MOWLANA AZ - ZAHIR (S.A.) 17TH IMAM - 7th Fatimid Caliph (411 A.H. to 427 A.H.)
Mowlana Abu Maad Ali az - zahir (SA) was born in Cairo on 3rd Ramadan 395 A.H. When Imam al-Hakim (SA) died in 411 A.H. Imam az- Zahir (SA) was 17 years of age.
Sitt-ul- Mulk, the aunt of Imam az-Zahir (SA) looked after the affairs of the State, and on her death in 411 A.H., the Imam (SA) took the reign of the Government.
The year 416 A.H. saw the beginning of a terrible famine in Egypt, which lasted for 3 years. Looting and rioting prevailed, the Imam (SA) appealed for funds and sharing of wealth to the rich, but their response was very poor.
A truce was concluded with Constantine VIII of the Byzantine in 418 A.H. Syria was bought under the Fatimid rule once more.
Imam az-Zahir (SA) is known for his liberal and just rule. He patronized art. He opened an armament factory, where 3000 employees worked.
In 427 A.H., on 15th Shabaan at the age of 32 years he died. leaving the Caliphate and Imamate to his son Imam Mustansir Billah (SA) who was seven years of age.
MOWLANA AL- MUSTANSIR BILLAH (SA) - 18th IMAM - 8th Fatimid Caliph (427 A.H. to 487 A.H.)
Mowlana Al- Mustansir Billah (SA) was born on 16th Ramadan 420 A.H. Eight months later the 'nass' was conferred on him by Imam az- Zahir (SA)
The Vazir Jarjarai took an oath of allegiance on behalf of Imam al- Mustansir Billah (SA) at the time of the death of Imam az- Zahir (SA)
After the death of Vazir Jarjarai, Abu Saad - a Jewish merchant became very powerful on account of his proximity with the royal household. Vazir Jarjarai had served under three Imams (SA) and during his Vazirate, Egypt saw peace and prosperity.
Syedna Al–Mu’ayyad fi’l–Din al–Shirazi (RA) was a witness of Abu Saad's interferences and court intrigues. The confusion and court intrigues ended after the appointment of Vazir YAZURI, whose administration lasted for 8 years, a period of prosperity, efficiency and reforms.
The court intrigues denied Sy. Al-Mu'ayyad with the deedar of Imam (SA) for 40 days. However, in 450 A.H. he was appointed as the Dai ul Dua't of the Dawah.
The period of 454 A.H. to 459 A.H.,was a period of chaos and famine, but of far reaching and significant consequence for the Fatemi Taiyyebi Dawah. Sy. Al- Mu'yyad (AQ) passed these four years in conference with Dai Lamak at Dar-ul- Ilm, and thus although the Nile had dried up, the Fatemi Uloom flowed in torrents towards Yemen.
Syedna Mu'yyad (AQ)remained in charge of the entire Dawah until his death in 470 A.H. He wrote most of his works, in the last year of his life.
Nasir Khusraw a contemporary of Sy: Al- Mu'yyad came to Cairo in 439 A.H. and there is a historical record by him of the grandeur of the Palace of Imam Mustansir Billah (SA)
Nasir ad Dawla, a former Governor of Syria was recalled on account of his inefficiency. He attacks Cairo, burning part of the City. Mowlana Badr al Jamali who was Governor of Akka, is called back to Cairo and he succeeds in restoring order and the administration.
Imam Mustansir Billah (SA) died on 18th Zul Hijja 487 A.H.
The following historical Akhbar are taken from the kitab:
Fazail Misrul Fatemiyah : 1418 A.H. Aaliqadr Shz: Qsaibhai Saheb Vazihuddin (DM)
MOWLANA ABUL QASIM AL MUSTA'ALI BILLAH (SA)- 19TH IMAM - 9TH FATIMID CALIPH 487 A.H to 495 A.H.)
Imam Musta'ali Billah (SA) was born in Muharram in 467 A.H. in Cairo. At the age of 21 years he ascended the throne of Imamate and became the 9th Fatimid Caliph.
Mowlana Badr al Jamali died in the year 488 A.H. and his son Sahansa Afzal became the Vazir.
The elder brothers of Imam Musta'ali (SA) Nizar and Abdullah after giving allegiance to the Imam, did not honor and revolted and fled to Alexandria. Nizar was defeated in the battle, brought to Cairo and was executed. ( The present day Khoza community are the followers of Nizar )
Imam Musta'ali Billah (SA) after conferring nass on Imam Mowlana Amir be Ahkamillah (SA) and circulating the nass farman in all bilad e imaniyah died in 495 A.H. at the age of 28 years.
MOWLANA MANSOOR UL A'MIR BE AHKAMILLAH (SA) -20TH IMAM - 10TH Fatimid Caliph (495 A.H. to 526 (A.H.)
Mowlana Imam al A'mir Ahkamillah (SA) was born in Kahira on 13th Muharram 490 A.H., and ascended the takth of Imamat and became the 10th Fatimid Caliph at the age of 5 years.
Under the command of Sahansa Afzal the Romans, who had captured Damascus were defeated, and Shansa Afzal returned in the hazrat of Imam (SA) victorious with war booty.
An usurper named Sanbas with his military force surrounded Kahira, but was defeated and killed.
Vazir Sahansa Afzal dies in 515 A.H. and Imam (SA) elevates Abul Mansoor al Mamun to the post of Vazir.
Imam Tayyib (SA) was born in Kahira on 4th Rabi ul Akhar 524 A.H. On day 14th of Imam Tayyibs birth Akika ceremony was done with pomp and grandeur.
The bushra of Imam Tayyib (SA) birth and the nass conferred on him were sent to Mowlatena Hurra al Maleka in Yemen.
With Shareef Mohammad bin Haidera, he also sent an old kerchief.
On Tuesday 3rd Zilkada 526 A.H. Imam al- Akhamillah (SA) as he led a procession of military and dignitaries of the court, was surrounded by treachery and attacked repeatedly by knife by several of the Nizari sympathizers.
Imam (SA) scummed to this heinous attack and after declaring once again Imam Tayyib (SA) as his successor, and appointing Abdul Majid ( son of his uncle ) as the Caretaker, he passed away on 4th Zilkad 526 A.H.
Thus ended the reign of the 10th Fatimid Caliph - a reign that lasted 32 years.
Mowlana Imam Tayyib (SA) went into seclusion traveling with his trusted followers to West Africa.
So this is a short account of the Glorious Fatimid Empire, which is still ruling over the hearts and minds of mumineen because of the living presence of Dai al Fatemi, our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) whose 100th Milad Mubarak we will be celebrating in true Fatemi Glory Insa Allah.
May Allah grant our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS) sehato a'fiayat ta kiymat. Ameen.
It is my most humble desire that on the 100th Milad Mubarak I may be able to upload my 100th post. My very own small personal ohbat. Your best wishes and prayers will greatly help in achieving my objective.
Sehrullah 1431 A.H. is 'mukbil'. Humbly arz to all readers of my Mind Mints blog to remember me in your doa.
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
MOWLANA AL - AZIZ (S.A.) 15TH IMAM - 5th Fatimid Caliph (365 A.H. to 386 A.H.)
Mowlana Abu Mansoor Nizar al- Aziz bi- Allah was born on 14th Muharram 344 A.H. at Mehdiya.
The Zantara tribe of the Berbers formented trouble in North Africa. Bulkin managed to suppress the revolt, however, after his death his son Mansoor was not successful, and could not control fully.
Yakub bin Killis - the Chief Vazir died in 380 A.H.
Syedna Qadi al-Numan (RA) died in 363 A.H., and he was succeeded by his son Aly bin Numan. On his death in 374 A.H., he was succeeded by his brother Muhammad bin Numan, who died in the reign of Imam al- Hakim (SA) in 389 A.H.
Imam al - Aziz (SA) died at Bilbays, while on his way to meet the Byzantine forces in Syria. He died on 25th Ramadan 386 A.H., (Dawat records the death on 12th Ramadan and was buried in Al- Kahira.)
On his death bed he called his Treasurer Barjuwani, Qadi Muhammad bin Numan and Amir - Hasan bin Ammar and entrusted the guardianship on the next Imam Mowlana al_Hakim (SA) who was 11 years old.
MOWLANA AL HAKIM BI AMRILLAH (S.A.) 16TH IMAM - 6th Fatimid Caliph
(386 A.H. to 411 A.H.)
Mowlana Husain al- Hakim bi Amrillah (S.A.) was born on 23rd Rabi ul Awaal 375 A.H. in Cairo.
In 383 A.H. when he was 8 years old Imam al - Aziz (SA) declared him as his successor. In 386 A.H. at the age of 11 years, he became the 6th Fatimid Caliph.
Barjuwani who was in charge of Turkish Guards, was the Treasurer and the tutor of Imam al- Hakim (S.A.)
Ibn Ammar belonged to the Kutama Berber tribe and held control over Berber Guards. Both Barjuwani and Ibn Ammar were trying to depose each other, and in the struggle both were killed.
Imam al- Hakim (S.A.) boldly acknowledged responsibility, at the age of 15 and began to take direct interest in the affairs of the State. He appointed Husain son of Sy. Qaid Jawhar as the new Vazir, but was later deposed from his position at the time of Abu Rakwa's revolt.
Abu Rakwa ( Walid bin Hisham) was the Ummayad prince from Spain, who fomented trouble in North Africa with the help of the Zanata tribe, and he came close to Alexandria, on the bank of the Nile, but was defeated by the Imam's army led by Fadl bin Hasan bin Saleh.
Masjid al Anwar began by Imam al- Aziz (SA) was completed by Imam al- Hakim (S.A.) in 393 A.H. The famous academy of sciences called the Darul Ilm was built by Imam al- Hakim (S.A.) in 395 A.H. It became the biggest center of learning and research, in the whole Muslim world. The academy was later destroyed by Afzal Shabin Shah.
A huge canal was built at Alexandria. An Observatory at Qarafa, where the famous astronomer Ibn Yusuf prepared the astronomical tables.
The famous scientist and engineer Ibn Haytham was invited to Cairo personally by Imam Hakim (SA) When he approached the limits of Cairo, Imam Hakim (S.A.) personally came out to receive him.
He took up residence in Jamia al - Azhar, wrote many books and died in 430 A.H.
Abul Fadl Jafar, a blind scholar of grammar and lexicography, received the honorific 'alim al-ulama (scholar of the scholars)
Sayedna Hamid-ud- din al- Kirmani (RA) headed the Central Dawah
Syedna Kirmani came from Iraq after the revolt of Abu Rakwa to strengthen the Dawah under the guidance of Imam (SA) He worked under KHAGIN who was Dai duat.
In the year 411 A.H. (27th Shawwal) Imam al-Hakim (S.A.) was surrounded by assassins on Mount Muquttam, where he used to visit frequently for meditation and observation of Stars. He was assassinated. One of the assassin was caught and brought before Imam al - Zahir (S.A.) along with the blood stained shirt of Imam (S.A.) in the year 415 A.H.
Many malicious stories of the character of Imam al-Hakim (S.A.) were spread by later Christian historians, which were reproduced by many Muslim writers, hostile to the Ismaili Dawah.
The reign of Imam Hakim (S.A.) was intensely personal, direct and broadly popular. He persistently tried to correct and ameliorate the social and economic life. In so doing the rich and elite class , often seemed to particularly suffer, from his wrath and disdain.
CHARACTER AND PERSONALITY OF IMAM HAKIM (S.A.)
Tall, fair and strong with sparkling blue eyes and grave face. He had a towering personality, which imposed a stamp of a genius on every person he came across. He was a brave, generous. learned and just ruler. Imam Hakim (SA) reign was marked by revolts, scarcity of rains, famine and plague. However, he managed to maintain his authority through all these difficult times.
NOTE: I have dwelt in length on the reign of Imam Hakim (S.A.) and there is a purpose. Historians have tried to malign his character and reign for reasons, which now are coming to light.
I share a quote with readers from the Book : (SYEDNA) Hamid al - Din al -Kirmani - Ismaili Thought in the Age of (Imam) al- Hakim (SA) - Paul E Walker. (1999 publication)
'Until recently the Ismailis (we are known as Tayyebi a part of Ismailis) were studies and judged almost exclusively on the basis of the evidence collected and fabricated by their enemies, including the bulk of the medieval historiographers , who were hostile, towards the Shi'is in general and the Ismailis among them in particular.... As a result a 'black legend' was gradually developed and put into circulation, in the Muslim world to discredit the Ismailis and their interpretation of Islam )
The christian Crusaders and their occidental chorinclers, who remained completely ignorant of Islam and its internal divisions, determined their own myths of Ismailis, which came to be accepted in the West as true description of the Ismaili Teachings and practices.
Modern orientalist, too, have studied the Ismailis on the basis of hostile sources and fanciful occidental accounts of the medieval times.
Here I would like to remind mumineen of the azeem sacrifices made by our 'hudud kirams (Syedi Molai Raj saheb - just to name one of the hundreds) Syedi Qutbuddin Saheed (RA) - just to name one of the illustrious Doat Kiram for the 'hifazat' of the true Deen.
It is heartening to note, that in this epoch Burhani Daur, historians and academics are trying to 'right the wrong' perpetrated in the past centuries by vested and hostile section, particularly against the Fatimids.
To be continued .............
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Continuing from the earlier post where we came to know that Dai Abdullah - the Shii entered in victory to Raqqada and awaited the arrival of Imam Mahdi (SA) who was staying at Sijilmasa.
Finally Imam Mahdi (SA) established himself as the first Fatemi Caliph at Raqqada in 297 A.H., and the Glorious Fatimid Era took firm root in Northern Africa. I share with readers the Time Line, the principal personalities, and their services, some major events in the establishment of the Fatimid Empire.
This post is based on my reading from the Book :- HISTORY OF THE ISMAILI IMAMS - TARIKH E IMAMAT by Al Waez Hasan Husyn Nazarali.
MOWLANA ABDULLAH AL MAHDI (S.A.) - 11 TH IMAM ( 268 A.H. to 322 A.H.)
1st Fatimid Caliph
Mowlana Mahdi (SA) was born at Askar Mukarram on 12th Shawwal 260 A.H.
On the death of Imam Husain al Mastoor (SA) at Askar Mukarram in 268 A.H. he became Imam at the age of 8 years in Salamiya. He remained in Salamiya in the guise of a Hashimid merchant, and maintained a good relation with the local Governor.
In 297 A.H., as stated above he finally established himself in Raqqada as the 1st Fatimid Caliph. He bought the island of Sicily under his control and founded new towns of Mahdiya and Mohammadiyah.
The Dawah in India : The Dawah began during the reign of Imam Mahdi (SA) Dai Ibn Hawshab, sent his nephew Dai al Haytham from Yemen to Sind. From Sind it spread to Multan and other parts of North India and Gujrat.
Imam Mahdi (SA) died on 15th Rabi ul Awwal 322 A.H., at Mahdiya.
Dai al- Qadi al Numan (RA) was born in North Africa and joined the service of Imam Mahdi (S.A.) in 313 A.H.
Da'aim al Islam - the most exhaustive exposition of Fatimid Jurisprudence, took nearly 30 years to complete. It was completed in the reign of Imam al- Muizz (S.A.)
Syedna al- Qadi Numan (R.A.) died in Cairo on Friday 29th Jamadil Akhar 363 A.H./974
MOWLANA AL QAIM (S.A.) 12th Imam. 2nd Fatimid Caliph (322 A.H. to 334 A.H.)
Mowlana Abu al- Qasim Muhammad al- Qaim bi Amrallah was born in 275 A.H. at Salamiyah
In 303 A.H. the nass was proclaimed on him by Imam Mahdi (S.A.)
Imam Qaim (S.A.) died during Abu Yazid's siege on Mehdiya on 13th Shawwal 334 A.H. at the age of 59 years. The news of Imam's death was kept a secret until the revolt of Abu Yazid was over.
MOWLANA AL MANSOOR (S.A.) 13th Imam. 3rd Fatimid Caliph (334 A.H. to 341 A.H.)
Mowlana Abu Tahir Ismail al- Mansoor bi- Allah (S.A.) was born at Qairawan ( a military outpost and camp town) in 302 A.H.
His entire upbringing was in North Africa amid the atmosphere of battles and revolts, which helped to develop a military spirit and discipline.
He succeed to the Imamate at Mehdiya in 334 A.H., at the age of 32 years.
He successfully suppressed the revolt of Abu Yazid, who was defeated, taken prisoner, and died in prison in 336 A.H. Abu Yazid was a Kharjide and belonged to the rival Zantara Berber tribe who opposed the Kutama tribe, which supported the Imam.
After 7 years of rule Imam Mansoor (S.A.) died on 28th Shawwal 341 A.H. at the age of 39 years and was buried in Mehdiya.
MOWLANA AL - MUIZZ (S.A.) 14th Imam - 4th Fatimid Caliph ( 341 A.H. to 365 A.H.)
Imam Abu Tamim Maad bin Mansoor al Muizz (S.A.) was born in Mehdiya on 11th Ramadan 319 A.H.
He succeeded to the Imamate on 28th Shawwal 341 A.H. at the age of 22 years. He is said to have known 7 languages, among them Nubian, Latin, Spanish and Slavonic.
Syedna Qaid Jawhar left Mehdiya for the conquest of Egypt in 357 A.H. The first khutba in the name of Imam Muizz (S.A.) was read by Sy. Qaid Jawhar at Fustat on 18th Shaban 358 A.H.
An interesting fact at the time of construction of Cairo.
The building of the new town started at a time, which the astrologers thought was inauspicious, because it was governed by the planet al- Kahir (Mars) The city was thus named after the planet al- Kahira. (We mumineen know that Sy. Qaid Jawhar had taken Imam's raza and doa, so the astrological influence did not matter in the least)
Sy. Qaid Jawhar personally supervised the construction of Al- Azhar Masjid. In the time of Imam Al- Aziz (S.A.) he built a huge library and a University, which at present day, is the oldest existing University in the World.
Imam Muizz (S.A.) departure from North Africa to Egypt.
Imam (S.A.) started his journey towards Sardinia, he regulated the affairs of Sardinia and Sicily and then went to Tripoli, from here he proceeded to Barqa, on the borders of Egypt.
Imam (S.A.) entered the city on 7th Ramadan 362 A.H. Immediately Imam (S.A.) took over the reign of the government.
Sy. Qaid Jawhar became the Chief of the Army. Sy. Qaid Jawhar originally a Sicilian, was brought in the service of Imam Muizz (S.A.) as a young slave. By his suppression of revolts in North Africa, he attai9ned high office. He remained Commander in Chief, till his death in 381 A.H. during the reign of Imam Aziz (S.A.)
Yakub bin Killis was appointed as the Vazir. Yakub bin Killis by birth was a Jew and was born in Baghdad in 318 A.H. (930) At a young age he came with his father to Egypt. He was very intelligent, hard working and honest, and rose to prominence in the court of Kafur.
In 356 A.H./ 967 he embraced Islam. He entered the services of Imam Muizz (S.A.) after the death of Kafur in 357 A.H. He was the most efficient administrator and Vazir of the Fatimids. Imam Aziz (S.A.) appointed him as Vazir al - Ajall (Chief Minister) in 367 A.H./ 977.
Name of some of the Administrative Departments in the reign of Imam Muizz (S.A.)
The Mahtasib ( anti - corruption Officer) under the office of Sy. Qadi al - Numan
The Court of Mazalim' ( special court set up against the officials of the administration) under the office of Sy. Qadi al- Numan.
Sahib al - Kharai ( Financial Administrator)
Sahib as Shutra (Police Head)
Qaid al Qawad (The Admiral of the Fatimid Fleet)
The Fatimid Naval bases were : MEHDIYA - SUSA - MANSOORIYA -SICILY - CRETE
The Central Dawah was headed by Syedna Jafar (RA) and Sy. Qadi al Numan (RA)
The libraries in Mansooriya and Cairo became famous for their rich treasure of books on almost any science. Learned people were given all the encouragement to use these libraries. Imam Muizz (SA) him self spent much time, in the libraries reading.
Imam Muizz (SA) died on 11th Rabi ul Akhar 365 A.H. at the age of 45 years.
The news of Imam's death was not announced for eight months. This was the usual practice adopted, so that the far flung areas of the Empire, could be bought fully under Administrative control.
To be continued .........................
Friday, July 9, 2010
Gold coin of the period of Imam Aziz (SA)
Gold coin of the period of Imam Mansoor (SA)
Gold coin of the period of Imam Muizz (SA)
Ack: Fatimid Coins at the David Museum in Copenhagen
My niyat behind writing this 'post' is that may some enterprising Travel Agency be motivated to organize a Heritage Tour of North African countries, through which Imam Mahdi (SA) traveled and founded Mahdiyah, heralding the golden epoch of 'zuhur' in Magrib, as prophesied by Nabi (SA)
Hope some travel agency organizes such a tour as part of the 100th Milad Celebration of our beloved Aqa Moula (TUS)
AKHBAR IS ANW'AR - let me share with you the historical aspects preceding the 'zuhur' of Imam Mahdi (SA) taken from my reading of the Book entitled ' The Empire of the Mahdi - Rise of the Fatimids by Heinz Halm - translated from German into English by Michael Bonner.
Imam Mahdi's (SA) first area of missionary activities - apart from Dai Abdullah the Elder's more closed surrounding in Askar Mukaram ( Qbr mubarak of Imam Husain-al Mastoor -S.A.) was the mountain country of Daylum - south of the Caspian Sea.
After the death of Dai Abdullah the elder known in history as Khalf ( hallaj al qutn - cotton carder) the occupation he undertook as the cover of his missionary activities his son Dai Ahmmad carried on with the mission.
The community of Rayy became the most important and active cell of Ismaili Dawa in northern Iran.
At the same time or thereabout Ismaili missionary activities had been underway in the rural areas surrounding Kufa on the banks of the Euphrates.
Another important and lasting area of missionary activities originated in Yemen. The Dai who founded the Yemini Ismaili community hailed from Iraq. In history he is known as Ibn Hawshab ( Dai Abul Qasim al Hasan bin Farah bin Hawshab, known to later Fatimid Historiography as 'Mansoor al Yemen' ( the victorious of Yemen)
In his book - 'Sirat Ibn Hawshab' the Dai Abul Qasim narrates how he overcame the crisis of faith, which preoccupied him like many other (Twelver Shi'ites) followers of Musa Al Kazim.
The last generally recognized supreme head of the Shi'ites, (Twelver Shi'ites) their eleventh Imam died in 874 (260H) leaving no mail heirs. The belief that there was a hidden Twelfth Imam, had not taken hold, and aroused doubts in many Shi'ite minds.
In such a mental state according to Dai Abul Qasim, he was sitting on the banks of Euphrates ( furat) and was reciting from Surah al Khaif, he saw a spiritually radiant, magnificent old man approaching the river bank accompanied by another man. Ibn Hawshab was mesmerized and stopped reciting.
Than a young lad came sprinting towards him. Ibn Hawshab asked - ' who are you my son' He answered ' a descendant of al- Husayn (SA)' At the mention of al-Husyn the eyes of Ibn Hawshab overflowed with tears. He said ' You are dearer to me than my father, you are the son of the Resplendent One, who was stained with blood, who was prevented from drinking water'
The true meaning of the verse of Surah from al Khaif was explained to him by the spiritually radiant man sitting a little distance away, when Ibn Hawsab was summoned in his presence.
This is how Ibn Hawsab became Dai Abul Qasim.
The Ismaili mission in Yemen
Shortly thereafter in the beginning of June 881 (267H) Dai Abul Qasim and Dai Ali bin al-Fadl set out and near Kufa joined the pilgrim caravan. After Haj with the home bound Yeminite pilgrims, they reached the port city of Aden by way of San'a and al-Junad.
He disguised him self as the trader of cotton and started his mission, and the first converts were the clan of Banu Musa, who came from the village of Adan La'a in the Wadi of La'a. In the year 269H (883) he moved to Adan La'a, and from there, the dawa spread fast and openly and the permission to wage war was granted.
A fortress was built at Abr Mahram, two other fortresses were also won. Bayt Fa'iz visible from far and dominating the entire Miswar region and Bayt Rayb - a fortress on sheer precipice, which had no entrance than a single gate.
From this controlling position based on the three impregnable fortresses the Dai could easily rule and control the surrounding valley.
The Ismaili Mission in Iraq
Imam Mahdi (SA) was based in Salmaya. (Qbr mubarak of Imam Abdullah al Mastoor (SA) and Imam Ahmad al Mastoor (S.A.) are in Salmaya)
The over jealous activities of the sons of Zakaroye led to much bloodshed. They purported to spread Ismaili Dawah. Yahya bin Zakoraye (the man with she camel)laid a seize to Damascus from early December 902 to early 903.
Al Husain bin Zakoraye ( the man with a birthmark - the sahib al Sahma) was misguided and his activities led Imam Mahdi (SA) to leave Salmaya. The Imam hurriedly traveled to Hims, from there to Tripoli, spending a day there and from there to al Ramala and finally reaching Egypt, where he remained for a year.
The Ismaili Mission in North Afrikiya :
In February 893 (278 H) Dai Abu Abdullah referred to as - al Shi'i, set out on the Haj pilgrimage from Kufa and during Haj met and befriended Berbers of the Kutama from the region of Qustantia (Constantine in present day Algeria)
The Dai won of over the Berbers trust and esteem and reached Egypt in their company. There is a detail verbatim and interesting record still in existence of the conversation Dai Abu Abdullah had with the Kutama Berbers, from whom he found out all details of their community, their numerical strength, their political allegiance to the Amir of Qayrawan.
Without disclosing his purpose and his mission, he found out from the Kutama, that the Berber community enjoyed great independence, and their submission to the Aghlabid Amir was of token nature.
On reaching Egypt, as was secretly wished by Dai Abu Abdullah, the Shi'ite Kutama pressed upon the Dai to accompany them to their country and teach them.
The caravan went through Libyan Tripoli and the oases of the Chottel Djerid in Southern Tunisia, before arriving at Sujmar in present day Algeria. Here the Dai recruited two new novices.
In early June 893 Dai Abu Abdullah - the Shi'i entered the territory of the Kutama - the present day Lesser Kabylia. He chose to live in the small town of Ikjan, in the vicinity of the ancient Roman city of Mila, the dwelling place of Banu Saktan, to whom the Shi'ite pilgrims belonged. Along with the Dai, were three Ismaili followers of Yemen.
The Theocratic State of Tazut was organized by Dai Abu Abdullah. He divided the Kutama into seven parts, and raised an army out of each seventh. He sent a Dai to each village. He called the leaders and dais 'elders' (mashayikh) even though many of them were young. The booty remained in their hands until the time Imam Mahdi (SA) appeared. Nonetheless, they did this, as history records show, with reluctance and grumbling, for ever in the course of time, they had grown accustomed to power and revenue, and wrongly assumed that, it would remain ever that way.
Majalis al hikmah were held daily at Qayrawan by Dai Abu Abdullah and other Dais, in which the participation of the women is particularly emphasized. Many abhorrent social practices of the Kutama were thus discontinued.
When Dai Abu Abdullah struck his first serious blow after mobilizing the Kutama against the Aghlabid rule in 902 (289) Imam Mahdi (SA) was in Salamya. It was around the same time the sons of Zakaroye, were mobilizing the Bedouin tribes, against Damascus.
Dai Abu Abdullah first seized Mila. The Aghlabid Amir sent 12,000 men of Qayrawan (the military outpost-jund ) westward on a punitive action. Dai Abu Abdullah's force was beaten in two engagements, they abandoned Tazut and Mila and retreated in the deep snow northward towards Ikjan.
Thus Ikjan the former refuge of the Dai became once again the center of Dawa. The forces of Kutama regrouped and subsequently one by one the Forts of Baghaya, Qalama (Calama) Buna (Bone - Annaba) fell in the hands of the Fatimids. The strong fortress of Maydara ( present day Haydra ) in Southern Tunisia capitulated without struggle.
The Aghlabid Amir Ziyadat Allah after his propaganda and largess failed to mobilize his troops and subjects against the Fatimids, fled from Raqqada.
Thus on 25th March 909 (Rajab 296H) Saturday the Dai Abu Abdullah - the Shi'i entered in victory to Raqqada, and awaited the arrival of Imam Mahdi (SA)
As Dai Abu Abdullah was consolidating his position in the Kutama country of Western Sahara, Imam Mahdi (SA) around January 905 (Rabi ul Awwal 292H) left Egypt and in Libiyan Tripoli he waited for his slave Jafar, to return from Salmaya, who had gone there to retrieve the treasure buried in the ruins of Imam Mahdi's house.
Halfway between Alexandria and Cejrenaica the caravan of Imam Mahdi (SA) was attacked by Berber robbers. In the fight Abul Abbas, the brother of Dai Abu Abdullah, was wounded in the face. Imam Mahdi (SA) lost some of his possessions, including the sorely missed Books with the wise saying of the Imams (SA) the religious literature. Afterward these books were returned miraculously to his possession.
From Tripoli Abul Abbas was sent forward to Qayrawan, where his identity was compromised and he was made a prisoner. So Imam Mahdi (SA) had to change plans. As soon as his gulam Jafar arrived from Salmaya, Imam Mahdi (SA) joined the caravan from Tripoli to far West.
He was accompanied only with Imam Kaim (SA) and the gulam Jafar, the other members of his household did not join him, until afterward.
The caravan first went to Qastiliya - the oasis region of the salt pan of the Chett el Djerid (Shatt al Jarid) in the south of present day Tunisia.
There they made a two day halt at Tuzur ( now Tozeur) to celebrate Eid on 6th Aug: 905 (1st Shawwal 292 H) From Tozeur through the mountain massif of the Awras (Aures) they reached the oasis Biskara (the Roman Vescera)
Traveling through the monotonous high plain of Central Algeria, by way of Qashliya, they arrived at SIJILMASA in present day Morocco. Here they rented a nice house from Abu Habasha. Three months later, they were joined by dependents and family members.
The ruins of Sijilmasa lie right at present day Rissani on both side of the road to Erfoud.
Much effort and research will be needed if a heritage trip starting from Al Qahera is to be organized. Are young enthusiastic mumineen bikers willing to give the project a thought. Alhamdolillah !
This 'write up' is being posted on 1st Shaban 1431H.