Banu Ifran

The Ifranids, also called Banu Ifran, Ifran, or the children of the Ifran (Arabic: بنو يفرن‎, Banu Yifran), were a Zenata Berber tribe prominent in the history of pre-Islamic and early Islamic North Africa. In the 8th century, they established a kingdom in Central Maghreb, Algeria with Tlemcen as its capital.

The Banu Ifran resisted or revolted against foreign occupiers—Romans, Vandals, and Byzantines—of their territory in Africa. In the seventh century, they sided with Kahina in her resistance against the Muslim Umayyad invaders. In the eighth century they mobilized around the dogma of sufri, revolting against the Arab Umayyads and Abbasids.

In the 10th century they founded a dynasty opposed to the Fatimids, the Zirids, the Umayyads, the Hammadids and the Maghraoua. The Banu Ifran were defeated by the Almoravids and the invading Arabs (the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym)[1] to the end of the 11th century.The Ifranid dynasty [2] was recognized as the only dynasty that has defended the indigenous people of the Maghreb, by the Romans referred to as the Africani.[3]In 11th century Iberia, the Ifrenid founded a Taifa of Ronda since 1039[4] at Ronda in Andalusia and governed from Cordoba for several centuries.[5]

History

Tlemcen, a capital of Banu Ifran

The Banu Ifran were one of the four major tribes of the Zenata or Gaetulia [6] confederation, and were known as expert cavalrymen. According to Ibn Khaldoun, "Ifrinides" or "Ait Ifren" were successfully resisting Romans, Vandals and Byzantines who sought to occupy North Africa before the arrival of the Muslim armies. According to Corippus in his Iohannis,[7] during the reign of Justinian I between 547 and 550, the Banu Ifran challenged the Byzantine armies under John Troglita to war.[8][9][10][11] Their chief Abu Qurra rebuilt the city of Tlemcen in Algeria in 765 (formerly, it was a Roman city named Pomaria). They opposed the Egyptian Fatimid Caliphate, aligning themselves with the Maghrawa tribe and the Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, although they themselves became Kharijites. Led by Abu Yazid, they surged east and attacked Kairouan in 945. Another leader, Ya'la ibn Muhammad captured Oran and constructed a new capital, Ifgan, near Mascara. Under the leadership of their able general Jawhar, who killed Ya'la in battle in 954,[12] the Fatimids struck back and destroyed Ifgan, and for some time afterward the Banu Ifran reverted to being scattered nomads in perpetual competition with their Sanhaja neighbours. Some settled in regions of Spain, such as Málaga. Others, led by Hammama, managed to gain control of the Moroccan province of Tadla. Later, led by Abu al-Kamāl, they established a new capital at Salé on the Atlantic coast, though this brought them into conflict with the Barghawata tribes on the seaboard.

The dynasty of the Ifrinids, Ibn Khaldoun, Histoire des Berbères, section Banou Ifran

During the 11th century, the Banu Ifran contested with the Maghrawa tribe for the control of Morocco after the fall of the Idrisid dynasty. Ya'la's son Yaddū took Fes by surprise in January 993 and held it for some months until the Maghrawa ruler Ziri ibn Atiyya returned from Spain and reconquered the region.

In May or June 1033, Fes was recaptured by Ya'la's grandson Tamīm. Fanatically devoted to religion, he began a persecution of the Jews,[13] and is said to have killed 6000 of their men while confiscating their wealth and women, but Ibn Khaldoun says only persecution without killing.[14] Sometime in the period 1038-1040 the Maghrawa tribe retook Fes, forcing Tamīm to flee to Salé.

Soon after that time, the Almoravids began their rise to power and effectively conquered both the Banu Ifran and their brother-rivals the Maghrawa.