The Barghawatas (also Barghwata or Berghouata) were a group of Berber tribes on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, belonging to the Masmuda confederacy. After allying with the Sufri Kharijite rebellion in Morocco against the Umayyad Caliphate, they established an independent state (AD 744-1058) in the area of Tamesna on the Atlantic coast between Safi and Salé under the leadership of Tarif al-Matghari.

Barghawata Confederacy

Barghawata Confederacy (blue).
Barghawata Confederacy (blue).
Common languagesBerber (Lisan al-Gharbi)
Official : Islam-influenced traditional (adopted by 12 tribes)
Other : Islam (Khariji)(adopted by 17 tribes)
Tribal confederacy
(29 tribes)
• 744
Tarif al-Matghari
Historical eraMiddle Ages
• Established
• Disestablished
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Umayyad Caliphate
Almoravid dynasty


Some historians believe that the term Barghawata is a phonetic deformation of the term Barbati, a nickname which Tarif carried. It is thought that he was born in the area of Barbate, near Cádiz in Spain.[1] However, Jérôme Carcopino and other historians think the name is much older and the tribe is the same as that which the Romans called Baquates, who up until the 7th century lived near Volubilis.[2]


NE 800ad
Western Eurasia and North Africa c. 800, showing the Barghawata in central Morocco

Few details are known about Barghawata. Most of the historical sources are largely posterior to their rule and often present a contradictory and confused historical context. However, one tradition appears more interesting. It comes from Córdoba in Spain and its author is the Large Prior of Barghawata and the Barghawata ambassador to Córdoba Abu Salih Zammur, around the middle of the 10th century. This tradition is regarded as most detailed concerning Barghwata.[3] It was reported by Al Bakri, Ibn Hazm and Ibn Khaldun, although their interpretations comprise some divergent points of view.

The Barghawatas, along with the Ghomara and the Miknasa, launched the Berber Revolt of 739 or 740. They were fired up by Sufri Kharijite preachers, a Muslim sect that embraced a doctrine representing total egalitarianism in opposition to the aristocracy of the Quraysh which had grown more pronounced under the Umayyad Caliphate. The rebels elected Maysara al-Matghari to lead their revolt, and successfully seized control of nearly all of what is now Morocco, inspiring further rebellions in the Maghreb and al-Andalus. At the Battle of Bagdoura, the rebels annihilated a particularly strong army dispatched by the Umayyad caliph from Syria. But the rebels army itself was eventually defeated in the outskirts Kairouan, Ifriqiya in 741. In the aftermath, the rebel alliance dissolved. Even before this denouement, the Barghawatas, as founders of the revolt, had grown resentful of the attempt by later adherents, notably the Zenata chieftains, in alliance with the increasingly authoritarian Sufri commissars, to take control of the leadership of the rebellion. As their primary objective – the liberation of their people from Umayyad rule – had already been achieved, and there was little prospect of it ever being re-imposed, the Barghwata saw little point in continued military campaigns. In 742 or 743, the Barghwata removed themselves from the rebel alliance, and retreated to the Tamesna region, on the Atlantic coast of Morocco, where they founded their new independent state and abandoned their Sufri Kharijitism.

The Barghawatas ruled in the Tamesna region for more than three centuries (744–1058). Under the successors of Salih ibn Tarif, Ilyas ibn Salih (792-842); Yunus (842-888) and Abu Ghufail (888–913) the tribal kingdom was consolidated, and missions sent to neighbouring tribes. After initially good relations with the Caliphate of Cordoba there was a break at the end of the 10th century with the ruling Umayyads. Two Umayyad incursions, as well as attacks by the Fatimids were fought off by the Barghawata. From the 11th century there was an intensive guerrilla war with the Banu Ifran. Even though the Barghawata were subsequently much weakened,[4] they were still able to fend off Almoravid attacks—the spiritual leader of the Almoravids, Ibn Yasin, fell in battle against them (1058). Only in 1149 were the Barghawata eliminated by the Almohads as a political and religious group.


After the conversion to Islam at the beginning of the 8th century and the Maysara uprising (739-742), the Barghawata Berbers formed their own state on the Atlantic coast between Safi and Salé.

The Barghawata kingdom followed a syncretic religion inspired by Islam (perhaps influenced by Judaism)[5] with elements of Sunni, Shi'a and Kharijite Islam, mixed with astrological and traditional Berber mythology such as their taboo surrounding eating eggs and chickens, and the belief that the saliva of the prophet contained baraka, or, roughly translated, blessedness.[6] Supposedly, they had their own Qur'an in the Berber language comprising 80 suras under the leadership of the second ruler of the dynasty Salih ibn Tarif who had taken part in the Maysara uprising. He proclaimed himself a prophet.[7] He also claimed to be the final Mahdi, and that Isa (Jesus) would be his companion and pray behind him.


The Barghawata confederacy was made of 29 tribes. 12 of these tribes adopted the Barghawata religion while 17 retained Islam.[8]

Barghawata religion (syncretic with Islam) tribes

  • Gerawa
  • Zouagha
  • Branès
  • Banu Abi Nacer
  • Menjasa
  • Banu Abi Nuh
  • Banu Waghmar
  • Matghara
  • Banu Borgh
  • Banu Derr
  • Matmata
  • Banu Zaksent

Khariji Muslim tribes

  • Zenata-Jbal
  • Banu Bellit
  • Nemala
  • Ounsent
  • Banu Ifren
  • Banu Naghit
  • Banu Nuaman
  • Banu Fallusa
  • Banu Kuna
  • Banu Sebker
  • Assada
  • Regana
  • Azmin
  • Manada
  • Masina
  • Resana
  • Trara

Some constituent tribes, such as Branès, Matmata, Ifren and Trara, were fractions of much larger tribal groups, and only the Tamesna-based fractions joined the Barghawata Confederacy.

Barghawata kings

  • Tarif al-Matghari
  • Ṣāliḥ ibn Tarīf (744-?), who declared himself prophet[7] in 744 and went away at the age of 47, promising to return.
  • Ilyas ibn Salih (?792-842),[9] who is said to have professed Islām publicly but Ṣāliḥ's religion secretly, and died in the 50th year of his reign.
  • Yunus ibn Ilyas (?842-888), who made Ṣāliḥ's religion official and fought those who would not convert (killing 7770 people, according to Ibn Khaldun's sources, some at a place called Tamlukeft). Curiously enough, he is also said to have performed the Hajj. He died in the 44th year of his reign.
  • Abu-Ghufayl Muhammad (?888-917), who may also have been called a prophet (according to a poem Ibn-Khaldun cites) and who had 44 wives and more sons. He died in the 29th year of his reign.
  • Abu al-Ansar Abdullah (?917-961), buried at Ameslakht. He died in the 44th year of his reign.
  • Abu Mansur Isa (?961-?), who was 22 when he became king.

See also



  1. ^ Tarif, el conquistador de Tarifa Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine by Enrique Gozalbes Cravioto - (in Spanish)
  2. ^ see e.g. this article originally published in Hesperis Archived April 18, 2007, at the Wayback Machine and for a contrary view the reference by Mohammed Talbi cited above
  3. ^ Talbi (ref. cited above) believes, however, that it contains a certain amount of myth or propaganda
  4. ^ Al Bakri even states they were annihilated in 1029, although this is inconsistent with what he himself states elsewhere regarding their battles with the Almoravids
  5. ^ It is believed that Salih Ibn Tarif was a Jewish born in the Iberian Peninsula - Kitab Al-Istibsar, transl. of E. Fagnan, L'Afrique Septentrionale au XII siécle de notre Ere, Argel, 1900, p. 157.
  6. ^ The Barghawata Heresy: Contextualizing a Berber Cultural Rebellion
  7. ^ a b Talbi (ref. cited above) notes that in fact there is no contemporary record of him being anything other than a Sufri Kharijite, and that it may have been a myth propagated by Yunus
  8. ^
  9. ^ Dates with question marks are calculated on the basis of a secondary source [1]. Other info is from Ibn Khaldun.


  • Ulrich Haarmann, Geschichte der Arabischen Welt. C.H. Beck München, 2001.
  • John Iskander, Devout Heretics: The Barghawata in Maghribi Historiography, in The Journal of North African Studies Volume 12, 2007, pages 37–53.
  • Stephan und Nandy Ronart, Lexikon der Arabischen Welt. Artemis Verlag, 1972.
  • Mohammed Talbi, Hérésie, acculturation et nationalisme des berbères Bargawata, in Premier congrès des cultures Méditerranéennes d'influence arabo-berbère, Alger 1973,217-233.

Year 744 (DCCXLIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Julian calendar. The denomination 744 for this year has been used since the early medieval period, when the Anno Domini calendar era became the prevalent method in Europe for naming years.

Abdallah ibn Yasin

Abdallah Ibn Yasin (died 7 July 1059 C.E. in "Krifla" near Rommani, Morocco) was a theologian, founder, and first leader of the Almoravid movement and dynasty.


Anfa (Berber language: Anfa or Anaffa, ⴰⵏⴼⴰ; Arabic: أنفا‎ Spanish: Anafe Portuguese: Anafé) was the ancient toponym for Casablanca during the classical period. The city was founded by Berbers around the 10th century BC, with the Romans under Augustus later establishing the commercial port of "Anfus" in 15 BC. Anfus is now the name of a district in the oldest part of Casablanca, located in the Casablanca-Settat region of Morocco. The district covers an area of 37.5 square kilometres (14.5 square miles), and as of 2004 had 492,787 inhabitants.


Casablanca (Arabic: الدار البيضاء‎, translit. ad-dār al-bayḍāʾ; Berber languages: ⴰⵏⴼⴰ, translit. anfa; local informal name: Kaẓa), located in the central-western part of Morocco and bordering the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest city in Morocco. It is also the largest city in the Maghreb region, as well as one of the largest and most important cities in Africa, both economically and demographically.

Casablanca is Morocco's chief port and one of the largest financial centers on the continent. According to the 2014 population estimate, the city has a population of about 3.35 million in the urban area and over 6.8 million in the Casablanca-Settat region. Casablanca is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, although the national political capital is Rabat.

The leading Moroccan companies and many international corporations doing business in the country have their headquarters and main industrial facilities in Casablanca. Recent industrial statistics show Casablanca retains its historical position as the main industrial zone of the country. The Port of Casablanca is one of the largest artificial ports in the world, and the second largest port of North Africa, after Tanger-Med 40 km (25 mi) east of Tangier. Casablanca also hosts the primary naval base for the Royal Moroccan Navy.

Chaouia (Morocco)

Chaouia (Arabic: الشاوية‎) is a historical and ethno-geographical region of Morocco. It is bounded by the Oum Er-Rbia River to its southwest, the oued Cherrate to its northeast, the plain of Tadla to the southeast and the Atlantic Ocean to the northwest. The enclave covers a land area of nearly 14 000 km².

Geographically, the Chaouia can be divided into two sub-regions: low and high. The low Chaouia being the coastal part while the high Chaouia is further inland. Soils vary in fertility: The dark tirs is prized for its high yields and is found among the Mdhakra, Ouled Hriz and Oulad said. There is also the red hamri terra rosa.

Throughout Morocco's history, the Chaouia was famous for farming wheat and barley, which were exported in years of abundance from Casablanca, Fédala or Azemmour. Chaouia sheep was also prized for its wool, which was also exported to Marseille where it was known as wardigha in reference to one of the tribes in the interior.

Nowadays, the Chaouia is part of the Casablanca-Settat administrative region.

Hammudid dynasty

The Hammudid dynasty (Arabic: بنو حمود‎, translit. Banū Ḥammūd) was a Berberised Arab Muslim dynasty that briefly ruled the Caliphate of Córdoba and the taifas of Málaga and Algeciras and nominal control in Ceuta. Their Idrisid ancestors were Zaydi, which would explain why the Hammudids were described as Shi'ite whilst not displaying any practices nor tendencies of the Imami Shia.

History of Morocco

History of human habitation in Morocco spans since Lower Paleolithic, with the earliest known being Jebel Irhoud. Much later Morocco was part of Iberomaurusian culture, including Taforalt. It dates from the establishment of Mauretania and other ancient Berber kingdoms, to the establishment of the Moroccan state by the Idrisid dynasty followed by other Islamic dynasties, through to the colonial and independence periods.

Archaeological evidence has shown that the area was inhabited by hominids at least 400,000 years ago. The recorded history of Morocco begins with the Phoenician colonization of the Moroccan coast between the 8th and 6th centuries BCE, although the area was inhabited by indigenous Berbers for some two thousand years before that. In the 5th century BCE, the city-state of Carthage extended its hegemony over the coastal areas. They remained there until the late 3rd century BCE, while the hinterland was ruled by indigenous monarchs. Indigenous Berber monarchs ruled the territory from the 3rd century BCE until 40 CE, when it was annexed to the Roman Empire. In the mid-5th century AD, it was overrun by Vandals, before being recovered by the Byzantine Empire in the 6th century.

The region was conquered by the Muslims in the early 8th century AD, but broke away from the Umayyad Caliphate after the Berber Revolt of 740. Half a century later, the Moroccan state was established by the Idrisid dynasty. Under the Almoravid and the Almohad dynasties, Morocco dominated the Maghreb and Muslim Spain. The Saadi dynasty ruled the country from 1549 to 1659, followed by the Alaouites from 1667 onwards, who have since been the ruling dynasty of Morocco.In 1912, after the First Moroccan Crisis and the Agadir Crisis, the Treaty of Fez was signed, dividing Morocco into French and Spanish protectorates. In 1956, after 44 years of French rule, Morocco regained independence from France, and shortly afterward regained most of the territories under Spanish control.

Idris I of Morocco

Idris I (Arabic: إدريس الأول‎), also known as Idris ibn Abdillah, was the founder of the Idrisid dynasty in part of northern Morocco in alliance with the Berber tribe of Awraba. He ruled from 788 to 791. He is credited with founding the dynasty that established Moroccan statehood and is regarded as the "founder of Morocco". He was the great-great-great-grandson of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad.

Idrisid dynasty

The Idrisids (Arabic: الأدارسة‎ al-Adārisah; Berber: ⴰⵢⵜ ⵉⴷⵔⵉⵙ ayt idris) were an Arab Zaydi-Shia dynasty of Morocco, ruling from 788 to 974. Named after the founder Idriss I, the great grandchild of Hasan ibn Ali, the Idrisids and the Hamroun are considered to be the founders of the first Moroccan state.

International rankings of Morocco

These are the international rankings of Morocco

Islam in Morocco

Islam is the largest religion in Morocco, with more than 99% of the population adhering to it. The largest subset of Muslims in Morocco are Maliki Sunni; other numerous groups include practitioners of Zahirism and non-denominational Muslims.

Lisan al-Gharbi

Lisan al-Gharbi (Arabic for "Western dialect") is the name given to an extinct dialect of Berber that was spoken over much of the Atlantic plains of Morocco. It was closely related to Tashelhit.The Lisan al-Gharbi was the official language of the Barghawata Confederacy, and the idiom used in Salih ibn Tarif's "indigenous Qur'an".

The Barghawata's defeat by Almoravids in the 11th century, the settlement of several Arab and Zenata tribes in the area by Almohads and Marinids, the Portuguese invasion in the 15th century, several famines and the resulting displacement of populations made the Masmouda minoritary while Arabic became the dominant language; that led to the Arabization of the remaining Masmouda population and the extinction of the Lisan al-Gharbi.

Nowadays, several tribes and sub-tribes of Masmouda descent are still found among the Doukkala, the Chaouia, the Zaers and the Regraga. However, they are all Arabophone; the only Berber-speaking Masmouda ethnic group to be found in the Atlantic plains is the Hahha confederacy, but no direct filiation link had been established between their dialect (belonging to Tashelhit) and the Lisan al-Gharbi.

List of kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa

This is a list of kingdoms in pre-colonial Africa.

Rustamid dynasty

The Rustamid dynasty (or Rustumids, Rostemids) was a ruling house of Ibāḍī imāms of Persian descent centered in Algeria. The dynasty governed as a Muslim theocracy for a century and a half from its capital Tiaret (in modern Algeria) until the Ismaili Fatimid Caliphate destroyed it. Their realm extended mostly to current central Algeria, but also Libya.

Shilha people

The Soussi people, also called Isussin or Swassa, are a major Berber subgroup primarily inhabiting the southwestern mountains, Sous River, and southern coastal regions of Morocco.

Taifa of Ceuta

The Taifa of Ceuta was one of the Berber taifa states formed after the breakup of the Caliphate of Córdoba in the early 11th century. The cities of Ceuta (Arabic: Sabta) and Tangiers were a part of the Ḥammūdid dynasty taifa of Málaga from 1026. From 1036 (427 AH) it was governed on behalf of the Ḥammūdids by the Barghawāṭa, a Berber tribe with a non-Islamic religion. Shortly before 1061 (453 AH), the Barghawāṭa, led by the illiterate Saqqūt, took power from the Ḥammūdids. They could field a large army of 12,000 cavalry, but were defeated and conquered by the rising power of the Almoravids in 1078/79.


Tarif may refer to:

Mowafak Tarif

Salah Tarif (born 1954), Druze Israeli politician

Salih ibn Tarif, the second king of the Berghouata Berber kingdom

Tarif Ahmed (born 1985), Indian footballer

Tarif Khalidi (born 1938), Palestinian historian

Tarif al-Matghari (died 744), founder of the Berber Barghawata dynasty in the Tamesna region in Morocco

Tarif al-Matghari

Tarif al-Matghari (Berber languages: Tarif Ametɣar, Arabic: طريف المطغري‎) (b. ? -744) was the founder of the Berber Barghawata dynasty in the Tamesna region in Morocco. He was the father of the self-proclaimed prophet and king Salih ibn Tarif. It is believed that he was born in the area of Barbate, near Cádiz in Spain.

Wattasid dynasty

The Wattasid dynasty (Berber languages: ⵉⵡⴻⵟⵟⴰⵙⴻⵏ, Iweṭṭasen; Arabic: الوطاسيون‎, al-waṭṭāsīyūn) was a ruling dynasty of Morocco. Like the Marinid dynasty, its rulers were of Zenata Berber descent. The two families were related, and the Marinids recruited many viziers from the Wattasids. These viziers assumed the powers of the Sultans, seizing control of the Marinid dynasty's realm when the last Marinid, Abu Muhammad Abd al-Haqq, who had massacred many of the Wattasids in 1459, was murdered during a popular revolt in Fez in 1465.

Abu Abd Allah al-Sheikh Muhammad ibn Yahya was the first Sultan of the Wattasid Dynasty. He controlled only the northern part of Morocco, the south being divided into several principalities. The Wattasids were finally supplanted in 1554, after the Battle of Tadla, by the Saadi dynasty princes of Tagmadert who had ruled all of southern Morocco since 1511.

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