In the year 880 Yemen was listening to the propaganda of the new sect of the Carmathians (q.v.) or followers of Hamdan Qarmat.
The Arabs who lived more inland were mostly Bedouin who found the obligations of Islam irksome, and do not seem to have made a very vigorous opposition to the Carmathians who took Hajar the capital of Bahrein in 903.
So long as Abu Tahir lived the Carmathians controlled Arabia.
The following years witnessed serious troubles in Syria caused by the Carmathians, which called for the intervention of the caliph, who at last succeeded in defeating these fanatics; the officer Mahommed b.
The land was during this period threatened at once by the Ftimites from the west; the Nubians from the south, and the Carmathians from the east; when the second Ikshidi died in 965, Kfflr at first made a pretence of appointing his young son Abmad as his successor, but deemed it safer to assume the viceroyalty himself, setting an example which in Mameluke times was often followed.
The accession of this prince was followed by an incursion of the Carmathians into Syria, before whom the Ikshidi governor fled into Egypt, where he had for a time to undertake the management of affairs, and arrested Ibn Furt, who had proved himself incompetent.
The F~4iinite caliph Moizz li-dIn allah was also in correspondence with other residents in Egypt, where the Alid party from the beginning of Abbasid times had always had many supporters; and the danger from the Carmathians rendered the presence of a strong government necessary.
Almost immediately after the conquest of Egypt, Jauhar found himself engaged in a struggle with the Carmathians (q.v.), whom the Ikshidi prefect of Damascus had pacified by a promise of tribute; this promise was of course not held binding by the Fatimite general (Jafa.r b.
The general Jafar, hoping to deal with this enemy independently of Jauhar, met the Carmathians without waiting for reinforcements from Egypt, and fell in battle, his army being defeated.
Damascus was taken by the Carmathians, and the name of the Abbasid caliph substituted for that of Moizz in public worship. IJasan al-A~am advanced from Damascus through Palestine to Egypt, encountering little resistance on the way; and in the autumn of 971 Jauhar found himself besieged in his new city.
As this was in origin identical with that professed by the Carmathians, he hoped to gain the submission of their leader by argument; but this plan was unsuccessful, and there was a fresh invasion from that quarter in the year after his arrival, and the caliph found himself besieged in his capital.
The Carmathians were gradually forced to retreat from Egypt and then from Syria by some successful engagements, and by the judicious use of bribes, whereby dissension was sown among their leaders.
In 831 the Church of the Holy Sepulchre was restored; but about a hundred years later it was again destroyed as a result of the revolt of the Carmathians, who in 9 29 pillaged Mecca.
Abu Sa`id al-Jannabi, who had founded a Carmathian state in Bahrein, the north-eastern province of Arabia (actually called Lahsa), which could become dangerous for the pilgrim road as well as for the commerce of Basra, in the year 900 routed an army sent against him by Motadid, and warned the caliph that it would be safer to let the Carmathians alone.
Moktafi inherited his father's intrepidity, and seems to have had high personal qualities, but his reign of six years was a constant struggle against the Carmathians in Syria, who defeated the Syrian and Egyptian troops, and For the connexion between Carmathians and Fatimites see under Fatimites.
After the defeat of the Syrian Carmathians, Mahommed b.
Far more dangerous, however, for the Caliphate of Bagdad at the time were the Carmathians of Bahrein, then guided by Abu Tahir, the son of Abu Sa`id Jannabi.
The government of Bagdad resolved to crush the Carmathians, but a large army was utterly defeated by Abu Tahir in 315 (927), and Bagdad was seriously threatened.
The empire was by this time practically reduced to the province of Bagdad; Khorasan and Transoxiana were in the hands of the Samanids, Fars in those of the Buyids; Kirman and Media were under independent sovereigns; the Hamdanids possessed Mesopotamia; the Sajids Armenia and Azerbaijan; the Ikshidites Egypt; as we have seen, the Fatimites Africa, the Carmathians Arabia.
While the Abbasid dynasty was thus dying out in shame and degradation, the Fatimites, in the person of Mo'izz li-din-allah (or Mo`izz Abu Tamin Ma'add) ("he who makes God's religion victorious"), were reaching the highest degree of power and glory in spite of the opposition of the Carmathians, who left their old allegiance and entered into negotiations with the court of Bagdad, offering to drive back the Fatimites, on condition of being assisted with money and troops, and of being rewarded with the government of Syria and Egypt.
The former condition was granted, but the caliph emphatically refused the latter demand, saying: "Both parties are Carmathians, they profess the same religion and are enemies of Islam."
This dynasty lasted about ninety years; it was supplanted by that of the Abbasids, who removed the seat of empire to Mesopotamia; and Damascus passed through a period of unrest in which it was captured and ravaged by Egyptians, Carmathians and Seljuks in turn.
In the splendid times of the caliphs immense sums were lavished upon the pilgrimage and the holy city; and conversely the decay of the central authority of Islam brought with it a long period of faction, wars and misery, in which the most notable episode was the sack of Mecca by the Carmathians at the pilgrimage season of A.D.
683 (not, as many authors relate, by the Carmathians), and the pieces are kept together by a silver setting.
The Carmathians drove the Fatimites out of Syria, and threatened Egypt, but, notwithstanding their intrepidity, they were not able to cope with their powerful rival, who, however, in his turn could not bring them to submission.
In 97 8 -979 peace was made on condition that the Carmathians should evacuate Syria for an annual payment of 70,000 dinars.
But the losses sustained by the Carmathians during that struggle had been enormous.