|Predecessor||Abd ar-Rahman III|
|Father||Abd ar-Rahman III|
|Born||January 13, 915|
|Died||October 16, 976 (aged 61)|
Al-Hakam II (al-Ḥakam II ibn ʿAbd al-Raḥmān III; Arabic: الحكم الثاني ابن عبد الرحمن) (January 13, 915 – October 16, 976) was the second Caliph of Cordoba, in Al-Andalus (Moorish Iberia, which became part of modern Spain), and son of Abd-ar-rahman III (al-Nasir) and Murjan. He ruled from 961 to 976.
Al-Hakam II succeeded to the Caliphate after the death of his father Abd ar-Rahman III in 961. He secured peace with the Christian kingdoms of northern Iberia, and made use of the stability to develop agriculture through the construction of irrigation works. Economic development was also encouraged through the widening of streets and the building of markets.
Patron of knowledge
Hakam himself was very well versed in numerous sciences. He would have books purchased from Damascus, Baghdad, Constantinople, Cairo, Makkah, Madinah, Kufa, and Basra. His status as a patron of knowledge brought him fame across the Muslim world, to the point where even books written in Iraq, which was under Abbasid control were dedicated to him. During his reign, a massive translation effort was undertaken, and many books were translated from Latin and Greek into Arabic. He formed a joint committee of Muladi Muslims and Mozarab Christians for this task.
His personal library was of enormous proportions. Some accounts speak of him having more than 600,000 books. The catalogue of library books itself was 44 volumes long. Of special importance to Hakam was history, and he himself wrote a history of al-Andalus. Following his death, al-Mansur had all "ancient science" books destroyed.
The mathematician Labana of Cordoba was employed as Hakam's private secretary. She was said to be "thoroughly versed in the exact sciences; her talents were equal to the solution of the most complex geometrical and algebraic problems".
His building works included an expansion of the main mosque of Cordoba (962–966), the Mezquita, and the completion of the Royal residence Medina Azahara (976), which Abd ar-Rahman III had begun in 936.
Military conflict in North Africa
Whilst the internal administration was left increasingly to the Berber vizir Al-Mushafi, general Ghalib was gradually gaining influence as leader of the army. He was chiefly pre-occupied with repulsing the last Norman attacks (966, 971), and with the struggle against the Zirids and the Fatimids in northern Morocco. The Fatimids were defeated in Morocco in 974, while Al-Hakam II was able to maintain the supremacy of the Caliphate over the Christian states of Navarre, Castile and Leon.
In his youth his loves seem to have been entirely homosexual. He was known to have openly kept a male harem. This exclusivity was a problem, since it was essential to produce an heir. A resolution was reached by his taking a concubine, Subh (Sobeya), who dressed in boys' clothes and was given the masculine name of Jafar.
Death and succession
Al-Hakam II suffered a stroke near the end of his life that curtailed his activities and may explain why he was unable to properly prepare his son for leadership. Modern scholars have speculated that, based on the historical descriptions of his death, it was another Cerebrovascular Stroke, possibly brought on by the cold weather, that claimed his life in October of 976. He was succeeded by his son, Hisham II al-Mu'ayad, who was 11 years old at the time and was a nominal ruler under the Hajib (Grand Vizier) al-Mansur Ibn Abi Aamir.
- Najeebabadi, Akbar (2001). The History of Islam V.3. Riyadh: Darussalam. p. 145. ISBN 978-9960-892-93-1.
- Ann Christy, Christians in Al-Andalus:711-1000, (Curzon Press, 2002), 142.
- Scott, Samuel Parsons (1904). History of the Moorish Empire in Europe Vol. 3. Lippincott. p. 447.
- Louis Crompton, Homosexuality and Civilisation, Harvard, 1990
- Homosexuality, Daniel Eisenberg, Encyclopedia of Medieval Iberia, ed. Michael Gerli (New York: Routledge, 2003), 398–399.
- Évariste Lévi-Provençal, Histoire de l'Espagne musulmane, Paris, 1950
- Al-Hakam II, Caliph of Cordoba, Marilyn Higbee Walker, Encyclopedia of Medieval Iberia, ed. Michael Gerli (New York: Routledge, 2003), 377.
- Arjona-Castro, A. (February 1997). "Cerebrovascular stroke, the cause of the death of the caliph al-Hakam II". Neurologia 12 (2): 78–81.
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Cadet branch of the Banu Quraish
|Caliph of Cordoba