|Last Ruler||Mustasim ibn al Mahdiq|
After the failure of the Rashidun Caliphate against the Byzantines, the Arab Sheikhs elected a new Caliph, Uthman, from the Ummayad family in 650 AD. He promised new strength for the Arab people, but in fact he was but a puppet for the Sheikhs who had elected him. After three years he was assassinated and replaced by his son, Al Wahdiq in 653 AD.
A Rise in Arab Fortunes
Al-Wahdiq sought to avenge his father's death. He ensured the Sheikhs were executed and power was returned to the hands of the Caliph. To show off his dynasty's new power he ordered the construction of a great new capital, Hifez, near the old Sassanid capital of Ctesiphon. From 668 - 676 AD, campaigns were led against the Khazars of Uzbekistan. These met with great success and succeeded in destroying the Khazar Khanate. This gave Al-Wahdiq a cause for great celebration.
The Byzantines Intervene
However, this war against the Khazars prompted the Byzantines to come to their ally's aid in 670 AD. A long border war ensued, neither empire being able to gain an advantage over the other. The only significant event occurred in 673 AD, when the Byzantines sacked the sacred city of Mecca. This prompted the first Jihad in 674 AD, with the Ummayad armies aimed at Antioch. Before the walls of the great Patriarchal city, a great battle raged. After five days of siege, the beleaguered Byzantine defenders were relieved and the Arabs were routed. As a result of this, a peace treaty was signed that doomed the Khazars to destruction.
Islam's Golden Era
This peace was maintained and the Ummayad Caliphate became a wealthy and powerful state. This wealth attracted many raiding factions but the Arab armies ensured the state's borders were kept secure. Art and culture were developed as was science and invention. Trade grew up between the old enemies the Byzantines and the Ummayads which profited them both. However, as with all golden ages, these good times had to come to an end.
The Seljuks Arrive
In 1054, a new and more deadly wave of Turkish invaders, the Seljuks, appeared over the steppes to the north of Uzbekistan. They swept the Ummayad armies away before them with notable victories at Kabul and Tabriz. Eventually, the 11th Caliph of the Ummayads, Mahdiq, agreed to a very one-sided peace with the invaders. He could retain the title of Caliph if all of his territory was handed over to the Seljuks, their leader would become Sultan and he would be their puppet-ruler. So the golden age of Islam ended and a new, military regime was set up that was not interested in trading with the Byzantines.
A Puppet State and the Fall of Islam
For the next two hundred years the Ummayad Caliphs wielded little actual power. They were freed from the Seljuks when their empire collapsed in 1194, but their power had been decreasing for around half a century already. The Ummayads, and Islam, finally came to an end in 1258 when Hulegu Khan of the Mongols sacked Hifez. The pagan horse-lords razed the entire city to the ground and exterminated the entire population. They then continued their advance through Arabia until they reached Medinah when they turned back due to Genghis Khan Mongke's death in 1259. Islam was left as a small sect of believers in remote desert encampments in Arabia and mountain strongholds in Persia ruled over by the Buddhist Mongol Il-Khanate.