Al-Mahdi Ahmad bin Yahya

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

Al-Mahdi Ahmad bin Yahya (1363? – 1436) was an imam of the Zaidi state in Yemen who briefly held the imamate in 1391–1392.

Ahmad bin Yahya was a 12th-generation descendant of the Zaidi imam ad-Da'i Yusuf (d. 1012), and was born in either 1363 or 1373.[1] He was very well educated and a prolific writer in various subjects. In 1391, the old imam al-Nasir Muhammad Salah al-Din died, leaving only young offsprings. The qadi ad-Dawwari temporarily took care of the administration in the Zaidi domains of highland Yemen, in the name of an-Nasir's sons. However, the Zaidi ulema assembled in the Jamal ad-Din Mosque in San'a and appointed Ahmad bin Yahya imam under the name al-Mahdi Ahmad. This step was not accepted by ad-Dawwani, who immediately appointed the deceased imam's son al-Mansur Ali bin Salah ad-Din. Al-Mahdi Ahmad and his followers withdrew from San'a to Bayt Baws, and for one year the two imams fought each other for supremacy. In 1392, al-Mahdi Ahmad was captured by al-Mansur Ali's forces and imprisoned. In 1399 the ex-imam escaped with the help of sympathetic prison guards. He lived a private life until his death from the plague in 1436.[2] While he lacked the administrative or military skills necessary for a Zaydiyyah imam, al-Mahdi Ahmad left a considerable amount of writings in dogmatics, logic, poetry, grammar and law. For example, he authored a theological-legal encyclopedia, Al-Bahr al-zahhar.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The filiation was: ad-Da'i Yusuf - al-Qasim - Yahya - Ali - al-Hajjaj - al-Mufaddal - al-Mansur - al-Mufaddal - al-Murtada - Ahmad al-Jawad - al-Murtada - Yahya - al-Mahdi Ahmad.
  2. ^ Encyclopaedia of Islam, Vol. V. Leiden 1986, p. 1241.
  3. ^ Carl Brockelmann, Geschicte der arabischen Litteratur, Vol I. Leiden 1943, pp. 238-40.
Preceded by
al-Nasir Muhammad Salah al-Din
Imam of Yemen
Succeeded by
al-Mansur Ali bin Salah ad-Din