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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.


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