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Assassins

(1,585 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Assassins, a name originally applied by the Crusaders and other medieval Europeans to the Nizārī Ismailis of Syria. The Nizārī Ismailis were a minority Shiʿi Muslim community, who under the initial leadership of the dāʿī Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ (d. 518/1124), in around 483/1090 founded a state in Persia. This state was centred at the stronghold of Alamūt (q.v.) in the Caspian region, with a subsidiary in Syria. The Persian part of this state was destroyed by the Mongols in 654/1256. The Syrian Nizārīs had numerous military and diplomatic encounters with the Crusaders from the openi…

Assassins

(1,204 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Assassins is a name originally applied by the Crusaders and other mediaeval Europeans to the Nizārī Ismāʿīlīs of the Alamūt period, whose state extended across Persia and Syria, with its seat at Alamūt. The Crusaders had extensive military and diplomatic encounters with the Nizārī Ismāʿīlīs of Syria from the opening decade of the sixth/twelfth century. However, it was in the time of Rāshid al-Dīn Sinān that occidental chroniclers of the Crusades and a number of European travellers and emissaries…
Date: 2019-05-08

Alamūt

(1,302 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Alamūt, the fortress and seat of the Nizārī Ismāʿīlī state of Persia, is situated in an area known in mediaeval times as Daylamān (in the region of Daylam), later called Rūdbār, some thirty-five kilometres northeast of Qazwīn and near the village of Gāzurkhān. The fortress was erected on the summit of a high rock outcrop in the foothills of the massive Hawdigān range in the central Alburz (or Elburz) Mountains. The fortress dominates a fertile valley and access to it was possible only through a narrow, steep, and winding path on the northern face of the Alamūt rock. According to legend (cf. …
Date: 2019-05-08

ʿAbdallāh b. Maymūn

(1,587 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
ʿAbdallāh b. Maymūn (d. second half of the second/eighth century) was a companion of Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq (d. 148/765), and numerous ḥadīths of this Imām are reported on his authority, in the canonical collections of Imāmī ḥadīths (Ivanow, Alleged founder, 11–60). ʿAbdallāh’s father, Maymūn al-Qaddāḥ al-Makkī, a mawlā of the Banū Makhzūm and a resident of Mecca, was a disciple of the Imām Muḥammad al-Bāqir (d. c.114/732) and transmitted a few ḥadīths from him. ʿAbdallāh and his father may also have taken care of these ʿAlid Imāms’ properties in Mecca. In Imāmī Shīʿī sources, ʿAbdallāh b.…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ

(3,065 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ was a prominent Ismāʿīlī dāʿī (missionary) and founder of the Nizārī Ismāʿīlī daʿwa (mission) and state in Iran. The events of Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ’s life and career as the first lord of Alamūt are recorded in an anonymous chronicle entitled Sargudhasht-i Sayyidnā (“The biography of Sayyidnā”; Ḥasan was referred to as Sayyidnā, “our lord,” by contemporary Nizārī Ismāʿīlīs). This chronicle, in fact, began a Nizārī historiographical tradition, according to which the events of the reigns of Ḥasan-i Ṣabbāḥ (r. 483–518/1090–1124) an…
Date: 2019-05-08

Buzurg-Umīd

(2,965 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
, Kiyā, the second lord of Alamūt and leader of the Nizārī Ismaili daʿwa and state (r. 518–532/1124–1138). Buzurg-Umīd was a native of Rūdbār in Daylam, but genealogical information and biographical details on his early life are very scanty. However, contrary to the claims of certain scholars, including Justi (359–360, 433, 457; also Hodgson, ‘Buzurg-Ummīd’, 1359), he was not related by marriage to the local Caspian rulers. For instance, it was a sister of Kiyā Buzurg al-Dāʿī ilā al-Ḥaqq b. al-Hādī (d. ca. 5…

Burhānpūrī

(616 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
, Quṭb al-Dīn Sulaymānjī (d. 1241/1826), a learned Dāʾūdī Bohra Ismaili and historian. Burhānpūrī was born in the second half of the 12th/18th century in India, where he spent his entire life. He was a scholar of the Dāʾūdī Bohra community of Ṭayyibī Mustaʿlian Ismailis, who had separated from the Sulaymānī faction of Ṭayyibī Ismailism in 997/1589 (Daftary, 280–282). In 1214/1799, the forty-third dāʿī muṭlaq of the Dāʾūdīs, ʿAbd ʿAlī Sayf al-Dīn (r. 1213–1232/1798–1817), appointed Burhānpūrī to an important post in the daʿwa hierarchy of the Dāʾūdī Ṭayyibī Ismailis, about whi…

Badakhshānī, Sayyid Suhrāb Walī

(1,136 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Badakhshānī, Sayyid Suhrāb Walī (d. after 856/1452), the most eminent Nizārī Ismaili theologian and author from Badakhshān, in Central Asia, during the centuries immediately after the fall of Alamūt in 654/1256. Not much is known with certainty about Badakhshānī’s life. He was born at the beginning ¶ of the 9th/15th century in the mountainous region of Badakhshān, probably into a non-Ismaili family. According to his own statement ( Sī wa shish ṣaḥīfa, 68–69), Badakhshānī converted to Ismailism soon after the age of twelve and spent his entire life in his native Bad…

Dāʿī

(4,034 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
(pl., duʿāt, literally meaning ‘summoner’), an Arabic noun used by several Muslim groups, especially the Ismailis, to designate their propagandists or missionaries. It was adopted by the ʿAbbāsid daʿwa (mission) in Khūrāsān (q.v. ʿAbbāsids) and by the early Muʿtazilīs, but it soon became particularly identified with certain Shiʿi groups, for example, the Zaydīs and some Shiʿi extremists ( ghulāt), notably the Khaṭṭābiyya (Daftary, 219). The term acquired its widest application in connection with the Ismailis, though early Ismaili authors in Persia some…

ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad

(2,316 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad, the twenty-sixth Nizārī Ismaili imam and the seventh lord of Alamūt (r. 618–653/1221–1255). The only son of Jalāl al-Dīn Ḥasan (r. 607–618/1210–1221), he was born in 609/1212 in Rūdbār. ʿAlāʾ al-Dīn Muḥammad’s mother was one of the sisters of Kaykāwūs b. Shāhanshāh, ¶ the hereditary Sunni ruler of Kūtum in Gīlān (Juwaynī, 3/247–248, tr. Boyle, 2/702–703; Rashīd al-Dīn, ed. Dānishpazhūh, 176, ed. Rawshan, 173; Kāshānī, Zubda, 216; idem, Tārīkh, 57–58; Rabino, 288–289). On the death of Jalāl al-Dīn Ḥasan in Ramaḍān 618/November 1221, his son and he…

Bohra

(7,053 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
(Buhrā), the designation for a Muslim community in South Asia. Of Hindu descent, the Bohras are comprised of the majoritarian Shiʿi and minoritarian Sunni divisions. The Shiʿi Bohras, who are exclusively Ismaili and account for the overwhelming majority of the community, hail mainly from trading and commercial milieus. The Sunni Bohras, representing a very small minority, are primarily rural people engaged in agricultural activities. In 2003, the total Bohra population of the world numbered arou…

Amīnjī b. Jalāl b. Ḥasan

(641 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Amīnjī b. Jalāl b. Ḥasan (d. 13 Shawwāl 1010/6 April 1602) was an eminent Ṭayyibī Ismāʿīlī Bohra jurist and author from India. The son of the twenty-fifth dāʿī muṭlaq of the Ṭayyibī Ismāʿīlīs, Shams al-Dīn Jalāl b. Ḥasan (d. 975/1567), Amīn al-Dīn Amīnjī lived and died in Aḥmadābād, Gujarat. During Amīnjī's lifetime the Dāʾūdī-Sulaymānī schism occurred in the Ṭayyibī community. Amīnjī sided with the Dāʾūdī cause, which was upheld by the vast majority of Indian Ṭayyibī Bohras. Thus Amīnjī recognised the claim of Dāʾūd Burhān al-Dīn b. Quṭb Shāh (d. 1021/1612) to the position of dāʿī muṭlaq,…
Date: 2019-05-08

Ahl al-Kisāʾ

(374 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
Ahl al-Kisāʾ (the people of the cloak) generally refers to the group comprising the prophet Muḥammad, his daughter Fāṭima, his cousin and son-in-law ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, and his grandsons al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn. This pentad has also been designated aṣḥāb al-kisāʾ and āl al-ʿabāʾ. The source of this expression is a ḥadīth known as ḥadīth al-kisāʾ (also as ḥadīth al-ʿabāʾ), recorded in both Sunnī and Shīʿī collections of traditions. According to this ḥadīth, one day in the house belonging to either ʿAlī or the prophet’s wife Umm Sal-ama, the Prophet was wearing a cloak (kisāʾ or ʿabāʾ) of blac…
Date: 2019-05-08

ʿAlids

(1,509 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad
The ʿAlids are descendants of ʿAlī b. Abī Ṭālib, the first Shīʿī imām and the fourth caliph. ʿAlī is reported by most sources on ʿAlid (ʿAlawī) genealogy to have had eighteen sons (fourteen, according to al-Ṭabarī, and eleven according to al-Masʿūdī), and some seventeen daughters (Table 1). Only five of ʿAlī's sons left issue: al-Ḥasan and al-Ḥusayn (by Fāṭima, the daughter of the prophet Muḥammad); Muḥammad, known as Muḥammad b. al-Ḥanafiyya (by Khawla, from the Banū Ḥanīfa); al-ʿAbbās (by Umm al-Banīn, from the Banū Kilāb); and ʿUmar (from…
Date: 2019-05-08

Bāb

(1,762 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad | Gholami, Rahim
Bāb, a high rank in the daʿwa organisation and religious hierarchy ( ḥudūd al-dīn) of the Ismailis. The hierarchical organisation of the Ismaili daʿwa and the functions of its different ranks were always important but secret and obscure aspects of the Ismaili movement. Ismaili works generally maintain silence on the subject because of the esoteric and often secretive nature of the Ismaili daʿwa. The enmity of many Sunni emirs, rulers and religious scholars generally obliged the Ismailis to conduct their daʿwa activities in utmost secrecy (except within the dominions of the …

ʿAbd Allāh b. Maymūn al-Qaddāḥ

(1,468 words)

Author(s): Daftary, Farhad | Gholami, Rahim
ʿAbd Allāh b. Maymūn al-Qaddāḥ, known in Imāmī sources as a companion of Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq, and a renowned transmitter of ḥadīths from him. In anti-Ismaili polemics, however, he is referred to as the founder of the Ismaili movement and the progenitor of the Fāṭimid caliphs. ¶ ʿAbd Allāh's father, Maymūn b. al-Aswad, lived in Mecca during the first half of the 2nd/8th century. He was a disciple of Muḥammad al-Bāqir, from whom he narrated some ḥadīths. Al-Ṭūsī also counts him among the companions of the Shiʿi Imams ʿAlī b. al-Ḥusayn Zayn al-ʿĀbidīn and Jaʿfar al-Ṣādiq ( Rijāl, 101, 135, 137). …

Al-ʿĀḍid

(2,651 words)

Author(s): Sajjadi, Sadeq | Daftary, Farhad | Umar, Suheyl
Al-ʿĀḍid, Abū Muḥammad ʿAbd Allāh b. Yūsuf (Muḥarram 546–Muḥarram 567/May 1151–September 1171), the fourteenth and last Fāṭimid caliph, whose dynasty was uprooted by Ṣalāḥ al-Dīn al-Ayyūbī, the last Fāṭimid vizier and founder of the Ayyūbid dynasty. Ibn Khallikān (3/111) mentions the definitive date of his birth as Tuesday, 20 Muḥarram 546/9 May 1151; other sources have given different years such as 540/1145 or 544/1149 (Ibn Taghrībirdī, 5/334; Ibn ʿImād, 2/223). He was a grandson of the Fāṭimid…

Alamūt

(7,671 words)

Author(s): Sajjadi, Sadeq | Majidi, Enayat Allah | Daftary, Farhad | Zand, Roxane
Alamūt is the name of a fortress and district in the Rūdbār-i Daylam, approximately 35 km north-east of Qazwīn, which today is known as Rūdbār-i Alamūt, and was for 166 years an impregnable stronghold and central seat of the Nizārī Ismaili state. In fact, the fortress played an important role in the political and military history of northern Iran until approximately the 11th/17th century. Etymology Most historians consider the word to be a composite of two parts, namely ‘āluh, ālah, ālūh’ and ‘āmūt, mūt’. Variations on the first part are seen in early Persian…