Ismaili Heroes

These are our Heroes! Role models for our kids yesterday, role models today and forever!
This book contains 33 Heroes compiled by H.S.H. Prince Aly S. Khan Colony Religious School, Karachi, 1973.

A. Preface

Lives of great men all remind us,

We can make our lives sublime;

And departing, leave behind us,

Foot-prints on the sands of time.

Since the declaration of Hazrat Ali as the lmam, which marks the beginning of the Ismaili History, time has travelled in its long run of 1,400 years, through various periods. lsmaili History has given birth to a number of renowned figures, whose efforts have enabled Religion to stand today as a symbol of "struggle", "sacrifice" and "love" for the lmam. The tree that yields fruits today has been labouriously watered in the past.

Looking back at our own history, we find that the glorious Fatimid period, passed through such memorable events and produced celebrated personalities that even the long lapse of 900 years, does not dim their image and memories which they left behind for us to emulate. Among them were not only great warriors like Jawhar as-Siqilli who conquered many important places like Egypt to extend the Fatimid Empire, but also others who held prominent positions in the fields of Science, Literature and Art. These include Abu Ali Sina and lbn-Haitham - the great Scientists, Nasir Khusraw - the poet, traveller and propagandist Qadi Nu'man the jurist, Yaqub bin Killis the brilliant economist, Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani - the great intellectual. Al-Mu'yyad fid-din ash-Shirazi - the theologist and many others. Their art and knowledge did not only bring about an evolutionary change for the betterment of their age, but even today remains an appreciative work for the different schools of thought. It should be worth noting here that it was not only the Fatimid period which produced such outstanding figures but even the less known period of our history had created men like Nizari and Pir Shams. Pir Sadruddin's untiring efforts resulted in an increment of the total lsmaili strength, so much so that we can undoubtedly be called an outcome of his Da'wa. The credit for developing the Khojki language also goes to him, by which he preserved the rich knowledge of the lsmaili faith. It is heartening to see that still such personalities continue to come to light, like Pir Waras lsmail Gangji, Kara Ruda and Pir Sabzali who contributed to the lsmaili faith in similar manner, by keeping the flag flying at all costs.

It is very unfortunate to mark the lack of enthusiasm shown on the part of lsmailis in the last few decades, to preserve their rich knowledge and still more to see them lose whatever that remains. As a result of this, many facts are misinterpreted. On the other hand, it is encouraging to see men of other faiths taking keen interest to explore realities of the lsmaili History. As a result of which most of our literature has been unearthed by scholars of faiths other than the lsmaili. No wonder every time we plan to write our past record we have to look it up from the non-lsmaili sources, which have achieved reliability due to their own preserving efforts. However, recently efforts are being made by lsmailis themselves in the field of research on the various aspects of lsmailism and it is hoped that they shall come up with more fruitful result.

One of our main aim to undertake this project has been, to enable the general public to know about the rich harvest cultivated in the past - its mode and method - its reaper and harvester. We hope, that in time to come the information compiled will be of great value to the students of history and to others as well, to have at least an outline of some of our important personalities. Again it can act as a source of inspiration to achieve that level of spiritual enlightenment, but that would require efforts directed towards a definite aim.

An Introduction of our Institution:

With the view of imparting religious education to the youngsters, H.S.H. Prince Aly S. Khan Colony Religious School came into existence in 1960 C.E. by the great efforts of Aitmadiani Sherbanoobai Mukhi Essa Abdul Malik and Masalawala Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. This had become necessary as in this modern age materialism has completely failed to help man to achieve True Happiness (Peace of Mind). Though it was a humble beginning, but today it has flourished into a full-fledged school, having a staff of 40 well-trained and qualified teachers, who are rendering honourary services, and 400 students who are enthusiastically perusing their studies. The classes take place in the building of the Aga Khan Gymkhana School. The teaching is being supervised by the Board, under whose dynamic leadership the school is making good progress.

In addition to the regular classes conducted under the supervision of the School Board - Mission, Quran and Islamic History classes are also being held under the supervision of the lsmailia Association for Pakistan, which has helped us considerably in this project. Apart from the above mentioned activities, the School has been holding yearly Wa'az, Ginan, Essay, Du'a and Quiz competition to encourage the students to strive ahead.


Obvious as it is, this Journal could never have been the work of one particular committee, but it has been brought out by the help of various individuals and institutions, amongst which, the lsmailia Association for Pakistan is the most prominent. We are thankful to the following libraries for providing us important manuscripts and relevant research material. lsmailia Association Research Library, Dr. Alidina Memorial Library and lsmaili Archives, Central Archaeological Library and Museum. Iran Cultural Centre Library and Karachi University Library.

I shall be failing in my duty if I do not place on record the unstinted co-operation extended by Miss Zawahir Noorally to review and edit the material published in this Journal. Besides all laurels are attributed to scholars who magnanimously contributed to this noble cause. We are highly indebted to Mr. Tajuddin Esmail, Alijah Soormawala and Mr. Gulgee (Ismaili) for being generous with their time and advice. The assistance and scholarly advice given by Vazir Sherali Ali Dina and Dr. Akbar Ladak have been of a great value to us and have been a great source of encouragement. It would be inadequate here if Mrs. Rashida Bai were to be ignored for the pains she underwent in providing the necessary facilities for the smooth flow of our work. Our thanks are also due to the various individuals who have assisted us financially in carrying out this project.

Last but not the least, Syed Liaquatuillah, the artist Mr. Abdul Majid M. Patel, Mr. Abdul Malik Chunara and the members of the Art and Literary Committee have also helped us considerably in preparing this Journal.

In the end, it was a source of great pride and pleasure to work hand in hand with all my colleagues, who have spared no effort to make this humble project a great success. I thank them all.

Abdul Rehman Kanji

Karachi: 1973 Chairman of Executive Committee

B. Forward

Efforts put forth by the Prince Aly Khan Religious Night School, Karachi, deserve our high appreciations for producing this Journal which is full of biographical sketches of lsmaili writers, scientists, preachers, scholars, poets, Pirs and religious leaders. From as old as Rodaki to as modern as Kara Ruda many have been included. Lives of these men show how sincerely they worked for the lmam of the Time and made sacrifices to keep the flag flying. In collecting this material, the committee has searched scholars all over the world. Indeed their efforts have been crowned with success for some articles have been contributed by scholars of renown and some by those who bid fair to do well in lsmaili research.

Some scholars who have obtained their doctorates recently have also responded to the call and contributed articles of high research value. Some of the writers, are those who are on the threshold of wearing doctorial gowns.

The late Prof. W. lvanow a Russian Scholar of lsmailism had been the foremost scholar of modern times to draw world attention of orientalists to the field of lsmaili research. Professor A. A. A. Fyzee, Dr. Henry Corbin, Dr. Bernard Lewis the late Professor Hodgson, the late Professor Kamil Hussain, Dr. Abbas Hamdani and Dr. Mrs. Hanna Papanek have done research in lsmailism and tried to bring out facts of lsmaili history and philosophy. In 1948 our beloved previous lmam Hazrat Sultan Mohammed Shah Aga Khan Ill in a conference in East Africa paid tributes to the research work of Prof. W. lvanow and Prof. A. A. A. Fyzee and remarked that these non-Ismailis knew more about lsmailism than missionaries.

So much dust had collected over lsmaili documents and so much misunderstanding had covered the lsmaili studies that the research of these famous scholars who have tried to sift error and give world the true facts has been most fruitful. Their efforts have been most laudable. It is heartening to note that the orientalists continue to bring out true facts of lsmaili history and philosophy which had suffered great set back because of various reasons in which one may not go into, in this short space.

It is a matter of great satisfaction that lsmailis themselves have now started taking interest in the research activities of their glorious past. In 1963 Dr. Nasser Ahmed Mirza an lsmaili from Syria got his Ph.D from Durham University of U.K. His thesis was, "The Syrian lsmailis at the time of Crusades". At present he is working as a senior lecturer in the University of Melbourne, Australia in the department of Semitic studies. Three other lsmaili students have obtained doctorates in lsmaili studies in 1971. Dr. Akbar Ladak from Karachi and Dr. Asad Sadiq from Syria got their doctorates from the School of Oriental and African Studies London. The former wrote on, "The Fatimid Caliphate and the Ismaili Da'wa - from the appointment of Mustali to the suppression of the dynasty" and the latter wrote on, "The reign of lmam al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah. These two thesis are about to be printed in book form. The third is Dr. Aziz Esmail from Kenya who did his doctorate from Edinburgh University, his subject being, "lsmaili Mysticism and Philosophy of Jung".

Five Ismailis have received doctorates in Islamic Studies in 1972. One of them is Dr. Abdullah Rehimtullah (Pakistan) at the Sorbonne University Paris. His thesis was, "Religious Philosophy of Hazrat Sultan Mohammed Shah." The other is Dr. Ghulamali Allana (Pakistan) at the Sind University Hyderabad. His subject was Ginans and Sindhi Literature. Dr. Miss Parvin Peerwani from Kenya has done her doctorate at the Tehran University in some aspect of philosophy of Nasir-Khusraw. Dr. Miss Ghulshun Khakee who is the recipient of the Prince Sadruddin Scholarship from Harvard University is from East Africa. Her doctorate thesis was on Momin Shah. Dr. Azim Nanji from Kenya has done his doctorate at the McGill University Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research Institute of Islamic Studies, Canada. His subject was about the oral traditions regarding Ginans. Besides these, Miss Zaibun Jafferali from Congo is doing her research at the Sorbonne University under the supervision of Dr. Henry Corbin and would be getting her doctorate in 1973. She is editing in French one of the books of Nasir-Khusraw. Two other scholars who are carrying on doctorate studies are Mohammed Abualy from Kenya at Harvard and Mrs. Mehrunnissa Amirali from Pakistan at Karachi University. The former is writing a modern bibliography on lsmailism and the latter is writing on Muslim Education in West Pakistan. In this as a back-ground study she will write on the contribution of Hazrat Sultan Mohammed Shah for Muslim Educational uplift in the pre-partition India.

Other than these there are from the lsmailia Association Pakistan at Karachi, those who will be able to take up research studies in suitable lsmaili subjects specially on the philosophical side for doing their doctorate. They are Miss Zawahir Nooraly, Mr. Fakquir Mohammed, Mr. Shaykh Mohammad lqbal and Mr. Alijah Deedarali all of whom are double M.A.'s and fit to embark upon doctoral studies abroad.

Here mention must be made of the Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan fellowship at the Harvard University, U.S.A. This fellowship at $3500 is a gift of His Serene Highness Prince Sadruddin Aga Khan. It is designed to support post graduate work in Islamic Studies. Application forms for admission and scholarship and other information may be obtained by writing to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 75 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge Massachusetts 021 38, U.S.A. It is high time that more of lsmailis who are first class graduates or holding Master's degrees should take up further studies and research specially if lsmaili Philosophy much of which is yet not known. Research work in this direction will show how rich is lsmaili Philosophy and how much it has contributed to Islamic thought.

The Prince Ali S. Khan Colony Religious Night School have taken up another activity along with the bringing out of this Journal. They are organizing an Art Exhibition of Muslim scientists and men of learning. This Art Exhibition is going to attract a large crowd and will show Muslim contribution to world civilization. This activity of these young and enthusiastic workers also deserves appreciation of all of us because they have taken great pains and worked hard to make it successful.


10th March, 1973.
Blessed House,
178 Garden East, Britto Road,

C1. Message: From Mowlana Hazar Imam

10th March, 1973.

My dear President Kassim Ali,

I have received your letter of 31st January, with the report from H.S.H. Prince Aly S. Khan Colony Religious Night School which I have read with great interest.

I give my most affectionate paternal maternal loving blessings to all the teachers, students and members of the Religious Night School Board for their good work and devoted services.

I give my best loving blessings for success to all beloved spiritual children who are participating in the Art Exhibition organised by the Board, and I look forward to receiving their Journal "The Great Ismaili Heroes".

Yours affectionately,


President Kassim Ali

Ismailia Association for Pakistan,


C2. Message: From Prince Amyn Mohamed

15 December, 1972.

Abdul Rehman Kanji


I-8 Prince Aly S. Khan Colony
Diamond Street, Garden East

My dear Mr. Kanji,

I am happy to learn that H.S.H. Prince Aly S. Khan Colony Boys/Girls Religious Night School is holding an exhibition of art related to important figures of our Ismaili past, and that this exhibition will be accompanied by a special publication.

From analysing the thoughts and the special qualities of these bygone leaders, much can be learned that is of value for explaining or illuminating life today. These important figures should remind us too of the common heritage which binds us, and which is a basis of our Ismaili unity.

I wish you every success.


Prince Amyn Mohamed Aga Khan

C3. Message: From the Begum

Begum Aga Khan



19th December, 1972


Diamond Street, Garden East KARACHI-3

My Dear Abdul Rehman,

I was very pleased to receive your letter of December 6th.

I would like to congratulate you all on your enterprise in holding an Art Exhibition with portraits of Ismaili Imams, Da'is, Pir and Missionaries, as well as issuing a publication "THE GREAT ISMAILI HEROES".

I feel sure that both ventures will be a great success and I hope will receive great support from our Community who will benefit from your efforts, and will become more familiar with our great Ismailis and Leaders of the past.

With every good wish to you all, and with my most loving thoughts.

Yours affectionately,

Om Habibeh

C4. Message: From Prince Sadruddin

Chateau de Bellerive,


Geneva, Switzerland,

December 14, 1972.

Dear Mr. Kanji,

Thank you for your letter of December 2nd. It is with pleasure that I hear of your intention to hold an Art Exhibition in the first days of February 1973.

The journal entitled "The Great Ismaili Heroes" which you will be publishing on this occasion, containing the life sketches and work of thirty great Ismailis as well as articles contributed by well-known scholars from all over the world will, no doubt, prove most interesting and inspiring for the students and the Jamat. I am looking forward to receiving a copy of it.

I congratulate you most sincerely on this original initiative and hope this manifestation will be a great success.

With my best wishes, I send you and all Members of your Religious Night School my very affectionate regards.


Abdul Rehman Kanji, Esq.


1-8 Prince Ally S. Khan Colony,

Diamond Street,

Garden East Karachi-3, Pakistan.

1.0 Mansuru'l Yaman (Ibn Hawshab)

To write about the persons who have played important roles in shaping the course of Ismaili History is an immensely difficult task for a historian or a biographer. lbn Hawshab is also such a personage whose antecedents and career are barely discernible through the misty veil hung by the sectarian prejudice of his contemporary annalists or bigotry of latter historians. Most of the Muslim historians appear to have deliberately ignored him or suppressed facts about his life and career. Notwithstanding the dearth of original biographical material about his life, historians are unanimous about his solid contribution to the spread of Ismailism in Yaman during the last quarter of 3rd century Hijri.

There appears to be considerable difference of opinion amongst historians about lbn Hawshab's birth, name and early life. According to Qadi Numan, (Iftitahad-Da'wa. page 32) he was named Abul Qasim ai-Husayn bin al-Farah bin Hawshab bin Zadan al-Kufi, while lbn-ul-Athir (Al-Kamil Volume 8. page 30) gives his name as Rustam bin al-Husayn bin Hawshab bin Dazan al-Kufi. lbn-e-Khaidun (Al-ibar, Volume 3. Chapter 3. page 740) gives his name, as Rustam bin al-Husayn bin Dawood un-Jar, while Da'i ldrees gives yet another name Al-Hasan bin Farah bin Hawshab al-Mansur. Out of these, Qadi Nu'man's version appears more believable due to his closer proximity. In Ismaili annals he is famous as lbn Hawshab Mansuru'l - Yaman for his outstanding contributions towards the spread of Ismailism in Yaman.

As far as his ancestry and place of origin are concerned. al-Jundab (as-Suluk, page 140) states that he was a descendant of Aqeel bin Abu Talib and hailed from Kufah as most other historians also aver. There is no record extant about his date of birth but according to the guesses of historians he must have been born sometime during the second quarter of 3rd century Hijri.

About his early life and education also records are scant, but Qadi Nu'man attests (Iftitah--ud-Da'wat page 33) that he learned Ouran, Hadith and Fiqah at home. According to Qadi Nu'man, (Iftitah-ud-Da'wat, pages 33-38). lbn Hawshab originally belonged to Shia lthna-'Ashri persuasion, but he could not reconcile himself to the strange disappearance of Muhammad bin Hasan al-Askari, the twelfth lthna'Ashri Imam, and the abrupt and inexplicable termination of lthna-'Ashri Imamat. It is said that he used to spend most of his time in a secluded spot on the bank of Furat, reciting Ouran and cogitating upon the fate of the last Ithna-'Ashri Imam and the consequent implications for himself and his fellows-in-faith. In such a state he is reported to have met lmam Husayn bin Ahmed (Imam Radhi Abdullah, the tenth Ismaili lmam) and discoursed with him upon religion and the questions that were exercising his mind. The lmam left him after promising to meet again soon. lbn Hawshab was so impressed by his chance meeting with lmam Husayn bin Ahmed (Radhi Abdul]ah) that he eagerly looked forward to further meetings with him. However, when after an anxious wait of several days, the Imam did not appear again, he became restless and began a search for him. Despite his frantic efforts to locate the lmam's whereabouts, he could not trace him. After sometime he accidentally met the Imam's Naib or Shaikh (Deputy) and through him he eventually succeeded in reaching the presence of lmam again.

Imam Husayn bin Ahmed (Radhi Abdullah) answered his queries to his satisfaction and assuaged his doubts. He readily accepted Ismaili faith at the lmam's hand.

Imam Husayn bin Ahmed (Radhi Abdullah) himself imparted the knowledge of Ismaili creed, tenets and esoterism to him and he was so eager and devoted to his new faith that he was soon initiated in the higher mysteries of Ismailism.

When the Imam found that lbn-Hawshab was firmly grounded in Ismaili faith and groomed enough for the responsibility of its propagation, he jointly entrusted him and his colleague, lbn-e-Fadhal with the onerous task of propagating Ismailism (Da'wa) on his as well as his son, Imam Mahdi's behalf in Yaman. Before they set off on their venture, he called each of them in private audience separately and urged him to respect and co-operate with the other, and to avoid all differences for the greater cause of their faith. While seeing them off, he again exhorted both of them to be faithful to their cause and to co-operate whole heatedly with each other in achieving their aim.

Beside the individual and collective directions, the Imam entrusted lbn-Hawshab with a voluminous tome which comprehensively dwelled upon the exoteric and esoteric aspects of Ismaili faith. Thus fully equipped with verbal as well as written guidance, both of them set forth on their mission to Yaman sometime in the last months of 268 Hijri. First of all they proceeded to Mecca and accosted the Hajj caravan from Yaman. They discreetly enquired about the religious, climate and political situation then prevailing in Yaman. Having ascertained the propitiousness of their venture, they availed the opportunity to join the Yaman Hajj caravan and proceeded to Yaman as returning Hajis. They had to adopt this strategy to escape the merciless persecution of Abbasids as also to avoid arousing suspicions of their Yamani hosts. Thus they reached Yaman.

After reaching Yaman, both of them separated. lbn-Hawshab headed towards Southern Yaman and started looking for the village of Adanla'a, which abounded with Shian-e-Ali (Well wishers of Ali) and to which the Imam had directed him. After some difficulty, he succeeded in reaching Adanla'a and was welcomed by its inhabitants. There he learnt that a learned and pious man, Ahmed bin aliah bin Khuleh, used to live there, but was imprisoned by lbn-abi-Yaafar for his suspected sympathies with the Ismaili Da'wa. lbn- Khuleh had died in imprisonment. Ibn-Hawshab settled down in lbn-Khuileh's house and after some-time married one of his (Ibn-e-Khuleh's) friend's daughter.

Though he married a local woman and ostensibly settled down in Adanla'a, lbn Hawshab continued to observe strict Taqiyya. He did not reveal by word or action his identity as an Ismaili and a Da'i (Missionary) of highest order for that matter. (Ibn-e-Khaldun' Al-ibar, Volume 3, Chapter 3) - In the open he strictly subscribed to the lthna-'Ashri creed, the faith of his hosts, but secretly he went on cultivating them by his pious and exemplary behaviour, gathering adherents and sympathisers in ever-increasing numbers. In a short time he became so popular as a learned and pious man that the populace of Adanla'a and the surrounding villages became his faithful supporters. After having won their allegiance, he at first only exhorted them to render Zakat scrupulously and appointed honest and trustworthy Collectors to collect Zakat. (Al hamadi, Kashf-ul-Israr-ul-Batiniya, page 25). When he felt that the time for revealing his identity and mission had become propitious, he discreetly started inviting them to the Ismaili fold and accepting Ba'it on behalf of Imam Husayn Bin Ahmed (Radhi Abdullah) and his designated successor, Imam Mahdi. (Al-Gandhi, ars-suluk, page 141).

On the other side, his colleague, Ali bin Fadhal too, was following the same pattern and in a short time succeeded in winning the sympathy, and adherence of the people of Saroyafoa and its neighbourhood. First he gained popularity through piety and exemplary behaviour and then established complete sway over their hearts and minds. Under his orders his adherents built a strong fort in a Vantage Corner of Saroyafoa (Ash-sharfi, Volume 2, page 85).

Thus Ibn-Hawshab and Ibn-e-Fadhal carried on their missionary activities without hindrance and

unnoticed in the rural seclusion of Yaman for nearly two years and now felt strong enough to openly challenge the authority of Sanaa, the Yamani capital (Qadi Nu'man, lftatah-ul-Da'wat, page 44).

Ibn-Hawshab got a strong fort constructed on a hillock and made it his headquarters. He arranged military training for his adherents and in a short time contrived to have an excellent fighting force at his command. First he attacked Jabal-al-Jusayah and occupied it. Then he set forth to assault the stronghold of Jabal-al-Maswar. Despite its reported invincibility, he successfully overran it. He assured the occupants of al-Maswar that he was neither after booty nor personal glory, but his campaigns were solely meant for spreading the true Islamic faith i.e. Ismailism. He not only allowed them to retain their possessions, but distributed amongst them the booty he had collected earlier (Al-Hamadi. Kashf-al-Asrarul-Batiniya, page 26). His benevolent treatment of the conquered won him their general acclaim and to the last man joined Ismaili fold. He used to claim that he owed his successes to his being Da'i,"(Missionary) of Imam Mahdi.

According to Qadi Nu'man, Ibn-Hawshab finally conquered Sanaa, the capital of Yaman, exiled the ruling tribe of Bani laydir and established Ismaili authority there on behalf of Imam Mahdi. After transferring his headquarters to Sanaa, he sent out his Da'is (Missionaries) to the farthest corners of Yaman to preach Ismailism. He is also said to have sent his Da'is as far outside Yaman as Yamama, Bahroin, Sind, India in the East and Egypt and Tunisia, in the West. (Qadi Nu'man, Iftatah-ul-Da'wat, page 47).

In the early stages, there was complete unenmity between lbn Hawshab and lbn-e-Fadhal. lbn-Hawshab being the senior of the two, lbn-e-Fadhal used to show proper deference to him. However, when in 289 Hijri (901 C.E.) Imam Mahdi headed West instead of Yaman as was originally planned, one of his Da'is', Feroz, defected and escaped to Yaman (Qadi Nu'man, Iftitah-ul-Da'wat, page 149).

First he went to lbn-Hawshab and tried to undermine his loyalty to Imam Mahdi, but Ibn-Hawshab remained steadfast. Then he went to Ibn-e-Fadhal and succeeded in winning him over. Ibn-e-Fadhal had become intensely jealous of Ibn-Hawshab and succumbed to the evil machinations of Feroz. Ibn-e-Fadhal had the audacity to order Ibn-Hawshab, his senior, to switch his fealty to him (Ibn-e-Fadhal) and to obey his commands thenceforth Ibn--Hawshab wrote him a mild and affectionate epistle urging him to come to his senses and fulfil the pledges of loyalty he had solemnly made to Imam Husayn bin Ahmed, (Radhi Abdullah) when the ]mam had sent them off to their mission. He also tried to impress upon Ibn-e-Fadhal the serious consequences that were sure to ensue his rebellion to Imam and parting with himself (Ibn-Hawshab). But lbn-e-Fadhal was in no frame of mind to listen to reason, particularly from lbn-Hawshab of whom he had grown intensely jealous. He replied in a very rude manner and persisted in his erroneous way, greatly undermining the successes both of them had achieved under the aegis of their Imam.

Ibn-Hawshab remained steadfast to the Ismaili cause and loyal to his Imam till his death. On his death-bed he did not appoint or nominate his successor ,but in his will to his son. Hasan, and his trusted lieutenant - Abdullah Shawari, he strictly commanded both of them to remain staunchly loyal to their Imam and obey the orders of Imam in the matter. He urged each of them to defer to whomever of them the Imam in his spiritual sagacity thought fit to succeed him (Ibn-Hawshab). (al-Gandhi. as-suluk, page 150).

However, Ibn-Hawshab's son, Hasan was aspirant of succeeding in his father's post. Immediately after his father's demise, he left Yaman for Maghrib to seek audience with Imam Mahdi, who had succeeded his father, Imam Husayn bin Ahmed (Radhi Abdullah), with a view to secure his succession to his father's post. But to his disappointment and chagrin, he learnt that Imam Mahdi had already appointed Abdullah Shawari, frustrated he returned to Yaman and of implicitly abiding with his father's will, persisted in his resentment and took the path of rebellion.

Mr. Saifuddin Qassir. Salmieh (Syria.)
Translated by Al-Wa'z Bulbul-Shah

2.0 Famous Ismaili Poet & Intellect Rodaki

Renowned Ismaili poet and intellect, Abu Abdullah bin Ja'far bin Muhammad Rodaki, was born some 1100 years before in Rodak near Samarkand. His verses are so famous in the world that he is known

as "Bawa Adam", i.e. distinguished authority of Persian poetry. The era wherein Hakim Rodaki was born was the highly significant in Ismaili history. It was this era wherein, according to the Holy Prophet, Hazrat Imam Mahdi, became manifest in the West, and Ismaili Da'is, with their indefatigable efforts and swiftness, were propagating Ismaili concept in every nook and corner of the world.

Consequently, during this particular period, great importance to the propagation of Ismaili Da'wa at Khurasan, Bukhara and Bain an-Nahrain was also given, and the Samani ruler of these places, Nasr bin Ahmed Samani, a sworn enemy of Ismailis, who had assassinated Da'i Husayn bin Aly al- Maruzi, embraced Ismaili faith through the untiring efforts of Sayyidna Abu Abdul]ah bin Ahmed an-Nasafi and he gave allegiance to Hazrat Imam Mahdi, from the core of his heart in as much as he requested to be present along with his 50.000 soldiers before the Imam of the time and fight against the enemies of the Imam.

Because Nasr bin Ahmed being a great obstacle in the propagation of Ismaili Da'wa, by his embracing Ismaili faith this obstacle vanished. People began to embrace Ismaili concept; group by group so much so that many a lord, minister and courtier became fortunate to espouse Ismaili beliefs.

In consequence of this, the renowned Ismaili poet and intellect, Rodaki, also found during this period the opportunity of espousing Ismaili concept. It is said that Rodaki was quite intelligent from childhood. He learnt by heart holy Quran at the age of 8 years. After that he acquired all the prevailing sciences of the era and for this he is termed to be an intellect. Rodaki had natural attachment to poetical verses, stanzas and music. He was gifted with melodious voice. He was widely playing a musical instrument "Chang". Besides, he had the charm of humour and presence of mind pounded in his person.

Upon these qualities of his he was summoned by Nasr bin Ahmed to his court, who did leave no stone unturned in the encouragement and honour of Rodaki. Consequently, due to the extraordinary favours of the ruler and God gifted qualities, he enjoyed such a position in the court which no dignitary had ever secured. He is presumed to be one among the opulent poets in the world. It is said that whenever his procession was taking place, there used to be with him 200 slaves adorned with golden belts and 400 camels laden with his belongings.

Poetry of Rodaki

Just as herein above stated that Rodaki has been termed as 'Bawa Adam' of Persian poetry, it is said that he has composed 1.300.000 verses. It is such a status in composition of verses that there seems to be no such large an amount of verses ever composed either in Persian or any other language of the world by any poet, and the effect produced (by his composition) was such that once Nasr bin Ahmed Samani, on hearing his verses, went into such a trance that he rode bare footed on an unsaddled horse towards Bukhara.

Side by side Rodaki had the honour of eulogising and glorifying Fatimid Imams, in his compositions. He was in the periods of Hazrat Imam Mahdi, and Hazrat Imam Qa'im. Due to strongly based religious opponents, much of his compositions in the glory, of Fatimid Imams did not survive, but from whatever has remained Rodaki's belief in and love for the progeny of 'Ahle Bait' is glittering like sun. For example to quote a verse by Maroof Balkhi narrated to him by Rodaki:

"I have heard the king of poets, Rodaki, saying: "do not give allegiance to anyone save Fatimid (Imams)."

It is clear by this verse that not only love and belief of Rodaki comes to light but it invites others to the allegiance of the progeny of 'Ahle Bait'.

Last days and Death

Rodaki was blinded in his last age in punishment of his love for "Ahle Bait". Consequently contrary to his early life his last days passed with great turmoil and poverty.

It is said that by the acceptance of Ismaili faith by Samani ruler, Nasr bin Ahmed, and by the spread of Ismaili Da'wa in Bukhara, etc, districts. Abbasid Caliph became horrified. Therefore he insinuated Nuh bin Nasr, son of Nasr bin Ahmed against his father and Ismaili faith, with the result that Nasr bin Ahmed was forced to abandon the throne and upon the insinuation of the Abbasids Caliph, Ismailis were either massacred or subjected to severe punishments.

Consequently Hakim Rodaki also fell prey to this tyranny. On the other hand he was subjected to the severest punishment than others for eulogising and glorifying holy Imams. Some presume that Rodaki

was blind from his birth, but the fact is that it was not so, save that he was blinded for the sake of strong religious bias. From the recent exhumation of his remains in Rodak, it has been gathered that his head was pressed against glowing fire, causing his eyes to burst out and he thus became deprived of his sight. In this way, Rodaki's last days passed with great hardship and turmoil and he succumbed to this precarious condition of peril and poverty, in 329 A.H.

Rodaki's life sets a solid example for the faithfuls to the effect that come what may, it is incumbent upon one to remain firm and unshaken upon one's own faith, conception and attachment to the Lord of the Age, even at the time of breath taking circumstances, for the Real Life is gained and attained only through the infallible love and attachment to the Lord of the Age. True lover never dies. Rodaki set the just example. Although the enemies of the Imam of the Time deprived him of his eyesight, no tyrant could snatch of him the inner vision derived by his unfailing love and attachment to the progeny of 'Ahle Bait' and in spite of the most hardest turmoil he remained inexhaustible in his love for the Imam of the Time and, Inshallah. his name will remain ever shining, for:

"Hargiz namiread anki dilash zinda shud bi ishk;

Sibt ast bar jaridai aaiam dawam ma."

Mr. Fakquir Muhammad. Karachi (Pakistan)

3.0 Abu Abd Allah Al-Shi'i

Abu Abd Allah al-Husain b. Ahmad Muhammad b. Zakariya was a Yemenite of Kufa. He was also known as al Muhtasib.

He was a dedicated Shi'ite and highly versed in esoteric. Realizing his promise and potential, the Imam sent him to Yemen for apprenticeship at the hands of Abu'l Qasim b. Hawshab, the Ismaili da'i, who had succeeded in establishing a foot-hold in that country, Abu Abd Allah stayed in Yemen for a year, in close association with Abul Qasim and participated in missionary. administrative and military activities.

The Imam had earmarked Abu Abd Allah for conducting missionary work in the Maghrib. At the end of his term of apprenticeship, which coincided with the Pilgrimage season, Abu Abd Allah accompanied by a Yemenite assistant, left 'Adan-La'a, Abu'l Qasim's headquarters, for Mecca.

During the Pilgrimage, he contacted the Kitama pilgrims at Muna and he impressed them with his thorough knowledge of the attributes of the Ahl Al Bayt. Accompanying the Kitama caravan to Egypt, he captured the admiration of his fellow-travellers, with the unmistakable skill and craft of an Ismaili da'i. When he revealed that he intended to stay in Egypt in order to undertake teaching for a living, he was conveniently prevailed upon by the Kitama to accompany them to their country. Abu Abd Allah avoided Ifriqiya (Tunisia) by taking a route to the south and he arrived in the Kitama country in the middle of 893 C.E.

He chose as headquarters lkdjan near Satif, a mountain stronghold that dominated the Pilgrimage route. He started to teach the attributes of 'Ali b. Abi Talib and his descendants, the Imams, and tribesmen began to trek to lkdjan. It was during this period that Abu Zaki Tammahi b. Mu'arik, a member of the Kitama clan of Idjana, arrived at Abu Abd Al]ah's headquarters. From that moment he was to become the Da'i's right-hand.

Abu Abd Allah set about organizing his followers whom he called lkhwan i.e. brothers. To the Berbers he was known as al-Mashiriqi, i.e. the Easterner, and his followers as the Mashariqa.

Abu Abd Allah organized classes - Majalis and collected a fee from students - this was probably the fore-runner of the Najwa.

The activities of the Da'i alarmed the neighbouring governor of Mila. In vain he urged the Kitama to hand him over. The autonomous governor, wary of Aghlabid intervention, belittled Abu Abd Allah when lbrahim b. Ahmad, the Aghlabid ruler of lfriqiya, enquired about the Da'i's, activities. Eventually Ibrahim entered into correspondence with Abu Abd Allah, courting his friendship at first and ending with threats. Recognizing his vulnerable position at lkdjan, the Da'i retired to Tazrut under the protection of al-Hasan b. Harun, the powerful leader of the Ghashman clan.

A number of Kitama sheikhs wary of Aghlabid inroads into their country, sought to banish the Da'i, and in the ensuing battle, Abu Abd Allah gained the upper hand. After his resounding victory, the Da'i built himself a palace in Tazrut and his followers built living quarters around it. He embarked on a career of conquests that brought the Kitama country under his control. Immediately, he set on laying the foundations of administration for his principality. He divided the Kitama into seven units, each with its own army, commanders and sheikhs whom he gave wide powers, a measure that sowed the seeds of a power struggle under the Mahdi and in which the Da'i lost his life. Closely following the activities of his Da'i from his retreat in Salmiya, the Imam 'Ubayd Allah al-Mahdi, decided to leave for the Maghrib in 289/902. Failing to join Abu Abd Allah the Imam took refuge in Sidjilmassa where he was detained by its ruler lbn Midrar. The Da'i's brother, Abu'l 'Abbas Muhammad, who accompanied the Imam in his journey, fell into the hands of the Aghlabids.

After consolidating his position in the Kitama country, Abu Abd Allah embarked on his second phase of conquests. After a short siege he took Mila. The new Aghlabid ruler, Abu'l 'Abbas b. lbrahim, promptly sent his son Abu Hawwal with a strong army against the Da'i. Abu Hawwal defeated Abu 'Abd Allah in the country of the Matusa, advanced on Tazrut which he took and burnt the Da'i's palace. He took Mila and Abu Abd Alla fell back on lkdjan. Regrouping his troops the Da'i inflicted a heavy defeat on Abu Hawwal. A counter-attack by the Aghlabid general was repulsed. The Da'i then marched on Satif and took it. He inflicted a series of defeats on the Aghlabdis, notably those at Kabuna, Darmalul and Darmadyan.

On March 19, 909 C.E. Abu Abd Allah decisively defeated the Aghlabid near Larybus. Six days later he entered the Aghlabid capital, Raqadda.

After establishing a new fabric of administration in Ifriquiya, he left for Sidjilmassa in order to liberate al Mahdi, leaving Abu Zaki as his deputy. After a short siege, the Da'i took the town by storm and liberated the Mahdi and his son.

Back in Ifriqiya Abu Abd Allah fell under the influence of his brother Abul Abbas who, exploiting the discontent of the Kitama Sheiks who were losing power under the Mahdi's set-up, urged rebellion. Wen the plot became known he was put to death on Monday 15, Jumada al-Ukhra 298\18 February 911. Wrote Ibn Khalikan, "He was one of those sagacious men who knew what they were doing."

Dr. B. I. Beshir. Khartoum (Sudan)

4.0 Sayyidna Abu Hatim ar-Razi

His full name was Abu Hatim Ahmed, although some others described his name to be Abdur Rahman bin Hamdan al - Laisi Al-Warsinani ar-Razi. In the period of Hazrat Imam Mehdi, he was in the office of "Hujjat-e-Jazira" at the island of Ray. He is supposed to be in the rank of those philosophic Da'is who, through their vast knowledge, intelligence, rhetoric speech and logical interpretation, brought emperors, kings, lords and high ranked government officials of their time into the fold of Ahle Bait, i.e. Ismaili concept.

Early Life:

Just as activities of other Ismaili Da'is being behind the screen their life accounts were in the dark, account of early life of Sayyidna Abu Hatim ar-Razi is unavailable. However, some historians surmise that he was born in later half of the third century. i.e. nearly 260 A.H., near Ray in the district of Bishawooie.

The period in which he was born was, from the point of view of flourishing knowledge, a golden era of the world of Islam. Everywhere there was a flow of knowledge, literature and philosophy. Ray itself was a great centre of literature and earning, especially in the fields of philosophy, theology and enlightenment on the sayings of the holy Prophet Muhammad. Incidentally, it gave him the opportunity of acquiring thorough knowledge of Islamic concept, philosophy and theology in general. Besides, he had good acquisition of the knowledge of all religions, and references of religions like Mani, Zoroastrianism, Mazadaism, Bahafaredi, Judaism, Christianity, etc., could be found in his works. His powerful eloquence and lucid explanation had no match. In view of these qualities, when appointment of skilful workers from the centre of Da'wa was made for reforms in religious esoteric understanding and its prosperity, he was one amongst them. And in this direction Sayyidna Hamidad-din al-Kirmani, in his Kitab ar Riyad says that Sayyidna Razi was one of those skilful workers of Da'wa whose appointment was made for reforms of religious esoteric understanding, its glory, explanation of lsmaili concept and emphasis upon man's fulfilment of his duties towards God.

In the beginning Sayyidna Abu Hatim ar-Razi worked as Assistant to the Hujjat, Da'i Rayath, of island of Ray. After the death of Da'i Rayath, Abu Ja'far, succeeded him. Nevertheless, this post was afterwards bestowed upon Abu Hatim ar-Razi. Upon taking up the office of Hujjat-e-Jazira, he carried out the work of Da'wat with great efficiency and promptness. Thereupon, ruler of Ray, Ahmed bin Aly, (304 to 311 A.H.)., who was the bitterest enemy of lsmailis, was converted by him to lsmaili faith. Because of the great influence and bearing of the ruler of Ray, many a lord and dignitaries of his court embraced Ismaili faith.

Over and above this, he deputed Da'is to Tabaristan, lspahan and Azarbaijan. Influence of lsmaili Da'is was so effective in this era that people were embracing lsmaili faith group by group and their rivals, Sunni advocates, could not withstand their reasoning. Therefore, Nizam ul Mulk, in his Siyasatnama', writes: "people of Tabaristan solicited learned help from Baghdad namely, to depute highly qualified authority, so that he could face the lsmaili Da'is."

Sayyidna Abu Hatim had made Ray, Tabaristan, lspahan and Azarbaijan centres of Da'wa. Besides deputing his subordinate Da'is, he himself used to tour different provinces and according to demands of the circumstance, was changing the centres. In view of this, due to his untiring efforts, apart from the ruler of Ray, Ahmed bin Aly, personalities like Mardavij-ud-Daylami, Governor of Tabaristan; Yusuf bin Abi as-Saj, Governor of Azarbaijan; Asfar bin Shiroya and many other embraced lsmaili faith.

These ruling and governing authorities, through their own delegates, submitted offerings to the lmam of the time, Mowlana Abdullah al-Mahdi, and wrote to say that if the Imam would be so pleased to command, - they would be prepared to be present before the Imam with their own army. However, the Imam wrote to them at the back of their own letters: "Azzamu marakizukum li kulii ajalin kitab". i.e. to remain at their own centre, for there is a specific ordinance for a particular time.

Famous orientalist, Paul Kraus, on behalf of great deeds and achievements of Sayyidna Abu Hatim, writes that he was from among great Da'is of lsmaili Da'wa, playing a vigorous role in the politics of Tabaristan, Azarbaijan, Daylum and particularly of lspahan and Ray, and brought governing authorities like Asfar bin Shirova, Mardavij al-Quaid etc. into Ismaili fold.

Literary works:

As aforesaid in his own era he was one of the great philosophers, theologians and learned personalities. He was eminent not only in Ismaili Da'wa but in the propagation of Islamic understanding in general. This highly qualified status of his has been narrated by lbn Nadeem, Nizam ul Mulk Baghdadi and lbn Hajar 'Asqualani.

The most famous of his works is the Kitab 'azzina'. In this book he has dealt with the literary and terminological explanation of the apparent terms of attributes of God, Quran and Hadiths, as well as jurisprudence and theology. It is also explained as to for what purpose and intent these terms have been established. This book is very significant in view of the knowledge of jurisprudence and Arabic literature. Therefore, he himself writes about this work that it is that book which is indispensable for jurisprudents and that literary persons cannot do without it.

According to Sayyidna ldris lmadad-din, when this book was presented before Hazrat lmam Mowlana Qa'im, it was highly appreciated and Hazrat lmam awarded it to his son, Hazrat Mansoor, as a gift and commanded him to keep it secret. It is said about 'Kitab az-zina' that it is comprised of 1 200 pp. Its two parts have been printed in 1957 at Cairo.

His another famous work is, "Kitab A'lam an Nubuwwat." This book is the collection of his impulsive arguments made with Muhammad bin Zakariya Razi at the court of Mardavij ad-Daylami. His contemporary, Zakariya Razi, was a famous physician, but his ideas and conceptions were against the religion. For him, the only source of deliverance of human race was through philosophy. He was a disbeliever in religion and prophethood. Therefore, Sayyidna Razi had many discussions with him and, by his own absolutely enlightened reasoning, contradicted his conceptions and beliefs.

Paul Kraus published some portion of A'lam an Nabuwwat' under the name and style of 'Al-Munazirat Bain ar-Raziana' in 1939 from Egypt.

Besides these, Abu Hatim ar-Razi produced the works of two other books entitled 'Al-Isiah' and 'Al-Jami'a'. In the former book, reforms of the view points mentioned in the book' Al-Mahsool' by Sayyidna an-Nasafi, have been made, whereas, although lbn Nadeem, in his book 'Al-Fihrist', has made a mention of the latter one, the book itself has disappeared.


Due to the day to day progress in Ismaili Da'wa, Sayyidna Abu Hatim was a eyesore of the enemies of the Ismaili faith and thereby had been the target of the opponents in faith. Ultimately, when the enmity grew vast, he had to conceal himself in Daylam and in this condition, according to lbn Hajar Asqualani, he died in 322 A.H.

Mr. Fakquir Muhammad. Karachi (Pakistan)

5.0 Hazrat Abu Yaqub as-Sijistani

The name of Hazrat Abu Yaqub as-Sijistani is placed among the names of those well known preachers of "Ismaili religion" who made fruitful efforts to combine religion and philosophy and used the latter as a weapon and source to contradict or to bring down the critics of religion and to prove the truthfulness of religion.

His full name was Ishaq Bin Ahmad and his surname was Bandana. According to Professor, W. Ivanow, this surname is used in place of Bandanai or Bandani, probably due to his belonging to Bandan a district in the Northern part of Sijistan (or Sistan). But usually he is known as Sijistani (or Sijzi, or Sigzi).

Birth And Education: Like other famous Ismaili preachers, the details of his life history are not available. From some notes on his life found in history books, we come to know that he was born about 271 A.H. in Bandan a district in the north of Sijistan. Sijistan is situated in the south of Khurasan, which is the birth place of the famous Iranian wrestler Rustam. Some people say that Hazrat Sijistani's family was also a member of the same race, but some others say that he belonged to the Arab race; his grandfather had settled in Khurasan after migrating from Kufa.

As far as his education is concerned, we know nothing about his early religious education and his secular education. But it is said that he gained his knowledge of preaching and philosophy in schools devoted to Ismaili preaching in Yaman. During his studies he proved to be very intelligent and a genius and very soon he was known as a great philosopher. He had a golden opportunity to gain some knowledge of preaching and philosophy from Hazrat Abu Abd Allah (or Abu'l Hasan) Muhammad Bin Ahmad Nasafi, (or Nakhshabi), a great philosopher and preacher. Hazrat Sijistani was much influenced by Hazrat Nasafi's views and was a great supporter of these views. Therefore, when Hazrat Abu Hatim ar Razi wrote the book "Kitab al-Islah" for the correction of a few points of views of Hazrat Nasafi, presented in the latter's book "al-Mahsul", Hazrat Sijistani wrote the book "Kitab an Nusra" in support of Hazrat Nasafi's views.

Preaching: After completing his studies, he was appointed as a preacher in Eastern countries like Khurasan and others along with Hazrat Nasafi.That period when Hazrat Sijistani was preaching is known as Golden Age in the history of preaching of Ismaili religion, because by that time, Hazrat Imam Mahdi had appeared in the West according to the following Hadith "The sun will rise in the West after three hundred years after Hijrat," and Ismaili preachers were spreading the Ismaili views all over the world.

Although, in the light of the good speeches of the preachers well documented with knowledge and logic, the preaching was successful everywhere yet. at the same time the opposition was also increasing. Especially in Eastern countries like Khurasan, to rouse the people towards the Ismaili religion was considered just as to jump in the well of death. It was due to the fact that the ruler of that part of the world, being under the influence of Abbasid Caliphs, were the greatest enemies of Ismailis. Therefore, due to this religious opposition, Hazrat Husayn Bin Ali al-Maruzi, a teacher of Hazrat Nasafi was killed by Nasar Bin Ahmad Samani. Although Hazrat Nasafi and Hazrat Sijistani were well aware of this danger, still they worked in this area with great boldness and stability. They preached in such a logical way that not only the courtiers and friends of the king- adopted the Ismaili faith, but the King Nasar Bin Ahmad Samani himself adopted this religion willingly. The king not only believed in the religion but he also sent 1,19,000 dinars to Hazrat Imam Mahdi as a compensation for the death of Husayn Bin Ali al-Maruzi. Thus these two learned preachers and scholars met with great success in spreading the true religion in the East.

Abbasi Caliphs did not like Ismaili teachings to spread and they tried to stop it by any means. Therefore, in the year 331 Hijri or 942 C.E. with the help of Nuh Bin Nasar son of Nasar Bin Ahmad, and his commander-in-chief, they made a plan against the Ismailis and jailed Nasar Bin Ahmad. Then they started the cruel mass murder of Ismailis.

In Ismaili History this mass murder is referred to as the Great Trial. In this mass murder Hazrat Nasafi was killed along with many other preachers. According to Abdul Qahir at Baghdadi (429 A.H.) Hazrat Sijistani was also killed. But according to recent research and also to the books written by Hazrat Sijistani himself and by other authors, the date given by Baghdadi is wrong, Sijistani had escaped this mass murder. His own book Kitab al-lftikhar proves he was alive till 361 Hijri (972 C.E.) and according to the book a]-Mabda' wal-Ma'ad he was alive till 386 Hijri (996 C.E.).

After escaping from the mass murder of 942 C.E. (331 Hijri). it seemed likely that he worked in Bukhara This is also supported by Arif Tamir who writes that the Hazrat was preaching in the period of Hazrat Imam al-Muizz (365 Hijri). However, Ibn Nadim writes in his book al-Fihrist (completed in 377 Hijri) that Sijistani was appointed as a preacher in Ray. In this book he writes that Ismaili preachers were Mooslis and they were preaching in AI-Jazair (Algeria) under the order of Caliph Abu Yaqub. who was staying in Ray at that time. Most probably Caliph Abu Yaqub was referred as Hazrat Abu Yaqub as Sijistani by Ibn Nadim.

Besides, Dr. Mustafa Ghalib writes, with reference to "the secret Ismaili documents" that Hazrat Sijistani was the head of all the preaching institutions in Persia.

Moreover, according to the research of Professor Stern (details are given in the following pages) it does not seem impossible that he was still alive in the era of Hazrat Imam ai-Hakim bi-amri'il-lah (Peace be upon him) (386 - 411 Hijri).

Thus, in the light of history we come to know that his efforts to preach Ismailism were not discontinued in 331 Hijri, but he continued his services for Ismaili religion for more than half a century. Thus, in this way he had a golden opportunity to spread Ismailism from the period of Hazrat Imam Mahdi to the period of Hazrat Imam ai-Hakim bi-amri'l-lah (peace be upon him) i.e. for a period of six caliphs.


Hazrat Sijistani has a great value both as a Muslim philosopher and as a preacher of Ismailism.

As has already been stated. Hazrat Sijistani is regarded as one of those greatest Muslim philosophers and scholars who have contributed a lot to combine Islamic way of life with logic and to develop Muslim philosophy.

The period in which Hazrat Sijistani was preaching was considered as the golden age of the history of Muslim knowledge and thinking due to the development of Islamic literature and to the publication of translated version of Greek philosophical books. Unfortunately, besides this development, Muslims suffered from a confusion in their thinking and a troubled soul due to some extremist scholars; that is, some narrow minded philosophers gave preference to philosophy over Shariat (religious law) refusing to believe in Holy Prophets and neglecting the logic and knowledge of some people praising superficiality, although knowing that knowledge and logic offer a great reward according to the Holy Quran. These philosophies issued a judicial decree of infidelity against the people who studied these thoughts. All this created such a big gap between religious law and logic that it was very difficult to bridge that shiism. It was a challenge for the neutral Muslim scholars and philosophers to prove the reality and truthfulness of Islam by logic and shariat (religious laws) both. Therefore. at this critical stage, Ismaili preachers were the first to come forward to fulfil their duty and they did it with a great success.

Hazrat Abu Hatim ar-Razi (322 Hijri) discussed the matter with Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Zakariva Razi (313 Hijri) a famous Physician and philosopher and the head of the group of people not believing in the prophets after the last Prophet. Hazrat Abu Hatim ar-Razi also wrote a book A'lam an-Nubuwwat refuting Abu Bakr Muhammad Bin Zakariya ar-Razi. In this book he has proved the necessity for prophets after the last Prophet by logical and illogical arguments and with reference to the books of different religions. Although, many Muslim scholars and learned men like Abu Nasr Farabi (339 Hijri) and Ibn Hazam Zahni from Spain (456 Hijri) have written many books against Abu Bakr Razi, yet there is no doubt that the first one was written by Hazrat Abu Hatim ar-Razi.

Hazrat Sijistani continued the mission started by preceding scholars and preachers. He wrote a valuable book "Ithbatu'n Nubuwwat" on the problem of necessity for Prophets after the Last Prophet. This problem had attracted the attention of all Islamic circles of knowledge and thought at that time. In his book he proved the existence of prophets by arguments from all religions and soul of man and the physical state of nature. He had also admitted his belief in the Last Prophet (Peace be upon him). Besides this, Hazrat Sijistani has written many other valuable books on Muslim philosophy in which he has combined Shariat (religious law) with logic and has shown that actually these two are not contradictory to each other but they point towards a single one object.

In recognition to his services in the field of knowledge, researchers who have worked on his books and his philosophy, place him among those greatest philosophers and scholars who have contributed immensely to the development of Muslim thinking. Dr. Hasan Ibrahim Hasan wrote that Hazrat Abu Ya'qub as-Sijistani has compiled many books that had a profound impact on development of Islamic thinking and the development of philosophy of Ismaili religion.

Dr. Taha Ahmad Sharif writes about Ismaili preachers that Hazrat Nasafi and Hazrat Sijistani and other Ismaili preachers were along the great philosophers and they made valuable discussions with contemporary philosophers.

Dr. Hussayn Hamdani writes that Hazrat Sijistani is another Ismaili preacher and protector of Islam who used philosophy itself as a weapon against opponents of religion, and he is one of those very early philosophers and thinkers who have contributed a large part in the development of Ismaili philosophy.

Professor Stern writes that a thorough study of the writings of Hazrat Sijistani is very necessary. This is because his writings are our greatest proof about the believer of the philosophical branch of Ismailism in 4th century Hijri and 10th century milad.

Finally to realise Sijistani's greatness as a scholar, it is enough to know that Hazrat Hamid ad-din Kirmani, a great Ismaili philosopher, who was also a student of the former and he gained his knowledge of Ismaili philosophy from Hazrat Sijistani and carried it to its peak. Secondly, he removed all small differences in Ismaili beliefs which existed among the preachers before him. He constructed the building of Ismaili philosophy on such a solid foundation that there has never been even a minor difference among his succeeding preachers.


Even today some historians and biographers believe in the date quoted by Abd al-Qadir al Baghdadi (Hijri : 429) that Hazrat Sijistani was killed in the mass murder of 331 Hijri/942 C.E., along with Hazrat Nasafi and other Ismailis. But according to the recent research of Professor. W. lvanow and Professor Stern based on Sijistani's own books and other history books, this date is proved to be wrong.

In the 9th Chapter of his book "ai-iftikhar", Hazrat Sijistani writes that at the time of writing this book, a period of more than 350 years had elapsed since the death of the Holy Prophet.

Another similar statement comes in the 13th Chapter of the same book under the heading of "Knowledge of Ablution and Neatness." Since the Holy Prophet died in 1 1 Hijri, therefore, Hazrat Sijistani was alive till at least 361 Hijri/972 C.E.

Besides, Professor W. lvanow quotes from Hazrat Sijistani's book "al-Mabda', Wa'l ma'ad" that in the preface of this book Hazrat Sijistani has recognised Maulana at-Hakim bi Amri-i-lah as "Imam-e-Zamana" (Caliph or leader of the world at that time.) The latter was a Caliph in the year 386 Hijri/996 C.E. Accordingly, Sijistani was alive till at least 386 Hijri 996 C.E.

Besides, Arif Tamir writes in the preface of his book "AI-Riaz" that Hazrat Sijistani was appointed as a preacher in Bukhara by the order of Caliph Hazrat al Mu'izz who was a Caliph from 341 Hijri - 365 Hijri. In this respect he was a contemporary of the Magistrate Hazrat an-Nu'man (362H) and Hazrat Ja'far Bin Mansur from Yaman (365 Hijri).

Also, Professor Stern quoted from Rashid ad-din (Jami'at Tawarikh. i.e. Complete Histories - a book from the British Museum, No. 7628) that "after the death of Hazrat Nasafi who was sentenced to death in Bukhara (331 H/942 C.E.), Hazrat Ishaq al-Sijzi was captured by Amir Khalf Bin Ahmad al-Sijzi (the latter was a ruler from another safary family who ruled from 349 Hijri to 399 Hijri. From the above statement, probably he means that Hazrat Sijistani was killed by Amir Khalf." From this statement we infer that he did not die before 349 Hijri. Therefore, the date of his death as given by Baghdadi proves to be incorrect, and from these historical evidence we conclude that he passed away like his forefathers in the path of religion; but this death did not occur in 331 Hijri, instead it probably occurred between 386 Hijri - 399 Hijri in the era of Amir Khalf Bin Ishaq (read Ahmed in the place of Ishaq since Ishaq is incorrect although it is given thus in history books).

May Allah shower his blessings on the Holy People who gave their lives only for Allah.


Sayyidna Sijistani was a great author. He has produced books on different subjects concerning Muslim philosophy and Ismaili Da'wat (propagation). Value of these books can be well ascertained from the undermentioned titles selected from the index of AI-Majdu'a as well as 'Ismaili Literature' of Prof. W. Ivanow.

1. lthbatu'n-Nubuwwat' It is his greatest and remarkable work. In it he has communicated different religions such as Daysanites, Marcionites, Sanavi (of China). Mazdakites, Zorastrian. etc. It has seven parts and each part depends upon 12 chapters. In these parts clarification on variation in the Universe. proof of the Creator of the Universe, Apostles' discord in exoteric matters and accord in esoteric matters, prophets' epochs, presence of wondrous subjects and solid proofs of the Apostle's prophethood in holy Quran and Shariat, etc., have taken place subjectwise.

2. Kitabul Yanabi'. It has been created on 40 sources. Yanbu' means spring or source; Yanabi' is its plural. In it clarification of the meaning of Yambu', balance between spiritual and physical sources, reality of the universe, concern of two letters, i.e. 'Kun' with God's ordinance. world of wisdom and impulses, firmaments, primitive condition of human being. angles, non-existence of evil in creation, reward, meaning of heaven and hell, parity between bed reading and martyrdom. position of the Lord of the Day of Judgment, singularity and plurality, finality, condition of securing spiritual aid in physical world. etc., subjects have been discussed. Prof. Henry Corbin has translated this book into French and has published it in 1961 from Tehran and Paris.

3. Kitabul Mawazin. It depends on 19 chapters. In it reputation of opposition of truth and its follies; amenities for ac)provers of truth and detrimental results. for its disapprovers; mystique of the Creator; ordinance, prayer and its mystique; mystique of wisdom and its qualities; two main (wisdom and impulse) and three subordinates (jad, victory and idea) : Natiqs, Asas and Imams' mystique Hujjat and Da'is, ever living and his importance; benediction for Virtuous and conviction for wrong doers; knowledge and spiritual aid (gain of which is eternal repose and its loss ever lasting): etc., have been explained with evidence.

4. Tuhfat al-multajib or mustajibin. In it God's ordinance, Kalima, wisdom, sabik. void, hayala, impulse, lawh, firmament. thani, tali. appreciation, complexion. sun, moon. 2 main, jad, victory, idea meaning of 7 spiritual letters, etc., have been clarified.

5. Kitab al-lftikhar' It has been composed in 17 chapters, in which unity, ordinance, wisdom, and impulse; jad, victory. idea; 7 spiritual letters; prophethood, visazat, Imamate, dooms day, baas, benediction and conviction deep meaning of holy Quran, as well as arkan (foundation) and secret of Shariah, etc., have been dealt with.

6. al-Mabda' wa'l-ma'ad: It is a booklet, in which unity of God, lauh, Mabda and Ma'ad of Nafs Natiqu have been discussed. According to W. lvanow, in the introduction of this booklet Imam Hakim bi Amrillah. has been referred to as ]mam. No mention is made in the index of Fihrist ai-Majdu' about this booklet, which is to be found in a private collection.

7. Sullam an-Najat: It has been written subjectivise. In it Quranic conception of faith termed as 'a I Imam billahi wa Malaikatihi wa kutubihi wa rusoolihi wal yawmil aakhiri wal baasi baadal maut wal janatu wan-naar', etc., have been discussed. Moreover, in this book mention is also made of Sanavi, Daysanite, Sabean Majusi, etc.

8. Kitab an-Nusra fi sharh ma qala-hu'sh-Shaykh al-hamid fi kitab al-Mahsul: It is a refutation, by Sayyidna Sijistani, of criticisms on 'ai-Mahsul' of Sayyidna Nasafim made by Sayyidna Hatim ar-Razi in his book ai-Islah.

9. al-Maqalid al-Malakutiyya. It has been reproduced in 'Kiatbul Azhar'.

10. Musliyat al-ahzan. It has been written on greatness of patience in sufferings and in difficulties.

11. Kitab al-wa'iz. It has been written on the regulations of righteousness.

12. ar-Risalat al-Bahira' It has been written on omniscience of God, mention of which has been made by Pir Nasir Khusraw in his book 'Zadul Musafarin'.

13. al-Radd 'ala man waqaf 'inda'l-falak al-muhit mina'l-falasifa' It has been dealt with world constitution and astronomy.

14. Kitab al-Bisharat' It has been communicated in another book of Sayyidna Sijistani.

15. Asas ad-Da'wat'

16. Kashf al-Asrar' Mention of these books has been made on page 283 of 'alFarqu Bainui Farq' by Baghdadi. Besides this, nothing could be known about these from other books.

17. Ta'wil ash-shara'i. It has been also described in 'al-Farq' by Baghdadi, besides in the index

of 'Majdua'. In it facts and secrets of shari'at as well as deep understanding of Quranic verses, besides many other subjects have been discussed.

18. Sus al-baqa or usus an-ni'am. It has been mentioned only in 'Zadul Musafarin' by Nasir Khusraw.

19. Sara'ir al-ma'ad wa'l-ma'ash. As it is mentioned in the index of 'ai-Majdua', some find it to have been written by Sayyidna Abu Katim Razi.

20. al-Kitab al-Gharib fi ma'na'l-Iksir. It has been written on chemical science, to be found in private library.

21. Mu'nis al-qulub'

22. Risalat fi Ta'lif al-Arwah

23. Risalat al-Amn mina'al-hayrat. All these three books are to be found in a private library.

24. Khazinat al-adillat: It is dependent on 28 treasures concerning Ismaili concepts. Most probably it has been considered among 13 Risalas by Hamid ad-Din ai-Kirmani. In the index of 'ai-Majdua', it is described as a work of unknown individuals.

25. Kashf al-Mahjub. It is in Persian language, description of which has been made on page 422 of 'Zadul Musafarin' by Nasir Khusraw, printed in Berlin, in Khwanul Ikhwan page 1 1 7 printed in Cairo, page 1 39 printed in Teheran, as well as on pa-e 32 prin+ed in Laipaza and page 48 printed in Deccan, of 'Malil Hind'. According to some, it is a translation of 'Kitab al-Asrar'. It has been published by Professor Henry Corbin in French language with an introduction, in 1949 from Teheran and Paris.

B I B L I 0 G R A P H Y

1 . Sayyidna Sijistani: Kitab al-Iftikahar. published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan. Pg. 132. 181.

2. Baghdadi: al-Fark Bain Fark: Cairo pg. 183.

3. al-Bairuni: Malil Hind; Deccan 1958. pg. 49. Lai Pazag, 1925 Page 32.

3. al-Fehrist; Cairo Page 282.

5. Sayyidna Pir Nasir Khusraw: Jami'u'l-Hikmatayn. Tehran, 1953. Page 171-172.

6. Sayyidna Pir Nasir Khusraw: Zadu'I-Musafirin; Berlin 1932. page 421-423.

7. Sayyidna Pir Nasir Khusraw: Khwanu'i-lkhwan: Cairo 1940. Page 12. 113. 115.

8. Dr. Hasan Ibrahim Hasan: Tarikh-e-Daulat-e-Fatimaha. Third edition. Cairo 1964. Page 472, 473.

9. Dr. Kamil Hussain and Dr. Mustafa Halim: Introduction of 'Rahat al-'aql; Cairo 1952. Page 17.

10. Dr. Kamil Hussain: 'Taifalul Ismailiyah: Cairo 1959. Page 149.

11. Dr. Hasan lbrahim Hasan: Ubaiduilah at-Mahdi. Cairo. 1 947 Page 245.

12. Dr. Taha Ahmad Sharf: Dawlat uh-Nizaria ajda'd-e-Aga Khan: Cairo 1950. Page 18 .

13. Khawaja Rashiduddin: Jami at-tawarikh; Tehran 1338 Page 12-13.

14. Nizamul Mulk: Siyasat Nama: Tehran 1320 Page 266-273.

15. Shaykh Ismail al-Majdua: Fihrist Fi-Kutub wa-Rasail, Tehren, 1966.

16. Stern: Das'irat ui-Ma'riful Islam (Urdu), Punjab Uhiversity, Part 1, 1962, Page 937, 938,

17. Dr. Kamil Husssain Fi adabi Misril Fatimiha'; Cairo 1950. Page 28.

18. Dr. Zahid Ali: Tarikh-e-Fatimin-e-Misr; Hyderabad Deccan 1948. Page 396.

19. Arif Tamir:Mukdamat af-Yanabi fa Sayyidna Sijistani, Beirut 1960. Page 10, 18.

20. Abdul Rehman . Saif Aazad: Tarikh-e-lkilfaye Fatimin, Tehran 1382 H. Part 1. Page 4-5.

21. Mustafa Ghalib: Mukdamat al-Yanabi la Sayyidna Sijistani. Beirut 1965, Page 45-48.

22. Mustafa Ghalib: Tarikh-e-Da'watul Ismaliyah; Beirut, Page 187.

23. Mustafa Ghalib: Aalam ul-Ismailiyah: Beirut 1964 Page 154.

24. Henry Corbin: Introduction to "Trilogie Ismailienne" Tehran. 1961.

25. Henry Corbin: Introduction to "Kashf-al-Mahjoob" Tehran. 1949.

26. Hamdani: Some Unknown Ismaili authors and their works. (J.R.A.S-) 1933 Page 136.

27 Stern: Encyclopaedia - Leidon :- London 1960, Page 160.

28. W. lvanow: Ismaili Literature. Tehran, 1963, Page 27, 28. 29, 30.

29. W. lvanow: Problems in Nasir Khusraw's Biography, Bombay. 1956, Page 53. 59. 63, 66.

30. W. lvanow: Studies in Early Persian Ismailism, Leidon 1948, Page 119.

Mr. Fakquir Muhammad. Karachi (Pakistan)

6.0 The Da'i Jailam b. Shayban and the Ismaili State of Multan*

About the end of the 3rd/9th century, even before the Fatimid Caliphate was established on the North African soil, the Fatimid mission was at work in many countries including India. On this point we have the evidence of the learned Qadi an-Nu'man (d. 363/ .974)., Chief Qadi of the Fatimid Caliph ai-Mu'izz (d. 365/976), who states that in 270/883 the Yamani Da'i Abu I-Qasim b. Hawshab Mansur al-Yaman sent his nephew al-Haytham as da'i (missionary) to Sind and the Da'wa (mission) spread to Hind'. We also have Rashid ad-din's account of Fatimid da'is in India during the period prior to the Fatimid conquest of North Africa2. A marginal note in Juwayni corroborates the same account3.

Having made a beginning in Sind, the Da'wa continued to grow and gradually permeated other areas, such as Multan, Gujrat and the Punjab and by the time of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz, it had quite a large following. This is recorded by the same Qadi an-Nu'man4 and his contemporary the geographer Ibn Hawqals.

Since the Arab conquest of Sind by Muhammad b. Qasim during the time of the Umayyad Caliph Walid, the Arab Muslim power was firmly established in this province. In 258/871, the 'Abbasid Caliph Mu'tamid practically handed over the province to the famous Saffarid leader Ya'qub b. Layth, who was considerably responsible for the spread of Shi'ism in Sind. On the latter's death in 265/878. the Muslim territories in Sind were divided between two independent chiefs, those of Multan and Mansurah (Bahamanabad)6.

By 279/892 Multan passed into the hands of an Arab dynasty. Banu Sama, founded by one Asad Qurashi. The population, however, remained Hindu (referred to as "Majus" in our sources) and worshipped a famous idol Aditya (Sun God), venerated even by the Arab princes. In 347/958 we find a Fatimid mission active in the city, trying to convert the local inhabitants to Islam. However, the da'i in-charge of this mission showed signs of disloyalty and the Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz was trying to replace him, when the da'i was killed in a riding accident7.

Next year a new da'i was sent to Multan. He was Jalam b. Shayban. He had great success in converting the local people to Islam and bringing them within Fatimid loyalty8. In fact he succeeded in deposing the Arab prince and putting him to death, thus establishing Ismaili rule in Multan. On this occasion, the Fatimid Caliph sent him instructions in a letter dated 354/965, the full text of which has come down to us9. During Da'i Jaiam's rule the famous geographer and traveller, al-Muqaddasi, visited Multan. He gives the year as 375/985 and writes: "The people of Multan are Shi'a...... In Multan the Khutba is read in the name of the Fatimid Caliph of Egypt and the place is administered by his orders. Gifts are regularly sent from here to Egypt".10 About the social life of Multan under Ismaili rule. al-Muqaddasi gives the following picture: ".Multan is smaller than Mansurah in size. but has a large population. Fruits are not found in plenty.. yet they are sold cheaper.... like Siraf, Multan has wooden homes. There is no bad conduct and drunkenness here, and people convicted of these crimes are punished with death or by some heavy sentence. Business is fair and honest. Travellers are looked after well. . Most of the inhabitants are Arabs. They live by a river. The place in abounds vegetation and wealth. Trade flourishes here. Good manners and good living are noticed everywhere. The Government is just. Women of the town are modestly dressed with no make-up and hardly found talking to any one in the streets. The water is healthy and the standard of living high. There is happiness, well-being and culture here, Persian is understood. Profits of business are high. People are healthy, but the town is not clean. Houses are small. The climate is warm and arid. The people are of darkish complexion. In Multan, the coin is minted on the style of the Fatimid Egyptian coin, but the Qanhari coins are commonly used ll."

At the time of al-Muqaddasi's visit in 375/985. Multan still had its idol Aditya, but al-Biruni informs us that the Da'i Jalam b. Shayban destroyed it along with a mosque built during Umayyad times and in their place built a new mosque 12. This must have been in 376/9,86 shortly after al-Muqaddasi's visit.

We have no information about the date of Da'i Jaiam's death. Farishta 13 says that the next ruler of Multan was Shaykh Hamid, another Isma'ili da'i, and probably the son 14 of Jalam b. Shayban. Da'i Hamid ruled up to approximately 387/997 15. The Ghaznawid Amir Sabuktagin invaded Multan in 381/991, but later made a truce with Shaykh Hamid, as Isma'ili Multan served as a buffer-state between the rising Turkish power of Ghazna and the old Hindu rulers-the Imperial Pratiharas of Kanauj.

Sabuktagin's successor, the famous Mahmud of Ghazna, was temperamentally adverse to compromise but was sworn enemy. of lsma'ilism. He broke the truce by invading Multan in 396/1005. At this time the Isma'ili da'i Abu'l-Futuh Da'ud b. Nasr, the grandson of Shaykh Hamid, was ruling Multan. Tiring of the seven days siege of the town laid by Mahmud, Abu'l-Futuh agreed to pay tribute to the Sultan and Mahmud withdrew to Ghazna. Returning in 40111010, the Ghaznawid finally annexed Multan, took Abu'l-Futuh prisoner and massacred many Isma'ilis. Abu I-Futuh died in a prison in Ghazna 16.

So came to an end the Ismaili rule in Multan. It had lasted from 354/965 to 401/1010 - about half a century. The Da'is of Multan constituted an Arab dynasty of three rulers under the sovereignty of Fatimid Egypt. After the fall of this dynasty Isma'ilism did not disappear from Multan. In fact it even became a ruling creed at the nearby Mansurah. But with this later history we are not concerned here.17

* This article is based on my monograph: The Beginnings of the Isma'ili Da'wa in Northern India, Sirovics, Cairo, 1956.

1 lftitah ad-Da'wa, ed. Wudad ai-Qadi. Beirut. 1970, 45. This account is copied verbatim in Da'i Idris: Uyun al-Akhbar (ms. Hamdani coll.) VI. f. 38.

2. Excerpts from Rashid ad-din in R. Levy: "Isma'ili Doctrines in the Jami 'at-tawarikh etc."

3. Ta'rikh Jahan Gusha'i, G.M.S. (1937), III, 248-249 (being marginal note to p. 154.1. 8).

4. Ibid., 45-46.

5. AI-Masalik, ad. Kramers. II. 410, 11 7-12 (also see foot-notes). Cf. De Goeje: Memories sur les Carmathes, note on p. 196.

6. Majumdar. Raychudhuri and Datta: Advianced History of India, London, 1953, 275.

7. Qadi an-Nu'man: Al-Malalis wa'l -Musayarat (ms.), quoted in S.M. Stern: "Heterodox Isma'ilism at the time of al-Mu 'izz". B.S.O.A.S., XVII/I

8. Al-Biruni (5th/1 lth Century): India (ed. Sachau), text. 56; trans. 116-117 corroborated by the Isma'ili historian. the da'i Idris 'Imad ad-din (d. 872/1467): Uyun (ms. Hamdani coil.), Vi. f. 100 seq. Also see Drefremery: Histoire des Isma'ilis de la Perse," J.A. VIII. (1856), 381 and Reinaud: "Fragments Arabe et Persan relatifs a 1' Inde, II". J.A. (1844). 283-84, note 2.

9. Idris:Uyun,ff.114-117. SeeS.M.Stern:"Isma'ili Propaganda and the Fatimid Rule in Sind." Islamic culture, (Oct. 1949). 298-307: trans. in S.M. Stern: "Heterodox lsma'ilism in the time of al-Mu'izz.." B.S.O.A.S.. XVII/I.

10. Ahsan at-Taqasirn (Leiden ad.). 481.

11. Ibid., 481-482.

12. Al - Biruni, ibid.

13. Ta'rikh Farishta (Nawal Kishor ed.), I, 17-18.

14. In the learned opinion of Mawlana Sulayman Nadvi: 'Arab-o-Hind ke Ta'alluqat (Allahabad. 1930). 326.

15. The year of the Ghaznawid Sabuktagin's death. Farishta (ibid.) considers Shaykh Hamid contemporary to Sabuktagin.

16. Gardizi (d. 441/1049): Zayn af-Akhbar (Berlin. 1928), 67-69. Farishta gives another version. While Gardizi is silent about the race of the Isma'ili ruler. Farishta considers him to be of Pathan origin. They differ also on the route of Mahmud's invasion. Again Farishta makes Abu'l-Futuh run away with his treasures to Ceylon.

As Mawlana Sulayman Nadvi points out (op. cit., 331-332) Gardizi's account it to be preferred, because he was contemporary to the events described. and lived and wrote in the Ghaznawid capital itself.

Farishta not only wrote much later. but had a tendency to melodramatic inaccuracy.

17. For a detailed account of this period, see my monograph: Beginnings of Isma'ili Da'wa in Northern India, referred to above.

Dr. Abbas Hamdani, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (U.S.A.)

7.0 Ja'far bin Mansur al-Yaman

After the acquisition of power by the Ismailis in Yaman, the work of propagating Ismaili faith was performed by Da'is, who collected a great number of followers. And in this field arose a brave and courageous man, Ja'far-bin-Mansur-al-Yaman in 4th Hijri, who was given exclusively the charge of the central Da'wa organisation and was appointed chief da'i or Bab-ul-Abwab for which a separate department was constituted apart from the administrative one which was getting more complicated day by day.

Ja'far bin Mansur-al-Yaman's rise and death is seen during Imam Mu'izz's period of Imamat. it was the greatest glorious period of Fatimids in North Africa or Maghrib and Egypt which subsequently changed the whole complexion of the Fatimid Empire.

Da'i Ja'far bin Mansur al-Yaman was held in great esteem by Imam for his learning and ability. It may be worthwhile to note here a few facts about the early life of Da'i Ja'far. After the death of his father or grand-father Ibn Hawshab-the famous Ismaili Da'i, warrior and founder of the first Ismaili state in Yaman, Da'i Ja'far was greatly distressed by the internal quarrels in which his brother played a conspiracy in killing the Da'i of Yaman Ash-Shaweri. Here one thing is noteworthy that Da'i Ja'far was deadly against his brother and remained firm in propagating faith. And for this purpose he went to Maghrib at the court of Imam Mahdi but on his way, he received the news of Imam Mahdi's expiration and that Imam Qa'im has sat on the seat of Caliphate and Imamate. He was well received by Imam Qa'im and his services were amply rewarded. He served whole heartedly to Imam Qa'im, Imam Mansur and Imam Mu'izz, but his rising personality is more evident during Imam Mu'izz's time. Da'i Idris Imamud-din quotes in favour of Da'i al-Yaman that, "he was the first Da'i to be granted the highest title of Bab-ul-Abwab during Imam Mu'izz's time".

Ustad Jozar writes in the biography, that the residential palace of Imam Mu'izz and Jafar was near by. It is no doubt that he always remained close to Imam in Maghrib as well as in Egypt and was held in great esteem both by Imam and the people. He rose to such a great extent that he was given superiority over Qadi an-Nu'man, who was the pillar of theology and Law in the Fatimid Caliphate.

Da'i Idris Imadu-Din relates another story regarding the respect of Ja'far bin Mansur al-Yaman in the eyes of Imam Mu'izz. He says that one day Qadi an-Nu'man fell ill and many visitors excluding Ja'far b. Mansur al-Yaman came to see him. When Qadi recovered he went to see Imam.. who asked him as to who had come to visit him while he was sick. The Qadi complained that many visitors came except Da'i Ja'far. At this Imam got annoyed at the Qadi and after a while or so, Imam took out a book and gave it to the Qadi to read. The Qadi was astonished at the ability of its author. So the Imam asked him what was his guess regarding the name of its author. "There could be no one else". said Qadi "except the Imam himself who could write so well". And the Imam replied "You are mistaken, for the book is written by Da'i Jafar". Qadi acknowledged his mistake with an apology and went to the house of Da'i Ja'far to pay his respect.

His main work was to establish the mission throughout Egypt, control the Ismaili teachings at various institutions, supervise and co-ordinate the work of Ismaili Da'is throughout the world. Besides this, he took upon himself the writings of many works on Ismaili doctrines. The earlier Da'i author like Abu Hatim, Abu Yaqub and Nasafi to some extent had written on Haqaiq or philosophical aspect. The out put was so great that at this period. it was thought proper for the temporary halt in the process of involving philosophical doctrine. Qadi Nu'man took. upon himself to produce work of legal and historical character and therefore created the Zahiri (esoteric) school of Ismaili writings. Da'i Ja'far on the other hand devoted himself to the interpretation (ta'wil) of the existing doctrine and systematised it. He therefore, instituted the ta'wil-interpretation for the school of Ismaili writings. "Da'i Ja'far's works are apparently never cited in the literature of the Fatimid Caliphate, but are often quoted in the works of NeoYamanite period" quotes W. Ivanow in his book 'Ismaili Literature' and says that "they sharply differ in their tone and spirit from those of the "Classic" Fatimid Literature, by their leaning to mysticism".

His main works are twelve out of which some are preserved in the University Library of Leiden,


1. Ta'wil az-Zakat-on the mystical meaning of the prescription for paying the religious tax, apparently the best known work of the author. .

2. Asrar an-Nutaqa-deals on Tawil in which he clarifies that 120 years have passed since the disappearance of the 12th lthna-'Ashari Imam in 260 A.H.

3. Kitab ai-Kashf - which deals on the mythology of Quran Sharif and its esoteric interpretation. This book is edited by Prof. Strothmann in the Islamic Research Association's series, Bombay 1952.

4. ash-Shawahid-wa'I-Bayan - explaining the ayats containing implicit references to Mowlana Ali and his successors.

5. al Fatarat Wa'I-Qiranat, - also known under the title of Kitab al-Jafal-aswad, but this work is in reference to Boharism. and, therefore, there exist no certainty about its being contribution of Ja'far.

6. Kitab al-Fara'id-this is the parallel work of Asrar an-Nutaqa and is divided into five chapters.

7. ar-Rida fi'l-Batin - it is the prescription of shariat based on the relevant verses of Quran. 'the subjects are salat, sawm, tajdid-al bayat etc. This work deserves careful study because in his speculation the author continually touches on the matters of the organisation of the da'wat system, on which Ismaili authors are generally not talkative.

8. Sirat lbn Hawshab.

9. Ta'wil al-huruf ai-mu'jama.

10. Tawil surat an-Nisa.

11. Kitab al-Alim-wa'l Ghulam.

12. Kitab al-Adilla.

The last two are sometimes added to his writings. His biography of his father or grand-father Mansur al-Yaman seems to have been lost. The period of Imam Mu'izz would be barren without the intellectual, philosophical and mystical achievement of this great Da'i Ja'far. He being the chief propagandist, conferred Ismaili Diplomas to those who had been taught and trained for preaching Ismaili Da'wa. One of the orientalist buyard writes: "Had the Ismaili doctrine been able to maintain itself in Egypt in its integrity, it would have involved the civilization of the Muslim world." This shows that the aim of Ja'ffer was to make Egypt a most prosperous and flourishing town of Ismaili Literature and madhhab. In short he had full confidence in himself to the course of propagating Da'wa. This shows he was firm in taking steps, his heart resolute and vision clear. He was a man undoubtedly dear to Imam and public.

Our Literary Section

8.0 Qadi an-Nu'man

Everything connected with Ismailism seems to be enveloped in clouds of mystery and secrecy. The most ordinary doctrines are zealously guarded by sectarians themselves. even the books that are exoteric and quite harmless never reach the light of day.

The Qadi Abu Hanifah an-Nu'man b. Abi 'Abdullah Muhammad b. Mansur bin Ahmad bin Hayyun-at-Tamimi al-Ismaili al-Maghribi was the greatest of Ismaili Jurist and a protagonist of the early Fatimids in Egypt. Nu'man appears to have sprung from a Maliki school in Qa'rwan, adopting the Ismaili faith early in life. It is interesting to observe that according to most matters the qadi was a Maliki (1) and later adopted Ismaili faith. Ibne Hajar is silent on this point and calls him "al-Ismaili". Gotheil, however, points out that some authorities like Abu'l Mahasin says that he was at first a Hanafi. (2) The Ithna 'Ashari sources sometimes imply that he was first Maliki then he became an Imami (Twelver) and later adopted the Ismaili faith (3) The fact of his never citing any Imams later than Ja'far as-Sadiq 'is freely discussed, and fear and taqiyya. (permissible dissimulations) are also attributed to him.

The 'Uyun does not discuss the question of his Madhab, for according to the Ismailis the Qadi was a pillar of their faith and the founder of their legal system. It seems probable that as he served four Fatimid Caliphs, he was an Ismaili from the very beginning, or at any rate adopted that religion from his early days. As his sons are given the nisba of 'al-Qairwan' by Ibn Hajar, it is quite likely that his family originally came from, Qairwan and was of the Maliki persuasion; and the differing accounts of his being Maliki, Hanafi, Ithna 'Ashari and Ismaili may be due to his practise of taqiyya in the early days of the Fatimid Caliph or misapprehension in the minds of others.

The exact date of his birth is not known, but it is probable that he was born in the last decades of the third century of the Hijra. His connections with the Fatimids began with his entering the service of Imam Mahdi (the first Fatimid Caliph), and serving him for the last nine years of his life (A. H. 313-322). There after he continued to serve Imam Qa'im (the Second Fatimid Caliph) for the- whole of his life. During his time Nu'man was concerned chiefly with the study of history, philosophy and jurisprudence and the composition of his numerous works. Just prior to Imam Qa'im's death, which occurred in 335/946, he was appointed a Qadi. His rank increased during the time of Imam Mansur (the third Fatimid Caliph) and he reached his zenith in the time of the fourth Fatimid Caliph, Imam Mu'izz (d. 3651976). whom he predeceased by two years. Officially, he does not seem to have been appointed "qadi'l-qudat", a designation given for the first time to Nu'man's elder son 'Ali, but during the reign of Imam Mu'izz, Nu'man acquired great power and was in effect the highest judicial functionary of the realm, one of the most important figures in the hierarchy of the Da'wat.

Qadi an-Nu'man describes his first meeting with Imam Mu'izz in very graphic terms. (4) He seems to have been greatly impressed by the Imam's appearance. He says that he was struck by, "the refulgence of the Imamat from his countenance". He goes on to say that afterwards he came to be on very familiar terms both with Imam Mansoor and with Imam Mu'izz, and became their confident.

In his book Al-Majalis wal-Musayarat Nu'man refers to his influence with the Imam by quoting a reply from Imam Mu'izz to his letter. The reply is as follows: "0, Nu'man, may God preserve you. I have read the contents of your letter. I find that you are not sure of my patronage. You seem to entertain unnecessary fears. You have no reason to fear any adverse change in my attitude towards you. On the contrary you should entertain greater hopes, and aspire for a higher position. I know every thing about you, Every well-wisher of mine ought to look upon you as a model. You should continue on with your work in right earnest. Your friends will envy your lot and your enemies will feel jealous of you. May God help you and keep you straight. With regard to the position that you occupied with my predecessor, nothing is hidden from my notice. We. the Imams. are the roots and branches of the same tree. If my father has died physically, the Imamat shall continue for ever. The spirit of Imams is a connected chain, a link within a link. if your patron is gone your Imam is here. Thank God and entrust your affairs to Him. Write to me about your needs and you will get what you want".

Imam Mansur had ordered him to sit as qadi .within the threshold of his own palace (5). But Imam Mu'izz finding that it was an inaccessible place for the poor, sick and the women, who were frightened to come within the precincts of the Palace, ordered a new building to be built, where he finally was accommodated.

When Imam Mu'izz came from the north he brought with him an-Nu'man as his own qadi. When Imam Mu'izz entered Cairo and made that his home and remained there, he allowed Qadi Abu Tahir Muhammad b. Ahmed b. 'Abdulla to remain as Qadi of Cairo (6) probably indifference to the wishes of the Qa'id Jawhar. He did not supersede him by appointing Nu'man, who had come with him as the Qadi of the army in his place. (7) Abu Tahir, however, always consulted Nu'man and asked him to revise his judgements. Thus according to the Ismaili tradition, although Nu'man was not formally appointed to a higher official position, his real rank as a judicial officer was higher than that of Abu Tahir. Abu Tahir remained qadi of Misr throughout the reign of Imam Mu'izz, under the general supervision of Qadi an-Nu'man. This continued only for a short time, for Nu'man, died in the following year 363/974. and then the affairs passed into the hands of Abu Tahir and 'Ali b. Nu'man.

After Nu'man's death Abu Tahir used to refer to 'Ali b. Nu'man, just -as he used to refer to Nu'man in his lifetime, and used to have his judgements revised accordingly. This continued till the end of Imam Mu'izz's reign 3651976 and the beginning of the reign of al-Aziz bi'l-lah.

Qadi an-Nu'man was a man of great talent, learning and accomplishments, diligent as a scholar. prolific as an author, upright as a judge. Not many external facts of his life are known. Possibly he was a recluse, immersed in juristic and philosophical studies and engaged in the composition of his numerous works. He was the founder, and is rightly regarded as the greatest exponent of Ismaili jurisprudence. According to the Ismaili tradition he wrote nothing without consulting the Imams. Nu'man tells us in his, 'Majailis-wal'-Musaerat' "The Imam al-Mu'izz often used to invite me to address the people on the knowledge of the Fatimid Faith. I used to write books and read them to the Imam. chapter by chapter, before I read them to the people. At one time AI-Mu'izz gave me the subject matter of a book in a nut-shell and explained to me everything that pertained to this matter to my fullest satisfaction. He asked me to write a comprehensive book on the subject. I took a long time to finish the work. When I carried it to him I apologised for the delay I had made in executing his order. He said, 0, Nu'man do not mind the delay. Your work is brief but it is full of substance. You have used few words conveying a wealth of meaning. You think that you have taken long to finish this book. You are unnecessarily worried over the matter, Had it not been ' for your sincerity of purpose and the Divine help which has crowned your efforts with success, you would not have been able to produce even one chapter in a much longer period than what you have taken to finish this book," (9) His greatest work, the Da'a' imul-Islam (the pillars of Religion) is regarded as almost the juristic work of Imam Mu'izz and qadi an-Nu'man, and, therefore, as of the highest authority.

It is this Ismaili tradition, placing Qadi an-Nu'man in such close proximity with the Imams, that gives him the highest rank and authority.

Ibn Zuiaq, in his history of Egyptian Qadis, speaking of his son 'Ali is reported to have paid him a graceful tribute. "His father the Qadi an-Nu'man ibn Muhammad, was a man of the highest abilities, deeply versed in the Quran, fully acquainted with the meaning of the expressions contained in that book, skilled in the systems of jurisprudence, well informed respecting the conflicting opinions entertained by the legists learned in Arabic philology, in poetry of the higher class, in the history of the battle-days of the people (the Ancient Arabs), and distinguished for intelligence and equity. He composed for that family (the Fatimids) some volumes containing thousands of' leaves, they were drawn up with great talent and in a style remarkable for the beauty of its cadences and rhymes" (9).

He was the official corpus jurist during the time of Imam Mu'izz. In addition to being a jurist, some of his works on other subjects are also considered to be standard works by the Ismaili doctors and are still eagerly studied, for example: Asasu't-Ta'wil and Ta'wilu'd Da'a'im (ta'wil), Sharhu'l-Akhbar and Ifti'tahu'd-Da'wat (akhbar), and al-Majalis wa'l -Musayarat(wa'z).

Nu'man was the founder of a distinguished family of Qadis, and both his sons, 'Ali and Muhammad, attained the rank of chief Qadis (Qadi'-I-qudat). Qadi an-Nu'man died at old Cairo (Misr.) on Friday the 29th of Jamadi II 363/974 C.E. and the Caliph, Imam Mu'izz led the funeral prayer. Then the affairs passed into the hands of Abu Tahir and 'Ali b. Nu'man, who acquired from his father much of what he had derived from the Pure Imam, who in terms derived it from the Prophet.

The 'Uyun (Vol. vi), describing the personality of the Qadi Nu'man, says that Qadi an-Nu'man held a most respected and honoured position with the Imams

who were contemporary with him. How he served Imam Mahdi, Imarn Qa'im, and Imam Mansur, has been mentioned. His position went on increasing in the reign of each successive Imam, the Zenith being reached in the time of Imam Mu'izz, when he became "High in rank, great in fame, well established in position and near to his heart in affection. Imam Mu'izz continually mentioned him and his excellence, and made him Qadi'I-Qudat "Chief Justice", and added to it a high rank in the Da'wat. His regard for the Qadi may further be judged from the fact that he himself led the funeral prayer of Nu'man' (10). Thus according to Sayyidna Idris not only was he a great lawyer, but a pillar of the Isrnaili religion.

Works: Nu'man was a prolific and versatile author, and the names of forty-four of his works have survived. Of these twenty are totally lost, and eighteen are Wholly, and the rest partially preserved by the Ismailis of IndoPakistan.

After classifying the works of Qadi an-Nu'man, I now give below names of his works.

(A) FIQH.,

1. Kitabu'l-ldah. 2. Mukhtasaru'l-Idah, 3. Kibatu'l-Ikhbar, 4. al-Yanbur, 5. al-Iqtisar, 6. allttifaq wa'l iftiraq, 7. al-Kitabul'I Muqtasir, 8. al-Qasidatu'l Muntakhaba, 9. Da'a'imul-Islam. 10. Mukhtatasaru'l-Athar. 11. Kitab Yaum wa laila, 12. kitabul'-Tahara, 13. Kaifiyatu's-Salat, 14. Minhaju'l Fara'id.

(B) MUNAZARA: (Controversy)

1. ar-Risalatu'l-Misriya fir-Radd 'ala'sh-Shafi'i, 2. Kitab Fihi'r-Radd 'ala' Ahmad b. Shuraih al- Baghdadi, 3. ar-Risala Dhatu'l-Bayan fi'r-Radd 'ala ibn Qutaiba. 4. Ikhtilaf Usuli'l-Madhahib, 5. Damigu'l-Mujiz fi'rradd 'ala'l-Itki.

(C) TA'WIL: (Allegorical Interpretation of the Quran)

1. Nahju's-Sabil ila Ma'rifati 'ilmi't-Ta'wil, 2. Asasu't-Ta'wil, 3. Ta'wilu'd-Da'a'im.

(D) HAQA'IQ (Esoteric Philosophy)

1. Hududu'l-Ma'rifa, 2. Kitabu't-Tauhid wal-Imamat, 3. Kitab Ithbatu'l-Haqaiq, 4. Kitab fi'l Imamat.

(E) 'AQA'ID (Dogmas)

1. al-Qasidatu'I-Mukhtara, 2. Kitabu'I-Ta'aqub wa'l-intiqad, 3. Kitabu'd-Du'a, 4. Kitabuf- Himma, 5. Kitabu'I-Hula wa'th-Thiyab, 6. Kitabu'sh-Shurut.

(F) AKHBAR AND SIRA: (Traditions and biography)

1.Sh'arhu'l-Akhbar, 2. Dhatu'l-Miaan, 3.. Dhatu'l- Minan.

(G) TA'RIKH (History)

1.Manaqib Bani Hashim. 2. Iftitah'ud-Da'wat.

(H) WA'Z: (Sermons)

1. Ma'alimul-Mahdi, 2. ar-Risala ila'l-Murshid ad-Dai bi mirs fi tarbiyati'l-Muminin, 3. Kitab al- Majalis wa'I Musayarat, 4. Ta'wilu'r-Ru'ya, 5. Manajatu'l-A' imma, 6. Kitabu't-Taqri' Wa't- Ta'nif, 7. Mafatihu'n-Nima.

(J) APOCRYPHA: (Works sometimes erroneously attributed to Qadi an-Nu'man)

1. Taqwimmu'l-Akham, 2. ar-Rahat wa't Tasalli. 3. Siratu'l A'imma.

Sources and bibliography: The most important sources for the study of the life and works of Nu'man are: 1. Ibn Khallikan Biographical dictionary, Trans. De Slave, iii, 565 et seq., 2. Ibn Hajar. Sayyidna Imadu'din Idris bin Hasan 3. Raf'u'l-Isr, G.M.S. 'Uyunu'l-Akhbar, volume vi folios 33-41. and the later help of volume v. A full account of Qadi an-Nu'man appears n JRAS 1934 Jan. No. pp. 1-32, Shorter accounts may also be found in Fyzee's Ismaili law of wills (Oxford University Press 1933) 9-14 and Ivanow, Guide to Ismaili Literature and Kitabul Himma trans. by Javad al Masqati 1950.


1 Ibne Khallikan, ravzatu'I-Jannat, Mustarak and others.

2 op. cit. 227 n. 3.

3 M. iii-313 et seq.

4 His words are uted verbation in 'Uyun v. folio 378-9.

5 'Uyun V. Folio 379

6 'Uyun VI folio 188.

7 Gotheil op. cit., 289.

8 'Uyun. VI folio 41.

9 Ibn Khalikan iii 365-6.

10 Ibn Khallikan.


By: Prof. Asaf A. A. Fyzee. Bombay (India)

9.0 Yaqub Bin Killis

Fatimi Wazir, Abu al-Farj Yaqub bin Yusuf known as Ibn Killis, was born of an honorable family of Baghdad. By birth he was a Jew, born in 318 A.H./930 C.E. At the young age he came with his father to Egypt where he started his political life at the court of Kafur. He was very intelligent, hard working and honest. Very soon he secured important position in the Court of Kafur as an expert in economic. In 356 A.H./967 C.E., he embraced Islam by which Kafur was highly pleased and appointed him as his courtier. By this promotion of Yaqub, Wazir Ibn Furat of the court of Kafur got excited with jealousy and was searching a cause to fall against him. Incidentally in 357 A.H./967 C.E. Kafur died and Wazir Ibn Furat arrested all his companions including Yaqub bin Killis. It is said that Yaqub bribed the jailor and absconded to West where Hazrat Imam Mu'izz was in power on the throne of Imamat and Caliphate.

Hazrat Imam Mu'izz, assigned Yaqub the responsibility of country's economy. Through his past experiences he carried out his work with great efficiency. Thereafter at the time of conquest of Egypt, Hazrat Imam Mu'izz, deputed him with Jawhar as-Siqilli for the management there. According to another version, Yaqub accompanied Hazrat Imam Mu'izz to Egypt in 362 A.H. In the beginning, Ibn Furat was continued in the office of Wizarat at Egypt but in 363 A.H./974 C.E. he resigned and Hazrat Imam Mu'izz handed over the administration to Yaqub bin Killis.

During the last period of Imam Mu'izz, and the first two years of the period of Imam Aziz, (365-386 A.H.), due to toil, honesty and intelligence of Yaqub bin Killis, this position became firm and stable, so much so that in 367-68 A.H./977-78 C.E. Imam Aziz, appointed him as Wazir al Adjall (Chief Minister). Prior to this, in the Caliphate of the first four Imams, an assistant was called 'Wasta' and in this way Yaqub bin Killis was the first Wazir-i-Adjall (Chief Minister) of Fatimid Caliphate.

During his office of Wazarat, Yaqub bin Killis established various departments anew for the administration of the state - promoted agriculture, reformed trade and stabilised currency - by which country began to flourish and revenue of provinces increased. In this very period Central Exchequer was so much solid in wealth that neither before nor afterwards such a wealth ever accrued. In 373 A.H. he had fallen Karachi (Pakistan) from his office and it is said that Imam Aziz. had penalised him with the fine of 200.000 dinars. The actual cause of his removal is not known. Dr. Zahid Ali assumes that because Ibn Killis had treated badly one of the court prisoners of al-Aziz to whom Imam had promised all honours, therefore Ibn Killis had to pay a fine. All the same within a lapse of few months, in 374 A.H., he was reinstated in the office and was also forgiven.

Sickness and Death: It is said that Yaqub bin Killis fell seriously ill on the 21st of Shawwal 380 A.H. Imam Aziz visited him and said: "0 Yaqub! If your recovery is to be gained through spending wealth then I am prepared to give away the whole wealth of the state. And if your life is saved by sacrificing any life, I am ready to sacrifice my own son". By this it is understood what position Yaqub bin Killis held with Hazrat Imam Aziz. Sickness of Yaqub began to worsen day by day and on the 4th of Dhil Haj 380A.H./991 C.E. he succumbed to death.

His death was mourned throughout Egypt. His shroud was decorated with 50 pieces of clothes of which 30 were embroidered with gold thread. According to Ibn Khallikan, 100 poets composed Marsia, i.e. lamenting stanzas, and every poet earned his reward from the Imam. In Cairo a place was named 'Al Harat al-Waziria' in his honour.

Educational Status: With the political sciences Yaqub bin Killis was also endowed with a thorough knowledge of religion. He was a great scholar and was fond of literature. It is said that he wrote many books in which Mukhtasar-ul-Fiqah' (Risala-t-ul-Waziria) is worth mentioning. This work is on theology and 40 theologians participated in its compilation. Besides, he was at his palace lecturing every Friday night on different subjects, where judges, theologians, grammarians, traditionalists and poets used to gather to hear him.

In Jama-e-Azhar he gave vent to religious education and upon his instructions a university was established in Jama-e-Azhar. which exists until today.

The Story of his wealth: Yaqub bin Killis was an efficient wazir and through his efficiency introduced many reforms, as a result of which public was very much at ease. wealthy and treasury was full of wealth. Hazrat Imam Aziz, had given him wide powers and he was also drawing a good remuneration from the Treasury with a high position in the government. Consequently, he was in possession of the force of 4,000 young men. The uniform of his guards was, .similar to that of the guards of Hazrat Imam Aziz that is silky. Yaqub bin Killis had formed a private force, commander of which was called 'Qaid'. Courts were established for different jobs. There was also a well equipped dispensary in his palace. In the month of Ramadhan besides judges and prominent persons, nominal and general public also used to take advantage of his favour. His annual income was 100,000 dinars, i.e. more than 50.000 guineas. At the time of his death he left property valued forty lakh dinars, this amount was exclusive 200,000 dinars kept aside by him for the dowry of his daughter. He also left a piece of land worth 300.000 dinars. Besides there were

4.000 male and 8,000 female slaves.


1. Hamdani, Dr. Abbas. The Fatimids. P. 27. Karachi, publishing House, 1962.

2. Hitti, P.K., History of the Arabs p. 627. London, Macmillan & Co. 1949.

3. O'LearY. D' The Short History of the Fatimid Caliphs. P. 99-100. 114.120.

4. Ibn Khallikan. Ibn Khallikan's Biographical Dictionary- tr. from Arabic to English by Siane M.G. De. Vol. IV, p. 359-368. Paris, Oriental translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. 1871.

5. Ibn Khaidun. Tareikh ibn Khafdun (Urdu tr.) Vol. v., P. 132.

Karachi. Nafees Academey, 1966.

6. Zahid Ali, Dr. Tareikh-e-Fatmyeen-e-misr (Urdu) Vol. I p.

194. 197 and Vol. 11 p. 1 1 1 and 130.

7. Saef Azad. Tarikh-e-Khulfa-e-Fatimi (Persian) p. 50-53. Tehran 1341. A. H. Shamsi.

8. Danishghah Punjab Lahore, Da re-e-Mu'arf-e-Islamia (Urdu) Vol. 1. p. 656. (Article on Ibn Killis by Bakar C.H.)

9. Ain ul Haq, Sayyid. Khilafat-e-Abbasia & Fatamyeen-e.Misr

(Urd) p. 233-34. Karachi, Ali publishers.

Aiijah Deedarali. Karachi (Pakistan)

10.0 Jawhar as-Siqilli

Jawhar's career is rather straightforward and great, in the sense that he was the first and the last great generals (Qaid) of the Fatimids, who had made so many conquests and had established the empire, not only in the North Western countries but also in Egypt and Syria. His initiative for the cause of the Fatimids is remarkable. Most of the things that he did, have survived till today. In the following pages we shall see the love and devotion of Qaid Jawhar for his master and Caliph al-Mui'zz li-din-'Allah. He had remained faithful to the Shia Fatimid cause till his death. It is rather difficult to know in detail, the society, of the Fatimids in those days, nevertheless it seems, Jawhar must have been accepted in the multi-society of the middle ages, for he had succeeded in proclaiming and establishing the Shiite cause as far in Egypt and Syria.

Since the year 296 A.H. (909). the Shia Fatimids had succeeded in establishing in Tunis a major Shiite Caliphate of Islam. Da'i Abu Abdullah Shi'i had defeated the then Aghlabid, ruler of Maghrib (North Western Africa) and had proclaimed lmam AI-Mahdi as the first Shiite Caliph of Islam. On Tunisian Coast the Caliph ai-Mahdi had founded his new capital after his name, called al-Mahdiyah near Qayrawan and from here he and his successor had ruled Maghrib and many islands of the Mediterranean sea. The lsmailis had also built a strong fleet and had invaded Spain and Sardinia. After the accession of the 4th Fatimid Caliph lmam al-Mu'izz in 341 A. H., Jawhar was entrusted with the invasions of all lands as far as Atlantic. The following pages will investigate the career of this illustrious Qaid of the Fatimids.

Qaid Jawhar from Birth to the Court.

Most historians remember Jawhar by the name of Jawhar-as-Siqilli, tracing his origin from his country of birth, Sicily in Italy. The Fatimid Caliph lmam al-Mu'izz had given him a Kuniyah of 'Abul Hussain'. Abul Hussain Jawhar bin Abdullah, also called al-Katib, a secretary, also known as a Qaid, was the general of Fatimid forces.

It is pity that history has not preserved for us such records which could provide details of his origin, birth and life of his parents etc. He was probably born between the years 298-300 A.H. in Sicily, which was then an Island of Byzantines. Jawhar was a European mamluk (of Greek origin, Arab historians called these Western Byzantines as Rumis) in the sense he was brought as a slave to Qayrwan, the then capital of the Fatimids in the North Western Africa. It could not be established whether Jawhar was a born Muslim or was later converted. Probably it is true that he was connected with a Muslim family, since Islam had reached Sicily in 212 A.H. Moreover, as mentioned, Jawhar's father's name is given Abdullah and it is quite possible that Jawhar was converted to Islam with his father and that he must have had an Islamic upbringing. Historians are unaware of his ancestors. The reason is this, that Jawhar was connected with a group of Mowlas (Non-Arabs) who were brought to Africa. Generally Mowlas in those days, were not supposed to trace their origin with their unislamic names.

The advent of Islam in Sicily and Jawhar's arrival at the court of the Fatimid Caliphs in Africa, show a discrepancy of over a 100 years. Here it is necessary to give a short sketch of Sicily, the country of his birth, for the surroundings and the environment always influence a person's life and ideas.

The Muslims had made some sporadic attempts to conquer Sicily much earlier than the year 212 A.H. However, during the reign of the Abbasid Caliph Mamun ar-Rashid ( 198-218), the final conquest of Sicily was achieved in 212. With the conquest, it seems, the majority of its population had accepted Islam and many mosques and madrasas were introduced there. Arabic language had also found a flourishing ground there. However, when Sicily was taken away from Arabs by Normans sometime in 460 H, the Norman ruler Roger 11 had continued to follow the ideals of Arab Cavalry, the Arab administrative system etc. There are many Arabic words found in the Italian language. Hitherto combined Arab-Norman culture had surpassed that of Europe.

The point is that, this flourishing Islamic-Christian culture of Sicily must have effected Jawhar's outlook and mentality. He must have reached his youth with rich upbringing and might have imbibed in himself both civilizations. For his later political insight and his military genius reflect his early acquisitions. His background had received great momentum under the Fatimid Society. The Fatimid Caliph ai-Mu'izz-li-din 'Allah knew many languages, including Greek and Sicilian.

In 296 A.H.. when the Fatimid Caliphate was established in North Western Africa, a number of Sicilians had taken shelter there and from time to time had continued to join the Fatimid forces. During the reign of the 3rd Fatimid Caliph al-Mansur (334-41 A.H), Abul Hussain Jawhar was presented as a slave to the Caliph. It is difficult to determine the year of his arrival in Africa. However, he was made as a personal attendant to the Caliph al-Mansur. After receiving his freedom from his son and successor al-Mu'izz, Jawhar soon rose to prominence. In the year 341 A.H. (932 C.E.) the Caliph al-Mu'izz had appointed him as his katib, the secretary, and from that time onwards, Jawhar was known as 'Jawhar al-katib'. The year 341 A.H. is the year of accession of al~Mu'izz of Fatimid caliphate. It goes to prove that al-Mu'izz had recognised Jawhar's genius, a long time before assuming power. In those days, the post of al-katib was only given to an intelligent and trustworthy person, moreover, this was generally a beginning, from where they rose to higher ranks. It seems al~Mu'izz had found some hidden military qualities in his Katib, that by 347 H. he had raised him to rank of a Vazir and a Commander-in-Chief of his forces. This is not surprising, for Jawhar was a very great katib. We can estimate him from the terms of the treaty which he had offered to the people of Egypt at the time of the conquest. These terms show his originality of style and his sagacity which we shall quote later. However, most historians have mentioned his devotion and love of his master al-Mu'izz, to be instrumental for his achievements.

The Conquests of Jawhar in North Western Africa.

lbn-e-Khallikan writes that al-Mu'izz had sent Jawhar to conquer the remaining provinces in Western Africa in 347 A.H. So Jawhar had started with a large force and in his army there were many inhabitants of the Western provinces (called Maghrib). Soon Jawhar had directed himself towards the provinces of Taharat and Fas which he conquered after fierce fighting. He then, had moved toward Sijilmasa, where a certain person had adopted a title of Shakir Billah and had asked the people to address him as Amir-al-Mominin. However, when this Amir ai-Mominin Shakir Billah had learned about Jawhar's arrival, he had disappeared from the battlefield. Jawhar had followed him and had imprisoned him. Then Jawhar with his forces had advanced towards the far west and had continued conquering one city after another till he had reached the Atlantic Ocean. Here he wanted his master al-Mu'izz to know where his forces had reached. Jawhar had ordered some fish to be put in a pot with water, to be sent to al-Mu'izz, to let him know that whichever cities and countries he had crossed, he had conquered them and that he had reached as far as the ocean.

Having taken these cities, he had stayed in Maghrib to establish the Fatimid authority there and had chastised the disobedient and had subdued all the countries of Maghrib. There remained not a spot in all those regions wherein, the sovereignty of al-Mu 'izz had not been proclaimed. In every one of them, the Friday Prayer was offered up in his name by the congregation and thus he had accomplished the conquests that were begun by Da'i Abu Abdullah as-Shi'i (the founder of the Fatimid Caliphate in Maghrib, particularly in Mahdiya and Qayrawan in 291 A.H./896 C.E.) It is, therefore, obvious that Jawhar's status was raised before al-Mu'izz and he was made Commander General of the Fatimid forces and was hereafter called 'al-Qaid'. In the year 358 A.H. the Caliph al-Mu'izz decided to invade Egypt, so he entrusted the responsibility to his Qaid Jawhar after his return from the Western countries.

The Caliph ai-Mu'izz had made preparations to invade Egypt, long since the year 356 A.H. that is two years before the departure of Jawhar for Egypt. During this period, al-Mu'izz had systematically planned the road which Jawhar was to take There on the road he had ordered wells to be dug at various halting places, where resthouses were also built. The money was collected for the expenses of the war. It is said that the army which was formed, included one lakh swordsmen, who belonged to Banu Katama tribe of Maghrib. Mu'izz had showered gifts and honours on their officers also. There were upwards of one hundred thousand horse-men and more than twelve hundred chests of money to be sent there.

It so happened that amidst these preparations for the march, Qaid Jawhar fell dangerously ill that no hopes were entertained of his recovery. When al Mu'izz had heard of his illness he was very sad and he himself had gone to visit him. This was a great honour which could be bestowed on very few near and dear ones only. Mu'izz's heart was obviously repeating that Egypt could only be conquered by Jawhar. After his visit, al Mu'izz had declared, that Jawhar would survive to conquer Egypt. This prophecy had turned out to be true word by word. During his convalescence, the necessary supplies of money, arms and men were furnished. He was visited almost everyday by al-Mu'izz who conversed with him in private and gave him directions regarding the actual conquests. Finally he had received orders to set out for Egypt.

The departure of Qaid Jawhar for Egypt.

When Jawhar had completely recovered from his illness, al-Mu'izz had ordered for the departure. Before the departure, all his forces were collected at one place, where at-Mu'izz had delivered a Khutba to the Shaykhs of Katama and other tribes. The extracts of which are quoted here. al-Mu'izz is reported to have said:

"We are in need of your bodies and minds. Be it known to you that if you act on what we say, we can hope that God will ease our attack of the Eastern countries, (i.e. Egypt) as he did of the Western parts (Maghrib) with your co-operation" (see Maqrizi itiaz).

"By God, if Jawhar went alone to conquer Egypt, he will be able to take hold of it and alone indeed (Jawhar) you will enter ruins of lbn Tulun and found such a city which could overpower (taqhar) all the cities of the world."

After the Khutba, Mu'izz had formally ordered Jawhar to set out for Raqadah. The Caliph had come as far there to bid Jawhar adieu. There the Caliph had ordered his prince to dismount and give Jawhar the salutation of departure, this had obliged the great officers of the kingdom to dismount also. Then Jawhar kissed the hand of al-Mu'izz and the hoof of his horse; and having mounted on his horse by the order of his master, he put the army in march. When al-Mu'izz returned to his palace, he sent to Jawhar, as a present, all the clothes which he had on, retaining only his drawers and seal ring.

On the 14th of the first Rabi 358 H. Feb., 969 C.E., Qaid Jawhar left for Egypt. lbn-e-Hani Andalusi, the poet of the Fatimids, had to say the following in his long Qasida which he had composed. He himself had seen the marching of the forces, in this way:-

"I saw with my own eyes more than what I had heard about. And what a day it was, that it was more dreadful and astonishing than the day of the resurrection. On the morning of that day, there appeared one garrison on the other, (due to marching of forces) which had hidden the sun rising at the time of its rising."

The condition of Egypt before the Conquest.

Egypt was under the rule of the lkhshids before the advent of Fatimids. The lkhshids had ruled from 323-358 A.H. and in 358 A.H.. the illustrious Jawhar had conquered Egypt and the other attached countries to the lkhshids dominion.

Muhammad lbn Tughj had founded the rule of the lkhshids in Egypt, after defeating the Tulunid dynasty. During Muhammad's rule, there was peace and prosperity prevailing in Egypt. Egypt was then nominally under the Abbasid supremacy. A number of times, the earlier Fatimid rulers of Maghrib had sent their forces to attack Egypt but the lkhshids had repulsed successfully. However. the Fatimids had also sent their Da'is to propagate Shiism in Egypt, which was welcomed by the lkhshids. After some time, the lkhshids had grown dissatisfied with the Abbasid over lordship and had changed to the Fatimid suzerainity by inserting the name of the Fatimid Caliph in their Friday Khutba. Moreover, the Abbasid Cali'phate was then growing weak in its control of distant territories.

In 334 A.H., Abul Misk Kafur, an Abbyssinian eunuch, bought earlier by Muhammad lkhshid, became protector of the minor lkhshid rulers Abu Qasim and Ali who succeeded their father. Kafur, gradually became the virtual ruler of the dynasty. Soon, the Abbasid Caliphs had recognised him as the ruler of Egypt, Syria and al Hijaz (Mecca and Madina) and he had reverted to the Abbasid Khutba also. All the same, Kafur had grown popular in Egypt. Unfortunately in the year 351 A.H., the river Nile had scarcity of water, which had resulted in a famine and pestilence there. Besides. Egypt had fallen into soaring prices and poor conditions. Moreover, the Qarmatians and Nabiyuns had invaded Kafur's territory, in which he had been unsuccessful in defending. There had grown much disorder and anarchy and the army had become dissatisfied. In 357 A. H., Kafur had died and was succeeded by a 12 years old Abul Fawaris Ahmed al-ikhshid. Under his rule, there had started an enmity between the Vazir Abu Ja'far In Furat and Yaqub ibn Killis, the treasurer of Egypt. In this dispute, Shariff Muslim, a great grandson of Hazrat lmam Hussain, who was living there in Egypt, had intervened in the dispute and thereby, Yaqub was released from the imprisonment of ibn-Furat. Yaqub had gone to al-Mu'izz and had informed him of the internal conditions of Egypt and requested al- Mu'izz that it was the right time to invade Egypt. Moreover, the Shia population of Egypt had also invited al-Mu'izz to rescue them.

The Earlier Fatimid Invasions of Egypt.

The Fatimid Caliphs had established themselves in the North Western Africa (al Maghrib) in the year 296 H. From the very beginning they had been anxious to extend their boundaries towards Egypt, Syria and al-Hijaz. The riches of Egypt had always attracted many predatory invaders, but the Fatimids had found these Eastern lands, a fruitful place for their Shiite propaganda. The first Fatimid Caliph Ubaidullah al-Mahdi (297-322 A.H.) had invaded Egypt thrice, that in the years 301 A.H.. 307 A.H., 309 A.H., 321 ,A.H. This last invasion had continued until the beginning of the reign of his successor al-Qaim ibn al-Mahdi (322-334 A.H.) The caliph Qaim's rule was almost parallelled to that of the Abbasid ruler al Mansur (324 - 334 A.H.). However, Qaim's reign was engaged in putting off the rebellion of Abu - Yazid in the Western Africa. This rebellion had continued in the reign of the 3rd Fatimid Caliph al Mansur bin al-Qaim (334-341 A.H.) In the year 355 A.H., the fourth Fatimid Caliph al-Mu'izz (341-365 A.H.) had sent his forces to attack Egypt. His forces had reached Wahat but Kafur Ikhshid had defended his country strongly and did not allow the Fatimid forces to enter Egypt. All these four invasions so far had proved unsuccessful, for Egypt at that time was strong enough to defend itself.

As we have already mentioned, by 357 A.H., the conditions of Egypt had changed completely. Besides. the Caliph al-Mu'izz was determined to conquer Egypt. He had a complete trust in the strength of Jawhar alone and of course he had made careful preparations personally to conquer Egypt, which was accomplished by Jawhar as-Siqilli.

The Conquest of Egypt.

With all his forces, Jawhar had set out for Barqah. The Caliph al-Mu'izz had written orders to his slave Aflah, the Governor of Barqah, that he should set out to meet Jawhar and kiss his hand. Aflah had offered one hundred thousand dinars to avoid performing that ceremony, but he was obliged to submit. Then Jawhar had directed his army towards Alexandria. , He had conquered it without much opposition. After entering the city, Jawhar had ordered his soldiers not to confront the citizens and checked them from creating clamour and devastation which is generally the habit of the conquering forces. Jawhar had given gifts and honours to his soldiers to make them indifferent to loots and war booties.

When the people of Fustat had learned the news of the fall of the Alexandria, a great agitation was caused by the news, and it was agreed, that the Vazir ibn al Furat should write to Jawhar to obtain peace and security for the lives and property of the inhabitants. They had also requested Shariff Muslim al-Hussaini to be their Ambassador and had obtained his consent, provided a number of citizens in a form of a Wafad (Group) should accompany him to see Jawhar. The Vazir had furnished them his conditions in writing for the truce and on Monday, 18th Rajab 358 A.H. (June 969 C.E.) the Wafad had set out to meet Jawhar, who had halted at a village called Taruja, near Alexandria. Wnen Shariff Muslim ' and his companions had arrived, they delivered their message to Jawhar, who had granted immediately, every demand and had confirmed his promise by a written treaty. The terms of the treaty are the original writings of Qaid Jawhar, which. reflect his sagacity and statesmanship. The treaty document which also has an historical significance, is partly translated here from ai-Maqrizi's description.

The Treaty:

"I begin in the name of God, the merciful and kind. This document is from Jawhar al Katib - the Servant of Amir al-Mominin al-Mu'izz li-din-A'Ilah to the people of Egypt and its residents. Be it known that the advocates whom you had deputed to discuss with me the terms, have arrived. These gentlemen have informed that you citizens have demanded a peace treaty regarding your lives and property. In this connection, I have informed them of the orders of Amir al-Mominin, which he had issued. I have also informed them about my master Amir-ai-Mominin's kindness on your conditions. So be prayerful to God for His kindness and thank Him for his assistance and succour whatever is binding on you, be always firm in it and try to proceed with the obedience of Amir-al-Mominin and in this lies your safety, peace and pleasure. Be it known also that the Amir al-Mominin has sent his conquering forces to help you and defend you, for you had been, so far, tortured and subdued by the enemy who had only wanted to overpower you of your treasures and pleasures, and deprive you of your independence and, imprison you (Byzantines and the Qarmatians had tried to do so). Hence Amir al-Mominin has sent his conquering forces to defend you against this tyranny and help all those who cry for help and that person who has grieved to know this, had often shed tears and spent sleepless nights over your miseries, is my master Amir al-Mominin.

Qaid Jawhar magnanimously obliged the wafad of Fustat and granted them all that they had asked for. But when Jawhar's forces reached Fustat on the 17th Shaban 358 A.H. i.e. 6th of July 969 C.E., some citizens resisted. In the ensuing skirmish the Egyptians were totally defeated. Nevertheless Jawhar granted them a complete amnesty. Then the victorious Fatimid army, presenting a magnificent spectacle with its drums and banners, entered Fustat in accordance with the Caliph's prediction.

Qaid Jawhar did not quarter his troops in the crowded parts of the city. Instead he occupied the great plain to the north of Fustat. Here on the 6th of July,; 969 he drew the lines of the new city and on the very same night laid the foundation of the city of 'AI-Qahirah at-Mu'izziyah' (the conquering city of al-Mu'izz). Eventually it was abbreviated to al-Qahirah, which remains its name today. Europeans refer to it as 'le Caire', English speaking people as Cairo.

Jawhar had then ordered that the prayers for the Fatimids should be introduced in all the mosques of Misr and the name of the Fatimid Caliph at-Mu'izz was introduced in Khutbah.

Soon Jawhar, had written a despatch to his master al-Mu'izz, informing him of the conquest of Egypt. In this way, the power of lkhshids and the Abbasids had ended in Egypt. The occupation of Egypt was the first step of the Fatimids to spread their influence and power in Syria, Palestine and al-Hijaz. Regarding the foundation of the capital city of ai-Qahirah, we shall speak separately.

As we have mentioned that Syria was then under the lkhshid rulers. So Jawhar, soon after conquering Egypt, had sent some of his forces to conquer Syria in 358 A.H. Within a short-time this territory was brought under the control of the Fatimids but chaos and disquietedness had spread immediately. Taking the advantage of the situation, Oarmatians had attacked the country and murdered Fatimid soldiers and occupied the territory. Later on, Oarmatians from their base of Syria had attacked Misr in 361 A.H., but by then, Jawhar was able to defend his country and had warded off their attacks. After sometime Syria was brought under Fatimid control successfully.

Jawhar's Administration of Egypt.

After the conquest of Egypt, Jawhar had continued to superintend the affairs of the country for nearly 4 years, till the Caliph ai-Mu'izz had arrived in Egypt. During this period, Jawhar had definite policies which he had introduced. As we know, at the time of the conquest, many of the important posts in Government, were in the hands of Sunnis and Egyptians. Jawhar had tried to retain the old order to keep the work going. He had confirmed Ja'far ibn Furat on his post of the Vazir of Egypt. Even the Qadi of Egypt was allowed to retain his post. However, with his plans he had also appointed in every department some slkilled persons from among the Maghribis so that they could get familiar with the office work as well as to help defend his cause of the Shia religious propaganda. He had replaced Shia khutbah reciters in the mosques and had also appointed a Shia Qadi to prosecute Shia Law. The charge of Bait ul mal was given to a Shia. He himself used to hold court on every Sunday for the hearing of grievances of the people at which Ulemas, Qadis and a number of great doctors were invited whilst he himself gave judgements

At the time of the conquest, as we know, Egypt was passing through a period of famine and pestilence. Jawhar had taken precautions to check it. His master al-Mu'izz had sent provisions of grain and treasures to be given to the people. Jawhar, in order to administer, had introduced a Muhtasib System, that is, appointing a superintendent of weights to measure food provisions and to check the hoarding of the provision. It was included in the Muhtasib's responsibilities to keep an eye on the market rates, to bring about a balance in prices, check adulteration of food etc. This Muhtasib had a special place to sit in the market and listen complaints and investigate their wrongs. Later on police corps were kept under his control, to assist him to carry out his reforms.

He had introduced various agricultural methods, whereby people were encouraged to cultivate crops. He had also revalued the lands and had appointed the amils to collect taxes. The amounts of taxes had risen considerable and by the time Mu'izz had arrived in Egypt, the conditions had improved much.


The Foundations of the city of al-Qahirah al-Mu'izziya

The Muslim conquerors of Egypt had always considered it important after the conquest to construct their own capital city, a mosque etc. Before Jawhar, as we know, the city of Fustat (means camps) was founded by the first Muslim conqueror Umar-lbn al-A'as in 20 A.H. (640 C.E.) He had then built a mosque named Jamia Umrao, which survives even to-day. Asakar and Qattaa were two other cities which were founded later there on similar lines by other Muslim conquerors of Egypt. On 17th of Shaban 358 A.H., Jawhar as-Siqilli had entered Fustat and on its north side had encamped his forces and on the same night, he is reported to have laid the foundation stone of the capital city of al-Qahirah. Later he had also laid the foundation of a mosque Jamia Azhar, and a castle for his master al-Mu'izz. He had also planned a police quarter in the city and the quarters for his mighribi forces.

Regarding the foundation of the city and its name, there are various opinions given by different historians. Some are of the opinion that al-Mu'izz had planned the city before Jawhar's departure and had selected its name as expressed in his Khutbah at the time of Jawhar's departure for Egypt, for the word Qahirah means "One that overpowers"

The other opinion is that al-Mu'izz himself was interested in astronomy and that after coming to Egypt had consulted the particular hour of the foundation and had named it accordingly, for at the hour of the foundation the planet Mars was in the skies. Mars in Arabic is called al Qahirah.

And yet more, the most famous story, which is given by al-Maqrizi is that, Jawhar after reaching Fustat had given orders for a new city to be planned. That a suitable area had been marked off and all the more distant parts of it were connected with a bellpull, so that at the given moment at a sign from the astrologers work might begin everywhere at the same instant. The bell-rope was, however, pulled before the auspicious moment by a raven and the building began at a moment when the planet Mars, the Qahir al-Falak, governed the heavens. The same historian, however, while continuing his above story of the astrologers and the diggers does so in such a way that one is led to believe that the name of 'al-Qahirah' was actually given at the founding of the city. However, fact is that the city was named Mansuriya till The Caliph Al-Muizz himself had come to Egypt and then it was called Al-Qahira al-Muizziya. During the days of Qaid Jawhar, Qahirah was founded a rectangular plan. Its width was about 1200 metres and was spread on 340 miles acres of land, out of which 70 acres were occupied by the big palace. A largo area was kept as gardens and parks. Abol-ti 200 acres were distributed among army people and quarters for the maghribi forces.

Al-Qahirah was surrounded by a strong wall on all sides. Jawhar had constructed strong iron-gates, which had helped him to protect his city against the Oarmatian invasions. In its north was the gate of Nasr, in its south was the gate of Zwelia, on its east was the gate of Barqiya and the gate of Mahruq and on its west were the gates of Saadat, Faraj and Khokhal.

The population of the city was all mixed, but within 20 years time, it became all Shia. In fact the population had increased later on and many beautiful houses were built. When Sayydna Nasir Khursaw, an lsmaili Missionary had visited Cairo in 439 A.H. 1047, he had seen many storeyed buildings, shops, madrisas, taam khanas (sort of Restaurants), Hammams etc.

Qasaral-Mu'izziya, The Castle

On 18th Shaban 358 A.H. Jawhar had laid the foundation of the palace which he had constructed for his master. This castle like palace was constructed in an open space with the boundary wall and was on the Eastern side of the city. It was a spacious castle with many thousand rooms with golden doors. In front of the palace, there was a Sahan, an open space, where his forces used to parade on ceremonious days. From the palace, the view of,the city and its inhabitants were visible. There were gates from which the Caliph could easily teach his people. There was a family graveyard in the Sahan, where al-Mu'izz had buried the corpses of his forefathers which he had brought with himself from Qayarwan. In the palace, there were rooms with all the records of the government and also the stores of the arms, ammunition and treasures. Later on, some addition and changes were made in the castle. However, today this is all in ruins.

Jamia Azhar Mosque

In Egypt, there were mosques built by earlier Islamic rulers. such as Jamia Umarao, Jamia Asscar and Jamia Tulun. But Jawhar, soon after his conquest had felt the need of building a Shia Mosque which should be a central mosque of Egypt. So in 359 A.H. he had begun the construction of Jamia Azhar in his new citadel, which was completed in nearly 2 years and on 7th of Ramadhan, 361 A.H. (22nd June, 972 C.E.) this mosque was consecrated and opened for services. It was situated not far from the "Great Castle." Several other Fatimid rulers built additions to the mosque and endowed it with grants and foundations. The Caliph al-Aziz (365-386 A.H.) for example, made it an academy and erected an armshouse in it for 35 students.

Its name may be explained from the Fatimid origin, al-Zahra-being a title of Fatima, the daugh I ter of the Holy Prophet. Jamia Azhar was divided into two parts, one was fenced and part two was not fenced. The fenced part was called Maqsurah. It had 76 pillars of marble which faced each other. Other pillars were added later on. The roof was a made of strong wood. The unfenced plain was quite spacious and was used for prayers when a large number attended the prayers. All around this Sahan, there were rooms attached where students were given lessons.

Jawhar had constructed one Mahrab in the mosque. Later on 9 more Mahrabs were added. In the mosque there was a wooden pulpit from where the Fatimid Khutbah was recited. At the time of the construction there was only one minaret, later on 5 more were added, from where Azan was recited five times everyday. The timings of the prayer were observed from a sun dial from one of the walls of Sahan, which exists today.

In all other mosques of Egypt. the timings of a]-Azhar were followed. Caliph Mu'izz, after his arrival, used to recite Friday prayers there with all his retinue and forces. This tradition was followed by all other, Fatimid rulers. Later on when the Sunnis had conquered Egypt, al-Azhar had remained as a centre of prayers though paled a little. But it had always remained an educational institute of the middle ages. Today it is known as one of the oldest universities of the world. Its architecture depicts the Fatimid style of architecture of the time.

The Arrival of Mu'izz in Egypt

On 15th of Ramadhan 358 A.H. i.e. 2nd August 969 C.E.. al-Mu'izz had received the intelligence of the conquest of Egypt by his troops. Later on he had received dispatches from Jawhar containing an account of the conquest. After consolidating the empire, Jawhar had written repeatedly to his master requesting him, in the most earnest way, to come to Egypt. He had also informed that Egypt and Syria were brought into perfect order and that the Khutbah was offered up in his name throughout all those countries. This news had given al-Mu'izz the utmost satisfaction and after appointing Balkeen ibn Ziri ibn Menad as his lieutenant governor in lfrikiya. he had set out for Egypt. He had taken with him an immense sum of money and a number of very influential and powerful chiefs. He had with him Yaqub ibn Killis and Aslooj ibn Hasan. He had also his sons and relatives with him besides the coffins of his ancestors.

He had started from his capital city of lfrikiya on Monday, the 21st of Shawal 361. A.H. 5th August, 972 C.E. and had proceeded to Sardinia near Qayarwan. Here he had stopped for a while, in order to rally his followers, officers and all those who wanted to accompany him.

He then, had departed on Thursday, the 5th of Safar 362 A.H. 15th November, 972 C.E., and had continued his march, halting at certain places for a few days, and at other times, proceeding with great speed. On his way, he had passed through the island of Sardinia where he had stayed for a week. and then went to Barqah and had entered Alexandria on Saturday, the 23rd Shabban of the same year i.e. 29th May, 973 C.E.

Here in Alexandria, Abu Tahir, the Qadi of Fustat accompanied by the chief men of the country had come to welcome al-Mu'izz on his arrival there. After reaching Alexandria, Mu'izz had rested for a while and had received all those who had come to pay homage to him. He then had addressed a long Khutbah in which he had said that the purpose of his conquering Egypt was not of augmenting his dominions and his wealth, but it was of maintaining the true faith, protecting pilgrims and making war against the infidels. He had declared his resolution to dedicate his life in the exercise of good works and to act in conformity with the orders he had received from his ancestor, the holy prophet Muhammad. He then preached to them in a manner which drew tears from some of those who were present. After this he had arrayed the Qadi and other persons of the assembly in robes of honour and gave to each of them a horse (or a mule), as a present.

Towards the end of the month of Shabban, he had left Alexandria and on Saturday, the 2nd of Ramadhan (6th June 973 C.E.) he had stopped at Mina, which is the Wharf of Egypt opposite Giza, Qaid Jawhar went forth to meet his master and on drawing near him, dismounted from his horse and had kissed the ground before him. The Vazir Abu Ja'far ibn al-Furat, had also come to receive him. al-Mu'izz had stopped here for 3 days. During that time, the army had prepared for crossing the river to the wharf of Egypt, with their luggage.

Al-Mu'izz had crossed the Nile on Tuesday, the 5th of Ramadhan, or by other account on the 7th of Ramadhan 362 A.H. and had proceeded to al-Qahirah without entering Fustat (old Cairo), although the inhabitants had adorned the streets of the city, thinking he would visit it. On his arrival in the city, he went to the castle and entered a hall of audience where he fell prostrate in adoration of almighty God. He then said his namaz with two rakats and all those who were with him had followed the prayers.

The Darbar in al-Qahirah

Soon, all the citizens had gathered there in the great castle to pay their allegiance to the caliph. During this audience, Jawhar had remained on the right side of the Caliph. and had presented each and every Kabila for their allegiance. al-Mu'izz was seated on his golden throne and had received all the nobles, Qadis, Vazirs and Ulemas of his city. They all had presented Mu'izz with their gifts. Shariff Abu Ja'far Muslim had presented 11 baskets filled with many beautiful things. He had a robe made especially for the Caliph, from a particular yarn that only grew in Tunnis. This material had a special shine and was gilded with gold and silver. He had also presented a Turban of similar material and had requested the Caliph to put on the robe and the Turban, which he had done.

Jawhar, in his turn, had presented the best breed of 150 horses gilded with saddles and bridles of gold and diamonds. Many camels and ponies, saddled with precious stones boxes filled with all kinds of rare things of Egypt. Many swords studded with silver and golden caskets were presented. Then Mu'izz had given his lrshad and had released about 1000 of his prisoners and had presented robes and Khalat to all his nobles and officers. Mu'izz had then, bestowed Jawhar with a golden khalat and a turban and had tied a sword on his waist and had presented 20 horses with golden saddles, 50 thousand dinars and 2 lakhs of dirhams cash.

The Fatimid Da'wa in Egypt

As we know that, from the very beginning, the Fatimid Caliphs were trying to conquer Egypt. Although from military point of view their earlier invasion had remained unsuccessful, but their propaganda of the religion had found a flourishing ground. The population of Egypt, including- Kafur had always respected Ahle-Bait, the descendants of the holy prophet. ln fact, before the arrival of Qaid Jawhar in Egypt, there was a considerable number of Shia population in Egypt. The lsmaili Da'is had continued to propagate their mission among the Berbers and native Egyptians-coptics. Soon after the conquest of Egypt in 358 A.H., Jawhar had ordered that the Abbasid Khutbah to be discontinued and the Fatimid Khutbah introduced in all mosques. Besides he had coins inscribed with the name of al-Mu'izz, and had also discontinued the black colour of the Abbasids and had ordered white colour to be used. Jamia Umrao was painted inside in green colour and all mosques were made centres of Shiite preaching. The Shiite custom of reciting 5 Takbirs on the dead body was introduced. Jawhar had introduced a rank of Da'i ud-Du'at, the chief of the Da'is, with whose help he used to arrange for the propagation of the Fatimid religion. He had twelve Naqeeb (proclaimers) who used to assist him in the work. The Shia Islamic code was formed and the Jurists used to discuss details with Jawhar before promulgating the laws. Soon after his arrival, the Caliph lmam a]-Mu'izz took the charge of the government and appointed Jawhar as the head of the lsmaili Da'wa in Egypt. lmam treated Jawhar with great honour. Imam al-Mu'izz died on 15th Rabisani, 365 A.H. 20th December, 975 C.E. and was succeeded by his son Hazrat Imam al-Aziz bi'l-lah. Qaid Jawhar continued to serve his new master lmam al-Aziz.

Services of Jawhar under al-Aziz

During the reign of al-Aziz we find Jawhar is honoured again to the rank of the commander of the Fatimid forces. Soon after the death of al-Mu'izz. Syria had become a hot-bed of Oarmatians and Aftakin, a Turkish soldier. In 365 A.H., Aftakin had collected his forces and had joined with Hasan Qarmati and had occupied Syria.

Receiving this news, al-Aziz, had written a letter to Aftakin asking him to submit but the latter had replied that his sword would do the justice. Hence al-Aziz had called Jawhar in his court and had entrusted him with a large force to undertake the conquest of Syria. Soon Qaid Jawhar left with his forces and arrived in Ramia and had occupied it without any difficulty. Then he had directed himself towards Damascus. Meanwhile Hassan Qarmati and Aftakin had disappeared. Thus Jawhar had successfully occupied Damascus and had built a fortress and trenches to defend himself. However, after sometime Aftakin had reappeared with his enforcement and a fierce battle had followed in which Aftakin was defeated, and Jawhar retired towards Ascalan. Meanwhile Aftakin and Hassan Qarmati and other tribes had come out to give a battle to Jawhar. They arrived in Ascalan and had beseiged Jawhar from all sides. Considering the situation difficult Jawhar had entered into a treaty with Aftakin and had succeeded in gaining a guarantee of safe retreat. Whereupon Jawhar had gone to the Caliph al-Aziz in Egypt, who now undertook the direction of the operation in person in 368 A.H. Jawhar had commanded the advance guard in this campaign. A fierce battle had followed in which many were killed on both the sides.

At that time, the Fatimid forces had attacked the right wing of the Qarmatians; and Hassan and Aftakin were defeated badly. Hassan ran away but Aftakin was brought before aI-Aziz, who treated him very kindly and had taken him to Egypt, where he had bestowed a Khalat and other honours, Aftakin lived there till he died in 372 A.H.

Finally the power of Aftakin and Oarmatians was broken and Syria was brought under the control of the Fatimids which remained as a Fatimid territory for a long time.

In this encounter, Jawhar had commanded Aziz's forces. He had used his tactics to break the unity of Oarmatians with Aftakin and thereby had crushed them completely so that they never rose to power in Syria again, to disturb the Fatimid Caliphs.

The death of Jawahar and Conclusion

After coming back to Egypt, Jawhar retired to a very quiet life for he was then nearly 70 years old. He used to live in a small house and appeared less in the court. We hear no more of his military activities. He appeared to have passed the remainder of his life in comparative retirement, winning the esteem of the people by his liberality.

In the year 381 Jawhar had fallen ill. He was visited by the Caliph al-Aziz-bi'i-lah, who had sent a sum of 50 thousand dinars to him. However, he died on 20th of Zul Qada 381 A.H. 28th January, 922 C.E. The caliph's relatives had sent aromatics (used for embalming) and coffins etc, which was made of 70 threaded pieces of material. The Caliph al-Aziz himself had recited the Namaz-e-Janaza and he was buried in a big graveyard which is no more there. The tomb which survives to-day in the Northern part of al-Azhar University, is considered by many as Jawhar's tomb, but is in fact a grave of certain Turkish Mamluke by the name of Amir Jawhar Qanqabali. Jawhar as-Siqil li was over 80 years when he died. He had a son named Hussain, who was given a kuniyah of Abu Abdullah. He had inherited all those good qualities of his father, and was also called Qaid ibn Qaid. The Caliph al-Aziz had confered a Khalat to Hussain and had given him honour in his court.

In this way, Jawhar's great career came to an end. Jawhar was a great Katib, a well-experienced Qaid, a clever politician and a great administrator. With his death the greatest of the Fatimid General's life came to an end. It is said that there wasn't a poet at that time who would have composed verses to deplore his loss and celebrate his liberty Jawhar had founded the Fatimid Caliphate in Egypt. There he had constructed al-Qahirah and al-Azhar. This was all because his master al-Mu'izz had trusted him and had given him all honour that was due. Qarmatians had nearly destroyed the Fatimid Calipate but it was the sagacity and the war skill of Jawhar, which had given a death blow to them. In Egypt to-day, there are many relics which bring back the memories of this great Qaid. The city of Qahirah al-Mu'izziya known as Cairo and the Jamia Azhar have survived till to-day. The city of Cairo, in those days had surpassed Baghdad and Cordova (of Spain, where Umayyads had established their independent Caliphate). Cairo had also become an intellectual centre of those days. Jawhar had introduced many reforms in Egypt and had started the propagation of Shiite cause very systematically and had succeeded in formalizing the rising empire of the Fatimids. The terms of the treaty are the only surviving examples of his understanding and knowledge of the time. In the world there are very few like him.

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Miss Zawahir Noorally. Karachi (Pakistan)

11.0 Sayyidna Hamid ad-Din

He was known as Hamid ad-Din Ahmed b. 'Abd Allah al-Kirmani. His title was Hujjat al- lraqayn (Hujja of the two Iraqs, Iraq and Western Persia). Some Ismaili writers call him Sayyidna Hamid ad-Din al-Kirmani (our Master Hamid ad-Din al-Kirmani).

It is not known, for certain, when he was born nor when he died, but modern scholars suggest that his death occured in about 412/1021. And judging from the quality and quantity of his works it appears that he spent a long life in the fields of learning which suggests that he may have been born during the first half of the 4th/10th century.

His name al-Kirmani indicates that he was a native of the city of Kirman in Persia, but whether he was born there or whether he was a Persian by race is not certain.

The second half of the 4th/10th century witnessed the most serious conflict between the two Caliphates of Islam, the Fatimid and the Abbasid. The Fatimids moved from North Africa conquering Egypt and advancing towards Baghdad. The Abbasids mobilised their powers to defend their Empire. Both sides, however, failed to achieve their aims by means of military force and entered a period of cold war where propaganda was the major weapon.Ali-Kirmani was the Da'i whom the Fatimid Imam chose to infiltrate the Abbasid Caliphate and built, by means of propaganda, a popular ground which would help to establish the Fatimid suzerainty in the Eastern parts of the Muslim Land.

The mission of al-Kirmani was, of course, a secret one and his activities were only known to his Imam and the chief leaders of the Fatimid Da'wa. This explains why, despite the fact that he was the most distinguished Da'i of his time, chroniclers and classical historians of Islam mentioned very little about him.

Al-Kirmani's activities proved successful as during the year of 380/990, his mission was able to gain the support of the 'Uqayti Prince of Musul who was known as al-Musayyib. He openly declared his loyalty to Imam Caliph al-'Aziz and acknowledged the Fatimid Caliphate throughout his Emirate. In the year 391/100 the af-Sabi (a chronicler of the Abbasid court) reports that the 'Uqayti Prince ai-Muqallad (brother and successor of al-Musayyib) was planning to take over power in Baghdad and overthrow the Abbasid Caliph. In 401/1010 Qirwasu son of ai-Muqallad, chief of 'Uqayl tribe and the governor of Musul, Mada'in, Anbar and Kufa acknowledged the Fatimid Caliphate instead of the Abbasid. He read the Khutba in the name of al-Hakim-bi Amr Allah, the Fatimid Imam Caliph and struck his name on coinage and flags throughout his principality. Also in the same year 'Ali al-Asade, chief of the tribe of Banu Asad declared his loyalty to al-Hakim in Hilla and the districts under his rule. Even in Baghdad itself popular support for the Fatimid (Imam) was achieved. The Shia of Iraq, even those of the tweiver group lthna 'Ashariyya) began to look at al-Hakim as their desired Caliph. In 398/1007 and during a quarrel with Sunnis, they shouted slogans for al-Hakim (Ya Hakim Ya Mansur).

Soon the activities of Kirmani were more needed in Cairo the centre of the Fatimid Caliphate where dangerous developments were taking place inside the circles of the Da'wa threatening its fundamental principles. A group of Da'is were preaching that Imam al-Hakim was divine which was contrary to the official line of teaching instructed by Da'i al-Du'at Khatigin and supervised by the Imam himself. al-Kirmani was summoned by al-Hakim to aid Khatigin in an attempt to halt the spread of extremism amongst the Da'is in Egypt. The time of his arrival into Cairo is not known but it appears more likely that it was in about 400/1009. In Egypt Kirmani wrote a number of Risalas in which he explained the fundamental principles of the Ismaili Da'wa and particularly the position of Imama and its relations to divinity. In one of his Risalas known as Mabasim al-Bisharat, he emphasised that al-Hakim like any previous Imam was divinely appointed and guided but not of himself divine. Perhaps the most interesting and important of his Riasalas on this issue is al-Risala al-wa'za (the Message of advice) which he wrote in a reply to Questions put to him by al-Akhram (one of the extremists). It confirms that Kirmani, together with other official leaders, was trying to persuade the Ghulat (extremists) to abandon extremism and rejoin the true teachings of lsmailism.

His campaign, although worked successfully and influenced many Da'is to rejoin the official line of teaching, did not prevent the leaders of the Ghulat from separating themselves from the Da'wa and creating a new sect in Islam which became known as the Druzes.

The fame of Kirmani does not stem only from being the most important Da'i of his time but also from being one of the most distinguished philosophers of the lsmaili Da'wa. His philosophy is well known for its new ideas, logical discussions and scientific analysis. His knowledge was very wide and seems to have covered all fields of learning and currents of thoughts at his time. No wonder he is highly praised by later Da'is and writers. Da'i ldris for example speaks of him as the foundation of the Da'wa by whom problems were solved and difficulties overcome. Nur-al-Din Ahmad says: "Had the lsmaili Da'wa produced no philosopher except Kirmani that would have been enough honour for us." (3).


His Works

1. Rahat al-Aql, 2. al-Masabih fi lthbat al-Imama

3. Ma'asim al-Huda wa al-isaba fi Tafdil Ali Ala al-Sahaba

4. Tanbih al-Hadi wa al-Mustahdi

5. al-Aqwal al-Dahabiyya

6. Ma'atim al-Din

7. al-Riyad

8. Fasi al-Khitab

9. A collection of 11 Risalas

10 al-Risala alDurriya.

11. Risalat al-Nazm

12. al-Risala al-Radiya

13. al-Mudia

14. al-Lazima

15. al-Rawda fi al-Azal

16. al-Zahira

17. al-Hawiya

18. Mabasim al-Bisharat

19. al-Wa'iza

20. al-Kafiya

21. Khaza'in al-Adilia

22. al-Fihrist

23. al-Ma'ad

24. al-Maqadir wa al-Hada'iq.

25. Taj a]-Uqui

26. Maydan al-Aql

27. Alim al-Din

28. al-Layliyya

29. al-Nafdh wa al-lizam

30. lklil al-Nafs

31. al-Maqayis

32. al-Majaiis al-baghdadiya wa al-Basriyya

33. al-Shi'ra

34. al-Ta'wa Lyyia

35. al - Mufawaz

36. al-Ma'arii.



1. See, W. lvanow, Ismaili literature, Tehran, 1963, P. 40 i. M. Ghalib, A'Iam al-lsmailiyya, Beirut, 1964, p. 99.

2. for information on these historical events see: lbn al-Sabi' in Dh ayi Tajarub al-Umam, ed. H.F. Amedros and D. S. Maragolionth, Oxford, 1921 390; lbn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam. Hyderabad, 1940, Vil, 237, Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, Cairo, 1301 A.H., Xi, 339. lbn Khallikan, Wafayat al-A'yan, English translation, Paris, 1842, Ill 525; af-Dhahabi, Tarikh al-lslam Ms. B.M. anno, 390; al-Safadi, al-Wafi bi al-Wafayat Ms. B.M. fal, 101-; lbn Tiqhri Bardi, al-Najum alZahira Cairo 1929, IV, 224: at-Nuwayri, Nihayat al-Arab, Ms. Dar al-Kutub, Cairo, fol, 56; al-Ya fi'i, Mirat al-Jinan, Hyderabad, 1337 A.H, ]if 494.

3. See Quatations from 'Uyun al-Akhbar of Da'i ldris and Sharh al-Akbar of Da'i Nur al-Din in Kitab al-Riyad of al-Kirmani ed. by A. Tamir, Beirut 1960, p. 16.


Dr. S. 1. Assaad. Beirut (Lebanon)


12.0 The Fatimid Da'i Al-Mu'ayyad: His Life

AI-Mu'ayyad fid-din Abu Nasr Hibat Allah b. Abi 'Imran Musa b. Da'ud ash-Shirazi was born in Shiraz not later than 387/997 and died in Cairo 470/1077. He lived during the time of the Fatimid Caliphs al-Hakim (386-41 2/996-1021), az-Zahir (412-427/1021-1036) and al-Mustansir (427-48 1036-1094). He was contemporary with the changeover from the Buyid to the Saljuq Sultanate und the 'Abbasid Caliphate, as well as the Arab bedouin Hilalian invasion of North Africa, the Fatimiid encouraged invasion of Baghdad by al-Basasiri, the Battle of Manzikert in Anatolia, the rise of the Sulayhids of Yaman and the advent of the Armnenian General Badr al-Jamali in Egypt. His autobiography, as-Sira. spells out his master-passion, namely the prevention of the coming of Saljuq Turks to the Central lands of Islam, in which he failed. However, as Chief Da'i of Fatimid State from 450-470/1058-1077. he witnessed and shaped some of the major events of the time mentioned above.

Early Life

Al-Mu'ayyad belonged to an influential Daylami lsmaili family. He and a brother of his were initiated in the Fatimid Da'wa of Persia by their father who was himself a da'i, working under a superior da'i to whom the Caliph al-Hakim's Chief Da'i in Cairo, Hamid ad-din al-Kirrnani, wrote a letter (Risale Mabasim al-basharat) protesting the independent appointment of al-Muayyad and his brother in the Persian Da'wa. AI-Muayyad's father became important enough to be visited by the Wazir Abu Ghalib Fakhr al-Mulk al-Wasiti (as-Sira, 15) the Wazir of the Buyid Amir Baha ad-Dawla.

Al-Mu'ayyad himself entered the service of Buyid Amir Abu Kalijar (r. at Shiraz 415/1024 Baghdad, 435/1044 until 440/1048) at Shiraz 429/1038. He received the patronage of the Wazir Bahram b. Mafanna al-'Adil (b. 360 - d. 433/1041) and was opposed by the Qadi 'Abd Allah 436/1044) (Farsnama, 118). Al-Mu'ayyad had support of the local Daylami Shi'ite community towards whom the Turkish troops of the ruler were hostile.

He engaged in religious controversies, conducted seances of learning (al-Majals), read the Fatimid Khutba in the mosque of Ahwaz and even went to the extent of asking Abu Kalijar to correspond with the Fatimid Caliph (as-Sira, 55)

The Abbasid Caliph al-Qadir (381-422/991-1031) had taken the initiative in issuing a manifesto against the Fatimid origin of the Egyptian Caliphs in 402/1011. The next Abbasid Caliph al-Qa'im (422-467/1031-1075) had appointed as his advisor, Ibn al-Muslima an avowed enemy of the last Buyids and the chief promoter of Abbasid-Saljuq solidarity. He was now responsible for bringing pressure on Abu Kalijar through the Qadi lbn al-Mushtari to extradite al-Mu'ayyad from Persia. A letter from the Abbasid Caliph even threatened to ask the Saijuq leader Tughril Beg to invade Shiraz (as-Sira, 63-64)

In the meantime Tughril Beg had won the battle of Dandanaqan in 429/1038 against the Ghaznavids and occupied Khurasan. The Abbasid Caliph al-Qaim had sent the famous qadi al-Mawardi on two missions to Tughril in 434/1042 and 435/1043 shortly after Tughril's entry into Ray (al-Muntazam, Vlll, 113). Soon after that Tughril minted coins in 437/1045. Ibn ar-Rawandi: (Rahat as-sudur, 105) and adopted the title of Sultan in 438/1046 (Miles. Num. Hist) The Abbasid Caliph and Ibn al- Muslima urged Tughril to proceed to Egypt via Asia Minor (Byzantine territory) and used him to encourage the Ziri Amir North Africa, Mu'izz b. Badis (r. 406-453/1015-1061 to change the Fatimid Khutba for the 'Abbasid (as-sira 56- 57; al-ltti'az, Istanbul ms. in ldris, Glances, 302-303, Ibn 'Idhari: al-Bayan I, 275) .

Al-Mu'ayyad thought it wise to leave Persia about the beginning of 438/1046 although he did so unwillingly. He travelled to Jannaba, long-time home of the Qarmatians, then to the territory of a bedouin chief, Mansur b. Husayn near Ahwaz, where he tarried for seven months. Then he went to Shapur from where he was again pressured out by the Oadi lbn al-Mushtari, and arrived in the Hilia of the bedouin tribal chief Dubays b. Mazid al-Asadi, (as-Sira', 69-73). From here he proceeded to Kufa and Mawsil which were then in the hands of Qirwash b. al-Muqallad of Bani 'Uqayl who had recently received an investiture from the Fatimid Caliph (as-Sira, 74). At Mawsil, where he remained till the end of the year, he received a letter from Abu Kalijar informing him of the danger of the Turkomans. Abu Kalijar conveyed through him a message of friendship for the Fatimid Caliph (as-Sira, 76).In early 439/1047 at-Mu'ayyad arrived in Egypt.

Egypt was under the Caliph al-Mustansir, then about twenty years old. The power rested mainly in the hands of the Queen-Mother and the Jewish merchant Abu Sa'd al-Tustari. The Wazir was alFallahi, a protege of Abu Sa'd and the Qadi was al-Qasim b. 'Abd al-'Aziz b. Muhammad b. an-Nu'man, who was also the Chief Da'i.. Al-Mu'ayyad did not like these officers and their intrigues, although he has some good words for al-Fallahi (as-Sira, 81-84). Al-Fallahi had Abu Sa'd killed and was in turn assassinated by the agents of the Queen Mother, who included al-Yazuri, who then became a wazir. Al-Yazuri dismissed Ibn Nu'man and took over as the Qadi and the Chief Da'i. He also secured the exile to Syria of Abu I-Barakat who had briefly preceded him as a wazir (as-Sira 85-89). Al-Mu'ayyad was appointed to the Diwan al-insha' (secretariat) in 440/1048 on a monthly salary of 1000 dinars and wrote the religious sermons (al-Majalis) for al-Yazuri. (as-Sira, 89-90) Al-Mu'ayyad gives us an interesting information about the presence of a Buyid Prince Abu 'Ali in the Fatimid Court (as-Siras 87).

Al-Mu'ayyad in Syria and Iraq

In 447/1055 Tughril had entered Baghdad with his wazir al-Kundari; the last Buyid Amir Al-Malik ar-Rahim was removed to Ray and on the insistence of lbn al-Muslima, Baghdad's military commander, Abu I-Harith Arslan al-Basasiri, was ousted from the Capital. The Fatimid manoeuvres now included a letter from al-Mu'ayyad, in Persian, to al-Kundari in an attempt at reconciliation with the Saljuqs, which failed; and a letter from al-Mu'ayyad to al-Basasiri which was well received. Al-Basasiri promised to take an action against the Saljuqs from his new headquarters at Rahba, provided he received Fatimid help. (as-Sira, 94-96).

Al-Mu'ayyad was now sent by the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir and the Wazir al-Yazuri on a mission to the Syrian Amirs and particularly to al-Basasiri, with an army of 3000 Arab troops from Bani Kalb and a store of provisions. He was to be an Ambassador-at-large with a free hand in negotiations and awards of material and gifts with the sole purpose of ousting the Saljuqs from Baghdad and taking the Abbasid capital.

He first came to Sur (Tyre) in the court of the autonomous ruler al-Qadi 'Ayn ad-Dawla Abu 1-Hasan Muhammad of the Aqil family. His plan was to march across the territory of the Mirdasid Chief Thimal b. Salih, ruler of Aleppo, and to join with al-Basasiri at Rahba. lbn Aqil advised him against it; and the Fatimid governor of Damascus, Haydara, was undecided. At last al-Mu'ayyad decided to open negotiations with lbn Salih to which al-Yazuri was opposed. From the Secretariat in Cairo, a letter, in the handwriting of the Oadi al-Quda'i. arrived, denouncing al-Mu'ayyad's policy, but our Da'i remained adamant. (as-Sira, 97-107)

Al-Mu'ayyad's and lbn Salih's forces met in the vicinity of Homs. From there they marched together to Ma'arrat an-Nu'man to join with a section of al-Basasiri's army. Together, the allies proceeded to Aleppo to establish their headquarters. An oath of allegiance to the Fatimid Caliph was taken by the allied chiefs and gifts were distributed to them. (as-Sira, 107-108) Abu Nasr Ahmad b. Marwan, the ruler of Mayyafariqin and Diyar-Bekir wrote to at-Mu'ayyad and complained of the discontinuance of Fatimid gifts to him, which were once again promised to him by our 'Da'i, should he stop supporting the Turkomans. (as-Sira, 109-113).

Al-Mu'ayyad then contacted the Numayri Chief lbn Waththab, who ruled the region between Khabur and Rahba, but the latter refused to join because of his enmity with Ibn Salih. (as-Sira, 119-120) At last the allied troops converged on Rahba where they had a grand rendezvous with al-Basasiri. Al- Mu'ayyad bestowed robes of honour and promised gifts. He read a sermonand bound all parties to a covenant with the Caliph al-Mustansir in Safar 448/April 1056. (as-Sira. 1 22-124).

Dubays b. Mazid al-Asadi of Hilla and Quraysh b. Badran al-'Uqayil of Mawsil, were allied with Tughril, but were reluctant to have their sons sent as hostages to the Saljuq camp. Al-Mu'ayyad contacted them. Dubays parlayed until he received money but he could not support al-Mu'ayyad because of his enmity of lbn Salih and jealously of al-Basasiri. (as-Sira, 124-130).

Quraysh b. Badran remained hostile, a battle was fought against him at Sinjar and Mawsil was occupied. The Fatimid Khutba was read there. However, due to Dubays b. Mazid's intervention, Ouraysh was protected. (as-Sira, 134-135).

Kufa and Wasit now read the Fatimid Khutba while at Wasit coins were even minted in the name of al-Mustansir, in 448/1056. (as-Sira, 136-137) The Arab leaders wanted to take Amid, while al- Mu'ayyad from his headquarters al-Qayyara wanted them to encircle Baghdad and trap the Turkoman army north of the Capital. Al-Basasiri was extremely annoyed at the hostility of his Arab allies and considered leniency to Quraysh b. Badran a betrayal. Under the circumstances, al-Mu'ayyad wrote frantic letters to all allied leaders and distributed more money freshly arrived from Cairo. (as-Sira, 136-153).

Al-Mu'ayyad wrote again to Tughril's wazir al-Kundari but to no avail. Quraysh b. Badran and Dubays b. Mazid, through the intermediary, Ibn Warram, negotiated peace with Tughril who promised them Mawsit and southern Iraq respectively. But since al-Basasiri found no such accommodation, he remained loyal to the fatimid cause. (as-Sira,154-157)

Saljuq action now against Diyar Bekir and Mawsil forced the Numayri chief lbn Waththab and the 'Uqayli chief lbn Marwan to join the Fatimid camp of al-Mu'ayyad and al-Basasiri. Al-Mu'ayyad then went to Aleppo and reprimanded Thimal b. Salih for misappropriating some Fatimid funds. lbn Salih remained insolent and refused to aid the new allies. Al-Mu'ayyad managed with Cairo sending a new governor over Aleppo - lbn Mulhim - and assisted in the deposal of lbn Salih. This was at the end of 449/1057. (as-Sira, 171 -1 7 5).

At this point a dramatic incident happened. lbrahim Yinal. Tughril's half-brother who had taken Mawsil from Quraysh now sent a secret mission to him and to al-Basasiri. They directed the envoy to al-Mu'ayyad at Aleppo. lbrahim was planning to revolt against Tughril and to read the Fatimid Khutba in return for Fatimid help. This help was promised. Al-Mu'ayyad gave instructions to al-Basasiri to attack Baghdad immediately, and told him that he was proceeding to Cairo to arrange regular reinforcements for him. (as-Siral 175-176).

In Cairo, the wazir al-Yazuri was arrested on charges of negotiating with the enemy and was executed in Tinnis in Muharram 450/Feb. 1058. He was followed by the wazir al-Babili and then by the wazir lbn. al-Maghribi. Their emissaries tried to stop al-Mu ayyad on his way to Egypt, asking him to return to Aleppo: but the latter, defying their orders, nevertheless, reached Cairo (as- Sira, 176-178).

lbrahim b. Yinal had left Mawsil, leaving behind just a small garrison commanded by the General Khumartagin, and departed for the Jibal province. This was interpreted by Tughril as a revolt and he proceeded to Ray to apprehend lbrahim, which he did. lbrahim was executed and his revolt crushed. In the meantime Quraysh b. Badran and al-Basasiri took Mawsil and eliminated the Turkish garrison. They, however, pardoned Khumartagi'n, who was destined to be the person responsible for al-Basasiri's defeat and death (as-Sira, 179-182; al-Kamil, 439-40 and 444).

Al-Mu'ayyad's autobiography ends at this point.

Al-Basasiri incident:

Al-Basasiri and Quraysh marched towards Baghdad in D'hu'I-Qa'da 450/1058. Most of Tughril's army was away on Nawruz leave. The rest were occupied suppressing the revolt of Ibrahim Yinal. Quraysh camped on the west bank of the Euphrates. AI-Basasiri entered Baghdad via the suburb of Karkh.The Caliph's palace was sacked. The Caliph al-Qa'im and 1bn al-Muslima escaped and took refuge with Ouraysh. On al-Basasiri's demand ibn-al-Muslima was surrendered and was crucified till he died in great agony. Ouraysh, however, refused to surrender the Caliph and sent him away to his cousin Muharish to be kept in safe custody at the fortress of Haditha Ana, where he was later rescued by Tughril. Al-Basasiri treated Tughril's niece, who was also the Caliph's wife, with great respect and chivalry. 'Amid al-Iraq and and Ibn Ma'mun (Ibn al-Muslima's envoy to Tughril) were executed. The Chief Qadi ad-Damighani purchased his freedom by a huge ransom.

The Fatimid khutba was read in Karkh, Baghdad, Wasit, Basra and in many other parts of Iraq. This continued for forty Fridays, almost until the end of 451/1059. Egypt was en fete. A palace was reserved for the imprisoned Abbasid Caliph, who, however, did not arrive. Al-Mu'ayyad wrote an impassioned qasida on the occasion of al-Basasiri's victory (Diwan, 281).

In Dhu 1-Hijja 451/Jan. 1060 Tughril's general Khumartagin fought a bloody battle hear Kufa in which al~Basasiri was killed. Tughril re-entered Baghdad, and the Saljuq rule was now firmly established. The Iraqi venture left the Egyptian treasury almost empty and the Fatimid State vulnerable to many misfortunes as we shall notice later (al-Kamil and Khitat under yrs. 450 and 451 H.).

Al-Mu'ayyad in Egypt (450-467/1058-1074);

Manzikert; Daral-lim:

On his return from Syria. al-Mu'ayyad was coldly received by the Wazir lbn al-Maghribi (as-Sira, 178) but was appointed as the Head of the Da'wa organisation (Da'id-Du'at or Bab al-Abwab) in 450/1058 and as such must have been in a position to send help to al-Basasiri till the completion of his campaign (Akhbar Misri 10; 'Uyun-ms.-Vil, fol. 58).

Ibn as-Sayrafi informs us that for a short while al-Mu'ayyad was exiled to Syria. This was done on the initiative of the Wazir 'Abd Allah b. Yahya b. al-Mudabbir who assumed office in 453/ 1061. Then at the interval of every few months there was a change in the wazirate. The fifth in this series. Abu 'Ali Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Hakim b. Sa'id, who took up office in 454/1062, adopted the title of Da'id-Du'at, but perhaps he did so against the Caliph's wish. In any case he enjoyed the title only for a short time, for soon after we find al-Mu'ayyad in Cairo, in charge of the office of the Chief Da'i, receiving an envoy from Yaman in the same year.

Between the death of the wazir al-Yazuri in 449/ 1057 and the arrival of the Commander Badr al-Jamali in 467/1074, Egypt was engulfed in great administrative crises. During this period 40 wazirs and 42 qadis were changed and famine and plague stalked the country. During these difficult days the only person who remained in the confidence of the Caliph al-Mustansir was the Chief Da'i al-Mua'yyad who remained in office constantly. In all diplomatic exchanges of the Fatimids where the Saljuqs were involved, af-Mu'ayyad's role must be inferred.

For four years (454-459/1062-1066) a soldier of fortune, Nasir ad-Dawla from the Hamdanid family of Syria, tyrannised Egypt by leading the Turkish and Berber troops against the Sudani troops of the Caliph. There was looting and plundering of the city and. the country which resulted in the great famine of 459-464/1066-1071 called ash-shiddat al-uzma. When the Caliph led his troops personally against Nasir ad-Dawla, the latter installed himself in the Delta and ran a parallel government from Alexandria and- Dimyat. It is from here that he invited the second Saljuq Sultan Alp Arslan to invade Egypt, and in 462/1070 even proceeded to read the 'Abbasid khutba in the towns of the Delta. (al-itti'az - Istanbul ms.-yr. 462 H.). In fact Alp Arslan came to Aleppo and was about to proceed from there to Damascus and Egypt, when he was diverted by the Byzantine Emperor Romanus Diogenes to Manzikert in Armenia where a decisive battle took place in 463/1071. Just before the battle a secret Fatimid embassy had arrived in Constantinople under the qadi al-Quda'i, which may explain the Emperor's sudden action against Alp Arslan, (Zubda, 11, 1 3-1 4) ; and in the constant administrative flux at Cairo, we may infer the policy-making of the only major administrator holding office continuously, namely al-Mu'ayyad. Although the Byzantine Emperor was defeated, Alp Arslan, once diverted from his westward course, could never return. In some of the darkest days of Fatimid history, its diplomacy saved the Fatimid State.

Al-Mu'ayyad was appointed the head of the Academy of Science (Dar al-'Iim) in Cairo, which was also the headquarters of the Da'wa and became the residence of al-Mu'ayyad. Dar al-'Ilm had originally been founded by the Caliph al-Hakim. It is from here that he directed the Da'wa affairs throughout the Fatimid sphere of influence particularly Persia, Yaman, Bahrayn and Northern and Western India and we shall notice presently his connections with these areas. .('Uyun - ms. - fols. 59-63, 65).

Al-Mu'ayyad and Abul-Ala:

Let me digress to describe a peculiar relationship between our da'i and the famous writer and poet of the time, Abul-'Ala' al-Ma'arri (363-449/973-1057). Al-Mu'ayyad could have passed by Ma'arratan-Nu'man, the home-town of the poet in 438/1046; and was definitely there in 448/1056. He could have met the poet then or could have corresponded with him from Cairo. This correspondence is preserved both in our da'i's Majalis and in Yaqut's Mujam al-Udaba, and was studied by Margoliouth (J.R.A.S.-1902-p. 289 seq.). Al-Mu'ayyad criticises Abul-'Ala's ideas in favour of vegetarianism, with great respect for the latter, and using only rational and not shar'i argurnents.

Al-Mu'ayyad also refuted lbn ar-Rawandi's mu'tazilite ideas contained in his Kitab az-zumurrudh studied by P. Kraus, R.S.O.- 1934-pp. 93-129.

Al-Mu'ayyad and Nasir-i-Khusraw-The Persian Da'wa

Nasir-i-Khusraw (394-470/1003-1077), the famous Persian da'i and poet, visited Cairo in 439/ 1047, the same year in which al-Mu'ayyad had also arrived. He never mentions al-Mu'ayyad in his Safar- nameh but this is probably because at-Mu'ayyad had not yet attained an important position and his acquaintance with him, if any, would have been slight. After al-Mu'ayyad was given charge of the Da'wa at home and abroad, he must have come in close touch with the activities of Nasir in Khurasan. In a poem written in 455/1063 (Diwan, 173-177) Nasir praises al-Mua-yyad as his master (teacher) and refers to him as the "Warden of the Gate" (Bab). There are other direct references in Nasir's Diwan (313-314).

Persia, Khurasan and Central Asia had witnessed in the past great activity of the lsmaili mission, which attempted to penetrate even the court circles of the Ziyarids, the Samanids and the Buyids. The breeding ground of lsmailism had been the Daylami highlands. Great Da'i-authors operated here. such as Abu Hatim ar-Razi, an-Nasafi and Abu Ya'qub as-Sijistani, from before the establishment of the Fatimid Caliphate until the time of Caliph al-Hakim, in whose court arrived from Persia another luminary, the Da'i Hamid ad-Din al-Kirmani. Many Qarmatian bands were dominated by Persian dissidents from the Fatimid Da'wa; and the very early lsmaili secret society called lkhwan as-Safa (Brethren of Purity) were also mainly a Persian group. We have noticed the activities of our Da'i al-Mu'ayyad who was also a Persian.

Now Persia and Central Asia needed a person of great calibre and Nasir-i-Khusraw was appointed Hujjat-e-Khurasan on his return from Egypt in 444/1052. He has left us, in his Safar-nameh: a most vivid account of the splendour of Egypt in a comparatively-disturbed period of its history. Nasir, unlike the earlier Persian da'is, wrote not in Arabic, but in Persian. On his return he began work in Mazanderan and the Daylam region and in Khurasan, but Saljuqid pressure forced him out to his retreat in Yumagan in Badakhshan territory, in the Ghaznawid realm, where he wrote most of his works and ended his days sometime between 465 and 470;1072-1077. His poems show that his only contact in the Da'wa headquarters in Cairo was with al-Mu'ayyad, under whose direction the Persian and Central Asian Da'wa was managed. (Ivanow Nasir-i-Khusraw, Bombay, 1948).

Al-Mu'ayyad, the lthna- Asharis and the Qarmatians:

Since al-Mu'ayyad's aim was to isolate and defeat the Saljuqs and the orthodox Caliphate of the 'Abbasids, he wanted to create a wide Shi'i alliance under the leadership of the Fatimid Caliphate and to play down the inner Shi'ite differences.

The Arab bedouin chiefs in Syria and Iraq, such as Thimal b. Salih of Aleppo and Dubays b. Mazid of Hilia, were of Shi'ite persuasion, because the people of the territories they ruled were so. Their racial and religious antipathy to the Saljuqs according to al-Mu'ayyad, could draw them nearer to the Fatimids, although they might not accept lsmailism as such.

It is in pursuance of this policy that al-Mu'ayyad praises the lmam Musa al-Kazim, the initiator of the lthna 'Ashari line, and attacks lbn al-Muslima's action in 443/1051 in destroying lmam Musa's tomb (al- Mu'ayyad's Diwan, No. 23). Nowhere in al-Mu'ayyad's works do we find polemics against any non-lsmaili Shi'i faction, except for example certain controversies that were forced on him, such as his dialogue with a Zaydi'alim in Abu Kalijar's court (as-Sira, 57-60).

As for the Qarmatians of Bahrayn, we know that they and the Fatimids were part of the same lsmaili movement, but differences in policy, doctrines and the question of the headquarters of the Caliphate made them a distinct group. At times they opposed the Fatimids, for example under their leaders Abu Sa'id at-Jannabi and Hasan al-A'sam: and at times they collaborated with the Fatimids, as under Abu Tahir at-Jannabi. Since the time of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim they had coexisted peacefully with the Fatimids without any hostility.

The Da'i Nasir-i-Khusraw on his return from Egypt passed through their territory on the Persian Gulf, and found there a commune of 20,000 inhabitants managing an idyllic society and a State (Lewis: Origins of Ismailism 99-100). The visit of a Fatimid da'i to their territory is itself an evidence of good relations.

Al-Mu'ayyad and the Sulayhids - The Yamani Da'wa:

In the early days of the lsma'iii mission when it was searching for a homeland where it could establish its Caliphate, Yaman was one of the choices. The Da'i Abu I-Qasim b. Hawshab Mansur al-Yaman arrived here in 260/873 and succeeded in conquering San 'a' and establishing the first Isma'ili political base in 268/881. Later when al-Mahdi founded the Fatimid Caliphate in North Africa in 297/909, lbn Hawshab declared his loyalty but his colleague, the da'i Ali b. al-Fadl revolted and joined the Qarmatian platform. On the death of lbn Hawshab 302/914, the Fatimid Caliph let the lsmaili political power drift away, on purpose, and called lbn Hawshab's son Ja'far to the Maghrib where he was put in charge of the Da'wa. (al-Iftitah, 32-71).

The Fatimid interest now was concentrated in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean areas and Yaman was of no particular use in its trade or strategy. But by the time of the Caliph al-Mustansir, in the 5th/1 lth centuries, Fatimid influence in the Mediterranean regions had shrunk considerably, and it was forced to look southwards to Yaman and eastwards to India.

In Yaman a skeleton Dawa (religious, not political) had been maintained throughout the interim period. This Da'wa was now encouraged to revive the idea of establishing an lsma'ili State. From the Sulayhi family of Banu Hamdan a young man called 'Ali b. Muhammad was chosen to be a Da'i in command in' Yaman. He declared his mission at Mt. Masar in 439/1047 and by 450/1058 captured San 'a' in a triangular conflict between him. the Ya'furids and the Zaydi, Imarnat of Sa'da. In the fotrowing, years, he took Janad, Adan and finally Zabid from the Najahids, and by 455/1063 he was master of all Yaman and Hadramawt. He was now the Da'i-Sultan of Yaman, but the chief of the religious Da'wa under him was the Da'i and Qadi Lamak b. Malik al-Hammadi, who served as a link between Cairo and San'a. Between 454-459/1062-1066 when Egypt was ravaged by the adventurer Nasir ad-Dawla, Qadi Lamak stayed withal-Mu'ayyad at the Daral-'Ilm. The main purpose of his embassy was the desire of 'Ali b. Muhammad as-Sulayhi to come to Egypt to restore law and order in the Fatimid State. The idea may have been initiated by al-Mu'ayyad, but the time was not yet thought to be ripe for such an action. In any case the embassy ended on the death of 'Ali at the pilgrimage in 459/ Oct. 1067. (Da'i Hatim: Tuhfa in Oriens, 23-24, 1972).

The works of the Yamani authors of the Da'wa from 6 th/12th century onwards until the transference of the Da'wa's headquarters to India in 944/1537 amply bear out the impact of al-Mu'ayyad's ideas and teachings. References to at-Mu'ayyad's works are so numerous that it would be impossible to enumerate them here. Only one need be mentioned, namely Kitab Jami' al-haqa'iq in 2 Vols. by the third Da'i 1-mutlaq of Yaman, Hatim b. lbrahim al-Hamidi (d. 596/1199) which contains a summary of 800 seances al-Mu'ayyad contained in his 8 Vols. of al-Majalis.

Al-Mu'ayyad and India:

After the Da'i lbn Hawshab had established himself in Yaman he sent in 270/883 his nephew al-Haythem as a da'i to Sind and a near-contemporary authority, al-Qadi an-Nu'man (d. 3631974), in his Iftitah attests the spread of the Da'wa in other parts of India. Two Isma'iii states accepting Fatimid sovereignty existed in Pakistan a century after that, namely in Multan from 354/965 to 401/1010 and in Mansurah from 401/1010 to 416/1025, both of which were swept away by the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazna. Later in 443/1051, another lsma'ili dynasty called the Sumra founded a State at Thatta which lasted for 3 centuries until 752/1351. Its inception was at the time of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir. We have no evidence of al-Mu'ayyad's contacts with them for the sheer reason that no local lsma'ili sources have survived. But as it was the practice of the Central Da'wa to keep in touch with the lsma'iii bases abroad al-Mu'ayyad's influence in this area can be inferred. (See my monograph. The Beginnings of the Isma'ili Da'wa in Northern India, Cairo, 1956).

On the west coast of India, the lsma'iii religious Da'wa was revived soon after the establishment of the Sulayhid State in Yaman. On Da'i Lamak's return to Yaman in 460/1067 from his mission to the Central Da'i at-Md'ayyad in Cairo, he sent one Da'i 'Abd Allah to Cambay in Gujrat where he is reported to have converted the Raja Siddhraj Jaysingh Solankhi and his ministers Bharmal and Tarmat. (Khwaj b. Malik: Maimu 'ar-rasa'il, 10). The author of ar-Risalat azzahira (p. 11) adds: "He (i.e. 'Abd Allah) was sent from Yaman by orders of one from whom he learned and acquired knowledge, namely one of the learned people of Yaman, Larnak b. Malik al-Hammadi by name. who followed the orders of, and attributed his origin (that of his learning) to this source, namely the perfect, learned and unique scholar Hibat Allah b. Musa from Shiraz."

The spread of the Da'wa in Deccan and its origin in al-Mu'ayyad is mentioned by Khwaj b. Malik in his Majmu' (p. 1 3) as follows:' In the district of Deccan there is a village called Daham Gam. lman (faith) spread in this district from this village, just as in Gujrat it spread from Cambay. In this village there were two .men who acquired knowledge, then proceeded from India, in the time of al-Mustansir, to Egypt and joined the lsma'ili faith at the bidding of Sayyidna al-Mu'ayyad from whom they acquired much knowledge. Their names were Lam Nath and Rup Nath (later called Mawla'i Nurad-Din). Both of them returned from Egypt to their native village, Daham Gam, where their tombs still exist near Aurangabad."

Although Khwaj b. Malik died in 1002/1693 and the time of the author of ar-Risalat az-zahira is not known, both are late sources. In so far as they preserve the local Indian lsma'ili tradition, (but in terms of the Indian 'Dawa an early tradition) and in absence of contrary evidence their information must be accepted. . -

Two of al-Mu'ayyad's own qasidas throw some light on his connections with India. For instance he claims: "I have known Egypt. Syria, Hijaz- and Yaman; before that Persia and 'Iraq to the extent of Sind- in their prosperity and decline (Diwan, No. 20, p. 251). Again referring to the following of the Fatimid Caliph, he says: "Among his (i.e. Caliph's) followers are the Indians (Hunud), a cautious people and a group (jii) on the Byzantine territory." (Diwan, No. 5, p. 218).

The Works of al-Mu'ayyad:

An annotated list of al-Mu'ayyad's works can be found in Ivanow's Isma'ili Literature, Teheran, 1963. Since this list is not complete the following is reproduced from the present author's doctoral thesis (1950).

Genuine Works:

1. Diwan, published by Kamil Hasayn. Cairo l949. Al-Mu'ayyad admits in his Sira (pp. 166-167) that he is not a good poet. However, his Diwan, dedicated to the Caliphs az-Zahir and al-Mustansir has a devotional and historical value, for it abounds in references to people and events. Qasidas 47 and 61 are not by al-Mu'ayyad as indicated in the marginal notes in my ms. The final compilation of the Diwan must have been late in al-Mu'ayyad's life as it contains poems written after the age of sixty. It also includes poems written in his youth.

2. as-Sira al-Mu'ayyadiya, published by K. Husayn, Cairo, 1950. It is al-Mu'ayyad's autobiography (a rare one in lsma'ili or even Islamic literature) covering his life and activities from the year 429/1037 when he entered the court of Abu Kalijar to the year 451/1059 when al-Basasiri was killed. It contains the unique account of the city states of Syria and Iraq and the events under the last two Buyids before the occupation of Baghdad by al-Basasiri, which is not found elsewhere in such detail. As will be evident the life-story of al-Mu'ayyad related here is based mainly on this work. The Sira seems to have been composed in early 451/1059, except for a brief section (pp. 174-184) at the end, beginning with a basmala which could have been composed anytime after 454/ 1062.

3. al-Majalis in eight volumes of 100 seances each, summarised in two volumes entitled Jami'al- haqa'iq by the Yamani da'i Hatim al-Hamidi (referred to above). It contains his lectures (khutab) from the time he was at Abu Kalijar's court until his. last days at the Dar al-Ilm in Cairo. Hence, like his Diwan it was compiled in the last years of his life. It contains his Munajat as well as his correspondence with Abul 'Ala' al-Ma'arri and the refutation of lbn ar-Rawandi referred above.

His other minor works are:

4. Sharh al-ma'ad

5. Nahj al-hidaya li'l-muhtadin

6. Nahj al-'ibada

7. K. al-lbtida' wa'l-intiha'

8. al-Masa'ilal-sabun

9. Bunyad at-ta'wil, a Persian translation of Asas at-ta'wil by the earlier Da'i Qadi' n-'Nu'man.

Of doubtful authorship:

10. K. al-Mas'ala wa'l-jawab. As it contains a reference to the Caliph al-Mustansir, it was written in al-Mu'ayyad's time, either by him or by a Yamani da'i.

11. al-Majlis al-Mustansariyya' lvanow includes it among al-Muayyad's works. The editor of the book, Kamil Husayn (Cairo, ca 1950), thinks it is composed by another Da'i contemporary to al-Mu'ayyad. It is also attributed to Badr-al-Jamali by the author of Fihrist al-Majdu' Teheran 1966.

Erroneous attributions:

12. K' al-ldah wa't-tabsir fi fadl Yawm al-Qhadir

13. al-Qasidat al-lskandariyya or Dhat at-dawha

14. Ta'wil ar-arwah


Da'i ldris ('Uyun, VIl fol. 123) says that al-Mu'yyad died in Cairo sometime in the first ten days of Shawwal, 470/1078. The Caliph al-Mustansir himself read the funeral service and al-Mu'ayyad was buried in the Dar al-ilm where he had resided, worked and died. Al-Maqrizi (Khitat 1, 460) corroborates ldris's statement that at-Mu'ayyad was buried in the Dar al'lim. He lived for about 83 years.

Let us end this biography of al-Mu'ayyed with a few verses from a qasida which the Caliph al -M ustansir himself wrote for him (included in al-Mu'ayyad's Diwan, no. 40, p. 313):

"O, (Thou) well-known Hujja (Proof) amidst mankind,

Basis of knowledge, who could disable.the highest.

Even if thou werst the last in our Da'wa

Thou hast surpassed thy predecessors.

The like of thee has not been found

Among those gone by and those that remain."


The principal - source for the biography of al Mu'ayyad is his autobiography. as-Sira al- Muayyadiya. ed. Kani' Husayn. Cairo. 1950: and his Diwan' ed. K. Busayn. Cairo, 1949 Details in article). For his connection with the Buyid Court, we have lbn al-Balkhi: Farasnama (written between 500-510/1106-11 16). London, 1921. The following eastern sources give valuable information on lhe Basasiri incident, namely al-Khatil at-Baghdadi (d. 463/1071) who is followed scrupulously by lbn al-Qalanisi (d. 555/1160): Dhayl tarikh Dimishq' ed. Amedroz. Leiden. 1908: lbn af-Jawzi (d. 59711200): al-Muntazam, particularly Vol. VIll. Hyderabad. 1939 seq.; lbr., al-Athir (d. 631/1233): al-Kamil, leiden. 1851-76 and Sibt b. al-Ja\Azi (d. 65411257): Mit'at az-zaman. Paris ms. 1506. They are also the sources for the rise of the Saliuq and the formation of the 'Abbasid-Saljuq entente.

For the north Syrian scene with which al-Mu'ayyad was involved reference could be made to lbn l[- Qalanisi referred to above. and to Kamal ad-Din b. Adim (d. 66111263): Zubdat al-Haleb ed. Sami Dahan, 2 vols- 1953-54 and lbn al.Azraq al-Fariqi (d. 57211176): Ta'rikh Mayyafariqin (Ms. British Mus. Or. 5803).

Al-Mu'ayyad's autobiography ends in 450/1058, the year of his return to Egypt. For his later life, therefore we have to rely on sources specialising in the affairs of the Western Caliphate. namely the Da'i Nas'iri-Khusraw (d. ca. 465-47011072-'1077): Safar nameh. ed. Schefer, Paris, 1881 and Diwan. Publ. Teheran; lbn as-Sayrafi (d. 521/1127): al-lshara ile man nala al-wazara. cd. Masse, Cairo. 1924: lbn at-Muyassar (d. 677/1278): Akhbar Misr. ed. Masse. Cairo, 1919 and alMaqrizi (d. 845/1442): al-Khitat Cario, 2 Vols. and al-ltti'az (ms. Sarai Ahmad 111. No. 3013. Istanbul), sections of which are translated by H.R. ldris in Glances sur le.R Zirides d'lfriqiya dens le Manuscrit d'lsfinbul de l'itti'az al-hunafa'. Arabica, Vol. XI, Oct. 1964. pp. 286-305. Of the above sources Ibn al-Balkhi. Nasir-i-Khusraw, lbn as-Sayrafi, Sibt b. al-Jawzi. lbn al-Muyassar and al-Maqrizi refer to al-Mu'ayyad by name. Others, although they do not refer to him neverlheless describe the events around him. Besides the works of al-Mu'ayyad and Nasir-i-Khusraw, other relevant lsmaili sources are al-Oadi an-Nu'man (d. 3631973): iftitah ad da'wa. ed. Wadad al-Qadi. Beirut. 1970. the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir bi'llah (d. 48711094) Sijillat. ed. A. Majid, Cairo, 1954. also in H. Hamdani, B.S.O.A.S., Vil (1934), Pt. 2. pp. 307-324; Hatim b. Ibrahim al-Hamidi (d. 596/1199): Kitab Tuhfat al-qulub in A. Hamadani. Orip-ns, Vol. 23-24. 1972; and Da'i ldris lmadra-Din (d. 872/1467): Uyun al-akhbar. Vol. VII (ms. Hamdani coll.)

Among the secondary sources, reference could be made to E. , Memoires sur I'Egypt. 2 Vols. which is lhe best account of the time of al-Mustansir bi'allah. and my unpublished doctoral thesis: The Sira of al-Mu 'ayyad fid-din ash-Shirazi, London Univ. 1950. which contains different facets of al- Mu'ayyad's biography (summarised here) and has a detailed bibliography.

For specific questions concerning she Fatimid Da'wa and the life and times of al-Mu'ayyad reference could be made to A. Hamdani: Beginnings of the Isma'ili Da'wa in Northern India, Sirovics. Cairo, 1956. The Fatimid-Abbasid Con'lict in India. Islamic Culture. Sept. 1967; Some Considerations on the Fatimid Caliphate as Mediterranean nean Power, Atti del III Congressodj studi Arabia e Islamic (Revello. 1966). Naples 1967.. Some Aspects of the History of Libya during the Fatimid Period (Proceedings of lhe Libyan History Conference. 1968) in Libya in History. Beirut, 1970; A Possible Fatimid Background to the Battle of Manzikert the forthcoming Vol. VI of the Journal of the Historical Research Institute of the University of Ankara and The Da'iHatim b. Ibrahim at- Hamidi and his book Tuhfat al-qulub in-Orions, 23/24, 1972.

Other sources not mentioned here are referred to in the text of the article.

Dr. Abbas Hamdani, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (U.S.A.)

13.0 Sayyidna Nasir Khusraw

"With an inner sight look at the World's mystery

The outward sight cannot discover it,

This world is the stair leading to the higher world

And we must mount its steps."

(Nasir Khusraw).

The great and-well-known lsmaili Missionary Hakim Nasir Khusraw was the celebrated medieval erudite poet, philosopher, traveller and Hujjat of Khurasan. Nasir Khusraw was one of the most important figures of llth century Iran - an era which has produced such men of prominence as Omar Khayyam, Hasan bin Sabbah. and al-Mua'yyid ash-Shirazi.

Nasir Khusraw, who is considered as the Real Wisdom of the East came from Qubadiyan in Balkh. The full name of this most attractive and remarkable personality of Persian Literary History was Abu Muin'id-Din-Nasir-i-Khusraw. He called himself Marwazi Qubandiyani, as the capital of state of which Qubadiyan belonged was Marw.

His father was a small land-owner in the vicinity of Balkh. He was born in the month of Dhelqad 394 A.H./1003-4 C.E. during the time of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi. He was seeking education from his early childhood and devoted about thirty years in achieving it. He became all in all in every field of knowledge, in intellectual, as well as traditional. He memorised the Holy Quran and became an expert in tradition and in interpretation of Holy Ouran. Besides Islamic literature. he also studied the new and the old testament and books of other religions thoroughly. He studied the ai-Magisty of Ptolemy, geometry of Euclid, al-chemy, physics, logic, music, mathematics, medicine astronomy, astrology etc. He was profound in literature and knew Hebrew, Sanskirit besides Arabic, Persian, Turkey and Greek languages. He studied the philosophy of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle and the epistles of Kindi, Farabi and Avicenna (abu ali Sina). He refers to his high status of knowledge in his Diwan.

"Na mond az heech goon danish kih manzan na kardam- istifadat beesh-o-kamtar.

No knowledge remained in the world from which I was not benefited more or less". About his original religion it is said that he was Shia, Nasir calls himself an Alawi in two of his couplets in his Diwans, from which Dr. lvanow concludes that "Alawi" does not only mean, Shiite but there is quite enough reason to believe that Nasir was really a "Sayyid". But it is difficult to prove this for he exercised modesty and religious self-effacement in this connection.

The inhabitants of Yamgan valley, where Nasir lived his last days and died, consider themselves as Sayyids and the descendants of Nasir Khusraw. They are fanatical Sunnis and they believe their ancestor Nasir was a Sufic Pir.

Being born in the family belonging to the government officials' class, he followed the custom of that time and entered the government service of Ghaznavid and Saijuq administrations. Nasir was employed as a government secretary and a revenue officer.

Mr. Taqi-zada in his book "Ham majiis wa ham piyala" of kings has accused him of being participant of the assemblies of drunken orgies of princes and so forth. Scrutinizing Nasir's own statements, says lvanow, one can see that all this is based on misunderstanding. As a gifted and mentally alert youth, he undoubtedly took much real interest in many things, though this never amounted to any thing like his poetry's years - a long search for Truth. He himself has said in his Diwan, he would hardly have devoted his lime to composing indescent or frivolous poetry and practising such vices, that when you remember these, your face becomes dark and mind becomes depressed. This is of course, expressed in poetry in which hyperbolism, exaggeration is often the fundamental law. Most probably this simply means that he enjoyed his life and composed ordinary love songs, which in the strictly religious outlook of his old age appeared to him as shameful frivolity.

The change of dynasty took place in his mother country in 429 A.H./1038 C.E. When he was 35 years old. Eight years later he set out on his great journey.

The Change in his life and approach to Imam:

It is generally accepted that Nasir went on to the pilgrimage as an orthodox Muslim and became converted to Ismailism in Egypt through which he had to pass on his way to Mecca. He returned to his native land after some time as an lsmaili missionary of such a high rank as a Hujjat.

According to Dr. lvanow "for him (Nasir Khusraw) obviously the truth was only Islam and it may be easily realized that the truth was the authentic interpretation of religion which can be received only from the Imam. It is quite possible, that he might have been shiite, perhaps a change of dynasty, if it upset his career, the frusttation of his youthful ambitions, even his probable contacts with lsmailis - all these together possibly inspired him to espouse the cause of the Fatimids whose star had never risen so high as at that particular time,".

Nasir Khusraw has given two statements pertaining to his conversion in his Safarnama. One is the oft-cited story of his religious dream at the beginning of the journey and the second one is his "confession" in the form of the lengthiest of his qasidas. About .his dream he has written in his Safarnama that on a certain night he saw in his dream some one saying to him "How long shall you go on drinking the wine that ruins the human reason ? It is high time for thee to become sober". He answered in the following words: "The wise have not invented any better means for the purpose of reducing sorrows of the world", the addresser of the dream said, "Senselessness and unconsciousness do not bring peace of mind. One cannot be called a wise man if one leads people to unconsciousness. It is necessary to search for something that flourishes reason and increases wisdom.He asked,"Where can I find that?" The addresser replied: "Those who search will find, and waved his hand in the direction of Qibla saying nothing more.

This was the sign indicating the Fatimid Imams who were in Cairo in Egypt. After seeing this dream he resigned from his, services and set out on his great journey

"Nasir", says lvanow, "himself well knew the harm that he was causing to himself but obv iously the speaker in the dream was some one of especial importance, the Prophet or the lmam. not named by him out of peculiar modesty. It is generally believed that the Prophet may " appear in the dream" only to deserving and pious people and would not visit others. Thus the mention of a holy -visitor is equivalent to the narrator's claim to exceptional piety and virtue. So his sincere devotion to religion of Shiite type caused Nasir Khusraw to be converted to Ismailism where he could recover from his chronic drunkness i.e. practising religious life without knowing its real meaning and implications. He was awakened from his intoxication, i.e. he was convinced of the lsmaili faith and later he went to Cairo for higher training and instructions


"In the autumn of the 1045 C.E., says E.G. Browne 'Nasir Khusraw being warned by dream, determined to renounce the wine and to undertake the pilgrimage to Mecca. He was about 40 years old at that time. He performed a complete ablution, repaired to the mosque of Jazjanan, where he then happened to have registered a solemn vow of repentence, and set out on his journey in 437 A.H./1045 C.E."

Nasir Khusraw after seeing a dream resigned from his services and set out on the great journey with his younger brother Abu-Saeed and an Indian servant. He travelled by the way of Shaburqan to Merv, then proceeded to Nishapur and visiting the tomb of Sufi saint Bayazid of Bistan at Qumis, came by way of Demghan to Samnan. where he met ustad Ali Nisai, a pupil of Avicenna and lecturer on arithmetic, geometry and medicine. Passing onwards through Qazwin he reached Tabriz on Safar 20th, 438 A.H./1046 C.E. and there he made the acquaintance of the poet Oatran. to whom he explained passages in poems of Daqiqi and Maujik. Then he made his way successively to Van, Akhiat, Bittis, Arzan, Mayfaraqin, Amid, Aleppo, and Ma'arratun-Nu'man, where he met great Arabic philosophical poet Abul-ala-af-Ma'arri of whose character and attainment he speaks in warmest terms. Then 'he visited Hama, Tripoli, Bayrout, Sidon, Tyre, Acre, and Hayfa. He spent his sometime in Syria in visiting the tombs of Prophets and other holy places, including Jerusalem and Bethlehem, he made his first pilgrimage to Mecca in 1047 C.E. From Mecca by the way of Damascus to Jerusalem, he proceeded by land to Egypt and finally arrived in Cairo on Safer 7th, 439 A.H./1047. C.E.

"Nasir Khusraw," says E.G. Browne "Attracted by the fame of al-Mustansir, came from Khurasan to Egypt, where he lived seven years, performing the pilgrimage and returning Egypt to every year."

Dr. lvanow says that "it would be strange that if he remained a Sunni until his arrival in Cairo, he should have been converted by no less a figure than al-Mua'yyid himself and at once accepted into the service."

His stay in Cairo marks an epoch in his life, for it was here he became acquainted with the splendour, justice and wise administration of Fatimid Caliph and Imam al-Mustansir biiiah and here it was that he was initiated into esoteric doctrine of lsmaili creed, received the commission to carry on their propaganda. The star of the Fatimid had never risen so high as at this particular period.

Nasir Khusraw in his Safarnama has described the city of Cairo, the excellent administration of Imams of Fatimid Caliphs and the wealth, contentment and security of their subjects. His description of Cairo, its mosques, its gardens, buildings and suburbs is admirable. The details of Fatimid administration given by him are most valuable. He was much impressed with the discipline of the army, maintenance of laws peace and order in the country. Describing the excellent administration in beautiful words, he says. "it seems that Fatimids are the only lawful authorities and the protectors of the garden of Allah."

According to Encyclopaedia of Islam, Nasir Khusraw left Persia at the difficult period, when the country was being laid waste by the continued wars between the various princes. He found the same wretched picture in all the Muslim countries which he had to traverse on his journey. Only Egypt proved a pleasing exception,where he saw prosperity, rich bazars, harmony and tranquility. As the lsmaili dynasty of Fatimids were ruling in Egypt at that time, Nasir concluded that Islam had diverged from the true path and that only lsmailism could save the true believers from inevitable ruin.

When Nasir Khusraw visited Cairo in 439 A.H., he went to the court of Fatimid Caliph, Al-Imam Mustansir billah. There he met Khawaji al-Muayyid Fiddin al-Shirazi, who was then one of the twelve 'Hujjats' of the lmam. He discussed with him about the allegories of the Holy Ouran and other secrets of the Shariat (religious law) and he found the right-fullness of the Fatimid Caliph al-imam-al-Mustansir billah and accepted him as his lmam. He says, "I searched in the world for Tawel-e-mutashabihat (The meaning of allegories of Holy Ouran) but I could not find them anywhere except with Fatimid Caliphs".

He praised his teacher Al-Muayyid in his Diwan for his superiority in knowledge.

"Kih kard az khtir-i-khwaja Muayyid Dar-i-Hikmat kushada bar tu yazdan shab-i-man rooz-i raushan kard Khawaja za burhanha-i-choon khurshid-ipakhshan.

Mara . binamood hazir har do aakm ba yak ja dar tanam paida pinhan."

"From the heart of Al-Muayyid, God has opened for thee the doors of wisdom. Khawaja changed my night into a shiny day by his arguments right likesun. He showed me both the worlds in my person, he made me behold them openly as well as secretly in one in my person."

In Noorum Mubin with reference of Rawzatus Safa. Habibus-Siyar, Dabistanul Mazahib it is written that Nasir Khusraw acquired the knowledge of Philosophy at Jama-Azhar. He made vast studies at Darul-Hikmat, held discussions with Khawaja Al-Muayyid a diplomat and Intelligent Dai-ui-Duwa't, from him acquired deep knowledge of Philosophy. Later on, he was brought before the lmam Mustansir billah by Vazir Abu Nastre Sadka lbn Yusuf, where he received the blessings of Imam. Later on he was bestowed with the title of Dai-ud-Duwa't by lmam. He was then sent to various tours prior to his departure to his native country. where he was designated to carry on the work of preaching.

Thus Sayyidna Nasir Khusraw spent three or five years in the service of lmam and was appointed to the propagation of Da'wah in Khurasan. He was given the title of Hujjut-i-Khurasan and he became one of the twelve Hujjuts of the court of lmam.

Beginning of Da'wah:-in 444 A.H. when he returned to Khurasan, he had already given up all the luxuries and he began to propagate the Da'wah with great enthusiasm and ambition. He started his mission from Balkh and used to send 'Daees' 'Madhoons' (missionaries and their assistants) to the provinces of the country. Besides being well versed in the different fields of knowledge he had a great ability and power of eloquence and discussions with 'ulemas' and praised the glory of Fatimide Caliphs and assert their lmamat very efficiently and took pride in being follower of the Fatimid lmams and used to call himself a Fatimi.

This caused Abbasid minded Ulema to agitate public to rise against him in enemity because they were the enemies of the Fatimids. Soon the Saljuqs ruled the land, became convinced that Nasir's activity was a serious threat to them. So he was persecuted and had to flee from Baikh. He took refuge in Mazindaran. The fact that he visited Mazindaran, is alluded in some of Nasir's poems, and is attested by his contemporary Abui-Maali in Bayanil-adyan. He also tried to propagate the Da'wah but unfortunately was confronted with the same enmity as he had to face in Balkh. Once again he directed his feet towards Balkh and entered Nishapur. where he once again tried his luck at the preaching but had to face the same bitter enemity, so he left for Badakhsan and settled in Yamgan, and started his mission vigorously. He made Yamgan his seat of Dawat, from where he used to send every year a book written by himself in the provinces, in support of his propagation besides missionaries.

Most of his work was done at Yamgan. Professor lvanow says that the political situations of that time did not let him out of this narrow valley which proved to be his prison and from which only death released him. But then too he had some means of communication with the outer world, even with Egypt, otherwise he would not have written his qasidas and perhaps other books. He also received Da'wat books from Egypt, where as according to local tradition of Badakhshan, Shah Sayyid was busy with converting local inhabitants and even undertook extensive journeys in the East, during which he visited India. All this is narrated in the book called Gawhar-raz written by Nasir Khusraw.

It is due to his tireless endeavours that there are lakhs of lsmailis in Afghanistan, Russia, China. Chitral, Hunza, Gilgit and even in the world like Pamir-the roof of the world. He often used to go to neighbouring countries for preaching.

It is said that once he went to a place called Munjgan (Lutkoh) in Chitral where he stayed for a short time. The natives of that place today consider the place where he stayed as a Holy Shrine and claim that they possess some books written by him in Arabic which are translated into Persian and Turkish. They also claim that they have a cloak and sandals of the celebrated Hujjat.

His works:-. "Except with the spiritual help of the descendants of the Prophet (Tayid-i-al-Rasul). I would have. neither had any book to my credit. nor anything t o teach others. (From Diwan of Nasir Khusraw).

Many Persians are poets by nature but the poems of Nasir Khusraw are moral, Philosophical and religious. Nasir Khusraw has written numerous works of the hightest values and interest both in verse and Prose. Most of the works of this great author have been the objects of very careful study by many eminent Western scholars like Bland, Dorn, Ethe, Fagnan. Nolde'ke, Pertsch, Riev, Schefer and many others. His religious and philosophical views are abundantly illustrated in his verses.

His great works include. the most important great Philosophical 'Diwan' which was composed in the miserable years of his exile. The artistic value of his poems is not especially high, but the philosophical matter which still awaits its investigator is of very great importance for the history of Persian Literature. It is a complete encyclopaedia of lsmaili teaching but of-course unsystematic one. From linguistic stand point also the work is of extra ordinary interest. A good edition of Persian text appeared in Teheran in 1928 C.E. in which two not very long didactic poems were appended to.

Rushanai-nama or the book of felicity which sharply criticises the aristocracy of the Kingdom and praises the. peasants is "The nourisher of every living I creature". -

The best known of Nasir's Prose works is The SafarNama, a description of his pilgrimage to Mecca, which is an exceedingly valuable source of the most varied information. As he appears in his best work Safar Nama, he was by his out look a country squire, always with keen eyes on matters which belonged to the usual circle of interest of his native land. He pays special attention to land, irrigation facilities, bazars (markets) trade and industry. But unfortunately this work has come down to us only in a very mutilated form and has probably been edited by a Sunni hand. The other works of Nasir are mainly Ismaili text books.

Among them first place should be given to Zad-al Musafrin. It is an encyclopaedia of a special character which deals with the most varied questions of a metaphysical and cosmographical nature. The doctrine of Tawil or allegorical interpretation is clearly explained by him such as Paradise, hell, the Resurrection, the torment of tombs, the rising of sun from the west are all allegorically explained in his work.

No less important is the Wadjh-i-Din an introduction to lsmailism, which gradually initiates the reader in lsmaili belief by means of quotations form the Holy Ouran, clearly put together. A number of similar pamphlets like Umm-al-Kitab, which were quite recently fairly widely disseminated among lsmailis of the Pamirs are sometimes credited to our author Sayyidna Nasir Khusraw. He also wrote more than a dozen treatises expounding the doctrines of the lsmailis, among them the Jami al-Hikmatain in which he attempted a harmony between theology and philosophy. His other works are: Khwanal lkhwan., Shish-Fasi, Gushaish wa-Rihaish, Bustanul-uqul, Daliui-Mutahhareen etc. Nasir's works were numerous but many have not survived in perfect form. Modern lsmaili researcher Nasir Hunzai, has done vast studies of his works and has also translated most of them into Urdu, says that although a considerable portions of Nasir's work is now available in good editions, one cannot yet assert that sufficient light has been thrown upon his striking personality. It would be particularly valuable if his philosophical system could be studied as it is of far-reaching importance for the history of thought in Persia and history of lsmailis. Although Hakim Nasir Khusraw was a great philosopher and poet, his main subject remained religion. He used his poetry and philosophy for the propagation of lsmaili dawat. He always took pride in spiritual elevation by Taid-i-lmam (the spiritual help of Imam). To him philosophy was nothing in comparison to the spiritual elevation. He says: Karkunan-j-khudai ra chubibeeni, Dil nadihi bazbah flasafah marhooh, Rui chu soui kouda-odin haq aari, Zoor-i-tan-o-noor-i-dilat gardad afzoon.

(Translation): "When you will behold the personals of God then you will never be pawned by philosophy. When you will proceed towards God and follow the right path your phybical power and spiritual enlightenment will increase."

The death of Nasir Khusraw.-There is a controversy about the death of Hakim Nasir Khusraw. Some say that he died at the age of 140, but the modern researchers in history are of the opinion that he died between the age of 87 and 100. The great savant Taqi Zadah, in his introduction to the Safarnama holds in support to Haji Khalifa who has mentioned in his book Taqeen-ut-Tawareekh that the great Hakim's death occured in the year 481 A.H. Hakim Nasir Khusraw died at Yamgan and was buried there. His mausoleum is looked upon as a holy shrine by the natives of Badakhshan.

Nasir Khusraw was that man of wisdom whose memory would never fade out with time but would live for centuries.


1. Nasir-e-Khusraw and lsmailism by W. lvanow.

2. Safarnamah by Nasir Khusraw.

3. A Literary History of Persia. by E.G. Browne.

4. Noor-um-Mubin by A.J. Chunara.

5. History of lsmailis by Picklay.

6. Ismaili literature by W. lvanow

7. Art. Sayyidna Nasir Khusraw by Fakquir Mohd.

8 Encyclopaedia of Islam

9. Encyclopaedia Britannica.

10 Guy "Le strange, Nesir Khusraw diary of a journey through syria and Palestine. London 1888.

Our Literary Section

14.0 Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna)

The most famous exponent of the idea of universalism and the most famous figure in lsmaili learning, was lbn Sina.- Within the brief span of fifty-eight years he was able to produce an astounding number of works; on mathematics, music, geology and on problems of light, gravity, heat, motion, philosophy, medicine, and on different subjects; an achievement that can only be accounted for by his unequalled ability of mind and a power of assimilation of which history offers few such striking examples.

Abu 'Ali al-Husain lbn 'Abd-Aiiah lbn Hasan Ibn 'Ali lbn Sina, (which was Europeanised into Avicenna) was born in August 980 C.E. (Safar 370 A. H.) in a large village near Bukhara called Kharmaithan (the hand of the Sun). His father was from Balkh, a city known to the Greeks as Becha. From Balkh the father of Avicenna moved to Bukhara. At this time it was the capital of Samanid ruler, Nuh the second son of Mausin, who had ascended the throne in 977 C.E./366 A. H. He was appointed as a local governor in Kharmaithari, and must, therefore, have been a man of some standing. There he married a lady named Seterah, and this great soul (Ibn Sina) was the result of this union.

Some years later, the family returned to Bukhara and here Avicenna's ear!y formative age begins. When he was only ten years old, he had read the Qu'ran, and mastered most of the other subjects connected with literature. The religious atmosphere of his home was not orthodox - an important point that he himself tended to conceal, but which helps to explain some of the difficulties of his life. 'My father,' he writes in his autobiography was one of those who had responded to the invitation of the Egyptians (the Fatimids) and was counted among the Ismailis.

At about this time, throughout Iran, particularly in the vicinity of the capital and the Eastern regions of the country, lsmaili propaganda and proselytism were at their height and a considerable number of people, including many men of high scholarship and learning and officials, were being attracted towards lsmaili belief and doctrines. Abdullah - father of Avicenna, and his brother Ali, both had accepted this belief, and their residence had become the rendezvous of lsmaili Missionaries.

He used to listen to his father and brother discussing the soul and the intellect. His father professed lsmailism and he himself did not depart from his father's religion.

The principles of lsmaili Proselytism were based on culture, liberal education and philosophy. Hence lbn Sina from his youth became acquainted with the Greek science, mathematics. philosophy, medicine etc. His mind was accordingly developing on this kind of thought. and it may be said that constantly hearing from his father and brother about the Greek philosophy, the interest in the subject was fully awakened in his mind. He was also sent to a cerain grocer who was in the habit of using that form of calculation to learn Indian arithmetic, and at the same time he was studying Muslim Jurisprudence.

At about this time, Abu Abduliah an -Natili, the Pupil of Abul Faraj lbn at-Tayib, who ranked amongst the leading philosophers of the world visited Bokhara. Abdullah. fully aware of his son's natural ability and thirst for knowledge, invited an-Natili to be his guest at his house, so that he may teach the fundamentals of philosophy to his son. An-Natili commenced his teachings, beginning with the lsa Gooji of Farfuryous, and soon realised that his pupil was highly gifted, and, the course of discussions, he was showing a new trend of thought of his own in philosophy, unknown hitherto.

At the end of these studies, the teaching of Euclid and al-Magest was taken in hand. In this field also, the pupil was proving ahead of the teacher, who was finding increasingly difficult to answer his questions and solve his problems for him. In due course, this period of study also terminated, and an-Natili went away to Gorganj (Khawrazm) the capital of Khawrazmshahsa, and Abu Ali by himself then commenced natural sciences and reading all available literature thereon. and thus gaining in due course a deep insight into various categories of knowledge and learning. Thereafter. he took to the study of medicine, and in this science he acquired such fame and efficiency as a practising physician that other eminent physicians became his pupils and benefited by his deep knowledge and teachings. Now being sixteen years old, he decided to revise seriously all the scientific and philosophical knowledge he had so far acquired and make a still deeper study of these subjects along with regulated and organised lines. For some eighteen months or so, he continued his study of philosophy and sciences still further, and acquired the highest degree of proficiency in them. As stated by himself, whatever knowledge he had gained by this time, was all he knew iill the end of his life and nothing more was learnt by him beyond that.

Ibn Sina now took to studying Aristotle's work"Ma-baad-ut-Tabiah - but as the translations from Greek were not good, he could not properly grasp the contents of this work. Actually he went through it no less than 40 times, and practically committed it all to memory, but all the same his difficulties could not be solved on account of the imperfect translations, and he consequently became disappointed. Accidentally, one day in the booksellers' locality in Bokhara, he came across a book by Abu Nasr Farabi - "Aghraz Mabaad-ut-tabiah"-wherein the author had clearly expressed the theories and views of Aristotle, which lbn Sina had some difficulty in understanding from the Greek version. This work proved a boon to him, and all his problems were duly solved. He was so delighted with this happy turn of events that he distributed large arnounts of money to the poor and the needy in thankfulness for what he had gained.

When he was about 17 1/2 years old and his contemporaries were playing in the streets, he was rapidly making an unenviable reputation in the intellectual sphere of Bokhara as a philosopher and a physician, busily engaged in the treatment of the sick' and in teaching his colleagues in the medical profession.

(ii) At the Court:

It so happened at the King's Court that the Samanid King, Nooh 1bn Mansoor (366-387 A.H.) or Mansoor lbn Nooh (387-389 A.H.) became seriously ill and the court Physicians could not cure him. In consequence, lbn Sina was summoned to treat the royal patient, and become associated with the other physicians in their task. As a result of his advice and line of treatment indicated by him, the King recovered from his illness and lbn Sina was accorded all due honour and prestige at the Court. He had now access to the invaluable library of the Samanid King, and his lime was fully occupied in seeing and studying the rare and precious books on various subjects stoed therein. His age was now nearing 18 years.

(iii) At the Court:

About 391-392 A.H.. Abdullah, the father of lbn Sina passed away, and he had for a time served the then existing government of Bokhara. The disturbances and upheavals that had become prevalent by then, compelled lbn Sina to leave Bokhara. As during the reign of the Kings of Khawrazm, Ali lbn Mamoon lbn Mohammad and his successor, . Mamoon ibn Mamoon, and during the able ministership of Abul Hasan Ahmad lbn Mohammad-us-Sahli, the city of Gorganj was noted for the high calibre of its scholars and intellectuals, lbn Sina went there, and was accorded all due honour and deference by the King of Khawrazm. It was in this place that he met and cultivated the friendship of scholars and learned people like Abu Raihan al-Biruni and Abu Sahl Masihi.

(iv) From Goraganj to Gorgan

At this time, the star of Sultan Mahmood was glittering in Ghazna, and his conquests were spreading; and, as he wanted his Court to be the largest and the best Court he was sparing no pains in attracting poets, scholars, philosophers and men of science towards it. When Sultan Mahmood came to know of the assembly of learned men in Gorganj like lbn Sina, al Biruni. Abul Khair-i-Khammar, Abu Sahl-Masihi and Abu-Nasr-i-Arraq. he wrote a letter to the Ruler of Khawrazm, and demanded that these men may be sent to Ghazna. The Ruler of Khawrazm, who knew this beforehand, summoned these man to his court, and discussed the matter with them. Abu Nasr Arraq, Abul Khair-i-Khammar and Abu Raihan expressed their willingness to go to Ghazna, but 1bn Sina and Abu Sahl Masihi did not agree to this proposal, and left Gorganj for Gorgan, which was in the principality of Qabus ibn Washmagir. En route, several untoward incidents occurred and they lost their way; Abu Sahi Masihi dying of thirst. Abu Ali Sina, however, after numerous hardships succeeded in reaching Gorgan.

Apparently, in or about the year 402 A.H., i.e. shortly after the arrest and assassination of Qoboos lbn Washmgir, lbn Sina arrived at Gorgan, but the purpose of his undertaking this long and trying journey, which was to meet Shams-ul-Maali Qaboos was, of course. not served. In all probability, he stayed in igorgan for about 2 years. In Gorgan, there was a gentleman. Abu Mohammad Shirazi, who was inclined towards philosophy, and, on that account he purchased a house for lbn Sina in the neighbourhood of his own residence, and looked after his comfort and welfare. In Gorgan, 1bn Sina became busily engaged in the treatment of the sick teaching and composing books. and it was at this place that his pupil and sincere friend, Abu Ubaid Jawz-Jani attached himself to him. Manicheber ibn Qaboos was gradually being attracted towards the Ghaznavid King and, moreover, was not showing any particular regard towards men of learning. lbn Sina therefore, left Gorgan and made for Ray.

(v) In Ray and Hamadan:

At Ray, he was presented to the D'ailamite ruler Majdui-Dawlah Abu Talib Rustom ibn Fakhr-tidDawlah Dilmin (387-420 A.H.) and his mother, Sayyidah Shirin, daughter of Sipahbad, Sharwin. They welcomed him as a physician, and Majdul Dawlah, who was ill at the time, recovered from sickness as a result of his treatment. lbn Sina's stay in Ray was brief, and shortly afterwards he went to Hamadan via Oazwin, where he first met one of the Dailamite nobles named Kadbanuyah. Later, he came in close contact with the Dailamite ruler Shams-udDawlah Abu Tahir Shah Khusraw, brother of Majdul Dawlah and son of Fakhr-ud-Dawlah, who died in 412 A.H.

Ibn Sina's arrival in Hamadan, as recorded was towards the end of the year 405 A.H.. and his stay in that city extended over a long period of 9 years. lbn Sina's friendship with Shams-ud-Dawiah began at a time when the latter fell ill with colic, and lbn Sina treated him successfully, and thereafter became one of the courtiers of the King.

(vi) Ministership:

Majdul-Dawlah took lbn Sina with him on his journey to Kermanshah during the expedition against Annaz. After Majdul-Dawiah's return to Hamadan. following his defeat at the hands of Annaz, the ruler of Kermanshah, he offered his Ministership to lbn Sina, and since then the designations of Shaikh-urRais, ad-Dastoor and al-Wazir have been added to the titles of lbn Sina.

Abu Obayd, the Shaikh's pupil, in his treatise on the life of his teacher, has stated that, during his, Ministership he came in conflict with the soldiers (apparently the cause for this agitation being nonpayment of their salaries). The troops surrounded fbn Sina's house, looted his belongings, imprisoned him, and demanded his execution from the ruler, Shamsud-Daw]ah, however, did not comply with this demand. but merely removed him from the Ministership. The Shaikh remained hidden in the house of Abi Seed Dokhduk for 40 days, when Shams-ud-Dawiah had another attack of colic, and he was compelled to invite lbn Sina to treat him, apologising to him for the action against him. lbn Sina again treated him successfully, and was restored to the office of Ministership.

Things went on like this for some time until Shamsud-Dawiah, while on a campaign against Amir of Tarom, had a recurrence of colic which rendered him absolutely incapacitated. His subjects offered homage to his son instead. and he invited the Shaikh to take over the Ministership. lbn Sin'a declined to accept it, and hid himself in the house of Abu Ghalib Attar. News of confidential correspondence of lbn Sina with Ala-ud-Dawiah reached the ears of the Ruler through Taj-ui-Mulk, and he ordered the Shaikh's imprisonment in the fort' of Fardojan. This imprisonment of lbn Sina lasted for 4 months until Ala-udDawlah moved towards Hamadan and conquered it. On his return, Taj-ul Mulk and Shams-ud-Dawlah's son returned to Hamadan, released the Shaikh from the prison and encouraged him with favourable promises.

(vii) At lsfahan:

Shaikh-ur-Rais was getting tired of staying at Hamadan, and was awaiting the first opportunity to move to lsfahan, which presented itself in due course. Abu Sina, accompanied by Abu Obayd Jawz-jani, his brother and 2 servants, left Hamadan for lsfahan. When the Shaikh reached the village of Tairan. near lsfahan, he was cordially received by his friends, and the courtiers of Amir Ala-ud-Dawlah, by whom he and his party were conducted with due ceremony, mounted on special horses, to Isfahan. He was received in Court by Ala-ud-Dawiah with all deference. The Amir ordered that on Friday nights special meetings should be convened for the Shaikh for holding discussions on various subjects, and scholars holding different views be asked to attend those meetings. At ]sfahan. the Shaikh carried on the work of composing books and teaching his pupils, and most of the, important books were completed during his stay at Isfahan.

He also completed his great work "Shifa", and also concluded his works on Ethics and ai-Magest, while prior to that he had published the extracts of works on Geometry, Arithmetic and Music, and had worked out new problems in the books on Mathematics wherever he considered necessary. He added ten different figures to the ai-Magest. and worked out additional problems hitherto unknown in Astronomy. He criticised the Euclid. made new additions to Arithmetic, and worked out such problems in Music as were unknown to the past, masters. He also completed two books on Zoology and Botany in the year when Alaud-Dawlah was going to Shapur Khwast. During the same journey he completed his "Kitabun-Najat". Apart from that at lsfahan he wrote his Danish-Nama-iAlai, and Kitabut-insaf. and books on Literature and Lexicography. During one of Ala-ud-Dawlah's journeys to Hamadan. the Shaikh was ordered to improve the existing calendar, and to arrange for a new observatory. The Shaikh appointed Abu Ubaid to complete that work. The latter laboured for eight years, made necessary instruments, and investigated many problems relating to Astronomy; but frequent travelling and disturbances prevented him from establishing an observatory.

The Ministership of the Shaikh at the Court of Ala-ud-Dawlah is not certain, but there can be no doubt that throughout his stay at Isfahan he was a constant companion of the King at home or while travelling, even in campaigns, he was always with him. In one of these travels. it is recorded that the Shaikh's books and belongings were plundered.

(viii) Death of Shaikh-ui-Rais:

Repeated travels with Ala-ud-Dawiah, overwhelming work and exacting political and intellectual preoccupations undermined his health, and in one of his journeys to Hamadan in the year 425 A.H.. when Alaud-Dawiah was at war with Tash Farrash at Karaj, he fell a victim to colic, the same disease in which he was a specialist, and as he feared that in case of Alaud-Dawiah's defeat, he would not be able to move, he made special efforts towards his own treatment and over did it, with the result that complications of intestinal ulcer ensued. Notwithstanding all this, he had ,lo alternative but to join Ala-ud-Dawiah in his flight towards lzaj where he also developed epilepsy which generally crops up along with colic. In this condition, prior to his going to lsfahan and afterhis return to that city, he continued his own treatment, as a result of which he felt somewhat better. He. however, would not observe restrictions in diet fully, which his condition required, and so he could not get over the disease completely, and he was obliged to accompany Ala-ud-Dawiah to Hamadan. En route he had a relapse of the disease, and his condition become serious, so much so that, on arrival at Hamadan. he became bedridden and totally incapacitated, and realised that he could not possibly proceed further with his treatment.

It was at this juncture that he remarked that the sage. who was controlling the functions of his body had become helpless, and treatment was therefore, of no avail. Having realised that death was approaching. he took a bath, offered repentence. liberated his servants, gave away his belongings in charity, and began reciting the Holy Ouran and praying until the end came. It is most probable that he was 58 years of age at the time of his death which took place in 428 A.H. The Shaikh was buried at Hamadan. An imposing mausoleum has been constructed over his grave by the government and the society of National Monurnents, and a large library has also been built there.

(ix) Personal Features and Habits of lbn Sina:

He had a commanding personality, good physique, handsome features and charming manners, and his figure would invariably attract attention anywhere. Whenever he spoke at gatherings of high officials, he was always listened to with respect. and none would dare to interrupt him during his speech. His physical fitness was such that constant preoccupation with literary, scientific and teaching work never tired him.

There are many strange stories about his concentration and determination in whatever subject he would be engaged. He himself has written that he had read Aristotle's book Ma-Baad-ut-Tabiah 40 times. and his pupil writes that the Shaikh wrote his book "A]-Mokhiasar-ul-Asghar" in Jurjan, and when a copy reached Shiraz, some scholars studied it, and did not believe in some of his statements therein. They sent their commentations to the Shaikh and asked for his further explanations and elucidations. Their pamphlet happened to reach the shaikh at sunset. He immediately asked Abu Ubaid for some paper, which he divided into 5 parts, and each part again into 10 pages. Between the night prayers and dawn. he wrote whole book in minute hand so that by the dawn every part was ready. He then sent it back to Shiraz by the same messenger.

The Shaikh kept awake late hours at night reading books, even so during the period of his imprisonment and travels. By this means only he devoted his attention to his literary and scientific pursuits, as in day time attendance in court and state affairs took all his time. About his rare intellect, knowledge and wisdom extraordinary details have come down to us. The fact that at the age of 18 he had mastered so many diverse subjects and sciences can only be attributed to his exceptional gift of intellect. Notwithstanding his remarkable intellectual capacity for understanding he often went through the text repeatedly to have a better knowledge, as he himself says in his book "Mantiq-i-Mashriqi' that at times he ponders over the new subject 200 times before he would give the final shape to it.

Abu Ali, the Muslim Successor of Aristotle, had like him always endeavoured to become proficient in various subjects and sciences. He wrote several books on medicine, and just as in his student life, he took up the studies of Jurisprudence, Literature, Holy Ouran, during the period of composing books he particularly wrote books, on Tafseer, mysticism, Persian and Arabic poetry, so much, so that he almost wrote on every subject of his time.

He professed the Shia lsmaili i faith. On account of his inclinations towards this faith he had declined to go to Sultan Mahmood's Court. ln fact, be had to travel from place to place because of religious and philosophical ideas.


1 . Balhaqi (Tatimmat........ pg. 40)

2. Jan Rypka: History of Iranian Lit. edited: Kari Jahn 1 968 pg. 179.

3. lbn al-Qifti: Tarikh al-Hukama's: ed. ripper. 1903.

4. I.A. Usaibi'a: 'Uyun al-Anba' fi Tabaqat al-Atibba: ed. Muller, 2 vols. 1884.

5. Ibn. Khallikan: Wafayat al-A'yan: English trans. de Siane, 18421871.

6. Khondamir: Habib al-Siyar: 4 vols. Tehran, 1954.

7. Dastur al-Wuzara': cd. Nefisi. Tehran. 1317 A.H.

8. Avicenna: Kilab al-Shifa: Bodieian. Oxford. Pocock. No. 109-124. Copied in 1206 A.D. Incomplete.

9. Kitab al-Shifa: Bibliothequer Nationale. Paris, Fonds arabes. No. 6829.

10. Avicina on theology. ed. A.

11. Avicina by Afnan.

12. Various articles of encyclopaedia of Islam.

Dr. Faridani, Tehran, (Iran)

15.0 Abdul Malik Bin Attash

"Abdul- I Malik-bin Attash was a refined literary personality, had a beautiful handwriting, a quick wit and a gentle disposition but was absorbed in his love for Ismailism" (1).

In the above quoted words lbn al-Athir pays his tributes to Abdul Malik bin Attash, who was a great Da'i of Ismaili Dawa in lsfahan.

As for the date of his birth and childhood we do not know much, except that he was in charge of Ismaili Da'wat in Fars specially in lsfahan in the reign of lmam Mustansir billah (427/1036 to 487/1094). He was a very learned man. lmam of the time had put many Da'is for example Da'i Abu Najam Siraj and Abu Mumin under him. who were doing the Da'wat in the various provinces of Iran. Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah had also embraced Ismailism by the endeavours of these Da'is. Abdul Malik bin Attash was a very perceptive man, so when Sayyidna Hasan met him, he at once knew, that Hasan was a man of qualities and possess a good knowledge of sciences. He was impressed with his piety, devotion and sincerity and became aware of his abilities, intelligence and patriotism for the Ismaili Madhhab. So he appointed him as his agent and gave him a post in the Da'wa after training him in its techniques. Hasan worked on this post as his assistant for two years in lsfahan and then Abdul Malik asked him to go to Egypt and establish contact with the chief da'i there, so that he may learn the divine principles and the doctrines of the Da'wa from its original and pure source because Egypt at that time was the Chief Centre for the Da'is.

The afore-mentioned quotation from lbn al-Athir and the activities of the Ismaili Da'i under Abdul Malik bin Attash lead us to think that he was a great scholar and learned man. So from this we can infer that he might have written some books about his activities for spreading Ismaili Da'wa and on the Da'wa itself. But unfortunately these books have not reached us. Though at present we do not have any of his literary work in our hands, but there is no doubt in his scholarship. And for this he was respected not only by the Ismailis but also by the whole of the Muslim world. As the writer of the Cambridge History of Iran gives us this information, in these words:

"Abdul Malik-i-Attash was respected for his scholarship even in Sunni circles and seems to have been a focus of widespread renewed activity in the Saijuq dominions(2).

Ibn-Attash was a great diplomate and an expert in the tactics of Da'wa and in winning over the hearts of people to his faith. Moreover, he was a brave, courageous and a great military leader. (3) In spite of the strong power of the Saljuqi Sultans, he captured many important places in Adharbayjan and Syria in the days of H. lmam Mustansir billah. Later on in the early years of the sixth century his Da'is took possessions of a number of castles in Syria, among them were al-Qadmus and Banyas and in Persia Shirkuh, Qain and others.

Saljuqi Sultans were always trying to take these fortresses back from the Ismailis. Even Malik Shah who died in 485/1092. had sent his armies many times against them, but all in vain. After his death, a civil war started amongst his sons, so Abdul Malik got a good chance and in 488 A.H. he seized the castle of al-Firdous (in Quhistan) during the reign of Berkyaruq (d. 1105), where he founded a school for the Ismailis in which more than 30,000 people were trained. This castle was built by one of the Saijuq Sultans, that is why it was also given the name of Shahdur or Shahdiz, which means the fortress of the king and this fortress remained in the possession of Dai Abdul Malik for nearly 12 years i.e. from 488 to 500 A.H.

When Sultan Muhammad bin Malik Shah came to power after Berkyaruq, he started fighting with the Ismailis by attacking the fortress of Shahdur in 500/1107 C.E. He himself was the commander of that large army. At that time Ismailis were only 80, but they fought bravely. lbn-Attash tried to conclude a truce with the Saljuqi Sultan and settle all the problems peacefully, but he did not succeed and Saljuqi Sultan continued the fighting. After a magnificent defence lbn-Attash was overpowered by the armies of the Sultan and taken prisoner. He was paraded in Isfahan and then skinned alive till he died. His son was killed and his wife threw herself from the fortress and died.

Thus the death 'of Abdul-Malik-bin-Attash took place in 500 A.H./1107 C.E. Hasan bin Sabbah who was in charge of the entire Da'wat then onwards made Alamut the headquarters of the Ismaili community.

1. Ibn-Athir vol. 10 cf. Jawad al-Mascati "Hassan bin Sabbah" pg. 68

2. Cambridge history of Iran vol. 5 ghap. 5 'Ismaili state' by M.G.S. Hodgson pg. 428.

3. "Jannal al-Amal, translated by Dr. N. A. Mirza from Arabic

Shaykh Mohd. Iqbal. Karachi (Pakistan)

16.0 Da'i Ali lbn Muhammad al-Sulayhi (b. ca 410-1020 d. 459-1067)

Yemen, like Syria, had come in contact with lsmaili da'wa at a very early point in Islamic history. Already in the time of the Prophet, Hazrat Ali Murtazah was sent on mission work there for not less than three times. The Yemenite Muslims were, therefore, long aware of the lmam of Ahle-Bait, and when in the second half of the 3rd/9th Century the Ismaili da'i Abu ai-Qasim ibn Hawshab, Mansur al-Yemen, arrived there, he found no difficulty in bringing many of them in the fold of Ismaili da'wa. By the last quarter of the same century Yemen had not only become a strong Ismaili centre, but now under the able leadership of ibn Hawshab it was sending da'is to Egypt. Sind, and to the distant lands of North Africa (al-Maghrib). There were signs that even lmam ai-Mahdi was getting ready to appear in Yemen. But. to everybody's surprise, lmam changed his mind'. Yemen, as such. was not to be the Ismaili state then and not for another hundred years, until a great da'i was born in the person of 'Ali al-Sulayhi, who was to bring whole of it under the banner of lmam al-Mustansir biilah.

Da'i 'Ali al-Sulayhi, like ibn Hawshab, had become lsmaili after having thoroughly studied it. He was born in a learned Sunn family of Yemen, and his father was a qadi of the Shafi'i persuasion. Both father and son came in contact with an lsmaili -da'i called Sulaiman in 'Abd ai-Zawahi., 'Ali soon mastered the doctrine and teachings of the da'wa and accepted lsmailism. So much was the teacher impressed by his young pupils's progress and knowledge, that at the time of his death he appointed him as his successor in the da'wa of Yemen.

Da'i 'Ali had no misgivings about his faith and mission, and was determined to spread it to others. After his initial success in the year 439/1048, he wrote to Imam al-Mustansir in Cairo for the permission to make open proclamation of the Ismaili da'wa. Once granted the permission, he began to conquer the other parts of his native land, and before the end of the year 455/1063 had subjected whole of Yemen to his authority. "None of its plains or of its hills, of its lands or of its waters remained unsubdued. No parallel case can be found of so rapid a conquest, either in the days of ignorance of the days of Islam "

The Yemenite Ismaili da'wa, under the leadership of da'i a-Sulayhi became a very strong Ismaili centre and, for a while, appeared to be more stable than it's headquarter itself. Now in the midst of military and political crisis. This strength and stability of Yemenite da'wa were recognized by the Imam himself when he asked it to look after and bring order into, the Meccan administration. Indeed, at this time, Yemen of da'i 'Ali, was seen in the Ismaili world as the other home for the da'wa that was then being undermined by the autocrats in the very presence and capital of the Imam. -The confidence of the Imam in da'i 'Ali and his da'wa organization were demonstrated yet again, when the Imam decided to transfer a collection of Ismaili books and literature to the distant Yemen and far from the rebellious soldiery and bureaucrats of Cairo.

It is quite clear from the various letters of alMustansir, written at this time to his da'wa in Yemen, that his da'i 'Ali was not only aware of the unhappy state of Cairo but that he even desired to help correct the situation. However, before he got permission to go to Cairo, a new development in Mecca called for the immediate attention of the Yemenite da'i. In the year 459/1067 the ruler of Mecca broke his ties with the Fatimid lmam-caliph of Egypt and entered in relations with the 'Abbasid caliph of Baghdad. This behavior of Mecca was bound to disturb the d'ai who was in no mind to see any further loss of prestige to the da'wa, not at least in the area of his responsibility. Determined to march to Mecca in person, da'i 'Ali ai-; Sulayhi set forth at the head of two thousand horsemen of whom one hundred and sixty were members of his own house. On the way, while resting for the night, they were attacked suddenly by an old enemy tribe and beheaded.

Da'i 'Ali al-Sulayhi lived at the time when the Ismaili da'wa had reached peak of its religious and political glory. This climax of the da'wa was, to a great extent, contribution of. and shared by, the three contemporary giants of the Ismaili history, namely, the great 'Ali ibn Muhammad al-Sulayhi, the renowned ai-Mu'ayyad fi'd-Dins. and the redoubtable Hasan ibn al-Sabbah. The untimely end of the first and the absence of the second, had affected the very nerve center of the Ismaili community and da'wa. Now, Therefore, in 47111078, the third and the last of the living giant was summoned to Cairo and from there, sent toward Alamut in Persia, in search of a new home for the da'wa. Indeed this now search in the remote lands was made necessary largely because of the absence of da'i 'Ali al-Sulayhi and the subsequent loss of hope in the strength of Yemenite da'wa. Still, it was in Yemen and in the house of the da'i al-Sulayhi that the Musta'iian section of the Ismaili da'wa found refuge, just as the Nizari line of the Imams and da'wa had been secured in Hasan's Alamut, when both were made to quite Cairo.

1. This was so because one other da'i, called Ali ibn al-Fadl, who was assisting ibn Hawshab in the da'wa work, began to show signs of independence and rebellion. As such, Imam Mahdi rather looked towards North Africa where another assistant of ibn Hawshab, that is, da'i Abu Abd Allah was successfully winning ground.

2. Ibn Hawshab was a scholar of Twelver Shi'i allegiance, prior to his coming into Ismaili fold.

3. Umarah (d. 569/1174), Tarikh al-Yaman ed. And trans H.C. Kay, London, 1892, text 18, trans 24-25.

4. Ibid. Text 22, trans., 30-31.

5. Da'i al-Mu'ayyad achieved for the Imam what hitherto could not be taken with the whole military and navel might of the Ismailis. He was mainly responsible for the Fatimid victory in Baghdad in the year 451/ 1059.

Dr. Akbar H. Ladak. London, (England).

17.0 Pir Satgur Noor

From the beginning, Ismailism has depended on an organized programme of teaching for its strength. Not through armies, but through selected and well trained da'is it spread.

Pir Satgur Noor was the initial one to arrive in India and spread lsmaili belief. His name was Sayyid Noordin Noor Muhammad. However, he is known by the names of Satgur Noor, Sayyid Noordin, Pir Noor Satgur, Sayyid Saadat, etc. His natalitial account being unavailable, is omitted here, but it seems that he came to India in the period of Hazrat lmam Mustansirbillah, when Sidhraj Jaysingh was ruling over Gujrat province in India. He descended from the progeny of Hazrat lmam Ja'far as-Sadiq. There are differences of opinion about his initial arrival, but it is proved through historical facts that when he initially arrived at Gujrat there was a reign of Sidhraj Jaysingh.

'Khand Gujrat jano aan, mahe (n) Patan nagri utam jaan;

Tiya (n) raj Karey Jai sangh ho rai, tiya (n) pun pavetra dharamaj thay'.

'Do reckon it sure to be section Gujrat, City Patan best within;

King Jaysingh reigns where at, Deeds pious faithfully performed wherein'.

It is stated in 'Tawarikh-e-Pir' that Sayyid Noor Muhammad (Satgur Noor) famous Sayyid Saadat, resting at Navsari, arrived in the period of king Sidhraj Jaysingh at the renowned city, Patan, of Saurashtra and brought home to him the lofty understanding of holy faith. He possessed a very noble character and high spiritual power.

It is presumed that Pir Sadruddin was the first Pir to come to Indo-Pakistan to preach Ismailism. However, Pir Sadruddin was not the initial Pir to arrive in India. But hundreds of years before him Pir Noor Satgur came to India. At that time Rajput king Sidhraj Jaysingh was ruling over Gujrat and the period seems to be from 1093 to 1143 C.E. The Pir had given to his converts his name to be Sayyid Saadat and by showing the path of Satpanth had guided them to the real path.

He started the propagation very skilfully. At first he studied Hinduism - Sanatan Belief - and by critically scrutinising Ved, Geeta and Puran, extracting elements, he was able to preach to the Hindu population of the country through the elements extracted from their own sacred volumes.

It has been given to understand in the 'Tawarikhe-Pir' that when the king went to the temple for Darshan (Manifestation), the Pir was also with him. Upon seeing the Pir, all idols of the temple began to dance. Witnessing this, king Sidhraj accepted Ismaili faith in secret.

His Ginan (hymn) Satgur Noor na Putla' shows that when the Pir came to India to attract people towards Ismaili faith, i.e., Islamic concept, he had to perform some miracles, which are well-known.

It is said that during his tour of Gujrat when he arrived at Patan, a priest of a Hindu temple was absorbed in idol worship. The Pir entered into the temple, but the priest did not like a non-believer to enter the temple. Upon being asked the reason for the entry, with great affection the Pir replied that he had entered the temple .in order to derive good understanding from the idols the priest was worshipping devotedly day and night. That, idols should give guidance. That, in the past to enlighten souls divine incarnations had been helping salvation of human beings through their good counsel and guidance to the right path, and that idols should follow suit, so that one could reap the fruit of his concentration in worship. That, for that purpose the idols should be made to talk. So he ordered the idols to talk. Apropos the Pir's order certain idols began singing, dancing and playing music just as:

"Vaja vage pathar tana, taai mardang ati ghana; Ven vansani vaage bahu butand, tiya (n) deval ma (n) he bahu aanand ....

(Putla part 23-24)

"Stone music play, many drums, rhythm combined, pipe and flute sound high, happiness could temple find.

Seeing this miracle the priest ran to apprise the king and narrated before the ruler all that had happened. The king was surprised as to how such unimaginable events could take place. However, since the priest affirmed it to be true, the king arrived at the temple to confirm it with whom also were the courtiers and especially the great predominant priest Kanipa.

The Pir rested his hand on the king's head and said, "I have honour for your religious attachment." That, to witness such a devotedness he had come to that city and it was his specific desire that he should show the king the path of real belief. King Sidhraj prostrated before the Pir, but the monk Kanipa got angry at this and challenged the Pir to deliberations. The Pir accepted the challenge with a smile and advised an idol to fetch water from the adjoining lake. Upon getting the advice the idol carried a pitcher and fetched water in the pitcher, emptying the whole take. This caused aquatic creatures to die for want of water in the lake and it created a great row in the public believing in safety of animals, making the monk Kanipa overawed.

The Pir then asked the monk Kanipa to advise the idol to run to the lake and empty the pitcher in it. The monk upon being helpless to respond, the Pir himself asked the idol to do so and the empty lake was again over-flowing with water. Having met with the defeat the monk made effort to play a new trick and he sent his wand high up with his latent power and asked the Pir to bring it down on earth with his vigour. The Pir took out a sandal from his foot and upon ordering it to bring down the wand to earth, the sandal went with lightning force and beat it down to earth, thereby defeating the latent power of the monk. The spectators remained spellbound at the scene. The Pir performed many such miracles.

Upon witnessing the miracles of Pir Noordin the king and the queen embraced the real faith at the Pir's hands and the witnessing civilians, monks and priests caste away their holy thread (Janoi) and came into the fold of real faith. It was the very beginning that the Pir converted people in India into Ismaili concept and they began to be known as 'Gupti momins' secret faithfuls.

From there for seeking holy manifestation of Hazrat Imam, the Pir travelled on foot to Egypt via Iraq, and showed the path of real faith to people of many places coming across. After securing holy blessings of Hazrat Imam Mustansirbillah the Pir returned to India and continued the propaganda.

At "Dharanagari" in the district of Navsari, king Surchand was reigning. He had a charming daughter named Palande, who had taken a vow for finding a desired husband.

Here also the Pir Performed a miracle. When he was in a jungle, he began to recite religious Ginans. All the beasts and birds gathered together there and were attentively listening to the divine quotations.

On the other side Mono, hunter, went hunting in the jungle but could not find his prey. Ultimately he arrived at the very side of the jungle. When the Pir saw him he cut off a seer of flesh from the deer's thigh, and gave it to the hunter. With the touch of the Pir's hands the affected thigh of the deer became as it was. The hunter was astonished and narrated the story to the princess, Palande. As a result, the princess thought Pir Noordin to be the desired husband and married him instantaneously. The king gave a rich dowry and the Pir showed them the path of real faith.

"Bharat Khand ne jampudip ma navasri gaam, Dariyane tire uttam tham;

Te nagar navsari uttam aay, tiya raj kari surchand rai;

Te surchand rai pun pavetra dharam, Satgur naame chhute karam;

Te ghar kanya avtari ho arai, harkh parivar pota tane aay;

Te kanya sundri rup apaar, aad sati savantri nar;

Tiya (n) jan machi chhe anataj ghani, tiya (n) Noor Satgur thaya chhe Palande dhani;

(Putla: 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 190).

Sub-continent India and Jampudip, Navsari territory within it;

Best abode at a shore of the sea; that city Navsari certainly best, There, Surchand Rai in a reign;

That Surchand Rai, pious holy, religious, Found salvation through Satgur;

Born to that clan a daughter, bringing happiness to self family;

That daughter a beautiful model, by origin righteous Savantri.

Their nuptial procession vastly formed. There Noor Satgur posed Palande consort;

It is accounted in the 'Tawarikh-e-Navsari': "Pir Sayyid Saadat is the Chief Pir among all the Pairs of lndo-Pak subcontinent...... His tomb at Navsari is as old as of 800 years. Here not only Muslims but even Hindus pay homage and hold it in reverence and say that this Pir was an Arab saint". ,

Upon finding magnanimity of the Pir, two disciple's Chot and Chanch became greedy and thought of a deceitful plot. The Pir used to set apart from the body his soul in prayer for a considerable time. Therefore, both the disciples played a trick and induced Palande to find out how to be certain about Pir's existence if body did not recover from his breath withholding for a long duration. The Pir explained to lady Palande that while he was in that state if a fly happened to sit on his body then to take it for granted that he would not be existing. The lady told this to Chanch and he seized the opportunity of dropping sugar syrup on the Pir's body. By this flies began to sit on the body of the Pir and Chanch hurriedly brought the lady there for witness and announced death of the Pir. In this way the body of the Pir was buried, through conceit of Chanch, in 487 A.H./1095 C.E. at Navsari, Few Ginans are attributed to the saint which are commonly known as short Putla and Satgur Noor na Putla.


1. 1. Tawarikh-e-Pir. Pirzada.

2. Pteaching of Islam. J. Arnold.

3. Shi'a of india. N.J. Hollister.

4. Satgur Noor na Putla. (Putla)

5. Noorm-Mubin- Chunara.

6. Collection of Hasan Kabirdin.

7. Guide to ismaili Literature. Dr. W. lvenow.

8. Tawarikh-e-Gujrat (Urdu).

9. Aab-e-Kausar. (Urdu)

10. History of the Ismailis. A.S. Picklay.

Our Literary Section


18.0 Sayyidna Hasan Bin Sabbah

In his words Mowlana Abdur Razak Kanpuri on behalf of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah says: "Khawaja Nizamul Mulk and Hakim Umar Khayyam are those sky shining stars who came to be known as radiants of an empire. In comparison to them, after some frustrations, Hasan bin Sabbah achieved, that success which was only the result of his virtues and skill, extraordinary wisdom and God given intelligence."

Birth: There is a difference of opinion with the historian about the correct date of birth of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah. Some historians presume that he was born in 432 A.H., while others surmise that it was 445 A.H. Dr. W. Ivanow says that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah was born after 440 A.H. (1). On the other hand, Dr. Bernard Lewis says that Sayyidna Hasan was born approximately by in the middle of 1100 C.E. i.e. 442 or 443 A.H. (2). But if we take into consideration the date of death of Hasan bin Sabbah namely 517 A.H./l 1 24 C.E. for which all historians are unanimous (3), when he was 90 years of age, then his year of birth could be ascertained to be in 428 A.H./1034 C.E. (4).

Ancestry: We are unable to find any information regarding his childhood or ancestry, but some history books describing his ancestry say that Hasan bin Aly bin Mohammed bin Ja'far bin Husayn bin Sabbah al-Hamari was connected with the dynasty of the king of Yaman. However, when people began to mix up Hasan bin Sabbah's ancestry with that of lmam, he himself is reported to have said: "Instead of becoming an unlawful descendant of Imam I would prefer to be his devoted servant." (5)

Studies: Sayyidna Hasan was born in an lthna 'Ashari family' of Ray. His father was a learned leading personality of lthna 'Ashari faith. His father took keen interest in the education of Sayyidna Hasan and from the age of 7 to 17 he prosecuted his study at home (6). With vigorous effort and resistance he acquired perfect knowledge of the then prevailing sciences of mathematics, philosophy and languages. lbn Athir says Hasan was an intelligent man who had perfect command over palmistry and mathematics (in wider sense) (7).

Stories: Enemies of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah have concocted unbelievable stories and sayings which go to show that there was nothing else behind it, save the malign intention of defaming Hasan, behind it. One of the famous and popular story is that Hasan acquired knowledge from Imam Maufique Annishapuri and that Nizamul Mulk and Umar Khayyam were his colleagues. And it is also said that during their collegiate they arrived at a joint decision that after acquiring the knowledge if they took part in politics, they would cooperate with each other and if any of them attained a prosperous fortune, he would have to assist his companions. This is stated upon this unfounded basis that when Nizamul Mulk acquired the post of 'Wizarat' i.e., he became Minister in Saljuque reign, Umar Khayyam approached him and became successful in getting sanctioned a good amount of finance toward his pension, which is wrong. (8) Moreover that, Sayyidna Hasan also approached Nizamul Mulk and reminded him of the promise. It is said that Nizamul Mulk offered him to rule over an Islamic province but Sayyidna Hasan refused to accept it and desired a post in the king's court, for he was covetous for the position of 'Wizarat'. Nizamul Mulk tried for this also and got him fixed.

If we review it from the view of chronology we would find that Nizamul Mulk was born in 408 A.H. (9), while the date of birth of Sayyidna Hassan is arriving to be either in 427 A.H. or the thereafter. This shows that Nizamul Mulk was almost 20 or more years older than he was. It is impossible that with the difference of such a gap of years in age Sayyidna Hasan and Nizamul Mulk could have been colleagues at school. Over and above this, the prescribed period of education of Nizamul Mulk is the 440 A.H. and the learning center of Imam Maufique had already ended in 440 A.H. itself. (10). As mentioned heretofore that the date of birth of Sayyidna Hasan was 427 A.H. and that for 17 years, i.e., until 445 A.H., he was acquiring education at home, it makes it quite obvious that before Sayyidna Hasan reached Nishapur lmam Maufique had expired and his learning center was closed and hence the question of collegiate of Nizamul Mulk and Sayyidna Hasan could not arise at all.

History has preserved the names of the teachers of Nizamul Mulk and also about his education, but the mention of lmam Maufique as his teacher is made no where (11 ). Then how is it possible that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah remained a colleague of Nizamul Mulk in the tuition of Imam Maufique. It is equally false that Nizamul Mulk tried for Sayyidna Hasan to secure the service in the Saljuq Court. The entering of Sayyidna Hasan in the Saljuqui Court was entirely due to his own efforts and qualification and not because of the help of Nizamul Mulk, as it is generally presumed. Sayyidna Hasan secured this position at the age of 30 years, and it goes to show how vast his knowledge and experience were.

All historians and biographers are unanimous that Sayyidna Hasan was an outstanding, highly qualified authority on sciences of politics and mathematics. He was expert also in administration. His way of organization was very precise and up to the mark. He would prefer nothing except carrying out his work up to the mark and to fulfil his duties. Due to his such qualities in the performance of his responsibilities, the ruler Malik Shah was highly impressed by him and used to take his counsel on the matters of administration, especially economic planning; while contrary to this Nizamul Mulk was breeding jealousy and enmity against Sayyidna Hasan and was considering him to be an obstacle in his way; therefore he was anxiously contemplating doing away with him. With this purport Nizamul Mulk used to find faults with him and reprimand him. In this behalf an example is quoted here below:

Once Sultan called Wazir-e-Azam and ordered him to reorganize various departments of his Government and enquired of him as to the time he would require to complete it. Wazir asked for two years time. Sultan considered it to be too long as he was anxious to get it done quickly. As he was aware of the capability of Sayyidna Hasan, he called him and enquired as to whether he would be able to do this job soon enough. Sayyidna Hasan was willing and was ready to complete it within 40 days (12). Sultan was wonderstruck and said "it seems that you have not properly understood the nature of work: Wazir-e-Azam pleads for longer time than compared to yours." Sayyidna Hasan assured Sultan that it would not take more than a month to complete it. Sultan was highly pleased with him and ordered the staff of his administration to supply Sayyidna Hasan with what ever papers and documents he required. So Sayyidna Hasan started the work with great pleasure.

Plot of Nizarnul Mulk. On the other hand, Nizamul Mulk got horrified with this incident and feared of losing his office of Wizarat, for he was well aware of the unique ability and intelligence of Sayyidna Hasan and was certain that he would succeed in his task. Therefore, he tried to remove Sayyidna Hasan from the services through a plot. He contemplated of confusing the documents of the scheme worked upon by Sayyidna Hasan and he arranged this plot through his confidential person and asked him to be friendly with the slave of Sayyidna Hasan. When his confidential person secured the assurance of the slave of Sayyidna Hasan, one day he seized the opportunity of confusing the documents of Sayyidna Hasan (13). However, Sayyidna Hasan was unaware of this and when he came to present the documents before Sultan, Sayyidna Hasan was taken aback to find that the papers were not in order as arranged by him. When Sultan demanded the documents Sayyidna Hasan could not present them instantaneously, by which Nizamul Mulk got the opportunity of prejudicing Sultan Malik Shah against Sayyidna Hasan and said that if Sultan were to trust such persons who do not know anything then surely he would fall prey to their intrigues and snares. In this way Nizamul Mulk began to poison the ears of Sultan with the result that Sultan ordered to arrest Sayyidna Hasan. He would have stained him if he had no love for Sayyidna Hasan and regard for his work. Ultimately Sayyidna Hasan slipped away and fled to Ray.

Religious arguments and discussions. Before the period of Sayyidna Hasan, Islamic concept was testifying through philosophy due to which it was split into many schools of thought, just as Mu'tazili, Ashari, etc., and in the period of Banu Abbas, on account of problems arising from different interpretations of Holy Quran, wide field of arguments and discussions created. Sayyidna Hasan also being a scholar, took part in the discussions and was advocating lthna 'Ashari school of thought, but he could not remain firm on this belief, neither he was satisfied with the doctrines of Mu'tazila and 'Asha'ra. Before him doctrines of these schools of thought were of no avail to him. Thus, he was deeply entangled in confusion.

Sayyidna Hasan embracing Ismaili Faith. Since from the period of Ummayyads Iran had become the centre of Shi'ism. Ismaili Da'is vigorously propagated Ismaili faith in Tabaristan, Delam, Ray, etc., and they were holding arguments with authorities of different schools of thought. Sayyidna Hasan was also prompted to hold discussions with the Da'is and he was all praise for the capabilities, learned qualities and the art of deliberations of the Da'is. After all this, he was so inclined that he came to be magnetised towards Ismaili faith, in as much as he commenced grasping tenets of Ismaili concepts through Da'is Abu Najam Siraj and Momin and begged of Da'i Momin to accept his allegiance on behalf of Hazrat Imam. However, Da'i Momin, who was well conversant with the intelligence and abstinence of Sayyidna Hasan, said: "Though you are Hasan and if I am Momin even then your position is higher than mine. You are in fact very high to the lmam. How am I supposed to take allegiance from you."(14). Nortwithstanding this, upon Sayyidna Hasan's repeated requests, Momin took the allegiance and converted him to Ismaili faith. At that time Sayyidna Hasan was about 35 to 36 years of age.

Tour to Egypt: After embracing Ismaili faith. in 464 A.H./1071 C.E. Sayyidna Hasan came into contact with Abdul Malik bin Attash and worked in Da'wat as his assistant for 2 years at Isfahan(15). Then Abdul Malik bin Attash asked him to go to Egypt and seek the holy interview of the lmam. Accordingly in 467 A.H./1074 C E. Sayyidna Hasan left Ray and after travelling for three to four years, reached Egypt in 411 A.H./1078-9 C.E. and became fortunate to have holy deedar of the Imam, and upon the solicitation of Sayyidna Hasan, lmam Mustansir billah ordered that after me my son 'Nizar' would be my successor(l6).

Return from Egypt: For about 18 months Sayyidna Hasan remained in Egypt and during this period had the opportunity of seeking several interviews of the lmam. However, by his frequent interviews with the lmam, Wazir Badarul Jamali used to be agitated. By this, he began to breed suspicion and doubts regarding Sayyidna Hasan because Badarul Jamali was from the beginning opposed to Hazrat Imam Nizar. When he came to know that Sayyidna Hasan was the supporter of Hazrat Nizar he became his opponent also and imprisoned him in the castle of 'Dumyat'. By chance some day, a wall of the prison, which was quite strong, collapsed(l 7), and it gave chance Sayyidna Hasan to be able to escape. He boarded a vessel at the port of Alexandria and thus in 473 A.H./ 1081 C.E. reached lsfahan, and remained engaged in propagation of Da'wa at Yezd, Kirman, Tabaristan, Damgan in Iran. Then he proceeded to Qazwin and toured the suburbs of the fortress of 'Alamut'. There he remained in prayers and through his preaching converted the natives to Ismaili faith as much their chief also came into Ismaili fold.

Capture of 'Alamut': There are two versions about the capture of fortress of 'Afamut' (18). One is that the possessor of the fortress, Mahdi, the governor of Sultan Malik Shah, belonged to Alvi dynasty. One day Sayyidna Hasan invited him wherein, besides faithfuls of Ismaili concept, other dignitaries of the town were present. Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah upon conversing on the service to lmam said that the fortress would be of great value for the service to lmam and there at per chance bargain of the fortress at the price of 3000 dinars was arrived at. Mahdi thought that Sayyidna Hasan would not be, able to pay the said sum of the price. Hence he accepted the bargain. Sayyidna Hasan wrote to Rais Muzaffar of Girdkub and Damgan mentioning the sum, who on receiving the letter immediately remitted the amount. Governor Mahdi, as promised, assigned the fortress to Sayyidna Hasan.

Another version is that Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah asked of governor Mahdi for only that much portion of land which would cover the skin of a cow. Governor consented to that. Whilst measuring the land Sayyidna Hasan made the skin into such tiny pieces that it covered the whole fortress. In this way the entire fortress was handed over to Sayyidna Hasan. In any case, in 483 A.H. Sayyidna Hasan got the fortress of Alamut (l 9).

Fight with Saljuqs: When the news of the fortress of Alamut having fallen to Sayyidna Hasan reached the court of Malik Shah, Nizamul Mulk became highly perturbed and despatched several units of army one after another, one of which laid a seige to the fortress for nearly 4 months but to no purpose as it was all in vain. In the mean time in 485 A.H./1092 C.E. Malik Shah discharged Nizamul Mulk from the office of Wizarat and got him stained and within a few days time in the same year Malik Shah also expired. His sons quarrelled over the throne continuously for nearly 10 years.

During this lapse of time Hasan found the golden opportunity of propagating Ismaili concept and strengthening his hold, and captured Rudbar, Tabaristan, Khuz, Khosaf, Zozan, Quain and Tune.

However, whenever any of the heirs of Malik Shah used to find any chance, he would despatch a unit of army against Sayyidna Hasan, but due to the vigilance and dauntlessness of Sayyidna Hasan their attacks were foiled. Eventually Saljuq Sultan Sanjar, made truce with Sayyidna Hasan by which it was agreed upon that any trader passing through Khurasan shall have to pay a tax to Ismailis and on the other hand Ismailis would neither construct new forts nor convert or bring more people into Ismaili Da'wat and faith(20). Nevertheless groups of people embraced Ismaili faith without any propagation. In this way reliance upon Sayyidna Hasan began to shine like day's light throughout Iran and Khurasan and high officials of Saijuq Sultan also became Ismailis (21).

In short Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah, during his life time, achieved his aims like freedom of Ismaili territory, freedom of Ismaili faith and established peace between him and his opponents. By his political and intelligible skill he made the powerful Saljuqi government to come down to terms of freedom for Ismaili politics and concepts.

After having overcome Saljuqs in Iran and Khurasan, Sayyidna Hasan turned his attention towards Syria and India and deputed Da'is there. Upon having spread Ismaili Da'wat in Iran and Syria as well as introducing the Dawa in India, Sayyidna Hasan Bin Sabbah took to reducing his lofty ideas and thoughts in writing. He continued his work pertaining to Ismaili faith and tenets till he breathed his last. Incidentally, in 518 A.H./l 1 24 C.E. a fatal disease attacked him and he succumbed to it. He was 90 years of age at the time of his death.

Fidai or Assassin: Ismailis of the era of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah were termed to be Fidais of Assassin. The word 'Fidai' is derived from 'Fida' meaning sacrifice. Because Ismailis used to sacrifice, i.e. give away their lives and everything for faith, they are termed as 'Fidais'. But as far as the word 'Assassin' is concerned there is a controversy. Some say it is 'derived from the word 'Hasaneen' meaning followers of 'Hasan', Some say that the word actually was 'Hashish' meaning addict of a green intoxicating herb 'Hashish'. This assumption is founded on their belief that at the time of war to keep up the spirit of his soldiers, Sayyidna. Hasan used to drug them with 'Hashish'. But what an illogical belief it is that if a person who has lost his control over self through the drug how can he vouch safe his defence with sensible strategy, for their valour and intrepidity was specifically in enthusiasm of their faith to which they were attached.

Allegations against Sayyidna Hasan and its refutation: Many allegations are being made against Sayyidna Hasan to the effect that he was blood thirsty and through his 'Fidais' he had made lives of people repressed and unrestful. But all this is totally untrue. His only purpose and meaning of recruiting army of Fidais was to protect Ismailis from the foil and destructive attacks of enemies. The very significant example of this is his human behaviour with Sultan Sanjar. If Sayyidna Hasan wished to, he would not have forgone the opportunity of slaining him, for he only wanted him to get horrified and give up the seige.

One of the allegations against him is that he murdered Nizamul Mulk through one of his Fidais. However, the history itself is a witness to the fact that Nizamul Mulk was murdered by Sultan Malik Shah. There were many reasons for that. One of it is that Sultan was afraid of his increasing powers to his detriments. Another reason is that Malik Shah was already in the influence of Ismaili concept, and he was in contradiction to the vindicative nature of Nizamul Mulk against Ismaili faith (22). The third and main reason was that Turkan Khatun, begum of Malik Shah was deadly against Nizamul Mulk for she wanted her son, Mahmood, to succeed Malik Shah and it was not possible with the deviation of Nizamul Mulk, who had made it clear to Turkan Khatun that son of Malik Shah's cousin Zubeda, Barruk bin Dawood, was to succeed. Malik Shah, as he had the qualities of wisdom befitting a ruler and also belonged to Saljuq dynasty. For this Turkan Khatun poisoned the ears of Sultan against Nizamul Mulk and Malik Shah got him murdered and this became the reason of downfall of the famous position of Wizarat and murder of Nizamul Mulk. In the face of this it is absurd and nothing but a false allegation against Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah for the murder of Nizamul Mulk (23).

The most defamatory allegation against Sayyidna Hasan is that he had created a paradise in the fortress of Alamut. If we consider this allegation also in the light of history, it will prove to be nothing else then a fiction. If such a paradise was at all created by Sayyidna Hasan it would not have remained to be accounted for by the historians. However, no such account is to be found anywhere in Ata Malik Juwayni, who was a historian and a companion of a destroyer of Ismaili reign in Alamut in 654 A.H.11256 C.E. i.e. Halaku Khan. He has made no mention of anything of that sort in his book "Tarikh-e-Jahan Gusha". Mention of this paradise is found only in 'the "Travels of Marco Polo", who reached thereafter one and half century of the existence of Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah in 673 A.H.; 1273 C.E. and it was no doubt the stories that he had collected without any foundation. But for the welfare and progress of Ismailis Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah had created peace, comfort and settled condition in the fortress.

One more allegation made against Sayyidna Hasan is that he was desirous of acquiring political power and strength and for that he had disguised himself in the cloak of Nizari Da'wat. But the history proves that he had no such aims and historians agree that neither he himself had been addicted to alcohol nor did he allow anybody to do so. He killed one of his own son for accusation of taking alcohol. He intended Ismailis to be as firm in faith as he himself was. He had inculcated the habit of earning their livelihood through hard work and toil and his wife and children and himself were leading a simple life. The effect of this was that his command to faithful was carried out immediately and the glory that credited Sayyidna Hasan is not to be found for anybody else in the pages of History (24).


1. Jawad al-Mascati "Hasan bin Sabbah" pg. 38. First Edition. Published by Ismailia Association in English.

2. Bernard Lewis "The Assassins @g. 38. Published at Widenfeld and Nichol 5 viensley streets London W.I. Edition 1967.

3. Encyclopedias of Islam (Old Edition, pg. 267). W. Ivanow "Alamut and Lamasar", pg. 20. Syed Suleman Nadvi "Khayyam" pg. 56, Ed. 1933. Bernard Lewis "The Assassines pg. 40 & 61.

4. Jawad al-Mascati "Hasan bin Sabbah pg. 152. Nizam ui-Mulk Tusi pg. 447.

5. Rashid ud-din Fazalellah "Jame-ut-Tawrikh. pg. 1 in Persian.

6. "Nizam 1-Mulk Tush". pg. 420. Foot note No. 3..

7. Literary history of Persia" by E.G. Brown Vol. 11 pg. 201.

8. Syed Suleman Nadvi, "Khayyam" pg. 38.

9. Syed Suleman Nadvi "Khayyam" pg. 18. Nisam 1-Mulk Tusi pg. 48.

10. ncf. lbne Khallikan pg. 43, Vo. I

11. Suleman Nadvi, "Khayyam" pg. 28.

12. Syed Suleman Nadvi, "Khayyam" pg. 28.

13. Karim Kishawars "Hasan Sabbah" pg. 64.

14. Karim Kishawars "Hasan Sabbah" pg. 64. Dihastan ui-Madhhab of. Niszam ul-Mulk Tusi pg. 423. Foot note, NQ. 2. Tadhkar-e-Daulat Shah of Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi 423. Footnote Karim Kishawars "Hasan Sabbah" pg. 72.

15. Literary History of Persia Vol. 11 pg. 203.

16. Tarikh-e-lbn Khaidun Vol. V. pg. 156.

17. Nizam ul-Mulk Tusi pg. 425.

18. Ali Mohammedd Jan Mohammedd Chunara "Noor-e-Mubin. pg. 366 First Ed. in Urdu.

19. Nizam ui-Mulk Tusi pg. 428.

20. Jawad al-Muscati, "Hasan bin Sabbah" pg. 1 50.

21. Jawad a]-Muscati, "Hasan bin Sabbah" pg. 150.

22. Jawad j-Muscati. "Hasan bin Sabbah" pg. 141.

23. Nizam 1-Mulk Tusi pg. 149.

Shaykh Muhammad lqbal. Karachi (Pakistan)


19.0 Kiya Buzurg Ummid

Kiya Buzurg Ummid was one of the outstanding Ismaili Da'is who made valuable contributions toward the establishment of an Ismaili State in Persia (1090 C.E.) which lasted for one hundred and seventy years. In order to study the biography of this eminent Ismaili da'i and administrator, one should make oneself familiar with the contemporary Ismaili history. It is unfortunate indeed that the historians have not preserved the details of the life history of Kiya Buzurg. This makes the task for his biographers a difficult one. However, some information in this connection is available mainly in the two famous histories: "Tarikh-i-Jehan Ghusha" by Ata-ul-Mulk Juvayni (1226-83) and 'Jami-at-Tawarikh' by Rashid-ud-din (1247-1318). In this paper, an attempt has been made together facts from various sources in order to point the true picture of this great man. Evidently some gaps have remained unfilled which are due to the non availability of the required data.

It may be noticed that major part of the life of Kiya Buzurg passed in the shadow of a towering personality of Hassan-i-Sabbah who was an Ismaili genius of all times. This is one important reason why the contemporary historians who were so occupied in writing about Hassan-i-Sabbah have not done full justice to his deputies. The records kept by the Ismailis themselves, however, were completely destroyed after the collapse of their state at the hands of the Mongols.

During the life of Kiya Buzurg, the Ismaili political history passed through a very critical period. The powerful Sultan Malik Shah Saijuq ruled Iran (1072-1092) with the help of his capable Vazir Nizam-ul-Mulk, both of whom were against Ismailism. He was succeeded by his sons who were equally hostile to the Ismaili cause.

It was in the year 1090 C.E. that Hassan-i-Sabbah acquired the castle of Alamut and established his headquarters in this castle for Ismaili Da'wa. The seat of Imamat was still in Cairo but friction and intrigues were evident in the court of the Imam ai-Mustansirbi'liah (1 036-94 C.E.), the caliph of the Fatimid Empire. The Abbasid caliphate of Baghdad was trying hard to uproot the Ismaili structure. Under these most unfavourable circumstances, Hassan-i-Sabbah did an impossible task in establishing an Ismaili State in Iran which was partially due to the cooperation of his capable deputies like Kiya Buzurg who by their untiring efforts helped him in achieving his goal.

Kiya Buzurg Ummid was born in a peasant family in the district of Rudbar which is situated in the immediate neighbourhood of the castle of Alamut. This district consists of fertile mountain valleys through which the river, "Shah Rud" flows. There was no real town in Rudbar and people lived in small and scattered villages in the valley and gave their allegiance to a local gentry who lived in the castle close to their valley. Kiya Buzurg was born probably in the middle of the eleventh century (the exact date of his birth is unknown) in one of those villages in the house of a peasant. Most probably Kiya Buzurg got local schooling in his earlier days and then lead a life of peasant himself.

Juvayni writes that as soon as Hassan got established in Alamut (1090), he exerted every effort in propagating his mission amongst the villages in the vicinity of Alamut. At first, his tasks were two fold-to win converts -and gain possession of more castles. From Alamut he sent missionaries to various directions to accomplish both purposes. His obvious objective was the control of the immediate neighbourhood of his headquarters, the district of Rudbar. It must be during these days that Kiya Buzurg was converted to the faith of Ismailism. History does not record the story of his early life but it is clear that within a short time he attained a considerable confidence of Hassan-i-Sabbah who appointed him a Commander to conquer the castle of Lamasar (1095 or 1102). Juvayni narrates the capture of Lamasar in the following words:

'The fort of Lamasar, which is also in the Rudbar (valley) of Alamut had some inhabitants who did not accept the da'wat of Sayyidna Hassan-i-Sabbah so he later sent Kiya Buzurg Ummid with the part of Ismailis who secretly entered the Qala on Tuesday evening, 20th Dhi'l Qad 495/5th September, 1102, and killed those inhabitants, taking possession of the fort'.

Rashid-ud-din on the other hand gives a more detailed story and a different date. His account seems to be more reliable and accurate. He narrates, -

'The, position of Lamasar is also called Rudbar-iAlamut. There were two persons there. A certain Rasmasuj and the other Lamasar. They originally were devout followers of Ismailism, but about that time they rebelled, and wanted to hand over the Qala to Ali-y-i Nushtegin (the local fief holder). Sayyidna was ready to supply the owner of the place with ammunition, and leave the fort in his possession, but Rasmasuj did not accept the offer. Sayyidna then sent Kiya Buzurg Ummid with a party. They came upto the fort, and rushed in. Rasmasuj and his partner came up with arms and in the scuffle which ensured both were killed. This happened on the night of Wednesday (i.e. Tuesday evening) the 20th Dhi'l Qad 489, l lth November, 1095.

Hassan bin-Sabbah appointed Kiya Buzurg as the Governor of the castle of Lamasar who discharged his duties honestly and most efficiently. He remained the Governor of Lamasar for twenty years and never left the castle even once until he was summoned to Alamut by Hassan-i-Sabbah where he was appointed as his successor. During these twenty years he strengthened the Ismaili da'wa in the castle and the surrounding district. He improved the castle and made it impregnable. Rashid-ud -din gives the following account:-

'The fort of Lamasar was situated on a rotten hill, with a few decayed houses on it, with no-vegetation nearby. The climate of the place was very hot. Kiya Buzurg Ummid fortified the castle and cut the rocks to build a canal from a point on the Nine rud, two and a half farsakhs away which could supply water to the fort. The fort was thus irrigated. Water reservoirs were made and trees were planted and the Qala began to look as a Khushk, royal rest house in a garden. He also developed the irrigation schemes for the surrounding district as that the inhabitants of the vicinity improved their lot considerably. The inhabitants were brought to the fold of the da'wat and every thing was put in proper order'.

In the history of the Alamut enclave the events usually developed in and around the 'rock'. Lamasar played the part of the shield to the rear. Standing not far from the main range, separating these valleys from Mazamdaran, quite impossible for military forces, it really threatened two important directions. One, that of the Westward road by the bed of the Shahrud, and the other, the passes leading in the direction of Qazwin. The forces stationed in Lamasar could always easily seal the passage of Duruvon and cut communications with the chief base of the attacker, Qazwin.

Lamasar was incomparably more spacious than AJamut. There was no congestion and plenty of space for stores and garrison. Due to the long perimeter, the enemy could not deliver a series of powerful blows at different places in quick succession, while the defenders operating over short internal lines of communication, could easily concentrate sufficient force at the point of the attack.

Several unsuccessful military expeditions were sent against the Ismaili strong holds by Sultan Malik Shah and later by his son Sultan Muhammad which clearly proved that the Ismaili castles in the Rudbar district could not be captured by direct assault. The Sultan Muhammad (1099-1117) therefore tried another method - a war of attrition. For eight consecutive years, says Juvayni, 'the troops came to Rudbar and destroyed the crops and the two sides were engaged in battle. When it was known that Ismailis were left without strength or food, Sultan Muhammad at the beginning of the year 1117 appointed the Atabeg Nushtegin Shirgir as Commander to the troops and ordered him to lay siege to the castles from then onwards. On 4th June 1117 they laid siege to the castle of Lamasar whose command was in the hands of Kiya Buzurg; who played his cards very skilfully during these difficult times, such that the inevitable defeat ultimately resulted in a clear cut victory for the Ismailis.

Hassan-i-Sabbah was favourably , impressed by the achievements of Kiya Buzurg and had great faith in his versatile qualities. He must have made up his mind that Kiya Buzurg would be a worthy successor to his position. -Juvayni narrates:-

'It was in the month of Rabi II 518 (May-June, 1124) that Hassan-i-Sabbah fell ill. He sent someone to Lamasar to fetch Buzurg Ummid and appointed him his successor, and made Dihdar Abu-Ali of Ardistan sit on his right and entrusted him in particular with the propaganda chancery (davat divan); Hassan son of Adam of Oasran, was made to sit on his left and Kiya Ba-Ja'fer, who was the commander of his forces, in front of him. He charged them, until such times as the Imam came to take possession of his Kingdom, to act all four in concert and agreement. Hassan-i-Sabbah died on the night of Wednesday, the of Rabi 11 518/ 6th 23rd May 1 1 24'.

Thus Kiya Buzurg took up his new office as the head of the Ismaili state and shifted his headquarters from Lamasar to the castle of Alamut, the seat of the Government. He ruled for nearly fourteen years following the policies and rules laid by his predecessor. He put the Ismaili state on firm footing and during his rule the number of fortresses under Ismaili control increased to seventy-four. His influence was felt in the remotest parts of Ismaili control; in Khurasan, Quhistan and in Syria.

In the year 1126, two years after the succession of Kiya Buzurg, Sultan Sanjar (1096-1157) launched an attack on the Ismaili fortresses. Since his expedition against Tabas in 1103, Sanjar had taken no action against the Ismaili, and even had entered into some sort of agreement with them, There is no reason to disregard the agreement and certainly no cause for the anti-Ismaili offensive of 1126 is known. Presumably it was due to the growing confidence of the Sultan and the presumed weakness of the Ismailis under their new ruler, who later on proved to be a formidable ruler. He sent an army against Turaythith in Quhistan and against Bayhaq in the province of Nishapur. He despatched troops against every part of their possessions with orders to kill whatever Ismaili they encountered. lbn-al-Athir reports the attack on two Ismaili villages Tarz near Bayhaq and raid on Turaythith where many Ismailis were put to sword and much booty taken, but these campaigns were limited and inconclusive. In the north the offensive fared even worse. An expedition against Rudbar, led by the nephew of Shirgin, was driven, back and Ismailis took much booty from their invaders. Another, launched with local help, was also defeated and one of its commanders captured. .

Kiya Buzurg strengthened the position of the Ismailis considerably. In Rudbar the lsmailis had reinforced their position by building a new and powerful fortress called Maymundiz and had extended their territory, notably by acquiring Taiaqan. In the east the Ismaili forces raided Sistan in 1129 C.E. In the same year Mahmud, the Saijuq Sultan of lsfhan, found it prudent to discuss peace and invited an envoy from Alamut. Unfortunately the lsfhan mob killed the envoy and his colleague when he left the Sultan's presence. The Sultan apologised and disclaimed responsibility of this incident. The Ismailis, however, responded by attacking Qazvin where they killed 400 people and took enormous booty. In 1131 C.E. Sultan Mahmud died and usual wrangle followed between his brothers and his son. This gave Ismailis a chance to strengthen their position and increase potentialities.

Kiya Buzurg was not only a great administrator and a fine commander. He was a chivalrous lord and a great upholder of the Ismaili da'wa. He spent most of his active life as a ruler and administrator not as a revolutionary leader like his predecessor. The Ismaili chronicler narrates the following story of his magnanimity.

Emir Yarankush had been one of the great enemies of the Ismailis. Due to the rising power of the Shah of Khorzam he was displaced and requested Kiya Buzurg for a political asylum for himself and his followers. Kiya Buzurg granted his request and gave him and his followers refuge in the castle of Alamut. When Shah came to know this, he asked for their surrender. Arguing that he had been a friend of Ismailis while Yarankush had been their enemy but Kiya Buzurg refused to hand them, over, saying: "I cannot reckon as an enemy who places himself under my protection"

The long and glorious reign of Kiya Buzurg Ummid ended with his death on 9th February, 11 38 C.E. He was succeeded by his son Muhammad.

Dr. A. M. Rajput. Birmingham (England)


20.0 Rashid al-Din Sinan

The Ismaili movement was the most dynamic and vigorous of the Shi'i movements in the medieval Muslim World, and is still active and very well organized under the leadership of its present Imam, H. H. The Aga Khan Shah Karim al-Husayni. Through the Fatimid Caliphate in North Africa and Egypt (C.E. 909-1171), and through the Nizari Imamate at Alamut in Persia (C.E. 1094-1256), Ismailism presented an unexampled spiritual and political challenge to the dominance of Sunni orthodoxy and to the authority of contemporary Sunni rulers and dynasties, such as the Saljuq Sultans and Abbasid Caliphs. From previous standpoints, historians or scholars in both the East and West have given considerable attention to the medieval Ismailis, and especially to the so-called "Assassins" of Alamut and Misyaf. Western writers have also shown interest in the Ismailis of Syria led by the 'Old Man of the Mountains' (Shaikh-ai-Jabal), or accounts of the contacts of the Crusaders with them.

The present article deals with the life and career of one of the greatest and most valiant of the Syrian Ismaili da'is of the thirteenth century C.E. namely Rashid al-Din Sinan, (d. 1193 or 1194).

The Early Life and Career of Sinan:

Although precise details of the early life of Sinan and the circumstances of his appointment as chief da'i, first in Iraq and later in Syria, are still difficult establish, they are no longer a complete mystery since a certain amount of information can be pieced together from various sources.

Reading through the literature on Alamut, one finds ample information about the activities of the Ismailis in Persia, but very little about Sinan and the Syrian Ismailis except short passages in Arabic chronicles and cursory allusions from the Western Crusader Chronicles.

The Syrian Ismaili sources give some useful historical material about Sinan's early life and about the Syrian Ismailis in general, but their dates are generally not correct. Any researcher into this field has to try to reconcile the different versions as stated by Ismaili and non-Ismaili sources. The recent researches of Bernard Lewis have, however, thrown some new light on this problem (1).

W. Ivanow states in his article in the Encyclopaedia of Islam (1st.ed.), that Abu al-Hasan Sinan Ibn Sulayman Ibn Muhammad was born at a place near Basra, educated in Persia and appointed by the Imam Hasan 'Ala Dhikrihi as-Salam in 588/1163 as head of the Syrian Ismaili (Nizari) community; and the available Ismaili and non-Ismaili sources do not disagree on this point. The famous historian, Kamal al-Din Ibn al -'Adim, provides some brief but valuable information about Sinan's life and quotes a story believed to have been told by Sinan himself describing his journey to Syria (2).

As regards the date of Sinan's birth and the question of whether his appointment as "deputy" in Syria took place before or after his arrival in Syria, there seems to be no certain information. Fortunately, however, a number of Syrian Ismaili manuscripts have recently been brought to light and these give Sinan's age at the time of his death as 58 or 60 years i.e he was born either in 530/1135, or 528/1133 the later date being the more probable (3).

For it was a traditional Ismaili rule that appointments to the "higher grades" (Ar' maratib 'ulya) were preferably made from among those who were not less than forty years old. This customary rule was not based solely on the consideration that leader ought to possess maturity and experience; but also on the fact that the Ismaili regard the numbers forty, twelve, seven, five and four as having certain symbolical meanings.

Only scanty information is available about Sinan's birth place and parents. The geographer Yaqut (Ibn Abd Allah al-Rumi) states that he was a native of 'Aqr al-Sunden, (4) a village between Wasit and Basra which was inhabited, mostly by extreme Shi'i sects. The statements from the non-Ismaili sources about the environment in which Sinan spent his early years suggest that his parents were Twelver Shi'is. Syrian Ismaili sources confirm that Sinan was in charge of the Ismaili da'wa in Iraq up to the time of his appointments as deputy of the Imam of Alamut in Syria, but do not give any hint that he was a Twelver Shi'i by origin. Some of these sources state that he had family connections with the Ismaili Imams; whilst others go so far as to suggest that he was himself the real Imam (5).

Before his first appointment as da'i in the district of Basra in Iraq, Sinan is reported to have taken a full course on Ismaili theology and philosophy at the madrasa (centre for religious teaching) of the Imam Hasan Ibn Muhammad Ibn 'Ali, surnamed al-Qahir (the conqueror) at Alamut (6).

What Sinan did in Alamut besides studying Ismaili doctrines and what was really happening at that time in the heart of that great Ismaili stronghold cannot be ascertained. The only thing that is almost certain is that during his stay in Alamut he met the future Imam Hasan II ('Ala Dhikrihi al Salam), who later sent him to Syria to succeed the chief da'i Abu Muhammad (7).

Sinan was transferred to Syria not long after his first appointment as da'i in the district of Basra, believed to have taken place around 556/1160. Kamal al-Din gives an interesting description of the various stages of Sinan's journey to Syria. Sinan is reported to have travelled via Mosul in Northern Iraq and Raqqa on the border between Syria and Iraq until he reached Aleppo, then under the rule of Nur al-Din Mahmud Ibn Zangi.(541-570\1146-1174).

Aleppo was at that time still accessible to Ismaili da'is who used to enter the city often disguised as merchants. Sinan did not have any difficulty in finding his contacts in the capital of the Zangids, and if 558/ 1162 was actually the date of his arrival he probably had the good fortune to arrive when Nur al-Din was absent from the city warring against the Franks. Sinan may have stayed for some time familiarizing himself with the affairs of the Ismailis in Northern Syria, until fresh orders reached him from Alamut to move to the Ismaili strongholds in Central Syria (8).

Abu Firas Ibn Qadi Nasr Ibn Jawshan, a native of al-Maynaqa (9) writing in 724/1324, states that Sinan arrived in Misyaf where he stayed for some time without revealing his real identity; and then later went to Bastiryun, a village near al-Kahf, the castle which was the residence of the Ismaili chief da'i, Abu Muhammad. According to Abu Firas, Sinan had to wait seven years, at the end of which, while Abu Muhammad was on his deathbed. Sinan forwarded to him his credentials as the new leader.

If Abu Firas's account of Sinan's arrival at Misyaf and the incidents which preceded his ultimate assumption. Of the leadership is correct, the possibility arises that Sinan was sent to Syria by the father of Hasan II ('Ala Dhikrihi al-Salam) and subsequently confirmed or appointed as chief da'i by his son. This would lead to the assumption that Sinan arrived in Syria earlier than 558/1161-2; say some time around 552\1157, a date coinciding with an earthquake, during which Sinan was injured. Many sources for this period report that a grave earthquake took place in Syria around 551/1156 destroying the main Syrian cities. But having no evidence to show how far the Imams of Alamut were exercising their powers before 558/1162, we are inclined to accept the possibility that Sinan was only appointed after the succession of Hasan II (Ala Dhikrihi al-Salam) in 558/1162. The earthquake, however, may have taken place not in 552/1157 as stated by the Arabic sources of the time, but later when Sinan had already assumed the leadership. Abu Firas may have committed a mathematical error in stating that Sinan stayed seven years in Syria before declaring his true mission. The problem arises as to whether Sinan was appointed prospective chief da'i in Syria before he went there. The fact that he did not report to Abu Muhammad on arrival of his visits to the Ismaili groups is suspicious. Was he waiting for further developments in Alamut? Or, wisely, was he only secretly making some preliminary study of the situation in Syria? At any rate it would seem probable that Sinan arrived in Syria in 558/1162, and that after his preliminary investigations he took over from Abu Muhammad in 560/1164 (10)

The Death of Abu Muhammad and the Accession of Sinan:

The death of Abu Muhammad brought to an end the life of a leader whose name and activities remain obscure in the history of the Syrian Ismailis. Presumably he played a leading part in the endeavours of the Ismailis to consolidate their position in Aleppo and Jabal al-Summaq (11) - endeavours which had not been noticeably successful, whence the lack of information about him and the mission of Sinan whose energy and strength of character had recommended him to the Imam as likely to be a successful missionary. Even when, after the massacre of the Ismaili at Damascus in 523/1129, the Ismailis launched their third and successful attempt to seize castles in central Syria, only the names of apparently junior Ismailis dai's are mentioned by the sources, while Abu Muhammad seems to remain behind the scenes. (12)

During the last decade of Abu Muhammad's leadership, weakness, disorganization and disunity manifested themselves in the Syrian Ismaili community. Many Ismailis emigrated to the neighbouring cities of Hama, Hims and Aleppo, not only in order to strengthen their da'wa, but also to earn a living; for the Ismaili territory was not fertile, and they lived mostly on their cattle. This situation was worsened when, around 546/1151, the Frankish Count of Tripoli, Raymond II, was murdered in consequence of which the Templars, a militant Christian Order founded in, C.E. 1117, raided Ismaili territory and compelled the inhabitants to pay a tribute (13). Another factor which weakened the Ismaili da'wa was the personal disputes among the Ismailis which added to the complexity of the problem to be faced by the successor of Abu Muhammad (14).

The most important events after Sinan's assumption of the leadership arose from his efforts to consolidate the position of the Ismailis and to solve their manifold internal problems. The principal aim of his external policy was to defend Ismaili territory against hostile Muslim and Frankish neighbours. Another question which needs consideration is that of Sinan's relations with Alamut, especially after the proclamation of the Qiyama by Hasan II ('Ala Dhikrihi al-Salam) in 560/ 1164; there may have been some connection between this and an episode involving a group of Ismaili extremists in northern Syria called the Sufat ("pure").

Sinan's Efforts to Consolidate the Ismaili Position:

After his accession to the leadership, Sinan found himself facing many grave problems. To protect his people was not so easy as to win their love and admiration during his early years in Syria. The pious Iraqi Shaykh (al-Shaykh al-'Iraqi) of yesterday, the teacher of the children, the renderer of medical treatment for sufferers, and the austere and ascetic man of religion living by prayer and meditation, had now to concentrate on the practical needs of his people and save them from becoming an easy prey to their enemies.

In order to meet the dangers from outside, Sinan began reorganizing his men and choosing the most eligible and devoted to form the core of fidais (devotees). Thanks to his strong personality and incisive intellect, he was able to smooth away the internal dissension which had been jeopardising Ismaili unity at the beginning of the second half of the twelfth century C.E.

In almost all these objectives, and in securing his own position, Sinan was successful, he had his fidais trained in various languages and in the art of collecting secret information from the courts of kings and princes. He organized an elaborate communication system, making full use of pigeons and coded messages by which the commanders of the various Ismaili strongholds were kept informed about his plans about possible threats to any of the widely scattered Ismaili fortresses (15).

Besides organizing and training the various groups of his fidais, Sinan also rebuilt two Ismaili castles which had fallen into ruin, either through natural calamities or through assaults by enemies. These were at al-Rasafaj, which is less than four miles south of Misyaf, and al-Khawabi which is about four miles south of al-Kahf. Sinan also looked to the north and by a military stratagem captured al-'Ullayqa, which is less than eight miles north east of the impregnable and well known Frankish castle al-Marqab (16).

The key strongholds which gave Sinan an excellent strategic position were Misyaf, al-Kahf, al-Qadmus and al-'Uilayqa. Misyaf, being on eastern fringes of Jabal Bahra' (17), served as a window on the Muslim principalities of Hama and Hims. As for al-Kahf, the centre of the previous chief da'i, it became the fortress from which Sinan was able to keep an eye on Tartus (Tortosa or Antartus), and other Frankish strongholds to the south west of his territory. AI--Qadmus was his forward post in the west and al-Ullayqa that in the north-west (18).

Relations with Alamut:

Neither in the internal problems of the Syrian Ismailis under Sinan, nor in the relations with Saladin and the Franks, does it appear from the available evidence that Alamut played any important role. There is a report that Sinan received direction from Alamut regarding the case of Khawaja 'Ali, who tried to take over the leadership in succession to Abu Muhammad without having been designated by the Imam of Alamut, and the subsequent murder of Khawaja 'Ali at the instigation of two prominent members of the community, Abu Mansur Ibn Ahmad Ibn al-Shaykh Abu Muhammad, and al-Ra'is Fahd. Later Alamut sent instructions to Sinan to put the murderer to death and to release Fahd. It is also reported that Hasan II ('Ala Dhikrihi at-Salam) instructed Sinan to abide the rules of the Qiyama and to watch the activities of the Muslim princes (19).

The sources say practically nothing about the role of Alamut in Sinan's relations with the Muslims and the Franks, but it cannot be inferred from this silence that there was a serious separatist movement against Alamut on the part of the Syria Ismailis. This silence could be interpreted in various ways. The authorities at Alamut might have had full trust in Sinan's ability to run the affairs of the Syrian Ismailis, and consequently have seen no need to intervene. Alternatively the reason might simply be that the chroniclers lacked information, since secretiveness was the rule among the Ismailis.

But the question which puzzled, the chroniclers and still confronts the Ismaili students is not that of Sinan's political relationships to Alamut, but that of his religious status among his Syrian followers.

Abu Firas's Manaqib, in which he pours lavish praise on Sinan's heroism, telepathic powers and wisdom, do not justify the inference that Sinan was regarded as an Imam (20). In fact Abu Firas refers to him as the "deputy" (na'ib) of the Imam of Alamut and if he ascribes to Sinan certain miraculous actions, this may be explained by the Ismaili belief that a trusted servant of the Imam, who stands as his evidence, could become a recipient of al-ta'yid (spiritual help from the Imam) which would confer upon him some of the Imam's supernatural powers. As for the Ismaili sources which contain aphorisms (fusual) or "noble utterances" attributed to Sinan, it must be borne in mind that practically all these sources were compiled during the fourteenth and fifteenth century C.E.,when the Syrian Ismailis followed a different line of Imams of that of the Persian Ismailis, and had become influenced by the Sufi writings of Muhyi ai-Din Ibn 'Arabi (d. 638/1240), Jalal ai-Din al-Rumi (d. 6721 1273), lbn al-Farid (d. 632/1235) and others. Although some Sufi ideas are criticized by Ismaili writers. Sufi terms and Phraseology were nevertheless widely used by the Syrian Ismailis. Abu Firis, in his book Sullam al-Sti'ud ila Dar al-Khulud, states "that the Sufis should be recognized as wise men and recipients of the "light" of the Prophet (21 ). Another point which might have added to the confusion regarding the status of Sinan was the title mawla (lord). which was not necessarily given exclusively to Imams,. great poets and philosophers - such as Jalal al-Din al-Rumi and other chief da'is who came after Sinan also received this honorific appellation (22). The fact that Sinan was addressed as al-mawla is not necessarily an indication that he was an Imam.

Recently, however, the Ismaili historian 'Arif Tamir has published several articles in support of the view that Sinan was considered by his followers to be an Imam, and even to be the "Seventh Imam" of the series of Imams beginning with the Fatimid Imam ai-Mu'izz (C.E. 952-976) (23). Besides the fourteenth and fifteenth century C.E. Ismaili writings, 'Arif Tamir has made use and published in these articles works of a poet named Mazyad ai-Hilli al-Asadi, who is believed to have been the friend and the poet-laureate of Sinan, and who in his panegyrics addresses Sinan with titles usually reserved for the Imams. To quote 'Arif Tamir, "Sinan is considered to be one of the Imams who lived in Syria and took Misyaf as their 'house of emigration' (daran li-hijra-tihim: c.f. 'Ubayad Allah ai-Mahdi in lfriqiya). He was variously called Abu al-Hasan Muhammad lbn ai-Hasan al-Nizari, or Rashid al-Din, or Sinan, or Ra'is al-Umur, and he was the son of the Imam Hasan al-Alamuti the master of the castles of Taliqan in Persia." Arif Tamir continues, "Sinan said that he had received the office of Imamate from Hasan and he would hand it over to Hasan" (24).

This means that in the opinion of Arif Tamir the Imam of the Qiyama, Hasan II (Ala Dhikrihi al-Salam, 1162-1166), and his successor Muhammad II (known as A'la Muhammad or Nur ai-Din Muhammad, 1166\1210), were only "trustee' Imams (A'immah Mustawda'un) like Maymun al-Qaddah and his son 'Abdallah during the period of the Hidden Imams. According to 'Arif Tamir, the successor to Sinan in the Imamate was Hasan III (Jalai al-Din Hasan, 1210-1221) (25).

The non-ismaili sources do not provided any help on the question whether Sinan was considered to be an Imam; and with a few exceptions such as the Spanish Muslim traveller lbn Jubayr, who alleges that Sinan was treated as God, and the biographer lbn Khallikan, who calls the Ismailis of Syria "Sinanis", the other Arabic sources give him the title of Muqaddam (commander), Ra'is (chief ) or Sahib (master) of the da'wa or of the Hashishiya. (26)

In general both the Arabic and the western sources share the opinion that the Syrian Ismailis did remain dependent on Alamut. ln theory, Sinan was the deputy of Alamut; in practice he was probabley quite independent.

In 572/1176 Sinan was preoccupied, with external problems, and he must have wanted to settle this internal Isma'ili dispute before any outside power could intervene. Probably at the request of Sinan the regent of Aleppo, Sa'd al-Din Gumushtigin, who was friendly with the Ismailis, dissuaded Nur al-Din Zangi's young son and successor al-Malik al-Salih to withdraw his army which he had already sent on a punitive expedition against the Ismailis, and Sinan was able to settle the problem without outside intervention.

The Autonomy of the Syrian Da'wa under Sinan:

Up to the time of Rashid al-Din Sinan, the Syrian Isma'ili da'wa was run by provincial dais such as al-Hakim al-Munajjim, Abu Tahir, Bahram and Abu Muhammad. These da'is seem to have been completely dependent upon Alamut. for example, to avenge the massacre of the Ismailis in Damascus in 1129 C. E.

Sinan, who possessed outstanding abilities as an organiser and leader, was the hujja of the Imam of the Qiyama who had sent him to lead the Syrian Ismailis. (27). He successfully transformed the Syrian da'wa from weak one, depending mainly on the help of Alamut and the occasional patronage of a local ruler, into a powerful agency having its own fortresses and its own corps of fida'is, who were trained in a special centre believed to have been situated in the renowned Isma'ili castle ai-Kahf. (28). Sinan, had also his own da'is to assist him and a large number of rafiqs who used to accompany him on his frequent visits to the various Isma'ili castles. The Syrian da'wa under his leadership was no longer just a branch. It could be classified as virtually autonomous da'wa, with its territory and headquarters and its own hierarchy of dignitaries headed by Sinan '(29).

Sinan's successors seem to have turned again to Alamut, even though they inherited from Sinan a well organized da'wa, which had firmly established itself in Syria. Until 1256 C.E. they were appointed by the Imam in Alamut and were responsible directly to him, which suggests that they held the rank of hujja, a rank second to that of the Imam. These hujjas or chief da'is were assisted by a number of da'is who carried such titles as naqib (officer), janah ("wing") and nazir (Keeper or inspector) ; during the post-Sinan period a da'i appointed to be commander of a castle would be called wali (30).

Sinan's Relations with Saladin:

During a siege of Ja'bar (31) in 1146, the Turkish ruler of Mosul and Aleppo, 'Imad al-Din Zangi. had been murdered by his slave troops (mamluks), and had been succeeded by his son, 'Nur al-Din Mahmud Zangi who, had maintained his father's efforts to defend Syria against the crusaders.

After the fall of Edessa to 'Imad al-Din Zangi in December 1144, the Crusaders had launched their second Crusade (1146-1149), which had ended in complete failure. In March-1154, Nur al-Din had captured Damascus, and from then onwards Egypt had been the decisive factor in his relations with the Crusaders.

In Egypt, the wobbling Fatimid regime had reached its final stage. The death of the Fatimid Caliph al Fa'iz in 556\1160 had been followed by a disastrous struggle from the Wazirate during which the Fatimid commander Shawar had sought help from Nur al-Din, who had sent the Kurdish governor of Hims, Shirkuh, on his first Egyption campaign. Shirkuh, who was the uncle of Saladin, had restored Shawar to power (May 1164), but Shawar had refused to pay the promised tribute, and had appealed to the Franks for help. Shawar had been able to continue his vacillating policy for a few years, but in 1167 Nur ai-Din had made a second intervention in the affairs of Egypt, followed by a third in 1168, and on this occasion the Fatimid territories had been overrun by Shirkuh, who had died soon afterwards leaving his nephew Saladin (Salah al-Din) Ibn Yusuf as the Wazir of Egypt.

While this master Nur al-Din was living, Saladin had been mainly occupied in establishing control over Egypt, eradicating the Fatimid Power and planning continued war against the Crusaders. Although the relations between Sinan and Nur al-Din's had been tense, both on account of Nur alDin's suspicions that the Syrian Ismailis were collaborating with the Crusaders, and on account of their unfriendly activities in Aleppo and their ceaseless efforts to seize, more strongholds, Nur al-Din had not undertaken any major offensive operation against the Ismailis thought there are reports that threatening letters were exchanged between him and Sinan, and rumours that he was planning shortly before his death to invade the Isma'ili territory (32).

The death of Nur al-Din and the King of Jerusalem Amairic 1. son of Fuik, in 1174, gave Saladin his opportunity; and on an urgent appeal from the commandant at Damascus, he entered Damascus on Tuesday, 30 Rabi II 5701\27 November, 1174 claiming to have come to protect Nur al-Din's eleven year old son and successor al-Malik al-Salih, against aggression from his cousins who ruled Mosul (al-Mawsil). (33)

Two Abortive Attempts on the life of Saladin:

From Damascus Saladin marched northward to Hims which he captured without its castle, and proceeded to Aleppo which he besieged for the first time.

It was during this siege that Sinan, in answer to an appeal from the Regent of Aleppo Sa'd al-Din Gumushtigin, sent his fida'is to kill Saladin. This attempt which took place in Jumada 11 560/Dec. January 1174/5 was foiled by an Amir named Nasih al-Din Khumartakin, whose castle of Abu Oubays (34) was close to the Isma'ili territory and who was able to recognize the desperados.

The second attempt took place more than a year later on 11 Dhu al-Qa'da 571\22 May, 1176, when Saladin was besieging 'Azaz, north of Aleppo. Thanks to his armour of chain-mail, Saladin escaped with only slight injuries (35).

The question arises as to the motive for these two attempts on Saladin's life . Was it, as most of the general Arabic sources state, that Gumushtigin had instigated Sinan to take action against Saladin? It seems unlikely that Sinan would have acted merely as a protege of the rulers of Aleppo, obeying their orders of accepting their bribes to commit an act which might have endangered the whole safety of his people. On the other hand they may well have been influence by consideration of Saladin's general policy, which from the time when he overthrew the Fatimid Caliphate was quite probably biased against all the Ismailis.

Although the Nizari Ismailis to whom Sinan belonged considered the Fatimid Caliphs after al-Mustansir (d. 1094) to be usurpers, Saladin's gross ill-treatment of the Fatimid family caused indignation and anger among all the Ismailis, whether Nizaris or Musta'lis. Saladin had also embarked on a systematic campaign to suppress Isma'ilism in Egypt, destroying the rich Fatimid libraries,- exterminating the Isma'ili system, and introducing Sunni institutions. Moreover, it was Saladin's manifest ambition to recreate a Syro-Egyptian state under his rule; and the rise of a strong anti-Isma'ili ruler in Syria was bound to be a source of anxiety to the Syrian Ismailis.

The unknown author of Bayt al-Da'wa states that Sinan had earlier sent one of his fida'is named Hasan al-'Ikrimi al-'Iraqi to Egypt where he left a knife with a threatening letter near Saladin's bed. (36) Such reports in the Isma'ili sources about fidais being sent to threaten Saladin shed a light on a letter from Salladin to Nur al-Din (drafted by al-Qadi al-Fadil) concerning a pro-Fatimid plot against him in Egypt, in 569\1173. The letter also adds that the conspirators in this plot appealed to Sinan for help (37).

B.Lewis has suggested that Sinan's attempted assassination of Saladin was prompted by the latter's aggression against the Ismailis in 570/1174-5. In that year, according to Sibt-Ibn-al-Jawzi, a militant Sunni order called the Nabawiya raided the Isma'ili centres of al-Bab and Buza'a and Saladin took advantage of the resultant confusion to send a raiding party against the Isma'ili villages of Sarmin, Ma'arrat Masrin and Jabal al-Summaq, which were looted.

That this action stimulated Sinan to attempt the assassination seems unlikely, since Sinan's decision must have been made before these events took place (lst attempt - Jumada 11 570/Dec. 1174 - Jan. 1175). No doubt they confirmed Sinan's belief that Saladin was a menace to Isma'ili existence in Syria, and they may have led to the second attempt on 11 Dhu al-Qa'da 571\22 May 1176.

Abu Firas mentions the raid of the Nabawiya on the Ismailis, but adds that they were soundly defeated (39). For all these reasons Sinan would have had strong motives to join hands with the rulers of Aleppo and Mosul against Saladin.

The Siege of Misyaf

Having twice defeated the rulers of Mosul and forced the rulers of Aleppo to seek a peace treaty, Saladin, after capturing 'Azaz on 14 Dhu al-Hijja 571/24 June 1176, marched against the Isma'ili territories. On his way to Misyaf, he encamped near Aleppo, where the daughter of Nur al-Din came out to see him; and on her demand he presented her with the town of Azaz. Saladin entered Isma'ili territory during the summer which was the best time to attack such inaccessible places. The actual siege of Misyaf most probably took place in Muharram 572\July 1176, but does not seem to have lasted more than one week.

Apparently Sinan was out of' Misyaf during the siege, and this absence of the defending leader might have been expected to make the other's task easier; but surprisingly Saladin withdrew after only a few minor skirmishes with the Ismailis. -

The reasons for Saladin's withdrawal from Misyaf are explained differently by the sources. But practically all the chroniclers agree that the withdrawal was brought about through the good offices of the Prince of Hama, the maternal uncle of Saladin, Shihab al-Din Mahmud Ibn Takash. Though it is not clear whether Saladin or Sinan requested the mediation of the Prince of Hama. According to the Isma'ili author, Abu Firas, Saladin woke up suddenly to find on his bed a dagger with a threatening letter, and partly out of fear, partly out of gratitude to Sinan for not having killed him when he could, and partly on the advice of his uncle Taqu al-Din" (sic:? Shihab al-Din), Saladin sought peace with Sinan. (40)

Among the other sources dealing with (Saladin's withdrawal from the Ismaili territories, lbn Abi Tayy, quoted by Abu Shama, gives the most reasonable explanation of Saladin's withdrawal from Misyaf. He states that Frankish military movements in the south near Ba'iabak in the Biqa' valley convinced the Sunni leader that the threat from the Franks was more urgent and important. At the same time, the prince Shihab al-Din al-Harimi of Hama must have had good reasons to avoid provoking the anger and enmity of his Isma'ili neighbours in the west; and some sort of a settlement which might qualify to be called a peace treaty between Sinan and Saladin may have been arranged on Saladin's initiative (41 ). Whatever were the real reasons for the withdrawal, it is clear that Saladin, probably under the influence of his uncle Shihab al-Din, and as Ibn al-Athir says because of the weariness of his troops, did decide to reach some sort of an agreement or a settlement with the Ismailis.

Although the sources have not recorded the terms of the settlement, it seems almost certain that the two leaders must have agreed to some form of "Peaceful-co-Existence".

The Isma'ili sources go so far as to say that Isma'ili fida'is took part in the historic and glorious battle of Hittin near Tiberias (Tabarayya) in 583/1187 when Saladin won his most celebrated victory over the Franks. Following this victory Jerusalem and other important Frankish strongholds surrendered.

It is not known in what capacity the Ismailis took part in the battle of Hittin; but the 17th century Christian Patriarch and chronicler al-Duwayhi in his Tarikh al-Azminah covering the period 1095- 1699, states that the Frankish leaders captured in Jabat Hittin were taken to the Isma'ili castles (42).

Although hostilities between Sinan and Saladin appear to have ceased after the latter's withdrawal from Misyaf, the relations between the Ismailis and the rulers of Aleppo entered upon a difficult period. A wazir of al-Malik al-Salih, called Shihab al-Din abu Salih Ibn al-'Ajami was assassinated on August 31, 1177, and this murder was attributed to the Ismailis, Al-Malik al-Salih held an inquiry in which it was alleged that Sa'd ai-Din Gumushtigin had sent forged letters to the Ismailis urging them, in the name of al-Salih, to perpetrate the murder. Gumushtigin was found guilty and ultimately ruined by his enemies.

The other main event affecting the relations between Sinan and the rulers of Aleppo was the burning of the markets at Aleppo in 575/1179-80. The fires broke out in several places and were attributed to arson by the Ismailis in revenge for seizure of their stronghold al-Hajirah by al-Malik al-Salih in C.E. 1179/80 (43).

Sinan and the Crusaders:

Most of the strongholds which the Ismailis seized or bought in Jabal Bahra had previously been in the hands of the Crusaders; and many of the most important Frankish castles were situated very close to the Isma'ili fortresses.

In C.E. 1142 or 1145, the lord of Tripoli gave to the Hospitaller Order the fortress known in the medieval Arabic sources as Hisn al-Akrad or Qal'at al Hisn (Krak des Chevaliers). 25 miles south of Misyaf, and a few years letter there are reports of fighting between the Ismailis and the Franks over the fortress of Mayhaqa (44).

Although Defremery suggests that the Frankish raids on the Isma'ili territories were in reprisal for the murder of the Count of Tripoli in 1151 C.E. and that they ceased after the Ismailis had agreed to pay a yearly tribute to the Tempolar Order, it is quite possible that when Sinan succeeded Abu Muhammad, the Ismailis had been fighting with the Franks somewhere in the country of Tripoli (45);'

Realizing the danger of being nearly surrounded by both Muslim and Frankish hostile forces, Sinan attempted to reach a settlement with the Franks. His efforts were made difficult by the fact that the two Frankish Orders, and especially the Templars, more often than not conducted their affairs independently of the Kingdom of Jerusalem.

The Negotiations with Amalric 1

Sinan sought are approachment with the Frankish kingdom of Jerusalem hoping to be absolved from paying the yearly tributes to the Templars. The negotiations with the King of Jerusalem, Amairic 1, son of Fuik, (C.E. 1163-1174), began some time in 1172 or 1173, and they were successful. Amalric agreed that the tribute to the Templars should be cancelled. But this did not please the Templars, who caused Sinan's ambassador to be murdered on his way back from Jerusalem (46).

"Sinan's Offer to Embrace Christianity"

The chronicler William of Tyre, in attempting to blame the Templars for depriving the Franks of a strong ally, states that Sinan's embassy proposed to embrace Christianity (47).

It is probable that the Isma'ili embassy mentioned to the King something about the relationship between their religious views and Christian beliefs. They would have emphasized their high regard for Jesus ('Isa) as being both a Prophet and a Natiq ("speaker or addresser") (48).

For as will be seen later, the Ismailis believe that God has been sending, since the beginning of the human world, a succession of prophets. for the guidance of human beings who are always in need for such guidance. According to them, religions evolve froth one another and each represents a certain stage in the chronic evolution.

After the death of Amairic 1, in 1174, C.E. and the withdrawal of Saladin's army from their territories, the Syrian Ismailis seem to have thrown their weight on the side of Saladin in his wars against the Franks. The reason for this was that the hostile attitude of the Templars and the hospitaller towards the Ismailis in disregard of the official policy of Jerusalem, and the aggressiveness of the Hospitaller who in 1186 C.E.set up their military headquarters at al-Marqab, less than 1 3 miles north-west of al-Qadmus, left Sinan with no alternative other than to ally himself with Saladin (49).

Only after the death of Sinan was a new move

made towards improving relations between the Ismailis

and the Franks. It is reported that the successor to

the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the husband of the

widow of Conrad of Montferrat, Henry of Champagne,

then visited the Ismailis on his way from Acre to Antioch (50).

The Death of Sinan:

The great Isma'ili leader Rashid al-Din Sinan, whose nickname Shaykh 'al-Jabal used to be mentioned in frightened whispers at the courts of king and princes, died in 589/1193. The well-known Sunni author Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi gives the date of his death as 588/1192 and describes him as a man of knowledge, statecraft and skill in winning men's hearts. The Bustan ai-Jami states that the chief of the Ismailis Sinan died in 589/1193 and was succeeded by "an ignorant person'; named Nasr al-'Ajami. Bar Hebraeus also relates that Sinan died in 1193 C.E. and was succeeded by a certain man whose name was Nasr. He adds that the Sinan's followers did not believe that he was really dead. Other sources state that Sinan had been treated by his followers as God, and lbn Khallikan, as already mentioned, refers to his sect being called by his name, namely al-Sinaniya (51). -

Although the Isma'ili sources are mostly doctrinal, they contain certain clues to the history of the movement; Some of these sources include Sinan in the genealogical tree of the Imam (52). The Syrian Isma'ili da'i Nur al-Din Ahmad (d. 749\1384), after giving a description of the way in which Sinan used to spend his days and of his physical characteristics, continues: "he was handsome, middling in height, having wide black eyes, set in a ruddy face tending to brow 'n, eloquent in expression. powerful in argument, sharp of vision, swift in improvisation, an unmatched in the principles of philosophy and in the sciences of allegorical interpretation, poetry and astronomy (alfalak)" (53).

In the non-isma'ili sources, there are indications

that Sinan was buried at at-Kahf or al-Qadmus; but

'Arif Tamir states in an article that his grave is in Jabal

Mashhad, where Sinan used to spend much of his time praying and practising astronomy. (54)



1. B. Lewis published four main articles in connection with the Syrian Ismailis: "Sources for the History of the Syrian Assassins,"Speculum (Oct. 1952); Three Biographies,.. .. (Istanbul. 1953);"Saladin and the Assassins." BSOAS, XV/2 (1953). pp. 239-245;11 A History of the Crusades, Vol. 1, ed. K.M. Setton (Phil. 1955).

pp. 99-132.

2. W. Ivanow. "Rashid ai-Din Sinan." in the E'l, (lst ed.): A History of Crusades, ed. K.M. Setton. .. Vol. 1, p. 121.

3. Arif Tamir, who relies on an unpublished MS. in his possession entitled Fusul wa Akhbar (Chapters and traditions) and also on other Syrian MSS.. states that Sinan lived 58 years. This MS.. which is believed to have been compiled by an Isma'ili writer called Nur ai-Din Ahmad, either in the 7th or 8th century A.H., seems to be of a considerable historical value, and will be published by 'Arif Tamir. See his novel Sinan and Salah al-Din (Beirut 1956). pp. 32-33; Mustafa Ghalib in Ta'rikh al-Da'wa al-Isma'iliya (Damascus 1953). p. 210. gives the date of Sinan's birth as 5281 1133; but does not specify his sources. However, it seems that he drew his materials on Sinan from the following three Isma'ili MSS.. Kitab al-Bustan by al-Da'i Hasan Ibn Shams al-Din,

pp. 263-264, Kitab al-Mithaq, by the Syrian da'i 'Abd ai-Malik.pp. 14-16; and Kilab Bayt al-Da'wa. Op. 102-103. ,

4. Yaqut (Ibn 'Abdallah al-Rumi) al-Hamawi. Mu-jam Al-Buldan (Beirut 1374-1955), Vol. 4, p. 137; M.G.S. Hodgson, The. Order of Assassins... Vol. 1. pg 120.

5. A.Tamir."Mazyadal-Hillial-Asadi."(b.In Hillah Al Misyal) in al-Machriq. 1956, pp. 449-455. and 466-484, "Sinan Rashid al-Din or Shaykh ai-Jabal." in al-Adib. (August 1953): Mustafa Ghalib, Tarikh al.Da'wa.... (Damascus 1953). pp. 210- 214.

6. Al-Qahir is generally referred to as Hasan 1. For further details on his genealogical tree see Mustafa Ghalib. Tarikh al-Da'we.... pp. 203-208; The Syrian Isma'ili MS. No' 1 in Appendix 1. entitled Asami Khulafa' Fatima Ridwan Allah 'Alayhim...p. 249; on madrasa, see Ernest Diez's article. "Masiid." in the New Encyclopaedia of Islam, pp. 383-388.

7. There is a possibility that Sinan Was appointed by the Imam Hasan 1 (Al-Qahir). and that the appointment was later confirmed by his son Hasan II (Aka 1)Dhikrihi al-Salam), after the latter's succession to the Imamate. Sibt Ibn-Jawzi, Mir'at az-Zaman (AH. 495-654). cd. J.R. Jewet. Chicago 1907, p. 269, states that Sinan came to Syria during the Imamate of Nur al-Din Muhammad II (C.E. 1166-1210).

8.B.Lewis, "Three Biographies." pp. 327-328. 336-344 S.Guyard.

"Un Grand Maitre des Assassins au temps de Saladin", in J.A.Paris.1877pg 353-356. Mustafa Ghalib Tarikh al-Dawa...

p. 210.

9. al-laynaqa is also pronounced al-Miniqa. The Arabic script confuses the reader, because the letter (n) could be taken either preceding the letter (i). in which case the word is al-Mahiqa, or following the letter (i). making it al-Maynaqa. Even at the present lime the Syrian Isma'ilis are not unanimous about the name. Those of Misyaf and Qadmus spell it al-Manniqa (with shaddah on the 'n'). while the Isma'ilis of Salamiya and al-Khawabi spell it al-Maynaqa (with a fatha on the 'n' and Sukun in the ya. For further explanations of the world consult. S. Guyard, "Un Grand Maitre," JA' Ser. IV, 1848. pp. 489, 493.

10. See notes on Abu Firas's book, Sillam al-Su'ud ila Dar al- Khulud in appendix 1 S. Guyard. "Un grand maitre des Assassins". J.A. 1877. pp. 357-358; M.C. Defremery. "Nouvelles Recherches sur les Ismaeliens de Syrie". J.A. Ser. V, 1855. pp. 5-7.

11. On Jabal al-Summaq, see Yaqut (b. 'Abd Ailah ai-Rume). Mu, jam al-Buldan, ed. Wustenfeld. 1278/1866. Vol. 4. p. 816.

12. The non-isma'ili sources are unlikely to have known the activities of the chief Isma'ili agents.

The following are the four main fortress that were either captured or bought by the Isma'ilis.

(a)Al-Qadmus' This fortress was sold by Sayf al-Din Ibn 'Amrun to the Isma'ili da'i Abu al-Fath in 527\1132.

(b)Kharibah It is about 12 miles north east of al-Qadmus. and was captured from the Franks in 531\1136.

(c)Al- Kahf. One of the most important Isma'ili strongholds. It was acquired in 530/1135/6

(d) Misyaf' It was captured in 535/1140 from a governor appointed by Banu Munqidh.

On the other Isma'ili strongholds see:

S.Guyard, "Un Grand Maitre".... J.A. 1877, pp. 350-351: M.C. Defremery, "Nouvelles Recherches sur les Ismaeliens"..J.A. (May-June 1854), pp. 411-417;

C. Cahen, La Syrie de Nord a l'epoque des Croisades, (Paris, 1940). . pp. 353-354-.

A Critical edition of an unknown source for the life of al-Malik al- Zahir Baibars. by Abdul'Aziz ai-Khowayter (Ph.D. Thesis London 1960), Vol. 3, p. 1217. where is stated that 'Alam al-Dawla Yusuf .. Ibn Muhriz surrendered al-Qadmus to the Isma'ilis in 523/1128.

13. The annual tribute exacted from the Isma'ilis by the Templars is estimated to have been 2000 gold pieces. For the sources dealing with the murder of Raymond II, see A History of the Crusades:, ed. K.M. Setton. (Phil. 1955). p. 120. Abu Muhammad's burial place is believed by the local Isma'ilis to be 5 miles east of al-Qadmus.

14. The Isma'ili sources do not indicate clearly the differences among the Isma'ilis. but an indirect hint to that effect is reported in the form of letters or instructions being sent by the Imams of Alamut, asking their followers to unite and to drop their differences.... One of these letters is reported by an Isma'ili da'i named as Ibrahim Ibn al-Faqaris' The manuscript was compiled in 8901'1485. See M. Ghalib, Tarikh al-Da'wa.... pp. 199-201. where the letter is reproduced.

15. Pigeons for delivering both urgent and ordinary messages were widely used by the Fatimids. See Hasan Ibrahim Hasan, Tarikh al Dawla al Fatimiya (Cairo, 1958) p.295.

16. Al-Marqab was in the hands of the Hospitaller. and was used by the Franks as a key point for staging their attacks on the Muslim principalities. For the exact geographical locations of the Isma'ili and Frankish castles, consult the attached map.

17. On Jabal Bahra, see Rene Dussaud, Topographi Historique, Paris, 1927, p.146ff.

18. The Syrian Isma'ili da'i Nur al-Din Ahmad (717-749\1317-1348) in his Fusul wa Akhbar. P. 164, reports that Sinan used to spend his weekdays moving between the four castles, namely, al-Kahf, Misyaf, al-Qadmus and al-'Ullayqa. and also that Sinan used to pay secret visits to Syayzar. Hama, Hims and other Syrian districts. See 'Arif Tamir, Sinan wa Salah al-Din, (1956). p. 33, and his article, "Haqiqat lkhwan al-Safa". in al-Machriq (March- April 1957), pp. 132-133.

19. These reports are quite probable since Sinan was at the beginning of his career in Syria.

Cf. M.C. Defremery, "Recherches sur les Ismaeliens". J.A. (Janvier 1955), pp. 7. 11. 38.

20. According to the Isma'ilis, the Imam is the sole spiritual and temporal head of the community and he can interpret the Qur'an and the Shari'a in general. He combines all the qualities of Plato's philosopher king and al-Farabi's Chief of the Virtuous City. See Chapter V in Part Two'.

21. In the Syrian Isma'ili MS. three aphorisms or chapters (Fusul) are headed as "the noble words". with the first one clearly indicated to be from the "noble words" of Sinan and the others are without any reference to Sinan. For the first chapter (Fasi), see S. Guyard Fragment Relatifs.... XXII (1874). pp. 17-19; by same author "Un grand maitre". J.A. 1877. anecdotes. 7. 12. 14. 17. 19. 20. 21, 22 and 23. where Abu Firas' views on Sinan are studied; Shihab ai-Din Abu Firas, Sullam al-Su'ud.... Chapter 1. Bk. 3. pp. 208-213 (excerpts from the MS. in Appendix 1).

22. The great Sufi poet. Jaial ai-Din al-Rumi (604-672\1207-1273) who is revered by the Ismailis, was given the title Mawli. See 'Arif Temir. "Jalai ai-Din al-Rumi" in al-Adib. (March 1,956). p. 47.

23.The doctrine of the Seventh Imam and his special status belongs to the pre-Fatimid period. The Isma'ilis believe that our worldly life is divided into seven epochs - each being started with a prophet and his as as (base or foundation). Between one epoch and the other there are seven Imams, and the lost Imam of the epoch is believed to be the one who proclaims the Great Qiyama (Resurrect. lion). For more details see Chapter V in Part Two.

24.Arif Tamir's articles: "Sinan Rashid al-Din".... in al-Adib (August 1953). pp. 53-56, land two other articles on Mazyad af-Hilli al-Asadi in Al-Machriq (1956). pp. 449-455 and 466-484. Also consult the genealogical tree (A and B)-facing page 40.

25.In the genealogical tree (B). which in large represents the Syrian Isma'ili genealogical trees until the second half of the 19th century C.E., the names Hasan II and Muhammad II. do not appear. It is only at the time of Jalal al-Din Hasan Ill, that the genealogical tree of the Mu'mini and Qasim Shahi Isma'ilis meet again.

26.-The Travels of Ibn Jubayr, (English translation by R.J.C. Broadhurst, London 1952, pp. 264-265; Ibn Khalikan's Biographical Dictionary, (Eng. tr.) by Baron MacGuckin de Siane, Vol. 3, p. 239. B-On the titles given to Sinan, see, Sibt Ibn ai-Jawzi, Mir'at az-Zarnan, ed. J.h. Jewet, Chicago, 1907. p. 269; "Bustan al-Jami". ed. C. Cahen, in B.E, De I.F.D.. Vol. VII-VIII. 1937-1938, P. 151 : Ibn al-Athir ('Ali Ibn Muhammad). al-Kamil.... Cairo, 1884-5. Vol. 12, p. 31 : Abu Shama, Kitab al-Rawdatayn, Cairo, 128711870. Vol. 1. p. 258.

27.This may account for the elevation of Sinan's spiritual status.It is interesting to recall here how the chief da'i of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, Hamza Ibn 'Ali, assumed the title of al-'aqql (intellect) when al-Hakim was elevated to a highest status.

28. Michael Labbad. al-Isma'iliyun pp. 61. 62.

29.The inadequate materials on the organisation of the da'wa given in Syrian Isma'ili sources ran only be supplemented to a small extent by the also meagre information found in the general Arabic sources. However, the general shape of the organisation is clear, as it was based on the mother organisation in Alamut. See S.

Guyard, "Un Maitre pp. 358, 366. 370; 'Arif Temir, Sinan

pp. 25. 33.

30.S. Guyard, Fragments.... pp. 37-38; M. Max van Berchern. "Epigraphie.. .. " pp. 456. 488. 495, where the names of the chief da'is appear on the inscriptions preceded by the title al-Mawla al-Sahib and other honorific titles such as Taj al-Din (crown of religion). Maid al-Din (glory of religion) etc. On the term mazir, which is incidentally still used in the present day Syrian Isma'ili hierarchy see text, p. 1 25.

31.Ja'bar is situated on the Euphrates River, and belonged to a descendant of the 'Uqaylid Salim Ibn Malik. See Ibn al-Athir. in Recueil des Historiens des Croisades-Historiens Orientaux, Paris, 1872, Tome 1, p. 451 : Yaqut, Mu'jam al-Buldan. ed. Wustenfeld, Vol. 11. p. 84.

32. Ibn Khallikan, Biographical Dictionary .... Vol. 3, p. 340-341. where he gives a threatening letter from Sinan to Nur al-Din in answer a previous letter from the latter. It is More Probable that this letter was sent to Saladin, but this does not discount the probability that there were threatening letters between the two leaders. The Arabic sources state that Nur al din was preparing before his death to march against Saladin. See Ibn al Adim .. Zubdat al Talab..ed. Sami Dahhan..1954, p340, Abu Shama (Shihab al-Din) Kitab al Rawdatayn.. Cairo 1287\1870-71, Vol1.pp.228-230. B.Lewis. Three Biographies.p.338

33. Ibn Shaddad (Baha' al-Din). "al-Nawadir at-Sultaniya," in Rec. Des.Hist.Des Croisades,Historiens Orientaux,. 1884, Tome 3. p. 58; "Ibn al-Athir" in Rec. Hist. Des. Croisades, Hist. Orientaux. 1872. p.615

34.On Abu Qubays see Yaqut, ed. Wustendeld. Vol. 1. p. 102.

35.For more details on the actual attempts see Abu Shama (Shihab al-Din .... ). Kitab alRawdatayn.... Cairo, 1287/1870-71. Vol. 1. pp. 239-240, 258; "Ibn al-Athir." in Rec. Des. Hist. Des. Croisades, Hist. Or. Paris 1872, Tome 1, p. 673; "al-'Bustan al- Jami" ed. C.Cahen.... p. 141, where the Bustan confuses the two attempts. See B. Lewis "Saladin and the Assassins," in BSOAS, XV. 1953. pp. 239-240. where the source on both attempts are given.

36. See Mustafa Ghalib; Ta'rikh al-Da'wa,.... p. 211.

37. Abu Shama, Kitab al-Rawdata in .... Vol, 1 p. 221; Ibn al-Athir

('Ali Ibn Muhaddad), al-Kamil, Cairo 1884-85. Vol. II, pp. 149- 150. lbn Khallikan, wafayat al-A'Van-Arabic text, (3 vols.) Cairo 1299/1881. Vol. 2. p. 89.

38. B. lewis, "Saladin and the Assassins." (BSOAS. 1953, XV/2). pp. 241-2.

39. S. Guyard, "Un grand maitre"....J.A. 1877, anecdote X. pp. 418-419.

40. Abu Firas tells stories showing the telepathic powers of Sinan and how miraculously he was able to evade being captured by Saladin's forces etc. See S. Guyard, "Un grand maitre...." J.A. . (1877). pp. 458-62. Earlier Hasan al-Sabbah actually did introduce a knife by the bed of the Saljuq Sultan Sanjar. See: M. Defremery, "Histoire des Seldjoukides. Ext. du Tarikh-Guzidehl . J. A,

4e ser. T 13, pp. 32-34; M. Ghalib Ta'rikh al-Da'wa..... p. 213.

41. Abu Shama, Kitab al-Rawdatayn.... Vol. 1, p. 261; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil.... ed. J.C. Tornberg, Leiden-Uppsala, 1851-1876, Vols. (10-11). p. 289; B. Lewis, "Saladin and the Assassins,".... pp. 240-241.

42. Le Patriarche Stephane al -Duwayhi, "7a'rikh al-Azminah (C.E. 1095-1699)" translated into Arabic by Ferdinand Taoutel, S.J. in al- Machriq. 44. (1950) p. 88, Mustafa Ghalib. Ta'rikh al-Da'wa.... p.213, where the author says that Saladin's nephew Muhammad was in command of the Isma'ili "contingent" (firqah) that took, part in the battle of Hittin.

43. C. Cahen, La Syrie du Nord. ... pp. 179. 511.

44. M. Defremery, "Recherches sur les Ismaeliens.".... J.A. May June 1854, pp. 420-21 : The Itinery of Rabbi Benjamin of Tudela, by A. Asher, London 1840-1. p. 50.

45. "Ta'rikh al-Azminah," Arabic tr. by Ferdinand Taoutel, S.J.. in al-Machriq. 44. 1950, P. 67. Thomas Keightley, The Crusaders. (London 1833). Vol, 11, pp. 140-141. where the author states that Amalric was engaged to reimburse the Templars out of his own revenues.

46. Guillaume de Tyr-"Histoire des Croisades." in Collection memoires relatifs a l'histoire de France, ed. N. Guizot, 31 Vols. (Paris 1823-1835), Ill, pp. 296-299. Jacques de Vitry, "Histoire de France, Vol XXII, p50; Charle E. Nowell, The Old Man of the Mountain, Speculum-October 1947. pp. 505-506, where author tries to link the alleged Ismaili move towards embracing Christianity with the reforms in the Isma'ili beliefs introduced by the Imam Hassan II, Ala Dhikrihi al-Salam.

47. According to the Isma'ilis, Muhammad, Jesus and Moses were Natiqs ("Speakers") and each had an Asas (base foundation). Concerning these terms see Part Two, Chapter V and Appendix 1.

48. C. Cahen, La Syfie du Nord.... pp. 514ff.

49. R. Grousset, Histoire des Croisades.... Paris 1934. Vol. Ill pp.91, 133.

50. Sibt Ibn al-Jawzi.., .. p. 269; Le "Chronicon Syriacum" de Barhebraeus, (Ar. Translation), in al-Machriq (July-December 1949, pp. 461-62. The Travels of Ibn Jubayr. (English Translation by R.J.C. Broadhurst). 1952, pp, 264-65; Ibn Khallikan.... Wafayt al-Al'Ayan - Arabic text. Cairo 1 29911881. Vol. II. p. 251 , Jannat al-Amal, p. 61, where it is stated that Sinan died six months after the death of Saladin on the 4 March 1193.

51. MS. 2. p. 96, Appendix 1; 'Arif Tmir, "Sinan Rashid al-Din" in al-Adib (May 1953), pp. 43-46.

52. Arif Tamir, Sinan wa Salah al-Din..... p. 23, where he quote from the Isma'ili MS. Fusul wa Akhbar... p. 164.

53. M.C. Defremery- "Recherches sur les Ismaeliens"... pp. 9, 31-33: S. Guyard, "Un grand maitre...... p. 372. 'Arif Tamir "al-Amir Masyad al-Hilli al-Asadi." al-Adib, August 1953, p. 55.

Dr. Naseeh Ahmed Mirza, Melbourne (Australia)

21.0 Hakim Nizari Birjindi Kohistani

Hakim Naeemuddin bin Jalal-ud-din Nizari is acknowledged as one of the renowned Persian savants and poets of Seventh Century Hijri. He was also one of the famous Ismaili Da'i (Missionary) of post-Alamut era. Out of respect for Hazrat lmam Shah Nizar and to show his unequivocal allegiance to the Shia lmami Ismaili Nizari sect, he adopted the nom-de-plume (Takhallus) NIZARI. As he hailed from Birjind in Iranian Kohistan, he is also known as Birjindi or Kohistani.

He was born at Birjind in 645 Hijri (1247 C.E.) which facts he himself has corroborated in his Masnavi "DASTOORNAMA." However, very little has come to light about his early life and academic career.

The Mongol invasion of Iran and the heartless massacre of Ismailis had put an end to the small but pre-potent Ismaili theocracy of Alamut. To escape merciless persecution at the hands of Mongols as well as the bigoted local populace, the Imams after Hazrat lmam Ruknuddin Khayr Shah and their followers had to scatter and go into hiding. Hazrat Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad and his successors had to camouflage their identities under the guise of craftsmen or tradesmen. Similarly, Ismaili Da'is (Missionaries) too carried on their missionary activities underground.

During that period Mysticism (Sufism) had gained widespread popularity and Ismaili Da'is, taking advantage of this trend, adopted Mystic (Sufistic) terminology as a vehicle for propagation of Ismaili Nizari doctrines. Hakim Nizari too adopted this mode to successfully expound and propagate his faith.

Ismaili faith contains such dynamic elements that notwithstanding adoption of various foreign modes of expression for propagation to suit different times and places, it retains the pristine originality of Islam. It's survival and progressive expansion over the last twelve centuries despite innumerable odds and ceaseless persecution is ample proof of this fact.

Though the verses of Hakim Nizari are replete with Sufistic terminology and themes, it is the traditional belief of Ismailis as well as considered opinion of non-Ismaili scholars that he was without doubt a staunch Ismaili and his prosody amply reflects the spirit of Ismaili Nizari faith. For instance, to show his implicit devotion to Ahl e Bait, he sings:

"Muhabbati tu chunan muhakmast dar dili mun,

Ki aetekadi Nizari ba khandani Ali,

'Darunam Chunan pur kun az hubbi aal,

Ki digar na ganjad daran kilo kal."

(My heart is so full of your (Imam's) love as the faith of Nizari is firm on the descendants of Mowla Ali. Fill my heart with the love for Prophet's progeny so that no room for anything else is left.)

In another verse he waxes eloquently in eulogy of

Hazrat Imam Shamsuddin -Muhammad:

"Taji deen shahzadia Aalam, Ourat-ul-ain Khisrui Muazzam, Bul Maali Muhammad ibn Ali Mewai lutfi baghi lamayzli."

(O'crown of the faith, Prince of the Universe, the light of the great King's (Prophet's) eyes, exalted and the fruit of God

Almighty's garden of Grace, Hazrat Ali.)

Hazrat Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad had settled in Azerbaijan and lived a secluded life in the guise of an embroidery merchant. Only a few topmost Da'is knew about his whereabouts. most of them had spread out to far corners of Iran and Indo-Pak sub-continent ostensibly as merchants or Sufi Dervishes but actually to propagate the Ismaili faith in the areas of their respective assignment. Periodically they used to return to report and seek Imam's blessings and guidance. Hakim Nizari had also made such a pilgrimage to the Imam's headquarters in Azerbaijan and has left a record of his journey in his versified SAFARNAMA, describing his travel from Khasp in Birjind to Azerbaijan Koh-Khaf, Armenia, etc., and his audience with Hazrat Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad.

Hakim Nizari had attained a high stature in exoteric and esoteric knowledge and had developed close friendships with some of the famous learned men and Sufis of his time, especially Hazrat Mehmood Shabistry, Shaikh Solahuddin Shirazi and Shaikh Saadi. His relations with Hazrat Mehmood Shabistry were very intimate and a study of Shabistry's famous poetical work "GULSHAN-E-RAZ' reveals that either he had adopted Ismailism or was deeply effected by its esoterism (taawil).

Shaikh Saadi is also to have had developed a close friendship with Hakim Nizari and it is said that both of them used to visit each other. Scholars of medieval Persian literature over that Shaikh Saadi's verses abound with respectful references to Hakim Nizari, giving the unmistakable impression of Saadi too having had secretly accepted Ismaili faith or developed Ismailitic proclivities under Hakim Nizari's influence. In one verse, probably of the time towards the close of his life, he openly declares his affinity for the Prophet's progeny (Aley Rasool) surprisingly in a definite Ismaili vein (note the use of typically,.Ismaili term Ba-haqqi Bani Fatimi") :

"Khudaya Ba-haqqi Bani-Fatimi, Ki ba Kauli Imam Kuni Khatimah Agar dawatan rud Kuni ya kubool, mano dasto damani Aley-Rasool"

(0 God Almighty. for the sake of Bani-Fatimi Sustain my faith till the end. Whether you accept my entreaties or not, my hand firmly clings to the skirt of the Prophet's progeny (Aley-Rasool).

During his life-time., Hakim Nizari secretly but ably and with great success carried on his mission of Ismaili Da'wa. According to Oriental Biographical Dictionary, towards the close of his life he had retired to the seclusion of his birth place to devote most of his time to prayers and meditation doing a little farming for a living. He died in 720 Hijri (1320 A.D.) during the Imamat of Hazrat Imam Kasim Shah.

Hakim Nizari is considered one of the outstanding learned-men and mystics of his time. Having achieved mastery in exoteric and esoteric branches of knowledge developed up to his time, he won the dignified appellation of Hakim (Doctor), which was usually reserved only for sages and savants having mastery over the profound subjects like literature, logics, philosophy, Metaphysics, Medicine. Mathematics. Theology, etc.

Spiritually also Hakim Nizari is reported to have attained a high status. Maulvi Yasir states in his Annals that once he was passing through Birjind when he learnt of the death of the ruler of that region. While the grave for the deceased ruler was being dug out next to the grave of Hakim Nizari. the grave diggers accidentally demolished a part of Nizari's grave. To the astonishment of all present it was found That Hakim Nizari's body was as fresh as the day it was buried more than two years back. His mausoleum is visited and respectfully cared for by the people of Kohistan even today.

Hakim Nizari is acknowledged a great savant of his time and esteemed as an outstanding mystical poet of medieval Persia. Professor E. G. Browne in his literary History of Persia has ranked him with Hakim Nasir Khusraw. He has composed Rubaiyat, Kasaid, Ghazza], Mathnavi, etc. proving his mastery over almost every type of Persian metrical form. Though in some verses he has referred to wine, love , etc. their usage in no way reflects upon his piety or spiritual status as such wordily metaphors and simile were commonly used by the mystical poets of his time of express divine love and its spiritually intoxicating effects. His works extent today are listed by Professor lvanow in his "A Guide to Ismaili Literature" as follows:-

1. Diwan, 2. Abdnama, 3. Masnavi, 4. Safarnama, 5. Dastoornama, 6. Azher-o-Mazhar, 7. Rubaiyyats etc. etc.

Mr. Fakquir Muhammad. Karachi (Pakistan)

22.0 Hazrat Pir Shamsuddin Sabzwari Multani

In the lndo-Pak sub-continent, by the propagation of Islam commenced after the demise of Prophet Mohammad and Sindh was first to receive the light of Islam. At about the same time, the followers and wellwishers of Ahle Bait had started propaganda and conversion on behalf of and for Hazrat Ali and his successive Imams, who were the rightful heirs of the Prophet. The sixth Imam, Hazrat lsmail bin Hazrat Imam Jafar-as-Sadiq, and the succeeding Ismaili Imams sent out Da'is (Missionaries) to the far corners of the then known world for propagation of the True Path (Seerat-al-Mustaqim or Sat Panth in Indian language).

Hazrat Shams Sabzwari too occupies a prominent position amongst the famous Ismaili 'Da'is. He was sent by the twenty-ninth Ismaili Imam, Hazrat Kassim Shah, to preach the Ismaili Nizari faith in the subcontinent.

Pir Shams conducted his missionary activities all over the North-western and Western parts of the subcontinent and in the context of vedic scripture vis-a-vis Al-Quran, revived the idea of the necessity of a Living Guide in the minds of his non-Muslim audiences, bringing thousands of them to the beneficial fold of Ismailic Islam.

Friends of Ahle Bait did not-sacrifice their lives for the sake of name, but, in fact they sacrificed their lives for their love for the Imam and their faith. History is replete with such personalities about whom historically very little is known to-day. Pir Shams is one such consequential figure in the annals of Ismailism about whom innumerable legends abound but verifiable authentic historical references, contemprory or subsequent, are rare.

It is given in the Noorm-Mubin that Pir Shams was born at Sabzwar in Iran where he spent his childhood and adolescence in pursuit of education. Probably, in his twenties he spent working under the tilage of his father, Pir Salahuddin, in Sabzwari and perhaps in his early thirties succeeded his father and was assigned the Da'wa of Badakshan and Northern India. Conducting his missionary work with great ardour and zeal, his activities ranged from Badakshan, through Kashmir, and from Punjab, Sindh to Gujerat with Multan as his headquarters. As he spent the better part of his later years at or around Multan he was laid to rest there, hence he is also famous as Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani.

Muslim historians of medieval India have compiled volumes about Muslim rulers of their time, but did not find any time to record any facts about a sufic personage like Pir Sabzwari, who made tremendous contribution towards the spread of Islam in the lndo-Pak sub-continent, with the lamentable result that accounts of his missionary activities and spectacular achievements survive only in his own vernacular religious poetry (Ginans), local folklore or communal legends of the communities he brought to the fold of Islam (Khojas of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar, Guptis and Shamsies of Kashmir and Punjab).

In most of the local folklore and communal legends he is confused with Hazrat Shams Tabrezi and the incidents of his life are erroneously presented as those of Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani, even going to the extent of believing the latter's resting place in as that of the former. The most reliable source extent today is the surviving collection of his vernacular religion poetry (ginans), which he had composed as an effective vehicle for preaching the Ismailian faith. His ginans throw ample light on his missionary activities and in some instance give exact dates in savant era.

His genology as narrated by the lineal caretakers of his mausoleum in Multan is as follows:

Syed Shamsuddin Sabzwari Multani bin Syed

Saiahuddin bin Syed lslamuddin bin Syed Muaminshahalias Abdul Muamin bin Syed Klialiquddin bin Syed Muhibuddin alias Mushtaq bin Syed Ahmed bin Syed Hashim bin Syed Mohammed bin Syed Hadi alias Ahmed Hadi bin Syed Galibuddin bin Syed Abdul Jamal bin Syed Mansoor bin Syed Musaffir bin Syed Khaliquddin alis lsmail sani bin Syed Muhammad bin Syedna wa Imamina Ismail bin Hazrat Imam Jafar-asSadiq.

The genealogical table of Pir's which formed a part of our old Du'a too, more or less corroborates this genealogical order. As such it makes confirms that Pir Shams Sabzwari descended from Hazrat Imam Ismail and a lineage of Ismaili Pirs. Similarly, Pir Shams Tabrezi also descended directly from Ismaili Imams being a son of Hazrat Imam Alauddin Muhammad and brother of Hazrat Imam Ruknud-din Khirishah. The disappearance or probable demise of Pir Shams Tabrezi is believed to have occurred in 645 A.H./l 247 C.E.. whereas Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani is said to have been born on 17th Rajab 560 A.H./20th May 1165 C.E., arrived at Multan in 598AH/1201 C.E. and died there in 675 A.H./ 276 C.E. at the age of 115. However, the date of his demise inscribed

on the mausoleum plaque is 757 AH./l356 C.E. which, with his reported life span of 115 years, is taken as authentic, he must have been born in 642 A.H./l241 C. E. However, in his own Ginan "Surbhan Ni Vel" he states:

"Savant agiarso panchoter, Gur Shams aavia gaer;

Gatma aavi Pir Paya, Surbhan gatma aaya."

In 1175 Savant i.e. 1119 C.E. the Oreat Master

graced the house, In the fold of faith he found the Master, and Surbhan embraced the fold.

Again'in another of his ginans "Chandrabhan Ni Vel", he mentions his encounter with Chandrabhan and the latter's conversion as having taken place in 1207 savant (1150 C.E.). Besides, in his twin ginan numbered 13, he narrates the day, month and year of establishment of his preaching centre as follows:

"Eji Savant agiarso athotair, kartak wad amas,

Guruji thanak karyo, tarey hato Budhwar."

(Wednesday the last day of the month Katrik in the year 1178 Savant i.e. 1122 C.E. that the Great Master established the centre for preaching).

The years Pir Shams has indicated in these three ginans may be reconcilable with each other, but they retrograde the period of his mission by 200 years way back to the middle Alamut era. The famous researcher in Ismailism, Dr. lvanow was also of the opinion that Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani arrived in India around the time of the demise of Hazrat Imam Ala Zikrihissafam, (died 1166 C.E.). Even in some of his ginans, references of Delam desh-Alamut, are found, lending strength to the view that he lived during the Alamut era. However, in one of his garbi (Choral dance songs) he states :

"Nar 'Kasim Shah na farman thi,

Gur Shams Pir ramwa nisariya."

(On the command of the Lord Kasim Shah 1370 C.E.), The great Master saint Shams descended to play and preach).

This places his mission in post - Alamut er (14th century C.E.) and not Alamut era (12th century C.E.). The modern history of Ismaili Imams, Noorm Mubin, also gives the year of his passing as indicate on his mausoleum plaque i.e. 1356 C.E. Till further researches unearth some authentic data, we have no alternative but to accept this later date.

Hazrat Pir Shams Sabzwari first reached Gazni on his preaching mission to the Indo-Pak. (sub continent). His disciples, Vimras and Surbhan are said to have accompanied him. In one of his ginan he recounts his meeting with and conversion of Emna Sati a daughter of a Hindu tradesman.

"Pir Shams vanse sadharia, Ramta ramta Gaz

gam aviya

Tinya waniyeki beti-ye bulaya, Emna Sati ooska


(Verse 36 Mansamianrni).

"Pir Shams left that way, Rambling he reached Gazni, where he met tradesman's daughter, name Emna Sati who backoned him."

In Gazni he also met and converted the king's son Sabhaga and sent him to Badakhshan on preaching assignment. He narrates this incident in one of his works "Man-Samajamni (convincing the Mind)".

"Gazni ke betey ki suno bat, unko Pir Shamsh rakhy pas,

Sabhaga dharya unka nam, pir-e bheja Badakshan

(Verse 45 Mansmjani).

"Hear the story of Gazni's (king's) son, whom Pir Shams kept near him, his name was Sabhaga. Pir dispatched him to Badakshan".

Sabhaga is reported to have stayed in Badakshan for quite a long time, carrying out the mission entrusted to him by Pir Shams. How he was called back is narrated in 7th stanza of the said ginan. Sabhag is also mentioned in two other ginans which are in Seraike dialect.

From Gazni Pir Shams is reported to have proceded to Kashmir and then on to Chinab Nagri. It is said that he had sent his disciple Vimaras, ahead to Chinab Nagri to prepare his way. Some authorities place Chinab Nagri in China while Dr. lvanow held the view that Chinab Nagri was situated on the river

Chenab in Punjab and we concure with the latter view. He is said to have wandered through fourteen countries (regions) all the while preaching Ismaili faith and converting groups of non-Muslimst Ismailic Islam. It is also said that he established 84 Jamatkhanas, installed Mukhis and also a Musafir (later Kamdar or Kamadia in Pir Sadruddin's time to collect offerings from their respective jurisdiction and forward them to the Pir for onward transmission to the Imam's headquarter's in Iran. This arrangement is described in his work Mansamjamni (stanzas 252-270). Thereafter he proceeded to Multan where he established his headquarters and main preaching centre. There he breathed his last at Multan at the age of 115 and was laid to rest near it. In his Ginan, this area is called Uchh Multan, which has nothing to do with Uchh-Sharif of Bahawalpur State (Pak).

In one of his ginans posthmously-named "Janaza". the date, day and month of his demise are stated but the year is not mentioned.

"Eji veshakh mahino ne tarikh satarmi. Ane bresh patarwar no din, Te dine pir-e jomo separiyo, Te sifariy Uchch Multan mahe. Eji Satarso pir-na kandhi thaya. te aveya jun-e makame.

"O'hear, the month was vaisakh and date seventeenth, and the day was Thursday, that day the Pir relinquished his life and was burried at Uchh in Multan.

O'Hear seventeen hundred people carried his coffin and he returned to his original abode'.

Pir Shams was an accomplished vernacular prosodist. He has composed numerous short and long poems (ginans) in lyrical scales of folk-tunes popular among the masses of Punjab, Sind and Gujrat in his days and are sung even today in more or less the original style. He appears to have mastered most of the vernacular dialects of Northern and Western areas of Indo-Pak subcontinent, and his ginans are replete with words from Purbi, Hindi, Gujrati, Sindhi, Seraiki, and Punjabi, dialects. Some of his works having been preserved by his devoted proselytes (khojas and guptis) in memory or reduced to handwritten manuscripts and passed from generation to generation, have survived the cruel travails of six centuries. His short and long works extent today and still recited by Ismailis throughout the world are:

1. Brahma Prakash, "Divine Illumination", in verse, 150 slokas.

2. Hans Hansli ni Varta (also called Mulbandh no Achhodo). a parable of gander and goose, in 504 couplets, with refrain.

3. Chandrabhan, with a Vel, in 50 short poems, with an appendix of 12 poems.

4. Surbhan, with a Vel, of the same type as the preceding, 62 verses.

5. Raja Govarchand Tatha Teni Ben ni Katha. Govarchand becomes on ascetic and his sister Nilavanti tries to dissuade him. Two parts. 294 and 96 verses.

6. Mansamjamani (Vadi). Advices to one's mind, a large collection of pious thoughts, full of stories.

7. Sloko Moto, bigger collection of ginans, of the usual pious contents, 240 quatrains.

8. Vaek Moto, with a Vel. Discourse (bigger), with an appendix. 64 plus 31 quatrains.

9. Garbi, 28 poems sung at a festival were translated by Mr. Vali-Bhai Master, and edited by W. lvanow, in "collectanea" (Ism. Sty series "A" no. 2, Cairo, 1948, pp. 55-85).

10. Ginans, 80 in number, containing religious and moral advises in Verses.

In his ginans, Pir Shams has used various noms-de-plume like Shams, Shams Darya, Shams chot, Shams Ghazi, Shams Qalander etc. In these Ginans various moral and religious advices are given. Few quotations of which are given below.-

"Pahela nam allah ka leejey, Duja sat nabika leeje, Allah rasool jeby aankho, dil apna shah-su rakho, Shah vina aur na boojey, satki rah unko soojey. Ali-nam jampta vilamb na keejey, vai kunth ma fal to ja leejey"

(Mansamjani, verse 1)

"Firstly, remember the name of Allah, secondly, accept the truth of Prophet (Muhammed). Believe in Allah and the Prophet, and fill your heart with love of the Lord (Imam-e-Zaman). Those who do not turn to anyone except the Lord, find the way of Truth.

Those who do not hesitate to recite Ati's name, go on to harvest Heaven's fruits".

He has expressed teachings of the profound Quranic Ayats about the creator, creation, etc. in very lucid and lyrical verses:

"Sachcha mera khaliq sirjan har,

Aape upaya Shah dandhukar." -,

"True is my creator, the Lord himself evolved the


The philosophy of soul and body, he has expounded in a beautiful parable in his ginan "Prem Patan raja manasudh", (Parable of King Manshud of Prem patan and his consort) where in he has compared the soul with a ruler and the body with his consort. In another of his Ginans "Ek Shabd suno mere bhai" also he has dwelled upon this theme.

His famous work "Brahma Prakash" (Divine lumination) has few equals. It is a concise compedium, in verse for seekers of spiritual enlightenment. Besides, in another of his long work "Sloka Moto" also lie dwells upon the mystery of soul, its nature, etc. and same accounts of events, Consists of 401

poems of 20 lines each.

One of his ginans, which is famous as Ginan-e-Qudsi (the most sacred Ginan), has the immense and portents of Qiamat (Dooms day/day of judgement)as its central theme related in the form of a dialogue between the Holy. Prophet and the Archangel (Hazral Gibrael).


1 .Tarikhe Jehan Gusha translated by J.A. Boyiel The history of the world conqueror, Vol. II.

2. Tabaqate Nasiri-By Minhaj-us-Siraj-Persian edition.

3. Tarikhe Hind by al Biruni, translated into English by Sachu.

4. Akhbar ul akhyati by Abul Haqq Dihlawi. Persian edition.

5. Majalisul-Muminin by Nuruliah Shustari, Persian edition.

6. Mirate Ahmedi by Ali Mohd Khan. Persian edition.

7. Khojah Vratant by Sachedina Nanjiani. Gujrati edition.

8. 'Khojah Komno Itihas by Jaffer Rahimtuila of Bombay.

9. Noorm-Mubin By Ali Mohd. Chunara-Bombay IVth edition.

10. Tawarikhi-Pir by Sayyid Sadrudin, Vol. I & II.

11. W. Ivanow, Collectania. I.

12. W. Ivanow, article on the Sect of Imam shah in Gujrat.

13. All ginans of Pir Shams.

14. Relevant articles in the encyclopaedia of Islam. new and old editions.

Miss Zawahir Noorally, Karachi (Pakistan)


23.0 Pir Sadardin

The Celebrated Ismaili Missionary of the 14th Century

Pir Sayyid Sadruddin Al-Husayni the celebrated Ismaili missionary of the 14th Century, also designated as Bargur, Pir Sadar Din, Sohodev, Vasimuhammad. and Haji Sadar Shah. was born on Monday 2nd Rabiul of the year 700 after Hijra in the village Sabzwar in Persia. Different sources providing information about the saint are not unanimous about the year of his birth - the discrepancy varies from a couple of decades to nearly half a century. For example, Tawarikh-e-Pir mentions the year as 650 A.H. whereas the Shajara from which Prof. W. Ivanow derives his information as published in his paper "The sect of Imam Shah in Gujrat" (1938) places his birth in 689 A.H. or 1 290 of the Christian Era.

Pir Sadar Din who traces his descent from Imam Ja'far-as-Sadiq (d. 148/763) came to India during the period of Imamat of Imam Kasim Shah (bet. 1310 C.E. and 1370 C.E.) and was raised to the dignity of Pirship by Imam Islam Shah - the 30th Imam in the traditional genealogical list of the Nizari branch of the Ismaili persuasion. His name appears in the 26th place amongst the authorised Pirs mentioned in the Holy Du'a. His father's name as given in the "Gulzar-eShams" and corroborated by "Satveni Moti" and "Satveniji Vel" both alleged to have been written by Sayyid Muhammad Shah Bin Imam Shah, was Pir Shihabuddin alias Sahebdin to whom five of the Ginans are attributed and his mother was Noor Fatima bi'nt Ibrahim Sabzawari.

The complete genealogy of the Pir as cited in the

"Gulzar-e-Shams" runs as follows:-

1 . Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq

2. Sayyid lsmail Arizi Akbar

3. Sayyid Muhammad Arizi

4. Sayyid Ismail Sani (Imamuddin)

5. Sayyid Muhammad Mansur Khakani

6. Sayyid Ghalibuddin.

7. Sayyid Abdul Majid.

8. Sayyid Mustansirbiiiah.

9. Sayyid Ahmed Hadi.

10. Sayyid Hashim

11. Sayyid Muhammad

12. Sayyid Muhammad Sabzawari.

13. Sayyid Muhammad Mohibdin

14. Sayyid Khaliqdin alias Sayyid Ali

15. Sayyid Abdui Momin Shah

16. Sayyid Noorbaksh lmamdin

17. Sayyid Salahuddin

18. Sayyid Shamsuddin Iraqi or Sabzawari

19. Sayyid Nasiruddin

20. Sayyid Pir Shihabuddin

21. Sayyid Pir Sadruddin.

Pir Sadruddin, as the tradition maintains, had taken training in the field of preaching under Pir Shams Sabzawari (d. 757 A.H.) and had accompanied the latter during his visit to Sindh, Punjab and Kashmir.

It is true that he was not the pioneer Ismaili Da'i who preached Ismailism in India nevertheless it was chiefly due to his sublime preaching, indefatigable courage and tireless endeavours that the present Khoj'a community has come into existence. Etymological derivation of the appellation "Khoja" is based on the Arabic word "Khawaja" i.e, master which in course of its use by the proselytised and indoctrinated natives unused to this alien language has assumed the present form which has acquired international recognition. The very first "Jamatkhana" - the prayer house for the new converts i.e., Khojas was established by him at "Kotda" - a village in Punjab (West Pakistan). This fact is well reflected in the following translation of the verses from the work "Jannat Nama" or "Jannatpuri" composed by his grandson Sayyid Imamshah bin Pir Hasan Kabiruddin.


Pir Sadruddin organised the community (Faith) and openly established the Khana" (Jamatkhana) in a house.

Having arrived in the village "Kotda" he established the first "Khana." Pir Sadruddin became manifest and changed Hindus into Muslims;

Having converted "Lohanas" into "Khojas" gave them the True faith.

Call Khoja - a bondman of Shah Ali, he is devotee of his Aal (successors).

There (in Kotda) having organised the community

he established the "Khana" and well indoctrinated


Formerly there was the "Khana" of Surjarani but that was secret; know ye, the True Pir Sadruddin recited Ginans (preached) in the village Kotda.

In the village "Kotda" there lived Trikam'

He openly professed faith and adopted the name


Thus spread the "Deen" of the Preceptor and this

was the age of Shri Islamshah'

To day, the place called Uchh - and there lies our abode."

The above verses abound in historical information to a considerable extent and need explanation and information - Historical as well as mythological about some of the terms as well as the names of the personalities to whom allusions are made. But it inconceivable and next to impossible to do justice to such a subject in this paper and condense the matter in the place allotted for this article. Neither it is possible to scrutinize and penetrate into some of the facts pertaining to the origin of Khojas and the references in the Ginans as well as the doctrines, tene and the social structure of the community.

Pir Sadruddin has taken great pains for the promulgation of Islam and through it Ismailism in India. Having acquired a thorough mastery over the literature beliefs and mythology of the Hindus and comparing the tenets and doctrines of Hinduism with those of Islam, he has very vividly shown that the advent of Islam is predicted in the Hindu scriptures like Atharv Veda, Allopanished etc. To express these facts more lively and emphatically he composed several hundred religious hymns and verses in the dialects of different provinces of India which are popularly called "Ginans (Cf. Sanskrit "Jnyanam") meaning knowledge. In one of the Ginans it is found:

We have explained in thirty-six languages an

fouty-two melodies and yet,

The deaf would not listen, oh my brother!

Thus the Ginans are polygiotic and melodious and yet even a layman can find in them all that he needs for spiritual illumination. The Ginans minister to all the spiritual needs of a man. They knock at the inner recesses of his heart and make a direct impact on his mind. The truer and simpler the more interesting they are. It is not seldom that one finds a sincere follower lost in the recitation of melodious Ginans. One often witnesses his heart in assimilating the sublime and

illuminating preaching pushing forth a stream of tears from his eyes.

Pir Sadruddin, like all other Pirs and Sayyids - often included Hindu mythology and religious beliefs in the Ginans in order to spread Islam through love and peace. In this tremendous task of preach Ismailism in an alien country he was assisted by twelve persons who were a so well versed in religious matters.

This great talented saint whose philosophy and preaching has played such an enormous role in saving a multitude of people from sweeping inundation polytheism and who smilingly underwent all the vicissitudes encountered in his tremendous task was man of strong character and self-abnegation. For two thirds of the period of a day he was absorbed in meditation and prayers. During the period of Pirship when he sojourned in India only twice he had the fortune of paying a visit to Persia and seeing - the Deedar of the Imam of his time openly. Description of his second visit to Imam Islamshah residing Persia and the impendiments encountered in seeing his Deedar is vividly narrated in the work "Nav Chhuga" by his son and successor Pir Hasan Kabir-uddin.

Out of his several works and small Ginans on one is the most popular and that is Das Avatar. This work was produced as an exhibit in the First Aga Khan case 1866 and was of tremendous help in falsifying the charges forged by the contending seceders who claimed to be the adherents of Sunnism and intended to prove that Pir Sadruddin was a man of Sunni persuasion and that the Khojas were Sunnis too.

In this connection it would be worthwhile to quote

a couple of paragraphs from the judgement given by Judge Sir Joseph Arnold in 1866:

"On the one hand says the learned judge: "The relators and plaintiffs contend that Pir Sadr-uddin (whom both sides admit to have originally converted the Khojas from Hinduism to some form of Muhammadanism) was a Sunni that the Khoja community has ever since its first conversion been and now is, Sunni and that no persons calling themselves Khojas who are not Sunnis, are entitled to be considered member of the Khoja community, or to have any share or interest in the public property of the Khoja community or to have any share or interest in the public property of the Khoja community or any voice in the management thereof.

On the other side, it is maintained by the first defendant i.e., Aga Khani and by the other defendants who are in the same interest with him, that Pir Sadruddin was not a Sunni but a Shia of the Imami Ismaili persuasion; that he was a "Da'i or missionary of one of the direct lineal ancestors of the first defendant the Imam or spiritual chief for the time then being of the Imamie Ismailis; that from the time of the first conversion till now the Khoja community has been and still is (with the exception of the relators and plaintiffs and those comparatively few families among the Bombay Khojas who adhere to them), of the Shia Imamie Ismaili persuasion; that the said community (except as aforesaid) always has been bound in close ties of spiritual allegiance to the ancestors of first defendants, Aga Khan, the hereditary chiefs Imams of the Ismailis, whom the Khoja community always have regarded and (except as above) still regard as their Murshid or spiritual head."

Further on during the course of his judgement Sir

Arnold emphatically expressed: "That conclusion

is that the preponderating tradition of the Khoja

community is substantially correct. that Pir Sadru-uddin was a Da'i or missionary of the hereditary Imams of the Ismailis (probably of Shah Islamshah) and that he converted the first Khojas to the Shi'a Imami Ismaili form of Muhammadanism."

This work - Das Avatar - was also referred to in the 2nd Aga Khan case (1908) when the plaintiffs left no stone unturned to prove that the Ismaili Imams and the Khojas were the adherents of Ithnaashari faith. (Here we do not intend to deal with the allegations and misrepresentations of the facts regarding the Pir and the Khoja community).

Pir Sadruddin passed away on 12th Rajab 91 8 A.H. at Utchh and was buried at Trinda Gorgej about 15 miles from Utchh in the Bhawalpur State where stands his mausoleum. (Tawarikh-e-Pir gives the date of his death) as 770 A.H. and accorchng to Shajara it is 782/1380). He had five sons - Pir Hasan Kabiruddin, Zaherdin, Sa]ahuddin, Jamaluddin and Pir Tajuddin (some sources give six or seven sons).

Of course, it is left to the future to prove genuineness of some of his works till some old manuscripts are traced with the known works of which the authorship is assigned to Pir Sadruddin (or other Pirs as well as Sayyids) and also to show the gradual evolution of the language - originally old Gujrati (or Prakrit) current in those days - which underwent refinement and changes with the progress of time as necessitated to keep up the spirit of the work and adjust certain matters and words to the changing and ever progressing time. Ismailism has always remained a dynamic force and it is because of its flexibility and adjustment of principles to constantly altering and advancing human progress with its scientific achievements that, in spite of the vicissitudes through which it passed it has remained a living force under the guidance of Holy Imams.

A systematic and thorough investigation in our Khojki literature-which has yet remained a closed book - will not only reveal many an interesting fact and serve as a link to trace back the history of centuries which still rests on semi-mythological bases but also add a new chapter in the annals of Gujrati language as a whole. It is not only our Ginans that have suffered alterations in the course of centuries but there are several Bhajans - religious songs - of Narsi Mehta, Miranbai and other renowned poets of Gujrat which have also had to pass through this phase. The language of the most popular Bhajan of Narsi Mehta viz. "Vishnav jan to tene Kahiya" which occupied a prominent place in the prayer congruations of Mahatma Gandhi, is quite modern and refined - and is certainly not the one current in the days of this devotee of Krishna. It is extremely regretable that the people of our community entertain such an un-believable indifference towards our ancient manuscripts. They are either so negligent as to dispense with them by selling by weight as scrap to realise a couple of annas or rupees or are over enthusiastic to keep them as something sacred which might, by its mere existence, serve as good omen or as souvenir, of ancestral inheritage till it is rendered useless owing to worms or decay. There is still one more group that revere this literature and under the force of religious sentiments and respect for the preachings of the Pirs, but unable to read it, throws this invaluable treasure either in a well or the sea or still to be on the safer side burns it to ashes.

Several manuscripts have been destroyed or lost in this way. Even the 400-year old manuscript used as an exhibit in the Aga Khan case of 1908 is also untraceable. It is high time now - or may it perhaps never come - that whatever few manuscripts still existing in possession of individuals or institutions should be gathered in one collection and preserved with utmost care. It was with the help of some manuscripts in my possession that some incidents pertaining to the life of Pir Abul Hasan, Pir Shihabuddin Shah and Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah could be traced. Such a collection will also open a new field for the student who intends to work on the derivation of Khojki Script which is so rapidly disappearing from our literature.

"In the Ginans which Pir Sadruddin has composed, he has taken the gist of the Holy Quran and explained it in the languages current in India.

Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah said:

Do you know which village Pir Sadruddin came from? You will know if you read his life-history. You were Hindus. From the exegesis of the Holy Quran Pir Sadruddin composed Ginan and explained to you.

1. Buj Nirinian: (knowledge or cognition of God). In this work the Pir deals with the ways and means of attaining union with the divine Light.

2.. Aradh: (Worship or Adoration). It is a doxology. . In the later stages it develops into adoration of Hazrat Ali who manifested himself in every age ere the creation of aught.

3. Vinod : (Merriment or bliss). Adoration of God who created the universe and ends in supplication to Hazrat Ali.

4. Gayantri: (The work composed te supplant Gayeetri the sacred prayers of Hindus). It exhorts the followers to give up all the past things of Hinduism and adopt Islam.

5. Athar Ved: It is an interpretation of the Ather Ved - the last of the four Vedas of the Hindus. It is chiefly the adoration of Naklank.

6. Surat Samachar: (Information about appearance). It maintains giving illustration, that two good things are rarely found to co-exist simultaneously. It also gives descriptive comparison and discrimination between good and evil, admonitions to sinners, code of ethics, greatness of a true preceptor, etc.

7. Girbhavali.- (Smaller) : (Secrets). It is an imaginary conversation between Shankar and Parvati about the universe, its contents, etc.

8. Budh Avatar : This deals in detail about the story of the 9th incarnation i.e., Buddha of Vishnu.

9. Das Avatar (Smaller:) Deals with ten incranations of Vishnu and finally comes to Islam.

10. To Munivarbhai Moti or Momin Chitveni (Knitting up of a Momin's mind or indication of the mind of a Momin): Deals with the creation of the world, the reason of Vishnu's taking incarnation, ethics, etc.,

11. Bawan Ghati: (Fifty-two passes): Deals with imaginary fifty- two passes where the angels will question a soul about its different acts in the world. -

12. Girbhavali (bigger): Deals with a number of

esoteric matters. (An enlargement of No. 7).

13. Khat Nirinjan: (Six Nirinjans) deals with the creation of the universe, true way of adoring God, beauties and greatness of Islam and Satpanth etc.

14. Khat Darshan: (Six Darshans) Darshan is a common designation assigned to the six schools of Hindu Philosophy. It touches various matters of Satpanth and can well be termed an encyclopaedia of Satpanth and Khojki literature.

15. Bawan bodth, so Kirya and Sahi Samrani: (52 admonition. 100 rituals and real remembrance). Deals with behaviour, morality, cleanliness etc.

16. Saloko (Smaller) (a Collection of Verses): Gives comparison and discrimination between good and bad. Giving an example prayers, devotion, speaking truth etc. Warns against hypocrisy and idolatry.

17. Du'a: (Prayer). It is the prayer recited by the Khojas. Contains some verses from the Quran, names of Imams, names of Pirs, supplications etc.. etc.

18. Ginan: (Religious hymns containing knowledge) There are more than 250 ginans dealing with a wide range of themes e.g., ethics, morality, devotion, religious rites, religious stories etc., etc.

Mr. J. H. Lakhani. Tehran (Iran)


24.0 Pir Hasan Kabiruddin

Hazrat Pir Hasan Kabiruddin bin Hazrat Pir Sadruddin bin Hazrat Pir Sahibuddin bin Hazrat Pir Naseeruddin bin Hazrat Pir Shamsuddin Sabzwari was a famous holy man of the Shia Imami Nizari Ismailis. His ancestry goes back to Hazrat Mowlana Imam Jafar as-Sadiq, and, therefore, known as al-Husayn. His other names: Sayyid Hasan Shah, Pir Hasan Shah, Makhdoom Sayyid Kabiruddin Shah, (Gur Hasan Shah, Gur Pir Hasan al-Husayn, Anant Jo Dhani, etc.

According to a popular version he was born in 742 A.H. at Uchh (Pakistan) but he himself has written that he was just five years and five days old when his father, after six months and six days, got his "iron curtain" removed and the Batuni Deedar mainfestation resumed by the grace of the Lord. The story goes like this: Hazrat Pir Sadruddin was the Holy Pir of the Age, a Qutube'Azam as the Sufies say, and received Allah's favour with inner-vision - Batuni Deedar. Once he was going to Iran, his son Pir Hasan, four and a half years old at that time, wanted to go with him. He explained to the son that he was too small to go through all those hazards of travelling. The child disappointed and brokenhearted withdrew. The Divine favour stopped and Hazrat Pir Sadruddin went blank as if an iron-curtain was drawn between him and the Lord. This shows that Hazrat Pir Hasan, though a child, was a favoured servant of God and exalted spiritually. The "iron curtain" was drawn on the 17th day of Asadh month in the Vikram year 1452, and it was removed after 6 months and 6 days, on the 23rd day of Poss month in the same year. Gur Pir Hasan writes that he was five years and five days old on the day of resumption of the Batuni Deedar to his father. This means that he was born on the 18th day of Poss month in the Vikram year 1447. that is 1391 C.E. or 792 A.H.

This article is not meant for such a discussion, but I have mentioned it here to open a door for a research in this direction. According to Gulzar-e-Shams and Noorum Mubin (Urdu Edition) Hazrat Pir Hasan Kabiruddin died in the month of Safar in the year 853 A.H. at Uchh during the reign of Husein Langa (1469-1499 C.E.) the ruler of Multan. Another Husayn Langa (son of Mahmood Langa) who ruled

the same territory between 1525 and 1533 C.E. was

a different person of the same dynasty.

With tall and lean frame, Gur Pir Hasan was extremely -handsome and attractive. His countenance was the manifestation of peace and divinity. He was very sensitive and emotional but extremely kind, patient and humble. He was soft-spoken and talked little. His large half opened eyes -always cast downward, remained full of tears. His hair on the head was short, but the beard was long and well-kept. Always clad in white dress (he occasionally wore saffron colour) he looked like an angel. Like his father, he used wooden sandals mostly, but while travelling, he wore leather footwear. His diet was simple and little. Gradually he became a strict vegetarian and preached against eating meat.

From his early childhood, he took a great interest in prayers and religious activities; and started thinking about the Creator and His creation, and meditated for hours. He was a born poet and a good debater. He travelled widely in the western, central and northern India, Kashmir, Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Iraq and Arabia; but spent most of his life in the Punjab and Gujrat. He earned his livelihood from writing copies of the Holy Quran, sewing caps and weaving. He was highly respected among the poor and in all communities. Thousands followed his Faith with a change of heart and conviction.

He was married seven times and had eighteen sons

and a daughter Bai Budhai.

One of the most important events of his life is the

weaving of 500 yards long and 9 inches wide cloth

from the cotton-like substance from the pods of a wild plant known as aak, he himself, cultivated the plant, plucked its pods, prepared the yarn and wove it into a piece of cloth 500 yards long on handlooms. The product was finer than muslin. Using saffron, dissolved in water, for ink, he wrote a lamentation and praise in poetry, to the Holy Imam-e-Zaman Mowlana Islam Shah. In each yardspace he wrote each of the 500 stanzas in Khojki character - an invention of his father. This work is known as Anat Akhado. He went to see the Holy Imam in Iran and presented the cloth which the Imam wore as a turban.

Like his great great grand father Hazrat Pir Shamsuddin and his father Hazrat Pir Sadruddin, he also, warned the followers to be careful and cautious about their Faith and the responsibilities in the time to come, during which a gradual deterioration would take place in all walks of life and the society. He predicted a great war of wars between the believers and the non-believing people. The believers are the Rikhisar (used as singular as well as plural) who have strong faith in God and practise religion as a way of life dutifully. They fear Allah and depend on Him. They are always in defensive position against the aggressive Da-yeen't (singular and plural), the non-believers. He warned them to guard their Imam and chastity, and not to be tempted by the dazzling miracles of science and the tactics of the Da-yeen't.

The mass of Da-yeen't, and their leader Kalinga, he writes, are cruel, ruthless, pretentious, extremely anti-God and provocative people. Among them there is a milder element called the Da-nav. The difference of opinion between the Da-yeen't and the Da-nav would increase and they will fight for their respective ideology. The Da-nav will lose. They will either merge with the enemy or be killed or take refuge among the believers. The leader, Kalinga, would originally come from the Da-nav. After the great revolution, he would re-organize the whole system to become the most supreme power among the nations.

Unrest and frustration will prevail all over the world. Military conflicts will start among many nations developing into bloody and costly wars which will, ultimately, ignite the greatest of all the wars that mankind has ever seen. The Pir has called this war as Anat Akhado. According to the Holy Bible it is Armageddon (Rev: XVI-16); and our Holy Prophet called it as the Fitinatud-Dajjal, which would be finally settled by Imam Mahdi (this will be his title and not the name) meaning Redeemer and Guide. The Holy Quran has mentioned it as "the coming of God and Magog" (21 : 96). He has given much detail about this great horror of horrors in his various Ginans and in the book Anat Akhado.

He composed over a thousand Ginans and wrote many books in poetry, according to Missionary Bhagat Kara Ruda. His well known works are:

(a) Gayantri.

(b) Brahma Gayantri.

(c) Hasanapuri with a vel

(d) Hasan Kabiruddin ane Kanipa no Samvad.

(e) Anat Akhado

(f) Anat na nav Chhugh.

(g) Satgurnur na Viva

(h) Anant na Viva.

(i) 79 Gnans.

For the more serious thinker his Ginans of 'Abdu' contain suitable guidance in the language of the mystics' and the sufis, to elevate the feelings. For example:

"There is whole world with all its nine continents

inside thee",

"And there are the mountains";

"And there are the seven oceans in thy self";

"But thou wouldst remain dry without the

Teacher"; (Ginan 64 v. 20)

"When the Beloved of thy Soul cometh near thee, thou becometh pure".

"Think about Him constantly with devotion";

"As, no one, wouldst know about thy mysterious pleasure".

(64 v. 1 6)

Some of his sayings:

1. "A lie may sometime ruin the whole life of the

liar". (1/19)

2. "Always think about the right and the wrong

before you do anything." (1/39).

3. "He will not be purified who keeps malice

inside and bathes his body.' (8/1).

4. "There is no better friend than God." (8/1)

5. "Humility enables You to win God's favour." (10/2)

6. "The face of the humble is divine." (10/5)

7. "The world cannot tempt him who is worried

about hereafter." (13/14).

8. "Bickering and gossiping would ruin your

faith" (15/61).

9. "God does not like the vain glorious and the

proud,'. (1 5/144).

10. "There is a devil after every righteous person"




Anat Akhado (in Khojki)-Pir Hasan Kabiruddin

A Collection of Ginans (Kh)-Pir Hasan Kabiruddin

A Dialogue with Kanipa Jogi (Kh) Pir Hasan Kabiruddin

A Collection of Ginans (Kh)-Pir Sadruddin

A Collection of Ginans (Guj)-Sayyid Imam Shah

Noorum Mubin (Urdu)-A. J. Chunara

Tawraikh-e-Pir (Guj)-Sadruddin Dharghawala

An advance History of India-R.C. Maiumdar and other


Auliya-e-Multan (UR)-Sayeed Mohammed Gilani.

Sufiya-e-Sindh (Ur)-Aejazul Haq Qudsi

Tarikh-e-Sindh (Ur)-Mir Masoom Bakhri

Tohfatul Kerm (Pr)-Mir Ali Sher Qane'

The Holy Quran (Ar)

Mishkawt Sherif (Ur)

Encyclopadia Britainnica (Eng)

A guide to Ismaili Literature (Eng) W. Ivanow.

A Translation of Girbhawalli (Guj) missionary Bhagat Kara Ruda.

Abualy A. Aziz. Upanga (Tanzania)


25.0 Syed Imamshah

"Eji Ame Tame Benda sarwe Shahib Tana, Te

Sami-ni Samarth-nu Nahi Koi Par, Satgur-e

Jevu(n) Dithoo(n) Tewn Kahiu(n) Aapne Sahu-ne

Javu(n) Chhe ae Sahib-ne Duvar

-Cheto Rikhisaro".

("0 People! we and you all are the slaves of the Lord, that Master's Omnipotence is infinite, whatever the true teacher has seen, that alone he has narrated, we all have to return unto Him ultimately

-Beware 0 Truth-seekers)

Momin Chetamani- Syed lmam-ud-din

Sadaat who have composed Holy Ginans total 33, out of whom the officially invested (canonized), Pirs (Saints) number nine. The twenty-four Sadaat who were not appointed Pirs, but used to assist various authorized Pirs in the propagation of our faith, have also made significant contributions to our Ginan lore which forms the major source of Ismailic literature and traditions of the Indo-Pak sub-continent. Amongst these twenty four Sadaats, one of the most prominent personalities is Syed Imam-ud-din alias Syed Imam Shah, whose brief history is recorded here.

Syed Imam-ud-din was the youngest of the eighteen children of Pir Syed Hasan Kabir-ud-din bin Pir Syed Sadruddin who was a descendant of Hazrat Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq. He was born on Thursday, the 21st Moharrum, 834 A.H.(1430 C.E/1486 Savant) at Uchh Sharif near Multan. His mother, Hurmat Khatun, was a daughter of Syed Alauddin bin Syed Kamal-ud-din. His other appellations are Syed Abdur-Rahim, Indra Imamdeen, Syed Imam Shah, etc... but he is famous as Syed Imam-ud-din or Syed Imam Shah amongst the Ismailis and as Pir Imam Shah or Pir Indra Imamdeen amongst the Imamshahis.

He was about 19 when his father, Pir Hasan Kabirud-din breathed his last. All the progeny of Pir Hasan Kabir-ud-din are said to have been present at the time of his death, except Syed Imam-ud-din who is reported to have been away on a preaching mission. In his absence, his eighteen brothers hurriedly divided whatever property their father had left behind, depriving Syed Imam-ud-din of his share of the inheritance.

Incidentally Syed Imam-ud-din all of a sudden returned to Uchh Sharif on the day his father was to be buried and to his great grief learnt of his father's demise. On the way to the graveyard, he learnt to his great chagrin of his brothers' treachery. He immediately halted the funeral procession and addressing his father's coffin demanded his inheritance. His brothers and their minions laughed at this apparent foolishness, but Syed Imam-ud-din was adamant. For more than three hours he held up the funeral procession and went on imploring his father for his due share. At last, it is said that, a hand appeared from the coffin with a rosary (Tasbih) which he is said to have respectfully received but kept on imploring for more. Then the hand appeared a second time with a lump of sugar (missary), which he immediately put into his mouth and expressed his satisfaction as having received his share of the inheritance. He then allowed the procession to proceed. Some of the ignorant and sycophantic people started misleading him that this miracle signified his succession to his father as Pir. Syed Imam-ud-din though tender of age about 19 but highly learned in theology and mysticism, understood the real purpose of these posthumous bequests from his father. He knew well that the office of Pir (piratan) can only be bestowed by the Imam of the time (Imam-e-Zaman) and that even a spiritually accomplished and popularly acknowledged Pir like his widely revered father did not enjoy any power or right to bestow such a gift. He immediately nipped the mischievous rumors in the bud and categorically, declared to all present that it was the prerogative of the Imam of the time (Imam-e-Zaman) alone as was evident by the cases of his father and grandfather. He explained the significance of the posthumous gifts from his father in the way that the rosary (Tasbih) signified the behest of his father to him to be more and more devoted to prayers and the lump of sugar (Missary) signified his father's urging to carry on the missionary work by sweet persuasion (preaching).

After his father's passing away, Syed Imam-ud-din remained at Uchh Sharif when he received the summons from Hazrat Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah whose headquarters at that time were at Kehk in Iran. He narrates this auspicious occasion in one of his Ginans:

Aeji Shah-na Khat Avya Vira Jmpu-deep Ma-he,

Kai Lavy Lavya Chandan vir ...........

Aeji Shah-na Khat Vanchya Pir Indra Imamdeen,

Aaj Ma-re Haide Harkh na ma-ye........

(O People! the Lord's epistle has arrived in the Indian Peninsula, Chandran vir (the name of the Imam's messenger) has brought it.........

O People! Pir Indra Imamdeen has persuaded the Lord's epistle.

Today the gladness of my heart knows no bounds)

Syed Imam-ud-din.

After participating to his father's fortieth day rites (Chalisma), he left Uchh Sharif for audience with the Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah at Kehk in Iran. On his way he passed through Sind and stopped over at Joonh. He stayed at the Jamatkhana for three days but due to the nefarious propaganda of his brothers and their minions, no one gave him any lift. He was very hurt at this treatment and was about to leave when a Khoja gentleman named Premji came to know about his plight and offered him his hospitality.

From Joonh he proceeded on to Kehk and after several days of hard journey, reached Kehk. At Kehk he met Mukhi Bawa Ghulam Muhammad an old friend of his father. The Mukhi did not recognize him and he did not reveal his identity. He told the Mukhi that he was a poor, humble follower and had come a long way to pay his obeisance to, and to have a glimpse (Deedar) of the Holy Imam. The Mukhi taking him at his word arranged to have him comfortably lodged and brought the matter to the Imam's attention. The Imam smiled at this news and remarked that he was a noble soul and that the Mukhi must properly look after him. The Mukhi was perplexed at the Imam's reaction and ran to comfort the newcomer with increased zeal.

After three days, Syed Imam-ud-din again reminded Mukhi Bawa Ghulam Muhammed about his yearning for an audience with the Imam, urging him to beseech the Imam that Syed Imam-ud-din has come from far off Hindustan to have Imam's Holy Deedar. The mention of his name stirred the memory of the Mukhi who recognized the young newcomer as the son of Pir Hasan Kabir-ud-din. He immediately made submission to the Imam on Syed Imam-ud-din's behalf and the Imam was pleased to say that he would receive Imam-ud-din on the next Holy Night (Thursday night) at the Darkhana.

The following Thursday, Hazrat Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah graced the place with his presence and received Syed Imam-ud-din. The Imam enquired about the welfare of Jamats in his father's jurisdiction and in the course of audience, the Imam was pleased to reveal the appointment of Syed Imam-ud-din's uncle, Syed Tajdeen, as the next Pir in succession to Pir Hasan Kabir-ud-din. He urged upon the young Imam-ud-din to rededicate himself, with renewed zeal to the task on concerted prayers and intensive propagation of Ismaili faith in accordance with the last wishes of his father.

On hearing the appointment of Pir Tajdeen in succession to Pir Hasan Kabir-ud-din, Syed Imam-ud-din was visibly effected, frustration and disappointment showing in his face. The Imam, seeing his reaction, consoled him and re-assured him that, though Piratan was not his destiny yet, the Imam was pleased to bestow the Mystic Great Name on him and ordered him to continue his mission on the Gujrat Coast.

On his return from Kehk, Syed Imam-ud-din arrived at Ahmedabad around 856 A.H.(1452 C.E./1508 Savant) and stayed at a Mosque on the outskirts of the city. Here he is reported to have had a confrontation with Muhammad Begda, the famous king of Gujrat and wrought some miracles. From Ahmedabad, he proceeded onwards and settled down at Girmata from where he carried on his mission with the help of his devoted disciples.

In 1512 Savant, Syed Imam-ud-din married Khatija Bibi, daughter of Shah Muhammad Bukhri, a descendant of King Alam Shah. This was his second marriage.

In 1524 Savant, Syed Imam-ud-din laid the foundation stone of his mausoleum at Girmata which is now popularly known as Pirana Sharif.

In 1529 Savant, he is reported to have visited Bhavnagar where he appointed a Rajput Sardar, Puja Singh (Poncha Kaka) as the Mukhi of the Jamat. He is also said to have obtained the hand of Punja Singh's daughter for his son, Syed Muhammad Shah.

During his missionary career spanning nearly seventy years, he is reported to have composed hundred and four volumes of religious prose (six) and prosody (eight); apart from more than two hundred and twenty nine Ginans. His main works extent today are: Atharved Gavantri, Gugri na das ginan, Bai Budhai, Naklank Gita, Moman Chetamani, To Munivar Bhai, Vistol, Jannatpuri, Mul Gayetri yane shrushtinun mandan an renure hidayat, Satveni (Nani), Das Avatar (Moto), Jhankar, Man Sanjamni (Nani), Muibandh sol thal, Char Chowk with seventeen Ginans, and hundred and sixty two Ginans etc...

From his works, it appears that he remained a steadfast and devoted servant of the Ismaili cause (he is said to have served four successive Imams-Imam Muhammad Bin Islam Shah, Imam Mustansir bi'l-lah II, Imam Abd-us Salam and Imam Gharib Mirza) throughout his life, successfully brought thousands of Hindu families to the Ismaili fold in Saurashtra (Gujrat, Kathiawar and Kutch). From his own works or contemporary sources of history, no proof of his supposed deviation from the Ismaili sect can be traced, which belies the popular belief that because of his disappointment on the Piratan issue, he struck on his own and founded the Imamshahi sect. To all intents and purposes, this actually appears to be the accomplishment of his son, Syed Muhammad Shah alias Nar Muhammad Shah, who renegaded from the Ismaili faith of his fore-fathers after his father's death and founded a separate sect i.e. the Imamshahi Panth.

Syed Imam-ud-din had married twice. He had four sons - Syed Afam Shah, alias Khaliq Shah, Syed Ali Shah, alias Bala Shah, Syed Baker Shah and Syed Muhammad Shah alias Nar Muhammad Shah and one daughter-Bibi Shams Khatoon.

Syed Imam-ud-din served the Ismaili cause for nearly seventy years and is said to have died at the ripe age of 87 on 26th of Ramadhan, 919 A.H. (1513 C.E./1569 Savant) at Girmata. He is buried in the mausoleum at Pirana Sharif, the construction of which he had himself overseen during his life-time.

Abdul Hussain Al-Waiz Alibhai Nanjee.

Hyderabad (Pakistan)


26.0 Khaki Khorasani

Imam Quli signifying "the servant of God" in the Turkish language, is native of the village of Dizbad in the Khorasan. This village now flourishing, is situated in the mountains and hangs on the highest flank, the Kuh-e-Binalud 10535 feet), at half way between Nishapur and Mashad.

He is known under the name of Khaki Khorasani but as a writer he uses the pen name of Khaki (that belongs to the soil).

Unfortunately we have very little information about his life in order to give a complete biography. We will, therefore, content ourselves with the elements that the author is giving us indirectly in his works and of folklore. We will be able to reconstitute broadly the surrounding in which the Imam Quli lived and grew.

Historical outline

According to the date of his books, it can be affirmed that he lived under the reign of the Safawid Kings, probably under Shah Safi (1037-1052/1628-1642) and under Shah Abbas II (1052-1077/ 1622-1667).

The Safawids, as it is known, were a dynasty of Sufi origin and Shi'a belief. They imposed Shiaism as state religion while they were patronizing the growth and the propagation of Sufi ideas. To the Ismailis, this policy brought a certain relief and a greater freedom in their religious practice and the expression of their ideology. Volently persecuted after the fall of Alamut, it is understood that Sufism served them as alibi and as convenient refuge. The Ismailis continued to practise and propagate their faith in using the cloak of Sufism upto the dawn of the nineteenth century. Thus a quite important Sufi-lsmailite literature was born. This junction of Ismailism and Sufism would have been unthinkable if both did not have a common source. In fact, the theology of Sufism revives nearly in its entirety, the metaphysical doctrine of Ismailism (Haqa'iq). However, while using the vocabulary of Sufism and professing the same theosophical metaphysic, the gnostic Ismailis as well as Khaki Khorasani were hostile to sufi practice and beliefs.

Since the massacre of the last Imam of Alamut, Imam Ruknud-Din Kurshah by the Mongols (1257), his descendants established themselves in the south of Caucasus. They lived there hidden under the garb of Shaikhs and of venerable land-owners (vide W. lvanow, Brief survey of Ismailism, No. 7, Leidan, 1952. p.18). Later in the IX/XVth century they settled down in Anjudan (about twenty miles from Arak). Khaki Khorasani was the contemporary of two Imams residing at Anjudan, whose names he cites in his poems: Imam Shah Dhulfikar Ali (920-922/1514-1516) and Imam Shah Nur-ad-Dhar (i.e. Shah Nurd-Din Ali) (922-957/1516-1550). For the latter, Khaki cites a later date: 1056/1646.

However, in spite of this comfortable situation for the Ismailis, the faithfuls had to be very careful and observe the taqiyya, the secret to avoid reviving the fanatism and the hostility which during centuries had impregnated the mind of certain less educated religious group. That fanatism resulted, as historv showed it, in acts of violence and in considerable loss of human lives in the lsmaili community.

This lack of understanding still existed at the time of Khaki. The folklore has preserved the painful souvenirs of the tortures that the Imam Quli endured by the authorities of his villages he outlived, it is said, by divine blessings. It was the exact opposite for his predecessor Qasim Amiri of Shiraz, a star in the pleiade of Ismaili poets of the post-Alamut period. In fact, in spite of the precautions he took to conceal his faith, he was accused of heresy in 973/1565 and was rendered blind under the orders of the King Tahmasp (930-984/1525-1576); he was later on executed by Abbas the First (999/1591).

Life of the Poet

The few historical points related, we will now try to recall broadly the childhood of Imam Quli and the events that provoked the spiritual crisis and which marked the starting point of his poetical career and of his mission.

His parents, as most of the inhabitants of Dizbad, were small land-owners who cultivated orchards and vegetables. They probably possessed some flock of goats, sheep and some cows: thus they enjoyed a modest but comfortable life. His family was impregnated with a religious mind and with a very great devotion. An atmosphere of piety surrounded the childhood of Imam Quli. These fortunate circumstances allowed the child to receive a traditional religious education. This education contained through the reading of classical works on Sufism, Shiaism and Ismailism books which he obtained from religious schools or which he took from his family library.


The Ismailis of Khorasan and particularly the descendants of the Khaki Khorasani family kept a living image of their ancestors. They conjure up with emotion the few facts that ruled the childhood of the poet.

It is related that the parents of Imam Quli were used to going out late at night to meet their friends, after ensuring that their children were sleeping well. The daily absence of the parents aroused the curiosity of the child. Where could they go so late? His mother had told him one day that they were going to a place (Ja'i). This reply did not satisfy the seven-year old child but increased his anxiety and perplexity. He said nothing but decided to act. The next night his parents left, closing the door discreetly after them; the Imam Quii left his mat and followed them in the night without their knowledge, upto the secret place. (Today we can see the ruins of this place at l,3 miles from Dizbad and at 546 yards from the village of Qasimabad). Imam Quli did not enter the place. He stayed outside, concealed behind the door. He could see inside the room the members of his family and the elders who came from the village of Dizbad and from Qasimabad. He did not understand the sense of the religious ceremonies that were going on but his heart palpitated with a secret joy because he just saw the Imam sitting before the congregation.

After the service, the food offerings that the faithful had brought, were shared. The Imam Dhulfikar Ali recommended to the voluntary waiter to give a share to each one. When he finished, he was asked to see outside if someone else was left out. Imam Quli was found out and could obtain his share. Since then Imam Quli cultivated greater love and devotion towards the Imam and he longed to see him again. The occasion presented itself later on.

One day the ladies were assembled in a room to weave cotton with Imam Quli when the Imam Nurud-Dhar entered then went out and mounted his horse. Imam Quli begged him to take him along. The Imam replied: "When you will be able to pass a comb through your beard then I will take you with me". The child made the gesture to touch his beardless face and was surprised, his fingers felt his beard. The Imam took him along. They rode together towards the end of the village upto the place where today from a rock, gushes the miraculous spring of Nohesar (each year, the Dizbadis arrive in pilgrimage to piously drink the water of the spring and to spend the day there). They had an intimate conversation in the course of which the Imam advised his young disciple to work on the path of God if he would like to achieve his goal and realise his salvation. This event marked the beginning of the poetical and missionary career of Imam Quli. He was aware of the difficult conditions which he will have to face and of the obstacles which he will have to overcome in order to fulfill his task. But to defend and to live according to his faith, he was ready to struggle during all his life time and to bear with patience all the sufferings. Allusions which bear evidence to this firm decision are to be found in his poems.

His Works

The works he left are:

(a) The Diwan or selection of poems.

(b) A long religious poem in the form of "matha navi" entitled "Tulu'as-shams" (The rising of the sun).

(c) Two short religious treaties written in verse in the form of qasida entitled "Nigarestan" and "Baharestan". These have been published by W. lvanow with an introduction in "An abbreviated version of the Diwan of Khaki Khorasani" (Islamic Research Association, No. 1 Bombay, 1933).


His poetry has a tinge of deep piety and a sincere aspiration towards justice, truth and peace. Apart from the praises and prayers he addresses to Mowla, to Sahibuz-zaman, to the Lord of the century, he calls upon the Ismailis to practise charity, to cultivate virtue and to remain steadfast in their faith. He insists that they pursue ceaselessly their endeavours in the quest of God, that they acknowledge the Imam of their century in order to attain salvation and to obtain deliverance of all human limitations. His poetry is a popular poetry, rustic, accessible to all. It is deprived of artifice and the splendour of the court at the time of the Safawid sovereign.

Khaki calls himself a common man (ammi) with a modest knowledge: "l am unfit to deliver sermons for I am imperfect and a sinner. I am a common man, I speak and teach as a common man" (Verse 1 331).

His frequent quotations from the Quran and the Hadith point to his knowledge of religious sciences. His references to Nizami, Hafez, Sa'di, Attar, Sana'i, Maghribi and Qasim Anwari as well as to the classical accounts of Laila and Majnun, of Khurasaw and Shirin, of Mahmud and Ayaz indicate his interest in esoterism and the mystical pathway.

Not less deep is his knowledge of the lsmailian doctrine. W. lvanow rightly observes that his teachings borrows in its essence and even in its terminology from another Ismaili Da'i, Khary Khah Herati (svi) of." On the recognition of the Imam (Fasl dar bayan-e Shenakht-e Imam). Bombay, 1949 specially as far as the concept of the Imam and the Hujjat are concerned.

Unquestionably, Khaki possesses a poetical talent although sometimes he lacks originality and a creative spirit. Nevertheless, he lives in the heart of many Ismailis who admire his will, his fortitude, his militant spirit and praise his sincere and firm faith.

Viewed in this context, Khaki can be considered as the true mystical knight who during his entire lifetime fought with the sword of truth, virtue and loyalty thereby doing credit to the principles of his "order", the Ismaili Da'wat. His only aim was to serve God by championing the cause of his Lord, of Mowlana Murtaza Ali. The fond nostalgic be experienced from his first meeting with the Imam overcame him and dominated his whole life.

The following Qasida reveals under the symbolic language a very personal expression (of. W. lvanow, an abbreviation version of Khaki Khorasani, ibid, p. 60, No. 98):

"I have run during my whole life in search of the Lord, In spite of my eagerness, I have not attained what I was searching for.

From the start to the end (of my life) the Khidr

(the Imam) of the time was as a father to me.

I was thus able to drench myself with the 'purifying' drink from the jar of the Lord.

O brother, do not think this path to be easy,

I have gone through many roads in the desert of


It is not a valley of repose, it is a place of ordeals

and of sufferings,

The misfortunes, torments and the pains I have

to endure there were many.

I have forsaken my reason, my work and my

knowledge, taking for real what I was told.

The child and the young man, from the beginning to eternity, must follow the direction of the Pir, of whom I acknowledge to be the disciple.

Every patience I showed was a key opening on


It is the means to glory and a key for those who are searching. Day and night, I feel the nostalgia (to contemplate) the Face of the Beloved (Imam).

I am disturbed and I am the martyr of the face

which has delighted my heart.

Because of the injustice (committed) by the rivals,

I suffer of being separated from my Friend;

I aspire to rejoin him, for a violent rupture has

separated us (from each other)."


The tomb of Khaki Khorasani which stands in white amidst the green orchards of Dizbad, bears no inscription. The death of Khaki is established around 1056/1646. He left a son, "Ali Quli", poet as himself, but of lesser talent, and is better known under the pen name of Raqqami'.

Miss Zaibunisa Jafferali, Paris

27.0 Pir Ismailbhai Gangji

Honorable Pir Ismailbhai Gangji was native of Junagadh, Saurashtra, India. Very little is known about his early life, except that he was privileged to be a hero in the period of Hazrat Imam Hasanali Shah (1818-1881C.E.). He was born in family of an ordinary economical condition. He was a petty trader hawking on foot with a bag on shoulder from one village to another and cheating to earn enough to provide for the family.

Khota tara trajva ne dandee ma (n) kanetar, Katla ne tola bahu bhariji;

Ochhu (n) deedhu(n) ne jeeve adhku (n) releedhu(n). Ane jeevni chinta na keedhee

(Pir Sadruddin).


"False thine scales and balance uneven,

Measures and weight heavily counterfeit;

Extended less and creature grabbed more,

And didn't care for life eternal."

Once upon a time the above stanza of a holy Ginan was being recited in Jamat Khana and there, the then present Ismaili was taken aback. He heard the stanza very attentively and tears poured through his eyes. Immediately on conclusion of the Ginan recitation, this faithful got up, went to honorable Mukhi, Rai Rahmatullahbhai, and sought forgiveness of his sins. This was the moment of the day he started his life anew.

Jamdarkhana of Junagadh State in those days had a wide testimonial of opulence and magnification of Nawab Shahi-gold and rich gem studed ornaments and jewellery, valuable garments and clothes, all these were the contents of Jamdarkhana.

The father of Pir Ismail was an employee in this Jamdarkhana and the honorable Pir also joined to work there honorarily, thereby initially becoming an employee of the Junagadh State. His honesty and loyalty earned him trust and this caused the Nawab to make the appointment of honorable Pir to a very elevated post in Jamdarkhana, and within a short space of time, Revenue Department was entrusted to him. No sooner he became the in charge of the Revenue Department. His appointment as the head of the Treasury was made and he became the Chief.

Honesty of the honorable Pir won him pleasure of the Nawab. In appreciation of his services Nawab bequeathed him a certain piece of land.

He used to hold religious discussions throughout the day in the Palace of Nawab and with common people. He used to deliver sermons in Jamats and acquaint them with the fundamentals of Faith.

In 1259 A.H./1853 C.E. Hazrat Imam Hasanali Shah paid a holy visit to Saurashtra for the first time. When Hazrat Imam arrived at Junagadh, he bestowed upon him the honorable title of "Vazir".

Ardent affection towards Imam:

He had fervent affection towards Imam of the time. He used to be present 'daily' in the small hours of morning and in evening in Jamat Khana setting aside the work of whatever nature, if any.

Once a wedding occasion arose of his son ltamadibhai, whom he loved very much. He started making arrangements and was heartily participating in the joyful gathering of the happy wedding of his beloved son. However, at twilight when the get-together was in full swing with music and songs and the presence of the Nawab accompanied by all the officials of Junagadh State, honorable Pir got up, went to Nawab Saheb and said "Your Highness, excuse me. I can no longer remain here at this hour". Much against the request of Saheb, honorable Pir remained firm on his decision and departed for participating to the greater and more adorable assembly. On another occasion, Pir Ismail was deeply engrossed in prayer at Jamat Khana and exactly at that time Nawab's special messenger came to summon him. Honorable Pir sent a word in reply that he would be present before Nawab Saheb after the prayers were over. Nawab Saheb lost his temper upon this reply and ordered the messenger to summon him immediately. At that, honorable Pir said nothing but handed over the keys of Jamdarkhana to be given to Nawab Saheb. At this Nawab Saheb was wonder struck.

After the prayer was over. honorable Pir went to Nawab Saheb and in explanation for the reason of sending the keys said that he would never serve two Masters at a time. Throughout the day he would be the servant of the State, but at twilight would not go anywhere under anybody's command. But then because of his honesty Nawab wanted him to continue the work.

Honorable Pir used to pay visits to villages of Kutch-Kathiawar and propagate Ismaili faith there, from which he used to derive great benefits.

For the honorable Pir's qualities of heart, Nawab Saheb had presented him with valuable State garment. In consideration of his services Nawab Saheb has bequeathed him a piece of land. Honorable Pir built quarters over the land and gave it to poor people to live in. The place is now known as Anandpur Village.

Sometime after passing away of Hazrat Imam Hasanali Shah, he became physically invalid and in August 1883 C.E. he left this mundane world.

A Hindu State Chief Officer, Mr. Nialchand expressed that a Saurashtra hero was making Saurashtra void of an indispensable asset by his passing away. After some time Hazrat Imam Aly Shah paid a holy visit to Junagadh and said 'Fateha' at his grave. He said that a hero like Vazir Ismail was never to be born again and bestowed upon the deceased a unique title of "Pir"-for having enlightened thousands of souls with spiritual valves.

"An inexhaustible love for the Imam of the time is everything for Ismailis. There is nothing beyond it. If there is desire for tranquillity in life and serenity in demise, then acquire devotional attachment to the Lord of the Age. Live with intrepidity and die bravely."

-Pir Ismail Gangji

Our Literary Section


28.0 Pir Shahabu'd Din Shah al-Husayni

"The death of this gifted and learned young man was sincerely deplored not only by the Ismaili community and Muslim society. but also far outside. those circles in which he commanded the high esteem and genuine respect of every one." W. Ivanow.

Traditionally Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah, reported to have been forty-seventh Pir of Nizari Ismailis, was probably born in 1268 A.H./1851 C.E. in Kirman (Iran). The name "Pir Khalilu'llah" seen in the old prayer book of Ismaili, evidently refers to him, but why the name "Khalilu'llah" was put instead of "Shahabu'd-din" is not confirmed. Most probably he was also known as Khalilu'llah, which is also seen in old manuscripts. Sometimes he has also been referred as Shah-Badin Shah.

Imam Aga Ali Shah, the 47th Imam of Ismaili, had married with Marium Sultan in Iraq who bore him two sons, Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah and Aga Noorshah. These two sons were brought up in a place known as Hasanabad in Mazagon. (Bombay). The brother of Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah, Aga Noorshah aged 30 years, was a good sportsman, he fell down from his horse, while riding, and sustained serious injuries which proved fatal. The second wife of Imam Aga Ali Shah was lady Aly Shah, whose maiden name was Nawabalia Shamsul-Muluk, the daughter of Mirza Ali Mohammed Khan Nizam-ud-Daulah, the Prime Minister of Fateh Ali Shah, the famous Persian Monarch of Kajjar dynasty. The marriage of Nawabalia Shamsul-Muluk was solemnized with Imam Aga Ali Shah at Kirman in 1867 C.E. She gave birth to His Highness Imam Sir Sultan Muhammed Shah; when Pir Shahabu'd-din was nearly 16 years old.

Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah was appointed as "Pir" by Imam Aga Ali Shah on 1299A.H./1882C.E. at the age of 30 years. In 1300 A.H./1882 C.E. Imam is reported to have assigned him to set and shorten the old daily prayers of Ismailis. This leaves us to believe that he also had good knowledge of Indian languages. He was competent and talented in Persian and Arabic studies. Not only was he a best reciter of Holy Quran, but he was also a keen reader of the works of Rumi and Hafiz. He used to devote most of his day time in the work of community assignment and the nights in writing his works.

The thing which made Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah famous in history was his renowned treatise entitled "Risala Dar Haqiqat-i-Din" i.e. "The True Meaning of Religion". His work was originally planned in two parts, but, as far as is possible to ascertain, only the first part was published which has been translated in many languages. The autograph copy, of this book is preserved in the library of Haji Musa Khan, one of the attendants of Pir. It is an oblong note-book, the type. which the Persians call "Bayad". comprising about 200 pages of yellow machine made paper, of which only 75 are occupied with the treatise, the rest are blank sheets. The size is eight by four and a quarter outside and six and a quarter by two and three quarter of an inch for the space occupied for the text. The text of the work, with an English translation was published by W. Ivanow in the series of Islamic Research Association of Bombay in 1933. It evoked considerable interest in Ismaili circles, as can be seen from the fact that as Arabic translation was published in 1935 in Lattaquie, Syria by Sheikh Ahmad bin Muhammed. later on, a Gujrati version, by Mr. Gwadarwalla, was published in parts in Bombay 'Ismaili' monthly. In Gujrati and in Khojki in the 'Nizari'. The whole translation was effectively reprinted in an another Gujrati Ismaili magazine, 'AI-Islah' in August 10. 1946 in the African Diamond Jubilee Memorial issue. It was translated by V. N. Hooda in 1947 from 'Ismaili Society' series No. 1 and reprinted and published by V. N. Hooda for the Ismailia Association at the Ismailia Printing Press, Bombay. Since then it has been translated into Urdu and Sindhi languages also. The book had always been in demand, so the translations had been reprinted in Africa, India and Pakistan. In the earlier issues. Ivanow had printed photocopies of the original text which is not available any more. Again the importance of 'Risala Dar Haqiqat-i-Din' can be estimated from the fact that Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah had once advised the mission students of Bombay to study it. In this work, the Ismaili element is not treated explicitly. The work is apparently intended for the general reader rather than Ismaili students only. and therefore, deals with the subjects of ethics in a Sufi strain.

The other works of Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah are recorded by W. Ivanow in "Guide to Ismaili Literature"; and "Khitabat-i Aliyya" or "Al-Khitabat al-Aliyya ". a treatise in Persian on the principles of the Ismaili doctrine, and on ethics in general. It is divided into 64 chapters called Khitab in which 22 chapters are devoted to the basic points in the Ismaili doctrine further the author touches on the esoteric matters. on Pir-ship, the Nuraniyyat of the Imams, tawil of the basic prescriptions of the Shariat, some religious observations, and then the question of Nass and the sequence of the Imams. The other treatise of Pir Shahabu'd-din is "Nasa'ih-i Sarkar-i Pir" which is a short sermon, six pages long, on the same ethical matters and in the same strain as his preceding two works.

Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah was a learned Scholar, a good philosopher and is known for his piety he led a very simple life. He passed his life mostly in Poona and Bombay. But even the outside world had good regards for his piety and knowledge. We understand that many Ismailis approached him to solve knotty meanings of Quranic Verses. It is also said that Imam Aga Ali Shah had sent him in Afghanistan amongst Ismailis but there is no historical record of it. Ismailis were always amazed by his broad knowledge of religion.

Pir Shahabu'd-din had married with a Persian Lady Bibi Arus Khanum who died probably in the first or second decade of the 20th century in Arabia where she spent the last days of her life. She gave birth to a son Abul Hasan Shah and six daughters namely Talah. Nushi, Turan, Maiek, Khadija, Tuman Malik and Zarintaj. After the death of Pir Shahabu'd-din Shah, the Piratan was given to his son Abul Hasan Shah regarding to this there is a Firman recorded as follows.

On the day of the Ziarat of Pir Khalilu'llah (Pir Shahabu'd-din), Imam Shah Ali Shah called the jamats in Wadi (Aga Hall, Bombay), and said "I accept the son of Pir Khalilu'llah as Pir and give him the authority of Pir. Do all the Jamats like this or not?" So the Jamat said, "Khudawind! we like it". Hence Dhani Salamat Datar said, "Well! then go and please the wife of Pir Khalilu'llah. All the Jamats then approached the wife of Pir Khalilu'llah and kissed the hands of Pir Abul Hasan Shah and said to the wife of Late Pir: "He is now our Pir"-

The above firman is taken from a manuscript bearing the name. of Sunder Kalyan Hooda Zamerwalla. With the firman is attached a note that: "this firman has been copied by Sunderji Kalyan on 4th Bhadarwa Vad 1958 Savannt from the book belonging to Khoja Hansraj Sunderji Bhoykawalla which was in the house of Sunderji".

In this way Pir Abul Hasan Shah, the son of Pir Shahabu'd-din, was appointed as forty-eighth Pir of Ismailis when he was about 2 to 3 months old, and could hardly hold this office for three to four months, and died in 1885 still in infancy at the age of about six months. His body is buried in Hasanabad at Bombay by the side of his great grand-father Imam Shah Hasan Ali. In the mausoleum, there are three graves- two large and one small. One of the large ones is that of Imam Shah Hasan Ali and other is built in the memory of Imam Aga Ali Shah whose body was kept for sometime in this Mausoleum before its transportation to Kerballa. The smaller one, on which are hung some wooden miniature cradles is that of Pir Abul Hasan Shah.

Pir Shahabu'd-din died at the age of 33 years due to chest disease at Poona. His body was embalmed and brought to Bombay, and was kept in Hasanabad for forty days, then sent to be buried at Kerballa in January, 1885. With the help of many firmans of Imam Aga Ali Shah, it can be seen that Pir Shahabu'ddin Shah died in the 2nd week of December 1884. about 8 months before the death of Imam Aga Ali Shah and not in 1885 May, as is generally mentioned in some books. The genealogical chart which was produced before the High Court of Bombay during the Aga Khan case of 1908 and the view of W. Ivanow also supports this opinion of mine that he died in 1884.

By :
Mr. Mumtaz Tajddin Sadikali


29.0 Missionary Kara Ruda

Bhagat (devotee) Kara Ruda was a resident of Sheeshang (Wadala) in Saurashtra, India. Some point out his birth place to be Mengani or Virpur etc... in Saurashtra. However, he spent many years of his life in Rajkot, Saurashtra. He prosecuted his higher studies also in Rajkot itself. The college where Mahatma Gandhi received high education was the very Alfred College in which the Missionary also acquired his training up to Intermediate. Besides English language, he used to recite Sanscrit verses by heart very fluently. When he left this mundane world his age was of 50 years or over which means that he was born in 1881 C.E. or certain years before that. Date of his expiry was March 3, 1931 C.E.

Childhood of Missionary Kara Ruda passed, just as that of Pir Ismailbhai Gangji, in poverty. After finishing education at the Alfred College he joined the Police Department of Rajkot Agency. The Missionary had inspirations of spiritual knowledge from the childhood, meaning that under whatever circumstances, either favourable or adverse, prayer was his compass. Prayful person always desires to lead a peaceful life, but in the life of the Missionary it was the contrary. How could a position in Police Department and prayers be coordinated ? In that service one has to attend to his duty at any hour. No regularity in life could be maintained. However, by maintaining two swords in a sheath, the Missionary proved to the world that a person of intensive mind can never remain aloof from the worship of his Creator under any circumstances. Occasionally, he had to wander in distant jungles in pursuit of outlaws, but even then prayer time could never happen to be slipped away.

Disloyalty and untrustworthiness, the two congenialities, were always fleeing from him. He had never even imagined of bribery and corruption. Ordinary person could not even dare to offer him a bribe. Once a rich man gathered enough courage to offer him hundreds of thousands of rupees as bribe in a big case concerning the Agency fund. On hearing his offer the Missionary pasting an eye of hatred, annoyingly said in plain words:

"Lion would never eat grass even if he was starving !"

On hearing this the briber said: "Why are you rejecting hundreds of thousands of rupees? you will never find anybody offering such a huge amount." Upon this the Missionary strongly retorted: "Many will be found making such offers, but none like me to refuse it."

The Missionary was always outspoken. He would never accept bribe from anybody and it was verify due to his straight forwardness that the officer above him nurtured great regard for the Missionary as well as Ismaili faith. And as a result, elevated the position of the Bhagat from that of the Superintendent to the Commissioner, thereby he became renowned as a candid high grade officer in the whole of Saurashtra.

Missionary Kara Ruda could concentrate in prayer for hours together. His faithful consort, known at Rajkot as 'Sonbai Ma' (Mother Sonbai) was aiding him to attain enlightment of soul. Both used to sit together in deep meditation and for this purpose the Bhagat had set apart a prayer place in his residence, which is known as underground base and is still existing at Rajkot. ln fact, prayers at night had become his closest companion.

Once, he was deputed for certain work on account of which he had to stay for some period at Maliya of Miyana on the Frontier of Saurashtra. His main task to be done was to prohibit illiterate Muslim clan called Miyana from committing crimes and bring about reformations in their lives, thus making them law abiding citizens. The clan in question was uneducated, uncivilized and was not afraid of committing open robberies and undesirable deeds. To deal with such people was really a difficult task. To arrest and convict them was also a great job to be done.

Missionary Kara Ruda kept an eye on the activities of Miyana and then put certain restrictions over their daily activities for the improvement of their lives. The result was that the rate of crime began to minimize. It is told that before the appointment of Missionary many police officers were deputed there for the same purpose. But Missionary proved to be the most successful among them. Missionary Kara Ruda wrestled with such dangerous people and in a short time overpowered them in as much as leaders of the clan approached the Missionary with a request kindly to lift the restrictions assuring that they would lead a moral life and live as good citizens and earn their livelihood by agriculture and doing the labor work. This assurance was secured in writing and on sureties of reliable persons. In short time the situation became as peaceful as divine dominion.

Upon the situation having become peaceful, the Missionary wrote in detail to the officer of Rajkot Agency. His services were very much appreciated and the efforts put by him during the performance of his duty were greatly admired, and he was awarded high prizes. The Missionary instead of retaining the prizes for himself distributed the same among the members of his staff, for he never used to utilize for himself the income over and above his just remuneration.

When Missionary Kara Ruda was staying at Maliya, Ismailis were inhabiting it in a good number and still it is so. Their main occupation at that time was agriculture. They had to work very hard in the fields and in addition the educational facilities were dirt. These Ismailis were staunch in faith, but unfortunately the attendance in Jamatkhana was very poor. Missionary Kara Ruda observing this weakness amongst the Ismailis started delivering sermons in Jamatkhana and made use of his knowledge, experience, wisdom and good offices to bring about the desired improvements in the attendance of Ismailis in Jamatkhana. Consequently, through an inspiration the Missionary worked out a scheme and promulgated a general procedure that a head of every family should have to attend police station every evening, mark his presence there and then return home. By this rule everybody came into trouble. It compelled them to return home from the work soon. Besides, some other difficulties came in their way. Under the circumstance, some leaders approached the Missionary and upon explaining the difficulties sustained by the jamat, requested to remove the procedure. He was assured that the members of the jamat would attend jamatkhana daily between eight and ten at night. The Missionary got the rule revoked. The result was that the attendance in jamatkhana began increasing day by day and in that way their attachment to faith began to arise. And Maliya jamat came to be known all over as real dedicated (fidai) jamat. This resembles the significance of the touch of alchemy stone. By its touch iron is changed into gold. Likewise through the contact of the Missionary Kara Ruda, Maliya jamat became dedicated and adherent to the religion.

The Missionary, being a responsible police authority, had to go to different places on duty and thereby seize the opportunity of propagating Ismaili faith and deliver sermons. Mostly the Bhagat used to lay stress upon concentration in prayer. People were greatly interested in his sermons, but due to his unsparing duties he could not satisfy jamats. He thought of leaving the service, apprised the Political Agent about it and simultaneously tendered his resignation. The Political Agent, however, in pacification told him that he was free to do his preaching work in Jamats, and to devote his spare time for the Agency's work, that it was their pride to have him in their Department and that they would not in the least like a person like him leaving their Department. Nevertheless, the Missionary kept on insisting and at last the Political Agent accepted his resignation gave him the deserving testimonials in satisfaction of the performance of his responsible tasks and duties and retired him honourably with a fixed pension.

Missionary Kara Ruda had mentioned to an individual that he had been able to make an increase of certain years in his life. Then the individual said that it was not in the hands of one, to lengthen a life, as it was only for the omnipotent God to do so. Thereafter, the Missionary said for instance if one saves Rs. 25/- economically from his earning of Rs. 100/every month then after ten or twenty years it would aggregate into a huge sum. In the same way if through prayers one is able to use sparingly from his total breathes awarded to him by God his life would be lengthened accordingly.

Missionary Kara Ruda was a faithful devotee to Ismaili faith. He brought about reformation in the lives of people. He was honest and regular in worldly as well as religious duties. He had no lust for luxuries but led a simple life.

Our Literary Committee

30.0 Pir Sabzali

During the stretch of 1,400 years, on the pages of Ismaili history, there have been descriptive notes of extraordinary and chivalrous individualities. Lives of our revered Pirs, Sayyids, Fidais and Da'is, passing through this cycle, prompt us to become great personalities.

Among others, Pir Sabzali was the one to create his own life history, which showed his spiritual power to thousands of persons of the community and other communities also. Hazrat Imam Sultan Mohammed Shah had said: "Pir Sabzali came to this world as a human being and the beginning of his life was just like of an ordinary man. But a moment in life is so chanced that it changes one's life. One who seizes the opportunity of this moment of transition, can derive its benefit. His action in life changed and from ordinary person he became remarkable." In the life of Pir Sabzali also this moment of transition arrived, as a result of which he performed historical deeds in life.

He was born to a wealthy parents at Bombay and had nothing to miss in affection and fortune. However, in order that he may be able to progress in life, his mother and father had decided to send him out of Bombay. At that time Vazir Rehmoo had a vast business in Gwadar, but he used to remain engrossed in the services of the Imam of the Age. Adolescent Sabzali was deputed to a very religious personality, who was devotedly attached to Imam. Losing friends at Bombay he came into the custody of Vazir Rehmoo. Here his new life began. With the inspiration and teachings of Vazir Mohammad Rehmoo he began to acquire religious education. An ardour for benefitting the Jamat with the knowledge gained by him gave vent in him and he was inspired to deliver Wa'z. He went on reading, making progress in education and in the light of knowledge he saw a new world: a world of spiritual enlightenment, real spiritual serenity.

Simultaneously he began to get trained as an expert businessman. He had skilfully managed to run the business of honourable Vazir and side by side began, to enrich jamats with the spiritual understanding.

Thereafter he began to reside at Karachi. Here he plunged into the field of social service and gained fame in Jamat as a missionary as well as a devoted worker. He was dealing in hides, dry fish and cotton business and earned handsomely by making remarkable progress. But his soul was craving for something quite different and he began to trade for securing spiritual comfort. That was service to the Imam. He devoted his life to serve the Imam.

Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah shouldered him with vast responsibilities. He was appointed special Commissioner of the Jamats of the Punjab and North West Frontier Provinces. He toured to Syria and Middle East and achieved wonderful success there among Arabic speaking Jamats. He visited Africa thrice, during which twice he went as a special Commissioner of the Imam. He last toured for 23 months, during which he inaugurated four Banks, and an Insurance Company there. He was also able to secure business of 20,000,000 shillings for the Insurance Company.

On the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of the Imamat of Hazrat Imam Sultan Mohammad Shah (50 years Imamat-celebration), the Pir took great pains and undertook wide tours throughout India, for which he was entitled as "Alijah".

However, amongst all these, the tour he undertook as an Ambassador of Hazrat Imam Sultan Muhammad Shah to central Asian Jamats in 1923 C.E. was of the same nature of the tour that Pir Sadruddin in his days undertook from Iran to Indo Pakistan. The tour of that part was so dangerous that at every moment and every step there was a fear of death and his undertaking was as historic as that of the disciples of the Holy Prophet who converted many to Islam. It may be mentioned here that he had also rendered service in Volunteer Corps of our Jamats.

He glorified Ismailism in Badakshan, Khurasan, China, Russia, Turkistan, Afghanistan, N.W.F.P., Chitral, Dir, Hunza, Gilgit, Kashmir, Pamir, India and Africa.

Pir Sabzali left this mundane world on December 13. 1938. Hazrat Imam Sultan Mohammad Shah bestowed upon him the noble title of 'Pir'. Hazrat Imam made a holy farman: "Itmadi Sabzali has served me in such manner that I have bestowed upon him the title of 'Pir'. If others would do such service, they all would secure the same position. I have given this honour to only one person during my Imamat of 54 years."

The next day after death of Pir Sabzali, Hazrat Imam Sultan Mohammad Shah made a holy farman to Jamats: "Itmadi Sabzali became dear to God. I give my best blessings to his soul. His name will remain everlasting in history. Similar to the da'is of the past, he was a great Da'i. He brought Ismaili Faith to light in Africa, Sind, Punjab and Gwadar."

"Pir Sabzali was a leader of the devotees of Ismaili faith. By his passing away the world has suffered an irreparable loss, but his soul has highly benefited. He has achieved eternal peace."

Our Literary Section


31.0 Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. Ahmad an-Nasafi

In Khurasan, the work of the Da'wa on behalf of Imam Mahdi was carried out by da'is like Shi'rani, Ghiyath and al-Amir Husayn b. Ali al-Marwazi. Their policy was to get close to the chiefs and rulers of the place as well as their important civil and military officials, and with the official support or connivance, to propagate the Ismaili madhhab among the people. Abu abd Allah Muhammad b. Ahmad an-Nasafi (who is also described by Na'sir-i-Khusr'aw as 'Da'i Abul-Hasan an-Nakhshabi) followed the same policy of his master Da'i Marwazi and of his other predecessors. His success was phenomenal.

It is possible that Da'i Nasafi was born in Bardhaa (in, Southern Caucasus) for which he was called, al-Bardhi, but later became known as, an-Nasafi or an-Nakhshabi, the scene of his activities. He started his work in Khurasan but later crossed the Oxus and went to Bukhara, at that time the capital-of the Samanid Dynasty. He had great success in converting many people of importance, even in the court , of the Samanid ruler Nasr b. Ahmad. Through them he was introduced to the ruler, who it is said accepted Ismailism. Due to this circumstance, his relations with Baghdad were strained. It is said that Nasr b. Ahmad gave allegiance to Imam Mahdi and paid to him an annual tribute of 199 thousand dinars. This was evidence enough of his conversion to Ismailism. Da'i Nasafi took advantage of such favourable conditions and made Ismailism a commonly accepted Madhhab in Central Asia. Da'i Nasafi thus became the most powerful personality in Transoxiana. And this led to jealousy and intrigue against him by the courtiers of Nasr. b. Ahmad.

Ibn Nadim says that in the latter part of his reign, Nasr showed some wavering, but he soon died. His son Nuh, however, who had been brought up under the guidance of Sunni theologians reversed the policy. He made Da'i Nasafi enter into a controversy with these theologians and later got them to pass a verdict of heresy against him. Making this as an excuse, he ordered Da'i Nasafi's execution, arrested and beheaded the officers of his father, who had accepted Ismailism and carried out a merciless general massacre of the Ismailis in Transoxiana and Khurasan. This is known at the "Great Calamity" of the Ismaili community and it is this that the Great Da'i Nasifi sacrificed himself and became a martyr. This happened in 331 H. After this the Ismaili 'Da'wa in these territories remained low, till it was revived by Nasir-i-Khusraw and Hasan bin Sabbah a century, and a half later.

We have seen what great political contribution Da'i Nasafi made to the Imamate of Imam Mahdi. But his mission was not confined at that. He also wrote great works which although they have not survived, have nevertheless made a lasting influence on the doctrine and ideology of Ismailism as enunciated by later writers. Most renowned work of his is Kitab al Mahsul, extensive extracts from which are copied in the book of Da'i Kirmani, called Kitab ar Rivad. It is purely on philosophical matters and is marked for its free thinking speculations. We have noted above that Dai Nasafis contemporary Da'i Abu Hatim ar-Razi was commissioned by Imam Mahdi to write a correction of this work, in so far as it contained some deviations from the Ismaili orthodoxy. This does not mean that Kitab al Mahsul lost its reliability. On the contrary the great Da'i Kirmani gives much importance and credit to this work. It only demonstrates the vastness and flexibility of Ismaili doctrine. Other works of the Da'i as mentioned by Ibn-an-Nadim are Kitab an-Unwan ad-din, kitab usul ash-shara and kitab an-dawat al Munjiva. None of these has survived.

31.0 Ibn Hani Al-Andalusi

His name was Muhammad ibn Hani and his Kunya was either Abul-Qasim or Abul-Hasan. He belonged to the tribes of Azd. His father was a resident of a village near Mahdiya in North Africa. He lost all his belongings because of his love for poetry and had to migrate to Spain. There his son Muhammad was born in the town of lshbiliya in 320 H. Muhammad was attached to the court of the local ruler for whom he wrote poems. However, the population got restive due to his association with the extremist Batini philosophy. He was thus forced to migrate in 347 H. at the age of 27. He contacted Jawhar but then wandered along to the courts of other rulers. At last he was attracted by the generous patronage of Imam Mu'izz whose retinue he joined. Since then he remained throughout with the Imam in Mansuriya and accompanied him on his journey to Egypt. On the way at 'Barqa he was found dead at the sea-side. He was killed by some enemy who could not be traced. Imam Mu'izz was extremely sad at this unfortunate happening and remarked that Ibn Hani was one of the greatest poets of the East in whose service he took pride.

Ibn Hani left behind a Diwan which is edited by Dr. Zahid Ali. It contains about 246 pages. Most of the poems are in praise of Imam Mu'izz and the Fatimid Dynasty. There is no proof that Ibn Hani was converted to Ismailism, but it is quite likely that he was, judging by the extreme love for the Imam and his followers shown by the poet in his writings.

33.0 Tamim b. al-Mu'izz (d. 374 H.)

Prince Tamim was the son of Imam Mu'izz. He was born in Mansuriyya in 337 H. Since his brother Aziz was to become the next Imam, he devoted his life to poetry and cultural pursuits. Both at Mansuriyya and Cairo he wrote poems of beauty and elegance. His poetry is marked for its plaintive character and for the depth of feeling for the Sunni rivals. Some examples of Jamim's poems are cited by Hasan Ibrahim Hasan in his book on Imam Mu'izz.

Besides these, much of the literary output of the time was the work of the da'is. The new distinct culture which was heralded by the Fatimids was mainly the creation of the dai's.

A.0 Appendix 1: Letter of Rashiduddin Sinan to Nooreddin Zenki

(Ref. "Ismailis of Syria", 1970 - Ghaleb, Moustafa, p.1O9)

<< May God make you successful to do good in this world. You have said about me that I abolished the Shariat and left fasting and prayer. While I see that you are still sleeping while we are rising to make the Great Rise and Resurrection which Almighty God wants and orders.

The bad rumours which you have spread that I am abolishing the Shariat, I do not mind. Because I may be doing like the Prophet in that sense when he said: "I did not come to abolish the Bible but to accomplish it." The Bible was the origin of Shariat, and it was accomplished by the Quran. Why, then, it should not be accomplished by the (Qiyamat) Resurrection? And this is the balance (Mizan). Or why should it not be ended by Al-Qaim who is the weight (Wazn)?

Our saying is that Shariat should be accomplished by Qiyamat, and obedience by knowledge, and existing by unity. We do not say that Shariat is Al-Qiyamat, nor obedience is knowledge. >>


(Ref. "The Order of Assassins", M.G.S. Hodgson, 1955, p.2OO)

<< In the name of God the merciful and compassionate:

Fasl of the noble words of the Lord (Mawla) Rashid ad-Din (upon Him peace); it is most excellent as an explanation. My reverence is to my Lord (rabb), there is no God but He (the High (al-`ali), the Great).

"Comrades (rufaqa), we have been absent from you by two absences, by that of potentially (tamkin) and by that of actuality (rakwin); and we veiled ourselves from the earth of your knowledge (ma`rifa). And the earth groaned and the heavens shook, and they said, O Creator of creatures, forgiving! And I appeared (zahartu) in Adam, and the da`wa was Eve - we assembled the hearts of the believers (mu'minin) the earth of whose hearts groaned in love for us; and we looked upon the heavens of their spirits in our mercy. And the period (dawr) of Adam, and his da`wa passed; and his hujja disappeared, through our mercy, among the people. Then we appeared in the period of Noah, and the people were drowned in my da`wa; whoever trusted in my knowledge (ma`rifa) was saved by my mercy and grace, and whoever among the people denied my hujja perished. Then I appeared in the cycle of Abraham under the three titles of star, moon and star. And I destroyed the ship, I killed the boy, I built up the wall, the wall of the da`wa; whoever trusted in my da`wa by my grace and mercy was saved; and I talked with Moses openly (zahir) not veiled; it is I that know the mysteries. I was a door for the seeker, Aaron. Then I appeared (zahartu) in the master (sayyid), the Messiah, and I wiped (their) faults from my children with my generous hand; the first pupil who stood before me was John the Baptist; outwardly (bi-z-zahir) I was Simon (Peter). Then I appeared in the `Ali of the time, and I was concealed (sutirtu) in Mohammed (or: concealed him?); and he who spoke of my knowledge (ma`rifa) was Salman. Then arose Abu dh-Dharr the true (haqiqi) among the children of the old (qadima) da`wa, as support of the Qa'im of the Qiyama, present, existent. And religion (dîn) was not completed for you until I appeared to you in Rashid ad-Dîn; some recognized me and some denied me; the truth (haqq) continues on and those who speak truth (muhiqqûn) continue on, sure in every period and time.

"I am the master of what is (sâhib al-kawn); the dwelling is not empty of the ancient sprouts. I am the witness, the spectator, dispenser (walî) of mercy in the beginning and the end. Do not be misled by the changing of forms. You say, so-and-so passed, and so-and-so came; I tell you to consider the faces as all one face, as long as the master of existence (sâhib al-wujûd) is in existence, present, existent. Do not depart from the orders of him who received your engagement (wali `ahdi-kum) whether Arab of Persian or Turk or Greek. I am the ruler, dispenser of orders and of will. Whoever knows me inwardly (bâtin) possesses the truth. Knowledge of me is not perfect unless I say, My slave, obey me and know me in true knowledge of me: I shall make you alive like me, you shall not die; and rich, you shall not be poor; and great, you shall not be abased; hear and pray, you will advantaged. I am the one present and you are those present in my presence. I am the one near who does not depart. If I punish you, it is my justice; if I forgive you, it is my generosity and my excellence. I am the master of mercy (sâhib ar-rahma) and dispenser of forgiveness and of the clear truth.

"Praise to God, Lord of the worlds; this is a clear explanation. >>