in Muslim Spain and Mamluk Egypt, a high government official. The term originally designated a chamberlain, but under the Spanish Umayyads (756-1031) the hajib functioned as a chief minister, paralleling the position of vizier (wazir) in the eastern caliphates. He was the chief representative of the caliph and directed the central secretariat in Cordoba. In 978 effective control of the caliphate was taken over by Ibn Abu 'Amir, known as al-Mansur (Almanzor in Spanish sources), who was hajib to Hisham II. The so-called 'Amirid dictatorship, which was continued by al-Mansur's sons and by the hajibs, lasted until the outbreak of civil war in Muslim Spain in 1008. In this period of numerous petty kingdoms (1008-91), most rulers, not daring to claim the sacred office of caliph, assumed the title hajib instead.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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