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Ismaili History 565 - Fatimid decree against the Druzes

It appears from several Druze writings that Hamza and his followers had contacted the chiefs of the Fatimid army and the tribal chiefs, asking them to depose az-Zahir and declare Hamza as the successor of al-Hakim, vide 'Risalat al-Arab' (p. 561) and 'Taqlid Bani al-Jarrah' (p. 484). Another Druze work, 'al-Ghaya wa al-Nasiha' (pp. 71-2) in this context makes az-Zahir as an imposter who usurped the rights of Hamza. On the other hand, Makrizi speaks of a Katami named, Ahmad bin Tatawa who arrived in Egypt in 415/1024 and claimed to have come from Kufa where he had been in the company of al-Hakim (vide 'Itti'az', p. 415). He also claimed that al-Hakim had sent him as a messenger to warn the people of their evils. Makrizi also mentions that a black servant named Anbar, who worked as a porter in al- Hakim's court, met az-Zahir and tried to convince him that his father was still alive and would return very soon. It is also known that a certain person, called Suleman whose resemblance to al-Hakim encouraged him to make an attempt to take power from az-Zahir. He entered the royal palace with his men, declaring himself as the returning Imam. His attempt was however foiled and was executed. In sum, the Druze propaganda of al-Hakim's divinity appears to be merely a mean leading to the abolition of the hereditary tradition of the Imamate, and open the door for non-Fatimids to become Imams. It also led the other individuals to mint groundless tales for al-Hakim.

Before the time, the propaganda became congenial for the growth of the ambitions of the extremists, az-Zahir immediately issued an official decree (manshur), calling for the extermination of the extremism with iron hands from Anioch to Alexandria and Egypt. Yaacov Lev writes in 'State and Society in Fatimid Egypt' (London, 1991, p. 36) that, 'He (az-Zahir) condemned (in the official decree) those who adopted extreme views regarding the position of the Imam, and those who went beyond the pale of Islam were cursed. The regime took action against those who adhered to the view of God being incarnated in al-Hakim; they were imprisoned and put to death.'

Accordingly, the amir of Antioch, aided by the amir of Aleppo, suppressed the group of the Druzes in the Jabal as-Summaq in 423/1032, which mostly included the peasants. In Alexandria, al-Mukana tried to maintain Hamza's authority and encouraged the extremists in the Jabal as-Summaq after their defeat. At length, al-Mukana himself also withdrew in 425/1034.

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