In 1779 the sultan of Morocco, Muḥammad bin ʿAbdallah (Muḥammad III, r. 1757–90), sent an ambassadorial delegation to Spain to ransom Ottoman-Algerian prisoners. The delegation was led by Muḥammad bin ʿUthman al-Miknāsī (d. 1799), who left a detailed account of the mission in his extant text Al-Iksīr fī fikāk al-asīr (The Elixir That Will Liberate the Prisoner). When juxtaposed on the historical record, al-Miknāsī's travelogue illustrates how Muḥammad III and the Moroccan religio-political elite navigated the complex Mediterranean web of religious identity, political allegiance, and ethnicity. Positing a division between “temporal” and “spiritual” sovereignty increases our understanding of how Muḥammad III substantiated his authority on multiple levels in relation to Spain, Ottoman-Algeria, and the Sublime Porte in Istanbul. While previous scholarship has focused on a religio-political aggression against the Christian Europeans, this article employs al-Miknāsī's travelogue to demonstrate how Muḥammad III halted religio-political aggression against Dār al-Ḥarb (Abode of War) and questioned the unity within Dār al-Islām (Abode of Islam).

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