When Ibn Tumart died in 1128 at the monastery or ribat which he had founded in the Atlas at Tinmal, after suffering a severe defeat by the Murabtis, `Abd-el-Mumin kept his death secret for two years, till his own influence was established.
The word is derived from ribat, a fortified frontier station.
Thus ribat came to mean a religious house or hospice (zawiya).
The old town (Medina), the walls of which have in great part disappeared, lies between two suburbs, the Ribat-elSowika on the north and the Ribat Bab-el-Jezira on the south.
Beyond the Jewish quarter, in the Ribat-el-Soweika, is the Place el Halfa-Ouine, a favourite rendezvous of the poorer Moslem population, wherein are many native cafés.