While we do not presently possess a great deal of the source material pertaining to the Brethren of Purity, what we do possess should assist us in tying up some of the loose ends in the history of the Transmission of the Gnosis, from the darkest days of the Empire, up to the Crusades. The Isma'ili do fit into the paradigm better than the rest. And this connects the Druzes, the Harranians, the Yezidis, even, but there is a much more ancient sect, which can be seen to have survived, from at least the First Century of the Common Era, and undoubtedly even longer. That sect we shall deal with in the Fourth Section of Qadosh: The Johannite Tradition (Ormus and the Grail Chalice). A connecting link between all of these groups, however, is the Ikhwan as-Safa, the Brethren of Purity.
The Brethren of Purity were established at Bosra, Syria. Some mistake Bosra, Syria, with Basra, in Iraq, and this is a mistake. Bosra, Syria, was an important Nabataean city, second in importance to Damascus, at the time that the Nabataeans reached their highest degree of power and influence, prior to the climatic changes that caused their underground water supplies to diminish, and thereby facilitated their demise as a world power. After that time, they simply became known as Arabs. All this said, Bosra, sometimes spelled Bostra, remained an important city, and an important stop on the route between Damascus and Arabia, known to us as the Incense Road.
STEINSCHNEIDER AND THE BRETHREN OF PURITY.
In the 19th Century, the "Science of Judaism" went full bore, leading to the creation of the Jewish Encyclopaedia. Today we know it as Encyclopaedia Judaica, an excellent work if ever there was one. This is one of the by-products of the tiresome labours of Illuminatus Moses Mendelssohn, to be sure, but he is not the direct inspirer. It can also be said to have been helped along by people like Franz Joseph Molitor.
The credit is due, in a large part, to scholars like Moritz Steinschneider (1816-1907). He is regarded as the greatest bibliographer of Judaica in the 19th Century. In 1857, he published a work in English, JEWISH LITERATURE FROM THE EIGHTH TO THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. He is regarded as an authority by Bernard Martin (A HISTORY OF JUDAISM, Volume II), by Gershom Scholem (MAJOR TRENDS IN JEWISH MYSTICISM), and even by Arthur Edward Waite (HOLY KABBALAH), who says:
"The work of Dr. Moritz Steinschneider, the German bibliographer of rabbinical literature, is the most important contribution to our knowledge which has been made during comparatively recent years." -- Holy Kabbalah, p. 4(note 1).
This means, in so many words, that Waite considers Steinschneider to be an authority. Maybe this matters little to us, what Waite's opinion is or was, but it does bear Weight (pun may or may not be intended). This has more importance to the interested scholar of the subjects contained in the present work, than at first meets the eye.
What we are leading up to is a subject which lies at the core of our "thesis", perhaps our "minor singular opinion" or "peculiar notion", as to how the Authentic Tradition was preserved and transmitted.
In Waite's NEW ENCYCLOPAEDIA, we find the following:
"PURITY, BROTHERS OF. The authority is Steinschneider's work on Jewish literature, and the Society was founded in the tenth century at Bosra, in Syria, being an incorporation of Arabian Philosophers, whose writings at a later period were much in vogue among Spanish Jews. They had ceremonies of reception, and have been called a kind of Freemasons by the German historian mentioned," -- II Waite 196, s.v., NON-MASONIC RITES.
We turn to one of the accepted Masonic Encyclopaedias, of the past century, but still referred to even today, that of Mackey:
"PURITY, BROTHERS OF. An association of Arabic philosophers, founded at Bosra, in Syria, in the Tenth century. Many of their writings, which were much studied by the Jews of Spain in the twelfth century, were mystical. Steinschneider, (Jew. Lit., 174, 205) calls them 'the Freemasons of Bosra', and says that they were a 'celebrated society of a kind of Freemasons.'" -- II Mackey 601a-b.
When we proceed to the "eccentric" encyclopaedist, Kenneth Mackenzie's ROYAL MASONIC CYCLOPAEDIA, we are not surprised to read the following:
"PURITY, BROTHERS OF. An association of philosophers of Arab origin, founded at Bosra, in the tenth century. Their principles seem to have been analogous to those of the Essenes. They studied and wrote much, and their writings were afterwards studied by the learned Spanish Jews. Having peculiar forms of initiation, they came to be regarded as a kind of Freemasons, a term specially applied to them by Steinschneider." -- Mackenzie, 584.
Mackenzie's fellow Initiate, and alleged "Fringe Mason", Saint John Yarker, (We know he isn't officially regarded as a saint by any official body, but we do, and that is all that matters to us!)
"Brothers of Purity. This was an association of Arab philosophers seated at Bosra in the 10th Century. They had forms of initiation, and they wrote many works, which were afterwards much studied by the Spanish Jews." -- The Arcane Schools, p. 184 (Referring to Mackenzie's piece, just quoted).
We will proceed to non-Masonic sources next, but first we shall include a list of similarities, and differences in the accounts just given. First, the similarities:
This may all seem to be the fanciful legends of High Grade Freemasonry, to some, but... is it so? Before the Nusairis ended up in Northern Syria (in the vicinity of Latakia), they were in the Hauran region, in the area of Bosra. While the Druzes came at a time concurrent with the Crusades, and the Yezidis really as such can be dated after Sheikh 'Adi travelled to Lalish from Ba'albek, the Nusairis were in Syria much longer. At around the Ninth Century of the Common Era, they added the Isma'ili doctrine to their system, which is a rather complex system. Prior to that, their system included native Syrian and Phoenician cults, early primitive Christian beliefs, Gnostic beliefs, and, much later, Islamic symbols used to facilitate survival in hostile times. Their cultus can be seen to have had an influence not only on their hated rivals the Druzes, but on the Yezidis, as well as on the Harranian cultus. John Yarker mentions them briefly in his Arcane Schools:
"Ainsarii. The Ishmaelite Sect continued to exist after the destruction of the stronghold of the Old Man of the Mountain, as the Chief of the Assassins was termed. The most prominent of these is named the Ainsarii; they hold secret meetings for receptions and have signs, words, and a Catechism. Lyde, who has investigated this Sect, classes them with ancient Templars, and Modern Freemasons. [THE ASIAN MYSTERY, Rev. C. L. Lyde.]" -- p. 187.
Mackey also mentions the Nusairi (Ansayreeh):
"Ansyreeh. A sect found in the mountains of Lebanon, of Northern Syria. Like the Druses, toward whom, however, they entertain a violent hostility, and the Assassins, they have a secret mode of recognition and a secret religion, which does not appear to be well understood by them. 'However,' says Rev. Mr. Lyde, who visited them in 1852, 'there is one in which they all seem agreed, and which acts as a kind of Freemasonry in binding together the scattered members of their body, namely, secret prayers which are taught to every male child of a certain age, and are repeated at stated times, in stated places, and accompanied with religious rites.' The Ansyreeh arose about the same time with the Assassins, and, like them, their religion appears to be an ill-digested mixture of Judaism, Christianity, and Mohammedanism. To the Masonic scholars these secret sects of Syria present an interesting study, because of their supposed connection with the Templars during the Crusades, the entire results of which are yet to be investigated." -- I Mackey's 61b.
At the time that Mackey and Yarker wrote these little snippets, several competent studies had been published by members of the Société Asiatique, of France, from the 1820s on, throughout their journal, the Journal Asiatique. We shall analyze in brief, one of these in below. The secret prayers referred to by Mackey have been given in the French articles.
Now, going back to the present subject of our survey, the Brethren of Purity, it shall be seen that the Brethren of Purity had an influence on the "Sabians" -- or Harranians, for much of the famed Picatrix shows its debt of inheritance from the Rasa'il Ikhwan as Safa. From a brief resumé of the contents of the PICATRIX, by one of its translators (Martin Plessner), published on the Twilit Grotto website, [http://www.esotericarchives.com/picatrix.htm],
"This manner of writing may well be intentional, whether to make the magical sections appear less suspect by interlarding them with theoretical passages, or to make certain doctrines seem less strange by administering them in small doses, or to demonstrate the equal validity of the magical and philosophical material, or for a combination of all three reasons. At all events, a similar method of presentation is apparent in one of the principle sources of The Aim of the Sage, the encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity [Ihwân al-Safâ]."
The encyclopaedia of the Brethren of Purity had an influence on the creation of the Picatrix, which has long been considered the important work which was either a part of the corpus of materials from the Harranian cultus, and/or that which had an influence upon the Renaissance Magick which was to come about toward the end of the 15th Century c.e., in Europe. And,. before it reached Italy, Germany, and France, it sojourned several centuries in Islamic Spain. Therefore, the Picatrix is a very important work in the Authentic Tradition, and may be considered one of the Great Books of the Authentic Tradition. As to the Brethren of Purity, the most primary of sources [Encyclopaedia Britannica, 14th Edition], tells us:
"Towards the close of the 10th century the presentation of an entire scheme of knowledge, beginning with logic and mathematics, and ascending through the various departments of physical enquiry to the region of religious doctrine, was accomplished by a society which had its chief seat at Basra [sic] , the native town of al-Kindi. This society -- the Brothers of Purity or Sincerity (Ikhwªn us Safª'i) -- divided into four orders, wrought in the interests of religion no less than of science; and though its attempt to compile an encyclopaedia of existing knowledge may have been premature, it yet contributed to spread abroad a desire for further information. The proposed reconciliation between science and faith was not accomplished, because the compromise could please neither party. The 51 treatises of which this encyclopaedia consists are interspersed with apologues in true Oriental style, and the idea of goodness, of moral perfection, is as prominent an end in every discourse as it was in the alleged dream of al-Ma'mun. The materials of the work come chiefly from Aristotle, but they are conceived of in a Platonizing spirit, which places as the bond of all things a universal soul of the world with its partial or fragmentary souls." -- EB-2:187a (14th Ed., 1930).
Earlier in the present section of Book Two, we presented material from G. E. von Grünebaum's CLASSICAL ISLAM, and now we re-quote some of it:
"The Isma'iliyya never tried to become a mass movement nor tried to convert all the lower orders to its doctrine, the system allowed the inclusion of Hellenistic philosophy and science, thus appealed to the taste of the time, without compromising the basic hypothesis and thus one might say with a good conscience: the only Encyclopaedia of Knowledge which has survived from the period is from an Isma'ili Conventicle, the 'Pure Brethren' of Basra [sic] (probably started in the 970s, for it was certainly known outside in 983-4)." -- p. 110.
In another part of the same work, discussing the influence of Hellenism on Islamic philosophy,
"The growing importance of the sects is illustrated by the fact that the only attempt to make an encyclopaedic survey of all knowledge was undertaken by educated Isma'ilites. Their collection of fifty-three treatises has become famous (Rasa'il Ikhwan as-Safa); in it they attempted to embrace all the learning of their time and to present it from a consistent point of view." -- p. 135.
When we first came upon the identity of Basra with Bosra, we had already learned of the significance of the latter city, but had not known that the Brethren of Purity had been there. It was a conjecture, of course, based upon other information pertaining to the survival of the Gnostic Schools. Now we turn to a connecting link which has been discovered by other researchers, but which takes on some importance in our present survey.
One name which comes up more than once in the story is that of Raymond Lully. We quoted the Baron de Westerode's statement about the origins of the Rose-Croix of Gold, in the Johannite Legend of the Templars:
"The disciples of the Rose-Croix came, in 1188, from the East into Europe, for the propagation of Christianity after the troubles in Palestine. Three of them founded in Scotland the Order of the Masons of the East (Knights of the East), to serve as a seminary for instruction in the most sublime sciences. The Order was in existence in 1196. Edward, son of Henry III, was received into the society of the Rose-Croix by Raymond Lully." -- II Mackey's 636a.
In I Mackey's 454b, article on Raymond Lully, we read:
"In 1276 he founded a college of Franciscans at Palma, for instruction in Eastern Lore. and especially the study of the Arabic language, for which purpose he instituted several colleges between the years 1293 and 1311. He died in 1314. He was known as an eminent Rosicrucian..."
So, then, it is no surprise that we find in a book recently (by 1997 standards) published, entitled ALCHEMY & MYSTICISM: The Hermetic Museum, by Alexander Roob (Köln: Taschen, 1997), some interesting things about Raymond Lully. It seems that the system of correspondences using the number nine made its way into Europe via Raymond Lully. Did he get it from the Jews in Spain? Perhaps. The system of Nine is to be found in the Nine Degrees, in the names of God, in the whole Qabalistic table of correspondences, virtues and vices and all the rest. It is interesting to note that Lully established a school specializing in the study of the Arabic language. The combinatory figures presented in the book mentioned above are reminiscent of the figures that Trithemius produced, and the tables of combinations which Abulafia (1240-1291) devised. Perhaps Abulafia was one of these Jews who was influenced by the Pure Brethren of Bosra. Roob, in his book, is speaking of Gurdjieff's association with the Naqshbandi Dervishes. Of course, Gurdjieff was associated with Yezidis, and Adrian Gilbert even goes so far as to identify Gurdjieff's learning with the Harranians.
"The Naqshbandi are said to refer to the traditions of the secret association of the 'Pure Brothers of Basra' [sic], formed around A. D. 950. They developed an influential universal system in which Greek, Persian, Hebrew, Chinese, and Indian traditions merged beneath the overall heading of a pseudo-Pythagorean numerical mysticism. They taught that all worlds and natural phenomena are structurally based on the number nine. Their encyclopaedic writings, which 'are among the most important works in the history of Chemistry... that have come down to us from the early Arab period' (E. O. von Lippmann, ENSTEHUNG UND AUSBREITUNG DER ALCHEMIE, Berlin, 1919-1954), spread to Spain around the year 1000. Ramon Lull may have come across them in the 13th Century, using them as the foundation for his 'Ars Generalis' based on the number nine." -- Roob, p. 658.
Finally, to quote from an excellent article we first found on the Internet, a year or more ago, Pages of Medieval History, by Eloise Hart:
"A most interesting society, the Ikhwan al-Safa -- the Brotherhood, Brethren or Philosophers of Purity -- actually offered passers-by an initiation into their Garden of Splendor. 'Come, enter and enjoy rare and lovely flowers, rest beneath stately trees, taste the sweetness of fruit and drink refreshing, spring-fed water.' If any held back, skeptical or afraid, the 'wise and generous owner' gave samples of the garden's bounty to whet his appetite and entice him to step within and partake of the rich and satisfying beneficence awaiting those who live a spiritual life.
"Samples they gave, but what 'samples' they were! Not fruits or flowers at all, but choice essays from the Brotherhood's Rasa-il or Epistles, a scholarly and voluminous compendium of scientific, philosophical and metaphysical information garnered from harvests of past and contemporary cultures. Issuing this work in the last quarter of the 10th century, when other theological sects were proclaiming their unquestionable monopoly of truth, was in itself miraculous. With it the Brotherhood of Purity bridged the isolation of human differences and demonstrated that truth cannot be fragmented by accidents of race, epoch or habitat -- that the many forms of religion are but various approaches to, or degrees of, spiritual enlightenment.
"Discarding the blinders of ritual and dogma their members dedicated themselves to shun no science, scorn any book, or to cling fanatically to no single creed. For [their] own creed encompasses all the others and comprehends all the sciences generally. This creed is the consideration of all existing things, both sensible and intelligible, from beginning to end, whether hidden or overt, manifest or obscure... in so far as they all derive from a single principle, a single cause, a single world, and a single Soul. -- Ikhwan al-Safa, Rasa'il, IV, 52.
"To this end they labored, with painstaking care, to make complicated scientific teachings understandable, and to preserve -- safeguarding without divulging -- the original sanctity of occult and mystical knowledge that their own initiated members and those of other esoteric fraternities had attained through 'visual perception of the truth' while ascending into the 'Kingdom of Heaven' and receiving the instruction of angels.
"Thus in their 52 Epistles one finds delineated or hinted at the same broad range of subjects that were studied by the Sufis, Sabaeans, Druzes, Assassins and other fraternal orders of that period. The same subjects, in fact, that had been pondered upon and debated in public discussions among the groves and temple courts of Athens and Alexandria.
"But times had changed since those golden days of Greece. It was only by meeting in secret that the Brotherhood had been able to complete their monumental work. In so doing they had taken upon themselves a task destined to have wide significance: transplanting and cultivating, as it were, the vital seeds of civilization; and then, adding their own unique characteristics, they sent them out into the far reaches of the Islamic empire where later generations carried them on into 'Modern Times'.
"Fortunate today is the library that possesses the Epistles in one of its several translated and condensed editions, for therein we may 'taste' those precious samples that appeal to all who search for truth. These editions include Rasa'il Ikhwani s-Safa, printed in toto at Calcutta; Makrokosmos and Mikrokosmos, a two volume epitome of the Epistles which appeared in 1876 and 1879; Rasa'il of the Ikhwan al-Safa, translated and condensed by Khayr al-Din, 1928; and Rasa'il, Beirut, 1957 (we are indebted to A History of Islamic Philosophy by Majid Fakhry for much of our source material, including excerpts quoted from the Epistles).
"For example, in the Epistles on astronomy we find explanations of the Hermetic and Platonic teachings of worlds within worlds, visible and invisible; of how our seven planets, 'round, concave, and transparent bodies,' are arranged round each other like the layers of an onion and how the sun is the center of a moving family of planets -- an idea the Greek Aristarchus had expressed some thirteen centuries before.
"...in so far as the sun is to the heavens what the king is to his kingdom and the planets are to it what soldiers, auxiliaries, and subjects generally are to the king, and the spheres are like regions and the constellations like countries and the degrees and minutes like towns, it was enjoined by divine wisdom that it should be located at the center of the universe. -- Rasa'il, II, 30.
"Another section describes the creation of worlds and the evolution of life in details that would have impressed Darwin. It explains how manifestation unfolds through successive layers, or stratified planes down to the mineral kingdom. Where, in this lowest kingdom, the most developed mineral entities live within its highest strata and blend imperceptibly into the next higher or vegetable kingdom. Likewise the vegetable kingdom contacts, at its highest level, the animal kingdom, whose culmination is man. The most evolved men contact higher spheres and, standing between the angelic and animal orders, serve on earth as vicegerents of God.
"Time and again the pages of these Epistles echo Stoic and Hermetic epigrams: that man is the microcosm, the epitome, of the infinite universe; correspondences parallel his physical faculties and organs with those of the celestial spheres; analogies show one pattern throughout -- in earth's configuration, her meteorological phenomena and in man's physical body. Thus, in the growth of a child from embryo to maturity, they saw mirrored the soul's spiritual development: its birth a realization and true beginning of its higher vocation; its childhood, achievement in self-mastery. With maturity comes comprehension of objective and subjective world manifestations and, finally, knowledge of deity. However, such maturity, the Brethren taught, comes only through study and mastery of the mathematical sciences, including astronomy, music, geography, logic, and the arts and crafts. For through these one gains familiarity with the laws which govern both the world without and the moral-intellectual environment of worlds within. It is this understanding, when translated and applied to the problems of daily life, that assures one's progress from circumscribed provincialism into comprehension of one's true, universal Self, for 'He who knows himself best knows his Creator best.' (Rasa'il, I, 76).
"But the Brotherhood saw no sudden attainment. Gradually, they pointed out, through lifetimes of in-body confinement, man purifies his self from thoughts and desires which blind his consciousness from all but the most temporal, and often erroneous, interpretations of life and of holy scriptures -- such as in the Christian doctrine, that God was killed by the Jews; or in the Jewish, that He is a jealous and angry God; or in the Moslem, that on the Day of Judgment He will order his angels to cast sinners and infidels into a 'ditch of fire' in which they will burn forever.
"Behind the outer seeming the student was advised to find larger concepts which unify, and uplift his vision to behold 'luminous beings of loftier spheres' -- and Truth. Then, they prescribed, he shall dedicate his life, in his own particular environment, to the 'emulation of the Divinity, in proportion to human capacity.' [Rasa'il, II, 30.]
"This dedication, this lofty idealism, sustained and inspired initiated members of these mysterious medieval fraternities as well as those scholarly individuals whose writings enkindled Europe's cultural renaissance. Al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Avicenna, al-Ghazali, Maimonides, Averroes, al-Andalusi, Meister Eckhart, Raymond, the Archbishop of Toledo, the Dominican Friar Albertus Magnus of Padua, Thomas Aquinas of Naples, John of Salisbury, and many others, each in his way perpetuated those very ideals that Arabian intellectuals adopted from the Greeks, preserved and enriched, so that now we too may step across the ashes and splintered marble of the past into that 'Garden,' whose bounty is everlasting." -- Eloise Hart, Pages of Medieval Mideastern History.
Now, for those familiar with certain systems of Initiation, the similarities can be seen, particularly in the evolution of the Soul.
It is said by Munk, that the Rasa'il Ikhwan as-Safa made its way into the Jewish quarter, among the Kabbalists, after it was translated by Kalonymous ben Kalonymous, circa 14th Century c.e. In our genealogy of the Kalonymous family, we have yet to locate this particular individual. It is also said that Isaac Luria was taught by one Kalonymous, so the name undoubtedly made it past the family itself. The title of the work as translated into Hebrew was Agrath Ba'ali Chayyim. At any rate, the sublime doctrines of the Rasa'il Ikhwan as-Safa, should be regarded as a successor to the Hellenistic Schools that had to bury themselves in the Middle-East, in order to survive. And, the Gnosis, which also had to survive by migrating East. Well, it didn't really migrate too far East, since these doctrines seem to have been perpetuated through the centuries of the "Dark Ages" in the Hauran region, and other parts of Syria and Mesopotamia.
This material being present in one of the various strata of the Picatrix, suggests that our Harranians also were familiar with these works.
Finally, in some of the material we now possess concerning the Nusairi, and later sects, it is clear to us that there are connections there, too.
Christopher McIntosh tells us, concerning the preoccupations of the Tübingen Circle, that:
"A hundred and twenty years after Rosencreuz' burial, the text relates, his vault was discovered by one of the brethren, and this was the signal for the fraternity to declare itself and invite the learned of Europe to join. Again, the image of the vault is one found in many traditions. It occurs, for example, in a book called the AIM OF THE SAGE, which was circulated among a Middle-Eastern Sufi sect called the Ihwan al Saafa (the Pure Brethren), which would have been active around the time that Christian Rosencreuz was supposed to have made his journey to that region." -- The Rosicrucians: The History, Mythology, and Rituals of an Esoteric Order, p. 25.
That leaves us to draw the connecting lines from the Syrian School to the more speculative among the Crusaders and Templars who appeared in the land of Palestine.
AN INTERESTING ACCOUNT FROM THE JOURNAL ASIATIQUE.
M. Casanova, in the Jan-Feb. 1915. issue of the Journal Asiatique, offered scholars an article entitled, "An Astronomical Date in the Epistles of the Ikhwan as-Safa." In it, he demonstrates that the earliest Isma'ilis, headed by Abdallah ibn Maymun, and his teacher, Zaidan, were acquainted with the significance of cycles of astrological conjunctions. The particular conjunction of importance being that of the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction. The theory was, that the conjunction travelled, over the years, across the zodiac. For example, at the date of Mohammed's birth, which is given as 28 August 571 c.e., the conjunction entered into the Watery triplicity, in Scorpio. It then would pass through the water triplicity, the fire triplicity, the earth triplicity, and finally the air triplicity. The cycle took 240 years for each triplicity, for a total of 960 years. That would be 80 years per individual sign. The next triplicity, that of fire, was entered 3 October 809 c.e. It was to this conjunction that Zeidan prophesied a triumph of the cult of the Persian Magi over Islam. Islam had overrun the Persians, and the Magi weren't entirely thrilled about it. A movement was thus born, based upon the idea that the New Order of Things was coming, that the Persian Cult would be superior to the others, that humanity would be regenerated, and have one religion and one community. While this may not have taken place as anticipated, it did signal the birth of the Isma'ilis. From Zaidan (aka Dandan), came Abdallah ibn Maymun, whose Batini cultus we have noticed earlier. The original group moved from Persia (Iran) to Syria, after some skirmishes with the authorities. At some point the Brethren of Purity were established at Bostra. The fundamentals of the Isma'ili cultus borrowed from the Greek philosophers, from the Gnostics, from the Harranians, and from the Magian cultus. All the other groups we shall be analysing (within this paradigm, that is), save for the Harranians and the Nusairi, derived from the Isma'ili cultus. And the Nusairi, though perhaps one of the eldest of them all, drew from the Isma'ilis an Islamic veneer to give its members safety from persecution. From the Batinis came Hamdan Qarmat and the Carmathians. Later, the Fatimite Dynasty in Egypt was founded by 'Obaidallah, who the article states was descended from Abdallah ibn Maymun. In Cairo, the House of Wisdom was established. In 1047 c.e., the Conjunction would occur in the first of the Earth triplicity, and it is worth conjecturing on the importance of that period in the history of the West, in re the Crusades. Eight years after that date, the Schism took place, and the events that led to the Crusades took place, and other things took place of great importance. The Nusairi were perhaps the oldest of the groups to adopt the Isma'ili system, then came the Druzes, and after them the Assassins and the Yezidis. We mention this with the full knowledge that groups like the Yezidis drew from very old cults as did the Nusairi and Harranians.
The Rasa'il Ikhwan as-Safa can be dated back, at least, to the time of the Sa'adia Gaon and Avencebrol. The former was born 892 c.e., and flourished during the Tenth century. That being the case, the author states that traces of the Rasa'il can be found in these Jewish philosophers. As we haven't acquainted ourselves with either of them, or with the contents of the Rasa'il, we cannot say, ourselves. However, it would seem that the Ninth Century is as good a date as any for these crucial documents. Perhaps earlier.
ISMA'ILI INFLUENCES UPON THE ROSE-CROIX AND TEMPLARS
The influences upon the West by the Isma'ilis, the Sufis, the Assassins, the Yezidis and other groups, are numerous. In one aspect or another, the emissaries of each of these groups were undoubtedly very highly active when the Crusaders appeared in Palestine. When it was discovered that there were cells of Monks, Nobles, and Warriors representing Christendom that actually sought to destroy irreparably from within, the totalitarian power of the Roman See, the Learned Ones in the Near East realised that they had something in common.
Not only were they violently opposed to the "Church" they sought the destruction of Islam from within.
So, then, it would not be out of character to see some of the goodly Knights captured at scimitar point and brought, alive, to an Isma'ili preceptory. They would have been treated kindly, given plenty of good food, wine, and hashish, music and dancing girls...pleasures fit for kings.
And, while they probably forgot it all by the time it was over, and maybe a Knight or two remembered little bits, perhaps, like the ladies' gardening club meetings Marco in The Manchurian Candidate remembered, mixed with Isma'ili programming sessions...the work was regularly done.
At the beginning the Chiefs of the respective Orders met, at a place far removed from the chroniclers' pens and vellum books, diplomatically, and the Degree structure was given a Christian veneer. Orders like those of SION and the Temple were undoubtedly hatched out of other continuing stories. When their descendants, however, met up with their counterparts in the East an equal amount of respect and hatred undoubtedly was stoked. In the East, the political wing was called the Isma'iliyya; the Military wing, the Nizari, or Assassins; and the Mystical wing was known as the Sufis. This may be a bit of a generalization, but if one follows the threads we've seen, this is what we get. The Mystical, Hermetic Branch, came to be known as the Rose-Croix, whether one wants to believe the old tale that there is no relationship between the Rose-Croix and the Rosicrucians. What was the purpose of all this?
The consolidation of Power in the known world of the time. This would be conferred regularly on the best of the men sent to the East.
Rome and Baghdad both shared the Dur.An.Ki., and Constantinople, Jerusalem and Cairo provided an Axis for these two centres of power.
This was the first New World Order and United Nations after the disintegration of the Roman Empire and the overrunning of Baghdad by the Turks.
Securing of Diplomatic Relations through covert actions is not something the CIA invented. Our Ancestors did. And, thanks to information leaks, they were about as effective.
By the time the Rose-Croix resurfaced in the 17th Century, the new trend was colonization. It was a revolutionary way to get away from the Church, even if a few missionaries stowed away on the spice boats. But it didn't erase the problem. The problem followed everywhere the R+C went. So, Revolutions were planned, but the anarchists and Messianists got lost in the pandemonium of the times, and with the help of the Church they opposed, helped to reinstate the Church eventually.
But...influences -- Kabbalah, Alchemy, Hermetica, clothing, foods, culture, music, literature. It all came West, as a result of the original contact, one day, a long, long time ago in the desert land of Syria. Practical Kabbalah came from Baghdad and other Syrian and Mesopotamian schools of Jewry, to Italy, Spain, Southern France, and Southern Germany. Therefore, we are grateful to the Isma'iliyya, the Sufis, the Nizariyya, the Yezidis, Druzes and Nusairis, for the preservation, transformation, and transmission to the West, of Ancient Ideas, Rites, Practices and Techniques, which formed the basis of the Rose Croix, Freemasons, and the Illuminati. In short, the transmission of the Authentic Tradition.