WI: Caliph Uthman not assassinated, no First Fitna

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: Before 1900' started by GauchoBadger, Aug 9, 2017.

  1. GauchoBadger Gang Weeder (in a society)

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    In 656, Rashidun caliph Uthman was assassinated by an angry mob of muslim pilgrims invading his house. His death sparked a succession crisis, known as the First Fitna, which briefly interrupted the expansion of the Rashidun caliphate, yet led to the creation of the Umayyad caliphate.
    But what if Uthman had survived, perhaps by sneaking out of the house, perhaps by having more competent guards?
    I hear that Uthman was preparing his military to besiege Constantinople before his death. Could his planned siege have gone through? And could it have succeeded?
    Are there any other ramifications?
     
  2. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    Chaos probably erupts whenever he dies. The Arabs are very unlikely to take Constantinople, but if 'Uthman (well, actually his cousin and 'successor', Mu'awiya, was in charge of those matters) manages to do that, it would be a big boost to the Caliphate's legitimacy and specifically to the Umayyad house (while not counted as a Caliph of the Umayyad dynasty as the system at that point was not regarded as dynastic, Uthman was an Umayyad). However, there was a great deal of dissent in the ranks of the Muslim community about how the Caliphate was being run, as the way Uthman died amply shows. This may be quelled for a while, but it would emerge in conflict soon. Mu'awiya was probably the most capable leader around; he did come out on top historically and he has good chances to succeed Uthman anyway, but that would not be painless or bloodless. The House of Ali and more generally the Hashimites are still likely to challenge that, and others would object to the very concept of what the Caliphate was becoming in ways similar to Talha and Zubayr or the Kharijites, producing rebellions. However, a peaceful death of Uthman may allow for a smoother transition, perhaps even a power-sharing agreement between Hashimites and Umayyads*. Not going to be stable, but might reduce bitterness, redraw battle-lines, and delay (thus changing) the confrontation and the division of the community.

    * A fascinating though unlikely prospect, that has some very vague analog in later Shiite approaches, is a clearer separation between a Hashimite priesthood and an Umayyad secular rule. This would make the subsequent development of Islam very different from OTL and somewhat more similar in its dynamic to Christianity, with institutionally distinct, but not separated, Church and State. Islam did separate politics and religion, and did so very early. contrary to what many Westerners are led to believe, but there was no institutional priesthood and so no institutional open conflict.
     
  3. CaliGuy Banned

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    Dec 22, 2016
    If Constantinople falls, do the Byzantines flee to Greece?

    Also, could this spark the Crusades four centuries early?
     
  4. Falecius Well-Known Member

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    There in not much of Greece in Byzantine control at this point. Sicily perhaps?
    The Crusades would certainly not happen in any recognizable form if Constantinople falls around 656. No Christian polity would have anywhere near the power projection needed, for one.