Jiblā is a town in south-western Yemen, close to Ibb. It is located at the elevation near Jebal Attaker; the town and its surroundings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage Tentative List due to its purported universal cultural value. Historical Palace of Queen Arwa is located in the town. Following the death of Sulayhid dynasty ruler Ali al-Sulayhi in 1067 CE, Arwa al-Sulayhi's husband Ahmad became the de jure ruler of Yemen, but he was unable to rule being paralysed and bedridden, he gave all of his power to Arwa, one of her first actions was to move the capital from Sana'a to Jibla in order to be in a better position to destroy Sa'id ibn Najar and thus avenge her father-in-law's death. This she managed to do by luring him into a trap in 1088, she built a new palace at Jibla, transformed the old palace into a great mosque where she was buried. On December 30, 2002, an Islamist militant entered Jibla Baptist Hospital and shot and killed three Southern Baptist hospital workers; the day after the shootings, ownership of the hospital was transferred to the Yemeni government.
The government assumed responsibility in 2003 and continued to employ Southern Baptist workers until its closing in May 2007. As late as 1979, the women of Jibla would launder their clothes in large pools of water formed by rivulets of natural spring water which trickled down the slopes of Jebal Attaker. Stepping stones of the brook were used in place of scrub-boards. Ministry of Information of Yemen Travel Adventures
Jihad is an Arabic word which means striving or struggling with a praiseworthy aim. In an Islamic context, it can refer to any effort to make personal and social life conform with God's guidance, such as struggle against one's evil inclinations, religious proselytizing, or efforts toward the moral betterment of the ummah, though it is most associated with war. In classical Islamic law, the term refers to armed struggle against unbelievers, while modernist Islamic scholars equate military jihad with defensive warfare. In Sufi and pious circles and moral jihad has been traditionally emphasized under the name of greater jihad; the term has gained additional attention in recent decades through its use by terrorist groups. The word jihad appears in the Quran with and without military connotations in the idiomatic expression "striving in the path of God". Islamic jurists and other ulema of the classical era understood the obligation of jihad predominantly in a military sense, they developed an elaborate set of rules pertaining to jihad, including prohibitions on harming those who are not engaged in combat.
In the modern era, the notion of jihad has lost its jurisprudential relevance and instead given rise to an ideological and political discourse. While modernist Islamic scholars have emphasized defensive and non-military aspects of jihad, some Islamists have advanced aggressive interpretations that go beyond the classical theory. Jihad is classified into inner jihad, which involves a struggle against one's own base impulses, external jihad, further subdivided into jihad of the pen/tongue and jihad of the sword. Most Western writers consider external jihad to have primacy over inner jihad in the Islamic tradition, while much of contemporary Muslim opinion favors the opposite view. Gallup analysis of a large survey reveals considerable nuance in the conceptions of jihad held by Muslims around the world. Jihad is sometimes referred to as the sixth pillar of Islam, though this designation is not recognized. In Twelver Shi'a Islam jihad is one of the ten Practices of the Religion. A person engaged in jihad is called a mujahid.
The term jihad is rendered in English as "Holy War", although this translation is controversial. Today, the word jihad is used without religious connotations, like the English crusade. In Modern Standard Arabic, the term jihad is used for a struggle for causes, both religious and secular; the Hans Wehr Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic defines the term as "battle. Nonetheless, it is used in the religious sense and its beginnings are traced back to the Qur'an and the words and actions of Muhammad. In the Qur'an and in Muslim usage, jihad is followed by the expression fi sabil illah, "in the path of God." Muhammad Abdel-Haleem states that it indicates "the way of truth and justice, including all the teachings it gives on the justifications and the conditions for the conduct of war and peace." It is sometimes used without religious connotation, with a meaning similar to the English word "crusade". According to Ahmed al-Dawoody, seventeen derivatives of jihād occur altogether forty-one times in eleven Meccan texts and thirty Medinan ones, with the following five meanings: striving because of religious belief, non-Muslim parents exerting pressure, that is, jihād, to make their children abandon Islam, solemn oaths, physical strength.
The context of the Quran is elucidated by Hadith. Of the 199 references to jihad in the most standard collection of hadith—Bukhari—all assume that jihad means warfare. Among reported saying of the Islamic prophet Muhammad involving jihad are The best Jihad is the word of Justice in front of the oppressive sultan. and The Messenger of Allah was asked about the best jihad. He said: "The best jihad is the one in which your horse is slain and your blood is spilled." Ibn Nuhaas cited a hadith from Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, where Muhammad states that the highest kind of jihad is "The person, killed whilst spilling the last of his blood". According to another hadith, supporting one's parents is an example of jihad, it has been reported that Muhammad considered well-performing hajj to be the best jihad for Muslim women. The practice of periodic raids by Bedouins against enemy tribes and settlements to collect spoils predates the revelations of the Quran. According to some scholars, while Islamic leaders "instilled into the hearts of the warriors the belief" in jihad "holy war" and ghaza, the "fundamental structure" of this bedouin warfare "remained... raiding to collect booty".
According to Jonathan Berkey, the Quran's statements in support of jihad may have been directed against Muhammad's local enemies, the pagans of Mecca or the Jews of Medina, but these same statements could be redirected once new enemies appeared. According to another scholar, it was the shift in focus to the conquest and spoils collecting of non-Bedouin unbelievers and away from traditional inter-bedouin tribal raids, that may have made it possible for Islam not only to expand but to avoid self-destruction. "From an early date Muslim law laid down" jihad in the military sense as "one of the principal obligations" of both "the head of the Muslim state", who declared the jihad, the Muslim community. According to legal historian Sadakat Kadri, Islamic jurists first developed classical doctrine of jihad "towards th
The Musta‘lī are a sect of Isma'ilism named for their acceptance of al-Musta'li as the legitimate nineteenth Fatimid caliph and legitimate successor to his father, al-Mustansir Billah. In contrast, the Nizari—the other living branch of Ismailism, presently led by Aga Khan IV—believe the nineteenth caliph was al-Musta'li's elder brother, Nizar. Isma'ilism is a branch of Shia Islam; the Musta'li originated in Fatimid-ruled Egypt moved its religious center to Yemen, gained a foothold in 11th-century Western India through missionaries. There was a distinction between the Taiyabi and the Hafizi Musta'lis, the former recognizing at-Tayyib Abu'l-Qasim as the legitimate heir of the Imamate after al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah and the latter following al-Hafiz, enthroned as caliph; the Hafizi view lost all support following the downfall of the Fatimid Caliphate: current-day Musta'lis are all Taiyabi. Most Musta'li are Bohras, the largest Bohra group is the Dawoodi Bohra, who are found in India; the name Bohra is a reinterpretation of the Gujarati word vahaurau "to trade".
The Bohra comprise two principal groups: a chiefly merchant class Shi'i majority and a Sunni Bohra minority who are peasant farmers. Mohammed Burhanuddin was the 52nd Da'i al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohra community. After his death Mufaddal Saifuddin succeeded him. According to Musta'lī tradition, after the death of al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah, his infant son, about two years old, was protected by Arwa al-Sulayhi, wife of the chief Fatimid Da'i of Yemen, she had been promoted to the post of Hujjat al-Islam long before by al-Mustansir Billah when her husband died and ran the Fatimid dawah from Yemen in the name of Imam Tayyib. During her leadership Tayyib went into occultation. Zoeb bin Moosa was first to be instituted to this office and the line of Taiyibi Da'is that began in 1132 has passed from one Da'i to another up to the present day. Arwa al-Sulayhi was the Hujjah in Yemen from the time of Imam al Mustansir, she appointed the Dai in Yemen to run religious affairs. Ismaili missionaries Ahmed and Abadullah were sent to India in that time.
They sent Syedi Nuruddin to Dongaon to look after southern part and Syedi Fakhruddin to East Rajasthan, India. In 1592, a leadership struggle caused the Ṭayyibi to split. Following the death of the 26th Dai in 1591 CE, Suleman bin Hasan, the grandson of the 24th Dai, was wali in Yemen and claimed the succession, supported by a few Bohras from Yemen and India. However, most Bohras denied his claim of nass, declaring that the supporting document evidence was forged; the two factions separated, with the followers of Suleman Bin Hasan becoming the Sulaymanis named after Sulayman ibn Hassan and located in Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the followers of Syedna Dawood Bin Qutubshah becoming the Dawoodi Bohra. Dawoodi Bohra, found in the Indian subcontinent. There is a community of Sunni Bohra in India. In the fifteenth century, there was schism in the Bohra community of Patan in Gujarat as a large number converted from Musta'li Isma'ili Shia Islam to mainstream Hanafi Sunni Islam; the leader of this conversion movement to Sunni was Syed Jafar Ahmad Shirazi who had the support of the Mughal governor of Gujarat.
A split in 1637 from the Dawoodi resulted in the Alavi Bohra. The Hebtiahs Bohra are a branch of Musta'li Isma'ili Shi'a Islam that broke off from the mainstream Dawoodi Bohra after the death of the 39th Da'i al-Mutlaq in 1754; the Atba-i-Malak community are a branch of Musta'ali Isma'ili Shi'a Islam that broke off from the mainstream Dawoodi Bohra after the death of the 46th Da'i al-Mutlaq, under the leadership of Abdul Hussain Jivaji in 1840. They have further split into two more branches: Atba-e-Malak Badar - The current leader is Maulana Muhammad Amiruddin Malak Saheb. Atba-i-Malak Vakil - Their current leader is Tayyebhai Razzak; the Progressive Dawoodi Bohra is a reformist sect within Musta'li Ismai'li Shi'a Islam that broke off circa 1977. They disagree with mainstream Dawoodi Bohra, as led by the Da'i al-Mutlaq, on doctrinal and social issues. Taher Fakhruddin is a claimant to the title of Dai al Mutlaq since 2016. In 2014 following the death of Mohammed Burhanuddin, there was a succession dispute over who became the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq.
This dispute has been resolved and Dr. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin has been claimed as the 53rd Da'i al-Mutlaq. According to Musta'li belief, the line of Imams, descendants of Ali and hereditary successors to Muhammad in his role of legitimate leader of the community of Muslim believers, follows: Hasan ibn Ali 625–670 Husayn ibn Ali 626–680 Ali ibn Husayn Zayn al-Abidinm 659–712 Muhammad al-Baqir 676–743 Ja'far al-Sadiq 702–765 Isma'il ibn Jafar 719/722–775 Muhammad ibn Isma'il 740–813 Ahmad al-Wafi 766–829 Muhammad at-Taqi 790–840 Radi Abdullah Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah al-Qa'im bi-Amr Allah al-Mansur Billah al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah al-Aziz Billah al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah Ali az-Zahir al-Mustansir Billah al-Musta'li al-Amir bi-Ahkami'l-Lah at-Tayyib Abu'l-QasimImams one through five are well-known historical figures in the early history of Islam who are revered by Twelvers; the Imams numbered 11 -- 21. The imams from Muhammad ibn Isma'il onward were occulted by the Musta'li. Followers of the Musta'li Imams recite the names of these imams in Dua-e Taqarrub after
Nizari Ismaili state
The Nizari Ismaili state called the Alamut State, was a Shia Nizari Ismaili state founded by Hasan-i Sabbah after he took control of the Alamut Castle in 1090 AD. The "state" consisted of a nexus of strategic fortresses throughout Persia and Syria, with each stronghold being surrounded by huge swathes of hostile territory, in particular, the Seljuk Empire, it was formed as a result of a religious and political movement of the minority Nizari Ismaili sect supported by the anti-Seljuk population. Being outnumbered, they resisted adversaries by employing strategic strongholds and the use of tactics such as sacrificial assassination and psychological warfare. Two centuries after its foundation, the state declined internally under Rukn-ud-Din Khurshah, who dismantled and surrendered the Alamut Castle to the invading Mongols. Most Ismaili Shias outside North Africa in Persia and Syria, came to acknowledge Nizar bin Mustansir Billah's claim to the Imamate as maintained by Hasan-i Sabbah, this point marks the fundamental split between Ismaili Shias.
Within two generations, the Fatimid Empire would suffer several more splits and implode. Following his expulsion from Egypt over his support for Nizar, Hasan-i Sabbah found that his co-religionists, the Ismailis, were scattered throughout Iran, with a strong presence in the northern and eastern regions in Daylam and Quhistan; the Ismailis and other occupied peoples of Iran held shared resentment for the ruling Seljuqs, who had divided the country's farmland into iqtā’ and levied heavy taxes upon the citizens living therein. The Seljuq amirs held full jurisdiction and control over the districts they administered. Meanwhile, Persian artisans and lower classes grew dissatisfied with the Seljuq policies and heavy taxes. Hasan too, was appalled by the political and economic oppression imposed by the Sunni Seljuq ruling class on Shi'ite Muslims living across Iran, it was in this context that he embarked on a resistance movement against the Seljuqs, beginning with the search for a secure site from which to launch his revolt.
By 1090 AD, the Seljuq vizier Nizam al-Mulk had given orders for Hasan's arrest and therefore Hasan was living in hiding in the northern town of Qazvin 60 km from the Alamut castle. There, he made plans for the capture of the fortress, surrounded by a fertile valley whose inhabitants were fellow Shi’i Muslims, the support of whom Hasan could gather for the revolt against the Seljuqs; the castle had never before been captured by military means and thus. Meanwhile, he dispatched his reliable supporters to the Alamut valley to begin settlements around the castle. In the summer of 1090 AD, Hasan set out from Qazvin towards Alamut on a mountainous route through Andej, he remained at Andej disguised as a schoolteacher named Dehkhoda until he was certain that a number of his supporters had settled directly below the castle in the village of Gazorkhan or had gained employment at the fortress itself. Still in disguise, Hasan made his way into the fortress, earning the trust and friendship of many of its soldiers.
Careful not to attract the attention of the castle's Zaydi lord, Hasan began to attract prominent figures at Alamut to his mission. It has been suggested that Mahdi's own deputy was a secret supporter of Hasan, waiting to demonstrate his loyalty on the day that Hasan would take the castle; the Alamut fortress was captured from Mahdi in 1090 AD and therefore from Seljuq control by Hasan and his supporters without resorting to any violence. Mahdi's life was spared, he received 3,000 gold Dinars in compensation. Capturing of the Alamut Castle marks the founding of the Nizari Ismaili state. Under the leadership of Hasan-i Sabbah and the succeeding Lords of Alamut, the strategy of covert capture was replicated at strategic fortresses across Iran and the Fertile Crescent; the Nizari Ismaili created a state of unconnected fortresses, surrounded by huge swathes of hostile territory, managed a unified power structure that proved more effective than either that in Fatimid Cairo, or Seljuq Bagdad, both of which suffered political instability during the transition between leaders.
These periods of internal turmoil allowed the Ismaili state respite from attack, to have such sovereignty as to have minted their own coinage. The Fortress of Alamut, called kursī ad-Daylam on Nizari coins, was thought impregnable to any military attack, was fabled for its heavenly gardens, impressive libraries, laboratories where philosophers and theologians could debate all matters in intellectual freedom; the hierarchy of the organization of the Nizari Ismailis was as follows: Imām, the descendants of Nizar Dā'ī ad-Du'āt', "Chief Da'i" Dā'ī kabīr -- "Superior Da'i", "Great Da'i" Dā'ī -- "Ordinary Da'i", "Da'i" Rafīq, plural rafīqān Lāṣiq. Lasiqs had to swear a special oath of obedience to the Imam. Fidā'ī' Imam and da'is were the elites, while the majority of the sect was consisted of the last three grades who were peasants and artisans. Da'is who ruled at AlamutDa'i Hassan-i Sabbah Da'i Kiya Buzurg-Ummid Da'i Muḥammad ibn Kiyā Buzurg-Ummīd Concealed Imāms at AlamutImām Alī al-Hādī ibn Nizār Imām Al-Muhtadī ibn al-Hādī (المهتدی بن الهاد
Order of Assassins or Assassins is the common name used to refer to an Islamic sect formally known as the Nizari Ismailis. Based on texts from Alamut, their grand master Hassan-i Sabbah tended to call his disciples Asāsiyyūn, but some foreign travellers like Marco Polo misunderstood the name as deriving from the term hashish. Described as a secret order led by a mysterious "Old Man of the Mountain", the Nizari Ismailis formed in the late 11th century after a split within Ismailism – a branch of Shia Islam; the Nizaris posed a strategic threat to Sunni Seljuq authority by capturing and inhabiting several mountain fortresses throughout Persia and Syria, under the leadership of Hassan-i Sabbah. Asymmetric warfare, psychological warfare, surgical strikes were a tactic of the assassins, drawing their opponents into submission rather than risk killing them. While "Assassins" refers to the entire sect, only a group of acolytes known as the fida'i engaged in conflict. Lacking their own army, the Nizari relied on these warriors to carry out espionage and assassinations of key enemy figures, over the course of 300 years killed two caliphs, many viziers and Crusader leaders.
During the rule of Imam Rukn-ud-Din Khurshah, the Nizari state declined internally, was destroyed as the Imam surrendered the castles to the invading Mongols. The Mongols eliminated their Order. Mentions of Assassins were preserved within European sources – such as the writings of Marco Polo – where they are depicted as trained killers, responsible for the systematic elimination of opposing figures; the word "assassin" has been used since to describe a hired or professional killer, leading to the related term "assassination", which denotes any action involving murder of a high-profile target for political reasons. The Nizari were feared by the Crusaders; the stories of the Assassins were further embellished by Marco Polo. European orientalist historians in the 19th century – such as Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall – referred to the Nizari in their works and tended to write about the Nizari based on accounts by medieval Sunni Arab and Persian authors; the origins of the Assassins can be traced back to just before the First Crusade, around 1094 in Alamut, north of modern Iran, during a crisis of succession to the Fatimid caliphate.
There has been great difficulty finding out much information about the origins of the Assassins because most early sources are written by enemies of the order, are based on legends, or both. Most sources dealing with the order's inner workings were destroyed with the capture of Alamut, the Assassins' headquarters, by the Mongols in 1256. However, it is possible to trace the beginnings of the cult back to its first Grandmaster, Hassan-i Sabbah. A passionate devotee of Isma'ili beliefs, Hassan-i Sabbah was well-liked throughout Cairo and most of the Middle East by other Isma'ili, which led to a number of people becoming his followers. Using his fame and popularity, Sabbah founded the Order of the Assassins. While his motives for founding this order are unknown, it was said to be all for his own political and personal gain and to exact vengeance on his enemies; because of the unrest in the Holy Land caused by the Crusades, Hassan-i Sabbah found himself not only fighting for power with other Muslims, but with the invading Christian forces.
After creating the Order, Sabbah searched for a location that would be fit for a sturdy headquarters and decided on the fortress at Alamut in what is now northwestern Iran. The Alamut castle was built by the Justanid ruler, Wahsudan b. Marzuban, a follower of zaydi Shiaism, around 865 AD. Sabbah adapted the fortress to suit his needs not only for defense from hostile forces, but for indoctrination of his followers. After laying claim to the fortress at Alamut, Sabbah began expanding his influence outwards to nearby towns and districts, using his agents to gain political favour and to intimidate the local populations. Spending most of his days at Alamut producing religious works and developing doctrines for his Order, Sabbah would never leave his fortress again in his lifetime, he had established a secret society of deadly assassins, built on a hierarchical structure. Below Sabbah, the Grand Headmaster of the Order, were those known as "Greater Propagandists", followed by the normal "Propagandists", the Rafiqs, the Lasiqs.
It was the Lasiqs who were trained to become some of the most feared assassins, or as they were called, "Fida'in". However, it is unknown how Hassan-i-Sabbah was able to get his "Fida'in" to perform with such fervent loyalty. One theory the best known but the most criticized, comes from the reports of Marco Polo during his travels to the Orient, he recounts a story he heard of a man who would drug his young followers with hashish, lead them to a "paradise", claim that only he had the means to allow for their return. Perceiving that Sabbah was either a prophet or magician, his disciples, believing that only he could return them to "paradise", were committed to his cause and willing to carry out his every request. However, this story is disputed because Sabbah died in 1124 and Sinan, known as the "Old Man of the Mountain", died in 1192, whereas Marco Polo was not born until around 1254. With his new weapons, Sabbah began to order assassinations, ranging from politicians to great generals. Assassins would attack ordinary citizens though, tended not to be hostile towards them.
Although the "Fida'yin" were the lowest rank in Sabbah's order and were only used as expendable pawns to do the
The Fatimid Caliphate was a Shia Islamic caliphate that spanned a large area of North Africa, from the Red Sea in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west. The dynasty of Arab origin ruled across the Mediterranean coast of Africa and made Egypt the centre of the caliphate. At its height the caliphate included in addition to Egypt varying areas of the Maghreb, Sicily, the Levant, Hijaz; the Fatimids claimed descent from the daughter of Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Fatimid state took shape among the Kutama Berbers, in the West of the North African littoral, in Algeria, in 909 conquering Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital. In 921 the Fatimids established the Tunisian city of Mahdia as their new capital. In 948 they shifted their capital near Kairouan in Tunisia. In 969 they established Cairo as the capital of their caliphate; the ruling class belonged to the Ismaili branch of Shi'ism. The existence of the caliphate marked the only time the descendants of Ali and Fatimah were united to any degree and the name "Fatimid" refers to Fatimah.
The different term Fatimite is sometimes used to refer to the caliphate's subjects. After the initial conquests, the caliphate allowed a degree of religious tolerance towards non-Ismaili sects of Islam, as well as to Jews, Maltese Christians, Egyptian Coptic Christians. However, its leaders made little headway in persuading the Egyptian population to adopt its religious beliefs. During the late eleventh and twelfth centuries the Fatimid caliphate declined and in 1171 Saladin invaded its territory, he incorporated the Fatimid state into the Abbasid Caliphate. The Fatimid Caliphate's religious ideology originated in an Ismaili Shia movement launched in the 9th century in Salamiyah, Syria by the eighth Ismaili Imam, Abd Allah al-Akbar, he claimed descent through Ismail, the seventh Ismaili Imam, from Fatimah and her husband ‘Alī ibn-Abī-Tālib, the first Shī‘a Imām, whence his name al-Fātimī "the Fatimid". The eighth to tenth Ismaili Imams, (Abadullah and Husain, remained hidden and worked for the movement against the rulers of the period.
Together with his son, the 11th Imam Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah, in the guise of a merchant, made his way to Sijilmasa, in present-day Morocco, fleeing persecution by the Abbasids, who found their Isma'ili Shi'ite beliefs not only unorthodox, but threatening to the status quo of their caliphate. According to legend,'Abdullah and his son were fulfilling a prophecy that the mahdi would come from Mesopotamia to Sijilmasa, they hid among the population of Sijilmasa an independent emirate, ruled by Prince Yasa' ibn Midrar. The dedicated Shi'ite Abu Abdallah al-Shi'i supported Al-Mahdi. Al-Shi ` i started his preaching; these men bragged about the country of the Kutama in western Ifriqiya, the hostility of the Kutama towards, their complete independence from, the Aghlabid rulers. This triggered al-Shi ` i to travel to the region; the Berber peasants, oppressed for decades under the corrupt Aghlabid rule, would prove themselves to be a perfect basis for sedition. Al-Shi'i began conquering cities in the region: first Mila Sétif and Raqqada, the Aghlabid capital.
In 909 Al-Shi'i sent a large expedition force to rescue the Mahdi, conquering the Khariji state of Tahert on its way there. After gaining his freedom, Abdullah al-Mahdi Billah became the leader of the growing state and assumed the position of imam and caliph. Abdullāh al-Mahdi's control soon extended over all of the Maghreb, an area consisting of the modern countries of Morocco, Algeria and Libya, which he ruled from Mahdia; the newly built city of Al-Mansuriya, or Mansuriyya, near Kairouan, served as the capital of the Fatimid Caliphate during the rule of the Imams Al-Mansur Billah and Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah. In 969 the Fatimid general Jawhar the Sicilian conquered Egypt, where he built near Fusṭāt a new palace city which he called al-Manṣūriyya. Under Al-Mu'izz li-Din Allah the Fatimids conquered the Ikhshidid Wilayah, founding a new capital at al-Qāhira in 969; the name al-Qāhirah, meaning "the Vanquisher" or "the Conqueror", referenced the planet Mars, "The Subduer", rising in the sky at the time when the construction of the city started.
Cairo was intended as a royal enclosure for the Fatimid caliph and his army - the actual administrative and economic capitals of Egypt were cities such as Fustat until 1169. After Egypt, the Fatimids continued to conquer the surrounding areas until they ruled from Tunisia to Syria, as well as Sicily. Under the Fatimids, Egypt became the centre of an empire that included at its peak parts of North Africa, Palestine, Lebanon, the Red Sea coast of Africa, Tihamah and Yemen. Egypt flourished, the Fatimids developed an extensive trade network both in the Mediterranean and in the Indian Ocean, their trade and diplomatic ties, extending all the way to China under the Song Dynasty determined the economic course of Egypt during the High Middle Ages. The Fatimid focus on long-distance trade was accompanied by a lack of interest in agriculture and a neglect of the Nile irrigation system. Al-Mahdiyya, the fir
The Nizaris are the largest branch of the Ismaili Shi'i Muslims, the second-largest branch of Shia Islam. Nizari teachings emphasise human reasoning and social justice; the Aga Khan Aga Khan IV, is the spiritual leader and Imām of the Nizaris. The global seat of the Ismaili Imamat is in Portugal. Nizari Isma'ili history is traced through the unbroken hereditary chain of Guardianship or, beginning with as Shia believe Ali Ibn Abi Talib being declared his successor as Imam by Muhammad during his final pilgrimage to Mecca, a journey referred to as The Farewell Pilgrimage, continuing in an unbroken chain to the current Imam His Highness Shah Karim Al-Husayni, the Aga Khan IV. From quite early on in his reign, the Fatimid Caliph-Imam al-Mustansir Billah had publicly nominated his elder son Nizar as his heir to be the next Fatimid Caliph-Imam after him; this was common knowledge in Fatimid Egypt at the time. Dai Hassan-i Sabbah, who had studied and accepted Ismailism in Fatimid Egypt, had been made aware of this fact by al-Mustansir.
After al-Mustansir died in 1094, Al-Afdal Shahanshah, the all-powerful Armenian Vizier and "Commander of the Armies", wanted to assert, like his father before him, his own dictatorial position over the Fatimid State. Al-Afdal engineered a palace coup on behalf of the much younger and dependent al-Musta'li, his brother-in-law by placing him the next day on the Fatimid throne. Al-Afdal claimed that Al-Mustansir had made a deathbed decree in favour of Mustaali and thus got the Ismaili leaders of the Fatimid Court and Fatimid Dawa in Cairo, the capital city of the Fatimids, to endorse Mustaali – which they did realizing that the army was dictating the palace coup. In early 1095, Nizar fled to Alexandria where he received the people's support and where he was accepted as the next Fatimid Caliph-Imam after al-Mustansir. There were gold dinars minted in Alexandria in Nizar's name. In late 1095, al-Afdal defeated Nizar's Alexandrian army and took Nizar as a prisoner to Cairo where he had Nizar executed.
After Nizar's execution, the Nizari Ismailis and the Mustaali Ismailis parted ways in a bitterly irreconcilable manner. The schism broke the remnants of the Fatimid Empire and the now divided Ismailis separated into the Mustaali following and those pledging allegiance to Nizar's son Al-Hādī ibn Nizār; the latter Ismaili following came to be known as Nizari Ismailism. Imam Hadi being young at the time was smuggled out of Alexandria and taken to the Nizari stronghold of Alamut Fort in the Elburz Mountains of northern Iran south of the Caspian Sea and under the regency of Dai Hasan bin Sabbah. There is the offshoot of the Muhammad-Shahi Nizari Ismailis who follow the elder son of Shamsu-d-Dīn Muḥammad, the 28th Qasim-Shahi Imam, named ‘Alā’ ad-Dīn Mumin Shāh, they follow this line of Imams until the disappearance of the 40th Imam Amir Muhammad al-Baqir in 1796. There are followers of this line of Nizari Imams in Syria today, locally called the Jafariyah. See list of Ismaili Imams for further details.
The followers of the young Imam Hadi who joined the military were trained as the Fidai. The Fidai's bravery and self-sacrificing spirituality was due to their belief that the Nizari Imam-ul-waqt had the Noor of God within him; as such it became a religious duty for the Fidai to obey every dictate of their Imam-ul-waqt and to protect him and their community of believers without compromise to the extent of dying for their cause. Under Hassan-i Sabbah in Iran, Rashid ad-Din Sinan in Syria, the Nizari Fidai targeted the most powerful enemy leaders faced by these new Nizari Ismaili Communities arisen out of the Fatimid succession split in Egypt; the Fidai were feared as the Assassins. Although they were trained in the art of spying and combat, they practiced their Islamic mysticism at the highest level; this religious ardor turned them into formidable foes which reached an incredible level as told in the anecdote of Count Henry of Champagne. Returning from Armenia, Henry spoke with Grand Master Rashid ad-Din Sinan at one of his castles, al-Kahf, in Syria.
Henry pointed out that since his army was bigger by far than Sinan's, Sinan should pay him an annual tribute. Sinan refused, asserting that his army was far stronger in spirit and unquestioning obedience if not in numbers, he invited Henry to witness this sacrificial spirit of his Fidai. Sinan signalled to a Fidai standing on the parapet of a high wall of his castle; the Fidai called out "God is Great" and unhesitatingly took a headlong death dive into the rocks far below. The bewildered Henry asked Sinan the cause for the suicidal jump. Sinan pointed once again to the Fidai. Again Sinan gave a signal to the Fidai to jump and the second Fidai called out "God is Great" and jumped to his death. Henry was visibly shaken by the experience of witnessing the two Fidais' total disregard for their own lives, he accepted Sinan's terms of peace on a non-tribute paying basis. The Nizaris thus averted debilitating wars against them