Ismaili History 543 - AL-HAKIM (386-411/996-1021)

He was born on 23rd Rabi I, 375/August 14, 985 in Cairo, and was the first Fatimid Imam born on Egyptian soil. His name was al-Mansur Abu Ali, surnamed al-Hakim bi-Amrillah (He who governs by the orders of God). In 383/993, he was however declared as a successor of his father, following the death of his brother Muhammad. On that occasion, a traditional procession to al-Azhar was used for a public proclamation in this context. Al-Hakim acceded the throne in 386/996 at the age of 11 years, 5 months and 6 days.
Ibn Khallikan (3rd vol., p. 525), Ibn Muyassar (p. 51) and other chroniclers quote Musabbihi as narrating the incident of succession as related by al-Hakim himself that:- 'My father called be before his death. His body was naked except for bandages and pieces of cloth. He hugged me and kissed me and said, `I am grieved about you, O my heart's love.' His eyes were full of tears, then he said, `Go dear and play, I am all right.' I went out and occupied myself as children do when they play until God transferred al-Aziz to Him. Barjawan came to me while I was at the top of a sycamore tree which was in the yard of the house. He said, `Descend, may God be with you.' I dismounted; he put the diamond turban on my head, kissed the ground before me and said, `May peace be upon you, Amir al-mominin, God's mercy and blessings.' He took me out to the people and they all kissed the ground before me and greeted me as Caliph.'

Makrizi writes in 'Itti'az' (p. 386) when al-Hakim assumed Imamate and Caliphate that, 'On the following morning the dignitaries assembled in the Grand Hall to await the new Caliph. Al-Mansur, wearing the diamond turban, entered the Hall and walked to the golden throne, the assembly bowing to the ground meanwhile. They greeted him with the baya as Imam and the title al-Hakim bi-Amrillah by which he was thereafter known.' Upn the termination of the ceremony, Qadi Muhammad bin Noman went to the cathedral mosque, led the prayer and delivered the khutba in the name of al-Hakim bi-Amrillah.

Al-Hakim, however assumed full power of the empire at the age of fourteen, and thus it does not appear to have affected his early education. He had a good command of Arabic tongue, and a fine knowledge of poetry at an early age. Makrizi writes in 'Itti'az' (p. 387) that, 'Al-Hakim had skillfulness in the knowledge of poetry which no other man had in Egypt. At his court, the poets would gather to recite their poetry, while he would listen carefully and ask for the repetition of every verse which held exceptional meaning. Each of them would receive gifts of money in accordance with the quality of his works.' He was a mere twelve years of age when he gained this reputation. The astronomy was also included in his course of studies. Antaki (d. 458/1065) writes in 'Tarikh-i Antaki' (Beirut, 1909, p. 217) that, 'He appears as a pleasant man with a sense of humour, and often exchanged jokes with those to whom he spoke in the streets.' Antaki also writes, 'Al-Hakim would frequently pause in the streets of his capital to exchange greetings or answer questions from his poor subjects.' (Ibid. p. 200) Marshall Hodgson writes in 'The Venture of Islam' (London, 1974, 2nd vol., p. 26) that, 'Al- Hakim wished, above all, to be the perfect ruler; widely generous, enforcing strict good order, and absolutely just to all the people. Personally, he avoided all luxury and mounted a simple donkey for his excursions.'

Al-Hakim is described as generous and brave by the chroniclers. His clothes were simple, made chiefly of wool, and chose to ride on an ass. He disliked diamond turban and wore plain white scarf. His food was simple, and that too cooked by his mother only. He was an impressive figure, tall and broad-shouldered with a powerful voice. His large eyes were dark blue and flecked with deep reddish gold.

Abul Fawaris Ahmad bin Yaqub (d. 413/1022) writes in 'Ar-Risala fi'l Imama' (comp. 408/1077) that Imam al-Hakim delivered his first speech from the pulpit of a mosque in Cairo on 386/996 and said: 'O'people, surely God has made us superior by the word of Imamate. He has eternalized it in us, so that it may last until the day of doom. The one of us receives it from the other and the son inherits it from the father. This is the bounty of God, He gives it to whomever He wishes, and God is of bounty abounding.'

Ismaili History 544 - Clash between Maghriba and Mashriqa

The Berbers dominated the Fatimid army, known in Egypt as Maghriba (the westerners). Al-Aziz had introduced the Turkish and Iranian soldiers in the army, known as Mashriqa (the easterners), as a counterpoise against the fast growing influence of the Berbers. Only two days after the death of Imam al-Aziz, the Maghriba faction in the army began to raise and stipulated that no one but Ibn Ammar should be the wasita (chief minister). Ibn Ammar negotiated with them, securing their goodwill in exchange for increased payment. Al-Hakim capitulated and responded to their demands, and appointed Ibn Ammar with a title of amin ad-dawla (trustee of the state).
Ibn Ammar intended to establish a purely Berber government in Egypt. His rule, indeed, was characterized by unmasked favourism of the Maghriba. Rudhrawari (d. 488/1095) writes that, 'The aim of the Maghriba was to abolish the institution of the Fatimid Imam and build an empire of their own. Ibn Ammar's friends advised him to kill al-Hakim. Ibn Ammar, who intended to follow their advices, but dissuaded later on because al-Hakim was too young and harmless.' (cf. 'Tajarib al-Umam' by Miskawayh, p. 222). The Berber tribe of Katama, known as Maghriba appears to have been the centres of this change, as they considered that they had been the conquerors of Maghrib and of Egypt, and why should the fruits of this conquest be laid at the feet of an Arab dynasty in the progeny of Ali. Immediately after his appointment, Ibn Ammar began to allocate high positions to his supporters. He dismissed the Turkish and Iranian soldiers, known as the Mashriqa, from the high posts, and restored the power of the Berbers. He also curtailed the power of Abul Futuh Barjawan, the regent of the Imam, and confined him as a tutor of al-Hakim in the palace. The chiefs of Mashriqa thus had been dismissed and some of their supporters were even executed. Annual allowances to them were stopped, and many of them fled from Egypt fearing being killed.

On the day when Ibn Ammar was proclaimed wasita, every Maghriba received 20 dinars, and each was promised an additional 64 dinarsannually. On one occasion, he gave 1500 horses to Katama supporters.

Ismaili History 545 - Downfall of Ibn Ammar

Barjawan allied himself with the Turkish commander called, Manjutagin, who himself was a great force in Syria. He readily espoused to Barjawan's faction, and formed an alliance with some of the Bedouin chiefs and left Damascus at the head of six thousand troops to march towards Egypt. Ibn Ammar mobilized his troops under the leadership of Suleman bin Falah and provided him with the large sums of money to be used in diverting the loyalty of the Bedouin chiefs against Manjutagin. The two armies clashed between Ramla and Askalan, and after three days of minor encounters, they fought the final battle. Manjutagin was subdued and taken prisoner and sent captive to Cairo. The battle resulted in victory for the Maghriba, but impugned a dangerous problem to the state, a fast growing opposition between the Maghriba and Mashriqa in Egypt. The defeated Mashriqa arrived in Cairo and threatened Ibn Ammar's rule, while the majority of Maghribawere in Syria with Suleman bin Falah. To overcome the problem, Ibn Ammar planned to increase his supporters and at the same time adopted a moderate line of policy towards Mashriqa, and pardoned Manjutagin. Suleman bin Falah also followed a similar policy in Syria and tried to convince its inhabitants that his plans were for peace and security. He dismissed Jaysh ibn Samsama from the governorship of Tripoli and replaced him with his own brother Ali.

Thus, Jaysh, a powerful Katama chief, went to Cairo to revenge himself by attempting to overthrow Ibn Ammar. He made an alliance with Barjawan and the chiefs of Mashriqa. Barjawan's opportunity to gain power came with the presence of Jaysh in Egypt. He provoked riots and disturbances in Cairo and threw the blames on Ibn Ammar and his supporters. Ibn Ammar invited them to his palace under the pretext to discuss the riots between Berbers and Turks, but secretly had planned their executions. However, Barjawan, who had planted many spies in Ibn Ammar's palace, was informed of this and formed a counterplan. He and his supporters decided to accept the invitation. They planned to foil the attack by retreating among them, thus exposing Ibn Ammar's treasonable intentions. Barjawan's plan succeeded and he and his allies returned to the royal palace, declared Ibn Ammar to be a traitor and prepared to fight. With as many supporters as he could muster, Ibn Ammar left Cairo and camped in the desert. Barjawan followed him and in a battle which lasted half a day, Ibn Ammar was defeated, and fled. By the overthrow of Ibn Ammar in 387/997, Barjawan assumed the office of wasita (chief minister) after Ibn Ammar had held office for a little less than eleven months. Barjawan took out al-Hakim in public to demonstrate his loyalty towards the Fatimids.

Barjawan pardoned Ibn Ammar and granted him the same monthly allowances and supplies that he had received during the period of Imam al- Aziz.

Ismaili History 546 - End of Abul Futuh Barjawan

With his accession to power, Abul Futuh Barjawan had to face a number of problems. He however handled the situation, and endeavoured to get an end of it, or at least to lessen the rivalry between Maghriba and Mashriqa. In the appointment of key posts, he tried to create equality which would satisfy the average persons of both groups. He appointed Ismail bin Fahl al-Katami, a Maghriba chief as the governor of Tyre and Bushara al-Ikhshidi, a Mashriqa chief as the governor of Damascus. For the governor generalship of Syria and the supreme command of the Fatimid forces stationing there, he chose Jaysh ibn Samsama, a powerful Maghriba chief. He made an efficient Christian, Fahd bin Ibrahim al-Katib as his personal secretary and invested him the title of al-Rais (the master).

Barjawan now governed the state with unbounded authority. In 388/998, he gave his friends key posts: Khawad was made the head of the police in Egypt; Malik as the chief of navy, Maysur as the governor of Tripoli in Syria; Yamim, his own brother, as the governor of Askalan and Qayd as the chief of the police department in Cairo. He now began to take major decisions without Imam's consent. He wanted to make the Imam merely an ornamented figure in the palace, and bring him out to grace only in the state functions. He treated al-Hakim, even after his succession to the Caliphate, in the same manner in which he did previously, overlooking the fact that he was no longer a child. He treated al-Hakim as helpless child and did not allow him even to ride on horseback. Makrizi writes in 'Itti'az' (p. 390) that al-Hakim once said, 'Barjawan was extremely ill-mannered. I summoned him one day while we were riding on horseback. He came, putting his foot on the neck of his horse, and while I was speaking to him, the sole of his shoe was turned towards my face and he did not seem to think it was wrong. Incidents like this were so many that it would take a long time to mention them.' Ibn Muyassar in 'Akhbar al-Misr' (p. 56) and Makrizi in 'Khitat' (2nd vol., p. 4) consider such treatment as dictatorship (istibdad), causing al-Hakim's resentment which resulted his death.

Ibn Qalanisi (p. 51) writes that, 'Abul Fazal Raydan, the bearer of the royal parasol (mizalla), once said to al-Hakim, `Barjawan is planning to emulate the career of Malik Kafur (d. 357/968) and purposes to deal with you as Malik Kafur dealt with Ikhshidi's son by isolating you and eliminating yourn power. The right thing to do is his immediate murder and administer your state alone.' Al-Hakim replied, `If this is your opinion and advice, then I need your help.''

Barjawan was finally slain on 16th Rabi II, 390/March 25, 1000 by Abul Fazal Raydan, who carried out the murder with his associates in a place called Bustan Duwayrat al-Tin, a garden near the royal palace where Barjawan was walking with al-Hakim. Barjawan held his office for 2 years, 7 months and 29 days. In terms of wealth and power, Barjawan was typical of the top echclon of the ruling circles. Ibn Bassam (d. 542/1148) writes in 'al-Dhakhira fi Mahasin al-Jazira' (Cairo, 1945, p. 232) that after the death of Barjawan, an officer of central treasury found in his house: one hundred scarves (mandil) of different colours, one hundred another kind of scarves (sharabiya), one thousand pairs of trousers (sirwal), one Armenian silk (takka), an uncountable quantity of clothes, jewels, gold, perfumes and furniture, three hundred thousand dinars, one hundred and fifty horses and mules in his personal stable, three hundred pack horses and mules and a hundred and fifty saddles, twenty of which were pure gold.

Henceforward, Imam al-Hakim took over the power into hand at the age of fourteen years. Barjawan's execution provoked some apprehension among the people, but al-Hakim skillfully navigated the storm. He went out to the people and declared: 'I have been informed of an intrigue which Barjawan made against me, and for that I caused him to be executed.' Makrizi writes in 'Itti'az' (2nd vol., p. 27) that al-Hakim speaking before an assembly next day of state dignitaries (shuyukh ad-dawla), the leaders of Katama and Turks, said: 'Barjawan was my slave and I employed him. He acted in good faith and I treated him with favours. He then began to misbehave, so I killed him.' The death of Barjawan marks the beginning of the second period of al-Hakim's reign.

The period between 390/1000 and 396/1007 was critical because of famine and economical distress. There was also a general deterioration of economic and social life between 395/1004 and 411/1021 when most of the royal decrees (manshur) covering religious and social legislation were issued by al-Hakim. Vatikiotis writes in 'The Fatimid Theory of State' (Lahore, 1957, pp. 152-3) that, 'Although such legislation may have appeared maniacal to al-Hakim's contemporaries, it is astounding how modern historians, who could have conducted a more dispassionate investigation, have accepted such verdict. His forbidding extravagant spending in entertainments when the Nile was exceptionally low in 398/1008 and his fight against profiteering from high prices during the famine crisis are examples of sensible legislation for the public welfare. For example, his handling of thieves and vagrants was amazing and probably very effective at the time. A spy system to report thieves to the 'man' inside the 'sphinx' statue is commendable, if that were a way to stop hooliganism. In the evening, al-Hakim would hold open forum, where the merchants would report to the 'sphinx' the missing items from their stores. The latter would, through previous information, deliver the name of the robber. This seems an interesting and brilliant method of coping with vagrant thieves rampant in a period of depression. Al-Hakim no doubt understood the psychological power of miracles and their effect upon the masses.'

Hence, al-Hakim had to take drastic measures by pressure of circumstances. On account of his extreme measures to meet the challenges, he became a controversial figure. Historians have held different opinions for him. Abul Fida, Ibn Athir and Ibn Khallikan depict him as an heretic and wily tyrant. Prof. Hitti, on the other hand, defends him, and writes in 'The Origins of the Druze People and Religion' (New York, 1928, p. 27) that, 'The fact that al-Hakim introduced many reforms regulating weights and measures, fought immorality with police ordinances .... amidst a hostile milieu indicates that he was not the kind of maniac or fool whose biography these early writers have left us.'

It must be noted that Antaki and Ibn al-Sabi's records discrediting al-Hakim's personality should be treated with a degree of caution since both historians were aggressive to al-Hakim and lived in distant countries. Al-Hakim's so called cruelty may have been the result of the circumstances rather than the acts of a sadist, or were perhaps exaggerated according to the view of the hostile historians. He ascended when he was still a child and witnessed fierce struggle and rivalry for power among the high officials of his state. This may have created a sense of insecurity which led him to resort to so called cruelty as a tool of maintaining his power. Ibn al-Futi, who is quoted by Makrizi in 'Itti'az' (p. 411) suggests that, 'al-Hakim's cruelty was both part of his policy to abolish the corruption resulting from his father's great tolerance, and vengeance against those who oppose the Islamic law of the state.' In 'The Encyclopaedia of Islam' (Leiden, 1971, 3rd vol., p. 80), M. Canard writes that, 'It cannot, however, be said that his reign was particularly unfortunate for Egypt.'

Muhammad Abdullah al-Inan writes in his 'al-Hakim bi-Amrillah wa Asrar al-Dawa al-Fatimiya' (Cairo, 1937, p. 173) that, 'We are however unable to understand different political enigmas of al-Hakim, but it is beyond doubt that the ordinances and injunctions he imposed were not against the Islamic traditions to a little extent. These were also not the result of the whimsical thoughts, but based on the ordinary reformations of the state, therefore, the wisdom and strategy motivated behind them can never be ruled out.' Dozy also writes in the same vein in 'Essai sur l'historire de I'Islamism' (Leiden, 1879, p. 148) that, 'We fail to know the enigmatic personality of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim, therefore, it is not plausible to draw a conclusion that these were the outcome of whimsical thoughts.'

Ismaili History 547 - Policy towards the wasita

It must be remembered however that the constant struggle for power between the two elements in the Fatimid's army presented al-Hakim with a very serious problem. His position was also threatened by the growing influence of mudabbir ad-dawla (the administrator of state affairs), better known as wasita (the mediator, executor of the Caliph's orders or chief minister), simply an intermediary between the Imam and the people. Both Ibn Ammar and Barjawan had forcefully seized power and became themselves as wasitas, and misused the office. This was the first crack in the political structure. In the face of this trend, al-Hakim's attitude towards each successive wasitaduring the last twenty years of his Caliphate, was well and carefully planned to control his exercise of power. He did not abolish the institution of wasita, but restricted its power. Makrizi writes in 'Itti'az' (p. 390) that, 'After the appointment of al-Hussain bin Jawhar as wasita in 390/1000, he was ordered not to receive or deal with petitions in his own house or in public streets; those who had cases of complaints should be told to deliver them to him only at the office in the palace.' Hussain bin Jawhar together with his secretary, Fahd bin Ibrahim, would come early to the palace, receive the petitions, study them and carry them to the Imam for final judgement. Except for Hussain bin Jawhar and Ali bin Falah, none of the wasita had a military background. None was powerful tribal chief nor a chief of any element of the army. Most of them were from poor class. No wasita was allowed to remain in office for a long period. In the course of his twenty years of rule of al-Hakim, more than fifteen wasita were employed, some held office for as little as ten days. Severity was the prominent feature in al-Hakim's attitude towards his wasitas, and the majority of those who occupied that office were executed. Thus, Ibn Hammad (d. 628/1230) writes in 'Akhbar al-Muluk Bani Ubayd wa Siyaratihim' (p. 57) that al-Jarjara'i, a high official who had lost both hands by the command of al-Hakim, would tell those who remarked upon such treatment that: 'This was a punishment which I deserved for betraying amir al-mominin's orders.' According to Marshall Hodgson in 'The Venture of Islam' (London, 1974, 2nd vol., p. 27), 'He was merciless to any of the great who, he thought, took advantage of their position.'
Historians have generally shown al-Hakim's attitude as a tyrant and blood-thirsty. Such commitments, however, do not seem to be quite accurate, and many have been hastily arrayed without a thorough investigation. P.J. Vatikiotis writes in 'The Fatimid Theory of State'(Lahore, 1957, p. 149), that, 'These presentations have been hastily arrayed without a genuine investigation of al-Hakim's reign.' This part of al-Hakim's policy cannot be described as blood-thirsty or insane.

Al-Hakim was extremely engaged in a deadly struggle of retaining the Fatimid Caliphate. He was not fighting only the secular tendencies of political power groups, but also attempting to rally the fast disintegrating Fatimid ranks in the face of impending danger.

It is a common method which most rulers used to adopt to silence opposition and prevent threats to their own powers. There is no evidence suggesting that, at any time, al-Hakim ordered the execution of someone just for the sake of killing. His bursts of killing, as M.G.S. Hodgson says in 'al-Darazi and Hamza in the Origin of the Druze Religion' (JAOS, 82, 1962, p. 14), 'were most obviously turned against the great and the proud, the holders of positions and those ambitious to be such.' There were more precisely against those from whom al-Hakim anticipated danger or considered a threat to his power. A comparative study of his attitude towards qadi al-qudat (chief judge) with the manner in which he treated the wasita and military chiefs illustrates this point. It was only Qadis who opposed his policy who were executed; others were treated quite normally. During his entire reign, al-Hakim employed five persons to that post of Qadi al-qudat. Muhammad bin Noman died in 389/998 and al-Hakim himself led the prayer at his funeral. His successor, Hussain bin Noman served until 395/1004 when he was executed after being found guilty of theft. Muhammad bin Yousuf al-Kindi (d. 330/951) writes in 'Kitab al-Umra wa'l Kitab al-Qudat' (London, 1912, p. 608) that, 'Hussain bin Noman stole twenty thousand dinars from an orphan whose father entrusted the money to him. His trial was personally conducted by al-Hakim.' Abdul Aziz bin Noman succeeded until 399/1008 when he was dismissed, and two years later executed for opposing al-Hakim and supporting Hussain bin Jawhar. Malik bin Sa'id al-Fariqi served for 6 years, 9 months and 10 days (399/1008 to 405/1014) and was executed for opposing al-Hakim's policy for imposing Islamic laws. In 405/1014, al-Hakim appointed Muhammad bin Abi'l Awwam as Qadi al-qudat and Khatgin as a Dai al-duat, and both remained in office until the end of al-Hakim's rule because of their loyalty with the rules imposed.

Ismaili History 548 - Jaysh ibn Samasama

Barjawan was able to overcome the chronic problems in Syria, and appointment of Jaysh ibn Samsama as a governor general and the commander of the Fatimid forces, indicates a shrewd policy. Jaysh was a powerful Maghriba leader and was also a popular figure among the Mashriqa. Initially, he had four major problems to be confronted when he reached Syria: the rebellion in Tyre, the rebellion of Mufraj bin Dagfal, the unrest in Damascus and the Byzantine invasions into the Fatimid territory.
Jaysh at first moved into the action to subdue the rebellion in Tyre, an important port on the Mediterranean coast; whose inhabitants, supported by the Byzantines, had rose against the Fatimid suzerainty during the clash between Barjawan and Ibn Ammar. Their leader, a sailor called Ullaqah had declared Trye an independent, and issued new coinage with the slogan, 'Dignity and plenty instead of humility and poverty. Amir Ullaqah' (uzzun ba'da faqah al-amir Ullaqah). Jaysh appointed Abu Abdullah al-Hussain and Ibn Nasir ad-Dawla al- Hamdani to lead the expedition against Trye, and himself stayed with the rest of the forces in Palestine, preparing another expedition against Mufraj bin Dagfal. He also ordered the governors of Tripoli and Sidon to join together with their warships in the forthcoming fighting against Tyre. In the ensuing battle, the Fatimid forces ravaged the Byzantine ships, and at length, Tyre fell before the onslaught of the Fatimid forces. The Fatimid troops entered the city and declared immunity (aman) and safe-conduct for all who remained in their homes. Ullaqah was arrested and sent to Cairo.

After suppression of rebellion in Tyre, Jaysh proceeded towards Palestine, where Mufraj bin Dagfal was plundering the towns and attacking the pilgrim caravans. When confronted with the big army of Jaysh, Mufraj capitulated and sent a delegation, asking for safe- conduct and promised to advance his loyalty to the Fatimids. Jaysh, who was pressed by more serious problems in northern Syria, accepted the offer of Mufraj and pardoned him, and withdrew his army to the north.

Jaysh thence advanced towards Damascus, and as soon as he entered the city, according to Ibn Athir (9th vol., p. 50), he declared that his prime objective was to wage war against the Byzantine and establish peace and security in Damascus. He also announced the death penalty for any one, whether his soldiers or other citizens, who proved guilty of disturbing the peace in the city. Jaysh then moved towards Hims, where the governor of Tripoli and his troops and a number of volunteers, augmented Jaysh's army in his fight against the Byzantines, who had besieged Afamiya at that time.

Jaysah arrived at Afamiya during the hour when the city was in great distress and about to fall into the hands of Byzantines. In the ensuing battle lasted for a few days, Jaysh faced defeat in the beginning. In the interim, a Muslim soldier managed to kill the Byzantine commander, causing demoralization among the Christian troops. The Byzantine troops were defeated, who took wild flight from the field. Jaysh followed the defeated Byzantines as far as Antioch and besieged the city for a few days, but he at once lifted the siege and returned to Damascus.

It must be remembered that Ibn Ammar had instituted a group of the young men (ahdath) from among the Maghriba in Damascus against the Mashriqa. The Ahdath, an urban militia, commanded by al-Rais (master) or al-Rais al-Bilad, whose influence exceeded that of the qadi. As armed and pugnacious men of the native-born population, the Ahdath had constituted in face of the political authorities. The Ahadath had assumed the principal power and were the main cause of the troubles in Damascus. Jaysah tried to cope with these elements and finally decided to eliminate them once and for all. During his early arrival in Damasus, he delayed his plan owing to the raids of the Byzantines on northern Syria. After suppression of the Byzantine influence in Tyre and the troubles created by Mufraj bin Dagfal, he returned to Damscus to strike a final blow on the Ahdath. According to Qalanisi (p. 51), he invited the chiefs of Ahdath to his camp which he had pitched outside the city, and had them killed. He at once besieged the city and sent his troops inside to search and kill the remaining ashes of Ahdath. This operation clean-up cost the death toll of 1200 persons and brought fear to the inhabitants, but Jaysh declared for their safe-conduct and promised security and peace under the suzerainty of the Fatimids. This was of course a bloody operation, but at the same time it was a last resort and the only effective solution to solve the problems of Damascus, where peace was restored for a long time. In sum, the major threat to the suzernaity of the Fatimids in Damascus was avoided.

During the first three years of al-Hakim's rule, two major anti-Fatimid uprisings occurred in Damascus. It was the untiring efforts of Jaysh ibn Samsama that these rebellions had been subdued in 388/998. Al-Hakim's aim was to win the loyalty, therefore, he paid due attention to the welfare of Damascus and appointed considerable governors, some of whom were recalled after only a few months. Thus, 21 governors are reported to have been appointed in Syria during the 22 years of al-Hakim's rule. He did not hesitate to dismiss any governor who exceeded his authority or caused discontent among the inhabitants.

Jaysh ibn Samsama died on 390/1000 at Damascus. His son went to Cairo with a paper on which his father had written his will and a detailed statement of all his property: all this, he declared, belonged to al-Hakim; his children had no rights. The property thus valued was estimated at 200,000 pieces of gold. His son brought all this before al-Hakim, who said, 'I have read your father's will and the statement of the money and goods of which he has disposed by his will. Take it, and enjoy it in tranquility and for your happiness.'

Ismaili History 549 - Condition of Aleppo

The Fatimid Imam al-Hakim had also contemplated to extend his authority to Aleppo, the greatest centre of northern Syria. The last Hamdanid ruler, Sa'id ad-Dawla had been killed in 392/1002 by the conspiracy of his minister, called Lulu; who abolished the Hamdanid dynasty in Aleppo and established his own. The real power behind Aleppo was however the Byzantines, who used to be called when their help needed to the rulers. Thus, al-Hakim made a non-aggression pact (hudna) with Basil II, the emperor of Byzantine and weakened the reliance of Aleppo on Byzantine help. There appears different of views as to the negotiation of non-aggression pact (hudna) between the Muslim and Christian empires. Ibn Qalanisi (p. 54) writes that in 390/1000, Barjawan moved first by sending a friendly letter through his Christian secretary, Fahd bin Ibrahim al-Katib, expressing the Fatimid desire for the pact. Antaki (p. 184) however states that the Byzantine emperor, Basil II took the initiative by deputing his two envoys to negotiate peace with the Fatimids. In sum, the agreement was initially for a period of ten years, but it remained enforced through out al-Hakim's period, and the relations between them were strengthened. Envoys and presents were exchanged between the two rulers and trade and commercial activities continued uninterrupted except for a brief period.

The events which occurred in Aleppo after the death of its ruler, Lulu in 399/1008 faciliated al-Hakim's policy and assisted him to achieve his goal. Lulu's son Mansur, succeeding his father, was faced with numerous enemies, including Abul Hayja, the Hamdanid prince who came from Byzantium with Byzantine support to restore the rule of his ancestors. Mansur received investitaure from al-Hakim and virtually became a Fatimid vassal. Al-Hakim supported Mansur against Abul Hayja, who had taken field and defeated.

In 406/1016, Mansur was defeated in a battle by Saleh bin Mirdas, the chief of the Banu Kilab. Mansur took refuge with the Byzantines after leaving a citadel under the control of a certain Fath, who was secretly in contact with al-Hakim. Thus, al-Hakim granted the title of Asad ad-Dawla (lion of the state) to Saleh bin Mirdas and Mubarak ad-Dawla (blessed of the state) to Fath. On the other hand, al- Hakim commanded his troops encamped in Syria to move towards Aleppo to prevent any pact between Saleh and Fath against the Fatimids. In 407/1017, the first Fatimid governor appointed by al-Hakim entered Aleppo, called Fatik, bearing the title of Aziz ad-Dawla. Ibn al-Adim (d. 660/1262) writes in 'Zubdat al-Halab fi Tarikh Halab' (Damascus, 1951, 1st vol., p. 214) that al-Hakim issued an edict addressing to the inhabitants of Aleppo that, 'When Amir al-mominin learned of the tyranny and ill treatment you suffered from those in powers, burdening you with taxes and harsh imposts out of all proportion to the ways of Islam, he, may God strengthen his power, ordered supplies to be sent to you from the state's stores and to exempt you from the kharaj until the year 407. By this you will know that the light of righteousness has risen and the darkness of tyranny has been dispelled.'

The Byzantine emperor however opposed the Fatimid foothold in Aleppo, but did not break the non-agression pact (hubna) with the Fatimids. He put restrictions upon the trade with Aleppo and cemeted his close ties with the Mirdasids in order to employ them against Fatik. The remote distance of Cairo, the threats and offers of his Byzantine contacts and his personal ambition, made it easy for Fatik to show his back to the Fatimids. Soon afterwards, Fatik began to rule as an independent ruler in Aleppo and dismissed the officials appointed by al-Hakim and employed men of his own choice.

On this juncture, al-Hakim realized that a demonstration of the Fatimid arm forces was necessary to maintain his authority in Aleppo, therefore, he ordered his governor in Syria to prepare for a quick expedition against Fatik. On the other side, the troops of the Byzantine also came into action and started moving from the north to the south to support their interests. It was only the sudden death of al-Hakim that had prevented the two empires from breaking peace which had lasted between them for more than 20 years.

Ismaili History 550 - Condition of Maghrib

We have heretofore discussed that al-Muizz had vested Buluggin bin Ziri (d. 373/984) with the governorship of all the Fatimid dominions in the Maghrib except for the Kalbid Sicily and Tripoli in 361/972. Later on, Buluggin asked Imam al-Aziz to give him rule over Tripoli as well. His request was granted and from 365/975, Tripoli began to be ruled by the Zirids. Buluggin appointed Tamsulat bin Bakkar as the amir of Tripoli, who governed the province for 20 years. In 386/996, after the death of Mansur, the second Zirid ruler, the relation between Tamsulat and Badis (d. 406/1016), the third Zirid ruler were strained. Tamsulat wrote to Cairo, asking Barjawan to send a new amir for Tripoli. Barjawan's error was that without the consent of Badis, he appointed Yanis as the amir of Tripoli in 388/998, who was then the amir of Barqa. Badis wrote a letter to Yanis, asking for an explanation of his move from Barqa to Tripoli, but he received no satisfactory reply. Realizing the danger that Yanis represented, Badis sent his troops into battle against him. In the ensuing battle, Yanis was killed and his forces retreated to Tripoli, where they barricaded themselves awaiting help from Cairo.

The above military actions of Barjawan in Tripoli supported no decree from al-Hakim. It however affected the relations between the Fatimids and the Zirids. In addition, Tripoli, over which the dispute had begun, was occupied neither by the Fatimids nor by the Zirids, but it came in the hands of the enemy of both, i.e., the Banu Zanata. Fulful (d. 402/1011), the chief of Zanata tribe had taken an opportunity and proceeded towards Tripoli. He entered the city and declared his support against the Zirids and proclaimed his loyalty to the Umayyads of Spain.

Hence, the Fatimids lost Tripoli for about ten years (390-400/999-1009). After restoration of peace in Egypt, al-Hakim turned his attention towards Tripoli. He dispatched his forces at the command of Yahya al-Andulusi as a new amir of Tripoli, and commanded Raydan at Tripoli to give Yahya a sum of money for expenses. Raydan, who most probably appropriated the money, instead gave Yahya a signed order to collect money from Barqa. When Yahya reached Barqa, he found the state treasury depleted. Most of the soldiers in his troops belonged to Banu Qorra, whom he had promised generous payment. Thus, Yahya faced difficulties in the field. Banu Qorra not only deserted Yahya, but they also raided his camps in angry and pillaged whatever they found and returned to their territory. Henceforward, Yahya entered Tripoli with the remaining troops. He was overpowered by the Zanata chief, Fulful, who humiliated him and took control of Tripoli, proclaming his loyalty to the Umayyads of Spain. On other side, al-Hakim did not send any reinforcement to regain Tripoli, and as a result, the Fatimids lost their suzerainty in Maghrib. Their relations with the Zirids also deteriorated, and the Sanhaja tribe ruled there independently. Later on, the Fatimid khutba was also removed.

Ismaili History 551 - Revolt of Abu Raqwa

In 395/1004, al-Hakim faced the most serious challenge to his authority against the rebellion that shooked and rocked the foundation of his state. This was the rebellion of Abu Raqwa, an Umayyad prince who united the forces of Berbers of Zanata with those of the Arab tribe of Banu Qorra to lead them against the Fatimids. Little is known of Abu Raqwa's background. Most of the historians gave his name as Walid bin Hisham, and Abu Raqwa was his nickname given him by the Egyptians. The word raqwa means 'leather bag', in which travellers, especially the Sufis, carried water during journey. He was an Umayyad prince from the line of Marwan bin Hakam. In his twenties, he fled from Spain when Mansur bin Amir took over power and began persecuting members of the Umayyad family. He travelled to Maghrib, Egypt, Yamen, Mecca and Syria; testing the possibility of creating a group strong enough to support the Umayyad cause. At length, he succeeded to generate a large following in Maghrib and proclaimed himself as an amir.

Besides the rooted opposition of Zanata and the dissatisfaction of Banu Qorra with the Fatimids, the economic factors also appears to have been the main cause behind the rebellion of Abu Raqwa. The province of Barqa in Maghrib was very poor, and its treasury was even insufficient to supply the needs of the small army which al-Hakim sent in 391/1000 to restore Fatimid suzerainty in Tripoli. Its commercial life was limited and its income depended upon its limited agricultural output. The whole of Maghrib preceding the rebellion was caught with economic crisis, resulting a sort of catastrophe in 395/1004. Ibn Idhari (d. 712/1312) writes in 'Akhbar al-Andalus wa'l Maghrib' (1st. vol., p. 256) that, 'In 395/1004, there was a catastrophe in Africa. The poor died and the money of the rich vanished. Prices rose and food became impossible to find. The people of Badia left their homes. Houses became empty and there was no one to occupy them. With all this there was a plague of cholera.' Abu Raqwa understood the difficulties of the tribesmen, their overwhelming desire to solve their problems, and therefore, he concentrated his effort to this point. The situtation turned in his favour as an effective tool of his rebellion. When the people agreed to follow his rebellious leadership, the first pact he executed with the people concerning the booty and gains resulting from war. It was resolved to divide the booty into three shares: one for each tribe and one third to be retained under Abu Raqwa's control in order to form a treasury to help during the war. He also promised to give the chiefs the palaces and houses of the Fatimid state in Cairo and other fertile regions in Egypt.

After being assured himself of sufficient support from the two principal tribes, Abu Raqwa canvassed neighboring districts, where he delivered speeches about Islam in a revolutionary manner. The tribesmen were fascinated by his eloquence, and assembled under his leadership against the Fatimids. Sandal, the Fatimid chief of Barqa had immediately reported to al-Hakim and asked permission to campaign against him. According to Ibn Athir (9th vol., p. 82), 'Al-Hakim, who apparently did not realize the urgency of the problem, neither gave permission nor sent help but recommended diplomacy, not militant stance as a solution.' Sandal's action failed, and Abu Raqwa with his troops swiftly marched to invade the city of Barqa. Sandal and his troops met them outside the city, and was subdued after a fierce fighting. Sandal retreated and barricaded himself inside the city. Sandal also contacted Ibn Taybun, the chief of the Berber tribe of Lawata, who came to the rescue and forced Abu Raqwa to break the siege, but failed to defeat him. Abu Raqwa then inflicted a heavy defeat on Lawata's forces and got the loss of many fighters including Ibn Taybun. The inhabitants of Barqa with their chief Sandal took advantage of Abu Raqwa's temporary withdrawal from their city, and strongly fortified its walls, digging huge trenches around them and storing as much food and supplies as they could. When Abu Raqwa returned to the siege, he found the city in a much stronger position to defend than before. Several months of siege, he failed to convince Sandal to surrender. Meanwhile, al-Hakim sent an army of five thousand men under the leadership of Yanal to relieve Barqa. Yanal had to cross considerable stretch of desert before he reached Barqa, and Abu Raqwa sent a body of cavalry across the route to fill in the wells. He then waited at the point farthest from Egypt to meet Yanal's forces, who arrived tired, exhausted and thirsty. Yanal was defeated and was scourged to death. Abu Raqwa sacked his all equipments and supplies, and returned to Barqa. Sandal, together with his family, fled to Cairo. In the month of Zilhaja, 395/October, 1005, Abu Raqwa captured Barqa, and declared himself amir al-mominin, and adopted the title of al-Nasir li-Dinillah (the assistant of God's order). This was struck on the coinage too, and the khutba was read in his name and the Sunni law was declared. Al-Musabbihi (d. 420/1029) writes that Abu Raqwa's supporters regarded him as a caliph.

About a year after his occupation of Barqa, Abu Raqwa was driven out by the threat of famine and plague. He and his supporters left Barqa as if they were migrating from one land to another, and proceeded towards Alexandria. Al-Hakim began his preparations to quell the rebellion, and appointed Fazal bin Saleh to arrange a large force to meet Abu Raqwa in the field. Meanwhile, a news arrived of Abu Raqwa's movement towards Alexandria. Fazal sent a detachment at the command of Qabil to intercept the rebels, and prevent them from reaching the city. The two armies met in Dhat al-Hamam in Alexandria, where Abu Raqwa won a victory over Qabil. Thence, Abu Raqwa resumed his march towards Alexandria. He besieged it for several months, provoking extreme alarms in Cairo, and a large force had been dispatched from Cairo in command of Fazal bin Saleh. Abu Raqwa failed to capture Alexandria, so he turned towards Cairo. He reached at Fayyum and camped to plan the final blow against the Fatimids. Al-Hakim raised reinforcement of four thousand horsemen at the command of Ali bin Falah to Jiza to prevent Abu Raqwa's troops from raiding areas close to Cairo. Knowing this, Abu Raqwa sent a division of his troops which ambushed Ali bin Falah, killed many of his men. Skirmishes between the two forces continued until they finally met at Ra's al-Barqa in Fayyum district.

It should be noted that a secret pact between Abu Raqwa and the Bedouin chiefs in the Fatimid forces had stipulated that when he would attack, they would withdraw from Fazal bin Saleh's side to create fear and confusion. Fazal was fully aware of this, and on the day of the battle, he summoned all the Bedouin chiefs to his tent. When the attack took place, the Bedouin chiefs, being the prisoners virtually in Fazal's tent, were unable to play their part in accord with the pact with Abu Raqwa, and their troops, unaware of their masters' pact with Abu Raqwa, fought fiercely. Expecting a victory, the troops of Abu Raqwa were easily ambushed and defeated, and he himself fled to the south, and then to Nubia, a large country streching from Aswan to Khartoum, and from Red Sea to the Libyan desert. Abu Raqwa reached at Dumqula, the capital of Nubia, where he pretended to be an ambassador of the Fatimid at the court of the Nubian king. Fazal followed close behind to the Nubian frontier and managed to find out Abu Raqwa, and took him prisoner in 397/1004. He was brought to Cairo, and was paraded through the streets. Ibn Qalanisi (d. 555/1160) writes in 'Tarikh-i Dimashq' (p. 65) that Abu Raqwa had written a poetical letter to al-Hakim, begging him for mercy, but al-Hakim refused pardon. But al-Musabbihi (d. 420/1029) as quoted by Makrizi in 'Itti'az' (p. 396) however refutes it and suggests that al-Hakim intended to pardon Abu Raqwa as al-Hakim had personally told him while talking about Abu Raqwa, 'I did not want to kill him and what happened to him was not of my choosing.' Ibn Athir (9th vol., p. 84) writes that, 'Abu Raqwa died from humiliation and the cruel treatment during the parade, but was not executed.' It transpires that al-Hakim did not wish to execute him and was waiting the termination of the parade to grant him mercy, but he was died.

The rebellion of Abu Raqwa lasted for two years, which almost sucked away the national economy and depleted the royal treasury. In 398/1005, the Nile rising only 16 yards and 16 fingers flow with the result that there was a great rise in prices and hardship. The single bread (al-khubz) became so dear that it could be obtained with great difficulty. It was followed by disease and plague together with malnutrition. Al-Hakim immediately exempted the taxes and formulated strict measures to cope with the situation and instituted death penalty for those who inflated prices or hoarded commodities, which produced the desired effect very soon.

Ismaili History 552 - Rebellion of Mufraj bin Dagfal

Created by Arab tribes in Palestine, headed by Mufraj bin Dagfal al-Jarrah Taiy, al-Hakim had to face another rebellion hatched in 397/1004, which lasted for about three years. This was the rebellion of the tribe of Banu Jarrah, a part of the Yameni tribe, called Taiy, who had settled in southern parts of Palestine in the Balqa region. Unlike the revolt of Abu Raqwa, Mufraj's rising was not influenced by religious teaching, nor was it a serious threat to the Fatimids. He began to plunder the pilgrims, and planned to occupy Palestine to establish his family rule. In 400/1009, al-Hakim appointed his general Yarkhtagin to Aleppo to suppress the rebellions, but Mufraj intercepted him at Askalan and raided. Mufraj sacked his materials and captured him. The rebels also occupied Ramla.

Mufraj went to Hijaz and swore allegiance to Hasan bin Jafar (d. 430/1038), surnamed Abul Fatuh as an amir, and brought him to Ramla. Thus, Mufraj dominated both in Palestine and Hijaz, and started coinage in the name of Abul Fatuh. Al-Hakim was much alarmed by these events in his state and tried to suppress the rebellion before it assumed serious proportions. He wrote a letter of remonstration to Mufraj and offered him a sum of 50,000 dinars in return for the safety of Yarkhtagin. Al-Hakim also threated him with severe consequences if he harmed his general. Soon afterwards, the Fatimid general Yarkhtagin had been executed.

To discredit Abul Fatuh in Mecca and regain Hijaz, al-Hakim communicated with another in Mecca, known as Ibn Abu Tayyib and helped him, resulting re-occupation of Hijaz by the Fatimid. Al-Hakim wrote to Mufraj, promising him estates and other gifts if he would cease from rebellion. Mufraj resolved to abandon Abul Fatuh, who returned to Hijaz. Meanwhile, Mufraj accepted the offer of al-Hakim and took his money. He however retained his mastery over Palestine and continued to menace the peace and security. The pilgrims from Egypt could no longer travel to Hijaz to perform hajj as their caravans were used to be sacked.

At length, al-Hakim was impelled to take field against Mufraj. In 404/1013, he sent 20,000 horsemen under Ali bin Falah, whom he invested the title qutb ad-dawla (magnate of the state), and ordered the chief of Damascus to join the campaign. Meanwhile, Mufraj died and his supporters scattered. Ali bin Falah captured Ramla and restored law and order

Ismaili History 553 - Reforms of al-Hakim

After suppression of revolts, al-Hakim's administration became very liberal. The rebellions and the risings during his period had badly shaken the commercial life in Egypt by the fluctuation of the dhiram. In 395/1004, the market value of one dinar became equal to 26 dhirams. In 397/1006, the same problem occurred and one dinar valued equal to 34 dhirams. To cope with the monetary problem, new dhiramshad been minted for circulation and the old ones withdrawn. The official value of a new dhiram was fixed at the rate 18 pieces to the dinar. The people were given three days to exchange the coins. This method controlled the monetary system to great extent.

In Egypt, the prices of merchandise, like units of measures and weight were not under direct control of the rule. This resulted price inflation and the people were at the mercy of the shopkeepers and merchants, profiteering high prices, therefore, al-Hakim stabilized the units of weight and measure and fixed the price under government control. In 395/1004, an ordinance was issued to this effect, commanding the stabilization of the units and threatening those who delibrately mishandled them. In 397/1006, the prices of certain commodities were fixed. Severe punishment was inflicted upon the shopkeepers and merchants, who infringed these rules and also paraded in the streets who disobeyed these ordinances.

The relaxation in tax appears to have been an important feature in al-Hakim's reformations. During the years of low Nile which affected agriculture, the land-owners were exempted from paying imposts and taxes. Sometimes, certain areas were declared tax-free zones and at other times it covered the whole country. All the important commodities were relaxed from taxation along with local industries, such as silk, soap and refreshments.

The agriculture in Egypt used to be a target of the scanty of water during bad Nile and the loss of cattle from epidemics, therefore, al-Hakim had taken important measures to reduce the problem as much as possible. He ordered water courses and troughs to be cleaned regularly. In 403/1013, he expended 15,000 dinars for the cleaning of the canal of Alexandria. He also employed Ibn al-Haytham, a famous engineer from Basra to solve the problem of low Nile. To ensure the supply of cattle for agriculture purpose, al-Hakim ordered that cows should not be slaughtered except on occasions of religious festivals or if they were unfit to pull the plough. Ibn Taghri Birdi (d. 874/1470) writes in 'al-Nujum al-Zahira fi Muluk Misr wa al-Qahira' (Cairo, 1929, 4th vol., p. 252) that, 'His food laws like the slaughtering of safe and healthy cows, which was limited to perpetuate the cattle breed, and the killing of all dogs in the country were promulgated for sanitary purposes.'

Al-Hakim also granted most of the state land to his subjects and it was not only officials and friends who benefited the facility, but any person who petitioned for his aids. He also curtailed the expenses of the palaces and confiscated most of the properties of his family members, notably of his mother and sisters and added them to the state treasury in 399/1009.

Al-Hakim's forbidding extravagant spending in entertainments when the Nile was exceptionally low and his fight against profiteering from high prices during the famine crisis are examples of sensible legislation for the public welfare. Ibn Taghri Birdi also discusses at some length al-Hakim's charitable and university endowments; his leniency with taxation, depending on the ability of people and commensurate with the prosperity of Egypt over a particular year (op. cit., 4th vol., p. 180).

There are also other notworthy reforms of al-Hakim in Egypt. 'Nudity in public baths' says Makrizi in his 'Itti'az al-Hunafa' (Cairo, 1948, p. 391), 'was prohibited and people were ordered to wear towel around the waist.' In 397/1006, Makrizi adds, a decree (manshur) was read, commanding the fixation of prices of bread, meat and other commodities. According to 'The Renaissance of Islam' (Patna, 1937, p. 399), 'The Caliph al-Hakim, who sought to restore the original Islam, enacted stringent measures against wine-drinking. When his Christian physician, Ibn Anastas prescribed wine and music for his melancholy, the people reverted with joy to the old vice. But the physician soon died and the Caliph became a yet greater opponent of alcohol. He even forbade the sale of raisins and honey and destroyed the casks wherein wine was kept.'

Makrizi further writes in his 'al-Khitat' (Cairo, 1911, 2nd vol., p. 285) that, 'He enforced an Islamic law forbidding the making, selling and drinking of wine. A total and complete enforcement of this law never exercised by any Muslim caliph but al-Hakim was determined to enforce it.' In 402/1012, al-Hakim had forbidden the use of beer under a decree (manshur), and according to Ibn Khallikan (3rd vol., p. 450), 'The usual law against wine was strictly enforced. Now he forbade the sale of dried raisins because they were used by some for making wine. He forbade their importation into the country, and ordered all found in stores to be destroyed, in consequence of which some 2340 boxes of dried raisins were burned, the value being put at 500 pieces of gold. He next forbade the sale of fresh grapes, exceeding four pounds at a time; in any markets, and strict prohibition was made against squeezing out the juice. The grapes found on sale were confiscated, and either trodden in the street or thrown into the Nile. The vine at Gizeh were cut down and oxen employed to tread the fruit into the mire. Orders were issued that the same was to be done throughout the provinces. But honey as well as grapes can be used in preparing fermented liquor, so the Caliph's seal was affixed to the stores of honey at Gizeh, and some 5051 jars of honey were broken and their contents poured into the Nile, as well as 51 cruises of date honey.'

De Lacy O'Leary quotes an example to this effect in 'A Short History of the Fatimid Khilafat' (London, 1923, pp. 165-6) that a certain merchant had all his money invested in the prohibited fruit, and lost everything by the seizure and destruction of his goods. He appeared before the qadi and summoned al-Hakim to appear and make good the destruction caused by his officials. The Caliph appeared to answer the charge preferred against him, the qadi treating him like any other citizen against whom complaint had been lodged. The merchant asked for compensation to the amount of 1000 pieces of gold. Al-Hakim in his defence said that the fruits destroyed were intended to be used in the preparation of drinks forbidden by the law of Holy Koran, but that if the merchant will answer that they were not intended for this purpose, but only to be eaten he was willing to pay their price. The merchant swore that the fruit was intended only for eating. He then received the money and gave the Caliph a formal receipt. When the case was concluded, the qadi, who had upto this point treated both parties as ordinary suitors, rose from his seat and gave the Caliph the salute customary at court. Al-Hakim admired the qadi's conduct, and made him valuable presents in recognition of his treatment of the case.

The historians concur that the life of frivolity in Egypt seems to have been against the principles of al-Hakim, and according to Antaki (p. 202), 'He banned the profession of singers and dancers in Egypt.' He also forbade unveiled women to follow a funeral, prohibiting the weeping and howling and procession of mourning women with drums and pipes. Thus, the tearing of clothes, the blackening of faces and clipping of hair were forbidden and women, employed for lamenting the dead, were imprisoned. O'Leary writes that, 'No doubt the nocturnal festivities of Cairo, well suited to the pleasure loving character of the Egyptians, led to many abuses, and so in 391/1001 a strict order was issued, forbidding women to go out of doors by night, and a little later this was followed by a general order prohibiting the opening of the shops by night.' (op. cit., p. 133)

In sum, al-Hakim always protected the Islamic interest like his ancestors. Ibn al-Muqaffa in 'Tarikh Batarikat al-Kanisa al-Misriyya'(2nd vol., p. 125) and Bar Hebraeus in 'Chronographia' (London, 1923, p. 184) state that al-Hakim threatened those who did not follow Islam and honoured those who did. Ibn Khallikan (3rd vol., p. 451) writes that, 'In 408/1017, al-Hakim forbade the kissing of the ground in his presence and annulled the prayer made for him in the khutba and in the writings addressed to him. Instead of that prayer, they were ordered to employ these words: Salutation to the Commander of the Faithful.'

Ismaili History 554 - The famous decree of al-Hakim

According to 'Tarikh' (4th vol., p. 60) by Ibn Khaldun, 'Tarikh-i Antaki' (p. 195) by Antaki and 'Khitat' (2nd vol., p. 287) by Makrizi, al-Hakim issued his famous ordinance in 399/1008, which was read on the pulpit of the mosque of al-Azhar as under:-

'This is to inform that Amir al-mominin al-Hakim bi-Amrillah recites the verse of God's manifest Book before you that: 'There is no compulsion in religion; truly the right path is now distinct from error. He that renounces idol-worship and puts his faith in God, he indeed has laid hold on the firmest handle, which shall not break off, and God is Hearing and Knowing.' (2:256)

Yesterday passed away in prosperity and today came up with its necessities. O'multitude of Muslims! I am an Imam and you are the Ummah. Verily, all Muslims are brothers with one another, therefore, you seek unity with the brothers and fear God. It is hoped that you shall be graced with mercy. One who confesses the tauhid (Unity of God) and risalat (Prophethood of Muhammad), and one who does not boost disunity between the two persons, they all are included in the bond of Islamic Brotherhood. God saved those who had saved themselves through it. And those whom were to stop, they were stopped from all unlawful things, i.e., from slaughter, means and materials, and the forbidden women. Best understanding and the following on the true path are good and excellent. The quarrels and dissentions are not good. The past events should not be repeated and given up as extremely harmful for the present time. It should not be remembered what occurred in the past, notably those events and occurances being taken place during the rules of my ancestors. Who they were? They were Mahdi billah, Qaim bi-Amrillah, Mansur billah, Muizz li-dinillah and other (i.e. al-Aziz), who adopted the true path. The condition of Mahdiya, Mansuria and Kairwan is quite apparent, not hidden from any one, nor even it is secret.

The fast-keepers may keep fast and break in accordance with their rites. One should have no objection with the person who keeps and breaks fast (according to his own belief). Those who offer five obligatory prayers, they must continue it. No one should restrict or forbid one who offers the salat al-dua and tarawih (prayers in the month of Ramdan). Those who recite five taqbir (act of extolling greatness of God) on the funeral prayers, they should do so, and no person should forbid to those who offer four taqbir. The muazinshould recite 'haiya ala khair al-amal' (come to the best work) in the call to prayer. One should not be however teased who does not recite these words in the call to prayer.

No ill words should be uttered to revile the Companions of the past, and one should have no objection against the eulogies being extolled for them. Let him oppose who is against them. Each Muslim mujtahid is responsible for himself in the decision of religion matters. Verily, he has to return to God. He has his own book of deeds, whereupon depend his accounts.

O'God's servants! you follow the injunctions of above deccree being enforced today. No Muslim should hemper into the faith of other Muslims, and no person should oppose the beliefs of his friends. Amir al-mominin has written down all these points for you (explicitly) in his decree. Nay, God says, 'O'believers! you are accountable for none but yourselves; he that goes astray cannot harm you if you are on the right path. You shall all return to God, and He will declare to you what you have done' (5:106). May peace be upon you and the divine grace.'

In Egypt, al-Hakim thus is reported to have removed the differences of the Shia and Sunni Muslims. Ibn Khallikan (3rd vol., p. 450) writes that, 'He gave orders that the persons who uttered curses against the Companions should be flogged and paraded ignominiously through the streets.' Antaki (p. 195) writes that, 'He publicly praised the Companions of the Prophet and commanded his subjects to do the same.' In sum, the Sunni and Shia enjoyed toleration and equal rights. Many Sunni jurists were also employed in the Dar al-Hikmah and the appointment of a Sunni qadi, called Abul Abbas bin Awam Hanbali is best example in this context. In 400/1009, al-Hakim also established a school of law offering instructions in the Malikite rite, whose incharge was Abu Bakr Antaki.

In sum, al-Hakim restored peace and prosperity in the country, attracting the Muslims of Baghdad and Cordova to settle in Cairo. He brought the Fatimid rule to its zenith. Dr. G. Kheirallah writes in 'Druze History' (Detroit, 1952, p.160) that, 'During the life and reign of al-Hakim, the Fatimite Egypt reached its highest position of influence and prestige - no other state could then vie with Egypt for power, wealth or enlightenment; the Arabian art and crafts were at their zenith, and affluence and ease became the lot of the Egyptians'. According to Antaki (d. 458/1065) in 'Tarikh-i Antaki' (Beirut, 1909, p. 206), 'Al-Hakim provided such kind of justice that his subjects had never known before. They slept in their homes secured in the possession of their properties.' Ibn Ayyas (d. 930/1524) writes in 'Bada'i al-Zuhur' (Cairo, 1896, 1st vol., p. 52) that, 'His justice became the favourite theme of both writers of story and myth as well as poets. Much of their works, praising and picturing al-Hakim as the champion of justice, shows the impression his rule left on people's imaginations.' Al-Hakim adopted severity in observance of Islamic law, which enormously helped to reduce crimes. Ibn al-Zafir (d. 613/1216) writes in 'al-Duwal al-Munqatia' (p. 59) that, 'At times of prayers, the shopkeepers would have their shops open and unguarded without fear of theft.' Ibn Ayyas (op. cit., p. 54) reports a story of a man who lost his purse full of money in the street of Cairo, and when, after few days, he passed the same street, he found it untouched. None dare to touch it for fear of al- Hakim's punishment. In sum, there is an Egyptian fragment of Hebrew writing, evidently from al-Hakim's period, praising and eulogizing his unparalled justice with sincerity, vide Dr. A. Neubauer's 'Egyptien Fragment' (FQR, IX, pp. 24-6).

Ismaili History 555 - The problems of Ahl Dhimma

According to Islamic law, the non-Muslims inhabited in the Islamic state were called ahlu dh-dhimmati (people of protection) or simply al-Dhimma or dhimmis. They included the Christian, Jewish, Magian, Samaritan and Sabian. Ahl Dhimma were prohibited in the Muslim state from holding public religious ceremonies, from raising their voices loudly when praying and even from ringing their church bells aloud. All schools agree that it is not allowed to build new churches, synagogues, convent, hermitage or cell in towns or cities of Dar al- Islam (Muslim lands). When these injunctions were disobeyed, the Muslim leaders were authorized to treat the offenders as dwellers in Dar al-Harb (non-Muslim lands) and not as Ahl Dhimma in Dar al-Islam (Muslim lands), vide 'Subh al-A'asha fi Sina'at at al-Insha' (Cairo, 1922, 13th vol., p. 356) by Qalaqashandi (d. 821/1418).

When the Fatimids arrived in Egypt, the need for a stable financial administration provided an opportunity to the talented minorities of Ahl Dhimma (Christians and Jews) to find employment in state offices. They were massively employed from low to high ranking posts in the state. In return, the policy of the Fatimid Caliphs towards them was of great toleration. The Fatimids granted land to churches. The Jewish religious institutions, such as the Jerusalem Yeshiva was also financially supported by the Fatimid authorities. As time passed their influences grew so rapidly through out the state that they became almost a threat to the Fatimids. Most of the high officials of finance departments, the deputies and staffs were remarkably non-Muslims, who also became a source of tension for the Muslims. When Imam al-Aziz dismissed and arrested his vizir Yaqub bin Killis in 373/983, the functioning of the administration became almost frozen, impelling al-Aziz to release and restore Yaqub bin Killis to his former office. Al-Aziz is also reported to have reappointed few other dismissed officials, confirming the foothold of the non-Muslims in the Fatimid dominion.

Wustenfeld writes in 'Geschichte der Fatimiden Chalifen' (Gottingen, 1881, 2nd vol., p. 64) about Isa bin Nestorius, a Christian vizir of the Fatimids that, 'He was hard-hearted and an usurer who grasped for himself every lucrative business, and agumented very much the taxes. He favoured his co-religionists and placed them in the important offices of state, while removing the former Muslims secretaries and tax-collectors. As his chief deputy in Syria he chose a Jew, Menasse bin Ibrahim, who showed there the same regard for the Jews as Isa did for the Christians in Egypt, by reducing their taxes and appointing them as officials. Thus the followers of these two religions ruled the state. This caused great indignation amongst the Muslims.'

The Ahl Dhimma, mainly the Christians, were thickly populated in Egypt. They were rich, powerful, influential and dominated in the political and social orbits. Ibn Athir (9th vol., p. 48) quotes Hasan bin Bishar of Damascus, who made mention of the growing influences of the Christians in the Fatimid empire in his poetry that:-

Be Christian (as) today is the time of Christianity. Believe in nothing, but in the holy trinity. Yaqub is the father, Aziz is the son. And for the holy ghost, Fazal is the one.

The people roused to anger against the poet and situation gradually exploded in civil disturbances. When the people clamoured for the punishment of the poet, al-Aziz demonstrated a big heart and told to Yaqub bin Killis and Fazal bin Saleh to expel the poet from the city as soon as possible.

Towards the end of al-Aziz's reign, the antagonism had reached its climax. The policy of assigning high administrative offices to Christians and Jews was basically in the line with the religious toleration adopted by the Fatimids. It however appears that al-Aziz went further than his predecessors, and the non-Muslims exceeded to take its unnecessaary advantage. In a letter purported to have been delivered to al-Aziz, the writer accused him as saying, 'By the Lord who honoured the Christians through Isa bin Nestorius, and the Jews through Menasse bin Ibrahim al-Kazzaz and humiliated the Muslims through you.' (vide 'Khitat', 2nd vol., p. 195). On that juncture, the Fatimid Imam kept patience and did not take any action against the non-Muslims.

The fast growth of the influences of the Christianity and Judaism began to menace the Islamic interest in the Fatimid state. Even the continued hatred and rivalry between Muslims and non-Muslims in the Fatimid dominion also necessiated that the Imam should find a solution, and thus al-Hakim was destined to come into the actions.

According to al-Musabbihi (cf. 'Khitat', 2nd vol., p. 195), about five naval ships together with their equipment were burnt in 386/995. The Christians, who lived near the port, were accused of purposely causing the fire. Thus, the Muslims sailors attacked them and killed 107 persons and threw their dead bodies into the streets, and pillaged their houses. The vizir Isa bin Nestorius, representing al-Aziz in his absence, brought a police force to the area. He investigated the incident and arrested large number of the Muslims. He crucified 20 Muslims and severely punished the other. The death toll of this riot indicates a large number of the people, and the reason however given to this effect was the fire caught accidently in the ships. But, the manner in which the Muslims behaved, according to the description of al-Musabbihi, confirms that the hatred and animosity was at the very root of the riot.

Like the Christians, the Jews had also wielded their influence in Egypt with the help of Menassee bin Ibrahim. Jacob Mann writes in 'The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine under the Fatimid Caliphs' (London, 1919, 1st vol., pp. 20-21) that, 'Menasse was a general like Joab bin Seruyah and his banner shone with royal splendour. His name was `healing and life' to his people (i.e., the Jews), who greatly rejoiced at his dignity....A number of Arab tribes were humiliated by him. But he looked after the interests of his co-religionists....Menasse's brief management of affairs in Syria and Palestine must have been beneficial to the Jews.'

The foothold of the Jews can be gauged from the fact that Suyuti (d. 911/1505) writes in 'Husn al-Muhadara fi Akhbar Misr wa al-Qahira'(Cairo, 1909, 2nd vol., p. 129) that a poet said of them during the Fatimid Caliphate that:-

The Jews of our times reached the summit of their goal and have become aristocrates. Theirs is the dignity, theirs the money! Councillors of the state and princes chosen among them O'People of Egypt! I give you advice: Become Jews for the heaven has become Jewish.

Under these curious circumstances in the Islamic state, al-Hakim had no alternative but to take drastic actions against Ahl Dhimmas. The prime reason to impose certain restrictions upon the Ahl Dhimma was to curtail their growing influence and distinguish them from Muslims as well. The policy of al-Hakim appears to have been an attempt to solve a problem which has menaced his rule. On one hand was Ahl Dhimma being a large minority with their vital importance to the progress of the financial administration of the state, and on the other was the Muslim population which resented their pressure and the policy that prolonged their influence in the state affairs or social life. If al-Hakim dismissed all non-Muslims from the offices of state, his financial administration would have suffered a severe blow and weakening the treaury. If he had adopted tolerance, he would have endangered his popularity amongst the Muslims. Ahl Dhimma were rich, powerful and influential, therefore, the Muslim community was unwilling to further tolerate them. Thus, al-Hakim found the solution to his dilemma in the subjugation of Ahl Dhimma to Muslim law. 'In general' writes M. Canard in 'The Encyclopaedia of Islam'(Leiden, 1971, 3rd vol., p. 78), 'this policy had the approval of the Muslims, who hated the Christians because of acts of misappropriation and of favourism by the Christian financial officials.'

During the first ten years of al-Hakim's reign (386-395/995-1004), the Jews and Christians enjoyed the immunity and even the privileges which they had obtained during the tolerant rule of Imam al-Aziz. When the wheel turned to reverse side, menacing his empire, al-Hakim had to curtail a part of the freedom of Ahl Dhimma with drastic hands.

The first decree of al-Hakim in this context issued in 395/1004, ordering the Jews and Christians to wear the ghiyar (garment) only when they appeared in public. When this order was disobeyed, the punishment was followed. Wearing the ghiyar was soon found as not enough, therefore, a distinctive religious symbol was ordered. He made Christians wear a distinctive badge hung round their necks - a cross for the Christians and the wooden images of a calf for the Jews.

The non-Muslims however resented any kind of restriction affecting their prestige. The ensuing enforcement of the new laws was a grave challenge to their position. It abolished their towering fame and even curtailed a part of their freedom. The information in the extant sources appears to indicate that these incidents resulted from circumstances and not from a planned policy to attack the religious communities.

The Christians and Jews began to wear the prescribed religious symbols made of gold or silver and used the saddles with richly coloured trappings while riding on horses. Then al-Hakim ordered the cross to be of wood, five rotls in weight, and made the Jews wear billets of wood of the same weight, shaped like the clapper of a bell.

In addition, the Christians and Jews alike were prohibited from riding horses and only allowed donkeys or mules for their transport. Their saddles had to be plain, with stirrups of sycamore wood and reins of black leather. If they transgressed any of these rules they were punished with banishment. He also forbade Jewesses and the Christian women to wear Arabian shoes, and made them wear footwears with legs (sarmuz), one red and one black. This was also ignored, therefore, next strict order came into force in 398/1007, ordering the Jews to wear a bell and Christians a cross when in public baths. Boats manned by Muslim crews were also prohibited for them. He also forfade slaves to be sold to them, and to employ Muslim servants and to take Muslim girls as concubines.

The repetition of the orders sharply indicates that they were not properly obeyed. M. Canard writes in 'The Encyclopaedia of Islam'(Leiden, 1971, 3rd vol., p. 78) that, 'It should be mentioned that these measures were perhaps not always strictly enforced, otherwise it would not have been necessary to repeated them.' When continued disobedience was reported, al-Hakim permitted the Muslims in 403/1012 to spy upon Ahl Dhimma and report offenders to the police. At length, the Ahl Dhimma began to obey the orders of al-Hakim. Later, the severity of the measures was lifted. It is striking feature worthy of noting that there is no indication which suggesting that a group of Ahl Dhimma, was punished for transgressing these orders when it however was confirmed that such violation had actually occurred.

The historians have advanced different reasons motivated in al-Hakim's measures. Uthman al-Nabulsi (d. 632/1235) in his 'Tajrid Sayf al- Himma Lima fir Dhimmati Ahl al-Dhimma' (p. 139) suggests they were political, that al-Hakim feared the prosperity of Ahl Dhimma, their growing influence both in state affairs and in the society, might encourage them to overthrow his empire. Antaki (d. 458/1066) in 'Tarikh-i Antaki' (Paris, 1909, p. 207), Ibn al-Muqaffiq in 'Tarikh-i Batarikat al-Kanisa al-Misriyya' (Cairo, 1948, 2nd vol., p. 124) and Bar Hebraeus (d. 684/1286) in 'Chronographia' (London, 1932, p. 184) suggest the reasons for al-Hakim's policy was to force the Christians and Jews to accept Islam, which seems extremly doubtful. It must be known that during the years of al-Hakim's greatest pressure upon the Ahl Dhimma, the majority of officials in his services were non-Muslims and that he never dismissed any of them on religious ground. The Dhimmis or Muslims received equal titles (alqab) and grants. Antaki (p. 207) further writes that the majority of his staff were Ahl Dhimma and too numerous to be replaced by Muslims. He made his measures so severe that he could force them to accept Islam.

The historians concur that al-Hakim respected the personal beliefs of his subjects and did never force them to subscribe to a particular religion. Musabbihi, the contemporary historian quotes al-Hakim as saying, 'When I appointed Salih bin Ali as Qa'id al-Quwad, I asked Ibn Surin to write a decree and make him sworn on the Bible not to tell anyone before the time was due.' (cf. 'Itti'az', p. 398). Thus, force does not seem to have been al-Hakim's method of conversion, rather he preferred arguments and discussions and his famous decree of 399/1008 begins with the Koranic verse: 'la ikraha fi al-din' (no compulsion in religion) is an ample evidence in this context. O'Leary writes in 'A Short History of the Fatimid Khalifate' (London, 1923, p. 133) that, 'In his conduct generally al-Hakim was tolerant, as his predecessors had been, towards the Christians and Jews as well as towards the Muslims who did not embrace the peculiar tenets of the Shia sect.' The reports of many historians make it obvious that the obedience to Islamic law, not the adoption of Islam, was al-Hakim's prime purpose, vide Ibn al-Zafir, p. 63, Ibn Athir, 9th vol., p. 131, etc.

The first edict of al-Hakim, ordering all Jews and Christians not to appear in public unless they wore a black ghiyar (garment) with black belts, however, was not new to Ahl Dhimma in Islamic state. It dates back to the time of Caliph Umar, who had made certain conditions for them, and one of them was that non-Muslims were to wear a distinctive over-coat (al-ghiyar), vide Qalqashandi's 'Subh al A'asha fi Sina'at at al-Insha' (13th vol., p. 356), Nabulsi's 'Tajrid Sayf al-Himma' (BIFAO, 1958-60, p. 139). It is to be noted that the Abbasid caliph Harun ar-Rashid, according to Tabari (3rd vol., p. 712) had issued an ordinance in 191/807 for Ahl Dhimma living in Baghdad to the effect that they should distinguish themselves from the Muslims in their dresses and mounts. Tabari (3rd vol., p. 1419) writes that in 235/850, the Abbasid caliph Mutawakkil issued a decree, ordering the Christians to wear honey-coloured hoods (taylasan), and the Jews the black-belts (zunnar) and also two buttons on their caps. In 239/854, another ordinance was imposed, ordering the Christians to wear durra'a and qaba (tunics) with two yellow dhira (sleeves) and forbidding them to ride horses.

The distinctive garments which the Ahl Dhimma had to wear during the period of al-Hakim was the ghiyar means 'distinction', which was a piece of cloth having a patch of stipulated colour placed on the shoulder.

It must be however known that the destruction of the churches in 392/1002 in Cairo was not by the order of the Imam. It was the result of an attack by a group of anguished Muslims. Antaki (p. 186) writes that, 'The Christian Jacobites began rebuilding a ruined church in the area of Rashida, where a group of Muslims attacked them and destroyed the building and two other churches which were nearby.'

Ibn Abi Tayy, who is quoted by Makrizi, suggests that, 'Since Muslim laws does not allow Ahl Dhimma to build new churches in Dar al- Islam, therefore, the Muslims were angered by the rebuilding of the church, an act they interpreted as a challenge to their law.' Ibn Abi Tayy further states that both Christians and Muslims complained to al-Hakim. The former said that the church existed before the Muslim conquest, and the latter argued that it was newly built. (cf. 'Khitat', 2nd vol., p. 283)

As a matter of reconciliation, al-Hakim at legnth ordered his mosque to be built in the area and gave permission for the Christians to build their new churches in another area which was known as al-Hamra. This, as Antaki (p. 186) and Ibn Abi Tayy (cf. 'Khitat', 2nd vol., p. 283) state, 'was a compensation for the three churches destroyed in Rashida.'

It is to be noted that such actions were never directed against the Jews, and the revenues of their synagogues were not confiscated nor were they ever destroyed by official order. Jacob Mann, a harsh Jewish critic writes in 'The Jews in Egypt and in Palestine under the Fatimid Caliphs' (London, 1920, 1st vol., p. 33) that, 'No details are given either by Lane Poole or by Wustenfeld about the destruction of the Jewish synagogues.' Qalqashandi (25th vol., p. 73) however writes that, 'In Cairo the district of Jaudarriya was thickly inhabited by Jews till al-Hakim was informed that they oppressed the Muslims, reviled the Islam and sang defamatory verses. In 403/1012, al-Hakim ordered one night to close their gates and had them burnt in the quarter. The Jews afterwards inhabited the street of al- Zuwaila in Cairo.'

The sequestration of church revenues however had been directed against the widespread corruption which was gaining increasing momentum even among high officials. Ibn al-Muqaffa himself a bishop, affirms that, 'The corruption had reached to its extreme among the Christian officials and the Patriach Inba Zakharin sold bishops and priesthoods to anyone rich capable to pay the price thereof. Yunis, a certain priest intended to become a bishop, but the Patriach refused him, because he was not so rich. Yunis therefore submitted a petition to al-Hakim against the then prevalent practice of bribery rife in ecclesiastic orbits. Al-Hakim arrested the Patriarch and gave the supervision of the revenues of the church to the state diwan. (op. cit., 2nd vol., p. 127)

Antaki (p. 194) writes that the confiscation included only the revenues of the churches in Egypt. He also adds (p. 219) that the church revenues were not included in the state treasury, but put under al-Hakim's name in the state diwan, which were later restored without any loss to the church officials.

In 398/1007, the Christians further dared to violate the orders when their multitude flocked in Jerusalem to celebrate Easter in public. Antaki (p. 194) however provides some curious informations about the manner in which the Christians celebrated their annual festivals. 'They continually ingnored prescribed rules for Ahl Dhimma and opposed a number of al-Hakim's orders regarding their rituals. He thus prohibited their public parade during Easter and Epiphany.'

Hatred between Muslims and non-Muslims became strong to its extreme and reacted in public, and at last a riot took place which resulted in the destruction of the Qiyamah, a famous church of the Christians in Jerusalam in 400/1015.

Ibn Kathir (d. 774/1373) in 'al-Bidaya wa al-Nihaya' (11th vol., p. 339) and Dhahabi (d. 748/1348) in 'Kitab al-Ibar' (3rd vol., p. 67) concur that the practices of the monks and a disgrace to Islam were the root causes of the destruction of Qiyama. Antaki (p. 195) writes that, 'The Muslims stirred hootest agitation and expressed their hatred of Christians by pulling down their churches and pillaged their property.' Makrizi also writes in 'Khitat' (2nd vol., p. 512) that al-Hakim warned the Muslims to refrain from such indecent actions. Salahuddin Khuda Bakhsha writes in 'The Renaissance of Islam' (Patna, 1937, p. 56) that, 'This Hakim never intended or wished to be done and he stopped it as soon as he heard of it.'

In conclusion, P.J. Vatikiotis writes in 'The Fatimid Theory of State' (Lahore, 1957, p. 153) that, 'His (al-Hakim) persecution of Christians and Jews and the legislation enacted for that purpose between 395/1004 and 411/1020 seem to have been a policy with a justifiable purpose.'

Ismaili History 556 - Construction of mosques

Dr. Sadik Assad writes in 'The Reign of al-Hakim bi-Amrallah' (Beirut, 1974, p. 86) that, 'Al-Hakim also built more mosques than any of his predecessors and perhaps, more than any other Muslim caliph.' He extended his benefactions to all the existing mosques, and was responsible for the building of many more. The mosque near the Bab al-Futuh, commenced by his father in 380/990 had been left incomplete. Al-Hakim completed it and made it the second congregational mosque of Cairo, known as al-Anwar. Making no distinction between public treasury and personal funds, he made lavish gifts to the mosques of Fustat and Cairo. He furnished the mosque known as Hakim's Mosque with lamps, mats and other requirements at a cost of 5000 pieces of gold. He presented to the old mosque at Fustat a candlelabrum with 1200 lights which weighed 100,000 dhirams. So huge was his grant that in carrying it to the mosque, the road had to be dug, and the upper part of the door had to be removed to carry it into the mosque. This present was taken in a procession with the commander-in-chief in the front with drums and trumpets and amidst shouts of tehlil (no might save God) and takbir (God is great). He also presented the mosque 1290 copies of Holy Koran, some of which were written in letters of gold. He also built a huge mosque near the Muqattam hills and presented to it carpets, curtains and lamps. He also furnished various mosques the items like the copies of Holy Koran, silver lamps, mats, curtains etc.' Makrizi also writes in 'Itti'az' (2nd vol., p. 96) that al-Hakim generously allocated 9220 dhirams each month for the upkeep of the mosques.

Ismaili History 557 - The Fatimid genealogy

The Abbasid caliph Kadir billah (d. 422/1031) got his rule dwindling before his eyes. He saw Baghdad yielding its position of prestige as the seat of culture and science to Cairo, and he found himself a virtual prisoner of the Buwahids, while the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim was ruling powerfully and absolutely. Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597/1200) writes in 'al-Muntazam fi Tarikh al-Muluk' (Hyderabad, 1840, 7th vol., p. 237) that, 'The Shia of Iraq had looked to al-Hakim as their desired Caliph in 398/1008 in Baghdad, and during a quarrel with the Sunnis, they shouted slogans, Ya Hakim, Ya Mansur in favour of al-Hakim.'

In 401/1010, Mutamad ad-Dawla Qirwash bin Maqallid (d. 444/1052), the chief of the Uqayl tribe and governor of Mosul, Madain, Anbar and Kufa acknowledged the Fatimid Caliphate instead of the Abbasids, and started the Fatimid khutba and coinage. In the same year, Ali bin Mazid Asadi (d. 408/1018), the chief of the Asad tribe also proclaimed his loyalty to al-Hakim and had the Fatimid khutba read in Hilla and the districts he governed.

The Abbasid caliph Kadir billah alarmed over the prosperity of Egypt and growing influence of the Fatimids inside his empire, therefore, he attempted to combat with al-Hakim by another cowardice tool. He gathered a number of Shia and Sunni theologians and jurists to his court in 402/1011 and ordered them to prepare a forged manifesto that the Fatimid claim of Alid descent was false. Ibn Khaldun (1332- 1406) writes in 'Muqaddimah' (tr. Franz Rosenthal, London, 1958, 1st vol., pp. 45-6) that, 'The judges in Baghdad eventually prepared an official statement denying the Alid origin (of the Fatimids). The statement was witnessed by a number of prominent men, among them the Sharif ar-Radi and his brother al-Murtada, and Ibn al-Bathawi. Among the religious scholars were Abu Hamid al-Isfarayini, al-Quduri, as- Saymari, Ibn al-Akfani, al-Abiwardi, the Shia jurist Abu Abdullah bin an-Numan, and other prominent Muslims in Baghdad. The event took place one memorable day in the year 402/1011 in the time of (the Abbasid caliph) al-Qadir. The testimony was based upon heresy, on what people in Baghdad generally believed. Most of them were partisans of the Abbasids who attacked the Alid origin (of the Fatimids). The historians reported the informations as they had heard it. They handed down to us just as they remembered it. However, the truth lies behind it. Al-Mutadid's letter concerning Ubaydallah (al-Mahdi) to Aghlabid in al-Qayrawan and the Midrarid in Sijilmasah, testifies most truthfully to the correctness of the origin (of the Fatimids) and proves it most clearly. Al-Mutadid was better qualified than anyone else to speak about the genealogy of the Prophet's house.' Ibn Taghri Birdi (d. 874/1470) writes in his 'al-Nujum al-Zahira fi Muluk wa al-Qahira' (Cairo, 1929, 4th vol., p. 236) that, 'The Abbasid caliph hired theologians and paid them large sum of money to write books condemning the Fatimid cause and their doctrine.'

We have three accredited Sunni historians, Ibn Khaldun (1332-1406), Abul Fida (1273-1331) and Makrizi (1363-1442), who were not under the pressure or influence of either the Abbasids or the Fatimids. These historians concur that the Fatimids of Egypt were the direct descendants of Ali and Fatima. The Abbasid false propaganda, however, discrediting the Fatimid lineage has been falsified through accredited sources and arguments, vide 'Genealogy of the Aga Khan' by Mumtaz Ali Tajddin Sadik Ali, Karachi, 1990.

Ismaili History 558 - Foundation of Dar al-Hikmah

Amid the surging splendour, al-Hakim emerges as an unusual personality judged by any standard. He founded Dar al-Hikmah (House of Wisdom), also known as Dar al-Ilm (House of Knowledge) in 395/1004, where the sciences including astronomy, logic, philosophy, mathematics, history, theology, languages and medicines were taught and the Shiite esoteric interpretation propagated. Qadi Abul Aziz bin Muhammad bin Noman was its first supervisor. This academy was connected with the royal palace, enriched with a huge library, and distinct conference rooms and chambers. Scholastic activities were conducted by the scientists, philosophers, professors, theologians, scholars etc. Staff of clerks and servants were employed for the upkeep of the institution. Scientists, professors and learned men were employed as lecturers. Wustenfeld writes in his 'Akademien der Araber' (Gottingen, 1837, p. 67) that, 'It was in reality the first Lay University, where also Mathematics, Astronomy, Medicine and Methaphysics were taught.'
The Dar al-Hikmah was founded to facilitate the working of the Ismaili mission too, and became rapidly a cultural centre. It attracted the students from all parts of the Muslim world, where the Imam would himself often visit the lecture-halls, joining debates and granting generous gifts to encourage notable proficiency. The lectures delivered by the dais were known as majalis and were given at different levels according to the intellectual capacity of the audience. Some were designated as majalis al-khassa (sessions for the selected) and others as majalis al-amma (sessions for the public). From the picture drawn by Musabbihi and Ibn Tuwayr, both quoted by Makrizi in his 'Khitat' (1st vol., p. 391), it would appear that the majalis al-khassa were attended only by the Ismailis. In the others, the lectures read were merely explanations of the doctrines which concerned the meaning of Imam, the theological differences between the Shia and Sunni laws and their historical background. In al-Hakim's time, the majalis expanded in an endeavour to reach every group of people including even visitors to the country and women. Special meetings were divided into two. One was for the high officials and learned men and was known as majalis al-awliya and the other was for the ordinary officials and the branch of it was specially for women of the palace. The public sessions were divided into three - one for men of the general public, one for the women and one for the visitors to the country.

By the end of the 4th/10th century there were also regular assemblies on every Thursday and Friday for the reading of majalis al-hikmah(lectures on wisdom), which was flourished to its zenith. Makrizi quotes in his 'Khitat' (1st vol., p. 391) al-Musabbihi (d. 420/1029) as giving some details of these majalis. According to him, 'The dai gave many lectures in the palace, lecturing separately to the adepts, the members of the court, the common people and strangers. To women, he lectured in the Jam-i Azhar, where a separate chamber was alloted to the women of the court. The dai prepared the lecture in his house, after being presented its text to the Caliph, a neat copy of the lecture was prepared. The contributions (najwa) of the Ismailis were also collected during these lectures, which were called majalis al-hikmah.' The fixed monetary contribution (najwa) was collected from the individual Ismailis during the majalis al-hikmah, and the lists of the contributors were kept by a special secretary (katib al-dawa) appointed by the chief dai. Makrizi writes that the wealthy Ismailis made substantial voluntary donations.

It should be noted that the term najwa evidently refers to the Koranic verse (58:12), which reads:- 'Ye faithful! If you have something confidential to discuss (najaytum) with the envoy, then prior to your confidential discussion (najwakum) pay some alms in anticipation.' So the najwa was a fee that the followers had to pay for being introduced into the secret assembly.

Ibn al-Tuwayri (d. 617/1220) describes the preparation of the text of the majalis differently. According to him as quoted by Makrizi (Ibid.), 'The Ismaili theologians, housed in Dar al-Hikmah, met on Monday and Thursday and agreed on the text of a booklet called majalis al-hikmah. A clean copy was brought to the Chief Dai, who after checking it, presented it on to the Caliph. If possible, the Caliph read it; at any rate he put his signature on it. The Chief Dai then read the lectures in the palace in two different places - for men, sitting on the chair of the dawat in the great hall, for women, in his own audience-chamber. After the lecture the believers came up to kiss the hand of the Chief Dai, who stroked their heads with the booklet, so that the signature of the Caliph touched their heads.'

It must be known that the majalis al-hikmah were interrupted in 400/1010 for some reasons. It was reopened very soon, but cancelled once again in 401/1010. It was again interrupted for the third time at the end of the year 405/1015 after the nomination of Ahmad bin Muhammad bin Awam as a chief qadi. Heinz Halm however writes in 'The Ismaili Oath of Allegiance and the Sessions of Wisdom in Fatimid Times' (cf. 'Mediaeval Ismaili History and Thought' (New York, 1996, p. 107) that, 'We fail to learn precisely what the reasons were, but this closure seems to be connected with the Druze trouble, which began about this time.' Al-Hakim however bestowed the title of chief dai on Khuttakin al-Dayf, entrusting him with the control of the room, so that it was used for the customary proceedings. Later, he also granted him the title of al-Sadiq al-amin. Ibn Muyassar writes in 'Akhbar al-Misr' (pp. 166-7) that, 'Khuttakin al-Dayf subsequently proved to be the most embittered opponent of the Druzes. When the followers of Hamza and those of Khuttakin met, they cursed each other.'

Heinz Halm concludes that, 'So it is quite possible that al-Hakim had the majalis closed either in agreement with the Ismaili dais or yielding to their pressure, in order to forestall the appearance of the Druze dissidents among them' (Ibid).

Ismaili History 559 - Ibn al-Haytham

Sami Hamarneh writes in 'Medicine and Pharmacy under the Fatimids' (cf. 'Ismaili Contribution to Islamic Culture' ed. by Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Tehran, 1977, p. 163) that, 'It seems plausible to speculate that the generosity of al-Hakim towards scholars and scientists had attracted the migration to Fatimid Egypt of eminent figure, Abu Ali Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin al-Haytham (Latin Alhazen) of Basra in southern Iraq.'

Ibn al-Haytham (354-429/965-1039), the greatest physicist was born in Basra, and was originally appointed to a civil post at Basra. He was avidly consumed by the desire to learn mathematics and philosophy, for which he could not get spare time in his post, therefore, he feigned madness and was dismissed as a result from the post. Our informations about his pre-Egyptian days are deficient, but according to a few accounts of his life, it is known that he managed to leave Basra in order to proceed to Egypt, where he had been invited by the Fatimid Imam al-Hakim.

It must be known on this juncture that in the summer following the rainy reason, the Nile river and the canals overflew with water, causing millions of tons of fertile silt, containing phosphoric acid, potash and nitrogen. But in the winter, the level of water fell down, making the cultivation of the crops impossible, and in annual inundation it used to cause devastation of life and property. With his brilliant mind, the famous physicist and the founder of the science of optics, Abu Ali Muhammad bin al-Hasan bin al-Haytham came to the conclusion in Iraq that if some of the surplus water available immediately after the rains, could be stored, not only could it be used in the dry season for more cultivation of land, but it would also help to prevent the periodic flood inflicting heavy damage. According to Ibn Abi Usaibia (d. 668/1270) in his 'Uyn al-Anba fi tabakat al-Attiba' (2nd vol., p. 91), Ibn al-Haytham had also claimed that, 'Had I been in Egypt I could have done something to regulate the Nile, so that the people could derive benefit at its ebb and flow.' Thus, he prepared a plan to build a three-way embankment dam near Aswan for harnessing the Nile waters, and sent his report to al-Hakim. He even suggested for a site near Aswan where the river emerged from a gorge into the flat country. Haidar Bammate writes in 'Muslim Contribution to Civilization' (Lahore, 1981, p. 21) that, 'Al-Haytham was the first to advocate the construction of a dam at Aswan to raise the level of the Nile.'

Al-Hakim was deeply impressed when he received the outline of the project and sent one of his emissaries with adequate funds to Ibn al- Haytham in Basra and invited him to Cairo. He readily accepted the royal invitation and after a short stay in Cairo, he was sent up the river with a large sum of money and retinue of workers. He undertook the journey to Aswan, which is situated at a distance of over 400 miles to the south of Cairo as the crow flies. He inspected the site at Aswan and came to the conclusion that such a colossal scheme of works was not feasible under the working conditions. According to Ibn Abi Usaibia, 'He saw the pyramids at first glance and became awed by the engineering and geometrical skills of the ancients. Had it been possible he thought, the ancient Egyptians must have done it before.' (op. cit., 2nd vol., p. 91). Having realized the enormous magnitude of the project, he failed to execute it with the technical means he had at his disposal. Instead therefore of undertaking the start-up of the projected dam, he returned to Cairo and confessed to al-Hakim his sheer unability to go ahead with the proposed plan.

Al-Hakim assigned him some office pertaining to revenue, but he is said to have feigned madness, and retired to a place near al-Azhar university. Different stories have been advanced to discredit the personality of al-Hakim in this context. Prof. Abdul Ghafur writes in 'Ibn al-Haitham' (cf. 'Ibn al-Haitham', Karachi, 1970, pp. 111-2) that, 'From this, it should be obvious that, even after Ibn al- Haitham's inability to go ahead with the plan for construction of the dam at Aswan, al-Hakim had considerable respect for Ibn al- Haitham. It might be that there were monetary difficulties involved in the implementation of the scheme or some other snag. However, the reputation of Ibn al-Haitham remain unscathed in this affair. The plea of insanity was not new to Ibn al-Haitham. He had used this subterfuge once before at Basra. It is therefore plausible to assume that he adopted this ruse in order to devote himself to studies. Qifti, Baihiqi and Ibn Abi Usaibia unanimously held that Ibn al-Haitham was a self-contented person and devoid of avarice or worldly self-aggrandizment.'

Baihiqi however wrongly narrates in his 'Timat al-Sawan al-Hikmat' that Ibn al-Haytham steathily left Cairo at the dead night and lived in Syria. This narration contradicts the established fact that he lived in Cairo till his death. The story of the flight of Ibn al- Haytham from Cairo for fear of execution by al-Hakim is the fabrication of the historians. Had he known of his murder, he would have fled from Aswan and never came to Cairo. He however spent the last 19 years of his life in scientific pursuits and experimental research under the shadow of the domes and arches of al-Azhar university, and composed almost 209 books on mathematics, astronomy, physics, philosophy and medicine of which the most celebrated is his 'Kitab al-Manazir' (treatise on optics), which was translated into Latin by Witelo in 1270 and published by Frederick Risner in 1572 at Basel. This was the first comprehensive treatise on optics in the world and immensely influenced the writings of Witelo, Peckham, Roger Bacon, Leonardo de Vinici and John Kepler. He is the first to have discussed the anatomy of the eye. He also discussed the propagation of light and colours, optic illusions and reflection, with experiments for testing the angles of incidence and reflection. Theorically he had almost discovered magnifying lenses through his experiments, which came into existence in Italy three centuries later. For the first time Ibn al-Haytham offered a correct explanation for the apparent increase in the size of the sun and the moon when near the horizon. His another remarkable achievement is his employment of the camera obscura.

Another notable figure was Ali bin Yunus, the great mathematician and astronomer, who invented pendulum and the sun-dial, for whom al- Hakim had the observatory built on Jabal al-Muqattam.

Hence Dar al-Hikmah became a leading academy of Islamic learning for the intellectualists. Dr. Amir Hasan Siddiqui writes in 'Cultural Centres of Islam' (Karachi, 1970, p. 62) that, 'Al-Hakim was personally interested in astrological calculations; he built on al-Muqattam an observatory to which he often rode before dawn on his grey ass. An informant of the contemporary historian Ibn Hammad (d. 628/1230) saw the astrolabe-like copper instrument erected by al-Hakim on two towers and measured one of its signs of the Zodiac, which was three spans in length.'

It is also learnt that al-Hakim had stroke his interest in collecting the old relics. Zakir Hussain writes in 'Tarikh-i Salatin Fatimiyya' (Jabalpur, 1938, p. 87) that, 'In 400/1010, al-Hakim sent Hamiduddin Kirmani to Medina with instructions that he should there find a house, which had belonged to his ancestor, Jafar Sadik, and to dig up in it some arms and books dealing with Shiite doctrines, and to bring them to him. This he did, and found a Holy Koran, a bed and some household goods.'

According to 'Encyclopaedia of World Art' (Rome, 1958, 5th vol., p. 367) that, 'Rice correctly read the Arabic text carved on it, which does not simply banal good wishes to the owner of the ewer as was previously thought, but says that the ewer was made for the personal use of al-Hakim's commander.'

It will be further interesting to note that Abul Kassim Ammar bin Ali al-Mausili was the most important eye-surgeon in Cairo, and acquired great prestige under the patronage of al-Hakim. He compiled 'al-Muntakhab fi ilm al-Ayn wa Mudawatiha bi'l Adwiya wal Hadid' in 400/1010. It deals the anatomy and physiology of the eye, its diseases and treatment by drugs and surgery. To avoid the dangers of using a breakable glass tube referred to in Greek writings, Ammar invented a hollowed metallic needle used successfully in cataract operations.

Ismaili History 560 - The origin of the Druzes

In 407/1016, an Iranian dai, named Muhammad bin Ismail Nashtakin ad-Darazi came in Egypt, who professed the transmigration of souls. He also preached the divinity of al-Hakim. He came from Bukhara to Cairo in 408/1017.

Finding no response he moved to Wadi al-Taymun, at the foot of Mount Hermon in Lebanon and Jabal as-Summaq in Syria. He was first in the public eyes being the founder of the Druze sect. In 410/1019, the Turks soldiers of the Fatimids gathered and moved towards the houses of ad-Darazi and his followers and surrounded them. Ad-Darazi and those with him, fortified themselves in a house, fighting the besiegers from the roof and the wall. The besiegers ravaged the house and killed about forty people with az-Darazi. About the same time, another Iranian from Farghana, named Hasan al-Akhram also appeared as using his influence to propagate the deity of al-Hakim, and found a Druze sect about in 409/1018. He was also killed in his house just eight days following his declaration.

The most famous however among them was Hamza bin Ali bin Ahmad, born in 375/985 in Zawzan in Iran, whom the Druzes regard as their real founder. He made public declaration of his doctrines in 408/1017, which is also considered the Era of Hamza. He established himself in a mosque outside the Nasr Gate of Cairo, inviting the people to confess his teachings and sent out his missionaries to various parts of Egypt and Syria. The extreme to which the followers of Hamza were prepared to go also increased.

Ibn Zafir (d. 613/1216) writes in 'al-Duwal al-Munqati'a' (Cairo, 1972, pp. 52-3) that on 12th Safar, 410/June 19, 1019, a group of Hamza's followers entered the congregational mosque of Amr in Fustat on horseback and approached the Qadi Ibn Abi al-Awwam, who belonged to Hanbali school of law. They handed him a letter from Hamza which began with these formula:- 'In the name of al-Hakim, Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate.' The provocation at the most important religious centre of Fustat cost Hamza's followers their lives; they were killed by the people at the mosque.

In sum, both Hamza and ad-Darazi preached the divinity of al-Hakim according to their own interpretations, but Hamza seems to have cautious, intending to build a disciplined organisation. But, ad-Darazi created such a stir that his name was affixed to the movement at large. He has been given a title of 'guide of the faithful' (hadi al-mustajibin) in the Druze epistles.

The Druze historical accounts were written primarily to explain theological and religious issues rather than to record history. The Druze accounts were however written at a much later date, i.e., in the 16th and 17th centuries, such as 'Majra az-Zaman' by Taqi ad-Din Zayn al-Abidin Abdul Gaffar in 16th century, and 'Umdat al-Arifin' by Abdul Malik al-Ashrafani in 17th century.

Following Hamza in rank and authority was Ismail bin Muhammad al-Tamimi, the successor of Hamza. Then followed Muhammad bin Wahab al- Qoraishi, Salma bin Abdul Wahab al-Samuri and finally came Ali bin Ahmad al-Sammuqi. The five leaders embodied the five cosmic principles, and their teachings were considered irrevocable and final. According to Philip K. Hitti, the Druzes were a mixture of Iranians, Iraqi's and Persianised Arabs, vide 'The Origin of the Druze People and Religion' (New York, 1928, p. 23). Martin Sprengling, after analyzing each argument of this theory, criticised Hitti's speculative assumption, and concludes that the Druzes were mixture of stocks in which the Arabs component largely predominated, onto which was grafted an original mountain population of Aramaic blood, vide 'The Berlin Druze Lexicon' (American Journal of Semitic Language, 56, 1939, pp. 391-8).

The Druze movement became a main tool of the aggressive historians to discredit al-Hakim and contrived baseless stories arount it. He had however tried to control the Druzes in Egypt and Syria with drastic measures, but most of them had migrated in the mountains of Lebanon.

Ibn al-Qalanisi (d. 555/1160), who usually follows the reports of Ibn al-Sabi (d. 448/1056), does not mention any relation between al- Hakim and the Druze leaders, nor al-Hakim's so called desire for divinity. Makrizi also does not suggest that the Druze leaders were at any time emboldened by al-Hakim. Makrizi however condemns Ibn Abi Tayy (d. 630/1232), who seems to have been influenced by the account of Ibn al-Sabi by saying, 'This is extreme hostility which not one of the Egyptian historians has mentioned.' ('Itti'az', p. 411) Ibn Khaldun writes in his 'Tarikh' (4th vol, p. 60) that, 'These are allegations which no man of intellect would contemplate.' From Ibn al- Sabi comes the statement that al-Hakim desired to claim divinity and employed a man, named al-Akhram to declare it. A contradiction of this sharply appears in his own work when he says that al-Hakim prohibited his subjects from prostrating before him or from kissing the ground or his hand when they saw him. Kais M. Firro writes in 'History of the Druzes' (London, 1992, p. 15) that, 'In fact, however, neither the historical personalities of Hakim and the unitarian dais nor the history of the Fatimid Caliphate as such have any importance for the Druzes.' Kais Firro further writes, 'Others, comparing the several versions given in the different chronicles, conclude that Hakim had no wish to be considered divine and did not support or encourage the unitarian dais.' (Ibid)

Al-Hakim was anxious to promulgate Ismailism throughout the Muslim world and to convince the Muslims that he was the rightful Imam- Caliph. If this was a difficult, it would be even more so to convince them that he was an incarnation of the Divinity to boost his alleged claim. Al-Hakim's belief is seen in a personal letter which he wrote to one of his officials: 'I fear no one; beg from no one except my God to whom I submit and from whom I receive all bounties. My Prophet is my grandfather; my Imam is my father and my religion is sincerity and justice.' ('Itti'az', p. 403) Makrizi writes in his 'Khitat,' p. 286) that in 403/1012, al-Hakim had engraved on his seal these words: 'By the help of God, the Almighty and Protector, the Imam Abu Ali is the victorious.'

Besides the preceding, if al-Hakim had supported the Druze movement, he must have chosen one or both of the Druze leaders as official members of the Ismaili dawa to emphasis their authority. The Druze teaches that al-Hakim had no father or son. Contrary to it, al-Hakim claimed publicly that his father was al-Aziz and himself a direct descent from Prophet Muhammad, vide 'Itti'az' (p. 386) by Makrizi. There is no evidence that al-Hakim had forced the Muslims to pay jaziya being levied upon the non-Muslims. But according to Druze teachings as mentioned in 'Bud al-Tawhid' (pp. 41-42) that all the Muslims would have to pay jaziya if they refused to pay their creeds. The Druzes claimed that al-Hakim had written many sijils (treatises), but it has been to us a source of surprise that each sijil begins with the phrase: 'From the slave of God' and ends with 'By the assistance of God.'

The Druze literatures however affirm that Hamza was supported by al-Hakim and approved his teachings. But as A. Najjar in 'Mazhab al- Druze wa al-Tawhid' (Cairo, 1965, p. 103) pointed out, 'there is no substantial evidence to support such claims.' According to Antaki (d. 458/1065), 'When al-Hakim was informed about Druze's preaching, he was very much angry.' (vide 'Tarikh-i Antaki,' p. 222) In Hamza's own writings there is a passage in which he states that some of the people refused to accept his teaching unless Al-Hakim's own signed mandate commanded them to do so.' (vide 'al-Rida wa al-Taslim', p. 20) The impartial readers should judge conclusively how it is possible that a pious Imam-Caliph al-Hakim had made a claim for divinity after reading the following descriptions of the Sunni historian Makrizi who writes in his 'Khitat' (pp. 286-7) that, 'He gave orders that no one was to kiss the ground in front of him, nor kiss his stirrup nor his hand when greeting him in public processions, because bowing to the ground before a mortal was an invention of the Greeks; that they should say no more than 'Greeting to the Commander of the Faithful, and the mercy and blessings of God be upon him;' that in addressing him, whether in writing or in speech, they should not use the formula 'May God pray for him,' but that in writing to him they confine themselves to these words, 'The peace of God, His favour and the abundance of His blessings upon the Commander of the Faithful;' that only the customary invocation should be used for him, and no more; that the preachers at the time of the Friday prayer should say no more than 'O God, bless Muhammad Your Chosen One, give peace to the Commander of the Faithful Ali Your Well-beloved. O God, give peace to the Commanders of the Faithful the forebear of the Commanders of the Faithful. O God, give Your most precious peace to Your servant and deputy (khalifa).' He forbade them to beat drums or to sound trumpets around the palace, so that they marched around without drums and trumpets. On the Id al-Fitr, al-Hakim rode on horseback to the place of prayer without adornment, sumpter animals, or any pomp, save only ten led horses with saddles and bridles adorned with light white silver, with plain flags and with a white parasol without any golden adornment. He was dressed in white without embroidery or gold braid; there were no jewels on his turban and no carpets on his pulpit. He forbade people to curse the first Muslims and had those who disobeyed flogged and publicly reviled. He prayed on the Feast of Sacrifice, as he prayed on the Id al-Fitr, without any pomp. Abd al- Rahim bin Ilyas bin Ahmad bin al-Mahdi performed the sacrifice for him. Al-Hakim often rode to the desert outside the city. He wore plain sandals on his feet and a cloth on his head.' Thus, if al-Hakim had supported Hamza or ad-Darazi, not doubt, it must have been sounded in his personal life and in his activities as a ruler.

In the interim, al-Hakim wrote an urgent letter in 400/1009 to Hamiduddin Kirmani in Iraq with necessary instructions, so as to suppress the Druze propaganda. His letter is cited in 'Damigh al-Batil' by Ali Muhammad bin al-Walid (d. 612/1215), whose few lines read:- 'Keep up all my prescriptions to you concerning the service of God. Keep alive the tradition of our ancestor the Messenger of God, through the dawat to true tawhid. Urge the believers to remain attached to all the obligations of religious practices, to all the other obligations of their allegiance, and to the loyalty which is incumbent upon them and which is written in the book of their deeds. And know that our protection extends only to those who put into practice the Book of God and the Tradition of the Messenger of God, and who serve God through their devotion to us. Teach this to all of our friends (awliya) as our word.'

Thus, in refuting the Druze propaganda, Hamiduddin Kirmani wrote several tracts. Addressing the Druze leader, Hasan al-Akhram al- Farghani, he said, 'Amir al-mominin al-Hakim bi-Amrillah is no more than a servant of God, obedient and subservient to Him. God has preferred him over the rest of His creatures. And how can he be worshipped while he is of body and a spirit endowed with necessary powers of eating and walking. He denies what you and your followers ascribe to him. Nay, only God is worshipped to whom Amir al-mominin bows in prayer.' (vide 'al-Risala al-Waiza', Cairo, 1951, pp. 21-28). Kirmani also quoted the Koranic verses (41:33, 37 and 3: 178-9) in support of his arguments.

It is also necessary to mention that the official dais of the Ismaili mission in Egypt declared that al-Hakim never supported or authorized Hamza or any other extremist to preach such teaching. Special literature and even official decrees (manshur) were circulated throughout the state to emphasize this. For instance, 'al-Risala al-Waiza', 'al-Mabasim wa al-Bisharat' and 'al-Risala al-Duriya' etc. were written and circulated to condemn the Druze propaganda. Al-Musabbihi and Antaki says that immediately after the death of al-Hakim, his son az-Zahir issued a decree (manshur) denouncing the claims of the extremists.

Ismaili History 561 - Hamid ad-Din al-Kirmani

Ahmad bin Abdullah al-Kirmani, or Hamiduddin Kirmani was the hujjat al-Iraqin (hujjat of Iraq and western Iran) during this period. His family hailed from Kirman as his name indicates, but it is not known where he was born. Through out the period of his mission activities, he kept in close touch with Kirman as is shown in two of his letters dated 399/1008. In his work, 'Kitab al-Kafiyah' he also refers to Kirman and its vicinity.

Ismaili History 562 - Death of al-Hakim

Al-Hakim had installed an astronomical observatory on Jabal al- Muqattam, near Cairo for Ibn Younus. According to Ibn Khallikan, al- Hakim went out late in the night of 27th Shawal, 411/February 13, 1021 to Jabal al-Muqattam and did not return to the palace. A tracking party was sent out, who found an ass on the top of the hill with its forelegs hacked off. Blood marks on the ground led to a spot, where they found al-Hakim's clothes pierced by daggers and buttoned up, and as such his death was officially declared on 10th Zilhaja, 411/April 4, 1021. The Druzes however believed that al-Hakim did not die but disappeared, anticipating his return on dooms-day. He died at the age of 36 years and 7 months after the Imamate and Caliphate of 25 years and 1 month. Makrizi (2nd vol., p. 290) quotes one other tradition about al-Hakim's death on the authority of Abul Mahsin that in 415/1025, a man from Imam Hussain's family had been arrested after raising up rebellion in the southern part of upper Egypt. He confessed that it was he who had killed al-Hakim. He said that there were four accomplices of the crime, and that they afterwards fled to different parts. He also showed a piece of cotton with which he had been clothed.

Imam al-Hakim had two sons, al-Harith (395-400/1004-1009) and Ali Abul Hasan, surnamed az-Zahir. He had also a daughter, Sit al-Misr (d. 455/1063).

Muhammad bin Ali as-Suri (d. 488/1095) praises al-Hakim in his poem (vide 'al-Qasida as-Suriyya,' ed. Arif Tamir, Damascus, 1955, p. 68) in the following words:-

The perfect resides wholly in the ninth (Imam). In him the parturition is accomplished, the coming to light is done. And the conceal and hidden appear. In al-Hakim God established His Will in the world, and the wisdom of the Just was realized.