In 652 AD, due to a breach of the peace treaty war erupted again between the two kingdoms. The Arabs were led by Abdallah Ibn Sa’d who declared war and marched 5000 Arab soldiers against the Africans of the Kingdom of Makuria. Yet again the Arab army was defeated and this time a peace treaty known as ‘The Baqt’ was established.
The Islamic scholar Ibn Abd Al-Hakam records the following regarding the events:
“After that Abdallah signed a truce with them (the Nubians), as he was unable to defeat them”.
The Baqt Treaty
The establishment of the Baqt Treaty between the African Kingdom of Makuria and the Arab Caliphate of Rashidun was a unique agreement in world history. At the time, no such agreement has ever been made between a Muslim and non-Muslim nation. This type of peace treaty was unique and it allowed Muslims and Christian to coexist peacefully and trade with each other. The stipulations of the Baqt were
• Arab Muslims were not allowed to permanently settle in Nubian territory
• Nubian Christians were not allowed to permanently settle in Rashidun territory
• The Arab Muslims would not attack the Nubians
• The Nubians would not attack the Arabs
• Nubia would return Arab slaves who escaped to Nubia
• Arabs would send Nubia regular packages of wheat and lentils
The treaty established the foundation for mutual trade and prosperity between the two kingdoms. The Kingdom of Makuria would import from the Arab Muslim world luxury goods such exotic vegetables, textile good, carpets, lentils, wheat and vinegar. The Arab Muslims would import from Makuria goods such as ivory, leopard skins, dates, ebony, furniture, spears, and exotic African animals such as lions, monkeys, elephants and giraffes. Previously in 640 AD Muslims from Arabia had established control of Egypt during the expansion of the Islamic Caliphate. At times the agreement between the Arabs and the Africans of Makuria became contentious such as in 758 AD when the Arab Governor of Egypt wrote to the Kingdom of Makuria the following:
“Here no obstacle is placed between you merchants and what they want (they are)
safe and contented wherever they go in our land. You however, behave otherwise,
nor are our merchants safe with you”.
However, such contentions were minimal and the Baqt Treaty remained in place between the two kingdoms for over 700 years. The Great Kingdom of Makuria lasted almost 1000 years until it declined in 1312 AD.