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Ismaelism was so different from Islam as we know it, some theories even state that it was an anti-muslim movement, full of ezoterism, with crazy mythology... Wrote:Proclamation of the mahdi. The daee of Rayy, Abu Hatim Al-Razi (d. 934), claimed superior authority among the Qarmati daees as the lieutenant of the absent imam. He succeeded in converting a number of powerful men in the region, sent his daees throughout northwestern Iran, and maintained a correspondance with Abu tahir Al-Jannabi, who had succeeded his father, Abu Sa'id, in the leadership of the Qarmati state in Bahrain. The Qarmati daees were at this time predicting the advent of the mahdi after the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn in the year 928, an occurrence that they believed would bring the era of Islam to an end and usher in the seventh and final era. As the date approached, Abu tahir carried out daring attacks ever farther into southern Iraq and finally threatened the Abbasid capital of Baghdad itself. In 930 he sacked Mecca during the pilgrimage season, slaughtered pilgrims and inhabitants, and carried off the Black Stone of the Kabah as a sign for the end of the era of Islam. In 932 he proclaimed a young Persian from Isfahan as the expected mahdi.

Events now took a different course than had commonly been predicted by the Ismailiyyah for the coming of the mahdi. According to the erudite expert of the chronology of nations, Al-Biruni (d. 1050?), the date was chosen to coincide with the passing of fifteen hundred years after Zoroaster, the end of the year 1242 of the era of Alexander, for which prophecies ascribed to Zoroaster and Jamasp had predicted the restoration of the reign of the Magians. The Persian was said to be a Magian and a descendant of the Persian kings. His hometown of Isfahan had long been associated by the astrologers with the rise of a Persian dynasty which would conquer the Arab caliphate. The Persian is reported to have ordered the worship of fire and the cursing of all the prophets and to have licensed the most outrageous abominations. After the Persian put some Qarmati leaders to death, Abu tahir felt compelled to kill him and to avow that he had been duped by an impostor.

The significance of this episode must be judged with caution. The Persian, anti-Arab aspect was evidently a spontaneous development among the leaders of the Qarmati community of Bahrain. It does not confirm the assertions of the Muslim polemicists that the Ismaili movement originated in an anti-Islamic and anti-Arab plot of Persian dualists, but it may have given rise to them. More deeply rooted in the movement were the antinomian sentiments radically expressed in the cursing of the prophets, the founders of the religious laws. Antinomian tendencies were naturally inherent in religious thought which looked for an esoteric spiritual meaning concealed behind the exoteric surface of scripture and law. Though sometimes latent for a long time, they manifested themselves powerfully at various stages in the history of the Ismailiyyah.

Here are some crazy things they believed in:
(Ron, if you are bored with the Bible here it's for you, S5 )
Quote:The supreme God is the Absolute One, who is beyond cognizance. Through his intention (iradah) and will (mashi'ah) he created a light which he addressed with the Qur'anic creative imperative, kun (“Be!”), consisting of the letters kaf and noon. Through duplication, the first, preceding (sabiq) principle, Kuni (“be,” fem.) proceeded from them and in turn was ordered by God to create the second, following (tali) principle, Qadar (“measure, decree”). Kuni represented the female principle and Qadar, the male; together they were comprised of seven letters (the short vowels of Qadar are not considered letters in Arabic), which were called the seven higher letters (huruf ulwiyah) and were interpreted as the archetypes of the seven messenger prophets and their scriptures. In the spiritual world, Kuni created seven cherubs (karubiyah) and Qadar, on Kuni’s order, twelve spiritual ranks (hudud ruhaniyah). Another six ranks emanated from Kuni when she initially failed to recognize the existence of the creator above her. The fact that these six originated without her will through the power of the creator then moved her to recognize him with the testimony that “There is no god but God,” and to deny her own divinity. Three of these ranks were above her and three below; among the latter was Iblis, who refused Kuni’s order to submit to Qadar, the heavenly Adam, and thus became the chief devil. Kuni and Qadar also formed a pentad together with three spiritual forces, Jadd, Fath , and Khayal, which were often identified with the archangels Jibra'il, Mikha'il, and Israfil and mediated between the spiritual world and the religious hierarchy in the physical world.

Quote:In this cosmology Kuni and Qadar were replaced by the Neoplatonic Universal Intellect and Soul. God, who is beyond any attribute and name and even beyond being and non-being, has originated (abda'a) the Intellect through his divine order or volition (amr). The Intellect is described as the first originated being (Al-mubda' Al-awwal) since the amr has become united with it in existence. The Universal Soul emanated from the Intellect, and from the Soul in turn issued the seven spheres of the heavens with their stars. These spheres revolve with the Soul’s movement, producing the mixture of the four single natures—dryness, humidity, cold, and warmth—to form the composites of earth, water, air, and ether. Out of the mingling of the composites arise the plants with a vegetative soul, which in turn give rise to the animals endowed with a sensitive soul. Out of the animal realm arises the human being with a rational soul that seeks to ascend through the spiritual hierarchy and to rejoin its origin in the Intellect(Devine Nature).

More about it later,,,
The Ismailist sect of the Assassins

[Image: ZI-2UZY-2010-SPR00-LASON-13-1]
While reading about the crusades, the assassins show up. One episode was where this crusader leader was meeting an assassin leader for a deal.

The crusade leader asks something like this, "how can we know you have the authority to carry this out"?

Assassin leader says, "watch this". He commands a follower to jump off a cliff. Dumbass does it. Crusader leader shakes his hand and says, "DEAL".
This is fascinating. I'm going to give it a go, but the first link really goes nowhere. I'll just do a search on the subject. I've heard about assassination guilds in the area, but never in any depth.

Fred gave this url, it's pretty detailed stuff:
The first link goes to a registration page. Sorry. I couldn't know that when I found the page on web search.

I started to be interrested in the sect of the Ismailis after reading a book (it's an old book - pre internet era).

In short the sect of the Ismailis believed that each monotheist biblical religion makes one step higher to the previous one chronologicaly. The prophets of these religions follow each others as follow:
Adam, Noah, Abrahm, Moses, Jesus, Mohamad
Each of these prophets have created a religion which was an improvement over the former.
The Ismailis believed that Mohamad was just one prophet among others and back then, they believed that Mohamad's religion was already obsolete and that the next prophet came or was about to come.
Morevoer they consider these prophet's followers or "Imams" who came after them to be more important than the prophets themselves. That means that Imam Ali, Mohamad's gender is more important than Mohamad. That's how the shiites think too even today. The difference is that the Ismailis believed in a new religion which was being formed back then, in the 10~11 C AD. They also didn't believe in the Coran literaly.
The shiites still venerating Islam as a permanent religion, the Ismailis were a sect within the sect: They were part of the shiite sect until this difference started to conflict seriousely with coranic shiites.

Then came Hassan Sabbah aka "The Old Man On The Mountain" at the time of the Crusades. This scholar was an ultra persian nationalist who believed that the old traditions of pre-islamic Persia are the true ones and should replace Islam. As an Ismaili his view fit naturaly in the theory of ever-revolving religions. That his neo-Persian religion will be the next one after Islam.
This religion was a huge mix of Zoroastrism, proto-Judaism, Mithracism and other pagan mythologies, Assyrian and Sumerian traditions, Mystical Nestorian Christianism (very far from original christianism) and ultra-mystical Islam (parts which suited him).

He was not the first to think so, nor the only one, but the most powerful.
He tried to influence the shiite religion, which was centered at this time in Cairo, until Nuhr-el-Din invaded Egypt and Saladin abolished the shiite Califate.
In order to fight Nuhr-el-Din and then Saladin, he founded the order of the Assassins. He became very powerful althought he never succeeded in taking the power beyond a small mountainuous area in central Persia. After his death, the sect slowly degraded and was finaly defeated and disolved 70 years later by the islamized Mongols who just invaded the region.

Ismailism was re-absorbed within islamic shiism of what is now Iran without any pro-Persian anti-Islamic rethoric remaining.

Today the Imailis consider themselves as muslims and don't even remember (or don't want to remember) their anti-muslim past.

The Druzes are a branch of Ismailism albeit without any known link to the Hassan Sabbah's movement. The Druze religion being a cult to Imam Hakim.

However the Yazidis, considered as Zoroastrian, would be the descendants of this particular, non-islamic, branch of Ismailism.
That's interesting info there. Who knows why Mohammad's version took such strong long term root and this one or another one didn't?

One point here that is in consonance with Islam is the view that one monotheistic religion replaced another, each being better, so you had Judaism, Christianity and then the better, Islam.

Then with orthodox Islam it stops, Mohammad is the final prophet and clearly the best.

From a dialectic point, it isn't clear to me what logic a Muslim would have for assuming Mohammad's ideas/claims supercede Christ's especially early on. Now, just being raised a Muslim, it would be difficult to change religions, back in the 7th century, I wonder what the average Arab was thinking?

I have a guess based on what I have read about the Koran.

The Arabs that became Muslims did not have much of a clue what a canonical Gospel said( there is evidence Mohammad borrowed from some of the gnostic Gospels for example and may not have ever read an authentic Gospel).

So, here comes Mohammad with a monotheistic religion. Most pagans except in Asia and the Americas at that time were ready for worshipping a transcendent God as opposed to the nutcase pagan gods of continuity with humans. Plus, Islam is an Arabic form of Judaism, which turned on Arabs.

So, voila.

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