Ismailis in Hungary

The Ismaili fidais were struggling on one hand against their ardent enemies in Syria, and their dais were penetrating into the Frankish lands as far as Hungary on the other. The word Hungary is derived from the Turkish On Ogur, meaning "ten arrows" or "tribes," almost referring to the ethnic people of Hungary, called Magyars. It is a small landlocked state in central Europe. In 1000 A.D., Hungary achieved the status of an independent kingdom, and adopted the Roman form of Christianity. The Ismailis were the first to introduce the message of Islam in Europe and entered into Hungary most probably during the time of different kings, such as St. Stephen (1000-1038), Ladislas I (1077-1095), Kalman (1095-1116), Geza II (1141-1162), Bella III (1172-1173), Imre (1196-1204), Laszlo (1204-1205), Andreas II (1205-1235) etc.

Dr. Ismail Balic writes in "Traces of Islam in Hungary" that, "Islam was first brought to Hungary by the Ismailites (in Izmaelitak or Boszormenyek). These were parts of the Turkish Folk of Chevalison and of the Volga Bulgarians who had emigrated during the 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th centuries and formed an important political, military, financial and commercial factor. The first Islamic author to speak of this Muslim community was Yaqut al-Hamawi (575-626/1179-1229)." (cf. "The Islamic Review", London, Feb., 1950, 38th vol., No.2). Yaqut writes in his famous geographical dictionary, "Mu'ajam al-Buldan," (comp. 625/1228, vide also Wustenfeld's edition, Leipzig, 1866, 1st vol., p. 469) about his meeting with Ismaili youth in Syria who were studying Islam there and brought some details of the history and life of their people in Hungary. D.M. Donaldson in "The Shiite Religion" (London, 1933, pp. 292-3) also admits that the Crusaders came to know about Shiism through the Ismailis. N.A. Daniel writes in "Islam and the West" (Edinburgh, 1960, p. 318) that, "It has been pointed out that it was in Ismaili form that the Crusaders knew Shiism."

Rashid al-Din Sinan enjoyed unprecendented popularity in the Syrian Ismaili community, and it seems that he had been given liberty from Alamut to deal the political affairs in Syria at his disposal. He died in 589/1193 in the castle of Kahf, and was buried at Jabal-i Mashhad in Masiyaf, where he had passed his life in worship and study of astronomy. Sibt ibn Jawzi (d. 654/1256) describes Sinan in his "Mirat al-Zaman" (p. 269) as "a man of knowledge, statecraft and skill in winning men's hearts." Sinan left the Ismailis of Syria straddling a frontier between the Franks and the Muslims. Religiously, Rashiduddin Sinan used to hold various lectures on Islam and Ismailism, whose few intellectual products are given below:- "If the sea was the ink for the words glorifying my God, it will be consumed before the consumption of my God's words. The Imam can hear the words of God, by his heart and his sense of hear; secrectly or loudly at any time he wants, i.e., when he chooses to hear. And the Imam is he, who would never be missed on earth, any hour, or moment. Understand these facts, and you will be rightly guided by the will of God."

Returning the thread of our narrative, it is recounted that Qais bin Mansur al-Dadikhi was known to have visited Alamut during the period of Imam Ala Muhammad. He was born in Dadikh, a town in the district of Aleppo. He lived till the time of Ala Muhammad and returned to Aleppo in 648/1250, where he died in 655/1257.

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