Abu al-Bahlul al-Awwam

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Who is Abu al-Bahlul al-Awwam?

Al-Awwam bin Mohammad bin Yusuf Al-Zajaj, known as Abu al-Bahlul was a Shiite Bahrani member of the Abdul Qays tribe in Bahrain who overthrew Ismaili Qarmatian rule in the islands around 1058.

Along with his brother, Abu'l-Walid Muslim, he had called for the khutba in Bahrain to be read in the name of the Abbasid caliph al-Qaim, a common way of expressing alliegence to the Abbasids, which was anathema to the millenarian Qarmatian Ismailis. Their rebellion quickly overthrew Qarmatian rule and their position was secured when a seaborne landing by the Qarmatians to retake the islands was repulsed in 1066-7. A similar rebellion took place in Qatif in 1058, forcing the Qarmatians back to Al-Hasa before their final defeat after a seven-year siege of the city by the Uyunids and Seljuk Turks in 1067.

While Abu al-Buhlul was able to gain independence for Bahrain, he was not strong enough to defend the islands against the new ruler of Qatif, Yahya ibn 'Ayyash. Bahrain soon came under the control of Ibn Ayyash and his son, before it was captured by Abdullah bin Ali Al Uyuni, the founder of the Uyunid Emirate.

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Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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