The Mahdī Ibn Tūmart and al-Andalus: The Construction of Almohad Legitimacy 1
Mandism is one of the means offered by Islamic tradition to legitimise rulers. It is of special relevance when the aim is to renovate society, eliminating old politico-religious elites and creating new ones. Mandism might be seen as the continuation of the khalīfat Allah model — the ruler as delegate or representative of God on earth, a model that was preserved by the Shī‘īs but which the Sunnīs eventually discarded in favour of the khalīfat rasūl Allāh model. Yet, the model has resurfaced in the Sunnī community in different periods and in different forms. The Almohad period (12th century) was one of these. This paper shows how Almohad Mandism was shaped as a response to the political and religious establishment that the Almohads encountered when they conquered al-Andalus.