Academic Article

The Baghdad Manifesto (402 /1011) A Re-Examination of Fatimid-Abbasid Rivalry


Just over a century after the Fatimidsinfo-icon had established their caliphateinfo-icon in North Africa in 297 AH / 909 CE, and four decades after the transfer of their capital to Cairo in 362 AH / 973 CE, the Abbasid caliphinfo-icon al-Qadir bi’llah (r. 381–422 AH / 991–1031 CE) issued what became known in Muslim historiography as the Baghdad Manifesto. Proclaimed publicly in the Abbasid capital in 402 AH / 1011 CE, and subsequently read out across the Abbasid lands, its principal purpose was to invalidate the Alid lineage of the Fatimids and thus their claim to be the descendants of the Prophet, through his daughter, Fatimainfo-icon, and Ali b. Abi Talibinfo-icon; and by these means to render illegitimate their claim to be vested with the sole legitimate, universalist authority and leadership of the Islamic world.

Coverage of the Baghdad Manifesto acquired some prominence in early 20th-century Orientalist scholarship on the origins and early history of the Fatimid dynasty.[1] Limited access to Ismaili sources and an over-reliance on Sunni chronicles written after the 6th AH / 12th CE century in which the Manifesto had become a valid source on the origins of the Fatimids were among the salient features of the scholarship in this period.[2] However, the discovery of further Sunni and especially Ismaili sources in the course of the 20th century saw scholarship on the early Fatimids base itself primarily on 3rd–4th AH / 9th–I0th CE century texts, which were composed before the promulgation of the Manifesto.[3] As a result the Manifesto began to lose its importance in modern scholarship.[4] The fact that it was issued by the Abbasid caliph came to be variously understood as: the reproduction of particular forms of anti-Fatimid defamation which had begun earlier in the 4th AH / l0th CE century;[5] an example of anti-Ismaili polemic and Abbasid propaganda against the Fatimid da‘wainfo-icon during the reign of al-Qadir;[6] and as an aspect of al-Qadir’s own pro-Sunni, anti-Fatimid and anti-Shi‘i strategy.[7]

The reduction of interest in the Manifesto in recent scholarship has left a lacuna regarding the context that led to its issuance, and its subsequent reception in Muslim historiography. Through a close reading of particular Abbasid and Fatimid sources, this paper aims to examine the relevant developments that led to the issuing of the Manifesto and its textual specificities. The exploration of the Manifesto will also serve as a vantage point from which to explore the social and religious cache of the Alid lineage in the 4th–5th AH / l0th–11th CE centuries.

By this time, the charismatic appeal of the Alid lineage had transcended ethnic, social and sectarian divides, enabling the rise of the ashraf, the descendants of the Prophet, as a unique social group across the Islamic world. The Alid lineage also served as the cornerstone of all branches of Shi‘i Islam, and formed the bedrock of the Fatimid claim to the imamateinfo-icon.


The Historiography and Text of the Manifesto


The so-called Baghdad Manifesto has been provided either in full or referred to in several Arabic and Persian chronicles dating from the 6th to the 9th AH / 12th to 15th CE centuries. These include the works of Ibn al-Jawzi (d. 597 AH / 1200 CE),[8] Ibn al-Athir (d. 630 AH / 1233 CE),[9] Juwayni (d. 681 AH / 1283 CE)[10], Abu’l-Fida (d. 732 AH / 1331 CE),[11] Ibn al-Kathir (d. 774 AH / 1373 CE),[12] al-Dhahabi (d. 748 AH / 1348 CE),[13] al-Safadi (d. 764 AH / 1363 CE),[14] Ibn Khaldun (d. 784 AH / 1382 CE),[15] al-Maqrizi (d. 845 AH / 1442 CE)[16] and Ibn Taghribirdi (d. 874 AH / 1470 CE).[17] Of these, Ibn al-Athir, al-Safadi and Ibn Khaldun, while they extensively discuss the Manifesto and its signatories, do not quote the text. As Rosenthal pointed out, the earliest extant version of the Manifesto is that in Ibn al-Jawzi's al-Muntazam.[18]

The sources that quote the Manifesto present what is, by and large, a stable text. However, within these there are significant variations, including two distinct introductory segments and the inclusion of certain key passages which are found in some recensions but not in others. One such version is that of Ibn al-Jawzi, which Ibn al-Kathir summarises, and al-Dhahabi and Ibn Taghribirdi follow closely. This introduction ascribes a Khurrami origin to the Fatimids and includes passages that are not found in other versions.

The second version is that of Abu’l-Fida, which al-Maqrizi follows closely. Their introductory segment, which begins with the mention of the fourth Fatimid imaminfo-icon-caliph, al-Mu‘izz li-Dininfo-icon Allah, does not mention the Khurramis, while their main text does not include key passages found in Ibn al-Jawzi’s version.

The third version is that of Juwayni, which is written in Persian and which shares the introductory segment found in the version of Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi, but which also contains a few, though not all, of the passages from Ibn al-Jawzi’s version that are not found in Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi.

This suggests that by the 6th AH / 12th CE century there were two or possibly three distinct recensions of the Baghdad Manifesto. In view of the fact that the Manifesto was reported to have been drafted in Baghdad in 402 AH / 1011 CE, and that copies were then sent to adjacent regions, the different versions probably represent variant copies of the document made after its promulgation. The following section provides a translation of Ibn al-Jawzi’s recension, as the earliest of the extant accounts, while indicating the differences found in the other versions.

Ibn al-Jawzi’s introduction seems to be an amalgam of a preamble to the Manifesto merged into the document itself.[19] It reads:


In this month [of Rabi‘ al-Akhir 402], written declarations (mahadir) were drafted in the diwaninfo-icon of the caliphate regarding the substance (ma‘na) of those in Egypt, to vilify (qadh) their lineage (nasab) and their creed (madhhabinfo-icon).[20] A copy of it was read in Baghdad.Upon it were inscribed the signatures of the descendants of the Prophet (ashraf), the judges (qudat), the jurists (fuqaha), the pious (salihin), the legal witnesses (shuhud), the trustworthy (thiqat), and the exemplary (amthal),[21] as regards their knowledge and comprehension concerning the lineage of the Daysaniyya – for their [the Fatimid] lineage is traced to Daysan b. Sa‘id al-Khurrami, the party of the infidels,[22] the seeds of the satans.

[This was] a testimony to draw close to God the Almighty and Glorious, one [undertaken] in disappointment, for the sake of religion and for Islam,[23] and in belief [in the necessity] of disseminating what God Almighty has ordered upon the religious scholars (ulamainfo-icon), to make it evident to the people and not to conceal it. So they all together bore witness that ...


The second introduction to the Manifesto reads more plausibly as the introductory passage to an actual document. It is provided by Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi, and is also found in Juwayni’s Persian rendition:


[In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate][24] The witnesses bear witness that Ma‘add b. Isma‘il [the one who seized Egypt was Ma‘add][25] b. Abd al-Rahman b. Sa‘id descends from Daysan b. Sa‘id, from whom come the Daysaniyya, [that the aforesaid Sa‘id went to the Maghribinfo-icon, where he was called Abd Allah and received the title (laqab) of al-Mahdiinfo-icon][26], that ...

Following these divergent introductory segments, the traditions merge into a common text. However, major passages found in Ibn al-Jawzi are omitted from Abu’l-Fida’s recension though two passages are present in Juwayni. The common text is noted below, with indents indicating passages found in Ibn al-Jawzi’s tradition but not in Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi or Juwayni.


The one who has arisen (najim) in Egypt,[27] is al-Mansur b. Nizar with the laqab aI-Hakim (may the judgement, hukm, of God upon him be one of destruction, annihilation and humiliation, eradication and exemplary punishment), the son of Ma‘add, the son of Isma‘il the son of Abd al-Rahman the son of Sa‘id (may God give him no felicity, who having gone to the west was then called Ubayd Allah and took the laqab al-Mahdi), and those who preceded him of his foul and impure predecessors,[28] upon him and them the curse of God and the curse of all those who curse,[29] are false claimants (ad‘iya) and those who seceded, the khawarijinfo-icon, who do not have lineage (nasab) amongst the sons of Ali b. Abi Talib, nor do they have any claim of [filial] attachment to him, and it [the lineage of Ali] is free from their falsehood.[30] What they claim in connection to this [lineage] is void and fabricated.

~ That they [the signatories] have no knowledge of anyone from the noble houses of the Talibids[31] who has ever ceased pronouncing statements that these khawarij are pretenders (ad‘iya). [Absent in Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi]

~ That this refutation, concerning their lies and [false] claims[32] is commonly known in the [lands] of the Two Sanctuaries (i.e., the haramayn). [Absent in Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi].

~ From the onset of their affair (amr) in the west, it was made public (muntashir) and spread. [Absent in Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrizi.]

~ [so as] to prevent their lie from deceiving anyone, or [prevent anyone from] embarking on a delusion that would lead to believing in them. [Absent in juwayni, Abu’l-Fida and al-Maqrjzi.]

That this one who has arisen in Egypt, he and his predecessors, are infidels (kuffar) , libertines (fussaq), debauchees (fujjar), deviators (mulhidun), and materialist Manicheans (zanadiqa mu‘attilun).[33] They do not believe in Islam.[34]

~ And [they] follow as their creed (madhhabs) of the Dualists[35] and the Zoroastrians. [Absent in Juwayni, Abu’l-Fida, and al-Maqrizi]

They have abrogated the hududinfo-icon [of Iaw], allowed sexual licentiousness,[36] permitted [the drinking of khamr,[37] spilt blood, insulted the prophets, cursed the salaf,[38] and proclaimed divinity.

This was written in [the month of] Rabi al-Akhir in the year 402 AH [14 November 1011 CE].


Almost all the extant versions mention the names or offices of those who signed the mahadir of 402 AH / 1011 CE. While several different signatories appear in the various accounts, the list of signatories remains broadly consistent, including the mention of the names Sharifinfo-icon al-Radi and Sharif al-Murtada. The full list collated across the sources include:

Among the Alidsinfo-icon: Sharif al-Murtada, Sharif al-Radi,[39] Ibn Azraq al-Musawi,[40] Abu Tahir b. Abi Tayyib,[41] Muhammad b. Mubammad b. Umar, Ibn Abi Ya‘la,[42] Ibn al-Bathawi.[43]

Among the judges: Abu Muhammad b. al-Akfani,[44] Abu’l Qasim aI-Khazari,[45] Abu’l-Abbas al-Suri.[46]

Among the jurists: Abu Hamid al-Isfara’ini,[47] Abu Mubammad al-Kashfali,[48] Abu’l-Husayn al-Quduri,[49] Abu Abd Allah al-Saymari,[50] Abu Abd Allah al-Baydawi,[51] Abu Ali b. Hamkan.[52]

Among the legal witnesses: Abul-Qasim al-Tanukhi.[53]

Additionally, Ibn al-Athir provides the names of Abu’l- Fadl al-Nasawi and Abu Ja‘far aI-Nasafi.[54] Furthermore, Ibn al-Athir, Abu’l-Fida and Ibn Khaldun also include the well-known Twelver Shi‘i theologian, Abu Abd Allah b. aI-Nu‘man, Shaykhinfo-icon al-Mufid.[55]


The Context of the Manifesto


The Baghdad Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE was a decree (mahdar) issued by the Abbasid caliph Abmad b. Isbaq al-Qadir bi’llah and was produced by the court chancellery (diwan) in Baghdad. The mahdar’s principal message was the categorical public rejection of the Alid descendancy of the Fatimids, who are then accused of heresy and immorality. This is apparent in the references to the Manifesto by authors such as Ibn al-Athir and Ibn Khaldun, who do not provide the text itself, but simply refer to it as a document denying the Alid origins of the Fatimids.[56]

The promulgation of the Baghdad Manifesto has been discussed in scholarship primarily in the context of Fatimid-Abbasid rivalry. Central to the circumstances leading to its issuing was the potency of the Alid lineage in the legitimisation of Fatimid claims to authority. It explains the use of lineage as a principal trope by pro-Abbasid sources from the early 4th AH / l0th CE century onwards. The use of lineage by the Abbasidsinfo-icon in the legitimisation of their caliphate and the emergence of the Alid ashraf as a charismatic social group by the 5th AH / 11th CE centuries are also germane to this exploration.


Centrality of the Alid lineage to the Fatimids


The establishment of the Fatimid caliphate in North Africa in 297 AH / 909 CE signalled a major shift in the socio-political and ideological dynamics of the medieval Mediterranean world. The move to Egypt in 362 AH / 973 CE placed the Fatimids at a central point in the Islamic world, and gave them a territorial proximity to the Abbasid heartlands of Iraq. Ideologically, the Fatimid claim to Alid descent posed an unprecedented challenge to Abbasid claims of exclusive right to the caliphate, which reverberated long after the Fatimid caliphate had been vanquished.

The Fatimid caliphate was based on the Shi‘i doctrine which held that legitimate authority over the Muslim ummainfo-icon was the unique preserve of the divinely chosen imam from the descendants of Ali b. Abi Talib and Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet. The designation of the Fatimid imam-caliph as the Commander of the Faithful and the Imam of the Muslims thus negated the Abbasids’ own claims and represented a direct challenge to their authority.

The activity of the Ismaili da‘wa (religio-political mission) which spanned the major regions of the Islamic world in the Iraq the da‘wa was during the 3rd AH / 9th CE century, and which culminated in the formation of the Fatimid state, was predicated on the claim that rightful authority belonged solely to the designated imam from the descendants of Ali and Fatima. The Ismaili Fatimid caliphate was based on this Shi‘i Imami axiom, with the Fatimid doctrine on the imamate receiving systematic exposition during the reign of the fourth imam-caliph al-Mu‘izz li-Din Allah.[57] The Fatimid imam-caliphs’ right to rule as possessors of the inherent, divinely sanctioned imamate was traced from Ali b. Abi Talib through Ja‘far al-Sadiq (d. 148 AH / 765 CE) to his son Isma‘il, who was succeeded by Muhammad b. Isma‘il, and then through the four generations of the ‘concealed imams’ during what came to be characterised as the ‘period of concealment’ (dawr al-satrinfo-icon), until the accession of Abd Allah al-Mahdi, whose public manifestation (zuhurinfo-icon) marked the commencement of the Fatimid state.[58] The declaration of their Alid lineage took a variety of forms, including books on law and doctrine, public orations, coinage and inscriptions on mosques, palaces and city gates, all serving as important features of the Fatimid state.

Inherent to the Fatimid claim of Alid descent, and recognised by their detractors, was their assertion of descent from the Prophet himself. While Ali b. Abi Talib retained a central position in Fatimid articulations of legitimate authority, equally central was Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, wife of Ali and the eponym of the Fatimid dynasty.[59] It was through her that all the Alids, the Shi‘i Imams and the Fatimid imam-caliphs in particular claimed descent, and therefore inheritance, from the Prophet Muhammad.[60]

Reflecting the centrality of the daughter of the Prophet in Shi‘i doctrine, Fatima was given prominence in the public proclamations of the Fatimid imam-caliphs. This is evident in many of the transformative moments in Fatimid history. Fatima was named in the invocation of blessings upon the Prophet and his household in the first public Fatimid sermon in North Africa;[61] she was praised in al-Mu‘izz li-Din Allah’s sermon announcing the demise of his father al-Mansur and his own accession;[62] and she was similarly invoked in the sermons in Egypt following the Fatimid takeover.[63] Fatima’s name was also inscribed on Fatimid coinage,[64] and it is after her epithet, al-Zahra (the illuminated), that the Fatimids called the principal mosque in Cairo, al-Azharinfo-icon which, as Brett notes, was named ‘after the mother of the dynasty’.[65]

 Based on their descent from Fatima, the Fatimid imam-caliphs referred to the Prophet Muhammad as their grandfather (jadduna), to whose legal, political and religious authority they were heirs, and whose da‘wa and commandments they had come to fulfil. Their supporters echoed these claims by referring to the Fatimid imam-caliphs as the ‘sons of the Messenger’.[66] Fatimid diplomatic correspondence and dialogue with local notables, also reflected these claims.[67] The raison d’ȇtre of the Fatimid mission was linked to the mission of the Prophet. The Fatimids thus saw themselves as the protectors of their grandfather’s community,[68] the revivers of his practices[69] and the continuators of his da‘wa.[70] Thus polemics against the Alid descent of the Fatimids critically entailed the denial of their descent from the Prophet. This denial, therefore, also became a focal point of anti-Fatimid polemic by the Abbasids from the inception of Fatimid rule. Fundamentally, the Fatimid claim to Alid descent directly impinged on the authenticity of the Abbasid claims to legitimacy.


Abbasid legitimisation: From Alid to Abbasid primacy


The revolution that toppled the Umayyadsinfo-icon in 132 AH / 750 CE had as its slogan ‘the chosen one from the family of the Prophet Muhammad’ (al-rida min al Muhammad) which was in effect a call for legitimate authority over the Islamic world to be restored to the Hashimid clan. While the term encompassed all those who claimed to be of the family of the Prophet, in actuality it led to the establishment of the Abbasid dynasty after the assumption of power by the first Abbasid caliph, Abu’l-Abbas al-Saffah (r. 132–136 AH / 750 –754 CE).

Therefore, Abbasid legitimacy was originally positioned in a proto-Shi‘i belief in the primacy of Alid succession. The earliest legitimisations of Abbasid authority held that rightful rule after the Prophet passed to Ali, his sons and their successors, but was ultimately bequeathed to their Abbasid cousin in the well-known testimony of Abu Hashim, a grandson of Ali. It was following the aftermath of a major Alid rebellion in 145 AH / 762–763 CE during the reign of the second Abbasid caliph, al-Mansur that the Abbasid model of authority moved away from implicit articulations of Alid legitimacy. Thereafter, the Abbasid claim was legitimised through legalistic, meritocratic and tribal notions of inheritance which proclaimed that the Prophet’s uncle, al-Abbas b. Abd al-Mutallib (d. ca. 32 AH / 653 CE), the progenitor of the Abbasids, was the rightful successor to the Prophet, while rejecting the concept of inheritance through Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet. Subsequently, Abbasid claims that al-Abbas and his descendants were the divinely sanctioned successors of the Prophet were based on traditions ascribed to the Prophet.

While the Abbasid model of legitimacy returned briefly to the notion of Alid pre-eminence during the reign of al-Ma‘mun (r. 170–218 AH / 786–833 CE), the concept of Abbasid primacy and succession remained dominant, despite the fact that ‘their very rise to power had undermined the ideology by means of which they had risen’.[71] Central to this dominance was a compromise with the religio-juridical establishment whereby the ulama remained authoritative as expounders of law and doctrine, while the caliph retained his status as head of the state (umma). Following the failure of various attempts by different Alids to overthrow Abbasid rule in the 2nd AH / 8th CE century, the Alid challenge to the Abbasids remained marginal for the following century, although scattered Alid claimants secured political power in peripheral areas, such as the Zaydi imamates in the Caspian and Yemen.

The rise of the Fatimid caliphate in 297 AH / 909 CE proved, therefore, to be a major challenge to established Abbasid authority. For the first time, a large-scale and viable state positioned in the central Islamic lands legitimised its authority through Alid claims to succession. Given that any refutation of Alid legitimacy per-se would need to be circumspect, the main thrust of the Abbasid anti-Fatimid propaganda over the next century sought to deny instead that the Fatimids were Alids at all.

Ironically, it was the violent persecution of the Alids following the Abbasid acquisition of political power that had compelled the descendants of Isma‘il b. Ja‘far al-Sadiq to withdraw from public life. The concealment of the names and hiding places of the Ismaili imams for some 150 years before the Fatimids came to power, known in Ismaili history as the dawr al-satr (period of concealment), provided the Abbasids with their allegation that the Fatimids were upstarts whose Alid ancestry could not be proved incontrovertibly with complete credence.[72]

Anti-Fatimid propaganda was produced by several parties that felt threatened by their rise.[73] These included Sunni theologians and heresiographers often patronised by the Abbasids, the Umayyads of al-Andalus, and the Ismaili Qarmatisinfo-icon, who rejected the Fatimid claim to the imamate.

Pivotal to the framing of anti-Fatimid polemics were the works sponsored by the Abbasid caliphs or initiated by their supporters.[74] With one layer building upon another over the course of the 4th AH / 10th CE century, their principal accusation was that the Fatimids were not of Alid descent, and this eventually turned into defaming them as arch-heretics who harboured an enmity to Islam. One major milestone in the anti-Fatimid tradition was the accounts of Ibn Rizam and Akhu Mulhsin which began to circulate in the 4th AH / 10th CE century. Their anti-Fatimid vitriol included the ascription of an alternative non-Alid lineage to the Fatimid imam-caliphs, which were compounded by accusations of heresy as drafted in the Ibn Rizam-Akhu Muhsin narrative, and these subsequently gained state validation in the Baghdad Manifesto.


The first anti-Fatimid alternative lineage


In a cursory mention of the rise of the Fatimids, which took place in the final decades of his life, Abu Ja‘far b. Jarir al-Tabari (d. 310 AH / 923 CE) refers to the first Fatimid imam-caliph, al-Mahdi bi’llah, as Ibn al-Basri.[75] Al-Tabari’s label indicates the first accretion of an alternative lineage in the pro-Abbasid circles of Baghdad which implicitly denied the validity of the Alid origins of the Fatimids.

This early layer of anti-Fatimid accounts, propagating the notion that the Fatimids were not Alids and that al-Mahdi was the ‘son of a Basran’ can be traced to investigations that were supposedly initiated in Baghdad by the Abbasid caliph around 301 AH / 914 CE.[76] As reported by the Andalusi chronicler, Arib b. Sa‘d, after the first Fatimid campaign in Egypt, which took place in that same year, the Abbasid caliph al-Muqtadir (r. 295–320 AH / 908–932 CE) set out to ‘investigate the lineage (nasab) of Abd Allah al-Mahdi, who is called Ubayd Allah al-Shi‘i, a derogatory diminutive that became customary among most later Sunni historians.[77] Arib cited as his source the well-known Baghdadi scholar, Muhammad b. Yahya al-Suli (d. 335 AH / 947 CE), who related it from Abu’l-Basan Ali b. Siraj al-Misri, known as a memoriser of reports (akhbar) regarding the Shi‘ainfo-icon. The Abbasid caliph’s investigations concluded that:


Ubayd Allah, the one who has arisen (al-qa’iminfo-icon) in Ifriqiyainfo-icon, is Ubayd Allah b. Abd Allah b. Salim – from the people of Askar Mukram – Ibn Sindan al-Bahili, the chief of Ziyad’s police and from his client (mawaliinfo-icon). Salim, his grandfather, had been killed by [the Abbasid caliph] al-Mahdi because of his heresy (zandaqa).[78]


As noted by Madelung, in the literary biographical dictionary of the Andalusian Ibn al-Abbar (d. 658 AH / 1260 CE) a similar version of this alternative lineage is traced to another Baghdadi scholar of the same period, the chronicler Ubayd Allah b. Ahmad b. Abi Tahir Tayfur.[79] The son of a literary figure, Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur (d. 280 AH / 893 CE), Ubayd Allah b. Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur continued his father’s history of Baghdad (Akhbar Baghdad) before his own death in 313 AH / 925–926 CE.[80] He was, therefore, a contemporary of both al-Tabari and al-Suli, and a witness to this early version of an alternative Fatimid lineage circulating in the Abbasid court circles in Baghdad. Ubayd Allah b. Abi Tahir’s alternative lineage approximates to that given by al-Suli.[81]Notably, this version omits the accusation that the grandfather was executed for zandaqa, which appears in al-Suli’s later version.[82] The conjunction of an accusation of heresy among their forebears with an alternative non-Alid lineage would, over the following century, become the staple features of anti-Fatimid Abbasid propaganda, culminating in the Baghdad Manifesto.


The Ibn Rizam/ Akhu Muhsin insertions


Writing in the first half of the 4th AH / 10th CE century in Baghdad, the anti-Ismaili and anti-Fatimid Sunni polemicist Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. Ali b. Rizam (or Razzam) al-Kufi, composed the Kitab al-radd ala’l-Isma‘iliyya (or al-Naqd ala’l-Batiniyyainfo-icon), a work that professed to be a history of the Ismaili movement which had culminated in the Fatimid state.[83] Ibn Rizam’s influential account posited another genealogy for the Fatimids that was traced to Maymun al-Qaddah) and his son Abd Allah.[84] According to Ibn Rizam, both father and son were daysaniyyun (Bardesanians, who followed a form of dualism), the latter a trickster and charlatan with pretentions to prophecy. Abd Allah b. Maymun al-Qaddah, succeeded by his son Muhammad, is alleged by Ibn Rizam to have spearheaded the Isma‘ili movement which spread across the Islamic world and culminated in the emergence of a person he calls Sa‘id b. al-Husayn b. Abd Allah b. Maymun, that is, the Fatimid imam-caliph al-Mahdi bi’llah.

Ibn Rizam added that Abd Allah b. Maymun initially pretended to be a descendant of Aqil, a brother of Ali b. Abi Talib,[85] but that this claim was altered when Sa‘id [i.e., al-Mahdi] went to Egypt and took to ‘propagating the claim that he was descended from Ali and Fatima, with the name ‘Ubayd Allah’.[86] Ibn Rizam recounts that seeing that his own claim was unsuccessful, Sa‘id then conjured up a young man, who he claimed was a descendant of Muhammad b. Isma‘il, and who was to be his successor Abu’l-Qasim al-Qa’im.

Ibn Rizam’s account served as the basis for another major anti-Fatimid treatise by the sharif Abu’l-Husayn Muhammad b. Ali, more commonly known as Akhu Muhsin.[87] Writing shortly after 372 AH / 983 CE, Akhu Muhsin asserted that his concern was to elucidate ‘the matter of Isma‘il b. Ja‘far ... and his descendants, as much is being said about his son and he is being credited with descendants who do not belong to his family.[88] He repeated the allegation that the Fatimids were, in fact, descendants of a non-Alid by the name of Abd Allah b. Maymun al-Qaddah), a Daysani dualist and the founder of their creed, all of whom were ‘heretics’ of the highest order who sought to destroy Islam from within.

In this same period, as Stern points out, the fraudulent publications and anti-Fatimid pamphlets that circulated in the Abbasid lands had a powerful influence on the shaping of anti-Ismaili public opinion.[89] They were alleged to be ‘secret works’ of the Ismailis and thus contained the ‘hidden truths and goals’ of the Ismaili da‘wa. Prominent among them was the Kitab al-siyasa, the work of an ‘able forger disseminated as the product of the cynical libertism of an Ismaili teacher.[90] Though apparently based on an intimate knowledge of Ismaili doctrine, the work sought to portray how the da‘wa instructed its adherents to ‘capture souls’ through seven steps of initiation that ultimately led to atheism.

The Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim, the famous book cataloguer of Baghdad, provides a snapshot of the layers of anti-Fatimid propaganda circulating in Baghdad in the last decades of the 4th AH / 10th CE century. Though he disassociates himself from the calumny, Ibn al-Nadim reproduced extracts from Ibn Rizam as well as other accounts circulating in this period which cumulatively claim to prove that the Fatimid imam-caliphs were descendants of Maymun al-Qaddah, a Bardesanian, who had ‘contempt for the shari‘ainfo-icon and the basic teachings of prophecy’, and whose secret books sought to beguile the naive into a system of initiation that led to atheism, which vilified the prophets and religion.[91] In the Fihrist, anti-Fatimid accusations also include claims that the founders of the Ismailis were aided by Magians who sought to restore the Sasanian state by means of figures such as the Persian anti-Muslim rebel Babak Khurrami, who wanted the ‘return of the government of the Persians and their religion as foretold in the stars’.[92] While the anti-Fatimid allegations of Ibn Rizam and Akhu Muhsin gained credibility in Abbasid circles, it was al-Qadir who was instrumental in giving them the official Abbasid seal of approval by the reproduction of central elements of their polemic in the Baghdad Manifesto.


The Caliphate of al-Qadir: The Manifesto and the Abbasid Restoration


Thought to be a malleable replacement for his predecessor, the caliph al-Qadir was appointed by the Shi‘i Buyid amirinfo-icon, Baha al-Dawlainfo-icon after he had unceremoniously deposed al-Qadir’s cousin and predecessor, al-Ta’i (r. 363–381 AH / 974–991 CE).[93] The reign of al-Qadir is recognised in scholarship as a signal feature of what has been termed as the eastern Islamic world’s ‘Sunni revival’, in which al-Qadir himself emerged as the champion of Sunni orthodoxy.[94] As summarised by Kennedy, al-Qadir was able to ‘create a new and lasting role for the Abbasid Caliphate’, for just as the Shi‘i Imam Ja‘far al-Sadiq showed it was possible to be an imam without political power, al-Qadir showed that there was a religious role for the Abbasid caliphs, a role which they could fulfil even if their temporal power was non-existent’.[95]

The promulgation of the Baghdad Manifesto proved to be a pivotal moment not only in Fatimid-Abbasid rivalry but also in the resurgence of the Abbasid caliphate itself. Thus the Manifesto served a number of functions. First, it turned the accretions of a century of anti-Fatimid propaganda into an official document which, in addition to having the caliphal seal of approval, was allegedly endorsed by both leading Sunni and Alid figures in Iraq. Moreover, through its co-option of leading Alids in Iraq, the Manifesto deflected the potential for Fatimid-ashraf alliances for which there were already precedents in Egypt and the Hijazinfo-icon. Similarly, it sought to halt the spread of the Fatimid da‘wa and stem the recognition of Fatimid authority, particularly by local Iraqi rulers, such as the Uqaylidsinfo-icon. Finally, the Manifesto became a major symbol of al-Qadir’s own caliphal authority, through which he asserted his leadership over individuals and religious groups who were potential rivals by assembling their signatures in an official caliphal edict.

The manner of al-Qadir’s accession in 38l AH / 991 CE exemplified the decline of Abbasid power, a process that had begun in the previous century. From the late 3rd AH / 9th CE century, endemic political instability and factional rivalries in Iraq saw the succession of five caliphs between 289 and 333 AH / 902 and 944 CE, and this facilitated the arrival of the Buyid (or Buwayhid) dynasty in 334 AH / 945 CE in Baghdad, a Shi‘i dynasty of Daylaminfo-icon; chieftains whose power-base lay in northern Iran.[96] Yet while the Buyidsinfo-icon eclipsed the Abbasids for half a century, relegating them to their palace complex to be deposed at will,[97] the caliphs nonetheless retained the critical function of legitimising the emerging model of the Buyid amirate.[98]

By al-Qadir’s time, Buyid rule in Iraq had begun to unravel owing to a multitude of factors, presenting him with an opportunity to manipulate the web of religious and military factional alliances in Iraq such that he could assume power.[99] Amid the swift rise and fall of Buyid viziers, Sunni-Shi‘i urban riots, conflicts between the Shafi‘iinfo-icon and Hanafi schools of law (madhhabs) for the judiciary, and between Daylami and Turkish commanders for control of tax farms, the caliph al-Qadir remained ‘the one stable figure in the politics of the era’ and was gradually accorded increasing power that came to him as mediator in the fights of city factions and as court of appeal for army disputes.[100]

The evolution of al-Qadir’s caliphate over the four decades of his reign saw the gradual positioning of the Abbasid caliph as the spokesman of Sunni Islam and especially of its Hanbali school of law.[101] This was finally realised with al-Qadir issuing al-Risala al-Qadiriyya, which was read out from the Abbasid palace in 409 AH / 1018 CE, and reinforced further by three public letters issued in 420 AH / 1029 CE.[102] These represented al-Qadir’s ‘profession of faith’, a pro-Hanbali assertion which condemned Shi‘i, Mu‘tazili and Ash‘ari standpoints, while affirming veneration for the Prophet’s companions and the first four caliphs.[103] The cumulative legacy of these pronouncements was an assertion of the truth of Sunni Islam as opposed to any form of Shi‘i Islam or Mu‘tazilism.[104] While the period of the ordeal (mihna) of the 3rd AH / 9th CE century saw the Abbasid caliph al-Ma’mun’s endeavours to assert himself as the source of doctrine against the power of the Sunni ulama, including Ahmad b. Hanbal, al-Qadir’s reign in the 5th AH / 11th CE century saw the caliph refashioned as the defender of doctrines that had been outlined earlier, particularly by the Hanbali ulama.[105]

   Al-Qadir’s reign was thus marked by the evolution of religious and political policies through which the caliph consolidated his authority. The production and promulgation of the Baghdad Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE can arguably be read as a testing of the waters by this redefined caliphate which served as the precursor of the public declaration of creed noted above.

Yet the issuing of the Manifesto was motivated by an imminent concern to stem the rising Fatimid-Alid influence in Iraq, and was fuelled by the potential for the Iraqi ashraf to recognise the Fatimids as the true caliphs. In addition, concerns such as the pro-Fatimid turn that the Shi‘i-Sunni conflict of the urban population in Baghdad had taken, and significantly, the proclamation made in the Friday khutbainfo-icon by the Uqaylids that it was the Fatimids who were the rightful caliphs, which occurred in places as far apart as Mosul and Kufa, also played an immediate role in the Manifesto’s promulgation.


The role of the Alid ashraf in the Manifesto


In all the medieval Sunni chronicles that provide the list of signatories to the Manifesto, Sharif al-Radi and his brother Sharif al-Murtaza appear at the top of it. This is because it was the signatures of these two leading Alid Shi‘i scholars, above all others, which, well into the 9th AH / 15th CE century, were deemed to lend weight to the Manifesto. Accordingly, Sharif al-Radi’s career and his supposed expression of pro-Fatimid sympathies are discussed in several of these chronicles as an integral part of the immediate context of the Manifesto. While the presence of the Alid ashraf as signatories to the Manifesto has been mentioned in scholarship, the factors leading to the rise of the ashraf in the 4th AH / 10th CE century, and the impact on Fatimid-ashraf relations of the proclamation of the Manifesto, remain to be explored.[106]

 The Alid ashraf had, by this time, settled throughout the major regions of the Islamic world and they professed a cross-section of all the madhabs.[107] Forming a distinct local nobility, they served as leaders, diplomats, mediators and local patricians who had the ability to span various social and religious groups. Their religious status was predicated on the belief in their blessed descent, which often led to their receipt of state pensions, as the certified inheritors of the Prophet's unique prerogative of receiving the one-fifth tax (khums).[108] Moreover, the ‘over-seers’ or ‘martials’ (naqibs), as the heads of the ashraf, became the public guardians of the Prophet’s lineage.[109] By the 5th AH / 11th CE century, the regional naqibs had acquired the prerogative of publicly confirming a true Alid descent and denouncing a false one by issuing a mahdar. So, for the Abbasids, the affirmation of the Fatimid Alid lineage by the ashraf would have been detrimental to their sustained propaganda effort. Conversely, co-opting the ashraf to deny the validity of the Alid lineage of the Fatimids gave the Manifesto a crucial seal of legitimacy.

There were precedents for Fatimid-ashraf alliances in Egypt and the Hijaz, which had proved vital for buttressing Fatimid authority in the region. The symbiotic relationship between the Fatimids and the elite Egyptian and Hijazi ashraf had reinforced the Fatimid claim of being the Alid imam-caliphs of a Shi‘i empire, and therefore, the champions of Shi‘i law and practice.[110] It also positioned the pro-Fatimid ashraf as the privileged, state-patronised interlocutors with the various segments of the populace. The results of the Fatimid-ashraf alliance are clearly evident in the relatively peaceful conquest of Egypt by the Fatimids,[111] as well as in the mention of the name of the Fatimid imam-caliph in the Friday khutba in Mecca and Medina (haramayn) from 362 AH / 973 CE onwards, displacing the Abbasids from their pulpits for over a century.[112] Viewed in this light, al-Qadir’s co-option of the Alids was a necessary prerequisite for the reinforcing of the Manifesto's credentials, and for forestalling any potential reconciliation between the Fatimids and the Iraqi ashraf.


The Musawi naqibs of Baghdad


Among the prominent ashraf of Iraq during the reign of al-Qadir were the Musawi ashraf, descendants of the seventh lthna‘ashari Shi‘i imam Musa al-Kazim b. Ja‘far al-Sadiq. At the turn of the century, the head of the Musawis of Iraq was Sharif Abu Ahmad Husayn b. Musa al-Musawi al-Alawi (304–400 AH / 916–1009 CE), the father of Sharif al-Radi and Sharif al-Murtaza.[113] Abu Ahmad al-Musawi’s life illustrates the growing influence of the ashraf in the region, and their own tussles of power with both the Buyids and the Abbasids. Abu Ahmad al-Musawi’s appointment in 354 AH / 965 CE as the naqib of the ashraf by the Buyid amir Mu‘izz al-Dawla marked the family’s century-long ascent in Baghdad.[114] His appointment as the leader of the Pilgrimage for Iraq was significant, as the office was generally held by someone from the extended Abbasid family.

So substantive was Abu Ahmad’s social, political and economic standing that the Buyid amir Adud al-Dawla, coveting his wealth and fearing his growing power and prestige, had him imprisoned in his fortress in Shiraz in 369 AH / 979 CE. Following Adud al-Dawla’s death in 372 AH / 983 CE, Sharif Abu Ahmad was released from prison, reinstated as the naqib and, in addition, appointed in charge of the grievance (mazalim) courts. The final years of his career proved to be ones in which he enjoyed unparalleled status and popularity. After being briefly dismissed, Abu Ahmad was reinstated to the niqaba in 394 AH / 1004 CE, with the exceptional honour of receiving an official title al-Tahir al-Awhad Dhu’l-Manaqib (the only pure one is the beholder). In 397 AH / 1006 CE, when Sharif Abu Ahmad was 93 years old, the office of the niqaba was bequeathed to his son Muhammad, who came to be known as Sharif al-Radi.


Sharif al-Radi and the pro-Fatimid verses: Debate and reception


The life and legacy of Sharif al-Radi exemplifies the charismatic role that the ashraf fulfilled for all classes of society during this period.[115] Both al-Radi and his brother al-Murtada were widely recognised as Ithna‘ashari Shi‘is.[116] Yet al-Radi, like his father before him, often occupied a middle ground between various religious and factional groups in Iraq.

Thus accounts pertaining to the pro-Fatimid verses attributed to Sharif al-Radi and the reactions that they provoked at the Abbasid court under al-Qadir provide an important angle in understanding the production and historiography of the Baghdad Manifesto.

The younger of the two brothers, Sharif al-Radi, enjoyed unrivalled prestige during his life, which continued to reverberate through the centuries, owing in part to his distinct position but mainly because of his literary works. Having been educated under noted Arabic grammarians, as well as Maliki and Mu‘tazili ulama, al-Radi’s production of verses from an early age led his contemporaries to call him the greatest poet of the Quraysh.[117]

Al-Radi’s political career began when he was given responsibilities over the niqaba, the mazalim and leadership of the hajjinfo-icon. For two decades his stature grew and the Buyid amir Bah al-Dawla granted him several titles, including al-Radi Dhu’l-Hasabayn in 396 AH / 1005 CE, hence his sobriquet Sharif al-Radi.[118]

Sharif al-Radi is known to have presented himself as a viable candidate for the caliphate in his earlier years.[119] Although he wrote eulogies to the caliph al-Ta’i[120] he also wrote ‘audacious, impertinent, and provocative’ verses against al-Qadir, including those that deny any difference in station between himself and the Abbasid caliph.[121] It is against this backdrop that in Abbasid circles the allegations were made that he had written pro-Fatimid verses.

At some point before 400 AH /1009–1010 CE, a series of verses, allegedly written by Sharif al-Radi and in circulation in Baghdad, came to the attention of al-Qadir. These verses praise the Fatimids, hint at his possible migration to Egypt and affirm the Alid lineage of the Fatimids. The commonly reproduced extract of the longer poem declaims:[122]


[Why should] I bear humiliation in the land of the enemy, when in Egypt the Caliph is an Alid

His father is my father, his friend (mawlahu) is my friend (mawlay),

if the distant stranger bears malice for me

That which ties my neck to his neck, is the sayyidinfo-icon of all men, Muhammad and Ali.


Ibn al -Jawzi, Ibn al-Athir and al-Maqrizi report al-Qadir’s reaction to these verses attributed to al-Radi, Ibn al-Athir's version being nearly identical to that of Ibn al-Jawzi. Al-Maqrizi uses excerpts from Hilal b. al-Muhassin al-Sabi (d. 447 AH / 1055 CE), thus providing a contemporary rendering of the event. Hilal al-Sabi and Ibn al-Jawzi’s accounts share an identical narrative frame. Yet they also have notable variances, revealing some disagreement in the broader historical tradition concerning the Abbasid al-Qadir, Sharif al-Radi and the signing of a mahdar.[123]

According to both versions, after al-Qadir became aware of these verses, his spokesman confronted al-Radi’s father, Abu Ahmad al-Musawi.[124] Among the issues that the spokesman raised was that if al-Radi were to go to Egypt, his status would be considerably reduced.[125] Abu Ahmad later denied that the verses were composed by his son.[126] There is a notable variation between the two accounts that follows this denial. In Hilal’s version, al-Qadir said that if this denial was true, then ‘let a mahdar be written denying the lineage of the rulers of Egypt, and let Muhammad [i.e., al-Radi] sign it’, at which point those in attendance at the Abbasid court, including Abu Ahmad and Sharif al-Murtada, signed it.[127] Ibn al-Jawzi’s account, however, has Abu Ahmad promising al-Baqillani, who is acting as the caliph’s spokesman, that he will secure an apology from al-Radi. Later, Abu Ahmad asks al-Radi to write a letter in which the latter will deny the Alid lineage of the Fatimids.[128]

The two accounts reconverge when Abu Ahmad confronts his son, al-Radi, and the latter denies that he is the author of the verses. In both narratives, al-Radi refuses to publicly deny the validity of the Fatimids’ Alid lineage, either by refusing to sign the mahdar, as in Hilal’s version, or by not writing the letter, as in Ibn al-Jawzi’s one.[129] Abu Ahmad confronts his son’s refusal to do this, upon which al-Radi professes that he is fearful of the da‘iinfo-icons of Egypt.[130] A bitter argument ensues between father and son, and the father swears an oath to either not speak to his son, as per Hilal,[131] or not reside with him, as in Ibn aI-Jawzi.[132] The matter ends with al-Radi swearing an oath that the poem was not his composition, and Hilal adds that al-Qadir nonetheless had him removed from the niqaba, and replaced him with another sharif.[133]

 Several elements in the two narratives raise further questions. Although the narrative frames are identical, the variation in incidental details suggests a considerable reworking of traditions concerning al-Qadir, aI-Radi and the mahdar. The supposed breakdown of relations between al-Radi and his father seems suspect in view of al-Radi’s well-documented affection and reverence for his father, which can be seen in the fact that his earliest poems were written in praise of him and also that he wrote his biography.[134] One must also question why, in the contemporary version of Hilal, Sharif al-Radi is said to have refused to sign a mahdar produced at the Abbasid court, while in the later version of al-Jawzi the narrative has al-Radi refusing to write a new letter denouncing the Fatimids. Could it be that Ibn al-Jawzi’s version is retrospectively adapted to validate the accounts in which Sharif al-Radi is said to have signed the Baghdad Manifesto?

Between the accounts of the pro-Fatimid verses of al-Radi and those about the Baghdad Manifesto, two somewhat conflicting narratives present themselves in the extant sources. The first seeks to detach al-Radi from the pro-Fatimid verses, while also emphasising his refusal to sign a manifesto/letter. The second, on the Baghdad Manifesto itself, simply attaches al-Radi’s signature to the Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE. Why al-Radi would sign the Manifesto, a year after his father’s demise and despite his resistance to do so earlier, remains unanswered. The question therefore remains open to further exploration as to whether the pro-Fatimid verses were written by Sharif al-Radi and whether or not he actually signed the Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE. Conversely, al-Qadir’s motivations for securing al-Radi’s denial of the pro-Fatimid verses, and his affirmation of the Manifesto, are evident.

While the validation of the Manifesto depended on the compliance of the ashraf, its actual issuance was inextricably tied to the burgeoning influence of the Fatimid da‘wa in Iraq.


Al-Kirmani, the Fatimid da‘wa in Iraq


Iraq had served as the crucible for Ismaili da‘wa activities during the dawr al-satr and into the 4th AH / 10th CE century.[135] Conditions in the Abbasid heartlands were not conducive to preserving a detailed record of the Fatimid da‘wa activities there in this period. However, accounts of the diplomatic negotiations between the Buyid ruler Adud al-Dawla and the Fatimid imam-caliph al-Aziz bi’llah around 367–368 AH / 977–978 CE, indicate how widespread in Iraq the da‘wa was during the last decades of the century.[136] The proscription of a prominent Fatimid da‘i from Basra whom Adud al-Dawla accused of overstepping the mark, and who was consequently held to ransom at the Buyid court, pending the outcome of the Buyid-Fatimid overtures, is a case in point.[137]

The writings of the Fatimid da‘i Hamid al-Dininfo-icon al-Kirmani (d. after 411 AH / 1020 CE) provide an insight into the Fatimid da‘wa in Iraq during the years surrounding the issuance of the Baghdad Manifesto.[138] Known as Hujjatinfo-icon al-Iraqayn (Chief Da‘i of the two Iraqs), al-Kirmani occupied the most senior position in the Fatimid da‘wa in the region. His works such as al-Majalisinfo-icon al-Basriyya wa’l-Baghdadiyya are also indicative of his activities for the da‘wa in Iraq.[139] However, it is his al-Masabih fi ithbat al-imamainfo-icon, probably composed soon after the Baghdad Manifesto, which provides an insight into the approaches to belief and their expression in the Fatimid da‘wa at this time.[140]

Written for Fakhr al-Mulk, the Buyid vizierinfo-icon in Baghdad during this period (40–407 AH / 1010–1016 CE), the principal aim of this work was to convince him of the veracity of the Fatimid claim to the imamate. That al-Kirmani could compose such a work in a heightened anti-Fatimid environment, and address it directly to the Buyid vizier, suggests he may have had some patronage among the upper echelons of the Iraqi bureaucracy.[141] In his al-Masabih al-Kirmani sets out to provide a series of cogently argued premises, so as to prove:


the absolute necessity of the imamate and to indicate what it is as precisely as he could, all the while affirming the Fatimid position, and that of his imam, al-Hakim.[142]


In so doing, he disparaged the Abbasid al-Qadir as blatantly unqualified for the imamate.[143] This is particularly significant because the Buyid vizier Fakhr al-Mulk was effectively in charge of relations with this caliph.

Al-Kirmani delineates the criteria required for a valid claim to the imamate, the foremost of which is descent from al-Husayn b. Ali b. Abi Talib. Consequently, he dismisses the claims of all the other contemporary Muslim rulers, beginning with the Abbasid al-Qadir and including the Zaydi and Khariji imams of the time.[144] Al-Kirmani reiterates the authentic Alid lineage of the Fatimid imam-caliph al-Hakim:


He is from the offspring of prophecy and is a descendant of al-Husayn ... He has been designated by pure forefathers back through Ali b. Abi Talib, to Muhammad, the Chosen.[145]


Notably, al-Kirmani makes no direct reference to the Baghdad Manifesto, which indicates that at the time of the issuing of the Manifesto, it may not have held any particular importance for the Fatimids.[146] Yet the fact that the entire work is concerned with affirming the imamate based on Alid lineage reiterates its inviolable centrality for the Fatimid da‘wa in Iraq.

While al-Kirmani’s work demonstrates the prominent position of the leading Fatimid da‘i in Iraq in the upper echelons of the Buyid administration, it was the manifestations of pro-Fatimid sentiment among the ordinary Shi‘i population of Baghdad, and especially the pronouncement of al-Hakim’s name in the Friday khutba in several places around Baghdad, that may well have been the proverbial final straw which provoked al-Qadir's promulgation of the Manifesto.[147]


The proclaiming of al-Hakim by the Shi‘is of Baghdad


Kennedy has noted that the Buyid period was one of continuous crisis in Baghdad.[148] As a result of the breakdown of the Abbasid political order, a decline in trade and the emigration of wealthy families to Egypt, Baghdad had turned into a battleground for various military factions seeking control over the limited resources of the region. Clashes between rival Turkish and Daylami contingents for supremacy produced ‘the emergence of the Shi‘a and Sunni as armed political groupings and the division of the city into Sunni and Shi‘i quarters’.[149]

While the first signs of popular violence were evident in the anti-Shi‘i attacks by the Hanbalis, which the Abbasid caliph sought to halt by a decree in 323 AH / 935 CE,[150] the arrival of the Buyids in Baghdad was a catalyst for social rupture.[151] Then, in the aftermath of the political conflicts of 361 AH / 972 CE, when Turkish regiments rebelled against the Buyids and their Daylami regiments, there appeared what Donohue has termed a ‘loose alliance’ between the Turkish guards and the Sunnisinfo-icon on the one hand, and the Daylami soldiery and the Shi‘is on the other.[152] Yet, though the political quarrels ended, as Kennedy notes, the ‘arming of both factions and increasing division of the city into fortified quarters, each with its own sectarian character’ became a permanent feature of the social landscape of the city until ‘Baghdad was firmly divided between the adherents of the two rival sects, each armed and defending its own areas’.[153]

While various prominent figures, Sunni, Shi‘i and Buyid, sought to calm the violence, urban conflict became an endemic feature of 5th AH / 11th CE century Baghdad.[154] The eruption of Sunni-Shi‘i violence in 398 AH / 1008 CE, however, took on new symbolic proportions when Shi‘i protestors publicly proclaimed their allegiance to the Fatimid ruler al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah.[155] Citing several reasons for these clashes, Ibn al-Jawzi relates:


The People of Karkh spoke about the one who was executed, for he was a Shi‘a. Then a battle ensued between them and the people of Babinfo-icon al-Basra, Bab al-Sha‘ir and al-Qala‘in. The people of Karkh assaulted the home of Abu Hamid (al-Isfara’ini) so he went to Dar al-Qutn. There they [the people of Karkh] proclaimed: Ya Hakim Ya Mansur.[156]


The proclamation of loyalty to aI-Hakim bi-Amr Allah in the Abbasid capital appears to have jolted al-Qadir into action. In a seemingly unprecedented intervention, he instructed his palace guards to assist the Sunni partisans. This weakened the Shi‘a, whose leaders were compelled to seek the caliph’s clemency.[157] While al-Qadir was increasingly recognised as the spokesman for the Sunnis, he sought to distance himself from the Sunni-Shi‘i fray. His personal intervention in this confrontation thus highlights his sensitivity to the growing success of the Fatimid da‘wa, which came to the fore some three years later in both northern and southern Iraq.


The khutba of Qirwash and the noose around Baghdad


It was recognition of Fatimid authority by the two major Bedouininfo-icon Iraqi principalities in 401 AH / 1010 CE which provoked the issuing of the Baghdad Manifesto. The dynastic chieftains of the Uqaylids and the Mazyadids emerged as increasingly powerful among the array of factional leaders in Iraq and Syria during this period, and their recognition of the imamate of the Fatimid al-Hakim in 401 AH / 1010 CE proved to be a seminal moment in the history of Fatimid-Abbasid rivalry.

Following the decline of Hamdanid rule in Mesopotamia, the chieftains of the Arab tribe of Uqayl established their foothold in Mosul around 380 AH / 990 CE. Six years later, their chieftain Qirwash b. al-Muqallid (d. 442 AH / 1050 CE) extended their rule over the Jazjra (northern Iraq and eastern Syria), with Mosul as the capital for the next half-century.[158]

In southern Iraq, another Bedouin dynasty, that of the Banu Mazyad, established its rule following the waning of Buyid authority there. By 393 AH / 1003 CE, Ali b. Mazyad, the chief of the Mazyadid clan of the Banu Asad, had emerged as the unrivalled chieftain in the regions around Kufa and south of Baghdad. In 397 AH / 1007 CE, he was given the title Sanad al-Dawla in recognition of his stature.[159]

 These two Bedouin principalities had large and cohesive nomadic armies upon which their polities had been built, and which gave them a distinct advantage over their factional rivals.[160] Though part of the Abbasid system of patronage, they had a notable affinity for Shi‘i Islam. Mazyadid patronage of Shi‘i scholarship at al-Hilla, originally their military encampment, eventually led to the emergence of the Hilla school of Ithna‘ashari jurisprudence.

In 401 AH / 1010 CE, the Uqaylid Qirwash b. al-Muqallid, publicly pronounced his allegiance to the Fatimid imam-caliph al-Hakim in the Friday khutba in Mosul on 4 Muharraminfo-icon/18 August.[161] Two months later, recognition of the imamate of al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah was also declared in the sermon at Anbar, north of Baghdad. A week later, the same proclamations were made at al-Mada’in (Ctesiphon) and Qasr Ibn Hubayra, south of Baghdad, and soon thereafter in Kufa, the ancient bastion of Shi‘i Islam. Almost simultaneously, Ali b. Mazyad, the chieftain of the Mazyadids, made similar public pronouncements in aI-Hakim’s name in southern Iraq.[162] Qirwash’s change of allegiance effectively created what Walker has termed a Fatimid noose around Baghdad, placing the Abbasid caliph al-Qadir in a perilous position.[163] The Alid descent of the Fatimids was declared in an unequivocal manner in the khutba of Qirwash:[164]


O God, bless your radiant guardian and your greatest friend, Ali b. Abi Talib, the father of the rightly guided imams ... O God extend all Your blessings ... [to] the imam of the age, fortress of the faith, master of the Alid da‘wa (sahib al-da‘wa al-alawiyya) and prophetic religion (al-milla al-nabawiyya), Your servant and guardian on Your behalf, al-Mansur Abu Ali al-Hakim bi-Amr Allah, Commander of the Believers, just as You blessed his rightly guided forefathers.


The aftermath of this public declaration highlights the fact that despite al-Qadir’s growing authority in Baghdad, he was compelled to turn to the Buyid military lords to repulse the pro-Fatimid stranglehold now around Baghdad. Following entreaties for aid from the Abbasid caliph, buyid amir Baha al-Dawla compelled Qirwash to rescind his recognition of the Fatimid da‘wa through threats and enticements.[165] Al-Qadir’s military limitations being thus exposed, he turned in the following year to the soft power of propaganda and issued the Baghdad Manifesto.


The Baghdad Manifesto


Soon after the Baghdad Manifesto was issued from al-Qadir’s court in 402 AH / 1011 CE it was read out publiciy in Baghdad and Basra, as well as in other areas.[166] Seeking to definitively place the Fatimids outside the Alid fold, the Manifesto placed them outside Islam altogether. It dredged up the central elements of the accumulated anti-Fatimid polemic of the 5th AH / 11th CE century, especially as recounted in Ibn Rizam and Akhu Muhsin, and gave them caliphal sanction. Most importantly, the attestation of the claims of the Manifesto by the prominent Signatories in Baghdad set the seal on its validity.

The influence of the Manifesto lay as much in the fact that it was issued by the Abbasid caliph, as it did in the stature of the signatories underwriting its authenticity. An investigation of the key signatories as well as those whose names are absent from it, reveals that the Manifesto was conditioned as much by the dynamics of power in Baghdad, and al-Qadir’s manipulation of them, as it was about forestalling the influence of the Fatimid da‘wa in the region.


The Alids


In addition to Sharif al-Radi and Sharif al-Murtada, whose significance to the signing of the Manifesto has been discussed above, there were several other major Alid figures who were given as signatories. One of those listed by Ibn al-Jawzi and Ibn al-Athir is Abu Tahir b. Abi’l-Tayyib. A survey of the genealogical sources indicates that this is a reference to Abu Tahir Ahmad b. Abi’l-Tayyib aI-Hasan b. Muhammad al-Ashtar, a descendant of the early Shi‘i Imam, Ali Zayn al-Abidin. Sharif Muhammad al-Ashtar is known as the progenitor of the Banu Ubayd Allah, a large family of ashraf whose predominance in Kufa gave rise to the adage, ‘The sky belongs to God, the earth to the Banu Ubayd Allah.[167] Over the 5th AH / 11th CE century, major members of the ashraf from this family held the niqabas of Wasit, Kufa, Baghdad and Mosul.[168] Furthermore, Muhammad al-Ashtar’s grandson, Abu Abd Allah Abmad (d. 398 AH / 1007 CE) was close to Abu Ahmad al-Musawi, the father of Sharif al-Radi.[169] The signatory, Abu Tahir Ahmad b. Abu’l-Tayyib al-Hasan, was another grandson of Muhammad al-Ashtar and a cousin of Abu Abd Allah Ahmad.[170] His signature on the Manifesto would have therefore served as a corroboration from one of the eminent ashraf families of Iraq.


Also noted among the Alid signatories is Ibn al-Buthawi. In so far as this lineage (nisbainfo-icon) is seemingly missing from the works of the genealogists, it is probably a transcription error for the nisba al-Buthan. The Buthanis were Hasanid Alids who had gained prominence as Zaydi imams and local notables generally throughout the eastern Islamic world.[171] Pre-eminent Buthanis included the two Zaydi imams, Abu’l-Husayn Ahmad al-Mu‘ayyad bi’llah (d. 411 AH / 1020 CE) and his elder brother Abu Talib Yahya al-Natiq bi’l-Haqq (d. ca. 424 AH / 1033 CE), both of whom, as Madelung notes, gained ‘universal recognition among the later Zaidis as Imams for their outstanding rank in religious scholarship’.[172] Notably, both studied in Baghdad before claiming the imamate.[173] Other Buthanis included the patrician families of Nisabur and Hamadhan.[174]

 The possible mention of an anonymous Ibn al-Buthani in the Baghdad Manifesto can be linked to the career of another leading Zaydi in Baghdad, Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. al-Hasan (d. 359 AH / 969 CE) known as Ibn al-Da‘i, who came from a collateral branch of the Alids. He came to Baghdad with the Buyid amir Mu‘izz al-Dawla who had considered Ibn al-Da‘i as a viable candidate for the caliphate, but appointed him instead as the naqib over the ashraf.[175] Thus there was a distinct Zaydi presence in Baghdad to be seen among the naqibs. The signature of an anonymous Buthani on the Manifesto would have represented its validation by a distinguished Zaydi family in Iraq.

Among the other Alid signatories was Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Umar. Known as Abu’l-Harith al-Alawi, he was a naqib of Kilfa who expended much of his wealth on leading the hajj caravans for over a decade.[176] Despite the Kilfan link and the mention of wealth, it is unclear if this figure is connected to the distinguished Iraqi sharif who had died ten years earlier, Muhammad b. Umar.[177] If that is so, then the Signature of his son, Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Umar, on the Manifesto represented an endorsement by another major Alid family in Iraq. Ibn Azraq al-Musawi and Ibn Abi Ya‘la are also found among the Alids, but little is known of them.


The Judges


The signatories included also eminent judges. Qadiinfo-icon Abu Muhammad Abd Allah al-Akfani al-Asadi (316- 405 AH / 928- 1014 CE) was the leading Hanafi judge of Baghdad at the time.[178] A major patron of traditionists, Ibn al-Akfani served as the chief qadi of Baghdad after 396 AH / 1005-1006 CE. After him is listed Abu’l Abbas Ahmad b. Muhammad b. Abd al-Rahman al-Abiwardi (d. 425 AH / 1034 CE), a hadithinfo-icon narrator and poet, who later became a leading Shafi‘i judge in Baghdad, under the patronage of his Shafi‘i master al-Isfara’ini, as discussed in the section ‘The jurists’, below.[179]

The identity of the third judge remains uncertain, partly because of the variants of the name in the sources, either Abu’l Qasim al-Khazari or al-Jazari.[180] Also there are seemingly no prominent contemporary qadis with the nisba al-Jazari or al-Khazari of Baghdad in this era. It is likely, however, following Ibn al-Athir’s identification of him as Ibn al-Khazari, that this qadi is the son of, or connected to, another eminent judge of Baghdad in the previous generation, who belonged to the Zahiri madhhab, known as Qadi Abu’l-Husayn Abd al-Aziz b. Ahmad al-Khazari. This qadi was appointed as one of the four deputy judges in Baghdad in 369 AH / 979 CE after Adud al-Dawla ‘broke with tradition’ and appointed a Zahiri scholar from Shiraz as the chief justice of Baghdad.[181] The contemporary Ibn al-Nadirn noted in his listing of zahiri jurists that Abd al-Aziz al-Isbahani al-Khazari was still serving as a judge in Baghdad in 376 AH / 987 CE[182]. This al-Khazari died in 391 AH / 1001 CE, ten years before the Manifesto. While the connection of Abu’l Qasim al-Khazari with Abd al-Aziz al-Khazari remains to be established, it would have fitted with the varied purposes of the Manifesto to have a leading Zahiri’s signature on it.


The Jurists


The jurists listed as signatories to the Manifesto can be divided into Hanafis and Shafi‘is with one exception, a major Shi‘i jurist. Foremost among the Shafi‘i signatories is Abu Hamid Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Isfara’ini (345–406 CE / 957–1016 CE), the leader of the Shafi‘is of Baghdad from the end of the 4th AH / l0th CE century and one of the capital’s ‘most important religious figures’.[183] Another Shafi‘i signatory was Abu Ali b. Hamkan (d. 405 AH / 1014 CE).[184] Ibn al-Athir also lists the Shafi‘i faqihinfo-icon Abu’l-Fadal-Nasawi. [185] The identities of two other listed jurists remains uncertain. It is likely that Abu Abd Allah al-Baydawi, listed in Ibn al-Jawzi, was Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. Abd Allah al-Baydawi al-Baghdadi (d. 424 AH / 1033 CE), a Shafi‘i jurist whose nisba may indicate the inclusion of a distinctly Baghdadi element.[186] One signatory, Abu Muhammad al-Kashfali, remains unidentified, though his nisba displays a Shafi‘i connection.[187]

The Hanafi jurists who signed the Manifesto are named as Ahmad b. Muhammad al-Quduri al-Hanafi (d. 429 AH / 1037 CE), the ‘head of the Hanafi school of Iraq’, a highly respected faqih and teacher of al-Khatib al-Baghdadi whose works are well known. Another leading Hanafi signatory was al-Husayn b. Ali b. Muhammad al-Saymari (d. 436 AH / 1044 CE), a leader of the Hanafis of Baghdad as well as an important faqih and judge. Ibn al-Athir adds the name of an ascetic Hanafi scholar, Abu Ja‘far al-Nasafi (d. 414 AH / 1023 CE).[188]

 Finally, included by Ibn al-Athir and Ibn Khaldun, and the only name of any signatory given by Abu’l-Fida, is that of Abu Abd Allah b. al-Nu‘man, the pre-eminent Ithna‘ashari Shi‘i jurist of the era, Shaykh al-Mufid (336–413 AH / 948–1022 CE). Regarded as ‘a leading theologian and spokesman of the Imamiyyainfo-icon, whose authority was widely recognised by lthna‘ashari Imamisinfo-icon beyond Baghdad, Shaykh al-Mufid was a prominent figure in the intellectual life of Baghdad itself. Madelung adds that ‘virtually all the leading Imami scholars of the following generation were his students’, including Sharif al-Radi and Sharif al-Murtada, the latter leading the funeral prayers over him in 413 AH / 1022 CE.[189]


The legal witnesses (shuhud)


Among the remaining figures listed as signatories can be found the legal witness Abu’l -Qasim Ali b. al-Muhassin al-Tanukhi (365-447 AH / 976- 1055 CE), a son of Abu Ali al-Tanukhi (329-384 AH / 941-994 CE), the famous litterateur and judge, who was the secretary and confidant of the Buyid amir, Adud al-Dawla. Ibn Khallikan says that, in addition to his scholarly endeavours, Abu’l-Qasim Ali was known for the soundness of his legal testimony before he became a qadi.[190]

An overview of the signatories highlights the point that the legitimacy of the Manifesto was conceived of strategically as a collectively signed legal testimony, with the signataries serving as public guarantors of its anti-Fatimid pronouncement. Moreover, their varied backgrounds reflect the three major sources of authority regarding the subject matter and claims of the Manifesto – genealogical, legal and doctrinal. The Iraqi ashraf served as the genealogical validation of the document, the judges and shuhud as the legal sponsors, and the representatives of the various legal and religious schools as the doctrinal verifiers.

Equally important in contextualising the relevance of the Manifesto is an analysis of the dynamics operating among the signatories. The most prominent figures noted in the Baghdad Manifesto were often at loggerheads with each other, and at times with al-Qadir. As leaders of the highly fragmented Sunni and Shi‘i communities of Baghdad, the Shafi‘i Abu Hamid al-Isfara’ini and Shaykh al-Mufid found themselves as the de-facto leaders of hostile Sunni and Shi‘i communities in Baghdad. A case in point is the urban violence in which the Shi‘i protestors invoked the Fatimid al-Hakim. Kindled by attacks against Shaykh al-Mufid, the conflict culminated in an assault on the house of al-Isfara’ini for the role he played in effecting the burning of the mushaf of Ibn Mas‘ud. [191]

 Relations between the Sunni signatories are similarly pertinent. The period of the signing of the Manifesto saw three of the major signatories pitted against each other in a dispute which also drew in Sharif al-Radi and the Abbasid al-Qadir. As detailed by Donohue, a struggle for control of the office of qadi of Baghdad in the same year as the Manifesto led the Hanafi chief judge al-Akfani to reject the attempt by the Shafi‘i, al-Isfara’ini, to have his protege al-Abiwardi appointed as the deputy.[192] When al-Akfani rejected the caliph’s order, al-Isfara’ini used his connections with al-Qadir to have him dismissed and replaced by al-Abiwardi. The appointment divided the 'ulama'. AI-Akfani was supported by the Hanafis and by Sharif al-Radi, while al-Abiwardi was upheld by the caliph’s court and the Shafi‘is. The conflict spread beyond the city when al-Afkani wrote to Mahmud of Ghazna complaining about al-Qadir’s persecution of the Hanafis. After the Buyid vizier, encouraged by Sharif al-Radi, lent his weight to the Hanafis, al-Qadir relented by reappointing al-Afkani and dismissing al-Isfara’ini from the court. While its connection to this particular event is unclear, elsewhere potential Shafi‘i hostility to al-Qadir is reflected in a story that claims Abu Hamid al-Isfara’ini reputedly warned al-Qadir that he merely needed to write to Khurasaninfo-icon to have the caliph removed from office.[193]

That al-Qadir was able to get these mutually hostile figures to sign the Manifesto reflects the fact that his attempts to position himself as the sale leading figure in Baghdad were ultimately successful. Just as later, in 408 AH / 1017 CE, al-Qadir was to demand that the Hanafi Mu‘tazilainfo-icon publicly renounce their creed, the Baghdad Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE can be understood as a precursor to this success because he was able to persuade these rival factions to publicly denounce the Fatimids.

The fact that the Manifesto served a dual purpose, of anti-Fatimid propaganda and of reining in the leading figures in Bagdad under the authority of al-Qadir, is corroborated by the absence of one important segment of the Baghdadi leadership from the list of the signatories, namely, the Hanbalis. This is significant considering their vociferous hostility to the Shi‘is, including the Fatimids, and their increasing affinity to al-Qadir. He could be sure of their support. A similar case is the absence of the signature of the Ash‘ari qadi, Abu Bakr al-Baqillani. A critical figure in the return of Qirwash to the Abbasid fold after his pro-Fatimid turn in 401 AH / 1010 CE, al-Baqillani died three years after the production of the Manifesto. However, as the author of an anti-Ismaili tract his credentials were not under question, and therefore his signature on the Manifesto was perhaps deemed superfluous.


The Manifesto of 444 AH / 1052 CE


Just over four decades after the promulgation of the Baghdad Manifesto of 402 AH /1011 CE, a second manifesto was issued from the court of al-Qadir’s son and successor, al-Qa’im (r. 422-467 AH / 1031-1075 CE), in 444 AH / 1052 CE.[194] While a detailed review of the historical context of this second manifesto falls outside the purview of this chapter, it is noteworthy that it was issued during a time of great instability in Iraq and Iran, one which saw the end of Buyid rule and the westward advance of the Saljuqinfo-icon Turks across the Iranian plateau. Just as in the prelude to the first Manifesto, the period in which the second one was issued witnessed the growing influence of the Fatimid da‘wa in Iraq. Some six years after it appeared, the Turkish general Abu’l-Barith Arslan al-Basasiri entered Baghdad and ordered that the Friday sermon be given in the name of the imam-caliph al-Mustansir bi’llah (427–487 AH / 1036–1094 CE), which then occurred for 40 weeks in 450 AH / 1058 CE. [195] The chief Fatimid negotiator in Iraq at the time, al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi, who was instrumental in winning the Turkish general to the Fatimid cause, recounts at length in his autobiography the political manoeuvrings of the da‘wa leading up to this historic moment in the broader context of Fatimid-Abbasid rivalry.[196]


That the Manifesto of 444 AH / 1052 CE seemingly receives only cursory mention in the major sources indicates that it was essentially seen as a reproduction of the previous one of 402 AH / 1011 CE, with two notable exceptions. First, this Manifesto, as preserved in Ibn al-Jawzi’s recension, names Fatima, alongside Ali, as the progenitor of the Fatimids. Secondly, while the first Manifesto reiterated the Daysani accusations of the Ibn Rizam/Akhu Muhsin tradition, it left out the Qaddahid ancestry of the Fatimids. The Manifesto of 444 AH / 1052 CE, however, added the attribution of Qaddahid origins to the existing anti-Fatimid polemic, giving these accusations validity in an official Abbasid proclamation. As a result, Ibn al-Jawzi’s entry for the year 444/1052 reads:

In this year, there were written mahadir in the (government ministry) diwan mentioning the ruler of Egypt (sahib Misr) and those who came before him from his forebears, rejecting the lineage which they claim and repudiating their link to the Prophet of God, and to Ali and Fatima, and [instead] attributing them to the Daysaniyya of the Magians and the Qaddahiyya of the Jews. [It said] that they are outside [the fold] of Islam. And there occurred similar to what we had mentioned in the days of aI-Qadir bi’llah, whereby signatures were taken of the ashraf, the qadis, the witnesses and the ulama in regard to this.[197]


The Sunni Reception and Ibn Khaldun’s Critique


The Baghdad Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE was to be regularly deployed by medieval Sunni historians and polemicists from the 6th AH / 12th CE century onwards as proof of the Abbasid claim that the Fatimids lacked Alid descent. Its presentation as an authoritative document can be seen in works such as Juwayni’s Ta’rikh-i Jahan-gusha where the author employs it as part of his account of the advance of the Mongol ruler Hulagu (d. 663 AH / 1265 CE) against the Nizari Ismailis of Iran, in order to highlight the heresy of the latter and their belief in the ‘false Mahdi’.[198] Meanwhile, Ibn al-Kathir, in his own polemic against the Alid origins of the Fatimids, gives the names of al-Isfara’ini and al-Quduri as signatories of the Manifesto in order to justify his rejection of the Fatimid lineage.[199]

The potency of the Baghdad Manifesto in medieval Sunni literature is most apparent in the fact that Sunni historians who accepted the Alid lineage of the Fatimids felt it necessary to question the validity of the Baghdad Manifesto itself. Ibn al-Athir, who affirms the Alid descent of the Fatimids, rejects the validity of the Baghdad Manifesto because duress was employed to get individuals to sign it and because they included people who were not genealogists.[200] A sustained criticism of the veracity of the Manifesto was later offered by the renowned North African historian, Ibn Khaldun. Writing some two centuries after the fall of the Fatimids, Ibn Khaldun’s assessment of them reflects his historian’s cast of mind as well as his temporal and doctrinal distance from the Abbasids. His principal discussion of the Manifesto of 402 AH / 1011 CE occurs in his illustrious Muqaddima, which serves as his critique of Muslim historiography. In speaking about the ‘eastern’ Sunni historians’ attitude towards the Fatimids, he points out: ‘They deny their [i.e. the Fatimids] Alid origins and attack their descent from Imam Isma‘il, son of Ja‘far al-Sadiq’ because they base their narratives on ‘stories that were made up in favour of the weak Abbasid caliphs.’[201]

 Ibn Khaldun does not dwell on the religious considerations of lineal affinity, an angle which some ‘eastern’ Sunni historians invoked in declaring that the Fatimids could not be Alids because of their supposed heresies. For Ibn Khaldun, whose antipathy to several Shi‘i groups is evident in other parts of his work, this was an irrelevance because, as he argued, denying their descent would not invalidate any heresy they might have adhered to, nor would establishing their descent ‘help them before God’ if they were indeed heretical.[202]


Instead, Ibn Khaldun’s affirmation of the Fatimid lineage emerges from a pragmatic and rational expose of the reaction of the Abbasids to the Fatimid venture. He points out that the empire of the Fatimids lasted for 270 years, that it spread from North Africa to the Hijaz and that ‘they shared the realm of Islam equally with the Abbasids’; and he poses the question: ‘How could all this have befallen a fraudulent claimant to the rulership?’ He adds that the partisans of the Fatimid imam-caliphs ‘showed them the greatest love and devotion ... [E]ven after the dynasty had gone and its influence had disappeared, people still came forward to press the claims.’[203]

For Ibn Khaldun, it was the inability of the Abbasids and their supporters to resist the Fatimid advances that initiated the production of anti-Fatimid polemic in order to ‘make up for their inability to resist and repel the Kutama Berbers, the partisans and propagandists of the Ubaydids (Fatimids), who had taken Syria, Egypt, and the Hijaz away from the (Abbasids). It is in this vein that Ibn Khaldun questions the validity of the Manifesto:


The event took place on one memorable day in the year 402 AH [1011 CE] in the time of al-Qadir. The testimony (of these witnesses) was based upon hearsay, on what people in Baghdad generally believed. Most of them were partisans of the Abbasids who attacked the Alid origin (of the Ubaydid-Fatimids). The historians reported the information as they had heard it. They handed it down to us just as they remembered it.


Ibn Khaldun concludes his critique of the Manifesto by reflecting on how the vagaries of political circumstance affect the acquisition of knowledge:


Dynasty and government serve as the world’s market place, attracting to it the products of scholarship and craftsmanship alike. Wayward wisdom and forgotten lore turn up there. In this market, stories are told and items of historical information are delivered.[204]




[1] For an overview and interpretation of the question of Fatimid origins in 20th-century scholarship, see Michael Brett, The Rise of the Fatimids: The World of the Mediterranean and the Middle East in the Fourth Century of the Hijrainfo-icon, Tenth Century CE (Leiden, 2001), pp. 29–49. The prevalence of the Manifesto as a document informing Fatimid origins culminated in Mamour's work, the motive of which was to refute the validity of the claims made in the document. See Prince P.H. Mamour, Polemics on the Origin of the Fatimid Caliphs (London, 1934; repro Karachi, 1979). Mamour reproduces commentaries by earlier orientalists regarding the Manifesto, including those of Margoliouth, Quatremere and Donaldson (ibid., pp. 21-22). See also Brett's comments on Mamour's defence (Brett, Rise, p. 34). For the label 'famous Baghdad Manifesto; see, for instance, Nabia Abbot, ‘Two Buyid Coins in the Oriental Institute’, The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, 56 (1939), pp. 350–364, p. 356; Bernard Lewis, The Origins of Ismalisim: A Study of the Historical Background of the Fatimid Caliphate (Cambridge, 1940; repr. New York, 1975), pp. 3, 8; Farhad Daftary, The Ismai‘ilis: Their History and Doctrines (2nd ed., Cambridge, 2007), p. 102; Farhad Daftary, Ismaili Literature: A Bibliography of Sources and Studies (London, 2004), p. 87; Paul E. Walker, ed. and tr., Orations of the Fatimid Caliphs: Festival Sermons of the Ismaili Imams (London, 2009), p. 5.

[2] Lewis, Origins, p. 8, notes the pervasiveness of the Baghdad Manifesto in medieval Sunni chronicles.

[3] For a sustained discussion on the progress in studies on the Ismailis, especially over the 20th century, see Daftary, Isma‘ilisinfo-icon, pp. 1–34.

[4] For an exception, however, see Lewis who views the Manifesto as a milestone in what he characterises as three stages by which ‘true knowledge’ of Ismaili doctrine filtered to the Sunni world. The first is marked by knowledge based only on public activities, the second is based on some ‘inklings’, and the third on ‘detailed’ but not always accurate knowledge of the Ismailis and their origins. For Lewis, ‘the third stage is marked by the famous Baghdad manifesto, denouncing the Fatimid caliphs as impostors and schematics’: Lewis, Origins, pp. 1–3.

[5] See, for example, Daftary, Ismai‘lis. p. 102.

[6] See, for example, Hugh Kennedy, The Prophet and the Age of the Caliphate: The Islamic Near East from the Sixth to the Eleventh Century (London, 1986), pp. 241–242; Farhad Daftary, The Assassin Legends: Myths of the Isma‘ilis (London, 1994), p. 24; Paul E. Walker, ‘The Isma‘ili Da‘wa and the Fatimid Caliphate’; in M. W Daly, ed., The Cambridge History of Egypt; Volume I, Islamic Egypt, 640-1517, ed. Carl F. Petry (Cambridge, 1998), pp. 145- 146. Sadik A. Assaad, The Reign of al-Hakim bi Amr Allah (386/996– 411/1021): A Political Study (Beirut, 1974), p. 16. Brett takes the Manifesto as an example of al-Qadir seeking to win the support of the Twelversinfo-icon (as well as the Sunnis) of Baghdad against the Fatimid claim. See Michael Brett, ‘Abbasids, Fatimids and Seljuqs’, in The New Cambridge Medieval History, Volume IV. c. 1024c. 1998 Part II, ed. D. Luscombe and J. Riley-Smith (Cambridge, 2004), p. 687.

[7] See, e.g., D. Sourdel, ‘al-Kadir Bi’llah’, EI2.

[8] Ibn al-Jawzi, Abu’l-Faraj Abd al-Rahman, al-Muntazam fi’l ta’rikh al-muluk wa’l-umam, ed. Muhammad A. Ata and Mustafa A. Ata (Beirut, 1412/1992), vol. 15, pp. 82-83.

[9] Ibn al-Athir, Izz al-Din Abu’l-Hasan Ali, al-Kamil fi’l-ta’rikh, ed. Mubammad Yusuf al-Daqqaq (Beirut, 1407/1987), vol. 6, pp. 447–448.

[10] Ala al-Din Ata-Malik Juwayni, Ta’rikh-i jahan-gusha, tr. J.A. Boyle as The History of the World-Conqueror (Cambridge, MA, 1958), vol. 2, pp. 658-659.

[11] Abu’l-Fida, al-Malik al-Mu’ayyad Imad al-Din Isma‘il b. Ali, Mukhtasar ta’rikh al-bashar (Cairo, 132511907), pp. 142-143.

[12] Ibn al-Kathir, Ahmad al-Din Isma‘il b. Umar, al-Bidaya wa’l-nihaya, ed. Salah Muhammad al-Khaymi (2nd ed., Damascus, 2010), vol. 13, p. 9.

[13] AI-Dhahabi, Shams al-Din Muhammad b. Ahmad, Ta’rikh al-Islam wa-wafayat al-mashahir wa’l-a‘lam, ed. Umar Abd aI-Salaminfo-icon al-Tadmuri (Beirut, 1413/1993), vol. 28, p. 11.

[14] Al-Safadi, Salah aI-Din Kham, Kitab al-wafi bi’l-wafayat, ed. Ahmad Arnarut and Turki Mustafa (Beirut, 1420/ 2000), vol. 19, p. 243.

[15] Ibn Khaldun, Abd al-Rahman b. Muhammad, al-Muqaddima, tr. Franz Rosenthal as The Muqaddimah: An Introduction to History (2nd ed., Princeton, 1980), vol. I, p. 45. The Manifesto is also mentioned in the main body of Ibn Khaldun’s historical work. See his Kitab al-‘ibar, ed. Khalil Shahada and Suhayl Zakkar as Ta’rikh Ibn Khaldun (Beirut, 1431/2001), vol. 3, p. 547.

[16] Al-Maqrizi, Taqi al-Din Abmad b. Ali, Itti‘az al-hunafa bi-akhbar al-a’imma al-Fatimiyyin al-khulafa, vol. I, ed. Jamal al-Din al-Shayyal (Cairo, 1387/1967), pp. 43-44.

[17] Ibn Taghribirdi, Abu’l-Mahasin Jamal aI-Din Yusuf, al-Nujum al-zahira fi muluk Misr wa'l-Qahira (Beirut, 1413/1992), vol. 4, p. 229.

[18] Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima, tr. Rosenthal, vol. 1, p. 45, n. 129.

[19] Ibn al-Kathir’s introductory passage is a summarised version of Ibn al-Jawzi as he himself notes at the end of his report on the Manifesto. It reads:

And in Rabi’ al-Akhir of this year, written-declarations (mahadir) were composed in Baghdad affirming the defamation (al-ta‘n) and public vilification (qadh) of the caliphs, that is, the kings (muluk) of Egypt. They claim that they are Fatimiyyun, but they are not so. Their lineage is from Daysan b. Sa‘id al-Khurrami. This was undersigned by a group of ulama, qudat, fuqaha, the ashraf, the amthal, the hadith transmitters, the legal witnesses, and the pious ones.

See Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, pp. 9-10. The editors of this volume note that manuscripts of the al-Bidaya give Ubayd b. Sa‘d al-Jurami instead of Daysan b. Sa‘id al-Khurrami. As it is unclear who this refers to, the editors corrected it to Daysan b. Sa‘id based on Ibn al-Jawzi’s original. Ibid., vol. 13, p. 9, n. 2.

[20] Al-Dhahabi’s version begins: ‘From the diwan there was written a mahdar as to the substance (ma‘na) of the caliphs who were in Egypt, to publicly vilify their nasab and their creed (aqa’idihim)’. Al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 11. Ibn Taghribirdi states: ‘and in this year, in the month of Rabi al-Akhir, the Abbasid caliph al-Qadir wrote a mahadar as to the substance of the Egyptian caliphs, to publicly vilify their nasab and their creed. Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 229.

[21] Al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 11, and Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 229, only state ‘and upon it were the signatures of al-qudat wa’l-a’imma wa’l-ashraf’.

[22] Al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 11 and Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230, have ikhwan (the brothers of) rather than ahzab (the party of) – the orthography of ikhwan and ahzab without dots is similar, and these variants are probably a scribal error.

[23] Al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 11, and Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230, only have: ‘A testimony through which one seeks nearness to God.’ 

[24] This basmalainfo-icon is found only in Juwayni, Janan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. I, p. 659.

[25] This addition about al-Mu‘izz and Egypt is only noted in Juwayni, ibid.

[26] In this specific location, this segment is found only in Juwayni, Jahan gusha. tr. Boyle, vol. 1, p. 659. However, it is found in the main body of the text in Ibn al-Jawzi et al.

[27] Boyle’s translation from Juwayni’s Persian has ‘this upstart in Egypt’: Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle.

[28] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 10, omits ‘of his foul and impure predecessors’.

[29] AI-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 11. and Ibn Taghribirdi. al-Nujum. vol. 4. p. 230, only have ‘curses upon him and them’.

[30] Only Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam. vol. IS. p. 83, and Ibn Kathir. al-Bidaya. vol. 13. p. 10, have ‘nor do they ... falsehood.’

[31] Al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28. p. 11, and Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4. p. 230, only have ‘of the Talibids’.

[32] ‘Concerning their false claims’ is not in Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 10. Similarly, ‘concerning their lies and false claims’ is not in al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28. p. 11, and Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum. vol. 4. p. 230.

[33] Mu‘attil here refers to the denial of God and of His attributes. See Juwayni, Jahan-gusha. tr. Boyle. vol. I, p. 660. n. 9. It is thus a shorthand for ‘materialists’ who deny God.

[34] The order of invectives changes slightly across the variant sources though remaining generally stable. Abu’l-Fida, Mukhtasar, vol. 2. p. 142. Juwayni, Jahan-gusha. tr. Boyle. vol. I. p. 660. And al-Maqrizi, Itti‘iaz, vol. I. p. 44, omit fujjar. Al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh. vol. 28. p. 12, does not have fujjar, mulhidun, mu‘attalun, while Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4. p. 230, omits only mulhidun.

[35] The editors of this edition of Ibn Taghribirdi note that their manuscripts of the al-Nujum have Yahudiyya (Jews) instead of Thanawiyya (Dualists) but they adjusted it to correspond with Ibn al-Jawzi. Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4. p. 230, n. 6.

[36] Literally ‘made available the orifices’.

[37] ‘Permitting drink’ is omitted in Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230.

[38] Abu’l-Fida, Mukhtasar, vol. 2, p. 142, Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. I. p. 660; and al-Maqrizi, Itti‘iaz, vol. I, p. 44, omit ‘cursed the salaf’.

[39] Both al-Murtada and al-Radi are mentioned in Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 83; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. I, p. 660; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; al-Safadi, al-Wafi, vol. 19, p. 243; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal. vol. I, p. 46; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230.

[40] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 83; Ibn al-Kathir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230.

[41] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 83; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9.

[42] The editions of the extant sources differ as to whether Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Umar and Ibn Abi Ya‘la are two separate persons, as in Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5. p. 83; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, pp. 9-10, or if Ibn Abi Ya‘la is the name of father of the former, as in al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, pp. 230-231.

[43] Only given in Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6. p. 448 and Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. I, p. 45.

[44] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 83; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Juwayni, Jahan-gusha. tr. Boyle, vol. I, p. 660; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28. p. 12; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. I, p. 45; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 231.

[45] Ibn al-Jawzi, Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Kathir, al-Dhahabi and Ibn Taghribirdi oscillate between al-Khazari, al-Jazari and even al-Hariri. For a discussion of the possible identity of this individual, see the section on the signatories of the Manifesto above.

[46] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 83. Other sources call him al-Abiwardi. See Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448, Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 10 and Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. 1, p. 45.

47 Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15. p. 83; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle. vol. 1, p. 660; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; al-Safadi, al-Wafi, vol. 19, p. 243; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. 1, p. 45; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 231.


[48] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 83; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 231.

[49] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 83; Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. I, p. 660; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; al-Safadi, al-Wafi, vol. 19, p. 243; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. 1, p. 46; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 231.

[50] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. IS, p. 83; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 448; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. 1, p. 46; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230.

[51] Only in Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. IS, p. 83; Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. 1, p. 660; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9.

[52] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 83; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 230.

[53] Ibn al-Jawzji, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 83; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 9; al-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12; Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 231.

[54] Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, pp. 448-449.

[55] He is referred to as Abu Abd Allah b. al-Nu‘man, faqih of the Shi‘a. See Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 449; Abu’l-Fida, Mukhtasar, vol. 2, p. 141; Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. 1, p. 46.

[56] See the introductory segments to the Manifesto in Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 447 and Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima tr. Rosenthal, vol. I, p. 45.

[57] For a masterly survey of the evolution of doctrines on succession and the Imamate in early Ismaili history, see Wilferd Madelung, ‘Das Imamatinfo-icon in der fruhen ismailitischen Lehre: Der Islam. 37 (1961), pp. 43-135; reprinted in his Studies on Medieval Shi‘isminfo-icon, ed. S. Schmidtke (Farnham, Surrey, 2012), article VII.

[58] More extensive expositions on the Fatimid notion of the imamate are provided in Daftary, Ismailis, pp. 163-167; Brett, Rise, pp. 176-219; Heinz Halm, The Empire of the Mahdi: The Rise of the Fatimids, tr. M. Bonner (Leiden, 1996), pp. 346- 355.

[59] The question of the name of the dynasty and whether or not the Fatimids identified themselves by that appellation have been discussed in recent scholarship. Fierro’s survey indicated that the term ‘Fatimi’ was not readily used by the leading authorities of the dynasty. See Maribel Fierro, ‘On al-Fatimi and al-Fatimiyyun’, Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam, 20 (1996), pp. 130- 161. Walker points out that more recent scholarship has established that the term came into progressively increasing use during the history of the dynasty, so that ‘by the end of the dynasty it was fairly common to call it al-dawla al-fatimiyyainfo-icon (“the Fatimid state” or “the Fatimid dynasty”), and thus later authors grew quite accustomed to the term’. He also adds that the terms al-Imam al-fatimi and al-fatimiyyin also appear in some early pro-Fatimid poetry, and in an occasional khutba. Orations, pp. 69-72.

[60] Wilferd Madelung has argued that it was Fatima who was regarded as the true legal heir to the Prophet in the earliest phase of Muslim history. He bases his argument on Qur‘anic regulations where the ‘universally binding laws of inheritance’ gave ‘unconditional precedence to direct descendants’, and according to which, ‘in the absence of a son, a daughter or daughters were sole primary heirs and could not be excluded by any rights of male kin’. ‘Introduction’ in F. Daftary and G. Miskinzoda, ed., The Study of Shi‘i Islam: History, Theology and Law (London, 2014), pp. 3-16, p.4. Considering the Qur’anic outlawing of adoption and the recognition of only blood relationships, Madelung argues that ‘under the divine law of the Qur’aninfo-icon, Fatima was the Prophet’s prime heiress and successor’ (ibid., pp. 4-5). He adds that the crisis after the Prophet’s death was brought on, ‘by the exceptional circumstance that the legitimate successor to supreme leadership was a woman’ and that the ‘Caliphate of the Quraysh must be judged to have been a coup d’état in which the ruling house was overthrown’. Ali's position in this schema of succession was of a potential, though not confirmed, executor (wasi) of the Prophet’s will (ibid., pp. 5-7).

[61] Qadi al-Nu‘man, Iftitah al-da‘wa, tr. Hamid Haji as Founding the Fatimid State: The Rise of an Early Islamic Empire (London, 2006), p. 178, p. 205.

[62] Al-Mu‘izz pronounced prayers for the ‘rightly-guided imams’ from the Prophet’s family, who were elevated by their ‘forefathers Muhammad, the lord of the messengers, and Ali, the best of the legatees, and through their mother, the foremost of women, the fifth of the Companions of the Cloak’ Idris Imad al-Din, Uyuninfo-icon al-akhbar, trans., p. 71.

[63] For Jawhar’s inclusion of Fatima’s name in the invocation of the public sermons of Egypt, see Idris Imad al-Din, Uyun al-akhbar, trans., pp. 230-231; al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. 1, p. 117. See the translation of al-Maqrizi’s chapter on the reign of al-Mu‘izz in the Itti‘az by Shainool Jiwa as Towards a Shi‘i Mediterranean Empire: Fatimid Egypt and the Founding of Cairo (London, 2009), pp.83- 84.

[64] For the Fatimid coin which declared Ali b. Abi Talib is the nominee of the Prophet and the most excellent representative and the husband of the radiant chaste one (zawj al-zahra al-batul): see W. Kazan, The Coinage of Islam: Collection of William Kazan (Beirut, 1983), no. 446.

[65] Brett, Rise, p. 316.

[66] See, for instance, al-Mahdi described in Abu Abd Allah’s message from Sijilmasa to Qayrawaninfo-icon as ‘son of the Messenger of God (ibn rasulinfo-icon Allah)', al-Nu‘man, Iftitah, trans., pp. 199- 200. Note also, for instance, the verses of Ibn Hani referring to the Prophet Mubammad as al-Mu‘izz’s grandfather. Idris Imad al-Din, Uyun al-akhbar, tr. Jiwa, p. 225.

[67] On al-Mu‘izz’s reference to ‘our grandfather, Muhammad’ in his correspondence with the Egyptian ruler Kalil al-Ikhshidi see Idris Imad al-Din, Uyun al-akhbar, tr. Jiwa, p. 184. In his first audience with the Egyptian notables, al-Mu‘izz declared that he wanted to ‘act upon what his grandfather had commanded’ (ibid., p.261)

[68] In his eulogy to his deceased father al-Mansur, al-Mu‘izz promised to safeguard the community ‘of your grandfather, God’s Messenger’ (ibid., p. 73).

[69] See, for example, al-Mu‘izz’s pronouncement on the eve of the state-sponsored circumcision ceremonies in North Africa that he wanted ‘to revive the practise of our grandfather, His Messenger’ (ibid., p. 172). Note elsewhere al-Nu‘man stating that al-Mu‘izz was the ‘reviver of his grandfather’s practice’ (ibid., p. 83).

[70] In al-Mu‘izz's audience with the Idrisidsinfo-icon, he said: ‘Who will you substitute for us? Whose da‘wa will you choose over ours, for this is the da‘wa of our grandfather Muhammad?’ (ibid., pp. 149- 150).

[71] Patricia Crone, Medieval Islamic Political Thought (Edinburgh, 2004), p. 89.

[72] On the dawr al-satr and the Ismaili da‘wa activities during this period, see Daftary, Isma‘ilis, pp. 87-128.

[73] For an overview of the origins and evolution of anti-Fatimid and anti-Ismaili propaganda, see Daftary, Isma‘ilis, pp. 7- 10 as well as the introduction in Daftary, Assassin Legends, pp. 1-8.

[74] Daftary argues that, as the most revolutionary wing of Shi‘ism, the Ismailis ‘from early on aroused the hostility of the Abbasid Sunni establishment of the Muslim majority’. Subsequently, ‘the Abbasid Caliphs and the Sunni ‘ulama’launched what amounted to an official anti-Ismaili propaganda campaign’ whose aim was to discredit the lsmaili movement as heretics and deviators, a campaign which saw the participation of ‘Muslim theologians, jurists, historians and heresiographers: See Daftary, Isma‘ilis, p.7.

[75] Al-Tabari's entry for 302/914-915 states that ‘Ibn al-Basri’s man Habasah’ entered Alexandria. See, The History of al-Tabari: Volume XXXVIII; The Return of the Caliphate to Baghdad, tr. F. Rosenthal (New York, 1985), p. 205. Similarly, his entry for the year 301/913-914, states that ‘in this year, Ibn al-Basri’s Maghribis entered Barqah’ (ibid., p.202).

[76] As noted by Madelung, ‘Das Imamat’, pp. 67 -68.

[77] Arib b. Sa‘d, Silat ta‘rikh al-Tabari, ed. M. J. de Goeje (Leiden, 1897), p. 51.

[78] Ibid., pp. 51-52.

[79] See Madelung, ‘Das Imamat’, pp. 67–68. For the account, see Ibn al-Abbar, al-Hulla al-Siyara, p. 49.

[80] F. Rosenthal, ‘Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur’, EI2. On the more famous father, see Shawkat M. Toorawa, Ibn Abi Tahir Tayfur and Arabic Writerly Culture: A Ninth-Century Bookman in Baghdad (London, 2005).

[81] Ubayd Allah b. Abi Tahir’s version, as given in Ibn al-Abbar, says: ‘The name of the one who emerged in Qayrawan is Ubayd Allah b. Abd Allah b. Salim, mawlainfo-icon of Mukram b. Sindan al-Bahili, the chief of the police of Ziyad and the one after whom Askar Mukram is named. Abd Allah b. Salim went to Salamiyyainfo-icon. He was an agent for merchants there, and it is said that he used to sell stones and [manifest] Shi‘ism. When the Qarmatis revolted in Syria, he was affected by him, seeking him out. So he [Ubayd Allah] went to the Maghrib and was known as Ibn al- Basri.’ (See Ibn al-Abbar, al-Hulla al-siyara, p. 49.

[82] Notably in al Himyari’s (d. ca. 8th AH / 14th CE century) al-Rawd al-mu‘tar fi khabar al-aqtar, another quotation directly from al-Suli is provided in which the accusation that his ancestor was executed for zandaqa is given. Thus al-Suli is quoted as saying: ‘His father is Abd Allah b. Salim b. Abdan al-Bahili: his grandfather Salim was crucified by al-Mahdi al-Abbasi because of his zandaqa, as was said by those people who had investigated (fahasu) his affair: See, al-Rawd, ed. Ihsan Abbas (Beirut, 1980), p.308.

[83] Ibn Rizam’s work is not extant, but segments of his work are found in the Fihrist of Ibn al-Nadim, and it also served as the main source for Akhu Muhsin’s work. See Daftary, Isma’ilis, pp.8- 9.

[84] For a detailed exposition of the legend of Maymun al-Qaddah as the progenitor of the Fatimids and the role of Ibn Rizam and Akhu Muhsin in propagating this myth, see Wladimir Ivanow, Ibn al-Qaddah (The Alleged Founder of Ismailism) (2nd ed., Bombay, 1957). lvanow notes: ‘One of the most extraordinary products of anti-Ismaili propaganda is what may be called the myth of Abdullah b. Maymun al-Qaddah’ (ibid., p. i). He continues that the story of Ibn al-Qaddah ‘in its innumerable versions ... is nothing but an aetiological myth’ (ibid., p. 2); but one that while ‘incidentally invented’ was ‘later on gradually developed and polished in the course of long oral or written transmission, in the service of anti-Fatimid propaganda’ (ibid.).

[85] Ibn al-Nadim, Muhammad b. Ishaq, Kitab al-Fihrist, tr. Bayard Dodge as The Fihrist: A Tenth Century Survey of Muslim Culture (New York, 1970), vol. 1, p. 463.

[86] Ibid., p. 465.

[87] On Akhu Muhsin, see Daftary, Isma‘ilis, pp. 8-10; Samuel M. Stern, ‘The "Book of the Highest Initiation" and Other Anti-Isma'ili Travesties’, in his Studies in Early Isma‘ilisim (Jerusalem and Leiden, 1983), pp. 56-83; Wilferd Madelung, ‘The Fatimids and the Qarmatis of Bahrayn’, in F. Daftary, ed., Mediaeval Isma'ili History and Thought (Cambridge, 1996), p. 42.

[88] Madelung, 'Das Imamat', p. 58.

[89] Stern, ‘The Book of the Highest Initiation’, p. 57.

[90] Madelung, 'Das Imamat', p. 113.

[91]  See, Ibn al-Nadjm, Fihrist, tr. Bayard Dodge, p. 466.

[92]  Ibid.

[93] The stigma of having been thus placed in the caliphate by a Shi‘i amir had plagued al-Qadir’s early caliphate especially in lands outside Buyid rule. Ardent Sunni dynasties such as the Samanidsinfo-icon and the Ghaznawidsinfo-icon continued to produce coinage for al-Qadir’s deposed predecessor al-Ta’i until around 390 AH /1000 CE. See K.V Zettersteen [C.E. Bosworth]), al-Ta’i Li-Amr Allah: EI2. The Fatimid da‘is in Iraq also capitalised on this to undermine al-Qadir's credentials.

[94] John J. Donohue, The Buwayhid Dynasty in Iraq: 334H./945 to 403H./ l102Shaping Institutions for the Future (Leiden and Boston, 2003), p. 279. For an overview of the impact and legacy of the reign of the Abbasid al-Qadir, see Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, pp. 241-242; Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 277-288; D. Sourdel, ‘al-Kadir Bi’llah’, E12.

[95] Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 279.

[96] Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 242.

[97] For an overview of the fractiousness of the post-3rd AH / 9th CE century Abbasid polity, see Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, pp. 187-212.

[98] Note, however, Donohue’s assertion that this isolation of the Abbasid caliphs by the Buyid amirs ultimately gave individual Abbasid caliphs security and a long reign as contrasted to those who preceded them. See Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 262-263.

[99] For a summary of the role of the Abbasids in the legitimisation of the Buyid system, which included the Abbasid official investiture of Buyid amirs, the granting of their titles and the approval of treaties see Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 264-267.

[100] Ibid., p. 278.

[101] Ibid., pp. 278-281.

[102] Kennedy notes that while the people of Baghdad ‘might not fight to restore the political power of the Abbasid caliph but many of them would support the Sunni cause against the pretensions of the Shi‘a’ Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 242.

[103] Kennedy, Age of Caliphates, p. 242; Sourdel, ‘al-Kadir’, EI2.

[104] Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 242. Kennedy here argues that Abbasid caliphs before al-Qadir cannot be described as Sunni ‘in the modern sense’ because of their emphasis on legitimisation through the ahl al-baytinfo-icon (People of the Prophet’s house) and their Mu‘tazili leanings.

[105] Hanbali ideology became orientated to support the caliph. See Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 286.

[106] Recent scholarship has explored the dynamics that gave rise to the Alid ashraf, the name given to the collective descendants of al-Hasan and al-Husayn b. Ali b. Abi Talib, as a defined social group with institutional leadership. For a recent overview of this, see Shainool Jiwa, ‘Kinship, Camaraderie and Contestation: Fatimid Relations with the Ashraf in the Fourth/Tenth Century’, AI-Masaq, 28 (20 16), pp. 242-264. This article examines, in particular, the dynamics of Fatimid-ashraf relations in 4th AH / 10th CE century Egypt and the Hijaz.

[107] The religious leanings of the ashraf remained diverse, belonging to the varied Shi‘i and Sunni traditions. They included several notable Sunni scholars, and many belonged to the Zaydi Shi‘a. See Jiwa, ‘Kinship’, p. 247.

[108] The Qur’anic verses adducing this prerogative of the Prophet are discussed in Roy Mottahedeh, ‘Qur’anic Commentary on the Verse of the Khums (an-Anfal VIll: 41)’, in K. Morimoto, ed., Sayyids and Sharifs in Muslim Societies: The Living Links to the Prophet (London, 2012), pp. 37-48.

[109] See Jiwa, ‘Kinship’, p. 245 and the references cited there.

[110] For a detailed examination of reasons underpinning the alliances as well as rivalries between the Fatimids and the ashraf, see ibid., pp.247-249.

[111] Ibid., pp. 252-259.

[112] Ibid., pp. 251-252.

[113] Abu Ahmad’s full lineage was Abu Ahmad Husayn b. Musa b. Muhammad b. Musa b. Ibrahim b. Musa al-Kazim b. Ja‘far al-Sadiq. See the entry on Sharif al-Radi in Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat al-a‘yan, ed. Ihsan Abbas (Beirut, 1967-1972), tr. M. de Slane as Ibn Khallikan’s Biographical Dictionary (Paris, 1842-1871), vol. 3, p. 120.

[114] Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 309.

[115] As a Shi‘i Imami scholar and renowned literary figure of the 5th AH / 11th CE century living in Iraq, Sharif al-Radi has received extensive coverage in medieval Sunni and Shi‘i, as well as in contemporary scholarship. For major primary and secondary accounts, see the bibliography in Moktar Djebli, ‘al-Sharif al-Radi’; E12.

[116] Both brothers were placed under the tutelage of the pre-eminent Iraqi Shi‘i scholar Shaykh al-Mufid. Among the prose works of Sharif al-Radi is his famed and widely reproduced Nahj al-balaghainfo-icon, an anthology of sermons and sayings attributed to Ali b. Abi Talib. Sharif al-Murtada was an eminent Ithna‘ashari scholar and teacher of his age. See C. Brockelmann, ‘al-Sharif al-Murtada’, E12.

[117] See al-Tha‘alabi and al-Khatib al-Baghdadi as cited in Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat, tr. de Slane, vol. 3, pp. 119, 121 and Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 116. Cross-sectional support for al-Radi is manifest in the highly eulogised and almost hagiographic coverage of his life by Sunni contemporaries. Ibn al-Jawzi, for instance, recounts al-Radi’s piety and scholarship, provides anecdotes on his moral rectitude and generosity, before recounting praise for his poetry. See Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, pp. 115-116. Ibn Khallikan follows suit, and praises al-Radi’s work on the literary features of the Qur’an: see Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat, tr. de Slane, vol. 3, pp. 118- 123.

[118] On the granting of this title as well as that of al-Murtada to his brother, see Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 8, p. 36. His other titles include al-Sharif al-Jalil granted in 388 AH / 988 CE, and al-Sharif al-Ajall in 401 AH / 1001 CE. See Djebli, ‘al-Radi’, E12.

[119] As repeatedly asserted by his biographers, including the famous Mu‘tazili scholar and litterateur Ibn Abi’l-Hadid (d. ca. 655–656 AH / 1257–1258 CE). Djebli notes that this aspiration is expressed 'unequivocally' in Sharif al-Radi’s verses, ‘Al-Radi’, E12. Donohue notes, however, that this question has ‘prompted discussion on how an Imamite could ambition a position in direct conflict with his tenets’ See, Buwayhid, p. 312, n. 1490 for further references on discussions on al-Radi’s ambition.

[120] Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 8, p. 24.

[121] The verses read: ‘Alas, Amir of the Believers! We are equal, at the summit of glory ... Only the caliphate, of which you hold the reins, separates us’: Djebli, ‘al-Radi’, E12. De Slane in his translation of Ibn Khallikan’s entry on Sharif al-Radi provides an alternative translation of the same verses: ‘I crave indulgence. Commander of the Faithful! We are not borne on different branches of the tree of glory! On whatever day we may vaunt our honours, no difference shall appear between us: we are both firmly rooted in our illustrious rank. The khalifate alone makes a distinction between us; you wear that noble collar, I do not’, Ibn Khallikan, Wafayat, tr. De Slane, vol. 3, p. 119.

[122] For the fuller verses, see Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 118 and Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, pp. 446–447. Notably the 7th AH / 15th CE century Yemeni Ismaili historian and Tayyibi chief da‘i, Idris lmad aI-Din also recounts a variant of these verses (note the term Fatimi instead of Alawi), attributing them also to Sharif al-Radi. See Idris 1mad al-Din b. al-Hasan, Uyun al-akhbar, tr. Jiwa, p. 263.

[123] The variations mean that both the Hilal al-Sabi and the Ibn Jawzi/Ibn al-Athir versions are relying on a common source or, as is more likely, they are based on a major rewriting of the Hilal al-Sabi original. Sharif al-Radi was known to have been a particularly close friend of Hilal al-Sabi’s grandfather, Abu Ishaq Ibrahim. Djebli, ‘al-Radi’, E12.

[124] AI-Sabi’s account states that in a majlis (gathering) of al-Qadir attended by Abu Ahmad al-Musawi, his son al-Murtada and other ashraf, as well as judges and jurists, al-Qadir brought up the verses of al-Radi after which Abu Ahmad was directly addressed by the court chamberlain (hajib). See al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. I, p. 33. In the later account of Ibn al-Jawzi as closely followed by Ibn al-Athir, al-Qadir is informed of the verses and then becomes incensed, dispatches Qadi al-Baqillani with a letter to Abu Ahmad al-Musawi, al-Radi’s father. See Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 118 and Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p.447.

[125] In both accounts the spokesman (whether a hajib or al-Baqillani) rejects points raised in the pro-Fatimid verses of al-Radi, namely, what kind of humiliation was al-Radi referring to, had he not been given stewardship of the niqaba, the hajj (or as in Hilal) the mazalim. In Hilal’s version, the chamberlain says to Abu Ahmad: ‘We do not doubt that if he (al-Radi) were to reach him [the ruler of Egypt], he would merely have the status of one of the sons of the Talibids in Egypt: See, Itti‘az, vol. I, p. 33. In Ibn al-Jawzi’s version, al-Baqillani's letter asserts: ‘If he were in Egypt, he would not be raised from the ranks of the subjects (al-ra‘iyya)’: al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 118.

[126] Al-Sabi has Abu Ahmad denying al-Radi’s authorship and mentions that his son’s enemies may have done so, and ascribed them to him, Itti‘az, vol. I, p. 33. Ibn al-Jawzi's version has a similar denial with a more elaborate admission of his son's recognition of the rights of the ‘blessed hadra; that is, the Abbasids and their own blessings stemming from them. Al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 119.

[127] Al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. 1, p. 33.

[128] Ibn al -Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 119; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 447.

[129] In al-Sabi, al-Radi writes a letter saying that it is not his poem (see al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. 1, p. 34), while in Ibn al-Jawzi he says, ‘I did not say these verses, nor do I know them’: Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 119.

[130] Thus: ‘I fear the da‘is of the ruler of Egypt’ in al-Sabi as quoted in al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. I, p. 33. Ibn al-Jawzi has al-Radi saying: 'I fear the Daylamis, and the people of the da‘wa in his land.’ AI-Muntazam, vol. IS, p. 119. Ibn al-Athir has: ‘I fear the Daylamis, and from the Egyptian I fear from the da‘is in this land.’ al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 447. Both versions also project Abu Ahmad’s surprise that al-Radi fears the one who is distant (that is, al-Hakim), but not the one nearby (i.e., al-Qadir).

[131] Al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. 1, p. 34. Al-Sabi adds here, however, that both al-Radi’s father and his brother al-Murtada did so in precautionary dissimulation (taqiyyainfo-icon) due to their fear of al-Qadir.

[132] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. I5, p. 119; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 447.

[133] Ibn al-Jawzi adds that this was realised upon the intervention of al-Baqillani and al-Isfara‘ini, al-Muntzam, vol. 15, p. 119.

[134] Al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. 1, p. 34.

[135] Southern Iraq was particularly receptive to the lsmaili da‘wa, from where major early Ismaili da‘is, including Abu Abd Allah al-Shi‘i and Ibn Hawshab, entered the movement. The sawad region of Kufa was also the locus of the Qarmati Ismaili da‘wa, from where Hamdan Qarmat led the movement. For a broader overview of da‘wa activities beyond the Fatimid realms, see Farhad Daftary, ‘The Ismaili Da‘wa Outside the Fatimid Dawla’, in M. Barrucand, ed., L’Égypte Fatimide: Son art et son histoire (Paris, 1999), pp.29-43.

[136] For an overview of this correspondence in the broader context of Fatimid-Buyid relations, see Shainool Jiwa, ‘Fatimid-Buyid Diplomacy during the Reign of aI-Aziz Billah (365/975–386 / 996)’, Journal of Islamic Studies, 3 (1992), pp. 57-71.

[137] For an overview of this correspondence in the broader context of Fatimid-Buyid relations, see Shainool Jiwa, ‘Fatimid-Buyid Diplomacy during the Reign of aI-Aziz Billah (365/975–386/996); Journal of Islamic Studies, 3 (1992), pp. 57-71.

[138] The pre-eminent da‘i, of the era of the Fatimid imam-caliph al-Hakim, Hamid al-Din Ahmad b. Abd Allah al-Kirmani was of Iranian origin and following his successful career as a leading da‘i, in Iraq was summoned to Cairo around 405 AH / 1014–1015 CE by the head of the da‘wa. Among the most prolific philosophers and theologians of the Fatimid age, al-Kirmani's works cover a range of topics pertaining to Ismaili doctrine and philosophy. As well as his work on the Fatimid doctrine of the imamate discussed below, al-Kirmani’s works include Mabasim al-bisharat bi’l-imam al-Hakim and al-Risala al-wa‘iza, written to articulate Fatimid doctrines on the imamate, but also to assert the official doctrines of the da‘wa in the light of claims made by dissident preachers who led the Druzeinfo-icon movement. His magnum opus. Rahat al-‘aqlinfo-icon, composed after he returned to Iraq in 411 AH / 1020 CE, provides a distinct metaphysical system, and is a milestone in the development of medieval Ismaili cosmology. For a comprehensive biography of his life and scholarship, see Paul E. Walker, Hamid al-Din al-Kirmani: Ismaili thought in the age of al-Hakim (London, 1999). For a listing of his published works, see Daftary, Ismaili Literature, pp. 124-128. Also see Daniel de Smet, ‘al-Kirmani, Hamid aI-Din’, EI3.

[139] Walker, al-Kirmani, p. 10.

[140] De Smet, ‘al-Kirmani’, EI3.

[141] See Hamid al-Din Ahmad b. Abd Allah al-Kirmani, al-Masabih fi ithbat al-imama, ed. and tr. Paul E. Walker as Master of the Age: An Islamic Treatise on the Necessity of the Imamate (London, 2007).

[142] See Walker, al-Kirmani, pp. 14- 15.

[143] Al-Kirmani, al-Masabih, tr. Walker, p. 15.

[144] Ibid.

[145] Ibid., pp. 124-126.

[146] Ibid.

[147] Walker notes that on the subject of the Manifesto, ‘al-Kirmani seems to say nothing. In truth, the manifesto itself made so improbable a claim it was hardly credible. Those who signed could also insist they were coerced. It was in a1-Kirmani’s interest not to make a point of it, especially as many leading Shi‘i authorities such as al-Radi and al-Murtada were involved.’ See al-Kirmani, Masabih, p. 17.

[148] Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 225.

[149] Ibid., p. 227.

[150] Ibid., p. 229.

[151] As Kennedy has demonstrated, integral to this rupture were the policies of the Buyid rulers which promoted the emergence of a distinct Shi‘i identity in the public sphere and the reaction of hostile Sunni elements to this. New elements in the public manifestation of Shi‘ism in Iraq, as catalysed by Buyid rule, included notably the public performance of Shi‘i festivals such as ‘Ashurainfo-icon’ on 10 Muharram and Ghadir Khumminfo-icon on 18 Dhu’l-Hijja; the public cursing of the early caliphs and the development of public pilgrimage rituals around the tombs of the Alids. See Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 228. In 351 AH / 962 CE Mu‘izz al-Dawla gave orders that the public cursing of the first caliphs was to be painted on the city walls. In 353 AH / 964 CE he supported the performance of ‘Ashura’ and Ghadir Khumm ceremonies.

[152] Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 270-280.

[153] Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, pp. 23 1-235.

[154] Adud al-Dawla forbade ‘inflammatory preaching’, while Baha al-Dawla placed ‘special stress on the abolition of provocative activities’ and had the leading ‘brigands’ of the Abbasid and Alid factions executed. See Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, pp. 236-237.

[155] For varied accounts of this event, see Donohue, Buwayhid. p. 284; Walker, al-Kirmani, p. 14. For a description of the event as described in a survey of the life and scholarship of Shaykh al-Mufid, see Martin J. McDermott, The Theology of al-Shaikh al-Mufid (d. 413 AH / 1022 CE) (Beirut, 1978), pp. 18-19.

[156] Ibn al-Jawzi accounts for two major flashpoints in the lead-up to the confrontation. First was an attack against the leading Iraqi Shi‘i jurist, Shaykh Abu Abd Allah Muhammad b. al-Nu‘man [Shaykh al-Mufid] which led to an angry reaction by his Shi‘i supporters in Karkh who, in turn, led attacks against two Shafi‘i scholars al-Akfani and al-Isfara’ini. Notably all three are listed among alleged signatories of the Manifesto. Secondly, these events were compounded by the burning of the Mushaf of Ibn Mas‘ud, a variant Qur’anic recension and the execution of a Shi‘i who had publicly decried the burning, which further incensed the Shi‘a in Baghdad. See Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, pp. 58-59.

[157] Ibn al-Jawzi reports: ‘This [matter] reached the caliph, who was angered. He dispatched the guards at his gates to go in aid of the ahl al-sunnainfo-icon, and so the ghilman helped them. The people of Karkh were weakened and the area beside Nahr al-Dajaj was set alight. Then the ashraf and the merchants gathered at the gate of the caliph seeking forgiveness for what the rabble had done so he forgave them’: al-Muntazam, vol. 15, pp. 59-60. As Donohoue notes: ‘It is easy to imagine the fright which seized the Caliph’ upon hearing the ‘shibboleth of the Fatimid ruler’: Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 284.

[158] See C. E. Bosworth, ‘Ukaylids’, EI2.

[159] Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 295. On the political history of the Mazyadids, see C.E. Bosworth, ‘Mazyad’, E12.

[160] As Kennedy notes, with their ‘power dependent on their tribal following’ the rulers of the Bedouin principalities ‘remained first and foremost Bedouin shaykhs even when they acquired the rights to collect taxes from settled areas and cities’: Kennedy, Age of the Caliphates, p. 285.

[161] The transfer of Qirwash b. al-Muqallid’s allegiance is widely reported to have taken place in the year 401 [1010]. See Ibn aI-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, pp. 74-77; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 8, pp. 63-66; al-Maqrizi, Itti‘az, vol. 2, p. 88. For discussion of Qirwash’s allegiance also see Daftary, Isma’ilis, p. 185; Walker, al-Kirmani, p. 14; Walker, Orations, p. 3; Assad, al-Hakim, pp.1l1-1l2.

[162] See Daftary, Isma‘ilis, p. 185; Assad, al-Hakim, pp. 111-112.

[163] Walker, Orations, p. 3.

[164] Ibid., p. 141. For the full text of the khutba of Qirwash, as transmitted, see Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, pp. 74-77, and for an English translation, see Walker, Orations, pp. 138- 141.

[165] Al-Qadir reportedly dispatched Qadi al-Baqillani to the Buyid ruler Baha al-Dawla to deflect the threat. Baha raised a sum of 100,000 dinars either as a reward for Qirwash for renouncing the khutba, or to raise an army. Walker, Orations, p. 4.

[166] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 83 and Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. 1, p. 660.

[167] Ibn Inaba, Jamal aI-Din Ahmad b. Ali, Umdat al-Talib fi ansab al Abi Talib, ed. Muhammad Husayn al-Taliqani (Najaf, 1380/1961), p. 323. The fullest lineage of Muhammad al-Ashtar thus extracted from Ibn Inaba would be: Muhammad al-Ashtar b. Ubayd Allah al-Thalith b. Ali b. Ubayd Allah al-Thani b. Ali al-Salih b. Ubayd Allah al-A‘raj b. al-Husayn al-Asghar b. Ali Zayn al-Abidin. Ibid., pp. 318-323.

[168] Ibid., pp. 323 ff.

[169] Abu Abd Allah Ahmad is said to have led thirteen pilgrimages as amir al-hajj, the deputy of Abu Ahmad al-Musawi, and also served as the naqib of Kufa. Ibid., p. 328.

[170] On him and his descendants, see ibid., p. 326.

[171] The progenitor is Muhammad al-Butbani b. al-Qasim b. al-Hasan b. Zayd b. al-Hasan b. al-Hasan b. Ali b. Abi Talib. See ibid., pp. 72 ff.

[172] See Wilferd Madelung, ‘The Minor Dynasties of Northern Iran’, in Richard N. Frye, ed., The Cambridge History of Iran, Volume 4: The Period from the Arab Invasions to the Saljuqs (Cambridge, 1975), p.219.

[173] See ibid. From 380 AH / 990 CE al-Mu‘ayyad bi’llah sought to establish a Zaydi imamate in the Caspian region with varying degrees of success until his demise in 411 AH / 1020 CE. Both he and his brother al-Natiq bi’l-Haqq were also noted as having studied under the important Baghdadi Hanafi and Mu‘tazili theologian Abu Abd Allah al-Basri. See, Gregor M. Schward, ‘Abu Abdallah al-Basri’, E13.

[174] Richard W. Bulliet, The Patricians of Nishapur: A Study in Medieval Islamic Social History (Cambridge, MA, 1972), p. 234ff; Teresa Bernheimer, The Alids: The First Family of Islam, 750 –1200 (Edinburgh, 2013), p. 32.

[175] Ibn al-Da‘i left Iraq to pursue the Zaydi imamate in the Caspian region, with the title al-Mahdi li-Din Allah. See Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 307-309.

[176] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 95; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 8, p. 78. Also see al-Safadi, al-Wafi, vol. 1, p. 109.

[177] Mubammad b. Umar b. Yahya (d. 390 AH / 999 CE) was a descendant of Imam Zayd b. Ali Zayn al-Abidin and undoubtedly one of the most influential sharifs of the era, noted as the ‘wealthiest man in Iraq’, whose fortune was ‘truly extraordinary’ (Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 248), and which Ibn Inaba remarked was greater than that of any other Alid: Ibn Inaba, Umdat al-Talib, p.278.

[178] See J.J. Witkam, ‘Ibn al-Akfani’, EI2 and Donohue, Buwayhid, pp.295-298.

[179] Al-Akfani’s patronage of traditionists is noted in Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 107. Only Ibn al-Jawzi has him listed as Abu’l-Abbas al-Suri, while Ibn al-Athir, Ibn Kathir and Ibn Khaldun have him as Abu’l-Abbas al-Abiwardi.

[180] Though Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 83, has Abu’l-Qasim al-Khazari, the editors of this edition note that variant manuscripts of the Muntazam have al-Jazari instead (ibid., vol. 15, p. 83, n. 2). Ibn al-Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 10 has Abu’l-Qasim al-Hariri, but is the only source to have this and it could be a transcription error. AI-Dhahabi, Ta’rikh, vol. 28, p. 12 adds the kunya (surname) and thus gives al-Qadi Abu Muhammad Abu’l-Qasim al-Jazari. Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 446, gives Ibn al-Khazari while Ibn Taghribirdi, al-Nujum, vol. 4, p. 231, has Abu’l-Qasim al-Jazari.

[181] On the establishment of the Zahiri chief judgeship, see Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 295.

[182] See Devin Stewart, ‘The Structure of the Fihrist: Ibn al-Nadim as Historian of Islamic Legal and Theological Schools’, International Journal of Middle East Studies, 39 (2007), p. 371.

[183] On al-Isfara’ini’s career, see Donohue, Buwayhid, p. 323.

[184] On Abu Ali al-Hasan b. al-Husayn b. Hamkan al-Hamadhani, see Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 106, who does not recommend him as a hadith narrator; see also Ibn Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 13, p. 22.

[185] Al-Safadi, al-Waft, vol. 1, p. 97, calls him Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Ibrahim, Abu’l-Fadl al-Nasawi, and says he lived and studied in Baghdad and narrated from al-Sahib b. Abbad, and narrated to Abu’l-Qasim al-Tanukhi, placing him therefore at the turn of the century.

[186] Yahya b. Abi’l-Khayr al-Imrani, al-Bayan fi madhhab al-imam al-Shafi‘i ed. Qasim al-Nuri (Beirut, 2000), vol. 1, p. 42. Note also a Shafi‘i jurist by the name Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Muhammad b. Abd Allah al-Baydawi was active during the reign of the Abbasid al-Muqtadi. See al-Safadi, al-Wafi, vol. 1, p. 213.

[187] A certain Abu Abd Allah al-Husayn b. Muhammad al-Tabari al-Kashfali (d. 414 AH / 1023 CE), known as a Shafi‘i jurist of Baghdad who taught in the mosque of Abd Allah b. Mubarak after the death of Abu Hamid al-Isfara’ini is mentioned in Ibn al-Athir, al-Bab fi tahdhib al-ansab (Baghdad, n.d.), vol. 3, p. 99.

[188] M. Ben Cheneb, ‘al-Kuduri, Abu’l-Husayn/al-Hasan Ahmad: E12. Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 326-327. See Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 162.

[189] See Wilferd Madelung, ‘al-Mufid’, E12.

[190] On the father al-Muhassin b. Ali, see H. Fähndrich, ‘al-Tanukhi: E12. Ibn Khallikan, tr. de Slane, vol. 2, pp. 567–


[191] For the role of al-Isfara’ini in this affair, see Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, pp. 58-59.

[192] See Donohue, Buwayhid, pp. 297-298.

[193]  Ibid.

[194] See Daftary, Isma‘ilis, p. 209.

[195] On Abu’l-Harith al-Basasiri, see Daftary, Isma’ilis, pp. 195-197; Marius Canard, ‘al-Basasiri’, E12.

[196] Al-Mu‘ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi was a leading Fatimid da‘i, an influential Fatimid statesmen and diplomat of the mid-5th AH / 11th CE century. Born in Shiraz in the last decades of the 4th AH / 10th CE century, the rising influence of al-Mu‘ayyad at the Buyid court in Farsinfo-icon culminated in the conversion of the Buyid amir Abu Kalijar, which unleashed hostility against him from the Sunni establishment in Baghdad, and ultimately provoked his banishment. Arriving in Cairo in 438 AH / 1046 CE, al-Mu‘ayyad was appointed to the Fatimid chancery in 444 AH / 1052–1053 CE. Two years later, he began to galvanise al-Basasiri to defeat the Saljuq army in 448 AH /1057 CE, which culminated in the conquest of Baghdad. In Cairo, al-Mu‘ayyad eventually became the Chief da‘i, whose majalis al-hikmainfo-icon (‘sessions of wisdom’) as well as his poetry continued to be venerated by the adherents of the Ismaili da‘wa in the centuries that followed. For a comprehensive outline of his biography and scholarly works, see Verena Klemm, Memoirs of a Mission: The Ismaili Scholar, Statesmen and Poet al-Mu’ayyad fi’l-Din al-Shirazi (London, 2003). See also, I. K. Poonawala, ‘al-Mu’ayyad Fi’l-Din’, E12.

[197] Ibn al-Jawzi, al-Muntazam, vol. 15, p. 336.

[198] Juwayni, Jahan-gusha, tr. Boyle, vol. I, pp. 658–660.

[199] Ibn al-Kathir, al-Bidaya, vol. 12, p. 113.  

[200] Ibn al-Athir initially rejects the aspersions against the Alid lineage of the Fatimids through the alleged attestation of al-Radi’s signature upon the Manifesto. He notes that: ‘there is no proof (hujjainfo-icon) in what he [al-Radi] wrote in the mahdar which repudiated the lineage of the [Fatimid] caliphs, for fear brings forth [this and] even more’, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p. 447. He subsequently states: ‘Those who claim the truthfulness of the [Fatimid] lineage say: the scholars who wrote in the mahdar did so out of fear and taqiyya, and [there were] those who had no knowledge of lineage. As to the pronouncement [of the correctness of the lineage] there is no protestation’, al-Kamil, vol. 6, p.448.

[201] Ibn Khaldun, al-Muqaddima, tr. Rosenthal, p. 41.

[202] Ibid., p. 44.

[203] Ibid., p. 43. Subsequently, he notes: ‘The partisans of the Abbasids made much use of this fact when they came out with their attack against the lineage of (the Ubaydid-Fatimids). They tried to ingratiate themselves with the weak (Abbasid) caliphs by professing the erroneous opinion that (the ‘Alid descent of the Ubaydid-Fatimids was spurious)’.

[204] Ibid., p. 47.

This is an edited version of the article published in“The Fatimid Caliphate: Diversity of Traditions” ed. Farhad Daftary and Shainool Jiwa. I.B. Taurus in association with the Institute of Ismaili Studies, 2017, London; pp 22-79. 


Proclaimed publicly in the Abbasid capital in 402 AH / 1011 CE, and subsequently read out across the Abbasid lands, the principal purpose of Baghdad manifesto was to invalidate the Alid lineage of the...