Muslim China? Challenge accepted!

#0: Premise. Shia China: Challenge accepted! New
This idea has been kicked around a few times. And its an attractive concept because Islam is an effective antidote for China's tendency towards isolationism from the Song (or even post An Lushan Tang) onwards - the Haj alone would ensure constant traffic and exposure of China with Central Asia and the Middle East. It is also a uber China-Wank: because China would be the largest and most powerful political entity within the Dar-el Islam by far and would hence be able to exercise significant leadership, perhaps even sinification, in a cultural-political zone streatching all the way to the Atlantic.

But there's a reason why no one has offered a likely scenario for this happening.

Basically, the problem is that :
a. On the popular conversion level Budhism arrives in China too early, and its coexistence with Taoism and Confucianism (the state ideology) leave little spiritual void for Islam to fill. Besides, Islam does not do peaceful conversion too well - with the indonesian (and Cham and Khmer) exception armed missionaries + one way conversion and marriage is how it has hisorically spread. Which is how the Hui came to be - Central Asian merchants, soldiers and conquerers (well, hangers on to Xia, Jin and Mongol conqurers).
b. Conversion from the top doesn't work well either - you would need the emperor to be exposed to it before conversion becomes political suicide, especially given how "conventional" Islam would view the well established rituals he must publicly perform to maintain the mandae ofheaven. There is also the problem that until the collapse of the Abbasid Caliphate conversion essentially means becoming an Abbasid tributary which is something no CHinese Emperor would contemplate.
c. Conversion by conquest requires that the conqurers be Muslim. And the problem is that the core territories of China's historical conqurers (Liao, Jin and even the Mongols) are too far from Muslim influence to be realistically converted. I won't go into the insanity of believing that the Umayyads or Abbasids can push much further east than they did OTL before they collapse.

So what does that leave? Basically a POD in which Timur comes rescue the Northern Yuan earlier, somehow flips the fairly Budhist commited Yuan and/or absorbs them, and then manages to leave a stable Muslim ruled northern China. Aside from Timur's Empire coming apart at the seam almost as soon as he died, the best, best case scenario here is a Mughal/ Delhi sultanate type Hierarchy of Muslims at the top with a few pockets elsewhere. It's too late to make too many inroads amongst the Han masses - who will eventually revolt against the foreign overlords/religion.

However, I have thought of a silver bullet to fix all these issues. I present to you.... Shia China. POD - the battle of Karbala. It's not worth trying if you won't go for broke.
 
Last edited:
#1: POD: Karbala, the Second Fitna, and the Alide flight to Sogdia New
#1: Even if you have to go to China to earn knowledge, go

Following Ibn Ziyad's supression of the Alide partisans in Kufah, and his massacre of Husayn ben Ali's and his family in Karbalah, challenge to Umayad rule over the Ummah seemed defeated. However, not all of Husayn's family were killed in battle. Ali ibn Husayn not only survived the battle but had miraculously evaded capture, taking shelter amongst his adherents in Kufah*. The Kufahn's, who had invited his father to rule him, but who had failed to support him in the battle of Karbala atoned for this loss of face by swearing eternal loyalty to his righteous cause. With so many of them imprisoned or in hiding, however, and with Ib-Ziyad's watchful eye on the city, another uprising seemed inadvised at the time. Indeed, remaining in the city seemed itself ill-advised, for word of the survival of the young Imam might spread. Rather, Mukhtar and the twenty two companions smuggled Ali eastwards, to Fars and distant Korasan, while the hundred penitents scattered to the four winds, spreading word of the treachery and martyrdom of Karbala and preparing the Umma for the revolt which must overthrow the rule of the apostate usurper.

That opportunity would come but four years later, with the death of Yazid and the appointment of Muawiya II, his son and selected succesor, as Caliph. Having made clear that the Umayad's intended to seize the mandate of heaven contrary to both the right of the family of Ali and the ancestral practices of the جَاهِلِيَّة‎‎ فرس عربي , Ibn al-Zubay revolted, demandeing that the caliph be selected by consultation of all notable Quraysh, sparking the second Fitna, much as would occur six centuries later upon the death of the great Uniter of the Faith.

Thus, as Masr and the Hejaz declared for Ibn al-Zubay, Iraq, Fars and Korasan declared for Ali ibn Husayn**, who ended his occultation, while the wayward Khajirites siezed control of Eastern Arabia. For a time it seemed that Muawiya II, nearly besieged in Damascus, must surely sure. Conflict between the Zubayites and the righteous Alides, however, enabled the Umayads to crush each in turn. Pushed out of Mesopotamia, then Fars, Ali, realizing that his days in Korasan were numbered, prayed to Allah to discern his will.

When Mukhtar al Thakafi, returning weary from another battle that slowed but could not halt the Umayad tide, asked him what the faithful should do, Ali ibn Husayn quoted back the Hadith of the Prophet: Even if you have to go to China to earn knowledge, go.

So it was that the second Hejirah was embarked upon, though it would be a generation before the imam crossed through the borders of the Middle Kingdom. Beyond the Oxus awaited the first station in their long march - Sogdia.

* The POD, obviously. OTL Ali was captured and he and his descendants were effectively kept imprisoned in Medinah by both Umayids and Abbasids and according to Shiite martyology succesively and systematically poisonded by them.

** OTL, the Alide's were more of a sideshow, and never gained much support outside Messopotamia. TTL, they have a network ready to burst out of the woodwork across the Iranian Plateau.
 
The meeting between the Imam's retinue and the Sasanid court in exile in Chang'an will be epic.
What happened to Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya?
 
However, I have thought of a silver bullet to fix all these issues. I present to you.... Shia China. POD - the battle of Karbala. It's not worth trying if you won't go for broke.
I though this would be like this https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/middle-kingdom-story-of-the-star-dynasty-alternate-history-chinese-muslim-dynasty-timeline.421520/... But a Muslim Shia China(Shia-china,XD) is one POD beyond unique...so Persia-Iran would stay sunni more?

The meeting between the Imam's retinue and the Sasanid court in exile in Chang'an will be epic.
Shias: We were defeated by the Banu Ummayd. Sassanids: I know that feel bro
 
Last edited:
x'Dx'Dx'Dx'D
Something like that.
If Anything, the Banu Ummayad is now stronger than ever,an earlier and more easily defeated Fitna part two means they now don't have the fifth columnist of shia and proto abbas in Iran(they might have flied to china too or now got humble what happened) a peaceful Iran means more resource can be used against the Greco-Romans...that will be fun
 
The meeting between the Imam's retinue and the Sasanid court in exile in Chang'an will be epic.
What happened to Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya?
Completely forgot about that - Peroz III IS a contemporary. And also a precedent.
Regarding Muhammad Ibn al-Hanafiyya I'm deliberating between:
1. having him getting the axe earlier after the Umayads take Mecca, rather than reconciling with the Umayads, as the Shia rebellion in iraq and the Iranian plateau is more serious, so he becomes more of a martyr and more of an occulted legend. The Kaysanites mostly form up around the figurehead of Ali ibn Husyn.
Still..., you know how the Ziadi, Ismailis and Twelver Shia's split up? When the sinified Shia in exile re-establish contact with their Middle Eastern brethren there will be... dispute about the legitiamte line of imamic succession.
2. Having matters proceed as OTL. He pulls the same political jujitsu he did OTL post 2nd fitna and dies of old age, but some claim he dissapeared into occultation.
3. Fearing #1, he flees to Axum and establishes his own court in exile. Not going to get many local converts there, though.

If Anything, the Banu Ummayad is now stronger than ever,an earlier and more easily defeated Fitna part two means they now don't have the fifth columnist of shia and proto abbas in Iran(they might have flied to china too or now got humble what happened) a peaceful Iran means more resource can be used against the Greco-Romans...that will be fun
Since this is a (Shia) Islam wank, as well as a China wank (and also a wank for a third party which I will not explicitly name) I would love to see the Umayad's take Constantinopole... but no. The fitna II is actually defeated a bit later, and since the Shiite uprising on the Iranian plateau is more serious and only a minority fled over the oxus, the Umayads have MORE holdouts. Also, by the time they take Sogdia and the rest of transoxnia, Shiism will be somewhat established there- and Sogdian merchants traveling to Chang'han will be constantly relaying communications between the Shiite court in exile and holdouts. The descendents of Ali ibn Hussyn will be a Shia Prester John equivalent. This won;t have enough of an effect to seriously deflect the course of Umayad history and the Abbasid revolt (except for giving disgrunteled Shiites who supported it only to be betrayed a bolthole, reinforcing Shia Islam in China), mostly because I'm lazy and don;t want to introduce changes that early, but when the Abbasid's lose control over the Iranian plareau and transoxonia, the new dynasties which arise will have an ultimate source of legitimacy to turn to (which can also provide them with preferential trade access into China, maybe even some millitary support) if the Caliphs are too annoying. Basically by the 10th century I foresee Shiism as being dominant east of the Zagros mountains - including, quite possibly, in the Muslim polities in northern India.
 
Last edited:
(and also a wank for a third party which I will not explicitly name
India?

Since this is a (Shia) Islam wank, as well as a China wank (and also a wank for a third party which I will not explicitly name) I would love to see the Umayad's take Constantinopole... but no
A shame, i Thought that ended up different, might be a mistake, even them waiting to see how your TL evolves buddy
 
Completely watching this! I would advise you to put up some threadmarks as well, it will help new readers :biggrin:
I though this would be like this https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/middle-kingdom-story-of-the-star-dynasty-alternate-history-chinese-muslim-dynasty-timeline.421520/... But a Muslim Shia China(Shia-china,XD) is one POD beyond unique...so Persia-Iran would stay sunni more?

Shias: We were defeated by the Banu Ummayd. Sassanids: I know that feel bro
x'Dx'Dx'Dx'D
Something like that.
Now this encounter would be ironic, probably the sassanids would feel quite uncomfortable having what was supposed to be their enemies as new exiles in the court, or...maybe not?
 
Now this encounter would be ironic, probably the sassanids would feel quite uncomfortable having what was supposed to be their enemies as new exiles in the court, or...maybe not?
That is why my joke, the only thing they've in common is that both were defeated by the Ummayads
 
Completely watching this! I would advise you to put up some threadmarks as well, it will help new readers :biggrin:


Now this encounter would be ironic, probably the sassanids would feel quite uncomfortable having what was supposed to be their enemies as new exiles in the court, or...maybe not?
The Tang will end up employing both as proxies and auxilaries in tocharia/sogdia against the Umayads and Abbasids alongside rebellious Sogdians and Turkic tribes. It won't change the outcome on the ground (Arab conquest, punctuated by repeated rebellions), but will lead to a larger population of sogdian and turkic exiles in Xian, plus attempts to "turn" Arab soldiers taken captive, which will have a different sort of effect once the Tang give up on Sogdia and make nice with the Abbasids.

How the proxies will view each other is... complicated. On the one hand politics makes strange bedfellows, and the Persians are allready second and third generation exiles. On the other hand, religous differences will crop up. But on the other hand you can also expect some debates, syncretism (The Shia allready borrowed a great deal from Manicheanism and Zorastrism OTL, this will be even more true TTL, especially given their Sogdian intermezzo), intermarriage (which may or may not be sanctioned by their hosts) and a certain comradrie in combat. And also blaming each other for losing in Tocharia - and ending up on either the same or opposing sides during the An Lushan rebellion.
 
Last edited:
Well, Wonder what Shia would think of the end of the Banu Umayya

Great work Abbasids! Even if our people did the heavy lifting. You will certainly be properly rewarded. You know, for restoring the righteous line of Ali. Umm, so, you know. When when do we get the invite? For investment as Calipha of course. I'm thinking Kufa, not Bhagdad. Or maybe Karbala. Ties things off nicely, don;t you think? Excuse me? Why are you talking to the emperor? We talk to the emperor. Fought for him for 50 years after all. So like I said... hey, wait, where are you going?

To put it bluntly, the imamate wil label the Umayads as "the usurpers". It labels the Abbasids as "the betrayers". What they call the Tang once their attempts to gain their support for recontesting Sogdia and/or overthrowing the Abbasids are rebuffed won't be much better... which is not very good news for the dynasty given the timing
 
Last edited:
#2 Sogdian Sojurn: 684-693 CE/ Hijra 62-71 New
Though the faithful found respite across the Oxus, their position was precacious. The usurpers raided Sogdia frequently and the fire worshipping Tucharian princes hosting the Imam and his followers were susceptible to pressure to surreneder their guests to the false Caliphate in return for immunity, support against their neighbors, and so forth. Yet the faithful persevered, cleaving to the middle path. Through proper application of Rén (1) towards the unenlightened, were their hearts opened to the message of the prophet. By exhorting his followers to demonstrateof (2) in all their dealings with the Sogdians, were their hosts persuaded that the heir of the prophet was a servant of truth, rather than the lie. By exercising Xìn (3) in every aspect of his conduct did the blessed Imam spread the message of righteousness without speaking a word. Of the great virtues, however, Zhōng (4) was most crucial in winning over the Sogdians. For the Imamate had an able general in the form of Mukhtar al Thakafi, and the forces under his command won many a famous victory over the raiders, leading the Sogdian princes to value their guests more highly. Indeed, with the declaration of Musa ibn Abdallah ibn Khazim for the the third Imam, and the flight of additional faithful across the Oxus, the Imamate no longer had to depend on their largess, for it controlled its own fortresses and city, and fielded the strongest army in Tucharia.

And yet, by righteousness, and by his exposure of the lie of the chicai simo (5) in the great debate of Samarkand, the Imam attracted the attentions of inferior men threatened by the radiant light of the Truth (6). These inferior men sent an emmisaries to Chang'an, following the Zhou (7), defeat of the misguided followers of Gautama Budha and recovery of Kashgaria, seeking their support against the heir of the prophet. The enlightenede Imam chose to travel in person to speak truth to the Sage Mother, once again demonstrating proper gōng and ràng (8).
Jinshi Civil Service examination essay, Xian, late Yan Dynasty,Hijra 400.


(1) benevolence
(2) righteousness
(3) integrity
(4) loyalty
(5) The manicheans, who are the main competition.
(6) I assume you can see what I'm doing here...
(7) Yes, Wu Zeitan is in control now... need to think about how she will be portrayed by offical ideology three centuries down the line.
(8) Respectful modesty
 
Last edited:
The true telling thing is the massive use of chinese terminology over the Standard Arabic One..if Anything would Make Shia even more alien to the more orthodox Sunnis...
 
The true telling thing is the massive use of chinese terminology over the Standard Arabic One..if Anything would Make Shia even more alien to the more orthodox Sunnis...
And here I was thinking I added several more significant clues of the shape of things to come....
Anyway, this is a civil service examinee, and not neccesarily a Muslim one. Of course he is using confucian terms for virtues - for Confucius to be scrapped completely would, IMO, be ASB. The classic that need to be learned, however, obviously include Muslim and Shia texts. Still, confucian terms are not neccesarily used in Shia mosques and Madrassas, especially not outside the borders of Imperial China...
 
And here I was thinking I added several more significant clues of the shape of things to come....
Anyway, this is a civil service examinee, and not neccesarily a Muslim one. Of course he is using confucian terms for virtues - for Confucius to be scrapped completely would, IMO, be ASB. The classic that need to be learned, however, obviously include Muslim and Shia texts. Still, confucian terms are not neccesarily used in Shia mosques and Madrassas, especially not outside the borders of Imperial China...
The issue is when Kǒng Fūzǐ teaching ceases to be a philosophy and become a religion, as ancestor worship is the same kind of paganism the prophet(PUBH) fought hard in Mecca, if anything this give more amunnition to the Abbasadid as they can paint shia as pagan kafir now, still is very telling, how sinicize become the shiism...
 
Last edited:
Top