AHC Ismaili Shia Egypt.

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by EnvarKadri, Dec 5, 2018.

  1. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

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    How could the Fatimids survive and convert most of Egypt to their fate? What and who should change to make this posible? What are the long term concequences?
     
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  2. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

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    Are you asking for a Is’maili Shi’i Egypt or a longer lasting (how long) Fatimid Caliphate/Empire? As these are two different questions. It also should be remembered that the Batiniyyah (a blanket term for various kinds of Shi’i who hold to the idea of Batin meanings or hidden mystical signs within the Quran or saying of Muhammad [SAW^2]) are of different types. It is the case that within the Fatimid state, there was a mixture of Ismaili and Nizari of the Batinist grouping, Rawafidh (Twelvers and others who split from Zayydi over the issue of the Salaf [companions]) and different types of Ghulat such as the Druze, Hafizi, Alawites and then there was certainly (as today) cross pollination between these groups.

    So, explain a little better what you would like and I will attempt to explain.
     
  3. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

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    Any group of seveners is fine. I sugested the Fatimid because they already ruled Egypt.
     
  4. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

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    Understood.

    Before we begin, it is important to give an account as to the disturbances that destroyed tbe status quo of the Middle East. In general, there were 7 powers within the the region we could say of note.

    The first, and focal point, was the subjugated Abbasid Caliphate based out of Baghdad. In 1030, the Abbasid existed as rulers of Baghdad, but a vassal of the Shi’a Buyyid Empire, which by 1030, was already a weak power in the region. Previous Buyyid rulers had exerted some power within Iraq and Iran, especially cleaning the mess of the Zanj revolt and the Qarmatian disturbances. Buyyid authorities however had exerted large resources in losing wars against the Batihah pirate states if the Sawad and further failed to restore order within its eastern frontiers or in Syria. The Abbasid, supposedly a vassal and ally of the Buyyids, played the role of manipulating Buyyid authorities, weakening the Buyyid abilities at war and policy and then demanding protection. The result was ultimately the Buyyids losing much power by sponsoring the Abbasid.

    Abbasid policy further, was focused upon the maintenance of this weak patron. Though their ‘patron’ was seen as outside the fold if Islam and not befitting for an ally, the Abbasid policy of the day was that if they invited a Sunni master such as the Ghaznavids to the east, he would exert too much control over Baghdad. The weak Buyyids who were weak by virtue of many faults, was unable to exert influence over Baghdad, yet if it harmed the Caliph, how would the population respond?

    Abbasid policy we also imagine, had clear memories of dangers from the east. It was only 100 years since Ya’qub ibn Layth al-Safar had attempted to place the Caliph in chains. Ultimately, the Abbasid sought thus 3 goals:

    1. Restore its independence and power over the Islamic world temporally.

    2. Wage jihad against the Fatimids who have abused the Muslim and spread heresy and dissension through the world and as Abbasid thought of the day extolled, the Fatimid threat exceeded the Byzantine.


    3. Push back the Byzantine conquests of Antioch, Armenia, Edessa, etc and then restore the offensives taken against Anatolia.

    4. Control its own affairs in Baghdad and hold relative control over a weak puppet.

    In 1030, the Abbasids could say to have completed the fourth. Yet their Buyyid patrons were certainly not of the type to face the Byzantines or the Fatimids. As well, the dream of a truly free Abbasid Caliph was impossible at the time, the moment they free themselves, they find themselves surrounded on all sides. It was thus a time of al-Istaraaj or a period in which the Caliph or Islam is weak and thus should make compromise in the time before they rebel and take control of the Islamic world and resume its goals.

    In the East, the Ghaznavids are ruled by the famed warrior and lord, Ma’sud I. A great general and warrior, he was of a renowned lineage and had a reputation for his Machiavellian tactics. In the minds of the Abbasid, he was the worst possible option other than conquest, as he was seen to be far too vicious and strong to ever allow Abbasid ascendency to freedom.

    Their views were perhaps correct, Ma’sud I despite his fearsome talent and power, would gain a horrid reputation. Most famously for his assassination of family members, blinding his twin brother, using his vassals like slaves, etc. The invasion of the Qara Qhanids had disturbed his rule in the 1020s, their skill on horseback harkened to the olden days when the Ghaznavids also were steppe warriors, yet now had become soft. As the Qhara Qhanid pushes into the Islamic world after its devastation of Khotan, Ma’sud I sends his Turkic vassal Altun Taysh, the governor of Kwarezm to do battle with the Qhara Qhanid.

    Altun Taysh however is defeated by the Qara Qhanid and is killed by the horde. His son Harun Ibn Altun, resumes control and resents Ma’sud I for using vassals instead of going himself to battle. Thus, he rebels and aligns with the Qhara Qhanid who accept his vassalage. This forces the Saljuq into the Khursan as refugees of the wars tearing the steppe apart. Their arrival coincides with Ma’sud I posturing to invade Kwarezm and push back the steppe invaders. Thus a battle ensues after Ma’sud I refused to give refuge to the Saljuq. This battle, saw the Saljuq gain a monumental and unexpected victory against the Ghaznavids and sent Ma’sud I running to Kabul, where he would be captured by his internal enemies and executed.

    Following this, the Saljuq would expand into Iran and after promising to assist the fold of Islam and wage jihad against the Fatimids, the Abbasid Caliphate accepts Saljuq claims and causes a stir to attract al-Rahim the Buyyid ruler. Who consequently falls into the Abbasid trap and is captured by Saljuq warriors without a fight. Thus, the Abbasid would send the Saljuq as a battering ram against the Fatimids and this began the series of declines for the Fatimids militarily.

    What is your thoughts of the historical events spoken of?
     
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  5. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

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    Since there is seemingly no response given to my recounting of some events leading to the external decline of the Fatimids, I propose a solution to prolong both the Fatimid caliphate and to extend the influence of the wider Batinist and Sevener position within the Middle East. Thus, this can be considered a momentary Sevener wank.

    POD: 1039, when the Qhara Qhanid gain an ally out of Harun ibn Altun al-Kwarzimi, the Saljuq in the chaos like otl request refuge from the Ghaznavids. In response to this request, Ma'sud I instead of outright declining the Saljuq and engaging them in battle, agrees to giving them refuge on condition that they assist him in in dealing with the growing Qhara Qhanid threat. The Saljuq accept this proposition on the grounds that they are allowed to keep a portion of their loot captured. This sort of process or relation had become very common in the Islamic world at this time and the Saljuq we may assume were looking for an ally in the Ghaznavids, rather than gaining total conquest of Iran.

    1040: Ma'sud I sends Toghrul al-Saljuq to invade the Kwarezm along with some of his troops to assist with the eventual sieges. Meanwhile, Ma'sud I and his army numbering between 45-60k troops including horse archers, infantry from Hindustan and Afghanistan, heavy cavalry, baggage trains and elephants, move toward the northern fringes of the empire currently overrun with the Qhara Qhanid. The saljuq meanwhile between 1040-1042, gain victories against the Kwarzmi governor and Toghrul al-Saljuq is granted the region as a governorship. Meanwhile the army of Ma'sud I defeats the Qhara Qhanid in the Ferghana in a campaign that includes several skirmishes, reinforcing of forts and a few pitched battles. Instead of facing a single pitched battle, Ma'sud I engages in a more structured war against the Qhara Qhanid and manage to force the horde backwards. If it was not for the very sudden act of the Saljuq in forcing a pitched battle in Khursan, it is likely that Ma'sud I would have been able to arrive in Kwarezm and and defeat the Kwarzimi forces and then begin to push back the Qhara Qhanid by stationing itself strategically and setting defenses across its border and engaging in pitched battles only when necessary. At worst, Ma'sud I requests for peace with tribute. however, with the Saljuq to occupy a role in its war against the Qhara Qhanid, the Ghaznavids should be able to win the conflict through the 1040s.

    1050: without a Saljuq empire in Iran, rather the Saljuqs begin to evolve as a sort of early Kwarezmian Empire in Urgench or Konjikala, extending itself against the hordes to the north and east and exerting soft influence on Iran and Iraq. This may develop into a Ghaznavid-Saljuq war over the Khursan in the future, however, Ma'sud I should be well positioned to deal with his internal foes, especially his brother blind Muhammad al-Ghazna and rebellious upstarts and better preserve the Ghaznavid state and thus curb naturally the rise of the Saljuq within the Kwarzm.

    Saljuqs occupying the Kwarezm, allows for the Fatimids to remain more or less free from the same type of Saljuq invasion and what begins to develop, is a war of influence as the Saljuq and Ghaznavids begin to influence the Iranian plateau more and more, which can lead to the Abbasid to use the opportunity to break free earlier and create for itself an independence similar to what occurred after the end of the Saljuq Empire otl. The Buyyids will eventually be replaced or cast aside soon enough, as while they presented positives for the Abbasid, they also were reaching a level of weakness that offered no protection from the Fatimid menace or the threats of domination from the east. Fatimid powers in the 1060s thus counter the indecisive situation and continue to wage wars against Byzantium and consolidate buffer zones with its eastern borders.

    In the 1070s, without the Saljuq conquest and likely the beginning of wars between the Ghaznavid, Saljuq and Qhara Qhanid, we see the Fatimids take advantage of the situation. No abuse of the pilgrims and no monumental Saljuq conquest of Anatolia, removes the possibility of the First Crusade. Instead the Fatimids begin to consolidate itself internally, focusing upon its dissent and begins reforms of the system of Mamluk slave warriors and other similar slave battalions. This is where we use the reign of the greatly long lived Caliph al-Mustansir Billah al-Fatimid, who within otl ruled from 1036-1094, in a tumult filled era. Instead, without the same stresses, we can find ways to make this venerable ruler the greatest of all Fatimid rulers, namely by using his long reign to create internal unities. After the mysterious disappearance of al-Hakim, the Fatimid seat had seen the beginnings of internal squabbles within their own house. The reign of al-Mustansir Billah was unable to deal with these issues, nor the increasing Mamluk predominance due both to the disasters inflicted by the Saljuq and the beginning era of the Crusades (initially the Crusaders were a heaven sent for the Fatimids, as it allowed them breathing room and ultimately the pretext to counter the Saljuq under al-Muntasir Billah, and retook the region of Palestine and Jordan); in this timeline, he is able to do so.

    The first plan of action internally, is to begin by emulating our otl's Safavid movement. That is, openly attacking the Sunni institutions and assaulting their positions in society. This could entail though, alliances with other Shi'i as was employed by the Safavid and a rebirth of the Da'i (Sevener states and infiltrators that operated as satellites of the Fatimid Caliph, some as far east as the Indus Valley, where they were destroyed by the Ghaznavid) states and infiltrators that the Fatimid had created in the X century. Over time, the population will move closer toward at least a Shi'i majority, as opposed to then, a large minority. The Fatimid had practiced this assaulting of the Sunni in their past, when they were raising to power and were still fervent, but decades of rule in Egypt had lessened the fanaticism which had given them their empire. I would suggest that they begin to regain some of this fanatic doctrine, when coupled with a slow but sure compromise with Mamluk authorities to diminish their power to avoid the eventual rise of Zangid and Ayyuib styled empires on the graves of the Fatimid Caliphate.

    Regarding the Druze issue, the Druze separated from the Is'maili-Nizari dichotomy during what we call, the 'third period' of Caliph al-Hakm's regime, wherein the policy became increasingly anti-Sunni and more or less tolerant of Jews and Copts (previously, the Fatimids had forced these groups to convert and or banned their holidays and similar actions). the Fatimid state will have to come to terms with the Druze, and my opinion would be to use the Druze as allies of sorts as the Zengids and Ayyuib did with the Druze against the Crusaders. Gift the Druze certain autonomy and use them for military service. It is best to avoid causing dissension with them, rather, the best plan would be to decimate the Sunni within Egypt, similar to the Safavid. Only then can the Fatimid authority last and also the Batinist creed within Egypt. After decimating the Sunni populace or at least beginnings of this heightened persecution (nothing new for the Fatimids, they did this before against Sunni and Khawarij and very recently against the Copts and Jews), the Fatimids will continue to use its da'i that are emboldened and strengthened by the lack of the Saljuq.

    Regarding the da'i and if the Fatimids can avoid the Saljuq threat or any eastern threat such as the Ghaznavids or invading hordes, I honestly cannot imagine the Fatimids having a decline unless it comes through a change in Byzantine policy. Without the Saljuq, the Fatimids will have its eyes across Iran, Iraq and Arabia and will constantly be a threat to the Abbasids diplomatically. If the east can be kept contained thus, the most major threats the Fatimids face is the growing population of the Latin West and its powerful merchant cities, especially Venice, Genoa and Pisa and the Byzantine Empire. Though, one can imagine a scenario wherein the Fatimids find themselves becoming allies with the merchant republics against Byzantium. A most interesting scenario indeed.

    In terms of reaction from the Abbasid, we can imagine that the Abbasid will not simply be easily defeated and will resist any way that it can. As has been discussed in older threads, I can certainly imagine an Abbasid-Byzantine alliance against the Fatimids, with the addition of Turkic mercenary on the side of the Abbasid.
     
  6. EnvarKadri Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, in this context would the twelvers still grow among oghuz turks in easter anatolia and azerbaiyan? How would they interact with a strong sevener state?
     
  7. John7755 يوحنا Lightweight Faqih

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    Within otl, there were some situations wherein Twelvers or similar groups were coerced into denouncing the Fatimid Caliph and they would do so probably for fear of their lives as loyalty to the Fatimid Caliph in this period in Baghdad, carried with it a hasty death sentence if you will. The Twelvers in a scenario wherein the Fatimid are even stronger, likely will not accept the Caliph, but would most likely prefer it to that of the Abbasid. One way that we may ensure this, is to see a more inclusive attitude from the Fatimid to other Shi'a, including Ghulat and Rawafidh, as the Safavid movement did in the XVI century. Ultimately though, the Rawafidh Twelvers will probably not become prominent in Azerbayjan, but will remain emanating from its hombases within the southern sections of Iraq, Eastern Arabia, the Ahvaz region and spread throughout the eastern sections of the Islamic world.
     
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