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12.0 The Fatimid Da'i Al-Mu'ayyad: His Life

AI-Mu'ayyad fid-din Abu Nasr Hibat Allah b. Abi 'Imran Musa b. Da'ud ash-Shirazi was born in Shiraz not later than 387/997 and died in Cairo 470/1077. He lived during the time of the Fatimid Caliphs al-Hakim (386-41 2/996-1021), az-Zahir (412-427/1021-1036) and al-Mustansir (427-48 1036-1094). He was contemporary with the changeover from the Buyid to the Saljuq Sultanate und the 'Abbasid Caliphate, as well as the Arab bedouin Hilalian invasion of North Africa, the Fatimiid encouraged invasion of Baghdad by al-Basasiri, the Battle of Manzikert in Anatolia, the rise of the Sulayhids of Yaman and the advent of the Armnenian General Badr al-Jamali in Egypt. His autobiography, as-Sira. spells out his master-passion, namely the prevention of the coming of Saljuq Turks to the Central lands of Islam, in which he failed. However, as Chief Da'i of Fatimid State from 450-470/1058-1077. he witnessed and shaped some of the major events of the time mentioned above.

Early Life

Al-Mu'ayyad belonged to an influential Daylami lsmaili family. He and a brother of his were initiated in the Fatimid Da'wa of Persia by their father who was himself a da'i, working under a superior da'i to whom the Caliph al-Hakim's Chief Da'i in Cairo, Hamid ad-din al-Kirrnani, wrote a letter (Risale Mabasim al-basharat) protesting the independent appointment of al-Muayyad and his brother in the Persian Da'wa. AI-Muayyad's father became important enough to be visited by the Wazir Abu Ghalib Fakhr al-Mulk al-Wasiti (as-Sira, 15) the Wazir of the Buyid Amir Baha ad-Dawla.

Al-Mu'ayyad himself entered the service of Buyid Amir Abu Kalijar (r. at Shiraz 415/1024 Baghdad, 435/1044 until 440/1048) at Shiraz 429/1038. He received the patronage of the Wazir Bahram b. Mafanna al-'Adil (b. 360 - d. 433/1041) and was opposed by the Qadi 'Abd Allah 436/1044) (Farsnama, 118). Al-Mu'ayyad had support of the local Daylami Shi'ite community towards whom the Turkish troops of the ruler were hostile.

He engaged in religious controversies, conducted seances of learning (al-Majals), read the Fatimid Khutba in the mosque of Ahwaz and even went to the extent of asking Abu Kalijar to correspond with the Fatimid Caliph (as-Sira, 55)

The Abbasid Caliph al-Qadir (381-422/991-1031) had taken the initiative in issuing a manifesto against the Fatimid origin of the Egyptian Caliphs in 402/1011. The next Abbasid Caliph al-Qa'im (422-467/1031-1075) had appointed as his advisor, Ibn al-Muslima an avowed enemy of the last Buyids and the chief promoter of Abbasid-Saljuq solidarity. He was now responsible for bringing pressure on Abu Kalijar through the Qadi lbn al-Mushtari to extradite al-Mu'ayyad from Persia. A letter from the Abbasid Caliph even threatened to ask the Saijuq leader Tughril Beg to invade Shiraz (as-Sira, 63-64)

In the meantime Tughril Beg had won the battle of Dandanaqan in 429/1038 against the Ghaznavids and occupied Khurasan. The Abbasid Caliph al-Qaim had sent the famous qadi al-Mawardi on two missions to Tughril in 434/1042 and 435/1043 shortly after Tughril's entry into Ray (al-Muntazam, Vlll, 113). Soon after that Tughril minted coins in 437/1045. Ibn ar-Rawandi: (Rahat as-sudur, 105) and adopted the title of Sultan in 438/1046 (Miles. Num. Hist) The Abbasid Caliph and Ibn al- Muslima urged Tughril to proceed to Egypt via Asia Minor (Byzantine territory) and used him to encourage the Ziri Amir North Africa, Mu'izz b. Badis (r. 406-453/1015-1061 to change the Fatimid Khutba for the 'Abbasid (as-sira 56- 57; al-ltti'az, Istanbul ms. in ldris, Glances, 302-303, Ibn 'Idhari: al-Bayan I, 275) .

Al-Mu'ayyad thought it wise to leave Persia about the beginning of 438/1046 although he did so unwillingly. He travelled to Jannaba, long-time home of the Qarmatians, then to the territory of a bedouin chief, Mansur b. Husayn near Ahwaz, where he tarried for seven months. Then he went to Shapur from where he was again pressured out by the Oadi lbn al-Mushtari, and arrived in the Hilia of the bedouin tribal chief Dubays b. Mazid al-Asadi, (as-Sira', 69-73). From here he proceeded to Kufa and Mawsil which were then in the hands of Qirwash b. al-Muqallad of Bani 'Uqayl who had recently received an investiture from the Fatimid Caliph (as-Sira, 74). At Mawsil, where he remained till the end of the year, he received a letter from Abu Kalijar informing him of the danger of the Turkomans. Abu Kalijar conveyed through him a message of friendship for the Fatimid Caliph (as-Sira, 76).In early 439/1047 at-Mu'ayyad arrived in Egypt.

Egypt was under the Caliph al-Mustansir, then about twenty years old. The power rested mainly in the hands of the Queen-Mother and the Jewish merchant Abu Sa'd al-Tustari. The Wazir was alFallahi, a protege of Abu Sa'd and the Qadi was al-Qasim b. 'Abd al-'Aziz b. Muhammad b. an-Nu'man, who was also the Chief Da'i.. Al-Mu'ayyad did not like these officers and their intrigues, although he has some good words for al-Fallahi (as-Sira, 81-84). Al-Fallahi had Abu Sa'd killed and was in turn assassinated by the agents of the Queen Mother, who included al-Yazuri, who then became a wazir. Al-Yazuri dismissed Ibn Nu'man and took over as the Qadi and the Chief Da'i. He also secured the exile to Syria of Abu I-Barakat who had briefly preceded him as a wazir (as-Sira 85-89). Al-Mu'ayyad was appointed to the Diwan al-insha' (secretariat) in 440/1048 on a monthly salary of 1000 dinars and wrote the religious sermons (al-Majalis) for al-Yazuri. (as-Sira, 89-90) Al-Mu'ayyad gives us an interesting information about the presence of a Buyid Prince Abu 'Ali in the Fatimid Court (as-Siras 87).

Al-Mu'ayyad in Syria and Iraq

In 447/1055 Tughril had entered Baghdad with his wazir al-Kundari; the last Buyid Amir Al-Malik ar-Rahim was removed to Ray and on the insistence of lbn al-Muslima, Baghdad's military commander, Abu I-Harith Arslan al-Basasiri, was ousted from the Capital. The Fatimid manoeuvres now included a letter from al-Mu'ayyad, in Persian, to al-Kundari in an attempt at reconciliation with the Saljuqs, which failed; and a letter from al-Mu'ayyad to al-Basasiri which was well received. Al-Basasiri promised to take an action against the Saljuqs from his new headquarters at Rahba, provided he received Fatimid help. (as-Sira, 94-96).

Al-Mu'ayyad was now sent by the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir and the Wazir al-Yazuri on a mission to the Syrian Amirs and particularly to al-Basasiri, with an army of 3000 Arab troops from Bani Kalb and a store of provisions. He was to be an Ambassador-at-large with a free hand in negotiations and awards of material and gifts with the sole purpose of ousting the Saljuqs from Baghdad and taking the Abbasid capital.

He first came to Sur (Tyre) in the court of the autonomous ruler al-Qadi 'Ayn ad-Dawla Abu 1-Hasan Muhammad of the Aqil family. His plan was to march across the territory of the Mirdasid Chief Thimal b. Salih, ruler of Aleppo, and to join with al-Basasiri at Rahba. lbn Aqil advised him against it; and the Fatimid governor of Damascus, Haydara, was undecided. At last al-Mu'ayyad decided to open negotiations with lbn Salih to which al-Yazuri was opposed. From the Secretariat in Cairo, a letter, in the handwriting of the Oadi al-Quda'i. arrived, denouncing al-Mu'ayyad's policy, but our Da'i remained adamant. (as-Sira, 97-107)

Al-Mu'ayyad's and lbn Salih's forces met in the vicinity of Homs. From there they marched together to Ma'arrat an-Nu'man to join with a section of al-Basasiri's army. Together, the allies proceeded to Aleppo to establish their headquarters. An oath of allegiance to the Fatimid Caliph was taken by the allied chiefs and gifts were distributed to them. (as-Sira, 107-108) Abu Nasr Ahmad b. Marwan, the ruler of Mayyafariqin and Diyar-Bekir wrote to at-Mu'ayyad and complained of the discontinuance of Fatimid gifts to him, which were once again promised to him by our 'Da'i, should he stop supporting the Turkomans. (as-Sira, 109-113).

Al-Mu'ayyad then contacted the Numayri Chief lbn Waththab, who ruled the region between Khabur and Rahba, but the latter refused to join because of his enmity with Ibn Salih. (as-Sira, 119-120) At last the allied troops converged on Rahba where they had a grand rendezvous with al-Basasiri. Al- Mu'ayyad bestowed robes of honour and promised gifts. He read a sermonand bound all parties to a covenant with the Caliph al-Mustansir in Safar 448/April 1056. (as-Sira. 1 22-124).

Dubays b. Mazid al-Asadi of Hilla and Quraysh b. Badran al-'Uqayil of Mawsil, were allied with Tughril, but were reluctant to have their sons sent as hostages to the Saljuq camp. Al-Mu'ayyad contacted them. Dubays parlayed until he received money but he could not support al-Mu'ayyad because of his enmity of lbn Salih and jealously of al-Basasiri. (as-Sira, 124-130).

Quraysh b. Badran remained hostile, a battle was fought against him at Sinjar and Mawsil was occupied. The Fatimid Khutba was read there. However, due to Dubays b. Mazid's intervention, Ouraysh was protected. (as-Sira, 134-135).

Kufa and Wasit now read the Fatimid Khutba while at Wasit coins were even minted in the name of al-Mustansir, in 448/1056. (as-Sira, 136-137) The Arab leaders wanted to take Amid, while al- Mu'ayyad from his headquarters al-Qayyara wanted them to encircle Baghdad and trap the Turkoman army north of the Capital. Al-Basasiri was extremely annoyed at the hostility of his Arab allies and considered leniency to Quraysh b. Badran a betrayal. Under the circumstances, al-Mu'ayyad wrote frantic letters to all allied leaders and distributed more money freshly arrived from Cairo. (as-Sira, 136-153).

Al-Mu'ayyad wrote again to Tughril's wazir al-Kundari but to no avail. Quraysh b. Badran and Dubays b. Mazid, through the intermediary, Ibn Warram, negotiated peace with Tughril who promised them Mawsit and southern Iraq respectively. But since al-Basasiri found no such accommodation, he remained loyal to the fatimid cause. (as-Sira,154-157)

Saljuq action now against Diyar Bekir and Mawsil forced the Numayri chief lbn Waththab and the 'Uqayli chief lbn Marwan to join the Fatimid camp of al-Mu'ayyad and al-Basasiri. Al-Mu'ayyad then went to Aleppo and reprimanded Thimal b. Salih for misappropriating some Fatimid funds. lbn Salih remained insolent and refused to aid the new allies. Al-Mu'ayyad managed with Cairo sending a new governor over Aleppo - lbn Mulhim - and assisted in the deposal of lbn Salih. This was at the end of 449/1057. (as-Sira, 171 -1 7 5).

At this point a dramatic incident happened. lbrahim Yinal. Tughril's half-brother who had taken Mawsil from Quraysh now sent a secret mission to him and to al-Basasiri. They directed the envoy to al-Mu'ayyad at Aleppo. lbrahim was planning to revolt against Tughril and to read the Fatimid Khutba in return for Fatimid help. This help was promised. Al-Mu'ayyad gave instructions to al-Basasiri to attack Baghdad immediately, and told him that he was proceeding to Cairo to arrange regular reinforcements for him. (as-Siral 175-176).

In Cairo, the wazir al-Yazuri was arrested on charges of negotiating with the enemy and was executed in Tinnis in Muharram 450/Feb. 1058. He was followed by the wazir al-Babili and then by the wazir lbn. al-Maghribi. Their emissaries tried to stop al-Mu ayyad on his way to Egypt, asking him to return to Aleppo: but the latter, defying their orders, nevertheless, reached Cairo (as- Sira, 176-178).

lbrahim b. Yinal had left Mawsil, leaving behind just a small garrison commanded by the General Khumartagin, and departed for the Jibal province. This was interpreted by Tughril as a revolt and he proceeded to Ray to apprehend lbrahim, which he did. lbrahim was executed and his revolt crushed. In the meantime Quraysh b. Badran and al-Basasiri took Mawsil and eliminated the Turkish garrison. They, however, pardoned Khumartagi'n, who was destined to be the person responsible for al-Basasiri's defeat and death (as-Sira, 179-182; al-Kamil, 439-40 and 444).

Al-Mu'ayyad's autobiography ends at this point.

Al-Basasiri incident:

Al-Basasiri and Quraysh marched towards Baghdad in D'hu'I-Qa'da 450/1058. Most of Tughril's army was away on Nawruz leave. The rest were occupied suppressing the revolt of Ibrahim Yinal. Quraysh camped on the west bank of the Euphrates. AI-Basasiri entered Baghdad via the suburb of Karkh.The Caliph's palace was sacked. The Caliph al-Qa'im and 1bn al-Muslima escaped and took refuge with Ouraysh. On al-Basasiri's demand ibn-al-Muslima was surrendered and was crucified till he died in great agony. Ouraysh, however, refused to surrender the Caliph and sent him away to his cousin Muharish to be kept in safe custody at the fortress of Haditha Ana, where he was later rescued by Tughril. Al-Basasiri treated Tughril's niece, who was also the Caliph's wife, with great respect and chivalry. 'Amid al-Iraq and and Ibn Ma'mun (Ibn al-Muslima's envoy to Tughril) were executed. The Chief Qadi ad-Damighani purchased his freedom by a huge ransom.

The Fatimid khutba was read in Karkh, Baghdad, Wasit, Basra and in many other parts of Iraq. This continued for forty Fridays, almost until the end of 451/1059. Egypt was en fete. A palace was reserved for the imprisoned Abbasid Caliph, who, however, did not arrive. Al-Mu'ayyad wrote an impassioned qasida on the occasion of al-Basasiri's victory (Diwan, 281).

In Dhu 1-Hijja 451/Jan. 1060 Tughril's general Khumartagin fought a bloody battle hear Kufa in which al~Basasiri was killed. Tughril re-entered Baghdad, and the Saljuq rule was now firmly established. The Iraqi venture left the Egyptian treasury almost empty and the Fatimid State vulnerable to many misfortunes as we shall notice later (al-Kamil and Khitat under yrs. 450 and 451 H.).

Al-Mu'ayyad in Egypt (450-467/1058-1074);

Manzikert; Daral-lim:

On his return from Syria. al-Mu'ayyad was coldly received by the Wazir lbn al-Maghribi (as-Sira, 178) but was appointed as the Head of the Da'wa organisation (Da'id-Du'at or Bab al-Abwab) in 450/1058 and as such must have been in a position to send help to al-Basasiri till the completion of his campaign (Akhbar Misri 10; 'Uyun-ms.-Vil, fol. 58).

Ibn as-Sayrafi informs us that for a short while al-Mu'ayyad was exiled to Syria. This was done on the initiative of the Wazir 'Abd Allah b. Yahya b. al-Mudabbir who assumed office in 453/ 1061. Then at the interval of every few months there was a change in the wazirate. The fifth in this series. Abu 'Ali Ahmad b. 'Abd al-Hakim b. Sa'id, who took up office in 454/1062, adopted the title of Da'id-Du'at, but perhaps he did so against the Caliph's wish. In any case he enjoyed the title only for a short time, for soon after we find al-Mu'ayyad in Cairo, in charge of the office of the Chief Da'i, receiving an envoy from Yaman in the same year.

Between the death of the wazir al-Yazuri in 449/ 1057 and the arrival of the Commander Badr al-Jamali in 467/1074, Egypt was engulfed in great administrative crises. During this period 40 wazirs and 42 qadis were changed and famine and plague stalked the country. During these difficult days the only person who remained in the confidence of the Caliph al-Mustansir was the Chief Da'i al-Mua'yyad who remained in office constantly. In all diplomatic exchanges of the Fatimids where the Saljuqs were involved, af-Mu'ayyad's role must be inferred.

For four years (454-459/1062-1066) a soldier of fortune, Nasir ad-Dawla from the Hamdanid family of Syria, tyrannised Egypt by leading the Turkish and Berber troops against the Sudani troops of the Caliph. There was looting and plundering of the city and. the country which resulted in the great famine of 459-464/1066-1071 called ash-shiddat al-uzma. When the Caliph led his troops personally against Nasir ad-Dawla, the latter installed himself in the Delta and ran a parallel government from Alexandria and- Dimyat. It is from here that he invited the second Saljuq Sultan Alp Arslan to invade Egypt, and in 462/1070 even proceeded to read the 'Abbasid khutba in the towns of the Delta. (al-itti'az - Istanbul ms.-yr. 462 H.). In fact Alp Arslan came to Aleppo and was about to proceed from there to Damascus and Egypt, when he was diverted by the Byzantine Emperor Romanus Diogenes to Manzikert in Armenia where a decisive battle took place in 463/1071. Just before the battle a secret Fatimid embassy had arrived in Constantinople under the qadi al-Quda'i, which may explain the Emperor's sudden action against Alp Arslan, (Zubda, 11, 1 3-1 4) ; and in the constant administrative flux at Cairo, we may infer the policy-making of the only major administrator holding office continuously, namely al-Mu'ayyad. Although the Byzantine Emperor was defeated, Alp Arslan, once diverted from his westward course, could never return. In some of the darkest days of Fatimid history, its diplomacy saved the Fatimid State.

Al-Mu'ayyad was appointed the head of the Academy of Science (Dar al-'Iim) in Cairo, which was also the headquarters of the Da'wa and became the residence of al-Mu'ayyad. Dar al-'Ilm had originally been founded by the Caliph al-Hakim. It is from here that he directed the Da'wa affairs throughout the Fatimid sphere of influence particularly Persia, Yaman, Bahrayn and Northern and Western India and we shall notice presently his connections with these areas. .('Uyun - ms. - fols. 59-63, 65).

Al-Mu'ayyad and Abul-Ala:

Let me digress to describe a peculiar relationship between our da'i and the famous writer and poet of the time, Abul-'Ala' al-Ma'arri (363-449/973-1057). Al-Mu'ayyad could have passed by Ma'arratan-Nu'man, the home-town of the poet in 438/1046; and was definitely there in 448/1056. He could have met the poet then or could have corresponded with him from Cairo. This correspondence is preserved both in our da'i's Majalis and in Yaqut's Mujam al-Udaba, and was studied by Margoliouth (J.R.A.S.-1902-p. 289 seq.). Al-Mu'ayyad criticises Abul-'Ala's ideas in favour of vegetarianism, with great respect for the latter, and using only rational and not shar'i argurnents.

Al-Mu'ayyad also refuted lbn ar-Rawandi's mu'tazilite ideas contained in his Kitab az-zumurrudh studied by P. Kraus, R.S.O.- 1934-pp. 93-129.

Al-Mu'ayyad and Nasir-i-Khusraw-The Persian Da'wa

Nasir-i-Khusraw (394-470/1003-1077), the famous Persian da'i and poet, visited Cairo in 439/ 1047, the same year in which al-Mu'ayyad had also arrived. He never mentions al-Mu'ayyad in his Safar- nameh but this is probably because at-Mu'ayyad had not yet attained an important position and his acquaintance with him, if any, would have been slight. After al-Mu'ayyad was given charge of the Da'wa at home and abroad, he must have come in close touch with the activities of Nasir in Khurasan. In a poem written in 455/1063 (Diwan, 173-177) Nasir praises al-Mua-yyad as his master (teacher) and refers to him as the "Warden of the Gate" (Bab). There are other direct references in Nasir's Diwan (313-314).

Persia, Khurasan and Central Asia had witnessed in the past great activity of the lsmaili mission, which attempted to penetrate even the court circles of the Ziyarids, the Samanids and the Buyids. The breeding ground of lsmailism had been the Daylami highlands. Great Da'i-authors operated here. such as Abu Hatim ar-Razi, an-Nasafi and Abu Ya'qub as-Sijistani, from before the establishment of the Fatimid Caliphate until the time of Caliph al-Hakim, in whose court arrived from Persia another luminary, the Da'i Hamid ad-Din al-Kirmani. Many Qarmatian bands were dominated by Persian dissidents from the Fatimid Da'wa; and the very early lsmaili secret society called lkhwan as-Safa (Brethren of Purity) were also mainly a Persian group. We have noticed the activities of our Da'i al-Mu'ayyad who was also a Persian.

Now Persia and Central Asia needed a person of great calibre and Nasir-i-Khusraw was appointed Hujjat-e-Khurasan on his return from Egypt in 444/1052. He has left us, in his Safar-nameh: a most vivid account of the splendour of Egypt in a comparatively-disturbed period of its history. Nasir, unlike the earlier Persian da'is, wrote not in Arabic, but in Persian. On his return he began work in Mazanderan and the Daylam region and in Khurasan, but Saljuqid pressure forced him out to his retreat in Yumagan in Badakhshan territory, in the Ghaznawid realm, where he wrote most of his works and ended his days sometime between 465 and 470;1072-1077. His poems show that his only contact in the Da'wa headquarters in Cairo was with al-Mu'ayyad, under whose direction the Persian and Central Asian Da'wa was managed. (Ivanow Nasir-i-Khusraw, Bombay, 1948).

Al-Mu'ayyad, the lthna- Asharis and the Qarmatians:

Since al-Mu'ayyad's aim was to isolate and defeat the Saljuqs and the orthodox Caliphate of the 'Abbasids, he wanted to create a wide Shi'i alliance under the leadership of the Fatimid Caliphate and to play down the inner Shi'ite differences.

The Arab bedouin chiefs in Syria and Iraq, such as Thimal b. Salih of Aleppo and Dubays b. Mazid of Hilia, were of Shi'ite persuasion, because the people of the territories they ruled were so. Their racial and religious antipathy to the Saljuqs according to al-Mu'ayyad, could draw them nearer to the Fatimids, although they might not accept lsmailism as such.

It is in pursuance of this policy that al-Mu'ayyad praises the lmam Musa al-Kazim, the initiator of the lthna 'Ashari line, and attacks lbn al-Muslima's action in 443/1051 in destroying lmam Musa's tomb (al- Mu'ayyad's Diwan, No. 23). Nowhere in al-Mu'ayyad's works do we find polemics against any non-lsmaili Shi'i faction, except for example certain controversies that were forced on him, such as his dialogue with a Zaydi'alim in Abu Kalijar's court (as-Sira, 57-60).

As for the Qarmatians of Bahrayn, we know that they and the Fatimids were part of the same lsmaili movement, but differences in policy, doctrines and the question of the headquarters of the Caliphate made them a distinct group. At times they opposed the Fatimids, for example under their leaders Abu Sa'id at-Jannabi and Hasan al-A'sam: and at times they collaborated with the Fatimids, as under Abu Tahir at-Jannabi. Since the time of the Fatimid Caliph al-Hakim they had coexisted peacefully with the Fatimids without any hostility.

The Da'i Nasir-i-Khusraw on his return from Egypt passed through their territory on the Persian Gulf, and found there a commune of 20,000 inhabitants managing an idyllic society and a State (Lewis: Origins of Ismailism 99-100). The visit of a Fatimid da'i to their territory is itself an evidence of good relations.

Al-Mu'ayyad and the Sulayhids - The Yamani Da'wa:

In the early days of the lsma'iii mission when it was searching for a homeland where it could establish its Caliphate, Yaman was one of the choices. The Da'i Abu I-Qasim b. Hawshab Mansur al-Yaman arrived here in 260/873 and succeeded in conquering San 'a' and establishing the first Isma'ili political base in 268/881. Later when al-Mahdi founded the Fatimid Caliphate in North Africa in 297/909, lbn Hawshab declared his loyalty but his colleague, the da'i Ali b. al-Fadl revolted and joined the Qarmatian platform. On the death of lbn Hawshab 302/914, the Fatimid Caliph let the lsmaili political power drift away, on purpose, and called lbn Hawshab's son Ja'far to the Maghrib where he was put in charge of the Da'wa. (al-Iftitah, 32-71).

The Fatimid interest now was concentrated in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean areas and Yaman was of no particular use in its trade or strategy. But by the time of the Caliph al-Mustansir, in the 5th/1 lth centuries, Fatimid influence in the Mediterranean regions had shrunk considerably, and it was forced to look southwards to Yaman and eastwards to India.

In Yaman a skeleton Dawa (religious, not political) had been maintained throughout the interim period. This Da'wa was now encouraged to revive the idea of establishing an lsma'ili State. From the Sulayhi family of Banu Hamdan a young man called 'Ali b. Muhammad was chosen to be a Da'i in command in' Yaman. He declared his mission at Mt. Masar in 439/1047 and by 450/1058 captured San 'a' in a triangular conflict between him. the Ya'furids and the Zaydi, Imarnat of Sa'da. In the fotrowing, years, he took Janad, Adan and finally Zabid from the Najahids, and by 455/1063 he was master of all Yaman and Hadramawt. He was now the Da'i-Sultan of Yaman, but the chief of the religious Da'wa under him was the Da'i and Qadi Lamak b. Malik al-Hammadi, who served as a link between Cairo and San'a. Between 454-459/1062-1066 when Egypt was ravaged by the adventurer Nasir ad-Dawla, Qadi Lamak stayed withal-Mu'ayyad at the Daral-'Ilm. The main purpose of his embassy was the desire of 'Ali b. Muhammad as-Sulayhi to come to Egypt to restore law and order in the Fatimid State. The idea may have been initiated by al-Mu'ayyad, but the time was not yet thought to be ripe for such an action. In any case the embassy ended on the death of 'Ali at the pilgrimage in 459/ Oct. 1067. (Da'i Hatim: Tuhfa in Oriens, 23-24, 1972).

The works of the Yamani authors of the Da'wa from 6 th/12th century onwards until the transference of the Da'wa's headquarters to India in 944/1537 amply bear out the impact of al-Mu'ayyad's ideas and teachings. References to at-Mu'ayyad's works are so numerous that it would be impossible to enumerate them here. Only one need be mentioned, namely Kitab Jami' al-haqa'iq in 2 Vols. by the third Da'i 1-mutlaq of Yaman, Hatim b. lbrahim al-Hamidi (d. 596/1199) which contains a summary of 800 seances al-Mu'ayyad contained in his 8 Vols. of al-Majalis.

Al-Mu'ayyad and India:

After the Da'i lbn Hawshab had established himself in Yaman he sent in 270/883 his nephew al-Haythem as a da'i to Sind and a near-contemporary authority, al-Qadi an-Nu'man (d. 3631974), in his Iftitah attests the spread of the Da'wa in other parts of India. Two Isma'iii states accepting Fatimid sovereignty existed in Pakistan a century after that, namely in Multan from 354/965 to 401/1010 and in Mansurah from 401/1010 to 416/1025, both of which were swept away by the invasion of Mahmud of Ghazna. Later in 443/1051, another lsma'ili dynasty called the Sumra founded a State at Thatta which lasted for 3 centuries until 752/1351. Its inception was at the time of the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir. We have no evidence of al-Mu'ayyad's contacts with them for the sheer reason that no local lsma'ili sources have survived. But as it was the practice of the Central Da'wa to keep in touch with the lsma'iii bases abroad al-Mu'ayyad's influence in this area can be inferred. (See my monograph. The Beginnings of the Isma'ili Da'wa in Northern India, Cairo, 1956).

On the west coast of India, the lsma'iii religious Da'wa was revived soon after the establishment of the Sulayhid State in Yaman. On Da'i Lamak's return to Yaman in 460/1067 from his mission to the Central Da'i at-Md'ayyad in Cairo, he sent one Da'i 'Abd Allah to Cambay in Gujrat where he is reported to have converted the Raja Siddhraj Jaysingh Solankhi and his ministers Bharmal and Tarmat. (Khwaj b. Malik: Maimu 'ar-rasa'il, 10). The author of ar-Risalat azzahira (p. 11) adds: "He (i.e. 'Abd Allah) was sent from Yaman by orders of one from whom he learned and acquired knowledge, namely one of the learned people of Yaman, Larnak b. Malik al-Hammadi by name. who followed the orders of, and attributed his origin (that of his learning) to this source, namely the perfect, learned and unique scholar Hibat Allah b. Musa from Shiraz."

The spread of the Da'wa in Deccan and its origin in al-Mu'ayyad is mentioned by Khwaj b. Malik in his Majmu' (p. 1 3) as follows:' In the district of Deccan there is a village called Daham Gam. lman (faith) spread in this district from this village, just as in Gujrat it spread from Cambay. In this village there were two .men who acquired knowledge, then proceeded from India, in the time of al-Mustansir, to Egypt and joined the lsma'ili faith at the bidding of Sayyidna al-Mu'ayyad from whom they acquired much knowledge. Their names were Lam Nath and Rup Nath (later called Mawla'i Nurad-Din). Both of them returned from Egypt to their native village, Daham Gam, where their tombs still exist near Aurangabad."

Although Khwaj b. Malik died in 1002/1693 and the time of the author of ar-Risalat az-zahira is not known, both are late sources. In so far as they preserve the local Indian lsma'ili tradition, (but in terms of the Indian 'Dawa an early tradition) and in absence of contrary evidence their information must be accepted. . -

Two of al-Mu'ayyad's own qasidas throw some light on his connections with India. For instance he claims: "I have known Egypt. Syria, Hijaz- and Yaman; before that Persia and 'Iraq to the extent of Sind- in their prosperity and decline (Diwan, No. 20, p. 251). Again referring to the following of the Fatimid Caliph, he says: "Among his (i.e. Caliph's) followers are the Indians (Hunud), a cautious people and a group (jii) on the Byzantine territory." (Diwan, No. 5, p. 218).

The Works of al-Mu'ayyad:

An annotated list of al-Mu'ayyad's works can be found in Ivanow's Isma'ili Literature, Teheran, 1963. Since this list is not complete the following is reproduced from the present author's doctoral thesis (1950).

Genuine Works:

1. Diwan, published by Kamil Hasayn. Cairo l949. Al-Mu'ayyad admits in his Sira (pp. 166-167) that he is not a good poet. However, his Diwan, dedicated to the Caliphs az-Zahir and al-Mustansir has a devotional and historical value, for it abounds in references to people and events. Qasidas 47 and 61 are not by al-Mu'ayyad as indicated in the marginal notes in my ms. The final compilation of the Diwan must have been late in al-Mu'ayyad's life as it contains poems written after the age of sixty. It also includes poems written in his youth.

2. as-Sira al-Mu'ayyadiya, published by K. Husayn, Cairo, 1950. It is al-Mu'ayyad's autobiography (a rare one in lsma'ili or even Islamic literature) covering his life and activities from the year 429/1037 when he entered the court of Abu Kalijar to the year 451/1059 when al-Basasiri was killed. It contains the unique account of the city states of Syria and Iraq and the events under the last two Buyids before the occupation of Baghdad by al-Basasiri, which is not found elsewhere in such detail. As will be evident the life-story of al-Mu'ayyad related here is based mainly on this work. The Sira seems to have been composed in early 451/1059, except for a brief section (pp. 174-184) at the end, beginning with a basmala which could have been composed anytime after 454/ 1062.

3. al-Majalis in eight volumes of 100 seances each, summarised in two volumes entitled Jami'al- haqa'iq by the Yamani da'i Hatim al-Hamidi (referred to above). It contains his lectures (khutab) from the time he was at Abu Kalijar's court until his. last days at the Dar al-Ilm in Cairo. Hence, like his Diwan it was compiled in the last years of his life. It contains his Munajat as well as his correspondence with Abul 'Ala' al-Ma'arri and the refutation of lbn ar-Rawandi referred above.

His other minor works are:

4. Sharh al-ma'ad

5. Nahj al-hidaya li'l-muhtadin

6. Nahj al-'ibada

7. K. al-lbtida' wa'l-intiha'

8. al-Masa'ilal-sabun

9. Bunyad at-ta'wil, a Persian translation of Asas at-ta'wil by the earlier Da'i Qadi' n-'Nu'man.

Of doubtful authorship:

10. K. al-Mas'ala wa'l-jawab. As it contains a reference to the Caliph al-Mustansir, it was written in al-Mu'ayyad's time, either by him or by a Yamani da'i.

11. al-Majlis al-Mustansariyya' lvanow includes it among al-Muayyad's works. The editor of the book, Kamil Husayn (Cairo, ca 1950), thinks it is composed by another Da'i contemporary to al-Mu'ayyad. It is also attributed to Badr-al-Jamali by the author of Fihrist al-Majdu' Teheran 1966.

Erroneous attributions:

12. K' al-ldah wa't-tabsir fi fadl Yawm al-Qhadir

13. al-Qasidat al-lskandariyya or Dhat at-dawha

14. Ta'wil ar-arwah


Da'i ldris ('Uyun, VIl fol. 123) says that al-Mu'yyad died in Cairo sometime in the first ten days of Shawwal, 470/1078. The Caliph al-Mustansir himself read the funeral service and al-Mu'ayyad was buried in the Dar al-ilm where he had resided, worked and died. Al-Maqrizi (Khitat 1, 460) corroborates ldris's statement that at-Mu'ayyad was buried in the Dar al'lim. He lived for about 83 years.

Let us end this biography of al-Mu'ayyed with a few verses from a qasida which the Caliph al -M ustansir himself wrote for him (included in al-Mu'ayyad's Diwan, no. 40, p. 313):

"O, (Thou) well-known Hujja (Proof) amidst mankind,

Basis of knowledge, who could disable.the highest.

Even if thou werst the last in our Da'wa

Thou hast surpassed thy predecessors.

The like of thee has not been found

Among those gone by and those that remain."


The principal - source for the biography of al Mu'ayyad is his autobiography. as-Sira al- Muayyadiya. ed. Kani' Husayn. Cairo. 1950: and his Diwan' ed. K. Busayn. Cairo, 1949 Details in article). For his connection with the Buyid Court, we have lbn al-Balkhi: Farasnama (written between 500-510/1106-11 16). London, 1921. The following eastern sources give valuable information on lhe Basasiri incident, namely al-Khatil at-Baghdadi (d. 463/1071) who is followed scrupulously by lbn al-Qalanisi (d. 555/1160): Dhayl tarikh Dimishq' ed. Amedroz. Leiden. 1908: lbn af-Jawzi (d. 59711200): al-Muntazam, particularly Vol. VIll. Hyderabad. 1939 seq.; lbr., al-Athir (d. 631/1233): al-Kamil, leiden. 1851-76 and Sibt b. al-Ja\Azi (d. 65411257): Mit'at az-zaman. Paris ms. 1506. They are also the sources for the rise of the Saliuq and the formation of the 'Abbasid-Saljuq entente.

For the north Syrian scene with which al-Mu'ayyad was involved reference could be made to lbn l[- Qalanisi referred to above. and to Kamal ad-Din b. Adim (d. 66111263): Zubdat al-Haleb ed. Sami Dahan, 2 vols- 1953-54 and lbn al.Azraq al-Fariqi (d. 57211176): Ta'rikh Mayyafariqin (Ms. British Mus. Or. 5803).

Al-Mu'ayyad's autobiography ends in 450/1058, the year of his return to Egypt. For his later life, therefore we have to rely on sources specialising in the affairs of the Western Caliphate. namely the Da'i Nas'iri-Khusraw (d. ca. 465-47011072-'1077): Safar nameh. ed. Schefer, Paris, 1881 and Diwan. Publ. Teheran; lbn as-Sayrafi (d. 521/1127): al-lshara ile man nala al-wazara. cd. Masse, Cairo. 1924: lbn at-Muyassar (d. 677/1278): Akhbar Misr. ed. Masse. Cairo, 1919 and alMaqrizi (d. 845/1442): al-Khitat Cario, 2 Vols. and al-ltti'az (ms. Sarai Ahmad 111. No. 3013. Istanbul), sections of which are translated by H.R. ldris in Glances sur le.R Zirides d'lfriqiya dens le Manuscrit d'lsfinbul de l'itti'az al-hunafa'. Arabica, Vol. XI, Oct. 1964. pp. 286-305. Of the above sources Ibn al-Balkhi. Nasir-i-Khusraw, lbn as-Sayrafi, Sibt b. al-Jawzi. lbn al-Muyassar and al-Maqrizi refer to al-Mu'ayyad by name. Others, although they do not refer to him neverlheless describe the events around him. Besides the works of al-Mu'ayyad and Nasir-i-Khusraw, other relevant lsmaili sources are al-Oadi an-Nu'man (d. 3631973): iftitah ad da'wa. ed. Wadad al-Qadi. Beirut. 1970. the Fatimid Caliph al-Mustansir bi'llah (d. 48711094) Sijillat. ed. A. Majid, Cairo, 1954. also in H. Hamdani, B.S.O.A.S., Vil (1934), Pt. 2. pp. 307-324; Hatim b. Ibrahim al-Hamidi (d. 596/1199): Kitab Tuhfat al-qulub in A. Hamadani. Orip-ns, Vol. 23-24. 1972; and Da'i ldris lmadra-Din (d. 872/1467): Uyun al-akhbar. Vol. VII (ms. Hamdani coll.)

Among the secondary sources, reference could be made to E. , Memoires sur I'Egypt. 2 Vols. which is lhe best account of the time of al-Mustansir bi'allah. and my unpublished doctoral thesis: The Sira of al-Mu 'ayyad fid-din ash-Shirazi, London Univ. 1950. which contains different facets of al- Mu'ayyad's biography (summarised here) and has a detailed bibliography.

For specific questions concerning she Fatimid Da'wa and the life and times of al-Mu'ayyad reference could be made to A. Hamdani: Beginnings of the Isma'ili Da'wa in Northern India, Sirovics. Cairo, 1956. The Fatimid-Abbasid Con'lict in India. Islamic Culture. Sept. 1967; Some Considerations on the Fatimid Caliphate as Mediterranean nean Power, Atti del III Congressodj studi Arabia e Islamic (Revello. 1966). Naples 1967.. Some Aspects of the History of Libya during the Fatimid Period (Proceedings of lhe Libyan History Conference. 1968) in Libya in History. Beirut, 1970; A Possible Fatimid Background to the Battle of Manzikert the forthcoming Vol. VI of the Journal of the Historical Research Institute of the University of Ankara and The Da'iHatim b. Ibrahim at- Hamidi and his book Tuhfat al-qulub in-Orions, 23/24, 1972.

Other sources not mentioned here are referred to in the text of the article.

Dr. Abbas Hamdani, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee (U.S.A.)

Al-Muayyad fid-din Shirazi

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