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Naliir and

the Mongol Invasion of


Title: al-DIn His Supposed Political
Role in the Mongol Invasion of Baghdad
Author: Abdulhadi Hairi
Degree: Master of Arts
Department: Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill
University, Montreal, Canada.
Academie year: 1967-68
The purpose of this study is to analyze and
discuss the extent of involvement in the Mongol
invasion of Baghdad in 1258 A.D. To elucidate this 'dis-
puted question it was felt necessary to present a brief
biography of as well as evidence of his attitudes
towards the Caliphal power of the time. The analysis of
this particular problem is made against the background
of a considerable number of other authors' studies,
most of which have been peripheral to the central
problem of this work.
The result of research done for this study is
that collaboration with the Mongols did not, to
be more accurate, could not have any remarkable effect
on the fall of Baghdad and that, contrary to received
opinion, ~ s is exonerated from any crime against Islam
and the Muslims. It is felt that this work, for the
tirst time, throws light on a disputed histories!
problem whieh has remained obscure sinee 1258.
Abdu1hadi Hairi
A thesis submitted to the Facu1ty
of Graduate Studies and Research
in partial fu1fi1ment of the
requirements for the degree
of Master of Arts
Institute of Is1amic Studies
McGi11 University
January, 1968
Abdulhadi Hairi
l shou1d 1ike to express my sincere gratitude
to aIl those in the Institute of Is1amic Studies who
have given me guidance and encouragement in working on
this thesis. Above all l owe thanks to Dr. Charles
Adams who provided the opportunity for me to study in
the Is1amic Institute of McGil1 University, Montreal. l
great1y appreciate the congenial academic milieu which
has been directed by him and in which l have enjoyed
the privilege of working since Fall 1964. l should
like to acknowledge my thanks to Dr. Richard Verdery,
Dr. Michel Mazzaoui, Dr. Donald Little, Dr. Mahdi
MUQaqqiq and Dr. Hermann Lando1t whose advice concerning
different stages of this thesis has been very useful.
The format of this the sis follows the system
of Ray McKeen Wiles' Scholarly
Humanities. (Ottawa, 1951).
For Arabie and Persian trans1iteration l have
used the Bulletin 59 of the Cataloguing Service of the
Library of Congress (WaShington, D.C., 1963) which
has been approved by the American Library Association
and the Library of Congress, but the authors l have
quoted in this work have given various types of trans-
literation which, of course, have not been changed from
the original. Generally known titles and names of the
places such as Iran' , 'Baghdad', 'Islam' and 'Vizier'
are excepted from the Library of Congress' convention
of transliteration, and they have been left plain; in
doing this l have mainly followed liA Pronouncing
Gazetteer", attached to the second volume, third
edit ion of Webster's New Dictionary of
the English Language, (Springfield, Mass., 1961).
Technical words are underlined only for first
mention. As it is apparent from the text aIl quotations
are indented from the margin, but paraphrased passages
are in the text in the usual manner.
NcGill University
January, 1968
Abdulhadi Hairi
A New Critical Angle on
I. Life:
A. Introductory Remarks
B. His Early Career
C. Alamt and Quhistan
D. The Fall of the Fortresses
E. The Destruction of Baghdad
II. Works
III. Religious Views
IV. Death
1. an Advocate of the Sect of the
II. The Caliphal Struggles for
III. ~ s I s Effect on the Period
IV. A Note on a Few Disputed Points
t'sI: the Focal Point of Divergent Views
Logic Against Subjectivity
History Opposes the View that t'sI was a
t'sI in the Contemporary Sources
The Earliest Account of t'si's
An Analysis of the Account
The Later Accounts of the Baghdad
VIII. Vihy did ~ s I not Object to Hulag' s
IX. ~ s I and the r'lurder of the Caliph
X. Conclusion
Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
A New Critical Angle on si
Khwajah Nair al-Din ~ s (1200-73 A.D.),
history tells us, was the most distinguished Muslim
scholar of his time and one of the truly remarkable
figures which Islamic civilization has produced. How-
ever, despite his great significance in the history of
Islamic thought, ~ s has not yet received much atten-
tion froID scholars in general, specially from western
students of Islam.
~ s is known as an outstanding figure in
various fields, and as a considerable authority on
philosophy, theology, ethics, logic, astronomy and
astrology. Those books which have survived indicate
clearly his mastery of many subjects, and have been
studied by sorne sCholars, but in our opinion ~ s and
his works merit more attention and more accurate study.
As far as Islamic theology is concerned ~ s
is a disputed figure who has been thought to have been
a Twelver Shi'i or an Isma'ili Shi'!, because the books
which are ascribed to him cause students of his thought
to form differing ideas about him. From the historical
point of view is a controversial authority who, at
a crucial time, was helping to shape history. His stay
in Iran under the Isma'IlI regime,l his association
with the Mongol conqueror, Hulag, during the Baghdad
invasion,2 the administrative position he held during
the Mongol rule and the scientific activities he
pursued in the city of Maraghah
have raised many
debatable points about fusI.
Since all the above factors took the attention
of two opposing groups of authors, the sunr.Is and the
ShI'Is, various views and disputes came into existence
consequently the students of the life and thought
of have been left either in the dark or with the
impression that was a double-dyed traitor.
a moderate authDr
who has been relatively just about
could not help remarking that:
"fusl, at the side of the Mongol prince, Hulagu,
was to cross the greatest psychological watershed
in Islamic civilization, playing a leading part in
the capture of Baghdad "
Our purpose in the present work is to study
this particular problem, namely, the extent of
role in the fall of Baghdad, if indeed he played any
such role. This question, which has made a contro-
versial figure of history, has not yet been discussed
actively. Contemporary and near-contemporary sources
have made reference to the fact that was closely
associated with HulagU Khan, the Mongol conqueror of
the Isma' Ili stro:n.gholds of Iran (Alamut and Quhistan)
and of the Caliphal capital, Baghdad. Although these
sources are not very specifie about the exact role
which played in these events in Muslim history,
still one is left with the impression that both
Hulag and planned and executed the campaigns
against the Isma'III forts and Baghdad, and that
part in affairs at this period was crucial for
the final success of these campaigns.
To study the case more clearly, we have to
examine every possible val id source concerning this
particular problem from time onwards. The sources
we have been using in the present project can be
classified as follows:
(a) primary or contemporary sources;
(b) nearlycontemporary sources;
(c) later sources;
(d) modern sources.
a. Primary Sources
There are only a few works which can be
considered as primary materials on the subject:
1. Tabaqat-i NaeirI written by Jzjani in 658/
1259 A.D., that is to say, one year after the Baghdad
invasion. JuzjanI highly of on
different occasions,6 but he never connects the Baghdad
question with He does not even mention
name in his history. This book has been translated
into English by M.H.G. Raverty.?
2. Mukhtaar al-Duwal, by Bar-Hebraeus (1226-
82 A.D.). This general history was compiled in Arabie
around the end of the author's life (1282 A.D.). This
book had been written by the author in the Syriac
language, but he was advised to translate it into
Arabie. Besides translating it into Arabie,
made a revision of it and compiled his work in the form
which is now available.
This early source comprises
concise notes on through which one cannot get any
impression that TusI might have played any role in the
3. Al-ijawadith al-Jami'ah of Ibn al-FuwatI can
be regarded as an important source on the question.
This 'Iraqi author who had a very close intellectual
ssociation with wrote his book in 657 A.H., one
year after the capture of Baghdad. In talking of the
fall of Baghdad or the murder of theCaliph, Ibn al-
does not refer to TusI as assistant of the
- - 10
Mongol Hulagu.
4. TusI himself speaks of the Baghdad invasion
. in his concise history, "KayfIyat-i Vaqi'ah-' i Baghdad"
and never admits any activity on his part concerning the
capture of Baghdad. In the third chapter we will discuss
the question words can be reliable or
In short, we cannot ever learn any facts con-
cerning Tusi's effect on the fall of Baghdad in any
available contemporary sources.
b. Nearly Contemporary Sources
Among the nea.r-contemporary sources which deal
with our subject there are several noteworthy works
which are given in the fol1owing list:
1. AI-FakhrI of Ibn written in 701/
1301 A.D. The author mentions Tusi just once at the end
of his book concerning Ibn al-' AlqamI' s connecJeion with
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2. Tarikh-i GuzIdah which ijamd Allah MustavfI
wrote in 730/1329 A.D. also lacks any information about
s invol vement in the fall of -Baghdad.
3. Tarikh AbI al-Fida' whose author died in
732/1331 A.D. gives a short description of life,14
the fall of Baghdad and the murder of the Caliph
finally says that it is not known how was
16 - . -, - ....
executed. Abu never involves in this
particular question.
4. The three above-mentioned near-contemporary
sources give, as we noticed, no hint at part in
the capture of Baghdad, but some obscure accounts of the
matter can be found in two histories. The first of these
two, Jami"al-Tavarlkh, written in 710/1310 A.D. by
Hashid al-Din can be considered the earliest account
which has ever been given of the question of Tusi's role
in the Baghdad invasion. The author has not, as far as
we can see, referred the Baghdad disaster to at all.
In our third chapter vie will acti vely discuss his
account and will remark that in spite of general belief
not only is TusI's involvement far from obvious, but
that there are considerable indications which leave us
with the idea of Tsi's being innocent in the affaire
5. Another near-contemporary source which does
comprise an obscure account of concerning the
Baghdad invasion is Tarikh-i Vaeeaf al-Hafirah which
was compiled in 728/1327 A.D. report on
Hulag's consultation with on the capture of
Baghdad is more or less simi1ar to that of Rashid al-
Din with one additional point. He adds that after
said that Hulag would win the war, Hulag with a
stout hear,t and a calm spirit moved to Baghdad.
point, as far as Vie are concerned, is based on the
author's imagination. Evidence is overwhelming on the
fact that the motives of Hulag for the conquest of
Baghdad were several other things with which had
nothing to do.
6. Among near-contemporary materials, Ibn
Taymiyah' s \olorks, in which TsI has been bi tterly
condemned, are vle11-known. This radical l'luslim theolo-
gian (661-728/1262-1327 A.D.) has called him 'Mushrik'
(polytheist) and heretic.
Ibn Qayyim (691-751/1291-
1350 A.D.), who was a disciple of Ibn TaymIyah follows
- ... 20
his master in the questions which concern and
Ibn al-'Imad the author of Shadharat a1-
Dhahab (died 1089/1678 A.D.) has quoted him (Ibn
Qayyim).21 As a matter of fact all the Islamic sects
and scholars have been refuted by the above-mentioned
authors, and ~ u s is one of them. We will occasional1y
discuss some of their words in the second chapter.
c. Later Sources
1. Fawat al-Wafayat of Ibn Shakir (died 764/
1362 A.D.) is one of the standard biographical dic-
tionaries of the fourteenth century. In this book the
author is quite neutral in his attitude, and never
speaks of ~ U S S possible effect on the invasion.
2. Another author of the later period is
9afadI (797/1394- ) who wrote his famous book,
AI-WarI bi al-Wafayat in thirty valumes in alphabetical
forme Like Ibn Shakir, 9afadI seems also to have been
a neutral writer: He treats ~ u s in almost the same
way as Ibn Shakir, and nothing concerning ~ U S S
involvement in the Baghdad disaster can be obtained
from it.
3. abagat al-Shafi'iyah al-Kubra by SubkI
(729-771/1328-1369 A.D.) treats usI more or less like
Ibn Taymiyah.
This author seems to have been
influenced by Ibn Taymlyah's thought on this matter.
4. MIrkhwand, the author of an important general
history which was written in the ninth-fifteenth centur,y
(died 903/1498 A.D.) ta1ks about as if great1y
inf1uenced by account. This book, al-
Safa has added one phrase to words, and says
that Hu1ag considered as an arbitrator in the
As we will discuss in our third chapter this
phrase is a1so based on the imagination of the author.
5. KhwandamIr (880-942/1475-1535 A.D.) in ijabIb
a1-Siyar refers the invasion to the instigation of
Ibn al-'AlqamI on the one hand, and to the approval of
on the other.
6. Majalis a1-Mu'minIn of ShshtarI (murdered
1019/1610 A.D.) admires very high1y and be1ieves
that since knew bigotry he caused the
Mongols to sack Baghdad.
7. In the al-Jannat, (written 1286/1869
A.D.) KhwansarI has a re1ative1y long essay on
discussing position with regard to the Baghdad
problem, but he has come to a superficial conclusion.
He great1y admired because he considered him as
the murderer of the Caliph and his people whom he called
d. Modern Sources
In modern times (the twentieth century) some
authors have studied this particular problem, but since
these studies are not based on profound and reliable
investigation, has been judged either as a crimi-
nal or a pious man, therefore this controve.rsial aspect
of still remains unexplained. Browne in A Literary
History of Persia, Arberry in Classical Persian Litera-
ture, Levy in Persian Literature are of those whose
condemnations of seem to have been quite far from
just, and Qummr's biography of sounds like a
kind of exaggeration. In judging those writers
who condemned him might have been influenced by the
thought of authors like Ibn Taymiyah whose accounts of
seem' to have been based on the radical religious
views, whereas QummI's praise o must have been
derived from the religious beliefs which he shared
Among the modern vi ters \1ickens, 30 HOdgson,3
and 'Azzawr
appear to be moderate about
but they did not try to go deeply into the
problem in order to throw light on this historical
During recent years two independent works have
been published in the Persian language by Tehran
University on the occasion of seventh century.
One of them was written by Mudarris RaHavI and another
one by Mudarris ZanjanI. Although these two books help
the interested Persian reader to obtain more detailed
information about t s life, his works, his professors,
his disciples and his religious views, they have not
actively and critically discussed the problem of
role in the fall of Baghdad.
RaHavI, for example, quotes and paraphrases
quite a few authors concerning this matter but he is
not in the least critical. He jumps to a conclusion
saying that could not really be the main cause of
the fall of the dynasty, but that he was not
"Ji thout effect ei ther. RaHavI never describes how and
through which reasoning he reached this conclusion.
The .other author, ZanjanI, also has not dealt
with the problem in detail. He puts the blame on the
Caliph and his men of the court, and tries his best to
exonerate In brief, neither of the works,
especially ZanjanI's, uses the techniques of modern
scholarship and they do not give precise and clear
~ u s ' s own works cannot be sufficient material
through which one may understand the problems', though,
to a degree, they are helpful, and we will occasionally
make reference to them. Consequently after seven
centuries an important aspect of an extremely disting-
uished figure, that is to say, ~ u s ' s role in the fall
of Baghdad, has still remained obscure, and as far as
we can see, no independent English work has yet been
published on ~ u s and no author, either in Persian or
in Arabie or in English, has yet devoted a detailed
study to this particular problem ( ~ u s ' s role in the
Baghdad question). Therefore, the main goal in the
present work is to analyse the problem of ~ u s ' s
part in the fall of Baghdad.
Prior to this analysis, we will devote the
first chapter to the biography of ~ u s . This section
helps to get an idea about his background. The second
chapter presents ~ u s ' s attitude towards the Caliphal
power, and, of course, ~ u s ' s conception of rulership.
This part of the work helps readers to notice how far
~ u s ' s collaboration with the Mongol conqueror of
Baghdad, as far as ~ u s himself considered, was lawful.
l'Je will discuss the main problem in the third chapter
remarking that in spite of what a great number of
authors have said, ~ s does not seem to have had any
remarkable role in the capture of Baghdad, and he was
not a betrayer. In addition, in the light of his
intellect and his flexibility he played a great role
in the continuance of Islamic philosophy, law and
civilization. We are inclined to the opinion that ~ s
has been misjudged and that he should be reexamined.
A SHORT BIOGRAPHY OF ~ s (1200-73 A.D.)
I. usi's Life
A. Introductory Remarks
It is a truism to say that it is almost
impossible to obtain an accurate understanding of a
person, from a particular point of view, without
having a closer look at his life and background. If,
for instance, one is interested in Plato's political
ide as , or in Aristotle's conception of a ruling body,
one has to make a survey of the historical situation
in Greece. This survey will help to find out why Plato
preferred an oligarchie form of government to the
demoeratie ideas of Greeee before his time.
Similarly, in studying the eonstitutional
theories of Aristotle, it is neeessary to bear in mind
the main faets of his life. As Taylor says:
Il he was a contemporary of Demosthenes, his man-
hood witnessed the struggle which ended in the
establishment of the Macedonian monarchy as the
dominant power in Hellas, and his later years the
campaigns in which his pupil, Alexander the Great,
overthrew the Persian Empire and carried Greek
civilisation to the banks of the Jumna.
All these events which took place during Aristotle's
life, and which certainly had a great effect on his
constitutional theories, must be considered.
Therefore, in order to understand more fully
~ u s I s effect on the Baghdad invasion of 1258, and to
analyse his political role more accurately, and to find
out the idea behind his political activities, it is of
great importance to sketch briefly the various periods
of his life and draw attention to his important politi-
cal writings. Such a sketch will help to explain certain
limitations of outlook which might otherwise appear
strange in so great a man. It will throw a great deal
of light on his attitude towards the Baghdad Caliphate,
which has always been considered a crucial problem in
~ u s i s life.
There is more reason to do that since no full-
scale biography of ~ u s i is at present available, and
no scholar or student of Persian history has so far
undertaken the project to provide us with a critical
and detailed life of this highly controversial
political figure of the mid-thirteenth century Muslim
Some modern scholars have given short bio-
graphical sketches of or mentioned him in
passing in their writings. The information given by
these authorities is totally inadequate.
Others have
dealt primarily with his religious views, but have not
attempted to outline his political career or the main
events of his life, which are often the only clues to
his political behaviour.
Some attempt has been made quite recently to
produce monographs on the life and works of This
hasbeen undertaken chiefly by Persian scholars on the
occasion of his seven hundredth anniversary. Mention
should be made here of the work by Mudarris
enti tled A9-val va Ajar-i'''sI5 and that by Mudarris
ZanjanI entitled Sarguzasht va 'Aqa'id-i
These works were a very good beginning, but upon
closer examination they 1tJill be found to be rather
inadequate. An attempt has been made in these works
ta list and de scribe many compositions and
treatises. However, in many cases the analysis is
insufficient and more work in this particular field
is required.
A more recent attempt to outline critically
the life and major works of 1s! has been made by the
Canadian scholar and Persianist G.M. Wickens. As an
introduction to his translation of 1sI's Akhlag-i
NajirI,8 Wickens has supplied the reader
but critical sketch of 1us!'s life and works. This
sketch can serve as a point of departure for any future
scholar who ma:y \'lant to undertake a fuller project.
This, however, will not be an easy undertaking.
To begin with, 1si did not leave sufficient
autobiography for future readers.
There are some
autobiographical remarks which may, with difficulty,
be collected from his several writings.
These are
few, and they create more problems of chronology than
they solve. Some of his correspondence exists, but this
too is problematical.
Contemporary accounts of 1s!'s life are almost
non-existent. Mention should be made here of, for
example, Ibn Al-ijawadith al-Jami'ah, which
d t
" "f t" t f h" 12
oes no any orma accoun s 0
Later Persian historians of the second and
third generations after make references to him,
but these, though useful in many ways, are too
incomplete to give us a full and comprehensive picture
of his life. These include such historians as RashId
al-DIn, and others.
Fifteenth century
historians like MIrkhwand and KhwandamIr are based
generally on their more illustrious predecessors. More
informative biographies of are to be found in
later twelver ShI'I biographical works such as QummI,
ShshtarI, and KhwansarI.
It is not the object of this work to go into
aIl the details of the life of Only those aspects
of his life that will help us in explaining a part of
his political activities will be dealt with in sorne
B. His Early Career
MUQammad Ibn Ibn often
known as Khwajah was born, according to
sources,16 in 597/1200 A.D. He was from in
eastern Iran, the homeland (now ruined) of a large
number of Islamic figures such as GhazzalI,
Khwajah al-Mulk and others. His father,
Ibn was a twelver (rthna'aSharI)ShI'I
and a of After his elementary studies,
e.g. obtaining a reading knowledge of the Qur'an and
learning literature and Arabie grammar, he started to
study Islamic jurisprudence, fiqh, and tradition,
with his father. It has been said that he studied logic
and theology with his uncle.
In the meantime: he
studied mathematics. To complete his education, he left
home for Nishapur (now called Nayshabur), at the time
a center of learning for a great number of students and
scholars from all over the Islamic lands. NIshapur was
also the capital of under the and some
other Persian dynasties.
Although the city had
suffered tremendous bloodshed and massacre from the
SaljqI soldiers and had lost a good number of schools,
mosques, and libraries as well as many sCholars, it
still kept its importance until the conquest of the
Mongols. Therefore, had a good opportunity to
join the different study circles there for a certain
period of time.
The author of Majalis al-mu'minIn remarks that
learned rational knowledge, ma'arif-i'agl!yah,
under Farid al-DIn Damad who was a pupil of
Sayyid al-Din Sarakhsi. Sarakhsi was one
of the
students of al-Din Ghaylani whose professor was
Abu al-'Abbas Lukri. He [Lukri] in turn was a student
of Bahmanyar who was Avicenna's famous pupil.
Not much is knownabout career before
the Isma'ili forts were captured by Hulagu, therefore
we cannot give very accurate information about his life
as a student in Nishapur. We do not know precisely when
and how and why he left the city for the Isma'ili forts.
The story of departure from Nishapur is recorded
by various authors who differ in their opinions. QaflI
Nur Allah Shushtari says that, in the beginning,
was in the mood to spread publicise Shi'ism and
that he noticed that Ibn al- 'Alqami (died 656/1258 A.D.),
the learned shI'i chief minister of the Caliph of
Baghdad, (from 1245-1258) could be the best patron of
this idea, therefore he intended to go to Baghdad. He
wrote a letter to Ibn al-'Alqami in which he praised the
Caliph in order to bring the influence of Shi'ah
thought to bear on him and, with the help of Ibn al-
'Alqami, to convert the Caliph to the Shi'ah sect.
Ibn al-' Alqami, hOvJever, did not respond to him.
Finally he was taken to Quhistan by al-Din
(died 655/1257), the Quhistan Isma'ili commander.
The point made by QaHI Nur Allah does not seem
to be correct, because the Caliph, (609-56/
1212-58 A.D. , came to power in 640/1242 A.D., and
Ibn al-'AlqamI became his chief minister in 642/
1244 A.D.
while had already moved to Quhistan,
and he had written his Akhlaq-i NairI about 633/
24 ,
1235 A.D., namely seven years before Musta took
over the Caliphate, and ten years before Ibn al-
'AlqamI was appointed to his position in the court of
the Caliph.
in his TarIkh, states that wrote
to Ibn al-'AlqamI a letter together with an excellent
praising elegy, qajIdah, when he was already in
Quhistan. Ibn al-'AlqamI, who for some unknown reason
did not want to go to Baghdad, returned the letter
to al-Din, the Isma'ilI leader of Quhistari and
warned him of the unhappy results which rela-
tions with the Caliph might lead to. Consequently,
was imprisoned for a long time.
There are several. accounts about
leaving Nishapur for Quhistan, and about his trip from
Quhistan to Alamut, and about his relations with Ibn
al-'Alqami. However, since the evidence about the above-
mentioned matters: is not very clear, no accurate
account of this part of his life can be given. The
.only remarkable point which is worth noting here is
that when was living in NIshapr, the Mongol
soldiers were occupying the cities of Khurasan one
after another, and they were about to reach NIshapr.
All the people were terrified. In addition, as
well as other ShI'Is were not secure in such an
environment where they were surrounded by a big
majority of the SunnIs. might have felt that the
Isma'IlI forts in Quhistan were the best refuge. It is
a possibility that he took shelter in the forts to save
his life. This inclination of might have been
strengthened by the interest that the Isma'IlI leader
of Quhistan had to call him ta the forts.
In fact, he escaped from a bad situation to
one that was only slightly better; that is, he went
from the sunnIs and the Mongol soldiers
to the Isma'IlIs with whom he had more in common, but
he still did not feel safe with them either.
It is known that changed his introductions
to the Akhlag-i NairI
and the Risalah Mu'InIyah
which were favourable to the Isma'Ilis. Moreover, he
complained in various places, such as his commentary on
Ibn Sinais Isharat
and the Taavvurat
and in the
second introduction to the Akhlaq-i Nairi about the
ill-treatment he suffered under the power of the dey.
All these references indicate that was obliged to
stay with the Isma'ilis. Ivanow remarks:
"The nature of his relations with the Ismailis still
remains hopelessly obscure. References to it are so
confusing and contradictory that not much sense can
be made out of them. What is certain and indis-
putable is the fact that his connection was long,
on a more or less permanent basis. Towards the
middle of the twelfth c, he was connected
with the Isma'iII head functionary in the East
provinces where the Ismaili population was
considerable. ,,30
Most of the works ascribed to him were
written while under the Isma'ilis. He found the forts
a congenial milieu where he could put his thoughts into
writing, because his intellectual master, al-Din,
was a good patron for him. One of his famous works is
the Akhlag-i which is on ethics and practical
wisdom, Qikmat-i 'amalI, and was written in the name
of his master, al-Din. This book covers
ideas about ruler and ruled, parents and children,
master and slave, justice, love, and many other aspects
of human life, and most of the ideas are based on the
philosophy of Plato and Aristotle, as well as FarabI
and other Islamic thinkers who were influenced by
those great Greek philosophers.
His conception of the rule in the Islamic
community is clearly He belj.eves that the
virtuous state has to be ruled by a person who is
infallible and is appointed by God, that is the Imam.
Over a hundred and fifty books, treatises and letters
on various subjects have been ascribed to him, some of
which will be discussed.
From Akhlaq-i Nairi one may learn the
approximate date of migration from Nishapr to
QUhistan, because in the supplementary section he
attached to his book he points out that the chapter
was appended sometime in 663/1262 A.D., thirty years
after the composition of the book, that is, in the year
633/1235 A.D.
This item from book indicates
that he had been associating with the Isma'ili leader
before starting to write his book. However, assuming
that he had gone to Quhistan on the invitation of
al-Din, the date of his moving cannot be earlier
than 624/1226 A.D., because this is the date when
al-Din became the commander of the Isma'ilis
(624/1226 A.D.). Thus lived with the Isma'ilis
for over twenty years, that is to say untl the
conquest of the Isma'ilis' forts by the Mongols in
654/1256 A.D.
We know that within this period of time
stayed with the Isma'ilIs, but in both Quhistan and
Alamt. These two regions were under the power of the
Isma'Ilis for about two centuries (from the conquest
of in 483/1090 A.D. to the capture of the forts
by Hulag in 654/1256 A.D.).
C. Alamt and Quhistan
To give a detailed description of the origins
of the Isma'IIIs in general and Persian Isma'ilIs in
particular requires a separate work. The interested
readers may go to various related sources.
.? Briefly
we may say that the Isma'Ilis created an active move-
ment to replace the Caliphal dynasty with the house
of 'Ali. Hodgson states:
"The Isma'iliyya challenged the official Islam,
and the Sunni synthesis developing within it, in
the forro of widespread conspiracy apparently
involving support from peasant villages and bedouin
tribes as weIl as \'lell-placed officials. The
summons to allegiance to the Imams descended from
Ja'far's son Isma'!l was called the Isma'!l!
da'wa. Representing this da'wa, travelling da'!s,
summoners, aroused and directed from a concealed
central headquarters a general attack against the
Baghdad Caliphate and against other rulers who
theoretically recognized its
The two areas where the Isma'!l! da'wah was
very strong, and where adherents were known to have
been in large numbers, were Quhistan in the east and
Alamt in north-west Iran.
The ruins of the fortress of Alamt are situated
on the summit of a lofty wld almost inaccessible rock
in the heart of the Alburz mountains,two days' march
north-north east of Qazv!n.
L.Lockhart says:
"In 246/860, the 'Alid al-J;[asan al-Da'! ila'l-
rebuilt the castle. ijasan-i 9abba, the founder
of the Assassins,seized Alamt in 483/1090 and
made it the head-quarters of the Order.,,3
The strategie position of this place has been
pointed out by Hodgson as follows:
"The taking of .Alamut near Qazv!n in 1090 would
seem to have released a flood of Isma'!l! energies,
in the direction of which J;[asan-i 9abba took at
least a prominent part from that key spot. Alamut
was appropriate to such a role. Alamut itself was
in an inaccessible, rough terrain. The geographer
QazvinI in the Athar (al-Bilad) says that Rudbar is
aIl rocks and trees, and adds (as if part of the
same repelling picture) that the inhabitan"ts are
Daylamites But Alamut was also on the shortest
route between the important city of Qazvin and the
Caspian Sea. Alamut had been used by a ZaydI imam
in the past as a reliable stronghold; and Yaqt
emphasizes its general importance as key to
Alamut was the center of a ShI'ah state between
483/1090 A.D. and 654/1256 A.D. The state grew out of
an attempt by Isma'IlIs of Iran to break the power of
the SunnI Saljuqs on behalf of the Fatimid rulers of
Egypt. Among the leaders, apart from SabbaQ, the most
important were the learned 'Abd al-Malik Ibn
da'! (propagandist) of Isfahan and his son ibn
who seized Shahdiz near Isfahan in 494/
1100 A.D.
Wi th the concentration of daljJq pO\>Jer in the
hand of Tapar, the tide turned against the
Isma'IlIs; Shahdiz fell in 500/ 1107 A.D. and Alamut
was in grave danger when death in 511/1118
A.D. allowed the a time of recuperation. By
this time the leadership was clearly in the hands of
ijasan-i at Alamut. He controlled an essentially
independent state consisting of the strongholds in the
Rdbar district around Alamt, of the fortress of
Girdkh near Damghan, and numerous towns in Quhistan
south of Khurasan.
This Quhistan is called the Quhistan of Khurasan
in distinction ID the Quhistan of Kermn, southern Iran.
The former one is the mountainous and partially arable
region which stretches south of Nishapr as far as
sistan in the southeast. It is surrounded on all sides
by the great salt desert of the central Iranian plateau
and consists of scattered groups of oases.
Kramers explains this district as follows:
Il one feature of its geographical unit Y is the
fact that no part of it belongs to one of the great
centers of civilization that surround it [e.g.
Nishapr, Herat, sistan and Kerman]. Although
has always been connected with these by
caravan routes and is therefore not absolutely cutoff,
its isolated position, combined with the relative-
ly low productivity of the soil, has caused it to
be little known and neglected, and its inhabitants
have usually been ruled by a number of independent
lords has therefore never been a very
clean cut geographical termi 11
This region in the time of the 3aljqs,4l which
had been the old asylum of the Zoroastrians, became a
refuge for the Isma'ili heretics, who for this reason
\Vere often called al-malaidah They built
here strongho1ds on the mode1 of the famous citade1 of
Alamt; there are still many ruins of their castIes
whih have not yet been examined.
Ibn a1-Athir in his chronology of the year
494/1KnA.D. remarks that ijasan-i conquered a
part of Quhistan in 484/1091 A.D., name1y about one
year after the conquest of Alamt.
Hodgson points out:
"Th history of the state [Alamt] was dominated
by a sustained hostility between the Isma'ilis and
the smTounding Sunnite and ev en Qi'ite popula-
tions; a hostility expressed on the one side in
repeated massacres of aIl Slspected in a
town and on the other side in assassinations of
their most active enemies, such as
After ijasan-i death (518/1124 A.D.)
a number of ru1ers came to power and governed the Order
of Assassins. The 1ast two Isma'i1i ru1ers of Iran
were Muammad (609-656/1212-1258 A.D.) and
his son Khurshah who persuaded ijasan I1azandaranl: to
murQer his father in 653/1255 A.D.
Khurshah was in
charge of the Isma'l:ll: forts in Alamt just for one
year (653-654/1255-56 A.D.), and was ki11ed by Mang-
Qa'an's men when on his way to the 1atter's court.45
went to live under Isma'III political
control when 'Ala' al-DIn was in power (ruled 618-
656/1221-1258 A.D.).46
As we mentioned before there are several
accounts about departure from NIshapr. But
supposing that we consider the words of and
others to be more or less well founded, the passage
given by KhwandamIr in ijabIb al-siyar would be accep-
table too. He remarks that when al-DIn came to
kno'VJ that had praised the Caliph he became angry
with him and put him in prison; and when he wanted to
go to 'Ala' al-DIn 11uQ. amm ad , the chief leader of the
Isma'ilis of Iran, he took with him to Alamt and
left him there. 'rsi ivas living wi th the heretics until
the l'longols came. Then left 11aymn Diz, the
capital of Alamt, and joined the Ilkhan and enjoyed
their favour and became one of the closest associates
at the court of the Mongol commander.
Thus vIe see that in the last portion of his
association with the Ismi'ilis, had a difficult
time, because he had fallen from the favour of his
masters and was under suspicion of them until the
Mongols overthrew the Ismi'ilis. In the critical condi-
tions in which was living one may come to the
conclusion that those works on the Isma'ili ideas which
are ascribed to were written -- if they are his --
under the pressure of the Isma'ili power. Of those he
wrote on the Isma'ilis are the Taeavvura, Sayr Va
sulk, and others.
One of the characteristics of the Isma'ili
leaders was that they were very interested in
buting to human knovlledge by attracting knowledgeable
people, collecting treasure houses of books, and
producing works in different fields of kno\'lledge.
Juvayni reports:
" l was at the foot of Lammasar [a fort in
Alamt], being desirous of inspecting the library,
the fame of 'I,olhich had spread throughout the world,
l suggested to the King [Hlag] that the valuable
boolcs in Alamt ought not to be destroyed. He
approved my words and gave the necessary orders;
and l went to examine the library, from which l
extracted whatever l found in the way of copies of
the Koran and [other] choice books after the manner
of 'He brought forth the living from the dead'
(Koran, Xxx' 18). l likewise picked out the
astronomical instruments such as Kursis (a part of
the astrolabe), armillary spheres
complete and partial astrolabes that were there.
As for the remaining books, which related to their
heresy and error and were neither founded on tradi-
tion nor supported by reason, l burnt them all.,,48
They not only encouraged men of knowledge to
work for them; the leader of Quhistan al-DIn
himself wrote a book on ethics; but he could not
complete it, so he left it for to finish. This
book is also translated from Arabie into Persian by
and is called Akhlaq-i listed in
works by Mudarris
D. The Fall of the Fortresses
Mang Qa)an, the grandson of Chingiz, came to
power in 648/1250 A.D., being supported by the majority
of the princes and by the distinguished authorities of
the state.
He gave different commissions to his
generals in various lands. These generals very often
reported to the king expressing "the discontent of the
people with the Isma'Ili leaders as weIl as with the
Caliph of Baghdad.
Shams al-Din Qazvini, al-
;{uHat, (the chiefjuo;ge) wearing chain mail went to the
king and said that he had to wear armour because of
being afraid of the heretics. He explained from where
they governed their people and their state.
Mang appointed his brother Hulag as the
governor of West Iran, Syria, Egypt, Asia Minor, and
Armenia, and ordered several armies, which were serving
in different districts, to come under the power of
The king advised his brother Hulag to enforce
the Chingizian Yasa, to be kind to those who accepted
his leadership; to be tough and hard with those who
resisted, and to destroy the fortresses in Quhist:n.
IVlang ordered Hulag to proceed against Iraq. If the
Caliph of Baghdad came to his service anu. obeyed him
he should not annoy him, otherwise the Caliph shou1d
be dispatched with the others.
On the order of the great king, Hulag moved
to Iran in 651/1253 h.L. followed by a tremendous
number of soldiers.
He passed through Turkistan and
Transoxania in 652/1254 A.L. and Damarqand in 653/
1255 A.D. Then he sent a message to the heads of the
different regions of Iran announcing that he was going
to capture the fortresses of the heretics. He asked
for their support, and threatened that if they did not
obey him he would treat them in the same vay as he
\'Jould the h,:etics. The heads of Rm (Asia l''iinor),
Iraq, Khurasan, Arran, ,shlrvan, and Georgia accepted
Before Hulagu moved to Iran, KItbuqa, one of
Mangu' s generals, ha.d gone to Quhistan an. gained sorne
power in the land of the Isma'I1Is.5
lt took Hulag
one week to occupy the forts in Qunistan. 'rhe I"ongol
conqueror sent MalH;: ;:;hams al-DIn Kurt
to Nasir al-
DIn, the Isma' III head of Quhistan, and ordered him to
give up his position. He, who was old and weak, went to
Hulagu with gifts, and became the governor of the city
of Tun. After that the hongol commander made an expedi-
tion to 11.1amut, the head.quarters of the Isma' III power,
and ordered Khurshah to demolish the forts and ta come
to him.
Khurshah sent dhahanshah, his younger brother,
followed by a few men of Qistinction, to liulagu and
as 1<>,-, 0. for a delay of one year before cominf; to him.
Meanwtile, he demolished the forts of Hamn, Alamut,
and Lanbs.hsar. Hulagu did not accc.;t .Lis request, and
hi;n a deedline of fi -Je days. :E'inally Khurshah
after consultation with the dignitaries of state
left tille- forts 8.nd went ta Hulagu' s camp vli 'rusi and
sorne other ciistinguished iilen. Khurshah was recei veu
\'Iarrnly by Hulagu anQ married a i"iongolian girl, since
Hulagu had promised. him to save Khurshah' s life on
condition that he surrendered himself. After a while
Hulagu sent Khurshah to Mangu, but the great Mongol
king did not receive him and ordered him to be
The foregoing passages are paraphrased from
RashId al-DIn's book, Jami' al-tavarIkh, in order to
illustrate the position of the leaders in
relation to the Mongol conquerors. However, :rtasbId al-
DIn discussed role in the capture of Alamt by
Hulag. He has this to say about this specifie incident:
(\4fhen Khurshah received the threat of Hulag concerning
obedience to tiJ.e iv;ongol regime): Khwajah al-DIn
who was the 00st ?erfect man and the wisest in
the world, as weIl as a group of the physicians [such
as) dalls their sons who nad been kept
in that territory Dy force, noticed that 'che acts &nd
behaviour of Khurshah were not Bood, oppression
and '3.ggression were part of his nature, and that the
signs of tyranny were apparent in him: the y hated to
keep company with heretics ana were extremely
willing to sio.e 'I:i th Hulag. They hau already been
desiring to support Hulag, therefore they consulted
wi th each other [about the pr'Jblem] in private to find
the best and easiest way to give the [Isma'lIl] land
to Hulag. A fe\v strane;ers and other l"luslims joined
them, and became allied in the matter and made attempts
to encourage Khurshah to accept the Mongol authority.
Khurshah also agreed to give in and warmly received the
MIt t" 60
nongo represen a
This book we have been referring to is one of
the few fairly early sources on the Mongol conquest of
Iran, and the only role attributed to Tsi in the
capture of Alamt is what this near-contemporary source
has described. If we accept that it was only Tsi
among the consultative members who preferred Hulag's
rule to Khurshah's, and influenced the others, it still
would not seem just to call Tusi a betrayer of his
Isma'ili master, as some later authors and modern
lslamists pointed out.
It is not just, because the
overwhelming power of the Mongol commander could lay
\'laste the whole country, and any resistance would have
been a further step towards a more horrible massacre o
The plan of and his friends in convincing
to avoid Cilly conflict "li th Hulag seems to have been an
action v/hich was taken for the sake of Khurshah and his
people to save their lives.
Certain Islamists have expressed their views
about in this matter. Levy, for example, SQys:
Il he appears not only to have betrayed his
Isma'ili master to Hlagu, but to have been
instrumental in bringing the last Oaliph treacherous-
ly to his death at the hands of the Mongols.,,62
Arberry, on the other hand.,. remarks:
is stated to have chosen this moment to take
revenge on his gaolers, by betraying Khrshah into
Hlag' s hands. The year 125 6 marked the turning-
point in his fortunes. The Mongol rewarded
handsomely for his obliging treachery, and advanced
him to high rank in his court ,,63
It appears that Arberry's point the
reason for being well-treated by the Mongols is
nave. vie knOvl that the Mongol kings viere very interested.
in two fields of knowledge, history' and astrology:
history to record their expeditions, conquests, and
progress; astrology to find out about their future,
about the proper time to make expeditions, and about
the fortunes of their enemies and their own. as
far as they were concerned, was the right person at the
time and for the right position -- namely, to act
as an astrologer. The Mongol kings already knew about
RashId al-DIn ]'atil Allah tells us that 1'usI
founded an observatory in l''laraghah.Mangu, who among
other l'longols was distinguished in wisdom and intelli-
gence, decided to have an observatory established by
Jamal al-Drn BukharI, but he was not clear
about some astrologie al problems. At the same time, the
fame of had already reached Mangu. Therefore,
before he commissioned Hulagu to Iran, Mangu had
wanted him to send to him to supervise his obser-
vatory. However, since Mangu at that time was busy
away from his court, Hulagu ordered to build the
observatory in Iran.
.. - - 66 - ...
in RawHat al-afa, and
in Tarikh-i ijablb al-siyar,6
repeat this story in
more or less the same words. Even Arberry himself
could not help admitting in his later parazraph the
connection between knowledge of astrology and
respect for him by saying:
"It was as an astrologer that Hlag appreciated
most highty, for the Mongol conqueror had a
lively regard for the messages of the stars.
E. The Destruction of Baghdad
Iran \'las conquered and the heads oi' the
various Iranian regions obeyed The forts of
the Isma'ilis in Quhistan and Alamt came into the
hands of the l'iongol conqueror, but his commission,
to be more precise, his ambition, had not come to an
end. He was going to obtain more lands, more treasu:ce,
and consequently more power. Now it was time to bring
the Islamic headquarters of Baghdad under his command.
After occupying the rich areas, he became we11-
equipped and fe1t himse1f strong enough to overthrow
the five hundred year old 'Abbasid dynasty. He set
out in March 1257 A.D. for Hamadan, the famous
capital of the ancient Medes. H.H. Howorth remarks:
IIAt Hamadan, Khulagu was met by Baichu, who in
answer to his reproaches that he had done so litt1e
with his army, replied on his knees that he had
conquered all the country from Rai to the borders
of Rum and Sham (i. e., Asia t1inor and Syria). As to
Baghdad, he en1arged upon the power of the Khalif
and of the difficulty of approaching his dominions.
'Nevertheless, he said, lit is for the prince
[Hu1agu] to command, and his slave will punctually
o bey his orders'.11
T"Ieanwhile things were going badly at Baghdad.
The Oaliph j l u s t ~ aliim was spending his life in
debauchery which is an error of kings, but is much
less excusable in the case of the Ualiph who is
supposed to be obeyed by all the faithful.
In the
autumn of 654/1256 A.D. a terrible dovmfall of rain
had flooded the tovm and submerged many of the houses,
while one-half of Iraq remained untilled. There was a
dispute and hostility between Ibn al-'AlqamI, the chief
minister of the Caliph, and the Davatdar.
The latter:
took advantage of weakness and gathered a
group of vulgar people (avbash) round himself andtraubL-
th e' people of Baghdad. He made a plot with some
of the principle men to dethrone the Caliph in favour
of some other prince of the 'Abbasid family. Ibn al-
'AlqamI came to know of the plot and \'larned the Caliph,
but the Davatdar created a terrible misunderstanding
between the Caliph and Ibn al-'AlqamI and he himself
became the most trusted officer of the Caliphal court.
In 655/1257 A.D. Hulagu sent sorne representatives
to the Caliph complaining that when he was fighting
the heretics and asked the support of the Caliph, he
never sent any army to side v th the Nongol soldiers
against the Isma'I1Is. He wanted the Caliph to
abdicate in favour of his son (may be Abu al-'Abbas
and to come to the rtongol court or that the
minister Sulaymanshah and the Davatdar should go to
On their way back to Hulagu"the representatives
met a large number of ordinary people outside the city
swearing at them. Moreover, they were carrying a
message from the Caliph concerning his strength and
his ability to defeat Iran and Turan. This made Hulagu
furious and he said: 'There is no doubt that the Caliph
is not entitled to such a position, and that is why he:.
is not honest with us.
After a long terrifying blood-
shed, Baghdad finally fell and the Caliph was murdered
on \vednesday the fourteenth of 9afar 656 A.lI.,February
1258 A.D. in the village of Waqf.
According to aIl historians ~ s I was a very
close companion of HUlag, and he "\rias wi th the Mongol
master during the expedition to Baghdad. 8ulag now
treated him with special favour. He and his descendants
retained positions of trust for some time in the house-
hold of the Ilkhans. It is said that, prior to the
expedition to Baghdad, Hulag consulted on this matter
with ~ s I . However, the nature of ~ s I s contribution
to the fall of Baghdad remained relatively obscure.
A very large number of works have been written
since 1258 A.D. on the advent of the Mongols in Iran
and Iraq, and consequently about TsI's cooperation
with them. Although many of them have repeated one
another, there are a considerable number of different
accounts about the role of TsI in the conquest of
A few sources belong to the contemporary or
very nearly contemporary period of the Mongol rule in
the Middle East. The Tarikh-i of JuvaynI
(658/1259 A.D.), the Jami' al-tavarIkh (710/1310 A.D.)
the Tarikh-i Vaj*at .,al-I;raHrah (728/1327 A.D.), al-
Fakhri (701/1301 A.D.), and TarIkh-i guzIdah (730/
1329 A.D.), .' are some of those which are now available
here. JuvaynI's book, (the oldest source), the
guzidah, and al-FakhrI lack any mention of
influence in the fail of Baghdad; but the two others, .
as weIl as quite a few works written in later periods,
give various information and interpretations of the
role of in this matter. Two of the fairly early
sources, the Tarikh-i Vajjaf
75 and
out that 1'sI said to Hulagu that he would replace the
Caliph. Some authors such as and Ibn Shakir
fairly praised him, and sorne others like Ibn al-'Imadal-
ijanbali, the author of Shadharat al-dhahab, and Ibn
Taymiyah condemned him and charged him with the
massacre and bloodshed of the I1uslims during the
Mongol conquest of Baghdad. At any rate, there is no
doubt that 1'usi hadacertain amount of influence on
his l'longol I1aster, but to discuss how operated in
such a critical circumstance as an adviser is the
main point to be discussed in this vlork, and dealing
with this question will be the further stage of this
II. si' s Works
It was previously stated, referring to the
d<ami' al-tavarlkh, that Hulag wanted to build an
observatory in Iran. But another historian, Va99at,
remarks that when Hulag destroyed Baghdad, al-Maw9il,
and Diyar- -i biler, TsI himself suggested building an
observatory to study astrology. Hulag agreed and
appointed him as minister of wagf and
issued a decree entrusting him with whatsoever he
needed for this purpose.
The place where the observatory was located was
a hill on the north-west of the city of Maraghah. This
observatory was founded in 657/1258-9 A.D.
t\'lelve years' seclusion in this ivory tower, he (TsI)
compiled his ZIj-i IlkhanI, of which the first essay
deals with the eras, the second with the movements of
the planets; the third and fourth are devoted to astro-
logical observations.
himself speaks about the
observatory as follows:
HAt the time that he [Hulag] seized the domains of
the heretics, l, Na9Ir al-Dln who am of and had
fallen into the power of the heretics -- me he
brought forth from that place and ordered to
observe the stars. He sought philosophers having
knowledge of observation, such as Mu'ayyid al-DIn
who was in Damascus, Fakhr al-DIn of
Tiflis, Fakhr al-DIn MaraghI of and Najm al-
DIn DabIran of QazvIn. They chose l"laraghah as the
place for the observations to be made, and applied
themselves to this task, making instruments and
erecting buildings suitable for the purpose. He
also ordered them to bring books from Baghdad, Syria,
and Khurasan, and to put them in the place
where they ..,.,ould make observations, so that the:'
whole affair went forward in excellent order. The
fame of this great .... JOrk spread throughout the
TsI travelled from Maraghah three times: once
in 662/1263 A.D. to Baghdad, another time together
with a17Din Shirazi Ca disciple of to
Khurasan and QuhistB.n:
for two years (665-667/1266-
1268 A.D.), and the last time,which was shortly before
his death,he went to Baghdad. During these trips Tsi
supervised the awqaf affairs and collected .... lhat books
and astronomical instruments were required and sent
- 82
them to Maraghah.
As is understood from his ....'orks, Tsi was not
only an astrologer. His mastery in several fields of
knowledge is well-recognized by specialists. He has
written books on these subjects: mathematics, astrolo-
gy and astronomy, ethics, philosophy, commentary on
the Qur'an, mineralogy, history, Islamic jurisprudence
(fiqh), geography, medicine, education, logic,

V'V.Lll\,;,.U... &J ,- --_. " , political science, literature and
theology, kalam. However, his major fields are
mathematics, astrology, logic,philosophy and theology.
His works on these subjects are of considerable signi-
ficance among scholars who refer to them as reliable
sources in the field. three-volume philosophical
book, which is a commentary on Avicenna's al-Isharat
wa al-TanbIhat, is one of his works which made him
as a top medieval Islamic philosopher. By writing
this work, linked pre-Mongol Islamic philosophy
to the post-Mongol periode
We already mentioned several books which
wrote on ethics and theology. His most famous Persian
ethical work is the Akhlaq-i NairI which comprises
his political and ethical ideas. The original book
was wri tten by Ibn l'liskawayh in Arabie, enti tled
Kitah al-iharah. al-Din, the commander of
Quhistan, gave it to to translate into Persian.
translated it, but since he found it devoid of
politics and economics,ijikmat-i MadanI Va ijikmat-i
Manzil, he wrote sections on these two subjects and
mixed them with the other material of the book. As he
himself points out,8
in compiling this book he was
inspired by the Greek philosophers (Plato and
and their Islamic commentators such as Farabi and Ibn
'Y" - 84
There is another well-known work which has
been ascribed to with a certain amount of doubt.
This Persian book, Ravfit al-Taslim ya TajaVVUrat, has
been written on the Isma'ili ideas keeping Isma'ili
style. This kind of work has caused certain authors,
e.g. Ivanow (cf. his introduction to the above book) to
be inclined to the opinion that was genuinely
-''''1''' 85
an sma 1. 1..
The theological works of have obtained
their highest places among the Twelver shl'I community.
His most comprehensive book in this field is called
Tajrld al-I'tigad which has been commented by over
ten famous anti or theologians, the most
famous, Ibn ('Allamah).86 In this
book and other theological books such as Imamat and
FU$l, appears as an advocate of the sect of
the T\Ilelvers an. condemns other Islamic sects.
We likely refer to sorne others of books
occasionally within the later stages of this work. The
tvlO recently publishe. Persian books on l-'sI by
and ZanjanI comprise lists and descriptions of
aIl his books. The interested students may refer to them.
III. sI's Religious Views
TsI's views on religion are also a highly
disputed matter. As we mentioned earlier, he was born
and brought up in a family which observed the twelver
Shi'ah faith, and his father was a and faqIh.
However, for such a thinker as TsI it would be nave
to believe things just because his father believed in
them. He could not be satisfied with these simple
beliefs, and his curiosity caused him to think about
and study the various opinions on different sects and
schools. In the sources we find extremely different
opinions about TsI's own beliefs. The twelver shi'I
theologians basing their views on TsI's theological
books, praised him as a top centributor te the twelver
ShI'ah theology and a faithful twelver ShI'I.Ibn
TaymIyah believes that TsI was a follower of the
which is supposed to be a branch of the
Isma'Ili sect.
\Il. Ivanow, a well-knovm sCholar, presents a
number of probabilities concerning TlisI's religious
ideas. One of these probabilities is that could
not be accepted by the Isma'IIIs whilehe treated them
as heretics.
It is perhaps better to put aside aIl
these divergent interpretations, and base our judgement
on the primary sources, namely the books and treatises
which are ascribed to himselfl.
At the beginning of his autobiography, Sayr Va-
suluk, he hints at this matter. This is a paraphrase of
words in his autobiography: COwing to fate and
accident, l was born and trained among those who were
subject to the external aspect of the Shari'ah. 89 My
relatives knew nothing but this. l was brought up with
them and their ideas. l could not think about any other
religion or sect, and believed that there could be
nothing else beside it. However, my father, vlho was an
experienced and well-read man, less often exaggerated
in imitating the religious principles. He encouraged
me to study arts, science, and religion. l had the
chance to meet Kaml al-Din 11uI;Lammad ijasib and study
mathematics under him. He sometimes used to advise me
that it is possible that those who are very ordinary
people might be right in their '\'Jays and opinions; there-
fore l should not judge by their appearance
which mightbe ugly, but admit that they might be right.
'Gradually l came to believe that whatever l had
so far believed was wrong, and that other people must
be right, and 1. tried to find out the right group and
the right way. Since my professor went away and my
father died, l left home
and, following the advice
of my father, l tried to learn from any specialist in
any field. But my own interest was to understand right
from wrong, therefore l started to learn rational
kno\'rledge such as kalam 11 theologyll and philosophy.
Kalam did not appeal to me because l found the
possessors of this knowledge attempting to make wisdom
subject to the religious matters 'IIlhich they have
learned by imitation, taqlid, of their predecessors.
The only benefit that l obtained from kalam was that
l came to knO'll1 the religious disputes. l understand
that the first argument among wise men concerning
lmowledge of God and obtaining perfection (on which
one's fortune on the day of judgement depends) is
whether this aim (knO\'lledge of God) should be studied
throush intellect alone or by intellect under the
supervision of a teacher. The group which is for the
latter alternative is called
After this introductory remark sees the
right on the sie of the Isma'ilis, explaining that
people aIl over the world, though large in number, are
wrong, and only the Ta'IImIyah, the Isma'IIIs, are
In this book and his other works such as the
Aghaz va anjam, the Awaf al-ashraf, the Taeavvurat,
the TUbfah and the al-Qulb, TsI appears as a
defender of the Isma'III sect. On the other hand,
several other books which are ascribed to him were
written in favour of the sect of the twelvers. His
Ful, TajrId al-I'tiqad, and Imamat are among those
in which TsI defended the sect of the twelvers.
In his Fuul openly sides with the
twelvers. He remarks that infallibility has not been
claimed for al1Y but the Twelve Imams. It is compulsory
for people aIl over the world to follow them.
In aIl
the books which wrote concerning the sect of the
twelvers, the arguments go exactly the same way as
those of the other twelver theologians. On the problem
of the Islamic rule in society, he considers the Imam
as the rightful ruler. In provine the Imamat, he, like
other shI'I theologians, believes that: (1) kind-
ness, is a necessary attribute of God, (2) the
appointing of a ruler of human beings is, according to
reason, a necessary function of God, (3) the Imam
shou1d be specified by the Prophet, (4) the Imam shou1d
be infa1lib1e, (5) the Twe1fth Imam is in his greater
concealment kubra).
In his argument about this prob1em in the
treatise of Imamat,after proving that only the sect of
the twelvers is right, he condemns the Isma'i1is, and
says that they are outside the Is1amic community,
because they be1ieve in the uncreatedness of bodies,
qidam a1-ajsam, and other kinds of superstitions:
'They even say that the Imam shou1d be obeyed even if
he is a 1iar, oppressor, \vine drinker, or adul terer'. 94
These two contradictory points which made
about the Isma'I1Is have been thought to have been due
to various reasons, e.g. circumstances or a change of
opinion. Ja1al could not make up his mind about
s real religious views. 95 should keep in mind
the fact that bitterly criticises the Isma'IlIs in
his introduction to the Akhlaq-i
He remarks that he wrote the book, Akhlaq, at
a time when he had been compelled to leave his native
land for Quhistan: 'To save my life and my honor, Nafs
va 'Irti, l had to write an introduction to my book,
appropriate to the Isma'IlI customs while the contents
were contrary to the belief and opposite to the SharI'ah
and the Sunnah. After l was released from that unhappy
place, l noticed that copies of my book together with
such introduction were being read by a number of
people. So l have to apologise asking them to remove
that introduction and replace it with the present
As one may notice, regret concerning
what he wrote in favour of the Quhistan master is quite
obvious. He very openly explains that in the first
introduction he praised the Isma'IlIs in order to save
his life and his honore I1oreover, as \'Je already
remarked,97 complained repeatedly about the
pressures which he had to suffer while the
Even in the Ta)lavvurat, one of the books which
is saia to have been written in favour of the
Isma' IIIs, has hinted at the lack of f'reedom and
the order of Imam for the precautionary concealment,
Another facet vmich is obvious i8 that when
talks in favour of the Isma'IlIs, he is not very
open about the i th.'n.'asharI, the sect of the twel vers;
he never refutes it and he never denies the Twelge
Imams, but in contrast, in speaking in favour of the
sect of the twelvers, he not only speaks highly of it,
he seriously condemns the opposite sides and calls
them non-Muslim. This can be another indication of his
real inclination towards the sect of the twelvers.
The theological books that wrote on the
basis of the twelver ShI'ah have received special
attention from the leading ShI'ah scholars such as
(602-676/ 1205-1277 A.D.), and
himself has been praised by them.
Now, one may say that if wrote his pro-
Isma'I1I books under the pressure of the Isma'III leadem,
why did he not express his regret about what he wrote,
as he did about his first introduction to the Akhlaq-i
Concerning the foregoing points, plus the fact
that no definite date is reported for the composition
of his various works, that no chronology of is
accessible, and that there is a great doubt about
being the author of some of the books which are attri-
buted to him (such as the Taj8-vvurat), it can probably
be considered that matters went with as follows:
(1) r.rsi was born into a family, and probab-
ly grew up asaTwel ver, and as a young man l!e
believed in this sect.
(2) Later, as himself tells us,lOO he was
searching for the truth, and thought that the
Isma'Il! sect possessed the truth, while he
still did not completely turn away from the
sect of the twelvers.
(3) found out that the sect of the twelvers
has the truth, therefore he compiled a number
of theological books through which he proved
that the only right sect is sect of the
(4) wrote in favour of the Isma'Il! beliefs
by force and against his personal opinion. (He
was exercising tag..i.yah).
(5) regretted what he wrote in the interest of
the Isma'I1Is after he was released from the
Isma'Ili fortresses by Hulagu.
Therefore, we view as a twelver theologian
who has contributed a great deal in the Shi'ah-Sunni
controversy concerning various matters, mainly the
problem of Imamat, Islamic rule, on 1I1hich the
community is based.
IV. sI's Death
According to Ibn Ibn Shakir, and
al_DIn,102 died in Baghdad in 672/1273 A.D.
In another place
Ibn remarks that
committed suicide. In the chronology of the year
672/1273 A.D., Ibn remarks that Abaqa Khan
(ruled from 663/1264- A. D;) together vii th the commanders,
military men, and went to Baghdad. the winter
was over he went back to his capital, Maraghah, but
remained in Baghdad to inspect the awqaf. He
established revenues for the fugaha' (the Islamic
jurists), lecturers and mystics on the monthly basis.
He reformed the awqaf and founded principles for it
. . t h db"' . d . 1 104-
Slnce l a een QlSorganlze preVlOUS y.
died and was buried in r-Iashad,
near Baghdad,burying place of I-1sa Ibn Ja'far, the
... , - 105
Seventh Shl ah Imam.
I. usi, an Advocate of the Sect of the Twelvers
In the previous chapter a .few points were
made about ~ u s i s religious views. Although this is
quite a broad subject, and requires further study, we
could consider him, judging from his own words, a
tvlelver Shi'i v/ho strongly supported this sect
against the other Muslim sects. In talking about the
Imamat-; .. and the appointment of an Imam, a ruler of
the Islamiccommunity, he sides only with those who
believed that the rightful rulers vIere the Twel ve Imams
and that they were appointed by God through the
Prophet; this is exactly what the twelvers believef
It is weIl known that aIl Islamic sects and
semi-sects believe that a highly qualified man who is
intelligent should succeed the Prophet to rule the
state, and this person should be called the khalifah
or Imam.
But the disputes are concerned with the
definition, the necessary conditions, the qualities and
the means of appointment of the successor to the
Prophet. In ta1king about the means of recogRition of
the Imam, a ZaydI Mu'tazi11 author has put forth in
his famous work, Ui1 al-Khamsah, the following
view: 'People had disagreed about the Imamat. In our
opinion there is the specification, about three/.
Imams, and other Imams shou1d c1aim [their Imamat] by
'After the Prophet, 'AlI Ibn AbI ijasan,
ijusayn, and finally Zayd Ibn 'AlI Ibn al-ijusayn, are
reco:gn:.ized as true Imans, and anyone who followed. these
four could later become an Imam,.4 AI-TaftazanI (722-
791/1322-1388 A. D.) who \'las a distinguished SunnI
believed th8t the Imam should be elected by
the community6 and does not have to:infallible .7 The
commentator on a1-TaftazanI's book points out that it
is not necessary for the Imam to be infallible or
superior to the ruled. The Imam would not be deposed if
he committed immoral conduct.
Imam al-ijaramayn al-JuwaynI (419-478/1028-1085
A. D. ), a Shafi' i theologian, gi ves hL::; idea on the imam's
deposition in Kitab al-Irshad. He says that the idea of
Imamat is not a substantial belief.
There is no need
for consensus in establishing one for the Imamat; the
agreement of the religious scholars is sufficient.
The Mu'tazilah say that it is based on contract as weIl
as election.
The believe that after the Seventh
Imam Ja'far (died 148/765), his son Isma'Il became the
Imam. Isma'Il never dies until he succeeds in ruling
. 1 - 12
the world, and he 18 the on y successor of the Imam.
Hodgson says:
"The IsmatIIIs linked the community less by rigid
symbols than by a living hierarchy of the learned:
under the imam were ranged the supreme da'I
(summoner to the truth) and the subordinate da'Is
dovln to the private believers. 1113
The sect of the twelvers, however, has different
ideology about the rulership of the Islamic community.
This sect believes that the Prophet appointed 'Ali Ibn
AbI (died 40/C60 A.D.) as his immediate successor
at the Ghadir celebration on his way back from the
Farewell Pilgrimage in 11/632.
After 'Ali, his sons,
ijasan and ijusayn, \"lere the real Imams in their turn,
and any other Imam was false.
'Ali, the son of ijusayn
(Zayn al-'Abidln) was the fanth Imam who possessed
three qualifications, (1) his proved infallibility,
(2) the existence of the ShI'ah Mutawatir about
his Imamat, and, (3) the prophetie traditions which
prove the Imamat for all Imams.
The Imamat of
the other eight Imams has been proved more or less in
the same way.17 Therefore, in ShI'ah thought, the
twelfth true ruler (Imam or Caliph) is Mahdi, the son
of al-ijasan al-'AskarI. He established his rule over
the community in this manner.
For various reasons he disappeared. However, he
appointed his four specified agents, Nuwwab-i arba'ah.
Donaldson states:
Il for a period of about seventy years he was
represented on earth by wakIls, i.e., by agents or
advocates. The first of these was Vthman ibn Sa'Id.
When Vthman ..ied he vias succeeded by his son, Abu
Ja'far, who in turn designated Abu'l- ibn Ruh,
who appointed Abu'l-ijdsan SamarrI. When the latter
was about to die they urged him to designate someone
in his place, but he refused, and replied, 'Now the
matter is with God.' Accordingly the period when
the Hidd.en Imall vias represented by his wakils is
knovm as the IILesser Concealment, Il
9ughraJ, and this period extended,
frOID A.D. 869-940. Since that time
it is said,
the Shi'ite
l'1ahdi or the Hidden Imam has been in the "Great
Goncealment,1I [Ghaybat-i KubraJ.
At this point the conception of the General
Agency, Niyabat-i 'Immah, came into existence. After
the fourth specified agent died, the Imam ordered the
peopleto follow the 'Ulama of the day and said: 'Those
who study and differentiate between forbidden
and lawful things, and understand our law are to be
recognized by the people, because l have appointed them
as their rulers, so those who fail to accept their
rulership have rejected ours and consequently have
rejected God's government,.19Thus other rulers,
the ShI'ah is concerned, including Ab Bakr,20
as far
'Umar 21
and 'uthman
were not legitimate. From the rise of
Ab Bakr (11/632) to the fal1 of Baghdad (656/1258),
everyone who made c1aim to the Imamat was not the right-
ful ru1er, and his claim was abso1utely against the
spirit of Islam.
The foregoing 1ines, though brief, indicate
the dissimi1arity between the sect of the twelvers and
others. One may question the positionmaCaliph such as
for instance, among the BhI'I community;
what feelings, therefore might a twelver theologian
1ike have about the then Caliph of
the Islamic world.
TsI, like other ShI'Is, could not recognize
the Caliph as the legal ruler of the state which is
supposed to be theocratic. Islamic rule is the govern-
ment of God. The legislator is God, and the Qur'an is
His Law, and the Prophet is the executive authority
appointed by God. Unlike Western democracy which
preserves the sovereignty of the people, in Islam the
law is established upon the basis of
reliable sources for the public interest, whether they
like it or not, because the idea is that people are not
quite aware of their best interest, and sometimes
unconsciously do harm to themselves. For this reason
the Prophet used to address his people saying: '0
God's servants! You are like patients and God is a
physician for you, therefore, what the physician knows
is in your own interest, not what you patients
- . ,24
The idea of appointment of the ruler by God
through tbe Prophet on which the SbI'ab relies is all
based on tbe conception of the theocratic state in
wbicb the Muslim believes. TsI, as a sbI'I political
and religious theorist, was an active advocate of this
idea. In classifying the different types of state and
government, speaks of two kinds, virtuous and
deficient governments. He says:
"The divisions of government are: Virtuous Govern-
ment, also known as the Imamate, its purpose being
the perfection of men, and its consequence the
attainment of felicity; Deficient Government, also
known as Domination, its purpose being to enslave
mankind, and its consequence the attainment of
Through the above passage, ~ s l-ays stress
upon a virtuous state which could only be formed under
the rule of the Imam. Hm'lever the understandings of
the term IIImam
are different among various Islamic
sects. It can be applied to a person who claims himself
as the Caliph of Islam, e.g." al-I1usta' fiim. He, as weIl
as other Caliphs, were recognized by the sunnis as
Imams. But ~ s seems to have been quite conscious in
distinguishing between the sunni and the Shi'I Imam.
He points out:
Il no one 'Vlould be able to undertake... [the
government] vii thout a preponderance of discrimina-
tion and superiori ty in knoviledge, for such a man' s
precedence over others without the occasion of some
particularity would calI for strife and altercation.
Thus, in determining the enactments there is a need
for a person distinguished from others by divine
inspiration, in order that they should follow him.
Such a person, in the terminology of the Ancients,
was called The Possessor of the Law, and his enact-
ments the Divine Law; the Moderns refer to him as
the Religious Lawgiver
Now, in determining judgment, there is need
(also) for a pers on who is distinguished from others
by divine support, so that he may be able to
accomplish their perfection. Such a person, in the
terminology of the Ancients was called an Absolute
King, and his judgments the Craft of Kingship; the
Moderns refer to him as the Imam, and to his func-
tion as the Imamate.
In his other book, the identifies
the Imamat with the Twelve Imams and remarks that it is
compulsory for all human beings to follow them.
Thus the point that and some other
historians have made about correspondence with
Ibn al-' AlqamI concerning influencing the Caliph vii th
ShI'ah thought is quite understandable. might
have noticed that matters were going very badly in
the center of the Islamic state, Baghdad, and the
Islamic Caliphate vlaS being led by a pers on who was
not well qualified for the position. Therefore he tried
to take a step in favour of the sect of the t\velvers
to which he adhered. This correspondence, however, must
have been made in the early period of
reign when he had not yet become well-known as a
debauchee. It does not seem likely for ~ u s to have
nad hopes of converting the Oaliph who W3.S preoccupied
with anything but Islamic affairs in the latter part
of his Oaliphate.
The Oaliph had a harem with seven hundred
women and Gne thousand,28 or one thousand three
servants. He passed his life in debauchery.3
These are Howarth's words:
Il musicians, dancers, tumblers, being
his chief companions. His ari'ogance was a match for
his imbecility.1I3
He was greedy for gold. He had priceless
treasures in his court, and he was never 1t,illing to
spend them. On the order of Hulag the court was
inspected and a pool filled with red gold was fObnd.
TusI "'Tri tes
that Hulagu offered him a plate of gold
asking him to eat it. The Oaliph said that he could
not eat gold: ''l'Ihy did you keep it then?' Hulijgu said,
'vlhy did not you give i t to your soldiers to go to
the JaYQun to fight us and to keep us away?' V a ~ ~ a f
wri tes that the Oaliph ,vas passing his time in immoral
conduct, 1tlith such things which are morally forbidden
ev en for kings, let alone for an Imam whom the Muslims
all over the world are expected to obey.
Most, if not all, of the early historians,
agreed that l'1usta' was not a good ruler. They said
that he was a man of unsound judgment and of little
experience of affairs of state. He had no weight among
the people, and knew nothing about the facts. Most of
his time was spent in listening to music. He was
surrounded and influenced by a number of ignorant and
low people. His minister, Ibn al-'AlqamI was the only
"lise man around him, but he could not be active; his
advice was rejected, he was expecting his dismissal
all the time.
He was dominated by the women at court,

unaware of what was to be done for the state.? The
Caliph "JaS far from knowledge, policy and aVlareness,
and had little ambition, in love with money, and
careless about the state affairs, and dependent on
The author of Jami' al-TavarIkh does not tell
us muoh about 11usta' and his characteristics. How-
ever, in his fe'l!l "Jords about the Caliph one may easily
find contradictory remarks. In one place
the author
says that the Caliph never touched any woman illegally,
while on another occasion
he points out that when
Hulag called the girls of the Caliph's court, seven
hundred women appeared. The Caliph entreated Hulag to
leave the girls for him, but Hulagu gave him back just
one hundred of them. It is not by any means possible to
reconcile these two opposite points which are made in
one book. No religion has ever legitimized having
hundreds of wives or even concubines. The ShI'ah sect,
only under particular circumstances, allows a man to
have concubines besides his wife or wives. But first
of aIl this can scarcely be legal even from the stand-
point of the ShI'ah; secondly there is no doubt that
l''Iusta' i m was not a ShI' ~ O therefore there is no way
to justify the Caliph in this matter, and consequently
no logical way of reconciliation of RashId al-Dln's
contradictory remarks.
\'Jhen a twel vers shI'i theologian condemns the
Islamic rulers v/ho came to power through election,
selection or rebellion, in the first place he is
indifferent to their being known as good men ,or note He
refutes them, reasonine; that they should not have filled
the office of the Islamic ruler, because according to a
good number of rational and traditional reasons ('AqII
via Naqli) an Imam is to be appointed by God through the
Prophet. The 1Jlay of these rulers' succeeding to the
position was different from the Prophet's instruction.
If an illegal ruler happened to be just and a good
organizer he would not be bothered by the ShI'Is in
order to prevent bloodshed (for example 'Ali Ibn AbI
accepted the rule of Abu Eakr and 'Umar). But
such a person still vlOuld not be rec, 0 g-nized by the
ShI'is as a legal ruler. However, in the case that a
ruler of this type turns out to be a debauchee, money-
loving, ignorant and not entitled to rule the Islamic
state absolutely no point, in the Shi'ah
beliefs, in recognizing and supporting him.
whatever attitude he may have had towarcis the then
Islamic ruler, was inspired with this idea.
as vlell as other shi' is, could not
consider rule legitimate. They did not
recognize him as a real Islamic Caliph, therefore
did not have any opinion in favour of and
did not care in the least about his fate. To overthrow
such a ruler did not IDean to Tusi a big disaster for
Islam, rather he would be happy to see the Caliph
deposed and succeeded by a more qualified personality.
LI. The Caliphal Struggles for Power
Another point concerning Tusi's feeling about
the Caliphs is that he might have noticed that the
Islamic Caliphate had been more engaged in power
struggles and expansionism than in leading the Islamic
world in the proper way. The idea of the Caliphate had
come to be simply extending the Cali phal power at the
expense of the Muslims' lives, no matter who was the
enemy, Muslim or non-Muslim. The story of the struggle
for power between the two Islamic states, Iran and
Baghdad, is recorded by historians. It hs been said:
trEver since in the days of Tekish [Khwaraz'm s,hah]
a dispute had arisen on account of the kingdom of
Iraq and Tekish had routed the army of Baghdad and
slain the Vizier [Ibn a l F a ~ l ] the Caliph [Al-
Na/iir, (ruled 575-622/117,9-1225] had been
constantly sending clandestine messages to the
Khans of Qexa-Khitai calling upon them to attack
- - ] 42
Sultan Muhammad Khwaraz.mshah, and he had also
on many occasions, dispatched letters to the Sultan
of Ghur [to this effect]. These secrets were
revealed when the Sultan came to Ghaznin, and a
search being made in their treasuries the corres-
pondence came to light in which the Caliph egged
on and inci ted him [Shihab-al-Dln, the .5ul-an of
Ghaznin] to attack the Sultan [the Khwarazm] and
asked him to render aid to the army of Qara-
khitai. The Sultan [Khwarazm] did not reveal this
secret but kept those letters for use as evidence.
Another historian gives a detailed account of
the then Caliph al-Na/iir's intrigue against the
Khvlaraz.ID S'hah. He states: 'The Caliph encouraged
ChingIz Khan, the chief Mongol conqueror, to attack the
Persian territory, but ChingIz failed to do anything
because he had friendly relations ... li th Sul -an Mu.1;;tammad,
the then Khwarazmshah. When the sul -an came to knovl
about the plot which was being made by the Caliph, he
took the oath of allegiance with
against the Caliph. The Caliph consulted on the matter
with his men in the court. Some of his wise advisers
said ths.t the sultan' s people were Muslim and i t would
not be fair to incite the infidels, the Mongols, to
massacre the 11uslims. never cared about this
wise advice and sent a message to ChingIz and again
encouraged him to fight a war vJith the sul-an. After
getting this encouragement ChingIz iecided to make an
expedition to Iran. At the same time some other things
happened which strengthened Chingiz's decision against
the sul -an [Chingiz' s ambassador and merchants viere
killed by the sul-an's men]. Finally Chingiz fought a
bloody ""'lar vii th Iranian Muslims and did what he usually

did with other conquered nations.' ?
It is worth noting that f'IIrkhwand, the author
of RavHat al-Qafa, has tried to give the impression to
the reader that Chinglz Khan conquered Iran mainly as
a result of the incitement of the Caliph, but, as
Barthold believes,44 the Khwarazmshah's action gave
ChingIz Khan more than sufficient reason for declaring
war. We agree VIi th Barthol d- on this point, however,
we cannot forgive the Islamic Caliph's intrigue and co-
operation VIi th the so-called infidels against an
Islamic nation. There is no doubt that the s u l ~ a n s
people were mostly BunnI l'iuslim and believed in Vlhat
the Caliph did,4
and it is also obvious that the
Mongols and Qara-Khitai were non-Muslim.
If JuwaynI and MIrkhwand are to be believed,
the Caliph of Islam had correspondence Vlith the
infidels and incited them to conquer the Islamic terri-
tory of Iran. These actions indicate that the Caliph
of Islam, besides everything else, wanted to be the
great power on the earth even if it cost very many
lives amongst the Islamic population. A Persian author
says: 'Iranian l'luslims were being slaughtered by the
Mongol soldiers for eight years [1214-22J while the
'Abbasids, on the banks of the Tigris, were happy
seeing the decline of a government which was Muslim but
did not obey the 'Abbasid court. ,47
TsI even as a simple Mus1im, not to say a
philosophical or shI'I personality, could understand
hoVl harmful the attitude of the Islamic Caliph was to
the Islamic community. He might have noticed that most
Islamic Caliphs acted against the spirit of Islam and
did not lead the community in such a way that an
Islamic community should be led. Among the Islamic
Caliphs whose policies were briefly noted
above, was an outstanding figure, held the office of
the Caliph for 'forty-seven years and had many admirers
among historians. He has been, for instance, admired
by one of the fairly early historians, Ibn
through these words:
l1au-Nasir was one of the best and most eminent of
the Caliphs, prudent in affairs, cautious, an
administrator, feared, courageous, sensible, brave,
sharp witted and clever, of keen wit and preception,
eloquent, with no gainsayer of the excellence of his
knowledge nor of the rareness of his understanding.,ft8
might have had in.his mind that such a
distinguished personality as not only failed
to serve Islam in the proper manner, but he did a great
deal of harm to it, so what would be the result of the
reign of the grandson of the same Caliph
who was far from beipg a distinguished figure?49
We do not believe that was a nationalistic
personality or that he was against simply
because his predecessors did harm to homeland
fello\'l ci tizens, but \Ile are inclined to the opinion
that believing that the rule of most of the
Oaliphs, including were not Islamic in the
full sense of the word; noticing that the Islamic
rulers had based their rule on bloodshed and massacre;
considering the fact that Islam had been misinterpreted
due to the ill-reputed and unqualified leaders, came to
believe that as far as the true Islamic instructions
are concerned none of the Oaliphs were entitled to
rule the Islamic territories, and consequently there
would be no difference between the government of the
so-called Oaliph and a king, between and
Sul"tian l'1ul;;tammad KhltJaraz1ms or other rulers.
III. si's Effect on the Period
The point here is not to prefer the Mongol
conqueror, Hulag, to, or equalize him with, the fore-
going Muslim rulers. The point is that \lThen Hulag
captured Quhistan and Alamt, and decided to conquer
Baghdad, there was no organized powar to prevent him
from destroying the Islamic headquarters. in
this particular matter, has been charged and bitterly
condemned by sorne authors. HO\'lever, in those circums-
tances Baghdad was doomed and role in the
continuation of Islam seems to have been far more
considerable than his role, if he had any at aIl, in
the fall of Baghdad.
After the distinguished Islamic philosophers
and scientists such as Farabi, Ibn sIna (Avicenna) and
BIrnI, the history of Islam faced a long interim in
which the Islamic lands did not produce any well-
versed figure as great as ~ s I . This man appears to
have closed this gap, and .during the crucial period
of history when the culture, civilization, and wealth
of the Islamic territories were being crushed under the
feet of the conquering Mongol soldiers, ~ s I , obtaining
the favour of Hulag, managed to continue a new and
flourishing form of Islamic learning, law and civili-
zation. Arberry's account of this particular matter,
(though he and also his compatriots, E.G. Browne and
R. Levy, in several other cases seem to have been more
critical than precise in their judgment of ~ s I , is
of sorne interest:
tlThe Mongols, like their twentieth-century disciples,
knew how to handle and exploit to their own ends
men of that calibre; and in the end, whether out of
conviction or statecraft, the Il-Khans accepted
Islam and Muslim civilization revived in Persia
and Iraq. That such a renaissance could take place
at aIl, after the chaos and slaughter of the
preceding years, was in large measure due to the
collaboration of such as al-DIn and Shams
al-DIn JuvainI, brother of the historian and'head
of the administration of Persia. under Mongol rule
in the reigns of Hulag (to 1265), (1265-82)
and AQIIlad (1282-4),;,5
contribution to science and Islamic
kno\"lledge, aside from the numerous books he wrote in
various fields, should not by any means be forgotten.
As we pointed out in the previous chapter, he built the
observatory of Maraghah and established a huge library
of over four hundred thousand books.
He attracted the
attention of scholars from aIl over the Islamic and
some non-Islamic lands to his scientific institution.
Besides the Huslim astrologers, philosophers and
scientists whom called in to work in scientific
fields, he was also assisted by Chinese astronomers in
the compilation of the ZIj, or Tables, which he cons-
tructed for Hulagu.
last eighteen years of life, from the
fall of Alamut (1256 A.D.) to his death (1273 A.D.),
seem ta have been mainly spent on his observatory
because, according to Ibn Shakir and 9afadi53 Hulag
\"lanted him to complete the observatory in twelve years
and ~ s I said that he would try. The way ~ s I answered
Hulag indicates that it seemed to ~ s I that it would
have required a longer period. It was \vi thin this
period that ~ s I had the opportunity to make the city
of Maraghah, capital of the Mongol commander, an
important scientific center.
IV. A Note on a Rew Disputed Points
As we pointed out earlier, ~ s I has appeared to
be a highly controversial personality. He has earned a
large number of both admirers and critics among the
authors. As a result, every step he took and every
action which is ascribed to him has been interpreted
in quite different ways by different writers. We spoke
on a particular point about ~ s I that is to say his
contribution to knowledge. However, the wri"ters have
discussed this matter for which ~ s r has been both
highly admired and seriously condemned.
Binee TsI was a shI'I and had no approval of
the SunnI authorities, almost aIl his critics happened
to be SunnI, while his admirers have been sunnI as vieIl
as shI' I. The idea of his contribution to knovlledge has
been dealt with in entirely opposite manners. His
admirers remark that took a large space in the
observatory and filled it with the books which were
plundered in Baghdad, Syria and Al-Jazirah (northwest
Mesopotamia), and provided a ri ch library of over
400,000 books(4 that he established a monthly salary
for the Islamic jurists (Fuqaha) and lecturers in
Baghdad,55 that his administration over the religious
endowments, awqaf, to give financial support to his
observatory was in the interest oi Muslims, especially
the shi'is, 'AlawIs, philosophers and others.
On the other hand his critics put forth that
Tusi ordered the murder of the learned and religious
people, and he protected artisans, that he took care of
the non-Muslim physicians and astrologers, that he
spent the waqf funds, which belonged to the Muslims,
for the learned polytheists, that he built his obser-
vatory on the system of the polytheists.
Among the authors one may find extremely
different comments. A Persian scholar
says that Tusi,
made two great contributions to the Iranian civiliza-
tion, (1) he tried his best to save the books from
being destroyed (in the Hongol expedition), and due
to his attempts a big li brary was founded in l"laraghah,
and (2) due to his influence on Hulag he saved the
of many learned and literary figures. Another
writer hinted at the same point, but interpreted
action about the library as follows:
'.l'ccompapying the f1ongol army which destroyed
Baghdad, he profited by the plunder of many
libraries to enrich his own.,,59
Now we cannot help making a few remarks direc-
ting our argument to attackers:
a) The murder of the J:luslim learned men:
First of aIl we do not have any evidence which
refers to a case in which could be regarded as a
murderer of learned men. As it was stated above, Ibn
TaymIyah and his disciples e.g., Ibn al-Qayyim, have
accused him of this crime, but one could never find
any definite or even obscure evidence in the sources;
besides, there is overwhelming evidence concerning
favour tm.lards the 'Ulama' and Fuqaha'. s
own \'lords, before every other source, are quite clear
about this point. In classifying the different classes
in society he remarks:
"First come the Men of the Pen, such as the masters
of the sciences and the branches of knowledge, the
canon-lavlyers [Fuqaha' J, the judges, secretaries,

ace ountants, geometers, astronomers, physicians and
poets on whose existence depends the order of this
world tl
Apart from what himself wrote in favour of
the 'Ulama), the evidence is strong concerning his
special care about the Muslim learned men. Both 9afadi
and Ibn Shakir mention that he with a special trick,
saved 'Ata .l\lalik Juvayni from execution,61 that he
prevented Hulagu's expedition to Kashan because Baba
who was a great scholar, was living there and
had particular respect for his knowledge,62 that
Ibn AbI al-ijadId, the commentator of the Nahj al-
Balaghah, and his brother Muwaffaq who both
viere good sCholars, 1,vere to be murdered by Hulagu, but
interceded for them.
Ibn Taymiyah and his followers do not appear
to be reasonable, and their judgments seem to have
been clouded by their radical religious ideas. They
might have meant that caused the capture of Baghdad,
and consequently many scholars might have lost their
lives during the war. If so, we have to know first
whether it was who co.used the capture of Baghdad
or not, and then judge him.while there is a question
about role in that matter.
(b) Taking care of the learned polytheists:
This point is also made by Ibn TaymIyah and
his disciples. They object that the awqaf funds which
were just for the Muslims, should not have been spent
for the non-Muslim scholars.
First of aIl we do not
know exactly for what various purposes the awqaf
properties were established. It could have been for
scientific purposes. Moreover, to hire non-Muslim
scho1ars to use their knowledge in medicine and astro-
logy or any other scientific branch of knowledge in the
iIlterest of Muslims is certainly not against the
Islamic beliefs.
If the famous such as: 'seek know1edge
from birth to death', or 'seek knowledge even in China',
or 'learning knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim',
or 'knowledge is of two kinds: the knowledge of bodies
and the know1edge of religions' are to be re1iable; if
the large number of tbe verses of this type:
'Verily, in the creation of the Heavens and of the
earth, and in the succession of the night and of the
day, there are signs for man of understanding' (3: 186)
can be considered encouraging passages about learning
knowledge, and if the Qur'an commentators have had a
right understanding about the meaning of another
Qur' anic verse "IIlhich says: 'Shall they who know and they
who do not know be equal?' (39:9), one can have no
doubt that paying money to a non-Muslim for the sake of
the Muslim community would not be against religion,
and ~ s i as the administrator of such a scientific
organization should by no means be condemned.
(c) The Plunder of libraries:
This expression is used by the modern author,
E.G. Browne.
This scholar did not, or to be more
accurate, could not explain ho\'J 1'si plundered the
libraries. What 'VIe can understand is that ~ s orga-
nized a great library in Maraghah,. This fact is acknow-
ledged by most authors. Apart from \vhat ~ s had in
his mind, this mere action is a great step which was
taken for the benefit of knowledge. The l'longol troops
"IIlere damaging manythings and many places under any
conditions. If ~ s had not gathered the books from
different libraries in various captured cities, they
wo"cd not have been saved from damage, and if he could
have saved them but did. not care about them, historians
including Brow::::e vlOuld have been right in blaming ~ s
for his being careless about these priceless treasures
of knovJledge.
Browne also believes that Tusi took the
plundered books to his private library. This point is
not acceptable either, because we know that the obser-
vatory of Maraghah was buil t by him, but for the I-longol
king and for the state. The controversial library which
attached to the observatory was also for the state,
and was in use by a good number of scholars who
gathered round from various nations. Bro\ine's
statement about concerning 'the plunder of the
libraries to enrich his own' is not sCholarly, and is
not by any means justifiable, and indicates nothing
but' naivety of judgment. \ve believe that realized
that the Mongol conquerors had particular interests in
different fields of knovdedge and loosened their purse-
strings for those purposes, therefore was intelli-
gent enough to take good advantage of this marvellous
opportunity, and did muoh for the benefit of knoi'lledge.
No attempt will be made to discuss here every-
thing which concerns because, as "vas mentioned
before, he is a controversial character, and if one
touches any matter concerning political life,
one would have to undertake a long argument. That is \'lhy
one point 'VIas briefly discussed, namely, s contri-
bution to knowledge by founding a great library
attached to his observatory, and drawing the attention
of scholars to his scientific institution.
Among those matters which have been highly
disputed about ~ u s i is his role in the fall of Baghdad.
This is a problem with which authors, pro- or anti-
~ u s i , have been dealing since the capture of the then
Islamic capital; however, the porblem still exists.
A few remarks on this particular point will be made;
and, bearing in mind the views of ~ u s i on religion and
Islamic rule, and his idea about the Baghdad Caliph
which were already briefly stated, an attempt will be
made to discuss ~ u s i s position in the Baghdad cala-
mity. The next chapter, therefore, is devoted to this
I. sI: the Focal Point of Divergent Views
The most serious crime of which ':L.'sI has been
acaused is his collaboration the l'longol king,
Hulagu, concerning the fall of Baghdad. His close
relations with the Baghdad conqueror and several
accounts related about have given the impression
to many authors that he played a leading role in the
capture of Baghdad, and that he caused a large number
of I1uslim scholars, judges, and jurists, to be executed.
The issue which has been described by sorne writers such
as RashId al-DIn in the Jami' al-TavarIkh
has caused
later authors to give their own comments in quite
different \'lays, Some authors like Ibn TaymIyah (died
728/1327 A.D.) made him an infidel,2 and SubkI came
to believe that was one of the more serious
enemies of Nuslims.
Some Iater writers took role in the
destruction of Baghdad for granted, but made different
judgments. Khwansari, a shI'I author of the thirteenth-
nineteenth century points out that went to Baghdad
with Hulagu in order to institute certain reforms, to
put an end to the tyrannical regime of the
to massacre their adherents and to shed their bIood.
KhwansarI openly admits that purpose in
accompanying Hulagu to Baghdad was simply bloodshed
and removing the 'Abbasid dynasty.
He praised him highly because he (KhwansarI)
believed that the Caliphal government in Baghdad was
tyrannical. However, other such as Browne,
agreeing with the above-mentioned viter in one point,
that is, role in this event, made a different
judgment. Browne, criticizing remarks:
Il. [he] helped to compass the Caliph' s death to
gain the favour of a bloo'd thirsty and savage
heathen like HuIag,u5 and that Il
no\'] [was] exal ted to the rank of Hulagu' s
wazIr, betrayed Baghdad and the Caliph into the
hands of the f1ongols
and that 11 who first
induced the unfortunate Ruknu'd-Din Khurshah to
surrender himself into the hands of the perfidious
Mongols, and ai'terwards persuaded Hulagu, when he
was deliberating on the fate of bi'llah,
that no heavenly vengeance was likely to follow
his execution. What irony that this double-dyed
trait or should be the author of one of the best-
kno\llU works on Ethics [Akhlaq-i wri tten in
Persian! ,,7
The reflection of these types of argument can
be found in sorne more recent authors such as Arberry,
Levy, and VJickens,8 who are inclined to the opinion
that played a leading part in the Mongols'
conquest of Baghdad.
As one may notice, both among admirers
and cri tics there VIere sorne \l,ho believed that
eonvineed Hulagu to eonquer Baghdad. They have the
understanding, at any rate, that indeed eaused
the Baghdad disaster but in order to do favour to the
l"luslim world (in the pro-'rusI vie'.'l) or to destroy
Islamie eivilization (aeeording to an anti-
ever, this point whieh has been taken for granted is
not, as far as vie are eoneerned, based on strong histo-
rieal and logieal evidenee.
II. Logie Against Subjeetivity
He eannot logieally eonsider as the killer
of the l"luslims, beeause he himself was a learned 11uslim
who believed in GOd, and no good Muslim would like to
fight his fellow religionists. Moreover, ~ u s I as may
be seen through his books, does not by any means seem
to have been blood-thirsty. He is a great advocate of
a virtuous state rather than an un-virtuous one.
Although, from religious and political points of view,
he could not approve of the Caliph, or was willing to
see him over-thrown, there was no hostility between
~ s I and the common people of Iraq who were willingly
or un-willingly bearing the despotism of the Caliph. It
can scarcely be believed that such a great religious
personality as ~ u s I with such a brilliant mind could
possibly take an active part in a disaster which cost
the lives of hundreds of thousands of Nuslims.
It could not by any means be logical to
attribute such a great historical event, which had
been previously planned by various l'longol conquerors,
to a person like ~ s I who met Hulig shortly before
the fall of Baghdad, and does not seem to have had much
poli tical influence on Hulie:;. This matter can be found out
from the account which is reported by Khi'iinsiri. He
states that ~ s I himself was not secure under Hulig,
and one do..y he was afraid of being executed.
man did not feel enough security for his own life: how
could such a man possibly exert so much influence on
Hulagu about war and state affairs, and play a leading
part in the capture of Baghdad?
III. History Opposes the View that sI was a Traitor
From the stand point of history the idea of
1 s role in the massacre cannot be ei ther.
The capture of Baghdad \1aS imminent long before
\'las consul ted. Several attempts had been m:tde by the
Nongol conquerors before Hulag was ordered to Iran.
Baghdad viaS captured by the l'longol soldiers, and the
Islamic civilization almost peri shed by them. The
blood of untold numbers of Muslims \vas shed, and their
cities were burned.
It is vJell-knov.rn that the IIongol conquests
constituted one of the greatest disasters in bistory
\'1nicb vlill never be forgotten; bumanity, justice and,
in brief, bistory condemns this event for ever. However,
it \'las not only Iraq whicb was attacked by the Mongols.
Various territories, Islamic and non-Islamic, suffered
badly from the 11ongol conquerors, and certainly i t was
not who was leading the massacres. It was not
1;10.0 took Hulagu to Iran and then to Baghdad. There
is overwhelmin5 evidence to show that the causes of the
Mongol expedition to Baghdad were far more considerable
than the role, if any, of intervention.
The Motives for the Baghdad Invasion
It would not be without interest here to out-
line some of the factors which, (apart from the various
internaI factors which led the Baghdad state .. to
collapse from within) caused Hulagu to occupy Baghdad:
(1) Mangu, Hulagu's brother and the Mongol
great Khan of the time, had already ordered Hulagu to
capture Baghdad. It is possible that the Mongols were
also encouraged by the Nestorian Christians to make an
expedition towards Baghdad. Dawson states:
IIIt is true that Nestorian Christianity of
Central Asia had been cut off for centuries from
the centres of Christian culture and William of
account of the Nestoriac monks and clergy
is a very unfavourable one. Nevertheless this
outlying province of Christendom experienced a
brief period of revival and expansion during the
Mongol period, which was due not only to the
general Mongol policy of toleration but still more
to the fact that they [the Mongols] were determined
to destroy the temporal power of Islam which they
saw as the main obstacle Chingis Khan's idea of
world empire 11 12 lIi.rhey (the Nes"borians) hailed the
fall of Baghdad and the destruction of the Abbasid
Khalifate as a just retribution for the oppres-
sion that they had suffered for so many centuries.
Accordingly when Mang commissioned Hulag to
Iran, he urged him to call the Caliph to surrender him-
self to Hulag. If the Caliph did not respond, he
should attack Baghdad and murder the Caliph.
(2) Hulag sent his representatives to the
Caliph and warned him to obey the Mongol sovereign, but
his men received a rude response from the Caliph and
also were insulted by sorne vulgar people of Baghdad.
Therefore, Hulag became angry and made a firm deci-
sion against the Caliph.
(3) In 1257 when Hulag set out for Hamadan, he
vJas encouraged for the expedition to Baghdad by Baiju
who in anS1:ler to bis reproaches that he had do ne so
little with his army, replied that he had conquered
aIl the country from Ray to the . borders of Asia Minor
and Syria. He enlarged upon the power of the Caliph
and the difficul ty of approaching ilis terri tories.
, he said, IIi t is for Hulag to command,
and his slaves vIill punctually obey his order.
(4) Hulag \vas urged by the Caliph's minister,
Ibn al-'AlqarnI, to conquer Baghdad, because the Caliph
had become extremely oppressive. Ibn al-'AlqamI even
prevented the Caliph from giving money to his soldiers
in order to weaken the Caliphal army, and encourage the
army to rebel against l''lusta'
(5) Tusi himself talks briefly about the fall
of Baghdad and remarks that after Hulagu destroyed the
Malaijidah strongholds he reproached the Caliph for his
failure to give him support. The minister (Ibn al-
'AlqamI) suggested sending priceless gifts to Hulagu,
and apologising to nim. The Caliph agreed, but the
Davatdar and other men disagreed; therefore the Caliph
sent some pa ltry presents. Hulag became angry and
wanted the Caliph to send the minister or the Dava'tdar
or Sulaymanshah, but the Caliph sent none of them, so
HuIag more angry and decided to move to Baghdad}8
The foregoing items are good evidence indi-
cating the factors other than instigation. They
gave Hulagu more than sufficient reason for declaring
war against the BRghdad government.
One question cornes up at tilis particular occa-
is, how should VIe take the l'ive above items?
Are they factual matters which no one is to question?
Of course not. \'/e based our argument partIy on them
simply because we could obtain the reality out of them
through reason and logic.
To discuss any historical problem, one may rely
on three things: (1) historical documents, (2) reason,
and (3) logic. In discussing the problem of the Mongol
conquest of Baghdad vie have tried to follow this rule.
To begin with, the foregoing points were made
by historians according to the references we have
given above. As long as reason and logic are concerned
these historical points cannot be anything but thtDUth.
The Mongol world expansionism which ChingIz
set up in the beginning of the thirteenth century could
logically have such a result for the Islamic states as
the fall of Baghdad. It is reasonably understandable
that a great conqueror worries more about big enemies
than little ones. The Caliphal government was certainly
a relatively great power of the day. After the Mongols
got rid o f ~ h Iranian government of the Khwarazmshahs,
another big barrier to their expansionism, they decided
on the fate of another fairly powerful state, namely
the Isma'ili forts in Quhistan and Alamt. The next
step naturally was to extinguish the 5reat Islamic
pm'/er of the day in Baghdad.
The Mongols' goal was to obtain absolute power
all over the world, therefore they did not stop their
expansionism in Baghdad, but they moved to Aleppo and
Damascus and occupied them.
They did not confine them-
selves to the conquest of the eastern powers. They
occupied several countries in Europe. l'li thout the least
warning, an army of the Mongols appeared in the spring
of 1222 on the south-eastern bOI'ders of Russia, and
destroyed the Russian cities one by one. They defeated
Poland, and Hungary in 1241.
However, for destroying
Baghdad, the l''longols might have had, as we previously
mentioned, an extra motive: Christian missionaries.
Apart from '\tlhat the authors say about the
motive of Hulag for the expedition to Baghdad, it
can logically be believed that under these circuIDstances
Hulag' s capture of Baghdad was vlell-nigh inevi table.
te also put forth several other motives for
Hulag's advance to Baghdad. These are logically
comprehensible too, because the disorder in government
circles in Baghdad, the secret campaign which was going
on against I"lusta' i m s rule, and the bloody l'Jar which
broke out between the BhI'Is and the 3unnIs 01' the city
make us incline to the opinion that whot is ascribed to
Ibn al-' AlqamI
and vlhat trouble Hulag' s repres enta tives
reportedly faced
can be true.
As for the item which is attributed to
concerning Hulag's motive for the conquest;23 neither
this one nor the three of the ab ove discussed factors
could be the basic causes of the Nongol invasion. The
main factor which led the Mongols to destroy the Isla-
mic states was what we discussed throughout the fore-
going lines, and the other factors (item 2-5 above)
caused Hulagu to bec orne more decided and more coura-
geous about the expedition. As far as the Baghdad
invasion is concerned himself can be regarded as
an authority on whose account one .may rely.
.oes not seem to have been hypocritical
in the question of the Caliphal rule, or the f"longol
conquest of the lands. He remarks very clearly that
the Mongol kings obtained their power from GOd.
impression is that in his essay on the conquest
of Baghdad, acts as a simple observer who reported
the events vlhich occurred in his tiine and this
impression gi ves us a degree of belief in s words.
IV. usI in the Contemporary Sources
'rhe extent of s involvement in the Baghdad
question is from obvious, and history gives a
slight clue which would not lead any neutral observer
to a firm judgment against Tsi. Several early books
which were compiled on the Mongol invasion do not give
a sufficient account of the effect of ~ s i s advice in
this matter. We could not find any reference concerning
Tsi in the iabaqat-i Na9iri of Jzjani which was
written in 658/1259 A.D. The author gives accounts of
various matters regarding the fall of Baghdad, but does not
even mention ~ s i s name.
Tsi himself can be considered an early
observer of the Mongol expeidtion to Baghdad, but he
never talked about his role in the invasion in his
Another contemporary author is Bar-Hebraeus
(1226-82 A.D.) vlho '\fiaS in Damascus at the time of the
l'longol attack on Baghdad. This historian is also
silent about ~ s i s role. He just mentions him as
a distinguished philosopher, the founder of the l'laraghah
observatory, administr.tor of the awqaf and the wri ter
of very many books on different sUbjects.
Ibn al-
Fuwati is also one of the contemporary historians who
started writing his book in 657, one year after the
extinction of the Caliphal power;29 nevertheless he
does not speak much of ~ s I and never ascribes the fall
of Baghdad to him.
Ibn could be regarded as one of the
most reliable authorities on this matter. For he seems
to have had a considerable knowledge of because
he not only was his contemporary, but he used to be
very close to studying with him in the l''Iaraghah
observatory for over ten years.
Our impression is
that if had really any remarkable role in the
Baghdad question, Ibn would most likely have
come to know about it, but as we pointed out, this
author never made any allusion to it at all.
Among the works which could be considered as
almost contemporary sources in this field there are
several which lack any description of involve-
ment. Al-FakhrI (701/1301 A.D) of Ibn and the
Tarlkh-i Guzldah (730/1329 A.D.) of ijamd Allah
l'1ustavfI and the l'lukhtajar of Ab al-]'ida', (died 732/1331A. D)
are of this type. Consequently no hint at this parti-
cular point can be found either in any primary sources,
which are supposed ta be the most reliable ones, or
in sorne of the sources which were written shortly after
the conquest.
There are two well-known histories among the
early secondary sources which comprise the story of
Hulagu's consultation with ~ u s i about the expedition to
Baghdad. These two books are the Jami' al-Tavarikh
(710/1310 A.D.) of RashId al-Din and the Tarikh-i
Vaaf (728/1327 A.D.) Therefore, as far as we
can see, the egrliest statement concerning Tusi's
effect on the Mongol invasion of Baghdad is what can
be found in RashId al-Din's book; and the variety of
the comments and judgmE:nts which are found in the later
sources is, we believe, the indirect consequence of
Rashid al-Din's words which appeared in 1310 A.D., that
is, fifty-two years after the bloody w ~ broke out
between the people of Baghdad and the Mongols.
V. The Earliest Account of usi's Involvement
It will be usefu1 to look closely into the
account which is given by Rashid al-DIn. This is a
paraphrase of RashId al-Din's words concerning Hulagu's
consultation with r:rusi and his other advisers about the
capture of Baghdad:
'Hul.agu Khan consulted with the distinguished
men of his court about the invasion of Baghdad. Every-
one gave his opinion. ijuss.m al-Din who was an astrono-
mer , and who, on the order of f'ang, was appointed to
advise Hulag on his expedi tions, vias called in ID gi ve
his view. ijusam, due to the particular respect that
Hulagu had for him was courageous enough to explain that:
'an expedition to Baghdad or any attempt on the life of
the 'Abbasid family will not be successful, because so
far no king who made an attempt on the lives of the
'Abbasids has lived to enjoy his days.
'If the Mongol king does this, the consequences
will be as follows:
(1) aIl horses will die and the soldiers will fall
(2) the sun will not rise,
(3) the rain will not fall,
(4) the cold bitter winds vIill blow and
the \Vorld vlill collapse by earthquakes,
(5) plants will not grow,
(6) and the king will die that year.'
'The high authorities of his court said that
it would be of great 6.dvantage to move against Baghdad.
After that, was called to express his opinion on
the question. 1'usi \'laS afraid, thinking that Hulagu was
going to test him. He remarked that none of the disas-
ters 1'111ich were anticipated. by ijusam al-DIn would
happen. Hulagu asked: 'what then?' ::rsI said: 'Hulag
will succeed the Caliph'. JJusam al-DIn Vias summoned in
order to argue with Tusi on the problem. said: 'It
is \'lell-known by aIl 11uslims that a big number of the
great companions [of the Prophet] suffered martyrdom,
but no corruption appeared
. 'There is no special divine security for the
'Abbasids either, because on the order of l''la'mun,
the Caliph, came froID Khurasan and murdered
Amin, the Caliph' s brother; Mut avlakki l , another 'Abbasid
Caliph, was also Idlled by his son; Muntaliir and l'lu' tazz
\Vere murdered by their commande:cs and their slaves;
however no disorder l'las caused in the \'Jake of these
VI. An Analysis of the Account
A few points concerning the foregoing para-
phrase should be made here:
(1) Before the matter was discussed with
the commanders (umcra') of the court encouraged Hulagu
for the invasion. cio, apart froID what rusi saiQ about
the question, Hulagu' s idea of the expedi tion was :i.lready
approved by his generals. Therefore the argument of
those who have reasoned that the fall of Baghdad was due
to rsI's encouragement, seems to be quite weak.
(2) J}usam al-Din' s reasoning \'Jas all based on
superstition, because he forecast some unhappy things
which were not understandable for such a philosophically
minded pers on as Tusi, so ~ u s could not help refuting
Uusam's view, giving several historically similar cases
which did not result in any abnormal events.
Tusi's refutation of Uusam's superstitious
beliefs should not be connected wi th his vie\'l on the
Caliphal power or with any possible religious enmity
between Tusi and the Caliph. As far as an outstanding
philosopher like Tusi viaS concerned, the universe 'vias
not going to change its established routine simply
because of one invasion. This kind of massacre had
occurred many times on the face of the earth throughout
the ages \'Ji thout causing any ch.ange in the mechanism
of the universe.
As the author says, ~ s was afraid and thought
that Hulagu ViaS going to test him. He noticed that
l}usam made sorne superstitious points, and Hulagu wanted
to find out whether 'rusi, \"ri th 0.11 his famed. kno.,edge,
could really understand the situation or note Therefore
~ u s gave his sophisticated ideas and rejected the
ignorant vievJs \'Jhich were put forth by ijusam al-Din.
It seems that besides his genuine idea
which was positively against l;tusam's, \'Jas also afraid
of hiding the reality, namely the fact that the expedi-
tion could have no effect at all on the sun, winds,
earthquakes etc. He might have been more frightened of
hiding the truth, because he had the impression that
Hulag was going to test him. This impression was
given to because he perhaps noticed a sarcastic
expression on Hulag's face due to listening to
'lrJords, so he felt that he had no choice but;1:D
tell him the truth.
Another possible reason for impression
(that he Vias being tested) is that he might have under-
stood that Hulag was already determined to conquer
Baghdad in any circumstance, and he just lvanted to try
hoVi far s forecasts vlOuld turn out to be tr'ue and
what would be '1'sI' s understanding of the stars
concerning the Baghdad invasion.
(3) The way Rashid al-Din describes the
meeting gives the impression that Hulag did not like
any opposition to the idea of the expedition to Baghdad.
He seems to have already made up l1is mind to invade
the country in any case, but he wanted to hear
some approval from the adviser' as psycl101ogical
support, because the writer says that J;[usam, due to the
high place he held in Hulagu's esteem did dare to ask
him not to capture Baghdad. In other words, Hulagu did
not like to hear what ijusam said. As a matter of fact,
J;[usam, depending on Hulagu's favour, took a gamble on
his life in opposing Hulagu's will. That is why J;[usam
did not end his life in happy circumstances; according
to Khwandamir ,
afiEI:'5teBaghdad \var was over and J;[USBm' s
forecasts did not come true, in spite of his high place
he was executed.
(4) Tusi was afraid while J;[usam al-Din was note
This fact leads us to another fact, that is, J;[usam was
more highly respected by Hulagu than Tusi; but in spite
of his position, Hulagu not only did not take his advice
into consideration but he had him murdered for his
false prediction.
As for ~ u s i s position, contrary to what
quite a few authors believe, he did not have a
tremendous influence on Hulagu especially before the
fall of Baghdad. Apart from this case which indicates
his fear of Hulag sorne authors tell us about another
occasion in which ~ s i was threatened wi th death by
Hulag seems to have been in favour of
just because he knew astrology, and he was busy making
the Maraghah observatory. One day HulaB was furious,
and shouted at saying 'If the observatory was
finished l would order your murder'. al-DIn
ShIrazI, one of pupils, who had a great sense
of humour said to Hulag that he \vould finish the
\\Then they left Hulag, (restlessly) said
to cls it fair to make such a dangerous joke with
such an unreliable murderer as Hulag?' 'Do you not
fear God to shed my blood by him?,35 These matters
make us believe that such a :gerson, who was anxious
about his own fate under Hulag, could not, by any
means, play an effective role as an instigator of
Hulag's invasion of Baghdad.
If he had really influenced Hulag to the
extent of preventing him from attempting the invasion,
he would certainly not have had to play such a puzzling
trick to save the life of 'Ala'al-Din, DIvan.
\Vhen Divan VIaS sentenced to death J,rsI went to
Hulag and said that according to the stars he,
(Hulag) might die. He added that if Hulag did not
want to die he should pardon and release all the
condemned prisoners aIl over his territory. Hulagu
accepted and released everybody including 9aOib
Divan. 36
The foregoing report indicates that usi could
not depend on Hulagu's favour, and consequently did not
dare to intercede for 9aoib Divan openly. For saving a
single person's life, ~ u s i had to influence Hulagu
with aIl the tricks he knew, so how could he possibly
keep Hulagu from his main goal, namely the destruction
of Baghdad?
Moreover if he had enough courage to intercede,
or he ha.d good control over Hulagu's mind, why did he
not try to stop the l'Iongol soldiers from sacking the
shrine of the shi'is Imams?37 If usi had not any
respect for the life of the Caliph, he by no means
could be careless about the shrines of his respected
Imams; but he could do nothing except kp silent. In
reality, it seems to us, ~ u s could not do anything
openly, but he tried his best to contribute to Islamic
mi.tters and to do things in favour of l'uslims qui te
(5) The most important and controversial state-
ment of usI in his converffitknwith Hulagu is this:
tHulagu Khan will replace the Caliph [bijayah KhalIfah
Hulagu Khan buvad], The only thing we can understand
out of this short statement is that ~ u s i expressed an
undeniable fact in very simple language. He knew that
the Baghdad regime was collapsing from within, that
the shi'Is of Karkh, the minority group of Baghdad, on
the order of the Davatdar and Abu Bakr, the Caliph's
son, were being massacred and their wives were being
raped, and consequently this had caused serious tension
in Baghdad. Ibn al-'AlqamI, the Shi'I minister of the
Caliph was hurt and wrote to Hulagu urging him to
extinguish the tyrannical rule of the Caliph.
~ u s was aware of the plot "..vhich was being
made by Ibn al-'AlqamI or the Davatdar to overthrow the
Caliph, and to transfer the Caliphate to the 'AlawIs
or to another descendant of the 'Abbasid family.40
r ~ u s was well-acquainted wi th the condi tionand the
circumstances of the time. Bo he was 1.'1ell aware that
Hulagu's commission which was given him by T1angu was
not yet finished, and that he was already prepared to
conquer Baghdad. He was well-informed that there was
no organized po'.ver in Baghdad (or elsevlhere) to stand
against Hulagu, because the foundation of the Caliphal
state, (due to the Caliph 1 s ignorance of state affair.s
and his particular inclination for living in pleasure,
and his failure to take care of his army41 was quite
Therefore, bearing aIl these facts in mind,
simply explained his idea and remarked that Hulag
would succeed the Caliph. He never said that Hulag
should set out for Baghdad, or that Hulagu's expedition
would bring tremendous fortune for the hum an community.
VII. The Later Accounts of the Baghdad Invasion
This is our understanding of the earliest
sources concerning involvement in the Baghdad
invasion. The same question, however, has been discusood
in a later historical work, TarIl.;:h-i Va'ijlaf. as follows :
'Ibn al-'Alqaml sent his representative to
Hulagu and encouraged him "GO invade Baghdad and assured
him that Hulagu \"iould occupy Baghdad \'lithout much effort.
Hulagu summoned to express his astronomical view
on the expedition. After investigating the stars and
the case more closely, sai& that the king
\'las going to win the war without trouble, because the
term of the Caliphate was over. Hulagu seriously
. d - 1- t B ' d d 42
eCl ea 'uO move 0 asn a
As one may notice, the motives of Hulag's
invasion of Baghdad were completely unconcerned with
Apart from other motives that Hulag had for the
invasion, Ibn al-'AlqamI encouraged him to put an end
to the Caliphal government, and matters took place one
after another and finally Hulag wanted to see
astronomical vie\v on the question.
In his turn, wnether depending on his
astrological knovJledge or not, said almost the same
thing which the author of the Jailli' al-Tavarlkh
attributed to him, and,as we analyzed before,
said nothing but the truth in a very simple manner.
Later events, history tells us, proved that Baghdad was
too vleak to stand against the overwhelming power of
the Mongcls.
statement that Hulagu, after consulta-
tion vii th ':J;sI, seriously decided to move to Baghdad
seems to have oeen a matter of the imagination, and does
not sound sensible. As we already remarked, Hulagu, for
many reasons, 'VIas going to capture Baghdad at any
expense. Huligu just wanted to know what would be the
astrological vie\;' of about what he was already
determined to do, and gave him his opinion about
an inevitable fact which, whether Muslims liked it or
not, was going to happen in the very near future.
Ab al-Fida', another SunnI author of
time (died 732/1331 A.D.) has given an account of the
problem in his book, Mukhtaar. He believed that the
causes for the Baghdad dis aster were the conflicts
between the ShI'Is and SunnIs; and that Ibn al-'AlqamI,
the shI'I minister of the Caliph, activated by hatred
of the SunnIs, invited Hulag to attack Baghdad.
author, h01;Jever, does not connect this question
at aIl.
.... .: .. '1-
l''IIrkhvland, an author of the fifteenth century
(died 903/1498 A.D.), made the same point as
but he added one phrase to it. He said: 'Hulagu
considered as an arbitrator in this case.
This is also simply from his imagination, and does not
seem to rely on the historical background of the case.
The ground strategy of the I1ongol dynasty,
which was to be directed by Hulagu in Iran, Baghdad and
Asia Minor was not going to be changed simply for a
few words which an astrologer might pronounce. It
sounds inconceivable that a few words could have such
an effect on a tough personality like Hulag to the
extent that the y incited him to take, or stopped him
from taking, such an enormous step as the capture of
A later historian, Khawndamir
1535 A.D.) in discussing HUlag's invasion of Baghdad
says that Hulag captured .. Baghdad wi th s
approval,45 though the author himself on the
page explained how effective Ibn al-'Alqami was on
that matter. :Khw.andamir failed to mention the course
of events, as Rashid al-DIn and Va99af did. He seems
to have interpreted Va99af's report as the 'approba-
tion of while as far as we can see
report itself sounds unrealistic, and consequently
Tsi's statement has been misinterpreted.
The mixture of historical report with inter-
pretations which have been mostly based on unsound,
illogical and sometimes quite hostile judgments, has
given an unjust understanding to the later writers
such as Nr Allah Shushtari and KhwansarI and
others sorne of v/hom 1,/e have already mentioned.
ShshtarI, as an admirer of citing
Khwandamir, remarks since l'1usta' 9im' s bigotry
was obvious to he caused Hulag to make an
expedi tion to Baghdad,46 and, as vie ulready pointed
Khwansari, the author of al-Jannat admared
because he l'lent to Baghdad to massacre the adherents of
the 'Abbasid Caliph!
To us none of the above mentioned judgments,
either by the Sunni or the shi'i authors is fair to
because they do not seem to be based on any
considerable historical or logical evidence.
vie are not here trying to bring out all avail-
able material on There are, of course, works such
as I;Iilli' s, in 'i'lhich he has been highly praised, 48 and
;;>afadi' s and Ibn Shaldr' s 49 etc. There are also
several books vlri tten by Ibn Taymiyah G.nd his admirers
through which has been introduced as the enemy of
Islam and the 'Ulama and the Fuqaha.
These ideas seem
to have arisen froID a sentimental and enthusiastic
source which does not have to be based on logic and
reasoning. \'Je have confined ourselves, therefore, to
the historical sources in which this particular topic,
that is, involvement in the Baghdad invasion,
has been discussed.
Before we close this section, a few remarks
should be made about al-'Azzawi's account of This
modern Arab author is qui te moderate about and
clearly admits r:rsi's contribution to knowledge and his
support of the learned men.
After briefly repeating
some of the earlier authors' words, he makes a few
points which seem to be remarkably false:
(1) He says that, contrary to the author of
al-Wafi bi-al-Wafayat, he does not find r:rsi a
follower of the sect of the Nuayriyah,52 whereas if
'Azzawi refers to 9afadI's book, it obviously does not
contain any such accusation about r:rsi. It is Ibn
raymiyah who made him a NUliayri heretic. 53
(2) He points out that r:rsI in his books
favours the sect of the Isma'ilJ.s and their teachings?4
In the appendix to the second volume of his book,55
'Azzawi tries to strengthen his argument by quoting
'Abbas Iqbal from the TarIkh-i Mughul. As far as we
can see, he has misunderstood Iqbal. 'Azzawi's account
of leaves the reader with the impression that
in his works is mainly concerned with supporting
the Isma'ili sect, while Iqbal simply explains that
when 1si went to the Isma'ili forts he started to
write in favour of the Isma'ilis.
Iqbal nor 'Azzawi paid any attention to the fact that
1si in his Imamat considered the Isma'ilis as
infidels,57 and that approval of the
was a result of the str.ain he was suffering in their
58 -
fortresses., Iqbal remains silent about the rest of
life and religious views, but 'AzzawI goes
further and comes to a wrong conclusion.
(3) 'AzzawI declares that can be found
more close to the (Isma'I1I) sect in his book,
Akhlaq-i NajirI, and finally cornes to the conclusion
that originally there was no religious divergence
between and the Isma'I1Is.
9 This is a very poor
judgment and a nave conclusion. There is no doubt
that several books on Isma'I1I thought are ascribed to
but the Akhlag, is not one of ti:lem . Apart from
its old introduction through which had to praise
the Isma'I1Is, one does not find any definite indica-
tion of inclination to this sect in this book.
The reason for his praise of the then Isma'ili leader
has been explained by himself in the new introduc-
tion to the Akhlag. He frankly admits that he wrote
the first introduction in favour of the Isma'Ilis
simply because he was forced to, and finally he vlanted
the readers to remove it from his
'AzzawI's statement is too ill-founded to show
us that he has even taken a look at ~ s I s confession
in the first pages of the Akhlaq. He only relies on
Iqbal's account which is also, in a sense, unfortunate,
because Iqbal, too, gives the impression that the
Akhlaq is one of ~ u s I s pro-Isma'IlI \'lorks.
VIII. VJhy did usI not Qbject to Hulag' s ActionS?
A curious-minded reader may wonder why ~ u s I ,
as an adviser, did not risk saying that Hulagu should
not capture Baghdad. Since he vias a i'iuslim, he mould
not have minded to sacrifice himself for the sake of
eight hundred thousand victims of Baghdad,62 hoping
that Hulagu might take ilis advice into consideration.
Sorne of the anSVlers to this question may be
found in different parts of this work; however vie "JOuld
now rather make a brief analysis of the question.
In the previous chapter vie gave an account of
:rusI' s idea of rulership an. his attitude tOvIards the
Caliphal pm'1er, ana finally \'le came to the conclusion
that, to a philosophical ShI'I minded personality like
r..rusI, the rule of l"Iusta' 9im was far from just. He
could not give any credit to his rule, and consequently
he could see no difference betvleen I1usta' 9im and others.
He was quite critical about the Caliphal government,
because he believed that it was not legitimate and not
In our discussion on ~ s r s consultation with
Hulag in the present chapter we also pointed out that
as far as both the whole situation of the Baghdad state
as \vell as the policy of the Hongols were concerned,
the time and condition were ripe for the invasion. More-
over, "'lho dared to take any opposite attitude to
HUlag? Besides, any opposition would be absolutely
useless, because Hulag does not seem to have been so
gullible as to forget about his considerably impor-
tant commission just for the opposition of ~ s r , who,
contrary to the general belief, turned out to be of
little weight in the court of HulagU at least in the
period prior to the fall of Baghdad.
~ s r could notice all these facts, and
expressed his idea about what would happen if the
l"'longols moved against Baghdad.
The Caliphal rule did not mean to ~ s r the
same thing which i t meant to the people like l'1inhaj
Siraj JzjanI or other SunnI authorities. To ~ ~ s I ,
the Caliph '\riaS a tyrannical , nave and unqualified ruler,
so he did not \"lorry about him and his rulership. He
might have had in the back of his mind that the
unavoidable fact was that Hulagu would move to Baghdad
in any circumstances and would win the war, therefore
it would be wiser and more beneficial for Islam to
act moderately, and to get along with the conqueror.
He most likely noticed that Islam was not
going to disappear due to the l'longol invasiaq, because
Chinglz Khan and his immediate successors had no
religious views of their own to impose. Minorsky
. . . the l'Iongols practised an absolute tolerance
toward the other religions, while their aWIl
beliefs, which viere vague i3.nd primi ti ve, had no
chance of success among the conquered population.
As Daltlson explains Chinglz Khan himself laid down as
part of his laltJ that aIl religions were to be respected
th t f t 64
Wl ou avourl lSm.
He coula.. succeed, '-rsI might have thought, in
making a great contcibution to Islamic culture, law,
theology and civilization under the Mongol reign. There-
fore, TusI not only did not consider the Caliphal power
Islamic, but may have believed that l'longol .rule was
not entirely anti-Islamic.
He may have believed also in the authenticity
of the speech which is attributed to 'Ali Ibn Ab!
the first Imam of the Shi'ah. According to
Hulagu did not capture ijillah, a city in Iraq, because
the religious leaders of the city wrote to Hulagu
remarking that 'Ali Ibn Abi in one of his
had anticipated that the 'Abbasid dynasty would be
overthrown by people like the Mongols, therefore, the
people of would not resist, but would surrender
themselves to Hulagu. As a result Hulagu left the city
quite safe.
As far as the ijadith classification is concerned
we do not know how far the ijadith through which the
above speech is reported could be authentic, and this
is not our concern presently; however tusi no doubt
had this in his mind, because he himself refers
to the Mongol oconquerors as the kings who obtained
their power from God.
Accordingly opposing did not seem, to
tusi, to be a useful sacrifice for Islam. Islam was not
going to be saved, nor was Hulagu going to change his
mind if opposed him.
As the later events proved, was quite
right and he seized this great opportunity to continue
Islamic instruction and took control of the Islamic
awqaf funds. He spent a large part of the money of the
awqaf funds for Muslim scholars. caused Hulagu to
take good care of the learned men. Under his supervision
Fakhr al-Dln Maraghi was commissioned to travel over
the conquered in order to bring back those
scholars who had fled from their homes during the
Mongol invasion.
He attracted about five hundred scholars and
their families to Maraghah. Ibn Kathir points out that
established salaries for the scholars, three
dirhams a day for philosophers, t\tJO for physicians,
one for the Fuqaha' and half a dirham for the MuQ.addi-
thin (the reporters of the Prophetie traditions).67
As '\fIe already mentioned, through the collabo-
ration of '1'usl and some others, the l Khans
accepted Islam, and huslim civilization was revived in
Iran ana Iraq.o Beveral high authorities under the
Mongol reign were Nuslim scholars
who certainly
maintained Islamic criteria as far as possible.
However, be&ring aIl the above points in minci,
after all, does not seern to have encouraged
Hulagu for the Baghdad calamity and consequently he had
no role in it. As a matter of fact he has been mis-
judged by many authors. The source of this misjudgment
by both ShI'I and BunnI writers seems to have been just
one short statement, that is 4Hulagu will replace the
Caliph' which Rashid al-Din reported.
His words have
been interpreted by numerous people holding varying
ideas about Tusi through the years. This matter
gradually became enlarged and finally, due to the
role that he was thought to have had in the Baghdad
question, appeared to authors like Browne a
double-dyed traitor,7
and greatly praised by such
writers as KhwansarI.7
It is possible that l'1uslims
in general who were 'shocked at the fall of Baghdad
wanted to blme someone, and this II someone
was TusI.
IX .. usi and the l'1urder of the Caliph
Another reason why has been seriously
condemned by the authors is his probable involve-
ment in the murder of the then Caliph. This story is
also reported in difi'erent ways. The primary sources
such as al-ijawadith al-Jami'ah, NairI,
Ta'rIkh nukhtaar al-Duwal and report on the
Baghdad war have given no hint at interference.
They simply reported the murder of the Caliph by
The later sources such as Jami' al Tavarlkh,
al-Fakhri, Tarlkh-i Guzldah, 1!'awat al-Wafayat,
Ta'rlkh Abi al-Fida', and Tarikh-i Vaat, do not
mention 1usI's advising Hulagu to execute the Caliph.
The autaors of the RavHat al-afa and the ijablb al-
Siyar have confused the story of Hulagu's consulta-
tion about the conquest of Baghdad \'li th the murder of
the Caliph. They remark, in short, that 1usi agreed
with Hulagu to execute Musta'9:im. '
Subki bitterly condemned him for his participa-
tion in the Caliph's murder.
Ibn Taymlyah and Ion
Qayyim introduced 11usi as the Jilurderer of IJiusta' 9im and
regarded him as an infidel.

can scarcely see how . far this claim made
by the above-mentioned authors against can be true
because i t was made long after the Baghdad invasion
and aIl the available primary works as weIl as a good
number of secondary sources are d8voi( of such an
accusation against 1usI. Moreover, the approval of the
murder of a man like who was believed by
the twelvers and others to have spoiled the structure
of the Islamic state, could not be condemned as a
definite crime against Islam.
x. Conclusion
In our view appears a very intelligent
figure on the stage of thirteenth century Islamic
history. A superficia.l study of history leaves
students of this field with the impression, that:
(1) the 11ongols were savage murderers and destroyers of
Islamic civilization, (2) that collaborated vlith
these savage people, (3) anL consequently viaS a
betrayer of his religion, of his fellow religionists
and of his fellow citizens.
To many authors he sounds a hypocrite because
he stayed in the Isma' III forts for over tVlenty years
and pretended that he was an Isma'ili. He even wrote a
number of books in their style and on their' ide as while
he was a twelver shi'I at heart. He afterwards joined
Hulagu and betrayed the Isma'ilis as well as the Baghdad
stite into the hands of the r'longols. Judgments of this
type certainly indicate nothing but navite or hostility.
In our urevious argument we tried to de scribe
1'usi as a contributor to knO\"ll,Jdge and as a patron of
Islamic culture, law and civilization. Now vie acimire
intelligence and remarkable flexibility. This
particular quality gave him such a capacity for
adjusting to different circumstances while moving
towards his substantial goal, namely the continuance
of the Islamic heritage.
If had made the least opposition to
HUlagu's will, he would have immediately met the same
fate as al-Din. Moreover, according to his
religion he had to practise Taqiyah.
He could not
fight the Isma'ilis while locked in their fortresses.
He was not able to stop Hulagu from expanding and
carrying out the expedition which was the object of
his commission. He had to have collaboration, a sort
of negati ve co-operation, wi th the f10ngol conqueror.
His collaboration vIas, indeed, in the interest of the
Islamic world through, among others things, his philoso-
phical ideas \'lhich linked the pre-I'10ngol to the post-
l'Iongol Islamic philosophy.
Accordingly, we not only disagree with the
cri tics of 1
u:sI concernint:s his invol vement in the
Baghdad invasion, but we also greatly admire his talent
and capacity and bis service to knowledge and the
Islamic heri tage. -l'Je inclined to the opinion that
thragh ':l'usI and. sorne 0 ther Islamic scholars \'Jho
collaborated with the Mongol kings, Islam succeeded in
compensating, to a great degree, for what it had lost
in the course of the horrifying chaos caused by the
Mongols. Our understanding is that ~ s i s critics have
not do ne him justice at aIl. ~ s i has been certainly
misjudged by both qis admirers as weIl as his critics.
He is a person who should be re-examined and his posi-
tion in the history of Islam rejudged. In brief:
1. ~ s i , in general, is not yet studied as much
as he deserves;
2, ~ s i has been misjudged through the Sunni-
Shi'i dispute, and the facts about him have
remained obscure;
,. the problem of the extent of ~ u s i s role in the
fall of Baghdad has not yet been actively
studied either in Arabie or English or Persian;
4, there is no indication in any primary sources
as well as several near-contemporary mate rials
of ~ u s i s role in the Baghdad invasion, there-
fore he seems to be free of any crime in this
5, as far as vIe know ID independent studies on ~ u s i
have yet appeared in English.
This short work, which presents a new critica1
angle on studies on tries to il1ustrate
life and background, his attitude to the Ca1ipha1
power, his position in regard to the Mongol conquest
of Baghdad, and finally his influence on that
historical event.
1. Cf. the first chapter of the present work,
section B.
2. Cf. the third chapter of the present \'Jork.
3. Aydin Sayili, The Observatory in Islam,(Ankara,
1960), 187-223.
4. E.G. Browne, A Literary History of Persia,
(Cambridge, 1956), II, 457, hereafter LEP.
5. E.G. Vlickens, introduction to The Nasirean
Ethic.s , of (London, 1964), 9.
6. l"inhaj Siraj JzjanI, abaqat-i (lCabu1,
1907), l, 157-59; also II, 708.
7. Cf. Chapter 3 of this work.
b. Cited from the introduction to the first edition
of Bar-Hebraeus ' Ta'rlkh Mukhtajar al-Duwa1,
(Beirut, 1959).
9. Bar-Hebraeus, I-1ukhtaar a1-Duwal, 286, cf. also
the thirci chapter of the present \l'Jork.
10. Cf. chapter
oi' the l)resent vJork.
11. Cf . Chapter
of the work.
12. Ibn AI-Fakhri, (Cairo, 1927), 249.
It is worth mentioning that C.E.J. Whitting,
the translator of the book of AI-Fakhri into
English, thought that the word Sa'id (which simply
means a man who is happy) was a nickname of
therefore he wrote the \\Tord with a capital S.
Readers of Whitting' s translation should use it
with caution and with Arabie text at hand.
13. MustavfI, TarIkh-i GuzIdah, (London, 1910), 580,
14. Ab al-Fida), l'lukhta'iar Ta) rIkh al-Bashar,
(Constantinople, 1869), IV, 9.
15. Ibid., III, 203.
16. Ibid., III, 203.
17. Cf. chapter 3, Section VI of the present work.
18. Cf. chapter 3, section III of the present vlOrk.
19. Ibn TaymIyah, Minhaj al-Sunnah a1-NabawIyah,
(Cairo, 1903), II, 99-100; and a1so l'Iajmu' ah-i

il, (Cairo, 1905), 97.

20. Ibn Qa;yyim, Ighathah al-Lahfan Min l'Iaayid a1-
(Cairo, 1961), II, 263.
21. Ibn a1-' Imad, 8hadharat al-Dhahab, (Cairo, 1932},
V, 339-40.
22. Ibn Bhakir al-KutubI, ]'awat a1- VJafayat, (Cairo,
1951), II, 307-12.
23. Al-I'iafl bi al-vlafayat, (Istanbul, 1931),
l, 179-83.
( intra.)
24. Subki, abaqat al-Shafi'iyah al-Kubra, (Cairo,
1906), V, 115.
25. Mirkhwand, Ravfiat al-afa, (Tehran, 1960), V,
26. Khwandamir, ijabib al-Siyar, (Tehran, 1954), II,
27. QaHi Nur Allah Shushtari, Majalis al-II/lu' minin,
(Tehran, 1950), II, 204-5.
28. Khwansari, Rawqat al-Jannat, (Tehran, 1889), 605.
29. 'Abbas Qummi, Al-Kuna Wa al-Alqab, (Najaf,
1956), III, 216-18.
30. G .M. \'iickens, his intro.uction to the Nasir:an
Ethics of Tusi, (London, 1964), 9-22.
31. M.G.S. Hodgson, The Order of the Assasins, (The
Hague, 1955), 239-43.
32. RiQ.a Shabibi, l''Iu'arrikh al-'Irag Ibn al-
Fuwati, J.958), II, 207-217.
33. 'Abbas al-'Azzawi, 'rcrrIkh al-'Irag Bayn al-Iljtila-
layn, (Baghdad, 1935), 1, 278-80 and also in the
appendix ta Volume II of the same work, 24 (1936).
34. Mudarris RaHavi, Agval Va Ajar-i Muyammad b.
r1uyammad al-:e;asan (Tehran, 1955), 17.
35. Mudarris Zan jan l , Sarguzasht Va 'Aga'id-i
Falsafi-i Kh\'J%jah Nair al-Din Tusi, (Tehran,
1956), 39-44.
Chapter One
1. l'lato, The Republic, trans. F.M. Cornford, (London
1964-), 267.
2. A.E. 'raylor, Aristotle, (New York, 1955), 6.
3. Browne, LHP, II, 4-84--86, and also III, 18; A.J.
Arberry, Classical Persian Literature, (London,
1958), 253-63.
4-. W. Ivanow, his introduction to Tajavvurat,
(Leiden, 1950).
5. Published in the Tehran University series, no.
6. Published in the Tehran University series,
noc 309.
7. Cf. introduction to the Present work.
8. Vlickens, The Nasirean Ethics, by
9. A treatise is attributed to him entitled: Sayr
va Buluk in \vhich talk about his own
career and his different understanding about
various religious sects. This treatise together
with compositions was edited by
Mudarris RaHavi and published in the Tehran
University series, No. 308 in the Majmu'ah-i
Rasa'il, 1956. Generally speaking one can
scarcely find autobiographical literature in
Islam. GhazzalI has also an autabiography (Al-
l''lunqidh 11in al-:Qalal), but this, like s
Sayr va Suluk, does not give sufficicnt informa-
tion about the writer.
(ch. one)
10. See, for instance, point on the date of
the writing of a certain section of the Akhlag-i
NairI, (Lahur, 1952), 228. This is one of
major vlOrks. Mention will be made of i t in the
later stage of this project.
Il. Tarikh-i Vaaf al-ijaHrah, (Tehran, 1959),
l 29.
12. Ibn Al-ijawadith al-Jami'ah, (Baghdad,
1932), 375-76, 327, 350-51, 380 etc.
13. Tarikh-i l, 29; also RashId al-
Din, Jami' al-Ta.varikh, (Tehran, 1956), 'II,
707, 718, etc.
14. Qummi, AI-Kuna, III, 216-18; also Hadiyah al
A}J.oab, (Najaf, Iraq, 1930), 195-96; also Shu shtatI ,
l'Iajalis, II, 201-210; also Khwansari,, 505.
15. There are different explanations about the term
khwajah. Generally speaking it is an honorific
title Nhich applies to personages of a town. It
also applied to those who were castrated. It is
thought that there has been a connection between
these two meanings. In the courts of the tyranni-
cal rulers those who were appointed to take care
of the ruler's: family were castrated in order
to keep the family honor safe, therefore they
were called khwajah sara, meanlngJhe head of
the house. ]' or further detail see the short essay
of C L. Huart in the Encyclopaedia of Islam,
(hereafter E Il) under II, 865; and
also Burhan-i Qati' edited by Dr. crrehran,
1963), II, 779.
(ch. one)
16. Ibn al-Fuwa-I, Al-ijawadith, 380, Ibn .hakir,
Fawat, II, 312, and KhwansarI, Rawclat, 606.
17. A9val Va Agar , I.
18. l1The prosperity of the city ciates from the time
when Ab al-'Abbas 'Abd Allah b. made it
his capital in the third (ninth) centuryll. Cf. E.
Honigmann's article in E Il under III,
19. A9val, , 1-2.
20. ShushtarI, l"lajalis, Il, 203.
21. Ibid., II, 203.
iJe do not l<:now how he was taken to Quhistan.
The inclination of an Isma'IlI leader of having
a Twelver dhI'I (tsI) as close company should
not give the impression to the reader that there
VIere friendly relations between the Twel vers and
the Isma'IIIs. As Hodgson puts forth, IIthe history
of the state [of Alamt] was dominated by a
sustained hostility between the Isma'IlIs and the
surrounding Sunnite and. even ,shI'ite populations '!;
(cf. Il Alamt, Bncyclopaedia of Islam, second edi-
tion, hereafter E l, 353). But the point is
that since Isma'III leaders were eager for
knowledge they made a great attempt ta attract
learnedmen of any either ;:.:lunnI or BhI' I.
(Cf. Hodgson, The Order of the Assassins, 240;
and also the note no, 48 below)
22. Ibn al-FuvJa-I, Al-:awadith, 158.
23. Ibn ShakIr, Fawat, Il, 312.
(ch. one)
24. Huma'i, introduction to the Muntakhab-i Akhlag-i
Najiri, (Tehran, 1941).
25. Tarikh-i Vajjaf, l, 29-30.
26. Akhlaq, 3-4.
27. Danish Pazhuh, introduction to 's aL-':Itisalah
11u' iniyah, (Tehran, 1956).
28. AI-Isharat wa al-Tanlihat,
III, 906.
29. 110.
30. Ibid. ,xxi v
(Cairn., 1958),
31. r.rhe Nasiran Ethics, transe Wickens, 192.
32. Akhlaq-i Najiri, (Lahur, 1952), 228.
33. CL. Huart, "Isma'iliya
, E Il , II, 549-52; also
Hodgson, The Order of the Assassins.
34. Rodgson, The Order of the Assassins,
35. According to Ibn al Athlr (cf. L. Lockhart,
, E 1
, l, 352-53) Han eagle indicated
the site to a DqyJarili te king, who buil t a castle
there, hence the derivation of Alamut from aluh,
"eable" and amt(kh)t, Tlteaching

L. Lockhart, TlAlamut", El, 1, 352-53.
37. HOdgson, The Order of the Assassins. 73.
38. For the last two paragraphs, we l.sed Hodgson' s
article of "Alamut
in L 1
, l, 353-354.
(ch. one)
39. The word 'Quhistan' is the Arabicised form of the
Persian name Khistan meaning a mountainous
country (derived from KUh, "mountain" with the
suffix -istan) and corresponds to the Arabie
designation of -Jibal.
4-0. J.H. Kramers, E 1.
II, 1108-1110.
4-1. 1108-1110.
4-2. Ibn al AthIr, al-:Kamil, (Cairo, 1885), X, 110.
4-3. Hodgson, IlA1amut
, E 1
, l, 353-54-.
4-4. RashId al-DIn, II, 690-91.
4-5. Ibid., 697.
4-6. It "vIas already remarked that usI was not happy
staying with the Order. In the 1ater stage of
this chapter we taU: about 'rusI' s religion and
the way he acted while under the Isma'Il1s.
4-7. KhwandamIr, al-Biyar, III, 105-106.
4-8. JuvaynI, The History of the World-Congueror,
transe John Andrew Boyle, (Iianchester, 1958), II,
4-9. , 302-303.
50. NustavfI, Guzidah, 578.
51. Rashld
' "OP
Jami" II, 684-. a.L-lJln, ,
52. Ibid. , 685.
Ibid. , 686-87.
54-. Ibid. , 687.
55. Ibid. , 688-89.
, .
(ch. one) 131
56. Ibid., 689-90.
57. Malik Shams al-DIn A. D.) lovas
the first king of the Kurt dynasty in Herat. He
had surrendered himself to Hulagu in 653/1255 A.D.
(cf. ; J.uvaynI' s TarIkh-i Jahangusha, Leyden,
1937), III, 98-99; also QazvInI's notes on the
same pages.
58. RashId al-DIn, Jaml', II, 691-92.
59. Ibid., 693-97.
60. Ibid., 692-93.
61. We will discuss their points below.
62. R. Levy, Persian Literature, (London, 194-8), 64-.
63. Arber:ry. Classical l'ersian Li terature, 258
64-. As it was stated before, in the present chapter,
some astronomie al instruments viere found in
Alamt. Sayili wonders if there was any
tory in there, (cf. Observatory in Islam, 188),
but since such an expert astronomer as Vias in
Alamut, and since his fame in this science vIas
to the degree that it had reached the Mongol
court, one could scarly hesi tate to accept that
must have had certain astronomical activity
before the observaiX>:ry \'Jas founded.
8ayi14 includes Alamt as possibly the scene of
a minor observatory: tlFor in addition to the
existence of astronomical instruments there, an
outstanding astronomer, Na9ir al-DIn
was at Alamut at the time". (cf. 188).
(ch. one) 132
65. Rashid al-Din, Jami', II,718. It is to be
tioned here that stated that took
the initiative in establishing the observatory
(cf. Tarikh-i but Rashid al-Din's
statement is more acceptable because, in the
introduction to the Zij, Tusi himself, speaks of
the foundation of the observatory on the order of
66. Mirkhwand, RavHat al-afa, V, 254.
67. Khwandamir, ]}abib al-Biyar, III, 103.
68. Arberry, Classical Persian Literature, 258. It
is worth noting that KhwansarI in the Raw.a.t al-
Jannat makes the same point as Arberry does
(cf. 610 of the book), but as we discussed it
ab ove the evidence is quite strong that the
main reason why Tusi came to Hulagu's favour was
his speciality in astronomy in which the I1ongols
were very interested.
69. Howorth, History of the l''longols, (London, 1888),
III, 109.
70. Tarikh-i l, 28.
71. This man, I1ujahid al-Din Ab al.l'Iayamayn Ibak
Davatdar (often known as Davatdar-i or
Davatdar-i Kuchik: under secretary) vJas a
distinguished figure of th.e court of
Cf. Qazvini's appendix to Juvayni's Jahangusha,
III, 449-51.
72. RashiQ al-Din, Jami', II, 698-700.
73. Ibid., 701.
(ch. one)
74. Ibid., 714.
75. Tarikh, l, 30-31.
76. RashId al-Din, Jami', II, 706-707.
77. Tarikh-i Vaaf, l, 51.
78. 52. The ruins of the building which we
visited in 1958 are noVl called Rsad-i vaghI.
79. Arberry; Classical Persian Literature, 258.
80. introduction "GO tbe Zij-i Ilk.hani, in
Arberry, Classical Persian
81. His travel over Quhistan does not seem to have
had a very specifie reason. Due to the knowledge
he had obtained about that area during his
stay, he might have known about certain books,
astronomical instruments or awqaf properties which
were to be collected by bim.
82. ZanjanI, Barguzasht , 72-73. There are quite a
few sources through itJhicb one may obtain detailed
information about observatory. We
recommend that tbe interested students should read
"The Maraghah observatory" in The Observatory in
Islam, (pp. 187-223) by Aydin Sayili, and also bis
Persian article "Khwajah 'rsI Va
i '1araghah" in the Danishkadab-i
Adabiyat (the Journal of the Faculty of Literature)
of Tehran, no. 4, 3rd year, 1335/1956, Tebran, and
also the ab ove mentioned two Persian books on
by Zanjani and RaHavl.
83. Akhlaq, 5-6.
(ch. one) 134
84. More detail on this book can be found in \Vickens 1
introduction to the Akhlag.
85. This book is translated into Epglish and edited
together with scholar1y notes and introduction by
. '.V. IVMow for the Isma' ili society, series A,
no 4, (Leiden, 1950).
86. RaHavi, . , 241-45.
87. Ibn Taymiyah, Rasalil, 97.
88. Ivanovl, his introduction ta Taavvurat,
89. statement concerning the people who believe
in the 'Zahir-i Shari' at' applies to non Isma' IIi;
but, as long as 1'usi h,) s been thought to have
been either an Isma'III or a Twelver .Shi'!:, his
words in this particular occasion cannot apply
to anything but the sect of the twelvers. In
other words te means that he vJaS brought up in
.. , ..
a Twelver Bhi family.
90. Sayr va SuIUk, (Tehran, 1956),
91. Ibid., 40.
92. Ibid., 40.
93. 1'usI, FUjul, (Tehran, 1956), 38.
94. Imamat, (Tehran, 1956), 23-2Lj. An account
of 1'usI's religious views is given by Dr.
in his Ph. D. thesis, xeroxed in the
Uni versi ty microfilm Inc., Ann Arbor,
1966. Although we cannot agree with him on the
problem of s being "intimately involved
(chs. one & two)
with the destruction of Isma' ili pO\'ler" and his
reasoning concerning the construction of the
Maraghah observatory which remarks on the pages
59-60, his discussion of religious ideas
given on pages 61-65 is worthr-ea.lng.
95. Huma'i, l''luqaddimah-i qadim-i Akhlag-i Nairi,
(Tehran, 1956), 7-8.
96. Akhlag, 3-4.
97. Cf. section l, B,of the present chapter.
98. Taavvurat, 110, (fersian text).
99. Zanjani, Sarguzasht , 54.
]00. Sayr va 38-39.
lOI. Imamat, 23.
102. Ibn al-ijawadith, 380; Ibn Shakir,
Fawat, II, 312; Rashi al-Din, Jami', II, 770.
103. Ibn A1-J;Ia\ladit.b., 341.
104. Ibid" 375-76.
105. Ibid., 380.
Chapter T\rJo.
1. Imamat, 23.
? The ruler of Islamic community is to be highly
qualified in every Islamic sect. He should manage
to protect the religion as weIl as temporal
matters (cf. 11awardi: A1-Aljkam a1-Su1t;aniyah,
Cairo, 1909). HO\'lever, the Shi'ah sect i8 very
(ch. two)
cautious about this matter, and does not recog-
nize anyone as Imam but those with particular
qualification i.e. infallibility. The first
chapter tlFI 'Aqd al-Imamah
of the foregoing book
(pp.3-17) gives details about the Imam's qualifi-
cation in different Islamic sects.
3. 'Abd al-Jabbar, SharQ Ul al-Khamsah, (Oairo,
1965), 753.
4. Ibid., 757.
5. C. A. Storey' , 'aL-TaftazanItI, E Il, IV, 604--607.
6. AI-TaftazanI, al-MaqajiG fI 'Ilm al-Kalam,
( Istanbul, 1887), II, 273. (margin).
7. Ibid., 271-72.
8. Ibid., 272.
9. AI-JuwaynI, Kitab AI-Irshad, (Cairo, 1950), 410.
10. Ibid., 424.
11. 4Abd al-Jabbar, Dil, 753-54.
12. s. KhusravshahI, 'Ilal-i..,zuhr-i ]\iraq Va
I-lazhahIb-i IslamI, (Tehran, 1962), 111.
13. Hodgson
The Order of the the Assassins, 10.
14. Shaykh al-ShafI, (Najaf, Iraq, 1963),
II, 167.
15. Ibid., IV, 167.
16. Ibid., IV, 191-92.
17. Ibid. IV, 193-227.
D.M. Donaldson, The Shiite Religion, (London, 1933),
(ch. two)
19. 'Imadzadah, Muntaqim-i UaqIqi , (Tehran, 1956),
20. Ta1kUW al-ShafI, III, 27.
21. Ibid., IV, 3.
22. Ibid., IV, 54.
23. The interested student of the ShI'ah can obtain
further detail from the above referred sources
plus the follovling works: (1) .Kashf al-Murad FI
TajrId al-l' tigad, vlhich is a comprehen-
sive commentary on theological book,
vIri tten by Ibn I;1illI (Makta-
bah 1952), (2) M.G.S.
Hodgson's essay IIHow did the ShI'a become
Sectarian?11 printed from Journal of the American
Oriental Soceity, V. 75, no, l, 1955, (3) A small
book compiled by the above-mentioned ijillI and
commented hy Miqda.d entitled: SharQ. Bab
al-ijadI 'Ashar, Tehran, 1950). This
book has been translated into English by vi. 1'1c ..
l'lil1er; Al-:Dabu 11-Q.adI 'ashar (London, 1958),
(4) R. Strothmann's article IIShI'a Il in E l l
IV, pp. 350-358.
24. Mu}J.ammad TaqI: FalsafI, Il Islam va Jahan-i l''Iutamaddin-i
, f1aktab-i Tashayyu', (Qum, 1959), 108.
25. The an Ethics, 227.
26. Ibid., 191-92.
27. FUjl, 38.
28. RashId al-DIn, Jami', II, 713.
(ch. two)
29. Tarikh-i Jahangusha, (Leyden, 1937),
III, 290.
30. Tarikh-i Vajaf, l, 28.
31. Howorth, History of the Mongols, III, 113.
32. Rashid al-Din, Jami', II, 713.
33. Tsi, Baghdad, a part of Juvayni,
Jahangusha, III, 290.
34. Tarlkh-i Vaaf, l, 28.
35. Ibn Al-Fakhri, 244.
36. Bar-Hebraeus, Mukhtaar al-Duwal, 254.
37. Ibn Bhakir, Fawat, l,
38. Rashid al-Din, Jami', l, 606.
39. Ibid., II, 713.
40. Ibn Fawat, l, 496.
41. Juvayni, The History of the Horld-Conqueror, transe
Boyle, (Manchester, 1958), II, 390-91.
42. For further detail on Khl,'larazm. and Ibn
l, 156, 361-70.
43. f1irkhvland, RavHat, V, 78-83.
4-4. Barthold, 1J.
urkestan 'DO'tln to the l'Iongol Invasion,
2nd ed., (London, 1958), 400.
45. Cf. C. Cahen's essay IIThe rrurks in Iran and
Anatolia Before the Mongol Invasion
, A History
of the Crusade s, II, 661-92 ,.::.i t ed by K. T'l.
Setton, (Philadelphie., 1962). \'je particularly
draw attention to the author's account on the
(ch. two)
spirit of relations between the Kh""arazinshah
and the Caliph on page 671 of the book.
46. Jzjanl, abagat, l, 354.
47. Chahardahl, Tarikh-i Falasifah-i Islam, (Tehran,
1957), 250-51.
48. Ibn Al ]'akhri, transe C.E.J. V/hitting
(London, 309.
49. Cf. section l of the present chapter.
50. Arberry, ClassicaI Persian Literature, 261-62.
51. Ibn Shakir, ]'awat, II, 307-308.
52. Brovme, LEP, II, 442 (footnote).
53. Ibn Sh8.kir, Fawat, II, 312; Al-wafl, l, 183.
54. Ibn Shakir, Fm'Vat, II, 307-8; and ;;;afadl, Al-
wafl, l, 179.
55. Ibn AI-Ijawadith, 375-76.
56. Ibn Sh8.kir, Fa\'lat, II, 310-11; Al-wafl,
l, 182.
57. Ibn Taymlyah, r-1inhaj, II, 99; Ibn Ighathah,
II, 263; Ibn al-'Imad, Shadharat, V, 340.
58. 'Abbas Iqbal, Tarlkh-i l'ughul, (Tehran, 1962), 502.
59. Browne, II, 485.
60. The l[asirean Ethics, 230.
61. Ibn Shakir, Fawat, II, 308-309; liiafadl Al-\'!afl,
l, 179-80.
62. Igbal, Tarlkh-i T1ughul, 506.
(chs. two & three)
63. ZanjanI, Sarguzasht, 61-62, cited from Hindusha's
Tajarib al-Salaf.
64-. Ibn Taymiyah, l''linhaj, II, 99.
65. bhablbi has devoted a part of his
book to the relation between religion and
astronomy and mathematics. Cf. Mu'arrikh al-'Iraq
Ibn al-FuwatI, II, 217.
66. Cf. LHP, II, 4-85.
Chapter Three
1. Rashlci al-DIn, Jami', II, 706-7.
2. Ibn Taymlyah, f'Iinhaj, II, 99.
j. SubkI, abaqat, v, 115.
4-. KhwansarI, al-Jannat, 605.
5. Bro\"me, Lhl, II, 4-64-.
6. Ibid., 4-65.
7. Ibid., 4-57.
8. Arberry, Classical Iersian Literature, 257-63;
Levy, Persian Li terature, Wickens, intro ..
duction to TusI's 9-12.
\Vickens remarks: Il at the side of the
Mongol prince Hulagu, was to cross the greatest
psychological watershed in Islamic civilization,
playing a leading part in the capture of Baghdad
and the extinction of the generally ackno\"Tledged
Caliphate there.
(cf. p. 9, The Nasiran Ethics.)
In the second chapter, section III, (Tusi's
(ch. three) 141
Ef.'fect on the Period), we pointed out, and also
in the present chapter we will discuss, that in
talking of effect, the thesis of 'conti-
nuance of Islam' is quite more considerable than
anything else. Levy and Arberry have already
been quoted in the first chapter.
9. Akhlag, 275.
10. KhwansarI, 510.
Il. RashId al-DIn, Jami', l, 575.
12. Christopher Dawson, 'llhe l'1ongol Mission, (London,
1955), XX't.
13. Ibid., xxv-xxvi.
14. al-DIn, Jami', II, 687; also relrkhwand,
HavHat, V, 230.
15. Rashid al-DIn, II, 699-702; and MIrkhwand,
RavHat, V, 239-40.
16. RashId al-Din, Jami', II, 697-98; and
Raviiat, V, 234; and Howorth, History of the 11ongols,
III, 109.
17. l''IIrkhw.nd, Raviiat al-afa, V, 236-38. Historians
are of different opinions about Ibn al-'AlqamI.
He appeared to be also a disputed man. Sorne
writers like Ibn (cf. 248-49 Al-Fakhr!)
have defended him and tried to clear him from
the involvement in the Baghdad capture. The
interested students are recommended to
refer to the 2.l1d other biographi-
cal dictionaries.
(ch. three)
18. "Kayfiyat-i Vaqi'ah-'i Baghdad", a part of
Jahangusha, by Juvaynl, III, 280-81.
19. Rashid al-Din, Jami', II, 719-20.
20. DavlSon, The Nongol l"Iission, xiii.
21. Cf. note no. 17 above.
22. Cf. note no. 15 above.
23. Cf. note no. 18 above.
24. Cf. introduction to the Zij in Zanjanl's
Sarguzasht , 117-19.
25. Cf. note no. 18 above.
26. This book VJas translated from Persian into
English by l'i.H.G. Haverty,printed by Gilbert and
Rivington, London, 1881. ':[lhis translation is
helpful for the English-reading students
interested in this field.
27. According to Qazvlnl this work, IIKayfiyat-i
Vaqi'ah-ii Baghdad
, which is ascribed to
has oeen attached to four of the tVlelve manus-
cripts of Juvaynl's Tarlkh-i Jahangusha which
were being collated with each other by him. The
Tarlkh-i Nlkpay has also this appendix (cf.
TarIkh-i Jahangusha, III, 279, the Gibb Memorial,
XVI, London, 1939). Bar-Hebraeus has inserted
the Arabic translation of the tre&tise without
referring to (cf. 269-72, Beirut,
1958). It's English translation together with
sorne scholarly accounts of the book was published
by ihd:ens in the Journal of Semitic Studies,
Vol. 7, 1962.
three) 143
28. Bar-Hebraeus, I-lukhta$ar, 286-87.
29. Ibn A1-ijawadith, introduction).
30. Iqba1, Tarikh-i Iiughu1, 492; and ZanjanI,
Sarguzasht, 25.
31. RashId a1-DIn, Jami', II, 706-707.
32. Khwadami r, UabIb a1-Siyar, III, 107.
33. Cf. section II of the present chapter.
34. This story is a good evidence that indicates why
was kept in the court of Hulag. Another
similar story which is reported by Bar-Hebraeus
(cf. Ta'rIkh Mukhtaar, 280) and KhwansarI (cf. a1-Jannat, 510) say ihat t'fi.Wial-DIn 11aghribI
fe11 from Hu1ag's favour and was to be executed,
but Hu1ag pardoned him just because he possessed
the know1edge of astrology.
35. KhwandamIrl Uabib al-Siyar, III, 116; and Khwansari,
Rawiat a1-Jannat, 510.
36. Ibn Shakir, Fawat, II, 308-309.
'A1ii' a1-DIn 1-1a1ik JllvaynI (;;;a}J.ib Divan)
(623-681/1226-1282 A.D.) was the Persian
governor of Baghdad under the l''longol kings,
Hu1ag, Abaqa K,han and AQ.illad Taqdar for
twenty-four years (1258-82 A.D.). Prior to
Hu1ag's invasion of Iran and Baghdad he was a
distinguished secretary of AmIr Arghn (the
l'longo1 governor in Iran) for fifteen years
(641-654/1243-1259 A.D.). Further detai1 can be
obtained from QazvInI's introduction to JuvaynI's
famous book, Jahangusha, to \'lhich vie have
(ch. three) 144
frequently made reference in the present work.
37. Rashld al-Dln; Jami', II, 713.
38. Ab al-Fida', Mukhtajar, III, 202; and Tarlkh-i
Vajjaf, l, 31-33; and JijzjanI, abagat2 II, 704.
39. ZanjanI, Sarguzasht, 40, cited from the 11ir't
al-Jinan by Yafi'I.
40. Rashld al-Dln, Jami', II,698.
41. Cf. ch. 2, section l of the present work.
42. TarIkh-i l, 30-31.
43. Ab la-Ii'ida', I1ukhtajar, III, 202-203.
44. r'ilrkhwand, HavHat, V, 237-38.
45. Khwandamir, Uablb al-Siyar, II, 338.
46. Shshtari, IViajalis, II, 204-205.
47. Cf. section l of the present chapter.
48. Tarlkh-i Falasifah, 242; and Ibn
Taymlyah, I1inhaj, II, 99.
;;>afadi, Wail, l, 179; and Ibn Bhakir, ]'awat ,>n', 307.
Cf. the second chapter of this work.
4 - ... 1.... 4-
AzzaWl, Tarlkh al- Iraq, l, 280.
Ibid., l, 279.
53. Ibn Taymiyah, Rasalil, 97.
54. 4 AzzawI, ;F<:1rlkh al- 4 Iraa, l, 279.
55. Ibid., II, 24 (appendix).
56. Iqbal, rrarikh-i f1ughul, 501-502.
57. Imamat, 24.
(ch. three)
58. Cf. the first chapter of the present work.
59. 'AzzawI, TrIkh al-'Iraq, l, 279.
60. Cf. the first chapter of the present work.
61. Iqbal, TarIkh-i l''1ughul, 502.
62. MustavfI, Tarlkh-i GuzIdah, 580.
63. Mlnorsky, II Iran Il, Uni ty and variety in rlus1im
civilization, (Chicago, 1959), 191.
64. Dawson, The l"longol Mission, xxiii-xxiv.
65Q Tarlkh-i l, 36.
66. Cf. 1'usI's introduction to the ZIj in ZanjanI's
67. Zan jan l, Barguzasht, 84.
68. cf.ihesacond chapter of the present worko
69. ZanjanI, Barguzasht, 53.
70. Cf. section V of the present chapter.
71. Browne, Lt, II, 457.
72. Cf. section l of the present chapter.
73. l'IIrkhwand, RavHat a1-::;;afa, V, 249-50; and KhvJanda-
mIr, ijabld a1-Siyar, III, 107.
74. Bubld, tabagat, V, 115.
75. Ibn TaymIyah, Inhaj, II, 99-100; and Ibn Qayyim,
Ighathah, II, 263.
76. TusI, Tajavvurat, 110.
To illustrate the paucity of original
literature and early sources concerning role in
the fall of Baghdad, and the divergent views which
have been given in the nearly contemporary sources, we
are going to quote the most important accounts on the
question which we have been dealing with in the present
project, those VJhich are given by ten contemporary or
near-contemporary authors, and vlhich are arranged in
chronological order as fol1ows:
l<fsi in the Eyes of Ibn al-Fuvlati (Ca. 1258 A.D.)
IIKh\vajah al-D'in died and was
buried in an old empty cellar which is said to have
been built for the Caliph li Din Allah. He was
a learned, high-minded, well-behaved, humble man who
did not become angry with any questioner [or any
beggar] nor fail to fulfil anybody's wish. He was born
in fi ve hundred and ninety-seven [597/1200 A. D. J. [\'Jhen
he died] the poets elegized him 11
[Ibn ijawadith, 3bO]
"In the year six hundred and seventy-two
[672/1273 A.D.] the king abaqa Khan arrived in Baghdad
while the commanders, military men and KhwaJah
al-Din were in his service As for
he stayed in Baghdad to inspect the awqaf. He established
revenues for the fuqaha' [the Islamic jurists], lecturers
and the 9ufis on a monthly basis. He promulgated
principles for the [management of] awqaf property and
reformed i t since i t had been disorganized previously!'
[Ibn al-Fuvlat;i ijawadi th, 375-76J
2. usI;'? Ovin Account (Ca. 1259 A.D.) of the
Fall of Baghdad
II\'Jhen Hulagu deli vered the state of the
Malal)idah and turned towards Hamadan he seriously
remonstrated with the Caliph for his failure to send
[him] a [supporting] arroyo The Caliph was alarmed and
consulted with the Vizier [Ibn al-'AlqamiJ. The Vizier
said: 'Many things must be laid ready: plenty of wealth
such as money, jewels, objects inlaid with jewels
at], costly dresses, spr:ig'htly horses, slave-
boys and girls and mules; these should be sent to him,
together with an apology'.
IIThe Caliph agreed and ordered him to make a
list and arrange [matters]; he nominated two or three
persons to take those things [to HulaguJ, and to
apologize to him. But the junior Davatdar [the Under
Secretary of the State] and other leading men stated:
'The Vizier is adopting this policy simply to look
after his own interest and to us and the
military men to the Turks [the Mongols] in order to
murder us. \"Je are going to \'latch, and as soon as the
property is taken out we \'lill hold up the envoys and
take the property and give it to our people. We will
look after ourselves and leave them in difficulty.'
"V/hen the Caliph came to know about this
decision he cancelledthe sending of the numerous gifts,
confining himself to a small number of presents.
Hulagu grew angry and ordered that the Caliph must
come himself or should send one of these three: the
Vizier, the junior Davatdar or Sulaymanshah. The
Caliphdid not choose any alternative and made excuses,
therefore, the king became more furious and planned to
turn towards Baghdad."
"Kayflyat---i Vaqi' ah-i Baghdad", a part
of Jahangusha, by Juvaynl, III, 280-81J
3. Juzjanl (1259 A.D.) on the Fall of Baghdad
"The Lord of the Faithful, Al-Nusii1 Billah
[sicJ, had a \"Jazir, a [ a hereticJ of
bad religion, and his name \Vas AQ.mad, the 'AlfamI.
Bet\'leen him, t;he and the eldest son of the
Lord of the Faithful, who was named Amir,
8nm;ty h::J.d arisen on account of the despoiling of the
rafizis and the son had slain sorne of them, and
despoiled them. Out of revenge tbis, the Wazlr
shovled hostili ty towards the Lord of the Fai thful; and,
in secret, and clandestinely, he wrote a letter to HulaJill,
and entered into collusion with him, and besought the
the infidels to advance. The Kurd troops, and forces of
, by way of dismissing them, he [the \vazIrJ sent
away from in different directions, and repre-
sented on this wise to the Lord of the Faithful, saying:
liA peace has been entered into with the infidels, and
\'le have no need of troops. Il After became denudei
of troops, suddenly, the infidel r1u!:als arrived in its
environs. Il
[JuzjanI, abaqat, "transe Raverty, II, 1228-32J
4. Bar-Hebraeus' Main Reference (Ca. 1286 A.D.) to TusI
Il Khwajah the founder of the
l'Iaraghah observatory, was a great specialist in all the
branches of philosophy. A group of scholars and
geometricians joined him in the observatory. The whole
awqaf property of the l'longol terri tories was under his
IIHe compiled many books on logic, natural
science, theology, Euclid (IglIdIs) anQ the Almagest.
He 1Jvrote Akhlaq-i NajirI in the best possible manner,
and in it he included all Plato's and Aristotle's words
on practical philosophy. He uPhld the doc-
trines of the earlier [philosophers] and removed the
suspicions [shukuk] and the objections of the later
ones who had criticized them in their work.
[Bar-Bebraeus, l1ukhta)iar, 286-87J
5. Rashid al-Din's References (Ca. 1310 A.D.) to usI
a) Hulagu receives orders from hang to capture
Il M.angu Qa' an gave advice to Hulagu Khan
in a brotherly manner and said: 'You should
lead a great army from the frontier of Turan to Iran:
pass through Turan go to Iran; let your fame then
reach the shining sun. You should institute the
ChinghIzian custom vusun] and law [yasa] in both minor
and major affairs. From the river to the
remotest cities of Egypt you are to favour those who
obey your orders and prohibitions and distinguish them
with manifold affections and with your beneficence; and
you are to put down violently those who rebel, together
vlith their families and their relatives.
"Begin by destroying the fortresses of the
Quhistan of Khurasan. The Lanbasar fort and Girdkuh
are to be overturned and demolished. Do not leave any
fortress standing, not even a heap of dust in the
"After you have done this, you should proceed
to Iraq, removing the Lurs G.nd the Kurds v/ho have
been creating disturbance on the roads. If the Caliph
of Baghdad cornes to your service illld obedience you
should not trouble him; if he proves to be arrogant and
dishonest,dispatch him with the others' ."
[rtashId al-DIn, Jami', II, 686-87J
b) Hulagu oonsults with
IlHulag Khan consulted \Vith the pillars of the
state ano. his ministers about proceeding [to Baghdad].
Everyone gave his opinion. ijusam al-Din, the astronomer
who ViaS appointed on the order of the Qa) an [r-'iang] to
join Hulagu's company, and to choose [a proper time]
for his mounting and dismounting, was called and was
commanded to state, without hypocrisy, whatever he
understood [about the expedition to Baghdad] fram the
"ijusam, owing to his close relation with Hulagu,
had degree of courage and said to the king [Hulagu]:
'Any attempt on the lives of the family of the
Caliphate or any expedition te Baghdad would be ill-
fated, because so far no king who has moved towards
Baghdad to make an attempt on the lives of the
'Abbasids has ever lived to enjoy his days. If the
king does not heed this speech [advice] and goes there,
six disorders will occur: (1). all horses will die, and
the soldiers will fall ill, (2) the sun will not rise,
(3) the rain will not fall, (4) the cold bitter winds
will blow and the world will collapse by
earthquakes, (5) plants will not grow, (6) and the
great king will die that year'.
"Hulagli Khan wanted evidence from him concerning
this speech. :Pi ty him who gave a wri tten promise The
secretaries and commanders said that moving to Baghdad
would be nothin5 but an advantage. After that he
[Hulagu] called Khwajah al-Din ,*,usi and consulted
wi th him. Khwaj ah was afraid, thinking tha.t i t
[Hulagu's consultation] was by way of a test. He said:
'None of these changes will happen.' He [Hulagu]
answered: then?' He [r:rusIJ said: 'Hulagu Khan
will replace the Caliph.'
"He [Hulagu] summoned ijusaID al-DIn to argue
Ylith Khwajah. Khwajah stated: 'It is generally agreed
among:all l'1uslims that many great companions [of the
Prophet] suffered martyrdom, but no disorder occurred.
If [peopleJ say that [tAe possibility of disorderJ
occurs only in the case of the 'Abbasids, [the answer
1tlOuld be that;] on the order of mn,
died in 1065 A.D., the founder of the
dynasty in KhurasanJ came from Khurasan and
killed l"iul;tammad Amin, l'la) mn' s brobher; al-Mutawakkil
was killed by his own son and his commanders; al-
and al-I1u' tazz were murdered by [their]
commanders and slaves; thus, several other Caliphs
were executed by people and no disorder followed'.11
[Rashid al-Din, Jami', II, 706-707J
6. Va'iaf Speaks (Ca. 1327 A.D.) of TsI's
Study of the stars
Il For making a decision on the occupation
of Iraq, Hulagu sought our master al-Din's
opinion as an astronomer, and consulted with him.
lifter st1;ldying the star of destiny Cl'ali'J and
surveying the stars, and after investigating the
conjunction of lucky signs, said: lit would be
possible for the victorious cavalcades [l'lavakib-i
to deliver Iraq v'jithout bearing any difficulty.
[1:he days of the Imamat and. the Caliphate are over: the
effect of ulag's arrival in Baghdad will bring the
immediate dovmfall of the Caliphate'. [':i'si continues: J
'If the destination is compatible with these
[ astronbmical] laws, it ccn be the sign of the
prosperity of the king. OthervJse [as the poet says]:
l devise [a plan] by [studying]the stars, and
l cannot be certain;
the Lord of the Barth does whatever He wants.'
Hulag with a stout heart and a calm
spirit ordered the army to get ready and move [towards
Baghdad] ".
7. sI in Ibn TaymIyah's View (Ca. 1327 A.D.)
a) In the Minhaj
IIThis man is wel1-knovm to the elite as
wel1 as to the common people. He was the of
the heretics, the Isma'I1Is in h1amt. vihen the
Turkish [I1ango1ian] polytheist Hulag came,
urged him to execute the Caliph and to murder learned
and re1igious people, and to protect artisans and
traders who brought him worldly profits.
took over the awqaf property which
belonged to Muslims, and he used to give great sums
from the awqaf income to the learned polytheists and
their masters who magicians and the like. When
he established the Maraghah observatory based on the
system of the $abian po1ytheists, those who were
nore deserving did not benefit much from it, but those
people such as the $abian polytheists, the tiu'
[a technical term used in dogmatics meaning those who
dive st the conception of God of al1 attributes] and
other polytheists were enjoying it greatly. The latter
were sustained by astronomy, medicine and the like.
"It is known that 1'sI and his follOl,vers were
careless about the Islamic duties and things forbidden
by Islam. They did not perform religious duties such as
prayers; they did not care about what is forbidden by
God like liquor, other crimes. It is heard
that in the month of they spoiled prayers and
committed adultery 11
[Ibn Taymiyah, f1inhaj, II, 99. J
b) In the Rasa'il
Il the Tatar did not conqUer Islamic countries
nor murder the Caliph of Baghdad ana. other l'1uslim rulers
except through their [the sJ assistance
ffild support. The source of this [crisis] was their
minister, al-DIn 1'usI who was their minister in
Alamt. He ordered the execution of the Caliph and
[the extinction of ] his reign.
[Ibn Taymiyah, 97J
8. usI in l'lustavfI's View (1329 J,.D.)
al-Din vias origin:Ollly from
Savah, but since he was born and brou...:h-c up in
he became well-knowD as There is mention [in
poems] about nis death: 'The patron of the nation and
religion; the king of the territory of knowledge; the
unique [creature] like whom the mother of the world
never produced, died in Baghdad on the seventeenth of
the month of Dhu of the year six hundred and
segenty-two [672/1273 A.D.] :11
[MustavfI', GuzIdah, 8llJ
9. Abij Account (Ca. 1331. A.D.)
a) TusI'scareer
"In this year [672/1273 A.D.J the learned
master, al-DIn died. His name is
l'1utlammad ; he served the leader of Alamut; then he
came to the service of Hulagu and being with
him. He founded an observatory for Hulagu in l'laraghah
and \"rote the zf'j [Astronomical Tables]. He has compiled
illany books, all of which are priceless. Euclid is one
of those which comprise the change of the positions
[Ikhtilai( J. The Almagest is 2.1so another \'lork.
He wrote a book on astronomy such that no similar book
has ever been compiled in this subject. He produced
the SharaJ;!. al-Isharat through VJhich he rejected most
of the criticism which Fakhr al-DIn llazI had brought
against i t 11
[Ab al-]\ida
, ''iukhrajar, IV, 9J
b) On the murder of the Caliph
liAs for the Caliph, they [the Hongols] killed
him, and i t is not tnown hovi he \'las murdered. It is
said that he was suffocated, or that he was put in a
sack and kicked to death, or that he was droltmed in
the Tigris river; God knows the most about the truth.
[Abu L-Fida i, III, 203J
10. Ibn Qayyim (1291-1350 A.D.) speaks of
15' ,
II\I/hen the opportuni ty came to the patron of
polytheism and infidelity, the heretic, the of
the al-Din, the minister of Hulag, he
took revenge upon the followers of the Prophet and the
adherents to the Prophet's religion; he exposed them to
the sword, so that his [religiousJ brothers, the MalaQi-
dah, were and he [also] became relieved.
"After that he murdered the Caliph, the
judges, the Islamic jurists and the transmitters of the
Prophetie traditions and he protected
Plilosophers [falasifahJ, astronomers [munajjimInJI natural
scientists and magicians He
transferred the awqaf property of the schools, mosques
and other related matters to them, and he made them
his distinguished and close friends.
tlln his books he advocated [the idea of] the
uncreatedl1ess of the universe [qidam al-'Alam]. He
denied the Day of Judgment and the attributes of God
such as His knowledge, His power, His life, His sense
of hearing and vision. He said that God is neither
inside the universe nor outside it, and that there is
not, of course, any god to be i'Jorshipped.
IIHe took certain schools for the
and desired to place the Isharat of the leader of the
heretics, Avicenna, on the same level as the Qur'an;
he did not even make it equal to the an and said:
'This [1 sharatJ, is the Qur'an of the elite and that,
[the Qur'an itselfJ, is the Qur'an of the common
people'. He wanted to change [the system ofJ the
prayers to two prayers a day, but it was net accemplished.
He finally studied magic and became a magician who
worshipped the idols."
[Ibn Qayyim, Ighathah, II, 263J
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