Imam al-Hadrami

Abū Bakr Muḥammad ibn al-Ḥasan al-Murādī al-Ḥaḍramī (Arabic: أبو بكر محمد بن الحسن المرادي الحضرمي) or el Mûradi Al Hadrami or al-shaykh al imâm Al Hadrami was an 11th century North African Islamic theologian and jurist. He died in 1095.[1]

Al-Imam al-Hadrami
The cenotaph of al-Hadrami at Azougui
Main interest(s)
Notable work(s)Kitâb al-Ishâra


Al-Hadrami was born in the city of Kairouan in present-day Tunisia to an Arab family with origins in the Hadramawt region of southern Arabia. In his native town he received his education, studying with a number of scholars, including Abu Imran al-Fasi. Ibn Bashkuwāl reports, that al-Hadrami stayed in 1094 for a brief of study in Córdoba.[2]

After the Almoravid conquest of Azougui, close to Atar in present-day Mauritania by Abu Bakr ibn Umar, al-Hadrami followed him to that city. In Azougui he served as qadi until his death in 1095.

He wrote several political and theological treatises.

From the second half of the 17th century, the memory of al-Hadrami began to reappear in Mauritanian local oral tradition, launched by the “rediscovery” of his grave at Azougui. In these folktales he is portrayed as a mystic Marabout and thaumaturgist.[3]


Al-Hadrami has written several treatises in the field of theology and politics. His sole surviving work is Kitâb al-Ishâra (Book of politics or guidance on the administration of the principality),[4] an ethical treatise of the mirrors for princes genre. It provides guidance on a range of topics such as good governance, the selection of advisers and companions, leadership on the battlefield, and occasions for clemency and pardon.[1]

Post-mortem recovery of the character of al-HadramiEdit

Launched by the “rediscovery” of his grave in the second half of the 17th century at Azougui by an individual of the Smasside tribe, the memory of al-Hadrami began to reappear and miracles have been attributed to him. Local oral tradition holds, that he played a decisive role in the Almoravid siege of Azougui. So the primitive inhabitants of Azougui, the Bafour, hunted antelopes with packs of dogs, which were also used against their enemies. For this reason the town was known as Madinat al-Kilab, the City of Dogs. According to oral tradition, al-Hadrami neutralized the dogs, allowing the Almoravids to conquer the region, although he died during the battle. Local tradition reports a second, "rediscovery" of al-Hadrami's tomb in the 18th century.[5]

Beyond the eschatological significance of the “rediscovery”, scholars believe a strategy of legitimation in a territorial conquest, which pitted against each other the Smasid who had arrived from Chinguetti, and the local Idaysilli tribes.[1]

In the cemetery, located about 300 m from the ruins of the Almoravid enclosure of Azougui, the cenotaph of al-Hadrami is still venerated. It is a small cubic volume of dry masonry without any decoration.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Russell Hopley: Hadrami, Abu Bakr Muhammad ibn al-Hasan al-Muradi al- (d.1095/1096) in: Dictionary of African Biography, ISBN 978-0195382075.
  2. ^ Ibn Basquwwal, Kitab al-Sila (La suite), Cairo 1966.
  3. ^ Abd El Wedoud Ould Cheikh and Bernard Saison, Le théologien et le somnambule: un épisode récent de l'histoire almoravide en Mauritanie, Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, 19(2):301-317, 1985.
  4. ^ Mohamed Salem Ideidbi, (2011). Traité de politique ou Conseils pour la conduite du pouvoir d'al-Imam al-Hadrami. ISBN 9782705338510.
  5. ^ The history of al-Hadrami (in French) Retrieved 12 April 2020.
  6. ^ Abdel Wedoud Ould Cheikh and Bernard Saison, Vie(s) et mort(s) d’al-Imam al-Hadrami. Autour de la postérité saharienne du mouvement almoravide (11e-17e s.), Arabica, tome 34, 1987, pp.48-79.