri Lanka speak the Tamil language can be attributed to the possibility that they were trading partners with the Tamils of South India and had to learn Tamil in order to carry out their business. The integration with the Muslims of Tamil Nadu, in South India, may have also contributed to this. It is also possible that the Arabs who had already migrated to Ceylon, prior to Islam, had adopted the Tamil language as a medium of communication in their intercourse with the Tamil speaking Muslims of South India. The Muslims were very skillful traders who gradually built-up a very lucrative trading post in Ceylon. A whole colony of Arab Muslims is said to have landed at Beruwela (South Western coast) in the Kalutara District in 1024.

Though the Muslims did not engage in propagating Islam amongst the natives of Ceylon, many of the native women they married were converted to Islam.

Muslims have always maintained very cordial relationships with the Sinhalese Royalty and the local population. There is evidence that they were closer to the Sinhalese than to the Tamils. The Muslims' relationship with the Sinhalese kings grew stronger and in the 14th century they even fought with them against the expanding Tamil kingdom and its maritime influence.

By the beginning of the 16th. century, the Muslims of Sri Lanka, the descendants of the original Arab traders, had settled down comfortably on the island. They were very successful in trade and commerce and integrated socially with the customs of the local people. They had become an inseparable, and even more, an indispensable part of society. This period was one of ascendancy in peace and prosperity for the Sri Lankan Muslims.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, the population of Moors in Sri Lanka has grown from approximately 100,000 persons in the 1800s to over 2 million in 2005. (the population of Sri Lanka is 21,128,772 as of 2009) In the past, Moors were found throughout Sri Lanka, mostly within urban coastal regions. However, during Portuguese rule in the 1600s they were persecuted on the basis of their religion and were forced to retreat into the Kandyan highlands and the East Coast, which were under the rule of local kings. As a result, there are substantial Moor populations in these regions today. In recent times, the Sri Lankan Civil War has produced large population movements in the northern region of the country, resulting in significant demographic changes. Hence the once-flourishing Muslim (mostly Moor) community is now non-existent in the Northern Province of the country as a result of ethnic cleansing carried out by Tamil Tiger rebels in 1991. Most of the expelled Northern population now reside in the western Puttalam region of the country.

Sri Lankan Moors see Moors

Morceli, Noureddine
Morceli, Noureddine (b. February 28, 1970).  Most dominant middle distance runner of the early 1990s.  Born in Tenes, Algeria, Morceli was unbeaten in 45 finals at 1500 meters and 1 mile from 1992 to 1996.  In that period, he set six world records in the 1500, 2000 and 3000 meters and the mile outdoors and the 1000 and 1500 meters indoors.  He won the 1500 meters at the 1991 World Indoor Championship; at the1991, 1993, and 1995 World Championships; and at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  He also won the mile at the 1994 and 1998 Goodwill Games.  

Born in Ténès, Noureddine Morceli rose to athletic prominence after winning the silver medal in the 1500 meters at the World Junior Championships in 1988.

Morceli attended college in Riverside, California, and throughout his career, in winter, he would return there to enjoy the mild climate and train.  In 1990, he moved up to senior class and set the seasons best mark of 3:37.87 in 1500 meter run. He continued this dominance into 1991, when he broke the world indoor record for 1500 meters at Seville on February 28, setting a new mark of 3:34.16. Only nine days later, on the same track, he won the 1500 meters title at the World Indoor Championships. Throughout the outdoor season 1991 Morceli remained undefeated over 1500 meters. At several Grand Prix meetings he ran times around 3:31 min. At the World Championships in Tokyo, Morceli was already a clear favorite for the 1500 meters and he won easily. He set a new World Championships record (3:32.84) and finished with a remarkable two-second-lead between him and the silver medalist Wilfred Kirochi (Kenya).

In the beginning of 1992, Morceli ran a new 1000 meter indoor world record of 2:15.26. There seemed to be no greater certainty for a gold medal at the Olympic Games in Barcelona later that year than Morceli. However, prior to the Olympic Games Morceli lost unexpectedly to Gennaro di Napoli in Rome and David Kibet in Oslo. There were signs that he was not in the same shape as the year before. Nevertheless, in the Olympic semi-final he looked strong. The Olympic final was run at a woefully slow pace, with the field passing through the 800 meter mark in a slower time than in the women's final. That was not the sort of pace to which Morceli had become accustomed, or that he was comfortable with, and when the frantic sprint for home began, he found himself unable to respond, eventually finishing a disappointing seventh. Only three days after the final Morceli set a world season's best in Monaco and a week later he broke his personal best to win in Zurich in 3:30.76. In September 1992 Morceli set a new 1500 meter world record of 3:28.86 in Rieti.

In 1993 Morceli narrowly missed his own world record when he won the Mediterranean Games in Narbonne in 3:29.20 min. By that time Morceli had set himself a new aim: to break Steve Cram's eight-year-old record over the Mile (3:46.32). Throughout the season he was virtually without any serious competitors. In Monaco, he narrowly missed the 3000 meter world record. There was even talk that he might skip the World Championships in order to concentrate fully on the world-record hunt. However, in the end he decided to take part. At the World Championships in Stuttgart, the final of 1500 meter started at a relatively slow pace, but Morceli was always in complete control, sprinting away in the last lap to win easily and retain his world title. In the following weeks, he failed twice to set a new world record over the Mile in Berlin and Brussels. But just two days after the race in Brussels he astonished everyone by crushing the old record with a time of 3:44.39.

In 1994, Morceli set the new 3000 meter world record, clocking 7:25.11. He also experimented successfully with the 5000 meters. In Zurich, he outsprinted the rest of the field to take the victory and also won the 5000 meter race in Rieti. The only defeat of the season came when Morceli opted for an unusual 800 meter appearance in Cologne. Morceli broke the 2000 meter world record in the following season, setting a new mark of 4:47.88. Nine days later, Morceli set the last world record of his magnificent career, when he lowered his own 1500 meter record to 3:27.37 in Nice. Only a few days after this he almost broke the record again when he triumphed in 3:27.52 in Monaco. Later on that year he defended easily the 1500 meter World Champion title in Gothenburg. Shortly after, Morceli tried to improve on his Mile record in Zurich but did not succeed.

At the start of the 1996 season, Morceli set a world season's best of 3:29.50 in the 1500 meter run. However, a new and serious opponent suddenly appeared on the scene, when Hicham El Guerrouj won in Hengelo in a time of 3:29.51. At the 1996 Summer Olympics, Morceli was under enormous pressure. The final was run at an average pace when his main rival, Hicham El Guerrouj, fell down on the final lap. Morceli accelerated and crossed the line first ahead of the defending Olympic champion, Fermin Cacho. At the end of 1996 Morceli suffered his first 1500 meter defeat in four years at the hands of El Guerrouj in Milan. In the 1997 World Championships at Athens, Morceli was fourth in the 1500 meters and in 1999, at Seville, he qualified for his fifth straight 1500 meter final at a World Championships. However, during the race, he dropped out at the final lap bell while well out of medal contention. Morceli's last appearance at a major international championships was at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

Notably, Morceli was coached by his brother Abderrahmane who ran for Algeria in the Moscow Olympics of 1980 and in Los Angeles in 1984.

After his running career came to an end, Morceli served as an ambassador of the sport by assisting with the International Olympic Commission, the African Games, as well as assisting the development of young track and field athletes in Algeria.

Moriscos (Mouriscos).  In modern historical terminology, the term “Moriscos” is used to refer (a) to those Spanish Muslims who under various degrees of duress, were, between 1499 and 1526, converted to Christianity, and (b) to their descendants who continued to live in Spain until the Expulsion of 1609-1614.

A Morisco (in Spanish) or Mourisco (in Portuguese), meaning "Moor-like", was a converted (converso) Catholic inhabitant of Spain and Portugal of Muslim heritage. Over time the term was used in a pejorative sense applied to those nominal converso Catholics who were suspected of secretly practicing Islam (crypto-Muslim).

In the medieval period al-Andalus Muslims who had come under Iberian Christian rule, as a result of the incremental Reconquista, were known as Mudéjars. There was a tolerance with discrimination, although with treatment as inferiors from Catholic authorities. The victory of the Catholic Monarchs in the Battle of Granada in 1492 ended the last Islamic rule and al-Andalus territory on the Iberian peninsula. The pre-established Treaty of Granada (1491) guaranteed religious and cultural freedoms for Muslims and Jews in the imminent transition from Emirate of Granada to Province of Castile. The Alhambra Decree (1492) promptly rescinded the Jews' rights, expelling both the observant and the conversos suspected of secretly practicing Judaism (crypto-Judaism) called Marranos. The Decree set a precedent for upcoming persecution and later expulsion of Muslims and Moriscos.

When peaceful Catholic conversion efforts on the part of Granada's first archbishop, Hernando de Talavera, brought subversive Moorish opposition, Cardinal Jimenez de Cisneros took stronger measures: with forced conversions, burning Islamic texts, and prosecuting some of Granada's Muslims and Moriscos by the Inquisition. In response to these and other violations of the Treaty, Granada's Muslim population rebelled in 1499. The revolt lasted until early 1501, giving the Spanish authorities an excuse to void the terms of the Treaty for Muslims too now. In 1501 the terms of the Treaty of Granada protections were abandoned.

In 1501 Castilian authorities delivered an ultimatum to Granada's Muslims: they could either convert to Christianity or be expelled. Most did convert, to not be forced to leave their homeland. Many continued to dress in their traditional fashion, speak Arabic, and some secretly practiced Islam (crypto-Muslims). Many used the aljamiado writing system, i.e., Castilian or Aragonese texts in Arabic writing with scattered Arabic expressions. In 1502, Queen Isabella I of Castile formally rescinded toleration of Islam for the entire Kingdom of Castile. In 1508, Castilian authorities banned traditional Moorish clothing. With the absorption of Navarre into the crown of Castile in 1512, the Muslims of Navarre were ordered to convert or leave by 1515.

However, King Ferdinand, as ruler of the Kingdom of Aragon, continued to tolerate the large Muslim population living in his territory. Since the crown of Aragon was juridically independent of Castile, their policies towards Muslims could and did differ in this period. Historians have suggested that the crown of Aragon was inclined to tolerate Islam in its realm because the landed nobility there depended on the cheap, plentiful labor of Muslim vassals. But, the landed elite's exploitation of Aragon's Muslims exacerbated class resentments. In the 1520s, when Valencian artisans rebelled against the local nobility in the Revolt of the Brotherhoods, the rebels "saw that the simplest way to destroy the power of the nobles in the countryside would be to free their vassals, and this they did by baptizing them." The Inquisition and monarchy decided to prohibit the forcibly baptized Muslims of Valencia from returning to Islam. In the last step, King Charles V issued a decree compelling all Muslims in the crown of Aragon to convert to Catholicism or leave Spain by the end of January 1526. Thus, through the threat of expulsion, many Muslims of Spain became Moriscos.

Until the reign of King Philip II in the Iberian Union, Moriscos were less subject to prosecution by the Inquisition. By contrast, the 1492 Alhambra Treaty had forced Jewish people expelled unless becoming conversos, called Marranos, were still more often prosecuted than Moriscos. Some Moriscos rose to positions of wealth and prominence and wielded influence in society. Moreover, Aragonese and Valencian nobles in particular were interested in keeping their Morisco vassals under personal control; they tried to protect them from Inquisitorial prosecution by advocating patience and religious instruction. However, in 1567, Philip II changed tack. He directed Moriscos to give up their Muslim names and traditional Muslim dress, and prohibited their speaking Arabic. In addition, their children were to be educated by Christian priests. In reaction, there was a Morisco uprising in the Alpujarras from 1568 to 1571.

Spanish spies reported that the Ottoman Emperor Selim II was planning to attack Malta in the Mediterranean below Sicily, and from there advance to Spain. It was reported Selim wanted to incite an uprising among Spanish Moriscos. In addition, "some four thousand Turks and Berbers had come into Spain to fight alongside the insurgents in the Alpujarras", a region near Granada and an obvious military threat. "The excesses committed on both sides were without equal in the experience of contemporaries; it was the most savage war to be fought in Europe that century." After the Castilian forces defeated the Islamic insurgents, they expelled some eighty thousand Moriscos from the Granada Province. Most settled elsewhere in Castile. The 'Alpujarras Uprising' hardened the attitude of the monarchy. As a consequence, the Spanish Inquisition increased prosecution and persecution of Moriscos after the uprising.

French Huguenots were in contact with the Moriscos in plans against Spain in the 1570s. Around 1575, plans were made for a combined attack of Aragonese Moriscos and Huguenots from Béarn under Henri de Navarre against Spanish Aragon, in agreement with the king of Algiers and the Ottoman Empire, but these projects foundered with the arrival of John of Austria in Aragon and the disarmament of the Moriscos. In 1576, a three-pronged fleet from Istanbul was planned to disembark between Murcia and Valencia while the French Huguenots would invade from the north and the Moriscos accomplish their uprising, but the Ottoman fleet failed to arrive.

Toward the end of the 16th century, Morisco writers challenged the perception that their culture was alien to Spain. Their literary works expressed early Spanish history in which Arabic-speaking Spaniards played a positive role. Chief among such works is Miguel de Luna's Verdadera historia del rey don Rodrigo (c. 1545-1615).

At the instigation of the Duke of Lerma and the Viceroy of Valencia, Archbishop Juan de Ribera, Philip III expelled the moriscos from Spain between 1609 (Valencia) and 1614 (Castile). They were ordered to depart "under the pain of death and confiscation, without trial or sentence... to take with them no money, bullion, jewels or bills of exchange... just what they could carry." Estimates for the number expelled in this second wave have varied, although contemporary accounts set the number at around 300,000 (about four percent (4%) of the Spanish population). The majority were expelled from the Crown of Aragon (modern day Aragon, Catalonia and Valencia). In contrast, the majority in the first wave were expelled from Andalusia shortly after the events of 1492. Some historians have blamed the subsequent economic collapse of the Spanish Mediterranean on the attempted replacement of morisco workers by Christian newcomers. Not only were there fewer of the new laborers, but they were not as familiar with the local techniques.

Adult moriscos were often assumed to be covert Muslims (i.e. crypto-Muslims), but the arrangements for expulsion of their children presented Catholic Spain with a dilemma. As the children had all been baptized, the government could not legally or morally transport them to Muslim lands. Some authorities proposed that children should be forcibly separated from their parents, but sheer numbers showed this to be impractical. Consequently, the official destination of the expellees was generally stated to be France (more specifically Marseille). After the assassination of Henry IV in 1610, about 150,000 moriscos went there. Most of the moriscos then migrated to North Africa, leaving only about 40,000 to settle permanently in France.

Those moriscos who wished to remain Catholic were generally able to find new homes in Italy (especially Livorno). The overwhelming majority of the refugees settled in Muslim-held lands, mostly in the Ottoman Empire (Algeria and Tunisia) or Morocco.

Many modern scholars have emphasized that the Moriscos were the originators of the Barbary Corsairs. They had formed a network which had stretched from Morocco to Libya. Based in mainly fortified towns of North Africa, Morisco men were the basic corsairs against Christians. Some Morisco mercenaries (in the service of the Moroccan sultan), armed with European-style guns, crossed the Sahara and conquered Timbuktu and the Niger Curve in 1591. A Morisco worked as military advisor for Sultan Al-Ashraf Tumanbay II of Egypt (the last Egyptian Mameluke Sultan) during his struggle against the Ottoman invasion in 1517 led by Sultan Selim I. The Morisco military advisor suggested that Sultan Tumanbey use men armed with guns instead of depending mainly on cavalries. Arabic sources recorded that Moriscos of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt joined Ottoman armies. Many Moriscos of Egypt joined the army in the time of Muhammad Ali of Egypt.

Numerous Moriscos remained in Spain, living among the Christian population. Some stayed on for genuine religious reasons, some for merely economic reasons. It is estimated that in the kingdom of Granada alone, between 10,000 and 15,000 Moriscos remained after the general expulsion of 1609. Scholars have suggested that the Mercheros (also Quinquis), a group of nomadic tinkerers traditionally based in the northern half of Spain, may have had their origin among surviving Moriscos.

Miguel de Cervantes' writings, such as Don Quixote and Conversation of the Two Dogs, offered interesting views of Moriscos and put them in a favorable light. In the first part of Don Quixote (before the expulsion), a Morisco translates a found document containing the Arabic "history" that Cervantes is merely "publishing". In the second part, after the expulsion, Ricote is a Morisco and a good mate of Sancho Panza. He cares more about money than religion, and left for Germany, from where he returned as a false pilgrim to un-bury his treasure. He, however, admits the righteousness of their expulsion. His daughter María Félix is brought to Berbery but suffers since she is a sincere Christian.

In historical studies of minoritization, morisco is sometimes applied to other historical crypto-Muslims, in places such as Norman Sicily, 9th-century Crete, and other areas along the medieval Christian-Muslim frontier.

In the racial classification of colonial Spanish America, morisco was used as a term for the child of a mulatto and Spaniard.

In October 2006, the Andalusian Parliament asked the three parliamentary groups that form the majority to support an amendment that would ease the way for morisco descendants to gain Spanish citizenship. The proposal was originally made by IULV-CA, the Andalusian branch of the United Left. Spanish Civil Code Art. 22.1, in its current form, provides concessions to nationals of the Ibero-American countries, Andorra, the Philippines, Equatorial Guinea, and Portugal as well as to the descendants of Sephardic Jews expelled by Spain. It allows them to seek citizenship after two years rather than the customary ten years required for residence in Spain.

This measure could benefit about five million Moroccan citizens, who are considered to be descendants of moriscos. It could also benefit an indeterminate number of people in Algeria, Tunisia, Mauritania, Libya, Egypt and Turkey.

Since 1992 some Spanish and Moroccan historians and academics have been demanding equitable treatment for Moriscos similar to that offered to Sephardic Jews. The bid was welcomed by Mansur Escudero, the chairman of Islamic Council of Spain.
Mouriscos see Moriscos

Mori-Ule Sise
Mori-Ule Sise (d. 1845).  Initiator of the Dyula revolutionary movement in West Africa.   The Dyula, a class of Mandinka (usually Muslim) traders who wandered widely and settled in different parts of west Africa, had for centuries been content to leave political organization to the non-Muslim farmers among whom they lived.  Mori-Ule was the first Dyula to attempt to secure a political empire.  He was a native of Bate who had studied in Futa Jalon.  He left there in 1825 to found the city of Medina, where he gathered followers and in 1835 launched a jihad against his non-Muslim neighbors.  He succeeded in nearby Toron and Konyan, but was killed at Worodugu when one of his own disciples, Vakaba Ture, allied with his enemies (in 1845).  Both men were forerunners of the famous Dyula leader Samori Toure.

Moro. Term that is applied to a Muslim people in the Philippines. Spanish colonialism in the Philippines began with the conquest of the coastal stretches of Luzon and the central Visayas in the second half of the sixteenth century.  During that time, the Spaniards came into direct contact and conflict with various groups professing Islam in the southern part of the archipelago on Mindanao and in the Sulu chain of islands.  The most important of these different people were the Taosug and Samal of the Sulu Archipelago, the Magindanao of Cotabato, and the Maranao of Lanao and Cotabato.  The Spanish bureaucracy and friars called them Moros, a term that was originaly used to describe the islamicized North Africans who, under Arab leadership, ruled the Iberian Peninsula from the eighth to the sixteenth century.

The term Moro provided an ideological prelude in the Philippines to the Spanish colonial state’s drive (1565-1898) to colonize Mindanao and the Sulu Archipelago.  The Spaniards created an image, a composite portrait, of the Muslim Filipino’s “character,” that became a major intellectual justification for Spanish retaliation and religious incursion against the Muslim south over the ensuing four centuries.  Thus Moro, a foreign appellation imposed on the Muslim Filipinos, carried pejorative connotations.  Until recently, it was synonymous with a specific social disposition and attitude associated with ignorance, depravity, and treachery, and the label Moro, in turning history into myth, connoted an Islamic people in the Sulu Archipelago and Mindanao who were considered to be savages, pirates, and slavers.

Since the 1970s, a deepening Islamic consciousness and an increased unity among Muslim Filipinos in the face of the politics of national integration in the Philippines has led some to speak openly of themselves as Bangsa Moro (“the Muslim people”).  In the context of the conflict in the Mindanao Sulu area, the designation Moro was promoted by the Moro National Liberation Front as a way of giving Muslims a new sense of pride and self-awareness and of transcending the old ethno-linguistic categories of Taosug, Magindanao, Maranao, and Samal.

In the 13th century, the arrival of Arab missionaries from Saudi Arabia, including Makhdum Karim, in Tawi-Tawi initiated the conversion of the native population into Islam. Trade between Malaysia and Indonesia helped establish the Islamic religion in the southern Philippines.

In 1457, the introduction of Islam led to the creation of Sultanates. This included the sultanates of Buayan, Maguindanao and Sulu, which is considered the oldest Muslim government in the country until its annexation by the United States in 1898.

The inhabitants of pre-Hispanic Philippines practiced Islam, Hindu-Buddhism, and Animism. The Malay kingdoms interacted, and traded with various tribes throughout the islands, governing several territories ruled by chieftains called Rajah, Datu and Sultan.

An 1858 German map of the Southeast Asia showing the Spanish territory (Spanische Besitzungen) in the Philippines.

The Spaniards arrived in 1521 and the Philippines became part of the Spanish Empire in 1565. The sultanates, however, actively resisted the Spaniards, thus maintaining their relative independence, enabling them to develop an Islamic culture and identity, different from the rest of the Christianized Malays which the Spaniards called "Indios" (Indians).

With intentions of colonizing the islands, the Spaniards made incursions into Moro territory. They also began erecting military stations and garrisons with Catholic missions, which attracted Christianized natives of civilian settlements. The most notable of these are Zamboanga and Cotabato.

Feeling threatened by these actions, the Moros decided to challenge the Spanish government. They began conducting raids on Christian coastal towns. These Moro raids reached a fevered pitched during the reign of Datu Bantilan in 1754.

The string of coastal fortifications, military garrisons and forts built by the Spaniards ensured that these raids, although destructive to the Philippine economies of the coastal settlements, were eventually stifled. The advent of steam-powered naval ships finally drove the antiquated Moro navy of colorful paraws and vintas to their bases. The Sultanate of Sulu, the only sultanate left standing, itself soon fell under a concerted naval and ground attack from Spanish forces.

In 1876, the Spaniards launched a campaign to colonize Jolo and made a final bid to establish a government in the southern islands. On February 21 of that year, the Spaniards assembled the largest contingent in Jolo, consisting of 9,000 soldiers in 11 transports, 11 gunboats and 11 steamboats. José Malcampo occupied Jolo and established a Spanish settlement with Pascual Cervera appointed to set up a garrison and serve as military governor. He served from March 1876 to December 1876 and was followed by José Paulin (December 1876-April 1877), Carlos Martínez (September 1877-February 1880), Rafael de Rivera (1880-1881), Isidro G. Soto (1881-1882), Eduardo Bremon, (1882), Julian Parrado (1882-1884), Francisco Castilla (1884-1886), Juan Arolas (1886-1893), Caésar Mattos (1893), Venancio Hernández (1893-1896) and Luis Huerta (1896-1899).

By 1878, they had fortified Jolo with a perimeter wall and tower gates, built inner forts called Puerta Blockaus, Puerta España and Puerta Alfonso XII, and two outer fortifications named Princesa de Asturias and Torre de la Reina. Troops including a cavalry with its own lieutenant commander were garrisoned within the protective confine of the walls. In 1880, Rafael Gonzales de Rivera, who was appointed the governor, dispatched the 6th Regiment to govern Siasi and Bongao islands.

After gaining independence from the United States, the Moro population, which was isolated from the mainstream by their leaders, experienced discrimination by the Philippine government, which gave rise to armed secession movements.

The struggle for independence has been in existence for several centuries, starting from the Spanish period, the Moro rebellion during the United States occupation and up to the present day.

Modern day Islamic Insurgency in the Philippines began between the 1960s and 1980s. During that period, the Philippine government envisioned a new country in which Christians and Muslims would be assimilated into the dominant culture. This vision, however, was generally rejected by both groups, who feared that it was just a euphemistic equivalent of assimilation. Because of this, the government realized that there was a need for a specialized agency to deal with the Muslim community, so they set up the Commission for National Integration in the 1960s, which was later replaced by the Office of Muslim Affairs, and Cultural Communities.

Concessions were made to the Muslims after the creation of these agencies, with the Moro population receiving exemptions from national laws prohibiting polygamy and divorce. In 1977, the Philippine government attempted to move a step further by harmonizing Muslim customary law with the national law.

Unfortunately, most of these achievements were seen as superficial. The Muslims, still dissatisfied with the past Philippine governments' corrupt policies and mis-understanding established the Moro National Liberation Front led by Nur Misuari with the intention of creating their independent homeland. This initiated the Islamic Insurgency in the Philippines, and created fractures between Muslims, Christians, and people of other religions. The MNLF is the only recognized representative organization for the Muslims of the Philippines by the Organization of Islamic Nations (OIC).

By the 1970s, a paramilitary organization composed mainly of Christian Ilonggo residents of mainland Mindanao, called the Ilagas began operating in Cotabato. In retaliation, Muslim armed bands, such as the Blackshirts of Cotabato and the Barracudas of Lanao, began to appear and fight the Ilagas. The Armed Forces of the Philippines were deployed to install peace; however, their presence only seemed to create more violence. A Chavacano version of the Ilagas, the Mundo Oscurro, was also organized in Zamboanga and Basilan.

In 1981, internal divisions within the MNLF caused the establishment of an Islamic paramilitary breakaway organization called the MILF. The group continued the insurgency when the MNLF signed a Peace Deal with the Philippine Government in 1994.

In 1987, peace talks with the MNLF began with the intention of establishing an autonomous region for Muslims in Mindanao. On August 1, 1989, through Republic Act No. 6734, known as the Organic Act, a 1989 plebiscite was held in 18 provinces in Mindanao, the Sulu Archipelago and Palawan. This was to determine if the residents would want to be part of an Autonomous Region. Out of all the Provinces and cities participating in the plebiscite, only four provinces opted to join, namely: Maguindanao, Lanao del Sur, Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Even its regional capital, Cotabato City, rejected joining the autonomous region.

This still led to the creation of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, however. A second plebiscite, held in 2001, included Basilan (except its capital, Isabela City) and Marawi City in the autonomous region.

Moro National Liberation Front
Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).  Political organization founded in 1969 by young radical Muslim leaders in the Philippines.  The Moro National Liberation Front had as its primary objective to “reacquire the Bangsa Moro people’s political freedom and independence from the clutches of Filipino terror and enslavement.”  Its first leader was Nur Misuari, a Tausug Muslim and graduate of Asian studies at the University of the Philippines.  The Bangsa Moro Army of the MLNF began fighting for secession after Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos declared martial law in September 1972.  After several years of hostilities and thousands of fatalities, a cease fire was arranged with diplomatic pressure from some Arab-league nations.  With much of its leadership in exile, the MNLF is now dormant.

To safeguard Moro (Philippine Muslim) interests and cultural identity, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) was formed in 1969 by a group of young, progressive Moros headed by Nur Misuari, a former student activist at the University of the Philippines.  The formation of the MNLF was in response to the historical manifestation of religious and political animosity between the Christian majority and Muslim minority in the Philippines.  In addition, the acceleration of national integration and development programs during the 1950s and 1960s resulted in an influx of Christian settlers into Moroland (Mindanao, Sulu, and Palawan).  The Moros suspected the government’s motives behind integration and feared that it intended to destroy their Muslim community (ummah).

When President Ferdinand Marcos imposed martial law in the Philippines in 1972, the conflict between Christians and Muslims intensified.  The MNLF was able to obtain the support of Muslim leaders such as President Mu‘ammar al-Qadhdhafi of Libya and Tun Mustapha Harun, Chief Minister of Sabah, Malaysia.  In 1974, the Central Committee of the MNLF issued a manifesto declaring its intention to establish an independent Bangsa Moro Republik.  With the support of Libya and other member countries of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), the MNLF was able to escalate the war during 1973-1976, which forced the Philippine government to sign the Tripoli Agreement conceding full autonomy to Moroland.

The rapid ascendancy of the MNLF, however, can be attributed not so much to effective organization as to a fortuitous combination of circumstances, including the prior existence of various Moro armed groups fighting against the government and the support of several Muslim countries in response to the plight of the Moros.  The MNLF was a loosely knit organization and had been unable to establish a clear chain of command.  The thirteen-member Central Committee contented itself with setting broad policy outlines.

The toll of the armed conflict was tremendous, and the MNLF’s success was short-lived.  The Philippine government failed to abide by the Tripoli Agreement, the ceasefire collapsed, and fighting resumed in late 1977.  In the same year, Misuari’s leadership was challenged and other factions -- the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and MNLF-Reformist Group (MNLF-RG) -- emerged.  Although the divisions within the movement reflected underlying ideological and ethnic differences, the various factions were founded on the basis of a common ideology, Islam.  The MNLF is more socially progressive, with strong support from the ethnic Tausug, while the MNLF-RG draws its support from the more conservative Maranao, and the MILF from religious and conservative elements of the Maguindanao.

Under President Corazon Aquino, the Philippine government again failed to proceed with a negotiated settlement on the basis of the Tripoli Agreement but was committed to a constitutional provision granting limited autonomy to the Muslims in the south.  The MNLF, however, dissociated itself from the institution of the autonomy provisions.  Rather, it called on the different Moro factions to unite in a renewed armed struggle for an independent Moro state.

The MNLF-led movement must be credited with some success in terms of the recognition achieved for Muslims.  For example, Muslims have been able to extract concessions from successive Philippine governments under Marcos and Aquino.  These include the official recognition of Islam and Moro culture, the establishment of shari‘a courts, and the granting of limited autonomy.  The Muslims have also received educational and economic assistance from Muslim countries, and the MNLF itself has been given observer status in the OIC.

Morsi, Mohamed
Mohamed Morsi (Arabic: محمد محمد مرسى عيسى العياط‎, ALA-LC: Muḥammad Muḥammad Mursī ‘Īsá al-‘Ayyāṭ) (b. August 20, 1951) is an Egyptian politician who served as the fifth president of Egypt, from June 30, 2012 to July 3, 2013, when he was removed by the military after mass protests. He is considered by most to be the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history. Although his predecessors also held elections, these were generally marred by irregularities and allegations of rigging. He was also the first president to have first assumed his duty after an election, as opposed to coming to power as revolutionaries (in the case of Gamal Abdel Nasser) or as appointed successors (Sadat, Mubarak).

Mohamed Morsi was educated in Egyptian public schools and universities. He was later granted a scholarship from the Egyptian government to prepare for a Ph.D. degree in the United States. Morsi was a Member of Parliament in the People's Assembly of Egypt from 2000 to 2005, and a leading member in the Muslim Brotherhood. He became Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) when it was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood in the wake of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. He stood as the FJP's candidate for the May–June 2012 presidential election.

Morsi's victory in the presidential election was announced on June 24, 2012 after he won the run-off election winning 51.7 percent of the vote against Ahmed Shafik, deposed leader Hosni Mubarak's last prime minister.

As president, Morsi granted himself unlimited powers on the pretext that he would "protect" the nation from the Mubarak-era power structure, which he called "remnants of the old regime" (Arabic: فلول‎, ALA-LC: Foloul), and the power to legislate without judicial oversight or review of his acts. In late November, he issued an Islamist-backed draft constitution and called for a referendum, an act that his opponents called an "Islamist coup"." These issues, along with complaints of prosecutions of journalists and attacks on nonviolent demonstrators, brought hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets in the2012 Egyptian protests.

On June 30, 2013, mass protests erupted across Egypt which saw millions of protesters calling for the president's resignation. In response to the events, Morsi was given a 48 hour ultimatum by the military to meet the people's demands and to solve political differences or else they would intervene by implementing their own road map for the country and made it clear that they were not planning a coup.

Morsi was declared unseated on July 3, 2013 by a council consisting of defense minister Abdul Fatah al-Sisi, opposition leader Mohamed El Baradei, the Grand Imam of Al Azhar Ahmed el-Tayeb, and Coptic Pope Tawadros II. The military suspended the constitution, and established a new administration headed by the chief justice, and initiated a "brutal" crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood.

On September 1, 2013, prosecutors referred Morsi to trial on charges of inciting deadly violence. The date was set for November 4, 2013 and he was being tried on charges of incitement of murder and violence.

Mosaddegh (Musaddiq) (Mohammed Mosaddiq) (Muhammad Mosaddeq) (Mohammed Mossadegh) (Mohammad Mosaddegh) (Mossadegh) (Mosaddeq) (Mossadeq) (May 19, 1882 – March 5, 1967).   Iranian nationalist prime minister (1951-1953).  Mosaddegh nationalized the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and was later ousted in a coup engineered by the shah, the British and the United States Central Intelligence Agency (the CIA).  Mossadegh was an Iranian political leader who was best known for his role, during his tenure as prime minister, in the oil nationalization crisis of 1951-1953.  Mossadegh also led the National Front (Jebbe-ye Melli), a coalition of secular and religious groups that was one of the most important forces opposing the Pahlavi monarchy.  

Born into a wealthy, landed family, Mossadegh was educated at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris and at the Neuchatel University in Switzerland.  He held various government positions from an early age, serving as a member of the Iranian Majlis (parliament) from 1915 to 1917, again from 1925 to 1928, and finally from 1944 to 1953.  Under the last of the Qajar monarchs, Mossadegh served as governor-general of the province of Fars (1920-1921), as minister of justice (1921), as governor-general of Azerbaijan (1922-1923), and as foreign minister (1924).

Mossadegh’s support for constitutionalism and parliamentary democracy, coupled with his opposition to Reza Shah’s increasing autocracy, led to his arrest in the late 1930s and temporary retirement from political life.  He re-entered the political arena in 1941 immediately following the forced abdication and exile of Reza Shah by the British.

It was in this period, from 1941 to 1943, that Mossadegh arose as the leader and spokesman for the secular nationalist faction of the Majlis that was to become the National Front.  Elected to the fourteenth Majlis in 1943, Mosssadegh spoke out strongly in opposition to continued foreign influence in Iran’s government and economy, most specifically in the area of the already crucial oil industry.
Mossadegh made frequent, sometimes impassioned speeches in the Majlis concerning the disadvantageous concessions Iran had often made to foreign interests.  He proposed a bill, passed in December 1944, prohibiting any minister from negotiating oil concessions to a foreign party without the approval of the Majlis.  Three years later, he led the successful opposition to a proposed joint Soviet-Iranian venture to search for oil in northern Iran.  Simultaneously, Mossadegh challenged the terms of the current agreement with the British in their oil concession in the south; this move quickly developed into a call for complete nationalization of Iran’s oil industry.

From 1947 to 1949 Iran’s government engaged in negotiations for new terms for the oil concession granted to the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC).  These negotiations ended in a highly unpopular compromise agreement that was accepted by the government but rejected by the Majlis.  Mossadegh and the National Front led the opposition to the oil agreement, and the Majlis elections of 1950, in which the National Front candidates gained a large number of new seats, reflected the growing popular support for the anti-British, nationalist position long held by Mossadegh.  

With his election as chairmen of the oil commission of the Majlis, Mossadegh immediately reiterated the call for nationalization of the oil industry.  In 1951, after the assassination of Ali Razmara and a brief interim government led by Husain Ala, Mossadegh was elected prime minister.  Under his premiership, Iran formally announced the nationalization of the oil industry.

The ensuing dispute between Iran and Great Britain led to a worldwid boycott of purchases of Iranian oil, with the United States initially supporting , then actively opposing, Iran’s position.  Great Britain interfered with Iran’s foreign trade and banking and put diplomatic pressure on its allies to do the same.  The United States, responding to repeated British requests, refused to lend Iran money until the oil dispute was resolved.  At the same time, the Americans made their own efforts to enforce the international oil boycott.  Consequently, from 1951 to 1953, Iran experienced a severe economic decline, with only small sales of oil to Japan and Italy, which resisted pressure to join the boycott.  The overwhelming importance of oil revenues to Iran’s economy, together with the successful efforts of Great Britain and the United States to block foreign loans or new markets for Iran’s oil, presented insurmountable stumbling blocks to Mossadegh’s political and economic policies.  

During his tenure, and in the midst of the oil crisis, Mossadegh attempted to reduce Iran’s dependence on oil revenues, to reform the domestic tax and revenue structures, and to control government spending.  He also sought a policy of nonalignment in foreign affairs, hoping to balance off the Soviet Union and the Western powers.

Within Iran, Mossadegh enjoyed widespread support throughout most of 1952.  Early in 1953, however, he was faced with a deepening economic crisis and the defection from the National Front of Husain Makki, Musaffar Baghai, and the religious faction led by Ayatollah Kashani.  Iran’s major communist party, the Tudeh, initially suported then later attacked Mossadegh’s leadership.  Mossadegh, in turn, was cautious about accepting support from the Tudeh Party, in part because of its pro-Soviet stance.  In addition, conflicts with the shah had led to a series of demonstrations in support of Mossadegh following arrests of various government officials on charges of treason and conspiracy.

Mossadegh’s most serious internal opposition stemmed from growing disputes within the National Front.  Once he had consolidated control of the government, after pressures that had held the National Front together were relaxed, some religious and leftist groups found themselves at odds with Mossadegh’s policies.  A number of social, economic, and political reforms that Mossadegh wished to implement alienated one group or another, and a growing sense of impatience and then alarm was expressed by some over Mossadegh’s attempts at gaining control of the army, something he felt he had to have to ensure the stability of his government.  

By the summer of 1953, the British and American governments had initiated plans for the covert overthrow of Mossadegh.  British Intelligence and the United States Central Intelligence Agency had agreed to support the shah and opposition groups within Iran in carrying out a coup.  The decision was made to replace Mossadegh with General Fazlollah Zahedi, one of those arrested in February on charges of plotting to overthrow the government.  The shah and a group of military officers were informed of these plans, and they were put into effect in August.

On August 19, 1953, a group of tanks led by General Zahedi moved through Tehran and surrounded Mossadegh’s residence.  At the same time, hired strongmen from the bazaar commenced a noisy demonstration in support of the shah, while supporters of Ayatollah Kashani joined in to add to the confusion.  Resistance to the coup was minimal, and in a matter of hours both Mossadegh and his top leaders were arrested and the shah was flying back to Iran.  Several months later Mossadegh was put on trial for treason.  Mossadegh spent three years in prison and then was confined to his village, in political isolation, until his death in 1967 in Ahmadabad.

Mossadegh remains a figure of tremendous stature in the history of modern Iran. As an individual, he had a reputation for honesty, integrity, and sincerity.  He strongly opposed foreign, especially British and, later, American, influence in Iran at a time when most Iranians perceived many of their economic and political hardships as originating from such influence.  He was an eloquent, impassioned orator, and his speeches are still widely read in Iran.

Mohammad Mosaddegh see Mosaddegh
Mohammad Mossadegh see Mosaddegh
Mohammad Musaddiq see Mosaddegh
Musaddiq, Mohammad see Mosaddegh
Mossadegh, Mohammad see Mosaddegh
Mossadegh, Mohammed see Mosaddegh

Moses (Musa) (c. 1300 B.C.).  Prophet of Yahweh and the Hebrew tribal leader of the exodus from Egypt.  In Islam, Moses is highly regarded as the prophet of the Jews who was the recipient of Scripture and the Law. In the Qur’an, the Biblical prophet is considered as the precursor of, the model for, and the annunciator of the Prophet.  Some details differ from the Biblical story.  In Islamic tradition, he bears the honorific title of “The person who speaks to God” or “The person whom God addresses.”

Moses is a prophet in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Calculated from references to contemporary rulers Egypt (who are unnamed in the Bible) and to other contemporary kingdoms, Moses is believed to have been born around the middle of the fourteenth century, and died sometime in the thirteenth century B.C.T.

Moses is an important figure in Judaism through being the leader of the exodus from Egypt, and thereby founder of Israel, and being the person receiving the law of the Jewish people.  His importance in Christianity is less important than in Judaism, as Jesus introduced a second covenatn for the Christians.  But still, the rules of the Ten Commandments have been central to Christianity all through the existence of the religion.

Moses is important to Islam as being one of Muhammad’s forerunners, bringing the same message to humans as Muhammad would be doing 2000 years later.  Hence, Muslims consider Moses as a confirmation of the authenticity of the revelations received by and transmitted from Muhammad.  However, theologically, Moses is not important, as there is no specific learning ascribed to him alone.

The task of reconstructing the life of Moses according to modern historical science is not easy.  There is nothing in the religious sources that clearly contradict an historical Moses, but the time between his lifetime the first written versions on his life is several centuries.  And over such a time span, there is ample space for creation of legends, amalgamation of folklore and distortion of facts.  And there are clear examples that these things have happened to the stories of Moses.  One well known mythical element is clearly imported: the story about him being in a basket and put on the River Nile by his mother and saved by Pharaoh’s daughter (this story is found in both the Bible and the Qur’an).  This folklore is parallel to older folklore in Mesopotamian religions.

Another part of the stories which is best understood as mainly folklore, are the plagues that Yahweh inflicted upon Egypt when Pharaoh denied the Israelies the right to leave the country.  First, there is no independent historical evidence of this (and the plagues were so hard that they never would have come unrecorded).  Secondly, Pharaoh would not have let Moses move around freely and unpunished at times when he through miracles put one natural disaster after another upon the country.  This, however, does not root out that this period had natural disasters, but not to the extent we hear about in Exodus 5-12 and certainly not inflicted by an opponent standing in the royal court starting it all without being caught, or stopped.

In presenting the history of the exodus, the transmitters of the story likely invented a character to whom many of the roles of other, and forgotten, characters have been attributed.  The hero character is a better and clearer figure than the complexity of the will of the people and the different leaders, as well as clearer than the complexity of economical, political and sociological factors.

But the framework of his life story can be proven on most points.  It is clear that there was some sort of exodus of the Hebrews.  And the peoples and rulers that the Bible tells about did exist within the same time period, and it is fairly easy to give acceptable explanations on how some of the plagues came along.  Also, it is quite easy to explain the changes in religion happening at this period of time: the emphasis on monotheism (as inspired by the monotheism of Akhenaten) and the covenant (as inspired by agreements between strong and weaker rulers of the time (like between the Hittite king and his vassals).

But better proofs of the historical Moses are all the compromising facts: His name was Egyptian (coming from the Egyptian word mose meaning “is born”), he was married to a woman of Midian and he died in a foreign country.  Moreover, it is well documented about Moses’ character flaws.  He killed a man under circumstances unacceptable to any justice system; he was a poor speaker (a stammerer), and not always a strong leader figure.  If Moses had been created as a legendary figure, these elements would most likely have become adjusted.

In conclusion, we must say that we do not know if Moses is historical or not.  There are good arguments for both stances.

Moses is of great importance in Judaism and Christianity, and even if the two religions share the same stories, they emphasize slightly different aspects of him.  In Judaism, he is the one leading the Hebrews (they were at his time not yet called Jews) to the promised land, he is the greatest prophet and teacher.  In Christianity, the march to the promised land is of relatively little importance compared to the Ten Commandments.  

The accounts on Moses fills the four latter of the books that often are referred to as the Five Books of Moses: Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, filling up as much as fifteen percent of the entire Christian Bible, and twenty percent of the Old Testament.

From Exodus and Deuteronomy, we hear that Moses was from the tribe of Levi born in Goshen, in ancient Egypt.  Around the time of Moses’ birth, Pharaoh ordered that all Hebrew boy children should be killed.  Moses (we hear nothing about any original name) was saved by his mother, when she put him into a basket on the River Nile.  The infant child was rescued by no other thatn Pharaoh’s daughter, who named him Moses, or more probably a name combined of a god’s name and -mose.  In the royal court, Moses was raised by his mother (who had been picked by Pharaoh’s daughter), and there are no accounts of injustice or cruelty with the court.

As a young man Moses killed an Egyptian after the Egyptian had beaten a Hebrew.  Moses believes that nobody saw him, and hid the body in the sand, but there were witnesses after all.  He had to flee from justice, and settled in the land of Midian (which was Hijaz, while it is possible that Midian tribes had moved into Sinai).  Here he married Zipporah, daughter of Jethro.

It is in the landof Midian that Moses experiences for the first time that God contacts him, through a burning bush.  This is also the place and time where God reveals his name, Yahweh, in contradiction to the names used on him before El Elyon or El Shaddai.  Yahweh can be translated to “to be,” and points probably more to a quality of God, and must not be confused with a name.

Yahweh appointed Moses to return to Egypt and lead the people of Israel out of their hard life in Egypt.  Moses was reluctant due to his speech impediment, so his brother Aaron should lead the word for him.  But Yahweh also told Moses that he would make Pharaoh’s heart hard so that he would not let the Israelites leave (Exodus 4:21).  Exodus 4 contains one more strange account, where Yahweh tried to kill Moses’ son, but was saved when Zipporah cut off his foreskin.

The next stage in the story of Moses fills Exodus 5 to 12, and deals with Moses and Aaron’s unsuccessful attempts to make Pharaoh let the Israelis go, and the punishments Yahweh puts on Pharaoh and the people of Egypt.  Pharaoh is warned in front of all the punishments about what will happen.

The first miracle of Moses is not a punishment, as Moses threw his rod to the ground, and it became a snake.  But Pharaoh’s sorcerers were able to do the very same.  Then the first punishment comes, as Yahweh makes the water of the Nile into blood, so that the fish dies, and nobody could drink the water.  But Egyptian sorcerers manage to do the same, so Pharaoh does not change his mind.  Yahweh then sent swarms of frogs, mosquitos and flies over Egypt, but it does not produce much more, even if the sorcerers now were forced to admit that this was beyond human power.

This was followed by a plague that kills all the cattle of the civilian Egyptians.  Then by abscess attacking both people and animals, then hail showeres, then locusts, and then a thick darkness.  

In Exodus 11:3, we find the largest logical breach in the story of Moses, as it says that “Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaohs servants, and in the sight of the people.”  It is clear that nothing could be further from the truth, after all the disasters Moses by Yahweh had put on the innocent Egyptian population.

Yahweh concluded the punishments with killing of all firstborn Egyptians, including Pharaoh’s son.  This happened at the same time as Yahweh instituted the rituals for Easter, Pesach, with instructions on slaughtering a lamb, how to eat it, and that every family shall paint blood from it on their door post.

The moral about the plagues and killings is ambiguous to say the least, as we learn from Exodus 11:10 that it was Yahweh who directed the sentiments and will of Pharaoh (as had already been indicated up front, which in the next round was what he then set forth to punish.

The outcome of the punishments was that the Jews could leave.  It appears from Exodus 13:17 that Pharaoh let them leave, but this could also be interpreted that the Jews were able to escape in the situation of weakness with the Pharaoh.

How many were allowed to leave Egypt is a question of speculation.  Some Jewish traditions run as high as two million, while modern interpretations put the number as low as 15,000.

However, Pharaoh soon changed his mind about letting the Jews leave (by the will of Yahweh [Exodus 12:4 and 12:8]), and sent his forces after the Israelis, and cornered them at the Sea of reeds.  The Israelis were saved when Yahweh blew the water away from the sea through the night, at the same time as an angle protected the Israelies from the advancing Egyptian troops.  Still at night, the Israelis could pass the sea in safety between water walls, but when the Egyptians followed Moses made the walls fall in.  Even in modern translations, “Sea of Reed” is interpreted as the Red Sea, but this is not correct.  Reed, which is papyrus, does not grow in salt water, which the Red Sea is.  More likely it must be one of the lakes near where today’s Suez Canal lies.

Seeing the dead bodies float up on the shores of the lake, the Israelis started to believe in Yahweh and his servant Moses (Exodus 14:31) and started to sing unto the Lord.

In the following period, Yahweh made sure that the Israelis did not lack what they needed, and he gives them water and food.  It is important to notice that these provisions were given after the Israelies murmured against Moses expressing their needs.

The Israelis then organized a law system, where the people were organized to groups, with leaders.

When the people cme to Sinai Mountain, Yahweh descended to the mountain, and met with Moses.  From the text we learn that God appears in a manner that could be seen by man, but nothing about any shape.

God then gives Moses the Ten Commandments.  This part of the story has been frequently discussed: Did the Israelis receive these regulations while on the journey between Egypt and Canaan, or did they get it in Canaan?  Both theories have their followers, but there is no crucial evidence from the content of or the language of the commandments pointing in any of the direction.

Were the commandments the start of a true monotheism of Judaism or not?  “Thou shalt have not other gods before me” from Exodus 20:2 indicates that the Israeli’s religion accepted that it existed in a world of other beliefs and gods.  But these gods were to be discarded by the believers, and in this sense the Israelis had a practical monotheism, if not the absolute monotheism we see in later theology.

Upon leaving Sinai, Moses and his followers were not welcomed by local rulers, and ended up fighting the Amorites and Bashan, giving room for some of the Israelis.

The last we hear about Moses is that he walks off to a mountain in Jordan with a grand view of Canaan, but never returns.

In Islam, Moses is named Musa (for simplicity, Musa is referred to as Moses even in a Muslim context), and is clearly a prophet selected by God.  In 20:13, this is stated directly by God.  It is correct to say that Moses was the same messenger of his time, as Muhammad became in his.  And just as Muhammad used to do, Moses refers to earlier prophets, of which Adam was the very first.  Also we see that the presentation of him has many parallels to the one of Abraham -- there aer more parallels than what is found in the Jewish/Christian tradition.

Moses was the messenger of a Qur’an, in the Arabic tongue (a piece of information which is strange considering that his people did not understand Arabic, and in the Jewish traditions there are no indications of a holy book written in a language nobody could read or understand).

All in all, the Qur’anic presentation of Moses’ life is similar to the biblical one.  There are differences, but these are limited to less important details.  But the biblical stories are more detailed, and contain far more regulations for the society and religious rituals.

The Qur’an tells that Moses was put into a casket and placed on the river by direct command of God to his mother.  The intent was to bring him into the house of God’s enemies.  But he is suckled by his mother, as the infant Moses refuses any other nurse.  Also in the Qur’an, we learn that he kills an Egyptian, an act which in the Qur’an is represented as unjust, Moses was misguided by Satan, and repents.  And just like as in the Bible stories, Moses seeks refuge in Midyan.  He is first called upon by God through the burning bush in Tuwa, and he is ordered to take God’s message to Pharaoh.

Facing the Pharaoh and his sorcerers, Moses proves with the help of God, that he possesses the strongest power.  The sorcerers are converted on the spot, but not Pharaoh.  All in all, Moses performs 9 miracles: 1.  The rod and the snake.  2. The white hand.  3. The Deluge. 4.  Locusts.  5. Lice.  6.  Frogs.  7. Blood.  8. Darkness.  9. Dividing of the sea (after the start of the Exodus from Egypt).

Following the first 8 miracles, and by the will of God, Moses then sets out with his people, called Israelites.  Equal to the Bible the Pharaoh tries to prevent this, and sends out his army which is overwhelmed by the ocean, which became the ninth miracle.

Soon, disagreements occur among the Israelites.  As in the Bible, they melt their golden jewelry, in order to create a golden calf -- apparently representing the main god of the people before God.  This act was instigated either by a Samaritan, it is believed, the Arabic word used in the Qur’an is samari (which also simply could be a proper name).  This happens at the same time as Moses receives instructions and admonition on tablets from Gdo.  At his return to the Israelis, Moses reacts with anger over their infidelity, and commands them to change their ways immediately   The Israelis end up with wandering around in the wilderness for forty years.

Musa see Moses

Mossi. The Mossi are one of the major peoples living in the basin of the Volta River, south of the great bend of the Niger River.  A conservative estimate is that slightly more than one-third of the Mossi are Muslim.

The Mossi came into contact with Islam through the Songhay Empire.  From 1328 through 1333 the Yatenga Mossi sacked the Songhay capital of Timbuktu.  The Songhay defeated them in 1477, and in 1498 the great Songhay emperor, Askia, proclaimed a jihad against the Mossi when their leaders refused to adopt Islam.  Despite these Songhay attacks, the Mossi were never conquered until the coming of the French in 1896.  The Mossi remained too strong to be conquered on their home ground but were not strong enough to conquer other areas.

The Mossi resisted conversion to Islam in part because of the close association of their political and religious systems.  A Mossi ruler required the aid ancestors, approached through the ancestor cult.  A Muslim chief would have to forfeit this basis for his rule.  Since the Mossi states were strong enough to resist conquest, Islam could only reach them through diffusion or persuasion.  In the late 1700s several Ouagadougou kings were converted to Islam, but without lasting effect and without insisting that their heirs be Muslim.

Because of this history, the Mossi are often noted as the most important people of the West African savanna to have resisted Islam, although somewhere between one-fourth and one-third are now Muslim.  Their conversion has come through their contact, beginning around 1684, with Mande traders who settled among them.  In 1780, a Mogho Naba (Ouagadougou king) who had a Mande mother granted these immigrants, known as Dyula or (especially) Yarse, the right to settle throughout his realm.  Today, the Yarse have completely assimilated Mossi culture.  They speak Moore and live as do other Mossi.  However, they have remained Muslim, since Islam is an essential attribute in long-distance trade.

Not all Yarse are traders.  Many live as farmers.  While some writers describe the Yarse in the Mossi kingdom of Yatenga as marrying only other Yarse.  Other data show them freely marrying ordinary Mossi.  Indeed, Tenkodogo Mossi draw a distinction between Yarse and Mossi converts to Islam.  The latter are seen as more purely Muslim.  Yarse Islamic practices are more syncretic.
Diffusion of Islam into Mossi culture is not surprising given their location on the fringes of major Muslim states in the past and their position astride Muslim-dominated trade routes, but it is greater than one would expect from the conventional description of the Mossi as anti-Islamic.

The spread of Islam was aided by the French conquest in 1896-1897, which cast doubt on the efficacy of the traditional religion because it did not prevent the defeat.  The close connection between the Mossi political system and religion had reinforced the latter when the former was strong.  The linkage continued in defeat with opposite results.  As a consequence, Mossi became more receptive to Muslim missionaries.  These were largely from other African savanna peoples and were evidence that one could convert without seriously disrupting a familiar way of life.  Christian missions suffered from association with the colonial rulers, from having mostly alien clergy and from their more striking demands (especially monogamy) upon propective converts.

Islam continued to gain ground over Christianity as an alternative to Mossi traditional religion, even though Roman Catholicism missions controlled the colonial schools which trained those who took power from the French.  Many civil servants are Christian.  The first president (1961-1966) of independent Upper Volta, Maurice Yameogo, was a Catholic Mossi, as is the first African cardinal, Archbishop Zoungrana of Ouagadougou.  The military presidents who followed were Muslim but not Mossi: General Sangoule Lamizana (1966-1980) and Colonel Saye Zerbo (1980-1982) are Samo, a Mande people.  The November 1982 coup d’etat leadership retained a non-Muslim as chief of the armed forces but installed a Catholic Mossi, Major Jean Baptiste Ouedraogo, as chair of the People’s Provisional Salvation Council.  In foreign policy, Upper Volta has become more conscious of its Muslim neighbors and citizens.  Despite the overall minority status of Muslims, under President Lamizana Upper Volta applied at the 1973 Pan Islamic Conference in Pakistan to join the Islamic grouping.

Mossi Muslims are Sunni of the Maliki school of law. Like other West African Muslims, they tend to be followers of one or another tariqa.  Two of these brotherhoods, the Qadiri and the stricter Tijani, are important.  Despite their voluntary membership, though, membership in a tariqa is much more a consequence of family tradition or the affiliation of one’s religious initiator than the result of conscious choice between schools of religious interpretation.

The impact of Islam on Mossi society and culture is considerable.  Mossi Muslims are, however, enough of a minority and a historical and cultural novelty that they are conscious of being part of a non-Muslim whole.  West African Islam in the savanna belt is known for embracing a continuum of believers ranging from urban Quranic scholars of great orthodoxy to rural farmers repeating prayers by rote alongside traditional shrines.  But whereas a Hausa farmer, say, in Nigeria is part of a self-consciously Muslim society with institutional supports, a Mossi Muslim must rely on his own values and commitments to “Islamize” his daily life.  The continuing incorporation of Mossi and Upper Volta into regional and world economic and political systems favors universalistic religions, and Islam offers Mossi many advantages.  Both Christianity and Islam are expanding at the expense of traditional religion, but Islam has the greater momentum.

Mozarabs.  “Arabized” people.  The term is usually applied to the Christians from Spain, of Visigothic liturgy and Arabic language.  The term Mozarabs was also used in Christian Spain as a sobriquet against those Christians who preferred to stay rather than flee from the Muslim invader.  The Mozarabs were thereby considered a dubious element, having suffered the contagion of the Arabo-Muslim enemy.  Their artistic manifestations are also found outside Muslim Spain, and their liturgy is preserved in Toledo.

The Mozarabs were Iberian Christians who lived under Moorish Muslim rule in Al-Andalus. Their descendants remained unconverted to Islam, but did however adopt elements of Arabic language and culture. They were mostly Roman Catholics of the Visigothic or Mozarabic Rite.

Most of the Mozarabs were descendants of the Hispano–Gothic Christians who became Arabic speakers under Islamic rule. Many were also Neo-Mozarabs, that is Northern Europeans who had come to the Iberian Peninsula and picked up Arabic, thereby entering the Mozarabic community.

Some were Arab and Berber Christians coupled with Muslim converts to Christianity who, as Arabic speakers, naturally were at home among the original Mozarabs. A prominent example of Muslims who became Mozarabs by embracing Christianity is the Andalusian rebel and Anti-Umayyad military leader, Umar ibn Hafsun. The Mozarabs of Muslim origin were descendants of those Muslims who converted to Christianity, following the conquest of Toledo and perhaps also, following the expeditions of king Alfonso I of Aragon. These Mozarabs of Muslim origin, who converted en masse at the end of the 11th century, many of them Muladi (ethnic Iberians previously converted to Islam), are totally distinct from the Mudéjars and Moriscos who converted gradually to Christianity between the 12th and 17th centuries. Some Mozarabs were even Converso Sephardi Jews who likewise became part of the Mozarabic milieu.

Separate Mozarab enclaves were located in the large Muslim cities, especially Toledo, Córdoba, Zaragoza, and Seville.

The Mozarabs also maintained their own bishoprics, churches, and monasteries and translated the Bible into Arabic. The Mozarabs eventually relocated in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, bringing with them the architectural style of Islamic Córdoba, characterized by the horseshoe arch and the ribbed dome.

Mu‘allim Naji
Mu‘allim Naji (1850, Istanbul - 1893, Istanbul).   Ottoman Turkish poet.  He was highly concerned about the Ottoman Turkish language and regretted its deterioration in the name of simplification and modernization.

Naji, Mu'allim see Mu‘allim Naji

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