Khalilullah Ali in European sources

Khalilullah Ali resided in Mahallat. He came to live in Kahek after assumption of the Imamate in 1206/1792 where he stayed for about 23 years. The Ismailis of Syria, Iran and India flocked in Mahallat, and then in Kahek. His uncle Mirza Muhammad Bakir also lived in Mahallat.

Some contemporary European travellers have reported the whereabouts of Khalilullah. L.J. Rousseau (1780-1831), a French Consul in Aleppo from 1809 to 1816, was the first person to draw the attention of the Europeans to the existence of the contemporary Ismailis and their living Imam. He writes in "Memoire sur les Ismaelis et les Nosairis de Syrie", (Vol. XIV, 1811, Paris, pp. 279-80) that, "There were still many Ismailis in the country who owed allegiance to an Imam of the line of Ismail. His name was Shah Khalilullah, and he resided in a village called Kehk near Qumm, half-way between Tehran and Isfahan."

Sir John Macdonnell Kinneir (1728-1830) about the year 1813 also described in his "Topographical History of Persia" that, "In the district of the Persian highlands especially near the ruins of Alamut, are still to be found a remnant of the Ismailis, who go by the name of Hooseinis ... the Ismailis of Persia recognize (Shah Khalilullah) as their chief and Imam, dwelling near Kehkt whose descent they deduce from Ismail, the son of Jaffir Sadick."

The Scottish tourist, James Baillie Fraser (1783-1856), who in the course of his journey through Iran had seen the Ismailis. "Shah Khuleel Oollah", he writes in his "Narrative of a Journey into Khorasan" (London, 1825, p. 376), "was a person of high respectability and great influence, keeping an hundred gholaums of his own in pay; but he was put to death by the inhabitants of Yezd, in a riot...."

Silvestre de Sacy (1758-1838), an eminent orientalist of the 19th century in his "Memoir sur la dynastie des Assassins" (Paris, 1818, p. 84) quotes an exerpt of a letter of Rousseau's son wrote to him from Tehran on June 1, 1808. It reads: "The Ismailis even today have their Imam, or pontiff, descending, as they claim, from Jafar Sadiq, the chief of their sect, and residing at Kehek, a village in the districts of Qom. He is called Sheikh Khalil Allah.....This person, whom his people grace with the pompous title of caliph, enjoys a great reputation and is considered to have the gift of performing miracles."

In Syria, the Ismailis faced certain local troubles around 1209/1795 due to the constant raids of the bigoted Nusairis of Raslan. Most of the Ismaili families led by the chief dai, Suleman bin Hyder (1143-1212/1731-1798) were obliged to leave Masiyaf and settled down in Hims, Hammah, Aleppo and Damascus. In 1222/1808, the Nusairis at the command of Shaikh Mahmud also killed an Ismaili chief of Masiyaf, Mustapha Mulhim and his son, alongwith 300 inhabitants, and their inroads continued till 1223/1809. This event also reflects in the hyperbolic writings of Simone Assemani (1752-1821) in the year 1214/1806. L.J. Rousseau (1780-1831) had also underlined the miserable conditions of the Syrian Ismailis in his "Memoirs" (Paris, 1811). The inhabitants, who had sought refuge in flight, applied for protection to Yousuf Pasha, the governor of Damascus. He sent a punitive expedition of 5000 soldiers against the Nusairis. At length, Masiyaf had to be surrendered by the Nusairis after three months' stubborn resistance, and the Ismailis returned to the town after restoration of peace in the beginning of 1224/1810.

Sayed Ghulam Ali Shah, or Ghulmali Shah from the Kadiwal family was a prominent missionary in Sind, Kutchh and Kathiawar. He had converted many Hindus. He composed few ginans, and died in Karachi in 1207/1792 and was buried in Kera in Kutchh. He was followed by Sayed Muhammad Shah in Kutchh, who died in 1228/1813 and was buried in Bombay. He was the last vakil in India to be sent from Iran. He was not married, therefore, he was honoured the epithet of dullah (bridegroom).

It appears that two persons, called Mehr Ali and Saniya in Kutchh had claimed as the incarnations of Chandraban and Surban, the famous dais during the time of Pir Shams. They preached the doctrines of Imam-Shahi sect. Khalilullah Ali is said to have summoned them in Mahallat and warned to refrain from their activities. Few years after their return from Iran, they once again misguided the Ismailis in Kutchh and pretended as dumbs. They started to talk after few months, claiming to have been granted the vocal power by Sayed Imam Shah. The Ismailis of Kutchh sent a report of their activities to the Imam, and as a result, they had been ex-communicated.

Sayed Fateh Ali Shah (1733-1798) was an eminent dai, whose grave exists near Jiraq in Sind. His pen-name was Shamsi, also known as Sayed Shamsi. He was hailed from Kadiwal family. Imam Abul Hasan Ali had given him mantle of vakil for India. He seems to have visited Iran for two times, and lastly in 1210/1795 during the time of Khalilullah Ali, where he stayed about for eight months. He arrived in Mahallat on the day of Navroz and his mind became forlorn when he learnt that the Imam had gone on a hunting expedition in the woods to the north of Mahallat. He relates his quest for the Imam which ultimately led to his meeting. His two ginans are accessible, wherein he makes mention of the Imam that:-

	"Shah Khalilullah enjoys his stay in the fort of Mahallat, and mercifully summoned Sayed Fateh Ali, and accomplished his immense desires, where Mawla Ali appeared in an absolute glory."

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