The Almohads originated from Ibn Tumart, a member of a sect of Berber tribes from the Atlas Mountains. Ibn wanted to reform the Muslim religion and made a new doctrine called the Tawid. This doctrine proposed to separate the different sects of Islam and rid the religion of infidels and mal-practicing Muslims. He gained the support of powerful Berber tribes and brought together a group of followers to settle Tinmel in 1124. After they had established their settlement and government, they began to rebel against the Almoravids. When Ibn Tumart died, ‘Abd al-Mu’min became the leader of the Almohads. ‘Abd al-Mu’min was a great military strategist and leader. ‘Abd al-Mu’min is the warlord who conquered Marrakech from the Almoravids and ended their dynasty in 1147. Even after conquering the Almoravids, the Almohads wanted to conquer more land. They continued to conquer other Muslim factions in North Africa but also pushed their way into Andalusia, which is part of southern Spain. The Almohads completely asserted their control over southern Spain at the battle of Alcaros in 1195. The Almohad’s Empire reigned in Spain until about 1248 when they were finally expelled from all of the cities except Granada. The Almohads not only conquered Andalus but they remodeled a lot of the cities that it conquered. Even today in southern Spain there is a Muslim influence on the architecture. The Almohads tried to be different from any other Muslim empire in all aspects of their Empire; they even had a completely different coinage from the other Muslims. The Almohads had such a profound affect in their empire both politically, militaristically, and socially that there are still traces of them today.
The Almohad’s influenced the art, architecture and religious ideas in Spain and North Africa in the 1100’s. Almohad architecture consists of geometric patterns, minarets, and calligraphy. All of which are seen on the finely decorated mosques. One of the most famous buildings of this time period is an Almohad palace, which King Pedro I, had rebuilt in 1364. This palace is in Sevilla and it reflects Islamic architecture in that it has open courtyards and fountains. It is also said that King Pedro I borrowed Muslim craftsmen to help duplicate the original work of the Almohad's while the palace was rebuilt. This palace is decorated with calligraphy which gives praise to Allah, and the Christian “Sultan” Don Pedro (Jeffery Brooks). Minarets are another common Islamic architectural motif that also appears in mosques and buildings from the Almohad dynasty. Some of these minarets are still in good condition and standing today. The Almohad's would use brick to create unique and interesting arches and was a signature material that is recognized as Islamic architecture. The art of the Almohad's was also like their architecture. The artwork on their mosques and palaces was exceptionally intricate geometric patterns and the calligraphy was religious as well as delicate and complex. Religion played an important role to the Almohad's, and religious reform was vital to their establishment. However, their courts in cities such as Marrakesh and Sevilla became more like centers for Islamic learning than political centers. (Metropolitan Museum of Art)


The Almohad's Empire was a great Empire which once gained virtual control of Spain in 1172. Looking from a historical view ,it’s the climax of their Empire. Although they are able to win a battle in Alarcos in 1195,” a great defeat at Las Navas de Tolosa in 1212 showed that they were rapidly weakening”(1).It’s pretty easy for us to see that why they didn’t conquer the world-they didn’t have enough time to do that before they started to decline.As for why they declined,we can say in general is because Ibn-Tumart didn’t successfully convert the whole sections of community.From reading,I get to know that “He preached against the laxity of the authorities in permitting the sale of wine, the production of pork,the use of musical instruments ,and the presence of unveiled women in the mixed gathering.”These things are not central issues for him to worry about when there were basic social injustice in the country. “Moreover,these matters affected ‘others’ rather than Ibn-Tumart’s own followers;these were at first mostly tribesmen from a rough ,hard life,and the moral criticisms sound like their protest against the soft life of the city-dwellers,not an attempt to reform themselves.”(2)From this ,we can see that he failed in converting the whole community.This essentially lead to the disappearance of the Empire.

W. Montgomery Watt “The Decline of the Almohads: Reflections on the Viability of Religious Movements “ The university of Chicago Press.

Quantara, Mediterranean Heritage

Department of Islamic Art. "The Art of the Almoravid and Almohad Periods (ca. 1062–1269)". In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. (October 2001)

Jeffery, Brooks. " From Azulejos to Zaguanes: The Islamic Legacy in the Built Environment of Hispano-America." 45. (2003): n. pag. Web. 31 Mar 2010. <>.