I have already tried to play as Muslim rulers of the Fatimids in Egypt and the Seljuks that fought the Byzantines and met with limit success so I will make the transition to the south of the Iberian Peninsula, which houses both Spain and Portugal, to see how a direct conflict between Islam and Catholic Christian rulers can look like.
The Iberian peninsula is very fragmented and I chose to play as the Emir of Granada
, mainly because this is an easy-to-control independent nation, which has some wealthy areas to depend upon and some even smaller county factions, which can be easily gobbled up.
Murcia is my first target, but the first war I launch goes badly after a series of events see my siege force decimated, which allows the enemy to launch a counterattack.
I am forced into a humiliating white peace and then I have to wait around for 20 years in order to get money, build up my own lands and hire one mercenary company.
Second time around I get my revenge and control over Murcia, which I promptly pawn off to my heir in order to make sure I drop my Decadence a little.
By now Emir Badis, my initial character, is quite old, which is reflected in his nickname, and I get three wives around in order to make sure that I have a few daughters to marry off and at least another male heir to ensure my succession.
I also choose to use the period of peace to go on the Hajj, the Mecca pilgrimage that every Muslim needs to perform, which seems to both improve my health and raise my fertility, which is impressive given that I am 70 by now.
I finally see my leader die off, but he has increased the dominion of Granada and created the conditions for even more success for his offspring.