Husayn ibn Ali (ĭˈbən äˈlē) [key], 1856–1931, Arab political and religious leader. In 1908 he succeeded as grand sherif of Mecca and thus became ruler of the Hejaz under the Ottoman Empire. In World War I, after receiving British assurances that all Arab lands not under French control would be liberated, he began (1916) a successful revolt against the Turks in Arabia and proclaimed himself king of the Hejaz and of all Arabia. Believing that the British had not kept their promises, he refused to sign the Treaty of Versailles.
Great Britain lent him no support in his struggle with Ibn Saud, who defeated him in 1924, forcing him to abdicate and renounce his claim to the caliphate. That claim, advanced after the Turkish parliament abolished the Ottoman caliphate in 1924, was based on Husayn's membership in the Hashemite family, a branch of the Quraysh tribe, to which Muhammad the Prophet had belonged. Husayn lived (1924–30) in exile on Cyprus. He died in Amman, the capital of Transjordan (now Jordan). Abdullah I of Jordan and Faisal I of Iraq were his sons.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.