"Qiyamat-i qubra or qaim al-qiyama was a famous occasion commemorated in Alamut on 17th Ramzan, 559/August 8, 1164 when Imam Hasan II came out publicly upon the termination of dawr-i satr. In his speech, he announced himself a legitimate Imam in the descent of Imam al-Nizar. Edward G. Browne writes in A Literary History of Persia (London, 1964, 2:454) that, "This Hasan boldly declared himself to be, not the descendant of Kiya Buzrug Ummid, but of the Fatimid Imam Nizar bin al-Mustansir."
The term qiyama literally means rising of the dead, and allegorically, it implies an idea denoting the rising to the next spiritual stage, and qiyamat-i qubra (great resurrection) means an attainment of the highest degree when a man becomes free from the ties of external laws, whom he shackles and transfigures into spiritual substance, which rejoins its divine sources.
Before we proceed, one pivot point needs to be touched upon. It is seen that Qadi Noman (d. 363/974) wrote in Sharhu'l Akhbar that, "The religion of Islam will triumph under al-Mahdi and his descendants, so that the present order will end, and the qiyama will come under one of his successors." Hamiduddin Kirmani (d. 412/1021) also writes in Kitab ar-Riyad on the authority of Kitabu'l Mahsul that, "This qiyamat al-qubra is going to arrive when the gates of talim will be closed, and the dawa suspended by the Imam of the qiyamat al-qubra, because by that time the dawa will attain its completion." Qalqashandi (d. 8121/1418) writes in Subh al-A'sha fi Sina'at al-Insha (13:245) that, "Hasan bin Sabbah preached the doctrine that the appearance of the qaim al-zaman was imminent and that the revelation of the Imam and his creed were about to take place." The situation of Alamut was not that of the past, therefore, the Imam of the time was to appear before his followers for their spiritual guidance. Marshall Hodgson writes, "No doubt men hoped increasingly that time was near when the Imam himself would return from his hiding, and bring his blessing among them again, as it has been among them in the days of Egyptian glory." (op. cit., p. 147)
Rashiduddin writes in Jamiut Tawarikh (comp. in 310/1310) that, "On 17th Ramzan of the year 559, he (Imam Hasan II) ordered the people of his territories, whom he had caused to be present in Alamut at that time, to gather together in those public prayers grounds at the foot of Alamut. They set up four large banners of four colors, white, red, yellow and green; which had been arranged for the affairs, at the four corners of the pulpit." Abu Ishaq Kohistani also gives details in his Haft Bab (pp. 41-2) that, "The followers from Khorasan stood on the right, the followers from (Persian) Iraq on the left of it, and the Daylamites with the followers from Rudhbar stood right opposite. In the middle a chair was placed, facing the minbar (pulpit), and faqi Muhammad Busti was ordered to mount it. The Khudawand Ala Dhikrihi's Salam, clad in a white garment with a white turban on his head, descended from the fortress about noon and mounted the minbar from the right, in the most perfect manner. Then he pronounced three times the "salam" - first addressing the Daylamites, then turning to the right, and then turning to the left. Then he squatted for a while, then rose and holding his sword..." According to Jorunn J. Buckley in The Nizari Ismailites (Stvdia Islamica, Paris, 1984, LX, p. 143) that from the top of the pulpit, Hasan II presented a clear and eloquent epistle, and at the end of the address he said, "The Imam of the Time sends you blessings and compassion, calling you his specially selected servants."
Imam Hasan II made his sermons in Arabic. The jurist Muhammad Busti stood up, and translated the Imam's sermons into Persian for those present. It was followed by the ceremony of an oath of allegiance from the cheering followers.
Most of the Ismaili da'is of that period had described the above event in their treatises, notably the fasl of Hussain bin Abdul Malik, Qadi Masud, Amir Hyder Masud etc., but none is survived. Hitherto, however, one ocular-witness of qiyamat-i qubra has been unearthed, who had not identified himself. He was a da'i in Qazwin and compiled Haft bab-i Baba Sayyid-na in 597/1200. His original text is edited by W. Ivanow, vide Two Early Ismaili Treatises (Bombay, 1933). Marshall Hodgson has rendered its English translation, vide The Order of Assassins (Netherland, 1955, pp. 279-328). Hasan bin Sabbah, according to the above treatise had foretold the advent of qiyamat-i qubra, and said, "When the qaim appears, he will sacrifice a camel, and bring forth a red standard" (p. 21). The author further writes, "And all these (signs) I have actually seen in Imam Ala Zikrihi's Salam." (p. 21) He also writes, "Sayyidna Hasan bin Sabbah had sent Hamid as a messenger to Ala Zikrihi's Salam in service and submission, and asked forgiveness of him." Giving his comments on this very passage, Marshall Hodgson writes, "This message from Hasan-i Sabbah to Hasan II must be conceived of in the manner of the traditional greeting of the Prophet to his great-great-grandson, the Imam: he asked one of his young companions to greet the child when it should be born." (op. cit., p. 302)
After the proclamation of the qiyama, Imam Hasan II, in his epistles (fusul) and addresses, hinted palpably that he himself was the Imam of the Age, the son of an Imam from the progeny of Imam Nizar bin al-Mustansir billah.
Writing on qiyama, W. Ivanow says in Alamut and Lamasar (Tehran, 1960 p. 29) that, "It is quite possible that the period of about 75 years, from the installation of Hasan-i Sabbah in Alamut, a period of continuous hard struggle, have so much matured their spirits that they could be regarded as quite fit to discard the usual external forms of worship, and carry on by their internal spiritual discipline."
In sum, the qiyama was interpreted to mean the manifestation of the unveiled truth (haqiqa) in the person of the Imam. Thus, the believers were now capable to comprehend the truth. According to this interpretation, the believers could come to know God and the mysteries and realities of creation through an Imam, the epiphany (mazhar) of God on earth. The qiyama also represented an attempt by an Imam to give an interpretation to the Shariah abreast the times. The Imam, henceforward, had began to stress the spirituality and the inner meaning of the religious commandments.
Ten weeks later, a token ceremony of qiyama was commemorated at the fortress of Muminabad, to the east of Birjand in Kohistan, where Hasan II had sent his messenger, Muhammad Khaqan to Rais Muzaffar, his deputy who headed the Ismailis of Kohistan since 555/1160. It was celebrated in the fortress of Muminabad on 8th Zilkada, 559/September 18, 1164, where the written sermons of Hasan II were read. In Syria too, the qiyama was announced, evidently a while later in 560/1165.
It appears that the Ismailis began to apply since then the term ala zikrihi's salam (peace be on his mention) with the name of Hasan II, making him known as Hasan Ala Zikrihi's Salam (Hasan, peace be on his mention), and evidently, such benedictory term cannot be pronounced for any da'i like Hasan, the son of Muhammad.
Imam Hasan II rose as an absolute ruler and Imam, and the dawr-i satr was replaced by dawr-i kashaf. It was the second dawr-i satr, and the first occurred in pre-Fatimid period. According to Cambridge History of Iran (London, 1968, 5th vol., p. 474), "The term satr had originally referred to those periods when the whereabouts of the Imam was unknown to the world at large, or even, at times, to the faithful, as had been the case among Ismailis before the rise of the Fatimids and again after the death of Nizar."