The Banu Ma'an tribe (also Ma'n, ALA-LC: Ma‘nī, adjective:Ma'anid, Ma'nid), were a tribe and dynasty of Qahtani Arab some of which later became Druze and rulers of the Lebanon Mountains during a period of the Ottoman Empire, and one of the most successful ruling dynasties in Druze history. They originated from coastal Hadramaut in southern Yemen.They moved into the Levant via Al-Hasa and formed a tribal alliance with the larger Al Azd tribe during the journey.
Their authority began to rise with Fakhr ad Din I, who was permitted by Ottoman authorities to organize his own army, and reached its peak with Fakhr ad Din II (1572–1635). Fakhr ad Din II's rule extended "from Antioch in the north to Tsfat (Safed) in the south." Although Fakhr ad Din II's aspirations toward complete independence for Lebanon ended in his execution by Ottoman authorities, he greatly enhanced Lebanon's military and economic development. Noted for religious tolerance, Fakhr ad Din attempted to merge the country's different religious groups into one Lebanese community.The dynasty's rule as Druze leaders in the Lebanon Mountains lasted from 1517 to 1697.
The Ma'an family under orders from the governor of Damascus, came to Lebanon in 1120 from Hadramaut in southern Yemen to defend the Levant against the invading Crusaders. It is not entirely clear if the Ma'an tribe, which was part of the large Kahlani tribal federation were already practicing some sort of Ismailism prior to their exodus from coastal Yemen.Originally they did extensive trade with the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia and were in charge of an important Hadrami port city. They finally settled on the southwestern slopes of the Lebanon Mountains and later adopted the Druze religion.
Rule of Fakhr ad Din II
As part of his policy to strengthen trade and political relations with Tuscany, Fakhr ad Din II concluded a secret agreement with Ferdinand I, duke of Tuscany in Italy, the two parties pledging to support each other against the Ottomans. Informed of this agreement, the Ottoman ruler in Constantinople reacted violently and ordered Ahmad al Hafiz, governor of Damascus, to attack Fakhr ad Din. Realizing his inability to cope with the regular army of Al Hafiz, the Lebanese ruler went to Tuscany in exile in 1613. He returned to Lebanon in 1618, after his good friend Muhammad Pasha became governor of Damascus.
Following his return from Tuscany, Fakhr ad Din, realizing the need for a strong and disciplined armed force, channeled his financial resources into building a regular army. This army proved itself in 1623, when Mustafa Pasha, the new governor of Damascus and the Harfush clan underestimated the capabilities of the Lebanese army, engaged it in battle and was decisively defeated at Anjar in the Biqa Valley.
In addition to building up the army, Fakhr ad Din, who became acquainted with Italian culture during his stay in Tuscany, initiated measures to modernize the country. After forming close ties with the dukes of Tuscany and Florence and establishing diplomatic relations with them, he brought in architects, irrigation engineers, and agricultural experts from Italy in an effort to promote prosperity in the country. He also strengthened Lebanon's strategic position by expanding its territory, building forts as far away as Palmyra in Syria, and gaining control of Palestine. Finally, the Ottoman sultan Murad IV of Constantinople, wanting to thwart Lebanon's progress toward complete independence, ordered Küçük Ahmet Pasha, then governor of Damascus, to attack the Lebanese ruler. This time Fakhr ad Din was defeated, and he was executed in Constantinople in 1635.
Fakhr ad Din was succeeded in 1635 by his nephew Mulhim Ma'an, who ruled through his death in 1658. (Fakhr ad Din's only surviving son, Husayn, lived the rest of his life as a court official in Constantinople.) Emir Mulhim exercised Iltizam taxation rights in the Shuf, Gharb, Jurd, Matn, and Kisrawan districts of Lebanon. Mulhim's forces battled and defeated those of Mustafa Pasha, Beylerbey of Damascus, in 1642, but he is reported by historians to have been otherwise loyal to Ottoman rule.
Ahmad and Korkmaz
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Following Mulhim's death, his sons Ahmad and Korkmaz entered into a power struggle with other Ottoman-backed Druze leaders. In 1660, the Ottoman Empire moved to reorganize the region, placing the sanjaks (districts) of Sidon-Beirut and Safed in a newly formed province of Sidon, a move seen by local Druze as an attempt to assert control. Contemporary historian Istifan al-Duwayhi reports that Korkmaz was killed in act of treachery by the Beylerbey of Damascus in 1662. Ahmad however escaped and eventually emerged victorious in the power struggle among the Druze in 1667, but the Maʿnīs lost control of Safad and retreated to controlling the iltizam of the Shuf mountains and Kisrawan. Ahmad continued as local ruler through his death from natural causes, without heir, in 1697. During the Ottoman-Habsburg war of 1683 to 1699, Ahmad Ma'n collaborated in a rebellion against the Ottomans which extended beyond his death. Iltizam rights in Shuf and Kisrawan passed to the rising Shihab family through female-line inheritance.
- "The most glorious family line was the Ma'anids (1517–1697), in particular under Fakhr al-Din II who ruled from Antioch in the north to Tsfat (Safed) in the south." Nisan, Mordechai (2002). Minorities in the Middle East: A history of struggle and self-expression. McFarland. p. 99. ISBN 978-0-7864-1375-1.
- The most recent and complete account of the life of Fakhr ad-Din is TJ Gorton, Renaissance Emir: a Druze Warlord at the Court of the Medici (London: Quartet Books, 2013).
- Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (2004). The view from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate in the Ottoman chancery documents, 1546-1711. I.B.Tauris. pp. 21–22. ISBN 978-1-86064-856-4.
- Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (2004). The view from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate in the Ottoman chancery documents, 1546-1711. I.B.Tauris. p. 22. ISBN 978-1-86064-856-4.
- Abu-Husayn, Abdul-Rahim (2004). The view from Istanbul: Lebanon and the Druze Emirate in the Ottoman chancery documents, 1546-1711. I.B.Tauris. pp. 22–23. ISBN 978-1-86064-856-4.
- Salibi, Kamal S. (2005). A house of many mansions: the history of Lebanon reconsidered. I.B.Tauris. p. 66. ISBN 978-1-86064-912-7.
- Salibi, Kamal S. (1973). "The Secret of the House of Ma'n". International Journal of Middle East Studies. 4 (03): 272–287. doi:10.1017/S0020743800031469. Retrieved 2011-04-11.
- T. J. Gorton, Renaissance Emir: a Druze Warlord at the Court of the Medici (London: Quartet Books, 2013)