Hasan Sabbah, prominent Isma‘ili da‘i and founder of the medieval Nizari Isma‘ili state (b. Qum, mid-440s AH/1050s CE, d. Alamut. 518 AH/1124 CE). Little in­formation is available on the early life of Hasan Sabbah, who was referred to as Sayyidna (our master) by his contemporary Nizari lsmailis.

The colourful story, accord­ing to which Hasan, Nizam al-Mulk, and ‘Umar Khayyam had made a pact when they were classmates in their youth under the same master at Nishapur, should be dis­missed as a legend (see Rashid al-Din, pp. 110-12; Kashani, pp. 146-48; Mirkhand [Tehran], IV. pp. 199-204; Bowen, 1931, pp. 771-82). The events of Hasan’s career as the first ruler of Alamut are better documented; these events were recorded in the Sargudhasht-i sayyidna, the first part of which may have been autobiographical. Although this chronicle, which marked the initiation of a Nizari tradition of historiography in Persia during the Alamut period, has not survived, it was used extensively by Juwayni, Rashid al-Din and Abu’l-Qasim Kashani, who are the chief authorities on Hasan’s life and career (see Daftary, 1992, pp. 91-97).


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.


Read more