Muhammad Idris ibn al-Mahdi al- Sanusi


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(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: Islam.

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