Imam on way to Karakorum

On 1st Rabi I, 655/March 9, 1257, Ruknuddin Khurshah set out from Hamdan with nine companions and a group of Mongols led by Bujrai. On the way, when they arrived at the foot of Girdkuh, which was not yet surrendered, Ruknuddin tried once again to bring down the castle's garrisons. He was however suspected that he had told them secretly not to surrender, and as a result, he was not treated well henceforward by his escorts. Our sources do not give the route leading to Karakorum, but it seems that they alighted at Bukhara and proceeded about 150 miles to the east for Samarkand, and thence reached to Karakorum.

It is worthy of note from the accounts of "The Journey of William of Rubruck to the Eastern Parts of the World" (tr. William W. Rockhill, London, 1900, p. 222) that King Louis IX (d. 1270) of France had tried to secure an alliance with the Mongols against the Muslims. In pursuit, he had sent William of Rubruck (1215-1295), a Flemish Franciscan on a diplomatic mission under the garb of church, at the court of Mongke (d. 1257) in the year 1253. William of Rubruck reached Karakorum on December 25, and visited the court of Mongke on January 4, 1254. He noticed strict security measures in the court, because it had been informed to Mongke, possibly a rumour that was going about that forty Ismaili fidais had entered the city to kill him. It is, however, much nearer to reasonable possibility that the detention of Ruknuddin in Karakorum would have proved a good hand to Mongke, to force the so called forty hiding fidais to surrender. Why Mongke did not detain Ruknuddin and also refuse to see him? It is most likelihood that Mongke was yet unaware of his arrival. It is, of course, possible to draw some inferences that the so called messenger from Mongke was forged by Bujrai according to a pre- arranged policy, informing Ruknuddin that Mongke did not wish to see him, which sounds in "Jamiut Tawarikh" (p. 37) that, "When the news reached Mongke that Ruknuddin was coming, he said, 'why is he being brought and why are post horses being tired unnecessarily?' He sent a messenger with instructions that he should be made away." In contrast, it is very dissimiliar with Juvaini's account that Ruknuddin actually reached Karakorum, and Mongke remarked, "It is unnecessary to bring him on so long a journey." He refused to accept his present and dismissed with the charge: "Seeing that you claim to be il (friend), why have you not destroyed certain castles such as Girdkuh and Lamasar? You must go back and when you have dismounted those castles, you shall again have the honour of tikishmishi" i.e., an audience with a ruler at which one hands over presents (2nd vol., p. 724). Juvaini was in Baghdad at that time, therefore, he seems to have derived his informations from oral channel, and with this the description of "Jamiut Tawarikh" (p. 37) cannot be convincing. Under any circumstances, it is difficult to determine with any exactitude that Mongke was aware of Ruknuddin's arrival in Karakorum. The resistance of the garrisons of Girdkuh, including Bujrai's suspicion on Ruknuddin seem to have been reported secretly back to Halagu at Hamdan. It is therefore, possible that Halagu had changed his mind later when Ruknuddin had passed through Girdkuh for Karakorum, and had routed his immediate instructions to Bujrai not to arrange Ruknuddin's meeting with Mongke. Since Ruknuddin had been granted a self- conduct which was operative within the territories of Iran only, therefore, his murder out of Iran became validated for Halagu.

To Next Paragraph
To Previous Paragraph
To This chapter's index
ToNext Chapter
To Previous Chapter
To Main Index
To Home Page