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Ismaili History 709 - Kahek - a new headquarters

It is recounted that Islam Shah had made long journey in Iran to examine the region most suitable, and had finally selected Kahek and Shahr-i Babak for his residence, the fertile tract surrounded by rocky hills, where the horses of the enemies could hardly penetrate. The hilltops of the villages appears to have been guarded by the young fidais of Kohistan, who used to keep close watch on the travellers passing through the tracks. It was an ideal place for the Imam's foothold in Iran. Sayed Imam Shah (d. 926/1520) had visited Kahek in 854/1450, whom he described in his one ginan that, 'Kahek looked extremely beautiful, but the towering mountainous ranges looked terrible and the cool breeze of the snow blew severely.'Different names of Imam's residence however have been described in the ginans. For instance, Irak-i Ajam (the Iranian Irak) has been named Irak Khand, a term in vogue for Iran among the Indians. The broad mountain region, which the Greeks called Media, stretching across from the Mesopotamian plains on the west to the great desert of Iran on the east; was known to the Arab geographers as al-Jabal (the mountain). This name afterwards fell out of use, and during 6th/12th century under the later Seljuqs, the province came by a misnomer to be called Irak-i Ajam (Iranian Irak) or Bilad al-Jabal (the province of mountain), being so named to distinguish it from the older Irak of the Arabs, which was lower Mesopotamia. The term ajam or ajami is the name originally applied by Arabs to a foreigner, or non-Arabs. Since the Iranians were the first foreigners with whom the Arabs came into contact, the term ajam or ajami soon became specific to mean 'the Iranian foreigners.'

The term Sheter deep seems to have been used for the northern continent, as the northern region of Iran geographically looked like the sheter fruit (mulberry), referring most probably to Azerbaijan. The term Himpuri means 'village of snow' suggests the village of Kahek. Besides, the term Vircha means 'highland' most possibly refers to Shahr-i Babak, a village near Kahek. Shahr-i Babak was known as the city of Babak or Papak, the father of Ardashir, the first Sassanian monarch. According to Mustawfi, the corn, cotton and dates grew in Shahr-i Babak abundantly. It also seems that Islam Shah had visited Anjudan, which is situated 35 kilometers from Kahek, and condoled the bereaved Ismailis, whose family members had been killed by Taymur in 795/1393. It may be possible that he had brought a bulk of the Ismailis from Anjudan to Kahek.


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