Poet Rais Hasan

The celebrated Ismaili poet hailed from Khorasan, called Rais Hasan had visited Alamut around 587/1191, and glorified Ala Muhammad in his poem, vide "An Old Ismaili Poem" tr. by W. Ivanow (cf. "Ismaili", March, 1940, pp. 7-8). It was also a sort of prayer for seeking forgiveness for a breach of the mission rules in the Syrian community, and arrived in Iran to behold the Imam without the consent of the community authority. Its few couplets however reads:-

We have come here without obtaining the consent of our jamat.

As there is very little sense of unity and internal peace, so much needed in the community.

We have come here, violating the rules and commandments of the dawat. We have come full of the sense of shame and repentence.

For having not honoured and respected the commandment of the guidance.

We have come to pray endlessly, in thousand ways, to forgive us these faults of our behaviour.

In Alamut, the period of Ala Muhammad was noted for learning and prosperity. Taylor writes in "The History of Mohammedanism and its sects" (London, 1851, p. 187) that, "He was a diligent student himself and wrote several treatises on philosophy and jurisprudence which are valued highly even by those who were enemies of his order." Rais Hasan had glorified the Imam in his poem, as referred to above. Its few couplets are given below:-

O Thou, Holy One, we have come to Thee from Khorasan, we have arrived before Thee to fall prostrate in our obedience.

We have come to Thee not for begging for money, gifts or honours, we have not come to beg for the grant either of horses, or saddles, coats, caps or robes of honour.

We have come to Thee as the source of help and purity of religion.

Be kind, and quench our thirst with water of life, because we have come to Thee in great thirst for mercy.

It has been heretofore discussed that the Ismailis disliked wars to cause unnecessary blood-shed with their enemies. But when their sworn enemies hurled in the fire of war to extend their influence, threatening the Ismaili power, the Ismaili fidais only killed the germs of mischief to avoid wars. Thus, Kizil Arslan (582-587/1186-1191), the Ildenizid ruler of Azerbaijan made a plan to extend his power, and constant wars in Mazandaran, brought him ultimately in inimical touch with the Ismailis in Alamut. On that juncture, Muzaffar bin Muhammad, the chief Ismaili dai, sent three Ismaili fidais belonging to Southern Khorasan on secret a mission to kill Kizil Arslan, who had become not only a threat, but a root cause of breaking peace in the region. These three fidais were Husam of Avizi, Hasan of Tun and Mansur of Chahak. The mission was dangerous and difficult as well. Kizil Arslan at that time was accompanied by three horsemen, two among them fled in fear, one towards the rocks, and other hid himself in a cave; and one was killed. It appears that the king managed to reach his palace, where he had been killed on one night in Shawal, 587/November, 1191. Ibn Athir writes that his murderers remained unknown, but Qazwini narrates that the Ismailis were suspected. Rais Hasan, who had come in Alamut from Khorasan, had composed a poem in praise of these Khorasani fidais, whose few couplets are given below:-

Praise, glory and thousands of benedictions be upon the three heroes, the brave swordsmen, capturers of kings!

Upon those victorious warriors on the path of the religion, out of fear and fright for whom the world prays for mercy!

The Ildigiz, through his perversion and wickedness, had chosen, at the bidding of his fate, the path of arrogance

All three came back, with the help of the Qaim, (bringing) victory and happiness to all sides.

Every one who thinks of opposing the Lord of the Universe, is punished by the fate by violent death.

The chosen prophets preached and warned people about this from the beginning, that such is the promised punishment.

The king, who possesses more than a hundred thousand cavalry, would be frightened by a single warrior.

Did not today the sun of the Great Resurrection rise from behind the loftiness of the preaching of Mustansir, and of the prayer of Nizar?

Is not it so that whoever has no respect for Him, indulging in these terrible acts of tyranny, he will on the day of judgement be rejected by God, helpless as if drowning in mud?

During the last 16 years of Ala Muhammad's Imamate and reign, the Iranian Ismailis were engaged once again in petty warfare with their close neighbours. The Ismailis of Rudhbar had certain disputes with Mazandaran, and they had actually given refuge to Bisutun, the ruler of Ruyan who had engineered rebellion against the Bawandid Husam ad-Dawla Ardashir. In the meantime, the Ismailis began to spread their influences in Mazandaran and killed Rukn ad-Dawla Qarin, the younger brother of the Bawandid Shams al-Mulk Shah Ghazi Rustam II (602- 606/1206-1210).

In the interim, the Ismailis of Rudhbar were confronted with the Khwarazmian general, who had replaced the Seljuqs in western Iran and were expanding their influence in Daylam. In 602/1205, Miyajiq, a Khwarazmian general, trickled and murdered a bulk of the Ismailis from Alamut and thereupon the Khwarazmian troops made themselves as the friends of the Qazwin, the traditional enemies of the Ismailis, and made raids from time to time on Rudhbar

Imam Ala Muhammad died on 10th Rabi I, 607/September 1, 1210 after the longest rule of 46 years. He had two sons, of whom the elder, Jalaluddin Hasan was succeeded to the Imamate.

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