Ismaili History 700 - Post-Alamut period - Shamsuddin Muhammad to Khalilullah II

- Shamsuddin Muhammad (655-710/1257-1310)
- Foundation of Ilkhanid dynasty
- Poet Nizari Kohistani Kassim Shah (710-771/1310-1370)
- Kassim Shah (710-771/1310-1370)
- The Trakhan dynasty in Central Asia
- Mission of Pir Shams Sebzewari in India
- Islam Shah (771-827/1370-1423)
- Islam Shah in Kahek
- Kahek - a new headquarters
- Muhammad Shah bin Momin Shah
- Mission of Pir Sadruddin in India
- Method of Pir Sadruddin's mission
- Mission of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin in India
- Muhammad Bin Islam Shah (827-868/1423-1463)
- Mission of Pir Tajuddin in India
- Mission of Sayed Imam Shah in India
- Mustansir Billah II (868-880/1463-1475)
- Death of Pir Tajuddin
- Mission of Kadiwal Sayeds
- Abdus Salam (880-899/1475-1493)
- Gharib Mirza (899-902/1493-1496)
- Anjudan - a new headquarters
- Organisation of Mission
- The origin of the Safavids
- Abuzar Ali (902-915/1496-1509)
- Rise of the Safavids
- The line of Momin Shah
- Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani
- Murad Mirza (915-920/1509-1514)
- Zulfikar ALI (920-922/1514-1516)
- Nuruddin Ali (922-957/1516-1550)
- Poet Kassim Amiri
- Growth of the Imam-Shahis
- The line of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah
- Khalilullah Ali I (957-993/1550-1585)
- Mission of Pir Dadu in India
- Ismaili Influence in Deccan
- Trakhan dynasty of Central Asia
- Nizar II (993-1038/1585-1628)
- Origin of the Nimatullahis
- Ataullahi Ismailis
- Sayed Abdul Nabi
- Kadiwal Sayeds in India
- Sayed Ali (1038-1071/1628-1660)
- Khaki Khorasani
- Hasan Ali I (1071-1106/1660-1694)
- Kassim Ali (1106-1143/1694-1730)
- Decline of the Safavids
- Abul Hasan Ali (1143-1206/1730-1792)
- Nadir's operations against India
- Rise of the Zands
- Decline of the Zands and Rise of the Qajarids
- Khalilullah Ali II (1206-1233/1792-1817)
- Bibi Marium Khatoon
- The Perso-Russian Wars
- Khalilullah Ali in European sources
- Khalilullah Ali in Yazd

Ismaili History 701 - SHAMSUDDIN MUHAMMAD (655-710/1257-1310)

Muhammad, surnamed Shams al-Din, the elder son of Imam Ruknuddin Khurshah is said to have born probably in 646/1230 in the fortress of Maimundiz during the time of Imam Alauddin Muhammad. He was known as Agha Shams in Syria, and Shah Shams in India. He is also known as Shamsu'l Haq in few Iranian poems. Poet Nizari Kohistani (d. 720/1320) called him Shamsuddin Shah Nimroz Ali and Shah Shams. He is also said to have been known as Shams Zardozi owing to residing in the village, called Zardoz in Azerbaijan, but another tradition suggests that he had adopted profession of embroidery and silk to sustain his family, therefore, the term zardoz (embroiderer) became his title.The butchery of the Ismailis conducted by the Mongols in Qazwin and Rudhbar following the reduction of Alamut, is taken by Ata Malik Juvaini conclusively as an end of the Ismailis and the unbroken line of the Imamate as well. There appears however vacuous reports for the descendants of Ruknuddin Khurshah and his followers in the work of Juvaini. He writes in his 'Tarikh-i Jhangusha' (tr. J.A. Boyle, Cambridge, 1958) that, 'Ruknu-ad-Din now saw what he had to expect and realize that he could not resist. The next day (November 16, 1256), he sent out his son, his only one, and another brother called Iran-Shah with a delegation of notables, officials and leaders of his people' (p. 717). This was Juvaini's first narrative when Alamut was being reduced, but while describing the brutal massacre of the Ismailis after about a year, he writes, 'And Qaraqai Bitikohi went to Qazwin with the order that Rukn-ad-Din's sons and daughters, brothers and sisters and all of his seed and family should be laid on the fire of annihilation' (p. 723).

Juvaini writes in the first phrase, 'his son, his only one' (pesr khudra ki hama'n yak pesr), and then writes in contrast in the second phrase, 'sons and daughters' (banin wa bannat). It implies clearly that Juvaini contradicts his own account, as he had no knowledge of an exact figure of the sons of Ruknuddin Khurshah. Moreover, Juvaini was not present during the fall of Maimundiz on November 19, 1256 where the family of Ruknuddin Khurshah resided, and therefore, his account cannot be trustworthy and reliable. It is however, known from few Iranian manuscripts that Shamsuddin Muhammad had steathily escorted out of the fortress of Maimundiz most probably on 11th Shawal, 654/November 1, 1256; and the Mongols reached there on 17th Shawal, 654/November 7, 1256; while Juvaini himself joined the Mongol after 12th Zilkada, 654/December 2, 1256. The extermination of the descendants of Ruknuddin Khurshah, as boasted by Juvaini is not to be trusted.

According to Bernard Lewis in 'The Assassins' (London, 1967, p. 63), 'The extirpation of the Ismailis in Persia was not quite as thorough as Juvaini suggests. In the eyes of the sectarians, Rukn al-Din's small son succeeded him as Imam on his death and lived to sire a line of Imams.' Marshall Hodgson also writes in 'The Order of Assassins' (Netherland, 1955. pp. 270 and 275) that, 'Juvaini assures himself that every Ismaili was killed; yet even if all the members of garrison were in fact killed, a great many other will have escaped.' He further adds, 'but their spirit was more nearly indomitable; as it is from among them that the great future of Nizari Ismailism sprouted again. It is said the child Imam was carried to Adharbayjan, where the Imams lived for some time.' According to W. Montgomery Watt in 'Islam and the Integration of Society'(London, 1961, p. 77), 'In 1256, Alamut was surrounded, and was destroyed and in the following year the Imam met his death and there was a widespread massacre of the Nizaris. It may be further mentioned that, despite this catastrophe and the fact that it has never since had a territory of its own, the community was not exterminated and the line of Imams was maintained unbroken.' In the words Farhad Daftary, 'The Nizaris of Persia, contrary to the declarations of Juwayni and later historians, did in fact survive the destruction of their state and strongholds at the hands of the Mongols. Despite the Mongol massacres, the Persian Nizari community was not starkly extirpated during 654-655/1256-1257, and significant numbers escaped the Mongol debacle in both Rudbar and Quhistan. And while Rukn al-Din Khurshah was spending the last few months of his life amongst the Mongols, the Nizari leadership evidently managed to hide his son and designated successor, Shams al-Din Muhammad, who became the progenitor of the Nizari Imams of post-Alamut period. The Nizari Imamate was thus preserved.' (Ibid. p. 435)

It may be surmised in a question that Nasiruddin Tusi was the only person in the fortress of Maimundiz, from whom the internal affairs during the reduction of the Alamut can be well expected. It seems that he divulged nothing about it, suggesting his strictness in taqiya. Halagu however, included him in his forthcoming operations, impelling some scholars to draw a conclusion that he had given up Ismailism. Granted that Nasiruddin Tusi had abandoned, the Mongols must have known the trace of Shamsuddin Muhammad from him, but it cannot be ascertained. It appears almost conclusively that the prime objective of Halagu was to reduce the Ismaili powers, and the family members he had seen with Ruknuddin Khurshah dismounting from Maimundiz was enough for him to understand them as an entire family. It is however worth noting that Shahanshah, Iranshah and Shiranshah; the brothers of Ruknuddin Khurshah had personally come into the contact of Halagu during negotiations, and the whole family members later on were detained at Qazwin, where Shahanshah was significantly absent as he had fled with Shamsuddin Muhammad. No investigation had been made for Shahanshah, which transpires that the Mongols aimed mainly on the reduction of the Ismaili powers without taking notice of the descendants of Ruknuddin Khurshah. To summarize briefly, the Mongols were quite unknown with the other side of the coin.

Scanning the meagre chains of few anonymous manuscripts, and the sparsely records of the traditions, it seems fairly certain that after leaving the fortress, Shamsuddin Muhammad arrived safely in Daylam with his uncle Shahanshah in eastern Gilan. The famous Ismaili dai Pir Shams (d. 757/1356) had seen him in his early life at Daylam, which he has recounted in his 'Chandrabann' (p. 40).

It has been indicated in the previous chapter that Imam Jalaluddin Hasan (d. 618/1221) was quick to diagnose the gushing forth of the Mongol storms in Iran, and therefore, he had taken few precautionary measures. He had commanded his army and gone to Arran and Azerbaijan to help Muzaffaruddin Uzbek, the Ildenizid ruler to fight against Nasiruddin Mengali in 610/1214. Jalaluddin Hasan seems to have prolonged his stay deliberately for 3 to 4 months, and selected most suitable zone to seek refuge for himself, or any other Imam in his descent during the time of Mongol's massacres. It seems probable that he had designed a safe route from Alamut to Azerbaijan. His great grandson, Shamsuddin Muhammad was finally destined to repair in Azerbaijan, most possibly on the tract mapped out in 611/1215.

Shamsuddin Muhammad would have arrived in Daylam before fall of Alamut, and thence he is reported to have stayed in the house of Kai-Ka'us bin Shahanshah at Kutum, a district of Gilan lying to the west of Safid-Rud. Kai-Ka'us was the brother of the wife of Imam Jalaluddin Hasan, and the hereditary ruler of Kutum, who lived till 658/1260. It seems likely that Shamsuddin Muhammad had been well treated at Kutum before resuming his onward journey.

Shamsuddin Muhammad further moved to Ardabil and in the surrounding towns. It is said that he also lived in Ahar, lying about 150 miles west of Ardabil. He is reported to have lived also in Tabriz, which he most possibly evacuated in the early months of 1257 as Halagu invaded Tabriz on July 26, 1257. He seems to have been known as Shams Tabriz by the local Sufis in Tabriz. Pir Shihabuddin Shah (d. 1884) writes in 'Khitabat-i Alliya' (Tehran, 1963, p. 42) that, 'Shamsuddin Muhammad who lived in Tabriz, was compared by the local people to the sun, because of his handsome countenance, and thus he came to be called Shams (the sun) of Tabriz. This gave rise to the confusion between him and Shams Tabrizi, the master of Jalaluddin Rumi, but they were always in reality two different persons.'

It is also related that he passed considerable time in Angoda, lying on the old route linking Ispahan and Hamdan. In sum, the accessible fragments suggest that Shamsuddin Muhammad most probably lived from one to another place under different mantles in the province of Azerbaijan. The veritable locality of his residence, however, has not been substantiated. Azerbaijan was a big province spread over 104000 square kilometers, bounded on the south-east by Jibal, on the south-west by the eastern Jazira, on the west by Armenia, on the north by Arren, and on the east by shore-lands of the Caspian Sea and Gilan. The most famous towns in Azerbaijan were Tabriz, Ardabil, Ahar, Angoda, Urmiya, Marand, Khwai, Dilman, Miyana, Taruj, Laylan, Julfah, Nakjawin, etc. The north-eastern part of the province was thickly populated by the Turkomans, and the south-western was inhabited by the Kurds. Azerbaijan was a fertile land for the growing Sufi circles, and Shamsuddin Muhammad had settled in northern region with his family, where he professed in silk and embroidery works, for which the region was noted at that time. Abul Fida (d. 732/1331) writes in 'Taqwin al-Buldan' that, 'The northern region of Azerbaijan was rich with the products of silk and embroidery works. The silkworms fed on the oak trees and that the women went out to gather it up, and afterwards dried it in an oven on brass pans.'

Summing up the travel of Shamsuddin Muhammad from Maimundiz to Azerbaijan, it seems certain that there were hardly four to five main stations where he had effected junctions during the whole journey. He seems to have left behind at least two trusted dais at each station before he embarked, so that the necessary information be communicated from one to another station. It is most certain that poet Nizari Kohistani (d. 720/1320) had reached the residence of Shamsuddin Muhammad at Azerbaijan after getting information very privily from the above daisat any station, most probably at Tabriz. It was however most difficult for him to trace out the hidden Imam in a big province, had he not known the clues.

The period under review is noted to have left the Ismaili mission in disarray and it appears that in many regions, it was conducted passively and that too very secretly in accordance with the directives of the elder persons. However, the period between 1257 and 1265 was possibly barren for the dawa, but was noted for the Ismailis in searching peaceful regions. They had absolutely lost their contact with the Imam. The Syrian Ismailis seem to have acquired few clues of Imam's whereabouts, and some of them had travelled towards Azerbaijan by taking routes of Jazira and Mosul in the cloaks of the Sufis or traders. The deprivation of regular guidance from the Imam had compelled the surviving Ismailis to observe strict taqiya by taking a flood of inspiration and fillip from the events of their past history.

After Alamut operations, Halagu marched on Baghdad and reached on January 18, 1258. On January 30, the Mongols opened a heavy bombardment. On the morning of Wednesday, February 13, 1258, the Mongols entered Baghdad. The citizens were mercilessly massacred, and the city was plundered and then set on fire. Thus, Baghdad, the proud capital of the Abbasids, was razed to dust, groaning under the pagan heels of the Mongols. Diyarbakri (d. 982/1574) writes in 'Tarikh-i Khamis'that, 'The massacre continued in Baghdad for 34 days during which 1,80,000 persons were put to the sword. For four days, the blood ran freely in the streets and the water of Tigris was dyed red for miles.' The savage massacres can be further judged from the example quoted by Steven Runciman in 'A History of the Crusades' (London, 1954, p. 303) that, 'One Mongol found in a side-street forty new born babies, whose mothers were died. As an act of mercy, he slaughtered them, knowing that they could not survive with no one to suckle them.' The victorious army pursued and attacked at full gallop. The 37th Abbasid caliph al-Mustasim (640-656/1242-1258) was destined to be the last caliph, and was beaten to death on Halagu's orders, and according to another version, trampled on by horses. Abul Faraj writes in 'Tarikh Mukhtasar al-Duwal' (pp. 445- 6) that, 'The Abbasid caliph al-Mutasim was devoted to entertainment and pleasure, passionately addicted to playing with birds, and dominated by women. He was a man of poor judgement, irresolute, and neglectful of what is needful for the conduct of government. When he was told what he ought to do in the matter of the Tatars, either to propitiate them, enter into their obedience and take steps to gain their goodwill, or else to muster his armies and encounter them on the borders of Khorasan before they could prevail and conquer Iraq, he used to say, `Baghdad is enough for me, and they will not begrudge me if I renounce all the other countries to them. Nor will they attack me when I am in it, for it is my house and my residence.' Such baseless fancies and the like prevented him from taking proper action, and so he was stricken by calamities which he had never imagined.'

In sum, Prof. Masudul Hasan writes in 'History of Islam' (Lahore, 1987, 2nd vol., p. 192) that, 'The gravest fault of the Abbasid caliphs was that they suffered the state to be fragmented thereby weakening the power structure and exposing the state to foreign attack. Thus our value-judgement is that the Abbasid caliphs were themselves responsible for their fall.' According to Vladimir Minorsky in 'Iran: Opposition, Martyrdom and Revolt' (Chicago, 1955, p. 192), 'Ata Malik Juvaini sheds tears over the misfortunes of the Muslims, and at the same time attributes to his infidel masters the role of those of whom God said: `They are My troops through whom I take My vengeance upon the rebels.''

Halagu's third major campaign was directed against the Ayyubids in Syria. He seized Aleppo in 658/1260, while his commander, Ket-Buqa made his triumphal entry in Damascus on Rabi I, 658/March, 1260. It was the same year that four Ismaili strongholds, including Masiyaf were surrendered to the Mongols. Halagu had to return to Iran upon hearing the news of Mongke's death in 657/1259. On 25th Ramdan, 658/September 3, 1260, the Mongols suffered a drastic defeat at Ayn Jalut (Goliath's Spring) near Nazareth in Palestine at the hands of the Mamluk armies of Egypt. Ket-Buqa was taken prisoner and scourged to death. Ayn Jalut was one of the world's decisive battles. The Muslim Asia seemingly on the verge of ruin, made a surprising recovery. Ayn Jalut destroyed the Mongol power and kept the pagan hordes out of Egypt and the Maghrib. Soon afterwards, the Mongols were expelled from all of Syria, where the Mamluk sultan Baybars rapidly emerged as the ruling power, and became an unchallenged ruler of Egypt and Syria. The Ismailis evidently collaborated with the Mamluk sultan and other Muslim rulers in repelling the Mongols from Syria, and after the battle of Ayn Jalut in 658/1260, they recovered their four strongholds.

If a balance sheet of the merciless massacres is drawn up, the most modest estimate reveals that the Mongols during the period between 1228 and 1260 had slaughtered at least eight million Muslims in cold blood for the establishment of their political authority over the Muslim lands.

Ismaili History 702 - Foundation of Ilkhanid dynasty

The great Khan Kubilai (1260-1294), absorbed in the administration of China, had lost interest in the western provinces and was happy that Iran should be governed by his brother Halagu (1256-1265), on whom he bestowed the title of Il-Khan(tribal khan, local khan or subordinate khan), which all the descendants of Halagu were to assume. Halagu thus founded in Iran the Il-Khanid dynasty (1265- 1335). He died in February 8, 1265 and was succeeded by his seven successors one after another, namely Abaqa (1265-1282), Takudar (1282-1284), Arghun (1284-1291), Gaykhatu (1291-1295), Ghazan (1295-1304), Uljaytu (1304-1316) and Abu Sa'id (1317-1334). With the death of Abu Sa'id the Illkhanid dynasty in Iran virtually came to an end. One key aspect of the Mongol conquest however was that for the first time, Iran and other large areas of the Muslim world founded themselves governed from 1221 to 1295.The fall of Alamut must have had a tremendous impact upon the Syrian Ismailis, and greatly impaired their morale. They were now deprived of the leadership and occasional practical guidance formerly given to them from Alamut. The Mongols had constituted befalling and perennial distress to the Ismailis in Syria. During the Mongol's incursion in Syria, the Ismailis were under the leadership of dai Radi al-Din Abul Ma'ali (d. 659/1261), who had punished the Ismaili chiefs who had surrendered their castles to the Mongols. Ibn Muyassar (1231-1278) writes in 'Tarikh-i Misar' (p. 68) that, 'Radi al-Din had become the chief dai in Syria in 656/1258, and before succeeding to that office, he had gone to Mamluk Egypt as an Ismaili envoy in 655/1257.' The Syrian Ismailis established friendly relations with sultan Baybars (658-676/1260-1277). Ibn Abd al-Zahir (d. 692/1293) writes in 'Sirat al-Malik al-Zahir' (pp. 138-9) that, 'In 659/1261, sultan Baybars granted rights to the Ismaili territories to al-Malik al-Mansur (642-683/1244- 1285), the Ayyubid prince of Hammah.' Meanwhile, the Syrian Ismailis sent an embassy to sultan Baybars, demanding successfully the privileges they had enjoyed under the Ayyubids. Baybars appointed Jamaluddin Hasan bin Thabit as the head of the Ismailis in place of Radi al-Din, which was evidently opposed and scourged to death. Radi al-Din died and the aged Najmuddin Ismail bin al-Sharani (d. 672/1274), who was probably above 80 years old, became the head of the Syrian mission in 660/1262. He was later on assisted by his son Shamsuddin and his son- in-law Sarimuddin Mubarak, the son of Radi al-Din. The Syrian Ismailis continued to hold possession of eight strongholds, namely, Masiyaf, Qadmus, Kahf, Khwabi, Rusafa, Maynaqa, Ulayqa and Qulaya.

In 661/1263, when sultan Baybars was engaged in his campaign against the Franks, an Ismaili deputation under Shamsuddin and Sarimuddin is reported to have come to the sultan with gifts. According to 'Sirat al-Malik al-Zahir' (comp. in 663/1264) by Ibn Abd al-Zahir (d. 692/1293), 'Ambassadors of the Ismailis arrived with presents, and the two sons of the rulers, who were the commanders of the Ismailis, also came; the sultan treated them with kindness, after which they departed.' In 664/1265, however sultan Baybars ordered the collection of taxes on the gifts being sent to the Ismailis by the Frankish kings and the ruler of Yamen. Soon afterwards, the Ismailis began to pay tribute to Baybars, following the truce concluded in 664/1266 between the Mamluk sultan and the Hospitallers, the terms of which stipulated that the latter must renounce the tribute hitherto they used to levy upon the Ismailis and other Muslim rulers in the districts of Hammah and Hims. In 665/1267, the Ismailis became tributaries of Mamluk sultan, paying him what was paid previously to the Hospitallers.

In 669/1271, when sultan Baybars was besieging the Frankish castle of Hisn al- Akrad, two Ismaili fidais from Ulayqa were alleged to have joined hands with Bohemond IV of Tripoli to kill sultan Baybars, Thus, Baybars took swift action, and ordered that the stronghold of Ulayqa should be besieged. Ulayqa and Rusafa were reduced at first, and Khwabi, Qulaya, Maynaqa and Qadmus also capitulated in 671/1273. Only the garrison of Kahf mustered some resistance. Having taken the control of the Ismaili territories, sultan Baybars, however tolerated the Ismailis and did not eliminate them. The Ismailis were allowed to exist as loyal subjects of the Mamluks.

Indeed, there are however, some historical reports that sultan Baybars and his successors used to employ the services of the Ismaili fidais against their own enemies, whose benefit was acquired by the Mamluks, and the defamations were put on the Syrian Ismailis. Hence, the Ismaili fidais had been used as an instrument to threaten the enemies of the Mamluks. The historians however have painted it in gloomier colours than it merits. The Mamluk sultan Baybars (d. 676/1277) subjugated the Ismailis since 671/1273, making them devoid of any political significance, and existed as the loyal subjects of the Mamluks and later the Ottoman of Turkey. In sum, with the surrender of Kahf, the last Ismaili castle, on 22nd Zilhida, 671/July 10, 1273 and the elimination of the Ismaili power in Syria, sultan Baybars I completed what Halagu Khan had began in Iran in 654/1256.

The Ismailis in Khorasan and Badakhshan including upper Oxus were relatively not accessible to the Mongol sword during the turbulent period. They continued to develop a distinctive tradition of their own and played prominent role in preserving the Nizari Ismaili literature. It is important to note that the Ismailis of the upper Oxus considered Aziz Nasafi as a co-religionist. He was a celebrated Sufi master and a prolific writer in Central Asia, who later emigrated to Iran and died there around 661/1262. His famous Sufic treatise, 'Zubdat al- Haqaiq' (Quintessence of Metaphysical Truth) is preserved still in Badakhshan being an Ismaili work, which was lithographed in Tehran in 1903.

The Indian Nizari Ismailis, designated chiefly by the term Khoja since the time of Pir Satgur Nur, also continued to retain their own traditions under the leadership of local elders in Gujrat until they merged with the growing Ismaili community in India.

The Ismailis in Iran, however, became absolutely disorganized and disoriented immediately with the destruction of their state. Despite the repressions and debacles, the Ismailis' fortune continued to rise gradually in Iran during the turbulent years. Those who managed to survive the Mongol massacres in Rudhbar and Kohistan, had entered a new era of their history. They mostly had taken refuge in obscurity, cloaked by the forms of a Sufi tariqah, and most of them referred to their spiritual leader not as an Imam but as a Pir for many years. The underground existence of the Ismailis in whole Iran did not attract the attention of the historians, who did not have any direct link or approach with them and who, like Juvaini, also wrote that the Mongols had completely extirpated the Nizari Ismailis in Iran. It however appears that many of them had escaped the main brunt of the Mongol onslaughts and did exist in Kohistan, Daylam, Rudhbar etc. A facsimile of a manuscript dating 690/1290 composed by Wahid al-Muluk, unearthed by Sir E. Denison Ross (cf. Royal Asiatic Society, London, 1931, 2nd vol., p. 202), indicating that, 'In Persia, the Ismaili communities were decimated by massacre, but survived after the surrender of Alamut and other fortresses in Daylam and Kohistan.' Poet Nizari Kohistani (d. 720/1320) very watchfully describes the survival of the Ismailis in Kohistan, Birjand, Rudhbar etc. in his 'Kulliyat', a manuscript in the Institute of Language and Literature of the Academy of Science of the Tajik. Mustapha Qazwini compiled his 'Nuzhat al-Qulub' in 740/1340 also gives a condensed account of Rudhbar in Mazandaran, whose inhabitants were Ismailis. The Ismailis also lived in Gilan, probably in the mantle of the local Sufis. H.L. Rabino writes in 'Rulers of Gilan' (JRAS, 1920, vol., III, p. 294) that, 'It is generally believed that the fall of castle of Alamut in 654/1256 marks the end of the Ismaili influence in Gilan. This is a great mistake. Either the destruction of Alamut cannot have a complete as reported by the Persian writers, or the castle was rebuilt.'

Yet, Lamasar held out for another year before cholera broke out and killed the bulk of garrison. The few who survived the epidemic had no alternative but to surrender in 655/1258. The valiant garrison of Girdkuh however continued to resist its Mongol besiegers for 13 years after the reduction of Alamut. In the biography of Kuo K'an, the Chinese officer in Mongol forces, it is recorded that Girdkuh was situated on the top of the mountain Tan-han (i.e., Damghan), and was only accessible by ladders, which were guarded by the most valiant troop, vide 'Mediaeval Researches from Eastern Asiatic Sources' (London, 1888, 1st vol., p. 122) by E. Bretschneider. In another Chinese source, 'Hsi Shin Chi', we find a record of the journey of a Chinese envoy, Chang Te, sent by Halagu in 1259; wherein it is described Girdkuh as a mountain fortress 'on a very steep rock, which could not be reached by arrows or stones. The rock was so steep that when one looked up, his cap fell off.' Haython however writes in 'Flos Historianrum Terrae Orientis' that, 'Tigado (Girdkuh) was an impregnable castle, well furnished with all necessaries, and was so strong that it had no fear of attack on any side.' At length, the garrison came down not due to starvation, but it was the lack of adequate clothing against the severe winter cold that ultimately broke their spirits. The final surrender reported to have taken place on 29th Rabi II, 669/December 15, 1270.

It has been learnt that when Halagu quitted Iran for his operations against Baghdad, the Ismaili commanders at remote distance had also surrendered their castles upon receipt of official orders without knowing veritable picture. Few among them are reported to have treked in Rudhbar after the massacre of the Ismailis in 656/1257. They made an intensive search of the succeeding Imam after being known locally that Ruknuddin Khurshah had been also killed. With the help of few local fidais, the Ismaili commanders obtained possession of Alamut around 674/1275, about five years after the fall of Girdkuh. The fortress underwent temporary construction and renovation. The reason for re-occupation, as we have been informed, was to give an inkling to the hiding Imam and the Ismailis to come out of concealment. If this version certainly embodies grain of truth, it implies that the Ismailis of Rudhbar were not yet acquainted with the whereabouts of the Imam. According to 'Tarikh-i Guzida' (1st vol., p. 583), 'They retained Alamut for almost one year before they were dislodged by a force sent against them by Halagu's son and successor Abaqa (d. 680/1282).' It is also related that the Ismaili dais of Rudhbar had communicated a report to some unknown dais, and the latter had transmitted it onwards till it reached to the Imam. Shamsuddin Muhammad is reported to have instructed his Iranian followers to observe taqiyaand adjust themselves in pursuant of the conditions of their localities. Henceforward, the Iranian Ismailis came to know of Shamsuddin Muhammad as their Imam.

Virtually, nothing else is known about the activities of Shamsuddin Muhammad in northern Azerbaijan. Certain allusions in the still unpublished 'Safar-nama' of poet Nizari Kohistani indeed indicate that Shamsuddin Muhammad and possibly his successor lived in concealment in Azerbaijan, or southern Caucasus.

Ismaili History 703 - Poet Nizari Kohistani

Naimuddin bin Jalaluddin bin Muhammad Nizari Kohistani was born in Birjand in 645/1247. He got the rudiments of his formal education at home from his father, who was also a poet himself and a devout Ismaili. Later on, Nizari attended school in Birjand and Qain, and studied Persian and Arabic literature. His father was a land- lord in Birjand, but lost his estate during the Mongol onslaught in Kohistan and subsequently, Nizari had to serve at the court of Shamsuddin Muhammad I (643- 684/1245-1285), the founder of the Kurt dynasty of Herat; and became a court-poet.Nizari travelled excessively for supervising the revenue and expenditure of Azerbaijan and Arran. He set out from Khasp in Birjand on a long journey with a certain Tajuddin Amid in Shawal, 678/February, 1280. He fell ill in Tabriz, and resumed his journey in Safar, 679/June, 1280 with a certain Shamsuddin Juvaini, who was also travelling there for same purpose. Nizari visited Azerbaijan, Arran, Georgia, Armenia and Baku, which lasted for two years (678-679/1280-1281). Muqaddasi had reported earlier in 'Kitab al-Akalim' (comp. in 375/985) that Azerbaijan, Arran and Armenia formed part of a single province, which he designated as Iklim ar-Rihab(the region of high plains). It was during this journey that Nizari did see Shamsuddin Muhammad and his successor. He recounted the account of his journey in his 'Safar-nama' in mathnawi form, comprised of 1200 verses. Nizari has termed the Ismailis significantly as 'Ikhwan as-Safa'.

After his return, Nizari got married and entered the service of Kurt rulers, who had penetrated their influence in Afghanistan and Khorasan. His enemies aroused the Kurt ruler and was dismissed and his properties were confiscated. He composed 'Munazara-i Shab-i Rauz' (conflict of day and night) wherein he described the troubles he had faced. Nizari took up agriculture during retiring life and died in Birjand in 720/1320 during the reign of Ghiasuddin (d. 729/1328). He also composed 'Mathnawi Azhar-u-Mazhar' in 700/1300, narrating the terrible operations of the Mongols in Iran. His another famous work, 'Dastur-nama' (book of rule) which he composed for his son, reflecting the doctrines of Sufism and Ismailism. According to Daulatshah (d. 900/1494) in 'Tazkertu'sh Shu'ara' that, 'This is a book to be treasured by gifted and intellectual minds.' In 'Mathnawi' (verse 43), Nizari Kohistani writes eloquently in praise of Shamsuddin Muhammad that:-

'He is the prince of the universe, the crown of the faith. He is the son of Ali, who is the light of the eyes of the great king (Muhammad). He (Shamsuddin) Muhammad is the father of spiritualism, and the sweetest fruit of the eternal garden of creation.'

One can hardly paint a true picture of the condition under which the Ismailis lived in different regions after an end of their power. The overt hostility of the general Muslims continued to be unchanged in all corners on one side, and the Mongol sword was hunting them on other. The survived Ismailis were forced to exist in various cloaks, that had made the ostensible appearances so conclusive as if there had been not a single Ismaili on the surface. The underground existence of the Ismailis had become congenial condition for the contemporary historian, like Juvaini (1226-1283) and the traveller, like Marco Polo (1254-1324) to shift the fictions and cheap stories to the account of the Ismailis to win the hearts of their pagan masters. Hence, Iran for the most part became a breeding ground of fictions for bigoted historians. Henceforth, whatever was salvaged of various types of Ismaili works came to be preserved secretly and in private collections. As a result, the history of the Ismailis and doctrines came almost exclusively from the pens of Sunni historians who, as a rule, were hostile towards the Ismailis. Thus, numerous distortions and negative biases are contained in the tracts of these chroniclers.

Previously indicated that in the time of Imam Alauddin Muhammad (d. 653/1255), the Mongols were spurring to their operations against Alamut. Shamsuddin, the chief Qadi of Qazwin had also lodged false allegations against Alamut at the court of Mongke (1251-1258) in Mongolia. Halagu therefore had been charged the main Mongol expedition across Central Asia to Iran, where he did not arrive before 654/1256. But already in 650/1252, he had dispatched an advance army of 12000 men under the command of Ket-Buqa, who reached Iran in 651/1253 and began his onslaught on the Ismaili strongholds in Kohistan; and sent raiding parties into Rudhbar and Tarum. On other side, Shamsuddin, the chief Qadi of Qazwin, immediately after returning from Mongolia, assailed in bitter sarcasms against Alamut in Qazwin and the surrounding regions, giving also high tidings for the coming of the Mongols in Iran. The scrutiny of the sources indicates that a bulk of the frightened Muslims calmly began to evacuate the vicinity of Rudhbar and Kohistan during the period of Alauddin Muhammad to escape the main brunt of the Mongols. The stampede of the Muslims had also carried away with them the then latest report that 'Alauddin Muhammad is the ruler of Alamut, and the Mongols are about to come to reduce Alamut.' These Muslims ultimately settled down in Qazwin, Daylam and Tabriz; where they came to know the fall of Alamut. On that juncture, they seem to have generalized an image in minds that the Alamut's fall would have been taken place in the time of Alauddin Muhammad, incorporating the then report they had brought from their villages. This tradition received credence in some circles, ingnoring palpably the one year rule of Ruknuddin Khurshah followed by Alauddin Muhammad. When the Mongol storms diffused in Iran, the historicity of Ruknuddin Khurshah itself began to be floated. But, it seems that the above idea continued to remain prevailed many years in Qazwin, Daylam and Tabriz, making Alauddin Muhammad as the last ruler of Alamut, which also curiously sounds in the account of Marco Polo (1254-1324), who had most possibly heard these fantastic stories from these orbits in 671/1272. For instance, Marco Polo narrates: 'I will tell you his story just as I Messer Marco, have heard it told by many people.... The Shaikh was called in their language Alaodin.... So they were taken, and the Shaikh, Alaodin, was put to death with all his men.' (vide 'The Travels of Marco Polo' by Ronald Latham, London, 1958, pp. 40-42).

When Shamsuddin Muhammad had been in Tabriz once or more times, he became known as Shams Tabriz. There had been another Shams-i Tabriz, the master of Jalaluddin Rumi (d. 672/1273) in the same period, who was not tracable after 645/1247 in Koniya. It is therefore possible that Shamsuddin Muhammad had chosen to cloak his identity in Tabriz for some times under the name of the master of Jalaluddin Rumi in the Sufic circles. Rida Quli Khan (d. 1872) writes in 'Majmau'l Fusaha' that, 'Shaikh Abu Hamid Awhadu'ddin Kirmani had seen and met Shams-i Tabriz in Tabriz.' To this we must add the likelihood that Shaikh Abu Hamid had veritably seen Shamsuddin Muhammad in the mantle of Shams-i Tabriz. When Shamsuddin Muhammad was identified as the 'son of the last ruler of Alamut', he was ultimately considered as the 'son of Alauddin Muhammad,' incorporating him in the above tradition.

A cloud of mystery has surrounded the life of another contemporary Shams-i Tabriz, the master of Jalaluddin Rumi after 645/1247. Shamsuddin Aflaki, who wrote in 754/1353 that the death of Shams-i Tabriz took place in Koniya in 645/1247. It seems that a group of the Sufis had cultivated a story that after leaving Koniya, Shams-i Tabriz had gone to Tabriz, and there Shamsuddin Muhammad, known as Shams Tabriz had been identified as same Shams-i Tabriz after few years. Thus, Shamsuddin Muhammad began to be equated with that of Shams-i Tabriz, and henceforward, two Shams Tabriz at one period were confounded.

When the people conclusively identified Ruknuddin Khurshah as the last ruler, most probably after 671/1272, one another tradition seems to have been originated to distinguish these two characters. Shamsuddin Muhammad had been deleted from that story from being the son of Alauddin Muhammad, but Shams-i Tabriz was made known as the son of Alauddin Muhammad instead. Being influenced with this tradition, Daulatshah (d. 900/1494) was the first to show Shams-i Tabriz, the master of Jalaluddin Rumi as the son of Alauddin Muhammad, in his 'Tazkertu'sh Shu'ara'. A question then arises, who was Shams-i Tabriz? He indeed was an Ismaili, the master of Jalaluddin Rumi, but not the son of Alauddin Muhammad. As to the early life of Shams-i Tabriz, we are yet in dark. Shamsuddin Aflaki (710-754/1310-1354) in 'Manaqibu'l Arifin' and Abdur Rahman Jami (d. 898/1493) in 'Nafhatu'l Uns' concur that Shams-i Tabriz was the son of a certain Muhammad bin Ali bin Malikad. Rida Quli Khan (d. 1872) in his 'Majmau'l Fusaha' also relied on Aflaki and Jami. According to 'Silsilatu'ad-Dhahab', it is wrong to allege Shams-i Tabriz to have been the son of Alauddin Muhammad. It was only Daulatshah (d. 900/1494) who made him the son of Alauddin Muhammad being influenced by the wrong tradition. Prof. Muhammad Iqbal of Punjab University, who prepared the Lahore edition of Daulatshah's work, makes his remarks that: ' is evident that Daulatshah has not written historical facts carefully in his book. He has accepted all sorts of traditions, right or wrong, owing to which several errors have crept into his work.' Edward G. Browne writes in 'A Literary History of Persia' (3rd vol., p. 436) that, 'This is an entertaining but inaccurate work, containing a good selection of historical errors.'

It is also worthy of notice, however, that Daulatshah quoted another tradition of parentage of Shams-i Tabriz that, 'Some people say that he was originally a native of Khorasan and belonged to the town of Bazar. His father had settled in Tabriz for the purpose of doing business in cloth.' It is probable that Shams-i Tabriz was the son of Muhammad bin Ali bin Malikad according to Aflaki and Jami, and he seems to be a native of Khorasan as per another tradition cited by Daulatshah. Nurullah Shustari (d. 1019/1610) in his 'Majalis al-Mominin' (6th vol., p. 291) states that Shams-i Tabriz descended from 'Ismaili headman' (da'iyani Ismailiyya budand). His father had settled in Tabriz, and was a cloth merchant. Shams-i Tabriz was indeed an Ismaili like his father, but it needs further scholarly scanning to trace his biography.

There is also a reason to believe that Jalaluddin Rumi must have been known both Shams-i Tabriz and Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad, but did not described palpably in his Diwan. He however addresses Shams as the heir of the Prophet (verse no. 2473) and compares him to Ali (verse no. 1944), which seems to have been referred only to the Imam.

Shamsuddin Muhammad is reported to have betrothed to a Sufi lady at Daylam in 675/1276, or next year. His sons, Momin Shah and Kiya Shah penetrated Ismaili dawaas far as Gilan. Momin Shah also travelled in Syria and served many years as a hujjat of the Imam. When he returned to Gilan, a section of the Syrian Ismailis, considered him the Imam's successor, who later on, became known as the Momin-Shahis. Muhibb Ali Qunduzi however writes in 'Irshadu't Talibin' (comp. in 929/1523) that, 'The schism took place after the death of Momin Shah in 738/1338.' The descendants of Momin Shah mostly lived in Khwand, a village in Qazwin, where they became known as Sadat-i Khwandia.

Shamsuddin Muhammad died in 710/1310 in Azerbaijan after vesting the office of Imamate in Kassim Shah.

It appears that the Ismaili sources have designed the history of the Imams in a sequence of father to son, emanating each succeeding Imam being the son of the preceding Imam. We have been told in this context that Kassim Shah was the son and successor of Shamsuddin Muhammad. But, the scrutiny of the sources and the fragments of the traditions, reveals starkly a different story, suggesting that Kassim Shah was the successor, but not a son, rather a grandson of Shamsuddin Muhammad. In other words, he was Kassim Shah bin Momin Shah bin Shamsuddin Muhammad. The chronicles of Momin Shahi sect, such as 'Irshadu't Talibin' (comp. 929/1523) by Muhibb Ali Qunduzi and 'Lamat al-Tahirin' (comp. 1110/1698) by Ghulam Ali bin Muhammad; contain variations in the names of the descendants of Shamsuddin Muhammad. 'Tarikh-i Firishta' (comp. 1015/1606) by Muhammad Kassim Firishta, and few other sources also offer a diverse account of the sons of Shamsuddin Muhammad. These sources however divulge some traces that Shamsuddin Muhammad was succeeded by his grandson, Kassim Shah bin Momin Shah. It is worthwhile that 'Haft Bab' of Abu Ishaq Kohistani, who died in the beginning of the 10th/16th centuries, places Momin Shah in the list of Imams, making him the successor of Shamsuddin Muhammad, and Kassim Shah as the successor of Momin Shah. It ensues from the episode that Abu Ishaq Kohistani must have identified Kassim Shah being the grandson of Shamsuddin Muhammad in his period, and had inserted the name of Momin Shah between them, to adjust the succession list in an order, and to give coherence to the traditional notion.

Later on, it seems that the Ismailis, after knowing Kassim Shah being followed by Shamsuddin Muhammad, had omitted the name of Momin Shah in the list to distinguish themselves from Momin Shahi sect. It resulted possibly the historicity of a grandsontransformed into a son, and one can find the like effect in India in 'Satveni'ji Vel' by Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah (d. 940/1534).

In sum, it ensues that Shamsuddin Muhammad seems to have succeeded by his grandson, Kassim Shah. Besides, the tradition of the succession of a grandson can be seen equally potent in the famous Will of the Aga Khan III, who has unmasked the succession of the grandson in the light of the past tradition while appointing his grandson to succeed him. It reads: 'Ever since the time of my ancestor Ali, the first Imam, that is to say over a period of thirteen hundred years, it has always been the tradition of our family that each Imam chooses his successor at his absolute and unfettered discretion from amongst any of his descendants, whether they be sons or remote male issue....' This would thus tend to be a safe conclusion that the appointment of a grandson (the remote male issue) was enfoced in view of the tradition of last 1300 years, and thus it was not a new effect in this age. It unveils in a question that a like effect most probably had been taken place in the line of Shamsuddin Muhammad, who seems to have been succeeded by his grandson, Kassim Shah bin Momin Shah. W.Ivanow (1886-1970) and Farhad Daftary and other modern scholars have also shown almost pertinent possibility. The ardent students must investigate this field to unearth further historical truth.


Ismaili History 704 - KASSIM SHAH (710-771/1310-1370)

Kassim Shah, known as Sayed Kassim Muhammad was most probably born in Daylam. He is said to have lived shortly in Armenia and Anatolia in the orbit of Bekhtashahis, a growing Sufi order among the Kurds and Turkomans.The tradition most possibly of later period indicating that Kassim Shah had flourished a small village in Azerbaijan, called Kassimabad, seems almost doubtful. It is however probable that the village, in which Kassim Shah either resided, or where he used to see his followers, had been customarily termed, Kassimabad by the Iranian followers. It is also believed that when his son, Islam Shah had arrived at Kahek in Iran in 798/1396, the Iranian Ismailis had also termed Kassimabad being an abode of the embarking place of the Imam, or the abode of Islam Shah's father.

Ghazan Khan (1295-1304), the sixth Ilkhanid ruler had embraced Islam, and restored peace in Iran. He was succeeded by his brother Uljaytu (1304-1316), who professed Christianity like his mother. He invaded Gilan, Mazandaran and Khorasan, putting many Ismailis to sword. He at last became a Shia Muslim, and was succeeded by his twelve years son, Abu Sa'id (1316-1334). The Mongols became so weak that their principal power was divided into their generals. Finally, Amir Hussain founded the Jalayirid dynasty at Tabriz in 736/1336, which also ended practically in 812/1409. In Ispahan and Shiraz, Muzaffaruddin Muhammad, the son of Sharafuddin Muzaffar (d. 754/1353) founded the Muzaffarid dynasty in 713/1313, which lasted till 795/1393. The Kurts of Herat also rose in 643/1245, and Taymurlame belonged to this place, also became a powerful ruler in 783/1381 by conquering Iran.

In India, the three centuries of Muslim rule (603-933/1206-1526), generally known as the Sultanate period, witnessed the rise and fall of five dynasties, namely the Slaves (603-690/1206-1290), the Khaljis (690-720/1290-1320), the Tughlaqs (720- 816/1320-1413), the Sayeds (816-855/1414-1451) and the Lodhis (855-933/1451-1526). Then, the Mughal empire was founded in India in 933/1526. Like the Mamluke sultanate at Cairo, the Delhi sultanate grew out of the tradition of slave soldiery during 13th century, who slaughtered many Ismailis in Delhi between 607/1230 and 634/1236. Alauddin Khalji (695-715/1296-1316) did not tolerate in India the very interference of the ulema class in the state affairs, but gave them in his reign a free rope and licence to massacre the innocent Ismailis. Maulana Isami writes in 'Futuhu's-Salatin' (Madras, 1948, p. 201) that, 'The Sultan Alauddin ordered the heads of the residents of Alamut to be cut down through saw.' It ensues the bitterest attitude of the Khalji ruler towards the Ismailis, and one can understand from it that few Ismailis of Iran had migrated as far as India, where the bigoted rulers gave them no respite. The Tughlaq ruler was followed by the Khalji in 720/1320, and Firuz Khan Tughlaq (1320-1388) had a merit to have killed many innocent Ismailis in 752/1351 in India. The Tughlaq ruler, Muhammad Shah III (d. 795/1393) is reported to have sent his forces in command of Zafar Khan to conquer Gujrat in 793/1391. He established an independent Sultanate of Gujrat in 810/1407, and was the first Muslim ruler of Gujrat to suppress Shiism in his domains. It was under Ahmad I (d. 846/1442) that the Ismailis began to be severely domineered, and were forced to observe taqiya.

Towards the end to 13th century, an akhi movement had united the Turks in Anatolia, and at last Uthman bin Ertoghrul (1288-1326) succeeded as a chief of a semi-nomad Turkish clan in the valley of Kara Su. In the first phase of his career, he extended the cradle of his power to the north. The second phase in his career is that in which from his base at Yeni Sheir, he continued his conquests in the western towards Brusa and in the north towards Iznik. The third phase is that in which he no longer took part personally in the military expeditions, but his commanders continued the expansions. During his 38 years of leadership, he increased his dominion from its very narrow limits at Sugut and Yeni Sheir to a territory extending thence northward to the Bosphorus and Black Sea, a distance of about 125 miles by an average breadth of 60 miles. At length, Uthman established the Turkish empire in Turkey in 700/1300.

The scattered Ismailis slowly began in settling down in the towns and villages of Iran. Few among them in northern area had concentrated their efforts at Daylam, one of the largest districts of Gilan. Daylam was occupied and ruled by Kiya Saifuddin Kushayji in 760/1360 at Marjikuli. He was deep-rooted in Ismaili faith like his forefathers since the period of Imam Alauddin Muhammad. He was however forced to abandon Ismailism by the Zaidi Sayed Ali Kiya, the neighboring ruler. Kiya Saifuddin totally declined the proposal, therefore, a force of Gilan was dispatched against him in 779/1378 by Sayed Ali Kiya bin Amir Kiya Malati, the chief of Biyapish in eastern Gilan since 769/1368. Sayed Ali Kiya occupied Daylam, and founded the Zaidi dynasty of Amir Kiya'i Sayeds, and extended his influence in Ashkawar, Kuhdum and as far as Tarum and Qazwin. The lieutenant Amir Ali of Sayed Amir Kiya had domineered the Ismailis in Daylam, and the local theologians also chimed in and started their customary propaganda. In 781/1379, Sayed Ali Kiya chased the Ismailis in Qazwin, and retained control of that region for seven years until 788/1386, when he was compelled to surrender Qazwin, Tarum and its castle to Taymurlame (771- 807/1370-1405), the founder of the Taymurid dynasty in Iran and Transoxiana.

It appears from the fragments of 'Risala-i Dilgusha' by Ubayd-i Zakani (1300-1372) that the trends in the hostile Muslims in Qazwin against the Ismailis of Daylam and Gilan remained continued, and it reflected also in the local novels.


Ismaili History 707 - ISLAM SHAH (771-827/1370-1423)

Sayed Ahmad Islam Shah was also known as Islam Shah and is called as Salam Shah and Shri Islam Shah in the ginans of the Indian Pirs. Islam Shah assumed the Imamate in 771/1370 in Azerbaijan, ruled by Sultan Uways (757-776/1356-1374), the Jalayirid ruler. It seems that during the early 25 years of his Imamate in Azerbaijan, he visited Daylam several times in disguise, where he had erected a temporary mission centre for different regions. Summing up the sparsely recorded fragments of the ginans, it appears that Islam Shah was a man of middle height, radiant face having piercing eyes. He was a gifted man of sweet disposition and engaging manner. His mole on right cheek was an eye- catching mark. He was a generous, fond of hunting and passed sometimes a few months in woods on hunting excursion.The Mongol power ended with the death of Abu Sa'id, the last Ilkhanid ruler on November 30, 1335, and some months later, Taymur was born in Samarkand on April 8, 1336. It is said that Taymur had received an arrow wound while fighting in Sistan in 1363, making him permanently lame and accounted for his nickname lung (lame), or Taymur-lung (Taymurlame). He solidified his powers as an amir in Samarkand at the age of 30 years and conquered few regions of Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey, Afghanistan and India. He had a vein of cruelty in his character, and so were his soldiers. Taymur's example so filled his soldiers with courage that, with one wild cheer, they made a desperate charge, rushed on the besieged and broke their lines. Wherever they went a crimson streak marked their trail and cultural centres were practically wiped out of existence, reducing them into shapeless ruins. As a matter of fact, greed together with avarice seems to have been the ruling passion of Taymur's life.

From 735/1335 when Abu Sa'id died to the year 782/1380, Iran was left to its own device in 45 years, and was divided into four to five petty rules. Taymur spurred his horses to Iran in 783/1381 and launched several terrible expeditions as if an engine of destruction like Halagu. He invaded Azerbaijan in 787/1385 when Imam Islam Shah was probably in Daylam. Taymur crushed the Muzaffarid of Ispahan and cost the lives of about 70,000 of its inhabitants, whose heads were piled in pyramids.

The Ismailis had hardly set up their livings that the Taymurid danger began to loom large on the Iranian horizon. He attacked Mazandaran, Sistan and Fars in 794/1392 and conducted bloody massacres of the local Ismailis. John Malcolm writes in 'History of Persia' (London, 1815, 1st vol., p. 18) that, 'Taymur had the merit of extirpating a band of Ismailis with which the north-western provinces of Persia were infested.' In 795/1393, Taymur swept the thick population of the Ismailis in Amul, the principal town of Tabaristan, lying along the south coast of the Caspian Sea; and also Astrabad, the city of Jurjan province to the north frontier of Mazandaran.

During his campaign in Iran in Rajab, 795/May, 1393 while going to Hamdan from Ispahan, Taymur spent few days in Anjudan inhabited by the poor Ismailis. His soldiers wildly butchered many Ismailis and pillaged their properties. According to Sharafuddin Ali Yazdi (d. 858/1454) in 'Zafar-nama' (1st vol., p. 577), 'The Ismailis of Anjudan attempted to seek protection in their underground tunnels but they mostly lost their lives when they were flooded out by the Taymur's soldiers.' Finally, Taymur returned to Samarkand in 798/1396 and died in 807/1405. His Taymurid empire divided into petty rules, but Turkey, Iraq and India restored their rules he devastated. Iran and Afghanistan however were dominated by the Taymurids, but their internecine strife had badly hit the Iranian economy.

In India, the Tughlaqs gained their power after Taymur's death, which ultimately had fallen to the hand of the Sayeds (816-855/1414-1451) and the Lodhis (855-933/1451- 1526). The Ottoman empire became powerful once again after Taymur's death and spread their influence in Islamic countries. The Mamluks of Egypt and Syria were dragged into their internal disputes. When Taymur invaded Turkey and Syria, the rule of Mamluks was confined only to Cairo. After Taymur, the Turkish ruler occupied Egypt.

Ismaili History 708 - Islam Shah in Kahek

After a long series of bloody expeditions in Iran, Taymur had gone to Samarkand on July 18, 1396 and Iran once again breathed peacefully. Islam Shah, in the meantime, also began to trek from Azerbaijan to Kahek in Iran. Pir Hasan Kabiruddin (d. 853/1449) writes in his ginan that: 'It was Vikram Samvat 1452, the 17th of Ashad (or July 2, 1396) when Imam Islam Shah arrived in Kahek.'The village of Kahek, situated in the north of Ispahan on the road linking to Hamdan. The arrival of Islam Shah took place when Taymur had been in Samarkand, marking the transference of Imam's headquarters from Azerbaijan to Kahek. It appears from the fragments of the ginans that Pir Sadruddin (d. 819/1416) and his son Pir Hasan Kabiruddin (d. 853/1449) had been in Daylam to see Islam Shah, where they received an inkling to proceed to Kahek and wait there for Imam's arrival. Many Ismailis already lived in Kahek and the surrounding villages had been in eager expectation of Imam's arrival. The tedious hours of impatient expectancy were at last over when their revered master appeared on the horizon of Kahek.

Pir Hasan Kabiruddin has portrayed in his ginan the Imam's arrival at Kahek in elegant words. It reads:- 'The Lord arrived in Irak-i Ajam (Iranian Irak), wearing an attractive cap. His attires looked vivid on either side. He had girdled with a curved dagger on the waist, buckled with a sword bearing two points. The strips were wound up on the legs, embodied the appearance elegant. The attractive footwears on the legs have further enhanced his personality. The hanging shawl (garment worn on body) of four yards on the shoulder was indeed an eye-catching. Thus, the Imam. the apparent guide, riding on a horse made his footing in Kahek.'

Ismaili History 709 - Kahek - a new headquarters

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

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

Ismaili History 710 - Muhammad Shah bin Momin Shah

The Iranian Ismailis lived peacefully in Fars, Khorasan, Kahek, Anjudan, Rudhbar etc. Meanwhile, Muhammad Shah, the son of Momin Shah bin Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad is reported to have appeared in Daylam, but his contact with the Imam is historically shrouded in clouds. He is however said to have joined Kiya Malik, the Hazaraspid ruler for taking the possession of Ashkawar. Muhammad Shah mustered the local Ismailis and formed his force, and subdued Sayed Mahdi Kiya with the help of Kiya Malik. Sayed Mahdi Kiya was arrested and sent to Tabriz in the court of sultan Uways (757-776/1356-1374), the Jalayirid ruler of Azerbaijan, Iraq and Kurdistan. Kiya Malik reinstated his rule in Ashkawar, and granted the hold of Alamut and its locality to Muhammad Shah in 776/1374. It is known that Sayed Mahdi Kiya succeeded to release from imprisonment in 778/1376 with the influence of Tajuddin Amuli, the Zaidi Sayed of Timjan, who had been made the governor of Ranikuh by his brother, Sayed Ali. Soon afterwards, Sayed Ali took field against Ashkawar and defeated Kiya Malik, who fled to Alamut in the hope of being assisted once again by Muhammad Shah, but failed, therefore, he took refuge with Taymur. Meanwhile, the forces of Sayed Ali had laid siege to Alamut while pursuing Kiya Malik, and took possession of Alamut. Muhammad Shah had been given self-conduct, and was sent to Taymur, who is reported to have sent him in Sultaniyya, where he died in 807/1404. His descendants escaped from the prison and started their living in Sultaniyya.In 813/1410, Sayed Radi Kiya (798-829/1395-1426), the son of Sayed Ali, and a powerful ruler of Lahijan, had expelled the Hazaraspid and Kushayji amirs from Daylam. He also stroke a severe blow to the local Ismailis during his operations, and killed a few of the descendants of Imam Alauddin Muhammad.

Jalali bin Najmuddin of Qain writes in 'Nassih al-Muluk' that, 'In the period of my grandfather, Amadid-din in the first part of the 14th century, Kohistan, Rudhbar etc. were thickly inhabitated by the Ismailis, resulting the Sunni preachers to face difficulties to convert them.' Jalali further writes that in his own period, in early 15th century, the bulk of the population was the Sunnis, though he had been assured that there were many Ismailis near Kohistan. It seems that Kohistan was populated by the Ismailis before Taymur's arrival in 794/1392, impelling them to move elsewhere during the time of Jalali from Kohistan and Rudhbar. According to 'Siyasat al-Muluk' that the officers of Kohistan were more or less suspected by Shah Rukh (1405-1407). 'The Encyclopaedia of Islam' (1927, 2nd vol., p. 550) also asserts that few soldiers, Sayeds or darwish of Qain in the time of Shah Rukh were suspected being the Ismailis.

It must be remembered that the Mongols had demolished some 70 castles of the Ismailis in the province of Kohistan, and after that, Turshiz a city of Kohistan recovered its importance, though partly in decay probably during this period where the Ismailis lived in the ruins of four castles in Turshiz, namely, Kalah Bardarud, Kalah Mikal, Mujahidabad and Atisgah. These castles finally had been demolished by Taymurlame in 783/1381, and since then, Turshiz disappeared from the map.

Kamaluddin Abdur Razzak (1413-1482), the son of Jalaluddin Ishaq Samarkandi had visited Kirman on May 21, 1441. He compiled 'Matla'us Sa'dain wa Majmu'ul Bahrain'in 874/1470, but makes no mention of the Ismailis. Islam Shah lived in Kahek in obscure, and did not attract the historians to make his mention. Sayed Imam Shah (d. 926/1520), who had been in Kahek in the province of Kirman in 854/1450 writes in 'Motto Das Avatar' (verse no. 10:141) that, 'Imam Islam Shah resides in Kahek, but the ruler and people do not know him.' Nuruddin bin Lutafullah (d. 834/1430) compiled 'Tarikh-i Hafiz Abru' in 829/1425, however gave but a trivial account of the Ismailis during the time of Islam Shah in Iran.

The Syrian Ismailis lived in peace during the period under review in Hims, Aleppo, Hammah, Masiyaf, Qadmus etc., and had generated a close contact with Islam Shah through the local dais. Muhammad bin Sa'd bin Daud (790-859/1378-1455), surnamed ar- Rafnah was a gifted dai in Syria. He is reported to have visited Kahek few months before the death of Islam Shah in 827/1423. He also attended the ascension ceremony of Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah. He was a prolific writer and wrote 'Rasail al- Shifa', refuting the claims of the Momin-shahis. He also wrote 'Khams Rasail Ismailiyya'. Nuruddin Ahmad (d. 849/1445) was another dai of high fame in Syria, who had travelled widely in Syria, Iraq and Arabia. His 'Fusul wa-Akhbar' deals the history of the Ismailis in Syria. Abul Ma'ali Hatim bin Imran, eminently known as Ibn Zahra also flourished in the period under review, who compiled 'al-Ahkam wa'l Fatarat' and 'al-Mabda wa'l Ma'ad'.

The Ismailis of upper Oxus seems to have been unknown about the reduction of Alamut until the time of Islam Shah due to residing at farthest region. Their communication with the Iranian Ismaili Imams collapsed for over 150 years during the operations of Halagu and Taymur. Shagnan, the district of upper Oxus was the chief Ismaili centre in Central Asia. The early Arab geographers refer to Shagnan by the name, Shikinan and Shikina, while the Chinese writers call it She-ki-ni i.e., 'the kingdom of the five She-ni' (gorges). Sayed Malang Shah is reported to have come here from Alamut, and converted a large number of the local inhabitants. He solidified his power and extended his influence and won over Farhad Rew, the chief of Shagnan. Sayed Malang Shah was followed by a young dai Sayed Khamush Shah Shirazi. Sir Thomas Douglas Forsyth (1827-1886) in 'Report on a Mission to Yarkand, Calcutta, 1875',puts his date at 665/1266. Sayed Khamush Shah lived longer, and converted the Mongol tribes in upper Oxus. His tomb is at Kal'ai Barpanj. His descendants ruled Shagnan as hereditary Mirs during the time of Islam Shah, who penetrated the Ismaili dawafor the first time in China, including Yarkand and Pamir. It is a striking feature that the Ismailis of upper Oxus maintained that Islam Shah resided in India. Most of the Imam's dais followed route of Shagnan through Indian territory, and it is possible that they had constructed an idea that the Imam's residence was in India.

Ismaili History 711 - Mission of Pir Sadruddin in India

Pir Sadruddin, one of the best known and revered hujjats in Indian traditions, was born in Sebzewar probably in 700/1300. His name was Muhammad, the son of Pir Sahib'din bin Pir Nasiruddin bin Pir Shams Sebzewari. His early education followed customary lines at home. He was a man steeped in a thorough understanding of the mystical teaching and the Islamic science of tawil. He also visited Mecca several times on pilgrimage, and seems to have acquired a good command in Arabic. Pir Sadruddin is said to have visited India in 734/1335, and joined the mission of Pir Shams. He studied various religious traditions and tendencies of different cults, social customs of the inhabitants and mastered the local languages, and finally immersed in the Indian tradition.Brief mention must be made of the political cataclysm of Sind, which was the centre of the Ismaili mission down to the 18th century. After the end of the Sumra rule in Sind around 762/1361, the field was open for the Sammahs, who took possession of Sind and raised their chief, called Unar to the throne with the title of Jam. He died most probably in 768/1367 and was succeeded by his nephew, Jam Tamachi. He was followed by Jam Khairuddin, then Jam Babinah. Soon afterwards, Firuz Khan Tughlaq (1320-1388) invaded Sind after subjugation of Gujrat and some other parts of India. He defeated Jam Babinah, thus Sind fell into the hands of Firuz Khan. The Sammah rule ended in Sind in 926/1519, when Shah Beg Arghun (d. 928/1521) defeated Jam Firuz, the last ruler of the Sammah in 926/1519 and established Arghun dynasty in Sind.

The Arghun dynasty lasted till 961/1554, when their second ruler passed away during the war of succession. It was followed by a new dynasty of Central Asian origin; they were the Trakhans, whose monuments are still visible in Makli Hill. A certain Mirza Essa Trakhan (d. 974/1566) being the first ruler, took the reign in 961/1554. In 1000/1592, the Mughal emperor Akbar's friend, Abdur Rahim defeated Mirza Jani Beg Trakhan and annexed Sind to the Mughal empire. The trade from Afghanistan and Central Asia to the subcontinent was mainly in the hands of Hindu merchants in Shikarpur. This town was founded by Daudpotra in 1025/1616, a family who had assumed power in a large area of upper Sind. The Daudpotras were then defeated by another clan, the Kalhora. The first man to be known from this family was Adam Kalhora, who was executed in Multan in 965/1558. In the meantime, the British East India Company began to establish trade with Sind between 1045/1636 and 1073/1662. In 1112/1701, Yar Muhammad Khan Kalhora seized Shikarpur and the Mughal emperor Aurengzeb also granted the family large areas in Sind. He was succeeded by Nur Muhammad in 1131/1719, whose territory extended from Multan to Thatta. In the interim, the invasion of Nadir Shah in 1152/1739 proved as severe blow to the Kalhoras as it was to the Mughals. Nur Muhammad had to give up Shikarpur and Sibi and the Afsharids of Iran kept the whole western bank of the Indus. About fifteen years later, Ahmad Shah Durrani invaded Sind in 1167/1754, but, although Nur Muhammad was driven out from Jaisalmer, his son Muhammad Murad Yar Khan gained the kingdom. His brother Ghulam Shah founded Hyderabad in place of the old Nerankot in 1181/1768. The Kalhora period was important for the development of Sindhi literature, though its economic condition rapidly deteriorated towards the last quarter of the 18th century. The minister of the last Kalhora prince, Mir Bijar was killed in 1196/1781 after having defeated the invading Afghans near Shikarpur. Mir Bijar belonged to the Baluch clan of the Talpurs who were the disciples of the Kalhora, but after his death, fight between the two groups ensued and in 1197/1783, the Talpur Mir Fateh Ali defeated the last Kalhora, Abdun Nabi. The rule of the Talpur Mirs was divided among the branches of the family, therefore, the Talpurs were seated in Hyderabad, Mirpur and Khairpur. The Talpurs were plain blunt shepherds, who mostly relied on the power of their Baluchi clans to maintain order. The battle of Miami in 1259/1843 with the British India finally got an end of the rule of the Talpur Mirs in Sind.

Returning the thread of our narrative, the scrutiny of traditions suggests that Pir Sadruddin started his proselytizing mission between 757/1356 and 798/1396 under Pir Shams. Judging from bits and shreds of the accessible traditions, it is known that he selected twelve gifted surrogates from different tribes to assist him in his mission. He seems to have travelled from Uchh to the lower part of Sind as far as the regions adjoining the Indian ocean, and around the locality of present Karachi. The tradition has it that he hired a camel in that locality to travel into the interior Sind, and converted the owner of camel at first. Pir Sadruddin seems to have launched his brisk mission in the district Thatta, and converted a bulk of the Lohana and Bhatia castes. From lower Sind, he proceeded to the middle, and also visited Kutchh with a group of dais. His mission also penetrated in Gujrat and the regions between northern India and Deccan. He also tried to bring the lower castes into the Ismaili fold, who revered Ramdeo, wherein he cloaked his identity, assuming the name of Nizar - a familiar term among the followers of Ramdeo. It must be known that he composed few ginans bearing the name Nizar for the followers of Ramdeo. His mission also influenced other parts of Gujrat and Kathiawar.

Pir Sadruddin visited Iran in 798/1396 to report Imam Islam Shah the outcome of his endeavours. He was designated as the hujjat of Sind and Hind, or the pir according to the Indian tradition. With fresh directions, he returned to India and established prayer-halls (khana) and appointed mukhi (derived from mukhia means 'foremost'), the headman at Sind. Each community was administered by its headman (mukhi), who was an executive head and his office was no longer hereditary as he was periodically selected. His powers and duties were explicitly defined in the ginans. In small villages the executive powers were vested in the mukhi, and it was only on important matters that he summoned a meeting of the elders.

Pir Sadruddin also visited Punjab and Kashmir to build prayer-halls for the followers of Pir Shams, and also built a mausoleum of Pir Shams in Multan. His next visit to Patan, Gujrat was noted for giving a new life to the early unknown Khojas converted by Pir Satgur, whose condition since the time of giving up the Hinduism was yet unchanged. He breathed a new life into the dead class of these Khojas and brought them within the fold of new emerging Khoja community. It must be known that the new converts during the period of Pir Satgur were yet crude in their knowledge on Islam and Ismailism. No Ismaili dai is reported to have continued the mission after him during pre-Muslim era in Gujrat. The setback was due to the split of the Nizaris and the Must'alians in Egypt, resulting the Indian mission ignored for more than two centuries. Pir Sadruddin was the next dai to have launched his fresh mission in Gujrat when two to three generations of the original converts of Pir Satgur had passed away, and the third generation was almost more Hindus and less Muslims. They were getting the inspiration of the Satpanth from the old legends and miracles. Pir Sadruddin visited the different villages in Gujrat and also initiated them afresh on his own method and gave them a new lease of life and included them in the new emerging Khoja community.

Pir Sadruddin returned to Sind after a long journey. His principal area of activity certainly radiated from a base at Uchh, where he supervised the mission works.

Ismaili History 712 - Method of Pir Sadruddin's mission

Muhammad Umar writes in 'Islam in Northern India' (Aligarh, 1993, p. 371) that, 'Perhaps one factor which greatly contributed to the popularity of Islam among the Hindus was that the Muslim mystics did not ask the newly converted Hindu to renounce their former customs and rituals. They presumed that the converts themselves would renounce the un-Islamic practices in due course. As such we find references about the Hindus, who had embraced Islam but still practicing the traditional beliefs and customs even after conversion.' Likewise, it ensues from the kernel of the ginans and traditions that the landmark of Pir Sadruddin's mission was the gradual conversion into at least three processes. The method he employed was based on a special missionary framework.
In the embryonic stage, the disciples were given the ethical and moral teachings with a simple understanding of the Satpanth (true path). Local symbolic terms in native dialects were employed in the sermons and ginans, such as alakh nirinjan (Ineffable God), guru bharma (Muhammad), nar naklank (Ali), nar (Imam), guru (Pir), harijan (devotees), gat (assembly), gat ganga (prayer-hall), gatpat (holy water), jaap (invocation) etc. The vocabulary, similes and technical terms were confined to the prevalent social customs. Special ginans were composed with supreme skill in the languages of the country folk for the disciples, providing them the flavour of the traditional bhajan(song), wherein Pir Sadruddin identified himself with the appalations of Gur Sahodeva and Gur Harichandra. These poetical hymns were tinged with mythological ideas, social customs and folklores. Hence these ginans were paraphrased purely into Indian languages, a procedure that proved extremely beneficial on several counts. The emphasis was placed on making the transition from Hinduism to Islam as easy and as smooth as possible. He did not insist on the adoption of traditional form of Muslim rituals, which, in any case, were in language foreign to the converts, therefore no hard and fast rule had been imposed upon them. It may however be pointed out that the new converts possessed crude notions of meditation, but their practice in gnostic was restricted within a narrow compass. He imparted them gradually the practice of zikr(remembrance) into a positive Sufic style, called jaap, and watched every moment of the disciples' spiritual growth. The disciples were also afforded liberty to retain their traditions, social customs and culture. Ali Ahmad Brohi writes in 'History on Tombstones' (Hyderabad, 1987, p. 132) that, 'The main attraction that the Ismaili faith had was the freedom to continue ancient local beliefs and customs without causing any break with the old social order.'

In the second stage, the disciples were entrusted the solemn word (guru mantra, or sat shabada) to mutter it privately on every midnight. Pir Sadruddin sorted out and imparted the common analogical elements from Islam and Hinduism. He found analogies in their philosophical ideas, and placed the greatest value upon the inner aspects, and put aside the external formalism. Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi writes in 'History of Sufism in India' (New Delhi, 1978, 1st vol., p. 109) that, 'The Ismaili missionaries were enthusiastic, who unhestingly modified their esoteric system to suit their converts.' Hence, this stage offered the disciples to pick up the refined teachings linked in Islamic essence with no hard Arabic shell under the theory of Das Avatara. The disciples were imparted that the tenth incarnation of Vishnu was manifested at salmal deep (Arabia) as naklank (Ali), who was then in the dress of Shri Salam Shah (Imam Islam Shah), residing at Irak Khand(Iran). In this way, Pir Sadruddin reformulated, within the Hindu framework the Shiite doctrine of the Imamate as the Divine Epiphany. The doctrine of the Imamate thus was integrated into the mission within the framework of Vaishnavite ideas, who were a dominant stream of Hinduism in northern India. In sum, the new converts saw in Satpanth a completion of their old faith, and through this orientation, they also found Prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali coherence in their own tradition.

True indeed it is, that Pir Shams was first to propound the theory of Das Avatara, which was more concise, but Pir Sadruddin initiated it elaboratively in his small treatise, entitled 'Das Avatara'. It is to be noted that Sayed Imam Shah had also produced an amplified version on it.

Few other ginans were also composed in the second stage, differing little with the composition of preceding stage. Henceforward, the loan words and vocabulary drawn from the languages of Arabic and Persian were permeated in the ginans, wherein Pir Sadruddin identified himself as Pir Sahodeva, Pir Harichandra, or Pir Sadruddin.

After being mastered, the disciples were given pure Sufic teachings with certain rituals in the third stage simply on Shiite pattern. Emphasis was continued to be given in getting absorbed in meditation, which ultimately bore them the titular appellation of khoja (get absorbed) in the same manner as we have discussed in the period of Pir Satgur. It however seems that the trading class of Lohana in Sind was the first to have emerged as the khojas publicly due to their dealings with outside circles. As a result, the people from all walks of life, had rendered its meaning as merchant or nobleman which was fairly irrelevant rendering in essence. This title however became a replacment for the original Hindu Lohana title thakur or thakkar, meaning lord, master.

The new converts ultimately emerged as the khojas were now capable to receive devotedly whatever they had been initiated. Pir Sadruddin indeed islamized the faith of the people mildly and never hampered in their culture, and the Hindus in masses absorbed the best of Islamic thought more Indian than foreign in character. Pir Sadruddin then began to censure the new converts for their Hindu rites, condemning under logical expressions, such as caste distinction, idol-worship, ritual bathing, the authority of the six schools of Hindu philosophy, and the traditions of asceticism and abstraction from the world, whose few examples are given below from the book of his ginans:-

* You will never attain salvation in worshipping pebbles and stones. (142:2)

* You have designed the idol with lime after burning the pebbles and stones. How can it be called Lord Krishna? (142:3)

* You go to Kasi to take bath in the Ganges. What is this water-pilgrimage? If liberation is availed in bathing, then the fish in it can attain salvation. The fish in the Ganges remains in it, being stunk all the times. (183:4-6)

* O'careless ones! why do you adore stone? Why do you designate it as your deity, which does not bend or speak by itself. (203:2)

* The Vedas are being listened bereft of purpose. How the sins be obliterated through its listening? (167:8)

* The pandit says, `I do not eat meat.' O'pandit! let me know, wherefrom the curds and milk are procured? (123:5)

* The Yogi adores Gorakh-Nath, while the Brahmin to Shiva and the Ascetic worships Paras-Nath. These three ones have gone astray in this world. (96:3)

Hence, he consciously safeguarded his followers' Islamic root and identity. Eventually, the boundaries between the Muslims and Hindus were well defined in the ginans. He formed a symbolical bridge between Islam and Hinduism analogically - a landmark characteristic of his mission.

Summing up the peculiar missionary method of Pir Sadruddin, Ishtiaq Husain Qureshi writes in 'The Muslim Community of the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent' (Karachi, 1977, pp. 41-2) that, 'There are several instances on record where an Ismaili missionary posed as a Brahmin or a Hindu priest and instead of flatly contradicting the doctrine of the faith, he sought to subvert, he confessed its basic assumptions and introduced some of Ismaili beliefs in a disguised form and thus slowly and gradually paved the way for total conversion. Lack of total adherence has never worried the Ismailis, because they are fully confident that the convert will ultimately accept the faith fully. This kind of conversion is achieved in a peculiar manner. At the outset, the appeal is not on the basis of dogma or beliefs, but an attempt is made to convince the potential convert of the spiritual greatness of some persons. In the early days, the missionary himself was a man of exemplary character. Very often Ali was depicted as an incarnation of Vishnu among the Vaishnavites. In short, after some personal loyalty had been created, the disciple was taken through various stages into full-fledged belief in the teaching of Ismaili Islam.'

It is however, much nearer to reasonable possibility to assert that the mass conversion took place in the proselytizing mission of Pir Sadruddin in Sind, Kutchh, Gujrat and Kathiawar. He seems to have discarded the old rituals introduced in the former missions, and gave them palpable shapes. 'In this way,' says Ansar Zahid Khan in his 'History and Culture of Sind' (Karachi, 1980, p. 275), 'Sadr al-Din was responsible for providing the final touches to the Nizari Ismaili sect.' He also commissioned vakils (deputies) in different places to collect religious dues to be deposited at the main treasury in Uchh. He also started three times prayers in a day in Indian language tinctured with Koranic verses. He is reputed to have articulated a Communal Bond among the Indian Khoja Ismailis. Earlier, the isolated followers could hardly know their co-religionists, residing in other places due to the lack of coordination. This communal bond is also sounded at present as a living force in the Ismaili world.

Pir Sadruddin summoned big assemblies of the Khoja Ismailis many times in Sind and Kathiawar, inviting the local and neighboring followers to participate, to bind them together under a community bond, since their linkage fulfilled not merely a fraternal, but also a communal function. On such occasions, special ginans were composed, which had been couched in different dialects. Writing on the ,mission of Pir Sadruddin, Ali Ahmad Brohi says in 'History of Tombstones' (Hyderabad, 1987, pp. 133-4) that, 'Anyone who embraced Ismaili dawa was free to practice his traditional cult and even retain his previous names, caste, identity with the additional declaration of faith in Imam and veneration for Pirs and descendants of Ali. By the adoption of such liberal attitude a great many powerful tribes, such as Langah, Soomras and Lohanas, were attracted to the Ismaili Satpanth.'

Pir Sadruddin passed his later period of life in Jetpur in the vicinity of Uchh, a town in Bahawalpur State, situated on the south bank of the Satlaj river. It was also called Uchha, Osa, Askalinda, Deogarh or Chachpur, and the Arabs named it Basmad. The tradition relates that Raja Chach had built a tank near Uchh, known as Rani Tank, and ordered a town to be built at the spot, and named it Chach, which later corrupted as Uchh. It was an old seat of Muslim learning. Its graveyards and the tombs of saints silently reflect an story that the place must have been very famous during the Muslim regime. It seems that Uchh provided great respite and peace to the Muslim saints. Pir Sadruddin also made it his headquarters, and lived in the nearby village called, Sadarhu, and this may be more likely cause that he became to be revered locally as Sadar Shah. He built his small residence at Jetpur for his family. During his residency at Uchh, he had created a close relation with the local eminent persons, notably a certain Niyab bin Kamal of Bahawalpur, who eventually became his follower. It is related that once he was in the house of Niyab bin Kamal, where he was stricken by his last illness. Niyab wept profusely when he found that his Pir was about to depart from the world. Pir Sadruddin made a will to bury his body in his house. Thus, Pir Sadruddin died in 819/1416 and was interred in the house of Niyab bin Kamal, which had been converted to a shrine in 1058/1648 by the local people. He had five sons, viz. Sayed Zahir al-Din, Sayed Salauddin, Pir Tajuddin, Sayed Jamaluddin and Pir Hasan Kabiruddin.

Pir Sadruddin was a great Ismaili preacher, philosopher and dialectician. He indeed towers like an Everest, with no Alps around. It ensues from his ginans that he was the first poet of Gujrati and Sindhi languages. Writing about the ginans, Prof. Annemarie Schimmel remarks in 'Pearls from the Indus' (Hyderabad, 1986, p. 14) that, 'It is possible that the mystically tinged songs (ginans) and religious instructions used by the Ismaili missionaries constitute the oldest extant example of Sindhi literature.' The author further adds that, 'It seems that the oldest extant documents of Sindhi religious literature are found in some Ismaili texts of the 14th century, written in Khojki script' (Ibid., p. 55). Sarah F.D. Ansari writes in 'Sufi Saints and State Power' (Cambridge, 1992, p. 17) that, 'The ginans or mystical writings of the Ismailis display considerable parallelism of thought with Sufism as well as with the Hindu Bhakti tradition, sharing markedly similar themes and motifs.'

Pir Sadruddin was also well steeped in the knowledge of astronomy, astrology and physiology. He also mastered in Indian pharmacy, and used to treat the local people. He also assisted the poor in Uchh and ministered to the sick and travellers, thus he won great applause.

Ismaili History 713 - Mission of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin in India

Pir Hasan Kabiruddin, the son of Pir Sadruddin was generally known as Sayed Hasan Shah, Pir Hasan Shah, Sayed Sadat, Gur Pir Hasan al-Hussain, Makdum Sayed Kabiruddin Shah etc. He is however known in Uchh Sharif as Hasan Dariya. Since his lineage traced back to Imam Jafar Sadik, therefore, he is also known as al-Husayn. He was born in Uchh Sharif in 742/1341 and was the first Indian pir to be born in India. He was edowed from birth with deep spiritual insight and strong common sense combined with sympathy and love for his fellow beings, and was also noted for his piety since childhood.When Pir Sadruddin visited Iran for the second time, Pir Hasan Kabiruddin eagerly desired to join him. Owing to tedious journey, he was not taken to Iran. Being become forlorn, Pir Hasan Kabiruddin started his most famous petition, and prepared a turban for the headgear of Imam Islam Shah. It is known that he also managed to reach Kahek. Islam Shah was rejoiced to see his devotion, and invested him with the mantle of a hujjat, or pir to be effective after his father.

Pir Hasan Kabiruddin continued to follow the tract of his father's mission, and procured few tasks of the incomplete mission of his father. His association with the Indian Sufis is also well known. Like his father, he also composed ginans. He was a strict vegetarian and his dress, living and food were characterised by a rare simplicity. He was a man of quiet and unassuming disposition completely immersed in the interpretation of the ideas which absorbed the greater part of his attention and concentration. He was contemplative, thoughtful and fond of lonliness. The tradition has it that he had all the times a bowl of coconut husk with him from which he ate and drank frugally. It is also said that shortly before his death he retired into solitude. He died in 853/1449 in Uchh Sharif, and was buried in his own house, which became a famous shrine in Uchh Sharif. Shaikh Abdul Haq Mohadis Dehlvi (1551-1642) writes in his 'Akhbar al-Akhayar' (comp. in 998/1590) that, 'The greatest miracle of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin is that he converted sizable infidels to Islam. One has no courage to disobey him and embraced Islam in a trice whom he preached, making the non-believers to flock at him in masses.' (pp. 372-3)

The period followed by Pir Satgur Nur was noted as an era of pre-Muslim in Gujrat. The 7th Solanki ruler, Jaysinha Sidhraja (d. 1143) died childless and was succeeded by Kumarapala (1143-1173), a descendant of Karna, the third son of Bhima I, who seized the throne by force. He was succeeded by his nephew, Ajavapala, whose period saw the declination of the Solanki dynasty. His successor Mulraja II was too weak. The next Solanki ruler Bhima II also proved incapable to govern his empire, and the last ruler was Tribuvanpalo, from whom the power was snatched by the Vaghela branch of the Solanki in 1243. The new dynasty produced six kings who were constantly troubled by the Muslim invaders. The last king was Karna, who had been overpowered by Ulugh Khan and Nusrat Khan, the generals of Alauddin Khalji in 697/1298. In 700/1300, Alauddin Khalji appointed Malik Sanjar, surnamed Alp Khan (1297-1317) as a governor of Gujrat and the old Hindu capital Annhilvad became the seat of the governor. Zafar Khan, surnamed Muzaffar Khan (d. 813/1403), one of the trusty nobles of Firuz Khan had been sent from Delhi as the governor of Gujrat in 793/1391. He established an independent Sultanate of Gujrat in 810/1407, and was the first Muslim ruler of Gujrat to suppress Shiism in his domains. His son Tatar Khan, surnamed Muhammad Shah (d. 846/1442) ascended the throne of Gujrat in his father's lifetime. He wanted to capture Delhi, but his father opposed him, thereupon, he imprisoned his father in 803/1403 at Asawal. He ruled for 32 years in Gujrat and twice (816/1414 and 824/1420) made fierce attempt to force the Hindus to adopt Islam. He was succeeded by his son, Ahmad I (d. 846/1442), who brought under his control the whole land of Gujrat and its adjoining territories. He too severely domineered the Ismailis. He was followed by Ghazan Khan, surnamed Tajuddin Sultan Muhammad Shah, but he died soon afterwards. In the meantime, Muhammad Khan bin Nimat Khan, the vizir captured the throne and assumed the title of Alauddin Muhammad Shah. It will be appropriate to infer that during the Muslims occupation of Gujrat and its political turmoil, Pir Sadruddin and Pir Hasan Kabiruddin had exercised strict taqiya during their missionary activities in Gujrat.

Pir Hasan Kabiruddin had eighteen sons and one daughter, viz. Sayed Awaliya Ali, Sayed Kasiruddin, Sayed Ali Gohar Nur, Sayed Alam Shah, Sayed Rehmatullah Shah, Sayed Adil Shah, Sayed Jafar Shah, Sayed Israil Tayyar Ghazi, Sayed Shahbaz Ghazi, Sayed Sabe Ali, Sayed Islam Shah, Sayed Imam Shah, Sayed Farman Shah, Sayed Ismail, Sayed Nur Muhammad, Sayed Darwish Ali, Sayed Lal Shah, Sayed Bala Shah Buland Ali, and a daughter Bai Budhai.

With the indescribable efforts of Pir Sadruddin and Pir Hasan Kabiruddin, a large proselytism had been resulted in Sind, Punjab, Kutchh, Kathiawar and Gujrat by leaps and bounds during the period of Islam Shah. Sayed Imam Shah admits in his 'Janatpuri' (verse, 89) that, 'Ismailism promulgated rapidly in India during the time of Imam Islam Shah.' The trading class among the Ismaili Khojas gradually began to visit Kahek to see the Imam. Unfortunately, none among the pilgrims had left the historical accounts of the journey. W.Ivanow writes in 'Collectanea'(Holland, 1948, p. 54) that, 'How precious would have been such an original and unpretentious account of the journey to Persia by an intelligent Khoja traveller of the end of the fifteenth century if it had been preserved in the community.' Nevertheless, a manuscript of thirty pages has been discovered in 1977, belonging to a certain Rahim Bhimani (d. 1841) of Ahmadabad. It contains a meagre, rather a historical description of a certain Bhimani family. Rahim Bhimani derived his information from the manuscript of Sheith Jan Muhammad Tharu'ani in 1834. It indicates that a certain Nardas alias Bhimani (d. 824/1420) lived in the time of Dhani Sarcar Nar Islam Shah. He visited Iran with a few Ismailis of Kutchh, and their caravan returned to India via port Hormuz.

We are reviewing the period which absolutely suffers with historical documents, and therefore, many prominent characters, professing Ismailism, had not been identified by the historians. Poet Kassim Anwar is worthy of notice to this effect. His name was Ali bin Nasir bin Harun bin Abdul Kassim al-Husayn at-Tabrizi. He was born in 757/1356 in Sarab, near Tabriz. He studied Sufism in his early life, and reported to have embraced Ismaili faith at the age of 40 years, but had to adopt strict taqiya. He lived in Gilan and Khorasan and at last settled in Herat. Kamaluddin Abdur Razzak (1413-1482) writes in 'Matla'us Sa'dain wa Majmu'ul Bahrain' that, 'In 830/1426, Shah Rukh (1409-1447), the Taymurid ruler, having being stabbed in the mosque of Herat by a certain Ahmad Lur, Kassim Anwar was charged by Mirza Baysunqur with having harboured the intended assassin, and was obliged to leave Herat and repaired to Samarkand. He returned, however, some years later to Khorasan, and took up his abode in Kharjird, a town in the district of Jam, where he died in 835/1431.' His Diwan's pieces are composed in Gilani and Turkish. His other works are 'Anisu'l Arifin' (Gnostics of familiar) and 'Anisu'l Ashiqin' (Lovers' familiar) - both deal mysticism in prose and poetry. W.Ivanow also traced his 'Risala dar Duniya wa Akhirat' (Treatise on world and hereafter). Jami (1414-1492) writes in his 'Baharistan' (Bombay, 1913, p. 66) that, 'Kassim Anwar was a learned philosopher and perfect elocutionist.'

It seems that Islam Shah used to send his guidances regularly to the Indian followers, whose fragments are sounded in the ginans. Few advices of Islam Shah inserted in the ginans are as under:-

* Come to the prayer-hall, purifying yourselves and keep up the traditions of the true religion.
* Why do you miss the heavenly blessings? Do as those believers, who did in the past.
* Only when you swim across the ocean-like world, then alone you will achieve emancipation from this worldly tangels.
* He who duly pays tithe and follow the religion strictly, will never be affected even by fire.
* He is not a faithful who does not lead a life of piety.
* Slander is the root-cause of deficit in agricultural output.
* Get rid of deception of followership and mastership.
* Wake up at midnight to adore God, and keep a fair dealing with the religion.
* One who sleeps (whole night) will cry sorrowfully.
* The root of faith is the path of religion.

Imam Islam Shah mostly lived in Kahek, and sometimes in Shahr-i Babak. It is also said that the Ismailis in these villages had built few dens in the upper hills to seek protection during emergency. The period of Islam Shah however passed in peace, and he died in 827/1423. He consigned the office of Imamate to his elder son, Muhammad.

Ismaili History 714 - MUHAMMAD BIN ISLAM SHAH (827-868/1423-1463)

Muhammad or Mehmud Shah, generally called Muhammad bin Islam Shah is believed to have been born in Daylam. He was almost ten years old when his father arrived in Kahek in 798/1396. If this is a genuine tradition, it implies that he was born possibly in 788/1386, and was about 17 years old while assuming the Imamate. He mostly resided in Shahr-i Babak in Kirman.
The Iranian Ismailis began to revert to their former settlements in different villages. Most of them engaged in agriculture in Kohistan, Qain, Birjand, Nishapur, Khorasan, Sirjan, Jabal-i Bariz, Mahallat and Yazd.

Muhammad bin Islam Shah seems to have started communications from his headquarters to different Ismaili communities, and also accepted the gifts of the pilgrims. It is said that the Indian Ismaili pilgrims were invested the title of 'darwish' (daras).

Taymur designated his grandson Pir Muhammad as his heir, who was about 22 years old in 807/1405. But, his cousin Khalil Sultan occupied Samarkand and was proclaimed as sultan. He was overthrown in 811/1409. Meanwhile, Shah Rukh (1409-1447), the fourth son of Taymur, the then governor of Herat, ascended as the next Taymurid ruler of Iran and Central Asia. He died in 851/1447 and was succeeded by his son Olugh Beg (1447-1449), who was in turn followed by Abu Sa'id (1451-1469).

One seminal point should not omitted here in discussion that the office of the hujjat or pir in India from Pir Shams (d. 757/1356) to Pir Hasan Kabiruddin (d. 853/1449) was almost hereditary, and then the office seemed to be revered like the hereditary office of the Imams, and therefore, an effect was necessary to enforce in the line of the pirs before the time it might become an ingrained belief. Thus, after the death of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin, Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah designated his brother Pir Tajuddin, as a next hujjat or pir for Hind and Sind instead of any son, and one can hardly deny the logic springs from such designation.

Ismaili History 715 - Mission of Pir Tajuddin in India

Pir Tajuddin was most possibly born in 796/1394 in Uchh Sharif, and got his early education from his elder brothers. He was about 33 years old when designated as the next hujjat, or pir for subcontinent. The tradition relates that he used to put the bud of flower on his robe, making him familiar with the title of shah turrel (the lord of the tura or bud). He made Lahore as his centre because Uchh Sharif had become the ground of quarrel by his opponents. He had also an opportunity at Lahore to direct the descendants of Pir Shams in the mission works. He seems to have sent few dais in Afghanistan and Central Asia, whose detail is not accessible. Pir Tajuddin also preached in Sind, and once he had notably converted one Lohana family of 20 men, 18 women and 40 sons near Uchh Sharif, whose family head was Seith Lakhimal. Pir Tajuddin seems to have known as Prahlad among the Hindus of Sind because of his betrothal with a lady of Sodha tribe of Umarkot, and his descendants became also known as Prahlad, or Perraj. He seems to have composed some ginans, but only one is extant.

Ismaili History 716 - Mission of Sayed Imam Shah in India

Sayed Imam Shah was a prominent dai in India. His name was Imamuddin, surnamed Abdur Rahim. He was born in Uchh Sharif in 834/1430, and was the younger son of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. The tradition has it that when Pir Hasan Kabiruddin died, his all sons were present at Uchh Sharif with exception of Sayed Imam Shah. The tradition attests that he reached late during the interment of his father's body. Many traditions are recounted for his dissatisfaction, but all are legendary in character.
Sayed Imam Shah resided at Uchh Sharif with his sister called Bai Budhai, where he received a letter of Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah through a certain Khoja Devasi Chandan. Hence, he started his journey for Kahek in 854/1450. Muhammad bin Islam Shah is said to have consigned him the mission for Gujrat. He returned and converted a bulk of Hindus in Gujrat. He got married to the daughter of Shah Muhammad Bakhri, who gave birth of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah (d. 940/1534). Sayed Imam Shah died in 926/1520 and was buried in Pirana, situated ten miles south-east of Ahmadabad. It is said that he abjured Ismailism because of not succeeding his father, but it is not in conformity with the genuine traditions. Weighing up the extant evidences, it appears that he was ingrained in Ismailism and demonstrated unswerving loyalty to the Imams till his death, and never took any other route to goal his so called ambition. According to 'The Shorter Encyclopaedia of Islam'(Leiden, 1961, p. 167), 'As far as it is possible to ascertain, he cannot be regarded as the founder of a new sect, as he remained loyal to the Imam of his time.' He wrote many ginans which are recited by the Ismailis. He had four sons, viz. Sayed Alam Shah, Sayed Ali Shah, Sayed Bakir Shah and Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah, and a daughter called Shams Khatoon.

Returning to the thread of our main narrative, it appears that there are certain indications of the meeting between Muhammad bin Islam Shah and Shah Nimatullah (d. 834/1431), the chief of the Nimatullahis in Kirman. We have however no traces to confirm or contradict the above meeting.

Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah died in Kahek in 868/1463, and was succeeded by his elder son, Mustansir billah II.

Ismaili History 717 - MUSTANSIR BILLAH II (868-880/1463-1475)

Ali Shah, surnamed Mustansir billah, also known as Jalaluddin was born in Kahek. He seems to have known as Shah Qalandar among the Iranian mystics. He too resided in Kahek and sometimes in Shahr-i Babak. In 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi', we also find different terms for the Imam that became vogue among his followers, viz. Imam-i Zaman (Imam of the time), Imam-i Hazar (the apparent Imam), Sahibu'z Zaman (the master of the world), Ali Zaman (the Ali of the time), Sahibu'l Amr (the master of authority), Hazar Jama (the present bearer of light), and simply as Hazrat-i Mawlana Mustansir billah.

Ismaili History 718 - Death of Pir Tajuddin

The Indian tradition goes to relate that Pir Tajuddin decided to visit Iran in 870/1466. He embarked from Sind, where a certain Ismaili jamat accorded him a warm honour, and gave him a precious piece of cloth of Sindhi design to be presented to the Imam. He reached Kahek, and presented the cloth with other offerings. When Pir Tajuddin started his homeland journey, Mustansir billah gave him the same cloth as a gift, since none in Iran wore the dress bearing Sindhi design. It is recounted that Pir Tajuddin arrived in Sind and prepared a robe from that cloth and wore it. He also visited the jamat who had given him that very cloth for the Imam. The tradition relates that a few community members suspected and accused Pir Tajuddin of embezzling the gift of the Imam. They encircled Pir Tajuddin with the flood of questions with rigorous arguments and insulted him. He was highly shocked which resulted his sudden death, possibly by heart attack in 872/1467, and was buried near Tando Bagho, where a splendid shrine had been erected in 889/1484.
Mustansir billah appears to have known the sad news after a year, which caused his displeasure, and suspended to depute any other pir in India.

Ismaili History 719 - Mission of Kadiwal Sayeds

The Sayeds in the line of Sayed Imam Shah (1430-1520) were known as Pirana Sayeds and the Sayeds of the mainstream of the community in the descent of Sayed Rehmatullah Shah were called Kadiwal Sayeds. There are different versions for the appellation of the word Kadiwal. It is related that Sayed Rehmatullah Shah, the son of Pir Hasan Kabir and his family members shortly lived in the village, named Kadhi, between Uchh and Multan, and then he had gone to live in a village, Kadi in the northern Gujrat on the route to Junagadh. Thus, his descendants became known as Kadhiwala, or Kadiwala. Another tradition suggests that the male members of the family of Sayed Rehmatullah Shah used to wear an iron band (kadi) round their arms, and therefore, they earned the title of Kadiwal (the people of iron band). It is also said that his descendants used to recited a couplet (kadi) of the ginan before the new converts, who called them as Kadi'wala (reciters of couplet). One oral tradition however indicates without a mark of veracity that Sayed Rehmatullah Shah, or his descendants had lived in the village called, Kaliyanwala, about 5 miles from Hafizabad in Punjab. This village was also pronounced as Kadiwala instead of Kaliyanwala, and thus, they were called Kadiwala Sayeds. It is also interesting to note that there is one village, about 15 miles from Gujranwala on the way to Dakhanmandi in Punjab, whose inhabitants were the followers of Pir Shams. It has been frequently described that Sayed Rehmatullah Shah had gone to live in a village, named Kadi in Kutchh, and became known as Kadiwal Sayeds. Culling up the accessible oral traditions, it seems however nearer to the possibility that Sayed Rehmatullah Shah and his descendants lived in a village, called Kadi in Gujrat. The Bohra community in Gujrat is known under the four regional terms, i.e., Patani Vohras, Charotar Vohras, Surati Vohras and Kadiwal Vohras. Likewise, the Ismaili Sayeds also became known most probably as Kadiwal Sayeds due to residing in Kadi, Gujrat.
The Kadiwal Sayeds carried on the mission in India for about 250 years. Some of them had retained their contact with the Imams in Iran, but some discontinued, and conducted the mission independently. Sayed Rehmatullah Shah mostly preached in Gujrat and Kutchh. Sayed Nurbaksh (1446-1504), the grandson of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin, also known as Sayed Mitha Shah in Punjab, is said to have preached in Jammu and Kashmir. He was assisted by his son Mir Shamsuddin II. Sayed Nurbaksh also visited Badakhshan, Kohistan, Tibet, Gilgit, Yarkand and Iskardu. His son was also active in Kashmir, and his followers became known as Shamsi, who migrated towards Punjab during 14th century. They preached Ismailism in the Sufic mantle and their Sufic tariqah became known as Nurbakhshia, also existed in Kohistan.

It appears fragmentarily that Mustansir billah had taken serious notice of the impairing economy of the Ismailis of Iran, Syria, India, Badakhshan and other parts of Central Asia. He emphasised his followers to assist one another, and thus he said: 'The real believer is one who assists and helps his brother in religion, who shares with him his food, his sorrow and joy, never admitting into his heart any malice or enmity, being one with him in word and deed. If one satisfies his hunger, the other's hunger must also be satisfied. If one remains hungry, the other should remain hungry too. If one eats something, the other should also partake of everything that his friend has eaten.' (vide 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi,' p. 56)

Badiuddin Khwaja Kassim was an eminent hujjat in Anjudan, who served as the chief of the Ismaili mission from the period of Mustansir billah to Gharib Mirza.

Mustansir billah was a good horseman and hunter and stayed in Anjudan as his summer villa, where a small number of his followers inhabited. He died in Kahek in 880/1475, but was buried in Anjudan, most probably in pursuant of his will. Later on, a mausoleum was erected in Anjudan. The mausoleum of Imam Mustansir billah II is the oldest surviving Nizari Ismaili monument in Anjudan; which is an imposing octagonal building with a dome, appearing conical from outside. In the middle of the chamber, there is a wooden-coffer, exquisitely carved. On its top is written:- 'The pure, sacred and luminous grave of Shah Mustansir billah. By the order and care of Abdus Salam.' A broad panel at the top edge on all sides is beautifully carved with the text of Sura Yasin of Holy Koran. At the bottom, there is written:- 'Wrote this the humble slave Abdul Jalil in 885/1480'. This tends to the conclusion that the wooden box was erected by the order of Abdus Salam, the son and successor of Mustansir billah, most probably five years after latter's death.

Ismaili History 720 - ABDUS SALAM (880-899/1475-1493)

Mahmud Shah, surnamed Abdus Salam or Salam Shah, whose exact date of birth is not known. But the evidence is in favour of his having been born in 859/1456 in Shahr-i Babak, where he mostly passed early life. He is also called Shah Salamullah. He ascended to the office of Imamate at the age of 21 years. It is related that he was a pragmatic scholar and had gleaned historical informations from his father and the elders of the community, notably the period streching from the reduction of Alamut to his time. Nothing is however known whether he compiled any work in this context.
It seems that Imam Mustansir billah II and his successor, Abdus Salam had strictly advised the Ismailis in Iran, Central Asia and India not to refer or divulge the name of the Imam of the time in presence of the ignorants, and adopt taqiya. For instance, it is written in 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi' (p. 56) that: 'O, truly-faithful believers, Mawlana Shah Mustansir bi'l-lah says: do not mention myself and the name of your Imam, Shah Abdu's-Salam Shah, in the presence of the ignorant and unbelieving people who have an innate hatred of the Prophetship and Imamate. You must, however, appeal to him in your heart and with your tongues. Conceal my whereabouts (sirr'i ma'ra) from the irreligious people of today (ghayr din'i zamana), so that you may for this attain the perfect reward and a righteous life. God the Bountiful will be pleased by you, the people of sincere faith, and your hearts will be enlightened, shinning, and full of joy.'

W. Ivanow comments on 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi' that, 'The book, or its greater part, was compiled under Shah Abdu's-Salam who succeeded Imam Mustansir bi'l-lah and thus really was the Imam of the time when the compiler was engaged in writing. The enigmatic passage on p. 56 may be easily explained if we suggest that Mustansir bi'l-lah told his followers not to disclose his own identity to outsiders, nor of the Imam of one's time generally. And as the Imam of the time at the moment when the compiler was writing was Shah Abdu's-Salam, he automatically mentioned his name.'

The Ismailis used to visit Kahek, where they were lodged and such facility was also created in Shahr-i Babak. It is said that the Indian Ismailis were granted the titles of Varas and Rai. Some Sufi sounding khanqahs (cloisters) had been also built in Shahr-i Babak. The Indian and Syrian pilgrims were lodged in different taverns, where they were looked after by some Ismaili guards, who also escorted them during their departure. Some escorts also joined the pilgrims to track them over the safe route.

In Iran, the descendants of Taymur have founded their own petty rules. The Ottoman empire in Turkey became powerful, and sultan Suleman, the Magnificent had captured Istanbul in 1453, making a door open into Europe. The Mamluk kingdom in Egypt was impaired due to internal wars.

The Christianity continued to be dominated by the tradition of Popes in Europe. It must be noted on this juncture that the first Pope to claim superiority over the European Christendom was Innocent I (402-417). The temporal power of the papacy was not, however, established until the 8th century, when Pepin le Bref and Charlemagne conferred estates on the Pope. Charlemagne was crowned by Leo III in 800 A.D., this being the first act indicative of the Pope's temporal power. Under Innocent III (1198-1216) and his immediate successors, the papacy reached the summit of its greatness. The right of papal election first however vested in the cardinals in 1059.

The Crusades or al-hurub al-salibiyya (wars of the cross) between the Muslims and Christians had began in 488/1095 and lasted for about two centuries, in which eight major battles were fought till 690/1291. During these periods, the Islamic philosophy, physics, chemistry and other arts and science had greatly influenced the Christians in Europe. Many notable works of the Muslim philosophers and scientists had been translated into European languages. The works of Ibn Sina and others were taught in the leading western universities. The new research was made upon the theories and experiments suggested by the Muslim scientists. R. Briffault writes in 'The Making of Humanity' (London, 1928, p. 191) that, 'What we call science arose in Europe as a result of a new spirit of inquiry, of new methods of investigation, of the methods of experiment, observation, and measurement, of the development of mathematics in a form unknown to the Greeks. That spirit and those methods were introduced into the European world by the Arabs.' The Europe entered thereupon into a new epoch, resulting ultimately to the age of Renaissance.

So long as the Muslims were in the vanguard of knowledge, they led the civilized world in culture, science and philosophy. But as soon as they lost interest in independent inquiry, they ceased to exist as a dynamic force. Science was discredited by the orthodox minds on the plea that it led to materialism, and philosophy was opposed as intellect debarred from entering the portals of divine knowledge. The reasonbecame the target of attack and even an object of ridicule. Science and philosophy were absolutely condemned. What remained was a fairy tale, very comforting stuff to the ignoramus but extremely injurious to the nation as a whole. The Muslim countries thus witnessed a terrible decline not only in their intellectual and cultural life, but also in their political status soon after the awakening of Europe from a long slumber - an awakening which was the result of western intellectual, scientific and philosophical movements - a way paving to the Renaissance in Europe. The Muslim powers were at the lowest ebb due to mutual wars - a force which worked negatively for them. The Ottomans of Turkey, the Safavids of Iran and the Mughals of India however had increased their influences, but could not be helpful to save the decline of the Islamic thought and culture.

It has been heretofore referred that the tradition of the pir for the Indian community had been suspended in the time of Imam Mustansir billah after the death of Pir Tajuddin in 873/1467. The Indian tradition relates that a certain Nizamuddin Kapur, known as Kamadia Kapur or Kapura Lohana, whose tomb is near the Bhambari village, about eleven miles from Tando Muhammad Khan; had visited Iran with an Indian deputation, and humbly urged Abdus Salam to send next hujjat, or pir in India. He insisted that the whole Indian community should not be punished for the misconduct of one jamat of Sind. Abdus Salam is reported to have said: 'I cannot revoke the decision of my father.' Kamadia Kapur and his team lodged in Shahr-i Babak for some months and craved devotionally to win the heart of the Imam. One day, Imam summoned him at his residence and said: 'My father has suspended the tradition of pir for India, which will not be revoked in my period. I, however, appoint a samit (silent) pir instead.' The Imam thus gave him a book, namely 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi' with an instruction to obey its advices as if a natiq (speaking) pir. The tradition further relates that the Imam had taken a word from Kamadia Kapur that the name of the jamat, who misbehaved with Pir Tajuddin in Sind, would not be divulged in other Ismaili jamats, so as to retain the unity of the Indian communities.

'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi' (maxims of fortitude) is a collection of the advices of Imam Mustansir billah, which had been compiled in the time of Abdus Salam when Kamadia Kapur was in Shahr-i Babak. The word pandiyat is the plural of pand means 'advice', and jawanmardi means 'manliness'. In other words, it contains the advices (pandiyat) for the true believers (mumins) and to those seeking to attain the exemplary standards of manliness (jawandmardi). It is factorized into three sections, viz. Pandiyat great, Pandiyat small and twelve Jawanmardi, also contains few farmans of Abdus Salam. It deals with the advices to the believers on ethics, humanity, behavior, etc. The Ismailis are referred to by the Sufic sounding terms as ahl-i haqq and ahl-i haqiqat (the people of the truth), while the Imam himself is termed as pir, murshid and qutb. It is venerated as if an authorized pir or hujjat in India, and is being read in Yarkand, Gilgit, Hunza, Chitral, Badakhshan, and Iran.

Abdus Salam also wrote 'Panj Sukhan-i Hazarat-i Shah Abdus Salam', the instructive advices for the believers in 30 pages. It is another small collection of the advices followed most probably by the compilation of 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi', otherwise it would have been most possibly incorporated in it.

In one extant qasida, the Imam says:-

Kanun Abdusalam man vali az hamgnan gamgin, azin majalas bakhvaham raft wa digar baar baaz a'ayam

means, 'I am Abdus Salam at present, but not happy with the people of assembly. I will depart from this assembly, and will appear next time in another dress.'

It is known that a group of Momin-Shahis adhered Raziuddin, the father of Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani (d. 956/1549) as their Imam in Badakhshan. Abdus Salam sent his three farmans, instructing the erring group to revert to the fold of the legitimate line. These farmans, found in a 'Maj'mua' in Kirman, bearing the signature of the Imam with a date of 895/1490.

Sayed Suhrab Wali Badakhshani flourished in this period. He was hailed from Herat and passed his life in Badakhshan and Kabul as a local missionary. In his writing, he writes the date 856/1452 which suggests that he lived in the time of Imam Muhammad bin Islam Shah (d. 868/1463), Imam Mustansir billah (d. 880/1475) and Imam Abdus Salam (d. 899/1493). It appears from his 'Nur-nama' that he was most possibbly influenced with the teachings of the dais of Pir Shams in Badakhshan to some extent. He however, continued to preach the teachings of Nasir Khusaro. He was followed by Sayed Umar Yamghani, whose descendants and followers continued Ismaili mission around Badakhshan, and propagated as far as Hunza, Gilgit, Chitral and Ghazar.

After Taymur's death, for some time neither his son Shah Rukh in the east, nor the Ottomans in the west were able to extend their influences in western Iran, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Mesopotamia. Here the Turkomans were the strongest tribe until the rise of the Safavids in 905/1500. These Turkomans had founded their dynasties, known as Kara-Koyunlu (780-874/1378-1469) and Ak-Koyunlu (780-908/1378-1502). The death of Uzun Hasan (872-883/1467-1478), the founder of Ak-Koyunlu dynasty in Azerbaijan had gladdened the wandering Turkomans, and they imagined that Azerbaijan, Iran and Fars were their ancestral kingdom. Aba Bakr Beg Begtash, the son of sultan Abu Sa'id commanded the Turkomans and Chaghatays with a hope to find a new kingdom. So by way of Sistan and Bam, they marched on Kirman in 883/1478. Fazalullah bin Ruzbihan Khunji (925/1520) compiled his 'Tarikh-i Alam-Ara'yi Amini' in 896/1490 (abridged translation made by V. Minorsky, entitled 'Persia in A.D. 1478-1490', London, 1957, p. 43) that, 'The amir-zada Ali Jahan (son of Jahangir) was a respected ruler of Kirman and Sirjan, but he was frightened by this multitude (of the Turkomans and Chaghatays) and, without fighting and in utter terror, retreated to Shahr-i Babak. So the whole of Kirman and Sirjan fell into the hands of the Chaghatays and Turkomans. Under the guise of na'l-baha (an arbitrary levy imposed as a compensation for the horse-shoes which have become worn out) and homage, they looted rich and poor.' (pp. 93-95)

On hearing this, Abul Muzaffar Yaqub Khan (883-896/1478-1490), the son of Uzun Hasan sent against the aggressors a numerous army under the command of Sufi Khalil Beg. They were reinforced by Baysunqur Beg. The Chaghatays and Turkomans sent their families and baggages into the stronghold of Sirjan, while they themselves took their stand in Kirman, determining to put up a strong fight. The forces of Sufi Khalil Beg first went to the stronghold of Sirjan and captured it in the first inroad, and their enemies fled to Jurjan and Tabaristan. Having razed to the ground the strongholds of Sirjan and Kirman, the Ak-Koyunlu commander returned to Azerbaijan.

We do not have any detail of the Imam and the Ismailis in the contemporary sources, but it ensues from sparsely traditions that Imam Abdus Salam had most possibly evacuated Shahr-i Babak in early period of 883/1478 with the Ismailis before the roaring march of the Chaghatays and Turkomans, and after their suppression, he returned to Shahr-i Babak.

In the contemporary work, Abdus Salam is glorified as under:-

Gah piru gah tiflu gah burna mishawad.
Gah dar miraj rafta gah andar chah shud.
Gar ba-sad surat bar ayad mardi manira chi gham.
Gah Mustansir shudu gahi Salamullah shud.

'Sometimes he (appears as) an old man, or a child, or a youth. Sometimes he goes in a miraj, sometimes he goes into an abyss. Why should the knowing one worry about, even if he comes up in a hundred forms. Sometimes as Mustansir, and sometimes as Salamullah.'

Imam Abdus Salam died in 899/1493 in Shahr-i Babak, and with his death the Imamate devolved upon his son, Gharib Mirza.

It has been a source of utter surprise that the European knowledge of the Syrian Ismailis had not progressed much beyond what the Crusaders and their chroniclers had transmitted, and the field continued to be dominated by the old myth, fanciful impressions and fictitious narratives. For instance, Felix Fabri, who visited Jerusalem twice in 1480 and 1484, mentions the Ismailis among the peoples of the region in the same vein. In his 'The Book of the Wanderings of Brother Felix Fabri' (tr. by Stewart, London, 1987, 2nd vol., p. 390), he writes for the Ismailis that they 'are exceedingly obedient to their own captain (the local chief), for they believe that it is by obedience alone that they can win happiness hereafter. Their captain causes their young men to be taught diverse languages, and sends them out into other kingdoms to serve the kings thereof, to the end that, when the time requires it, each king's servant may kill him by poison or otherwise. If after slaying a king the servant makes good his escape to his own land, he is rewarded with honours, riches and dignities; if he is taken and put to death, he is worshipped in his own country as a martyre.' This is an ample instance to understand how the enemies of the Ismailis bring and then adjust the old myths down to their own period as if a contemporary account.

Ismaili History 721 - GHARIB MIRZA (899-902/1493-1496)

Abbas Shah, surnamed Shah Gharib or Gharib Mirza, was also known as Gharibu'l-lah and Mustansir billah III, and assumed the Imamate in 899/1493.

Ismaili History 722 - Anjudan - a new headquarters

Gharib Mirza seems to have left Shahr-i Babak few months after assuming Imamate. He seems to have repaired for about one year out of Shahr-i Babak, leaving behind his hujjat, called Badiuddin Khwaja Kassim, and at length settled down in Anjudan, most possibly in 900/1494. Pir Shihabuddin Shah (d. 1884) also writes in his 'Khitabat-i Aliyya' (pp. 42-43) that, ' The thirty-fourth Imam Abbas Shah (Gharib Mirza) was obliged to live for some time away from his ancestral home (watn-i maluf), i.e., Shahr-i Babak.' The reason of his absence was that the rambling bands of Chaghatays and Turkomans had once again gushed from Jurjan and Tabaristan after being supressed in 883/1478 by the Ak-Koynunlu commander, Sufi Khalil Beg. They plundered the surrounding localities of Kirman and Sirjan.
Anjudan (Injodan or Anjidan) is situated at the foot of relatively low rocky range, about 37 kilometers east of Arak (former Sultanabad) and about the same distance westward from Mahallat in central Iran. It is separated 35-40 kilometers with Kahek by a number of shallow ranges, and is also close to Qumm and Kashan. The Ismailis had begun their settlements slowly in Anjudan most probably during the time of Imam Mustansir billah II, and had taken there agriculture. It was the cradle land of the Ismaili mission in post-Alamut era. The Syrian Ismailis called Anjudan as 'the abode of the faithfuls' (dar al-mominin). It was simply walled to protect the populace in times of insecurity.

Gharib Mirza at length shifted to Anjudan and kept himself completely out of the vortex of politics, and passed a life of darwish, where he became known as Gharib Mirza i.e., 'an unknown stranger.' Earlier, he was generally known as Abbas Shah. He also applied the name Gharib Mirza in his writing in Anjudan. His eloquent power was impressive and sweet, and was highly respected among the local non-Ismaili orbits. He was a man of affable temperament and wide human sympathies which made him a popular figure in the locality. An anonymous manuscript dating about 1196/1782 cites the anecdote of a certain peasant, whom the Imam had gifted a piece of land in Shahr-i Babak, who in turn said, 'Sayed Gharib Shah is a generous like his ancestor, Imam Jafar Sadik.' He thus had set an example to the local people by an act of humanity and generosity which created a salutary effect upon his fellow-citizens.

Ismaili History 723 - Organisation of Mission

It appears that the dawa system after the fall of Alamut was organised systematically in Anjudan period. According to the new system, the Imam was followed by a single hujjat, known as hujjat-i azam (the great proof), who generally resided at headquarters. The hujjat administered the framework of the mission and served as an assistant of the Imam. Next, there was a single category of dai at large, being selected from among the educated classes. The dais remained close in contact with the headquarters. The next lower rank was that of mu'allim (teacher), the head of the mission activities in a particular region. He was appointed by the hujjat. He was further assisted by ma'dhum-i akbar (the senior licentiate), who was empowered to make conversion at his disposal and judgement. Another assistant of the mu'allim was called ma'dhum-i asghar (junior licentiate), who held the lowest rank and could discharge his assignments only on receiving official permission from the mu'allim. The ordinary initiates (murids) were referred to as mustajib (respondent). On acquiring adequate training, a mustajib could be appointed by the mu'allim to the rank of ma'dhum-i asghar. It must be remembered that the aforesaid mission system was enforced in Iran, Badakhshan and Central Asia. In Hind and Sind, the tradition of the vakilhad been retained, corresponding to the office of the mu'allim.
In Central Asia, the ma'dhum-i akbar gradually became known as the pir, and ma'dhum-i asghar was known as khalifa. They stressed on the practice of zikr-i jalli, recitation of the qasida and the esoteric poems of Nasir Khusaro among the new converts.

In addition, the Ismailis held that the true essence of the Imam could be known at least to a few advanced followers in the community, and the hujjator the pir was, indeed, held to be almost the same essence as the Imam. Hence, the hujjat or pir, by virtue of his miraculous knowledge (mu'jiz-i ilmi), knew the true essence of the Imam, and was the revealer of the spiritual truth. Furthermore, the Ismailis recognized three categories of people in the world. Firstly, the opponents of the Imam (ahl-i tadadd). Secondly, the ordinary followers of the Imam (ahl-i tarattub), also known as ahl-i haq, who were also divided into the strong (qawiyan), comprised of the dais, mu'allims and ma'dhums, and the weak (da'ifan), restricted to the ordinary members of the community. Thirdly, the followers of union (ahl-i wahda), also called as the high elite (akhass-i khass).

Ismaili History 724 - The origin of the Safavids

The Safavid family was active in making ground to emerge as a new power in Iran, tracing descent from Musa Kazim. The prominent head at that time was Shaikh Safi, or Safiuddin Abul Fath Ishaq Ardabili (1252-1334), who founded a Sufi order, known after him as the Safaviya at Ardabil in Azerbaijan. He died in 735/1334 and his order was continued by his son, Sadruddin Musa (1334-1391), and then by another son, Khwaja Ali (1391-1427). They deeply influenced most of the Mongol rulers and amirs. Ibrahim (1427-1447), the son of Khwaja Ali also continued the Sufi order founded by Shaikh Safi, but Junayd (1447-1460), the son of Ibrahim acquired some political power and introduced the doctrines of the Twelvers at the time of his death in 1460. He fought several times with the rulers of Kara-Koyunlu, but was killed at Shirwan. His followers continued to gain religious and political leads in Iran. Junayd's son married to Martha, a Greek princess, who bore Sultan Ali, Ibrahim and Ismail. His another son, Hyder (1460-1478) was killed, and other sons were arrested. Thus, only Ismail was survived, because Sultan Ali was also killed and Ibrahim had died very soon. Hence, the events continued to boost the rising of the Safavids during the time of Ismail. Gilan was the centre of the Safavid family. Ismail collected a small force and occupied Baku and Shamakha. He defeated Alwand, the prince of Ak-Kuyunlu dynasty, and captured Tabriz. He also inflicted defeat to the Mongolian ruler and was proclaimed as Shah Ismail and founded the Safavid dynasty in 905/1500 in Iran.
Nuruddin Shah, the younger brother of Gharib Mirza is said to have built a small village near Anjudan after his name, called Nurabad. He also built a defensive post and few small buildings. He erected a Sufi khanqah (cloister) of Abbas Shahi tradition for the local Sufis.

The Ismailis had continued their flocking at Anjudan, where Gharib Mirza confessed their offerings and blessed them with written guidances, bearing his signature and seal. It has since become a tradition in India to celebrate the day of rejoice with great pomp by commonalty and gentry alike when the pilgrims returned unscathed to their homeland.

While examining the traditions congealed around the adherents, it appears that the Ismaili history abounds with the instances of great sacrifices of the daring devotees. For illustration, a best-known Syrian tradition relates a touching anecdote that once a caravan embarked from Khwabi for Anjudan to see Gharib Mirza. At that time, the Safavids were emerging in Iran, therefore, the routes were insecure and the time was not ideal for travellers. When Gharib Mirza knew about the arriving caravan from Syria, he decided to send them back. The time was so critical that no messenger could carry any written order with him. Gharib Mirza at once sought the service of a fidai, who was made lain on the ground without a shirt. Imam got his official orders carved by a dagger on backside of his body with the help of a servant, addressing the Syrian Ismailis to return back at once. The heated copper seal of the Imam was stamped at the concluding part. The young fidai tolerated the pain patiently, and put on a black shirt. He spurred his horse at full gallop for an errand being fraught with danger and gave an ostensible impression of an ordinary man to the people. He succeeded to reach the caravan, whom he transmitted the Imam's orders verbally at first. When he was asked its veracity, he took off his shirt, stuck with the congealed blood, and turned around and made them read the orders of the Imam carved on his backside that, 'la ta'tu hazi'his sanh wa lakin fis sanh'til qadema la bud'd alaikum an ta'tu' i.e., 'you do not come this year, and come next year.' Looking the fidai who displayed a rare prodigies example of valour at great risk, tears welled up in their eyes and returned back soon with sad hearts.

Abu Ishaq Kohistani was a learned dai around this period. His name was Ibrahim, was from the district of Mominabad-i Kohistan in the province of Birjand. Nothing is known about his activities. He was however a writer, and it appears from his writings that he had studied the accessible literature of Alamut period. His famous work, 'Haft Bab-i Bu Ishaq' deals the recognition of the Imam with philosophical arguments on Ismaili tariqah. His another work, 'Tarikh-i Kohistan' is not traceable.

It is related that Gharib Mirza mastered the botanical field, and with his knowledge, the village of Anjudan was turned into a fertile tract. He mostly passed his whole life in Anjudan, and died in 902/1496. In Anjudan, near the mausoleum of Imam Mustansir billah II, there exists an old burial ground in the garden, the middle of which stands the mausoleum of Gharib Mirza. The wooden box (sanduq) contains Sura Yasin of Holy Koran. In one place, it is clearly written:- 'This is the wooden box (sanduq) of Shah Mustansir billah (i.e., Gharib Mirza), the son of Shah Abdus Salam. Written on the 10th of Muharram, 904/August 29, 1498.' From this one can conclude that this wooden box was erected about two years after the death of Imam Gharib Mirza.

Ismaili History 725 - ABUZAR ALI (902-915/1496-1509)

Muhammad Abuzar Shah, surnamed Abuzar, was also called Nuruddin. He is also known as Shah Nuruddin bin Gharib Shah in the Syrian works. Like his father, he also passed a darwish life in Anjudan. He had however advised his followers to exercise precautions in view of new religious tendency and political cataclysm in Iran.
The village of Anjudan considerably accelerated on account of ample water supply, therefore, the new protective walls with fortifications were built around it during the early time of Abuzar Ali's Imamate. It caused the old enclosure itself to play the part of a sort of citadel. Some craftmen, blacksmiths, potters tanners and dyers had come from outside, and possibly built their workshops on the outskirts.

Ismaili History 726 - Rise of the Safavids

In 904/1499, Shah Ismail had decided that the time was ripe for the supreme bid for power. He prepared a colossal army, and began to conquer the Iranian territories in 905/1500 including Iraq and founded the Safavid empire. In Iran, he absolutely dominated in Hamdan, Mazandaran, Shirwan, Khorasan, Yazd etc. He tried to extend his influence in Afghanistan, Balkh and Bukhara. The Ottoman empire evidently opposed the growing power in Iran. The Uzbek rulers of Bukhara however checked the advance of the Safavids. Thus, the Safavids considered their two borders insecure for the empire.
Shah Ismail's fist action on his accession was the proclamation of the Shiism as the state religion of Iran, differentiating from the Ottoman of Turkey, who were the Sunnis. Shah Ismail however failed to impose Shiism in many Iranian regions. Many people are reported to have been executed, and other migrated. The Sunni theologians went to Herat, India and Bukhara. Under such rigorous policy, one renowned Ismaili scholar, Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani also fled from Kashan, and repaired to India. The Sufis were also not spared in Iran, who began to live under the cloak of the Twelvers.

The strict Shiite tendency in Iran had certainly forced the Ismailis to assume the mantle of the Twelvers to get rid of the executions. Weathering these stroms, it seems that Imam Abuzar Ali had gone into hiding for about seven years between 905/1500 and 912/1507, which can be ascertained also from the version of Khayr Khwah Herati's 'Tasnifat' (ed. W.Ivanow, Tehran, 1961, p. 52). Before leaving Anjudan for an unknown place, he had most possibly left behind his hujjat to act as a link between the Imam and the followers.

Ismaili History 727 - The line of Momin Shah

It must be recollected that Momin Shah, the son of Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad was the hujjat in Syria. Since he was an elder son, therefore, a small section in Syria had considered him as his father's successor. It is related that he returned from Syria and settled down in a village called Khwand in Qazwin, bordering Gilan too. He preached the esoteric teachings of Ismailism on Sufic pattern. Momin Shah built a small khanqah (cloister) in Khwand, where he and his descendants had been revered as the 'Saints of Khwand' (sadit-i khwandia) due to their piety and learning. Momin Shah died in 738/1337 and remained faithful to the line of Kassim-Shahi. None among them had ever claimed for Imamate, or visited Syria to nourish that small growing group, who later on became known as Momin-Shahis. It must be noted that the trivial section of Momin-Shahis was neither a forgotten branch of the Ismailis, nor a schism of great importance.
Imam Mustansir billah II (d. 880/1475) mentions in 'Pandiyat-i Jawanmardi' (p. 45) that: 'At the time of my great ancestor, Shah Husayn, some followers gave him up and accepted Muhammad ibn Hanafiyya. At the time of Shah Zaynu'l-abidin, some gave up the real Imam, and accepted Zayd as an Imam. At the time of my ancestor, Shah Jafar as-Sadiq, some followers gave up the real Imam, following Musa Kazim. Some followed Abdu'l-lah. Similarly, at the time of my ancestor, Shah Mustansir bi'l-lah, some gave up the real Imam, and followed Musta'li.' One can judge from the above version that the Imam had referred to both the major and minor branches of the Shiism, but did not mention a single word for the Momin-Shahis; tending to show that it was not a serious schism, but was a group anticipating the Imamate of Momin Shah. They used to call the Syrian Ismailis as the Kassim-Shahis to distinguish themselves from them. Later on, the local disputes between them had created some sorts of isolation. Some Momin-Shahis are reported to have gone in Badakhshan for business purpose, and propagated the line of Momin Shah. It seems that they were also responsible to cultivate different names and titles of the Imams in the line of Kassim Shah and Momin Shah.

Muhammad Shah (d. 807/1404), the son of Momin Shah became the next saint (sadat) of their khanqah in Khwand, who also acquired few powers in the locality of Daylam. He was succeeded by his son, Raziuddin I (d. 833/1429), who in turn was succeeded by his son Muhammad Tahir Shah (d. 867/1462). His son Raziuddin II (d. 915/1509) had gone to Badakhshan from Sistan in 913/1508 for mission. He established his rule over a large part of Badakhshan with the help of the Ismailis during the time of a certain Taymurid amir called Mirza Khan (d. 926/1520). Raziuddin II was killed in the local tribal fighting in 915/1509. Mirza Khan then executed many Ismailis in Badakhshan.

Ismaili History 728 - Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani

After the tragic death of Raziuddin II, his son Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani continued the tradition of the khanqah in Khwand, where the Sufis from Egypt, Bukhara, Samarkand and Qazwin flocked. It also influenced the local rulers and noblemen. The Safavid Shah Ismail became apprehensive of Shah Tahir's growing fame, therefore he invited him to join the Safavid scholars in his court at Sultaniyya. He joined the Safavid court in 926/1520 in the garb of the Twelver. It seems almost certain that it was a wise decision, and if Shah Tahir had not joined the court, Shah Ismail would have conducted a massacre of the Ismailis in Iran. According to 'Ibrat-i Afza', 'The widespread massacres of the Ismailis had been avoided due to the taqiya of Shah Tahir Hussain.'
After some times, it seems that the rivals of Shah Tahir stirred up suspicions of Shah Ismail, so he left the court and moved to Kashan, where his followers once again thronged in large number. The local Shia ulema reported to Shah Ismail, accusing of leading the Ismailis and of corresponding with foreign rulers. Shah Ismail ordered his military commander to hasten to Kashan and eliminate Shah Tahir Hussain, but Mirza Shah Hussain Ispahani, a dignitary of the Safavid court, and an Ismaili, had informed Shah Tahir secretly of the king's intention. Shah Tahir left Kashan for Fars at once in Jamada I, 926/April, 1520. He fortunately boarded a ship sailing to India at Jardan, and reached Goa after eight days. When his ship anchored the port of Oman, he had an opportunity to convert Shah Qudratullah and his followers.

Shah Tahir went to Bijapur from Goa, where he was ignored by Ismail Adil Shah (915-941/1510-1534), the ruler of Bijapur. He left Bijapur for Gulbarga, and moved to Parenda. Khwaja Jahan, the governor of Parenda urged him to stay there for few more times. Thus, Shah Tahir resided at Parenda as a teacher and became famous for his learning. Meanwhile, Pir Muhammad Sherwani, the teacher of Burhan Nizam Shah (914-961/1508-1553) of Ahmadnagar, arrived in Parenda. He was so impressed by Shah Tahir's scholarship that he stayed there for one year, and learnt the system of astronomy and trigonometry. On his return to Ahmadnagar, Pir Muhammad Sherwani reported to Burhan Nizam Shah about Shah Tahir's knowledge. Finally, Shah Tahir was invited in Ahmadnagar, who reached there in 928/1522 and was feted a royal welcome. He rendered valuable services to the Nizam Shahi dynasty of Ahmadnagar in Deccan. Gradually, Shah Tahir became Burhan's principal counseller. His diplomatic and financial administrative duties however did not prevent him from dedicating himself to teaching, lectures and religious polemics. Shah Tahir did not disclose his Ismaili identity. Burhan Shah built a seminary for him in the fort, where Shah Tahir delivered lectures twice a week, and all the ulema and Burhan Shah himself attended.

In 944/1537, Burhan's son Abdul Qadir fell seriously ill. The Muslim and Hindu physicians failed in their treatment, but was healed at length by Shah Tahir. This event marked deep impression and regard in the heart of Burhan Shah, who embraced Ismailism under the garb of Twelvers. Sayyid Ahmadullah Qadri writes in 'Memoirs of Chand Bibi' (Deccan, 1938, p. 102) that, 'In 928/1522 when Shah Tahir, passing through Bijapur and Parenda, came to Ahmadnagar, Burhan Nizam Shah I, adopted the Ismailia religion in 944/1537. With the exception of Ismail Nizam Shah, who became Mahdi for a short time, all the rulers were Ismaili Shiahs.' Burhan Shah also proclaimed Shiism as a state religion in Ahmadnagar. Pir Muhammad Sherwani and other Sunni ulema became jealous towards the religious success of Shah Tahir, who agitated against the proclamation. They were however arrested, but Shah Tahir spared the life of Pir Muhammad Sherwani for his past services, and was imprisoned. Pir Muhammad had been released after four years at Shah Tahir's appeal and his former office was restored to him.

Sayed Ali Tabatabai writes in 'Burhan'i Ma'asir' (Hyderabad, 1936, p. 260) that Shah Tahir had adopted taqiya and did never tell of his real faith. Sayed Zakir Hussain also writes in 'Tarikh-i Islam' (Delhi, 1918, 1st vol., p. 386) that Shah Tahir came from Iran and converted Burhan Shah to Shiism, and adopted taqiya in the court.

In 950/1543, Burhan Nizam Shah sent Khurshah bin Qubad al-Hussaini, a close relative to Shah Tahir as an ambassador in Iran at the court of Shah Tahmasp, who received him at Qazwin. Shah Tahmasp sent a letter to Shah Tahir in appreciation with many gifts for the endorsement of Shiism in Nizam Shahi state in Ahmadnagar. In return, Shah Tahir's son Shah Hyder was also sent from Ahmadnagar to Iran on a goodwill mission; who was yet in Iran when Shah Tahir died in Ahmadnagar in 956/1549 during the time of Imam Nuruddin Ali (d. 957/1550).

Shah Tahir had four sons and three daughters, in which Shah Hyder was an elder being born in Iran, and rest in India, namely Shah Rafiuddin, Shah Abul Hasan and Shah Abu Talib. Shah Tahir's brother Shah Jafar was also persecuted violently by the Safavids in Iran, who also came in India and attached with the administration of the state. The mission in guise of Shah Tahir had been continued by his successors, viz. Hyder bin Shah Tahir (d. 994/1586), Sadruddin Muhammad bin Hyder (d. 1032/1622), Muinuddin bin Sadruddin (d. 1054/1644), Atiyyatullah bin Muinuddin (d. 1074/1663), Aziz Shah bin Atiyyatullah (d. 1103/1691), Muinuddin II bin Aziz Shah (d. 1127/1715), Amir Muhammad bin Muinuddin II (d. 1178/1764), Hyder II bin Muhammad al-Mutahhar (d. 1201/1786) and Amir Muhammad bin Hyder al-Bakir, whose biography is not known. The modern writers of Momin-Shahis however makes Amir Muhammad bin Hyder al-Bakir as their last fortieth Imam in the line of Momin Shah (d. 738/1337). It is learnt that the Syrian Momin-Shahis, after sending in vain in India to locate the descendants of Amir Muhammad bin Hyder in 1304/1887, the bulk of them transferred their allegiance to the Imam of Kassim-Shahi line.

It should be remembered that being a learned Ismaili preacher, Shah Tahir's method differed starkly with the usual dawa system. If he was a Twelver, he certainly needed nothing to leave Iran, where he had good opportunity at the Safavid court. Farhad Daftary writes in 'The Ismailis: their History and Doctrines' (London, 1990, p. 489) that, 'One must bear in mind, however, that Shah Tahir and other Nizari leaders of the period were obliged to observe taqiya very strictly. It is certain that Shah Tahir propagated his form of Nizari Ismailism in the guise of Twelver Shiism, which was more acceptable to the Muslim rulers of India who were interested in cultivating friendly relations with the Twelve Shi'i Safawid dynasty of Persia.'

Imam Abuzar Ali is said to have returned to Anjudan in 912/1507 after getting congenial atmosphere. He maintained his cordial ties with the local amirs, elites and the Safavids. Abuzar Ali is said to have betrothed to Sabira Khatoon, the daughter of Shah Ismail, and was granted the title of Amir al-Umra (chief of the chiefs). This matrimonial relationship suggests a close tie of the Imam with the ruling power in the mantle of the Twelver.

Imam Abuzar Ali died in 915/1509 and was buried in Anjudan. The Russain scholar W.Ivanow had visited Anjudan in 1937 to collect the details from the inscriptions of then existing graves and mausoleums of the Ismaili Imams. He failed to locate the grave of Abuzar Ali in Anjudan. But, before him, Muhammad Taqi bin Ali Reza, who compiled 'Athar-i Muhammadi' in 1893 had visited Anjudan before the migratiion of Imam Aga Hasan Ali Shah in 1842. He had discovered the grave of Abuzar Ali, and writes, 'Imam Abuzar Ali had been invested the honorific title of Amir al-Umra, whose description is still preserved on the marble slab of Imam's grave' (pp. 65-66). It tenaciously corroborates to the fact that the grave of the Imam in Anjudan had been decayed before the visit of W.Ivanow, and it is, of course, possible that the same would have been happened with the grave of Imam Murad Mirza.

Ismaili History 729 - MURAD MIRZA (915-920/1509-1514)

Ali Shah, surnamed Shah Murad or Murad Mirza lived in Anjudan. He had also retained his close relations with Shah Ismail cemented by his father. His mode of living, his dress and food were characterised by a rare simplicity.
The Ottoman sultan Salim (1512-1520) began his long march to northern Azerbaijan after putting 40,000 Shias to death in his dominions. He reached the plain of Chaldiran and the outbreak of war occurred in 920/1514. He inflicted a defeat to Shah Ismail. The Ottoman firepower, consisting of 200 cannon and 100 mortars was brought into play with devastating effect. After suffering heavy casualties, the Safavid artilleries were forced to break off the engagement. When Shah Ismail left the battlefield, sultan Salim did not pursue him. Later, he marched to Tabriz, the Safavid capital, which he occupied in 922/1517. Caterino Zeno, the Venetian ambassador writes in 'Travels in Persia' (p. 61) that, 'If the Turk had been beaten in the battle of Chaldiran, the power of Ismail would have become greater than that of Tamerlane, as by the fame alone of such a victory he would have made himself absolute lord of the East.' Later, the Mamluks of Syria and Egypt similarly remained wedded to their cavalry, and were also defeated by the Ottomans.

The effect of the Safavid defeat at Chaldiran was the loss of the province of Diyar Bakr, which was annexed to the Ottoman empire in 921/1516. Shah Ismail went into mourning after his defeat. During the remaining ten years of his reign, he never once led his troops into action in person. He did not devote his attention to the affairs of the state as in the past. On the contrary, he seems to have tried to drown his sorrows by wine. His abdication of his responsibilities in regard to the personal direction of the affairs of state gave certain officials the opportunity to increase their own power. The clash between the Kizilbash and the Iranian soldiers began to be a threat to the Safavid kingdom.

Kizilbash were the Turkomans, who were distinguished for wearing red pointed caps, which they had begun to wear in the time of Shaikh Hyder (1456- 1488), the father of Shah Ismail; and thus they became known as Kizil-Bash (red heads), and in its Iranian form, Qizilbash, or Red Heads. They shaved their beards but let their moustaches grow. The Kizilbash constituted the backbone of the Safavid army. It seems probable on that juncture that Shah Ismail had generated a close tie with the Ismaili Imams in Anjudan, and granted them the title of Amir al-Umra. There is its another reason that the Ismailis had joined the Safavid army in Khorasan, who had repulsed the aggressive advance of the Uzbeks in 916/1510. Shah Ismail had most possibly planned to seek the martial aids from the Khorasani Ismaili warriors to crush the uprising in his military if required. He therefore, maintained cordial relation with the Imams of Anjudan. Shah Ismail however died in 930/1524.

It is said that the Muharram was an ideal month for the Ismaili pilgrims visiting Anjudan. They carried usually a small taziyah (replica of Imam Hussain's tomb), and placed it in front of the caravan and passed through the teeth of the bitterest and aggressive places in the Shiite garbs. They put the taziyah at the entrance of Anjudan, and took it again while leaving the town.

Imam Murad Mirza died in 920/1514 in Anjudan and was succeeded by his son Zulfikar Ali.

Ismaili History 730 - ZULFIKAR ALI (920-922/1514-1516)

Zulfikar Ali, known as Khalil or Khalilullah, was born most probably in 900/1394, and resided in Anjudan. Sayed Imam Shah (d. 926/1520) described the name Shah Khalil in his ginans most possibly for Zulfikar Ali.
Zulfikar Ali used to visit different villages to see his followers, and sometimes stayed with them for few months. It is related that when he had been in the village of Dizbad in Khorasan, the parents of Khaki Khorasan, a renowned Ismaili poet and philosopher, used to go late in the night to see the Imam, after ensuring that their child was sleeping well. The daily absence of the parents aroused the curiousity of Khaki Khorasani, who was then hardly seven years old. On one night, he followed his parents without their knowledge, upto the secret place. He did not enter the house and hid behind the door. He however could watch inside the house his parents and other Ismaili elders. He could not understand the religious ceremonies being solemnized, but his heart palpitated with inner joy, because he just saw the Imam sitting before the congregation. At the end of service, the food offerings brought by the faithfuls were shared. Zulfikar Ali told to a person to share it to each one. When he finished, he was asked to see outside. The person stepped out the house, and found a tired child watching the proceedings. He also got his share, and since then Khaki Khorasani cultivated a love and devotion towards his Imam.

It seems that the Imam was also in close contact with the Syrian Ismailis, and sent his letters from time to time. One like letter is discovered in Syria, which had been sent through a dai Shamsuddin bin Daulatshah. It was read in the Syrian community in presence of the local Ismaili Qadi Shihabuddin bin Ibrahim al-Mainaqi (872-937/1467-1532). This letter reads:-

My spiritual children,

Thanks be to God Who had dignified whom He wanted by His obedience, and reviled whom He wanted due to His disobedience. And prayer be on His Prophet who made all His nations equal, and called them for His obedience and worship.

You must know that the knowledge of the Imam is one of the principles which should be accepted. As the Imam is permanent and an ever existing truth, the world could not be vacant of him for a single hour. And he, who does not know the Imam of his time, he would die a pre-Islamic death.

The Imams are ever existing and permanent. They are continuous dynasty coming out the one from the other. The Imam is known from his original nucleus. If he has nominated and appointed for the post of Imamate, any one of his sons, he should be considered the right Imam.

There are a few other Syrian Ismailis of high repute in the period under review, whose biographies are however not accessible, such as Muhammad bin al-Jazirah, Abu Mansur al-Yameni al-Shadili, who wrote 'Kitab al-Bayan'; Muhammad Abul Makrim, Muhammad bin al-Fazal bin Ali al-Baza'i etc.

Dai Abu Firas is one of the most eminent figures in Syria. His name was Abu Firas Shihabuddin bin al-Qadi Nasr bin al-Jawshan bin al-Hussain al-Daylami al-Maynaqi. His father was a native of Daylam, who migrated to Syria in 859/1455, and settled down in the fortress of Maynaqa. Dai Abu Firas was born at Maynaqa in 872/1468. He acquired his education in Aleppo and served the Syrian community to great extent. He became a chief dai of Syria, and died in 947/1540 at Maynaqa. He was a prolific writer, and his 'Qasidat al-Nasab' deals the lineage of the Imams. He had a son, called Ibrahim Abu Firas, who died during his lifetime.

The Ottoman emperor Salim (1512-1520) inflicted a defeat to the Mamluks in a battle at Marco Dabik, near Aleppo on August 24, 1516. After occupation of Aleppo, the Ottomans captured Hammah on September 19, and Damascus on September 27, 1516. Thus, Syria yielded to the Ottomans, who had prepared the first survey of the land and population duly record the qila al-dawa (castles of the mission). The district of Masiyaf in the province of Hammah, and for the group of districts were called qila al-dawa in the province of Tripoli in Syria, including Khwabi, Kahf, Ulayqa, Qadmus and Maynaqa. The above survey indicates that these places were inhabited by peaceful Ismailis, and used to pay special tax to the rulers.

Khayr Khwah Herati most probably lived in this period. His name was Muhammad Reza bin Sultan Hussain Ghuriyan Herati. His pen-name was however Gharibi. He was born in Herat at the end of 15th century. His father Sultan Hussain was a native of Ghuriyan in Afghanistan, where he served as an Imam's vakil. Being summoned by the Imam through a messenger Mir Mahmud, he started his journey along with Khwaja Kassim Kohistani, but was killed by brigands in Khorasan. His son Khayr Khwah, who was then 19 years old had been taken in his father's place despite the objection of some community elders, because of his young age. Khayr Khwah visited Anjudan and saw the Imam. He describes in his 'Risala', how the different hujjats arrived during the fortnight he spent in Anjudan. He had been given due training of Ismaili mission, and was sent to Mashhad for learning Arabic. Finally, he was made the chief dai in place of his father in Afghanistan. He was a man of great ability and a potential dai. He died most probably after 960/1553.

It appears from the fragments of different traditions that few Ismaili fidais had been commissioned risky task, whose complete details are not accessible. It is however learnt that during the operations, many of them did not return to Anjudan and had lost their lives. Examples of such unknown fidais are found in the time of Imam Murad Mirza, who had taken whole responsibilities of the family members of these fidais. We have a report that Zulfikar Ali had provided substenances to about twelves families, whose young men had been deputed on any unknown mission, some of them returned or died.

Fidai Khorasani (d. 1342/1923) has compiled in 1320/1903 his famous work, 'Kitab-i Hidayat al-Mu'minin al-Talibin' (ed. by A. A. Semenov, Moscow, 1959), and quotes a poem in praise of Zulfikar Ali by an Ismaili poet, Azizullah Qummi who lived in the time of Zulfikar Ali (vide pp. 136-8), whose translation runs as under:-

There will have been not a single sign of the creature on earth, had the world remained without the existence of an Imam.

He, the Imam is apparent and hidden, and shall remain so all the times, and will be perpetual for ever. The compass of the universe is revolving under his command.

None can recognize God in person and even cannot perceive God with his physical eyes, be he talented like Ibn Sina in knowledge and excellence.

Acquire the recognition of God through the hujjat and mu'allim for they are the seekers of the path of the tariqah.

If you recognized the Imam, it means you have recognized God (through his channel), otherwise you will be caught in hell-fire.

Seek the recognition of Shah Zulfikar, the Imam of the Age for he is the dipository of glories.

He is like (an ordinary) man among the people, and sends the seekers of the path of religion towards God.

May I disclose you the interpretation of the 'Mahdi in the cave?' (It means that) the reality of the Imam is concealed in the cave of his heart from the hypocrites.

He is manifest by rule of nass (investiture), which is like a point, and all the affairs are in motion on the way to that point.

Sometimes, he appears as a father, or a son. Sometimes he is seen engaged in the polemics of knowledge like the orthodox people.

Sometimes, he sits on the throne, governing as a sovereign. Sometimes, he is like a darwish, an emperor or as a Lord of the lords.

No changes takes place in his person (dhat), therefore, you ponder over the world of reality from the physical world.

The prophets had foretold the (advent of the) Imam of the Age according to their understanding to all the young and elder ones.

He is apparent and hidden in his form and shall remain so henceforth. They (the believers) had accepted for Ali with pure hearts.

The seekers are acquainted with his person (dhat), who were in search of the truth. For illustration, Nasiruddin (Tusi), Nasir (Khusaro), (Jalaluddin) Rumi, (Shaikh) Sanai and (Fariduddin) Attar.

You recognize the Imam of the Time and adore him. Do not deny (his merits) provided you are among the people of faithful.

Do not speak (a single word) to the hypocrites and illiterates after listening the secret of the truth, otherwise you will have to be crucified like Khwaja Mansur (Hallaj).

Fidai Khorasani also cited the verses of another poet, called Niazi, who also lived during the period of Zulfikar Ali. The translation of few couplets are as under:-

O'soul! put your step into the true path sincerely, and avoid the path of untruth and do not distress yourself.

Do not be heedless (in dealing) with the Lord of the world and religion. Do not sit calmly and glorify his merits.

Go and adore Mawlana Zulfikar Ali, otherwise you will be repented hereafter.

Invoke his name with tongue all the times and get it focused in your soul. Do not utter anything except the excellence of his holy existence.

The earth never exists without his presence. Remember (in this context) the hadith of earth and creation all the times.

Imam Zulfikar Ali died in 922/1516, and was succeeded by his son Nuruddin Ali.

Ismaili History 731 - NURUDDIN ALI (922-957/1516-1550)

His name was Nur-Dahr (the light of the faith), and was also known as Nur-Dahr Khalilullah. His name however in the official list of the Imams appears as Nuruddin Ali. According to another tradition, he was also called Nizar Ali Shah. He mostly resided in Anjudan, and betrothed to a Safavid lady.

Shah Ismail, the founder of the Safavids in Iran died in 930/1524, and was succeeded by his eldest son, Tahmasp, who was ten years and three months old. The Kizilbash took over control of the state and usurped the authority of the new king for a decade. In 940/1533, Shah Tahmasp executed Hussain Khan Shamlu, the most powerful Kizilbash leader, and took over the power. The civil war in Iran had critically paralysed the state and given an unexpected opportunity to the two most formidable enemies of the Safavid state, the Ottoman Turks in the west and the Uzbeks in the east, to strike deep into Safavid territory. Between 1524 and 1538, the Uzbeks, led by the vigorous and martial Obaidullah Khan, launched five major invasions on Khorasan. Even more dangerous were the four full-scale invasions of Iran between 1533 and 1553 by the Ottomans, then at the height of their power under the great sultan Suleman (900-974/1494-1566), known as The Lawgiver, and to the West as The Magnificent. The remarkable thing is not that the Safavids suffered serious losses of territory as a result of these onslaughts, but that they were not overwhelmed. Shah Tahmasp, struggling against discord and disloyalty and treachery in high places, both on the part of Kizilbash chiefs and on the part of his own brothers, managed to hold the Safavid state together for more then half a century.

The Ottoman sultan Suleman launched his incursion in Azerbaijan in 940/1533 against the Safavids. At this critical juncture, a heavy snowfall blanketed the plain of Sultaniyya, where the Ottomans were encamped, and many Turkish soldiers perished from exposure. Sultan Suleman, unable to return on the route by which he had come, because no supplies were to be had in Azerbaijan, and was forced to withdraw through Kurdistan. He however occupied Baghdad. The second round of the Ottoman offensive opened the following year, and was directed by sultan Suleman from Baghdad. A number of engagements were fought at various points between Kurdistan and the Armenian highlands. The third Ottoman inroad occurred in 955/1548, and like the first, was on a massive scale. Shah Tahmasp made his usual preparations to meet the new onslaught. He had the entire area between Tabriz and the Ottoman frontier laid waste, so that no trace of grain or blade of grass remained. The Ottomans once again occupied Tabriz, but their forces soon began to suffer acutely from lack of provisions. When their pack-animals began to die like flies, sultan Suleman again beat the retreat. Shah Tahmasp had already transferred his capital from Tabriz to Qazwin. The fourth and last onslaught by the Ottomans during the reign of sultan Suleman was conducted in 960/1553. Peace was finally signed at Amasya in 962/1555, and Iran obtained a much needed respite from Ottoman inroads.

The Mughal dynasty was begun by Babar, a Chaghatai Turk who originally sought to establish his own state in his native Central Asia. Blocked in Central Asia by the Uzbeks, he established himself in Kabul, and invaded India in 932/1526 from his base in Afghanistan. He thus founded the Mughal empire, and died in 937/1530. He was succeeded by Humayun, who had been repelled by Sher Shah Suri (947-952/1540-1545). Humayun had to take refuge in Iran with Shah Tahmasp. With the aids of Shah Tahmasp, Humayun finally restored his Indian domains after 15 years. Shah Tahmasp spread his influence in India, and tied his relation with Burhan Nizam Shah and Shah Tahir Hussain of Ahmadnagar.

The Ismailis had mostly joined the Safavid army in Khorasan, some of them held high posts. The Safavid retained their relation with the Imam. Nuruddin Ali however advised his followers to be very watchful, because Shah Tahmasp was a man of great cruelty.

Like his father, Nuruddin Ali also used to visit different villages to see and guide his followers. It is related that in Dizbad, once the Ismaili women assembled in a house to weave cotton with Khaki Khorasani, who was yet a boy. Nuruddin Ali happened to come there and entered the room to see his followers. He then went out and mounted his horse. Khaki Khorasani urged the Imam reverently to take him along, but the Imam said, 'When you will be able to pass a comb through your beard, then I will take you with me.' The child made the gesture to touch his beardless face. Nuruddin Ali however took him along, and rode together towards the end of the village, where today from a rock, gushes a spring of Nohesar. They had an intimate conversation, and in the course of which the Imam advised his young disciple to work on the path of God if he would like to achieve his goal for salvation. This incident marked the outset of the poetical and missionary career of Khaki Khorasani.

Ismaili History 732 - Poet Kassim Amiri

Abul Kassim Muhammad Kuhpayai, known as Amiri Shirazi, or Kassim Amiri was a famous Ismaili scholar and poet. He was born possibly in 953/1545 in Kuhpayai, a village in the vicinity of Ispahan. He served Shah Tahmasp in the Safavid court for 30 years, then fell into disfavour. It is recounted in the native tradition that a court theologian, Hilli Hasan bin Yousuf aroused the king against him. Shah Tahmasp arrested him for alleged impeachment being an infidel, and blinded him in 973/1565. He was imprisoned in Shiraz, and was executed by Shah Abbas in 999/1591. He passed a tragic life, and none dared to quote or collect his poetical works. His poems are accessible almost disorderly, in which few historical events are composed, dating around 987/1579. In his 'Ash'ar-i Amiri', he eulogized Imam Murad Mirza and Imam Nuruddin Ali. It sounds from his poems that being an Ismaili, he had to face troubles, therefore, he had presented his religious feelings very carefully. Abu Baqi Nihawand writes in 'Ma'athir'i Rahimi' (Calcutta, 1931, 3rd vol., p. 1506) that the poems of Kassim Amiri were collected by his nephew Maulana Dakhli, who later on migrated to India.
The tradition of vakil in Hind and Sind was retained by Nuruddin Ali. The term vakil was a short form of vakil'i shah (vicegerent of the Lord) or vakil'i mawla (vicegerent of the Imam), and the term vakil'i nafs'i nafis'i humayun (vicegerent of the Imam in both his spiritual and temporal capacities) was used in Iran for the Indian hujjat, or pir. While in Badakhshan, the tradition of numainda (representative) had been retained, and the local chiefs were selected for the office. Nuruddin Ali began to appoint the vakil, numainda or hujjat from his family members, and the local chiefs were directed to work under them. This newly system gave a gravity to the Ismaili mission. The names of many other vakils in Central Asia are found without their biographies, and it is difficult to locate their periods.

Ismaili History 733 - Growth of the Imam-Shahis

The Ismailis in Kashmir, Punjab and Sind were ardent and fervent followers, but the mission in Gujrat suffered a setback due to the negative propaganda of Nur Muhammad Shah (d. 940/1534), the son of Sayed Imam Shah. He however had renounced his allegiance with the Iranian Imams, but it is doubtful that he had ever claimed Imamate for himself.
Among the Imam-Shahis, a theory had been cultivated, equating Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad with Pir Shams as one and the same person. This theory has it that Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad had abdicated the Imamate in favour of Imam Kassim Shah and himself took up the mantle of the Pir and started mission in India. This 'abdiction theory' is also sounded in the 'Satveni'ji Vel' of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah, which had been inserted in later period. The modern scholars curiously speculate that this theory was the creation of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah to legitimate his alleged claim to the Imamate that would have served his self-interest to endorse a genealogy, tracing his father back to the Ismaili Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad. It should be however noted that the 'Satveni'ji Vel' had been in private collection of the Imam-Shahis in Pirana, containing 200 stanzas with endless errors and interpolations, whose 150 stanzas were printed in 1906 at Bombay into Khojki script for the Ismailis. The remarks of the modern scholars in favour of the alleged claim of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah are based solely on the printed text of 1906.

W. Ivanow writes in his 'The Sect of Imam Shah in Gujrat' (JBBRAS, XII, 1936, p. 32) that, 'As he (Nur Muhammad Shah) surely could not pretend to be a son of an Imam, he had to invent a theory of his descent from the line of the Imams, and the coincidence in the names of his ancestors, (Pir) Shamsuddin, with the name of Shamsuddin the Imam, offered an easy opportunity.' Being inspired with the comment of W. Ivanow, Dr. Azim Nanji writes in 'The Nizari Ismaili Tradition in the Indo-Pakistan Subcontinent' (New York, 1978, pp. 63-4) that, 'Since he (Nur Muhammad Shah) claimed to be an Imam, it was necessary according to standard Ismaili belief that he should want to establish a direct lineage from the Imams in order to authenticate his claims. By making Pir Shams and Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad one and the same person, and by claiming direct descent from Pir Shams, he could thus substantiate his own right to the Imamate.' In sum, it seems that the scholars have not gone through the 'Satveni'ji Vel' as thorough as required. The 'abdiction theory' making an Imam to degrade to the office of the Pir is the creation of later period, when a part of the ginans including 'Satveni'ji Vel' were in the possession of the kakas in Pirana, who were responsible to distort the ginans and inserted 'abdiction theory' to suit the flavour of their beliefs. It is therefore not justifiable to cultivate any doubtful idea for Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah, charging him to have incorporated such theory in his work to boost his alleged claims.

It is beyond the province of our study to evaluate the veracity of 'Satveni'ji Vel' of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah, but we will discuss the alleged claims in the light of the few verses derived from the printed text as under:-

'Both authorities of Imamate and Pirship were with Imam Shams' (78: 9)

'Shah Shams arrived in India and made his public appearance' (79: 1-2)

'Pir Shams then proceeded to Punjab after consigning Imamate to Kassim Shah. It was Samvat 1366 (1310 A.D.) when Kassim Shah assumed the Imamate. Hence, the office of the Pir was retained by Pir Shams and that of the Imamate by Kassim Shah' (94: 1-6)

It ensues from above verses that Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad had come to India, and when he intended to proceed to Punjab, he retinguished his office of Imamate to Kassim Shah, and retained the office of the Pir with him. In other words, Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad henceforth came to be known as Pir Shams in India. It however implies that the Imamate remained with Kassim Shah and his descendants, while the office of the Pir with Pir Shams and his descendants. It is therefore crystal clear to judge that any claim of Imamate being advanced in the descent of Pir Shams cannot be validated, since he was then not an Imam, but a Pir. According to the fundamental belief of the Ismailis that an Imam is the sole authority to commission any person in his absolute discretion to the post of Pir, and thus the 'Satveni'ji Vel' does not claim that Imam Kassim Shah had appointed or declared Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad as a Pir and therefore the 'abdiction theory' cannot be historically true, but it was the causation of the later Imam-Shahi kakas, whose beliefs used to be changed from time to time, who needed to interpolate the notion of the ginans.

While going through the old manuscripts of the ginans, one can find an indication that the original work of 'Satveni'ji Vel' should have been projected for 100 stanzas, dealing with the history of the Imams and the Pirs. It was compiled between 922/1516 and 926/1520 when Sayed Imam Shah (d. 926/1520) was most probably yet alive, therefore, it seems impossible that the 'abdiction theory' had been inserted to boost his alleged claim by Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah during the period of his father. There is another point to touch that Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah was admittedly well grounded in Ismaili history and known that an Imam should be the son of the Imam, therefore, his alleged claim to the Imamate is highly doubtful.

Sayed Imam Shah is said to have composed 'Moman Chetamani' in which he also admits that, 'Shamsuddin was the son of Pir Salauddin, who embarked from Tabriz, and he was Pir Shamsuddin to spread the religion' (no. 204). 'He showed Kassim Shah, the Lord of the age' (no. 362). Among the Imam-Shahis, the 'Jannat-nama' is a famous work of Sayed Imam Shah, which reads:- 'Recognize Pir Satgur Nur, who is (in the same authority) that of Salauddin, His son was Pir Shamsuddin and Pir Nasiruddin was from the latter.' (no. 77). It further ensues from these verses that the 'abdiction theory' did not exist in the time of Sayed Imam Shah and his son, but was coined in later period. It may be known that the original manuscript of the 'Satveni'ji Vel' is being unearthed to bring further light on the subject in near future.

It is further suggested that Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah had used the word nar for himself in the ginans to boost his alleged claim, which is another layer of confusion added in the modern sources. While dismissing this theory, we will have to seek the reasons. It has been observed that the reciters of the ginans used to pronounce the word nar instead of nur in many cases and gradually they found coherance in the two words, and seem to have ignored the distinction between them. They found striking parallels between these two words, and being Indians by origin, the reciters preferred to pronounce the Hindi word nar instead of the foreign word nur in many ginans.

The scrunity of the old manuscripts also throws a flood of light that the scribes had transmuted the word nur (light) for nar (Lord), resulting the rendering of Nur Muhammad Shah to Nar Muhammad Shah in the old manuscripts. The modern writers, without examining the transcriptional error, hazard to theorize that Nur Muhammad, an alleged aspirant to the office of the Imamate had claimed as nar (Imam) for himself. Given that he had applied the term nar for himself in his ginans, composed almost during his father's time, then it seems improbable that his claim originated when his father was alive. His extant ginans also do not sound to this effect a little likelihood. Summing up all these materials for evidence, it is worth stressing that the reliance on the key term, can do great injustice to its interpretation and even to larger tradition, and research must cross many barriers of old tradition and poor thinking in order to stand within another world view.

It is however certain that Nur Muhammad Shah had violated the communal disciplines, engendering the principal cause of the split after 926/1520, and he was the real renegade to have abjured Ismailism. In 'Manazil al-Aqtab', Nur Muhammad is made responsible for separating his followers from the main Ismaili stock. W.Ivanow writes on the basis of 'Manazil al-Aqtab wa Basati'nul Ahbab' (comp. 1237/1822) that a certain Mukhi Kheta was the head of 18000 converted Hindus during the time of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin. He was comissioned to collect religious dues in a tithe wallet (jholi) in Gujrat and send the accumulated funds back to the main treasury in Sind. Not only this practice followed during the time of Sayed Imam Shah, but it was carried on even under Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah himself. The tradition has it that immediately after the death of his father, Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah had ordered Mukhi Kheta that the accumulated funds of Gujrat should henceforth be deposited in Pirana, instead of being sent to Sind. Mukhi Kheta emphatically refused it, which was more likely a bone contention of the defection. The religious dues at that time was collected by the authorized vakils, and deposited at Sind, and thence the whole lot was to be remitted to Iran.

It seems that a large conversion had been resulted in the time of Sayed Imam Shah in Gujrat and Kathiawar, where Mukhi Kheta used to collect the religious dues since the time of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin, procuring there more funds than that of Kutchh, Sind and Punjab. It is therefore most probable to speculate that Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah had desired the main treasury to be shifted gradually from Sind to Pirana, so that he might use the funds at his liberty. It should also be noted that between the year 926/1520 and 931/1525, the tradition of venerating the shrines of the Sayeds had largely developed among the followers who had supported Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah. It also seems that he had planned to make Pirana a centre of veneration more attractive than that of Uchh in Sind. In pursuit, he naturally needed huge funds, which he could only generate from the main treasury, and that is why he desired to transfer it from Sind to Pirana. He however instructed his followers to deposit their religious dues and offerings in Pirana.

Mukhi Kheta seems to be a regular and faithful in his duties. In the absence of any official orders, he could not comply with the instructions of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah. Since Sind was near Iran than that of Pirana in making remittance of the whole funds to the Imam, therefore, it was immaterial to transfer the main treasury from Sind to Gujrat. In sum, the refusal of Mukhi Kheta and the opposition of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah, had marred the relations of the Ismailis of Sind and Gujrat, and it was an early brick of the schism, making the Indian Ismailis bifurcated into the two branches, i.e., the Khojas Ismailis and the Imam-Shahis.

After being disappointed, Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah came up openly to misguide the Ismailis in India. All this had been brought to the notice of Imam Nuruddin Ali in Iran, who at once outcast him from the community with a express command, and instructed the faithful Ismailis to refrain from their association with the Sayeds of Pirana. Thus, Sayed Muhammad Shah and his followers defected from the Ismaili community, and laid the foundation of their own sect, known as the Imam-Shahis. The schism took place in the emotionally charged climate around 931/1525. W. Ivanow writes in 'The Sect of Imam Shah in Gujrat' (JBBRAS, XII, 1936, p. 45) that, 'The split, caused by Nur Muhammad Shah's pretentions, has done incalculable harm to his sect. Instead of being followers of Ismailism, the ancient and highly philosophical branch of Islam, with its great cultural traditions and the mentality of a world religion, they have become nothing but a petty community of 'Piranawallas', a kind of inferior Hindus, and very doubtful Muslims. Anyhow, orthodox Muslims do not regard them as Muslims, and orthodox Hindus do not regard them as Hindus.' In sum, the Imam-Shahi sect lost all its cultural elements and rapidly sank deeper and deeper, with no prospect of early regeneration. It is now a hodgepodge of Hindu and Islamic elements.

Bibi Khadija, the wife of Sayed Imam Shah seems to have played a seminal role in the schism. She extended her support to Nur Muhammad Shah and repudiated the recognition of the Imam in Iran. She seems to have declared Nur Muhammad Shah as the successor of Sayed Imam Shah and the dissociated group became known as the Imam-Shahis, making Sayed Imam Shah as the founder. She summoned Sayed Rehmatullah Shah, the son of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin at Pirana to win his support, but he refused to throw off his allegiance to the Imam in Iran. He stayed at Pirana for few months, and returned after marrying with a Sayed lady. It is recounted that Sayed Rehmatullah propagated among the Ismaili circles in India through his messengers that he had nothing to do with the Sayeds of Pirana. He also arranged to sent a large amount of religious dues through two persons in Iran. Khayr Khwah Herati (d. after 960/1553) also confirms the visit of two Indian Ismailis, the followers of Sayed Rehmatullah Shah, who had come to Khorasan on their way to search for the Imam to present religious dues, vide his 'Tasnifat', edited by W.Ivanow, Tehran, 1961, p. 54.

Sayed Rehmatullah is said to have visited Badakhshan and Anjudan and reported whole story to the Imam. He finally settled down in a village, called Kadi in Gujrat.

Hence, a large conversion of Sayed Imam Shah in Gujrat suffered a great reverse and the half-baked adherents of Islam were dragged into the most furious blasts of hostile winds. This alarmed a group of the adherents, inducing them to retrace their steps towards the fold of Hinduism, but most of them remained faithful to Ismailism. But, a major group in Pirana dissociated at the head of Nur Muhammad Shah, became known as the Imam-Shahis, who followed the mixed rituals of Islam and Hinduism, like Hussaini Brahmin, Shanvi and Bad Khwans. They propagated that the successor of Pir Hasan Kabiruddin was Sayed Imam Shah, who was followed by Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah. The schism also effected the Satpanth Literature, i.e., the ginans. It is most certain that the ginans of Sayed Imam Shah had been adjusted at Pirana to suit the flavour of the Imam-Shahis. The mainstream of the community, known as the Khojas in Sind, Kutchh, Kathiawar and Gujrat continued to adhere to the Imam, and protected the accumulated ginans to great extent from being interpolated.

Ismaili History 734 - The line of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah

Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah died on 940/1534 and was buried in the mausoleum of his father in Pirana, the necropolis of the Imam-Shahi sect. He had several sons, the oldest being Jalaluddin and Mustapha. Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah had however appointed one of his younger son as his successor, called Sayed Miran Khan, surnamed Sai'duddin. Several stories are recounted about the cruelty of the brothers of Sayed Miran Khan, who was exiled from Pirana. In sum, the shrine of Sayed Imam Shah remained in the custody of Jalaluddin and his descendants for about a century, while the pirs in the descent of Sayed Miran Khan were moving about the country. Sayed Miran Khan rambled as a successor of his father in Surat, Burhanpur and the towns of the Deccan.
Mention must be made on this juncture about the institution of the kakas in Imam-Shahi sect that had taken root in Pirana. This institution was the headman of the converted Hindus. The kaka was the Imam-Shahi cleric and his duty was to settle the petty disputes and collect religious taxes. This institution had been introduced at an early period in petty village communities, and then gradually penetrated into Pirana. The immediate cause of the final legalisation of the status of the kakas at Pirana was the rivalries and quarrels of the sons of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah, who is said to have introduced the tradition of the kaka (headman) to collect religious taxes and offerings. The kaka was appointed for life and had to take vow of celibacy and received food and clothing as remuneration. The number of the early prominent kakas was twenty-five, from Kaka Shanna to Kaka Lakhman. The institution of the kaka had a furtive character. For details, vide 'Pirana Satpanth'ni Pol' (Falsehood of the Satpanth of Pirana), by Patel Narayan Ramji Contractor, Rajkot, 1926.

After the exile of Sayed Miran Khan, the kaka began to dominate at Pirana in all affairs and proved to be an inexhaustible source of intrigue and misery to the community, which ultimately brought about the complete ruin of the Imam-Shahi sect. Most of the old literature of the ginans remained in possession of the kakas, who were responsible to interpolate them. It must be noted that the theory of equating Imam Shamsuddin Muhammad with Pir Shams was most probably floated in these interpolations. The word Pir and Imam also began to be added frequently in their ginans for Sayed Imam Shah and Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah. Many other terminologies of the Hindus and their deities were added in the ginans. Henceforward, Pir Satgur Nur was identified in their newly ginans attributed to the authorship of Sayed Imam Shah, with the Brahma, Sayed Imam Shah as the incarnation of Indra and Nur Muhammad Shah was exalted to a station equivalent to Vishnu. One legendary book had been compiled in the name of Sayed Imam Shah, namely 'Dashtari Gayatri', in which the genealogical details are mentioned, but no mention is made of the line of the Ismaili Imams. Another bombastic work was also created, entitled 'Chetamani of Pir Imam Shah' where the descent is however traced to 'Sayed Satgur Patra Brahma Indra Imam Shah' and 'Adi Vishnu Nirinjan Nur Ali Mahomed Shah.' Thus, they enjoyed considerable autonomy to institute a number of fictitious theories and ceremonials

Meanwhile, a deputation arrived to invite Sayed Miran Khan to Pirana, which he accepted and returned to his native place, where he died in 980/1572 and was succeeded by Sayed Abu Ali Hashim, who was hardly 12 to 13 years of age. It must be added that Sayed Saleh (984-1021/1576-1612), another son of Sayed Miran Khan is said to have a strong proclivity towards Ismailism, who also composed few ginans.

The shrine of Sayed Imam Shah was in charge of the descendants of Jalaluddin, therefore, Sayed Abu Ali Hashim had to procure a strong following in Pirana, who, at length took its charge and died in 1021/1612. He was succeeded by his 15 years old son, Abu Muhammad Hashim, who decided to renovate the graves of his father and grandfather and erect a splendid mausoleum for them, near the shrine of Sayed Imam Shah. Nur Shah, the son of Mustapha, the brother of Sayed Miran Khan, was at that time the official keeper of the shrine of Sayed Imam Shah. He and his brother, Walan Shah fiercely opposed the plan. Their opposition rose to armed obstruction and in a pitched battle between the two parties, the supporters of Nur Shah were defeated. The enmity and hatred between them were going on unabated, but the majority remained faithful to Abu Muhammad Hashim, who died in 1045/1636. He was succeeded by his 12 years old son, Muhammad, also known as Muhammad Shah Dula Burhanpur. He left Pirana and went to Burhanpur in Khandesh and left behind his son, Abu Muhammad Shahji Miran in Pirana. He however died in 1067/1657 and was buried in Burhanpur. His successor Abu Muhammad Shahji Miran came to a tragic end due to the intolerance of the Mughal emperor Aurengzeb. According to 'Mirat-i Ahmadi' (comp. 1174/1761), certain officials with an armed escort were sent to Pirana with the express summon of the emperor to arrest Shahji Miran. The sickly old man refused to go. Then, being dragged by force, he poisoned himself on the way to the city and died not far from Pirana, where he was brought back to be interred. This event took place in 1103/1692. His son and successor was 12 years old Sayed Muhammad Shah, who wandered from Burhanpur to Pirana and the towns of the Deccan, and died in Ahmadnagar in 1130/1718. His infant son, Sayed Muhammad Fazal Shah had been brought up for 12 years in Ahmadnagar.

Meanwhile, a deputation of 200 persons from Pirana was sent to Ahmadnagar to invite the young pir to come back. Hence, Sayed Muhammad Fazal Shah was taken to Pirana, where he was met with great pomp. He however gave up all hopes of settling in Pirana owing to the strong influence and foothold of the kakas, who were adamant. He therefore went to Champanir, where he died on 1159/1746. Sayed Sharif then succeeded, who returned to Pirana in 1885/1771, where his father had failed. In Pirana, he discovered that his life was insecure, therefore he tried to settle in Cambay, about 20 miles distant from Pirana. His temporary absence brought about some ugly development in Pirana. The kakas, by bribes, arranged with the local authorities to take hold of the old historical house of the pirs and pulled it down. When the news of sacrilege reached to Sayed Sharif, he rushed back, only to find that it was too late. Curses followed between them and the atmosphere of Pirana remained as tense as ever. The guardian of Sayed Imam Shah's shrine at that time was Karamullah bin Jafar, who gave his daughter to Sayed Sharif in marriage. Sayed Sharif however died in 1209/1795 and was succeeded by his son, Badruddin, also known as Bara Miyan. He continued the policy of his father to reduce the power of the kakas in Pirana. He also died in 1243/1827 and was succeeded by his son, Bakir Shah, the last pir of the Imam-Shahi sect in Pirana. He also died most probably in 1251/1835 without leaving any successor. Thus, the old line of Sayed Nur Muhammad Shah (d. 940/1534) came to an end. The disciples of the Imam-Shahi sect are found in Ahmadabad, Kheda, Cambay, Baroda, Bhavanagar, Surat, Khandesh and Kutchh.

Previously, it is indicated that Humayun (1530-1556), the Mughal emperor, was dethroned by Sher Shah Suri (947-952/1540-1545) on May 17, 1540. Humayun led a life of homeless loitering in Sind for three years, and finally repaired to Iran in 1544 in the time of Shah Tahmasp. Humayun embraced Shiism in Iran, and with the help of the Safavids, he reinstated the Mughal empire in India in 962/1555 after fifteen years. The Indian Ismaili pilgrims, who visited Anjudan by road, seem to have been advised by Nuruddin Ali to travel by sea. It is possible that between 947/1540 and 962/1555, Sher Shah Suri had planted his agents in Sind to search Humayun, resulting the roads insecure between India and Iran for the travellers. Humayun embarked from Sistan with 12,000 horsemen in 952/1545 and seized Kandhar and Kabul. He also conquered Badakhshan in 954/1547, and then entered India and captured Delhi in 962/1555. It is also probable that the routes between Iran and Badakhshan were insecure from 952/1545 to 962/1555, therefore, Nuruddin Ali had also directed his followers in Badakhshan not to travel for Iran for few years.

One unknown manuscript of Iran of 929/1523 is unearthed, containing 24 quatrains in glorification of the Imam of the time, whose few couplets are given below:-

Pesh az man baaisam tuhi mowlana,
bi tu che tasrafum rasd dar du jahan.

'O'Lord! you existed before me, therefore you created
What I may take away in the two worlds except to desire
for you.

Gar kohana wa gar navim ya mowlana,
bi rai'i to marqsada nadaarim digar.

'We may be either young or old, but there is no aim of
our lives without your remembrance.'

Aiy'i rahat baksh'i ruh ya mowlana,
har yad'i to mikunand dar alam'i showk.

'O'Lord! you are peace giver to the mankind. When love
gushes, the lovers remember your name.'

It seems possible that the above unknown poem belonged to the then known Ismaili poet Mahmud Ali, who hailed from Mominabad. Dr. Farhad Daftry has also discovered his poems from the Ismaili leaders in Khorasan, which have not been listed in 'A Guide to Ismaili Literature' (London, 1933) by W. Ivanow and in 'Biobibliography of Ismaili Literature' (California, 1977) by Ismail K. Poonawala. In his one long poem, Mahmud Ali names the Ismaili dais, mu'allims and lesser functionaries in numerous localities in Khorasan, Kohistan, Irak-i Ajam, Kirman, Afghanistan, Badakhshan, Turkistan and the Indian subcontinent, including Multan, Lahore and Gujrat.

Imam Nuruddin Ali consigned the office of Imamate to his son, Khalilullah Ali, and died in 957/1550 in Anjudan. The details of his other five sons are inaccessible.

Ismaili History 735 - KHALILULLAH ALI I (957-993/1550-1585)

Mirza Khalil, mostly known as Khalilullah Ali I was born in Anjudan. It is related that Imam Nuruddin Ali had nominated him as his successor in presence of the Indian and Syrian Ismaili pilgrims at Anjudan.
Khalilullah Ali is said to have examined the economical conditions of the poor Ismailis residing in Iran, India, Syria, Badakhshan and Central Asia, and sent necessary aids through his family members. He also reviewed the then system of Ismaili mission of different regions, and caused vital changes specifically in the religious practices in India.

Between 947/1540 and 960/1553, the Safavid Shah Tahmasp waged four expeditions in the Caucasus, and brought a large number of Georgian, Circassian and Armenian prisoners in Iran, including women and slaves. There had been a serious struggle in acquiring power in the principal posts between the Iranians and the Turks, known as Kizilbash. The prisoners of Caucasus hence had been introduced as ghulaman'i khassa'yi sharifa (the slave of the royal household), and were given military training as the 'third force' of the empire. Thus, the introduction of the Tajik element changed the character of the Safavid society. They proved very loyal to the empire until the death of Shah Tahmasp. When he fell ill in 972/1574 for about two months, there was a recrudescence of dissension among the Kizilbash chiefs. The Tajik women in the royal harem also jumped into the political intrigue to advance the claims of their respective sons to the succession. The nine sons of Shah Tahmasp were familiar in the different military units, and each unit came up to support the respective sons of Shah Tahmasp for the next ruler. Muhammad Khudabanda, the elder son was ill. The second son Ismail was in prison for twenty years since 1556. The other seven sons belonged to Circassian or Georgian mothers, each was expecting the throne for their own sons. Shah Tahmasp died in 984/1576. The Georgian made an unsuccessful attempt to place Hyder on the throne, and his supporters raided the capital city, but failed and Hyder was killed. Finally, about thirty thousand Kizilbash thronged at the prison, and released Ismail and crowned him at Qazwin as Shah Ismail II on August 22, 1576 at the age of 40 years.

Shah Ismail II first of all executed and blinded those princes, who were responsible for his long punishment, including his five brothers. He abandoned the doctrines of Twelver and banned the practice of tabarra, reviling Abu Bakr and Umar. The Kizilbash generals began to realize that Shah Ismail II was not a sort of ruler they had expected. They got him killed with the help of his sister, Pari Khan Khanum by poison in 985/1577. The Kizilbash crowned Muhammad Khudabanda, the elder brother of Shah Ismail II. He was one among those persons, who had been ordered by Shah Ismail II for execution, but was survived owing to some sorts of delay. He had been in Herat during the death of Shah Ismail II, and reached at Qazwin from Shiraz. It implied that the Safavid throne remained without a king for three months. Finally, Muhammad Khudabanda assumed power in 985/1578. He was a mild, and his eye-sight was so weak that he was virtually blind. He took no interest in state affairs, and remained in composing poems under the pen-name of Fahmi. His wife Mahd-i Ulya however governed the state by a council of the Kizilbash officers, whom she ignored, and replaced by the Iranian officers. She had planned to make her own son to succeed her husband, and conspired to remove the capable son of Muhammad Khudabanda, called Abbas being born to other wife. Abbas was in Herat and thus, he escaped from the conspiracy.

The Ottoman sultan Murad III (1574-1595) invaded Azerbaijan and Georgia with one lac soldiers in 986/1578. The Safavid forces suffered a long series of defeat. On the other side, the dispute between Mahd-i Ulya and Kizilbash officers had shaken the foundation of the empire. She had been killed by Kizilbash, and the whole power came with the military. The army of Ustajlu-Shamlu in Khorasan, the Afshars in Afghanistan, and the Kizilbash in Qazwin and northern region were divided among themselves. They began to fight one another and violated the law and order in supporting the different sons of Muhammad Khudabanda. The notable princes being supported by the above three military groups were Hamza, Abu Talib and Abbas. Hamza was killed in 1586, therefore, the Kizilbash turned their support to Abu Talib. Under such fratricidal disputes for the throne, Shah Muhammad Khudabanda had been forced to abandon the throne in favour of Abbas in 996/1588, who was about 17 years old. Murshid Quli Khan, the leader of Ustajlu-Shamlu in Khorasan supported him, who had been invested the title of vakil of the supreme diwan. The new king Shah Abbas negotiated a peace treaty with the Ottoman sultan in 1589, and also began to repel the Uzbek inroads from eastern side.

The internal dissensions in the Safavid armies and disorders in Iran had sucked away the peace. The bulk of the people is said to have been perished by a great drought which afflicted the country, resulting spread of disease. The theft and robbery had terrorized the highways so frequently that the travellers feared to make journey inside Iran.

In India, after the death of the Mughal emperor Humayun in 963/1556, his son Akbar (1556-1605) succeeded at the age of 13 years, therefore, his teacher Bahram Khan administered the state affairs. It was Bahram Khan to inflict a defeat to the Suri dynasty at Panipat, and saved the throne of Delhi. He was a Shia, and thus the Sunni ulema aroused the emperor to retire him. Akbar was 18 years at that time, and took the power from Bahram Khan, and then conquered Gujrat, Bengal, Ahmadnagar, Deccan, Bihar, Kashmir and northern regions, where he posted his generals, and put his empire on a sound footing, making coalitions with regional Hindu elites. Akbar held a liberal policy in religion, and invented a new religious cult, known as Din-i Illahi or Mazhab-i Haq, which combined elements of Islam, Hinduism and Zoroastrianism, which also perished with his death.

Khalilullah Ali is said to have held a conference of the dais and missionaries of different regions in Anjudan to review the mission activities. He made few vital changes in the system in Syria and India, and issued necessary orders abreast of time in various regions.

Khalilullah Ali seems to have organised a best system of his contacts with the Ismailis of Iran, Syria, Badakhshan and India. He had employed in this context a certain Zayn al-Abidin bin Hussain bin Khushnam Angawani (d. 961/1554), who understood many languages. He had been assigned to write letters, bearing official seal to the Ismaili communities as per the instructions of the Imam.

The Nusairi zealots had raided and pillaged the Ismaili villages in Syria in 1569. They captured the strongholds of Masiyaf and Qadmus, which was informed to the Imam by the Syrian pilgrims. It is related that Khalilullah Ali dispatched an embassy to the Ottoman authority in Latakia, and as a result, the Nusairis withdrew from Masiyaf and Qadmus after three years.

The Iranian Ismailis mostly professed in agriculture. Later on, few among them are reported to have ventured into the local trade, and became leading merchants in Kirman. Their rapid progress can be judged from the records that the Ismaili merchants of Kirman dominated the trade at port Hormuz around 1580. They mostly carried their trade with the Portuguese, and then with the English East India Company in 1610. There are certain indications that the Khoja Ismaili traders also started their commercial activities between port Hormuz and Kutchh.

Ismaili History 736 - Mission of Pir Dadu in India

Sayed Dadu, or Pir Dadu was an acclaimed and gifted vakil in Sind. He traced his descent from a well-known vakil, Bawa Hashim, who was one of the attendants of Imam Islam Shah in Kahek. Bawa Hashim's son Gul Muhammad was the man who had arranged a meeting of Sayed Imam Shah with the then Imam. Gul Muhammad, known as Harichandra in Indian orbits, had a son, Mahr al-Din, known as Moriya. His son was Khair al-Din, known as Kherraj. His son was Aasar, known as Jesar. Aasar had three sons, viz., Aas al-Din, Jamr al-Din and Daud, known as Dadu, or Pir Dadu, who was born about in 879/1474. He visited Anjudan when he was 80 years old, where Imam appointed him his vakil for Sind and Kutchh in 961/1554.
Culling up the fragment of traditions, it seems that in accomlishing their mission with the maximum impact, the Ismaili dais in India had lowered the linguistic and cultural barriers to conversion to great extent. What was commonly known in India that the term Khoja designated not religious identity, but affiliation to a caste of petty traders. Neither the orthodox Muslims nor Hindus would claim the Khoja Ismailis as co-religionists. The mixed character of Khoja Ismailis' rituals and the Hindu elements in their society was such an index by which the Islamic character among them became hard to judge at that time. Their reverence towards the first Imam Ali, the commemoration of the event of Karbala however placed them among the Shiite Muslims, while the tributes they offered to the Iranian Imams signified their affiliation to the Nizari Ismaili branch. In matter of marriages and funeral ceremonies, they had to knock the door of the Sunni mullas. In consideration of these conditions, Pir Dadu had laid much emphasis in enhancing the sense of their belonging in Islam, and tried to define a sharp position of the Khoja Ismailis. He first reviewed the religious practices for the first time after Pir Sadruddin with the instructions of Khalilullah Ali. He also revised the old daily prayer (dua), and removed the old unnecessary practices and ginans. With a fresh mandate, he also conducted a brisk mission activities and converted a large number of Lohana tribe of Hinduism, notably the family of Khoja Bhaloo (d. 1016/1607) in 961/1554.

The early Sumra rulers in Sind were the Ismailis, but the later Sumra adhered Sunnism. The Sumra dynasty in Sind ended almost before 762/1361. Henceforward, the local feudal chiefs descended from the Sumra rulers were also known as the Sumras among the Sunnis. Pir Dadu arrived in Sind in 961/1554 and resided at Fateh Bagh. When he came in Sind, Shah Hasan the last ruler of the Arghun dynasty had died in 961/1554, and a certain Mirza Essa Khan Trakhan took the reign of Sind.

In Fateh Bagh, the local chief Muhammad Sumaro was deadly against the Ismailis, whom he used to grind under the millstone of cruelty. He therefore violently persecuted Pir Dadu. Under the vehement agitation of the bigoted Qadi, Aas al-Din and Jamr al-Din, the brothers of Pir Dadu were arrested, paraded in the streets and beheaded. Pir Dadu's life was also insecure, therefore he immediately wrote to Jam, the ruler of Jamnagar in Kutchh for seeking refuge, which had been granted. At length, he repaired to Jamnagar with forty families in 994/1587 along with the sons of his brothers, where he was feted honours. Soon afterwards, another batch of forty to fifty families was also invited from Sind. A plot of land near the town was assigned to them, which had been fortified with walls, one of its gate is still known as Dadu's Gate.

Pir Dadu then reported to have moved to Bhuj, the capital of Kutchh in the reign of Rao Bharmal I (1585-1631). He procured cordial ties with the local ruler, and continued his mission in Kutchh and sent his representative in other parts of India. He also visited Kathiawar, where he converted a bulk of the Hundu Lohana tribe. Pir Dadu died at the age of 120 years in 1005/1596 at Bhuj, where his mausoleum still exists. The Imams continued to appoint the subsequent vakils in the descendant of Pir Dadu. The best known among them was Sayed Sadik, who had visited Iran, and had been consigned the office of vakil for Kutchh. His grandsons were twin born and were named Bawa Saheb al-Din and Bawa Salam al-Din. The former preached in Halar, Sind and the latter remained active in Kutchh.

Ismaili History 737 - Ismaili Influence in Deccan

Lack of material does not enable us to give a detailed account of the Ismaili influence after the death of Shah Tahir Hussain Dakkani on 956/1549 in Ahmadnagar, India. We do not have explicit details, whether his descendants continued the Ismaili mission in the cloak of Shiism or not. There are however certain indications that a lady ruler, named Chand Bibi was secretly an Ismaili, but her faith is shrouded in her political activities. She was born in 957/1550 and died in 1006/1599, which implies that she was the contemporary of both Hyder bin Shah Tahir (d. 994/1586) and Sadruddin Muhammad bin Hyder (d. 1032/1622). Her father was Hussain Nizam Shah of Ahmadnagar, and mother was Khonza Humayun. Chand Bibi got married to Ali Adil Shah (1558-1580) of Bijapur at the age of 14 years in 970/1562. Ali Adil Shah was killed in 988/1580 when she was about 28 years old. She had no child, therefore, the nephew of her late husband aged 10 years, Ibrahim Adil Shah I was crowned in Bijapur, and herself ruled as a regent with great prudence and intelligence till the young king came of age. When order was restored in Bijapur kingdom, Chand Bibi went back to her motherland Ahmadnagar when she was about 35 years old. When Murtada Shah, the ruler of Ahmadnagar died at a moment when the foreign relations of the state were strained to breaking-point and was imminent, she returned to Bijapur, and mustered some reliable troops in consideration of the defence of Ahmadnagar fort against the mighty army of the Mughals led by their able general.
It was a question of saving the whole Deccan from Mughals, so Bijapur and Golconda kingdoms sent contingents. The Mughal force commanded by Prince Murad (d. 1007/1599) took field against Ahmadnagar. The three tunnels were dug in the fort, two of them were discovered and the third one was repaired in a night. At length, the Mughals were severely repulsed. Murad was compelled to negotiate truce, and recognized the rule of Ahmadnagar. It was the first time that Ahmadnagar was recognized by the Mughals out of the five states of Deccan. Accordingly, the Birar was to be retained with the Mughals and Ahmadnagar would rule independently. After this great defence, Chand Bibi came to be known as Chand Sultana. After some times, once again the opponents of Chand Bibi made approach to Prince Daniel (d. 1013/1604), the third son of emperor Akbar, who attacked Ahmadnagar with 30,000 men, and a terrible fight took place in the plain of Sonipat near the bank of Godawari river. The Mughals succeeded to turn the troops of Chand Bibi and had a siege over Ahmadnagar in 1008/1599. This time, emperor Akbar himself rushed to Deccan and pitched his tents outside the city. Chand Bibi became desperate and resisted the Mughal attacks with such courage that the invaders were repelled at many places. At length, Hamid Khan, the traitor allowed the Mughal force to enter Ahmadnagar, and entered the palace of Chand Bibi to kill her. At that moment of disaster, Chand Bibi came out of her apartments and fought bravely and was killed, and thus, Ahmadnagar was captured by the Mughals in 1009/1600.

Ismaili History 738 - Trakhan dynasty of Central Asia

It appears that the Ismaili ruler of Gilgit, Raja Trakhan (1310-1335) was succeeded by Raja Somul (1335-1390). The third ruler was Raja Khusaro Khan (1390-1435), then Raja Hyder Khan (1435-1480), Raja Chalis Khan (1480-1515) and Raja Nur Khan (1515-1565). It means that the Ismailis ruled Gilgit absolutely for about 255 years. But, the seventh ruler Raja Mirza Khan (1565-1600) was invaded by Ali Sher Khan Anchan (1595-1633), the ruler of Skardu. Raja Mirza Khan took flight to Baltistan and lived as a refugee with the Maqpon ruler, Raja Ghazi Mir (1565-1595), who had died a month later. Raja Mirza married to the daughter of the ruler, and became a Twelver. He took field against Gilgit with colossal means and materials he acquired from the new ruler, Raja Ali Sher Khan (1600-1632), and subdued Ali Sher Khan Anchan at Gilgit, and reinstated his rule. Henceforward, he forced the inhabitants to follow the doctrines of the Twelver. The Ismailis observed strict taqiya, and were also known as the Mughli.
Imam Khalilullah Ali I died at Kahek in 993/1585, but he was buried in Anjudan. It seems that the Ismailis were thickly populated in Anjudan, therefore, it was resolved to settle few families in Kahek in Kirman. According to another tradition, the Twelvers and Nuqtawiyas also lived in Anjudan and its locality, therefore, the governor of Hamdan had appointed a certain Shia leader, called Sayed Khalilullah as the amir of Anjudan after Imam's departure from the village in 992/1584. An epigraph discovered by Farhad Daftary at Anjudan is allegedly collated with the preceding move. It reproduces the text of a royal edict issued by Shah Abbas II in Rajab, 1036/March-April, 1627 addressing to amir Khalilullah Anjudani, for the exemption of certain taxes, wherein the Anjudani Shias are explicitly regarded as the Twelvers. Farhad Daftary however identifies Amir Khalilullah Anjudani as Imam Zulfikar Ali, who was also known as Khalilullah. The balance of arguments points that it is almost a tentative speculation, and nothing to do with historical fact.

It is worth mentioning that the 'Tarikh-i Alfi' (the Millennial History) was compiled in India by several authors at the request of Mughal emperor Akbar in 1000/1592, whose one part was chronicled by Jafar Beg Asif Khan (d. 1021/1612), describing a rebellion hatched by a certain Murad under the year 982/1575 and the domineering of the Ismailis in Anjudan by Shah Tahmasp (d. 984/1576). More details of the same episode is described under the year 981/1574 by the Safavid historian, Qadi Mir Ahmad Munshi al-Qummi (d. after 1015/1606) in his 'Khulasat al-Tawarikh' (1st vol., pp. 582-4). Both sources relate that a certain Murad had numerous followers also in India, sending him large sums of money from Sind and Makran. Murad was engaged in political turmoil outside Anjudan, having acquired supporters in Kashan and elsewhere in Central Iran. Being alarmed by his activity, early in 981/1574, Shah Tahmasp ordered the Kizilbash governor of Hamdan, Amir Khan Mawsil'lu, to take field against Anjudan and arrest Murad. Amir Khan executed a bulk of the Ismailis in Anjudan and its locality and took much booty from them, but Murad, who was stayed at a fortress in the district of Kamara near Anjudan, managed to escape. Soon afterwards, Murad had been arrested and imprisoned near the royal quarters. In Jamada II, 981/October, 1573, Murad escaped from prison with the help of Muhammad Muqim, a high Safavid official who had come under Murad's influence. Murad fled to the vicinity of Kandhar, getting help on the way from his followers in Fars, Makran and Sind. A few months later, he was arrested in Afghanistan by the Safavid guards. He was brought before Shah Tahmasp, who had him executed along with Muhammad Muqim.

Farhad Daftary bluntly hazards to identify above certain Murad with Imam Murad Mirza (d. 920/1514), which seems that he is explicitly divorced from reality. The most important aspect of the story which deserves serious treatment is the stark difference between these two persons for about 60 years. Secondly, it is neither warranted in the Ismaili traditions, nor there is a single example, connoting the Imams to have involved in the political arena while living in Anjudan, and therefore, the alleged rebellion of the Imam Murad Mirza is highly doubtful. Thirdly, it would be absurd to believe that the Imam Murad Mirza had vainly stirred up a revolt with handful supporters and fled, putting behind his followers into the millstone of cruelty in Anjudan. Fourthly, the remittance of religious dues to the Imams by the Indian followers was an practice in vogue, which can be incorporated to suit the notion of any anecdote for the Ismailis. Fifthly, the above story places the rebellion in 982/1575, which is veritably the period of Imam Khalilullah Ali (957-993/1550-1585), the last Imam of Anjudan era. We would, however, venture the opinion that the whole story embodies elegance and rhetoric rather than a factual picture, and that Mirza in the story was in reality the leader of the Nuqtawiya sect in the time of Imam Khalilullah. He mustered a handful supporters for engineering a ground of rebellion against the Safavids. The followers of the Nuqtawiya were inhabited in the vicinity of Anjudan, and their uprising under their leader, Murad cannot be attributed to the Ismailis. It seems unlikely, therefore, that Imam Murad Mirza was that of a rebellious Murad.

It must be added on this juncture that several extremist movements with Shiite tendencies sprouted in Iran. For instance, the Hurufi movement was founded by a certain Fazalullah Astrabadi (740-796/1340-1394) in about 780/1378. His followers became known as Hurufis due to emphasizing the hidden meaning of the letters (huruf). Anatolia was the main foothold of the Hurufism. Later on, the Hurufism vanished in Iran, and several petty groups split off from it, notably the Nuqtawiya. It was founded by Mahmud (d. 831/1428) around 800/1398, who was the disciple of Fazalullah Astrabadi in Gilan. Mahmud taught to his followers the significance of the point (nuqta) as the building brick of his symbolical system. Thus, his group became known as the Nuqtawiya (pointism) and his followers as the People of the Point (ahl-i-nuqta). The Nuqtawiya gradually found their foothold in the Caspian region and the villages of Qazwin, Kashan, Ispahan and Shiraz. Mahmud died in 831/1428 on the border of Azerbaijan and Arran. His followers however continued his mission in Iran and India.

Our sources as cited above also relate a revolt under the year 983/1576 by the followers of Mahmud against the Safavids in the village surrounding the city of Kashan. This major revolt occurred in conjunction with an uprising in Anjudan led by the Nuqtawiya leader, called Murad. 'Tarikh-i Alfi' admits specifically that the revolt stirred in Anjudan by Murad was that of the Nuqtawiya order.

We also find a vogue tendency in the Iranian sources to conflate the Hurufis and Nuqtawiya wrongly with the Ismailis. The instance of an Ismaili poet, Kassim Amiri is ample in this contex, who was lynched in 999/1591. He is considered erroneously as the follower of the Nuqtawism in the Iranian sources. Ahmad bin Nasrullah Qadizada Tatawi, whose father had taken part in suppressing the Kashan revolt, was vague about the connection between the two revolts, suggesting explicitly that the followers of Mahmud were collaborating with the Ismailis of Anjudan, vide 'Nuqtawiyan ya Pisikhaniyan'(Tehran, 1941, p. 36) by Sadik Kiya.

The balance of argument tends to show in concluding this critique that Imam Murad Mirza had nothing to do with the above rebellion of the Nuqtawiya.

Ismaili History 754 - Bibi Marium Khatoon

In 1157/1744, a daughter Bibi Marium Khatoon, was born at his uncle's home, known as Bibi Sarcar Mata Salamat, with whom the marriage of Khalilullah Ali was solemnized, who gave birth of Hasan Ali Shah. She was a good orator and visited India about at the age of 85 years in 1245/1829 with Mirza Abul Kassim to remove the internal strifes of the community. She went to live at Kera in Kutchh in 1246/1830, where she breathed her last in 1248/1832. She had been interred in Najaf, but her memorial still exists in Kera. It must be known that during his visit to Kera on December 2, 1903, the Aga Khan III had told to his followers to perpetuate the memory of the place where she laid her feet and breathed her last.
The second marriage of Khalilullah Ali had been actualized in Yazd with the sister of Aga Imam Khan Farahani in 1231/1816.

Khalilullah Ali ascended in 1206/1792, which he intimated in writing to his Indian followers. E.I. Howard had delivered his speech in the Bombay High Court in June, 1866, where he presented a few letters of Imam Khalilullah Ali, vide 'The Shia School of Islam and its Branches' (Bombay, 1906, p. 85). In pursuant, on 23rd May, 1792, when asssumed the Imamate, he wrote a letter, addressed to the community of Bhavnagar, stating that he had been so fortunate as to have assumed his seat on the throne of the Imamate, and directed them to remit the religious dues to him to the care of the jamat at Muscat. Another letter dated July, 1794 also addressed to the jamats of Sind, Kutchh, Surat, Bombay, Mahim, Bhavnagar etc.

Khalilullah Ali was a brave and generous. It is related in 'Athar-i Muhammadi' (pp 76-77) that a darwish asked something from Imam, and he was given a costly horse. Hunting was a favourite pastime of the noblemen in Iran. Khalilullah Ali also used to go out on regular hunting trips in the woods with his retainers and pages, preferably during the festives of Navroz and Eid-i Ghadir. He had many lands in Mahallat, Kahek and Shahr-i Babak, procuring large earnings. His followers from India, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Central Asia used to flock at Mahallat, whom he granted the title of darwish. Sometimes, he gave them the letters for the jamat. Some pilgrims are reported to have died in Iran, whose graves exist in Kahek. For instance, Kamadia Datardina Wandani of the darkhana jamat died in 1217/1803 and a certain Rai Pareo Janguani died in 1224/1810. Khalilullah Ali had acquired few pieces of land in Yazd for the Iranian Ismailis, and himself also moved to Yazd in 1230/1815.

Sayed Karamali Shah was an Iranian Ismaili, who lived in Mahallat. He mostly remained in the company of Mirza Muhammad Bakir, who taught him the esoteric doctrines of Ismailism. Sayed Karamali had been sent to Badakhshan and Chitral, where he launched pervasive mission. He also went to Yasin, whose ruler was Raja Khushwaqt I (1640-1700), the founder of Khushwawaqt dynasty. Sayed Karamali had devoted his life in the Ismaili mission and died in Yasin.

Aga Muhammad Khan Qajar had founded the Qajarid dynasty in Iran and made Tehran as his capital in 1210/1796. He concluded a truce with the Russians, and accordingly, the Qajarid retained the occupation of Jurjan and Taghlas. In 1206/1792, Aga Muhammad Khan seized Shiraz and sent his nephew, Fateh Ali to conquer Kirman. Fateh Ali replaced Mirza Sadik, the cousin of Imam Abul Hasan Ali, and himself became the governor of the provinces of Fars, Kirman and Yazd.

Aga Muhammad Khan then turned to the Afsharids of Khorasan, and invaded Mashhad in 1210/1796 and defeated them. Meanwhile, the Russians once again attacked the northern region of Iran, therefore, Aga Muhammad Khan had to take field, where he was killed by his own two slaves in 1211/1797, when he was about 57 years old. He ruled over a great part of Iran for a period of 18 years and 10 months, and was succeeded by his nephew, Fateh Ali Shah, who was engaged in expelling his enemies at that time, such as Russia, Turkey, the Uzbeks and Afghans. France and England had also attacked the Iranian ports and borders for extending their influences.

Ismaili History 755 - The Perso-Russian Wars

The most marked instance of the political involvement of the Shia ulema during this period was in the case of the first Perso-Russian War (1804-1813) in the Caucasus, which had been intermittent from about 1804, and resumed in 1811. Abbas Mirza, the son of Fateh Ali Shah was conducting the campaign, turned to the ulema of Iraq and Ispahan to issue fatwa, declaring the encounter against Russia to be holy war (jihad). Many of the prominent ulema, such as Shaikh Jafar Kashiful Gitta (d. 1227/1812) and Ahmad Naraqi (d. 1245/1829), responded to this appeal and stirred up hootest agitation. In 1812, the Iranian army defeated the Russians at Qarabagh. Russian forces were reinforced, crossed the Aras river, and defeated the Iranians at Aslanduz.
The first Perso-Russian War was consequently ended in defeat of Iran, and the Treaty of Gulistan in 1228/1813 stripped Iran of all the Caucasian provinces, such as Georgia, Darband, Baku, Shirwan, Shaki, Ganja, Qarabagh, Mughan and part of Talish. This war had considerably depleted the resources of Iran. A number of disorders broke out; and the Afghans also engineered a rebellion in Khorasan in 1813. There was also repeated chaotic condition on the Turkish frontier, but war did not break out until 1821. It however lasted until 1823 when it was concluded by the treaty of Erzurum.

The ulema class however continued to employ effectively the tactics of obstructionism in the Iranian politics, and emphatically agitated for another holy war against Russia. In 1825, the Russian governor-general of Georgia occupied Gokcheh, the principal disputed district with a military force. Fateh Ali Shah was reluctant but when in 1826 he set out for his summer residence in Sultaniyya, he was followed there by Aqa Sayed Muhammad Tabataba, Ahmad Naraqi (d. 1245/1829), Muhammad Taqi Baraghani (d.1230/1847) and other prominent ulema; demanded that Fateh Ali Shah should declare war on Russia. They threatened to take control of the affairs of government if Fateh Ali Shah would refuse to declare holy war. They issued fatwas, declaring the war to be obligatory and opposition to it a sign of unbelief (kufr).

The king was pressed into acquiescing, and the war broke out in 1826. Iran gained initial success, recovering most of the territories ceded by the treaty of Gulistan. The Russian forces were reinforced with latest weapons. The ulema imparted to the Iranian soldiers, who had inferior weapons, to recite Sura Yasin of Holy Koran in the battlefield, to cause their enemies blind. The Russians inflicted a series of severe defeats on the Iranian army. They advanced rapidly and Tabriz was first to be fallen, and various discontented leaders in Azerbaijan went over to the Russian side. The outcome of this second Perso-Russian War was as disastrous as the first. Negotiations for peace began in November, 1827, and a treaty was signed on February 21, 1828 at Turkomanchay. As the result of the Treaty of Turkomanchay, Erivan and Nakhchivan and a large indemnity were ceded by Iran. Saiyid Athar Abbas Rizvi writes in 'Iran - Royalty, Religion and Revolution' (Canberra, 1980, p. 95) that, 'Thus the war-mongering bureaucrates forced upon Iran a war with Russia which ended with the even more humiliating treaty of Turkomanchay in 1828.'

The state over which Fateh Ali reigned had much in common with the earliest kingdoms of the Seljuqs, the Ilkhanids, the Taymurids and the Safavids. After the Perso-Russian Wars, Fateh Ali lost large part of the Iranian territories.

In India, the Mughal empire was declining, and the British dominated the whole country. After Shah Alam II (1759-1806), the next rulers were Akbar Shah (1807-1837) and Bahadur Shah II (1837-1857), the last ruler, who had taken part in the Independence War of 1273/1857, the last struggle on the part of the masses in India to throw off the foreign yoke. But it failed miserably and, on the charge of engineering revolt, the last Mughal ruler was exiled by the British to Rangoon, where he died in extreme penury on 1278/1862. Neither the Muslims nor the Hindus were destined in India to build lasting kingdom on the ruins of the Mughal empire

Ismaili History 756 - Khalilullah Ali in European sources

Khalilullah Ali resided in Mahallat. He came to live in Kahek after assumption of the Imamate in 1206/1792 where he stayed for about 23 years. The Ismailis of Syria, Iran and India flocked in Mahallat, and then in Kahek. His uncle Mirza Muhammad Bakir also lived in Mahallat.
Some contemporary European travellers have reported the whereabouts of Khalilullah. L.J. Rousseau (1780-1831), a French Consul in Aleppo from 1809 to 1816, was the first person to draw the attention of the Europeans to the existence of the contemporary Ismailis and their living Imam. He writes in 'Memoire sur les Ismaelis et les Nosairis de Syrie', (Vol. XIV, 1811, Paris, pp. 279-80) that, 'There were still many Ismailis in the country who owed allegiance to an Imam of the line of Ismail. His name was Shah Khalilullah, and he resided in a village called Kehk near Qumm, half-way between Tehran and Isfahan.'

Sir John Macdonnell Kinneir (1728-1830) about the year 1813 also described in his 'Topographical History of Persia' that, 'In the district of the Persian highlands especially near the ruins of Alamut, are still to be found a remnant of the Ismailis, who go by the name of Hooseinis ... the Ismailis of Persia recognize (Shah Khalilullah) as their chief and Imam, dwelling near Kehkt whose descent they deduce from Ismail, the son of Jaffir Sadick.'

The Scottish tourist, James Baillie Fraser (1783-1856), who in the course of his journey through Iran had seen the Ismailis. 'Shah Khuleel Oollah', he writes in his 'Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan' (London, 1825, p. 376), 'was a person of high respectability and great influence, keeping an hundred gholaums of his own in pay; but he was put to death by the inhabitants of Yezd, in a riot....'

Silvestre de Sacy (1758-1838), an eminent orientalist of the 19th century in his 'Memoir sur la dynastie des Assassins' (Paris, 1818, p. 84) quotes an exerpt of a letter of Rousseau's son wrote to him from Tehran on June 1, 1808. It reads: 'The Ismailis even today have their Imam, or pontiff, descending, as they claim, from Jafar Sadiq, the chief of their sect, and residing at Kehek, a village in the districts of Qom. He is called Sheikh Khalil Allah.....This person, whom his people grace with the pompous title of caliph, enjoys a great reputation and is considered to have the gift of performing miracles.'

In Syria, the Ismailis faced certain local troubles around 1209/1795 due to the constant raids of the bigoted Nusairis of Raslan. Most of the Ismaili families led by the chief dai, Suleman bin Hyder (1143-1212/1731-1798) were obliged to leave Masiyaf and settled down in Hims, Hammah, Aleppo and Damascus. In 1222/1808, the Nusairis at the command of Shaikh Mahmud also killed an Ismaili chief of Masiyaf, Mustapha Mulhim and his son, alongwith 300 inhabitants, and their inroads continued till 1223/1809. This event also reflects in the hyperbolic writings of Simone Assemani (1752-1821) in the year 1214/1806. L.J. Rousseau (1780-1831) had also underlined the miserable conditions of the Syrian Ismailis in his 'Memoirs' (Paris, 1811). The inhabitants, who had sought refuge in flight, applied for protection to Yousuf Pasha, the governor of Damascus. He sent a punitive expedition of 5000 soldiers against the Nusairis. At length, Masiyaf had to be surrendered by the Nusairis after three months' stubborn resistance, and the Ismailis returned to the town after restoration of peace in the beginning of 1224/1810.

Sayed Ghulam Ali Shah, or Ghulmali Shah from the Kadiwal family was a prominent missionary in Sind, Kutchh and Kathiawar. He had converted many Hindus. He composed few ginans, and died in Karachi in 1207/1792 and was buried in Kera in Kutchh. He was followed by Sayed Muhammad Shah in Kutchh, who died in 1228/1813 and was buried in Bombay. He was the last vakil in India to be sent from Iran. He was not married, therefore, he was honoured the epithet of dullah (bridegroom).

It appears that two persons, called Mehr Ali and Saniya in Kutchh had claimed as the incarnations of Chandraban and Surban, the famous dais during the time of Pir Shams. They preached the doctrines of Imam-Shahi sect. Khalilullah Ali is said to have summoned them in Mahallat and warned to refrain from their activities. Few years after their return from Iran, they once again misguided the Ismailis in Kutchh and pretended as dumbs. They started to talk after few months, claiming to have been granted the vocal power by Sayed Imam Shah. The Ismailis of Kutchh sent a report of their activities to the Imam, and as a result, they had been ex-communicated.

Sayed Fateh Ali Shah (1733-1798) was an eminent dai, whose grave exists near Jiraq in Sind. His pen-name was Shamsi, also known as Sayed Shamsi. He was hailed from Kadiwal family. Imam Abul Hasan Ali had given him mantle of vakil for India. He seems to have visited Iran for two times, and lastly in 1210/1795 during the time of Khalilullah Ali, where he stayed about for eight months. He arrived in Mahallat on the day of Navroz and his mind became forlorn when he learnt that the Imam had gone on a hunting expedition in the woods to the north of Mahallat. He relates his quest for the Imam which ultimately led to his meeting. His two ginans are accessible, wherein he makes mention of the Imam that:-

'Shah Khalilullah enjoys his stay in the fort of Mahallat, and mercifully summoned Sayed Fateh Ali, and accomplished his immense desires, where Mawla Ali appeared in an absolute glory.'

Ismaili History 757 - Khalilullah Ali in Yazd

Yazd in early times had been known as Kathah, and this name, when the town came to be called more particularly Yazd, had passed to its district, otherwise known as the Hawmah, or Jumah (of Yazd). It is situated between Ispahan and Kirman on the route leading to Baluchistan and Sind. It was well fortified city, with two gates.
In 1230/1815, Khalilullah Ali moved to Yazd. On moving to Yazd, he left behind his wife and children in Kahek to live on the proceeds from the lands in the Mahallat. In 1231/1816, Khalilullah Ali betrothed to the sister of Aga Imam Khan Farahani. Khalilullah Ali also tied his close relation with Haji Zaman Khan, the governor of Yazd. The Ismaili pilgrims henceforward began to trek in Yazd to behold their Imam.

In 1233/1817, a dispute took place between the Ismailis and the local shopkeeper at the main market, and the latter violently lodged complaint to Nawab Mirza Sayed Jafar, the chief of Yazd, who summoned the Ismailis for punishment. These handful Ismailis had taken shelter in Imam's residence. In pursuit, Nawab Mirza demanded to arrest them, but Imam refused, saying, 'They have sought asylum at my residence, therefore I cannot remove them from my protection.'

Mulla Hussain Yazdi was a cruel and fanatical Shia in Yazd. His friends had created chaotic conditions in Tehran. They had made a mosque in Tehran as a centre of their evil activities. Their objective was to harass the innocent citizens, and relieved through bribes, had they arrested. It seems that Fateh Ali Shah was in need of funds through different means, therefore, he had given liberty to these elements. Many eminent persons had become the victims of the gang of Hussain Yazdi and the event of Yazd also reflects a part of his derogatory activities.

Hussain Yazdi instigated the people and stormed the Imam's residence with a terrorist gang, who pelted stones heavily and broke down its walls. They managed to enter the residence and fought with Imam's handful followers and servants. In the collision, Khalilullah Ali was seriously wounded, resulting his immediate death. The terrorists also gutted the house and took flight.

The news of the death of the Ismaili Imam rapidly spread all over the country within couple of days. In reprisal, the Ismailis took arms and the country was likely being blanketed with the darkest hour, but the emperor Fateh Ali Shah turned the tide. He at once ordered Haji Zaman Khan, the governor of Yazd to arrest Hussain Yazdi and his partisans. The governor soon afterwards arrested them while they were about to flee from the city, and sent them chained in Tehran. Hussain Yazdi was whipped and his friends were imprisoned, who relieved themselves through bribes after restoration of peace.

Khalilullah Ali's body had been taken to Mahallat under the protection of the Qajarid soldiers. His bier was soon taken to Najaf for interment. He had four sons, viz. Hasan Ali Shah, Taki Khan, Sardar Abul Hasan Khan and Sardar Muhammad Bakir Khan; and two daughters, viz. Shah Bibi and Gohar Taj.

With the death of Khalilullah Ali II in 1233/1817, the taqiya practice in the Iranian Ismailis being in force for over five hundred years came to an end, and they came up as a leading Shiite branch of Islam in Iran.

Ismaili History 739 - NIZAR II (993-1038/1585-1628)

Nizar was born in 982/1574 in Anjudan, and ascended at the age of 11 years. He is known as Shah Ataullah among the Iranian mystics. His father had brought him in Kahek in 992/1584, and henceforward, Kahek became the next headquarters. It took few years to the Ismailis to settle in Kahek and its locality. He also founded a village near Kuhubandi, known as Kahek of Aqa Nizar, then became known as Bagh-i Takhat. The colony of the farmers in this village was also known as Nizarabad. The Ismaili merchants of Kirman are said to have built a small palace for Nizar in Kahek, which became known as Kahek-i Shah Nizar, where a small marble platform had been erected in a garden, facing the palace. It is said that the Imam would sit on this platform, which was surrounded by water, when giving audience. His guests would be placed amid flower beds on the other side of the water. Kahek, or Kiagrak is situated about 35 kilometers northest of Anjudan and north-west of Mahallat.

From the extant qasida, it appears that Imam Nizar was physically weak. He was of a middle height like his ancestor Ali bin Abu Talib. In his qasida, he however says:-

Har chand ke man dar nazar'e khalq nizaram,

Sad shukar ke dar alam'e tahaqiq nazaram.

means, 'Although I am looking weak in the eyes of the people, but it is a matter of thank that I am watching the world of reality.'

Gar pustam wa gir'rai hakiram na chunanam,

Kaz rah'e jalal'e nasab akbaraz'e kibaram.

means, 'Physically, I am looking weak and small in size, but I am not so in reality. Because of the dignity of my (illustrious) linage, I am greater than the greatest ones.'
The Safavid Shah Abbas ruled Iran from 995/1588 to 1038/1628. He restored peace with severe actions. He reduced the number of provincial governors to curb the power of Kizilbash, and took punitive action against them for their disloyalty. Shah Abbas also turned to the third force, which Shah Tahmasp had introduced into the state, and created their regiments which constituted the nucleus of a standing army. He also took the power of collecting revenue from the Kizilbash, and demanded accounts of expenditure from his governors. The chief of the Ustajlu faction in Khorasan, Murshid Quli Khan, was a powerful Kizilbash leader, who was responsible for placing Shah Abbas on the throne; had assumed that, as in the past, he would be able to bend the king to his will. Shah Abbas had him executed in 996/1589. Hence, the Uzbeks overran the province of Sistan, and invaded Mashhad, but it had been repulsed. In 1005/1598, Shah Abbas transferred his capital from Qazwin to Ispahan. He expanded his influence in Herat and defeated the Uzbeks, and annexed Balkh in his state. In 1014/1605, he attacked on the Turks and recovered Tabriz.

Shah Abbas is noted as a great builder, and so was very cruel. In 1024/1615, he executed his son, Muhammad Bakir, the then governor of Khorasan. His another son Hasan predeceased him. In 1030/1621, when he fell ill, his third son Muhammad prematurely celebrated his death. When Shah Abbas recovered, he blinded Muhammad. In 1035/1626, he blinded his only surviving son, Quli Mirza. Hence, he had no male issue to succeed him. He died in 1038/1629 after ruling for 42 years, and was succeeded by his grandson, Sam Mirza, surnamed Shah Shafi, the son of Muhammad Bakir.

The Ottoman empire was sunk into the internal disputes after sultan Suleman, and lost many regions from the Safavids. Unemployment, poor exports and the worsening condition of the peasants had badly paralysed the economy of Turkey. Earlier, the Europe and United States imported silver from Turkey for minting coins, but now they began the coinage with other cheap metal, causing heavy loss of mine business in the country. The Safavid Shah Abbas used to export the silken costumes and carpets to Europe through the port of Turkey, but it was stopped because of the newly formed Port Abbas in Iran, resulting another heavy crack in the tax-income of Turkey. In sum, the Ottoman empire began to come in its ebb.

Bayazid Ansari (1525-1581), known as Pir-i Rawshan originated a Roshaniyya cult in Kabul and Kashmir. His works, 'Khayr al-Bayan', 'Maksud al- Muminin', 'Surat-i Tawhid', 'Fakhr', 'Hal-Nama' etc. were rigorously opposed by the Sunni ulema. The Mughals persecuted his followers and executed many of them. It must be known that the Ismaili mission had no relation with the Roshaniyya sect, but Bayazid Ansari seems to have been influenced with the esoteric doctrines of the Ismailis in Kandhar. Nevertheless, a bulk of the Ismailis were also scourged to death in Kashmir during the Mughal operations, forcing the surviving Ismailis to migrate to Punjab, where they emerged under the name of the Shamsi.

The Shi'ism dominated in Iran with the foundation of the Safavid kingdom and brought forth many eminent scholars and theologians, viz., Mulla Muhammad Amin Astrabadi (d. 1033/1623), known as Mir Damad, who compiled many works on Shiite jurisprudence, and founded a thought, known as Akhbari against those Shias, who professed the doctrines of Ijtihad. The Akhbari group adhered only to Holy Koran, Hadith and the sayings of twelve Imams being the source of authority. In contrast, the other Shias, known as Usuli believed in Holy Koran, Hadith and Qiyas. They used to debate each other, and their polemical writings had become a major industry in Iran. This period is also noted for the introduction of marsiya (mourning songs) and the commemoration of the rawda-khani (recital of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain) during Muharram.

In addition, the ilm al-kalam (theology), hikmat (wisdom), irfan (gnosis) and the Sufic thought also accelerated. Iran was a fertile land to nourish philosophy and wisdom, and gave birth of prominent scholars, viz., Ibn Turka Ispahani (d. 835/1431), Sayed Hyder Ali Amuli (11th/16th cent.), Mir Dad (d. 1041/1631), Muhammad Bakir Majlisi (d. 1110/1699), Mulla Sadra (d. 1050/1640), Mohsin-i Fayd Kashani (d. 1091/1680), Abdur Razzak Lahiji (d. 1072/1661), Rajab Ali Tabrizi (d. 1080/1699) etc.

Roger Savory writes in 'Iran under the Safavids' (New York, 1980, p. 91) that, 'We have seen the period from the establishment of the Safavid state in 1501, upto the accession of Shah Abbas I in 1588, was one of change and experiment. An attempt was made to incorporate the original Sufi organization of the Safavid Order in the administrative structure of the state.' Thus, under Shah Abbas, the Sufism came to life once again.

Ismaili History 744 - SAYED ALI (1038-1071/1628-1660)

Sayed Ali was born most probably in Shahr-i Babak, where he passed his early life with his mother. He also came in Kahek after his father's arrival from Khorasan. He was also known as Shah Ataullah II among the Nimatullahi Sufi order. He was a popular figure as an amir in Shahr-i Babak and Kirman among the elites. He is also known as Rais al-Kirman (Lord of Kirman), an honour which ultimately promoted him to the governorship of Kirman. He was also a leading landlord, and had acquired many lands in Shahr-i Babak and Sirjan. He built many streets in Kirman, known after his name, none of them existed during the Qajarids period.
Shah Abbas I was on the verge of death when he had no son to succeed him. He died in 1038/1629, and was succeeded by his grandson, Sam Safi, known as Shah Safi. Sir John Chardin, who was visiting Iran in 1077/1666 had remarked in his 'Voyages du Chevalier Chardin en Perse' (Paris, 1811, 3rd vol., p. 291) that: 'D_s que ce grand et bon prince eut cess? de vivre, la Perse cessa de prosp?rer, i.e., 'When this great prince (Shah Abbas) ceased to live, Persia ceased to prosper.' Under Shah Safi, the conversion of 'state' to 'crown' provinces was extended. His vizir Sadru Taqi put forward an argument which the new king found attractive, since the Safavid state was now relatively secure from its external enemies, he said, there was no point in allowing a large part of Safavid territory to remain in the hands of Kizilbash governors, who remitted little to the royal treasury. Thus, the provinces of Qazwin, Gilan, Mazandaran, Yazd, Kirman, Khorasan and Azerbaijan were all brought under the administration of the crown except in time of war, when Kizilbash governors were reappointed.

Shah Safi died at the early age of 32 years, as he was making preparations for an expedition to recover Kandhar from the Mughals. There seems to be general agreement that he was addicted to opium, and, according to some, was prescribed alcoholic drinks by his physicians to counteract the evil effects of the opium. He was succeeded by his son, Abbas II, who came to the throne in 1052/1642 at the age of eight and a half. As already mentioned, the system of converting 'state' to 'crown' provinces was carried on by Shah Abbas II on a large scale, with the result that almost the whole country was brought under the direct administration of the crown except in time of war, when adhoc military governors were appointed to strategically important frontier provinces. Ann K.S. Lambton writes in 'Landlord and Peasant in Persia' (London, 1953, p. 108) that, 'Shah Abbas II, continuing his father, Shah Shafi's policy, abolished provincial governments in the interior of the kingdom wherever there was no danger of war, as in Qazwin, Gilan, Mazandaran, Yazd, Kirman, Khurasan and Azarbayjan'. We may be well assured that the Ismailis in these provinces, had acquired respite in the absence of political turmoil. Shah Abbas II managed to preserve the frontier of the empire intact, and even recaptured Kandhar from the Mughals in 1058/1648 and repulsed three subsequent attempts by the emperor Aurengzeb to recover it.

The Mughal emperors in India at that time were Jahangir (1605-1627) and Shah Jehan (1627-1658). Jahangir invaded Kandhar and included it in Mughal dominion, but it was re-occupied by Shah Abbas II in 1648, resulting a dispute between Iran and India.

Captain William Hawkins was the first English to have visited the court of Jahangir in 1608 and took permission of trade facility and the opening of a factory in Surat. Sir Thomas Roe arrived in India in 1617 for opening other new factories. The entry of the British gradually in India resulted their political ambition. Having secured a sound foothold, the British began interfering in the internal affairs of the state under one pretext or another. Ultimately, because of their cleverness, superior military strategy and latest weapons, they wiped off all the forces contending for supremacy on the Indian soil and became the undisputed masters of the sub-continent for one century and half.

Heretofore, we have discussed that Shah Abbas I had attempted to incorporate the Sufi elements in the administrative structure in 1588, and as a result, many Kizilbash embraced Sufism in Iran. The Ismaili dais began to preach in the cloak of Sufis, and there are certain indications that many Kizilbash had privily come under the yoke of Ismailism in the time of Imam Nizar. Thus, Imam Sayed Ali also assumed among them the Turkish sounding name, Sayed Abul Hasan Beg.

The liberal policy towards the Sufism declined in Iran with the death of Shah Abbas in 1038/1629. The Sufis began to be persecuted and killed, and their khanqahs (cloisters) were demolished. Roger Savory writes in 'Iran under the Safavids' (New York, 1980, p. 237) that, 'After the death of Shah Abbas I, the status of the Sufis continued to decline, and in the 17th century, less than two hundred years after, Sufi zeal and devotion had brought the Safavids to power, the mujtahid Mohammad Bakir Majlisi denounced Sufism as the foul and hellish growth.' The Sufis were searched from all corners and scourged to death as an act of religious services. The Nimatullahi Sufi order was also not spared, and before the massacre of the Ismailis, known as Ataullahis in Khorasan and Kirman, Imam Sayed Ali ordered them to join the royal army at once, which avoided the danger of massacre. It is known that a small regiment of Ataullahis in the Safavid army, was also created in Khorasan and Kirman.

Ismaili History 745 - Khaki Khorasani

He was a famous Ismaili poet, and his name was Imam Quli (slave of Imam), with a pen-name Khaki. Being a native of Khorasan, he became known as Khaki Khorasani. He was born in Dizbad in Khorasan. His parents were small land-owners in Dizbad, and most probably possessed some flock of goats and cows. He received his religious education at home. His biography is also shrouded in mist like others. It is however probable that he had composed his poems between 1037/1627 and 1056/1645, making description of Imam Zulfikar Ali (d. 922/1516) and Imam Nuruddin Ali (d. 975/1550).

His extant Diwan is still familiar among the Iranian Ismailis. His 'Tulu-us-Shams' or 'Tawali-us-Shams' in a mathnavi form is comprised of 1300 poems in seven parts. His two qasida, 'Nigaristan' and 'Baharistan' are also accessible. It ensues from his works that he also studied Holy Koran, having good command on Arabic and Turkish. He had identified himself as an old and sad, and described the trouble he faced during the Uzbek raids in Khorasan. He has shown the Ismaili doctrines very watchfully in his works. His works contain the mention of Anjudan, Sultanabad, Iraq etc. He however names Anjudan the place where he had an audience of the Imams. He also describes the influence of the Ismailis in Khorasan, Irak-i Ajam as well as Multan and Hind. About the Imamate, he says:-

Dar har zamano waqt badanid bud'east, zaati ke hast jailun fil arz wa sama. (verse: 1507)

'In all ages and all times, one Dhat is present. Be it known that his (Imam) designation has been made in the earth and heavens.'

The Safavids did not spare Khaki Khorasani and imprisoned him till death. His date of death cannot be ascertained, but it seems that he died most probably around 1056/1646. His tomb is in Dizbad which stands in white amidst the green orchards, bearing no inscription.

Khaki Khorasani left a son, Ali Quli (slave of Ali), poet as himself, but of lesser talent, and is better known under the pen-name of Raqqami. His 'Qasidat-i Dhurriat' is well known among the Iranian Ismailis, giving the list of the Nizari Ismaili Imams. It was published at Leningrad in the Journal of the Russian Oriental Society (L'Academie des Sciences De'Urs), Iran, 2nd vol., pp. 8-13 by Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Semenov (1873-1958). It must be noted that A.A. Semenov was a Russian pioneer in Ismaili studies from Tashkant and had acquired a small collection of Ismaili manuscripts from the western Pamir district of Shagnan and Rushan in 1901 for the Asiatic Museum like Ivan I. Zarubin (1887-1964).

The Ismaili mission in India was continued in peace, and the appointed vakils were in close contact with the Imams in Iran. Sarah F.D. Ansari writes in 'Sufi Saints and State Power' (Cambridge, 1992, p. 17) that, 'Many of the dais were continuing a trend developed by Nizari Ismaili Imams in Iran during the later Safavid period of cautiously expressing their ideas within a Sufi framework, and so entered the subcontinent already carrying within their repertoire a strain of mysticism rooted in Ismailism but tinged with the Sufi terminology of the time. Also important in relation to bridging the gap was the legacy of love and respect for the descendants of the Prophet Muhammad left by the Ismailis.'

Mir Amir was an Ismaili ruler of Navahi, the district of Shagnan in Upper Oxus. He was also a scholar and well steeped in Ismaili history and doctrines, and was one of the sources of Mohsin Fani (1615-1670), the author of 'Dabistan al-Mazahib' (comp. in 1064/1653). It is also said that Mir Amir had desired to see the Imam, but died on his way to Iran due to illness. His father, Mir Shah Amir Beg was a powerful ruler of Shagnan.

Imam Sayed Ali was made the governor of Shahr-i Babak by the Safavids because of his popularity. He had also a small army of Ataullahis. He died in 1071/1660 in Kirman after bequeathing the Imamate to his son, Hasan Ali.

Ismaili History 746 - HASAN ALI I (1071-1106/1660-1694)

Hasan Ali I, also known in Iranian orbits as Bakir Shah, was born in Kahek. He had also gone to the city of Kirman with his father, but returned to Kahek after assuming the Imamate. In 1085/1674, he betrothed to a Safavid lady, and soon afterwards, there is a likelihood that the Imam had taken certain interest in the political arena. In 1105/1693, he was made the governor of Kirman. The cursory glance of the Iranian empire reveals that Shah Abbas II had died in 1077/1666. John Malcolm writes in 'History of Persia' (London, 1815, 1st vol., p. 582) that, 'The love of wine, in which this prince often indulged to excess, was the cause of all the evils of his reign. It was in his moments of intoxication alone that he was capricious, cruel and unjust.' Shah Abbas II was succeeded by Shah Suleman. Henceforward, the Safavid kingdom took a rapid march towards decline. Under weak and ineffective king, the ulema tended to reassert their independence of the political institution, and were at the height of their power. The mujtahids fully reasserted their independence of the Shah, and reclaimed their prerogative to be the representatives of their hidden Imam. The mujtahids moved gradually towards a position of actually controlling the king. Some sources suggest a direct religious rule by means of a concourse of mujtahids above the monarch. The ulema consequently pressed forward to obtain a dominant position in the state, heedless of the fact that by so doing they were helping to destroy it. The foreign observer, such as Sir John Chardin had noted in his 'Voyages du Chevalier Chardin en Perse' (Paris, 1811, 5th vol., p. 249) that, 'The ulema were saying that these immortal Safavid kings were not worthy of kinship and that the mujtahid is the real ruler as representative of the hidden Imam.'

The Russian ambassador visited Iran during the period under review to conclude a truce, and as a result, Mazandaran, Jurjan etc,. went into the pocket of Russia. The Ottoman sultans in Turkey were also so weak that the whole empire had been isolated in different states. They however marched in Europe, near Vienna, but the Russians were devouring the Turkish territories behind the door.

In India, after the reign of Shah Jehan (1627-1658), the Mughal princes fought for the throne. Finally, Aurengzeb (1658-1707) ascended and ruled till 1118/1707. He fought with prince Dara Shikou, who was associated with the Qadri Sufi order. Aurengzeb was strict orthodox, intending for the Islamic rule in India. After his death, the Mughal empire was torn apart by the incessant strugglers of rival claimants to the throne.

Imam Hasan Ali directed the Ismaili mission in view of the changing situation of Iran. The names of few Ismaili dais, viz., Pir Mihrab Beg, Pir Ali Asghar Beg and Pir Ali Akbar Beg are however located, but nothing is known about them. The Turkish word beg in their names however sounds that they should have preached in the Iranian regions inhabited by the Turkomans, or more possibly, had come into the close contact of the Kizilbash circle in Iran.

It is learnt that in 1868 at Bombay, an unknown Ismaili scholar had composed a long poem to glorify the Ismaili Imams, tinged with brief accounts and advices of the Imams. It tells that Imam Hasan Ali I, had warned the Indian jamats the coming of a storm of foreign religious dogma that would convulse the poor people. He also emphasised his followers to adhere strictly to the faith of their forbears. It appears that the above unknown scholar would have derived his informations from the old manuscripts. The timely guidance of Hasan Ali however may be verified from the fast moving activities of the Christian missionaries hovering over India in the poor class. W.H. Sharp writes in 'Selections from Educational Records' (1st vol., p. 3) that, 'In 1659, the Court of Directors in England stated that it was their earnest desire by all possible means to spread Christianity amongst the people of India and allowed missionaries to embark on their ships.' Thus, the evangelical zeal found due support in England, and steps had been taken for the propagation of the Gospel in India in the poor class. The British East India Company was primarily a commercial concern, but it also launched in the campaign in fostering proselytising and educational activities in India. In 1698, the famous missionary clause was included in the Charter of the Company by British Parliament, directing the Company to maintain ministers of religion at their factories in India, and to take a Chaplain in every ship of 500 tons or more. It was not the Company's educational enterprise as stated by some, but a systematic campaign to the activities of the Christian missionaries. On that juncture, it is possible that Imam Hasan Ali I had appropriately warned his Indian followers about the incoming storm of the Christian dogma from Europe.

In the flourishing liberty of the Shiite mujtahids in Iran, the latent differences came readily to the fore. Two major schools of theological thought emerged in Shiite society. The majority stressed constant reference to the first principles, to all the sources (usul) of law: these were Holy Koran, reports about the Prophet and the Imams. They became known as the Usuli. But a vigorously protesting movement arose, which threw doubt on the validity of reason as an independent basis of law; it stressed the massive use of reports (akhbar) were available from Prophet and the Imams, and they were known as the Akhbari. One of the most important features of this period is the greatly enhanced influence of the religious classes as a whole, as they freed themselves from political control apart from the internal differences of the Usuli and Akhbari groups. Powerful theologians emerged, of whom a typical example is Muhammad Bakir Majlisi (1037-1110/1628-1699), who held the office of Shaikh al-Islam from 1687, and then as Mulla-bashi (head of the mullas) until his death.

It is a significant point that the Usuli and Akhbari Shiite groups jointly made the Sufis as their victims. Under these circumstances, the Ismailis had to change their Sufic mantles to the Shiite. It appears that Imam Hasan Ali also followed the similar taqiya in Kirman, and adopted the Shiite sounding name, Bakir Shah few years before becoming the governor of Kirman in 1105/1693. It is also said that he had purchased some estates in Baghdad, Basra and Kazamain Sharif. The last will of the Imam, indicating his burial in Najaf also suggests a sort of taqiya in Shiite garb.

The Safavid Shah Suleman is reported to have used the fortress of Alamut as a state prison for the rebellious persons from among his courtiers, amirsand relatives. At that time, only a few Ismaili families resided in the lower Caspian region.

Imam Hasan Ali I executed the governorship of Kirman for one year, and died in 1106/1694, and his body had been taken to Najaf for interment.

Ismaili History 747 - KASSIM ALI (1106-1143/1694-1730)

Kassim Ali was born most probably in 1086/1675. He was also known as Sayed Aga Jafar, or Sayed Jafar. His mother related to a Safavid amir of Kirman. According to the later sources, Imam had married to one of the daughters of Shah Tahmasp II (d. 1145/1732).
His period of Imamate witnessed several vital cataclysm in Iranian kingdom, therefore, the Ismaili mission exercised great care. It seems that Kassim Ali also took part in the politics like his father, and was also the governor of Kirman. He had however come to reside in Mahallat during the ending period of his Imamate.

It is known that in 1115/1703, the Nusairis tribe of Raslan, known as al-Rasalina fiercely attacked on the Ismaili villages in Syria, and took hold of Masiyaf for about eight years. The Ottoman authorities at Latakia, finally assisted the Ismailis to recover their castle. One Syrian Ismaili caravan is however reported to have repaired to Kirman in this context between 1117/1705 and 1120/1708.

It also appears from the fragment of the traditions that during the occupation of Masiyaf by the Nusairis for eight years, some Ismaili families moved towards the northern Syria and began to live in the mantles of the Druzes at Jabal al-A'la, the mountain of Keftin, where their number increased considerably after few decades. Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815), the famous German traveller had been invited in 1760 to join the Arabian expedition being sent out by Frederick V of Denmark. He writes in 'Voyage en Arabie et en d' austres pays circonvoisins' (tr. from German, Amsterdam, 1870, 2nd vol., p. 348) that he was not certain whether the inhabitants of this district were indeed the Druzes. He was reportedly told that there were more than forty villages populated by Druzes; however, he suspected their veracity because, he said, the people looked like the Ismailis.

In Syria, the Ismailis also resided in peace in the town of Masiyaf. Abdul Ghani al-Nabulusi, a famous mystic and traveller had passed through Masiyaf in 1106/1693-4, and describes in his 'al-Hakika wa'l majaz fi rihlat al-Sham wa Misr wa'l Hijaz' about a certain Ismaili, called Suleman Tanukhi as a chief of the town.

The Ismailis lived in peace in India, but the Ismailis of Kashmir had to follow precaution because of a curious religious tendency. Khwaja Muhammad Azam Didah-mari writes in 'Waqi'at-i Kashmir' (comp. 1160/1747) that the Shaikh al-Islam of Kashmir, Muhtavi Khan, alias Mulla Abdul Nabi, demanded in Kashmir that the Hindus should not ride on horses, put on caste-marks on their foreheads and not wear turbans. He made an attempt to prevail upon Mir Ahmad Khan, the deputy governor of the province, to support him in this mission. Mir Ahmad Khan did not agree, whereupon the Mulla incited the Muslims and created a communal commotion in Srinagar in 1130/1720. A year later Mulla Muhtavi Khan was put to death by Khwaja Abdullah Khan Deb Bedi.

The Safavid Shah Suleman died in 1105/1693, and was succeeded by his son Shah Hussain, who ruled till 1135/1722. Shah Hussain soon abandoned his austere way of life and, like his father took to drink. He became so luxurious that the size and magnificence of his harem was a serious drain of the exchequer. Like his father, he had no interest in state affairs, which was distressing and ultimately disastrous aspect of the empire. Within the empire, this lack of interest signalled increasing corruption and inefficiency in provincial government. Insecurity on the highways was widespread. Often travellers were robbed by the very officials who were supposed to protect them.

According to Rida Quli Khan in 'Raudat al-Safa'i Nasiri' (Tehran, 1853) that, 'After the accession of Shah Hussain in 1105/1693, the signs of decline (inhitat), nay, rather, of extinction (inqirad) of the life of the dynasty became from day to day manifest.' By the time of Shah Hussain, the bureaucratic centralization of the state structure was weakened through incompetence, and cloven by bigoted in high places. The military weakness of the state was thrown into sharp relief in 1110/1698 when a band of Baluchi tribesmen raided Kirman, almost reached Yazd and threatened Port Abbas. Shah Hussain turned to the Georgian prince Giorgi XI, who happened to be at the Safavid court, for help in repelling the Baluchis. Giorgi was made governor of Kirman in 1111/1699 and defeated the invaders. Ten years after the Baluchis incursion, the military feebleness of the Safavid empire and, in particular, the defenseless state of the eastern frontier, was demonstrated again, and this time with more serious consequences for the state. In 1121/1709, the Gilzay Afghans under their leader, Mir Vays, seized Kandhar and killed Giorgi. After Mir Vays's death in 1127/1715, his brother Abul Aziz succeeded him as chief of the Gilzay Afghans. In 1128/1716, Mehmud, the eldest son of Mir Vays, became the chief of Gilzay Afghans and attacked Kirman. Shah Hussain had to leave Ispahan for Qazwin, therefore, Mehmud took chance to march ahead, and subdued a small military unit and occupied Ispahan in 1134/1722.

In 1127/1715, the Tzar Peter the Great, sent Artemii Petrovich Volynsky as an ambassador to Shah Hussain; he was to conclude a commercial treaty with Iran. He also collected secrecy of Iranian resources and important communication. Volynsky reported that the general situation in Iran was so disturbed, and the army so demoralized and inefficient, that the country could easily be conquered by a small Russian army. By 1133/1721, if not before, the Tzar had decided to invade Iran. He showing of the flag in the Caspian coastal provinces in 1134/1722 had occasioned great alarm in Istanbul, and there was a flurry of diplomatic activity as the possibility of war between Russia and Turkey became stronger or receded. The outcome was the Russo-Ottoman Treaty for the partition of Iran's north-west provinces, dated June 24, 1724. The dismemberment of Iran was short-lived. Six Russian battalions landed in Gilan in 1135/1723, and another Russian forces captured Baku. Hence, Iran's Caspian provinces of Gilan, Mazandaran and Astrabad had gone in the Russian pocket. On the other side, the European merchants started their dominion on the principal sea-ports of the Muslim countries.

Imam Kassim Ali was made the governor of Kirman in 1106/1694, but when the Baluchi tribesmen had raided Kirman in 1110/1698, the military control was assigned to the Georgian prince Giorgi XI by making him the governor of those parts of Kirman which had been affected by the invaders.

In Kirman, the village land was factorized into six shares (dang), each of which comprised one-sixth of the village water supply together with the land watered thereby. Imam Kassim Ali was the governor of the three villages, viz. Shahr-i Babak, Kahek and Mahallat. The Safavid authority accorded him due permission to create an Ataullahi regiment in the Safavid military for security against the Baluchi invaders.

In 1134/1722, an appaling drought reduced the inhabitants of Kirman and Ispahan to the last extremity. It was so severe that hundreds of rotting corpses clogged the streets. At least 80,000 people are said to have perished from starvation and disease. It is learnt that a bulk of the Ismaili from Fars with the governor started from Ispahan to help the affected persons, but Mehmud, the chief of Gilzay Afghans had occupied Ispahan on December 25, 1722 and was proclaimed as a ruler, therefore, the Ismailis could not enter the city.

Ismaili History 749 - ABUL HASAN ALI (1143-1206/1730-1792)

Abul Hasan Ali was also known as Sayed Shah Muhammad Hasan Shah, Hasan Beg and Abul Hasan Ali Shah. He was born in Shahr-i Babak in Kirman. The Iranian sources named him, Abul Hasan Kaheki, a name mostly was popular among the inhabitants of Kahek, whom he generously helped for about two times. One of the ways he utalised his wealth was to serve delicious dishes strewn with ample varities of food to the hungry and needy while he himself would seldom taste it.
Abul Hasan was the governor of Kirman during the Afsharid and Zand periods. It seems almost appropriate to mention that Abul Hasan Ali was the first Ismaili Imam after the fall of Alamut in emerging slowly from obscurity. He was highly learned and a friend of the local Sufis. He had also patronized the local artists. Few chambers of the Imam's residence are reported to have been decorated with the rare collection of the Iranian paintings.

He was a prominent land-owner (Sahib amlak wa raqabat) in Kirman. According to 'Athar-i Muhammadi' (p. 70), 'When the Afghans had launched terrible raids in Iran, Imam Abul Hasan Ali had laid the foundation of a strong edifice of the fort in Kiab on the shore of Hibala and Depine, lying between Rugan and Jinjan, where he lodged after its completion.'

The rise of the Afsharids in Iran

Nadir, the last great Asiatic conqueror was born in 1102/1688 in Afshar tribe of Khorasan. The word afshar (derived from Turkish awshar) means 'one who promptly finishes an affair.' He was the son of a certain Imam Quli, and was tending flocks after his father's death. He and his mother were carried off by a raiding band of Uzbek of Khiva in 1114/1702, where four years later, his mother died in slavery. Nadir escaped and returned to Khorasan, and became a leader of the plundering band. He entered into the service of Baba Ali Beg, the chief of Abivard, and married to his daughter. After the death of Baba Ali Beg, Nadir became the chief of Abivard. In 1138/1726, the Safavid Shah Tahmasp II learnt his valour, and acquired his help to repel the Gilzay Afghans from Iran. Nadir readily responded the call and came with his troop of 5000 Kurd and Afshar warriors. He was hailed and honored, and was granted the title of Tahmasp Quli Khan. Nadir took field against the Gilzay Afghans by commanding the Safavid army, and inflicted them a defeat. Shah Tahmasp II rejoiced on Nadir's role, and appointed him a chief commander (qurchi-bashi). In 1144/1732, Nadir deposed Shah Tahmasp II and crowned the latter's son Shah Abbas III. In 1148/1736, Nadir also deposed Shah Abbas III, and assumed the power, and thus he got the declination of the Safavid empire. He established the Afsharid rule in Iran, and fought with the Afghans and dominated Iran like Taymurlame. He also fought with the Turks and captured Iraq and Azerbaijan. Nadir was a brave and so was cruel and fierce like Chinghiz Khan and Taymurlame. Sayyid Athar Abbas Rizvi writes in 'A Socio-Intellectual History of the Isna Ashari' (Lucknow, 1986, 2nd vol., p. 51) that, 'Nadir Shah, as a fierce fighter and ruthless restorer of law and order, can be compared with Jinghiz and Timur.'

It appears that Abul Hasan Ali had also maintained his best of ties with Nadir, and the seat of his governorship in Kirman coming from the period of the Safavids, remained intact during the Afsharid rule. When Nadir had been in Kirman in 1160/1747, according to 'Athar-i Muhammadi' (p. 73), 'Imam invited him at his residence and presented many valuable gifts.' After Nadir, his successor Shah Rukh also retained his relation with Imam. John R. Perry writes in 'Karim Khan Zand' (Chicago, 1979, pp. 135-6) that, 'Abu'l-Hasan enjoyed the respect of all the leading citizens and even the provincial warlords and would seem the perfect choice for beglerbegi (governor-general) now that Kirman was relatively settled. On his appointment, therefore, Mirza Hosayn, Mortaza Qoli Khan, and the other local rulers meekly handed over their provinces to him. No details of his administration are recorded; he probably re-allocated the regions to several local khans and used his moral rather than military authority to check injustice. He remained on good terms with the leading men of the bureaucratic class, consulting them readily in matters of government.' John R. Perry also adds, 'After Nader's death, Sayyed Abu'l Hasan took a winter residence in Kirman itself, retaining his house at Babak for the summer. Shahrokh Khan accorded him great respect, even marrying his son Lotf Ali Khan to the Sayyed's (Imam's) daughter.' (Ibid. p. 135)

Nadir, as previously stated, was a fierce ruler, grinding the people in the millstone of cruelty, which can be judged from his massacres in Kirman in 1160/1747. L. Lockhart writes in 'Nadir Shah' (London, 1938, p. 259) that, 'On 10th Moharram, 1160/ January 23, 1747, Nadir left Ispahan for Yazd and Kirman; wherever he halted, he had many people tortured and put to death, and had towers of their heads erected. He was particularly severe in Kirman, because of the revolt that had occurred there in the previous summer. Captain Passiet, a member of Prince Mikhail Mikhailvich Golitzin's mission to Persia, who had travelled on in advance and was in Kirman at that time, saw two lofty towers of heads there.'

Ismaili History 750 - Nadir's operations against India

In India, after the death of emperor Aurengzeb in 1707, the next Mughal rulers who followed him one after another were Bahadur Shah (1707-1712), Jahandar Shah (1712-1713), Farukh Siyar (1713-1719) and Muhammad Shah (1719-1748), in whose time, Nadir had conducted his expedition to India. Nadir set out from Nadirabad for Ghazna on May 21, 1738 and crossed the Indian frontiers with a gigantic army. He crossed Khyber Pass and reached Peshawer, and left it on January 6, 1739 for Lahore after passing through Wazirabad and Jhelum. He set off from Lahore on February 6, 1739 and proceeded to Sirhind, where he heard that the Mughal king Muhammad Shah had reached Karnal with 3 lac soldiers and 2000 elephants with a large deposit of cannon. Nadir ordered Nasrullah Mirza on February 24, 1739 to march from Jamna for Karnal, and he himself advanced in between Jamna and Ali Mardan Canal.
The tradition relates that Imam Abul Hasan Ali had also accompanied Nadir during the operations, but it cannot be substantiated in the Indian sources. We may safely infer that Abul Hasan Ali would have joined the regiment of Nasrullah Mirza in the operations of Karnal, had he accompanied.

The Khokar tribe in Punjab were originally the Ismailis, who thickly resided in Hazara, Rawalpindi, Attock and Jhelum districts at that time. Marikala, modern Marigala, situated in a pass of the low hills between Attock and Rawalpindi, a few miles to the east of Hasan Abdal, was the main foothold of the Khokars. Mukarrab Khan, the chief of Khokar tribe did not fight with the army of Nasrullah Mirza, and joined him in the battle of Karnal in 1152/1739. As a reward of his useful services, Mukarrab Khan had been confirmed with the hold of the fort of Pharwala, and upon his return to Kabul on November 24, 1739, Nadir had invested him the title of Nawab.

Nadir finally entered Delhi without opposition on March 20, 1739 and pillaged the accumulated treasure of the Mughal empire till it depleted. He took away huge money, jewels, diamonds and gold for the worth of about 70 crore of rupees, including the famous pea-cock throne and Koh'i Noor diamond. James Fraser in 'History of Nadir Shah' (London, 1742, p. 193) and Abdul Aziz in 'The Imperial Treasury of the Indian Mughals' (Lahore, 1942, p. 554) write that, 'Nadir carried away the treasure to the value of 70 crores (87,500,000 sterlings) in jewels and other effects; and his officers and soldiers 10 crores (12,500,000 sterlings).' He departed from Delhi on May 16, 1739 and reached Kabul on December 2, 1739. The Delhi was attacked in its archilles heel and collapsed as thoroughly as a heap of cards. Thus, Nadir left the Mughal empire bleeding and prostrate under his heels. Sir Alfred Lyall writes in 'History of India' (1893, 8th vol., p. 78) that, 'Nadir Shah added one more massacre to the blood-strained annals of that ill- fated city, wrenched away from the imperial crown all its possession west of the Indus and departed home leaving the Mughal empire which had received its death blow in a state of mortal collapse.'

Nadir quitted Kabul on December 9, 1739 and entered India once again to plunder Sind. He reached Dera Ismail Khan on January 5, 1740 and at Larkana on February 12, 1740 and pillaged gold, jewels and pearls amounting over one crore rupees from the ruler of Sind. Nadir left Sind on April 10, 1740. To this we must add the likelihood that Abul Hasan Ali had availed chance to see his followers privily in Sind, provided the tradition of his company is genuine. If so, he should have seen his followers when Nadir was hunting booty between January and April, 1740.

Nadir thus dominated Iran, Afghanistan and India. In Iran, he tried to solve differences of Usuli and Akhbari groups and also endeavoured to have the Jafari fiqah accepted as a fifth fiqah in the Sunni framework of the four schools of law. He also tried to overcome the Sunni theologians. Nadir was a brave campaigner, and so was cruel and proud, and had executed a large number of innocent people. He was at last killed in his tent near Mashhad in 1160/1747.

Immediately after the murder of Nadir, the Afghan and Turkoman leaders in Afsharid military collided each other for the treasures pillaged in India. Ahmad Shah Abdali (1747-1773) lastly succeeded to take away the whole lot to Kandhar and established the Dhurrani rule in Afghanistan in 1160/1747. In Iran, the southern Caucasus and Azerbaijan had been captured by the Afghan general called, Azad Khan. Another leader, Ali Mardan Khan occupied Ispahan, and Karim Khan Zand took Fars and Laristan.

Ali Quli Khan was the second Afsharid ruler, known as Adil Shah (1747-1748), the nephew of Nadir Shah; who ruled Khorasan. His brother Ibrahim (d.1161/1748) became the third ruler for few months. Shah Rukh, the son of Nadir escaped from prison at that time, and attacked on Khorasan, and became the fourth ruler for few months. He was deprived of his sight by his own Khorasani chiefs, and Murad Khan had been proclaimed as the fifth ruler. Murad Khan was also blinded, and once again the blind Shah Rukh was placed on the throne, who ruled till 1210/1795.

Ismaili History 751 - Rise of the Zands

In sum, Iran was dominated by three rules at that time. Muhammad Hussain Qajar possessed northern region. The southern area was under the control of Karim Khan Zand, and Khorasan on eastern area was ruled by the Afsharids. Muhammad Hussain Qajar had been killed, and Karim Khan Zand took over the power of whole Iran, including Khorasan; and founded the rule of Zand dynasty in Iran in 1163/1750.
Karim Khan Zand (1163-1193/1750-1779) had a friendly relation with Imam Abul Hasan Ali and his brother Pir Mirza Muhammad Bakir. Mirza Hussain Khan, the governor of Kirman treated the Imam with great respect, who charged certain towns and districts of Kirman under the control of the Imam. Later on, Karim Khan Zand appointed the Imam as the Beglarbegi of Kirman in 1170/1756. According to 'The Cambridge History of Iran' (London, 1991, 7th vol., p. 85), 'Eventually, Karim Khan appointed as beglerbegi an Ismaili Sayyid, Abul Hasan Ali Shah Mahallati, well respected locally for piety and generosity. His moral authority overrode the petty squabbles of the regional military governors, and his ample private income precluded any necessity for extortion or peculation.'

The title beglarbegi means 'Governor General', a term derived from Turkish beylerbeyi means 'chief of the chief.' In Iran, the Beglarbegi governed three sub-ordinate governors of a province, including deputy governor and lesser officials.

Karim Khan Zand died in 1193/1779, and Iran once again disintegrated. His brother Zaki Khan declared Muhammad Ali, the second son of Karim Khan, and his son-in-law as the second ruler of the Zands. Afterwards, Abul Fateh Khan, the elder son of Karim Khan was made a joint ruler with Muhammad Ali.

Meanwhile, a certain Aga Muhammad Khan Qajar escaped and reached to Mazandaran, and took charge of his tribe in Astrabad, and declared his rule in 1193/1779 immediately after the death of Karim Khan Zand. Zaki Khan dispatched his forces in command of his nephew, called Ali Murad Khan against Aga Muhammad Khan. Instead of fighting with Aga Muhammad Khan, he himself rebelled against the Zands, and captured Ispahan. He levied high taxes on the landlords and put to death who refused. He also tortured many persons, and once he is said to have thrown out 18 persons from his window to a ditch. The people in Ispahan rebelled, and killed Zaki Khan. Meanwhile, his brother Sadik Khan came in Shiraz and tore the eyes of Abul Fateh Khan from their sockets, and occupied Shiraz. In the succession disputes following Karim Khan Zand's death, the Imam is said to have lent his support to Sadik Khan, who was assisted in raising an army in Kirman. Sadik Khan restored the governorship of the Imam in Kirman. Imam's timely support to Sadik Khan had also avoided a massacre of the Ismailis. Meanwhile, the border region between Kirman and Afghanistan, including Narmashir, was raided by the Afghan and Baluchi troops of Azam Khan, an amir from Kandhar. Azam Khan was subdued by the Imam's forces, consisted of 7000 soldiers in command of Mirza Sadik, the cousin of the Imam. Later on, Azam Khan ravaged the districts of Kirman from Narmashir and reached as far as the entrance of the city of Kirman. This time, Abul Hassan Ali himself commanded his forces from Shahr-i Babak and inflicted a defeat to Azam Khan outside Kirman.

Ali Murad Khan raided Shiraz and killed Sadik Khan, the brother of Zaki Khan in 1195/1781. Then followed Jafar Khan (1779-1785), the son of Sadik Khan, who defeated Aga Muhammad Khan Qajar many times. His son Lutf Ali Khan, the last ruler of the Zand dynasty attacked the rising power of the Qajarids in Ispahan in 1205/1790, but his advisor, Haji Ibrahim abandoned his side and joined Aga Muhammad Khan. Lutf Ali Khan proceeded to Sirjan, intending to occupy Shahr-i Babak and the stronghold of the Imam, guarded by the Ataullahi Ismailis. Abul Hasan Ali had fortified and well-provisioned fortress in Shahr-i Babak under the command of Mirza Sadik. Lutf Ali Khan failed to gain Shahr-i Babak, and committed massacres of the Ismailis in the localities. He advanced to the city of Kirman. On that junction, Abul Hasan Ali refused to allow his entry in the city, and reinforced the city's defence and prepared to withstand a long siege. After one day of the siege, the inhabitants of the city sent out the Qadi and Shaikh al-Islam to the camp of Lutf Ali Khan with an offering of 20,000 tumans, imploring him to raise the siege and postpone the occupation of the city.

Hasan-i Fasai compiled his 'Farsnama'yi Nasiri' in 1314/1896 (tr. by Heribert Busse, London, 1972, pp. 37-8), who writes, 'Lotf Ali Khan, however, was full of pride and said that he would not raise the siege before Seiyed Abu'l Hasan Khan Kaheki, the governor of Kirman, and all the nobles and aldermen had come out of the city to the encampment. When the qazi and Shaikh al-Islam returned unsuccessful to the city, Abu'l Hasan Khan took greater care in the defence of the fortress than he had done before. When the winter came and roads and paths were blocked by snow and rain, the camp was cut off from provisions. For some time the people in the camp were satisfied with eating the meat of horses and donkeys, and patiently endured snow and rain. When things, however, became unbearable, the soldiers folded their tents and moved off. Lotf Ali Khan could not but do the same, and in the month of Jomadi I of that year (1205/January, February, 1791), he returned to Shiraz.'

Ismaili History 752 - Decline of the Zands and Rise of the Qajarids

In Shiraz, Lutf Ali Khan also sought no entry due to the hold of Aga Muhammad Khan. He fought next year with the Qajars, and defeated them in 1206/1792. In 1209/1794, Lutf Ali Khan captured Kirman. Aga Muhammad Khan besieged it for six months. It is said that Pir Mirza Muhammad Bakir had given a shelter to Lutf Ali Khan in a fort, who was seriously injured and sought mercy. Lutf Ali Khan finally managed to escape from Kirman, to which Aga Muhammad Khan, while entering Kirman, had accused the local people to have helped in escaping Lutf Ali Khan. By the vengeance he was wreaking on the inhabitants of Kirman, and issued orders to deprive all the adult males of their life, or of their eyesight; and the females and children, to the number of twenty thousand, were granted as slaves to the soldiers. G.R.G. Hambly writes in 'Aqa Mohammad Khan and the establishment of the Qajar Dynasty' (JRAS, vol. L., January, 1963, p. 166) that, 'Kerman was systematically ravaged for three months. Twenty thousand women and children were handed over to the army or sold as slaves. For the male population a different punishment was reserved and tradition relates that 7,000 eyes were brought to the conqueror, who personally counted them, informing the officer in charge of the operation: 'Had one been missing, yours would have been taken!' As a memorial to the downfall of the Zand dynasty, a pyramid of skulls was erected in Bam on the spot where Lotf Ali Khan had been captured. Six hundred prisoners were executed in Kerman and their heads were carried to Bam by a further three hundred who were decapituted when they reached their destination. According to Henry Pottinger, this monument was still standing in 1810.'
Lutf Ali Khan was arrested when he was about 25 years old. His eyes were torn from their sockets according to the tradition in Iranian kingdoms, and was executed in 1209/1794. With his death, the Zand dynasty had been declined in Iran, and Aga Muhammad Khan (1193-1212/1779-1797) founded the Qajarids empire.

In India, after the departure of Nadir, the Mughal empire in the time of Muhammad Shah (1719-1748) had absolutely become crippled. The constant expeditions of Ahmad Shah Abdali between 1161/1748 and 1181/1767 not only had broken down the backbone of the Mughal army, but also left the country economically collapsed. The next Mughal rulers on the throne of Delhi were Ahmed Shah (1748-1754) and Shah Alam II (1759-1806).

In upper Oxus, the Ismaili ruler in Shagnan, Mir Shah Amir Beg was a powerful ruler in Central Asia. He had left behind an inscription at Khorog, dating 1779 or 1780. His son Shah Wanji Khan had exiled the fire-worshippers from Shagnan, and extended his influence in Badakhshan and Chitral. His son Kubad Khan is reported to have violently harassed the local Ismailis followed by some disputes. He had been however driven out by his brother, Yousuf Ali Shah, the grandson of Kubad Khan, and became the next ruler in 1814. He also ruled the banks of Nahr Jaryab or Panj river.

In India, it may be noted that Multan had been a centre of the Shamsi Ismailis of Kashmir and Punjab, where the descendants of Pir Shams had served as the vakils of the Imam. In Sind and Kutchh, the descendant of Pir Dadu also worked as the vakils. While, the Kadiwal Sayeds were active in Kutchh and Sind, in which Sayed Ghulam Ali Shah, or Sayed Ghulmali Shah was most prominent. He initiated a bulk of the Hindus during the reign of Maharao Godmalji in Kutchh. Many other Indian dais and vakils are reported to have lived in the period under our review, whose names are known only through their ginans, viz., Sayed Fateh Ali Shah, Sayed Miran Mahdi, Sayed Miran Muhammad Shah, Sayed Ladha Shah, Sayed Kutabuddin, Sayed Aal-i Imam, Sayed Hussain etc.

During the time, a certain Mukhi Mehr Ali was an influential merchant in Sind. He visited Iran two times. It is said that he used to hospitalise the Indian pilgrims. He is also noted for renovating the shrine of Pir Shams in Multan in the time of Makhdum Jiwan Shah of Uchh in the year 1193/1779.

The Mughal emperor Aurengzeb (d. 1707) is reported to have persecuted the Ismailis in Gujrat and Sind, and most among them had taken refuge in Iran. Some among them returned afterwards, but many other settled in Kirman and died there, whose graves still exist, giving dates in Khojki character. The grave of Aga Nihal, possibly a Kashmiri Ismaili, bears the date of 1722 and Kamadia Muhammad dates 1725. One unknown grave indicates the date of 1742. In Mahallat, the graves of Khoja Peeru and Kamadia Bhalu of Sind bear the date of 1705 and 1711 respectively.

It seems that Abul Hasan Ali had moved to Shahr-i Babak in Kirman, most possibly in 1158/1745, situated about 180 kilometers southwest of the main city of Kirman. The decision seems to have been motivated for the security of the Indian pilgrims, since the Bakhtiyari tribesmen committed banditry on the roads, terrorizing the highways. Ahmad Ali Khan Viziri (d. 1295/1878) writes in 'Tarikh-i Kirman' (Tehran, 1973, p. 542) that, 'During the chaotic conditions of Iran after the downfall of the Safavids, the Indian Ismailis who regularly travelled to Anjudan and Mahallat regions for seeing their Imam and remitting to him their religious dues, were often plundered and killed between Nain and Yazd by the Bakhtiyari tribesmen.'

The Imam thus, had to move to Shahr-i Babak, a location closer to the Iranian Gulf ports and the main pilgrimage route. He acquired extensive properties in Shahr-i Babak, also erected a winter residence in the city of Kirman, where his daughter, Fakhru'z-Zaman died in 1170/1756. He is also reported to have spent generously colossal money for the benefit of the people of Kirman, which enhanced his popularity. His fame in Kirman can be estimated from the fact that he was able to continue his governorship of Kirman when the Zand dynasty disintegrated upon Karim Khan's death in 1193/1779, and henceforth, the Imam ruled over Kirman independently.

Sayed Fateh Ali Shah (d. 1212/1798), an Indian vakil had visited Shahr-i Babak to see the Imam, and made its brief description in his one extant ginanthat: 'The Lord resides in the western land as an Iranian. He speaks Persian in northern Iran (sheter deep). His residence is in Shahr-i Babak, and his name is Shah Abul Hasan Ali in elegant form.'

Sind was noted for the great Sufi saint at that time, called Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai (1102-1165/1688-1751), who stood at the parting of the ways between the rule of the Mughals and that of the Kalhora dynasty. When emperor Aurengzeb died, Shah Abdul Latif was a youth of 18 years of age, and saw the rise of the early Kalhora to power. He was about 50 years old when Nadir Shah sacked Delhi and made Sind tributary to Iran. The collection of his Sufic poetry is called 'Risalo'. There are certain features of the poems of Shah Abdul Latif, which make it desirable to consider the possible influence of the ginans of Pir Sadruddin upon him. His ancestors in the fourth generation before him was the famous mystic, Sayed Abdul Karim, who is also known to have been influenced with the teachings of the Ismaili Pir. The sayings of Sayed Abdul Karim had a great impact on the mind of Shah Abdul Latif, who himself fed on the poetry of his great forbear and many verses of his poems are included in his poetry.

When Abul Hasan Ali had left for Shahr-i Babak in 1158/1745, he had been succeeded as a governor of Kirman by his cousin, Mirza Sadik. In 1206/1792, Aga Muhammad Khan seized Shiraz and sent his nephew, Fateh Ali to conquer Kirman. Fateh Ali occupied Kirman, and replaced Mirza Sadik, and himself became the governor of the provinces of Fars, Kirman and Yazd.

When Aga Muhammad Khan had massacred a large number of the local inhabitants in Kirman, the Ismailis were however spared in the operation. The Ismaili Sayed families and the relative of the Imam, living in Shahr-i Babak were allowed to repair to Kahek, where Aga Muhammad Khan gave them new pieces of land to compensate for what they had left behind in Kirman city; and assigned them according to the rank emoluments (wazifa) and pay (mostamarri).

Imam Abul Hasan Ali's first historical debut in the Iranian sources is recorded from the event of the seize of Kirman by Lutf Ali Khan in 1205/1791. His death is also recorded in the contemporary sources as 1206/1792 under the name of Sayed Abul Hasan Ali Shah Mahallati Kaheki. He had however passed his whole life in Shahr-i Babak, but his death took place in Mahallat on May 23, 1792, and was interred in Najaf.

Ismaili History 753 - KHALILULLAH ALI II (1206-1233/1792-1817)

Khalilullah Ali II was born in 1153/1740 in the city of Kirman. His upbringing in Mahallat began under the care of his uncle, Mirza Muhammad Bakir at the age of two years, and got rudiments of his formal education at home.