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Uqba ibn Nafi
Arabic: ¢uqba bni nāfi¢

The well of Uqba ibn Nafi, Kairouan, Tunisia
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The Great Mosque of Kairouan, Tunisia
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(622-683) Muslim Arab general central in the Muslim conquest of North Africa west of Egypt.
Much of the information about Uqba is told in legends created centuries after his death. These must be considered combing facts and fantasy.
He is noted for having founded the city of Kairouan, which in common belief is one Islam's holy cities. The reason for this status, is the legend telling that Uqba found a golden goblet that he had lost in the sacred Zamzam well in Mecca. The explanation to given to this was that there were underground waters between Mecca and the site of Kairouan. Even today, one well in centre of Kairouan is operative as the well of Uqba, providing water drunk for its baraka (sacred qualities).
Uqba has become deeply respected among Muslims for his brutality against his enemies, remembered for cutting off body parts and enslaving prisoners.

622: Born. Location unknown.
660's: Becomes commander of a Muslim army.
667: Takes control over Ghadames, in the desert south of Tunisia, from where he starts preparing for the invasion north.
670: Takes control over the Tunisian interior flatland, establishing Kairouan as a stronghold.
681: Uqba reaches Morocco, leading a 5000 km long march around the country to spread Islam.
683: Ambushed and killed near Biskra (now eastern Algeria).

By Tore Kjeilen