The Oxford Biblical Studies Online and Oxford Islamic Studies Online have retired. Content you previously purchased on Oxford Biblical Studies Online or Oxford Islamic Studies Online has now moved to Oxford Reference, Oxford Handbooks Online, Oxford Scholarship Online, or What Everyone Needs to Know®. For information on how to continue to view articles visit the subscriber services page.

Related Content

More Like This

Show all results sharing this subject:

  • Religion


Show Summary Details


Muhammad Idris ibn al-Mahdi al- Sanusi


Quick Reference

(r. 1951–69)

First king of independent Libya and grandson of Muhammad ibn Ali al-Sanusi. His legitimacy as king was based on his leadership of the Sanusi Sufi order and unification of the struggle against Italian imperialism (1911–51). He developed the Sanusi order into the politically activist, ideologically conservative core of Libyan nationalism. As king, he promoted progams for economic development and worked to create national institutions such as the army and parliament. He based the country's legal system on French and Italian legal codes, except for family law, which fell under Islamic law, and incorporated ulama into the bureaucracy, leading to state control of religion. He was overthrown in 1969 by a coup d'etat led by Muammar Qaddafi.

Subjects: Religion

Reference entries