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Thoughts about al-Kalim

by Andrew Theisen

Coming back to this thread since some Tanagoro threads seem to be popping up, and I had a (possibly) interesting idea in regards to the M-Mali/Islam idea posited above. Maybe a bit too dramatic/controversial.

Al-Kalim is an Immortal of the Sphere of Time, and among its numerous requirements to attain Immortality is actual time travel into the future to perpetuate the dynasty the character founded in life. It has always struck me as kind of odd that the Eternal Truth became so monotheistically oriented when al-Kalim himself didn't actually attain Immortality until fairly recently. While that's probably more a result of post-Gaz2 authors reinterpreting the original intent of the Gaz2 depiction of the faith (either intentionally or unintentionally), it nevertheless seems weird. I actually wrote a piece where I examined a possible rationale for it years ago, but now I'm wondering something else.

What if al-Kalim didn't merely travel ahead into the future to ensure the prosperity of Ylaruam, but actually traveled into the past for some reason. Even if he didn't purposely proselytize and advance his faith in those past times, maybe he nevertheless influenced the people he traveled among simply by virtue of his personal devotion and demonstrations of faith? As such, the Eternal Truth then appeared (in some form or other) earlier in some places across Mystara than it did in Ylaruam?

(As a side note, I'm wondering now if al-Kalim's time travels might not have led him to other locales besides just Ylaruam to preserve his dynasty; his dynasty, in this case, being the belief system he initiated rather than an actual geo-political entity? Maybe he traveled to the Savage Baronies to help True Believers there, or the Great Wastes, etc.?)

Anyway, to get back to the point, perhaps there is a variant form of M-Islam/Eternal Truth that exists in and among some Tanagoro nation elsewhere on Mystara that al-Kalim "helped" to found in the past.

(Side Note 2: In subsequent readings of Islamic history since I wrote that original Eternal Truth article, I've come to realize that the spread of Islam under Muhammad actually took place relatively quickly, so the whole rise of al-Kalim thing isn't necessarily all that unprecedented. I think it is more the abrupt change from a belief system incorporating many Immortals in Gaz2 to the monotheistic "al-Kalim is our Immortal patron and we shall brook no other" that cropped up in later Mystara products that really seemed out of place to me and which I wanted to explain.)