Definitions

Amin

Amin

[ah-meen]
Amin, Idi, c.1925-2003, Ugandan army officer and dictator. From the small Kakwa ethnic group, he advanced in the Ugandan armed forces from private (1946) to major general (1968). In 1971 he seized control of the government, toppling the regime of Milton Obote. In power, Amin exhibited an unpredictable personality, often capricious and cruel yet displaying a modicum of shrewdness and cunning. His relatively brief regime was nonetheless vicious and corrupt; he brutally suppressed other ethnic groups and political enemies, killed what is believed to be nearly 300,000 (most innocent of any wrongdoing), tortured uncounted thousands more, and looted the nation's treasury. In 1972 he ordered the expulsion of Ugandans of Asian extraction, thrusting the nation into economic chaos. Tanzanian troops joined exiled Ugandan nationalists to invade Uganda in 1978, and Amin was driven into exile in Saudi Arabia the following year.

See J. T. Strate, Post-Military Coup Strategy in Uganda: Amin's Early Attempts to Consolidate Political Support in Africa (1973), H. Kyemba, A State of Blood (1977), D. Barnett and R. Wooding, Uganda Holocaust (1980), and P. A. Allen, Interesting Times: Life in Uganda under Idi Amin (2000); B. Schroeder, dir., General Idi Amin Dada (documentary film, 1976; video, 2002).

Idi Amin.

(born 1924/25, Koboko, Ugan.—died Aug. 16, 2003, Jiddah, Saud.Ar.) Military officer and president (1971–79) of Uganda. A member of the small Kakwa ethnic group and a Muslim, he was closely associated during his military career with Milton Obote, Uganda's first prime minister and president. In 1971 he staged a coup against Obote. He expelled all Asians from Uganda in 1972, reversed Uganda's amicable relations with Israel, was personally involved in the hijacking by Palestinian and West German militants of a French airliner to Entebbe (see Entebbe raid), and ordered the torture and murder of 100,000–300,000 Ugandans. In 1978 he ordered an attack on Tanzania, but Tanzanian troops, aided by Ugandan nationalists, were able to overpower the invaders. As the Tanzanian-led forces neared Kampala, Uganda's capital, Amin fled to Libya and eventually settled in Saudi Arabia.

Learn more about Amin (Dada Oumee), Idi with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Muhammad ibn Harun al-Amin (787–813) (محمد الأمين بن هارون الرشيد), Abbasid Caliph. He succeeded his father, Harun al-Rashid in 809 and ruled until he was killed in 813.

Caliph

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari records that Harun al-Rashid several times impressed on his sons they should respect each other and honour the succession as Harun arranged it. In A.H. 186, Harun had al-Amin and al-Ma'mun sign pledges during a pilgrimage to Mecca that both would honour his will. Al-Amin, would receive the Caliphate and al-Ma'mun would become governor of Khurasan in eastern Iran and would furthermore be granted almost complete autonomy. On al-Amin's death, according to Harun's decision, al-Ma'mun would become Caliph.

Hostility towards al-Mamun

Al-Ma'mun had distrusted al-Amin before their father's death and convinced Harun to take him with him on Harun's last journey east. Although Harun had instructed the Baghdad commanders of this expedition to remain with al-Ma'mun, after Harun's death they returned to Baghdad. Al-Amin sought to turn al-Ma'mun's financial agent in Rayy against al-Ma'mun and he ordered al-Ma'mun to acknowledge al-Amin's son Musa as heir and return to Baghdad. Al-Ma'mun replaced his agent in Rayy and refused the orders. His mother was Persian and he had strong support in Iran.

The brothers had different mothers. Al-Amin was prompted to move against al-Ma'mun by meddlesome ministers, especially al Fadl ibn ar Rabi. Al-Amin had Harun's succession documents brought from Mecca to Baghdad, where he destroyed them. Al-Amin sent agents east to stir opposition to al-Ma'mun. However, a careful watch at the frontier denied these the opportunity. Al-Amin denied al-Ma'mun's request for his family and money and kept them in Baghdad.

Battle of Rayy

In March 811 Al-Amin dispatched an army under Ali ibn Isa ibn Mahan against Al-Ma'mun. Ali advanced on Rayy. Ma'mun's capable general Tahir bin Husain met and defeated Ali who was killed.

Internal rebellions

Al-Amin faced unrest in Syria. He sent Abd al-Malik ibn Salih to restore order there. There was fierce fighting and Abd al-Malik died. Al-Amin sent Ahmad ibn Mazyad and Abdallah ibn Humayd east, each with an army (al-Tabari v. 31 p. 100 says each had 20,000 men). However, Tahir's agents sowed discord and these two armies fought against each other.

Al-Amin faced an uprising in Baghdad led by Ali ibn Isa's son Husayn. This was quelled and Husayn was killed. Tahir took Ahwaz and gained control of Bahrayn and parts of Arabia. Basra and Kufa swore allegiance to al-Ma'mun. Tahir advanced on Baghdad and defeated a force sent against him. In Mecca, Dawud ibn Isa reminded worshippers that al-Amin had destroyed Harun ar Rashid's succession pledges and led them in swearing allegiance to al-Mamun. Dawud then went to Marv and presented himself to al-Ma'mun. Al-Ma'mun confirmed Dawud in his governorship of Mecca and Medina.

Siege of Baghdad (812-813)

Tahir advanced and set up camp near the Anbar Gate. Baghdad was besieged. The effects of this siege were made more intense by the rampaging prisoners who broke out of jail. There were several vicious battles, such as at al-Amin's palace of Qasr Halih, at Darb al- Hijarah and al-Shammasiyyah Gate. In that last one Tahir led reinforcements to regain positions lost by another officer. Overall the situation was worsening for al-Amin and he became depressed.

When Tahir pushed into the city, al-Amin sought to negotiate safe passage out. Tahir reluctantly agreed on the condition al-Amin turn over his sceptre, seal and other signs of being caliph. Al-Amin tried to leave on a boat, apparently with these indications he was caliph. He rejected warnings he should wait. Tahir noticed the boat. Al-Amin was thrown into the water, swam to shore, was captured and brought to a room where he was executed. His head was placed on the Anbar Gate. Al-Tabari (v. 31 pp. 197-202) quotes Tahir's letter to al-Ma'mun informing that caliph of al-Amin's capture and execution and the state of peace resulting in Baghdad.

Legacy

The fact that Al-Amin was known to be fond of eunuchs was seen by many at the time as a deficit in his character. Al-Tabari notes this fondness for eunuchs. He also records accounts of al-Amin's intense irritation when singers sang songs that were not very auspicious. Al-Amin is described by this historian as being extravagant.

Al-Amin had appealed to his mother, Zubaida, to arbitrate the succession and champion his cause as Aisha had done two centuries before. Zubaida refused to do so.

Notes

Bibliography

Muhammad ibn Jarir al-Tabari History volume xxxi, "The War Between Brothers," transl. Michael Fishbein, SUNY, Albany, 1992 } |}

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