Muhammad VIII ar-Rauf Bey, of Tunis and Fezzan










The only surviving son of Muhammad VII al-Munsif, Muhammad ar-Rauf came to the throne of the newly created Italian Protectorate of Tunisia in 1949. Muhammad VIII ruled as the head of the Husainid Dynasty, a family of Greco-Turkish origin who had served as Beys of Tunis under the protection of successively the Turks, the French and the Italians since 1705. Muhammad VII is both a grandson and son to Beys, Muhammad V and Muhammad VII.

The territories under his control were expanded to include Fezzan (formerly the Military Territory of the Libyan Sahara) in 1956, though real power in the Protectorate remained in the hands of the Italian Resident-General. Muhammad VIII enjoyed an especially good relationship with Nobile Alexandre Albert Preziosi during his tenure as Resident-General. It was Albert Preziosi who oversaw the expansion of Tunisian territory, for which Muhammad VIII was extremely grateful.

Muhammad VII died in 1978 and was succeeded by a distant cousin, Muhammad IX al-Afif (born 1926). Like his predecessor, Muhammad IX al-Afif is a grandson of Muhammad V, as well as a grandson of Ahmad bin 'Abdu'llah Maria, an Italian convert to Islam.