Ismaili History 636 - Nasiruddin Tusi
Nasiruddin Tusi was born in Tus, Khorasan in 597/1202. In his youth, about in 624/1227, he entered the service of Nasiruddin Abdu Rahman bin Abu Mansur (d. 655/1257), the Ismaili governor in Kohistan. During his long stay at Qain and other strongholds in Kohistan, Nasiruddin Tusi procured his close friendship with the Ismaili governor, to whom he also dedicated in 633/1235 his famous work on ethics, entitled 'Akhlaq-i Nasiri'. He went to Alamut and espoused Ismaili faith. In his 'Sayr wa Suluk' (pp. 38-42), he narrates how, after his initial dissatisfaction with scholastic theology and philosophy, he came to realize the necessity of following an infallible Imam who would guide reason to its perfection. In all probability, Nasiruddin Tusi willingly embraced Ismailism during the time of Imam Alauddin Muhammad. According to Farhad Daftary in his 'The Ismailis: their History and Doctrines' (London, 1990, p. 408), 'There is no evidence suggesting that these outside scholars were detained in the community against their will or that they were forced to embrace Ismailism during their stay amongst the Nizaris.' He enjoyed the patronage of Alauddin Muhammad and his successor, until the collapse of the Alamut rule in 654/1256. The Mongol chief Halagu made him his trusted advisor, and built a great observatory for him at Maragha in Azerbaijan. He was a most voluminous writer too, and died in 672/1274. His 'Rawdatu't-Taslim' and other short treatises bear an Ismaili imprint. Seyyed Hossein Nasr writes in 'Science and Civilization in Islam' (Mass., 1968, p. 322) that, 'The universality of Nasir al-Din's genius, which some have quite erroneously taken for lack of principles, is shown by the fact that, while in the service of the Ismailis, he was able to master their doctrines and even wrote several works which contain some of the clearest expositions of Ismailism. Among these, the 'Rawdat al-taslim' is particularly notable, as a simple exposition of the basic doctrines of this important branch of Islam.'