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The Preaching of the Almohads: Loyalty and Resistance across the Strait of Gibraltar

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Abstract One of the lacunas in Almohad scholarship is the role that preaching played in disseminating Almohad ideology throughout the empire and its contributions to fostering unity between Muslim Iberia and the Maghrib. This article analyzes the distinctive rhetorical, ritual, and juridical features of the Almohad sermon (khuṭba) and explores how the Almohads deployed religious preaching and ceremonial oratory to pursue their religio-political objectives of purifying Islamic institutions and practices. I argue that the ritual and juridical innovations Ibn Tūmart and the Mu’minids introduced into the khuṭba ceremony, such as the obligatory Berberization and the compulsory invocation of the Almohad creed, exemplified the revolutionary aspects of Almohad power. Accordingly, the Almohad khuṭba would come to simultaneously focalize allegiance and opposition to the regime on both sides of the Strait. I conclude that the institutionalization of the Almohad khuṭba as well as the resistance to it must be considered among the elements that fostered unity between Arabs and Berbers across the Strait of Gibraltar.

Affiliations: 1: Facultat d’Humanitats, Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona Spain


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