Coat of Arms
"الأمة في خدمة الله"
"Nation in Service to God"
Official Languages: Luri, Farsi, Arabic,
Government: Absolute Monarchy
- Emir: Ishmael bin Abdullah
- President: Khadijeh Mashadi
Legislature: National Assembly
-Upper House: Wing of State
-Lower House: Wing of Order
Establishment: from Britain
Land Area:300,433 kmē
Water %: Negligible
GDP (nominal): $322,868,216,080.22
GDP (nominal) per capita: $16,124.06
Currency: Mahdistani Dinar
Time Zone: IRST (UTC+3:30)
Drives on the: Right
Calling code: +978
Internet TLD: .mh
Mahdistan (Persian: زمین المهدی Zman Almhda), also known as Ardh Al Mahdi or South Persia, officially the Emirate of Mahdistan (Persian: یامارات از زمین المهدی Aamarat Az Zman Almhda) is a soverign state in Western Asia. A small but efficient and patriotic country in the southern reaches of Persia, the nation is known for its faithful people, humble cities, and generally isolationist nature. Despite existing in Persian land, it is populated by an even mix of Persian, Arab, and Kurdish peoples. The Persians hold the majority, the Kurds have helped shape the nation in many ways, and the Emir Ishmael bin Abdullah is an Arab, as is his family.
Since its independence in 1920, Mahdistan has remained a relatively quiet and peaceful nation of the Middle-East, actively pursuing a policy of isolationism. At one point, Soviet tampering had nearly brought it into its influence, but an attempted coup in 1966 broke down their relations and stopped any chance that they would cede themselves to communist control. Since then, the monarchy has been careful to not become too close to any other nation, even its own allies. While this has had its detrimental aspects, Mahdistan has adjusted to a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Mahdistan is an absolute monarchy, ruled by the current Emir Ishmael bin Abdullah, a Shiite Arab. The position of head of state and government is the only monarchical position in Mahdistan, while every other position, ranging from advisers to mayors, are elected through direct democracy. This has been the tradition since the Isa Dynasty took power in 1944, and while the Emir holds absolute power, the country has garnered some socialist influences.
Due to very careful central planning and development, Mahdistan generates enough money to keep its nationalized industries working and strong, which account for the entirety of all internal business in the country. The country's economy is primarily export and tourism based, with silver, oil, and natural gas being its primary exports.
The name Mahdistan is derived from the name 'Ard al Mahdi', Arabic for land of the Mahdi. The name was Persianized in respects to the Persian majority of the country, despite the monarchy being an Arab one.
The country, formerly named South Persia, became associated with the Mahdi during a period of revolution in 1944. The leader, Idris bin Abdul, was known as an excellent tactician and leader, so much so that many of those who followed him contemplated if he was the Mahdi. He rejected the titles, but the army insisted that they call themselves the Mahdiyyah anyway (not to be confused with the group of the same name in Sudan a number of years earlier). The name stuck, and as part of the process of disassociation with the old South Persian government, the name was applied by the then-Emir Idris, despite still rejecting the claim.
The name Ard al Mahdi is still sometimes used in historical contexts. However, the name has been phased out in a political sense, and Arabic speakers will now refer to it as Mahdistan. South Persia is still rarely used, mostly by foreigners. However, the use of the name is highly discouraged, and natives may take offense to the country being labeled as such.
The Elamite Kingdom
The area constituting Mahdistan has been inhabited since the lower Paleolithic Era by early humans, eventually succumbing to Neanderthals and then modern day humans by about 10,000 B.C.E.. Around 4,000 B.C.E., settled civilizations began to grow, and this land was to be the seat of one such ancient power, Elam. The Elamites ruled the area of modern day Mahdistan for many years independently, developing writing at a similar rate as the Sumer. Eventually, it was to be split down the middle by the Assyrians in 612 B.C.E., but revolts by the Medes were to change that. By 605 B.C.E., the former Kingdom of Elam was fully under Median control.
The Median Empire would be destroyed by Cyrus the Great and his Persian armies in 550 B.C.E., forming the Achaemenid Empire which would span the entirety of Persia, the Levant, Egypt, Central Asia, Anatolia, and into Greece. The Achaemenidis brought many great works to the world, including the first postal system. Jews who had been enslaved under Babylon were freed as well, and their rule was popular. However, Ionian revolts in Greece were causing the empire to have to back off, and eventually started the Greco-Persian wars. These lasted until 334 B.C.E., when Alexander the Great conquered the entirety of the empire and even went on to expand its borders. After his death, Persia fell under control of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire, which would later devolve into the smaller Parthian Empire. In 224 B.C.E., this would further be succeeded by the Sassanid Empire, while the Parthians would still maintain some power until 224 A.D.. They would become harsh rivals with the expanding Roman Empire, fighting many wars on their frontier. The Sassanids managed to requisition most of the land lost since the Achaemenidian period, though wars with Rome were unrelenting, weakening both them and the newly independent Eastern Rome (Byzantium). As the two empires fought the Roman-Persian wars between 602-628 A.D., both took severe damage and became near defenseless on the south. Shortly thereafter, the Islamic Rashidun Caliphate would decimate both forces.
Islamic forces would capture large portions of the Sassanid Empire as well as parts of the Byzantine one, establishing Arab control over much of the Middle-East. The Rashiduns would end eventually, and the Umayyads would rise to take their place. Under this new leadership, wars would continue as they expanded far to the west through North Africa, and resistance rose in Persian lands due to mistreatment of the Persians, even those who had converted to Islam. In 750, Persians helped the Abbasid revolt overthrow Umayyad influence in the Middle-East, pushing them and isolating them to the Iberian Peninsula. Abbasid rule was quite popular for many years, but its steady decline gave way to small tributary kingdoms breaking away in Persia, forming the kingdoms of the Tahirids in 821 and Saffarids in 861 in the west, and Samanids in 819 in the east. Much of Persia would be unified by the Buyids in 934, but changing conditions in the north would complicate their rule.
Over years to follow, invading Islamic Turks from the north put large amounts of pressure on the defending Persian dynasties. Turkish slaves used as soldiers by the Arabs and Persians, known as Mamluks, would revolt against their masters in the east and form the Ghaznavid Empire. Non-enslaved Turks from the north would fight with them and expand beyond them to the west, forming the Seljuk Empire. The Seljuks would be by far the most powerful Turkish dynasty to rule Persia and beyond, expanding through the Levant and bringing the Byzantines to their knees, conquering the entire eastern portion of their empire on Asia Minor. To the west in Egypt, Shiite Fatimids had taken over and expanded into Jerusalam, leading to conflict between they and the Seljuks as they fought for control of the holy city. The city would be taken from both of them by the Catholic Crusaders in the first Crusade, but Muslims would continue to have some hold in the Palestinian territory, sometimes even aligning with Crusader warlords to increase their own position. The Catholics hundreds of miles away in Europe were already concerned with the power Muslims still continued to hold, and they decided they had had the last straw when a Muslim came into power in Edessa, despite still being de jure a subject of the Crusaders. The Pope launched the second Crusade, which would become a massive failure in Palestine, as there was mass confusion and a lack of cooperation between the Christian forces. Jerusalem would return to Seljuk hands, as did most of the holy lands. This would fuel fire in Europe, and the Papacy would prepare a third Crusade to recover from their losses. However, there were more concerns in Persia as the Seljuks fell apart.
As Seljuk power wore out, the Khwarazmian dynasty, who had ruled Persia under the Seljuks, became independent in the year 1231 and controlled most of Persia. This independence was to be short lived, however, as an implication with a Mongol trader triggered the Mongols to invade. The Mongolians had been progressively becoming more powerful and had by this time already spread throughout the northern half of Central Asia. The Mongols under Genghis Khan invaded Persia, and successfully defeated all defending forces here and in the Levant. Thousands of Muslims were killed during their reign, but no one could defeat the massive empire which now stretched across Asia and Europe. As years would go on however, infighting became increasingly common, and the empire would divide itself into multiple relict states which fought amongst themselves. Persia and the Levant came under the control of the Ilkhanate, which had ruled over the region since Genghis's time. Its leadership had converted to Islam, and as such were more popular than their former Shamanistic and Buddhist rulers. However, like the empire they were formed from, they too would fall apart into multiple warring states.
Among the successors of the Ilkhanate, the Persian Muzaffarids came out as the most powerful, at its height controlling most of western Persia. Officially established in 1314, they marked the first major independent ruling Persian dynasty in Persia since the downfall of the Buyids in 1064, 250 years before. They would survive until 1393, when they would be succeeded by the Timurid Empire, who would reunify all of Persia under a Persian dynasty and reconquer territory lost over the ages. Timurid rule would be very long in comparison to their predecessors, lasting until 1507. It was around this time that Persia would see a period of rapid modernization.
Early Modern Period
A Shiite dynasty, the Safavids, overthrew the previously ruling Timurids, and would expand Persian power to new heights. They controlled all of modern day Iran and Mahdistan, as well as the majority of Islaamistan and Iraq, and parts of Syria, the Islamic Republic e Jariri, Russia, and Turkhestan. The government enforced Shia Islam as the state religion, and many Shiite families trace their conversion to the efforts of the Safavid government. They were harsh rivals with the Ottomans, and they along with the Mughals in India became known as the Gunpowder Empires, due to their usage of guns in combat. The Safavids faced continued attacks from both the Ottomans and the Uzbeks to the north, but the Safavids made good use of alliances from outside the Middle-East. Despite their firm stance against Sunni Islam, they were tolerant of the Christians, and gained allies this way with the very powerful city-state of Venice, who helped them combat the Ottomans. This let them hold for a very long time, until 1736, after the Russians far to the north overthrew the remaining Mongolian leaders and advanced into their territory there, and the Ottomans and Uzbeks gained the upper-hand. Mughals also attacked at their south-eastern border, seizing parts of Afghanistan. Safavid leadership would crumble, and the land would once again become chaotic.
The Safavid Dynasty
The Hotak dynasty would fill most of the power vacuum after the Safavids declined, and would take most of Persia, Afghanistan, and some Mughal land. Their rule was a reversion to Sunni Islam, though despite the forced-conversion tactics of the Shiite Safavids, they were seen as even more brutal and cruel. Their rule was highly unpopular, and after only 30 years of leadership, the new Afsharid dynasty would take them over. Their rule was very different from the previous dynasties, in that their leadership's religious sect in Islam was questionable, seeming to contain elements of both Sunni and Shia Islam. They expanded yet further than the Safavids had, seizing nearly all of Central Asia, large swaths of India, and parts of Arabia. They grew until the 1750's, when their authority began to degrade. The Zand dynasty, a Lurish Kurdish dynasty, would come to rule much of their Persian land, and maintained a semi-independence until 1794, around the same time the last of the Afsharid dynasty fell.
Both dynasties would be incorporated into the Qajar dynasty, the final dynasty to rule a unified Persia. The Qajars set what is today the borders of Iran, Mahdistan, and parts of the Islamic Republic e Jariri. Entering into power in 1789, they would spend great amounts of time and resources warring with Russia, a war which would ultimately prove futile. Azerbaijan, Armenia, and the last parts of Turkmenistan would be lost, and their territory would be confined to what is now Iran and Mahdistan. The dynasty would continue to rule until 1925, when a coup d'etat would see the rise of Pahlavi dynasty. However, before this would happen, a separate rebellion was already beginning in the south. 
Main Article: The Liberation War (1919-1920)
In the 1890's, thousands of Arab farmers in the south-western portion of the country felt disfranchised due to a lack of representation in government. Already there were rebellions for a more constitutional form of government, and many in the south were poor and mistreated. British traders, meanwhile, were aware of the ongoing situation. They were concerned that expanding Russian influences in the Persian region could potentially hurt trade. Persia was already divided into Russian and British trading zones, but the majority of the country traded independently, including the south. The British took advantage of this by arming rebels, primarily Arabs and Kurds, to fight against the Qajar government. The civil war faced many difficulties; eventually, Britain had to intervene directly to ensure a rebel victory. This was achieved in 1897, and the British puppet state of South Persia was born.
Placed in charge of South Persia was Consul Al-Amir bin Samara, who ruled as a cruel dictator, regularly executing political enemies. Even the British took concern with his tactics, though never questioned them due to already fighting in WWI. It did not take long for Arab, Persian, and Kurdish rebellions to form, however, they were weak and produced little effect. Much of South Persian authority was enforced through Kurdish armies, who promised to guard the British presence under the promise that they would one day be given independence and dominance over the region. It wouldn't take long for them to see through these lies, and certain tribes began resisting.
Within the South Persian government, resentment was already brewing. A gate guard for the Consul, Abdul Aziz al Isa, was actively funding other Arabs to revolt. However, many Persians had similar ideas, and rivalries quickly formed. The rebelling Kurds were more successful in their endeavors, though the leader of the largest tribe, Aram Bashur, saw opportunity in allying with the other ethnic rebels. He had Al-Isa and Jalil Pirhadi, the leader of the largest Persian rebel group, come to Zahhak, an independent growing Kurdish city in the far north-west extreme of the country, to discuss the possibility of unifying to fight the British and their puppet government. After some negotiation, they agreed and proceeded for with a plan to disrupt Imperial trade routes. The plan was to ignite gunpowder on the British ship, the H.M.S. Indochina, which ran regular routes from the city of Salaamabad to London and Karachi. The plan succeeded, and the rebels took the opportunity to attack British soldiers and officials, beginning the Liberation War in 1919.
Rebel soldiers marching on Salaamabad
The war continued on for a year, and culminated into the battle for Salaamabad in 1920, the capital of the British forces in South Persia. The rebels took the city after a long, hard-fought battle, and managed to defend it from the continuing onslaught from British ships in the sea. Jalil Pirhadi was killed, but because of the massive loss of Salaamabad and the subsequent execution of the Consul, the British capitulated and handed over South Persia to the rebels.
Abdul Aziz al Isa took no interest in ruling, so he left for the hills and let the rebels decide the fate of the new government, to die nine years later. Aram Bashur at first attempted to create a Kurdish monarchy surrounding his own tribe, but his decadent and deceptive ways caused the rebels to rise up against him and in the end kill him before he could garner any real power. Under American and British influences, many of the rebels gathered together to form a republic based on secular values, and they entered into power and took Salaamabad to once again be the capital of South Persia. However, the republic was plagued with difficulty after difficulty, and with warlords controlling most of the country-side, they didn't have the power to reach their own voting base. It dissolved after only a few years of leadership, and the country reverted again to a period of anarchy.
Later, a particular rich Persian family, the Makhmalbaf family, decided to press a claim to power in the anarchic state and form a Shahdom based off of the rest of Persia. This government was much more successful, but there were other outside influences determined to have a hand in the new government. The French took great interest in South Persia, and this led to a full-scale French invasion in 1929. Many were called to war once again to fight against the French, and they were defeated after only a few months of fighting. However, this greatly destabilized the Shahdom and caused even more warlords to appear throughout the country. They were eventually overthrown, and again, chaos ruled in South Persia.
The Pahlavi dynasty of Persia in the north desired to reunify Persia under their banner, and this anarchy which lasted for ten years made it very tempting to move in on the nation. With WWII happening far off in Europe however, the Nazis were searching for ways to expand their influence beyond their own continent. In 1939, Nazis in South Persia had managed to inspire a group to take over the city of Salaamabad, and established a pro-Nazi dictatorship. The flag of the Nazi Party flew over the capital building, and they inspired the Persians with speeches of racial superiority to fight for their own right to exist against Persia, and to cleanse the nation of the Arabs and Kurds. Despite these messages, they held the government alone, and every major government position was held by ethnic German Nazis who answered directly to Hitler. The son of the old rebel leader Abdul al Isa, Idris bin Abdul, had decided he had had enough, and began raising an army to overthrow the tyrannical government. The popularity of his father served him greatly, and many Arabs, Persians, and Kurds alike flocked to his banner, and called themselves the 'Mahdiyya', or army of the Mahdi, similar to how Muhammad Ahmad had branded his army in 1881. Unlike them however, their leader Idris bin Abdul disagreed with this title, proclaiming he was not the Mahdi. The name stuck, however, and with his army the Nazis were overthrown in 1944, and the presidential palace in Salaamabad which had housed the British consulate, the early republic, and the Nazi leadership, was burnt to the ground.
With the Nazis dead, Idris had planned on leaving back for his old home in the hills. However, he saw that what had happen would indubitably happen again if he left the government alone. With his army at his back, he was by far the most popular man in South Persia, and so he declared himself to be the Emir and established a new seat of government in Hassan. He named his dynasty the Isa dynasty despite his lowborn status, after his father, and began instituting reforms forming real provinces and setting up democratic leadership across the land while maintaining his monarchical position. While he continued to deny that he was the Mahdi, many were already calling the land 'Ardh al Mahdi' after him. Eventually, because he wanted to separate as much as possible from the old South Persian state, he embraced the name of Mahdistan while still maintaining that he was but an ordinary man.
Idris would continue to lead justly and fairly until his death in 1959 from lung cancer. The move from him to his son Abdullah al Zikiri was a smooth transition, the first of its kind in the young country. Since then the reign of the Emirs has gone smoothly, and Mahdistan has seen three, Idris bin Abdul, Abdullah al Zikiri, and Ishmael bin Abdullah.
In 1966, the Soviet Union attempted a coup on the government, however, it was repelled and the monarchy has been maintained, along with a certain level of Socialist influences. The government was accused of funding the 1979 Iranian revolution, which they have now admitted to. Abdullah al Zikiri died in 1984, and his son Ishmael bin Abdullah has ruled since.
In 1988, the infamous 1988 Salaamabad Imperial Mall Shooting occurred, and is to date the largest terrorist attack the country has felt. Emir Ishmael, who was only 18 at the time, used this as an initiative to crack down on the Kurdish National Liberation Front, a Kurdish terrorist group which had operated out of the Kurdish autonomous province of Zahhak since the 1950's, which culminated into the cession of the province into the neighboring province of Subebe. Afterwards, Kurdish citizens faced years of civil rights violations, until Gulistan Suleman led a civil campaign forcing the government to recognize the abuses in 1997. In 2015, the province of Zahhak was restored, and Emir Ishmael bin Abdullah delivered a formal apology for his actions.
As of 2015, the nation has been experiencing a number of protests, many surrounding racial issues in the nation. Most of these began after Zahhak was refounded and Khadijeh Mashadi became the first woman to be elected president, making her second in command of the entire country. While her election was popular, it was by her advice that Zahhak would be refounded, building up to the protests.
Mahdistan is relatively small, compromising around 300,433 kmē with few major waterways. In size, it lies approximately around the same land area of Germany or Finland. It's longest border is with Iran in the north and east, along with Iraq to the west, while the entirety of the south is on the Persian Gulf. Unlike Iran, Mahdistan sits on the Arabian plate, and is therefore primarily off of the Iranian Plateau.
The majority of the country is dominated by high mountains, besides the coastal areas. Its highest point is in the Dena range, Qash-Mastan, at 4,409 meters above sea-level. This resides at the nation's northern-most border, in Subebe province. In the lower basin regions, however, such as the far west and southern border, it is dominated by desert and scrub. Despite this, these regions remain the most heavily populated regions in the country, away from the highly rural mountain territory of the national inland.
While most of the heavily populated areas across the coast and on the western portion of the country experience hot and dry weather, the climate of Mahdistan is actually quite diverse. There are wide open plain on the central-coastal areas in the south, comprising parts of Bashan and Damishrk, though all provinces see very high mountains, a part of the Zagros range. Due to the high elevation of the inland area, these regions see lower temperatures than the rest, sometimes below zero, and get snowfall each year, unlike the nearby desert countries of the gulf. This has made Mahdistan quite unique, in having both a mixed-Arab culture and yet cold, high Persian climate.
Unlike the rest of Iran, Mahdistan receives regular precipitation, especially in the mountainous regions. Water is therefore of little scarcity, though because all this water is mostly only seen in the high mountains, there are very few areas of standing fresh-water in the country.
Bears, gazelles, wolves, and panthers all live within the country, albeit in small numbers for the most part. Over 20% of the country is nature reserves, confined mainly to the rural north, and this area has allowed many natural animals to thrive.
The national animal is the bat, specifically the Egyptian Fruit Bat, which has been given extensive protection due to its symbology to the nation. Bats are spoken of in a Shiite Hadith, and are praised as a miracle of nature. It is said that the choice was made due to the high presence of bats around the newly erected palace in Hassan, and to this day, bats are given special accommodations around the building and allowed to fly freely around the building.
Recently, after joining the Eco-Islamic Pact, the government has put more funding into animal support projects. Animal counts are now performed by government agencies, and over 20 species have been removed from the endangered list due to their efforts.
Regions, Provinces, and Cities
Main Article: Cities of Mahdistan
Hassan at night
Mahdistan is divided into 4 provinces and 1 special administrative district, these being Bashan, Subebe, Zahhak, Damishrk, and the special administrative district simply known as Mahdistan. The special administrative district encompasses the capital city of Hassan, and is directly administered by the Emir. As such, it is the only region not democratically controlled, though the Emir maintains the right to seize control of any province if he deems it necessary. All others are administered by an elected Wali, or governor, as it is defined in Mahdistan, and the election system utilizes direct democracy.
Mahdistan's cities have been growing at a progressive rate for decades, and reforms by the current ruling Emir Ishmael bin Abdullah have encouraged immigration and high birth-rates. The capital Hassan and the historical capital of Salaamabad have competed for the position as the largest city, though Hassan generally comes out on top. Other cities have been growing at a slower rate, though birth-rates remain high. All cities are known for being clean and well-kept, due to strict laws on polluting vehicles, heavy punishments for littering, and an emphasis on public transport over privately owned vehicles. All cities with a population above 100,000 are equipped with subway systems, and these are used even more than cars in many cities, due to government incentives to do so.
Tourism is not as common as many other countries, though many do come every year to tour the self-proclaimed 'Islamic paradise' of Hassan, mixing comfortable modern elements in with a heavy emphasis on the faith. The national parks in the mountains have seen many foreigners come to visit and explore, and its mountain of Qash-Mastan is manned and climbed each year.
Hassan, Salaamabad, Umar, and Mehran receive visitors each year. The Kurdish city of Zahhak is known to be less friendly to tourists, however, exchanges of Kurds in and out of the city is common. Other cities are fairly open to immigrants, though most choose to remain in the bustling centers of business that are Hassan and Salaamabad.
Metro area population
The government structure of Mahdistan surrounds the Emir, who rules as an absolute monarch. Despite the fact that the Head of State, Government, and Military level is hereditary and controlled by the Emir, all other stations, as well as lower governance levels, are democratically elected through direct democracy by the affected peoples. The Emir however has the power to override the people's decisions if he deems it necessary, and can remove them from power and replace them with whom he feels is necessary for the job. This is, however, quite rare, and is almost always only done in times of crisis or if the particular leader is deemed unfit to continue service, and there has been little conflict between the Emir's decision and the will of the people.
The 3rd Emir of Mahdistan,
Ishmael bin Abdullah
Local administration is divided evenly based on the population of said areas. As stated above, all other levels of governance besides the head of the country are democratically elected. On the highest level, Mahdistan is divided into four provinces, Damishrk, Subebe, Bashan, and Zahhak, and the MSAD, administered by the Emir himself. Within each province is between 5-40 administrative districts, and in turn these divided into counties. The MSAD is the one exception, which counts as province, administrative district, and county. Due the the fact that it is less than fifty square miles around and only incorporates the capital city, this does not cause issues and the Emir acts as all the positions of governance here. Damishrk is by far the largest, but also the least populous, and contains only five administrative districts with counties covering hundreds of miles but only including a few hundred people, and is characterized as containing huge mountains. Subebe is smaller, but more populous, and contains 28 administrative districts, remarkable for its rolling green hills. Bashan is the smallest besides Mahdistan Province, but contains the majority of the population in its great urban expanses.
Second-in-Command to the Emir is the Chief Wali, or president. Unlike most presidents, who would hold the head of government power compared to the monarch's head of state position, the president is instead the second authority in head of state, government, and all fields of the military. They are usually used for management purposes, but like with all else, the Emir maintains the right to step in and override their power.
Below this is the Wing of State, an elected council whose job is to oversee all information coming from the other wings, and deliver it to the president and emir in a timely manner. De jure, the president is the head of the Wing of State, though more often the other Wing of State members work for the purpose of supporting the president. The size of the council is dependent on the population of the country, and there is one council-member for every 100,000 people in the country.
The lowest administrative wing is the Wing of Order, who more directly watches over and advises the other wings and ensures their production. For every town with a population over 10,000, there is a member to represent that town, and they are responsible for making sure the system runs smoothly and no one abuses the system. As such, they are encouraged to be cynical and careful in their deliberations, even in regard to fellow council-members.
Main Article: Sharia Law in Mahdistan
In Mahdistan, all judges are popularly elected, and make up the Wing of Justice. Laws are determined by two sources; the Quran is the primary source, and the answers to all crimes are sought for in the Quran. While all judges are required to be knowledgeable of the Quran and always have one on-hand, the leaders and high judges of the Wing of Justice are required to be Hafiz. Individual judges are popularly elected, but high judges are only chosen by election among the judges, and only after a proof that the individual Hafiz. The job of the high judges is to ensure all other judges are acting within the law, and to write and make editions to the second source of law, the Majlis Al Mujtahideen. This is used in any unusual situation where the Quran does not mention a solution, and is commonly used in administrative cases and areas of economics. Notably, unlike other Sharia-following countries, neither Hadith nor Sunnah are used as sources of law, and it is instead left up to individual towns and cities on whether or not they would include them in local-law determination.
All forms of media are government owned, however, they are independently administered by the Wing of Media, which only communicates with the government when necessary. Since the Wing of Media is in turn controlled by the reporters getting the information, a more accurate term to describe media is 'collectively owned'. All citizens are given free access to telecommunication devices and internet.
Main Article: International Relations of Mahdistan
Mahdistan, for the most part, has pursued a policy of isolationism. The government tries its best to avoid international politics, preferring to focus on the welfare of its own people. However, a number of deals and treaties are mode on an international scale.
The country is, for the most part, most interested in peaceful communication with the rest of the world, and tends to avoid holding an agenda on other countries. New attempts have been made to expand its embassy program to other countries, however, the current Civil unrest in Mahdistan has stifled its progress.
Earlier on in its history, Mahdistan aligned itself with the Soviet Union, as it provided a stronger counter-balance against Persia at the time. This led to small proxy-conflicts with the U.S. due to the Cold War at the time, but none ever entered the country. After 1966, however, relations soured, due to the U.S.S.R.'s attempt at a coup in the country, to try to draw it even closer to its sphere. Since then, it has chosen not to align with any major world powers, though relations with Iran did warm after the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
Diplomatic relations are maintained with all internationally-recognized nations, and is recognized in turn by all nations in the UN. Mahdistan is a nuclear-armed state, and has caused controversy in supporting Iran's nuclear program.
Mahdistan is a member of the UN, IPPC, ECI, and the WA.
At current, all travel in to the country is restricted due to heavy rioting throughout the country.
The military of Mahdistan is governed by the Wing of Defense, and regulated by the Wing of Weapons Development. The Emir maintains the right to seize control of the military, but ordinarily leaves the responsibility to the various generals in the country, all of whom are democratically elected by soldiers after meeting certain perquisites. The government maintains a standing army of approximately 40,000, with 200,000 in reserves. All cities, towns, and villages are expected to be able to raise their own militias in the event of invasion, however, and police fall under the category of militia armies. 6.3% of the national GDP is spent of maintaining the military, though much of this is spent of developing experimental weapons technology.
Mahdistan sided with Iran in the 1980 Iran-Iraq War, hoping to press a claim on Basrah. It also passively supported the Syrian rebels, donating missiles and ammunition, early in the war. This put a mild stress on its relations with Iran and Russia, however, these were overcome in time when funding was withdrawn in 2014. Mahdistan supports Russia in the Ukraine Crisis, though supports Kosovo's independence from Serbia as well.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Mahdistan slowly migrated back to a pro-Russian stance after years of opposing the state, which greatly warmed relations with Iran. However, more than once have Mahdistani and Russian interests clashed. Mahdistan purchases the majority of its weapons from Russia, and the AK-12 is the standard rifle of the Mahdistani military. Fajr-3's are also purchased from Iran.
The economy of Mahdistan is entirely controlled by the government, through the Wing of Economic Development. All industries are directly administered by said group, which like the other wings, chooses its leadership through a democratic system. Notably, individuals are allowed to start up their own business, so long as it is registered with the government. The government will support it so long as it is profitable and cut funding if it is not, but always ensures at least one service exists for all industries. All trade unions are supported by the government as well, and they work closely with the WED to ensure fair payment and conditions for workers. Unemployment is less than 1%, due to initiatives made so that everyone capable of work be required to work.
The majority of revenue is generated by its silver and natural gas trade, most of which goes to Russia. All trade combined makes up about 71% of the national GDP, with most of the rest covered by taxes and tourism. Internationally, Mahdistan's economy is weak, but internal prices for individuals is low.
Technology advancement has been important for the diversification of the economy. Pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, and nanotechnologies have been added to its growth, though progress has been slow. Careful measures have been taken to ensure corruption does not take hold in the economy, which have thus far been successful.
Tourism is a smaller industry compared to its others, but it constitutes a significant proportion of its economy. About 200,000 tourists arrive per year, the majority of which remained in the larger cities for the duration of their visits. The majority of this came from Iran, Iraq, and Bahrain.
Nuclear Power Plant of Zahhak
The capital of Hassan is the prime city visited by tourists every year, though Salaamabad sees considerable traffic as well. Popular destinations are the Emir's palace, the Great Mosque of Hassan, and the Monument of Abdul Aziz bin Isa. Tours are organized by the Wing of Tourism, and the country receives visitors from every country on the planet. Recently, all tours have been formally canceled and refunded due to the current violence in the streets.
Mahdistan's gas reserves are among the largest on the planet, and the vast majority of its economy is derived from it exportation. Oil reserves are also very large, though 90% of all oil drilled is exported. Energy within the country is mostly nuclear-based, and 82% of the nation's energy is pulled from its 11 nuclear plants. Besides this, solar and wind make up the difference. Gas is only rarely used, and there are no coal or oil plants for electricity.
As part of the socialistic movement in 1950, 96% of the nation has power. Rural areas more often take their power from local sources, though the government is working to bring all power under government regulation.
University of Izehistan
Education, science, and technology
The Wing of Education dictates all curriculum in the country, as set by the unions of teachers in each school. All settlements with a population above 100 is required to have a school of any sort, and there is always to be at least 1 school-per 1,000 students. There is also a university per 50,000 students, and a college in the 8 largest cities in the country.
All education is evenly balanced between specialization and broad education. Certain requirements are expected of students to graduate their grade, which follows the K-12 system. However, their skills will be tested throughout their school life, and more time will be devoted to the subjects that individual students are better at. More and more time will be spent on subjects students are good at as they advance through their grades, until by the last year, students may devote their entire school day to the one subject they intend to go into. University education is free, and while college is also free, they operate on an invite-only basis.
Science is extremely important to the advancement and diversification of the Mahdistani economy, and as such, it is heavily subsidized. Space science and aeronautics are the primary focus of attention, and with the current level of progress, Mahdistan intends to have established a permanent manned moon-base in 2024 with support from Russia. Mahdistan launched their first satellite into orbit in March of 1965 with assistance from the Soviet Union, utilizing the Bainkonur launch facility in the Kazakhstan SSR. The first manned satellite was launched in 1974 from Mahdistan's own base outside of Hassan. A moon walk is scheduled for 2017.
All government computer systems run on Linux operating systems. Government computers are developed within the country, though many civil computers are exported from elsewhere. A two super-computers are used by the government; one for military coordination, research, and databasing government files, the other for regulating civilian operating systems. The Wing of Technology monitors and develops them both.
Even before achieving independence, the area constituting Mahdistan has been regarded as among the most diverse places in Persia. It has been a historical melting pot for the native Persian, Arab, and Kurdish cultures, and this diversity is clearly seen in the modern day nation.
Mahdistan's population has steadily increased for many centuries, now approximately 20 million in number, for the most part confined to the southern coastal cities. Demographers have predicted continued growth for many decades, with plenty of room for expansion.
The borders of Mahdistan are fully open to refugees from ISIL's destruction in the west and the civil conflict in Islaamistan in the east. Approximately 500,000 refugees live in the country, though they are not included in official statistics. They primarily reside in Salaamabad, where they are given work by the government.
Social security is given to every citizen in the country, though it is temporarily suspended if citizens are imprisoned.
Luri is the primarily spoken language in the country, and the language used in all judicial and government proceedings. Lurish and Farsi are usually grouped together as 'Persian', and nearly all speakers of Lurish can speak and understand Farsi, and vise-versa. Zahhak and Subebe are the only provinces in which Lurish is not the majority language, and in Subebe it is not the second, but the third most spoken language.
Arabic is the second-most spoken language, and is the first language of about 30% of the population. Despite the monarchy being an Arab one, Lurish is usually taught as their first language for reasons of communication, and Arabic and other languages at an early age. It is the majority language in Subebe, and is spoken to some degree by about 75% of the population.
Lurish women in traditional dress
Kurdish is the household language of about 20% of the population, 80% of this being in the province of Zahhak. The language received a swell of speakers in the area of modern Mahdistan during the 18th and 19th century due to new settlements built in the north-west, and more recently during the 1980's, when people of the Kurdish ethnicity entering from Iraq were given automatic citizenship until 1988. Nearly all local government proceedings in Zahhak are done in Kurdish, though the government along with nearly 90% of the Kurdish population is bilingual or multilingual. It is the second-most spoken language in Subebe.
English and Russian is spoken by some residents of the nation, and are the only major minority languages of note. Russian was mainly introduced during the warm period of Mahdistani-Soviet relations in the 1960's, when many Russian citizens immigrated to the country seeking religious freedoms. The minority Eastern Orthodox Christian community is almost 90% Russian in composition and immigrated into the country during this time, and most Orthodox church gatherings are held in the Russian language. English was the official language during the colonial period, but was only spoken by around 3% of the local population. Today, about 12% speak it as a second language, with less than 1% speaking it as their first, and the language is regularly taught in schools.
For the most part, due to the blending nature of Mahdistani society, ethnic groups are not heavily polarized. Arabs, Persians, and Kurds all make up the native diaspora, while Russians and British make up a miniscule percentage of society. Interbreeding between these ethnic groups has become increasingly common, and near 7% of the nation is a mix of one of the races. While official censuses are not taken on the basis of ethnicity, the commonly accepted figure is that society is about 45% Persian, 35% Arab, 10% Kurdish, and 10% being either a mixed-race or another ethnicity.
The non-native diaspora tends to be more conservative in terms of maintaining racial standards, and about 90% of all Russians and 75% of British are married to others of the same race. Ethnic-based parties are allowed by the state, but advocation of racial supremacy is banned. Racial supremacy groups still exist among all three major ethnic groups, though these groups are classified as terrorist organizations.
Persians and Arabs have inhabited the land for centuries, but Kurds are still considered native despite only having arrived in the last few hundred years. Nearly 25% of Mahdistani Kurds are of Iraqi descent, due to the population exchange that took place in the 1980's and 90's. Most British inhabitants of Mahdistan are wholly naturalized into society, but still considered foreigners due to having maintained the language and culture. Most Russians have chosen to remain isolated and separate, and most of the largest cities in the country have a Russian district based around their homes and churches. There is notably a small French community in Makhmalbafistan, numbering less than 400, and is expected to have been fully bred into the local population in two to three generations due to anti-incest laws.
A mosque in Omar
Main Article: Religion in Mahdistan
Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism were the known main religions before the arrival of Islam in the region. The area of modern Mahdistan was conquered by the Rashidun Caliphate and converted, later adhering primarily to Sunni Islam when distinction was made. This lasted until the Safavid Dynasty rose up, during which the majority of the population was forcibly converted to Shia Islam. Today, the Sunni-Shia split is clearly illustrated in the divide between Arabs/Kurds and Persians/Lurs to the respective sects.
Islam dominates as the largest religion, 87% of the population being adherents. The Shia form a small, approximately 7% majority among Muslim adherents over the Sunni. Other religions making up the rest of the 13% include Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and a number of others.
The majority of Christians are of Russian descent, over 90%, and came in during the early 1960's from the former Soviet Union. Christians are sometimes represented to be an impoverished underclass by organizations outside of Mahdistan, but this is due to most Russian Christians coming in being poor in the first place. Besides this, there is a sizable Mormon population in Mahdistan, most being immigrants, but some being converts from other forms of Christianity (proselytization to Muslims is banned). Catholics, Protestants, and other sects also maintain a very small presence.
Jews have resided in the land since the Babylonians seizing them, though some left for Israel after its formation. Many returned after the Palestinian wars, though the group is still a very small minority.
Zoroastrians still reside in the land, though they are very few in number. Meanwhile, Dharmic groups have been increasing due to open immigration laws. Buddhists are the largest among them, though they only constitute a little over 1% of the population.
Mahdistan has been inhabited by various cultures since the Lower Paleolithic Era, though the original peoples in the land are long wiped-out. As a constituent part of Persia for so many centuries, the cultures are largely similar, and thus equally influential over history. Arabs also exercize a great deal of influence over the country, and residents are considered by some to be Arabized Persians or Persianized Arabs.
Al-Isa Royal Museum and Gallery
Being a former part of Persia, a center for the development of medicine, science, and law, Mahdistan inherits a portion of respects for their historical ingenuity and forward-thinking. Artistic development still continues within the nation, and the same spirit of being a world-leader in new ideas still lives among the population. Painting, metalworking, calligraphy, and many other forms of art dominate as the profession of many citizens, and the government presses to make Mahdistan endure as an artistic capital of the world. Influences from Hellenistic, Western European, and East-Asian sources can all be clearly seen in much of Mahdistani art, marking each of these culture's former dominion over the land, and the nation has branched off and formed its own artistic styles.
The Al-Isa Royal Museum and Gallery in Hassan houses thousands of paintings, sculptures, and other such art ranging from modern day to thousands of years before the modern era, alongside ancient and modern historical artifacts. This includes an entire mosque, the oldest known mosque in Mahdistan, around which the museum is built, and which still holds regular prayer service. The Salaamabad International Museum also holds a wide and growing collection of regional and foreign artifacts, and generally serves as a globalist counterpart to the Royal Museum's national collection. The government funds other museums in every major city in Mahdistan, including smaller ones within Hassan and Salaamabad encompassing more and more specific art forms.
Mahdistan continues the tradition of weaving luxury carpets and jewelry from its days under Persia, and the Mahdistani and Iranian markets compete globally over these industries. Mahdistan has accented these art forms with modern touches, such as incorporating more vibrant colors than its classical Persian counterparts, a practice used in most other forms of art seen in Mahdistan. This practice is even seen on the Mahdistani flag, sometimes called the "Vibrant Banner of Islam".
Historically, Mahdistan had been the sight of some of the most advanced architecture in the world, particularly before the common era. Owing to the richness of the land, it had been the sight of palaces and other such magnificent structures for many thousands of years, with hundreds of these ancient structures still doting the landscape. Since the 1919 Revolution, less ornate structures began to be built, encouraged by the Emir after 1944. This was to promote a national atmosphere of unity and humility, though those artistically-built buildings still continue to be maintained. When the third Emir came into power, more effort was put in to have every one of those old buildings restored to their original grandeur, and the government has been meticulous in its efforts to do so, leaving nearly no ancient structure left abandoned.
Mahdistani architectural style follows along with the rest of the Persian region, and is still seen on a smaller scale in newly-built structures, despite the reduction in outward-grandeur. One notable exception to this was the Royal Palace in Hassan, where the Emir hired the very best architects and artists to design "The epitome structure of all Persian land.", as quoted by the first Emir.
The government incentivizes building all new houses out of stone, and thus, there are few standing wooden homes or other buildings in Mahdistan. This was put in place to reduce reliance on timber, and to continue Persian historical architectural tradition.
Many poets throughout history have called the area of modern Mahdistan home, and Persia's rich liturgical history has strongly influenced Mahdistani culture. Historical Iranian works are taught as national curriculum throughout Mahdistani schools, and the translation of works around the world into Lurish is incentivized by the government. Books containing anti-Islamic sentiment, however, are banned throughout the country.
Poetry is among the art forms which are supported the government, in continuing the ancient Iranian and Arab traditions. Mahdistan is recognized as a global leader in promoting the art of poetry, and are renown for their intricacy in writing. Most national works are written in Lurish, despite the nation's multilingual status.
The Lunar, Solar, and Gregorian calenders are all used throughout the country, with the Solar Calender being the most-often used by the government. The Islamic government removed all Persian celebrations as national holidays with the exception of Nowruz, but still allows them to be freely celebrated throughout the country. Despite the institution of Islamic Shariah and the Islamic majority of the country, Christmas is celebrated as an official holiday in Mahdistan, in recognition of the Christian minority in the country.
Mahdistan's national holidays are as follows, based on Gregorian dates:
Christmas for the Russian Orthodox church
Celebrating the first successful Mahdistani election of a president in 1945
March 21-April 2
Persian New Year
14th day of Persian New Year, indigenous to Lurs
Kurdish National Day
Remembrance day of the 1988 Mall shooting
Date marking the end of the 1919-1920 War of Independence
Day of Peace
Call for non-violence in 1920 by rebel leaders during the post-war chaos
Date of the foundation of the Emirate of Mahdistan in 1944
Marking the successfully-prevented Soviet coup in 1966
Additionally, the following Islamic holidays are celebrated based on the Lunar Calender:
Days of mourning for the companions of Husayn ibn Ali
Commemorates the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali
Commemorates 40 days after the death of Husayn ibn Ali
Commemorates the martyrdom of Hassan ibn Ali
Celebrates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad
Commemorates the martyrdom of Fatima
Celebrates the birth of Imam Ali
Ramadhan 1-Shawwal 3
The month of the fast
Laylat Al Qadr
The day the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad
Martyrdom of Imam Ali
Beginning of Hajj
Feast of the Sacrifice
The event of Ghadir Khumm
Complex musical instruments had been in use in the Mahdistani region since the 3rd millennium B.C.E., and music played a large role in court life throughout the Persian ages. Music particularly flourished after the Hellenistic period, during the Sassanid Empire.
After the War of Independence, Mahdistani musical development accelerated under Soviet influences, infusing the ancient cultural music, Islamic music styles, and modern Soviet pop into what would be known as early Mahdistani pop. In the late 1960's however, American psychedelic music began making an impact throughout the country, and would lead to the development of 'Mahdistani psychedelic', which continues to be relatively popular in modern day, and pushed Mahdistani pop further towards American styles. American new wave pop would prove to be dramatically popular in Mahdistan, causing the Mahdistani music industry to slow greatly until the 1990's, when the nation continued the style as Americans moved away from it. Modern Mahdistani pop continues to sound similar to American 80's pop, though native and Soviet influences still shine through. Electronica is also widely popular throughout the country. Islamic nasheeds, however, still dominate the Mahdistani music field.
Radio stations are regulated by the Mahdistan Wing of Media, but are primarily owned by individuals. A number of government stations exist, playing all forms of Mahdistani music, alongside pro-government messages and national songs. The national orchestra of Mahdistan is the Isa Dynasty Royal Orchestra of Mahdistan.
Cinema arrived in Iran shortly after South Persia had been seized by the British, but the consulate restricted public access to film. Mahdistan's first movie theater was built in 1941 by the Nazi government, where it only showed propaganda and German national films. One of those propaganda films, 'South Persia: Aryan and Gorgeous!', filmed in 1943, was the first film by a South Persian director, the pro-Nazi director Reza bin Jafar under advisory of the German government, the first film in the Luri language, and featured the first time the city of Salaamabad had ever been filmed. Despite nearly all trace of the brief Nazi governance having been destroyed when the Emirate of Mahdistan came into power, the original copy of the film was kept, and is displayed in the Al-Isa Royal Museum and Gallery. Showing of any copy of this film requires government permission, and is only allowed under certain circumstances.
By 1946, two years after the Emirate had come into power and had stabilized the region, movie theaters began cropping up in all major cities across Mahdistan, under support by the government. The Emir invested a great deal of money into new film-makers, in hopes of forming a new legacy for Mahdistani cinema. Throughout the years, Mahdistan has produced a number of successful actors and directors, though many of the most successful moved on to Hollywood. Nonetheless, Mahdistan maintains its film-making success under the Mahdistan Wing of Cinema, and still sees new films made every year. One particular actor and director, Mahmud Agassi, is a national icon and household name for his films.
All media outlets, ranging from books to radio to television, are regulated and controlled by the Mahdistan Wing of Media within the country. Despite the government monopoly on information within the country, reporters and journalists are generally allowed to operate freely, and Mahdistan has a positive track record in freedom of information. However, reports deemed by the government to be false may result in imprisonment.
The primary state-owned TV news source is Minaret Daily, which broadcasts to every home in Mahdistan, as well as to numerous other countries. Besides television news, the station runs a line of newspapers in 11 different languages, hosts a website seeing millions in traffic daily, and has half a dozen radio shows which broadcast throughout the Middle-East. The station is heavily accused of pro-government bias, but is recognized for its accuracy in reports on international issues. Minaret Daily has been running since 1949, when it consisted of just a single line of newspapers distributed in Hassan, and a radio talk show. Numerous local stations exist throughout the country, and every major city has their own lines of local newspapers. While these are watched and regulated by the government, opposition and complaints against the government are not repressed.
Internet came into Mahdistan in 1992, and has since been made readily available to the public. The Wing of Media is responsible for enabling all citizens to have access to television and internet, and as such, over 85% of the country uses the internet on a regular basis. Much internet traffic is internal, and online shopping within the Mahdistan through the government-owned shipping company 'Via Mahdistan' makes up the majority of daily internet use. Internationally, Mahdistan ranks among the top 25 countries for highest internet use, with an ever-growing portion of the population more readily accessing foreign sites.
Football is enjoyed by children
throughout the nation
Sports are a part of everyday life in Mahdistan, and a great deal of the nation's young people play them on a regular basis. Even the smallest of villages in Mahdistan will have centers for playing sports, especially football and basketball, among many others. Learning and playing sports is generally seen as an expectation of citizens.
Wrestling and polo have connections as ancient sports of heritage across Persia, and these see national and international recognition. Football, however, is generally considered the most commonly-played sport, and is deeply ingrained into Mahdistani culture. Basketball and baseball have also proven to be quite popular, and are increasing in national attention.
Mahdistan has attended every Olympics event since 1948, and those participating are trained years in advance. Olympics training, along with the overseeing of all professional sports teams, is done by the Mahdistan Wing of Sports. Mahdistan is a major international figure in professional sports, being trained to peak performance on the home-front.
The Mahdistani palate is diverse, but features a number of commonalities with Iran. Herbs are used very commonly, and most meats tend to be heavily seasoned. Mahdistani consumption of meat tends to be high, with every meal traditionally featuring a meat dish, primarily beef, fish, or mutton. Sweet pastries are very common in the country, and trace their origins to the region; Mahdistanis often apply cinnamon and caramel to their desert meals. Garlic and barberries are commonly used as spices in main courses.
(O.O.C., this is where actual history and my nation's history officially split. All events before this are in fact true)
(The WA is considered non-canon in Mahdistan's universe, but still maintains membership in NationStates)