PROPAGANDA


1 - I have repeatedly drawn the attention of students to the fact that in the evolution of their dogma, the fact the Fatimids advanced and perfected the theory that the Mahdi, the expected Messiah, was a collective name for the succession of the Imams from the house of Ali and Fatima. Cf. the "Rise of the Fatimids", pp. 51, 122. It is difficult to ascertain, however, whether the old idea was taken as it stood, or re-discovered by an independent process of religious reasoning.

2 - Cf. also "The Alleged Founder of Ismailism", p.131. It is interesting to note that in the gnan literature, quite systematically, no difference is observed between the ordinary prophet nabi and the apostle of God, rasl . Besides, the number of these, for some reason, is invariably mentioned as 125.000, not 124,000.

3 - A modern writer, the late Shihbu'd-dn Shh (d.in 1885), in his Risala dur Haqqat-i Din pp. 33-34 of the autograph mentions a clever simile to explain the mentality of the divinisation : the light that emanates from the lamp (churagh) is not the lamp itself, but if there were no light, how could one know whether there is a lamp, what and where it is?

4 - It is unfortunate that up to now we know so little about the religion of the Nusayris who carefully hide it from everyone. Coming in contact with this people, however, one may gain the impression that it would be unreasonable to expect from their doctrines much more than from that of their neighbours the Druzes. Generally speaking, from what we already know, it is easy to recognize a certain common basic unity in the ideas of the Nusayris, Ali-Ilahis, Druzes and Satpanthis. This is the doctrine of the manifestations or avatars of the Deity in human form, and, to an extent, belief in re-birth. Although it is difficult to accept in its entirety the theory of R. Dussaud concerning the origin of the Nusayri sect (in his "Histoire et Religion des Nosairis", Paris, 1900), it seems obvious that his basic thesis of these beliefs being the survival of pre-Islamic times, and their adaptation to the Muslim outlook, is perfectly correct. The same plainly applies to the Druzes, Ali-Ilahis, and others.