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Al-Haqiqa (الحقيقة) is a Qirjak religion equivalent to Septifidelity, worshiping the first seven abjaksan, referred to in the faith as the al'Uwalsebiea (الأولسبعة). Followers are referred to as Talmidhi (تلميذي) – sing. Talmidh (تلميذ) – and the governor of the faith is the Caliph. The holy text is the al-Kharafat (الخرافات)
The founder of Al-Haqiqa and the writer of the al-Kharafrat was a holy woman named Shahirazadi (شىحيراظاضئ) (al-Wilada 17, 42QA – 0BA/Yuisk 16, 2490 – 2532PGZ). The Talmidhi, whom commonly referred to her as "Muqadasa al-Mar'a" (مقدسة المرأة/Holy Woman) in conversation, view her as the unofficial first caliph of Al-Haqiqa and a prophetess who told the truth about the first seven yet was unjustly punished for it by the Synkratics.
Since its introduction, Al-Haqiqa has been competing with Din faith, the ancestral religion of the Qirjak people, for centuries. It's gotten to the point that it's an almost even split between them.
Al-Haqiqa is prominent mainly in southeastern Aquilonis and to a minor extent in New Albion and northern Tarak. Bialidrak and neighboring states worship Al-Haqiqa roughly equally with Din. Xsassa alone has fully adopted it as its sole official state religion.
The difference is that while Septifidelity worships the first seven as "divine vessels" or "mortal incarnations" of seven deities, the Talmidhi worship a being of higher power and view the first seven abjaksan as their proxies in the mortal world.
No one is sure of the identity of the higher power the first seven were in service to, no more than the Septifideles are of the identity of the god that Tallulah and Xenovia, the creators of the abjaksan, are descended from. Early believers assumed it to be Al'aelaa Alwujud (الأعلى الوجود), the supreme deity that is central to Din faith; as the supreme deity, he made the most sense at the time. Most elite scholars of the time disputed and rejected this idea, and it wasn't long before the notion was discarded completely.
Without an official name, Talmidhi typically refer to the higher power the abjaksan serve as al-Qiwaa alty Yakun (القوى التي يكون). This unofficial name gave rise to the Talmidhi phrase, "Mayu al-Qiwaa alty Yakun sayr maeakum (مايو القوى التي يكون سير معكم/May al-Qiwaa alty Yakun walk with you)".
Talmidhi also refer other important Septifidelic figures, mainly the ones of Shevshelti origin, by their original names as a sign of respect with Qirjak transliterations and pronunciations: i.e. Tallulah (تاللولاح/Tallulah), Zinubia (زينوبيا/Xenovia), Tianni (تياننى/Tianne), & Jalatia (جالاتيا/Galatea).
The holy text of Al-Haqiqa is the al-Kharafat al-Sabeat Al'uwlaa (الخرافات السبعة الاولى/Fables of the First Seven), or simply the al-Kharafat (الخرافات/Fables), which tells similar stories found in the Mythos Septem, but with some big differences. Most of the memoirs and journals of the latter are simply translated, with a few minor differences, and most of the post-first seven stories and legends have similar morals, yet are told very differently.
Included in the al-Kharafat are several pages titled the Alf Wawahid Al'amthal (الف وواحد الامثال /one thousand and one proverbs), written by Shahirazadi herself, a collection of expressions with a variety of wisdom and morals that Talmidhi society lives by, and are often quoted from depending on the situation.
Shahirazadi was born 2490PGZ, then under the name Shahirazadi bint La'ahad (شىحيراظاضئ بنت لاأحد), as a slave in the Kingdom of Waljazir (والجزير) – now the southern region of the Sultanate of Bialidrak. When she was eight she was sold to a Eurodyne slave trader and ended up in a brothel in what is now Işıkarazi while praying to the deities of Din faith to liberate her, but her prayers went unanswered and she despaired, to the point she eventually gave up her faith. She was eventually freed by purchase and brought to a Synkratic monastery in what is now Altınşahil, where she was miraculously reunited with her long-lost brother, Kulthum (كلثوم), and educated to become a nun, all the while enduring racist criticism from many of her fellow initiates.
After several years living like that, in 2508PGZ, Shahirazadi, just eighteen years old then, eventually came to question the origins of the way the first seven were worshiped, having trouble understanding how the first seven abjaksan could be the supreme ones of Septifidelity when they originally didn't exist but were created for the purpose of ending the rampage of the Dark Lord Voldrazar (pronounced Buldrazar (بُلضراظار) by the Talmidhi); and Septifideles also believed that they were akin to mortal incarnations of seven deities whose names have been lost to time. Shahirazadi eventually concluded that they were wrong, that the first seven were not divine vessels or mortal incarnations of gods to be worshiped but servants of a higher power. It was at this point that she finally felt like she found her faith and began writing the al-Kharafrat, detailing her views on the first seven and transcribing the stories in the Fabella Septem into her native language, while making a few alterations that made more sense to her.
Having achieved spiritual enlightenment with her newfound faith, Shahirazadi left the church and vanished from public eye, aware that her views would be seen as heresy by the Church. For over twenty years she worshiped her newfound faith and even starting teaching and converting others – both people from her homeland, including her brother, and from elsewhere, and many locals – to her views in secret meetings everywhere she went, who proceeded to spread it far and wide themselves via various avenues and even to Eurodysia and parts of northern Tarak. Before long the Church caught on the spreading of the new faith and launched a series of "inquisitions" to determine the source and convert people back to Synkratism, but Shahirazadi, whose identity remained a secret from the Church, remained out of their grasp. However, in 2531PGZ, Shahirazadi and her leadership in the movement was uncovered by the papal authorities when she made the mistake of speaking of her teachings to some of her followers in a public area in Eurodysia, unawares that a local who understood her native language was eavesdropping. Shahirazadi managed to evade the authorities for weeks, but was betrayed by one of her students that feared for his life. Shahirazadi was arrested, charged with heresy, and sentenced to be burned at the stake. Some of her followers, her husband and Kulthum among them, were also arrested and similarly charged, but the majority of them including her sons and daughters, managed to escape, along with copies of her writings and the original al-Kharafrat so they would survive.
On the day of her execution a year later in the summer of 2532PGZ, as Shahirazadi stood on the scaffolding waiting for the end, she noticed some of her followers in the crowd and wordlessly made it clear to them that they were not to interfere. Before the executioner, a Synkratic archdeacon, lit the flames, she was asked if she would recant her teachings, but she refused and spat in his face. When asked if she had any last words, it was then that she spoke out loud of her faith and views before an open crowd for the first time. Just for amusement, then-Popess Arnhild II allowed her to finish before ordering Shahirazadi burned, an inaction many of her faith soon regretted. This event, combined with more that followed, sparked a perpetual animosity between Synkratism and Al-Haqiqa.
Al-Haqiqa was already gaining provenience in the Qirjak homelands and many of her followers escaped persecution so the new religion did not die with her. Shahirazadi, as the founder of Al-Haqiqa, was inscribed in the al-Kharafrat as a martyr, renamed Shahirazadi bint al-Jana (شىحيراظاضئ بنت الجنة).
Shortly after her death, Shahirazadi's eldest son who managed to escape the purge, Shahnaz ibn Shahirazadi (شهناز ابن شىحيراظاضئ), was proclaimed the first official Caliph of Al-Haqiqa, a title that has passed through Shahirazadi's lineage ever since.
Following Shahirazadi's death, the papacy of the Synkratic Church launched more inquisitions throughout Aquilonis and Eurodysia, which saw the persecution of anybody suspected of being what they saw as a heretic, forced conversions of people back to Synkratism, and almost eradicated Al-Haqiqa from Eurodysia. Additionally, fearing the spread of Al-Haqiqa in southern Aquilonis and the Holy Land – one of seven lands of religious importance assumed to be the birthplace of an abjaksan; Aragrawp Dryhlano's in this case, which includes what is now southeastern Işıkarazi, the entirety of Altınşahil and western Mübarek, three Araziyerli states – the Papacy authorized and organized a series of international military campaigns referred to as the Crusades, with the intention of halting the spread of Al-Haqiqa, or even eliminating it entirely, and keeping the Holy Land in Septifidelic hands. The Crusades reached as far as the Qirjak homelands themselves, but failed to stop the spread of the new faith. The papacy organized a total of sixteen of them over the course of a millennium and a half – the last one was from 4125 – 4140PGZ.
Al-Haqiqa is governed by a Caliph (خليفة), but the official holder of the title has been in dispute for centuries. For the last several centuries, due to the emergence of several denominations, there have always been at least two or three people claiming the title at any given time.
Al-Haqiqa today is divided into four main denominations.
Taqlidiun (تقليدي) is the term for the traditional sect of Al-Haqiqa today, adhering to the original core beliefs and practices passed down since the time of Shahirazadi and viewing and maintaining that her descendants – the unofficial Shahirazadi dynasty (سلالة حاكمة شىحيراظاضئ/Sulalat Hakimat Shahirazadi), passing through the lines descended from Shahirazadi's children and nephews, only required to be descended from either Shahirazadi or her brother Kulthum – are the rightful successors of the caliphate and the guiding lights of al-Qiwaa alty Yakun in the mortal world.
Aikhtiari (اختياري) is sect of Al-Haqiqa that emerged during the Third Crusade. While believers in Shahirazadi's enlightenment of the true nature of the al'Uwalsebiea, Aikhtiar Talmidhi believe that the successor to the caliphate should be democratically elected at the will of the people to serve as the guiding lights of al-Qiwaa alty Yakun in the mortal world. The emergence of this belief led to the founding of several independent caliphates over the course of Al-Haqiqa's history.
Al-Zawaj (الزواج) is a sect of Al-Haqiqa that, while believers in Shahirazadi's enlightenment of the true nature of the al'Uwalsebiea, believes that the caliphate can-and-should only be claimed when a true Talmidh engages in matrimony with one of the abjaksan, irrelevant of whether one of the spouses is a descendant of Shahirazadi.
Al-Sabetat (السبعةات) is an unorthodox sect of Al-Haqiqa that emerged during the Fifth Crusade. While believers in Shahirazadi's enlightenment of the true nature of the al'Uwalsebiea, Al-Sabetat Talmidhi don't believe in the caliphate and believe that only the seven abjaksan, as the successors of the al'Uwalsebiea, can lead them to the light of al-Qiwaa alty Yakun.
Relationship with Septifidelity
Because of the major differences between the denominations of Septifidelity, Al-Haqiqa as a whole has a different relationship with each of them.
The Talmidhi of Al-Haqiqa have an openly hostile relationship with Synkratics, stemming mainly from the animosity that festered from the Church's persecution of early Talmidhi and the unjust execution of Shahirazadi. The Synkratic Church, meanwhile, views the very existence of Al-Haqiqa as heresy and an affront to an orderly civilization, to the point that even saying the name of the religion is forbidden, and doing so is considered heretical. Instead Synkratics refer to the religion as "Hostibus" (lit. "The Enemy").
As the rise of Al-Haqiqa predates Offenheitism by at least twelve hundred years, the relationship between the two faith is relatively recent. In stark contrast to the mutual hostility Talmidhi share with Synkratics, followers of Al-Haqiqa have a courteous relationship with Offenheitlichs. Because Offenheitlichs believe that true enlightenment comes from universal acceptance of all things, the faiths Al-Haqiqa and Offenheitism have little to no conflict with one another. As a matter of course, their faiths dispute the nature of the first seven abjaksan, but since neither bears any ill-will over the matter, followers of both faiths simply agree to disagree.
Northern Vozrod Church
The relationship between Al-Haqiqa and the Northern Vozrod Church is one of mutual animosity for each other and towards the Synkratic Church, but neutral interaction. Most of the time the followers of both faiths simply pretend they aren't there.
Notes & Trivia
- Al-Haqiqa – which literally means "the truth" in Arabic – is the Qirsyllvian equivalent of Islam, and a Talmidh – Arabic for "pupil" – is the equivalent of a Muslim.
- al-Qiwaa alty Yakun literally means "the powers that be" in Arabic.
- Today there a more than a thousand living people eligible for the title of Caliph.