Sacred Texts Journals Ismâ’ili materials
THE Ismâ’ilîyeh.—These are called by seven appellations. [1.] The Bâṭinîyeh, on account of their profession of the inward sense of the Book, beside its outward sense. For they say, that the Ḳurân has an outward and an inward sense; and as for its meaning, that its outward sense appertains to the sciences of language, and that the relation of the inward sense to the outward is like the relation of the pith to the bark. And they say that the laying hold of its outward sense punishes with fatigue in assiduous action,* and that its inward sense is an aid to the leaving off of action by its outward sense. And as respects this, they lay hold of his saying,—let him be exalted! "And so there is established between them a wall, having a gate the inward part of which, within it, is mercy, and the outward part before it, is punishment."† [2.] The Ḳarâmaṭeh, because their leader, he who levelled the high-way for their doctrine, was a man named Ḥamdân of Ḳarmaṭ,‡ which is the only place of its name, namely, Ḳarmaṭ of Wâsiṭ. [3.] The Ḥaramîyeh,§ on account of their desecration of sacred things, and allowing of things forbidden. [4.] The Sab’îyeh,‖ because they think that the Nâṭiḳs of the revealed laws, that is, the Envoys, are seven, p. 280 namely, Adam, and Nûḥ, and Ibrâhîm, and Mûsa, and ’Îsa, and Muḥammed,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! and Muḥammed the Mehdy,* the seventh of the Nâṭiḳs; and that between each two of the Nâṭiḳs there are seven Imâms, who rely upon the law of the Nâṭiḳ; and that there must of necessity be in every age seven who are imitated, and by whom direction is given, in respect to religion, who differ from one another in rank, namely, an Imâm, who aids the religion of God, who is the acme of arguments in proof of the religion of God; and a Ḥujjeh,† who relieves the Imâm, sustaining his science, and thereby authenticating him; and a Dhû-l-maṣṣah,‡ who imbibes science from the Ḥujjeh, that is, receives it from him;—these three, and also certain Bâbs, who are the Dâ’is,§ namely, an Akbar, that is a Dâ’i Akbar;‖ who is the fourth allong them, who elevates the degrees of believers; and a Dâ’i Madhûn,¶ who receives the engagements binding inquirers from among the People of the outward sense, and causes them to enter into clientship with the Imâm, and opens to them the gate of science and knowledge; and he is the fifth; and a Mukellib,** whose degree in religion is indeed elevated, but who is not licensed in respect to the office of Dâ’i, whose license on the contrary respects argumentation with men, and who accordingly argues, and renders eager for the Dâ’i, like the hunter's dog, until, when he has argued with one of the People of the outward sense, and has drawn him off from his doctrine, so that he is averse to it, and inquires after the truth, he, the Mukellib, conducts him to the Dâ’i, who p. 281 is licensed to receive the engagements binding him; (says El-Âmidy, they call such a person a Mukellib only because he is like the ravenous beast, who draws off the hunter's dog from the game, according to what he says agreeing therewith, and ye know not of ravenous beasts any which train dogs;) and he is the sixth; and a Mumin,* who follows after him, that is, pants for the Dâ’i, from whom are received the engagements binding him, and who believes, and is thoroughly acquainted with the engagement, and enters into clientship with the Imâm, and acts according to him; and he is the seventh. These, they say, are like the heavens, and the earths, and the seas, and the days of the week, and the planets which govern with a command. [5.] The Bâbekîyeh,† inasmuch as a party among them follow Bâbek El-Khurṣany in respect to going out clad in the mantle of Yemen, and in red, because they wore red in the days of Bâbek, or because they were like those who differed from them of the Muslims, in respect to the mantle. [6.] The Ismâ’ilîyeh, an account of their affirming the imamship as the right of Isma’îl Ibn Ja’far Eṣ-Ṣâdiḳ, who was the eldest of Ja’far's sons; or, as some say, on account of the derivation of their heterodoxy from Muḥammed Ibn Isma’îl.‡
And the root from which their preaching of the abrogation of the laws grew up, was the Kobâdîyeh, a sect of the Magians, who, being goaded by Islam, aimed to allegorize the laws in certain ways coming back to the principles of their forefathers;§ that is to say, they assembled, and reminded one another of the position of undivided rule which their forefathers held, and said, "There is no way for us to eject the Muslims by the sword, on account p. 282 of their superiority, and their possession of the seats of empire; but let us use stratagem, by allegorizing their laws, with a view to a coming back to our principles, leading on by degrees the weak among them; and so that will necessitate their being at variance with one another, and the shaking of their system." And their head, in respect to that,* was Ḥamdân of Ḳarmaṭ, or, as some say, ’Abdallah Ibn Meimûn El-Ḳaddaḥ.†
And in calling and leading on men, they have degrees of finesse; which comprehends [1.] the judging by the countenance of the state of the person called, whether he is favorable to the call, or not; and the saying, "Thou wilt make excuse for the putting of the germ into the trunk,"‡ that is, for the call of one not favorable, is in accordance with that; and they refuse to dispute "in a house where there is a lamp," that is, in a place where there is a doctor of the law, or a metaphysician; and then [2.] the familiarizing oneself with the inclination of every one of those called, with that which he inclines to, as respects his desire, and his native bent, pertaining to withdrawment from the world, and free living; and so, if he inclines to withdrawment from the world, it is set off in fair colors before him, and its opposite is depreciated; and if he inclines to free living, that is set off in fair colors before him, and its opposite is depreciated, until the man is thereby gained; and then [3.] the causing to doubt in respect to the corner-stones of the law, and the abbreviations of the surahs,§ in that one says, "What is the meaning of the isolated letters in the beginnings of the surahs? and of the statute requiring woman in her menses to fast, without a statute requiring her to pray, that is, why is one needful, and not the other? and of the necessity of ablution on account of the seminal discharge, and not of the urine? and of the number of the p. 283 prostrations in prayer, that is, why are they in some cases four, and in some, three, and in some, two?"—and so on to things remote from these; and the reason why they thus render them doubtful, and cause to inquire the answer in regard to these things, is that they may be inquired of, on their return, respecting them; and then [4.] the confirmation, which includes two things, namely, first, the receiving of the engagement from the candidate, in that they say that God's Sunneh has had currency by the receiving of engagements and pledges, and alledge, in proof of that, his saying,—let him be exalted! "And when we received from the Prophets their engagements,"* and then receive, with receiving, his engagement, made in accordance with a firm belief, on his part, that no secret thing is hidden from them; and second, the obligating him, in behalf of the Imâm, with respect to the clearing up of that which he is confused about, of the things which one presents to him; because it is he who knows them, and the candidate has no command of them until he elevates himself to something of the degree which pertains to him, and comes to the Imâm; and then [5.] the imposition, which is the pretension of agreement with them on the part of the great in religious and worldly affairs,† so that the candidate may be more in favor of that to which one calls him; and then [6.] the putting upon a foundation, which is the arranging of premises to which he who is called is favorable, and which he grants, which point him to that false doctrine to which one calls him; and then [7.] the divestiture, which is the causing to rest in the neglect of corporeal actions; and then [8.] the despoiling of the firm beliefs of religion.
And when an affair of calling has gone so far, they set about to abrogate prohibitions, and to incite to indulgence in pleasures, and to allegorize the laws, agreeably to their saying that the partial washing signifies friendship to the Imâm; and as for the entire washing, that it is the receiving by hearsay from the Madhûn, when the Imâm is hidden, what prayer is; and that prayer signifies the Nâṭiḳ, who is the Envoy, as is proved by his saying,—let him be exalted! "Verily, prayer restrains from depravity and crime;"‡ and that the having nocturnal pollution signifies p. 284 the divulging of one of their secrets to one who is not of the people to whom it belongs, without any object in so doing; and the ablution of the whole body, the renewal of the pledge; and alms-giving, the purification of the soul by knowledge of the religion which they profess; and the Ka’beh, the Prophet, and the gate [of the Ka’beh,] ’Aly; and Eṣ-Ṣafâ, ’Aly, and El-Marweh,* the Prophet; and the place of rendezvous of pilgrims,† the familiarizing;‡ and the bending,§ the responding to the call; and the circling of the House seven times, friendship to the seven Imâms; and the Garden, the repose of bodies from duty; and the Fire, the severity of toil in duty;—and so on to other of their ravings.
And their doctrine is, that God is not existent, nor non-existent; neither knowing, nor ignorant; neither powerful, nor weak;—and so on, as to all the attributes; and that because veritable affirmation requires the association of him with things existent, which is an anthropomorphism; while absolute denial requires the association of him with things non-existent, which is a making void. But that, on the contrary, he is necessarily possessed of these attributes, and the Lord of contraries.‖ And often they blend their system with the system of the Philosophers, and accordingly say that he,—let him be exalted! produced by his Amr the perfect Intelligence, and that by means of that was the production of the Soul, which is not perfect; and so, that the Soul yearns after the perfect Intelligence, seeking to be quickened by it; and consequently, that there is a requiring of motion from incompleteness to completion; and that motion is perfected only through its [the Soul's] restlessness; and so, that the bodies of the celestial spheres originate, and move with a circular movement, as governed by the Soul; and so, that by means of them originate the simple elementary p. 285 natural properties; and that by means of the simples originate the composites, namely, minerals, and plants, and the species of animals; and that the most excellent of them is man, on account of his preparedness for the effusion upon him of the Lights of the Holy One, and his connection with the higher world; and that, as the higher world contains a perfect Universal Intelligence, and an imperfect Universal Soul, which is the source of beings, so there is in the lower world a perfect Intelligence, which is a means of deliverance, by likeness in it to the relation of the primitive Soul to the primitive Intelligence, in what relates to the causing of beings to exist; and that that is the Imâm, who is a Nâṭiḳ-Legatee; and that, as the celestial spheres move as moved by the Intelligence and the Soul, in like manner living souls move to deliverance, as moved by the Nâṭiḳ and the Legatee,—that it is so in every age and period.
Says El-Âmidy, Such were the opinions of some senseless person; and when El-Ḥasan Ibn Muḥammed Eṣ-Ṣabbâḥ appeared,* he exerted himself, and the call assumed that he was the Ḥujjeh, who relieves the Imâm, whom no period may be without. And the sum of his system was that which took the precedence, respecting the need of the teacher. Moreover, he prohibited common people from meddling with the sciences, and people of note from looking into the ancient Books, lest their disgraces should be exposed. And afterwards they became Philosophers, and ceased not to make sport of the canons of religious ordinances and legal commands; and they entrenched themselves in fortresses, and their power increased, and any kings whose vezirs were of their party, feared calamity, for they made a show of neglecting duties, and openly desecrated sacred things, and became like brute beasts, without any religious control, or legal restraint.
Says he [the author] respecting the Tâtârkhânîyeh,† And in the year 577, the doctors of the law of Samarḳand were p. 286 asked,—respecting a man who makes a show of Islâm, and prays, and fasts, and makes a show of the profession of unity, and belief in Muḥammed,—let peace be to him! for many years, and afterwards confesses, saying, "As for me, I have been, during these past years, a firm believer according to the doctrine of the Ḳarâmaṭeh, and I have been a Dâ’i to men; and now I am a convert, and return to Islâm," and makes now a show of that which he before made a show of, pertaining to the religion of Islâm, only that he is suspected to hold the doctrine of the Ḳarâmaṭeh, as if he were among them,—what the sentence is as to his blood, and his property, and his effects, while the occasion of his exposing himself, and his confession, is that he has been found out, and it were idle, until he confesses his doctrine, to put him to death.
’Abd-El-Karîm Ibn Muḥammed said, "The putting to death of the Ḳarâmaṭeh, universally, is a necessary thing, and their being treated without discrimination, a statute, because they are veritably apostate unbelievers, and their influence to corrupt the religion of Islâm is greater than any other, and the injury which they do, the greatest of injuries."
Abû-l-Ḥasan Muḥammed Sa’îd said, "It may be said of this man of whom mention is made, as Abû Ḥanîfeh,—let God be merciful to him! is related to have said respecting a Ḳadary* who said, in the presence of Abû Ḥanîfeh, 'I am a convert;' Abû Ḥanîfeh, namely,—let God be merciful to him! said, 'Conversion on thy part is that thou returnest to all whom thou hast led astray, and callest them to the truth, and sayest, "As for me, I have been holding falsehood."'
And Abû-l-Ḳâsim ’Abd-El-Raḥmân Ibn El-Ḥusein Eṣ-Ṣaffâr said, "With regard to the like of these, namely, the Ḳarâmaṭeh, whenever we cause them to be found out, the obligation rests upon the Sultân, in the first instance, and upon the doctors of the law of the Muslims, in the second instance, to set it down to their account to put them to death, and to eradicate them, not admitting, on their part, either conversion, or apology."
And Abû Muḥammed ’Abd-El-Karîm Ibn Muḥammed said, "As for all who act openly, of the Ḳarâmaṭeh,—let p. 287 God abandon them! as firm believers according to their doctrine, and become Dâ’is of men to it, they are not, after that, sincere in their pretension of conversion, and return to Islâm; because they are not truly converted, and make a show, on their part, of that which they make a show of, only after the manner of piety, for the safety of themselves, and their property, and their families, and their children, or something thereof; for a certain one said, 'Methinks that to pray, which profits not, is advantageous among Imâms,' and he was one of the Party of the Impious; to which his pupil said, 'O my preceptor, what avails this assiduity, while we acknowledge the faith?'* whereupon he said, 'It is on account of the custom of the country, and for the protection of family and children.' So then, if we were to admit, on their part, that which they pretend of conversion, they would make that turn out to the overthrow of Islâm and the laws; and the injury to the Muslims would be greater than that which happens to them of injury from those with whom they are at war. And accordingly, one of our men tells us that the doctors of the law in Balkh have decided in favor of shedding the blood of the Ḳarâmaṭeh, and burning up their houses, after they have declared themselves of their opinion; and so some of them were beaten with thongs, and afterwards put to death."
And Abû Selimeh Muḥammed Ibn Dâwûd Esh-Shâfi’y, said, "Whoever bruits this vile doctrine, and makes a show, on his part, of the call to it, let not any conversion be admitted on his part, but on the contrary let him be put to death. And Abû Se’îd El-Iṣṭakhry, one of our men, was of this opinion, and said, 'Some of our men have distinguished that which marks the apostate in the follower of Ḳarmaṭ, with respect to conversion. And if the follower of Ḳarmaṭ is an apostate, he lets go the manifest senses of words, and calls up their hidden senses; and so, when he with his tongue makes a show of conversion on his part, it may be that, together with that, he declares something hidden, which he pretends, as his tongue happens to express it, after the manner of piety; and he gives out that he is already converted, so that his being a Muslim may not be judged of. p. 288 And as for the apostate other than the follower of Ḳarmaṭ, because he calls not up the hidden senses of words, as the follower of Ḳarmaṭ does, and he was a Muslim originally, whenever he professes Islâm, he returns, and we know that he is converted. Verily he,—let him be exalted! says, "So then, what shall be the portion of those who fight against God and his Envoy, and exert themselves to corrupt the earth? etc.,"*—which is directed against those who exert themselves to corrupt the earth; but religion is worthier and prior, because that which religion enjoins is of more moment, to be cared for, than the earth, in every respect, and prior to it."'
The above is in brief what was said.
And an inquiry was proposed to the Sheikh el-Islâm, the Seal of profound investigators, of the party of Ḥanbal, Taḳḳy ed-dîn Ibn Yatmiyeh, the form of which was as follows:† "What say the learned seignors, the Imâms of religion,—let God be gracious to them all, and aid them to manifest the plain truth, and to cover the fair show of errorists! respecting the Nuṣairîyeh, who declare the lawfulness of wine, and the transmigration of spirits, and the eternity of the world; and profess to deny the awakening,‡ and the gathering, and the resurrection, and the Garden and the Fire, in another than the life which is of this world; and declare that the five prayers signify five names, which are ’Aly, and El-Ḥasan, and El-Ḥusein, and Muḥsin, and Fâṭimeh, so that the mentioning of these five suffices them, in place of the ablution of the whole body, on account of sexual intercourse, and the partial washing, and the other conditions of prayer, and its essentials; and that fasting, in their opinion, signifies three men, and is the name of three women, all of whom they enumerate in their books, to mention whom particularly there is no room here; and that their Deity, who created the heavens and earth, is ’Aly Ibn Abû; Ṭâlib,—let God be gracious to him! so that he, in the p. 289 opinion, is the Deity in the heavens, and the Imâm on the earth; and the philosophy which maintains the manifestation of the Deity in this humanity, is based upon their view that he enters into familiarity with his creatures in order that he may teach them how they may know him, and serve him;—and that the Nuṣairy becomes not, in their opinion, a believing Nuṣairy, whom they will sit with, and in company with whom they will drink, and whom they will let into their secrets, and to whom they will give in marriage of their women, until his teacher addresses him; and the substance of the address, in their opinion, is that they make him swear to the concealment of his religion, and the knowledge of his elders and the great ones among the people of his doctrine, and that he will consult no Muslim, nor any others, excepting those who are of the people of his religion, and that he acknowledges his Imâm, and his Lord, as manifested in his revolutions and his periods, and so acknowledges the transmission of the Ism and the Ma’na* in every epoch and age. And the Ism, in their opinion, among the first of men, was Adam, and the Ma’na, Shait;† and the Ism, Ya’ḳûb, and the Ma’na, Yûsuf; and they use to prove this representation, as they think, that which is in the Ḳurân, namely, a story about Ya’ḳûb and Yûsuf;—let peace be to them both! and accordingly say, "What was Ya’ḳûb? as for him, he was the Ism, for what power exceeds its station?‡ and he says, 'Presently, I will ask pardon for you of my Lord; verily, he is the Pardoner, the Compassionate;'§ and as for Yûsuf, he was the Ma’na who is asked, and so he says, 'There is no reprimanding of you this day, God pardons you,'‖ and brings not in the authority of another, because he knows that he is the absolute Deity." And they lay it down that Mûsa was the Ism, and Yûshû’a, the Ma’na, and say, "As for Yûshû’a, the sun yielded to him, after he had commanded it, and obeyed his command; and does the sun yield to any one except its Lord?" And they lay it down that Suleimân was the Ism, and Âṣaf; the Ma’na, and say, "Suleimân was impotent to cause to be present the throne of Belḳîs, and Âṣaf had power to do it, because Suleimân p. 290 was the Ism, and Âṣaf was the Ma’na, the Potent, the Powerful."* And they enumerate the Prophets and the Messengers, one by one, after the manner of this talk, up to the time of the Envoy of God,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! and so they say that Muḥammed was the Ism, and ’Aly, the Ma’na; and they carry on the enumeration, in this order, through every age, up to our time. So much for this.
But it is a part of the substance of religion, and of the address, in their opinion, that instruction be given that ’Aly is the Lord; and Muḥammed, the Veil; and Selmân, the Gate; and that these, in this order, have not ceased, and will not cease to be. And to the rhyming which is famous among them, of some of their extravagances, belongs the saying of one, the accursed, the disbeliever in God,—let him be exalted! "I testify that there is no Deity, except, the Lion with bald temples and big belly;† and no Veil to him, except Muḥammed the Just, the Faithful; and no Way to him, except Selmân the Possessor of power, the Stedfast." And in like manner, there are the five Solitaries,‡ and the twelve Naḳîbs,§ whose names are made known, according to them, in their detestable books; for they cease not to proclaim the Lord, the Veil, and the Gate, in every revolution and period, forever, without end. Also, that the Iblîs of Iblîses was ’Omar Ibn El-Khaṭṭâb,—let God be gracious to him! and that the next in the rank of Iblîses was Abû Bekr, and then ’Othmân,—let God be gracious to them, and clear them, and elevate their rank above the sayings of the Heretics, and the profession of the self-devoting Extravagants! and they cease not, at any time, to exist, according to what they tell.
And there are ramifications and subdivisions to their doctrines, which come back to these fundamental principles mentioned.
And this accursed sect has possessed itself of a great part of the country of Syria, so that they are known, noted, and declare themselves, as holding this doctrine; and all who have had intercourse with them, of the government-agents of the Muslims, and their learned men, and of the common people, also, up to the present time, have verified the state of the case in respect to them. For, during the time that the heretic Franks held possession of the country, it was unknown to many, how it stood with them; but after the days of Islâm came,* the state of the case in respect to them was discovered, and their departure from the right way was manifested, and the proof of them was very abundant.
So then, is it allowed to the Muslim to take a wife from among them, and is the eating of their sacrifices permitted, while the state of the case is such? And what is the sentence in respect to the cheese made from the curdled milk of one of their animals offered in sacrifice? And what is the sentence in respect to their vessels, and their garments, also? And is the burying of them among the Muslims allowed, or not? And is it allowed to employ any of them on the frontiers of the Muslims, and to entrust them to them? or, on the other hand, is it obligatory upon the prefect of command† to displace them, and to employ other men, of the trusty Muslims? And does he do wrong, when he commands to turn them off, and to employ others than them? or, on the other hand, is it allowed to him to grant delay, in case this is determined upon? And when he employs them, and afterwards displaces them, or does not displace them, is it allowed to him to invest the monies of the Public Treasury on their responsibility? And is the shedding of the blood of the said Nuṣairîyeh lawful? And is their property a thing decided upon as free to be taken, or not? And when the prefect of command makes war upon them, does God,—let him be exalted! aid him in the extinction of their false doctrine, and in the ejection of them from the fortresses of the Muslims, and in the warning of the people of Islâm against intermarrying with them, and eating their sacrifices, and in the commanding of them p. 292 to fast, and pray, and in the preventing of them from making a show of their false religion? And is he who wars with the said Nuṣairîyeh counted as one who mounts a cavalier? and is his recompense like the recompense of him who mounts a cavalier on the frontiers, on the shore of the Sea,* through fear of an invasion of the Franks? or has this one a greater recompense? And is it obligatory upon any one who knows the said persons, and their doctrines, to divulge what they are, and to help to do away with their false doctrine, and the proclaiming of the Imâm on their part, so that God,—let him be exalted! may perhaps regard their offspring and their children as Muslims? or, on the other hand, is it allowed to him to be unconcerned, and to let things take their course? And what is the recompense of him who labors assiduously for that, and is zealous for it, and intent upon it?
Have they spoken explicitly respecting these things, as assisted, and aided, and recompensed, if God,—let him be exalted! wills?"
The answer respecting this, in the hand-writing of the Sheikh Taḳḳy ed-dîn Ibn Yatmiyeh,—may God,—let him be exalted! be merciful to him! was as follows: "As for these people, denominated the Nuṣairîyeh, they and the other classes of the mystical Ḳarâmaṭeh,† are more unbelieving than the Jews and the Christians; nay, more unbelieving than many idolaters; and the injury which they do to the community of Muḥammed,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! is greater than the injury done by warring infidels, such as the infidels of the Turks and Franks, and others. For these meet the warring of the Muslims by affecting to be Shî’ah, while, in reality, they believe not in God, nor in his Envoy, nor in his Book, nor in any command, nor in any prohibition, nor in any reward, nor in any penalty, nor in any Garden, nor in any Fire, nor in any one of the messengers preceding our Prophet Muḥammed,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! nor in any of the former religions; nay, they take up the word of God and his Envoy, acknowledged among p. 293 the Muslims, to allegorize it agreeably to certain things which they are full of, pretending that they constitute the science of the hidden sense, such as those mentioned by the inquirer, and others not of this sort. For, as for them, they have no set limit as to that which they pretend of heresy respecting the names of the Creator, and his signs,* and of perversion of the word of God,—let him be exalted! and the word of his Envoy, to the doing away of its positions, inasmuch as their intention is to deny the faith and the laws of Islâm, altogether; while at the same time they hold out that these things have their realities, known to them, which are such sort of things as the inquirer has mentioned, and such as their saying that the five prayers are the knowledge of their secrets; and the prescribed fasting, the concealment of their secrets; and the pilgrimage to the Ancient House,† the visiting of their sheikhs; and that the two hands of Abû Lahab‡ were Abû Bekr and ’Omar,—let God be gracious to them both! and that the Great Prophet, and the Evident Imâm, was ’Aly Ibn Abû Ṭâlib,—let God be gracious to him!
And they are the authors of some well-known charges, and some books composed, in hostility to Islâm and its people. And so, whenever it is in their power, they shed the blood of the Muslims, as they put to death, once upon a time, the pilgrims to Mekkeh, and cast them into Zemzem, and, once upon a time, took off the Black Stone, which remained with them a long while, and put to death a multitude which only God,—let him be exalted! can compute, of the learned men of the Muslims, and their elders, and their princes, and their troops.§
And it is said that they have composed many books, and that what the inquirer mentions is in them, and other things. And the learned men of the Muslims have composed books disclosing their secrets, and have therein made evident the infidelity, and the Zendiḳism,‖ and the heresy, which they profess, inasmuch as they are herein more p. 294 unbelieving than the Jews, or than the Christians, or than those who worship idols.
And as for that which the inquirer has mentioned by way of describing them, it is a little out of the much of that which is known to learned men, as descriptive of them. And it is, among other things, known among them, that the Christians possessed themselves of the sea-coasts of Syria only by means of them, who are always in league with every enemy to the Muslims, and so were leagued with the Christians against the Muslims. And one of the greatest of calamities, in their opinion, was the Muslims coming off superior over the Tâtârs;* and one of the greatest of their rejoicings was when the Christians,—and reverse is God's appointment,—possessed themselves of the frontiers of the Muslims, which ceased not to be under the power of the Muslims, as far as the island of Cyprus, (conquered by the Muslims in the khalifate of the Prince of the believers ’Othmân Ibn ’Affân,—let God be gracious to him! which Mu’âwiyeh, the son of Abû Sufyân,—let God be gracious to them both! conquered,†) up to the middle of the fourth century; when these combattants against God and his Envoy multiplied on the sea-coasts and elsewhere, and so the Christians possessed themselves of the sea-board; and afterwards, owing to them, possessed themselves of the Holy City, and other places. For the circumstances of the case as respects them were among the most potent occasions thereof; after which, when God had raised up kings of the Muslims who warred in the way of God, such as Nûr ed-dîn the martyr, and Ṣalâḥ-ed-dîn, and their successors, and they had conquered the sea-coasts from the Christians, and those who were in league with them, and had also conquered the land of Egypt, they held possession of them about two hundred years, and were at peace with them and the Christians, for, until they had conquered the country, the Muslims made war upon them; p. 295 and within that period, the call of Islâm was published in the country of Egypt, and in that of Syria.*
And they have certain appellations affixed to them among the Muslims. Sometimes, they are called the Mellâḥeh;† and sometimes they are called the Ḳarâmaṭeh; and sometimes thay are caled Nâshîyeh;‡ and sometimes thay are called the Nuṣairîyeh; and sometimes they are caled the Ḥaramîyeh;§ and sometimes they are caled the Muḥammareh.‖ And as for these names, some of them belong to them in common, and some are peculiar to some of their classes, just as the name formed from the fourth conjugation salama,¶ and that formed from the fourth conjugation of amana,** belongs to the Muslims in common, while some of them have names peculiar to them, either by parentage, or by country, or on account of something else."
And he [Ibn Yatmiyeh] comments upon their purposes, at some length, as follows: "so then, they consist of those who are outwardly Râfiḍheh,†† and inwardly pure infidels. And the truth of the matter in respect to them is, that they believe not in any one of the Prophets and the Messengers, neither in Nûh, or in Ibrâhîm, nor in Mûsa, nor in ’Îsa, nor in Muḥammed,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! nor in any of the Books of God, sent down from above, neither in the Law, nor in the Gospel, nor in the Psalms, nor in the Distinguisher. And they do not maintain that the world had a Creator who created it, nor that there is any religion of his which he commands, nor that he is provided with any state of being in which he recompenses men for their actions, other than the present state. And sometimes, they base their profession of belief in accordance with the doctrines of the Philosophers, naturalistic, or deistic, upon that of the Mutaḳashshifeh,‡‡ and p. 296 that of the Magians who worship fire; and to that add a mingling of Râfiḍhism, and falsify, reporting, for instance as a tradition handed down from the Prophet,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! that he said "The first thing that God created was the Intelligence, and he said to it, 'Approach,' and it approached, and he said to it, 'Retire,' and it retired;" and perverting the Prophet's expressions to such a degree that one of them writes, "The name of God,—let him be exalted! is on the lower part of his legs."* And they deny what the Prophets have communicated.
And the learned men of the Muslims are already agreed that, as for such as these, intermarriage with them is not allowed, so that a man may not use one of them as his concubine, nor take one of them as his wife; and that their sacrifices are not to be partaken of. And, as for cheese made from their curdled milk, learned men say two things which are well known, respecting it, as in respect to other curdled milk of a dead animal, and the curdled milk of the Magians, and the curdled milk of the Franks, of whom it is said that they do not slay victims for sacrifice. The doctrine, then, of Abû Ḥanîfeh,—let God be gracious to him!—and I give praise in making one of the two citations,—is that this cheese is allowed, because the curdled milk becomes not dead with the death of the beast, and the impure receptacle in the belly affects it not with a pollution. And the doctrine of Mâlik and of Esh-Shâfi’y,—and I give praise in making the other citation,—is that this cheese is impure, because, in their opinion, the curdled milk is impure, for the milk of a dead animal and its curdled milk are, in their opinion, impure; and of whomsoever the sacrifice may not be partaken of; his sacrifice is like a dead animal. And as for their vessels, and their garments, they are like the vessels of the Magians, and the garments of the Magians, according to what is known of the doctrines of the Imâms; and The The Ṣaḥîḥ,† on that point, says that "their vessels should not be used, except after they have been p. 297 washed; for their sacrifices are dead animals; and so, of necessity, if any part of what they cook of their sacrifices reaches those of their vessels which are made use of, they are thereby polluted." But as for the vessels which one is not obliged to regard as rendered impure, they may be used without any washing, such as vessels for milk, in which they leave not their bouillons, and which they wash before putting milk into them. And ’Omar,—let God be gracious to him! indeed, performed his ablutions with the jar of a Christian woman, respecting the impurity of which he doubted; so that he did not judge it to be impure, by doubting. And it is not allowed to bury them in the burial-places of the Muslims; nor to pronounce the benediction upon any of them who die. For God,—let him be exalted! forbade his Prophet,—let the divine benediction and peace be to him! to pronounce the benediction upon hypocrites, such as ’Abdallah Ibn Ubeiy, and those about him, who made a show of praying, and alms-giving, and fasting, and warring on the side of the Muslims, not making openly any declaration which was at variance with the religion of the Muslims, but keeping such difference secret. Says God,—let him be exalted! "And thou mayest not pronounce the benediction upon any one of them who dies, ever, and thou mayest not preside over his burial; verily, they disbelieve in God and his Envoy, and die as wicked persons."* How shall it be, then, with these, who, together with Zendiḳism and hypocrisy, make a show of infidelity and heresy? And as for the employing of such as these on the frontiers of the Muslims, and in their fortresses, or among their troops, that is a great error, equal to one's employing wolves to pasture sheep. For they are the most treacherous of men toward the Muslims, and the prefects of their commands, and the most eager of men for the p. 298 corruption of the religion of Islâm and the empire of Muḥammed. And they are worse than the lurker about in the army; for, as for him who lurks about, he has an aim which concerns either the commander of the armys or the enemy; while their aims concern our religion, and its Prophet, and its rites, and its kings, and its learned men, and its common people, and its people of note. And they are the most eager of men to entrust the fortresses to the enemies of the Muslims, and to alienate the troops from the prefect of command, and to withdraw them from obedience to him. So then, it is obligatory upon the prefects of commands to displace them from the rolls of fighting men, whether in a fortress, or elsewhere than in a fortress, while the harm they do in a fortress is most serious; and that they employ, instead of them, believing men, who hold to the religion of Islâm, and the admonition of God, and his Envoy, and the Imâms of the Muslims. And when they make a show of conversion, respecting that there is a dispute among learned men. So then, those who admit their conversion, bind them to the observance of the law of Islâm, and impose upon them tribute of their effects; and those who admit it not, reject their ranking as of their class, so that whatever is theirs reverts to the Public Treasury. But, as for these, whenever they are taken up, they make a show of conversion, inasmuch as one accommodates his doctrine to piety and the hiding of what is the case with them; and there are those among them who are acquainted with their religion, and those who are not so. So that the way, respecting that, is to look out for what is the case with them; and that they be not suffered to congregate; and that they be not empowered to bear arms,—not even if they make a part of the fighting men; and that they be bound to the observance of the laws of Islâm, namely, the five prayers, and the reading of the Ḳurân; and that some one stay among them, who may teach them the religion of Islâm, and interpose between them and their teachers. And let them be prohibited from making a part of the cavalry, and of the bearers of arms, and of those clad in the coats of mail which the fighting men wear; and they may not stay among the troops, just as neither a Jew nor a Christian may stay among the troops. And let them be bound to the observance of the laws of Islâm. p. 299 And it is not allowed to anyone to leave them at the extremity of the frontiers.
This is according to that which God,—let him be exalted! says, namely, "Do ye regard the giving of water to the pilgrim to Mekkeh, and the visiting of the Mosque, as ye regard one's believing in God and the day which is to come, and warring on the side of God? They are not alike in God's estimation, and God directs not wicked people. Those who believe, and leave their homes, and war on the side of God, staking their effects and their lives, are highest in degree in God's esteem; and as for those, they are those who are saved. Their Lord announces to them the gladness of mercy from him, and grace; and there are gardens for them, in which is enduring pleasure, where they shall abide forever. With God is great recompense."* And God,—glory be to him! is the Knowing One.
* Meaning that it obliges to go through laborious outward observances.
† See Ḳurân, Sur. lvii. v. 13. The "wall" spoken of in this passage, is properly a wall separating "believers" from "hypocrites" in a future state.
‡ This person, commonly called Ḳarmaṭ, was the leader of a faction among the Ismâ’ilis, which separated itself A. H. 277, i. e. A. D. 890-1, and afterwards became fearfully celebrated under the name of the Ḳarmaṭis, or the Hashîshis. See De Sacy's Exposé de la Relig. des Druzes, Tome i. Introd. pp. 166, ff. Wâsiṭ, within the territory of which Ḥamdân is said by our author to have originated, was on the Tigris, at about the same distance, fifty parasangs, from Baṣrah, Kûfeh, Ahwâz and Baghdâd. See Reinaud and De Slane's Géographie d'Aboulféda, p. 307.
§ i. e. Party of the illegal.
‖ i. e. Party of the number seven.
* i. e. Way of direction. The Muḥammed so designated was a son of Isma’îl Ibn Ja’far Eṣ-Ṣâdiḳ. Being the Nâṭiḳ of the seventh and last period of the Ismâ’ilis, this personage is to be considered as the originator of their party. Their first existence as a separate sect may therefore be placed in the latter part of the second century of the Hijrah, that is, the latter part of the eighth, or the beginning of the ninth, century of our era. See De Sacy's Exposé de la Relig. des Druzes, Tome i. Introd. pp, 66-7.
† i. e. Argument, literally.
‡ i. e. Imbiber.
§ The Ismâ’ilian missionaries are called Bâbs, i. e. Gates, with reference to their being a medium of access to the Imâm.
‖ i. e. Greater Dâ’i, or Head Missionary. The Ismâ’ilis, in carrying on their proselytism, formed dioceses, over each of which some one Dâ’i presided.
¶ i. e. Licensed Dâ’i.
** i. e. Dog-trainer. The ground of this appellation appears in what immediately follows.
* i e. Believer.
† i. e. Party of the Followers of Bâbek. These were, originally at least, of that subdivision of the Ismâ’ilis called the Extravagant Shi's. See Weil's Geschichte der Chalifen, Bd. ii. s. 236-6. The appellation El-Khurṣany, here given to Bâbek, should undoubtedly be El-Khursany, ###, as a relative adjective, in an abridged form, from ###, Khorâsân, the country where Bâbek mustered his followers, in the reign of the Khalîfeh Mamûn.
‡ See note * p. 280.
§ From this it would appear that the Magian party established by Mazdak, whom the Sâsânide king Kobâd patronized, survived the death of its founder, and existed, bearing a name derived from its royal patron, at the time of the inroads of Islâm into Persia. See note * p. 264.
* That is, the leader of the Ismâ’ilis in respect to the imitation of the Kobâdiyeh, in annulling the laws of Islâm by allegorical interpretation.
† De Sacy supposes that this person lived about the middle of the century of the Hijrah, that is, about A. D. 864. See Exposé de la Relig. des Druzes, Tome i. Introd. p. 160.
‡ A saying, apparently, of the Ismâ’ilis, meaning that to impart instruction to one not fit to receive it is not allowed. According to Von Hammer, quoting El-Jorjâny, the saying was that seed should not be thrown into a saline soil. See Journal Asiatique, Tome vi. p. 333.
§ i. e. The chapters of the Ḳurân.
* Ḳurân, Sur. xxxiii v. 7.
† See p. 262.
‡ Ḳurân Sur. xxix. v. 44.
* This and Eṣ-Ṣafâ are the two hills, near Mekkeh, between which the Muslim pilgrim performs a seven times repeated ceremonial walk, on coming to the holy city. See Travels in Arabia, by John Lewis Burckhardt, vol. i. pp. 174-6.
† That is, after the ceremonies on first coming to Mekkeh. See Burckhardt's Travels in Arabia, vol. i. pp. 179-80.
‡ Meaning the associating oneself with the Ismâ’ilis.
§ Meaning the performance of reka’hs, or prostrations, before the seven times repeated walk around the Ka’beh. See Burckhardt's Travels in Arabia vol. i. p. 172.
‖ See page 264.
* See page 267, ff.
† El-Âmidy now proceeds to state opinions which had been recently delivered by the fakîhs of Samarḳand, relative to the Ḳarmaṭis. The appellation of the Tâtârkhânîyeh which he here gives them, without any explanation, is deserving of attention. It must certainly be inferred from it, that the followers of Ḳarmaṭi had, in process of time, become so associated with some people among the Northern hordes, which in the thirteenth century of our era were pressing in upon the old empire of the Khalîfehs, that a name significant of such an association would be generally understood as applicable to them.
* See note ¶ p. 276.
* Meaning the principles involving the abrogation of all outward observances.
* Ḳurân, Sur. v. v. 37. But there is a slight variation from the common reading in this quotation. The passage properly reads, "The portion of those etc. is only that etc."
† Here begins the third part of this document. See p. 261.
‡ By this is intended, I suppose, the awakening of the dead, in their graves, to be examined by the angels Munkir and Nakîr, and to receive from them a foretaste of their final allotments.
* The Nuṣairis are here represented as holding that the Deity in name, the Ism, and the Deity in reality, the Ma’na, appear in every age.
‡ Its original.
§ See Ḳurân, Sur. xii. v. 99.
‖ Ibid., v. 92.
* See Ḳurân, Sur. xxvii. vv. 38-40. Âṣaf is not named in the Ḳurân, but El-Beiḍhâwy allows the interpretation which attributes to him the miracle here referred to. See Beidawii Commentarius in Coranum, ed. H. O. Fleischer, vol. ii. p. 69.
† A well-known sobriquet of ’Aly, among the Muslims, is the Lion of God.
‡ Meaning, probably, Ḥujjahs without manifested Imâms. The document, referred to in the Introduction, which I have set aside for the present, teaches that the number of the Imâms is seven, while that of the Ḥujjahs is twelve, without, however, admitting the doctrine of the disappearance of the Imâm.
§ i. e. Administrators, a name given to the Ḥujjahs of the Imâms.
* This refers to the victories of Ṣalâḥ ed-dîn over the Christians, in the latter part of the twelfth century of our era. See Vita et Res Gestae Saladini, ed. Albertus Schultens, pp. 34, ff.
† Meaning the provincial governor.
* The Mediterranean.
† It seems to have been understood, when Ibn Yatmiyeh gave the following opinion, that the Nusairis were a class of the Ḳarmaṭis.
* Meaning the verses of the Ḳurân.
† The Ka’beh.
‡ Abû Lahab, an uncle of Muḥammed, was one of his most implacable enemies.
§ This refers to the taking of Mekkeh by the followers of Ḳarmaṭ, under Abû Ṭâhir, A. H. 317, i. e. A. D. 929-30. See Mémoires de l'Institut, Tome iv. p. 5.
‖ Or, Magism.
* Alluding, probably, to the discomfiture and repulse which the Mongols received, when they at length invaded Syria, in the beginning of the fourteenth century of our era. See Abulfedae Annales Muslemici, ed. J. J. Reiske, Tome v. pp. 172, ff.
† Abulfeda assigns this conquest of Cyprus by Mu’âwiyeh to the year of the Hijrah 28, i. e. A. D. 648-9. See Abulfedae Annales Muslemici, Tome i. p. 262.
* This statement of the relations existing between the Nuṣairis and the Christians in Syria, from the middle of the tenth century of our era down into the fourteenth century, the period when Ibn Yatmiyeh himself lived, can not fail to be regarded with interest, as it is believed to be quite new.
† i. e. Party of the Sellers of salt, probably. I think it has been said by some one, that, at the present day, Nuṣairis come to Beirût to sell salt.
‡ i. e. Party of the inebriates.
§ See note § p. 279.
‖ See note ‖ p. 273.
¶ Meaning the name El-Muslimûn.
** Meaning the name El-Muminûn.
†† See note † p. 276.
‡‡ i. e. Party of the Squalid. The Brâhman Hermits, or Buddhist Mendicants, are probably referred to here.
* May not the saying here attributed to the Nuṣairis, be an imitation of what is said of the "Word of God" in Rev. xix. 16. "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords?"
† Probably The Ṣaḥîḥ of El-Bukhâry, which is the most esteemed of the collections of authentic traditions bearing this name.
* Ḳurân, Sur. ix. v. 85. In El-Beiḍhâwy's commentary on this verse we read, "It is reported by tradition that ’Abdallah Ibn Ubeiy called for the Prophet of God, during his illness; and after he had entered where he was, he asked him to forgive him, and that he would wrap him for burial in the covering which was next his body, and would pronounce the benediction over him. So, after he was dead, he [the Prophet] sent his tunic that he might be wrapt in it for burial, and went out to pronounce the benediction over him; whereupon the verse came down, etc." See Beidhawii Comm. in Coran., vol. i. p. 396; and compare Mohammed der Prophet, von Dr. Gustav Weil, s. 283.
* Ḳurân, Sur. ix. vv. 19-22.