The Shi`ites: From shi`a (supporters), who recognized `Ali as the only legitimate imam (political and religious leader) after the Prophet. They developed into several branches which differed primarily in the number of imams they recognized after `Ali. Most important are:
The Fatimids: An Isma`ili dynasty whose founder claimed descent from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet and wife of `Ali, and established a caliphate in Ifriqiya (Tunisia), which was later expanded to include Egypt and southern Syria.
The Great Mosque of Mahdiyya, Tunisia: (ca. 920) Built in the Fatimid new capital, al-Mahdiyya, near Qayrawan, it displays Fatimid monumental additions to a modified hypostyle plan.
Al-Qahira (Cairo): The new royal city of Egypt established north of Fustat by the Fatimids upon their conquest of the country in 969. It had a regular plan running parallel to the Khalij (Canal of the Nile) with a main north-south thoroughfare.
Majlis: A T-shaped architectural unit with a large central hall flanked by two smaller spaces. The three spaces are fronted with a portico (riwaq) which opens onto the courtyard via three doors. The type is believed to have been imported from Samarra to Egypt by Ibn Tulun.
Fatimid (and pseudo-Fatimid) Palaces: