Muhammad Abul Abbas of Sicily

Abu'l-Abbas Muhammad ibn al-Aghlab
Emir of Ifriqiya
PredecessorAbu Iqal al-Aghlab ibn Ibrahim
SuccessorAbu Ibrahim Ahmad ibn Muhammad
Bornc. 788
Diedc. 856
Abu'l-Abbas Muhammad I ibn al-Aghlab
Military career
Years of servicec. 845 – 856
Battles/warsArab raid of Rome

Abu'l-Abbas Muhammad I ibn al-Aghlab (Arabic: أبو العباس محمد الأول بن الأغلب) (died 856) was the fifth emir of the Aghlabid dynasty, who ruled over Ifriqiya, Malta, and most of Sicily from 841 until his death. He also led the raid of Rome.

Muhammad I was the son of the dynasty's fourth emir, Abu Iqal (838–841). Muhammad I turned out to be a great commander and economic strategist, like his uncle Ziyadat Allah I of Ifriqiya and his rival Asad ibn al-Furat. Under his reign, the Aghlabids continued their expansion into the Merranean, conquering Messina, Taranto, large parts of Apulia and supporting Emir Kalfün with the establishment of an Islamic Bari.

Naples allied with his preceding rulers and asked for their support to repel the siege of Lombard troops coming from the Duchy of Benevento, but, despite the previous Muslim-Christian alliance,[1] Abul Abbas sacked Miseno, but only for Khums purposes (Islamic booty), without conquering the territories of Campania.[2][3]

Notable was his raid on Rome, history's first Muslim invasion of the Caput Mundi and the central administration of the Catholic Church.[citation needed] In 846, Abul Abbas landed at Porto and Ostia with his enormous army. Having surpassed the Tiber, he continued to strike in the Ostiense and Portuense, while the Roman militia swiftly retreated to the safety of the Roman walls. Simultaneously, his other forces landed at the Tyrrhenian Sea port of Civitavecchia. The Vatican Hill was plundered, but Abul Abbas was unsuccessful in storming the protective Aurelian walls of Rome. However, his forces managed to loot huge amount of wealth St. Peter's Basilica, the world's biggest church, and Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls.[4]

In Ifriqiya and Malta, during his rule, agriculture and trade flourished and new urban construction was observed, most notably the Great Mosques of Sousse and Sfax. Muhammad's reign was briefly interrupted by his brother Abu Ja'far Ahmad, who, like his Abbasid contemporary Al-Wathiq, supported the Mu'tazili and persecuted their Sunni opponents, executing some and imprisoning others, most notably the Maliki scholar and jurist Sahnun.


Muhammad I died in Palermo in 856. He was succeeded by his son Ahmad ibn Muhammad (856–863), under whose reign the kingdom of the Aghlabids reached its zenith.


  1. ^ Hilmar C. Krueger, The Italian Cities and the Arabs before 1095, in Kenneth Meyer Setton and Marshall W. Baldwin (eds.), A History of the Crusades: The First Hundred Years, Vol. 1 (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1955), p. 47
  2. ^ Barbara M. Kreutz, Before the Normans: Southern Italy in the Ninth and Tenth Centuries, (University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991), 57.
  3. ^ Hilmar C. Krueger. "The Italian Cities and the Arabs before 1095" in A History of the Crusades: The First Hundred Years, Vol.I. Kenneth Meyer Setton, Marshall W. Baldwin (eds., 1955). University of Pennsylvania Press. p.48.
  4. ^ Italian Peninsula, 500–1000 AD Archived 5 December 2008 at the Wayback Machine


Muhammad I ibn al-Aghlab
Preceded by Emir of Ifriqiya
Succeeded by