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    Real Strategy Requires Cunning

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Introduction and context
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
    243
    2
    Chapter 1

    To understand the Banu Khattab, we first have to understand the origins of Islam itself in Africa. The presence of Islam in Africa can be traced back right to the times of the Prophet. In 614 AD Muhammed advised many of his earliest disciples who were facing persecution from the pagan authorities in Mecca to go and seek refuge in Abyssinia. 23 Muslims complied. Later that same year, 101 more Muslims reached Abyssinia. Then, in 641 AD, Muslims troops conquered Egypt and then Libya the following year after defeating the Eastern Roman Empire and their allies. From then on, Islam spread rapidly in North Africa and among the Berbers.

    Now the Banu Khattab were Berber Ibadis. The Ibadis themselves were a minor sect of Islam. They thought that Islam had been harmed and diluted when the conflict between Shia and Sunni started. They wanted to bring back Islam to a primodial state of the Prophet's times. They also have varying viewpoints of other matters. Some of them are mentioned below.
    1) The Quran was created by Allah at some point unlike the Sunni belief that God and Quran exist from before time.
    2)God will not show himself to Muslims on the day of judgement.
    3)It is not necessary to have one man as head of the entire Islamic world(Caliph).

    Due to these conflicting viewpoints, the Ibadis faced much religious persecutions in the middle east by the late 8th century and by the 9th century, there was a huge diaspora of Ibadis out from Syria, Iraq and Arabia to the faraway horizons of the Islamic world.

    Muslims did not settle at Fezzan until the tenth century . In 918 a Berber Ibadita name Ibn al-Khattab Hawwarí founded the city of Zawila , which became a thriving center of caravans engaged in the slave trade. His family, the Banu Khattab, ruled the whole Fezzan. The territory prospered with numerous irrigation channels and a private military force.
    Now coming to the matter of the Slave trade.

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    The Arab slave trade was flowering in this region by the end of the first millennium. Islam had, for the first time, connected Africa with Arabia and the Middle East.

    Slaves were either purchased or captured in Slave raids in the Tribal regions of Pagan Africa. Mostly from the areas of Kanem, Hausaland and also from West Africa. Then, the Berbers played a very important role, they transported these slaves across the Sahara after which they would be taken to Arabia or the Middle East by ships and sold in Baazars.

    Now the transportation of these slaves across the Sahara was done via some important lanes. These lanes were narrow stretches of land fit for travelling. Zawila and the tribe of the Banu Khattab was located on one such lane. As a result, they grew fabulously rich from the slave trade and that is what enabled them to build their own private empire in the Sahara.

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    Zawila and the 'Slave traders Lane' which connected the African Hausa and Kanem tribal kingdoms with the North African sultanates.

    Below, a brief map of the Eurasian and North African world in 1066 AD is provided for a greater understanding and context of the matter. We will finally come to the matter of the Banu Khattab in detail from the next chapter onwards.
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    The reign of Malik Thakiya II (1062 AD-1072 AD)
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
    243
    2
    Chapter 2

    The tradition of keeping written records began in Fezzan and the tribe of the Banu Khattab in the reign of High Chief Thakiya II(The word Malik will be used hereafter). A biography on his life is written by Mansur Ali, the Fezzani scribe, titled 'Maliknama'. In it, he mentions not only the life and times of Malik Thakiya, but also the state of contemporary Fezzan in general. In this paper, the 'Maliknama' shall be used as a primary source and the writer shall interpret it and supply other resources to form a compelling narrative of this hitherto overlooked part of history.

    Not much is known about his reign apart from before he met Mansur Ali. He became the Malik of the Banu Khattabi Berber tribes sometime in the middle of the 11th century AD. However, in the Maliknama, Ali mentions certain legendary and romanticized legends of the Malik's rule prior to his meeting with him.

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    He first mentions that a few years after becoming the Malik, Thakiya started finding it difficult to manage his finances. If this was really the case, then this may have been due to a general decrease in the local trade and thus a decrease in the toll. But this seems highly unlikely given the context of the time. A more likely explanation is overzealous slave traders with private armies refusing to pay toll and thus a pressure on the Malik's treasury. Anyway, so according to Ali, the Malik blamed his situation on his wife Siddiqa's bad luck. So he decided to marry a second wife. Men were sent in all directions to find a woman who had that 'Midas touch'. He finally found such a woman in the ranks of the Awellimid tribe. The Awellimid was a tribe of Berbers who ruled over a majority of Hausa and other Negro-like peoples. The woman's name was Badra.

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    The second story that Ali narrates is directly related to his meeting with the Malik. According to Ali, some months before his meeting with the Malik in 1067, the Malik heard a sermon given by the most learned man in the tribe, his Imam Zayed. However, Zayed stumbled and narrated, what according to the Malik was a completely wrong interpretation of the holy Quran.

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    This must have been the cause of the Malik's decision to go on the Haj. It was on the route that the Malik met Mansur Ali. That is narrated in the second passage in the Malik Nama.
    Sometime in April 1067 AD, the Malik, after dealing with the difficulties that may arise in his absence and after travelling to the coast of Tripoli, boarded a ship based for the holy land. Now this ship's captain was apparently a slave trader and he planned to sell every pilgrim on board into slavery. The Malik must have overheard this, because he then rallied the pilgrims aboard the ship in a general mutiny. After, what Ali narrates as a long hard fight, the Malik defeated and killed the slaver captain. In the captain's room, he found Mansur Ali, shackled and forced to slave for the captain. The Malik rescued Ali. On this, a greatfull Ali promised to be forever loyal to the Malik.

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    And so, when the Malik completed his pilgrimage(Confirmed by contemporary Medina records of the time) and returned back home, he instructed Mansur Ali to keep a record of his life.

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    In 1068, the Malik, having already completed one long journey to the Haj for benefiting the soul, decided to make another long journey, this time to benefit his treasury. He decided to travel to Abyssinia, to Axum. Apparently, one of his courtiers was told by his Axumite slave that the kings there were much interested in trade and business. So, the Malik organized an expedition to Axum. He also took some Ibadi Inams with his in the hopes of having a healthy discourse about religions with the local king. Here it is important to note the meaning of this tale, this means that the Berbers had some hint that Islam hadn't penetrated Abyssinia yet.

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    The expedition reached Abyssinia successfully by April 1068. It must have been one heavily guarded and well supplied caravan to accommodate so many powerful and influential people across such a long distance. Mansur Ali's description of Axum also gives us a nice reference for the local condition in that era since very few Axumite references can be found for the time. According to Ali, the people in that land were black as tar, they worshiped a variety of gods and demi gods, the men wore loose white robes and the woman did not cover their faces like back home. The land was ruled by a King Dawit II. He had a rich bureaucracy full of ministers and scholars and his treasuries were overflowing with gold and silver.

    The Malik decided to offer some rare herbs from Arabia to the King. According to Ali, this proved the King's greediness, because on receiving such a simple yet special gift, the King held the Malik in low regard. However, another event happened that led to the eventual failure of the expedition.

    The Malik's Inams, who were expected to have debates with the local scholars, instead went straight to the local temple and began a quarrel with the local priests which eventually turned into a mob fight. Only the timely intervention of the local chieftan saved them from a massacre. This and other factors created a rift between the two rulers which eventually resulted in the Malik angrily leaving Axum for home after two weeks more.

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    For the next three years, the Malik tried to maximise his own efforts to levy effective tolls on the slave raiders and other traders to increase his treasury in which he was partially successful according to the Maliknama. He also tried without success to bribe several tribal lords of Kanem to join him in his ambition to conquer the great Kanemi market of Bilma which was located directly to the south of his own realm. However, war was on the horizon.

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    In November 1071, a major rebellion took place in the Zirid sultanate which ruled much of Cyrencia. The main perpetrator of this rebellion was the Sheikh Ahmed of Ajadabiya whose father had been humiliated by the then Sultan Tamim of the Zirid Sultanate.

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    In order to better his chances of victory, the revolters sent a huge private army of Berber tribes and mercenaries to attack the Banu Khattab and seize the trade routes passing through Zawila and Murzuk thus gaining them a lot of finance for their revolt. They disguised the attack as a holy war against the Ibadis in general. This turned out to be a big mistake because it deprived them of any local guidance or assistance. Eventually, their armies struggled to even find the oasises of Zawila or Murzuk in the burning desert. Without supplies, their army began to dwindle and so, when the Malik led a surprise attack on them in mid March 1072, they were fully routed and surrendered. The Malik demanded a huge ransom for their leaders which was paid.

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    This turned out to be a momentous event for the Malik. Now he finally had the finances to attack and capture the oasis of Bilma. Kanem at that time was ruled by a leader called Suleiman, who despite his name was not Muslim but pagan(The name having been given to him by his Muslim mother). The Malik rallied the entire tribe against the Kanemis and also paid a major Berber mercenary tribe to fight with him. Then, with a renewed vigour, the Malik led his men into the oasis of Bilma where the chief of Kanem waited. Here, the battle of Bilma took place on about 2 November 1072.

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    Here, Mansur Ali narrates the last tale of the Maliknama. The battle began at dawn when the Malik, who had hitherto refused to attack the oasis, preffering to wait for the Kanemi chief to make the first move finally tired and attacked the oasis head on. The two sides were equally matched and the lightly clad berbers fought the Black Kanemi soldiers with great bravery and courage.

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    The Oasis settlement of Bilma

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    Berber soldiers, 10th and 11th century AD.

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    A Kanemi warrior.

    Finally, the Malik saw Suleiman himself, alone and vulnerable and attacked. A duel insued between the two opponents for about half an hour. By the time the duel was over, the battle around them had already been decided in favour of the Berbers. However, the duel itself was lost and the great Malik Thakiya II was no more !

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    His death came as a blow to the victorious Berber troops who chased after the retreating Kanemis with a tang of revenge and killed most of them. A few weeks later, the chief of Kanem sent a white robe as a sign of peace and the war was over. However, so was the Malik's reign. He was succeeded by his son Malik Hiba, a minor.

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    Below is a map of borders after the annexation of Bilma.

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    Description of domestic life and the trans-Saharan trade in the period.
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
    243
    2
    Chapter 3

    The famous Arab explorer Fahim Arabi traveled to Fezzan in 1073, just a few weeks after the death of the Malik Thakiya. His memoirs are a very rich source of information about the overall domestic situation in the lands of the Banu Khattab tribe although he provides very little description of the Political situation. The writer has used his memoirs and other sources to sketch together a description of life under the Banu Khattab and in the Sahara in general.

    Now the Fezzan and the Sahara in general depended solely on trade and toll. This Sahara trade connected two completely different civilizations, the Black tribes of Sub-Saharan Africa from Ghana to Kanem and the Muslim Arabs. The Berbers like the Banu Khattab functioned as essential middlemen, thus they played the role of connecting these two civilizations. Commodities like Alum, perfumes, wines, falcons, glass, writing paper, wool, dried fruit, olive oil, saltfish, hides, carpets, corals, incense, horses and weapons changed hands regularly in the markets on both sides of the desert. But the biggest commodities were of course Grains and slaves. The former was needed on both sides of the Sahara in varying degrees depending on the quality of the harvest. The latter was the main commodity from the south to the north of the Sahara and vice versa. All this trade was heavily tolled by the local Berber chiefs(Banu Khattab) and the toll was mostly paid. No one wanted to take so high a risk in the middle of the Sahara. To understand the trade in general, we should first see a description of the oasis settlements in the Fezzan described by Arabi.

    Arabi travelled from Tripoli, reaching Murzuk, then he skipped Zawila because he couldn't find it and instead went south all the way to Bilma. It is possible that he traveled even south of Bilma to the wild Kanemi areas, but he makes no explicit mentions of the same. Arabi says that the settlements like Murzuk were completely based around the oasis. To the traveller who had just traversed the nothingness of the hot desert, Murzuk was like heaven itself. He describes that Murzuk was a very small settlement compared to Cairo or Alexandria. It was nothing more than a hamlet. He further describes that the local tribal chief was a young boy(He must be referring to Malik Thakiya's son Hiba who was 14 at the time). The chief's palace was a big stone structure. It looked like the grandest structure in the town and was situated right by the oasis. In pure construction, it was only a bigger version of the common people's houses, however, what distinguished it was its lush green garden. So contrasting to the hotness of the desert beyond the oasis.

    Beyond the chief's residence were some 12 to 15 smaller stone residences. These belonged to the local gentry. From the chief's inams and generals to important tribal leaders. Beyond that were the houses of the common people. According to Arabi, the people here were a mixture of Berbers and Blacks. The former were mostly rich and the latter were poor and served the Berbers. As said before, this part of the world depended on trade and agriculture was next to negligible. But what little agriculture did take place, took place in these oasises. The people grew everything from grain to dates right inside the village. Droughts and famines occured regularly amd sometimes, even in fertile periods, desert sandstorms destroyed the local agriculture. The common people lived in small thatched huts or the slightly better off people lived in stone houses.

    Arabi mentions that Murzuk had only one madrasa which was sufficient for its size. Here, half the township came in regularly for Namaz. Most Muslims here were Ibadis. However, the other half, especially the blacks, were pagan and they worshipped certain hideous animal-like gods of unknown names and origins.

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    The Oasis settlement of Murzuk.

    The final and most important part of the city was its market. The previous chief had built a new stone market where all kinds of merchants plied their wares. It was here that Arabi noticed many Arabs and even 3 men from Al-Andalus. Apart from shops, the market had taverns and a few lodges which became meeting places for deals of all kinds. There was also a special closed stone building dedicated to the slave market. Here, all kinds of Slave deals were made and slaves were sold. Arabi mentions that he also saw a white blonde Pisan girl here being auctioned and sold to a local tribal chief who won the auction against his own son. Later. he agreed to share her with his son after he was done with her.

    Slave raids were a staple occupation for many in the region from Arabs to Berbers and blacks. A huge band of armed men would be assembled for the same. Slave trading was a very essential part of economy here. After all, in what other way could this naturally arid wasteland survive with the richer agrarian world beyond. But that is too limiting a judgement, after all, who can discount the adventure of slave raiding for a young man. A chance to get rich, a chance to make a name and possibly get a few good slaves for himself.

    In the wild Sudanic world to the south, Slave capturing was a much more organised business. Many black tribes demanded a regular tribute of slaves from weaker ones in exchange for their survival. Kanemi chiefs could also enslave all family members of anyone accused of witchcraft by pagan law. Child kidnapping was also a regular thing in the region and child slaves were a precious commodity.

    Arabi also saw many slave merchants here who were 'In waiting'. You see, many Arab merchants struck a kind of deal with the wild black chiefs on the other side of the Sahara. They would give military equipment and weapons to these chiefs who in turn would use them to lead attacks on other tribes and enslave them. War was simply used as a means of getting slaves. After the chief got his slaves, he would sell them to the Arabs at a discount. It was an easy way to maintain a steady stream of commodities in an otherwise unsteady market. However, sometimes these deals did not go as planned. The black chief could lose his war, or his slaves might escape. Or he might refuse to sell them altogether or if not that, then could be late ! There could also be communication failure, after all, it is not easy for some chief to communicate with some merchant over such long distances filled with nothing but sand and sun.
    Arabi mentions one merchant in the market lodge of Murzuk who had already waited more than a year for 'His chief' to report back.

    But all in all, despite the occasional issues, the trade went on pretty well. The traders waited patiently and why would they not? Upto 10 such trips to and fro the Sahara and one could get filthy rich and buy his way into the nobility back home. It was a risk to reward scenario.
    Arabi also describes the conditions of the slaves. The slaves were all black(With the exception of some females) and were mostly people who had been captured in a slave raid in the wild unknown lands south of the land of the Berbers. Once captured, they could look forward to a miserable life in chains. Many slaves simply died during the journey northwards through the desert. Even in the caravans, they were not given any kind of shelter like their buyers and sellers. They had to walk behind the camels in chains. However, the slavers knew about these deaths and buyed more slaves than they needed. The profit margin was very high too, so a few deaths hardly mattered. Most males were castrated in advance while a few would be sold as males though they would probably be castrated later by their buyers in the Muslim world.

    Below is a gallery of various images associated with this trade.

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    A white female being sold. A very luxurious commodity, mostly captured by Muslim pirates in the Mediterranean. She would probably be purchased by some tribal chief or rich Sheikh and live the rest of her life in a harem.

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    Slaves being marched across the desert

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    Typical scene at a slave market.


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    A buyer inspects his slaves.

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    Trade caravans through the Sahara. They would often be huge and well guarded with private armies. After all, in the desert, unity is always better. They were mostly made up of 100s of traders and commanded by a Khobir(Leader).


    All in all, Arabi's descriptions provide a great insight in this part of history.
     
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    The Reign of Malik Hiba (1073 AD to 1089 AD)
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
    243
    2
    Chapter 4

    The next ruler in line was Malik Hiba. He came to the throne as a young lad of 13 in 1072 AD. Information about his rule is known from a second version of the Maliknama, this time written by local historians. It is not known what caused Mansur Ali to leave Fezzan after the death of Malik Thakiya and embark upon his now famous exploration of Hindoostan. However, it is safe to assume that his Maliknama inspired later versions of the same.

    Malik Hiba's reign is filled with constant rebellions, droughts but also conquests. His reign was dominated by Malikaa Daura.

    Badra and Hiba had always been close allies in Thakiya's court. The former had found no love and had no child from the old Malik, while the latter found no love from his mother Siddiqua due to his several other siblings. Immediately after his coronation, Badra appointed herself as Hiba's tutor. She appears to be a brilliant woman because a few months after Hiba's coronation, in February 1073 she uncovered a plot to separate Bilma hatched by Chief Hummay of Bilma. Now to understand the circumstances of Hummay's rebellion, we first have to understand the method of conquest and subjugation in this part of the world.

    After the Banu Khattab had conquered Bilma oasis from the Kanemis, they had not killed off all the locals.In fact, the locals hadn't even supported their Kanemi overlords in the war, why would they ? They had nothing to gain by doing so. After the battle had been won, the local tribe had simply sworn fealty to Malik Thakiya and lived and traded peacefully for some time. The local tribe here was not Berber but black. The chief himself was a pagan who had converted to Sunni Islam through the teachings of some slave trader.

    Upon hearing of Thakiya's death, the local tribe had assumed that his successor won't even bother crossing the desert paths to take back this small oasis.
    They were wrong.

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    After all, this was the desert, there was always some opportunistic camel rider willing to make a quick buck via treason. It appears that someone alerted Badra of this fact and she then uncovered the plot. However it was too late. The tribes of Bilma had already rebelled and killed the one Ibadi Inam kept by the Malik Thakiya there as a sort of Viceroy. This happened in late February 1073. The rebellion was however short lived. Badra skillfully gathered all the loyalists among the tribe and sent a small force of slave traders to take back Bilma with the promise that all the slaves that they would capture would be theirs with no taxes attached. By the end of March, the Chief Hummay was defeated, captured and brought at the Malik's feet. Badra had intended to have him cut open there and then, but the Malik was more kind-hearted according to the Maliknama. He agreed to free Hummay if he converted to the Ibadi sect of Islam which he did. It hardly would have mattered to Hummay anyway, people like him adopted Islam to have an easier time dealing with the Trans-Saharan traders.

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    The next two years went by peacefully and the skillfull Badra managed to make trade routes safer again and crush all opposition part by part. The Malik was indebted to her. But perhaps he also felt something else. Maybe his love for her hadn't been motherly all along. The regency ended in 1075 .

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    Just a few weeks later, the Malik Hiba married Badra, his second mother and his true love. In any other part of the Islamic world, this would have been a death sentence for both of them, but here in the Sahara, nobody really cared. That same year, the chief Hummay, now a defeated old man tried to rebel again, but his own tribe betrayed him, they were tired of the constant unrest in Bilma which was disrupting the primitive life in the oasis and he was captured and sent to Murzuk where he would rot in a hole covered with iron bars, open to the blazing hot Sahara sun, yet kept alive with regular meals of food and water.

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    Right from birth, the Malik Hiba had been a very studious individual according to the Maliknama. He must indeed have been so because he actually knew the history of the Roman empire or atleast the Byzantine empire. In 1076, he invited a Christian man of unknown origin and held a discourse with him. After the meeting, the Malik paid him 25 healthy slaves and money too. From then on, the Malik embarked on an epic quest. The quest to fly.

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    But just as he was about to make his dream of flying like a bird come true, he got some interesting news from the Malikaa Badra. She had been told by her brother in the Awellimid tribe that there had been huge droughts, rebellions and unrest in the tribe and the local chief Jibril was sick with an unknown disease. What better moment to invade ?
    She promptly relayed the news to her husband. But he refused at first. Now his refusal must have been correct. Conquest in any other part of the world gave someone security, prestige, power or atleast money. But what could one get by attacking a desert oasis, even smaller than Murzuk and populated by no more than a thousand people ?

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    But according to the Maliknama, the Malik changed his mind when an Arab caravan trader advised him to conquer the Awellimid oasis of Fachi which could be an ideal strongpoint to influence the wild Hausa tribes to the south and force them to lower the prices of slaves. So on 22 November 1076, the Malik declared war on the Awellimid and demanded the oasis of Fachi.

    Unfortunately, there was a major problem, the Malik didn't know the exact location of Fachi. Badra too couldn't pinpoint it because being a woman, she had always lived behind the veil in the Awellimid tribe. Finding an unknown oasis in a desert full of mirages was almost impossible. Fortunately, his Berber mercenaries headed by a man called Arabi knew the location because they had once raided it.

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    A Sahara Desert Mirage.

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    The Banu Khattab and their allies easily marched to Fachi after that and occupied it. The locals put up no resistance because more than half the population had left the oasis due to drought.

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    Then another problem came up. Out of the blue, the Arabi chief suddenly betrayed and left the Banu Khattab in the middle of the desert on account of failure of payment. He was never heard from again.

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    That was no problem however and the rest of the war was simply a question of killing scattered bands of Awellimid Berbers and massacring desert caravans loyal to that tribe. On 31 January 1078, the Awellimids surrendered.

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    After one and a half year of war, the Malik could finally return to his beloved Badra having conquered her homeland. The drough in Fachi however continued and the oasis was all but abonded a few months later leaving only some vagabonds and old date planters there.

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    Then in February 1080, the love between the Malik and his mother cum wife was finally proved. A healthy son Abdullah was born to them. The first of many.

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    Now with all worldy matters resolved, the Malik turned to the otherworldy.

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    Now the Maliknama provides some explicit details about the Malik's crazy ideas about flying like a bird. In September 1080, he defied many Islamic laws and actually built a strange bird like contraption from camel hide and wool. Then, against the wishes of his inams, he ordered a poor cook to fly in it promising 10 gold coins as a reward for success.

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    But the contraption failed miserably and all the Malik achieved was another crash in the desert sands. The cook fortunately was spared by Allah and he returned to his duties.

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    But not the Malik, this time, he decided to test out his camel hair wings himself. Against the wishes of Malikaa Badra and hundreds of his subjects among the tribe, he tried flying in his machine again, this time plummenting off a steep cliff.

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    It proved to be a disaster, the Malik was fortunately not injured due to the soft Waadi sand, but a piece of rock embedded in his right eye which the local Mullahs and physicians could not remove. Nevertheless, the Malik came out of the experience a learned man and thereafter he became a more devout Ibadi accepting the traditions and rules set up by his ancestors. He never tried crazy ideas again. He also sent 20 gold coins to Mecca as retribution for his act.

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    In November 1082, the Chief Suleiman of Bilma, the son of Hummay(Who died parched and shrunken by the desert sun in his prison) enslaved some Arab slave traders in Bilma and demanded a ransom. It was paid, but the Arabs asked the Malik to punish Suleiman. The latter reacted by declaring war, but once again, a distant uncle of Suleiman betryaed him and just 5 days later, Suleiman was already on his way to Murzuk bound in chains and destined for the same fate as his traitorous father.

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    The next four years were the high point of Malik Hiba's reign. He stabilized finally the realm that had destabilized so much in his regency, all the tribes were happy and even the Fachi drought did not return. The Fachi Oasis was now filled by an increasing number of Ibadi Berbers from Murzuk, an early form of Colonization. A second son, Wahab was born to the couple in 1086.

    In March 1087, the good time ended, the piece of stone that embedded in the Malik's right eye 6 years before finally gave way and became septic. The court Physician Zigza tried many cures, but none had the desired effect. Finally, the Malik's right eye had to be cut out to avoid further infection and death. The Malik agreed to this and his eye was gouged out after the which the infection apparently stopped. But this new change made the Malik more over-excited and hungry for power.

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    In late 1087, the Berbers had a major quarrel with the Hausas of Daura over ownership of a grazing savannah. The Malik, who had been rational in his youth reacted irrationally, he declared war on the entire Daura tribe. This plunged him and the Banu Khattab into an year long war with the Hausas. Hausaland took shape as a political and cultural region during the first millennium CE as a result of the westward expansion of Hausa peoples. They arrived to Hausaland when the terrain was converting from woodlands to savannah. They started cultivating grains, which led to a denser peasant population. They had a common language, laws, and customs. The Hausa were known for fishing, hunting, agriculture, salt-mining, and blacksmithing.
    Now the Daura, the Gobir, the Katsina and the other chiefdoms were just bands of wild black tribes who built small villages in the savannahs south of the Sahara desert and near Lake Chad.According to the Girgam papers, the Daura tribe was established in 2000 BC and had survived as one of the wildest and bravest of Hausa chiefdoms for several centuries.

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    The only known picture of Daura.

    The fact that they were brave and loyal was undoubtely true because despite being ruled by a small girl, they managed to unify as a single entity and attack Fachi and Bilma in a surprising show of offense.

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    The Hausas under their child queen.

    But by 1087, the Banu Khattab were too strong and more importantly.....................rich. The Malik not only banded together his own soldiers, but also as many slave traders and landless Berber tribes that he could find as a mercenary force.
    The Malik's forces clashed with them, first in Bilma and then in Fachi.

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    The Hausas fought different from the Kanemis, they were much more hardened fighters and they also used better tactics. However, they were too outnumbered and were killed to almost the last man.
    On 6 May, 1088, after more than a year of Desert and Savnnah fighting, the young queen of the Hausas surrendered. She was allowed to rule Daura in the Malik's name.

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    Map after the Hausa war.

    Then, in August 1088, a whole storm of good news rained upon the Malik. Another son was born to him and Badra called Thakiya after his father. He also received a surprising marraige proposal from the Zirid Sultan !

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    He proposed that his eldest daughter Setara be married to the Malik. The Malik must have been surprised. The real reason however must have been that the Zirid sultan had observed how the Banu Khattab had virtually became masters of the whole trade route and he must have wanted to be friendly with them. Badra approved of this strategic marraige knowing well that there would be no love between her husband and his second wife. The Malik however did not live to love Settera at all. Less than a month after her arrival at court, his empty right eye socket began to suddenly bleed one day. Before the doctors could be called, he suddenly ceased breathing.
    His craziness with flying had finally killed him.

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    A study on the accounts of Sheikh Talim(Part 1)
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
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    2
    Chapter 5

    By the end of Hiba's reign, the Banu Khattab had expanded their power deeper than ever into the desert. Hiba's marriage to the Zirid princess turned out to be a blessing for historians. For she didn't come alone. Along with the huge caravan full of treasures, animals, weapons and handmaids that accompanied her as dowry, also came the geographer Sheikh Talim. Sheikh Talim accompanied the princess and then embarked on an epic tour of the territories of his new masters.

    Born in Alexandria sometime in the 1040s, Sheikh Talim was the son of a rich trader who also served in the court of the Sultan of Egypt. Later on, he emigrated to the lands of the Zirids to profit from the trans-Saharan trade. He wanted to personally embark on the trade too, but he never got the chance initially according to his own writing. However, the marriage of the princess and his inclusion in the dowry presented a golden chance for him.

    From his writing, we gain an excellent insight into the new lands that the Banu Khattab had expanded into. Namely the oasises and desert settlements of Bilma, Fachi and Daura. His manuscripts are used as reference in this chapter. His writing is not a typical geographer's manuscript per se. His writing is of a very episodic and descriptive nature. He often describes various kinds of people that he met and details of conversations that he had with them.

    But first, we are going to see his details about the caravan of the desert and its journey.

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    Huge caravans of the Sahara.

    He first describes his caravan in much detail. Each caravan is made up of thousands of individual traders with their camels, retinues and servants all accompanying them. Most caravans also have some kind of a private army to protect them in the desert. The leader is called the Khabir. His installation according to the Sheikh was a formal affair, sealed with the recitation of the Fatiha, the opening chapter of the Quran. The Khabir, a common man in other times was the lord and master of the caravan in the desert. He commanded the caravan with full authority. His was a daunting task. An ideal Khabir had to know the desert like the back of his hand. He must know each and every small town or tribal enclave in the desert. He must know all the routes, byroutes and dangerous tracts in the desert. He must know all the remedies for the various ill effects of the desert ranging from typhoid and desert fever to scorpion and snake bite. Along with that, he must also know all the otherworldly dangers of the desert ranging from various kinds of ghosts to legendary desert monsters.

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    The Khabir of the caravn. The most important man.

    Along with the Khabir were also some other important appointees. Each caravan was accompanied by a respected Inam and a group of scribes to record the journey and the expenses. These were also chosen wisely from among the most bright minds on both sides of the Sahara. The Inam was also responsible for calling and leading the daily Namaz and also to bury the dead, settle inheritance and to also deal religious justice to anyone who wanted it.

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    The Inam was the second most important man in the caravan. Here, he is seen leading the Namaz prayers.

    Below them were many other minor appointees for a myriad of different tasks ranging from those in charge of grazing the common camels to the guards who worked in shifts to the desert guides, these were called as Takshif and often guided the Khabir on tracts of land that he did not know about. The last in the hierarchy were the slaves who worked in back breaking labour all day under the hot sun, lived in crowded slave camps and died in huge numbers during the journey. Most of the times, these slaves were not given any kind of animal to ride on and were simply dragged behind the caravan in chains if they could not walk.

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    Slaves being dragged across the desert.

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    Many well armed guards accompanied the caravan.

    The Sheikh writes that as soon as the caravan begin leaving Tripoli for the journey south, the womanfolk of the travellers would exchange amulets and other sacred symbols with their menfolk to protect them from the infinite dangers of the desert. The men in return would sometimes take vows of chastity to procure divine protection. Others simply did not bother and lived a more practical life filled with smoking, woman and music.

    For Music, the caravan had its own party of ragtag musicians. They played music, mostly after dusk around the campfires while the designated cooks prepared the food. The main instruments were a mixture from both sides of the Sahara ranging from sophisticated Arabian Clarinets to rough Hausa goatskin drums. Male musicians during this period were called Alateeyeh (plural), or Alatee (singular) and female musicians, called Awalim also accompanied the caravan thought the latter were always a part of some rich merchant's party rather than the property of the caravan.
    Additionally, if there were pilgrims in the caravan, they would often have their own instruments and would travel to the sound of hymns taken from the Quran. These men were often given a lot of respect and many times travelled for free, their expenses being covered by someone in the caravan to get religious goodwill.

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    An Awalim(Female entertainer) performing.

    The Sheikh also writes of internal clashes in the caravan rising from drinking alcohol. Islam forbids drinking alcohol, however, many in the caravan disregarded this law and drank in huge parties. He writes of one such incident where the Inam complained to the Khabir about this problem while they were in the middle of the desert. That particular Khabir was a religious man, but he was also level-headed, he did not want any problems while they were in the desert. So he bided his time and waited for the caravan to reach the next settlement.

    The caravan's arrival in any settlement was a cause of much excitement and fervour for the locals. The Sheikh writes that as soon as the caravan reached the oasis of Django(See map in previous chapters), the locals came outside in their richest and most cleaned clothes. The caravan would offer camp outside the walls or boundaries of the settlement and took an appearance of a temporary market as goods were bought and sold along with supplies and slaves. Many mercenaries also joined the caravan as guards in these places, in many cases to replace those who had died before in the journey. Many merchants in the caravan would keep some goods in the security of some reputable men to collect on their return journey in exchange for a price. It was also here, that the caravan paid its taxes to the local warlords and authorities.

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    Scene at some local market in a desert settlement, often the best part of the same.

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    Female slaves being sold to the caravan at some settlement, notice the walls of the settlement in the distance, the caravan often camped outside them.

    The Sheikh writes, that just as they were about to leave Django, the Khabir caught the men who were drinking alcohol and confiscated all their wines. They had no choice, if the Khabir abandoned them, then they would face a very difficult time ahead. So they did not hold grudges.

    Lastly, the Sheikh praises his caravan's Khabir by comparing him with stories of other Khabirs that he had heard. One particular Khabir sold his entire caravan in slavery on reaching the land of the Hausas. Another, charged gold coins for drinking water, a very important supply. It is understandable that in such a deadly environment, you begin to praise the only man responsible for your well being, the Khabir. This seems to have happened with the Sheikh as is clear from his praises for the Khabir.

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    Richer members in the caravan often travelled in palaquins.

    We will discuss his description of the southern territories in the next chapter.
     
    A study on the accounts of Sheikh Talim(Part 2)
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
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    Chapter 6

    This is a short chapter by the author to describe the situation in the conquered settlements of Bilma, Fachi and Daura. It is written, unlike the other chapters in a very technical and un-narrative format using many modern notations. The writer would like to thank the Imperial University of Elsass-Lothringen for this data.

    The Banu Khattab conquered Bilma in 1072. It hadn't changed much when Sheikh Talim went there 17 years later in 1089.
    Bilma features a hot desert climate. The town lies deep in the heart of the Sahara desert, more precisely in the Tenera, an hyper-arid desert region lying over northeastern Niger and western Chad, and as such is extremely dry, averaging only 12.7 mm (0.50 in) of measurable precipitation annually. Bilma is also hot during the "winter" months and extremely hot during the summer months and for prolonged periods of time. Average high temperatures in "winter" months surpass 27 °C (81 °F), and exceed 40 °C (104 °F) from April to September inclusively, peaking at 44 °C (111 °F) in June. The sunshine duration is extremely high year-round with some 4,000 h of bright sunshine annually. The region excels at hot, sunny and dry weather.
    Bilma was mostly famous for its salt mines. These were deathly hellish places were slaves toiled all their life trying to dig up and separate salt from the ground. Salt was an oft ignored but very important commodity for the Trans-Saharan trade and this isolated oasis was the only place along with Fachi where one could get salt for thousands of miles around. As a result, the oasis was filled with a few rich men who paid taxes to the Malik Hiba and the remaining populance served these men.
    Additionally, the Sheikh also wrote a few detailed descriptions about the oasis.
    "The village has mud brick walls and a fort like appearance, possibly Bilma. Most people were either Berbers or blacks community. Some of the young boys in blue robes had partially shaved heads. Mud walls surrounded the town. Women carried water on their heads. Camels were being loaded with goods, including a live goat which was strapped to a camel’s back. Donkeys and cattle roamed freely in large quantities on its sullen streets. Everywhere, there were square cut water filled holes in the rocks for salt production. Stacks of round salt blocks and long cone shaped blocks lied in the sun. The salt buyers were wrapping the salt cones in woven baskets for strapping to the camels."

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    Water flowing at Bilma oasis.

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    Bilma salt mine. Salt was extracted from the sand and from the ground water formed after sparse rains.

    Fachi is an oasis surrounded by the Ténéré desert and the dunes of the Erg of Bilma in eastern Niger, placed on the western edge of the small Agram mountain outcropping. It had an estimated population of some 2000 people. A stopping point of the Agadez to Kaouar caravans of the Azalay, Fachi is 240 kilometres (150 miles) west of Bilma and 320 km (200 mi) east of the Aïr Mountains. Apart from water, dates, and most importantly, locally mined salt, Fachi produces no provisions, and depends entirely upon trade in these products with passing caravans.

    Frequently raided by Tuareg and other Bedouins in its past, the town was built within high fortifications, known locally as a ksar, built from banco salt blocks. These had been demolished down by Malik Hiba's armies during his conquest but were rebuilt by him a few years later.

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    The settlement of Fachi(Left) ; The Ksar fortifications(Right)

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    The salt mine at Fachi.

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    This excavated site of the salt storehouse at Fachi also housed caged rooms for keeping the slaves and provides a fabulous insight into its brutal history. It was located onsite right near the salt mine.

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    Salt, the bloodline of Fachi and Bilma.

    The Erg of Bilma is a dune sea in the Ténéré desert region of the south central Sahara Desert. The Erg of Bilma stretches southwest from Fachi and the Tibesti Mountains. On the west it is bounded by the Aïr Mountains in north central Niger, and to the east it passes Bilma. It surrounds on three sides the oasis of Bilma, southernmost of a north–south string of oases of the Kaouar rise. The Erg covers an area of approximately 455,000 square kilometres (176,000 sq mi). This natural fortifications made it hard for those not accustomed to the desert to attack Bilma and Fachi.

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    View of the landscape in the deathly Erg of Bilma.

    At its southernmost edge, some of the dunes have been stabilized by the growth of vegetation, allowing human cultivation of crops like millet and sorghum on the slopes.
    Daura on the other hand was a very culturally developed place. According to Sheikh Talim's accounts, it was the very border of his world and was filled with pitch Black Hausa peoples with not one Arab or Berber in sight(Except for 3 representatives of the Banu Khattab). Beyond Daura were unknown lands full of cruel and unknown beasts.
    However, the Sheikh also says that unlike Fachi and Bilma which were just small oasises, Daura was a well developed town.
    The town lies in a savanna zone. An ancient settlement, the name of Daura means “blacksmith” in the Tuareg language, it was founded by a queen and was ruled by women in the 9th century and 10th centuries. This did not change even after its conquest by the Banu Khattab as its ruling nobility remained the same. It is the spiritual home of the Hausa people: a well-known legend of western Africa relates that Bayajida (Abuyazidu), a son of the king of Baghdad, killed Sarki, the fetish snake at the town’s well, and married the reigning Daura queen. Their descendants became the seven rulers of the Hausa Bakwai (The Seven True Hausa States). Daura thus became a Hausa state that stretched across the borders of present-day Nigeria and Niger. Daura town became a caravan centre for salt and potash from the Sahara Desert and for cloth, slaves, leather, and agricultural produce from the south; but it never gained the political or military prominence of Katsina (49 miles [79 km] west) or of Kano (73 miles [117 km] south). Nevertheless, Daura remained a very important and last stop for many Sahara trade caravans.
    Daura also represented the end of the long, hard Sahara desert and a sense of relief for all travellers.

    The Sheikh describes in one passage, the trade and trade goods of the strange city.
    "Local trade in Daura is primarily in sorghum, millet, onions, peanuts (groundnuts), cotton, and hides and skins; cattle, goats, sheep, horses, and donkeys are kept by its Hausa and Fulani inhabitants. Cotton weaving and peanut collecting (for export) are significant economic activities."

    Lastly the Sheikh also reports this
    "The local general of the Hausas who fought against the Malik Hiba in the name of the Chieftess is forever guarding the gates of Daura. After the battle, he was caught and jailed. He was then chained and buried chest deep in the scorching desert sun without food or water and in the company of stinging red ants till death. After that, the Malik had his skull removed and perched on a spear to serve as a welcoming sign at the gates of Daura."

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    Men in Daura.

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    This painting shows a typical Daura house built with mudbrick and with a large, bare courtyard.
     
    Last edited:
    The aspiring warrior. Malik Abdullah's reign part 1(1089-1097)
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
    243
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    Chapter 7

    Malik Hiba died on 10 September 1089 of his faulty eye. He was not buried by Islamic customs, instead his body was flung off the cliff of a desert wadi(Low hill) as he had wished. He flew like a bird for one last time on the earth. All his well-wishers wished that he would fly in Allah's gardens for eternity.

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    Immediately, Badra got to work. The Malik Abdullah V, her eldest son was only 9 years old. Like his father, his merry boyhood had been flung into the ugly world of men and their intrigues. There was no shortage of those. It is written in the Abdullah Maliknama(Written by an author called Tawariz of whom we have no information) that just hours after Hiba's death, a band of assiliants tried to attack Abdullah even as he lay in mourning. Fortunately, Badra had them caught. The men were castrated and sold away in slavery as an example. That same night, she had the Khutba read in his name. He was crowned as chief of the Banu Khattab by dawn.

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    A modern day painting of the Malikaa Badra drawn by a historian from German Mittelafrika.

    Then, Badra got to work. Within days of Abdullah's coronation, all of his minor enemies were either bought off or killed. Soon, peace reigned strong atleast in the central oasises of Zawila and Murzuk. According to the Maliknama, this noble woman wanted her son to have a carefree childhood away from the dangers of day to day power.
    She succeeded in doing so, however, she could not stop the intrigues among her own son. Abdullah's friend Karim, despite being younger towered over him. He was much more stronger than the young Malik and he regularly beat up the comparatively timid Malik Abdullah in wrestling matches. For a long time, the Malik ignored it for companionship. But one particular day, tired of the constant torment, the Malik vowed to take up his martiality seriously. Still only 11 years old, the Malik started on his path to become a maniacal warrior.

    He started eating more, wrestling more, training more. He also learned the arts of sword fighting and archery. Badra appointed a team of the most trusted and best warriors in the tribe to further his training. They also taught him the intrigues and ways of the battlefield. The Malik became a highly proficient and brilliant warrior and leader by the time the regency ended in 1096. But in the process, he had lost his childhood despite his mother's efforts.

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    After this, the Maliknama jumps straight to an event that occurred shortly after the end of the regency. On his mother's advice, the Malik Abdullah decided to travel to his farway province of Daura. But as he neared it, he decided to rest with his bodyguards at an uninhabited oasis in the desert. At dawn, he suddenly noticed dozens of men fighting with their swords drawn. He alerted his soldiers and drew his own. He noticed that those men outnumbered his band. So he decided to covertly spy on their activities. On further observation, he concluded that it was not fighting, but dueling that he was seeing. Seeing Dueling, the Malik could not control his emotions, still just a boy of 16 and quite brash, he appeared head on in the dueler's camp and declared "I am Malik Abdullah of the Banu Khattab, I wish to join you too". According to the Maliknama, a sudden silence fell around. Both the duelers and the Malik's bodyguards looked at each other silently, swords drawn. Finally, one of the senior duellers came forward.

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    He spoke in a fatherly voice "Young boy, inside this camp, there is no Malik and no slave. We duel to show our manliness and power. If you want to join us, then you join us by showing your guts, not your position" said the old man.

    "Ok then, tell me, what should I do to join?" asked the Malik.

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    The old man did not speak, he simply waived his hand at one of the warriors in the camp. The Maliknama says that the warrior came from the Hausa state of Gobir. The Malik understood immediately. A ferocious duel took place. The Malik fought using his sword while the warrior, towering over the Malik used a curved wooden blade. The duel lasted for more than an hour. Sadly at the end, the Malik was pinned down and despite his saying otherwise, the old man ordered the warrior to stop and declared the warrior as the victor. The dejected Malik left the camp and continued travelling to Daura.

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    In Daura, the Malik ordered the release of the chieftess who had been under house arrest since his father's annexation of the settlement. It would prove to be a big mistake later on.
    He also waived a few taxes as instructed by his mother to improve their relations with the local population. In the end, he left as a respected ruler rather than a visiting conquerer.
    On the way back, he suddenly saw a few horsemen riding towards him. For a moment the Malik became alert, however to his astonishment, they were some of the duelers that he had seen in the old man's camp. They bowed before him and presented him a strong curved sword. With it was a letter. The exact contents of the letter are not described, but the Maliknama describes the scene as momentous. The Malik was delighted at being declared a worthy warrior by the band of duelers despite having lost the duel. He had been declared their equal if not overlord.

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    When he returned, he decided to sacrifice his ceremonial robes in favour of leading a warrior's life. He also gave up on cutting his beard and kept his hair in long locks. He also started giving fair justice without looking at people's rank. The Maliknama praises him highly for the same. He also approved new plans to dig up extra wells at the drought hit oasis of Fachi which saw fruit. Within mere months, the oasis was flooded with light rains and most of the water was saved up due to the wells. Everyone praised the Malik for that. It was as if prosperity and fame were raining down on him. This happened in 1097.

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    Meanwhile, the noble Badra finally decided to retire and live a quiet life hoping to never enter politics again.

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    That same year, the Malik also decided to further his fame as a warrior chief by holding a great festival at Murzuk.

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    Male beauty contests were a salient part of the Berber tribal festivals.

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    But some males preferred to show their rougher side in duels instead.

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    Camel racing. Camels were the lifeline of the Sahara and proud owners aimed to improve their family's prestige by trying to breed the fastest camels.

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    And of course, there were the woman, enjoying, silently in their own groups.


    All the chief's(and chieftesses) including the ones of Bilma and Daura were called to the festival and welcomed. They came. Sadly for the Malik, their intentions were questionable......
     
    Last edited:
    ......
  • lad

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    PM from Jazzy1659(Uploader of Lanes of the Sahara)

    If you like the pirated pdf upload of this historical report and have some money, then please support the authors by legally buying it.They have spent a lot of time and effort into writing it.
    Also please Upvote me in the community awards at Pdf Pirates.com to get more quality uploads.
     
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    The aspiring warrior. Malik Abdullah's reign part 2
  • lad

    First Lieutenant
    On Probation
    Apr 3, 2018
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    Chapter 8

    By late July 1097, the great Banu Khattab tribal festival had turned into a melting pot of Islamic cultures. Many great men from places as far as Egypt and Al-Andalus made the journey to this remote corner of the Islamic world to take part in this festival. It also turned out to be a diplomatically sound choice as Malik Abdullah met with diplomats representing various Sultanates Sheikhdoms. He also noticed a large number of singers, bards, holy Inams and poets entertaining people in the festival for a fee. It was this that prompted the Malik to hold a large poetry contest.

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    It was a royal affair. A large reward was declared and each poet had to display their acumen every day for a full fortnight. At the end, whoever had managed to keep their poetry fresh and original for the whole 15 day period would win. The Malik was extremely happy to see that hundreds flocked to his court for the competition and he was soon overwhelmed by men who could wield their words like a sharp sword and who could create music out of nothingness. The Malik was enjoying himself. But elsewhere, sinister plots were being hatched.

    It was around this time that the chief Abubakr of Bilma and the chieftess Shawata of Daura mysteriously left Murzuk and returned to their home provinces. The Malik was so engulfed in the poetry contest that he did not notice this act.

    On 6th July 1097, just 2 days before the poetry contest was about to end, the Malik suddenly received reports of large rebellions in Bilma and Daura. The chief Abubakr had rebelled with the help of the chieftess of Daura like his father and grandfather before him.
    The Malik is reported to have said "I gave the undeserving woman her freedom(From house arrest) and she repays me with this?" .
    Even worse, the rebels had also managed to bribe the hitherto loyal chieftain of Zawila to rebel. The Malik was horrified. Zawila had once been the crowning city of the Banu Khattab and it was also the biggest town in the whole kingdom. Losing it was a great blow to his prestige.

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    In short notice, the Malik declared the festival closed. The festival gave him a unique advantage, there was no need to rally all the tribes and mercenaries together, they were already there in Murzuk on account of the festival.

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    The Malik attacked Zawila in early August. However the town was well fortified and false reports of a great plaque meant that the siege eventually became a stalemate.
    Elsewhere, the rebels crushed a few loyal tribes at Fachi and raided the oasis, then they stopped at Bilma and decided to fortify the oasis. The Malik Abdullah concentrated all his might on taking Zawila and for a few months, a status quo was established.

    It was broken violently in late February 1098 when the Malik managed to bribe a guard and enter Zawila through an unguarded gate and himself led an attack. The defenders were caught by surprise and meekly surrendered. The treasonous chieftain committed suicide on learning of the attack. The Malik agreed to forgive the defending soldiers if they agreed to join him in his march towards Bilma. The men agreed.

    Now, having tasted victory in battle for the first time, the Malik felt a renewed vigour . He marched his armies rapidly towards Bilma.
    Interestingly, the battle of Bilma on 20 March 1098 is the first in the annals of the Maliknama to be somewhat documented.

    Even as the two armies faced each other near a desert Wadi(Small sand hillock) just outside Bilma, the Malik ordered his light cavalry to attack the rebel left flank. The rebels behaved predictably and concentrated all their efforts on the left. Then the Malik sent his heaviest cavalry on the exposed right flank. In that attack, the chief Abu Bakr was taken by surprise and was captured alive. Then, the Malik sent his men on foot to begin the main assault. By noon, it was over. The Malik had won.

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    Berber infantry of the kind employed at Bilma.

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    Light cavalry was used to harass the enemy left flank.


    o49D

    The Malik used heavy sword cavalry to assault the enemy's right flank. Here, we see them in intense combat with the surprised enemy.

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    After all that strategy and planning, the result was a foregone conclusion.

    However, the chieftess of Daura tried to run. She first ran to Fachi and tried to occupy the town with what few men she had left. But when she heard reports of the Malik marching towards Fachi, she decided to march towards her fortress in Daura. It was on the way to Daura, that the Malik caught her on 2 October 1098.

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    The Malik imprisoned the chieftess and was about to put her to death, when, according to the Maliknama, a wise Inam asked him to take this opportunity and convert the people of Daura and the Hausa in general to the true faith instead. The chieftess was released only after she agreed to convert to Islam and the Ibadi sect.

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    The chieftess of Daura converts to Islam. A pivotal moment in the history of MittelAfrika and the Hausa peoples.

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    Shortly afterwards, the Malik, as a personal insult forced the imprisoned chief AbuBakr of Bilma to give up his sister Tilelli's hand in marriage to him. The chieftain had no option but to accept.

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    With the rebellion taken care off. The Malik spent a year taking care of his broken finances. Then, in May 1100, he decided to hold the festival again. Among the invitees was the warrior's band whom the Malik had dueled with all those years ago in the desert.

    One day, a warrior from that band by the name of Mamadi challenged the Malik to a bout of hand wrestling. Now the Malik was a great tactician and a skilled swordsman, but his hands weren't too muscular. Predictably enough, he agreed enthusiastically and then lost !
    Then to the horror of everyone present, the warrior openly insulted the Malik by calling him a pansy. This sent the Malik's blood curling. He challenged the warrior to a duel unto death.

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    The Malik fought hard and the Maliknama states that the duel went on for more than 2 hours. But at the end, Mamadi slew the Malik by thursting his sword through Abdullah's stomach. Yet another chapter in the history of the Banu Khattab was now over.

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    The next day, the old hardened Badra once again came out of retirement to take up another regency. The woman had toiled with politics her whole life and had went through two violent regencies already. Fate had cruelly subjected her to yet other. But the resourceful woman wasted no time. She immediately crowned Abdullah's brother, the 14 year old Wahab as Malik by having the Kuthba read in his name in front of all the major tribal leaders and chiefs. That night, she held a party for his coronation and the new Malik drank rose sherbet out of a skull glass. The skull of Mamadi !

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    Notes
    1)The writer would like to thank the Herman Goering MittelAfrika Institution of Learning for information and access to this chapter of the Maliknama.
     
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