History and Thought of the Ismailis in the Early Alamut Period
What is it about?
When the Mongols invaded the Near East, they burned down the valuable Ismaili Muslim library at Alamut. Almost no sources survived. However, newly discovered manuscripts contain what appears to be one of the oldest Ismaili texts from the period, a treatise on "Recognizing God," by Khwaja Qasim Tushtari, which is introduced here. Drawing on the testimony of the Persian historians, the article sheds light on pivotal figures of the period, including Hasan-i Sabbah, Ra'is Muzaffar, Sultan Sanjar and others. It also analyzes a number of Ismaili concepts, such as the Ismaili leadership structure of the hujjat, mu'allim, ra'is, and mukhi.
Why is it important?
While recent scholarship has gradually increased our knowledge of Ismailism at Alamut from the time of the Imam Hasan 'ala dhikrihi l-salam (d. 561/1166) onward, our knowledge of the earlier period suffers from a dearth of sources. This article contributes to our understanding of this formative period of Nizari Ismaili history.
The following have contributed to this page: Shafique Virani
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