(Arabic: Qaramita and singular: Qarmati), the name given to the adherents of a branch of the Ismailis during the 3rd AH/9th century CE. Originally, the term was evidently applied primarily to those Ismailis who had been converted by Hamdan Qarmat b. Ash‘at, the chief leader of the Ismaili da‘wa in the Sawad of Kufa (a district in the countryside surrounding Kufa) and other parts of southern Iraq.

Hamdan succeeded in winning many converts, who were soon designated as the Qaramita. Hamdan’s surname Qarmat, also reported as Qarmatiyya (Firaq al-Sh‘ia, p. 61; Qummi, p. 83), which is probably of Aramaic origin (see Massignon, 1927, p. 767), is vari­ously explained as meaning short-legged or red-eyed.


Dr Farhad Daftary

Co-Director and Head of the Department of Academic Research and Publications

An authority in Shi'i studies, with special reference to its Ismaili tradition, Dr. Daftary has published and lectured widely in these fields of Islamic studies. In 2011 a Festschrift entitled Fortresses of the Intellect was produced to honour Dr. Daftary by a number of his colleagues and peers.


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