A Greater Dar al-Islam and an Ever Shrinking Dar al-Harb / a resurgent Islam TL

Interlude: A Glimpse Into a Possible Future, No. 3
  • Interlude: A Glimpse Into a Possible Future, No. 3

    The Provisional Revolutionary Government of Hindustan (Hindustan ki Arzi Inqelabi-yi Hukumat) was the world’s first socialist (ishtiraki) state, founded in YEAR after a military coup against the monarchy of REGION. The coup was carried out by the Revolutionary Military Council (Inqelabi Fauj-i Khural), a clandestine organisation of socialist and progressive military officers, in response to economic depression and worsening industrial unrest under the rule of the SOMETHING dynasty. A period of warfare after the coup between the Provisional Revolutionary Government, loyalists to the monarchy, and neighbouring states resulted in the rapid expansion of the new government’s territory.

    Espousing a THEORIST form of revolutionary socialism, the Revolutionary Military Council was the sole permanent legislative and executive authority. However, the local workers’ councils that appeared during the revolutionary period were encouraged to maintain multi-factional democracy and sent delegates to the Workers’ Advisory Committee (Mazdur ka Mashawarti Anjuman), which convened twice a year for two weeks to coordinate government policy with the Revolutionary Military Council. As the original members of the Revolutionary Military Council died or were purged in factional struggles, they were replaced by career officers with little to no revolutionary credentials. A period of stagnation set in, characterised by growing conflict between the Revolutionary Military Council and the Workers’ Advisory Committee, culminating in the former’s suspension of the latter body in YEAR. A short civil war between the two organisations broke out, with the enlisted ranks and a minority of the Revolutionary Military Council supporting the rump Workers’ Advisory Committee. The latter alliance was victorious in YEAR and the Provisional Revolutionary Government was succeeded by the present-day Federal Socialist Republic of Hindustan (Hindustan ki Wifaqi Ishtiraki-yi Jumhuriat).

    The foreign relations of the Provisional Revolutionary Government of Hindustan were generally adversarial, especially among the other countries in al-Hind. From the beginning, the socialist state was treated as a pariah by the international community. Even the member parties of the World Congress of Socialists (al-Mu’tamar al-‘Alamia li-l-Ishtirakiyyin), some of whom later rose to government in other countries, were wary because of the dominating role of the military in Hindustan’s government. On the other hand, Hindustan was strongly supportive of anti-colonial movements across the world and in return was regarded as a beacon of anti-imperialism by those movements. During the long conflict between the Revolutionary Military Council and the Workers’ Advisory Committee, many members of the international community supported the latter organisation.
    Factional Strife in Ruma al-Gharbiya
  • Factional Strife in Ruma al-Gharbiya

    Harthama ibn A’yan’s long governorship of Ruma al-Gharbiya, and his acclaimed career outside of the wilaya, belied the tenuous nature of Abbasid rule in the province. It is true that Ruma al-Gharbiya was wealthy due to its agricultural fecundity and its role in spearheading an expansion in Mediterranean trade (especially of that in slaves). Yet politically and militarily the province was fragile. Outside of the mercantile and bureaucratic classes the Christian population, which was still the majority, were ambivalent to Islamic rule and looked toward the Patriarch of Roma for spiritual (and sometimes political) leadership. The Arab and Berber nobility who had won land in the Andalusian conquest still resented the Abbasid coup that occurred in the wake of the Andalusian conquest of al-Faranj. The converts among the Lombard nobility were angered by Harthama ibn A’yan’s arguably sensible choice of favouring the old Roman administration in his government; this had the effect of inducing the Lombards to align with and slowly integrate into the Arab-Berber elite, who in turn had been growing closer to each other while far away from their respective homelands. The wali was not blind to such issues. Although many Andalusians were enrolled in the local jund, Harthama ibn A’yan knew he could only really rely on the relatively small number of abna al-dawla and recruits from recent Muslim migrants. To rectify this the wali’s two most trusted advisors, Tahir ibn al-Husayn and al-Fadl ibn Marwan, established an army of slaves and former slaves much like that favoured by Caliph al-Mu’tasim. Such was the state of Ruma al-Gharbiya when its governance was passed on to Hatim ibn Harthama ibn A’yan in 829 CE. To continue his father’s prosperous rule, the new governor would need both his father’s ability and a peaceable Dar al-Islam; he was gifted with neither.

    That does not mean however that Hatim ibn Harthama was an incompetent. When he was sent along on his father’s great tax reassessment, he was observant enough to notice the umara’s hostility towards the new Abbasid government, yet he was too timid to challenge or make an example of such rebelliousness. Hatim ibn Harthama was, above all, eager to please and so he fell under the domineering influence of Tahir ibn al-Husayn, much to the chagrin of al-Fadl ibn Marwan. During the tenure of Harthama ibn A’yan, Tahir’s brother Ibrahim also served in the province’s administration. Under Tahir’s direction, wali Hatim ibn Harthama appointed more members of the al-Mus’abi family to government positions.[1] This action only further alienated the Andalusian nobility, as they were hoping that a new governor would mean, if not a new direction in policy, then at least a more inclusive government. The first few years of Hatim ibn Harthama’s rule remained unremarkable; with trade and taxation continuing unabated. In 832 CE however, the Andalusian nobility grew concerned with the news of the abortive rebellion in Misr and the wali of Ifriqiya submitting to Abbasid authority. It was feared that another Abbasid expedition would be dispatched to bolster the position of the Abbasid loyalists in Ruma al-Gharbiya; no such expedition was planned of course, as Ruma al-Gharbiya was considered to be a model wilaya but the Andalusians weren’t to know that. Thus a group of Andalusian Arab nobles began to plot a coup.

    It was only a few who chose to join the conspiracy. While the Andalusians had no love for the government, they were ignored rather than actively repressed and the land they had conquered provided for them well enough, as did involvement in subsequent mercantile pursuits. The conspirators’ plan was to lure Hatim ibn Harthama to a “dhimmi rebellion” near Farariya [Ferrara], ambush and kill him, and then declare allegiance to the Fihrids of al-Andalus. Unfortunately for the coup plotters, knowledge of the conspiracy was leaked and made its way to al-Fadl ibn Marwan. Even though the coup would likely destroy the power of his rivals, the al-Mus’abi family, al-Fadl was a firm believer in Harthama ibn A’yan’s political agenda and would certainly fall victim to the same anti-Abbasid sentiment which fuelled the coup. He informed the wali and Tahir ibn al-Husayn, and together they agreed to allow the conspirators to believe the ploy was successful; instead of Hatim ibn Harthama going to the ambush, Tahir would take his place and prepare an ambush of his own. It was to be the first real test for the new Saqaliba army, who acted as the counter-ambushers while the jund were the bait. Tahir ibn al-Husayn’s plan was a success and the ambushing forces were decimated. As a reward for his service, Hatim ibn Harthama granted the lands of the rebels to Tahir and his relatives. Al-Fadl ibn Marwan was aghast but there was not much he could do as his power base mostly consisted of (still Christian) Roman bureaucrats. The Andalusian and Muslim Lombard nobles who hadn’t taken part in the coup attempt, that is most of them, were equal parts stunned and horrified at the sequence of events.

    With the power of the al-Mus’abi family established, the Andalusian and Lombard nobility began to cooperate even more extensively. Intermarriage between the two groups became more common and petty disputes were resolved without the involvement of the government in Rabina. An embassy was discretely sent to the elderly wali Habib ibn Muhammad al-Fihri of al-Andalus asking for his aid in an eventual overthrow of the pro-Abbasid administration; al-Fihri was heartened by their opposition to the Abbasids but cautioned against rash action. The ambassadors returned home disappointed. Meanwhile the provincial diwan al-jund, administered by Talha ibn Tahir al-Mus’abi, was stepping up its recruitment of Muslim immigrants and training them alongside the Saqaliba. Upon the outbreak of the Zanj Revolt in 836 CE, the Andalusian and Lombard umara began to believe that the Abbasid government in Baghdad was entering its death throes. In a haphazard manner the nobles of northern Ruma al-Gharbiya mobilised their personal retinues and declared allegiance to Habib ibn Muhammad al-Fihri in al-Andalus. Some of the rebels organised under the command of Abu Imran Zallu ibn Yusuf al-Matmata’i, the Berber hereditary governor of Bajramus [Bergamo], but many of the Andalusian nobles refused to act until the Banu Fihr had responded to their call-to-arms. The old wali of al-Andalus vacillated over the decision which resulted in a group of younger Fihrids convening to force him to abdicate; he was replaced by Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalid ibn al-Qasim al-Fihri. The new governor wholeheartedly supported the rebellion across the border and raised his armies to join the fray.

    Hatim ibn Harthama had the presence of mind to immediately dispatch messengers to Baghdad once the rebels declared their allegiance to al-Andalus, though he also believed in the exaggerated threat of the Zanj Revolt and so doubted that reinforcements would be forthcoming. The wali and Tahir ibn al-Husayn mobilised the elements of the jund which they knew they could rely on, and had all of their forces converge at the new al-Mus’abi holding of Farariya. The rebels under Abu Imran Zallu ibn Yusuf al-Matmata’i retreated southwest towards the territory of the Nicaean League, where they hoped to be met by reinforcements from al-Andalus. Their faith was rewarded as an army commanded by Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalid al-Fihri himself soon arrived by ship. The enlarged army marched to Barmah [Parma], where al-Fihri summoned the nobles he had been informed were loyal to the cause. Scouts from the pro-Abbasid army discovered the arrival of the Andalusian reinforcements and so rushed back to Farariya to appraise their commanders. Hatim ibn Harthama sent more messengers to Baghdad, impressing upon them the dire situation Ruma al-Gharbiya was in, though he was no more optimistic than his last plea for aid. Wazir Sa’id ibn Yahya ibn Abu Mansur had taken the Andalusian threat seriously though and upon hearing the report of the second group of messengers, decided to reassign Bugha al-Kabir and his army to Ruma al-Gharbiya; the military campaign to root out the rebels in southern Iraq was foundering and would require a new strategy to succeed, but the Zanj Revolt was not as severe as the westerners believed it to be.

    Most of the pro-Abbasid forces moved south from Farariya to Bununiya [Bologna] under the command of Hatim ibn Harthama, while the rest, under Tahir ibn al-Husayn, marched north to intercept and prevent any pro-Andalusian forces from linking up with Abd al-Rahman ibn Khalid al-Fihri. The Andalusian army also divided, with a smaller force commanded by Abu Imran Zallu ibn Yusuf al-Matmata’i moving to take Bununiya, while al-Fihri marched northeast to rally the remaining Andalusian and Lombard umara. The army of al-Matmata’i arrived at Bununiya shortly after ibn Harthama, and was surprised to find the city so well defended. The Andalusians retreated, though al-Matmata’i had to sacrifice some of his men in a rear-guard action in order to escape; he returned to Barmah and garrisoned the city, expecting ibn Harthama’s army to pursue them. The wali’s army travelled north however, to search for the remaining rebels. Al-Fihri’s army had managed to catch up to ibn al-Husayn while the Khurasani’s army was in battle with a Lombard rebel near Badwa [Padua]. The rebel reinforcements turned the tide of the battle and resulted in the defeat of the Abbasid forces; the latter suffered heavy casualties, including Tahir ibn al-Husayn himself. The survivors fled to autonomous Venetia, which so far had attempted to remain neutral in the conflict. The city agreed to ferry the survivors back to Rabina but only after they agreed to disarm, so that Venetia had a way to curry favour with the rebels if they proved victorious. It was at this time when Bugha al-Kabir’s reinforcements disembarked at Bayza [Pisa]. When he attempted to enter the city he was denied; the garrison and part of the populace were already sympathetic toward the rebels and the arrival of Abbasid soldiers drove them into open disobedience. True to form, the ghulam ordered his army to invest the city, an action which was sure to prolong the wilaya’s revolt even more.

    [1] The family of Tahir ibn al-Husayn ibn Mus’ab ibn Ruzayq, AKA the Tahirid dynasty of OTL.