Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al-Qasimi The Sultans of Kilwa (A Historical Narrative)
4 The Sultans of Kilwa (A Historical Narrative) First published in 2022 in Arabic as “Sirt Salatin Kilwa” by : Al-Qasimi Publications Author: Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al-Qasimi (United Arab Emirates) ------------------------------------------ Publisher Name: Al-Qasimi Publications Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Edition: First Year of publication: 2022 ©All rights reserved Al-Qasimi publications Sharjah, United Arab Emirates ------------------------------------------ Translated from Arabic by: Dr. Ahmed Ali ------------------------------------------ ISBN: 978-9948-04-920-3 Printing Permission: Media Regulatory Ofce, Ministry of Culture and Youth No. MC 01-03-8912352, Date: 22-08-2022 ------------------------------------------ Printing: AL Bony Printing Press- Sharjah, UAE Age Classication: E The age group that matches the content of the books was classied according to the age classication issued by the National Council for Media ------------------------------------------ Al- Qasimi Publications, Al Tarfa, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road PO Box 64009 Sharjah, United Arab Emirates Tel: 0097165090000, Fax: 0097165520070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
5 Table of Contents Introduction 7 Chapter 1: The Nights of Shiraz 13 Chapter 2: The Rebellion of Ibrāhīm Sharafuddin 21 Chapter 3: The Loaded Ship 27 Chapter 4: Occupation of the Kilwa Island 33 Chapter 5: Kilwa Ruled by the Sultans of al-Wāsil Dynasty 39 Chapter 6: Kilwa Ruled by the Sultans of al-Mahdi Dynasty 45 Chapter 7: Rotation of Power between the Al-Wāsil and Al-Mahdi Dynasties 55 Chapter 8: King Mas'ūd son of King al-Mu’ayyad, the Ghassānid. 63 Chapter 9: The First Fitna of Ibn Yārik 71 Chapter 10: The Second Fitna of Ibn Yārik 81 Chapter 11: The Portuguese and the Sultans of Kilwa 89 Appendix I: The Genealogical Tree of the Sultans of Kilwa 101 Appendix II: The Map of Kilwa and Neighbouring Regions 105 References 109
7 Introduction This current book, "The Sultans of Kilwa: A Historical Narrative", is a true and authentic account based on an invaluable and rare manuscript, titled "Kitāb asSalwah fī Tārīkh Kilwah", that is "The Book of Consolation on the History of the Kilwa Nation". Owing to the fact that I have in my possession a large collection of manuscripts as well as British and Portuguese records on the history of the East Africa region,
8 many historians and men of letters from the coastal countries of the now Kenya and Tanzania approached me to write about the history of their region. Accordingly, when I decided to take this step, I took the initiative to contact the British Library in London in order to obtain a scanned copy of the aforementioned manuscript. I spared no effort in examining and carefully studying its contents together with everything else written about it by Arab and non-Arab historians. It was clear that many have been unable to understand or interpret much of this manuscript content. The confusion was clear in their writings. Careful and thorough examination has led me to the following observations: First, in spite of the fact that the author
9 is unknown, he mentioned his date of birth in the manuscript, being Monday, 2nd of Shawwāl, 904 AH.(1) Second: The manuscript is veriably old. Its copying dates back to the year 1294 AH, (1877 CE). The copyist,Abdullāh ibn Musbiħ AsSawwā, conducted the copying work following instructions from the Sultan of Zanzibar, Barghash ibn Sa'eed ibn Sultan. This makes the manuscript 350 years old from the date of its authoring. Third: The copyist clearly had some difculties deciphering some of (1). The conversion into the Gregorian calendar using islamicity.org gives Monday, 22st May, 1499 CE as the corresponding date.
10 the names of the individuals and towns mentioned in the original he was copying from. This could be the result of how bad the author's handwriting was, or that the original was in a dire state of preservation with various types and degrees of damage owing to its age. Fourth: Three out of the ten chapters of the manuscript were missing. I was, thankfully, able to obtain the relevant information from the Portuguese documents in my possession. Fifth: What the manuscript stated about the story surrounding the arrival of the Sultans of Shiraz to the African coast is no more than a myth. The
11 true events may be found in the manuscripts contemporaneous with the departure of the Sultan of Shiraz in 663 AH (1265 CE). With guidance fromAllah, the Almighty, I was able to remove the historical confusion and set the record straight using authentic manuscripts that I have on genealogies and the history of Persia, as well as relevant Portuguese documents. The result of my exhaustive research is this present true, authentic and documented account of the history of Kilwa. The Author
13 Chapter 1 The Nights of Shiraz The city of Shiraz was enclosed by high walls. It had four gates, each of which was guarded by a tall, fortied castle. Near the gate of Estakhr was located the burial ground, or marqad, of Sayyed(1) Hamzah Abul-Qāsim. The majority visitors to this grave were descendants of the children of (1) Sayyed (singular of sadāt) is a term used as a title for a Sharif person considered one of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) through the line of Fātimah, the Prophet’s daughter, and her husband, Ali ibn Abi Tālib, a cousin of the Prophet.
14 Imam Musā al-Kāżim. Shiraz was their most loved dwelling place. That is why there was nothing strange that the cream of the Shiraz society were the Mūsawian Sharifs. The rule of Shiraz fell into the hands of Terken Khatun. She was the sister of 'Alā’ud-Dawlah Sultan Yazad and the widow of Sultan Sa'd ibn Abu Bakr Zenki, who himself passed away only 18 days after the demise of his father. She shouldered the responsibilities of minding the affairs of her subjects and supervised the dispensation of funds to the people from the treasuries of the late Sultan Abu Bakr Zenki, who was a Mūsawian Sharif that she had previously appointed Visir. As the Ruler of Shiraz, Terken Khatun sent abundant gifts with her envoys to
15 Hulagu Khan in Baghdad. Hulagu who had conquered western Asia and seized Persia in 648 AH (1251 CE), headed for Baghdad and took it over in 655 AH (1258 CE). The envoys were sent to show humility and obedience the Mongol emperor and to request that he may issue a decree appointing Terken Khatun's son, Muhammad ibn Sa'd, as the Sultan of Shiraz. Two years and seven months into the reign of Sultan Muhammad ibn Sa'd, he fell from the top of the roof and died. After the mourning period was over, Terken Khatun, in 661 AH (1262 CE), consulted her senior statesmen about who should take over the rule of Siraz. They unanimously agreed on the nomination of Muhammad ibn Salghar ibn Sa'd Zenki, also known as Muhammad Shah, who
16 was a courageous man and a distinguished scholar. As this was going on, Muhammad ibn Salghar arrived to Shiraz and requested permission to enter the city, which he did in peace. However, as the Sultan of Shiraz, Muhammad Shah spent his nights in complete indulgence in drinking, dancing, singing and fooling about. During the day, he was a blood-thirsty tyrant. Even when his own older brother, Seljuk ibn Salghar ibn Sa'd Zenki, sent him a message pleading that he may be released from prison in the Castle of Estakhr, Muhammad Shah ignored the message and left his brother to rot there. As matters worsened, Terken Khatun conspired with the governors of the Persian tribe of Shawl and the Turkman governors of a Mongol tribe to arrest Muhammad
17 Shah ibn Salghar. This, they succeeded in doing one-day when Muhammad Shah was about to enter his house. Once captured, he was sent in cuffs and shackles to Hulagu Khan accusing him of murdering innocent people. When he arrived, Hulagu Khan seized him and put him in prison. Muhammad Shah's reign only lasted four months. When he was captured and removed from power, the people of Shiraz celebrated and there was much jubilation among them. Terken Khan then sent the Shawl princes together with some of her condants to the Castle of Estakhr to release Seljuk ibn Salghar, whom she appointed Sultan of Shiraz in place of his brother. He became known as Seljuk Shah.
18 As he became Sultan, Seljuk Shah removed a number of governors from their ofces. He also married Terken Khan in the hope that he could limit her powers and end the troubles and plotting she was engaged in. He also wanted to take over the sultanate treasuries that she was in control of. But, Seljuk Shah was a morally corrupt drunkard. Every night, he would hold a drinking gathering where he spent his time among the female singers and dancers enjoying himself. One night, which happened to have been the 20th of the month of Safar, 662 AH (22nd December, 1263 CE), the Sharifs were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the martyrdom of Al-Hussain ibn Ali ibn Abu Tālib. There were poetry recitals and delivery of emotionally-charged speeches, all mixed
19 with weeping and crying. At the same night, there was another celebration of a different nature held by Seljuk Shah. It was a night of intoxication, and Seljuk Shah was excessively drunk when his eyes fell on a petrifying looking black slave. He pointed at him to come closer. When the slave approached him, he commanded him to enter the royal harem and bring him back the head of Terken Khatun, his wife. The slave obeyed the order and in no time he returned with the head of Terken Khatun and presented it to Seljuk Shah in a basin. Terken Khatun had a pair of precious earrings dangling down. Seljuk Shah cut off Terken Khatun's ears with his own hands and threw them with the earrings to the female lead singer in his gathering. He then continued to drink till the morning.
20 Every time he had a drink, he would pour the left-over on the face of Terken Khatun. Present that night were two of the senior ofcials of the Shiraz Police. They immediately reported the incident to Hulagu Khan who immediately ordered the killing of his prisoner, Muhammad Shah ibn Salghar. Then, he sent a Mongol army to Shiraz to capture Seljuk Shah and kill him. This they did in Shiraz around the middle of 662 AH (1264 CE). After the killing of Seljuk Shah, there was none of the Atabegs (the Zenki family) left except for Abesh bint Sa'd ibnAbu Bakr Zenki and her sister Salgham. Abesh took over the rule of Shiraz and called herself a Sultana.(1) (1) “bint”, literally means “daughter of”. Sultana is the feminine form of Sultan.
21 Chapter 2 The Rebellion of Ibrāhīm Sharafuddin When the young Sultana Abesh bint Sa'd took over the rule of Shiraz, the Mūsawian Sharifs met and appointed one of them to be the Sultan of Shiraz. His name was Ali, and he was a descendant of the notable naqibs of Shiraz. His family line went back to Imam Mūsā al-Kāżim. The Persians knew him as Ali Shah ibn Al-Hassan ibn Ali ibn Ishāq ibn Al-Hassan ibn Ja'far Tājuddin ibn Ahmed 'Izzuddin ibn Ja'far ibn 'Āmir Abīh
23 passed away before his arrival, and AlHassan, the son of Ali Shah, became the Sultan of Shiraz. It came to the knowledge of Sultan AlHassan ibn Ali that there was some issue being deliberated between the Tajo (or Military Ruler of Shiraz appointed by Hulagu Khan) and the personal servant of the Tajo. During their talk, the servant, who was a man of various loyalties, suggested that the Tajo should order the killing of all the people of Shiraz for their act of deance and stand against Abesh. At the end of the day, Abesh was in good terms with Hulagu while the people of Shiraz appointed Al-Hassan over her. Unsure what to do, the Tajo decided to make the journey to Baghdad to seek instructions directly from Hulagu himself. In Baghdad, Hulagu was
24 so infuriated that the Tajo did not heed the advice of his servant and ordered that the Tajo be given 17 lashes as a punishment. Then, Hulagu ordered 10,000 soldiers to march to Shiraz to massacre the inhabitants in a fashion similar to what the Mongols previously did in Transoxiana (Central Asia) under Genghiz Khan. The news reached Sultan Al-Hassan ibn Ali Shah. Terried, he gathered his wealth, called for his son Ali ibn AL-Hassan, his wife, his family members as well as his visirs and their families, etc., and under the cover of the night, they all ed out of Shiraz through one of the lightly-guarded city gates. They headed for Kuwar, a village only 50 kilometres from Shiraz. In an effort to avoid the potential massacre, Bastu, the Shiraz Police Commander, and
25 Kiljah, the Shiraz vice-regent, told the Mongol army commander that there was a rebellion led by Chief Judge Sharafuddin who was coming from Khurasan with a huge following to occupy Shiraz. The Mongol army -accompanied by Bastu and Kiljah- left Shiraz and headed for where they were expecting Sharafuddin's army to arrive. Sharafuddin, on the other hand, arrived in the village of Kuwar with multitudes of followers and met up with his cousin, Sultan Al-Hassan ibn Ali Shah, at the village bridge. It was not long for the Mongol army to engage in ghting against Sharafuddin's army. The ensuing battle took place in the month of Rajab, 663 AH (April 1265 CE). The result was a decisive defeat
26 where the Mongols butchered the majority of Sharafuddin's men, who dispersed aimlessly. Sharafuddin himself was killed together with Sultan Al-Hassan ibn Ali and many of their entourages. Learning of the killing of both Sayyed Ibrāhīm Sharafuddin and Sultan Al-Hassan ibn Ali Shah, Hulagu ordered the massacre in Shiraz to stop. In the meantime, the Mongols started looking for Ali, the son of Sultan AlHassan ibn Ali Shah, around the Kuwar village. But Ali ibn Al-Hassan, his remaining family members and the visirs had managed to speedily escape towards the sea heading from Persia. The shortest road to the sea was the one connecting Shiraz and Reishahr, on the Persian coast.
27 Chapter 3 The Loaded Ship As soon as Ali ibn Sultan Al-Hassan ibn Ali Shah arrived with his company to the coast, they boarded a cargo ship that travelled between the cities of the Persian coast. They headed to the Island of Hurmuz in early Sha'ban,(1) 663 AH (May 1265 CE). The Kingdom of Hurmuz had already been established on the island. The King of Hurmuz at the timeAli and his group arrived (1) The 8th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
28 to the island, was Ruknuddin Hāmed, whose reign started in 641 AH (1243 CE). Under his rule Hurmuz prospered tremendously. He had maintained many brave ghters in his army and achieved great victories extending his power all the way to Zafar. In Hurmuz, Ali and his company were asked where they were travelling to. They said "to the Holy House of Allah".(1) "But the Hajj(2) season has not started yet. It is only due starting the month of DhulQi'dah",(3) they were told. "We will then wait here until the time for the Hajj season," Ali ibn Sultan Hassan responded. (1) Meaning, the Kaaba, in modern Saudi Arabia. (2) Hajj is Arabic for pilgrimage to Mecca. (3) The 11th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
29 The King of Hurmuz, Ruknuddin Hāmed, used, since his succession to the throne, to have very close relations with the Sharifs in Hurmuz. He also supervised the annual Hajj arrangements himself, and would handsomely cover from his own funds the Hajj journey on his huge ocean liners. As he learnt of Ali ibn Al-Hassan's intentions to go for pilgrimage, he received him and his companions very well and welcomed their stay. When it was time for Hajj, Ruknuddin prepared seven huge ships for the journey. He boarded Ali ibn Sultan Al-Hassan on one of them, together with his family and entourage. He also sent in their company, his own cousin, Ibrāhīm al-Mahdi ibn Mahmoud ibn Ahmed and his family. This Ibrāhīm al-Mahdi was the cousin of Sayyed
30 Ibrāhīm, the Chief Judge. The rest of the pilgrims boarded the other six ships. The Hajj journey would usually take a week in the sea for the ships to arrive to the port of Yanbu'. The pilgrims would then disembark and head for Medina, to visit the mosque of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The ships then would travel between Yanbu' and Jeddah transporting the pilgrims as they nished the Hajj rites. However, as fate would have it, the seven-ship eet this time had something else in store. They sailed from the island of Hurmuz in early Dhul-Qi'dah, 663 AH (September 1265 CE), taking the route along the eastern coast of Oman, then along the coast of the Arabian Peninsula. When the ships arrived to the strait of Bab alMandab, at the entrance to the Red Sea, they
31 were hit by the strong seasonal northern wind, and consequently dispersed: each to a different place. Only one ship made it to its planned destination, the port of Yanbu'. The other six ships were blown away to the east coast of Africa. The rst ship ended at the Island of Mombasa, north of the Kilwa Island. The second arrived at the green Island of Pemba, north of Zanzibar. The third got to Mandaghna, north of Madagascar. The fourth ended at the port of Mchinga, south of Kilwa. The fth docked in Hinzwan, one of the Comoros islands, between Madagascar and the Africa mainland round the Mozambique region. The sixth ship made it to the town of Kilwa.
33 Chapter 4 Occupation of the Kilwa Island When the storm subsided, six of the seven ships, which ended at the African coast, managed to sail back to Yanbu' so that the passengers could do their Hajj. The seventh ship was too stuck in the mud to be rescued. So, there it remained. This was the one blown away to Kilwa. On board of this ship was Ali, the son of the Sultan of Shiraz. The Arabs nick-named him al-Wāsil, while the Persians called
34 him Bagha Amed and made him a Sultan. He was therefore, Sultan Ali al-Wāsil ibn Sultan al-Hassan of Shiraz ibn Sultan Ali Shah of Shiraz ibn al-Hassan ibn Ishāq. On the same ship was also Ibrāhīm alMahdi ibn Mahmoud ibn Ahmed ibn Ishāq, cousin of Sayyed Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad ibn Ahmed ibn Ishāq, the Chief Judge, religious leader and the leader of the Shiraz rebellion. These two men disembarked at Kilwa with their families. They soon realized that the island of Kilwa turned sometimes to a peninsula when the tide receded into the sea revealing a path where people would be able to walk freely. There, they also found a mosque and an old mausoleum being the burial ground of some righteous man who was the builder of the mosque. They also
35 met a Muslim man with his children, and they asked him about the Island. "This island is under the rule of a pagan African from the town of Mitole, on the road between Kilwa and Mchinga which is only a few kilometres off the coast", the man said. "He is in the habit of going to his native town to hunt, and will be back soon", the man added. A few days later, the pagan African returned from the town of Mitole and met Sultan Ali ibn al-Hassan ibn Ali. The Dragoman who interpreted for them was a Muslim residing on the island. Sultan Ali said: "I like this island, and I like to live here. Would you sell it to me so that I may take it as my dwelling place?" "I would be happy to," the African man
36 replied, "providing that the price be that you surround the entire island with colorful fabrics." He continued. Sultan Ali accepted and ordered that the island be surrounded in fabric of all colours. When this was done, the African man collected all the fabrics, handed the island to Sultan Ali, and left to Mitole. However, he had intended to return secretly with his men to kill the Sultan and everyone else with him, seize their possessions and take back the island. The Muslim interpreter warned Sultan Ali, saying; "This man loves his island, and he will certainly return to plunder your wealth and kill you all. You must come up with a plan to foil his attempt." To be on the side of caution, Sultan Ali's
37 men took the matter in all seriousness, and the path that used to appear when the tides receded was completely removed. They worked tirelessly to complete this task and soon when the high tides returned, the water lled in the entire area. The occasional peninsula was turned to a fully-edged island, and no one could come to the Island on foot any more. Days later, the pagan African returned with a group of his men. They arrived at the place where the path used to appear. But there was no path. So, they waited in the hope that the water would denitely recede at some point, but it did not happen. Full of disappointment, despair, and regret the African man and his gang returned emptyhanded to where they had come from. Matters settled for Sultan Ali ibn al-
38 Hassan ibn Ali, and he became the rst king of Kilwa. He lived there with his sons: Muhammad, al-Hassan Sabħa, Sulaimān and Daoud.
39 Chapter 5 Kilwa Ruled by the Sultans of al-Wāsil Dynasty One day, Sultan Ali al-Wāsil visited Mombasa and very much liked it. So, he appointed his son Muhammad ibn Ali ruler of Mombasa. Two and half years later, Muhammad died. He was succeeded by his brother al-Hassan Sabħa ibn Ali, whose rule also ended with his death four and half years later. Sultan Ali ibn al-Hassan ibn Ali himself remained as the ruler of Kilwa for forty years.
40 After his death, Sultan Ali ibn al-Hassan Sabħa ibn Ali succeeded him to the rule of Kilwa. He ruled over his uncles: Sulaimān, al-Hassan and Daoud, the sons of Ali. Four and half years later, he was succeeded by his uncle Sultan Daoud ibn Ali ibn alHassan who ruled Kilwa for only two years, then left its rule to his son Ali ibn Daoud, and went out to Mombasa where he resided. Kilwa itself witnessed a period of instability when the Malandayan rulers of Mchinga, a coastal town to the south of Kilwa, led their forces and took over the road connecting Mchinga and Kilwa, including the village of Mitole. The war between the Malandayans and the Kilwayans was erce, and it ended with the Malandayans taking over Kilwa and appointing one of their men, Khalid ibn Bakr, to be its ruler.
41 Two and half years into his rule, the people of Kilwa gathered and unanimously agreed he should be removed from power. This happened peacefully; and in his place, they appointed al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Sultan Ali al-Wāsil. However, twelve years later, the Malandayans re-seized power in the Island of Kilwa by force causing al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān to ee to Zanzibar. They then appointed one of their own as an Emir. This was Muhammad ibn Hussain al-Mundhiri. As the Malandayan Emir of Kilwa, his name was included in the Friday prayers led by Muslim preachers. Twelve years into the reign of Emir Muhammad ibn Hussain, the people of Kilwa decided they had had enough of the Malandayan rule. They agreed to reinstate
42 power into their own. To this end, they gathered their children who were the sons of the Sharif Sultans, and asked them: "Are you happy that your king(1) had been removed from power?" "No, we are not", they all responded. "Let you all then be united in giving bai'ah(2) to the son of your king", the people of Kilwa said. Consequently, a thousand boys of the Sharifs gave bai'ah to the son of Sultan al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Ali. Then, the people of Kilwa marched to the house of Emir Muhammad ibn Hussain al-Mundhiri, arrested him and tied him up. They, (1) They meant “al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān”, who had to ee to Zanzibar. (2) A pledge of allegiance.
43 afterwards, sent the boys with their young appointed king to his father, the ousted king who had ed to Zanzibar, to bring him back to Kilwa to retrieve his rule. Al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān returned to Kilwa in six ships. In the meantime, the arrested Emir Muhammad ibn Hussain al-Mundhiri managed to untie himself and rushed to the coast of Kilwa to meet the ship arriving from Zanzibar. He had wanted to pay homage to Sultan al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Ali. However, as he tried to shake hands with Sultan al-Hassan, the Sultan rejected the handshake. The boys present misunderstood the situation and thought the Emir was trying to attack the Sultan. As a result, they killed him on the spot. Sultan al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibnAli was
44 restored to the rule of Kilwa and his reign lasted for fourteen years. When he died, he was succeeded by al-Hassan ibn Daoud ibn Sultan Ali, who was removed from power later on in the same year. He was seventy years old at the time. With his removal from power in 741 AH (1340 CE), the dynasty of Sultan Ali al-Wāsil had reigned for 87 years.
45 Chapter 6 Kilwa Ruled by the Sultans of al-Mahdi Dynasty The Mahdi family were mainly devout and religious people. Common among them were the clerics, the preachers, the imams who led the prayers and delivered sermons on the congregational Friday and Eid prayers. They were also always present in the dhikr gatherings.(1) They were also known as "The Meek". (1) Dhikr gatherings are were the congregation chant certain religious phrases, sometimes incessantly.
46 From their midst arose their religious chief, Sulaimān ibn al-Hassan ibn Tālib ibn Ibrāhīm al-Mahdi, a man of great courage and sound opinion. He succeeded his uncle Sayyed Ibrāhīm Sharafuddin, the Chief Judge, leader of the Shiraz rebellion, to the religious leadership of his people. Sulaimān ibn al-Hassan rebelled against his cousin Sultan al-Hassan ibn Daoud, and removed him by force from the rule of Kilwa and took it over himself. During the armed confrontation, Sulaimān ibn alHassan ibn Tālib was stabbed by a spear, and he was thus nicknamed, the Stabbed. During his reign, his 14-year old son, al-Hassan decided to visit the holy city of Mecca. Before getting there, he rst spent two years in Aden receiving religious education. He eventually became a scholar
47 of great knowledge and virtue. He was also renowned for his generosity and bravery. After his Aden stay, he proceeded to Mecca at the age of sixteen, seeking to further his education. While he was in Mecca he received the news of the death of his father after eighteen years as the ruler of Kilwa. In his absence, his younger brother, Daoud ibn Sultan Sulaimān, the Stabbed, seized power over there. When al-Hassan returned to Kilwa, his mother called for her son Daoud after hiding al-Hassan under some covers where he could hear her conversation with his younger brother without being discovered. Daoud came by to speak to his mother, who asked him: "Your brother, al-Hassan
48 is about to return from Hijaz. What will happen when he does? "There is no dispute between me and my brother; the land is his and the rule is his", Daoud responded. "I am just acting on his behalf until his safe return, and I will be obedient to him", He added. When the mother made sure all matters were ne between the two brothers, she removed the cover, and called her son, alHassan, out to meet his brother. When Daoud saw his brother, he greeted him with the proper titles, and handed over the rule of the land to him. Al-Hassan was thankful for his brother's seless act. However, he said to Daoud: "You stay as you are, and I will return to the ship. Tomorrow, I will come back (as if I had just arrived)".
49 In the morning, al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān, the Stabbed, was received as the Sultan of the land, and his brother amicably and peacefully transferred power to him. Owing to his exemplary generosity and renowned hospitality, Sultan al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān was rightly called "AbulMawāhib".(1) When matters settled for him, he turned his attention to avenge the killing of his father at the hands of the people of Mombasa who spear-stabbed him as they sided against him with Sultan al-Hassan ibn Daoud la-Wāsil during his coup. AlHassan ibn Sulaimān came out of the war victorious. He subjugated Mombasa and became its rst king. (1) “Abul-Mawāhib” means the great giver of gifts and awards.
50 In his reign, the Mosque of Kilwa was completely destroyed except for its famous dome. The people performed their daily prayers in tents and in areas shaded with fabric. Living up to his name, Sultan al-Hassan Abul-Mawāhib was famed as a righteous man of honour. The Sharifs of Iraq, the Hijaz and other places paid him visits where they would receive great honours and be awarded handsomely. In the year 760 AH (1358 CE), the famous traveller, Shamsuddin Abu Abdullāh Muhammad ibn Abdullāh al-Lawāti atTanji (better known as Ibn Battuta), visited Kilwa where he met Sultan al-Hassan AbulMawāhib. During his stay, Ibn Batutta saw a number Sharifs from Hijaz in the court of the Sultan. Among them were Muhammad
51 ibn Jumāz, Mansūr ibn Labīdah ibn Numā, and Muhammad ibn Shumaila ibn Abu Numā. In Mogadishu, Ibn Battuta met Tabl ibn Kubaish ibn Jumāz, who was on his way to visit Sultan Abul-Mawāhib. All these aforementioned individuals knew the Sultan when he was still a student in Mecca. Ibn Battuta also stated that Sultan al-Hassan Abul-Mawāhib had established a fund especially for the Sharifs' expenditure. Abul-Mawāhib's reign lasted for 14 years. When he died, his brother Daoud ibn Sulaimān succeeded him. He was a pious man, who led an ascetic life. He ruled for only twenty-four days and was then ousted by his other brother al-Hussain ibn Sulaimān, the Stabbed. One day six and half years late, al-Hussain went out to ght the pagans of Mitole, and there he was killed.
52 Following him to the rule of Kilwa, was his son, Tālib ibn al-Hussain, who was removed from power after two years, four months and fourteen days. He was succeeded by Sulaimān ibn alHussain. This Sulaimān had a son named al-Hussain, also known as Ashra. When Sulaimān travelled to Mecca, he left his son in charge of the Sultanate. Sulaimān died near Mombasa and was buried there. Al-Hussain Ashra became the Sultan of Kilwa after his father's death. A few days into his reign, he decided to travel to Mecca for Hajj and Umra(1) and visit the (1) Umra is sometimes referred to as ‘little Hajj’. It is performed any time of the year, unlike Hajj, and involves only circumambulation of the Ka’bah 7 times, offering to units of prayers at the maqam of Prophet Ibrāhīm, walking between the mounts of as-Safā and al-Marwah 7 times, then trimming or shaving the hair of one’s head.
53 mosque and burial ground of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. His journey was successful and he returned home safely afterwards. He ruled for twenty three years, then he died.
55 Chapter 7 Rotation of Power between the Al-Wāsil and Al-Mahdi Dynasties The al-Wāsil family had been removed from power in Kilwa for 55 years as a result of their cousins, the Mahdis, taking over. The rule of Kilwa went back to alWāsils when Muhammad ibn Sulaimān ibn al-Hussain ibn al-Hassan Sabħa seized power. He was called "The New Rain", as he came after a period of severe conditions that the family had gone through. He was
56 also known as Sultan al-Malik al-'Ādel, that is, the Just King. As a sign of greatness, Sultan Muhammad used to invite men renowned for their great honour, position and achievement from other countries to visit Kilwa. He ruled for twenty two years and was succeeded by his son, Sultan Sulaimān. It was in the reign of Sulaimān ibn Muhammad that the Kilwa Mosque, which had been destroyed in the times of Abu al-Mawāhib, was rebuilt. When Sultan Sulaimān ibn Muhammad died, the princes, visirs, and men of power met to choose the following Sultan. Among them was Prince Muhammad ibn Sultan Muhammad ibn Sulaimān of the al-Wāsil dynasty. They agreed that in order to avoid any
57 conict between the two families, that Isma'īl ibn al-Hussain ibn Sulaimān, the Stabbed, of the al-Mahdi family, be the next Sultan of Kilwa. As the new Sultan, Isma'īl ibn al-Hussain appointed his brother Sulaimān visir and his other brother, Muhammad, Emir.(1) However, Sa'eed ibn al-Hassan AbulMawāhib ibn Sulaimān, the Stabbed, challenged this choice and claimed his right to the throne as the rightful heir being the son of the late Sultan Abul-Mawāhib. His efforts were unsuccessful. Consequently, Sa'eed decided to leave Kilwa to Zanzibar to seek the aid of the Sultan of Zanzibar, Hassan ibn Sultan Abu Bakr. There, Sultan Hassan promised he (1) Emir indicates some right of succession.
58 would support him in his claim. Sa'eed also ended marrying Sultan Hassan's mother. In Zanzibar, Sultan Hassan commissioned a prince named az-Zubair to prepare for the conquest of Kilwa in aid of Sa'eed. To avoid a devastating war, Emir Muhammad of Kilwa sent a secret envoy with one hundred mithqāls(1) of gold to Prince azZubair of Zanzibar, and to tell him "Sultan Isma’īl is sending you this money to help you abandon your war plans against him". Prince az-Zaubair accepted the gift, and the war was averted in betrayal to the previous promise given to Sa'eed. As a result, Sa'eed ibn al-Hassan AbulMawāhib secretly sailed from Zanzibar in (1) A mithqāl of gold is equivalent to 0.137 ounces, or 4.25 grams.
59 four ships and arrived to Kilwa in disguise. As soon as the news reached the ears of Sultan Isma'īl, he issued a decree authorizing the killing of Sa'eed and promised generous awards to whoever brought him Sa'eed’s head. As for Sa'eed himself, he took shelter in the house of the Kilwa Judge, Muhammad. He sought his protection and thought he would be safe there as no one knew his hiding place. However, he overheard Judge Muhammad saying to his son, Isma'īl, "Make sure to cut off his head," meaning Sa'eed’s head. Hearing this, Sa'eed immediately left the house in his disguise and hid in the Kilwa cemetery. The news about Sa'eed’s arrival spread like re in Kilwa. Sultan Isma'īl ordered that Sa'eed’s properties and possessions
60 be looted while the people of Kilwa were determined to actively nd and kill him to reap the handsome awards and favours promised by Sultan Isma'īl. In a twist of events, al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Muhammad (the Just King) extended his protection over Sa'eed, and brought him to Sultan Isma'īl who granted him his pardon. For the next four years, Sa'eed did not go out of his house(1) until Sultan Isma’īl passed away after ruling Kilwa for twenty three years. The rule then rotated to the al-Wāsil's family with Prince Muhammad ibn Sulaimān ibn Muhammad (the Just King) becoming the Sultan of Kilwa succeeding (1) He was most likely put under house arrest as part of the pardon deal.
61 Sultan Isma’īl. This shift was due to the fact that there were no other powerful men suitable for rule except for Prince Muhammad, being a man of greater wealth and power compared to everyone else. He, therefore, became Sultan and was called "al-Mażlūm".(1) As fate may have it, he only ruled for one year and then died. The rule of Kilwa was then passed on to his brother, Ahmed ibn Sulaimān ibn Muhammad (the Just King). Appointed as visir was Sa'eed ibn al-Hassan AbulMawāhib of the al-Mahdi family -who had previously made claims to the throne- and appointed as Emir was Sulaimān ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm of the al-Wāsil family. (1) “al-Mażlūm” literally means “the one against whom injustice was committed”.
62 Sultan Ahmed ruled for only one year. After his death, Sultan al-Hassam ibn Isma’īl ibn al-Hassan of the al-Mahdi family succeeded him to the rule of Kilwa. His uncle, Sa'eed ibn al-Hassan AbulMawāhib remained as the visir. Ten years later, al-Hassan died, and Sa'eed ibn alHassan Abul-Mawāhib became Sultan.
63 Chapter 8 King Mas'ūd son of King al-Mu’ayyad, the Ghassānid. In the reign of Sultan Sa'eed ibn al-Hassan Abul-Mawāhib al-Mahdi, arrived at Kilwaa the ousted King Mas'ūd, the son of King al-Mu’ayyad, the Ghassānid. He used to be the Sultan of Aden, but was removed from power by SultanAli ibn Tāher who had been previously wronged by King al-Mu’ayyad, the Ghassānid, the father of King Mas'ūd. Here is how it all happened:
64 Ali ibn Tāher was the Chief of the Sharifs of Aden. There, he suffered great injustices with submission and unwillingness to ght back. Instead, he left Aden and took residence in the holy city of Mecca as a pilgrim and an immigrant. In his journey, he was accompanied by Sharif Ali ibn Suān, of the Tabībāt. He had also been subjected to the same injustices as Ali. They both arrived in Mecca and after nishing the rites of their Hajj and Umra, they decided to travel to Medina to visit the Mosque and grave of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) there. In Medina, they approached those in charge of the service of the prophet’s grave and requested if they could be allowed to join the service. This, they were granted. After a period of time in their service work, Ali
65 ibn Tāher had a dream where, he said, he was addressed by the Prophet Muhammad saying "Ali, get up and take hold of Yemen." Ali ibn Tāher woke up and narrated the dream to his companion, Ali ibn Suān, and asked him: "Did you have a dream like mine?" "No," his companion said. Ali ibn Tāher had the same dream in the two following nights. He then said to Ali ibn Suān, "This dream must be meant for you, because you are one of the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad." "No," Ali ibn Suān responded. "It is for you specically. You saw it, not me." They both argued and eventually they made amends and agreed to pledge to
66 each other at the grave of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that they should head for Yemen, and whoever of them took over, the other would serve as his visir, till the end. And so, they did. Arriving at Yemen, they found that King al-Mu’ayyad, the Ghassānid, had died and was succeeded by his son Mas'ūd who was in Aden at the time. The conditions of Yemen were in a terrible shape and the kingdom was on the verge of disintegration with almost all areas in disagreement with the current king Mas'ūd. However, since the two Alis were already in Yemen, the people gathered and gave their bai'ah (pledge of allegiance) to Ali ibn Tāher as their Caliph, thus disposing King Mas'ūd ibn al-Mu'ayyd, the Ghassānid.
67 Ali ibn Tāher then prepared a huge army under the command of his brother, 'Āmer ibn Tāher, and sent it toAden. When Mas'ūd saw the army approaching, he ordered the city gates to be shut, strengthened his fortications and prepared to ght the army led by 'Āmer ibn Tāher. 'Āmer, on the other hand, sent envoys to the people in the fort inviting them to abandon Mas'ūd and join forces with him. They agreed and pledged allegiance to 'Āmer. Mas'ūd realized that he was let down by his people and immediately escaped from Aden to Zaila. He intended to head to the land of the Mahra afterwards as he had family relatives there. However, he got news that Sa'eed ibn Sultan al-Hassan Abul-Mawāhib had become the Sultan of Kilwa. He decided to pay him a visit as he
68 had previously accompanied him in Aden when Sultan Sa'eed was travelling for Hajj with his father al-Hassan Abul-Mawāhib ibn Sulaimān, the Stabbed. They became friends since then. Therefore, when he heard of Sa'eed becoming Sultan, he decided to renew their old friendship and visit him, as has always been the habit when kings are aficted by a change of fortune. Accordingly, when the ousted King Mas'ūd arrived in Kilwa, he was received by Sultan Sa'eed as kings would be expected to be received. He was welcomed, honoured and awarded substantial funds. Mas'ūd stayed in Kilwa for a period of time, then made his way to the Mahra land. A while later, he made another visit to Kilwa, only to nd that his friend, Sultan Sa'eed ibn al-Hassan Abul Mawāhib had
69 passed away. The new Sultan Sulaimān ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm ibn Sulaimān ibn Muhammad (the Just king) al-Wāsil was not acquainted with Mas'ūd, and as a result, Mas'ūd did not receive the same welcome as before. He was also told by some people of high status in Kilwa: "We ask that you do not come any more to visit us. The country is no longer how it used to be, and the people are of much less means than before. So, avoid coming here that our poor conditions may not be exposed and you may not be shamed." King Mas'ūd then decided to travel to India where he eventually settled and had offspring, too. As for Ali ibn Tāher, he took full control of the whole of Yemen and had a strong grasp on both the rule and the people. He
70 also fullled his agreement with Ali ibn Suān until both their rule came to an end a few months from each other.
71 Chapter 9 The First Fitna of Ibn Yārik In the reign of Sultan Sulaimān ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm, matters in the sultanate of Kilwa worsened. He was a despot. The people and country suffered terrible hardships because of his tight-sted nancial practices. He made his brother Muhammad ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm -aka Kawāb-(1) an Emir. His term of ofce as Sultan was one and half years. (1) Kawāb is Persian for junior.
72 The family council removed Sultan Sulaimān ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm from power. He was succeeded by Sultan Abdullāh ibn al-Khatīb Hassan Sabħa ibn the Just King. He had Prince Muhammad Kawāb ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm as his visir. Like his predecessor, he ruled for only one and half years and was removed by the family council. Following him was his brother Ali ibn al-Khatīb Hassan Sabħa. His fate was no different from his two predecessors as one and half years later, he was removed from power. In his reign, Muhammad Kawāb continued to be the Emir. However, he was the true controller of the affairs of Kilwa to the point that he appointed the Sultans and removed them from their positions. He was
73 so powerful that one time, he appointed a visir with no claims whatsoever to the throne as Sultan of Kilwa. He did this to spite the Sharifs. The visir appointed was Hassan ibn visir Sulaimān ibn visir Yārik.(1) Al-Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Yārik ruled as the Sultan of Kilwa for six years before Emir Muhammad Kawāb deposed him. Then, he appointed as Sultan, Hassan Sabħa ibn Muhammad (the Just King). Hassan, who was against the appointment, was the imam (Khatīb) of the Kilwa Mosque and father of both Sultan Abdullāh and Sultan Ali. A few months later, to get out of Kilwa, the recently appointed Sultan Hassan Sabħa used the excuse that he wanted to (1) Yārik is Persian for “beloved one”.
74 go for Hajj. Emir Muhammad Kawāb was against the idea. The disagreement caused disturbance in Kilwa. Eventually, Hassan Sabħa, the mosque imam, left Kilwa to Mecca accompanied by his brother and his son, another man by the name of alMuhtasib, Muqaddam Sulaimān, and Sayyed Zubair ibn Sayyed Rawsh. Arriving in Mecca, they performed the Hajja and Umra, then travelled to visit the Prophet’s mosque in Medina. When Sultan Hassan Sabħa and the Kilwa dignitaries in his company had nished their religious duties, they offered the istikhara prayers asking Allah to decide their next course of action. In their prayers they supplicated: "O, Allah. If it is in Your Knowledge that our return to our country is good for us, we
75 ask You to make our return easy. And if it is not, You know what is best." It seems that their prayers were answered as they all, except for two, died before they could make it back to Kilwa. Muqaddam Sulaimān died in Mecca, his brother in the Kamran Island, al-Muhtasib in some town and Sultan Hassan Sabħa in Aden. Only Sayyed Rawsh and his son returned to Kilwa alive. In Kilwa itself, when Sultan Hassan Sabħa left for Mecca, Emir Muhammad Kawāb deposed him and appointed in his place Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad (the Just king). Sultan Ibrāhīm ruled for ve years. During the reign of Sultan Ibrāhīm, the ousted Sultan Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Yārik, spared no efforts to be reinstated as
76 the Sultan, but Emir Muhammad Kawāb did not allow him. The reason for the objection was the fact that the ousted Sultan Hassan was only from the house of visirs, not kings, while the Sultan in place was one of the descendants of the kings. The dispute resulted in a huge conict, a tnah, and a war ensued between the supporters of each party resulting in multitudes of deaths, and the defeat of the ousted Hassan ibn Yārik, who ed Kilwa to the nearby coastal town of kalia, where he remained for three years. Emir Muhammad Kawāb then removed Sultan Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad (the Just King) from power and appointed himself Sultan of Kilwa. He sat under the mazallah,(1) like any Sultan did, where (1) The mazallah is a shady area where the African chiefs would sit on a wooden bench to meet their subjects.
77 the people would come and stand before him for him to dispense of their affairs. His name as the Sultan was consequently included in the congregational prayers, etc. But as Sultan, he did not appoint an Emir. A while later, he stepped down from his position as Sultan, and appointed Fuđail ibn Sultan Sulaimān ibn Muhammad (the Just King) in his place as Sultan of Kilwa. His rule was in 901 AH. When the ousted Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Yārik heard of Faudail's appointment, he made preparations with his supporters to take over Kilwa by force. As he arrived to Mingoyo, south of Kilwa, Ali, the son of the Sultan of Zanzibar, arrived, too. He had been sent by his brother to meet Sultan Fuđail and negotiate with him and with Emir Muhammad Kawāb that they should
78 have peace with Hassan ibn Yārik and reinstate him as Sultan. Ali, being the messenger from Zanzibar, delivered his brother’s message as instructed. Muhammad Kawāb and the people of Kilwa responded to his offer saying: "The current Sultan is a descendant of the Kings of Kilwa while the other claimant is from the visirs' family. He had only been previously appointed Sultan for a specic purpose at that time. The purpose has long been served and no longer exists. However, we accept your offer of peace so that he [Hassan ibn Yārik] may enter the city and become one of the subjects of the Sultan. Any other terms are not accepted by us." Then, they stressed this saying "You go to him and you tell him what we said. If
79 he accepts, let him come in; otherwise, we would never allow him in". Ali, the son of the Sultan of Zanzibar, left to convey the response of Kilwa to Hassan ibn Yārik. A few days later during his stay out of Kilwa, Emir Muhammad Kawāb died after serving fteen years as an Emir. This period was known as the rst Fitna (time of tribulations) and was instigated by Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Yārik.
81 Chapter 10 The Second Fitna of Ibn Yārik The second time Hassan ibn Sulaimān ibn Yārik caused serious troubles with drastic consequences was in the reign of Sultan Fuđail ibn Muhammad (the Just king), who had as the Emir, Prince Ibrāhīm ibn Sulaimān ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm. The following is a narrative of how it all evolved the way it did. When Emir Muhammad Kawāb died, his nephew, Emir Ibrāhīm ibn Sulaimān
82 ibn Muhammad al-Mażlūm succeeded him. When the news of the death of Emir Muhammad Kawāb reached Ali, the messenger of Zanzibar, he returned to Zanzibar to inform his brother. In the meantime, Hassan ibn Yārik led a large army of Muslims and non-Muslims and marched towards Kilwa believing there was no one left there to oppose his succession to the throne of the Kilwa Sultanate. He travelled from the Mingoyo region to a place called Kisib, on the African coast near Kilwa. As the news spread about his arrival to that point, the people of Kilwa were alarmed. Sultan Fuđail and Emir Ibrāhīm ibn Muhammad (the Just King) sent a group of scholars, senior citizens and Kilwa dignitaries to Hassan ibn Yārik
83 to nd out from him what he was doing as it seemed obvious he was bringing war to them. Hassan ibn Yārik's response was clear; he said: "I have come to claim the sultanate under my rule. There is no one more deserving than me, nor should anyone be Sultan over me. Emir Muhammad Kawāb had prevented me from claiming what was rightfully mine because of the animosity between us. Now that he's gone, tell Emir Ibrāhīm and all the people of Kilwa that they must surrender the rule of Kilwa to me, and address me as the Sultan in their speeches when I enter Kilwa." When this was conveyed back to the people of Kilwa, their response was no different from the response that had been
84 previously given by Emir Muhammad Kawāb. Informed of their response, Hassan ibn Yārik chose to ignore it. Instead, he commissioned his son, Sa'eed to command a group of ships with a large number of Muslim and non-Muslim men and sail to Kilwa to take it over. They arrived after the Asr prayers, and Sa'eed ibn Hassan ibn Yārik and his group headed directly to the Yārik’s house in Kilwa. He had no sooner settled in the house than Sultan Fuđail and Emir Ibrāhīm sent him droves of men to bring him before the Sultan. He was in effect snatched by force together with his group from among their supporters and brought to stand before Sultan Fuđail.
85 Sa'eed was told, "You came out with the intent to have war against us. You are doing so in spite of the fact that we had sent you a number of messengers that you should approach us in peace, but you did not heed our words. Instead, you have now arrived with all those men with you. So, what is the purpose of all this?" In his response, Sa'eed claimed that his father, Hassan ibn Yārik, had sent him to make sure his house was ready for his reception, and that his father would be arriving in peace the following day. The people of Kilwa did not believe him. Instead, he was told: "You did not come to this land with all these people except that you wanted to instigate troubles here." Sa'eed denied this to be his intention.
86 Upon this, he was told, "If you are telling the truth, swear by Almighty Allah and on the Holy Qur'an that you are speaking the truth, and that you did not come for trouble." Sa'eed swore as they requested. He was then told, "Send to your father informing him that you took a solemn oath that you have nothing to do with this tnah he's causing. Also, tell him that he should not send anyone to us tonight. Instead, he should patiently wait where he is till the morning, and we will go to him and bring him into our land in peace." In response, Sa'eed sent a group of his condants together with a group of Kilwa locals to his father to deliver to him the message of the people of Kilwa.
87 Hassan ibn Yārik heard the envoys and veried that the matter in Kilwa was as they described. He then ordered the Kilwa messengers to be killed, and made immediate preparations to attack Kilwa that very night. The news reached Kilwa, and the people there mobilized in large numbers, arms and supplies to defend their land. In the morning, they saw the ships of Hassan ibn Yārik approaching with the ghters and soldiers on board. A erce war erupted as a result, with many people killed and many others injured, captured and eeing. In their panic, the soldiers dispersed in the sea and the woods. When Hassan ibn Yārik was informed of the situation, he could not think of anything but saving his own skin and escaping from there. Terried, Hassan