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God is great, God is great, there is no God but God, and God is great; there is no arbitration except by God.
— Khajirite slogan adopted by 'Ali ibn Muhammed

'Ali ibn Muhammad was an Arabian rebel who lead an insurrection of Zanj and Arabian rebels from 869 to 883 against the ruling Abbassid Caliphate, who utilized Zanj slaves to farm sugar cane in the Tigris and Euphrates Valleys of what is now southern Iraq. Little is known for certain about Ali ibn Muhammed, though it is often suggested that he may be of either Arabic or Persian ancestry. Ali himself claimed descent for Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law of the Prophet Muhammad, though this claim is generally not accepted by historians.

During a period of turmoil and conflict in the Abbassid government in 869, 'Ali lead a revolt by Zanj slaves and other downtrodden classes such peasants and Bedouin in the city of Basra. The rebels, however, were forced out of the city, into the marshes that surround the Shatt Al Arab. Here, the rebels launched a series of guerrilla raids, against the Abbasids. In one of the first battles, the Zanj rebels ambushed a force of militia traveling from Basra both on barges and galleys and on shore. A small force of rebels formed a shield wall and met Basrans head-on before the second group emerged from the marshes behind the Basrans and attacked. Hundreds of Basran militiamen, as well as civilians who had come to watch the battle, were either killed in combat or drowned when the Zanj overturned their barges and galleys. This ambush would become known as the Battle of the Barges.

After his victory at the Battle of the Barges, the rebels took control of the river to point where he amassed a large army equipped with captured weapons and horse, as well as a fleet of barges, boats, and galleys for riverine warfare. They also seized the cities of al-Ubulla, Jubba and al-Ahwaz. Their control of the region was such that they began building fortresses, minting currency, and even built a new capital of Al Mukhtara in 870 AD. In 871, the rebels sacked the city of Basra, overwhelming the Abbassid soldiers and militia defending the city and killing over ten thousand inhabitants, both soldiers and civilians.

After the Sack of Basra, the Abbassids made a more concerted effort to combat the Zanj, however, in a series of battles from 871 to 872, the rebels won a series of victories in which multiple Abbassid leaders were killed in battle. While an army under the Caliph’s brother, Abu Ahmad ibn al-Mutawakkil managed to capture and execute Ali ibn Muhammad’s lieutenant, Yahya ibn Muhammad, al-Mutawakkil’s army was later defeated in battle by the Zanj and forced to retreat as disease and summer heat began to take their toll.

The rebels continued to gain ground until 879 AD, when Abbassids launched an offensive against the Zanj, clearing them out of their former territory until they surrounded the rebel capital of Al Mukhtara in 881. The city held out through two years of siege, until Ali ibn Muhammad himself was killed, essentially bringing an end to the rebellion. The Zanj Rebellion caused a massive disruption in the economy of the area and caused ten of thousands of deaths.

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Battles here were deemed to be unfair or otherwise not in accordance with wiki standards, and have been removed from the statuses of the warriors and displayed below.

Battle vs. Spartacus (by SPARTAN 119)[]

Spartacus: 20

Ali: 20

Spartacus led a group of 20 slave rebels along a road in the middle of an open field near the edge of a marshy area. Suddenly, a hail of sling stones flew at the rebels. Most of them, however, were wearing armor taken from either the gladiatorial school or their fallen Roman foes. The stones, for the most part, bounced off their helmets, though one rebel, who was not wearing a helmet, was hit by a stone about the size of a man's fist in the temple, which caved in his skull and killed him.

Immediately after the barrage of stones, about five Arabian rebels charged down the road, armed with shields, swords, and spears straight at Spartacus and his men.

"Form up, shield wall!", Spartacus ordered, and the gladiator rebels that had scuta captured from the roams created a wall of shield and placed their gladii between them in imitation of the tactics of their Roman foes, ready to defend against the incoming attack. While their fellows formed up, a few of the rebels hurled pila or slung stones at Ali ibn Muhammad's rebels. Most of them missed, but two of the Zanj were killed, one pummeled by sling stones, while the second was impaled through the chest by a pilum. (Spartacus: 19, Ali: 18)

The Arabian rebels appeared to realize they were outnumbered and fled back from where they came.

"After then!", Spartacus ordered, leading the charge with sword in hand. Spartacus and his rebels followed the retreating Arabs into a section of road flanked on both sides by marsh, covered by tall grasses. After chasing them several hundred meters into the marsh, the fleeing Arabs finally stood their ground.

Suddenly, shouts in Arabic erupted from the reeds on either side of the road, soon followed by Arabian and Zanj warrior armed with spears and swords, led by Ali ibi Muhammad himself. Four of the Roman rebels were cut down before they could defend themselves as the Arabian rebels surrounded them. (Spartacus: 15, Ali: 18)

The remaining gladiator rebels tried to defend themselves. In the chaos of the ambush, steel clashed against steel and blades ran through flesh. Spartacus himself blocked a strike an Arabian straight sword with his scutum, before thrusting his gladius into his enemy's chest, killing him. At the same time, Ali ibn Muhammad ran his Az Zagayah spear through he back of a gladiator rebel who was distracted by fighting another of the Zanj. All around them, men died on both sides in the chaotic melee, but it was Spartacus and his rebels who payed the greatest price. In tight quarters of the marsh, it was impossible to use their shields with any efficacy, or even tell what was going on mere meters away- they were surrounded and easily separated and rendered vulnerable. Only seven gladiators remained, but there were a dozen Zanj and Arab rebels left. (Spartacus: 7, Ali: 12).

A Zanj rebel hooked the shield of one of Spartacus's rebels away with a sickle, before drawing a khanjar in his off hand and slashing his foe's throat. Soon after, another of Spartacus' men was struck by a spear through the neck, killing him. Realizing he was going to die, Spartacus decided he would at least take the enemy leader with him. (Spartacus: 5, Ali: 12)

He charged at Ali ibn Muhammad, cutting down three Arabs that stood in his way. Ali ibn Muhammed could only barely defend against Spartacus' attack, being pushed back into the reeds. Unfortunately for Spartacus, has final charge ended there, as an Arab came up from behind an ran a spear through his chest. Ali ibn Muhammad swung his sword at the mortally wounded gladiator, finishing him off. At the same time, what remained of Spartacus' rebels were finally overwhelmed. (Spartacus: 0, Ali: 9).

After the last of his enemies fell, Ali ibn Muhammad raised his sword and yelled "There is no arbitration except by Allah!

WINNER: Ali ibn Muhammad

Expert's Opinion[]

Ali ibn Muhammad won this battle because of his more effective tactics. While Spartacus' revolt lasted only two years, the Ali managed to continue his fight in the marshes for ten years, proving himself a master of guerilla and riverine warfare. This, along with a slight advantage with some of his weapons earned him the victory.

To see the original battle, weapons, and votes, click here.


Battle was declared invalid due to 'Ali ibn Muhammad being given a khanjar, despite never using one.