"And anybody who looks after his family in his absence is also like one who actually fights."
— Hadith Sahih Muslim
Upgrade of Ghuzat Volunteers. Very weak melee unit which is only good for city defence.
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Armed with battle axes or sabarbarat as they are called in Arabic, and clad in Arab-style quilted armour, Ahdath Levy are the only thing keeping the cities of the Faithful from falling apart in civil discord. With Middle Eastern political culture being dominated by mass revolts, inter-tribal strife and even murder, not all people can hope to aspire to joining the ranks of these brave people, and so ahdath are much more professional than the worthless rabble claiming to to be ghuzat, which many are wont to round up from the peasants' associations, and their performance in battle reflects this, having the best stats for any militia unit.
Nevertheless, they still remain mostly militia at best, and are not expected to put up stiff resistance against heavily armoured hosts, yet alone a city with a garrison. Still, as militia, ahdath can often perform a valuable task by screening your more valuable forces and softening an enemy blow to pave way for a larger counterattack, or as a flanking force, mixed in together with mercenaries. After all, Muslim militia distinguish themselves by being so sufficiently trained and armoured that they can march alongside your army, but only the most pious of rulers can ever hope to muster such troops — it will require some semblance of nationalism and community to ensure that these troops will march and fight as one, and so Ahdath Levy all but suffer from high upgrade costs and steep technological requirements.
- Cheaper By The Dozen — Ahdath Levy are cheap and fast to create, so you can easily amass an army of them.
- The Purest Joy ... — Unlike Peasant Levy units, Ahdath Levy can be used offensively — they can be selected and moved by human players to another location, making them good for raiding as well as defence.
- Dead On Arrival — Sadly, Ahdath Levy are only just militia, and can be easily torn apart by cavalry and archers, and so are best only for low-intensity warfare involving skirmishes and not full-blown battles.
As Abbasid authority waned and the polities of Islam became feudalised, the Muslim Middle East of the Middle Ages began to become balkanised and politically fragmented, with smaller petty states emerging and asserting their own authority whilst paying lip service to the Qur'an's injunctions for internal unity and the Abbasid caliph himself. Equally, the gradual urbanisation and enrichment of Muslim cities through trade between Eastern Asia and Christian Europe meant that Islamic cities hosted bourgeois communities that were rich enough to secure a steady stream of arms and armour.
While most Muslim polities maintained some semblance of a standing or permanent army (referred to as asakir, "soldiers"), cities of the Levant and Egypt also supplemented them with organised militias called ahdath who were normally levied from the local bourgeois population. In addition to doing police work and law enforcement, they could be called up to supplement the local rulers' troops on military expeditions. Even so, they were still somewhat unruly and could rebel, but in the tenuous environment of the Northern Middle East in the wake of the Crusades, any help from anyone was welcomed by the Muslim world.