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Origins_of_Isma__039_ilism__A_Study_of_the_Historical_Background_of_the_Fatimid_Caliphate

Origins_of_Isma__039_ilism__A_Study_of_the_Historical_Background_of_the_Fatimid_Caliphate

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  • Chapter I
  • Chapter II
  • Chapter III
  • Chapter IV

THE ORIGINS· ISMA'ILISM

OF

A study of the historical background of the Fatirnid Caliphate
BY

BERNARD

LEWIS,

B.A.,

PH.D.

(London)

Lecturer In 1slamu: History, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.

Et, une heure , jt' sues dcsccndu dans le mouncmcnl d'un boulevard de Bagdad oft des compagnies ant chanie la joie du trauail nouveau
ARTHUR RIMBAUD,

Les Illumt naiions

CAMBRIDGE

W. HEFFER

& SONS

LTD

FIRST PUBLISHED

MARCH,

J940

Printed and Hound ,n Great Britain at the Worh
w.
HhFFER " SONS LTD, CAMURID&E, ENGLANU

oj

Preface
IN every civilisation there are certain movements of social and intellectual revolt, indicative of the reaction of the suppressed and dissatisfied elements in that civilisation to prevailing conditions. The history of these movements, usually written exclusively by their opponents, is at once of peculiar difficulty and peculiar value to the historian. In a predominantly religious society like that of mediaeval Islam, where State and Church were fused and treason and apostasy were synonymous terms, such movements necessarily assumed a theological colour, and appeared as heretical sects, revolutionary in doctrme and insurrectionary in habits. In the early centuries of Islam we find a whole series of sects which, by their simultaneous challenge to the Islamic faith and state, brought upon themselves the concentrated wrath of rulers and theologians. Of these sects, most of which are known to us only from the writmgs of their enemies, by far the most significant is that of the Isrna'Iliva, or Isma'Ilis (also called Batinis, Ta'Iimis, etc.). This sect rapidly acquired an Importance far exceeding that of its competitors, and soon constituted a really serious threat to orthodox Islamic society. For several centuries Ismfi 'Ili missionaries in all parts of the empire stirred up rebellion against the 'Abbasid Caliphs, and I sma'Ili philosophers elaborated a detailed system of religious thought, oftcnng a seductive alternative to orthodoxy. The importance of the sect is enhanced by its connection with the rise of the Fatirnid dynasty, the most powerful in mediaeval Egypt. This connection raises many problems, most of which have not yet been properly elucidated. Since the appearance of De Goeje's .11,[ emoire sur les Carmathes in 1886, no detailed study has been published on the origins of the Isrna'ili movement, from the historical viewpoint. A considerable amount of new material, of various kinds, has become available since then, and although many works still lie unknown in the Isrna'Ili libraries of
v

Finally.~or A. This monograph IS a re-vised version of a thesis accepted for the degree of Ph. R. M. S. H. M. Cairo. for their unfailing courtesy and assistance. P. enough have come to light to render necessary a restatement and reconsideration of the problems involved. Baynes. Kraus. . Abbas Eghbal.D. My thanks are also clue to Professor H. 111 the University of London.VI PREFACE Yemen and India. the Ecole de Langue" Oricntale-. H. if somewhat reticcn t _ co-operation. Sadirrhi . My special thanks are due to the University of London Publications Committee for a grant that rendered its publication possible. Dr. January. now of Oxford. A. I should abo hke to place on record my gratitude to the libranans of the School of Oriental and African Studies. of the College de France. Salamiya and cls-wlu-n-. I am grateful to the following for useful suggestions and aid of various kinds :-Profp:. Dr. and the Egyptian Library. J HeyworthDunne. H. Gibb. for their useful. 1940. A'zami. London. Mr. Vivantes. Professor N. Paris. CAMBRIDGE. whose advice and assistance were of inestimable value to me throughout the course of my work. Tritton (who in addition undertook the painful task of reading my proofs). G. for much help and encouragement. a word 1" due to my Isrna'Ili friends in Masyaf. Dr. I wish to record my indebtedness to Professor Louis Massignon.

To My PARENTS .

. THE C\R11ATHIANS OF BAl:ll<'AI~ On~lll"--l{t'Lltion. III. OF 'ALI - 76 90 101 lO9 rro IIZ II4 HOUSE . ETC.rrltin1llb---(I) Identity -(z) Conflict CHAPTEl<' IV. Isma'Ili=-Statemcnt of Problems involved-Review of Various Solutions OfferedMain Lines of a New Interpretation CHAPTER 1.bon the De-ath of Ja'far 23 dencies (0) The Birth Isma'Il=--Evcnts CHAPTEI< II. THE HIDDEN THEIR HELPERS Spmtual Parcnthood=-Adoptive IMAMS A~D 44 Imilmate and Trusto« ITJl:iIJl:Lte---Ong1l1s of the Fatl!nid Caliplrate-c-Murmlin and 'Abdallah b.The Da' (ta-Syria and Mesopotanna-> Ycrnen CHAPI EI<. With .. (a) Intr(Jductory-The ThE' Mahdi Idea-Early V I ISMA'ILT OmGINS Beginnings of Shi'rsm->Shi'I Sects and Tenof Ismu'Ut.UlIldin .Contents PAGE PREFACE INTRODUCTION Introductory Remarks-Survey of SourcesSunni.The Hidden Imam. Maimiin alQaddll) --.\m-Abii'l-KhaWi. THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF IS?lIA'ILISl\1 SOCIalBa"i~-Illterconfes"ionalism-Communism -The State 1Il Bahrain BIBLIOGRAPHY APPENDIX GLOSSARY INDEX INDEX THE OF PEI<SONS OF SECTS. Shn.

THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM .

by the catholicity of its doctrines and the simplicity of its purposes. its triumph and its decline. on the one hand.and factions. attempted to populanse learning and philosophy among the masses-the dreaded Assassins of Syria and Persia in the fifth and sixth centuries A. often in mutual conflict. and which. some perhaps of pre-Islamic Persian and Synan gnostic origins.H. which. irrespective of creed and social status. succeeded in establishing a schismatic anti-Caliphate which was at least the equal in power and prosperity of the orthodox Caliphate of Baghdad. at its height. with its highly civilised capital and its advanced intellectual lifethe encyclopaedist brotherhood of the Ikhwan as-Safa which. for a time. are all different facets of one same movement which.. which. philosophic. mainly from the Shi'i wing of Islam.H. it was constantlymcorporating within itself new sects-and consequently new ideas-s-on the other it remained highly fi=-iparous in character. The Isma'Ili or Batini movement. which horrified the Islamic world-the Fatirnid Caliphate of Cairo. from their base in Bahrain. Dunng the many centuries of its growth. to mention two of the chief names applied to it-there are many others-begins In the second century of Islam as an amalgam of several mystic and extremist heretical sects. carried out a scrres of daring and sacrilegious raids during the fourth century A. social and political. always splitting up into new sub-sect. Isma'ilism expressed itself in an infinity of forms. both doctrinal and organisational. The dreaded Carmathian bands. the lands of the Caliphate were convulsed by a movement at once religious. attempted and almost succeeded in uniting the whole population of the Islamic orient. in the fifth century. DURING . threatened the very existence of Islamic civilisation. If.Introduction the central period of Mediaeval Islamic history.

The characteristic Isma'ili combination of syncretism and esoterism render the investigation of the history of the sect a task of tremendous dtfficulty. its quasi-masonic organisation. The fault does not lie wholly with the Sunni and Twelver Shii writers who tell the story. the movement stood a good chance of canal ising the whole social and religious discontent that was rife in the mediaeval caliphate. as doctrine. and the haze of mvstery conceahng both doctrmcs and personalities from the uninitiated. a critical study of early Isma'ili history has at last become possible. must still be based largely on the records of non-Isma'Ilis. and social grievances and organisation as an important part of its activities. and the consequent revaluation of old ones. The secretrve character of the movement. a syncretist hatch-patch of all faiths and philosophies. For the annals of the Isrna'Ili movement. save for one or two spe-cial questions. and. SURVEY OF SOURCES It has seemed best to start this study with a survey of the primary sources at our disposal. at least in Its earlier stages.2 THg ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM With 'Alid legitimism as political programme (with what important modification we shall see later). the historical side has remained substantially as De Sacy and De Goojc left it. Kraus. The line of study. did not facihtnte the task of the historian. Although many of . and scholars like Massrgnon. Ivanow. with a strong undercurrent of pure rationalism. The following pages constitute an attempt to clear the ground for a general historical survey of the beginnings of Isrna'Ilism. however. Hamclam and others have made notable contributions. and have prevented until modern times a clear and accurate understanding of Isma'ili origins. has hitherto been mainly doctrinal and htcrary. With the discovery of new documents. with the defects involved by way of ignorance and bias. This is not simplified by the prejudices and animosities of the hostile sources upon which we are forced to rely for most of this history.

when detaile-d. though not always accurate.. The penetration of this knowledge can be classified in three stagestho first.. The third .INTRODUCTION 3 these sources have been studied before. Jarir at-Tabari (d. In spite of his noting that the Carrnathian leaders m Syna claimed descent from Muhammad b. secret history of the sect filters through to the Sunni world. possessing little information beyond the actual reports of events and occasional "craps of doctrine. and. knowledge of the sect. Istna'il. and ends in 294/906 with the suppression of the Carmathian revolt in Syria.'SC5. where the' historian knows of nothmg but the public activities of the scctarios-i-thc second. in which some inklings of what I" at stake have begun to penetrate. Tabar! obviously represents the earliest stage of Sunnl knowledge rt'barumg the Batini movement. or with their inner differentiations. Tabari's account. is that of the great Sunni histonan Abii Ja'far Muhammad h. reach the Sunni world. except HISTORICAL SOl'RCES . Tlu. SUNNI The First Stage. Here we can trace the successive stages in which the true knowledge of Isma'il! doctrmes and the early. denouncing the Fatimid caliphs as impostors and schismatics. It is in order to illustrate the stages of this highly Important process that I have considered these sources in some detail. is purely factual.earliest account we P0... it is necessary to attempt a revaluation of them in the light of the new sources available. several of which are here used for the first time. with the first Carrnathian mission in 'Iraq. Africa. which hegins in 27S/891.tage IS marked by the famous Baghdad manifesto. ongms. Its doctrines and it-. HIS viewpoint on the whole may be taken as representing that of tile average Baghdidl of his day. Our first group consists of the Sunni historical writings. 31I/922). he docs not think of connecting them with the Fatimid pretender whose appearance he mentions in N. He has htt l« acquamtancc WIth the doctrines of the sects. but no general conception IS a~ yet possible-vthc third.

he is aware of the connections between the Carmathians and the Fatimids in Yemen and N. These. anel continues the story with an account of the activities of the Carmathians in Bahrain under Abu Sa'Id and Abu Tahir. in both his Tallbih and his Muruj. Tabari's history was resumed and continued till 320/932 by 'Arib b. 495 .. Although. that much of it was obtained at first hand.dctaili-d works on the subject. alas..4 TH1~ ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM for a brief notice of an alleged Carmathian book. and the final victory of the Mahdi 'Ubaidallah. Africa. 38'1 Tr. Quite separately from this. :'1as'udi goes beyond the other historians of the first stage. Sa'd of Cordoba (d. devotes a few pages to the Carrnathians.' it possible to determine exactly the sources of Ma-s'fidi's knowledge. 344/956). makes no attempt to discuss the doctrines of the sect. 2 Unfortunately. His account of the Carrnathians is limited to their military exploits. He has read Ibn Rizarn. Mas'Iidi obviously represents a later stage of Sunni knowledge regarding the Carmathrans than does Tabari. 'Arib gives a detailed history of the Fatirnid da'ina in N. therefore. aud even beyond some of the second. injra. in knowledge. Mas'Iidi does Iittk. 293. the pa".more than mention these things. p D. The only other important historian of this period is Harnza of Isfahan (Iourth zninth century). Under the years 291. from his general tonc and from one or two remarks. arc lost.! he is acquainted WIth Iifltini doctrine to the point of knowing about the esoteric ~y"tl'lI1 of interpretation and the grades of initiation. in the Tanbili being merely a recapitulation of his own mort.agp. and I v. Africa. though it would seem. Mas'Iidi (d. and to the fact that his work does not go beyond the year 332/944. It is to be noted that he too makes no connection between the two movements.. from conversations with the Carmathians themselve-s. and 294.. 'Arib recapitulates the events of those years as set forth in Tabari. carrying their history on to the death of Abii Tahir In 332/944. 370/980). Finally. we must place him here' owing to the paucity of detail that he gives us. Nor 1. a T'anbih.

INTRODUCTION

5

makes no reference either to their beliefs or to their connections. It is interesting, however, for the picture it gives us of the disturbed state of Baghdad and the Empire during those troublous years, of the continuous discord and civil war, the grave social and economic crisis, and the acute conflict of classes between the Khli$$a (aristocracy) and the '}[mma (common people) of the capital. This picture does much to explain the atmosphere of discord and discontent in which revolutionary Carmathianism emerged and flourished. The Second Stage. For the period after J20, De Goeje was forced to rely on later sources Iike the Kitdb al-'Uyiin and Ibn al-Alliir (d. 631/1234). Since then, however, a number of late 'Abbasid chronicles have been published, notably those of Hilal as-Sabi (d. 447/1055) and Miskawaih (d. 421/T030), both of which contain much useful information. During a recent visit to Cairo I had the good fortune to acquire a manuscript of what appears to be a fragment of the lost history of Thabit b. Sinan the Sabian (d. 365/974). the grandson of the farnous physician Thabit b. Qurra.1 I shall reserve a more detailed discussion of the manuscript for an edition of the text which I hope to publish shortly. Suffice It to ~ay here that the manuscript is dated 1057/1647, arid was made from a copy written in 577/nS1, which in turn was made from a copy of the author's own manuscript. There seems to me to hI' no good reason for doubting the authenticity of the manuscript. Thabit gives the history of the Carrnathians in Bahrain, Syria and Mesopotamia from their origins until the year of his death. His account of the war between the Fatimid Caliph Mu'izz and the Carmathians is particularly detailed, and bears every sign of being a contemporary record. Thli.bit's account is followed closely by Miskawaih and Ibn al-Athir, of which it seems to have constituted the main source for the period. Thabit represents a more advanced stage of knowledge
IOn Thiiblt and his history set' Chwolsson, 5,,,bIeY, I, 57Y

6

TH~ ORIGINS

OF ISMA.'ILISM

than does Tabari, In several ways he shows himself to be aware of a connection between the Carmathians and the N. African Fatimids. Yet he does not say anything of their doctrine, nor is he aware of the earlier history of the sect, before its public eruption. The names of Abii'lKhaHab, Maimiin al-Qaddah and 'Abdallah b. Maimiin al-Qaddah are not mentioned, and it does not occur to him to question the Fatimid legitimacy of 'Ubaidallah, to whom he invariably refers as "al-Fdiimi al-l Alatei:" Before passing to the third stage, a word is necessary in justification of the inclusion of Thabit b. Sinan among the Sunni sources. As is well known, the author's family were all Sabians, and he himself was of that faith. Like other Sabian writers, however. he assimilates himself completely to the Sunni point of view, and is not distinguishable from them, as are, for example, the Twc-lver Shi'is, in his choice of sources and his method of approach. His history was much appreciated and frequently utilised by Sunni scholars, and cannot be separated from the Sunni historical tradition. The Thzrd Stage. In the third stage, the knowledge of Isma'il! doctrmes possessed by Sunni writers has reached a far greater degree of development. Fairly detailed information on Ismaili doctrines is available, and, notably, what we may term the proto-history of the sect--thc hi-tory of it;, early secret development, before its propaganda first burst upon public notice-is far better known. The earliest known writer of this third stagp is Abii 'Abdallah b. Rizarn (or Razzam), who hved probably in the early part of the fourth/tenth century. Although he would seem to have been a theological rather than an historical writer, he may be included among the historical sources, owing to the fact that his account is preserved in works which belong rather to the historical group of wntings, and to the fact that he does mark the beginning of a definite trend of histonography on the Carmathians. Among the historians who follow the lines laid down by him in their

INTRODUCTION

7

accounts of the Carmathians, we may mention the Nizam al-Mulk, Ibn Shaddad, Abfi'l-Fida and RasJ.!id ad-Din. The original work of Ibn Rizarn is lost, but it was utilised extensively by one Akhii Muhsin, an 'Alid who was roughly contemporary with Mu'izz.' It is to Maqrizi that we owe the knowledge that Akhii Muhsin's account was copied from that of Ibn Rizam.! Maqrizi adds that he himself does not believe Ibn Rizam's account of Fatimid origins. In view of this harsh judgment on Ibn Rizam and his follower Akhii Muhsin, it is curious that Maqrizi makes such extensive and frequently unacknowledged use of it in his various writings." The text of Akhii Muhsin is preserved for us in two versions. The first of these l~ in Maqrizi, who gives the doctrinal part in his Khitat' and the historical part in his MuqafftP The other, and better, version is contained in the Nihayat at Arab of Nuwairi (d. 732/133I), an encyclopaedia of literature and history. Nuwairi's account is in the part that has not yet been published, and is preserved in two manuscripts, one in Pans and one in Istanbul," The version of Akhii Muhsin is also given briefly by Maqrizi in his I!!2'ii? Ibn Rizam is quoted directly by the Fihrist.7 He is mentioned in the list of writers on the Carmathians of whom Mas'Iidi" speaks so slightingly. Casanova' regards this as "Ia condarnnation formelle" of Ibn Rizarn. On the whole, however, one must judge the general reliability of Ibn Rizam in a rather more favourable light. As has been already remarked, Maqrizl's censure of him loses greatly in effectiveness by the fact that Maqrizi himself makes extensive use of him. Casanova.P too, has noticed that despite Mas'udi's criticism of Ibn Rizam, his own account differs little from that which he condemns. The discovery of actual Isma'ili documents has tended on the whole to confirm Ibn Rizam's statements. Ivanow-t
note
1

Sacy, I, Tntro,
I.

74, Itt .. ii:

11

Casanova, La Doctrine Secrete, p 9,

JII,'a!!, 12 Quatremt'r(', 1 r7. Fagnan. 39 3 E g In the Kl!ltat. • I, 391. Tr. Casanova, La Doctrine Secrete. • Trans. Quatremere and Fagnan • See Bibhography. ' r86 • Tanbih, 395 Tr 50r • La Doctrine Secrete, 36. 10 Ibui , 37. 11 Creed, 14.
2

a descendant of Daisan. is asserted to have been in reality one Sa'id. the Fatimid movement is traced back to its origins in their coterie. as it is utilised for the first time in this study. supplemented by the extra details given by Ibn Rizam. Maimiin and his father arc not. Muhammad (429-483/1037-1080). In the Yemenite chronicles published and translated by H." and he acquired a thorough knowledge of its 'An isma. the names of Mairniin al-Qaddah and his son 'Abdallah appear in Sunni history books. and also to be found in other writers. Among the later Sunni sources only one need be noticed here. 732/1331). Malik b.8 T~'IE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM notes that the formula of oath given by Ibn Rizam corresponds closely with that still in use among the Isma'ills of India. all for the first time. Of the historical defects of Ibn Rizarn we shall speak later. AI-Janadi quotes as his sale authority one Abu 'Abdallah Muhammad b. and himself a dualist and an infidel.l though. Kay. With Ibn Rizam. 'Ubaidallah. C. mentioned. remained the basis of most antiFatimid writing. the first Fatirnid caliph. and the pedigree of the Fatirmd caliphs called into doubt. In 40Z/IOII was published III Baghdad the famous antiFatimid manifesto. however. it should be observed.lllic Work by NaSIr. 534 • The Isma'Ill da. and that the doctrines he attributes to the Isma'Ilis "fit very well" with those of an Isma'Ili treatise by Nasir ad-Din Tusi. extracted from the Kttcib as-Sulak of Baha ad-Din al-Janadi (d. Abi'l-Qaba'il.'1 . the relationship between Fatimids and Carmathians is established. This manifesto. in which some of the assertions of Ibn Rizam were publicly proclaimed. founder of the Daisani (Bardesanian?) sect. there is no trace there of the nine degrees of initiation mentioned by Ibn Rizam.All h. . there is a brief account of the Carmathians in Yemen. "a jurist of Yemen and a learned Sunni. 'Abdallah b. He was one of the persons who joined the Carmathian sect in the days of the Sulaihi. founder of the Isma'tlt Sulaihid dynasty 10 Yemen.

1 Kay. a science that reached a high degree of development in mediaeval Islam. in which he has described the principles upon which they are founded. namely. from which it is possible to gam. A considerable quantity of polemic writings was produced by orthodox theolog-ians. it will be necessary to extend our survey to include other groups of sources.Yamani. On becoming convinced of the depravity of the Carmathian doctrines. however. he demonstrates their wickedness. at least an impression of the effect they had on Sunni observers. (r) the Sunni non-historical sources. see Becker. Slightly less prejudiced are the works on the history of religions. and warns his readers against their deceptions. to a more detailed discussion of the specific points at issue. I. There are. the greater part of this literature deals with the theological and doctrinal aspects of Batinism rather than with the history of the movement. Beltrage. (3) the Isma'ill and near Isma'ili sources. These will be referred to where necessary. a movement as Widespread and as subversive as Batinism occupies an important place in Sunni theological literature. however. many important historians whose names have not been mentioned. 2--II . and thus falls beyond the scope of the present study." Before proceeding. For obvious reasons.INTRODUCTION 9 character. (2) the Twclver Shi'I sources. From the text it would seem that the author was a contemporary of the Fatimid Caliph Mustansir (427-87/1035-94). Abi'l-Fada'il alHammadi al. Malik b. SlTNNI THEOLOGICAL SOURCES As is to be expected. 191 • For a survey of sources on the rise of the Ffitrrruds. and he composed a celebrated treatise. he abjured them. and the author's name is given as Muhammad b. of course. It is called Ka§hf Asrar al-Ba#niya wa-Akhbar al-Qardmua. There are."! Early in 1939 a work was published in Cairo which would appear to be the treatise in question. if not a knowledge of Batini doctrines. We have thus concluded our survey of the main trends in Sunni historiography.

and=-most important of all-by means of the Twelver Shii and Isma'Ili sources now available. 321/933). Ghaziili. and their culmination in the Isrna'Ili da'ioa.speaks WIth scorn of the polemists. ThIS task will be attempted in our first chapter. Often enough they arc ill-informed. survey of the subject." The carhest extant classification of Islamic sects is the Muqdld: al-Tsldmiyin of the great schola-tic Abir'l-Hasan al-A§h'ari (d. sec GoldLlher. 377/987).> This number IS the Procrustean bvd into which most Islamic heresiologies have been fitted. and on the whole reasonable. including one not hitherto known. a work which attempts a detailed. lS<j. The theologians. Tanbih. it is true. by more or less violent means. The main historical value of these works is that they describe not only the Ismaili movement in the strict sense of the word. A§h'ari was followed by Malati (d.10 TIfE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM scattered bits of historical information in these sources which make an examination worth while. many of them are bound by a tradition attributed to the prophet. They arc violently prejudiced against the sects they describe. but the whole welter of extremist Shi'I sects from which Ismailisrn as an organised system evolved. and have no interest in presenting a clear anti accurate picture of their development. How then should one expect them to distinguish accurately between conflicting groups of heretics? Then again. it is possible. For the moment let us review briefly the most important of the Sunni theological sources. according to which the Islamic community would break up into seventy-three sects. of their unwillingness to understand and their readiness to condemn. have many defects which vitiate their reliability. Tr 3 501 l Abu Da'ud. '4 If . For a survev of early polemic Iiterature. to establish a critical account of the growth of the early extremist sects. In spite of these fault" however. by a careful comparison of the different versions. with a wealth of detail which we cannot hope to find in the strictly historical sources. Mas'Iidi. 395. who is concerned with . and attribute to the sectaries doctrines which the latter themselves would rejc'ct in horror.

As Dr. an A~'arite scholastic who. provides us with a detailed survey of the Shi'i sects. for there Shahrastani used an authentic document. His attitude is surprisingly tolerant.! Fakhr ad-Din Razl. More detailed than either of these is the theologian Abii Mansiir 'Abd al-Qahir b." l05 fl. Baghdadi gives a lengthy historical account. namely. Razi's strictures on Shahrastani are in the main justified. that dealing with the Islamic sects. is concerned almost exclusively with doctrine. he says. o. the Fasl [i'l-Milal iea'n-Nihal of Ibn Hazrn (d. their separate histories and their doctrines. apparently based. who. Kraus. he says. Shahrastfini's work. though in a number of passages. 548/II53). and 2U fl. and notably that dealing with the Kayyallya sect. In his chapter on the Batiniya. did not bother to reproduce faithfully the ideas of his opponents. based on the Farq of Baghdadi. Shahrastani (d. a piece of shameless plagiarism from beginning to end. Brief accounts of Batini origins and doctrines are also to be found in the Baydn al-Adydn of Abu'l-Ma'ali (completed in 485/1092) and in the first great Muslim history of religions.. with some variations.. translating It into Arabic from the Persian original. the great Qur'anic commentator. IS. His 1 Les "Controverses. Tahir al-Baghdadi (d. 459/1064). being merely a copy of a number of other works. and supplies very little historical information. however. makes an extremely interesting analysis of Shahrastani' s work. The part with which we are concerned. The only passage worthy of note is that dealing with Hasan i Sabbah. abo surveys the field. the successor of Ibn Hazm in religious history."ing to his extreme fanaticism. in his Farq bain al-Firaq. and he has clearly made use of Isma'Ili sources. P. . Kraus points out. Shahrastani does appear to have used other sources. It is.INTRODUCTION II refuting rather than with explaining. but who nevertheless supplies a few interesting details. on the Ibn Rizam version. In a passage recently edited and commented by Dr. 429/ 1037).

deals mainly with doctrine. The author was the Qii<. 220 . too. He was a pupil of Ibn 'Ayyii~. Guule. lB. accuses Ghaziili of having misunderstood the Ismaill thesis. in the passage quoted above. There is extant an Ismaill reply to Ghazali's work by a Yemenite d{i'f of the seventh/thirteenth century.! One of the most important Sunni works dealing with the Batiniya is the "Refutation" of Ghazali (d.12 TI\E ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM general attitude.hiiyat. Ritter+ has already called attention to a manuscnpt copy of a work entitled Kiidb Tatl1btt Dala'i. No Subki. and he was the head of the Mu'tazrla during his period. No. The manuscript contains 294 folios." Professor H. of which folios 143-153 deal with the Ba\ini movement.li'l-Quc. The references to the general character of the Batini movement will be considered later. and his acquaintance with Isma'Ili doctrine far more detailed. 66 • Pbtlologica." Among the theologians we may include the Hanbali polygraph Jamal ad-Din b. 'Abd al. N. Ibn Rizam and Ghazall. We may note in passing that Fakhr ad-Din Razi. is more liberal than that of Baghdadi. to whom he refers by name. ' lvanow. and finds his refutation very faulty. but his version is in many respects original. analysed and partly published by Goldziher. 577/I20o). who in two passages gives us a short account of the Batini movements. p. 50S/lIIl). a Mu'tazili divine who died in 4IS or 4I6/I024-5. Muhammad b. too. Nubuwwat Sayyidna Mu~ammad-"Establishment of the Proofs of the Prophcthood of our master Mul. Mahdl Ahmad. p 56. This work. 'Abd al-j abbar. xi. and is here utilised for the first time. To this list of theological sources must be added one which is still m manuscript. al-j awzl (d.1ammad"by this author. contained in the Sehid Ali Pa~a Library in Istanbul. P 34. based in the main Oil Tabari. and I 3 GUIllaume. It may be mentioned in passing that Shahrastani was himself accused of being an Isrna'Ili. 114 Arnold.J abbar made use of Ibn Rizam. and falls beyond our purview. Ill.lat'Abd al-j abbar b.

which will be utilised in the following chapters.3 Fagnan. of course.' This. Sabbah 1 Nujum. TWEL VER ::. which has come down to us in a later abridgement by Tusl." This statement is amply borne out by a study of Shi'I biographical works. then. was a pupil of the renowned Shi'I scholars Abii'l-Qasim Nasr b. and other works. the moderate Shi'a were in closer contact with the Isrna'Ilis than were the orthodox Sunnis and had a more detailed knowledge of their history and tenets.HI'I SOURCES Apart from the above-mentioned. concludes our survey of the two main groups of Sunni sources. 3 Ghuf. there is also available a considerable mass of material relative to the early history of the sects in the biographical and bibliographical compendia of the Twelver or moderate Shi'a. This literature was quite unknown to De Sacy. literary and philosophic writings. others. warrants a separate consideration. Maqrlz! See further. There are. 4II and 41B 2 Esquasse and art Karmaitans m EI. 443-6 Abu 8!5. however. II. and many valuable details given regarding them which cannot be found elsewhere. Massignon.ma. 'Umar b. None of these. 'Abd al-'Azlz al-Kasl1shi. 201.INTRODUCTION 13 contains much new information. I. In travel-books. we shall find much valuable information. Abii'l-'Ala al-Ma'arris tells us that the Twelver Shi'a still respected the memory of 'Abdallah b. De Goeje and other early investigators. Maimiin and other notorious extremists (d!ultit) are cited as traditionists. where 'Abdallah b. His work is quoted as an authority by several later historians. It remains for us to review briefly the non-Sunni sources for our subject. who lived at some time in the fourth/tenth century. Becker. Maimiin al-Qaddah. SUYlltl-Ta'Yilill. 156 . illustrating the gradual growth of Sunni knowledge about the Batiniya." Naturally enough. and indeed its importance has only recently been pointed out by M. 5 Brockelmann. Kashw. Beitrage. II.an. The earliest and most interesting of these works is the Ma'ri/at Akhbtir ar-Rijdl of Abii 'Arnr Muhammad b. and quoted him as an authority for traditions related by him before his "apostasy.

5hi (d. The true author was one Sa'd b. authors. lost. among which the most important are those of Naja. Ibn Shahrashfib (d. alHanafiya. It is written in a remarkably dispassionate style. The first of these ts the Ftraq a0l1-Shi'a. 226. which is a collection of traditions about great men of the Shi'a sect. S88/II9z) and Astarabadi (d. see . Musa an-Nawbakhti (d. and appears to use Sunni sources as much as Shi'i ones. Mas'Iid al-'Ayyasbi as-Samarqandi. and are the only works on the subject by Shi'I authors that are extant. in his brilliant monograph.! Supplementing Kashshi we have a number of later works. a work on Shi'i sects. Supp! Cat of Arabic MSS . however. Unto Mus.8 rejects the authorship of Nawbakhti. Kashshi's work. before 310/q22). Kl!_iinrdiine. These are two works on sects and religions. P 422 fl. is a mine of inforrnation. the former of whom was himself an extremist. 140 fl. He does. 460/r067).2 Apart from these compilations. provide us with a detarlcd picture of the pre-Isma'Ili sects clustering around Muhammad b. In some respects he is no better mformed than his Sunni contemporaries. whose book of the same name is. and are free from some. It should be mentioned in passing that Abbas Eghbal. all biographical and bibliographical compendia.THE ORIGINS OF ISM. 2 For further details on these and other Twelver ~t'J Rieu. This book is a survey of Shi'I and related sects from the death of 'Ali until the disappearance of the twelfth Imam of the Twelvers. 4S0/IOS8). The author is a rather lukewarm Shi'i. 140. though not all.A'ILISM al-Balkhi and Abu Nasr Muhammad b. Tusi (d. Khdneddne Nawbakht. he says. thus giving us a historical framework into which we may fit the biographical material in Kashshi and his followers. Maimiin. and Hadiyat. 'Abdallah 'On Kashshl. • P. Muhammad al-Baqir and Ja'far as-Sadiq. and contains much information on the early history of the Isma'Ilis. IOz8/I6IS). ascribed to Abu Muhammad al-Hasan b. and he docs not make any mention of 'Abdallah b. They reveal a closer knowledge of the subject than is possessed by Sunnis. there are two books by Twelver Shi'I authors which also shed some light on our subject. of the latter's prejudices. see Eghbal.

however. of uncertain authorship. thanks to Sunni censorship and Isma'ili secrecy. During the following years.de. "orne of which he reviewed briefly in an article. Moreover.INTRODUCTION IS al-Ash'ari (d. Da'i Husni Razl (early seventh/thirteenth century). in private and public collections. 1 a seven-volume history of Isma'ilism from the marriage of 'Ali until the 1 Ivanow. Hamdani. a Persian work. and the point of VIew they represent is that of the emasculated official Fatirnid da'wa rather than the earlier revolutionary period. a number of Isma'Ili works 111 European libraries were Identified and others acquired. A few fragments collected among the Isma'Ilis of Central Syria were published by Guyard. where texts identical with the Firaq are referred to A~'ari. Ivanow and H. having almost completely disappeared in the Near East. Eghbal bases his assertion on a number of passages in Kashshi and others. no book earlier than the reign of the rust Hitimid caliph has yet becn found (with the possible exception of the Umm al-Kitdb of the Isma'Ills of Central Asia). religious and philosophical in character. the treasures of the Ismiiili libraries of India were made known. one or two others found among the Isma'Ilis of Central Asia were noticed in Russian periodicals. and a number of texts have been published. translated and studied by various scholars. By 110W a fair amount of this literature is available. ISMA'ILl SOURCES For a long time the Ismailis were judged exclusively on thc evidence of their bitterest opponents. their own literature. 299 or 30I/9II-9I3). but ascribed to Sayyid Murtada b. The principal Isma'Ili historical work is the 'Uyiin al-Akhbdr of the da't Idris of Yemen. 62 . In 1905 Griffini found a number of Isma'Ili works in the Yemen. By far the greater part of the new Isma'ili material is. thanks to the efforts principally of W. M. F. and surprisingly little has been added to our knowledge of the early history of the sect. The other book is the Tabsirat al-'Awamm. Gu.

a secret work on doctrine. . This work. is of considerable value. in which it is admitted that 'Ubaidallah al-Mahdi was not an 'Alid. because whereas the historical book" are considered to be ?ahir. and am preparing an edition of it. the secret books on Haqd'iq and "Aqa'id. is strongly Isma'Ili in tendency. are often esoteric. reserved for the chosen few. A striking example of this is the short historical note in the Ghayat al-Mawalid. 1 Ibui . 40. Apart from the professedly historical works. These. and I have not been able to consult a copy.16 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM author's own day (ninth/fifteenth century). Directly or indirectly based on these and other Isma'ili historical books are two modern works by Isrna'Ili writers. however. there are also occasional histoncal notes and references in dogmatic and theological works. where they occur.! This work. but one written in India and the other in Syria. Africa until the establishment of the caliphate. and the author makes no reference to his being an Isma'Ili.li Nu'man (chief QMi of Mu'izz}. or exoteric. an Ismaili functionary in Khawabi. This work is addressed to the general Islamic public. arc probably more reliable than the directly historical writings. a general survey of Isma'ilism published in Aleppo in 1356/1933 by Shaikh 'Abdallah b. The work. but I have a copy in my personal possession. There are some interesting passages. but the historical part is based mainly on Sunni sources and is not of great value. and the historic chapters arc based on Isma'Ili sources. An earlier work is the Iftita/:t ad-Da'iua wa ibtidd adDatola. both in the Arabic language. a history of the Fatimid da'toa in Yemen and N. though the exoteric character of the work prevents any serious revelations from being made. and thus may contain information withheld from the masses. The first of these is the Riyarj al-Jintin of Sharaf 'All Sidhpuri. except for a few extracts published by Hamdani in Der Islam. Murtada. printed in Bombay 1277/1860. The other is al-Falak ad-Daunodr fi Samd al-A'imma al-Athdr. by the Q1i<. It is still in manuscript. is still in manuscript. The author has apparently had access to Bohra books.

less reserved than the official Fatirnid literature. not only from its opponents. i" the ignorance and sometimes deliberate bad faith of the anti-Batini writers who form one of our main sources of information. full of unanswered questions. was himself unaware of this).li Nu'rnan (it is even possible that the QMi. Such. 481/r088). representing as they do an early and relatively pure Isma'ill current. A fair amount of information may be gathered also from the books of groups which. The most notable of these is the Rasd'tl lkhwan as-Safd. in the 'Uyun al-Akhbar. of course. by means of a critical evaluation and confrontation of these sources. it is perhaps useful to mention briefly the main difficulties that block our path. already referred to. The task before us is to attempt. but even from a large part of its own adherents-those who are not initiated into the inner mysteries. containing quite a few hints of histone value. The first of these. owing to their special character as the scriptures of a secret revolutionary sect. Before proceeding to an enumeration of the problems involved and an attempt at their solution. a store of information on doctrinal and philosophic matters.) This is. we have interesting first-hand descriptions by unprejudiced observers of the Carmathian state in Bahrain and its internal organisation. if not actually Ismaili. to give a clear and connected account of the events they describe. and. It IS a story bristling with inner contradictions and inconsistencies. then. concealing its doctrines and its personalities. The second is the secret and esoteric character of the movement itself. and the latter at least a profoundly convinced Isma'Ili. Among the Isma'ili sources we must include two travellers both strongly pro-Fatimid. More immediately useful are the Druze scriptures. who was never initiated into the highest ranks of the da'tna. are closely related to Isma'Ilism. and in modern Isrna'Ili writings. strongly denied in the historical writings of the Qac. are the sources that tell the story of the Batini movement.INTRODUCTION 17 (See below. In the travel-records of Ibn Hawqal (late fourth Itenth century) and Nasir i Khusraw (d. Many of the Biitini works thus deliberately .

18 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM conceal and even falsify certain vital facts. thrown their lot in WIth it and accepted its central authority. and increases the difficulty of establishing the true identity of various persons. largely a figment of anti-Batini imagination. owing to the distance and the difficulty of communications. as will readily be seen. but. A third is the fact that owing to the conditions of difficulty and persecution under which the movement lived. dependent on the main centres. Long lists of such names. a large number of its most important leaders were constantly in hiding. with their regional applications. which makes their very identity uncertain. and which have quite a separate origin and character. however. or spmtual adoption. and the groups go on very much in their old way. thus causing great confusion. This. With different names and local traditions. too. which are applied by most authorities indiscriminately to one sect or another. This regional and doctrinal diversity has given us a host of names. which have. however. there is the curious doctrine of tafwi4. owing to the wide dispersion and secret character of its missions. will be found in the Siyasat Name and Ibn . Our problem is largely one of classification and identification. and appeared in different places under a variety of aliases. the connection of these with the Batiniya i-. if they are intended for general consumption. In this group we can almost certainly plan' such sects as the Khurramiya and other stnctly Iranian heresies. Some of these form part of the central core of orgarusation-> others are offshoots. ongmally unconnected with the B~ltini movement. During the centuries of its actrvrty. the Batini movement. are sects. was split into a large number of fairly distinct groups. according to which words like Abit and Ibn (father and son) may connote a relation of teacher and pupil rather than physical father and son. diverging in character under local influences Others. renders most Batini genealogies suspect. Finally. i~ often merely nominal. Though there may occasionally have been a limited kind of cooperation. Yet another group is composed of sects which have little or no actual connection WIth the Batiniya. This authority.

Ja'far. with a more or less homogeneous character and a separate tradition and history. In the following pages the four groups will be referred to respectively as Isma'Ili. ravaged Syna from 289-294 A. Syro-Mesopotamian.c. They are as follows:(I) The early Isma'Hi da'iea=-i. (90I-906). Abu Tahir and their successors. (2) The da'tea which. Mihrawaih and his son". movement sometimes called Carrnathian. each of which forms a distinct unity. Upon the correct answer to these questions depends also the vexed problem of Fatimid legitimacy. Africa under Abu 'Abdallah a~-Shi'i. the word Batini is here used to designate the whole group of movements under consideration. For Tabari the . under the leadership of Zikrawaih b. It is the relation between these movements that constitutes t11('crux of the problem.• centred on Isma'Il h. his son Muhammad and the coterie Immediately surrounding them. as being the widest and most generally accepted. The Arabic sources we have' already seen.e. and continumg in N. This is the group revealed to us by the Twelver sun sources. to be found in most or all source". (4) The Qaramita. the movement which. Before stating our own answer to the question.H . in the second century A. or Carrnathians properly so-called. the movement III Bahrain.INTRODUCTION 19 al-Jawzi. it is possible to distinguish four chief groups. i. which. Fatirnid. Maimiin. Other terms used will be strictly defined. (3) The Syro-Mesopotamian. differ is in the determining of the relationships between them. Where authorities. under Abu Said.H. beginning in the Yemen under the famous Mansur. it is perhaps useful to review briefly the answers given by others. both ancient and modern. and the allocation to one or another of prominent personalities such as 'Abdallah b. culminated III the establishment of the Ffitirnid Caliphate. In order to avoid confusion. These four group" appear ITl all our sources. and Carmathian. In the welter of sects and sub-sects revealed to us by our sources.

the successors of group 1.H. Maimim al-Qaddah in the second century. while recognising the Identity of the Isrna'Ili and the Fatirnid movements. Dozy. Quatremerl'. an anti-Islamic infidel who flourished some time during the third century A. but follows Tabari on the whole. A. Quatremere. place 'Abdallah b. The appearance of new source materials has caused a certain change of front among Orientalists. Guyard and De Coeje.20 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM Fatirnids are what they claim to be. Thabit suspects a connection. The first serious divergence is to be found in Casanova. Sacy and Blochct are inchned to allow despite all this that the Fatirnid Caliphs were really 'Ahds-a claim which is rejected by Dozy. Ibn Rizam. and those who accept the legitimacy of the Fatimids usually do so by denying them any connection with the Carmathians or WIth 'Abdallah b. Thus far there is unanimity. Groups 3 and 4 are one and the same-quite unconnected with I and 2. but was completely reorganised and given its specific doctrinal and organisational character by the evil genius of 'Abdallah b. and credits him with the creation of the united Batini movement by welding together the two great wings of the 'Alid movement.H. They thus deny the Fatirnids or the Carmathians any connection with group I. Among European scholars opinion has been divided. Guyard.. and make him the true ancestor of the Fatirnid Caliphs. It began with the creation of a separate group supporting the claims of the Imam Isma'Il as against hIS brothers.e. by implication. Isma'llis. or at best regard them as usurpers of Isma'Il's family claims. He. Most argument since has been along these lines. which was later won over to Isma'Ilisrn. Fatimids and Carrnathians were all different names for one single movement.. and all who follow him. He places the life and activities of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin alQaddal." Earlier writers-De Sacy. i. Maimiin. regards the Carmathians as a separate group of earlier origin. Blochet and De Goeje-all tended to base themselves mainly on the Ibn Rizarn version in its broad lines. identify the Fatirnids with the Carmathians. Maimiin among the latter. the 1 For these general references see the Bibliography . Hammer.

One other view which may briefly be mentioned here is that of Prince Mamour. who was strongly influenced by the Khurr amdinan and other Iranian heresies. however. Massignon. not the physical son. but claims that the latter himself was an 'Alid. He admits the descent of the Fatimid Caliphs from Maimiin al-Qaddah. etc. Ismailis. thus showing thai they can have had no connection with early Isma'Ilism. and there was considerable doctrinal difference. Ivanow. It was he who was the true founder of Ismailism. are unknown in Isma'ili literature. is the true heir. The Fatimid Caliphs were thus 'Alids in a spiritual sense. however. and conflict ensued with the purists 111 the East. according to which the pupil. Maimim. Maimiin al-Oaddah and other contemporanes. which was founded in the second/eighth century by the Imam Isma'Il. The names of 'Abdallah b. he asserts. One of his followers. a follower of J a' far and Isma'Il. For Massignon. his teacher and guide Abii'l-Khattab. Isrna'Il the Imam. were as hateful to the Fatimids as to the orthodox. Dindan. or followers of the line of Muhammad b. and their da'taa a part of the Carmathian movement. and the Hanafiya. following the modern Isma'ili apologists. The Fatirrud Caliphs were descended trom Maimiin al-Qaddah. Maimiin having been adopted a" son and heir by Muhammad b. the first impulse came from Abii'l-Khattab. For Guidi. infra). Fatimids and Carmathians all form one and the same movement. The latter. 'Abdallah b. or followers of the descendants of Fatima. rejects all contact between the Fatimid-Isma'ilis on the one hand and the Carmathians on the other.INTRODUCTION 2I Fatimiya. al-Hanafiya. stresses the importance of the Isma'Ili doctrine of spiritual adoption (v. none other than Muhammad b. Once the dynasty was established. the Carmath ian doctrines were moderated to some extent. . The Carmathians stricto sensu belonged to the latter group. founded the' Carrnathian sect.. The' Fatirnid Caliphs were descendants of 'Abdallah. Ivanow has no hesitation in accepting the legitimacy of the Fatimid Caliphs. Maimfin. 'Abdallah b.

descendant of the hidden Imams for whom 'Ubaidallah and his Qaddal:lid progenitors were working.s. (I) The Isma'ili movement began in the personal coterie of Ismail b. and also to a number of new sources. Abii'l-Khattab and Maimiin al-Qaddah. The name Carmathian probably dates from after their conversion to Isrna'Ilism. It remains then to sketch my own answer to the problems involved. Africa was the direct continuation of that organised by Isma'il. Casanova. 'Ubaidallah al-Mahdi was the direct descendant and successor in leadership of Maimiin. Gibb! that by making this the last defence of Fatimid legitimacy Mamour has put his case in a very weak position. It has already been pointed out by Prof. 984. Among the companions of Isma'Il and Muhammad.22 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA. (4) The Syro-Mesopotamian Carmathians were part of the Isrna'ili da'wa. the first of them being al-Qa'im. (6) The later conflict between the Carmathians and the Fatimids was due to a split between moderates and extremists after the establishment of the Fatimid state. Mairniln al-Qaddah and the latter's son 'Abdallah. . owe much to the work of Massignon. and the first organisers of the sect. It is his connection with the Carmathians which remains to be proved. (5) The Carmathian movement in Bahrain was separate in origin-possibly Hanafi. (2) The Fatirnid movement in Yemen and N. Ivanow. The following chapters of this study constitute an attempt to prove them. or dissident Isma'ili-but later adhered as a group to the Fatimid Caliphs. with the active co-operation of Isrna'Il himself and his son Muhammad. while retaining its separate identity. (3) It does not necessarily follow from this that Carmathian == Isma'ili. Ja'far. H. The Carmathians were a heretical offshoot of the Isma'ill da'wa.'ILISM Isma'il. it will be seen. Maimiin was one of the founders of Ismailism. The following propositions. I B S o. Hamdani and others. VII.. The Fatimid Caliphs were nevertheless genuine 'Alids. 'Abdallah b. R. A. were Abii'l-Khattab.

Having failed as an Arab faction. The faction WaS purdy Arab. The discontents and gnevances of the 1 Van ORIGINS Vloten. and R SO. that 'All be the successor of the Prophet. Dunng Its first period it was an Arab movement.'IU (a) Introductory. and their party was considered a taYiaYYlI' hasan. new conditions were created. Before examining in detail the ongm'> of the Isma'Ili movement. ck-mandme.and problems of the Near Eastern world.' After several decades of Islamic settlcmont and dominion in the more cultured lands of the Near and Middle East. however. 34 ff GUlch. etc c . Shi'ism began With the ck-ath of Muhammad. and made no attempt to gain the sympathy or the support of the subject races. Wellhauscn. expressing legItImist aspirations and untouched by tilt' SOCIaland rehgiou-.-rs. Guidi and oth. 3. it is nece<. and full usc mack of the work of Van Vloten.Chapter I ISMA. and the Shii movement was transformed into something entirely different. and the following account must be regarded as tentative and provisional."hl' a of N awba)<hti-at once the fullest and the most n-liable source. 307 tf . idea. The history of first century Shiivm is a subject stilI requinng much investigation.-.sary to attempt a preliminary survey of the Shi'a sects and tendencies from which it grew. as they were callcd=-drftcrcd in no way from the rest of the community a~ reganl" rel1glclUsbeliefs. For the first half century of the Islamic era Shiism retained this non-religious character. Other sources have been used. The supporters of 'Ali and the 'Alids-v-thc Ahl an-Nass tra'ita'yin. a lawful partisanship. as a purely political movement. q. the Shi'a strove to obtain victory as a Muslim sect. Slana. It is based in its detail on the Firaq a5lJ.

This introduction of eschatological ideas has been ascribed to various sources. Aramaeans. and. who brought with them the Indo-Aryan idea of a chosen. transmitting the Glory of God (Farri Ya. Snouck" prefers a Christian origin. provided a fertile recruiting ground for any revolutionary movement. One of the characteristic marks of the change from Arab to mawlti Shi'ism is the appearanre of the Mahdi idea. Later. But the entry of large numbers of superficially Islamised Persians.:. and became the instrument of their social and religious revolt against the oppression of the orthodox state. The movement came to be dominated by the mawali and other oppressed classes. and became the mouthpiece of all the oppressed classes. imported into Islam by the masses of imperfectly Islamised Persian converts. as such. From being a political candidate for power. The orthodox Persian Zoroastrians of the upper classes became Sunni and retained their privileges.24 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM converts to Islam.' The impoverished Arabs of 'Iraq. P 61 3 Verspr gesch . I. the revolutionary Shi'a ceased to represent the matodl. Darrncstetcr. based on the lSad'glu. the non-Arab . GR. Godbegotten family. mll'll}(ili.. he says. the Shi'a sect soon had a large mawla following in many parts of the empire. It was. found their way into Shi'I theology. however. the Shi'I Imam became a mysterious figure of great religious importance. as the distinction between Arab and mawla came to correspond less and less with the economic distinction between privileged and unprivileged. Syrians and others necessarily worked a fundamental change in Shi'ism as a doctrine and as a purpose. at first a Messiah and later an avatar of divinity. 15 fl.dan) from generation to generation.attributes a Persian origin to the doctrine. Syria and Bahrain came under the influence of extreme Shi'i ideas. 152 'Le Mahdi. Soon a welter of strange beliefs. p. Iranian and Old Babylonian heresies. once it had turned decisively towards them. and eventually producing a Saomytint or Messiah. brought over from Christian. This conception was transferred to the family of the prophet and the personality of 'Ali.

growing out of the Qur'an. 1 .A. EI. 4 'Lecture'> at Colh"ge de France.ISMA. 193b. however. 'JI • Z. Caetani. messianic type could appear. has shown that this is an anticipation. Massignon. in a well-argued chapter. Wellhauscn+ and Friedlander+ have shown by a critique of sources that the conspiracy and mission ascribed to Ibn Saba are a later invention.'ILI ORIGINS 25 idea of the return of Jesus and the end of the world. VI. the dramatic martyrdom of Husain and his followers at Karbala." but Its first indisputable use in a messianic context is in the revolt of Mukhtar in 66/685. The word Mahdi may have been used in a purely honorific and political sense to describe 'Ali. and XXIV. a Modern research.. ISO Macdonald. has shown that a conspiracy with the ideology and organisation ascnbcd to Ibn Saba was inconceivable in the tribal. the Muslim tradition and Arab folklore. Saba. The beginnings of extreme Shi'isrn are thus ascribed to him and through him to a Jewish origin. and a considerable social change before Shi'ism of the revolutionary. al-Hanafiya. Guidi! follows Darmesteter.." too. who preached the divinity of 'Ali during the latter's lifetime and was burned for his pains. The revolt began in Kiifa-a city well fitted by circumstances to be the starting point and centre of such a R SO. was Messiah. • Anna!!. XXIII. 7()-71 Van Vloten was rruxlcd by his sources Into ascnbmg an Important role to the Saba'Iya • Stns. a son of 'Ali by a Hanafl woman.H. Hasan and Husain. 29(.finally regards Mahdism as an autochthonous Muslim development. 1. 3l> fI 7 Snouck. a projection into the past by second-century traditionists of the conditions and ideas of their own day. a Yemenite Jewish contemporary of 'Ali. Many of the Muslim historians ascribe the beginnings of revolutionary Shl'isrn to one 'Abdallah b. Art Mohd«.37 J Ka>h~1. and stimulated by social conditions.. patriarchal Arab world of 35 A. It required the murder of 'Ali. and goes still further in ascribing the growth of extreme ideas to a deliberate Iranian dualist propaganda. VIII. who preached that Muhammad b. and obviously reflects the conditions of early 'Abbasid times. 124-5 and 133 Rei Pol.

Dcsprtc the suppression of . When the latter disappeared. These may conveniently be termed the Ffltimiya and the Hanafiya (not to b. and groups of followers seem to have flitted casrly from (JIll' -ido to the other. divinely ordained succes-or of 'Ali and the Prophet. Hasan. through the line of 'Ali by Fatima.' confused with t h« late-r Iq. after absorbing the Hanafi remnants.e. . the movement spread rapidly.\lukht~lr and the death of Muhammad. In the ear licr period the Ffitrmiya seem to have represented the conservative wing.. by appealing to the ma1£'tiiT for support. and would eventually return and "jill the world with justice and equity as It was full of injustice and oppression.... and Mukhtar.. For the 70 odd years intcrvcmru. A new and growing town. Mukhtiir selected as his Irnam-Mahdi Muhammad b."! Thus appear for the first tune th« lIc.. of hm:-l'ih. which are characteristic of almost all later Shi'i sects. with a population composed of men of innumerable creeds and races. and were alway" throwing off small group" which graVitated towards the more extreme Hanafiya.!. concealment) and Raja (return). al-Hanafiya and his descendants. began a movement of far-reaching sigmficance.«! was not rcally dead. of the various Imam-. whom he made supreme representative on earth of the divine wisdom..among the revolutionary Slli'i sects. Thr.m properly so-called. and many of its adherents preached that Muhamrn. al-Hanafiya. It was an admirable breeding ground for syncretist. the Fatimiya. messianic movements of social revolt. became themselves I A mcsviaruc traditron In'qucnt 111 Shi'i works. i. Husain and therr offspring-e-thc second were the follower" of Muhammad b.al school of that nam«). the religion it represented.the Iollow-r-. between the revolt of Mukhtar and the lwgiIllling.'Ianic doctrines of Ghaiba (absence. and the oppressing class which maintained it-such was Kiifa when Mukhtar began his revolt. As there was no 'AJiJ of the Fatimid hue of suitable age available. all turbulent and discontented. These distincttons were never very firm. but was III hiding. hating the government.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM movement. there are two main trend.first of these were.

to unite and consolidate the different. the traditions of early. 25. Again and agam does some too zcalou-. the seventh Fatimid Imam. al-Hanafiya wac. ~7 3 Naw.urV('y of the Hanafi line. Among the followers 1 TIns is one of several suggcstc(i ctvrnolouies for the name • Naw. Particularly important among thcs« arc the Khurramdinan. ~5. \'iz. a~ wr. political Shi'isrn. The story IS further complicated by a number of Iranian. al-Hanaflya was God and that he himself was his prophet. pas. the Hanaii group lost its raison d' etre. mis-aonary forget hi" 'Ahd master and begin to preach on his own account. the sects are too numerous to be counted.('v('ral chaructcnstically Isrnii'Ili ideas. 19 Bagh. This begins. and carried on the old rivalry with the new moderate group of the Twelvers. it should be noted. like the Zaidiya. another narn« for Mukhtar)_l On the death of Muhammad b.Islam. and his associates.: (I) Karbiyas=-Iollowers of Ibn Karb and Hamza b. which is of some interest as <howmr." These declared that Muhammad b. and arc often confused with them by Sunni historians. and it was left to Isma'Il.have seen. continued. or Twclver Shi'a are also excluded. I26 . professing allegiance to one Imam and one doctrine. After the accession of the 'Abbasids. warring factions into one great movement. Later Hamza declared that Muhammad b. This survey. thc Ghuldt. Let us begin With a brief . quite outside. abo called the K. 'L'rnara al-Barbari. albeit in a much modified form. Ash.. the Mazdakis and the ncoJewish 'Lsawiya. Again and again various pretender" of 'Ahd descent ri"e in revolt. with the :'Ilukhtariya. I. and.> into mythology. Chrrstian and Jewish scct-. al-Hanafiva. not dead but was concealed.. which ncvor tlx-less "hare certain doctrines WIth the Shi'i Chulat. on their failure. The later moderate. During the formative period mentioned. the pre-Isma'ili origin of . deals only with the revolutionary Shi'a.ISMA'ILI ORIGINS 27 the more extreme section.l1~illllya (aftr-r Kaisan. they spilt into three group'"'. and docs not cover those who. and would return and establish the kingdom of God on earth. ~lf'nhiiJ.

3H :llalatl. the father of 'Ali. (2) Those! who believed that Muhammad b. IK2 5hahr. (b) He was succeeded by 'Abdallah b. [hS 3 Naw. Thc-. I.luI}." (d) He was Qfl'lm and Mahdi. Mu'awiya. T. 'Naw.8 All these sects. 6 and 21 Mvnhii]. (3) Haw. Some said that he was Mahdi.'.1T". the son of Muhammad b. Tr 17u Ill.also 'I ntton. Kbanedanc. 185 and 197. Eghbal. al-Hanafiya. 20 • A~·ar!. who later turned to Ja'far as-Sadiq.. They would "l'l'1l1 to be the "arne as the Harbiya and the Janahiya 4 (c) He was succeeded by Muhammad b 'Ali. ami Mmhii} . Sec further "an Vloten.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM of this sect were Sa'id and Bayan.: (a) He was succeeded by his brother 'Ali b. 213.irn. to whom he bequeathed the Imamate in Syria. I. 127 Tr 4I'J ::ilia!ll. and art' intimately connected with the r iso of the 'Abbasid dynasty. i8R and 1<)5 ff .J7. supra) joined these. Muhammad. and would "return. in the Hijaz. attributing supernatural powers and 1 Naw . He was arrested and crucified m 1H)!7.irniya3-those who said that the Imamate had passed to Abu Haw. al-Hanafiya was hidden in Mount Radwa. after 'Abdallah b. H)-LO Masud! M'uru]. 924 Opkomst • Naw. of the house of 'Abbas. I. Among them was the poet as-Sayyid al-Himyari. V. 19 and 41 AtJ!'ari. and II.iliahr. • Naw.\'ili·arl. 201 Hagh. On his death in 98/710 his followers split into four groups. a descendant of Abu Tahb.« are the Rawandiya.ni. and later claimed to be the successor of Abu Ha~im. . 60 IjI. I. Tr 56 and 235/5'1 loiaw.26 A'l1. T. 45. 113. preached extremist doctrines. 2O-~1I. according to our <ourccs. and would return to establish justice. passim 30. 27 ABll. I. 115-1> . 181. viz. I. 345. This group were known as J:ffmfuiya.1 see "aoU'l1!.. who in turn bequeathed hIS title to the 'Abbasid family. 5 ""'ili. a hervnc of Madfl'm who at first founded a sect of Ius own but later joined 'Abdallah b. Mu'awiya. 7(' On Sf. I1H . 113 (Tr 171) Ibn Hazm Fned. al-Hantjj. 253 and 4 Ser. 25 and 30 B"gh. 2'1 Ibn Hazm Fried. Mvscellanv.! the latter of whom later created a sect around himself." Bayan (v.

whose freedman he was.listed as a sub-sect of the hlmttabiya (v. Thus. Those who remained active were absorbed by the Fatimid da'iua. Tr. the sect. al-Hasan b.g. These. infra).lhd al-Oasri.g.4.2 After the tragedy of Karbala. Abu Ha~im bequeathed his rights to the 'Abbasids. MU~lra himself was killed in IIq/737 by Kh. 1. I. and Bayan claimed to have been appointed successor by the Imam. 191. the sole religious duty being knowledge of the Imam. and is sornetimo. already at the age of 19. Before passing on to consider the Fatirnid Husainid line. are attributed-e. 57 Ihn ~J. disappeared. e. 6 J russ. then. Naw.ISMA'ILI ORIGINS 29 functions to the Imam. To many lba/. His claims were advanced by Mughira b. going so far as to divinise him. 264 B.hr. 5<) Iji. owing to the absence of adult pretenders. 'Ali (100-145/718-762). claimed to be Mahdi. al-Hasan b.!. libertine theories. i. EJID !ili. Tr 4Y K"shshi. and some of them. 5l. Muhammad An-Nafs az-Zakiya.h. II./i. Acl. known as An-Nafs az-Zakiya. 344. the Karbiya. This idea received a great development in the Isma'Ili system. namely Al-Hasan. 'Umara is said to have married his own daughter and to have taught that all forbidden things were permitted. 54-5. This sect seems to have had great influence in the development of Batini ideas. IJ-l. 02'1. ~o3 I:J Frted .e. Sa'id al-Tjli. On the death of Muhammad they claimed that he was in Ghaiba and would return. Of interest is the idea that the Imamate can be bequeathed. the Pure-Soul. 37. The line comes into prominence with Muhammad b. founder of the :\lughiriya sect. 26 • Naw. q5 . we may note briefly the sects attached to the descendants of a third son of 'All. On the accession to power of thc 'Abbasids. are the main sccts of the Hanafl line. Malatt. It should be noted that Muhammad an-Nafs az-Zakiya himself was not disposed to recognise Mu~ira. whose movement was itself an offshoot of Hanafi Shi'i~m. after a few last nervous twitches. These preached that Muhammad An-Nat= az-Zakiya was Mahdi and Mu~ira a prophet. 'Abdallah b.' Ghaiba and Raj'a doctrines play an important part. 122. Hamza b. the Fatimid line was in temporary eclipse.

7 lIlII IJ Frtcd.."ldnher Z A.(' were de-nied by j a'Iar as-Sadiq. Zaid gave his name to the Zaidiya wing of Shi'ism. followers. 345.mat. and severe repressive measures taken agall1st the ~L'Ct. a serrous split occurred. ~ awbakhti+ describes six groups. was given off.). Abu Mansur him-elf was killed in about I25/742 by order of Yiisuf b. 120 K". 'Umar aili-Thaqafi. I. and at least one important sub-sect.30 THE ORIGINS OF IsMA'ILISM The first serious movement is that of Zaid.-. 19~L .) nol!:ll. I. son of 'Ali Zain al-'A. and would return. These were the followers of Abu Mansiir al-Tjli. son of Ja'far. which fall into three important c1asses:(I) Nawusiya=-thesc believed III the immortality of Ja'far. and continued to obey him. who. who preached the Imamate of Muhammad al-Baqir and then of himself. During the life of Muhammad al-Baqir. 34 ~"hr. l\ 4 3 Naw. X XII.' This group is believed to have preached philosophic materialism. Malat). the number of followers of the Fatimid line increased greatly. and to have advocated the use of terroristic methods in dealing with opponents. The. and his two sons Yahya and 'Isa. 54 Note the expl. • 57 • Alill. On the death of j a'Iar 111 l\Iadill<l III qRi7oS. which until to-day carries on the tradition of Arab.bidin. the sixth Fatimid Imam. It is listed by Ibn Hazrn as a sub-sect of the Khattabiya.W. governor of 'Iraq. In several important aspects this movement anticipated Isma'Ili developments.urncd to he tho successor of Muhammad an-Nafs n z-Zaki ya e ~.h. they refused.' own wluch in turn split into se-veral sub-sects. differing very little from the Sunnis as regards religion.62 JJI. Tr .lI-from Rafada.2 On the death of Muhammad al-Bfiqir.I. the Mansiiriya.rd an-Nafs az-Zaklya. the fifth Fatimid Imam.h. and I According to X.hi. who founded a sect of Ill. 33'). 23. Promine-nt among the supporters of . WIth Iu-. 'J (. 25 Flh"." The rest supported the Imamate of j a'far. _\hil Mansur r l. l_}5. some of his followers seceded and supported the claims of Muhammad an-Nals az-Zakiya.ron of the term ]{afi. 1'1(' Am.la'far is one Abu'l-Khatp." (2) Those who followed Mu"a al-Kazirn. and Iibertinism (except by Nawbakhti).t. Tr 20. I e tho refusal of j a'fnr to a. who was Mahdi. refused to aid the pretender. J.'" ba!iliti. political Shi'ism.

4111.iIll dcv cloprru-n t-. the 'Abbasid n-volution marked a new stage in the social and economic history (If LIam.h-alt w rtb uon-Jsl. \ "'l'L' (~ 11 S.\\i\.l\e hun-elf out <l=-. of his son Muhammad b. is the subject of our further studies.'I. lhc nrst of t he-.m lu-revy w lnch preached .. The first of these groups soon disappeared. History of the Jews..rppc. The second grew into the Twelver.J.... Abu 'Isa. finally ended the line of Hanafi pntcndcrs. all Ir. In the second quarter of the second century of the Muslim era..u hl> iollowers declared him to be III Ghaiba (See Art Jeu~sh Encyrlopocdia and Dubuov.ldlI.hood (I' intra. one of t liern prc-I sl. The-n again.inuc sects. the -:\Lu'd. Ull~ln .lkI~a. ~d~ an ilh tcrat e 1!·'\\I-. "ao. SUI1Ilistate.l"i cl \'egetandn and a prolu ln uorn-t ..e w rrter s w ho at tribute cornmurnst docinn('-.!'1 til c.-)lah duruu.urt ".. the rerun 'uf '.. \vl~() l'.uicl the \!ur'J.d the rclatrvitv of rcllglO11' and prophet.ip..itcd and !'I'[haps mthu-no-d l sm..\bd .:i'ilis u~li. Jlozwt'Jld. .md Pt. Chapter I\') On Ill' dete.llly a t trrbu te them to :\Lu:d. <.. after his death.ll lie t hu s anticrpated at that early elate the later l"Il~I'iJj dortrmc .nnent .m«}. Tlu.UIOf of btdh. I etc) The second I. howe-ver.lf he recogmscd both J csu-..t oi t lu.'j"'d.''-is 71..nlm.h they ant u. (3) Isrna'Iliya-e-those who supported the claims of Isma'Il. l38 ) In" . and the consequent officiahsation of the ~ect. . as already noted. ould 1)(' noted.to the I. and left the fidd clear for the Fatimid line of which j atar wa-. I h av e not .ISMA'ILJ ORIGINS 31 through him the Twelver.=)) lie W.assimilation of the nonArab rullllg Cla""l'~ to the Arab. and the growing 1 In the . In the first place. and.uu.nl.i1 . moderate Shi'a. weft' the rcpresentat ivcs.i ltk U)5-~(' r '. conditions were npe for a reorganisation and reorientation of the revolutionary movements.e-.ln.ly 1[1 w hu.md attempted m auv n-Iorms In p. the success of the Ha~imiya faction.tu-o-jvw r-h . III.l e Therr founder. which resumed within itself the main tradition of revolutionary Shi'ism. Lc. l-Yl.i hovc. :\l(. The accession to power of the 'Abbasid dynasty ill 1}2/750 had markedand caused=-scvcral ~ignificant changes. . Isma'Il.. or moderate Shi'a group.. The third.s..uld of u-Iunou-.. the chid figure.umc. eldest son of la'far.' (b) The Birth of I smd'iltsm. 111 \-IC\" of the ~lgh mtic. t'llllllllllIlbnl Tho-. of which the 'Abbfixid-. . Tw o of these. and ':\lul~.. tlu.l h.lrbLul. Their further sub-divisions fall beyond the scope of our study. J d~ true prophets 1 for the peoples among whom they .~. and reromme nded to hIS followers the readmg of the New Test.h t.

and many pages of Twelver Shi'I works are devoted to explanations of it.nhii). Fned. b1t: i-Khat/lib. resulted in a new alignment of classes. and was a mawlti of Asad. that he was herr to ]a'far.. LX.hshl.s According to Nawbakhti. Ka.g. Ibn J:I. military state to a commercial. This process was accentuated by the gradual transformation of the caliphate from an agrarian. etc. 6<) • Kas. Abi Zamab. 2 The disavowal of Abu'I Khattab by ]a'far seems to have caused great consternation among the Slli'a.32 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM identity of Arab and mawla subject classes. also as ~l!qla~ h. He i~ known as Muhammad b. The crisis conditions of the third and fourth centuries produced a series of revolutionary outbreaks. 187.. Abu'l-hllaHab began as a dti'i of Baqir and la'far.G . the right to lie and bear false witness in the interests of religion. P 222 . as in the first century.M. and was apparently one of their most intimate disciples until his rejection by the latter. So tar-reaching a change m social conditions and alignments naturally resulted in a reorganisation and expansion of those movements which expressed thl' revolt of the oppressed classes and peoples.M. that he was a prophet.hhlli. p. The second century i~ what one might term a period of revolutionary incubation. under Abu'l-jiliaWib • Goldzrher. Abi'l-Khattab. including Ibdha (libertinism) and taqiya" or secrecy. heretical doctrines. This change was taking place throughout the second century. cosmopolitan empire. and as such made a number of extravagant claimse. on racial lines. A. Z D. etc. I. on economic rather than. He also taught a number of new.' He was a close a--sociat« of the Imams Muhammad al-Baqir and] a'Iar as-Sadiq.3 The fullest and most reliable account of the activities of Abu'l-hnattab is that given by Nawbakhti. I9I-~ ' 37 and 57-60 . 1906. The majonty of our sources seem to point to Abii'iKhattab as having been the first to organise a movement of specifically Batin! type. and by the third was wry far advanced. He and his followers taught also that the Heaven and Hell 1 Ka~l.

lOl> TI. Abu'I-KhaWi. Musil. they give of KhaHabi doctrines are such a" to corroborate Nawbakht i's statement of the identitv of the two movements. They differed on minor points of doct rme and on the personality of the leader. I. On the death of Abu'l-Khattiib. 03 ' I. and Kaliim . his followers transferred their allegiance to Muhammad b. Thus Baghdiidi8 and A2!'ari'7 attribute to the hllattflbiya the characteristically Isrna'Ili doctnne of "Silent and Speaking Imams" (~amit and Natiq). are th« main lmcs of Nawbakhti's account of the hnattabiya. .l1attiib. or allegoric interpretation of the scriptures is attributed to the Khattibis by Ibn I:Iazm. 'hii b. Isma'Il. • 23('. and dissociated himself from all his activities.of the hllattiihiya movement after the death of Abu'l-Khattrlb.2 Before that Ja'far had already publicly denied Abu'I-h. Tr. Tr 62 103 '0 tJ . 352 • S De Sary. Baghdadi! and Shahrastfini" give more details than Nawbakhti as to the sub-v-et. 1. the Isrna'ili method of Ta'ioil. (4) Muladdaliya. the grandson of ju'Iar. yl't the . under the leadership of Abu'I-Khattiib himself. and seventy of them were killed 10 the mosque there by order of the governor. 'P 58 • 236. 10 n. concentrated in Kiifa. • Killla!. (2) Bazigljiya. who glve< the date 440) 1 HIS testimony IS more 145 '7('~ (Sacy.8 This j" supported by Maqrizl.b was captured and crucified (138/755). '3().lO AI.)'Umairiya .iccount-. Tr 206 'TillS I. then. and corresponds closely with later Isma'Ili writings. The? were (I) Mu'ammariya. Although most of lhe Sunni here-rographers do not mention any direct contact between the Khattabiya and the Isrna'Iliya. A~ regard" doctrine it b corroborated and amplified by most of the Sunni hcresiographers.o In SlJahr." Again. (_:.1 reliable than that of Nuwarrt. 1<. TIl(' Isma'iliya sect was actually Identical with the Khattfibiya. I ntro . the ddt" ~IH'n by K«:J!iliI. II. They introduced also the old oriental "Light" theory of successive incarnations.1 Fried.3 Such.ISMA'ILl ORIGINS 33 mentioned in the Qur'an were merely persons. A number of them. l ntro. and had no super-terrestrial meaning.' This is given in detail by Nawbakhti. Pi r Ibn 1. Il2 • 1j().

telling of the claims of Abii'I-KhaHiib and the reasons for j a'far's denial of him. prayer is a man. one of the ~~wi'hfy.ln. tilt' place of our secret. The moveme-nt spread by Maimirn and lus son 'Abdallah was substantially that of "l6. anel Maimiin al-Oaddah as his follower. breast and said to hirn : 'Remem bcr and do not forget! You know that which is hidden. were disciples of Abii'l-hl1att:ib. Bdiin . la'far wrote to Abii'I-KhatFib. P 44.said: "j a'Iar asked me.hlll~l'mya is provided by a number of sourc--c. responsible for our hying and our dead. l ntro . 'What did you hear from Abii'l-Khattab ?" I answered: 'I heard him say that you (]a'far) had plaC(·d your hand on hie. how he taught reincarnation (taI1l1sukh) and ddled the express commands of . 175) See ")'0 K"'. too. • VIII.s Other traditions describe how Abu.h..l by I\1.l\"hatt~lbl~'a and t lu. of Tuu.o de-cribes :\lalIl1llI1 a~ a follower of Abu'l-hnaWi. and Fagnan. I. So. 131. for a similar cl. or follower" of Mall11Un al-QadddJ. II.34 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM Shahrastani.'l-KhatFlo preached that la'far was divine and pO""t'~sed occult powt'r~. Further information on KhaHabi doctrines is to be found in the Twelver Shi'i works.hr.i (UlhJr. and ascribe. (.la'far. saying: "It has reached me that you believe that adultery is a man.Tr 206 2 Khllat. Ibn al-Alliir8 mentions Ahu'lKhattilb as the firvt of the se-ct (miwal man [a'ala dlllihka). 186. on the authority of Ibn 5'hadd:ld. as dr-tinct from cloctnnal evidence.l Maqrizi! and others. . IX.''' All this J a'Iar denied ernphaticallv. Sulm." 'Anbasa b. etc._!uatremere. Ibn l{iZ~1I117. Mus'ab.il.b. Kashshi" relates a number of traditions.lJh:-. 437 ff Maqrlzl.l..' and that you told him he was 'the hidden thing of our knowledge. of the connection be-tween t lu. 233 • Ka.HH 6 'Th rs person I'> mcnrroncd a-. wine IS a man. 47. Fihrist. ISS 50e also Massignon. as well as by Nawbakhti. 21 • De Sacy.to the Khattflbi~ the doctrine. Nuwairi.um In a Nusairt text . 352 'IR7-I<N '. Historical. fasting is a man and sin is a man.h:illi.ays that the Mairniiniya.' al-. A few examples may be noted. with the "Light" theory.

. In" activitir« and his martyrdom. bm.("\1. in his Du'iiim al-Lsldms The Da'. 15 ~ l c vt III '\ppl'ndl'X l Guidr. 511.i'11JI i-. officiahvd period of the da'sca. a secret holv book of till' Ismailis of Central Asia As it-. He-re we arc at a rli-advantage.ltiI ~U'm.\bl.. renu-ut t. Rashid ad-Dint also mentions Abii'lKhaWib as founder. r ok-.i t \:i hiva among the lu-re-tical sects. Finally we may note a reference in a Zaidi work.ll1l1"'(11pt nt t\ll~ w or] .«! 111 (It'nying all connection with such dISreputable pl'r. of course.. It'pudl.n t ion-.t nd .ol1" <I. learned editor r. howe-ver. of the Imam al-Mutawakkil. the divnusation of . 3':: . ieho are the Mubarakiya and the KhaWihiya.l the ot hcr lu resiarchs also follows closely on Sunni sources :! 1\1::-.Fatimid d.. P JIb 11 i.l 3!\. The Unun al-K itdb gin'S a cvntral position to Abu'lh'hattftb. abo m.}." Abu Hanifu Nu'rnan (d . and full reference to hi-. Th« first of the"l' b the famous Umm al-Kitdb.. this n-pre-ents a very early ~tag" III till' development of revolutionary Shi'i Ideas.. and considers Maimiin and 'Abdallah as his disciples. art'.1'1: Abii Hiitim ar-Razi. LUllIllll)t."2 At this point we may well ask ourselve-s what references to Abii'l-h'haqfib and the J{hattabiya arc to be found in Isma'ili writing". preserved in two group" of wntrugs.rr . who.i t-. 2575. HI' i" mrntronr-d hy tlu.lIlO\\" ahh' 10 . Zaidi Rassi Imam of Yemen. There i-. a general confirmat ion=-a-.ltt:ib (III. TIl(' narnt.u .ltl(l\l .-mark-. d"CblY. and placing 11. the Kztlib Haqa'iq at-Ma'rifa. S LItH.I :\1S S () the dor truuj aI.and doct nncs of Abfl'l-Khattab..i nv 111. . ami i-.'j·h!].i'ili~of the doctrines ascribed to Abfl'j-KhatFtb. to be tound In j uvrunt.LfV.l . hO\\TH'r. ow n pr ophct hood.f>_i'<in) the Qadi of Mu'izz. till' Kh. ill hi" KIiJu az-Zi na (early fourth/ninth century). therefore not wholly nliabl« 111 such matters. etc) awl hi ..-ITl ret('r~ brieflv to of .. when the apologists were intercst. Almost all the bma'ili documents at our disposal belong to the later.ISMA'ILI ORIGINS 35 Abii'l-Khattab. making hun founder of the rehgion.\(JtD 'dU l"-Jl/nlu'I-/utti1" 4311 I have not rorrs nl t . 11 I. but dlft'ct rcicrcncc-.1lUI )11) \ <uml. an exoteric work intended for 1-:"l1lral cou-umpt ion. H(' speaks of the "Isma'iliya. briefly dr-scnlx-... .i nd ma ledictron by Ja far HIS account of Mu&hir.. are few and far between. Abii"l-Khatlab. 532-566/ II37-1170. l luihu been .ui.

The answer. why his father Ja'far had ordered them first to be friendly to Abii'l-Khattab and then to renounce him." his companions began to weep. 'Abdallah ar-Rijani said: "I spoke to Ja'far of Abii'lKhattab and his death. The following are particularly noteworthy. He asked them: "Do you mourn them?" They said: "No. too. But I have heard it "aid that after 'Ali had killed the men of the river. The statement is clear and unequivocal:. I e. • Kashshl.!awanJ. when the latter was still a boy. These." "4 'Isa Shalqan5 said that he had asked Abii'l-Hasan. • Alii an-Nahr.! Similar statements and doctrines are to be found in the Nusairi writings studied by Massignon. make Abii'l-KhaHab a founder of the sect and Maimiin al-Qaddah a disciple of his. and they cannot be anything but believers. HI) Text ell. While doing so I was touched with compassion and wcpt. was as follows: "There are some whom God has created for prophecy. Probably for Ahl an-Nahrawiin. Some God has entrusted with belief.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM him on a par with Salman. who gave their lives in love of the descendants of Ja'far as-Sadiq (and) Isma'Il. seem to have caused much perturbation.b was of those to whom God lent belief. If He wish He may perfect and if He wish He may withdraw it. and they cannot be anything but prophets. the ID.."The Isma'Ili religion is that which was founded by the descendants (disciples?) of Abii'I-KhaHab. They attribute to him most of the characteristically Isrna'ili doctrines. Kashshi and the other Twelver Shi'I compilers relate numerous traditions explaining and justifying this denial." And he said: "It is not wrong." The denial of Abii'l-Khattab by Ja'far. Abl Mansur Shalqan was one of the most trusted followers of Ja'far (K~I. There are some created for belief. but we remember the friendship that we had and the disaster that has befallen them. and the violent death of the former. later approved by ja'far. Therefore we weep. Abu'l-KhaWi. Ja'far asked: 'Do you mourn him?' I answered: 'No. 1 • Massignon. 189 • 'lsa b. Notes 4zH . Salman and Art Nusairis in EI.

II. 69• Among modern scholars who place _\hu·!-!. May God reveal their hidden things. What was the part played by Isma'Il himself in all these activities? Unfortunately. after him (Ja'far) Musa al-Kazim. This bnngs us to another. I say thus. In the Isma'Ili sources.-he had not the privilege of transmitting the Ka~l. the seventh Twelver Imam.· and is thus placed on so high a pedestal that any information given regarding him is of little historical value. and the fundamental doctrinal split between the followers of Isma'Il and those of Musa al-Kazirn. would all seem to point in the same direction.iliattiiblya). and Friedlander (Ibn Hazm. our knowledge about Isrna'Il is extremely limited..3 and it would seem that serious doctrinal differences did exist between the two. 3 Among those who do not IS Ibn Hazrn Fried. on the same conditions as Imam Hasan after (Imam) 'Ali. 191 The distmctron between M ustatrda' and "UlIslaqarr an Important part III later hma'lli doctrrnes See Kaliim-i-Pir .' Ism(i'U. 106) I plays 2 • Kaliim s Pir. may God curse them. 75 . Isma'il IS the Imam. 78 Kash.' "2 All the Twelver Shi'i and most of the Sunni sources agree in relating the repudiation of Abii'l-Khattab by ]a'far. Moreover.. I.hi. 75 • P. and difficult question. absolute Lord (az arbdb i i!ldq).sim as-Sairafi said: "I heard ] a'far say: 'There are people who think that I am their Imam. and so place Isma'll himself among the rebels against ja'Iar's authority. Margohouth (EI Art !. The subsequent deposition of Isma'il by ]a'far. I am the Imam of those who obey me. IQ4 Tlus outburst of indignation has a nng of truth. Thus. I am not their Imam. and they interpret it thus. "1 Q1i.ISMA'ILI ORIGINS 37 and when he falsified my father's words God withdrew it. presumably corresponding to the varying degrees of secrecy of the books in question. of semi-divine status. the close association between the descendants of Isrna'Il and the disciples of Abii'l-Khattab. we may mention Massignon (Bib! and EL Art. By God. in the Kalarn i Pir" we read: " . Whenever I have hidden anything they have revealed it.iliattab among the first founders of the Isrna'Illya. there is a considerable amount of contradiction between the Isma'Ili sources themselves. Karrnatrans and Nusams).

145. 519. or heritage. p. His concealment began in 145. They arc (I) Isma'Il died before his father. in our sources two statements which would 1 Falak . Most authorities confine them-elves to the simple statement of these facts. H. j uvamj! adds that Isma'Il died in 145. (2) Miisa al-Kazim was not recognised by the Isma'llis as Imam at all. who was absolute Lord.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM After him Imam Isma'il. p 8 I smailitica ' 146 2509 .a5.hid ad-Din" and j uvaini? attribute to the' Isma'ilis the statement that Isma'Il did not die. however.both ~ay that j a'Iar ordered the body of Isma'il to be publicly exposed and his death attested by numerous witnesscs-s-prcsumably to prevent the spread of legends. that Ill' was alive year" after his father's death. 125 Taqsim (Druze MS). 223. and that he performed several miracles. 521 • 14() • 521 • De GOCjC. The general statement is that Isma'il was deposed by Ja'far because of his excessive inclination to drink. III. 154 and N4$$. fol 1I7v • 146 • 'U'mdat as-Tiiiib.8 according to which Isrnail was the first hidden Imam. ." The following two points constrtutc almost all the information that can be gathered from them.hid ad-Din' and juvaini. Tabart. . A Shi'I work" places his death in 138. Since Isma'Il knew that the Imamate was to remain with his descendants. Fyzee. The latter in particular seem to adopt an attitude of "the less said the better. 203 Blochet. because of his evil habits." There are. he agreed to the na$~ of Miisa al-Kazim." This story obviously contradicts the numerous other works according to which (I) Isma'll died before ja'Iar. Both Ra5. j uv . and an unworthy son of his father. This is confirmed by the pro-Fatirrud Dustier al-Afuna}jimin. 57-8 t Levi. (2) Isma'Il was deprived of his right of succession to the Imamate by ja'far. . Quoted III lvanow.! The Sunni and Twelver sources regard Isma'il as a reprobate. • Levi. List. These measures were unsuccessful. but Ius death did not occur till seven years later. so that they were not opposed to each other. Upon these points all arc agreed.

Later he returned to .lhi'! orthodoxv. • K~!. and that Abu'l-Khattab was the adoptive. despite hIS deposrtion by j aIar.Lll was a hank!'. 144 . in which ]uvami attributes to ]a'far a phrase which. to Abu'l-KhaHab refers to Isma'Il b. P 30 (which incorrectly states that Mufaddal was executed WIth Abu·l-. See also Baghdad!. it must be admitted.. "spiritual" father of Isma'il. 137.! occurs in KasbshP . and after the latter's execution founded a small sect of Ins own Already dunng J afars lifetime he advanced the chums of Lsm. Tr.. is Vt'fy much out of proportion if Isma'Il's sole offence' was his lack of sobriety. "]a'far said: 'Isma'Il is not my son. Ivanow. I consign you to Hellfire.ilii'i sympathies / tuiiil . 145 fi 1K7 and 208 6 ':\Icl:'~lgnon. Muhammad were brought and taken before the Caliph. os. 207. 3. 'Anbasa said: 'I was with Ja'far h. GUlI/C. "]a'far said to Mufaddal b. "9 Plan de 350-351. Ka~~i7 relates a number of traditions which would also seem to imply a close association between Ismiii] and the Khattabis. p 19.P. and served both him and ]\!iisd al-Kazrm." In his account of Mufaddal b. o evil-doer.i. This will explain the second passage. I. D . 'P 20(}. made his peace with j a'fur. the importance of which was first pointed out by Massignon. of . Bassam was brought out dead.·2II !llufa\l<. 0 idolater.A'ILI ORIGINS 39 seem to imply that there were more serious reasons for the change. 337 Mtnkii) . Salman. TiisiFihrist." . 56 a A bariker. ]a'far.. Muhammad at the gate of the Caliph Abu ] a'Iar (== Mansiir) in Hira when Bassarn" and Isma'il b.' '" Massignon has gone as far as to suggest that the kunya "Abu Isma'Il" which Kashshl.1llnn. what is there between you and my son?' meaning Isma'tl. 200.!\!!att5. .!\!!attdb) 1 Kiir" . I. but a devil who has assumed hIS form...\ahrastani. Then Isma'il was brought out. "You have caused it to be done.'Jl to the bllCCeSS10I1. 'Urnar: '0 unbeliever. and express the resentment of Ja'far against those who were leading his son into heresy and danger.iila and a prominent supporter of j a'Iar He supported Abll'l-. "What do you want from my son? You want to kill him . ]a'far b. c 15<). 107 A§h'ari. • K~I. 13. j uvairu.b. 'Umar al-]u'fi. The first of these. Ja'far raised his head towards him and said.ISM. S.give. of h. Tr. 23b.':" And later..rlso in .of Kufa. " From this it is clear that Bassarn and Isma'Il were associated in some seditious enterprise of which ]a'far disapproved strongly.

These were the l smd'Iliya properly so called. a mawlti of I sma'Il. they said. saying that he had been hidden by j a'far. and failed to perpetuate the-mselves. Nawbakhti.THE ORIGINS OF ISM. On Isrna'Il's death the Imamate passed to his son Muhammad. revolutionary circles that founded the sect that bears his name. They preached that Isma'll was Qti'im. We can now turn to consider the course of events on the death of la'far. and that his deposition by Ja'far was due to this association. Most of our sources confine themselves to the simple statement that one group followed Musa al-Kazirn.divides those who accepted the claims of Isma'Il on the death of la'far into two groups. 57 ft. (I) Those who denied the death of Ismail during j a'Iar's lifetime. the son and heir of Isma'Il. Isma'il.b. as we shall see. This impression is confirmed by the close relation which. and the extremist disciples of Abu'l-Khatt1i. began by preaching the doctrines of the Mubarakis. The Imamate. . the Carrnathians.'ILISM In view of all this there would seem to be a strong prima facie case for the hypothesis that Isma'il was closely associated with the extremist. as these wen' of no great importance. This group was called M'ubdrakiya. These were joined by the Khattabi". after a leader of theirs called Mubarak. but then 1 P. Maimiin al-Qaddah and his son 'Abdallah. and of these we must make a closer examination. For practical purposes we may ignore the minor groups that followed other sons of ja'Iar. however. existed between Muhammad. provide us with a more detailed account. For it is at this stage that the great split occurs between the two wings of the Shi'I movement. the pure Ismailiya i Al-Lsnuiiliya al-Khtili$a). (2) Those who accepted the Imamate of Muhammad b. cannot fall from brother to brother after the case of Hasan and Husain. Some of our sources. whereas another supported the claims of Ismail and his son Muhammad. They then split into several sub-groups. According to them Ismail succeeded to the Imamate during hi" Iathcr's Iifetime. One of them. that he was hidden (Ghatba) and would return (Raj'a).A.

har.biya and the Mubarakiya. al-il1unla. immortal. and mentions that in his own day they numbered some 100.ar. "JVa'[Qardmita aklzhi/ al-Mubdrahiy« ua'l-M'ubdrakiva salafuhum:" (3) Muhummad was appointed by Ja'far himself. The Carmathians are the successors of the Mubaraklya.'ILI ORIGINS 41 diverged.. Isrna'Il and his descendants. V. P 137) Some developed the NU. Mutawakkil.ISMA. These arc the Carmathians. p. created the united Isrna'Ili datua from which such important historic developments ensued. and "Mubarakiya" from Mubarak. a mawld of Ismail. Isma'il was Qti'im. and were especially strong in Yemen and in the region of Kiifa.35 supra 3 Apparently not all A remnant survived as a distinct sect. who succeeded him as Imam. Later they developed a system of their own. IX. mentions three groups. the Zaidi Imam. Majlisi. Mahdi.' quoting an early authority.r. (2) Isrna'Il died during his father's lifetime. as we have already seen." The name "Carmathian" derives from a Sawadi called Qarmatiiya. They said that the spirit passed from Ja'far to Abu'l-Khattab and from him to Muhammad b. "Al-Qaramita iea-hum al-Miibarakiya. Those thre-e form the I <ma'Iliya. To him is ascribed the organisation of the sect around Muhammad b. (I) Isma'il was al-Qa'im."i sect. which by its absorption of the greater part" of the Khattabiya and the dissident pro-Isma'Il groups. Nawbakhti gives some details regarding their doctrine.biya are rnentroncd unlll much later (e g Mutahhar b. but had already appointed his son Muhammad.. Isma'Il. They were named after a Sawadi. These three versions may WIth ht+lo difficulty be reconciled and made to form one consistent narrative.:i. Tah. From • n.. Nabataean leader called Qarmatuya.000 souls. according to which Muhammad b. or Mubarakiya. . It will readily be seen that a role of crucial importance is assigned to Mubarak." says that the Isma'Iliya consisted of the Khatt5. His "death" was a ruse. and groups of hl!att. 175 • V. Unfortunately very little is known about this Mubarak. and the seal of the prophets.

which mentions him as a client of Muhammad b. notably Mubarak and 'Abdallah b. Ash'arp Ba~dadi. Isma'il. Tr • De Goeje. Tr.' and Maqrizi. Mubarak was seduced by 'Abdallah b. 58 • 47 • Kh. with the aid of various supporters. their organisation split into several sub-sects. after the two names of Mubarak. The only reference to him that I have been able to find occurs in the DusUtr al-M unajjlmln. I think. Isma'Il and Ja'far. Isma'Il. as revealed by the documents we have studied. who recogmscd him as Imam. In view of his importance. by which he was known. II. this identification of Mubarak and Qarrnatuya must. around the Imamate of Isma'Il and his descendants. He was expert in calligraphy of the type called "Muqarmat. We may now attempt a brief recaprtulation of the origins of the Isrna'Iliya. who succeeded.all mention Mubarak. 351 . Maimiin al-Qaddah. probably in collaboration. and with him founded and propagated the sect which was known as Mubaraki or Carmathian. with conflicting ideas and leaders. there is surprisingly little about Mubarak in the Isma'Ili sources. sun 1 P 183." It is possible that he was known in Isma'Ili circles by another name. Abu'l-Khattab and Isma'il. These were rallied around the person of Muhammad b. elaborated a system of doctrine which served as the basis of the Isma'Ili religion of later days. They also worked for the creation of a revolutionary SUi'! sect which should gather all the minor Shi'i groups together.Iijazi and a servant of Muhammad b. 24 and 193. During the lifetime of ja'far.3 Shahrastani.tal. and in the main corroborate our ShI'I sources. 269 203 • 27. Blochet. which is compiled exclusively from Twelver and Zaidi sources. • 16 and 128." thanks to which he was given the name Qarmatuya. be rejected. In view of the earlier and more reliable evidence to the contrary. Isma'Il.l Mubarak was a l.42 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM Sunni sources we can add a little to the above narrative. According to the Siydsa: Name. On the death of Abu'I-Khattab.

in welding into one movement most of the followers of Isma'Il." 1 Questions of doctrinal evolution and change fall beyond the scope of the present work A discussion of them will be found In Massignon. Muhammad b Isma'Il and the Carmathian sect will all be discussed in later chapters . Isma'il was created the historical Isma'Ili movement.' Around Muhammad b.ISMA'ILI ORIGINS 43 Maimiin al-Qaddah. Karmatians £I • Maimiin. 'Abdallah b Marmun. whose doctrine was taken over with some modifications. including the greater part of the Khatt1ibiya. Art.

aff(~cting only the insignificant and transitory body. The Batmi movement. easily and naturally reached a position in which the material relationship be-tween father and son. the reason of its growth and the cause of its life. IV. Salmdn . it is necessary to make a digression III order to examine two peculiarly Batini doctrines which are especially relevant to these questions. nikdl) rii!tan'i.' This principle receives its most detailed exposition in the Rasd'il Ikhwtin as-Safd. which ~prings from the immortal soul. as it is somctune. The first of these is the doctrine of spiritual parenthood. was regarded as less important and less real than the spiritual relationship between teacher and pupil. just as your parent is the father of your body and was the cause of its existence For your parent gave you physical form and your teacher gav« you spiritual form. feeds it with wisdom. spiritual marriage. as against the material. and leads it in the path of pleasantness. eternity and unending rest1 Massignon . This is because the teacher nourishes your soul with knowledge. joy. is the true son and heir. From this doctrine it follows that the disciple. p. It has thus even been sugge<.termed ill Arabic. 2 Cairo Edition.ted that the words "Abu" and "Ibn" ("father of" and "son of") in I sma' iii names arc sometimes used in this sense. pleasure. a work the Batin! inspiration of which is no longer in question.Chapter II THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS BEFORE proceeding to investigate the line of hidden Imams and the validity of Fatimid genealogical claims. 113. and Mutanabb: 44 p6 . rather than the physical offspring. 16-19. Here we read:" "Know that the teacher and master is the father of your soul. exoteric side. with its strong gnostic tendencies and its overwhelming stress on the' spiritual esoteric aspects of things. or.

1!7). IV Asm PalaCIOS connects this With John's sermon at the Last Supper (Log. . where a Similar saying IS attnbuted to 'Umar ." This is spiritual fatherhood. if the one is his physical son. 30 • Qur'an. . and your educator and guide in the seeking of a livelihood in it. XXIII. II 'i-() 2 I hav e not been able to identrfv this tradition . 47-4'1 • \. the brother of the believer by both father and mother. • MI§ilkiit. 5')3. the other is his spiritual son. I. as in the Prophet's sayings: 'Every pedigree Will be cut off on the day of Resurrection except mmc' (i." and God said: 'The religion of your father Abraham. Just as he would not reproach a physical son of his because he had brought him up and spent money on him. let not men come to me on the day of Resurrection with their good deeds and you with your pedigree." God also said: 'When the trumpet will be sounded. Srman. my descendant). and they shall not seek each other's aid. 10 Cf T'abari. XIV.c. 2751. • Cf AbG Daud . nor to humble him.' God said to him: 'He is not of thy people-he' has done a wrong deed. for he should know that it is the same God that denied his brother that gave it to him.'lO In this he meant only the physical pedigree. 77. and would bequeath to him after his death whatever wealth he had accumulated. the pedigree of which is not cut off. ~q '(. . there shall be no bond of kinship between them.1m·an.'6 From all this It IS clear that physical pedigree is of no avail in the other world.e.' and when Noah said: 'My son is of my people." And Abraham said: 'Whoever follows me is mine' (i. .THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 45 just as your parent was the reason for the existence of your body in this world. XXII. so it behoves him not to reproach his spiritual son. Itl does not befit the teacher to reproach the pupil for what money he may spend on him. I IV. JUh al-Adab." for I shall exempt you from nothing before God. that which derives from me)9 and. "With the same meaning Christ said to the disciples: 'I have come from my father and yours.lur"itn. 103 7 Also quoted in I{ IS. V. '0 sons of Hashim.a and Agrapba. . • Quran." ". Xl. for surely.» and that he said: 'The believer 1-. Thus it is related that the prophet said to 'Ali: 'You and I are the father of this community iUmmai.

. The author of the Tabstrat ai-Atsdmm remarks P "They (the Isma'Ilis) say that Jesus was the son of Joseph the Carpenter. following them. Isma'il. 89 Polemics. Salman. . was the first to draw attention to this doctrine. the great Persian historian. saying. have come anywhere ncar an appreciation of it. spiritually and in truth (dar ft. or spiritual heir. have failed to observe this doctrine and its relevance to the problem of Fatirnid origins. to Tabaristan . known under the name of Maimiin al-Qaddah. 'spiritual' (ru~ani). p 15. It is curious how Sunni writers. Isma'Il with Abu Shakir Maimiin ad-Daisani." The first of these categories obviously admits the adoption of one who is not of 'Alid blood as a kind of honorary 'Alid. and the Qur'anic saying that Jesus had no father means that he had no ta'limi father" (i. like Musta'li.lammad-"Salman minna aM at-Bait" -IS the startmg-point and keystone of the whole doctnne For a full discussion. and bodily. .aqiqat) as Imam Husain. only two. Of non-Isma'Ili writers on Isma'Ilism. . one Twelver Shi'j and one Sunni.! "The offspring of the Imam are of four kinds. you say that someone is the son of a man because he is born of his deeds. p 16--19 1\1 Massignon. like Salman Farsil.. in this work and in E1. 181 The reading of Schefer (CM. and. and the spiritual pedigree remains. bodily (jismani or bti makl). • Blochet. p . see Massignon. • Teheran ed. yet is not the man who has received from another the knowledge and • Ivanow. says:" "ja'far as-Sadiq had sent his grandson Muhammad b. I The adoption of Salman by Mui. whereas spiritual parenthood results from the attachment one has for a certain person. most European scholars. 78. Karmatums. Art. Ra§hid ad-Din. 'Physical parenthood results only from the material birth of the child.e no teacher). . i." Similar ideas are to be found in various Isma'ili works. Maimun al-Qaddah entrusted his son 'Abdallah to Muhammad b.555 For another similar passage see Ismaihtrca. p. I. Hasan (the second Imam of the Shi'ites).sl Pers . An l smaihtic Work.e. Thus Nasir ad-Din Tusi says. 180) is less satisfactory.46 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM for it is cut off and the bodies pass away. both in spirit and in body. after the death of ]a'far as-Sadiq. or 'in reality' (tiIlr ma'ni) .

too. 'Abdallah is the son of Muhammad b.l. The three grades of initiation thus correspond to the stages of embryonic development.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 47 intelligence which are the essence of spiritual life. II. • De Sacy. identical with real relationship." According to the epistle of Hamza called as-Sira al-Mustaqima et Religio» des Nusasris. Isma'Il. who now become his own sisters. p 105 ff Fragments. The doctrine is also to be found among the sects related to the Isrna'Ilis.' "A father cannot initiate his son. in which the comparison is made. . and. Isma'il. The initiate becomes the son of the initiator to the point of no longer being able to marry the latter's daughters. his son in a still closer sense? As for me. between coitus. through the secrets of knowledge which he revealed to me. and instruction and initiation on the other. concluding with a kind of sermon by the Imam. 578. nor any relative. Among the former in particular it has had a wide development. He entrusted him to me to bring him up and save him from the snares of his enemies. pregnancy and birth on the one hand. gives the following interesting details. in a rather confused manner.kiil.' When 'Abdallah reached the age of 17. by the Imiim of the community. such as the Nusairis and the Druzes.liin. Initiation creates between the initiator and the initiated a spiritual relationship. Maimiin al-Qaddah proclaimed him Imam.. I was born spiritually of Muhammad b. it is fitting that I declare myself his son. and its importance for the establishment of the Fatirnid pedigree." This passage makes clear the practical application of the doctrine by the Isma'Ilis. he ended by saying: . and are timed accordingly. 210 DUring a recent visit to the Isma'tlt village of Ma~yaf In Central SYria I had myself the pleasure of hstenmg to a lengthy exposrtion of N.l R. This conception is found also among the Isma'ills in Syria.' In short. the idea is to be found. Dussaud. and the Shi'ites made no objection to recognising him as such. his heir apparent. I Histowe 3 Guyard. who believes that the Nusairis took over this doctrine from the Ismailis." Dussaud then gives in detail the ceremonies of initiation.! Among the Druzcs.

THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM hi Sl!a'n al-Qarami/a. was permitted. II. and the descendants of Adam (Dhllrr'iya) are merely his disciples."2 The Druzes even go so far as to reject as absurd the literal statement that Adam had no parents. who claimed to have been "appointed" by Abu Ha~lm. son of Muhammad b. the expulsion of Adam means his degradation to a lower rank thereof. and others raised a whole line of pretenders to the Imamate with claims based on "a ppoin trnen t " by 'Alid predecessors. I I Z ff 2 Fol 79v. the passage above-quoted from Nasir ad-Din Tiisi would seem to suggest that "sons" of the '1'01 74 ff Cf De Sacv. the Isma'Ili secret book Kitdb al-Lddl) wa'l-Baytin (thirteenth century A. not physical parenthood. P 6()4 In a later Isrna'tlt work. Thus Adam Safa (the first of the three Adams of Druze cosmology) had both father and mother . the Kalam i Plr . "and it was said that he had no father and no mother because he was Imam in his own right" (i.dlis of India attributes to 'Ali the savmg that ther . not a physical child. be doubted.. Sarn'an. and the Adam story IS taken m a sense more closely related to that of orthodox Islam The Dhurriya. and great stress " laid on till' It cannot. Bayan b. however.e. not appointed by any predecessor).l the succession of Imams and IJujjas depends purely on spiritual. Some of these sects made Salman an Imam. or progcny of Adam and the other prophets IS also taken In a literal and physical sense. Such are the claims of Abu Mansur.) explains that the Garden of Eden means the da'soa. or appointment. Ex pose. and of the first 'Abbasids.iliira. Mut. al-Hanafiya. • Fol 74" An oral tradrtion still extant among the hm. that the ldiih represents an earher and purer stage of Isrna'Il! doctrmal development • See Chapter I.s To what extent could the succession to the Imamate be affected by adoptive filiation? Among some of the pre-Ismfi'Ili revolutionary Shi'I sects. The relationship of the third to the second Adam is described as follows: "and he was a religious. were rnanv nu-n bef ore Adam These doctrmes find an interestmg echo 111 a lme o( . succession by tajwirj." Among the Isrna'Ilis." In the same way. this mterprctation IS no longer to be found. in VIew of other evidence. (Luzumtyat) . al-Ma'arrt • Lewis..D. passim.. l smaili Lnterprctation.\lJii·I-'AHi.

docs it necessarily follow that all the Imams after hun an' physically of Qaddal)id race? The note "of the race of QadeI~iJ. and endeavours to Justify the 'Alid lcgitrmacy of the Fatimids by identifying Maimiin al-Qaddah with Muhammad b. Our problem may be simplified by the examination of another aspect of the Isma'Ili doctrine of the Imamate. Isma'il. 14'5. the distinction between the Lnuim Mustauda' (acting or trustee Imam) and the Imam Mustaqarr (permanent or necessary Imam). or 'Ubaidallah al-Mahdi. 1 !\IS. or spiritual son of Muhammad b. Unfortunately for this. 78 tl .pose. It would thus seem that the succession described IS a spiritual one.l-attached to some. II. Yet certain difficulties present themselves in the acceptance of 1\1. fol Il8-II'l • Art Karrnatrans EI. Isma'Il by spiritual adoption.l"IS apphcd to some but not all of the hidden Imams in the Druzc list. • Polenncs. Cf De Soley. The phrase "Mm walad al-Qadddh" is added to those descended from Mairniin al-Qaddah to indicate their physical ancestry-a matter of secondary importance. and in fact no less an authority than Massignon accepts it. Massiunou'« theory. Maimiin is a histoncal character whose historicity is well authenticated by Shi'i and even Ismaili source". But it IS not yet certain that the rest of the Fatirrud caliphs were his physical descendants.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 49 Imams by spiritual appointment were recognised. E." Pnnce Marnour" abo accepts the statement of Ra~id ad-Din."-of the race of Qaddal. It is true that among those to whom It was applied is Sa'Id. Paris. and thus the physical ancestor of the whole line of Fatirnid Caliphs. with the remark "Min walad al-Qaddaft. making 'Abdallah b. 578.. the word "ibn" merely meaning pupil. Isma'il. Even if we admit that Ibn al-Qaddah could succeed Muhammad b. This would serve to explain the passage in the Druze bookswhere the list of hidden Imams between Isma'Il and 'Ubaidallah al-Mahdi is given. Maimiin the adoptive. namely. Such an interpretation would tally closely with the above-quoted passage from Ra~id ad-Din. the first Fatirnid Caliph.

p 292-3 . 20. Islam. But he is not endowed with the privilege of transmitting his Imamate to his descendants. authorised the dd'i at. Mustaqarr. This would explain also why the Druze list of hidden Imams is longer by several 1 P. may. the reputed author of the Rasd'il Ikhwdn as-Safd. and the QaddaJ:!ids in particular. is endowed with all the privileges of Imamate. Hamdaru. Some Unknown Authors. The ordinary Imam. is a son of the Imam. in several Isma'ili books' we read that the Imam Ahmad. It would perhaps not be rash to assume that adoptive sons of the Imams. as an experiment to decide whether or not to declare himself. in the Druze list. without exposing the Imam Mustaqarr to danger. and transmits them to his successors. Prof." would refer to these Imams "mustatada' . Thus. and to suffer martyrdom in that capacity." According to this. certain dd'is may assume the titles and functions of the Imam. Thus. those names which have the note "of the race of Qadda}:!. 75. only Sayyids. during periods of danger. mustawda'. Cf. Closely related with this is the doctrine of a kind of protective Imamate. The Rasasl. My remarks on this doctrine are based on oral cornmumcatrons from D. while the true Imam remains unknown and hidden. S. in order to direct operations and test the direction of public opinion. with whom the Imamate is placed as a "deposit" (wadi' a) is well-known among the pre-Isma'ili extremist sects. the oldest if there are several of them.Tirrrudhi to appear publicly as Imam. and so long as he discharges his duty he is the greatest of all people of his time. who can never become Imams. Tritton' has pointed out several cases of trustee-Imamate. 925 3 a learned Indian Isma'Il! • Hamdani.. 361 • MIScellany. who also knows all the mysteries of Imamate. at various times have fulfilled the functions of Imam mustawda' or "protective" Imam." The doctrine of a trustee-Imam. The Isma'Ili division between Mustauda' and Mustaqarr IS thus merely a systematisation of an already established principle." while the rest would be the Imams Mustaqarr. A.50 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM The Kalam i Pir says! "The 'personal' Imam.

concermng his entrusting the Imamate (at-Amr) to his son Isrna'Il. The official history of the foundation of the Fatirnid caliphs. Isma'Il) resumed his charge (u'adta). Abi'I-Haffaz al Hamclani.bijr. by their nature. He put him as a protection (satr) to the child. it should be remembered. It is upon other evidence that I base my suggestion. G •••dr. among modern works.! Sa'Id 'Ubaidallah. I am indebted to my friend Mr. A'zami for having called to my attention and allowed me to copy a passage of great interest and importance from a secret Isma'ili religious work.3 This passage is :--0 important that it is here reproduced in full: "This is what is related on the authority of Ja'far as-Sadiq. was the last Qaddahid. When he attained manhood he (Muhammad b. entrusting him to him until he should attain manhood. passing from father E g in the Dustier al·. For such an explanation there is no authority whatsoever in the Isma'ili historical works. 533/II3R).al1111zin.'il during the latter's childhood. M. For the Imamate did not revert back from him (as the Twelver Shi'a say).t Yet. all historical works. the last Imam of the period of danger. intended for general consumption. H. but the Imam Mustaqarr for whom he worked.liNu'man. and the concealment (Chaiba) of Isma'Il and his son Muhammad b. and. and on his death was succeeded by Abu'l-Qasim Muhammad al-Qa'im-not his son. etc 'Fyzee (LISt. nor does it ever revert back from anyone else. and make. Mahdt the first FEitlmld cahph • Ivanow. and do not reve-al the inner secrets of the sect. the" Ghavat al-M aicdlid'' by Sayyidna al-Khattab b. of Qa<.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 51 names than all other Isma'Ili lists. XXXIX 1 b . the' Uv"n al-Al0. al-Falak ad-Daunear and Riydd al-f indn.l'/!". the' Uyun al-Akhbdr of the da'f Idris. I~m5. or exoteric. all strongly maintain the 'Alid legitimacy of Sa'id himself. are zahir. and placed him in his care. P III mentions three Iudden Imams after Muhammad Isma'rl. Hasan (or Husain) b. The Imamate continued in his line. a Yemenite dfi'i (d. his lju))a who was With him. He (Isma'll) placed in charge of his son Maimun al-Qaddah.

the Ghayat al-M awalid is a twelfth century work. shocked by the clear admission of Mahdi's non'Alid origin. Africa. By admitting openly that Mahdi was not an 'Alid. the second Fatimid caliph. When he had got as far as Syria on his way. until it reached 'Ali b. and attempt to justify themselves by concocting false 'Alid pedigrees for Mahdi? Again.. 'Ali b. Africa. . it invalidates at a stroke all those arguments which attempt to prove the justice of Fatimid claims by finding an 'Alid pedigree for Mahdi. For when the light began to shine in the Yemen and in N.. If the Isma'Ilis really possessed so good a case. representing a late.. conventionalised stage of the da'tsa. MIght it not be the attempt of a historian. And when the transfer took place in Mahdiya. Husain b. the establishment of Fatimid authority in the west) was achieved. set out for N. he went into concealment. and appointed as delegate his ljujja Sa'id al-Khair. through whom the sunrise (i. known as al-Mahdi. "1 To this I may add that 11r. from among the rulers of N.e. the Waif of God on earth. and God saved his plan by his Wali. Then there happened to them that which happened to them at the hands of their enemy in Sijilmasa. Ahmad b. not the son of Mahdi. and making hrm an 'Ahd It must be admitted that there are strong arguments against the acceptance of this version. ami reduces the alternatives to two:the acceptance or rejection of its own version. He (Sa'Id) published the principles of the da'ioa. II. 'Ali al-Qa'irn bi amr Allah assumed it. the ward. and Muhammad b. It will readily be scm that the contents of this passage place the question of Fatimid legitimacy on an entirely new basis. to find another basis for Fatimid claims? I Text in Appendix. he (Sa'id) returned the charge (wadi' a) to its necessary holder imustaqarrs. Isrna'Il. Husain.'ILISM to son. A'zami tdb me that similar statements are to be found in other esoteric Isrnaili works in his possession. Africa. why did they conceal it.52 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA. Muhammad b. making Qa'im. some adding the statement that Sa'Id himself was a Qaddal)id. and the Imamate continued in his line .

dit qU'II y avait une chose deposec en lui ct que Hakim a reprise. Ie Mahdi nest point lui-mernrune incarnation de la Drvinite. fils d'Ahmad. mars seulement son fils el-Kaim.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 53 Strong as they may seem. but it seems clear that "une chose deposee" must be . De Sacyremarks: "Hamza." For Hakim we may read Qa'lm.id protective or trustee Imams. Note ~ (see also P 84). P 38. et qui se donna pour Mehdi et fut reconnu pour tel.' " . He says:" "II est bien digne de rernarque qu'Obeid-all. parlant du Mahdi qu'il nomme Sa'id. le merne que Said. l ntro. and whom he ordered to remain in the service of AI-Qa'im. et une glose interlineaire du manuscnt nous mstruit que cette chose c'est la digmte d'Irnam. For the first manifestation of our Lord on earth was under the name of Qa'lm. For here we find complete correspondence. these objections fall away when we compare our text with the Druze scriptures. More striking confirmation is to be found in the Risdlat Taqsim al-' Uliim:" Here speaking of Sa'id-Mahdi. The Druze scriptures give a list of seven Imams from Isma'Il to 'Abdallah. n'est point. dans Ie systeme des I.rh. 253 • Fol 119 Cf De Sac)" I." The difference in rank between Mahdi and his successor Qa'im did not escape the notice of De Sacy. father of Mahdi. wadi'a. Ie Mahdi rr'est lui-rnerne quAbou'f-Karm ou Huddjet al-Kaun "Ia preuve 1 du Kaim. 1. as the Druzes believed all the Imams to be identical. 8 I." The list would thus seem to include both the Imams Mustaqarrthe permanent.. U Blochet.e=and the Qaddal). 94 "Dans la theorie ismalhenne. 3~ A similar statement III another Druze epistle is quoted by th' Sac y . Re>-8I." I have not the Arabic text of this passage. Ie deuxterne Khahfe Fatmude . fondatcur de la puissance des Fatirrus. It was then that he appeared for the first time with royal dignity. the author says: "He is the one with whom our Lord Muill placed the charge (istawda'ahu'l-l£'adla). chef de la secte des Druzes. Some of these are described as being" of the race of Maimiin al-Qaddah. 'Alid Imarns.. qui fut Ie premier khalife de ccttc famille. The Druze scriptures make it clear that Mahdi himself belonged to the latter class.

Maxmun al-QaddaJ. 'Ali. Among the most prominent and important figures of the da'wa at this period are Maimun al-Qaddah and his son 'Abdallah. en supposant que Ie personnage nomrne Moill avait vecu en meme temps que Sa'Id. J e pense qu'on peut rendre raison de cela. The mysterious Mu'ill. mais etait mort avant la naissance de Kaim.. Maimiin and 'Abdallah b. We turn first to what may be termed the Sunni legend of Maimiin and 'Abdallah-the story of I Most of the matenal for this section had already been collected when Mul_iammad ID!an Qazvlni published the third volume of his j uvaint." Interpreting the Druze passage's In the light of our Isma'Ili source. alQa'im. Sa'id-Mahdi. throughout the period of concealment. Isma'Il and 'Abdallah b. sent out to prepare the ground and suffer dangers for the 'Alid Imam Muslaqarr. of Qaddahid race. We may now pass to a more detailed examination of some of the more important personalities of this troublous epoch. une des personnifications de la divinite. only one interpretation is possible. who succeeded him on his death. one' Alid M ustuqarr and one Qaddahid ~fustawda'. the notes 'Abdallah b Mairnun Due attention has been paid to this collectiou. Maimiin Qaddal). Cet honneur est reserve Ii son fils et son successeur. and several corrections made In my own. of which (p 312-343) contain a useful collection of material on .' The Sunni Legend. La divinite etant personnifiee dans Mu'ill. Husain mentioned in the "Ghayat. al-Qa'irn. is none other than the 'Ali b.. The following constitutes an attempt at the collection and classification of the chief information at our disposal." the physical father of Muhammad b. and ending With Said al-Khair and the first truly Fatimid Caliph. whose' inferior status i~ well attested by the Druzc sources.54 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM Druzes. starting with Muhammad b. on ne put pas supposer qu'elle eut reside en memo temps dans Said. was an Imam Mustamda' or trustee Imam. the predecessor of Qa'im in the Imamate. Kaim. There would thus seem to have been a double line of Imams. Regarding these two figures a mass of conflicting evidence is available.

and supported his claim" by conjuring tricks and by use of pigeons. Isma'Il. over the resources of which he would have control.1 the Itti'a? and the M uqaffa of Maqrizi.' and preached the cause of Muhammad b. JIII'ii." the last of which was complete atheism and libertmism. and he affected Shiism and religious learning. Externally. st but not ill Itl. in the writings of the earlier European orientalists.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 55 these two persons as it appears in most Sunni works. and was also extremely cunning. In Basra he was sought by soldiers. which enabled him to foretell events in distant land". I.. He was a follower of Abu'l-Khattab. however." B . where he remained in hiding till his death.'ii. and after them. where he took refuge with the descendants of 'Aqil b. and the encyclopaedia of N uwairi. Intro. A..H. • The last two statements are in Fib . 186. III.. 438 ff Also in Maqrlzl's Muqaffa Quatremere. He settled in 'Askar Mukram. De Sacy. 'Abdallah was possessed of great learning in all religions and theologies. II fl. Both he and his son 'Abdallah were Bardesanians." His son 'Abdallah was worse then he was. and Fagnan. He was a believer in extremist doctrines (ghtili) and the sect called Mairniiniya was named after him. He was. and was driven by the Shi'a and the Mu'tazila to Basra. preserved in the Fihrist. The earliest form of the Sunni traditional version is to be found in the work of Ibn Rizam (fourth century. says "claimed to be a descendant of 'AqU. Abi Talib. The following summary of Ibn Rizarn's version is collected from the relevant passages ill these works. a dualist.'a. He came originally from a place in Ahwaz called Qilraj al-tAbbas. Isma'il. "7. but not In Fikrvst • Thus Fihnsl. 39. in seven graduated stages.: 3 The seven stages are In l tti'iis. 1 Fthrist. Maimiin al-Qaddah was the son of one Daisan. and fled with Husain to Salamiya. He claimed to be a prophet. He tried to organise a community. He was accompanied to Basra by an associate called Husain Ahwazi. he pretended to preach on behalf of the Imam Muhammad b. He arranged a system of beliefs.). whence he was driven to Sabat Abi Niih. discovered to be an impostor. There he huilt two houses.

Not m ltts ' ii. The Fihrist.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM From Salamiya da'is were sent to 'Iraq. without stating its authority. The Itti'li? gives no chronological indication. 188 Cf. 15 • An 'Abbasrd governor • Fshrtst places the conversion of Qarrnat during the hfe of 'Abdallah. is the story according to Ibn Rizam. It will be seen that there ar« several minor differences between the two versions of Fihrist and lUi 'a. Maimiin should be put in the second or in the third century..' One of the chief supporters of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin his heir. It was his wish to be the instrument of this. and one major contradiction. Africa and claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad b. established himself as Mahdi in N. Therefore he aided and encouraged the Qaddatli da'toa. a Shu'ubi and a hater of Islam. . De Goeje. as. an astrologer. forms the basis for almost all later Sunni discussion of the subject.s Zaidan was a false philosopher. lttt·o. Such.. and. st. Isma'Il b. The Fihrist.' Shortly after 'Abdallah died. called Sa'Id. attached one of his sons to Qarmat as collaborator. Later Sunni writers differ as to whether the life and activities of 'Abdallah b. although it makes Maimiin a contemporary of Abii'l-Khattab (killed in 138/755). The story of Zaidan (sometimes called Dindan) is taken up and elaborated by later writers. he must have lived in the third century. a secretary of Ahmad b. Husain Zaidan of Karkh. and eventually one of them. Abi Dulaf. mentions his son 'Abdallah as living in 261/874-surely a highly improbable contingency. ]a'far.. of Kurdistan Ruled 265-2~O/878-893. 'Abd al-Aziz b. Maimiin was a Persian called Muhammad b. and made' Abdallah b. writing from Taliqan in 26I/874. briefly. according to the Fihrist. • P.h . adds the following detail. The da'WQ continued under the leadership of his descendants. The storv of Zaidan would seem to confirm the later date. puts it under his successor 2 Thus F. By the stars he prophesied the fall of the Arabs and the return of empire to the Persians and their faith. Among European scholars. with the account of Ibn Rizarn.. on the question of chronology. one of whom converted one Hamdan QarmaV 'Abdallah..

preserved in part in Nuwairi.THE HIDDEN IMAMs AND THEIR HELPERS 57 De Sacy! and De Goejel support the latter view. magic. 1. 21 • P. When their real tenets became known. I ntro . IS. went to Jerusalem. in his history of N. WIth several others. J A Aug. Daisan b. P 13'-14' Fagnan.? It is also quoted by Ibn al-Athir. and their sect prospered. De Sacy. We shall see later that there is now no doubt that Casanova and Massignon are right.! Maqrizi'' and Abu'l-Mahasin.tasin. Maimfin. alchemy. Among his followers was Muhammad b. will be found in Mamour's Polemics. 13 ff • Une Date Astronomique. whom he instructed in his doctrines and trained as his successor. Casanova" and Massignon' the former.\ . 'MhIlOlre. ')7 and 105.' The following is a brief summary. 440 • VIII. On the death of Dindan he went Expose." An English translation. although manuscripts of it are known to exist in Egypt and Syria. • Leiden MS. I. Abii'I-KhaHab and many companions were executed. 'NuJum. 77 fl. J . a native of Ram Hormuz in Ahwaz. Africa. Maimiin had a son called 'Abdallah al-Qaddah. organised Shi'i revolts in Karkh and Isfahan."lO in support of Materialism. There they practised witchcraft. with comparison of the different versions. a N.tiib al-Mizfm. with several disciples. EI. We may now examine some of the other Sunni sources. 45 ro K. astrology and conjuring. Husain Dindan. and affected great piety.alians. 11 Abu Sa'id IS not mentioned 10 this connection by Nuwairl or Abu'I> Mal. A very full account is given by the Amir 'Abd al-'Aziz b. ~ar".~6. Meanwhile Maimiin. however. Thus Athir and Xu]um Maqrtz! reads" Maldan"hippodrome. II. With them was a third called Abii Sa'Id. Maimiin b. Expose. 440 • !t1uqaffii Quatremere. It is. a wealthy Persian who aided him. I have not been able to consult the original text of this work. 1915 • Art. He was author of a book called "The Balance. 1 . African ruler of the seventh/twelfth century. Lntro .!' These three taught extremist doctrines.lban was an associate and collaborator of Abii'lKhattab. He advised him to affect Shi'ism. Shaddad. Sa'id Gha<. During the reign of the 'Abbasid Caliph Ma'miin (198-218/813-833) 'Abdallah b.

• V De Goeje. with Dindan. 16. Tr. II. 266. Schefer. Sa'id. Masse. Tr. jawbari! describes 'Abdallah as Ibn Maimiin b. and supported his claims by conjuring tricks. Daisan al-Qaddah as a freedman of ]a'far and a native of Ahwaz. p 277. 57. Abi Talib. and thus places him well in the second century." when all their secrets were published by them. says Jawbari. was a descendant of his. Daisan b. Abir'l-Ma'all" relates that the Batini sect was founded by three infidels. which is followed by Ibn al-Athir. He came from the Sawad of Ktria. 108. He claimed to be a prophet. 147v. See also JI1u!1hta~a" 170. who together elaborated a set of doctrines and organised a da'wa. 'Abdallah went to N.lbanas having been. • Fol. 36. Maimun or Just Marmun. There 'Abdallah and Dindan jointly formulated the Batini faith which they propagated after their release. apparently a confusion due to 'Abdallah's alleged 'Aqilid claims. during the reign of Ma'mtin. Tr. where he organised the da'wa. Sa'Id Gha<. It is not clear whether we are to read 'Abdallah b. Among his disciples was Dindan. . from whom sprang the Fatimid caliphs. makes Maimim a contemporary of Abu'l-KhaHab. the founder of the Carmathians and the originator of their doctrines. This version. 1 P. He says that this knowledge was revealed by the Carmathians during the period of rule of the mysterious Zakariya in Bahrain. the first Fatirnid caliph. 12<) fi. It adds one or two details to the biography of Maimiin.58 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM to Basra. 35. On his death he was succeeded by his descendants. He died in prison. and faked an 'Alid ancestry for him. 131. p. p. and was imprisoned by him. 'Uqail (or 'Aqil). They set up a son of Ibn Maimiin as Imam. and later of Muhammad b. • P. He appeared. where he claimed to be a descendant of 'Aqil b. Isrna'Il. Maimfin b. Africa. 158.. Ba!ilidadi1 mentions 'Abdallah b. Muslim b. • Ed Eghbal. whom he met in prison in 'Iraq. Mairniin b. one of them called Ibn Maimiin Qaddal). 'Abd al-j abbar" mentions 'Abdallah b.

affected piety. accompanied by his son Ahmad. He was really the son of Maimiin al-Qaddah. and practised magic and witchcraft. P 256 and 264 • Ansab. 157-8. Abl1'I-'AHi." the poet.ufran. Mairniin al-Qaddah al-Makki (!) as a traditionist. gives an Isma'Ili formula of oath. Isrna'Il. • fi. 'Abdallah found himself to be in danger. After appointing one Khalaf as his lieutenant. a native of Ahwaz. describes 'Abdallah b. al-Ma'arri. 443. • 183. and mentions the names of several people who narrated traditions on his authority. a freedman of Muhammad b. and as one of the most honoured disciples of Ja'far as-Sadiq. 353. and a freedman of J a'far. Dhahabi" mentions 'Abdallah b. He quotes various opinions as to the reliability of 'Abdallah as a relator of traditions. Maimiin al-Oaddah as a Bahili. 1 KA S. 1 Somogyi. 156 NIcholson. according to which the Isma'Ilis say: "(If what I say is untrue). The Siyasat-Nrime3 speaks of 'Abdallah b. 'Abdallah preached in Ql1histan of 'Iraq. 81.? in his manual for secretaries. p. Chapter 1. 269 • V. called 'Abdallah b. 'Amr or Ibn Daisan al-Qaddah alAhwazi. He organised the da'wa in all parts of the caliphate. 7 T'a'ri]. Isrna'Il and served both him and his father. and claimed to be a descendant of Muhammad b. 111 a curious passage. and quote many traditions on his authority previous to his apostasy. Despite this the Shi'a respect him as a traditionist. and fled to Basra. Isrna'Il. a conjurer and a liar. supra. Shihab ad-Din ibn al-Tlmari. 1902. Mairniin al-Qaddah. • I'lidaJ.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 59 Ibn Jawzi1 mentions a leader elected by the Batinis. who won over Mubarak. after visrting N. There he carried on secret propaganda until his death. Ahmad then left Basra. Sam'ani" says that 'Abdallah was with Muhammad b.!J.! and with him founded the sect and organised the da'iea. R SO. and. Later he apostasizcd. then I have denied the transfer of the Imamate from ja'Iar to Isma'Il. Africa. Abl1'I-'Ala then quotes some verses attributed to 'Abdallah. Tr . proclaiming his rejection of Ja'far. settled 111 Salamiya. On the death of Isma'il he claimed to be his son. II.

They add. I jahiin Kuma. He was succeeded by his son Ahmad.{. There he prospered.3 Jamal ad-Din of Aleppo.' after naming AbU'I-KhaHab as founder of the Batiniya. and Blochct. nothing to our knowledge. Ra§hid ad-Din. III. Slane.8 and others. 3. On the death of his father Maimfm. illustrious da'wa. but secretly professing the extremist tenets of the sect. Maimiin. 3-4 • &l{aJ. mentions Maimiin Qaddal) and his son 'Abdallah as being among the da'is-"both of them were accounted amongst the learned and the aristocracy of the sect. The text IS 1 Levi. The account of ]uvallli2 tallies almost exactly with that of Ra§hid ad-Din. and describing as their ancestor one "Daisan b." In 295/907-8. 67. are to be found in Ibn Khallikan. when' he settled in the quarter of the Banii 'Uqail (or 'Aqil). Thence he went to Persian Qiihistan and Ahwaz. . settled at 'Askar Mukram. pp.60 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM master of the rightly-guided. 5'7. Further references.' Maqrlzi! Suyuti. making an outward show of piety and asceticism. where I1\' remained until lus death. at a place called Sabat Abi Nul). but on being discovered fled to Basra. • TarililL aJ-&ula/a.. where he earned on his propaganda and sent da'Is to various places. 512. 522 Blochet. " Rashid ad-Din and ]uvaini both add a few details to the material derived from the above-mentioned authorities. Sa'Id. however. I have reviled al-Qaddah.A. \\'c have already noticed the passage in Rasl!id ad-Din accordmg to which Ja'far as-Sadiq sent Maimiin al-Qaddah With his grandson Mul). 'Abdallah. jurists and others." The manifesto makes no mention of Maimiin or his son 'Abdallah. 1930. 5'9. denouncing the falsehood of Fatirnid genealogical claims. 342. 'Abdallah went to Syria and settled ill Salamiya.. 67-6<}. • Wustenfeld. by a group of prominent 'Alids. and vilified the first da'i. along these lmes. . 77. Isma'Il.S. lyZ. from whom the sect of Daisanis received their name.ammad b. and the latter became the adoptive fatber of 'Abdallah b. . II. I.88g • I.{j. published in that city in 402/roII. 348. J R. It remains for us to note the famous manifesto of Ba~dad.

Basra and Salamiya were successively the headquarters from which Maimim and his son conducted the da'saa.' with slight variations. I. 22 J II. • IIII'Ii. indeed. This seems intrinsically unlikely.! Maqrizi. and the latter. then. Mairniin may have resided for a while in Jerusalem.ays. reject Baghdadi's mention of a voyage by 'Abdallah to N. 112-3 'III. While it is possible that at one stage in his career 'Abdallah may have been imprisoned. a" being due to obvious confusions. Such. It would thus seem fairly certain that the family originally came from Ahwaz. however. Translation III De Sacy. l ntro . 253 • Itti'iiI. 69 De Sacy. Most sources agree in describing Salamiya as the last resting-place of 'Abdallah. with certain additions and variations. as it is to be found In the Sunni sources. is the traditional story of Maimiin and 'Abdallah al-Qaddah. Some difference also exists on the question of the 'Aqilid connections of 'Abdallah.. Certain contradictions should be noticed. Sabat Abl Niih. The few divergences can be rejected out of hand. 14-17. we may confidently reject the latter statement in view of the mass of evidence to the contrary. Baghdadi and j awbari. Similarly the Siydsat Name's testimony to the death of 'Abdallah in Basra may be discounted.THE HIDDEN IMAMs AND THEIR HELPERS 61 preserved by Abfi'l-Fida. both observe that 'Abdallah was at one period imprisoned in 'Iraq. Africa-that of Abu Sufyan and alHalwani" in 145/763. 174.3 Abu'I-Mal:tasin. Africa. Iftltiih. part 2. It is possible that. 450 . According to the Fihrist version of Ibn Rizam and Ra~id ad-Din. and is contradicted by all other source". makes him die in prison. l ntro . which speak of only two expeditions to N. as Ibn Shaddad :. 'Abdallah took refuge with the Banu 'Uqail or 'Aqil. It will be seen that the story is substantially that of Ibn Rizam.8 and Juvaini. We may. Blochet. I. and that of Abu 'Abdallah ash-Shi'I. and that 'Askar Mukram. and as having the overwhelming weight of evidence against them. however. 31. The error is easily explained as a projection into the past of later events. According to the I III. unlike the others. 23.

· Jawbari simply refers to him as a descendant of one 'Uqail or 'Aqil-not 'Aqil b. Ba!fudadi and Nuwairi. Intro. We have already referred to the arguments of De Gocje.. 1935. A rather more serious contradiction exists between the mention of 'Abdallah by Dhahabi and Abu'I-'Ala as a respected Shi'ite traditionist. where he pretended to be a descendant of 'Aqil. According to Akhu Muhsin. Isrna'Il and Abu'I-KhaHab. While some of our sources speak of Maimiin and his son as contemporaries of ]a'far. Lntro. M. do both.. that claims to 'Aqilid descent were probably not made.62 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'XLISM Itti'~ version of Ibn Rizam. Ibn al-Athir. there is the conflict of chronologies.s he claimed to be a descendant of 'Aqil b.'iinj. and the statements of our other authorities to the effect that he and his family were notorious heretics. Some confusion has obviously crept in. I97. however. • For an account of 'A'IIl and his descendants see Ibn Qutaiba. 445 1 . others mention 'Abdallah as living in the latter part of the third century. We shall see from an examination of the Shi'I and Isma'ili sources that there can no longer be any doubt as to the correctness of the first thesis-namely. Abi Talib. we may conclude. Abii'l-'Ala al-Ma'arri also describes 'Abdallah as a Bahili. etc. and perhaps most Important. De Sacy. dualists. Abi Talib. I. brother of the Caliph 'Ali. The evidence here is in conflict. like the Fihrist and Ra~id ad-Din. Some. and it is difficult to reach a decision. In view.. among the clients of 'Aqil b. and that his father Maimun was the author of a book in support of materialism. with a woeful disregard of probability. Casanova and others. Abi Talib. Last. I.. Bardesanians. however. Cairo. preserved in Nuwairi. P 88. pending the appearance of further evidence. of the absence of any mention of 'Aqil in the Druze and Isma'Ili references to Maimiin available to us.' 'Abdallah took refuge in Basra with the Arab tribe of Bahila. We shall see later that the testimony of Abu'I-'Ala and Dhahabi is amply borne out by Shi'a sources. • De Sacy.

THE HIDDEN IMAMs AND THEIR HELPERS 63
that 'Abdallah and his father lived in the second century. Any reference to actions in the late third century must be, as Muhammad Khan Qazvini observes, in fact applied to the later descendants of Maimiin Qaddal). Twelver Shi'i Sources.

The importance of the Twelver Shi'a literature as a source of Isma'Ili history and particularly of the biography of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin was first pointed out by Massignon.l and it was partially utilised by Casanova." The first fairly complete survey of the material is to be found in the notes to the third volume of Juvaini of Muhammad Khan Qazvlni." References to 'Abdallah b.l\1aimiin al-Qaddah, as a traditionist, are to be found in almost all the biographical and bibliographical compendia of the Twelver Shi'a, They are unanimous in making him a contemporary and companion of ]a'far as-Sadiq. The following arc a few of the earliest of such references. Ka:;ili:;ilii'(fourth/tenth century) quotes a tradition on the authonty of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin al-Qaddah al-Makki.s according to which Muhammad al-Baqir said: "0 Ibn Maimim, how many are you in Mecca?" 'Abdallah answered: "We arc four." Muhammad said: "You are a light in the darkness of the world." This tradition is reproduced by Astarabadi" and Hilli,? the latter with the remark that it is not to be trusted, as it is a tradition related by someone in his own favour. NaJa:;iliiB (372-450/982-I058) mentions 'Abdallah b. Maimiin b. al-Aswad al-Oaddah, a mawla of Makhziim, who was an optician. His father was a rawl of Baqir and Ja'far as-Sadiq and he himself a rawi of ]a'far
Art Karman an-: EI . Esqut sse, etc , Une Date A,\tro1lom'que, J A, ""5 =ru. 313 ff. • 160 and 2:7, j uvamt, 315 Another tradrtion In Kashshi accuses 'Abdallah of "T'azayvud," a word the m~'mlOg uf wluch IS not dear The tradition IS Impugned by I_IIlIi • Cf. Dhahahl, supra, who also refers to ium as Jfakki • M.nha}, 212. '152 Juvami,3I6 • 148 j uvaint, 315 NaJa~!'s notes are quoted and confirmed by l;llili (A 'lam, 53, [uu , 312) and Astarabadl (M.nhaJ. 212).
1

THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM
as-Sadiq. He was a reliable authority, and wrote several books, two of which Najashl refers to by name, namely, the Mab'at..h.an-Nabi and the Kitab $ifat al-Janna wan-Nar.l Tiisi' (d. 460/1067) also mentions 'Abdallah as author and traditionist, and gives a list of persons who related traditions on his authority. ljilli8 (648-726/1250-1325) mentions him as a rawi of Ja'far, and observes that his father Maimiin was a rawi of Muhammad al-Baqir. lit:' cites one Ja'far b. Muhammad b. 'Abdallah as having been a rdiri of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin. Ibn Shahra~iib' (d. 588/II92) also refers to him as a companion of ja'far and an author. He describes him as "al-Makkt'-the Meccan. Among the many Shi'i divines who quote traditions on the authority of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin al-Qaddah we may mention Muhammad b. Ya'qiib Kulini (d. 329/940).6 From all this it is clear that many of the assertions of the Sunni sources are false. The following facts emerge as indisputable. (I) Maimiin and hIS son were contemporaries of j a'far, i.e. they lived in the second, not the third, century. (2) They were, at least during the beginning of their lives, known and respected Shii traditionists, and not Bardesanians, dualists, or anythmg of the kind. The Shi'i sources also seem to be in agreement in making Maimun or his son a Makki-a native or mhabitant of Mecca. This would seem to contradict the consensus of Sunni sources which describe them as being Ahwazi origin. Owing, however, to the looseness with which local designations arc used in Arabic, the two versions are not necessarily contradictory . It has been suggested" that the 'Abdallah b. Maimiin al-Qaddah mentioned in the Twelver works was throughout his life a devoted Twelver Shi'i, who had no connection with the Isma'Ilis. If there was an Isrna'Ili of that name, he was an entirely different person, but more probably. the
1

Cf Ivanow, Guide, p. 29'197. Juv, 316. •j uv. 316. 'rosr, 197 • 65. I Juv 319. For other £11'1 references see Juv, 341. • Mul)ammad ~an Qazvlnl m Juv. 310 fl.

THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS

65

Isrna'ili Qaddah was a fiction, invented either by the Isma'ilis themselves or by their detractors. The suggested motive is a desire on the part of the Isma'Ills to lend a certain air of respectability to their movement by associating with it the name of a known and esteemed companion of the Imams. In view, however, of the overwhelming confirmation from Isma'ili sources of the activities of Maimiin al-Qaddah as an Lsmd'ili, this view is no longer tenable. And, in fact, the mention of 'Abdallah b. Maimim as a Twelver traditionist is in no way incompatible with his subsequent going over to the Isrna'Ilis. As Abu'I-'AHi. tells, he is quoted by the Shi'a as an authority only on traditions related by him previous to his "apostasy." Even the notorious heretic Abu'lKhatFlb is admitted on these terms. (V. supra, Chapter I.) We may conclude our survey of Shi'I sources with a brief reference to the account of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin given by the unknown Twelver Shii author of the Tabsirat al'A'l£'amm.l According to him, 'Abdallah was an associate of both ]a'far as-Sadiq and Isma'Il, On the death of ]a'far, 'Abdallah abducted hIS grandson Muhammad b. Isrna'Il and went with him to Egypt. Muhammad died there, leaving a pregnant concubine. 'Abdallah killed her, and substituted a pregnant concubine of his own. She bore a son, whom 'Abdallah brought up in his own doctrines, and passed as the son of Muhammad b. Isrna'il, and therefore the Imam. This story may be discounted as another hostile misinterpretation of the true relations between the Qaddal)lds and their wards. It is interesting, however, as containing a ssn description of 'Abdallah b. Maimiin al-Qaddah, the Isma'Ili, Ismd'Ili References. Until a Luger amount of Isma'Ili literature becomes available, it is impossible to attempt any detailed discussion of the Isma'Ili sources for the life of Mairnim QaddaJ:r and his son-particularly in view of the fact that
I

P. 186.

Schefer, Christomathie,

I. 181

p. 63. We have already noticed the highly significant references to Maimiin al-Qaddal. It remains only to add a few details from other sources.e. The Kaldm i Pir and the Haft Bdb A bU I sl}dq3 both mention 'Abdallah b. Mannim took charge.1 'Abdallah is mentioned as a son of Maimiin. 84-5.time Mairmin came to be associated with the extremist wing of the Shi'a. Muhammad b.la'far. the period after the death of . At some. also called Ta'ldl1. who was brought up in the Batini faith. 68. I. Isma'Il was the seventh Ndtiq (speaking prophet) and Maimiin Qaddal.t as guardian and M ustawda' of Muhammad b. Guide. Tr 63. al-Falak ad-Dnunuar+ a modern Isma'Ili work. and is almost completely excluded from Isma'Ili historical works of a general character.1. t De Sacy.1 was the ancestor of Sa'id-Mahdi. Maimiin and hIS 50n were known and respected Shi'is." an early Isrna'Ili work. Maimiin Qaddal. Finally. We may now briefly recapitulate the story of Mairnim al-Qaddah and his son 'Abdallah as it emerges from our various sources. Note. After the death of Abii'l-Khattab. and himself played an important part in the elaboration of the doctrines of the sect and the organisation of its propaganda.66 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM their story would seem to belong to the esoteric tradition. i. mentions Maimiin as a companion of Baqir. The Dustur al-Mwnajjimirc. Ja'far. 206. According to the Druze writings. and became the guardian and tutor of Muhammad b. • De Goeje. • P. Kaliim. gives a brief account of 'Abdallah which is obviously based on Sunni sources. The Zahr al-Ma'ani4 describes 'Abdallah as a descendant of Salman Farisi-e-presurnably in a spiritual sense. of the entourage of Ja'far as-Sadiq. Isma'll. . Isma'Il contained in the Druze scriptures and in the Isma'Ili work Ghayat ai-M aiedlid. Maimim's own son. • Ivanow. 137-8. his Asds. and 'Abdallah as a companion of j a'far as-Sadiq. led by Abii'l-KhaHab and Isma'il b.! as a /jujja during the first period of Satr (conccalrnont}. Maimiin al-Qaddal. • Kaliim i Pir.

and later became the first "Fatimid" Caliph. of the family of Shala'la'. he married the widow of a Jewish smith. Malik. It is the attempt by several Sunni historians to attribute a Jewish origin to the Fatimid dynasty. This story is given by Ibn Shaddad. II." . who were thus of Jewish descent. Int. and formulated a set of doctrines really based on unbelief. was similarly educated." as Lacy O'Leary calls it. 3· • Bayan-Muf:h.rtb. in an abbreviated form. and succeeded him in the role of chief den of the Imam. (1) The earliest mention of this theory occurs in the tract of Muhammad b. Ja'far in that capacity. by al-j anadi. 452. 30<) ft. II. inherited the claims of Husain to the Imamate.H. and runs briefly as follows. of Salamiya. 27-11 Abil'l·F. we must continue to rely. The boy. 192 • Maqrlzl. I. 56. he was the true ancestor of the Fatimid caliphs. "The Jewish Legend. there is one other aspect which may conveniently be considered here. pending the appearance of more material.o. The death of 'Abdallah may be placed at the beginning of the third century A.! (3) The grandfather of Sa'id was the son of a slave-girl of Ja'far as-Sadiq by a Jewish lover. Beitrage. (Fagnan. I. Fall1md Caliphate.i'Abd al-j abbar al-Basri. 158. Before leaving this subject.t According to Muhammad b.da. 115. I. 33-4 See also Becker. one of the descendants of Qaddal. . Tr.l. Maimiin was a Jew.) De Sacy.! appears in four forms. A1:l>lf." and is copied thence. '7 II 3 Kay. He was a rabbi. (2) The second version is to be found in numerous works. Finally. VIII..THE HIDDEN IMAMs AND THEIR HELPERS 67 •Abdallah. was staying in Salarniya. Quatrcrnere. and served Isrnail b. Malik.' and is also referred to the QaQ. He was a goldsmith. 140. on the version of Ibn Rizam. and was learned in philosophy and religion. He feigned Shi'ism in order to disrupt Islam from within.i!il!. 5-8 • P. 'Abdallah b. For the details of their activities and movements. When Husain. Sa'Id. • NUJum. and adopted her son by her first (Jewish) husband. Ta'. The Jewish Legend. 44 and 86 SuyiltI.

Already in N. To quote Ibn Malik's own words: "The proof that they are of Jewish descent is their employment of Jews in the vizieratc and in governorships. They continue to place Jews in authonty over the lives and property of the Muslims. the first to attribute a Jewish ancestry to the Fatimids. 88 • P. The details were unimportant. Guide. supporting him in his claims and activities. Quatremere. the vizier of Mu'izz and 'Azlz. Africa a group of Jews gathered around Mu'izz. Sadaqa Fallahi and others during the long reign of Mustansir is well-known. but is purely an attempt to discredit the dynasty. whom he proclaimed as Caliph. . H) • An Isrna'Ill fnend of mine claims to have in his possession several works by 'Abdan. 1. 204 B FIschel. lived during the reign of Mustansir. Jews. "5 Concerning the persons and activities of the various dd'is attached to the Isma'Ili mission.t Goldzihers has already pointed out a general tendency of Muslim genealogists to attribute a Jewish ancestry to those whom for some reason they disliked. The names of 'Abdan. 77. The essential thing was to show that the Fatimids were Jewish. when Jewish influence was at its height. p 31. This attitude is easier to understand in view of the unusual position of prominence attained by the Jews under the Fatimid Caliphate. In the present case. Tr II. but the slave IS not referred to as j ewish. «tu«.s Hamdan Qarmat and Ahmad 1 Maqrizi. the brothers Ibn Sahl of Tustar. and their delegation of the administration of affairs to Jews. The wave of anti-Jewish feeling generated by these persons expressed itself in a number of ways. where the same story IS told. and produced in his place a Jewish slave. J. In order not to destroy all his own work. Killis. This is well-known concerning them and all bear witness to it. 51. the variety of forms the accusation takes makes it quite clear that the suggestion has no real historical ground.68 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM (4) Sa'ld was killed in prison in Sijilrnasa. • Muh Studlen. very little is known. 108 Cf Ibn hl!alhkan. On 'Abdan in the Isma'Ill tradition see Ivanow. the missionary Abu 'Abdallah concealed this fact." The work of Jews like Ya'qiib b.' and it is no accident that Ibn Malik. 342.

Tr 108 l\1u]illtasdr. Husain. among the da'is regarding whom much uncertainty exists. BaghdadI. which were spent in the furtherance of the da'wa. 30 (Masse. however. 'Abd al-'Aziz b. Several sources gIve also the name of Dindan's grandfather. and in view of the important role assigned to him by many Sunni sources. and there together formulated the Batini faith.s was a wealthy person living In the neighbourhood of Karaj'' and Isfahan. F. Their account of him is briefly as follows. Dindan and 'Abdallah met III prison in 'Iraq. I." Muhammad b. 1. Sometimes Zaidan. Bandar. Intro. which they promulgated on their release. Dindan In dealing with 'Abdallah b. where he converted many of the Kurds. Dindan worked in the district of AI-Jabal. According to Ba!ilidfldi. 170 Abu'J-Ma'ali. Hayyan-Najjar (Nuwairi-c-De Sacy. Dindan made 'Abdallah his heir. There is one. 'Abdallah b. IHv. Maimim heard of him. movement. and to take as original ~ahar 1 Fshrist. Abi Dulaf (d. \. Dhalgnan. (!Uatrenll're. He was a secretary of Ahmad b. The names given are Jihan-Bakhtar (Maqi izi}. and a hater of the Arabs.111 Maqrtzr.58) 'Abd al-j abbar. gave him two million dinars. however. and there is nothing of importance to add to the studies of De Goeje and Massignon concerning these. thoroughly approving of 'Abdallah's aims and methods. with the note "Ia maniere de lire ces deux derniers mots est fort incertamc"). 20(). I I!!!!.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 69 a1~Kayyal at once come to mind. Dindan. 280/893). • Some texts read Karl!!:! • Fihrist only. which assumed a strongly anti-Arab character. . Schefer. with considerable variations. 132 De Sacy. and won him over to hi-. Maimiin we have already noticed some of the chief Sunni notices on Dindan. A!blr.' He was a Persian. 57. 442. a Shu'ubi. surnamed Dindan. It would not perhaps be too hazardous a suggestion to regard these names as corruptions of an unfamiliar Persian name by Arabic authors. it may not be out of place to consider him briefly here. Jahar-Bakhtan ('Abd al-Jabbar). has appeared by way of new material. Ed. EghbaJ. Very little.

Chahar Lakhtan was the wealthy man who financed the sect. an extremist heretic.! In view of this Twelver Shi'i testimony. and his authority as a traditionist was impugn-d. the more extravagant Sunni statements concerning Dmdan must be discarded. we have at our disposal a number of references to Dindan in Twelver Shi'I sources. He related traditions on the authority of his father's masters. and died about the middle of the third century. Husain. . 'Abd al-'Aziz (d. Sa'Id b.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM Lal!. 220/835) and 'Ali Hadi (d. 34 and 113. among them K. He wrote several books.nluij. These statements. He was regarded as a fh_dli. 280/893). 254/868). 3. where he died. 202/817). with Dindan and 'Abdallah b. not an associate of 'Abdallah. The version of Abii'l-Ma'ali. Muhammad jawad (d. which clear up some of these difficulties. 1 Tus!. 10 and 35 Il!!ari' a. 281. K. It is curious that no mention of his name or of any of his books should have been preserved by the Isma'Ilis. Maimiin. • Esquisse. entail a certain contradiction. and finally moved to Qumm. Hamrnad b. a follower. it will be seen. settled for a while in Ahwaz. founded the Batini sect.! Dindan. Said b. He was thus. and K. to give him his full name. K. was a mawlti of 'Ali b. Maimiin. Mihran. M. He died and was buried in Qumm. 5hahra~ub. Abu ]a'far Ahmad b. Fortunately. al-A nbiyd. and an Ahwazi. as also the attempt to make him a contemporary of 'Abdallah b. HIS father Husain was a reliable authority who related traditions of 'Ali Rida (d. al-Mathalib. He was the author of thirty books on religious subjects. According to the Shi'I works. • List 10 Tiisi.btan. Maimiin. al-M!tkhta~ar [i-d-da'sodi. or. 26 and 104. 104-5. If Dindan was secretary to Ahmad b. Husain b. which makes Dindan and Chahar Lakhtan contemporary. According to Abfi'l-Ma'al]. where Ahmad was born. adds to the confusion. he could not have been an associate of 'Abdallah b. He was originally from Kiifa. al-Ihtijd]. mentioned by Abii'}-Ma'ali as one who. as Massignon+ observes.

Nuwairi refers to Zikrawaih as Dindani-s-implying descent from Dindan. Muharnmadabad at Rayy is called after him. Ra.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS 71 Two other points may be noticed briefly. I De Goeje.. to the village of (?) Samala.tells us that on the death of Ismail. Thr-v l'~tahli"hE'd themselves in Khurasfin and the frontier region of Qandahar. 5Ib and 522. mentioning that Muhammad found a refuge 111 India. "Muhammad k-It for 'Iraq and alighted at Rayy.. and even the Isrna'ilis and those outside the Isma'Ili camp who accept the legitimacy of the Fatimids do not seem to agree among themselves. Isma'Il has been dealt with in the earlier pages of this chapter. as related by the GJuiyat aLl! auuilid . He had several sons in concealme-nt. Further. and naming his sons. Some of the material concerning Muhammad b. Maimfm. Thence he went to Dcmavand. in Sind-territory. Ismail and Sa'Id Mahdi has long been one of the knottiest problems of Islamic history. and it is not my purpose here to enter into a detailed examination of the various genealogies offered.. The question has been carefully discussed by several of the classical historians and by De Goeje and Blochet among the moderns. who is identified by De Sacy with Dindan. We have already noticed the guardianship of Maimiin and the adoption by Muhammad of 'Abdallah b. Innumerable versions have been given by different Sunni writers. " The Dustiir al-M unajjimtns partly corroborates this. most of our sources. include among the ancestors of the famous Yemenite da'i Ibn Hawshab one Zadan or Dadan. The Hidden Imams We may now turn to consider the hidden Imams themselves. l03 F . Vcry little can be added to it from other sources.illid ad-Din. The line of Imams between Muhammad b. What little is known of Isma'Il has already been discussed in the previous chapter. 1 Levi. both Sunni and Isrna'Ili. whence their propagandists attacked the cities and persuaded mC'nto their cause .

It is submitted that the confusion that has arisen in both pro. which were considered at the beginning of this chapter. I.72 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'YLISM It does seem. Mustaqarr. 85. Mustaqarr.lid. and the lists illustrated by them. M ustawda'. .lid.il!iJyal.and anti-Fatirnid works is due to the intermingling of these two. Maimiin 'Abdallah Muhammad Husain I I I I I I I I I Ahmad Sa'ida With these two lists it is possible to understand 1 f. Mustawda'. In the light of these doctrines. Muhammad b. I the list De Sacy.lammad (AI-Qa'im)l (2) Qaddal. Isrna'Il Ahmad Husain 'Ali (Mu'ill) Mul. however. we can construct the following two lines. by physical as well as spiritual filiation. that the key to the problem may be found in the doctrines of spiritual fatherhood and trustee Imamate. it is possible to discern not one but two lines of hidden Imams-one 'Alid. From the Druze books and the Ghayat. (1) 'Alid. one Qaddal. by spiritual filiation only.

The truth was apparently known to the author of the Dustur al-Munajjim'in. They are thus the ancestors. 1415. It would seem to be fairly certain that Mesopotamian movement of 289-294/901-906. Isrna'Il. 203-4." De Sacy rmsunderstood the meamng of this statement.8 who speaks of only three hidden Imams. 578 • "Les ancetres de Sa'Id sont uommes les I. . after Muhammad b. through 'Ali al-Mu'ill. • De Goeje.l which are as follows: (1) Isma'Il (2) Muhammad 73 Taqsim (3) (4) (5) (6) Ahmad 'Abdallah Muhammad Husain (Iather (7) Ahmad of Sa'Id) All except the first three are described as being "of the race of Maimiin al-Qaddah. of the Fatirnid caliphs. and are associated by Isma'Ili tradition with the Ahmad.hall(es en qUI reposait le depot. Afnca been fully discussed by De Goeje and others. Radi. fol 117 ff De Sac}" II. and thus gave rise to the infinite variety of genealogies. namely. The fact that the two lines were spiritually related caused later writers to confuse and mIX them. Husain and 'Ali of our hst.THE HIDDEN IMAMS AND THEIR HELPERS of seven "skies" contained in the Druze epistle al-'Ulilm. (1) The Syro-Mesopotamian Movement.1 The first three are 'Alid Mustaqarr. These three words arc not names but honorific titles. The Da'ioa The progress of the da'sra and the military exploits of its adherents in the different lands of the Caliphate are fairly well known to us. and have with the exception of that in Yemen and N. Wafi and Taqi. It remains merely to add one or two brief remarks with reference to the connections between the various regional movements and the central organisation. and are thus Imams Mustawda'. the Syroand the 1 MS.

Zikrawaih and his sons Weft" eithe-r t hc-msc-Ive-. remarks that Zikrawaih and his sons claimed to be descendants of Muhammad b. fill the earth with justice and equity and destroy hi-.blt He also rnentions (221<1 and z~. \\'c may thus accept the statement of Ibn Rizam and those who follow hun. The Isma'Ili character of this text is unmistakcable. Harndam In DeT Islam. were part of the main Isma'Ili da'wa. and a wealth of sources. the awaited one. Africa-a claim which can only refer to the Fatimid da'wa in that country.' although not realising the implications of his statement. more probably. The history of the da'ina in Yemen and N.t gives the Khulba read in Hims during its occupation by Yahya a§h-Shaikh in 290. in an interesting passage. Owing to its auspicious outcome. the Mahdi. XX. 0 God.'i7) that the Synan called themselves F5.' '. p. 221H '2218 Confirmed . guide us with the Caliph. • Cf. it is provided with a far fuller documentation than any other. Tabarl. the Master of the Time. 292-3 (above. the heir. Zaidi and Isma'lli.74 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'YLISM years of preparation that preceded it. enemies. Qaddrl~lids. the example of the dii'i TIrUllillll. Carmathians I P. In view of the fact that the hidden Imams were known to be resident in Salamiya during this period. the Commander of the Faithful. under the aegis and in the interests of the hidden Imams.timIs • Text In Appenrhx III. or. 50). "0 God. it is extremely improbable that any such movement should have taken place without their CUll 1lI vance. • Tabart. Sunni. the Mahdi. Africa IS yet to be written. 0 God. and to the long survival of the Isma'Ili sect in Yemen. Thabit. destroy his enemies. awaits its by Ih5. Zikrawaih'' as claiming to have followers in N. were persons authorised by the Imams to pass themselves as Imams in order to test the ground and remove the prelimmary difficulties+ (2) The Y'emenite and AI agh_rabi Movement. 14. It is here reproduced in full. and advanced themselves as Mahdis and Imams. that the da'fs were first sent to 'Irfiq and Svria by the Qaddal:llds. He quotes Yahya b. Isma'Il.

and a wealth of details and legends illustrate their historic interview with the Imam and their subsequent activities in the land to which they were sent. Guide. I hope to return on some later occasion. 40)' of which I am prepannl( an edmon . 'Ali b. in close contact with the Imams themselves. p. and did not at any stage diverge from the main Isma'Ili sect. from beginning to end. The da'wa in Bahrain requires a separate chapter. and to the mission that went from Yemen to N. is fully described in the Isma'Ili sources.THE HIDDEN IMAMs AND THEIR HELPERS 7S historian. by the Imam himself. 1 The chief Isma'Ill -ource IS the Ifll/lih ad-Da'iua of QadI Nu'maa (Ivanow.' To this. Fadl and Ibn Hawshab. For the present we may confine ourselves to the observation that the da'wa in Yemen was. The despatch of the two Da'is. Africa.

For none of the early historians of the Carmathians. The modern Ism5. a distinct local tradition and history. two of the leading figures of the main Isrna'Ili da'ioa. Our purpose here is to investigate the problem of their relationship with the central Ismii'Ili Fatimid da'wa. and 15. It is their connection with the Carmathians of Bahrain which remains to be proved. on the contrary. mention their names at alP The problem must then be restated in new terms. They had separate leaders of their own. and. however. Thabit and others. M". and there is little we can add to the studies of De Goeje on the subject. already seen that Maimiin al-Qaddah and his son are. in denying the identity of the two. 7(' . as represented by Tabarl. I. to constitute a separate movement. according to the accounts of most of our sources. the identity of the two movements followed. '5 • See Tabart. Massignon and 1 Ivanow. etc.. passsm. Ivanows has accepted this position. Harnza. as do De Goeje.Chapter III THE CARMA THIANS OF BAJ:IRAIN THE Carmathians of Bahrain seem. Maimiin and his father Maimiin al-Qaddah were associated with the Carmathians. Miskawaih. It is not for us to consider. and it was assumed that once the connection between these men and Ismailism was proved.·udl . and. Contemporary Muslim historiography. Guide.'ili tradition strongly denies any contact between Isma'Ilis and Carmathians.. note I I Guide. besides Ibn Rizam. note I. rejects any connection between the Qaddal_1id family and the Isrna'Ilis. Ibn Rizam and those who follow him assert the complete identity of the two movements.. Thabit. takes up no definite stand on the subject. Artb. in later times. We have.! For a long time the names of 'Abdallah b. The external history of this group is fairly well known. 'Arib. peculiar local forms of organisation. differing in several important aspects from other sections of the Isma'Ili da'wa.

How did the da'wa in Bahrain begin-who were its creators-what were its original tenets? Here we are confronted with several conflicting accounts. p. I. al-Mahdi. 214. Reproduced by At_hir. the brother-in-law and close collaborator of Hamdan Qarmat. which was used by De Goeje. Intro .» Abu Sa'ld was sent to Bahrain as dd'i. The obvious starting-point for such an investigation is the question of Carmathian origins. whether or not Maimun al-Qaddah the Carmathian had anything to do with Isma'ilism. To the above. (3) Ibn Rizdm. a resident of Bahrain. 210. Sinan» The first dd'i in Bahrain was one Yahya b. 340 ff . mentioning Abu Zakariya at-Tamami as one of the pioneers of the da'tra in Bahrain. and New Edition. who had been sent by 'Abdan. who preached on behalf of "the Imam. The following are the chief versions. was sent to Bahrain as dti'i by Hamdan Qarmat. and thence utihsed by Sacy. Maimim al-Qaddah was one of the founders of Isma'ilism. Intro . we may add the reference in the new edition. The movement was the same as that of Zikrawaih in 'Iraq. (2) Thdbit b.• and De Goeje. L." Abu Sa'Id. but was preceded there by one Abu Zakariya as-Samami (or at-Tamami). . 1 P. He was thus the creator of the movement there. Zikrawaih himself having been appointed by 'Abdan. It is for us to consider whether or not the Carmathians had any connection with the Isma'Ili movement of which Maimiin al-Qaddah was a pioneer. 27 • MS. 6 If. Abu Sa'id had his predecessor murdered.THE CARMATHIANS OF BAHRAIN 77 Ivanow. (r) Ibn Hatnqai? Abu Sa'Id. 34 8 Sacy.• 2II fl. Origins. was one of his converts. VII. after some experience elsewhere.

the manuscript of Thabit. thus rejecting his successors. Among his converts was Abu Sa'id. taking charge himself. They differed from the main Isma'ili group in that they regarded Muhammad b. IX. See Chapter I. whose full name was presumably Abu Zakariya Yahya b. and immortal. Isrna'Il as Mahdi and Qa'im. so named after the founder of their sect. Abu Sa'id and an associate. Muhammad b. with its reference. 'Ali. were an offshoot of the Mubarakiya. 'Ali (the da'i?) were expelled. al-Mahdi at-Tamami (or Samami). (2) This person was a contemporary and probably a predecessor of Abu Sa'Id.1 A da'i (unnamed) was sent to Bahrain on behalf of the Imam. 129-136 . and by Thlibit as "The lsflihanl. Among the associates of Abu Sa'Id were Hamdan and' Abdan. al-Mahdi. which brings Ibn al-Athir's version back to the fourth/tenth century. and probably Yahya b. one Yahya b.Tamami. and were thus dissident Isma'Ilis. returned in triumph. 175. he said. He claimed to represent the Imam-Mahdi who. 'Abdallah b. reject De Goeje's reasoning. • Mentioned separately by 'Abd al-j abbar as Zakarlya al-Isflihanl al-Majiisl. He was not the same person as Zakariya the Persian' who appeared in Bahrain during the l 144 recto If ' 51 If do In Majlisr.'· See De Goeje. and make the following assertions. (5) Nawbakhti. but having gathered considerable forces. to Abu Zakariya at. With him in Bahrain was the dti'i Yahya at-Tamami. a resident of Bahrain.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA. missing in the first. (1) Yahya b. are all one and the same person. I think. whom eventually he had murdered. Abu Zakariya as-Sarnami (or Tamami). The Imam was Muhammad b. the hidden Imams.2 The Carmathians. al-Hanafiya.'ILISM (4) 'Abd al-Jabbar. In view of the new material that has appeared since the publication of De Goeje's monograph-the new edition of Ibn Hawqal. would appear in 300/912. Yahya at-Tamarni. and the new testimony of 'Abd al-jabbar=-we may.

is impossible to say. No details at all are given. 131.THE CARMATHIANS OF BAHRAIN 79 rule of Abu Tahir. Expo. Translated by De Sacy. • Fo!. For this last omission. al-Hanafiya. and the proclamation of a Hanafi Imam. Of far greater interest and importance is the problem raised by 'Abd al-j abbar's assertion that the Imam for whom the first Carmathians in Bahrain fought was of the Hanafi line. Against this we have the testimony of Nawbakhti. including an invocation of Muhammad b. 3 II • 2128-2129 • 4-6." I.' and others. in view of the conflict of evidence. 15. of QaQ. It is significant that the Carmathians of Bahrain did not at any time throw up 'Alid or Isrna'Ili pretenders. and thus a dissenting Isma'Ili group. nor have they the place in Isma'Ili historiography that one would expect from so important a group. The IjtilliJ}. Whether the Carmathians of Bahrain were of Isma'Ili or 1 La Doctrine Sec~ete. Further evidence in support of this is to be found in the Carmathian book quoted by Tabari.. 178. The Isma'Ili sources offer very little assistance. 47· . the book can only refer to the Bahrain da'toa.hypothesis that the Carmathian sect was originally Hanafi. as we shall see later. there may be other reasons. The confusion of the two is due to later historians. an author who is extremely well-informed on Shi'I sects. and was later converted en bloc to Isma'llism. • VII. as did for example those of Syria. In view of the Isma'Ili claims which Tabari himself attributes to the Syro-Mesopotamian Carrnathians. or was converted there. Quatremere. which expounds doctrines of a markedly Hanafl character. 3IIff.3 Ibn aI-Afuir. Whether Abu Sa'id was sent to Bahrain from outside. The question must be left open pending the appearance of further sources." Thabit. to the effect that the Carmathians were a direct offshoot of the Mubarakiya. This passage forms a striking confirmation of Casanova's. and Fagnan. Quoted by Maqrlzi.i Nu'rnan" makes the simple statement that Mansur al-Yaman sent da'Is from San'a to Bahrain. however. Here again the conflict of evidence poses a problem to which it is difficult to find a definite solution. l ntro.

43. 44· . J8J-2. of Carmathians and Fatimids is the Sabian Thabit b. then secretary 1 P. Muhammad b." This story is reproduced almost verbatim by Ibn alAthir. distinct from the main Isma'Ili da'wa. Our earliest source supporting the identification. For Thabit shows no hostility to the Fatimids. Our Imam is the Mahdi Muhammad b. or of attempting to discredit the Fatimids by associating them with disreputable heretics such as the Carmathians. There are strong grounds for believing that at some date. Sinan. 'Isa of a Baghdadi accused of being in treasonable correspondence with the Carmathian Abu Tahir." It would seem that Miskawaih used a source other than Thabit. Thabit can scarcely be accused of prejudice. It may also be mentioned in passing that this double conversion would serve to explain the vagueness of our sources as to the origins of the da'tua. God must have a Jfujja in this world. Carmathians and Fdtimids. and therefore more convincing. and said: "You and your master (the Caliph) are unbelievers. On being questioned. probably about the beginning of the fourth/tenth century.80 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM l. Isma'll b. etc. the Carmathians were won over en masse to the Fatimid cause. Ja'far as-Sadiq. or at least the collaboration. to whom he refers invariably as Al-'Alawf al-Fdiimi. nor does he assert in general terms the identity of the two groups. • VIII. who is in N. • P. Africa. I. J27. In his account of the events of the year 315/927. The first passage! is one where Thabit reports the crossexamination by the vizier 'Ali b. unite in regarding them as a separate group. He does not question the legitimacy of 'Ubaidallah. the man asserted that he believed in the rightness of Abu Tahir and his sect. We may now examine briefly the evidence in support of this statement. Both our versions. Thabit+ mentions the accusation made by Ibn Khalaf.Ianafi origin must for a while remain uncertain.2 and with some variations by Miskawaih. Fulan b. His testimony is indirect. • Eclipse. however. You take what is not yours. (1) Identity. Fulan b.

I. against his master. l ntro. Thabit" gives a brief account of the Carmathian attack on Mecca and the capture of the Black Stone. The fonn of the accusation is interesting: "He is a Carmathian." Later Ibn Abi-s-Saj is quoted as saying: "Abu Tahir has received a letter from the sovereign at Qairawan forbidding him to tread the soil whereon I am to be found. and saying. you have brought on our dynasty. and which the passing of days will not erase . our sect (Shi'a) and our dd'Ls the name of unbelief and Zandaqa and heresy by your shameful deeds. It was returned. 158 De Sacy. the "Expected Sovereign" being the 'Alid who was in Qairawan. 48. He (Ibn Khalaf) had ascertained that his chief was a Carmathian at heart.THE CARMATHIANS OF BAHRAIN 81 of Ibn Abi-s-Saj. of whom Abu Tahir the Carmathian was an adherent.Ubaidallah) his friend and acquainted him with all his secrets. Under the year 363-and here he is describing events as they occur=-Thabits tells of the Carmathian attack on Egypt. I. Pans. charging him with being a Carmathian. advancing his various claims and 1 VIII. "He (Ibn Abi-s-Saj) had revealed to him that according to his system he owed Muqtadir no allegiance. 3 P. believing in the Imamate of the 'Alid in Ifriqiya. • P 52 .. • VIII." the latter being rather more detailed."-an obvious reference to 'Ubaidallah. albeit many years later. • Ecli-pse.. 7. This incident is mentioned by both Ibn al-Athir1 and Miskawaih. 'You have marked down for us a black spot in history. 167-8 • Nuwam MS . he wrote to Abu Tahir reproaching him for his actions. which you will not erase.'" The letter concludes by ordering Abu Tahir to return the stone. fol 78. and the world in general owed the 'Abbasids none. This letter is also quoted by Ibn Rizams and Ibn al-Athir.6 the latter reproducing Thabit's text almost verbatim.8v.. and that this was the reason why he had made the 'Alid prince (. 220. and the letter sent by the Fatirnid Caliph Mu'izz to the Carmathian leader. 129. "When this reached the Mahdi Abu (!) 'Ubaidallah al-'Alawi al-Fatirni in Ifriqiya." Under the year 317.

THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM reminding the Carmathians that their da'wa was for him and that all their struggles had been for him and his predecessors. The full text of this letter is preserved by Akhii Muhsin, in Maqrizi! and Nuwairi.t It is a characteristically Isma'ill document, and, in view of the contemporary evidence of Thabit, there is no longer any reason for doubting its authenticity. Far more striking evidence of the association of Carmathians and Fatimids is to be found in two Druze epistles quoted by De Sacy." The first of these, as-Sira al-Mustaqima bisha'n alQara1lli!a,' is by Hamza himself, and dates from the year 409/1018. After describing the establishment of the da'wa in Hajar (Bahrain) by one Shatnil b. Danil (the Druze Adam), the author says: "The inhabitants of Lahsa often went to Sirna (=Hajar) to buy and sell. There came there one of the learned men of Lahsa, called Sarsar. One of the dti'is converted him, took his oath immediately, and led him to Adam, who is Shatnil. Adam appointed him dti'i of Lahsa and its surroundings. The man left at once for Lahsa and its territory. There he received the oaths of many people and recommended them to attach themselves firmly to the doctrine of the unity of our Lord and to his cult, to recognise ShatniI and his Imamate, and to renounce Iblis and his adherents. He also said to them: 'When you enter Hajar, frown and look angrily- at the people there, for there is in that town a man called I:Iarith b. Tirrnah, of Isfahan, who has many adherents. They are all rebels against our omniscient Lord, and they do not recognise the pre-eminence of the Imam. Do not speak to any of the inhabitants of the Knowledge (of the da'wa), except those who are with you in the presence of the wise Shatnil.' They obeyed the orders of the dti'i Sarsar, and assumed, as he had told them, a hostile and grave manner. For that reason they were
I
J

2

'Itti'az, 133 • De Sacy, I, Intro , 227 3 Ibsd., 240. • MS., Pans. 1408, fol 74 fl. Muqtabas, 1910. V, 304-6. De Sacy, II. fl. • Waqaymitu anfakum.

THE CARMATHIANS

OF BAHRAIN

83

called Carmathians.' a name which they still retain. This name became usual in Persia and Khurasan; when they recognise a man as a Unitarian," they say: 'He is a Carmathian,' and thus they gave the name 'Carmathian' to the Isma'Ili sect. Abu Tahir, Abu Sa'ld and several others were praiseworthy da'is of our Lord. They served him, recognised his unity, adored his majesty and his greatness, and professed to believe that he had nothing in common with his creatures. The Lord gave them the title of sayyid. They did what no other dfi'is have done for the propagation of the unitarian faith, and they killed more polytheists than any other da't ; but our Lord did not permit his manifestation to be established through them on account of the opposition which he knew would arise among them, and because he knew that the doctrme of unity would be lost, that errors would arise, the children of 'Abbas would follow their passions, and they would fall into error and pitfalls. "But the time of manifestation is near, the moment of the sword, the upheaval, the massacre of the impious and their forcible annihilation. is approaching rapidly. There is no doubt that the inhabitants, of Lahsa, Hajar and Persia will return to the knowledge of the unity of our Lord and his cult, as in the past, that they will adore the Lord, his majesty and his greatness, that they will profess that he has nothing in common with his creatures, and that they will become defenders of the unitarian doctrine, as were once their ancestors. I shall sl:nd among them preachers of the doctrine of unity, I shall reassemble the scattered remnants of friends and servants, and, by the sword of our Lord, I shall triumph over evpry rebel. ... " The intention expressed in these last lines was apparently fulfilled, for we have also an epistle of Muqtana', written in 430/1058, and addressed to the sayyids of Bahrain, summoning them to return to their allegiance to the unitarian religion and the Imam. Muqtana'8 addresses the sayyids in a tone of great
1

"From Qarmaia-s-to frown"

• The term usually apphed • MS., Pans. fol luR II

(De Sacy). by the Ismii'ilis

to themselves.

THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM
respect, clearly recognising the former identity of the two movements, and recalling to the sayyids the glorious deeds of their predecessors in the service of the da'wa. He reproaches them for having seceded, and appeals to them to return. The evidence of these two Druze epistles, following as it does on the testimony of our Sunni sources, can leave no doubt as to the association of Carmathians and Fatimids, at least for a while. In the epistle of Hamza it is not difficult to recognise, albeit in a somewhat mythological form, the usual account of the establishment of the Carmathians in Bahrain. The mysterious Harith b. Tirmah was probably the Persian Zakariya of whom we shall speak below.' From Hamza's account it would seem that the name "Carmathian" was applied to the sectaries of Bahrain after their mass conversion to the Isma'ill cause. This is supported by the fact that they shared that name with the Carmathians of Syria and Mesopotamia, who were undoubtedly Isma'ili, and With the Isrna'ilis of Persia. In that case it would be possible to reconcile the two versions of 'Abd al-jabbar and Nawbakhti, by accepting the former's account of the Hanafi character of the Bahrain da'iea, and regarding that as the pre-Carrnathian state of affairs. Nawbakhti's "Carmathians" would thus refer to the SyroMesopotamian da'wa, and to the Bahrain daua after its conversion from Hanafism. The later assimilation of Carmathianism to pure Ismailism IS a relatively simple
matter.

Carmathcans and Faumids.

(2) Conflict.

From the Druz« epistles we sec that if the Carmathian a~d Fatimid movements were at first closely allied, later differences of a serious character arose between them. ~onfirmation of this is to be found in other sources, and mdeed, at the moment of the Fiitimid occupation of Egypt, we find them in armed conflict with their erstwhile allies. In his discussion of the war between Mu'izz and the
1

P. 87 fl. mfra,

365. • lvanow." 50 fundamental a change must have aroused hostility among the more intransigent extremists. XIII..THE CARMATHIANS OF BAHRAIN 85 Carmathians. and indeed there are many signs of serious doctrinal conflict at this period. the Carmathian state was shaken by a severe internal crisis. the revolutionary activities of the Isrna'Ilis were undergoing a gradual but remarkable transformation.. De Goeje! has made an admirable analysis of the circumstances leading to the adoption of an antiFatimid policy by the sectaries in Bahrain." It would thus not be too hazardous a conjecture to ascribe the struggles of the period to the inevitable clash between the supporters of the much-modified. only a few years before the Fatimid conquest of Egypt. . the Isma'Ill movement. Dr. says:s "At this particular period of Islamic history (the early fourth/tenth century). officialised ) Mtmoire. H. however.fa. With the assumption of power. with the greater knowledge of Isma'ili history that is at our disposal. Hamdani. find no motive for the struggle and the change beyond personal ambition and a conflict of personalities. ending in what was virtually a revolution. it became then the duty of the Da'wa to assume the task of defending the faith as well as to help t ln. of ideas. it is possible to find deeper causes. which aimed at a politico-intellectual upheaval in Islam. assumed a graver and more conservative attitude towards the then existing institutions of Islam. a modem Isma'Ill writer. The Da'wa. With the establishment of the Fatimid state by al-Mahdi in N. He could. Such is the version which De Goeje was able to reconstruct from the Sunni historians. which once aimed at the destruction of the 'Abbasid Klnla. now defended the claims of the Fatimids. which was hostile to the N. As a result of this struggle of factions.State. a new leadership emerged. To-day. I83 II. I Some authors. we notice in the works of the dais of this period a tendency towards drifting from their revolutionary and eclectic principles to a liberal yet conventional conservatism . African Caliphs. In 358/968. Africa. Kalam i Pw. and to discern in the inner struggle in Bahrain a clash of tendencies.

found that their association with the disreputable and universally hated Carmathians did not square with the maintenance and furtherance of state and dynasty. It was the proclamation of Sa'Id. but founded a sort of Isma'Ili opposition. however. If It took place at all.'ILISM state-religion of N. must have begun almost immediately after the establishment of 'Ubaidallah as Caliph. which maintained uneasy relations with the Fatimids until the open break in 36r/971.' Another signal is the defection of the dli'is 'Abdan and Harridan. and shortly to appear. Signs of such a conflict are not lacking in our sources. Intro . that horrified the two dd'Is and provoked their secession. and Abu 'Abdallah a~-Shi'i executed. however. is to be placed at the moment when Sa'id-' Ubaidallah was proclaimed as Mahdi. The revolt and murder of the devoted dli'i Abu 'Abdallah a:ill-Shi'i is already an ominous sign. This opposition. that disillusioned and alienated the two. the latter of whom apparently represented the revolutionary idea. which came to a head in the armed conflict between Mu'izz and the Carmathians. I. Africa and the purer.• 193 ff. The difference between them could not have been fundamental. the revolutionary purists refused to accept the changes of the compromisers. in itself an expression of the deep inner cleavage of the Isma'ili da'iua. The dangerous revolt of the Zanata Berbers under '0n these two dii'is see Ivanow. The secret Imam was in fact in existence. for Nasafl remained a Fatmud dii'i • De Sacy. As De Goeje has shown. and that the defection of these two. they did not revert to orthodoxy. We have already seen. on the one hand. • 59 fl. We have already noticed the doctrinal controversies of the period. the Fatimids.86 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA. It was more probably the murder of Abu 'Abdallah. whom they knew to be a Qaddiil)id. According to De Goejc. . typified by the argument between Sijzi and Nasafi. that in their secret writings the Isma'Ilis did not claim Sa'Id as anything but a Qaddahid. on the other.s De Goeje has shown' that Nuwairi's account is not to be trusted. • 210. Guide. And if. revolutionary tradition of the early dd'is. as Mahdi. related to Nuwairit and Ibn Hawqal. 33 and 35.

'Abd al. if he would kill Abu Hafs This was agreed. 'Abd al-j abbars relates that after the final defeat of Abu Yazid.THE CARMATHIANS OF BAHRAIN 87 Abu Yazid. The Isfahani 'On Taqtya see Ooldziher. and I am behind you. banished some of them to Spain and other countries. his revolt against the Fatimids.1 In an interesting passage. Sinh. Z D M G Lx. G .6 gives the following account of the events. Ibn Sanbar summoned a friend of his from Isfahan. Gt4ldt. "pretended to return to Islam. Abu Bakr and his brother. took place in 326/937.' He lightened the taxes and affected an interest in jurisprudence (fiqh). 263." 'Abd al-jabbar goes on to relate the activities of Abu Tahir.· followed almost verbatim by Ibn al-Athir. his publication of doctrinal secrets. and said to the common people: 'If you hear anyone curse the prophet. and promised to reveal to him the secrets of the Carmathians and make him all-powerful. Thabit b. Isma'Il al-Mansiir. the third Fatimid Caliph. which came near ending the dynasty. which is unfortunately not very clear in the text. Taqiya • Fo! Ijo. had among them an enemy called Abu Hafs a~-Sharik. 54.j abbar notes that "dd'is like Abu'l-Qasim 'lsa b. Africa is the mysterious affair of the Persian impostor. IOn Ibn Harnmad and Abii Hanm. There was a good case for the application of the well-established SW'j doctrine of taqiya-concealment. Abu Muslim h. Miisa. He pretended that 'whoever was of the da'iea and preached libertinism did so without the knowledge of my father or of my granrlJather.. 31 and 32. • P. called as-Safawi dhu'n-Nur. Hamdan ar-Razi al-Kalla'P and others almost died of sorrow and regret at Abu Tahir's revelations of the da'ioa .' He listened to jurists and traditionists and deceived the common people. which. • VIII. Abu Hatim b. He killed the dd'is. see Ivanow. one of the Carmathian leaders. 213 fI.. Hammad al-Mawsili.. he says. A certain Ibn Sanbar. seems to have impressed on the Fatimids the dangers of an unqualified application of Isrna'Ili doctrines. " Another episode illustrating the dissensions between Bahrain and N. and his welcoming of the impostor Zakariya the Isfahanl. kill him.

however. 55 • Quoted in De Goeje. Abu Tahir resumed control. Having assumed control. after testing him. Another version is that of 'Arib. Miskawaih! and the Kitiib al-'Uyun2 give a version tallying closely with that of Thabit. the Carmathians denounced all their previous teachings about the Mahdi and the prophetic chain as nonsense. 'Arib does not mention Ibn Sanbar or his feud. and does not constitute a complete version. What is. a serious revolt occurred among the 'II. and they returned to their allegiance to the Mahdi. 133 • Chronology. with a programme of complete libertinism. They record the episode under the year 332/943. and also makes no mention of Ibn San bar and his feud. but places the episode soon after the sack of Mecca. Dindan and others. and advanced as the one for whom Abu Tahir was campaigning. He refers to the impostor as Zakariya al-Isfahani al-Majfisi. proclaimed him to be an impostor. Maimiin." followed by Biriini. His account. they repented. He was accepted as such. and told for the first time the story of 'Abdallah b. and killed him. It does not therefore seem to be possible to make any decision as to the points of difference between them. however. ' 162. clear from both of them is that at some time in the first thirty years of the fourth century A. and. From all this it will be seen that we are confronted with two distinct versions. They revealed all the secrets of their sect.88 THE ORIGINS OF ISMA'ILISM was then instructed in Cannathian esoterics. He gives no date. • Fol 147. 'Abd al-jabbar. and proclaimed Zakariya as god. 213. however. . and of their plans to deceive the Muslims.H. They cursed all religions and burned all religious books. Under the rule of Zakariya. Finally.~ who names the Persian Zakariya al-Khurasani and puts the episode in 3I9/93!. he put Abu Hats to death. leaves off in medias res. Zakariya was killed.follows 'Arib ill the main. and indulged in a general orgy of executions. but mention that it occurred during Abu Tahir's lifetime. which occurred in 3I7/qz9. until Abu Tahir himself took fright. each consistent within itself and each based on reliable authorities. 2.

apparently acting under Fatimid instructions. which meant for a while the rejection of Fatimid authority and the return to a more violent and more revolutionary faith. and Ibn Hawqal mentions in 367/977 that they sent an annual tribute to the Imam. Old Edition. As we have seen. there are signs that at times they recognised the Fatimids. Even after the struggle with Mu'izz.THE CARMATHIANS OF BAHRAIN 89 Carmathians in Bahrain. The break docs not seem at any time to have been permanent.' I New Edition. . 27. 23. In 339/950 they restored the Black Stone. the Carmathians eventually disposed of Zakariya. and returned to their allegiance.

.. because they are disposed to permit everything to which one's natural desires incline. The general conclusion of the early Sunni sources is that Isma'Ilism represents the efforts of the faiths superseded by Islam to insinuate themselves into Islam and thus eventually to destroy and replace it. either by pre-existing faiths or by pure atheism. 90 ."! "Their longed-for goal is the removal of all positive religion. must have answered some powerful need at the period. They took counsel from Magians. heretical dualists and many followers of the old philosophers. in order to attain such dimensions. Manichaeans. ultimately. "Most (of the theologians) lean to the view that the object of the Batmiya was to convert the Muslims to the religion of the Magians with the aid of the method of allegorization by which they interpret the Qur'an and the Sunna . " "The most plausible explanation to my mind is that they are Zindiq Materialists who profess a belief in the eternity of the universe. and disacknowledge the apostles and all the precepts of the Law. I Bamdadl. BaGhdadi and Ibn Jawzi ask themselves why the movement spread so rapidly.. The tendency reveals itself in the effort to make the founders of Isma'ilism Zoroastrians. Already in early days. with whom they worked out a method. 277-278. Mazdakites. Tr 130-131. and adduce reasons of varying plausibility. Bardesanians. its historic significance? For it is obvious that a movement of such scope and of such power must have given expression to some deep-rooted historic force. through which they would be able to free themselves from the rule of Islam. writers like Ghazali.Chapter IV THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ISMA'ILISM ONE of the many questions regarding the Isma'Ili movement which have not yet been satisfactorily answered is-what is. etc.

if it had at all a material basis underlying its philosophic and doctrinal character. the orthodox Zoroastrian ruling classes of Persia lost little time in adopting Sunni Islam and in assimilating themselves as quickly as possible to the Arab ruling classes. Again. 88. This is the view advanced in the writings of Carra de Vaux. The arguments against it." From this it would appear that the movement. 38-39 For Similar statements m other authors see Ibn Jawzi. the Rawiifi4. in its early stages. This. 108--<) nd 1I2-3. but only by deceit. 74 ff. was determined by social factors. The tendency. People would refuse out of hand an open demand to adhere to our doctrines. are too strong for it to be acceptable. the movement was far from being restricted to the Persians-in fact. moreover. of recent research has been to increase the significance of gnostic and mystic sects among the Semites and the Egyptians. according to which Islam was. p 28). not so much a religion as the distinguishing I Goldzrher. it will be seen. until a relatively late period it was strongest in the Arab or Semitic lands of 'Iraq and Syria. and RS 0" 253-5 and 261-2. ." See also Sacy. a revolt of Aryan Persia against the semitism of Islam. Imtro . T'albis Iblis. 61. 121 The ~ablan TI!abit b Sman denounces the Carmathians no less violently than do his Sunnl contemporaries (]l!abit MS.' they thought.THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ISMA'ILISM II 91 'Not through open war. • Sadighi. I. if on the one hand the depressed classes among the Aramaeans and Arabs tended to adopt the various heretical teachings. In the first place. Les MOI<vements. that which is most disposed to lend credence to every possible buffoonerynamely.' "I The earlier modem orientalists tended to regard Isma'ilism as a national or racial rather than a religious movement. 'can the Muslims be overthrown. which have been admirably formulated by Wellhausen and Goldziher. follows the lines laid down by the researches of Van Vloten and Becker. The best way to approach them is to pretend to join the most stupid of their sects. Blochet and others. a "Most of their doctrine conforms to the dualism of the Magians and to the philosophers secretly and to the heretics openly. Even those who remained true to Zoroastrianism detested the Iranian heresies no less than did the Arabs. G!!alalI.

and the movements representative of social distress and social idealism more prominent. in a theocratic milieu. In view of the well-known Carmathian attitude to prayer in general. III. 6. Let us leave prayers to the Shaikh al. to Fa'iq .. it is perhaps not extravagant to regard the fifty prayers as a deliberate interference with the hours of labour. I shall not pray to God. Tabari. 1 Mutanabbi. To the chief of armies. certainly.'ILISM mark of the conquistador aristocracy and the official credo of the state that represented them.Jalil. 81. But why should I pray? Am I mighty? Have I a palace. whose cellars bulge with measures. came the first news of the Carmathian conspiracy against Islamic society.. I leave these practices to those I have named." In the late ninth and tenth centuries. Persian and Semite alike. • III.iid. The first danger-signal was the revolt of the Zanj. when I do not possess a single inch of earth. Tabari! also makes the very interesting observation that the Carmathians consisted mainly of peasants and tillers. Revolutionary S!li'ism was thus the natural expression. . is far from realising the scope or the implications of the events he describes.THE ORIGINS OF ISMA. 219~2202. horses. This class-character is well brought out in the verses quoted by Blachere:" "No. the negro slaves working in the salt-marshes of Mesopotamia.t our earliest source. in 279/892. of the revolt of the depressed classes. yet it is significant that according to his account the first protest against the peaceful Carmathian preaching came from a local landowner who complained that the fifty prayers a day ordered by the preacher interfered with the work of his labourers. No. and whoever blames me is stupid or mad. And then. Abbreviated from the original in Yaqat.. with the growth of commerce and industry in the 'Abbasid empire. the social problem became more acute. would be pure hypocrisy. p. 2126. rich clothes and golden belts? To pray. II. as long as I shall be poor. 3 Jrm.

the common people. and the cxpropriatory character of Batini preaching.THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF ISMA'ILISM 93 . II6 • Coldzrher. Though the specific accusations--e.' I nterconfessionalism Appealing as It did to men of a multiplicity of races and religions-Mazdakites. 133-135 (=Maq. For those who understand there is no need to obey. Ibn Rizam! stresses at many points that the Isma'ilis taught that laws were merely enacted in order to hold down the masses. Manichaeans. Yet this is not a valid objection. Though this ISquestionable. • Talbis. and violently prejudiced. and to leave a deep imprint which many centuries of oppression failed to erase. communism-revelled against the Isma'ilis may be false. Later writers grasp more clearly the social character of Isma'Ili preaching and the social composition of its following. And Ghazali indeed is perfectly frank about this.' an acute observer of heresies. . 16. Isma'ilism was able to exercise considerable influence over the working classes of mediaeval Islam. Ghazali" realises clearly the special appeal of Isrna'ili doctrines for the 'tnodmm. the very fact that the writers shift the issue from the theological to the economic plane shows in what direction they felt themselves to be menaced. 3<l4). and the famous letter of 'Udaidallah which he cites is a merciless attack on the social basis of orthodox Islamic society. and that their evidence is therefore of little value.ta!. Intra.. It may be argued that all these sources are anti-Isrna'Ili. 1937· ss. then close connection WIth them is beyond dispute For a fuller discussion see my artIcle on the Islamic GUIlds in the Economic History Reineui. Sabians.! Through its connections WIth the craft guilds. I. 395)· • I De Sacy. Mandaeans. and to maintain the worldly interests of those who rule. II I. 136-7 II5-7 (~MaqrI71. Tr.g. Baghdadi2 also attributes to the Isrna'ilis doctrines of a similar character. • It has been suggested that the Isma'tlts were actually responsible for the creation of the Islamic gUIld. Extracts 2. and addresses himself specially to them in his refutation. 15. notes the peculiar susceptibility of the 'awamm to heretical teachings. 14. admitting that the chief danger of the heresy lay in its attraction for the labouring and artisan classcs. Finally Ibn Jawzi. 23-24. 3 Goldziher. Kh. II3. Nov. 281-282.

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