Mohammed I ibn Nasr

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Mohammed I ibn Nasr (Arabic: محمد ابن الأحمرMuḥammad ibn al-’Aḥmar) was a Nasrid ruler of the Moorish Emirate of Granada in Al-Andalus on the Iberian Peninsula, and founder of the last Muslim dynasty in Spain in 1238.

Nasrid dynasty[edit]

In 1212, a united army of Spanish and European soldiers defeated the Almohad army at the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa.

In 1231, Mohammed ibn Nasr seized the governorship of Arjona and, one year later, began a quest for control of other Spanish territories. He captured Guadix in 1232, Granada (soon to be his capital) in 1237, Almería in 1238 and Málaga in 1239.

Ferdinand III of Castile captured Córdoba in 1236. The ruler of Granada, Mohammed ibn Nasr, approached Ferdinand to propose that in return for cooperating in the conquest of Muslim Seville, Granada would be granted independence. Ferdinand agreed and took Seville. As agreed, Mohammed ibn Al-Ahamar continued to pay the required tribute to Ferdinand III of Castile in exchange for the independence of Granada. Other losses to Castile occurred; Murcia in 1243, Arjona in 1244 and the entire Jaén province in 1245.

The last eight years of his reign saw Granada plunged into civil war, pitting Mohammed against one of the powerful clans that had supported him, the Ashqilula. In 1257, Mohammed declared his sons Muhammad al-Faqih and Yusuf his heirs. Mohammed ibn Nasr had at least four sons: Nasr, Yusuf, Faraj and Muhammed II al-Faqih. The latter would succeed him at his death on January 22, 1273.

When Castile invaded Granada, Mohammed rode out to meet his adversaries. At noon, he suddenly fell ill. He was placed on a litter, and taken back towards Granada but his illness increased to such a degree that his men pitched his tent in the Vega. In a few hours he died, vomiting blood and in violent convulsions. His body was embalmed, enclosed in a silver coffin, and buried in a cemetery on the southern hillside of the Alhambra. Struggles with the Ashqilula clan continued into the reign of his son Muhammed II al-Faqih.

The Nasrid dynasty lasted until Muhammad XII of Granada—Boabdil surrendered the to the 'Catholic Monarchs' after the 1492 Reconquista of Granada. The Nasrids constructed the Alhambra palaces in Granada.


Mohammed ibn Nasr was born in the Arjona region of the Andalusian province of Jaén in 1191.

He had at least three brothers, Yusuf and Faraj and Isma`il, the latter of whom became the governor of Málaga during Mohammed's reign (until 1257). He also enjoyed the support of a powerful Andalusian family who later became political rivals, the Ashqilula. Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali ibn Ashqilula al-Tujibi assisted Mohammed's rise to power in Arjona in 1232. Mohammed forged this alliance through marriage, by becoming either the father in law or brother in law of the Ashqilula chieftain. The alliance continued with other marriages: Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali's daughter Fatima married Yusuf ibn Nasr, a brother of Mohammed, while Abu'l-Hasan 'Ali's son Abu Ishaq Ibrahim married the Nasrid princess Mu'mina, one of Mohammed's daughters.

When Isma'il died, Mohammed ibn Al-Ahamar raised his nephews Mohammed and Abu Said Faraj, the latter of whom would become governor of Málaga in his father's place.

Family tree[edit]

See also: Nasrid dynasty

The family tree below shows the genealogical relationship between each sultan of the Nasrid dynasty.[1] It starts with their common ancestor, Yusuf al-Ahmar. Daughters are omitted, as are sons whose descendants never reigned. During times of rival claims to the throne, the family tree generally recognizes the sultan who controlled the city of Granada itself and the Alhambra palace.


Further reading[edit]

  • Montgomery Watt, W. (1965). "The Last of Islamic Spain 1. The Nasrids of Granada". A History of Islamic Spain. Edinburgh University Press. 
  • Harvey, Leonard Patrick (1992). "The Rise of Banu'l-Ahmar". Islamic Spain 1250 to 1500. University of Chicago Press. 
  • This article incorporates text from The University of Adelaide Library Electronic Texts Collection.

Mohammed I ibn Nasr
Cadet branch of the Banu Khazraj
Born: 1191 Died: 22 January 1273
Regnal titles
New title Sultan of Granada
Succeeded by
Muhammed II al-Faqih