Ibrahimism is by its own dogma the ultimate development of the "Old Book", or Abrahamic, group of religions. Founded by the Sunni Muslim preacher Ibrahim Mustafa (3068-4760CE) and codified in the Golden Book of Ibrahim in 3658CE, the religion absorbed most members of the major sects of Islam and Christianity during the Imperial Era and became by far the largest of the "traditional" Human religions.
All Ibrahimites believe in the One God, the Creator who formed the universe and fashioned Humanity in His image as the inheritors of His Universe. As such, Ibrahimites are opposed to genetic manipulation, cyborgization and any changes to the "true form" of Humanity. With few exceptions, Ibrahimism does not accept Aliens, Created beings or Variants as members. The Ishmahili branch of Ibrahimism is by far the largest sect of the religion and has over two trillion adherents. Ishmahili Ibrahimism is the state religion of the Terran Khalifate and is the most hard-line of the major sects. More tolerant sects of Ibrahimism that have geographically widespread adherents include the Hammedian branch and the Rhuzi branch. Additionally, hundreds of local Ibrahimite sects exist on long-isolated or remote worlds across Human Space.
The Ibrahimite religion has its deepest roots in early Imperial Era Sunni Moslem revivalist traditions, but was also strongly influenced by the Bahá'í faith and its belief in progressive revelations of the Creator.
Ibrahim Mustafa began preaching in Cairo's restive arcologies in 3093CE, quickly developing a large following among the disenfranchised and spiritually disillusioned Arab populations. In 3180CE, on his fortieth birthday, Ibrahim declared himself the Mahdi, seized control of Mecca from its caretakers and gained Imperial recognition as Protector of Mecca. Through preaching, prophecy and diplomacy, Ibrahim succeeded in reuniting most communities of the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam by 3111CE and began construction of the Black Mosque of Mecca, completed in 3144.
Ibrahim, prophesizing the future return of the Messiah, worked to reconcile his faith, then known as Golden Islam, with Jewish and Christian traditions, converting the bulk of the Eastern Orthodox Christians in 3177CE. Few Jews accept conversion, but he gradually incorporated various Christian and Bahá'í denominations. In 3554CE the union with the Roman Catholic Church made Ibrahimite Islam the largest religion on Terra.
The genesis of the modern Ibrahimite church occurred in the 37th century. Initially, Ibrahim was not especially intolerant of genetic technologies or cybernetics as long as the essence of Humanity remained fundamentally unchanged. However, after the death during regeneration therapy of Ibrahim's beloved second wife Ashiri in 3585CE, his views hardened. In 3605CE, Ibrahim returned from a Grand Tour of the Empire and decreed the reinstitution of the pilgrimage for all Golden Moslems, even those living in far star systems. In 3624CE, Ibrahim vehemently denounced Mechanist reincarnation. In 3642CE, three years after introducing the Elixir life-extending tonic to the faithful, he denounced regeneration and Eternal therapies as perversions of the Human Creation and expelled the genetic Nobility from the church as abominations. In 3658CE, after a seven year mediation in the Arabian desert, Ibrahim emerged to present the divinely inspired Great Book of Golden Islam, soon known as the Golden Book of Ibrahim, which became the core text of all Ibrahimite sects.
During the remaining centuries of the Imperial Era, the Ibrahimite Church remained under the sole authority and guidance of Ibrahim Mustafa. Later denouncements of genetic therapies, Variant biomorphises and Artificial Sentience reinforced the teachings of the Golden Book. Though scattered hard-line inspired violence, assassinations and riots occasionally arose, these incidents were always denounced by Ibrahim, who preached a strict separation of church and state, promising eventual triumph after the return of the Messiah.
The two main branches of Ibrahimism, the Ishmahili and Hammedian sects, emerged during the fifth millennium. Ishmahil was the seventh son of Ibrahim's seventh wife and was born in Mecca in 4341CE. He soon became leader of a hard-line Ibrahimite faction, forming the paramilitary Order Of Purity in 4598CE and establishing private fleets of warships to protect Ibrahimite interests.
Hammed Mustafa was Ibrahim's grandson, born in 3827CE, second son of Adnan, second son of Ashiri. Hammed emphasized coexistence with unbelievers and abominations, He saw them as distractions and representatives of false paths that the devout could overcome through faith and devotion, not conflict. The basis of the Hammedian sect emerged after Hammed met with the Nobilis King Karl of Atlantis in 4481CE and became formalized when Hammed began preaching his philosophy at Karachi in 4506CE.
As the Imperial Era came to a violent end, Ibrahim recognized Orlan as Emperor and supported Loyalists in the War of Disintegration. Ibrahim perished in the disintegration of Mecca in 4760CE, where shrines to his legacy now occupy the floor and rim of the kilometer-wide glazed crater that once marked the Black Mosque.
In 4762CE Ishmahil Mustafa arrived on Terra, solidifying his hold on the Council of Salvation and declaring himself Khalif of Byzantium and head of his father's church. Possessing great organizational skills, a strong paramilitary force and a fanatically loyal following, Ishmahil soon became the dominate Councilar leader and in 4774CE, he disbanded the Council and declared himself ruler of the Terran Khalifate. As the war ended, Ishmahil consolidated his grip on the Solar System and several Central Region worlds, leaving a completely Ibrahimized Empire in the hands of his heirs by the time of his death on Mars in 5119CE. See the History of the Terran Khalifate for further details of the Khalif's lives.
During the Chaotic Era, Ibrahimism split into two main branches, the official Ishmahili Ibrahimism of the Terran Khalifate and the more moderated Hammedian Ibrahimism prevalent in other civilized regions. The Hammedian branch spawned the Rhuzi movement in the 67th century. On isolated worlds, hundred of localized Ibrahimite sects emerged.
Ibrahimism remains by far the largest of the Old Book religions. Ishmahili Ibrahimism is the state religion of the Terran Khalifate with 1.8 trillion adherents comprising 93% of the Khalifate's population. Hammedians and Rhuzis remain prominent in recivilized regions and usually enjoy good relations with secular governing bodies. Ibrahimite-based faiths can count between three and five trillion total adherents on thousands of worlds throughout Human Space.
Ibrahimism is based on a progression of beliefs, selectively incorporating Jewish, Christian, Islamic and Bahá'í traditions and texts, but primarily built upon the teaching and preaching of Ibrahim Mustafa as codified in the Golden Book of Ibrahim. The core beliefs of Ibrahimism are:
The Creator, who exists outside of time and space, formed the Universe out of his thoughts.
The Creator fashioned Humanity is his own image for the purpose of spreading his Word across the Universe and bringing it to harmony.
Ibrahim is the last prophet of the Creator, the final messenger before the return of the Messiah, who will bring the faithful to the Realm of Light, which exists outside of time and space.
Humanity is the design of the Creator and its basis should not be tampered with by mortals.
Eternal life in the Realm of Light will come to those who spread the Word, worship the Creator and respect the Human Form.
The Messiah will return to lead the faithful into the Realm of Light in the End Time when the Universe has served the Creator's unknowable True Purpose.
To sum up, Ibrahimites believe the Creator formed the Universe as a mechanism to allow Humanity to learn the nature of the Word and to pass into the Realm of Light through knowledge and worship of the Creator. This view does not support further Human evolution and holds Humans, as vessels of the Creator's True Purpose, to be superior to and separate from all other sentiences in the Universe.
Ibrahimites consider all artificially created sentient beings, be they biological Constructs, Servant Races, Mechanist Incarnations or Machine intelligences to be abominations, both unnatural and a direct insult to the Creator. Artificial beings are at best ostracized, generally exiled or ghettoized and often mercilessly eliminated.
The required practices of all sects of Ibrahimism are:
Evangelism: The proclamation and propagation of the faith and the Word.
Prayer: Usually five daily prayers in the direction of Mecca (on Terra) or Terra (off world).
Modesty: Modesty in dress and form, retaining the design of the Creator. This includes a prohibition against nearly all cyborgization, genetic manipulation, anagathic regeneration or non-medical cosmetic reconstruction.
Clarity: The avoidance of intoxicating or mind altering substances or electronics.
Charity: A tithe of income and goods to the church or directly to the poor. This may be in the form of taxation or direct donations.
Pilgrimage: A once a lifetime pilgrimage to Mecca. Generally, non-Ishmahilis or non-interstellar capable adherents are excused from pilgrimage.
Adherence and interpretation of practices varies by sect and piety. While all Ibrahimites reject genetic manipulation, the definition of Modesty varies from a prohibition against nudity to the mandatory adoption of concealing robes and veils for both sexes in the Terran Khalifate. Clarity almost always prohibits alcohol, narcotic-like drugs and direct brain stimulation, but local practices may also prohibit everything from caffeine to audio-visual implants. Often, Charity has devolved into a tithe or tax owed the church, fees that only indirectly benefit the poor.
All Ibrahimites completely ban any sentient implants or sentient direct communications links and require seamless skin covers for any implanted data and interface ports. Certain sects either prohibit all tattoos or body modifications, including corrective surgery, or conversely require specific tattooed symbols or pierced ornamentations.
The Ishmahili branch of Ibrahimism is the largest, most organized and one of the most doctrinaire Ibrahimite sects. As the established religion of the Terran Khalifate, Ishmahili Ibrahimism is led by the Khalif, by law a direct descendant of Ishmahil Mustafa and the ultimate authority of temporal and secular law.
The Ishmahilis have a strict religious hierarchy, organized into seven Orders, distinguished by their colored robes. The Seven Orders are:
A Grandmaster, appointed by the Khalif, heads each Order. The Orders comprise the Khalifate state government and regulate all the religious, commercial, scientific and military activities of the state, with the Order of Truth doubling as the Khalifate's diplomatic corps.
Most Ishmahili Ibrahimites live among the Terran Khalifate's nine hundred worlds. Activities of the Order of Truth have spread and nurtured Ishmahili communities throughout Recontacted Space. Ishmahilis consider themselves the true followers of Ibrahim and have little tolerance for other sects, considering them heretics, at worst, and misguided souls in need of correction, at best.
Ishmahilis take the tenets of Ibrahimism seriously and adhere strictly to its practices. Ishmahilis of both sexes wear head-to-toe loose garments and veils in public. They eschew all forms of intoxication except caffeine and do not allow any direct brain stimulation. The Ishmahili Ibrahimite Church does permit implantation of medical nanomeds for health and life extension but prohibits any cyborgization that may alter external appearance, even cosmetically. While sexual equality is enshrined in the Golden Book, in practice Ishmahili society is patriarchal, with men holding power in most families and dominating the upper hierarchy of the Orders.
Charity is enforced as a religious tax on all earnings, and additional direct charity is strongly encouraged, though begging and unjustified reliance on state support or alms is strictly punished. The Pilgrimage has become a central focus of an Ishmahilis' life; those who live on Terra or in the Solar system are considered especially blessed, and those who live on distant worlds often save for centuries to afford sleeper transport to the continuous hajj that dominates the Arabian Peninsula on Terra.
Ishmahilis are active evangelists and continually expansionistic, but see the coming of the Messiah as a distant event unlikely to occur until the faithful dominate the entire galaxy and spread emissaries beyond.
The Hammedian branch of Ibrahimism emerged as a widely practiced alternative to the strict state-sponsored religion of Ishmahil. Grudgingly accepted by the Bengali Dominions and Star Kingdoms, Hammedian Ibrahimism spread to a number of civilized worlds during the Early Chaotic Era. It appealed to many moderates by advocating tolerance, coexistence and the separation of church and state. Founder Hammed Mustafa, a grandson of Ibrahim, had moved to Nasser before the collapse of the Empire and he died and was buried in a crypt beneath the Nasser's Higuna Mosque in 5021CE. The Bengali Dominions incorporated Nasser in 5108CE and allows pilgrimages to the Hammed's crypt by the Hammedian faithful, who visit the Higuna Mosque as a proxy for Mecca, which reamins inaccessible to most Hammedians.
Hammedian Ibrahimism is decentralized, focused on individual mosques and on individual preachers or imams, who are educated and accredited by mosque schools. Hammedians practice a less rigid form of Ibrahimism, focusing on individual interpretations of the Golden Book. Imams have the roles of teachers and guides, not interpreters of the Word. A central tenet of Hammedian Ibrahimism remains that the Messiah may appear unannounced at any moment, and all the faithful should live each day prepared to be judged.
Hammedians believe in tolerance towards unbelievers and their missionary efforts are mild and focused on gentle persuasion. Hammedians consider abominations and Aliens to be damned, but do not deny their sentience and allow them to live in peace. Charity is the focus of the mosque, with tithes voluntary and centered on community development. While Hammedians dress conservatively and eschew both cyborgization and genetic manipulation, they do allow some medically justifiable organ replacements. A prohibition against alcohol remains doctrine among Hammedians, but it is rarely enforced unless an adherent becomes public intoxicated.
Over a third of all Hammedians, more than eighty billion, live among the worlds of the Bengal Dominions and enjoy full rights within that multi-cultural civilization. Nearly as many Hammedians, over seventy billion, reside within the Terran Khalifate, enjoying only limited rights and lacking any government representation or support. The remaining sixty billion Hammedians reside in various major and minor states and worlds in Recontacted space, with demographic projections suggesting that some forty billion nominally Hammedian practitioners exist in regions still formally uncontacted.
Relations with the dominant Ishmahili sect have improved in recent centuries, with discrimination decreasing. Within the Khalifate, Hammedians rarely gain permission to build new mosques, and existing centers are often ramshackle complexes of ancient heritage. Pilgrimages to Mecca are allowed for those Khalifate Hammedians that can afford the round-trip journey. The Hammedians consider the recent Rhuzi offshoot to be part of the Hammedian tradition, though the Rhuzi would differ.
The Rhuzi ranch of Ibrahimism is the only sect besides the Ishmahilis and Hammedians with adherents beyond the narrow base of a few systems. An offshoot of the Hammedian tradition, it is also one of the youngest sects. The Rhuzi sect was founded on the Timbuktu Star Kingdom world of Varda by Abdel Rhuzi, an imam who published his Coexistent Principles in 6662CE. Rhuzi's teachings gained rapid support among Hammedians in the Star Kingdoms Confederacy and among adherents of various Ibrahimite sects in the nearer coreward sectors, especially on worlds that remain under pressure from Ishmahili missionaries. Abdel Rhuzi was killed in 6678CE, immolated by unknown assailants on Othello. His followers, wearing the sign of the Eternal Flame, have since spread his teachings to thousands of mosques on hundreds of worlds. By most accounts Rhuzi Ibrahimism has between four and eight billion adherents, with at least two billion of these residing within the Star Kingdoms Confederation.
Rhuzis do not believe in automatic abomination, but divide the Universe into believers and unbelievers; they interpret the "Image of God" figuratively, not literally. Separating the act of being from the sin of becoming an abomination, they still denounce cyborgization and genetic manipulation for believers, but hold that born Variants and Cyborgs can join the fold by eschewing further modification. Likewise, Rhuzis view each Mechanist Incarnation as a separate being that could renounce Mechanism and convert to Ibrahimism. While the Rhuzi do not actively recruit outside the Sapien community, they will accept any sentient biological being as a convert, holding only Machine intellects, including Heretics, as unworthy of salvation.
The Rhuzi have developed a formal hierarchy reaching from Initiates to mosque Imans to Masters and finally to a council of about two dozen Grandmasters, who meet every few years to resolve doctrinal disputes and coordinate missionary activity. The Rhuzi hierarchy has two classes of Masters: Teaching Masters, supervising all mosques on in a particular system, and Marital Masters, leaders of paramilitary groups that oppose more coercive Ishmahili expansion and protect the Rhuzi community from other threats.
Rhuzi dress tends towards loose robes, but not veils, and the sect allows caffeine and other mild stimulants, but not "depressive" or "addictive" drugs or electronic stimulations. Rhuzi Initiates must tithe a portion of their wealth to their local mosque every year. Rhuzi practices concentrate on true action rather than hollow ritual and both the daily prayers and mosque attendance are optional, though encouraged, signs of piety. All Rhuzi adherents promise to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, but only "when Sol is free and the crater is clear." They believe that the Messiah cannot arrive until the Khalifate has fallen.
The Rhuzi are universally hostile toward the Ishmahilis and generally consider the Hammedians to be weak and disorganized.
The Ibrahimite religion includes hundreds of local Ibrahimite sects, mostly confined to a single world or region, often in long isolated regions of Human Space. By most scholars' definitions, any religion that holds Ibrahim as its principal prophet and his Golden Book as its principal text should be considered an Ibrahimite sect. Various anthropological classification schemes differ on the total number of known sects, but the number is certainly between three and six hundred, and includes over seventy billion adherents. Demographic projections into Uncontacted Space suggest that a similar number of sects and adherents remain undiscovered.
In addition to obviously Ibrahimite localized sects, many worlds have native religions that are Ibrahimite-derived. These religions diverged or evolved from Ibrahimism in the years of collapse and isolation following the Wars of Disintegration, often remaining in isolation for one or two millennia. Ibrahimite-derived religions number in the thousands, with trillions of adherents and most fall into several general categories: Post-Ibrahimite, which follow local prophets or texts building on a Ibrahimite base, Messianic, which consider themselves the chosen people of a local messiah, Apocalyptic, which believe they are the damned left behind after the Rapture of the Chosen, and Neo-Islamic, which have reverted to pre-Ibrahim teachings and practices in anticipation of a prophetic or messianic Return.
As an Abrahamic religion, Ibrahimism considers other "Old Book" religions: Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Bahá'í to be imperfect reflections of the True Word. Ironically, most Ibrahimites, including the Ishmahilis, have greater tolerance for other Old Book faiths than for other sects of their own religion. Non-Abrahamic religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism and Taoism, are considered "heathen" religions and are generally not tolerated. Ibrahimites reserve the greatest scorn for the "New" religions, especially Mechanism, Technologism and Altaran Golden Stasis, all of which encourage the creation and propagation of abominations. Ibrahimites consider the Fzuki and Disentropic Ways as alien heathen religions and actively work to convert Human practitioners away from these faiths.
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