Abu Hafs Umar al-Iqritishi

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Abu Hafs orders the torching of his ships after reaching Crete, miniature from the Madrid Skylitzes
The Arabs of Iberia address their leader Apochaps

Umar ibn Hafs ibn Shuayb ibn Isa al-Balluti, surnamed al-Ghaliz ("the Fat") and later al-Iqritishi ("the Cretan"),[1] and usually known as Abu Hafs (أبو حفص, in Greek sources Ἀπόχαψις, Apohapsis), was a Muwallad corsair who was primarily active between 816 and 827. After an unsuccessful uprising in Cordova, Spain in 818 against Emir Al-Hakam I the city's Muladi Muslim inhabitants were exiled. Some settled in Fez (Morocco), while a second group, of almost 15,000 men plus women and children, headed for Alexandria in Egypt. With the intention of taking advantage of local unrest, the latter group of rebels selected Abu Hafs as their leader. As leader, Abu Hafs led the group which took control of Alexandria in 816.[2]

After being forced to leave Alexandria, the rebel group set for the Byzantine island of Crete. Upon arriving, they landed at Cape Charax in the gulf of Messara. From there the group headed north under the leadership of Abu Hafs.[3]

Abu Hafs and his group of adventurers seized Crete from the Byzantine Empire over the next few years, repelled a number of Byzantine recovery attempts and established an autonomous emirate in the island.[4]


  1. ^ Hitti, Philip Khūri (1916). The Origins of the Islamic State. Longmans, Green & Co. p. 376. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  2. ^ Rogoziński, Jan (1995). Pirates!: Brigands, Buccaneers, and Privateers in Fact, Fiction, and Legend. Da Capo Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-306-80722-X. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  3. ^ Bakker, Johan de (2001). Across Crete: From Khania to Herakleion. Logo Testproducties. p. 177. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
  4. ^ "Byzantine Period, Greece". Archived from the original on 2007-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-09. 
New title Emir of Crete
ca. 827 – ca. 855
Succeeded by
Shu'ayb ibn Umar