In the north-west corner of the mosque is the tomb of Sidi Okba, the leader of the Arabs who in the 1st century of the Hegira conquered Africa for Islam from Egypt to Tangier.
They are said to be descendants of Persian tribes; but the fact is very doubtful, and they may be at least as aboriginal as the Maronites, and a remnant of an old Incarnationist population which did not accept Christianity, and kept its heretical Islam free from those influences which modified Druse creed.
But during all this period the caliphs continued to be the religious heads of Islam and their residence its capital.
In 1896 he adopted the title of Zia-ul-Millat-ud Din (Light of the nation and religion); and his zeal for the cause of Islam induced him to publish treatises on Jehad.
Coming forward as the champion of Islam against the infidels, Abd-el-Kader was proclaimed amir at Mascara in 1832.
They subdued the Fula and Arabs already settled in the district, and after being converted to Islam under Abdullah, their fourth king (about 1600), they extended their authority over a large number of tribes living to the south and east.
Of late years, however, there has been a gradual assimilation of broader views by the leaders of Islam in Turkey, at any rate at Constantinople, and the revolution of 1908, and its affirmation in the spring of 1909, took place not only with their approval, but with their active assistance.
In 1535, there were still found in the city native Christians, the last remnants of the mountains, who had never been latinized and never really christianized, accepted Islam without difficulty, but showed their stubborn nationality, not only in the character of their Mahommedanism, which has always been Berber mixed up with the worship of living as well as dead saints (marabouts) and other peculiarities, but also in political movements.
Mystical tendencies in Mahommedanism arose mainly on Persian soil (see SuFiism), and Von Kremer has shown that these Eastern tendencies fell in with a disposition to asceticism and flight from the world which had arisen among the Arabs before Islam under Christian influence.
The other Arab tribes became increasingly jealous of the Koreish, while among the Koreish themselves the Hashimite family came to hate the Omayyad, which now had much power, although it had been among the last to accept Islam and never was very strict in its religious duties.