Khalaf al-Hallaj

Abdullah bin Maymun (d. 260/874) is reported to have also sent a dai called Khalaf al-Hallaj, the cotton-dresser to Ray in about the middle of the third century with the instructions: "Go to Ray, because there are many Shias in Ray, Aba, Qumm, Kashan and the provinces of Tabaristan and Mazandaran, who will listen to your call." Khalaf went to the neighbourhood of Ray and resided in the district of Fashafuya, in a village called Kulin. He examined the local situation and started his secret mission. His secret activities however attracted attention, therefore he moved to nearby city of Ray, where he died. He is remembered as the founder of Ismaili dawa in Iran, and the converted people locally became known as Khalafiyya. He was succeeded by his son Ahmad, whose chief disciple was Ghiyath from the village of Kulin.

Radi Abdullah continued his peaceful living in Salamia, associating the local Hashimites. He also kept on good terms with the local governor. He seems to have been active in scholarly matters without a bearing in the politics. He was rolling in plenty; yet he contented himself with plain dress and simple food. He was humble in disposition and very hospitable. He is said to have granted allowances from his wealth to the poor and disabled persons in Salamia without discrimination between the Ismailis and non-Ismailis. Tradition has it that he was fond of horsing, shooting, hunting and archery, which had been also a favourite pastime of the Hashimites in Syria.

When Radi Abdullah felt that the shadows of his death were closing upon him, he consigned the office of Imamate to his son, Muhammad al- Mahdi, saying, according to Ibn Khaldun that: "You are the promised Mahdi. You would take refuge in a remote land after my death, where you would have to submit to hard trials." (vide "Tarikh", Karachi, 1966, 5th vol., p. 93).

Radi Abdullah died in 268/881 at Salamia while he was travelling in the vicinity, appointing before his death as his trustee his own brother, Muhammad bin Ahmad, surnamed Sa'id al-Khayr as the guardian of his son, al-Mahdi. His death in 268/881 remarkably marks the termination of dawr-i satr (concealment period) in the Ismaili history.

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