Moonlight in a Jar: An Al-Andalus Timeline

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by Planet of Hats, Aug 21, 2016.

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  1. LunazimHawk Your Friendly Neighborhood Bengal Sultan

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    What Al-Numbers said opens up a wide arrange of possibilities for Mayan/Nahuatl interpretation and adoption of Islamic belief and culture. Perhaps instead of the common human sacrifice, they’ll sacrifice a livestock on a sacred day, probabaly having their own date of Eidul Adha (Islamic Holiday where sacrifice takes place). Other Pagan holidays can probably be treated as a non religious holiday like Nowruz is for Turkic/Persian people.
    Pass religious rites can also be creep into Islamic practices, such as having animal sacrifices on the old temples where human sacrifices used to take place.
     
  2. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of sacrifice, I always thought the Mayans were the more 'uptight' cultures of Mesoamerica about the practice. If you want to give something to the gods, you'd better be presenting them with kings, princes and nobles instead of criminals and louts. Did something happen to the captured Andalusi explorers that merited them to be heart-sacrificed?
     
  3. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    The short answer is "Probably." The mid-length answer is that the actual text is ambiguous.

    The longer answer is that this anecdote was based somewhat on a historical precedent where a Spanish caravel wrecked off Jamaica and the survivors floated to the Yucatan, where the Maya sacrificed several of them. There was another case in Guatemala where the Spanish were defeated when trying to take a town and the Maya sacrificed several of them.

    In this case the Maya did see some marks of high status in their new captives: They're strange foreigners in an incredibly splendid canoe who wield weapons the likes of which the Maya have never seen. The Maya could only really understand technology like that as belonging to some group of nobles from a far-off land, because Chaac only knows they don't have steel swords or florid indigo robes or a massive canoe or shining metal armor or the ability to ride the deer. Also in this case, what Al-Tamarani gets is not the whole story. A few of the prisoners were sacrificed, and Al-Tamarani and crew saw one, but they didn't see that in fact only three or four were sacrificed and the rest were held as labourers. As such, history doesn't see it.

    A lot of the most important stories are missed by recorded history, especially when we're talking about the New World.
     
  4. Threadmarks: ACT VII Part V: Jihad or Trade?

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    "On the polytheists of the Gharb al-Aqsa, who raise temples to their wicked idols, who would carve the breasts of the Muslims and raise the hearts to their idols, this is the judgment: Do unto them as by the words given to us by the Prophet, peace be upon him. Some of you have made covenant with the polytheists, and parley with them, and they have honoured you in their dealings and raised no blade against you. Of these, honour your dealings with them, until their term has ended. And yet, of those who disbelieve, and who break their covenants with you, then it is fard to smite the polytheists wherever they are found, and to raise war and ambush against them, and bring them to ruin.[1] For how can there be covenant between polytheists and the Muslims save for those who have come to you in the sight of God and heard the Word? For would you not fight a people who broke their oaths and determined to expel those who bring the words of the Messenger, and they have raised their hands against you? Indeed, fight them, for God will punish the polytheists by your hands and give you victory over them. And those who come to you and seek your protection, grant it to him so that he may hear the word. And if he should repent, then let him go on his way. For it is written: So long as they are upright towards you, be upright towards them. Indeed, God loves the righteous."

    - Abd al-Gani ibn Mas'ud ibn Salama al-Hafiz, Maliki jurist, Anaza, Juzur al-Ajinit (Kaledat Islands), 1358


    ~


    Excerpt: The Travels in the Farthest West in the Lands of Anawak - Ziyad ibn Jalsa al-Qadisi, AD 1369

    This account is believed to attest to a voyage which took place in roughly 1358.

    I descend into the valley, the one they call Anawak, which the guides say is the home of the greatest of the peoples in these lands. There I gaze upon the glittering surface of a grand lake, one that lies in the midst of the Anawak, and upon its shores, cities cluster. They are great, and filled with structures in the style of the ziqqurah, and they lie at intervals around the lake itself.

    We descend with some time into a place that the guides tell us is called Tashquq.[2] Though the mushrikin are said to be barbarous, there is such beauty in this place that we could but stare with awe upon it, upon the terraces and the markets of great colour, where the curious wares and foods of the people are sold. The language they speek is different in this place, and our interpreters can understand only some of the people here. Most of those they speak to seem wealthier than the others of the al-Garbiyyin,[3] for their scant cloth is finer and they seem to carry themselves with confidence.

    Many of them come to us with curiosity. They are amazed by the sight of our horses, and some of them grasp at our beards and our cloth, much to the consternation of Usem, the leader of the kishafa who has come with us. They are urged back by the guides, for they tell us that those here have never seen anything like our horses before. This seems to be true everywhere we have gone, for we have seen no beast of burden, nor beast of carriage; all of the al-Garbiyyin walk upon their own feet, even in the great heat of their land. Perhaps this is what gives them their hardiness and their sturdy ways, for all of them appear most healthy and strong, and there are clearly warriors among them.

    When our guides speak to them, many of them let out a great cry of amazement, and some follow us as we enter the marketplace of Tashquq. Our guide Shuqtil[4] tells us that they speak to her of us in wonderment, and say that we have come out of the east like the wind. We do not understand what she means by this, but the people receive us with welcome, despite the stories we had heard from some that the al-Garbiyyin are bloody men who wield the knife and cleave the heart from the breast.

    We see no blood spilt in Tashquq. We tarry there, and they trade for our wares of fine cloth, and for some of the olive oil we have brought. The goods they sell in the market are splendid. For some of it we are given a splendid vase that appears to be carved with fayruz,[5] and we marvel at the beauty of this thing wrought by the hands of barbarians.

    Soon a procession of men comes to greet us, and we are brought to a great structure, where we are greeted by a man in a splendid headdress of feathers. He descends towards us and greets us in soaring words that we cannot understand, and with him there are two armed men garbed in furs, and each carries an odd spear studded with jagged black stones. The guide tells us that this man is named Ashqutuga[6] and that he is the lord of Tashquq.

    The lord Ashqutuga asks of us what news the wind brings from the east. We show him the respect we may - for he has harmed none of us - and we tell him that we come from Andalus, and that we seek to know this place, and to trade what we may with the people of Anawak. This seems to satisfy him, and he welcomes us in the name of his gods - we have heard much of the greatest of them, that which they call Qishalguat, who is said to be a dragon.[7] He bids us welcome and sets a feast for us, and we accede to his hospitality, for he has done us no harm.

    The food of the al-Garbiyyin is a strange thing. The meal we are given makes much of what is called mahiz,[8] and some of it is made from a vegetable that scorches the tongue like flame. For meat there is always little - Shuqtil tells us that there is nothing like the sheep or the cow in Anawak, and that the flesh of beasts is a thing enjoyed only seldom, by men of the hunt, or by the noblemen. The meat that is given to us is some manner of wild fowl, and the spice of it is strange and fiery. We eat it nevertheless. When we retire for the night, Usem complains of indigestion, and many of us are unsettled by it, though the taste was not unkind.

    We tarry for a time in Tashquq. Here, it seems that the people are builders, and they are eager to trade. We speak again to the lord Ashqutuga in a blooming garden, and he tells us that Tashquq is part of a greater land, and that they are allies of the great power, the Tibanaqah,[9] who dwell beyond the other side of the lake, in a place called Ashqabuzaq. Their king, he says, is a great king who is named Shugatuneq[10], and he has a great many allies in Anawak. Many say he is the greatest of kings, the lord of the Tibanaqah. Ashqutuga tells us that his people, they who come from the tribe called the Qulwah,[11] conquered Tashquq itself some years ago with the aid of the people of Ashqabuzaq.

    Once more, he asks us to tell him of the east, of the place of the morning star, as the guides explain it to us.[12] I tell him of the minarets of the Andalus, of the great mosque of Qurtubah. Another with us, the faithful Ibn Salih, tells him that we seek to know the world in the name of God. When he asks us, we tell him that we are Muslims, that we have heard the word of the mighty God and His Prophet, peace be upon him.

    I do not know if he understands the word of God. But no harm is brought to us, and we leave the next day with many goods - the cargo we brought from the Makzan was cloths, pepper, oil and sugar, and they give us in turn fine cottons, gems of fayruz, small baubles of gold, the luxurious furs of strange beasts, and fine woven cloths in patterns we could scarcely imagine. We made our way south, following the directions of our guide to a place called Qulinjan.[13] The people here are also of the tribe of Qulwah, but the city is smaller, though not unsplendid. It is said here that the temple is dedicated to a heathen idol who commands the rain, but we did not remain long enough to see it, before continuing on to Shawlah.[14]

    If you have not tried the kakaw drink, it is worth trying if visiting these places.[15] The people of Anawak make it from some substance they have traded to us, the beans called the kakaw. The drink is cold and somewhat bitter, but hearty, and they flavour it with curious spices and honey. We taste it in Shawlah, where our guides tell us that it can make a man strong. Usem complains of the scum upon it, and says he does not like the heat of the spice they place in it. It is called the chilli.

    In Shawlah we trade the remainder of our goods, though we are troubled to find that one of the kishafa has swooned from the excess of heat that day. We treat him with our water and endeavour to find shelter for him. The night passes without incident, and when he is well in the morning, we begin to ply our route back to the Makzan.

    It is said by some that the just approach to the mushrikin is the jihad, and indeed, many of the kishafa wish to chastise them, and to drive them out. But when we return, with the trade goods from our sojourn, the wali of the Makzan tells us that we shall stay our hands against those who have not raised their hands against the Muslims, but those who break their pacts and raise against the Muslims shall be chastised and driven out. Those of Tashquq, I am told, will perform the dire rituals before their idols, but they did not do so to us, and we saw none.

    We remain at the Makzan, and await a ship for a time. Even then, some of the al-Garbiyyin come to us, most from the city nearby called Zampala,[16] and they come to trade. Some come to us with their sick, and we do our best to ease their affliction, for there is said to be much illness in the land these days. Those traders and kishafa who sail in from Qisqayyah tell us that many of the al-Garbiyyin there are badly afflicted. Perhaps they will become well, and in their time, come to know more of God.[17]



    [1] The infamous Sword Verse gets trotted out a lot when it comes to dealing with hostile pagans in the New World; really, a lot of this opinion is cribbed straight from a part of the Quran that I'm trying to be careful with, since it's often OOCly thrown around on these here Interwebs without context and in bad faith. That said, the actual level of butchery is mostly attributable to disease, and Al-Andalus has significantly less overseas warmaking capacity than Christian Spain - though it's a fair bet that you'll see some jihad in the New World, alongside the more prevalent approaches of trading and slave raiding.
    [2] Texcoco.
    [3] The Westerners. These people are Acolhua, a Nahua group; while many speak a Nahuatl language, the ruling class actually speaks Otomi.
    [4] Xochitl.
    [5] Turquoise.
    [6] His name is actually Itzcotocatl II, tlatoani of Texcoco. The Andalusians are having some trouble with the names.
    [7] Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent.
    [8] Maize. Interestingly, Arabic adopts the Taino word for it, suggesting that it's gotten around a little through Andalusi adventurism in Brazil.
    [9] The Tepanecs.
    [10] Ashqabuzaq is Azcapotzalco and Shugatuneq is Xiuhtlatonac, respectively.
    [11] The Acolhua.
    [12] The stuff about the Aztecs thinking Cortes was Quetzalcoatl seems to probably be a myth, but Quetzalcoatl is definitely the White Tezcatlipoca who has an association with the morning star. Itzcotocatl is at a loss to explain the arrival of these strangers who ride the deer and carry metal armaments and fine wares the likes of which Texcoco has never seen. He does not think the Muslims are gods, but he thinks they must know of Quetzalcoatl. In a way he's as baffled by the Muslims as they are by him.
    [13] Coatlinchan, the old Acolhua capital, just to the south of Texcoco.
    [14] Huexotla, one of three Acolhua cities.
    [15] Chocolate.
    [16] Cempoala.
    [17] As always, there are disconnects between religious orthodoxy and pragmatism. The farther out you get from the Caliph, the more likely Muslim merchants are to want to make some money off these pagans, at least if no one's trying to bend them over an altar. There's not going to be one approach to New World adventurism because so much of this can be chalked up to individual actions. This chapter emphasizes that somewhat. Y'know, since this TL lives on grey areas and contradictions. The other interesting thing here is that the engagement of Muslims as a distinct political power in the Valley of Mexico is coming later, and contact overall is much slower compared to the Spanish knocking over the Aztecs in no time flat; Tepanec influence does not exist outside the Valley itself (they are a smaller and less objectionable empire than the Aztecs), and the Andalusians are less lucky than Cortes.

     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  5. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    being honest as no one raise a weapon against them, is not worth the fight..unless they found those again...there will be very fun indeed

    Amazing chapter, specially the first contact with chocolate,chili and other things.
     
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  6. mythmonster2 Well-Known Member

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    Aha, the Andalusians have discovered chilies! Gonna be fun when that gets back across the Atlantic. Really liking the differing viewpoints here, and I'm excited to see further contact; hopefully no imam gets too in over his head with jihading and ruins it for everyone.
     
  7. snassni2 Well-Known Member

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    The nitpicking maghrebi is back:
    Qawqaw are peanuts in maghribi arabic.
    Kakaw is chocolate/cocoa.
     
  8. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Nitpicking helps me, though.
     
  9. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    As much as I like the contact between the Old and New worlds, I wish the records are clearer on pronunciation. It's Xochitl! And Quetzalcoatl!! Not Qishalguat!

    So far, trade seems to be the order of the day in the Azcopotzalco valley. I see the Andalusis are using a woman guide, so that's going to be another figure for future revisionists to argue on. And it's so nice to see them being in wonderment of the lakeside cities, so here's hoping the local architecture and beauty gets preserved in this 'verse instead of being replaced. It's a bit odd to see the pyramids being called ziqqura, and I can see French and English people getting confused later on, but oh well.

    The attempts at communication are... intriguing. Obviously both sides can't explain themselves well enough, and there's a lot that goes over their heads as to explanations and such, but there doesn't seem to be the urge to conquer and take like Cortes did, so the miscommunications can be excused. But at the same time, I can't see this going well if there are bad actors hoping to exploit the situation; the Andalusis and locals need to understand each other ASAP for peace to continue.

    And the part of the locals going sick, that's an ominous ending. :(
     
  10. Yama951 Well-Known Member

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    I can image Texcoco being a center of Islamic faith in the region, especially when the traders convince the leader that his 'Lord of Everywhere' being Allah and given the temple as their mosque. Imagine, Aztec pyramids with minarets, then the architecture blends the two in the coming centuries. I imagine the future nations in the area being more native influenced than OTL.
     
  11. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    There's just no getting around the fact that disease isn't going to have mercy on the New World. Millions and millions of people are going to die even if the people who cross the Atlantic are utter saints who just so happen to make landfall with ships loaded with doctors and healers. The spread of virgin-field epidemics is simply impossible to constrain with technology in the year 1350. While Andalusians are better healers than most Europeans, they also don't know what variolation is and still have a primitive understanding of how epidemics spread.

    That said, the Andalusians coming over are not warriors or men interested in the jihad, save some of the kishafa. For the most part, those who make the dangerous journey to the Farthest West do so because they want rare trade goods. Amazonian ceramics and Caribbean gold make for intriguing curiosities in domestic markets back in Iberia, and around the Makzan al-Husayn they've got another industry they love: Pernambuco wood, or brazilwood. The Amazonian Makzan is a hub of timbering activity, and pernambuco wood and dye is incredibly valuable. More than that, each and every Makzan has sprung up Andalusian-style farming around it, and there's increasing awareness that some of these places are great for sugar - and that some of the foods the natives grow are actually pretty good.

    Of course, that kind of exploitation puts the Tupi, Caribs and Amazonians in greater danger than the Nahua and Maya are. The Andalusians don't need to mow down forests in Quwunah or Anawak. They can trade for manufactured goods and make more money without ever having to knock over an altepetl, barring something like a conflict, and if there is fighting, the Mesoamerican high cultures are better able to oppose the Muslims; as such, traders in Mesoamerica tend to be less aggressive. By contrast, in Ard al-Baraa and the Pearl Islands, high-value manufactured goods are much more rare, but the natural resources are abundant, and extracting them will inevitably cause grief with the natives.

    Bad-faith actors in the New World, in other words, are less likely to take the form of the Caliph going "Let's have a jihad against the Tepanecs" and more likely to take the form of unscrupulous kishafa and shady resource barons in the Caribbean or South America butchering native Tupi or Arawaks because they want gold, brazilwood and workers to grow their sugar, or outright because some of the kishafa hold extreme religious views that put them at odds with the natives' pagan practices. This is hard for Isbili to stop because Andalusia does not have a ton of direct control over the Makzans, and because they have enemies back home they need to fight, which limits their ability to launch an overseas invasion even against pagans who practice religion in the style of the Mesoamericans. The Church Knights and Genoese raiders ain't goin' anywhere. And the tech gap between the Andalusians and the Mesoamerican high cultures is not insurmountable for the Nahua and the Maya: The kishafa coming over may have horses and steel equipment, but they have the javelin and the crossbow, not the cannon and the handgun (while Andalusia does have the firelance in small quantities and has begun to play with gunpowder, it's in its very early stages), and they're fighting on terrain they don't know well.

    Contact won't look like Cortes walking in and kicking down an empire that becomes an overseas territory. Andalusians will end up entangled in local politics in the Mesoamerican high cultures, though.

    The Muslims are beginning to gain a scratchy understanding of the religion of some of the peoples they're meeting. To those at Makzan al-Thariya, they tend to view Quetzalcoatl as "the good god" in the Nahua pantheon. They keep wondering why the people in the Farthest West give human sacrifices; after all, didn't God tell Ibrahim not to do that anymore?

    In general, the Acolhua are pretty friendly, and the Tepanecs are significantly less brutal than the OTL folks Cortes encountered. It's worth noting that the Aztecs were anomalous for Mesoamerica in that their network of tributaries was uniquely huge, uniquely brutal, and held together largely by fear. The amount of sacrificing the Aztecs did dwarfed previous empires, and they'd extended their dominion well outside the Valley of Mexico largely through a model of empire which led their subjects to resent them. Compared to the Aztecs, the ITTL Tepanecs are a smaller empire mostly focused on the Valley of Mexico, but they sacrifice less often - there is still human sacrifice, but there's been no figure like Tlacaelel to come along and crank up the scale and frequency of sacrifices. Also worth noting is that Huitzilopochtli is not really an important part of the pantheon here; OTL he increased in prominence with the Aztecs because he was their patron deity.

    That said, human sacrifice still happens. I mean, Tlaloc still exists. And hell, the Aztecs still exist. The current Valley of Mexico group looks at them as "the really scary nomads who live kind of northy from here." Instead of the Mexica coming down, a group called the Caxcan migrated in, though they've largely assimilated and become vassals of the Tepanecs.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2019
  12. SenatorErnesto Well-Known Member

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    Had anyone else recieved the news of what lies west? Or is it just the Andalusi’s and their African employees?
     
  13. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Well, the Scandinavians have a vague concept that Vinland is out there, or at least some icy islands with Skraelings on them. A few Anglish fishermen may also have a couple places they can go to get a whole lot of cod really fast. But by and large, we're in a period where Andalusia, Maghrib and to an extent Senegambia have a near-monopoly on access to the New World, largely because they're the only ones with oceangoing ships of any real significance.

    The Normandos have some hulks in the water but most of their trade goes north-northeast, not south-southwest. Genoa also has really good ships, but they're galleys.
     
  14. Al-numbers Well-Known Member

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    Well, there goes one of the biggest reasons for bloodletting in the alternate Valley-of-not-Mexico, so there's a potential threat nullified.

    Though it does make me wonder how his mythology (as in, he himself) even started in the first place.

    P.S: I just realized something; if the Aztecs or any group-state with similar mindsets meet the Andalusis in another 'verse, and gain a short breeze-through in Islamic concepts and religion, they'd be absolutely horrified by how much Islam cares about the night. There's the 'Isra and 'Miraj, the Lailatul Qadar, the emphasis on the Lunar calendar, the special prayers during eclipses (though they'll nod for solar ones), the passages and verses exalting the night...

    They'd either think the Andalusis have gone mad, or think Islam is an evil faith that serves the moon goddess Coyolxauhqui who will eat the sun and end the world! x'D

     
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  15. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    Ottomans vs. Aztecs....
     
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  16. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    Je pagans, wonder what they would think of Ramadan and the self sacrifice the holy month....
     
  17. inawarminister Well-Known Member

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    There's one very big potential benefit of Andalusians though - the lack of colonial laws and economic system that make full-blooded native nations and tribes unable to recover after the epidemics end. In the Old World, pandemics happen, but nearly every nation manage to recover by their own survivors (e.g. Black Death, Justinian Plague etc); in New Spain and other colonies, the natives got double-whammed by slavery/colonial exploitation and wife-levying by single Conquistadors resulting in Mestizos rapidly replacing the natives.

    I fully expect Andalusi New World to be essentially majoritily unchanged, except perhaps with some mestizos, but these will culturally stay either Andalusi/Sudanese or their parent's people, not making a mixed culture of their own. But who knows though.
    At least Islam admonishes racialism utterly in theory, but in practice...
     
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  18. Mightyboosh5 Well-Known Member

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    While numbers of dead natives will surely be lower due to more gradual less brutal first contact, this may not mean in the long run native languages and cultures survive to a greater degree.

    Once the Arabs conquer the valley of Mexico ( and they almost surely will) they will probably be much more willing to assimilate full blooded natives into their social order due to Islam. Preaching in Arabic and the Quran being in Arabic will also mean there is a lot of pressure on natives to arabise.

    Say what you want about the Spanish but they did show a willingness to separate and protect native cultures from being totally assimilated in a way that Arab rulers are less likely to
     
  19. Planet of Hats Ahmadi-Cruz Parlante Gang Donor

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    The survival of languages is always a little dicey in this setting because of the centrality of Arabic as the language of revelation. This happened in ITTL Andalusia, too; Iberian Romance has dwindled and dwindled and dwindled because Arabic is just the language that you want to speak if you're anyone of prestige.
     
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  20. Nivek Resident Videogame Expert

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    That was not protection but apathy to people were able to remain free, still if you become muslim you need to learn arabic, there nothing bad on that
     
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